ment has been incurred, because of the insolvency of the defendant. Secondly, though a negative covenant or promise constitute one side of a bilateral contract, yet if the negative covenant or promise be not dependent upon the covenant or promise which constitutes the other side of the contract, it seems that equity will restrain a breach of the former. In such a case, as the performance of the negative covenant or promise is absolutely due to the covenantee or promisee, the effect is the same as if the negative covenant or promise were unilateral, so far as regards the question now under consideration. Thirdly, though a negative covenant or promise constitute one side of a bilateral contract, and be dependent upon the covenant or promise which constitutes the other side of the contract, yet, after full performance of the latter, equity will restrain a breach of the former; for, when one side of a bilateral contract is fully performed, the other side becomes unilateral. Fourthly, though a negative covenant or promise con-
- “It is said that the court may execute a negative contract. I admit it. I remember a case in which a nephew wished to go on the stage, and his uncle gave him a large sum of money in consideration of his covenanting not to perform within a particular district; the court would execute such a covenant on the ground that a valuable consideration had been given for it.” Per Sir L. Shadwell, V.C., in Kimberley v. Jennings, 6 Sim. 340, 351. And see the observations of Lord Cottenham in Dietrichsen v. Cabburn, 2 Ph. 52, 57.
A common instance of a covenant which is negative and unilateral, and which, therefore, equity will enforce, is a covenant not to carry on a particular trade or business within a particular district. Williams v. Williams, 2 Swanst. 253, 332; Rolfe v. Rolfe, 15 Sim. 88; Swallow v. Wallingford,12 Jur. 403; Whittaker v. Howe, 3 Beav. 383. And see Lumley v. Wagner, 1 De G., M. & G. 604, 610–611.
It seems that the defendant’s agreement was unilateral in Hills v. Croll, 2 Ph. 60. See reporter’s note, pp. 62–63. See also the report of the case in 1 Real Prop. and Conv. Cases, 541, 553. Undoubtedly the defendant would have been at liberty to purchase acids elsewhere, unless the plaintiff would supply him with acids; but that seems to have been no valid objection to granting an injunction against the defendant’s purchasing acids elsewhere, provided the plaintiff would supply him. See 1 Real Prop. and Conveyancing Cases, 541, 555.
The case of Catt v. Tourle, L. R. 4 Ch. 654, furnishes another instance of a covenant held to be enforceable in equity, because it was negative and unilateral. There, also, the defendant would be entitled to obtain beer elsewhere, if the plaintiff did not supply him with beer of good quality and at a fair price. Hence the observation just made upon Hills v. Croll, in respect to the form of the injunction, is applicable also to this case.
- Thus in Kemble v. Kean, 6 Sim. 333, the defendant made an absolute and binding promise to the plaintiff, in January, 1829, not to play in London during the then current season; and it seems that that promise would have been enforced by injunction. It must be admitted, however, that such a case is not so strong as that of a purely unilateral covenant or promise.