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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year 1910
Volume XL, Part II (1910)

Richardson, C. L.
Contracts,   pp. 171-175 PDF (1.1 MB)

Page 171

C. L. RiCHAsoUN.
A contract as commonly accepted, is an agreement between two
or more parties to do or to refrain from doing a certain thing.
In order that it jnay be made, certain things-the elements of a
contract-must exist. There must be the two parties to the agree-
ment to do mutual things or exchange mutual promises; a thing
or things to be contracted for; a consideration to support the
contract; and the assent of the contracting parties.
It is a common expression in the law of contract that the minds
of the parties must meet-meaning that they must have in mind
and agree to the elements and all important particulars of the
transaction, including the identity of the other party and of the
thing contracted for, the consideration and its manner of pay-
ment, and the terms of the contract. Matters which are thus es-
sential are said to be "of the essence of the contract," and are
largely determined by the parties themselves-among the most
common being the place of payment, and the effect of delay on the
contract, in causing the delayer to pay damages, or by allowing
the other party to abrogate the contract entirely.
The assent of the parties is another vital element, as it is the
outward, visible sign that the minds of the parties have met on the
terms. Assent is usually expressed by words or letters in answer
to a spoken or written proposition, but any other means of com-
munication will answer as well. Thus telegrams, telephone con-
versations, acts, gestures, and in rare cases, absolute silence under
an obligation to speak, may signify assent and so bind the parties
to perform the contract.
The essential acts in the formation of a contract are (1) An
offer by one party, and (2) An acceptance by the other. Com-
pliance with the offer must be with knowledge of it. Accidental
compliance does not make a contract; the minds of the parties
never met. Acceptance must be in precise compliance with the
terms of the offer. In a leading Wisconsin case an offer to sell
land, payment to be made in Connecticut, was accepted with the
reservation that payment should be made in Wisconsin, and it
was held not to be an acceptance in terms so as to bind the con-
traet. Iu other words any material alteration in the terms of ac-

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