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An understanding or consent between two or more parties regarding their respective rights and obligations with respect to a specific subject or thing.
The consent of two or more persons concurring, respecting the transmission of some property, right or benefit, with a view of contracting an obligation. It will be proper to consider, 1, the requisites of an agreement; 2, the kinds of agreements; 3, how they are annulled.
To render an agreement complete six things must concur; there must be, 1, a person able to contract; 2, a person able to be contracted with; 3, a thing to be contracted for; 4, a lawful consideration, or quid pro quo; 5, words to express the agreement; 6, the assent of the contracting parties.
2. As to their form, agreements are of two kinds; 1, by parol, or, in writing, as contradistinguished from specialties; 2, by specialty, or under seal. In relation to their performance, agreements are executed or executory. An agreement is said to be executed when two or more persons make over their respective rights in a thing to one another, and thereby change the property therein, either presently and at once, or at a future time, upon some event that shall give it full effect, without either party trusting to the other; as where things are bought, paid for and delivered. Executory agreements, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, are such contracts as rest on articles, memorandums, parol promises, or undertakings, and the like, to be performed in future, or which are entered into preparatory to more solemn and formal alienations of property. on Cont. Agreements are also conditional and unconditional. They are conditional when some condition must be fulfilled before they can have full effect; they are unconditional when there is no condition attached;
3. Agreements are annulled or rendered of no effect, first, by the acts of the parties, as, by payment; release - accord and satisfaction; rescission, which is express or implied; defeasance; by novation: secondly, by the acts of the law, as, confusion; merger; lapse of time; death, as when a man who has bound himself to teach an apprentice, dies; extinction of the thing which is the subject of the contract, as, when the agreement is to deliver a certain horse and before the time of delivery he dies.
The writing or instrument containing an agreement is also called an agreement, and sometimes articles of agreement.
It is proper, to remark that there is much difference between an agreement and articles of agreement which are only evidence of it. From the moment that the parties have given their consent, the agreement or contract is formed, and, whether it can be proved or not, it has not less the quality to bind both contracting parties. A want of proof does not make it null, because that proof may be supplied aliunde, and the moment it is obtained, the contract may be-enforced.
Again, the agreement may be null, as when it was obtained by fraud, duress, and the like; and the articles of agreement may be good, as far as the form is concerned.