Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California.7
Chickering & Gregory, for appellant.8
Marshall B. Woodworth and Edward J. Banning, for appellees.9
Before GILBERT and ROSS, Circuit Judges, and HAWLEY, District Judge.10
The libel in this case was based upon a contract alleged to have been entered into between the libelants and the appellant corporation on the 22d day of May, 1900, at Pyramid Harbor, Alaska, by which it is claimed the appellant promised to pay each of the libelants, among other things, the sum of $100 for services rendered and to be rendered. In its answer the respondent denied the execution, on its part, of the contract sued upon, averred that it was without consideration, and for a third defense alleged that the work performed by the libelants for it was performed under other and different contracts than that sued on, and that, prior to the filing of the libel, each of the libelants was paid by the respondent the full amount due him thereunder, in consideration of which each of them executed a full release of all his claims and demands against the respondent.12
The evidence shows without conflict that on March 26, 1900, at the city and county of San Francisco, the libelants entered into a written contract with the appellants, whereby they agreed to go from San Francisco to Pyramid Harbor, Alaska, and return, on board such vessel as might be designated by the appellant, and to work for the appellant during the fishing season of 1900, at Pyramid Harbor, as sailors and fishermen, agreeing to do "regular ship's duty, both up and down, discharging and loading; and to do any other work whatsoever when requested to do so by the captain or agent of the Alaska Packers' Association." By the terms of this agreement, the appellant was to pay each of the libelants $50 for the season, and two cents for each red salmon in the catching of which he took part.13
On the 15th day of April, 1900, 21 of the libelants of the libelants signed shipping articles by which they shipped as seamen on the Two Brothers, a vessel chartered by the appellant for the voyage between San Francisco and Pyramid Harbor, and also bound themselves to perform the same work for the appellant provided for by the previous contract of March 26th; the appellant agreeing to pay them therefor the sum of $60 for the season, and two cents each for each red salmon in the catching of which they should respectively take part. Under these contracts, the libelants sailed on board the Two Brothers for Pyramid Harbor, where the appellants had about $150,000 invested in a salmon cannery. The libelants arrived there early in April of the year mentioned, and began  to unload the vessel and fit up the cannery. A few days thereafter, to wit, May 19th, they stopped work in a body, and demanded of the company's superintendent there in charge $100 for services in operating the vessel to and from Pyramid Harbor, instead of the sums stipulated for in and by the contracts; stating that unless they were paid this additional wage they would stop work entirely, and return to San Francisco. The evidence showed, and the court below found, that it was impossible for the appellant to get other men to take the places of the libelants, the place being remote, the season short and just opening; so that, after endeavoring for several days without success to induce the libelants to proceed with their work in accordance with their contracts, the company's superintendent, on the 22d day of May, so far yielded to their demands as to instruct his clerk to copy the contracts executed in San Francisco, including the words "Alaska Packers' Association" at the end, substituting, for the $50 and $60 payments, respectively, of those contracts, the sum of $100, which document, so prepared, was signed by the libelants before a shipping commissioner whom they had requested to be brought from Northeast Point; the superintendent, however, testifying that he at the time told the libelants that he was without authority to enter into any such contract, or to in any way alter the contracts made between them and the company in San Francisco. Upon the return of the libelants to San Francisco at the close of the fishing season, they demanded pay in accordance with the terms of the alleged contract of May 22d, when the company denied its validity, and refused to pay other than as provided for by the contracts of March 26th and April 5th, respectively. Some of the libelants, at least, consulted counsel, and, after receiving his advice, those of them who had signed the shipping articles before the shipping commissioner at San Francisco went before that officer, and received the amount due them thereunder, executing in consideration thereof a release in full, and the others paid at the office of the company, also receipting in full for their demands.14
On the trial in the court below, the libelants undertook to show that the fishing nets provided by the respondent were defective, and that it was on that account that they demanded increased wages. On that point, the evidence was substantially conflicting, and the finding of the court was against the libelants the court saying:15
"The contention of libelants that the nets provided them were rotten and unserviceable is not sustained by the evidence. The defendants' interest required that libelants should be provided with every facility necessary to their success as fishermen, for on such success depended the profits defendant would be able to realize that season from its packing plant, and the large capital invested therein. In view of this self-evident fact, it is highly improbable that the defendant gave libelants rotten and unserviceable nets with which to fish. It follows from this finding that libelants were not justified in refusing performance of their original contract." 112 Fed. 554.
The evidence being sharply conflicting in respect to these facts, the conclusions of the court, who heard and saw the witnesses, will not be disturbed. The Alijandro, 6 C.C.A. 54, 56 Fed. 621; The Lucy, 20 C.C.A. 660, 74 Fed. 572; The Glendale, 26 C.C.A. 500, 81 Fed. 633. The Coquitlam, 23 C.C.A. 438, 77 Fed. 744; Gorham Mfg. Co. v. Emery-Bird-Thayer Dry Goods Co., 43 C.C.A. 511, 104 Fed. 243.17
 The real questions in the case as brought here are questions of law, and, in the view that we take of the case, it will be necessary to consider but one of those. Assuming that the appellant's superintendent at Pyramid Harbor was authorized to make the alleged contract of May 22d, and that he executed it on behalf of the appellant, was it supported by a sufficient consideration? From the foregoing statement of the case, it will have been seen that the libelants agreed in writing, for certain stated compensation, to render their services to the appellant in remote waters where the season for conducting fishing operations is extremely short, and in which enterprise the appellant had a large amount of money invested; and, after having entered upon the discharge of their contract, and at a time when it was impossible for the appellant to secure other men in their places, the libelants, without any valid cause, absolutely refused to continue the services they were under contract to perform unless the appellant would consent to pay them more money. Consent to such a demand, under such circumstances, if given, was, in our opinion, without consideration, for the reason that it was based solely upon the libelants' agreement to render the exact services, and none other, that they were already under contract to render. The case shows that they willfully and arbitrarily broke that obligation. As a matter of course, they were liable to the appellant in damages, and it is quite probable, as suggested by the court below in its opinion, that they may have been unable to respond in damages. But we are unable to agree with the conclusions there drawn, from these facts, in these words:18
"Under such circumstances, it would be strange, indeed, if the law would not permit the defendant to waive the damages caused by the libelants' breach, and enter into the contract sued upon,- a contract mutually beneficial to all the parties thereto, in that it gave to the libelants reasonable compensation for their labor, and enabled the defendant to employ to advantage the large capital it had invested in its canning and fishing plant."
Certainly, it cannot be justly held, upon the record in this case, that there was any voluntary waiver on the part of the appellant of the breach of the original contract. The company itself knew nothing of such breach until the expedition returned to San Francisco, and the testimony is uncontradicted that its superintendent at Pyramid Harbor, who, it is claimed, made on its behalf the contract sued on, distinctly informed the libelants that he had no power to alter the original or to make a new contract, and it would, of course, follow that, if he had no power to change the original, he would have no authority to waive any rights thereunder. The circumstances of the present case bring it, we think, directly within the sound and just observations of the supreme court of Minnesota in the case of King v. Railway Co., 61 Minn. 482, 63 N.W. 1105:20
"No astute reasoning can change the plain fact that the party who refuses to perform, and thereby coerces a promise from the other party to the contract to pay him an increased compensation for doing that which he is legally bound to do, takes an unjustifiable advantage of the necessities of the other party. Surely it would be a travesty on justice to hold that the party so making the promise for extra pay was estopped from asserting that the promise was without consideration. A party cannot lay the foundation  of an estoppel by his own wrong, where the promise is simply a repetition of a subsisting legal promise. There can be no consideration for the promise of the other party, and there is no warrant for inferring that the parties have voluntarily rescinded or modified their contract. The promise cannot be legally enforced, although the other party has completed his contract in reliance upon it."
In Lingenfelder v. Brewing Co., 103 Mo. 578, 15 S.W. 844, the court, in holding void a contract by which the owner of a building agreed to pay its architect an additional sum because of his refusal to otherwise proceed with the contract, said:22
"It is urged upon us by respondents that this was a new contract. New in what? Jungenfeld was bound by his contract to design and supervise this building. Under the new promise, he was not to do anything more or anything different. What benefit was to accrue to Wainwright? He was to receive the same service from Jungenfeld under the new, that Jungenfeld was bound to tender under the original, contract. What loss, trouble, or inconvenience could result to Jungenfeld that he had not already assumed? No amount of metaphysical reasoning can change the plain fact that Jungenfeld took advantage of Wainwright's necessities, and extorted the promise of five per cent. on the refrigerator plant as the condition of his complying with his contract already entered into. Nor had he even the flimsy pretext that Wainwright had violated any of the conditions of the contract on his part. Jungenfeld himself put it upon the simple proposition that 'if he, as an architect, put up the brewery, and another company put up the refrigerating machinery, it would be a detriment to the Empire Refrigerating Company,’ of which Jungenfeld was president. To permit plaintiff to recover under such circumstances would be to offer a premium upon bad faith, and invite men to violate their most sacred contracts that they may profit by their own wrong. That a promise to pay a man for doing that which he is already under contract to do is without consideration is conceded by respondents. The rule has been so long imbedded in the common law and decisions of the highest courts of the various states that nothing but the most cogent reasons ought to shake it. (Citing a long list of authorities.) But it is 'carrying coals to Newcastle' to add authorities on a proposition so universally accepted, and so inherently just and right in itself. The learned counsel for respondents do not controvert the general proposition. They contention is, and the circuit court agreed with them, that, when Jungenfeld declined to go further on his contract, the defendant then had the right to sue for damages, and not having elected to sue Jungenfeld, but having acceded to his demand for the additional compensation defendant cannot now be heard to say his promise is without consideration. While it is true Jungenfeld became liable in damages for the obvious breach of his contract, we do not think it follows that defendant is estopped from showing its promise was made without consideration. It is true that as eminent a jurist as Judge Cooley, in Goebel v. Linn, 47 Mich. 489, 11 N.W. 284, 41 Am.Rep. 723, held that an ice company which had agreed to furnish a brewery with all the ice they might need for their business from November 8, 1879, until January 1, 1881, at $1.75 per ton, and afterwards in May, 1880, declined to deliver any more ice unless the brewery would give it $3 per ton, could recover on a promissory note given for the increased price. Profound as is our respect for the distinguished judge who delivered the opinion, we are still of the opinion that his decision is not in accord with the almost universally accepted doctrine, and is not convincing; and certainly so much of the opinion as holds that the payment, by a debtor, of a part of his debt then due, would constitute a defense to a suit for the remainder, is not the law of this state, nor, do we think, of any other where the common law prevails. * * * What we hold is that, when a party merely does what he has already obligated himself to do, he cannot demand an additional compensation therefor; and although, by taking advantage of the necessities of his adversary, he obtains a promise for more, the law will regard it as nudum pactum, and will not lend its process to aid in the wrong."
 The case of Goebel v. Linn, 47 Mich. 489, 11 N.W. 284, 41 Am.Rep. 723, is one of the eight cases relied upon by the court below in support of its judgment in the present case, five of which are by the supreme court of Massachusetts, one by the supreme court of Vermont, and one other Michigan case,- that of Moore v. Locomotive Works, 14 Mich. 266. The Vermont case referred to is that of Lawrence v. Davey, 28 Vt. 264, which was one of the three cases cited by the court in Moore v. Locomotive Works, 14 Mich. 272, 273, as authority for its decision. In that case there was a contract to deliver coal at specified terms and rates. A portion of it was delivered, and plaintiff then informed the defendant that he could not deliver at those rates, and, if the latter intended to take advantage of it, he should not deliver any more; and that he should deliver no more unless the defendant would pay for the coal independent of the contract. The defendant agreed to do so, and the coal was delivered. On suit being brought for the price, the court said:24
"Although the promise to waive the contract was after some portion of the coal sought to be recovered had been delivered, and so delivered that probably the plaintiff, if the defendant had insisted upon strict performance of the contract, could not have recovered anything for it, yet, nevertheless, the agreement to waive the contract, and the promise, and, above all, the delivery of coal after this agreement to waive the contract, and upon the faith of it, will be a sufficient consideration to bind the defendant to pay for the coal already received"
The doctrine of that case was impliedly overruled by the supreme court of Vermont in the subsequent case of Cobb v. Cowdery, 40 Vt. 25, 94 Am.Dec. 370, where it was held that:26
"A promise by a party to do what he is bound in law to do is not an illegal consideration, but is the same as no consideration at all, and is merely void; in other words, it is insufficient, but not illegal. Thus, if the master of a ship promise his crew an addition to their fixed wages in consideration for and as an incitement to, their extraordinary exertions during a storm, or in any other emergency of the voyage, this promise is nudum pactum; the voluntary performance of an act which it was before legally incumbent on the party to perform being in law an insufficient consideration; and so it would be in any other case where the only consideration for the promise of one party was the promise of the other party to do, or his actual doing, something which he was previously bound in law to do. Chit. Cont. (10th Am.Ed.) 51; Smith, Cont. 87; 3 Kent, Com.. 185."
The Massachusetts cases cited by the court below in support of its judgment commence with the case of Munroe v. Perkins, 9 Pick. 305, 20 Am.Dec. 475, which really seems to be the foundation of all of the cases in support of that view. In that case, the plaintiff had agreed in writing to erect a building for the defendants. Finding his contract a losing one, he had concluded to abandon it, and resumed work on the oral contract of the defendants that, if he would do so, they would pay him what the work was worth without regard to the terms of the original contract. The court said that whether the oral contract was without consideration28
—"Depends entirely on the question whether the first contract was waived. The plaintiff having refused to perform that contract, as he might do, subjecting himself to such damages as the other parties might show they were entitled to recover, he afterward went on, upon the faith of the new promise, and finished the work. This was a sufficient consideration. If Payne and  Perkins were willing to accept his relinquishment of the old contract, and proceed on a new agreement, the law, we think, would not prevent it."
The case of Goebel v. Linn, 47 Mich. 489, 11 N.W. 284, 41 Am.Rep. 723, presented some unusual and extraordinary circumstances. But, taking it as establishing the precise rule adopted in the Massachusetts cases, we think it not only contrary to the weight of authority, but wrong on principle.30
In addition to the Minnesota and Missouri cases above cited, the following are some of the numerous authorities holding the contrary doctrine: Vanderbilt v. Schreyer, 91 N.Y. 392; Ayres v. Railroad Co., 52 Iowa, 478, 3 N.W. 522; Harris v. Carter, 3 Ellis & B. 559; Frazer v. Hatton, 2 C.B.(N.S.) 512; Conover v. Stillwell, 34 N.J. Law, 54; Reynolds v. Nugent, 25 Ind. 328; Spencer v. McLean (Ind. App.) 50 N.E. 769, 67 Am.St.Rep. 271; Harris v. Harris (Colo. App.) 47 Pac. 841; Moran v. Peace, 72 Ill.App. 139; Carpenter v. Taylor (N.Y.) 58 N.E. 53; Westcott v. Mitchell (Me.) 50 Atl. 21; Robinson v. Jewett, 116 N.Y. 40, 22 N.E. 224; Sullivan v. Sullivan, 99 Cal. 187, 33 Pac. 862; Blyth v. Robinson, 104 Cal. 230, 37 Pac. 904; Skinner v. Mining Co. (C.C.) 96 Fed. 735; 1 Beach, Cont. § 166; Langd. Cont. § 54; 1 Pars.Cont. (5th Ed.) 457; Ferguson v. Harris (S.C.) 17 S.E. 782, 39 Am.St.Rep. 745.31
It results from the views above expressed that the judgment must be reversed, and the cause remanded, with directions to the court below to enter judgment for the respondent, with costs. It is so ordered.
231 N.Y. 1962
Contract — trial — where record shows question of fact it is error for trial justice to set aside verdict and dismiss complaint — contract may be set aside by parties and new one made at one and the same time — charge.4
1. Where, in an action to recover on a contract for services, defended on the ground that there was no consideration for the contract as the plaintiff was already bound under a prior agreement to do the same work for the same period for a lesser salary, the record shows that a  question of fact was presented and that the evidence most favorable for the plaintiff would sustain a finding that the first contract was destroyed, canceled or abrogated by the consent of both parties, it was error for the trial justice to set aside a verdict in favor of plaintiff and dismiss the complaint and a reversal of such ruling was proper.5
2. A contract of employment may be set aside or terminated by the parties to it and a new one made or substituted in its place and it is competent to end the one and make the other at the same time.6
3. A charge, by the trial justice, therefore, to the effect that if the jury find that the old contract was, prior to or at the time of the execution of the new contract, "cancelled and revoked by the parties by their mutual consent then it is your duty to find that there was a consideration for the making of the contract in suit" and "the test question is whether by word or by act, either prior to or at the time of the signing" of the new contract "these parties mutually agreed that the old contract from that instant should be null and void," is correct and a reinstatement of the verdict was proper.7
Schwartzreich v. Bauman-Basch, Inc., 188 App. Div. 960, affirmed.8
(Submitted April 27, 1921; decided May 10, 1921.)9
APPEAL, by permission, from a judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the first judicial department, entered June 28, 1919, affirming a determination of the Appellate Term, which reversed a judgment in favor of defendant entered upon an order of the trial justice in the City Court of the city of New York setting aside a verdict in favor of plaintiff and directing a dismissal of the complaint and reinstated said verdict.10
Louis Boehm and Samuel Zeiger for appellant. Not only was there lacking evidence of a cancellation of the first contract for $90 before the second contract for $100 was agreed upon, but it affirmatively appears from plaintiff's own testimony that such cancellation was not even mentioned. (Disker v. Herten, 73 App. Div. 453; 175 N. Y. 480; Sanders v. Pottlitzer Bros. Fruit Co., 144 N. Y. 209; Pratt v. Hudson R. R. R. Co., 21 N. Y. 305; Belmar Contracting Co. v. State, 185 N. Y. Supp. 734.) A promise to do that which one is already legally obligated to do does not furnish a consideration sufficient to support a  contract. (Teele v. Mayer, 173 App. Div. 869; Weed v. Spears, 193 N. Y. 289; Carpenter v. Taylor, 164 N. Y. 171; Vanderbilt v. Schreyer, 91 N. Y. 392.) Both sides having offered all their proof, and both plaintiff and defendant having testified as to what took place when the second contract was signed, and the contract itself being plain and unambiguous, a question of law was presented for the decision of the trial court, and its dismissal of the complaint on the merits was proper. (Carpenter v. Taylor, 164 N. Y. 171.)11
I. Maurice Wormser and I. Gainsburg for respondent. The trial court erred in dismissing the complaint on the merits. There was, at the very least, a clean-cut issue of fact for the jury, whether the $90 contract was canceled and rescinded by the parties, and a new $100 contract made. (Harris v. Carter, 3 El. & Bl. 559; Hart v. Lawman, 39 Barb. 410; Lattimore v. Harsen, 14 Johns. 330; Spier v. Hyde, 78 App. Div. 151, 159; Bailey v. Elm City Lumber Co., 167 App. Div. 42, 45; Stewart v. Keteltas, 36 N. Y. 338; Wood v. Knight, 35 App. Div. 21; International Cont. Co. v. Lamont, 15.5 U. S. 303; Am. Ex. Nat. Bank v. Smith, 61 Misc. Rep. 49; 113 N. Y. Supp. 236; Galway v. Prignano, 134 N. Y. Supp. 571.)12
CRANE, J. On the 31st day of August, 1917, the plaintiff entered into the following employment agreement with the defendant:13
"Coats & Wraps,15
"31-33 East 32nd Street,16
"Agreement entered into this 31st day of August, 1917, by and between Bauman-Basch, Inc., a domestic corporation, party of the first part, and Louis Schwartzreich, of the Borough of Bronx, City of New York, party of the second part, Witnesseth:
 "The party of the first part does hereby employ the party of the second part, and the party of the second part agrees to enter the services of the party of the first part as a designer of coats and wraps.
"The employment herein shall commence on the 22nd day of November, 1917, and shall continue for twelve months thereafter. The party of the second part shall receive a salary of Ninety ($90.00) per week, payable weekly.
"The party of the second part shall devote his entire time and attention to the business of the party of the first part, and shall use his best energies and endeavors in the furtherance of its business.
"In witness whereof, the party of the first part has caused its seal to be affixed hereto and these presents to be signed, and the party of the second part has here- unto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.
"In the presence of:"22
In October the plaintiff was offered more money by another concern. Mr. Bauman, an officer of the Bauman-Basch, Inc., says that in that month he heard that the plaintiff was going to leave and thereupon had with him the following conversation.23
"A. I called him in the office, and I asked him, 'Is that true that you want to leave us?' and he said 'Yes,' and I said, 'Mr. Schwartzreich, how can you do that; you are under contract with us?' He said, 'Somebody offered me more money.' * * * I said, 'How much do they offer you?' He said, 'They offered him $115 a week.' * * * I said, 'I cannot get a designer now, and, in view of the fact that I have to send my sample line out on the road, I will give you a hundred dollars a week rather than to let you go.' He said, 'If you will give me $100, I will stay.'"24
 Thereupon Mr. Bauman dictated to his stenographer a new contract, dated October 17, 1917, in the exact words of the first contract and running for the same period, the salary being $100 a week, which contract was duly executed by the parties and witnessed. Duplicate originals were kept by the plaintiff and defendant.25
Simultaneously with the signing of this new contract, the plaintiff's copy of the old contract was either given to or left with Mr. Bauman. He testifies that the plaintiff gave him the paper but that he did not take it from him. The signatures to the old contract plaintiff tore off at the time according to Mr. Bauman.26
The plaintiff's version as to the execution of the new contract is as follows:27
"A. I told Mr. Bauman that I have an offer from Scheer & Mayer of $110 a week, and I said to him, 'Do you advise me as a friendly matter — will you advise me as a friendly matter what to do; you see I have a contract with you, and I should not accept the offer of $110 a week, and I ask you, as a matter of friendship, do you advise me to take it or not.' At the minute he did not say anything, but the day afterwards he came to me in and he said, 'I will give you $100 a week, and I want you to stay with me.' I said, 'All right, I will accept it; it is very nice of you that you do that, and I appreciate it very much.'"
The plaintiff says that on the 17th of October when the new contract was signed, he gave his copy of the old contract back to Mr. Bauman, who said: "You do not want this contract any more because the new one takes its place."29
The plaintiff remained in the defendant's employ until the following December when he was discharged. He brought this action under the contract of October 17th for his damages.30
The defense, insisted upon through all the courts, is that there was no consideration for the new contract as  the plaintiff was already bound under his agreement of August 31, 1917, to do the same work for the same period at $90 a week.31
The trial justice submitted to the jury the question whether there was a cancellation of the old contract and charged as follows:32
"If you find that the $90 contract was prior to or at the time of the execution of the $100 contract cancelled and revoked by the parties by their mutual consent, then it is your duty to find that there was a consideration for the making of the contract in suit, viz., the $100 contract and, in that event, the plaintiff would be entitled to your verdict for such damages as you may find resulted proximately, naturally and necessarily in consequence of the plaintiff's discharge prior to the termination of the contract period of which I shall speak later on."
Defendant's counsel thereupon excepted to that portion of the charge in which the court permitted the jury to find that the prior contract may have been canceled simultaneously with the execution of the other agreement. Again the court said:34
"The test question is whether by word or by act, either prior to or at the time of the signing of the $100 contract, these parties mutually agreed that the old contract from that instant should be null and void."
The jury having rendered a verdict for the plaintiff the trial justice set it aside and dismissed the complaint on the ground that there was not sufficient evidence that the first contract was canceled to warrant the jury's findings.36
The above quotations from the record show that a question of fact was presented and that the evidence most favorable for the plaintiff would sustain a finding that the first contract was destroyed, canceled or abrogated by the consent of both parties.37
The Appellate Term was right in reversing this ruling. Instead of granting a new trial, however, it reinstated  the verdict of the jury and the judgment for the plaintiff. The question remains, therefore, whether the charge of the court, as above given, was a correct statement of the law or whether on all the evidence in the plaintiff's favor a cause of action was made out.38
Can a contract of employment be set aside or terminated by the parties to it and a new one made or substituted in its place? If so, is it competent to end the one and make the other at the same time?39
It has been repeatedly held that a promise made to induce a party to do that which he is already bound by contract to perform is without consideration. But the cases in t'his state, while enforcing this rule, also recognize that a contract may be canceled by mutual consent and a new one made. Thus Vanderbilt v. Schreyer (91 N. Y. 392, 402) held that it was no consideration for a guaranty that a party promise to do only that which he was before legally bound to perform. This court stated, however:40
"It would doubtless be competent for parties to cancel an existing contract and make a new one to complete the same work at a different rate of compensation, but it seems that it would be essential to its validity that there should be a valid cancellation of the original contract. Such was the case of Lattimore v. Harsen (14 Johns. 330)."
In Cosgray v. New England Piano Co. (10 App. Div. 351, 353) it was decided that where the plaintiff had bound himself to work for a year at $30 a week, there was no consideration for a promise thereafter made by the defendant that he should notwithstanding receive $1,800 a year. Here it will be noticed there was no termination of the first agreement which gave occasion for BARTLETT, J., to say in the opinion:42
"The case might be different if the parties had, by word of mouth, agreed wholly to abrogate and do away with a pre-existing written contract in regard to service  and compensation, and had substituted for it another agreement."
Any change in an existing contract, such as a modification of the rate of compensation, or a supplemental agreement, must have a new consideration to support it. In such a case the contract is continued, not ended. Where, however, an existing contract is terminated by consent of both parties and a new one executed in its place and stead, we have a different situation and the mutual promises are again a consideration. Very little difference may appear in a mere change of compensation in an existing and continuing contract and a termination of one contract and the making of a new one for the same time and work, but at an increased compensation. There is, however, a marked difference in principle. Where the new contract gives any new privilege or advantage to the promisee, a consideration has been recognized, though in the main it is the same contract. (Triangle Waist Co., Inc., v. Todd, 223 N. Y. 27.)44
If this which we are now holding were not the rule, parties having once made a contract would be prevented from changing it no malter how willing and desirous they might be to do so, unless the terms conferred an additional benefit to the promisee.45
All concede that an agreement may be rescinded by mutual consent and a new agreement made thereafter on any terms to which the parties may assent. Prof. Williston in his work on Contracts says (Vol. 1, § 130a): "A rescission followed shortly afterwards by a new agreement in regard to the same subject-matter would create the legal obligations provided in the subsequent agreement."46
The same effect follows in our judgment from a new contract entered into at the same time the old one is destroyed and rescinded by mutual consent. The determining factor is the rescission by consent. Provided this is the expressed and acted upon intention, the time  of the rescission, whether a moment before or at the same time as the making of the new contract, is unimportant. The decisions are numerous and divergent where one of the parties to a contract refuses to perform unless paid an additional amount. Some states hold the new promise to pay the demand binding though there be no rescission. It is said that the new promise is given to secure performance in place of an action for damages for not performing (Parrot v. Mexican Central Railway Co., 207 Mass. 184), or that the new contract is evidence of the rescission of the old one and it is the same as if no previous contract had been made (Coyner v. Lynde, 10 Ind. 282; Connelly v. Devoe, 37 Conn. 570; Goebel v. Linn, 47 Mich. 489), or that unforeseen difficulties and hardships modify the rule (King v. Duluth, M. & N. Ry. Co., 61 Minn. 482), or that the new contract is an attempt to mitigate the damages which may flow from the breach of the first. (Endriss v. Belle Isle Ice Co., 49 Mich. 279.) (See Anson's Law of Contract [Huffcut's Amer. Ed.], p. 114, sec. 138.) To like effect are Blodgett v. Foster (120 Mich. 392); Scanlon v. Northwood (147 Mich. 139); Evans v. Oregon & Washington R. R. Co. (58 Wash. 429); Main Street & A. P. R. R. Co. v. Los Angeles Traction Co. (129 Cal. 301).47
The contrary has been held in such cases as Carpenter v. Taylor (164 N. Y. 171); Price v. Press Publishing Co. (117 App. Div. 854); Davis & Company v. Morgan (117 Ga. 504); Alaska Packers' Association v. Domenico (117 Fed. Rep. 99); Conover v. Stillwell (34 N. J. L. 54, 57); Erny v. Sauer (234 Penn. St. 330). In none of these cases, however, was there a full and complete rescission of the old contract and it is this with which we are dealing in this case. Rescission is not presumed; it is expressed; the old contract is not continued with modifications; it is ended and a new one made.48
The efforts of the courts to give a legal reason for holding good a promise to pay an additional compensation  for the fulfillment of a pre-existing contract is commented upon in note upon Abbott v. Doane (163 Mass. 433) in 34 L. R. A. 33, 39, and the result reached is stated as follows: "The almost universal rule is that without any express rescission of the old contract, the promise is made simply for additional compensation, making the new promise a mere nudum pactum." As before stated, in this case we have an express rescission and a new contract.49
There is no reason that we can see why the parties to a contract may not come together and agree to cancel and rescind an existing contract, making a new one in its place. We are also of the opinion that reason and authority support the conclusion that both transactions can take place at the same time.50
For the reasons here stated, the charge of the trial court was correct, and the judgments of the Appellate Division and the Appellate Term should be affirmed, with costs.51
HISCOCK, Ch. J., HOGAN, CARDOZO, MCLAUGHLIN and ANDREWS, JJ., concur; CHASE, J., dissents.52
Defendants were large brewers and had a contract with an ice company to supply them with ice during the season of 1880 at one dollar and seventy-five cents a ton, or two dollars if the crop was short. The contract was made in November, 1879. The following winter was so mild that the ice crop was a failure. In May the defendants were notified by the ice company that no more ice would be furnished them under the contract. Defendants had then on hand a considerable amount of beer that would be spoiled without ice, and under stress of the circumstances they made a new arrangement with the ice company, and agreed to pay three dollars and a half per ton for the ice. At this rate ice was received and paid for afterwards. A note given for ice at this rate in October being sued, defendants disputed its validity, claiming that it was obtained without consideration and under duress.7
Held (1) that it was entirely competent for the parties to enter into the new arrangement if they saw fit. Moore v. Detroit Locomotive Works, 14 Mich. ----.8
(2) That the note was not without consideration, being given for ice received.9
(3) That the refusal of the ice company to perform its contract, and the exaction of a higher price, was not legal duress. Hackley v. Headley, 45 Mich. ----; [S.C. 8 N.W.REP. 511.]10
Error to superior court of Detroit.11
[11 N.W. 284]12
Maybury & Conely and Fred A. Baker, for plaintiffs in error.13
Atkinson & Atkinson and C.J. Reilly, for defendants in error.14
The action in this case is upon a promissory note given by defendants, October 20, 1880, to the Belle Isle Ice Company, and by that company transferred to the plaintiffs after it fell due. The execution of the note is admitted, and the only question in the case is, whether the defendants have established any defence to it. The defence set up is that the note was obtained without consideration, and by means of duress. The facts which are supposed to show duress are the following: November 8, 1879, the Belle Isle Ice Company entered into a contract with the defendants below, who are brewers in the city of Detroit, whereby the company, undertook to furnish defendants at their brewery all the ice they might need for their business from that date until January 1, 1881. The ice was to be delivered on orders, and the price was to be one dollar and seventy-five cents per ton, and in case of the scarcity of ice during the season of 1880, two dollars per ton. Ice was furnished under this contract until May, 1880, when defendants were notified by Mr. Lorman, the manager or president of the ice company, that owing to the failure of the ice crop the preceding winter the company could and would furnish no more at the price stipulated. Other brewers in the city who held similar contracts received the like notification. This led to a meeting of several of the brewers with the president of the company and one of his associates, at which the brewers were informed that instructions were given to the teamsters of the company to deliver no more ice until the parties had agreed to pay more for it. Five dollars a ton was at first demanded, but the company finally agreed to deliver for three dollars and a half. Mr. Goebel who was a witness on behalf of the defendants explained the situation thus: “We had to pay most anything, if they asked $20; if we had no ice one day or two, if we had been without ice, all our stock would have been spoiled; if we hadn't ice for two days, all our stock of beer would have been spoiled, we cannot run our business one day without ice; it would spoil our beer; it cools the cellar and cools the beer. At that time I could not procure ice of anybody; they waited just long enough not to give us a chance to buy ice of anybody else; *** we could not contract with anybody for ice as there was17
[11 N.W. 285]18
not any; all ice was contracted for then-all the ice of the icemen right here in the market; there were several men came over who had boat loads to sell and offered us ice; I told Lorman we had a chance to buy ice, and he told us we should not; he would see our contract filled; this was during the spring months, before this conversation. At the time of this conversation no ice was obtainable in this market; not in such large quantities as we wanted. *** We never had less than 2,000 or 3,000 barrels of beer on hand. At 2,500 at $6 a barrel would be $15,000, which would have been an entire loss, besides ruining the whole business, the whole trade; we could not have had any customers; we could not have brewed any more; the brewing would have stopped also.” The consequence was, as he says, that they were forced to assent to the terms imposed upon them. From that time defendants paid $3.50 per ton for the ice as it was delivered to them, up to the first day of January following. Notes were given for the ice at this rate from time to time, and with the exception of the one in suit, paid as they fell due.19
This statement is a sufficient presentation of the facts for the purposes of a decision. The defendants claim a set-off of the sums paid by them for ice in excess of two dollars a ton. It is very manifest that there is no ground for saying that the note in suit was given without consideration. It was given for ice which was furnished by the payee to the defendants; which was owned by the payee and bought by the defendants, and for which defendants concede their liability to make payment. What the defendants disputed is, the justice of compelling them to pay the sum stipulated in the note when according to their previous contract they ought to have received the ice for a sum much smaller. The defence, therefore, is not that the consideration has failed, but that a note for a sum greater than the contract price has been extorted under circumstances amounting to duress. It is to be observed of these circumstances that if we confine our attention to the very time when the arrangement for an increased price was made the defendants make out a very plausible case. They had then a very considerable stock of beer on hand, and the case they make is one in which they must have ice at any cost, or they must fail in business. If the ice company had the ability to perform their contract, but took advantage of the circumstances to extort a higher price from the necessities of the defendants, its conduct was reprehensible, and it would perhaps have been in the interest of good morals if defendants had temporarily submitted to the loss and brought suit against the ice company on their contract. No one disputes that at their option they might have taken that course, and that the ice company would have been responsible for all damages legally attributable to the breach of its contract.20
But the defendants did not elect to take that course. They chose for reasons which they must have deemed sufficient at the time to submit to the company's demand and pay the increased price rather than rely upon their strict rights under the existing contract. What these reasons were is not explained to us except as above shown. It is obvious that there might be reasons that would go beyond the immediate injury to the business. Suppose, for example, the defendants had satisfied themselves that the ice company under the very extraordinary circumstances of the entire failure of the local crop of ice must be ruined if their existing contracts were to be insisted upon and must be utterly unable to respond in damages; it is plain that then, whether they chose to rely upon their contract or not, it could have been of little or no value to them. Unexpected and extraordinary circumstances had rendered the contract worthless; and they must either make a new arrangement, or, in insisting on holding the ice company to the existing contract, they would ruin the ice company and thereby at the same time ruin themselves. It would be very strange if under such a condition of things the existing contract, which unexpected events had rendered of no value,21
[11 N.W. 286]22
could stand in the way of a new arrangement, and constitute a bar to any new contract which should provide for a price that would enable both parties to save their interests.23
We do not know that the condition of things was as supposed, but that it may have been is plain enough. What is certain is, that the parties immediately concerned and who knew all the facts, joined in making a new arrangement out of which the note in suit has grown. The case of Moore v. Detroit Locomotive Works, 14 Mich. 266, where a similar case was fully considered, is ample authority for supporting the new arrangement. If unfair advantage was taken of defendants, whereby they were forced into a contract against their interests, it is very remarkable that they submitted to abide by it as they did for nearly eight months without in the mean time taking any steps for their protection. Whatever compulsion there was in the case was to be found in the danger to their business in consequence of the threat made at the beginning of May to cut off the supply of ice; but the force of the threat would be broken the moment they could make arrangement for a supply elsewhere; and there is no showing that such a supply was unattainable. The force of the threat was therefore temporary; and the defendants, as soon as they were able to supply their needs elsewhere, might have been in position to act independently and to deal with the ice company as freely as they might with any other party who declined to keep his engagements. On any view, therefore, which we may take of the law, the defence must fail.24
But if our attention were to be restricted to the very day when notice was given that ice would no longer be supplied at the contract price, we could not agree that the case was one of duress. It is not shown to be a case even of a hard bargain; and the price charged was probably not too much under the circumstances. But for the pre-existing contract the one now questioned would probably have been fair enough, and if made with any other party would not have been complained of. The duress is therefore to be found in the refusal to keep the previous engagements. How far this falls short of legal duress was so recently considered by us in Hackley v. Headley, 45 Mich. ----, [S.C. 8 N.W.REP. 511,] that further discussion now would serve no valuable purpose. In that case there was a dispute respecting the amount of a debt. The debtor refused to pay unless the creditor would accept in full the amount conceded by him to be owing. The creditor insisted that a large sum was due him, but being in immediate need of money, the circumstances were such that he felt compelled, as he claimed, to accept the sum offered. Afterwards he repudiated the arrangement, as having been made under duress.25
This court on a careful examination of the authorities, found no support for the claim in legal principles. The following language made use of in disposing of the case is not without relevancy here: “In what did the alleged duress consist in the present case? Merely in this, that the debtors refused to pay on demand a debt already due, though the plaintiff was in great need of the money, and might be financially ruined in case he failed to obtain it. It is not pretended that Hackley & McGordon had done anything to bring Headley to the condition which made the money so important to him at this very time, or that they were in any manner responsible for his pecuniary embarassments except as they failed to pay this demand. The duress, then, is to be found exclusively in their failure to meet promptly their pecuniary obligation. But this, according to the plaintiff's claim, would have constituted no duress whatever if he had not happened to be in pecuniary straits; and the validity of negotiations, according to this claim, must be determined, not by the defendant's conduct, but by the plaintiff's necessities. The same contract which would be valid if made with a man easy in his circumstances becomes invalid when the contracting party is pressed with the necessity of immediately meeting his bank paper. But this would be a most dangerous as well26
[11 N.W. 287]27
as a most unequal doctrine; and if accepted, no one could well know when he would be safe in dealing on the ordinary terms of negotiations with a party who professed to be in great need.”28
We are of opinion that the defence failed, and that the judgment should be affirmed with costs.29