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Reports of Cases in the High Court of Chancery of Maryland 1846-1854
Volume 200, Volume 1, Page 15   View pdf image (33K)
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TYSON VS. WATTS. 15

THE CHANCELLOR:

This, as has been remarked, is a bill for the specific perform-
ance of an agreement, and is, therefore, an application to the
sound discretion of the court, which withholds or grants relief
according to the circumstances of each particular case, as it
presents itself. The discretion it is true, is not arbitrary and
capricious, but sound and reasonable; adapting itself to, and
being governed as far as practicable by general rules and prin-
ciples, when those rules and principles are not in conflict with
the justice of the case between the parties. There would seem
to be no doubt, that when a court of chancery is called upon
to exert its extraordinary jurisdiction in compelling the specific
performance of contracts, though it is not entirely exempt from
those general principles of equity which have been found by
experience best and most surely to advance the aims and ends
of justice, there is nevertheless more freedom in its action than
when exercising its ordinary powers. St. John, vs. Benedict, 6
Johns., Ch. R. 111. Seymour vs. Delancy, ib. 223. Geiger
et al. vs. Green, decided by the Court of Appeals at December
term, 1846. "Unless the court is satisfied," says Chancellor
Kent, "that the contract is fair and just, and equal in all its
parts, and founded on an adequate consideration, it will not,
by the interposition of its extraordinary power, order it to be
•executed;" and this seems to be the established doctrine upon
the subject.

If an agreement is deficient in either fairness, justice, or
certainty, its specific execution will not be decreed; and hence
a stronger case is required on the part of the plaintiff, asking a
decree for the specific performance of a contract, than is requir-
ed of him who resist such decree. 2 Story's Eq., sec. 769, 770.

And in addition to the elements of fairness, justice, and cer-
tainty, the agreement must be mutual before the power of the
court to order its specific performance can be successfully in-
voked; and indeed it may be well doubted, whether a contract
can be considered in any respect fair and just if it be not mu-
tual. "I have no conception," says Lord Redesdale in 1 Sch.
Sf If. 18, "that a court of equity will decree a specific per-



 
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Reports of Cases in the High Court of Chancery of Maryland 1846-1854
Volume 200, Volume 1, Page 15   View pdf image (33K)
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