the execution of the contract on his part.” In its statement of the nature of a ticket this case is still defective; but it recognizes the fact that there is a binding contract on the part of the carrier.
To much the same effect is the opinion of Earl, C., in Rawson v. R.R. Co.: “It is a mere token or voucher adopted for convenience to show that the passenger has paid his fare from one place to another. The contract between these parties was made when the plaintiff bought her ticket, and the rights and duties of the parties were then determined.”
The true theory seems now to be established in England. The leading case was a Scotch appeal in the House of Lords, Henderson v. Stevenson. The question there was as to the effect of a sentence limiting the carrier’s liability, printed on the back of the ticket, and did not strictly involve the nature of a ticket; but the Lords discussed that question at length. Lord Cairns said, “Upon that which was given to the passenger, and which he read, and of which he was aware, there was a contract complete and self-contained without reference to anything dehors. Those who were satisfied to hand to the passenger such a contract complete upon the face of it, and to receive his money upon its being so handed to him, must be taken, as it seems to me, to have made that contract, and that contract only, with the passenger.” It must be admitted that the other lords did not go so far, and were inclined to look on a ticket as a receipt or voucher; but the view of Lord Cairns seems to be the law of England. In Burke v. Ry. Co., a few years later, where much the same question was before the court, Lord Coleridge said, “The contract, as I understand it, can only be this little book, and the whole of this little book. This is the contract, and these are the terms on which the defendants agreed to take the plaintiff to Paris and back.”
The American authorities are not so satisfactory. Until lately the courts have been under the influence of Chief Justice Denio’s theory. But the decided tendency is to hold that a ticket is a contract; and it seems certain that the American courts will, before many years pass, come into general agreement with the English courts. All the later decisions look that way. Thus, in the case of Sleeper v. R.R. Co., Trunkey, J., said, speaking of the purchase of a ticket, “It was a mere purchase of the obligation of a common
- 48 N. Y. 212, 217.
- L.R., 2 H. L. Sc. 470.
- 5 C. P. D. 1.
- 100 Pa. St. 259.