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1. If the duty created by the obligation operates only on the moral sense, without being enforced by any positive law, it is called an imperfect obligation, and creates no right of action, nor has it any legal operation. The duly of exercising gratitude, charity and the other merely moral duties, is an example of this kind of obligation;
2. A natural obligation is one which cannot be enforced by action, but which is binding on the party who makes it, in conscience and according to natural justice;
3. A civil obligation is a legal tie, which gives the party, with whom it is contracted, the right of enforcing its performance by law.
ART. 1751.–Natural obligations are of four kinds:
1. Such obligations as the law has rendered invalid for the want of certain forms or for some reason of general policy, but which are not in themselves immoral or unjust;
2. Such as are made by persons having the discretion necessary to enable them to contract, but who are yet rendered incapable of doing so by some provision of law;
3. When the action is barred by prescription, a natural obligation still subsists, although the civil obligation is extinguished;
4. There is also a natural obligation on those who inherit an estate, either under a will or by legal inheritance, to execute the donations or other dispositions, which the former owner had made, but which are defective for want of form only.
ART. 1752.-Although natural obligations cannot be enforced by action, they have the following effect :
1. No suit will lie to recover what has been paid, or given in compliance with a natural obligation ;
2. A natural obligation is a sufficient consideration for a new contract.
ART. 1753.-Civil obligations in relation to their origin, are of two kinds :
1. Such as are created by the operation of law;
2. Such as arise from the consent of the parties who are bound by them, which are called contracts or conventional obligations;
Each of these divisions will forin the subject of a se
Of Conventional Obligations.
ART. 1754.-A contract is an agreement, by which one person obligates himself to another, to give, to do or permit, or not to do something expressed, or implied by such agreement.
ART. 1755.-The contract must not be confounded with the instrument in writing by which it is witnessed. The contract may subsist, although the written act may, for some defect, be declared void ; and the written act may be good and authentic, although the contract it witnesses be illegal. The contract itself is only void for some cause or defect determined by law.
ART. 1756.-In any contract, for the breach of which damages could be recovered, or which could be specifically enforced between the original parties, the obligation is incurred, and the right is vested in their representatives, although they are not specially named, unless the contrary intent is expressed, or unless it results from the nature of the agreement.
ART. 1757.-All things, that are not forbiden by law, may legally become the subject of, or the rrotive for contracts; but different agreements are governed by different rules, adapted to the nature of each contract, to distinguish which it is necessary in every contract to consider:
1. That which is the essence of the contract, for the want whereof there is either no contract at all, or a contract of another description. Thus, a price is essential to the contract of sale; if there be none, it is either no contract, or if the consideration be other properly, it is an exchange ;
2. Things which, although not essential to the contract, yet are implied from the nature of such agreement, if no stipulation be made respecting them, but which the parties may expressly modify or renounce, without destroying the contract or changing its description; of this nature is warranly, which is implied in every sale, but which may be modified or renounced, without changing the character of the contract or destroying its effect;
3. Accidental stipulations, which belong neither to the essence nor the nature of the contract, but depend solely on the will of the parties. The term given for the payment of a loan ; the place at which it is to be paid, and the nature of the rent payable on a lease, are examples of accidental stipulations;
What belongs to the essence and to the nature of each particular description of contract, is determined by the law defining such contracts; accidental stipulations depend on the will of the parties, regulated by the general rules applying to all contracts..
ART. 1758.-To all contracts there must be at least two parties, one who does, or engages to do or not to do, another to whom the engagement is made. If this latter party make no express agreement on his part, the contract is called unilateral, even in cases where the law altaches certain obligations to his acceptance.
It is called a reciprocal contract, when the parties expressly enter into mutual engagements.
ART. 1759.-No contract is complete without the assent of both parties. In reciprocal contracts, it must be expressed. In some unilateral contracts, the law provides that under certain circumstances it shall be presumed.
ART. 1760.-Contracts, considered in relation to their substance, are either commutative, or independent, principal or accessory.
ART. 1761.-Commutative contracts are those in which what is done, given, or promised by one party, is considered as equivalent to, or a consideration for what is done, given, or promised by the other.
ART. 1762.-—Independent contracts are those in which the mutual acts or promises have no relation to each other, either as equivalents or as considerations.
ART. 1763.-A contract, containing mutual covenants, shall be presumed to be commutative, unless the contrary be expressed.
ART. 1761.- A principal contract is one entered into by both parties, on their accounts, or in the several qualities they assume. An accessory contract is made for assuring the performance of a prior contract, either by the same parties or by others, such as surelyship, mortgage and pledge.
ART. 1765.-Contracts, considered in relation to the motive for making them, are either gratuitous or onerous.
ART. 1766.-To be gratuitous, the object of a contract must be to benefit the person with whom it is made, without any profit or advantage, received or promised as consideration for it. It is not however the less gratuitous, if it proceed either from gratitude for a benefit before received, or from the hope of receiving one hereafter, although such benefit be of a pecuniary nature.
ART. 1767.-Any thing given or promised as a consideration for the engagement or gift, any service, interest or condition, imposed on what is given or promised,
although unequal to it in value, makes a contract onerous in its nature.
ART. 1768.- Considered in relation to their effects, contracts are either certain or hazardous.
ART. 1769.-A contract is hazardous, when the performance of that which is one of its objects, depends on an uncertain event.
It is certain, when the thing to be done is supposed to depend on the will of the party, or when in the usual course of events it must happen in the manner stipulated.
ART. 1770.-Contracts in general, under whatever denomination they may come, and whether they may or may not be included in any of the above divisions, are subject to certain rules, which are the subject of this title.
ART. 1771.-Certain contracts are regulated by rules, which are established in the part of the code which treat of those contracts.
of the Requisites to the Formation of a Valid Agree
ART. 1772.-Four requisites are necessary to the validity of an agreement :
1. Parties legally capable of contracting; 2. Their consent legally given;
3. A certain object, which forms the matter of agreement;
4. A lawful purpose.
Of the Parties to a Contract, and of their capability
ART. 1773. -Those only are parties to a contract, who