"Where a person takes upon himself to contract for the sale of an estate, and is not the absolute owner of it, nor has it in his power by the ordinary course of law or equity to make himself so; though the owner offer to make the seller a title, yet equity will not force the buyer to take it, for every seller ought to be a bona fide contractor: and it would lead to infinite mischief if one man were permitted to speculate upon the sale of another's estate."

The apprehensions of Sugden were not groundless, as three quarters of a century have shown. But the courts have hardly grasped, complete, the multiple problem latent in his remarks, and the law, after uneasy movements in various jurisdictions, has not yet settled into a wholly satisfactory posture. Out of the difficulty, principal questions emerge. If the defect of title has passed in silence between the parties and at the time for conveyance the vendor has the title agreed upon, can the purchaser plead that the contract is void at law? If not, then--without our here expressing an opinion on Sugden's statement--may the vendor force specific performance? If the vendee has repudiated before the other secured his title, what then?