NEGOTIORUM GESTOR, contracts. In the civil law, the negotiorum gestor is one
who spontaneously, and without authority, undertakes to act for another
during his absence, in his affairs.
2. In cases of this sort, as he acts wholly without authority, there can, strictly speaking, be no contract, but the civil law raises a quasi mandate by implication, for the benefit of the owner in many such cases. Poth. App. Negot. Gest. Mandat, n. 167, &c.; Dig. 3, 5, 1, 9; Code, 2, 19, 2.
3. Nor is an implication of this sort wholly unknown to the common law., where there has been a subsequent ratification of acts of this kind by the owner; and sometimes, when unauthorized acts are done, positive presumptions are made by law for the benefit of particular, parties. For example, if a person enters upon a minor's lands, and takes the profit's, the law will oblige him to account to the minor for the profits, as his bailiff, in many cases. Dane's Abr. ch. 8, art. 2; SS 10; Bac. Abr. Account 1; Com. Dig. Accompt, A 3.
4. There is a case which has undergone decisions in our law, which approaches very near to that of negotionum gestorum. A master bad gratuitously taken charge of, and received on board of his vessel a box, containing doubloons and other valuables, belonging to a passenger, who was to have worked his passage, but was accidentally left behind. During the voyage, the master opened the box, in the presence of the passengers, to ascertain its contents, and whether there were contraband goods in it; and he took out the contents and lodged them in a bag in his own chest in his cabin, where his own valuables were kept. After his arrival in port, the bag was missing. The master was held responsible for the loss, on the ground that he had imposed on himself the duty of carefully guarding against all peril to which the property was exposed by means of the alteration in the place of custody, although as a bailee without hire, he might not otherwise have been bound to take more than a prudent care of them; and that he had been guilty of negligence in guarding the goods. 1 Stark. R. 237. See Story, Bailm. Sec. 189; Story, Agency, Sec. 142; Poth. Pand. 1. 3, t. 5, n. 1 to L4; Poth. Ob. n. 113; 2 Kent, Com. 616, 3d ed; Ersk. Inst. B. 1, t. 3, SS 52; Stair, Inst. by Brodie, B. l, t. 8, Sec. 3 to 6.