“ Where a contract (says Judge GastoN in Young v. Jeffreys, 4 D. & B., 216) is wholly in writing, and the intention of the framers is by law to be collected from the document itself, then the entire construction of the contract — that is, the ascertainment of the intention of the parties, as well as the effect of that intention, is a pure question of law; and the whole office of the jury is to pass on the éxistence of the alleged written agreement. Where the contract is by parol (that is oral) the terms of the agreement are of course a matter of fact, and if those terms be obscure, or equivocal, or are susceptible of explanation from extrinsic evidence, it is for the jury to find also .the meaning of the terms employed; but the. effect of a parol agreement, when •its terms are given and their meaning fixed,* is as much a .question of law as the.construction of a written agreement.”
*452In speaking of oral contracts, Nash, .1., remarks in Festerman v. Parker, 10 Ired., 474, that “if there be no dispute as ]J to the terms and they be precise and explicit, it is for the p Court to declare their effect.” See also Rhodes v. Chesson, Busb., 336 ; Pendleton v. Tones, 82 N. C., 249.
“ Unless this were so (says Parke, B., in Neilson v. Harford, 8 M. & W., 806) there would be no certainty in the law; for a misconstruction by the jury cannot be set right at all effectually.” We are sure that the learned Judge was entirely familiar with the above principles, but we think that they were not properly applied in the present case.
The terms of an oral contract must necessarily be ascertained from the testimony of the witnesses, and it is the duty of the Court to instruct the jury as to the law applicable to the various phases arising upon such testimony. But where the Court presents to the jury a particular view of the facts, and this embodies the terms of a contract which are in themselves precise and explicit, the Court should declare their legal effect, and it would be error to leave this to be determined by the jury. In such a case the rule is the same as if the contract were in writing. After charging the jury upon the testimony of the plaintiffs, his Honor presented the contention of the defendants, which was founded upon the evidence of one of their number, as follows: “I agreed to buy of him (the agent of plaintiffs) a bill of shoes upon his promise to have them in Aulander in two weeks.” According to the defence this was the entire agreement as to the shipment and delivery, and it is not varied in any manner because it induced the defendant to purchase the goods. It was the contract resulting from the “ express bargain and agreement” that formed the inducement, and it is this contract alone that was to be interpreted. The language used is clear and precise. It is not unusual or equivocal ; nor does it involve any scientific exposition by experts, nor is it doubtful in the sense that it may be explained by *453evidence of usage or other extraneous circumstances. If the language, being,thus free from ambiguity, leaves the meaning of the parties in doubt, it is the dutj^ of the Court, and not the jury, to determine its legal effect; and if no definite meaning can be attached to such language, then it is the duty of the Court to so hold. Silverthorn v. Fowle, 4 Jones, 362. His Honor, after stating the terms of the contract, instructed the jury that if such was the contract, they must further enquire and determine what was meant and understood by it by the parties making it. Now the charge assumes that the terms of the contract are ascertained, but at the same time leaves its interpretation to the jury. The Court should have interpreted this meaning according to the terms of the assumed contract, and not according to absent terms incorporated into the same by what the jury were to infer was the meaning of the parties. In this we think there was error.