after stating the case: It is established in this jurisdiction that in the absence of fraud, mistake, undue influence, or oppression, a binding contract to convey land will be specifically enforced by the courts, and that our statute on the subject, Eevisal 1905, sec. 976, requiring that such contracts or some memorandum or note thereof shall be put in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith or by some other person thereto lawfully authorized, is satisfied when the writing, in express terms or by reasonable intendment, contains a promise to convey on the part of the owner, and his signature, evincing a purpose to come under such obligation, appears anywhere in the instrument, the statute not using the word “subscribe”; and further, that a written contract to convey, signed by an agent, will bind, though the authority be given by parol. Burrus v. Starr, 165 N. C., 657; Combes v. Adams, 150 N. C., 64.
. Our authorities also sustain the position, very generally recognized, that when the vendor’s title proves to be defective in some particular or his estate is different from that which he agreed to convey, unless the defects are of a.kind and extent to change the nature of the entire agreement and affect its validity, the vendee may, at his election, compel a conveyance of such title or interests as the vendor may have and allow the vendee a pecuniary compensation or abatement of the price propor*452tioned to the amount and value of the defect in title or deficiency in tbe subject-matter (Lumber Co. v. Wilson, 151 N. C., 154; Tillery v. Land Co., 136 N. C., 537; Rodman v. Robinson, 134 N. C., 503; Pomeroy on Contracts, sec. 434), a principle usually prevailing where the defects existed at the time of making the contract, but which is at times extended to such as arise later. Sutton v. Davis, 143 N. C., p. 474.
In applying the principles embodied in these and other cases, most or all of them relevant to the facts presented, there are many decisions which hold that where a written deed purporting to convey land has been delivered and the instrument, by reason of some informality, is ineffective to presently pass the title, it may be treated as a contract to convey within the meaning of the statute and enforced accordingly. Blacknal v. Parish, 59 N. C., 70. And it has been also held that a parol contract to convey realty may be constituted a binding agreement within the meaning of the statute when a written deed substantially embodying the contract has been signed by the parties, though not delivered.
"While this has been said to be against the great weight of authority (see Hallsell v. Renfrew, 202 U. S., 286; 50 L. Ed., p. 1032; Morrow v. Moore, 98 Maine, 373; 20 Cyc., p. 257), our own Court, in Magee v. Blankenship, 95 N. C., 563, seems to have approved the position.
But while this and some other cases have allowed to an undelivered deed, substantially containing the contract, the effect of a written memorandum, within the meaning of the statute of frauds, neither this nor any other decision, so far as examined, will sustain the position that such a deed may both create the obligation and supply the written evidence of the contract.
In Magee v. Blankenship there was a definite contract for an exchange of lands between the parties and the undelivered deed was allowed as written evidence of the same satisfying the requirements of the statute. In Parill v. McKinley, 50 Va., 1, to which we were cited, the headnote is: “On a contract for the exchange of land, a -deed executed by one of the parties and undelivered is a sufficient memorandum, etc.”
In Bowles v. Woodson, 47 Va., 78, the bill commences by álléging that plaintiff “verbally, in the presence of several witnesses, contracted with the defendant for the purchase of land, etc.”
In Johnston v. Jones, 85 Alabama, the bill states: “The terms of sale having been agreed upon, deeds were subsequently prepared, etc.”
From the facts in evidence it appears that the remainder in the property was owned by Mrs. Flowe’s children, her coplaintiffs, and before they can be compelled to convey their property it must be shown that a contract to do so has been made by them or by some one they have authorized to make it, or that they have ratified a contract made or professing to be made for them. There is no testimony in this record that they have *453ever agreed to convey their interest to any one, and on careful perusal of the facts we fail to find any evidence showing that they have ever legally ratified a contract to that effect.
It is well understood that in order to a valid ratification, when an unauthorized contract has been made for alleged principal, the agent must have contracted or professed to contract for a principal and the latter must signify his assent or his intent to ratify, either by words or by conduct. Rawlings v. Neal, 126 N. C., 275; 2 Page on Contracts, sec. 972; Clark on Contracts, p. 502; 2 Mechem on Agency, secs. 477, 478; 1 A. and E. Enc., sec. 1187.
In the present case there is nothing on the face of the contract to indicate that Mrs. Elowe acted or professed to act for her children, and while the evidence ultra may permit the inference that she intended to act for them, there was nothing which signified or was designed to signify to defendant that the children assented to, ratified, or intended to ratify their mother’s contract.
It is true that while conferring together about it they signed this undelivered deed (Homer Elowe was under 20 at the time and could not assent); it was, no doubt, in the language of the issue, their purpose to ratify the contract, but they did not carry out their purpose, but destroyed the deed before delivery, and have never signified in any way that they assented to or ratified the agreement. The position is presented in different ways by plaintiffs’ exceptions entered during the progress of the trial, and, on the facts in evidence, we are of opinion that plaintiffs were entitled to the instruction that they were under no binding agreement to convey their interest in the property.
For the error indicated, we hold that plaintiffs are entitled to a new trial, and it is so ordered.
As heretofore shown, the defendant appealed from judgment on the verdict by which Mr. and Mrs. Williams were relieved from any and all obligation under the agreement of Mrs. Elowe.
Having decided, on plaintiff’s appeal, that there were no facts in evidence tending to show that any of the children were under a binding obligation to convey their interest in the property, the errors, if any, incident to the trial and determination of disputed questions as to Mrs. Williams, by reason of her being a married woman, are no longer of importance, and 'the judgment relieving her from obligation is therefore .affirmed.