contracts. A term used in the civil law to signify the carriage of goods for hire. 2. In respect to contracts of this sort entered into by private persons, not exercising the business of common carriers, there does not seem to be any material distinction varying the rights, obligations and duties of the parties from those of other bailees for hire. Every such private person is bound to ordinary diligence, and a reasonable exercise of skill; and of course he is not responsible for any losses not occasioned by ordinary negligence unless he has expressly, by the terms of his contract, taken upon himself such risk.