06.23d C.J.Brian on Bad Thoughts; The Use of Pardons and Equity to Rescue Justice in the Middle Ages; Heinonline for Finding Old Law Review PDF Files; Law vs. Equity and Specialization of Courts. My research assistant Calin found a good new database, http://www.heinonline.org/ ($), which has law reviews going way back. I can download as pdf, convert to JPG, and then use my available OCR software to extract quotes. The opening quote of James Ames's "Law and Morals", Harvard Law Review 22: 97-1`13 (1908-09) makes me think of Holmes's "bad man" in "The Path of the Law":
Primitive law regards the word and the act of the individual; it searches not his heart. " The thought of man shall not be tried," said Chief Justice Brian, one of the best of the medieval lawyers, " for the devil himself knoweth not the thought of man." [ft2: Y. B. 7 Ed. IV, f. 2, pi. 2.]
The following passage also attracted my attention, as an example of how pardons can be used as a common instrument of justice, a topic I might write on some day:
> Suppose, however, that the defendant, instead of merely injuring his assailant, had killed him in self-defense, using no unnecessary force. Did the early English law so completely ignore the moral quality of the act of killing in self-defense as to make it a crime? Strictly speaking, yes. An official reporter of the time of Edward III[FOOTNOTE 3 Y. B. 21 Ed. Ill, f. 17, pi. 22.] and Lord Coke[FOOTNOTE 4 Coke, Second Inst., 148.] were doubtless in error in stating that prior to 1267 a man " was hanged in such a case just as if he had acted feloniously." But such killing was not justifiable homicide. The party indicted was not entitled to an ac�quittal by the jury. He was sent back to prison, and must trust to the king's mercy for a pardon. Furthermore, although he obtained the pardon, he forfeited his goods for the crime. But the moral sense of the community could not tolerate indefinitely the idea that a blameless self-defender was a criminal, or that he should have to make compensation to his culpable assailant. By 1400 self-defense had become a bar to an action for a battery. Pardons for killing in self-defense became a matter of course; ultimately the jury was allowed to give a verdict of not guilty in such cases, and the practice of forfeiting the goods of the defendant died out.
Most of the Ames article consists of examples of how limited the courts of Common Law, as opposed to the courts of Equity, were in giving recourse for wrongs. He is not analytic, though, and leaves me wondering whether this was just specialization, so that justice was done in the end anyway. There is some sense in having one court for cases that are easy to prove (e.g., contracts made under seal) and another for more ticklish ones (e.g., oral agreements).

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