Immorality

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IMMORALITY. that which is contra bonos mores. In England, it is not punishable in some cases, at the common law, on, account of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions: e. g. adultery. But except in cases belonging to the ecclesiastical courts, the court of king's bench is the custom morum, and may punish delicto contra bonos mores. 3 Burr. Rep. 1438; 1 Bl. Rep. 94; 2 Strange, 788. In Pennsylvania, and most, if not all the United States, all such cases come under one and the same jurisdiction.
     2. Immoral contracts are generally void; an agreement in consideration of future illicit cohabitation between the parties; 3 Burr. 1568; S. C. 1 Bl. Rep. 517; 1 Esp. R. 13; 1 B. & P. 340, 341; an agreement for the value of libelous and immoral pictures, 4 Esp. R. 97; or for printing a libel, 2 Stark. R. 107; or for an immoral wager, Chit. Contr. 156, cannot, therefore, be enforced. For whatever arises from an immoral or illegal consideration, is void: quid turpi ex causa promissum est non valet. Inst. 3, 20, 24.
     3. It is a general rule, that whenever an agreement appears to be illegal, immoral, or against public policy, a court of justice leaves the parties where it finds them; when the agreement has been executed, the court will not rescind it; when executory, the count will not help the execution. 4 Ohio R. 419; 4 John. R. 419; 11 John. R. 388; 12 John. R. 306; 19 John. R. 341; 3 Cowen's R. 213; 2 Wils. R. 341.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.