The simplest instance of an agreement contrary to positive law is an agreement to commit a crime or indictable offense. Every agreement to commit a crime or indictable offense, either as the final object or as a means to an object which, except for such means, would be lawful, is illegal and void. "If one bind himself in an obligation to kill a man, burn a house, maintain a suit, or the like, it is void." * An agreement, therefore, to write, print, or publish a libelous book or article,5 or an obscene book, article, or picture 6 is void. And so it is with an agreement to commit an assault.7 Not only are such agreements illegal and void, but the agreement itself is a crime known in the criminal law as a "conspiracy." The crime of conspiracy is also committed in some cases where it is agreed to commit some civil wrong; but the invalidity of such an agreement does not need to rest on its criminal character.
3 Holland v. Sheehan, 108 Minn. 3G2, 122 N. W. 1, 23 L. R. A. (N. S.) 510. 17 Ann. Cas. 687. See "Contracts;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 103; Cent. Dig. §§ 468-476.
4 Shep. Touch. 370.