Ames concludes his destructive criticism by the following suggestions:3

"If, however, we examine the actual cases in which a plaintiff failed to obtain specific performance of a contract solely on the ground that equity could not force him to perform his own counter-promise, we shall find that the underlying principle of the decisions is simple and just, easy to grasp and to cany in the mind, and one that may be expressedin few words without qualifying exceptions. This principle may be stated as follows: Equity will not compel specific performance by a defendant if, after performance, the common-law remedy of damages would be his sole security for the performance of the plaintiff's side of the contract." In other words, the doctrine of mutuality involves the application to equitable procedure of the fundamental doctrines of the dependency of mutual promises.4

The principle thus stated requiring that the defendant shall not be compelled to perform if he has not received or cannot be assured by the decree what he bargained for as the exchange for his performance, seems sound and reasonable if the exchange promised by the plaintiff for the defendant's performance is due or overdue at the time of the decree, and this is the typical case; but if the defendant contracted to convey Blackacre on January 1, in return for the plaintiff's promise to render personal services in the following July, the defendant if compelled in January to perform specifically is subjected to no greater chance of loss than would have been involved in any event by his performance of the contract. He will have a right of action in July for the full value of the services if the plaintiff fails to perform them. However such a case might be decided, equity in its dealings with negative covenants, considerably amplifies the principle suggested by Ames, in the direction suggested. The correct doctrine in regard to mutuality has been more than once enunciated by eminent judges, but other inconsistent and confused statements though generally made in cases which were properly decided on any view have somewhat obscured the matter.5

2 See supra, Sec. 139 ad. fin. 3 Columbia L. Rev. 1; Ames, Lectures Leg. Hist. 370, 371. See also 16 Col. L. Rev. 443, by Harlan F. Stone. 4 See supra, Sec.Sec. 812 et seq.