The early law contains abundant recognition of the evils of monopoly. In general the monopolies which excited attention were not sought or obtained by contract but directly or indirectly by grant or charter from the crown or Parliament; but early criminal statutes against engrossing, regrating and forestalling, indicate that without any such authorization attempts to enhance prices artificially by dealings in the market must have been common.35 The early decisions on contracts in restraint of trade relate to covenants or conditions in bonds by which the obligor undertook to forego the exercise of his trade either generally or within a certain locality. In an early and often cited case of this sort,36 the court expressed itself emphatically that such a condition of the bond in suit was void and added "per Dieu," if the plaintiff were here, he should go to prison until he paid a fine to the king.37 But it was soon held that if a covenant or the condition of a bond imposed a restraint only during a certain time or within a limited place, it was not unlawful.38 This was so held in the leading case of Mitchel v. Reynolds,39 where the court elaborately examined the whole question of contracts restraining a party from exercising his trade.
32 See "Trust Laws and Competition" (U. S. Dept. Commerce 1915).
33 See infra, Sec. 1658.
34 See Kales, "Good and Bad Trusts," 30 Harv. L. Rev. 830.
35 See Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U. S. 1, 51, 55 L. Ed. 019, 31 S. Ct. 502.