by Patrick Brode, Legal Counsel, City of Windsor. Published with the University of Toronto Press, 2002.
A pregnancy outside of marriage was a traumatic event in frontier Canada, one that had profound legal implications, not only for the mother, but also for the woman’s family, the alleged father, and for the entire community. Patrick Brode examines the history of the ‘heartbalm’ torts in nineteenth and early twentieth century Canada – breaches of duty leading to liability for damages for seduction, breach of promise of marriage, and criminal conversation. In probing analysis and engaging style, he demonstrates that these laws that were part of the inherited English system were a major feature of early Canadian jurisprudence. Brode argues that the heartbalm cases are a testament to how early Canadians tried to control sexuality and courtship, including even consensual activity among adults. By intermingling legal and social issues, and showing the often intriguing ways in which they interacted, Courted and Abandoned makes a significant contribution to legal history, women’s studies and cultural history.