44 Am. L. Rev. 12 (1910)
Law in Books and Law in Action

handle is hein.journals/amlr44 and id is 16 raw text is: 44 AMERICAN LAW REVIEW.

LAW IN BOOKS AND LAW IN ACTION.
When Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn had determined top
rescue Jim by digging under the cabin where he was con-
fined, it seemed to the uninformed lay mind of Huck Finn
that some old picks the boys had found were the proper
implements to use. But Tom knew better. From reading
he knew what was the right course in such cases, and he
called for case-knives. It don't make no difference, said
Tom, how foolish it is, it's the right way-and it's the
regular way. And there ain't no other way that ever I
heard of, and I've read all the books that gives any informa-
tion about these things. They always dig out with a case-
knife. So, in deference to the books and the proprieties,
the boys set to work with case-knives. But after they had
dug till nearly midnight and they were tired and their hands
were blistered, and they had made little progress, a light
came to Tom's legal mind. He dropped his knife and, turn-
ing to Huck, said firmly,  Gimme a case-knife. Let Huck
tell the rest:
He had his own by him, but I handed him mine. He flung it down and
says, 'Gimme a case-knife.'
I didn't know just what to do-but then I thought. I scratched around
amongst the old tools and got a pickaxe and give it to him, and he took it
and went to work and never said a word.
He was always just that particular. Full of principle.
Tom had made over again one of the earliest discoveries
of the law. When tradition prescribed case-knives for
tasks for which pickaxes were better adapted, it seemed bet-
ter to our forefathers, after a little vain struggle with case-
knives, to adhere to principle-but use the pickaxe. They
granted that law ought not to change. Changes in law
were full of danger. But, on the other hand, it was highly
inconvenient to use case-knives. And so the law has always
managed to get a pickaxe in its hands, though it stead-

What Is HeinOnline?

With comprehensive coverage of government documents and more than 2,300 journals from inception on hundreds of subjects such as political science, criminal justice, and human rights, HeinOnline is an affordable option for colleges and universities. Documents have the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?