Right. A well founded claim.
Robbery. The felonious and forcible taking from the
person of another, goods or money of any value, by violence
or putting him in fear. Robbery is larceny from the person
accompanied by violence or putting in fear.
Sale. An agreement by which one of the contracting
parties, called the seller, transfers possession of a thing and
title to it to the other, called the buyer, for a stipulated price
Salvage. The compensation allowed for saving a ship and
her cargo from peril ; also, the goods and other property saved.
Scilicet. That is to say; to wit; namely. It is usually
written in an abbreviated form ss. It comes from Latin scire,
to know, licet, it is permitted.
Sea-Shore. That space of land on the border of the sea,
between high and low water mark.
Seal. An impression upon wax, wafer, or some impres-
sionable substance. Most frequently now impressed into the
body of the instrument itself without the wax or wafer. The
notarial seal is recognized judicially all over the civilized
world. The seal is used upon a legal instrument simply as a
token of authenticity.
326 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
Search-Warrant. A warrant requiring the officer to
whom it is addressed to search a house, specified, for property
alleged to have been stolen and secreted there. The officer
must bring the goods, if found, and the body of the person
occupying the premises, who must be named, before the jus-
tice issuing the warrant or some other legally authorized officer.
Sedition. In Criminal Law. Raising commotions or
disturbances in the State; a revolt against lawful authority.
Seisin. Possession with intention to claim a freehold in-
Self-Defense. The protection of one's person and prop-
erty from injury. A man may repel force by force in defense
of his person, property or habitation, against any one who at-
tempts to commit a forcible felony, as murder, burglary, rape,
arson, robbery. , He is not required to retreat, but may resist
and even pursue his adversary until he has secured himself
from all danger.
Senility. The state of being old.
Sentence. A judgment or judicial declaration made by
a judge in a cause. Usually judgment is applied to civil and
sentence to criminal cases.
Sheriff. A county officer, representing the executive
power of the State in his county.
Sight. Presentment. Used on bills of exchange and
Simony.. The selling and buying of holy orders.
Sine Die. Without a day. Courts and legislative bodies
adjourn at the close of the sessions sine die, without any day
fixed for reassembling.
Slander. Words spoken or written of a defamatory,
false and malicious nature, which are injurious to the char-
acter of another. Injury to character is the ground of all
liability to an action.
MEANING OF LEGAL TERMS. 327
Sodomy. A carnal copulation by human beings with
each other in an unnatural manner, or with a beast. It may-
be committed between any two persons who both consent,
even between husband and wife, and both may be indicted.
Penetration of the mouth is not sodomy.
Solvency. The condition of a person who is able to pay
all his debts.
Sound Mind. That condition of mind which is adequate
to reason and arrive at correct conclusions upon ordinary
Specialty. A writing sealed and delivered containing
an agreement. The seal is the essential thing to constitute
the writing a specialty.
Specific Performance. The actual carrying out of the
express provisions of a contract by the party bound to per-
form them. If one of the parties to a contract refuse to ful-
fill his engagement a court of law will usually award damages
to the injured party. Sometimes, however, damages are not
a competent remedy. Then the injured party goes into a
court of equity and asks for a specific performance of the con-
Ss. See Scilicet.
Statute. A law established by act of legislature.
Stay of Execution. The period during which no exe-
cution can issue on a judgment.
Sterility. Barrenness; incapacity to produce a child.
Stipulation. A material condition in a contract.
Stoppage in Transitu. A resumption by the seller of
the possession of goods not paid for, while on their way to
the purchaser and before he has obtained actual possession of
Subornation of Perjury. Procuring another to com-
mit legal perjury. The false oath must actually be taken.
328 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
SubpcEna. (Latin under pe?ialty.) A writ command-
ing a person to appear in court to give testimony, under pen-
Suffrage. Vote; act of voting.
Suit. An action in a court of justice.
Summons. A writ notifying a party to appear in court
and answer to a complaint made against him.
Sumptuary Laws. Laws relating to the personal and
family expenses, intended to restrain excess in food, drink,
clothing, furniture, etc.
Sunday. The first day of the week. In most States it
begins at 1 2 o'clock on the night between Saturday and Sun-
day and lasts twenty-four hours. In some of the New Eng-
land States it begins at sunset Saturday evening and ends
same time next day. In some States contracts made on Sun-
day are void, but in general they are binding if good in other
respects. Notes and bills of exchange falling due on Sunday
should be paid on Saturday.
Surety. A person who binds himself for the payment of
a sum of money, or for the performance of something else,
for another, who is already bound for the same.
Suretyship. An undertaking to answer for the debt,
default or miscarriage of another, the surety becoming bound
as the principal or original debtor is bound. Suretyship dif-
fers from guaranty in this : suretyship is a primary obligation
to see that the debt is paid, while guaranty is a collateral
undertaking, essentially in the alternative, to pay the debt if
the debtor does not pay it. A surety may. be sued as a
promisor. A guarantor must be sued specifically on his con-
tract. Guaranty applies only to contracts under seal. Surety-
ship applies to all obligations either under seal or by parol.
Tacit. Silent; implied but not expressed.
MEANING OF LEGAL, TERMS. 329
Tariff. Customs, duties or tribute payable on merchan-
dise to the general government.
Tax. A contribution imposed by the government on in-
dividuals for the support of the State.
Tenant. One who holds or possesses lands or tenements
temporarily which belong to another. The terms of the oc-
cupancy are usually set forth in an instrument called a lease.
Tender. An offer to deliver something, or pay some-
thing in accordance with a contract, and in such a way as to
require no further act by the party making the offer to com-
plete the transfer.
Tenement. Everything of a permanent nature that may
Tenure. The mode by which a man holds an estate in
Testament. A will.
Testator. One who has made a testament or will.
Testify. To give evidence according to law.
Third Parties. Persons who are not parties to a con-
tract or agreement by which their interest in the thing con-
veyed is sought to be effected.
Title. The means whereby the owner of lands has just
possession of his property. This definition applies to lands
Title Deeds. Those deeds or instruments which are
evidence of the title of the owner of an estate.
Tort. A private wrong or injury, independent of contract.
Traverse. To deny.
Treason. Against the United States, according to the
Constitution, consists in "levying war against them, or in ad-
hering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." It can
only be committed by a person who owes allegiance to the gov-
ernment. In monarchies, an attempt to kill the king is treason.
33 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
Treaty. A compact or agreement between two or more
independent nations with a view to public welfare.
Trespass. Any unlawful act, committed with violence, to
the person, property or rights of another. Also, and more
commonly, any unauthorized entry upon the realty of another
to the damage thereof.
Trial. The examination before a competent tribunal, ac-
cording to law, of the facts put in issue in a cause.
Tribunal. A court of justice.
Trover. An action to recover damages for goods or per-
sonal chattels which have been wrongfully converted to the
use of another.
Trust. A right of property held by one person for the
benefit of another.
Trustee. A person in whom some estate, interest or
power in or effecting property is vested for benefit of another.
Trustee Process. A means of attaching goods, prop-
erty and credits in the hands of a third person, for the benefit
of the attaching creditor.
Ultra Vires. Beyond their power. A term applied to
those acts of corporations which are beyond the scope of their
powers as laid down in their charter or articles of incorpora-
tion. As a rule such acts are void.
Usage. Long and uniform practice.
Use. A right to take the profits of land of which another
person has the legal title and possession. The person who
has this right is called the cestui que use.
Usury. The excess of interest over the legal rate charged
for the use of money.
Utter. To offer, to publish. Said of counterfeit money.
To utter and publish a counterfeit note is to represent that
the note offered is good. It is not necessary for the note to
pass to complete the offense of uttering.
MEANING OF LEGAL TERMS. 33 1
Vagrant. An idle person who has no settled home; who
refuses to work and goes about begging; commonly called a
Valid. Strong; of binding force.
Value. Worth ; utility. Political economists use the
word in two senses, i. Intrinsic Value. The utility or adapta-
tion of an object to the wants of man. 2. Exchangeable
Value. Its worth in purchasing other goods. An object may
have great power to minister to our wants, great utility, and
no exchangeable value, as water.
Variance. A disagreement between the allegation and
the evidence, or between two parts of a legal proceeding that
ought to agree together.
Vendor. The seller.
Vendor's Lien. An equitable lien allowed the vendor of
land for the purchase money where the deed expresses, con-
trary to the fact, that the money has been paid.
Venue. A neighborhood, place or county, in which an
injury was done or crime committed, and from which the jury
must be drawn to try the issue.
Verdict. The unanimous decision of a jury reported to
the court, on the matters submitted to them in the trial of a
Versus. Against; usually written vs. or v.
Vest. To give an immediate fixed right of present or
Veto. The refusal of an executive officer, whose assent
is necessary to perfect a law passed by the legislature, to give
VideliciT. (Latin to wit; namely.) Usually contracted
Violence. The abuse of force; that force which is em-
ployed against common right, against law and against public
332 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
Void. That which has no force or effect.
Voidable. That which has some force or effect, but
which in consequence of some inherent quality may be legally
annulled or avoided. An infant's note or contract with an
adult is a familiar example. The infant may avoid or con-
firm the contract upon coming of age.
Voir Dire. (French to say the truths) A preliminary
examination of a witness to ascertain whether he is com-
Waiver. The refusal to accept a right.
Ward. An infant placed by authority of law in the care
of a guardian.
Warehouse. A place adapted to the reception and stor-
age of goods and merchandise.
Warrant. A writ issued by a justice of the peace or
other authorized officer and directed to a constable or other
proper person, ordering him to arrest a person therein named,
charged with committing some offense, and bring him before
Warranty. In Real Property. A covenant by which
the grantor of an estate and his heirs are bound to warrant
and defend the title to the lands sold. In general contracts
it is an engagement or undertaking that a certain fact regard-
ing the subject of a contract is, or shall be, as it is declared or
promised to be.
Way-Bill. The description of goods sent with a com-
mon carrier by land; if the goods are carried by water the
instrument is called a bill of lading.
Will. The disposition of one's property to take effect
Witness. One who testifies under oath to what he knows
of his own knowledge, not acquired by hearsay.
Writ. A mandatory precept issuing from a court of law
MEANING OF LEGAL TERMS. 333
in the name of the State and requiring the defendant to do
something therein mentioned.
Ward in Chancery. An infant or lunatic who is under
the protection of the court of equity or the court of chancery.
Without Prejudice. Anything said or done without
prepcdice is without affecting any one's rights in the contro-
versy or question at issue.
Without Recourse. These words are sometimes writ-
ten by an endorser of a promissory note beneath his name
when he desires to relieve himself from liability as an uncon-
ditional endorser. They mean simply that the purchaser of
the note shall not have recourse upon the endorser in case the
note is not paid when due.
ALL property is divided into two great classes, real and
personal. The names of these divisions were derived
from the nature of the remedy in case an owner was
deprived of possession. In the case of lands if the
plaintiff was successful he recovered the real thing lost, that is,
the actual lands or tenements of which he was dispossessed.
If the thing was a chattel his remedy was against the person
of him who took it away. Hence the terms real and personal.
It is frequently difficult to distinguish between real and
personal property, although there are many things that are al-
ways personal, and a few that are always real. Land is always
real. As a rule every thing erected upon land, or growing
upon it, or lying beneath the surface of the land, is real. But
a house may become personal, as if a man erect one on the
land of another on certain conditions, expecting to remove it.
In order to make things built or erected on land real they
should be erected or annexed by the owner of the land. Any
machine or other thing so attached to a house that it can not
be removed without destroying or injuring the house will pass
with the house when sold unless specially reserved.
Keys, blinds, bolts, hinges, nails, and many other things
are personal when on the merchant's shelf for sale, but be-
come real when attached to a building.
Trees in a forest are real ; trees planted by a nurseryman to
be sold and transplanted are personal.
Crops ready for harvest are personal and may be levied
upon as chattels. Crops or trees sold to be cut and carried
REAL PROPERTY. 335
away are personal. When land is sold on which are growing
crops the custom is to fix a future day for delivery by which
time they may be removed.
Fence rails are real estate, whether in a fence or piled up
to be used in a fence; but if piled up to be sold they are per-
Rolling stock on railroads, as cars and engines, belong to
the realty ; the stock in a railroad, that is the stockholder's in-
terest is personal.
As a rule a tenant may remove whatever he has affixed to
leased premises provided he can do so without injury thereto.
This right is not defeated by a sale of the premises by his
landlord to another party. But the fixtures must be removed
by the tenant before his term expires or he loses the right; his
fixtures then become part of the realty. If the fixture is per-
mitted to remain temporarily, with the landlord's consent, or
if it is affixed to the land of another with his consent, it may
Realty is divided into, 1. L,ands. 2. Tenements. 3. Her-
editants. Lands include the soil itself, houses, trees, minerals,
coal, water, etc.
Tenements are rights, interests and privileges in lands held
so as to create a tenancy. Blackstone says " the thing held is
a tenement, and the possessor of it a tenant, and the manner
of possession is called tenure."
Hereditaments are things that can be inherited, as lands,
tenements, anything real, personal or mixed that may descend
to an heir. Hereditaments are corporeal and incorporeal.
Corporeal when of a tangible or substantial nature; incor-
poreal when only an ideal right existing in contemplation of
law, as the right of way through another's land, or the right
of water through the land of another.
Various names are used to indicate the different degrees of
interest that a man may have in lands, called an estate.
336 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
Fee simple is an estate of unlimited duration, and is abso-
lutely unqualified in every respect, transmissible to the heirs
of the owner absolutely and simply without any condition at-
tached to the tenure. This is the largest estate a man can
have in lands.
Fee Tail means a mutilated fee. It is a fee conveyed with
restrictions as to its alienation. There is no fee tail in the
Life estate is a freehold, not of inheritance, held by the
tenant for his own life or the life or lives of one or more other
persons ; or for an indefinite period which may endure for the
life or lives of persons in being and not beyond the period of
a life. Life estates are created by deed, or devise, or act of
law as in the case of dower and curtesy. An estate conveyed
to a woman during her widowhood is a life estate, because she
can hold it as long as she lives by not marrying. Same is
true of an estate to a man and wife during coverture, or to a
man as long as he resides in a certain place or as long as he
shall maintain a park upon the land. A tenant for life may
convey his interest by deed or sub-let the whole or any part
. Emblements. The life tenant has rights to the profits of
the annual crops to repay him for his labor. These annual
crops are called emblements. This right accrues to his exe-
cutor or administrator in case of his death. Emblements are
those products which are sown or planted in one part of the
year and reaped in another part of the same year, as corn,
wheat, barley, potatoes, flax, beans, etc. Grass and clover are
not emblements because not of annual planting. Trees raised
by nurserymen are a seeming exception, being emblements,
LIFE ESTATE. 337
because they may be transplanted in one year or more. The
crop must have been planted in the life and occupancy of the
tenant, else he can not claim emblements. A tenant whose
term is certain can not claim emblements, for if a man plant a
crop which he knows he can not gather before his term ex-
pires he must lose his labor his successor gets the benefit.
If a tenant abandon hi"s tenancy he loses his rights to emble-
ments, but not so if the lessor expel him.
Waste. As to timber a tenant may cut what he needs for
present use but not for future use ; that would be waste. He
may not cut wood either to be used off the premises. Neither
can he sell wood or timber, or coal or ore of any kind though
he need the proceeds for his support. Neither can he make
brick out of the land for sale, nor ware out of clay under the
A Tenant at Sufferance is one who has come into posses-
sion by a lawful demise but after his term is ended holds over
wrongfully, continuing possession. He has no rights, only
naked possession and may be removed without notice. He is
not entitled to emblements. If a tenent sell his growing
crops and then terminate his tenancy by his own act the per-
son who purchased the crops has no claim for emblements.
The right of emblements carries with it the rights to enter
upon the land, cultivate the crop if a growing one, cut and
harvest it, and if interfered with in the exercise of these
rights by the landlord or any other, he has an action for
Questions of Emblements and Waste are determined to a
great extent by the customs and usages of different localities
and by the statutes of the State. If a tenant commit a waste
the one to whom the estate reverts has an immediate action
against him. , Continued waste may be prevented by injunc-
338 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
The two most important classes of life tenancy are Dower
and Curtesy. For the meaning of these terms see " Definition
of Legal Terms."
A widow has no dower by the common law in an estate of
her husband's for a term of years however long. In Missouri
however by statute her right attaches to a leasehold of twenty
years, and many other States have similar statutes. The
right of dower extends to one-third of all lands, tenements
and hereditaments of which her husband may have been
seized during coverture in fee or in tail. The laws of the
place where the property is located determine her right of
dower, not the laws of her residence. She is not entitled to
dower in real estate purchased by a firm of which her hus-
band was a partner, and held for partnership purposes until
the partnership debts have been paid. A husband may defeat
dower in an estate which he purchases by having it convej-ed
to trustees for himself or his heirs. The requisites to support
dower are legal marriage, seisin and death of husband.
A woman may bar her dower in most States by elopement
and adultery; in others it requires divorce when the woman is
in fault; if she is innocent the statutes of most States preserve
her rights. She can sign away her right of dower if it is ex-
pressly so stipulated in the deed and in a few States a joint
conveyance by husband and wife will bar her dower. If a
mortgage given by husband before marriage, or by a husband
and wife after marriage, is foreclosed all right of dower is
barred. In some States, however, the wife must be made a
party to the foreclosure proceedings. In some States a wife's
dower is subject to liens of husband's creditors. Land con-
veyed by the husband for public use, as a school or street, is
not subject to dower.
The husband's interest, or curtesy, is subject to all incum-
brances under which the wife held the estate. This interest
is liable for his debts. He, as tenant by curtesy, is subject to
all the limitations and obligations imposed upon other life
tenants. He becomes tenant by curtesy immediately upon
the death of his wife and has nothing to do to consummate
his title; while the widow must have her dower set out for
her by process of law.
When it is desired to convey an estate to a married
woman for her own use and to be free from her husband's
control, use the words, "to her sole and separate use forever."
In most of the States the husband must join the wife in
conveyances of her real estate. If he improves his wife's es-
tate the law infers that it was done for his wife's benefit and
he can not recover for it unless there is a special statute. If
the wife die without issue the husband has no claim on her*
estate against creditors or next of kin, except the right of em-
A deed must contain first the full names of the grantor
and grantee, that is the seller and buyer; then a statement of
the consideration, money, exchange of property, etc., for the
conveyance; also an acknowledgement of the receipt of the
same; then a full description of the property. After this fol-
lows the Habendum clause, which begins, "To have and to
hold;" this clause defines the estate conveyed, whether for years,
life or forever. Next in most deeds comes the Warranty
clause, which begins: "And I will, and my executors and ad-
ministrators shall warrant and defend," etc.
The Testimonium clause follows, beginning: "In witness
whereof" etc. Then follow the date, signature and seal (the
seal is not required in all States), then the signature of the
witnesses (when required), then, last, the acknowledgement.
This is done before a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace,
and acknowledges the instrument to be the free act and deed
of the grantor.
340 THE LAW OF BUSINESS.
Sometimes the grantor desires to reserve something to
himself rising or issuing out of the thing granted. This is
done by inserting immediately after the Habendum clause,
what is called a Reddendum clause, which begins thus: "Sav-
ing and excepting." An accurate description of the thing re-
served should follow.
If there are any conditions to defeat, extend or commence
the estate, they should be stated with great clearness, and
should follow the Habendum clause and usually begin with the
words: "Provided, however," etc. The most important of
these is the redemption clause in a mortgage. If the grantor