« EdellinenJatka »
tion upon record the nature and cause of his complaint, in being drayn ad aliud examen, by a jurisdiction or manner of process disallowed by the laws of the kingdom : upon which, if the matter alleged appears to the court to be sufficient, the writ of prohibition immediately issues ; commanding the judge not to hold, and the party not to prosecute, the plea (29). But sometimes the point may be too nice and doubtful to be decided merely upon a motion : and then, for the more solemn determination of the question, the party applying for the prohibition is directed by the court to declare a prohibition ; that is, to prosecute an action, by filing a declaration, against the other, upon a supposition or fiction (which is not traversable) (9) that he has proceeded in the suit below, notwithstanding the writ of prohibition. And if, upon demurrer and argument, the court shall finally be of opinion, that the matter suggested is a good and sufficient ground of *prohibition in point of law, then judgment with nomi- [*114] nal damages shall be given for the party complaining, and the defendant, and also the inferior court, shall be prohibited from proceeding
On the other hand, if the superior court shall think it no competent ground for restraining the inferior jurisdiction, then judgment shall be given against him who applied for the prohibition in the court above, and a writ of consultation shall be awarded ; so called, because, upon deliberation and consultation had, the judges find the prohibition to be ill-founded, and therefore by this writ they return the cause to its original jurisdiction, to be there determined, in the inferior court. And, even in ordinary cases, the writ of prohibition is not absolutely final and conclusive. For though the ground be a proper one in point of law, for granting the prohibition, yet if the fact that gave rise to it be afterwards falsified, the cause shall be remanded to the prior jurisdiction. If, for instance, a custom be pleaded in the spiritual court; a prohibition ought to go, because that court has no authority to try it: but, if the fact of such a custom be brought to a competent trial, and be there found false, a writ of consultation will be granted. For this purpose the party prohibited may appear to the prohibition, and take a declaration, (which must always pursue the suggestion), and so plead to issue upon it; denying the contempt, and traversing the custom upon which the prohibition was grounded; and, if that issue be found for the defendant, he shall then have a writ of consultation. The writ of consultation may also be, and is frequently, granted by the court without any action brought; when, after a prohibition issued, upon more mature consideration the court are of opinion that the matter suggested is not a good and sufficient ground to stop the proceedings below. Thus careful has the law been, in compelling the inferior courts to do ample and speedy justice ; in preventing them from transgressing their due bounds; and in allowing them the undisturbed cognizance of such causes as by right, founded on the usage of the kingdom or act of parliament, do properly belong to their jurisdiction.
(9) Barn. Not. 4to. 148. (29) The general grounds for a prohibition a prohibition may be granted even after sento the ecclesiastical courts are, either a defect tence. But where it has jurisdiction, and gives of jurisdiction or a defect in the mode of trial. a wrong judgment, it is the subject matter of If any fact be pleaded in the court below, and appeal and not of prohibition. Lord Kenyon, the parties are at issue, that court has no ju3T. R. 4. But when a prohibition is granted risdiction to try it, because it cannot proceed after sentence, the want of jurisdiction must according to the rules of the common law; appear upon the face of the proceedings of the and in such case a prohibition lies. Or where spiritual court. Ibid. Cowp. 422. See
also 4 T. the spiritual court has no original jurisdiction, R. 382. See also 2 H. Bl. 69. 100. 3 East, 472. VOL. II.
OF WRONGS, AND THEIR REMEDIES, RESPECTING
THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS.
The former chapters of this part of our commentaries having been employed in describing the several methods of redressing private wrongs, either by the mere act of the parties, or the mere operation of law; and in treating of the nature and several species of courts ; together with the cognizance of wrongs or injuries by private or special tribunals, and the public ecclesiastical, military, and maritime jurisdictions of this kingdom ; I come now to consider at large, and in a more particular manner, the respective remedies in the public and general courts of common law, for in.' juries or private wrongs of any denomination whatsoever, not exclusively appropriated to any of the former tribunals. And herein I shall, first, define the several injuries cognizable by the courts of common law, with the respective remedies applicable to each particular injury : and shall, secondly, describe the method of pursuing and obtaining these remedies in the several courts.
First then, as to the several injuries cognizable by the courts of common law, with the respective remedies applicable to each particular injury. And, in treating of these, I shall at present confine myself to such wrongs as may be committed in the mutual intercourse between subject and
subject; which the king, as the fountain of justice, is officially [*116] bound to redress in the ordinary forms of law : 'reserving such *in
juries or encroachments as may occur between the crown and the subject, io be distinctly considered hereafter, as the remedy in such cases is generally of a peculiar and eccentrical nature.
Now, since all wrongs may be considered as merely a privation of right, the plain natural remedy for every species of wrong is the being put in possession of that right, whereof the party injured is deprived. This may either be effected by a specific delivery or restoration of the subject-matter in dispute to the legal owner; as when lands or personal chattels are unjustly withheld or invaded : or where that is not a possible, or at least not an adequate remedy, by making the sufferer a pecuniary satisfaction in damages ; as in case of assault, breach of contract, fc.: to which damages the party injured has acquired an incomplete or inchoate right, the instant he receives the injury (a); though such right be not fully ascertained till they are assessed by the intervention of the law. The instruments whereby this remedy is obtained (which are sometimes considered in the light of the remedy itself) are a diversity of suits and actions, which are defined by the mirror (b) to be “the lawful demand of one's right :” or, as Bracton and Fleta express it, in the words of Justinian (e), jus prosequendi in judicio quod alicui debetur.
The Romans introduced, pretty early, set forms for actions and suits in their law, after the example of the Greeks; and made it a rule, that each injury should be redressed by its proper remedy only.“ Actiones, say the
pandects, compositae sunt, quibus inter se homines disceptarent: quas actiones, ne populus prout vellet institueret, certas solennesque esse voluerunt (d).” The forms of these actions were originally preserved in the books of the pontifical college, as choice and inestimable secrets ; till one Cneius Flavius, the secretary of Appius Claudius, stole a copy and published them to the people (e). The *concealment was ridiculous : but [*117] the establishment of some standard was undoubtedly necessary, to fix the true state of a question of right ; lest in a long and arbitrary process it might be shifted continually, and be at length no longer discernible. Or, as Cicero expresses it (),“ sunt jura, sunt formulae, de omnibus rebus constitutae, ne quis aut in genere injuriae, aut in ratione actionis, errare possit. Expressae enim sunt ex uniuscujusque damno, dolore, incommodo, calamitate, injuria, publicae a praetore formulae, ad quas privata lis accommodatur.” And in the same manner our Bracton, speaking of the original writs upon which all our actions are founded, declares them to be fixed and immutable, unless by authority of parliament (g). And all the modern legislators of Europe have found it expedient, from the same reasons, to fall into the same or a similar method. With us in England the several suits, or remedial instruments of justice, are from the subject of them distinguished into three kinds; actions personal, real (1), and mixed.
Personal actions are such whereby a man claims a debt, or personal duty, or damages in lieu thereof: and, likewise, whereby a man claims a satisfaction in damages for some injury done to his person or property. The former are said to be founded on contracts, the latter upon torts or wrongs : and they are the same which the civil law calls “ actiones in personam, quae adversus eum intenduntur, qui ex contractu vel delicto obligatus est aliquid dare vel concedere (h).” Of the former nature are all actions upon debt or promises ; of the latter all actions for trespasses, nuisances, assaults, defamatory words, and the like.
Real actions (or, as they are called in the mirror (i), feodal actions), which concern real property only, are such whereby the plaintiff, here called the demandant, claims title to have any lands or tenements, rents, commons, or other *hereditaments, in fee-simple, fee-tail, or (*118] for term of life. By these actions formerly all disputes concerning real estates were decided; but they are now pretty generally laid aside in practice, upon account of the great nicety required in their management; and the inconvenient length of their process : a much more expedi. tious method of trying titles being since introduced, by other actions personal and mixed.
Mixed actions are suits partaking of the nature of the other two, wherein some real property is demanded, and also personal damages for a wrong sustained. As for instance an action of waste : which is brought by him who hath the inheritance, in remainder of reversion, against the tenantsfor life, who hath committed waste therein, to recover not only the land wasted, which would make it merely a real action; but also treble damages,
(4) F. 1. 2. 3, 4 6.
(g) Sunt quaedam brevia formata super certis caribus de cursu, et de communi consilio totius regni
approbata et concessa, quae quidem nullatenus muta-
(h) Inst. 4.6. 15.
(1) In New.York, ejectment is substituted by the Revised Statutes for the old real actions. 2 Å. S. 343, 0 24.
(14) See Hov. n. (14) at the end of the Vol. B. III.
in pursuance of the statute of Gloucester (k), which is a personal recompense ; and so both, being joined together, denominate it a mixed action.
; Under these three heads may every species of remedy by suit or action in the courts of common law be comprised. But in order effectually to apply the remedy, it is first necessary to ascertain the complaint. I proceed therefore now to enumerate the several kinds, and to inquire into the respective nature of all private wrongs, or civil injuries, which may be offered to the rights of either a man's person or his property ; recounting at the same time the respective remedies, which are furnished by the law for every infraction of right. But I must first beg leave to premise, that all civil injuries are of two kinds, the one without force or violence, as slander or breach of contract; the other coupled with force and violence, as batteries or false imprisonment (?). Which latter species savour something of the criminal kind, being always attended with some violation of
the peace ; for which in strictness of law a fine ought to be paid [*119] to the king, as *well as a private satisfaction to the party injur
ed (m). And this distinction of private wrongs, into injuries with and without force, we shall find to run through all the variety of which we are now to treat. In considering of which, I shall follow the same method that was pursued with regard to the distribution of rights : for as these are nothing else but an infringement or breach of those rights, which we have before laid down and explained, it will follow that this negative system, of wrongs, must correspond and tally with the former positive system, of rights. As therefore we divide (n) all rights into those of persons and those of things, so we must make the same general distribution of injuries into such as affect the rights of persons, and such as effect the rights of property
The rights of persons, we may remember, were distributed into absolute and relative : absolute, which were such as appertained and belonged to private men, considered merely as individuals, or single persons; and relative, which were incident to them as members of society, and connected to each other by various ties and relations. And the absolute rights of each individual were defined to be the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property, so that the wrongs or injuries affecting them must consequently be of a correspondent nature.
I. As to injuries which affect the personal security of individuals (2), (k) 6 Edw. I. c. 5.
(2) Finch. L. 184.
(m) Finch. I.. 198. Jenk. Cent. 185.
(2) For injury to life, in general, cannot be appeal; or the heir male for the death of his the subject of a civil action; the civil remedy ancestor, and which differed principally from being merged in the offence to the public. an indictment in respect of its not being in Therefore an action will lie for battery of wise the power of the king to pardon the offender or servant, whereby death ensued. Styles, without the appellor's consent. See post, 4 347. 1 Lev. 247. Yelv. 89, 90. i Ld. Raym. book, 312. 6. 5 Burr. 2643. But appcals of 3394. The remedy is by indictment for muro murder, treason, felony, and other offences, der, or, formerly, by appeal, which the wise were abolished by 59 Geo. III. c. 46, s. l. In might have for killing her husband, provided general, all felonies suspend the civil remedies, she married not again before or pending her Styles, 346, 7; and before conviction of the
# In New-York, a person injured by the thief. The selony does not seem to affect the commission of a felony for which the offender civil remedy with us. The owner may even is sentenced to the state prison, becomes a recover the property against a bona fide purcreditor of the felon's estate to the extent of chaser. 1 Johns. Ř. The right of action of his damage. 2 R. S. 700, Q 14, &c. Stolen any person injured by any felony is not mergproperty is also returned to the owner on prov. ed on in any way affected by the felony. 2 R. ing property and paying expenses, 2 Ř. S. S. 292, 0 2. 746, 0 31 ; and that without convicting the
they are either injuries against their lives, their limbs, their bodies, their health, or their reputations.
1. With regard to the first subdivision, or injuries affecting the life of man, they do not fall under our present contemplation ; being one of the most atrocious species of crimes, the subject of the next book of our commentaries.
*2, 3. The two next species of injuries, affecting the limbs or [*120] bodies of individuals, I shall consider in one and the same view. And these may be committed, 1. By threats and menaces of bodily hurt, through fear of which a man's business is interrupted. A menace alone, without a consequent inconvenience, makes not the injury: but, to complete the wrong, there must be both of them together (6). The remedy for this is in pecuniary damages, to be recovered by action of trespass vi et armis (p); this being an inchoate, though not an absolute violence. 2. By assault; which is an attempt or offer to beat another, without touching him: as if one lifts up his cane, or his fist, in a threatening manner at another; or strikes at him, but misses him ; this is an assault, insultus, which Finch (9) describes to be “ an unlawful setting upon one's person.” This also is an inchoate violence, amounting considerably higher than bare threats ; and therefore, though no actual suffering is proved, yet the party injured may have redress by action of trespass vi et armis; wherein he shall recover damages as a compensation for the injury (3). 3. By battery ; which is the unlawful beating of another. The least touching of another's
(0) Finch. L. 202.
(9) Finch. L. 202.
offender there is no remedy against him at law session ; but he must proceed against the orior in equity, id. ibid. 17 Ves. 331 ; but after ginal felon, or against the person who has the conviction and punishment on an indictment, chattel in his possession at the time of the of the party for stealing, the party robbed may conviction. 2 T. R. 750. And the above act support trespass or trover against the offender, does not extend to goods obtained by false preStyles, 347. Latch. 144. Sir Wm. Jones, tences. 5 T. R. 175; see further 1 Chitty's 147. 1 Lev. 247. Bro. Ab. tit. Trespass. Crim. L. 5. And after an acquittal of the defendant, upon (3) See in general, Com. Dig. Battery, C. an indictment for a felonious assault upon a Bac. Ab. Assault and Battery, A. An assault party by stabbing him, the latter may maintain is an attempt or offer, accompanied by a de. trespass to recover damages for the civil inju. gree of violence, to commit some bodily harm, ry, if it be not shewn that he colluded in pro- by any means calculated to produce the end, curing such acquittal. 12 East, 409. In soine if carried into execution. Levelling a gun at cases, by express enactment, the civil remedy another within a distance, from which, supis not affecied by the criminalty of the ol. posing it to have been loaded, the contents fender. Thus it is provided by 52 Geo. III. might wound, is an assault. Bac. Ab. Assault, c. 63, s. 5, that where bankers, &c. have been A. Abusive words alone cannot constitute guilty of embezzlement, they may be prose- an assault, and indeed may sometimes so ex. cuted, but the civil remedy shall not be affect- plain the aggressor's intent, as to prevent an ed. The 21 Hen. VIII. c. 11, directs that act, prima facie an assault, from amounting goods stolen shall be restored to the owner to such an injury; as where a man, during as. upon certain conditions, namely, that he shall size time, in a threatening posture, half drew give or produce evidence against the felons, his sword from its scabbard, and said, if it and that the felon be prosecuied to conviction were not that it is assize time, I would run thereon. Upon performance of these, the you through the body; this was held to be no right of the owner, which was before suspend- assault, the words explaining that the party ed, becomes perfect and absolute; but he can. did not mean any immediate injury. 1 Mod. not recover the value from a person who pur. 3. Bul. N. P. 15. Vin. Ab. Trespass, A. 2. chased them in market overi, and sold them The intention as well as the act constitute an agaia before the conviction of the felon, not. assault. I Mod. 3, case 13. Assault for mo. withstanding the owner gave such person no- ney won at play is particularly punishable by tice of the robbery while they were in his pos- 9 ánn. c. 14. 4 East, 174.
In the U. S. or in most of them, the law owner, although the holder purchased it in will not support the title of a person to proper market overt. See Johnson's Dig. title Troty that was embezzled against the original ver. Com. Dig. Day's ed. tit. Trover.