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OF TRESPASS (1).
In the two preceding chapters we have considered such injuries to reai property, as consisted in an ouster, or amotion of the possession. Those which remain to be discussed are such as may be offered to a man's real property without any amotion from it.
The second species therefore of real injuries, or wrongs that affect a man's lands, tenements, or hereditaments, is that of trespuss. "Trespass, , in its largest and most extensive sense, signifies any transgression or offence against the law of nature, of society, or of the country in which we live ; whether it relates to a man's person, or his property, Therefore beating another is a trespass ; for which (as we have formerly seen) an action of trespass vi et armis in assault and battery will lie; taking or detaining a man's goods are respectively trespasses ; for which an action or trespass vi et armis, or on the case in irover and conversion, is given by the law : so also non-performance of promises or undertakings is a trespass, upon which an action of trespass on the case in assumpsit is grounded : and, in general, any misfeasance or act of one man whereby another is injuriously treated or damnified, is a transgression or trespass in its largest sense ; for which we have already seen (a) that whenever the act itself is directly and immediately injurious to the person or property of another, *and therefore necessarily accompanied with some force, [*209] an action of trespass vi et armis will lie ; but, if the injury is only consequential, a special action of trespass on the case may be brought (2)
(a) See page 123.
(1) See in general, Com. Dig. Trespass; thrower, or whether the act of the second Bac. Ab. Trespass ; Vin. Ab. Trespass ; 1 thrower was involuntary, (which seems to have Chitty on PI. 149 10 172.
been the opinion of the jury), or willul and (2) See these distinctions fully considered, mischievous, and if so, whether the first I Chitty on Pl. 115 to 122. and 149 to 172. thrower alone ought not lo have been answerThe distinctions between actions of trespass able for the conseynences. For if A. throws vi et armis for an immediate injury, and actions a stone at B., which, after it lies quietly at his of trespass upon the case for a consequential foot, B. takes up and throws again at Ć., it is damage, are frequently very subtle : see the presurned that c. has his action against B. subject much considered in 2 Bl. Rep. 892. only; but if it is thrown at B., and B., by In a case where an action of trespass vi et ar. warding it off from himself, gives it a different mis was bronght against the defendant for direction, in consequence of which it strikes throwing a lighted squid in a public markel, C., in that case, it is wholly the act of A., and which fell upon a stall, the owner of which, to B. must be considered merely as an inani. desend bimself and his goods, took it up and mate object, which may chance to divert its threw it to another part of the market, where
In the case of Leame v. Bray, 3 East, it struck the plaintiff and put out his eye ; the 598, it was decided, that if one man drives a question was much discussed, whether the carriage, being on the wrong side of the road, person injured ought to have lirought an action against another carriage, though uninien. ir trespass ii et armis, or an action upon the tionally, the action ought to be trespass vi et case; and one of the four judges strenuously armis, and the court deciare generally, that if contended that it ought to have been an action the injurious act be the immediate result of opon the case. Bui I should conceive, that the force originally applied by the defendant, the question was more properly this, viz. and the plaintiff be injured by it, it is the subwhether an action of trespass vi et armis lay ject of an action of trespass vi et armis by all against the original or the intermediate the cases both ancient and modern.
+ in New-turk, by 2 R. S. 553, 16, case may bo brought wherever trespass rould, esoed. for wrongs to real estate. Voi II.
But in the limited and confined sense in which we are at present to consider it, it signifies no more than an entry on another man's ground without a lawful authority, and doing some damage, however inconsiderable, to his real property. For the right of meum and tuum, or property in lands, being once established, it follows as a necessary consequence, that this right must be exclusive; that is, that the owner may retain to himself the sole use and occupation of his soil : every entry therefore thereon without the owner's leave, and especially if contrary to his express order, is a trespass or transgression. The Roman laws seem to have made a direct prohibition necessary, in order to constitute this injury; “ qui alienum fundum ingreditur, potest a donnino, si is praeviderit, prohiberi ne ingrediatur (b).” But the law of England, justly considering that much inconve. nience may happen to the owner, before he has an opportunity to forbid the entry, has carried the point much farther, and has treated every entry upon another's lands (upless by the owner's leave, or in some very particu. lar cases), as an injury or wrong, for satisfaction of which an action of trespass will lie ; but determines the quanturn of that satisfaction, by considering how far the offence was wilful or inadvertent, and by estimating the value of the actual damage sustained (3).
Every unwarrantable entry on another's soil the law entiiles a trespass by breaking his close : the words of the writ of trespass cominanding the defendant to shew cause quare clausum querentis fregit. For every
man's land is in the eye of the law enclosed and set apart from his neighbour's : and that either by a visible and material fence, as one field is divided
from another by a hedge ; or by an ideal invisible boundary, [*210) *existing only in the contemplation of law, as when one man's
land adjoins to another's in the same field (4). Aud every such entry or breach of a man's close carries necessarily along with it some damage or other; for, if no other special loss can be assigned, yet still the words of the writ itself specify one general damage, viz. the treading down and bruising his herbage (c) (5).
One must have a property (either absolute or temporary) in the soil, and actual possession by entry, to be able to maintain an action of trespass ; or, at least, it is requisite that the party have a lease and possession of the vesture and herbage of the land (d) (6). Thus if a meadow be
(d) Dyer, 285. 2 Roll. Ahr. 549. (c) F. N. B. 87, 88.
(3) Trespass for breaking a close is sustain. (6) As to the possession and title essential, able without previous notice : but it is most see Chitty on PI. 159 10 166. An exclusive prudent to serve a notice, and proceed for a interest in the crop, without an interest in the subsequent trespass, upon which the judge on soil, is sufficient to sustain an action of tres the trial will usually certify that the trespass pass.
3 Burr. 1826. Bro. Abr. Tres. 273 was wilful, which will entiile plaintiff lo'full Bull. N. P. 85. But possession, actual or costs, though the damages be under 40s. 8 & constructive, must be proved. | East, 244. 4 9 W. III. c. 11. 8. 4. 3 Wils. 325. 6 T. R. Taunt. 547. 6 East, 602. Trespass will not 11. 7 T. R. 449. 3 East, 405.7
lie for entering a pew or seat, because the (4) Doctor & Stud. 30. 7 East, 207. 2 plaintiff has not the exclusive possession, the Stra. 1004. I Burr. 133.
possession of the church being in the parson. (5) In an action of trespass for entering the I T. R. 430. If trees are excepted in the lease, grounds of another person, and sporting over the land whereon they grow is necessarily ex then the jury may inke into consideration, in cepted also, consequen ly the landlord may determining their verdict, not only the actual maintain trespass for breaking , his clost, if the damage sustained by the plaintiff, but circum- tenant cut down the trees. Selw. N. P. 1287. slances of aggravation and insult on the part Where two fields are separated by a hedge of the defendant. Merest v. Harvey, 1 Marsh. and ditch, the hedge prima facie belongs to the 1395 Taunt. 142.
owner of the field in which the ditch is not + See in New York, 2 R. S. 614, $ 12.
(6) Inst. 2. I. 12.
divided annually among the parishioners by lot, then after each person's
A man is answerable for not only his own trespass, but that of his cattle also : for, if by his negligent keeping they stray upon the land of another, (and much more if he permits, or drives them on), and they there tread down his neighbour's herbage, and spoil his corn or his trees, this is a trespass for which the owner must answer in damages, and the law gives the party injured a double reinedy in this case; by permitting him to distrain the cattle thus damage-feasant, or doing damage, till the owner shall make
there is a ditch on each side, the ownership of tutes it has been determined, that it is not ne. the hedge must be proved by acts of owner. cessary that the notice from the tenant should ship. Ib. 1288. A person may cut his dich be in writing; but notice from the landlord tr to the edge of his own land, but if he goes be the lenanı musa. Burr. 1603. Bla. Rep. 533 yond, he is a trespasser on his neighbour's And the 4 Geo. II. extends to cases where the
and, though he may cut as wide as he pleases tenant holds over fraudulently and perversely on his own land. 3 Taunt. 138.
only, not where he continues his possession (7) I R. S. 749, 750.
under a bona fide claim of right. 5 Esp. 203. (8) 2 R, S. 343, § 1, &c.
See also ib. 215. The action for double rent (9) IR $. 745, 5 10, &c.
may be maintained aster recovery in electmen (10) See 2 book, p. 15) Upon these sta. 9 East, 319.
him. satisfaction: or else by leaving him to the common remedy in foto contentioso, by action. And the action that lies in either of these cases of trespass committed upon another's land either by a man himself or his catile, is the action of trespass vi et armis ; whereby a man is called upon to answer, quare vi et armis clausum ipsius A.apud B.fregit, et blada ipsius A. ad valentiam centum solidorum ibidem nuper crescentia cum quibusdam averiis depastus fuit, conculcavit, et consumpsit, fc. (h): for the law always couples
the idea of force with that of intrusion upon the property of an[*212] other. And herein, if any unwarrantable act of the defendant
or his beasts in coming upon the land be proved, it is an act of trespass for which the plaintiff must recover some damages ; such however as the jury shall think proper to assess.
In trespasses of a permanent nature, where the injury, is continually renewed, (as by spoiling or consuming the herbage with the defendant's cattle), the declaration may allege the injury to have been committed by continuation from one given day to another (which is called laying the action with a continuando), and the plaintiff shall not be compelled to bring separate actions for every day's separate offence (i). But where the trespass
is by one or several acts, each of which lerminates in itself, and being once done cannot be done again, it cannot be laid with a continuando ; yet if there be repeated acts of trespass committed, (as cutting down a certain number of trees), they may be laid to be done, not continually, but at divers days and times within a given period (k) (11).
In some cases trespass is justifiable ; or rather entry on another's land or house shall not in those cases be accounted trespass : as if a man comes thither to demand or pay money, there payable; or to execute, in a legal manner, the process of the law. Also a man may justify entering into an inn or public-house, without the leave of the owner first specially asked ; because when a man prosesses the keeping such inn or public-house, he' thereby gives a general licence to any person to enter his doors. So a landlord may justify entering to distrain for rent; a commoner to attend his cattle, commoning on another's land ; and a reversioner, to see if any waste be committed on the estate ; for the apparent necessity of the thing?). Also it hath been said, that by the common law and custom of England,
the poor are allowed to enter and glean upon another's ground [*213] after the harvest, without being guilty of trespass (m): which
humane provision seems borrowed from the mosaical law (n)(12). ih) Registr. 94.
(m) Gilb. Ev. 253. Trials per pais. ch. 15, page (i) 2 Roll. Abr. 545. Lord Raym. 240.
438. (k, Salk. 638. 639. Lord Raym. 823. 7 Mod. 152. (n) Levit. c. 19, v. 9, & c. 23, v. 22. Deut. c. 24, (1) 8 Rep. 146.
v. 19, &c. (11) The latter mode prevails in modern sitous, and indigent person, entered the plain practice, and the form of declaring with a tiff's close to glean ; in the second, the defend. continuando has grown obsolete. Under the ant's plea was as before, with the addition statemen 'hat the defendant, on a day named, that he was an inhabitant legally settled withand on divers other days and times between in the parish: to the plea in each case there that day and the commencement of the suit, was general demurrer. Mr. J. Gould deli. trespassed, the plaintiff may prove any num. vered a learned judgment in favour of glean. ber of trespasses within those limits, though ing, but the other three judges were clearly of none are specified except those on the earliest opinion, that his claim had no foundation in day named. I Stark. R. 351.
law; that the only authority to support it was 112) Twr actions of trespass have been an extrajudicial dictum of lord Hale ; ihat it brought in the common pleas against gleaners, was a practice incompatible with the exclu. with an intent to try the general question, viz. sive enjoyment of property, and was productive whether such a right existed ; in the first, the of vagrancy, and many inischierous or se defendant pleaded that he being a poor, neces- quences. i H. Bl. Rep. 51. 53. n. (a).
In like manner the common law warrants the hunting of ravenous beasts of prey, as badgers and foxes, in another man's land ; because the destroy ing such creatures is said to be profitable to the public (o) (-3). But ir. cases where a man misdemeans himself, or makes an ill use of the authority with which the law intrusts him, he shall be accounted a trespasser ab initio (p): as if one comes into a tavern and will not go out in a reasonable time, but tarries there all night contrary to the inclinations of the owner this wrongful act shall affect and have relation back even to his first entry, and make the whole a trespass (9). But a bare nonfeasance, as not paying for the wine he calls for, will not make him a trespasser : for this is only a breach of contract, for which the taverner shall have an action of debt or assumpsit against him (r). So if a landloru distrained for rent, and wilfully killed the distress, this by the common law made him a trespasser ab initio (s): and so indeed would any other irregularity have done, till the statute 11 Geo. II. c. 19. which enacts, that no subsequent irregularity of the landlord shall make his first entry a trespass; but the party injured shall have a special action of trespass or on the case, for the real specific injury sustained, unless tender of amends hath been made. But still, if a reversioner, who enters on pretence of seeing waste, breaks the house, or stays there all night; or if the commoner who comes to lend his cattle, cuts down a tree; in these and similar cases, the law judges that he entered for this unlawful purpose, and therefore, as the act which demonstrates such his purpose is a trespass, he shall be esteemed a trespasser ab initio (t). So also in the case of hunting the fox or the badger, a man cannot justify breaking the soil, and digging him out of his earth : for though *the law warrants the hunting of such noxious animals for the [*214) public good, yet it is held (u) that such things must be done in an ordinary and usual manner; therefore, as ihere is an ordinary course to kill them, viz. by hunting, the court held that the digging for them was unlawful.
A man may also justify in an action of trespass, on account of the freehold and right of entry being in himself; and this defence brings the title of the estate in question. This is therefore one of the ways devised, since the disuse of real actions, to try the property of estates; though it is not so usual as that by ejectment, because that, being now a mixed action, not only gives damages for the ejection, but also possession of the land: whereas in trespass, which is merely a personal suit, the right can be only ascertained, but no possession delivered; nothing being recovered but damages for the wrong committed. In order to prevent trifling and vexatious actions of trespass, as well as
(3) Finch, L: 47. (p) Finch, L. 47. Cro. Jac. 148.
(1) 8 Rep. 146.
(o) Cro. Jac. 321.
(u) Cro. Jac. 321.
(q) 2 Roll. Abr. 561. Ir) 8 Rep. 147.
(13) It has been determined, that it is law. the consent of others. There may be such a ful to follow a fox with horses and hounds public nuisance by a noxious animal as may over another's ground, if no more damage be justify the running him to his earth, but then done than is necessary for the destruction of you cannot justify the digging for him aster: the animal by such a pursuit. 1 T. R. 338. wards; that has been ascertained and settled But in the Earl of Essex v. Capel, Hertford to be law: but even if an animal may be pur assizes, A. D. 1809, 2 Chilly Gaine L. 1381, sued with dogs, it does not follow that fifry or a different doctrine was laid down by lord El. sixty people have therefore a right to follow lenborough, who said, "these pleasures are the dogs, and trespass on other people's lands." to be lahen only when there is the consent of The jury, under his lordship’s direcion, found those who are likely to be injured by them, a verdict for the plaintiff. 'And see I Staris but they must be necessarily subservient to 351.