« AnteriorContinuar »
son upon recorr! the nature and cause of his complaint, in being drawn ad
(9) Barn. Not. 4to. 148. (29) The general grounds for a prohibition a prohibition may be granted even after sen to the ecclesiastical courts are, either a defect tence. But where it has jurisdiction, and gives f jurisdiction or a defect in the mode of trial. a wrong judgment, it is the subject matter of If any fact he pleaded in the court below, and appeal and not of prohibition. Lord Kenyon, the parties are at issue, that court has no ju. 31. R. 4. But when a prohibition is granted risdiction to try it, because it cannot proceed afier 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. Thid. Coup. 422. Sre also 4 T the spiritual court has no original jurisdiction, R. 382. See also 2 H. Bl. 69. 100. 3 Eas., 472 Vol. II.
OF WRONGS, AND THEIR REMEDIES, RESPECTING
THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS.
The former chapters of this part of our commentaries having been em ployed in describing the several methods of redressing private wrongs, eithes by the mere act of the parties, or the mere operation of law; and in treat ing of the nature and several species of courts ; together with the cog nizance 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 injuries 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, se, condly, 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, to 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 dainages; 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, w
which are defined by the mirror (6) to be "the lawful demand of one's right :" rr, 48 Bracton and Fleta express it, in the words of Justinian (e), jus 1'156 quendi in judicio quod alicui debetur.
The Romans introduced, pretty early, set forms for actions and suits an their law, after the example of the Greeks; and made it a rule, thit each injury should be redressed by its proper remedy only. “ Actiones, say the (a! See book II. ch. 29.
(c) Inst. 4. 6. pr. (L) 6. 2. 01.
pandects, compositae sunt, quibus inter se homines disceptarent : quas actiones se populus prout vellet institueret,certas solennesque esse voluerunt (d).” The forms of these actions were originally preserved in the books of the ponti. fical 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 discerni• ble. Or, as Cicero expresses it (f ), ** 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, calzmitale, injuria, publicae a praetore formulae, ad quas privata lis accommodatur."
And in the same manner our Bracion, 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 legisia. tors 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 ;-4actions 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 loris 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, assauils, 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 whereditaments, 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 iniroduced, 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 bath the inheritance, in remainder of reversion, against the tenant for life, who hath committed waste therein, to recover not only the land wasked, which would make it merely a real action; but also treble damages,
(4) P. 1, 2, 3, 4 6.
(8) Sunt quaedam brevia formata super certis ca. ribut de cursu, et de communi consilio totius regni
approbata et concessa, quae quidem nullatenus muta
() Inst. 4.6. 15.
(1) In New York, ejectment is substituted by the Revised Statutes for the old real actions. 2 R. S. 343, 0 24.
114) See Hov, n. (14) at the end of the Vol. B. III.
in pursuance of the statute of Gloucester (k), which is a personal recom pense ; and gn 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 sys. tem, 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 absoluce 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.
(m) Finch. I.. 198. Jenk. Cent. 185. (1) Finch. L. 184.
(n) See book I. ch. I. (2) For injury to lise, 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 or wife the power of the king to pardon the offender or servant, whereby death ensued. Styles, without the appellor's consent. See post, 4 347. i Lev. 247. Yelv. 89, 90. i Ld. Raym. book, 312. 6. *5 Burr. 2643. But appeals of 377 The remedy is by indictment for mur. murder, treason, selony, and other offences, der, or, formerly, hy appeal, which the wife were abolished by 59 Geo. III. c. 46, s. I. 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 felony 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 hona fide pur, creditor of the felon's estate to the extent of chaser. 1 Johns. Ř. The right of action of his damage. 2 R. S. 700, 9 14, &c. Stolen any person injured by any felony is not merg property is also returned to the owner on prov. ed on in any way affected by be felony. 2 Å ing property and paying expenses, 2 R. 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 inost atrocious species of crimes, the subject of the next book of our commentaries.
*2, 3. 'Thie 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 (0). 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
(1) Finch. L. 202.
(9) Finch. L. 202.
offender there is no remedy against him at law session ; but he must proceed against the ori.
+ In the U. S. or in most of them, the law owner, although the holder purchased it is will not support the title of a person to proper market overt. See Johnson's Dig. title 'Tro ty that was embezzled against the original ver. Com. Dig. Day's ed. tit. Trover.