CHAMPION. He who fights for another, or takes his place in a quarrel;
it also includes him who fights his own battles. Bract. lib. 4, t. 2, c. 12.
CHANCE, accident. As the law punishes a crime only when there is an
intention to commit it, it follows that when those acts are done in a lawful
business or pursuit by mere chance or accident, which would have been criminal
if there had been an intention, express or implied, to commit them, there is no
crime. For example, if workmen were employed in blasting rocks in a retired
field, and a person not knowing of the circumstance should enter the field, and
be killed by a piece of the rock, there would be no guilt in the workmen. 1
East, P. C. 262 Poster, 262; 1 Hale's P. C. 472; 4 Bl. Com. 192. Vide
CHANCE-MEDLEY, criminal law. A sudden affray. This word is sometimes
applied to any kind of homicide by misadventure, but in strictness it is
applicable to such killing only as happens se defendendo. (q. v.) 4 Bl. Com.
CHANCELLOR. An officer appointed to preside over a court of chancery,
invested with various powers in the several states.
2. The office of chancellor is of Roman origin. He appears, at first, to have
been a chief scribe or secretary, but he was afterwards invested with judicial
power, and had superintendence over the other officers of the empire. From the
Romans, the title and office passed to the church, and therefore every bishop of
the catholic church has, to this day, his chancellor, the principal judge of his
consistory. When the modern kingdoms of Europe were established upon the ruins
of the empire, almost every state preserved its chancellor, with different
jurisdictions and dignities, according to their different constitutions. In all
he seems to have had a supervision of all charters, letters, and such other
public instruments of the crown, as were authenticated in the most solemn
manner; and when seals came into use, he had the custody of the public seal.
3. An officer bearing this title is to be found in most countries of Europe,
and is generally invested with extensive authority. The title and office of
chancellor came to us from England. Many of our state constitutions provide for
the appointment of this officer, who is by them, and by the law of the several
states, invested with power as they provide. Vide Encyclopedie, b. t.; Encycl..
Amer. h. t.; Dict. de Jur. h. t.; Merl. Rep. h. t.; 4 Vin. Ab. 374; Blake's Ch.
Index, h. t.; Woodes. Lect. 95.
CHANCERY. The name of a court exercising jurisdiction at law, but
mainly in equity.
2. It is not easy to determine how courts of equity originally obtained the
jurisdiction they now exercise. Their authority, and the extent of it, have been
subjects of much question, but time has firmly established them; and the limits
of their jurisdiction seem to be in a great degree fixed and ascertained. 1
Story on Eq. ch. 2; Mitf. Pl. Introd.; Coop. Eq. Pl. Introd. See also Butler's
Reminiscences, 38, 40; 3 Bl. Com. 435; 2 Bin. 135; 4 Bin. 50; 6 Bin. 162; 2
Serg. & R. 356; 9 Serg. & R. 315; for the necessity, origin and use of
courts of chancery.
3. The judge of the court of chancery, often called a court of equity, bears
the title of chancellor. The equity jurisdiction, in England, is vested,
principally, in the high court of chancery. This court is distinct from courts
of law. " American courts of equity are, in some instances, distinct from those
of law, in others, the same tribunals exercise the jurisdiction both of courts
of law and equity, though their forms of proceeding are different in their two
capacities. The supreme court of the United States, and the circuit courts, are
invested with general equity powers, and act either as court's of law or equity,
according to the form of the process and the subject of adjudication. In some of
the states, as New York, Virginia, and South Carolina, the equity court is a
distinct tribunal, having its appropriate judge, or chancellor, and officers. In
most of the states, the two jurisdictions centre in the same judicial officers,
as in the courts of the United States; and the extent of equity jurisdiction and
proceedings is very various in the different states, being very ample in
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, and
more restricted in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. But the
salutary influence of these powers on the judicial administration generally, by
the adaptation of cbancery forms and modes of proceeding to many cases in which
a court of law affords but an imperfect remedy, or no remedy at all, is
producing a gradual extension of them in those states where they have been,
heretofore, very limited."
4. The jurisdiction of a court of equity differs essentially from that of a
court of law. The remedies for wrongs, or for the enforcement of rights, may be
distinguished into two classes those which are administered in courts of law,
and those which are administered in courts of equity. The rights secured by the
former are called legal; those secured by the latter are called equitable. The
former are said to be rights and remedies at common law, because recognized and
enforced in courts of common law. The latter are said to be rights and remedies
in equity, because they are administered in courts of equity or chancery, or by
proceedings in other courts analogous to those in courts of equity or chancery.
Now, in England and America, courts of common law proceed by certain prescribed
forms, and give a general judgment for or against the defendant. They entertain
jurisdiction only in certain actions, and give remedies according to the
particular exigency of such actions. But there are many cases in which a simple
judgment for either party, without qualifications and conditions, and particular
arrangements, will not. do entire justice, ex aequo et bono, to either party.
Some modification of the rights of both parties is required; some restraints on
one side or the other; and some peculiar adjustments, either present or future,
temporary or perpetual. Now, in all these cases, courts of common law have no
methods of proceeding, which can accomplish such objects. Their forms of actions
and judgment are not adapted to them. The proper remedy cannot be found, or
cannot be administered to the full extent of the relative rights of all parties.
Such prescribed forms of actions are not confined to our law. They were known in
the civil law; and the party could apply them only to their original purposes.
In other cases, he had a special remedy. In such cases, where the courts of
common law cannot grant the proper remedy or relief, the law of England and of
the United States (in those states where equity is administered) authorizes an
application to the courts of equity or chancery, which are not confined or
limited in their modes of relief by such narrow regulations, but which grant
relief to all parties, in cases where they have rights, ex aequo et bono, and
modify and fashion that relief according to circumstances. The most general
description of a court of equity is, that it has jurisdiction in cases where a
plain, adequate and complete remedy cannot be had at law that is, in common law
courts. The remedy must be plain; for, if it be doubtful and obscure at law,
equity will assert a jurisdiction. So it must be adequate at law; for, if it
fall short of what the party is entitled to, that founds a jurisdiction in
equity. And it must be complete; that is, it must attain its full end at law it
must reach the whole mischief and secure the whole right of the party, now and
for the future otherwise equity will interpose, and give relief. The
jurisdiction of a court of equity is sometimes concurrent with that of courts
of, law and sometimes it is exclusive. It exercises concurrent jurisdiction in
cases where the rights are purely of a legal nature, but where other and more
efficient aid is required than a court of law can afford, to meet the
difficulties of the case, and ensure full redress. In some of these cases courts
of law formerly refused all redress but now will grant it. But the jurisdiction
having been once justly acquired at a time when there was no such redress at
law, it is not now relinquished. The most common exercise of concurrent
jurisdiction is in cases of account, accident, dower, fraud, mistake,
partnership, and partition. The remedy is here often more complete and effectual
than it can be at law. In many cases falling under these heads, and especially
in some cases of fraud, mistake and accident, courts of law cannot and do not
afford any redress; in others they do, but not always in so perfect a manner. A
court of equity also is assistant to the jurisdiction of courts of law, in many
cases, where the latter have no like authority. It will remove legal impediments
to the fair decisiou of a question depending at law. It will prevent a party
from improperly setting up, at a trial, some title or claim, which would be
inequitable. It will compel him to discover, on his own oath, facts which he
knows are material to the rights of the other party, but which a court of law
cannot compel the party to discover. It will perpetuate the testmony of
witnesses to rights and titles, which are in danger of being lost, before the,
matter can be tried. It will provide for the safety of property in dispute
pending litigation. It will counteract and control, or set aside, fraudulent
judgments. It will exercise, in many cases, an exclusive jurisdiction. This it
does in all cases of morely equitable rights, that is, such rights as are not
recognized in courts of law. Most cases of trust and confidence fall under this
head. Its exclusive jurisdiction is also extensively exercised in granting
special relief beyond the reach of the common law. It will grant injunctions to
prevent waste, or irreparable injury, or to secure a settled right, or to
prevent vexatious litigations, or to compel the restitution of title deeds; it
will appoint receivers of property, where it is in danger of misapplication it
will compel the surrender of securities improperly obtained; it will prohibit a
party from leaving the country in order to avoid a suit it will restrain any
undue exercise of a legal right, against conscience and equity; it will decree a
specific performance of contracts respecting real estates; it will, in many
cases, supply the imperfect execution of instruments, and reform and alter them
according to the real intention of the parties; it will grant relief in cases of
lost deeds or securities; and, in all cases in which its interference is asked,
its general rule is, that he who asks equity must do equity. If a party,
therefore, should ask to have a bond for a usurious debt given up, equity could
not decree it, unless he could bring into court the money honestly due without
usury. This is a very general and imperfect outline of the jurisdiction of a
court of equity; in respect to which it has been justly remarked, that, in
matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, where substantial justice entitles
the party to relief, but the positive law is silent, it is impossible to define
the boundaries of that jurisdiction, or to enumerate, with precision, its
various principles." Ency. Am. art. Equity. Vide Fonb. Eq.; Story on Eq.; Madd.
Ch. Pr.; 10 Amer. Jur. 227; Coop. Eq. Pl.; Redesd. Pl.; Newl. Cb. Practice;
Beame's Pl. Eq.; Jeremy on Eq.; Encycl. Amer. article Equity, Court.
CHANGE. The exchange of money for money. The giving, for example,
dollars for eagles, dimes for dollars, cents for dimes. This is a contract which
always takes place in the same place. By change is also understood small money.
Poth. Contr. de Change, n. 1.
CHANGE TICKET. The name given in Arkansas to a species of promissory
notes issued for the purpose of making change in small transactions. Ark. Rev.
Stat. cb. 24.
CHAPLAIN. A clergyman appointed to say prayers and perform divine
service. Each house of congress usually appoints it own cbaplain.
CHAPMAN. One whose business is to buy and sell goods or other things.
2 Bl. Com. 476.
CHAPTER, eccl. law. A congregation of clergymen. Such an assembly is
termed capitulum, which signifies a little head it being a kind of head, not
only to govern the diocese in the vacation of the bishopric, but also for other
purposes. Co. Litt. 103.
CHARACTER, evidence. The opinion generally entertained of a person
derived from the common re 'port of the people who are acquainted with him. 3
Serg. & R. 336; 3 Mass. 192; 3 Esp. C. 236.
2. There are three classes of cases on which the moral character and conduct
of a person in society may be used in proof before a jury, each resting upon
particular and distinct grounds. Such evidence is admissible, 1st. To afford a
presumption that a particular party has not been guilty of a criminal act. 2d.
To affect the damages in particular cases, where their amount depends on the
character and conduct of any individual; and, 3d. To impeach or confirm the
veracity of a witness.
3. - 1. Where the guilt of an accused party is doubtful, and the character of
the supposed agent is involved in the question, a presumption of innocence
arises from his former conduct in society, as evidenced by his general
character, since it is not probable that a person of known probity and humanity,
would commit a dislionest or outrageous act in the particular instance. Such
presumptions, however, are so remote from fact, and it is frequently so
difficult to estimate a person's real character, that they20are entitled to
little-weight, except in doubtful cases. Since the law considers a presumption
of this nature to be admissible, it is in principle admissible 'Whenever a
reasonable presumption arises from it, as to the fact in question; in practice
it is admitted whenever the character of the party is involved in the issue. See
2 St. Tr. 1038 1 Coxes Rep. 424; 5 Serg. & R. 352 3 Bibb, R. 195; 2 Bibb, R.
286; 5 Day, R. 260; 5 Esp. C. 13; 3 Camp. C. 519; 1 Camp. C. 460; Str. R. 925.
Tha. Cr. Cas. 230; 5 Port. 382.
4. - 2. In some instances evidence in disparagement of character is
admissible, not in order to prove or disprove the commission of a particular
fact, but with a view to damages. In actions for criminal conversation with the
plaintiff's wife, evidence may be given of the wife's general bad character, for
want of chastity, and even of particular acts of adultery committed by her,
previous to her intercourse with the defendant. B. N. P. 27, 296; 12 Mod. 232; 3
Esp. C. 236. See 5 Munf. 10. In actions for slander and libel, when the
defendant has not justified, evidence of the plaintiff's bad character has also
been admitted. 3 Camp. C. 251; 1 M. & S. 284; 2 Esp. C. 720; 2 Nott &
M'Cord, 511; 1 Nott & M'Cord, 268; and see 11 Johns. R. 38; 1 Root, R. 449;
1 Johns. R. 46; 6 Penna. St. Rep. 170. The ground of admitting such evidence is,
that a person of disparaged fame is not entitled to the same measure of damages
with one whose character is uublemished. When, however, the defendant justifies
the slander, it seems to be doubtful whether the evidence of reports as to the
conduct and character of the plaintiff can be received. See 1 M. & S. 286, n
(a) 3 Mass. R. 553 1 Pick. R. 19. When evidence is admitted touching the general
character of a party, it is manifest that it is to be confined to matters in
reference to the nature of the, charge against him. 2 Wend. 352.
5. - 3. The party against whom a witness is called, may disprove the fact&
stated by him, or may examine other witnesses as to his general
character; but they will not be allowed to speak of particular facts
or parts of his conduct. B. N. P. 296. For example, evidence of
the general character of a prosecutrix for a rape, may be given,
as that she was a street walker; but evidence of specific acts of
criminality cannot be admitted. 3 Carr. & P. 589. The regular
mode is to inquire whether the witness under examination has the
means of knowing the former witness general character, and whether
from such knowledge he would believe, him on his oath. 4 St. Tr.
693; 4 Esp. C. 102. In answer to such evidence against character,
the other party may cross-examine the witness as to his means of
knowledge, and the grounds of his opinion; or he may attack such
witness general character, and by fresh evidence support the character
of his own. 2 Stark. C. 151; Id. 241; St. Ev. pt. 4, 1753 to 1758;
1 Phil. Ev. 229. A party cannot give evidence to confirm the good
character of a witness, unless his general character has been impugned
by his antagonist. 9 Watts, R. 124. See, in general, as to character,
Phil. Ev. Index, tit. Character; Stark. Ev. pl. 4, 364 Swift's Ev.
140 to 144 5 Ohio R. 227; Greenl. Ev. 54; 3 Hill, R. 178 Bouv. Inst.
Index, h. t.