LABEL. A narrow slip of paper or parchment, affixed to a deed or
writing hanging at or out of the same. This name is also given to an appending
LABOR. Continued operation; work.
2. The labor and skill of one man is frequently used in a partnership, and
valued as equal to the capital of another.
3. When business has been done for another, and suit is brought to recover a
just reward, there is generally contained in the declaration, a count for work
4. Where penitentiaries exist, persons who have committed crimes are
condemned to be imprisoned therein at labor.
LACHES. This word, derived from the French lecher, is nearly
synonymous with negligence.
2. In general, when a party has been guilty of laches in enforcing his right
by great delay and lapse of time, this circumstance will at common law
pre-judice, and sometimes operate in bar of a remedy which it is discretionary
and not compulsory in the court to afford. In courts of equity, also delay will
generally prejudice. 1 Chit. Pr. 786, and the cases there cited; 8 Com. Dig.
684; 6 Johns. Ch. R. 360.
3. But laches may be excused from, ignorance of the party's rights; 2 Mer. R.
362; 2 Ball & Beat. 104; from the obscurity of the transaction; 2 Sch. &
Lef. 487; by the pendency of a suit; 1 Sch. & Lef. 413; and where the party
labors under a legal disability, as insanity, coverture, infancy, and the like.
And no laches can be imputed to the public. 4 Mass. Rep. 522; 3 Serg. &
Rawle, 291; 4 Henn. & Munf. 57; 1 Penna. R. 476. Vide 1 Supp. to Ves. Jr.
436; 2 Id. 170; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 3911.
LADY'S FRIEND. The name of a functioner in the British house of
commons. When the husband sues for a divorce, or asks the passage of an act to
divorce him from his wife, he is required to make a provision for her before the
passage of the act; it is the duty of the lady's friend to see that such a
provision is made. Macq. on H. & W. 213. LAGA. The law; Magna Carta;
hence Saxon-lage, Mercen-lage, Dane-lage, &c.
LAGAN.Goods tied to a buoy and cast into the sea are so called. The
same as Ligan. (q.v.)
LAIRESITE. The name of a fine imposed upon those who committed
adultery or fornication. Tech. Dict. h. t.
LAITY. Those persons who do not make a part of the clergy. In the
United States the division of the people into clergy and laity is not authorized
by law, but is, merely conventional.
LAMB. A ram, sheep or ewe, under the age of one year. 4 Car. & P.
216; S. C. 19 Eng. Com. Law Rep. 351.
LAND. This term comprehends any found, soil or earth whatsoever, as
meadows, pastures, woods, waters, marshes, furze and heath. It has an indefinite
extent upwards as well as downwards; therefore land, legally includes all houses
and other buildings standing or built on it; and whatever is in a direct line
between the surface and the centre of the earth, such as mines of metals and
fossils. 1 Inst. 4 a; Wood's Inst. 120; 2 B1. Com. 18; 1 Cruise on Real Prop.
58. In a more confined sense, the word land is said to denote "frank tenement at
the least." Shepp. Touch. 92. In this sense, then, leaseholds cannot be said to
be included under the word lands. 8 Madd. Rep. 635. The technical sense of the
word land is farther explained by Sheppard, in his Touch. p. 88, thus: "if one
be seised of some lands in fee, and possessed of other lands for years, all in
one parish, and he grant all his lands in that parish (without naming them) in
fee simple or for life; by this grant shall pass no, more but the lands he hath
in fee simple." It is also said that land in its legal acceptation means arable
land. 11 Co. 55 a. See also Cro. Car. 293; 2 P. Wms. 458, n.; 5 Ves. 476; 20
Vin. Ab. 203.
2. Land, as above observed, includes in general all the buildings erected
upon it; 9 Day, R. 374; but to this general rule there are some exceptions. It
is true, that if a stranger voluntarily erect buildings on another's land, they
will belong to the owner of the land, and will become a part of it; 16 Mass. R.
449; yet cases are, not wanting where it has been decided that such an erection,
under peculiar circumstances, would be considered as personal property. 4 Mass.
R. 514; 8 Pick. R. 283, 402; 5 Pick, R. 487; 6 N. H. Rep. 555; 2 Fairf. R. 371;
1 Dana, R. 591; 1 Burr. 144.
LAND MARK. A monument set up in order to ascertain the boundaries
between two contiguous estates. For removing a land mark an action lies. 1 Tho.
Co. Litt. 787. Vide Monuments.
LAND TENANT. He who actually possesses the land. He is technically
called the terre-tenant. (q. v.)
LANDLORD. He who rents or leases real estate to another.
2. He is bound to perform certain duties and is entitled to certain rights,
which will here be briefly considered. 1st. His obligations are, 1. To perform
all the express covenants into which he has entered in making the lease. 2. To
secure to the tenant the quiet enjoyment of the premises leased; but a tenant
for years has no remedy against his landlord, if he be ousted by one who has no
title, in that case the law leaves him to his remedy against the wrong doer. Y.
B. 22 H. VI. 52 b, and 32 H. VI. 32 b; Cro. Eliz. 214; 2 Leon. 104; and see Bac.
Ab. Covenant, B. But the implied covenant for quiet enjoyment may be qualified,
and enlarged or narrowed according to the particular agreement of the parties;
and a general covenant for quiet enjoyment does not extend to wrongful evictions
or disturbances by a stranger. Y. B. 26 H. VIII. 3 b. 3. The landlord is bound
by his express covenant to repair the premises, but unless he bind himself by
express covenant the tenant cannot compel him to repair. 1 Saund. 320; 1 Vent.
26, 44; 1 Sed. 429; 2 Keb. 505; 1 T. R. 812; 1 Sim. R. 146.
3. His rights are, 1. To receive the rent agreed upon, and to enforce all the
express covenants into which the tenant may have entered. 2. To require the
lessee to treat the premises demised in such manner that no injury be done to
the inheritance, and prevent waste. 3. To have the possession of the premises
after the expiration of the lease. Vide, generally, Com. L. & T., B. 3, c.
1; Woodf. L. & T. ch. 10; 2 Bl. Com. by Chitty, 275, note; Bouv. Inst.
Index, h. t.; 1 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 212, 246, 249; 2 Id. 232, 403; Com. Dig.
Estate by Grant, G 1; 5 Com. Dig. tit. Nisi Prius Dig. page 553; 8 Com. Dig.
694; Whart. Dig. Landlord & Tenant. As to frauds between landlord and
tenant, see Hov. Pr. c. 6, p. 199 to 225.
LANGUAGE. The faculty which men possess of communicating their
perceptions and ideas to one another by means of articulate sounds. This is the
definition of spoken language; but ideas and perceptions may be communicated
without sound by writing, and this is called written language. By conventional
usage certain sounds have a definite meaning in one country or in certain
countries, and this is called the language of such country or countries, as the
Greek, the Latin, the French or the English language. The law, too, has a
peculiar language. Vide Eunom. Dial. 2; Technical.
2. On the subjugation of England by William the Conqueror, the French Norman
language was substituted in all law proceedings for the ancient Saxon. This,
according to Blackstone, vol. iii. p. 317, was the language of the records,
writs and pleadings, until the time of Edward III. Mr. Stephen thinks Blackstone
has fallen into an error, and says the record was, from the earliest period to
which that document can be traced, in the Latin language. Plead. Appx. note 14.
By the statute 36 Ed. III. st. 1, c. 15, it was enacted that for the future all
pleas should be pleaded, shown, defended, answered, debated and judged in the
English tongue; but be entered and enrolled in Latin. The Norman or law French,
however, being more familiar as applied to the law, than any other language, the
lawyers continued to employ it in making their notes of the trial of cases,
which they afterwards published, in that barbarous dialect, under the name of
Reports. After the enactment of this statute, on the introduction of paper
pleadings, they followed in the language, as well as in other respects, the
style of the records, which were drawn up in Latin. This technical language
continued in use till the time of Cromwell, when by a statute the records were
directed to be in English; but this act was repealed at the restoration, by
Charles II., the lawyers finding it difficult to express themselves as well and
as concisely in the vernacular as in the Latin tongue; and the language of the
law continued as before till about the year 1730, when the statute of 4 Geo. II.
c. 26, was passed. It provided that both the pleadings and the records should
thenceforward be framed in English. The ancient terms and expressions which had
been so long known in French and Latin were now literally translated into
English. The translation of such terms and phrases were found to be exceedingly
ridiculous. Such terms as nisi prius, habeas corpus, fieri facias, mandamus, and
the like, are not capable of an English dress with any degree of seriousness.
They are equally absurd in the manner they are employed in Latin, but use and
the fact that they are in a foreign language has made the absurdity less
3. By statute of 6 Geo. II., c. 14, passed two years after the last mentioned
statute, the use of technical words was allowed to continue in the usual
language, which defeated almost every beneficial purpose of the former statute.
In changing from one language to another, many words and technical expressions
were retained in the new, which belonged to the more ancient language, and not
seldom they partook of both; this, to the unlearned student, has given an air of
confusion, and disfigured the language of the law. It has rendered essential
also the study of the Latin and French languages. This perhaps is not to be
regretted, as they are the keys which open to the ardent student vast stores of
knowledge. In the United States, the records, pleadings, and all law proceedings
are in the English language, except certain technical terms which retain their
ancient French and Latin dress.
4. Agreements, contracts, wills and other instruments, may be made in any
language, and will be enforced. Bac. Ab. Wills, D 1. And a slander spoken in a
foreign language, if understood by those present, or a libel published in such
language, will be punished as if spoken or written in the English language. Bac.
Ab. Slander, D 3; 1 Roll. Ab. 74; 6 T. R. 163. For the construction of language,
see articles Construction; Interpretation; and Jacob's Intr. to the Com. Law
5. Among diplomatists, the French language is the one commonly used. At an
early period the Latin was the diplomatic language in use in Europe. Towards the
end of the fifteenth century that of Spain gained the ascendancy, in consequence
of the great influence which that country then exercised in Europe. The French,
since the age of Louis XIV. has become the almost universal diplomatic idiom of
the civilized world, though some states use their national language in treaties
and diplomatic correspondence. It is usual in these cases to annex to the papers
transmitted, a translation in the language of the opposite party; wherever it is
understood this comity will be reciprocated. This is the usage of the Germanic
confederation, of Spain, and of the Italian courts. When nations using a common
language, as the United States and Great Britain, treat with each other, such
language is used in their diplomatic intercourse.
Vide, generally, 3 Bl. Com. 323; 1 Chit., Cr. Law, *415; 2 Rey, Institutions
Judiciaires de l'Angleterre, 211, 212.
LANGUIDUS, practice. The name of a return made by the sheriff, when a
defendant whom he has taken by virtue of process is so dangerously sick that to
remove him would endanger his life or health. In that case the officer may and
ought unquestionably to abstain from removing him, and may permit him to remain
even in his own house, in the custody of a follower, though not named in the
warrant, he keeping the key of the house in his possession the officer ought to
remove him as soon is sufficiently recovered. If there be a doubt as to the
state of health of the defendant, the officer should require the attendance and
advice of some respectable medical man, and require him, at the peril of the
consequences of misrepresentation, to certify in writing whether it be fit to
remove the party, or take him to prison within the county. 3 Chit. Pr. 358. For
a form of the return of languidus, see 3 Chit. P. 249; T. Chit. Forms, 53.
LAPSE, eccl. law. The transfer, by forfeiture, of a right or power to
present or collate to a vacant benefice, from, a person vested with such right,
to another, in consequence of some act of negligence of the former. Ayl. Parerg.
LAPSED LEGACY. One which is extinguished. The extinguishment may take
place for various reasons. See Legacy, Lapsed.
2. A distinction has been made between a lapsed devise of real estate and a
lapsed legacy of personal estate. The real estate which is lapsed does not fall
into the residue, unless so provided by the will, but descends to the heir at
law; on the contrary, personal property passes by the residuary clause where it
is not otherwise disposed of. 2 Bouv. Inst. 2154-6.
LARCENY, crim. law. The wrongful and fraudulent taking and carrying
away, by one person, of the mere personal goods, of another, from any place,
with a felonious intent to convert them to his, the taker's use, and make them
his property, without the consent of the owner. 4 Wash. C. C. R. 700.
2. To constitute larceny, several ingredients are necessary. 1. The intent of
the party must be felonious; he must intend to appropriate the property of
another to his own use; if, therefore, the accused have taken the goods under a
claim of right, however unfounded, he has not committed a larceny.
3. - 2. There must be a taking from the possession, actual or implied, of the
owner; hence if a man should find goods, and appropriate them to his own use, he
is not a thief on this account. Mart. and Yerg. 226; 14 John. 294; Breese,
4. - 3. There must be a taking against the will of the owner, and this may be
in some cases, where he appears to consent; for example, if a man suspects
another of an intent to steal his property, and in order to try him leaves it in
his way, and he takes it, he is guilty of larceny. The taking must be in the
county where the criminal is to be tried. 9 C. & P. 29; S. C. 38 E. C. L. R.
23; Ry. & Mod. 349. But when the taking has been in the county or state, and
the thief is caught with the stolen property in another county than that where
the theft was committed, he may be tried in the county where arrested with the
goods, as by construction of law, there is a fresh taking in every county in
which the thief carries the stolen property.
5. - 4. There must be an actual carrying away, but the slightest removal, if
the goods are completely in the power of the thief, is sufficient to snatch a
diamond from a lady's ear, which is instantly dropped among the curls of her
hair, is a sufficient asportation or carrying away.
6. - 5. The property taken must be personal property; a man cannot commit
larceny of real estate, or of what is so considered in law. A familiar example
will illustrate this; an apple, while hanging on the tree where it grew, is real
estate, having never been separated from the freehold; it is not larceny,
therefore, at common law, to pluck an apple from the tree, and appropriate it to
one's own use, but a mere trespass; if that same apple, however, had been
separated from the tree by the owner or otherwise, even by accident, as if
shaken by the wind, and while lying on the ground it should be taken with a
felonious intent, the taker would commit a larceny, because then it was personal
property. In some states there are statutory provisions to punish the felonious
taking of emblements or fruits of plants, while the same are hanging by the
roots, and there the felony is complete, although the thing stolen is not, at
common law, strictly personal property. Animals ferae naturae, while in the
enjoyment of their natural liberty, are not the subjects of larceny; as, doves;
9 Pick. 15; Bee. 3 Binn. 546. See Bee; 5 N. H. Rep. 203. At common law, choses
in action are not subjects of larceny. 1 Port. 33.
7. Larceny is divided in some states, into grand and petit larceny this
depends upon the value of the property stolen. Vide 1 Hawk, 141 to 250, ch. 19;
4 Bl. Com. 229 to 250; Com. Dig. Justices, O 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2 East's P. C. 524
to 791; Burn's Justice, Larceny; Williams' Justice, Felony; 3 Chitty's Cr. Law,
917 to 992; and articles Carrying Away; Invito Domino; Robbery; Taking; Breach,
LARGE. Broad; extensive; unconfined. The opposite of strict, narrow,
or confined. At large, at liberty.
LAS PARTIDAS. The name of a code of Spanish law; sometimes called las
siete partidas, or the seven parts, from the number of its principal divisions.
It is a compilation from the civil law, the customary law of Spain, and the
canon law. Such of its provisions is are applicable are in force in Louisiana,
Florida, and Texas.
LASCIVIOUS CARRIAGE, law of Connecticut. An offence, ill defined,
created by statute, which enacts that every person who shall be guilty of
lascivious carriage and behaviour, and shall be thereof duly convicted, shall be
punished by fine, not exceeding ten dollars, or by imprisonment in a common
gaol, not exceeding two months, or by fine and imprisonment, or both, at the
discretion of the court. This law was passed at a very early period. Though
indefinite in its terms, it has received a construction so limiting it, that it
may be said to punish those wanton acts between persons of different sexes, who
are not married to each other, that flow from the exercise of lustful passions,
and which are not otherwise punished as crimes against chastity and public
decency. 2 Swift's Dig. 343; 2 Swift's Syst. 331.
2. Lascivious carriage may consist not only in mutual acts of wanton and
indecent familiarity between persons of different sexes, but in wanton and
indecent actions against the will, and without the consent of one of them, as if
a man should forcibly attempt to pull up the clothes of a woman. 5 Day, 81.
LAST RESORT. A court of last resort, is one which decides, definitely,
without appeal or writ of error, or any other examination whatever, a suit or
action, or some other matter, which has been submitted to its judgment, and over
which it has jurisdiction.
2. The supreme court is a court of last resort in all matters which legally
come before it; and whenever a court possesses the power to decide without
appeal or other examination whatever, a subject matter submitted to it, it is a
court of last resort; but this is not to be understood as preventing an
examination into its jurisdiction, or excess of authority, for then the judgment
of a superior does not try and decide so much whether the point decided has been
so done according to law, as to try the authority of the inferior court.
LAST SICKNESS. That of which a person died.
2. The expenses of this sickness are generally entitled to a preference, in
payment of debts of an insolvent estate. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 3166; Purd. Ab.
3. To prevent impositions, the statute of frauds requires that nuncupative
wills shall be made during the testator's last sickness. Rob. on Frauds, 556; 20
John. R. 502.
LATENT, construction. That which is concealed; or which does not
appear; for example, if a testator bequeaths to his cousin Peter his white
horse; and at the time of making his will and at his death he had two cousins
named Peter, and he owned two white horses, the ambiguity in this case would be
latent, both as respects the legatee, and the thing bequeathed. Vide Bac. Max.
Reg. 23, and article Ambiguity. A latent ambiguity can only be made to appear by
parol evidence, and may be explained by the same kind of proof. 5 Co. 69.
LATITAT, Eng. law. He lies hid. The name of a writ calling a defendant
to answer to a personal action in the king's bench; it derives its name from a
supposition that the defendant lurks and lies hid, and cannot be found in the
county of Middlesex, (in which the said court is holden,) to be taken there, but
is gone into some other county, and therefore requiring the sheriff to apprehend
him in such other county. Fitz. N. B. 78.
LAUNCHES. Small vessels employed to carry the cargo of a large one to
and from the shore; lighters. (q. v.)
2. The goods on board of a launch are at the risk of the insurers till
landed. 5 N. S. 887. The duties and rights of the master of a launch are the
same as those of the master of a lighter.