LAWFUL. That which is not forbidden by law. Id omne licitum est, quod
non est legibus prohibitum, quamobrem, quod, lege permittente, fit, poenam non
meretur. To be valid a contract must be lawful.
LAWLESS. Without law; without lawful control.
LAWS EX POST FACTO. Those which are made to punish actions committed
before the existence of such laws, and which had not been declared crimes by
preceding laws. Declar. of Rights, Mass. part 1, s. 24 Declar. of Rights, Maryl.
art. 15. By the constitution of the United States and those of the several
states, the legislatures are forbidden to pass ex post facto laws. Const. U. S.
art. 1, s. 10, subd. 1.
2. There is a distinction between ex post facto laws and retrospective laws;
every ex post facto law must necessarily be retrospective, but every
retro-spective law is not an ex post facto law; the former only are
3. Laws under the following circumstances are to be considered ex post facto
laws, within the words and intents of the prohibition 1st. Every law that makes
an act done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done,
criminal, and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or
makes it greater than it was when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the
punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime
when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence and
receives less, or different testimony, than the law required at the time of the
commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender. 3 Dall. 390.
4. The policy, the reason and humanity of the prohibition against passing ex
post facto laws, do not extend to civil cases, to cases that merely affect the
private property of citizens. Some of the most necessary acts of legislation
are, on the contrary, founded upon the principles that private rights must yield
to public exigencies. 3 Dall. 400; 8 Wheat. 89; see 1 Cranch, 109; 1 Gall. Rep.
105; 9 Cranch, 374; 2 Pet. S. C. R. 627; Id. 380; Id. 523.
LAWS OF THE TWELVE TABLES. Laws of ancient Rome composed in part from
those of Solon, and other Greek legislators, and in part from the unwritten laws
or customs of the Romans. These laws first appeared in the year of Rome 303,
inscribed on ten plates of brass. The following year two others were added, and
the entire code bore the name of the Laws of the Twelve Tables. The principles
they contained became the source of all the Roman law, and serve to this day as
the foundation of the jurisprudence of the greatest part of Europe.
See a fragment of the Law of the twelve Tables in Coop. Justinian, 656;
Gibbon's Rome, c. 44.
LAWS OF THE HANSE TOWNS. A code of maritime laws known as the laws of
the Hanse towns, or the ordinances of the Hanseatic towns, was first published
in German, at Lubec, in 1597. In an assembly of deputies from the several towns
held at Lubec, these laws were afterwards, May 23, 1614, revised and enlarged.
The text of this digest, and a Latin translation, are published with a
commentary by Kuricke; and a French translation has been given by Cleirac.
LAWS OF OLERON, maritime law. A code of sea laws of deserved
celebrity. It was originally promulgated by Eleonor, duchess of Guienne, the
mother of Richard the First of England. Returning from the Holy Land, and
familiar with the maritime regulations of the Archipelago, she enacted these
laws at Oleron in Guienne, and they derive their title from the place of their
publication. The language in which they were originally written is the Gascon,
and their first object appears to have been the commercial operations of that
part of France only. Richard I., of England, who inherited the dukedom of
Guienne from his mother, improved this code, and introduced it into England.
Some additions were made to it by King John; it was prormulgated anew in the
50th year of Henry III., and received its ultimate confirmation in the 12th year
of Edward III. Brown's Civ. and Adm. Law, vol. ii. p. 40.
2. These laws are inserted in the beginning of the book entitled "Us et
Coutumes de la Mer," with a very excellent commentary on each section by
Clairac, the learned editor. A translation is to be found in the Appendix to 1
Pet. Adm. Dec.; Marsh. Ins. B. 1, c. 1, p. 16. See Laws of Wisbuy: Laws of the
Hanse Towns; Code
LAWS OF WISBUY, maritime law. A code of sea laws established by "the
merchants and masters of the magnificent city of Wisbuy." This city was the
ancient capital of Gothland, an island in the Baltic sea, anciently much
celebrated for its commerce and wealth, now an obscure and inconsiderable place.
Malyne, in his collection of sea laws, p. 44, says that the laws of Oleron were
translated into Dutch by the people of Wisbuy for the use of the Dutch coast. By
Dutch probably means German, and it cannot be denied that many of the provisions
contained in the Laws of Wisbuy, are precisely the same as those which are found
in the Laws of Oleron. The northern writers pretend however that they are more
ancient than the Laws of Oleron, or than even the Consolato del Mare. Clairac
treats this notion with contempt, and declares that at the time of the
promulgation of the laws of Oleron, in 1266, which was many years after they
were compiled, the magnificent city of Wisbuy had not yet acquired the
denomination of a town. Be this as it may, these laws were for some ages, and
indeed still remain, in great authority in the northern part of Europe. "Lex
Rhodia navalis," says Grotius, "pro jure gentium, in illo mare Mediteraneo
vigebat; sicut apud Gallium leges Oleronis, et apud omnes transrhenanos, leges
Wisbuenses." Grotius de Jure bel. lib. 2, c. 3.
A translation of these laws is to be found in 1 Peter's Adm. Dee. Appendix.
See Code; Laws of Oleron.
LAWS, RHODIAN, maritime. law. A code of laws adopted by the people of
Rhodes, who had, by their commerce and naval victories, obtained the sovereignty
of the sea, about nine hundred. years before the Christian era. There is reason
to suppose this code has not been transmitted to posterity, at least not in a
perfect state. A collection of marine constitutions, under the denomination of
Rhodian Laws, may be seen in Vinnius, but they bear evident marks of a spurious
origin. See Marsh. Ins. B. 1, c. 4, p. 15; this Dict. Code; Laws of Oleron; Laws
of Wisbuy; Laws of the Hanse Towns.
LAWYER. A counsellor; one learned in the law. Vide dttorney.
LEGACY. A bequest or gift of goods or chattels by testament. 2 Bl.
Com. 512; Bac. Abr. Legacies, A. See Merlin, RĮpertoire, mot Legs, s. 1; Swinb.
17; Domat, liv. 4, t. 2, §1, n. 1. This word, though properly applicable to
bequests of personal estate only, has nevertheless been extended to property not
technically within its import, in order to effectuate the intention of the
testator, so as to include real property and annuities. 5 T. R. 716; 1 Burr.
268; 7 Ves. 522; Id. 391; 2 Cain. R. 345. Devise is the term more properly
applied to gifts of real estate. Godolph. 271.
2. As the testator is presumed at the time of making his will to be inops
concilii, his intention is to, be sought for, and any words which manifest the
intention to give or create a legacy, are sufficient. Godolph. 281, pt. 3, c.
22, s. 21; Com. Dig. Chancery, 3 Y 4; Bac. Abr. Legacies, B 1.
3. Legacies are of different kinds; they may be considered as general,
specific, and residuary. 1. A legacy is general, when it is so given as not to
amount to a bequest of a specific part of a testator's personal estate; as of a
sum of money generally, or out of the testator's personal estate, or the like. 1
Rop. Leg. 256; Lownd. Leg. 10. A general legacy is relative to the testator's
death; it is a bequest of such a sum or such a thing at that time, or a
direction to the executors, if such a thing be not in the testator's possession
at that time, to procure it for the legatee. Cas. Temp. Talb. 227; Ambl. 57; 4
Ves. jr. 675; 7 Ves. jr. 399.
4. - 2. A specific legacy is a bequest of a particular thing, or money
specified and distinguished from all other things of the same kind; as of a
particular horse, a particular piece of plate, a particular term of years, and
the like, which would vest immediately, with the assent of the executor. 1 Rop.
Leg. 149; Lownd. Leg. 10, 11; 1 Atk. 415. A specific legacy has relation to the
time of making the will; it is a bequest of some particular thing in the
testator's possession at that time, if such a thing should be in the testator's
possession at the time of his death. If it should not be in the testator's
possession, the legatee has no claim. There are legacies of quantity in the
nature of specific legacies, as of so much money with reference to a particular
fund for their payment. Touchst. 433; Amb. 310; 4 Ves. 565; 3 Ves. & Bea.
5. This kind of legacy is so far general, and differs so much in effect from
a specific one, that if the funds be called in or fail, the legatees will not be
deprived of their legacies, but be permitted to receive them out of the general
assets; yet the legacies are go far specific, that they will not be liable to
abate with general legacies upon a deficiency of assets. 2 Ves. jr. 640; 5 Ves.
jr. 206; 1 Meriv. 178.
6. - 3. A residuary legacy is a bequest of all the testator's personal
estate, not otherwise effectually disposed of by his will. Lownd. Leg, 10; Bac.
Abr. Legacies, I.
7. As to the interest given, legacies may be considered, as absolute, for
life, or in remainder. 1. A legacy is absolute, when it is given without
condition, and is to vest immediately. See 2 Vern. 181; Ambl. 750; 19 Ves. 86;
Lownd. 151; 2 Vern. 430; 1 Vern. 254; 5 Ves. 461; Com. Dig. Appendix, Chancery
8. - 2. A legacy for life is sometimes given, with an executory limitation
after the death of the tenant for life to another person; in this case, the
tenant for life is entitled to the possession of the legacy, but when it is of
specific article's, the first legatee must sign and deliver to the second, an
inventory of the chattels expressing that they are in his custody for life only,
and that afterwards they are to be delivered and remain to the use and benefit
of the second legatee. 3 P. Wms. 336; 1 Atk. 471; 2 Atk. 82; 1 Bro. C. C. 279; 2
Vern. 249. See 1 Rop. Leg. 404, 5, 580. It seems that a bequest for life, if
specific of things quo ipso usu consumuntur, is a gift of the property, and that
there cannot be a limitation over, after a life interest in such articles. 3
9. - 8. In personal property there cannot be a remainder in the strict sense
of the word, and therefore every future bequest of personal property, whether it
be preceded or not by any particular bequest, or limited on a certain or
uncertain event, is an executory bequest, and falls under the rules by which
that mode of limitation is regulated. Fearne, Cont. R. 401, n. An executory
bequest cannot be prevented or destroyed by any alteration whatsoever, in the
estate, out of which, or after, which it is limited. Id. 421; 8 Co. 96, a; 10
Co. 476. And this privilege of executory bequests, which exempts them from being
barred or destroyed, is the foundation of an invariable rule, that the event on
which an interest of this sort is permitted to take effect, is such as must
happen within a life or lives in being, and twenty-one years, and the fraction
of another year, allowing for the period of gestation afterwards. Fearne, Cont.
10. As to the right acquired by the legatee, legacies may be considered as
vested and contingent. 1. A vested legacy is one;, by which a certain interest,
either present or future in possession, passes to the legatee. 2. A contingent
legacy is one which is so given to a person, that it is uncertain whether any
interest will ever vest in him.
11. A legacy may be lost by abatement, ademption, and lapse. I. Abatement,
see Abatement of Legacies. 2. Ademption, see, Ademption. 3. When the legatee
dies before the testator, or before the condition upon which the legacy is given
be performed, or before the time at which it is directed to vest in interest
have arrived, the legacy is lapsed or extinguished. See Bac. Abr. Legacies, E;
Com. Dig. Chancery, 3 Y. 13; 1 P. Wms. 83; Lownd. Leg. ch. 12, p. 408 to 415; 1
Rop. Leg. ch. 8, p. 319 to 341.
12. In Pennsylvania, by legislative enactment, no legacy in favor of a child
or other lineal descendant of any testator, shall be deemed or held to lapse or
become void, by reason of the decease of such devisee or legatee, in the
lifetime of the testator, if such devisee or legatee shall leave issue surviving
the testator, but such devise or legacy shall be good and available, in favor of
such surviving issue, with like effect, as if such devisee or legatee had
survived the testator. The testator may however, intentionally exclude such
survlving issue, or any of them. Act of March 19, 1810, 5 Smith's L. of Pa.
13. As to the payment of legacies, it is proper to consider out of what fund
they are to be paid; at what time; and to whom. 1. It is a general rule, that
the personal estate is the primary fund for the payment of legacies. When the
real estate is merely charged with those demands, the personal assets are to be
applied in the first place towards their liquidation. 1 Serg. & Rawle, 453;
1 Rop. Leg. 463.
14. - 2. When legacies are given generally to persons under no disability to
receive them, the payments ought to be made at the end of a year next after the
testator's decease. 5 Binn. 475. The executor is not obliged to pay them sooner
although the testator may have directed them to be discharged within six months
after his death, because the law allows the executor one year from the demise of
the testator, to ascertain and settle his testator's affairs; and it presumes
that at the expiration of that period, and not before, all debts due by the
estate have been satisfied, and the executor to be then able, properly to apply
the residue among the legatees according to their several rights and
15. When a legacy is given generally, and is subject to a limitation over
upon a subsequent event, the divesting contingency will not prevent the legatee
from receiving his legacy at the end of the year after the testator's death, and
he is under no obligation to give security for re-payment of the money, in case
the event shall happen. The principle seems to be, that as the testator has
entrusted him without requiring security, no person has authority to require it.
1 Ves. Jr. 97; 18 Ves. 131; Lownd. on Legacies, 403.
16. As to the persons to whom payment to be made, see, where the legacy is
given to an infant 1 Rop. Leg. 589 ;1 P. Wms. 285; 1 Eq. Cas. Abr. 300; 3 Bro.
C. C. 97, edit. by Belt; 2 Atk. 80; 2 Johns. C. R. 614; where the legacy is
given to a married woman; 1 Rop. Leg. 595; Lownd. Leg 399; where the legacy is
given to a lunatic, 1 Rop. Leg. 599; where it is given to a bankrupt; Id. 600; 2
Burr. 717.; where it is given to a person abroad, who has not been heard of for
a long time. Id. 601 Finch, R. 419; 3 Bro. C. C. 510; 5 Ves. 458; Lownd. Leg.
398. See, generally, as to legacies; Roper on Legacies; Lowndes on Legacies;
Bac. Abr. Legacy; Com. Dig. Administration, C 3, 5; Id. Chancery, 3 A; 3 G; 8 Y
1; Id. Prohibition, G 17; Vin. Abr. Devise; Id. Executor; Swinb. 17 to 44; 2
Salk. 414 to 416.
17. By the Civil Code of Louisiana, legacies are divided into universal
legacies, legacies under an universal title, and particular legacies. 1. An
universal legacy is a testamentary disposition, by which the testator gives to
one or several persons the whole of the property which he leaves; at his
decease. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 1599.
18. - 2. The legacy under an universal title, is that by which a testator
bequeaths a certain proportion of the effects of which the law permits him to
dispose, as a half, a third, or all his immovables, or all his movables, or a
fixed proportion of all his immovables, or of all his movables. Id. 1604.
19. - 3. Every legacy not included in the definition given of universal
legacies, and legacies under a universal title, is a legacy under a particular
title. Id. 1618. Copied from Code Civ. art. 1003 and 1010. See Toullier, Droit
Civil Francais, tome 5, p. 482, et seq.
LEGACY, ACCUMULATIVE. An accumulative legacy is a second bequest given
by the same testator to the same legatee, whether it be of the same kind of
thing, as money, or whether it be of different things, as, one hundred dollars,
in one legacy, and a thousand dollars in another, or whether the sums are equal
or whether the legacies are of a different naturer 2 Rop. Leg. 19.
LEGACY, ADDITIONAL. An additional legacy is one which is given by a
codicil, besides one before given by the will; or it is an increase by a codicil
of a legacy before given by the will. An additional legacy is generally subject
to the same qualities and conditions as the original legacy. 6. Mod. 31; 2 Ves.
jr. 449; 3 Mer. 154; Ward on Leg. 142.
LEGACY, ALTERNATIVE. One where the testator gives one of two things to
the legatee without designating which of them; as, one of my two horses. Vide
LEGACY, CONDITIONAL. A bequest which is to take effect upon the
happening or, not happening of a certain event. Lownd. Leg. 166; Rop. Leg.
Index, tit. Condition.
LEGACY, DEMONSTRATIVE. A demonstrative legacy is a bequest of a
certain sum of money; intended for the legatee at all events, with a fund
particularly referred to for its payment; so that if the estate be not the
testator's property at his death, the legacy will not fail: but be payable out
of general assets. 1 Rop. Leg. 153; Lownd. Leg 85; Swinb. 485; Ward on Leg.
LEGACY, INDEFINITE. A bequest of things which are not enumerated or
ascertained as to numbers or quantities; as, a bequest by a testator of all his
goods, all his stocks in the funds. Lownd. on Leg. 84; Swinb. 485; Amb. 641; 1
P. Wms. 697.
LEGACY, LAPSED. A legacy is said to be lapsed or extinguished, when
the legatee dies before the testator, or before the condition upon which the
legacy is given has been performed, or before the time at which it is directed
to vest in interest has arrived. Bac. Ab. Legacy, E; Com. Dig. Chancery, 3 Y 13;
1 P. Wms. 83. Lownd. Leg. 408 to 415; 1 Rop. Leg. 319 to 341. See, as to the law
of Pennsylvania in favor of lineal descendants, 5 Smith's Laws of Pa. 112. Vide,
generally, 8 Com. Dig. 502-3; 5 Toull. n. 671.
LEGACY, M0DAL. A modal legacy is a bequest accompanied with directions
as to the mode in which it should be applied for the legatee's benefit; for
example, a legacy to Titius to put him an apprentice. 2 Vern. 431; Lownd. Leg.
LEGACY, PECUNIARY, A pecuniary legacy is one of money; pecuniary
legacies are most usually general legacies, but there may be a specific
pecuniary legacy; for example, of the money in a certain bag. 1 Rop. Leg. 150,
LEGACY, RESIDUARY. That which is of the remainder of an estate after
the payment of all the debts and other legacies. Madd. Ch. P. 284.
LEGAL. That which is according to law. It is used in opposition to
equitable, as the legal estate is, in the trustee, the equitable estate in the
cestui que trust. Vide Powell on Mortg. Index, h. t.
2. The party who has the legal title, has alone the right to seek a remedy
for a wrong to his estate, in a court of law, though he may have no beneficial
interest in it. The equitable owner, is he who has not the legal estate, but is
entitled to the beneficial interest.
3. The person who holds the legal estate for the benefit of another, is
called a trustee; he who has the beneficiary interest and does not hold the
legal title, is called the beneficiary, or more technically, the cestui que
4. When the trustee has a claim, he must enforce his right in a court of
equity, for he cannot sue any one at law, in his own name; 1 East, 497; 8 T. R.
332; 1 Saund. 158, n. 1; 2 Bing. 20; still less can he in such court sue his own
trustee. 1 East, 497.
LEGAL ESTATE. One, the right to which may be enforced in a court of
law. It is distinguished from an equitable estate, the rights to which can be
established only in a court of equity. 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1688.
LEGALIZATION. The act of making lawful.
2. By legalization, is also understood the act by which a judge or competent
officer authenticates a record, or other matter, in order that the same may be
lawfully read in evidence. Vide Authentication.
LEGATES. Legates are extraordinary ambassadors sent by the pope to
catholic countries to represent him, and to exercise his jurisdiction. They are
distinguished from the ambassadors of the pope who are sent to other powers.
2. The canonists divide them into three kinds, namely: 1. Legates A latere.
2. Legati missi. 3. Legati nati.
3. - 1. Legates latere hold the first rank among those who are honored by a
legation; they are always chosen from the college of cardinals, and are called a
latere, in imitation of the magistrates of ancient Rome, who were taken from the
court, or side of the emperor.
4. - 2. The legati missi are simple envoys.
5. - 3. The legati nati, are those who are entitled to be legates by