MONITION, practice. In those courts which use the civil law process,
(as the court of admiralty, whose proceedings are, under the provisions of the
acts of congress, to be according to the course of the civil law,) it is a
process in the nature of a summons; it is either, general, special, or
2. - 1. The general monition is a citation or summons to all persons
interested, or, as is commonly said, to the whole world, to appear and show
cause why the libel filed in the case should not be sustained, and the prayer of
relief granted. This is adopted in prize cases, admiralty suits for forfeitures,
and other suits in rem, when no particular individuals are summoned to answer.
In such cases the taking possession of the property libeled, and this general
citation or nomination, served according to law, are considered constructive
notice to the world of the pendency of the suit; and the judgment rendered
thereupon is conclusive upon the title of the property which may be affected. In
form, the monition is a warrant of the court, in an admiralty cause, directed to
the marshal or his deputy, commanding him in the name of the president of the
United States, to give public notice, by advertisements in such newspapers as
the court may select, and by notification to be posted in public places, that a
libel has been filed in a certain admiralty cause pending, and of the time and
place appointed for the trial. A brief statement of the allegations in the libel
is usually contained in the monition. The monition is served in the manner
directed in the warrant.
3. - 2. A special monition is a similar warrant, directed to the marshal or
his deputy, requiring him to give special notice to certain persons, named in
the warrant, of the pendency of the suit, the grounds of it, and the time and
place of trial. It is served by delivery of a copy of the warrant, attested by
the officer, to each one of the adverse parties, or by leaving the same at his
usual place of residence; but the service should be personal if possible.
Clerke's Prax. tit. 21; Dunlap's Adm. Pr. 135.
4. - 3. A mixed monition is one which contains directions for a general
monition to all persons interested, aud a special summons to particular persons
named in the warrant. This is served by newspaper advertisements, by
notifications posted in public places, and by delivery of a copy attested by the
officer to each person specially named, or by leaving it at his usual place of
residence. See Dunlap's Adm. Pr. Index, h. t.; Bett's Adm. Pr. Index, h. t.
MONITORY LETTER, eccl. law. The process of an official, a bishop or
other prelate having jurisdiction, issued to compel, by ecclesiastical censures,
those who know of a crime or other matter which requires to be explained, to
come and reveal it. Merl. Repert. h. t.
MONOCRACY. A government by one person only.
MONOCRAT. A monarch who governs alone; an absolute governor.
MONOGAMY. A marriage contracted between one man and one woman, in
exclusion of all the rest of mankind; it is used in opposition to bigamy and
polygamy. (q. v.) Wolff, Dr. de la Nat. 857. The state of having only one
husband or one wife at one time.
MONOGRAM. A character or cipher composed of one or more letters
interwoven, being an abbreviation of a name.
2. A signature made by a monogram would perhaps be binding, provided it could
be proved to have been made and intended as a signature. 1 Denio, R. 471. And
there seems to be no reason why such a signature should not be as binding as one
which is altogether illegible. See Initial; Mark; Signature.
MONOMANIA. med. jur. Insanity only upon a particular subject; and with
a single delusion of the mind.
2. The most simple form of this disorder is that in which the patient has
imbibed some single notion, contrary to common sense and to his own experience,
and which seems, and no doubt really is, dependent on errors of sensation. It is
supposed the mind in other respects retains its intellectual powers. In order to
avoid any civil act done, or criminal responsibility incurred, it must
manifestly appear that the act in question was the effect of monomania. Cyclop.
Pract. Medicine, title Soundness and Unsoundness of Mind; Dr. Ray on Insanity,
203; 13 Ves. 89; 3 Bro. C. C. 444; 1 Addams' R. 283; Hagg. R. 18; 2 Addams' R.
102; 2 Addams' R. 79, 94, 209; 5 Car. & P. 168; Dr. Burrows on Insanity,
484, 485. Vide Delusion; Mania; and Trebuchet, Jur. de la Med. 55 to 58
MONOPOLY, commercial law. This word has various significations. 1. It
is the abuse of free commerce by which one or more individuals have procured the
advantage of selling alone all of a particular kind of merchandise, to the
detriment of the public.
2. - 2. All combinations among merchants to raise the price of merchandise to
the injury of the public, is also said to be a monopoly.
3. - 3. A monopoly is also an institution or allowance by a grant from the
sovereign power of a state, by commission, letters patent, or otherwise, to any
person, or corporation, by which the exclusive right of buying, selling, making,
working, or using anything, is given. Bac. Abr. h. t.; 3 Inst. 181.
4. The constitutions of Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee, declare that
"monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and ought not to be
allowed." Vide art. Copyyright; Patent.
MONSTER, physiology, persons. An animal which has a conformation
contrary to the order of nature. Dunglison's Human Physiol. vol. 2, p. 422.
2. A monster, although born of a woman in lawful wedlock, cannot inherit.
Those who have however the essential parts of the human form and have merely
some defect of coformation, are capable of inheriting, if otherwise qualified. 2
Bl. Com. 246; 1 Beck's Med. Jurisp. 366; Co. Litt. 7, 8; Dig. lib. 1, t. 5, l.
14; 1 Swift's Syst. 331 Fred. Code, Pt. 1, b. 1, t. 4, s. 4.
3. No living human birth, however much it may differ from human shape, can be
lawfully destroyed. Traill. Med. Jur. 47, see Briand, Med. Leg. 1ere part. c. 6,
art. 2, 3; 1 Fodere, Med. Leg. 402-405.
MONSTRANS DE DROIT. Literally showing of right, in the English law, is
a process by which a subject claim from the crown a restitution of a right. Bac.
Ab. Prerogative, E; 3 Bl. 256; 1 And. 181; 5 Leigh's R. 512.
MONSTRANS DE FAIT. Literally, showing of a deed; a profert. Bac. Ab.
Pleas, &c. I 12, n. 1.
MONSTRAVERUNT, WRIT OF, Eng. law. A writ which lies for the tenants of
ancient demesne who hold by free charter, and not for those tenants who hold by
copy of court roll, or by the rod, according to the custom of the manor. F. N.
MONTES PIETATIS, or Monts de Piete. The name of institutions
established by public authority for lending money upon pledge of goods. In those
establishments a fund is provided, with suitable warehouses, and all necessary
accommodations. Directors, manage these concerns. When the money for which the
goods pledged is not returned in proper time, the goods are sold to reimburse
2. These establishments are found principally on the continent of Europe.
With us private persons, called pawnbrokers, perform this office, sometimes with
doubtful fidelity. See Bell's Com. B. 5, c. 2, s. 2.
MONTH. A space of time variously computed, as it is applied to
astronomical, civil or solar, or lunar months.
2. The astronomical month contains one-twelfth part of the time employed by
the sun in going through the zodiac. In law, when a month simply is mentioned,
it is never understood to mean an astronomical month.
3. The civil or solar month is that which agrees with the Gregorian calendar,
and these months are known by the names of January, February, March, &c.
They are composed of unequal portions of time. There are seven of thirty-one
days each, four of thirty, and one which is sometimes composed of twenty-eight
days, and in leap years, of twenty-nine.
4. The lunar mouth is composed of twenty-eight days only. When a law is
passed or contract made, and the month is expressly stated to be solar or civil,
which is expressed by the term calendar month, or when it is expressed to be a
lunar month, no difficulty can arise; but when time is given for the performance
of an act, and the word month simply is used, so that the intention of the
parties cannot be ascertained then the question arises, how shall the month be
computed? By the law of England a month means ordinarily, in common contracts,
as, in leases, a lunar month; a contract, therefore, made for a lease of land
for twelve months, would mean a lease for forty-eight weeks only. 2 Bl. Com.
141; 6 Co. R. 62; 6 T. R. 224. A distinction has been made between "twelve
months," and "a twelve-month;" the latter has been held to mean a year. 6 Co. R.
5. Among the Greeks and Romans the months were Iunar, and probably the mode
of computation adopted in the English law has been adopted from the codes of
these countries. Clef des Lois Rom. mot Mois.
6. But in mercantile contracts, a month simply signifies a calendar month; a
promissory note to pay money in twelve months, would therefore mean a promise to
pay in one year, or twelve calendar months. Chit. on Bills, 406; 1 John. Cas.
99; 3 B. & B. 187; 1 M. & S. 111; Story on Bills, 143; Story, P. N. 213;
Bayl. on Bills, c. 7; 4 Kent, Comm. Sect. 56; 2 Mass. 170; 4 Mass. 460; 6 Watts.
& Serg. 179.
7. In general, when a statute Speaks of a month, without adding "calendar,"
or other words showing a clear intention, it shall be intended a lunar month.
Com. Dig. Ann. B; 4 Wend. 512; 15 John. R. 358. See 2 Cowen, R. 518; Id. 605. In
all legal proceedings, as in commitments, pleadings, &c. a month means four
weeks. 3 Burr. R. 1455; 1 Bl. Rep. 450; Dougl. R. 446 463.
8. In Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and perhaps some other states, 1 Hill.
Ab. 118, n., a month mentioned generally in a statute, has been construed to
mean a calendar month. 2 Dall. R. 302; 4 Dall. Rep. 143; 4 Mass. R. 461; 4 Bibb.
R. 105. In England, in the ecclesiastical law, months are computed by the
calendar. 3 Burr. R. 1455; 1 M. & S. 111.
9. In New York, it is enacted that whenever the term "month," or "months," is
or shall be used in any statute, act, deed, verbal or written contract, or any
public or private instrument whatever, it shall be construed to mean a calendar,
and not a lunar month; unless otherwise expressed. Rev. Stat. part 1, c. 19,
tit. 1, 4. Vide, generally, 2 Sim. & Stu. 476; 2 A. K. Marsh. Rep. 245; 3
John. Ch. Rep. 74; 2 Campb. 294; 1 Esp. R. 146; 6 T. R. 224; 1 M. & S. 111;
3 East, R. 407; 4 Moore, 465; 1 Bl. Rep. 150; 1 Bing. 307; S. C. 8 Eng. C. L. R.
328;. 1 M. & S. 111; 1 Str. 652; 6 M. & S. 227; 3 Brod. & B. 187; S.
C. 7 Eng. C. L. R. 404.
MONUMENT. A thing intended to transmit to posterity the memory of some
one; it is used, also, to signify a tomb where a dead body has been deposited.
In this sense it differs from a cenotaph, which is at empty tomb. Dig. 11, 7, 2,
6; Id. 11, 7, 2, 42.
MONUMENTS. Permanent landmarks established for the purpose of
2. Monuments may be either natural or artificial objects, as rivers, known
streams, springs, or marked trees. 7 Wheat. R. 10; 6 Wheat. R. 582; 9 Cranch,
173; 6 Pet. 498; Pet. C. C. R. 64; 3 Ham. 284; 5 Ham. 534; 5 N. H. Rep. 524; 3
Dev. 75. Even posts set up at the corners, 5 Ham. 534, and a clearing, 7 Cowen,
723, are considered as monuments. Sed vide 3 Dev. 75.
3. When monuments are established, they must govern, although neither
courses, nor distances, nor 'computed' contents correspond; 5 Cowen, 346; 1
Cowen, 605; 6 Cowen, 706; 7 Cowen, 723; 6 Mass. 131; 2 Mass. 380; 3 Pick. 401; 5
Pick. 135; 3 Gill & John. 142,; 5 Har. & John. 163, 255; 2 Id. 260;
Wright, 176; 5 Ham. 534; 1 H. & McH. 355; 2 H. & McH. 416; Cooke, 146; 1
Call, 429; 3 Call, 239; 3 Fairf. 325; 4 H. & M. 125; 1 Hayw. 22; 5 J. J.
Marsh. 578; 3 Hawks, 91; 3 Murph. 88; 4 Monr. 32; 5 Monr. 175; 2 Overt. 200; 2
Bibb, 493; S. C. 6 Wheat. 582; 4 W. C. C. Rep. 15. Vide Boundary.
MOORING, mar. law. The act of arriving of a ship or vessel at a
particular port, and there being anchored or otherwise fastened to the
2. Policies of insurance frequently contain a provision that the ship is
insured from one place to another, "and till there moored twenty-four hours in
good safety." As to what shall be a sufficient mooring, see 1 Marsh. Ins. 262;
Park. on Ins. 35; 2 Str. 1251; 3. T. R. 362.
MOOT, English law. A term used in the inns of court, signifying the
exercise of arguing imaginary cases, which young barristers and students used to
perform at certain times, the better to be enabled by this practice to defend
their clients cases. A moot question is one which has not been decided.
MORA, In civil law. This term, in mora, is used to denote that a party
to a contract, who is obliged to do anything, has neglected to perform it, and
is in default. Story on Bailm. 123, 259; Jones on Bailm. 70; Poth. Pret a Usage,
c. 2, 2, art. 2, n. 60; Encyclopedie, mot Demeure; Broderode, mot Mora.
MORA, estates. A moor, barren or unprofitable ground; marsh; a heath.
1 Inst. 5; Fleta, lib. 2, c. 71.
MORAL EVIDENCE. That evidence which is not obtained either from
intuition or demonstration. It consists of those convictions of the mind, which
are produced by the use of the senses, the testimony of men, and analogy or
induction. It is used in contradistinction to mathematical, evidence. (q. v.) 3
Bouv. Inst. n. 3050.
MORAL INSANITY, med. jur. A term used by medical men, which has not
yet acquired much reputation in the courts. Moral insanity is said to consist in
a morbid perversion of the moral feelings, affections, inclinations, temper,
habits, and moral dispositions, without any notable lesion of the intellect, or
knowing and reasoning faculties, and particularly without any maniacal
hallucination. Prichard, art. Insanity, in Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine
2. It is contended that some human beings exist, who, in consequence of a
deficiency in the moral organs, are as blind to the dictates of justice, as
others are deaf to melody. Combe, Moral Philosophy, Lect. 12.
3. In some, this species of malady is said to display itself in an
irresistible propensity to commit murder; in others, to commit theft, or arson.
Though most persons afflicted with this malady commit such crimes, there are
others whose disease is manifest in nothing but irascibility. Annals D'Hygiene
tom. i. p. 284. Many are subjected to melancholy, and dejection, without any
delusion or illusion. This, perhaps without full consideration, has been
judicially declared to be a "groundless theory." The courts, and law writers,
have not given it their full assent. 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 352; 1 Beck, Med. Jur.
553 Ray, Med. Jur. Prel. Views, 23, p. 49.
MORAL OBLIGATION. A duty which one owes, and which he ought to
perform, but which he is not legally bound to fulfil.
2. These obligations are of two kinds 1st. Those founded on a natural right;
as, the obligation to be charitable, which can never be enforced by law. 2d.
Those which are supported by a good or valuable antecedent consideration; as,
where a man owes a debt barred by the act of limitations, this cannot be
recovered by law, though it subsists in morality and conscience; but if the
debtor promise to pay it, the moral obligation is a sufficient consideration for
the promise, and the creditor may maintain an action of assumpsit, to recover
the money. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 623.
MORATUR, IN LEGE. He demurs in law. He rests on the pleadings of the
case, and abides the judgment of the court.
MORGANTIC MARRIAGE. During the middle ages, there was an intermediate
estate between matrimony and concubinage, known by this name. It is defined to
be a lawful and inseparable conjunction of a single man, of noble and
illustrious birth, with a single woman of an inferior or plebeian station, upon
this condition, that neither the wife nor children should partake of the title,
arms, or dignity of the husband, nor succeed to his inheritance, but should have
a certain allowance assigned to them by the morgantic contract. The marriage
ceremony was regularly performed; the union: was for life and indissoluble; and
the children were considered legitimate, though they could not inherit. Fred.
Code, book 2, art. 3; Potb. Du Marriage, 1, c. 2, s. 2; Shelf. M. & D. 10;
Pruss. Code, art. 835.
MORT D'ANCESTOR. An ancient and now almost obsolete remedy in the
English law. An assize of mort d'ancestor was a writ which was sued out where,
after the decease of a man's ancestor, a stranger abated, and entered into the
estate. 1, Co. Litt. 159. The remedy in such case is now to bring ejectment.