RACK, punishments. An engine with which to torture a supposed
criminal, in order to extort a confession of his supposed crime, and the names
of his supposed accomplices. Unknown in the United States.
2. This instrument, known by the nickname of the Duke of Exeter's daughter,
was in use in England. Barr. on the Stat. 866 12 S. & R. 227.
BACK RENT, Engl. law. The full extended value of land let by lease,
payable by tenant for life or Years. Wood's Inst. 192.
RADOUB, French law. This word designates the repairs made to a ship,
and a fresh supply of furniture and victuals, munitions and other provisions
required for the voyage. Pard. n. 602.
RAILWAY. A road made with iron rails or other suitable materials.
2. Railways are to be constructed and used as directed by the legislative
acts creating them.
3. In general, a railroad company may take lands for the purpose of making a
road when authorized by the charter, by paying a just value for the same. 8 S.
& M. 649.
4. For most purposes a railroad is a public highway, but it may be the
subject of private property, and it has been held that it may be sold as such,
unless the sale be forbidden by the legislature; not the franchise, but the land
constituting the road. 5 Iredell, 297. In. general, however, the public can only
have a right of way for it is not essential that the public should enjoy the
land itself, namely, its treasures, minerals, and the like, as these would add
nothing to the convenience of the public.
5. Rail-road companies, like all other principals, are liable for the acts of
their agents, while in their employ, but they can not be made responsible for
accidents which could not be avoided. 2 Iredell, 234; 2 McMullan, 403.
RAIN WATER. The water which naturally falls from the clouds.
2. No one has a right to build his house so as to cause the rain water to
fall over his neighbor's land; 1 Rolle's Ab. 107; 2 Leo. 94; 1 Str. 643;
Fortesc. 212; Bac. Ab. Action on. the case, F.; 5 Co. 101; 2 Rolle, Ab. 565, 1.
10; 1 Com. Dig. Action upon the case for a nuisance, A; unless he has acquired a
right by a grant or prescription.
3. When the land remains in a state of nature, says a learned writer, and by
the natural descent, the rain water would descend from the superior estate over
the lower, the latter is necessarily subject to receive such water. 1 Lois des
Batimens, 15, 16. Vide 2 Roll. 140; Dig. 39, 3; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1608.
RANGE. This word is used in the land laws of the United States to
designate the order of the location of such lands, and in patents from the
United States to individuals they are described as being within a certain
RANK. The order or place in which certain officers are placed in the
army and navy, in relation to others, is called their rank.
2. It is a maxim, that officers of, an inferior rank are bound to obey all
the lawful commands of their superiors, and are justified for such
RANKING. In Scotland this term is used to signify the order in which
the debts of a bankrupt ought to be paid.
RANSOM, contracts, war. An agreement made between the commander of a
capturing vessel with the commander of a vanquished vessel, at sea, by which the
former permits the latter to depart with his vessel, and gives him a safe
conduct, in consideration of a sum of money, which the commander of the
vanquished vessel, in his own name, and in the name of the owners of his vessel
and cargo, promises to pay at a future time named, to the other.
2. This contract is usually made in writing in duplicate, one of which is
kept by the vanquished vessel which is its safe conduct; and the other by the
conquering vessel, which is properly called ransom bill.
3. This contract, when made in good faith, and not locally prohibited, is
valid, and may be enforeed. Such contracts have never been prohibited in this
country. 1 Kent, Com. 105. In England they are generally forbidden. Chit. Law of
Nat. 90 91; Poth. Tr. du Dr. de Propr. n. 127. Vide 2 Bro. Civ. Law, 260; Wesk.
435; 7 Com. Dig. 201; Marsh. Ins. 431; 2 Dall. 15; 15 John. 6; 3 Burr. 1734. The
money paid for the redemption of such property is also called the ransom.
RAPE, crim. law. The carnal knowledge of a woman by a man forcibly and
unlawfully against her will. In order to ascertain precisely the nature of this
offence, this definition will be analysed.
2. Much difficulty has arisen in defining the meaning of carnal knowledge,
and different opinions have been entertained some judges having supposed that
penetration alone is sufficient, while other's deemed emission as an essential
ingredient in the crime. Hawk. b. 1, c. 41, s. 3; 12 Co. 37; 1 Hale, P. C. 628;
2 Chit. Cr. L. 810. But in modern times the better opinion seems to be that both
penetration and emission are necessary. 1 East, P. C. 439; 2 Leach, 854. It is,
however, to be remarked, that very slight evidence may be sufficient to induce a
jury to believe there was emission. Addis. R. 143; 2 So. Car. C. R. 351; 1
Beck's Med. Jur. 140. 4 Chit. Bl. Com. 213, note 8. In Scotland, emission is not
requisite. Allis. Prin. 209, 210. See Emission; Penetration.
3. By the term man in this definition is meant a male of the human species,
of the age of fourteen years and upwards; for an infant, under fourteen years,
is supposed by law incapable of committing this offence. 1 Hale, P. C. 631; 8 C.
& P. 738. But not only can an infant uncler fourteen years, if of sufficient
mischievous discretion, but even a woman may be guilty as principals in the
second degree. And the hushand of a woman may be a principal in the second
degree of a rape committed upon his wife, as where he held her while his servant
committed the rape. 1 Harg St. Tr. 388.
4. The knowledge of the woman's person must be forcibly and against her will;
and if her consent has not been voluntarily and freely given, (when she has the
power to consent,) the offence will be complete, nor will any subsequent
acquiescence on her part do away the guilt of the ravisher. A consent obtained
from a woman by actual violence, by duress or threats of murder, or by the
administration of stupefying drugs, is not such a consent as will shield the
offender, nor turn his crime into adultery or fornication.
5. The matrmonial consent of the wife cannot be retracted, and, therefore,
her hushand cannot be guilty of a rape on her as his act is not unlawful. But,
as already observed, he may be guilty as principal in the second degree.
6. As a child under ten years of age is incapable in law to give her consent,
it follows, that the offence may be committed on such a child whether she
consent or not. See Stat. 18 Eliz, c. 7, s. 4. See, as to the possibility of
commi tting a rape, and as to the signs which indicate it, 1 Beck's Med. Jur.
ch. 12; Merlin, Rep. mot Viol.; 1 Briand, Med. Leg. 1ere partic, c. 1, p. 66;
Biessy, Manuel Medico-Legal, &c. p. 149; Parent Duchatellet, De la
Prostitution dans la ville de Paris, c. 3, §5 Barr. on the Stat. 123; 9 Car.
& P. 752 2 Pick. 380; 12 S. & R. 69; 7 Conn. 54 Const. R. 354; 2 Vir.
RAPE, division of a country. In the English law, this is a district
similar to that of a hundred; but oftentimes containing in it more hundreds than
RAPINE, crim. law. This is almost indistinguishable from robbery. (q.
v.) It is the felonious taking of another man's personal property, openly and by
violence, against his will. The civilians define rapine to be the taking with
violence, the movable property of another, with the fraudulent intent to
appropriate it to one's own USC. Lec. El. Dr. Rom. §1071.
RAPPORT A SUCCESSION. A French term used in Louisiana, which is
somewhat similar in its meaning to our homely term hotch-pot. It is the reunion
to the mass of the succession, of the things given by the deceased ancestor to
his heir, in order that the whole may be divided among the do-heirs.
2. The obligation to make the rapport has a tripple foundation. 1. It is to
be presumed that the deceased intended in making an advancement, to give only a
portion of the inheritance. 2. It establishes the equality of adivision, at
least, with regard to the children of the same parent, who all have an equal
right to the succession. 3. It preserves in families that harmony, which is
always disturbed by unjust favors to one who has only an equal right. Dall.
Dict. h. t. See Advancement; Collation; Hotchpot.
RASCATL. An opprobrious term, applied to persons of bad character. The
law does not presume that a damage has arisen because the defendant has been
called a rascal, and therefore no general damages can be recovered for it; if
the party has received special damages in consequence of being so called, be can
recover a recompense to indennify him for his loss.
RASURE. The scratching or scraping a writing, so as to prevent some
part of it from being read. The word writing here is intended to include
printing. Vide Addition; Erasure and Interlineation. Also 8 Vin. Ab. 169; 13
Vin. Ab. 37; Bac. Ab. Evidence, F.; 4 Com. Dig. 294; 7 Id. 202.
RATE. A public valuation or assessment of every man's estate; or the
ascertaining how much tax every one shall pay. Vide Pow. Mortg. Index, h. t.;
Harr. Dig. h. t.; 1 Hopk. C. R. 87.
RATE OF EXCHANGE. Among merchants, by rate of exchange is understood
the price at which a bill drawn in one country upon another, may be sold in the
RATIFICATION, contracts. An agreement to adopt an act performed by
another for us.
2. Ratifications are either empress or implied. The former are made in
express and direct terms of assent; the latter are such as the law presumes from
the acts of the principal; as, if Peter buy goods for James, and the latter,
knowing the fact, receive them and apply them to his own use. By ratifying a
contract a man adopts the agency, altogether, as well what is detrimental as
that which is for his benefit. 2 Str. R. 859; 1 Atk. 128; 4 T. R. 211; 7 East,
R. 164; 16 M. R. 105; 1 Ves. 509 Smith on Mer. L. 60; Story, Ag. §250 9 B. &
3. As a general rule, the principal has the right to elect whether he will
adopt the unauthorized act or not. But having once ratified the act, upon a full
knowledge of all the material circumstances, the ratification cannot be revoked
or recalled, and the principal becomes bound as if he had originally authorized
the act. Story, Ag. §250; Paley, Ag. by Lloyd, 171; 3 Chit. Com. Law, 197.
4. The ratification of a lawful contract has a retrospective effect, ana
binds the principal from its date, and not only from the time of the
ratification, for the ratification is equivalent to an original authority,
according to the maxim, that omnis ratihabitio mandate aeguiparatur. Poth. Ob.
n. 75; Ld. Raym. 930; Com. 450; 5 Burr. 2727; 2 H. Bl. 623; 1 B. & P. 316;
13 John.; R. 367; 2 John. Cas. 424; 2 Mass. R. 106.
5. Such ratification will, in general, relieve the agent from all
responsibility on the contract, when be would otherwise have been liable. 2
Brod. & Bing. 452. See 16 Mass. R. 461; 8 Wend. R. 494; 10 Wend. R. 399;
Story, Ag. §251. Vide Assent, and Ayl. Pand. *386; 18 Vin. Ab. 156; 1 Liv. on,
Ag. c. 2, §4, p. 44, 47; Story on Ag. §239; 3 Chit. Com. L. 197; Paley on Ag. by
Lloyd, 324; Smith on Mer. L. 47, 60; 2 John. Cas. 424; 13 Mass. R. 178; Id. 391;
Id. 379; 6 Pick. R. 198; 1 Bro. Ch. R. 101, note; S. C. Ambl. R. 770; 1 Pet. C.
C. R. 72; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
6. An infant is not liable on his contracts; but if, after coming of age, he
ratify the contract by an actual or express declaration, he will be bound to
perform it, as if it had been made after he attained full age. The ratification
must be voluntary, deliberate, and intelligent, and the party must know that
without it, he would not be bound. 11 S. & R. 305, 311; 3 Penn. St. R. 428.
See 12 Conn. 551, 556; 10 Mass. 137,140; 14 Mass. 457; 4 Wend. 403, 405. But a
confirmation or ratification of a contract, may be implied from acts of the
infant after he becomes of age; as by enjoying or claiming a benefit under a
contract be might have wholly rescinded; 1 Pick. 221, 22 3; and an infant
partner will be liable for the contracts of the firm, or at least such as were
known to him, if he, after becoming of age, confirm the contract of partnership
by transacting business of the firm, receiving profits, and the like. 2 Hill.
So. Car. Rep. 479; 1 B. Moore, 289.
RATIFICATION OF TREATIES. The constitution of the United States, art.
2, s. 2, declares that the president shall have power, by and with the advice
and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators
present concur. 2. So treaty is therefore of any validity to bind the nation
unless it has been ratified by two-thirds of the members present in the senate
at the time its expediency or propriety may have been discussed. Vide
RATIHABITION, contracts. Confirmation; approbation of a contract;
ratification. Vin. Ab. h. t.; Assent. (q. v.)
RATIONALIBUS DIVISIS, WRIT DE. The name of a writ which lies properly
when two men have lands in several towns or hamlets, so that the one is seised
of the land in one town or hamlet, and the other, of the other town or hamlet by
himself; and they do not know the bounds of the town or hamlet, nor of their
respective lands. This writ lies by one, against the other, and the object of it
is to fix the boundaries. F . N. B. 300.
RAVISHED, pleadings. In indictments for rape, this technical word must
be introduced, for no other word, nor any circumlocution, will answer the
purpose. The defendant should be charged with having "feloniously ravished" the
prosecutrix, or woman mentioned in the indictment. Bac. Ab. Indictment, G l;
Com. Dig. Indictment, G 6; Hawk. B. 2, c. 25, s. 56; Cro. C. C. 37; 1 Hale, 628:
2 Hale, 184 Co. Litt. 184, n. p.; 2 Inst. 180; 1 East, P. C. 447. The words
"feloniously did ravish and carnally know," imply that the act was done forcibly
and against the will of the woman. 12 S. & R. 70. Vide 3 Chit. Cr. Law,
RAVISHMENT, crim. law. This word has several meanings. 1. It is an
unlawful taking of a woman, or an heir in ward. 2. It is sometimes used
synonymously with rape.
RAVISHMENT OF WARD, Eng. law. The marriage of an infant ward, without
the consent of the guardian, is called a ravishment of ward, and punishable by
statute. Westminster 2, c. 35.
READING. The act of making known the contents of a writing or of a
2. In order to enable a party to a contract or a devisor to know what a paper
contains it must be read, either by the party himself or by some other person to
him. When a person signs or executes a paper, it will be presumed that it has
been read to him, but this presumption may be rebutted.
3. In the case of a blind testator, if it can be proved that the will was not
read to him, it cannot be sustained. 3 Wash. C C. R. 580. Vide 2 Bouv. Inst. n.