SPECIALTY, contracts. A writing sealed aud delivered, containing some
agreement. 2 Serg. & Rawle, 503; 1 Binn. Rep. 261; Willes, 189; 1 P. Wms.
130. In a more confined meaning, it signifies a writing sealed and delivered,
which is given as a security for the payment of a debt, in which such debt is
particularly specified. Bac. Ab. Obligation, A.
2. Although in the body of the writing it is not said, that the parties have
set their hands and seals, yet if the instrument be really sealed it is a
specialty, and if it be not sealed, it is not a specialty, although the parties
in the body of the writing make mention of a seal. 2 Serg. & Rawle, 504; 2
Rep. 5 a; Perk. §129. Vide Bond; Debt; Obligation.
SPECIE. Metallic money issued by public authority.
2. This term is used in contradistinction to paper money, which in some
countries is emitted by the government, and is a mere engagement which
repre-sents specie. Bank paper in the United States is also called paper money.
Specie is the only constitutional money in this country. See 4 Monr. 483.
SPECIFIC LEGACY. A bequest of a particular thing.
2. It follows that a specific legacy may be of animals or inanimate things,
provided they are specified and separated from all other things; a specific
legacy may therefore be of money in a bag, or of money marked and so described;
as, I give two eagles to A B, on which are engraved the initials of my name. A
specific legacy may also be given out of a general fund. Touch. 433 Amb. 310; 4
Ves. 565; 3 Ves. & Bea. 5. If the specific article given be, not found among
the assets of the testator, the legatee loses his legacy; but on the other hand,
if there be a deficiency of assets, the specific legacy will not be liable to
abate with the general legacies. 1 Vern. 31; 1 P. Wms. 422; 3 P. Wms. 365; 3
Bro. C. C. 160; vide 1 Roper on Leg. 150; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 209 . Id. 231; 2
Id. 112; and articles Legacy; Legatee.
SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE, remedies. The actual accomplishment of a
contract by the party bound to fulfil it.
2. Many contracts are entered into by parties to fulfil certain things, and
then the contracting parties neglect or refuse to fulfil their engagements. In
such cases the party grieved has generally a remedy at law, and he may recover
damages for the breach of the contract; but, in many cases, the recovery of
damages is an incompetent remedy, and the party seeks to recover a specific
performance of the agreement.
3. It is a general rule, that courts of equity will entertain jurisdiction
for a specific performance of agreements, whenever courts of law can give but an
inadequate remedy; and it is immaterial whether the subject relate to real or
personal estate. 1 Madd. Ch. Pr. 295; 2 Story on Eq. §717; 1 Sim, & Stu.
607; 1 P. Wms. 570; 1 Sch. & Lef. 553; 1 Vern. 159.
4. But the rule is confined to cases where courts of law cannot give an
adequate remedy. 2 Story on Eq. §718; Eden on Inj. ch. 3, p. 27. Vide,
generally, 2 Story on Eq. ch. 18, §712 to 792; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 96, 148, 184,
211, 495; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 65, 164; Fonb. Eq. b. 1, c. 1, s. 5; Sugd. Vend.
SPECIFICATION, civil law. A term used in the civil law, by which is
meant a person's making a new species or subject from materials belonging to
another. Bouv. Inst. Theolo. ps. 1, c. 1, art. 1, §4, Is. 4, p. 74.
2. When the new species can be again reduced to the matter of which it was
made, the law considers the former mass as still existing, and, therefore, the
new species as an accessory to the former subject; but where the thing made
cannot be so reduced, as in the case of wine, which cannot be again turned into
grapes, there is no place for the fictio juris; and, there, the workmanship
draws after it the property of the material. Inst. 2, 1, 25 Dig. 41, 1, 7, 7.
See Accession; Confusion; Mixtion; and Aso & Man. Inst. B. 2, t. 2, c. 8.
SPECIFICATION, practice, contracts. A particular and detailed account
of a thing: example, in order to obtain a patent for an invention, it is
necessary to file a specification or an instrument of writing, which must lay
open and disclose to the public every part of the process by which the invention
can be made useful if the specification does not contain the whole truth
relative to the discovery, or contains more than is requisite to produce the
desired effect, and the concealment or addition was made for the purpose of
deception, the patent would be void; for if the specification were insufficient
on account of its want of clearness, exactitude or good faith, it would be a
fraud on society that the patentee should obtain a monopoly without giving up
his invention. 2 Kent, Com. 300; 1 Bell's Com. part 2, c. 3, s. 1, p. 112;
Perpigna on Pat. 67; Renouard, Des Brevets d'Inv. 252.
2. In charges against persons accused of military offences, they must be
particularly described and clearly expressed; this is called the specification.
Tytl. on Courts Mart. 109.
SPECIMEN. A sample; a part of something by which the other may be
2. The act of congress of July 4, 1836, section 6, requires the inventor or
discoverer of an invention or discovery to accompany his petition and
specification for a patent with specimens of ingredients, an of the composition
of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment, where the
invention or discovery is of the composition of matter.
SPECULATION, contracts. The hope or desire of making a profit by the
purchase and resale of a thing. Pard. Dr. Com. n. 12. The profit so made; as, be
made a good speculation.
SPEECH. A formal discourse in public.
2. The liberty of speech is guarantied to members of the legislature, to
counsel in court in debate.
3. The reduction of a speech to writing and its publication is a libel, if
the matter contained in it is libelous; and the repetition of it upon occasions
not warranted by law, when the matter is slanderous, wili be slander and. tho
character of the speaker will be no protection to him from an action. 1 M. &
S. 273; 1 Esp. C. 226 Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t. See Debate; Liberty of speech.
SPELLING, The art of putting the proper letters in words.
2. It is a rule that when it appears with certainty what is meant, bad
spelling will not avoid a contract; for example, where a man agreed to pay
thirty pounds, he was held bound to pay thirty pounds; and seutene was holden to
be seventeen. Cro. Jac. 607; 10 Coke, 133, a; 2 Roll. Ab. 147.
3. Even in an indictment undertood has been holden as understood. 1 Chit. Cr.
4. A misspelling of a name in a declaration, will not be sufficient to defeat
the plaintiff, on the ground of variance between the writing produced, and the
declaration, if such name be idem sonans; as Kay for Key. 16 East, 110; 2 Stark.
29; Segrave for Seagrave. 2 Str. 889. See Idem Sonans.
SPENDTHRIFT. By the Rev. Stat. of Vermont, tit. 16, c. 65, s. 9,
spendthrift is defined to be a person who by excessive drinking) gaming,
idleness or debauchery of any kind, shall so spend, waste, or lessen his estate
as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering, or expose the town to
charge or expense, for support of himself or family.
SPERATE. That of which there is hope.
2. In the accounts of an executor and the inventory of the personal assets,
he should distinguish between those assets which are sperate, and those which
are desperate; he will be prima facie responsible for the former, and discharged
for the latter. 1 Chit. Pr. 520; 2 Williams Ex. 644; Toll. Ex. 248. See
SPES RECUPERANDI. The hope of recovery. This term is applied to cases
of capture of an enemy's property as a booty or prize. As between the
belligerent parties, the title to the property taken as a prize passes the
moment there is no longer any hope of recovery. 2 Burr. Rep. 683. Vide Infra
praesidea; Jus Postliminy; Bopty; Piize.
SPINSTER. An addition given, in legal writings, to a woman who never
was married. Lovel. on Wills, 269.
SPLITTING A CAUSE OF ACTION. The bringing an action for only a part of
the cause of action. This is not permitted either at law nor in equity. 4 Bouv.
Inst. n. 4167.
SPOLIATION, Eng. eccl. law. The name of a suit sued out in the
spiritual court to recover for the fruits of the church, or for the church
itself. F. N. B. 85.
2. It is also a waste of church property by an ecclesiastical person. 3 Bl.
SPOLIATION, torts. Destruction of a thing by the act of a stranger;
as, the erasure or alteration of a writing by the act of a stranger, is called
spoliation. This has not the effect to destroy its character or legal effect. 1
Greenl. Ev. §566. 2. By spoliation is also understood the total destruction of a
thing; as, the spoliation of papers, by the captured party, is generally
regarded as proof of. guilt, but in America it is open to explanation, except in
certain cases where there is a vehement presumption of bad faith. 2 Wheat. 227,
241; 1 Dods. Adm. 480, 486. See Alteration.
SPONSALIA, or STIPULATIO SPONSALITIA. A promise lawfully made between
persons capable of marrying each other, that at some future time they will
marry. See Espousals; Ersk. Inst. B. 1, t. 6, n. 3.
SPONSIONS, international law. Agreements or engagements made by
certain public officers, as generals or admirals, in time of war, either without
author-ity, or by exceeding the limits of authority under which they purport to
2. Before these conventions can have any binding authority on the state, they
must be confirmed by express or tacit ratification. The former is given in
positive terms and in the usual forms; the latter is justly implied from the
fact of acting under the agreement as if bound by it, and from any other
circumstance from which an assent may be fairly presumed. Wheat. Intern. Law,
pt. 3, c. 2, §3; Grotius, de Jur. Bel. ac Pac. 1. 2, c. 15, §16; Id. 1. 3, c.
22, 1-3: Vattel, Law of Nat, B. 2, c. 14, 209 -212; Wolff, 1156.
SPONSOR, civil law. He who intervenes for another voluntarily and
without being requested. The engagement which he enters into is only accessory
to the principal. Vide Dig. 17, 1, 18; Nov. 4, ch. 1 Code de Com. art. 158, 159;
Code Nap. 1236 Wolff, Inst. §1556.
SPRING. A fountain.
2. The owner of the soil has the exclusive right to use a spring arising on
his grounds. When another has an easement, or right to draw water from such a
spring, acquired by grant or prescription, if the spring fails the easement
ceases, but if it returns, the right revives.
3. The waters which flow from the spring give rise to a variety of
diffi-culties, the principal of which are, 1st. The owner of the inheritance in
which the spring arises turns their course. The owner of the inferior estate,
whose, meadow they fertilized, and who is deprived of them, claiming the right
to them. 2d. The owner of the spring does not prevent the water from flowing on
the inferior estate, but gives them a new direction injurious to it. 3d. The
owner of the superior inheritance disposes of the water in such a way as to
deprive the owner of the estate below him. The rights of these different owners
will be separately considered.
4. - l. The owner of land on which there is a natural spring, has a right to
use it for domestic and culinary purposes and for watering his cattle, and he
may make an aqueduct to another part of his land, and use all the water required
to keep the aqueduct in order, or to keep the water pure. 15 Conn. 366. He may
also use it for irrigation, provided the volume be not materially decreased.
Ang. W. C. 34. Vide Irrigation; and 1 Root, 535; 2 Watts. 327; 2 Hill, S. C.
634; Coxe, 460; 2 Dev. & Bat. 50; 9 Conn. 291; 3 Pick. 269; 13 Mass. 420; 8
Mass. 136; 8 Greenl. 253.
5. - 2. The owner of the spring cannot lawfully turn the current or give it a
new direction. He is bound to let it enter the inferior estate on the same level
it has been accustomed to, and at the same place; for every man is entitled to a
stream of water flowing through his land, without diminution or alteration. 6
East, 206; 2 Conn. 584. Vide 3 Rawle, 84 12 Wend. 330; 10 Conn. 213; 14 Verm.
6. - 3. The owner of the superior inheritance, or of the land on which there
is a spring, has no right to deprive the owner of the estate below him; 1
Yeates, 574; 5 Pick. 175; 3 Har. & John. 231; 12 Verm. 178; 13 Conn. 303; 3
Scam. 492; nor can be detain the water unreasonably. 17 John. 306; 2 B. C. 910.
Vide Ham. N. P. 199; 1 Dall. 211; 3 Rawle's R. 256; Jus Aquaeductus; Pool;
Stagnum; Back Water; lrrigation, Mill; Rain Water; Water Course.
SPRINGING USE, estates. One to arise on a future event, when no
preceding estate is limited, and does not take effect in derogation of any
preceding interest. Example: a grant is made to A in fee, to the use of B in
fee, after the fourth of July; no use arises till the limited period. The use in
the mean time results to the grantor, who has a determinable fee. A springing
use differs from a resulting use, (q. v.) or a shifting use. (q. v.) 4 Kent,
Com. 292; Com. Dig. Uses, K 7 Wils. on Springing Uses; Corn. on Uses, 91; 2
Bouv. Inst. n. 1889.
SPY. One who goes into a place for the purpose of ascertaining the
best way of doing an injury there.
2. The term is mostly applied to an enemy who comes into the camp for the
purpose of ascertaining its situation in order to make an attack upon it. The
punishment for, this crime is death. See Articles of War, 1 Story's Laws U. S.
992; Vattel, Droit des Gens. liv. 3, §179.
SQUATTER. One who settles on the lands of others without any legal
author-ity; this term is applied particularly to persons who settle on the
public land. 3 Mart. N. S. 293.
TO STAB. To make a wound with a pointed instrument; a stab differs
from a cut, (q. v.) or a wound. (q. v.) Russ. & Ry. 356; Russ. on Cr. 597;
Bac. Ab. Maihem, B.
STAGNUM, estates. A pool. It is said to consist of land and water, and
therefore by the name of stagnum, the water and the land may be passed. Co.
STAKEHOLDER, contracts. A third person, chosen by two or more persons,
to keep in deposit property, the right or possession of which is contested
between them and to be delivered to the one who shall establish his right to it.
Thus each of them is considered as depositing the whole thing. This
distin-guishes this contract from that which takes place when two or more
tenants in common deposit a thing with a bailee. Domat, Lois Civ. liv. 1, t. 7,
s. 4; 1 Vern. R. 44, n. 1.
2. A person having in his hands money or other property claimed by several
others, is considered in equity as a stakeholder. 1 Vern. R. 144.
3. The duties of a stakeholder are to deliver the thing holden by him to the
person entitled to it on demand. It is frequently questionable who is entitled
to it. In case of an unlawful wager, although be may be justified for delivering
the thing to the winner, by the express or implied consent of the loser; 8,
John. 147; yet if before the event has happened he has been required by either
party to give up the thing deposited with him by such party, he is bound so to
deliver it; 3 Taunt. 377; 4 Taunt. 492; or if, after the event has happened, the
losing party give notice to the stakeholder not to pay the winner, a payment
made to him afterwards will be made in his own wrong, and the party who
deposited the money or thing may recover it from the stakeholder. 16 S. & R.
147; 7 T. R. 536; 8 T. R. 575; 4 Taunt. 474; 2 Marsh. 542. See 3 Penns. R. 468;
4 John. 426; 5 Wend. 250; 2 P. A. Browne, 182; 1 Bailey, 486, 503. See Wagers.
STALE DEMAND. A stale demand is a claim which has been for a long time
undemanded; as, for example, where there his been a delay of twelve years,
unexplained. 3 Mason, 161.
STAMP, revenue. An impression made on paper, by order of the
government, which must be used in reducing certain contracts to writing, for The
purpose of raising a revenue. Vide Stark. Ev. h. t.; 1 Phil. Ev. 444.
2. Maryland is the only state in the United States that has enacted a stamp.
TO STAND. To abide by a thing; to submit to a decision; to comply with
an agreement; to have validity, as the judgment must stand.
STAND SEISED TO USES. This phrase is frequently used in relation to
conveyances under the statute of uses. A covenant to stand seised to uses is a
species of conveyance which derives its effect from the statute of uses, by
which a man, seised of lands, covenants, in consideration of blood or marriage,
that he will stand seised of the same, to the use of his child, wife, or
kinsman, for life, in tail or in fee. 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 2080.