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A DICTIONARY of the Laws of England, undertaken with the view of arranging properly, with regard to matter and method, and at the same time compressing into a narrow compass, the substance of the many voluminous works written on the Statute and Common Law, cannot, it is presumed, fail to be acceptable to every one, in any manner engaged in a practical department of the law.
Bat the author of this work, has not confined it solely to the use of the professional man . It has been both his aim and wish, to render it equally serviceable to the mer. chant and trader; who, amidst the variety of business, have little leisure to consult those elaborate works which com. prehend aod elucidate commercial legislation, and the al. most inexpressibly diversified cases which have been deter. mined constructive of those laws: for their use, therefore, the most eminent writers on the Bankrupt Laws, the Law of Insurance, Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes, &c. have been carefully consulted, and their most essential con. tents briefly given.
The country gentleman will here also find the nature of tenures fully explained under their proper heads, and the County Courts, Courts Barons, Courts Leet, Game, and Tithes, concisely but clearly treated.
To the professional man, it is not meant to insist, that this production can possibly answer all the purposes of the
voluminous library of the lawyer; but as the authorities cited in support of the authenticity of the respective arti. cles, are particularly referred to, it will serve him as a complete index, by which he may be enabled immediately to direct his attention to any point under consideration.
ABACTORS, drivers away, and stealers of cattle, or beasts, in herds or great numbers.
ABATE, to overthrox, demolish, destroy, or beat down.
ABATEMENT, in its most general signification, relates to write er plaints, and signifies the quashing or destroying the plaintiff's writ or plaint, but it is used by our law in three different senses, a Inst. 134. b. 27.
The First is, that of removing a public or private nuisance. Thus, if a new gate be erected across the king's highway (which is a pablie awisance), any of the king's subjects passing that way may cut it domu and destroy it. Or, if a house or wall be erected so near to mine that it stop my ancient lights (which is a private nuisance), I may enter my veighbour's land, and peaceably pull it down. And the reason w by the law allows this summary method of doing one's self justice, is, because injuries of this kind require an immediate remedy, and cannot wait for the slow progress of the ordinary forms of justice. 3 Black, 5.
The second is the defeating or overthroving of an action, by some defect in the proceedings. The chief pleas in abatement are-1. To the jurisdiction of the court, 2. To the person of the plaintifi.3. To the person of the defendant, Outlawry Excominunication, Alienaçe or Alaint, Privilege, Misnomer, or Addition.-4. To the writ and action-5. To the count, or declaration 6. By the demise of the king, and by the marriage, or death of the parties. For these and many other causes, the defendant oftentimes prays that the sujt
of the plaintiff may for that time cease. And in case of abatement in these respects, all writs and process must begin de novo. In the case of an indictment, or a criminal process, the defendant may plead an abatement, that his name is not is in the indictment specified, or that they have given him a wrong addition, as yeoman, instead of gentleman; and, if the jury, find it șo, the indictment shall abate. But he who takes advantage of a flat, must at the same time shew how it may be amended, so as to give the plaintiff a better writ; which is the intent of all pleas in abatement. 4 Black. 355. Finch 363. 4 Durnf. and East 227.
As pleas in abatement enter not into the merits of the cause, but are dilatory, it is enacted, by the statute of 4 and 5 Ann. c. 16, that no dilatory plea be received unless upon oath, and probable cause shewn to the court: that no plea in abatement be received after a respondcas ouster, 2 Saund. 41 ; that they are to be pleaded before imparlance; that when issue is joined on them, if it be found against him who pleads such dila tory plea, it should be peremptory. I Lule. 178. 2 Lutw. 1137. 2 Show. Rep. 42.
The Third is, where the rightful possession or freehold of the heir, or devisee, is defeated or overthrown by the intervention of a stranger. And herein it differs from intrusion, which is the entry of a stranger, after a particular estate of freehold is determined before him io remainder, or reversion. An abatement, is always to the prejudice of the heir or immediate devisee; an intrusion is always to the prejudice of the remainder-man or reversioner. The remedy in abatement or intrusion, may be entry, without the parties being compelled to bring their action : for, as the entry of the wrong-doer was unlawful, it may be remedied by the mere entry of bim who hath right. 8 Black. 175.
ABBA'T, or ABBOT, a spiritual lord or governor, having the rule of a religious house. Of these in England, some were elective, some presentative, some mitred, aod others not. Those who were mitred, had episcopal authority within their limits, and were exempted from jurisdiction of the diocesan, but the other abbots, subject to the diocon san, in all spiritual government.
ABBEY-LANDS, before the dissolution of the monasteries, were many of them discharged from the payment of tythes, so long as they remained in the hands of, and were cultivated by the religious soci. eties, and not by their tenants and lessees. These exemptions were continued to the possessors of the said lands by the act of 31 Flen. 8, c. 18, s. 2. This act also created an unity of the possession of the parsonage and land tytheable, in the same hands and though many of the files of discharge are uow lost, yet if the lands of a religious house