BILLS PAYABLE, COMMERCE. Engagements which a merchant has
entered into in writing, and which he is to pay on their becoming
due. Pard. n. 85.
BILLS RECEIVABLE, Commerce. Promissory notes, bills of exchange,
bonds, and other evidences or securities which a merchant or trader holds, and
which are payable to him. Pard. n. 85.
BILLA VERA, practice. When the proceedings of the courts were recorded
in Latin, and the grand jury found a bill of indictment to be supported
by the evidence, they indorsed on it billa vera; now they indorse
in plain English " a true bill."
TO BIND, BINDING, contracts. These words are applied to
the contract entered into, between a master and an apprentice the
latter is said to be bound.
2. In order to make a good binding, the consent of the apprentice
must be had, together with that of his father, next friend, or some
one standing in loco parentis. Bac. Ab. Master and Servant, A; 8
John. 328; 2 Pen. 977; 2 Yerg. 546 1 Ashmead, 123; 10 Sergeant &
Rawle, 416 1 Massachusetts, 172; 1 Vermont, 69. Whether a father
has, by the common law, a right to bind out his child, during his
minority without his consent, seems not to be settled. 2 Dall. 199;
7 Mass. 147; 1 Mason, 78; 1 Ashm. 267. Vide Apprentice; Father;
3. The words to bind or binding, are also used to signify that
a thing is subject to an obligation, engagement or liability; as,
the judgment binds such an estate. Vide Lien.
TO BIND, OR TO BIND OVER, crim. law. The act by which a
magistrate or a court hold to bail a party, accused of a crime or
2. A person accused may be bound over to appear at a court having
jurisdiction of the offence charged, to answer; or he may be bound
over to be of good behaviour, (q. v.) or to keep the peace. See
Surety of the Peace.
3. On refusing to enter into the requisite recognizance, the accused
may be committed to prison.
BIPARTITE. Of two parts. This term is used in conveyancing
as, this indenture bipartite, between A, of the one part, and B,
of the other part. But when there are only two parties, it is not
necessary to use this word.
BIRRETUM or BIRRETUS. A cap or coif used formerly in England,
by judges and sergeants at law. Spelm. h. t.; Cunn. Dict. Vide Coif.
BIRTH. The act of being wholly brought into the world. The
whole body must be detached from that of the mother, in order to
make the birth complete. 5 C. & P. 329; S. C. 24 E. C. L. R.
344 6 C. & P. 349; S. C. 25 E. C. L. R. 433.
2. But if a child be killed with design and maliciously after it
has wholly come forth from the body of the mother, although still
connected with her by means of the umbilical cord, it seems that
such killing will be murder. 9 C. & P. 25 S . C. 38 E. C. L.
R. 21; 7 C. & P. 814. Vide articles Breath; Dead Born; Gestation;
Life; and 1 Beck' s Med. Jur. 478, et seq.; 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 438;
7 C. & P. 814; 1 Carr. & Marsh. 650; S. C. 41 E. C. L. R.
352; 9 C. & P. 25.
3. It seems that unless the cbild be born alive, it is not properly
a birth, but a carriage. 1 Chit. Pr. 35, note z. But see Russ. &
Ry. C. C. 336.
BISAILE, domestic relations. A corruption of the French
word besaieul, the father of the grandfather or grandmother. In
Latin he is called proavus. Inst. 3, 6, 3 Dig. 38, 10, 1, 5. Vide
BISHOP. An ecclesiastical officer, who is the chief of the
clergy of his diocese, and is the archbishop's assistant. Happily
for this country, these officers are not recognized by law. They
derive all their authority from the churches over which they preside.
Bishop's COURT, Eng. law. An ecclesiastical court held in the cathedral
of each diocese, the judge of which is the bishop's chancellor.
BISHOPRICK, eccl. law. The extent of country over which
a bishop has jurisdiction a see; a diocese. For their origin, see
Francis Duarenus de sacris Eccles. Ministeriis ac beneficiis, lib.
1, cap. 7; Abbe Fleury, 2d Discourse on Ecclesiastical History,
BISSEXTILE. The day which is added every fourth year to
the month of February, in order to make the year agree with the
course of the sun. It is called bissextile, because in the Roman
calendar it was fixed on the sixth day before the calends of March,
(which answers to the 24th day of February,) and this day was counted
twice; the first was called bissextus prior, and the other bissextus
posterior, but the latter was properly called bissextile or intersalary
day. Although the name bissextile is still retained in its obsolete
import, we intercalate the 29th of February every fourth Year, which
is called leap year; and for still greater accuracy, make only one
leap year out of every four centenary years. The years 1700 and
1800 were not leap years, nor will the .year A. D. 1900 be reckoned
as one, but the year A. D. 2000 will be a leap year or bissextile.
For a learned account of the Julian and Gregorian calendars, see
Histoire du Calendrier Romain, by Mons. Blondel; also, Savigny Dr.
Rom. §192; and Brunacci's Tract on Navigation, 275, 6. BLACK ACT,
English law. An act of parliament made in the 9 Geo. II., which
tears this name, to punish certain marauders who committed great
outrages, in disguise, and with black faces. See Charlt. R. 166.
BLACK BOOK OF THE ADMIRALTY. An ancient book compiled in
the reign of Edw. III. It has always been deemed of the highest
authority in matters concerning the admiralty. It contains the laws
of Oleron, At large; a view of the crimes and offences cognizable
in the admiralty; ordinances and commentaries on matters of prize
and maritime torts, injuries and contracts, 2 Gall. R. 404.
BLACK BOOK OP THE EXCHEQUER. The name of a book kept in
the English exchequer, containing a collection of treaties) conventions,
BLACK MAIL. When rents were reserved payable in work, grain,
and the like, they were called reditus nigri, or black mail, to
distinguish them from white rents or blanch farms, or such as were
paid in money. Vide Alba firma.
BLANCH FIRMES. The same as white rent. (q. v.)
BLANK. A space left in writing to be filled, up with one
or more words, in order to make sense. 1. In what cases the ambiguity
occasioned by blanks not filled before execution of the writing
may be explained 2. in what cases it cannot be explained.
2. - 1. When a blank is left in a written agreement which need
not -have been reduced to writing, and would have been equally binding
whether written or unwritten, it is presumed, in an action for the
non-performance of the contract, parol evidence might be admitted
to explain the blank. And where a written instrument, which was
made professedly to record a fact, is produced as evidence of that
fact which it purports to record, and a blank appears in a material
part, the omission may be supplied by other proof. 1 Phil. Ev. 475
1 Wils. 215; 7 Verm. R. 522; 6 Verm. R. 411. Hence a blank left
in an award for a name, was allowed to be supplied by parol proof.
2 Dall. 180. But where a creditor signs a deed of composition leaving
the amount of his debt in blank, he binds himself to all existing
debts. 1 B. & A. 101; S. C. 2 Stark. R. 195.
3. - 2. If a blank is left in a policy of insurance for the name
of the place of destination of a ship, it will avoid the policy.
Molloy, b. 2, c. 7, s. 14; Park, Ins. 22; Wesk. Ins. 42. A paper
signed and sealed in blank, with verbal authority to. fill it up,
which is afterwards done, is void, unless afterwards delivered or
acknowledged and adopted. 1 Yerg. 69, 149; 1 Hill, 267 2 N. &
M. 125; 2 Brock. 64; 2 Dev. 379 1 Ham. 368; 6 Gill & John. 250;
but see contra, 17 S. & R. 438. Lines ought to be drawn wherever
there are blanks, to prevent anything from being inserted afterwards.
2 Valin's Comm. 151.
4. When the filling up blanks after the execution of deeds and
other writings will vitiate them or not, see 3 Vin. Abr. 268; Moore,
547; Cro. Eliz. 626; 1 Vent. 185; 2 Lev. 35; 2 Ch. R. 187; 1 Anst.
228; 5 Mass. 538; 4 Binn. 1; 9 Crancb, 28; Yelv. 96; 2 Show. 161;
1 Saund. Pl. & Ev. 77; 4 B. & A. 672; Com. Dig. Fait, F
1; 4 Bing. 123; 2 Hill. Ab. c. 25, §80; n. 33, §54-and 72; 1 Ohio,
R. 368; 4 Binn. R. 1; 6 Cowen, 118; Wright, 176.
BLANK BAR, pleading. The same with that called a common
bar, whicb, in an action of trespass, is put in to oblige the plaintiff
to assign the certain' place where the trespass was committed. Cro.
Jac. 594, pl. 16.
BLANK INDORSEMENT, contrad. An indorsement which does not
mention the name of the person in whose favor it is made; it is
usually made by writing the name of the indorser on the back of
the bill. Chit. Bills, 170.
2. When a bill or note has been indorsed in blank, its negotiability
cannot afterwards be restrained. 1 Esp. N. P. Cas. 180; 1 Bl. Rep.
295. As many persons as agree may join in suing on a bill when indorsed
in blank; for although it was given to one alone, yet by allowing
the others to join in the suit, he has 'Made them sharers in his
rights. 8 Camp. N. P. Cas. 239. Vide Indorsement; Negotiable paper;
BLASPHEMY, crim. law. To attribute to God that which is
contrary to his nature, and does not belong to him, and to deny
what does or it is a false reflection uttered with a malicious,
design of reviling God. Elym's Pref. to vol. 8, St. Tr.
2. This offence has been enlarged in Pennsylvania, and perhaps
most of the states, by statutory provision. Vide Christianity; 11
Serg. & Rawle, 394. In England all blasphemies against God,
the Christian religion, the Holy Scriptures, and malicious revilings
of the established church, are punishable by indictment. 1 East,
P. C. 3; 1 Russ. on Cr. 217.
3. In France, before the 25th of September, 1791, it was a blasphemy
also to speak against the holy virgin and the saints, to deny one's
faith, to speak with impiety of holy things, and to swear by things
sacred. Merl. Rep. h. t. The law relating to blasphemy in that country
was totally repealed by the code of 25th of September, 1791, and
its present penal code, art. 262, enacts, that any person who, by
words or gestures, shall commit any outrage upon objects of public
worship, in the places designed or actually employed for the performance
of its rites, or shall assault or insult the ministers of such worship
in the exercise of their functions, shall be fined from sixteen
to five hundred francs, and be imprisoned for a period not less
than fifteen days nor more than six months.
4. The civil law forbad the crime of blasphemy; such, for example,
as to swear by the hair or the head of God; and it punished its
violation with death. Si enim contra homines factae blasphemiae
impunitae non relinquuntur; multo magis qui ipsum Deum Blasphemant,
digni sunt supplicia sustinere. Nov. 77, ch. 1, §1.
5. In Spain it is blasphemy not only to speak against God and his
government, but to utter injuries against the Virgin Mary and the
saints. Senen Villanova Y Manes, Materia Criminal, forense, Observ.
11, cap. 3, n
BLIND. One who is deprived of the faculty of seeing.
2. Persons who are blind may enter into contracts and make wills
like others. Carth. 53; Barn. 19, 23; 3 Leigh, R. 32. When an attesting
witness becomes blind, his handwriting may be proved as if he were
dead. 1 Stark. Ev. 341. But before proving his handwriting the witness
must be produced, if within the jurisdiction of the court, and examined.
Ld. Raym. 734; 1 M. & Rob. 258; 2 M. & Rob. 262.
BLOCKADE, international law. The actual investment of a
port or place by a hostile force fully competent to cut off all
communication therewith, so arranged or disposed as to be able to
apply its force to every point of practicable access or approach
to the port or place so invested.
2. It is proper here to consider, 1. by what authority a blockade
can be established; 2. what force is sufficient to constitute a
blockade; 3. the consequences of a violation of the blockade.
>3. - 1. Natural sovereignty confers the right of declaring
war, ana the right which nations at war have of destroying or capturing
each other's citizens, subjects or goods, imposes on neutral nations
the obligation not to interfere with the exercise of this right
within the rules prescribed by the law of nations. A declaration
of a siege or blockade is an act of sovereignty, 1 Rob. Rep. 146;
but a direct declaration by the sovereign authority of the besieging
belligerent is not always requisite; particularly when the blockade
is on a distant station; for its officers may have power, either
expressly or by implication, to institute such siege or blockade.
6 Rob. R. 367.
4. - 2. To be sufficient, the blockade must be effective, and made
known. By the convention of the Baltic powers of 1780, and again
in 1801, and by the ordinance of congress of 1781, it is required
there should be a number of vessels stationed near enough to the
port to make the entry apparently dangerous. The government of the
United States has, uniformly insisted, that the blockade should
be effective by the presence of a competent force, stationed and
present, at or near the entrance of the port. 1 Kent, Com. 145,
and the authorities by him cited; and see 1 Rob. R. 80; 4 Rob. R.
66; 1 Acton's R. 64, 5; and Lord Erskine's speech, 8th March, 1808,
on the orders in council, 10 Cobber's Parl. Debates, 949, 950. But
"it is not an accidental absence of the blockading force, nor the
circumstance of being blown off by wind, (if the suspension and
the-reason of the suspension are known,) that will be sufficient
in law to remove a blockade." But negligence or remissness on the
part of the cruizers stationed to maintain the blockade, may excuse
persons, under circumstances, for violating the blockade. 3 Rob.
R. 156 .) 1 Acton's R. 59. To involve a neutral in the consequences
of violating a blockade, it is indispensable that he should have
due notice of it: this information may be communicated to him in
two ways; either actually, by a formal notice from the blockading
power, or constructively by notice to his government, or by the
notoriety of the fact. 6 Rob. R. 367; 2 Rob. R. 110; Id. 111, note;
Id. 128; 1 Acton's R. 6 1.
4. - 3. In considering the consequences of the violation of a blockade,
it is proper to take a view of what will amount to such a violation,
and, then, of its effects. As all criminal acts require an intention
to commit them, the party must intend to violate the blockade, or
his acts will be perfectly innocent; but this intention will be
judged of by the circumstances. This violation may be, either, by
going into the place blockaded, or by coming out of it with a cargo
laden after the commencement of the blockade. Also placing himself
so near a blockaded port as to be in a condition to slip in without
observation, is a violation of the blockade, and raises the presumption
of a criminal intent. 6 Rob. R. 30, 101, 182; 7 John. R. 47; 1 Edw.
R. 202; 4 Cranch, 185. The sailing for a blockaded port, knowing
it to be blockaded, is, it seems, such an act as may charge the
party with a breach of the blockade. 5 Cranch, 335 9 Cranch, 440,
446; 1 Kent, Com. 150. When the ship has contracted guilt by a breach
of the blockade, she may be taken at any time before the end of
her voyage, but the penalty travels no further than the end of her
return voyage. 2 Rob. R. 128; 3 Rob. R. 147. When taken, the ship
is confiscated; and the cargo is always, prima facie, implicated
in the guilt of the owner or master of the ship and the burden of
rebutting the presumption that the vessel was going in for the benefit
of the cargo, and with the direction of the owners, rests with them.
1 Rob. R. 67, 130 3 Rob. R. 173 4 Rob. R. 93; 1 Edw. It 39. Vide,
generally, 2 Bro. Civ. & Adm. Law, 314 Chit. Com. Law, Index,
h. t.; Chit. Law of Nations, 128 to 147; 1 Kent's Com. 143 to 151;
Marsh. Ins. Index, h. t.; Dane's Ab. Index, h. t.; Mann. Com. B.
3, c. 9.
BLOOD, kindred. This word, in the law sense, is used to
signify relationship, stock, or family; as, of the blood of the
ancestor. 1 Roper on Leg. 103; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 365. In a more
extended sense, it means kindred generally. Bac. Max. Reg. 18.
2. Brothers and sisters are said to be of the whole blood, (q.
v.) if they have the same father and mother of the half blood, (q.
v.) if they have only one parent in common. 5 Whart. Rep. 477.
BLOTTER, mer. law. A book among merchants, in which entries
of sales, &c.;are first made.
2. This book, containing the original entries, is received in evidence,
when supported by the oaths or affirmations of those who keep it.
See Original entry.
BOARD. This word is used to designate all the magistrates
of a city or borough, or all the managers or directors of any institution;
as, the board of aldermen; the board of directors of the Bank of
North America. The majority of the board have in general the power
to perform the acts of the whole board, but sometimes they are restrained
by their charters, and it requires a greater number to perform certain
BOARD OF CIVIL AUTHORITY. A used in Vermont. This board
is composed of the selectmen and justices of the peace of their
respective towns. They are authorized to abate taxes, and the like.
BOCKLAND, Eng. law. The name of an ancient allodial tenure,
which was exempt from feudal services. Bac. Ab. Gavelkind, A Spelman's
English Works, vol. 2, 233.