LEGALIS HOMO. A person who stands rectus in curia, who possesses all
his civil rights. A lawful man. One who stands rectus in curia, not outlawed nor
infamous. In this sense are the words probi et legates homines.
LEGANTINE CONSTITUTIONS. The name of a code of ecclesiastical laws,
enacted in national synods under Pope Gregory IX., and Pope Clement IV., about
the years from 1220 to 1230.
LEGATARY. One to whom anything is bequeathed; a legatee. This word is
sometimes though seldom used to designate a legate or nuncio.
LEGATION. An embassy; a mission.
2. All persons attached to a foreign legation, lawfully acknowledged by the
government of this country, whether they are ambassadors, envoys, winisters, or
attaches, are protected by the act of April 30, 1790, 1 Story's L. U. S. 83,
from violence, arrest or molestation. 1 Dall. 117; 1 W. C. C. R. 232; 11 Wheat.
467; 2 W. C. C. Rep. 435; 4 W. C. C. R. 531; 1 Miles, 366; 1 N & M. 217; 1
Bald. 240; Wheat. Int. Law, 167. Vide Ambassador; Envoy; Minister.
LEGATORY, dead man's part or share. (q. v.) The third part of a
freeman's personal estate, which by the custom of London, in case he had a wife
and children, the freeman might always have disposed of by will. Bac. Ab.
Customs of London, D 4.
LEGISLATIVE POWER. The authority under the constitution to make laws
and to alter or repeal them.
LEGISLATOR. One who makes laws.
2. In order to make good laws, it is necessary to understand those which are
in force; the legislator ought therefore, to be thoroughly imbued with a
knowledge of the laws of his country, their advantages and defects; to legislate
without this previous knowledge is to attempt to make a beautiful piece of
machinery with one's eye shut. There is unfortunately too strong a propensity to
multiply our laws and to change them. Laws must be yearly made, for the
legislatures meet yearly but whether they are always for the better may be well
questioned. A mutable legislation is always attended with evil. It renders the
law uncertain, weakens its effects, hurts credit, lessens the value of property,
and as they are made frequently, in consequence of some extraordinary case, laws
sometimes operate very unequally. Vide 1 Kent, Com. 227 and Le Magazin
Universel, tome ii. p. 227, for a good article against excessive legislation;
Matter, De l'Influence des Lois sur les Moeurs, et de l'Influence des Moeurs sur
LEGISLATURE, government. That body of men in the state which has the
power of making laws.
2. By the Constitution of the United States, art. 1, s. 1, all legislative
powers granted by it are vested in a congress of the United States, which shall
consist of a senate and house of representatives.
3. It requires the consent of a majority of each branch of the legislature in
order to enact a law, and then it must be approved by the president of the
United States, or in case of his refusal, by two-thirds of each house. Const. U.
S. art. 1, s. 7, 2.
4. Most of the constitutions of the several states, contain provisions nearly
similar to this. In general, the legislature will not exercise judicial
functions; yet the use of supreme power upon particular occasions, is not
without example. Vide Judicial.
LEGITIMACY. The state of being born in wedlock; that is, in a lawful
2. Marriage is considered by all civilized nations as the only source of
legitimacy; the qualities of husband and wife must be possessed by the parents
in order to make the offspring legitimate; and furthermore the marriage must be
lawful, for if it is void ab initio, the children who may be the offspring of
such marriage are not legitimate. 1 Phil. Ev. Index, h. t.; Civ. Code L. art.
203 to 216.
3. In Virginia, it is provided by statute of 1787, "that the issue of
marriages deemed null in law, shall nevertheless be legitimate." 3 Hen. &
Munf. 228, n.
4. A conclusive, presumption of legitimacy arises from marriage and
cohabitation; and proof of the mother's irregularities will not destroy this
presumption: pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant. To rebut this presumption,
circumstances must be shown which render it impossible that the husband should
be the father, as impotency and the like. 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 300-2. Vide Bastard;
Bastardy; Paternity; Pregnancy.
LEGITIMATE. That which is according to law; as, legitimate children,
are lawful children, born in wedlock, in contradistinction to bastards;
legitimate autbority, or lawful power, in opposition to usurpation.
LEGITIMATION. The act of giving the character of legitimate cbildren
to those who were not so born.
2. In Louisiana, the Civil Code, art. 217, enacts that "children born out of
marriage, except those who are born of an incestuous or adulterous connexion,
may be legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their father and mother
whenever the latter have legally acknowledged them for their children, either
before their marriage, or by the contract of marriage itself."
3. In most of the other states the character of legitimate children is given
to those who are not so, by special acts of assembly. In Georgia, real estate
may descend from a mother to her illegitimate children and their
representatives, and from such child, for want of descendants, to brothers and
sisters, born of the same mother, and their representatives. Prince's Dig. 202.
In Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Vermont and Virginia, subsequent marriages of
parents, and recognition by the father, legitimatize an illegitimate child and
in Massachusetts, for all purposes except inheriting from their kindred. Mass.
Rev. St. 414.
4. The subsequent marriage of parents legitimatizes the child in Illinois,
but he must be afterwards acknowledged. The same rule seems to have been adopted
in Indiana and Missouri. An acknowledgment of illegitimate children, of itself,
legitimatizes in Ohio, and in Michigan and Mississippi marriage alone between
the reputed parents has the same effcct. In Maine, a bastard inherits to one who
is legally adjudged, or in writing owns himself to be the father. A bastard may
be legitimated in North Carolina, on application of the putative father to
court, either where he has married the mother, or she is dead, or married
another or lives out of the state. In a number of the states, namely, in
Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts,
Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia,
a bastard takes by descent from his mother, with modifications regulated by the
laws of these states. 2 Hill, Ab. s. 24 to 35, and the authori-ties there
referred to. Vide Bastard; Bastardy; Descent.
LEGITIME, civil law. That portion of a parent's estate of which he
cannot disinherit his children, without a legal cause. The civil code of
Louisiana declares that donations inter vivos or mortis causa cannot exceed
two-thirds of the property of the disposer if he leaves at his decease a
legitimate child; one half if he leaves two children; and one-third if he leaves
three or a greater number. Under the name of children are included descendants
of wbatever degree they may be; it must be understood that they are only counted
for the child they represent. Civil. Code of Lo. art. 1480.
3. Donation inter vivos or mortis causa, cannot exceed two-thirds of the
property if the disposer having no children have a father, mother, or both. Id.
art. 1481. Where there are no descendants, and in case of the previous decease
of the father and mother, donations inter vivos and mortis causa, may, in
general, be made of the whole amount of the property of the disposer. Id. art.
1483. The Code Civil makes nearly similar previsions. Code Civ. L. 3, t. 2, c.
3, s. 1, art. 913 to 919.
4. In Holland, Germany, and Spain, the principles of the Falcidian law, more
or less limited, have been generally adopted. Coop. Just. 616.
5. In the United States, other than Louisiana and in England, there is no
restriction on the right of bequeathing. But this power of bequeathing did not
originally extend to all a man's personal estate; on the contrary, by the common
law, as it stood in the reian of Henry II, a man's goods were to be divided into
three equal parts, one of which went to his heirs or lineal descendants, another
to his wife, and the third was at his own disposal; or if he died without a
wife, he might then dispose of one moiety, and the other went to his children;
and so e converso if he had no children, the wife was entitled to one moiety,
and he might bequeath the other; but if he died without either wife or issue,
the whole was at his own disposal. Glanv. 1. 2, c. 6;, Bract. 1. 2, c. 26. The
shares of the wife and children were called their reasonable part. 2 Bl. Comm.
491-2. See Death's part; Falcidian law.
LENDER, contracts. He from whom a thing is borrowed.
2. The contract of loan confers rights, and imposes duties on the lender. 1.
The lender has the right to revoke the loan at his mere pleasure; 9 Cowen, R.
687; 8 Johns. Rep. 432; 1 T. R. 480; 2 Campb. Rep. 464; and is deemed the owner
or proprietor of the thing during the period of the loan; so that au action for
a trespass or conversion will lie in favor of the lender against a stranger, who
has obtained a wrongful possession, or has made a wrongful conversion of the
thing loaned; as mere gratuitous permission to a third person to use a chattel
does not, in contemplation of the common law, take it out of the possession of
the owner. 11 Johns. Rep. 285; 7 Cowen, Rep. 753; 9 Cowen, Rep. 687; 2 Saund.
Rep. 47 b; 8 Johns. Rep. 432; 13 Johns. Rep. 141, 661; Bac. Abr. Trespass, c 2;
Id. Trover, C 2. And in this the Civil agrees with the common law. Dig. 13, 6,
6, 8; Pothier, PrĒt Ö, Usage, ch. 1, §1, art. 2, n. 4; art. 3, n. 9; Ayliffe's
Pand. B. 4, t. 16, p. 517; Domat, B. 1, t. 5, §1, n. 4; and so does the Scotch
law. Ersk. Pr. Laws of Scotl. B. 3, t. 1 §8.
3. - 2. In the civil law, the first obligation on the part of the lender, is
to suffer the borrower to use and enjoy the thing loaned during the time of the
loan, according to the original intention. Such is not the doctrine of the
common law. 9 Cowen, Rep. 687. The lender is obliged by the civil law to
reimburse the borrower the extraordinary expenses to which he has been put for
the preservation of the thing lent. And in such a case, the borrower would have
a lien on the thing, and may detain it, until these extraordinary expenses are
paid, and the lender cannot, even by an abandonment of the thing to the
borrower, excuse himself from re-payment, nor is he excused by the subsequent
loss of the thing by accident, nor by a restitution of it by the borrower,
without insisting upon repayment. Pothier, PrĒt Ö Usage, ch. 3, n. 82, 83; Dig.
13, 6, 18, 4; Ersk. Pr. Laws of Scotl. B. 3, t. 1, §9. What would be decided at
common law does not seem very clear. Story on Bailm. §274. Another case of
implied obligation on the part of the lender by the civil law is, that he is
bound to give notice to the borrower of the defects of the thing loaned; and if
he does not and conceals them, and any injury occurs to the borrower thereby,
the lender is responsible. Dig. 13, 6, 98, 3; Poth. PrĒt Ö Usage, n. 84; Domat,
Liv. 1, t. 5, s. 3, n. 3. In the civil law there is also an implied obligation
on the part of the lender where the thing has been lost by the borrower, and
after he has paid the lender the value of it, the thing has been restored to the
lender; in such case the lender must return to the borrower either the price or
thing. Dig. 13, 6, 17, 5; Poth. Id. n. 85. "The common law seems to recognize
the same principles, though," says Judge Story, Bailm. §276, "it would not
perhaps be easy to cite a case on a gratuitous loan directly on the point." See
Borrower; Commodate; Story, Bailm. ch. 4; Domat. Liv. 2, tit. 5; 1 Bouv. Inst.
n. 1078, et seq.
LESION, contracts. In the civil law this term is used to signify the
injury suffered, in consequence of inequality of situation, by one who does not
receive a full equivalent for what he gives in a commutative contract.
2. The remedy given for this injury, is founded on its being the effect of
implied error or imposition; for in every commutative contract, equivalents are
supposed to be given and received. Louis. Code, 1854. Persons of full age,
however, are not allowed in point of law to object to their agreements as being
injurious, unless the injury be excessive. Poth. Oblig. P. 1, c. 1, s. 1, art.
3, §4. But minors are admitted to restitution, not only against any excessive
inequality, but against any inequality whatever. Poth. Oblig. P. 1, c. 1, s. 1,
art. 3, §5; Louis. Code, art. 1858.
3. Courts of chancery relieve upon terms of redemption and set aside
contracts entered into by expectant heirs dealing for their expectancies, on the
ground of mere inadequacy of price. 1 Vern. 167; 2 Cox, 80; 2 Cas. in Ch. 136; 1
Vern. 141; 2 Vern. 121; 2 Freem. 111; 2 Vent. 359; 2 Vern. 14; 2 Rep. in Ch.
396; 1 P. W. 312; 1 Bro. C. C. 7; 3 P. Wms. 393, n.; 2 Atk. 133; 2 Ves. 125; 1
Atk. 301; 1 Wils. 286; 1 Wils. 320; 1 Bro. P. 6. ed. Toml. 198; 1 Bro. C. C. 1;
16 Ves. 512; Sugd. on Vend. 231, n. k.; 1 Ball & B. 330; Wightw. 25; 3 Ves.
& Bea. 117; 2 Swanst. R. 147, n.; Fonb. notes to the Treatise of Equity, B,
1, c. 2, s. 9. A contract cannot stand where the party has availed himself of a
confidential situation, in order to obtain some selfish advantage. Note to Crowe
v. Ballard. 1 Ves. jun. 125; 1 Hov. Supp. 66, 7. Note to Wharton v. May. 5 Ves.
27; 1 Hov. Supp. 378. See Catching bargain; Fraud; Sale.
LESSEE. He to whom a lease is made. The subject will be considered by
taking a view, 1. Of his rights. 2. Of his duties.
2. - 1. He has a right to enjoy the premises leased for the term mentioned in
the lease, and to use them for the purpose agreed upon. He may, unless,
restrained by the covenants in the lease, either assign it, or underlet the
premises. 1 Cruise, Dig. 174. By an assignment of the lease is meant the
transfer of all the tenant's interest in the estate to another person; on the
contrary, an underletting is but a partial transfer of the property leased, the
lessee retaining a reversion to himself.
3. - 2. The duties of the lessee are numerous. First, he is bound to fulfil
all express covenants he has entered into in relation to the premises leased;
and, secondly, he is required to fulfil all implied covenants, which the
relation of lessee imposes upon him towards the lessor. For example, he is bound
to put the premises to no other use than that for which it was hired; when a
farm is let to him for common farming purposes, he cannot open a mine and dig
ore which may happen to be in the ground; but if the mine has been opened, it is
presumed both parties intended it should be used, unless the lessee were
expressly restrained; 1 Cruise, Dig. 132. He is required to use the property in
a tenant-like and proper manner; to take reasonable care of it and to restore it
at the end of his term, subject only to the deterioration produced by ordinary
wear and the reasonable use for which it was demised. 12 M. & W. 827.
Although he is not bound, in the absence of an express covenant, to rebuild in
case of destruction by fire or other accident, yet he must keep the house in a
habitable state if he received it in good order. See Repairs. The lessee is
required to restore the property to the lessor at the end of the term.
4. The lessee remains chargeable, after an assignment of his term, as before,
unless the lessor has accepted the assignee; and even then he continues liable
in covenant on an express covenaut, as for repairs, or to pay rent; 2 Keb. 640;
but not for the performance of an implied one, or, as it is usually termed, a
covenant in law. By the acceptance, he is discharged from debt for arrears of
future rent. Cro. Jac. 309, 334; Ham. on Parties, 129, 130. Vide Estate for
years; Lease;, Notice to quit: Tenant for years; Underlease.
LESSOR. contr. He who grants a lease. Civ. Code of L. art. 2647.
LESTAGE, Eng: law. Duties paid for unlading goods in port. Harg. L.
LET. Hinderance, obstacle, obstruction; as, without let, molestation
TO LET. To hire, to lease; to grant the use and possession of
something for a compensation.
2. This term is applied to real estate and the words to hire are more
commonly used when speaking of personal estate. See Hire, Hirer, and Letter.
3. Letting is very similar to selling; the difference consists, in this; that
instead of selling the thing itself, the letter sells only the use of it.