POLICE. That species of superintendence by magistrates which has
principally for its object the maintenance of public tranquillity among the
citizens. The officers who are appointed for this purpose are also called the
2. The word police has three significations, namely; 1. The first relates to
the measures which are adopted to keep order, the, laws and ordinances on
cleanliness, health, the markets, &c. 2. The second has for its object to
procure to the authorities the means of detecting even the smallest attempts to
commit crime, in order that the guilty may be arrested before their plans are
carried into execution, and delivered over to the justice of the country. 3. The
third comprehends the laws, ordinances and other measures which require the
citizens to exercise their rights in a particular form.
3. Police has also been divided into administrative police, which has for its
object to maintain constantly public order in every part of the general
administration; and into judiciary police, which is intended principally to
prevent crimes by punishing the criminals. Its object is to punish crimes which
the administrative police has not been able to prevent.
POLICE JURY. In Louisiana this name is given. to certain officers who
collectively exercise jurisdiction in certain cases of police as levying taxes,
POLICY OF INSURANCE, contracts. An instrument in writing by which the
contract of insurance is effected and reduced into form.
2. The term policy of insurance, or as surance, as it is sometimes called, is
derived from the Italian di olizza di assecurazione, or di securanza, or
securta; and in that language signifies a tote or bill of security or indemnity.
3. The policy is always considered as being made upon an executed
consideration, namely, the payment or security for the payment of the premium,
and contains only the promise of the underwriters, without anything in nature of
a counter promise on the part of the insured. The policy may be effected by the
owner of the property insured, his broker or agent.
4. As to its form, the policy has been considered in courts of law as an
absurd and incoherent instrument; 4 T. R. 210; but courts of justice have always
construed it according to the intention of the parties, and so that the
indemnity of the insured, dud the advancement of trade, which are ,the great
objects of insurance, may be attained. It should contain, 1. The names of the
parties. 2. The name of the vessel insured, in order to identify it; but to
prevent the ill consequence that might result from a mistake in the name of the
vessel or master, there are usually inserted in policies these words, " or by
whatsoever name or names the same ship or the master thereof is, or shall be,
named or called." 3. A Specification of the subject-matter, of the insurance,
whether it be goods, ship, freight, respondentia or bottomry securities, or
other things. Marsh. Ins. 315; 3 Mass. Rep. 476. 4. A description of the voyage,
with the commencement and end of the risk. 5. A statement of the perils insured
against. 6. A power in the insured tosave goods in case of misfortune, without
violating the policy. 7. The promise of the insurers, and an acknowledgment of
their receipt of the premium. 8. The common memorandum. 9. The date and
5. Policies, with reference to the reality of the interest insured, are
distinguished into interest and wager policies; with reference to the amount of
interest, into open and valued.
6. An interest policy, is where the insured has a real, substantial,
assignable interest in the thing insured; in which case only it is a contract of
7. A wager policy, is a pretended insurance, founded on an ideal risk, where
the insured has no interest in the thing insured, and can therefore sustain no
loss, by the happening of any of the misfortunes insured against. These policies
are strongly reprobated. 3 Kent, Com. 225.
8. An open policy, is where the amount of the interest of the insured is not
fixed by the policy; but is left to be ascertained by the insured in case a loss
9. A valued policy, is where a value has been set on the ship. or goods
insured, and this value inserted in the policy in the nature of liquidated
damages, to save the necessity of proving it in case of loss. Marsh. Ins. 287;
and see Kent, Com. Lecture 48; Marsh. Ins. ch. 8; 16 Vin. Ab. 402; 1 Supp. to
Ves. jr. 305; Park. Ins. 1, 14; Westcott, Ins. 400; Pardes. h. t.; Poth. h. t.;
Boulay Paty, h. t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
POLICY, PUBLIC. By public policy is meant that which the law
encourages for the promotion of the public good.
2. That which is against public policy is generally unlawful. For example, to
restrain an individual from marrying, or from engaging in business, when the
restraint is general, in the first case, to all persons, and, in the second, to
all trades, business, or occupations. But if the restraint be only partial, as
that Titius shall not marry Moevia, or that Caius shall not engage in a
particular trade in a particular town or, place, the restraint is not against
public policy,, and therefore valid. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. §274. See Newl. Contr.
POLITICAL. Pertaining to policy, or the administration of the
government. Political rights are those which may be exercised in the formation
or administration of the government they are distinguished from civil, rights,
which are the rights which a man enjoys, as regards other individuals, and not
in relation to the government. A political corporation is one which has
principally for its object the administration of the government, or to which the
powers of government, or a part of such powers, have been delegated. 1 Bouv.
Inst. n. 182, 197, 198.
POLL. A head. Hence poll tax is the name of a tax imposed upon the
people at so much a head. 2. To poll a jury is to require that each juror shall
himself declare what is his verdict. This may be done at the instance of either
party, at any time before the verdict is recorded. 3 Cowen, R. 23. See 18 John.
R. 188. See Deed Poll.
POLLICITATION, civil law. A pollicitation is a promise not yet
accepted by the person to whom it is made; it differs from a contract inasmuch
as the latter includes a concurrence of intention in two parties, one of whom
promises something to the other, who accepts on his part of such promise. L. 3,
ff. Pollicit.; Grotius, lib. 2, c. 2; Poth. on Oblig. P. 1, c. 1, s. 1, art.
2. An offer to guaranty, but not accepted, is not a contract on which an
action will lie. 1 Stark. C. 10; 1 M. & S. 557; 3 B. & C. 668, 690; 5 D.
& R. 512, 586; 7 Cranch, 69; 17 John. R. 134; 1 Mason's R. 323, 371; 16
John. R. 67; 3 Conn. R. 438; 1 Pick. R. 282, 3; 1 B. & A. 681.
POLLS. The place where electors cast in their votes.
POLYANDRY. The state of a woman who has several hushands.
2. Polyandry is legalized only in Tibet. This is inconsistent with the law of
nature. Vide Law of Nature.
POLYGARCHY. A term used to express a government which is shared by
several persons; as, when two brothers succeed to the throne, and reign jointly.
POLYGAMY, crim. law. The act of a person who, knowing he has two or
more wives, or she has two or more hushands living, marries another. It differs
from bigamy. (q. v.) Com. Dig. Justices, S 5, Dict. de Jur. h. t.
POND. A body of stagnant water; a pool.
2. Any one has a right to erect a fish pond; the fish in ii are considered as
real estate, and pass to the heir and not to the executor. Ow. 20. See Pool;
PONE, English practice. An original writ issuing out of chancery, for
the purpose of removing a plaint from an inferior court into the superior courts
at Westminster. The word signifies "put;" put by gages, &c. The writ is
called from the words it contained when in Latin, "Pone per vadium et salvos
plegios," &c. Put by gage and safe pledges, &c. See F. N. B. 69, 70 a;
Wilkinson on Replevin, Index.
PONTAGE. A contribution towards the maintenance, rebuilding or repairs
of a bridge. The toll taken for this purpose also bears this name. Obsolete.
POOL. A small lake of standing water.
2. By the grant of a pool, it is said, both the land and water will pass. Co.
Litt. 5. Vide Stagnum; Water. Undoubtedly the right to fish, and probably the
right to use hydraulic works, will be acquired by such grant. 2 N. Hamps. Rep.
259; An on Wat. Courses, 47; Plowd. 161; Vaugh. 103; Bac. Ab. Grants, H 3; Com.
Dig. Grant, E 5; 5 Cowen, 216; Cro. Jac. 150; 1 Lev. 44; Co. Litt. 5.
POPE. The chief of the catholic religion is so called. He is a
temporal prince. He is elected by certain officers called cardinals, and remains
in power during life. In the 9th Collation of the Authentics it is declared the
bishop of Rome hath the first place of sitting in all assemblies, and the bishop
of Constantinople the second. Ridley's View, part 1, chap. 3, sect. 10.
2. The pope has no political authority in the United States.
POPE'S FOLLY. The name of a small island, situated in the bay of
Passama quoddy, which, it has been decided, is within the jurisdiction of the
United States. 1 Ware's R. 26.
POPULAR ACTION, punishment. An action given by statute to any one who
will sue for the penalty. A qui tam action. Dig. 47, 23, 1.
PORT. A place to which the officers of the customs are appropriated,
and which include the privileges and guidance of all members and creeks which
are allotted to them. 1 Chit. Com. Law, 726; Postlewaith's Com. Dict. h. t.; 1
Chit. Com. L. Index, h. t. According to Dalloz, a port is a place within land,
protected against the waves and winds, and affording to vessels a place of
safety. Diet. Supp. h. t. By the Roman law a port is defined to be locus,
conclusus, quo importantur merces, et unde exportantur. Dig. 50,16, 59. See 7 N.
S. 81. 2. A port differs from a haven, (q. v.) and includes something more. 1st.
It is a place at which vessels may arrive and discharge, or take in their
cargoes. 2. It comprehends a vale, city or borough, called in Latin caput
corpus, for the reception of mariners and merchants, for securing the goods, and
bringing them to market, and for victualling the ships. 3. It is impressed with
its legal character by the civil authority. Hale de Portibus Mar. c. 2; 1 Harg.
46, 73; Bac. Ab. Prerogative, D 5; Com. Dig. Navigation, E; 4 Inst. 148; Callis
on Sewers, 56; 2 Chit. Com. Law, 2; Dig. 60, 16, 59; Id. 43, 12, 1, 13; Id. 47,
10, 15, 7; Id. 39, 4, 15.
PORT-REEVE, Eng. law. In some places in England an officer bearing
this name is the chief magistrate of a port-town. Jacob's Dict. h. t.
PORT TOLL, Mer. law., By this phrase is understood the money paid for
the privilege of bringing goods into a port.
PORTATICA, Engl. law. The generic name for port duties charged to
ships. Harg. L. Tr. 74.
PORTER. The name of an ancient English officer who bore or carried a
rod before the justices. The door-keeper of the English parliament also bears
2. One who is employed as a common carrier to carry goods from one place to
another in the same town, is also called a porter. Such person is in general
answerable as a common carrier. Story, Bailm. §496.
PORTION. That part of a parent's estate, or the estate of one standing
in loco parentis, which is given to a child. 1 Vern. 204. Vide 8 Com. Dig. 539;
16 Vin. Ab. 4321; 1 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 34, 58, 303, 308; 2 Id. 46, 370, 404.
PORTORIA, civil law. Duties paid in ports on merchandise. Code, 4, 61,
PORTSALES. Auctions were anciently so called, because they took place
POSITIVE. Express; absolute; not doubtful. This word is frequently
used in composition.
2. A positive condition is where the thing which is the subject of it must
happen; as, if I marry. It is opposed to a negative condition, which is where
the thing which is the subject of it must not happen; as, if I do not marry.
3. A positive fraud is the intentional and successful employment of any
cunning, deception or artifice, to circumvent, cheat, or deceive another. 1
Story, Eq. §186; Dig. 4, 3, 1, 2; Dig. 2, 14, 7, 9. It is cited in opposition to
constructive fraud. (q. v.)
4. Positive evidence is that which, if believed, establishes the truth or
falsehood of a fact in issue, and does not arise from any presumption. It is
distinguished from circumstantial evidence. 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 3057.
POSSE. This word is used substantively to signify a possibility. For
example, such a thing is in posse, that is, such a thing may possibly be; when
the thing is in being, the phrase to express it is, in esse. (q. v.)
POSSE COMITATUS. These Latin words signify the power of the county.
2. The sheriff has authority by the common law, while acting under the
authority of the writ of the United States, commonwealth or people, as the case
may be, and for the purpose of preserving the public peace, to call to his aid
the posse comitatus.
3. But with respect to writs which issue, in the first instance, to arrest in
civil suits, the sheriff is not bound to take the posse comitatus to assist him
in the execution of them: though he may, if he pleases, on forcible resistance
to the execution of the process. 2 Inst. 193; 3 Inst. 161.
4. Having the authority to call in the assistance of all, it seems to follow,
that he may equally require that of any individual; but to this general rule
there are some exceptions; persons of infirm health, or who want understanding,
minors under the age of fifteen years, women, and perhaps some others, it seems,
cannot be required to assist the sheriff, and are therefore not considered as a
part of the power of the county. Vin. Ab. Sheriff, B.
5. A refusal on the part of an individual lawfully called upon to assist the
officer in putting down a riot is indictable. 1 Carr. & Marsh. 314. In this
case will be found the form of an indictment for this offence.
6. Although the sheriff is acting without authority, yet it would seem that
any person who obeys his command, unless aware of that fact, will be protected.
7. Whether an individual not enjoined by the sheriff to lend his aid, would
be protected in his interference, seems questionable. In a case where the
defendant assisted sheriff's officers in executing a writ of replevin without
their solicitation, the court held him justified in so doing. 2 Mod. 244. Vide
Bac. Ab. Sheriff, N; Hamm. N. P. 63; 5 Whart. R. 437, 440.
POSSESSED. This word is applied to the right and enjoyment of a termor
or a person having a term, who is said to be possessed, and not seized. Bac. Tr.
335; Poph. 76; Dy. 369.
POSSESSIO FRATRIS. The brother's possession. This is a technical
phrase which is applied in the English law relating to descents. By the common
law, the ancestor from whom the inheritance was taken by descent, must have had
actual seisin of the lands, either by his own entry, or by the possession of his
own, or his ancestor's lessee for years, or by being in the receipt of rent from
the lessee of the freehold. But there are qualifications as to this rule, one of
which arises from the doctrine of possesio fratris. The possession of a tenant
for years, guardian or brother, is equivalent to that of the party himself, and
is termed in law possessio fratris. Litt. sect. 8 Co. Litt. 15 a; 3 Wils. 516 7
T. R. 386 2 Hill Ab. 206.
2. In Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and probably in
other states, the real and personal estates of intestates are distributed among
the heirs, without any reference or regard to the actual seisin of the ancestor.
Reeve on Des. 377 to 379; 4 Mason's R. 467; 3 Day's R. 166; 2 Pet. R. 59. In
Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Vermont, the doctrine of possessio
fratris, it seems, still exists. 2 Peters' Rep. 625; Reeve on Desc. 377; 4 Kent,
Com. 384, 5.
POSSESSION, intern. law. By possession is meant a country which is
held by no other title than mere conquest.
2. In this sense Possession differs from a dependency, which belongs
rightfully to the country which has dominion over it; and from colony, which is
a country settled by citizens or subjects of the mother country. 3 Wash. C. C.
POSSESSION, property. The detention or enjoyment of a thing which a
man holds or exercises by himself or by another who keeps or exercises it in his
name. By the possession of a thing, we always conceive the condition, in which
not only one's own dealing with the thing is physically possible, but every
other person's dealing with it is capable of being excluded. Thus, the seaman
possesses his ship, but not the water in which it moves, although he makes each
subserve his purpose.
2. In order to complete a possession two things are required. 1st. That there
be an occupancy, apprehension, (q. v.) or taking. 2dly. That the taking be with
an intent to possess (animus possidendi), hence persons who have no legal wills,
as children and idiots, cannot possess or acquire possession. Poth. h. It.;
Etienne, h. t. See Mer. R. 358; Abbott on Shipp. 9, et seq. But an infant of
sufficient understanding may lawfully acquire the possession of a thing.
3. Possession is natural or civil; natural, when a man detains a thing
corporeal, as by occupying a house, cultivating grounds or retaining a movable
in his custody; possession is civil, when a person ceases to reside in the
house, or on the land which he occupied, or to detain the movable he possessed,
but without intending to abandon the possession. See, as to possession of lands,
2 Bl. Com. 116; Hamm. Parties, 178; 1 McLean's R. 214, 265.
4. Possession is also actual or constructive; actual, when the thing is in
the immediate occupancy of the party. 3 Dey. R. 34. Constructive, when a man
claims to hold by virtue of some title, without having the actual Occupancy; as,
when the owner of a lot of land, regularly laid out, is in possession of any
part, he is considered constructively in possession of the whole. 11 Vern. R.
129. What removal of property or loss of possession will be sufficient to
constitute larceny, vide 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 919; 19 Jurist, 14; Etienne, h. t.
Civ. Code of Louis. 3391, et seq.
5. Possession, in the civil law, is divided into natural and civil. The same
division is adopted by the Civil Code of Louisiana.
6. Natural possession is that by which a man detains a thing corporeal, as by
occupying a house, cultivating ground, or retaining a movable in his possession.
Natural possession is also defined to be the corporeal detention of a thing,
which we possess as belonging to us, without any title to that possession, or
with a title which is void. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 3391, 3393.
7. Possession is civil, when a person ceases to reside in a house or on the
land which he occupied, or to detain the movable which he possessed, but without
intending to abandon the possession. It is the detention of a thing, by virtue
of a just title, and under the conviction of possessing as owner. Id. art. 3392,
8. Possession applies properly only to corporeal things, movables and
immovables. The possession of incorporeal rights, such as servitudes and other
rights of that nature, is only a quasi. possession, and is exercised by a
species of possession of which these rights are susceptible. Id. art. 3395.
9. Possession may be enjoyed by the proprietor of the, thing, or by another
for him; thus the proprietor of ahouse possesses it by his tenant or farmer.
10. To acquire possession of a property, two things are requisite. 1. The
intention of possessing as owner. 2. The corporeal possession of the thing. Id.
11. Possession is lost with or without the consent of the possessor. It is
lost with his consent, 1. When he transfers this possession to another with the
intention to divest himself of it. 2. When he does some act, which manifests his
intention of abandoning possession, as when a man throws into the street
furniture or clothes, of which he no longer chooses to make use. Id. art. 3411.
A possessor of an estate loses the possession against his consent. 1. When
another expels him from it, whether by force in driving him away, or by usurping
possession during his absence, aud preventing him from reentering. 2. When the
possessor of an estate allows it to be usurped, and held for a year, without,
during that time, having done any act of possession, or interfered with the
usurper's possession. Id. art. 3412.
12. As to the effects of the purchaser's taking possession, see Sugd. Vend.
8, 9; 3 P. Wms. 193; 1 Ves. Jr. 226; 12 Ves. Jr. 27; 11 Ves. Jr. 464. Vide,
generally, 5 Harr. & John. 230, 263; 6 Har. & John. 336; 1 Har. &
John. 18; 1 Greenl. R. 109; 2 Har. & McH. 60, 254, 260; 3 Bibb, R. 209 1
Har. & McH., 210; 4 Bibb, R. 412, 6 Cowen, R. 632; 9 Cowen, R. 241; 5 Wheat.
R. 116, 124; Cowp. 217; Code Nap. art. 2228; Code of the Two Sicilies, art.
2134; Bavarian Code, B. 2, c. 4, n. 5; Prus. Code, art. 579; Domat, Lois Civ.
liv. 3, t, 7, s. 1; Vin. Ab. h. t.; Wolff, Inst. §200, and the note in the
French translation; 2 Greenl. Ev. §614, 615; Co. Litt. 57 a; Cro. El. 777; 5 Co.
13; 7 John. 1.
POSSESSOR. He who holds, detains or enjoys a thing, either by himself
or his agent, which he claims as his own.
2. In general the possessor of personal chattels is presumed to be the owner;
and in case of real estate he has a right to receive the profits, until a title
adverse to his possession has been established, leaving him subject to an action
for the mesne profits. (q. v.)
POSSESSORY ACTION, old Eng. law. A reall action in which the plaintiff
called the demandant, sought to recover the possession of lands, tenements, and
hereditaments. On account of the great nicety required in its management, and
the introduction of more expeditious methods of trying titles by other actions,
it has been laid aside. Finch's Laws, 257; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2640.
2. In Louisiana, by this term is understood an action by which one claims to
be maintained in the possession of an immovable property, or of a right upon or
growing out of it, when he has been disturbed: or to be reinstated to that
possession, when he has been divested or evicted. Code of Practice, art. 6; 2 L.
R. 227, 454.
POSSIBILITY. An uncertain thing which may happen; Lilly's Reg. h. t.;
or it is a contingent interest in real or personal estate. 1 Mad. Ch. 549.
2. Possibilities are near as when an estate is limited to one after the death
of another; or remote, as that one man shall be married to a woman, and then
that she shall die, and he be married to another. 1 Fonb. Eq. 212, n. e; l6 Vin.
Ab. h. t., p. 460; 2 Co. 51 a.
3. Possibilities are also divided into, 1. A possibility coupled with an
interest. This may, of course, be sold, assigned, transmitted or devised; such a
possibility occurs in executory devises, and in contingent, springing or
4. - 2. A bare possibility, or hope of succession; this is the case of an
heir apparent, during the life of his ancestor. It is evident that he has no
right which he can assign, devise, or even, release.
5. - 3. A possibility' or mere contingent interest, as a devise to Paul if he
survive Peter. Dane's Ab. c. 1, a 5, 2, and the cases there cited.