RIGHT. This word is used in various senses: 1. Sometimes it signifies
a law, as when we say that natural right requires us to keep our promises, or
that it commands restitution, or that it forbids murder. In our language it is
seldom used in this sense. 2. It sometimes means that quality in our actions by
which they are denominated just ones. This is usually denominated rectitude. 3.
It is that quality in a person by which he can do certain actions, or possess
certain things which belong to him by virtue of some title. In this sense, we
use it when we say that a man has a right to his estate or a right to defend
himself. Ruth, Inst. c. 2, §1, 2, 3; Merlin,; Repert. de Jurisp. mot Droit. See
Wood's Inst. 119.
2. In this latter sense alone, will this word be here considered. Right is
the correlative of duty, for, wherever one has a right due to him, some other
must owe him a duty. 1 Toull. n. 96.
3. Rights are perfect and imperfect. When the things which we have a right to
possess or the actions we have a right to do, are or may be fixed and
determinate, the right is a perfect one; but when the thing or the actions are
vague and indeterminate, the right is an imperfect one. If a man demand his
property, which is withheld from him, the right that supports his demand is a
perfect one; because the thing demanded is, or may be fixed and determinate.
4. But if a poor man ask relief from those from whom he has reason to expect
it, the right, which supports his petition, is an imperfect one; because the
relief which he expects, is a vague indeterminate, thing. Ruth. Inst. c. 2, §4;
Grot. lib. 1, c. §4.
5. Rights are also absolute and qualified. A man has an absolute right to
recover property which belongs to him; an agent has a qualified right to recover
such property, when it had been entrusted to his care, and which has been
unlawfully taken out of his possession. Vide Trover.
6. Rights might with propriety be also divided into natural and civil rights
but as all the rights which man has received from nature have been modified and
acquired anew from the civil law, it is more proper, when considering their
object, to divide them into political and civil rights.
7. Political rights consist in the power to participate, directly or
indirectly, in the establishment or management of government. These political
rights are fixed by the constitution. Every citizen has the right of voting for
public officers, and of being elected; these are the political rights which the
humblest citizen possesses.
8. Civil rights are those which have no relation to the establishment,
support, or management of the government. These consist in the power of
acquiring and enjoying property, of exercising the paternal and marital powers,
and the like. It will be observed that every one, unless deprived of them by a
sen-tence of civil death, is in the enjoyment of his civil rights, which is not
the case with political rights; for an alien, for example, has no political,
although in the full enjoyment of his civil rights.
9. These latter rights are divided into absolute and relative. The absolute
rights of mankind may be reduced to three principal or primary articles: the
right of personal security, which consists in a person's legal and
uninter-rupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his
reputation; the right of personal liberty, which consists in the power of
locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one's person to whatsoever place
one's inclination may direct, without any restraint, unless by due course of
law; the right of property, which consists in the free use, enjoyment, and
disposal of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution, save only
by the laws of the land. 1 Bl. 124 to 139.
10. The relative rights are public or private: the first are those which
subsist between the people and the government, as the right of protection on the
part of the people, and the right of allegiance which is due by the people to
the government; the second are the reciprocal rights of hushand and wife, parent
and child, guardian and ward, aud master and servant.
11. Rights are also divided into legal and equitable. The former are those
where the party has the legal title to a thing, and in that case, his remedy for
an infringement of it, is by an action in a court of law. Although the person
holding the legal title may have no actual interest, but hold only as trustee,
the suit must be in his name, and not in general, in that of the cestui que
trust. 1 East, 497 8 T. R. 332; 1 Saund. 158, n. 1; 2 Bing. 20. The latter, or
equitable rights, are those which may be enforced in a court of equity by the
cestui que trust. See, generally, Bouv. Ins t. Index, h. t. Remedy.
RIGHT OF DISCUSSION, Scottish law. The right which the cautioner
(surety) has to insist that the creditor shall do his best to compel the
performance of the contract by the principal debtor, before he shall be called
upon. 1 Bell's Com. 347, 5th ed. Vide 8 Serg. & Rawle, 116; 15 Serg. &
Rawle, 29, 30 and the articles Surety. Suretyship.
RIGHT OF DIVISION, Scottish law. The right which each of several
cautioners (sureties) has to refuse to answer for more than his own share of the
debt. To entitle the cautioner to this right, the other cautioners must be
solvent, and there must be no words in the bond to exclude it. 1 Bell's Com.
347, 5th ed.
RIGHT OF HABITATION. By this term, in Louisiana, is understood the
right of dwelling gratuitously in a house, the property of another. Civ. Code,
art. 623; 3 Toull. ch. 2, p. 325; 14 Toull. n. 279, p. 330; Poth. h. t., n.
RIGHT OF RELIEF, Scottish law. The right which the cautioner (surety)
has against the principal debtor when he has been forced to pay his debt. 1
Bell's Com. 347, 5th ed.
RIGHT PATENT. The name of an ancient writ, which Fitzherbert says,
"ought to be brought of lands and tenements, and not of an advowson, or of
common, and lieth only of an estate of fee simple, and not for him who has a
lesser estate, as tenant in tail, tenant in frank marriage, or tenant for life."
F. N. B. 1.
RIGHT, WRIT OF. Breve de recto. Vide Writ of light.
RING DROPPING, crim. law. This phrase is applied in England to a trick
frequently practised in committing larcenies. It is difficult to define it; it
will be sufficiently exemplified by the following cases. The prisoner, with some
accomplices, being in company with the prosecutor, pretended to find a valuable
ring wrapped up in a paper, appearing to be a jeweller's receipt for "a rich
brilliant diamond ring." They offered to leave the ring with the prosecutor, if
he would deposit some money and his watch as a security. The prosecutor having
accordingly laid down his watch and money on a table, was beckoned out of the
room by one of the confederates, while the others took away his watch and money.
This was held to amount to a larceny. 1 Leach, 238; 2 East, P. C. 678. In
another case under similar circumstances, the prisoner procured from the
prosecutor twenty guineas, promising to return them the next morning, and
leaving the false jewel with him. Thiswas also held to be larceny. 1 Leach, 314;
2 East, P. C. 679. In these cases the prosecutor had no intention of parting
with the property in the money or goods stolen. It was taken, in the first case
while the transaction was proceeding, without his knowledge; and, in the last,
under the promise that it should be returned. Vide 2 Leach, 640.
RINGING THE CHANGE, crim. law. A trick practised by a criminal, by
which, on receiving a good piece of money in payment of an article, he pretends
it is not good, and, changing it, returns to the buyer a counterfeit one, as in
the following case: The prosecutor having bargained with the prisoner, who was
selling fruit about the streets, to have five apricot's for sixpence, gave him a
good shilling to change. The prisoner put the shilling into his mouth, as if to
bite it in order to try its goodness, and returning a shilling to the
prosecutor, told him it was a bad one. The prosecutor gave him another good
shilling which he also affected to bite, and then returned another shilling,
saying it was a bad one. The prosecutor gave him another good shilling with
which he practised this trick a third time the shillings returned by him being
in every respect, bad. 2 Leach, 64.
2. This was held to be an uttering of false money. 1 Russ. on Cr. 114.
RIOT, crim. law. At common law a riot is a tumultuous disturbance of
the peace, by three persons or more assembling together of their own authority,
with an intent, mutually to assist each other against any who shall oppose them,
in the execution of some enterprise of a private nature, and afterwards actually
executing the same in a violent and turbulent manner, to the terror of the
people, whether the act intended were of itself lawful or unlawful.
2. In this case there must be proved, first, an unlawful assembling; for if a
number of persons lawfully met together; as, for example, at a fire, in a
theatre or a church, should suddenly quarrel and fight, the offence is an affray
and not a riot, because there was no unlawful assembling; but if three or more
being so assembled, on a dispute occurring, they form into parties with promises
of mutual assistance, which promises may be express, or implied from the
circumstances, then the offence will no longer be an affray, but a riot; the
unlawful combination will amount to an assembling within the meaning of the law.
In this manner any lawful assembly may be converted into a riot. Any one who
joins the rioters after they have actually commenced, is equally guilty as if he
had joined them while assembling.
3. Secondly, proof must be made of actual violence and force on the part of
the rioters, or of such circumstances as have an apparent tendency to force and
violence, and calculated to strike terror into the public mind. The definition
requires that the offenders should assemble of their own authority, in order to
create a riot; if, therefore, the parties act under the authority of the law,
they may use any necessary force to enforce their mandate, without committing
4. Thirdly, evidence must be given that the defendants acted in the riot, and
were participants in the disturbance. Vide 1 Russ. on Cr. 247 Vin. Ab. h. t.;
Hawk. c. 65, s. 1, 8, 9; 3 Inst. 176; 4 Bl. Com. 146 Com. Dig. h. t.; Chit. Cr.
Law, Index, h. t. Roscoe, Cr. Ev. h. t.
RIOTOUSLY, pleadings. A technical word properly used in an indictment
for a riot, and ex vi termini, implies violence. 2 Sess. Cas. 13; 2 Str. 834; 2
Chit. Cr. Law, 489.
RIPA. The bank of a river, or the place beyond which the waters do not
in their natural course overflow.
2. An extraordinary overflow does not change the banks of the river. Poth.
Pand. lib. 50, h. t. See Banks of rivers; Riparian proprietors; Rivers.
RIPARIAN PROPRIETORS, estates. This term, used by the civilians, has
been adopted by the common lawyers. 4 Mason's Rep. 397. Those who own the land
bounding upon a water course, are so called.
2. Such riparian proprietor owns that portion of the bed of the river (not
navigable) which is adjoining his land usque ad filum aquce; or, in other words,
to the thread or central line of the stream. Harg. Tr. 5; Holt's R. 499; 3
Dane's Dig. 4; 7 Mass. R. 496; 5 Wend. R. 423; 3 Caines, 319 2 Conn. 482; 20
Johns. R. 91; Angell, Water Courses, 3 to 10; 9 Porter, R. 577: Kames, Eq. part
1, c. 1, s. 1; 26 Wend. R. 404; 11 Stanton, 138; 4 Hill, 369. The proprietor of
land adjoining a navigable river has an exclusive right to the soil, between
high and low water marks, for the purpose of erecting wharves or buildings
thereon. 7 Conn. 186. But see 1 Pennsyl. 462. Vide River.
RIPUARIAN LAW. A code of laws of the Franks, who occupied the country
upon the Rhine, the Meuse and Scheldt, who were collectively known by the name
Ripuarians, and their laws as Ripuarian law.
RISK. A danger, a peril to which a thing is exposed. The subject will
be divided by considering, 1. Risks with regard to insurances. 2. Risks in the
contracts of sale, barter, &c.
2. - §1. In the contract of insurance, the insurer takes upon him the risks
to which the subject of the insurance is exposed, and agrees to indemnify the
insured when a loss occurs. This is equally the case in marine and terrestrial
insurance. But as the rules which govern these several contracts are not the
same, the subject of marine risks will be considered, and, afterwards, of
3. - 1st. Marine risks are perils which are incident to a sea voyage; 1
Marsh. Ins. 215; or those fortuitous events which may happen in the course of
the voyage. Poth. Contr. d'assur. n. 49; Pardes. Dr. Com. n. 770. It will be
proper to consider, 1. Their nature. 2. Their duration.
4. - 1. The nature of the risks usually insured against. These risks may be
occasioned by storms, shipwreck, jetsom, prize, pillage, fire, war, reprisals,
detention by foreign governments, contribution to losses experienced for the
common benefit, or for expenses which would not have taken place if it had not
been for such events. But the insurer may by special contract limit his
responsibility for these risks. He may insure against all risks, or only against
enumerated risks; for the benefit of particular persons, or for whom it may
concern. 2 Wash. C. C. R. 346; 1 John. Cas. 337; 2 John. Cas. 480 1 Pet. 151 2
Mass.,365; 8 Mass. 308. The law itself has made some exceptions founded on
public policy, which require that in certain cases men shall not be permitted to
protect themselves against some particular perils by insurance; among these are,
first, that no man can insure any loss or damage proceeding directly from his
own fault. 1 John. Cas. 337; Poth. h. t. n. 65; Pard. h. t. n. 771; Marsh. Ins.
215. Secondly, nor can be insure risks or perils of the sea, upon a trade
forbidden by the laws. Thirdly, the risks excluded by the usual memorandum (q.
v.) contained in the policy. Marsh. Ins. 221.
5. As the insurance is upon maritime risks, the accidents must have happened
on the sea, unless the agreement include other risks. The loss by accidents
which might happen on land in the course of the voyage, even when the unloading
may have been authorized by the policy, or is required by local regulations, as
where they are necessary for sanitary measures, is not borne by the insurer.
Pard. Dr. Com. n. 770.
6. - 2. As to the duration of the risk. The commencement and end of the risk
depend upon the words of the policy. The insurer may take and modify what risks
he pleases. The policy may be on a voyage out, or a voyage in, or it may be for
part of the route, or for a limited time, or from port to port. See 3 Kent, Com.
254; Pard. Dr. Com. n. 775; Marsh. 246; 1 Binn. 592. The duration of the risk on
goods is considered in Marsh. Ins. 247 a; on ships, p. 280; on freight, p. 278,
and 12 Wheat. 383.
7. - 2d. In insurances against fire, the risks and losses insured against,
are all losses or damages by fire; but, as in cases of marine insurances, this
may be limited as to the things insured, or as to the cause or occasion of the
accident, and many policies exclude fires caused by a mob or the enemies of the
commonwealth. The duration of thepolicy is Iimited by its own provisions.
8. - 3d. In insurances on lives, the risks are the death of the party from
whatever cause, but in general the following risks are excepted, namely: 1.
Death abroad or in a district excluded by the terms of the policy. 2. Entering
into the naval or military service without the consent of the insurer. 3. Death
by suicide. 4. Death by duelling. 5. Death by the hands of justice. See
Insurance on lives. The duration of the risks is limited by the terms of the
9. - §2. As a general rule, whenever the sale has been completed; the risk of
loss of the things sold is upon the buyer; but until it is complete, and while
something remains to be done by either party, in relation to it, the risk is on
the seller; as, if the goods are to be weighed or measured. See Sale.
10. In sales, the risks to which property is exposed and the loss which may
occur, before the contract is fully complete, must be borne by him in whom the
title resides: when the bargain, therefore, is made and rendered binding by
giving earnest, or by part payment, or part delivery, or by a compliance with
the requisitions of the statute of frauds, the property, and with it the risk,
attaches to the purchaser. 2 Kent, Com. 392.
11. In Louisiana, as soon as the contract of sale is completed, the thing
sold is at the risk of the buyer, but with the following modifications: Until
the thing sold is delivered to the buyer, the seller is obliged to guard it as a
faithful administrator, and if through his want of care, the thing is
de-stroyed, or its value diminished, the seller is responsible for the loss. He
is released from this degree of care, when the buyer delays obtaining the
possession: but he is still liable for any injury which the thing sold may
sus-tain through gross neglect on his part. If it is the seller who delays to
de-liver the thing, and it be destroyed, even by a fortuitous event, it is be
who sustains the loss, unless it appears that the fortuitous event would equally
have occasioned the destruction of the thing in the buyer's possession, after
delivery. Art. 2442-2445. For the rules of the civil law on this subject, see
Inst. 2, 1, 41; Poth. Contr. de Vente, 4eme partie, n. 308, et seq.
RIVER. A natural collection of waters, arising from springs or
fountains, which flow in a bed or canal of considerable width and length,
towards the sea.
2. Rivers may be considered as public or private.
3. Public rivers are those in which the public have an interest.
4. They are either navigable, which, technically understood, signifies such
rivers in which the tide flows; or not navigable. The soil or bed of such a
navigable river, understood in this sense, belongs not to the riparian
proprietor, but to the public. 3 Caines' Rep. 307; 10 John. R. 236; 17 John. R.
151; 20 John. R. 90; 5 Wend. R. 423; 6 Cowen, R. 518; 14 Serg. & Rawle, 9; 1
Rand. Rep. 417; 3 Rand. R. 33; 3 Greenl. R. 269; 2 Conn. R. 481; 5 Pick.
5. Public rivers, not navigable, are those which belong to the people in
general, as public highways. The soil of these rivers belongs generally, to the
riparian owner, but the public have the use of the stream, and the authors of
nuisances and impediments over such a stream are indictable. Ang. on Water
Courses, 202; Davies' Rep. 152; Callis on Sewers, 78; 4 Burr. 2162.
6. By the ordinance of 1787, art. 4, relating to the north-western territory,
it is provided that the navigable waters, leading into the Mississippi and St.
Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways,
and forever free. 3 Story, L. U. S. 2077.
7. A private river, is one so naturally obstructed, that there is no passage
for boats; for if it be capable of being so navigated, the public may use its
waters. 1 M'Cord's Rep. 580. The soil in general belongs to the riparian
proprietors. (q. v.) A river, then, may be considered, 1st. As private, in the
case of shallow and obstructed streams. 2d. As private property, but subject to
public use, when it can be navigated; and, 3d. As public, both with regard to
its use and property. Some rivers possess all these qualities. The Hudson is
mentioned as an instance; in one part it is entirely private property; in
another the public have the use of it; and it is public property from the mouth
as high up as the tide flows. Ang. Wat. Co. 205, 6.
8. In Pennsylvania, it has been held that the great rivers of that state, as
the Susquehanna, belong to the public, and that the riparian proprietor does not
own the bed or canal. 2 Binn. R. 75; 14 Serg. & Rawle, 71. Vide, generally,
Civ. Code of Lo. 444; Bac. Ab. Prerogatives, B 3; 7 Com. Dig. 291; 1 Bro. Civ.
Law, 170; Merl. Repert, h. t.; Jacobsen's Sea Laws, 417; 2 Hill. Abr. c. 13; 2
Fairf. R. 278 3 Ohio Rep. 496; 6 Mass. R. 435; 15 John. R. 447; 1 Pet. C. C.
Rep. 64; 1 Paige's Rep. 448; 3 Dane's R. 4; 7 Mass. Rep. 496; 17 Mass. Rep. 289;
5 Greenl. R. 69; 10 Wend. R. 260; Kames, Eq. 38; 6 Watts & Serg. 101. As to
the boundaries of rivers, see Metc. & Perk. Dig. Boundaries, IV.; as to the
grant of a river, see 5 Cowen, 216; Co. Litt. 4 b; Com. Dig. Grant, E 5.
RIX DOLLAR. The name of a coin. The rix dollar of Bremen, is deemed as
money of account, at the custom-house, to be of the value of seventy-eight and
three quarters cents. Act of March 3, 1843. The rix dollar is computed at one
hundred cents. Act of March 2, 1799, s. 61. Vide Foreign coins.
RIXA, civil law. A dispute; a quarrel. Dig. 48, 8, 17.
RIXATRIX. A common scold. (q. v.)