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SIGN, contracts, evidence. A token of anything; a note or token given without words.

2. Contracts are express or implied. The express are manifested viva voce, or by writing; the implied are shown by silence, by acts, or by signs.

3. Among all nations find and at all times, certain signs have been considered as proof of assent or dissent; for example, the nodding of the head, and the shaking of hands; 2 Bl. Com. 448; 6 Toull. D. 33; Heinnec., Antiq. lib. 3, t. 23, n. 19; silence and inaction, facts and signs are sometimes very strong evidence of cool reflection, when following a question. I ask you to lend me one hundred dollars, without saying a word you put your hand in your pocket, and deliver me the money. I go into a hotel and I ask the landlord if he can accommodate me and take care of my trunk; without speaking he takes it out of my hands and sends it into his chamber. By this act he doubtless becomes responsible to me as a bailee. At the expiration of a lease, the tenant remains in possession, without any objection from the landlord; this may be fairly interpreted as a sign of a consent that the lease shall be renewed. 13 Serg. & Rawle, 60.

4, The learned author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in his 44th chapter, remarks, "Among savage nations, the want of letters is imperfectly supplied by the use of visible signs, which awaken attention, and perpetuate the remembrance of any public or private transaction. The jurisprudence of the first Romans exhibited the scenes of a pantomime; the words were adapted to the gestures, and the slightest error or neglect in the forms of proceeding was sufficient to annul the substance of the fairest claim. The communion of the marriage-life was denoted by the necessary elements of fire and water: and the divorced wife resigned, the bunch of keys, by the delivery of which she had been invested with the government of the family. The manumission of a son, or a slave, was performed by turning him round with a gentle blow on the cheek: a work was prohibited by the casting of a stone; prescription was interrupted by the breaking of a branch; the clenched fist was the symbol of a pledge or deposits; the right hand was the gift of faith and confidence. The indenture of covenants was a broken straw; weights and, scales were introduced into every payment, and the heir who accepted a testament, was sometimes obliged to snap his fingers, to cast away his garments, and to leap and dance with real or affected transport. If a citizen pursued any stolen goods into a neighbor's house, he concealed his nakedness with a linen towel, and hid his. face with a mask or basin, lest he should encounter the eyes of a virgin or a matron. In a civil action, the plaintiff touched the ear of his witness seized his reluctant adversary by the neck and implored, in solemn lamentation, the aid of his fellow-citizens. The two competitors grasped each other's hand, as if they stood prepared for combat before the tribunal of the praetor: he commanded them to produce the object of the dispute; they went, they returned with measured steps, and a clod of earth was cast at his feet to represent the field for which they contended. This occult science of the words and actions of law, was the inheritance of the pontiffs and patricians. Like the Chaldean astrologers, they announced to their clients the days of business and repose; these important trifles wore interwoven with the religion of Numa; and, after the publication of the Twelve Tables, the Roman people were still enslaved by the ignorance of judicial proceedings. The treachery of some plebeian officers at length revealed the profitable mystery: in a more enlightened age, the legal actions were derided and observed; and the same antiquity which sanctified the practice, obliterated the use and meaning, of this primitive language."

SIGN, measures. In angular measures, a sign is equal to thirty degrees. Vide Measure.

SIGN, mer. law. A board, tin or other substance, on which is painted the name and business of a merchant or tradesman.

2. Every man has a right to adopt such a sign as he may please to select, but he has no right to use another's name, without his consent. See Dall. Dict. mot Propriete Industrielle, and the article Trade marks.

To SIGN. To write one's name to an instrument of writing in order to give the effect intended; the name thus written is called a signature.

2. The signature is usually made at the bottom of the instrument but in wills it has been held that when a testator commenced his will With these words;, "I, A B, make this my will," it was a sufficient signing. 3 Lev. 1; and vide Rob. on Wills, 122 1 Will. on Wills, 49, 50; Chit. Cont. 212 Newl. Contr. 173; Sugd. Vend. 71; 2 Stark. Ev. 605, 613; Rob. on Fr. 121; but this decision is said to be absurd. 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 278, n. 16. Vide Merl. Repert. mot Signature, for a history of the origin, of signatures; and also 4 Cruise, Dig. h. t. 32, c. 2, s. 73, et seq.; see, generally, 8 Toull. n. 94-96; 1 Dall. 64; 5 Whart. R. 386; 2 B. & P 238; 2 M. & S. 286.

3. To sign a judgment, is to enter a judgment for want of something which was required to be done; as, for example, in the English practice, if he who is bound to give oyer does not give it within the time required, in such cases, the adverse party may sign judgment against him. 2 T. R. 40; Com. Dig. Pleader, P 1; Barnes, 245.

SIGNA, civil law. Those species of indicia (q. v.) which come more immediately under the cognizance of the senses, such as stains of blood on the person of one accused of murder, indications of terror at being charged with the offence, and the like.

2. Signa, although not to be rejected as instruments of evidence, cannot always be relied upon as conclusive evidence, for they are frequently explained away; in the instance mentioned the blood may have been that of a beast, and expressions of terror have been frequently manifested by innocent persons who did not possess much firmness. See Best on Pres. 13, n. f.; Denisart, h. v.

SIGNATURE, eccl. law. The name of a sort of rescript, without seal, containing the supplication, the signature of the pope or his delegate, and the grant of a pardon Dict. Dr. Can. h. v.

SIGNATURE, pract. contr. By signature is understood the act of putting down a man's name, at the end of an instrument, to attest its validity. The name thus written is also called a signature.

2. It is not necessary that a party should write his name himself, to constitute a signature; his mark is now beld sufficient though he was able to write. 8 Ad. & El. 94; 3 N. & Per. 228; 3 Curt. 752; 5 John. 144, A signature made by a party, another person guiding his band with his consent, is sufficient. 4 Wash. C. C. 262, 269. Vide to Sign.

SIGNIFICATION, French law. The notice given of a decree, sentence or other judicial act.

SIGNIFICAVIT, eccl. law. When this word is used alone, it means the bishop's certificate to the court of chancery, in order to obtain the writ of excommunication; but where the words writ of significavit are used, the meaning is the same as writ de excommunicato capiendo. 2 Burn's Eccl. L. 248; Shelf. on Mar. & Div. 502.

SILENCE. The state of a person who does not speak, or of one who refrains from speaking.

2. Pure and simple silence cannot be considered as a consent to a contract, except in cases when the silent person is bound in good faith to explain himself, in which case, silence gives consent. 6 Toull. liv. 3, t. 3, n. 32, note; 14 Serg. & Rawle, 393; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 442; 1 Dane's Ab. c. 1, art. 4, 3; 8 T. R. 483; 6 Penn. St. R. 336; 1 Greenl. Ev. 201; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1313. But no assent will be inferred from a man's silence, unless, 1st. He knows his rights and knows what he is doing and, 2d. His silence is voluntary.

3. When any person is accused of a crime, or charged with any fact, and he does not deny it, in general, the presumption is very strong that the charge is correct. 7 C. & P. 832 5 C. & P. 332; Joy on Conf. s. 10, p. 77.

4. The rule does not extend to the silence of a prisoner, when on his exanination before a magistrate he is charged by another prisoner with having joined him in the commission of an offence: 3 Stark. C. 33.

5. When an oath is administered to a witness, instead of expressly promising to keep it, he gives his assent by his silence, and kissing the book.

6. The person to be affected by the silence must be one not disqualified to act as non compos, an infant, or the like, for even the express promise of such a person would not bind him to the performance of any contract.

7. The rule of the civil law is that silence is not an acknowledgment or denial in every case, qui tacet, non utique fatetur: sed tamen verum est, eum non negaro. Dig. 50, 17, 142.

SILVA CAEDUA. By these words in England is understood every sort of wood, except gross wood of the age of twenty years. Bac. Ab. Tythes, C.

SIMILITER, pleading. When the defendant's plea contains a direct contradiction of the declaration, and concludes with referring the matter to be tried by a jury of the country, the plaintiff must do so too; that is, he must also submit the matter to be tried by a jury, without offering any new answer to it, and must stand or fall by his declaration. Co. Litt. 126 a. In such case, he merely replies that as the defendant has put himself upon the country, that is, has submitted his cause to be tried by a jury of the country, he, the plaintiff, does so likewise, or the like. Hence this sort of replication is called a similiter, that having been the effective word when the proceedings were in Latin. 1 Chit. Pl. 549; Arch. Civ. Pl. 250. See Steph. Pl. 255; 2 Saund. 319, b; Cowp. 407; 1 Str. Rep. 551; 11 S. & R. 32.

SIMONY, eccl. law. The selling and buying of holy orders, or an ecclesiastical benefice. Bac. Ab. h. t.; 1 Harr. Dig. 556. By simony is also understood an unlawful agreement to receive a temporal reward for something holy or spiritual. Code, 1, 3, 31 Ayl. Parerg. 496.

SIMPLE. Not compounded, alone; as, simple interest, which is interest on the principal sum lent only and not interest on the interest; simple contract, &c.

SIMPLE CONTRACT. One, the evidence of which is merely oral, or in writing, not under seal, nor of record. 1 Chit. Contr. 1 1 Chit. Pl. 88; and vide 11 Mass. R. 30 ll East, R. 312; 4 Barn. & Ald. 588; Stark. Ev. 995; 2 Bl. Com. 472.

2. As contracts of this nature are frequently entered into without thought or proper deliberation, the law requires that there be some good cause, consideration or motive, before they can be enforced in the courts. The party making the promise must have obtained some advantage, or the party to whom it is made must have sustained some injury or inconvenience in consequence of such promise; this rule has been established for the purpose of protecting weak and thoughtless persons from the consequences of rash, improvident, and inconsiderate engageinents. See Nudum pactum. But it must be recollected this rule does not apply to promissory notes, bills of exchange or commercial papers. 3 M. & S. 352.

SlMPLE LARCENY. The felonious taking and carrying away the personal goods of another, unattended by acts of violence; it is distinguished from compound larceny, which is the stealing from the person or with violence.

SIMPLE OBLIGATION. An unconditional obligation, one which is to be performed without depending upon any event provided by the parties to it.

SIMPLE TRUST. A simple trust corresponds with the ancient use, and is where property is simply vested in one person for the use of another, and the nature of the trust, not being qualified by the settler, is left to the construction of law. It differs from a special trust. (q. v.) 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1896.

SIMPLEX. Simple or single; as, charta simplex, is a deed-poll, of single deed. Jacob's L. Dict. h. t.

SIMPLICITER. Simply, without ceremony; in a summary manner.

SIMUL CUM, pleading. Together with. These words are used in indictments and declarations of trespass against several persons, when some of them are known and others are unknown.

2. In cases of riots it is usual to charge that A B, together with others unknown, did the act complained of. 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 488; 2 Salk. R. 593.

3. When a party sued with another pleads separately, the plea is generally entitled in the name of the person pleading, adding "sued with___," naming the other party. When this occurred, it was, in the old phraseology, called pleading with a simul cum.

SIMULATION, French law. This word is derived from the Latin simul, together. It indicates, agreeably to its etymology, the concert or agreement of two or more persons to give to one thing the appearance of another, for the purpose of fraud. Merl. Repert. h. t.

2. With us such act might be punished by indictment for a conspiracy; by avoiding the pretended contract; or by action to recover back the money or property which may have been thus fraudulently obtained.

SINE DIE. Without day. A judgment for a defendant in many cases is quod eat sine die, that he may go without day. While the cause is pending and undeter-mined, it may be continued from term to term by dies datus. (q. v.) See Huxley's Judgments & Rastal's Entries, passim; Co. Litt. 362b & 363a. When the court or other body rise at the end of a session or term they adjourn sine die.

SINECURE. In the ecclesiastical law, this term is used to signify that an ecclesiastical officer is without a charge or cure.

2. In common parlance it means the receipt of a salary for an office when there are no duties to be performed.

SINGLE. By itself, unconnected.

2. A single bill is one without any condition, and does not depend upon any future event to give it validity. Single is also applied to an unmarried person; as, A B, single woman. Vide Simplex.

SINGLE ENTRY. A term used among merchants signifying that the entry is made to charge or to credit an individual or thing, without, at the same time, pre-senting any other part of the operation; it is used in contradistinction to double entry. (q. v.) For example, a single entry is made, A B debtor, or A B creditor, without designating what are the connexions between the entry and the objects which composed the fortune of the merchant.

SINGULAR, construction. In grammar the singular is used to express only one,

not plural. Johnson.

2. In law, the singular frequently includes the plural. A bequest to "my nearest relation," for example, will be considered as a bequest to all the relations in the same degree, who are nearest to the testator. 1 Ves. sen. 337; 1 Bro. C. C. 293. A bequest made to "my heir," by a person who had three heirs, will be construed in the plural. 4 Russ. C. C. 384.

3. The same rule obtains in the civil law: In usu juris frequenter uti nos singulari appellationie, am plura significari vellemus. Dig. 50, l6, 158.

SINKING FUND. A fund arising from particular taxes, imposts, or duties, which is appropriated towards the payment of the interest due on a public loan and for the gradual payment of the principal. See Funding System.

SIRE. A title of honor given to kings or emperors in speaking or writing to them.

SISTER. A woman who has the same father and mother with another, or has one of them only. In the first case she is called sister, simply; in the second, half sister. Vide Brother; Children; Descent; Father; Mother.

SITUS. Situation;, location. 5 Pet. R. 524.

2. Real estate has always a fixed situs, while personal estate has no such fixed situs; the law rei site regulates real but not the personal estate. Story, Confl. of Laws, 379.

SKELETON BILL, com. law. A blank paper, properly stamped, in those countries where stamps are required, with the name of a person signed at the bottom.

2. In such case the person signing the paper will be held as the drawer or acceptor, as it may be, of any bill which shall afterwards be written above his name to the sum of which the stamp is applicable. 1 Bell's Com. 390, 5th ed.

 
 
 
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