SERVANTS, (negro or mulatto,) Pennsylvania. By the fourth section of
the act for the gradual abolition of slavery, passed the first day of March,
1780, 1 Smith's Laws of Penn. 492, it is "provided that every negro or mulatto
child, born within this state after the passing of this act, (who would in case
this act had not been made, have been a servant for years, or life, or a slave)
shall be by virtue of this act the servant of such person, or his assigns who
would in such case have been entitled to the service of such child, until such
child attain unto the age of twenty-eight years, in the manner and on the
conditions, whereon servants bound by indenture for four years are or may be
retained or holden; and shall be liable to like correction and punishment, and
entitled to like relief, in case he be evilly treated by his master, and to like
freedom dues and privileges, as servants bound by indenture for four years are
entitled, unless the person to whom such services belong shall abandon his claim
to the same; in which case the overseers of the poor where such child shall be
abandoned shall by indenture bind out every such child so abandoned as an
apprentice for a time not exceeding the age hereinbefore limited for the service
of such children." And by the thirteenth section it is enac-ted, "that no
covenant of personal servitude or apprenticeship whatsoever shall be valid or
binding on a negro or mulatto for a longer time than seven years, unless such
servant or apprentice were at the commencement of such servitude or
apprenticeship, under the age of twenty-one years, in which case such negro or
mulatto may be holden as a servant or apprentice, respectively, according to the
covenant, as the case shall be, until he shall attain the age of twenty-eight
years, but no longer." See 6 Binn. 204; 1 Browne's R. 369, n.
2. The act requires that a register of such children as would have been
slaves shall be kept by a public officer therein designated. The want of
registry entitles such child to freedom.
SERVANTS. In Louisiana they are divided into free servants and slaves.
See Slaves; Slavery.
2. Free servants are, in general, all free persons who let, hire, or engage
their services to another in the state, to be employed therein at any work,
commerce, or occupation whatever, for the benefit of him who has contracted with
them, for a certain sum or retribution, or upon certain conditions.
3. There are three kinds of free servants in the state, to wit:
4. - 1. Those who only hire out their services by the day, week, month, or
year, in consideration of certain wages.
5. - 2. Those who engage to serve for a fixed time for a certain
consideration, and who are therefore considered not as having hired out, but as
having sold their services.
6. - 3. Apprentices that is, those who engage to serve any one, in order to
learn some art, trade, or profession. Civ. Code of Lo. art. 155, 156, 157.
SERVANTS, menial. Domestics those who receive wages, and who are
lodged and fed in the house of another, and who are employed in his services.
Such servants are not particularly recognized by law. They are called menial
servants, or domestics, from living infra moenia, within the walls of the house.
1 Bl. Com. 324; Wood's Inst. 53; 1 Sw. Syst. 218. The right of the master to
their services in every respect is grounded on the contract between them. 2.
Labor-ers, or persons hired by the day's work, or any longer time, are not
considered servants. 1 Sw. Syst. 218; 5 Binn. 167; 3 Serg. & Rawle, 351.
Vide 12 Ves. 114; 2 Vern. 546; 16 Ves. 486; 1 Rop. on Leg. 121; 3 Deac. &
Chit. 332; 1 Mont. & Bligh. 413; 2 Mart. N. S. 652; Poth. Proc. Civ. sect.
2, art. 5, §5; Poth. Ob. n. 710, 828, French ed.; 9 Toull. n. 314; Domestic;
SERVI. This name was given by the Romans to their slaves; they were so
called from servare, to preserve, from the ancient practice of the generals of
the army, who were accustomed to sell their captives, and preserved them rather
than kill them: servi autem ex eo appellati sunt, quod imperatores captivos
vendere, ac per hoc servare, nec occidere solent. Inst. 1 3, 3.
SERVICE, contracts. The being employed to serve another.
2. In cases of seduction, the gist of the action is not injury which the
seducer has inflicted on the parent by destroying his peace of mind, and the
reputation of his child, but for the consequent inability to perform those
services for which she was accountable to her master or her parent who assumes
this character for the purpose Vide Seduction, and 2 Mees. & W. 539; 7 Car.
& P. 528.
SERVICE, feudal law. That duty which the tenant owes to his lord, by
reason of his fee or estate.
2. The services, in respect of their quality, were either free or base, and
in respect of their quantity and the time of exacting them, were either certain
or uncertain. 2 Bl. Com. 62.
3. In the civil law by service is sometimes understood servitude. (q. v.)
SERVICE, practice. To execute a writ or process; as, to serve a writ
of capias signifies to arrest a defendant under the process; Kirby, 48; 2 Aik.
R. 338; 11 Mass. 181; to serve a summons, is to deliver a copy of it at the
house of the party, or to deliver it to him personally, or to read it to him;
notices and other papers are served by delivering the same at the house of the
party, or to him in person.
2. When the service of a writ is prevented by the act of the party on whom it
is to be served, it will, in general, be sufficient if the officer do everything
in his power to serve it. 39 Eng. C. L. R. 431 1 M. & G. 238.
SERVIENT, civil law. A term applied to an estate or tenement by which
a servitude is due to another estate or tenement. See Dominant; Servitude.
SERVITUDE, civil law. A term which indicates the subjection of one
person to another person, or of a person to a thing, or of a thing to a person,
or of a thing to a thing.
2. Hence servitudes are divided into real, personal, and mixed. Lois des Bat.
P. 1, c. 1.
3. A real or predial servitude is a charge laid on an estate for the use and
utility of another estate belonging to another proprietor. Louis. Code, art.
643. When used without any adjunct, the word servitude means a real or predial
servitude. Lois des Bat. P. 1, c. 1.
4. The subjection of one person to another is a purely personal servitude; if
it exists in the right of property which a person exercises over another, it is
slavery. When the subjection of one person to another is not slavery, it
consists simply in the right of requiring of another what he is bound to do, or
not to do; this right arises from all kinds of contracts or quasi con tracts.
Lois des Bat. P. 1, c. 1, art. 1.
5. The subjection of persons to things or of things to persons, are mixed
servitudes. Lois des Bat. P. 1, c. 1, art. 2.
6. Real servitudes are divided into rural and urban. Rural servitudes are
those which are due by an estate to another estate, such as the right of passage
over the serving estate, or that which owes the servitude, or to draw water from
it, or to water cattle there, or to take coal, lime and wood from it, and the
like. Urban servitudes are those which are established over a building fur the
convenience of another, such as the right of resting the joists in the wall of
the serving building, of opening windows which overlook the serving estate, and
the like. Dict. de Jurisp. tit. Servitudes. See, generally, Lois des Bat. Part 1
Louis. Code, tit. 4; Code Civil, B. 2, tit. 4; This Dict. tit. Ancient Lights;
Easements; Ways; Lalaure, Des Servitudes, passim.
SERVITUDES, NATURAL, civil law. Those servitudes which arise in
consequence of the nature of the soil.
2. By law the inferior heritages, are submitted in relation to the natural
flow of waters, and the like, to the superior. An inferior field is, therefore,
subject to the injury or prejudice which the situation of the ground, in its
natural state, way cause it.
SERVITUDES, personal. Those by which the property of a subject, in
Scotland, is burdened in favor, not of a tenement, but of a person. Ersk. Pr. L.
Scot. B. 2, t. 9, s. 23. Life rent is the only personal servitude there.
SERVITUS, civil law. A service or servitude; a burden imposed by law,
or the agreement of parties upon certain persons, for the benefit of others; or
upon one estate for the advantage of another, or for the benefit of another
person than the owner.
SERVITUS. Servitude; slavery; a state of bondage. "Servitus autem, est
constitutio," say the Institutes of Justinian, 1, 3, 2, "qua quis dominio alieno
contra naturam subjicitur." Servitude is a disposition of the law of nations, by
which, against common right, one man has been subjected to the dominion of
another. See Bract. 4 b; Co. Litt. 116.
SERVITUS LUMINUM, civil law. The name of a servitude by which an
obligation is imposed on the owner of a house to allow windows or lights to be
put in his wall by the owner of the adjoining house. Dig. 4, 14, 40.
SERVITUS STILLIClDII, civil law. The name of a servitude which obliges
the owner of an estate to receive, or his right to turn aside, the droppings or
stream from his neighbor's house. Dig. 8, 2, 20 and 21, 41; Voet, h. t. n. 13.
SERVITUS TIGNI IMMITTENDI, civil law. The name of a servitude which
consists in requiring him who owes it, to permit his neighbor to place his
joists on his wall. It differs from the servitude Oneris ferendi. (q. v.) in
this, that in the former the owner of the servient building is bound to repair
and rebuild the wall; whereas, in the latter he is not. Dig. lib. 8, §2.
SESSION. The time during which a legislative body, a court or other
assembly sits for the transaction of business; as, a session of congress, which
commences on the day appointed by the constitution, and ends when congress
finally adjourns before the commencement of the next session; the session of a
court, which commences at the day appointed by law, and ends when the court
finally rises a term.
SESSION COURT, or COURT OF SESSION. The highest civil court in the
kingdom of Scotland. The judges, called lords of the session, are fifteen in
2. It has extensive original jurisdiction, and its powers of review as a
court of appeal have no limits. In 1808, it was divided into two chambers,
called the first and second division; the lord president and seven judges
constituting the former, and the lord justice clerk, who is head of the court of
justiciary, with six judges, the latter. These divisions have independent but
3. The high court of justiciary, or supreme criminal jurisdiction for
Scotland consists of six judges, who are lords of the session, the lord justice
clerk presiding. In this court the number of the jury is fifteen, and a majority
decides. The court of session is divided into the inner house and outer house,
with appeal from the latter to the former, and from the former to the house of
lords of the United Kingdom. Encycl. Amer.
SET, contracts. Foreign bills of exchange are generally drawn in
parts; as, "pay this my first bill of exchange, second and third of the same
tenor and date not paid;" the whole of these parts, which make but one bill, are
called a set. Chit. Bills, 175, 6, (edition of 1836); 2 Pardess. n. 342.
TO SET ASIDE. To annul; to make void; as to set aside an award.
2. When proceedings are irregular they may be set aside on, motion of the
party whom they injuriously affect.
SET-OFF, contracts, practice. Defalcation; (q. v.) a demand which a
defen-dant makes against the plaintiff in the suit for the purpose of
liquidating the whole or a part of his claim.
2. A set-off was unknown to the common law, according to which mutual debts
were distinct and inextinguishable except by actual payment or release. 1
Rawle's R. 293; Babb. on Set-off, 1.
3. The statute 2 Geo. II., c. 22, which has been generally adopted in the
United States with some modifications however, allowed, in cases of mutual
debts, the defendant to set his debt against the other, either by pleading it in
bar, or giving it in evidence, when proper notice had been given of such
intention, under the general issue. The statute being made for the benefit of
the defendant, is not compulsory; 8 Watts, R. 39; the defendant may Waive his
right, and bring a cross action against the plaintiff. 2 Campb. 594; 5 Taunt.
148; 9 Watts, R. 179
4. It seems, however, that in some cases of intestate estates, and of
insolvent estates, perhaps owing to the peculiar wording of the law, the statute
has been held to operate on the rights of the parties before action brought, or
an act done by either of them. 2 Rawle's R. 293; 3 Binn. Rep. 135; Bac. Ab.
5. Set-off takes place only in actions on contracts for the payment of money,
as assumpsit, debt and covenant. A set-off is not allowed in actions arising ex
delicto, as, upon the case, trespass, replevin or detinue. Bull. N. P. 181.
6. The matters which may be set off, may be mutual liquidated debts or
damages, but unliquidated damages cannot be set off. 1 Black. R. 394; 2 John.
150; 8 Conn. 325; 1 M'Cord, 7; 3 Wend. 400; 1 Stew. & Port. 19; 2 Yeates,
208; 1 Sumn. 471; 2 Blackf. 31; 1 A. K. Marsh. 41; 6 Halst. 397; 5 Wash. C. C.
232 3 Bibb, 49; 2 Caines, 33. The statutes refer only to mutual unconnected
debts; for at common law, when the nature of the employment, transaction or
dealings necessarily constitute an account consisting of receipts and payments,
debts and credits, the balance only is considered to be the debt, and therefore
in an action, it is not necessary in such cases either to plead or give notice
of set-off. 4 Burr. 2221.
7. In general, when the government is plaintiff, no set-off will be allowed.
9 Pet. 319; 4 Dall. 303. See 9 Cranch, 313; Paine, 156. But when an act of
congress authorizes such set-off, it may be made. 9 Cranch, 213.
8. Judgments in the same rights may be set off against each other at the
discretion of the court. 3 Bibb 233; 3 Watts 78; 3 Halst. 172; 4 Hamm. 90; 1
Stew. & Port. 24; 7 Mass. 140, 144; 8 Cowen 126. Vide Compensation; also
Mon-tagu on Set-off; Babington on Set-off; 3 Stark. Ev. h. t.; Amer. Dig. h. t.;
Whart. Dig. h. t.; 3 Chit. Bl. Com. 304, n.; 1 Chit. Pl. Index, h. t.; 8 Vin.
Ab. 556; Bac. Ab. h. t. 1 Sell. Pr. 321; 5 Com. Dig. 595; 6 Id. 335; 7 Id. 336;
8 Id. 927; Chit. Pr. Index, h. t.; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t. Vide Factor.
TO SETTLE. To adjust or ascertain to pay.
2. Two contracting parties are said to settle an account when they ascertain
what is justly due by one to the other; when one pays the balance or debt due by
him, he is said to settle such debt or balance. 11 Alab. R. 419
SETTLEMENT, domicil. The right which a person has of being considered
as resident of a particular place.
2. It is obtained in various ways, to wit: 1. By birth. 2. By the legal
settlement of the father, in the case of minor children. 3. By marriage. 4. By
continued residence. 5. By the payment of requisite taxes. 6. By the lawful
exercise of a public office. 7. By hiring and service for a year. 8. By serving
an apprenticeship; and perhaps some others which depend upon the local statutes
of the different states. Vide 1 Bl. Com. 363; 1 Dougl. 9; 2 Watts' Rep. 44, 342;
2 Penna. R. 432; 5 Serg. & Rawle, 417; 2 Yeates' R. 51; 5 Binn. R. 81; 3
Binn. R.. 22; 6 Serg. & Rawle, 103, 565; 10 Serg. & Rawle, 179. Vide
SETTLEMENT, contracts. The conveyance of an estate, for the benefit of
some person or persons.
2. It is usually made on the prospect of marriage for the benefit of the
married pair, or one of them, or for the benefit of some other persons, as their
children. Such settlements vest the property in trustees upon specified terms,
usually for the benefit of the hushand and wife during their joint lives, and
then for the benefit of the survivor for life, and afterwards for the benefit of
children. Ante-nuptial agreements of this kind will be enforced in equity by a
specific performance of them, provided they are fair and valid, and the
intention of the parties is consistent with the principles and policy of law.
Settlements after marriage, if made in pursuance of an agreement in writing
entered into prior to the marriage, are valid, both against creditors and
4. When made without consideration, after marriage, and the property of the
hushand is settled upon his wife and children, the settlement will be valid
against subsequent creditors, if, at the time of the settlement being made, he
was not indebted; but, if he was then indebted, it will be void as to the
creditors existing at the time of the settlement; 3 John. Ch. R. 481; 8 Wheat.
R. 229; unless in cases where the hushand received a fair consideration in value
of the thing settled, so as to repel the presumption of fraud. 2 Ves. 16 10 Ves.
139. Vide 1 Madd. Ch. 459; 1 Chit. Pr. 57; 2 Kent, Com. 145; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr.
80, 375; Rob. Fr. Conv. 188. See Atherl. on Mar. passim.
5. The term settlement is also applied to an agreement by which two or more
persons, who have dealings together, so far arrange their accounts, as to
ascertain the balance due from one to the other; and settlement sometimes
signifies a payment in full.
TO SEVER, practice. When defendants who are sued jointly have separate
de-fences, they may in general sever, that is, each one rely on his own separate
defence; each may plead severally and insist on his own separate plea. See
SEVERAL. A state of separation or partition. A several agreement or
cove-nant, is one entered into by two or more persons separately, each binding
himself for the whole; a several action is one in which two or more persons are
separately charged; a several inheritance, is one conveyed so as to descend, or
come to two persons separately by moieties. Several is usually opposed to joint.
Vide 3 Rawle, 306. See Contract; Joint Contract, Parties to action.
SEVERALTY, title to an estate. An estate in severalty is one which is
held by the tenant in his own right only, without any other being joined or
connected with him in point of interest, during the continuance of his estate. 2
Bl. Com. 179. Cruise, Dig. 479, 480.
SEVERANCE, pleading. When an action is brought in the name of several
plain-tiffs, in which the plaintiffs must of necessity join, aud one or more of
the persons so named do not appear, or make default after appearance, the other
may have judgment of severance, or, as it is technically called, judgment ad
2. But in personal actions, with the exception of those by executors, and of
detinue for charters, there can be no summons and severance. Co. Lit. 139.
3. After severance, the party severed can never be mentioned in the suit, nor
derive any advantage from it.
4. When there are several defendants, each of them may use such plea as, he
may think proper for his own defence; and they may join in the same plea, or
sever at their discretion; Co. Litt. 303, a except perhaps, in the case of
di-latory pleas. Hob. 245, 250. But when the defendants have once united in the
plea, they cannot afterwards sever at the rejoinder, or other later stage of the
pleading. Vide, generally, Bro. Summ. and Sev.; 2 Rolle, 488; Archb. Civ. Pl.
SEVERANCE, estates. The act by which any one of the unities of a joint
tenancy is effected, is so called; because the estate is no longer a joint
tenancy, but is severed.
2. A severance may be effected in various ways, namely: 1. By partition,
which is either voluntary or compulsory. 2. By alienation of one of the joint
tenants, which turns the estate into a tenancy in common. 3. By the purchase or
descent of all the shares of the joint tenants, so that the whole estate becomes
vested in one only. Com. Dig. Estates by Grant, K 5; 1 Binn. R. 175.
3. In another and a less technical sense, severance is the separation of a
part of a thing from another; for example, the separation of malchinery from a
mill, is a severance, and, in that case, the machinery which while annexed to
the mill was real estate, becomes by the severance; personalty, unless such
severance be merely temporary. 8 Wend. R. 587.
SEWER. Properly a trench artificially made for the purpose of carrying
water into the sea, river, or some other place of reception. Public sewers are,
in general, made at the public expense. Crabb, R. P. §113.