Note. The author is indebted to John M. Dunning, Esq., attorney anc counselor at law, Rochester, N.Y., for the following carefully-compiled glossary of legal terms and phrases.


Accomplice. An associate or confederate in crime, not actually present at its commission. Acknowledgment.

1. A declaration or avowal of one's own signature or act to a written

instrument, as a deed or mortgage, before a proper officer, to give it legal validity.

2. The certificate of the officer on the instrument, that such a declara

tion has been made. Act.

1. The formal declaration or expression of the will of the people, as

made by their legal representatives, acting in a legislative capacity.

2. A law passed by legislative authority. A statute. Administrator. A person lawfully appointed, with his assent, by an

officer having jurisdiction, to manage and settle the estate of an intestate, or person who dies leaving no last will and testament, or of a person who dies leaving a last will and testament, but with no competent executor to carry the same into execution. One to whom letters o( administration are granted.

AdminiStratrix. A female administrator.


1. The power or officers appointed for the management of naval affairs.

2. The name of a jurisdiction which takes cognizance of suits or

actions which arise in consequence of acts done upon or relating to the sea. In the United States, all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction are vested in the district courts of the United States. Affidavit. A statement in writing, prefaced by the name of the State, and the county, or city, or town, or other municipal division, ovet which the officer's jurisdiction before whom it is made extends, and signed by the person making the statement, and made on oath or affirmation before a, person authorized by law to administer oaths and take affirmations.

Affirmation. A solemn declaration made by a person who conscientiously declines to take an oath, bet having the same legal and binding obligation as an oath, with hke penalties for perjury attached, and to be administered with like formalities.

Agency. The office or business of a person acting for or intm^ted with the affairs of another. The person so acting is called the agen.: the one acted for is called the principal.

Alias. Otherwise called.

Alibi. Elsewhere. A person accused of a crime, pleading and proving that he was somewhere else than where the crime was committed, at the time of its commission, pleads and proTes an alibi.

A lieu. One born in another country than the one where he resides: not possessing, therefore, the rights of citizenship where he resides.

Alimony. An allowance made by a court to a wife out of her husband's estate. This may be done temporarily, as while a suit for divorce is pending; or it may be done for life, as where a divorce is granted.

Allegiance. The duty of fidelity which a person owes to his government for the protection which it affords him. Loyalty, fealty.

Ambassador. A person appointed by a sovereign state, government, or prince, duly authorized to represent his government at the seat of, and manage its interests with, the government to which he is sent.

Amnesty. An act of oblivion of past offences, granted by the government, expressly or impliedly, cither before or after conviction, to those who have committed offenses in iJme of war, or to those who have been guilty of any neglect or crime; destroying the criminal act.

Arbitrator. TJmpire, referee. A person chosen, by parties who have' a controversy, to determine and settle their differences.

ArreSt. The taking or apprehending of a person by the authority of law.

Arson. The willful and malicious burning of a dwelling-house or outhouse of another person.

AsSassin. One who kills, or attempts to kill, a person by surprise or secret assault.

ASsault. An unlawful attempt or offer to heat another, accompanied by a degree of violence, hut without touching the person; as with the fist, or a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Attachment. A seizure or taking of the person or property by virtue of a legal process issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, or by a judge thereof, and directed to and executed by the sheriff or other proper officer. A writ.


Attainder. The stain, forfeiture, and corruption of blood, which arise on a person being condemned for certain crimes.


Bail. The security given for the release of a prisoner from the custody of an officer. The persons who become responsible for the appearance of the prisoner when demanded by the officer or by the court.

Bailee. The person to whom goods are committed in trust for a speci fied object. He has a temporary possession, and a qualified interest in them, until the object is accomplished.

Bailment. A delivery of goods in trust for some special object or purpose, on a contract, expressed or implied, that the trust shall be faithfully executed and the goods re-delivered on fulfilling the conditions attached.

Bailor. One who delivers goods to another in trust for a particular purpose.

Ballot. A piece of paper or other thing used in voting. The act of voting with balls or tickets.

Bankrupt. A person who is unable to pay his debts, and of whom it has been so declared by a court. One who fails in business, and becomes insolvent.

Bequest. A gift of personal property by a last will and testament. A legacy.

Bond. A writing signed and sealed, by which a person binds himself, his heirs and assigns, to pay a certain sum of money on or before u future day appointed, on the failure of certain conditions therein stated.

Burglary. The breaking and entering into a dwelling-house or other building of another person, with intent to commit a felony, whether the felonious purpose be accomplished or not.


Cabinet The constitutional advisers of the chief executive officer of a

State or nation, taken collectively. For instance, in the United States;

the Secretary of State, and several other officers, are called cabinet

officers. Census. An official registration of the inhabitants of a country, the

value of their estates, and other general statistics of public interest. Check. A written order, usually drawn on a banker, for the payment

of a sum of money therein specified. Client. The employer of an attorney or counselor at law to transact

professional business, usually in the course of judicial proceedings.

Codicil. A supplement, or addition, to a will, forming a part thereof,

and executed with the same formalities. Commerce. The exchange of merchandise or commodities between

different places, countries, or communities. Concurrent. Joint and equal. Existing together, and operating on

the same objects. With equal authority. Confiscation. The act of the government in appropriating the prop

erty of an individual, as a penalty, to the public use. Consanguinity. Relation by blood. Relationship of persons d(

scended from a common ancestry, distinct from relationship by mat

riage. ConSignee. A person to whom goods or other things are sent, in trust,

for sale or superintendence. A factor. Consignment. The act of consigning goods or other things. The

goods or property sent to a consignee. Consignor. A person who makes a consignment. Conspiracy. An unlawful combination of persons for any purpose. Constable. An officer of the peace having power, and bound, to execute

the warrants and other processes of judicial officers. Constituent. A person who appoints another to act for or represent

him. A Congressman's constituency are the people of his district. Constitution. The fundamental law of a country, whether expressed

in a written document, or implied in the institutions and usages of the

government. Contraband. Merchandise or traffic prohibited in time of war. Contract. An agreement between two or more parties competent to

contract, based on a sufficient consideration, promising to do or not to

do certain things possible to be done, which things are not prohibited

by law. ConverSion. An unlawful or wrongful appropriation, by one person,

of the personal property of another. Conveyance. The legal transfer of the property of one person to

another. An instrument in writing by which this is done. Convict. A person found guilty of a crime by a court of competent

jurisdiction. Conviction. The act of convicting by the verdict of a jury and judg

ment of a court. Copartner. A person who is jointly concerned with others in any husi

ness-transactions. A member of a partnership. Copartnership. A joint interest between two or more persons in

pecuniary or business matters. Coroner. An officer whose duty it is to summon a jury to inquire into the cause and manner of sudden or suspicious deaths, produced by violence or otherwise. In certain cases, he acts as sheriff.

Corporation. A body politic or corporate, composed of many individuals, formed and authorized by law, and empowered to act in many respects as a single person, capable of suing and being sued, holding property, conveying the same, and transmitting jt to their successors.

Corporator. A member of a corporation.

CounSel. One who gives legal advice professionally. Advice and aid given in legal proceedings.

Counselor. A person authorized by law to give legal advice professionally, and to manage causes in court.

Court. One or more persons sitting for the trial of causes in a judicial capacity.

Covenant. A contract in writing, usually un&er seai, though not necessarily.

Covenantee. The person to whom a covenant is made.

Covenantor. The person who makes the covenant.

Crime. An offense against the laws of thj land, to which a penalty is attached.

Criminal. A person who has been judicially adjudged guilty of a crime.


Debt. A sum of money du«.
Debtor. A person who owes another a debt.

Decree. A decision, order, sentence, or judgment, by a court or magis-
Deed. An instrument in writing, under seal in due form of law, convey

ing title. Defaulter. One who is deficient in his accounts. One who fails to ap.

pear in court when properly called. Defendant. A person against whom suit is brought in a court. Defense. The method adopted by the defendant to protect himself

against the plaintiff's action. Demise. The conveyance of an estate in fee, or for a limited period

specified. Demurrer. An admission of facts as stated by the opposite party, bnt

a denial of the legal consequences which that party claims. Deponent. A person who makes a deposition or affidavit. Deposition. Testimony committed to writing, under the proper legal

forms, to be afterwards used on the trial of a cause. Descent. Transmission by succession or inheritance. Devise. A disposition ol real property by will.

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