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that meaning which is generally given to it in the community; but when this construction would contravene the manifest intention of the legislature, we must depart from this rule and give effect to the intention. A vehicle with four wheels drawn by oxen, suited to the ordinary purposes of husbandry, and employed in the same uses to which carts, in the common acceptation of the term, are appropriated, is protected from levy and sale by the statute which exempts “one horse or oxcart” from execution. The words of a statute are to be read in their ordinary sense unless so construing them will lead to some incongruity or manifest absurdity.”

§ 249. How general words construed.- General words should receive a general construction unless there is something in the statute to restrain them. When from the provisions of a statute it is clear that a restraint must be put upon the ordinary and literal signification of some word or expression, and it is uncertain from anything to be found in the act itself or in the circumstances judicially cognizable under which the provision was inserted, what the exact character and extent of that restriction is, it is the duty of the court to put no greater restriction than the nature of the provision and the subject-matter to which it relates necessarily impose.'

$ 250. Words having popular and technical meaning.Where a word having a technical as well as a popular meaning is used in the constitution or a statute the courts will accord to it its popular signification, unless the very nature of the subject indicates, or the context suggests, that it is used in its technical sense. Therefore the requirement that all bills shall be read on three several days is taken to mean actual readings. It would seem that popular words are to be construed in their strict and primary acceptation, unless it appears from the context that they were used in a different sense, or in their strict sense are incapable of being carried into effect.

1 Favers v. Glass, 22 Ala. 621.

5 Weill v. Kenfield, 54 Cal. 111; 2 Collins v. Welch, L. R. 5 C. P. Div. People v. Tighe, 5 Hun, 25; Opinion 27; State v. Deshler, 25 N. J. L 177, of Justices, 7 Mass. 523. 183.

6 Mallan v. May, 13 M. & W. 511, 3 Jones v. Jones, 18 Me. 308, 313. 517.

Sullivan v. Mitcalfe, L R. 5 C. P. Div. 455.

$ 251. A statute requiring that “all words and phrases shall be construed and understood according to the common and approved usage of language," etc., is only declaratory of a part of the common law on the subject, and will not preclude the operation of other common-law rules. The latter are of equal dignity and importance, and may be invoked to give effect to the legislative intent. A general statute prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons was qualified by a provision authorizing it when the person has reasonable grounds to believe his person, or the person of some of his family, is in immediate danger from violence or crime. As the literal sense of the word immediate would defeat the legislative purpose and render the privilege granted worthless, it was deemed inadvertently used, or used in some other than its ordinary sense; it was held that the provision authorized the carrying of such weapons when there was believed to be immediate danger of violence or crime at the hands of another, whenever that person is present, or “whenever or wherever he has reasonable ground to apprehend that he will encounter such person and be exposed to the apprehended danger."1 Words in common

” I use, and not technically employed, in a statute which is intended to be understood and practiced upon by the people, should be construed according to their popular meaning; that such was the intention of the legislature is the only intendment that ought to be adopted.?

$ 252. The popular use of “or” and “and” is so loose and so frequently inaccurate that it has infected statutory enactments. While they are not treated as interchangeable, and should be followed when their accurate reading does not render the sense dubious, their strict meaning is more readily departed from than that of other words, and one read in place of the other in deference to the meaning of the context.?



1 Bailey v. Commonwealth, 11 Bush, 41 id. 593; State v. Smith, 46 id. 670; 688.

People v. Sweetser, 1 Dak. 295; State Strong v. Birchard, 5 Conn. 357, v. Custer, 65 N. C. 339; Barker v. 361; Avery v. Pixley, 4 Mass. 460; Esty, 19 Vt. 131 ; Sparrow v. DavidRobinson v. Varnell, 16 Tex. 382. son College, 77 N. C. 35; Rigoney v.

3 Metropolitan Board of Works v. Neiman, 73 Pa. St. 330; CommonSteed, L. R. 8 Q. B. Div. 447; Doug- wealth v. Griffin, 105 Mass. 185 ; lass v. Eyre, Gilpin, 148; State v. Foster v. Commonwealth, 8 W. & S. Myers, 10 Iowa, 448; State v. Brandt, 77; Winterfield v. Stauss, 24 Wis.

$ 253. Words having a special sense in the common law.Where a statute uses a word, which is well known and has a definite sense at common law or in the written law, without defining it, it will be restricted to that sense, unless it appears that it was not so intended. If the word heir is used it is to be so interpreted, and must be taken to mean one capable of in

394, 406; State v. Mitchell, 5 Ired. L 359, that “a claim is a challenge by a 350 ; State v. Miles, 2 Nott & McCord, man of the propriety or ownership of 1; State v. McCoy, 2 Speers, 711; a thing which he has in possession, Green v. Wood, 7 Q. B. 178; Fowler but which is wrongfully detained v. Padget, 7 T. R. 509; Townsend v. from him." Read, 10 C. B.(N. S.) 308; Waterhouse “In its ordinary sense,” said Scott, J., v. Keen, 4 B. & C. 200; Newland v. “a claim imports the assertion, deMarsh, 19 I. 370; Rolland v. Com- mand or challenge of something as a monwealth, 82 Pa. St. 306; Blemer v. right, or it means the thing thus dePeople, 76 Ill. 265; State v. Pool, 74 manded or challenged. The word, as N. C. 402; Murray v. Keyes, 35 Pa. here used, is by implication limited St. 384, 391; Union Ins. Co. v. United to claims against the state, and of a States, 6 Wall. 759; Bollin v. Shiner, pecuniary character. The inhibition 12 Pa. St. 205; McConky v. Superior is against the payment of any money Court of Alameda Co. 56 Cal. 83; on any claim, etc. Claims for the United States v. Ten Cases of Shawls, payment of money may be preferred 2 Paine, 162.

against the state on various grounds. 1 Buckner v. Real Estate Bank, 5 They may be either of a legal or of Ark. 536; Rives v. Guthrie, 1 Jones' L. an equitable character. They may 88; McCool v. Smith, 1 Black, 459; purport to arise under existing laws, Hillhouse v. Chester, 3 Day, 166; or to originate in circumstances which State v. Engle, 21 N. J. L. 347; Allen's are supposed to cast upon the state a Appeal, 99 Pa. St. 196; Brocket v. duty, either of perfect or imperfect Ohio, etc. R. R. Co. 14 id. 241, 243; obligation, to provide for their payAdams v. Turrentine, 8 Ired. L. 147; ment. All such demands against the The Kate Heron, 6 Sawyer, 106; state for the payment of money, whatApple v. Apple, 1 Head, 318; State v. ever be their character or origin, are, Mace, 5 Md. 337; United States v. we think, claims within the meaning Magill, 1 Wash. 463.

of the constitution.” Fordyce v. A claim is, in a juridical sense, “a Godman, Auditor, 20 Ohio St. 1, 14., demand of some matter as of right The word wilful when used in a made by one person upon another, to statute creating a criminal offense do or to forbear to do some act or implies the doing of the act purposely thing as a matter of duty.” Prigg v. and deliberately in violation of law. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State v. Whitener, 93 N. C. 590 ; State 16 Peters, 539, 615.

v. Smith, 52 Wis. 134; State v. PresIn the same case Mr. Justice Story ton, 34 id. 675. says: “A more limited, but at the Distance on a river within which same time an equally expressive, no other bridge may be built, held to definition was given by Lord Dyer, be measured by the course of the river. as cited in Stowell v. Zouch, Plowden, McLeod v. Burroughs, 9 Ga. 213.


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heriting? The word month in England is usually construed to mean a lunar month. This rule was followed in New York.' But the word month is not a technical word, and courts generally lean toward that construction of it, as of other popular words, which every one not a lawyer would put upon it."

In Eshleman's Appeals the court say: “Both in England and America it has been held that the word 'child' may apply to and include 'grandchild.' The English statute of 22 and 23 Car. II., ch. 10,

relating to distribution, : . provides that if a child shall be advanced; yet it is there held to extend to a grandchild, the father being dead. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren are all children and come within that term for certain purposes.? It is allowed by all that if no children are in being, grandchildren come in under the word children and may be thereby described. So grandchildren may take under the description of children in a will.' In a trust for children it was held grandchildren were entitled to participate.” 10

$ 254. Words in common use, and also having a technical sense, will, in acts intended for general operation and not dealing specially with the subject to which such words in their technical sense apply, be understood primarily in their popular sense, unless they are defined in the act or a contrary intention is otherwise manifest." Such words, however, will be understood in a technical sense when the act treats of the subject in relation to which such words are technically em

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1 State v. Engle, 21 N. J. L. 347. Cal. 392; Mitchell v. Woodson, 37

v. Peckham, Carth. 406; Miss. 567. Lacon v. Hooper, 6 T. R. 224, 226; 5 74 Pa. St. 42, 46. Castle v. Burditt, 3 id. 623; Rex v. 6 1 Eq. Ab. 381, B. pl. 6; 382, B. pl. 8, Adderley, 2 Doug. 462; Catesby's 9, 10, 11. Case, 6 Coke, 62; 2 Black. Com. 141. Wyth v. Blackman, 1 Ves. Sr. 197.

3 Loring v. Halling, 15 John. 119; 8 Crooke v. Brookling, 2 Vern. 107; Parsons v. Chamberlin, 4 Wend. 512. Wythe v. Thurston, 2 Ambler, 555. See Rives v. Guthrie, 1 Jones' L. 88. 9 Royle v. Hamilton, 4 Ves. 437.

4 Avery v. Pixley, 4 Mass. 460; 10 Crawhall's Trust, In re, 8 De G. Churchill v. Merchants’ Bank, 19 Pick. Macn. & Gord. 480. See Burgess v. 532; Commonwealth v. Chambre, 4 Hargrove, 64 Tex. 110. Dall. 143; Kimball v. Lamson, 2 Vt. 11 Cummings v. Coleman, 7 Rich. 138; Commonwealth v. Shortridge, Eq. 509; S. C. 62 Am. Dec. 402; 3 J.J. Marsh. 638; Williamson v. Far Schriefer v. Wood, 5 Blatchf. 215; row, 1 Bailey, 611 ; Moore v. Houston, Green v. Weller, 32 Miss. 650; Park3 Serg. & R. 169; Gross v. Fowler, 21 inson v. State, 14 Md. 184.

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ployed. Thus they are leemed technically used in legislation relating to courts and legal process. Thus, for example, the word“ party” has a technical significance. So have the words “action," “suit” and “final judgment."3 But by the cardinal rule that the intention of the law-makers is the essence of the law, when a technical word is obviously intended to have a broader than its strict technical sense, it will receive that interpretation. In McBride's Appeal the word “ actions” in the provision in question was held to embrace "all civil proceedings of whatever kind,” as well as actions technically so called. Technical words are sometimes used in statutes in a popular sense. In a penal statute, where it is sought to depart from the ordinary meaning of the words used, the intention of the legislature that these words should be used in a larger or more popular sense must clearly appear.? Prohibitory statutes must not be interpreted on a principle of leniency; if anything done is substantially that which is prohibited, the thing is void, not because of its tendency, but because it is, within the true construction of the statute, the thing prohibited. If a word is technical and used in a technical or conventional sense, it is to be construed accordingly; but its interpretation may then involve an inquiry into its technical meaning as matter of fact. Such laws are intended for practical application to men engaged in avocations in which the words have acquired a special meaning by usage. Such statutes are to be construed according to the conventional understanding of the terms used.

1 Merchants' Bank v. Cook, 4 Pick. 6 People v. Tighe, 5 Hun, 25, 27. 405.

7 7 Stephenson v. Higginson, 3 H. L 2 Belfast v. Fogler, 71 Me. 403; Par- Cas. 638. sons v. Bedford, 3 Pet. 433; Holmes 8 Philpott v. St. George's Hospital, v. Jennison, 14 id. 540, 546; Calder- 6 H. L. Cas. 338. wood v. Est. of Calderwood, 38 Vt. 171. 9 Elliott v. Swartwout, 10 Pet. 137;

3 Snell v. Bridgewater, etc. Co. 24 Two Hundred Chests of Tea, 9 Wheat. Pick. 296, 299; Weston v. Charleston, 430; United States v. Sarchet, Gilpin, 2 Pet. 464; Holmes v. Jennison, 14 id. 273; United States v. 112 Casks of 540, 562.

Sugar, 8 Pet. 277; Curtis v. Martin, 4 72 Pa. St. 480. See People v. May, 3 How. 106; Lawrence v. Allen, 7 3 Mich. 598.

How. 785; People v. Hulse, 3 Hill, 5 See Coatsworth v. Barr, 11 Mich. 309; Lee v. Lincoln, 1 Story, 610; 199; George v. Board of Education, Att'y-Gen'l v. Bailey, 1 Ex. 281; State 33 Ga. 344; King v. Pease, 4 B. & v. Gupton, 8 Ired. 271; United States Ad. 30; State v. Clarksville & R. Turn- v. Breed, 1 Sumn. 159; Morse v. State, pike Co. 2 Sneed, 88.

6 Conn. 9; Whart. Com. on Am. L


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