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either by his guardian, or by his prochein amy, his next friend. This next friend may be any person, who will undertake the infant's cause, and it frequently happens, that an infant by his prochein amy institutes a suit in equity against a fraudulent guardian.
In Criminal Cases. In criminal cases, an infant of the age of fourteen years may be capitally punished, but under the age of seven he cannot. The between seven and fourteen is subject to much uncertainty, for the infant shall, generally speaking, be judged prima facie innocent; yet if he was doli capax, and could discern between good and evil, at the date of the offence, he may be convicted, and undergo judgment and execution of death, though he had not attained to years of puberty or discretion. Sir Mathew Hale cites a case of a girl of thirteen, who was burned for killing her mistress, another of a boy, still younger, who concealed himself, after slaying his companion, for it appeared by his hiding, that he knew he had done wrong, and could discern between good and evil. Still later, a boy of ten years of age, who had committed a heinious murder, was deemed worthy of capital punishment.
Laches not Imputed to Infant. With regard to estates and civil property, an infant has many privileges. He shall lose nothing by non-claim or neglect to demand his right, nor shall any other laches or negligence be imputed to an infant, except in some particular cases.
Privileges of Infants. It is usually true, that an infant can neither aliene his lands, nor do any legal act, nor make a deed, nor indeed any manner of contract, that will bind him. To these rules, there are some exceptions. Thus infant trustees or mortgagees are enabled to convey, under the direction of the court of chancery or exchequer, or other courts of equity, the estates they hold in trust or mortgage to such person, as the court shall appoint. An infant, who has had an advowson, may present to the benefice, when it becomes vacated. An infant may also purchase lands, but his purchase is incomplete, for on his arrival at age, he may affirm or disaffirm the contract, without alleging cause, and so may his heirs, if he dies without ratification of the agreement. An infant under twenty-one can make no deed, but what is afterwards voidable, yet in some cases, he can bind himself apprentice by indenture for seven years, and he may, by deed or will, appoint a guardian for his children. Notwithstanding the general rule, that an infant can make no contract, which will bind him, yet he may bind himself to pay for his necessary meat, drink, apparel, physic, and other necessaries, and likewise for his good teaching and instruction."
CHAPTER XVIII.- CORPORATIONS.
Doctrine of Perpetual Succession. As all personal rights dié with the person, it has been found necessary, when the public is benefitted by the continuance of particular rights, to constitute artificial persons, who may maintain a perpetual succession, and enjoy a kind of legal immortality.
Benefit of Corporations. These artificial persons are called bodies politic, bodies corporate or corporations, of which a great variety exist, for the advancement of religion, of learning, and of commerce, in order to preserve entire and forever those rights and immunities, which if granted only to the individuals of which the body corporate is composed, would upon their death be utterly lost and extinct. In holding estates, or other property, if land be granted for the purposes of religion or learning to per-' sons not incorporated, there is no legal way of continuing the property to any other persons for the same purposes, but by endless conveyances from one to the other, as often as the lands are changed.
Theory of Corporations. But when they are consolidated and united into a corporation, they and their successors are deemed one person in law, having one will, which is collected from the sense of the majority of the individuals. This one will may establish rules for the regulation of the whole, which are the municipal laws of this little republic; or rules may be prescribed to it at its creation, which are then in the place of natural laws. The privileges and immunities, the estates and possessions of the corporation, when once vested in them, remain, without any new conveyance, to new successions; for the individual members are but one person in law, a person
1 He is also liable for necessaries furnished his family. Infants are liable for the torts which they commit. He may be sued in trover and in an action on the case for damages. A direct promise, or an express agreement by him, after he becomes of age, is necessary to ratify a previous contract, and make it obligatory on him. It has been held, that a mere acknowledgement of the dept, or even a part payment on account made after he becomes of age, will not suffice.
that never dies, as the river is the same river, though the parts composing it change every instant.
Historical Origin. The Romans originally invented these political constitutions. They were introduced by Numa Pompilius, the second king, who finding, upon his accession, the city rent by the rival factions of Sabines and Romans, thought it prudent to subdivide them, by instituting separate societies of every trade and profession. They were encouraged by the civil law, in which they were called universitates, as forming one whole out of many individuals, or collegia, from being gathered together. They were adopted also by the canon law, for the maintenance of ecclesiastical discipline, and from them our. spiritual corporations are derived. But our laws have greatly refined and improved upon the invention, particularly with regard to sole corporations, consisting of one individual only, of which the Roman lawyers had no notion, their maxim being, that tres faciunt collegium.
Divisions. Corporations are either aggregate or sole.
Corporations Aggregate. These consist of many persons united together into one society, and are maintained by a perpetual succession of members, so as to continue forever, as the mayor and commonalty of a city.
Corporations Sole. These consist of one person only and his successors, in some particular station, incorporated by law, in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their persons, they could not have had. The king is a corporation sole; so is a bishop, and every parson and vicar.
Example-Parson. At the original endowment of parish churches, the freehold of the church, the parsonage, the glebe and the tithes of the parish, were vested in the then parson by the bounty of the donor, with intent that the emoluments should
1 Another division of corporations is into public and private. Public cor. porations are created for the pnrposes of municipal government, as cities, towns and boroughs.
ever continue, as a recompense for the parson's spiritual care, How was this to be effected ? The freehold was vested in the parson. If it were vested in him, in his natural capacity, on his death it might descend to his heir, and would be liable for his debts and encumbrances, or at best the heir might be compelled to convey those rights to the succeeding incumbent. The law, therefore, has wisely ordained, that the parson, quatenus parson, shall never die, any more than the king; by making him and his successors a corporation. By this means, all the original rights of the parsonage are preserved entire to his successor, for the present incumbent and his remotest predecessor are one and the same person in law, and what was given the one was given the other also.
Ecclesiastical Corporations. Another division of incorporations is into ecclesiastical and lay. Ecclesiastical corporations are where the members who compose them are entirely spiritual persons, such as bishops, certain deans and prebendaries, all archdeacons, parsons and vicars, who are solė corporations; also deans and chapters, bodies aggregate. They are erected for the furtherance of religion, and for perpetuating the rights of the church.
Lay Corporations. These are of two sorts, civil and eleemosynary.
(1). Civil. The civil are such as are created for a variety of temporal purposes. The king, for instance, is made a corporation to prevent in general the possibility of an interregnum or
cy upon the throne, and to preserve the possessions of the crown entire; for immediately upon the demise of one king, his successor is in full possession of his regal rights and dignity. Other lay corporations are erected for the good government of a city or town, as a mayor and commonalty; some for the regulation of manufactures and commerce, as the trading companies of London and other towns; also church warders for the consecration of the goods of the parish; also the college of physicians, for the improvement of medical science.
(2) Eleemosynary. These corporations are constituted for the perpetual distribution of the free alms or bounty of the founder of them to such persons, as he has directed. Of this kind are hospitals for the maintenance of the poor, sick and impotent, and certain colleges, etc.
The Subject Treated. We will now consider:
1. How corporations may be created.
I. CREATION OF CORPORATIONS.
Under the Civil Law. By the civil law, they were created by the mere act and voluntary association of their members, provided such convention was not contrary to law.
The King's Consent. Apparently the prince's consent was not essential to their foundation, but in England, the king's consent, either iinpliedly or expressly given, is absolutely necessary to the erection of any corporation. The king's implied consent is to be found in corporations which exist by force of the common law, to which our former kings are presumed to have given their concurrence; common law being nothing else but custom, arising from the general agreement of the community.
By Common Law and Prescription. Of this sort are the king himself, all bishops, parsons, vicars, church wardens and some others, who by common law, have ever been held to have been corporations, virtute officii. The king's consent is also presumed to have been given to all corporations by prescription, such as the city of London, which have existed from time immemorial. In such cases, though the members thereof can show no legal charter of incorporation, yet in cases of such antiquity, it is presumed to have existed, and to have been lost or destroyed.
Royal Assent Essential. The methods, by which the king's consent is expressly given, are either by act of parliament or charter. The royal assent is a necessary ingredient of such act, but most of the statutes of this nature in former years, either confirmed the previous creation of corporations by the king, or permitted the king to erect a corporation in futuro with certain powers. Hence the immediate creative act was usually performed by the king alone, by virtue of his royal prerogative. All the methods, therefore, whereby corporations exist, by common law, by prescription and by act of parliament, are for the