Showing posts with label real property. Show all posts
Showing posts with label real property. Show all posts


This is a non-emphasized (italics and bolds removed) version of the body (footnotes removed) of the article "Some Fundamental Legal Conceptions As Applied In Judicial Reasoning", written by Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld and published on January 1, 1913 in Yale Law Journal.

You may access the original, full article at JSTOR


From very early days down to the present time the essential nature of trusts and other equitable interests has formed a favorite subject for analysis and disputation. The classical discussions of Bacon and Coke are familiar to all students of equity, and the famous definition of the great chief justice (however inadequate it may really be) is quoted even in the latest textbooks on trusts. That the subject has had a peculiar fascination for modern legal thinkers is abundantly evidenced by the well known articles of Langdell and Ames, by the oft-repeated observations of Maitland in his Lectures on Equity, by the very divergent treatment of Austin in his Lectures on Jurisprudence, by the still bolder thesis of Salmond in his volume on Jurisprudence, and by the discordant utterances of Mr. Hart and Mr. Whitlock in their very recent contributions to our periodical literature.

It is believed that all of the discussions and analyses referred to are inadequate. Perhaps, however, it would have to be admitted that even the great intrinsic interest of the subject itself and the noteworthy divergence of opinion existing among thoughtful lawyers of all times would fail to afford more than a comparatively slight excuse for any further discussion considered as a mere end in itself. But, quite apart from the presumably practical consideration of endeavoring to "think straight" in relation to all legal problems, it is apparent that the true analysis of trusts and other equitable interests is a matter that should appeal to even the most extreme pragmatists of the law. It may well be that one's view as to the correct analysis of such interests would control the decision of a number of specific questions. This is obviously true as regards the solution of many difficult and delicate problems in constitutional law and in the conflict of laws. So, too, in certain questions in the law of perpetuities, the intrinsic nature of equitable interests is of great significance, as attested by the well-known Gomm case and others more or less similar. The same thing is apt to be true of a number of special questions relating to the subject of bona fide purchase for value. So on indefinitely.

But all this may seem like misplaced emphasis; for the suggestions last made are not peculiarly applicable to equitable interests: the same points and the same examples seem valid in relation to all possible kinds of jural interests, legal as well as equitable,—and that too, whether we are concerned with "property," "contracts," "torts," or any other title of the law. Special reference has therefore been made to the subject of trusts and other equitable interests only for the reason that the striking divergence of opinion relating thereto conspicuously exemplifies the need for dealing somewhat more intensively and systematically than is usual with the nature and analysis of all types of jural interests. Indeed, it would be virtually impossible to consider the subject of trusts at all adequately without, at the very threshold analyzing and discriminating the various fundamental conceptions that are involved in practically every legal problem. In this connection the suggestion may be ventured that the usual discussions of trusts and other jural interests seem inadequate (and at times misleading) for the very reason that they are not founded on a sufficiently comprehensive and discriminating analysis of jural relations in general. Putting the matter in another way, the tendency—and the fallacy—has been to treat the specific problem as if it were far less complex than it really is; and this commendable effort to treat as simple that which is really complex has, it is believed, furnished a serious obstacle to the clear understanding, the orderly statement, and the correct solution of legal problems. In short, it is submitted that the right kind of simplicity can result only from more searching and more discriminating analysis.

If, therefore, the title of this article suggests a merely philosophical inquiry as to the nature of law and legal relations,—a discussion regarded more or less as an end in itself.—the writer may be pardoned for repudiating such a connotation in advance. On the contrary, in response to the invitation of the editor of this journal, the main purpose of the writer is to emphasize certain oft-neglected matters that may aid in the understanding and in the solution of practical, every-day problems of the law. With this end in view, the present article and another soon to follow will discuss, as of chief concern, the basic conceptions of the law,—the legal elements that enter into all types of jural interests. A later article will deal specially with the analysis of certain typical and important interests of a complex character,—more particularly trusts and other equitable interests. In passing, it seems necessary to state that both of these articles are intended more for law school students than for any other class of readers. For that reason, it is hoped that the more learned reader may pardon certain parts of the discussion that might otherwise seem unnecessarily elementary and detailed. On the other hand, the limits of space inherent in a periodical article must furnish the excuse for as great a brevity of treatment as is consistent with clearness, and for a comparatively meager discussion—or even a total neglect—of certain matters the intrinsic importance of which might otherwise merit greater attention. In short, the emphasis is to be placed on those points believed to have the greatest practical value.

At the very outset it seems necessary to emphasize the importance of differentiating purely legal relations from the physical and mental facts that call such relations into being. Obvious as this initial suggestion may seem to be, the arguments that one may hear in court almost any day and likewise a considerable number of judicial opinions afford ample evidence of the inveterate and unfortunate tendency to confuse and blend the legal and the non-legal quantities in a given problem. There are at least two special reasons for this.

For one thing, the association of ideas involved in the two sets of relations—the physical and the mental on the one hand, and the purely legal on the other—is in the very nature of the case, extremely close. This fact has necessarily had a marked influence upon the general doctrines and the specific rules of early systems of law. Thus, we are told by Pollock and Maitland:

"Ancient German law, like ancient Roman law, sees great difficulties in the way of an assignment of a debt or other benefit of a contract * * * men do not see how there can be a transfer of a right unless that right is embodied in some corporeal thing. The history of the incorporeal things has shown us this; they are not completely transferred until the transferee has obtained seisin, has turned his beasts onto the pasture, presented a clerk to the church or hanged a thief upon the gallows. A covenant or a warranty of title may be so bound up with land that the assignee of the land will be able to sue the covenantor or warrantor."
In another connection, the same learned authors observe:

"The realm of medieval law is rich with incorporeal things. Any permanent right which is of a transferable nature, at all events if it has what we may call a territorial ambit, is thought of as a thing that is very like a piece of land. Just because it is a thing it is transferable. This is no fiction invented by the speculative jurists. For the popular mind these things are things. The lawyer's business is not to make them things but to point out that they are incorporeal. The layman who wishes to convey the advowson of a church will say that he conveys the church; it is for Bracton to explain to him that what he means to transfer is not that structure of wood and stone which belongs to God and the saints, but a thing incorporeal, as incorporeal as his own soul or the anima mundi"

A second reason for the tendency to confuse or blend non-legal and legal conceptions consists in the ambiguity and looseness of our legal terminology. The word "property" furnishes a striking example. Both with lawyers and with laymen this term has no definite or stable connotation. Sometimes it is employed to indicate the physical object to which various legal rights, privileges, etc., relate; then again—with far greater discrimination and accuracy—the word is used to denote the legal interest (or aggregate of legal relations) appertaining to such physical object. Frequently there is a rapid and fallacious shift from the one meaning to the other. At times, also, the term is used in such a "blended" sense as to convey no definite meaning whatever.

For the purpose of exemplifying the looser usage just referred to, we may quote from Wilson v. Ward Lumber Co.:

"The term 'property', as commonly used denotes any external object over which the right of property is exercised. In this sense it is a very wide term, and includes every class of acquisitions which a man can own or have an interest in."

Perhaps the ablest statement to exemplify the opposite and more accurate usage is that of Professor Jeremiah Smith (then Mr. Justice Smith) in the leading case of Eaton v. B. C. & M. R. R. Co.:

"In a strict legal sense, land is not 'property', but the subject of property. The term 'property', although in common parlance frequently applied to a tract of land or a chattel, in its legal signification 'means only the rights of the owner in relation to it'. 'It denotes a right over a determinate thing'. 'Property is the right of any person to possess, use, enjoy, and dispose of a thing'. Selden, J., in Wynehamer v. People, 13 N. Y., 378, p. 433; 1 Blackstone's com., 138; 2 Austin's Jurisprudence, 3rd ed., 817, 818. * * * The right of indefinite user (or of using indefinitely) is an essential quality of absolute property, without which absolute property can have no existence. * * * This right of user necessarily includes the right and power of excluding others from using^ the land. See 2 Austin on Jurisprudence, 3rd ed., 836; Wells, J., in Walker v. O. C. W. R. R.} 103 Mass., 10, p. 14."

Another useful passage is to be found in the opinion of Sherwood, J., in St. Louis v. flail :

"Sometimes the term is applied to the thing itself, as a horse, or a tract of land; these things, however, though the subjects of property, are, when coupled with possession, but the indicia, the visible manifestation of invisible rights, 'the evidence of things not seen.'

"Property, then, in a determinate object, is composed of certain constituent elements, to wit: The unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal, of that object."

In connection with the ambiguities latent in the term "property", it seems well to observe that similar looseness of thought and expression lurks in the supposed (but false) contrast between "corporeal" and "incorporeal" property. The second passage above quoted from Pollock and Maitland exhibits one phase of this matter. For further striking illustration, reference may be made to Blackstone's well-known discussion of corporeal and incorporeal hereditaments. Thus, the great commentator tells us:

"But an hereditament, says Sir Edward Coke, is by much the largest and most comprehensive expression; for it includes not only lands and tenements, but whatsoever may be inherited, be it corporeal or incorporeal, real, personal, or mixed."

It is clear that only legal interests as such can be inherited; yet in the foregoing quotation there is inextricable confusion between the physical or "corporeal" objects and the corresponding legal interests, all of which latter must necessarily be "incorporeal," or "invisible," to use the expression of Mr. Justice Sherwood. This ambiguity of thought and language continues throughout Blackstone's discussion; for a little later he says:

"Hereditaments, then, to use the largest expression, are of two kinds, corporeal and incorporeal. Corporeal consist of such as affect the senses, such as may be seen and handled by the body; incorporeal are not the objects of sensation, can neither be seen nor handled; are creatures of the mind, and exist only in contemplation."

Still further on he says:

"An incorporeal hereditament is a right issuing out of a thing corporate (whether real or personal), or concerning, or annexed to, or exercisable within, the same. * * *

"Incorporeal hereditaments are principally of ten sorts: ad-vowsons, tithes, commons, ways, offices, dignities, franchises, corodies or pensions, annuities, and rents."

Since all legal interests are "incorporeal"—consisting, as they do, of more or less limited aggregates of abstract legal relations— such a supposed contrast as that sought to be drawn by Black-stone can but serve to mislead the unwary. The legal interest of the fee simple owner of land and the comparatively limited interest of the owner of a "right of way" over such land are alike so far as "incorporeality" is concerned; the true contrast consists, of course, primarily in the fact that the fee simple owner's aggregate of legal relations is far more extensive than the aggre-gate of the easement owner.

Much of the difficulty, as regards legal terminology, arises from the fact that many of our words were originally applicable only to physical things; so that their use in connection with legal relations is, strictly speaking, figurative or fictional. The term, "transfer," is a good example. If X says that he has transferred his watch to Y, he may conceivably mean, quite literally, that he has physically handed over the watch to Y; or, more likely, that he has "transferred" his legal interest, without any. delivery of possession,—the latter, of course, being a relatively figurative use of the term. This point will be reached again, when we come to treat of the "transfer" of legal interests. As another instance of this essentially metaphorical use of a term borrowed from the physical world, the word "power" may be mentioned. In legal discourse, as in daily life, it may frequently be used in the sense of physical or mental capacity to do a thing; but, more usually and aptly, it is used to indicate a "legal power", the connotation of which latter term is fundamentally different. The same observations apply, mutatis mutandis, to the term "liberty."

Passing to the field of contracts, we soon discover a similar inveterate tendency to confuse and blur legal discussions by failing to discriminate between the mental and physical facts involved in the so-called "agreement" of the parties, and the legal "contractual obligation" to which those facts give rise. Such ambiguity and confusion are peculiarly incident to the use of the term "contract." One moment the word may mean the agreement of the parties; and then, with a rapid and unexpected shift, the writer or speaker may use the term to indicate the contractual obligation created by law as a result of the agreement. Further instances of this sort of ambiguity will be noticed as the discussion proceeds.


For the purpose of subsequent convenient reference, it seems necessary at this point to lay emphasis upon another important distinction inherent in the very nature of things. The facts important in relation to a given jural transaction may be either operative facts or evidential facts. Operative, constitutive, causal, or "dispositive" facts are those which, under the general legal rules that are applicable, suffice to change legal relations, that is, either to create a new relation, or'to extinguish an old one, or to perform both of these functions simultaneously. For example, in the creation of a contractual obligation between A and B, the affirmative operative facts are, inter alia, that each of the parties is a human being, that each of them has lived for not less than a certain period of time, (is not "under age"), that A has made an "offer" that B has "accepted" it, etc. It is sometimes necessary to consider, also, what may, from the particular point of view, be regarded as negative operative facts. Thus, e.g., the fact that A did not willfully misrepresent an important matter to B, and the fact that A had not "revoked" his offer, must really be included as parts of the totality of operative facts in the case already put.

Taking another example,-—this time from the general field of torts—if X commits an assault on Y by putting the latter in fear of bodily harm, this particular group of facts immediately create in Y the privilege of self-defense,—that is, the privilege of using sufficient force to repel X's attack; or, correlatively, the otherwise existing duty of Y to refrain from the application of force to the person of X is, by virtue of the special operative facts, immediately terminated or extinguished.

In passing, it may not be amiss to notice that the term, "facts in issue," is sometimes used in the present connection. If, as is usual, the term means "facts put in issue by the pleadings" the expression is an unfortunate one. The operative facts alleged by the pleadings are more or less generic in character; and if the pleadings be sufficient, only such generic operative facts are "put in issue." The operative facts of real life are, on the other hand, very specific. That being so, it is clear that the real and specific facts finally relied on are comparatively seldom put in issue by the pleadings. Thus, if, in an action of tort, the declaration of A alleges that he was, through the carelessness, etc., of B, bitten by the latter's dog, the fact alleged is generic in character, and it matters not whether it was dog Jim or dog Dick that did the biting. Even assuming, therefore, that the biting was done by Jim, (rather than by Dick), it could not be said that this specific fact was put in issue by the pleadings. Similarly, and more obviously, the pleading in an ordinary action involving so-called negligence, is usually very generic in character, so that any one of various possible groups of specific operative facts would suffice, so far as the defendant's obligation ex delicto is concerned. It therefore could not be said that any one of such groups had been put in issue by the pleadings. A common fallacy in this connection is to regard the specific operative facts established in a given case as being but "evidence" of the generic (or "ultimate") operative facts alleged in the pleadings.

An evidential fact is one which, on being ascertained, affords some logical basis—not conclusive—for inferring some other fact. The latter may be either a constitutive fact or an intermediate evidential fact. Of all the facts to be ascertained by the tribunal, the operative are, of course, of primary importance; the evidential are subsidiary in their functions. As a rule there is little danger of confusing evidential facts with operative facts. But there is one type of case that not infrequently gives rise to this sort of error. Suppose that in January last a contractual obligation was created by written agreement passing between A and B. In an action now pending between these parties, the physical instrument is offered for inspection by the tribunal. If one were thoughtless, he would be apt to say that this is a case where part of the operative facts creating the original obligation are directly presented to the senses of the tribunal. Yet a moment's reflection will show that such is not the case. The document, in its then existing shape, had, as regards its operative effect, spent its force as soon as it was delivered in January last. If, therefore, the unaltered document is produced for inspection, the facts thus ascertained must, as regards the alleged contractual agreement, be purely evidential in character. That is to say, the present existence of the piece of paper, its specific tenor, etc., may, along with other evidential facts (relating to absence of change) tend to prove the various operative facts of last January,—to wit, that such paper existed at that time; that its tenor was then the same as it now is; that it was delivered by A to B, and so forth.

It now remains to observe that in many situations a single convenient term is employed to designate (generically) certain miscellaneous groups of operative facts which, though differing widely as to their individual "ingredients," have, as regards a given matter, the same net force and effect. When employed with discrimination, the term "possession" is a word of this character; so also the term "capacity," the term "domicile," etc. But the general tendency to confuse legal and non-legal quantities is manifest here as elsewhere; so that only too frequently these words are used rather nebulously to indicate legal relations as such.


One of the greatest hindrances to the clear understanding, the incisive statement, and the true solution of legal problems frequently arises from the express or tacit assumption that all legal relations may be reduced to "rights" and "duties," and that these latter categories are therefore adequate for the purpose of analyzing even the most complex legal interests, such as trusts, options, escrows, "future" interests, corporate interests, etc. Even if the difficulty related merely to inadequacy and ambiguity of terminology, its seriousness would nevertheless be worthy of definite recognition and persistent effort toward improvement; for in any closely reasoned problem, whether legal or non-legal, chameleon-hued words are a peril both to clear thought and to lucid expression. As a matter of fact, however, the above mentioned inadequacy and ambiguity of terms unfortunately reflect, all too often, corresponding paucity and confusion as regards actual legal conceptions. That this is so may appear in some measure from the discussion to follow.

The strictly fundamental legal relations are, after all, sui generis; and thus it is that attempts at formal definition are always unsatisfactory, if not altogether useless. Accordingly, the most promising line of procedure seems to consist in exhibiting all of the various relations in a scheme of "opposites" and "correlatives," and then proceeding to exemplify their individual scope and application in concrete cases. An effort will be made to pursue this method:

Jural rights/privilege/power/immunity
Opposites no-rights/duty/disability/liability

Jural right/privilege/power/immunity
Correlatives duty/no-right/liability/disability

Rights and Duties. As already intimated, the term "rights" tends to be used indiscriminately to cover what in a given case may be a privilege, a power, or an immunity, rather than a right in the strictest sense; and this looseness of usage is occasionally recognized by the authorities. As said by Mr. Justice Strong in People v. Dikeman:

"The word 'right' is defined by lexicographers to denote, among other things, property, interest, power, prerogative, immunity, privilege (Walker's Diet, word 'Right'). In law it is most frequently applied to property in its restricted sense, but it is often used to designate power, prerogative, and privilege, * * *."

Recognition of this ambiguity is also found in the language of Mr. Justice Jackson, in United States v. Patrick:

"The words 'right' or 'privilege' have, of course, a variety of meanings, according to the connection or context in which they are used. Their definition, as given by standard lexicographers, include 'that which one has a legal claim to do,' 'legal power! 'authority,' 'immunity granted by authority,' 'the investiture with special or peculiar rights.'"

And, similarly, in the language of Mr. Justice Sneed, in Lonas v. State:

"The state, then, is forbidden from making and enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. It is said that the words rights, privileges and immunities, are abusively used, as if they were synonymous.

The word rights is generic, common, embracing whatever may be lawfully claimed."

It is interesting to observe, also, that a tendency toward discrimination may be found in a number of important constitutional and statutory provisions. Just how accurate the distinctions in the mind of the draftsman may have been it is, of course, impossible to say.

Recognizing, as we must, the very broad and indiscriminate use of the term, "right" what clue do we find, in ordinary legal discourse, toward limiting the word in question to a definite and appropriate meaning. That clue lies in the correlative "duty," for it is certain that even those who use the word and the conception "right" in the broadest possible way are accustomed to thinking of "duty" as the invariable correlative. As said in Lake Shore & M. R. Co. v. Kurtz:

"A duty or a legal obligation is that which one ought or ought not to do. 'Duty' and 'right' are correlative terms. When a right is invaded, a duty is violated."

In other words, if X has a right against Y that he shall stay off the former's land, the correlative (and equivalent) is that Y is under a duty toward X to stay off the place. If, as seems desirable, we should seek a synonym for the term "right" in this limited and proper meaning, perhaps the word "claim" would prove the best. The latter has the advantage of being a monosyllable. In this connection, the language of Lord Watson in Studd v. Cook is instructive:

"Any words which in a settlement of movables would be recognized by the law of Scotland as sufficient to create a right or claim in favor of an executor * * * must receive effect if used with reference to lands in Scotland."

Privileges and "No-Rights" As indicated in the above scheme of jural relations, a privilege is the opposite of a duty, and the correlative of a "no-right." In the example last put, whereas X has a right or claim that Y, the other man, should stay off the land, he himself has the privilege of entering on the land; or, in equivalent words, X does not have a duty to stay off. The privilege of entering is the negation of a duty to stay off. As indicated by this case, some caution is necessary at this point, for, always, when it is said that a given privilege is the mere negation of a duty, what is meant, of course, is a duty having a content or tenor precisely opposite to that of the privilege in question. Thus, if, for some special reason, X has contracted with Y to go on the former's own land, it is obvious that X has, as regards Y, both the privilege of entering and the duty of entering. The privilege is perfectly consistent with this sort of duty,—for the latter is of the same content or tenor as the privilege;— but it still holds good that, as regards Y, X's privilege of entering is the precise negation of a duty to stay off. Similarly, if A has not contracted with B to perform certain work for the latter, A's privilege of not doing so is the very negation of a duty of doing so. Here again the duty contrasted is of a content or tenor exactly opposite to that of the privilege.

Passing now to the question of "correlatives," it will be remembered, of course, that a duty is the invariable correlative of that legal relation which is most properly called a right or claim. That being so, if further evidence be needed as to the fundamental and important difference between a right (or claim) and a privilege, surely it is found in the fact that the correlative of the latter relation is a "no-right," there being no single term available to express the latter conception. Thus, the correlative of X's right that Y shall not enter on the land is Y's duty not to enter; but the correlative of X's privilege of entering himself is manifestly Y's "no-right" that X shall not enter.

In view of the considerations thus far emphasized, the importance of keeping the conception of a right (or claim) and the conception of a privilege quite distinct from each other seems evident; and more than that, it is equally clear that there should be a separate term to represent the latter relation. No doubt, as already indicated, it is very common to use the term "right" indiscriminately, even when the relation designated is really that of privilege ; and only too often this identity of terms has involved for the particular speaker or writer a confusion or blurring of ideas. Good instances of this may be found even in unexpected places. Thus Professor Holland, in his work on Jurisprudence, referring to a different and well known sort of ambiguity inherent in the Latin "Ius" the German "Recht" the Italian "Diritto" and the French "Droit,"—terms used to express "not only 'a right,' but also 'Law' in the abstract,"—very aptly observes:

"If the expression of widely different ideas by one and the same term resulted only in the necessity for * * * clumsy paraphrases, or obviously inaccurate paraphrases, no great harm would be done; but unfortunately the identity of terms seems irresistibly to suggest an identity between the ideas expressed by them."

Curiously enough, however, in the very chapter where this appears,—the chapter on "Rights,"—the notions of right, privilege and power seem to be blended, and that, too, although the learned author states that "the correlative of * * * legal right is legal duty," and that "these pairs of terms express * * * in each case the same state of facts viewed from opposite sides." While the whole chapter must be read in order to appreciate the seriousness of this lack of discrimination a single passage must suffice by way of example:

"If * * * the power of the State will protect him in so carrying out his wishes, and will compel such acts or forbearances on the part of other people as may be necessary in order that his wishes may be so carried out, then he has a legal right' so to carry out his wishes."

The first part of this passage suggests privileges, the middle part rights (or claims), and the last part privileges.

Similar difficulties seem to exist in Professor Gray's able and entertaining work on The Nature and Sources of Law. In his chapter on "Legal Rights and Duties" the distinguished author takes the position that a right always has a duty as its correlative; and he seems to define the former relation substantially according to the more limited meaning of "claim." Legal privileges, powers, and immunities are prima facie ignored, and the impression conveyed that all legal relations can be comprehended under the conceptions, "right" and "duty." But, with the greatest hesitation and deference, the suggestion may be ventured that a number of his examples seem to show the inadequacy of such mode of treatment. Thus, e.g., he says:

"The eating of shrimp salad is an interest of mine, and, if I can pay for it, the law will protect that interest, and it is therefore a right of mine to eat shrimp salad which I have paid for, although I know that shrimp salad always gives me the colic."

This passage seems to suggest primarily two classes of relations : first, the party's respective privileges, as against A, B, C, D and others in relation to eating the salad, or, correlatively, the respective "no-rights" of A. B. C. D and others that the party should not eat the salad; second, the party's respective rights (or claims) as against A. B. C. D and others that they should not interfere with the physical act of eating the salad, or, correlatively, the respective duties of A, B, C, D and others that they should not interfere.

These two groups of relations seem perfectly distinct; and the privileges could, in a given case exist even though the rights mentioned did not. A. B. C. and D, being the owners of the salad, might say to X: "Eat the salad, if you can; you have our license to do so, but we don't agree not to interfere with you." In such a case the privileges exist, so that if X succeeds in eating the salad, he has violated no rights of any of the parties. But it is equally clear that if A had succeeded in holding so fast to the dish that X couldn't eat the contents, no right of X would have been violated.

Perhaps the essential character and importance of the distinction can be shown by a slight variation of the facts. Suppose that X, being already the legal owner of the salad, contracts with Y that he (X) will never eat this particular food. With A, B, C, D and others no such contract has been made. One of the relations now existing between X and Y is, as a consequence, fundamentally different from the relation between X and A. As regards Y, X has no privilege of eating the salad; but as regards either A or any of the others, X has such a privilege. It is to be observed incidentally that X's right that Y should not eat the food persists even though X's own privilege of doing so has been extinguished.

On grounds already emphasized, it would seem that the line of reasoning pursued by Lord Lindley in the great case of Quinn v. Leathem is deserving of comment:

"The plaintiff had the ordinary rights of the British subject. He was at liberty to earn his living in his own way, provided he did not violate some special law prohibiting him from so doing, and provided he did not infringe the rights of other people. This liberty involved the liberty to deal with other persons who were willing to deal with him. This liberty is a right recognized by law; its correlative is the general duty of every one not to prevent the free exercise of this liberty except so far as his own liberty of action may justify him in so doing. But a person's liberty or right to deal with others is nugatory unless they are at liberty to deal with him if they choose to do so. Any interference with their liberty to deal with him affects him."

A "liberty" considered as a legal relation (or "right" in the loose and generic sense of that term) must mean, if it have any definite content at all, precisely the same thing as privilege, and certainly that is the fair connotation of the term as used the first three times in the passage quoted. It is equally clear, as already indicated, that such a privilege or liberty to deal with others at will might very conceivably exist without any peculiar concomitant rights against "third parties" as regards certain kinds of interference. Whether there should be such concomitant rights (or claims) is ultimately a question of justice and policy; and it should be considered, as such, on its merits. The only correlative logically implied by the privileges or liberties in question are the "no-rights" of "third parties." It would therefore be a non sequitur to conclude from the mere existence of such liberties that "third parties." are under a duty not to interfere, etc. Yet in the middle of the above passage from Lord Lindley's opinion there is a sudden and question-begging shift in the use of terms. First, the "liberty" in question is transmuted into a "right," and then, possibly under the seductive influence of the latter word, it is assumed that the "correlative" must be "the general duty of every one not to prevent," etc.

Another interesting and instructive example may be taken from Lord Bowen's oft-quoted opinion in Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor.

"We are presented in this case with an apparent conflict or antimony between two rights that are equally regarded by the law—the right of the plaintiffs to be protected in the legitimate exercise of their trade, and the right of the defendants to carry on their business as seems best to them, provided they commit no wrong to others."

As the learned judge states, the conflict or antimony is only apparent; but this fact seems to be obscured by the very indefinite and rapidly shifting meanings with which the term "right" is used in the above quoted language. Construing the passage as a whole, it seems plain enough that by "the right of the plaintiffs" in relation to the defendants a legal right or claim in the strict sense must be meant; whereas by "the right of the defendants" in relation to the plaintiffs a legal privilege must be intended. That being so, the "two rights" mentioned in the beginning of the passage, being respectively claim and privilege, could not be in conflict with each other. To the extent that the defendants have privileges the plaintiffs have no rights; and conversely, to the extent that the plaintiffs have rights the defendants have no privileges ("no-privilege" equals duty of opposite tenor).

Thus far it has been assumed that the term "privilege" is the most appropriate and satisfactory to designate the mere negation of duty. Is there good warrant for this?

In Mackeldey's Roman Law it is said:

"Positive laws either contain general principles embodied in the rules of law * * * or for especial reasons they establish something that differs from those general principles. In the first case they contain a common law (jus commune), in the second a special law (jus singulare s. exorbitant). The latter is either favorable or unfavorable * * * according as it enlarges or restricts, in opposition to the common rule, the rights of those for whom it is established. The favorable special law (jus singulare) as also the right created by it * * * in the Roman law is termed benefit of the law (beneficium juris) or privilege (privilegium) * * *"

First a special law, and then by association of ideas, a special advantage conferred by such a law. With such antecedents, it is not surprising that the English word "privilege" is not infrequently used, even at the present time, in the sense of a special or peculiar legal advantage (whether right, privilege, power or immunity) belonging either to some individual or to some particular class of persons. There are, indeed, a number of judicial opinions recognizing this as one of the meanings of the term in question. That the word has a wider signification even in ordinary nontechnical usage is sufficiently indicated, however, by the fact that the term "special privileges" is so often used to indicate a contrast to ordinary or general privileges. More than this, the dominant specific connotation of the term as used in popular speech seems to be more negation of duty. This is manifest in the terse and oft-repeated expression, "That is your privilege,"—meaning, of course, "You are under no duty to do otherwise."

Such being the case, it is not surprising to find, from a wide survey of judicial precedents, that the dominant technical meaning of the term is, similarly, negation of legal duty. There are two very common examples of this, relating respectively to "privileged communications" in the law of libel and to "privileges against self-crimination" in the law of evidence. As regards the first case, it is elementary that if a certain group of operative facts are present, a privilege exists, which, without such facts, would not be recognized. It is, of course, equally clear that even though all such facts be present as last supposed, the superadded fact of malice will, in cases of so-called "conditional privilege," extinguish the privilege that otherwise would exist. It must be evident also, that whenever the privilege does exist, it is not special in the sense of arising from a special law, or of being conferred as a special favor on a particular individual. The same privilege would exist, by virtue of general rules, for any person whatever under similar circumstances. So, also, in the law of evidence, the privilege against self-crimination signifies the mere negation of a duty, to testify,—a duty which rests upon a witness in relation to all ordinary matters; and, quite obviously, such privilege arises, if at all, only by virtue of general laws.

As already intimated, while both the conception and the term "privilege" find conspicuous exemplification under the law of libel and the law of evidence, they nevertheless have a much wider significance and utility as a matter of judicial usage. To make this clear, a few miscellaneous judicial precedents will now be noticed. In Dowman's Case, decided in the year 1583, and reported by Coke, the court applied the term to the subject of waste:

"And as to the objection which was made, that the said privilege to be without impeachment of waste cannot be without deed, etc. To that it was answered and resolved, that if it was admitted that a deed in such case should be requisite, yet without question all the estates limited would be good , although it is admitted, that the clause concerning the said privilege would be void."

In the great case of Allen v. Flood the opinion of Mr. Justice Hawkins furnishes a useful passage for the purpose now in view:

"Every person has a privilege * * * in the interests of public justice to put the criminal law in motion against another whom he bona fide, and upon reasonable and probable cause, believes to have been guilty of a crime. * * * It must not, however, be supposed that hatred and ill-will existing in the mind of a prosecutor must of necessity destroy the privilege, for it is not impossible that such hatred and ill-will may have very natural and pardonable reasons for existing. * * *"

Applying the term in relation to the subject of property, Mr. Justice Foster, of the Supreme Court of Maine, said in the case of Pulitzer v. Lumgston:

"It is contrary to the policy of the law that there should be any outstanding titles, estates, or powers, by the existence, operation or exercise of which, at a period of time beyond lives in being and twenty-one years and a fraction thereafter, the complete and unfettered enjoyment of an estate, with all the rights, privileges and powers incident to ownership, should be qualified or impeded."

As a final example in the present connection, the language ot Baron Alderson in Hilton v. Eckerley may be noticed:

"Prima facie it is the privilege of a trader in a free country, in all matters not contrary to law, to regulate his own mode of carrying them on according to his discretion and choice."

The closest synonym of legal "privilege" seems to be legal "liberty." This is sufficiently indicated by an unusually discriminating and instructive passage in Mr. Justice Cave's opinion in Allen v. Flood:

"The personal rights with which we are most familiar are: 1. Rights of reputation; 2. Rights of bodily safety and freedom; 3. Rights of property; or, in other words, rights relating to mind, body and estate, * * *

"In my subsequent remarks the word 'right' will, as far as possible, always be used in the above sense; and it is the more necessary to insist on this as during the argument at your Lordship's bar it was frequently used in a much wider and more indefinite sense. Thus it was said that a man has a perfect right to fire off a gun, when all that was meant, apparently, was that a man has a freedom or liberty to fire off a gun, so long as he does not violate or infringe any one's rights in doing so, which is a very different thing from a right, the violation or disturbance of which can be remedied or prevented by legal process."

While there are numerous other instances of the apt use of the term "liberty," both in judicial opinions and in conveyancing documents, it is by no means so common or definite a word as "privilege." The former term is far more likely to be used in the sense of physical or personal freedom (i.e., absence of physical restraint), as distinguished from a legal relation; and very frequently there is the connotation of general political liberty, as distinguished from a particular relation between two definite individuals. Besides all this, the term "privilege" has the advantage of giving us, as a variable, the adjective "privileged". Thus, it is frequently convenient to speak of a privileged act, a privileged transaction, a privileged conveyance, etc.

The term "license", sometimes used as if it were synonymous with "privilege," is not strictly appropriate. This is simply another of those innumerable cases in which the mental and physical facts are so frequently confused with the legal relation which they create. Accurately used, "license" is a generic term to indicate a group of operative facts required to create a particular privilege,—this being especially evident when the word is used in the common phrase "leave and license." This point is brought out by a passage from Mr. Justice Adams' opinion in Clifford v. O'Neill:

"A license is merely a permission to do an act which, without such permission, would amount to a trespass * * * nor will the continuous enjoyment of the privilege conferred, for any period of time cause it to ripen into a tangible interest in the land affected."

Powers and Liabilities. As indicated in the preliminary scheme of jural relations, a legal power (as distinguished, of course, from a mental or physical power) is the opposite of legal disability, and the correlative of legal liability., But what is the intrinsic nature of a legal power as such? Is it possible to analyze the conception represented by this constantly employed and very important term of legal discourse? Too close an analysis might seem metaphysical rather than useful; so that what is here presented is intended only as an approximate explanation sufficient for all practical purposes.

A change in a given legal relation may result (1) from some superadded fact or group of facts not under the volitional control of a human being (or human beings); or (2) from some superadded fact or group of facts which are under the volitional control of one or more human beings. As regards the second class of cases, the person (or persons) whose volitional control is paramount may be said to have the (legal) power to effect the particular change of legal relations that is involved in the problem.

The second class of cases—powers in the technical sense—must now be further considered. The nearest synonym for any ordinary case seems to be (legal) "ability"—the latter being obviously the opposite of "inability" or "disability." The term "right" so frequently and loosely used in the present connection, is an unfortunate term for the purpose,—a not unusual result being confusion of thought as well as ambiguity of expression. The term "capacity" is equally unfortunate; for, as we have already seen, when used with discrimination, this word denotes a particular group of operative facts, and not a legal relation of any kind.

Many examples of legal powers may readily be given. Thus, X, the owner of ordinary personal property "in a tangible object" has the power to extinguish his own legal interest (rights, powers, immunities, etc.) through that totality of operative facts known as abandonment; and—simultaneously and correlatively—to create in other persons privileges and powers relating to the abandoned object,—e.g., the power to acquire title to the later by appropriating it. Similarly, X has the power to transfer his interest to Y,—that is, to extinguish his own interest and concomitantly create in Y a new and corresponding interest. So also X has the power to create contractual obligations of various kinds. Agency cases are likewise instructive. By the use of some metaphorical expression such as the Latin, qui facit per alium, facit per se, the true nature of agency relations is only too frequently obscured. The creation of an agency relation involves, inter alia, the grant of legal powers to the so-called agent, and the creation of correlative liabilities in the principal. That is to say, one party P has the power to create agency powers in another party A,—for example, the power to convey X's property, the power to impose (so-called) contractual obligations on P, the power to discharge a debt, owing to P, the power to "receive" title to property so that it shall vest in P, and so forth. In passing, it may be well to observe that the term "authority," so frequently used in agency cases, is very ambiguous and slippery in its connotation. Properly employed in the present connection, the word seems to be an abstract or qualitative term corresponding to the concrete "authorization,"—the latter consisting of a particular group of operative facts taking place between the principal and the agent. All too often, however, the term in question is so used as to blend and confuse these operative facts with the powers and privileges thereby created in the agent. A careful discrimination in these particulars would, it is submitted, go far toward clearing up certain problems in the law of agency.

Essentially similar to the powers of agents are powers of appointment in relation to property interests. So, too, the powers of public officers are, intrinsically considered, comparable to those of agents,—for example, the power of a sheriff to sell property under a writ of execution. The power of a donor, in a gift causa mortis, to revoke the gift and divest the title of the donee is another clear example of the legal quantities now being considered; also a pledgee's statutory power of sale.

There are, on the other hand, cases where the true nature of the relations involved has not, perhaps, been so clearly recognized. Thus, in the case of a conditional sale of personality, assuming the vendee's agreement has been fully performed except as to the payment of the last installment and the time for the latter has arrived, what is the interest of such vendee as regards the property? Has he, as so often assumed, merely a contractual right to have title passed to him by consent of the vendor, on final payment being made; or has he, irrespective of the consent of the vendor the power to divest the title of the latter and to acquire a perfect title for himself? Though the language of the cases is not always so clear as it might be, the vendee seems to have precisely that sort of power. Fundamentally considered, the typical escrow transaction in which the performance of conditions is within the volitional control of the grantee, is somewhat similar to the conditional sale of personalty; and, when reduced to its lowest terms, the problem seems easily to be solved in terms of legal powers. Once the "escrow" is formed, the grantor still has the legal title; but the grantee has an irrevocable power to divest that title by performance of certain conditions (i.e., the addition of various operative facts), and concomitantly 10 vest title in himself. While such power is outstanding, the grantor is,of course, subject to a correlative liability to have his title divested. Similarly, in the case of a conveyance of land in fee simple subject to condition subsequent, after the condition has been performed, the original grantor is commonly said to have a "right of entry." If, however, the problem is analyzed, it will be seen that, as of primary importance, the grantor has two legal quantities, (1) the privilege of entering, and (2) the power, by means of such entry, to divest the estate of the grantee. The latter's estate endures, subject to the correlative liability of being divested, until such power is actually exercised.

Passing now to the field of contracts, suppose A mails a letter to B offering to sell the former's land, Whiteacre, to the latter for ten thousand dollars, such letter being duly received. The operative facts thus far mentioned have created a power as regards B and a correlative liability as regards A. B, by dropping a letter of acceptance in the box, has the power to impose potential or inchoate obligation ex contractu on A and himself; and, assuming that the land is worth fifteen thousand dollars, that particular legal quantity—the "power plus liability" relation between A and B—seems to be worth about five thousand dollars to B. The liability of A will continue for a reasonable time unless, in exercise of his power to do so, A previously extinguishes it by that series of operative facts known as "revocation." These last matters are usually described by saying that A's "offer" will "continue" or "remain open" for a reasonable time, or for the definite time actually specified, unless A previously "withdraws" or "revokes" such offer. While no doubt, in the great majority of cases no harm results from the use of such expressions, yet these forms of statement seem to represent a blending of non-legal and legal quantities which, in any problem requiring careful reasoning, should preferably be kept distinct. An offer, considered as a series of physical and mental operative facts, has spent its force as soon as such series has been completed by the "offeree's receipt." The real question is therefore as to the legal effect, if any, at that moment of time. If the latter consist of B's power and A's correlative liability, manifestly it is those legal relations that "continue" or "remain open" until modified by revocation or other operative facts. What has thus far been said concerning contracts completed by mail would seem to apply, mutatis mutandis, to every type of contract. Even where the parties are in the presence of each other, the offer creates a liability against the offerer, together with a correlative power in favor of the offeree. The only distinction for present purposes would be in the fact that such power and such liability would expire within a very short period of time.

"If the offerer stipulates that his offer shall remain open for a specified time, the first question is whether such stipulation constitutes a binding contract. * * * When such a stipulation is binding, the further question arises, whether it makes the offer irrevocable. It has been a common opinion that it does, but that is clearly a mistake. * * * An offer is merely one of the elements of a contract; and it is indispensable to the making of a contract that the wills of the contracting parties do, in legal contemplation, concur at the moment of making it. An offer, therefore, which the party making it has no power to revoke, is a legal impossibility. Moreover, if the stipulation should make the offer irrevocable, it would be a contract incapable of being broken; which is also a legal impossibility. The only effect, therefore, of such a stipulation is to give the offeree a claim for damages if the stipulation be broken by revoking the offer."

The foregoing reasoning ignores the fact that an ordinary offer ipso facto creates a legal relation—a legal power and a legal liability,—and that it is this relation (rather than the physical and mental facts constituting the offer) that "remains open." If these points be conceded, there seems no difficulty in recognizing an unilateral option agreement supported by consideration or embodied in a sealed instrument as creating in the optionee an irrevocable power to create, at any time within the period specified, a bilateral obligation as between himself and the giver of the option. Correlatively to that power, there would, of course, be a liability against the option-giver which he himself would have no power to extinguish. The courts seem to have no difficulty in reaching precisely this result as a matter of substance; though their explanations are always in terms of "withdrawal of. offer," and similar expressions savoring of physical and mental quantities.

In connection with the powers and liabilities created respectively by an ordinary offer and by an option, it is interesting to consider the liabilities of a person engaged in a "public calling;" for, as it seems, such a party's characteristic position is, one might almost say, intermediate between that of an ordinary contractual offerer and that of an option-giver. It has indeed been usual to assert that such a party is (generally speaking) under a present duty to all other parties; but this is believed to be erroneous. Thus, Professor Wyman, in his work on Public Service Companies, says:

"The duty placed upon every one exercising a public calling is primarily a duty to serve every man who is a member of the pubic. * * * It is somewhat difficult to place this exceptional duty in our legal system. * * * The truth of the matter is that the obligation resting upon one who has undertaken the performance of public duty is sui generis."

It is submitted that the learned writer's difficulties arise primarily from a failure to see that the innkeeper, the common carrier and others similarly "holding out" are under present liabilities rather than present duties. Correlatively to those liabilities are the respective powers of the various members of the public. Thus, for example, a travelling member of the public has the legal power, by making proper application and sufficient tender, to impose a duty on the innkeeper to receive him as a guest. For breach of the duty thus created an action would of course lie. It would therefore seem that the innkeeper is, to some extent, like one who had given an option to every travelling member of the public. He differs, as regards net legal effect, only because he can extinguish his present liabilities and the correlative powers of the travelling members of the public by going out of business. Yet, on the other hand, his liabilities are more onerous than that of an ordinary contractual offerer, for he cannot extinguish his liabilities by any simple performance akin to revocation of offer.

As regards all the "legal powers" thus far considered, possibly some caution is necessary. If, for example, we consider the ordinary property owner's power of alienation, it is necessary to distinguish carefully between the legal power, the physical power to do the things necessary for the "exercise" of the legal power, and, finally, the privilege of doing these things—that is, if such privilege does really exist. It may or may not. Thus, if X, a landowner, has contracted with Y that the former will not alienate to Z, the acts of X necessary to exercise the power of alienating to Z are privileged as between X and every party other than Y; but, obviously, as between X and Y, the former has no privilege of doing the necessary acts; or conversely, he is under a duty to Y not to do what is necessary to exercise the power.

In view of what has already been said, very little may suffice concerning a liability as such. The latter, as we have seen, is the correlative of power, and the opposite of immunity (or exemption). While no doubt the term "liability" is often loosely used as a synonym for "duty," or "obligation," it is believed, from an extensive survey of judicial precedents, that the connotation already adopted as most appropriate to the word in question is fully justified. A few cases tending to indicate this will now be noticed. In McNeer v. McNeer, Mr. Justice Magruder balanced the conceptions of power and liability as follows:

"So long as she lived, however, his interest in her land lacked those elements of property, such as power of disposition and liability to sale on execution which had formerly given it the character of a vested estate."

In Booth v. Commonwealth the court had to construe a Virginia statute providing "that all free white male persons who are twenty-one years of age and not over sixty, shall be liable to serve as jurors, except as hereinafter provided." It is plain that this enactment imposed only a liability and not a duty. It is a liability to have a duty created. The latter would arise only when, in exercise of their powers, the parties litigant and the court officers, had done what was necessary to impose a specific duty to perform the functions of a juror. The language of the court, by Moncure, J., is particularly apposite as indicating that liability is the opposite, or negative, of immunity (or exemption):

"The word both expressed and implied is 'liable/ which has a very different meaning from 'qualified * * *. It's meaning is 'bound' or 'obliged' * * *. A person exempt from serving on juries is not liable to serve, and a person not liable to serve is exempt from serving. The terms seem to be convertible."

A further good example of judicial usage is to be found in Emery v. Clough. Referring to a gift causa mortis and the donee's liability to have his already vested interest divested by the donor's exercise of his power of revocation, Mr. Justice Smith said:

"The title to the gift causa mortis passed by the delivery, defeasible only in the lifetime of the donor, and his death perfects the title in the donee by terminating the donor's right or power of defeasance. The property passes from the donor to the donee directly * * * and after his death it is liable to be divested only in favor of the donor's creditors. * * * His right and power ceased with his death."

Perhaps the nearest synonym of "liability" is "subjection" or "responsibility." As regards the latter word, a passage from Mr. Justice Day's opinion in McElfresh v. Kirkendall is interesting:

"The words 'debt' and 'liability' are not synonymous, and they are not commonly so understood. As applied to the pecuniary relations of the parties, liability is a term of broader significance than debt. * * * Liability is responsibility."

While the term in question has the broad generic connotation already indicated, no doubt it very frequently indicates that specific form of liability (or complex of liabilities) that is correlative to a power (or complex of powers) vested in a party litigant and the various court officers. Such was held to be the meaning of a certain California statute involved in the case of Lattin v. Gillette. Said Mr. Justice Harrison:

"The word 'liability' is the condition in which an individual is placed after a breach of his contract, or a violation of any obligation resting upon him. It is defined by Bouvier to be responsibility."

Immunities and Disabilities. As already brought out, immunity is the correlative of disability ("no-power"), and the opposite, or negation, of liability. Perhaps it "will also be plain, from the preliminary outline and from the discussion down to this point, that a power bears the same general contrast to an immunity that a right does to a privilege. A right is one's affirmative claim against another, and a privilege is one's freedom from the right or claim of another. Similarly, a power is one's affirmative "control" over a given legal relation as against another; whereas an immunity is one's freedom from the legal power or "control" of another as regards some legal relation.

A few examples may serve to make this clear. X, a landowner, has, as we have seen, power to alienate to Y or to any other ordinary party. On the other hand, X has also various immunities as against Y, and all other ordinary parties. For Y is under a disability (i.e., has no power) so far as shifting the legal interest either to himself or to a third party is concerned; and what is true of Y applies similarly to every one else who has not by virtue of special operative facts acquired a power to alienate X's property. If, indeed, a sheriff has been duly empowered by a writ of execution to sell X's interest, that is a very different matter: correlative to such sheriff's power would be the liability of X,—the very opposite of immunity (or exemption). It is elementary, too, that as against the sheriff, X might be immune or exempt in relation to certain parcels of property, and be liable as to others. Similarly, if an agent has been duly appointed by X to sell a given piece of property, then, as to the latter, X has, in relation to such agent, a liability rather than an immunity.

For over a century there has been, in this country, a great deal of important litigation involving immunities from powers of taxation. If there be any lingering misgivings as to the "practical" importance of accuracy and discrimination in legal conceptions and legal terms, perhaps some of such doubts would be dispelled by considering the numerous cases on valuable taxation exemptions coming before the United States Supreme Court. Thus, in Phoenix Ins. Co. v. Tennessee, Mr. Justice Peckham expressed the views of the court as follows:

"In granting to the De Sota Company 'all the rights, privileges, and immunities' of the Bluff City Company, all words are used which could be regarded as necessary to carry the exemption from taxation possessed by the Bluff City Company; while in the next following grant, that of the charter of the plaintiff in error, the word 'immunity' is emitted. Is there any meaning to be attached to that omission, and if so, what? We think some meaning is to be attached to it. The word 'immunity' expresses more clearly and definitely an intention to include therein an exemption from taxation than does either of the other words. Exemption from taxation is more accurately described as an 'immunity' than as a privilege, although it is not to be denied that the latter word may sometimes and under some circumstances include such exemptions."

In Morgan v. Louisiana, there is an instructive discussion from the pen of Mr. Justice Field. In holding that on a foreclosure sale of the franchise and property of a railroad corporation an immunity from taxation did not pass to the purchaser, the learned Judge said:

"As has been often said by this court, the whole community is interested in retaining the power of taxation undiminished * * *. The exemption of the property of the company from taxation, and the exemption of its officers and servants from jury and military duty, were both intended for the benefit of the company, and its benefit alone. In their personal character they are analogous to exemptions from execution of certain property of debtors, made by laws of several of the states."

So far as immunities are concerned ,the two judicial discussions last quoted concern respectively problems of interpretation and problems of alienability. In many other cases difficult constitutional questions have arisen as the result of statutes impairing or extending various kinds of immunities. Litigants have, from time to time, had occasion to appeal both to the clause against impairment of the obligation of contracts and to the provision against depriving a person of property without due process of law. This has been especially true as regards exemptions from taxation and exemptions from execution.

If a word may now be permitted with respect to mere terms as such, the first thing to note is that the word "right" is overworked in the field of immunities as elsewhere. As indicated, however, by the judicial expressions already quoted, the best synonym is, of course, the term "exemption." It is instructive legislature not to grant the benefit claimed by the bill." to note, also, that the word "impunity" has a very similar conno-tation. This is made evident by the interesting discriminations of Lord Chancellor Finch in Skelton v. Skelton, a case decided in 1677:

"But this I would by no means allow, that equity should enlarge the restraints of the disabilities introduced by act of parliament; and as to the granting of injunctions to stay waste, I took a distinction where the tenant hath only impunitatem, and where he hath jus in arboribus. If the tenant have only a bare indemnity or exemption from an action (at law), if he committed waste, there it is fit he should be restrained by injunction from committing it."

In the latter part of the preceding discussion, eight conceptions of the law have been analyzed and compared in some detail, the purpose having been to exhibit not only their intrinsic meaning and scope, but also their relations to one another and the methods by which they are applied, in judicial reasoning, to the solution of concrete problems of litigation. Before concluding this branch of the discussion a general suggestion may be ventured as to the great practical importance of a clear appreciation of the distinctions and discriminations set forth. If a homely metaphor be permitted, these eight conceptions,—rights and duties, privileges and no-rights, powers and liabilities, immunities and disabilities,— seem to be what may be called "the lowest common denominators of the law." Ten fractions (1-3, 2-5, etc.) may, superficially, seem so different from one another as to defy comparison. If, however, they are expressed in terms of their lowest common denominators (5-15, 6-15, etc.), comparison becomes easy, and fundamental similarity may be discovered. The same thing isof course true as regards the lowest generic conceptions to which any and all "legal quantities" may be reduced.

Reverting, for example, to the subject powers, it might be difficult at first glance to discover any essential and fundamental similarity between conditional sales of personalty, escrow transactions, option agreements, agency relations, powers of appointment, etc. But if all these relations are reduced to their lowest generic terms, the conceptions of legal power and legal liability are seen to be dominantly, though not exclusively, applicable throughout the series. By such a process it becomes possible not only to discover essential similarities and illuminating analogies in the midst of what appears superficially to be infinite and hopeless variety, but also to discern common principles of justice and policy underlying the various jural problems involved. An in-direct, yet very practical, consequence is that it frequently becomes feasible, by virtue of such analysis, to use as persuasive authorities judicial precedents that might otherwise seem altogether irrelevant. If this point be valid with respect to powers, it would seem to be equally so as regards all of the other basic conceptions of the law. In short, the deeper the analysis, the great become one's perception of fundamental unity and harmony in the law.

Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld.
Stanford University, California.

Fundamental Legal Conceptions As Applied In Judicial Reasoning

This is a non-emphasized (italics and bolds removed) version of the body (footnotes removed) of the article "Fundamental Legal Conceptions As Applied In Judicial Reasoning", written by Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld and published on January 1, 1917 in Yale Law Journal.

You may access the original, full article at Yale Law School's Web Site 


The present discussion, while intended to be intrinsically complete so far as intelligent and convenient perusal is concerned, represents, as originally planned, a continuation of an article which appeared under the same title more than three years ago. It therefore seems desirable to indicate, in very general form, the scope and purpose of the latter. The main divisions were entitled: Legal Conceptions Contrasted with Non-legal Conceptions; Operative Facts Contrasted with Evidential Facts; and Fundamental Jural Relations Contrasted with One Another. The jural relations analyzed and discussed under the last subtitle were, at the outset, grouped in a convenient "scheme of opposites and correlatives"; and it will greatly facilitate the presentation of the matters to be hereafter considered if that scheme be reproduced at the present point:

Jural Opposites:

Jural Correlatives:

The great practical importance of accurate thought and precise expression as regards basic legal ideas and their embodiment in a terminology not calculated to mislead is not always fully realized—especially by the student not yet far advanced in his legal work; and it is even true that many an experienced lawyer has all too thoughtlessly assumed that those matters usually considered in works on so-called "jurisprudence" are merely "academic" in character and devoid of substantial utility for the practitioner or judge. In order to dissipate, if possible, this fallacious notion—one so demonstrably unfortunate in its consequences as regards all departments of the law— the eight conceptions represented in the above scheme were analyzed and compared in great detail, the purpose having been not only to exhibit their intrinsic meaning and scope and their relations to one another, but also to exemplify the methods, both good and bad, by which they are actually applied in judicial reasoning to the solution of concrete problems of litigation. The purpose last indicated must in the present discussion, as in the former one, be the justification for frequent concrete examples of judicial usage, and hence for liberal quotations from apposite judicial opinions. Instructive examples, whether by way of model or by way of warning, must also be drawn occasionally from the works of well-known legal authors.

In the following pages it is proposed to begin the discussion of certain important classifications which are applicable to each of the eight individual jural conceptions represented in the above scheme. Some of such overspreading classifications consist of the following: relations in personam ("paucital" relations), and relations in rem ("multital" relations); common (or general) relations and special (or particular) relations; consensual relations and constructive relations; primary relations and secondary relations; substantive relations and adjective relations; perfect relations and imperfect relations; concurrent relations (i.e., relations concurrently legal and equitable) and exclusive relations (i.e., relations exclusively equitable). As the bulk of our statute and case law becomes greater and greater, these classifications are constantly increasing in their practical importance: not only because of their intrinsic value as mental tools for the comprehending and systematizing of our complex legal materials, but also because of the fact that the opposing ideas and terms involved are at the present time, more than ever before, constituting part of the formal foundation of judicial reasoning and decision. Owing to limitations of space the following pages will be confined to the first classification above indicated, viz., relations in personam and relations in rem.

The phrases in personam and in rem, in spite of the scope and variety of situations to which they are commonly applied, are more usually assumed by lawyers, judges, and authors to be of unvarying meaning and free of ambiguities calculated to mislead the unwary. The exact opposite is, however, true; and this has occasionally been explicitly emphasized by able judges whose warnings are worthy of notice. Thus, in Tyler v. Court of Registration, Mr. Chief Justice Holmes says, as regards the expression, in rem, that "no phrase has been more misused"; and in the recent case of Hook v. Hoffman, Mr. Justice Franklin, in the course of a scholarly opinion involving the nature of "proceedings in rem" finds it necessary to characterize the expression "jus in rem" as "somewhat obscure and ambiguous." The thoughtful judge last named is, however, kind enough to advise us of the one and only remedy for this difficulty, and prompt to apply that remedy in his own opinion. His words are worthy of quotation:

"It is no more of a solecism to say immovable personal property than it is to say removable fixtures, nor more contradicting than in the division of actions to use the term 'in rem' when, under the particular state of facts, the action is primarily 'in personam'. In the development of the law it is seldom possible, or, when possible, seldom expedient, to discard established terms. In this connection an observation by Mr. Justice Holmes is peculiarly applicable:

'As long as the matter to be considered is debated in artificial terms, there is danger of being led by a technical definition to apply a certain name, and then to deduce consequences which have no relation to the grounds on which the name was applied.' Guy v. Donald, 203 U. S. 406.

"Instead of rejecting convenient terms because they are ambiguous or not comprehensive, it is better to explain their meanings, or, in the language of old Hobbes, 'to snuff them with distinctions and definitions' so as to give a better light"

All this being so, we are forced to recognize at the very outset that the antithetical pair of expressions, in personam and in rem, is constantly being employed as a basis for classifying at least four distinct matters; and that the respective meanings of the expression in personam and the expression in rem are not the same for all of the different situations involved:

First, we have a fundamental classification of primary rights as rights in personam, and rights in rem; Second, there is the well-known classification of all judicial proceedings into proceedings or actions in personam and proceedings or actions in rem; Third, there exists the closely related classification of judgments and decrees (and the corresponding jurisdictions of courts), some being called judgments or decrees in personam, and the others judgments or decrees in rem; Fourth, assuming a judgment or decree in personam to have been obtained as the result of what may be called the "primary stage" of the typical judicial proceeding, the question of its so-called "enforcement"— really the "secondary stage" of the judicial proceeding—comes into view; and such enforcement is said to be either in personam, as in the case of the typical contempt proceeding employed to coerce performance of a decree in equity, or in rem, as in the case of the typical execution sale following upon an ordinary legal judgment in personam. Anyone who has seriously observed and reflected on the interrelation of ideas and language must realize how words tend to react upon ideas and to hinder or control them. More specifically, it is overwhelmingly clear that the danger of confusion is especially great when the same term or phrase is constantly used to express two or more distinct ideas. Professor Holland, having in mind, as regards this psychological phenomenon, a particular instance not now before us,—viz., the well-known ambiguity of the Latin jus, the German Recht, the Italian diritto, and the French droit, terms used to indicate both "law" as such and "a right" considered as a concrete relation created by law,—does not exaggerate in the least when he says:

"If the expression of widely different ideas by one and the same term resulted only in the necessity for these clumsy periphrases, or obviously inaccurate paraphrases, no great harm would be done; but unfortunately the identity of terms seems irresistibly to suggest an identity between the ideas which are expressed by them."

No doubt this psychological and linguistic principle—what might be called "the principle of linguistic contamination"— explains why certain well-known legal authors have assumed, with unfortunate effect on their reasoning and argument, that the contrasted pairs of terms in personam and in rem have the same intrinsic meaning in each of the four cases above mentioned, and therefore represent throughout a precisely similar basis of classification; also that there is some formal and symmetrical interdependence between the four classifications presented,—e.g., that primary rights in rem are such as may be "enforced," or vindicated, by proceedings and judgments in rem, or, similarly, that primary rights in personam are such as can be "enforced," or vindicated, only by actions or proceedings in personam. At a later point some of these problems and fallacies will receive incidental treatment in connection with the main thread of the discussion, and it will thus be possible to give more concrete specifications and examples. The chief purpose of the following pages is, however, to discuss, directly and exhaustively, only the first of the four general classifications above outlined, i.e., rights (or claims), privileges, powers, and immunities in per­sonam and rights (or claims), privileges, powers, and immunities in rem. Substituting what the writer ventures to suggest as equivalent and more satisfactory terms for the phrases in per­sonam and in rem, we shall have to deal seriatim with eight classifications, as follows: 1. paucital rights (or claims) and multital rights (or claims); 2. paucital privileges and multital privileges; 3. paucital powers and multital powers; 4. paucital immunities and multital immunities; 5. paucital no-rights and multital no-rights; 6. paucital duties and multital duties; 7. paucital disabilities and multital disabilities; 8. paucital liabilities and multital liabilities. Each of these eight definite classifications must, for the sake of clearness, receive somewhat separate treatment. Owing, however, to limitations of space, the present article will deal chiefly with the first subdivision, i.e., paucital rights, or claims, and multital rights, or claims.

As more fully shown in the former article, the word "right" is used generically and indiscriminately to denote any sort of legal advantage, whether claim, privilege, power, or immunity. In its narrowest sense, however, the term is used as the correlative of duty; and, to convey this meaning, the synonym "claim" seems the best. In what follows, therefore, the term "right" will be used solely in that very limited sense according to which it is the correlative of duty. It is hoped that the meaning and importance of this needful discrimination may gain in concrete-ness and clearness as further details and examples come into view.

It is necessary at this point to venture a preliminary explanation of the division or classification now before us—confessing at once that it represents a departure from accepted modes of statement or definition on the part of learned authors and judges. It will then remain for the more detailed discussion and argument to show, if possible, that the currently received explanations are not only essentially faulty as regards analysis but also seriously misleading for the very practical purpose of solving legal problems as swiftly and accurately as possible.

A paucital right, or claim, (right in personam) is either a unique right residing in a person (or group of persons) and availing against a single person (or single group of persons); or else it is one of a few fundamentally similar, yet separate, rights availing respectively against a few definite persons. A multital right, or claim, (right in rem) is always one of a large class of fundamentally similar yet separate rights, actual and potential, residing in a single person (or single group of persons) but availing respectively against persons constituting a very large and indefinite class of people.

Probably all would agree substantially on the meaning and significance of a right in personam, as just explained; and it is easy to give a few preliminary examples: If B owes A a thousand dollars, A has an affirmative right in personam, or paucital right, that B shall transfer to A the legal ownership of that amount of money. If, to put a contrasting situation, A already has title to one thousand dollars, his rights against others in relation thereto are multital rights, or rights in rem. In the one case the money is owed to A; in the other case it is owned by A. If Y has contracted to work for X during the ensuing six months, X has an affirmative right in personam that Y shall render such service, as agreed. Similarly as regards all other contractual or quasi-contractual rights of this character. On the other hand, there may occasionally be rights in personam of a negative tenor or content. Thus if K, a distinguished opera singer, contracts with J that the former will not for the next three months sing at any rival opera house, J has a negative right in personam against K; and the latter is under a correlative negative duty. In this, as in other cases of rights in the sense of claims, the right of J is but one phase of the total relation between J and K, and the duty of K is another phase of the same relation,—that is, the whole "right—duty" relation may be viewed from different angles.

In contrast to these examples are those relating to rights, or claims, in rem—i.e., multital rights. If A owns and occupies Whiteacre, not only B but also a great many other persons— not necessarily all persons—are under a duty, e.g., not to enter on A's land. A's right against B is a multital right, or right in rem, for it is simply one of A's class of similar, though separate, rights, actual and potential, against very many persons. The same points apply as regards A's right that B shall not commit a battery on him, A's right that B shall not alienate the affections of A's wife, and A's right that B shall not manufacture a certain article as to which A has a so-called patent.

Further examples of such negative multital rights will readily occur to the reader. Other important instances will require detailed consideration from time to time.

In spite of the formal and abstract explanations already given, and in spite of the concrete examples added for merely preliminary purposes, the effort to give an incisive and comprehensive appreciation of the conceptual and linguistic difficulties and dangers involved in the expressions under consideration would doubtless fail, at least as regards the inexperienced student, unless considerably more were done by way of direct discussion of common errors. That is to say, it seems necessary to show very concretely and definitely how, because of the unfortunate terminology involved, the expression "right in rem" is all too frequently misconceived, and meanings attributed to it that could not fail to blur and befog legal thought and argument. Some of these loose and misleading usages will now be considered in detail, it being hoped that the more learned reader will remember that this discussion, being intended for the assistance of law school students more than for any other class of persons, is made more detailed and elementary than would otherwise be necessary.

(a) A right in rem is not a right "against a thing": In Hook v. Hoffman" we are told by Mr. Justice Franklin, in hopeful vein, that "the somewhat obscure and ambiguous expression 'jus in rem' when standing by itself, catches a borrowed clearness from the expression 'jus in personam' to which it is opposed." This is laudable optimism! It cannot, however, be shared by one who has, in the course of many years, observed not only the ways and tendencies of many hundreds of intelligent students, but also the not unnatural slips of the more learned. Any person, be he student or lawyer, unless he has contemplated the matter analytically and assiduously, or has been put on notice by books or other means, is likely, first, to translate right in personam as a right against a person; and then he is almost sure to interpret right in rem, naturally and symmetrically as he thinks, as a right against a thing. Assuming that the division represented by in personam and in rem is intended to be mutually exclusive, it is plausible enough to assume also that if a right in personam is simply a right against a person, a right in rem must be a right that is not against a person, but against a thing. That is, the expression right in personam, standing alone, seems to encourage the impression that there must be rights that are not against persons. Then, of course, such a supposed, though erroneous, contrast is further encouraged by the prima facie literal meaning of the Latin phrase in rem, considered per se; for it cannot be assumed that the average person is acquainted with the peculiar history and special meaning of that phrase. Such a notion of rights in rem is, as already intimated, crude and fallacious; and it can but serve as a stumbling-block to clear thinking and exact expression. A man may indeed sustain close and beneficial physical relations to a given physical thing: he may physically control and use such thing, and he may physically exclude others from any similar control or enjoyment. But, obviously, such purely physical relations could as well exist quite apart from, or occasionally in spite of, the law of organized society: physical relations are wholly distinct from jural relations. The latter take significance from the law; and, since the purpose of the law is to regulate the conduct of human beings, all jural relations must, in order to be clear and direct in their meaning, be predicated of such human beings. The words of able judges may be quoted as showing their realization of the practical importance of the point now being emphasized:
1900, Mr. Chief Justice Holmes, in Tyler v. Court of Registration:

"All proceedings, like all rights, are really against persons. Whether they are proceedings or rights in rem depends on the number of persons affected"

1905, Mr. Justice Markby, Elements of Law:

"If we attempt to translate the phrase [in rem] literally, and get it into our heads that a thing, because rights exist in respect of it, becomes a sort of juristical person, and liable to duties, we shall get into endless confusion."
What is here insisted on,—i.e., that all rights in rem are against persons,—is not to be regarded merely as a matter of taste or preference for one out of several equally possible forms of statement or definition. Logical consistency seems to demand such a conception, and nothing less than that. Some concrete examples may serve to make this plain. Suppose that A is the owner of Blackacre and X is the owner of Whiteacre. Let it be assumed, further, that, in consideration of $100 actually paid by A to B, the latter agrees with A never to enter on X's land, Whiteacre. It is clear that A's right against B concerning White-acre is a right in personam, or paucital right; for A has no similar and separate rights concerning Whiteacre availing respectively against other persons in general. On the other hand, A's right against B concerning Blackacre is obviously a right in rem, or multital right; for it is but one of a very large number of fundamentally similar (though separate) rights which A has respectively against B, C, D, E, F, and a great many other persons. It must now be evident, also, that A's Blackacre right against B is, intrinsically considered, of the same general character as A's Whiteacre right against B. The Blackacre right differs, so to say, only extrinsic ally, that is, in having many fundamentally similar, though distinct, rights as its "companions." So, in general, we might say that a right in personam is one having few, if any, "companions"; whereas a right in rem always has many such "companions".

If, then, the Whiteacre right, being a right in personam, is recognized as a right against a person, must not the Blackacre right also, being, point for point, intrinsically of the same general nature, be conceded to be a right against a person? If not that, what is it? How can it be apprehended, or described, or delimited at all ?

If it be said that, as regards Blackacre, A has besides his rights, or claims, against B, C, D, E, and others, various legal privileges of controlling and using the land, and that these exist "to, over, or against" the land, one answer might be that as regards White-acre also A has similar privileges against B, C, D, E and all others excepting X, the true owner. But the really relevant and paramount reply at this point is that we are now dealing only with multital rights, or claims, and not with multital privileges. The latter will require attention in a later part of the discussion.

It may, however, even at this point be incidentally noticed that the general tendency to "confuse" or "blend" legal privileges with legal rights, or claims, has doubtless contributed greatly to the hazy conception of a right in rem as a right to, over, or against a thing.

For the reasons already given the following passages from legal treatises and judicial opinions seem open to question in one or more particulars:

1874, Mr. Stephen Martin Leake, Law of Property in Land:

"Jurisprudence distinguishes Rights, using the term in the strict legal meaning, into the two classes of Rights to Things and Rights against Persons, familiarly known in the civil law by the terms jura in rem and jura in personam.

"Rights to things, jura in rem, have for their subject some material thing, as land or goods, which the owner may use or dispose of in any manner he pleases within the limits prescribed by the terms of his right. A right of this kind imports in all persons generally the correlative negative duty of abstaining from any interference with the exercise of it by the owner; and by enforcing this duty the law protects and establishes the right. But a right of this kind does not import any positive duty in any deter­minate person, or require any act or intervention of such person for its exercise and enjoyment.

"Rights against persons, jura in personam, on the other hand, have for their subject an act or performance of some certain determinate person, as the payment of money, the delivery of goods and the like. A right of this kind imports the correlative positive legal duty in the deter­minate person to act in the manner prescribed. It depends for its exercise or enjoyment upon the performance of that duty, and is secured by the legal remedies provided for a breach of performance. . . .

"Rights to things, jura in rem, vary and are distinguished according to the things or material subjects in the use or disposal of which the right consists."

The learned author, whose work is well known to law students and highly valued for its general clearness and accuracy, has been unfortunate in treating "in rem" as if it meant "to a thing"; and it would seem that he was influenced to do this, partly at least, as a result of confusing legal privileges and legal rights. More than that, this first error has led to an additional one: that of conveying the impression that all rights in rem (multital rights), in order to be such, must relate to a material thing. Such a limitation would exclude not only many rights in rem, or multital rights, relating to persons, but also those constituting elements of patent interests, copyright interests, etc. Finally the learned author falls into the error of asserting that all rights in personam are affirmative in character; whereas they may occasionally be negative, as heretofore seen.

1916, Professor Joseph Henry Beale, Treatise on Conflict of Laws:

"The nature of rights.—The primary purpose of law being the creation of rights, and the chief task of the Conflict of Laws to determine the place where a right arose and the law that created it, a more careful study of the nature of rights is of course desirable before the examination of actual cases of conflict is begun. . . .

"Since we are fortunate enough to have different words for these ideas [law and rights] it is all the more necessary that we should fully understand each of them.
"A right may be deemed as a legally recognized interest in, to, or against a person or a thing."

1903, Mr. Herbert Thorndyke Tiffany, Modern Law of Real Property:

"Powers of attorney, by which one person is nominated as an agent to make a transfer or do some other act in the name and stead of the principal, are sometimes spoken of as common-law powers. Such an authority, however, while it did exist as common law, is entirely different from the powers here considered (i.e., powers of appointment), since it is merely an agency in the person to whom the power is given, authorizing him to execute an instrument of conveyance or to do some other act in the place and stead of his principal, the title passing, not by the power of attorney, but by the conveyance subsequently made, which is regarded as made by the principal. A power of attorney creates merely a contractual relation,—rights in personam,—as does any other contract of agency; while a power, such as we here treat of, involving dominion over land to a greater or less extent, creates in the person to whom the power is given rights in rem of a proprietary character."

The exact meaning of the learned author is not evident; but it seems clear that the power of an agent to convey Whiteacre is not intrinsically different, so long as it endures, from a power to convey Whiteacre in exercise of a so-called power of appointment. It is true that the agent is subject to a liability of having his power "revoked" or divested by the principal, whereas the power of appointment is subject to no similar liability at the hands of anyone. But this difference, conceding its great importance, is, of course, not accurately expressed by asserting that the power of attorney creates rights in personam, and the power of appointment "creates in the person to whom the power is given rights in rem of a proprietary character." In truth the creation of a power of agency does not necessarily involve any contract rights against the principal or any one else. The fact seems to be that the greater "staying" quality of the power of appointment (as compared with the power of agency) has sug­gested to the author greater "adhesiveness" or "thingness," and hence caused the inappropriate terms now under review. Further critical consideration of the last-quoted passage will be desirable in connection with the subject of immunities in personam and immunities in rem.

1828, Sir Thomas Plumer, M.R., in Dearie v. Hall:

"They say, that they were not bound to give notice to the trustees; for that notice does not form part of the necessary conveyance of an equitable interest. I admit, that, if you mean to rely on contract with the individual, you do not need to give notice; from the moment of the contract, he, with whom you are dealing, is personally bound. But if you mean to go further, and to make your right attach upon the thing which is the subject of the contract, it is necessary to give notice; and, unless notice is given, you do not do that which is essential in all cases of transfer of personal property. . . . Notice, then, is necessary to perfect the title,—to give a complete right in rem, and not merely a right as against him who conveys his interest."

This passage from Dearie v. Hall will require further treatment in connection with the subject of immunities in personam and immunities in rem.

1857, Mr. Justice Cutting, in Redington v. Frye:

"But a sub-contractor has no claim against the owner of the property—his claim is only against the property (in rem), and the person and property of his employer (in personam) "

The preceding quotations from legal treatises and judicial opinions have been presented, as is evident, for the purpose of exemplifying the less careful and exact use of terms that we sometimes find, and for the further purpose of indicating the confusion of thought that is likely to result in such cases. Over against these will now be considered various passages from legal treatises and judicial opinions exemplifying more precise modes of thought and expression. It is desirable to begin with Austin; for his work on Jurisprudence was the first to give prominence to the terms right in rem and right in personam among English-speaking lawyers and authors, and his language has become classical in its importance:

1832, Professor John Austin, Lectures on Jurisprudence or The Philosophy of Positive Law:

"The distinction between Rights which I shall presently endeavor to explain, is that all-pervading and important distinction which has been assumed by the Roman Insti­tutional Writers as the main groundwork of their arrangement: namely, the distinction between rights in rem and rights in personam; or rights which avail against persons generally or universally, and rights which avail exclusively against certain or determinate persons.

"The terms 'jus in rem' and 'jus in personam' were devised by the Civilians of the Middle Ages, or arose in times still more recent. . . .

"The phrase in rem denotes the compass, and not the subject of the right. It denotes that the right in question avails against persons generally; and not that the right in question is a right over a thing. For, as I shall show hereafter, many of the rights, which are jura or rights in rem, are either rights over, or to, persons, or have no subject (person or thing).

"The phrase in personam is an elliptical or abridged expression for 'in personam certam sive determinatam' Like the phrase in rem, it denotes the compass of the right. It denotes that the right avails exclusively against a determinate person, or against determinate persons."

Additional explanations of ideas and terms and further instructive examples of usage are to be found in the following utterances of able judges:

1871, Mr. Justice Markby, Elements of Law:

"The term 'right in rem' is a very peculiar one; translated literally it would mean nothing. The use of it in conjunction with the term 'in personam' as the basis of a classification of actions in the Roman law has been explained above, and its meaning will be further illustrated by two passages in the Digest of Justinian. In Book iv. tit. 2. sec. 9, the rule of law is referred to— that what is done under the influence of fear should not be binding: and commenting on this it is remarked, that the lawgiver speaks here generally and 'in rem,' and does not specify any particular kind of persons who cause the fear; and that therefore the rule of law applies, whoever the person may be. Again, in Book xliv. tit. 4. sec. 2, it is laid down that, in what we should call a plea of fraud, it must be specially stated whose fraud is complained of, 'and not in rem'. On the other hand, it is pointed out that, if it is shown whose fraud is complained of, it is sufficient; and it need not be said whom the fraud was intended to injure; for (says the author of the Digest) the allegation that the transaction is void, by reason of the fraud of the person named, is made 'in rem.' In all these three cases 'in rem' is used as an adverb, and I think we should express as nearly as possible its exact equivalent, if we substituted for it the English word 'generally'. In the phrase 'right in rem' it is used as an adjective, and the equivalent English expression would be a 'general right'; but a more explicit phrase is a 'right availing against the world at large': and if this, which is the true meaning of the phrase 'right in rem,' be carefully remembered, no mistake need occur."

1883, Mr. Justice Mulkey, in W., St. L. & P. Ry. Co. v. Shacklet:

"One of the primary rights of the citizen, sanctioned by the positive law of the State, is security to life and limb, and indemnity against personal injuries occasioned by the negligence, fraud or violence of others. This is a right which avails against all persons whomsoever, and is distinguished from a right which avails against a particular individual or a determinate class of persons. The former is called a right in rem, the latter a right in personam. The former class of rights exists independently of contract; the latter frequently arises out of contract. . . .

"So in the present case, appellee's intestate had a right in rem, or a general right, which entitled him, if free from fault himself, to be protected and indemnified against injuries resulting from the negligence of all persons whomsoever, including the appellant. . . ."

1886, Mr. Justice Holmes, in Hogan v. Barry:

"There is no doubt that an easement may be created by words sounding in covenant. Bronson v. Coffin, 108 Mass. 175, 180. If the seeming covenant is for a present enjoyment of a nature recognized by the law as capable of being conveyed and made an easement,—capable, that is to say, of being treated as a jus in rem, and as not merely the subject of a personal undertaking,—and if the deed discloses that the covenant is for the benefit of adjoining land conveyed at the same time, the covenant must be construed as a grant, and, as is said in Plowden, 308, 'the phrase of speech amounts to the effect to vest a present property in you'. An easement will be created and attached to the land conveyed, and will pass with it to assigns, whether mentioned in the grant or not."

1903, Mr. Justice Holmes, in International Postal Supply Co. v. Bruce:

"As the United States could not be made a party the suit failed. In the case at bar the United States is not the owner of the machines, it is true, but it is a lessee in possession, for a term which has not expired. It has a property, a right in rem, in the machines, which, though less extensive than absolute ownership, has the same incident of a right to use them while it lasts."

1904, Mr. Justice Holmes, in Baltimore Shipbuilding Co. v. Baltimore:

"In the next place, as to the interest of the United States in the land. This is a mere condition subsequent. There is no easement or present right in rem. The obligation to keep up the dock and to allow the United States to use it carries active duties and is purely personal. . . . The United States has no present right to the land, but merely a personal claim against the corporation, reinforced by a condition."

1905, Mr. Justice Holmes, in Muhlker v. Harlem R. R. Co.:

"What the plaintiff claims is really property, a right in rem. It is called contract merely to bring it within the contract clause of the Constitution".

1913, Viscount Haldane, Lord Chancellor, in Attenborough v. Solomon:

"But the question which goes to the root of this case is one which renders such a proposition wholly beside the point. If I am right, there is no question here of an executor acting in the execution of his powers, so far as this residue is concerned. The executors had long ago lost their vested right of property as executors and become, so far as the title to it was concerned, trustees under the will. Executors they remained, but they were executors who had become divested, by their assent to the dispositions of the will, of the property which was theirs virtute officii; and their right in rem, their title of property, had been transformed into a right in personam,—a right to get the property back by proper proceedings against those in whom the property should be vested if it turned out that they required it for payment of debts for which they had made no provision."

1914, Viscount Haldane, Lord Chancellor, in Sinclair v. Brougham:

"The difficulty of establishing a title in rem in this case arises from the apparent difficulty of following money. In most cases money cannot be followed. When sovereigns or bank notes are paid over as currency, so far as the payer is concerned, they cease ipso facto to be the subjects of specific title as chattels. If a sovereign or bank note be offered in payment it is, under ordinary circumstances, no part of the duty of the person receiving it to inquire into title. The reason of this is that chattels of such a kind form part of what the law recognizes as currency, and treats as passing from hand to hand in point, not merely of possession, but of property. It would cause great inconvenience to commerce if in this class of chattel an exception were not made to the general requirement of the law as to title. . . .

"That seems to be, so far as the doctrine of the common law is concerned, the limit to which the exception to the rule about currency was carried; whether the case be that of a thief or of a fraudulent broker, or of money paid under mistake of fact, you can, even at law, follow, but only so long as the relation of debtor and creditor has not superseded the right in rem"

1914, Lord Sumner, in Sinclair v. Brougham:

"Analogous cases have been decided with regard to chattels. They differ, no doubt, because of the fact that the property in the chattels remained unchanged, though identification and even identity of the subject-matter of the property failed, whereas here, except as to currency, and even there only in a restricted sense, the term property, as we use that term of chattels, does not apply, and, at least as far as intention could do it, both depositors and shareholders had given up the right to call the money or its proceeds their own, and had taken instead personal claims on the society."

1916, Mr. Justice Brandeis, in Kryger v. Wilson:

"If the plaintiff in error had not submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court, the decree could have determined only the title to the land, and would have left him free to assert any personal rights he may have had under the contract"

(b) A multital right, or claim, (right in rem) is not always one relating to a thing, i.e., a tangible object: If the preceding discussion has served its various purposes, it must now be reasonably clear that the attempt to conceive of a right in rem as a right against a thing should be abandoned as intrinsically unsound, as thoroughly discredited according to good usage, and, finally, as all too likely to confuse and mislead. It is desirable, next, to emphasize, in more specific and direct form, another important point which has already been incidentally noticed: that a right in rem is not necessarily one relating to, or concerning, a thing, i.e., a tangible object. Such an assumption, although made by Leake and by many others who have given little or no attention to fundamental legal conceptions, is clearly erroneous. The term right in rem (multital right) is so generic in its denota­tion as to include: 1. Multital rights, or claims, relating to a definite tangible object: e.g., a landowner's right that any ordinary person shall not enter on his land, or a chattel owner's right that any ordinary person shall not physically harm the object involved,—be it horse, watch, book, etc. 2. Multital rights (or claims) relating neither to definite tangible object nor to (tangible) person, e.g., a patentee's right, or claim, that any ordinary person shall not manufacture articles covered by the patent; 3. Multital rights, or claims, relating to the holder's own person, e.g., his right that any ordinary person shall not strike him, or that any ordinary person shall not restrain his physical liberty, i.e., "falsely imprison" him; 4. Multital rights residing in a given person and relating to another person, e.g., the right of a father that his daughter shall not be seduced, or the right of a husband that harm shall not be inflicted on his wife so as to deprive him of her company and assistance; 5. Multital rights, or claims, not relating directly to either a (tangible) person or a tangible object, e.g., a person's right that another shall not publish a libel of him, or a person's right that another shall not publish his picture,—the so-called "right of privacy" existing in some states, but not in all.

It is thus seen that some rights in rem, or multital rights, relate fairly directly to physical objects; some fairly directly to persons; and some fairly directly neither to tangible objects nor to persons.

It is, however, important to observe that there is a more specific Latin term, jus in re, which has been frequently used by able judges to indicate jural relations in rem (i.e., multital rights, privileges, powers, and immunities) directly concerning a tangible object, such as a piece of land, a vessel, etc. This form of expression appears to have been used by the classical Roman jurists almost exclusively in the more specific combination, jus in re aliena (easements, profits, etc.), as contrasted with jus in re propria; but the more generic jus in re was freely employed by the modern civilians,—especially in opposition to a particular kind of jus in personam called jus ad rem. The following explanations and examples of modern usage by able judges are worthy of careful and critical consideration:

1871, Mr. Justice Markby, Elements of Law:

"It is necessary to distinguish carefully between a right in rem and a (so-called) real right. A real right is a right over a specific thing (a jus in re, as will be explained hereafter). Thus a right of ownership is a real right; it is also a right in rem. But a right to personal safety is not a real right, though it is a right in rem."

1914, Lord Dunedin, in Sinclair v. Brougham:

"The case of a chattel is easy: A shopkeeper delivers an article at the house of B. in mistake for the house of A. An action would lie against B. for restitution. Such an action could easily be founded on the right of property. To use the Roman phraseology, there would be a jus in re. And where there was a jus in re there would not be, I take it, any difficulty in finding a form of common law action to fit the situation. But the moment you come to deal with what in Roman phraseology is called a fungible, and especially when you deal with money, then the jus in re may disappear, and with it the appropriateness of such common law action. The familiar case is the paying of money by A. to B. under the mistaken impression in fact that a debt was due, when in truth there was no debt due. It was to fit cases of this sort that the common law evolved the action for money had and received."

1914, Lord Kinnear, in Bank of Scotland v. Macleod:

"But to extend Lord Westbury's phrase so as to make it cover personal obligations which do not affect the real right of the obligor seems to me altogether extravagant. It was maintained in argument that every obligation with reference to any property or fund which involves a liability to account fell within the principle. If that were so every imperfect security, however invalid as a real right, would be effectual as a trust."

1855, Mr. Justice B. R. Curtis, in The Young Mechanic:

"But I will first inquire what right or interest is conferred by the statute, provided it intended to create such a lien, as exists by the general admiralty law upon foreign vessels.

"Though the nature of admiralty liens has doubtless been long understood, it does not seem to have been described with fulness and precision, in England or this country. That it differs from what is called by the same name in the common law, is clear; for it exists independent of possession. The Bold Buccleugh, 22 Eng. L. & Eq. 62; The Nestor, 1 Sumn. 73. That it is not identical with equitable liens, is equally clear; for the latter arise out of constructive trusts, and are neither a jus ad rem, or a jus in re; but simply a duty, binding on the conscience of the owner of the thing, and which a Court of Equity will compel him specifically to perform. 2 Story's Eq. Jurisp. § 1217; Ex parte Foster, 2 Story, R. 145; Clarke v. Southzvick, 1 Curtis, 299. . . .

"In my opinion the definition given by Pothier of an hypothecation is an accurate description of a maritime lien under our law. 'The right which a creditor-has in a thing of another, which right consists in the power to cause that thing to be sold, in order to have the debt paid out of the price. This is a right in the thing, a jus in re.' Traite de I'Hypotheque, art. prelim. See also, Sanders's Justinian, page 227. . . .

"Whether he can make the seizure himself, only to be followed by a judicial sale, or must resort to a court for both, may be important as to remedy, but does not affect his ultimate and essential right, . . .

"Though tacitly created by the law, and to be executed only by the aid of a court of justice, and resulting in a judicial sale, it is as really a property in the thing as the right of a pledgee or the lien of a bailee for work. The distinction between a jus in re and a jus ad rem was familiar to lawyers of the middle ages, and is said then to have first come into practical use, as the basis of the division of rights into real and personal. Sanders' Intro, to Just. p. 49. A jus in re is a right, or property in a thing, valid as against all mankind. A jus ad rem is a valid claim on one or more persons to do something, by force of which a jus in re will be acquired. Pothier, Traite du Droit de Domaine, ch. Pretences; Hugo, His. du Droit Rom. vol. 1, p. 118. . . .

"My opinion is, that the lien conferred by the local law was an existing incumbrance on the vessel, not divested or extinguished by the death or insolvency of the owner; and that, consequently, the decree of the District Court must be affirmed."

1900, Mr. Chief Justice Fuller, in The Carlos F. Roses:

"The right of capture acts on the proprietary interest of the thing captured at the time of the capture and is not affected by the secret liens or private engagements of the parties. Hence the prize courts have rejected in its favor the lien of bottomry bonds, of mortgages, for supplies, and of bills of lading. The assignment of bills of lading transfers the jus ad rem, but not necessarily the jus in rem. The jus in re or in rem implies the absolute dominion,— the ownership independently of any particular relation with another person. The jus ad rem has for its founda­tion an obligation incurred by another. Sand. Inst. Just. Introd., xlviii; 2 Marcade, Expl. du Code Napoleon, 350; 2 Bouvier, (Rawle's Revision), 73; The Young Mechanic, 2 Curtis, 404.

"Claimants did not obtain the jus in rem, and, according to the great weight of authority, the right of capture was superior."

Justice Foster, in Jacobs v. Knapp:

"That statute provides that 'any person who labors at cutting, hauling, or drawing wood, bark, logs, or lumber, shall have a lien thereon for his personal services, which lien shall take precedence of all other claims except liens on account of public taxes, to continue sixty days after the services are performed, and may be secured by attachment'.

"At the common law the lien of a mechanic, manufacturer, or other laborer 'is neither a jus ad rem nor a jus in re: that is to say, it is not a right of property in the thing itself, or a right of action to the thing itself;' but it is a security, derived from a 'general principle of the common law, which gives to a man who has the lawful possession of a thing and has expended his money or his labor upon it, at the request of the owner, a right to retain it until his demand is satisfied' . . .

"A lien, as we have seen, is a personal right, as well as an interest which can only be created by the owner, or by his authority. If Fifield, by virtue of his contract with the defendants, had a lien upon the wood, the plaintiff could acquire no lien upon the property through him. The plaintiff, as a creditor of Fifield, could not attach and hold, as against the owner, at the common law, the property in which Fifield had but the qualified interest of a pledgee. Lovett v. Brown, 40 N. H. 511. Neither is a lien for the price of labor performed on an article assignable. Bradley v. Spofford, 23 N. H. 447. . . .

"The statutes of liens have enlarged the privileges of the party who, at common law, could only as bailee avail himself of the lien, by substituting, in the enumerated cases, attachment of the property for retention of posses­sion; but it would be quite anomalous to regard this process of attachment as applying in favor of a stranger against a party with whom the plaintiff never contracted, and who could in no proper sense be regarded as an attaching creditor. . . ."

The passage from Mr. Justice Foster—the last of the above quotations—seems open to comment. If at common law the lien of the mechanic, manufacturer or other laborer consists of the "right to retain" the "thing" in his possession or, to use Mr. Justice Foster's own later and more discriminating term, a "privilege" of retaining possession, this is certainly a "privilege" relating to a "thing." More than that, such privileges are multital privileges, or privileges in rem, existing not only against the owner of the chattel but also against all persons in general, and correlating with no-rights in the latter. These multital privileges relate directly to the physical "thing"; and they are "rights" in the very broad sense of that term. It is difficult, therefore, to see why the term jus in re should not be applicable. For the latter term does not seem to be confined to rights in the sense of claims, this being shown by the above-quoted opinion of Mr. Justice Curtis, whose characterization of common-law liens differs from that of Mr. Justice Foster. It is also clear that the lienor has, by virtue of his possession per se, rights in rem against all others that they shall not disturb that possession or harm the object possessed. These last are rights or claims literally relating to the thing; and, therefore, so far at least as the literal meaning of jus in re is concerned there seems to be no reason why the latter expression should not be applied. It is true that if the lienor were to surrender possession he would thereby divest himself of his privilege (against the owner) and his rights, or claims, against the owner and others; but while those relations exist they concern the thing, and that fact is obviously not negatived by the possibility of their being divested.

The passage last quoted from Mr. Justice Markby and also the extracts from the opinions of Lord Kinnear and Mr. Justice Curtis show that those rights in rem which directly relate to things—land, vessels, etc.—instead of being called jus in re are, occasionally denominated "reed"—a term meaning literally, of course, "relating to a thing." "Real rights" in this sense are opposed to rights in personam relating to things. Thus, e.g., if A is owner of a horse, he has jus in re or "real rights"; if, on the other hand, X is under contract to transfer the ownership of a horse to A, the latter has that sort of right in personam which would sometimes be called jus ad rem, or "personal right" In the restricted sense now referred to, it seems clear that real rights as a class also exclude both rights in personam and rights in rem that do not relate directly to things, or tangible objects. The following passages may be considered with advantage:

1914, Professor E. C. Clark, History of Roman Law: Jurisprudence:

"Jura realia and personalia are expressions occasionally used by modern civilians as adjectival forms for jura in rem and in personam, but only as confined to Property Law. (e.g., the translator of Mackeldey, Pr. ii. § 15. Austin (T. and N. ii. 5, pp. 977, 978; St. Note on Led. 14, p. 184) identifies the pairs without the above qualification.) This at least seems to be the meaning given by Savigny to jura re alia, if represented by the correspond­ing German dingliche Rechte. (System, I, § 56, p. 369. Alle mogliche Rechte an Sachen .... fassen wir unter dem gemeinsamen Nameri der dinglichen Rechte zusammen.)"

1855, Mr. Justice B. R. Curtis, in The Young Mechanic:

"The distinction between a jus in re and a jus ad rem was familiar to lawyers of the middle ages, and is said then to have first come into practical use, as the basis of the division of rights into real and personal. Sanders' Intro, to Just. p. 49. A jus in re is a right, or property in a thing, valid as against all mankind. A jus ad rem is a valid claim on one or more persons to do something, by force of which a jus in re will be acquired. Pothier, Traite du Droit de Domaine, ch. Pretences; Hugo, His. du Droit Rom. vol. 1, p. 118."

1914, Lord Kinnear, in Bank of Scotland v. Macleod:

"But to extend Lord Westbury's phrase so as to make it cover personal obligations which do not affect the real right of the obligor seems to me altogether extravagant. It was maintained in argument that every obligation with reference to any property or fund which involves a liability to account fell within the principle. If that were so every imperfect security, however invalid as a real right, would be effectual as a trust."

Even when restricted as above indicated, the pair of terms, "real" and "personal," seems an undesirable one for English-speaking lawyers and judges because those words are already definitely appropriated to different and independent classifications and are constantly applied in connection with the latter. Thus, e.g., we have "real property" and "personal property"; and this classification is obviously not parallel with that of "real rights" and "personal rights"—both of the latter terms being applicable either to "personal property" relations or to "real property" relations. Then too, the expression "personal rights" is especially misleading in its connotation because, literally, it tends to suggest rights concerning a person as the object to which the rights relate, that is, either the person who holds the rights or some other person. It is therefore most fortunate that the pair of terms, "real rights" and "personal rights," is not at all common in judicial opinions or in legal treatises. Over against this, however, it must be recognized that courts not infrequently use a somewhat similar pair of terms, viz., the expression "personal rights" or "personal claims" in opposition to some such expression as "property rights," "title to land," "interest in the thing," etc.

Finally, as regards this particular matter, it must be regretted that some authors, though no courts whatever so far as has been observed, use the terms "real rights" and "personal rights" as exact equivalents, respectively, for all kinds of rights in rem (whether relating directly to things or persons or to neither) and all kinds of rights in personam. It is greatly to be hoped that such an unusual and, for the English law, misleading Use of terms will not become at all common.

(c) A single multital right, or claim, (right in rem) correlates with a duty resting on one person alone, not with many duties (or one duty) resting upon all the members of a very large and indefinite class of persons: Though fairly implicated with what has been said in the "preliminary" explanation of ideas and terms, this proposition now requires more detailed consideration; for it represents a considerable departure from the explanations or analyses to be found in treatises on jurisprudence or in books on particular branches'of the law. Let us first have definitely before us some typical passages:

1832, Professor John Austin, Lectures on Jurisprudence, or the Philosophy of Positive Law:

"All rights reside in persons, and are rights to acts or forbearances on the part of other persons. ...

"The essentials of a right in rem are these:

"It resides in a determinate person, or in determinate persons, and avails against other persons universally orgenerally. Further, the duty with which it correlates, or to which it corresponds, is negative: that is to say, a duty to forbear or abstain. . . .

"The duty which correlates with [a right in rem] attaches upon persons generally."

1871, Mr. Justice Markby, Elements of Law:

"The persons to whom a right in rem belongs may be changed to any extent within the limits allowed by the law, but the persons upon whom the duty corresponding to a right in rem is imposed cannot be changed, because all persons are under that duty."

1880, Professor Thomas Erskine Holland, Elements of Jurisprudence:

"A right is available either against a definite person or persons, or against all persons indefinitely. . . .

"This distinction between rights has been expressed by calling a right of the definite kind a right in personam, of the indefinite kind a right in rem"

1902, Mr. Solicitor-General Salmond, Jurisprudence:

"A real right corresponds to a duty imposed on persons in general. . . . The indeterminate incidence of the duty which corresponds to a real right, renders impossible many modes of dealing with it which are of importance in the case of personal rights."

1915, Professor Harlan Fiske Stone, Law and its Administration:

"One may have a right against all members of the community indifferently. Thus one has the right not to have his person or his property unlawfully interfered with, and this right exists generally against all members of the community."

1916, Professor Samuel Williston, Is the Right of an Assignee of a Chose in Action Legal or Equitable?

"Though legal ownership is conceived fundamentally as a right good against all the world, actual instances of such ownership are often much more narrowly limited. The owner of a chattel which has been stolen from him is likely to find his right against the world considerably qualified if the thief is in a place where the principles of market overt prevail."

In opposition to the ideas embodied in the passages just given, it is submitted that instead of there being a single right with a single correlative duty resting on all the persons against whom the right avails, there are many separate and distinct rights, actual and potential, each one of which has a correlative duty resting upon some one person. Repeating a hypothetical case put above, let us suppose that A is the owner of Blackacre and X is the owner of Whiteacre. It may be assumed further that, in consideration of $100 actually paid by A to B, the latter agrees with A never to enter on X's land, Whiteacre; also that C and D, at the same time and for separate considerations, make respective similar agreements with A. In such a case A's respective rights against B, C, and D are clearly rights in personam, or paucital rights. Surely no one would assert that A has only a single right against B, C, and D, with only a single or unified duty resting on the latter. A's right against B is entirely separate from the other two. B may commit a breach of his duty, without involving any breach of Cs duty by C or any breach of D's duty by D. For, obviously, the content of each respective duty differs from each of the others. To make it otherwise C and D would have to be under a duty or duties (along with B) that B should not enter on X's land. Even if that were the case, there would be said to be three separate duties unless B, C, and D bound themselves so as to create a so-called joint obligation. In the latter case alone would there be said to be a single right and a single (joint) duty. Going beyond this direct analysis of the situation, it seems clear that the three respective "right—duty" relations of A and B, A and C, and A and D respond to every test of separateness and independence. A might discharge B from his duty to A, thus (in equivalent terms) creating a privilege of entering as against A (not as against X, of course); yet, obviously, the respective duties of C and D would continue the same as before.

Point for point, the same considerations and tests seem applicable to A's respective rights in rem, or multital rights, against B, C, D, and others indefinitely that they, respectively considered, shall not enter on Blackacre. It is not a case of one joint duty of the same content resting on all—e.g., that B should not enter on Blackacre. Consistently with this view, A might, e.g., extinguish B's duty or, in other words, grant B the privilege of entering by giving "leave and license" to do so. In such event, of course, the respective duties of C, D, E, and all others would continue to exist, precisely as before.

In order to see even more clearly that the supposed single right in rem correlating with "a duty" on "all" persons really involves as many separate and distinct "right—duty" relations as there are persons subject to a duty, it may be worth while to reverse the situation somewhat, and consider, in anticipation of a more general treatment at a later point, the subject of duties in rem, or multital duties. Thus, e.g., X is under duty not to strike R, S, T, or any other ordinary member of the community. Are we to say that, as regards these many persons, X has but a single duty, and that, correlatively, there is but a single right held by R, S, T, and all the others? Manifestly not, for each one of these persons has a distinct and independent right; and any one of such independent rights might cease to exist without in the least affecting the others. If, e.g., R threatens bodily harm to X, R's right that X shall not strike him becomes thereby extinguished, and a no-right in R substituted; or, correlatively, in such contingency, X's duty to R ceases, and X acquires a privilege of self-defense against R. But such change in no way affects the entirely distinct relations existing between X and the various other persons involved. As regards the separateness and relativity of all "right—duty" relations, the following judicial reasoning seems accurate and persuasive:

1908, Mr. Justice Connor, in McGhee v. R. Co.:

"It is elementary that plaintiff had no cause of action against defendants for placing the dynamite in the shanty. He must establish some relation between defendants and himself from which a duty to him is imposed upon defendants. 'The expression ((duty" properly imports a determinate person to whom the obligation is owing, as well as the one who owes the obligation. There must be two determinate parties before the relationship of obligor and obligee of a duty can exist.' "

With this passage we may well compare the instructive opinion of an eminent English judge emphasizing the distinct and relative character of each "privilege—no-right" relation connected with a given matter, his observations being equally applicable to "right—duty" relations:

1906, Lord Collins, M. R., in Thomas v. Bradbury, Agnew, & Co., Ltd.:

"The right" [privilege] "of fair comment, though shared by the public, is the right" [privilege] "of every individual who asserts it, and is, qua him, an individual right whatever name it be called by, and comment by him which is colored by malice cannot from his standpoint be deemed fair. He, and he only, is the person in whose motives the plaintiff in the libel action is concerned, and if he, the person sued, is proved to have allowed his view to be distorted by malice, it is quite immaterial that somebody else might without malice have written an equally damnatory criticism. The defendant, and not that other person, is the party sued."

If, then, the foregoing line of reasoning be sound, the following points would seem to be reasonably clear: A right in rem, or multital right, correctly understood, is simply one of a large number of fundamentally similar rights residing in one person; and any one of such rights has as its correlative one, and only one, of a large number of general, or common, duties,—that is, fundamentally similar duties residing respectively in many different persons. Similarly, a duty in rem, or multital duty, is one of a large number of fundamentally similar duties residing in one person; and any one of such duties has as its correlative one of a large number of general, or common, rights, or claims,—that is, fundamentally similar rights, or claims, residing respectively in many different persons. It is therefore to be hoped that, instead of continuing to be used to indicate the entire multiplicity of separate and independent rights, or claims, that a person may have against many others, the term right in rem may gradually come to be used to represent one, and only one, of this multiplicity of distinct rights. Whatever be the fate of the con­cept and term, right in rem, in this regard, it is surely of the utmost importance that the various possible analyses and meanings involved be carefully pondered and understood; and, in the meanwhile, the term "multital"—free as it is from any previous hazy connotations—will without question serve definitely to indicate one, and one only, of such a multiplicity of rights as is now under consideration.

(d) A multital right, or claim, (right in rem) should not be confused with any co-existing privileges or other jural relations that the holder of the multital right or rights may have in respect to the same subject-matter: As already incidentally noticed, it is feared that the exact nature of multital rights has been greatly obscured not only by the habitual tendency to treat a multiplicity of fundamentally similar rights, or claims, as if they were only one, but also by the equally strong tendency to include under the hazy blanket term, right in rem, especially in the case of tangible objects, the multiplicity of privileges and other jural relations that the holder of the multital right or rights may have.

Suppose, for example, that A is fee-simple owner of Blackacre. His "legal interest" or "property" relating to the tangible object that we call land consists of a complex aggregate of rights (or claims), privileges, powers, and immunities. First: A has multital legal rights, or claims, that others, respectively, shall not enter on the land, that they shall not cause physical harm to the land, etc., such others being under respective correlative legal duties. Second: A has an indefinite number of legal privileges of entering on the land, using the land, harming the land, etc., that is, within limits fixed by law on grounds of social and economic policy, he has privileges of doing on or to the land what he pleases; and correlative to all such legal privileges are the respective legal no-rights of other persons. Third: A has the legal power to alienate his legal interest to another, i.e., to extinguish his complex aggregate of jural relations and create a new and similar aggregate in the other person; also the legal power to create a life estate in another and concurrently to create a reversion in himself; also the legal power to create a privilege of entrance in any other person by giving "leave and" license"; and so on indefinitely. Correlative to all such legal powers are the legal liabilities, in other persons,—this meaning that the latter are subject, nolens volens, to the changes of jural relations involved in the exercise of A's powers. Fourth: A has an indefinite number of legal immunities, using the term immunity in the very specific sense of non-liability or non-subjection to a power on the part of another person. Thus he has the immunity that no ordinary person can alienate A's legal interest or aggregate of jural relations to another person; the immunity that no ordinary person can extinguish A's own privileges of using the land; the immunity that no ordinary person can extinguish A's right that another person X shall not enter on the land or, in other words, create in X a privilege of entering on the land. Correlative to all these immunities are the respective legal disabilities of other persons in general.

In short, A has vested in himself, as regards Blackacre, multital, or in rem, "right—duty" relations, multital, or in rem, "privilege—no-right" relations, multital, or in rem, "power—liability" relations, and multital, or in rem, "immunity—disability" relations. It is important, in order to have an adequate analytical view of property, to see all these various elements in the aggregate. It is equally important, for many reasons, that the different classes of jural relations should not be loosely confused with one another. A's privileges, e.g., are strikingly independent of his rights or claims against any given person, and either might exist without the other. Thus A might, for $100 paid to him by B, agree in writing to keep off Blackacre. A would still have his rights or claims against B, that the latter should keep off, etc.; yet, as against B, A's own privileges of entering on Blackacre would be gone. On the other hand, with regard to X's land, Whiteacre, A has, as against B, the privilege of entering thereon; but, not having possession, he has no right, or claim, that B shall not enter on Whiteacre.

Not only as a matter of accurate analysis and exposition, but also as a matter of great practical consequence and economic significance, the property owner's rights, or claims, should be sharply differentiated from his privileges. It is sometimes thought that A's rights, or claims, are created by the law for the sole purpose of guarding or protecting A's own physical user or enjoyment of the land, as if such physical user or enjoyment of the land were the only economic factor of importance. A moment's reflection, however, shows that this is a very inade­quate view. Even though the land be entirely vacant and A have no intention whatever of personally using the land, his rights or claims that others shall not use it even temporarily in such ways as would not alter its physical character are, generally, of great economic significance as tending to make others compensate A in exchange for the extinguishment of his rights, or claims or in other words, the creation of privileges of user and enjoy­ment. This has been emphasized by an eminent English judge:

1874, Lord Selborne, Chancellor, in Goodson v. Richardson:

"It is said that the objection of the plaintiff to the laying of these pipes in his land is an unneighborly thing, and that his right is one of little or no value, and one which Parliament if it were to deal with the question, might possibly disregard. What Parliament might do, if it were to deal with the question, is, I apprehend, not a matter for our consideration now, as Parliament has not dealt with the question. Parliament is, no doubt, at liberty to take a higher view upon a balance struck between private rights and public interests than this Court can take. But with respect to the suggested absence of value of the land in its present situation, it is enough to say that the very fact that no interference of this kind can lawfully take place without his consent, and without a bargain with him, gives his interest in this land, even in a pecuniary point of view, precisely the value which that power of veto upon its use creates, when such use is to any other person desirable and an object sought to be obtained."

Even so able and cautious a thinker as Austin seems to have confused legal privileges with legal rights (in the sense of claims), and also, at times, to have confused mere physical power and liberty both with legal privileges and with legal rights. Probably because of the very failure to make these necessary and important discriminations, he appears to have overlooked, or at least seriously underrated, the practical and economic significance of the landowner's "right—duty" relations considered wholly apart from their being guardians of the "privilege—no-right" relations, or protectors of the physical liberty and power involved in the exercise of such legal privileges:

1832, Professor John Austin, Lectures on Jurisprudence, or the Philosophy of Positive Law:

"Now the ends or purposes of different rights are extremely various. The end of the rights in rem which are conferred over things, is this: that the entitled party may deal with, or dispose of, the thing in question in such or such a manner and to such or such an extent. In order to that end, other persons generally are laid under duties to forbear or abstain from acts which would defeat or thwart it. . . .

"As I stated in my last lecture, I mean by property or dominion (taken with the sense wherein I use the term, for the present) any such right in rem (of limited or unlimited duration) as gives to the party in whom it resides an indefinite power or liberty of using or dealing with the subject: A power or liberty of using or dealing with the subject which is not capable of exact circumscription or definition; which is merely limited, generally and indefinitely, by the sum of the duties (relative and absolute) incumbent on the owner or proprietor. . . .

"The power of user and the power of exclusion are equally rights to forbearances on the part of other persons generally. By virtue of the right or power of indefinitely using the subject, other persons generally are bound to forbear from disturbing the owner in acts of user. By virtue of the right or power of excluding other persons generally, other persons generally are bound to forbear from using or meddling with the subject. The rights of user and exclusion are so blended, that an offence against the one is commonly an offence' against the other. I can hardly prevent you from ploughing your field, or from raising a building upon it, without committing, at the same time, a trespass. And an attempt on my part to use the subject (as an attempt, for example, to fish in your pond) is an interference with your right of user as well as with your right of exclusion. But an offence against one of these rights is not of necessity an offence against the other. If, for example, I walk across your field, in order to shorten my way to a given point, I may not in the least injure you in respect of your right of user, although I violate your right of exclusion. Violations of the right of exclusion (when perfectly harmless in themselves) are treated as injuries or offences by reason of their probable effect .on the rights of user and exclusion. A harmless violation of the right of exclusion, if it passed with perfect impunity, might lead, by force of the example, to such numerous violations of the right as would render both rights nearly nugatory."

In these various passages, and especially in the last one, Austin uses the term "right" indiscriminately and confusedly to indicate both those jural relations that are legal rights, or claims, and those that are legal privileges—a lapse all the more surprising in view of the fact that the learned and painstaking author had previously been careful to emphasize the proposition that "the term 'right' and the term 'relative duty' signify the same notion considered from different aspects." Such a delimitation of "right" clearly excludes "legal privilege"; for the correlative of the latter, or "the same notion" from a "different aspect" is, of course, "no-right" or "no-claim."

More or less similar blending of legal concepts and terms in connection with the subject of rights in rem seems to find place not only in well-known works on jurisprudence but also in various treatises or monographs on particular branches of the law. Indeed it is not unlikely that the later writers have in this respect but followed the lead of Austin, as they have in so many other matters of legal analysis. The following passages will serve to show how general is the usage referred to, and, it is believed, will also indicate how such a usage tends to hinder and obscure correct analysis and clear understanding of legal problems:

1871, Mr. Justice Markby, Elements of Law:

"Thus in the case of a contract between A and B, the right of A to demand performance of the contract exists against B only; whereas in the case of ownership, the right to hold and enjoy the property exists against persons generally. This distinction between rights is marked by the use of terms derived from the Latin: the former are called rights in personam; the latter are called rights in rem."

1880, Professor Thomas Erskine Holland, Elements of Jurisprudence:

"A right is available either against a definite person or persons, or against all persons indefinitely. A servant, for instance, has a right to his wages for the work he has done, available against a definite individual, his master; while the owner of a garden has a right to its exclusive enjoyment available against no one individual more than another, but against everybody".

1902, Mr. Solicitor-General Salmond, Jurisprudence:

"My right to the peaceable occupation of my farm is a real right, for all the world is under a duty towards me not to interfere with it. ... I have a real right to the use and occupation of my own house; I have a personal right to receive accommodation at an inn. . . ."

1874, Mr. Stephen Martin Leake, Law of Property in Land:

"Rights to things, jura in rem, have for their subject some material thing, as land or goods, which the owner may use or dispose of in any manner he pleases within the limits prescribed by the terms of his right. A right of this kind imports in all persons generally the cor­relative negative duty of abstaining from any interference with the exercise of it by the owner; and by enforcing this duty the law protects and establishes the right. But a right of this kind does not import any positive duty in any determinate person, or require any act or inter­vention of such person for its exercise and enjoyment."

1887, Professor James Barr Ames, Purchase for Value without Notice:

"The most striking difference between property in a thing and property in an obligation is in the mode of enjoyment. The owner of a house or a horse enjoys the fruits of ownership without the aid of any other person. The only way in which the owner of an obligation can realize his ownership is by compelling its performance by the obligor. Hence, in the one case, the owner is said to have a right in rem, and, in the other, a right in personam"

1915, Professor Harlan Fiske Stone, Law and its Adminis­tration:

"It will be noted that the essential difference between a right in remand a right in personam is that a right in rem may be enjoyed by the possessor of it without the inter­vention or aid of any other person, whereas the possessor of a right in personam can enjoy his possession or owner­ship of it only by compelling the obligor to perform the obligation which gives use to the right. . . .

"Rights in rem include generally all of those rights commonly spoken of as property rights; that is to say, rights to possess, use, and enjoy things, which rights are good and enforceable against all the world".

1916, Professor Samuel Williston, Is the Right of an Assignee of a Chose in Action Legal or Equitable?

"Though legal ownership is conceived fundamentally as a right good against all the world, actual instances of such ownership are often much more narrowly limited."

(e) A multital primary right, or claim, (right in rem) should, regarding its character as such, be carefully differentiated from the paucital secondary right, or claim, (right in personam) arising from a violation of the former: Using again the hypothetical case involving A as owner of Blackacre, it is clear that if B commits a destructive trespass on A's land, there arises at that moment a new right, or claim, in favor of A,—i.e., a so-called secondary right that B shall pay him a sum of money as damages; and of course B comes simultaneously under a correlative duty. Similarly if C commits a battery on A, or if D alienates the affections of A's wife; and so on indefinitely. In each of these cases the secondary right—e.g., that against B—is a paucital right, or claim, i.e., a right in personam. The entire "right—duty" relation would be one of the class of relations in personam designated in Roman law by the term obligatio. More specifically, the relation would be known as an obligatio ex delicto. This is brought out by the language of an eminent judge:

1904, Mr Justice Holmes, in Slater v. Mexican National R. R. Co.:

"We assume for the moment that it was sufficiently alleged and proved that the killing of Slater was a negligent crime within the definition of Article 11 of the Penal Code, and, therefore, if the above sections were the only law bearing on the matter, that they created a civil liability to make reparation to any one whose rights were infringed. . . .

"The theory of the foreign suit is that . . . the act complained of . . . gave rise to an obligation, an obligatio . . ."

This analysis seems applicable even in the case of a tort consisting of wrongfully dispossessing an owner of a tangible movable object. Thus, if Y wrongfully takes possession and control of X's horse, there arises a duty in Y to return the animal to X; and, of course, X gets a correlative right. The latter is a paucital right, or right in personam; for there are no fundamentally similar rights against persons in general. This is true even though, of course, X's rights against others that they shall not convert or harm the horse while in Y's possession are rights in rem. The following passage is apposite:

1900, Mr. Chief Justice Holmes, in Tyler v. Court of Registration:

"But it is said that this is not a proceeding in rem. It is certain that no phrase has been more misused. In the past it has had little more significance than that the right alleged to have been violated was a right in rem. Austin thinks it necessary to quote Leibnitz for the sufficiently obvious remark that every right to restitution is a right in personam."

That this distinction is not always carefully observed may be seen from a consideration of the quotations next to be presented.

(f) A multital primary right, or claim, (right in rem) should not, regarding its character as such, be confused with, or thought dependent on, the character of the proceedings by which it (and the secondary right arising from its violation) may be vindicated: Owing to limitations of space this matter cannot be given here all the attention that it deserves; and the more complete discussion must be reserved for another place. Some of the more important points should, however, be noticed in the present context.

At least two tendencies are occasionally to be observed by way of confusing the nature of primary rights (as in personam or in rem) with the character of the proceedings by which they may be vindicated. Both of these tendencies are believed to befounded on seriously erroneous notions that ought, if possible, to be dissipated. Each of them will, therefore, be briefly discussed.

First: It is sometimes supposed that to have a right in rem concerning a tangible object of which the owner has been wrongfully dispossessed means that he may recover possession of the object itself, by self-help or action, from the first wrongdoer or any subsequent party holding possession as vendee or bailee of the first wrongdoer, or as wrongful taker from the latter. Thus:

1890, Professor James Barr Ames, Disseisin of Chattels:

"Trespass, however, was a purely personal action; it sounded only in damages. The wrongful taking of chat­tels was, therefore, a more effectual disseisin than the ouster from land. The dispossessed owner of land, as we have seen, could always recover possession by an action. Though deprived of the res, he still had a right in rem. The disseisor acquired only a defeasible estate. One whose chattel had been taken from him, on the other hand, having no means of recovering it by action, not only lost the res, but had no right in rem. The disseisor gained by his tort both the possession and the right of possession; in a word, the absolute property in the chattel taken. . . .

"Today, as everyone knows, neither a trespasser, nor one taking or buying from him, nor the vendee of a bailee, either with or without delivery by the latter, acquires the absolute property in the chattel taken or bailed. The disseisee of goods, as well as the disseisee of land, has a right in rem. The process by which the right in personam has been transformed into a real right may be traced in the expansion of the writs of replevin and detinue, and is sufficiently curious t6 warrant a slight digression. . . .

"The disseisee's right in rem, however, was still a qualified right; for replevin was never allowed in England against a vendee or bailee of a trespasser, nor against a second trespasser. It was only by the later extension of the action of detinue that a disseisee finally acquired a perfect right in rem. Detinue, although its object was the recovery of a specific chattel, was originally an action ex contractu. It was allowed only against a bailee or against a vendor, who after the sale and before delivery was in much the same position as a bailee. . . .

"So long as the adverse possession continues, the dispossessed owner of the chattel has, manifestly, no power of present enjoyment. Has he lost also the power of alienation? His right in rem, if analyzed, means a right to recover possession by recaption or action".

As indicated by the passages quoted, Professor Ames seems to have thought that for the owner, after dispossession, to have rights in rem would require the remedy of specific recovery of the tangible object. This, however, seems to involve a blending or confusing of substantive relations and adjective relations. If A, the owner of a tangible movable object, is dispossessed by B, A, under modern authorities, has rights against all persons that the object should not be harmed or "converted"; and these rights could be vindicated by an action on the case or by an action of trover, as the facts might demand. It is clear, moreover, that such rights would exist, as multital rights, or rights in rem, even though no possessory remedy were open to A.

If we may judge by the passages quoted above, it seems not unlikely that Professor Ames, because of assuming that a right in rem concerning physical objects involves necessarily, in case of dispossession, the remedy of recovery of possession, would apparently have asserted that in the early days even a chattel owner in actual possession did not have "a right in rem"; and it is clear, in any event, that the possibility of regaining possession by action or self-help is frequently assumed to be of the essence of "a right in rem".

This, however, seems a very inadequate and inexact view. Even in the days when wrongful dispossession operated virtually to divest the legal interest of the chattel owner, it was still true that prior to any such dispossessing of the physical object and concomitant divesting of the legal interest he had rights in rem against persons in general that they should not harm the object or take the object from the owner; and these respective multital rights, or rights in rem, could, as Professor Ames himself points out, be vindicated by trespass or other action brought to secure damages. In other words, the chattel owner's rights, so long as he had them, were rights in rem, even though in the early period now referred to (middle of the thirteenth century) he was subject to the liabilities of their being virtually divested by a wrongful taking,—there being, correlatively, a power in the wrongdoer thus to divest the interest of the chattel owner.

Fundamentally similar legal powers and correlative liabilities involving the divesting of "legal" and "equitable" rights in rem (and other jural relations belonging to the particular aggregates involved) have existed from the earliest times. Such powers are created by the law on various grounds of policy and convenience,—the teleology underlying each particular instance not being difficult to discover. In this place a bare enumeration of some of such powers must suffice: 1. The power of sale in market overt to a bona fide purchaser; 2. The power of even a thief having possession of money but not, of course, the "ownership" thereof, to create a good title in a bona fide "purchaser"— the whole country being in this case, so to say, "market overt" because of the necessity of free circulation of money, and it being too inconvenient for the transferror to produce or the transferee to examine an "abstract of title"; 3. The power or powers of a grantor and second grantee of realty, under the recording acts, to extinguish the interest of the first grantee by a conveyance to the second grantee as an innocent purchaser and the prior recording of the latter's deed; 4. The statutory power of a factor, in certain cases, to create a good title in an innocent purchaser; 5. The power of a duly appointed agent, in certain cases, to sell chattels to an innocent purchaser, even after his factual authorization to sell has been revoked by the principal; 6. The power of a trustee to convey an unencumbered "legal title" to a bona fide purchaser for value without notice,— the equitable rights, privileges, etc., of the cestui que trust being thereby extinguished.

The foregoing and others that might be mentioned are cases depending on the public policy of securing freedom of alienation and circulation of property in the business world. There may now be mentioned certain other cases dependent on somewhat different teleological considerations: 1. The power of an ordinary agent (while his factual authorization continues) to divest the rights in rem, etc., of his principal and create new and corresponding rights, etc., in the agent's transferee; 2. The power of a donee of a power of appointment to extinguish the rights in rem, etc., of the owner of a vested interest and to create new and corresponding rights, etc., in the transferee; 3. The power of the appropriate officer or officers to alienate property effectually in eminent domain proceedings; 4. The power of a sheriff duly empowered by writ of execution to divest the rights in rem, etc., of the present owner of property and to vest new and corresponding rights, etc., in another; 5. The power of a court, in a statutory proceeding to quiet title, to extinguish the rights in rem, etc., of the present owner and to give new and corresponding rights, etc., to the plaintiff; 6. Various other powers of courts involving the "shifting" of title from one person to another.

In all these cases it is clear that the present owner has rights in rem, etc., in spite of his liabilities that they may be divested through the exercise of the various powers indicated.

Second: We must now consider a second form of the same general tendency to assume some rigid interdependence between the nature of a right in rem as such and the character of the proceeding available for its vindication. This erroneous assumption has most often been made in discussions of the question whether there are any instances of equitable rights in rem (multital rights), or, indeed, whether there could, in the very nature of things, be any instances of equitable rights in rem.

1877, Professor C. C. Langdell, Summary of Equity Pleading:

"The reason why all equitable rights to property are lost the moment the legal ownership is transferred for value to a person who has no notice that it is subject to any equitable rights, will be found in the fundamental nature of equitable jurisdiction, as explained in previous paragraphs. It is only by a figure of speech that a person who has not the legal title to property can be said to be the equitable owner of it. What is called equitable ownership or equitable title or an equitable estate is in truth only a personal claim against the real owner; for equity has no jurisdiction in rem, and cannot, therefore, confer a true ownership, except by its power over the person with whom the ownership resides, i.e., by compelling him to convey."

1900, Professor C. C. Langdell, Classification of Rights and Wrongs:

"Can equity then create such rights as it finds to be necessary for the purposes of justice? As equity wields only physical power, it seems to be impossible that it should actually create anything. It seems, moreover, to be impossible that there should be any other actual rights than such as are created by the State, i.e., legal rights. So, too, if equity could create actual rights, the existence of rights so created would have to be recognized by every court of justice within the State; and yet no other court than a court of equity will admit the existence of any right created by equity. It seems, therefore, that equitable rights exist only in contemplation of equity, i.e., that they are a fiction invented by equity for the promotion of justice. Still, as in contemplation of equity such rights do exist, equity must reason upon them and deal with them as if they had an actual existence."

Circa 1886, Professor James Barr Ames, Lectures on Legal History:

"A trust, as every one knows, has been enforceable for centuries against any holder of the title except a purchaser for value without notice. But this exception shows that the cestui que trust, unlike the bailor, has not acquired a right in rem.9511 This distinction is, of course, due to the fundamental difference between common-law and equity procedure. The common law acts in rem. The judgment in detinue is, accordingly, that the plaintiff recover the chattel, or its value. Conceivably the common-law judges might have refused to allow the bailor to recover in detinue against a bona fide purchaser, as they did refuse it against a purchaser in market overt. But this would have involved a weighing of ethical considerations altogether foreign to the medieval mode of thought. Practically there was no middle ground between restricting the bailor to an action against his bailee, and giving him a right against any possessor. Equity, on the other hand, acts only in personam, never decreeing that a plaintiff recover a res, but that the defendant surrender what in justice he cannot keep."

1904, Professor Frederic William Maitland, Trust and Corporation:

"I think it is better and safer to say with a great American teacher that 'Equity could not create rights in rem if it would, and would not if it could' See Langdell, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 1, p. 60."

It is difficult to find solid foundation for such assumptions as the foregoing, or to understand how the notions connected there­with could have received such a large following. Are we forced to recognize that mere words—especially if they are Latin words—have such a surprisingly potent tendency to control thought?

Suppose, once again, that A is owner of Blackacre, and that B drives his automobile over A's lawn and shrubbery. A's primary right in rem is thereby violated, and a secondary right in personam arises in favor of A and against B,—an "obligatio" to use the term of Mr. Justice Holmes. A may sue B at law for damages and get, as a result of the "primary stage" of the proceeding, an ordinary legal judgment in personam for (say) $500. Such judgment would "merge" or extinguish A's secondary right in personam together with B's secondary duty, and would create a (new) judgment obligation—right in personam and correlative duty—for the payment of $500. Such judgment would be binding even though the judgment debtor, B, had no assets whatever." Thus, if B's judgment duty is not performed or discharged, a new action can, in most jurisdictions, be based thereon; though in some of the latter costs are denied to the plaintiff if the new action be brought without special reasons.

But of course A is not likely to wish merely an indefinite series of judgment obligations. If, therefore, B has property either at the time judgment is rendered or at some later time, a "secondary stage" of the proceedings, beginning with a writ of execution, may be had. That is, the sheriff, under such a writ, has the power and the duty of selling sufficient property of B and applying the proceeds to the satisfaction of the judgment. If the total proceedings culminate in this way, and only if they do so culminate, can we say that there has been a proceeding in rem, or, more specifically, quasi in rem. That is to say, according to the meanings of the phrases in personam and in rem in this particular context, the proceedings from the beginning of the action down to and including the execution sale have a two-fold aspect and effect: (1) the primary stage of the entire proceedings, i.e., down to judgment, is, considered by itself, a proceeding in personam; (2) the primary stage and the secondary stage (from and after judgment) are, considered together, a proceeding quasi in rem with reference to the particular property sold in the execution sale.

Instead of suing B for damages and receiving a judgment in personam, as above described, A might in some jurisdictions, in case B be absent from the jurisdiction, attach a definite piece of B's property; and ultimately this might be sold to satisfy A's claim for damages. In this case the entire proceeding, since its only effect is to extinguish B's ownership of the very property attached (if any he had) and create new and corresponding ownership in the execution purchaser, is a proceeding quasi in rem.

It will thus be seen that, even in the law courts the vindication of primary rights in rem may, according to the circumstances, be by procedings in personam, or by proceedings quasi in rem, or by both forms of proceeding (primary and secondary stages of the ordinary action at law). It is equally obvious that a primary right in personam, e.g., A's right that B pay him $10,000, may frequently be vindicated only by an attachment proceeding,— i.e., one quasi in rem.

The point that the primary rights may be in rem, although the vindication proceedings are in personam in the special sense that such phrase has in the present context, is often brought out in admiralty cases. Thus:

1907, Mr. Justice Holmes, in The Hamilton:

"We pass to the other branch of the first question: whether the state law, being valid, will be applied in the admiralty. Being valid, it created an obligatio, a personal liability of the owner of the Hamilton, to the claimants. Slater v. Mexican National R. R. Co., 194 U. S. 120, 126. This, of course, the admiralty would not disregard, but would respect the right when brought before it in any legitimate way. Ex parte McNeil, 13 Wall. 236, 243. It might not give a proceeding in rem, since the statute does not purport to create a lien. It might give a proceeding in personam".

Let us now suppose, in the Blackacre case, that instead of suing at law (after B has committed a destructive trespass), A secures from an equity court, ab initio, an injunction against B. The decree of the court here (end of "primary stage" of the equitable proceeding) would result in imposing a (new) duty on B not to trespass on Blackacre; and, correlatively, A would have a (new) equitable right. This first stage of the equitable proceeding would be in personam in the same general sense that the primary stage of the law court's is in personam. If B fails to fulfill the negative duty imposed by the injunction, there will ordinarily occur a "secondary stage' resulting in imprisonment for contempt. So far as this is said to be "enforcement" or procedure in personam, it involves a different and more literal use of the phrase in personam than in any of the instances previously considered. But the point for special emphasis here is that A's primary rights in rem are now being vindicated exclusively by equitable proceedings that are in personam in one sense so far as the primary stage is concerned and in personam in a different sense so far as the secondary stage is concerned.

On what possible ground, therefore, even assuming that equity could "act only in personam" could it be said that for that reason there could be no equitable primary rights in rem, i.e., multital rights? If the usual legal proceedings were abolished, and A could vindicate his Blackacre rights in rem only in equity, would they thereby cease to be rights in rem and become only rights in personam?

Suppose, indeed, that we have a devise of Whiteacre to X for life, with remainder in fee to Y if, and only if, Y survives Z. Until Z's death before the death of X, Y has, obviously, only a contingent remainder. Let us assume, further, that T is threatening a destructive trespass to the premises, including the ruining of the mansion house. Y, the contingent remainderman, has no "legal" rights in rem, for he has no vested rights, etc., but only "possibilities"—i.e., potential rights, privileges, etc.

Has he not, however, actual, exclusively equitable rights in rem, that is, respective multital rights against T and other persons indiscriminately that they shall not seriously and permanently harm the estate? There are numerous decisions to the effect that Y has an exclusively equitable right that the life tenant, X, shall not commit "waste." It is clear, also, that the reasons are equally great for recognizing exclusively equitable rights against persons in general that they shall not harm the land and defeat the "legal" (i.e., concurrently legal and equitable) rights, privileges, etc., of the remainderman if his estate should ever vest "in interest" and, ultimately, in "possession and enjoyment,"—that is, exclusively equitable multital rights, or rights in rem; and the dicta in the cases relating to waste afford strong support to this conclusion. Similarly, suppose that J conveys the absolute legal title of Greenacre to K to secure a debt of $10,000, the agreement being that K is to be entitled to possession until the maturity of the debt and that when the debt is paid K is to reconvey the absolute legal title to J. While K is thus in possession, M threatens to cut down the ornamental trees on the place. If the threatened acts were committed, J would of course have no legal remedy, since the "legal" rights in rem, (i.e., rights concurrently legal and equitable) are now vested in K. It would, however, seem clear on principle that J is entitled to an injunction against M, or, in other words, that J has exclusively equitable multital rights, or rights in rem, relating directly to the physical corpus of the property. The nature of the equitable rights, privileges, powers, and immunities of the cestui que trust is too large a subject for adequate treatment in the present place; and so any further consideration of that interesting subject must be reserved for another occasion. It is hoped, however, that the various classes of rights and remedies already discussed are sufficient to show that the intrinsic nature of substantive primary rights— whether they be rights in rem or rights in personam— is not dependent on the character of the proceedings by which they may be vindicated.

Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld
Yale University, School of Law

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