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Johnson to be a fool — a natur- al—a changeling — one without the power of reason. A man not of sound memory is explained by Littleton to be nan compos mentis — omens — demens—furiosus hmaticui fatuus stultus, or the like. Lunatic is one whose imagination is influenced by the moon : a madman.
JWro coto- pos mentis is now indeed the proper technical term, being legitimated by several acts of parliament^) /A.
Blockstont seems to point at a difference :(m) for if a return to an inquisition, state the party to be incapable of managing himself and his affairs, from the weakness of his mind, a commission of lunacy will not issue, the court of chancery having never gone further from the ancient returns, which were lumtic vel n&n, than in allowing returns of turn compos mentis, or insane memo- ries ; or since the proceedings have been in equity, of unt sound mind, which amounts to the same thing.
3 * but that a lunatic is indeed properly one who hath lucid* mtervals, sometimes enjoying his senses, and sometimes not, and that frequently depending upon the change of the moon : but under the general name of non compos mentis, which sir Edward Coke says is the most legal name, are comprised not only lunatics, but persons under frenzies, or who lose their intellects by disease ; those who grow Jeaf, dumb, and blind, not being born so; or such, in short, as are judged by the court of chancery incapable of conduct- ing their own affairs«(t) Fitzherbert(k) defines an ideot to be one who cannot count twenty pence, or tell who his father or mother were, or how old he is — or that hath no understanding or rea- son — what shall be for his profit, or what for his loss : but if he have such understanding that he knows and under- stands his letters, and to read by teaching or information ef another man, then it seems he is not a fool nor a natural ideot, which seems more properly to belong to one who has had no understanding from his birth, and is therefore, by law, presumed never likely to attain any.(/) The same rules of judging of insanity, prevails at law and in equity, though sir W.
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Whether a book is slill in copyright varies from country lo country, and we can'l offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is allowed. It will Appear by this work that the infirm- ities on which it treats arise either from a de- fect at birth, or from constitutional or acci- dental evils, sickness, violent impression, or some passion too highly inflamed.
The doubtful and un- certain point, at which reason disappears, and where inca- pacity becomes evident and manifest, can only be fixed by the particular circumstance of each individual case." [ » ] chap. nearest friends and relatives :(a) and the legislature, to prevent all abuses incident to such pri- vate custody, has thought proper to interpose its authority by stat.
w This would be to prescribe the limits of that which is illimitable, to give rules to folly, to be bewildered with or- der, to be lost with wisdom. Vf N the first attack of lunacy or other occasional insanity, while there may be hope of a speedy restitution of reason, it is usual to confine the unhappy object in private custody, under the direction of the.
It is a self-evident truth that sanity or insan- ity are two qualities of the mind equally invisi- ble with the mind itself; and as we do not know the minds of other men, except by their words, or their exterior actions, neith- er can we discover in any other manner the dispositions of the same mind.
A person born deaf and dumb, is prima facie within the definition of ideot, but daily experience proves him other- wise^*) Lunacy is a partial derangement of the intellectual fac- ulties, the senses returning at uncertain intervals^) Madness is a total alienation of minc L(g) These defects must be unequivocal and plain, not an idle frantic humour, or unrecoverable mode of action, but an absolute disposition of the free and natural agency of the human mind.(r) A memory which the law holds to be sound, is* when a testator has understanding to dispose of, or a mind tp manage his estate with judgment and discretion ; which is to be collected from his words, actions, and behaviour at the time, and not from his giving a plain answer to a common question^*) Thus a will obtained in extremis, or upon any imports nity, or guiding the hand, may be set aside.
Although courts of equity, in judging upon the point of insanity, are governed by the rules of law, yet if a man by age, or disease, is reduced to a state of mental debility which, though short of lunacy, renders him unequal to the management of his affairs, the courts will, in respect of his infirmities, if the demand in question be but small, appoint a guardian to answer for him, or to do such acts as his in- terest, or the rights of others, may require.^) Lord chancellor Thurlvm said, he was not against the practice of finding a man lunatic who was by the infirmi* ties of age, rendered unequal to the management of his af- fairs ;(u) but the more usual course is to appoint him a (o) 1 Hale 34 (») 6 Co.
/deoto, from his birth by a perpetual infirmity .(6) * 2.
Lunaticus, qui gaudetlucidis interoa Uis, in Beverley's case.(a) ♦ Non compos mentis is of four sorts : 1.