THINGS. By this word is understood every object, except man, which may
become an active subject of right. Code du Canton de Berne, art. 332. In
this sense it is opposed, in the language of the law, to the word persons.
2. Things, by the common raw, are divided into, 1. Things real, which
are such as are permanent, fixed and immovable, and which cannot be carried
from place to place; they are are usually said to consist in lands,
tenements and hereditaments. 2 Bl. Com. 16; Co. Litt. 4 a to 6 b. 2. Things
personal, include all sorts of things movable which attend a man's person
wherever he goes. Things personal include not only things movable, but also
something more, the whole of which is generally comprehended under the name
of chattels. Chattels are distinguished into two kinds, namely, chattels
real and chattels personal. See Chattel.
3. It is proper to remark that sometimes it depends upon the
destination of certain objects, whether they are to be considered personal
or real property. See Dalloz, Dict. choses, art 1, Sec. 2. Destination;
4. Formerly, in England, a very low and contemptuous opinion was
entertained of personal property, which was regarded as only a transient
commodity. But of late years different ideas have been entertained of it;
and the courts, both in that country, and in this, now regard a man's
personal property in a light, nearly, if not quite equal to his realty; and
have adopted a more enlarged and still less technical mode of considering
the one than the other, frequently drawn from the rules which they found
already established by the Roman law, wherever those rules appear to be
well-grounded and apposite to the case in question, but principally from
reason and convenience, adapted to the circumstances of the times. 2 Bl.
5. By the Roman or civil law, things are either in patrimonio, capable
of being possessed by single persons exclusive of others; or extra
patrimonium, incapable of being so possessed.
6. Things in patrimonio are divided into corporeal and incorporeal, and
the corporeal again into movable and immovable.
7. Corporeal things are those which are visible and tangible, as lands,
houses, horses, jewels, and the like; incorporeal are not the object of
sensation, but are the creatures of the mind, being rights issuing out of a
thing corporeal, or concerning or exercisable within the same; as, an
obligation, a hypothecation, a servitude, and, in general, that which
consists only in a certain right. Domat, Lois Civ. Liv. Prel. t. 31 s. 2,
Sec. 3; Poth. Traite dos Choses, in princ.
8. Corporeal things are either movable or immovable. The movable are
those which have been separated from the earth, as felled trees, or gathered
fruits, or stones dug out from quarries or those which are naturally
separated, as animals. Immovable things are those parts of the surface of
the earth, in whatever manner they may be distinguished, either as
building;, woods, meadows, fields,or otherwise, and to whomsoever they may
belong. Under the name of immovables is included everything which adheres to
the surface of the earth, either by its nature, as trees; or which has been
erected by the hands of man, as houses and other buildings, although, by
being separated, such things way become movables. Domat, Lois Civ. Liv.
Prel. tit. 3, s. 1, Sec. 5 and 6. See Movables; Immovables.
9. Things extra patrimonium are, 1. Common. 2. Public. 3. Res
universitatis. 4. Res nullius.
10.-1. Things common are, the heavens, light, air, and the sea, which
cannot be appropriated by any man or set of men, so as to deprive others
from the. use of them. Domat, Lois Civ. Liv. Prel. tit. 3, s. 1, Sec. 1;
Sec. 1 Inst. de rer. div.; L. 2, Sec. 1, ff. de rer. div.; Ayliffe, Pand. B.
2, t. 1, in med.
11.-2. Things public, res publicae, the property of which was in the
state, and their use common to all the members of it, as navigable rivers,
ways, bridges, harbors, banks, and the right of fishing.
12.-3. Res universitatis, or things belonging to cities or bodies
politic. Such things belong to the corporation or body politic in respect of
the property of them; but as to their use, they appertain to those persons
that are of the corporation or body politic: such may be theatres, market
houses, and the like. They differ from things public, inasmuch as the latter
belong to a nation. The lands or other revenue belonging to a corporation,
do not fall under this class, but, are juris privati.
13.-4. Res nullius, or things which are not the property of any man or
number of men, are principally those of divine right; they are of three
sorts: things sacred, things religious, and things sanct. Things sacred were
those which were duly and publicly consecrated by the priests, as churches,
their ornaments, &c. Things religious were those places which became so by
burying in them a dead body, even though no consecration of these spots by a
priest had taken place. Things sanct were those which by certain reverential
awe arising from their nature, something augmented by religious ceremonies,
were guarded and defended from the injuries of men; such were the gates and
walls of a city, offences against which were capitally punished. 1 Bro. Civ.
Law, B. 2, c. 1, p. 172.
See, in general, Domat, Lois Civ. Liv. Prel. tit. 3; 1 Bro. Civ. Law,
B. 2, c. 1 Poth. Traite des Choses; Ersk. Pr. Law Scot. B. 2, tit. 1;
Toullier, Droit Francais, Liv. 2, tit. 1 Ayliffe, Pand. B. 3, t. 1; Inst. 2,
1, 2 Dig. 1, 8 Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
, choses in action
, choses in possession
, choses local
, choses transitory
, material things
, personal effects