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"the Legal Rights And Liabilities Of The Farmer."

"the Legal Rights And Liabilities Of The Farmer." image
Parent Issue
Day
4
Month
April
Year
1879
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

President and Membeks of the Farmers' Club of Washtenaw County: - In accepting the invitation from your club to prepare a paper on the ".Legal Rights and IAabilities of Farmers," I am aware that I muy bc charged with presumption, and criticised for attempting to state the luw, which has so many subtle and nice distinctions. 1 claim, however,no great amount of originality in what I shall read you, either in f orm or substance ; but have quoted from the laws of this State, froin legal authorities, and from an address delivered by the Ilon. E. H. Bennett, of Massa h use tts. The first question that naturally suggests itself, in the consideration of this subject, is: HOVT TO PUKOIIASE A FARM. A person desiring to purchase a farm - having made an examination of the premises to his satisfaction, and come to a clear understanding and agreement with the seller upon all terial matters, unless payment tor tue farm is to be made down and a deed, delivery and possession of the same is at once made - should draw or have dravvn up a contract of bargain and sale, which should state in detail the terms agreed upon by and between the parties, as to time of payments, wben deed and delivery of possession is to be made, and any other particulars of importance; which contract should be signed in duplícate by the parties, and witnessed, or a single contract or a bond for a deed executed in the same mannet and left wlth a third party for the benefit of both the contracting parties. Xhat a mere verbal or oral contract or igreement for the purchase or sale of real estáte of any kind is not binding (inlaw) upon either party, is quite generally if not universally understood ; but, as is f requently the case, negotiations pieliminary to the purchase of real estáte, are carried on by letter or in some cases by telegraph. It may not be as geneially known or undeistood when written or telegraphed propositions, for the sale and purchase of real estáte by and between two ties, become or are regarded in law as binding as contracta. A proposiUon to sell a farm or real estáte of any kind - made in writing or by telegraph - for a stated price, will not be binding on the party making the proposition until the proposition is actually accepted, and the purchaser agrees in writing to pay the price or sum stated in the proposition. The same is the case if the proposition be accepted conditionally ; although it be in writing, the person making the offer will not be bouud, but may, at any time b( f )ie the offer is unconditionally accepted, change his mind and withdraw his offer, or sell to aiiother party on more advantageous terms. ïhis he may do, even if the party to whom the proposal is made tías in the meantime concluded to accept the offer, and has even gone so far as to purchase stock, tools and farm implements.and with his family moved to the premises, to pay the price and take possession. The owner may even then refnse to sell, and the expectant and much disappointed purchaser will have no legal remedy to compel him to convey the farm or to pay the costs and expense incurred, relying on the seller's keeping his word. The same principies apply to the purchaser or quasi purchaser. The seller may rely upon the word of the purchaser, and the purchaser may even enter upon the land - by permission of the owner - and sow graas or other seed, and afterwards change his mind and reí use to take the farm or pay the price orally agreed upon. He cannot be compelled to fill his agreement or pay damages for the non&ilfillment of it. An ordinary ref usal of a farm for a given time is a very uncertain thing to rely upon, unless you are dealing with a man whose "word is as good as his bond." The business way - and, only safe way- then is, to have a written contract, stating f ully all points of agreement, or a bond for a deed duly executed by both parties in duplícate, or a single one to be left in the hands of a third person for the benefit of both of the contracting parties. If a particular time be stated m an ofíer of sale in which it may be accepted, the acceptance of such offer must be slrictly within the time limited - as well as the condition stated - in the offer, to be legally binding upon the person making the offer. Contraéis as well as sales of all kinds, made on Sunday, are void (compiled laws, sec. 1, cliap. 44, 12th Mich., 3781.) "WHA.T AKE THE LEGAL BOUNDAKIES OF A FABM?" The boundaries of a farm are determined by flxed, visible and permanent monuments, such as rocks, trees, or stones, and stakes, at the corners ; these with the measurements are usnally fully, and deflnitely described and set forth in the deed, and it is f rom them we are to determine, how far the farm extends. Hut most of the lands in this State a-e described in title deeds according to the government survey, either in part or whole. Should there be a difference in the number of acres, stated In the deed ; and the number of acres, found by the measurement, courses and distances, within the bounds, (monuments) the monuments will control the rest, and determine the boundaries as well as number of acres in the farm. The rule then is where the monuments are permanent, and visible and certain, they control; and when the courses and distances are found to differ from them, the courses must be varled, and distances lengthened or shortened to eomply with the ascertained obiects or bounds (1 Doug 19, (14üi Mich. Of so much more importance are the known boundaries, than the number of acres stated, that if tlie seller falsely stated the number of acres in order to deceive ttie pnrchaser, the purchaser will have no redress, if the seller honestly and truly pointed out the boundaries in making the sale (102, Mass. 217) while a fraudulent statement of the boundaries would elïectually annul the sale, though the farm actually contained more land than was stated, or supposed by either party (19th N. Y. 183). If the corner or boundaries be inarked, and known by monuments such as a rock, tree or stump, or other similar object, and the line runs to the object, it extends to the center of it ; if the line is to a valí or fence, its true line passes through the center of it, not by the side of it. If the farm be bounded on the one side by a stream or ri ver.the grant carries with it the bed of the stream to its centre, unless a conlrary intention clearly appears f rom the conveyance itself, (1 Mich. 202) and if there be any islands between the centre of the stream and the bank.they belong to the owner of the main bank. But if the farm be bounded on one part by a certain lake or pond, the line stops at low water mark, and does not extendinto the lake; if it be described to be, by the shore, (under the laws in somt States), the line will stop at high water mark and will give no special rights or priviledges beyond that line. Lak es and rivera that are navigable, althüugh they inay not be used continually the public have a right to their use, f or such purpose ; but they acquire and have 110 right to the banks. ïho law makes it a criminal offence for any person to wilfully and maliciouly deface, destroy or remove, estiblished landmarks or monumení s that denote the boundaries of farms, highway, setc. It will be perceiyed, therefore, the necessity of care benig taken to preserve the established landmarks. The Mosaie law reads, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbors landmarks, and all the people shall say amen." Also in Proverbs. "Remove not the old land marks, and enter not iuto the fields of the fatherless." Ilaving considered what are the legal boundaries of a farm, I proceed to examine the question of WHAT A DEED OF A FAEM INCLUDES. The deed of conveyance not only transfers the land, but all the buildings belonging to the vendor situated on it ; the timber standing and fallen in the woodsand fences; but also the fencing posts, raile), etc. which have been once used in fences, but taken down and piled up for future use in the same place Í2C Hill N. Y. 142). Any new material for fence, but never used, will not pass by the deed, unless the same be distributed along the line, in readiness to be put into fence. Wood cut and corded up for sale will not pass. Growing crops and fruit on the trees, and manure, also pass by the deed unless they are expressly reserved; a mere oral agreement howeyer, reserving them will not be valid in law, (19 Tickering 315). If the intention is that they be raseryed, the reservation should be stated in the deed, unless delivery of the deed and possession of the land be withheld, until they can be removed by the vendor. If there be any buildings on the farm, built by and for the use, and in the possession of a third party with the consent, and permission of the owner of the farm, the deed will not convey sueh buildings, because such buildings are the personal property of the builder and are not appurtenances, or part of the reality in such case ; they do not belong to the owner of the land to convey. With the buildings, the window blinds if once attached, although at the time away from the buildings for repairs or painting, are included ; not so if the blinds are new, and hare never been fltted to the house. The lightning rods on the house and other buildings will go with the farm. Pumps fastened to the house are a part of it in law, (99 Maas 459). kettles one or more set in brick work, for cooking food for eattle, and other farm purposes, are convey ed by the deed as is the farm bell, if there be one on the house or other buildings (102 Mass.54). The deed should be signed and a.cknowledged bythe sellerandhis wife,if he have one, in the presence of at least two witnesses, and recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds for the county in which the land is located. A deed takes effect imutediately on delivery, and one without witnesses is good in equity as a contract for the sale of the land, and may be enforced. (Walworth 200, K Y.) I shall notice briefly in connection with the forgoing topic HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS. By the constitution of this, State a homestead to the value of flfteen hundred dollars is exempted from execution, and cunnot be taken for payment of debts of either the husband or wife ; or both ; except by their joint consent. It may be mortgaged or sold by husband and wife ; if he have one ; but the husband cannot waive the right without the written consent of his wife, and a deed executed by the husband and without the wife's signatura would be void. The object of the exemption being as much tor the protection ot the wife and family as for the husband. (7th Mich. 488) A married woman lias the same right in, and power over, in all respects, her real and personal estáte she would have if unmarried, and can deed sell and deliver the same, and it is not essential (althoughbestheshould) that her husband join her in, or assent to the deed, sale and delivery of the property- (6 Mich. 3771, llth Mich. 4571, 4 Mich., 6. INSURANCE OF BUILDINGS ON THE FARM. 'Insurance is a personal contract, and does not pass with the title of the property insured, a change in title to the property ; the whole or part only avoids the contract or policy ; theref ore whenever changes occur in the title it is important to the purchaser, that the policy of insurance be assigned to him, immediately, and the consent thereto be obtained from the company or its authorized agent in writing. Since steam is being applied so largely and successfully as a motive power in the operations of the farm, especially in threshing grain and sawing wood, the question of insurance of farm buildings assumes an importance, and receives more careful consideration than heretofore, by both the assured and insurer, the comparatively new situation or condition seems to require new provisions in the policy or tract between the parties ; and whatever the new prorisions may be, it will be well if the farmer be careful he does not on his part viólate thein, or any of theni. In making any material and permanent repairs, in any change of occupancy ; or in any change of consequence in the heating or cooking aparatus ; the company or its agent Tlhould be notifled and consent obtained in writing, f or if the alteration or permanent repairs be of such a character as to cause a material increase of danger from iire the poliey of insurance will be avuided. Further tho farmer niiiy be chargable with gross negligence, and carelessness, if he do not avoid his poliey, if he allow ashes to be stored in bores, and barrels in or outside his dweiling, or sheds, and if he have a kettle set in brick or otherwise, for the purpose of cooking food for his cattle or swine, he should see that it be so placed as not to endanger the burning of his buildings, and the same care should be observed in using steam power and other occasions where necessary to have fires outside of the dweiling. It is held by the courts that a poliey of Insurance covers all loss which necessarily follow from the occurring of a tire, whether the in jury arises directly, or indirectly from the peril, or necessarily from incidental, and surrounding circumstances, the operation and intluence of which could not be avoided (11, Mich., 425.) RIGHTS IN THE HIGIIWAY. If in the deed the farm be described as bounded on one part by or upon the road or highway, the farmer owns, and his liue extends to the center of the road way, and he may take and appropriate to his own use all the grass, trees, stones gravel or sand or anything of value to him either on the land or beneath the surface subject only, to the superior right of the public to an unobstructed right of way, or right to travel over the road and the right of the proper public offlcer to the use of such of the material as may be necessary to make and keep the road in repair, and he may remove of the material elsewhere tor the repair of the road, but for no other purpose. No other person has a right to f eed and pasture his cattle.cut the grass or trees, or deposit his wood, old wagons, sawlogs, or rubbish of any kind thereon- (8, Mass., 57618, Allen 47;J) The owner of a drove of cattle which stops on the e road.to feed, or a drove of hogs wlüch s root up the soil, is as much liable at ( law to the farmer as if tliey did the i same thing inside his fence. i Apples or other fruit on the trees or fallen to the ground, nobody, and 1 body's children have the right to j er and carry away, although the tree ■ may stand wholly outside of the road fence. No person has the right to cut off ; the limbs of your shade or fruit trees i in order to move any of his buildings along the highway, (4th Cuflhing 371) If a person in the road in front of your land. uses insulting or abusive language, he is liable to you as a trespasser on your land, (llth Barbour 390.) Ilis rights to the highway are to pass along it, in an orderly and becoming marnier. "The right to use the road, not to abuse it." Notwithstanding the farmer own, the soil of the road, he cannot use it in such a marnier as to in any way obstruct, or interfere with its use by the public f or travel ; it has been dedicated to the public for that purpose ; but f or no other. He shall not obstruct it by leaving his -wagons, logs, wood, farm implements, pig-pens or any other obstruction outside his fence within the limits of the road, without being liable for any damage that a traveler may suffer by coming in collision with any such obstructions in the night time, but may be flned for obstructing the highway. His fence must be put entirely on his own land, and not half on the road, as is the case with line fences between adjoining farmers; and the proper officer will have authority to compel him to remove it, if he do place it over the surveyed line of the highway. Should the road be discontinued, the farmer may close it up, and use the land as part of his farm. TENCES. The doctrine is verv eenerally held, I believe, notwithstanding the statute . law of this btate to a certain extent indicates a different theory : That the primary object of a farmer in fencing ' his farm, was to keep his own cattle ' and other animáis within the limits of his own domain, not so mnch to keep : other people's cattle out. On this theory the farmer, if he kept cattle of any ' kind, recognized the necessity of a ' ble fence around his close, knowing - f uil well that if they strayed into other people's grounds, and did any damage he would be liable therefor. The statute law of this State makes j it obligatory upon every farmer to keep up and maintain a lawf ul división J or partition fence, between his own and his next adjoining enclosure in equal shares, so long as they shall each continue to improve them. (Compiled Laws, sec. 2., chap. 14.) AU fences, four and one-half feet high, and ir good repair, consisting of rails, timber, boards, or stone walls, or any combination thereof, and all brooks, rivers, ponds, creeks, ditches and hedges, or other things which shall be considered equivalent thereto, are legal fences within the statute (C. L., sec. 1., chap. 14.) If any party shall refuse or neglect to rebuild or repair his share of any partition fence, which of right he should maintain, he may be compelled by law to do so, or compelled to pay doublé the expense of repairing or rebuilding such partition fence, upon the certifícate of two or more fence viewers ; in an action f or money paid out and expended. (C. L. 3 and 4, chap. 14) Since it is fixed by law what shall be deemed a legal and sufficient fence, and also that adjoining owners of improved lands shall keep up and maintain partition fences in equal shares ; we naturally conclude, and such I believe to bc the law, if your adjoining neighbor fail to keep his share of the división fence between your and his lands in repair, and your cattle pass over it, and into his fields, ana do damage to his crops, he can have no redress against you; since the damage arises mainly through his neglect. But if your cattle shall stray beyond the enclosure of your next adjoining neighbor, and into the fields of a third party, whether the third party's fence be defective or not ; and they do him damage you will be liable therefor; although your cattle escaped first from your lands through the neglect of your adjoining neighbor, and not by any fault of yours. Because you are böund to all persons, except your next adjoining neighbor, to keep your cattle within your own enclosure. There are two principies here in volved : First - Bv the common and general law, every man is bound to keep his own animáis on his own land, at his peril. Second- The statu te varies this theory, in making it the duty of every farmer to build, and keep in repair the half of a lawful partition fence between his and his neighbor's cultivated or improved flelds ; in so f ar, it compels him to fence, not only to keep his own cattle in, but also to keep his neighbors' cattle out. TRESPASSES AND DAMAGES BY ANIMALS. If a farmer turn his animáis loóse into the highway, and they there injure the person or property ef another lawfully using the highway, he is liable for all damage they may do, whether he know they have vicious traits or not (4th Allen 444) for he had no right to let his animáis loóse in the highway. Jn the Mosaic law it is declared: "That if the ox were wont to push with his hom in time past, and it hath been certiñed to his owner ; and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or woman, the ox shall be stoned, and his owner shall also be put to deatb" If a farmer keep on his own preñases and unconflned, an animal, known to have vicious traits; one that is dangerous, and liable to do injury to person, or property, upon opportunity ; the law deerns him guilty of culpable neglect, and he will be liable for any damage such animal may commit, upon the person, or property of another, even within his own enclosure. On the other hand if a man's horse runs away in the road, and comes in collision with. and injures, and breaks another's vehicle, besides his owners, the owner is not liable, as some suppose ; unless he is guilty of some culpable negligence in the matter, such as leaving his horse unhitched or some other act of gross, and inexcusable carelessness on his part. In touching upon the liabilities of the farmer for damages committed by his animáis, I cannot overlook those of a character more annoying if not more serious; and of quite as frequent occurrence which the farmer sustains, who keeps sheep, and all good farmers do. Damagea for which no law now on the statute book makes adequate proyision or sufflcient protection. I refer to damages done by DOGS. I believe that most of you will agree with me when I say that more hard feelings are caused among neis?hbors and more lasting troubles arise f rom the trespasses and sins of our neighbors' "worthless cur,"j than from the trespasses of all his other domestie animáis, swine not exeepted. So general is this nuisanee that in some States it is impracticable and almost impossible to carry on sheep husbandry with any degree of success, owing to the destruction of sheep and jambs by dogs. I do not, by any means, utier anathenuis against all dogs; there are Borne which are an honor to the wholé caniiie race, gifted as they are with remarkable sagacity, rendering tliem useful, and valuable to man for various purposes. But it is against the thieves of the race that I invoke the protection of the law for the farmer, whose flocks are so frequently decimated by them. It ever has been, and still is, a perplexing question, how to secure adequate compensation for the damages committed by these animáis. Tax the owner of a dog, and he "says" bis dog is not property, and is worthless. But kill him, and his price is above ruines. By the law oí' this State the owner or keeper of a dog is Hable for all damages to persons or property he may commit outside his owners inclosure. You may take the law into your own hands, and kill the dog that suddenly attacks you while peaceably passing along the public streets, and you may kill him if you see him outside his owner's enclosure and off his premises, worrying, wounding or killing any cattle, sheep, lanibs or domestic animáis, (C. L. sec. 1, chap 50). You must not beliere, however that you have the right to pursue the dog into the premises of the owner, oí keeper, and into his house, and there kill him, contrary to his owner'a wishes, for in that case you might flnd you had gone too far, and might be compelled not only to pay for the dog, but for unlawfully entering upon another's premises, (llth Alien 151) (109 Mass, 216). But you must notify the owner or keeper of the dog of the facts in writing, and the pwner or keeper must then, within f orty-eight hours thereafter, cause the dog to be killed, or pay the penalty fixed by law for such neglect, (CL. sec. 3, chap. 50, laws 1860.) which penalty shall be collected by the supervisor of the township in a suit at law, and the money recovered pay into the Township treasury, (Laws of 1850, page 155,) (C. L. 1857, sec. 4, chap. 50). The liability of the owner or keeper of a dog or dogs for damages committed by them upon the person or pioperty of another is fixed by law, at doublé the amount proven, (C. L. sec. 2 chap. 50, Laws of 1850 page 155), and the damages will not be limited to the mere bite of the dog, but extend to any direct injury however caused, (4th Allen 481). While you may shoot a dog that habitually roams over your fields, disturbing your animáis, stealing eggs and otherwise annoying your family, you may not poison him or exposé poisonous substances with the intent that it shall be eaten by him, for that would prove an expensive proceeding, whether the dog touch the poison or not. The questionable practice of some persons in leaving poisons or puisonod subatunees exposed as bait, i with the intent that they shall be en by foxes or other wild animáis. In view of the law, and the fact that such ] poisons are not always placed securely bevond the reach of domestic animáis, and sometimes easüy accessible by J them, the practice is reprehensible, if ( not actionable, and should be 1 tinued. ! There are trespasses against whicli ! neither statute law. fences or walls will prevail to prevent. They are trespasses committed by fowls, sometimes very annoying, and at times aggravating, and yet you have no right to kill your neighbors hens while scratching up your corn, meions or i cumbers ;to do so might aff ord some satisfaction, but would subject you to pay their full value, (107 Mass. 406). i The law governing such cases is the same as appïies to trespasses by other domestic animáis ; but the rule practiced is, by the courtesy so happily existing among farmers, forgiveness; so that serious trouble very seldom arises from them. Let each farmer be considérate of his neighbors' rights, and govern himself, his household, his horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, swine and fowls accordingly, and there will be but little need of lawyers, courts and constables to settle their differences. I am led from this topic to one of a more individual and personal character. TRESPASS BY INDIVIDUALS ON THE FARMER. Every person who shall willfully commit any trespass, by entering upon the garden, orchard, or other improved land of another without his permission, with the intent to carry away any vegetables, fruit, grass, hay or grain, or do injury or destroy any fruit or shade trees, he is liable to an action of wilf uil trespass, and may be flned and imprisonedinthe county jail; and for the wilful and malicious injury to or destruction of any fruit tree or trees, or any shade or ornamental tree, the damages for which destruction or injury to the owner thereof shaïl amount to the sum of twenty-five dollars, he may be imprisoned in the State Prison not exceeding five years. (C. L. 1857, sec. 51, sec. 52, chap. 181, Laws of 1853, page 75.) If a man come into your premises with the intent and object of taking and earrying away any of your fruit, vegetables, berries, nuts, grapes, or other crops ; although he may not accomplish his purpose he commits a crime, and you may put him off by force, after giving him notice to leave ; being caref ui not to use unnecessary violence. The general rule with regard to the trespassing upon the lands for another by frequent and in some cases quite constant passing and repassing over the flelds or across the farm, of convenience or shortening the distance to town, cliurch or school house or for any purpose is quite well understood ; but there is a mistaken impression in me iuindo of some. with regard to rights acquired by such crossing, if extended to the period of twenty or more years, without objection fromthe ownêr, and with his implied permission. By some it is claimed, that after such period of timie has elapsed the right to continue such crossing cannot be questioned or stopped by the owner. This idea cannot be correct, since the very foundation upon which sucli right must be acquired lies in the fact, that such crossing must have been adversely to the land owner, and contrary to his permission, expressed or implied, and under claim of legal right to do so, by the person crossing. The owner of the land if he desires to stop the further crossing of his flelds by all partios, he has but to post a notice to that effect forbidding any further passing, and all wbo pass thereafter will be trespassers. Perhaps the trespasses committed by hunters and fishermen are the most annoying and damaging to some farmers, of any trespasses tliey sustain. There are some who seem to act as if they believed i gun and dog, or rod, hook and were passports by which without further leaye or license from any one, they might pass through fields of grain or grass, into orchards and gardens, open gates and bars, throw off rails, and break down fences, split and use rails for torch wood and bon-lires, "ad libitum." All these things they do, and more, under the guise of "Sportsmen of the Field and Stream," and by virture of customs and privileges assumed and freely appropriated by themselves. These practiees, unlawful, as they are, are largely engaged in, and by some on the Sabbath. Trespass, so flagrant and outrageous upon the rights, and property, as well as upon the good nature, and patience of the farmer, I am warranted in sayng can never be charged to tlie trae sportsman, thoss who commit theni ave amenable to the law, and the law is: 'It shall be unlawf ui f or any person or persons to hunt for game with gun and :logs orLherwise upon any inclosed lands or premises of another in any county of this state without the consent of the owner or lessee of said land," any person violating the provissions of this law, shall be deemed guilty of misdemeanor, and may be flned not less than flve nor more than twenty dollars, or may be imprisoned if the iine is not paid in the county jail, not less than iive nor more than thirty days. (Session Laws 1877, page 241.) I have previously stated who legally owns the fruit upon trees standing in the highway; the question often arises as to who owns the fruit of trees stand ing on or near the boundary line of, or between two proprietors. If the tree be a line tree, there can be no doubt that both parties own the tree and fruit in common, and neither can cutdown the tree or injure it without being responsible to the other. (M N. Y., 12:! But where the tree stands wholly on the land of one, anL the limbs overhang the land of the other, the entire fruit belongs to the owner of the tree, (25 N. Y., 126) and he has a legal right to gather it, and should he be forcibly prevented from gathering it, the person so doing would be guilty of an assault and battery, (48, N. Y., 201, 40 Barbour 337). Some unprincipled persons have been tempted, under the plea that tries standing near the line, and upon their neighbors' land gare them a damaging shade, and have destroyed the trees, by secretly poisoning or girdling them; but they found it a business dangerous to their liberty, while it furnished them time and opportunity for personal examination, reflection, and repentance inside the county jail. Il the limbs of your neighbor's trees overhang yourland, you can require him to cut such limbs off ; if he ref use, you can do it yourself ; being caref ui not to use the limbs, for they are his property. BSTRAYS. The law of this state provides that any resident freeholder of the township may take up any stray horses, mules, or asses, by him found going at large in such township, also, may take up bet ween the months of November and March, any stray neat eattle,sheep or swine by him found going at large. C. L., Sec. 3, chap. 47. It will be noticed that no on e but a resident freeholder has tke right to take up pny stray animal under this law and the act by any one not a freeholder, except the overseer of the highway, is a trespass which eannot afterward be assumed and made lawfulby a freeholder (Newsome U. S. Hart I4th Mich ) By law, it is now made the duty of the overseer of highways to seize, take into custody and possession any animal forbidden to run at large which may be found running at large in any highway of which he is overseer; and it is also lawful for any person to take into custody and possession any animal in the highway in front of his land, or take into custody and possession any animal which may be trespassing upon his or upon premises occupied by him. (Session Laws, 1877, page 199.) It will be the duty of any one taking up a stray animal, to notify immediately the owner of such animal, if he be known ; if not known, to canse notice to be entered in a book in the townahipclerk'8 office, which notieeshall contain a description of the animal, and name of the finder, and also cause notice to be posted in two of the most public places in such township. t the owner does not appear, and make claim to the animal within one month, and it or they be appraised at more than Ten Dollars, the finder must cause notice to be published in some newspaper in the county six successive weeks, and if the owner does not appear in six months, such animal or animáis may be sold by any constable in the township by auction giving ten days previous notice. The finder may bid at such auction sale, the Jexcess of money if any after paying all costs and expenses will be deposited in the township treasury. WATER AND DBAINAGE. Water is truly an essential, and cannot be dispensed with on the farm. It is required for so many, and desired for so many more purposes, that a prudent and careful purchaser will fully consider the advantages the farm has for water, constant and unfailing; he will with like care examine the practical facilities there may be for drainage, if such shall be required upon any part of the land. If through the farm there flows a stream, the farmer has the right to convert to his use any reasonable amount of the water for farm purposes, such as watering his stock, irrigating his land, and for all domestic purposes about his dweiling; but he cannot use it all (8 Mass., 186). Nor can helegally change the course of the stream from his neighbor's land below him without his consent, for his neighbor's cattle must have water also. But while his neighbor next below can claim the right to a share in the water that naturally would pass to his farm, he has no right to dam up the stream on his land so that the water flow back on to the land of another above him. In such case the farmer whose land is t luis flowed wil] haye the right to take down so much of the obstruction as will relieve his own land from the overllow, and commit no trespass by so doing. The farmer has no right to flow bis neighbor's land without his consent. The mill-owner, by statute, acquires, upon payment of a fair compensation, the right to iiow lands above his mili; l)Ut Llie law only applies toinill-owmi and mill-dams, not to lish or duok ponds, or the like. You can drain your land and conduct the water into u brook or living stream, if one p;tss through your farm. You have a right to this natural chaimel for drainage, and if bevond the limits of your land it shall bécome obstructed by timber, rails, sticks or leaves or other deposits, so as to prevent drainage, and the water flows your land, you can go and remove the placing the deposits causing the obstruction on the banks of the stream, but in no case take any away without the consent of the land-owner, unless there be some timber, rails, or . the like, which you can clearly identify as your property.which has been tloated there by the current of the stream. You may drain your land to the bounds of your farm, and discharge the water so that it flows on to your neighbor's land, providing it is the natural place for the surface water to flow over in passing f rom your land on to his, even if it do htm lnjury. The surface water he must take trom you if you have more of it than you want; you have, however, the right to use it all if you ehoose. Not so in the case of a living stream or brook. Your neighbor, it is true, may dam the water from your drain at his line, and may d- n you for delivering it to him so freely, but he can do no more. The water he must take, whether he "don the red ribbon" or no. 1 am aware that 1 have already taxed your time and patience in listening to the dry and cursory manner in which I have discussed this important andotherwise mteresting subject, lam also aware that but a small part of the substance of the main subject has passed in review in this paper. I purposely selected, or endeavored to, the inoro prominent points or leadíiií-C topics embraeed in the question of "Legal Rights and Liabilities of Farmers," relattng to the tasan and farmer! affairs. For the time and labor I have devoted to its preparation, I sliall feel amply compensated and satisfied if I shall have collected and read to you any information of valué, have written any word or expressed any sentiment that shall confirm and strengthen yon inthe'knowledge and in the maintenance of your own rights as farmers and citizens oí the Commonwealth, or stated any principie or doctrine of law or equity that shall lead you to consider more carefully and regard more jnstly the rights of your fellow-citi.ens and neighbors.

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Old News
Michigan Argus