Births and Deaths Registration Act 1836 they were superseded by the registrar-general’s returns. It was not till 1728, when the ages of the dead were first introduced, that bills of mortality acquired any considerable statistical value. It was on the data thus furnished that the science of life insurance was founded.
A Bill of Particulars was, in law, a statement in writing, informing each party to a suit the precise nature of the case they had to meet. It contained the plaintiff’s cause of action or the defendant’s set-off. Particulars are now usually indorsed on the pleadings (see Pleading).
A Bill of Peace is, in equity, a suit brought by a person to establish and perpetuate a right which he claims, and which from its nature may be controverted by different persons at different times and by different actions; or where several attempts have already been unsuccessfully made to overthrow the same right, and justice requires that the party should be quieted in the right if it is already sufficiently established. Bills of this nature were usually filed where there was one general right to be established against a great number of persons, or where one person claimed or defended a right against many, or where many claimed or defended a right against one. Thus, a bill might be filed by a parson for tithes against his parishioners; by parishioners against a parson to establish a modus; by a lord against tenants for an encroachment under colour of a common right; or by tenants against a lord for disturbance of a common right. Bills were also filed in cases where the plaintiff had, after repeated and satisfactory trials, established his right at law, and yet was in danger of further litigation and obstruction to his right from new attempts to controvert it. Actions in the nature of bills of peace are still maintainable.
A Bill of Sight is a document furnished to a collector of customs or other proper officer by an importer of goods in England, who, being unable for want of full information to make a perfect entry of goods consigned to him, describes the same to the best of his knowledge and information. The goods may then be provisionally landed, but perfect entry must be made within three days by indorsing on the bill of sight the necessary particulars. In default of perfect entry within three days the goods are taken to the king’s warehouse, and if perfect entry is not made within one month and all duties and charges paid, they are sold for payment thereof. See the Customs Consolidation Act 1876.
A Bill of Store is a license granted by the custom-house to re-import British goods into the United Kingdom. All British goods re-imported into the United Kingdom are entered as foreign, unless re-imported within ten years after their exportation and unless the property in the goods continues and remains in the person by whom they were exported. But in such case they may be entered as British goods, by bill of store, with the exception of corn, grain, meal, flour and hops.
A Bill of Victualling or Victualling Bill, in its original meaning, is a list of all stores for shipment, but now an order from an export officer of the customs for the shipment from a bonded warehouse or for drawback of such stores as may be required and allowed with reference to the number of the crew and passengers on board a ship proceeding on an oversea voyage. It is made out by the master and countersigned by the collector of customs. Its object is to prevent frauds on the revenue. No such stores are supplied for the use of any ship nor any articles taken on board deemed to be stores unless they are borne upon the victualling bill, and any such stores relanded at any place in the United Kingdom without the sanction of the proper officers of the customs will be forfeited and the master and owner will each be liable to a penalty of treble the value of the stores or £100. A victualling bill serves as a certificate of clearance when there is nothing but stores on board the ship.
(T. A. I.)
(2) In the sense of a weapon, the primitive forms of a bill suggest short scythe-blades or hedgers’ bill-hooks mounted on tall staves. In such shape it is found in the hands of the English before the Conquest. English medieval documents make much confusion between the bill and the halbert and other forms of staved weapons with cutting heads. Before the 15th century the bill had been reinforced with a pike head above the curved blade and another jutting at a right angle from the blade’s back. In this form it became a popular English weapon, the “brown bill” of many ballads. Billmen are not found in the king’s host at Crécy and Calais, the bowmen carrying malls or short swords, and Henry VII.’s contracts for troops do not name the bill, which may be regarded rather as the private man’s weapon. But when, in the middle of the 15th century, Walter Strickland, a Westmorland squire, contracts to raise armed men, it is noticeable that more than half his horsemen carry the bill as their chief arm, while seventy-one bowmen are to march on foot with seventy-six billmen. In the 16th century the bill, with the halbert, fell out of use among regular troops, the pike taking their place on account of the longer staff, which made it a better defence against cavalry. It remained during the 17th century as a watchman or constable’s weapon, although rudely-fashioned bills were seen in Sedgemoor fight. (O. Ba.)
BILLAUD-VARENNE, JACQUES NICOLAS (1756-1819), French revolutionist, was the son of an avocat at the parlement of Paris. He was badly brought up by a feeble father, a mother who combined immorality with religion, and a libertine abbé. At nineteen he donned the robe of an Oratorian, but did not take the vows, and busied himself with literature rather than with religion. In 1785 he left the Oratorian college where he was prefect of studies, came to Paris, married and bought a position as avocat in the parlement. Early in 1789 he published at Amsterdam a three-volume work on the Despotisme des ministres de la France, and he adopted with enthusiasm the principles of the Revolution.
At the Jacobin club he became from 1790 one of the most violent of the anti-royalist orators. After the flight of Louis XVI. to Varennes, he published a pamphlet, L’Acéphocratie, in which he demanded the establishment of a federal republic. On the 1st of July, in a speech at the Jacobin club he spoke of a republic, and the reference called out the stormy derision of the partisans of the constitutional monarchy; but repeating his demand for a republic on the 15th of the same month, the speech was ordered to be printed and to be sent to the branch societies throughout France. In the night of the 10th of August 1792 he was elected one of the “deputy-commissioners” of the sections who shortly afterwards became the general council of the commune. He was accused, though proof is lacking, of having been an accomplice in the massacres in the prison of the Abbaye. Elected a deputy of Paris to the National Convention, he at once spoke in favour of the immediate abolition of the monarchy, and the next day demanded that all acts be dated from the year 1 of the republic. At the trial of Louis XVI. he added new charges to the accusation, proposed to refuse counsel to the king, and voted for death “within 24 hours.” On the 2nd of June 1793 he proposed a decree of accusation against the Girondists; on the 9th, at the Jacobin club, he outlined a programme which the Convention was destined gradually to realize: the expulsion of all foreigners not naturalized, the establishment of an impost on the rich, the deprivation of the rights of citizenship of all “anti-social” men, the creation of a revolutionary army, the licensing of all officers ci-devant nobles, the death penalty for unsuccessful generals. On the 15th of July he made a violent speech in the Convention in accusation of the Girondists. Sent in August as “representative on mission” to the departments of the Nord and of Pas-de-Calais, he showed himself inexorable to all suspects. On his return he was added to the Committee of Public Safety, which had decreed the arrest en masse of all suspects and the establishment of a revolutionary army, caused the extraordinary criminal tribunal to be named officially “Revolutionary Tribunal” (on the 29th of October 1793), demanded the execution of Marie Antoinette and then attacked Hébert and Danton. Meanwhile he published a book, Les Éléments du républicanisme, in which he demanded a division of property, if not equally, at least proportionally among the citizens. But he became uneasy for his own safety and turned