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Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/133

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trying questions of possession in a summary way; but equity is not a lawgiver. Moreover, if equity is to interfere in such a case, it must, it seems, either strictly limit its interference to the granting of an injunction during the pendency of an ejectment, or it must take the entire litigation into its own hands, assuming control of the action of ejectment, if one has been already brought, or directing one to be brought and prosecuted under its control; and either of these courses is open to serious objection. In point of authority courts of equity have almost invariably refused to interfere in such cases, though several judges have expressed surprise and regret that the jurisdiction had not been exercised; and intimations have been thrown out that it would be exercised whenever a sufficiently strong case should be presented. In one case, also, a temporary injunction was granted; but the facts sworn to were very strong, and the defendant, though served with notice, did not appear to oppose the motion.[1]

As nuisances consist, for the most part, in so using one’s own land as to injure the land or some incorporeal right of one’s neighbor, it follows that the injuries caused by nuisances are generally more or less permanent; and, hence, they not unfrequently call for the interference of equity to prevent them. Yet such interference has been found to be attended with great difficulties. An act which is wrongful in itself may be adjudged wrongful before it is committed as well as afterwards; nor is there any question as to the extent of the wrongfulness, for the entire act is wrongful. But an act which is in itself rightful, and which is wrongful only because of some effect which it produces, or some consequence which follows from it, can seldom be proved to be wrongful by a priori reasoning, or otherwise than by actual experience; and even when it does sufficiently appear that a given act done in a given way will be wrongful, it does not follow that some part of it may not be rightfully done, or even that the entire act may not be done in such a way as to be rightful. For these and similar reasons a court of equity frequently finds it impossible to interfere in case of a nuisance until the act which constitutes the nuisance is either fully completed, or at least far advanced towards completion; and, in either of the latter events, it will often be found that the damage to the defendant which the interference of the court


  1. Neale v. Cripps, 4 K. & John. 472.