Arson, * criminal law. At common law an offence of the degree of felony; and is defined by Lord Coke to be the malicious and voluntary burning of the house of another, by night or day. 3 Inst. 66.

2. In order to make this crime complete, there must be, 1st, a burning of the house, or some part of it; it is sufficient if any part be consumed, however small it may be. 9 C. & P. 45; 38 E. C. L. R. 29; 16 Mass. 105. 2d. The house burnt must; belong to another; but if a man set fire to his own house with a view to burn his neighbor's, and does so, it is at least a great misdemeanor, if not a felony. 1 Hale, P. C. 568; 2 East, P. C. 1027; 2 Russ. 487. 3d. The burning must have been both malicious and willful.

3. The offence of arson at common law, does not extend further than the burning of the house of another. By statute this crime is greatly enlarged in some of the states, as in Pennsylvania, where it is extended to the burning of any barn or outhouse having bay or grain therein; any barrack, rick or stack of hay, grain, or bark; any public buildings, church or meeting-house, college, school or library. Act 23d April, 1829; 2 Russell on Crimes, 486; 1 Hawk. P. C. c. 39 4 Bl. Com. 220; 2 East, P. C. c. 21, s. 1, p. 1015; 16 John. R. 203; 16 Mass. 105. As to the extension of the offence by the laws of the United States, see Stat. 1825, c. 276, 3 Story's L. U. S. 1999.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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