Defence, * torts. A forcible resistance of an attack by force.

2. A man is justified, in defending his person, that of his wife, children, and servants, and for this purpose he may use as much force as may be necessary, even to killing the assailant, remembering that the means used must always be proportioned to the occasion, and an excess becomes, itself, an injury.

3. A man may also repel force by force in defence of his personal property, and even justify homicide against one Who manifestly intends or endeavors by violence or surprise to commit a known felony, as robbery.

4. With respect to the defence or protection of the possession of real property, although it is justifiable even to kill a person in the act of attempting to commit a forcible felony, as burglary or arson, yet this justification can only take place when the party in possession is wholly without fault. 1 Hale, 440, 444; 1 East, P. C. 259, 277. When a forcible attack is made upon the dwelling-house of another, without any felonious intent, but barely to commit a trespass, it is in general lawful to oppose force by force, when the former was clearly illegal. 7 Bing. 305; S. C. 20 Eng. C. L. Rep. 139. Vide, generally, Ham. N. P. 136, 151 1 Chit. Pr. 589, 616; Grot. lib. 2, c. 1 Rutherf. Inst. B. 1, c. 16.

* 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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