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OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE.
NFANT, in English law, means every male and female under the age of 21. As a
except at his or her option. But a contract for vecessaries is always binding, and au infant may be imprisoned for non-payment of these, like other persons. The father, or, after his death, the mother, of an infant can in general only be bound for an infant's debts where some express or implied contract to pay for these can be made out; and the mere fact of the infant living in the same house is not always sufficient to imply liability, though it is generally an element for the jury. If an infant enter into trade, be is nevertheless only bound by his contracts at his option. But in all cases, if the infant, on coming of age, ratify the contract, then it is binding on him.
An infant in England generally requires the consent of his parent or guardian to marry, though it is more correct to say that if he misrepresent in the preliminary formalities that he is of age, he may be indicted for perjury, but nevertheless the marriage will be good, and cannot be annulled. An infant cannot make a will either of his real or personal estate. He can only sue in a court of law by a near friend or prochein ami, who is his father if alire, or any other friend.
In Scotland the law differs in many respects from the law of England on this subject. The term infant is not used at all in a technical sense. All persons, if male, are in legal strictness called pupils till 14, and if fernale, till 12; and from 14 or 12 to 21, they are technically called minors. In general, the contracts of a pupil are absolutely void, and he is under the care of tutors, who are either his parents, or others appointed by the court. A minor, on the other hand, may enter into contracts, but if they are to his lesion or prejudice, he can reduce or set them aside any time within four years after majority. Moreover, if a minor go into trade his contracts bind him, as they do other persons. Further, a minor can make a will or testament, operating on his 'movable estate, though he cannot alienate his heritable estate in like manner. The four years which are allowed to him after majority to consider whether he will set aside contracts are called quadriennium utile; and if he can prove lesion, he is in that period entitled to restitution. In Scotland, also, a minor may marry as freely as if he were a major, and, indeed, he is in general his own master, or sui juris, at the age of 14 (as a female is at the age of 12); whereas in England he would be liable to have a guardian appointed to control his person till lie attained 21.
INFANT (ante), in law, is a person held to be too young to assume the full responsibilities of a man or a woman. By some systems of law the age of maturity is fixed at 2) years, but by the English common law the limit is 21 years for both sexes. The marriage of a boy of 14 years to a girl of 12 is held to be legal, and wills of personal property may be maile at the same age. A promise to marry is not binding upon the promiser unless he or she is of full age. It has long been a rule of law that a minor becomes of age on the day next preceding the 21st anniversary of his birth. In some American states women reach the period of legal maturity at 18 years of age. An infant's Contract will not be enforced by law; he may fulfill it or not as he plcases; but if it is reviewed after maturity it is binding. The renewal may even be inferred from his acts. There no specific promise is shown. At his majority he may repudiate it at will: but if he be in possession of the property of the other contractor, he will be compelled 11 give it up. He will not be allowed to plead' infancy” as an excuse for retaining property not his own, There is, however, one exception to the voidable nature of au infant's contracts; le may bind himself for “necessaries,” sucli as food, clothing, shel. ier, medical attendance, and the means of education. The limit of his obligation in this respect will be a question for a court and jury to decide in view of his wealth, social position, or other circumstances. If he voluntarily do anything which the law could compel him to do, the act will be valid and sufficient. In some states of the union b. can become an executor at 17 years of age, in others not until 21. He is responsible for wrongs of an actionable nature done to others; but the practical application of this principle involves some very nice discriminations for the court. It has been held, for esainple, in some cases, that an infant who fraudulently represents himself to be of full
age, and thereby obtains property, is estopped from pleading infancy as a bar to an action for its recovery; but the soundness of this position has been questioned. An infant, if sufficiently intelligent, is held responsible for any crime that he may commit. It is a rule of the criminal law that this responsibility can never arise before he is 7 years of age; after that period, until he is 14, the law presumes nothing for or against him; his capacity to understand the nature and consequences of his act is a matier for investigation. After he is 14 he is presumed to be capable, and the burden of proving his incapacity rests upon himself. Courts generally incline to sentence juvenile criniinals to reformatory institutions, with a view to the correction or mitigation of their evil propensities. Courts of equity guard the rights of infants with a jealous care, sometimes, for adequate reasons, taking a child from the custody of the parent and placing it in the care of one better qualified to train and educate it. An infant who is a property-holder is amenable to the law of taxation, and his land is liable to be taken from him under the law of eminent domain as if he were of age.
INFANTÉ (from the Latin infans, an infant), the title given in Spain and Portugal to the princes of the royal family, the corresponding title of Infanta being given to the princesses. Since the 14th c., however, the heir-apparent to the throne in Spain has been styled the prince of Asturias, and the heir-apparent in Portugal, until the separation of Brazil from the mother country, bore the title of prince of Brazil. The personal domain of an infante or infanta is called the infantado, and this has come to be the name of a district which was made a dukedom in 1475.
INFANTE, JOSÉ MIGUEL, 1778–1844; b. in Santiago de Chili; a leader of the revolution of 1810, resulting in the independence of Spanish America; was also a member of the “congress of plenipotentiaries" in 1831, and chief-justice in 1843. He took an active part in the establishment of the common-school system.
INFANTICIDE, the act or practice of murdering infants, which is abhorrent to modern civilization, was common in ancient times, and now prevails among many barbarous nations. It prevailed in Greece and Rome, and (such is the force of custom) found defenders in Plato and Aristotle! The latter, in his Politics, says the law should forbid the nurturing of the maimed, and where a check to population is required, abortion should be produced before the quickening of the infant. In Sparta, we are informed that the law directed, when a child was born, the father was to carry it to an appointed place, to be inspected by the elders of the community. If they perceived that its limbs were straight, and its look was wholesome, tliey returned it to its parents to be educated; otherwise, it was thrown into a deep cavern, at the foot of the mountain Taygetus; and it was said this law had a wholesome effect, for it made women with child very careful as to their eating, drinking, and exercise, and hence they proved excellent nurses. In the other Grecian republics, a similar disregard of the life of sickly infants was shown. With regard to the practice among the Romans, little definite information exists, though learned authors discuss it at great length. It seems certain that it lay with the Roman father to say whether his child should be permitted to live or not. The exposition of infants, indeed, was the rule, rather than the exception, in most countries in old times. Among the Norse, the child's life always hung in the balance till the father handed it to the nurse to be rearcd; if, on account of its being weak, or a daughter, he disapproved of its living, it was exposed to die by wild beasis or the weather. In modern times, the practice is cruelly common among certain peoples. Child-murder prevails to a great extent throughout the whole of the South Sea islands. Among the Fijians, it is or was a system. A recent authority says that in Vanna Levi, in some parts, ** the extent of infanticide reaches nearer two-thirds than a half.” Among the Hindus, the practice of destroying children, especially females, prevailed frightfully till it was checked in the time of the marquis of Wellesley's rule." The Rajputs, it is said, destroy all female children but the first-born-a peculiar custom, due to its being a point of honor with a Rajput to nearly ruin himself in the marriage feast and portion of his daughter, so that he could not afford to have more than one. The Mohammedans were inclined to the same practice, but effected their object chiefly by means of abortion. In New Holland, the native women think nothing of destroying, by compression, the infant in the womb, to avoid the trouble of rearing it alive. "In China, infanticide is supposed to be common, the chief cause being said to be the right of periodically repudiating their wives, which is possessed by Chinamen. Some statistics, published some time ago in a well-known French paper, indicate the fearful extent to which life is lost through this practice prevailing in so vast a population as that of China. In all the cases above cited, it may be assumed there was no feeling of infanticide being wrong or criminal. In some, it was owing to religious feeling of a perverted kind; in some. to the difficulty of living; but in many, as among the Fijians, it would appear that the mother killed her child often from whim, anger, or indolence.
Modern civilization deals very differently with the subject of infanticide, for one of its maxims is that human life, from its first to its last hour, is sacred, and whoever willfully puts an end to it is a murderer, or a criminal of the same category. Instead of encouraging the destruction of life, modern civilization abounds in every kind of machinery for preserving it, however unsuccessful the attempt. The chief cause which now leads to infanticide is that of shame, which, however, operates only in the case
of the child being illegitimate. The parents often incur the risk of committing the crime of murder, to avoid social disgrace. In order, therefore, to appreciate the force of the checks put by the law on the tendency to infanticidle, the law of bastardy (q.v.), the practice of instituting foundling hospitals (4.v.), and the kind and degree of punishments attending any attempt, more or less direci, to destroy the child either before or after birth, require to be taken into account.
The criminal law deals with the cognate offenses which make up infanticide in the following manner, whether the child is legitimate or illegitimate: As regards the procuring of abortion, every woman who takes poison or other noxious thing or uses instruments or other means to procure her miscarriage, is guilty of felony, and liable to pena! servitude for life, or not less than three years; and so is any person who administers poison or uses instruments upon the woman with such intent. Whoever supplies drugs, poison, or instruments for the same purpose is guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to penal servitude for three years. The concealment of birth is also made a criminal offense. Whoever, after a child is born, by any secret disposition of the body, endeavors to conceal its birth, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to imprisonment for two years. This is the offense which, perhaps, is most frequently committed, or at least made the subject of prosecution in such cases, as the attempt to establish the larger crime of murder to the satisfaction of a jury, is frequently foiled by the secret sympathy shown towards the mother, who is presumed to have been the victim of seduction, or otherwise wrongeul. The existence of this offense shows the necessity which every woman likely to become a mother labors under of making public her situation to some extent. As the destruction of children may be effected by the negative fact of not supplying food and clcthing, as well as by the positive act of wounding or ill-treating, the refusal or neglect of a parent or other person who is bound by law to supply food and clothing to the child, and neg. lects to do so, thereby causing its death, amounts either to murder or manslaughter, according to the circumstances. Moreover, the unlawful abandoning or exposure of any child under the age of two years, whereby the life and health of the child are endangered, is a misdemeanor punishable with three years' penal servitude. Where charged with the murder of a very young child, it is essential to prove that the child was in life. The test of this is not that it breathed, or had an independent circulation after it was separated from the mother, but it is enough that the child was fully born; hence, if a man strike a woman with child, so as to cause the death of the child, he is neither guilty of murder nor of manslaughter of the child. The judges of England, in 1848, had to deliberately consider whether though a child was still attached to tlie navel-string, thie killing of it was murder, and they held that it was. In all cases of the murder of infants, the question whether the child was fully born, and so the subject of murder, is generally one of medical jurisprudence, upon which medical skill is needed to throw light, anil medical men have certain well-known tests for ascertaining this important fact. The above offenses in reference to infanticide are punished in a similar manner in Scotland.
It has been stated that an inquest is held daily upon the bodies of children destroyed through the design, the neglect, the ignorance, or the mental infirmity of the mothers. Even when the act may fairly be regarded as a crime, its enormity is generally greatly lessened in the eye of the law by the consideration of the physical condition and moral disturbance of the parent.
A further protection was given to infant life by an act of 1872, which obliges those who undertake for hire to nurse infants under the age of one year, to have their house registered, and to keep records of the children they take charge of. They must also give notice to the coroner or procurator-fiscal of such irfants' deaths.
INFANTRY, the foot-soldiers of an army. Among semi-barbarous nations, fighting on foot has always been considered less advantageous than figliting on horseback or in chariots; but as war has become a science, the principal strength of armies is found to lie in their infantry. See ARMIES, Tactics, WAR, etc.
INFANTRY (ante). The term infantry was originally applied to a body of men collected by the infante of Spain. for the purpose of rescuing his father from the Moors. The attempt being successful, the term was afterwards applied to foot-soldiers in general, as opposed to cavalry. Among the ancient nations of Europe the foot-soldiers constituted the chief strength of the armies. In the best days of the Grecian and Roman states, battles were won mainly by the force and discipline of the phalanges and legions, and the number of the infantry in the field far exceeded that of the cavalry. The cav. alry were then, as at present, employed chiefly in protecting the wings of the army and in completing a victory gained by ihe infantry. "The ancient Franks, when they left the forests of Germany, were accustomed to march and fight on foot; and they persevered in this practice even after they had obtained possession of the country of the Gauls, which abounded with horses. But soon after the time of Charlemagne the insti. tutions of chivalry began to be generally adopted in the kingdoms of Europe. These led to frequent exhibitions of martial exercises or horseback in presence of the sovereigns and assembled nobles; and the interest inspired by the achievements of the knights on those occasions was naturally followed by a high regard for that order of men. By degrees the cavalry, which was composed of persons possessing rank and property, and completely armed, acquire the reputation of being the principal arın in
war; and the foot-soldiers, badly armed and disciplined, were held in comparatively small estimation. This continued 400 years, and although war was the principal occupation of mankind, military science fell into neglect. But rulers were forced by the power of feudalism to make an alliance with the despised class of foot-soldiers, and in 1214 we find that some of the German infantry was recognized to be very good, and trained to tight on the level even against cavalry. The chivalry of France was routed at Courtrai by the infantry during the next century, and the Austrians suffered defeat by the efficient work of the Swiss pike at Morgarten (1315), Sempach (1386), and Nafels (1388). At Cressy and Poictiers (1346–56) the knights of England dismounted to fight beside the successful infantry. The principal weapons of the infantry before the invention of gunpowder were long-bows, halberds, cross-bows, spiked clubs, axes, pikes, straight swords, shields, corselets, mail-jackets, helmets, and partisans. In the 16th C., however, these weapons were replaced by tire-arms, and in the 18th c. the musket was in general use. It became customary during the thirty years' war to form battalions of infantry composed of 500 men, which were massed into dense columns during battle, in spite of the deadly effect of the enemy's artillery and fire-arms. The absurdity of this formation was first exposed by Gustav Adolph, who, recognizing the destructiveness of fire-arms, arranged his battalions with a view to increasing the effectiveness of the fire of his own troops, while avoiding exposure to that from the enemy. His tactics were so successful at Breitenfeld and Lutzen (1631-32) that they were soon afterwards universally adopted. The bayonet came into use in 1670, and the socket-bayonet about 1699. Fred. erick the great made many improvements till then comparatively unknown. The rapidity with which his infantry troops performed their evolutions during battle contributed largely toward his famous victories in the seven years' war. In fact the Prussian ivfantry have ever since his time served as models for other European countries. The superiority of this arm consists in the troops being able to act on ground where cavalry cannot, and it is obvious that the latter must be nearly useless in the attack of fortified towns. During the war of the rebellion in this country skirmishing was in vogue in the northern and southern armies. It had been in use during the revolutionary war, and was well suited to the American character. Skirmishing has since been adopted in Prussia, and the skirmish line is recognized as the proper formation in battle to avoid the destructive effect of breech-loaders. The co-operation, however, of cavalry and infantry troops was neglected by American generals. Artillery fire usually opened the battle, iind was followed by the advance of the whole line on the run in a final charge. The infantry tactics in general use were those of Casey, founded on those of Scott. Casey's tactics, however, were abandoned for those of Hardee, and in 1867 those of Upton were finally adopted.
Pursuant to the act of congress of Aug. 15, 1876, the army of the United States was reduced to a maximum of 25,000 men, and by general orders issued May 19, 1877, the maximum strength of the infantry was fixed at 9,375. This included 37 enlisted men per company for 250 companies of infantry, and 5 for non-commissioned staff at each of 25 regimental head-quarters of infantry.
The arm that has been adopted for the infantry is the Springfield breech-loading rifle, and the uniform for privates is a single-breasted dark blue basque coat, sky-blue trousers, blue cloth cap with a white pompon; for officers, a double-breasted frock-coat of dark blue cloth, and light blue trousers with black stripes. The overcoat is a dark blue double-breasted surtout. The equipments are a knapsack with great-coat straps, & haversack, a canteen, a cartridge box, and a bayonet scabbard. The pay of the United States infantry is as follows: Col., $3,500 per annum; licut.col., $3.000; maj., $2,500; capt., $1,800; adj., $1,800; regimental quartermaster, $1,800; first lieut., $1,500; second lieut., $1,400; chaplain, $1,500; first serg., $22 per month; serg., $17; corp., $15; private, $13. An increase of 10 per cent is allowed for every five years' service, provided the total amount of increase does not exceed 40 per cent of the whole pay.
INFANT SCHOOLS. Oberlin (q.v.), the pastor of Waldbach, in France, may be regarded as the founder of infant schools. He appointed females in his own parish to assemble the little children between the ages of two and six, his object being to interest them by conversation, pictures, and maps, and to teach them to read and to sew. The first infant school attempted in this country was in connection with Robert Owen's socialistic establishment in Scotland; it was taught by James Buchanan. 1819, through the efforts of lord Brougham and lord Lansdowne, an infant school was set on foot in London. One of the first teachers was Wilderspin, whose labors in connection with the extension of infant schools are well known. His methods, based on the Pestalozzian system, were further matured by the home and colonial infant school society, founded in 1836. This society, by training teachers and instituting model infant and juvenile schools, has done more than any other to propagate the infant-school system.
Infant schools are not yet very numerous either n. or s. of the Tweed; bui they have certainly been more extensively encouraged in the southern than in the northern half of the kingdom. Two causes have operated to prevent their more rapid increase—the want of means, it being necessary to devole to juvenile schools the money which can be col, lected for educational objects; and the defects which have bung about the system, and brought it into disreputa. Too much has frequently been attempted in the way of direct