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TO DEFEND. To forbid. This word is used in some old English statutes in the
sense it has in French, namely, to forbid. 5 Pic. 2, c. Lord Coke uses the
word in this sense: it is defended by law to distrain on the highway." Co
Litt. 160, b. 161 a. In an old work entitled, Legends, printed by Winkin de
Worde, in 1527, fo. 96, we find examples of the use of the word in this
sense, "He defended," (forbade) "to pay the wage," (tribute,) "for he
said he was a king." "She wrote the obligation when she put her hand to the
tree against the defence." (prohibition of God.)
2. In pleading, to defend is to deny; and the effect of the word "defends" is, that the defendant denies the right of the plaintiff, or the force and wrong charged. Steph. Pl. 432.
3. In contracts, to defend is to guaranty; to agree to indemnify. In most conveyances of land the grantor covenants to warrant and defend. It is his duty, then, to prevent all persons against whom he defends, from doing any act which would evict him; when there is a mortgage upon the land, and the mortgagee demands possession or payment of the covenantee, and threatens suit, this is a breach of the covenant to defend, and for quiet enjoyment. 17 Mass. R. 586.