Silence

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SILENCE. The state of a person who does not speak, or of one who refrains from speaking.
     2. Pure and simple silence cannot be considered as a consent to a contract, except in cases when the silent person is bound in good faith to explain himself, in which case, silence gives consent. 6 Toull. liv. 3, t. 3, n. 32, note; 14 Serg. & Rawle, 393; 2 Supp. to Ves. jr. 442; 1 Dane's Ab. c. 1, art. 4, Sec. 3; 8 T. R. 483; 6 Penn. St. R. 336; 1 Greenl. Ev. 201; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1313. But no assent will be inferred from a man's silence, unless, 1st. He knows his rights and knows what he is doing and, 2d. His silence is voluntary.
     3. When any person is accused of a crime, or charged with any fact, and he does not deny it, in general, the presumption is very strong that the charge is correct. 7 C. & P. 832 5 C. & P. 332; Joy on Conf. s. 10, p. 77.
     4. The rule does not extend to the silence of a prisoner, when on his examination before a magistrate he is charged by another prisoner with having joined him in the commission of an offence: 3 Stark. C. 33.
     5. When an oath is administered to a witness, instead of expressly promising to keep it, he gives his assent by his silence, and kissing the book.
     6. The person to be affected by the silence must be one not disqualified to act as non compos, an infant, or the like, for even the express promise of such a person would not bind him to the performance of any contract.
     7. The rule of the civil law is that silence is not an acknowledgment or denial in every case, qui tacet, non utique fatetur: sed tamen verum est, eum non negaro. Dig. 50, 17, 142.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
Instantly away we wandered In the shadowy twilight tide, She, the silent, scornful maiden, Walking calmly at my side, With a step serene and stately, All in beauty, all in pride.
It had a greenish colour, and caused a silent brightness like summer lightning.
The baffled Magua continued silent several minutes, apparently indifferent, however, to the repulse he had received in this his opening effort to regain possession of Cora.
Totski himself, who had the reputation of being a capital talker, and was usually the life and soul of these entertainments, was as silent as any on this occasion, and sat in a state of, for him, most uncommon perturbation.
That submissive and silent man, whom taunts, nor threats, nor stripes, nor cruelties, could disturb, roused a voice within him, such as of old his Master roused in the demoniac soul, saying, "What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?--art thou come to torment us before the time?"
Most of us hearers were in shadow, for the candles in the smoking-room had not been lighted, and only the face of the Journalist and the legs of the Silent Man from the knees downward were illuminated.
Maggie was silent. If it were not wrong--if she were once convinced of that, and need no longer beat and struggle against this current, soft and yet strong as the summer stream!
Stroeve sighed a little and was silent. His thoughts dwelt among pictures of what might have been, and the safety of the life he had refused filled him with longing.
Pierre became silent. The raft had long since stopped and only the waves of the current beat softly against it below.
Before it was altogether dark the curious crowd had collected in the street, silent, as a rule, and expectant, with here and there a scoffer uttering his incredulity and courage with scornful remarks or ribald cries.
No longer shall her little silken figure flit up and down your quiet staircases, no more deck out your silent rooms with flowers, humming the while some happy little song.
Keep peace with the Lords of the Jungle--the Tiger, the Panther, the Bear; And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair.