Bankrupt, an appellation given to a person whose bank or : the word is From the French, lanque-route which signifies a breaking or failing in affairs of fortune.— From the description given of a bankrupt in our statute-books, he may be defined, " a trader who cretes himself, or does.certain other tending to defraud his creditors
The present system of bankrupt-laws is calculated for the benefit of commerce, and founded on the principles of humanity and justice. Hence they confer some privileges not only on the creditor-;, but also on the bankrupt or debtor himself* ; for, by taking into consideration the sudden and unavoidable accidents to which a person engag-1 trade is liable, they not only grant personal liberty, but likewise pecuniary assistance, to men in unfortunate situation; on condition that they surrender their whole estate, to be divided among creditors. The benefit of the bankrupt-laws, however, are allowed to none but aciual traders, as these are in general the. only persons subject to accidental losses inability of discharging their debts without any fault of own. But, when other individuals contract debts, the law ren-ders them subject to the conse-qwuences of their own indiscrettion. By the statutes of this country, a man makes himself a bankrupt in consequence of the following
.—I. By departing from the realm, with intent to defraud bis creditors; 2. By leaving his house with intent to secrete himself for the same purpose; 3. Remaining in his house so as not to be accessible to his creditors; 4. Procuring or suffering himself willingly to be. arrjested, outlawed, or im-rpisoned, without a just and lawful reason: 5 causing his money.
or effects to be sequestrated by any legal process ; 6. Making any frandulent conveyance to a friend. which is an act of the same suspicious nature as the last; 7.. Procuring any pretention to screen his person from arrests, though: entitled to that privilege by act act of parliament; 8. Endeavour? ing, by any petition to the King, or by a hill against any creditors, compel them to take less than their just debts, or to procrastinate the time of payment ; 9. Lying in prison for more than two mo upon arrest, or other detention debt, without finding bail ; 10. Escaping from prison after an ar-rest for a just debt of one hundred ' pounds and upwards ; 11. Negl Neglect-ing to make fiction for just debt to the amount of one hundred pounds, within two months after service of legal proces such debt, upon any trader enjoy ing the privilege of parliament.
Sir John Holt maintained, that a man's removing his goods pri-vately, to prevent their being seized in exicution, was no act of bankruptcy; as the statutes men tion only fraudelent gifts to third 1 persons, and causing them to be seized by sham-process, in order been expressly determined, that that a
: men;, is not an act of bankruptey; because there may be good reasons for such conduct, as a suspicion of forgery, . If, in consequence of such refusal, he is arrested, and puts in bail, it is still no aft of bankruptcy; but, if he goes to prison, and remains there two months, then, and not before, he becomes a bankrupt.
The consequences resulting from the unfortunate situation of a bankrupt, will be concisely stated under the article Commission of Bankruptcy.