As lawyers we must construe the will like any other document.
And as she lookt about, she did behold,How over that same dore was likewise writ,Be bold, be bold, and every where Be bold,That much she muz'd, yet could not construe itBy any ridling skill, or commune wit.At last she spyde at that same roomes upper end,Another yron dore, on which was writ,Be not too bold.Edmund Spenser
I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations and with no purpose to construe the Constitution by any hypercritical rules.
But surely it is a rule, both in law and equity, so to construe the whole deed or will, as that every clause should have its effect.
How far Judges may be, or ought to be, able to defeat a rule of law of which they disapprove, I cannot say. I think it is the duty of a Judge not to allow himself to be so influenced, but to construe the instrument in a proper way, to arrive at its meaning independently of the results, and then apply the law.
Very unequal would that interpretation be, which would construe the same words for the plaintiff according to the real substantial truth of the thing, in opposition to legal forms; and against the defendant according to legal notions and forms, contrary to real truth, more especially when the law, from the nature of it, ought to be taken liberally in favour of defendants.
The language of statutes is peculiar, and not always that which a rigid grammarian would use; we must do what we can to construe them.
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