Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A gift to a general public use. See 24 How. (U. S.) 465, 16 L. Ed. 701.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    Subjectively, the sentiment or motive of benevolence and philanthropy; the disposition to relieve the distressed. Objectively, alms-giving; acts of bsnevolence; relief, assistance or services accorded to the ncedy without return. Also gifts for the promotion of philanthropic and humanitarian purposes. Jackson v. Phillips, 14 Allen (Mass.) 556; Vidal v. Girard, 2 How. 127, 11 L. Ed. 205; Historical Son. v. Academy of Science, 94 Mo. 459, 8 S. W. 346. The meaning of the word "charity," in its legal sense, is different from the signification which it ordinarily bears. In its legal sense, it includes not only gifts for the benefit of the poor, but endowments for the advancement of learning, or institutions for the encouragement of science and art, and, it is said, for any other useful and public purpose. Gerke v. Purcell, 25 Ohio St. 243. Charity, in its widest sense, denotes all the good affections men ought to bear towards each other; in a restricted and common sense, relief of the poor. Morice v. Bishop of Durham, 9 Ves. 399. Charity, as used in the Massachusetts Sunday law, includes whatever proceeds from a sense of moral duty or a feeling of kindness and humanity, and is intended wholly for the purpose of the relief or comfort of another, and not for one's own benefit or pleasure. Doyle v. Railroad Co.., 118 Mass. 195, 197, 19 Am. Rep. 431.
    —Foreign charity. One created or endowed in a state or country foreign to that of the domicile of the benefactor. Taylor's Ex'rs v. Trustees of Bryn Maur Co.llege, 34 N. J. Eq. 101,
    —Public charity. In this phrase the word "public" is used, not in the sense that it must be executed openly and in public, but in the sense of being so general and indefinite in its objects as to be deemed of common and public benefit. Each individual immediately benefited may be private, and the charity may be distributed in private and by a private band. It is public and general ia its scope and purpose, and becomes definite and private oniv after the individual objects have been selected. Saltonstall v. Sanders, 11 Alien (Mass.) 456.
    —Pnre charity. One which is entirely gratuitous, and which dispenses its benefits without any charge or pecuniary return whatever. See In re Keech's Estate (Sun-.) 7 N. Y. Supp. 33i; In re Lenox's Estate (Sure,) 9 N. Y. Supp. 895; Kentucky Female Orphan School . Louisville, 100 Ky. 470, 36 S. W. 921, 40 L. R. A. 119.