The word nuisance is a word capable of a wide sense; the word means annoyance, or any thing that works hurt, inconvenience, or damage, and many include any infringement upon the enjoyment of territorial or personal rights.  If one digs a trench across a public road it is a public nuisance; and if a person falls into it, and is hurt, he may have an action against the wrongdoer.  So if A builds on his own hand so as to darken the ancient lights in his neighbor B’s house, it is a private nuisance.

Public nuisance

A person is guilty of a public nuisance, who does any act, or is guilty of an illegal omission, which causes any common injury, danger, or annoyance to the public, or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right. A common nuisance is not excused on the ground that it causes some convenience or advantage.

The distinction between a public and private nuisance must be kept in view- the mode of procedure for the abatement of the former being different from that available to an individual in respect to the latter.  To constitute a public nuisance, the thing complained of must be such as in its nature or its consequences is a nuisance an injury or damage to all persons who come within the sphere of its operation, though it may be so in a greater degree to some than it is to other. For example, if during the operation of a manufactory, volumes of noxious smoke or of poisonous effluvia are emitted; to persons who are at all within the reach of these operations, a nuisance, in the popular sense of the term is committed; although to those who are nearer to the manufactory in question the nuisance and inconvenience caused by it may be greater than it is to those who are more remote from it. So, the stopping of the king’s highway is a nuisance to all who may have occasion to travel upon that highway; it may be a much greater nuisance to a person who has to travel along it every day then it is to an individual who has to travel along it only once a year, but it is more or less a nuisance to every one who has occasion to use it is public nuisance.

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