The granting or refusal of the application for the jury to view the premises is a matter which rested in the discretion of the trial Judge. On some occasions it may be very useful and, indeed, almost necessary. It was permitted on the trial of the Cluverius case, 81 Va., 787, and there are many precedents elsewhere for such practice. It was allowed in this State, without objection, on the trial (for murder) of Gooch, 94 N. C., 987, and it has been done in many other cases. On the other hand, it is most usually *442unnecessary for any. good purpose, and would be productive of delay and expense, and, on occasions, possibly, of irregularities. The matter is .one which must be left to the sound discretion of the trial Judge, by whom such motion should only be granted when it shall seem clear to him that it is required in the interest of justice. It is a practice not to be encouraged. In the present case, it would seem that a map of the locality and the evidence of witnesses should have been amply sufficient to convey to the jury an intelligent comprehension of the entire contention of the parties.
The objections to the jurors were properly overruled. It was not a disqualification that a juror was a surety on the prosecution bond of another plaintiff, or related to such plaintiff, in .another action against this defendant for a similar cause of action.
The Court below committed error in failing to put its charge, as to the law, in writing when requested, as here, in apt time. The Code, § 414. The reason given by the Court that, while it reduced nearly its entire charge to writing, it did not fully comply with the statute, “ because it was impracticable to put the whole charge in writing in the time within which it was necessary to conclude the trial,” does not cure its failure to observe the requirement of the statute. If there was not time to do so, the Court could, in its discretion, have made a mistrial. The defendant had a right to insist on the entire charge as to the law being put in writing, either to the end that it should be handed to the jury on their retirement (Acts 1885, ch. 137), or to avoid differences between counsel as to its purport, in making up a case on appeal, though this does not require that the recapitulation of the evidence should be put in writing. Dupree v. Insurance Co., 92 N. C., 417; Drake v. Connelly, 107 N. C., 463; Lowe v. Elliott, 107 N. C., 718.
As the case goes back for a new trial, it is but proper that we should notice some of the general principles which are *443applicable to this and similar causes. In doing this, we deem it unnecessary to refer to the' multitude of conflicting decisions in other States upon this much debated subject. We are content to accept, in a great measure, the conclusion of such discriminating authors as Mr. Angelí (on Watercourses) and others. First, we are of the opinion that, in respect to the drainage or diversion of surface water, a railroad company enjoys the same privileges as any other landowner, but no greater, to be exercised under the same restrictions, and qualifications. Secondly, a railroad company or other landowner has a right to cut ditches and conduct .the surface water into a natural watercourse passing through its land, and if this right is exercised in good faith, and in a-reasonable manner, for the bétter adaptation of the land to lawful and proper uses, no damage can be recovered if the lands of a lower owner are injured. Mr. Angelí (p. 134) says: “ No doubt the owner of land through which a stream flows may increase the volume of water by draining into it, without any liability to damages by a lower owner. He must abide the contingency of increase or diminution of the flow of water in the channel of the stream, because the upper owner has the right to all the advantages of drainage or irrigation reasonably used which the stream may give him.”
The foregoing passage is quoted with approval by the Court of Appeals of New York in Waffle v. Railroad Co., 53 N. Y., 11. The Court says: “The authorities in this country and England upon this subject are collected and revised by the author, and clearly establish, the right claimed by the defendant. Goodale v. Tuttle, 29 N. Y., 459; Rawsbron v. Taylor, 11 Exch., 369; Gannon v. Hargadin, 10 Allen, 106; Miller v. Lanbach, 47 Penn., 154. A proprietor having the right to reclaim his land by draining the surface water therefrom by ditches discharging into a stream running thereon, which is the natural outlet of the water, the object *444of doing so, whether for the erection of buildings, agriculture, or constructing a railroad thereon, is wholly immaterial.”
The principles thus laid down, are not only founded upon, sound reasoning and natural justice, but they underlie the entire system of drainage as to surface water in North Carolina, and if they are departed from because of a few “ hard cases” (which are the “quick-sands” of the law), the evil results by way of vexatious litigation among neighboring landowners, as well as by doubts and confusion as to their respective rights and liabilities, will be simply incalculable. It would amount to a revolution in the law, which, for convenience, as well from a sense of justice, has been tacitly adopted and acted upon by them for a century or more. This right, however, must be exercised in a reasonable manner, and this must necessarily be determined in view of the particular circumstances of each case. For instance, if the stream is inadequate and injury may result to a lower owner, the right to cut such ditches must be confined strictly to mere surface water, and the ditches must not be so constructed as to divert the surface water from a direction in which, by the general inclination of the land, it naturally flows.
Skilful farmers, in the hill country and in the mountains of our State, are accustomed to construct hill-side ditches so as to discharge the surface water through either of two ravines on opposite sides of a hill, and we are not to be understood as holding that, in so doing, they incur any liability to those through whose land the water passes, if the ditches are made skilfully and with an eye single to affording the best protection to the land against washing.
In the present case, it is admitted that “ the ditch complained of was wholly situate upon the defendant’s right-of-way ; that it was necessary; that it was skilfully constructed, and that it was adequate in its capacity to carry the surface water into a natural drain,” which was not flooded except in *445case of a heavy rain-fall, and that it carries off only surface water, that is, the rain-fall, and empties it into the natural channel into which, by the configuration of the land, the rain-fall would naturally go if the land was drained. Whether there was an accumulation of water in “Devil’s Garden ” to such an extent that the drawing of it off would inflict damage upon the plaintiff, is not a question before us. It had heretofore been drained off, and this action was not brought on that ground. Since such drawing off of the accumulated water, the area of “Devil’s Garden” has been, like any other redeemed and drained area, and the defendant’s ditches cut for the purposes of its road-bed, it is admitted, only drained the surface water which comes down by rain-fall thereon, and thence upon the right-of-way, and which is conducted by these ditches into a natural channel. It is contended by the defendant that this natural channel (Co-burn Swamp) is the drainway of thousands of acres, probably over a hundred thousand, and these ditches only add to it the rain-fall of two hundred and fifty acres, part of which already went into said natural channel before the ditches were cut (the rest having, therefore, been retained in the pocosin and evaporated), and that so infinitesimal an addition to its volume of drainage could not possibly make the channel, by reason of such addition, inadequate. It is further contended by the defendant-that, by the uncontra-dicted-testimony, the natural channel of Coburn’s Swamp was two ^hundred yards wide and seven or eight feet deep; that nature had thus furnished a channel more than adequate, hence the flow was sluggish and shallow, and formed a swamp; that the plaintiff seeing this and wishing to utilize a part of the useless bed of the swamp, made an artificial narrower and deeper channel, or canal, within the natural channel or swamp; that, while he had a right to do this, and his enterprise should be encouraged, yet it gives him no right to complain that the defendant, by better and necessary *446drainage of its own land, has made the artificial channel inadequate. The defendant asseris that the natural channel was big enough, but that it is the plaintiff’s artificial channel which is too small. The plaintiff’s contention is equally earnest to the contrary of this, and he also insists that by reason of the cutting of the rim of “Devil’s Garden,” much water that heretofore collected there from a large area, and which disappeared by way of percolation and evaporation, is now thrown into an inadequate watercourse. The facts are not all admitted or found, and hence we need not express any conclusion beyond the general principles above laid down, as upon another trial the facts will doubtless be more explicitly found.