freeholders are frequently called chief rents, reditus capitales ; and both forts are indifferently denominated quit rents, quieti reditus; because thereby the tenant goes quit and free of all other services. When these payments were referved in filver or white money, they were antiently called white-rents, or blanch-farms, reditus albi ; in contradiftinction to rents referved in work, grain, or bafer money, which were called [43] reditus nigri or black mail. Rack-rent is only a rent of the full value of the tenement or near it. A fee-farm rent is a rent-charge iffuing out of an eftate in fee; of at least one fourth of the value of the lands, at the time of it's refervation for a grant of lands, referving fo confiderable a rent, is indeed only letting lands to farm in fee fimple instead of the ufual methods for life or years (27).

THESE are the general divifions of rent; but the difference between them (in respect to the remedy for recovering them) is now totally abolished; and all perfons may have the like remedy by diftress for rents-feck, rents of affife, and chiefrents, as in cafe of rents referved upon leafe f (28).

RENT is regularly due and payable upon the land from whence it iffues, if no particular place is mentioned in the refervation: but, in cafe of the king, the payment must be either to his officers at the exchequer, or to his receiver in the country. And, ftrictly, the rent is demandable and

In Scotland this kind of fmall payment is called blanch-bolding, or reditus albae firmat.

d 2 Inft. 19.

e Co. Litt. 143.

f Stat. 4 Ge». II. c. 28.

g Co. Litt. 201.


4 Rep. 73.

(27) Mr. Hargrave is of opinion, that the quantum of the rent is not effential to create a fee-farm. Harg. Co. Litt. 145 b. n. 5; where he differs from Mr. Douglas, who had thought that a fee-farm was not neceffarily a rent-charge, but might also be a rent-feck. Doug. 605.

(28) That is, for fuch as had been paid for three years, within 20 years before the paffing that act, or for fuch as have been fince created. 4 Geo. II. c. 28. f. 5. Doug. 602.


payable before the time of fun-set of the day whercon it is reserved; though perhaps not abfolutely due till midnight * (29).

WITH regard to the original of rents, fomething will be faid in the next chapter; and, as to diftreffes and other remedies for their recovery, the doctrine relating thereto, and the feveral proceedings thereon, thefe belong properly to the third part of our commentaries, which will treat of civil injuries, and the means whereby they are redreffed.

i Co. Litt. 302.

1 Anderf. 253.

k I Saund. 287. Prec. Chanc. 555. Salk. 578.

(29) If the leffor dies before fun-set on the day upon which the rent is demandable, it is clearly settled that the rent unpaid is due to his heir, and not to his executor; but if he dies after fun-fet and before midnight, it feems to be the better opinion, that it shall go to the executor and not to the heir. 1 P. Wms. 178.





T is impoffible to understand, with any degree of accuracy, either the civil conftitution of this kingdom (1), or the laws which regulate it's landed property, without fome general acquaintance with the nature and doctrine of feuds, or the feodal law: a system so universally received throughout Europe upwards of twelve centuries ago, that fir Henry Spelman does not fcruple to call it the law of nations in our western world. This chapter will be therefore dedicated to this inquiry. And though, in the course of our observations in this and many other parts of the prefent book, we may have occafion to fearch pretty highly into the antiquities of our English jurifprudence, yet furely no induftrious ftudent will imagine his time mifemployed, when he is led to confider that the obfolete doctrines of our laws are frequently the foundation upon which what remains is erected; and that it is impracticable to comprehend many rules of the modern a of parliaments, 57.

(1) An intimate acquaintance with the feudal fyftem is absolutely neceffary to the attainment of a comprehenfive knowledge of the first principles and progrefs of our constitution. And this fubject, in my opinion, might with great propriety have preceded the chapter upon parliament. The authority of lord Coke, upon conftitutional questions, is greatly diminished by his neglect of the tudy of the feudal law; which fir Henry Spelman, who well knew it's value and importance, feelingly laments: "I do marvel many times, that my lord Coke, adorning our law with fo many flowers of antiquity and foreign learning, hath not turned into this field, from whence fo many roots of our law have, of old, "been taken and tranfplanted." Spelm. Orig. of Terms, c. viii.


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law, in a scholarlike scientifical manner, without having re-
course to the antient. Nor will these researches be altogether
void of rational entertainment as well as ufe: as in viewing
the majestic ruins of Rome or Athens, of Balbec or Palmyra,
it administers both pleasure and instruction to compare them
with the draughts of the fame edifices, in their priftine pro-
portion and fplendor.

THE Conftitution of feuds had its original from the [45] military policy of the northern or Celtic nations, the Goths, the Huns, the Franks, the Vandals, and the Lombards, who all migrating from the fame officina gentium, as Crag very juftly entitles it, poured themselves in vaft quantities into all the regions of Europe, at the declenfion of the Roman empire. It was brought by them from their own countries, and continued in their respective colonies as the most likely means to fecure their new acquifitions: and, to that end, large diftricts or parcels of land were allotted by the conquering general to the superior officers of the army, and by them dealt out again in smaller parcels or allotments to the inferior officers and most deserving soldiers . These allotments were called feoda, feuds, fiefs, or fees; which laft appellation in the northern languages e fignifies a conditional stipend or reward f. Rewards or ftipends they evi

b See Spelman of feuds, and Wright of tenures, per tot.

De jure feod. 19, 20.

d Wright, 7.

e Spelm. Gl. 216.

f Pontoppidan in his history of Norway, (page 290) obferves, that in the northern languages obh fignifies proprietas and all totum. Hence he derives the obbal right in thofe countries; and thence too perhaps is derived the udal

right in Finland, &c. (See Mac Doual
Inft. part. 2.) Now the tranfpofition of
thefe northern fyllables, alloDh, will
give us the true etymology of the allo-
dium, or abfolute property of the feu-
difts (2): as, by a fimilar combination
of the latter fyllable with the word fee
(which fignifies, we have teen, a con-
ditional reward or ftipend) teesph or
feodum will denote ftipendiary property.

(2) This is the fame as all-bood in English, and is fuggefted as the derivation of allodium in Woll. Religion of Nat. del. p. 136.

Dr. Robertfon adopts the derivation of allodium from an and lot, or allotment, the mode of dividing what was not granted as ftipenE 3


dently were: and the condition annexed to them was, that the poffeffor fhould do fervice faithfully, both at home and in the wars, to him by whom they were given; for which purpose he took the juramentum fidelitatis, or oath of fealty : and in cafe of the breach of this condition and oath, by not performing the ftipulated service, or by deserting the lord in battle, the lands were again to revert to him who granted them b.

ALLOTMENTS, thus acquired, naturally engaged fuch as accepted them to defend them: and, as they all sprang from [46] the fame right of conqueft, no part could fubfift independent of the whole; wherefore all givers as well as receivers were mutually bound to defend each other's poffeffions. But, as that could not effectually be done in a tumultuous irregular way, government, and to that purpofe fubordination, was neceffary. Every receiver of lands, or feudatory, was there fore bound, when called upon by his benefactor, or immediate lord of his feud or fee, to do all in his power to defend him. Such benefactor or lord was likewife fubordinate to, and under the command of, his immediate benefactor or fuperior; and fo upwards to the prince or general himfelf: and the feveral lords were also reciprocally bound, in their refpective gradations, to protect the poffeffions they had given. Thus the feodal connection was established, a proper military subjection was naturally introduced, and an army of feudatorics was always ready enlifted, and mutually prepared to mufter, not only in defence of each man's own feveral pro

See this oath explained at large in Feud. 1. 2. t. 7.

h Feud. 1. 2. 1. 24.

diary property; and he relates the memorable ftory of the fierce foldier who refused to grant a facred vafe to his general Clovis, the founder of the French monarchy, who wished to return it at the request of the bishop to the church from which it had been taken as spoil, by ftriking it violently with his battle-axe, and declaring "that you should have nothing but that to which the lot gives you a right!" Hift. of Ch. V. 1 vol. notes 7 & 8.



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