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in the villein's life-time. These are inci- justly suffers the utmost severity of censure, dent to both species of copyhold; but or the more afflictive severity of neglect. wardship and fines to those of inheritance But words are only hard to those who only. Wardship, in copyhold estates, par- do not understand them; and the critic takes both of that in chivalry and that in ought always to enquire, whether he is socage. Like that in chivalry, the lord incommoded by the fault of the writer, or is the legal guardian, who usually assigns by his own. some relation of the infant tenant to act in Every author does not write for every his stead : and he, like guardian in socage, reader; many questions are such as the illi. is accountable to his ward for the proħts. terate part of mankind can have neither Of fines, some are in the nature of primer interest nor pleasure in discussing, and seisins, due on the death of each tenant; which therefore it would be an useless enothers are mere fines for alienation of the deavour to level with common minds, by lands : in some manors only one of these tiresome circumlocutions or laborious es. sorts can be demanded, in some both, and planations; and many subjects of general in others neither. They are sometimes use may be treated in a different manner, arbitrary and at the will of the lord, some- as the book is intended for the learned or times fixed by custom : but, even when the ignorant. Diffusion and explication arbitrary, the courts of law, in favour of are necessary to the instruction of those the liberty of copyholders, have tied them who, being neither able nor accustomed to down to be reasonable in their extent"; think for themselves, can learn only what otherwise they might amount to a dishcri- is expressly taught; but they who can form son of the estate. No fine therefore is al- parallels, discover consequences, and mul. lowed to be taken upon descents and aliena- tiply conclusions, are best pleased with in tions (unless in particular circumstances) volution of argument and compression of of more than two years improved value of thought; they desire orily to receive the the estate. From this instance we may seeds of knowledge which they may branch judge of the favourable disposition that out by their own power, to have the way the law of England (which is a law of li- to truth pointed out which they can then berty) hath always shewn to this species of follow without a guide. tenants; by removing as far as possible, The Guardian directs one of his pupils every real badge of slavery from them, “ to think with the wise, but speak with however some nominal ones may continue. the vulgar.” This is a precept «pecious It suficred custom very early to get the enough but not always practicable. D. better of the express terms upon which ference of thoughts will produce ditierence they held their lands; by declaring that of language. Ile that ihinks with more the will of the lord was to be interpreied extent than another, will want words of by the custom of the manor ; and, where larger meaning; he that thinks with more no custom has been suffered to grow up to subtilty, will seek for terms of more nice the prejudice of the lord, as in this case discrimination ; and where is the wonder, of arbitrary fines, the law itself interposes since words are but the images of things, in an equitable method, and will not suf- that he who never knew the originals fer the lord to extend his power so far as should not know the copies? to disinherit the tenant.
Yet vanity inclines us to find faults any Blackstone's Commentaries. where rather than in ourselves. He that $ 58. Hard words defended.
reads and grows wiser, seldom suspects
his own deficiency; but complains of hard Few faults of style, whether real or ima- words and obscure sentences, and asks ginary, excite the malignity of a more nu. why books are written which cannot be merous class of readers, than the use of understood. hard words.
Among the hard words which are no If an author be supposed to involve his longer to be used, it has been long the custhoughts in voluntary obscurity, and to ob- tom to number terms of art. “ Every man struct, by unnecessary difficulties, a mind (says Swift) is more able to explain the eager in pursuit of truth: if he writes not to subject of an art than its professors; a farmake others learned, but to boast the learn- mer will tell you in two words, that he ing which he possesses himself
and wishes has broken his leg; but a surgeon, after : to be admired rather than understood, he long discourse, shall leave you as ignoran counteracts the first end of writing, and
as you were before.” This could only
have been said but by such an exact ob- lution of the seed and circulation of the server of life, in gratification of maligniiy, sap, the writers whom either shall consult or in ostentation of acuteness. Every hour are very little to be blamed, though it produces instances of the necessity of should sometimes happen that they are terms of art. Mankind could never con
read in vain.
Idler. spire in uniform affectation; it is not but by necessity that
$59. Discontent, the common Lot of all science and every every
Mankind. trade has its peculiar language. They that content themselves with general ideas may Such is the emptiness of human enjoy. rest in general terms : but those whose ments, that we are always impatient of the studies or employments force them upon present. Attainment is followed by neg. closer inspection, must have names for lect, and possession by disgust; and the particular parts, and words by which they malicious remark of the Greek epigrammay express various modes of combina- matist on marriage, may be applied to tion, such as none but themselves have every other course of life, that its two days occasion to consider.
of happiness are the first and the last. Artists are indeed sometimes ready to Few moments are more pleasing than suppose, that none can be strangers to those in which the mind is concerting meawords to which themselves are familiar, sures for a new undertaking. From the talk to an incidental enquirer as they talk first hint that wakens the fancy to the hour to one another, and make their knowledge of actual execution, allis improvement and ridiculous by injudicious obtrusion. An progress, triumph and felicity. Every hour art cannot be taught but by its proper brings additions to the original scheme, terms, but it is not always necessary to
suggests some new expedient to secure teach the art.
success, or discovers consequential advanThat the vulgar express their thoughts tages not hitherto foreseen. While prepa. clearly is far from true; and what perspi- rations are made and materials accumulacuity can be found among them proceeds ted, day glides after day through elysian not from the easiness of their language, but prospects, and the heart dances to the the shallowness of their thoughts. He that song of hope. sees a building as a common spectator,
Such is the pleasure of projecting, that contents himself with relating that it is many content themselves with a succession great or little, mcan or splendid, lofty or of visionary schemes, and wear out their low; all these words are intelligible and allotted time in the calm amusement of common, but they convey no distinct or contriving what they never attempt or limited ideas ; if he attempts, without the hope to execute. terms of architecture, to delineate the parts, Others, not able to feast their imaginaor enumerate the ornaments, his narration tion with pure ideas, advance somewhat at once becomes unintelligible. The terms, nearer to the grossness of action, with great indeed, generally displease, because they diligence collect whatever is requisite to are understood by few; but they are little their design, and, after a thousand reunderstood only, because few that look searches and consultations, are snatched upon an edifice examine its parts, or ana. away by death, as they stand in procinctu lyse its columns into their members. waiting for a proper opportunity to begin.
The state of every other art is the saine; If there were no other end of life than as it is cursorily surveyed or accurately to find some adequate solace for every day, examined, different forins of expression I know not whether any condition could
proper. In morality it is one thing be preferred to that of the man who into discuss the niceties of the casuist, and volves bimself in his own thoughts, and neanother to direct the practice of common ver suffers experience to shew him the vialife
. In agriculture, he that instructs the nity of speculation : for no sooner are nofarmer to plough and sow, may convey tions reduced to practice, than tranquillihis notions without the words which he ty and confidence forsake the breast; eveWould find necessary in explaining to phi- ry day brings its task, and often without losophers the process of vegetation ; and bringing abilities to perform it: difficulties if he, who has nothing to do but to be bom embarrass, uncertainty perplexes, opposinest by the shortest way, will perplex his tion retards, censure exasperates, or neg. mind with subtle speculations; or if he lect depresses. We proceed, because we whose task is to reap and thresh, will not have begun; we complete our design, that be contented without examining the end- the labour already spent may not be
vain; but as expectation gradually dies proach of the attracting body. We never away, the gay smile of alacrity disappears, find ourselves so desirous to finish, as in we are necessitated to implore severer the latter part of our work, or so impa. powers, and trust the event to patience tient of delay, as when we know that de. and constancy.
lay cannot be long. Part of this udseasonWhen once our labour has begun, the able importunity of discontent may be comfort that enables us to endure it is the justly imputed to languor and weariness, prospect of its end ; for though in every which must always oppress us more as long work there are some joyous intervals our toil has been longer continued; but of self-applause, when the attention is re- the greater part usually proceeds from created by unexpected facility, and the frequent contemplation of that ease ubich imagination soothed by incidental excel- we now consider as near and certain, and lencies not comprised in the first plan, yet which, when it has once Aattered our the toil with which performance struggles hopes, we cannot suffer to be longer withafter idea, is so irksome and disgusting, held.
Rambler. and so frequent is the necessity of resting below that perfection which we imagined $60. Feodal System ; History of its within our reach, that seldom any man
Rise and Progress. obtains more from his endeavours than a The constitution of feuds had its origipainful conviction of his defects, and a nal from the military policy of the Norcontinual resuscitation of desires which he thern or Celtic nations, the Goths, the feels himself unable to gratify.
Ilunds, the Franks, the Vandals, and the So certainly is weariness and vexation Lombards, who all migrating from ibe the concomitant of our undertakings, that same oflicina gentium, as Craig very justly every man, in whatever he is engaged, con- intiiles it, poured themselves in vast quae. soles himself with the hope of change. tities into all the regions of Europe, at the He that has made his way by assiduity declension of the Roman empire. It was and vigilance to public employment, talkis brought by them from their own countries, among his friends of nothing but the de- and continued in their respective colonies light of retirement: he whom the necessia as the most likely means to secure their ty of solitary application secludes froin the new acquisitions: and, to that end, large world, listens with a beating heart to its districts or parcels of land were allotted og distant noises, longs to mingle with living the conquering general to the superior ofbeings, and resolves, when he can regu. ficers of the army, and by them dealt out late his hours by his own choice, to take again in smaller parcels or allotments to his fill of merriment and diversions, or to the inferior officers and most deserving display his abilities on the universal thea- soldiers. These allotments were cailed tre, and enjoy the pleasure of distinction feoda, feuds, fiefs, or fees; which last apand applause.
pellation, in the northern languages, signiEvery desire, however innocent or na- fies a conditional stipend or reward. Retural, grows dangerous, as by long indul- wards or stipends they evidently were : gence it becomes ascendant in the mind. and the condition annexed to them was, When we have been much accustoined to that the possessor should do service faithconsider any thing as capable of giving fully, both at home and in the wars, to happiness, it is not easy to restrain our ar- him by whom they were given ; for which dour, or to forbear some precipitation in purpose he took the juramentum fideleteour advances, and irregularity in our pur. tis, or oath of fealty; and in case of la suits. He that has long cultivated the tree, breach of this condition and oath, by not watched the swelling bud and opening performing the stipulated service, or by de blossom, and pleased himself with com- serting the lord in battle, the lands tere puting how much every sun and shower again to revert to him who granted the 9. added to its growth, scarcely stays till the Allotments thus acquired, natural y etruit has obtained its maturity, but defeats gaged such as accepted them to deterd his own cares by eagerness to reward them. them: and, as they all sprang from the When we have diligently laboured for any same right of conquest, no part could sub purpose, we are willing to believe that we
sisi independent of the whole; whereiore ail have attained it; and because we have givers, as well as receivers, were muually already done much, too suddenly cons bound to defend each other's possessies. clude that no inore is to be done.
But, as that could not effectually be duze All attraction is increased by the ap- in a tumultuous, irregular way, genit,
ment, and to that purpose subordination, Scarce had these northern conquerors was necessary. Every receiver of lands, established themselves in their new domior feudatory, was therefore bound, when nions, when the wisdom of their constitucalled upon by his benefactor, or imme- tions, as well as their personal valour, diate lord of his feud or fee, to do all in alarmed all the princes of Europe ; that his
power to defend him. Such benefactor is, of those countries which had formerly or lord was likewise subordinate to and been Roman provinces, but had revolted, under the command of his immediate be- or were descried by their old masters, in nefactor or superior; and so upwards to the general wreck of the empire. Wherethe prince or general himself. And the fore most, if not all, of them, thought it several lords were also reciprocally bound, necessary to enter into the same, or a simiin their respective gradations, to protect lar plan of policy. For whereas, before, the possessions they had given. Thus the the possessions of their subjects were perfeudal connection was established, a properfectly allodial (that is wholly independent, military subjection was naturally intro- and held of no superior at all), now they duced, and an army of feudatories were parcelled out their royal territories, or always ready enlisted, and mutually pre- persuaded their subjects to render up pared to muster, not only in defence of and retake their own landed property, uneach man's own several property, but also der the like feodal obligation of military in defence of the whole, and of every part fealty. And thus in the compass of a of this their newly-acquired country: the very few years, the feodal constitution, or prudence of which constitution was soon the doctrine of tenure, extended itself over sufficiently visible in the strength and spi- all the western world. Which alteration rit with which they maintained their con- of landed property, in so very material a quests.
point, necessarily drew after it an alteraThe universality and carly use of this tion of laws and customs; so that the fcofeodal plan, among all those nations which, dal laws soon drove out the Roman, which in complaisance to the Romans, we still had universally obtained, but now became call barbarous, may appear from what is for many centuries lost and forgotten ; recorded of the Cimbri and Tutones, na. and Italy itself (as some of the civilians, tions of the same northern original as those with more spleen than judgment, have whom we have been describing, at their expressed it) belluinas, atque ferinas, imfirst irruption into Italy about a century manesque Longobardorum leges accepit. before the Christian æra. They demand- But this feodal polity, which was thus ed of the Romans,“ ut martius populus ali- by degrees established over all the conti. quid sibi terræ daret quasit stipendium : nent of Europe, seems not to have been cæterum, ut vellet, manibus atque armis received in this part of our island, at least suis uteretur.” The sense of which may be not universally, and as a part of the na. thus rendered: “ they desired stipendiary tional constitution, till the reign of William lands (that is, feuds) to be allowed them, the Norman. Not but that it is reason. to be held by military and other personal able to believe, from abundant traces in services, whenever their lords should call our history and laws, that even in the times upon them.” This was evidently the same of the Saxons, who were a swarm from constitution that displayed itself more fully what Sir William Temple calls the same about seven hundred years afterwards; northern hive, something similar to this when the Salii, Burgundians, and Franks, was in use: yet not so extensively, nor at. brokein upon Gaul, the Visigothson Spain, tended with all the rigor that was afterand the Lombards upon Italy, and intro- wards imported by the Normans. For duced with themselves this northern plan the Saxons were firmly settled in this of polity, serving at once to distribute, and island at least as early as the year 600 : to protect, the territories they had newly and it was not till two centuries after, that gained. And from hence it is probable, feuds arrived to their full vigour and mathat the emperor Alexander Severus took turity, even on the continent of Europe. the hint, of dividing lands conquered from This introduction however of the feodal the enemy, among his generals and victo. tenures into England, by King William, rious soldiery, on condition of receiving does not scem to have been effected immilitary service from thein and their heirs mediately after the conquest, nor by the queror; but to have been consented to by very year the king was attenderi by all the great council of the nation long after his nobility at Sarum; where all the prinhis title was established. Indeed from the cipal landholders submitted their lands to prodigious slaughter of the English no. the yoke of military tenure, became the bility at the battle of Hastings, and the king's vassals, and did homage and feally fruitless insurrections of those who survive to his person. This seems to have been ed, such numerous forfeitures had accrued the æra of formally introducing the feodal that he was able to reward his Norman tenures by law; and probably the very followers with very large and extensive law thus made at the council of Sarum, possessions : which gave a handle to the is that which is still extant, and couched monkish historians, and such as have im- in these remarkable words: "statuimus, plicitly followed them, to represent him ut omnes liberi homines fædere & sacraas having by the right of the sword, seized mento affirment, quod intra t extra unon all the lands of England, and dealt versum regnum Angliæ Wilhelmo regi dothem out again to his own favourites. A mino suo fideles esse volunt; terras & kosupposition, grounded upon a mistaken nores illius omni fidelitate ubique seriore sense of the word conquest ; which, in its cum eo, et contra inimicos alienigenas defeodal acceptation signifies no more than fendere.” The terms of this law (as Sir acquisition : and this has led many hasty Martin Wright has observed) are plainly writers into a strange historical mistake, feodal:for, first it requires the oath of fealty, and one which, upon the slightest exami- which made, in the sense of the feudists, nation, will be found to be most untrue. every man that took it a tenant or vassal; However, certain it is, that the Normans and, secondly, the tenants obliged themnow began to gain very large possessions selves to defend their lord's territories and in England: and their regard for their titles against all enemies foreign and domesfeodal law, under which they had long tic. But what puts the matter outot' dispute, lived, together with the king's recom- is another law of the same collection, which mendation of this policy to the English, exacts the performance of the military as the best way to put themselves on a feorlal services, as ordained by the general military footing, and thereby to prevent council. “ Omnes comites, & Barones, & any future attempts from the continent, milites, & servientes, & universi liberi kowere probably the reasons that prevailed mines, totius regni nostri prædicti, kabeant to cffect his establishment here. And per- & teneant se semper bene in armes d' in emas, haps we may be able to ascertain the time ut decet of oportet : & sint semper prompti of this great revolution in our landed pro- & bene parati ad serritium suum integran perty, with a tolerable degree of exactness. nobis explendum & peragendum cum opus For we learn from the Saxon Chronicle, fuerit; secunclum quod nobis debent de that in the nineteenth year of king Wil- fædis & tenementis suis de jure fucere ; $ lian's reign, an invasion was apprehend. sicut illis statuimus per commune concilium ed from Denmark; and the military consti- totius regni nostri prædicti." tution of the Saxons being then laid aside, This new policy therefore seems not to and no other introduced in its stead, the have been imposed by the conqueror, bet kingdom was wholly defenceless : which nationally and freely adopted by the go occasioned the king to bring over a large neral assembly of the whole realm, in the army of Normans and Bretons, who were same manner as other nations of Europe quartered upon every landholder, and had before adopted it, upon the same greatly oppressed the people. This ap- principle of self-security. And, in partie parent weakness, together with the griev- cular, they had the recent example of the ances occasioned by a foreign force, might French nation before their eyes, which Co-operate with the king's remonstrances, had gradually surrendered up all its alloa and the better incline the nobility to listen dial or free lands into the king's hands, to his proposals for putting them in a pos- who restored them to the owners as a beat ture of defence. For as soon as the dan- ficium or feud, to be held to them and such yer was over, the king held a great coun- of their heirs as they previously nominated cil to enquire into the state of the nation ; to the king: and thus by degrees, all the the immediate consequence of which was allodial estates of France were converted the compiling of the great survey called into feuds, and the freemen became the Domesday-book, which was finished in the vassals of the crown. The only difference next year: and in the latter end of that between this change of tenures in France,
mere arbitrary will and power of the con