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Europe had before adopted it, and upon the same principle of self-security.

In consequence of this change, it became a fundamental maxim and necessary principle of English tenures, "that the king is the universal lord and original proprietor of all the lands in his kingdom; and that no man doth or can possess any part of it, but what has mediately or immediately been derived as a gift from him, to be held upon feudal services." For, this being really the case in pure, original, proper feuds, other nations which adopted this system, were obliged to act upon the same supposition as a subtraction and foundation of their new polity. And indeed, by their consenting to the introduction of feudal tenures, our ancestors probably meant no more than to put the kingdom in a state of defence by establishing a military system, and to oblige themselves (in respect of their lands) to maintain the king's title and territories with equal vigour and fealty, as if they had received the lands from his bounty, upon these express conditions, as pure, proper, beneficiary feudatories. But whatever their meaning was, the Norman interpreters, skilled in all the niceties of the feudal constitutions, and well understanding the import and extent of the feudal terms, gave a very different construction to the proceeding, and therefore took a handle to introduce not only the rigorous doctrines which prevailed in the duchy of Normandy, but also such fruits and dependencies, such hardships and services as were never known to other nations, as if the English had, in fact as well as theory, owed every thing they had to the bounty of their sovereign lord.

The grand and fundamental maxim of all feudal tenures, is this, that all lands were originally granted out by the sovereign, and are, therefore, holden either mediately or immediately of the crown. The granter was called the proprietor, or lord; being he who retained the dominion or ultimate property of the feud or feu: and the grantee, who had only the use and pos session, according to the terms of the grant, was styled the feudatory or vassal, which was only another name for the tenant or holder of the land; though on account of the prejudices we have conceived against the doctrines that were afterwards grafted on this system, we now use the word vassal opprobriously, as synonymous with slave or bondman. The manner of the grant was words of pure donation, dedi et concessi, which are still the operative words in our modern infeodations or deeds of feoffment. This was perfected by the ceremony of corporal investiture, or open and notorious delivery of possession in the presence of the other vassals, which perpetuated among them the era of the new acquisition, at a time when the art of writing was very little known and therefore, the evidence of property was reposed in the memory of the neighbourhood, who in case of a disputed title, were afterwards called upon to decide the difference, not only according to external proofs, adduced by the parties litigant, but also by the internal testimony of their own private knowledge.

Besides an oath of fealty, or profession of faith to the lord, which was the parent of our oath of allegiance, the vassal or tenant, upon investiture, usually did homage to his lord; openly and humbly kneeling, being ungirt, uncovered, and holding up his hands both together between those of the lord who sat before him; and there professing that "he did become his man from that day forth, of life and limb and earthly honour:" and then he received a kiss from his lord.

The ceremonies used in conferring a fief were principally three: homage, fealty, and investiture. 1. The first was designed as a significant expression of the submission and devotedness of the vassal towards his lord. In performing homage his head was uncovered, his belt ungirt, his sword and spurs removed; he placed his hands, kneeling, between those of the lord and promised to become his man from thenceforth; to serve him with life and limb and worldly honour, faithfully and loyally, in consideration of the lands which he held under him. None but the lord in person could accept homage, which was commonly concluded with a kiss. 2. An oath of fealty was indispensable in every fief; but the ceremony was less peculiar than that of homage, and it might be received by proxy. It was taken by the clergy, but not by minors; and in language, differed little from the form of homage. 3. Investiture, or the actual conveyance of feudal lands, was of two kinds, proper and improper. The first was an actual putting in possession on the ground, either by the lord or his deputy; which is called in law, livery of seisin. The second was symbolical, and consisted in the delivery of a turf, a stone, a wand, a branch, or whatever else might have been made usual by the caprice of local customs. Immediately upon investiture the vassal's duties commenced. These it is impossible to define or enumerate; because the services of military tenure, were in their nature uncertain, and distinguished as such, from those incident to feuds of an inferior description. It was a breach of faith to divulge the lord's counsel, to conceal the machinations of others from him, to injure his person and fortune, or to violate the sanctity of his roof and the honour of his family. In battle he was bound to lend his horse to his lord, when dismounted; to adhere to his side while fighting; and go into captivity as a hostage for him, when taken.

The lord was, in early times, the legislator and judge over all his feudatories and therefore the vassals of the inferior lords were bound by their fealty to attend their domestic courts baron, (which were instituted in every manor or barony for doing speedy and effectual justice to all the tenants,) in order as well to answer such complaints as might be alleged against themselves, as to form a jury or homage for the trial of their fellow tenants, and upon this account, in all the feudal institutions, both here and on the continent, they are distinguished by the appellation of the peers of the court: pares curtis or pares curiæ.

These were the principal and very simple qualities of the genuine or original feuds, being then all of a military nature, and in the hands of military persons; though the feudatories, being under frequent incapacities of cultivating and manuring their own lands, soon found it necessary to commit part of them to inferior tenants, obliging them to such returns in service, corn, cattle, or money, as might enable the chief feudatories to attend their military duties without distraction; which returns, or reditus, were the original of rents. And by this means the feudal polity was greatly extended; these inferior feudatories (who held what are called in Scots law, "rere-feifs ") being under similar obligations of fealty, to do suit of court, to answer the stipulated renders or rent service, and to promote the welfare of their immediate superiors or lords. But this at the same time demolished the ancient simplicity of feuds; and an inroad being once made upon their constitution, it subjected them in course of time to great varieties and innovations. Feuds came to be bought and sold, and other deviations were made from the old fundamental rules of tenure and succession, which were held no longer sacred, when the feuds themselves no longer continued to be purely military.

But as soon as the feudal system came to be considered in the light of a civil establishment rather than as a military plan, the ingenuity of the same ages, which perplexed all theology with the subtility of scholastic disquisitions, and bewildered philosophy in the mazes of metaphysical jargon, began also to exert its influence on this copious and fruitful subject; in pursuance of which the most refined and oppressive consequences were drawn from what originally was a plan of simplicity and liberty, equally beneficial both to the lord and tenant, and prudently calculated for their mutual protection and defence.

In England there seems to have subsisted four principal species of lay ten. ures, to which all others may be reduced; the grand criterion of which were, the natures of the several services or renders, that were due to the lords from their tenants. The services in respect of their quality were either free or base services, in respect of their quantity and the time of exacting them were either certain or uncertain. Free services were such as were not unbecoming the character of a soldier or a freeman to perform, as to serve under his lord in the wars, to pay a sum of money, and the like. Base services were such as were fit only for peasants, or persons of a servile rank, as to plough his lord's land, to make his hedges, to carry out his dung, or other mean employments. The certain services, whether free or base, were such as were stinted in quantity, and could not be exceeded on any pretence; as to pay stated annual rent, or to plough such a held for three days. The uncertain depended upon unknown contingencies; as to do military service in person, or to pay an assessment in lieu of it, when called upon, or to wind a horn whenever the Scots invaded the realm

of England, which were free services, or to do whatever the lord should command, which was a base or villein service.

Forty days was the term generally settled as the measure of military service, during which time the tenant of a knight's fee was bound to be in the field at his own expense. But the length of service diminished with the quantity of land: for half a knight's fee, but twenty days of service in the field were due; for an eighth part, but five days; and when this was commuted for an escuage or pecuniary assessment, the same proportion was observed. Men turned of sixty, public magistrates, and women of course, were free from personal service, but obliged to send substitutes. A failure in this primary duty incurred perhaps strictly a forfeiture of the fief; but it was usual for the lord to amerce such vassals, which was called an escuage. The Highland Clans followed their chief into the field, and likewise the Irish, but their tie was the double one of relationship as well as vassalage. The chieftain exercising the original patriarchal government over his descendents, and followers. The feudal system did not exist till after the conquest; and the kings of Scotland borrowed it, as they did many other institutions, from England.

FRANKALMOIGN was a tenure peculiar to the clergy, and Lord Coke says, "no lay person can hold in frankalmoign;" and according to Lyttleton, on whom he comments, a tenant in frankalmoign is " where an abbot or prior, or other man of religion, or of holy church, holdeth of his lord in free alms." The same author says that the service required by this species of tenure was, " that they which hold in frankalmoign are bound before God to make orisons, prayers, masses, and other divine services for the souls of their granters or feoffers, and for the souls of their heirs which were dead, and for the prosperity and good life and good health of their heirs which are alive. And therefore they shall do no fealty to their lord, because that this divine service is better for them before God than any doing of fealty, and also because the words frank almoign exclude an earthly or temporal service." Under the Saxon monarchy, all the bishops of England, and such abbots and priors as held their lands of the crown, held by this tenure. The change of those estates into baronies, subject to homage and fealty, and held of the king by knight service, was an important alteration, made by William I., in the English constitution. But it was not understood that religious persons were bound by this change, to perform military service like temporal barons. They were either to find other men to do the duty for them, or to compound for their service by fines to our sovereign lord the king. It would have been indecent and inconsistent with their sacred calling, to have obliged ecclesiastics to bear arms, and therefore, in accordance with the wisdom and decorum of the law, they were put upon the same footing as women possessed of knights' fees. But there was no impropriety in their being required to find

the king, of whom they held their baronies, either soldiers or money in lieu of their personal services.

SOCCAGE. Sir T. Lyttleton says, that every tenure which is not tenure in chivalry, is a tenure in soccage; and that a tenure in soccage is where the tenant holdeth of his lord the tenancy by certain service, for all manner of services. Sir H. Spelman observes, from the ancient book of St Albans, that socmen (or tenants in soccage) signified freeman in the genuine sense of the word. All the king's tenants in ancient demesne held of him by soccage tenure; in some points it appears that they had more liberty than the military tenants, that is, the feudal bonds were less strict on them and their families, though the tenants by knights' service was the higher and more honourable service. In Doomsday-Book, they are distinguished from other free tenants, by the denomination of liberi homines, not having the power which the knight-service tenants possessed, of giving away or selling their estates, without permission from their lords. It seems that these liberi homines were a remainder of the allodial tenants of the Saxon folkland, that is, land of the vulgar, as opposed to bocland, or thanelandA certain number of them was necessary to constitute a manor, and therefore when that number was incomplete, some who held in villeinage were enfranchised, to make it up. Sometimes those who were in possession of this allodial freedom, found it necessary to seek a defence and protection, by placing themselves under the protection of some feudal lord, or even of two lords, if the situation of their lands made it necessary for them to have two protectors. It is probable, that this practice becoming more general, in process of time, put an end to this species of tenure. Their real services to the lord of the manor in their allodial state, were predial and rustic. A certain number of free socmen (as well as these) appears to have been necessary to every lord of a manor, for holding the pleas of the manor court, which the Saxons called soke or soc, a word signifying a franchise, or jurisdiction to which a franchise was annexed. And it is evidently from this that the words socmen and soccage were derived. Some of the lands held in soccage were held by base services, and at the will of the lords, but the definition given of it by Lyttleton, and other great authorities, excludes from it all tenures where the service was uncertain. Among the legantine canons made at London by the bishop of Winchester, in the reign of king Stephen, Lord Lyttleton produces one which says, "that the plough and husbandmen in the fields should enjoy the same peace as if they were in the churchyard." This sanctuary given to the cultivators of the soil on their own grounds, might, if duly regarded, have been of immense benefit to the people. But unfortunately, the civil wars which so often scourged the kingdom, paid little respect to either spiritual or temporal laws. According to Lyttleton, burgage tenure was one kind of soccage, but with various customs. The statute of the 18th of Charles II. entirely changed this constitution

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