Sivut kuvina

2. Whatever is in the personal use or occupation of any man, is, for the time privileged and protected from any distress; as an axe with which a man is cutting wood, or a horse while a man is riding him. But horses drawing a cart, may (cart and all) be distreined for rent-arrere; and also, if a horse, though a man be riding him, be taken damage-feasant, or tres. passing in another's grounds, the horse (notwithstanding his rider) may be distreined and led away to the pound.'s Valuable things in the way of trade shall not be liable to distress. As a horse standing in a smith's shop to be shoed, or in a common inn; or cloth, at a taylor's house; or corn sent to a mill or a market. For all these are protected and privileged for the benefit of trade; and are supposed in common presumption not to belong to the owner of the house, but to his customer." But, generally speaking, whatever goods and chattels the landlord finds upon the premises, whether they in fact belong to the tenant or a stranger, are distreinable by him for rent for otherwise a door would be open to infinite frauds upon the landlord; and the stranger has his remedy over by action on the case against the tenant, if by the tenant's default the chattels are distreined, so that he cannot render them when called upon. With regard to a stran

t 1 Sid. 440.


(13) But this doctrine is contrary to Sayer Rep. 139. 2 Keb. 596. Cro. Eliz. 596. Co. Litt. 47. a. Rol. Ab. Distress, A. pl. 4.; and was expressly overruled in 6 Term. R. 138. on the ground that the distraining a horse as damage feasant, whilst any person is riding him, would perpetually lead to a breach of the peace. And it has been held, that nets or ferrets cannot be taken damage-feasant in a warren, if they are in the hands of the person using them. Harg. Co. Litt. note 18. Cro. Eliz. 550. So a loom cannot be distrained while in the hands of the weaver, Willes, 517.; nor wearing apparel, if in actual use but if put off, though only for the purpose of repose, it is liable to be distrained. 1 Esp. Rep. 206. Peake's Rep. 56. S. C.

(14) As to this exception in favour of trade, see Gilb. Dis by Hunt, 89. so cattle and goods of a guest at an inn are not distrainable for rent, but a chariot or horses standing at livery are not exempt. 3 Burr. 1493. Mr. Sergt. Williams, in 2 Saund. 290. n. 7. suggests, that it should seem that at this day a court of law would be of opinion, that cattle belonging to a drover being put into ground with the consent of the occupier, to graze only one night on their way to a fair or market, are not liable to the distress of the landlord for rent; and lord Nottingham intimated the same opinion in 2 Vern. 130.; and Mr. Christian, in his edition, has the following note of a decision to the same effect: "Cattle driven to a distant market, and put into land to rest for one night, cannot be distrained for rent by the owner of the land, such protection being absolutely for the public interest." Tate v. Gleed. C. P. Hil. 24. Geo. III. Gilb Dis. by Hunt, 47. It was before held, that cattle going to London and put into a close with the consent of the landlord and leave of the tenant, to graze for a night, might be d'strained by the landlord for rent, 3 Lev. 260. 2 Vent. 50. 2 Lutw. 1161.; but the owner of the cattle was afterwards relieved in equity on the ground of fraudulent connivance and concealment of the demand for rent by the landlord, and he was decreed to pay all costs both of law and equity. 2 Vern. 129. Prec. Ch. 7. Gilb. Dis. by Hant, 47. As courts of law now take notice of fraud as well as courts of equity, when it can be fully proved, there would now be the same result at law

Goods of a principal in the hands of a factor are privileged from distress for rent due from such factor to his landlord, on the ground that the rule of public convenience, out of which the privi lege arises, is within the exception of a landlord's general right to distrain, and therefore that such goods are protected for the benefit of trade. 6 Moore Rep. 243. 3 B. & B. 75. S. C. So goods landed at a wharf and consigned to a broker, as agent of the consignor, for sale, and placed by the broker in the wharfinger's warehouse for safe custody until an opportunity for selling them should occur, are not distrainable for rent due in respect of the wharf and warehouse, as they were brought to the wharf in the course of trade. 1 Bing. 283. So goods carried to be weighed, even at a private beam, if in the way of trade, are exempt; so is a horse that has carried corn to a mill to be ground, and during the grinding of the corn is tied to the mill-door. Cro. Eliz. 549 596 Goods in a public fair are exempt from distress, unless for toll due from the own er. 2 Lutw. 1380. Goods in possession of a carrier are also exempt, and this though the carrier be not a public one. 1 Salk. 249. Chitty.

(15) As if horses or cattle are sent to agist, they may be immediately distrained by the land. lord for rent in arrear, and the owner must seek his remedy by action against the farmer; the principle of this rule extends to public livery stables, to which, if horses and carriages are sent to stand, it is determined that they are distrainable by the landlord, as if they were in any other place, 3 Burr. 1498.; so upon the same principle the goods of lodgers, or any other person, on

ger's beasts which are found on the tenant's land, the following distinctions are however taken. If they are put in by consent of the owner of the beasts, they are distreinable immediately afterwards for rent-arrere by the landlord. (v) So also if the stranger's cattle break the fences, and commit a trespass by coming on the land, they are distreinable immediately by the lessor for his tenant's rent, as a punishment to the owner of the beasts for the wrong committed through his negligence. (u) But if the lands were not sufficiently fenced so as to keep out cattle, the [ 9 ] landlord cannot distrein them, till they have been levant and couchant (levantes et cubantes) on the land; that is, have been long enough there to have lain down and rose up to feed; which in general is held to be one night at least 16 and then the law presumes that the owner may have notice whether his cattle have strayed, and it is his own negligence not to have taken them away. Yet, if the lessor or his tenant were bound to repair the fences and did not, and thereby the cattle escaped into their grounds, without the negligence or default of the owner; in this case, though the cattle may have been levant and couchant, yet they are not distreinable for rent, till actual notice is given to the owner that they are there, and he neglects to remove them: (w) for the law will not suffer the landlord to take advantage of his own or his tenant's wrong.' 17 4. There are also other things privileged by the ancient common law; as a man's tools and utensils of his trade; the axe of a carpenter, the books of a scholar, and the like: which are said to be privileged for the sake of the public, because the taking them away would disable the owner from serving the commonwealth in his station. So, beasts of the plough, averia carucae, and sheep, are privileged from distresses at common law; (x) while

Cro. Eliz. 649.


u Co. Litt 47.

x Stat. 51 Hen. III. st. 4. de districtione scaccaria.

w Lutw. 1580.

the premises, are liable to be distrained; and to exempt goods from distress on the ground of their being in an inn, they must be within the very precincts of the inn, and not on other premises at a distance belonging to it, Barnes, 472.; and even within the inn itself the exemption does not extend to a person dwelling therein, as a tenant, rather than a guest. 1 Bla. Rep. 484.

As to the remedy over by an under-tenant or lodger, see the cases cited in 3 Bar. & Cres. 789. in which it was held, that where the tenant of premises had underlet a part by deed, and the original landlord distrained for rent upon the under-tenant, the latter could not support assumpsit against his immediate lessor, upon an implied promise to indemnify him against the rent payable to the superior landlord. Chitty. (16) Levant and couchant in this sense means, that the cattle must be lying down and rising up on the premises for a night and a day, without pursuit made by the owner of them. Gilb. Dis. by Hunt, 3d edit. 47.

(17) In the case of Poole v. Longuevill, 2 Saund. 289. the contrary was determined, but that case was overruled in 2 Lutw. 1580. and the result of the cases seems to be, that if a stranger's beasts escape into another's land, by default of the owner of the beasts, as by breaking the fences, otherwise sufficient, they may be distrained for rent immediately, without being levant and couchant; but that if they escape, there by default of the tenant of the land, or for want of his keeping a sufficient fence, then they cannot be distrained for rent or service of any kind till they have been levant and couchant, nor afterwards by a landlord for rent on a lease, unless the owner of the beasts neglect or refuse, after actual notice, to remove them within a reasonable time; but it is said, that such notice is not necessary where the distress is by the lord of the fee, or by the grantee of a rent-charge. 2 Lutw. 1573. Co. Litt. 47. b. n. 3. Gilb. Dis. by Hunt, 3d edit. 45. 2 Saund. 290. n. 7. 285. n. 4. See further, Vin. Ab. Fences. Chitty.

(18) A stocking frame, Willes, 512. or a loom, 4 T. R. 565, being implements of trade, cannot be distrained; but it must be observed, that utensils and implements of trade may be distrained where they are not in actual use, and no other sufficient distress can be found on the premises. Co. Litt. 47. a. 4 T. R. 565. And it should seem, that if there be reasonable ground for presuming there are not sufficient other goods, the party may distrain implements of trade, and is not bound to sell the other goods first. 6 Price Rep. 3. 2 Chitty's R. 167. And this rule of exemption does. not extend to cases where a distress is given in the nature of an execution by any particular statute, as for poor-rates and the like, 3 Salk. 136. 1 Burr. 579. Lord Raym. 384 1 Salk, 249. S. C.; nor where the distress is for damage-feasant. Com. Dig. Distress, B. 4. Chilty, 2


dead goods, or other sort of beasts, which Bracton calls catalla otiosa, may be distreined. But as beasts of the plough may be taken in execution for debt, so they may be for distresses by statute, which partake of the nature of executions. (y) 19 And perhaps the true reason, why these and the tools of a man's trade were privileged at the common law, was because the distress was then merely intended to compel the payment of the rent, and not as a satisfaction for its non-payment: and therefore, to deprive the party of the instruments and means of paying it, would counteract the very end of the distress. (z) 5. Nothing shall be distreined for rent, which may not be rendered again in as good plight as when it was distreined: for which

reason milk, fruit, and the like, cannot be distreined, a distress at [10] common law being only in the nature of a pledge or security, to be


restored in the same plight when the debt is paid." So, anciently, sheaves or shocks of corn could not be distreined, because some damage must needs accrue in their removal, but a cart loaded with corn might; as that could be safely restored. But now by statute 2 W. & M. c. 5. corn in sheaves or cocks, or loose in the straw, or hay in barns or ricks, or otherwise, may be distreined as well as other chattels. 6. Lastly, things fixed to the freehold may not be distreined; as caldrons, windows, doors, and chimney-pieces: for they savour of the realty. For this reason also, corn growing could not be distreined; till the statute 11 Geo. II. c. 19. empowered landlords to distrein corn, grass, or other products of the earth, and to cut and gather them when ripe.3



Let us next consider, thirdly, how distresses may be taken, disposed of, or avoided. And, first, I must premise, that the law of distresses is greatly altered within a few years last past. Formerly, they were looked upon in no other light than as a mere pledge or security, for payment of rent or other duties, or satisfaction for damage done. And so the law still continues with regard to distresses of beasts taken damage-feasant, and for other causes, not altered by act of parliament; over which the distreinor has no other power than to retain them till satisfaction is made. But distresses for rent-arrere being found by the legislature to be the shortest and most effectual method of compelling the payment of such rent, many beneficial laws for this purpose have been made in the present century; which have much altered the common law, as laid down in our ancient writers. y 1 Burr. 589,

(19) Supra, note 15.

z Ibid. 588.

(20) Money, unless in a bag, cannot be distrained. Roll. Abt. 667.

(21) This provision extends to corn in whatever state it may be, whether thrashed or unthrashed, 1 Lutw. 214.; and, as observed by Mr. Bradby, inasmuch as this statute directs the distress to be sold, unless replevied within five days, perhaps the rule of the ancient common law, with respect to the perishable nature of the distress, no longer extends in the case of a distress for rent, to any thing which is not liable to deterioration within the five days. Bradby on Distr. 213. A sale by a landlord of standing corn, taken as a distress before it is ripe, is void, and the tenant need not replevy, neither can he sue the seller, in an action on the case, for selling such corn before the expiration of five days. 3 B: & A. 470. Chitty.

(22) Co. Litt. 47. b. This rule extends to such things as are essentially parts of the freehold, although for a time removed therefrom, as a millstone, removed to be picked, Bro. Ab. Distress, pl. 23. 4 T. R. 567.; as to what are fixtures, see 2 Chit. Com. Law, 268. Com. Dig. Biens. H. Chitty's Law of Descents, 256, 7. 4 Moore, 281. 440. 2 D. & R. 1. 5 B. & A. 826. 2 Stark. 403. 2 B. & C. 608. 4 D. & R. 62. S. C. 1 M'Clelan Rep. Ex. 217.

(23) The act applies only to corn and other produce of the land which may become ripe, and are capable of being cut and laid up; therefore trees, shrubs, and plants, growing on land which the defendant had demised to the plaintiffs for a term, and which they had converted into a nur sery ground, and planted subsequently to the demise, were held not distrainable by the former for rent, 2 Moore, 491. 8 Taunt. 431. 5. C. 9 Moore, 114. S. P.; and see ante, note 18. as to time of sale. 3 B. & A. 470,

In pointing out therefore the methods of distreining, I shall in general suppose the distress to be made for rent; and remark, where necessary, the differences between such distress, and one taken for other causes.


In the first place then, all distresses must be made by day," unless in the case of damage-feasant; an exception being there al [11] lowed, lest the beasts should escape before they are taken. (a) And, when a person intends to make a distress, he must, by himself or his bail. iff, enter on the demised premises; formerly during the continuance of the lease, but now, (b) if the tenant holds over, the landlord may distrein within six months after the determination of the lease; provided his own title or interest, as well as the tenant's possession, continue at the time of the distress. If the lessor does not find sufficient distress on the premises, formerly he could resort no where else; and therefore tenants, who were knavish, made a practice to convey away their goods and stock fraudulently from the house or lands demised, in order to cheat their landlords. But now (c) the landlord may distrein any goods of his tenant, carried off the premises clandestinely, wherever he finds them within thirty days after, unless they have been bona fide sold for a valuable consideration: and all persons privy to, or assisting in, such fraudulent conveyance, forfeit double the value to the landlord." The landlord may also distrein the beasts of his tenant, feeding upon any commons or wastes, appendant or appurte nant to the demised premises." The landlord might not formerly break open a house, to make a distress, for that is a breach of the peace. But when he was in the house, it was held that he might break open an innerdoor; (d) and now (e) he may, by the assistance of the peace-officer of the parish, break open in the day-time any place, whither the goods have been fraudulently removed and locked up to prevent a distress; oath being first made, in case it be a dwelling-house, of a reasonable ground to suspect that such goods are concealed therein.


b Stat. 8 Ann. c. 14.

d Co. Litt. 161. Comberb. 17.


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(24) Mirrour, c. 2. s. 26. see also 7 Rep. 7. a. The distress cannot be made till the day after the rent falls due, unless, indeed, there be any agreement or local custom to the contrary. Gilb. Dis. 56. &c. Hargrave's Co. Litt. 47. b. n. 6. The distress must not be made after tender of payment of the entire rent due. According to 8 Co. 147. a. Gilb. Dist. by Hunt, 76, &c. 3 Stark. 171. 1 Taunt. 261. tender upon the land before the distress, makes the distress fortious; tender after the distress and before the impounding makes the detainer, and not the taking, wrongful; tender after impounding makes neither the one nor the other wrongful, but in the case of a distress for rent upon the equity of the 2 W. & M. c. 5.; a sale of the distress, after tender of the rent and costs, would be illegal. Chilty.

(25) Ante 8. n. 8. Although this proviso is in terms confined to the possession of the tenant, yet it has been holden, that where the tenant dies before the term expires and his personal representative continue in possession during the remainder and after the expiration of the term, the landlord may distrain within six calendar months after the end of the term for rent due for the whole term. 1 H. Bla. 465. And in 1 H. Bla. 7. n. a. it was holden, that the term was continued by the custom of the country for the purpose of giving a right to the landlord to distrain on the premises in which the way going crop remained. See I Selw. N. P. 6 ed. 681.

(26) See 11 Geo. II. c. 19. sects. 1, 2, 3. The act is remedial not penal, 9 Price, 30. It ap plies to the goods of the tenant only which are fraudulently removed, and not those of a stranger, SM. & S. 38. And the rent must be in arrear at the time of the removal. 1 Saund. 284. a. 3 Esp. 15. 2 Saund. 2. n. b. sed vid. 4. Camp. 136.

(27) If the lord come to distrain cattle which he sees within his fee, and the tenant or any person, to prevent the lord from distraining, drive the cattle out of the lord's fee into some other place, yet he may pursue and take the cattle. Co. Litt. 161. a. But this rule does not hold to distresses damage-feasant, which must be made on the land. Id.

(28) The distress may be made through the windows if open. 1 Rol. 671. Com. Dig. Distress, a. 3. A padlock put on a barn-door cannot be forced open for the purpose of distraining. Ca. T. Hard. 168. 9 Vin. Ab. 128. pl. 6. sed vid. 1 Sid. 186. 1 Keb. 698. S. C. Bac. Ab. tit. Sheriff N. 3. A latch of an outer-door cannot be opened. Dalt. $50.

Where a man is entitled to distrein for an entire duty, he ought to distrein for the whole at once; and not for part at one time, and part at another. (f)" But if he distreins for the whole, and there is not suf [12] ficient on the premises, or he happens to mistake in the value of

the thing distreined, and so takes an insufficient distress, he may take a second distress to complete his remedy. (g)

Distresses must be proportioned to the thing distreined for. By the statute of Marlbridge, 52 Hen. III. c. 4. if any man takes a great or unreasonable distress, for rent-arrere, he shall be heavily amerced for the same. As if (h) the landlord distreins two oxen for twelve-pence rent; the taking of both is an unreasonable distress; but, if there were no other distress nearer the value to be found, he might reasonably have distreined one of them; but for homage, fealty, or suit and service, as also for parliamentary wages, it is said that no distress can be excessive. (i) For as these distresses cannot be sold, the owner, upon making satisfaction, may have his chattels again. The remedy for excessive distresses is by a spe cial action on the statute of Marlbridge, for an action of trespass is not maintainable upon this account, it being no injury at the common law. (j) 30 When the distress is thus taken, the next consideration is the disposal of it. For which purpose the things distreined must in the first place be carried to some pound, and there impounded by the taker. But, in their way thither, they may be rescued by the owner, in case the distress was taken without cause, or contrary to law: as if no rent be due; if they were taken upon the highway, or the like; in these cases the tenant may lawfully make rescue. (k) But if they be once impounded, even though taken without any cause, the owner may not break the pound and take them out; for they are then in the custody of the law. (1) 31

A pound (parcus, which signifies any inclosure) is either pound-overt, that is, open overhead; or pound-covert, that is, close. By the statute 1 & 2 P. & M. c. 12. no distress of cattle can be driven out of the hundred where it is taken, unless to a pound-overt within the same [13] shire; and within three miles of the place where it was taken.


This is for the benefit of the tenants, that they may know where to find and replevy the distress. And by statute 11 Geo. II. c. 19. which was made for the benefit of landlords, any person distreining for rent may turn any part of the premises, upon which a distress is taken, into a pound,

f2 Lutw. 1532. g Cro. Eliz. 13. Stat. 17 Car. II. c. 7. 1 Burr. 590.
i Bro. Abr. t. assise, 291. prerogative. 98.
j 1 Ventr. 104. Fitzgibb. 85. 4 Burr. 590. k Co. Lit. 160, 161.

h 2 Inst. 107.
1 lbid. 47.

(29) It may be as well here to observe, that if a landlord come into a house and seize upon some goods as a distress, in the name of all the goods of the house, that will be a good seizure of all. 6 Mod. 215. 9 Vin. Ab. 127. But a fresh distress may be made on the same goods, which have been replevied, for subsequent arrears of rent. 1 Taunt. 218. So if the cattle distrained die in the pound, the loss will fall on the party distrained on, and not upon the distrainor. Burr. 1738. 1 Salk. 248. 11 East, 54.

(30) And see 2 Stra. 851. 3 Leo. 48. See exceptions, 1 Burr. 582. 1 H. Bla. 13. 9 East, 298. It is no bar to this action, that between the distress and sale of the goods distrained, the parties came to an arrangement respecting the sale, 1 Bing. 401. 4 D. & R. 539. 2 B. & C. 821. S. C.; and the action is sustainable though there was a tender of the rent before the distress was made. 2 D. & R. 250. Where more rent is distrained for than is due, the remedy is at common law, and is not founded on the 52 Hen. 3. c. 4.; nor on the 2 W. & M. c. 5. s. 5. Stra. 851. Where no rent is due, the owner of the goods distrained may, in an action of trespass on the case, recover double the value of the goods and full costs. 2 W. & M. sess. 1. c. 5. s. 5. Chitty. (31) As to what is a pound breach and the law thereon, see post 146.

(32) At common law, and by stat. Marlbridge, c. 4. it was punishable to convey the distress out of the country. Gilb. 223.

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