Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

tained 10). 5. Lastly, for several duties and penalties inflicte à by specia acts of parliament (as for assessments made by commissioners of sew. ers (o), or for the relief of the poor) (p), remedy by distress and sale is given; for the particulars of which we must have recourse to the statutes themselves remarking only, that such distress (9) are partly analogous to the ancient distress at common law, as being repleviable and the like but more resembling the common law process of execution, by seizing and selling the goods of the debtor under a writ of fieri facias, of which here.


2. Secondly, as to the things which may be distrained, or taken in distress (11), we may lay it down as a general rule, that all chattels person al are liable to be distrained, unless particularly protected or exempted. Instead therefore of mentioning what things are distrainable, it will be easier to recount those which are not so, with the reason of their particular exemptions (r). And, 1. As every thing which is distrained is presumed to be the property of the wrongdoer, it will follow that such things wherein no man can have an absolute and valuable property (as dogs,

(0) Stat. 7 Ann. o. 10.

(p) Stat. 43 Eliz. c. 2.

(10) See law of New-York, 2 R. S. 517. (11) Besides the rules in the text, it is a maxim of law, that goods in the custody of the law cannot be distrained; thus goods distrained, damage-feasant, cannot be distrained, Co. Litt. 47. a.; so goods taken in execution, Willes, 131; but the goods so taken must be removed from the premises within a reasonable time, or they will not be protected, 1 Price, 277. 1 M. & S. 711; however, growing corn, sold under a writ of fi. fa., cannot be distrained, unless the purchaser, allow it to remain uncut an unreasonable time after it is ripe, 2 B. & B. 362. 5 Moore, 97. S. C.; but goods, taken under a void outlawry, are liable distress. 7 T. R. 259. For the protection ⚫ landlords, by the 8 Ann. c. 14. s. 1. no goods taken in execution upon any premises demised, can be removed until rent, not exceeding one year's arrear, be paid. Under this act the sheriff is bound to satisfy the rent in the first instance. 4 Moore, 473. In cases to which the statute applies, the landlord is entitled to be paid his whole rent, without deducting poundage, 1 Stra. 643; rent only due at the time of the levy can be obtained under the act, 1 M. & S. 245. 1 Price, 274; but forehand rent, or rent stipulated to be paid in advance, may be chtained, 7 Price, 690; so rent that falls due on the day of the levy, Tidd. Prac. 8th edit. 1054. After the landlord has had one year's rent paid him, he is not entitled to another upon a second execution, 2 Stra. 1024. 2 B. & B 362. 5 Moore, 97. S. C., unless, as we have just seen, the goods be not removed within a reasonable time. The ground landlord is not within the act, where there is an execution against the under lessee. 2 Stra. 787. If the sheriff remove the goods without payment of the rent, and after notice and a formal demand of the rent, an action on the tase lies against him. Vin. A. Dist. c. 3.

See accordingly in New-York, 1 R. S. 746, 12, &c.

(q) 1 Burr. 539.

(r) Co. Litt. 47

Stra. 97. 3 B. & A. 440. But no specific and formal notice 13 necessary. 3 B. & A. 645. 4 Moore, 473. 2 B. & B. 67. S. C. The action lies, though part only of the goods be removed, 1 Moore, 473. 2 B. & B. 67. S. C.: but the landlord's consenting to the removal waives his remedy. 3 Camp. 24. An executor or administrator, 1 Stra. 212. or a trustee of an outstanding satisfied term to attend the inheritance, may sue. 4 Moore, 473. 2 B. & B. 67. S. C. Instead of an action, the landlord may move the court out of which the execu tion issued, that he may be paid what is due to him out of the money levied, and in the she riff's hands, Cas. Tem. Hardw. 255. 2 Wils. 140; and the court will grant the motion, though the sheriff had no notice of the rent due till after the removal. 3 B. & A. 440, and see further on this point, Tidd's Prac. 8th edit. 1053, 4, 5.

The recent bankrupt act provides, that in case of bankruptcy, no distress made after act of bankruptcy shall be available for more than a year's rent, but the landlord may prove for the excess. 1 Geo. IV. c. 16. sect. 74. and see

ante, 2 book, 473.†

For the protection of landlords, by the 50 Geo. III. c. 50, no sheriff or other officer shall carry off, or sell or dispose of, for the purpose of being carried off from any lands, any straw, chaff, or turnips, in any case, nor any hay or other produce, which, according to any cove nant or written agreement, ought not to be so carried off, provided notice be given to the sheriff of the existence of such covenant; bu. by 3d section, the sheriff may sell, on condi tion of such crops being consumed on the land. The 6th section provides, that landlords shall not distrain for rent on the purchaser of any such crops, sold according to 3d section; nor on articles or cattle, &c. employed for the purpose of consuming such crops.

+ See 2 R. S. 39. 28. corresponding pro vision under the insolvent laws of Ne-Yorb

8] cats, rabbits, and *all animals fere nature) cannot be distrain ed. Yet if deer (which are fera natura) are kept in a private in closure for the purpose of sale or profit, this so far changes their nature, by reducing them to a kind of stock or merchandize, that they may be distrained for rent (s). 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 distrained for rent-arrere; and also, if a horse, though a man be riding him, be taken damage-feasant, or trespassing in another's grounds, the horse (notwith standing his rider) may be distrained and led away to the pound (13). Valuable things in the way of trade shall not be liable to distress. As a horse standing in a smith shop to be shoed, or in a common inn; or cloth at a tailor'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 (14). 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 distrainable by him for rent: for otherwise a door would be open to infinite frauds upon the landlord; and the stranger has his (s) Davis v. Powl. C. B Hil. 11 Geo. II. (12).

(12) See this case fully reported, Willes Rep. 46.

(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 13. Cro. Eliz. $50. So a loom cannot be distrained while in the hands of the weaver, Willes, 517; or wearing apparel, if in actual use; but if put off, though only for the purpose of repo, it is liable to be distrained. 1 Esp. Rep. 200. Peake's Rep. 36. S. C.

() As to this exception in favour of trade, see ilb. Dis. by Hunt, 39; so cattle and 300 of a guest at an inn are not distrainable o sent, but a chariot or horses standing at livery are not exempt. 2 Burr. 1498. Mr. Sergt. Wi'iams, 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 he public interest." Tate v. Gleed, C. P. Hil. 24 Geo. Ili Gilb. Dis. by Hunt, 47. was before beld, that cattle going to London


(t) 1 Sid. 440.

and put into a close with the consent of the landlord and leave of the tenant, to graze for a night, might be distrained by the landlord for rent, 3 Lev. 260. 2 Vent. 50. 2 Lutw. 1161; but the owner of the cattle was after wards relieved in equity on the ground of frau dulent connivance and concealment of the de mand for rent by the landlord, and he was de creed to pay all costs both of law and equity 2 Vern. 129. Prec. Ch. 7. Gilb. Dis. by Hunt. 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 privilege 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 consign or, 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 owner. 2 Lutw. 1380 Goods in possession of a carrier are also exempt, and this thoug the carrier be not a public on 1 Salk. 249

remedy over by action on the case against the tenant, if by the tenant's default the chattels are distrained, so that he cannot render then when called upon (15). With regard to a stranger's beasts which are found cr 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 distrainable immediately afterwards for rent-arrere by the landlord (v). So also if the stranger's cattle break the fences, and coinmit a trespass by coming on the land, they are distrainable immediately by the lessor for his tenant rent, as a punishment to the owner of the beasts for the wrong committed through his negligence (u). But if the lands were not *suffi- [ * ] ciently fenced so as to keep out cattle, the landlord cannot distrain 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 of 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 distrainable 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 advan tage of his own or his tenant's wrong (71). 3. There are also other things privileged by the ancient common law; as a man's tools and vensils 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 common

(v) Cro. Eliz. 549. (u) Co. Litt. 47.

(15) As if horses or cattle are sent to agist, they may be immediately distrained by the landlord 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 public place, 3 Burr. 1498; so upon the same principle the goods of lodgers, or any other person, on 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 lodge, 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 andlord

(w) Lutw. 1580.

(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, o 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. further, Vin. Ab. Fences


wealth in us station (18). So, beasts of the plough (19), averia carucae and sheep, are privileged from distresses, at common law (x), while dead goods, or other sort of beasts, which Bracton calls catalla otiosa, may be distrained. But as beasts of the plough may be taken in execution for debt so they may be for distress by statute, which partake of the nature of executions (y). 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 (2) 5. Nothing shall be distrained for rent, which may not be rendered again in as good plight as when it was distrained.

for which reason milk, fruit, and the like, cannot be distrained, a [10] distress at common law being only in the nature of 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 distrained, because some damage must needs accure 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 distrained, as well as other chattels (20), (21). 6. Lastly, things fixed to the freehold may not be distrained; and caldrons, windows, doors, and chimney-pieces: for they savour of the realty (22),

(x) Stat. 51 Hen. III. st. 4. de districtiones caccania.

(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-1ates 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.

(19) In actual use, but not otherwise. 4 T. R. 566 Also see 2 Inst. 132, where other authorities are collected. The modern case just cited contains much learning upon what is, and what is not, with reference to the freehold, distrainable.

(20) See accordingly in New-York, 2 R. S. 501, 10, pt. 2.

(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 ine distress to be sold, unless replevied within five days, pernaps 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 iable to deterioration within the five days. Bradby on Distr. 213. A sale by a landlord of

(y) 1 Burr. 589.
(z) Ibid. 588.

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 ex piration of five days. 3 B. & A. 470.

(22) But if annexed for the purpose of trade or manufacture, and not fixed into the wall so as to be necessary for its support, they are distrainable in New-York. (2 R. S. 510, 10, pt. 2). By 2 R. S. 510, 10, whatever is ex empt from execution is exempt from distress. (see specifications below). Beasts of the plough, sheep, and the implements of a me chanic's trade, cannot be distrained for rent, if other sufficient property can be found. (Id. 502.

13). A landlord cannot distrain for rent personal property deposited, hired, or lent with his consent to the tenant, nor property of a stranger accidentally straying on the premises, or deposited with a tavern-keeper, or the keep. er of any warehouse in the usual course of bu siness, or deposited with any one to be repair ed or manufactured, (id. 502. § 14); the officer distraining is not, however, liable for taking the property mentioned in the last section without notice. The property exempt from execution and distress by 2 R. S. 367, 22, is the follow ing, when owned by a householder, and the moveable articles continue exempt while the owner or his family is removing: viz. 1. All spinning wheels, weaving looms, and stoves put up or kept for use in any dwelling house 2. The family bible, family pictures, and schoo books used in the family; and books of the family not exceeding 50 dollars in value. 3 A seat or pew in a church occupied by th family. 4. Ten sheep with their fleeces, and the yarn or cloth manufactured from them

23). For this reason also corn growing could not be dis rained; ti!! the statute 11 Geo. II. c. 19. empowered landlords to distrain corn, grass, or other products of the earth, and to cut and gather them when ripe (24), (25).

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 upor in no other light than as a mere pledge or security, for payment of ren: 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 distrainor has no other power than to retain them till satisfaction is made (26). 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.

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


*In the first place then, all distresses must be made by day (27), [ *11 ] unless in the case of damage-feasant; an exception being there allowed, 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 bailiff, enter on the demised premises; formerly during the continuance of the lease, but now (b), if the tenant holds over, the landlord may distrain within six months after the determination of the lease; provided his own

(a) Co. Litt. 142.

one cow, two swine, and their necessary food: Al necessary pork, beef, fish, flour, and vegetades actually provided for the family; and fuel ecessary for the family for 60 days. 5. All secessary wearing apparel, beds, bedsteads nd bedding for the family; arms and accou.rements required to be kept by law; necessary cooking utensils; one table, six chairs, six knives and forks, plates, teacups and saucers, and spoons; one sugar dish. milk pot, teapot, crane and its appendages, one pair of andirons, and a shovel and tongs. 6. The tools and implements of a mechanic necessary for his trade not exceeding 25 dollars in value. (Id. 367, 22).

(23) 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. BroAb. 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.

(24) 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

(b) Stat. 8 Ann. c. 14

converted into a nursery ground, and planted subsequently to the demise, were held not dis trainable by the former for rent, 2 Moore, 491 8 Taunt. 431. S. C. 3 Moore, 114. S. P., and see ante, note 18. as to time of sale. 3 B. & A. 470.

(25) In New-York, the produce of the soil, or articles annexed to the freehoid, cannot be removed till sold. (2 R. S. 502, § 11.)

(26) In New-York they may be sold by the sheriff or keeper of the pound. (2 R. S. 518. 5, 13).


(27) Mirrour, c. 2. s. 26. see also 7 Rep. 7 The distress cannot be made till the day after the rent falls due, unless, indeed, there be any agreement or local custom to the con trary. Gilb. Dist. 56, &c. Hargrave's Co. Lit. 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 tortious; tender after the distress, and before the impounding, makes the detainer, and not the taking, wrong ful; 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.

« EdellinenJatka »