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ginia, 97 copies, beside the many individual subscribers in the same cities. The publisher of this edition also informs us that there had already been imported into America 1000 copies of the English edition, up to that time, at £10 a set; yet he was ready, before the completion of his own, to print a second American edition in quarto at $3 a volume, his octavo edition having been sold at $2 a volume. He also printed in 1773 Blackstone's controversies with Priestly and others, as "An Interesting Appendix to the Commentaries." It is from a copy of this volume that I take the announcement of the proposed quarto edition above referred to. Whether that edition was ever printed is very doubtful; I have never seen or heard of a copy, and the New England edition of 1799 is expressly called a "Second American Edition" on the title page. But even without it there is abundant evidence of the immediate absorption of nearly 2500 copies of the Commentaries in the thirteen colonies, before the Declaration of Independence. The natural result must have been that this work became at once the standard authority upon law in every American court, and especially in the great number of small courts of original common-law jurisdiction by which the knowledge of that law was most widely diffused. The effect was, that upon all questions, of private law at least, this work stood for the law itself throughout the country, and at least for a generation to come exercised an influence upon the jurisprudence of the new nation, which no other work has since enjoyed, and to which no other work can possibly now attain.

It would be easy to furnish proof of this, if needful. Even upon our statute law the influence of Blackstone is deeply stamped. Almost every revision and code of American statutes which makes any effort at systematic arrangement, other than mere alphabetical or chronological order, divides the law in conformity with Black

stone's arrangement of rights.* A still clearer proof, to which I have referred already, is the manner in which Blackstone's doctrines are discussed by the earliest writers upon the American law. He was also the chief authority quoted in the few law schools of this early period.†

But it is in the reports of American courts that we find the clearest evidence of their overshadowing influence in the construction of American law. They are cited, quoted, approved, and sometimes criticised or disputed, in a manner peculiar to themselves. The

"The most natural and convenient general distribution of legislation [and indeed among free people of all law], is into that which concerns the ordinary administration of the government; that which concerns the rights of individuals with respect to their persons and property; and that which concerns the special functions of the government to prevent and punish the commission of crimes and other offenses against society. The laws belonging to each of these heads are again primarily divided into declaratory and remedial laws; but as the genius of our institutions forbids the creation of special remedies on behalf of the administration of the government, except in the very rare cases where the ordinary remedies will not suffice, the remedial laws of the first head are generally undistinguishable, in their practical operation, from those of the second and third. Thus the appropriate grand divisions of our legislature. ... simply represent the four parts into which the present Revised Statutes are divided, the declaratory and the remedial statutes concerning crimes and public offenses having been condensed by the revisers into one part for reasons of convenience merely, which are equally operative now, as they depend upon the small bulk of those statutes, as compared with the statutes belonging to the other divisions. We propose, accordingly, to divide the new Revised Statutes into four parts, and to style them respectively: the Political Code, the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, and the Penal Code. .. Perhaps the titles of these parts would more accurately indicate their subjects, if they were styled the Code of Government, the Code of Civil Rights, the Code of Civil Remedies, and the Code of Crimes and Punishments. This is the primary division originally adopted by the original revisers. It also corresponds, as the revisers stated in their report, with the general division of subjects among the four books of Blackstone's Commentaries." (Report of N. Y. Code Commission Assembly Documents, 1871, No. 17, pp. 9, 10.)

The writer has in his possession a manuscript volume of notes taken at the famous Litchfield Law School, the first one which obtained any permanent success, although not the first in point of time. These notes, very carefully taken, no doubt represent the exact teaching of the eminent judges, who conducted the school at that time, A. D. 1817. There are numerous citations of authority, such as Co. Litt., Buller's Nisi Prius, and the English reports of the eighteenth century, with the score or so of volumes that then constituted allbrary of American reports. But the references to Blackstone not only outnumber those to any other book, but may be safely said to outnumber all the rest together. They occur upon every page, and are made in a way to leave no doubt of the position then held in legal education by the Commentaries.



In this chapter we shall take a short view of the antient tenures of our English estates, or the manner in which lands, tenements and hereditaments might have been holden; as the same stood in force, till the middle of the last century. In which we shall easily perceive, that all the particularities, all the seeming and real hardships, that attended those tenures, were to be accounted for upon feodal principles and no other; being fruits of, and deduced from, the feodal policy.*

Almost all the real property of this kingdom is by the policy of our laws supposed to be granted by, dependent upon and holden of some superior3 lord, by and in consideration of certain services to be rendered to the lord by the tenant or possessor of this property. The thing holden is therefore stiled a tenement, the possessors thereof tenants, and the manner of their possession a tenure. [See note 18, page 133.] Thus fall the land in the kingdom is supposed to be holden, mediately or iminediately, of the king; who is stiled the lord paramount, or above all. Such tenants as held under the king immediately, when they granted out portions of their lands to inferior persons, became also lords with respect to those inferior persons, as they were still tenants with respect to the king; and thus partaking of a middle nature, were called mesne, or middle, lords. So that if the king granted a manor to A, and he granted a portion of the land to B, now B was said to hold [60] of A, and A of the king; or in other words, B held his lands immediately of A, but mediately of 3 Prior editions insert here, "or."

* Cited, 2 Duval, 222,

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the king. The king therefore was stiled lord paramount; A was both tenant and lord, or was a mesne lord; and B was called tenant paravail, or the lowest tenant; being he who was 5 supposed to make avail, or profit, of the land.a* In this manner are all the lands of the kingdom holden, which are in the hands of subjects: for according to sir Edward Coke, in the law of England we have not properly allodium; which, we have seen is the name by which the feudists abroad distinguish such estates of the subject, as are not holden of any superior. So that at the first glance we may observe, that our lands are either plainly feuds, or partake very strongly of the feodal nature.

All tenures being thus derived, or supposed to be derived, from the king, those that held immediately under him, in right of his crown and dignity, were called his tenants in capite, or in chief; which was the most honourable species of tenure, but at the same time subjected the tenants to greater and more burthensome services, than inferior tenures did. This distinction ran through all the different sorts of tenure; of which I now proceed to give an account.

I. There seem to have subsisted among our ancestors four principal species of lay tenures, to which all others may be reduced: the grand criteria 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; a 2 Inst. 296.

b 1 Inst. 1.

c pag. 47.

d In the Germanic constitution, the electors, the bishops, the secular princes, the imperial cities, etc., which hold directly from the emperor, are called the immediate states of the empire; all other landholders being denominated mediate ones. Mod. Un. Hist. xlii.


5 First, second, and third editions read "is." Fourth edition omits.

+-* Quoted, 6 N. Y. 498; 57 Am. Dec. 479.

+ Cited, 6 Conn. 500, to show that lands in that state are allodial.

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 [61] 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 the 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 a stated annual rent, or to plough such a field for three days. The uncertain depended upon unknown contingencies: as, to do military service in person, or pay an assessment in lieu of it, when called upon; or to wind a horn whenever the Scots invaded the realm; which are free services: or to do whatever the lord should command; which is a base or villein service.

From the various combinations of these services have arisen the four kinds of lay tenure which subsisted in England, till the middle of the last century; and three of which subsist to this day. Of these Bracton (who wrote under Henry the third) seems to give the clearest and most compendious account, of any author antient or modern; of which the following is the outline or abstract. "Tenements are of two kinds, frank-tenement, and villenage. And, of franktenements, some are held freely in consideration of homage and knight-service; others in free-socage with the service of fealty only." And again,s "of villenages

e l. 4. tr. 1. c. 28.

1 Tenementorum aliud liberum, aliud villenagium. Item, liberorum aliud tenetur libere pro homagio et servitio militari; aliud in libero socagio cum fidelitate tantum, ¿ 1.

g Villenagiorum aliud purum, aliud privilegiatum. Qui tenet in puro villenagio faciet quicquid ei præceptum fuerit, et semper tenebitur ad incerta. Aliud genus villenagii dicitur villanum socagium; et hujusmodi villani socmanni — villana faciunt servitia, sed certa et determinata, i 5.

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