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from the vassal in cases of distress happening to furnish a certain number for the service of the his lord, now became an unavoidable tax. An sovereign; and in those from the nobility to their aid formerly was demanded when the superior's vassals, the like service was required. Even the eldest daughter was married, when his eldest son commons who had grants from the crown furwas knighted, or when he himself was taken pri- nished a certain proportion of knights. The soner in battle. These were the only legal causes force of the nation was called into action by of making a demand of this kind : but in the grants in capite, or from the sovereign and nosubsequent times of degeneracy, the most fri- bility. A numerous and powerful army was involous pretences were made use of by the prince stantly assembled, and at once ready for action. to oppress the lords, and by the lords to oppress Of this army the king was the general, the notheir vassals; demanding subsidies at pleasure, bility the officers, and the vassals soldiers; the which their inferiors were always obliged to com- whole being exactly arranged, and capable of ply with. Lastly, the escheat, which in former entering upon any expedition without the least times, took place only in cases of cowardice, delay. Thus a remedy was found in some meatreachery, or some other heinous crime, was now sure for the weakness of the feudal sovereigns;
vassal happened to be too long in attending the this, it could not bring back the former affection court of his superior to take the oath of fealty; and cordiality, which had subsisted between the if he committed any action which could in the various ranks of people. On the contrary, by least be construed an infringement of the oath; uniting them more firmly to one another by legaliif he neglected to give his lord warning of any ties, it rendered matters rather worse. But the opmisfortune which he might suppose was about to pression originating from the operation of the befal him; revealed any thing concerning him ; feudal incidents, still continued with unremitting made love to his sister or daughter, &c.; or violence. The grants of knight's tenure were even if he should grant a tenure of land to ano- attended with the same oaths of homage and ther person in form different from that in which fealty; the same incidents of relief, wardship, he held his own; all these, nay others still more marriage, aid, and escheat, with the feudal tenures. ridiculous, were judged sufficient reasons for the The princes promised to abate somewhat of their superior to seize on the estate of the vassal, and rigor in demanding the feudal perquisites, but involve him and his family in ruin. Notwith- did not keep their word. Laws were occastanding these oppressions, however, the vassal sionally promulgated, and for some time bad an was still obliged to submit to his lord ; to own effect; but palliatives soon became ineffectual, him as his superior; and even, in appearance, to and a new state of weakness began to commence. pay him the same respect as formerly, when the The two remarkable eras in the feudal history greatest unanimity and cordial affection subsisted are, the time before the invention of knight-serbetween them. Still he was obliged to perform vice (See KNIGHT), and that during which it the same military service; because failure in that continued. Fiefs were in a state of fluctuation respect would have subjected him to a forfeiture from the destruction of the Roman empire till of lands according to the original agreement. A the ninth century; but they were rendered pervast difference, however, now took place in the petual in France about A. D. 877, and were valor and activity which inspired the army. The generally become so in every country of Europe vassals, forced into the field with desponding about the beginning of the tenth. Du Cange, hearts, were indifferent as to the success of the voce Militia, gives us an example of a knight-fee cause in which they were engaged, and fre- in A. D. 880. By the year 987, when Hugh quently obstructed instead of forwarding the ope- Capet was raised to the throne of France, knight rations of the field. Hence the sovereign found service was become general all over Europe, and himself embarrassed ; and, though nominally at was introduced into England after having made the head of a martial and powerful people, was its appearance in other countries. Dr. Stuart frequently unable to effect any thing by reason of informs us, that it appears from the records of the mutual hatred and dissension which every Malcolm IV. in 1153, that knight-service was where prevailed.
known in Scotland, and that it was a novelty at Thus the feudal states of Europe became un- that time. He thinks it even probable that it was
it is remarkable, that the same remedy was ap- however, there have been several doubts and plied all over the continent. This was, the enquiries among the learned concerning the inmaking fiefs hereditary, which till now had only troduction of the feudal laws. Many are of been granted for a long term of years; and, in opinion that they were first introduced by William return, burdening the lands with a certain num- the Conqueror; and, consequently, that they ber of soldiers, which were not to be refused were entirely unknown to the Anglo-Saxons: but upon any pretence whatever. Hence was de- others think, that they existed among the latter rived the tenure of knight-service. A certain in the same form under which they were conportion of land, burdened with the service of tinued by the Normans. Dr. Stuart is of opinion one soldier or knight, was called a knight's fee; that the Saxons who settled in England could and thus an estate, furnishing any number of not be strangers to fiefs. He supposes the consoldiers, was said to contain as many knight's formity of manners, which undoubtedly prevailed fees; so that now the manors, baronies, &c., be- between the Saxons and other barbarians, a sufficame powerful according to the number of sol- cient proof that the hereditary grant of land, as diers they were bound to furnish. In the grants well as the Auctuating state of feudal tenures from the crown, the nobility were obliged to which preceded it, was known to the former. Collateral proofs are derived from the spirit and an exact account o all the landed property of tenure of the Anglo-Saxon laws, but especially the kingdom. Hence it is to be concluded, not from the grants of hereditary estates on condition that William introduced fiefs into England, as of military service. The condition of fiefs under some have imagined, but that he brought them the Anglo-Saxons was very different from what it to their ultimate state of perfectiou by the introwas afterwards. In their times we find no men- duction of knight-service. This is evident from tion made of those oppressions of which so much the laws enacted during his reign. In these it notice has already been taken; and this may is not only mentioned that knight-service was eneasily be accounted for from the alteration of acted, but that it was done expressly with the conthe feudal spirit in different ages. During the sent of the common council of the nation; which time that a warm and generous affection sub- at that time was equivalent to an act of parliasisted between the feudal superiors and vassals, ment. The invention of knight-service proved the incidents were marks of generosity on the generally agreeable ; for, as only a few of the one part and gratitude on the other; but as soon Anglo Saxon fiefs were hereditary, the advanceas variance had taken place, by reason of the ment of the rest to perpetuity, under the tenure of interested disposition which the introduction of knight-service, must have been accounted an acluxury produced, the same incidents became quisition of some importance; as not only augsources of the most flagrant oppression. This menting the grandeur and dignity of the sovereign, was remarkably the case in the time of William but securing the independence of the subject, and the Conqueror; and, during the reign of king improving his property. In the happy state of John, matters were come to such a crisis, that the feudal association, there was indeed no nethe people every where complained loudly, and cessity for the knight's fee; but when the disdemanded the restoration of the laws of Edward cordance and oppression so often mentioned the Confessor. "What the laws of Edward the began to take place, it became then necessary to Confessor were,' says Mr. Hume, which the point out particularly every duty of the vassal, English every reign, during a century and a half, as well as of the lord ; and this was fully done desired so passionately to have restored, is much by the invention of knight-service. The nobles disputed by antiquarians; and our ignorance of possessed duchies, baronies, and earldoms; them seems one of the greatest defects of the which extensive possessions were divided into as English history,' Dr. Stuart has offered an ex- many fees, each of them to furnish a knight for planation, in a conjecture, that · by the laws or the service of the king, or of the superior: so that customs of the Confessor, that condition of every feudal state could command a numerous felicity was expressed which had been enjoyed army and militia to support and defend it in case during the fortunate state of the feudal associ- of any emergency. The knights were also bound ation. The cordiality, equality, and indepen- to assemble in complete armour whenever the dence which then prevailed among all ranks in superior thought proper to call, and to hold society continued to be remembered in less pros- themselves in readiness whenever the king or perous times, and occasioned an ardent desire superior found it convenient to take the field; for the revival of those laws and usages which were so that thus the militia might be marched at the the sources of so much happiness. Besides the shortest notice to defend or support the honor of great distinction between the state of fiefs under the nation. The knights were usually armed with the Anglo-Saxons and under the Normans, they a helmet, sword, lance, and shield; and each were no less distinguished by the introduction of was obliged to keep a horse. This last requisite knight-service. Hitherto the refinement of the was owing to the contempt into which the infanEnglish had been obstructed by the invasion of try had fallen, through the prevalence of tournathe Danes, and the insular situation of the king- ments and luxuries of various kinds, though it dom; but after the Norman conquest the fiefs was by means of the infantry that the barbarians wire made perpetual. Still, however, the kuight's had originally distinguished themselves in their fee and knight-service were altogether unknown. wars with the Romans, and become able to cope William, the sixth duke of Normandy, was well with these celebrated warriors. All proprietors acquainted with everything relating to fiefs; of fees or tenants by knight-service fought on for that duchy had experienced all the variety foot : the cavalry were distinguished by the name incidental to them from the time of its being of battle ; and the success of every encounter was granted to Rollo by Charles the Simple, A.D. supposed to depend on them alone. They only 912 to 1066, when William conquered England. were completely armed; the infantry, being furOn this event a number of forfeitures took place nished by the villages under the jurisdiction of among those who had followed the fortune of the barons, had at first only bows and slings; llarold II. Their estates were to be disposed though afterwards they were found worthy of of at the pleasure of the conqueror; and it was much greater attention. While the feudal assonatural to suppose that he would follow the ciation remained in perfection, the superior could tuethod practised in his own country. Hence at any time command the military service of his the origin of knight-service in England. A grant vassals ; but in the subsequent degeneracy this of land, to any person whatever, was estimated service could neither be depended upon when at a certain number of knights' fees; and each wanted, nor was it of the same advantage when of these required the service of a knight. The obtained as formerly. The invention of knightgrants of lands were even renewed to the old te- service tended in a great degree to remedy this flants under this tenure; so that by degrees the inconvenience. Those who were possessed of whole military people in the kingdom acquiesced knight's fees were now obliged to remain forty
it. To accomplish this, Domesday Book is days in the field at their own expense; and this supposed to have been compiled, which contained without exception, from the great crown vassals to the smallest feudatories; but, if longer service king, as the most dignified person in the comwas required, the prince was obliged to pay his munity, and this allotment was styled his dotroops. In those times, however, when the fate main; while the shares of citizens and warriors, of nations was frequently decided by a single which were likewise in proportion to the merit battle, a continuance in the field for forty days or dignity of each, constituted what was called was sufficient for ordinary occasions. Thus mat- allodiality. But, as it often happened that all the ters seemed once more to be restored nearly to land was not exhausted by these partitions, what their former state. It was now, as much as ever, the remained was considered as the property of the interest of the nation to act with unanimity in community; and in the barbaric codes was called its defence, not only against foreign enemies, but the lands of the fisc. In such German nations against the tyranny of the prince over his sub- as had thus obtained a settlement, it was nejects, or of one part of the subjects over the cessary that there should be a more close connexother. New inconveniencies, however, soon be- ion betwixt the sovereign and the chiefs, as well gan to take place, owing to the gradual improve- as between the chiefs and people, than in others. ments in life and the refinement of manners. This was effected by means of the lands of the From the first institution of military service, a fisc; for of these the sovereign took possession, fine had been accepted instead of actual appear- dealing them out to the chiefs under the burden ance in the field. In the times of barbarity, of appearing in arms whenever he should please however, when men accounted rapine and blood- to call; while the chiefs in like manner dealt out shed their only glory, there were but few who lands to those called their retainers, who were made an offer of this compensation; butas wealth also obliged to supply them with military assistand luxury increased, and the manners of the ance in cases or necessity. Hence a political people became softer, a general unwillingness of system was founded, which had a prodigious following the army into the field became also effect on society in all those countries where it prevalent. A new tenure, called escuage, was prevailed. The intention and tendency of this therefore introduced ; by which the vassal was system was to render the nation independent both only obliged to pay his superior a sum of money at home and abroad; for, while the people were annually instead of attending him into the field. all armed in their common defence, individuals See ESCUAGE, and KNIGHT-SERVICE. Hence were also properly guarded against the attacks of originated taxes and their misapplication; for, as despotism. The power of the chiefs, who formed the king was lord paramount of the whole king- a regular nobility, was a counterpoise to that of dom, it thence happened that the whole escuage the sovereign; while the number of the retainers money collected throughout the nation centered and vassals, constituting the greatness and power in him. The princes, then, instead of recruiting of the nobility, was a proper barrier against aris their armies, frequently filled their coffers with tocratical oppression; for a chief who oppressed the money, or dissipated it otherwise, hiring his vassals evidently acted against his own inmercenaries to defend their territories when tercst. threatened with danger. These being composed The feudal system, it has been well observed of the dregs of the people, and disbanded at the by another writer, was originally grounded on end of every campaign, filled all Europe with a the universal principles of self-defence, and the disorderly banditti, who frequently proved very necessity of relinquishing a portion of our indidangerous to society. To avoid such inconve- vidual rights for the public security. Every niencies, standing armies were introduced, and freeman, therefore, under this system, upon retaxations began to be raised in every European ceiving a portion of the lands which were divided, kingdom. New inconveniencies, however, arose. bound himself to appear in arms against the The sovereigns in most of these kingdoms having enemies of the community. This military service acquired the right of taxation, as well as the com- was the condition upon which he received and mand of the military power, became completely held his lands; and, as they were exempted from despotic : but in England the sovereign was de- every other burden, that tenure, among a warprived of this right by Magna Charta, which was like people, was deemed both easy and honorable. extorted from him (See ENGLAND), so that though The king, or general, who led them to conquest, allowed to command his armies, he could only pay had the largest portion allotted to him; and he them by the voluntary contributions of the people, parcelled it out among those who entered into an or their submitting to such taxations as were obligation to bear arms in his defence. His virtually imposed by themselves.
chief officers imitated his example, in distriThe author of A View of Society in Europe, buting portions of lands among their depen(book I. chap. ii. sect. 1). has traced the remote dents, upon the same condition. Thus a feudal sources of the feudal laws in an elegant and con- kingdom resembled a military establishment cise manner. Tacitus informs us, he observes, rather than a civil institution. The names that the individuals of each of the German na- of a soldier and a freeman were synonytions cultivated by turns a tract of land pro- mous. Every proprietor of land, girt with a portionable to their number, for the use of the sword, was ready to march at the summons of whole ; after which each individual received such bis superior, and to take the field against the an allotment of the cultivated tract as his dignity common enemy. The feudal government, howrequired. These nations had not altered their ever, though admirably calculated for defence political principles at the time they overran the against the assaults of any foreign power, was Roman empire; and hence the provinces of it defective in its provisions for the interior order were then divided after the same manner. The of society. The bond of political union was exmost considerable allotment was bestowed on the tremely feeble; and the sources of anarchy were innumerable. The powerful vassals of the crown bours. It was this ineficiency of the feudal soon extorted a confirmation for life of those militia, perhaps, that saved Europe during the grants of land which, being at first purely gra- middle ages from the danger of universal monartuitous, had been bestowed only during pleasure. chy. In times, when princes had little notion They then succeeded in having them converted of confederacies for mutual protection, it is hard into hereditary possessions; and at length in to say, what might not have been the successes rendering them unalienable. The crown vassals, of an Otho the Great, a Frederic Barbarossa, or after having secured the possession of their lands a Philip Augustus, if they could have wielded and dignities, were led by the feudal institutions the whole force of their subjects whenever thóir to new, and still more dangerous encroachments ambition required. If an empire equally extenon the prerogatives of the sovereign. They ob- sive with that of Charlemagne, and supported by tained the power of supreme jurisdiction, both military despotism, had been formed about the civil and criminal, within their own territories; twelfth or thirteenth centuries, the seeds of comthe right of coining money ; together with the merce and liberty, just then beginning to shoot, privilege of carrying on war against their private would have perished; and Europe, reduced to a ejemies in their own name, and by their own barbarous servitude, might have fallen before authority. Subordination was almost lost, and the free barbarians of Tartary. persons of superior rank aspired at indepen- If we look at the feudal polity as a scheme dence. Hence a kingdom, considerable in name of civil freedom, it bears a noble countenance. and extent, was broken into as many separate To the feudal law it is owing, that the very principalities as it contained powerful barons. names of right and privilege were not swept A thousand causes of jealousy and discord sprang away, as in Asia, by the desolating hand ci np among them, and gave rise to as many wars. power. The tyranny which, on every favorable Every country in Europe, wasted or kept in con- moment, was breaking through all barriers, tinual alarm during these endless contests, was would have rioted without control, if, when the filled with castles and places of strength, erected people were poor and disunited, the nobility had for the security of the inhabitants, not against not been brave and free. So far as the sphere foreign force, but against internal hostilities. of feudality extended, it diffused the spirit of Indeed an almost universal anarchy prevailed. liberty, and the notions of private right. Every The guilty escaped punishment, and the innocent one, I think, will acknowledge this, who consicould not find protection. Such was the state of ders the limitations of the services of vassalage, Europe with respect to the interior administra- so cautiously marked in those law-books which tion of government from the seventh to the are the records of customs, the reciprocity of obeleventh century. This system likewise prevented ligation between the lord and his tenant, the nations from acting with vigor in their external consent required in every measure of a legislaoperations. Besides, the feudal anarchy had a tive or general nature, the security, above all, fatal influence on the character and improvement which every vassal found in the administration of the human mind. Without the protection of of justice by his peers, and even (we may in this a regular government, and the certainty of per- sense say) in the trial by combat. The bulk of sonal security, it cannot be expected that men the people, it is true, were degraded by serviwill make any progress in the arts and sciences, tude; but this had no connexion with the feudal or aim at attaining refinement in taste or manners. tenures. In less than a century after the barbarous na- “The peace and good order of society were tions settled in their new conquests, almost all not promoted by this system. Though private the effects of the knowledge and civility which wars did not originate in the feudal customs, it the Romans had spread through Europe dis- is impossible to doubt that they were perappeared. The human mind, neglected, un- petuated by so convenient an institution, which cultivated, and depressed, sunk into the most indeed owed its universal establishment to no profound ignorance. The inhabitants of Europe other cause. And as predominant habits of during this period were not only strangers to the warfare are totally reconcileable with those of ats which embellish a polished age, but desti- industry, not merely by the immediate works of tute of the virtues which abouod among people destruction which render its efforts unavailing, who continue in a simple state.
but through that contempt of peaceful occupaThe ablest modern picture of the advantages tions which they produce, the feudal system and disadvantages of the feudal system is found must have been intrinsically adverse to the acperhaps in Mr. Hallam's work on the Middle cumulation of wealth, and the improvement of Ages. He thus exhibits both sides of the subject. those arts, which mitigate the evils, or abridge “The utility of any form of polity may be es- the labors of mankind. timated, hy its effect upon national greatness But as a school of moral discipline, the feuan1 security, upon civil liberty and private dal institutions were perhaps most to be valued. rights, upon the tranquillity and order of society, Society had sunk, for several centuries after the upon the increase and diffusion of wealth, or dissolution of the Roman empire, into a condiupon the general tone of moral sentiment and tion of utter depravity; where, if any vices could energy. The feudal constitution was certainly, be selected as more eminently characteristic than as has been observed already, little adapted for others, they were falsehood, treachery, and inthe defence of a mighty kingdom, far less for gratitude. In slowly purging off the lees of his schemes of conquesi. But, as it prevailed alike extreme corruption, the feudal spirit exerted its in several adjacent countries, none had any thing ameliorating influence. Violation of faith stood to fear from the military superiority of its neigh- tirst in the catalogue of crimes, most repugnar.
to the very essence of a feudal tenure, most into the hous of Symount, and modir of Symoundis severely and promptly avenged, most branded wiif • was holdun with grete feveris. Wiclif. Luk. 4. by general infamy. The feudal law-books
Duncan is in his grave; breathe throughout a spirit of honorable obli
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well. gation. The feudal course of jurisdiction pro
Shakspeare. moted, what trial by peers is peculiarly calculated
The white hand of a lady fever thee!
Shake to look on't. to promote, a keener feeling and readier percep
Id. Antony and Cleopatra.
Thou madest thine enemies shake, as if the world tion of moral as well as of legal distinctions.
Were feverous, and did tremble. Id. Coriolanus. And as the judgment and sympathy of mankind
It hath been noted by the ancients, that southern are seldom mistaken in these great points of winds, blowing much, without rain, do cause a fever. veracity and justice, except through the tempo- ous disposition of the year; but with rain not. rary success of crimes, or the want of a definite
Bacon's Natural History. standard of right, they gradually recovered them
O Rome, thy head selves, when law precluded the one, and supplied Is crowned in sleep, and all thy body fev'ry. the other. In the reciprocal services of lord
1 Ben Jonson's Catiline. and vassal, there was ample scope for every
Those patients that have inured themselves to a set magnanimous and disinterested energy. The course of me icinal evacuations, if they intermit their heart of man, when placed in circumstances springs and falls, fall into feverous distempers. which have a tendency to excite them, will sel
Bp. Hall. dom be deficient in such sentiments. No occa
All f-verous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs. Milton. sions could be more favorable, than the pro
Should not a lingering fever be removed, tection of a faithful supporter, or the defence of
Because it long has raged within my blood ? a beneficent suzerain, against such powerful ag
Dryden. gression, as left little prospect except of sharing Her blood all fevered, with a furious leap, in his ruin.
She sprung from bed distracted in her mind. Id. * From these feelings, engendered by the feu
We toss and turn about our feverish will, dal relation, has sprung up the peculiar senti When all our ease must come by lying still; ment of personal reverence and attachment For all the happiness mankind can gain, towards a sovereign, which we denominate
Is not in pleasure, but in rest from pain. Id. loyalty; alike distinguishable from the stupid
More fevers and surfeits are got by people's drink. (levotion of eastern slaves, and from the abstract
ing when they are bot than by any one thing I know,
Locke. respect with which free citizens regard their
To other climates beasts and birds retire, chief magistrate. Men who had been used to
And feverish nature burns in her own fire. swear fealty, to profess subjection, to follow, at
Creech. home and in the field, a feudal superior and his When an animal that gives suck turns feverish, that family, easily transferred the same allegiance to is, its juices inore alkaline, the milk turns from its na. the monarch. It was a very powerful feeling, tive genuine whiteness to yellow. which could make the bravest men put up with
Arbuthnot on Aliments, slights and ill treatment at the hands of their A feverish disorder disabled me. Swift to Pope. sovereign; or call forth all the energies of dis Common fever few is the sort used in medicine, and interested exertion for one whom they never is found wild in many parts of England. Miller. saw, and in whose character there was nothing A light feveret, or an old quartan ague, is not a to esteem. In ages when the rights of the com sufficient excuse for non-appearance. Ayliffe. munity were unfelt, this sentiment was one great Sincere the unaltered bliss her charms impart, preservative of society; and, though collateral Sedate the enlivening ardours they inspire ; or even subservient to more enlarged principles, She bids no transient rapture thrill the heart, it is still indispensable to the tranquillity and She wakes no feverish yust of fierce desire. permanence of every monarchy. In a moral
Beattie. view, loyalty has scarcely perhaps less tendency Fever. See MEDICINE, Index. The ancients to refine and elevate the heart than patriotism deified the diseases as well as the passions and itself; and holds a middle place in the scale of affections of men. Virgil places. them in the human motives, as they ascend from the grosser entrance into hell, Æn., vi. 273. See. FEBRIS. inducements of self-interest, to the furtherance FEVERSHAM, or FAVERSHAM, a mark
narketof general happiness, and conformity to the pur- town of Kent,, seated on a branch of the river poses of Infinite Wisdom.'
Thames, which is navigable for hoys. It was a
royal demesne A. D. 811, and called in Kenulf's FEVER, n. s. & v. a.) Sax. fefer; French,
charter the King's Little Town. It was inhabited FE'VER-COOLING, adj. 1 fievre, fiebure ; Latin, by the Britons long before the invasion by FE'VER-WEAKENED febris.A disease cha
In 903 king Athelstan held a great FE'VERET, n. S.
council here. King Stephen erected a stately FE'VERFew,
crease of heat, an ac- abbey. in 1147, whose. abbots sat in parliaFE'VERISH, adj. celerated pulse, a foul
ment; and he was buried in it, with Maud, FE'VERISHNESS, n. s. tongue, and an imFE'VEROUS, adj.
his queen, and Eustace his son. Two mean gateFevery
houses are all that now remain of it. The town functions of the body.'
: was first incorporated by the title of the Barons -Hooper. See MEDICINE. Feveret is a dimi
of Feversham, afterwards by Henry VIII., with nutive of fever; a slight fever. Feverfew, a
that of the mayor, jurats, and commonalty. The
that of the mover plant, a species of matricaria.
mayor holds a court of session twice a year, at And Jhesus roos up fro the synagoge : and entride which all offenders committed within the limits