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Of persons not qualified to vote.
alms, Committees have differed; some holding that a
By 18 G. 3, c. 59, s. 25.“ Any relief given to the family
Private charitable assistance furnished to a voter ought not to affect his franchise, as where having met with an accident, he was attended by the apothecary for the poor of the parish gratis, on an application of an inhabitant. (h) But where a voter upon his own application, and by order of the parish officers, was attended by the parish apothecary, his vote was not allowed. (i) Where an occasional circumstance affecting numbers, induces the parish to grant them temporary assistance, they are not disfranchised.
where relief is given, either at their own houses for the purpose of inoculation for the small pox, (k) or by the receiving part of their families into a parish house for the cure of it, (l) it will not affect their franchise.
Alms have been defined “ parochial collection, or parish “.relief;" but there is another species of pecuniary assistance derived from “ the revenue of certain specific funds, “ which have been established or bequeathed for the purpose of assisting the poor," distinguished in the cases
(a) Bedfordshire, . Lud. 563-4. Middlesex, 2 Peck. 117.
(6) Cricklade, 2 Lud. 567, 1 Heyw.
() 1 Heyw. 272. Great Grimsby, 1 Peck. 71, Ibid. 508.
(d) Okehampton, 1 Peck. 373.
() Phillips, 204, and (see the case of Colchester) 1 Peck. 508.
(1)1 Doug. 977, but see 3 Dcug.
(6) Great Grimsby, 1 Peck. 72.
as s charities." (a) The receipt of this relief has been of persons in many instances considered as no disqualification, whe. to vote. ther under the general law of Parliament respecting the receipt of alms, or under the last determinations which limit the right of voting to “ freemen, &c. not receiving “alms.” (6) One charity, however, called Wellborn's charity, (C) which it seems very difficult to distinguish from the others, has been holden to work a disqualification. Perhaps, the best rule upon this subject, is in the words of Mr. Serjeant Heywood. (d) “ To distinguish between “ charities which are of such a nature as to imply, that the “ partaker of them is in a state of indigence and abject « dependance, and those from which no such inference can ( be drawn. With respect to the former, they, like paro“chial relief, may work a disqualification of those who “ receive them, by proving their incapacity to exercise a « will of their own in the choice of a representative.”
Of the Right of Voting for Counties.
Though the right of voting for counties is regulated by various statutes, its basis is to be found in the 8th Hen. 6, c. 7, which limits the electors of knights of the shire, to those who “ bave freehold of the value of 40s. by the year “ at least, above reprizes.” Whether this statute was a restraint upon the peoples' rights, or upon their encroachments, has been the subject of dispute. Great obscurity hangs over the early periods of parliamentary representation, and whilst matters of antiquity, unimportant in stitutional view, are of easy acquirement, the origin of a representative legislature, the only form of government
Taunton, 1 Doug. 370.
(*) Bedford, 2 Doug. 12, (6) 2 Doug. 122. Ibid. 330. 1 Lud. (d) 1 Heyw.
1 Doug. 373. Phillips, 148. Orme, 121. 1 Peck. 510.
Of persons not qualified to vote.
where liberty may have unbounded play without endangering its safety, is looked for in vain.
The present qualification of an elector for a county, is a freehold estate in the county, of the clear y'early value of 40s. above all rents and charges payable out of the same; ( of which freehold he must have been in possession, or in the receipt of the rents and profits twelve calendar months before the election, (b) unless it was obtained within that time by descent, marriage, marriage settlement, or promotion to a benefice or an office; and which freehold must have been assessed to the land tax for six months before the election, except it consists of an annuity, rentcharge, or fee farm rent, which are exempted from assessment if duly registered. (C)
Of the Nature of the Freehold.--Of the Tenure.
The Estate must be freehold both in respect of tenure and interest. Copyholders therefore are excluded from this franchise by the nature of their tenure, both at common law and by statute. (d) Opinions were divided as to the right of tenants in ancient demesne, who were the privileged villeins of those manors which in doomsday book appear to have belonged to the Crown, though since fallen into the hands of subjects, as though their interest is freehold, yet the tenure by which they hold their estates is by copy of court roll, according to the custom of the manor ; (e) but inasmuch as the statute above-mentioned (f) excludes from the right of voting all persons who hold their estates by “ Copy
“) 8 Hen. 6, c.7. 7, 8. W. 3, c. 7, s. 3. 10 Ann. c. 23, s. 3, 4. 18 G. 2 c. 18, s. 1, 5.
(0) 18 G. 2, c. 18, s. 1.
() 18 G. 2, c. 18, s. 2,4. 20G. 3, c. 17, s. 2, 3, 9, 11, 13. 30 G. 3, c. 35. 3 G. 3, c. 24. See " As to the assess
ment and exemption therefrom," Post. (d) 31 G. 2, c. 14, s. 1.
See Com. dig. 188.-1 Heyw.78. 4 Inst. 4, 5,
(1) 31 G. 2, c. 14.
of Court Roll,” within which' class they are, all doubts Nature of the upon the subject are ended.
Lands held in tenant right peculiar to the counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, which are aliened by deed in the nature of a bargain and sale, but require admittance by the lord, give no right to vote for counties, the freehold Testing in the lord. (a) But a customary tenant holding of the lord of the ma- For the
learning on nor, “ according to the custom of the manor, not by copy of this subject Court Roll, and whose lands pass not by surrender and referred to admission, but by feoffment lease and release, was consi- Me Sergeant dered to hold by freehold tenure, and entitled to vote ; (b) but valuable see Blackstone's “Considerations on Copyholders.” Where 1 vol. «. 2. the nature of the estate does not admit of its owner having a freehold tenure in it, as the advowson of a church, or common of pasture, it cannot confer a right of voting ; (C) but for the free warren of conies, the profits of wood sales, coal mines, tithes impropriate, or the like, in which he has an estate for life producing communibus annis 40s. by the year, the owner is entitled to vote. (d) A windmill fixed in the soil has been holden sufficiently real to constitute a freehold tenement. (©) As a tenement in law is whatever may be holden, and is not solely applicable to corporeal things, offices in which the holder possesses a freehold interest, confer a right of voting, when emoluments arising out of land are attached to them of sufficient annual value, viz. of 40s.
Of the Freehold Interest.
With respect to this branch of the subject, it would be inconsistent with the extent of this treatise to attempt more than a general statement of the nature of those estates in which the tenant has a freehold interest. When ques. tions arise requiring nicer investigation other books must of necessity be consulted, which are the ancient depositaries of the learning upon this important part of the law. It
C) 1 Heyw. 84.
Gloster. 61.-1 Heyw. 82. but see Black's “ Considerations on Copyholders."
( 1 Heyw. 62. Dalton Sheriff, 333.
Bedfordshire, 2 Lud. 440.
Nature of the will be sufficient, therefore, after a very general outline, to
limit the observations to those points which have been questioned and decided before the Committees and the House of Commons. Estates in which the tenants have a freehold interest, are divided into estates of inheritance, and estates not of inheritance. Estates of inheritance are, a fee simple, which is an estate given without qualification to a man and his heirs for ever;(a) or a qualified or base fee, which is an estate with some qualification annexed to it, and which must determine when the qualification is at an end, as in the case of a grant to A and his heirs, tenants of the manor of Dale ; whenever the heirs of A cease to be tenants of that manor the grant is at an end. (6)
A fee tail, which by virtue of the statute of Westminster 2d, has grown out of conditional fees at common law, (C) of which there 'are several species, but which may be described generally as an estate of inheritance to a man, and certain of his heirs designated in the legal instrument by which the estate is conveyed and limited.
Estates not of inheritance are estates for life, which are either by express grant or operation of law. By express grant, as an estate to a man for his own life, or the life of another, or to a man until some contingency may happen, as to A till he be promoted to a benefice ; though the estate determines when the grantee is promoted, yet as that contingency may possibly never happen, and the estate may therefore last for life, it is considered an estate for life. (d)
By operation of law, as tenant in tail after possibility of issue extinct; tenant by the courtesy, tenant in dower.()
It was the practice to exclude the votes of persons who had married women entitled to dower, unless it had been set out by metes and bounds ; (f) but by the 20 G. 3, c. 17, s. 12, this is remedied with respect to the dower out of estates of which the first husband died seised or pos. sessed.
But though some uncertain interests are freehold from the possibility of their lasting for life, as, “ if a man make 66 a lease of a manor, that at the time of the lease made “ worth 201. per annum, to another, until 1001. be paid ; be
( 1 Co. Lit. s. 1.
(d) 2 Black. 121.
2 Black. 124. (1) 1 Heyw. 98.