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Montgomery manuscripts

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The Montgomery Manuscripts.
to pass all the premises, by letters patent, under the great seal of Ireland, accordingly, in which the
said Sir James Fullerton obtained further of the King, that the letter to the Deputy should require
him that the patent should be passed in Mr. James Hamilton's name alone, yielding one hundred
pounds per annum to the King; and in the said letter was inserted that the said lands were in trust
for the said Mr. Hamilton himself, and for Sir Hugh Montgomery, and for Con O'Neill, to the like
purport already expressed.
Then the said Con, Sir Hugh Montgomery, and Mr. Hamilton entered into tripartite indentures,
dated ult°. of the said April, whereby (inter alia) it was agreed that unto Con and his followers their
moderate ordinary expenses from the first of August preceding the date now last mentioned being
already paid them, should be continued them, 'till patents were got out for their pardons, and also
deeds from Mr. Hamilton for Con's holding the estate, which the King had condescended to grant
him. Soon after this, Mr. Hamilton went to Dublin to mind his business and to ply tclis extremis
for the furtherance of it. IO
All this being done, and Sir Hugh having no more business (at present) at Whitehall, he re-
solved with convenient speed to go through Scotland into Ireland, to follow his affairs, which he did
heir being of age when succeeding to the family property.
Wardship was simply a power vested in the king, to plun-
der minors, which power the king had the right to sell to
others, who generally performed this work without much
scrapie. Sir Thomas Smith, who was secretary of state
in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and to whom she granted
the Ards, among other possessions, in the year 1572,
speaks of this power of wardship as follows: — "Many
men do esteem wardship by knight's service contrary to
nature, that a freeman and gentleman should be bought
and sold like a horse or an ox, .and so change guardians
at first, second, or third hand, as masters and lords. The
king having so many wards, must needs give or sell them,
and the grantee or buyer has no natural care of the infant,
but only of their own gain; thus, they will not suffer a
ward to take any great pains, either in study or any other
hardness, lest he should be sick and die, before he hath
married the buyer's daughter, sister, or cousin, for whose
sake he bought him, and then all the money which he paid
for him would be lost. The guardian doth but seek to
make the most of his ward as of an ox or other beast."
Marriage was the right of the lord or guardian to provide
a wife or husband for his ward if under age, and for the
discharge of this duty he always took good care to remuner-
ate himself liberally. In the exercise of this power, the
most flagrant deceptions were very often practised. In
tendering such marriages, the lords or warders sometimes
imposed old husbands or wives on their youthful wards,
by a stratagem to which lord Bacon alludes, as follows, in
his Maxims: — "If I covenant with my ward that I will
tender unto him no other marriage than the gentlewoman
whose picture I delivered unto him, and that picture hath
about it cetatis sua: anno 16, and the gentelwoman is seven-
teen years old ; yet, nevertheless, if it can be proved that
the picture was made for that gentlewoman, I may, not-
withstanding the mistaking, tender her well enough."
The tenure known as soccage, — from soc the French for the
coulter or share of a plough, — simply implied at first cer-
tain services in husbandry, generally plough-service, per-
formed by the tenant to the lord of the fee. These ser-
vices included also other humble but very useful operations,
such as carrying out manure to the fields, and making
hedges. This species of tenure was confined principally
to the class anciently called villeins, now tenant-farmers.
Soccage in capite was considered much more honourable,
because it meant holding immediately from the crown, but
it was felt to be very oppressive, as the tenant had no speci-
fied time of tenure, and was subjected to many capricious
exactions. These grievous systems of tenure have been
all happily swept away, and the laws providing for their
abolition have done more, according to Blackstone, for the
freedom of property than Magna Charta itself. An ordi-
nance for abolishing the Court of Wards and Liveries was
passed on the 24th of February, .1645, and was very much
improved in 1656, by the assembly known as Bare-
bone's Parliament. The Plagiary Act of 12 Charles II.,
c. 24, formally went over the work which had already
been thus substantially done during the commonwealth.
The evils of the feudal tenures had become so unpopular
that they could not be revived at the restoration, but com-
pensation was given to the king for acquiescing in their
abolition. The Act of 12 Charles II., is entitled, an Act
to take away the Court of Wards and Liveries and Tenures
in Capite, and by Knight's Service, and Purveyance^ and
for settling a Revenue upon his Majesty in lieu thereof All
lands are now, with slight exceptions, held by the tenure
of free and common soccage, or in other words, exemption
from the oppressive exactions imposed by the old feudal
tenures, especially knight's service. Blackstone, Commen-
taries on the Laws of England, vol. ii. , p. 63; Amos,
English Constitution in the reign of Charles the Second,
pp. 209 — 211; Knight's Political Dictionary, as quoted in
MacNevin's Confiscation of Ulster, pp. 132 — 3.
10 For the furtherance of it.- — The sooner the terms of
this agreement could be fulfilled, the sooner would James
Hamilton be free from responsibility and expense. A
complete copy of this Tripartite Indenture is contained in
the Inquisition of 1 623.

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