Pocock, an Arabian chief dine in the streets 
of a town where he had come to sell his cattle, 
and invited all passengers, even common beggars
to sit down with him and partake of his 
The occupiers of land were in every respect 
as dependent upon the great proprietor 
as his retainers. Even such of them as were 
not in a state of villanage, were tenants at 
will, who paid a rent in no respect equivalent 
to the subsistence which the land afforded 
them. A crown, half a crown, a sheep, a 
lamb, was some years ago, in the Highlands 
of Scotland, a common rent for lands which 
maintained a family. In some places it is so 
at this day; nor will money at present purchase 
a greater quantity of commodities there 
than in other places. In a country where the 
surplus produce of a large estate must be consumed 
upon the estate itself, it will frequently 
be more convenient for the proprietor, that 
part of it be consumed at a distance from his 
own house, provided they who consume it are 
as dependent upon him as either his retainers 
or his menial servants. He in thereby saved 
from the embarrassment of either too large
company, or too large a family. A tenant at 
will, who possesses land sufficient to maintain 
his family for little more than a quit-rent, is 
as dependent upon the proprietor as any servant 
or retainer whatever, and must obey him 
with as little reserve. Such a proprietor, as 
he feeds his servants and retainers at his own 
house, so he feeds his tenants at their houses
The subsistence of both is derived from his 
bounty, and its continuance depends upon his 
good pleasure
Upon the authority which the great proprietors 
necessarily had, in such a state of 
things, over their tenants and retainers, was 
founded the power of the ancient barons
They necessarily became the judges in peace
and the leaders in war, of all who dwelt upon 
their estates. They could maintain order, and 
execute the law, within their respective demesnes
because each of them could there turn 
the whole force of all the inhabitants against 
the injustice of any one. No other person 
had sufficient authority to do this. The king
in particular, had not. In those ancient times
he was little more than the greatest proprietor 
in his dominions, to whom, for the sake of 
common defence against their common enemies
the other great proprietors paid certain 
respects. To have enforced payment of a 
small debt within the lands of a great proprietor
where all the inhabitants were armed
and accustomed to stand by one another, would 
have cost the king, had he attempted it by his 
own authority, almost the same effort as to 
extinguish a civil war. He was, therefore, obliged 
to abandon the administration of justice
through the greater part of the country, to 
those who were capable of administering it; 
and, for the same reason, to leave the command 
of the country militia to those whom 
that militia would obey
It is a mistake to imagine that those territorial 
jurisdictions took their origin from the 
feudal law. Not only the highest jurisdictions
both civil and criminal, but the power 
of levying troops, of coining money, and even 
that of making bye-laws for the government 
of their own people, were all rights possessed 
allodially by the great proprietors of land, several 
centuries before even the name of the 
feudal law was known in Europe. The authority 
and jurisdiction of the Saxon lords in 
England appear to have been as great before 
the Conquest as that of any of the Norman 
lords after it. But the feudal law is not supposed 
to have become the common law of 
England till after the Conquest. That the 
most extensive authority and jurisdictions were 
possessed by the great lords in France allodially
long before the feudal law was introduced 
into that country, is a matter of fact 
that admits of no doubt. That authority, and 
those jurisdictions, all necessarily flowed from 
the state of property and manners just now 
described. Without remounting to the remote 
antiquities of either the French or English 
monarchies, we may find, in much later times
many proofs that such effects must always flow 
from such causes. It is not thirty years ago 
since Mr Cameron of Lochiel, a gentleman of 
Lochaber in Scotland, without any legal warrant 
whatever, not being what was then called 
a lord of regality, nor even a tenant in chief
but a vassal of the Duke of Argyll, and without 
being so much as a justice of peace, used, 
notwithstanding, to exercise the highest criminal 
jurisdictions over his own people. He 
is said to have done so with great equity, 
though without any of the formalities of justice
and it is not improbable that the state 
of that part of the country at that time made 
it necessary for him to assume this authority
in order to maintain the public peace. That 
gentleman, whose rent never exceeded L.500 
a-year, carried, in 1745, 800 of his own people 
into the rebellion with him. 
The introduction of the feudal law, so far 
from extending, may be regarded as an attempt 
to moderate, the authority of the great 
allodial lords. It established a regular subordination
accompanied with a long train of 
services and duties, from the king down to 
the smallest proprietor. During the minority 
of the proprietor, the rent, together with the 
management of his lands, fell into the hands 
of his immediate superior; and, consequently, 
those of all great proprietors into the hands 
of the king, who was charged with the maintenance 
and education of the pupil, and who, 
from his authority as guardian, was supposed 
to have a right of disposing of him in marriage
provided it was in a manner not unsuitable 
to his rank. But though this institution 
necessarily tended to strengthen the authority