Fief, or Feud, * In its origin, a fief was a district of country allotted to one of the chiefs who invaded the Roman empire, as a stipend or reward; with a condition annexed that the possessor should do service faithfully both at home and in the wars, to him by whom it was given. The law of fiefs supposed that originally all lands belonged to lords, who had had the generosity to abandon them to others, from whom the actual possessors derive their rights upon the sole reservation of certain services more or less onerous as a sign of superiority. To this superiority was added that which gives the right of dispensing justice, a right which was originally attached to all fiefs, and conferred upon those who possessed it, the most eminent part of public power. Henrion de Pansey, Pouvoir, Municipal; 2 Bl. Com. 45 Encyclop6die, h. t.; Merl. Rep. h. t.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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