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east to west ; being nearly identical Great Britain, or persons acting un. with the manor of the present day. der his authority, after the fourThis manor continued in the family 'teenth day of October, one thousand under Dutch rule, till the conquest seven hundred and seventy five, of the province by the English, shall be null and void ; but that nowhich took place in 1664, under the thing in this constitution contained, auspices of the Duke of York, to shall be construed to effect any whom his brother, Charles II, the grants of land, within this state, then reigning prince, had by a pa. made by the authority of the said tent given that territory now em. King, or his predecessors, or to anbraced in New York and New Jer nul any charters to bodies politic, sey. In 1685 the colony of Rensse. by him or them, or any of them, laerwick was converted into a reg. made prior to that day.” And in ular lordship or manor, with all the section xiv of article 7th of the privileges incident to an English present constitution, which went into estate of the manorial kind. In 1704 effect on the “ last day of December, a charter from Queen Anne, in one thousand eight hundred and which former grants, and records, twenty two," nearly the same lan. and muniments of title are sub- guage is used : “ All grants of stantially recited, confirmed the es. lands within this state, made by the tate to Killian Van Rensselaer, a King of Great Britain, or persons grandson of the original proprietor. acting under his authority, after the In this charter of 1704 he was em- fourteenth day of October, one powered to administer justice in his thousand seven hundred and seventy court-leet or court-baron, and had five, shall be null and void ; but nothe right of separate representation thing contained in this constitution in the colonial assembly. And for shall effect any grants of land with. eighty four years previous to the in this state, made by the authority Revolution, the manor was never of the said King or his predecessors, without its representative, who was or shall annul any charters to bodies always found on the side of popular politic or corporate by him or them liberty, battling against the made before that day.
. So far then croachments of arbitrary power. as the titles and the rights of land. The last of these manorial repre. ed proprietors were concerned, our sentatives was General Abraham Revolution left them, as a general Ira Broeck, uncle of the late patroon. thing, in the same position in which The enjoyment of these rights contin. they were previous to that event. ued unimpaired till the Revolution; Except in remarkable and promi. and after that contest, which resulted nent instances, the principle of con. so favorably to free principles, the fiscation was not recognized or tol. manor still continued in the same erated, but legal and rightful owners line of proprietors, and their rights were confirmed and quieted in their in the same were confirmed and es. titles, and a general disposition man. tablished by the new state govern. ifested that the private relations of ment, as appears from the follow. property should not be assailed but ing extracts from the Constitution. protected. In accordance with this
The xxxvI section of the former principle, the lord of the manor constitution of the state of New still retained his possession, gaining York, adopted in convention of the in fact a new title by the constiturepresentatives of that state at tion, only being necessitated to Kingston, 20th April, 1775, is as swear fealty and support to the new follows:-" And be it further or. government, instead of retaining dained, that all grants of land with his allegiance to the old. in this state, made by the King of Besides the privileges, however, VOL. IV.
of holding his own court-leet or Hardenburgh and seven others. It court-baron, and of being entitled commenced at the Sandbergh, a to a separate representation in the place back of Newburgh in Orange colonial assembly, there was an. county, and run“ to the Fishkill or other peculiarity in the royal char. Delaware river; thence up the same ter of 1704, deserving mention in to the head thereof, including the this connection. After reciting that same;" and from thence to the the manor should be held in free Canduskill to a point near the Cats. and common socage as the manor kill Mountain House; and thence of East Greenwich in Kent, the fol. along the patented lines to the belowing clause is inserted :-“ Yield. ginning. The first survey of it was ing, rendering and paying therefor, made in 1749, and extended only yearly and every year, henceforth to the east branch of the Delaware forever unto us, our heirs and suc- river, though in the next two successors, at our custom house in our ceeding years the survey was comcity of New York, or to our col- pleted, and bounded by the west lector or receiver general there, for branch, appropriating the land in. the time being, on the feast day of termediate between the two branchthe annunciation of the blessed Vir. es: and about the same time, par. gin Mary, the rent of fifty. bushels tition was made among the patof good merchantable winter wheat, entees, and mutual releases executin lieu and stead of all other rents, ed. From the facts, that the first services, and demands whatever for survey extended only to the east the same.” In another grant, called. branch, and that there has been the Livingston grant, executed in some dispute, which of the two 1686 by “ Thomas Dougan, Lieuten. branches was the “ Fishkill,” there ant Governor and Vice Admiral un. has been a somewhat generally der his majesty King James the Sec. prevalent opinion, that the Harden. ond, of the province of New York and burghs originally had no valid title its dependencies,” there is a similar to the land lying between them. clause, as follows :-“Yielding, and Disregarding the fact that such title paying therefor, unto his said ma. has been beld under color of title jesty, his heirs, successors, and as. for more than one hundred years, a signs, or to such officer or officers period surely long enough to claim as shall from time to time be ap. it by right of possession, the idea of pointed to receive the same, on the no title has been advanced and five and twentieth day of March, dwelled upon during these times of forever, at Albany, the full and just excitement, and has undoubtedly sum of eight and twenty shillings been a fruitful source of much of current money of that country.” the trouble and injury which Dela.
There is another patent which de. ware county has experienced. The mands some attention in this con. solution of these doubts we leave nexion, because covering a portion for another part of our article. of that country where the most fatal Under such original grants, of effects of anti-rentism has thus far which the two to which we have been experienced. We allude to referred are but representatives, , the Hardenburgh patent, which em. though circumstances have renderbraces nearly all that section of ed them the most prominent, and Delaware county held under lease. with such rights and privileges, rehold tenures. Like the one of servations and duties contained in which we have given a short his- them, as we have already seen, most tory, its origin is very ancient, hav- of which grants have been anew ing been granted by the crown of acknowledged, and ratified in the Great Britain in 1708 to Johannas most solemn manner by the supreme
authority of the state government, lord shall be permitted himself to the present possessors and their an. purchase from the tenant, when a cestors have held these lands. As sale at any given sum is contempla. a general thing, the descendants of ted, at the proposed price, if desirthe original proprietors have held ous to do so. But aside from these the possession, and claim their right reservations, and such others as may to them from descent, rather than have been agreed to, as well by the from any of the modes of purchase. tenant as by the landlord, it rests en. Tracing back their own genealogy, tirely with the tenant, whether he their landed title extended side will have a constant and lasting by side with it. The tenures also home, or surrender it. Holding pos. by which the tenants have held their session of his landed estate under a farms, have always been nearly of contract, in which the rent, whether the same character; and whatever in kind or amount, is particularly title they have gained has only been mentioned and specified, fulfilling such as could be derived from the his part of the agreement, he need first proprietors, and those deriving have no fear that the avarice or hos. from them. These tenures have tility of his landlord can place any been leases, seldom conveyances of other burden upon him, than what the fee, either by warranty or quit he himself has consented to bear. claim; and they can be resolved Claiming and exercising only such into four general classes, though rights and privileges as he has covthere may be slight differences be enanted to receive, and giving in retween individuals under each of turn therefor such equivalent as he these kinds. There will be suf. has agreed, the growing population ficient uniformity however among of the country, the increased prothose thus slightly differing to war. ductiveness, and consequent enhanrant this arrangement.
ced value of the land, can make no The first kind is the durable lease, addition to the sums he has to pay given for “as long as grass grows for occupancy. If the products of and water runs,” or “ forever." Un. his toil and the beasts of his field der this lease, the lessee, his heirs and bring a more than usual return, no assigns, are entitled to retain posses. cupidity can demand a proportionate sion of the premises described there. increase in the amount due from in, using and improving the same as
him for the soil he cultivates. The his judgment or interest may dictate, farm he tills he knows its bounds : with full knowledge and confidence, the rent he pays, he knows its pres. that as long as he abides by the ent sum and the amount for any fu. terms of his contract, and pays the ture time. Here is stability beyond yearly rent, a stipulated sum or the possibility of variation, provided quantity for the use of his farm, he he so wishes and so determines. or they can occupy and hold, and The second kind is the redemption forever. In leases of this kind, giv- lease, uniting the peculiarities and en on some of the estates, there is benefits of a lease, with the vested reserved, upon every alienation of right to become the owner of the fee. the premises, otherwise than by de. Under leases of this character, the vise or last will and testament, a cer- tenant may pay, for the use and oc. tain proportion of the consideration, cupancy of the soil, the stipulated usually one fourth, whence the term rent, or he may purchase, at a spequarter sales; the tenant covenant- cified price, the fee, and in very ing to pay such proportion upon many cases, upon whatever part of every sale. And connected with the purchase money he pays, legal this reservation, there is sometimes interest is allowed him, which is apthe privilege, that the lessor or land- plied as so much towards the agreed rent. Two alternatives are offered lease, which remains in force during him, either of which he may adopt: the lives of any three persons, whose or he may hold under both at the names are inserted in the lease, or same time, as in the case of part until the death of the last survivor. payment of the purchase money, and from the necessity of the case, such payment of rent exceeding the in. leases being compulsory on the landterest of the purchase money thus lord, and available for the tenant, part paid. But accepting either, or only during the lives of the per. holding under both, his choice be. sons selected, and the uncertainty of comes that of his landlord. He life being so great, there can be none must be bound and governed by of that stability which characterizes such conclusions and determinations the other kinds mentioned. The inas his tenant approves and adopts. sertion of the name of a child as one If preferable to pay the rent, which of the lessees may prolong the leaseseldom equals a seven per centum hold estate for two generations, but interest upon the actual worth of the can hardly extend it to a third. In land, the lessor can not take away the most instances, they will but little privilege: and if unpleasant, and, as exceed the duration of a single gen. he may imagine, degrading reserva- eration. Viewed in the most favor. tions attach to him as a lessee, he has able light, they are marked by a great but to decide and to act, and his is degree of uncertainty: an uncertainthe pleasure of being a fee owner. ty, moreover, entirely independent Two ways being marked out before of the parties to them, and one which him in which to act, no one but the tenant can not, by the most pru. himself can be in fault, if he prefer dent and careful watchfulness, obvi. to tread the one most rugged and ate. In this respect at least, they toilsome, as he alone can select the must prove themselves very objeceasier and more agreeable. In ma- tionable. ny cases, particularly where the Nearly allied to this class are the lessee has no capital but his wits, one and two life leases, which we and no labor machines but his own shall here consider, because they strong hands, redemption leases are depend upon and are characterized much more desirable than a con. by the same uncertainty. The intract for sale. For such, it is much dividual name of each of these vaeasier to pay the rent, even when rieties marks their differences. Each the highest pay the annual interest from its great precariousness, would and a certain portion of the princi- seem to be adopted with hesitation, pal, than to make a down payment and if adopted, to prevent the lessee of the whole. In this kind of lease from complaining at any event which also, the tenant finds the same de. might happen. sideratum we have noticed in the The fourth and last kind is the first class mentioned, that no chan- yearly lease, the name of which ges or circumstances can increase gives its character. It runs only for his yearly rent, as long as he main- a twelve month's time, and expires tains his covenanted contract, while on a given day and date, neither in addition he has the power to party being bound in a future agree. change, at any moment, his estate ment to adopt or follow the terms of from leasehold to freehold. Surely a former one. Future rent or use no one can fail of observing, that must be arranged as the parties in such tenants have great and pecul. interest can agree, each having the iar privileges, and that one must be privilege of acting with perfect free. unreasonable who seeks to rid him. dom. In the familiar instances of a self of both alternatives.
yearly lease of a dwelling or a The third kind is the three life ware-room, the same principles are involved, and the same laws govern. whether justice and law were with To both, the lessor and the lessee, them, provided they could gain their they can be neither desirable nor wished for ends, rallied under the beneficial; to the one, as furnishing gathering word of anti-rentism, and a home and a habitation for only a decked themselves in strange and little while, and consequently weak- uncouth disguises, and called them. ening his desire to become a thrifty selves" Indians," assuming the high farmer, and deadening his ambition; sounding titles of the sons of the forto the other, as affording only a poor est, and by their actions gave all to prospect of any valuable improve. understand, that they were determents, and increasing the chances mined to prosecute to success their of deterioration.
treasonable designs, by force if neUnder leases belonging to some cessary, and that they were firmly one of the above described classes, resolved to pay no longer any rent, these lands, and many other tracts, or acknowledge a landlord's title. have been held and occupied, from Still another class, followers of Foua time far anterior to the organiza. rier and Owen, world conventionists, tion of our state institutions. Under who give a ready support to every this leasehold system, the tenants scheme, however wide from nature, were prosperous. By a great and or wanting in common sense, joined gradual change, the forest had given themselves to the two former, and way to cultivated fields, and the rude gave them their sympathy and hut to splendid or at least commodi. assistance. And dishonest and de. ous mansions. Yet amid numerous signing politicians, who could pierce gratifying and beneficial changes, at the future just far enough to see that a time when general depression was this excitement, if properly managed, far removed from the mass, and would become a popular doctrine when prosperity was waiting upon with the great body of those living the people, a surmise crept in among under such tenures, eagerly seized them, that the tenures under which hold of it, and with brazen lungs they lived, were onerous, anti-repub- trumpeted it to all around, not for. lican and unjust, and that as individ. getting to laud their own patriotism uals and as citizens a strenuous op. in thus coming forth in the support position was demanded from them. of right, and determined, like many A feeling extremely radical, and con. others called honest and pure, to sequently highly dangerous, seemed ride into office and gather the spoils. to have pervaded the general mass, To all these classes anti-rentism seeking some escape. This local has been, as it were, a magic word, excitement discovered a way, and and under it, they have attempted the pent up spirit rushed forth and to repudiate solemn contracts, and assumed the name of the local cause defraud the landlord of his honest which produced it. Some, the calm. dues. We are well aware that this er and more worthy sort, who hon. position will be denied; but in supestly believed their leases highly ob- port of it we refer to facts, now jectionable, and, of right, ought to well established, and familiar to be modified and corrected, adopted all cognizant of the machinery the new name, under which in a le- and contrivances of anti-rentism. gal, honorable way, they meant to As a general thing, all the tenants combat the error and gain the right. have claimed the protection of an. Others again, the larger portion, who ti-rent associations, have paid a fancied they saw a new and easy specified tax per acre for such proway to pay their debts, which like tection, and under the instructions an incubus were pressing them down, of such associations, have refused and who stopped not to inquire to pay the yearly rent. That they