Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 7 >> Connective Tissue to Cooke >> Conveyancing

Conveyancing

time, land, modern and feudal

CONVEYANCING, a term including both the science and the act of transferring titles to real estate from one person to another. In Hebrew times the modern form of transferring land was well known. In Rome property was exchanged by ceremonial only until the reign of Justinian when a simple legal process was instituted. Sometimes the term is applied in a restricted sense to the cumbrous forms which the feudal system has rendered necessary for the transference and tenure of landed property. When left to shape itself by individual prac tice, without legislative intervention, there were several causes rendering such conveyancing cumbrous and complex. The theory of the feu dal tenures and hierachy remaining unchanged throughout the social revolution which had substantially abolished superiority and vassal age, and brought land out of feudality into commerce, the feudal ceremonies of the Middle Ages were necessarily retained, and they were adapted to fictions and explanations to modern exigencies. It seems strange that not many years have passed since in Scotland, when a parcel of land was bought and sold, a party of Men assembled on it and went through the old form of feudal investiture by the delivery of so much earth and stone from the superior bailiff to the vassal's attorney, who took instru ments and had the whole recorded at length by a notary of the empire. In England, from the want of the general system of registration known in Scotland, the complexities of convey ancing had become so inextricable, that one of the most approved forms of transference was a fictitious suit and judgment of possession called a fine and recovery. To these various sources

of complexity must be added the timidity of conveyancers, who, afraid to commit themselves by attempting to abbreviate or reconstruct the forms which they find in existence, repeat them with additions from time to time as new cir cumstances must be provided for. Consequently to keep conveyancing within rational bounds the legislature, both in England and the United States, has interfered from time to time, by sweeping away excrescences, and providing brief and simple forms. All instruments under seal are spoken of as deeds, but the term deed is usually understood as applying to convey-. ances of land. Every person capable of holding lands (excepting idiots, persons of unsound minds and infants), seized of or entitled to any estate or interest in lands, may alien such estate or interest at pleasure, subject to the restric tions and regulations prescribed by law. For a description of the method and procedure of modern conveyancing see Trrr..E-Dmai; TITLE REGISTRATION ; TITLE INSURANCE. Con sult Brewster,