Front Page Titles (by Subject) Subsection I.: Feudal state of Landed Property in England. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 2
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Subsection I.: Feudal state of Landed Property in England. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 2 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 2.
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Feudal state of Landed Property in England.
In order to comprehend the condition of landed property in Ireland, I must explain its state in England. In the latter country, land is still feudal. The hand of the cultivator has long been free; but he has not broken his old chains; and whilst all around him is agitated, changed, and modified, he alone is unchanged, an unalterable fragment detached from a state of society mutilated by time and by revolutions.
In spite of all the victories gained every day by the new principles of society over the old, the labour that creates over the privilege that preserves, eternal progress over eternal immobility, land is what it was seven centuries ago—the feudal base of a social system no longer in existence, a living emblem of an extinct world.
The art by which the English aristocracy has preserved its civil privileges entire, whilst it surrendered its political privileges, is a fact worthy of observation. The spirit by which it is animated is nowhere shown more clearly than in everything relating to land. Assuredly it would be easier to extort universal suffrage from the English parliament than a change in the law of inheritance. The English aristocracy has only preserved the portion of the feudal system favourable to it as a body; it has abolished all that was inimical to its pretensions.
In truth, the sovereign is, by the present law, presumed to be the sole proprietor of the soil, of which the actual occupants are only proprietors in the second degree. But this is a legal fiction totally destitute of reality. The suzeraineté is purely nominal; and the inheritor of an estate in England enjoys as absolute a right of property as that which is defined by the French law. The royal privileges in this matter have been all abolished; the laws which secured the privileges of the aristocracy have alone remained in force.
The principal object of these laws, extorted from feeble princes by powerful barons, was to preserve the vassal in full possession of his fief. What means were taken to attain this end? They tended to render lands unalienable and fixed in the hands of the possessors by the system of entails. They opposed the division of land among all the children, by the law of primogeniture. And now a fief purchased by a retired merchant may be protected, if he pleases, by the same laws which gave power to a vassal in the time of Edward I. The spirit of the feudal law has disappeared, but its consequences have remained. It, however, appears to me that very few in England think about these anomalies.