Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XXXI.: The same Subject continued. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XXXI.: The same Subject continued. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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The same Subject continued.
THE villain could not bring an appeal of false judgment against the court of his lord. This we learn from Défontaines* , and is confirmed moreover by the institutions† . Hence Défontaines‡ says, “between the lord and his villain there is no other judge but God.”
It was the custom of judicial combats that deprived the villains of the privilege of appealing their lord’s court of false judgment. And so true is this, that those villains∥ , who by charter or custom had a right to sight, had also the privilege of appealing their lord’s court of false judgment, even though the peers who tried them were§ gentlemen: and Défontaines** proposes expedients to gentlemen, in order to avoid the scandal of fighting with a villain, by whom they had been appealed of false judgment.
As the practice of judicial combats began to decline, and the usage of new appeals to be introduced, it was reckoned unfair that freemen should have a remedy against the injustice of the court of their lords, and the villains should not; hence the parliament received their appeals all the same as those of freemen.
[* ]Chap. 21. art. 21. and 22.
[† ]Book i. chap. 136.
[‡ ]Chap. 2. art. 8.
[∥ ]Défontaines, chap. 22. art. 7. This article and the 21st of the 22d chapter of the same author, have been hitherto very ill explained. Défontaines does not oppose the judgment of the lord to that of the gentleman, because it was the same thing; but he opposes the common villain to him who had the privilege of fighting.
[§ ]Gentlemen may be always appointed judges. Défontaines, chap. 21. art. 48.
[** ]Chap. 22. art. 14.