Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Roman law, a contract by which houses or lands were given forever or for a long term on condition of their being improved and a stipulated annual rent paid to the grantor. It was usually for a perpetual term, thus corresponding to the feudal fee.
- n. law A right to enjoyment of property with a given stipulation that the property will be improved or maintained in an agreed upon manner.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Rom. Law) A real right, susceptible of assignment and of descent, charged on productive real estate, the right being coupled with the enjoyment of the property on condition of taking care of the estate and paying taxes, and sometimes a small rent.
“The second institution was the tenure called emphyteusis, under which land, the domain of the Crown (and other land as well, but especially land under the domain of the Crown), was granted, not on absolute ownership, but in tenancy for certain fixed dues, and once so granted was granted permanently.”
“Morally speaking their confinement may have been a humiliation; in sober fact it was an immense advantage; moreover, a special law of 'emphyteusis' made the leases of their homes inalienable, so long as they paid rent, and forbade the raising of the rent under any circumstances, while leaving the tenant absolute freedom to alter and improve his house as he would, together with the right to sublet it, or to sell the lease itself to any other”
“After twenty-seven years of reforms and prosperity Pombal was dismissed from office and the old abuses were reinstated, among them those worst incidents of emphyteusis which had been devised by the base ring of nobles and ecclesiastics who held the land in their grasp.”
“These conquests all occurred within the space of fifty-seven years (from 190 to 133 B.C.), and this was doubtless the period when emphyteusis was first employed upon an extensive scale.”
“Whether emphyteusis in any form remained is not quite certain, but it seems not; and during this government, and the Moorish one which superseded it in the year 711, the Iberian Peninsula enjoyed an interval of prosperity to which it had been a stranger for ages.”
“Nothing less than the re-enactment of the odious Roman tenure of emphyteusis, and that in its most ancient and worst form -- liability to increased rent and to eviction; not only this, but with certain base services combined.”
“What growth of forest trees had followed the abolition of emphyteusis under the Gothic and Saracenic monarchs was destroyed under the government of Christian nobles, and to-day there is scarcely a tree in Portugal -- the woods, including fruit and nut trees, covering less than 400,000 out of 22,000,000 acres, the entire area of the country.”
“After the Western Empire had apparently fallen beneath the Northern arms -- that is to say, five hundred years later -- and not until then, the Roman Code ameliorated the baneful tenure of emphyteusis.”
“These abuses remained without material change until 1832, and thus you have a complete history of emphyteusis from the first to the last day of its institution in Portugal.”
“The origin of this evil state of affairs was the tenure of emphyteusis: its active and unfeeling promoters have been always the nobility and ecclesiastics, and its only powerful enemy, the only hope of the people, the Crown.”
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