LECTURE XI.
SUCCESSIONS. -- II. INTER VIVOS.

THE principal contracts known to the common law and suable in the King's Courts, a century after the Conquest, were suretyship and debt. The heir, as the general representative of his ancestor's rights and obligations, was liable for his debts, and was the proper person to sue for those which were due the estate. By the time of Edward III. this had changed. Debts had ceased to concern the heir except secondarily. The executor took his place both for collection and payment. It is said that even when the heir was bound he could not be sued except in case the executor had no assets.1

But there was another ancient obligation which had a different history. I refer to the warranty which arose upon the transfer of property. We should call it a contract, but it probably presented itself to the mind of Glanvill's predecessors simply as a duty or obligation attached by law to a transaction which was directed to a different point; just as the liability of a bailee, which is now treated as arising from his undertaking, was originally raised by the law out of the position in which he stood toward third persons.

After the Conquest we do not hear much of warranty, except in connection with land, and this fact will at once

____________________
1
Boyer v. Rivet, 3 Bulstr. 317, 321.

-371-

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