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are not in general personally responsible and courts, whose office it is to exercise
visitor. His right of visitation formerly The capacity of holding land is re- also extended over all the monastic estabstrained by the statutes of mortmain, lishments within the same district, unless which make it necessary to obtain an the abbot or other head of the convent express licence to that effect from the had purchased a papal bull of exemption, crown or the legislature. (MORTMAIN.] the effect of which was to subject him to
With regard to the exemption from the sole superintendence of the pope personal responsibility in respect of cor himself. With regard to lay corporaporate acts, the members of the body can tions, such as municipal corporations, not directly authorize an injury to be trading companies, and similar bodies, done to another under the sanction of a their irregularities are left for correction corporate act, without incurring the usual to the ordinary courts of justice, which personal consequences. Thus, if a cor have sufficient powers for that purpose. poration should by an instrument under The Court of King's Bench exercises the the common seal direct a trespass to be authority by the writ of mandamus of committed on a third person, every mem- compelling corporate bodies to do acts ber of the majority who was present, and which they ought to do and neglect to do. actually assenting to the act, would be A corporation may be extinguished in liable in his private capacity.
The mode of filling up vacancies which 1. A corporation aggregate may be exoccur in the constituent members of the tinguished by the natural death of all the corporate body, is determined either by members. the express provisions of the charter of 2. Where a select body of definite numincorporation, or (in the case of immemo- ber, constituting an integral part of the rial corporations) by ancient usage. The corporation, is so reduced by death, or most common and regular method of other vacancy, that a majority cannot be maintaining the succession is by election. present at corporate meetings, the whole In the case of corporations sole the suc- body becomes incapable of doing any corcessor is appointed by the crown, or by porate act, and, according to the better a patron or founder. In the case of opinion, the corporation is thereby extinecclesiastical corporations the forms of guished. This is the result of a rule in election are in many instances preserved, corporation law,—that every act must be but the substantial right of nomination sanctioned, not only by a majority of the has long been exercised either by the number actually present at a meeting, but crown or by some authority or person also at a meeting composed of a majority independent of the chapter or other cor of each definite body into which the corporate body.
poration has been subdivided by the With a view to ensure the performance charter. Thus, if a corporation consists of those duties, and a strict adherence to of a mayor, twelve alderinen, and an inthose regulations which are imposed upon definite number of burgesses, at least corporate bodies either by the will of seven aldermen must be present at every their founders or the general tenor of meeting; nor can a legal meeting be contheir charters, there are certain persons I vened in the absence of the mayor, except
for the purpose of electing a new one. | Belgium, France, and Portugal, and still The tendency of the rule is to compel the claimed to be the same convent which elective body to fill up vacancies without Henry V. had founded on the banks of delay, and to secure the attendance of a the Thames. (See letter of the Abbé Mann, competent number when the public busi- | 13 Archæologia.) ness is transacted. The rule is inappli The corporations established for local cable to a body of indefinite number, such administration of towns are now generally as the general body of freemen; and it is called municipal corporations. (Muniliable to be modified and controlled by the CIPAL CORPORATIONS.] Bodies incorcharter, or other fundamental constitution porated for the purpose of commerce, or of the corporation. The rule of the civil the profitable investment of capital, such law, requiring the actual presence of two as railway companies, mining companies, thirds of the corporation at elections, banking companies, belong to the class seems to have been dictated by a similar of Joint-STOCK COMPANIES, under which policy; but Sir W. Blackstone (Com- head they are treated of. Any number of mentaries, vol. i. p. 478) is in error, when individuals associated for purpose of he supposes that a bare majority of the traffic, who are not incorporated, form a body so assembled could not bind the rest. partnership, and they are individually (See Pancirollus, De Magist. Municip. liable like the partners of any mercantile apud Grævium.)
firm. 3. A dissolution may be effected by a CORPORATIONS, MUNICIPAL. surrender to the crown; at least where [MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.] the incorporation is by charter, and where CORPORATION AND TEST all the members concur and are competent ACTS. [TEST AND CORPORATION Acts.] to concur.
CORRECTION, HOUSES OF. 4. A corporation may be forfeited, [TRANSPORTATION.] where the trust for which it was created CORRUPTION OF BLOOD. (ATis broken, and its institution perverted. TAINDER.] Such a forfeiture can only be declared by CORTES, the name of the assembly judgment of the superior courts on process of representatives of the Spanish nation. issued in the ordinary course of law, called, These assemblies have been variously from the initial words of the writ, Quo constituted in different ages, and in the Warranto, in which the fact of misuser, different kingdoms into which Spain was if denied, must be submitted to a jury. divided till the time of Ferdinand and
5. A corporation may be dissolved or Isabella. The cortes of Castile and Leon remodelled by act of parliament.
and those of Aragon were the principal. Having already alluded to the religious Considerable obscurity prevails as to the corporations of monks and other regular origin and the formation of both. The clergy formerly existing in this country, earliest national assemblies under the we may observe that the validity of the Visigothic kings met generally at Toledo; surrenders obtained by the crown at their they consisted chiefly of the dignitaries suppression was deemed sufficiently doubt of the church, and were called councils. ful to require the confirmation of an After deciding all questions of church express act of parliament. Even then, in discipline, they deliberated upon temthe opinion of the canonists, the spiritual poral affairs, and in this stage of the disincorporations still continued until sup cussion the lay lords or barons took pressed by competent spiritual authority, an active part, and the king presented and were capable of perpetuation, although his requests. In the acts of the countheir possessions were lost, and their civil cil of Leon, A.D. 1020, ch. vi., the rights extinguished. Hence it was that transition from ecclesiastical to temporal the Brigettine nuns of Sion, suppressed by affairs is clearly pointed out:-“ Judicato Henry VIII., restored by Queen Mary, ergo ecclesiæ judicio, adeptaque justitia, and again ejected by her successor, con- agatur causa regia, deinde populorum.” tinued to maintain a migratory existence in the acts of the council of Jaca, 1063, for two centuries and a half in Holland, I we find that several points of discipline
were reformed “ with the consent of the there the cortes were composed of four nobles and prelates ;” and the signatures brazos or estates, namely, the prelates, are those of the king, the infantes, nine including the commanders of the military bishops, three abbots, and three magnates; orders, the ricos hombres, or barons, the but it is added in a note that “all the infanzones, or caballeros, who held their other magnates had subscribed to the estates of the great barons, and lastly, the same acts.” It is now generally acknow- universidades, or deputies of the royal ledged, that in that age, and down to the towns. These last are first mentioned at end of the twelfth century, there was no the cortes of Monzon, in 1131. The popular representation from the towns or towns and boroughs in Aragon which commons of Castile and Leon in those returned deputies were thirty-one; but assemblies. (Marina, Teoria de las Cortes; the number of deputies returned by each Sempere, Histoire des Cortes ; Dunham, is not stated by the historians, any more History of Spain and Portugal.) The than those for the cortes of Castile. We people are said to have occasionally at- find the same town returning sometimes tended these national councils on some a greater, sometimes a smaller number, solemn occasions, as at the council held and at other times none at all, and a small at Toledo in 1135, but only as spectators town or village sending more deputies and witnesses, “ to see, to hear, and to than a large one; while many considerable praise God.” By degrees, as the towns towns never returned any, independently rose into importance, and obtained local of the seignorial towns, which of course fueros, or charters, from the kings for had no representative privilege. How their own security, or formed themselves all this was made to agree with the maninto fraternities for their mutual protec- ner of voting, in order to ascertain the tion against the Moors or against the opinion of the majority, is not clearly violence of their own nobles, some of stated. The institutions of the kingdom them obtained at last the privilege of of Aragon, which have been much exsending deputies to the national councils, tolled by some writers, appear to have which were now styled cortes, because, been better defined than those of Castile, according to some etymologists, they as the Aragonese, with the exception of were held at the place where the king the peasant serfs of the nobility, certainly had his court. The cortes held at Sala- enjoyed a greater share of individual manca by Ferdinand II., in 1178, con- liberty than the rest of the Peninsula. sisted only of the nobility and clergy; In Castile, from the end of the thirbut at the cortes of Leon, A.D. 1188, we teenth century, the popular estamento first hear that there were present deputies made rapid strides towards increasing “of towns chosen by lot;" and in the its influence, being favoured in this by same year the cortes of Castile assembled some kings or pretenders to the crown, at Burgos, where deputies from about such as Sancho IV. and Enrique II., or fifty towns or villages, the names of taking advantage of disputed successions which are mentioned, were present. How and stormy minorities, to obtain from one these places came to obtain this privilege of the contending parties an extension of is not known, although it is probable that their privileges. In 1295 the deputies it was by the king's writ or by charter. of thirty-two towns and boroughs of The cortes were henceforth composed of Castile and Leon assembled at Valladolid, three estamentos or states, clergy, lords, and entered into a confederacy to defend and procuradores, or deputies from the their mutual rights against both the crown enfranchised towns, forming together one and the nobles. Among many other chamber, but voting as separate estates. resolutions, one was, that each of the It was a standing rule, that general laws thirty-two constituencies should send two must have in their favour the majority of deputies every two years to meet about each estamento. This was the principle Pentecost at Leon or some other place, in of the cortes of the united kingdom of order to enforce the observance of their Castile and Leon. The same principle agreement. In 1315, during the frightexisted in the kingdom of Aragon; only ful confusion which attended the minority
of Alonso XI., we find another con- | Enrique III., who were not, however, to federacy between the nobles and the pro decide in, any important affair without curadores of 100 communities, with a the concurrence of six deputies, one from similar clause as to deputies meeting once each of the cities of Burgos, Toledo, or twice every year. These meetings of Leon, Seville, Cordova, and Murcia. deputies for special purposes ought not to The fourteenth century seems to have be confounded with the general cortes of been the brightest period of popular or the kingdom, which were always con nore properly municipal representation voked by the king, though at no fixed in Spain. The cortes were frequent, and times. Enrique II.,_having revolted the subject of their deliberations of the against his brother Pedro the Cruel, most important nature. But Spain had courted the support of the municipal never a definite representation; to no towns, which at the cortes of 1367 de- meeting of this period did all or half the manded the admission de jure of twelve great towns send deputies; and those deputies into the royal council, which which did return them appear to have had till then consisted of hereditary observed little proportion in the numbers. nobles and prelates, with occasionally some There can be no doubt that two ought to civilian called in by the king. Enrique have been returned from each; yet in promised to comply with their request; the cortes of Madrid, in 1390, we find that but his brother's death having ensured | Burgos and Salamanca sent eight each, his seat on the throne, he evaded the while the more important cities of Seville fulfilment of his promise by creating an and Cordova sent only three ; Cadiz only Audiencia Real, or high court of appeal, two; Oviedo and Badajos one ; Santiago, consisting of prelates and civilians, and Orense, Mondonedo, and other great cities a criminal court of eight alcaldes chosen of Galicia sent none at all. In fact, only from different provinces of the kingdom. forty-eight places returned deputies to Juan I., who succeeded him, after the these cortes, and the number, at the most, loss of the battle of Aljubarrota, created a was inconsiderable. Incidentally we learn new council in 1385, consisting of four that in the assemblies of this period the bishops, four nobles, and four citizens, archbishop of Toledo spoke for the ecclewith extensive executive powers. The siastical state, and the chief of the house towns next solicited the dismissal of the of Lara for the nobles. Some of th: bishops and nobles from the council, in deputies contended for the precedence in order that it should consist entirely of voting, as well as for that of seats. This citizens; but Juan rejected the demand. rivalry was more conspicuous between They also contrived at times to exclude Burgos and Toledo, until Alonso XI. the privileged orders from the cortes. found the means of settling it. “The Marina says that the privileged orders deputies of Toledo,” said the king in themselves, having lost much of their the midst of the assembly, “will do whatinfluence, abstained from attending the ever I order them, and in their name, I cortes; yet it is certain that although say, let those of Burgos speak.” The money might be voted without them, for municipal corporations could boast of the simple reason that they were exempt something more than the honour of refrom taxation, the third estate alone pay. turning deputies, an honour to which ing all direct taxes, yet nothing else of many of them were perfectly indifferent. importance could be decided without their Their condition was far superior to that concurrence. Although members of the of the seignorial towns, which for the privileged orders should not attend, they most part groaned under the oppressions might be represented by proxy, as was of the nobles. (Dunham, History of the case in Aragon. Besides, the cortes Spain and Portugal, b. iii. sect. 3, ch. ii.) were not all of one sort; there were The remonstrances or petitions of the general or solemn cortes, and especial general cortes to the king generally becortes, for some particular purpose. *Juan gan as follows:—“The prelates, lords, appointed by his testament six prelates and caballeros of the kingdoms of Castile and nobles as guardians of his infant son 1 and Leon, in the name of the three estates
of the kingdom,” &c. Remonstrances opposed by the eighteen privileged towns. from the deputies of the towns began: The influence of the court was openly “Most high and powerful prince! your exercised in the elections of these towns, very humble vassals, subjects, and ser and although the cortes of Valladolid in vants, the deputies of the towns and bo-1442, and those of Cordova in 1445, reroughs of your kingdoms, who are as- quested the king to abstain from such sembled in your presence by your order,” | interference, yet the practice became more &c. (Cortes of Valladolid, June, 1420.) barefaced than ever. In 1457 Enrique
In the cortes of 1402, Enrique III. IV. wrote to the municipal council of demanded for his wars with the Moors a Seville, pointing out two individuals fit to supply of 60,000,000 maravedis, but the be deputies in the next session, and redeputies granted only 45,000,000. The questing they might be elected. The muking then proposed that if the money nicipal councils, which elected their own should be found insufficient, he might be officers as well as the deputies to the allowed to raise the deficiency by a loan cortes, were composed of all the heads of without convoking the cortes afresh for families, but by degrees the crown inthe purpose. To this the majority of the terfered in the appointment of the mudeputies assented. By his testament En- nicipal officers. (AYUNTAMIENTO.] rique excluded the citizens from the Thus long before Charles I. (the emCouncil of Regency during the minority peror Charles V.), who has been generally of his son Juan II., and after this they accused of having destroyed the liberties were no longer admitted into the royal of Spain, the popular branch of the reprecouncil. Thus the municipal towns lost sentation was already reduced to a shaa great advantage which they had gained dow, for the deputies of the eighteen cities, thirty years before under Juan I. They elected by court influence, were mere soon after sacrificed, of their own accord, registrars of the royal decrees, and ready their elective franchises. The expenses of voters of the supplies demanded of them. the deputies to the cortes had been till then Under Ferdinand and Isabella the royal defrayed by the towns, but now having authority became more extended and lost iheir influence at court by their firmly established by the subjection of exclusion from the royal council, the the privileged orders; the turbulent notowns began to complain of their burthen. bles were attacked in their castles, which Juan II. listened attentively to their com were razed by hundreds, and the Santa plaints, and in the cortes of Ocana, 1422, Hermandad hunted the proprietors he proposed that the future expenses of throughout the country. Many of the the deputies should be defrayed out of grants by former kings were revoked, and the royal treasury, a proposal which was the proud feudatories were tamed into willingly accepted. Accordingly, in the submissive courtiers. next cortes, 12 cities only, Burgos, Toledo, Charles only finished the work by exLeon, Zamora, Seville, Cordova, Murcia, cluding the privileged orders from the Jaen, Segovia, Avila, Salamanca, and cortes altogether, he and his successors Cuenca, were summoned to send their contenting themselves with convoking the deputation; some other towns were in-deputies of the eighteen royal cities of formed that they might entrust their the crown of Castile on certain solemn powers to any deputy from the above. occasions, to register their decrees, to acThe privilege was subsequently extended knowledge the prince of Asturias as heir to six more cities; Valladolid, Toro, apparent to the throne, to swear allegiance Soria, Madrid, Guadalaxara, and Gra- to a new prince. The policy of absonada. These eighteen places constituted lutism has been the same in all countries henceforth the whole representation of of Europe : it has used the popular power the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Galicia, against the aristocracy, in order to reand Andalusia. The other communities at duce and destroy both in the end. last perceiving the advantage they had In Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia, lost, petitioned to be restored to their which formed the dominions of the crown right, but found themselves strenuously of Aragon, the cortes of each of these