As to the relationship betwixt us and beasts, I do not much admit of it; nor of that which several nations, and those among the most ancient and most noble, have practised, who have not only received brutes into their society and companionship, but have given them a rank infinitely above themselves, esteeming them one while familiars and favourites of the gods, and having them in more than human reverence and respect; others acknowledged no other god or divinity than they: "Bellux a barbaris propter beneficium consecratae."

This corresponded pretty closely to the conditions which existed at that period throughout the whole of western Europe. It is essential to observe that the fief, unlike the beneficium, was not granted for a certain number of years, or for the life of the grantee, to revert at his death to the owner.

English law had grown up out of Teutonic custom, into which Roman tradition had been slowly filtering through the Dark Ages Feudal law still bore traces of its double origin in the system of the Teutonic "comitatus" and of the Roman "beneficium."

At a time midway between these periods it was carried by the Norman Conquest into England. Feudalism had grown up from two great sources the beneficium, and the practice of commendation and had been specially fostered on Gallic soil by the existence of a subject population which admitted of any amount of extension in the methods of dependence.

All over the Frankish Empire the county was the normal unit of local administration. The count led the military levies, collected the royal dues, enforced the laws, maintained the peace, and was a judge with powers of life and death. By that time the office had often become hereditary, on the analogy of the beneficium, and the count appropriated to his own use the profits of his office.

Now, if we have rightly understood what has been said above, namely, that the mass is nothing else than a testament and sacrament, in which God pledges Himself to us and gives us grace and mercy, I think it is not fitting that we should make a good work or merit out of it. For a testament is not beneficium acceptum, sed datum; it does not derive benefit from us, but brings us benefit.

Beneficium was the legal name of an estate held by a feudal tenure. See Spelman's Glossary. Waynage was a villein's plough-tackle and carts.

The giver was considered the absolute owner of whatever he gave, as is the commander of a vessel at sea. It was a beneficium conferred by him, to which certain indispensable conditions were attached. Military duty was the first, but not the only one of these. Writers on feudalism mention a great number, the nonfulfilment of which incurred what was called forfeiture.

Though he no longer owned the land, he still enjoyed its products and had only to pay a trifling sum each year in recognition of the monastery's ownership. The use, or usufruct, of the land which was thus granted by the monastery to its former owner was called a beneficium.

The brief which they read to him from the pope, expressed the sorrow of his Holiness at finding how greatly the term "beneficium" had been misunderstood, and declared that no other than its ordinary meaning in the Latin language was intended by it, and that the meaning of feoff had not for a moment been entertained.