1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Relief
RELIEF (through Fr. from Lat. relevare, to lift up), an act of raising or lifting off or up. Apart from the general sense of a mitigation, cessation or removal of pain, sorrow, discomfort, &c., and the artistic use (It. relievo) of the projection of a figure or design in sculpture from the ground on which it is formed, which is treated below, the term “relief” is used in the following senses; it was one of the feudal incidents between lord and vassal, and consisted of a payment to the lord in kind or money made by the heir on the death of the ancestor for the privilege of succession, for, fiefs not being hereditary, the estate had lapsed to the lord; by this payment the heir caducum praedium relevabat (Du Cange, Gloss. s.v. Relevare). The word is also generally used, in law, for any exemption granted by a court from the strict legal consequences of an act, &c., e.g. to a parliamentary candidate from the penal consequences ensuing from breaches of the regulations of the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Acts. Relief is also the term used in English law for the assistance given to the indigent poor by the Poor Law authorities (see Poor Law).