Page:William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (3rd ed, 1768, vol II).djvu/298

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Book II.
The Rights

any ſeaſonable time that he pleaſes[1]; and may take ſufficient eſtovers of common right for houſe-bote and cart-bote; unleſs reſtrained (which is uſual) by particular covenants or exceptions[2]. The converſion of land from one ſpecies to another is waſte. To convert wood, meadow, or paſture, into arable; to turn arable, meadow, or paſture into woodland; or to turn arable or woodland into meadow or paſture; are all of them waſte[3]. For, as ſir Edward Coke obſerves[4], it not only changes the courſe of huſbandry, but the evidence of the eſtate; when ſuch a cloſe, which is conveyed and deſcribed as paſture, is found to be arable, and e converſo. And the ſame rule is obſerved, for the ſame reaſon, with regard to converting one ſpecies of edifice into another, even though it is improved in it's value[5]. To open the land to ſearch for mines of metal, coal, &c, is waſte; for that is a detriment to the inheritance[6]: but, if the pits or mines were open before, it is no waſte for the tenant to continue digging them for his own uſe[7]; for it is now become the mere annual profit of the land. Theſe three are the general heads of waſte, viz. in houſes, in timber, and in land. Though, as was before ſaid, whatever tends to the deſtruction, or depreciating the value, of the inheritance, is conſidered by the law as waſte.

Let us next ſee, who are liable to be puniſhed for committing waſte. And by the feodal law, feuds being originally granted for life only, we find that the rule was general for all vaſals or feudatories; "ſi vaſallus feudum diſſipaverit, aut inſigni detrimento deterius fecerit, privabitur[8]." But in our antient common law the rule was by no means ſo large; for not only he that was ſeiſed of an eſtate of inheritance might do as he pleaſed with it, but alſo waſte was not puniſhable in any tenant, ſave only in three perſons; guardian in chivalry, tenant in dower, and tenant by
  1. 2 Roll. Abr. 817.
  2. Co. Litt. 41.
  3. Hob. 296.
  4. 1 Inſt. 53.
  5. 1 Lev. 309.
  6. 5 Rep. 12.
  7. Hob. 295.
  8. Wright. 44.