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|Let's talk leases ;-)
Written by JulieW
(10/7/2008 8:01 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, "This indenture sheweth" L&T question, penned by Cheryl
You are quite right ,Cheryl. This indenture Showeth is the opening preamble of many a lease ( in this case it would be a lease- an indenture is simply a name for a legal document, or a deed is you like).
In actual fact there are words to be inserted between "This Indenture" and "Showeth" ,and more correctly Jane Austen should have writtenThis Indenture.....Showeth. : the names of the parties concerned are inserted along with the date. Perhaps she did write it correctly in the original manuscript and it is a printers error which has never been picked up before.(Phone the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses immediately!)
Also ,I've been looking at some old deeds and prescdents in preparation for this Group Read and from around 1680 the more usual form of words used in a deed was This Indenture ...Witnesseth.
A small difference, but it shows that our Miss Austen was probably working from some very ancient deeds as her precedents ;-)
Would you care to look at a sample lease? They could be very detailed indeed and run for many pages,but my fingers are too poorly to type one in :-( The one I am going to show you is one fromThe Laws Respecting Landlords ,Tenants and Lodgers etc by James Barry Bird of New-Inn,Esq ( 1796) This precedent books went into many editions up till the 1860s. I've used this one simply becasue my other 18th century precedent books are very difficult to scan:and they are too delicate and rare for me to break the spine in so doing! (oh! and do note that in our sample lease poor Captain Von Trap's widow is trying to negotiate a lease here with a Mr Clay....Goodness! What a coincidence!LOL)
So here you are:
As to commenting on the details of the typical lease, you can see that they could be very long and detailed. But as Mr Shpherd knows, established usage usually settled matters between the parties, but it was largely a matter of negotiation and usual forms.
JA uses this procedure to illustrate both Mr Shepherd and Sir Walter's characters. Sir Walter exposes his character to the extent that he is shown to be out of touch with reality, immature and selfish, for he begins by proposing extremely stupid and unacceptable terms for the proposed lease:
"As to all that," rejoined Sir Walter coolly, "supposing I were induced to let my house, I have by no means made up my mind as to the privileges to be annexed to it. I am not particularly disposed to favour a tenant. The park would be open to him of course, and few navy officers, or men of any other description, can have had such a range; but what restrictions I might impose on the use of the pleasure-grounds is another thing. I am not fond of the idea of my shrubberies being always approachable; and I should recommend Miss Elliot to be on her guard with respect to her flower-garden. I am very little disposed to grant a tenant of Kellynch Hall any extraordinary favour, I assure you, be he sailor or soldier."
But Mr Shepherd has the more usual legal realities of the relationship between landlord and tenant at the forefront of his mind. the short pause where he considers how to flatter sir Walter out of this frame of mind is very illuminating:
After a short pause, Mr. Shepherd presumed to say --
Anne could certainly remove plants from the flower garden to be given to Lady Russell, provided the new tenant was aware that he would not be having the benefit of them : to strip the whole garden might however may be a very different matter ;-) A new tenant might not notice a few perennials or rose bushes going down to the lodge, but he would be concerned if the whole garden had been stripped. Its a matter of degree. Likewise he would most probably have been bothered if he had not been allowed to use all the grounds-Sir Walter wants to restrict his right to use the shrubberies , note. And I'll bet Admiral Croft was paying top dollar for the rent, so he would want to be able to use all of the grounds ;-) As to whether Sir Walter suceeds in this, I advise you to keep a look out in futuer chapters , for all will be revealed ;-)
Does that help?
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