THE DIGEST OR PANDECTS. BOOK VII.
TITLE I. CONCERNING USUFRUCT AND ITS USE AND ENJOYMENT.
1. Paulus, On Vitellius, Book HI.
Usufruct is the right to use and enjoy the property of others, at the
same time preserving intact the substance of the same.
2. Celsus, Digest, Book XVIII.
For usufruct is a right in the material part of a thing, so that, if it
is removed, the usufruct itself must be removed also.
3. Gaius, Diurnal, or Golden Matters, Book II.
An usufruct can be created in any real property by means of a legacy, so
that the heir may be directed to transfer the usufruct to some person; and he
is understood to transfer it if he conducts the legatee upon the land or
permits him to enjoy or use the same. Where any one wishes to create an
usufruct, he can do so by means of agreements and stipulations, without making
(1) An usufruct may be created not only with reference to land and
buildings but also with reference to slaves, beasts of burden, and other
(2) In order, however, that the mere ownership may not become absolutely
worthless on account of the perpetual existence of the usufruct, it has been
decided that the usufruct may be extinguished in various ways, and revert to
the mere ownership.
(3) Moreover, in whatever way an usufruct is created and terminated,
mere use can in the same way be created and terminated.
4. Paulus, On the Edict, Book II.
In many instances usufruct is a part of the ownership and stands by
itself, since it can be granted immediately, or from a certain date.
5. Papinianus, Questions, Book VII.
An usufruct can, in the beginning, be created with reference to a share
of property whether it be divided or undivided, and it can also be lost by
lapse of time fixed by law; and on the same principle it can be diminished by
the operation of the Lex Falcidia. Where, however, the party who
promised an usufruct dies, the obligation to grant the same is divided in
proportion to the shares of the estate; and if it must be granted in land held
in common, and one of the owners is defendant in a suit, the transfer shall be
made in proportion to the share of the said defendant.
6. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
An usufruct may be created in several ways; for instance it may be
bequeathed as a legacy. The mere ownership of the property can be left by way
of legacy, and the usufruct be reserved, so that the usufruct will remain for
(1) An usufruct may be created also by an action for the partition of an
estate, or by one for the division of property held in common, where the court
adjudges the mere ownership to one party and the usufruct to another.
(2) An usufruct is, moreover, acquired for us not only through
ourselves, but also through persons whom we have under our control.
(3) There is nothing to prevent my slave being appointed an heir, and
the bare ownership be left as a legacy, the usufruct being reserved.
7. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed as a legacy, the entire profits of the
property belong to the usufructuary. An usufruct of either real or personal
property may be bequeathed.
(1) When that of real property is bequeathed, as for instance, where the
usufruct of a house is left, all income therefrom belongs to the usufructuary;
and also whatever is derived from buildings, enclosures, and the other things
which appertain to the house. Wherefore, it has been established that an
usufructuary can be placed in possession of an adjoining building, with a view
to the prevention of threatened injury; and he can retain possession of the
said building as owner, if the other party persists in not furnishing security;
nor will he lose anything when the usufruct is terminated. On this principle,
Labeo states that the owner of property has no right to raise his building if
you are unwilling; as, where the usufruct of unoccupied ground has been
bequeathed, he cannot erect a house thereon; which opinion I think to be
(2) Therefore, since all the produce of the property belongs to the
usufructuary, he can, as Celsus states in the Eighteenth Book of the Digest, be
compelled by application to the court to repair the house, only so far,
however, as to keep it in good condition, but if any of it should be destroyed
through age, neither one of the parties can be compelled to repair it; still,
if the heir should do so, he must permit the usufructuary to use it; wherefore
Celsus asks to what an extent
must it be kept in repair? If any portions are destroyed by age he
cannot be compelled to repair them, and therefore he is only liable for
moderate repairs, since as the usufruct is left to him, he assumes other
burdens also, as for instance, taxes, tribute, rent, or a provision for
maintenance charged upon the property; and this Marcellus stated in the
(3) Cassius also says in the Eighth Book of the Civil Law that an
usufructuary can be compelled to make repairs by applying to the court, just as
he is obliged to plant trees; and Aristo states in a note that this is correct.
Neratius also says in the Fourth Book of Parchments, that an usufructuary
cannot be prohibited from making repairs, for the same reason that he cannot be
prevented from plowing or cultivating the soil; and not only can he make
necessary repairs, but also he may make improvements for the purpose of
enjoyment, as stucco-work, mosaic pavements, and things of this kind; but he
cannot enlarge the buildings, or remove anything from them which is useful:
8. The Same, On the Edict, Book XL.
Even though his intention is to put something better in its place, and
this opinion is the true one.
9. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Moreover, where the usufruct of land has been bequeathed, whatever is
derived from the land and whatever can be collected therefrom, is included in
the profits which belong to the legatee, on the condition, however, that he
makes use of it as a good citizen would do; and indeed, Celsus states in the
Eighteenth Book of the Digest, that he can be compelled to cultivate the land
in a suitable manner.
(1) If there are bees on the land, the usufruct of them also belongs to
(2) But where the land contains stone quarries, and the usufructuary
desires to cut stone, or it contains chalk or sand pits; Sabinus says he has a
right to make use of all these, just as a thrifty owner would do; which I think
to be the correct opinion.
(3) Even where these quarries have been discovered after the bequest of
the usufruct, when the usufruct of the entire field and not certain parts of
the same were left, they are included in the legacy.
(4) Intimately connected with this is a question which has often been
treated of with respect to accessions, made to property; and it has been
established that the usufruct of alluvial soil also belongs to the
usufructuary. But where an island appears in a river opposite a tract of land,
Pegasus says that the usufruct of it does not belong to the usufructuary of the
adjoining land, although it is an accession to the property; for it is, as it
were, a peculiar tract of real-estate to whose usufruct you are not entitled.
This opinion is not unreasonable, for where the increase is not noticeable the
usufruct is increased, but where it appears separately, it does not contribute
to the benefit of the usufructuary.
(5) Cassius states in the Eighth Book of the Civil Law that the proceeds
obtained from the capture of birds and game belong to the usufructuary, and
therefore those from fishing do also.
(6) I am of the opinion that the yield of a nursery also belongs to the
usufructuary, so that he also has the right to sell and to plant; but he is
obliged to have the bed always prepared, and to renew it for the purpose of
replanting the same, as a kind of implement to be employed for the benefit of
the land; so that, when the usufruct is terminated it may be restored to the
(7) He is likewise entitled to what this implement for the good of the
land produces, but he has not the power to sell it; for if the usufruct of the
land was bequeathed, and there is a field where the owner was accustomed to
obtain stakes, osiers, or reeds for the use of the land, the usufruct of which
was bequeathed; I am of the opinion that the usufructuary can make use of the
same, provided he does not sell anything off of it, unless if it should happen
that an usufruct was left to him of a clump of willows, or of the wood where
the stakes were found, or of the bed of reeds; for then he can sell the same.
Trebatius says that the usufructuary can cut stakes and reeds just as the owner
of the land was accustomed to do, and can sell them, even though the former was
not accustomed to do so, but to use them himself; as the condition of the
usufructuary must be considered with reference to the amount to be used, and
not to the manner of using it.
10. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
The usufructuary can take stakes for props from a thicket, and limbs
from trees, and from a wood which is not a thicket he can take what he requires
for his vineyard; provided he does not make the land any the less valuable.
11. Paulus, Epitomes of the Digest of Alfenus, Book II. But where
the trees are larger he cannot cut them down.
12. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where trees are uprooted or overthrown by the force of the wind, Labeo
says that the usufructuary can recover them for his own use, and that of his
household, but he must not use the timber for firewood, if he has any other
available for that purpose; and I think that this opinion is correct,
otherwise, if all the land should suffer this misfortune, the usufructuary
could remove all the trees. Labeo, however, thinks that he has a right to cut
down as many trees as are necessary for the repair of the house; just as he can
burn lime, or dig sand, or take anything else which is necessary for the
(1) Where the usufruct of a ship has been bequeathed, I think that it
can be sent to sea, although the danger of shipwreck may be threatened; as a
ship is constructed for the purpose of navigation.
(2) The usufructuary can either enjoy the property itself, or transfer
the right of enjoyment to another, or he can leave, or sell the latter; for a
man who leases and one who sells also uses. But where he trans-
fers it to someone to be held on sufferance, or donates it, I think that
he uses it, and therefore retains the usufruct of the same; and this was the
opinion of Cassius and Pegasus, and Pomponius adopts it in the Fifth Book on
Sabinus. For not only do I retain the usufruct, if I lease it, but also where
another person who is transacting my business leases the usufruct, Julianus
states in the Thirty-first Book, that I still
Where, however, I do not lease it, but while I am absent, and ignorant
of the fact, someone who transacts my business makes use of it, and enjoys it;
I, nevertheless, retain the usufruct, because I have acquired a right of action
on the ground of business transacted; and this opinion Pomponius approves in
the Fifth Book.
(3) Pomponius is in doubt as to the following case, namely, where a
fugitive slave in whom I have an usufruct stipulates for something with
reference to my property, or receives something by delivery, do I retain the
usufruct under these circumstances, on the ground that I am making use of him?
He fully admits that I do retain it, for he says that very often we may not be
using slaves at the time, but we retain the usufruct in them; for example,
where a slave is ill, or is an infant, his services are of no value, or where
he becomes decrepit through old age. We still retain the usufruct if we plow a
field, although it is so barren that it yields no crop. Julianus, however,
states in the Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest, that even where a fugitive slave
does not stipulate for anything the usufruct is still retained; for he says, on
the principle that possession is retained by the owner where the slave has
fled, on the same principle the usufruct is also retained.
(4) He also discusses the following question, namely, where anyone
acquires possession of the slave, must the usufruct be lost, just as the slave
ceases to be in possession of the mere owner? And first he says that it may be
held that the usufruct is lost, but even if it is, it must also be held that
whatever the slave may have stipulated for with reference to the property of
the usufructuary, within the time established by law, can be acquired by the
usufructuary. From this it may be said to be inferred that even if the slave is
in the possession of another person, the usufruct is not lost, provided the
slave stipulated for something for me; and it makes but little difference
whether he is in possession of the heir, or of someone else, to whom the estate
has been sold, or to whom the mere ownership has been bequeathed, or even of a
plunderer; for it will be sufficient for the usufruct to be retained if there
is a desire to hold it, and the slave performs some act in behalf of the
usufructuary; and this opinion seems to be reasonable.
(5) Julianus presents the following question in the Thirty-fifth
Book of the Digest. If a thief plucks, or cuts off ripe fruit which is hanging
upon a tree, who will be entitled to a suit against him for its recovery; the
owner of the land, or the usufructuary? And he thinks that as fruit does not
belong to the usufructuary unless it has been gathered by him, even though it
should be separated from the land by another person, the proprietor has the
better right to bring an action for its recovery; but the usufructuary has a
right to an action for
theft, for it was to his interest that the fruit should not have been
Marcellus, however, is influenced by the fact that if the usufructuary
subsequently obtains possession of the fruit, it will perhaps become his; and
if it does, under what rule will this happen, unless that, in the meantime, it
belonged to the mere owner, for, as soon as the usufructuary secures it, it
becomes his, just as where property is bequeathed under some condition, and, in
the meantime, belongs to an heir, but when the condition is complied with, it
passes to the legatee; for it is true that the mere owner is entitled to an
action for its recovery.
Where, however, the ownership is in suspense, as Julianus himself says
in a case where the young of animals which are permitted to grow up have died;
and where a slave subject to an usufruct received something by delivery for
which the price had not yet been paid, but security had been given; it must be
held that the right of action for its recovery remains in suspense, and that
the ownership of the property is even more in abeyance.
13. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where the usufruct in any property has been bequeathed, the owner can
demand security for the property, and this can be done by order of court, for
just as the usufructuary has a right to use and enjoyment, so also the mere
owner has a right to be secure with reference to his property. This also
applies to every usufruct, as Julianus states in the Thirty-eighth Book of the
Digest. Where an usufruct has been bequeathed, an action for its recovery
should not be granted to the usufructuary unless he gives security that he will
make use of and enjoy it as would meet with the approval of a good citizen; and
where there are several heirs who are charged with said usufruct, security must
be given to every one of them individually.
(1) Therefore, when an action is brought with reference to an usufruct,
not only what has been done will be decided, but also it will be determined how
the usufruct should be enjoyed in the future.
(2) The usufructuary is liable under the Lex Aquilia, for damage
already committed, and can be held under the interdict Quod vi aut clam,
as Julianus says; and it is certain that the usufructuary is also liable to
the above-mentioned actions and to those of theft as well, just like any other
party who has been guilty of an offence of this kind with reference to the
property of another.
Hence, having been asked what is the benefit of the prætor
promising an action, when one already existed under the Lex Aquilia;
Julianus answered that because there were instances in which the Aquilian
Action could not be brought, and therefore a judge was appointed in order that
the party might comply with his decision; for where anyone does not break up a
field, or does not plant vines, or allows aqueducts to be ruined he is not
liable under the Lex Aquilia. The same principles are applicable where a
party only has the use of property.
(3) When a controversy arises between two usufructuaries, Julianus says
in the Thirty-eighth Book of the Digest, that it is perfectly
just for an action like that in partition to be granted them; or that,
by means of a stipulation, they should secure one another as to how they will
make use of their usufructs; for why, Julianus asks, should the prætor
suffer them to proceed to the employment of armed force, when he is able to
restrain them by means of his judicial authority? Celsus also approves this
opinion in the Twentieth Book of the Digest, and I think that it is
(4) An usufructuary cannot make the condition of the property worse, but
he can improve it. If the usufruct of land was bequeathed, the usufructuary
should not cut down fruit trees, or demolish buildings, or do anything else to
the injury of the property. And if the estate should happen to be one used for
enjoyment, and possesses pleasure gardens, lanes, or shady and pleasant walks
laid out under trees which do not bear fruit, he should not cut them down for
the purpose of making kitchen-gardens, or anything else designed to produce an
(5) Hence the question arose, whether the usufructuary himself can open
stone quarries, or chalk, or sand-pits? I think that he can do so, if he does
not use for that purpose any portion of the land required for something else.
Therefore he can look for places for quarries and excavations of this kind, and
he can work any mines of gold, silver, sulphur, copper, iron, or other minerals
which the original proprietor opened; or he himself can open them, if this does
not interfere with the cultivation of the soil. And if he should happen to
obtain more income by doing this than he derives from the vineyards,
plantations, or olive orchards, which are already there, he can, perhaps, cut
these down since he is allowed to improve the property.
(6) Where, however, the operations begun by the usufructuary pollute the
air of the land, or necessitate a great array of workmen, or gardeners, which
is more than the mere owner can endure; he will not be considered as exercising
his usufruct as a careful person should do. Nor can he erect a building on the
land, except one which is necessary for the harvesting of crops.
(7) Where, however, the usufruct of a house was bequeathed, Nerva, the
son, says that he can put in windows, and can also paint the walls, and add
pictures, marbles, statuettes, and anything else which adorns a house; but he
will not be permitted to change the rooms, throw them together, or separate
them, or reverse the front and back entrances, or open places which are
retired, or change the hall, or alter the pleasure gardens in any way; for he
must take care of everything as he found it, without changing the arrangement
of the building. Moreover, Nerva says that a party to whom the usufruct of a
house has been bequeathed, cannot raise the height of the latter, even if no
lights should be obscured by doing so, because the roof would be more likely to
be disturbed; and this Labeo also holds with reference to the mere owner. Labeo
also states that the usufructuary cannot obstruct the lights.
(8) Again, where the usufruct of a house is bequeathed, the usufructuary
cannot rent rooms in it, nor can he divide it up into apartments, but there is
no doubt that he can rent it, but he must do so as
one residence; nor can he open a public bath there. When it is said that
"He cannot rent rooms in it"; this must be understood to mean what are commonly
designated lodgings for travellers, or shops for fullers. I am, however, of the
opinion that where there is a bath in the house for the use of the household,
and it is situated in some retired place, and among pleasant rooms, the
usufructuary would not act properly, or in accordance with the judgment of a
careful man, if he rented it as a public bath; any more than if he should rent
the house as a place in which to keep beasts of burden, or where the house had
a building which could be used as a stable and coach-house, he should rent it
as a bakery.
14. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Even though he should receive much less income by doing so.
15. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
If, however, he should make any addition to the house, he cannot
afterwards remove, or separate it; although it is clear that he can recover, as
the owner, anything which has been detached.
(1) Where the usufruct which is bequeathed consists of slaves, he must
not abuse them, but must employ them in accordance with their condition. For if
he sends a copyist to the country, and compels him to carry a basket of lime,
and makes an actor perform the duties of an attendant of a bath, or a singer
act as a porter, or takes a slave from a wrestling arena, and employs him to
clean out the vaults of water-closets, he will be considered to be making an
improper use of the property.
(2) He must also furnish the slaves with sufficient food and clothing,
in accordance with their rank and standing.
(3) Labeo states as a rule of general application that, in the case of
movable property of every description, the usufructuary must observe a certain
degree of moderation, so as not to spoil it by rough handling or violence,
otherwise an action can be brought against him under the Lex
(4) Where the usufruct of clothing is bequeathed, the right not having
reference to quantity; it must be said that he ought to make use of it so that
it may not be worn out, but he cannot hire it as a good citizen would not
employ it in that manner.
(5) Hence, if the usufruct of theatrical costumes, or curtains, or some
other similar articles is bequeathed, he must not use them anywhere but on the
stage. It should be considered whether he can hire them, or not; and I think
that this can be done, even though the testator was accustomed to lend these
articles and not to hire them. Still, I am of the opinion that the usufructuary
can hire theatrical costumes as well as such as are used at funerals.
(6) The mere owner of the property must not interfere with the
usufructuary, so long as he does not use the article in such a way as to render
its condition worse. With reference to some articles, a doubt arises where he
forbids him to use them whether he can legally do so;
as for instance, in the case of casks, where the usufruct of land has
been bequeathed. Certain authorities hold that where the casks are buried in
the ground their use may be prohibited; and they say the same of vats, barrels,
jars, and bottles, and also of window panes, if the usufruct of a house is
bequeathed. I am of the opinion, however, that everything belonging to the land
and the house is included, where a contrary intention does not exist.
(7) The owner of the property cannot subject it to a servitude, nor can
he permit one to be lost, but it is evident that he can acquire a servitude,
even if the usufructuary is unwilling, as Julianus says. Consequently,
according to the same rule, the usufructuary cannot acquire a servitude in the
land, but he can preserve one, and if there is one, and it should be lost by
the usufructuary not using it, he will be liable on this account. The owner
cannot impose a servitude on the land even if the usufructuary consents,
16. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Unless the condition of the usufructuary should not become worse
thereby; as for instance, where the owner grants the servitude to a neighbor
that he himself shall not have the right to raise his house.
17. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
He can make a place religious with the consent of the usufructuary, and
this is permitted in favor of religion. Sometimes, however, the owner of the
property alone can make the place religious; for suppose he buries the testator
therein, when there is no other place so convenient for his burial.
(1) On the principle that the proprietor must not place the usufructuary
in a worse condition, the question is frequently asked whether the owner of a
slave can punish him? Aristo states in a note to Cassius, that he has a perfect
right to punish him, provided he does so without malice; although the
usufructuary cannot, by means of improper or unusual tasks, or by disfiguring
him with scars, treat the slave so as to diminish the value of his
(2) The proprietor can also surrender the slave by way of reparation for
damage committed by him, if he does so without malicious intent; since, a
surrender of this kind does not legally terminate the usufruct, any more than
usucaption of property which took place after the usufruct has been created. It
is clear that an action for the recovery of the usufruct must be refused unless
the amount appraised as damages is tendered by the usufructuary to the party
who received the slave by way of reparation.
(3) If anyone should kill the slave, I have never had any doubt that the
usufructuary will be entitled to a prætorian action in the same manner as
under the Lex Aquilia.
18. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Where the usufruct which is bequeathed consists of a field, other trees
must be substituted in the place of those which have died, and the latter will
belong to the usufructuary.
19. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
Proculus thinks that the usufruct of a house can be bequeathed in such a
way that a servitude may be imposed upon it in favor of some other house
belonging to the estate, as follows: "If So-and-So promises my heir that he
will not do anything by which certain buildings may be raised in height, then I
give and bequeath to him the usufruct of said buildings"; or as follows: "I
give and bequeath to So-and-So the usufruct of such-and-such a house, so long
as it shall not be built higher than it now is".
(1) Where trees are thrown down by the wind and the owner does not
remove them, and the usufruct is rendered more inconvenient, thereby, or a
roadway is obstructed; suit can be brought by the usufructuary against him in a
20. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where anyone makes a bequest in the following terms: "I give and
bequeath the annual crops of the Cornelian Estate to Gaius Nævius"; this
clause should be understood to mean the same as if the usufruct of the estate
had been bequeathed.
21. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the usufruct of a slave is bequeathed, whatever he earns by his
own labor or by means of the property of the usufructuary belongs to the
latter; whether the slave stipulates, or possession is delivered to him. But
where a slave has been appointed an heir, or receives a legacy, Labeo makes a
distinction dependent upon whose behalf he is appointed heir or receives the
22. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Moreover, when anything is given to a slave in whom someone else has the
usufruct, the question arises what must be done in this instance? In all such
cases, where anything is left or given to a slave to the advantage of the
usufructuary, the slave acquires it for him, but where it is given for the
benefit of the owner, he acquires it for the latter, and if it was given for
the benefit of the slave himself, it is acquired by the owner; for we do not
take into consideration where he who made the gift or left the legacy came to
know the slave, or what service the slave performed to deserve it. But where a
slave, in whom there is an usufruct, acquires something on account of complying
with a condition, and it is established that the condition was inserted for the
benefit of the usufructuary, it must be held that the latter is entitled to it;
as the same rule applies in the case of a donatio mortis causa.
23. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
But just as the slave by stipulating acquires property for the
usufructuary, in like manner, as Julianus states in the Thirtieth Book of the
Digest, he can, by means of an informal contract, acquire an exception for the
usufructuary; and also, by securing a release, he can obtain a discharge for
(1) We have previously stated that what is acquired by the labor of the
slave belongs to the usufructuary; but it must be borne in mind that he can be
forced to work; for Sabinus has given the opinion that the usufructuary can
administer moderate punishment, and Cassius says in the Eighth Book of the
Civil Law, that he cannot torture the slave, or scourge him.
24. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book X.
Where anyone about to give a present to an usufructuary, promises a
slave, who is subject to the usufruct on his own stipulation, he will be bound
to the usufructuary; for the reason that it is customary for a slave to be able
to enter into a stipulation in favor of the usufructuary.
25. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where, however, a person stipulates for anything for himself or Stichus,
a slave subject to an usufruct, with the intention that it shall, for the
purpose of making him a gift, go to the usufructuary; it must be stated that if
money is paid to the slave it will be acquired for the usufructuary.
(1) Sometimes, however, the question for whom this slave, subject to an
usufruct, will acquire it, remains in abeyance; as, for instance, where the
slave purchases another slave and receives him by delivery, and does not yet
pay the purchase-money, but only furnishes security for it; in the meantime,
the question arises to whom does the slave belong? Julianus states in the
Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest, that the ownership of the slave is in
abeyance, and the payment of the price will decide to whom he belongs; for if
it is paid out of money of the usufructuary, the slave will belong to the
latter by retroactive effect. The same rule applies where, for instance, the
slave makes a stipulation for the payment of money; for the payment itself will
determine for whose benefit the stipulation was entered into. Hence we see that
the ownership is in abeyance until the price is paid. What then would be the
case if the price is paid after the usufruct has terminated? Julianus says in
the Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest, that it must still be considered from
whence the price is to come; but Marcellus and Mauricianus think that where the
usufruct is lost, the ownership will be acquired by the person to whom the
property belongs. The opinion of Julian is, however, the more equitable
If, however, the price should be paid out of property belonging to both
parties, Julianus says that the ownership will belong to both; of course, in
proportion to the amount paid by each. Suppose, however, the slave pays out of
the property of both at the same time; as for instance, if he owed ten thousand
sesterces as the price, and he paid ten thousand out of the funds of each; for
which one does the slave actually acquire the property? If he pays by counting
out the money, the important point is who was the owner of the sum which is
first paid, for the other party can bring an action to recover that which was
paid subsequently; or if the money was already expended by the individual who
received it, a personal action can be brought for its recovery. But
where the slave paid the entire amount in a sack, he who received it
does not acquire the property, and therefore the ownership is not held to be
acquired by anyone, because where the slave pays more than the price he does
not transfer the money to the receiver.
(2) Where such a slave leases his own services and stipulates for a
certain sum to be paid every year, this stipulation, during the time which the
usufruct continues, will enure to the benefit of the usufructuary, but the
benefit of the stipulation will enure to the owner during the ensuing year,
although in the beginning it was for the benefit of the usufructuary;
notwithstanding it is not customary for a stipulation when once obtained for
the benefit of anyone, to pass to another, unless to his heir or to a party by
whom he is arrogated. Hence, where an usufruct is bequeathed for a number of
years, and the slave leases his services and stipulates, as is above stated, as
often as the usufruct is lost by the change of condition of the usufructuary,
and is subsequently restored, the stipulation will pass from one to the other,
and after having gone to the heir, it will return to the usufructuary.
(3) It may be questioned whether what cannot be acquired by the
usufructuary can be acquired by the owner? Julianus, in the Thirty-fifth Book
of the Digest, states that what cannot be acquired by the usufructuary belongs
to the owner. He also states that where a slave stipulates with reference to
the property of the usufructuary for the proprietor, expressly, or by his
order, he acquires for the latter; but, on the other hand, if he stipulates for
the usufructuary, not on account of the property of the latter, nor in
consideration of his own labor, the stipulation is void.
(4) Where a slave subject to an usufruct stipulates for a transfer of
said usufruct, either without mentioning anyone or expressly for his owner, he
makes the acquisition for the latter; just as in the case of a slave held in
common by two parties, who, in a stipulation contracts for one of his owners
for property which already belongs to him, the stipulation is not valid;
because where any party stipulates for what belongs to him the stipulation is
void, but where the slave stipulates for the other owner, he acquires all of
said property for him.
(5) Julianus also states in the same Book, that where an usufructuary
leases the services of a slave to the latter, the contract is inoperative for
he says if anyone stipulates with me for my own property, the stipulation is
void; for this is no more operative than where a slave belonging to another,
who is serving me in good faith, does the same thing, he will acquire the
property for his owner. In like manner, he says, if he rents my property from
me, the usufructuary, this will not render me liable.
The general principle he establishes is, that where anyone making a
stipulation with another would acquire property for me, if he makes a
stipulation with me his act is void; unless, indeed, Julianus adds, he
stipulates with me or leases from me especially for the benefit of his
(6) If you suppose the case of two usufructuaries, and the slave makes a
stipulation with reference to the property of one of them, the
question arises whether he is entitled to all of it or only the share
which he has in the usufruct? This case is the same which is treated of by
Scævola in the Second Book of Questions, with respect to two bona-fide
possessors; and he says that it is generally held and is consonant with
reason, that where a stipulation was made with reference to the property of one
of them, then part of it is only obtained for him, and part for the owner. But
where the stipulation is expressly made, there should be no doubt, if the name
of the party is mentioned, that he will obtain the whole of it. He says that
the rule is the same where the slave stipulates by order of the party, as an
order is understood to take the place of a name.
The same rule also applies to the case of usufructuaries; so that
wherever an usufructuary does not acquire the whole of the property, it will be
acquired by the mere proprietor, for we have already shown that he can obtain
it by a title having reference to the property of the usufructuary.
(7) As we have previously stated that the usufructuary can acquire
property through what he owns, or by the labors of the slave; it should be
taken into consideration whether this is applicable merely where the usufruct
is created by means of a bequest, or where it is obtained by delivery,
stipulation, or in any other way. The opinion of Pegasus is the correct one,
which Julianus has followed in the Sixteenth Book, namely: that it is in every
instance acquired by the usufructuary.
26. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Whenever a slave subject to a usufruct leases his services, and before
the time of the lease expires, the usufruct terminates, the time which remains
will belong to the proprietor. But where, from the beginning, the slave
stipulates for a specified sum in consideration of the performance of certain
services, and the usufructuary suffers a loss of civil rights, the same rule
27. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where a testator leaves fruit, which was already ripe, hanging upon a
tree, the usufructuary will be entitled to it if he takes it from the tree upon
the day when his legacy vests; for even standing crops belong to the
(1) Where the owner was accustomed to use shops for the sale of his
merchandise or for conducting his business, then the usufructuary will be
allowed to lease them even for a sale of different merchandise; and this
precaution alone shall be observed, namely, that the usufructuary must not make
an unusual use of the property, or employ the usufruct in a way which will
insult or injure the owner.
(2) When the usufruct of a slave is bequeathed, and the testator was
accustomed to employ him in different ways, and the usufructuary educates him
or teaches him some trade; he can avail himself of the trade or skill obtained
in this manner.
(3) Where anything is due as taxes for constructing a sewer, or must be
paid for the channel of a water-course which traverses the
land, the burden of the same shall be assumed by the usufructuary; and
where anything is to be paid for the maintenance of a highway, I think that
this expense also must be borne by the usufructuary. Therefore, where any
contribution of crops is levied on account of the passage of an army, or due to
a municipality, since possessors of property are accustomed to deliver to the
municipal authorities a certain portion of their crops at a low price, and also
to pay taxes to the Treasury, all the aforesaid burdens must be assumed by the
(4) Where any kind of servitude is imposed upon land, the usufructuary
will be compelled to tolerate it, and therefore, if a servitude is owing as the
result of a stipulation, I think that the same rule will apply.
(5) Where, however, a slave has been sold, and the purchaser is
forbidden under a penalty from employing him for certain purposes, if the
usufruct in the slave is bequeathed, must the usufructuary comply with these
conditions? I think that he must comply with them; otherwise, he will not use
and enjoy his right in a way that would be approved by a good citizen.
28. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
. An usufruct in old gold and silver coins which are usually ordinarily
used for ornaments can be bequeathed.
29. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Celsus in the Thirty-second Book, and Julianus in the Sixty-first Book
of the Digest, state that the usufruct in an entire estate can be bequeathed,
provided it does not exceed three-fourths of the appraised value; and this is
the better opinion.
30. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
Where a person who has two houses bequeaths the usufruct of one of them,
Marcellus says that the heir can shut off the lights of one of them by raising
the height of the other; since the house could be inhabited even if it was
darkened. This must be regulated to such an extent that the entire house must
not be darkened, but must have a certain amount of light which will be
sufficient for the occupants.
31. The Same, On Sabinus, Book X.
The phrase, "Based on the property of the usufructuary", must be
understood to refer to anything which the usufructuary may have presented or
granted to the slave, or where the slave gained anything through the
transaction of his business.
32. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book XXXIII.
Where a person transfers a house, which is the only one he has, or a
tract of land, he can reserve a servitude which is personal and not
prædial; as for instance, the use or usufruct. But if he makes a
reservation of pasturage or the right of residence, it is valid; as profits are
obtained from the pasturage of many tracts of woodland. Where the
right of residence is reserved, whether this is for a certain time or
until the death of the person who reserves it, it is held to be a reservation
of the use.
33. Papinianus, Questions, Book XVII.
Where the usufruct is bequeathed to Titius and the mere ownership to
Mævius, and, during the lifetime of the testator Titius dies, nothing is
left in the hands of the party appointed heir; and Neratius also gave this as
(1) It is established that in certain instances the usufruct can not be
regarded as a part of the property; and, therefore, where suit is brought for a
portion of the land or of the usufruct and the defendant gains the case, and
afterwards an action for recovery is brought for another part which has been
obtained by accretion, Julianus says that in the action for the property on the
ground of a previous decision rendered, an exception can be pleaded; but in the
action for the usufruct it cannot be interposed, since the portion of the land
which was added, for instance by alluvion, would belong to the original part,
but the increased usufruct would accrue to the person.
34. Julianus, Digest, Book XXXV.
Whenever an usufruct is bequeathed to two persons in such terms that
"they are to use and enjoy the same during alternate years"; as if, for
instance, the bequest had been made to "Titius and Mævius"; it can be
said that it was made for the first year to Titius, and for the second to
Mævius. Where, however, there are two parties of the same name, and the
terms of the bequest are as follows: "I give the usufruct to the two Titii, for
alternate years"; unless both of them agree which one shall have the use of it
first, they will interfere with one another. But if Titius acquires the
ownership during a year in which he enjoyed the usufruct, he will not have the
bequest in the meantime, but the usufruct will belong to Mævius for
alternate years; and if Titius alienates the property, he will still be
entitled to his usufruct; because, even if the usufruct was bequeathed to me
under some condition, and, in the meantime, I acquired the ownership from the
heir but while the condition was still unfulfilled, I alienated the property, I
should be permitted to obtain the legacy.
(1) If you bequeath the usufruct of a tract of land to your tenant, he
can bring an action to recover said usufruct, and he can bring suit against
your heir on the ground of the lease; by which means he will avoid paying rent,
and will recover the expenses which he incurred by cultivating the land.
(2) With reference to the point whether the usufruct of an entire estate
or that of certain articles is bequeathed, I think that it is applicable where,
if a house is burned down, an action for the usufruct of it — if it be the
object of a special bequest — cannot be brought; but where the usufruct of
the entire property was left, an action for the usufruct of the ground will
lie; since anyone who bequeaths the usufruct of his property is held to include
not only that of things of a certain kind
which are there, but also that of his entire possessions, and the ground
on which the house stood is a part of these.
35. The Same, On Urseius Ferox, Book I.
Where an usufruct has been bequeathed, and the person appointed heir
purposely delays entering upon the estate in order that the acquisition of the
legacy may be deferred; this will have to be accounted for; as was held by
(1) The usufruct of a slave was bequeathed to me, and when I ceased to
use and enjoy it, it was directed that he should be free; and I subsequently
obtained from the heir an estimated equivalent of the legacy in money. Sabinus
was of the opinion that the slave will not for that reason become free; for it
may be held that I am enjoying the usufruct in him, since I have obtained other
property in his stead, and the condition of his freedom remains the same, so
that he will become free at my death, or if my civil condition is changed.
36. Africanus, Questions, Book V.
A testator bequeathed the usufruct of a plot of land and erected a house
upon it, and during his lifetime it was demolished or burned down; it was held
that the usufruct could be demanded. On the other hand, the same rule would not
apply if the usufruct of the house had been bequeathed, and the land afterwards
was built upon. The case would be the same if the usufruct in certain cups was
bequeathed, and they were afterwards melted into a mass, and were a second time
fashioned into cups; for although their former condition as cups was restored,
they were not the same as those in which the usufruct was bequeathed.
(1) I stipulated with Titius with reference to the Cornelian Estate, the
usufruct therein being reserved; Titius then died, and it was asked what his
heir was required to deliver to me? The answer was that the principal point had
reference to the intention with which the usufruct was reserved, for if it was
agreed in fact that the usufruct should be established merely in the person of
someone, the heir must transfer the bare ownership; but if it was intended that
the usufruct should be withheld for the promisor alone, his heir must transfer
the ownership without any restriction. That this is true is more clearly
apparent in the case of a legacy, for if an heir who was charged with the
bequest of mere ownership, after reservation of the usufruct, should die before
proceedings have been instituted with reference to the will, there is still
less reason for doubt that the heir will be obliged to transfer complete
The same rule applies where the legacy is bequeathed under a condition
and the heir dies pending its fulfillment.
(2) The usufruct of a slave was bequeathed to Titius, and before it had
been transferred by the heir, who was intentionally in default, the slave died.
No other conclusion could be arrived at than that the liability of the heir is
in proportion to the amount of the interest of the legatee that there should
have been no delay, so that the value of the
usufruct should be appraised from the date of the default to the time
when the slave died. The result of this also would be that if Titius himself
should die, there would also have to be paid to his heir a sum equal to the
value of the usufruct from the time when the default began to the day of his
37. The Same, Questions, Book VII.
The question arose, if I stipulated with you for you to give me an
usufruct for the next ten years, and you neglected to give it, and five years
elapsed; what would be the law? Moreover, if I stipulated with you to give me
the services of Stichus for the next ten years, and five years pass, as above
stated, what then? The answer was that suit could properly be brought for both
the usufruct and the services of the slave for the term that you permitted to
elapse without giving them.
38. Marcianus, Institutes, Book III.
The usufructuary is not considered to make use of anything, where
neither he nor anyone else in his behalf does so; as, for instance, where a
party purchased or leased an usufruct or received it as a gift, or transacted
the business of the usufructuary. It is evident that a distinction should be
made here; for if I sell an usufruct, then, even though the purchaser does not
use the property, I am held to still retain the usufruct:
39. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Because he who enjoys the purchase-money is none the less considered as
possessing the usufruct than one who enjoys and uses the actual property:
40. Marcianus, Institutes, Book III.
But if I make a present of the usufruct, I no longer retain it, unless
the person to whom it was given makes use of it.
41. The Same, Institutes, Book VII.
It is still more evident that the usufruct of a statue or a picture can
be bequeathed, because articles of this kind have a certain utility if they are
deposited in a proper place.
(1) Although there are certain estates of such a description that we
expend more upon them than we receive from them, nevertheless, the usufruct in
them can be bequeathed.
42. Florentinus, Institutes, Book XI.
Where a bequest of the use of some property is left to one man, and the
yield of it to another, the usufructuary will obtain whatever remains after the
demands of the party entitled to the use are satisfied, but he himself will
have a certain amount of use for the purpose of enjoyment.
(1) It makes a difference whether the usufruct of property or the value
of the same is bequeathed to you; for if the usufruct of the property is left
to you, any article which was bequeathed to you in addition,
must be deducted from it, and you will be entitled to an usufruct in
whatever remains; but where the usufruct of the value in money is left you,
this also will be estimated, because it is an additional bequest, for by
bequeathing the same property several times the testator does not increase the
legacy; but where one specific article has been bequeathed, we can increase the
legacy by bequeathing the estimated value of it also.
43. Ulpianus, Rules, Book VII.
The usufruct of only a portion of an estate can be bequeathed, and if it
is not expressly stated what portion, half the estate is understood to be
44. Neratius, Parchments, Book III.
An usufructuary is not permitted to put fresh plaster on walls which are
rough; because, even though by improving the house he would render the
condition of the owner better, he cannot do this through any right of his own;
for it is one thing for him to take care of what he has received, and another
to do something new.
45. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Just as the expenses of the maintenance of a slave whose usufruct
belongs to anyone must be paid by the latter; so, also, it is evident that the
expenses of his illness must naturally be borne by him.
46. Paulus, On Plautius, Book IX.
Where a stranger is appointed heir by will, and an emancipated son is
passed over, and the ownership of the estate is bequeathed to the mother of the
deceased, the usufruct being withheld; then, if suit is brought for the
possession of the estate in opposition to the will, the entire ownership, on
the ground of filial duty toward the mother, must be delivered to her.
(1) Where a testator directs that his heir shall repair a house the
usufruct of which he has bequeathed, the usufructuary can bring suit under the
will to compel the heir to repair it.
47. Pomponius, On Plautius, Book V.
If, however, the heir should not make these repairs, and on this account
the usufructuary should not be able to enjoy the property; the heir of the
usufructuary will be entitled to an action on this ground for an amount of
damages equal to the difference it would have made to the usufructuary if the
heir had not failed to make said repairs; even though the usufruct has been
terminated by the death of the usufructuary.
48. Paulus, On Plautius, Book IX.
If, while the usufructuary is absent, the heir makes the repairs as a
person having charge of his business, he will be entitled to an action against
the usufructuary on the ground of business transacted, even though the heir was
looking to his own future benefit. Where, how-
ever, the usufructuary is ready to relinquish the usufruct, he is not
required to make repairs, and is released from the suit based on business
(1) Where a thicket is cut down, even though this is done at an
unsuitable season of the year, it is considered as part of the yield of the
land; just as olives which are gathered before they are ripe, and grass cut
before the proper time are also considered to be a part of the crops.
49. Pomponius, On Plautius, Book VII.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to me and to you at the charge of
Sempronius and Mucius, heirs of the testator, I will be entitled to a fourth
part from the share of Sempronius and another fourth part from the share of
Mucius; and you, in like manner, will be entitled to two-fourths taken from
their respective shares.
50. Paulus, On Vitellius, Book HI.
Titius left the Tusculan Estate to Mævius, and appointed him a
trustee for the transfer to Titia of the usufruct of half of the said estate.
Mævius rebuilt a house which was ruined by age, and which was required
for the collection and preservation of the crops. The question then arose,
whether Titia was obliged to assume part of the expense in proportion to her
usufruct? Scævola answered that if it was necessary to rebuild the house
before the usufruct was transferred, Mævius would not be compelled to
deliver it, unless an action for the expense was allowed.
51. Modestinus, Differences, Book IX.
It is understood that the bequest of an usufruct to Titius "when he
dies", is void; as it has reference to the time when it must cease to belong to
the party in question.
52. The Same, Rules, Book IX.
Where an usufruct is left by will on condition of paying the taxes on
the property, there is no doubt that the usufructuary must pay them; unless it
is proved that the testator provided expressly by means of a trust that they
should also be paid by the heir.
53. Javolenus, Epistles, Book II.
Where the usufruct of a house is bequeathed as long as any part of said
house remains, the legatee will be entitled to an usufruct in the entire
54. The Same, Epistles, Book III.
The usufruct of certain land was conditionally bequeathed to Titius, you
being charged with the same as heir, and you sold and delivered the said land
to me after reserving the usufruct. I ask, if the condition was not fulfilled,
or if it should be and the usufruct should terminate, to whom would it belong?
The answer was, I understand, that your question has reference to the usufruct
which was bequeathed; and
therefore, if the condition on which the legacy was dependent was
fulfilled, there is no doubt that the usufruct will belong to the legatee; and
if, by any accident, it should be lost to him, it will revert to the ownership
of the estate. Where, however, the condition is not fulfilled, the usufruct
will belong to the heir, for all the rules which have relation to the heir are
carried out, just as those that pertain to the loss of an usufruct are
ordinarily observed. But, in a sale of this kind, what has been agreed upon
between the purchaser and the vendor must be considered; so that if it is
apparent that the usufruct was reserved on account of the legacy, even though
the condition was not fulfilled, it should be restored by the vendor to the
55. Pomponius, On Quintus Mucius, Book XXVI.
If only the use of an infant slave should be bequeathed, even though in
the meantime no employment be made of his services, still, as soon as the child
passes the age of infancy, it begins to be operative.
56. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book XVII.
The question has been raised whether an action on account of an usufruct
should be granted a municipality? In this instance there seems to be danger
that the usufruct may become perpetual, because it could not be lost by death,
nor easily by change of civil condition; for which reason the ownership would
be worthless, as the usufruct would always be separate from it. It,
nevertheless, has been established that an action should be granted. Whence
another doubt arises, that is to say, how long a municipality should be
protected in the enjoyment of an usufruct? It has been settled that it will be
protected for a hundred years, because this is the term of the longest life of
57. Papinianus, Opinions, Book VII.
The owner of an estate left to an usufructuary by will the interest
which the latter had therein by way of usufruct, and this estate the legatee,
after having had possession of it for a time, was compelled to surrender to the
son of the testator, who had successfully conducted a case of inofficious
testament; and it was apparent from what subsequently occurred that the right
of usufruct remained unimpaired.
(1) Where the crops from certain tracts of land were left under a trust
for the maintenance of freedom, and any of the parties who are entitled to the
same die; the profits of their shares revert from them to the mere owner of the
58. Scævola, Opinions, Book III.
A woman who had an usufruct died during the month of December, and all
the crops which were obtained from the land having already been removed by the
tenants, in the month of October, the question arose whether rent should be
paid to the heir of the usufructuary, although she died before the Kalends
of March, when the rent became due; or whether it ought to be divided
between the heir of the usufructuary and the municipality to which the
ownership was bequeathed? I
answered that the municipality was not entitled to any action against
the tenant; but, according to what had been stated, the heir of the
usufructuary would have a right to collect the entire rent on the day when it
(1) "I give and bequeath to Sempronius one sixth part of the crops of
cabbage and leeks which I have in the field of the Farrarii". The question is
asked whether an usufruct seems to be bequeathed by these words? My answer was,
that an usufruct was not bequeathed, but that the particular part of the crop
gathered and which was mentioned in the bequest, was. The question also arose,
if this was not an usufruct, whether the testator did not bequeath the sixth
part of the crops which was gathered every year? I answered that it must be
considered to have been left every year, unless the contrary was expressly
proved by the heir.
59. Paulus, Opinions, Book HI.
Where trees are overthrown by the force of a storm without any
negligence of the usufructuary, it has been decided that he is not required to
(1) Whatever is grown upon the land or is gathered therefrom belongs to
the usufructuary, as well as the rent of fields already leased, if these things
are expressly included. But as in the case of a sale, unless the rents are
expressly reserved, the usufructuary can eject the lessee.
(2) Whatever is obtained from the cutting of reeds or stakes belongs to
the usufructuary, wherever it has been customary to consider this a portion of
the income of the land.
60. The Same, Opinions, Book V.
The usufructuary of any description of land, if interfered with in his
enjoyment of the same, or ejected, can bring suit for the restitution of
everything which was seized at the same time; but if, in the meanwhile, the
usufruct should be terminated by any accident, a prætorian action will be
granted for the recovery of any crops which may have been previously
(1) Where land, the usufruct of which is sued for, is not in the
possession of the owner, an action will be granted. Therefore, if there is a
dispute between two parties with reference to the ownership of the land, the
usufructuary is, nevertheless, entitled to occupy the premises; and security
must be given him by the possession, if his own right is disputed, "That he to
whom the usufruct was bequeathed will not be prevented from enjoying the same,
as long as he is engaged in establishing his title".
If, however, the right of the usufructuary himself is disputed, his
usufruct will remain in abeyance; but the owner of the land must furnish him
with security to return to him any of the crops which the latter may have
gathered from it, or, if he refuses to do so, the usufructuary will be
permitted to enjoy the property.
61. Neratius, Opinions, Book II.
An usufructuary cannot attach a new gutter to a wall; and where a
building is not completed, it has been decided that a usufructuary cannot
finish it, even if he is unable to make use of that portion of it without doing
so. And indeed, it is considered that he has not even an usufruct in said
building; unless, when it was created or bequeathed, it was expressly added
that he could do either of the two above mentioned things.
62. Tryphoninus, Disputations, Book VII.
It is very properly held that an usufructuary has a right to hunt in the
woods or on the mountains of the property in which he has the usufruct; and
where he killed a wild-boar or a stag, he does not take anything belonging to
the owner of the land, but he renders what he acquired his either by the Civil
Law or in the Law of Nations.
(1) Where wild animals were kept in enclosures, when an usufruct becomes
operative the usufructuary can make use of them, but he cannot kill them; but
if, in the beginning, he encloses them by his own effort, and they are caught
in traps by him, are they lawfully the property of the usufructuary? It is most
convenient, however, on account of the difficult distinction that would arise
as to the uncertain rights of the usufructuary with reference to different
animals, to hold that it would be sufficient, at the termination of the
usufruct, to deliver to the owner of the property the same number of different
kinds of animals which existed at the time the usufruct became operative.
63. Paulus, On Private Law.
We can transfer to others what is not our own; for example, where a man
has land, even though he has not the usufruct, still he can grant an usufruct
to another party.
64. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LI.
Where an usufructuary is ready to relinquish his usufruct, he cannot be
compelled to repair the house, even in instances where this would ordinarily be
required of the usufructuary. However, after issue has been joined, and the
usufructuary is ready to relinquish the usufruct, it must be held that he
should be released from liability by the Court.
65. Pomponius, On Plautius, Book V.
But as the usufructuary is obliged to repair anything which has been
injured by his own act, or by that of any of his family; he should not be
released, even though he is ready to relinquish the usufruct; for he himself is
obliged to do everything that the careful head of a household would do in his
(1) An heir is no more compelled to repair property which a testator
left ruined by age, than he would be if the testator had left anyone the
ownership of the same.
66. Paulus, On the Edict, Book XLVII.
An action can not only be brought against an usufructuary under the
Lex Aquilia, but he is also liable to one for demoralizing a slave
as well as for injury, where he depreciated the value of the slave by
67. Julianus, On Minicius, Book I.
Anyone to whom the usufruct has been bequeathed can sell the same to a
stranger, even without the consent of the heir.
68. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
The question was raised in ancient times whether the issue of a female
slave belonged to the usufructuary? The opinion of Brutus prevailed, namely,
that the usufructuary had no right to it, as one human being cannot be
considered as the product of another; and for this reason the usufructuary
cannot be entitled to a usufruct in the same. If, however, the usufruct was
left in the child before it was born, would he be entitled to it? The answer is
that since offspring can be bequeathed, the usufruct of it can be also.
(1) Sabinus and Cassius are of the opinion that the increase of cattle
belongs to the usufructuary.
(2) It is evident that the person to whom the usufruct of a flock or a
herd is bequeathed, must make up any loss out of the increase, that is to say,
replace those which have died,
69. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
Or to supply others instead of such as are worthless; and the latter,
after the substitution, become the property of the usufructuary, to avoid the
owner from profiting by the entire number. And as those which are replaced at
once belong to the owner, so also the former ones cease to belong to him,
according to the natural law of production; for otherwise the increase belongs
to the usufructuary, and when he replaces it, it ceases to do so.
70. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
What then must be done if the usufructuary does not act as above stated,
and does not replace the cattle? Gaius Cassius says in the Tenth Book of the
Civil Law, that he is liable to the owner.
(1) In the meantime, however, while they are being reared and those
which are dead are being replaced, the question arises, to whom does the
increase belong? Julianus in the Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest holds that the
ownership is in abeyance; for if they are used to replace others they belong to
the proprietor; but, if not, they belong to the usufructuary; which opinion is
the correct one.
(2) In accordance with this, if the young die, it will be at the risk of
the usufructuary and not at that of the owner, and it will be necessary for him
to provide others. Whence Gaius Cassius states in the Eighth Book,, that the
flesh of any dead young animal belongs to the usufructuary.
(3) Where it is stated that the usufructuary must provide others; this
is only true where the usufruct of a flock, a herd, or a stud of horses, that
is to say, of an entire number, has been bequeathed; for where only certain
heads of the same are left, there will be nothing for him to replace.
(4) Moreover, suppose that, at the time when the young animals are born,
nothing has occurred by which he was required to replace some of them, but
after their birth this became necessary; it must be considered whether he
should replace them from those born last, or those born previously? I think the
better opinion to be, that those which are born when the flock is complete
belong to the usufructuary; and that he will only lose by reason of some
subsequent injury to the flock.
(5) Replacement is a matter of fact, and Julianus very properly says
that it means to separate, set apart, and to make a certain division; because
the ownership of those which are set aside is in the proprietor.
71. Marcellus, Digest, Book XVII.
Where anyone builds a house on a lot in which some other person has the
usufruct, and the house is removed before the expiration of the time within
which the usufruct will be terminated, the usufruct must be restored; in
accordance with the opinion of the ancient authorities.
72. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the owner of the mere property bequeaths an usufruct, what
Mæcianus stated in the Third Book of Questions, on Trusts, is correct,
namely: that the bequest is valid; and if the usufruct should happen to be
merged in the property during the life of the testator, or before the estate is
entered upon, it will belong to the legatee. Mæcianus goes even further,
for he holds that if the usufruct was merged after the estate had been entered
upon, it becomes legally vested and belongs to the legatee.
73. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
Where the usufruct of unoccupied ground is bequeathed to me, I can build
a hut there for the protection of personal property on the said ground.
74. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to your slave Stichus, and to my slave
Pamphilus, such a bequest is the same as if it had been made to me and to you;
and therefore there is no doubt that it belongs to us equally.
CONCERNING THE ACCRUAL OF USUFRUCT. 1. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book
Where an usufruct is bequeathed, the right of accrual between
usufructuaries only exists where the usufruct is left conjointly; but where it
is left separately to each one of the parties, the right of accrual undoubtedly
ceases to exist.
(1) Hence, it is asked by Julianus in the Thirty-fifth Book of the
Digest, if an usufruct is left to a slave owned in common, and is acquired by
both owners, whether if one of them rejects or loses the usufruct, the other
shall have the whole of it? He thinks that it belongs to the other, and even
though the usufruct was acquired by the owner of the slave, not in equal shares
but in shares corresponding to their interest in the slave; still, the
personality of the slave and not that of the owners must be considered; so that
it belongs to one of the owners and does not accrue to the mere property.
(2) He also says that where an usufruct is bequeathed to a slave owned
in common, and to Titius separately, and the usufruct is lost by the other
joint owner, it will not belong to Titius, but to the remaining owner alone, as
he was the only one who had a right to it jointly; and this opinion is the
correct one, for as long as only one is making use of the property, it may be
said that the usufruct is in its former condition. The same rule applies where
the usufruct is left to two persons jointly, and to another separately.
(3) Sometimes, however, even if the parties were not joint legatees, the
usufruct bequeathed vests in one of them by accrual; as, for instance, where
the usufruct of an entire estate is left to me separately, and it is left to
you in the same way. For (as Celsus states in the Eighteenth Book, and Julianus
in the Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest), we hold shares by concurrence; and
this would also happen so far as the ownership is concerned; for if one
rejected it, the other would be entitled to the entire estate. But there is
this point in addition with reference to the usufruct; since it has been
created and afterwards lost, the right of accrual, nevertheless, exists, for
all authors quoted by Plautius are of this opinion; and, (as Celsus and Julian
very properly say) an usufruct is created and bequeathed every day, and not,
like ownership, only at the time when an action can be brought to recover it.
Thus, as soon as either party does not find anyone associated with him, he
alone can make use of the entire usufruct; nor does it make any difference
whether it was jointly or severally bequeathed.
(4) Julianus also states in the Thirty-fifth Book of the Digest, that
where two heirs have been appointed and the mere ownership bequeathed, the
usufruct being reserved; the heirs have no right of accrual, for the usufruct
is held to have been created, not divided by concurrence;
2. Africanus, Questions, Book V.
Wherefore any part of the usufruct which has been lost reverts to the
legatee who is the owner of the mere property.
3. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Neratius, in the First Book of Opinions, thinks that the right of
accrual is extinguished under such circumstances; and the principle stated by
Celsus agrees with this opinion, namely, that the right of accrual exists where
two parties have the entire usufruct, and it is divided between them by their
(1) Therefore, Celsus states in the Eighteenth Book, that where two
owners of an estate convey the property after having reserved the usufruct of
the same, and either of them loses his usufruct, it will revert to the mere
property, but not to all of it; for the usufruct of each accrues to the share
which each one conveyed, and it must revert to the share from which, in the
beginning, it was separated.
(2) But not only the right of accrual exists where an usufruct is
bequeathed to two parties, but also where it is bequeathed to one, and the
estate to another; for if the one to whom an usufruct was left should lose it,
it will belong to the other rather through the right of accrual than by
reversion to the property; nor is there anything unusual in this, for where an
usufruct is bequeathed to two persons and, while held by one of them, is merged
into the mere property, the right of accrual is not lost either by him with
whom it was merged, nor by him for the benefit of the other; and no matter how
he may have lost his usufruct before the merger, he may lose it in the same
manner now. This opinion is held by Neratius and Aristo, and is approved by
4. Julianus, Digest, Book XXXV.
Where the mere property in an estate is bequeathed to you, and the
usufruct of the same estate to me and Mævius, you, Mævius, and I
will each have a third part of the usufruct, and the other third part will be
merged in the property. But if either I or Mævius should lose our civil
rights, a third part will be divided between you and one or the other of us, so
that the one who has not lost his civil rights will have half the usufruct, and
the property along with the remaining half of the usufruct will belong to
5. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
And if you convey the property to anyone after the usufruct has been
reserved, Julianus thinks that, nevertheless, the right of accrual will exist;
and that you are not considered to acquire a new usufruct.
6. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
The same rule applies where the usufruct is merged in property in the
hands of one of three usufructuaries.
(1) But where property is bequeathed to anyone, the usufruct having been
reserved, and a portion of the usufruct is bequeathed to me; it should be
considered whether the right of accrual exists between me and the heir? The
correct opinion is, however, that if anyone loses the usufruct it reverts to
(2) Where the usufruct of an estate is left to me absolutely, and to you
under a certain condition, it can be said that the usufruct of the entire
estate belongs to me in the meantime, and that if I should lose my civil rights
the entire usufruct will be lost; but if the condition is complied with, the
entire usufruct will belong to you if I should lose my civil rights, but if I
retain my condition, the usufruct must be divided between us.
7. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
Where anyone bequeaths an usufruct to Attius and his heirs, Attius will
be entitled to half the same, and his heirs to the remaining half. Where,
however, the language is, "To Attius and Seius together with my heirs"; the
usufruct will be divided into three parts, of which the heirs will have one,
Attius one, and Seius one; nor does it make any difference whether the bequest
is to A and B with Mævius, or "to A and B and Mævius".
8. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to a woman, "with her children"; and she
loses her children, she will be entitled to the usufruct; but where the mother
dies, her children will, nevertheless, be entitled to the usufruct by the right
of accrual. For, as Julianus remarks in the Thirtieth Book of the Digest, the
same rule must be understood to apply where a testator appoints his children
his sole heirs; even though he does not name them as legatees, but only wishes
to make it more plain that the mother shall enjoy the estate, and have her
children enjoy it with her. But Pomponius makes the inquiry: "What if the
children and the foreign heirs are mingled together?" He says that the children
must be understood to be legatees; and, on the other hand, if the testator
wished his children to enjoy the estate along with their mother, it must be
held that the mother should be understood to be a legatee; so, in this
instance, the effect of the law will be in every respect similar to that
9. Africanus, Questions, Book V.
Where the mere property of an estate is bequeathed to two parties and
the usufruct to one, all of them are not entitled to third parts of the
usufruct, but two of them take half and the usufructuary the other half. On the
other hand the same rule applies where there are two usufructuaries and one
legatee of the estate.
10. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book XVII.
Sometimes a share of the usufruct is obtained through accrual by a party
who has no share of his own, but has lost it; for if an usufruct is bequeathed
to two persons, and one of them, after issue is joined, loses his usufruct, and
soon after his co-legatee who did not join issue loses his also; then the one
who joined issue against the party who offered himself to defend the suit, will
obtain from the possessor only the half which he lost; for the share of his
co-legatee will belong to him by accrual, but not to the owner of the property;
for the usufruct accrues to the person, even though it may have been lost.
11. Papinianus, Definitions, Book II.
Where an usufruct in the same thing is bequeathed to different persons
at the charge of different heirs, the usufructuaries are not less held to be
separate than if the usufruct of the same property had been bequeathed to the
two in equal shares; whence it happens that no right of accrual exists between
12. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Since each legatee can bring an action against one of the heirs to
recover the usufruct.
TITLE III. WHEN THE LEGACY OF AN USUFRUCT VESTS.
1. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Although an usufruct consists of enjoyment, that is to say, in some
effort exerted by him who enjoys and uses the right; still, it vests but once,
and it is different from where something is bequeathed every month, or every
day, or every year; for then the legacy vests daily, monthly, or yearly.
Wherefore the question may arise, where an usufruct is bequeathed to anyone,
for every day, or for every year, does it vest but once? I think that it does
not, but as many times as it is mentioned, so that there are several legacies.
Marcellus approves this opinion in the Fourth Book of the Digest, where an
usufruct is bequeathed to anyone for alternate days.
(1) Therefore, if an usufruct is bequeathed which cannot be enjoyed
every day, the bequest will not be invalid, but it will vest on the day when it
can be enjoyed.
(2) An usufruct, however, and likewise an use, will not vest before the
estate is entered upon, for an usufruct is not created until someone can
immediately enjoy it. According to this rule, if the usufruct is bequeathed to
a slave forming part of an estate, Julianus holds that, although other legacies
may be acquired by the estate, in the case of an usufruct we must wait for the
person of the owner who can use and enjoy the same.
(3) Moreover, if an usufruct is bequeathed from a certain day, it will
not vest until the day arrives; for it is established that an usufruct can be
bequeathed from a certain time or until a certain time.
(4) Not only does an usufruct not vest before the estate is entered
upon, but a right of action based upon usufruct does not do so either; and the
same rule applies where an usufruct is bequeathed after a certain day; hence,
Scævola says that a party who brings an action before the day of the
usufruct will gain nothing; although any legal procedure which is instituted
before the proper time is void.
IN WHAT WAYS USUFRUCT OR USE IS LOST.
1. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
It is established that an usufruct is not only lost by forfeiture of
civil rights, but that the right of action based on usufruct is also lost; and
it makes little difference whether the usufruct was created by law or with the
assistance of the prætor. Hence, where an usufruct is delivered, or is
created not strictly by law but through a perpetual lease,
or occupancy of the surface of land, it is lost with the forfeiture of
(1) Thus usufruct can be lost by a forfeiture of civil rights only where
it has been already created; but if anyone forfeits his civil rights before the
estate is entered upon, or before the usufruct has vested, it is held that it
is not lost.
(2) Where an estate in land is devised to you from a certain day, and
you are asked to deliver the usufruct to me, it should be considered whether,
if I have lost my civil rights before the day mentioned in the devise to you,
my usufruct is not safe; as the loss of civil rights must occur before the
usufruct vests, which may be said to be a liberal interpretation.
(3) To such an extent is it a fact that the loss of civil rights not
only destroys an usufruct which has already been created, but if an usufruct
has been bequeathed for every year, month, or day, that only is lost which is
running at the time; and where, for instance, it is bequeathed for separate
years, the usufruct for that year only is lost, and if for separate months,
that month, and if for separate days, that day.
2. Papinianus, Questions, Book XVII.
Where an usufruct is left to two parties separately for alternate years,
the property exists for years without the right of enjoyment; while, if it is
left to one legatee alone to whom the usufruct for every other year is
bequeathed, the entire property will vest in the heir during the time when the
right of enjoyment does not belong to the legatee. Where, however, one of the
two parties dies, the right to the property will be complete for the odd years,
for there can be no accrual to the other party) since each one had his own
times for the enjoyment of the entire usufruct without the other being
associated with him.
(1) Where not death, but a loss of civil rights takes place, then,
because there are several bequests, the usufruct only for that year will be
lost, provided the party had the right of usufruct merely for that time; and
this principle should be upheld in the case of a legatee who received the
usufruct for a certain number of separate years, so that the mention of the
terms has the effect of a renewal of the right.
(2) Where an usufruct is bequeathed to certain persons for alternate
years, and they agree to enjoy it during the same year, they interfere with one
another, since it does not seem to have been intended that they should enjoy it
together; for it makes a great deal of difference whether an usufruct is
bequeathed to two persons together for alternate years, (as then it cannot run
longer than the first year, any more than if it had been bequeathed in the same
way to one of them) or it is bequeathed to separate persons for alternate
years; for if they wish to enjoy it together they will either interfere with
one another, on account of this being contrary to the intention of the
testator; or, if this is not the case, the usufruct for every other year will
not be enjoyed by anyone.
3. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Just as an usufruct can be bequeathed for separate years, so also it can
again be bequeathed if lost by forfeiture of civil rights, as where the
addition is made: "Whenever So-and-So loses his civil rights I bequeath to
him"; or, as follows: "Whenever it shall be lost"; and then, if it is lost by
the forfeiture of civil rights, it will be considered to have been renewed.
Wherefore, it has been discussed, where an usufruct is bequeathed to anyone for
as long as he lives, whether it must be held to be renewed as often as it is
lost? Mæcianus adopts this opinion, and I think that it must be held to
be renewed; therefore if an usufruct is bequeathed for a certain time, as for
instance, for ten years, the same principle will apply.
(1) The question arises with reference to the renewal which takes place
after an usufruct has been lost by forfeiture of civil rights, whether the
right of accrual remains unimpaired; for example, where an usufruct was
bequeathed to Titius and Mævius, and Titius, having lost his civil
rights, the testator bequeathed him the usufruct a second time; and inquiry was
made if Titius should again receive the usufruct by renewal whether the right
of accrual would remain unimpaired between the parties? Papinianus states in
the Seventeenth Book of Questions that it does remain unimpaired, just as if
some other person had been substituted for Titius in the enjoyment of the
usufruct; for these parties are held to be conjoined in fact, if not in
(2) Papinianus also asks if the testator, after having left the usufruct
to Titius and Mævius, in the second bequest of the same, did not leave
the entire usufruct but only a portion of it to Titius, would they be
considered to be conjoined? He says in reply, that if Titius should lose his
share, it would all accrue to his associate; but if Mævius should lose
his, the whole would not accrue, but half would belong to him, and half would
revert to the property.
This opinion is reasonable, for it cannot be held that the ground on
which a person loses the usufruct and takes it back will entitle him to any
accrual from the usufruct; as it is our opinion that he who loses an usufruct
can gain nothing by accrual out of what he loses.
(3) There is no doubt whatever that an usufruct can also be lost by
death; since the right of enjoyment is extinguished by death, just as any other
right which attaches to the person.
4. Marcianus, Institutes, Book III.
Where the legatee of an usufruct is requested to deliver it to another
person, the prætor should provide that, if it is lost, it should rather
affect the person of the trustee than that of the legatee.
5. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
An usufruct which has been bequeathed may be renewed without reference
to the way in which it was lost, provided that it was not lost by death, unless
the testator, under such circumstances, bequeathed it to the heirs of the
(1) Where anyone alienates only the usufruct in a slave by whom he has
acquired an usufruct, there is no doubt that he retains the usufruct which was
acquired through him.
(2) It is established that an usufruct is terminated by a change of the
property to which it belongs; for example, if a bequest was made to me of the
usufruct in a house, and the house has been demolished, or burned, the usufruct
is unquestionably extinguished. Does this also apply to the ground? It is
absolutely certain that where the house is burned down, no usufruct remains in
either the ground or the materials; and Julianus is of this opinion.
(3) Where the usufruct of the ground is bequeathed, and a house is built
upon the latter, it is established that the property is changed, and that the
usufruct is extinguished. It is clear that if the mere owner built it, he will
be liable to an action on the will, or to one on the ground of fraud.
6. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
And the usufructuary will be entitled also to the interdict Quod vi
1. Julianus, Digest, Book XXXV.
Unless the building having been removed, the owner grants me an usufruct
in the ground; that is where the time had elapsed by which the usufruct was
8. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the usufruct of an estate is bequeathed, if the house should be
destroyed the usufruct will not be extinguished, because the house is an
accession to the land; any more than if trees were to fall.
9. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
But I could still use and enjoy the ground on which the house had
10. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
What would be the case, however, if the land was an accession to the
house? Let us see whether, in this instance, the usufruct of the land would not
also be extinguished, and we must hold the same opinion, namely, that it would
not be extinguished.
(1) The usufruct is extinguished not only where the building has been
levelled with the ground, but also where, after having demolished the house,
the testator erects a new one in its place; for it is evident that if he
repairs certain portions of it we must establish a different rule, even though
the entire house should be renewed.
(2) Where the usufruct of a field or an enclosure is bequeathed, and it
is inundated so as to become a pond, or a swamp, the usufruct will undoubtedly
(3) Moreover, where the usufruct of a pond is bequeathed, and it dries
up so that it becomes a field; the property being changed, the usufruct is
(4) I do not think, however, where the usufruct of tillable land is
bequeathed and vineyards are planted thereon, or vice versa, that the
usufruct is extinguished. It is certain, however, where the usufruct of a wood
is bequeathed, and the trees are cut down, and seed sowed upon the land, that
the usufruct is extinguished.
(5) Where the usufruct of a mass of metal is bequeathed, and vessels are
made out of it, or vice versa, Cassius, as quoted by Urseius, says that
the usufruct is terminated, and I think this opinion to be the correct one.
(6) Thus, where an ornament is destroyed, or its shape is changed, this
extinguishes the usufruct therein.
(7) Sabinus also states with reference to the usufruct of a ship, that
where certain portions of the same are repaired, the usufruct is not lost; but
where it is taken apart, even though it should be rebuilt out of the same
timber and nothing additional be supplied, the usufruct will be extinguished;
and this opinion I think to be the better one, for where a house is rebuilt,
the usufruct is extinguished.
(8) Where the usufruct in a team of four horses is bequeathed, and one
of them dies, the question arises, is the usufruct extinguished? I think that
it makes a great deal of difference whether the usufruct in the horses, or in
the team was bequeathed; for, if it was that of the horses it will remain in
the others, but if it was that of the team, it will not remain, as it has
ceased to be a team:
11. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Unless, before the legacy vests, another horse is put in the place of
the one that died.
12. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the usufruct of a bath is bequeathed, and the testator changed it
into a lodging, or a shop, or made a residence out of it, it must be held that
the usufruct is extinguished.
(1) Hence, if anyone leaves an usufruct in an actor and then transfers
him to some other kind of service, it must be said that the usufruct is
13. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
If an usufructuary has harvested a crop and then dies, Labeo says that
the crop which is lying on the ground belongs to his heir, but that the grain
still attached to the soil belongs to the owner of the land; for the crop is
considered to be gathered when the heads of grain or stems of grass are cut, or
the grapes are picked, or the olives are shaken off the trees, although the
grain may not yet have been ground, or the oil made, or the vintage finished.
But although what Labeo stated with reference to the olives being shaken off
the trees is true, the rule is not the same concerning those which have fallen
of themselves. Julianus says that the crops become the property of the
usufructuary when he has gathered them, but that they belong to a bona-fide
possessor as soon as they are once separated from the soil.
14. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
With the exception of the loss of civil rights and death, other causes
of the extinction of usufruct allow partial loss of the same.
15. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Sometimes the mere owner can grant freedom to a slave, for example,
where the usufruct was bequeathed until the slave should be manumitted; for the
usufruct is extinguished whenever the owner begins the manumission.
16. The Same, Disputations, Book V.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to me on a certain condition, and, in
the meantime, it is in the possession of the heir, the latter can bequeath the
usufruct to someone else; with the result that, if the condition on which my
legacy depends is complied with, the usufruct left by the heir is terminated.
But if I should lose the usufruct, it will not revert to the legatee to whom it
was bequeathed absolutely by the heir, because the right of joint legatees
cannot be acquired under different wills.
17. Julianus, Digest, Book XXXV.
Where the usufruct of land is bequeathed to you absolutely, and the mere
ownership of the same is bequeathed to Titius conditionally, while the
condition is unfulfilled you acquire the mere right of ownership, and after the
condition has been complied with, Titius will be entitled to the land without
any restriction; and it makes no difference that the property was bequeathed
after the usufruct had been reserved, because when you acquired it you lost all
the right to the legacy of the usufruct.
18. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book III.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to a slave belonging to an estate before
the estate is entered upon, the better opinion is that when it is entered upon,
the usufruct vests in you, and is not terminated because of change of
ownership, because it did not vest before you became the heir.
19. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Neither an usufruct, nor a right of way, nor a right to drive, is lost
by change of ownership.
20. Paulus, On Plautius, Book XV.
Will a person who has an usufruct retain it if he only makes use of it
because he thinks that he is solely entitled to the use of the same? I am of
the opinion that if he knows that he is entitled to the usufruct, and he only
exercises the use, he must, nevertheless, be considered to enjoy the usufruct;
but if he does not know this, he will lose the usufruct as his use is based not
on what he has, but on what he thinks he has.
21. Modestinus, Differences, Book III.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to a city, and the site of it is
afterwards turned into a plowed field, it ceases to be a city, as was the fate
of Carthage; therefore it ceases to have the usufruct, just as in case of
22. Pomponius, On Quintus Mucius, Book VI.
Where the use of a house is bequeathed to a woman, and she goes beyond
sea and is absent for the time established by law for the loss of the use, but
her husband uses the house, the use is, nevertheless, retained; just as if she
had left her slaves in her house, and herself had travelled in foreign
This must be stated even more forcibly if a husband leaves his wife at
home, where the use of the house was bequeathed to the husband himself.
23. The Same, On Quintus Mucius, Book XXVI.
Where a field whose usufruct is ours is flooded by a river or by the
sea, the usufruct is extinguished, since even the ownership itself is lost in
this instance; nor can we retain the usufruct even by fishing. But as the
ownership is restored if the water recedes with the same rapidity with which it
came, so also, it must be said that the usufruct is restored.
24. Javolenus, On the Last Works of Labeo, Book III.
If I have the usufruct of a garden, and a river covers it and then
recedes; it is the opinion of Labeo that the usufruct is also restored, because
the soil always remained in the same legal condition. I think that this is true
only where the river covered the garden by reason of an inundation; for if its
bed was changed and it flowed in that direction, I think that the usufruct is
lost, as the ground of the former bed becomes public property, and cannot be
restored to its former state.
(1) Labeo states that the same rule of law should be observed with
reference to a right of way and a road; but I am of the same opinion with
reference to these things as I am with reference to the usufruct.
(2) Labeo says that even if the surface of the ground is removed from my
field and replaced with other soil, the land does not, for this reason, cease
to be mine, any more than if the field were covered with manure.
25. Pomponius, Various Passages, Book XI.
It is established that an usufruct may be lost by want of use, whether
it is that of a share or is undivided.
26. Paulus, On Neratius, Book I.
Where a field is occupied by enemies, or a slave is taken by them and
afterwards liberated; the usufruct in either is restored by the right of
27. The Same, Manuals, Book I.
Where a slave in whom another party has an usufruct is surrendered, by
way of reparation for damage, by the mere owner to the usufructuary; the
servitude is merged and the usufruct terminated by the acquisition of the
28. The Same, On Plautius, Book XIII.
If an usufruct is bequeathed for alternate years, it cannot be lost by
not making use of it; because there are several legacies.
29. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Pomponius asks the following question: Where the mere owner of land
rents it from me as usufructuary, and sells the same land to Seius without the
reservation of the usufruct; do I retain the usufruct on account of the act of
the purchaser? He says in reply: that although the mere owner may pay me rent,
the usufruct nevertheless is extinguished, because the purchaser enjoys it not
in my name, but in his own.
It is evident that the mere proprietor is liable to me on account of the
lease, to the extent of the interest I had in his not doing this; although, if
anyone rents the usufruct from me and leases it to another, the usufruct is
retained; but if the mere owner leases it in his own name, it must be held to
be lost, for the tenant does not enjoy it in my name.
(1) But if the mere owner should sell the usufruct after it had been
purchased from me, it might be asked, would I lose the usufruct? I think that I
would lose it; since the purchaser, in this instance also, does not enjoy it as
having been bought from me.
(2) Pomponius also makes this inquiry: If I am asked to deliver to you
an usufruct which has been bequeathed to me, am I held to enjoy it through you,
so that the usufruct will not be lost? He replied that he is in doubt with
reference to this question; but the better opinion is, as Marcellus states in a
note, that this matter does, in no way, prejudice the beneficiary of the trust,
as he will be entitled to a prætorian action in his own name.
30. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
The flesh and hides of dead cattle do not form part of the product of
the same, because the usufruct is extinguished as soon as they are dead.
31. Pomponius, On Quintus Mucius, Book IV.
Where the usufruct of a flock is bequeathed, and the number of the same
is reduced to such a point that it cannot be considered a flock, the usufruct
CONCERNING THE USUFRUCT OP THINGS WHICH ARE CONSUMED OR DIMINISHED BY
1. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
The Senate decreed that, "the usufruct of all property which it is
established could belong to the patrimony of any individual, can be
bequeathed"; and, as the result of this Decree of the Senate, it is held that
the usufruct of those things which are destroyed or diminished by use can be
2. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
In the case of money, however, it is necessary for security to be given
to those at whose charge the usufruct of this money is bequeathed.
(1) By this Decree of the Senate it was not brought about that an
usufruct of money should actually exist, for natural reason cannot be altered
by the authority of the Senate; but where the remedy of security is introduced,
a quasi usufruct was created.
3. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
After this the usufruct of anything can be bequeathed. But does this
apply to an obligation? Nerva says that it does not; but the better opinion is
the one entertained by Cassius and Proculus, namely, that it can be bequeathed.
Nerva, moreover, says that the usufruct can be bequeathed to the debtor
himself, and if this is done he must be released from paying interest.
4. Paulus, On Neratius, Book I.
Therefore security can also be required of him.
5. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
This Decree of the Senate not only has reference to a party who
bequeaths the usufruct of money or other things which he has, but also where
they belong to others.
(1) Where the usufruct of money is bequeathed, or that of anything else
which consists in the consumption of the same, and security is not given; it
must be considered when the usufruct is terminated, whether the money, or the
other articles which are used by consumption can be recovered by a personal
action? But so long as the usufruct exists, if anyone wishes to bring suit to
compel the execution of a bond, it may be stated that an action can be brought
for an uncertain sum on account of the omitted bond; but after the usufruct is
terminated, Sabinus thinks that proceedings can be instituted for the recovery
of the entire amount. This opinion Celsus adopts in the Eighteenth Book of the
Digest, and it does not seem to me devoid of ingenuity.
(2) What we have stated with reference to the usufruct of money or of
other articles which are made use of by consumption, also applies
to the use of the same; for both Julianus and Pomponius state in the
Eighth Book of Stipulations, that the use and usufruct of money are
6. Julianus, Digest, Book XXXV.
If ten thousand aurei are bequeathed to you and the usufruct of
the same ten thousand to me, the entire ten thousand will belong to you; but
five thousand must be paid to me on condition that I give security to you that,
"At the time of my death or loss of civil rights, they will be delivered to
you"; for, if a tract of land is devised to you, and the usufruct of the same
land to me, you would, indeed, have the ownership of the entire tract, but you
would have part of it together with the usufruct, and part of it without, and I
should give security which would be approved by a good citizen to you and not
to the heir.
(1) But where the usufruct of the same ten thousand aurei is
bequeathed to two persons, they will each receive five thousand, and must give
security to one another and also to the heir.
7. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Where the usufruct of oil, wine, or grain is bequeathed, the property
should be delivered to the legatee, and he should be required to give a bond
that, "Whenever he dies or forfeits his civil rights, articles of the same
quality shall be delivered"; or the former article must be appraised and
security be given for a certain sum of money, which is more convenient.
We understand the same rule to apply to other things, the value of which
is embraced in their use.
8. Papinianus, Questions, Book XVII.
Three heirs having been appointed by a testator, he bequeathed to Titius
the usufruct of fifteen thousand aurei, and ordered two of the heirs to
give security for the legatee. It was decided that there was a Valid legacy of
the security, and that the Decree of the Senate did not oppose this
interpretation, because the execution of the bond was not prevented; and that
one of the legacies was for a certain amount, and the other for an amount which
was uncertain, and therefore that suit might be brought for a part of the money
as usufruct against the heir who had received security from his co-heir; and
that he was liable to an action for an uncertain amount if he himself did not
give security. With reference, however, to the heir who furnished security, and
who, on account of the delay of his co-heir, had not received any, he would
not, in the meantime, be liable under the Decree of the Senate for the
usufruct, nor would he be liable to the action for uncertain damages because he
had given security to his co-heir.
We are also of the opinion that the legatee can be compelled to promise;
but when the usufruct is terminated, if the co-heirs are sued on account of
their suretyship, they will not be entitled to an action on mandate, as no
mandate was ever undertaken, but they only obeyed the will of the testator,
and, in short, are released by the legacy of security.
It is not necessary to enter into a long discussion with reference to
the following question, namely, that the second legacy, that is to say the one
of the security, does not seem to have been left to the heirs but to the party
to whom the usufruct of the money was bequeathed, and for whom the testator
wished to provide, and whose interest he thought it was that he should not seek
for sureties at his own risk.
9. Paulus, On Neratius, Book I.
In a stipulation having reference to the restoration of the usufruct of
money, two occurrences also are mentioned, namely, death, and the loss of civil
10. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LXXIX.
Since the use of money cannot be lost in any other way than by the said
(1) Where only the use of money is bequeathed, since it must be
understood, in this particular instance, that the term "use" also includes the
profits, a stipulation must be entered into. Certain authorities hold that a
stipulation should not be entered into before the money has been paid; but I am
of the opinion that the stipulation will be valid whether it is made before, or
after the money has been paid.
11. The Same, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where the usufruct of wool, perfumes, or spices is bequeathed, it is
held that no usufruct is legally created in these substances, but recourse must
be had to the Decree of the Senate which provides for security with reference
12. Marcianus, Institutes, Book VII.
Where money was left to Titius in such a way that after the death of the
legatee it was to go to Mævius; the Divine Severus and Antoninus stated
in a Rescript that, although it had been added that Titius was to have the use
of the money, still, the property of the same was bequeathed to him, and that
mention was made of the use because the money was to be paid over after his
CONCERNING THE ACTION FOR THE RECOVERY OF USUFRUCT, AND THAT BY WHICH IT
1. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where a servitude is attached to land subject to an usufruct, Marcellus,
in the Eighth Book quoted by Julianus, approves the opinion of Labeo and Nerva,
namely, that the usufructuary cannot bring an action for the recovery of the
servitude, but can bring one for the recovery of the usufruct; and, according
to this, if the neighbor does not suffer him to walk or drive across the land,
the latter is liable because he did not permit him to enjoy the usufruct.
(1) An usufruct requires those adjuncts to be bequeathed without which a
party cannot enjoy it; and therefore where one is bequeathed, it is also
necessary for access to be joined with it; to such an extent is this true, that
where a person leaves the usufruct of a certain place in such language that the
heir shall not be compelled to permit a road, this addition is considered void;
and also where an usufruct is bequeathed and a right of way is withheld, the
reservation is void, because a right of access always accompanies the
(2) Where, however, an usufruct is bequeathed, and there is no right of
access to the land which is subject to it and is part of the estate; the
usufructuary can bring suit under the will to obtain the usufruct together with
access to the same.
(3) Pomponius, in the Fifth Book, is in doubt as to whether, where an
usufruct is bequeathed, the usufructuary has only a right of access, or has the
right to a path or roadway as well? He very properly thinks that he ought to be
granted means by which he may enjoy his usufruct.
(4) Will the heir be required to provide him with other benefits and
servitudes also; as, for instance, those of light and water, or not? I am of
the opinion that he can only be compelled to provide him with those alone
without which he cannot use the property at all; but if he can use it, even
with some inconvenience, the said benefits need not be furnished.
2. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
Where suit is brought for an usufruct of land under a will, against an
heir who has cut down trees, demolished the house, or, in any way, diminished
the value of the usufruct, either by imposing servitudes upon the land, or by
releasing servitudes from neighboring property, it is the duty of the judge to
ascertain what the condition of the land was before issue was joined, in order
that the usufructuary may be protected by him in the enjoyment of what he is
3. Julianus, Digest, Book VII.
Where a party to whom an usufruct was delivered in compliance with the
terms of a trust, has ceased to use it for such a time as would have caused him
to lose it if it had become his lawfully, he should not be granted an action
for restitution; for it is absurd that parties who have only obtained
possession of an usufruct and not the ownership of the same, should have the
4. The Same, Digest, Book XXXV.
A tract of land was bequeathed to Titius, the usufruct having
been reserved, and the usufruct of the same land was bequeathed to Sempronius,
under a certain condition. I said that, in the meantime, the usufruct was
united with the property, although it is settled that when land is bequeathed
with reservation of the usufruct the usufruct remains with the heir, because
when a testator bequeaths land with reservation of the usufruct, and the
usufruct of the same to another under
some condition, he does not do so intending that the usufruct shall
remain with the heir.
5. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book XVII.
He alone can claim the right to use and enjoy property who has the
usufruct of the same; the owner of the land cannot do so, because he who holds
the property has not a separate right to use and enjoy it, as his own property
cannot be subject to servitudes for his own benefit; and it is necessary for a
party to bring suit in his own right and not in the right of another. For
although a prohibitive right of action will lie in favor of an owner against an
usufructuary, he is considered still more to sue in his own right, rather than
in that of another, when he denies that the usufructuary has the privilege of
use against his will, or alleges that he has a right to prohibit him. But if it
should happen that the party who brings the action is not the owner of the
property, even though the usufructuary has not the right to use it, he will
still prevail, on the principle that the condition of possessors is preferable,
even though they may have no legal right.
(1) The question arises, whether the usufructuary has a right of action
in rem only against the mere owner, or also against some possessor?
Julianus states in the Seventh Book of the Digest, that he is entitled to this
action against any possessor whomsoever; for where a servitude is attached to
land which is subject to usufruct, the usufructuary should bring suit against
the owner of the adjoining land, not for the recovery of the servitude, but for
the recovery of the usufruct.
(2) Where an usufruct is created in part of an estate an action in
rem can be brought with reference to it, if someone claims an usufruct in
the same, or denies that another is entitled to it.
(3) In all those actions which are brought with reference to usufruct,
it is perfectly evident that the crops are involved.
(4) If, after issue has been joined in a case of usufruct, the usufruct
is terminated, can any crops be claimed subsequently? I thing that they cannot,
for Pomponius states in the Fortieth Book, that if the usufructuary should die,
his heir would be entitled to an action only for crops which were due before
(5) Everything must be restored to the usufructuary who gains his case,
and therefore where the usufruct of a slave is bequeathed, the possessor must
surrender everything which he obtained by means of the property of the
usufructuary, or from the labor of the slave.
(6) But if the usufruct should, perchance, be lost by lapse of time, one
party being in possession, and another volunteering to defend the suit; it is
not sufficient for the latter to renew the usufruct, but he must give security
against its recovery by eviction. What if the party in possession had pledged a
slave or the land for a debt, and the claimant should be forbidden by the
person who received the pledge from making use of his right? Hence, he also
will be entitled to security.
(7) Just as where the crops must be delivered to the usufructuary who
brings an action in rem for his usufruct, they must likewise be
delivered to the mere owner of the property, if he brings a prohibitory
action.1 But, in any event, this is the case only where the party
who brings suit is not the possessor; for the possessor is entitled to certain
actions; but where either party is in possession he will obtain nothing by way
of crops. Therefore, is it the duty of the judge to allow the usufructuary to
have the privilege of enjoying the crops in security, and prevent the owner of
the property from being disturbed?
6. Paulus, On the Edict, Book XXI.
Where a party has joined issue with reference to an usufruct, he will be
discharged if he relinquishes possession without fraud; but if he voluntarily
undertook to defend the case, and joined issue as if he were the possessor,
judgment shall be rendered against him.2
1 The Actio Negatoria, or prohibitive action, was
brought by a party who denied that the defendant enjoyed some exclusive
privilege to which he alleged that he was entitled, and the exercise of which
interfered with the natural rights of the plaintiff. It was, of course, an
equitable or prætorian proceeding. The prayer of the petition asked for a
decree setting forth that no such exclusive privilege was enjoyed by the
defendant, and that he be ordered not to do anything which might obstruct or
prevent the performance of any act of the plaintiff with reference to the
question at issue, provided it was not in violation of the principles of
natural liberty, or prohibited by the Common Law or by special legislation. In
this respect the Actio Negatoria presented some analogy to an
injunction. — ED.
2 Usufruct, in its origin, only applied to corporeal
substances, but afterwards incorporeal rights were made subject to the rules by
which it was established and governed. Generally speaking, the most essential
principle of its exercise was the preservation of the property of which the
usufructuary enjoyed the benefit from loss or injury at his hands. As strict
adherence to this principle was often found to be inconvenient in practice, a
quasi usufruct was granted in many kinds of chattels, for instance, grain,
wine, oil, and clothing, which were destroyed by use; and an obligation arose
for the delivery of other articles equal in quality, quantity, and value to
those worn out or consumed. While a legal distinction was made between use and
usufruct the latter, nevertheless, included the former, without which, indeed,
it could not be said to exist.
The right of usufruct was created either by agreement between the
parties or by testamentary provision. It was extinguished by prescription; by
the destruction of the property to which the right attached; by transfer of
both the ownership and the usufruct under the control of the same individual;
or by the death of the usufructuary or his forfeiture of civil rights.
The usufructuary was only entitled to the ordinary income of the
property; he was not allowed to change its form; he was bound to use ordinary
diligence for its preservation, and was forbidden to commit waste; and the
crops of the land or the profits of the animals did not belong to him until
they had been separated from whatever had produced them.
Usufruct was not recognized by the Common Law. A life estate bears some
resemblance to it, principally in the fact that it is determined by either the
civil or the natural death of the tenant, but the rights of the latter are much
more restricted in their scope than those enjoyed by the usufructuary.
Under the French Law, the right of usufruct is applicable to every
description of property, movable or immovable. The usufructuary takes the
property as he finds it, but he cannot enter on its enjoyment until an
inventory has been drawn up. He is required to give bond to take such care of
the property as would be exercised by the prudent head of a household. He can
sell, or otherwise dispose of, his right to anyone. (Code Civil, Arts.
578-615.) The provisions of the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Codes are
similar in their character. (Código Civil de España, Arts.
467-522. Codice Civile del Regno d'Italia, 476-520. Código
Civil Portuguêz, Arts. 2197-2253.) — ED.
TITLE VII. CONCERNING THE SERVICES OF SLAVES.
1. Paulus, On the Edict, Book II.
Services consist of acts, and in the nature of things they do not exist
before the day comes in which they are to be rendered; just as when we make a
stipulation for a child which is to be born of Arethusa.
2. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book XVII.
The services of a slave which have been bequeathed are not lost by the
forfeiture of civil rights.
3. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII,
In the usufruct of a slave, his services as well as compensation for the
same are included.
4. The Same, On the Urban Edict Relating to Freedom, Book II. The
produce of a slave consists of his services, and on the other
hand, the services of a slave are what he produces. And, as, in other
matters, the produce is understood to be what is left after the necessary
expenses have been deducted, this is also the case with refence to the services
5. Terentius Clemens, On the Lex Julia et Papia, Book XVIII.
Where the services of a slave are bequeathed, I have always been
taught, and Julianus holds, that the use is understood to be given.
6. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LV.
Where an action is brought for the services of a slave who is an
artisan, payment must be made in proportion to their value; but in the case of
an ordinary laborer, this will depend upon the kind of work he does, which was
the opinion of Mela.
(1) Where a slave is under five years of age, or is weak, or is one who
is unable to do any work for his owner, no estimate of the value of his
services shall be made.
(2) Nor shall any estimate of them, based upon the pleasure or affection
of the owner, be considered; for example, where the owner is greatly attached
to him, or employs him in his pleasures.
(3) Moreover, the value of his services shall be estimated after
necessary expenses have been deducted.
CONCERNING USE AND HABITATION.
1. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
Let us now consider use and habitation. A mere use may be created, that
is to say, without complete enjoyment; and this is ordinarily created in the
same ways as an usufruct.
2. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the use is left, a party can use but not enjoy. Now let us examine
(1) The use of a house is left to the husband, or to the wife; where it
is left to the husband, he can not only live in it himself, but can also reside
there with his slaves. The question arose whether he could live there with his
freedmen. Celsus holds that he can not only do so, but, that he can also
entertain a guest; for he states this in the Eighteenth Book of the Digest,
which opinion Tubero approves. Moreover, I remember that the question whether
he can take a tenant is discussed by Labeo in the Book of his Last Works, who
says that he who resides there can take a tenant, as well as entertain guests,
along with his freedmen,
3. Paulus, On Vitellius, Book III. And his clients.
4. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
But persons of this kind must not live in the house without him.
Proculus, however, in a note on tenants, says that one cannot properly be
designated a tenant, who lives with him. In accordance with this, if the party
having the use of the property collects rent as long as he himself lives in the
house, this should not be mentioned to his prejudice; for suppose that the use
of a large house was left to a man in moderate circumstances, so that he is
content with a small portion of the same? Again, he may live with persons whom
he employs in labor instead of slaves, even though they are free, or the slaves
(1) Where the use is left to a woman, Quintus Mucius first admitted that
she could live with her husband, since otherwise, if she wished to use the
house, she would have to remain unmarried; for, on the other hand, there never
was any doubt that a wife could live with her husband. Where the use is
bequeathed to a widow, could this woman, if she contracted a second marriage
after the use was established, reside there with her husband? And it is true,
(as Pomponius in the Fifth Book, and Papinianus in the Nineteenth Book of
Questions holds) that her husband can live with her if she is married
subsequently. Pomponius goes still farther, and says that her father-in-law can
also live with her.
5. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Moreover, a father-in-law can live with his daughter-in-law; at all
events, if her husband lives there also.
6. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
A woman can not only have her husband live with her, but also her
children and her freedmen, as well as her parents. Aristo states this in a note
on Sabinus. Indeed, we may go as far as to say that women can entertain the
same persons that men can.
7. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
A woman, however, cannot receive anyone as a guest, unless he can live
respectably with her who has the use of the house.
8. Ulpianus, on Sabinus, Book XVII.
Parties who have a right to use cannot lease the premises and give up
their residence there, nor can they sell the use of the same.
(1) Where, however, the use of a house was bequeathed to a woman on
condition that she would separate from her husband, she can be released from
this condition, and can live with her husband. This opinion Pomponius also
adopts in the Fifth Book.
9. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book HI.
Where the use of everything else is bequeathed, it must be held that the
wife is entitled to the use of the property in common with her husband.
10. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
Where the right to a residence is left, the question arises is it the
same as use? Papinianus in the Eighteenth Book of Questions admits that the
bequest of use and habitation have practically the same effect; for the legatee
of a right to a residence cannot give it away; he can entertain the same
persons as the party who has the use; it does not pass to the heir; nor is it
lost by want of use, nor by the forfeiture of civil rights.
(1) But where cresiV is left, it must be
considered whether this constitutes use, and Papinianus in the Seventh Book of
Opinions, states that the use is left, but not the income.
(2) Where, however, this is left in the following terms, "To Soand-So,
the usufruct of the house for the purpose of residence therein"; it must be
considered whether he is entitled only to the residence or to the usufruct as
well? Priscus and Neratius think that the right of residence alone is left;
which is correct. It is evident that if the testator had said, "The use for the
purpose of residence", we would not doubt that it was valid.
(3) The question was raised by the ancient authorities whether the right
of residence for a year would endure for life? Rutilius says that the right of
residence belongs to the party as long as he lives, and Celsus in the
Eighteenth Book of the Digest approves this opinion.
(4) Where the use of a tract of land is left, this is very much less
than the crops, as no one doubts. Let us see, however, what is involved in this
bequest. Labeo says the legatee can live on the land and can prevent the owner
from entering thereon; but he cannot prevent a tenant or the slaves of the
owner from doing so; that is to say, those who are there for the purpose of
cultivating the soil, but if the owner should send his household slaves there,
they can be prevented from entering, on the same principle that the owner
himself can be prevented from doing so. Labeo also states that the usuary can
alone make use of the store-rooms for wine and oil, and that the owner cannot
use them if the former is unwilling.
11. Gaius, Diurnal, or Golden Matters, Book II.
The party entitled to the use can remain on the land only as long as he
does not molest the owner of the same, or interfere with those who are engaged
in agricultural pursuits; and he cannot sell, lease, or transfer gratis to
anyone the right which he has.
12. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
He has a right to have the full use, if that of the farm-house and the
country-seat are left him. It is evident that it must certainly be held that
the proprietor is entitled to come for the purpose of gathering the crops, and,
during the time of the harvest, it must be admitted that he can live there.
(1) In addition to the right of residence to which the person who was
granted the use is entitled, he has also the right of walking and driving
around. Sabinus and Cassius state that he is likewise entitled to firewood for
daily use, and also to the garden, and to apples, vegetables, flowers, and
water, not however, for profit but merely for use and not to be wasted. Nerva
holds the same opinion, and adds that he can use straw, but not leaves, oil,
grain, or fruit. Sabinus, Cassius, Labeo, and Proculus go still further, and
say that he can take enough out of what is raised on the land for his own
maintenance and that of his family, in instances where Nerva denies him that
right. Juventius holds that he can use these things for the benefit of his
guests and the persons whom he entertains, and this opinion seems to me to be
correct; for more indulgence may be accorded the usuary, on account of the
respect due to a person to whom a use has been left. I think, however, that he
can make use of these things only while in the house.
With reference to apples, vegetables, flowers, and firewood, it must be
considered whether he can only make use of them in that place, or whether they
can be delivered to him in the town; but it is better to adopt the rule that
they can be brought to him in the town, for this is not a matter of great
importance, if there is an abundant supply of them on the land.
(2) Where the use of a flock is left, for instance, a flock of sheep;
Labeo says that they can only be used for their manure; as he can not use the
wool, the lambs, or the milk, for these are to be classed with the profits. I
think that he can go still farther, and use a moderate quantity of milk, as the
wills of deceased persons should not be interpreted so strictly.
(3) Where the use of a herd of cattle is left, the legatee will be
entitled to the entire use of the same for plowing or for any other purpose for
which cattle are adapted.
(4) Also, where the use of a stud of horses is bequeathed, let us
consider whether the legatee cannot break them to harness and use them for
draft. If the party to whom the use of said horses is left is a charioteer, I
do not think that he can use them for races in the circus, because this might
be considered to be hiring them; but if the testator, when he left them, was
aware that this was his occupation and mode
of life, he may be held to have intended them to be employed for this
(5) Where the use of a slave is left to anyone, he can use him for
attendance upon himself, and upon his children and his wife, and he will not be
deemed to have granted his right to another if he together with them make use
of said slave; although if the employment of a slave is left to the son of a
family or to another slave, as this will be acquired by the father or owner, he
can only exact the use of him alone, and not that of those who are under his
(6) A legatee cannot lease the services of a slave subject to use, nor
can he transfer them to another; and this is the opinion of Labeo. For how can
a man transfer to another services which he himself should make use of? Labeo,
however, holds that where a party has rented a farm, a slave of whom he has the
use can work there; for what difference does it make in what way he uses his
labor? Wherefore, if the party entitled to the use enters into a contract for
the spinning of wool, he can have this done by female slaves of whom he has the
use; and also, if he makes a contract for the weaving of clothing, or for the
building of a house or a ship, he can employ the labor of the slave of whom he
has the use. This opinion does not conflict with that of Sabinus that, where
the use of a female slave is granted, she cannot be sent to a wool-factory, nor
compensation be received for her labor; but the legatee must, in accordance
with law, have her work the wool for himself; for she is held to do this for
him where he does not hire her labor, but performs the work which he agreed to
do. Octavenus also approves this opinion.
13. Gaius, On the Provincial Edict, Book VII.
It was held by Labeo that a male or a female slave can be compelled to
pay money instead of working.
14. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVII.
If I stipulate, or receive anything by delivery through a slave of whom
I have the use, the question arises whether I make any acquisition either
through my property or by his labor? It will not be valid if it is based on his
labor, since I have no right to lease his services, but if what is acquired is
derived through my property, we hold that if a slave of whom I have the use
either stipulates or receives anything by delivery he acquires for me, since I
am making use of his labor.
(1) It makes no difference whether the usufruct or the crop is
bequeathed, for the use is included in the crop, but the crop does not include
the use; and while a crop cannot exist without the use, still the use may exist
without the crop. Hence, if the crop is bequeathed to you after the use has
been reserved, the bequest is void, as Pomponius states in the Fifth Book On
Sabinus; and he also says that where an usufruct is bequeathed but the crops
are withheld, the entire legacy must be considered to be revoked. Where,
however, the crop is bequeathed without the use it is held to have been
created, since it might have been created in the beginning. But in case the
usufruct is be-
queathed and the use is withheld, Aristo stated that there is no
revocation. This opinion is the more liberal one.
(2) Where the use is bequeathed and afterwards the crop to the same
person; Pomponius says that it is joined to the use. He also says that if the
use is bequeathed to you and the crop to me, we hold the use in common, but
that I alone will be entitled to the crop.
(3) The use, however, may belong to one person, the crop without the use
to another, and the mere property to still another; for example, where a party
who had a certain tract of land bequeathed the use of the same to Titius, and
afterwards his heir bequeathed the crop to you, or transferred them to you in
some other way.
15. Paulus, On Sabinus, Book III.
Where the use of land is bequeathed, the party entitled to the use can
take sufficient supplies from the same to last only for a year; even though, by
doing so, the crops of a moderate estate may be exhausted; for the same reason
that he has a right to enjoy the use of a house and a slave in such a way that
nothing which can be classed as produce may be left for another.
(1) Just as he to whom the use of land is bequeathed, cannot prevent the
owner from coming there frequently for the purpose of cultivating the soil, as,
by acting otherwise it would be precluding the owner from its enjoyment; so,
also, the heir cannot act in any way so as to prevent the party to whom the use
was bequeathed from making use of the land, as the careful head of the
household should do.
16. Pomponius, On Sabinus, Book V.
Where the use of a tract of land is bequeathed in such a way that the
latter must be provided with those things which are necessary for its
cultivation, the use of them will belong to the legatee, just as if they had
been expressly bequeathed to him.
(1) The owner of the property can have a watch kept over the land or the
house by a forester or a steward, even if the usufructuary or the party
entitled to use should be unwilling; for it is to his interest to protect the
boundaries of his estate. All these things are applicable, no matter in what
way the usufruct or the use has been created.
(2) If we are only entitled to the use of a slave, and not to the fruit
of his industry, as well, something can be given to him by us, or he can even
transact business with our money, so that whatever he acquires thereby shall
belong to his peculium through us.
17. Africanus, Questions, Book V.
Where the use of a house is bequeathed to the son of a family, or to a
slave, I think that this legacy is valid and the same method can be employed to
recover it which could have been employed if the profits of the same had also
been bequeathed. Therefore, the father or the owner can live in the house just
as well when the son or the slave is absent as when he is present.
18. Paulus, On Plautius, Book IX.
If the use of a house is bequeathed without the rent, it is the duty of
the heir as well as of the party entitled to the use of the same to keep it in
repair, so that it will be closed and protected against the weather. Let us
see, however, whether, if the heir receives the rent he himself is not obliged
to make the repairs; but where the property the use of which is left is of such
a description that the heir cannot collect the income thereof, the legatee will
be compelled to repair it; which distinction is reasonable.
19. The Same, On Vitellius, Book III.
A portion of an use cannot be bequeathed; for we can enjoy a portion,
but we cannot use one.
20. Marcellus, Digest, Book XIII.
A slave whose use is bequeathed to me acquires for me if he is my agent,
and I employ his services in a shop; for he acquires for me by the sale and
purchase of merchandise; and he likewise does so if he receives property
through delivery by my order.
21. Modestinus, Rules, Book II.
The use of water is a personal right, and therefore cannot be
transmitted to the heir of the party entitled to the same.
22. Pomponius, On Quintus Mucius, Book V.
The Divine Hadrian, where the use of a forest had been bequeathed to
certain persons, decided that the produce of the same must also be held to have
been bequeathed to them; because, unless they were permitted to cut down and
sell the trees, just as usufructuaries are, they would obtain nothing from the
(1) Even though a legatee to whom the use of a house is bequeathed may
be in such reduced circumstances that he cannot have the use of the entire
building; still, the owner cannot use the part which is vacant, because the
party entitled to the use will be permitted to use the entire house at one time
or another; as occasionally the owner uses certain portions of a building and
does not use others, according as the circumstances may demand.
(2) Where an use is bequeathed, if the legatee exercises his right to a
greater extent than he should do, is it the duty of the judge to determine how
far the use may be employed? He must see that he uses it not otherwise than he
23. Paulus, On Neratius, Book I.
Neratius says that the owner of the property which is subject to an use
cannot change its nature in any way. Paulus holds that he cannot make the
condition of the party entitled to the use any worse; but he may make it worse,
even where he improves the property.
TITLE IX. IN WHAT WAY AN USUFRUCTUARY MUST GIVE SECURITY.
1. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book XCVII.
Where the usufruct of anything is bequeathed, it seemed to the
prætor to be perfectly just that the legatee should give security with
reference to two things; one, that will use the property as a good citizen
should, and the other, that when the usufruct ceases to belong to him, he will
restore what remains of it.
(1) This stipulation must be entered into, whether the property is
movable, or consists of land.
(2) It must be borne in mind that this proceeding must also be employed
in the case of trusts; for it is evident that if an usufruct is created by a
donatio mortis causa, this security must be furnished in the case of
legacies. Moreover, if the usufruct is created in any other manner, the same
rule will apply.
(3) The party must give security that "the usufruct will be enjoyed as a
good citizen would enjoy it"; that is to say, that the quality of the usufruct
will not be deteriorated, and that he will do everything else which he would
do, if the property belonged to him.
(4) The heir and the legatee will do well, as soon as the legatee begins
to enjoy his right, to have it established by witnesses what the condition of
the property is at the time, so that, by this means it may be apparent whether,
and to what extent, the legatee has diminished the value of the property.
(5) It was considered more advisable that security should be given under
these circumstances by means of a stipulation, so that if anyone should make
use of the property in a way that a good citizen would not do, suit might be at
once brought on the stipulation; and hence we do not have to wait until the
(6) This kind of a stipulation has reference to two cases; one where the
party uses the property in a way which a good citizen would not do, and another
where the usufruct must be restored; the first of these becomes operative as
soon as an improper use of the property is made, and it may occur many times;
the other takes effect when the usufruct expires.
(7) With reference to what we have stated, however, namely, that "he
will restore what remains of it"; the owner does not stipulate for the thing
itself, (as he would be considered to uselessly stipulate for his own property)
he merely stipulates that whatever remains shall be restored. Sometimes,
however, the provision for an appraisement of the property is inserted; for
example, where an usufructuary who can prevent usucaption neglects to do so; as
he undertakes to exercise every care over the property:
2. Paulus, On the Edict, Book LXXV.
For the usufructuary must be responsible for its safe keeping.
3. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LXXIX.
All cases in which the usufruct can be lost are included in this
(1) We understand the usufruct to "cease to belong" to the usufructuary
even if it has not commenced to belong to him at all, although it may have been
bequeathed to him, and the stipulation will, nevertheless, become operative on
the principle that property ceases to belong to a party in whom the ownership
has not yet begun to vest.
(2) Where an usufruct is renewed by a legacy "every time that it is
lost", this stipulation will become operative, unless the bond is properly
drawn up, but an exception will be required.
(3) Where, however, anyone leaves you an usufruct and the ownership of
the property as well, on the condition that you have children, and the usufruct
should be lost; and action can be brought on the stipulation, but an exception
will be available.
(4) Where an heir alienates the property, and the usufruct afterwards is
lost, let us consider whether he can bring suit on the stipulation. It may more
forcibly be stated that, in accordance with the strict principles of law, the
stipulation does not become operative because the property cannot be delivered
to the heir or his successor; and the individual to whom it can be delivered
— that is he in whom the ownership vests — was not a party to the
stipulation. The latter, however, must provide for the protection of his own
rights by means of another bond, at the time when he obtains the ownership; but
if he should not do this, he will, nevertheless, be entitled to an action in
4. Venuleius, Stipulations, Book XII.
If the usufructuary should obtain the property, the usufruct ceases to
belong to him on account of the merger of the same; but if suit is brought
against him on the stipulation, it must be held either that he has not
proceeded in accordance with the strict principles of law, if the doctrine
governing the conduct of a good citizen is considered applicable; or that the
party must make use of an exception based on what has taken place.
5. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LXXIX.
The provision, "That no fraud has been committed", or will be committed,
is contained in this stipulation; and as this mention of fraud always relates
to matters in rem, it is held to include the bad faith of any of the
parties, whether he be one of the successors or an adoptive father.
(1) Where the use without the enjoyment is bequeathed, the prætor
orders security to be given, with the enjoyment of the produce omitted. This is
reasonable, since security is given solely with reference to the use, and not
to the usufruct.
(2) Therefore the stipulation will be operative if the enjoyment is
obtained without the use.
(3) Where the right of residence, or of the services of a slave or those
of any other animal, are left, the stipulation will become necessary, although
these things are not copied from the usufruct.
6. Paulus, On the Edict, Book LXXV.
The same rule is applicable to the returns from land, as for instance,
where a vintage or a harvest is bequeathed; just as property obtained by means
of an usufruct, if bequeathed, reverts to the heir on the death of the
7. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LXXIX.
Where property was delivered on account of an usufruct, and security was
not given, Proculus says that the heir can bring an action for recovery, and if
an exception is interposed on the ground that the property was delivered
because of an usufruct, he will be entitled to a replication. This opinion is
reasonable; but a personal action can be brought to compel the execution of a
bond by the usufructuary.
(1) When the usufruct of a sum of money is bequeathed, the following two
instances must be set forth in the stipulation, "Shall be paid when you die, or
lose your civil rights"; and therefore these two instances alone are given,
because the use of money cannot be lost in any other way than under such
8. Paulus, On the Edict, Book LXXV.
If the usufruct is bequeathed to you, and the mere ownership to me,
security must be given to me; but where the mere ownership is bequeathed to me
on a condition, some authorities, and among them Marcianus, are of the opinion
that security must be given both to the heir and to myself; Which opinion is
correct. Moreover, if the property is bequeathed to me, and when it ceases to
belong to me, will belong to another; in this case also security must be given
to both, as we established in the preceding instance. Where the usufruct is
bequeathed to two parties jointly, they will be required to give security to
another, as well as to the heir; the condition being referred to in the
following terms: "To surrender the usufruct to the heir, if it does not belong
to the co-legatee".
9. Ulpianus, On the Edict, Book LI.
Where an usufruct is bequeathed to me, and I am asked to deliver it to
Titius, it should be considered who is obliged to give security, whether Titius
should do so, or I, the legatee? Or shall we say that the heir can bring an
action against me, and that I must sue the beneficiary of the trust? It is
better to hold that if I have any expectation arising out of the usufruct, so
that it may revert to me, that is to the legatee, if you lose it; the question
can be settled by your giving security to me, and by my giving security to the
mere owner of the property. If, however, the usufruct was left to me in trust
for the beneficiary, and there is no hope of its reverting to me, then the
beneficiary should give security directly to the mere owner of the
(1) It must be borne in mind that whether a party has an usufruct by
direct operation of law, or even through the assistance of the prætor, he
should, nevertheless, be compelled to give security or to defend any actions
which may be brought.
(2) Pomponius says it is evident that if the ownership is bequeathed to
anyone from a certain time, and the usufruct absolutely; it must be held that
the usufructuary is released from liability on his bond, because it is certain
that the property will come into his hands or into those of his heir.
(3) When the usufruct of clothing is bequeathed, Pomponius holds that
although the heir may have stipulated that the clothing should be returned when
the usufruct comes to an end; nevertheless, the promisor is not liable if he
delivers the clothing which was worn out without malicious intent.
(4) Where several parties are the mere owners of property, any one of
them can enter into a stipulation with reference to his own share of the
10. Paulus, On the Edict, Book XL.
If I bequeath to you the usufruct of a slave which both of us own in
common, the security must be given to my heir; for although he can institute
proceedings for partition of the property, still, the question of the usufruct,
which belongs to you, is not included in the duty of the judge who is to
11. Papinianus, Opinions, Book VII.
Where the use of a house is left, security must be furnished which would
be satisfactory to a good citizen; nor does it alter the case if the father
wishes his sons, who are his heirs, to reside in the house with his widow, who
is the legatee.
12. Ulpianus, On Sabinus, Book XVIII.
Where the usufruct of certain vessels is left, the security provided by
the Decree of the Senate will not be necessary; but only that which states that
"the party will use and enjoy as a good citizen should do". Therefore, where
the vessels were delivered for the purpose of being enjoyed, no one doubts that
the ownership of the same is not transferred to the party who received them,
for they are not delivered for this purpose; but that the legatee might use and
enjoy them. Hence, as the said vessels do not become the property of the
usufructuary, they can be recovered by the owner of the same, if security is
not given. It should be considered whether a personal action will lie under
such circumstances? It has been decided that no one can bring an action of this
kind to recover his own property, except from a thief.