ESCHEAT, title to lands. According to the English law, escheat denotes an obstruction of the course of descent, and a consequent determination of the tenure, by some unforeseen contingency; in which case the land naturally results back, by a kind of reversion, to the original grantor, or lord of the fee.. 2 Bl. Com. 244.
2. All escheats, under the English law, are declared to be strictly feudal, and to import the extinction of tenure. Wright on Ten. 115 to 117; 1 Wm. Bl. R. 123.
3. But as the feudal tenures do not exist in this country, there are no private persons who succeed to the inheritance by escheat. The state steps in, in the place of the feudal lord, by virtue of its sovereignty, as the original and ultimate proprietor of all the lands within its jurisdiction. 4 Kent, Com. 420. It seems to be the universal rule of civilized society, that when the-deceased owner has left no heirs, it should vest in the public, and be at the disposal of the government. Code, 10, 10, 1; Domat, Droit Pub. liv. 1, t. 6, s. 3, n. 1. Vide 10 Vin. Ab. 139; 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 250; 1 Swift's Dig. 156; 2 Tuck. Blacks. 244, 245, n.; 5 Binn. R. 375; 3 Dane's Ab. 140, sect. 24; Jones on Land Office Titles in Penna. 5, 6, 93. For the rules of the Roman Civil Law, see Code Justinian, book 10.