Sir William Blackstone
Blackstone followed earlier writers in explaining that the rights to territory of hunter-gatherers or herders lasted only while they were physically present on the land. The first person to use the land 'acquired therein a kind of transient property, that lasted so long as he was using it, and no longer or, to speak with greater precision, the right of possession continued the same time only that the act of possession lasted. Thus the ground was common, and no part of it was the permanent property of any man in particular; yet whosoever was in the occupation of any determined spot of it, for rest, for shade, or the like, acquired for the time a sort of ownership, from which it would have been unjust and contrary to the law of nature, to have driven him by force; but the instant that he quitted the use or occupation of it, another might seize it, without injustice.'
Keywords: barbarism, Blackstone, Sir William, conquest, land use, property, property law, sovereignty, 1765
Author: Nettheim, Garth
Source: 'Commentaries on the Laws of England'.