1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Appanage

APPANAGE, or Apanage (a French word from the late Lat. apanagium, formed from apanare, i.e. panem porrigere, to give bread, i.e. sustenance), in its original sense, the means of subsistence given by parents to their younger children as distinct from the rights secured to the eldest born by the custom of primogeniture. In its modern usage it is practically confined to the money endowment given to the younger children of reigning or mediatized houses in Germany and Austria, which reverts to the state or to the head of the family on the extinction of the line of the original grantee. In English history the system of appanages never played any great part, and the term is now properly applied only to the appanages of the crown: the duchy of Cornwall, assigned to the king’s eldest son at birth, or on his father’s accession to the crown, and the duchy of Lancaster. In the history of France, however, the appanage was a very important factor. The word denotes in very early French law the portion of lands or money given by fathers and mothers to their sons or daughters on marriage, and usually connotes a renunciation by the latter of any future inheritance; or it may denote the portion given by the eldest son to his brothers and sisters when he was sole inheritor. The word apanage is still employed in this sense in French official texts of some Customs; but it was in old public law that it received its definite meaning and importance. Under the kings of the third dynasty, the division of the kingdom among the sons of the dead monarch which had characterized the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties, ceased. The eldest son alone succeeded to the crown; but at the same time a custom was established by which the king made territorial provision suitable to their rank for his other children or for his brothers and sisters; custom forbade their being left landless. Lands and lordships thus bestowed constituted the appanages, which interfered so greatly with the formation of ancient France. While the persevering policy of the Capets, which aimed at reuniting the great fiefs, duchies, countships, baronies, &c., to the domain of the crown, gradually reconstructed for their benefit a territorial sovereignty over France, the institution of the appanage periodically subtracted large portions from it. Louis XI., in particular, had to struggle against the appanaged nobles. The old law, however, never abolished this institution. The edict of Moulins (1566) maintained it, as one of the exceptions to the inalienability of the crown-lands; only it was then decided that daughters of France should be appanaged in money, or that if, in default of coin, lands were assigned to them, these lands should be redeemable by the crown in perpetuity. The efforts of the kings to minimize this evil, and of the old jurisprudence to deal with the matter, resulted in two expedients: (1) the reversion of the appanage to the crown was secured as far as possible, being declared inalienable and transmissible only to male descendants in the male line of the person appanaged; (2) originally the person appanaged had possessed all the rights of a duke or count—that is to say, in the middle ages nearly all the attributes of sovereignty; the more important of these attributes were now gradually reserved to the monarch, including public authority over the inhabitants of the appanage in all essential matters. However, it is evident from the letters of appanage, dated April 1771, in favour of the count of Provence, how many functions of public authority an appanaged person still held. The Constituent Assembly, by the law dated the 22nd of November 1790, decided that in future there should be no appanages in real estate, and that younger sons of monarchs, married and over twenty-five years of age, should be provided for by yearly grants (rentes apanagères) from the public funds. The laws of the 13th of August and the 21st of December 1790 revoked all the existing appanages, except those of the Luxembourg Palace and the Palais Royal. To each person hitherto appanaged an annual income of one million livres was assigned, and two millions for the brothers of the king. All this came to an end with the monarchy. Napoleon, by the sénatus-consulte of the 30th of January 1810, resolved to create appanages for the emperor’s princely descendants, such appanages to consist for the most part of lands on French soil. The fall of the empire again annulled this enactment. The last appanage known in France was that enjoyed by the house of Orleans. Having been re-established, or recognized as still existing, by the Restoration, it was formally confirmed by the law of the 15th of January 1825. On the accession of Louis Philippe it was united to the national property by the law of the 2nd of March 1832.

For appanages in ancient law see the Essai sur les apanages ou mémoires historiques de leur établissement, attributed to Du Vaucel, about 1780.  (J. P. E.)