By 1650 the assembly had been divided into two houses, in one of which sat only the representatives of the freemen without whose consent no bill could become a law, and annual sessions as well as triennial elections were coming to be the usual order.
By the middle of the 18th century the franchise had become restricted to the freemen or burgesses.
To the French or Norman knight all peasants on his manor seemed to be villeins, and he failed to understand the distinction between freemen who had personally commended themselves to his English predecessor but still owned their land, and the mass of ordinary servile tenants.
Native society in Imerina among the Hova was formerly divided into three great classes: the Andriana, or nobles; the Hova, freemen or commoners; and the Andevo, or slaves; but these last became free by a proclamation issued in 1896.
Forbid the royal officials to seize the horses or carts of freemen for transport duty, or to take wood for the king's buildings.
Charles now sought to increase his authority in Italy, where Frankish counts were set over various districts, and where Hildebrand, duke of Spoleto, appears to have recognized his overlordship. In 780 he was again in the peninsula, and at Mantua issued an important capitulary which increased the authority of the Lombard bishops, relieved freemen who under stress of famine had sold themselves into servitude, and condemned abuses of the system of vassalage.
Kerl and with similar words in other Teutonic languages), one of the two main classes, eorl and ceorl, into which in early Anglo-Saxon society the freemen appear to have been divided.
The liverymen of the companies, being freemen of the city, have still, however, the exclusive power of electing the lord mayor, sheriffs, chamberlain and other corporate officers.
In 1774 the number of electors (which by usage had been restricted to the mayor, aldermen and freemen elected by them) had dwindled to six, and in 1790 to one person only, whose return of two members, however, was rejected and that of the general body of the freemen accepted.
The trial is now held annually by a jury consisting of freemen of the Company of Goldsmiths.