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The Napoleon Series > Government > Governments and Politics

French Civil Code

BOOK III. Of The Different Modes Of Acquiring Property.

Decreed the 19th of April, 1803. Promulgated the 29th of the same Month.


  1. Ownership in goods is acquired and transmitted by succession, by donation between living parties, or by will and by the effect of obligations.
  2. Ownership is acquired also by accession, by incorporation, and by prescription.
  3. Property which has no owner belongs to the nation.
  4. There are things which belong to no one, and the use whereof is common to all. The laws of police regulate the manner of enjoying such.
  5. The right of hunting and fishing is alike regulated by particular laws.
  6. Property in a treasure discovered in a man's own field belongs to himself: if discovered in another person's field, one moiety thereof belongs to him who discovered it, and as regards the other moiety to the proprietor of the field. Treasure is every thing concealed or hidden in the earth over which no one can prove property, and which is discovered purely by the effect of chance.
  7. Claims respecting property thrown into the sea, respecting objects which the sea casts up, of what nature soever they may be, over plants and herbage which grow on the banks of the sea, are also regulated by particular laws. It is the same with regard to things lost whereof the owner does not appear.


Code Napoleon; or, The French Civil Code. Literally Translated from the Original and Official Edition, Published at Paris, in 1804. By a Barrister of the Inner Temple. Translation attributed to George Spence (cf. Cushing's Anonyms: A Dictionary of Revealed Authorship and Halkett & Laing's Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous English Literature and in the Dictionary of National Biography). London: Published by William Benning, Law Bookseller, 1827. xix, 627 pages.



Placed on the Napoleon Series 6/00