Estates of underage heirs might be assigned to a trustee in wardship
until the heir became of age.
Acknowledging the seeming anomaly of rights owed to peoples in a system of international law concerned with relations among states, Lindley argued that express agreements and the practices of nations had given rise to a legal concept of a colonial power's duty to promote the well-being and progress of its subjects." (131) Lindley characterized this duty by the terms "trust" and "wardship." (132) On the one hand, these terms combined "in a broad ethical sense to mean the duties which the advanced peoples collectively owe to backward races in general ...
Both the "broad ethical sense" of the trusteeship and wardship ideas and efforts to pronounce the duties of colonial powers in those terms were thus a familiar, if minority, strain in international law at the time of the League Convention.
The second, in particular, found expression in the third critical private-law term in the mandate system, one with sources in Vitoria's first, tentative rationale for colonial rule: wardship.
The remaining wardships which Edward granted out all had somewhat more substantial remuneration for the king attached to them -- though rarely, unless it was a simple stewardship, was the grantee not able to make some form of profit from the transaction.(31) Indeed, though the wardships granted by lease, sale, or large fine were rarely the most immediately profitable, nevertheless they could be very lucrative in the longer term to those so favoured.
Indeed, what this last section tends to emphasize is the contemporary realization of the obvious value of minorities, men being willing to pay large sums to have even portions of wardships under their control.
It must be recognized, however, that part of what made wardships useful in this respect was the practice noted above which allowed large estates to be broken up into smaller parcels.(43) Indeed, unless for exceptional cases, rarely was a new man, no matter how favoured, granted the entire estate of a member of the higher nobility, much less the body and marriage of the heir.
Since wardships could be cancelled if the children failed to render adequate service, orphans not only provided an alternative to the dwindling slave supply, they often constituted a less risky investment than purchasing slaves whose entire value had to be paid at one time and whose masters could not usually recuperate their investment if the slaves became ill, died, or ran away.
The agricultural nature of Campina Grande society and the legal provision that children of farmers would be entrusted as wards to other farmers(22) leads me to believe that often, when no specific work was stipulated in the wardship papers, the children worked as young farm laborers.
The emphasis on putting poor boys to work was perceived as a major benefit of the wardship system.