A title of nobility, formerly the highest in England, now the third, ranking between a marquis and a viscount, and corresponding with the French “comte” and the German “graf.” The title originated with the Saxons, and is the most ancient of the English peerage. William the Conqueror first made this title hereditary, giving it in fee to his nobles; and alloting them for the support of their state the third penny out of the sheriff’s court, issuing out of all pleas of the shire, whence they had their ancient title “shirenien.” At present the title is accompanied by no territory, private or judicial rights, but merely confers nobility and an hereditary seat in the house of lords. Wharton. Earl marshal of England. A great officer of state who had anciently several courts under his jurisdiction, as the court of chivalry and the court of honor. Under him is the herald’s office, or college of arms. He was also a judge of the Marshalsea court, now abolished. This office is of great antiquity, and has been for several ages hereditary in the family of the Howards. 3 Bl. Comm. 68, 103; 3 Steph. Comm. 335, note. Earldom. The dignity or jurisdiction of an earl. The dignity only remains now, as the jurisdiction has been given over to the sheriff. 1 Bl. Comm. 339. contracts. The payment of a part of the price of goods sold, or the delivery of part of such goods, for the purpose of binding the contract. 2. The effect of earnest is to bind the goods sold, and upon their being paid for without default, the buyer is entitled to them. But notwithstanding the earnest, the money must be paid upon taking away the goods, because no other time for payment is appointed; earnest only binds the bargain, and gives the buyer a right to demand, but a demand without payment of the money is void; after earnest given the vendor cannot sell the goods to another, without a default in the vendee, and therefore if the latter does not come and pay, and take the goods, the vendor ought to go and request him, and then if he does not come, pay for the goods and take them away in convenient time, the agreement is dissolved, and he is at liberty to sell them to any other person.