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tion, from which it is professedly deduced ; that definition (as has above been shown) applying only to remainders contingent on account of the event. Secondly, that it is totally arbitrary, as it assumes, without a shadow of proof, that a difference in the events on which contingent remainders depend, makes a difference in the remainders themselves. The reverse of this we affirm to be open to strict and clear demonstration. If A. makes a feoffment to the use of B. till C. returns from Rome, and after such return of C. then to remain over to D. in fee, (which is an instance of Mr. Fearne's first sort of contingent remainders); if lands be given to A. in tail, and if B. come to Westminster Hall on such a day, to B. in fee (which exemplifies his second sort of contingent remainders); if a lease be made to J. S., and after the death of J. D. the lands to remain to J. W. in fee (which illustrates his third sort); it is very certain that the remainders of D. B. and J. W. are not in the slightest degree distinguished by the law; for the nature of the event does not affect the qualities of the remainder. We therefore reject this classification, and form another on what (as we think) is its only rational basis, viz. a difference in the qualities of the contingent remainders.Hence our division would be four-fold. The primary one would be into such remainders as are contingent on account of the event, and such as are contingent on account of the person; because these differ in some of their qualities, a contingent remainder being devisable when the event only is uncertain, but not when the person is unascertained. [This was decided by the cases of Roe v. Jones, 1 Hen. Bl. 30. Moor v. Hawkins, 1 H. Bl. Rep. 33. and Jones v. Perry in error, 3. T. Rep. 88.] Our secondary division of contingent remainders would be into those which are at common law, and those which are by devise or by way of use; and this we derive from the difference between contingent limitations in common law conveyances, and limitations in wills and conveyances to uses ; the former kind, when vehicles of the fee, putting it in abeyance, and the latter not.
This is not so much an aggression on the legal reputation as on the logical merit of this far-famed essay. After what has been said, we leave the reader to his own opinion of the justness of our criticism.
1 Is it not in any science absurd to adopt any other criterion of identity and diversity than this?
One of the most singular misapplications of Mr. Fearne’s reasoning powers was in his reading on the statute of enrolments. His object there was to prove that a grant of a remainder or reversion, for a pecuniary consideration, is at the present day a bargain and sale, and consequently void without enrolment. The sophistry of his arguments is now universally acknowledged. The grant of a remainder or reversion before the abolition of attornments was precisely analogous to a feoffment with livery of seisin. The pecuniary consideration then did not alter the operation of the deed, and make enrolment requisite; and the statute of 4 Ann. c. 16. s. 9. simply made a grant without, exactly what it was before with, attornment. See the very late case of Doe v. Cole, 1 Manning & Ryland, 33.
Mr. Fearne's fault, as a legal writer, was, we conceive, a want of that patient spirit of analysis and research, which can alone be depended on for laying well-founded premises ; though we by no means intend to say that he was wholly deficient in this spirit, or did not occasionally, and, as it were, by fits and starts, possess it in an eminent degree. But he was certainly far from being what Lord Thurlow once styled him, one of the most accurate of writers. His excellence consisted in accurate discrimination, in subtle ratiocination, in melting down the huge and shapeless masses of seemingly indigested and incongruous doctrines, and casting them into regular forms,-in detecting anomalies, and crushing them, when pernicious, with the combined and irresistible force of sarcasm, reason, and authority.. Lord Mansfield had almost as much cause to dread Mr. Fearne on the legal, as his invisible enemy, Junius on the political, arena. The celebrated case of Perrin v. Blake 3 illustrates this. His lordship (then chief justice) thought fit to deny with some indignation his having given as counsel an opinion which Mr. Fearne had ascribed to him on the subject of the devise in that case, and which was at direct variance with his lordship's judicial determination. This circumstance properly induced Mr. Fearne to publish the opinion, and to demonstrate its authenticity by shewing the source from which he got it; and the strain of irony in which he lamented that he should have been so fatally imposed on by appearances, would have done credit to the pen of Swift. This letter, with the opinions of Mr. Murray, and other eminent counsel, on the litigated will of W. Williams, was published with the fourth edition of the Essay on Contingent Remainders, but has been omitted from the subsequent editions.
1 In Pering v. Phelips, 1 Ves. J. 256.
2 Lord Mansfield, however, did not (as Dr. Parr and many others supposed) persecute Mr. Fearne. See Butler's Reminiscences, vol. ii.
3 4 Burr. 2579. 1 Bl. Rep. 672.
Mr. Fearne, however, in his ironical attack on Lord Mansfield's decision in Perrin v. Blake, was not exactly consistent with himself. His ground of complaint was the desire of that great judge to break through those strict rules of law by which, whatever might be the intention of testators, limitations in wills assuming a certain form, produced a certain effect. And this complaint was just, as without a doubt it is more desirable that property should be secured by firm and settled rules, than that the intention of testators should be effectuated. But if Lord Mansfield was on this ground culpable for setting his shoulder to the rule in Shelly's case, how much more so was Mr. Fearne himself for endeavouring, on similar principles to those on which Lord Mansfield reasoned, and by arguments deduced from common sense, and abstract fitness, to subvert the maxim of the eommon law with respect to abeyance, confirmed as it is by a multitude of decisions, and, we believe, unshaken even by a judicial dictum. There is scarcely a remark of his on Lord Mansfield which does not apply with ten-fold force to himself.
This appeared about 1780, and is said to have afforded Lord Mansfield some uneasiness, who, however, took no notice of it. Chalmers, vol. xiv. 162. 2 See Cont. Rem. 165.
3 Cont. Rem. 361.
The Court of Chancery. A Satirical Poem.
JAMES BLEWITT, late of Lincoln's Inn.
The object of this book is to embody in immortal verse the reflections of the author on every thing connected with the Chancery. He gives his opinions with equal freedom on the nature of equity in general — the men, the manners, and the proceedings of the court — the personal qualities and private habits of judges, officers, and bar — and comments with equal harshness on the limited expenditure of Lord Eldon, the obesity of Master Stratford, and the country house of Mr. Agar. Those, therefore, who may happen to hear of the publication, are certainly justified in asking who Reginald James Blewitt, late of Lincoln's Inn, may be. We inquired accordingly, and have satisfied ourselves ; though we must decline the task of satisfying our readers. We can merely permit ourselves to state, that he was once a practising solicitor; but whether he left his business or his business left him, we cannot venture to decide. He is, or lately was, residing in France, perhaps for his personal convenience, perhaps for the improvement of his property; both of which would very probably have been infringed upon had he been in England on the publication of his poem. It is a wretched attempt to versify abuse: dull prose, forced into couplets by transposing words, and tagging rhymes. “As a poet,” says he, “ I must throw myself upon the indulgence of the public.” 1 We do assure him that the public will not receive him in that character, though at the same time quite ready to believe that he “ has thrown into the work as much amusement as his poor abilities would furnish him with.". But our readers had better judge for themselves, and we studiously select the specimens, which are the best adapted to convey a notion of his style. Names at full length we cannot copy, and it is wrong perhaps even to venture on initials.
The following is Mr. B's opinion of one of the masters ; a mild and gentlemanly comment, which would be quite clear and intelligible enough, if one could but make out, whether the gentleman alluded to is to be a bear or “a real ape.”
Lo! waddling forth; in dignity of mien,
The next passage is part of a brilliant and occasionally pathetic appeal to Lord Lyndhurst, who doubtless will profit by the warning
Be Lord High Chancellor, if so you must,
Young Peer, be wise, and if you court success,
We next give an illustration of the author's mode of sketching the bar, whom he introduces with a most ingenious turn.