James’s Claim

United States Reports, Volume 1 {1 Dall.}  (1780) 
by Supreme Court of the United States

james's Claim.


HE case was this: John Parrock was attained of High Treaʃon, and his estate seized and advertised for fale. Abel James filed a claim, according to the act of Assembly, passed the 6th day of March 1778, in order to obtain a decree establishing his right, to what, he alledged, was a vested remainder in him, after the expiration of an estate for life, which, he contended, was all that John Parrock was possessed of in the premisses, and he never had any issue.


The queftion depended on the due conftruction of the following devife.–‘‘ I devife the refidue of my eftate to John Parraock, during

‘‘ the term of his natural life, and if he leaves lawful indue, then

‘‘ I give my real eftate unto fuch iffue : But, in cafe of his dying

‘‘ without iffue, or they dying under the uge of twenty one years,

‘‘ then I devife all my real eftate unto Abel James his heirs and af-

figns, on condition that he, or they, pay the Pennƒylvania hofpital

‘‘ Ł.306.’’

After argument, the CHIEF JUSTICE delivered the opinion of the Court as follows:

m'kean, Chief Juƒtice : The remainder in fee of this eftate is claimed by Abel James ; who alledges that, whether the eftate gives to Parrock was for life, or in tail, he is entitled to a vefted remainder in fee, which is not barred by the attainder of Parrock. The Court, however, are of opinion, that the word iffue in this cafe is a limitation, and that John Parrock took an eftate ttail under this devife. Probably, indeed, nor more than an eftate for life was intended to have been given to him, but the law fupervenes that intention. There is a fecond intention, manifeft in the will, which is to be carried into execution ; that is, that the iffue fhould take in fucceffion, which they could not do, without a previous eftate of inheritance in the father.

The meaning of the teftator appears appear clearly to have been, that the eftate fhould not go over, while there was any iffue, and it is exprefsly provided, that all muft be extinct, and none have attained the age of twenty one years, before it fhould pafs to Able James.

This is not a new cafe ; for, it has been long fettled that the words ‘natural life,’’ make no difference. Sundays cafe 9 Co. Rep. 276. Helin and Jenings. 1 Freem. Reo. 509−2 Eq. Abr. 312. ca. 18 Caonyns's Rep. 289. 1 Wil. 600. 754. &c. Fortefe. Rep 84. 2 Ld Raym. 1437. 1 Barnard. Rep. in K.B. 6. 367. Such was the decifion.

As therefore, John Parrock took an eftate tail, the land was forfeited by the attainder ; and the claim of Abel James muft be difmiffed.

The claim difmiffed.