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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/783

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sold, aliened, released, enfeoffed, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents does give, grant, bargain, sell, alien, release, enfeoff, convey, and confirm to the said party of the second part and his heirs and assigns forever: all that certain tract or parcel of land and premises hereinafter particularly described, situate, lying, and being in the township of Snipe, county of Woodcock, and State of Huckleberries, bounded and described as follows, to wit." Here the legal description is inserted with comparative simplicity. One would think when that was ended it would complete the transaction, so that "the party of the first part" could sign the deed, take his money, and go home; but not yet, as two hundred and thirty-two words are then used to say that the purchaser is not only to own the land, but everything on it; that it is for his heirs as well as for himself, "forever"; that the land is unencumbered by debts, and the title "as good as wheat." Then comes the warranty clause already mentioned, containing one hundred and sixty-two words full of sound if not of sense; then the signature of the seller and of his wife, if there be a wife; then the seals, another relic of feudal ages; then the signature of the witnesses, and then a formal acknowledgment before some official whose one pleasurable duty is to exact a fee. The seller is then let off; but the buyer, if he desires his deed secure against thieves, fire, or a second deed of later date, must have all the beautiful rubbish in it recorded by a salaried official deputed for that work, who charges another fee, and keeps the copy in a fireproof building at the cost of the county.

Now, in place of this ingenious and ridiculous piece of legal circumlocution, let us see if something could not be devised which would express the same ideas, and hold all the parties to the contract—something like this:

This deed made this —— day of ——, in the year a. d. 1887, witnesseth: That I have this day sold to John Smith, of etc., for one thousand dollars, the following described piece of land, with everything on it known as real estate, situated in the town of ——, county of ——, and State of ——, bounded as follows: (Description here inserted.)

And I hereby warrant the purchaser, John Smith, that I am the lawful and only owner of the said land; and also that there are no claims to encumber it; and that his title hereby becomes indisputable.

John Doe.


When two men make a verbal contract involving a horse-trade before reliable witnesses, the courts hold them to it without a scrap of written agreement. When one man gives his note for value received to another, he is held to this agreement if a clear intent is indicated, no matter if the note is bunglingly expressed and half the words misspelled. A man who can not write his own name can still convey away his real estate by affixing "his mark" to his name after some-