The Green Bag
of the deceased being distributed among the surviving members of his family; the right of disposition by will arose as an incident of individual ownership to which the rights of kinsmen were subordinate. Usually the right of testamentary dis position has been limited in the interest of survivors, and even the AngloAmerican system, while remarkable for its liberality in subjecting the power of the testator to few limitations, by no means concedes an absolute right of testamentary disposition, as the rule against perpetuities shows. It is therefore impossible to uphold the view taken by Surrogate Fowler of New York in a recent case, that "the right to dispose of property after death is a natural and inherent right of man kind which cannot be taken away by the state." This is quite as extreme a state ment as the assertion that this right is merely a legal grant by the state resting upon no deeper foundation than that of privilege. The right is one neither fixed nor absolute, which has its roots in the actual life of the community and which like everything human is subject to change, though not necessarily to radical transformation. Gareis says that the modern effort to restrict inheritance by will endangers civilization, and any drastic proposal to confiscate large in heritances may properly excite misgiv ings. It docs not follow, however, that well-considered modifications of our in heritance law may not be along the line of progress, if they are made with due recognition of the danger which Gareis perceives and in an earnest endeavor to avoid it. A LOYAL SPOUSE A HANDWRITING expert, so we are told, frequently runs across interesting as well as entertaining speci
mens of literary effort. Mr. Webster A. Melcher of Philadelphia kindly sends the Green Bag the following extract from a letter which passed through his hands. He has of course changed the names. From Mrs. Jones' letter to Mrs. Black: — "Give my love to Mr. Black. I don't care if you don't like it. You can send your love to that man of mine; wish I did not own him; he will never die." Our readers can decide for themselves, comments our correspondent, "whether the writer of the letter from which this was taken was a suffragette or some other kind of an 'ette.'" WOULD NOT STATE HIS BEST POINTS FIRST A GOOD story is told of the late Lord Ashbourne, who was at one time Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Occasion ally, says the Law Times, in the Court of Appeal, Lord Ashbourne would make up his mind to bring a case to an end before the rising of the court, and it was highly instructive to watch the proceeding. A junior, who was not conscious of his humor, stoodup to open what appeared to be a short interlocutory appeal. Lord Ashbourne, after a sentence or two had been spoken, interjected, "Now, Mr. why should we reverse the King's Bench on a point like this?" "My Lord," rejoined counsel, "there are six reasons why the order should be reversed." "Then," said the president of the court, "suppose we commence with your three best." "No, my Lord," said counsel, "I could not consent to that, because I have frequently succeeded in this court upon my bad points." Lord Ashbourne collapsed, and for once was unable to have his own way in the Court of Appeal.