Page:The Settled Estates Act, 1882.djvu/13

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under his own vine and fig tree, and eat the fruit thereof in peace.

Entail.Then comes the system of entail. Now, it is popularly said that by the law of entail, properties are tied up indefinitely and the free alienation of the land checked. But what is the law? Simply this: that, putting aside the one or two cases where estates have been strictly entailed by the State upon families. as a reward for public services, there is no estate tail in England which cannot, the moment the owner of it is of age and sui juris, be turned into a fee simple by the simple process of enrolling a deed in the Chancery Division; and as the law disallows the tying up of estates for more than a life or lives in being and 21 years afterwards, it is practically impossible that the system of entail can keep land inalienable for more than a generation.

Settlements.But then it is said, how is it that lands are practically tied up for generations, as is undoubtedly the case? The answer is simple. It is by settlements, which are the result of agreement between the parties interested. No doubt these form the very key-stone of the English land system, and it is against this system of settlement that the most formidable attacks are made. Let us see what a settlement of land really is, and what is its object. The object, no doubt, is to preserve the Objects of Settlements. estate in the family; to perpetuate the dignity and position of the head of the family, and to secure the property from being squandered and dissipated. The motive is laudable in itself, and its results far reaching in both a political and social sense. I could cite many authorities in its favour, but space will not allow for more than two. Burke, a statesman unsurpassed in his