Page:The Settled Estates Act, 1882.djvu/15

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younger children. By this means the property is tied up again until some tenant in tail comes of age, when the property is again settled. The settlement, moreover, generally contains provisions enabling trustees, with the consent of the tenant for life, to sell the whole or portions of the property, and to reinvest the purchase-money in land, or to apply it in paying off incumbrances. Even when it does not do so, the Chancery Division may, under the Settled Estates Act, direct sales for such purposes. Tenants for life are also enabled to grant ordinary agricultural leases for 21 years, and with the consent of the Court, mining or building leases for longer terms. There is also now power, under various Acts of Parliament, for tenants for life to borrow moneys for improvements, under the sanction of the Inclosure Commissioners, to be repaid by a sinking fund, charged upon the estate. It will thus be seen that at the moment when a settlement is made, the land may he said to he in the possession of persons who together make an absolute owner, and who can sell or dispose of it as they think fit. That they do not do so is a proof of a strong desire to keep the land in the family, which it would take many acts of Parliament to eradicate.

Objections to SettlementsNow the articulate objections to the system of settlements, for in this matter as in many others, radical orators are content to "split the ears of the groundlings" with general invectives without particularising either the evil or the remedy, may be summarised as follows:—(1.) That it prevents estates from coming into the market. (2.) That the owner of the estate for the time being takes it so much encumbered by charges, or so hampered by the limitations of his tenure, that he is left without the means or the incentive to properly cultivate the land.