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Of Hie succession of ascendants.
But, when the deceased leaves no descendants, if a father or mother, or any other parents, grand-fathers, great-grand-fathers, &c. survive him, we decree, that they shall be preferred to all collateral relations, except brothers of the whole blood to the deceased, as shall hereafter be more particularly declared. But, if many ascendants are living, we prefer those, who are in the nearest degree, whether they are male or female, paternal or matemal; and, when several ascendants concur in the same degree, the inheritance of the deceased must be so divided, that the ascendants on the part of the father may receive one-half, and the ascendants on the part of the mother the other half, without regard to the number of persons on either side. But, if the deceased leaves brothers and sisters of the whole blood together with ascendants, these collaterals of the deceased shall be called with the nearest ascendants, although such ascendants are a father or mother; and the inheritance must be so divided according to the number of persons, that each of the ascendants, and each of the brothers, may have an equal portion; nor shall the father in this case take to himself any usufruct of the portions belonging to his sons and daughters, because by this law we have given him the absolute property of one portion: and we suffer no distinction to be made between those persons, who are called to an inheritance, whether they are males or females, or related by males or females, or whether he, to whom they succeed, was, or was not, under power, at the time of his decease.
El xui ,;„n,-> i\ fxtr/q iuioav. gl ct pater aut mater fuerint] By the law of England, when a person diea intestate, leaving a father, the father ia solely entitled to the whole personal estate of the intestate, exclusive of all others; and anciently, [i. e in the reign of Henry the first, rid. II. Hen. primi, Wilkins editorr, p. 266 ] a surviving father, or mother, could have taken even the real cstate of their deceased child. Out this law of succession was altered soon afterwards ; for we find by Glanville, that, in the time of Henry the second, a father or mother could not have taken the real estates of their deceased children, the inheritance being then carried over to the collateral line. Vid. Glanville, lib 7, cap. 1, 2, &c. 1 Peere Williams 50. And it has ever since been held as an inviolable maxim, that an inheritance cannot ascend. Co. Litt. 11. a. But this alteration in the law, made since the reign of Henry the first, did not extend to pergonal estate, so that, before the statute of the first of James the second, if a child had died intestate without a wife, child, or father, the mother would have been entitled to the whole personal estate, exclusive of the brothers and listers of the intestate ; but it is enacted by that statute, " that if, after the death of a "father, any of his children shall die intestate, "without wife or children, in the lifetime of "the mother, every brother and sister, and
"their representatives, shall have an equal "share with her." 1 Jac. 2. cap. 17. § 6.
But, should it here be asked, whether the brother of an intestate would exclude the gmnd-fathcr by the civil law t the novel appears at first sight to answer it very fully in the negative by enacting, "that, if the deceased "leaves brothers and sisters together with ns"nendants in the right line, these collnierals "shall be called with the nearest ascendants," &c. And indeed the generality of writers, namely, Gudelin, Forster, Fernere, Domat, and others, all understand this passage, as admitting ascendants and brothers to take jointly; yet a contrary interpretation hath been given by some civilians, of whom Voet is the principal, whoso argument in support of it are therefore here copied at larg^e.
"Iliad non satis expeditum est, an etiam "cum ovo aut proavo, ubi alius proximior as"cendens non est, fratres germani ejus, qui "defunctus est, concurre debeant, an magis "avo proavove praeferendisunt, eosque exclu'* dant? CoDcursum enim ascendentinm natu"raliter gtadu remotiorum, quos nullns inter"medius existens excludit, cum fratribus ger"manis defuncti turentur plerique, moti so, "quod cum proxime atcendenlibus fratres ve"niunt, Vid. novel. 118. Proximns autem ** sit, quem nemo sntecedit."
"Sed juris rationibua cenvenientus videtur,
"avum proavumve defuncti a fratribus ejus "germanis in successione excludi; quia impe"rator in dicla Novella 118. emphatice dixit, "fratres et sorores cum proximis gradu as4' cendentibus vocari; qualis mentio proximo"rurn gradu inutilis plane ac superflua esset, "si non per grailn proximo: denotarentur illi, "qui in primo lineae ascendentis gradu sunt; "cum juris cerli atque indubitati ait, nunquam "in ascendente linea locum esse, juri reprs"sentutionis, per quod remotior subintraret in "locum pro.ximioris defuncti; atque ad to sufM fecisset, si generaliter exp'ressum esset, fra"tres cum ascendentibus vocari. Ne dicam "hoc ipso, quo in linea ascendente repraesen"tatio personae proximioris admissa non est, "fieri non posse, ut avuavel proavus defuncti, "qui a patre vel matredefucti certocertius ex"cluditur, concurrerct cum fratribus, qui cum "patre matreque defuncti concurrunt. Qui"bus arcedit, quod sententia, de avo defuncti "cum germanis ejus fratribus concurrent, ad "absurda ducit. Si enim verum est, quod in "casu quo fratres et sorores cum proximis "gradu ascendentibus ita concurrent, ut ha> "reditas inter eos secundum personarum nn'- merum dividenda sit, ac ascendentium et *' fratram singuli cequalem habeant portionem "secundum d. Nov 118. eveniret necessario "ut rernotiores ascendentes ob nefeclum prox"imiorum cum fratribus defuncti concurrentes "plus fratribus nocturi essent, quam proximi"ores ; durn, posiiis duobus fratribus germa'* nis defuncti, pater et mater concurrens duas "tanlum partes aequales auferrendo efficerent, "ut fratres singuli quartam hecreditatis frater"nae partem capiant ; quatuor nuteni avi avi"aeque existentes, viriles totidem partes oc"cupando, non nisi sextant singulis defuncti "fratribus relicturi essent ; sicuti tantum par"tem decimam duo fratres singuli essent hab"ituri, si cum proavis atque proaviavus (qua"les octo esse possunt) deberent concurrere, "Quam autem a ratione id aliennm sit, ut ma"gis nliis concttrsu suo noceant remotinres, "quam qui ejusdem lineae proxiniiores sunt, "nemo, ut opinor, non sponte satis agnoscit. "Denique tantum concursum esse fratrum "cum patre et matre, non vero cum aliis us"cendentibus remotioribus, ubi pater mater"que deficit, aperte probant verba Novells "118. dum illic diserte cautuni, si cum ascen
"dentibns inveniuntur fratres aut sorores ex "ntrisque parentibus conjuncti defuncto, eos "cum proximis gradu ascendentibus vocari, "si aut pater aut materfverint; unde sequi"tur, eos non omni casu, nec promiscue cum "omnibus ascendentibus, venire ; sed si paler "aut materfuerint: ideoque mox igitur sub** jicitur, in hoc casu patrem nullam usum ex "filiorum aut filiarum portione, posse sibi "penitus vindicare, nulla avi facta mentione; "cum tamen id avo aequa interdicendum fu"isset, si et avua cum defuncti nepotis fra"tribus succedere potuisset, durn fratres suc"cedentes aeqae potuissent in avi quam in pa"tris potestate esse. Ut proinde nihil in con"trarium efficiat, quod, in jure, proximus "dicutur, quem nemo antecedit ; cum id tum "demum admitti debeat quando nulla inde "absurditas profluit ; prout in hoc casu futu"rum, supra monstratum est." Vid. Joannis Voet. com. ad Pandectas, tom. 2. lib. 88. t. 17 § IS.
Dut this question seems now to be settled in England, in consequence of three determinations; the first of which was given in the Exchequer, in the ease of Poole r. VVilshaw, on the 9lh of July, 1708 :—the second in the case of Norbury v. Vicars, before Mr. Fortescuc, master of the rolls, in November 1749 :—and the third was delivered on the 14lh January, 1754, in the case of Evelin r. Evelin, by the lord chancellor, who decreed in favour of the brother in exclusion of the grand-father, having founded his opinion partly in deference to the former determinations : partly in consideration of the present common law computation of degrees, relative to real estates ; and partly upon the benefit, which must accrue to the public by preferring a younger man to an older, the brother of a deceased person to the grandfather, propter spem accrescendi.
And it was also declared to be the opinion of the court, that, if the point in question had been res integra, and solely determinable by the Roman law,. the rfeciee would still have been the same; which declaration, from so hi),'h an authority, must have great weight in ascertaining of the Novel, and must incline civilians in general to think more favourably for the future of Voet's arguments, which were particularly quoted and much relied upon by the court.