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WARFARE UNDER THE SEA.
The perfecting of submarines goes steadily forward. The larger craft of this type are now armed. Each year shews an increased cruising radius, both on the surface and submerged; and it is thought that submarines should now be able to cross the Atlantic or cruise in the West Indies under their own power. They may also be able to handle mines now that they can remain several hours under water and can be submerged to a depth of 200 feet with a full crew on board.
The importance of this type of vessel and the unsatisfactory nature of earlier experiments has been commented on recently by the New Orleans Picayune as follows:
“Twenty years ago and more the people of the United States read Jules Werne's story, “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, and believed that it would lead to some great change in naval warfare.
“There was an idea that submarine iron ships would be made that would not only be entirely safe and be navigated under water to any destination desired, but hostile ships would be blown up, torpedoed, and dynamited before it was known that an enemy was near.
“It is true that the submarine for war purposes has been made, but is a very unsafe contrivance, and there seems to be no assurance that when it once dives under water that it will ever come to the surface again. And although every naval nation has some, it does not appear that the war submarine ever accomplished any useful purpose or did any service in the defence of the nation to which it belongs.
“Although the idea of submarine attack has not been entirely abandoned far more attention is being given to aerial warfare, which, however, is not destined to bring any reliable results, and for war on the sea the submarine will finally accomplish something practical.
“But in order to reach such results it will be necessary to make the submarines both safe and manageable. There must be no difficulty in accomplishing the dive and resurrection acts with certainty, and in being able to keep the vessel under water for any time necessary, with entire comfort to all on board. There must not only be condensed air stored up in reservoirs, but there must be chemical means to generate at need the oxygen and nitrogen required to furnish our respiration medium.
“These remarks are suggested in connection with the
announcement that Russia is about to build a submarine cruiser of 5,400 tons displacement and to be fitted for considerable voyages under the sea. It is to be nearly ten times as big as our 500-ton submarine, and if it should possess some of the qualities and capacities of Verne's fic. titious vessel it will be able to work a revolution in naval warfare.
“Whenever it shall be possible to sail under a ship's bottom and attach dynamite bombs to her keel, unknown to those on board, or to ram and torpedo them from below, the shock being the first intimation of the presence of an enemy, naval warfare will be attended with vastly more risks than at present, and a few submarine cruisers will be able to meet in a most formidable manner the greatest surface war fleets.”
REVOCATION OF SHARES OF RESIDUE.
It is clear that, if a residuary estate is left to several named persons as tenants in common, and one or more of those persons predecease the testator, his share or their shares cannot successfully be claimed by the other residuary legatees. If they could be, the survivors would get different shares to what the testator bequeathed to them, and it is merely a guess to say that if he had thought that any of the named residuary legatees would die, he would have intended the others to take their shares. If such is the intention, it is quite easy to provide for their so taking by leaving the residue to such of them A., B., C., and D., as shall survive the testator, and if more than one in equal shares. A different question, however, arises where by an act of the testator some of the persons named are deprived of their shares. Such is the case of Re Whiting; Ormond v. De Launay (108 L. T. Rep. 629; (1913) W. N. 124), where in his will a testator directed his residue to be divided among forty-six named persons, and by a codicil he revoked the shares of two of those named persons, and after certain pecuniary bequests confirmed his will. It was naturally argued that there was an intestacy as to the two shares. Mr. Justice Joyce felt no doubt, however, that the testator did not intend those two shares to be undisposed of, and laid great stress on the fact that the testator had expressly confirmed his will as altered, the effect of such confirmation being that the will, with the alterations made by the codicil, must be treated as made over again at the date of the codicil: (see Re Fraser, 91 L. T. Rep. 48; (1904) 1 Ch. 726). If the will had been made over again, with the alterations made by the codicil, the two names would have been simply struck out, and so the learned Judge held that the names must be treated as struck out and the residue must be divided amongst the other residuary legatees.
THE EXECUTION OF DEEDS.
The Court of Appeal in the recent case of Re Seymour; Fielding v. Seymour (108 L. T. Rep. 549; (1913) 1 Ch. 475) decided an important point on the law of deeds, hold. ing that the acknowledgment by a lady of a deed purport. ing to have been executed under a power of attorney given by her amounted to a redelivery of the instrument as her deed. It is proposed in this article to investigate the mean. ing of the formalities in vogue for executing deeds and to in. quire into the law touching this subject so that the signific. ance of the recent case may be the better appreciated,
When a person after signing a deed goes through the apparently empty formality of placing his finger on the seal (generally a small circular piece of red paper stuck on to the document) and repeats the words dictated to him, “I deliver this as my act and deed,” he little appreciates the significance of the words he uses. Very often, indeed, in practice, this small formality is dispensed with, the signing both by the person executing and the witness to his signature being deemed the important part of the execution ceremony. Yet the cabalistic words mentioned above have their meaning— a fact which will be fully appreciated upon a perusal of the judgments of the Lords Justices in the recent case.
Questions concerning the valid execution of deeds neces. sarily involve further questions of the essential characteris. tics of a valid deed. A deed is a legal institution of ancient origin, and definitions of deeds abound in ancient legal text. books. Thus, various definitions are to be found in such books as Sheppard's Touchstone, Termes De La Ley, and the old Digests. But these definitions are anything but satisfac. tory. This is due, no doubt, largely to the fact that circumstances have altered. Thus, at one time few of the parties to a deed could write their names, and signing and even attestation was consequently little in vogue; sealing by the exe. cuting party being better fitted to the habits and capabilities of the public in general: (see per Chief Justice Holt in R. v. Goddard, 3 Salk. 171; Cherry v. Heming, 4 Ex. 631, at p. 636). Again, the transmutation of property was anciently more frequently evidenced by the giving of physical posses: sion than it is now. Paper has largely taken the place of parchment—a fact due to improved methods of manufacture rendering the article more durable than was formerly the CaS6,
The ancient definitions of deeds lay much weight upon the necessity of parchment as a ground for a valid deed. It is said that an eccentric person who had perused an ancient text-book and had there learnt that two of the essentials of a valid deed were, first, that there should be writing, and, secondly, that the writing should be on parchment, conceived the idea of having the terms of the document inscribed on the skin of his back—an operation which was subsequently successfully carried out. Whether he submitted to the painful process of having hot sealing wax placed upon him is not known. But his legal advisers were able to persuade him to abandon his scheme by impressing on him the necessity for delivery to validate the document ( a matter which he had overlooked) and to adopt the less sensational course of having the document drawn up in the usual way. Thus an interesting point in the law of evidence remains undecided—viz., whether, in the circumstances, the Court would have required production of the original or would have allowed secondary evidence of its contents to have been given in its place.
Lord Coke enumerates no less than ten essentials to a valid deed: (Co. Litt. 35b). But some of his essentials concern the subject-matter of the transaction rather than the requirements of a valid deed or of its due and proper execution. He mentions, however, the necessity for writing on parchment or paper, and the necessities of sealing and delivery, and in another passage (Co. Litt. 171b) he says that a deed “signifieth in the common law an instrument consisting of three things, viz., writing, sealing, and delivery, comprehending a bargaine or contract between party and party, man or woman.”
A striking feature of the old definitions of deeds is the weight placed on their feature as evidence of a contract. Little or nothing is said of their aspect as grants of interests in property. “A deed,” said Chief Justice Bovill, referring to these definitions in Reg. v. Morton (28 L. T. Rep. 452; L. Rep. 2 C. C. R. 22, at p. 27), “is described as being something in the nature of a contract. But the term is clearly not confined to contracts. A charter of feoffment, for instance, is a deed; so is a gift or grant, a power of attorney, a release, or a disclaimer. I would go further and say that