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deceased produced a paper from reposed the greatest confidence in his desk, informing him it was a her, as he had left his property all draft he had prepared of his will. at her disposal ; upon which she It was all in his own hand-writ- expressed a wish that he would ing, and he then read the contents alter his testamentary disposition to him to the effect before stated, in that respect; but he replied, and' requested his suggestions as No, it is done, and I shall never to its propriety in point of form. alter it," alluding, as she believed, Mr. J. Slack observed, that it did to his will contained in the sealednot dispose of his freehold properup paper he had before shown to

but the deceased replied that her. The fire at the deceased's he was aware of that, but it would house was admitted by all parties, descend, as he wished, in course of and it was proved that the desk law, to his eldest son. Mr. J. or secretary in which the will was Slack then suggested some slight deposited was consumed with the verbal alterations, which the de- other contents of the house, no ceased immediately made, and traces of it being discovered then again read the will aloud, amongst the ruins, nor could any and asked him if he thought it copy of the will, or memorandum would do, to which he replied in of its contents made by the dethe affirmative ; and the deceased ceased, be found amongst his pathen added, that he would make a pers at his house in Gravel-lane. fair copy of it, and put his name The King's Advocate and Dr. to it. Mrs. Slack, in her answers, Swabey, for the children, argued admitted the truth of these cir. upon the authority of Lord Coke, cumstances, from the information and the doctrines laid down in that had been given to her; and Comyns's Digest, that under the further stated, that one day in the calamitous circuinstances which month of June 1815, the deceas- had, in the present case, deprived ed being employed in writing at a the parties of the usual evidence secretary or desk (in the drawing to be obtained from the will itself, room of his house at Kentish- parole evidence was admissible to town) in which he usually kept show its contents, and that those his papers of importance, and she contents really were the final inbeing alone there with him, he tention of the deceased. These took a paper, having the appear- points, they contended, the preance of a letter sealed up, out of sent evidence fully established s a drawer in the desk, and holding and they therefore submitted that it up to her, told her it was his the contents, as proved, must be will, and all the will he should pronounced for as the last will of ever make. Mrs. Slack also the deceased. stated, that upon & subsequent Dr. Adams and Dr. Creswell, occasion, only two or three days for Mrs. Slack, admitted the prinbefore the deceased's death, as ciple of law contended for on the they were sitting together in the other side, but remarked upon evening, and talking seriously on some few points as to which the the subject of mutual cootidence, evidence might be deemed insuf.. the deceased told her, that he had ficient. With those observations


they left the case to the candid tion in favour of it, unless repell-consideration of the Court. ed by evidence of his subsequent

Sir John Nicholl remarked, conduet. Upon that point, howthat the principles upon which ever, the evidence corroborated the case inust depend had been the opinion, that he did not abanproperly stated on the one side, don but adhered to the will; that and not controverted on the other. he completed it by his signature, It was perfectly competent to par- and then sealed it up in an enties to prove the contents of a will velope. It had been said that which had been destroyed, whe- there was no direct proof that he ther the destruction had occurred did copy it, as he said he would ; in the life-time of the testator or but there was every reasonable afterwards, provided it had hap- evidence that he did in some way pened without his knowledge or or other complete it. His conconcurrence : where an accident versation with his wife, when he thus intervened, and the act of held up the sealed paper, and said God alone prevented the comple- it was his will, and the only will tion of a person's intentions, the he should ever make, was concluCourt could not but be anxious to sive upon this point, and left no supply the defect, and prevent the reason to doubt that the paper he ill consequences which would then held up did contain the will; otherwise accrue to innocent par- and the fact of its being sealed ties, and, in looking to the proof showed that it had been complein such a case, must be satisfied ted, and was a perfect instrument. if it should amount to a reason- His subsequent conversation with able probability. He then stated his wife, a day or two before his the circumstances of the case, and death, in which, speaking of his remarked that it was clear the de- will, he said that it was done, and ceased intended to die testate, and he should never alter it, was a to appoint his wife, brother, and further confirmation of the instrubrother-in-law, bis executors.-- ment itself, and of the fixed state The disposition he had made by of the intentions which had led the will he had drawn up was fuls him to make it. It had been said ly evidenced by his declaration to that his declaration in the course his brother, to whom he read it, of this conversation, that he had and who deposed that he had, as left his property to his wife, did he was likely to have, a perfect re- not confirm the contents of the collection of the contents. He will as propounded, as it appearconsulted his brother, and some ed from them that she had only a alterations were suggested and life-interest in the whole property, inade; but the deceased's declara- with a power of apportioning it tion, that he would copy it over, amongst the children at her death. and then put his name to it, was This was, however, as near an aba complete and final approbation solute interest as possible, and a of the instrument, and shower conformity, in substance at least, that his mind was made up and to the deceased's declaration ; and decided with respect to it. There his directing the property to be was therefore a strong presump- equally diviiled, in case his wife


left no disposition of it, showed which the deceased used to write his intention of providing against in his scrutoire. It purported to all possible events. It was there- contain some testamentary dispofore proved, not only that the de- sitions of the deceased, and was ceased had duly made his will, but written by him on the back of a that he would never alter it; and, printed letter, which was dated under all the circumstances of the the 6th July 1814. The death of case, the Court was satisfied that Mr. Johnson happened about 12 the disposition he had thereby months after that time, and was made of his property was, in sub- occasioned by an apoplexyo By stance, that which was stated in this latter paper certain specific the contents propounded : those legacies, for which blanks were contents were short, simple, and left, appeared to have been ineasy to be remembered; and the tended to be given to some of the disposition altogether was a very deceased's children ; the residue natural one, and not very different was to be divided equally among from what the law would have them, and executors were appointdone, had he died intestate. The ed. The paper broke off abruptly, Court therefore pronounced for and was not signed by the deceasthe contents of the will as stated ed, nor dated. in the schedule annexed to Mr. Dr. Swabey and Dr. Jenner, Robinson's affidavit.

in support of the first will, argued

from these circumstances against Deffell v. Johnson and Johnson.-- the sufficiency of this latter paper This was a proceeding for the to revoke it. It was scarcely pospurpose of obtaining the decision sible to describe a more imperof the Court on the validity of the fect paper. It purported to detestamentary papers of the late vise real property, and was not James Johnson, Esq. of Wimpole- executed nor attested; and the street, formerly his Majesty's At- particulars left to be supplied in torney-general in South Carolina. it were of the most importMr. Johnson, it appeared, had ant nature. There were no demade a will, regularly executed clarations of the deceased as to in Jamaica, in the year 1793, in his testamentary intention which contemplation, as was suggested, might tend to confirm it; and all of his then returning to England. that could be collected with referBy this will he bequeathed his ence to the time of its being writproperty among his then children, ten was, that it must have been his wife having a separate pro- some time after the 6th of July vision under her marriage-settle- 1814, which was nearly a twelvement. Subsequently to the making month before Mr.Johnson's death. of this will Mr. Johnson had re- It must therefore be regarded as turned to this country, and had had containing merely memoranda of four children born, and his proper- the deceased for his future conty had increased from 30,000i. to sideration, which he afterwards 200,000!. Another paper was abandoned, and not as containing also submitted to the notice of the his final testamentary intentions, Court, which was found within which he was prevented from carsome blotting paper leaves on rying into effect by the act of God.


Dr. Burnaby, in support of the which testamentary dispositions latter paper, contended, that from are protected could not be relaxed the material alteration of the de- on account of cases of individual ceased's circumstances by the distress. The subsequent birth birth of four other children, and of children, and the great increase the great increase of his property, of the deceased's property, in this it could not be supposed that he case did not amount to a legal re.' intended the first will to operate, vocation of his will.

It was which was made to provide against pleaded that this will was made the contingencies of a voyage he by the deceased in consequence of was contemplating from Jamaica his then contemplating his return to England. He had accordingly to England; but there was no proceeded to make a new will, clause in it by which its operawhich was found after his death tion was made to depend on that between the leaves of blotting or any other contingency. The paper in his scrutoire a situation deceased must have been aware in which it was not probable that of the existence of this will, and, he would have suffered such a being a gentleman of legal edupaper to remain for a consider- cation and habits, could not be able time. By this paper it ap- supposed to have been ignorant peared, that the deceased had not of its operation. The learned made up his mind with respect to judge then expressed his opinion certain specific legacies ; but the that the latter will was not such a disposition of the residue and the paper as could receive the sancappointment of executors were tion of that court as an operative complete. The deceased died sud- instrument. Adverting to its vadenly of an apoplexy; and, under rivus imperfections, he proceeded all the circumstances, it was to be to state, that the presumption of presumed that he was thereby law was against such papers; and alone prevented from completing it was incumbent on those who this paper, which he had left in supported them to adduce some his scrutoire for that purpose, and strong extrinsic circumstances for which therefore must be consi- that purpose. It might be posdered as containing his will to the sible to do so, if the deceased extent expressed in it,

were struck with death in writing Sir John Nicholl observed, such a paper, or if there were that the question in this case was, confirmatory declarations; but if whether the latter paper could he. there were nothing to show that shown to be an operative instru- the deceased was prevented from ment? Under the will of 1793. completing it, the paper could not the children subsequently born operate. In this case all that was could not take any benefit. The shown was, that the paper was wife, it was said, was pro• written on the back of a printed vided for by her marriage settle letter, dated July 6, 1814, about ment; but that circunstance did a year before the deceased's death, not appear in these proceedings. and found in his scrutoire. The This was a very distressing case, printed letter was a summons to but the general rule of law by attend the Directors of the West

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India Docks—a paper which it tion was, which of these watches : was not probable the deceased the deceased meant to give by the should long keep by him; and it bequest stated. The executor did not, therefore, appear that the contended, that it was the silver document in question was written watch, formerly belonging to shortly before his death. Conjec- Luke Sturges, and accordingly ture upon such a subject was not tendered that watch, with the gun sufficient, and there was nothing and book of manuscripts ; but the else in this case. The paper ap- legatee contended that it was the peared to contain merely the first gold one, and therefore refused thoughts of the deceased for fu- to accept the tender of the silver ture deliberation.

There were no testamentary declarations, nor From the evidence of the legaany thing which the law requires ; tee it appeared, that the deceased and as it was not sufficient to dis. became possessed of the gold pose of his property, it could not watch about a twelvemonth berevoke his former will. Under fore his death, and from that these circumstances, although time, including of course the pethey might form a strong claim riod of the will being made, con-, upon the equity and humanity of stantly wore it until his death, and the residuary legatee, the court one of the witnesses stated that felt itself bound to reject the alle- the deceased told him he meant to gation pleading the latter will. leave it to a nephew of his.

From the evidence for the exeArches Court, Doctors' Commons. cutor it appeared, that the de-Sturges v. Paterson.- This was ceaseıl became possessed of his a cause of legacy brought by Mr. brother's watch at his death, in James Sturges, the nephew and a the latter end of 1807, and from legatee named in the will of Mr. that time usually wore it.' In a Joshua Sturges, late of the Hay- draft of his will which he made market, victualler, deceased in January, 1811, he gave a legaagainst the executor, Mr. Simon cy to his nephew in these words, Paterson.

“I will to my nephew, James The words of the bequest were Sturges aforesaid, at my decease, these, To my nephew James the sum of — my gun, my late Sturges my watch and gun, and brother Luke's watch, and a book likewise a book of manuscript re- of manuscript receipts, marked ceipts marked with the letter R." with the letter“ R." but in April, The will was dated August 19, 1812, he became possessed of the 1813, and the testator died a few gold watch, by taking it in exdays afterwards, possessed of four change for a debt, at 50 guineas, watches ; viz. a gold repeating which was below its value. He watch, valued at about 601. which wore it for some little time, but he had taken in part payment of considering it too valuable a watch a debt, a silver watch which had for him to wear, he offered it to originally belonged to his brother Mr. Kirk, a watch-maker, to disLuke, a pinchbeck watch, and an pose of for him for 60 guineas, old silver watch; and the ques. and offered him five guineas for

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