home | authors | books | about

Home -> Henry Sumner Maine, Sir -> Ancient Law -> CHAPTER VI

Ancient Law - CHAPTER VI






6. CHAPTER V continue


8. CHAPTER VI continue



11. CHAPTER VIII continue


13. CHAPTER IX continue




IF an attempt were made to demonstrate in
England the superiority of the historical method
of investigation to the modes of inquiry concerning
Jurisprudence which are in fashion among us,
no department of Law would better serve as an
example than Testaments or Wills. Its capabili-
ties it owes to its great length and great continuity.
At the beginning of its history we find ourselves
in the very infancy of the social state, surrounded
by conceptions which it requires some effort of
mind to realise in their ancient form ; while here,
at the other extremity of its line of progress, we
are in the midst of legal notions which are nothing
more than those same conceptions disguised by
the phraseology and by the habits of thought
which belong to modern times, and exhibiting
therefore a difficulty of another kind, the difficulty
of believing that ideas which form part of our
everyday mental stock can really stand in need
of analysis and examination. The growth of the
Law of Wills b.etween these extreme points can
be traced with remarkable distinctness. It was
much less interrupted at the epoch of the birth of
feudalism, than the history of most other branches
of law. It is, indeed, true that as regards all


provinces of jurisprudence, the break caused by
the division between ancient and modern history,
or in other words by the dissolution of the Roman
Empire, has been very greatly exaggerated. In-
dolence has disinclined many writers to be at the
pains of looking for threads of connection entangled
and obscured by the confusions of six troubled
centuries, while other inquirers, not naturally
deficient in patience and industry, have been misled
by idle pride in the legal system of their country,
and by consequent unwillingness to confess its
obligations to the jurisprudence of Rome. But
these unfavourable influences have had compara-
tively little effect on the province of Testamentary
Law. The barbarians were confessedly strangers
to any such conception as that of a Will. The
best authorities agree that there is no trace of it in
those parts of their written codes which comprise
the customs practised by them in their original
seats, and in their subsequent settlements on the
edge of the Roman Empire. But soon after they
became mixed with the population of the Roman
provinces they appropriated from the Imperial
jurisprudence the conception of a Will, at first in
part, and afterwards in all its integrity. The
influence of the Church had much to do with this
rapid assimilation. The ecclesiastical power had
very early succeeded to those privileges of custody
and registration of Testaments which several of
the heathen temples had enjoyed ; and even thus
early it was almost exclusively to private bequests
that the religious foundations owed their temporal
possessions. Hence it is that the decrees of the
earliest Provincial Councils perpetually contain


anathemas against those who deny the sanctity
of Wills. Here, in England, Church influence
was certainly chief among the causes which by
universal acknowledgment have prevented that
discontinuity in the history of Testamentary Law
which is sometimes believed to exist in the history
of other provinces of Jurisprudence. The juris-
diction over one class of Will was delegated to
the Ecclesiastical Courts, which applied to them,
though not always intelligently, the principles of
Roman jurisprudence ; and, though neither the
Courts of Common Law nor the Court of Chan-
cery owned any positive obligation to follow the
Ecclesiastical tribunals, they could not escape the
potent influence of a system of settled rules in
course of application by their side. The English
law of testamentary succession to personality has
become a modified form of the dispensation under
which the inheritances of Roman citizens were

It is not difficult to point out the extreme
difference of the conclusions forced on us by the
historical treatment of the subject, from those to
which we are conducted when, without the help
of history, we merely strive to analyse our primd-
facie impressions. I suppose there is nobody
who, starting from the popular or even the legal
conception of a Will, would not imagine that
certain qualities are necessarily attached to it.
He would say, for example, that a Will necessarily
takes effect at death only that it is secret, not
known as a matter of course to persons taking
interests under its provisions that it is revocable,
i.e. always capable of being superseded by a new


act of testation. Yet I shall be able to show that
there was a time when none of these characteristics
belonged to a Will. The Testaments from which
our Wills are directly descended at first took effect
immediately on their execution ; they were not
secret ; they were not revocable. Few legal
agencies are, in fact, the fruit *of more complex
historical agencies than that by which a man's
written intentions control the posthumous dis-
position of his goods. Testaments very slowly
and gradually gathered round them the qualities
I have mentioned ; and they did this from causes
and under pressure of events which may be called
casual, or which at any rate have no interest for
us at present, except so far as they have effected
the history of law.

At a time when legal theories were more
abundant than at present theories which, it is
true, were for the most part gratuitous and
premature enough, but which nevertheless rescued
jurisprudence from that worse and more ignoble
condition, not unknown to ourselves, in which
nothing like a generalisation is aspired to, and law
is regarded as a mere empirical pursuit it was
the fashion to explain the ready and apparently
intuitive perception which we have of certain
qualities in a Will, by saying that they were natural
to it, or, as the phrase would run in full, attached
to it by the Law of Nature. Nobody, I imagine,
would affect to maintain such a doctrine when
once it was ascertained that all these characteristics
had their origin within historical memory ; at the
same time vestiges of the theory of which the
doctrine is an offshoot, linger in forms of expression


which we all of us use, and perhaps scarcely know
how to dispense with. I may illustrate this by
mentioning a position common in the legal litera-
ture of the seventeenth century. The jurists of
that period very commonly assert that the power
of Testation itself is of Natural Law, that it is a
right conferred by the Law of Nature. Their
teaching, though all persons may not at once see
the connection, is in substance followed by those
who affirm that the right of dictating or controlling
the posthumous disposal of property is a necessary
or natural consequence of the proprietary rights
themselves. And every student of technical juris-
prudence must have come across the same view,
clothed in the language of a rather different
school, which, in its rationale of this department
of law, treats succession ex tesiamento as the mode
of devolution which the property of deceased
persons ought primarily to follow, and then pro-
ceeds to account for succession ab intestato as
the incidental provision of the lawgiver for the
discharge of a function which was only left un-
performed through the neglect or misfortune of
the deceased proprietor. These opinions are only
expanded forms of the more compendious doctrine
that Testamentary disposition is an institution
of the Law of Nature. It is certainly never quite
safe to pronounce dogmatically as to the range of
association embraced by modern minds when they
reflect on Nature and her Law ; but I believe that
most persons, who affirm that the Testamentary
Power is of Natural Law, may be taken to imply
either that, as a matter of fact, it is universal, or
that nations are prompted to sanction it by an


original instinct and impulse. With respect to
the first of these positions, I think that, when
explicitly set forth, it can never be seriously con-
tended for in an age which has seen the severe
restraints imposed on the Testamentary Power by
the Code Napoltfon, and has witnessed the steady
multiplication of systems for which the French
codes have served as a model. To the second
assertion we must object that it is contrary to
the best-ascertained facts in the early history of
law, and I venture to affirm generally that, in all
indigenous societies, a condition of jurisprudence
in which Testamentary privileges are not allowed,
or rather not contemplated, has preceded that
later stage of legal development in which the mere
will of the proprietor is permitted under more or
less of restriction to override the claims of his
kindred in blood.

The conception of a Will or Testament cannot
be considered by itself. It is a member, and not
the first, of a series of conceptions. In itself a Will
is simply the instrument by which the intention of
the testator is declared. It must be clear, I think,
that before such an instrument takes its turn for
discussion, there are several preliminary points to
be examined as for example, what is it, what
sort of right or interest, which passes from a dead
man on his decease ? to whom and in what form
does it pass ? and how came it that the dead were
allowed to control the posthumous disposition of
their property ? Thrown into technical language,
the dependence of the various conceptions which
contribute to the notion of a Will is thus expressed.
A Will or Testament is an instrument by which


the devolution of an inheritance is prescribed.
Inheritance is a form of universal succession. A
universal succession is a succession to a universitas
juris, or university of rights and duties. Inverting
this order we have therefore to inquire what is a
universitas juris ; what is a universal succession ;
what is the form of universal succession which is
called an inheritance ? And there are also two
further questions, independent to some extent of
the points I have mooted, but demanding solution
before the subject of Wills can be exhausted.
These are, how came an inheritance to be con-
trolled in any case by the testator's volition, and
what is the nature of the instrument by which it
came to be controlled ?

The first question relates to the universitas
juris ; that is a university (or bundle) of rights
and duties. A universitas juris is a collection of
rights and duties united by the single circumstance
of their having belonged at one time to some
one person. It is, as it were, the legal clothing
of some given individual. It is not formed by
grouping together any rights and any duties. It
can only be constituted by taking all the rights
and all the duties of a particular person. The tie
which so connects a number of rights of property,
rights of way, rights to legacies, duties of specific
performance, debts, obligations, to compensate
wrongs which so connects all these legal privileges
and duties together as to constitute them a univer-
sitas juris y is the fact of their having attached
to some individual capable of exercising them.
Without this fact there is no university of rights
and duties. The expression universitas juris is


not classical, but for the notion jurisprudence
is exclusively indebted to Roman law ; nor is it
at all difficult to seize. We must endeavour to
collect under one conception the whole set of
legal relations in which each one of us stands to
the rest of the world. These, whatever be their
character and composition, make up together a
universitas juris ; and there is but little danger
of mistake in forming the notion, if we are only
careful to remember that duties enter into it quite
as much as rights. Our duties may overbalance
our rights. A man may owe more than he is
worth, and therefore if a money value is set on
his collective legal relations he may be what is
called insolvent. But for all that the entire group
of rights and duties which centres in him is not
the less a " juris universitas."

We come next to a " universal succession." A
universal succession is a succession to a universitas
juris. It occurs when one man is invested with
the legal clothing of another, becoming at the same
moment subject to all his liabilities and entitled to
all his rights. In order that the universal suc-
cession may be true and perfect, the devolution
must take place uno ictu, as the jurists phrase it.
It is of course possible to conceive one man
acquiring the whole of the rights and duties of
another at different periods, as for example by
successive purchases ; or he might acquire them
in different capacities, part as heir, part as pur-
chaser, part as legatee. But though the group
of rights and duties thus made up should in fact
amount to the whole legal personality of a par-
ticular individual, the acquisition would not be a


universal succession. In order that there may
be a true universal succession, the transmission
must be such as to pass the whole aggregate of
rights and duties at the same moment and in virtue
of the same legal capacity in the recipient. The
notion of a universal succession, like that of a
" juris universitas," is permanent in jurisprudence,
though in the English legal system it is obscured
by the great variety of capacities in which rights
are acquired, and, above all, by the distinction
between the two great provinces of English
property, " realty " and " personalty." The suc-
cession of an assignee in bankruptcy to the entire
property of the bankrupt is, however, a universal
succession, though, as the assignee only pays debts
to the extent of the assets, this is only a modified
form of the primary notion. Were it common
among us for persons to take assignments of all
a man's property on condition of paying all his
debts, such transfers would exactly resemble the
universal successions known to the oldest Roman
Law. When a Roman citizen adrogated a son,
i.e., took a man, not already under Patria Potestas,
as his adoptive child, he succeeded universally
to the adoptive child's estate, i.e., he took all the
property and became liable for all the obligations.
Several other forms of universal succession appear
in the primitive Roman Law, but infinitely the
most important and the most durable of all was
that one with which we are more immediately
concerned, Haereditas or Inheritance. Inherit-
ance was a universal succession, occurring at a
death. The universal successor was Haeres or
Heir. He stepped at once into all the rights and


all the duties of the dead man. He was instantly
clothed with his entire legal person, and I need
scarcely add that the special character of the
Haeres remained the same, whether he was named
by a Will or whether he took on an intestacy.
The term Haeres is no more emphatically used of
the Intestate than of the Testamentary Heir, for
the manner in which a man became Haeres had
nothing to do v/ith the legal character he sus-
tained. The dead man's universal successor, how-
ever he became so, whether by Will or by In-
testacy, was his Heir. But the Heir was not
necessarily a single person. A group of persons,
considered in law as a single unit, might succeed
as co-heirs to the Inheritance.

Let me now quote the usual Roman definition
of an Inheritance. The reader will be in a position
to appreciate the full force of the separate terms.
Hcereditas est successio in universum jus quod
defunctus habuit (" an inheritance is a succession
to the entire legal position of a deceased man ").
The notion was that, though the physical person
of the deceased had perished, his legal personality
survived and descended unimpaired on his Heir
or Co-heirs, in whom his identity (so far as the law
was concerned) was continued. Our own law, in
constituting the Executor or Administrator the
representative of the deceased to the extent of his
personal assets, may serve as an illustration of the
theory from which it emanated, but, although
it illustrates, it does not explain it. The view of
even the later Roman Law required a closeness
of correspondence between the position of the
deceased and of his Heir which is no feature of



an English representation ; and, in the primitive
jurisprudence everything turned on the continuity
of succession. Unless provision was made in the
will for the instant devolution of the testator's
rights and duties on the Heir or Co-heirs, the
testament lost all its effect.

In modern Testamentary jurisprudence, as in
the later Roman Law, the object of first importance
is the execution of the testator's intentions. In
the ancient law of Rome the subject of correspond-
ing carefulness was the bestowal of the Universal
Succession. One of these rules seems to our eyes
a principle dictated by common sense, while the
other looks very much like an idle crotchet. Yet
that without the second of them the first would
never have come into being, is as certain as any
proposition of the kind can be.

In order to solve this apparent paradox, and
to bring into greater clearness the train of ideas
which I have been endeavouring to indicate, I
must borrow the results of the inquiry which was
attempted in the earlier portion of the preceding
chapter. We saw one peculiarity invariably
distinguishing the infancy of society. Men are
regarded and treated, not as individuals, but
always as members of a particular group. Every-
body is first a citizen, and then, as a citizen, he is
a member of his order of an aristocracy or a
democracy, of an order of patricians or plebeians ;
or, in those societies which an unhappy fate has
afflicted with a special perversion in their course
of development, of a caste. Next, he is a member
of a gens, house, or clan ; and lastly, he is a mem-
ber of his family. This last was the narrowest


and most personal relation in which he stood ;
nor, paradoxical as it may seem, was he ever
regarded as himself, as a distinct individual. His
individuality was swallowed up in his family. I
repeat the definition of a primitive society given
before. It has for its units, not individuals, but
groups of men united by the reality or the fiction
of blood-relationship.

It is in the peculiarities of an undeveloped
society that we seize the first trace of a universal
succession. Contrasted with the organisation of
a modern state, the commonwealths of primitive
times may be fairly described as consisting of a
number of little despotic governments, each per-
fectly distinct from the rest, each absolutely con-
trolled by the prerogative of a single monarch.
But though the Patriarch, for we must not yet
call him the Pater-familias, had rights thus ex-
tensive, it is impossible to doubt that he lay
under an equal amplitude of obligations. If he
governed the family, it was for its behoof. If he
was lord of its possessions, he held them as trustee
for his children and kindred. He had no privilege
or position distinct from that conferred on him by
his relation to the petty commonwealth which he
governed. The Family, in fact, was a Corporation ;
and he was its representative or, we might almost
say, its Public officer. He enjoyed rights and
stood under duties, but the rights and duties
were, in the contemplation of his fellow-citizens
and in the eye of the law, quite as much those of
the collective body as his own. Let us consider
for a moment, the effect which would be produced
by the death of such a representative. In the eye


of the law, in the view of the civil magistrate, the
demise of the domestic authority would be a per-
fectly immaterial event. The person representing
the collective body of the family and primarily
responsible to municipal jurisdiction would bear
a different name ; and that would be all. The
rights and obligations which attached to the
deceased head of the house would attach, without
breach of continuity, to his successor ; for, in
point of fact, they would be the rights and ob-
ligations of the family, and the family had the
distinctive characteristic of a corporation that
it never died. Creditors would have the same
remedies against the new chieftain as against the
old, for the liability being that of the still existing
family would be absolutely unchanged. All rights
available to the family would be as available after
the demise of the headship as before it except
that the corporation would be obliged if indeed
language so precise and technical can be properly
used of these early times would be obliged to sue
under a slightly modified name.

The history of jurisprudence must be followed
in its whole course, if we are to understand how
gradually and tardily society dissolved itself into
the component atoms of which it is now constituted
by what insensible gradations the relation of
man to man substituted itself for the relation
of the individual to his family, and of families to
each other. The point now to be attended to is
that even when the revolution had apparently
quite accomplished itself, even when the magistrate
had in great measure assumed the place of the
Pater-familias, and the civil tribunal substituted


itself for the domestic forum, nevertheless the
whole scheme of rights and duties administered by
the judicial authorities remained shaped by the
influence of the obsolete privileges and coloured in
every part by their reflection. There seems little
question that the devolution of the Universitas
Juris, so strenuously insisted upon by the Roman
Law as the first condition of a testamentary or
intestate succession, was a feature of the older
form of society which men's minds have been
unable to dissociate from the new, though with
that newer phase it had no true or proper con-
nection. It seems, in truth, that the prolongation
of a man's legal existence in his heir, or in a group
of co-heirs, is neither more nor less than a charac-
teristic of the family transferred by a fiction to the
individual. Succession in corporations is neces-
sarily universal, and the family was a corporation.
Corporations never die. The decease of individual
members makes no difference to the collective
existence of the aggregate body, and does not in
any way effect its legal incidents, its faculties or
liabilities. Now in the idea of a Roman universal
succession all these qualities of a corporation seem
to have been transferred to the individual citizen.
His physical death is allowed to exercise no effect
on the legal position which he filled, apparently
on the principle that that position is to be adjusted
as closely as possible to the analogies of a family,
which, in its corporate character, was not of course
liable to physical extinction.

I observe that not a few Continental jurists
have much difficulty in comprehending the nature
pf the connection between the conceptions blended


in a universal succession, and there is perhaps no
topic in the philosophy of jurisprudence on which
their speculations, as a general rule, possess so
little value. But the student of English law ought
to be in no danger of stumbling at the analysis of
the idea which we are examining. Much light is
cast upon it by a fiction in our own system with
which all lawyers are familiar. English lawyers
classify corporations as Corporations aggregate and
Corporations sole. A Corporation aggregate is a
true Corporation, but a Corporation sole is an in-
dividual, being a member of a series of individuals,
who is invested by a fiction with the qualities of
a Corporation. I need hardly cite the King or the
Parson of a Parish as instances of Corporations
sole. The capacity or office is here considered
apart from the particular person who from time
to time may occupy it, and, this capacity being
perpetual, the series of individuals who fill it are
clothed with the leading attribute of Corporations
Perpetuity. Now in the older theory of Roman
Law the individual bore to the family precisely
the same relation which in the rationale of English
jurisprudence a Corporation sole bears to a Cor-
poration aggregate. The derivation and associa-
tion of ideas are exactly the same. In fact, if we
say to ourselves that for purposes of Roman Testa-
mentary Jurisprudence each individual citizen was
a Corporation sole, we shall not only realise the full
conception of an inheritance, but have constantly
at command the clue to the assumption in which
it originated. It is an axiom with us that the
King never dies, being a Corporation sole. His
capacities are instantly filled by his successor, and


the continuity of dominion is not deemed to have
been interrupted. With the Romans it seemed an
equally simple and natural process, to eliminate
the fact of death from the devolution of rights
and obligations. The testator lived on in his heir
or in the group of his co-heirs. He was in law
the same person with them, and if any one in his
testamentary dispositions had even constructively
violated the principle which united his actual and
his posthumous existence, the law rejected the
defective instrument, and gave the inheritance to
the kindred in blood, whose capacity to fulfil the
conditions of heirship was conferred on them by
the law itself, and not by any document which by
possibility might be erroneously framed.

When a Roman citizen died intestate or leaving
no valid Will, his descendants or kindred became
his heirs according to a scale which will be pre-
sently described. The person or class of persons
who succeeded did not simply represent the
deceased, but, in conformity with the theory just
delineated, they continued his civil life, his legal
existence. The same results followed when the
order of succession was determined by a Will, but
the theory of the identity between the dead man
and his heirs was certainly much older than any
form of Testament or phase of Testamentary
jurisprudence. This indeed is the proper moment
for suggesting a doubt which will press on us with
greater force the further we plumb the depths of
this subject whether wills would ever have come
into being at all if it had not been for these re-
markable ideas connected with universal succes-
sion. Testamentary law is the application of a


principle which may be explained on a variety of
philosophical hypotheses as plausible as they are
gratuitous ; it is interwoven with every part of
modern society, and it is defensible on the broadest
grounds of general expediency. But the warning
can never be too often repeated, that the grand
source of mistake in questions of jurisprudence is
the impression that these reasons which actuate
us at the present moment, in the maintenance of
an existing institution, have necessarily anything
in common with the sentiment in which the in-
stitution originated. It is certain that, in the old
Roman Law of Inheritance, the notion of a will
or testament is inextricably mixed up, I might
almost say confounded, with the theory of a man's
posthumous existence in the person of his heir.

The conception of a universal succession, firmly
as it has taken root in jurisprudence, has not
occurred spontaneously to the framers of every
body of laws. Wherever it is now found, it may
be shown to have descended from Roman law ;
and with it have come down a host of legal rules
on the subject of Testaments and Testamentary
gifts, which modern practitioners apply without
discerning their relation to the parent theory.
But, in the pure Roman jurisprudence, the prin-
ciple that a man lives on in his Heir the elimina-
tion, if we may so speak, of the fact of death is
too obviously for mistake the centre round which
the whole Law of Testamentary and Intestate
succession is circling. The unflinching sternness
of the Roman law in enforcing compliance with
the governing theory would in itself suggest that
the theory grew out of something in the primitive


Constitution of Roman society ; but we may push
the proof a good way beyond the presumption.
It happens that several technical expressions,
dating from the earliest institution of wills at
Rome, have been accidentally preserved to us.
We have in Gaius the formula of investiture by
which the universal successor was created. We
have the ancient name by which the person after-
wards called Heir was at first designated. We
have further the text of the celebrated clause in
the Twelve Tables by which the Testamentary
power was expressly recognised, and the clauses
regulating Intestate Succession have also been
preserved. All these archaic phrases have one
salient peculiarity. They indicate that what
passed from the Testator to the Heir was the
Family, that is, the aggregate of rights and duties
contained in the Patria Potestas and growing out
of it. The material property is in three instances
not mentioned at all ; in two others, it is visibly
named as an adjunct or appendage of the Family.
The original Will or Testament was therefore an
instrument, or (for it -was probably not at first
in writing) a proceeding, by which the devolution
of the Family was regulated. It was a mode of
declaring who was to have the chieftainship, in
succession to the Testator. When Wills are
understood to have this for their original object,
we see at once how it is that they came to be
connected with one of the most curious relics of
ancient religion and law, the sacra, or Family Rites.
These sacra were the Roman form of an institution
which shows itself wherever society has not
wholly shaken itself free from its primitive clothing.


They are the sacrifices and ceremonies by which
the brotherhood of the family is commemorated,
the pledge and the witness of its perpetuity.
Whatever be their nature whether it be true or
not that in all cases they are the worship of some
mythical ancestor they are everywhere employed
to attest the sacredness of the family relation ;
and therefore they acquire prominent significance
and importance, whenever the continuous existence
of the Family is endangered by a change in the
person of its chief. Accordingly, we hear most
about them in connection with demises of domestic
sovereignty. Among the Hindoos, the right to
inherit a dead man's property is exactly co-exten-
sive with the duty of performing his obsequies.
If the rites are not properly performed or not
performed by the proper person, no relation is
considered as established between the deceased
and anybody surviving him ; the Law of Succes-
sion does not apply, and nobody can inherit the
property. Every great event in the life of a
Hindoo seems to be regarded as leading up to and
bearing upon these solemnities. If he marries, it
is to have children who may celebrate them after
his death ; if he has no children, he lies under the
strongest obligation to adopt them from another
family, " with a view/' writes the Hindoo doctor,
" to the funeral cake, the water, and the solemn
sacrifice/' The sphere preserved to the Roman
sacra in the time of Cicero, was not less in extent.
It embraced Inheritances and Adoptions. No
adoption was allowed to take place without due
provision for the sacra of the family from which
the adoptive sou was transferred, and no Testa-


ment was allowed to distribute an Inheritance
without a strict apportionment of the expenses of
these ceremonies among the different co-heirs.
The differences between the Roman law at this
epoch, when we obtain our last glimpse of the
sacra, and the existing Hindoo system, are most
instructive. Among the Hindoos, the religious
element in law has acquired a complete pre-
dominance. Family sacrifices have become the
keystone of all the Law of Persons and much of
the Law of Things. They have even received a
monstrous extension, for it is a plausible opinion
that the self-immolation of the widow at her hus-
band's funeral, a practice continued to historical
times by the Hindoos, and commemorated in the
traditions of several Indo-European races, was an
addition grafted on the primitive sacra, under the
influence of the impression, which always accom-
panies the idea of sacrifice, that human blood
is the most precious of all oblations. With the
Romans, on the contrary, the legal obligation
and the religious duty have ceased to be blended.
The necessity of solemnising the sacra forms no
part of the theory of civil law, but they are under
the separate jurisdiction of the College of Pontiffs.
The letters of Cicero to Atticus, which are full of
allusions to them, leave no doubt that they con-
stituted an intolerable burden on Inheritances ;
but the point of development at which law breaks
away from religion has been passed, and we are
prepared for their entire disappearance from the
later jurisprudence.

In Hindoo law there is no such thing as a true
Will. The place filled by Wills is occupied by


Adoptions, We can now see the relation of the
Testamentary Power to the Faculty of Adoption,
and the reason why the exercise of either of them
could call up a peculiar solicitude for the perform-
ance of the sacra.

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary