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of the different claimants ; not to mention that the claim itself, especially of collateral kindred, seems to have little foundation in the law of nature. These regulations should be guided by the duty and presumed inclination of the deceased, so far as these considerations can be consulted by general rules. The statutes of Charles the Second, commonly called the statutes of distribution, which adopt the rule of the Roman law in the distribution of personals, are sufficiently equitable. They assign one third to the widow, and two thirds to the children ; in case of no children, one half to the widow, and the other half to the next of kin; where neither widow nor lineal descendants survive, the whole to the next of kin, and to be equally divided amongst kindred of equal degrees; without distinction of whole blood and half blood, or of consanguinity by the father's or mother's side.

The descent of real estates, of houses, that is, and land, having been settled in more remote and in ruder times, is less reasonable. There never can be much to complain of in a rule, which every person may avoid by so easy a prowision as that of making his will ; otherwise, our law in this respect is chargeable with some flagrant absurdities ; such as that an estate shall in

no wise go to the brother or sister of the half blood, though it came to the deceased from the common parent; that it shall go to the remotest relation the intestate has in the world, rather than to his own father or mother, or even be forfeited for want of an heir, though both parents survive ; that the most distant paternal relation shall be preferred to an uncle or own cousin by the mother's side, notwithstanding the estate was purchased and acquired by the intestate himself.

Land not being so divisible as money, may be a reason for making a difference in the course of inheritance ; but there ought to be no difference but what is founded upon that reason. The Roman law made none,

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CH A P. I.


TUSE the term Charity neither in the comI mon sense of bounty to the poor, nor in St. Paul's sense of benevolence to all mankind, but I apply it at present, in a sense more commodious to my purpose, to signify the promoting the happiness of our inferiors. Charity in this sense I take to be the principal : 24


province of virtue and religion : for whilft worldly prudence will direct our behaviour towards our superiors, and politeness towards our equals, there is little beside the consideration of duty, or an habitual humanity which comes into the place of consideration, to produce a proper conduct towards those who are beneath us, and dependent upon us.

There are three principal methods of promoting the happiness of our inferiors :

1. By the treatment of our domestics and dependants.

2. By professional assistance. 3. By pecuniary bounty.






A PARTY of friends setting out together

upon a journey, foon find it to be the best for all sides, that while they are upon the road, one of the company should wait upon the rest; another ride forward to seek out lodging and entertainment; a third carry the portmanteau; a fourth take charge of the horses; a fifth bear the purse, conduct and direct the rout: not forgetting however, that as they were equal and independent when they set out, so they are all to return to a level again at their journey's end. The same regard and respect ; the same forbearance, lenity, and reserve in using their service; the same mildness in delivering commands; the same study to make their journey comfortable and pleasant, which he, whose lot it was to direct the rest, would in common decency think him


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