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THE LAW OF MORTMAIN. A Disputed Bequest. The special Dublin correspondent of the Telegraph says that the Irish Lord Chancellor has just given judgment in a case which excited a good deal of interest, and which tended to illustrate the state of the law as regards bequests for charitable purposes. The matter came before the Irish Court of Chancery in the shape of a petition, praying to have "an account taken of the real and personal estate of the late Patrick John Blake, of Mount Alverno, Dalkey, and of Rockfield in the county of Galway, solicitor, and to have a. receiver appointed over certain lands in the counties or Roscommon, Galway, and Mayo, and on the oyster bank fisheries in the county of Galway." Mr. Blake had died on the 18th of July, 1864, and by his will, executed on the previous day, he had ap- pointed Mr. David Sherlock, Q.C., the sole trustee of his real and personal estates, and his executor under the will. Among the contents of the will was the following clause I hold in trust for the Convent of Glasnevin the sum of Y,7,000 sterling, which I desire shall be paid over to the superioress of the Sacred Heart Convent, Glasnevin; I hold also in trust the sum of X650 for the infant school which the said community are about to establish;" and with reference to these two sums, amounting to- gether to £ 1,650, the testator directed that they should be a charge on a portion of his property called the Gort Estate, and that the money should be paid over by his trustee to the superioress of the convent. Mr. Edward Blake, the heir-at-law, now objected to the payment of £ 7,650, repudiating the charge created in respect of it, and alleging. that the bequest was a mere voluntary gift, which could not be sustained against the heir-at-law as a charge on the lands; and -it was further objected that the will, not having been- executed three months before the testator's death with the formalities prescribed, was void under the Charit- able Bequests Act. The heir- at-law. algo disputed the validity of "a charge of a, perpetual annuity of £100 on the lanac of Fountain-hill, sad the reservation of two acres of said lands for a poor school for Roman Catholic children: and the direction to apply X2,000, part of the produce of the sale of Fountain Hill and Rockfield, in the estab- lishment of the said school; and also the direction to apply £1,000, part of the purchase-money of the tes- tator's property at Dalkey, in poor schools at Dalkey for Roman Catholic children." As heir-at-law, Mr. Edward Blake claimed to be entitled to the lands out of which the said several bequests were to be paid, or to so much interest therein as would be equivalent to them or to the bequests themselves." The case of the heir-at-law—at all events, in its leading features-is sufficiently explained by the fore- going; and although a vast number of legatees were interested in the result of the suit, and although a vast number of counsel had been retained to assert and de- fend their respective claims, the case of the executor and the convent authorities can be substantially stated with almost equal succinctness. Mr. Patrick Joseph Blake, the testator, was the friend of a Miss Hynes, a lady who seems to have been in very affluent circumstances, and who passed a portion of her time at Rome. This lady wished to benefit the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Glasnevin, near Dublin, by building a retreat for nuns in con- nection with that institution; and, to carry out this view, she made Mr. Blake her banker, lodging in his hands from time to time large sums of money for the desired object. Mdme. Bastide, who had come over from France to be examined as a witness before the Lord Chancellor, deposed that in 1851 she had been superioress of the Roscrea Convent; that she had re- turned to France in 1859; that she had afterwards received a communication from Mr. Patrick Joseph Blake with regard to these matters that she had re- visited Ireland in 1863, and had a communication with him about the purchase of property for the convent of the Sacred Heart with Miss Hynes's money; he said he had X6,000 in hand, and that X,1,000 or X4,000 more would come to him in November; and that the money was intended to provide a retreat for nuns in connection with the Glasnevin Convent. Mr. Sherlock, Q.C., the executor named in the will, was also examined, and said that he had on several occasions ascertained from Mr. Patrick Joseph Blake that he held the money in trust for Miss Hynes. He had no doubt in the world on the subject. The answer to the claim of the heir-at-law, theiefore, was that the bequest was simply a debt charged upon real estate, and not within the meaning of the statute affecting charitable gifts. On the conclusion of the arguments, which extended into the second day, the Lord Chancellor gave judgment, holding that the bequest of X7,000 to the Convent of the Sacred Heart was valid, though charged upon land, inasmuch as it was not an emanation of the testator's bounty, but the payment of a debt due by him as the trustee of Miss Hynes. The other charges upon the lands, being for charitable purposes, his lordship held to be invalid under the provisions of the Charitable Dona- tions and Bequests Act.




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