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other sole corporations before mentioned, who are rather to be considered as heads of an aggregate body, than subsisting merely in their own right: the chattel interest, therefore, in such a case, is really and substantially vested in the hospital, convent, chapter, or other aggregate body; though the head is the visible person in whose name every act is carried on, and in whom every interest is therefore said (in point of form) to vest. But the general rule, with regard to corporations merely sole, is this, that no chattel can go to or be acquired by them in right of succes

sion (f).

Yet, to this rule there are two exceptions. One in the Exceptions. case of the king, in whom a chattel may vest by a grant of it formerly made to a preceding king and his successors (g). The other exception is, where, by a particular custom, some particular corporations sole have acquired a power of taking particular chattel interests in succession. And this custom, being against the general tenor of the common law, must be strictly interpreted, and not extended to any other chattel interests than such immemorial usage will strictly warrant. Thus, the chamberlain of London, who is a corporation sole, may, by the custom of London, take bonds and recognizances to himself and his successors, for the benefit of the orphan's fund (h): but it will not follow from thence, that he has a capacity to take a lease for years to himself and his successors for the same purpose; for the custom extends not to that: nor that he


bond to himself and his successors, for any other purpose than the benefit of the orphan's

, fund; for that also is not warranted by the custom. Wherefore, upon the whole, we may close this head with laying down this general rule; that such right of succession to chattels is *universally inherent by the common law in all [ * 433 ] aggregate corporations, in the king, and in such single corporations as represent a number of persons; and may, by special custom, belong to certain other sole corporations for some particular purposes: although, generally, in sole corporations no such right can exist.

VI. A sixth method of acquiring property in goods and vi. By marriage. chattels is by marriage, whereby those chattels, which belonged formerly to the wife, are by act of law vested in the

take a

(f) Co. Litt. 46.

(9) Ibid. 90.

(h) 4 Rep. 65; Cro. Eliz. 682.

Τ Τ 2

Chattels personal vest in the husband absolutely;

husband, with the same degree of property, and with the
same powers, as the wife, when sole, had over them (3).

This depends entirely on the notion of an unity of person
between the husband and wife, it being held that they are
one person in law (i), so that the very being and existence of

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(3) The interest which a husband of the judgment in Strathmore v. has in the personal estate and real Bowes, from which it might be inferchattels which belonged to his wife red, that mere concealment would not before marriage, is founded upon that be sufficient to invalidate such an ingood faith which ought to be invio- strument, where the husband was not lably preserved in so solemn a contract positively misled by some express as that of marriage. The burthens to' affirmation on the subject ;-these which a husband is liable, are a con- passages, it has been judicially declarsideration for his marital rights; ed, must be understood only as having upon which rights, therefore, a fraud reference to the particular circumis committed if the consideration is stances of the case in which the dicta withheld from him. A conveyance were pronounced. (Goddard v. Snow, by a woman at any time before her 1 Russ. 494.) In the later case, howmarriage, is prima facie good; but,


of St. George v. Wake, (1 Mylne
if a woman, during the course of a & Keen, 620,) the judgment in which
treaty of marriage with her, make, case refers to and analyses all the
without notice to the intended hus- leading previous decisions, it is said
band, a conveyance of any part of her that, it has often indeed been laid
property, a court of equity, it has down as a principle, that a voluntary
been held, will set aside that convey- conveyance by a woman, while her
ance, as affected with fraud. (Coun- marriage is in contemplation, is avoid-
tess of Strathmore v. Bowes, 1 Ves. able by the husband from whom it
jun. 28; Draper's case, 2 Freem. 29, was concealed; but, this principle has
2nd edit.) Some of the dicta, how- been very rarely acted upon to the

in the case just cited from Ve- extent of avoiding, by judicial deci-
sey's Rep. seem to intimate, that a sion, such conveyance, as a fraud upon
conveyance of her own property in the husband's rights.
trust for herself, by a woman before Marriage is an absolute gift to the
marriage, though without her intended husband of all the goods, personal
husband's privity, may, under circum- chattels and estate, which the wife
stances, be sustained in equity; and

; was actually and beneficially pos-
the same doctrine was held in Slo- sessed of at that time, and of such
combe v. Glubb, (2 Br. 551,) as it had other goods and personal chattels as
previously been in Blithe's case. (2 come to her, in her own right, during
Freem. 91.) But then, the circum- the marriage. (Co. Litt. 300 a, 351 a
stances must be special; it appears to & b.) But this interest the husband
be a general rule, that after an inti. may waive by contract ;(Hunt v. Pitt,
macy with a view to marriage has 2 Freem. 79 ;) and may empower his
commenced, a settlement made by the wife to make a testamentary disposi-

of any part of her property tion of her personal estate during her
in exclusion of the marital rights of coverture. (See ante, p. 375, note, and
her husband, is fraudulent and void, post, p. 498.)
if concealed from him. The passages

the woman is suspended during the coverture, or entirely merged or incorporated in that of the husband. And hence it follows, that whatever personal property belonged to the wife, before marriage, is by marriage absolutely vested in the husband. In a real estate, he only gains a title to the chattels real, sul


modo only. rents and profits during coverture: for that, depending upon feodal principles, remains entire to the wife after the death of her husband, or to her heirs, if she dies before him; unless, by the birth of a child, he becomes tenant for life by the curtesy (4). But, in chattel interests, the sole and absolute property vests in the husband, to be disposed of at his pleasure, if he chooses to take possession of them: for; unless he reduces them to possession, by exercising some act of ownership upon them, no property vests in him, but they shall remain to the wife, or to her representatives, after the coverture is determined (5).

(4) See ante, p. 126, et seq. the v. Franco, 4 Ves. 520 ; Like v. Beres. third section of chapter 8, with the ford, 3 Ves. 511;)—it would then be notes thereto.

difficult to say why a wife, willing to (5) Whether it is competent to a join in such assignment, might not be married woman, by examination in permitted to part with her equity, by court, to part with her contingent, or examination; and in Howard v. Dami. reversionary chattel interest, is a ani, (2 Jac. & Walk. 458 n.) such perquestion which has been much agita- mission was given. But, in Ritchie v. ted. There are cases where the wife's Broadbent, (Ibid.) doubt was expressconsent has been taken de bene esse ; ed as to the propriety of the decree (Woollands v. Crowcher, 12 Ves. 178; in Howard v. Damiani ; and although Richards v. Chambers, 10 Ves. 581 ;) this was an obiter dictum not necesbut this practice does not appear to be sary to the decision of Ritchie v. generally approved. (Sperling v. Broadbent, (in which case, to have Rochfort, 8 Ves. 178, and see infra.) permitted the wife to part with her inIt is true, that, in Saddington v. Kins- terest, would have been contradictory man, (1 Br. 48,) the leaning of Lord to the express intention of the donor Thurlow's opinion was, that a wife's of that interest, who, by his will, proreversionary chattel interests might hibited anticipation,) yet, in the later be assigned by her husband, if he had and well considered case of Purdew v. made a settlement upon her: (see Jackson, (1 Russ. 1–71,) it was disalso, Carteret v. Paschal, 3 P. Wms. tinctly held, (and the doctrine was 199,) and if the law were settled that confirmed in the still more recent case a husband could, for a valuable consi. of Honner v. Morton, 3 Russ. 68,) deration paid to himself, assign his that where a husband and wife, by wife's reversionary chattel interests deed executed by both, assign to a (subject only to her equity to have a purchaser for valuable consideration provision thereout, in cases where the an ascertained fund, in which the wife funds cannot be come at without the has a vested interest in remainder exassistance of a court of equity ; Franco pectant on the death of a tenant for

Distinction in this between

There is, therefore, a very considerable difference in the chattels personal acquisition of this species of property by the husband, ac


life of that fund, and both the wife her husband or his assignee, lend itself and the tenant for life outlived the as an instrument to enable the hus. husband, the wife was entitled, by band to acquire a right in the wife's right of survivorship, to claim the chattels, which he could by no means fund against such particular assignee acquire at law; (Wade v. Saunders, for valuable consideration. The as- 1 Turn. & Russ. 307 ;) by parting signee, it was determined, merely with such a remainder or reversion, purchased the chance of the hus. the wife would not only part with a band's outliving the wife ; if the re- future possible equity, but with her versionary chose en action had fallen chance of coming into possession of into possession during the coverture, the whole property by surviving her the assignment might have been avail- husband. (Pickard v. Roberts, 3 Mad.

but the husband's right was no 386.) Of course, if such reversion. more than a right to obtain possession ary interests are so given or settled of the subject, when the period should to the separate use of the wife, that arrive at which the wife would be en- she has the legal power of disposing titled to the possession of it: by his thereof, her examination would be death before that time, leaving his idly superfluous ; she may pass the wife surviving, the husband's right was property without any such form. gone, and with it the derivative right (Sturgis v. Corp, 13 Ves. 192.) of the assignee was also gone; and It seems, from the authorities al. the claim of the surviving wife, it was ready stated, to be, at present, clearly held, must take effect. For, though held, that a deed by which a husband a future chose en action be assignable assigns his wife's contingent or reverin equity, the assignment cannot alter sionary chattel interests, is not such a the nature of the thing; the subject reduction thereof into possession by must remain what it was before, a him, as to give even a qualified title chose en action not reduced into pos- to his assignee, if the wife prove to be session. A court of equity will not the survivor. (Purdew v. Jackson, 1 refuse to give effect to such an assign- Russ. 50; Hornsby v. Lee, 2 Mad. ment, so far as the assignor had any 20.) And though, (in Gage v. Acton, right or interest to assign ; (Ripley v. 1 Salk. 327,) Chief Justice Holt said, Woods, 2 Sim. 167 ;) but, the interest that when the wife has any right or of a husband in his wife's reversion. duty, which by possibility may hapary choses en action, (and a fortiori pen to accrue during the marriage, the interest of the husband's assignee, the husband may, by release, disPierce v. Thorneley, 2 Sim. 179,) charge it; this dictum cannot now be must depend upon the chance of his relied on, without qualifying it by a living till the property is actually re- condition, that the possibility shall duced into possession. (Stamper v. actually come into possession during Barker, 5 Mad. 157 ; White v. St. the coverture. Keeping this restricBarbe, 1 Ves, & Bea. 405.) And, it tion in mind, there is no doubt that a seems, a wife ought not to be permit- wife's possibilities are assignable by ted, in such a case, to divest herself her husband, for a valuable consideraof the chance in her favour; and that a tion; though the assignee may be court of equity should not, by taking compelled to make some provision for the wife's consent to pass a remainder the wife, when the subject of assignor reversion in personal property to ment is of such a nature, that when

cording to the subject matter; viz. whether it be a chattel in possession, real, or a chattel personal: and, of chattels personal, whe- tion only.

and those in ac


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the contingency has happened, it can- An assignment, by a husband, to a not be reached without the aid of particular assignee, of a chose en acequity : (Johnson v. Johnson, 1 Jac. & tion, or equitable interest given to his Walk. 477 ; Beresford v. Hobson, 1 wife, in terms not making it her sepaMad. 373; Lloyd v. Williams, 1 Mad. rate estate, for her life only, (such 457 :) and it seems, that courts of assignment being made for valuable equity do not merely act in analogy to consideration, and at a time when the the legal doctrine, but were the first husband was maintaining his wife,) to hold that such assignment by the will, it seems, not only be supported, husband ought to be supported. (Grey but the purchaser will not be bound to v. Kentish, 1 Atk. 280; Hawkyns v. make any provision for the wife. Obyn, 2 Atk. 551; Bates v. Dandy, 2 (Elliot v. Cordell, 5 Mad. 156; Atk. 208 ; Duke of Chandos v. Talbot, Wright v. Morley, 11 Ves. 18; Mit2 P. Wms. 608, and cases there cited; ford v. Mitford, 9 Ves. 100; Stauton Spragg v. Binks, 5 Ves. 588.) v. Hall, 2 Russ. & Mylne, 182.)

It appears settled, however, that, Equity, however, will not allow the where the wife's interest was such, general assignee under a commission that the husband could not, even for of bankruptcy against a husband, to valuable consideration, have released obtain possession of such property, it at law, equity will not assist him. without making some provision for Thus, if the reversion could not possi. the wife ; since, when the title of such bly fall into possession during the last-described assignee vests, the inhusband's life ; – for instance, if it capacity of the usband to maintain were a reversion upon his own death, his wife has already raised this equity there the husband's release or assign- in her favour : (Elliot v. Cordell, ubi ment, would be invalid at law; and supra :) and where the right to the clearly the wife's consent would not whole equitable interest, or chose en be taken, in order to give it effect in action, was in the wife, absolutely, equity. (Dalbiac v. Dalbiac, 16 Ves. and not for life only, there the pre122.) So, if a woman, before mar- ponderance of modern authority (after riage, stipulate that her property shall considerable fluctuation of judicial revert to her own absolute disposal in opinion) seems fully to establish, that the event of her surviving her hus- the wife's right to a provision cannot band, or if a bequest be made to her, be resisted by the particular assignee of accompanied with that direction; and her husband, more than by his general no power of disposition over the fund, assignee. (Johnson v. Johnson, 1 Jac. & during the marriage, be reserved by Walk. 477; Like v. Beresford, 3 Ves. her, in one case, or given to her in 512 ; Macauley v. Phillips, 4 Ves. 19; the other; there, it would obviously Beresford v. Hobson, 1 Mad. 373 ; be to defeat the plain object of the Earl of Salisbury v. Newton, 1 Eden, settlement, or will, if the wife, whilst 371; Oswell v. Probert, 2 Ves. jun. under the possible influence of her 682.) husband, were permitted, either by When a husband makes a settleexamination in court, or by any other ment in consideration of the wife's act during the coverture, to dispose whole fortune, whatever fortune she of her right of survivorship. (Rich then has, notwithstanding it may conards v. Chambers, 10 Ves. 586; Lee sist entirely of choses en action, is v. Muggeridge, 1 Ves. & Bea. 123.) looked on as

· purchased by the hus.

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