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so long as it is vested upon the marriage and seisin, was inchoate only. If there was no law in force at that time giving her the right, then it is extinguished. She cannot take under a law repealed prior to that time. And taking under the law then existing, she must take it with its restrictions and limitations." (Per Wright, C. J., in Lucas v. Sawyer, 17 Iowa, 517; Ewing v. Noel, 9 Ind. 39, where cases are collected.) The doctrine of Lucas v. Sawyer is followed in Randall v. Kreiger, 2 Dill. 444, a case on the constitutional power to validate a sale of husband and wife, by attorney. (See, also, Frantz v. Howard, 13 Ind. 507; Galbraith v. Gay, 20 Ind. 290.)
The chief difficulties arise in cases where the husband has conveyed away the property during coverture, but the wife has not released her right to dower. Here it is held that the wife can claim only the dower allowed by law at the time of death, although a larger dower right may have been allowed by law at the time of conveyance.
But the rule does not work both ways, as the purchaser in such cases has vested rights from the time of conveyance. The wife cannot claim a larger dower than was then allowed by law, although the legislature may have enlarged the dower right between the conveyance and the husband's death.
Such a statute cannot have a retrospective operation so as to lessen the estate actually purchased by the vendee. (Davis v. O'Ferrall, 4 Green Ch. 168.) And so when land was sold on judicial sale, at a time when such a sale did not cut off the wife's dower, but subsequently and before the husband's death the law was changed, taking away dower in such cases, it was held that the wife could claim no dower. (Sturdevant v. Norris, 30 Iowa, 65.)
Another question is, in such cases whether the wife is to have one third of the value at the time of sale or
one third also of any increased value that may have accrued at the time of the husband's death.
In some states, as New York and Virginia, the widow is confined strictly to the value at the time of alienation. But in most states it is held that she can have the benefit of any general rise in the value of property, even if derived from surrounding improvements, but not of any improvements made by the alienee himself on that property. (See Tyler on Coverture, p. 538; 1 Washburn on Real Property, ch. 7, 5, pl. 22.)
At common law, dower attached only to legal estates. Many questions which arose respecting the precise interest in which dower could be claimed are done away with by statutes giving the wife dower in equitable as well as legal estates.
CHAPTER THE NINTH.
OF ESTATES LESS THAN FREEHOLD.
Of estates, that are less than freehold, there are three sorts: 1. Estates for years: 2. Estates at will: 3. Estates by sufferance.
I. *An estate for years is a contract for the possession of lands [see note 35, page 253] or tenements, for some determinate period:* and it takes place where a man letteth them to another for the term of a certain number of years, agreed upon between the lessor and the lessee, and the lessee enters thereon. If the lease be but for half a year, or a quarter, or any less time, this lessee is respected as a tenant for years and is stiled so in some legal proceedings; a year being the shortest term which the law in this case takes notice of. And this may, not improperly, lead us into a short "explanation of the division and calculation of time by the English law.†
The space of a year is a determinate and well-known period, consisting commonly of 365 days: for, though in  bissextile or leap-years it consists properly of 366, yet by the statute 21 Hen. III. the increasing day
a We may here remark, once for all, that the terminations of "or" and "- ee" obtain, in law, the one an active, the other a passive signification; the former usually denoted the doer of any act, the latter him to whom it is done. The feoffer is he that maketh a feoffment; the feoffee is he to whom it is made: the donor is one that giveth lands in tail; the donee is he who receiveth it: he that granteth a lease is denominated the lessor; and he to whom it is granted the lessee. (Litt. 57.)
b Ibid. 58.
c Ibid. 67.
8 Previously, "happens."
9 Ninth edition reads, "digression, concerning." **Quoted, 17 Cal. 231; 92 N. C. 200.
+ Cited, 10 Mass. 325, showing that such estates are not real; 12 Met. 302; 94 Ill. 93; 95 U. S. 250; 5 Binn. 230; 9 Leigh, 448; 33 Am. Dec. 254; 100 Pa. St. 209; 8 Minn. 431.
in the leap-year, together with the shall be accounted for one day only.*
That of a month is more ambiguous: there being, in common use, two ways of calculating months; either as lunar, consisting of twenty-eight days, the supposed revolution of the moon, thirteen of which make a year: or, as calendar months of unequal lengths, according to the Julian division in our common almanacs, commencing at the calends of each month, whereof in a year there are only twelve. A month in law is a lunar month, or twentyeight days, unless otherwise expressed; ‡ not only because it is always one uniform period, but because it falls naturally into a quarterly division by weeks.? Therefore a lease for "twelve months" is only for forty-eight weeks; but if be for "a twelvemonth" in the singular number, it is good for the whole year. For herein the law recedes from its usual calculation, because the ambiguity between the two methods of computation ceases; it being generally understood that by the space of time called thus, in the singular number, a twelvemonth, is meant the whole year consisting of one solar revolution. In the space of a day all the twenty-four hours are usually reckoned, the law general rejecting all fractions of a day, in order to avoid disputes. Therefore, if I am bound to pay money on any certain day, I discharge the obligation if I pay it before twelve o'clock at night; after which the following day commences. But to return to es
tates for years.**
d 6 Rep. 61.
e Co. Litt. 135.
*Cited, 5 Ind. 197.
+ Quoted, 3 Brev. 474; 1 Jones (N. C.) 90; Dud. (Ga.) 107. Cited and discussed, 1 Jones (N. C.) 88.
+- Quoted, 5 Conn. 360. Cited, 2 Har. (Del.) 549; 21 Ala, 46,
| Cited, 19 Ill. 156; 68 Am. Dec. 587; 69 Ind. 354.
¶ Cited, 51 Ala. 450.
**Cited as to fractions of a day, 104 U. S. 474; 28 Pa. St. 518; 43 Ala, 329; 51 Ala. 450.
These estates were originally granted to mere farmers or husbandmen, who every year rendered some equivalent in money, provisions, or other rent to the lessors or landlords; but, in order to encourage them to manure and cultivate the ground, they had a permanent interest granted them, not determinable at the will of the lord. And yet their possession was esteemed of so little consequence, that they were rather considered as the bailiffs or servants of the lord, who were to  receive and account for the profits at a settled price, than as having any property of their own. And therefore they were not allowed to have a freehold estate but their interest (such as it was) vested after their deaths in their executors, who were to make up the accounts of their testator with the lord, and his other creditors, and were entitled to the stock upon the farm. The lessee's estate might also, by the antient law, be at any time defeated, by a common recovery [see note 36, page 257] suffered by the tenant of the freehold; which annihilated all leases for years then subsisting, unless afterwards renewed by the recoverer, whose title was supposed superior to his by whom those leases were granted.*
While estates for years were thus precarious, it is no wonder that they were usually very short, like our modern leases upon rack rent; and indeed we are told that by the antient law no leases for more than forty years were allowable, because any longer possession (especially when given without any livery declaring the nature and duration of the estate) might tend to defeat the inheritance. Yet this law, if ever it existed, was soon antiquated; for we may observe, in Madox's collection of antient instruments, some leases for years of a pretty early date, which considerably exceed that
f Co. Litt. 46.
g Mirror. c. 2. 27. Co. Litt. 45, 46.
* Cited, 95 U. S. 250; 4 Bland, 300; 22 Am. Dec. 250.