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[202] In order therefore to treat a matter of this universal consequence the more clearly, I shall endeavour to lay aside such matters as will only tend to breed embarrassment and confusion in our inquiries, and shall confine myself entirely to this one object. I shall therefore decline considering at present who are, and who are not, capable of being heirs; reserving that for the chapter of escheats. I shall also pass over the frequent division of descents, in those by custom, statute, and common law: for descents by particular custom, as to all the sons in gavelkind, and to the youngest in Borough-English, have already been often hinted at, and may also be incidentally touched upon again; but will not make a separate consideration by themselves, in a system so general as the present: and descents by statute, or in fees-tail per formam doni, in pursuance of the statute of Westminster the second, have also been already copiously handled; and it has been seen that the descent in tail is restrained and regulated according to the words of the original donation, and does not entirely pursue the common law doctrine of inheritance; which, and which only, it will now be our business to explain.



And, as this depends not a little on the nature of kindred, and the several degrees of consanguinity, it will be previously necessary to state, as briefly as possible, the true notion of this kindred or alliance in blood.d

Consanguinity, or kindred, is defined by the writers on these subjects to be "vinculum personarum ab eodem stipite descendentium," the connexion or relation of b See Vol. I. pag. 74. 75. Vol. II. pag. 83, 85.

c See pag. 112, etc.

d For a fuller explanation of the doctrine of consanguinity, and the consequences resulting from a right apprehension of it's nature, see an assay on collateral consanguinity. 5(Law tracts, Oxen. 1762. 8,0 or 1772, 4.05

5 Previously, ", in the first volume of law tracts. Oxon, 1762. 80."

4 Previously, "fee."

8 Previously spelt "intirely."

persons descended from the same stock or common ancestor. This consanguinity is either lineal, or collateral.

[203] Lineal consanguinity is that which subsists between persons, of whom one is descended in a direct line from the other, as between John Stiles (the propositus in the table of consanguinity) and his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and so upwards in the direct ascending line; or between John Stiles and his son, grandson, great-grandson, and so downwards in the direct descending line. Every generation, in this lineal direct consanguinity, constitutes a different degree, reckoning either upwards or downwards: the father of John Stiles is related to him in the first degree, and so likewise is his son; his grandsire and grandson in the second; his great grandsire, and great-grandson in the third. This is the only natural way of reckoning the degrees in the direct line, and therefore universally obtains, as well in the civil, and canon, as in the common law.s

The doctrine of lineal consanguinity is sufficiently plain and obvious; but it is at the first view astonishing to consider the number of lineal ancestors which every man has, within no very great number of degrees: and so many different bloods is a man said to contain in his veins, as he hath lineal ancestors. Of these he hath two in the first ascending degree, his own parents; he hath four in the second, the parents of his father and the parents of his mother; he hath eight in the third, the parents of his two grandfathers and two grandmothers; and by the same rule of progression, he hath an hundred and twenty-eight in the seventh; a thousand and twenty-four in the tenth; and at the twentieth degree, or the distance of twenty generations, every man hath above a million of ancestors, as common arithe FT 38. 10. 10.

1 Decretal. l. 4. tit. 14.
g Co. Litt. 23.

h Ibid. 12.

metic will demonstrate. may observe, falls strictly within the definition of vinculum personarum [204] ab eodem stipite descendentium; since lineal relations are such as descend one from the other, and both of course from the same common ancestor.

This lineal consanguinity, we

Collateral kindred answers to the same description: collateral relations agreeing with the lineal in this, that they descend from the same stock or ancestor; but differing in this, that they do not descend one from the other. Collateral kinsmen are such then as lineally spring from one and the same ancestor, who is the stirps, or root, the stipes, trunk, or common stock, from whence these relations are branched out. As if John Stiles hath two sons, who have [205] each a numerous

i This will seem surprising to those who are unacquainted with the encreasing power of progressive numbers; but is palpably evident from the following table of a geometrical progression, in which the first term is 2, and the denominator also 2: or, to speak more intelligibly, it is evident, for that each of us has two ancestors in the first degree; the number of whom is doubled at every remove, beeause each of our ancestors has also two immediate ancestors of his own.

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A shorter method of finding the number of ancestors at any even degree is by squaring the number of ancestors at half that number of degrees. Thus 16 (the number of ancestors at four degrees) is the square of 4, the number of ancestors at two; 256 is the square of 16; 65,536 of 256; and the number of ancestors at 40 degrees would be the square of 1,048,576, or upwards of a million millions.

issue; both these issues are lineally descended from John Stiles as their common ancestor; and they are collateral kinsmen to each other, because they are all descended from this common ancestor, and all have a portion of his blood in their veins, which denominates them consanguineos.

We must be careful to remember, that the very being of collateral consanguinity consists in this descent from one and the same common ancestor. Thus Titius and his brother are related; why? because both are derived from one father: Titius and his first cousin are related; why? because both descend from the same grandfather; and his second cousin's claim to consanguinity is this, that they both are derived from one and the same great-grandfather. In short, as many ances tors as a man has, so many common stocks he has, from which collateral kinsmen may be derived. And as we are taught by holy writ, that there is one couple of ancestors belonging to us all, from whom3 the whole race of mankind is descended, the obvious and undeniable consequence is, that all men are in some degree related to cach other. For indeed, if we only suppose each couple of our ancestors to have left, one with another, two children; and each of those children on an average to have left two more (and, without such a supposition, the human species must be daily dimin ishing); we shall find that all of us have now subsisting near two hundred and seventy millions of kindred in the fifteenth degree, at the same distance from the several common ancestors as ourselves are; besides those that are one or two descents nearer to or farther from the common stock, who may amount to as many more. And, if this calculation should appear incom

3 Third edition only reads "whence "; all other editions as in the text.

k This will swell more considerably than the former calculation for here, though the first term is but 1, the denominator is 4; that is there is one kinsman (a brother) in the first degree, who makes

patible with the number of inhabitants on the earth, it is because, by intermarriages among the several descendants from the same ancestor, a hundred or a thousand modes of consanguinity may be consolidated in one person, or he may be related to us a hundred or a thousand different ways.

[206] The method of computing these degrees in the canon law, which our law has adopted" [see note 42, together with the propositus, the two descendants from the first couple of ancestors; and in every other degree the number of kindred must be the quadruple of those in the degree which immediately precedes it. For, since each couple of ancestors has two descendants, who increase in a duplicate ratio, it will follow that the ratio, in which all the descendants encrease downwards, must be double to that in which the ancestors encrease upwards: but we have seen that the ancestors encrease in a duplicate ratio: therefore the descendants must encrease in a double duplicate, that is, in a quadruple ratio.

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This calculation may also be formed by a more compendious process, viz. by squaring the couples, or half the number, of ancestors at any given degree; which will furnish us with the number of kindred we have in the same degree, at equal distance with ourselves from the common stock, besides those at unequal distances. Thus, in the tenth lineal degree, the number of ancestors is 1,024; it's half, or the couples, amount to 512; the number of kindred in the tenth collateral degree amounts therefore to 262,144 or the square of 512. And if we will be at the trouble to recollect the state of the several families within our own knowledge, and observe how far they agree with this account; that is, whether, on an average, every man has not one brother or sister, four first cousins, sixteen second cousins, and so on; we shall find that the present calculation is very far from being over-charged.

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