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remedies for trying the rights thereto;" but had other objects besides, but collateral to, and connected with, the primary object. The real property to which this statute extends is “land,” including in that term manors, messuages, and all other corporeal hereditaments and tithes, when not belonging to a spiritual or eleemosynary corporation sole, whether of freehold or copyhold, or of any other tenure, and also any share, estate or interest therein, whether of a freehold or a chattel nature; and also “rent," including in that term heriots, suits and services for which a distress may be made, annuities, and periodical sums of money charged upon or payable out of any land, not being moduses or compositions belonging to such a corporation. The statute also embraces advowsons, and whether the right thereto or to any such other real property be purely legal, or merely
equitable. -and col
The collateral and connected object of this act was lateral objects to fix periods of limitation within which rights to the
following classes of subjects were to be asserted: (1). Redemption of mortgages of land and rent; (2). Sums of money secured by mortgage, judgment or lien or otherwise charged upon or payable out of any land or rent; (3). Arrears of rent and of interest in respect of any sum of money charged upon or payable out of any land, or in respect of any legacy, and damages in respect of such arrears; (4). Tithes, legacies and other property when recoverable in any
spiritual court. Persons af- The persons to which the 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, extends fected by last are all natural persons and all corporations, aggregate
and sole, spiritual and temporal, but not either the crown, the Duke of Cornwall, or the person entitled to the Duchy of Lancaster. The two former are the objects of distinct enactments (6). As respects spiritual per
(6) Vide ante, Sect. I.
sons, however, they have, in some cases, an actual, and in others a possible, extension of the periods of limitation which are applied to the laity, and the computation of those periods is also made in a different mode to that applied in the case of lay persons.
Down to the reign of William the Fourth, the two Abolition of classes of writs, droitural and possessory (c), were and virtual
real actions, available, but for the most part seldom used. The last- repeal of old
Statutes of mentioned statute, 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, abolished all, Limitation. except three or four, of these writs, but retained the use of them, in certain cases (d), until the 1st June, 1835, and also, in certain other cases (e), after that day. Thus the statute of Merton, c. 8, the statute of Westminster 1, c. 39, the statute of 32 Hen. 8, c. 2, and the statute of 21 Jac. 1, c. 16 (f), respectively, so far as they prescribed times within which these writs were to be sued out, are virtually repealed. The remedies, when the subject claimed is within the Limitation in
. jurisdiction of any spiritual court, are to be pursued spiritual courts. within the same period as those which for the same subjects might be resorted to in any temporal court at law or in equity (g).
In general, actions, personal and mixed, were to be Time of limibrought within a certain period, on account of the defect tation in perof proof which would happen by lapse of time (h); but mixed actions, such period also was not defined by law, but was also discretionary (i). In the reign of James the First, the legislature fixed certain periods of time within which certain actions of that nature were to be commenced(k), and for giving effect to certain of the enactments relating to such actions, provision was also made in the reign of George the Fourth (1).
Before the passing of the act 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 42, Before 3 & 4
(c) Vide ante, Sect. III.
(h) Bract. 102 b.
4, c. 42, there was no statutory limitation affecting actions on no time of limitation for bonds or other specialties. The creditor might bring actions on his action after any lapse of time. But, to obviate specialties.
the great inconvenience which such latitude of discretion in the creditor was calculated to occasion, it had become the universally recognized practice to presume, where a demand had been lying dormant twenty years or upwards, that the debt had been satisfied, though there might be no positive evidence of payment. This was a rule according with the general convenience of mankind, and, ordinarily, consistent with justice and good sense. It is very unlikely that persons having a right to recover money should remain passive for twenty years.
It is far from unlikely that persons having satisfied a legal demand may have omitted to take a proper discharge, or may have lost it, if any was taken. It was a wise rule, therefore, to presume after such a lapse of time, that payment had been made, though proof of it was wanting. There might be difficulty, in the abstract, in fixing the precise time at which the presumption of payment should arise, but it was reasonable, and, indeed, necessary, to draw the line somewhere, and twenty years gradually became the period adopted. This presumption, however, would have occasioned great injustice, if it had not been liable to be met by direct evidence to the contrary, or by counter-presumptions; and, accordingly, it was always held, that an acknowledgment within the twenty years properly authenticated, and admitting the debt or part payment of principal or interest within the same period, were facts sufficient to rebut the presumption of payment arising from lapse of years; and other circum
stances might be sufficient to lead to the same result (m). The limitations In the reign of William the Fourth, the legislature fixed by that also applied the principle of these laws to other matters.
A period of limitation within which (1) actions of debt
(m) i De Gex & J. 17.
for rent upon an indenture of demise, actions of covenant or debt upon bonds or other specialties, actions of debt on scire facias upon any recognizance, (2) actions of debts upon any award where the submission is not by specialty, for fines due in respect of copyhold estates, for an escape, for money levied on any fieri facias, (3) and actions for penalties, damages or sums of money given to the party grieved by any statute then or thereafter to be in force, was also prescribed (n). Actions of trespass, or trespass on the case, as the case may be, are also given to the personal representatives of deceased persons for injuries to the real estate of such persons committed in their lifetime within six calendar months prior to their deaths, and for which an action might have been maintained by them, and such actions may be maintained against such representatives of any person for a wrong committed by him in his lifetime to another in respect of his property real or personal (o).
Some matters not embraced by the old Statutes of Matters not Limitations are embraced by 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, and embraced by new periods of limitation are given by it (p). The now within
3 & 4 Will. 4, arrears of rent within sect. 3 of 21 Jac. 1, c. 16, are c. 27. of conventional rents created otherwise than by deed(2). The arrears of rent within sect. 42 of 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, are arrears of rent as defined by sect. 1 of the same chapter(r); and arrears of rent created by specialty are the subject of 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 42, s. 3.
The principle of these laws has been still further ex- Principle extended in England, and applied to quieting the enjoy
tended to the ment of property by one sect of Protestant dissenters Protestant against other sects of them, on the basis of the teaching of certain religious doctrines or opinions, and the ob
the old statutes
(n) 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 42. (0) Sect. 2.
(P) See Eyre v. Walsh, 10 Ir. L. Rep. 346.
(0) See Freeman v. Stacey, Hutt. 109.
(r) See Paget v. Foley, 4 Bing., N. C. 679.
servance of certain modes of worship. Thus, in the present reign, the legislature enacted that so far as no religious doctrines or opinions or modes of worship shall by the instrument declaring the trusts of any meeting house for dissenters, either expressly or by reference, be required to be taught or observed, or be forbidden to be taught or observed, the usage for twentyfive years preceding any suit shall be conclusive evidence that such doctrines or opinions, or modes of worship as have for that period been taught or observed in such meeting house, may properly be taught or observed therein; and the right or title of the congrega
l tion to hold such meeting house, together with any burial ground, Sunday or day school, or minister's house attached thereto, and any fund for the benefit of such congregation, or of the minister or other officer of such congregation, or of the widow of any such minister, , shall not be called in question on account of such
teaching or observance (s). Express repeal
None of the old Statutes of Limitations, so far as they of some of the apply to the same things as, and in common with, the Limitation. 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27, are expressly repealed by it.
The 32 Hen. 8, c. 2, is in effect repealed by the 3 & 4 Will. 4, c. 27. For the writs which by the former statute may be brought within the prescribed period cannot in general be now used. Some of them, however, may, under certain circumstances, be yet used. Hence, perhaps, the non-repeal of the former statute by the Statute Law Revision Act, 1863 (t). But the statutes of Merton (u), and of Westminster 1 (2), of Mary (y), of James, in relation to the limitation of real actions (z), have been expressly repealed by such act of 1863.
(8) 7 & 8 Vict. c. 45; Att.Gen. v. Bunce, 37 L. J., N. S., Ch. 697.
(t) 26 & 27 Vict. c. 125.
(u) 20 Hen. 3, c. 8.