Perpetuity(redirected from perpetuities)
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PERPETUITY, estates. Any limitation tending to take the subject of it out of
commerce for a longer period than a life or lives in being, and twenty-one
years beyond; and in case of a posthumous child, a few months more, allowing
for the term of gestation; Randall on Perpetuities, 48; or it is such a
limitation of property as renders it unalienable beyond the period allowed
by law. Gilbert on Uses, by Sugden, 260, note.
2. Mr. Justice Powell, in Scattergood v. Edge, 12 Mod. 278, distinguished perpetuities into two sorts, absolute and qualified; meaning thereby, as it is apprehended, a distinction between a plain, direct and palpable perpetuity, and the case where an estate is limited on a contingency, which might happen within a reasonable compass of time, but where the estate nevertheless, from the nature of the limitation, might be kept out of commerce longer than was thought agreeable to the policy of the common law. But this distinction would not now lead to a better understanding or explanation of the subject; for whether an estate be so limited that it cannot take effect, until a period too much protracted, or whether on a contingency which may happen within a moderate compass of time, it equally falls within the line of perpetuity and the limitation is therefore void; for it is not sufficient that an estate may vest within the time allowed, but the rule requires that it must. Randall on Perp. 49. Vide Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c. 23; 1 Supp. to Ves. Jr. 406; 2 Ves. Jr. 357; 3 Saund. 388 h. note; Com. Dig. Chancery, 4 G 1; 3 Chan. Cas. 1; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1890.