Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

6 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



-r AN ABERAERON WILL CASE. EXTRAORDINARY CASE. In the Probate and Divorce Division of the High tiourt of Justice, on Friday, Sir James Hannen and a special jury had before them the local case of payies v. Lloyd and Edwards, which was a suit re- nting to the testamentary dispositions of the late ■&GV Edward Edwards, of Llanarth, in the county of Cardigan, who died on the 30th November, 1883. The defendant, Richard Simpson Lloyd, propounded j* will, bearing date 3rd November, 1S83, probate fceiiig opposed by the plaintiff, David Davies, on the Sround that the will was not duly executed, that the deceased did not know or approve of its contents, set up for probate an earlier will, under which lie Was appointed executor. The defendant, in turn, Opposed probate of the will propounded by Lloyd, :and gave notice that he only intended to cross- examine the witnesses. Mr Willis, Q.C., and Mr Bay ford, instructed by Messrs. Roberts and Evans, appeared for plaintiff !\II' Matthews, Q.C., and Mr F. Williams for Lloyd, "IIlstrncted by Messrs Griffith Jones & Co., Aberyst- wyth and Mr Searle, instructed by Mr Evans, for Edwards. Mr Matthews, Q.C., as representing the defendant Impounding the alleged last will, stated that the festator, the Eev Edward Edwards, was a clergyman 311 the Church of England, and acted as curate at fcfcveral places, the last being at Hanley, near Chester. Ill 1882 he went to reside with the plaintiff, David Navies, Llanarth, paying for his board and lodgings. At the time he was without property, but on the 26th April, 1880, his uncle died, and as next of kin he be- J^nieentitlcdto some little property in Cardiganshire. The will of the uncle was disputed by the deceased 'tn regard to some of the bequests, which litigation "'as not yet concluded; and he got at variance with his relations in consequence of the course he adopted. From time to time the testator borrowed money from the defendant, Mr Lloyd, who was a coal Merchant at Aberayron, and clerk to Mr Griffith denies registrar of the county court at that place. On the 3rd November, 1883, the will in question was Executed, by which Mr Lloyd was the principal bene- and it was now opposed on the grounds Stated. He believed that the principal reason which Would be put forward in opposition to it would be that at the time of its execution testator was con- siderably under the influence of drink, and was not, therefore, competent to make a testamentary dis- position of his property. Mr Richard Simpson Lloyd, the defendant in the r 93uit was then examined by Mr E. Williams. He I am a coal merchant, and am also clerk to Mr Griffith Jones, a solicitor, and registrar of the county **mrt of Aberayron. I knew the testator, the Eev Edwards, and, in fact, have known him for many years. I became more particularly acquainted Vtith him about April, 1883. That was about the time 'Of his uncle's death, which occurred on the 26th April, 1883. Up to this time the deceased had no Property of his own. He was a clergyman of the Church of England, although at that time he was Without a benefice or cure, and had been since 1882. His uncle made a will which was disputed by the testator, and Mr Griffith Jones acted as testator's Solicitor in the litigation. At that time Mr Edwards ^as living with Mr Davies, the plaintiff, at Llanarth, about four miles from Aberayron. After the death 'Of the uncle and the commencement of the litigation, Was in the habit of seeing Mr Edwards constantly, Ultno-st daily, and a great friendship sprang up be- tween us. Before he came into his property I lent hint various sums of money from time to time. He sorrowed money from me to pay for his lodging, and altogether I lent him about = £ 68 4s. In July, 1883, '*V"B spent a week together, for which I found the money. After our return he told me about some pro- missory notes, to the amount of £450, which he had 6%ned as security for the costs of plaintiff, and he fished, if possible, to get them cancelled. On the Ist^October, 1883, I wrote a letter to the testator, in ^hich I asked him to reconsider his instructions againstDd. and Wm. Davies with reference to the pro- missory notes which he told me had been obtained by *raud, advising him that as they were not likely to be iased the matter had better stand over until after a Pending suit was settled. Up to 1882 he had been a clergyman at Hanley, in Chester, and on the 2nd' j^ovember, 18S3, he asked me in two letters to lend money to enable him to go to Cheshire to *edeem some clothes and his watch, which were re- gained for a debt of £ 10. On the following morning, "d :It about ten o'clock, he called upon me and inquired Wiethe r I had had his notes. He then requested a Joan of < £ 20, and I told him that I would let him have -£10 for the debt and X3 for his expenses, at the same pointing out that he must return in a day or two, as I wanted him to swear an important affidavit in the suit he was bringing in relation to his "fincle's will. I drew up a promissory note for ^68 4s, which he signed in the presence of my clerk. lie -was very grateful for the loan, and said my kind- Wm was unbounded. This he repeated times. J told him where he could get my Cneque for < £ 13 cashed, and he left. I did not see *n a8'ain until I went to Chester. He was perfectly Sober on the day he signed the note. Finding that did not return I spoke to the plaintiff, and asked "he knew testator's address. He replied that he thought it was at Hanley, and I asked him if he "IVould go to him. He declined, saying that perhaps the testator would be annoyed with him. Mr Ed- wards was accompanied by a little boy, and his parents became anxious about him, and I telegraphed so Mr Edwards. Before doing this I had received a telegram on the 23rd November, asking me to go up to him, as he could not get on without me, and tell- tng me that Davies, who had gone to him, had proved treacherous. I wired in reply that, unless he came IIP his case would fall through, as no further adjourn- ment would be granted. He answered that he wanted < £ 20 to enable him to return. The next day, the 24th November, I met him at Chester, having previously telegraphed telling him that I was coming. I met him at the station preparing to leave. The plaintiff had already entered the train when the little boy saw me and told testator. Mr Edwards then came up to ble, and said he was very glad to see me, as Davies told him that I declined to come. Upon this Davies came up, and testator then charged him with attempting to induce him to sign a deed which would place him in the workhouse in a week. I then accom- panied testator into Chester, and testator then told me that although Davies had tried hard to get him to J'!lgn the deed, he would never do so. The testator lw()Illcl not afterwards speak to plaintiff but upon my inducement, he returned home, and I never saw tes- tator again alive, He was taken ill on the 26th and «ied on the 30tli November. The first intimation I had about any will was in a letter from Mr Griffiths, fiated 3rd December, 1883. I replied on the 4th ex- Pressing my suprise at hearing that the testator had executed a will in my favour, and asking that the document might be handed to my solicitors, Messrs Griffith Jones & Co., of Aberystwyth. „ Cross-examined: Mr Edwards had been 15 years 111 the Church, and had been a curate at some two or three places. I am not aware that he gave either (If the cures up through drink. When I first made lais acquaintance in 1883 he was living with the plain- tiff, David Davies, and with the exception of his last absence he always lived with plaintiff. He did not notice any marked difference in his habits after his going to reside with Davies. I commenced to lend him an occasional shilling, and about the summer (1883) it took the form of pounds, and the sum of < £ 68 vvas lent him between that time and November fol- lowing. I did not know that Griffith Griffiths was also lending testator money. I believe, however, that he did sometimes lend him small sums after the in- stitution of the suit about his father's will. The testator never drank in my company. There were two farms not mentioned in the uncle's will, but I Was not aware that he had executed a will disposing of them. I do not think the will produced is the hand- writing of the testator. In the will of November 3rd, 1883, no relative of the deceased is mentioned, al- though provision is made for them in that of April 27th, The first time that the deceased said anything to me about benefiting me was in August, 1883, Upon our return from London. WThen he spoke to me about the deed at Chester he said it was a transfer- ence of the farms to Davies, that he would not do so, as I was his only friend, whilst Davies was the other Wa -Y On one occasion he told me that Davies wanted him to marry his eldest daughter. The deceased, in the presence of Davies, said he had made it all right for me, and turning to the little boy, said, and I have remembered you, Johnny." I inferred from his remark that he had executed a will, but never spoke to Mr Griffiths about the matter. Previously to re- ceiving his letter of the 3rd December telling me about the will in my favour, I had not called upon him. On the day of the death of the testator, the 30th November, I was not in a public-house in Aber- ayron, kept by a Mrs Davies, talking to Mr Griffiths, Ilor did a man named Pugh tell me the news about the death. It is also untrue that I ejaculated, "No don't frighten us. You know he owes us a lot of :money." I attended the funeral, but I did not go to the will of April 27th read, although I knew there was one in the hands of the clergyman. I did °.nthe day of the funeral mention to the plaintiff fact that a later will had been executed in my lavour. I did, however, tell a man named Evan »towill, and some others, whom I do not remember. I only received verbal instructions to obtain the sur- lerder of certain promissory notes alleged to have oeen obtained bv the fraud of the plaintiff. I did +T? ~-10w that David Davies had become surety for tne deceased upon the promissory note for certain oebts amounting to £ 450. Whilst at Chester I saw "eerl wlli°k kas been referred to, and I knew that Davies was going with the deceased to get it executed, and I warned the testator not to execute it. I never asked a witness named Reesto g^ve evi- dence as to the sobriety of deceased, nor asan induce- ment and condition to his doing so promise him a sum- of < £ 50. When I was up in London with t l, ie- ceased we went to the Aquariam. Mr Willis, Q.C. He was a clergyman of the Church of England. Did you stay with him in Lon- don, and protect him ?-He did not require protection —he was as good as I was. (Laughter.) But, on the night you went to the Aquarium, did he sleep at the Inns of Court Hotel, where you were staying P-No he left me, and went away with some lady. Did you on that occasion lend him any money ?— No. By Mr Searle The value of the estate at present is about £ 2,000. There might be more money, but this depended upon the result of the lawsuit about the uncle's will. The deceased sometimes drank heavily, and was about 44 years old when he died, He did not, however, take much in London. Re-examined Until he received the letter from the solicitor he did not know anything whatever about the will. There were about 2,000 people present at the funeral. Mr Mathews Two thousand people Is that the fashion in Wales P Mr Willis .Oh, yes, that is so, as you would find if you died there (laughter). Mr Griffith Griffiths, an auctioneer, at Aberayron, deposed that he took instructions from the testator for the will of November 3rd, which was dictated by deceased from memoranda, which he had. The will was drawn, signed, and duly attested, the deceased being perfectly sober at the time. He had never made a will before or since. The attesting witnesses, Thomas Timothy Evans and the Rev Enos George Thomas, having given evi- dence as to the duo execution of the will of November 3rd, and to the fact that the testator, in their opinion, was at that time perfectly sober, The further hearing was adjourned till Saturday morning. Upon the case being rpsumed on Saturday the fol ow ing evidence in support of defendant's case was called. John Davies, a lad, stated that he accompanied the deceased to Chester, in November, 1883. On the 2nd of that month they called on Mr Lloyd, and on the following day the testator called at the office of Mr Griffiths, the auctioneer. That morning Mr Edwards had a glass of brandy and water before breakfast, and at his breakfast he had a glass of beer. The same day the deceased told him that he had made his will and had remembered witness. Cross-examined Whilst at Chester the deceased took drink, and before they left the deceased was short of money. He was frequently the worse for drink. On the night of November 2nd the deceased had several glasses of whisky. David West Davies, hairdresser, of Aberayron, gave evidence that deceased used to come to his shop for the purpose of being shaved. On the 3rd Novem- ber he called and was quite sober. Cross-examined: He asked to be shaved, standing up. Mr Willis Is there anything peculiar in that 2- Not at all. Are people in Wales often shaved standing? (laughter).—No. I meant he was standing up when he asked to be shaved (renewed laughter). Mrs Sarah Jones, landlady of The Feathers," at Aberayron, where deceased stayed on the 3rd Novem ber, stated that Mr Edwards was perfectly sober on that day. David Evans, a clerk in the service of Mr Griffith Griffiths, deposed that he knew the testator, and had often conversed with him. Mr Edwards was very friendly with Mr Lloyd, and spoke very highly of him. The deceased had also spoken of Mr David Davies, and complained that he ill-treated him. He also told witness that Davies wanted him to sign a deed leav- ing certain property to him, which deceased declined to do. He also expressed his intention of removing his lodgings from Davies's house. Witness remem- bered the morning of the 3rd of November when tes- tator left for Chester. He came to Mr Lloyd's office and asked for = £ 20, and received a cheque for < £ 13, having previously signed a. promissory note. He was perfectly sober at the time. Cross-examined The deceased referred to the signing of the deed some time in September, 1883. On the same occasion he complained of the ill-treat- ment of Davies, and said that he should change his lodgings. Witness went into the service of Mr Griffiths in October last. Mrs Evans, proprietress of the Monachty Arms, at Aberayron, said that on November 2nd, 1883, the testator called with the boy John Davies, and had some dinner. They wanted beds, but she could not accommodate them. She saw them the next day, when they again dined at her house at one o'clock. Testator was perfectly sober. Cross-examined: A Mr and Mrs Jenkins dined in the same room, and at the same time, as Mr Edwards. He only had a glass of beer with his dinner. Ann Lloyd stated that she was a waitress at the Monachty Arms, and knew the testator. She remem- bered his dining at the house with the boy Davies, on the 3rd November, 1883. He was perfectly sober, and only had one glass of beer with his meal. Wit- ness also saw him the previous day, when he was also sober. Mrs Margaret Davies stated that testator used frequently to call at her house, and had told her that he wanted to change his lodgings, because David Davies interfered too much with his business. He told her that he had signed a note for over < £ 400, and that he should have no more to do with Davies, and asked witness to let him lodgings, but she did not do so. Just before leaving for Chester he told her that Davies would follow him to Mr Griffiths' offices, but that he would not long have the opportunity of doing so. He asked her to allow her son to go with him to Chester, and she consented. Upon his return with her son and Davies he complained to her that Davies had followed him to Chester in order to per- suade him to sign a paper, but that he would not do so. He had spoken very highly of Mr Lloyd to her. David Hughes, sexton at Llanarth, deposed that he knew the deceased, who complained (to witness) that David Davies wanted him to sign a deed relating to two farms. He said that he could not continue to live in his house, and wanted other lodgings. He re- marked that Lloyd was his only friend, and that he had no other place that he cared to go to. Upon testator's return from Chester he said that he had en- joyed himself very much, but that Davies had fetched him home and that whilst there he endeavoured to induce him to sign a deed. Witness had never seen testator the worse for drink. Thomas Davies, surveyor and post master at Aber- ayron, said he had known Mr Edwards for years. He always spoke of Mr Lloyd as his best friend, and said that he was very jolly company. Edward Evans, a nephew of testator, stated that he saw his uncle the day he left for Chester. Just before his departure he gave witness some Greek books. At that time he was quite sober. David Jones, police-constable near Aberystwyth, said he was stationed at Aberayron, in 1883, and knew Mr Edwards. Witness saw him on November 3rd, 1883, at ten o'clock in the morning, and again at about 12 o'clock. On both occasions he was perfectly sober. Mary Davies stated that deceased often used to call at her house, and she saw him on the day he left for Chester. He came with Mr Griffiths, and they both had a glass of sherry. Mr Edwards advised her to make her will, remarking that he had just made his. He also observed that Mr Lloyd was the best friend he had. Evan Jones, butcher at Aberayron, said that the deceased paid him ten shillings on the day he left for Chester, and at that time he was perfectly sober. George Smith Inglis, an expert in handwriting, stated that he had compared the will of November 3rd with the previous will of April, and with a num- ber of letters in the handwriting of the deceased, and he entertained no doubt that the signature of the will of November 3rd was that of the testator. Lross-examined The signature to the will was more perfect than those on any of the other docu- ments. This concluded the defendant's case and Mr Willis briefly addressed the jury on behalf of the plaintiff. He asked them to suspend their judg- ment until they were in possession of all the facts of the case, and said that the testator's whole conduct to his relations was completely at variance with the disposition of his property under the will propounded in regard to which not one of his relatives were bene- fitted. He submitted that there could be no question that the testator was in the habit of drinkiua* heavily, and had in consequence lost some of his cures. Ee- ferring to the signature to the will of November the learned counsel intimated that evidence would be given by an expert in handwriting, named Nether- cleft, and it would be for the jury to say after hearing that, and after making a careful scrutiny, whether it was, or was not, a genuine document. On Monday, the following evidence was called on behalf of the plaintiff. Mr David Davies, the plaintiff, examined by Mr Wiljis, stated that he was relieving officer and re- gistrar of births and deaths at Llanarth, and was a cousin of the testator, the Rev Edward Edwards About October, 1882, the deceased had to relinquish a curacy in consequence of intemperance, and after that he came to reside with witness. In April, 1883. the deceased executed a will, under which witness was appointed executor, but witness had no hand in it, nor had he made any sug- gestion whatever with regard to it. Soon after the death of his uncle the testator gave way to drink, and instituted proceedings as heir-at-law to dispute his uncle's will. At the time he paid frequent visits to Mr Lloyd, and often returned home the worse for drink. On the 3rd of November, 1883, he left for Hanley, near Chester, but his constitution at that time had been thoroughly shattered through excessive drinking. Some time prior to this he was accustomed to carry a bottle of spirits in his poc- ket. Both on the 2nd November and the day follow- ing when he left, witness saw him at Aberayron, and he was not sober, and witness endeavoured to per- suade him to return home, but he declined. Subse- quently, at Chester, the witness found him at a public house, and ultimately they returned to Llan- arth. During the return home the deceased made no reference to the will of November. On the 30th November the deceased died of delirium tremens. It was not until January, 1884, that he heard of the will propounded. The deceased owed witness at the time of his death about £39. Witness knew the writing of the deceased, and had examined the signa- ture to the will of November. He was of opinion that it was not the deceased's signature. The de- ceased never directly or indirectly complained to witness that the promissory notes had been obtained by fraud or by misconduct of any kind. Soon after he went to London he spoke to witness about trans- ferring his two farms, saying that they were being- conducted in such a way as would eat up all the profits. Witness suggested the name of deceased's cousin, Thomas Walters, a clergyman in North Wales. He next referred to the matter in August, when it transpired that he had already consulted with a solicitor at Llandyssul. It was then ar- ranged that Mr Edwards, himself, and brother should call upon Jones on the subject, and they went about the 8th September. The instructions were all given by the testator, Mr Jones making draft notes of them, the amount his brother was to pay for the farms being £ 1,200. At the time the deceased knew perfectly well what he was doing. Mr Jones had since died. Before deceased left for Chester witness never spoke to him about executing that deed. On the 22nd November he went to Chester in conse- quence of the anxiety of the boy's mother, and there found him under the influence of drink. At the Chester Railway station Lloyd came up and charged him with going to testator's solicitor to stop money supplies, and deceased said witness had no right to do so. On that occasion Mr Edwards did not charge him with attempting to get him to sign a deed, nor did Lloyd upon that say that witness should not have done that without the presence of a solicitor, and that, if it had been so signed, it might have been revoked. The deceased did not tell Lloyd that he had provided for him, nor did he turn to the boy and say, "And also you, my little boy," or anything of the sort. Witness was present at the funeral, but no mention whatever was made of the will of Novem- ber, although both Lloyd and Griffiths were there. Cross-examined Witness could not explain why deceased should desire to part with the two farms for < £ 1,200, when they realised < £ 90 a year rental. Although witness was to purchase them, the deceased was to have the liberty of re-purchase at any time on repayment of the £1,200 at the rate of 4 per cent. interest. Witness's object in being a party to the transaction was to keep the deceased "sober and straight." = But if he received the £1,200 hard cash, would you have saved him from getting rid of it by drinking or otherwise?—It was agreed between us that he was to receive the £1,200 only as he wanted it, for proper purposes. You felt it a pity that he should have so much property and that he should be rid of it 2-1 wanted to keep him sober. (Laughter.) Mr Mathews So in order to keep him sober, you wanted him to make over the whole of his property for £1,200, which you were to dole out to him? (Laughter.) There is a letter written by you for the deceased to his solicitor referring to the deed on the 2Gth November. At that time was he suffering from delirium tremens?- At that time, no. Did Dr Evans tell you on that day that he was suffering from delirium tremens ?—No. Was the illness from which he died delirium tre- mens ?—Yes, buthe was quite sensible when he wrote that letter. Mr Mathews: He appears to have been always sensible when he wanted to sign away his property (laughter). You heard what Mr Lloyd and the boy said about what took place at Chester station, and you say it is false ?—Such a conversation never took place in my presence. Mr Searle You say that the deceased was to have paid you 15s. per week for his accommodation at your house?—Yes. How did you expect to get that from a penniless man ?—I thought he would obtain a situation. Then were the promissory notes also to be paid out of his salary if he got a situation ?—Yes, and out of his means. Did you then anticipate that he had any means?— I knew that if his uncle died intestate he would, as next of kin, inherit the property. William Davies, a brother of the plaintiff, spoke to the intemperate habits of the deceased and said that he was present when Mr Edwards dictated the instruc- tions for the deed of conveyance. Witness under- stood that the deed was simply a make-belief one to avoid creditors' claims. At the same time his brother David was to borrow < £ 1,200 on the strength of it. Why should not Edwards have obtained the money himself on a mortgage of the farms ?—Because he was afraid Lloyd might hear of it. Margaret Davies, daughter of the plaintiff, a teacher at Swansea Normal College, deposed that she remembered the testator coming to reside in her father's house, and had never heard him express any disapproval of the treatment he received. Cross-examined It was not true that the deceased had spoken about marrying her. Although her father looked after the deceased as carefully as he could, still he would get into mischief (laughter). Several witnesses having spoken in corroboration of the allegation as to the deceased's intemperate habits, Mr Frederick George Nethercleft, an expert in handwriting, was next examined, and deposed that he had carefully scrutinised the will of April, 1883, and 29 other documents bearing testator's admitted signa- ture, and was of opinion that the signature at the bottom of the alleged will of November 3rd, 1883, was not that of the deceased. He had, in fact, failed to recognise in it any of the deceased's usual charac- teristics that distinguished his customary signature. The signature was a shaky, and what lie should call a dead" signature, or one having no life in it. Cross-examined Now, Mr Nethercleft, in your long experience I believe you gave evidence as to a signature in another Welsh case—that of David Davies F—I did. And notwithstanding the fact that you gave a con- fident opinion that the signature was a forgery the jury found for the will ?-They did. Mr Chabot was with me in the case, and was of the same opinion as I was. At any rate the jury did not care a straw either for you or for Mr Chabot (laughter).—No, and I hope they never will (renewed laughter). The case was not concluded at the rising of the court, and was adjourned till Wednesday. b On the resumption of the case further evidence was given in support of the will of April 27th, 1883, set up by the plaintiff in opposition to that of November 3rd, of the same year. Miss Helen Davies, another daughter of the plain- tiff, deposed that testator came to reside in her father's house, and in the summer of 1883 he men- tioned to her that he had left his farms to her father, and had also provided for her. Mr Lewis, from Aberayron, stated that he made the acquaintance of testator six months before his death, about May, and accompanied both him and Lloyd to London in August. After the death of Mr Edwards witness heard no mention whatever made of the will of November, propounded by the defendant, the only one referred to being that of April. Cross-examined Witness had been in the army, from which he deserted, was arrested and suffered 84 days' imprisonment. He had also been punished for striking a non-commissioned officer. When they were in London they put up at Anderton's Hotel, in Fleet-street, which they had to leave, and they then removed to the Inns of Court Hotel. Mr Williams Did you leave through any fault of yours ? Witness No. It was in consequence of the Ecv Mr Edwards insulting the chambermaid whilst in a state of drink (laughter). Witness (continuing): Under the earlier will ho had a legacy which he offered to dispose of for 10s. (laughter). No one,however, was willing at the time to purchase it, but he afterwards agreed to dispose of it for £5, and a conveyance to that effect was pre- pared. This concluded the whole of the evidence in the case. Mr Willis addressed the jury on behalf of the plaintiff, and at the outset submitted that there was nothing to sustain the will of November an art from the signature, beyond the evidence of Mr Lloyd, Mr Griffiths, and Timothy Evans, and it would be for them, with the whole history of the case before them, to see how far they could trust their evidence, and if they came to the conclusion that they were not telling the truth, then, with respect to the other evidence tendered in support of it, it only showed how witnesses might, from merely listening to conversations, form impressions, which, given in a witness-box, sustained the allegations put forward by Mr Lloyd and Mi- Griffiths. The all important question in the case was the conditions and the acts of Mr Edwards prior to November Srd-about which ther could be no disputee -and also his condition and the circumstances at tending the execution of the alleged will of that date. What took place subsequently was of very little im- portance to his mind, excepting so far as it went in proof of Mr Edwards's habits previous to November 3rd. Above all things a person propounding a will should be able to satisfy the jury beyond all question that it had been executed in conformity with legal rules, and it would be for them to say whether in this case a great deal of uncertainty did not exist re- specting the execution of the latter will, whilst no question whatever could be raised respecting the one executed in April, wherein the testator principally benefited the plaintiff and his children. He, therefore, asked them to come to the conclusion that after Mr Edwards made the acquaintance of Mr Lloyd, and began the litigation against his uncle's will, there came a change over him, and although Mr Davies never supplied him with money, he was sup- plied with means by Mr Lloyd, which enabled him to obtain drink. It had been said that one sum, < £ 6 10s, was advanced to enable testator to pay plaintiff for his rent. But on the other hand Mr Davies had stated that although testator brought home the amount he did not pay his rent with it). He simply asked plaintiff to mind it for him, and did in fact have it returned to him. After reviewing the evi- dence at some length, the learned counsel contended that everything pointed in the direction of the de- ceased having a desire to provide for his relatives, and' to secure his property to them, and that Mr Lloyd had not given a truthful account of himself on the 3rd November. In conclasion the learned counsel asked the jury to consider the condition of- the deceased on November 3rd, and to find that they were not satisfied that the will expressed the inten- tions of the Rev Mr Edwards on that day, first, be- cause of his cendition, and in the second place be- cause the signature did not resemble the acknow- ledged signatures of the decease 1 to a number of let- ters and papers which would be submitted to them for examination. Mr Francis Williams then followed for the de- fendant, and said the first observation he should make was that if the will of November was estab- lished to their satisfaction, then there was an end to the case, and they would fiad in favour of the will because any question with regard to the document of April then became immaterial. In order to es- tablish the will of November, they were probably aware that it was necessary that they should have satisfied the jury that the will was executed by Mr Edwards in the presence of Mr Griffiths in the way which had been detailed, and that at the time when he so executed that will he was not so under the in- fluence of drink as not to know what he was about. Those were the two attacks which ha3 been made against the will on behalf of the plaintiff, Mr Davies. He submitted that they conld not come to the conclusion that the November will had not been executed, unless from the evidence laid before them, and from the circumstances of:the case, they were prepared to believe that Mr Griffiths and Mr Lloyd had been guilty of conspiracy, and perjury, subor- nation of perjury in procuring witnesses to testify to the facts of November 3rd, and amongst them even the lad Davies. His learned friend appeared to rest his case upon the improbability of the testator exe- cuting such a will. All he could s"y with respect to that was that whatever vices or follies attended the visit of testator to London in August, 1883, it was evident that there was a great friendship subsisting between the defendant and the testator, and although it had been urged by Mr Willis as a strong point against the will that the testator had left out of re- membrance his own relatives, yot he would remind them that it was not always the case that a man cared most for those nearest related to them, nor for those who exercised, or attempted to ^exercise, control over him. After reviewing all the facts of the case, he begged of them not to stamp with the charge of forgery men who had hitherto berne a life of respectability and good character among those who knew them, and he thought that when they considered the circumstances of the case they would say that there was overwhelming evidence that the will was duly executed by Mr Edwards at a time when he was perfectly capable of doing so. The learned Judge proceeded to sum up the case to the jary. He said he thought they would find that the case lay in a very narrow compass-whether the will of November, 1883, was a forgery. The other questions discussed seemed to be only of im- portance in so far as they had a bearing upon the most material question. Of course it was quite right on both sides that the previous history of the de- ceased should be gone into. He undoubtedly ap- peared to be a person of very intemperate habits, and had led a most irregular life, not at all consis- tent with the character one would have wished him to have maintained as a clergyman of the Church of England. He seemed to have been reduced to a state of complete poverty by his irregularities, and in October, 1882, took up his abode with his cousin, Mr Davies, the plaintiff. He did not think it neces- sary to speculate as to what Mr Davies's motives were in taking testator in; they might very well have been perfectly kind and considerate, but. afterwards, in April, 1883, the uncle died, and some inkling of the prospect of Mr Edwards deriving benefits upon the death of his uncle appeared to have reached the ears of Mr Davies, and he seemed to have com- municated the fact to Edwards. Where it came from they did not know, but there was an inkling of it, and during the lifetime of the uncle it became known that the testator would have some property -at any rate some not disposed of under the will. Further, if the will could be set aside he would have been entitled to considerably more. However, it was quite certain that whatever might have been Mr Davies's motives in first taking in Mr Edwards to lodge with him, that he did not behave towards him with the disinterestedness that doubtless the testa- tor expected, because the transaction about which they had heard so much certainly did not present itself in a very favourable light with regard to either of the Messrs Davies. It was said that Mr Edwards owed Wm. Davies a sum of < £ 1G0 conjointly with his —Edward's—mother, and thit had been owing some 18 or 20 years—a very stale demand, showing that up to that time nothing could have been expected from Mr Edwards. If, when there became a prospect, there had simply been a note for £ 160 with interest, it would have not have seemed improper, but what 0 possible reason was there for asking Mr Edwards to become surety for Mr Davies's brother for a sum of be- tween 400Z and 5001 ? That was a transaction in which certainly Mr Davies did not play a friend to Mr Ed- wards in asking him to become surety for his bro- ther. Then, with regard to the deed of conveyance, he did not think that was a satisfactory transaction or creditable to anybody concerned. Reviewing the evidence bearing upon the question of the friendship of the deceased for Lloyd, the learned judge laid some stress upon the following telegram, which the deceased had sent to the defendant whilst in Che- shire Pray come up. Have no other friend except you. Davies has proved treacherous; will pay you handsomely for coming down. Will never forget your kindness, remember. Come up to-morrow." In conclusion the learned president said there was no question about the execution of the earlier will, but at the same time the testator was fully entitled, if he chose, to make a'change in his bequests, especially if, as he termed it, he considered Mr Davies" treach- erous." With regard to the conduct of the deceased in London, it was much to be regretted that, being a clergyman of the Church of England, he should have led a dissipated life, but still that had nothing to do with his competency to make a will, and it was not a matter of surprise that he wished to benefit his "boon companion Lloyd. The jury, after about ten minutes'absence, return- ed into court with a verdict for the defendant upon all the issues, and his lordship pronounced for the will of November 3rd, 1883, with costs against the plaintiff.





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