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"It was little the disposition of English lawyers," wrote Professor
Gray in commenting upon the meagerness of the consideration
given in English Law to determinable fees, "to trouble
themselves about questions which did not come up practically."
The same thing could even more truly be said of American lawyers.
If determinable fees and rights of reverter dependent
upon them were of no more frequent occurrence in the United
States than in England, there would certainly be no sufficient reason
for giving further time to their discussion. But such is
not the case. American courts have been frequently called upon
to determine the nature and validity of such estates, and the
cases involving them in new and unexpected relationships appear
to be increasing in number and importance. This peculiar
fact is probably due to the sense of rapid change felt in a new
country, even in land uses to be expected, causing grantors and
testators to anticipate that the purposes and uses for which gifts
of land are made may not persist in perpetuity. But whatever
the reason, it is clearly desirable that American lawyers should
come to a more satisfactory understanding of the true nature
of rights of reverter than is now possessed.
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