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|Tom and Inheritance Law
Written by BarbaraB
(9/12/2010 11:56 p.m.)
One of the criticisms (among others) of the inheritance laws and support for their reform was because of "how the unquestioned acceptance of the eldest son's right to succeed to his family's estate and the bulk of its fortune often creates future heirs who are frivolous and engaged in a constant search for amusement rather than young men intent on learning to rule their estates and guide their families effectively." (Teachman) Tom fits this bill admirably:
"He was just entering into life, full of spirits, and with all the liberal dispositions of an eldest son, who feels born only for expense and enjoyment" (2) "Tomís extravagance had, previous to that event, been so great as to render a different disposal of the next presentation necessary, and the younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder....Tom listened with some shame and some sorrow; but escaping as quickly as possible, could soon with cheerful selfishness reflect, firstly, that he had not been half so much in debt as some of his friends; secondly, that his father had made a most tiresome piece of work of it; and, thirdly, that the future incumbent, whoever he might be, would, in all probability, die very soon." (3)
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