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|motivations for an entail
Written by Heather Leigh
(4/29/2010 4:52 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Why would Sir Lewis's property go to Darcy?, penned by kathleen (elder)
I am intrigued by Lady Catherine's statement which makes it clear that an entail was a strategy that a land-owning family could use if they thought it necessary:
"I see no occasion for entailing estates from the female line. It was not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family."
We don't know when Longbourn was entailed (was it Mr. Bennett's father's decision, or an earlier generation?) or why. Maybe to prevent its passing to a daughter and her present/future husband, maybe to prevent its being divided up and sold off in parcels? Austen doesn't give us information to understand the entail much better than Mrs. Bennett does ;-)
It's ironic, given this legal strategy for keeping the family estate from being fragmented, that Mr. Bennett was estranged from at least one of his male relatives (the older Mr. Collins). Guess it's easier to keep property united than people!
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