Response or Comment
Professor Gray, in the first edition of his great work, "The Rule Against Perpetuities," Section 31 and following, contended that the Statute Quia Emptores by putting an end to tenure between feoffor and feoffee of an estate in fee simple, incidentally put an end to possibility of reverter to the feoffer on failure of the condition in a determihable fee. Specifically he says that upon dissolution of an eleemosynary corporation a terminable gift to such corporation does not revert to the donor, as is said by Lord Coke, Co. LITT. 13b, but escheats. For reversion depends on tenure, and the Statute by destroying tenure ends possibility of reverter. In his third edition, Section 40a, he notes that since the second edition of his book three cases have held contra,--North v. Graham. 235 Ill. 178, Pond v. Douglass, 106 Me. 85, and Board of Chosen Freeholders v. Buck, 779 N. J. Eq. 472. These follow a dictum in First Universalist Society v. Boland, 155 Mass. 171, which" he considers as opposed to a case not to be distinguished from it, the leading case of Brattle Square Church v. Grant, 3 Gray 142. The learned author regards Lord Coke's statement that land of a corporation upon its dissolution reverted to the donor or grantor, while upon the death of a natural person without heirs his land escheated, as based on cases which do not uphold him, and the rule as not surviving his retirement, for Johnson v. Norway Winch 37, 1622, shows a great doubt on the part of the judges, and though the report does not give the final decision on the point, Lord Hale's MSS. cited Co. LITT. 13b, Harg. note, say they held the land escheated. Lord Coke seems to have but a dictum in one case to support him, and only one case that has ever followed it, GRAY Section 51.
Goddard, Edwin C. "Determinable Fee—Possibility of Reverter." Mich. L. Rev. 18 (1919): 144-6.