168 Mass. 341 (1897), Teele v. Bishop of Derry

Citation:168 Mass. 341, 47 N.E. 422
Opinion Judge:MORTON, J.
Party Name:TEELE v. BISHOP OF DERRY et al.
Attorney:[47 N.E. 422] C.R. Darling and W.S. Slocum, for Bishop of Derry. W.M. Noble, for residuary legatee. J.O. Teele, pro se.
Case Date:May 21, 1897
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 341

168 Mass. 341 (1897)

47 N.E. 422




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

May 21, 1897


Page 342

[47 N.E. 422] C.R. Darling and W.S. Slocum, for Bishop of Derry.

W.M. Noble, for residuary legatee. J.O. Teele, pro se.



We think that the bequest to trustees for the purpose of purchasing a lot and building a chapel in Carndrine, "to be forever used for purposes of public worship under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church," was a gift for a public charitable use. Attorney General v. Briggs, 164 Mass. 561, 567, 42 N.E. 118; In re Bartlett, 163 Mass. 509, 514, 40 N.E. 899; McAlister v. Burgess, 161 Mass. 269, 37 N.E. 173; Sears v. Chapman, 158 Mass. 400, 33 N.E. 604. The fact that the charity would be administered in a foreign country does not, of itself, render the gift void, and there is nothing to show that it would not be a good public charity by the law of Ireland. Fellows v. Miner, 119 Mass. 541, 546; Washburn v. Sewall, 9 Metc. (Mass.) 280; Burbank v. Whitney, 24 Pick. 146, 154; Chamberlain v. Chamberlain, 43 N.Y. 424, 432. Neither does the fact that the bequest is in the nature of a public charity require of itself that the court should frame a scheme to carry it out as near as may be to the purpose of the testatrix, if for any reason that has become impossible of performance in the manner which she has provided. "Assuming that the object is a charity, still there is no universal principle that the testator's particular intention must be sacrificed by reason of that general object." Bullard v. Inhabitants of Shirley, 153 Mass. 559, 560, 27 N.E. 766, 767. The difficulty in this case, and generally in cases like it, is

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one of construction,--to find out the intention of the testatrix. When that is arrived at, the rules of law which apply seem to be well settled. If it appears from the will that the intention of the testatrix was that her property should be applied to a charitable purpose whose general nature is described so that a general charitable intent can be inferred, then, if by a change of circumstances or in the law it becomes impracticable to administer the trust in the precise manner provided by the testatrix, the doctrine of cy pres will be applied, in order that the general charitable intent which the court regards as the dominant one may not be...

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