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Bland's Reports, Chancery Court 1809-1832
Volume 201, Volume 3, Page 71   View pdf image (33K)
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PATTERSON v. M'CAUSLAND 71
ready for hearing, and the attorneys of the parties having been
fully heard, the proceedings were read and considered.
The evidence here relied on to contradict and discredit the tes-
timony of the witnesses who have been produced to prove the
marking of this black oak as a boundary, is founded on a pre-
sumption, derived from what is alleged to be the regular course of
nature in the growth of forest trees. I have met with no instance,
in the books, in which proof of this kind had been received and
respected in a court of justice.
A presumption is an inference as to the existence of a fact, not
actually known, arising from its usual or necessary connection with
others which are known, (a) The whole force of the presumptive
evidence, here offered, rests, therefore, upon the fact of the alleged
regular and invariable course of nature in the formation and growth
of trees, being well known; or at least, on its being susceptible of,
or having been clearly established by proof. For, if the course of
vegetation, in this particular, be irregular, unknown, or on any ac-
count incapable of proof, then no inference can be deduced from
it worthy of any consideration whatever as evidence. The point
then to be here determined is, whether, in the growth of trees, a
concentric layer of wood under the bark is a regular and invariable
annual formation or not? This is a question involving an inquiry
into the physiology of forest trees, which merits a most careful
consideration.
The law respects the regular course of nature in every way;
and, consequently, in all cases, in so far as the course of nature is
known, all such facts, as well in regard to the revolution of the
seasons, as to animals and vegetables; as the mating of birds, and
their co-operation in rearing their young, the blooming time of
roses, and the like, are received as being in themselves, entirely
trustworthy; or as facts from which inferences as to the truth of
other facts may be safely drawn, (b) In questions of bastardy, the
time of access being proved, the known term of gestation, reckon-
ing from the time of birth, is always received as a most satisfac-
tory kind of presumptive evidence, (e) So too, in all the various
questions in relation to the right of property, connected with a con-
tinuance of life, facts, so far as they are known, in regard to the
(a) 1 Stark. End. 23.~(b) Co. Litt. 40, 02, 107; I Stark. Evid. 472, note; 4
Stark. Evid. 1244; The case of Swans, 7 Co. 89.(e) Co. Litt. 123, b, note; The
King 9. Luffe, 8 East. 193.


 
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Bland's Reports, Chancery Court 1809-1832
Volume 201, Volume 3, Page 71   View pdf image (33K)
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