which are the same in English as in the civil law. Degree is
calculated from the intestate, through the common ancestor
if any, to the kindred. Thus from son to father is one degree,
to grandfather two degre
ss, to brother two degrees, to uncle
three degrees, and so on. The statute ordains distribution
to be made “to the next of kindred in equal degrees pro suo
cuique jure, according to the laws in such cases and the rules
and limitations hereafter set down.” Equality in degree is
therefore not in all cases accompanied by equality in rights of
succession. Neglecting the cases of wife and children already
noticed, the father excludes all other next of kin. So would a
mother, in default of a father surviving, but an act of 1685
enacted that in such a case the brothers and sisters, and children
of brothers and sisters, of the intestate should share equally
with the mother. In the absence of brothers or sisters and their
representatives, the mother in the case supposed would take the
whole. Mothers-in-law and stepmothers are not within the
rules of consanguinity. As between a brother and a grandfather
who are both in the second degree, preference is given to the
brother; but a grandfather, being in the second degree, will
exclude an uncle, who is in the third. An uncle and a nephew,
both being in the third degree, take together. Brothers or
sisters of the half blood take equally with brothers and sisters
of the whole blood. The rule which prohibits representation
after brothers’ and sisters’ children would, in a case where the
next of kin were uncles or nephews, wholly exclude the children
of a deceased uncle or nephew. Also, as between the son of a
brother and the grandson of a brother, the latter would not be
admitted by representation. Where a brother and the children
of a deceased brother are the next of kin, they will take per
stirpes, i.e. the brother will take one half, and the children of the
other brother will take the other half between them. When the
next of kin are all children of the deceased brothers or sisters,
they will take equally per capita. Subject to these modifications,
the personal property will be divided equally among the next
of kin of equal degree, e.g. great-grandfathers would share with
uncles or aunts, as being in the third degree. Failing next of
kin, under these rules, the estate goes to the crown as ultimus
haeres, a result which is more likely to happen in the case of
illegitimate persons than in any other.
Personal or movable property takes its legal character from the domicile of the owner, and the distribution of an intestate’s goods is therefore regulated by the law of the country in which the intestate was domiciled. A domiciled Scotsman, for example, dies intestate in England, leaving personal property in England; the administrator appointed by the court of probate will be bound to distribute the property according to the Scots rules of succession.
In the law of Scotland the free movable estate of the intestate is divided amongst the nearest of kin, the full blood excluding the half blood, and neither mother nor maternal relations being originally admitted. The heir of the heritable (i.e. real) property if one of the next of kin must collate with the next of kin if he wishes to share in the movables. Proximity of kin is reckoned in the same order as in the case of inheritance. The Intestate Movable Succession Act 1855 among other changes allows the issue of a predeceasing next of kin to come in the place of their parent in succession to an intestate, gives the father of an intestate dying without issue one-half of the movable property in preference to brothers and sisters, and to the mother if the father be dead a similar preference to the extent of one-third, and admits brothers and sisters uterine in the absence of brothers and sisters german or consanguinean.
In the United States the English Statute of Distribution has been taken as the basis of the law for the distribution of personal property in intestacy, and its principles have been applied to real property also. “In a majority of the states the descent of real and personal property is to the same persons and in the same proportions, and the regulation is the same in substance as the English Statute of Distribution. In Georgia the real and personal property of the intestate is considered as altogether of the same nature and upon the same footing.” There are many states, however, in which the distribution differs materially from the English statute. In Illinois the distribution is the same as descent of real property. In Alabama the whole goes to the widow if there are no children (Phillips v. Lawing, 1907, 43 Southern Rep. 494). In many states the husband’s share is in all cases like the widow’s, as in Texas, New York and Washington. In Pennsylvania he takes an equal share with the children.
The statutes of each state of the American union must be consulted, as no general rules can be laid down. As to the right to the intestate’s interest in community property in the states where the law of “community”—of “acquets and gains”—prevails, see Inheritance.
INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION (Ilius), in surgery, a condition in which the onward passage of the faeces is prevented. It is often associated with phenomena due to strangulation of the gut, leading to gangrene, and with systemic poisoning due to the absorption of toxins, resulting from the decomposition of the retained faeces. Intestinal obstruction may be conveniently divided into acute and chronic.
Acute Intestinal Obstruction forms one of the most urgent of surgical emergencies. The following are its chief causes: (1) strangulation by bands or adhesions or through apertures; (2) volvulus; (3) the impaction of foreign bodies; (4) acute intussusception; (5) strangulation over a band or acute kinking of the gut; (6) the termination supervening on chronic obstruction; (7) congenital malformations of the intestines.
|Fig. 1.—Diagram to show how Strangulation by a Band may take place.|
Strangulation by Bands or Adhesions or through Apertures.—These terms are applied to obstruction by constricting bands within the abdomen. These may be the result of the stretching of old inflammatory adhesions, the result of former peritonitis. These bands are commonly situated between different parts of the mesentery or between the mesentery and another organ such as the appendix. Two methods of producing strangulation exist; in the first the bowel passes under an arch or loop formed by some short constricting band and cannot return, or if the band is long it may form a noose in which the bowel is strangled (fig. 1); in the second the remains of a foetal structure (Meckel’s diverticulum) becoming adherent to some other organ may ensnare the intestine in the loop. A coil of intestine may also slip into a hole in the mesentery or omentum or find its way into a pouch of peritoneum, forming what is known as an internal hernia. The onset of symptoms is sudden and abrupt. The patient is seized with acute abdominal pain associated with collapse. The pain is usually referred to the region of the umbilicus; this localization, however, is no guide to the situation of the lesion. Vomiting is early and persistent, generally assuming a faecal character between the second and the ninth day. There is no obvious tumour; constipation is present, the abdominal walls are flaccid at first, but if no relief is obtained become tender when peritonitis ensues. This form of obstruction is most frequent in young people, and there is usually a history of previous peritonitis. In cases not treated by operation the average duration is five to seven days, and death takes place from exhaustion or from toxaemia following peritonitis.
|Fig. 2.—Diagram to show how Volvulus may take place.|
Volvulus means a torsion or twisting of the gut. There are two chief varieties: (1) in which the bowel is twisted upon its mesenteric axis (fig. 2); (2) in which it is wound round another coil of intestine. The sigmoid flexure is the situation in which volvulus most commonly takes place, but it may occur in the caecum and small intestine. When once present, plastic peritonitis fixes the coil in position and the blood supply becomes obstructed. Volvulus is generally preceded by a history of chronic constipation. The acute symptoms start abruptly and are similar to those of internal strangulation, but the pain at first is more intermittent in type. There is usually early tenderness over the spot and constipation is absolute. Much distress is occasioned by abdominal distension from flatus, which develops with remarkable rapidity. The swelling is localized at first. Spontaneous natural cure is unknown, and without surgical interference death is inevitable.
Impacted Foreign Bodies.—Gall-stones may cause obstruction when they are of large size. These gall-stones when lodged in the intestine may there be enlarged by subsequent accretion. Leichenstern describes such a stone with a circumference of 5 in., and Sir F. Treves removed from the intestine of an old lady a calculus, the large size of which was due to layers of magnesia, the patient having taken