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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

In the estate of Hawkins [1837] NSWSupC 40

succession, copy of will, insanity

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling A.C.J., and Burton and Kinchela JJ, 8 July 1837

Source: Sydney Herald, 10 July 1837

Saturday. - In Banco. - Before the three Judges.

Mr. Windeyer applied to the Court to grant letters of administration of the effects of the late Dr. Hawkins, surgeon of the ship Lady McNaughton, to Henry Price, Esq., or that it might be referred to the registrar to report whether the applicant was a proper person to have administration granted to him.  The affidavits on which Mr. Windeyer moved, stated that the applicant was a very intimate friend of the deceased, in England, and embarked on board the ship Lady McNaughton under his protection; that in the course of the passage he made a will, in which he left several bequests, among which was a watch and all the other personal property on board to the applicant; that shortly afterwards he was taken ill and became insane - and that one day, on entering the cabin, he found Dr. Hawkins standing in his shirt, tearing up some papers at the cabin window which he had taken out of applicant's desk, and among them was the will.  Previous to this the applicant had made a copy of the will, which he exhibited to the Court.  Afterwards Dr. Hawkins had a lucid interval of a few hours, and when told what he had done, expressed great anxiety and wanted to make another will, but being afraid that the agitation would bring on another fit of the insanity, the subject was changed and the deceased was again attacked with the illness and never recovered his reason before his death, which happened on the 27th February, in the quarantine ground.  Mr. Binghan, who was a witness to the will, swore to the paper produced being a copy of the will.  Mr. Price, being about to return to England, wanted the matter settled before he left the Colony.  The Court thought that the application should be made at the Ecclesiastical Court in England, where the deceased's relatives live, and in the mean time ordered the Registrar to collect.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University