The Richard W Long Letters

Suite 926
18 Broadway
New York

Dec 31/15

My dear Jack

Yours of 15th inst reached me Tuesday, contents of which I carefully note,and because you are Jack I am going to answer it fully
and at once.

To show my disposition in this whole matter let me recall to your
memory the settling of the P. O. Premises as between you and me. You
will recall making certain deductions, and suggesting that I present a
bill to the estate for the difference, and you will recall my stating
I would not do so, as I felt it would not be fair to the heirs. This
has been my disposition all along. I never asked anything for myself,
but simply desired to carry out Father's wishes as any intelligent
person could see them, provided that they allow themselves to be governed
by honor, honesty, and their conscience, and to clear up the many
pitfalls in the will, which are detrimental equally to all. To this end I
have written until the peculiar disposition of everyone, a disposition
apparently of greed, dishonour and dishonesty has soured and so disgusted
me that I have decided to have nothing more to do with the matter, but
ask the Law to interpret the entire case. This course I have decided on
unless the others show an honorable disposition. Of course that is for
them to say, but I am done writing.

Another point, which as a business man you will realize and appreciate,
is the attitude which Lillie and those behind her have taken for
some time; it is what in business we would call "threatening;" as a
consequence to this I have written Harry and Bee as Executors that they
forthwith employ capable Counsel to protect the Estate and direct the
Executors. I have told them that if they neglected do doing that I, as
Executor, will hold them responsible for any trouble or damage which may
arise from the opposition. You can see clearly that this will mean
additional expense out of the earnings of the Estate, but you also can
see that it is not the fault of the Executors, but the smart set, who are
playing with fire and don't seem to intelligently realize the consequences,
disgusted at the aspect this whole matter has assumed and regret the
unhappy feeling and prejudice it has raised in my mind.

I am not going to place myself on a par with those who have acted so
peculiarly in the past to make any suggestion for comparison with theirs,
but I will point out to you the facts, as I know you are sincere and honorable
in your intention; I will add to this that I am ready to consider any
arrangements, based on business, provided the same are in keeping with what
we conscientiously know were Grand Father's wishes and desires as indicated
in his papers, and to get into everyone's hands their individual bequests
and let them do their own financing so that the whole thing could be closed
up at once.

Now referring to your letter. In the last sentence you state that
your intention is to sort out the points that agree in the replies you
receive, and hand the same to the "existing Trustees," assumably for their
action thereon. Let me make plain to you this point, The trustees or
Executors have no power or right to offer any suggestion; their power
commences and ends with the will as it is. Anything that can be accomplished,
looking to an amicable adjustment of the situation, must be come
to as between the Legatees as a whole.

Referring now to that clause in the will which we will call "land in
common." If you read the will you will realize at once that it would not
be legally, morally, or physically possible to carry out Father's bequest
on this point. The land is leased property, someone must be leasee;
someone must be responsible for its care; someone must have legal power to
govern and control it. The title to the houses is affected by this clause.
You possibly are aware that the wall behind Ahearn's fell recently. Suppose
this wall had fallen after the Executers had fulfilled their duty and the
Legatees were in possession of their bequests: who could have forced the
rebuilding of this wall or the paying for it? It is unnecessary to go
into further details as your intelligence will suggest them to you. A very
simple ay to have this point cleared up is to have one made leasee and to
add to the head rent a small amount for the keeping of the roads and fences
of the property in order and repair. Let me illustrate. Say the ground
rent is £10, add to that say another £10 for care, then split up this £20
between the entire property, each paying is ratio according to its Poor
Law evaluation. Is this clear? Now suppose that the wall should fall,
such as in the Ahearn case referred to, then the actual cost of this repair
would be levied exactly the same as the rent and the amount for the
upkeep of the property, just referred to. You fully realize that in all
possibility this property will change hands from time to time, and if
everybody has equal rights who is going to control the new owners if they
do things that will be detrimental to the property?

Referring again to the Will; my ideas of that document are that it is
clear enough if we will allow our honour, our honesty and our conscience to
guide us, but if we don't do so, it will be clear to you that the Will cannot
be interpreted other than by the Law. For example. If we read the Will
and the memorandum with the Will, we will find that Father clearly indicates
that he disposed of Kennedy's House, for we find that in making his calculations
for his bequest to Uncle Harry that he mentions this fact; we find
educational expense; as a matter of fact, and which is perfectly well known
to you, Father never paid a cent for Uncle Harry's college expense. I
understand further that some parties are ready to even question Uncle
Harry's right to Sebastopol because it is not mentioned in the Will. The
transfer of this property was made to Aunt Jennie and Uncle Harry previous
to uncle Harry's attending Trinity College, Dublin. (Subsequently Aunt
Jennie sold her interest to Uncle Harry in the properly.) This transaction
took place between Father and them at the time your Father was in
Limerick, for after I came home from there I relieved Uncle Harry to enable
him to take up his studies. How you can figure for yourself about when
this property passed to its present ownership; yet there are people insane
enough to try and question Uncle Harry's right and title to the same, do if
you add all these things together you will see clearly that it isn't a case
of conscience, honesty or honour that governs the opposition, but absolutely
the reverse,and as long as that is the case there is only one way to
straighten things out and that is by Law.

If you carefully review the Will you will find error after error,
showing the condition of the mind of its Writer at the time it was
produced (I am now quoting from memory as I have not time to refer to the
Will itself, so may be slightly wrong in my specific references)
You will find that each of the Quary Houses is to pay £2 ground rent;
the Will says specifically £8, and that this amount shall be applied to
pay the head rent on the entire property; you will find immediately following
this, that Aunt Bee's house is to be free of ground rent, consequently
there is only £6. You will find that certain properties are
willed twice to different parties. You will find that Grand Father
called you his Nephew, and you will find numerous similar errors; in a
word, the Will shows that Father was absolutely incompetent to draft it,
but as I have said, the Will is clear enough to enable us to carry out
Grand Father's wish if we are honest and honorable. We cannot take the
Will and carry it out to the letter, such would be impossible, we simply
must take it as interpreting the wish of its Writer. As one of the
Legatees my point is, we shall carry out those wishes as indicated, an
as we conscientiously know them, and put greed and dishonor aside. This
course will be adopted or it won't, and the choice is with those who are
causing the trouble.

Personally I deny Father had the power to write a Will such as he
did; and that if he had he was incompetent to make a Will at the time he
did so, as evidenced by the Will itself, and by written evidence in my possession. But while I am  my Father's smallest beneficiary I don't
want to take any personal advantage if all are willing to carry out Grand
Father's wish, and this not dishonour his memory as well as ourselves.

The whole questions at issue are. Are we, or are we not, honest,
honorable and willing to carry out Father's wish as INDICATED in his Will?
Are we, or are we not, willing to be honest, honorable and conscientious,
and cut out petty greed, and thus honor Grand Father's name and
memory? If we are not then I say we will fight it out in Court and
expose the dirty hands that are stirring up the mud.

The fault or the trouble is not, and never has been, mine. God
gave me eyes, He gave me intelligence, therefore I clearly see what Father's
wish and desire was, it is as clear to me as the "hand writing on the wall"
but if I deliberately blind that sight, and kill that intelligence, just to
gain a few dirty pennies, I at once place myself on a par with those who
desire to dishonor one who has done so much for them as Grand Father. The
choice is theirs, not mine; the choice is between an amicable adjustment,
(To which I am, and always have been desirous) or Law.

I think the foregoing will show you clearly my position in the case,
that I have no prejudice to overcome, but that I am determined that Father's
name shall be honored by carrying out his wish, no matter what the cost,
financially or otherwise is going to be. I will assist you in any way
towards clearing up matters, and give you freely my opinion on any point or
question which you may ask, but I will not formulate any plans until I am
dealing with people of intelligence, of conscience, of honor and of honesty;
I am not going to take anybody's word that they are endowed with these
instincts, but I am going to judge everybody by their acts, past, present
and future. I offer as my best advice what I have already suggested
ti you long since, and that is, that if you can get your Brothers and
Sister to place their interests in your hands, so that the Will might
be cleaned up, and everything put on a proper business base, I am
perfectly sure that it would be a matter of only a couple of letters
between you and I to accomplish this fact.

Let me add, to show you the impossibility of accomplishing anything
under the present system. Supposing that I attempted to try and
clean this matter up by negotiations between your wife, Lillie's Husband,
May's Husband, and Gordon's wife, do you honestly or intelligently think
that I would accomplish anything? Yet this is exactly the position
we are in as clearly indicated by the correspondence which I have in my
possession. For this reason I cannot see success, unless as stated,
the matter is handed over to intelligent hands who will handle it
intelligently and conscientiously, and without hurt to any one. The main
points at issue are those outlined in this letter, and any other minor
points can be easily adjusted, looking to serving everybody's interest,
individually and collectively.

I would like you to accept this letter as representing Uncle
Harry's views also, as he, as Beneficiary, (not Executor) has handed his
interest over to me to manage for him.

This is the last day of the Old Year. Commercially speaking it
has been a terribly bad year in this Country in business. I suppose your
business has suffered very materially also, however what is business
as compared to the useless amount of human blood that has been spilt in this
fruitless and useless war. Let us hope that the New Year will bring
with it peace and good will to the world; health, happiness and prosperity
to us all, and it is needless to say that I wish you and yours every
blessing throughout the coming year

With  loving regards, I am,
Affectionately, your Uncle,
Richard W Long

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Page's Author: Richard Torrens
Document URI: http://genealogy.torrens.org/Youghal/Long/RWLongLetters/19151231.html
Last modified: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:29:18 GMT
First published 19th April 2002.
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