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going a little too fast. As I understand it, while some very few States have adopted the Torrens System, as a matter of fact it is distinctly adopted and in use in very small portions of those States, and it is met by all sorts of questions. Our people are more conservative than the people of other States, and I think we are rushing too fast.

The President: I would suggest to the gentleman that there is nothing before the Association just now, and probably he had better defer his remarks until a resolution is submitted.

Mr. John M. Johnson, of Alexandria : Mr. President, I offer the following resolution:

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Virginia State Bar Association that the General Assembly of Virginia should enact the proper legislation for the establishment of the Torrens System in Virginia, or in such portions thereof as it may dcem wise and proper at this time.

The President: This resolution is before the Association for consideration.

Mr. Willis B. Smith: Mr. President, I did not propose to discuss this matter especially. I just rose to say that I thought we were rushing too fast. I do not know very much about this system, but I have heard a great deal of it from its advocates, and it seems to me at we are rushing too fast, because our resolution ought to have influence with the Legislature, and I don't believe that one in ten of this body is prepared to say y what particular act he would recommend. We will be going before the Legislature and asking them to do this thing, when, from what I hear from the advocates of the system, it is stiil, in probably ninety-nine one-hundredths of the United States, an untried experiment.

Mr. W. M. McAllister, of Warın Springs: Mr. President, I feel convinced that the adoption of such legislation would be beneficial to our section of the State, but I want to call attention


again to the statements I made at the last meeting of the Association. There is nothing so timid as a buyer. We have in this section vast tracts of undeveloped property, the titles to which are in confusion, and the attempt to straighten these titles out by chancery proceedings will drive prospective buyers off. We need something here to give the purchaser a title that he can rely on, and this Torrens System will do that and enable us to develop this undeveloped part of our State.

Judge George L. Christian, of Richmond: Mr. President, it seems to me that this matter has been before the Association long enough for the members to become acquainted with it, and if they are not acquainted with it, it is their misfortune or their fault. Several gentlemen, amply capable to perform that duty, have examined into this matter and have recominended the system to the Association for two or three years. Surely the Association cannot do any especial injury by recommending this system to be applied in such parts of the State as the General Assembly may deem best. It seems to me that we ought to dispose of this matter, by recommending it or by dropping it entirely. I am in favor of recommending that the General Assembly may establish it in such parts of the State as it may be desired. I do not believe that can do any harm, and it may do a great deal of good, and for that reason I second the resolution.

Mr. Thomas N. Williams, of Clarksville: Mr. President, I hope some gentleman will explain this matter more particularly. I am not sufficiently posted to vote on it. I was not at the last meeting, and am not familiar with it, and I hope some gentleman will explain it.

The President: I would remind the gentleman that the reports of the Association for the last two or three years contain a pretty full account of this matter, and there was quite a consideration of it at the last meeting at the White Sulphur. Still, if any one wishes to explain, or will explain, the salient

features of the system for the accommodation of the gentleman from Mecklenburg, he can do so.

Mr. Massie: I will take great pleasure in giving the gentleman some literature, if he will drop by my office.

Mr. Williams: I understand the question is to be voted on now; it will be too late afterwards to get the information from the Secretary. It may be a good thing; gentlemen in whom I have the greatest confidence seem to think so, but others seem to want to know more about it.

Mr. Massie: Mr. President and gentlemen, I have, on various other occasions, attempted to explain this system in my own way, and now, at the request of the gentleman who has just spoken, I will read from the report of the Committee on Legislation and Law Reform of the Michigan State Bar Association in advocacy of the movement in that State. The advantages were set forth under four heads. This extract has been published very recently in the Law Register, at my instance, but it is such an excellent statement I will read it for the benefit of the gentleman from Clarksville and others who may not have seen it.


"The Torrens System substitutes for the present system of registering deeds a system of registering titles. Instead of an ever-lengthening list of deeds to be examined by a lawyer, whose opinion as to the validity of the title conveyed is often the purchaser's sole guaranty, is substituted a certificate as simple as a certificate of stock, showing on its face in whom the title is vested, and also all the liens or other interests existing in the premises in question. The correctness of this certificate is guaranteed by law.


“The evils of the present system are manifest, particularly in large cities and in the older communities. These are:

"1. Expense. The cost of the abstract, or its continuation, and the opinion of counsel thereon upon every transfer.

“2. Delay. This may extend to several months, the time being spent to procure abstract and deeds to fill the gaps in the chain of title and in negotiating as to claimed defects.

“3. Insecurity. Errors may and often do exist in the abstract. They may and do also exist in the opinion of counsel.

“4. The constantly lengthening chain of deeds to be examined constantly increases the expense, delay and insecurity.

5. These defects operate as a perpetual tax upon the holder: of real estate, depreciate its value and make it notoriously a “slow' asset.


“Actual experience has demonstrated that the Torrens System will correct all these defects.

“1. The expense of the initial registration does not exceed the cost of a single transfer under the present system. In all subsequent transfers the expense will be much less than now. In ordinary cases the total expense would not exceed two dollars.

“2. Speed. In the generality of cases, the transfer or mortgage, including the examination of title, all may be completed within an hour.

“3. The title is rested or quieted at every transfer; there is no long chain of deeds to be examined; the chance for error is eliminated; and the title, as transferred, is guaranteed not only by the seller's warranty, but by the law.

"1. The records are shortened. No deeds are recorded. The original or duplicate deed is filed and left with the registrar.

“5. This safe, short and inexpensive method of transfer increases the value of the land and makes it a "quick' asset.”

Mr. Massie: If you want to borrow money on your real estate now, you have to record a deed of trust, which notifies all the world that you are borrowing money in the market, and not only injures the credit of the borrower, but may injure the value of the real estate. Under this system it is possible to have transactions with real estate somewhat as with personal prop

erty, and

you need not always take the public into your confidence whenever you have such transactions. I read further from the report:



“The principles of the Torrens System are:

“1. A public examination of title in the United States by a court of competent jurisdiction.

"2. A registration of the title found upon such examination. “3. Issuance of a certificate of title. “4. Re-registration of title upon every subsequent transfer.

“5. Notice on the certificate of any matter affecting a registered title. Claims not registered have no validity.

“6. Indemnity against loss out of an assurance fund.”

I trust this succinct and admirable statement may give the gentleman from Clarksville such information as he desires; and if he will examine the certificate of title I now hand him from Australia, it will cast further light upon the subject. Such a certificate affords the best illustration of the advantages of the system. Any one can tell from it at a glance the exact state of the title, and every one can rely upon the facts set forth therein.


Mr. George Bryan, of Richmond: Mr. President, I hope it will be the pleasure of the Association to adopt the motion of the gentleman from Alexandria. I do not know what the ideas of Mr. Smith are about rushing. I have been a member of the Association for about four years, and it seems to that we have been lulled to sleep at every meeting by the Torrens System. Every member of the Association is charged with actual or constructive notice of the Torrens System, because the literature is there, and if any one does not know what the Torrens System is, it is not the fault of the Association. Therefore, I do not think the motion is chargeable with the objection of being too speedy in its nature.

Another point is this—and I can speak from a little experience on the subject: It is a recommendation to the Legislature, that is all.

I had a measure here last year which I

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