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diate wants, and that in addition thereto he would provide for her liberally in his will, to which complainant assented without objection or suggestion, replying that she felt he would do what was right, and would carry out his promise, and, having confidence in him, would leave the matter to be arranged as he thought best. She alleges that she signed the proposed agreement for the payment to her of the $5,000 relying on his promise to provide liberally for her in his will, and that it was at once delivered to the trustee named therein, and that no copy of the agreement was furnished to her; that she had no advice of counsel, and was ignorant of the effect of the agreement. She further alleges that she never asked her husband to make a will, according to thei alleged agreement, and did not know until after his death that he had made one; that the marriage agreement was never referred to during their married life; that she never inquired into the nature or value of his estate, and knew nothing of it until after his death. She further states: That Mr. Russell aid, while they were on a visit to Florida, in February, 1896, make his will, in which he left her the $5,000 named in the antenuptial agreement, and also 10 shares of Glassboro Bank stock, of par value of $1,000, and gave all the rest of his estate to his grandchildren and his nephews and other legatees and devisees. This will was duly proven on July 31, 1897, and by an inventory and appraisement the personalty was valued at $89,727.- | 66, but that it was in fact of much greater value, and he also died seised of real estate of the value of over $100,000. And that at the time of making the antenuptial agreement his estate was as great in value as at the time of his death. After the testator's death, the complainant accepted from the trustee a partial payment of $500 under the antenuptial agreement. This she alleges was in ignorance of her rights, and that she has refused to receive any further portion, though she admits the executor was willing to pay and deliver to her the $5,000 and the bank stock. She charges that Mr. Russell violated his agreement with her, in that he did not make a liberal provision for her in his will; that he procured the antenuptial agreement from her by fraud; that his executors, devisees, and legatees should perform his agreement by making a liberal provision for her, which she insists should be in excess of the total amount which would have come to her by operation of law had Mr. Russell died intestate. She tenders herself ready to release her dower and other interests in Mr. Russell's estate on fulfillment of the agreement. She makes the executors, devisees, and legatees of Mr. Russell defendants, and prays discovery of the whole estate, an accounting for the same, and the written antenuptial agreement may be decreed to be void, and to be canceled; that the defendants may be decreed specific-❘ ally to perform the agreement of Russell to

make a liberal provision for her; that she may be declared to be entitled to receive the sum of $4,500, and also a liberal provision, not less than one-third of the personalty, and also the value of her dower rights in the realty, upon her giving a proper release of her dower rights and other interest in the estate; that the decedent's will may be decreed to have been made in fraud of the testator's agreement with the complainant, and to be null and void in so far as the distributive share of the complainant in the personalty of the decedent is concerned. There is also a prayer for an injunction restraining the defendants from disposing of the decedent's property. Copies of the antenuptial agreement and of the will are annexed to the bill. The executor and principal devisees and legatees file litigating answers, admitting the marriage and the will, but denying that the decedent was possessed of $250,000 worth of property when the antenuptial agreement was made, or at the time of his death. They profess their willingness to comply with the terms of the antenuptial agreement, allege that the complainant accepted $500 under it, and deny that she did so in ignorance of her rights, as alleged in the bill. They deny that Russell agreed to make a liberal provision for the complainant in his will; deny that he has violated any agreement with her, and that he fraudulently procured her to sign the antenuptial agreement. They also deny the equity of the bill, and they ask the same benefit as if they had demurred to the bill. The infant defendant legatees, by their guardian, file answers praying that their interests may be protected. The cause is at issue, and has come to a hearing on its merits.

Benjamin J. Downer, Clarence S. Brown, and Robert G. Ingersoll, for complainant. Walter H. Bacon and D. J. Pancoast, for defendants.

GREY, V. C. (after stating the facts). The complainant admits that the antenuptial agreement which she entered into with Mr. Russell in his lifetime was made in considera tion of their marriage. The contract produced is all in writing, and is signed by the parties to be charged therewith. The complainant does not deny its execution and delivery by her and by Mr. Russell. Her claim for relief is based upon two several grounds: First, she contends that the written agreement is not complete, in that it does not contain an undertaking by Mr. Russell to make for her a liberal provision in his will, which she insists was a part of their antenuptial agreement; secondly, that she was induced to enter into it by the fraudulent statements of Mr. Russell to the effect that he would, in addition to the provision for her in the contract, make a liberal provision for her in his will, and by his omission to inform her of the extent and value of his property at the time

of the making of the agreement. The defendants deny that there was any other or additional agreement than that expressed in the writing, and insist that the complainant's contention that the written agreement may be supplemented by parol proof of an additional term, whereby the consideration to be paid would be increased, cannot be considered.

It is an established rule of evidence in this state that where the written contract is complete on its face, and purports to contain the entire agreement of the parties, parol evidence will not be received to add another term to the agreement, although the written contract may contain nothing on the subject to which the parol evidence is directed, and that the completeness of the written contract is to be ascertained from the contract itself. Naumberg v. Young, 44 N. J. Law, 331; Bandholz v. Judge, 62 N. J. Law, 526, 41 Atl. 723. This rule is recognized and enforced in equity as well as at law. McTague v. Finnegan, 54 N. J. Eq. 460, 35 Atl. 542; Van Horr v. Van Horn, 49 N. J. Eq. 328, 23 Atl. 1079. The written contract now under consideration appears to be complete and perfect in all its parts, and to provide for the complainant a compensation which is entire and final. The complainant seeks by parol proof to show that Mr. Russell agreed to pay a compensation in addition to that stated in the written contract, for the same service therein agreed to be rendered. The rule quoted prohibits the reception of such evidence. The statute of frauds also interposes an insurmountable bar to the admission of parol proof seeking to charge any person upon any contract made in consideration of marriage. That the consideration of this contract was an intended marriage is undisputed. The contention of the complainant is therefore directly in the face of the statute, which is just as prohibitive in such cases of the addition of a single paro! term to a written agreement as it is to the enforcement of a contract resting wholly in parol.

Courts of equity refuse to entertain suits for enforcement of such contracts, unless special equitable grounds be shown, which justify the giving of relief notwithstanding the statute. Equity will grant relief where specific performance is sought of parol contracts, though their enforcement is prohibited by the statute of frauds, in cases where the party seeking performance has been induced partly to perform the parol contract. This right to relief is based upon the fact that to apply the statute would, in view of his changed position, aid, rather than prevent, a fraud. But acts of part performance by the party sought to be charged cannot be set up as a reason for the exceptional action of this court in refusing to apply the statute. It is not his change of position, but that of the other party, induced thereto by the parol contract, which makes the case one of hardship and injustice. This is well illustrated by Lord Chancellor Cranworth in Caton v. Caton, 1 Ch. App. 148, in a cause which, in all of the essential facts that call for the application of

the statute of frauds to prohibit the enforcement of the alleged parol contract, is similar to that now under examination. There was a parol agreement that in consideration of marriage the husband would make a will giving the intended wife all of her own, and also some of his, property. The marriage took place, and the husband made a will accordingly, but afterwards made a different will. The wife, after his death, filed her bill to enforce the parol contract, alleging her marriage as the element of part performance which should take the case out of the statute. But Lord Chancellor Cranworth held that, though marriage is necessary to bring a case within the statute, to hold that it also takes it out of the statute would be a palpable absurdity. He further declared that it is certain that marriage itself is no part performance, within the rule of equity. In this his lordship's judgment followed Montacute v. Maxwell, 1 P. Wms. 620, and Lassence v. Tierney, 1 Macn. & G. 571, and it has been accepted in this court in Manning v. Riley, 52 N. J. Eq. 44, 27 Atl. 810. He further declared that the execution of the will by the husband caused no alteration of the position of the lady, save in the fact of her marriage, which, as above stated, could not be held to be such a performance as took the parol agreement out of the statute, aud that "it will not be argued that any consequence can be attached to acts of part performance by the party sought to be charged," following this with a very apt illustration. In the present case there is no pretense that the complainant has done any act of part performance of the parol contract which she seeks to have enforced, save only the single incident of her marriage. The weight of authority is against the claim of the complainant that it may be shown that the written agreement does not fully and exclusively express the antenuptial contract, and that she may supplement it by parol proof of another term. Her contention on these points cannot be sustained. The relief which the complainant claims to have, by a decree enforcing the alleged parol promise of Mr. Russell that, in addition to the benefits secured to her by the written agreement, he would make for her a liberal provision in his will, is necessarily dependent upon the parol proofs by which she offers to establish that promise. When those parol proofs may not be considered, all possibility of any relief by decree for the specific performance of any such contract is destroyed. It is unnecessary, therefore, to discuss the contention of the complainant that an agreement to make a "liberal provision in a will" can be enforced by a court of equity. No authority was cited in which a contract so uncertain in its terms, and so dependent upon the individual view of the person making the agreement, has been enforced. In every day's experience of life, what one person considers to be a liberal provision is by others deemed, under the circumstances, to be niggardly. If the question of what amount of Mr. Russell's estate

should be decreed to be a liberal provision for his wife were to be considered, it would be fraught with embarrassment, because of the lack of those elements of certainty which judicial determination requires.

The second ground upon which the contract is attacked is that the complainant was induced to enter into it unadvisedly, by the fraudulent statement of Mr. Russell, and by his omission to inform her of the extent and value of his property. If this contention of the complainant should be sustained, it would still be no ground for a decree for the specific performance of the alleged parol contract that a liberal provision should be made for complainant. The most conclusive showing that she was by fraud induced to make an agreement which is proven cannot justify a decree that a different agreement, which is not proven, shall be specifically enforced. If it shall appear that Mr. Russell did by fraudulent artifice induce her to make the antenuptial agreement, and that the complainant so asserted her rights that she is entitled to redress, her relief must come, if at all, by a decree setting aside the written agreement, and declaring it to be wholly void, because of fraud practiced in obtaining it. This determination would not give to the complainant any distributive share in the personalty of the decedent, as if he had died intestate. His will must stand as a disposition of his personal estate. He always had unlimited power to dispose of that as he chose. She would secure a dower right in her late husband's lands. The real estate is in such great portion unimproved and unproductive that it may be doubted whether such a decree would be of more value to the complainant than the acceptance of the amount absolutely payable to her under the antenuptial agreement. The cause has been argued upon her part with energetic insistence that there should be a decree for the specific performance of the alleged parol contract that Mr. Russell would make for her a liberal provision in his will. As above shown, this cannot be granted.

The prayer of the bill asks that the written agreement should be decreed to be void, but apparently as a basis for the immediately following prayer, for the specific performance of what the complainant insists was the entire antenuptial contract, which includes the terms of the written agreement, and the added term for a liberal provision in the will, which the complainant contends should be enforced. Argument was, however, submitted, claiming that the antenuptial agreement should be decreed to be void because of alleged fraud on the part of Mr. Russell in obtaining it; and, in order to dispose of all the matters in issue, this phase of the case should be considered. In charging that Mr. Russell perpetrated a fraud, for which the written antenuptial agreement should be declared void, the complainant does not claim there was any misrepresentation to her of the contents of the paper, or that she executed

one instrument, believing it to be another. Both the bill of complaint and the evidence show that the proposed agreement, as it now appears, had been a subject of conversation between the parties on several occasions previous to its execution, and that the amount of money to be secured by it to the complainant was, with her assent, several times reduced, and was finally fixed at the sum of $5,000, which is now in the agreement. None of its other terms are challenged because alleged to be different from those which the complainant supposed it contained. The complainant does not contend that it was represented to her that the written agreement contained a clause obligating Mr. Russell to make a liberal provision for her in his will. This matter, she claims, was a separate and parol promise made by Mr. Russell, and was additional to those things which by the written contract he undertook to do, though for the same consideration,-marriage. For her assurance that Mr. Russell would make the liberal provision, etc., it is entirely clear the complainant relied wholly upon the parol promise of Mr. Russell. This is the precise illustration used by Lord Chancellor Parker, so long ago as 1720, to show that no relief can be given in equity in such a case, against the prohibition of the statute of frauds. Montacute v. Maxwell, 1 P. Wms. 620. Standing purely on a parol promise before marriage, there is no color to relieve the plaintiff. Id., 1 Strange, 237. The proven and undisputed actions of Mr. Russell at and before the making of the antenuptial agreement, though related in great part in the testimony of those adverse to his estate, not only fail to show any fraudulent design, but they actually indicate a fair-minded purpose to deal with his intended wife in a frank way, to secure to her such a provision as he was willing to give and she was willing to accept. It must be remembered that in 1892, when this agreement was made, he was 75 years of age, and she was an elderly widow,-over 50,-with sons 23 and 25 years old. He had already accumulated his fortune without her aid, and she had comparatively nothing. He had issue, who might reasonably expect to receive his considerate remembrance. Her sons would retain the first place in her thoughts, as there was no probability that any children would be born of the marriage. From her point of view, the provision made for her by the written agreement lifted her out of penury, gave her a home, and the enjoyment with Mr. Russell of his fortune during his life, and secured her a comfortable maintenance and the absolute disposal of at least $5,000 after his death, and a possible further provision for her in his will. His point of view in arranging the agreement was probably that which would be taken by a man who, by patient care and persistent petty saving, had accumulated such property as, in the remoter country districts, is deemed to make one wealthy. He desired the society and housekeeping services of a capable and

estimable wife, and he wished to avoid the annoyances incident to his wife's signature and acknowledgment of his deeds. The testimony as to the origin of the agreement is largely that offered on the part of the complainant, her own son being her most prominent witness. The agreement was, as finally submitted, in typewriting, two copies being prepared. Mr. Russell does not appear to have hastened the making of it, or to have brought it and secured its execution in his presence. The complainant alleges that she had no copy, but her son testifies that she received a copy through the mail, and handed it to him to read. It was afterwards, the son says, discussed by Mr. Russell and his mother in his presence. There was, therefore, no attempt on Mr. Russell's part at secrecy, and abundant time was afforded for examination, consideration, and deliberate judgment. The son says he declined to advise his mother as to the making of the agreement, and told her that it was a matter for her decision, if she was satisfied that Mr. Russell would do as he represented, and keep his agreement referring to the liberal provision in his will. The weight and credibility of the evidence lead me to the conclusion that both the complainant's sons and herself fully discussed the advisability of entering into this agreement before she made it. The son who was sworn testified that his mother handed this agreement to him to read, and it was proven that after Mr. Russell's death this witness admitted that previous to the signing of the agreement he and his brother both advised his mother on the subject of signing it, that his brother thought she should sign it, and that he had advised her not to do it. The brother was not called as a witness. The son denied this admission, but his manner in the denial was not satisfactory of his truthfulness, and the statements of the witness who contradicted him stand so consistently with the undisputed facts of their interview that I am satisfied the son did make the admission, and that the agreement was in fact carefully examined and discussed by the complainant and her sons, and accepted with a full understanding of true significance. Its terms are so simple, clear, and distinct, to show that the complainant would by the marriage acquire no additional interest in Mr. Russell's estate, save such as he might give her by will, that it is impossible to believe that she expected, after executing it, to have anything from him besides that which was provided in the agreement.

It is claimed that she acted in ignorance of the extent and value of Mr. Russell's estate; that he was bound, before she made such an antenuptial agreement, to inform her in detail of the nature and value of the different pieces of land he owned, and of the personal property which he possessed. There is no proof that she executed the agreement without knowledge of the extent and value of his property, but the complainant strenuously insists that the burden is upon

those standing in Mr. Russell's place affirmatively to prove that she had knowledge, and that upon failure to make such proof the agreement must be held to have been fraudulently obtained and to be void. Several cases are cited to the effect that parties engaged to be married occupy a confidential relation, and that, where the provision for the intended wife is disproportioned to the means of the intended husband, it raises a presumption of designed concealment, which obliges those who would sustain the agreement to prove that the intended wife had knowledge at the time the agreement was executed, of the character and extent of the husband's estate. Kline v. Kline, 57 Pa. St. 120; In re Kline's Estate, 64 Pa. St. 122; Pierce v. Pierce, 71 N. Y. 154; Hessick v. Hessick, 169 Ill. 486, 48 N. E. 712. The principle that those who are pledged to marry occupy a confidential relation, and that their contracts are not to be considered to have been made "at arm's length," is well established. The language of the decisions is sometimes lacking in precision, and in several cases is so expressed that they appear to hold that a presumption of unfair dealing will arise when it appears that the antenuptial provision for the wife is out of proportion to the value of all the property which the husband possesses. If this implies that, in order to save himself from an imputation of fraud in entering into an antenuptial agreement, a man must secure to his intended wife a fair proportion of all his property, whether she would by his marriage receive such proportion or not, I cannot accept it as a reasonable statement of his duty. His relation to his fiancée is such that he is bound to deal fairly and candidly with her in the making of an antenuptial agreement, but there is no obligation upon him to secure to her any proportion, due or otherwise, of all his property, under the penalty that, if he does not, their agreement must be decreed prima facie a fraud upon his part. The principle of fair dealing which underlies all these decisions on the subject is this: The intended husband may not, by either contrivance or omission, obtain an agreement before the marriage which deprives the intended wife of so much of the benefits which she would obtain by the marriage that it is reasonable to believe she was misled into making the agreement. If it is shown that the agreement does so deprive the wife, such proof, when considered with the fiduciary character of the husband's relation to the wife, will impose upon the husband, or those standing in his place, the burden of proving that, in making the sacrifice of the values which she resigned, she acted with full knowledge of them. This condition of so great a variance in value between what is secured to the intended wife by the antenuptial agreement and what she would get by her marriage is a matter of evidence, to be proven by the party who asserts it. No presumption will be raised that such a variance exists. It is only when it has

been established by sufficient evidence that there is any reason to believe that the intended wife has been misled, and it is only then that the burden of proof shifts, and obliges the representatives of the husband to prove affirmatively that she was fully informed by him of the nature and extent of the property in which she might by her marriage have acquired an interest.

In considering the evidence offered to establish this condition of variance, which must be so great that it suggests a belief that the wife was misled, it will be found that the cases in which the rights of the wife against the representatives of the deceased husband are most easily upheld are those which have been decided in jurisdictions whose laws give to the wife, by her marriage, the largest interest in her husband's estate; for it is with that interest that antenuptial contracts usually deal. In Illinois, for instance, the variance necessary to raise the presumption is much more readily shown than in New Jersey; for under the law of the former state the wife acquires, by the mere fact of marriage and survivorship, not only her one-third dower interest in her husband's lands for her life, but also an absolute ownership in onethird of his personalty. Hessick v. Hessick, 169 Ill. 493, 48 N. E. 712. In this state the wife acquires by marriage simply a dower interest in one-third of the husband's lands during her life. The fee simple of all his lands, subject to her dower right, and the entirety of all his personalty, remain at his uncontrolled disposal as fully after as before marriage. Accepting the principle above stated, -that the burden of showing that the wife acted with knowledge is cast upon the husband only when the amount secured to her by the antenuptial agreement is out of all proportion to that to which as a wife she would be entitled,-the comparison, in this state, to ascertain whether the complainant has shown such an unconscionable variance, must be between the amount secured to the intended wife by the antenuptial agreement, and the value of her dower right in her husband's lands, which is all she would acquire in this state by the marriage. The wife's possible interest in her husband's personalty, if he died intestate, is disregarded, because in this state the wife, by her marriage, acquires no interest whatever in her husband's personalty. That remains, after as before the marriage, at the absolute disposal of the husband. The fact that a wife might possibly become entitled to an interest in the surplusage of her husband's personalty after his death cannot be held to have obligated him to deal with her with relation to its value at the time of the making of the antenuptial agreement. In order to entitle her to any share in his personalty, several contingencies must happen: She must marry her intended husband, he must die intestate, she must survive him, and he must leave more than enough personalty to pay all his debts. Both parties know, as a matter of

law, that a woman's marriage to her intended husband neither gives to her any interest in his personal estate, nor does it in any way affect his complete ownership and control of it. For this reason he has no cause to hide its value from her, in order that she may be induced to take less in an antenuptial agreement; nor has she any occasion to ask or expect a disclosure of its extent, because, however great it might be, her marriage would give her none of it. This being the situation of the parties at the time the antenuptial agreement was made, it would be unreasonable, against the husband, to base an imputation of fraud upon a presumed suppression of facts which, if made known, could not have affected the interests of the intended wife.

Has the complainant, then, shown that there is such a variance between the values secured to her by the antenuptial agreement, and those which she would, in this state, have acquired by the marriage, that Mr. Russell's representatives have the burden cast upon them to prove affirmatively that the complainant was fully informed of the extent and value of the interest she might acquire in his estate by her marriage? The agreement itself secured to her $5,000 absolutely, and barred her from all claim unless some further part of his estate were given to her by his will, etc.; and by his will he recognized the antenuptial $5,000, and in addition gave her some bank stock, shown to be worth about $1,500. The purpose and intent fairly attributable to him were to secure to his intended wife the sum of $6,500. The complainant claims that this was so unconscionably small, in comparison with the amount of all her husband's property, that it must be presumed that he either falsely stated to her the extent and value of his estate, or that he fraudulently concealed them. But this is not, in this state, the true basis on which the comparison should be made, to ascertain whether there is such gross disproportion as to suggest fraud. As above shown, it is not the whole of the husband's property, but only that part which by the marriage the wife would be entitled to receive, that should enter into the comparison. The complainant's counsel, however, has offered a large bulk of testimony touching the whole of Mr. Russell's estate, and mistakenly assumes that it is the discrepancy between the value of the whole estate and the amount secured by the antenuptial contract which will indicate a fraud upon the wife. The evidence touching Mr. Russell's real estate, which, for the reasons above stated, is the only portion of his property which can be considered on this point, is of the most general and indefinite character. Its location, its general territorial extent, its character, in the most general way, and estimates of its value, are given. I have examin. ed the complainant's testimony on this point, and, upon the most liberal consideration, I am unable to glean from it the means of arriving at any computation of the probable

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