The defendant proved, that in 1817, one Morrill was in possession, claiming to be the owner of the demanded premises. He conveyed the same by deed, dated July 3, 1817, to one Marshall, who entered and occupied, claiming title, till April 30, 1847, when he conveyed to the tenant, who has since remained in possession. The tenant claims that he has a perfect title by thirty years' undisturbed, and peaceable possession. The demandant alleges that his right is not barred, because at the time when the disseisin occurred, in 1817, Mrs. Foster was a feme covert, and up to 1834 her husband had an estate for life in the premises and she had no right of entry until his decease, and consequently no right of action till then, and that since that time twenty years have not elapsed.

Under the statute of limitations, which was in force in this State before the Revised Statutes, it must be considered settled, that the statute did not affect the right of a remainderman or reversioner, during the continuance of the particular estate; and that neither the acts nor the laches of the tenant of the particular estate could affect the party entitled in remainder. Wells v. Prince, 9 Mass. Rep. 508; Wallingford v. Hearl, 15 Mass. Rep. 471; Tilson v. Thompson, 10 Pick. Rep. 359.

No right of entry or action accrued to, or vested in the heirs of the wife during the continuance of an estate by the curtesy. Jackson v. Schoonmaker, 4 Johns. Rep. 390.

But the party entitled is not barred, until the usual period of limitation after the termination of the life estate. Heath v. White, 5 Conn. Rep. 228; Witham v. Perkins, 2 Greenl. Rep. 400.

If, then, the husband had, in this case, an estate by the curtesy, or any interest in the land which would entitle his wife, who survived, to be regarded as seised only in remainder or reversion, she and her heirs would have the full period of twenty years after the death of the husband, to commence their action.

To constitute a tenancy by the curtesy, the death of the wife is one of the four things required. The estate of the husband is initiate upon the birth of issue. It is consummate on the death of the wife. 4 Kent's Comm. 29; Co. Litt. 30 a.

By the intermarriage, the husband acquires a freehold interest, during the joint lives of himself and his wife, in all such freehold property of inheritance as she was seised of at the time of marriage, and a like interest vests in him in such as she may become seised of during the coverture. The husband acquires jointly with the wife, a seisin in fee of the wife's freehold estates of inheritance, the husband and wife being seised in fee in right of the wife. Gilb. Ten. 108; Co. Litt. 67 a.; Palyblank v. Hawkins, I Saund. Rep. 253 n.; S. C. Doug. 350.

This interest may be defeated by the act of the wife alone; as if, at common law, the wife is attained of felony, the lord by escheat could enter and eject the husband. 4 Hawk. P. C. 78; Co. Litt. 40a.; Vin. Ab. Curtesy, A.; Co. Litt. 351 a.

After the birth of issue the husband is entitled to an estate for his own life, and in his own right, as tenant by the curtesy initiate. Co. Litt. 351 a., 124 b.; Schermerhon v. Miller, 2 Cowen's Rep. 439. He then becomes sole tenant to the lord, and is alone entitled to do homage for the land, and to receive homage from the tenants of it, which until issue born must be done by husband and wife. 2 Black. Comm. 126; Litt. § 90; Co. Litt. 67 a., 30 a.

Then he may forfeit his estate for life by a felony, which, until issue born, he could not do, because his wife was the tenant. 2 Black. Comm. 126; Roper, Hus. and Wife, 47.

If the husband, after the birth of issue, make a feoffment in fee, and then the wife dies, the feoffee shall hold the land during the husband's life; because by the birth of issue, he was entitled to curtesy, which beneficial interest passed by the feoffment. Co. Litt. 30 a.

If such feoffment is made before issue born, the husband's right to curtesy is gone, even though the feoffment be conditional and be afterwards avoided. And if in such case the husband and wife be divorced a vinculo matrimonii, the wife may enter immediately. Guneley's Case, 8 Co. Rep. 73.

The husband's estate, after issue born, will not be defeated by the attainder of the wife, for his tenancy continues, he being sole tenant. I Hale, P. C. 359; Co. Litt. 351 a., 40a.; Bro. Ab. Forf. 78.

The obvious conclusion from these views of the nature of the interest of a tenant by the curtesy initiate is, that such tenant is seised of a freehold estate in his own right, and the interest of his wife is a mere reversionary interest, depending upon the life estate of the husband. The necessary result of this is that the wife cannot be prejudiced by any neglect of the husband, and, of course, she may bring her action, or one may be brought by her heirs, at any time within twenty years after the decease of the husband, when his estate by the curtesy, whether initiate or consummate, ceases, and her right of action, or that of her heirs, accrues. In this respect there is no distinction between curtesy initiate and curtesy consummate. Melvin v. Locks & Canals, 16 Pick. R. 140.

So far as we are aware, this principle has never been questioned, where the inheritance of the wife has been conveyed to a third person, either by the deed of the husband alone, or by a deed executed by husband and wife, which from some defect did not bind the interest of the wife. Miller v. Shackleford, 3 Dana Rep. 289; Caller v. Metzer, 13 Serg. & Rawle Rep. 356; Fagan v Walker, 5 Iredell Rep. 634; McCorry v. King, 3 Humph. Rep. 267; Melius v. Snowman, Shepley Rep. 201; Meramon v. Caldwell, 8 B. Mon. Rep. 32; Gill v. Fauntleroy, lb. 177; Melvin v. Locks and Canals, 16 Pick. Rep. 140. But it has been held, Melvin v. Locks and Canals, 16 Pick. Rep. 161; Kittridge v. Locks and Canals, 17 Pick. Rep. 246, that where a disseisin has been committed upon the wife's estate, the disseisin is done alike to the husband and wife; that a joint right of entry and of action accrues to both for the recovery of it, and that if such remedy is not prosecuted within twenty years, it is barred.