FEARNE, CHARLES (1742-1794), English jurist, son of Charles Fearne, judge-advocate of the admiralty, was born in London in 1742, and was educated at Westminster school. He adopted the legal profession, but, though well fitted by his talents to succeed as a barrister, he neglected his profession and devoted most of his attention and his patrimony to the prosecution of scientific experiments, with the vain hope of achieving discoveries which would reward him for his pains and expense. He died in 1794, leaving his widow and family in necessitous circumstances. His Essay on the Learning of Contingent Remainders and Executory Devises, the work which has made his reputation as a legal authority, and which has passed through numerous editions, was called forth by a decision of Lord Mansfield in the case of Perrin v. Blake, and had the effect of reversing that decision.
A volume entitled Fearne's Posthumous Works was published by subscription in 1797 for the benefit of his widow.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)