when making his will, he shall state in writing who is to be his son's successor, and with happier luck. If any testator be wholly childless, he shall take out a tenth part of his surplus property and shall give it to any person, if he so chooses; but all the rest he shall hand over to his adopted heir, and him he shall make his son with mutual good-will and the blessing of the law. When a man's children need guardians, if he die after making a will and naming what persons and how many he desires to act as guardians to his children,
and if they are willing and consent act, then the choice of guardians in this document shall be final; but if a man dies either wholly intestate or having omitted from his will the choice of guardians, then the nearest of kin on both the father's and the mother's side, two from each side, together with one of the friends of the deceased, shall act as official guardians, and these the Law-wardens shall appoint in the case of each orphan that requires them.
All that appertains to guardianship and the orphans shall be supervised by fifteen of the Law-wardens, who shall be the eldest of the whole body, and shall divide themselves into threes according to seniority, three acting one year and another three a second year, until five yearly periods have passed in rotation; and this process shall go on, so far as possible, without a break. And if any man die wholly intestate, leaving children that require guardianship, his unfriended children shall share in these same laws.
And if a man meets with some unforeseen mischance and leaves daughters, he shall pardon the lawgiver if he regulates the betrothal of the daughters with an eye to two points out of three—namely, nearness of kinship and the security of the lot—and omits the third point, which a father would take into consideration,—namely, the selecting out of all the citizens of a person suited by character and conduct to be a son to himself and a spouse for daughter,—if, I say, the lawgiver passes this over owing to the impossibility of taking it into consideration.
Accordingly, the law that we shall enact, as the best in our power touching such matters, will be this:—If a man dies intestate and leaves daughters, that brother who is born of the same father or of the same mother and who is without a lot shall take the daughter1
and the lot of the deceased; failing a brother, if there be a brother's son, the procedure shall be the same, provided that the parties be of an age suited the one to the other; failing one of these, the same rule shall hold for a sister's son; then, fourthly, for a father's brother; and, fifthly, for his son; and, sixthly, for the son of a father's sister.