perpetuity (p<<schwa>>r-p<<schwa>>-t[y]oo-<<schwa>>-tee).1. The state of continuing forever. 2.Hist. An unbarrable entail. 3.Hist. An inalienable interest. 4. An interest that does not take effect or vest within the period prescribed by law. • In reference to the rule against perpetuities, only sense 4 is now current. See RULE AGAINST PERPETUITIES. [Cases: Perpetuities 4. C.J.S. Perpetuities §§ 2, 12.]
“A perpetuity is a thing odious in law, and destructive of the Commonwealth; it would put a stop to commerce and prevent the circulation of the riches of the Kingdom, and therefore is not to be countenanced in equity. If in equity you could come nearer to a perpetuity than the rules of Common Law would admit, all men being desirous to continue their estates in their families, would settle their estates by way of trust; which might indeed make well for the jurisdiction of the court, but would be destructive of the commonwealth.” (1683) 1 Vern. 163(per Lord North) (as quoted in George W. Keeton, English Law: The Judicial Contribution 118 (1974)).
[Blacks Law 8th]