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listening to one of the most masterly the speaker -and that with the speeches ever delivered in Parlia. Throne of Majesty immediately bement. There was a manly fervour, hind, the supreme seat of justice a serious energy, in his tone and beside him! Flectere si nequeo sumanner-a severe simplicity of style peros, Acheronta movebo ! Afraid -a beauty and comprehensiveness of approaching Lord Lyndhurst, he of detail-a graceful,good-humoured, fixed his teeth the more vehemently but most caustic sarcasm-a convin- in Lord Wynford, whom he worried cing strength of argument, which with wit, thought his friends-with elicited repeated cheering from the insult, thought the House. We wish, House-followed, at its close, by good reader, you had been present several minutes' applause; but res that memorable evening. You would ceived from the candid unenvious have seen a Lord High Chancellor, Chancellor, one short allusion, and clad in the solemn costume of office, that characterising it as a piece of at times grinning and leering—twist
carping declamatory sneering"! ing and writhing about-full of vioNo! Not a syllable of kindness lent ungainly gesticulations-whiskscarce of frigid courtesy-escaped ing to and fro the long sleeves of his his lips, while replying to a speech robe-raving, ranting, tearing away from his splendid rival, destitute of -but hush ! Sweet “People”-that even a tinge of acrimony or personal- was “the Poor Man's Friend !” He ity! He was obviously mortified was advocating “the Poor Man's and alarmed at the powerful impres. Bill" - he was brow-beating the sion produced on all sides of the “ Poor Man's enemies." House by their Ex-Chancellor. Lord “ The Poor Man's Bill!”-Yes, Plunkett, on the contrary, commen- this shocking twaddle was passionced his reply, such as it was, with ately adopted by Lord Broughaman admission “that he feared the repeated and harped upon, till at House would consider him presump- length he succeeded in eliciting the tuous in offering himself to their languid cheers of-His Majesty's Lordships, after the transcendant Ministers-despite the masterly and and masterly speech to which they cutting exposure of Lord Lyndhurst had been listening; that he did not - Hear him : come forward in the hope of answer- “ It has been said that this is the ing it." We considered him indeed Poor Man's Bill. Why, there is not presumptuous; and we vouch so also a morning on which I do not find the did Lords Grey and Brougham, who same doctrine instilled into me in could not conceal their vexation at one of those documents, to which it the tame, stammering, hesitating tone is unnecessary more particularly to in which Lord Plunkett spoke, who allude. It is said, “You must have had been hastily summoned from some underhand motive for opposing Ireland for that purpose. Even his such a measure. The statement is acknowledged and practised powers not true. Never was there a Bill less were signally at fault that night; a poor man's Bill than this. It is a either through a consciousness of Bill to enable a man of property to the weak cause he was advocating, obtain judgment, to sue out execuor the overwhelming superiority of tion, and to seize the property of the the speaker he was following. We poor man, to assign it to the Regischallenge any Peer or Commoner trar, to sell it; to turn him and his then present to impeach the accuracy family into the streets in six weeks ! of our statement.
It is emphatically, my Lords, a bill When Lord Brougham rose to re- to oppress the poor. It is a bill to ply, vengeance gleamed in his eye- satisfy the creditor, by compelling but not towards the spot occupied the poor debtor to render him more by Lord Lyndhurst; his smothered speedy payment than could be obfury at length burst-not upon Lord tained from the wealthy debtor-it Lyndhurst, but (pace tanti viri !) up. is a bill to give the wealthy every on one he considered a less formi. poseible facility of oppressing the dable antagonist-Lord Wynford. man in the humble walks of life. Him Lord Brougham assailed with a The operation of the bill will be this savageness of personal enmity which tradesmen, shopkeepers and others, disgusted the House and disgraced will allow the poor man to run into debt
to the extent of his property, and if he nesses were-wholesale tradesmen, fails to make instant payment, they shopkeepers, and sometimes bankwill destroy him without mercy. Let ers! Well-and what do they say ? me refer your Lordships to the evi- One, that there is nothing so abomidence of Sir John Cross, who was nable as the law of debtor and creexamined by the Commissioners. He ditor in this country; that there was asked — Have you found any ought to be a power for the creditor inconvenience from the facility with to imprison the debtor, and compel which small debts are recovered in him to work till he had discharged the Court you have mentioned ?' He the debt, or a percentage upon it. answered—'I had frequent occasion Another says that there is no such to observe that the facilitating the abominable system in the world, as recovery of small debts tended much to that of the Insolvent Debtors' Court. facilitate the contracting of them by Another, that these courts should be the poor and improvident, and to without attorneys, and without prothe consequent increase of litigation fessional men altogether; and, in and poverty. It is a frequent prac- short, if your Lordships will read tice for publicans to allow drink to the evidence, you will find that the their customers upon credit to an chief object of those who were eramiextent which I think they would not ned, seems to have been to procure a have done, if there had not been a law which would enable the creditor to court in which they could recover oppress, to grind, to destroy, with the the amount so contracted; and I ob- utmost facility, his poor debtor. Let served, in a great many instances, not then this bill, my Lords, be called that small shopkeepers who dealt the Poor Man's Bill; for, of all other in provisions, dealt largely in credit acts, it is the most oppressive toto the poor. The wives, and even wards the poor man.
* Then the children of workmen, who were it is said, the defendant may remove from home engaged in their occupa- the case to the superior court—but tions, could go to one of those shops on what terms ? Why, that he shall and obtain what they wanted, which give security for the damages and was charged as a debt to the absent costs which may be awarded in the master of the family; and the account action. The wealthy man will be would run on in this way, as long as able to do so. The bill in this, as in the shopkeeper thought it safe to other respects, is in favour of the risk his property upon such credit. rich man--but the poor man can get He would go on with a great many cus- no such security. What, then, is his tomers of that description at the same situation ? Why, that if the circumtime, and at a convenient season he stances attending the trial are such would sue out in one day summon- as to preclude the hope of its imparses against twenty or thirty such tiality in the Local Courts, he must customers, and carry his accounts suffer all the inconveniences of such into the Court of Requests against a result. And are your Lordships them all.'-- That is the testimony of a considered so destitute of all undergentleman who had presided for se- standing, as to be told, after this, veral years over one of these small that the provisions of this bill are in tribunals, in the town of Manches favour of the poor? • Throughter, which is one of the best ad- out this bill, the poor man is bound ministered small.debt courts in the and fettered-he must take such law kingdom. On his judgment im- as they please to give him; but the plicit reliance may be placed; and rich man can evade the law with after hearing that, it may be asked, ease. * There is no provision in whether this is to be considered this Poor Man's Bill'in his favour -the Poor Man's Bill ! I wish against a partial judge; and sufferiog, to direct your Lordships' atten- as he is now said to suffer, under tion to the nature of the evidence on the scourge of dear and uncertain which this bill has been founded. law, this bill will only add to his It is called the Poor Man's Bill. Were misfortunes, by making his oppres. the poor, then, the witnesses who
si0n-CERTAIN. have been examined ? No; the wit- So much for the clear masculine
* Hans. Parliamentary Debates, July 9th, 1833; cols. 322-5, vol. 19.
sense of Lord Lyndhurst. Now only for the taxed costs, but for the hear the declamation of the Poor full costs of the action; so that the Man's Friend in reply. “ My learn- poor man will, in point of fact, reed friend has been jocose (where !] ceive just as cheap, though not so in reference to bestowing on the speedy justice. Such is the Bill I present measure the title of · The would call upon your Lordships to Poor Man's Bill.' I adopt the name sanction.” it is an honourable one-the Bill Positively, dear reader, we have is the Poor Man's Bill! I call that a given you the whole of the Reply of Poor Man's Bill which removes the Poor Man's Friend, and that rerthose obstructions which at present batim et literatim ! lie in the way of cheap and speedy Well, then, People of Englandjustice, which enables the poor suit. Lawyers and Laymen! Come ye or, no less than the rich, to obtain a hither ! " Look on this picture-and ready redress of his wrongs. I call on that;”-look steadily, judge fairthat a Poor Man's Bill, which en- ly: and if you have an ace of underables the poor suitor to obtain re- standing-if you see but an inch dress for his wrongs, or the payment through the blinding mists of deof a debt, in the very next street to lusive prejudice and bigotry-lay the cottage where he lives, without your hands upon your hearts, and any of the expense and delay, and say which of these two is “ The Poor vexation, and uncertainty, of coming Man's Friend”-which of them has some hundred miles to London to established his claim to that proud look for costly justice. I call that a distinction! If any of you hesitate, Poor Man's Bill which, without taking let us analyze the arguments of each. away the poor suitor from his daily This is not the Poor Man's, but avocations, from his family, or from the Rich Man's Bill, says Lord Lynd. the employment by which he earned hurst, becausesubsistence, enables him to go at 1stly, The rapid proceeding to exeonce into court, and, face to face to cution induces creditors to trust to his adversary, obtain cheap and ready the value of their debtor's property; justice. My learned friend bas im- and, therefore, the facility of repugned the title, on the ground that covering the debt, tends to increase it is absurd to call a bill friendly to the facility of contracting it. the poor suitor which affords speedy 2dly, This Bill avowedly gives execution against him; but it must such rapidity of remedy as will in a be recollected, that if the bill in view trice strip the debtor (generally the can provide speedy execution against poor man) of his all, and turn his the poor defendant, it, on the other family out of doors—beggars. hand, ensures him speedy execution 3dly, The contradictory opinions against the rich defendant, WHEN (!) of the great body of creditors, exathe poor man is plaintiff. He will mined with reference to the printherefore have no right to complain, ciple of this Bill, raises the fair inparticularly as, in the majority of in- ference that their real object is to stances, he will be plaintiff (!) It has oppress the poorer classes, whenbeen said, that as the poor man will ever they get them into their debt. not be able to afford security of 4thly, The security for costs and costs, so as to enable him to remove contingent damages, being easily obthe trial, in case of a wrong decision, tained by the rich man, but with the Bill cannot be considered as fa- great difficulty by the poor man: vourable to his interests. Now, this inevitably tends to confine the right clause, for the removal of a trial, by of appeal to the rich man : Ergocertiorari, was introduced at the in- it is the Rich Man's Bill. stance of a learned Lord, and very Now - blowing away the froth contrary to my own feelings on the and smoke-let us look closely into subject. I yielded, however, to the the Answer of the Poor Man's sense of the House, and guarded Friend. against the abuse of the privilege by This is the Poor Man's Bill, quoth the rich man, by compelling him, in he, because these instances, to give security, not 1stly, It enables him to get " Jus
* Hans. Parliameptary Debates, col. 370.
tice” cheaply-quickly-and with ing all the costs! Now, we will ask, out losing time in running after it. not which is the poor man's true
2dly, Any speedy execution of friend, and which the poor man's judgment for him, is in his favour; false friend, but merely which is the and if he gets it instanter, he cannot poor man's discreet friend, and which complain if his creditor gets the his foolish friend ? Line upon line same against him.
we will distil off the essence of 3dly, If the rich man wishes for an these two“ high arguments”—thus : appeal, he can obtain it only by risk
LORD LYNDHURST, EX.C.
LORD BROUGHAM AND VAUX, C. The rich man is generally the cre- Admitting that the poor man is ditor ; facility of recovering begets generally the debtor (for there is facility of contracting debts; this nothing but an assertion against it), bill avowedly increases the facility and that facility of recovering begets of recovering them; and it is proved facility of contracting debts, the poor that creditors are really anxious on- man must not complain, if, obtaining ly to oppress their debtors; the poor justice quickly, he so suffers it, at the man cannot, the rich man can, obtain hands of the rich man, who will not security for an appeal. This is the appeal in the former case, because rich man's bill.
(with the poor man) he risks costs. (Aliter.]
This the poor man's bill. This bill puts the poor more than
Aliter.) ever into the power of the rich: ergo, This bill puts the poor more than it is the rich man's
ever into the power of the rich: ergo,
it is the poor man's bill! Is it not a sight “gude for sair the creditor !" Pray, my Lord, which een,” to behold the long, powerful of the two is oftenest the other's pincers with which Lord Lyndhurst landlord? What is a more fertile firmly takes up this Poor Man's
source of oppression than rent in Friend, holds him at arm's length, all arrear? Who is it that sells, and who the while squeezing closer and closer is it that must buy, at sudden exigenthe writhing, struggling insect (No- cies, the necessaries of life, relatively BLER in name than a bug, a wasp, or speaking, the richer or the poorer a dirt-fly), and then lays him down man? Who is it that sells, and who in the dirt, when, after the manner that purchases, the commonest maof a half-crushed wasp, a pointless terials of trade? Who is it that is sting is thrust forth with incessant apt, at all hazards, to come short of but unavailing fury?
paying his debts--the poor or the Hip-hip-hip-hurra for the rich debtor? And yet, in all these Poor Man's Friend! Hurra for the cases ---oh folly, cruelty, or stupiPoor Man's Bill! Here you see the dity prodigious !--you quicken and Lord Chancellor fairly gravelled. sharpen the remedies of the rich Mr Attorney-General, come forward, man in an Act of Parliament you playing Sancho to Quixote, and ex- nevertheless call “ the Poor Man's tricate your master from the mire! Bill !"-Oh, my Lord, your plumes Here is work for you,--that is, if you may be gaudy-your note attractive can creep into Parliament again! --but you are a very mocking-bird ! Who does not see that Lord We can scarcely treat such follies Brougham's answer to Lord Lynd- gravely: but as it is the Lord Chanhurst is really none at all-mere cellor who propounds them, we will stupid iteration of clap-trap, clap- try to meet them respectfully. We trap? “Cheap justice i Got in the will preach from these words, to be next street! Got at once! Face to found in the speech of Mr Henry face," &c.! If there is a grain of Brougham, on the Administration of argument in it, it surely belongs to the Law, in February, 1828 : the scale of Lord Lyndhurst! As “ Cheap justice, sir, is a very good for assertion, there is a notable one; thing-but costly justice is better that the “ Poor man is generally than cheap injustice.”
• Speech, page 40.
Now, what sort of "justice” is likewise have their enmities and their likely to be obtained by “the Poor affections, and be liable to be conMan's Bill ?”—Let us see, first of stantly influenced by such feelings. all, what sort of character the dis- They will, in fact, be always liable penser of these “healing streams”- to the suspicion of acting with partithe Local Judge-is likely to prove. ality. Lord Hale gives a description Weigh well the following valuable of the local courts which formerly evidence of a very competent wit- existed in this country, as being al
ways liable to the charge of partiali“ A second and greater objection is, ty; and states, that it was in consethat the [Local] Judges never change quence of this, that it was found netheir circuits. One of them, for in- cessary to establish the present sysstance, goes the Carmarthen circuit; tem in its room: and for my own another, the Brecon circuit; and a part, I cannot help thinking it would third, the Chester circuit-but always be great folly to revert to the system the same circuit. And what is the which our ancestors found it necesinevitable consequence? Why, they sary to abandon. So strong was the become acquainted with the gentry, prejudice on this subject, that acts the magistrates, almost with the of Parliament were passed to prohitradesmen of each district—the very bit judges from administering justice witnesses who come before them-and in the places in which they were intimately, with the practitioners, born, or in which they had for any whether counsel or attorneys. The length of time resided. * names-the faces-the characters— The judges under this Bill will be the histories of all, these persons, removed from all collision with the are familiar to them. And out of courts at Westminster Hall ; and this too great knowledge grow likings being without any excitement, and and prejudices, which never can, by without the stimulus of competition, any possibility, cast a shadow across they will soon become utterly inthe open, broad, and pure paths of the competent for the exercise of their Judges of Westminster Hall! Then, duties." (Debates, July 9th.] again, they have no retiring pensions ;
Then to Lord Brougham in the and the consequence is, they retain same year, answering both himself in their salaries long after they have 1828, and Lord Lyndhurst in 1838. ceased to discharge properly the “ He was aware that some very spefunctions for which they receive cious (!) objections might be urged them."
against the measure; and he did not Now, does not the truth and force underrate that which rested on the of this reasoning "come home to local prejudices of the judges." ("Pasthe business and bosom" of the Poor sing swiftly"] over the intervening Man? Verily it ought-for 'tis the paragraph, we find this model of language of His Friend-of Lord consistency declaring, " that he lookBrougham !* Witness his speech, ed on all fears arising from the local in the character of Mr Brougham- prejudices of the judges, as utterly his matured sentiments, uttered vain and chimerical !” This may when his head was clearer than at well warrant us in 'passing over the present,—when his feelings were not remainder of this section of his warped either by the vagaries of speech, as unworthy of consideraambition, or the desire of revenge! tion or quotation. The sum of it, -So much, then, for Mr Brougham however, is this: That his "local in 1828. Now listen to Lord Lynd- judges” should be created, because hurst in 1833 :
we have already Justices of the Peace “ Nothing can be more pernicious who well discharge similar capacithan this—the establishment of Local ties; that we have sufficient guaranJudges. They must necessarily be tee for their good behaviour in their confined within a very narrow dis- character, and the surveillance of trict, become familiar with every li. the press. + tigant, with every witness ; and must So, when desperately driven,
• Speech on the Administration of the Law, pp. 21, 22. + The mention of this word gave the Chancellor an opportunity for doing his dirty