Page images

when made to gulp his own words, a high and unimpeachable characthis poor man's friend; this GREAT ter; who have no trying temptaOVER.PRAISED finds it necessary to tions to diverge from the paths of resort to the GREAT UNPAID, as exam. uprightness. Besides, tuo at least ples of immaculate local distributors must sit together to hear and deterof justice! They-it is all of a sud. mine cases, t mutually guiding and den discovered--are such models of checking one another; they are liajudges ! Hear Lord Brougham's ble to summary dismissal in case of former opinion of this abused order, misconduct; and there is a speedy and say whether it is worth having appeal to the Sessions. I on either side.

But consider a barrister-and such “ There is the over-activity of the barristers as will be got to fill these magistrate in an excessive degree. situations-located in a county-asOver-activity is, usually, a very sociating, either with the great men, high magisterial crime; yet almost and so liable to taiat from sycoall the magistrates distinguished for phancy, or with the lower classes, over-activity, are clergymen, joined encouraging, perhaps, litigationto the local hatings and likings,&c., fomenting bad feeling between them &c. “ This letter, which I eutirely and the higher orders: possiblyand insplicitly believe, further de- fierce political partisans, to boot! clares, that many magistrates are He cannot, besides, be removed, but actually in the commission only to by address to the two Houses of support particular jobs; that they are Parliament; nor can even bis regis. known by the nicknames of brewers' trar !-who is thus secured in his hacks, justices of the pewter!' I privileges to an extent that poor knew an instance where a license Baron Smith of Ireland lately knew was taken away from a house, be- the want of! This, however, will cause a magistrate, travelling in a be a dernier resort-a process that cold night, was kept waiting for none would venture to resort to, some time at the door of it!" !" The but in cases of the grossest miscon. impartiality of these local magis. duct. After all, however, the institrates has never been impeached! tution of Justices of the Peace, is What man in either House of Par- liable-as none knows better than liament, would dream of throwing Lord Brougham and his friends--to out even a suspicion, that the magis divers inconveniences. But, surely trates of England were not competent the very fact of their existence-esand disinterested, but the most com- pecially with such a character as he petent, and the most disinterested has last thought fit to give them is that could be appointed !” Lord of itself an answer to the alleged neBrougham, July 9th, 1833.). “ The cessity of introducing Local Courts. same fault, and the same spirit, run Then the surveillance-the control pretty nearly through all the busie of newspapers. And will they ate ness that country magistrates do ” !!! tend to all these courts ? and if they [Mr Brougham, February 7th, 1828.] do, how easy will it be for a Judge

We subscribe not to Lord Brough- so minded, to commit gross injus. am's abuse of the justices, but his tice in such a manner as to elude laudation, disinterested and consists their detection ! All the Argus-eyed ent as it is. But who are these jus. inquisition of the poor man's press tices ? Men generally above all might fail to observe the dexterous suspicion of improper motives; inclination of the scales of justice great noblemen, clergymen, scholars, but a hair the wrong way; and yet men of a certain ascertained amount that hair's inclination shall have the of landed property in the country;* effect of grievously-irretrievably men to whom it is essential to retain oppressing the poor suitor-who is

work again—" However their Lordships might sneer at the mention of a newspaper, as they always did,” &c., &c. !!!- Ecce iterum Crispinus !

." Because men of small substance had crept into the Commission, whose poverty made them both covetous and contemptible."--Blackstone's Commentaries, 353. † Stat. 3 Geo. IV. c. 23, S 2.

Bura's Justice, “ Appeal.",

thus, in all his small matters-small every vindictive and malicious spipossibly in the estimation of the rit!"* public, but serious to himself-en- But Lord Brougham will perchance tirely at the mercy of an incompe- say, that this is mere twaddle—theory tent or corrupt local Judge. It may -&c. Well let us see whether suit Lord Brougham to exbibit there is any appeal to facts in sup; flourishing pictures of the possible port of it. Perhaps it will be found excellences of Justices of the Peace that they manage this “cheap law" -to pass over all the minor disturbe better abroad! Hear, then, what our ing forces. Will every local Judge American friends have made of it ! be a Lord Wharncliffe, in known “ The principle of bringing jusresponsibility, talent, and learniog ? tice home to every man's door, and As for the legal fitness of the local of making the administration of it Judge-Lord Lyndhurst triumph- cheap, have had a full experience in antly established, both by argument America; and greater practical curses, and authorities, the inevitable ten. I will venture to say, were never indency of a local Judge to become ficted on any country! ** * The indolent, and consequently ignorant Pennsylvanians have done away with of the principles of law. So much, nearly all the technicalities of the then, for the Judge. Then for- law; there are no stamps, no special cheap justice." These too are pleadings, and scarcely any one is Lord Brougham's magic words. 80 poor that he cannot go to law. They are eternally on bis lips-his The consequence is—a scene of liticrack slang-they are ever floating gation from morning to night. Lawabout his brain-but we do not think yers of course abound everywhere, he has any definite meaning attached as no village containing about 200 or to them. Let him therefore learn a 300 inhabitants is without one or lesson on this subject from the wise more of them. No person, be his and amiable Chief Justice of the situation or conduct in life what it Common Pleas-a Judge “ripe with máy, is free from the never-ending the fairest uses of experience."

pest of lawsuits.

Servants, labour“Indeed, law may be had too ers, every one, in short, flies off on cheap," says Sir Nicholas, “and then the first occasion to the neighbouring it becomes an unmitigated evil.” lawyer to commence an action. No [He then supposes the revenue to compromise or accommodation is become capable of affording justice ever dreamt of; the law must decide gratuitously.) "Then every man's every thing. The lawyer's fees are hand would be raised against his fixed at a low rate; but the passion neighbour; no fancied grievance for litigating a point increases with would be allowed to sink into obli- indulgence to such a degree, that vion; no paltry assault, no petty these victims of cheap justice, or trespass would be either forgiven cheap law, seldom stop while they or forgotten, and the courts would have a dollar left.”+ be occupied with the endless quar

Hear another witness to the same rels of the peevish and the discon- point:tented. It therefore operates as a "Litigation frequently arises here wholesome check on the spirit of li- from the imaginary independence tigation, that there should be in law which each man has over others; a dearness commensurate with the to shew which, on the least slip, a exigency which requires an appeal suit is the certain result. It is bad. to it-a dearness which, while it for the people that law is cheap, as does not check individuals in the

keeps them constantly in strife with pursuit of a real right, or impede their neighbours, and annihilates that them in gaining, satisfaction for an sociality of feeling which so strongly injury inflicted, is much more bene- characterises the English.I ficial to society, than a cheapness Yet, with all these facts and arguwhich places it within the reach of ments, these “wise saws and modern

* Hans. Parl, Deb. N. S. 18th vol. 851 ; and Mirror of Parliament, vol. i., 436. + Captain Basil Hall.

Faux's Memorable Days in America,

instances" heaped up before him in like manner his rights to your for his attention was specially called rich creditor ? For you must rememto them by Lord Lyndhurst, in a ber, dear friends, that the law, which most forcible strain of eloquence is sharp, is sharp as a two-edged this Poor Man's Friend [“ the Lord sword-sharp for you, and sharp for defend me from my friends !") per- Him! If you can by any means teaze, sists in his preposterous plan! He harass, and affront this your richer avoids the rock of reasoning-for he neighbour, by having the law of leaves the strongest points in Lord him,' do so, do so! Rely upon it, he Lyndhurst's speech totally unan- will like your spirit! He will give swered—and "gambols,” grampus- you time to pay your rent! You will like, along a foaming sea of declama- never hear of a distress-warrant! He tion, about" cheap justice"_" de- will supply you with goods on longer nial of it to the poor man"-"got in credit ! If trouble comes upon you, the next street"_" bringing it home sickness or want, see if he do not to the poor man's door”-aye, be- fly to your assistance! Therefore, lieve us, poor man, that it will stand help me to get this cheap law for a very devil at thy door," who will you, by sending petitions on petinot leave at thy bidding! Believe tions into Parliament, or I can never us, you ask for a fish, and your friend succeed, for your Enemies are Aings a scorpion among you-for a strong!” stinging scorpion ever

was this

Ah, you False Friend! Verily, “cheap justice” found, and will be! "you are guilty concerning this your Think a little for yourselves, in a poor brother!” You are selling him matter that so momentously cone bound hand and foot to the Egypcerns you. Suppose a man is in a tians! Nay, you are betraying both sudden fit of fury towards another, your rich and poor brothers! You would you rejoice that there lay a are deceiving each about the other, sharp knife within his reach ? Now and making them hate one another; this sharp knife is the cheap law"- you set the rich against the poor, which your kind friend is cruelly and then leave the poor totally at sharpening against such time as your their mercy; hoping, perhaps, that passions may be up to do desperate out of all this family hubbub and things ! Or call this cheap law a fire- dissension, you may run off with the brand, with which a great moral in- mess of pottage ! cendiary is lurking about your quiet This is no declamation or misrehomes, to consume your domestic presentation. We have one fact, peace! To set fire to all the bad spirit pregnant with sad significance, yet that may be among you! Yes-trans- to mention which clenches all we late all the pompous designing fal. have been charging, of motive and lacies of your " friend”-thus:- design, upon our“ Poor Man's

"Poor people ! My sweet friends! Friend.” As soon as he was defeatI am your sincere, your strong, your ed last session in the House of Lords,* only true Friend, and therefore wish a member of the House of Commons to give to all of you the ready means rose in his place the very same evenof lawing and being lawed! If any ing, to give notice of his intention to poor brother of you is the other's introduce there the Poor Man's Bill! debtor, don't pause to reflect, but Now, who was this member?-Dahurry into the next street after your niel O'Connellthe Irish Poor Man's rights! Cast him instantly into pri- Friend! coming to the assistance of son, till he has paid you the utter- the English Poor Man's Friend! most farthing! Do not let your firm- He who has done so much for "the ness be shaken by the shocking spec- finest peasantry under the sun," or tacle of his ruined or houseless wife rather made them do so much for and children! Have your rights, him; he who is so apt a scholar at though your brother perish; and devising means for beggaring and what does it matter, though you demoralizing his own countrymen, must be prepared, if even you should sees instinctively in an instant the happen to become a debtor, to give scope of the Local Courts Bil), as

Despite the despicable trick about the Divisiop.

perfectly capable of producing those He is blind and besotted indeed who disastrous effects on the peasantry cannot see the inestimable blessings of this country! Of all members of of settled certainty in the law. Let the House of Commons, the Big Beg- him read the beautiful and convingarman of Ireland shouts his acqui- cing observations of Lord Lyndescence and support into the delighted hurst on this point, in each of the ear of the English Poor Man's Friend! two last debates on this question, Sir Robert Inglis, we recollect, once and his obstinacy must yield to the said, that the mere fact of O'Con• force of demonstration, that this bill, nell's supporting any measure, was if carried, instantly destroys it. Only a reason for his opposing it! Does imagine the effects of some sixty innot the fact of this man's advocacy dependent judges laying down their of the Local Courts Bill startle you! own notions of law ! Are there to Can you believe that there is a good be reports of all their decisions ? If wish in his heart—if heart he has— , “the world will not be able to towards you ?* Here are two dis. contain them-no private purse can astrous stars in conjunction! Mr purchase them”-no head, however O'Connell and Lord Brougham are clear and experienced, be able to at issue about every thing except reconcile their conflicting contents; this one question-this giving to you and if bad local law is to be correct“cheap justice !” Here they run in ed in every instance by the courts a leash together!

above--and if it is not, the conse“ Sure such a pair were never seen

quences will be fearful-then all the So justly form'd to meet by nature !”

new and costly machinery will have

little other effect than to aggravate So much for the false pretensions a thousandfold all the evils it preof this bill, as being one for benefit- tends to remedy-to fling us back ing the Poor Man; a title which we into the former state so well descriare ready in charity to believe that bed by Sir Matthew Hale. Lord Brougham will not any longer “ This” [County Courts, &c.], contend for in the House of Lords, “ doubtless, bred great inconvenienor attempt to find any one audacious ces; uncertainty, and variety in the and silly enough to introduce into law; first, by the ignorance of the the House of Commons. If this lat- judges, who, in process of time, neter should come to pass, it will be glected the study of the English law. met with a universal shout of laugh- Another was—that it also bred great ter! We shall wait and see who variety of laws, especially in the steps forward to claim there, in ad- several counties. For the decisions vocacy of this bill, the title of the being made by divers Courts, and “ Poor Man's Friend;" and let him several independent judges and junot think we shall forget him ! dicatories, who had no common in

We deeply regret being unable to terest among them in their several follow this bill--this quintessence of judicatories, thereby, in process of quackery-into all its miserable de- time, every several county would tails, and expose their grossness be- have several laws, customs, rules, fore an intelligent public, but our and forms of proceedingswhich is allotted space is already exceeded. always the effect of several indeIts other main object is palpably to pendent judicatories, administered destroy the certainty of the law, and by several judges." + the very existence of its professors. And into the modern state of con

• If it be possible to attach a grain of importance to any thing said by this person, only look at his evidence on the subject before a Committee of the House of Com. mons : “ My own abstract opinion is, that the evil of serving process for the recovery of small debts, and the necessary increase of oaths, is much greater than any that would occur, if they were irrecoverable. I believe few small debts would be unpaid, if there were no legal process; for no one would get credit but the man who had a character for punctuality. The practice of the Civil Bill Court has introduced a most frightful extent of perjury, and tends extremely to demoralise the Irish people"!!!

† And see Sullivan's Lectures on the Laws of England, pp. 296-8; Reeves's History of the English Law, vol. 1, pp. 52, 53; 3 Blackst. Com. 356.

fusion so sadly depicted by M. Roger and its members flung at random Collard as existing in France- over the country at his bidding? Is the

“ Such is the deplorable system country to be deprived of its grand the Empire has bequeathed to the security in these its natural bulwarks, Restoration. The necessarily result- because Lord Brougham bates them? ing evils have developed themselves Where, hereafter,-if this bill be car. mand never, perhaps, has France ried-will the young lawyer be trainpossessed a more inefficient and less ed, in the school of independence respected magistracy. It is now and learning, to fight the battles of easy to understand the weakness of the poor and oppressed, nobly daring the Bar. The Courts have little taste all the frowns and menaces of unfor questions of law; their whole art constitutional powers? What counconsists in avoiding cassation. The tervailing advantage is to supply the consequence is, that the advocate place of the present extensive body studies only to present his case in of eminent, experienced, and honour. such a manner as to conciliate the able solicitors—men above all taint judges, and despises a science which or suspicion-the secret, incorruptiwould be rather prejudicial than ble, and almost universal depositauseful to him. I repeat, learning is ries of confidence and property bealmost as rare at the Bar, as on the tween man and man? Is a worse Bench.”

than the plague of lice to be brought Alas! are all the arguments of great upon us at the breathing of Lord and learned men-are all the fruits Brougham in the shape of the scounof experience, in ancient and in mo- drel pettifogger-a reptile that now dern times, both at home and abroad dare bardly creep into the light of --to be utterly disregarded, at the day, but then would overrun the bidding of so rash and headstrong an whole country in noisome and pestiinnovator as Lord Brougham and lential swarms? All these are to the Vaux? Is the science of the law to country matters of grave importance ; melt away before his glance ? Is the to Lord Brougham, possibly-of conBar to be broken up into fragments, tempt and derision!

TEMPLE, London, 14th March, 1834.

Printed by Ballantyne and Co., Paul's Work, Edinburgh,

« PreviousContinue »