Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 percbance 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 exhibit there is any appeal to facts in supflourishing 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 disturbo 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 learning ? 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 flicted 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 chcap 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 his lips-his The consequence is-a scene of liticrack slang-they are ever floating gation from morning to night. Law. about bis 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 may, 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, Aies 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 disconpoint: 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, us does not check individuals in the it 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 fecling which so strongly injury indicted, is much more bene- characterises the English." I ficial to society, than a cheapness Yet, with all these facts and argu. which 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 bis 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 con- 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 misre. homes, 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 defeat. I 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 bis 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?-Da. hurry 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 Bill, as

• Despite the despicable trick about the Division.

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 Lynd. escenceand 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 bas- SO, “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

quences will be fearful-then all the “ Sure such a pair were never seen

new and costly machinery will have So justly form'd to meet by nature !"

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 late 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 proceedings—which is allotted space is already exceeded. always the cffect 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, i. pp. 52, 53; 3 Blackst. Com. 356.

fusion so sadly depicted by M. Roger and its members fung 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 Brougbam bates them? ing evils have developed themselves Where, hereafter, if this bill be car

and 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 honoursuch a manner as to conciliate the able solicitors—men above all taint judges, and despises a science which or suspicion—the secret, incorrupti. would 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 hardly 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 Murch, 1834,

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

[blocks in formation]

I nad scarcely, to my conception, account but too forcibly; and, once been asleep at all, when I was called more, I went on deck, where I was again. It might have been about a good deal startled by the scene eleven at night when I got on deck. before me. The ebb-tide was now There was a heavy ground - swell running down the river, and past tumbling in upon us over the bar, us like a mill-stream; and the bar, which made the little vessel pitch which a couple of hours before was violently.

all black and undistinguishable, be“ See all clear to cut away the gan now to be conspicuous, from a kedge,” said I.

crescent of white waves which shone But there was no need; for the even through the darkness, while a swell that rolled in was as yet deep, deep and increasing hoarse murmur, dark, and unbroken. I looked forth “ like thunder heard remote," was into the night, endeavouring by the borne up the river towards us on the starlight, for the moon was obscured night wind. The foaming breakers by a thick bank of clouds in the east on the bar, as the tide continued to ern horizon, to distinguish the where fall, spread out; and, in an hour, the abouts of the bar at the river's mouth, rush of the tide downwards, and the but all was black flowing water, and tumble of the sea inwards, placed there was no sound of breakers; so us, eren at the distance of our anI again went below, and in a minute chorage, in a regular cauldron of slept as sound as before

broken water, where the little craft I cannot precisely say how long I was tumbled about as if she belonghad been in the land of dreams, when ed to nobody, while every moment I I was again roused abruptly by my expected the cable to part. steward.

It was a regular snow-storm ; the “Mr Wadding" - this was the swell, broken on the bar, roared into gunner of the little vessel_“ does the river in detached splashing waves, not like the look of the weather, sir; which, when the downward current it has become somewhat threatening, dashed against them, flew up in and the felucca is riding very uneasy detached Hashing spouts, covering since the tide has turned, sir.” every thing with spray, which again

The sharp jerking motion of the was puffed away seaward like smoke small craft corroborated the man's by the sharp land-breeze (that had VOL. XXXV. NO. CCXXI.

2 Q

« PreviousContinue »