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LEGISLATION AND JURISPRUDENCE.
A LETTER addressed by Mr. WILFRED BLUNT to Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL, he Postmaster-General, formally complaining of his correspondence with native Egpytians at Cairo having been subject to inquisitorial action, delay, and sequestration, will render it of interest to state the law on the subject of the opening of letters in the post as enunciated by Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT 88 Home Secretary in the House of Commons in Feb. 1881. A question was addressed to the Postmaster-General of the day (the late Mr. FAWCETT) by which he was asked whether any officials of the Government were at present empowered to open and, read for the purposes of State private letters intrusted to the care of his department either in Great Britain or Ireland. To this question Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT thus replied: The duty of answering this question belongs to the Secretary of State and not to the Postmaster-General, who has no responsibility in the matter. I will therefore with the leave of the House reply to it. The power of the Secretary of State to open and detain letters is one reserved and sanctioned by Parliament in the statute 1 Vict. c. 36, s. 25, and has been deliberately continued ever since. The employment of that power is an act of the gravest respon. sibility, not to be exercised except upon urgent necessity for the safety of the State and of Her Majesty's subjects. The existence known to the Government of treasonable plots carried out by secret societies like the Fenian conspiracy, which pursue felonious ends by the most atrocious means, would justify and require the use of that power in the present as in the past times, but the very nature of the dangers which might demand its employment is such as requires the Minister intrusted by Parliament with the right and the duty of putting it in force to ask the support of this House in declining to make any statement which might battle and defeat the object for which it was conferred. The power should either be taken away from the Secretary of State or, if the grave responsibility of possessing it is imposed, upon him, he should be protected in his discretion as to its exercise." In a report of a committee of the House of Commons which sat to inquire into precedents for the action of Sir JAMES GRAHAM, as Home Secretary in 1844 in opening the Mazzini correspondence, the whole history of the subject is set forth. It is interesting to note that, in contrast with the indignation excited by the exercise of this power in 1844, the Common. wealth Parliament in 1657 considered that the one advantage derived from the existence of a Post Office was the opportunity for disoovering dangerous designs against the welfare of the Commonwealth communicated by letter: (ee Anson's Law and Custom of the Constitution, ii., The Crown, Part 2, p. 20).
THE practical working of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906 has been subjected on the part of some experts to examination, whilst its powers have been adopted throughout London and by about one. third of the local education authorities in England and Wales. The principles whereby its provisions are administered see m to lack uniformity, and even in London there is much variation in practice. There is already evidence that it is being construed in some quarters as a permission, by virtue of sect. 3, to put the ratepayer to the expense of fulfilling the parent's primary duty to his child, and far too small attention is paid to the requirements of the Act that the parent should be chargeable. This latter idea is also within the Children Act 1908, s. 12, whereby a person having the custody of a child and neglecting it so as to cause it unnecessary injury to health can Le punished by fine or imprisonment. Insufficient care has been taken to ensure that parents should fulfil their own duties, and inadequate inquiries have been made of employers as to a parent's financial position; and, again, in those difficult cases where the parents are in the hands of the guardians, it would seem more logical to place the children's affairs in the care of the same authorities. Once again where the parents are habitual inebriates the procedure as regards the children requires not only firm but uniform treatment. It is only too easy for officials to administer this Act as vicarious benevolence, and by so doing to cause great public hurt. It is not pro bono publico that family ties should be weakened, thriftlessness subsidised, and an opportunity given to irresponsible employers to lower the standard of
wages. Such results as these would be a mockery to the framers of the Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906, but there are indications that they are not by any means beyond the possibilities.
Ir would be well if, when the time arrives for the detailed examination of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE's vast scheme for national insurance, our legislators would consider with care the existing machinery for thrift. and would, moreover, not allow themselves, in their zeal for the reforms about to be made, to forget that in curing certain evils they may at the same time oreate others. It is in one sense a trite truism to write that thrift in essence is making the best use of every. thing we possess, and that this definition covers every department of life. Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S scheme is, after all, concerned with certain special applications of thrift, and there is some anxiety to be felt as to how it may affect other applications. Looked at broadly, it will be seen that the general welfare requires something far more intricate than the mere diversion of certain sums from the pockets of employers and employed, and this something might well include education in thrift for the children, hygiene, domestic economy, and many other such items, all of which go to make up that definition of making the most of things. The special effects of the new echeme on trade unions and friendly societies are before the public and have sufficient advocates, but there seems room for much more thought on the influence it will exert on the provident funds of railway and other commercial undertakings. Again, what is going to be the result on the life insurance business alike of companies like the Prudential and that undertaken through the medium of the Post Office? An insurance of £8 in the former coste, we are informed, about 83. 8d. a year, whereas the latter charges only 58. 6d. In this we see, no doubt, the cost of an administration involving in one case collectors and in the other co such expense. The effect on Provident Maternity Clubs is Ikewise difficult to estimate, and the connection which seems to exist between the absence of such clubs and the presence of hospitals suggests how possibilities of free treatment crush out the exercise of habits of providence. The same need for quiet thought seems requisite when we remember the number of other insurance agencies of one sort or another, all of which must inevitably be affected. Collecting savings banks, clothing clubs, sick benefit clubs, and many other clubs all dovetail into the new scheme either directly or indirectly. Working men in many directions are deeply interested in shop or yard clubs, or in the system known as slate or sharing-out clubs. To thoughtful minds these latter, at any rate, do not seem to call for much consideration. They are eminently disadvantageous and are open to gross abuse, and in many cases they are run on lottery lines, each employé being compelled to pay in 6d. weekly and the winner of a lot appropriating the payments. The influence of the public-house in many cases is felt throughout all the working of these clubs. The whole system of sharing out at Christmas, leaving the new year with nothing in hand for the sickness which so often visits families in the early months, is wrong, and as the average age of members increases, and with it the average ratio of sickness, there is less money to divide, and the club is barred by the younger men. Few such clubs last more than thirty-five years, and even before that period, if the younger men do come in, they are apt to exert influence against the financial interest of the older members. Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S scheme, therefore, if seriously considered from a broader point of view, is not only complicated in its direct provisions, but it is fraught with complexities in the indirect results which may follow. It is one, therefore, to be examined with meticulous care. One very practical sequel may be a policy of concentration in all matters pertaining to thrift ia its widest meaning.
SOME Considerable notice has been attracted of late to the manner in which the Australian land taxes imposed under recent legislation are hitting the English investor. The severity of the Acts is excessive, and the result is to shake confidence in the Government of the island continent. One typical provision is that the Commonwealth can acquire the land of a private owner on the plea that he has understated the unimproved value by 25 per cent, and a single justice of the peace can give the land to the Government by a decision not subject to appeal. The Act does not define what constitutes improvements, and therefore it is a most elusive point to state at all what any unimproved value" may be. Again, the law against absentee landowners is 80 drawn that great discourage. ment is given to large Concerns employing millions of English capita', and giving work to vast numbers of Australian workmen. Abeentee owners pay a special tax, and each British shareholder in these estate and mortgage companies is regarded as an absentee landowner. Again, the aggregation of holdings leads to an immense
augmentation of taxation on cach individual piece of property on its capital value. In Australia 97 per cent. of the land is in the hands of the Goverment, and such legislation is not calculated to encourage the entry of capital in the farming industry for which Australia is so closely fitted. The interview with Mr. Fisher on these land tax questions has not shown that the Australian politician is fully aware of the incidence of this taxation. Already a proposal has been made in the case of one large Australian land company to the effect that the company should be wound-up now (whilst a small dividend is being earned after years of adversity) as it appeared that the only ultimate gainer by their exertions would be the Government. The failure of two or three industrial Australian schemes in the London money market have also been the natural sequel of the lack of confidence engendered by vindictive taxation.
In the House of Commons, on the 15th inst., Captain Murray said, he wished to call attention to what he regarded as a real grievancethe nuisance of the tooting of motor horns throughout the watches of the night. He had addressed a question on the subject to the President of the Local Government Board suggesting that the blowing of these horns should be forbidden in the streets of London between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m., but he had been unable to obtain any satisfactory answer. Many people in London, particularly members of Parliament, already suffered from an insufficiency of sleep, and their nights were made hideous by the sounding of horns and whistles. Motor-cabs were among the worst offenders. They whirled through the quiet streets at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and whenever they approached a corner instead of slackening speed, they blew their horns. He hoped the President of the Local Government Board would give the matter bis serious consideration. These alarming sounds were made because the owners or drivere of motor-cars desired to travel at an excessive speed. So far as be could see, there was not a single authority in London who took the slightest trouble to prevent the speed limit being exceeded.
Mr. MacCallum Scott asked the Under-Secretary for India whether he could make any statement as to the recent torture case at Shahdara, in the Punjab, in which a sub-inspector of police was sentenced to nine years' rigorous imprisonment by the additional district magistrate, and what were the injuries inflicted by the police. Mr. Montagu: The facts are that on the 16th Nov. 1910 a man suspected of having stolen some cattle was beaten by a subinspector of police with a stick, and by a village head man with a shoe, in order to extort a confession. The man died on the 26th Nov., and the post mortem examination showed his health to have been such that a beating of the nature indicated by the bruises on his body was sufficient to cause death. The sub-inspector has been sentenced to five (not nine) years' rigorous imprisonment and the village head man to three. The prisoners have appealed to the Chief Court, but the result of the appeal is not yet known.
Mr. MacCallum Scott asl ed the Under Secretary of State for India whether the Secretary of State had had his attention called to a recent judgment of the High Court of Allahabad, in the Budaun dacoity case, in which twenty-one persons, who had been sentenced by the additional sessions judge to terms varying from transportation for life to six years' rigorous imprisonment on a charge of committing robberies, were all acquitted; whether he was aware that the principal evidence against them was that of a convict alleged to bave given information to a policeman of the Criminal Investigation Department, and that the Chief Justice and his colleague held the evidence of this informer, as well as the supposed corroborative evidence, to be quite untrustworthy; and what steps the Government proposed to take in view of the frequent failure of prosecutions depending upon such informers, the injury caused to the accused, and the cost to the public.-Mr. Montagu: It is the case that twenty-one persons who had been sentenced by the Sessions Court to transportation or imprisonment were acquitted on appeal to the High Court and that the principal evidence gainst them was that of a convict informer, which the High Court did not accept as trustworthy, although the sessions judge had believed it to be substantially correct. The procedure in gang dacoity cases and the use to be made of the evidence of informers are receiving careful consideration of the local Government, which, it is expected, will shortly issue orders. The Government of India will then consider the subject in its connection with the procedure in other provinces.-Mr. MacCallum Scott: Can the hon. gentleman say whether the increasing frequency with which these cases reported is due to an increase in the evil or to increased vigilance on the part of the authorities ?-Mr. Montagu: It is because of the increased frequency that the Government has considered the matter and ordered a report.-Mr. Wedgwood: Is it proposed to make any large amnesty of political offenders in connection with the coronation? Mr. Montagu: That does not arise.
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SITTINGS OF THE COURTS.
Barnet, Tuesday (J.S.), at 10
Bristol, Monday, Tuesday, Wed-
Burnley Friday (R. By), at 10.30
Chelmsford. Monday, at 10 Chepstow, Monday, at 10 Chippenham, Tuesday, at 10.15 Christchurch, Tuesday, at 10 Cleobury Mortimer,* Friday, at 10 Clerkenwell. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Colchester, Tuesday and Wednesday, at 10
Congleton, Tuesday, at 10
Dereham. Tuesday, at 10
Dewsbury, Wednesday and Thursday
Edmonton, Thursday and Saturday, at 10
Epsom, Wednesday, at 9.30
Folkestone, Tuesday, at 10
Gainsborough, Wednesday, at 10
Grantham, Friday, at 10.30
Helston. Friday. at 11
High Wycombe, Wednesday, at 10
Leicester, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Millom, Monday, at 11.45
Newbury, Wednesday (R. By at 2), at 10
New Malton, Friday
Northwich, Thursday, at 10
Nottingham, Monday (E.L.) and Wednesday (County Courts Act 1903, if necessary), at 10
Woolwich, Wednesday, at 10.80
Workington, Tuesday, at 9.30
Worksop, Thursday, at 10
* Other sittings are specially fixed if necessary.
Thomas Marsden (solicitor, Blackburn). 'for plaintiff, stated the facts. Defendant Aspin in Sept. 1910 obtained in this court a judg ment against plaintiff for £8 14s. 10d. The judgment not being Batisfied, execution was levied by one of the bailiffs of the court a few days later. The execution was levied in the Blackburn, Marketplace. Plaintiff's horse and cart and harness and scales and weights and the contents of the cart were seized. Nothing was seized at the plaintiff's house. The horse, &c., were in the possession of plaintiff as hirer only. The owner of the horse, &c., put in a claim which was admitted. A portion of the wearing apparel and bedding left unseized at plaintiff's house belonged to others than plaintiff. Defendants admitted that the horse, &c, were tools and implements of trade within sect. 147 of the County Courts Act 1888. Plaintiff admitted that with the wearing apparel and bedding belonging to others than himself, £5 worth of such goods was left unseized at his house.
Marsden argued (1) That the proper construction of sect. 147 of the County Courts Act 1888, under which plaintiff claimed, was that all the execution debtor's wearing apparel and bedding were absolutely privileged from seizure, and the tools and implements used in debtor's trade were protected to the value of £5. In support of this submission he cited Churchward v. Johnson (54 J. P. 326), Masters v. Fraser (85 L. T. Rep. 611), Lavell v. Richings (94 L. T. Rep. 515; (1906) 1 K. B. 480), and the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879, s. 21 (2). He submitted that the above cases should be followed in preference. to Boyd v. Bilham (99 L. T. Rep. 780; (1909) 1 K. B. 14), inasmuch as the execution debtor was not before the court in that case, and the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879, s. 21 (2), was not brought to the notice of the court. He also contended: (2) That wearing apparel and bedding not belonging to the debtor or his family could not be taken into account in arriving at the £5; (3) that, the execution being levied away from the house, the bailiff could not be heard to say that he had left unseized the goods in the house, inasmuch as there was no evidence that he could have got into the house at the time of the levy; and (4) that the seizure of the horse, &c., being illegal on account of the fact that they did not belong to the execution debtor, plaintiff was, on this ground also, entitled to damages.
H. Backhouse (Blackburn) and H. S. Haworth (Blackburn) for defendants, relied on Boyd v. Bilham (sup.), and contended that the wearing apparel and bedding left need not be the property of the execution debtor; his possession of them was enough.
His HONOUR gave judgment for the defendants without stating his
Marsden asked for leave to appeal, which was refused.
WOMEN UNDER RUSSIAN LAW. THE Women's movement seems to have reached Russia, and a Bill has been introduced into the Duma providing for a considerable extension of the rights of women. The Bill provides that a married woman shall have the right to hold property independently of her husband, that she may hold a passport in her own name, and that the passport of the husband shall contain no mention of her name without her consent. Further, a woman-even a minor-will be able to accept and discharge, without the authorisation of her husband or her tutors. public and private employment. The Bill enables women' to take part in municipal work, public instruction, and to accept employment under the State. All restrictions, euch as the inability of women to sign contracts, will be removed, and, according to the French contemporary from which we take the foregoing, "en un mot, les droits de la femme deviendront, à peu de chose près, égaux à ceux de l'homme," provided the Bill becomes law.
ELECTORAL REFORM IN ITALY.
THE Bill for electoral reform in Italy has been printed. It provides that all citizens of thirty years of age shall exercise the franchise, and, in the case of those who have completed their military service, the franchise will be allowed even it they are unable to read and write, so the new law will be practically that of universal suffrage. The proposals are based on an electoral roll of 7,701,000-that is to say, 82 per cent. of the male population who have attained their majority and 22 per cent. of the whole population. The Bill contains several provisions tending to prevent and repress fraudes electorales. The minimum of votes necessary for the return of a candidate has been reduced from one-fourth to one-sixth of the particular electorate, but in the case where there is only one candidate ny number of votes cast will secure his election. The deputies will be paid £240 per annum, and this will become operative in the next Legislature-that is, if the Bill becomes law. Those deputies who are in receipt of payments from the State for various services will only receive the difference between what they are in receipt of and the £240 aforesaid. The penalties for infractions of the electoral law are augmented. The Chamber will be empowered to disfranchise for five yeare all constituencies where an election has been annulled twice for corruption, violence, or fraud. The new law will come into force immediately after it has been voted.
CONGESTION AT MANCHESTER.
THE Manchester Law Society (says the Manchester Guardian) has prepared a memorial address to the Lord Chancellor and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the question of the congestion of business in the Manchester County Court. They ask that the matter should be reopened. They point out that in 1906 they drew attention to the congestion, and asked that an assistant judge might be appointed for Circuit No. 8, which at that date included Salford as well as Manchester. In order to remove the grievances arrangements were then made whereby Salford was transferred to Circuit No. 7 (the Altrincham Circuit), and the judge of that circuit was to sit in Salford twenty-two times a year. This arrangement, the memorialists say, has proved ineffectual, and the period between the entering of a plaint and the hearing of the action still remains the same, or greater, than in 1906. The Law Society provide the following comparison of the work done and the number of sittings at Manchester and Salford with those of Circuit No. 6 (Liverpool, &c.), which has the exclusive services of two judges :
Manchester and Salford ... 37,928
Judgment No. of Summonses. Sittings. 6,893 370 12,520. 239
They submit that the congestion in Manchester and Salford arises from the County Courts here being judicially understaffed, and they ask that Salford may be retransferred to Circuit No. 8, that two judges may be provided for the circuit so constituted, and that, if necessary for attaining that object, an additional judge may be appointed. The matter has been brought to the attention of the Parliamentary Committee of the Manchester Corporation by MrC. J. E. Crosse, who wrote: "My committee propose to present a memorial to the Lord Chancellor and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, urging the necessity for the appointment of an additional judge, and to ask them to receive a deputation on the subject, and I am instructed to ask whether the corporation will be prepared to present a similar memorial and take part in the deputation.' The Parliamentary Committee has referred the matter to Sir W. H. Vaudrey and Councillor Simpson, who will present a report.
COUNTY COURTS, EQUITY, AND BANKRUPTCY CASES.-Published quarterly, price 4s., post free. Comprising the Decisions in Law and Equity, administered in the County Courts; the Appeals from the County Courts; the Judgments in Important Cases decided in the County Courts; and all the Cases in Bankruptcy in all the Courts.HORACE COx, County Courts Chronicle" Office, Windsor House, Bream's-buildings, E.C.-[ADVT.]
THE decisions bringing Easter offerings to the clergy within the operation of income for the purposes of taxation are very generally regarded as constituting a grievance, and the Easter Offerings (Exemption) from Taxation Bill, which has been presented in the House of Commons by the Earl of Ronaldshay, supported by Lord Hugh Cecil, Mr. Harwood, Mr. Lane-Fox, and other gentlemen, is likely to receive very considerable favour. The operative clause provides: "From and after the first day of January nineteen hundred and twelve no sum of money collected by voluntary subscription and presented to any clergyman of the Established Church or minister of any other denomination as an Easter offering shall be considered to be part of the recipient's income for purposes of taxation."
CRIMINAL LAW AND THE JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES.
BOROUGH QUARTER SESSIONS.
Abingdon. Thursday, July 20
Bedford, Tuesday, June 27
Devizes, Monday, July 17
Devonport, Saturday, July 1
Grimsby, Tuesday, July 4
Guildford Monday, July 3, at 10.15
Hythe, Friday, July 7
Ipswich, Thursday, June 29
Leeds, Tuesday, July 4
Leicester, Tuesday, July 18
Lincoln, Friday, June 30, at 3
Maidstone, Saturday, July 1, at 10. 45
Manchester. Monday, July 24
Merthyr Tydfil, Wednesday, July 5
Middlesbrough, Saturday, June 24, at 10
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Thursday, July 6 ́ Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Friday, July 7 Nottingham, Friday, June 30, at 10
Plymouth, Friday, June 30
Portsmouth, Thursday, July 13
Saffron Walden, Wednesday, July 12, 11
Scarborough, Tuesday, July 11
Shrewsbury, Tuesday, June 27, at 10.30
Southampton, Monday, July 10, at 10.45.
Stoke-on-Trent, Friday, July 7
THE Infanticide Bill introduced by Mr. Palmer and supported by Sir Frederick Low, K.C., and Mr. Percy Williams has been printed and
circulated. By the existing law, as everyone knows, when any prisoner is convicted of murder, a judge has no alternative, but is compelled to pass the sentence of death. The Bill provides that in certain cases a judge shall be empowered to pass the same sentence that he might pass if the prisoner had been convicted of man. laughter only. With regard to infanticide, it is worthy of remark, that by French law it is regarded as a specially aggravated form of meurtre, which is in curious contrast with the view which, with reference to the practical administration of the law, may be said to be taken of it in this country, where no one has been executed for this offence since 1849, although in every case of conviction the death sentence has been passed which it is known will not be carried out. The Capital Punishment Commissioners of 1866 unanimously recommended as follows: "There is one point upon which the witnesses whom we have examined are almost unanimous-viz, that the power of directing the sentence of death to be recorded should be restored to the judges." The effect of this would be, to give the judge the power of directing that the sentence of death should not be carried out. 66 Obviously," writes Sir Fitzjames Stephen "it would be better, if they are to have this power, that they should also have the power of passing sentence of penal servitude"'-a power with which it is proposed under this Infanticide Bill they should be invested. It came to be considered that to pase sentence of death in cases of conviction for felonies which had been excluded from benefit of clergy, in number amounting to upwards of 160, when the sentence was not to be carried out, was objectionable, and accordingly in 1823 an Act (4 Gao. 4, c. 48) was passed which authorised the court in cases of capital convictions for any felony except murder to abstain from actually passing sentence of death and to order it to be recorded, which had the effect of a reprieve. This Act is still in force, but as in cases of murder sentence of death must be passed and practically no other felony is capital-the only other offences now punishable with death being treason, piracy with violence, and setting fire to dockyards and arsenals-it is hardly ever acted on. The repeiled statute 6 & 7 Will. 4, c. 30, s. 2, seems to have extended the provisions of 4 Geo. 4, c. 48, to cases of murders but 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, e. 2, restored the law to the state established. in 1823. Sir Fitzjames Stephen relates that he remembers 8 c880 in which Mr. Justice Wightman ordered sentence of death to be recorded upon a conviction for murder. "I have met with cases," observes the learned judge, "in which I wished I had a similar power": (1 (History of the Criminal Law of England, i., p. 472). No one," he writes, "is more strongly opposed to the abolition of capital punishment than I, but I am convinced that the judge should have a discretion in capital cases analogous to that which he has in cases not capital": (History of the Criminal Law of England, ii, p. 89). The Infanticide Bill must be welcomed by criminal law reformers as extending such a discretion to a large class of technically capital cases.
THE regulations governing the use of a motor car explicitly provide for the employment of a suitable method of announcing its presence, and in almost every case of an accident one of the first questions considered is the sufficiency of the warning. A recent case, where the motorist used a spanner upon a metal bar as an alternative, illustrates both the attitude of the police towards warnings other than those of the horn, and also it indicates that motorists are beginning to find that the public now pay small regard to a sound to which they are so well accustomed. Hence the weird and blatant warnings so often heard in the roade. In this state of things the observations of the coroner at an inquest in the Lambeth Coroner's Court must cause further anxiety to every considerate driver. He is reported to have complained that horns daze pedestrians, and that their use is most undesirable. The public are alleged by him to be terrified into immobility. The statement followed, however, a case where the unfortunate victim had been run over by her first crossing the course of the car and then returning into it. The position, then, seems to be that the law calls for the use of horns or other adequate means of warning, and justices at once regard any omission to sound them as negligent. This coroner, however, regards them as most undesirable adjuncts, and makes statements which must imply that their use is calculated to do harm and to suggest negligence. In fairness to both authorities it must be admitted that the real desideratum is hard to find. Cars are nowadays so silent that a warning is essential. They are, moreover, so numerous that the warnings tend to become commonplace sounds to which a townsman's ear gives scant attention. The remedy appears to be that all parties, including pedestrians, should exercise more care, and that the same standard of competence should be required from every class of driver who makes use of the rcade.
THE suffragist procession through some of the busiest streets in the metropolis, at the height of the season and just prior to a time when traffic will be legitimately disturbed by the Coronation processions, has caused an enormous amount of inconvenience. We read of a queue of vehicles, in almost solid formation, in length exceeding one and three-quarter miles. The time was so arranged that it delayed the return home of hundreds of hard-worked individuais of the humbler classes, and it occasioned annoyance to those on their way to social functions. As an advertisement of a cause it was no doubt excellent. and served the immediate purposes of its promoters, but it is surely opportune to protest against the annoyance to which busy folk are subjected by these processions. After all, the streets are intended for traffic. and at the very best of times are inadequate to such a volume of it as rolls through our London thoroughfares. If one or another cause (however estimable) is to be allowed to advertise itself by dislocating the traffic, then everyone else must be allowed to do the same, and we may expect enterprising traders, or groups of trader3, to seize the opportunity. Processione, other than those expressly sanctioned by Parliament, might well be prohibited in certain congested areas once and for all. By so doing the gratitude of the busy man would be earned, for it would be difficult to frame any financial estimate of the losses, direct and indirect, which ensue from these recurrent blockages. At any rate, it should be possible, even if Parliament has not got the courage to prohibit processions in toto in the City area, to require that they should take place at such hours as would enable the business of life to be conducted without interference. If this could be done before the tawdry circus procession of the 9th Nov. recurs, so much the better.
THE CRIMINAL IN FLIGHT: SCIENCE AND THE DETECTIVE.
By TIGHE HOPKINS.
LAW, served by science, seems on the whole to keep a little in advance of the criminal. Sometimes it did as much, sometimes it did not, in the days when there was no science to help the police and detectives in their work. Mr. C. A. Mitchell, who discusses the question in a volume entitled Science and the Criminal (Pitman), observes that in the stage-coach era fugitives had a better chance of escaping than in the present age of steam; inasmuch as, though the means of escape were slow, the means of advertising crime were even slower. In Charles II.'s time the highwayman Nevinson performed with apparently little risk, and with no extraordinary trouble, that ride from London (or thereabouts) to York which has always been credited to Turpin. In those days it was often sufficient for the criminal to get a few hours start of his pursuers. On the evening of the day on which Guy Fawkes was seized amid his barrels, those of the Gunpowder men who were still at large in London took horse, and were in the heart of the country before the hue and ory was raised. The introduction of the railway made perhaps no great differeither side. The flying criminal could fly faster, but faster also were the methods of spreading his description. The telegraph it was that first came positively to help the law. "It is strange to reflect," says Mr. Mitchell, "that it was not until it had been employed in the capture of a criminal that it was recognised in how many directions the electric telegraph might be of service to mankind." In 1845 the first murderer was arrested through the agency of the wire. A woman was found done to death near Slough, and a neighbour saw a man in Quaker garb hurrying away. Escaping unchallenged to the railway station, the man, Tawell by name, caught a train to London; but the police, already warned, be thought them of the telegraph.
Although Tawell had had a good start, the message arrived long before him, and detectives were awaiting the arrival of the train at Paddington. He was followed from the station to the Bank, and from there to an eating-house, where he had a meal, and finally to a lodging house in Cannon-street, where he meant to pass the night. Here, much to his amazement, he was quietly arrested. His trial followed in due course, and he was convicted and executed. The capture of Tawell by wire was a dramatic moment in the history of the detection of crime; but more dramatic W88 the scene on board the Montrose in the autumn of last year. Among the passengers were a man and a young woman, disguised respectively as a Quebec merchant and his son, sailing anxiously for Canada. In search of these two every corner of Europe had been scoured for a week. Anxious they were, yet they must have thought that safety was now not impossible..
But their portraits had been so widely circulated by the newspapers that their faces were familiar wherever English journals were read, and the ship was only a few miles on its journey when their
disguise was renetrated by the captain. The vessel was fitted with a wireless installation, and now, for the first time since its invention, wireless telegraphy plaved the leading part in the capture of fugi tives from the land. The police in London were thus immediately acquainted with the whereabouts of the wanted pair, and an officer was sent off by a swifter steamer to greet them on their reaching Canada. Day by day, with almost feverish excitement, the progress of the Montrose across the ocean was followed, and the chief topic of public interest was the race between the police officer on one steamer and the fugitives upon the other. The inspector won easily, and was ready waiting to arrest Crippen and his companion at the first approach of the Montrose to the Canadian shore.
Nowadays, thanks to one of the newest of telegraphic instrumente, a portrait of a suspected person on board ship could be received by the captain, or dispatched by him to Scotland Yard. The telectrograph will send either a picture or a specimen of handwriting; among recent scientific machines it is-in certain situations-ne of the most powerful weapons in the hands of justice. Professor Korn's selenium apparatus was employed by the London daily Press in transmitting portraits of the chief actors in the Steinheil case, and one of these photographs was received in London while the court was in session in Paris. The wonderful telectrograph of Mr. Thorne Baker, weighing only some 24lb., "has been simplified to such an extent that the photograph may be printed on a flexible plate with a backing of lead foil, and by attaching this to the transmitting cylinder the thousands of minute points which go to make up the image will be exactly reproduced on a receiving cylinder at the other end of a telephons wire."
In recent years the general use of photography in the Press has rendered service to the police. Instances will occur to every reader, but reference may be made to the Charlesworth case of 1908. This enterprising young lady, who arranged & motor car "accident" at a convenient cliff, was recognised in a very short time by the portraits circulated broadcast by the newepapers, and "the anti-climax of the farce was reached when, a few days later, she paid a visit to the London office of her solictor, and was attended from the station by a string of motor cars each contain. ing the special representative of a London paper.'
That the aeroplane will sooner or later tempt the escaping criminal may almost be taken for granted. The Crippen case will have shown to fugitives of this class that the ocean has ceased to be a secret or secure highway, but who has tried a flight above it? It seems at present scarcely practicable for a person wanted by the police to get even as far as Calais by passenger boat, but there are possibilities in a midnight soar into the heavens from any secluded region of the coast. In fiction they have already been realised by Mr. Welle, who, in that ingenious and fascinating novel, Tono-Bungay makee the fraudulent bankrupt, Ponderevo, elude his pursuers with complete success in the airship that deposits him (half-dead, it is true) in the Basque country, But at this stage in the business of navigating the air the majority of bankrupts in Ponderevo's situation would doubtless sooner face the receiver, or the judge himself. Still, the day may come when Scotland Yard will have as practical an interest in the ship of the air as the Admiralty or the War Office.
The finger-print, owing principally to Sir Edward Henry's wonderful system of classification, is every year responsible for an increasing number of arrests, and all burglars are well aware that a new riskgrowing daily more difficult to evade has been added to their perilous calling Captures by finger-print are nowadays made not by hundreds but by thousands. The net is thus drawn ever more closely,
We showed last year how dogs of various breeds, from bloodhounds to the more agressive kinds of terriers, are gradually being enlisted as "policemen." We ourselves, as is usual, are backward in the matter, but Major Richardson seems to be getting a little more encouragement. In Paris it is a lady, Mile. Arlette Clary, who is specially devoting herself to the training of dogs for the force. Ml'e. Clary, says Mr. Mitchell, finds her account in "wolf-shepherd hounds" and " brindled mastiff bulle"; and a dog of the latter type, weighing twelve stone, and trained "to guard against a pistol bullet," would enable a constable on night duty to feel pretty comfortable in any surroundings.
American students, as we demonstrated in Professor Münsterberg's cage, are diligently seeking to prove (nay, have in some measure proved) that at a future day the psychological expert in court will throw strange and terrible searchlights on the prisoner in the dock: but for these exhibitions and these powers a slow-moving law will probably compel us to wait.
Meanwhile, the question revived by Mr. Mitchell is by no means untimely, that, in view of the rapid advances of science, "a department specially trained for the work of criminal investigation should be created." We, no doubt, have in our detective force as capable
men as would be found in any similar force in Europe; but the point is that detective services everywhere are defective on the scientific side, in the scientific ways of approaching crime, in the scientific methods not only of handling but of probing for clues. The detective, in brief, does not receive a scientific education.
Methods of scientific reasoning so as to draw deductions from observed facts cannot be acquired by solitary night watches on a "beat," nor does the facility for breaking up a tangle in traffic, which the constable acquires as the outcome of his daily duties, necessarily render him more capable of extricating from a mass of confused details the essential facts upon which stress should be laid. In some of the unsolved mysteries of the last few years the presence of a highly trained intellect at the first hour of the investigation might conceivably have led to the detection of the criminal. As a rule, it is only after the firet examination is over and the cate appears likely to be a difficult one, that the best brains of the department are brought to bear upon the facts.
It should be made possible for a man who possesses a faculty for this type of work to join the criminal investigation department without having to go through the routine work of a police constable. The present conditions both of payment and of status are not of the kind that will attract the highest type of brain to the work of criminal investigation, yet there is no reason why it should not be made to offer the advantages of other branches of professional work. In fact, as far as training can do it, we want to produce and bring to the front the Dr. Hans Gross type of criminal investigator.
LEGAL SYSTEM OF JERSEY.
AFTER an interval of about three years the legal system of Jersey is brought under the notice of the people of the United Kingdom. Then a solicitor disputed his hotel bill, and, in so doing, he discovered that he had made a great mistake, for he was arrested on the ground that he was in meditatione fuga, or some such cause. The result was that he was greatly inconvenienced, and obtained little or no redress. A decision of the Criminal Court given recently has caused not only surprise, but, according to the Central News report of the case, much indignation.
Here are the circumstances: William Best (thirteen), a native of London; Louis Perriot (fourteen), of St. Laurence; and Albert Prigent (twelve), of St. Heliers, are stated to have boarded the vessel Esperance in St. Heliers Harbour and stolen therefrom candles, fish hooke, and some fishing lines. The court sentenced the boys to ten days' imprisonment and ordered the London lad to be sent to the training ship Cornwall, the father to contribute 3e. a week. The fathers of the others were unable to pay the money for their sons to be sent to a reformatory, and the court thereupon ordered the families to be sent back to France. The men, it is stated. enjoy good reputations, and have been on the island for several years. The report added that a subscription had been raised for the families, and it was hoped that the banishment would not take place.
The Channel Islands, it may be recalled, hold a very peculiar position, and in Jersey it is claimed that neither Act of Parliament nor Order in Council is in force unless passed with the concurrence of the States; so it is not so easy as writers in the lay Press imagine to [mpose the Imperial will upon the islanders. In this respect Sir William Anson writes in his Law. and Custom of the Constitution, Part 2, p. 261, 2nd edit.: "As regards Parliament, the claim, if seriously made at all, is made with reference to domestic as opposed to Imperial legislation; and Parliament would probably be unwilling to legislate on domestic affairs of the island without the good will of the States" (the twelve rectors holding office for life, twelve elected constables holding office for three years, and fourteen deputies also elected for three years). "For this reason," adds Sir William Anson, "the wretched judicial system of the island remains unreformed." The Royal Court is the island judicature. The bailiff and jurats are the judges, but the jurats do not necessarily know the law; being unpaid, they are under no obligation to learn it, and, being elected for life, they are independent of criticism. The bailiff, who is always a qualified lawyer, is appointed by the Crown, but his opinion is of less weight than the ordinary jurat. He has no vote upon a judicial decision unless the court be equally divided: (Anson, p. 261). It has even been doubted whether, except under these circumstances, he may express an opinion.
The Royal Court at Jersey confirmed the previous judgment in regard to the deportation of the families, both expressing their preference for deportation to remaining on the island, although thre money for the maintenance of the children had been guaranteed.
PUNISHMENTS IN AMERICAN STATE PRISONS. THE San Francisco Call, in a note on the report of the Assembly Committee on State Prisons, says that some of the punishments in force at San Quentin and Folsam penitentiaries are forms of physical toiture which are inhuman. The Cull substantiates its assertion by quoting from the report. Dealing with the form of punishment known as "cuffing up," the committee say: "This punishment is accomplished by causing the convict to stand erect, facing the door of his cell, and extending his hands and forearms through the grating of the door of the cell, about even with his face. The hands are then fastened together with handcuffs about the wrists. He is compelled