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OUR LITERARY COLUMN.
STRIKING FIGURES IN THE LEGAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY.
FANCY the newspaper hubbub if the present Archbishop of Canterbury was burnt at the stake at Oxford for unorthodox views! Fancy it if Parliament were to pass a special retrospective Act to boil alive a bishop's cook for having poisoned the soup of the family! Fancy it if the present Lord Chancellor were to assist with his own hands in racking an old clergyman to extort a confession of supposed guilt! Fancy it if a servant girl were hanged for stealing a bit of ribbon out of her mistress's drawer! Yet all these things and many more quite as startling and shocking have happened in the "good old times," and our ancestors accepted them seemingly with perfect equanimity as, so to speak, in the ordinary couree of business. So much does custom dull our sensibility! Then comes a quickened conscience, a questioning intelligence, a reforming spirit, and asks with righteous indignation why we suffer this or that scandal to our civilisation. Such a one was Sir Samuel Romilly, to whose humanity and good sense we owe mainly the great amelioration which the last hundred years have witnessed in our barbarous criminal code"written in blood" as he justly says the adoption of new methods in dealing with offenders, and a new ideal of regeneration rather than retribution.
Huguenot Origin-Sorrows of Childhood.
Sir Samuel Romilly's grandfather was a French Huguenot who, for conscience sake, on the revocation of the Ediot of Nantes, surrendered his family estate at Montpelier in the south of France and settled in England that he might worship God after his own fashion. His grandson_used to bless the tyranny of Louis XIV. which had made him an English man. His son, Peter Romilly-Sir Samuel Romilly's father-put to it to make a living in a strange land, started as a jeweller in Broad-street in the City of London, and, having the fine artistic taste of a Frenchman, made a good deal of money out of the business. He had a large family, but three alone survived-Thomas, Samuel, and Catherine-and the lives of these he only saved, so he believed, by taking "country" lodgings for them in the Marylebone-road!
Little Sam, the younger of the two boys, was one of
"The souls by nature pitched too high."
Overflowing with sensibility and imagination. It is pathetic to read of his affectionate anxiety about his father. The little boy would be awake night after night, trembling for his father's safety, till he heard his knock at the door-trembling lest his father should grow old and die; and these were not his only cares. Charles Lamb has told us in his Witches and Other Night Fears how a certain picture in the family Bible representing the Witch of Endor raising Samuel haunted his childish imagination. It was the same with little Romilly; only in his case it was the pictures in Foxe's Book of Martyrs and the Newgate Calendar which visited his couch in dreams and made night hideous. Yet who can say that these very scenes from Foxe's Book of Martyrs and Stories of Newgate which terrorised his childhood may not have been the means of inspiring him with that love of civil and religious liberty and zeal for the reform of our criminal law which have enshrined his name among the benefactors of the race? His echool experience told in the same direction. The master was a bad-tempered man who thought "blows and stripes the only genuine promoters of goodness and incentives to virtue." Romilly, young as he was, knew better. Like Dr. Johnson, he felt that though severity might be the way to "govern boys," it was not the way to " mend them," and what was true of boys was true of men.
Poetry and the Counting-house.
Like many young men of ardent temper, Romilly as he grew up had poetic aspirations and a strong bias towards literature, and the idea of enter ng bis father's counting house was as distasteful to him as it was to the romantic soul of young Mr. Francis Osbaldistone in Rob Roy or to Alan Fairford in Redgauntlet. But Romilly had not, like Scott's heroes, the advantage of a sarcastic parent to ridicule their "wantonings with the muse"; on the contrary, what he calls his feeble verses and puerile images were received with the most flattering applause in the family circle. He had made, among other things, some translations of Virgil, and he adds: I remember reading with triumph first Dryden's translation and then my own to my good-natured relations, who concurred with me in thinking that I had left poor Dryden at a most humiliating distance." This selfadmiration soon abated-Romilly was too modest and sensible a young man to indulge it long-but his course of self-culture continued. He read and re-read all the best Latin writers; he studied English literature and history diligently, and formed his style on the best models—Addison and Swift, Bolin broke, Robertson, and Hume. Nor were the graces wanting. Two pretty and accomplished cousinsorphans-had come to live at his father's small house in the Marylebone-road, and they made the household a very bright and happy one with walks and rides in the mornings, reading aloud, music and dancing in the evenings. Agreeable as this sort of life was, a career had to be chosen, and it came about in this way.
The "Six Clerks in Chancery" and the Bar. There existed at that time an institution known as the "Six Clerks ia Chancery." To-day the clang of arms and the martial tramp of
the "Devil's Own" resounds in that part of Stone-buildings where once the "Six Clerks" pursued their peaceful avocations, copied their Chancery pleadings, and filed their orders. To one of these clerks-a Mr. Lally-young Romilly was articled. For £2000 you could buy the office then, and it was a pretty lucrative one. Of the Bar as a career Romilly had not begun to dream, but the work of the "Six Clerks "naturally turned his thoughts in that direction, and he determined to try his chances there, despite the advice of candid friends who thought his "diffidence" would prove an unsurmountable bar to success. Behold him, then, at twenty-one, established in pleasant chambers at Gray's-inn with an uninterrupted view, save for one row of houses, stretching away to Highgate and Hampstead, and setting himself resolutely to the painful study of the law, as pupil of a certain Mr. Spranger of the Chancery Bar. Here is a history of a day: "At six o'clock or sooner I rise, go into the cold bath, walk to Islington to drink a chaly beate water (from which I have found great benefit), return and write or read till ten; then dress and go to Mr. Spranger's, where I study till three; dine in Frith-street (his married brother's house), and afterwards return to Mr. Spranger tik nine, or else stay in Frith-street and read with my brother and Jane." Pupilage in chambers of this kind was then the only preparation for the Bar. If a law student wanted anything more he had to do it for himself, as Blackstone has told us. In this way of self-help young Romilly formed little society of four for arguing points of law upon questions which the members suggested in turn. One argued on each side as counsel; the other two acted the part of judges and were obliged to give at length the reasons for their decisione, "an exercise," he adds, "which was certainly very useful to us all." Besides these "informal moots," he cultivated the art of speaking atter a novel fashion. Instead of resorting to any of the debating societies, "I adopted," he says, very useful expedient which I found suggested in Quintilian, that of expressing to myself, in the best language I could, whatever I had been reading; of using the arguments I had met with in Tacitus or Livy, and making with them speeches of my own, not uttered aloud. but composed and existing only in thought. Occasionally, too, I attended the two Houses of Parliament, and used myself to recite in thought, or to answer the speeches I had heard there."
Politics-The Coming Revolution in France.
From his letters to his brother in-law, Roden-a Protestant minister living at Geneva-it is clear that he was already taking a keen and intelligent interest in the politics of the time; and well he might, for it was an age of great questions and great Parliamentary oratorsof Pitt and Fox (those "mighty opposites"), of Burke and Sheridan, of Mansfield and Erskine :
"With more than human power endowed,
and Romilly had no doubt under which banner to range himself. The principles of the French Revolution were then "in the air," and Romilly, like many ardent and generous young men of the timelike Wordsworth and Coleridge, Southey and Burns and Benthamhailed the rising light :
"When France in wrath her giant limbs upreared,
And with an oath which shook earth, sky, and sea, Stamped her strong foot and said I will be free."" "I was among those," says Romilly, "who in the early stages of the Revolution entertained the most sanguine expectations of the happy effects which were to result from it." "It was the most glorious event and the happiest for mankind that had ever taken place since human affairs had been recorded." The course of events soon sobered him. Instead of the Millennium, behold the Reign of Terror and Pandemonium let loose!
Meanwhile, however, in 1780, that fanatical nobleman Lord George Gordon at the head of his No Popery mob was causing
"Red ruin and the breaking up of laws "
in London. For two nights it had the appearance of a city taken by storm. It behoved all good citizens to rally to the cause of law and order, and Romilly, though in delicate health. was not wanting. For a whole night he was under arme and stood sentinel for several hours at the gateway of the Inn leading into Holborn, the number of Catholic members at Gray's-inn making that Inn peculiarly obnoxious to the rioters.
The excitement and strain of the Gordon riots brought on an illness and during his convalesence, he taught himself Italian and was soon deep in Machiavelli and Beccaria.
Our Criminal Code-Madan on "Executive Justice." The latter name is worth noting, because it was from Beccaria that Romilly drew his inspiration as a criminal law reformer. An opportunity soon occurred for breaking a lance in the cause. A year or two after he had been called to the Bar-in 1786-"one G. M. Madan published a book or pamphlet called Thoughts on Executive Justice. The gist of this precious pamphlet was that our admirable criminal law was not enforced as strictly as it ought to be. A stranger lookir g at our penal code might think us, said the writer, the best protected nation in the world. So far from that, " highway robberies threaten the traveller by night and by day; the lurking footpad lies like
dangerous adder in our roads and streets; ibe horrid burglar, like an evil spirit, haunts our dwellings, making night hideous.' The farmer loses his sheep from the fold, the ox from the stall, and all sorts of people their horses from their fields and even from their stables, and these are but a part of that dreadful catalogue of offences with which every Old Bailey and every assize calendar is filled." What was the remedy? It was that the judges should remember they did not bear the sword in vain, but do their duty as the ministers of justice, and see that the law was carried into effect. The pamphlet was widely read and naturally had its influences on judges and ministers, though Lord Ellenborough, with his usual vehemence, denied its influence. If so, it is a curious coincidence that whereas in the year before the pamphlet was published (1783) the executions numbered only fifty-one, in the year after publication (1785) they had risen to ninety-seven-nearly doubled in fact. In that year (1785) Romilly published a counterblast, showing forcibly that it was the very severity of the law which was defeating itself. Probably there was no other country in the world, he observed, in which so many and so great a variety of human actions are punished with loss of life as England. They numbered no less than 160.
This severity of the criminal law had in the old times been very much mitigated by "benefit of clergy." When that comfortable doctrine was abolished, the shocking barbarity of making death the penalty for such things as picking a pocket for a shilling, shoplifting to the value of 5s., or stealing in a private dwelling-house to the value of 40s., forced itself on the minds of thinking men, and the growing humanity of the age refused to give effect to the law. Persons whose property had been stolen would not prosecute, witnesses withheld the truth, juries would not convict. For example, one Elizabeth Hobbs was indicted for stealing in a dwelling house "one broad piece, two guineas, two half-guineas, and forty-four shillings in money.' She confessed, and the jury found her guilty, but found that the money stolen was worth only 39s. Mary Braid was indicted for stealing certain pieces of lace in a dwelling-house. It was proved that she had offered to Bell the lace for twelve guineas and had refused eight guineas. The jury found her guilty, but found that the lace was worth only 393.! The result of verdicts like these was that for some time before the date of Romilly's reply to Madan only one-sixth of the persons sentenced to death had actually been executed (hinc illa lachrymæ of the Draconian Madan), and this was taking into calculation crimes the most atrocious and the most dangerous to society-murders, rapes, burning of houses, coining, forgeries, and attempts to commit murder. Leaving these out, only about one in twenty of those convicted on capital charges was executed. Such a state of things affords a striking illustration of how impotent law becomes when it is no longer in accordance with national sentiment.
| Criminal Law Reform, Poultry Stealing, and Judicial Discretion. Romilly set himself to bring back our criminal law to the standard of public opinion and average sentiment by fitting the punishment to the crime. This is his peculiar title to remembrance. But it was a labour of Sisyphus. He had to roll the heavy stone of reform up a hill of prejudice. His old clerk told him attorneys would never think well of any man who was troubling his head about reforming abuses when he ought to be profiting by them. Lord Ellenborough and Lord Eldon thought any relaxation of the law would be dangerous. Wilkes defended the severity of the criminal law because it accustomed men to a contempt of death. Others said, "Keep death as the maximum penalty, ut metus ad omnes perveniat, and leave it to the judges to relax it according to the circumstances, ut pœna ad paucos perveniat." Such was the specious argument. Romilly points out by an example how unfair à law resting on such discretion might become with the different views entertained by the judges. Not many years ago, he says, upon the Norfolk Circuit a larceny was committed by two men in a poultry yard, but only one of them was apprehended; the other, having escaped into a distant part of the county, had eluded all pursuit. At the next assizes the apprehended thief was tried and convicted, but Lord Loughborough, before whom he was tried, thinking the offence a very slight one, sentenced him only to a few months' imprisonment. The news of this sentence having reached the accomplice in his retreat, he immediately returned and surrendered himself to take his trial at the next assizes; but, unfortunately for the prisoner, it was a different judge who presided, and, still more unfortunately, Mr. Justice Gould, who happened to be the judge, though of a very mild and indulgent disposition, had observed, or thought he had observed, that men who set out with stealing fowls generally end by committing the most atrocious crimes, and, building a sort of system upon this observation, had made it a rule to punish this offence with very great severity, and he acccordingly, to the very great astonishment of this unhappy man, sentenced him to be transported. While one was taking his departure for Botany Bay, the term of the other's imprisonment had expired. What must have been the notions which that little public who witnessed and compared these two examples formed of our system of criminal jurisprudence!"
It was only by such pamphlets and paper warfare that Romilly could at this time influence opinion in favour of his reforms. He had not yet got a seat in Parliament, and was engrossed with his professional practice, which was every day increasing; "much more.' he modestly says, than I could have any reason to expect." fact, he almost grudges at his success in the insipid and uninteresting Occupations to which." he says, "I am every day enslaved "-law, be it remembered, was then at its most technical-and yearned for a stage on which he might play the nobler rôle of law reformer and philan
thropist. Not for ambition's sake. Never was man freer from that taint than Romilly, or more worthy to be numbered among those "Who care not to be great
But as they serve or save the State."
Patria impendere vitam was his motto. This freedom from. self-seeking and purity of aim-this splendid disinterestedness-is Romilly's chief charm, and makes his career a bright example to all public men. Here is his amulet, early adopted, against disappointment:
"I have taught myself," he says, "a very useful lesson of practical philosophy, in order to make myself easy in any situation, which is not to suffer my happiness to depend upon my success. Should my wishes be gratified, I promise to employ all the talents and all the authority I may acquire for the public good. Should I fail in my pursuit, I console myself with thinking that the humblest situation of life has its duties, which one must feel a satisfaction in discharging ;that at least my conscience will bear me the pleasing testimony of having intended well; and that, after all, true happiness is much less likely to be found in the high walks of ambition than in the secretum iter et fallentis semita vitæ.
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
i He, like others at this time-1786 1790-was anxiously watching the trend of events in France. Mirabeau, Dumont, Talleyrand, and others who figured on the French stage, were his intimate friends, and he made several visits to Paris to see how things were going." "What struck me as most remarkable" he says, "in the dispositions of the people that I saw was the great desire that everybody had to act a great part, and the jealousy which, in consequence of this, was entertained of those who were really eminent. It seemed as if all persons, from the highest to the lowest, whether deputies themselves, declaimers in the Palais Royal, orators in the coffee-houses, spectators in the gallery, or the populace about the door, looked upon themselves individually as of great consequence in the Revolution. The man who kept the hotel at which I lodged at Paris, a certain M. Villars, was a private in the National Guard. Upon my returning home on the day of the benediction of their colours at Notre Dame and telling him that I had been present at the ceremony, he said: "You saw me, sir?' I was obliged to say that really I had not. He said: Is that possible, sir? You did not see me! Why, I was in one of the front ranke-all Paris B&W me.' What he spoke was felt by thousands. The most important transactions were as nothing but as they had relation to the figure which each little self-conceited hero acted in them. To attract the attention of all Paris or of all France was often the motive of conduct in matters which were attended with most momentous consequences.'
Darker and darker as the days went on grew the horizon in France, and deeper and deeper-as the tragic drama unfolded itself with tumbril and guillotine-the despair of those who, like Romilly, had hoped for a new heaven and a new earth in France. "One might as well," he exclaims after the massacres of September, "one might as well think of establishing a republic of tigers in some forest in Africa as of maintaining a free government among such monsters. Who would have conceived that at the close of the eighteenth century we should see in the most civilised country in Europe all the horrors of political proscription and of religious persecution combined?"
Some years afterwards, when the storm had blown over and Romilly again visited Paris, Talleyrand told him that in his opinion nothing could restore good morals and order in the country but, as he expressed it, "La roue [breaking on the wheel] et la religion de nos ancêtres." He knew, he added, that the English did not think so; but they knew nothing of the people.
The natural sequence in the cycle of political change which Aristotle notes-mob rule (Xλокρатiα) succeeded by tyranny-had by this time begun. "A more absolute despotism than that which now exists here," writes Romilly, "France has never experienced. Louis XIV. was never so independent of public opinion as Buonaparte is." So much for "Liberty"! is amusingly Equality illustrated by an incident recorded in Romilly's journal :"Went after dinner to the opera. We were going the next day into the country, and, to give our horses some rest, we had a hackney coach brought to take us home from the opera. The consequence of this was that, though we quitted our box before the last dance was over, we were obliged to wait till almost everybody else was gone before we could get away. Every gentleman's carriage (no matter in what order they stood) had precedence over our contemptible hackney coach; and we waited three-quarters of an hour while the numerouscarriages of the politer part of the audience drove up and carried off their company. I could not but think this a singular order of police, enforced as it is by dragoons and foot soldiers, in a city where it is impossible to stir a step without seeing Equality displayed upon some public building or at the corner of a street in conspicuous characters"; and, he might have added, where a few years before the mob had been shrieking, “A bas les aristocrats
The Incomparable Anne.
"Our horses," "us home." Little words, but significant of how much, for in the interval Romilly had married.
To what seemingly accidental causes are the most important occurrences of our lives sometimes to be traced! Some miles from Bowood-Lord Lansdowne's Wiltshire seat-is the form of a white horse grotesquely cut upon the downs, and forming a landmark
to a wide extent of country. "To that object it is that I owe," says Romilly, "all the real happiness of my life. In the year 1796 I made a visit to Bowood. My dear Anne, who had been staying there some weeks with her father and her sisters, was about to leave it. The day fixed for their departure was the eve of that on which I arrived, and, if nothing had occurred to disappoint their purpose, I never should have seen her. But it happened that on the preceding day she was one of an equestrian party which was made to visit this curious object. She overheated herself by her ride; a violent cold and pain in the face was the consequence. Her father found it indispensably necessary to defer his journey for several days, and in the meantime I arrived. I saw in her the most beautiful and accomplished creature that ever blest the sight and understanding of man. A most intelligent mind, an uncommonly correct judgment, a lively imagination, a cheerful disposition, a noble and generous way of thinking, an elevation and heroism of character, and a warmth and tenderness of affection such as is rarely found even in her sex were among her extraordinary endowments. I was captivated alike by the beauties of her person and the charms of her mind. A mutual attachment was formed between us, and at the end of a little more than a year was consecrated by marriage. All the happiness I have known in her beloved society; all the many and exquisite enjoyments which my dear children have afforded me. even my extraordinary success in my profession, the labours of which, if my life had not been so cheered and exhilarated, I never could have undergone "-all this he owed to his incomparable Anne. Outwardly reserved and cold in demeanour, Romilly had in reality the warmest heart and the most generous emotions; so says Scarlett, the great advocate-afterwards Lord Abinger-who knew him well, and used to take long walks with him daily after the court гове, as it did in those halcyon days, at two o'clock. In mixed society he was more of a listener than a talker. Literary talk was what he loved. As a speaker he was at times inclined to be declamatory, but it was by his logic rather than his rhetoric that he conquered. He was specially good at exposing sophistry, and this faculty made him always happy-and often terrible-in reply.
"A Potent Voice in Parliament.”
In 1800 he became a K.C., and was soon the recognised leader of the Chancery Bar. It may be thought strange that so successful a lawyer -one, too, so full of reforming ardour-should not earlier have essayed to get into Parliament. More than once Lord Lansdowne had pressed a seat upon him-the Prince Regent himself had offered him one; but Romilly had declined both. He felt that as nominee of the owner of a pocket borough he could not enjoy the independence which he wanted if he entered Parliament, and-paradoxical as it may appear he actually preferred to buy a constitutency for a sum of cash, reconciling his conscience to this "detestable" transaction, as he calls it, by the argument that the whole representative system of the country was rotten to the core, as indeed it was. Lawyers often fail in the House of Commons to justify their reputation. Romilly enhanced his. His easy and flowing elocution, set off by a tall and graceful figure, his well-modulated voice, and, above all, his evident earnestness and sincerity of purpose, at once conciliated the good will of the House, and when Fox in 1805 formed his Ministry of All the Talents" and Erskine was made Chancellor, Romilly, far better fitted for the Woolsack than Erskine, became Solicitor-General. Now was his opportunity as a law reformer, but he knew too well the strength of the opposition he had to encounter to attempt heroic reforms or to proceed otherwise than gradatim et pedetentim. He began by trying to rectify a gross anomaly in the administration of assetsthat is, he brought in a Bill to make the freehold property of persons dying indebted assets for payment of their simple contract debts. But Parliament would only pass it as limited to traders! He brought in a Bill to abolish the penalty of death for pocket-picking, and he succeeded. He brought in a Bill to abolish the penalty of death for shoplifting and for stealing in a private dwelling-house to the amount of 59., and he failed. He tried to mitigate the inhuman flogging that went on in the army and navy, and again he failed. Such was the temper of the age; driven for a time into reaction against all humanitarian legislation by the hideous excesses of the revolution in France. What large schemes of reform he contemplated in law and procedure when he should become Chancellor may be seen in his diary.
His death was felt as nothing short of a public calamity. Lord Eldon came into court next morning obviously much affected. As he took his seat he was struck by the sight of the vacant place at the Bar which Romilly was accustomed to occupy. His eyes filled with tears. I cannot stay here," he exclaimed, and, rising in great agitation, broke up the court.
To Napoleon, then fretting in exile at St. Helena, the deed appeared at once inexplicable and curiously characteristic of the English people. The English character is superior to ours. Conceive Romilly, one of the leaders of a great party, committing suicide at fifty because he had lost his wife. They are in every thing more practical than we are. They emigrate, they marry, they kill themselves with less indecision than we display in going to the opera."
An Apostle of Humanitarianism.
Such is life-a true Lampadephoria, Romilly had dropped out of the race, but he had handed on the torch; and if there is one to whom more than another belongs the honour of being not only a law reformer, but a pioneer of that humanitarianism-the grandest note of the nineteenth century-which has given and is giving us our splendid social legislation, it is the good and great Sir Samuel Romilly. E. M.
Year Books of the Reign of King Edward III. Year 20. (Second Part). Edited and translated by LUKE OWEN PIKE, M.A., Barrister-at-law. London: H.M. Stationery Office. THE learned editor announces in his introduction that, with the exception of a glossary of French as spoken in England before 1363, this is the last volume of the series, and completes the work of filling gaps in the old editions between the tenth and seventeenth and the eighteenth and twenty-first years of Edward III. As the reports of the seventeenth and eighteenth years have also been reissued, the series in fifteen volumes is therefore complete from the eleventh to the twentieth year inclusive. In reading Mr. Pike's review, one realises the value and interest attaching to the work in which he has taken so notable a part and has made more than one important discovery. The MS. of this volume was ready in May 1908, and the delay in publishing has been due to changes in the Government printing department: (see statement at annual meeting of the Selden Society, 130 L. T. Jour. 539).
Select Cases in the Star Chamber. Vol. 2. Edited by I. S. LEADAM. London: Bernard Quaritch.
THIS is the twenty-fifth volume of the Selden Society's publications, and gives us Star Chamber cases in the years 1509 to 1544. In a most comprehensive and able introduction Mr. Leadam discusses the composition of the celebrated court by statute and in practice, the statutes of 1529 and 1539, and changes in forms of process and address. The select pleas include questions of copyhold, inclosure, maintenance, bondage, riot, forcible disseisin, engrossing corn, &c. There are indexes of subjects, persons, and places. An appendix contains various proclamations, cases in the Court of Requests, and other matters. A statement regarding this and the next volume will be found in the report of the Selden Society's annual meeting, 130 L. T. Jour. 539.
Annotated Civil Code of Japan. By J. E. DE BECKER, Solicitor. Vol. 4. Butterworth.
THIS Volume contains Book V. of Mr. de Becker's admirable presentment of this interesting code. It is the Book of Succession, and deals in seven chapters with succession to house and property, acceptance and renunciation of succession, separation of property, failure of heirs, forms of wills, and legal portions. The arrangement of the work is clear and systematic, and it is beautifully printed in large type with ample margins. The index is exceptionally full.
Digest of the Local Government Case Law of 1910. By 'NOMOS." Vol. 1. The Local Government Review Limited.
THIS is a handy collection of cases conveniently arranged under seventeen headings, such as Contracts, Education, Motor-cars, Practice, Rating, and so on. The 358 reports have appeared in the legal section of the Local Government Review, but have been brought up to date and checked throughout. "Nomos" says in his preface: "In the good old days, law reporting was a wellrecognised stepping-stone to the Bench, and a more meritorious one than mere subservience to a political party. Nowadays it seems to be the doorway to oblivion as far as practice in the courts is concerned." Hence the pseudonym.
Public Companies. By B. O. BIRCHAM and FREDERICK C. G. MORRIS. Effingham Wilson.
THIS useful little book compresses into 115 pages the law and practice relating to the formation and flotation of such joint
stock companies limited by shares as invite the public to subscribe for their capital. Although of small compass, all the essential features relating to this matter are given both accurately and clearly, and promoters, directors, investors, and other persons connected with companies, as well as lawyers, will find the information therein contained of the greatest value.
The third edition of Mr. Charles Beatty's handy little Guide to the Death Duties (Effingham Wilson) incorporates the changes effected by the Finance Act 1910. The author is a solicitor in the Estate Duty Office at Somerset House, and can therefore be thoroughly relied on for his knowledge.
The eighth edition of Innes' Digest of the Law of Easements (Stevens and Sons) is the work of Mr. Noel Leybourn Goddard, of the Middle Temple. The plan of the work has not been altered, but the text has been brought up to date and improved in many ways, while the index is quite new.
Students will be glad to know that Mr. Alfred Topham's treatise on Real Property (Butterworth) has entered on a second edition which includes a number of important recent decisions. Difficult passages have been revised, and Mr. F. Porter Fausset, of the Inner Temple, supplies a set of test questions.
Messrs. Butterworth and Co. and Shaw and Sons have brought out a new (the sixteenth) edition of that well-known work Pratt and Mackenzie's Law of Highways, Mr. W. W. Mackenzie being alone responsible for the present issue. Since the publication of the last edition in 1905 there has been much fresh legislation on the subject-matter of the work, and this, together with all the recent decisions of the courts, will be found incorporated in the new volume, which as it stands contains the whole of the law relating to highways, main roads, streets, and bridges. Mr. E. A. C. Lloyd has assisted Mr. Mackenzie in the preparation of parts of the text.
Recent legislation has rendered necessary a new edition of Alpe's Law of Stamp Duties, and Messrs. Jordan and Sons Limited have just published the twelfth edition, revised and amplified by Mr. Arthur B. Cane. This book is so well known to practitioners that it is only recessary to say that both in the way of statute and case law it has been brought well up to date, and contains the whole of the law on this difficult subject as it stood at the commencement of this year.
Mr. Charles Sweet has undertaken the preparation of the third edition of Challis' Real Property (Butterworth). The author's text and notes remain unaltered, the editor's additions and comments being placed in brackets. While dissenting from Mr. Challis in some cases, notably in regard to the true nature of incorporeal hereditaments, easements, New River shares, and titles of honour, Mr. Sweet ventures to support his views, in face of recent decisions to the contrary, on the question whether the rule against perpetuities applies to certain common law interests which were recognised as valid long before the rule was invented. The editor has certainly a strong array of opinion on his side. He shows care in the whole work and a nice judgment in regard to a selection of recent cases.
Mr. H. B. Irving, the well-known actor and a keen student of criminology, has just completed, and hopes to publish before his departure for Australia on the 12th May, a volume dealing with the trial of Franz Müller This volume will form the second of the new series of Notable English Trials now being published by Messrs. William Hodge and Co., Edinburgh and London. The volume will be illustrated with several interesting contemporary portraits.
The American Law Review for April contains the following articles : Criminal Procedure in England; Grotius and the Movement for International Peace, by R. Walton Moore; The Violation of Laws Limiting Speed as Negligence, by Wm. P. Malburn; The International Society of Esperantist Jurists, by William E. Baff; and Rate Regulating Bodies and the Postal Service, by Nathan B. Williams.
The first quarterly number of the American Journal of International Law for this year contains: The North Atlantic Coast Fisheries Arbitration, by Robert Lansing; The Orinoco Steamship Company Case before the Hague Tribunal, by William Cullen Dennis, with Dr. H. Lammasch's addresses on that occasion; Governments de facto, by Everett P. Wheeler; Francis Lieber, his Life and his Work, by Ernest Nys; the History of the Department of Sta.e, Part VI., by Gaillard Hunt; Studies on the Eastern Question, Part I., by G. Selle; and, in the supplement, Official Documents.
Gore-Browne and Jordan on Joint Stock Companies. Edition. Jordan and Sons Limited, 116 and 117, Chancery-lane, W.C. Price 78. 6d. net.
Picken's Handbook to Stamp Duties. Sixteenth Edition. Waterlow and Sons Limited, London Wall. Price 23. 6d. net.
Mitchell on Science and the Criminal. Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons Limited, 1, Amen-corner, E.C. Price 68. net.
Alexander on the Administration of Justice in Criminal Matters. Cambridge University Press, Fetter-lane, E.C. Price 1s. net.
LEGISLATION AND JURISPRUDENCE.
THE problems to be solved by the legislation, geueral and local, on the subject of lights on vehicles are in some measure alleviated by the extremely simple and inexpensive arrangement employed by Lord BREADALBANE. In essence it is merely a lamp, showing a red light behind, suspended by a hook from the axle. Lord BREADALBANE has used this device during two winters and has discovered that it is not only effective as indication of the presence of the vehicle, but it is, moreover, quite safe for use on hay carts. This type of vehicle is dangerous for its slowness and there are admitted difficulties in the way of lighting it, and, furthermore, it is apt to pursue its course at a time of year and under conditions of darkness when it may be encountered by large numbers of other travellers. The practical system now advocated should be noted by all county council representatives, and, looking to the perils of the roads, steps should be taken towards making it compulsory for all such vehicles being marked by this simple and efficacious means.
Ir is scarcely astonishing to find that the new by-laws being pressed for acceptance in Paddington have entailed some considerable friction In this area there has been for some little time a consumption dispensary, and it may probably be traced to the zeal of this body that there should be proposed a by-law requiring every lodger in a tenement house, except under special ci.cumstances, to open his bed-room window for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon, and to have the floor swept daily and washed once a week. It is freely granted that were lodgers in tenement houses to adopt of their own volition such practices, their own health and that of neighbours might testify to their advantage, but, unless these by-laws are to be mere waste paper, it would appear necessary to appoint a number of new sanitary officials and to incur a new form of inquisition by inspectors. It is not proposed, apparently, to extend these by-laws to the numerous blocks of flats inhabited by richer individuals, nor to affect the resident of an ordinary house, and it is therefore a novel form of class legislation in London. The statement is made that something on these lines has been done in the provinces, and it is said that the Local Government Board is prepared to support by-laws of this nature. Mr. BURNS in his legislation on town planning has gone a long way towards securing a higher standard of cleanliness and sanitation, and the present by law is an outcome alike of this legislation and of the experience of the Paddington dispensary for the prevention of consumption. There is now such a number of inspectors of one sort or another to whose visits the ordinary working man is liable that it is undesirable to add to them, or to the scope of modern inquisition.
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THE PRACTICE OF INTERPLEADER BY SHERIFFS AND HIGH BAILIFFSWith Acts, Rules, and Forms. By DANIEL WARDE, of the Middle Temple and South-Eastern Circuit, Barrister-at-Law. Second Edition, price 5s. 6d., post free.-HORACE COX, "Law Times" Office, Windsor House, Bream's-buildings, E.C.-[ADVT.]
On the 25th ult. the Speaker, in reply to a question by which his attention was directed, on a point of order, to an interrogatory as to whether the law officers of the Crown had been consulted by the Foreign Office on a matter of international law, which it was submitted was contrary to Parliamentary practice, gave an answer which is of interest as illustrative of many of the variances in the practice of the British and American Constitutions. "It is well known," said the Speaker, "that the opinions of the law officers of the Crown cannot be cited here, and that if a member of the Government does happen to cite the opinion of the law officers he must render himself responsible for it, and not endeavour to shelter himself behind the opinion of his legal brethren. But, on the other hand, I see no objection to the question as it appears. If the hon. member who put the question had proceeded to ask what was the result of the consultation, that would have been out of order. I do not think there is anything out of order in asking whether the opinion of the law officers was taken." Mr. Bryce in his American Commonwealth thus contrasts the different practice in the United States with reference to the opinions of the Attorney-General: "He is the legal adviser of the President in those delicate questions, necessarily frequent under the Constitution of the United States, which arise as to the limits of executive power and the relations of Federal to State authority, and generally in all legal matters. His opinions are frequently published officially as a justification of the President's conduct and an indication of the view which the executive takes of its legal position and duties in a pending matter." Mr. Bryce adds the following piquant footnote: "Another variance from the practice of England, where the opinions of the law officers of the Crown are always treated as confidential": (see Bryce's American Commonwealth, i, p. 89). On the 26th April 1901 it was unsuccessfully attempted in debate in the House of Commons to fix the law officers of the Crown with responsibility to Parliament for advice tendered to the Cabinet.
THE late Lord Esher when Master of the Rolls re-echoed, albeit unconsciously, the sentiments of the letter of protest, to which we called attention in last week's LAW TIMES, written by Sir Alexander Cockburn as Lord Chief Justice in Feb. 1868 in deprecation of the employment of members of the Judicial Bench in the trial of election petitions, on the ground that such work is foreign to the duties which come within the ordinary sphere of the judicial office, and calculated to expose the occupants of the Bench to unreasoning criticism and to lower the dignity of the judicial office in public estimation. Lord Esher, in replying to the toast of "The Judges of England" at the Guildhall banquet on the 9th Nov. 1892, thus referred to the appointment of the late Right Hon. Sir James Mathew, then a puisne judge and subsequently a Lord Justice of Appeal, to be president of the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Commission, and to the attacks which had been made on him in that position. We quote from the Times of the 10th Nov. 1892: "The Master of the Rolls, in referring to the independence and impartiality which characterised the action of the judges, said their education and training made them impartial and determined to do what was right in every question which came before them. This, indeed, was so well known and recognised that when the judges of England acted within the scope of their ordinary duties nobody ever attempted even to suggest that they were not impartial. At the present moment, however, they knew that one of the judges had been asked to go beyond the scope of his ordinary duty, and he for one was surprised and sorry that the judge in question had consented to do so. The result was inevitable. That judge had been fiercely accused of partiality and of a want of desire to do justice. He could safely say that throughout his long experience of twenty-four years there had not been a judge on the English Bench who had shown at any time or in any position any other feeling or desire than to be absolutely impartial and to do right.”
MR. JUSTICE RIDLEY in the scrutiny of votes at Exeter and West Bromwich, where the candidates have pressed so closely on each other in the number of votes recorded for each, must have been reminded of his own experience as a candidate in a close Parliamentary contest more than a generation ago. The incident is thus recorded in the Annual Register, 1878: "At a very curious and interesting election in South Northumberland the contest resulted in a tie.' On the declaration of the poll each candidate had 2912 uncontested votes. The Liberal candidate, Mr. Grey (the present Earl Grey), the heir presumptive of Earl Grey, had, in addition, two balloting papers on which the voters had written Grey' instead of having
marked them with a cross against the name. The votes, it seemed, ought not to have been counted for Mr. Grey, and were ultimately rejected. The presiding officer, the high sheriff, had still a casting vote and would have given it to the Conservative, Mr. (Justice) Ridley, had not Mr. Ridley with much honourable feeling requested him to withhold it and send the double return to the House of Commons. Mr. Ridley's election was subsequently established " (Annual Register, 1878, p. 50.)
In the House of Commons, on the 27th ult., Mr. Beck asked the Prime Minister whether, having in view the di-satisfaction and mistrust felt concerning the present method of appointing persons to serve as justices of the peace, he would consider the advisability of affording to the members of this House an early opportunity for the discussion of the whole question.-Notice of questions on the same subject had been given by other hon. members.-Mr. Asquith: In regard to this and subsequent questions on the same subject, while I am quite prepared to deal with most of the points involved, there are still one or two matters on which I am completing my information, and I should therefore prefer to postpone my reply till Monday.
Mr. Wedgwood asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he could say approximately how many additional stipendiary_magistrates would be required in order to establish in England and Wales a complete system of stipendiaries-Mr. Churchill: It would be impossible to estimate beforehand the number of stipendiary magistrates who would be required to do the work now done by the unpaid justices. Much would depend on how far country cases and caseD from small towns could be brought into the larger towns; but in any case the number would amount to several hundreds.-Mr. Wedgwood: In view of the difficulty of obtaining justice from some of the local Benches would it not be worth the while of the Government to make an inquiry as to the cost of appointing stipendiary magistrates ?-Mr. Churchill: I do not think I should like to commit myself to an inquiry on a subject of this sort on such short notice.
Mr Byles asked the Attorney-General what steps would be necessary in order to constitute the court for the trial of election petitions a court of three judges instead of two.-The Attorney-General: The constitution of the court for the trial of election petitions is now regulated by sect. 2 of the Parliamentary Elections and Corrupt Practices Act 1879, which provides that the trial of election petitions should be conducted before two judges instead of one. Legislation would be necessary to constitute the court for trial of election petitions a court of three judges.-Mr. Byles: Will the Government also consider the propriety of going back to the old plan under which this House had control in theee matters ?-Viscount Helmsley: Will the Government take steps to discourage the view which is prevalent in some quarters that the decisions on these election petitions are not impartial ?-No answer was given to these questions.
Mr. R. Gwynne asked the Prime Minister whether his attention had been called to the fact that, under existing conditions, men summoned to act as common jurors in criminal cases not only received no remuneration for their services, but, if living at a distance, have to pay their own travelling expenses, and were in consequence losers of both time and money; and whether he would undertake to give members of Parliament an opportunity, before voting for salaries for themselves for work voluntarily undertaken, to vote for fair remuneration for those working men who were compelled to serve the State as common jurors.-Mr. Asquith: Upon the subject of the status and remuneration of jurors-which has, in my opinion, no connection with the question of payment of members-I must refer the hon gentleman to answers given by the Home Secretary on the 6th and 20th March. Mr. R. Gwynne asked whether, as there was now practically no opportunity of discussion on subjects raised by private members, the Government would hold a preliminary inquiry before legislation on the subject was introduced.-Mr Churchill: I have had some communications on the subject. I think there should be an inquiry by a departmental committee, or possibly by a Royal Commission, but I have not finally decided upon either the form of inquiry or the terms of reference.-Mr. Lawson asked whether the Government would not grant an inquiry by a Select Committee of this House.—Mr. Churchill: I am quite willing to consider that suggestion.
In reply to a question asked by Mr. Spear, Mr. Hobhouse said the total grants made by the Road Board, with the approval of the Treasury, to highway authorities towards works of road improvement amounted to £141,568. In addition, grants amounting to about £425,000 have been indicated and the details are now in course of settlement between various authorities and the board. The estimated cost of carrying out the improvements to which the board have contributed £141,568 is £246,231.
In the House of Commons, on the 28th ult., Mr. Goulding moved the second reading of the Aliens Bill, which requires that all aliena landing in this country in future should be registered, gives increased power to expel convicted aliens, provides that employers inducing aliens to come here must pay fair rates of wages, and proposes that inspection of aliens on ships should not be limited as at present.Sir George Doughty seconded the motion. -The rejection of the Bill was moved by Mr. Booth and seconded by Mr. C. Roberts. Mr. Churchil suggested that the House should allow the Bill to go to a Standing Committee, but eaid the proposals with regard to registration and inspection of aliens on board ship were impracticable.-The Bill was read a second time by a maiority of twenty five, and referred to a Standing Committee.