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Suggestions for Amending the Law.-Curiosities of Legislation. adduced to show the great extent to which CURIOSITIES OF LEGISLATION.? rogues are allowed to pass unpunished, because creditors, though willing to employ an
BREVITY OF ANCIENT SCOTCH LAWS. attorney, hesitate to go to the far greater expense of employing a barrister, especially with
AFTER alluding to the manner in which the so inferior a bar as is inevitably that of these true state of a country was delineated in its Courts.
legislative enactments, which were passed to
meet present exigencies and repress existing 2. The improvement of the indexes of the evils, and were free from partisanship, the Insolvent Courts, making one general index. lecturer alluded to the extreme brevity of an
3. The reduction of the duty on many deeds cient Scotch Laws. Judging from our Statutenow liable to 35s., because not otherwise spe- book, he said, our ancestors must have been cified, though many of them relate to very men of few words-men fond of deeds rather trifling property, and might be easily classed than words. It was refreshing, after reading and assessed; as for instance, deeds of license some of our complex and lengthened modern for use of light, &c., often merely for protec- Acts of Parliament to turn to a Scotch Act of tion at small or nominal rents : releases and Parliament of the reign of James the First, surrenders of small interests. Upon the latter which briefly and pithily enacts that "nae the duty might be the same as that of the man should enter any place where there is principal deed.
hay with a candle, unless it be in a lantern." 4. Upon interpleader summons the Judge The whole of the Scotch Acts of Parliament should have absolute power to adjudicate with passed in the reign of James the First, extendout consent, so that a party dissatisfied should ing over 13 Parliaments, and amounting to 133 not have precluded himself from appealing to in number, were comprehended in 46 pages of the full Court.
a small duodecimo volume, and that volume 5. The County Courts admit of very exten- contained the whole Scotch Acts of Parliament sive improvements, though great difference of from 1426 to 1621, being nearly 200 years. opinion, at least out of the Profession, must be The annual Mutiny Act of Queen Victoria, for expected as to the mode. There can be no
the regulation of the army, was many times doubt, for instance, that a great deal of time Parliaments of her first royal ancestor in the
more bulky than the Acts of the whole 13 and great expense would be saved alike to the Court and the suitors, were the officers requir
Stuart line. ed to effect service a week before the day of hearing, and the defendants were required to
LESSONS OF ANCIENT SCOTCH LAWS. enter an appearance, or suffer judgment by Sheriff Barclay said that in these old Scotch default. The fee for appearance need not ex- laws we could see the strong, stubborn characceed a penny in the pound. The fee should ter of the Ancient Scot-stern in his patriotism, not be a prerequisite to appearing and alleging and ambitious to uphold his country against reasons for delay in payment; it should be her more powerful neighbour, with which she taken as a denial of the claim; and in the is now happily united in indissoluble alliance. event of the appearance being entered, and The early attention given to the education of no grounds of defence shown, judgment for the young, by the institution of schools in immediate payment should be a matter of every village, contrasted favourably with the course.
little attention paid to the subject in other 6. Another alteration of great value would be countries, and even in modern times in our the permission to attorneys to execute the writs, own country: There was much to be learned and without payment of the fees. The present by an attentive study of the ancient laws of rule is perfectly monstrous, that leave should Scotland-much to teach us how little value be given to suitors to employ their own attor- there is in primitive law to mould the minds neys only on special application, and proof of of a people without the help of a sound moral the inability of the Court officers to perform and religious education, but much to make us their duty, the further fee being still paid all proud of our ancestors, ever jealous of their the same, and the previous fee actually charged rights-men attached to their rugged country, personally upon the plaintiff.
anxious to maintain its ancient independence, 7. In cases of a counter claim, the defend- nations. Let us not sneer at their seeming
and secure its place and name among the ant entering his plaint within a reasonable barbarism or rudeness of manner, but let us time, should be entitled, as a matter of course, pay them a tribute of reverence and respect for to have both heard simultaneously.
what they did in rearing our national great8. In bankruptcy proofs under London pe-ness, and securing our national civil and retitions should be freely received when sworn ligious liberties. before the London Commissioners in Chancery.
THE GREAT ERROR OF MODERN LEGISLAMany similar instances might be adduced, and have doubtless suggested themselves to Before proceeding to the proper subject of other members.
From Sheriff Barclay's Lecture at the Dundee Institution.
Curiosities of Legislation.
389 bis lecture, Sheriff Barclay gave some amusing times deceptive. There was one which iminstances of the absurdities of modern legisla- posed a tax on coals carried to London, which tion. The great error, he said, in the legisla- he thought was abolished ten years ago. That tion of the present day was this, that the Acts Act was smuggled through Parliament under of Parliament were not carried through by any the title of "A Tax for the Support of the one man, but were the product of a great num- Orphans of London;" whereas, it was a tax ber of minds. They pass through several com. on coals brought into London, and only a part mittees of the two Houses of Parliament. of the proceeds went to the support of an Every one has his peculiar feeling and peculiar orphan institution. provision; every one wishes to introduce some amendment, provision, or restriction; and con- ACT AGAINST THE IMPORTATION OF sequently the law, as it comes out in the end,
IRISHMEN. is a piece of patch-work or mosaic something like what old ladies made in the shape of bed
There was an amusing Act of Parliament covers.
passed in 1425, which was entitled, “Scotchmen should bring nae man furth of Ireland
without ane testimonial.” It was explainHAMLET WITH THE PRINCIPAL CHARACTER ed in the Act that this was not done " to OMITTED.
break the auld friendship between the people He proceeded to notice a few amusing illus- of Scotland and the Irishry of Ireland.” In trations of the absurdity of the mode of legisla- connection with this Act there was a good tion to which he had referred. The first which story told of a scene between Lord Meadowhe quoted was an Act passed in the reign of bank, now Mr. Machonochie, and Daniel George III., to regulate the trade in the madda O'Connell, which occurred in the course of a root, an important article of commerce. In that debate in the House of Commons. Daniel Act there were 60 sections, and it was found O'Connell had made a very violent attack to be totally inoperative, for the best of all , upon the Scotch statute-book, and mainreasons, that the word “madda” or “madda tained that the whole of the old Scotch root” did no occur from the beginning to the Acts of Parliament were relics of a barbarous end of the whole Act. It contained many re- age, not founded upon right reason or sound strictions and tests of the purity of the article policy; upon which Mr. Maconochie rose up for the purposes of excise and customs, but the and begged to dispute the accuracy of Mr. article to be tested was not once mentioned in O'Connell's statement, for, so far back as the Act-a beautiful legal illustration of enact- 1425, there was an Act passed in Scotland ing “ Hamlet” without the character of Ham- against the importation of the Irish. let.
COMPLEXITY OF Again, in an Act passed so late as the reign of George IV., for building a new prison in He would next adduce as an amusing illusGloucester, one section sets forth that the pri- tration of the complexity of modern Acts of soners are to be kept in the old prison till the Parliament, an Act regulating transactions benew prison is built, and another section of the tween masters and servants, one which was in same Act, from principles of economy, de- everyday use, and which was at present freclares that the materials in the old prison are quently put in force in Dundee. He would to be used in building the new.
only read one clause, which he thought might
be set to music, from the exceeding nicety and A NEW WAY TO PUNISH THEFT. balance of some of the terms. He proceeded A still better illustration, perhaps, was fur- to read the clause which was of great length, nished by an Act passed in the reign of George and which drew from the audience continued 11., relating to the offence of stealing from peals of laughter, from the interminable legal bleach-fields, which declares that the punish
phraseology and the frequent repetition of the ment of the offender shall be ten years" trans- words, “every servant in husbandry, artificer, portation, one-half to the prosecutor and the miner, collier, pitman, labourer, or other perother half to the king. The obvious blunder reading of the clause elicited, the Sheriff
son.” Referring to the laughter which the here was that the Act, as originally drawn out, gravely assured his audience that it was made the offender liable to a penalty of 1001., one-half to the prosecutor and the other hali really no joke” to one who, like himself, was to the king; but some wise head, thinking compelled to listen to such a clause as that
being read once or twice a-week. It was as this punishment was not sufficiently severe, bad as swallowing a dose of ipecacuanah. It took away the pecuniary penalty, and substi. tuted transportation, forgetting to look to the put him in mind of the third chapter of Daniel, remaining portion of the clause, and the Act had set up an image, and a law commanding
where it was recorded that Nebuchadnezzar therefore ordered that the prosecutor should be
the worship of the image is frequently quoted, transported five years and the king five years. in which there constantly occurred the words,
“the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, SOMETHING IN A NAME.
psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music.” The titles of Acts of Parliament were some- This law of master and servant, which he had
A LEGAL DILEMMA.
MODERN ACTS OF PARLIAMENT.
390 Curiosities of Legislation.--Parliamentary Returns.--Notes of the Week. quoted, seemed to be an exact model of the visionally registered, and 4 (limited) and 77 edict of Nebuchadnezzar of olden time. (unlimited) completely registered.
The total amount of fees received at the HOW THE BAKERS ESCAPE PEXALTIES. head office in London was . . £4,216 0 4 He would mention one act which had come
Branch office in Dublin
136 18 2 under his own experience, to show how easily mistakes might be committed by every one
£4,352 18 6 having a dab at an Act of Parliament as it passed through the House of Commons and the SCALE OF FEES TO REGISTRAR OF JOINT. House of Lords. It was an important British
STOCK COMPANIES. Act called the Bread Act, which enacts that all
Certificates. bakers should have upon their counters or For a certificate of provisional registraplaces of sale beams and scales, for the purpose tion
£500 of weighing their bread before the purchaser For a renewed certificate of ditto 2 0 0 as it was sold, to ensure that it should be of For a certificate of complete regisjust measure. There had, however, been an tration
5 0 0 extraordinary blunder made in the clause re- And on every 1,000l. value of declared lating to beams and scales, which had made capital in the case of companies formed previ. that part of the Act totally inoperative. The ously to Nov. 1, 1844
6d. learned Sheriff here read the clause in question, In case of companies formed subsequently which commenced by enacting. “ that every to that day
18. baker or seller of bread should cause to be
N.B.-But three-fourths of this fee in refixed in some conspicuous part of his or her spect of capital will be repaid by her Mashop, on or near the counter, a beam or scale, jesty's Treasury if the company obtain with proper weight or other sufficient balance, an Act of Incorporation within two years in order that all bread may be sold in presence after complete registration. of the purchaser ;” and after alluding to false For a certificate of complete registration with weights, the clause immediately went on to limited liability
• £500 provide that in case of neglect, the penalty For an annual certificate • 1 0 0 should be a fine not exceeding 51., not for every
Registration of Returns. case in which the beams and scales were absent from the counter, but “for every such, false those of changes in the list of shareholders) Is.
Upon the first sheet of every return (except beam or scale, balance, or false weight." In
Upon every subsequent sheet
6d Perthshire a great many bakers were brought up and fined under this clause, but at last one the list of shareholders (except in the case of
For returns of changes in, or additions to, village baker took to the study of the Act, and mutual assurance companies), upon every he did not see how he could be fined, be.
18. cause the clause awarded no penalty for not having the weights, but merely for having false shareholders in the case of mutual assurance
For returns in, or additions to, the list of weights. He accordingly appealed to the companies, upon the first sheet
18. higher Courts of Justice, and upon advising with Crown counsel, they said it seemed an ex
Upon every subsequent sheet traordinary blunder, and inquiry was made
Searches. into the records of Parliament to see how it
For inspection of each office index (except had occurred. It was then found that the bill the alphabetical index of companies) 6d. originally read, "for every such offence,” that
For inspection of each volume of the comis, for every time beams and scales were not panies' registers
1s. upon the counter ; but some person in the
For inspection of original document in the House of Lords thought there should be a general register
1s. distinction made by making the penalty greater
N. B.-The alphabetical index of companies in case of false weights, and in putting in the
may be inspected gratis. addition, " for every false weight," &c., took
Ofice copies of Extracts. away the whole effect of the enactment, and For every folio of 72 words
4d. made it totally inoperative either in England
Perusal of Documents. or Scotland. - [From the Daily Express, 21st For every folio of 72 words contained in the Jan., 1856.]
text of the deed or document, if written . 6d. If printed.
4d. PARLIAMENTARY RETURNS.
NOTES OF THE WEEK.
CITY NISI PRIUS COURTS. Joint-Stock Companies to the Committee of the We are informed that Mr. Richard Bell, a Privy Council for trade, pursuant to the 7 & 8 member of the Common Council of the City, Vict. c. 110, s. 79, and ordered by the House has given notice of a motion to rescind the reof Commons to be printed, March 3, 1856, solution for building additional Courts for the that during the year 1855 there have been 109 trial of Nisi Prius actions. Probably this companies (limited) and 144 (unlimited) pro- question is brought forward for the purpose of
Notes of Week.—Superior Courts : Lord Chancellor.-Rolls.-V. C. Kindersley. 391 saving a large expenditure by the city and ex- | Thomas Butterfield, Esq., late Chief Justice of pediting the erection of the new Courts, where the Bermudas or Somers Islands, to be a Memtrials both for Middlesex and London might ber of the Legislative Council of those Islands. take place, in accordance with the last plan of - From the London Gazette of 11th March. placing them partly on the borders of the city Mr. Francis Russell, Advocate, has been apand partly in the county. We observe that Mr. pointed Private Secretary to the Lord Advocate Anderton, on the last discussion of the subject, of Scotland.-From the Observer. suggested this course, and we should be glad to see it adopted; but if the city determines on
Mr. Robert Slaney, Solicitor, has been aphaving new Courts, then let there be a room castle-under-Lyne, in the room of Mr. Thomas
pointed Clerk to the County Court of Newfor the accommodation of the suitors and at
Mr. Charles Wilkin, Solicitor, of 10, Token
house Yard, has been appointed a CommisLAW APPOINTMENTS.
sioner for taking affidavits in the Law Courts The Queen has been pleased to appoint John in Ireland for the London district. Harvey Darrell, Esq., to be Chief Justice ; Mr. Edward Clements, Barrister-at-Law, has Duncan Stewart, Esq., to be Attorney-General ; been appointed sole Commissioner for inquirand Seth Harvey, Esq., to be Solicitor-General ing into the remaining turnpikes in Ireland, in for the Bermudas or Somers Islands.
the room of Mr. Hayward, Q.C.-Civil Service Her Majesty has also been pleased to appoint | Gazette.
RECENT DECISIONS IN THE SUPERIOR COURTS.
point, and that therefore a devise in executIn re Lowe's Patent. March 5, 1856.
tion thereof including a granddaughter
was valid. PETITION.-COSTS OF THE DAY, WHERE NO COUNSEL NOR SOLICITOR IN SUPPORT.
The testator, by bis will, gave and devised
an estate in Gloucestershire to trustees upon On a petition to affix the great Seal to a pa, trust, for the benefit of his son, Charles Fowler, tent neither counsel nor solicitor appeared for life, with remainder to the use of all or in support. It was dismissed with costs,
every and such one or more of his son's chil. but leave was afterwards granted for its dren, whether born in the testator's lifetime or being re-argued on payment by the peti- after his decease, and their, his, or her heirs, tioner within 48 hours of the costs of the for such estate, by such parts or proportions, day.
and in such manner and form as his son should This was a petition to have the Great Seal by deed or will appoint. It appeared that the affixed to an invention for an improvement in son by his will directed the estate to be divided the screw propellers of steam vessels, and on among his children and a granddaughter, and the hearing on Feb. 27 last, it was dismissed the question arose, whether the gift to the with costs, unless cause was shown to day, granddaughter was justified by the power. upon neither counsel nor solicitor appearing in R. Palmer, Lloyd, C. Hoare, Surrage, and support.
Begbie for the several parties. Southgate now appeared upon an affidavit. The Master of the Rolls said, the question
Forster for a Mr. Wyche, who opposed, on was, whether the word heirs was used in its the ground that the invention had been com- usual sense as defining a particular limitation municated to the petitioner, who was in his of the estate, or merely in the sense of desig- . employ, for the purpose of having a model natio personalis. There was no evidence to made,
show it was used in its restrictive sense, and The Lord Chancellor said, that the petitioner the testator's intention seemed simply to define must pay the costs of the day of the previous the particular nature of the estate which the hearing within 48 hours, otherwise the order son had the power to appoint among his chilwould stand, but that if paid, the petition dren, and that subject to the life interest they might be re-argued.
were to take an interest in fee. There would,
therefore, be a decree in favour of the validity Master of the Rolls.
of the devise to the granddaughter. Fowler v. Cohen. March 7, 1856. WILL. CONSTRUCTION.
Vice-Chancellor Kindersley. POWER TO APPOINT TO GRANDCHILD.
Darby v. Darby. Jan. 24, 26; March 8, An estate was devised to the testator's son
1856. for life, with remainder to the use of his children and their, his, or her heirs as the PURCHASE
NERS.–CONVERSION son might appuint : Held, that the word heirs was not used in its restrictive sense of designatio personalis, but defined the Where real estate was purchased by two partparticular estate the son had power to ap- ners out of the partnership assets, held, on
ESTATE BY PART-
AGAINST GRANTEE.- PERSONAL REPRE
Superior Courts: V. C. Kindersley.-V. C. Stuart.-V. C. Wood. the death of one intestate, that, as between | The Vice-Chancellor said, that the reprethe heir-at-law and next of kin, the estate sentative must be a party to the suit, and it was personalty.
was doubtful whether a mere nominee under Ir appeared that Messrs. Abraham & Alfred the section referred to was sufficient, and the
demurrer would be allowed. Darby, who were in partnership, had purchased certain estates for building purposes, and the question now arose, upon the death of the
Uice-Chancellor Stuart. latter intestate, whether, as between his heir
Howard v. Kidd. March 8, 1856. at-law and next of kin, the property was to be considered as realty or personalty.
WILL.-"NEPHEWS AND NIECES."—WIFE'S Anderson and Rogers for the personal repre
RELATIONS.— EVIDENCE OF TESTATOR'S sentative; Baily and Babington for the heir-atlaw; Glasse and Wharton for the next of kin; A testator, by his will, gave certain property Erskine for the surviving partner.
to his nephews and nieces : Held, that his The Vice-Chancellor said that ordinarily wife's nephew and nieces were entitled, speaking, upon the dissolution of a partnership where it appeared the testator had none. by death or otherwise, each partner had an ab- Evidence of the testator's statement of his instract right to have a sale and not to the pro- tention to leave them the property by kis perty in specie, and the conclusion was, that will was rejected. not only as between partners, but also as be- The testator, by his will, gave certain protween heir-at-law and next of kin of such de- perty to his nephews and nieces. It appeared ceased partner, the land purchased with the that he had none, and the question arose whepartnership assets was converted into per- ther those of his wife were entitled. sonalty.
J. Hinde Palmer for the plaintiff; Wigram and Malins for the defendants.
The Vice-Chancellor said, that the nephews James v. Aston March 10, 1856.
and nieces of the wife were entitled, but reBILL BY CREDITOR TO SET ASIDE DEED fused to receive evidence of the testator having
stated his intention to leave the property to SENTATIVE.-PARTIES,
them. Held, allowing a demurrer for want of parties, that to a suit by the creditor of a deceased
Vice-Chancellor Umagð. grantor against the grantee to set aside the Morgan v. Jones. March 4, 1856. deed, the personal representatire is a ne
CLAIM TO FORECLOSE MORTGAGE. cessary party, and that a person cannot be
ON MORTGAGEE's appointed under the 158, 16 Vict. c. 86, s.
HEIR-AT-LAW, A LUNATIC. 44, to represent the estate in the suit.
Held, that service must be personal and canThis was a bill, on behalf of a creditor of
not be substituted on the heir-at-law of a John Aston, deceased, to set aside a deed deceased mortgagor in a claim by the adagainst the grantee, and who was the son of the ministratrix of the deceased mortgagee to deceased.
foreclose. Baily and Mackeson appeared in support of a An application was therefore refused to subdemurrer for want of parties, on the ground stitute service on the medical officer or that the personal representative should be also keeper of such heir-at-law, who was a made a defendant.
lunatic in an asylum. Glasse and Hobhouse, contrà, and referring to the 15 & 16 Vict. c. 86, s. 44.'
This was an application for leave to substitute service in this foreclosure claim, which
was filed by the administratrix of a deceas1 Which enacts, that “if in any suit or other ed mortgagee against the lunatic heir-at-law proceeding before the Court, it shall appear to of the mortgagor, on the medical officer or the Court that any deceased person who was keeper of the lunatic asylum where he was interested in the matters in question has no living. legal personal representative, it shall be lawful
J. W. De L. Gifford in support. for the Court either to proceed in the absence
The Vice-Chancellor said, that the service of any person representing the estate of such must be personal and could not be substideceased person, or to appoint some person to tuted, and refused the application accordrepresent such estate for all the pụrposes of ingly, but directed that the medical officer the suit or other proceeding, on such notice to should be present when the lunatic was such person or persons, if any, as the Court' served. shall think fit, either specially or generally by public advertisements; and the order so made and such legal personal representative had been by the said Court, and any orders consequent a party to the suit or proceeding, and had thereon, shall bind the estate of such deceased duly appeared and submitted his rights and inperson in the same manner in every respect as if there had been a duly constituted legal per
terests to the protection of the Court." sonal representative of such deceased person,