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speech on the punishment of Louis XVI., he said: “I reject the opinion of those who would put Louis to death ; I vote that Louis be detained in a secure place until peace and the recognition of the republic by all the powers, allow of his banishment from France.” He had no part in the reign of terror; but yielded to the solicitations of Tallien and Barrère, and joined them in order to procure the overthrow of Robespierre. His adhesion had a powerful effect in deciding the result of the struggle. But the most glorious day in the life of Boissy d’Anglas was the 25th of May 1795, when the mob of Paris, recruited by the thieves, murderers, and evil-disposed persons of the capital, burst into the hall where the National Convention was sitting. The rabble were armed and furious, and many women were to be found in their ranks. They uttered the most savage threats, and soon compelled Vernier, who was sitting as President when they entered, to leave the chair. He was succeeded by André Dumont, who was also speedily forced to retreat, terrified by the fury of the mob, who seemed bent on bloodshed. Boissy d'Anglas, whose firmness of character was well known, and who had previously given many proofs of courage and devotion, was then appealed to by his panic-struck colleagues. He responded to the call, seated himself in the President's chair, and assumed his hat. The exasperated rabble menaced him with instant death, brandished swords over his head, and pointed muskets and pistols at bis breast, but still he kept his place and showed no signs of alarm. The deputy Kervelegan was seized before his eyes, and despatched by repeated sabre strokes close to the tribune. His colleague Feraud was also murdered, and his head, cut off and stuck on the point of a pike, was carried round the hall and at last brought to a stand before the President's chair. Then Boissy d'Anglas, who had hitherto sat calm and immoveable in the midst of the tumult, rose from his seat, took off his hat, and reverently saluted the head of the murdered deputy. But neither the ferocious threats of the infuriated mob, nor the bloody weapons pointed at his breast, could drive him to forsake his post, and his heroic firmness prevented his terrified colleagues from deserting the hall of the Convention. Even over the rabble, drunk with excitement and maddened by the taste of blood, his unshaken calmness and contempt of death exercised a controlling influence, and he maintained bis place uninjured until the evening, when the approach of some troops terrified the mob and induced them to disperse,
leaving the Convention to proceed with its deliberations at 11 o'clock at night. It was the most glorious day of Boissy d'Anglas' useful and busy life. Next morning, when he entered the Convention, he was greeted with enthusiastic shouts of applause, and was solemnly thanked in the name of his country. This famous scene has since been a favourite theme with French historical painters. It has been depicted by Delacroix, Vinchon, Court, and other well known artists. We have seen M. Court's picturehighly dramatic and powerful work on a large scale. It is the property, we believe, of the French government. In it, the moment is selected when Boissy d'Anglas is in the act of saluting the head of the murdered Feraud. He is represented as a stately figure with a noble head, with dark hair, and an olive complexion, not unlike the portraits of the great Napoleon.
After the passing of the laws abolishing their order, the former advocates endeavoured to maintain some bond of union among themselves, in hopes of better times. But of the 600 names on the roll in 1789, many gave up the profession ; about 46 accepted
l of some of the newly constituted judicial appointments; and some were elected members of the National Assembly, among whom were Tronchet, Target, Camus, Martineau, Hutteau, Sanson, and Treilhard. There remained about 150, who, while accepting the new designation of hommes de loi, were yet united into a sort of voluntary association, preserving the ancient customs and discipline. They carefully avoided mixing themselves up with the intruders, without talent, and often without morality, who came forward to practise before the new tribunals. Among the most distinguished in this group of former advocates we find the names of Delamalle, Bellart, Berryer, Billecoq, Delacroix-Frainville, Gairal, and Gicquel.
We have spoken of the new courts created by the revolutionary assemblies, and shall now proceed briefly to consider their nature and constitution. The administration of civil justice was regulated by the law of August 1790, which entirely altered the existing judicial organization. It admitted arbitration as the chief means of deciding civil suits. Every citizen had the right to plead his own cause. Justices of peace were established, and also judges in the first instance, who, in appeal cases, became judges of the decisions of each other. The law also created Courts of Police and of Commerce. The revolutionary legislators likewise occupied themselves with the administration of criminal justice; and, in some respects, made importaut improvements. In October 1789, a decree of the National Assembly established the freedom and publicity of the defence of accused persons; and, in the following year, measures were taken for the preparation of a law for instituting and regulating trial by jury. The constitution of 3d September 1791 established jury trial in criminal cases, and appointed a supreme national court charged with taking cognizance of the crimes and offences of the officers of the state, which was, however, soon afterwards abolished. The decree of 16th and 29th Sept. 1791, contains a code of criminal jurisprudence, whereby the great principles of public order and of respect for the persons and property of citizens, are protected by an entirely new body of laws. These, indeed, were susceptible of material improvements; but they bear the stamp of remarkable wisdom and moderation. They regulate the steps necessary for bringing an accused before the tribunals, and create juries of accusation charged with deciding whether the case should be brought to trial, trace the rules of procedure before the criminal tribunal, establish the publicity and liberty of defence, and finally accord to those condemned the power of appeal in cassation for any infraction of the law. A subsequent decree abolished the torture, the extension of capital punishment to a great number of offences, secret procerlure, the absence of defenders, and other monstrous abuses that had disgraced the ancient administration of criminal justice. And here it is worth remarking that that atrocious old system had not even the excuse of being produced in barbarous times. Under the earlier kings of France, crimes might be compounded for by pecuniary penalties. The laws of Saint Louis make careful provision for the defence of the accused, and—as we have before noticedeven in judicial combats, the presence of advocates was necessary to watch over the regularity of the forms. It was not until the comparatively enlightened period of the 16th century, that Francis the First increased the severity of punishments and prohibited the defence of the accused; and from that time down to the revolution, parliaments and magistrates had shown a strange eagerness to maintain, and even to increase, the severity of the provisions of this system of cruelty and injustice. Bourdin, procureurgénéral, demanded still more rigorous punishments than those contained in the laws of Villers-Cotterets; under Louis XIV., when the subject was under discussion, Pussort, a councillor of state, also argued in defence of these barbarous laws; and, in
1785, the Advocate-General Seguier and the parliament supported them with all their might. The laws of 1789-90, and 1791, which swept away this savage and superannuated legislation, are among the glories of the revolution, and serve to balance, to some extent, its subsequent excesses and crimes.
PROMOTION AT THE BAR
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The position of Scotch leading counsel in appeals in the House of Lords has more than once been the subject of discussion, and even the occasion of collision with the bar of England. The relative rank of the Lord Advocate and Attorney-General was only fixed in 1831, and that of the Dean of Faculty is still unsettled, even the present distinguished holder of that office being allowed to lead English Q. C's only under protest. tion has lately been raised in a somewhat new form. Until a few years ago the position of the law officers of the Crown in Scotland, on their ceasing to hold office, was anomalous in the extreme. In consequence of this fortuitous circumstance they ceased to lead by virtue of their official rank, and were obliged to yield (except where special concession was made) to the ordinary rule of seniority. In 1858, by resolution of the Faculty, they were allowed to retain a certain precedence acquired by their tenure of office, taking rank of course after the Lord-Advocate, Dean of Faculty, and SolicitorGeneral. This arrangernent, however, could not be binding except on the bar of Scotland. It is a mere bye-law or enactment of the Faculty of Advocates, those in whose favour it was passed wear no insignia of the rank accorded to them by their brethren, and have no right to speak from within the bar. Accordingly, in appeals from Scotland, Queen's Counsel assert their right to take precedence of an ex-Lord-Advocate or ex-Solicitor-General; and we have, during the present session of Parliament, been very nearly witnessing the exSolicitor-General of Scotland appearing at the bar of the House of Lords led by English Q.C.'s of greatly inferior standing. This humiliating spectacle has only been averted, we understand, in one or two cases, by the firmness of the agents concerned, who insisted that the counsel in whom they had confidence, and whom they had retained for the purpose, should be allowed to do the work. It is natural, therefore, that this subject should have been much discussed of late, and that propositions for removing the evils complained of should have been brought forward. There can be no doubt that the profession in Scotland will only be asserting its own rights, and following out to its necessary consequence what was done in 1858, if they ask the Queen to give her law officers, with their commissions,
and as part of them, the right to wear silk, and speak from within the bar after, as well as during their tenure of office. Whether advantage should be taken of this opportunity to define the position of the Dean of Faculty in the Appellate Court is another question ; but we think that there should be no difficulty in doing so, and that the just claim of the Scotch bar to have an imperial recognition of the rank of their leader ought to meet with no opposition from any quarter.
But a suggestion has been made of a vastly wider scope, and more questionable character. It has been proposed to introduce the marked distinction which exists in England and Ireland between senior and junior counsel by asking the Queen to confer patents of precedence on selected members of the bar; in other words to make them Queen's Counsel. It is supposed that, besides assuring to several men who are well entitled to lead any English Q.C. (except perhaps two) their fit place in appeals in the House of Lords, this innovation would in various ways have a beneficial effect within the limits of the Scottish Courts. It would, it is said, clearly mark off senior counsel and prevent them from taking work which should properly fall to juniors. It would benefit the junior bar by introducing a rigid rule of etiquette forbidding a leading counsel to write pleadings, or act alone in a cause; and it would greatly benefit some deserving counsel whose business has fallen off, because, while they are not themselves in the habit of leading, they are precluded by the ordinary etiquette from acting under men in senior practice who are their juniors at the bar. We are not disposed to deny that in some, though not in a considerable number of individual cases, some benefit might be derived from an organized system of promotion such as exists in England and Ireland. But we would not for the sake of a few men give up the far greater public advantages which flow from free competition, and still more would we deprecate the introduction of a “mock dignity," as the Q. C. ship has been styled in England, which would sooner or later, probably from the very first, be degraded into a machine for manufacturing political influence, and which would inevitably, with whatever affectation of conscientiousness the patronage might be bestowed, engender infinite jealousies and heartburnings among men who have hitherto dwelt together in unity as much as it is in human nature to do so. The experience of the English bar teaches us what the result would be. Indeed, but for the abuses of this system in England we should never have heard of the proposal to ticket our senior counsel with silk gowns. In 1799 there were but fifteen Queen's counsel, and the occasions were necessarily much less frequent on which these were engaged in the same appeal with Scotch advocates than now, when the number of silk gowns is 153. The present condition of the English bar indeed is a warning to those who fancy that all abuses will be prevented, and only the advantages of the system be felt, merely by fixing a numerical limit to the number of silks which the crown may competently grant. No such limit