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officers as to warrant the statement of his having been devoured by his murderers. Art. 22.' The British Constitution; or, An Epitome of Black

stone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, for the Use of Schools. By Vincent Wanostrocht, LL.D. 12mo. 12s. Boards. Longman and Co. 1823.

This abridgment seems to be carefully compiled, and contains all the essential parts of the “ Commentaries," omitting what is merely technical as unsuitable to the design, Dr. W. has adhered as nearly as he could to the words of the original, which was certainly the safest and best plan, and he has succeeded in producing a volume which may be read with great advantage by graver personages than school-boys. He has not confined himself to very narrow

limits; for, although the work forms only a single duodecimo volume, it contains nearly half as much matter as the four volumes of the “ Commentaries." It would perhaps have been better to have continued the epitome down to the present day, by referring to any important alterations in our law; such, for instance, as the 1 Geo. IV., amending the practice in ejectment : but, when the object of the editor is considered, this is not a defect of the first consequence.

LAW.

Art. 23." A Digest of 58 Geo. III. c. 45., for building and pro

moting the building of additional Churches in populous Parishes; 59 Geo. III. c. 134., to amend and render more effectual the first Act; and 3 Geo. IV. c. 72., to amend and render more effectual both the former Acts. By George Branwell, of the Inner Temple, Honorary Secretary to the Society for promoting the Enlargement and building of Churches and Chapels. 8vo. pp. 43. Rivingtons, &c. 1822.

As this seems to be an extremely correct and well arranged Digest, we doubt not that it will meet with the attention that it deserves from those who are concerned in the enactments and proceedings to which it relates. Art. 24. A Legal and Constitutional Argument against the al

leged Judicial Right of restraining the Publication of Reports of Judicial Proceedings, as assumed in the King v. Thistlewood and Others, enforced against the Proprietor of the Observer by a Fine of 5001., and afterwards confirmed by the Court of King's Bench. By J. P. Thomas, Esq. 8vo. pp. 148. 7s.6d. Boards. Sweet. 1822.

This publication was occasioned by a fine imposed on Mr. Clement, proprietor of The Observer, a Sunday news-paper, for reporting the trial of Thistlewood and Ings. The only cases which Mr. Thomas produces in support of his argument are Curry versus The Times (i Bos. & Pall. p. 526.), and the King versus Wright 18 Term Reports, 293.); and the observations of Lord C. J. Eyre in the first of these cases, and those of Mr. J. Lawrence in the latter, well deserve the attention of those who would examine the question on solid and constitutional grounds. If Mr. Thomas had merely published these judgments, with a few plain and simple comments, we think that he would have served the cause which he has espoused, and which is in truth very important, much better than by the present diffuse and rhetorical dissertation, We cannot imagine why the most familiar passages from Coke, or Hale, or Fortescue, instead of being quoted from the printed editions, are here taken from MSS. in the British Museum.

As a sample of Mr. Thomas's style, we extract his remarks on Custom ; and we can assure the reader that, if he desires farther amusement of the same kind, he will be amply gratified by the perusal of the work itself.

• The force and obligation of custom can scarcely be seriously resisted, or it would be a source of no little interest, to display the immense extent to which it extends throughout the law and the country. It would doubtless be a matter of labour, but it would be labour well repaid, and I would with pleasure undertake the task, for the amusement of my readers, did I not consider that it would be regarded as almost an abuse of their understandings, laboriously to depict, in a minute and detailed manner, the proof of that, of which every day's experience renders them personally sensible. The accidental interest of single individuals is a mere shadow, when compared with the fixed stability of the laws, and when we place in competition the possible injury of one member of the state with the general benefit of all, our feeble contest is but sciomachy at best : well might the soul-enchanting Ossian say, " Lovely are the words of other times — they are like the calm shower of spring, when the sun looks on the field, and the light 'cloud Aies over the hills." And again, “ Draw near to the song of the aged. The actions of other times are in my soul: my memory beams on the days that are past. * * * Your fame will be in the song ; the voice of your renown shall be in other lands. Fingal himself passed away, and the halls of his fathers forgot his steps. And shalt thou remain, when the mighty have failed ? Phy fame shall remain, and grow like the oak of Morven, which Hifts its broad head to the storm, and rejoices in the course of the wind." + So may our customs ever flourish!' Art. 25. Curia Oxoniensis ; or Observations on the Statutes

which relate to the Vice-Chancellor's Court, and the Power of searching Houses ; with some cursory Remarks on the Procuratorial Office, in the University of Oxford. 8vo. 2s.6d, Ridgway. 1822.

We have here a publication of several letters, most of which appeared in a provincial paper at different times from the year 1814 to 1818, all relating to a very singular local jurisdiction. The author is evidently a person of much humanity, and we are happy to find that some of his applications met with the attention which they deserved. - A few passages will give a notion of the legal power of the University of Oxford, which will seem both “new and

"* Oss. Po. Fingal, vol. i. book i.' "Ibid. vol. ii. Berrthon.” strange” to those who have not become acquainted with it by a residence there, either as students or as inhabitants of the town.

strange"

• In the Vice-Chancellor's court, that officer himself, or his assessor (who is appointed by him), sits as judge, assisted by the two University Proctors, whenever they may think fit to attend. The process is carried on “ in a course 'much conformed to the civil law;" that is, the evidence is all in writing, and there is no jury. In this court, the University has the liberty of claiming cognizance, in exclusion of the King's courts, over all civil actions and suits whatsoever, when a scholar or privileged person is one of the parties, except in such cases where the right of freehold is concerned.

As the matter stands at present, to put an hypothetical, though not an exaggerated, case: let an act of the most gross injustice be committed in Oxford by the proctors against any individual, though he may be a perfect stranger to the place, and quite unconnected with the University, his only possible mode of seeking redress is through the medium of this court : a court, in which there is no jury, in which the expences are great, and the process tedious ; and in which (for that material circumstance should not be omitted) the defendants, if they think proper, may sit as judges.

• Under these circumstances, the situation of the inhabitants of Oxford is peculiarly hard. They are put out of the protection of the common law of the land in every case (short of felony) in which they may be aggrieved by the Proctors, or any matriculated man. They are subject to the most odious kind of interference from the University officers. By a particular statute they are liable to have their houses searched both by day and night, at any time that the Proctors (who are frequently young men, without much experience or knowledge of the world, and often elated by the power entrusted to them by virtue of their annual office) may think fit; and no redress is to be obtained, for any excess or abuse of power, however enormous it may be, but from a court in which there is no jury, in which the expenses are so great as to operate to the total exclusion of the poorer clients, and in which the very persons, who may have committed the injury complained of, are entitled to sit as judges.'

The writer is aware, that it may be said, although the right exists of searching the house of every inhabitant, without any distinction or limitation, that the practice of searching has, of late years, been confined to houses inhabited by prostitutes and women of bad character. But this reply is unsatisfactory and vague, as

6 * Blackstone's Commentaries, b. iii. ch. 6. & x.'

(t Since the above was written, the house of a respectable tradesman in the High Street was searched, on account of some gownsmen running into his shop, and escaping through his garden from the pursuit of the Proctors. The tradesman, at the time, showed the way by which they escaped; but he was not believed, and his house was so strictly searched, that even the chamber in which his wife lay ill was not exempt from intrusion.]'

the

the power still remains of carrying it into execution to its full extent; and as it gives the Proctors the liberty of deciding on the characters of all the female inhabitants of the place, and of condemning them, from partial representations, or individual caprice.

• However desirous we may be to suppress prostitution, we should recollect, that we are not justified in punishing offenders beyond the limits marked out by the law. The method which has been lately used in Oxford of apprehending women of this description for merely appearing in the streets, though walking orderly and quietly in the day-time, and sometimes when they have left their homes to purchase things in the shops, is surely a rigour beyond the law. By what statute of the University, or law of the land, the conviction, and consequent commitment to prison, by the Vice Chancellor, is justified, the writer (though he has taken the greatest pains in examining the statutes) is not able to discover.

· The mode of conduct lately pursued towards these unfortunate females seems to be both cruel and inefficacious.

* All severity of punishment, and particularly in these cases, is unjustifiable, unless preceded by some attempt to reform the objects who are amenable to it. Without such an attempt being made, what can be more cruel than to commit to a cold and damp cell of a prison, and perhaps in an inclement season of the year, a female whose constitution may have been weakened by disease. The lamentable consequence of such a proceeding is sometimes a rheumatism so severe and inveterate as to cripple the patient for life; and an instance is well known to have occurred in Oxford of an unfortunate prisoner being driven into a state of insanity from which she never recovered.'

· The Proctors lately took the trouble of going two miles out of Oxford, late at night, and entered a cottage where five or six girls of bad character were dancing with some countrymen, who lived in their neighbourhood. On finding that no gownsmen were there, it is said, that they all demurred, except one of the ProProctors, who declared that his walk should not be in vain. The fact however was, that they took the girls to Oxford, and the Vice Chancellor committed them to the county gaol. On what legal authority, on what law of the land, or statute of the Univer. sity, the commitment was founded, still remains a problem, which might be solved, could the cause be brought into any other than the Vice Chancellor's own court.'

Instances are added of well known facts, which shew the extreme impropriety of the exercise of this power, and the disgraceful state of the prison to which the victims of it are consigned. The matter evidently requires careful attention ; and, as it appears to have been thus agitated, we trust that all due modifications or alterations of the law and the custom will be effected. Should our readers yet doubt the necessity of such a revision of both, let them peruse the following statement :

« On the 29th of November, 1811, two young women, the daughters of a widow in the middle rank of life, resident in Oxo ford, were in the High Street, near St. Mary's Church, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, when two gownsmen crossed the way, and endeavoured to enter into conversation with them. One of the Pro-Proctors, accompanied by the Marshal of the University, stopped the young women, and charged them with having conversed with the gownsmen. They in vain denied the fact. The Pro-Proctor desired them to follow him, which they did, attended by the Marshal. The gownsmen perceiving that the young women were stopped, and supposing that it might have been occasioned by their having been in their company, returned and begged leave to assure the Pro-Proctor, that no blame what. ever was imputable to the young women ; but they were desired to go to their college; and the females were escorted to Exeter College, where the Marshal learned that the Vice Chancellor was engaged, and would not be spoken with. The Pro-Proctor, upon being informed of this circumstance, desired they might be taken to the Marshal's house, and said that he would send the senior Proctor to them. The Marshal obeyed the Pro-Proctor's directions, and conducted them to his house, where the senior Proctor came soon afterwards. The young women asked what they had been brought there for. The Proctor said that the Pro-Proctor had informed him, that they had been talking with gownsmen. This they denied, and begged they might be liberated. The Proctor replied, that they must be confined there all night, and taken before the Vice Chancellor in the morning to exculpaté themselves. They then requested that their mother might be sent for; but this was refused by the Proctor, who immediately left the house, desiring the Marshal to confine them. The Marshal conducted them into a room up-stairs (the usual place of confinement for common prostitutes) and locked thein up. Perceiving that the Marshal, before he left the room, was about to take away the candle, the girls begged they might have a light and a fire; but he told them that it was as much as his place was worth to allow thein to have either the one or the other; and they were confined áll night, without fire, candle, or any sort of refreshment. In the course of the evening, their mother, and two of their friends, wished to be admitted, but were refused. About nine o'clock the following morning, the Marshal desired them to prepare to go before the Vice Chancellor, and then left them. * He returned to them at twelve o'clock, and told them, that they were to be liberated without going before the Vice Chancellor, upon which they came down stairs and walked home.

ford, stance,

• An action was brought in the Court of King's Bench against the Proctor, the Pro-Proctor, and Marshal, for false imprisonment. The University claimed cognizance of the cause, which was allowed. The plaintiffs, whose expenses amounted already to a considerable sum, were advised to drop all further proceedings, as the cause must have been determined in the Vice Chancellor's court, where there is no jury, and where it might have been protracted to a great length of time, and have been attended with much additional expense; not to mention this trifting circum

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