« 上一頁繼續 »
The words are not a few which want controula,
This speech is meant of kind fraiernity!" To conclude : Dr. Badham's translation may occasionally want the spirit and energy of Gifford's, and the easy flow of Hodgson's; but it possesses merit peculiar to itself. Most of the translators of Juvenal seem to have imagined that their author's hurried transitions and prominent inequalities should be smoothed down into the uniform polish, and the laboured nicety of modern versification, Abruptness of manner and colloquial phraseology are not less characteristic of this poet, than flowing numbers and sweeping declamation. What we like in the present translation is, that it is a translation, not a paraphrase. It is a good copy not merely of the matter of the original, but of its manner. It very properly makes a sacrifice of amplification and smoothness, whenever the sententiousness and unpolished grandeur of the original require it. But the boldness of this attempt has had its inconveniences, and been the means of leading the translator into error. His close imitation of his author's manner has, on various occasions, caused him to be obscure: and it is not always quite satisfactory to the reader to be referred to the Notes for an elucidation of such obscurities. One who had never read a Roman author would say, Gifford's is the best poem : one who had read Juvenal would say, Badham's is the best translation. The Notes, though pretty numerous, are generally to the purpose; and are amusing, even where they afford no direct illustration of the text.
Art. X.-An Essay to illustrate the Rights of the Poor by
Law; being a Commentary on the Statute of King Henry the VII, chapter 12 : with observations on the practice of sucing and defending in forma pauperis, and suggestions for extending the benefits of such practice. Dedicated by Express Permission to His Royal Highness the DUKE of KENT. By
William MINCHIN, Esq. of the Inner Temple, Author of several Law Tracts. Together with a succinct account of all the Public Charities in and near London, their origin and design, &c. and an Address to the Governors, Patrons, Presidents, and Promoters thereof. Dunn and Co. London.
1815. 8vo. pp. 144. 5s. bds. A celebrated character replied to some one who had observed that Justice was open to every British subject, “and so is the London Tavern-to those that can pay." It cannot be denied, that, at the present day, there is an enormous expense attending the general prosecution of civil remedies, which the poor are not able to bear : Mr. Minchin has felt this strongly, and has very laudably endeavoured, in the work before us, to bring the question fairly before the public. We shall have pleasure in stating, as clearly as we can, the result of his enquiries.
The hardships to which the poor were exposed in litigation, from fees of office and remuneration to legal advisers, was adverted to by the legislature at a very early period of our history. The 11. Hen. VII. c. 12. accordingly gives poor persons “not able to sue for their remedy after the course of the Common Law” a power of suing without any expense of fees, counsel, or attornies at the discretion of the Chancellor. In the exercise of this discretion it became, in process of time, a rule never to admit any one to the benefit of this act unless he would solemnly depose that, after the payment of his debts, he had not more than five pounds remaining. As it was feared that the admission of the poor to sue without expense might be an encouragement to vexatious litigation the 23 Hen. VII. c. 15. provided that if the defendant recovered judgment for costs against a pauper, the latter, instead of paying them, should suffer such punishment as the Court should think proper to inflict. The law respecting the admission to sue or defend in formâ pauperis seems to have been finally settled by 2 Geo. II. c. 28., which fixes the sum at five pounds, which the property of the applicant must not exceed.
The constructions which the Courts have put on these enactments, form a valuable part of the work before us, and render it acceptable to the practical lawyer, as well as to the philanthropic theorist. Into minutiæ we cannot enter. But the causes which prevent the beneficent intentions of our ancestors from being carried into effect, demand an attentive consideration and must have it.
The first thing which strikes us is the smallness of the sum which the pauper must possess to entitle him to sue in that chatacter, It would surely suffice under the original statute of Henry, if he were “ unable to sue;" even though possessed of A somewhat larger sum-necessary perhaps to the support of his family. It seems unreasonable that an unfortunate man must be reduced to five pounds, before he can assert his rights. Such a standard opens the door to perjury and collusion. Another evil is, that the attorney and counsel assigned by the court, being compelled to do that gratis for which otherwise they would receive remuneration, are tempted to neglect the interests of their unfortunate client. But the mischief is still greater which prevents the exercise of charity in legal practitioners when disposed to exert it—which makes their humanity a crime—and compels them to suppress the risings of pity when it might be the most serviceable. Barretry, Maintenance, Champerty, and Embracery, are all of them misdemeanors by the Common or Statute Law, and are so many terms by which the conducting or en. couraging of litigation is designated, including in their operation, those who take on themselves to manage the causes of others without those fees which the law allows them to receive. · The fear of falling under the penalties with which these offences are visited, shuts out all but the very poorest from that relief, to which it was assuredly the original intention of the legislature that others should be entitled.
The miseries resulting from these difficulties are very distinctly shown and illustrated in the work before us. Illegal distresses must be submitted to in silence-outlawries may be incurred eren imprisonment for contempt in not answering a Bill in Chancery may be suffered, by a defendant who has not money to enable him to proceed. Creditors may lose their just claims by the inability of their debtors to recover theirs !--and inheritances may for ever be secured to strangers. To prove that this, and more than all this is true, we need only quote one or two of our author's anecdotes which we have no doubt are all. thentic.
“ Norfolk. M. M. claims to be entitled to very considerable freehold property, and having obtained the opinion of counsel in favor of her claiin, she has been necessitated to apply to some relations for pecuniary assistance to prosecute her rights, and they are able and desirous to assist her. The opinion of counsel has also been taken on the propriety of extending such assistance, and he has declared the same to be illegal
. The poverty of M. M. therefore, precludes her from asserting her just pretensions." p. 60, 1.
“ Lancaster. J. B. one of the industrious class of persons called cotton spinners was made a bankrupt in the Month of November, 1812, upon the oath of petitioning creditors whose debts were falsely sw«rn to as J. B. believed, to the amount of 2001. J. B. applied to an attorney to make the requisite inquiry and paid him 11. for his trouble therein. The attorney proceeded and found the amount of the debts sworn to 1991. 198. being less than the annount imperatively required by the statutes concerning bankrupts. A petition from the bankrupt was prepared and presented to the Lord Chancellor, for superseding the Commission of bankruptcy ; the supersedeas was ordered upon hearing counsel for and against the perition, which was superseded accordingly. The property of the bankrupt had been sold ouder the Commission so superseded, and the creditors refused to make satisfaction to J. B. for the injury he had sustained thereby. And an action was brought to seek reparation in damages against the petitioning creditors and the auctioneer who sold J. B.'s effects. The cause went to trial at the Assizes, and was referred to an arbitration, and an award made in J. B.'s favour of 2091. 10s. damages and costs were awarded to him, besides 461. 13s. 8d. the costs on the supersedeas, making together 255l. 148. 6d.-and paid by the defendants to J. B.'s attorney, who presented him with a bill for 3291. Os. 8d. making J. B. his debtor 731. 6s. 2d. at the end of September 1813. J. B. was unable to pay the 731. 6s. 2d. ; his credit was ruined by bankruptcy, he was arrested by the attorney for that sum, went to prison, and, after four months continement, was dischargeil under the provisions of the losolvent Act. The attorney was made assignee of the estate, and J. B. is without reinedy. The bona fide creditors have nothing to hope for from the assignee, as it is a maxim in law, can sue himself," and there is no other property but what he holds, as received subsequent to the Bankruptey.” p. 64, 5.
There are several other instances equally striking, which we wish we had room to quote ; but, we believe, these will be sufficient. The evil is abundantly manifest; but the more important object remains ;—the remedy. To effect this, Mr. M. submits that a board of commissioners might be delegated by the executive government, with the sanction of Parliament, to take into mature consideration the cases of the poor who may either wish to sue, or be compelled to defend, in which might be invested power to compe! the attendance, and take depositions of witnesses. It is also proposed to legalize the establishment of a fund, as well as to allow of individual assistance, in cases where, at present, the exercise of charity would be punished as criminal. Then the Society for the relief of persons imprisoned for small debts, might expend part of their benevolent contributions, in preventing the evils they at present cure. An institution somewhat on the plan of the national Vaccine establishment might be founded with the fairest prospects of success. A limited number of Council, Attornies, Masters in Chancery, and other officers, might be appointed at certain salaries in annual rotation, or be paid according to a ratio fixed by the Governors. It is furthre
suggested that either a court should be erected for the sole con. sideration of the claims of paupers; or that Judges from the several courts, one from each, should sit either individually or collectively for the same purpose. In the country, Barristers might be locally authorised to consider the petitions of poor litigants, and to make reports as to their title to assistance. By this means, the equitable intentions of the legislature would be carried into effect, and perjury and collusion effectually prevented. The benefits which might be expected from such regulations, will be best expressed in the author's own language.
“ In many instances, it would be found that, upon a favourable report of the pauper's right, his opponent would be induced to comprenuse or relinquish the contest: or to court a termination of the dispute by submitting to an award upon arbitration, which is a mode of adjustment frequently found beneficial in ordinary instances of dispute. Numerus cases would thus be decided, satisfactorily to the parties concerned, with less profit to the lawyer, less fees to the counsel, and less expense to the unsuccessful litigant; but substantial justice would thus be obtained, and much inconvenience obviated. Parochial burthens would be cunsiderably lesscned by a restoration of property to the right owners, sba are not unfrequently objects of charity; cri:nes would diminish because right would relieve necessity; and those to whom justice would be administered would, in some instances, be enabled to contribute to the relief of others; many of the receptacles for needy and insane persons would have fewer applicants and inmates, and the unhappy who are entitled to the benefits of such institutions, would have the opportuniy of seeking redress against abuses, for which they have at present na remedy, because no means legally to seek it." p. 121.
We take our leave of Mr. Minchin with feelings of satisfac. tion with his book and gratitude to himself. The book, it is true, is not given to the public in a style of much elegance, The anecdotes, though entertaining and useful, are told with a good deal of circuity and quaintness. But the intertion of the whole is highly laudable ; the arguments are clear and convincing; and the narrative, we doubt not, quite authentic. We heartily wish success to his exertions in behalf of the poor, which success, we are persuaded, he will regard as the best reward for his labours.
Remarkable Sermons of Rachel Baker, and pions ejaculations delivered during sleep, taken down in short hand: with remarks on this extraordinary phænomenon. By Dr. MITCHELL, M. D. Professor of Physic, The late Dr. PRIEST: