網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

management, while a simple action of trespass would answer every proper purpose. At this time of day it will scarcely be supported on the ground, that it is "founded on very ingenious fictions," while the only substantial argument is, that being shamefully expensive and inefficient, it is an excellent "thing" for those not concerned.

1

In speaking of simple and easy improvements, it is impossible to pass over the advantages to be derived from giving the courts a "summary process" jurisdiction, of all causes under 50l. which should be triable at Nisi Prius, the term next after the service of the process. The form of proceeding would be of the simplest kind, merely stating the nature of the action, and the amount sued for: the pleadings on the defendant's part to observe the same simplicity, and no mere technical objection to be allowed. It should partake in some measure of an equitable jurisdiction, to enable the judge to do substantial justice between the parties, at whose option it should be whether a jury were impannelled or not. Something of this kind has been attempted in Ireland, under the name of "civil bill" suits, but has not altogether answered expectation, it is understood in a great measure because the process was not served by an officer of the court. The advantages of this form of action, to all classes of society, are too obvious to require a comment. So many cases exist in which it is merely necessary to declare the law-in which the facts are admitted by both parties, and therefore the interference of a jury is unnecessary-where the parties would be glad to have the decision of a judge, as an able and independent lawyer, whose opinion would be satisfactorywhere immense advantage might be had in taking up a point of law at once, without the usual delays, to a court above, by a trial in the nature of a feigned issue-the numerous small cases that would never go to a court, if immediate and unexpensive decision were sure-and then, perhaps what the man of humanity would esteem as the first and best of its advantages, that of aiding those to whom "small matters are great," and who now are too often without hope of redress. There should also be a corresponding system introduced into the Chancery for facilitating the decision on small estates, &c. Law has been well called the chimney of society, and it is surely the duty of the legislature to make the vent sufficiently ample.

Several years ago Mr. Bentham proposed a plan similar to this, and as far as is recollected, accompanied with some forcible remarks on its advantages, which had they appeared in an isolated form, and unencumbered by his peculiar phraseology and notions, would no doubt have attracted, as they well deserved to do, considerable attention. But the idea was by no means new with him;

and it will perhaps serve as some recommendation, some claim to notice, when brought forward by a more humble writer, to state that it has been in operation for nearly a century past, in aid of English laws, and originally put in force by a body of men who may be fairly called English gentlemen, the early inhabitants of South Carolina-what they were, and how well they deserved that honorable appellation, is well known to those who are conversant with the history of our North American colonies, possibly the most interesting and instructive of all history to the politician. It is also worthy of remark, that the provincial judges and lawyers were English lawyers, down to the period of the Revolution. The forms, and still more the spirit of the English jurisprudence, were to be found among them in a singular degree, almost from the time that they had formed a shelter over their heads. In that highly civilised and wealthy country, the experiment has been eminently successful, and has directly or indirectly destroyed the inferior jurisdictions; among the rest, county courts (the offspring of the old English system), which are complained of in other parts of the American union as embarrassing justice in various ways. The advantage of going at once to a circuit" judge" is strongly felt; and though the reward be but moderate, from the pecuniary amount to which this jurisdiction is confined, there is no difficulty in getting the best assistance at the bar. The trouble is small; and among the younger barristers there is always a readiness to embrace causes which often involve the most important principles, and which may bring their claims to employment fairly before the public.

To the same country, the writer gladly turns for a support of his remarks on increasing the number of Chancellors. After the Revolution, the population increased in the interior much more than on the sea-board; and in a few years the Chancery business not only became more than one person could well attend to, but the inconvenience of visiting the capital became constantly greater to the suitors. The legislature accordingly placed more judges on the equity bench, which have been at different times increased to five, the present number. The state was divided into equity districts, which as business increased have been again sub-divided; in each of which courts of equity are holden, twice in the year, by a single judge, regulated by English principles, and to a considerable extent English practice also. In each of these districts there is an officer who superintends the records of the courts, hears references, examines accounts, &c. &c. If the decision of the judge is appealed from, the appeal goes before the whole bench, which sits for that purpose alternately at Charleston and Columbia, the commercial and political capitals of the state. All matters under

a certain sum are brought forward in a very simple manner by way of petition, instead of bill; and the same remarks will apply to this as to the "summary process" of the law-courts. The forms of actions have been considerably simplified; for instance, in detinue the wager of law is abolished, and the process of ejectment no longer exists a very simple form of deed has been established, and much other rubbish cleared away, while the principles of law are no where more religiously observed.

It would have been no difficult matter to carry these remarks to a much greater length; but the intention of the writer has been, not to make a book, but to throw in his mite towards a cause of the most serious importance-that of improvement without innovation.

It may perhaps be proper to add, that the statemer.ts made respecting American practice were derived from a source worthy of confidence.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

AND

HER CLAIMS.

BY EDWARD BLAQUIERE, Esq.

AUTHOR OF

66 THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF THE GREEK REVOLUTION," &c.

VOL. XXVI.

"Greece, abandoned by the rest of the earth, with the volume of her past splendor, and her woes, and her rights in her hand, will pursue her arduous career. -Her cities sacked, her villages burnt, her fields ravaged, bear witness to her proud determination."

Declaration of the Greeks to the Christian Powers, April, 1822.

"The principles of religion, humanity, and justice, which animate the assembled Sovereigns, allow the Provisional Government of Greece to hope that its just claims will be admitted. If, contrary to all expectation, they are rejected, the present declaration will serve at once as a formal protestation laid by all Greece before the throne of Heavenly Justice, addressed in perfect confidence by a Christian people to Europe, and to the great family of Christianity. Weak and deserted, the Greeks will then have no hope but in the all-powerful God; sustained by his mighty hand, they will never bend beneath tyranny."

Appeal to the Christian Monarchs assembled at Verona, August, 1822.

[blocks in formation]

PREFACE.

THE following letters have been addressed to a gentleman, distinguished for the energy and talent with which he has advocated the Greek cause, from its commencement up to the present crisis. Although I am not so vain as to imagine, that it has been in my power to throw any new light on a subject, which has occupied the attention of the ablest men in Europe, I trust that no improper or obtrusive motive will be attributed to this effort, made in the humble hope of uniting the opinions of all parties in favor of a struggle, to which the finger of Providence seems to be more strikingly directed, than to any other recorded in the history of nations.

Deeply as I deplore those errors which seem to have relaxed the zeal manifested by the early friends of the Greek cause, I am convinced that they were inseparable from a contest commenced under such disadvantages, and carried on amidst difficulties which are only known to those who have visited the seat of war, and studied the character of the Greek leaders and people.

When, however, it is considered that the leaders alone are to blame, and that the people have never erred, surely it would be the height of injustice to make them the victims of errors or incapacity in which they have had no share. And with respect to the errors in question, it will perhaps be found, on some future day, that they were confined to a very small number. Without pursuing this subject any farther, I venture to ask, whether the faults of a few novices in the art of government, or who may have thought more of enriching themselves than providing for the exigencies of the struggle, are to be put in competition with the fate of our Christian brethren of the East, all of whom are most

« 上一頁繼續 »