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I. Observations on the Buildings, Improvements, and Extension of the
II. The Life of the late J. Elwes, Esq. By E. Topham, Esq. Second Ed.
III. A Letter to the Rt. Hon. W. Huskisson, M.P. on the Quarantine Bill.
IV. Observations on Mr. Secretary Peel's Speech, 21st March, 1825,
stand in relation to Europe at large. By M. L'Abbé De Pradt. Translated
VIII. A brief Sketch of the Progress of Opinion on the subject of Con-
HISTORY OF THE PENDING JUDGES' SALARY
BY JEREMY BENTHAM, Esq.
BENCHER OF LINCOLN'S INN.
§ I. Facts suspected. Subjects of inquiry for the House of Commons.
RESPECTING Lord Eldon, certain suspicions have arisen. The object of these pages is-to cause inquiry to be made, if possible, by the competent authority, whether there be any ground, and if yes, what, for these suspicions.
In general terms they may be thus expressed :
1. That, finding the practice of the Court of Chancery replete with fraud and extortion, Lord Eldon, on or soon after his coming into office as Chancellor, formed and began to execute a plan for the screwing it up, for his own benefit, to the highest possible pitch; to wit, by assuming and exercising a power of taxation, and for that purpose setting his own authority above that of Parliament; which plan he has all along steadily pursued ; and, if not the present Judges' Salary-raising Measure, 69, anno 1822, a late Act, to wit the 3d Geo. IV. cap. 6, is the consummation of it.
2. That, it being necessary, that, for this purpose, the other Westminster Hall Chiefs should be let into a participation of such sinister profit-to wit, as well for the better assurance of their support, as because the power of appointing to those offices being virtually in his hands, whatever is profit to them is so to him-the means employed by him tended to that effect also, and have been followed by it.
In relation to the whole scheme, conception may, perhaps, receive help, from a glance, in this place, at the titles of the ensuing sections. Here they are:
§ 2. Under Lord Eldon, Equity, an instrument of fraud and extortion-samples of it.
Objection. Among these so styled facts are matters of law. Answer. The existence or supposed existence of a matter of law, is matter also of fact.
3. Anno 1807. Order by Chancellor and Master of the Rolls, augmenting fees, of offices in the gift of one of thern. § 4. Profit to subordinates was profit to principals: so in
course to successors.
5. Contrary to law was this order.
6. By it, increase and sanction were given to extortion.
7. So, to corruption.
8. How Lord Eldon pronounced the exaction contrary to law, all the while continuing it.
§ 9. How the Chancellor had laid the ground for the more effectual corruption of himself and the other Chiefs (anno 1801). 10. How the project was stopped by a Solicitor, till set a-going again, as per § 3.
11. How the other Chiefs were corrupted accordingly. 12. How the illegality got wind, and how Felix trembled. 13. How the Chancellor went to Parliament, and got the corruption established.
14. How the Head of the Law, seeing swindling at work, stepped in and took his profit out of it.
15. How King George's Judges improved on the precedent set by King Charles's, in the case of ship-money.
§ 16. How to be consistent, and complete the application of the self-paying principle.
17. How Lord Eldon planned and established, by Act of Parliament, a Joint Stock Company, composed of Westminster Hall Chiefs, and other dishonest men of all classes.
§ 18. How the King's Chancellor exercised a dispensing power.
§ 19. Character evidence.
§ II. Under Lord Eldon, Equity, an instrument of fraud and extortion. Samples:
A single sample will serve to show in what state Lord Eldon found this branch of practice, and that it stood not in much need of improvement at his hands: by a few more which follow, a faint yet for this purpose a sufficient idea, will be given of the improvement it has actually received under his care.
By the command of a father, I entered into the profession, and, in the year 1772 or thereabouts, was called to the bar. Not long after, having drawn a bill in equity, I had to defend it against exceptions before a Master in Chancery. "We shall have to attend on such a day," (said the Solicitor to me, naming a day a week or more distant,) "warrants for our attendance will be taken out for two intervening days, but it is not customary to attend
before the third." What I learnt afterwards was-that though no attendance more than one was ever bestowed, three were on every occasion regularly charged for; for each of the two falsely pretended attendances, the client being, by the Solicitor, charged with a fee for himself, as also with a fee of 6s. 8d. paid by him to the Master: the consequence was that, for every actual attendance, the Master, instead of 6s. 8d., received 17., and that, even if inclined, no Solicitor durst omit taking out the three warrants instead of one, for fear of the not-to-be-hazarded displeasure of that subordinate Judge and his superiors. True it is, the Solicitor is not under any obligation thus to charge his client for work not done. He is however sure of indemnity in doing so: it is accordingly done of course. Thus exquisitely cemented is the union of sinister interests. So far as regards attendances of the functionaries here mentioned, thus is the expense tripled: so, for the sake of the profit on the expense, the delay likewise. And I have been assured by professional men now in practice, that on no occasion, for no purpose, is any Master's attendance ever obtained without taking out three warrants at the least.
So much for the state of the practice before Lord Eldon's first Chancellorship: now for the state of it under his Lordship's auspices.
Within the course of this current year, disclosures have been made in various pamphlets. One of the most instructive, is the one intitled "A Letter to Samuel Compton Cox, Esq. one of the Masters of the Court of Chancery, respecting the practice of that Court, with suggestions for its alteration. By a Barrister. London, 1824." Extracted from it are the following alleged samples: samples of the improvements made in the arts and sciences of fraud and extortion, by Masters in Chancery and others, under the Noble and Learned Lord's so assiduously fostering and protecting care.
I. In regard to attendances on and by Masters, money exacted by them as above, when no such services are performed.
P. 12. «The issuing of warrants is another subject which requires consideration. These are issued frequently on states of facts, abstracts of titles, charges and discharges, &c. not according to the time consumed in going through the business before the
'Of the result of the above-mentioned experience, intimation may be seen in the Théorie des Peines et des Recompenses, first published in French, auno 1811, or in B. 1, ch. 8, of the Rationale of Reward, just published, being the English of what regards Reward in French.
These things and others of the same complexion, in such immense abundance, determined me to quit the profession: and, as soon as I could obtain my father's permission, I did so: I found it more to my taste to endeavor, as I have been doing ever since, to put an end to them, than to profit by them.