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in fifteen of these cases, had made returns to the court. The gross amount of their returns was £1,499, 4s.

According to returns made in the house of commons, founded on the above, and subsequent returns to March, 1817, there had been about nine thousand persons liberated, whose debts amounted to nearly nine millions ; and the

average dividend resulting from the property given up to the creditors, was a quarter of a farthing, and half a farthing in the pound ! Mr Alderman Waithman, arguing from what had passed, declared, that by the time this act expired, there would be liberated 14,000 persons, and fifteen millions of debts. In the course of the examinations which took place before the house of commons, the imperfect state of the laws affecting debtor and creditor was made still more manifest, as will appear

from the following singular document, extracted from the evidence of Mr Clark, at that time clerk of the insolvent debtors' court,“ showing how a debtor inay harass a creditor," and sold among the prisoners at sixpence each.

“When arrested and held to bail, and after being served with a declaration, you may plead a general issue, which brings you to trial sooner than

any plea that you can put in ; but if you want to vex your plaintiff, put in a special plea ; and if in custody, get your attorney to plead in your name, which will cost you £1, 1s. and your plaintiff £1, 10s. as expenses. If you do not mean to try the cause, you have no occasion to do so till your plaintiff gets judgment against you ; he must, in the term after you put in a special plea, send in what is termed the paper book, which you must return with 7s. 6d., otherwise you will not put him to half the expenses. When he proceeds and has received a final judgment against you, get your attorney to search the office appointed for that

purpose in the temple, and when he finds that judgment is actually signed, he must give notice to the plaintiff's attorney, to attend the master to tax his costs, at which time your attorney must have a writ of error ready, and give it to the plaintiff's attorney before the master, which puts him to a very great expense, as he will have the same charges to go over again. The writ of error will cost you £4, 4s. ; if you want to be farther troublesome to your plaintiff, make your writ of error returnable in parliament, which costs you £8, 8s. and your plaintiff £100. Should he have courage to follow you through all your proceedings, then file a bill in the exchequer, which will cost him five or six pounds more, and if he answers it, it will cost him £80 more; after this you may file a bill in chancery, which will cost about £10, and if he does not answer this bill, you will get an injunction, and at the same time an attachment from the court against him, and may take his body for contempt of court in not answering your last bill; you may file your bill in the court of chancery instead of the exchequer, only the latter costs you the least. If you are at any time served with a copy of a writ, take no farther notice of it than by keeping

it: when you are declared against, do not fail to put in a special plea immediately, and most likely you will hear no more of the business, as your plaintiff will probably not like to incur any further expense, aster having been at so much.”

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Thus debtors have the legal means of harassing their creditors, without putting themselves to a tenth part of the expenses to which they subject the plaintiff, whose property they have previously run through or squandered !

MANNER OF MAKING A JUDGE.—The judges must be selected from the sergeants at law, and the manner in which they are created merits notice. The lord chancellor, having taken his seat in the court where the vacancy is to be filled up, bringing with him the letters patent of creation, causes the sergeant elect to be introduced, to whom in open court his lordship notifies the king's pleasure, and afterwards directs the patent to be publicly read. When this has been done, the master of the rolls reads to the new judge the oath he is to take, which states, that he shall indifferently administer justice to all men, as well foes as friends, that shall have any suit or plea before him; and this he shall not forbear to do, though the king by his letters, or by express word of mouth, should command the contrary ; and that from time to time he shall not receive any fee or pension, or living of any man, but of the king only; nor any gift, reward, or bribe, of any man having suit or plea before him, saving meat and drink, which shall be of no great value. The oath having been administered, the lord chancellor delivers to the new judge the letters patent of his creation ; and the lord chief justice of the court assigns to him a place on the bench, where he is then placed, and which he is enjoined to kеер. .

INNS OF COURT.-It may not be improper to notice the institutions in which the professors of the law are supposed to be bred; but they are now only nominally what they were formerly in reality. Instead of any public “ moots,” exercises and duties, to be observed by students previously to their being privileged to be called to the bar, they have now only to eat a certain number of dinners, during the terms of three or five years, in one of the Inns of Court, the expense of which, together with a

species of fine, amounts to about £130. After having undergone this probationary requisite, the students are qualified for admission to the bar, if they can persuade members of the society to move that they be called, even though the party so recommended had never once seen a law book. There is seldom any objection to the call ; it is not however always a matter of course. The celebrated HORNE Tooke, who studied for the pulpit, the parliament, and the bar, found himself baffled in each of those pursuits ; the motion that he be called to the bar, after he had regularly gone his terms, was negatived by a majority of one! But although much pleasantry has been occasioned by the practice of thus eating the way to the bar, it must not be presumed that no preparatory study is pursued. Public courses of study were found inefficacious, and were abandoned ; but all those who have risen to celebrity as lawyers, laid the foundation of their greatness by sheer hard study. The young men not only apply themselves to courses of law reading, but come into the practice of the laws, and the application of their own researches, by being articled as pupils to leading special pleaders, counsel, &c. Two or three hundred guineas are frequently paid for permission to study in the office of a special pleader, or barrister of high consideration and great practice. The study of the law is a certain road to greatness in the state. The method which lawyers are obliged to pursue in all their studies and pleadings, gives them advantages in public speaking both in parliament and at the bar, over every body else ; hence may be traced the amazing success and celebrity that often attends them in life, humble individuals rising to be the first law officers and ministers of the crown.

As a member of the law is obliged to belong to an Inn of court, and as the students and practitioners generally reside in chambers in some of the inns, those courts have become famous for the production of men of learning. The Inns of court are governed by masters, principals, benchers, stewards, &c. They have not any judicial authority over their members. For lighter offences, persons are only excluded, or not allowed to eat at the common table with the rest ; and for greater, they lose their chambers ; and when once expelled from one society, they are never received by any of the rest. As the societies are not incorporated, they have neither lands nor revenues, nor any thing for defraying the charges of the house, but what is paid for admissions, and other dues for the chambers. The members may be divided into benchers, outer barristers, inner barristers, and students. The benchers are the seniors who have the government of the whole house ; and out of these is annually chosen a treasurer, who receives, disburses, and accounts for all the money belonging to the house.

The TemplE.—There are four principal inns of court, the Inner and Middle Temples, Lincoln's Inn, and Gray's Inn. The Temple is so called, because it was anciently the dwelling-house of the Knights Tem

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plars. At the suppression of that order, it was purchased by the professors of the common law, and converted into Inns. They are called the Inner and Middle Temple, in relation to Essex house, which also belonged to the Templars, and is called the Outer Temple, because situated without Temple Bar. The king's treasure was kept in the Middle Temple, during the time of the Templars. The master of the Temple was the chief officer, and was summoned to parliament in the 47, Henry III., and from him the chief master of the Temple church is called “ the Master of the Temple.”

The INNER TEMPLE is situated in the east of Middle Temple-gate, and has a cloister, a large garden, and spacious walks. The society consists of benchers, barristers, and students; the former of whom, as governors at commons, have their table at the upper end of the hall, and the barristers and students in the middle.

THE MIDDLE TEMPLE is joined to the Inner Temple on the west, and is thus denominated in consequence of its having been the middle or central part of the ancient Temple or priory of Knights Templars.

LINCOLN's Inn is situated on the west side of Chancery Lane, where the houses of the bishop of Chester and the Black Friars formerly stood ; the latter was erected about the year 1222, and the former about 1226 ; but both of them falling into the possession of Henry Lacey, earl of Lincoln, he built in their place a stately mansion for his city residence. It afterwards reverted to the bishopric of Chichester, and was demised by Robert Sherbourn, bishop of that see, to Mr William Selliard, a student, for a term of years ; after the expiration of which, Dr Richard Sampson, his successor, in the year 1536, passed the inheritance thereof to the said Selliard and Eustace his brother; and the latter, in 1579, conveyed the house and gardens in feu to Richard Kingsmill and the rest of the benchers.

GRAY's Inn lies on the north side of Holborn, near the bars, and is so called in consequence of having been formerly the residence of the ancient and noble family of Gray of Wilton, who demised it in the reign of Edward III. to several students of the law. It is, like the other inns of court, inhabited by barristers and students of the law, and also by many gentlemen of independent fortune, who may choose it as an agreeable retirement, or for the pleasure of the walks. The chief ornament of this inn is its spacious garden, which is open to the well-dressed part of the public every day.

Besides these principal inns of court, there are two SERJEANTS' INNS, the one in Fleet Street, and the other in Chancery Lane.

The INNS OF CHANCERY were probably so called because they were anciently inhabited by such clerks as chiefly studied the forming of writs, which regularly belonged to the Cursitors, who are officers of chancery. The first of these is Thavie's Inn, begun in the reign of Edward III.,

and since purchased by the society of Lincoln's Inn; Clement's Inn; Clifford's Inn, formerly the dwelling-house of lord Clifford ; Staple Inn, belonging to the merchants of the staple ; Lion's Inn, anciently a common in with the sign of the lion ; Furnival's Inn, now handsomely rebuilt, and Barnard's Inn. These were considered as only preparatory schools for younger students ; and many were entered here before they were admitted into the inns of court. They are now chiefly occupied by attorneys and solicitors. They belong, however, to some of the inns of court, who formerly sent barristers annually to read to them.*


Having before given a brief sketch of the different Courts of Law in England, it will be proper to take a succinct view of the method of proceeding therein, both in civil actions and criminal cases. The following observations will be restricted to the forms observed in the courts of general jurisdiction; for if there be any peculiarities in conducting the business in the inferior courts, they being of a local nature, are consequently of little interest or importance to the public. But in general trials are conducted much the same in the lower courts as before the superior tribunals. And we shall here give some observations on,

1. Trials in Civil Actions.—II. Courts of Equity.—III. Punishments, -IV. Homicide.- V. Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction.—VI. Proceedings in Criminal cases.

I. TRIALS IN CIVIL ACTIONS.—The commencement of a civil suit is the original writ. When a person bas received an injury, and is determined on seeking the remedy provided by law, he sues out from the court of chancery an original, or the writ, which is applicable to his particular case. This is directed to the sheriff, requiring him to command the offender to do justice to the party complaining, or to appear in court to answer the accusation against him. The sheriff is bound to make a return of the writ, and this should be done on the following term : but as the law allows the defendant three days' grace for his appearance, the court does not usually sit for despatch of business till the fourth or appearance day. The means of compelling the defendant to appear in court is called the process, of which the primary step is by giving the party notice, by summons to obey the original writ. If the defendant disobey this warning, a pone is issued out, or writ of attachment, so called from the words of the

* Blackstone, Custance, Leigh's Picture of London.

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