« AnteriorContinua »
or so far varied, as to render the intermediate proceedings, with their attendant expenses, nugatory!
In the next case (Oldham v. Cooke and Bovill), a Bill was filed (on behalf of a young lady) in May 1815, to recover, against the defendants, as executors and trustees, the sum of about 30001. being (as it was said) her whole dependance. Early in 1916, 12001. was admitted to belong to her, and brought into Court; but whether, as to the further sum, the defendants had sufficiently answered, was the question. The Master reported the answer insufficient in the latter end of 1816; but against that Report there was an exception, and this knotty point remained undecided, and the balance (if any) locked up at the date of Mr Williams's motion last Session!
In the third (Whitechurch v. Holunthy), a Bill was filed in 1811, to restrain the lord of a manor from cutting timber, and an injunction granted. A case was afterwards sent for the opinion of the Court of King's Bench, upon a point on which the question was supposed to turn, and their decision was obtained in Michaelmas Term 1815. The matter then reverted to Chancery, and there siept, of course, undecided at the same period !
In the case of Fillingham v. Bromley, an appeal was lodged against a judgment of the Vice-Chancellor in 1819, and, upon the matter being mentioned, the Lord Chancellor expressed his opinion in favour of the defendant, which (as is said to be almost universally the case with him) he retained, but refused to act upon it, - and so the business slumbered in the Registrar's book, throughout the years 1819, 1820, 1821 and 1822; and then his Lordship did at last, what he might have done at first, for he abided by his original impression.
In the fifth (Powell v. Sargent), á Bill was filed, in 1812, against Sargent for a discovery and account, and against others for an account. To this Bill there was a demurrer, objecting, that Sargent ought not to have been a party; and such a question remained undecided, for nine years, till 1821. The Bill was amended against other parties, and was still in Court at the date of the motion.
The case of Ware v. Horwood (the last) is, in itself, so remarkable and peculiar, and bears so strongly upon every part of the question before the House, that we cannot omit giving it with some particularity. The circumstances attending it, our readers will bear in mind, were not furnished by any dissatisfied and complaining party, but were contained in an affidavit of the solicitor for the plaintiff, in whose favour the decision had been made. To explain this at once to our readers, it is necessary to premise, that the plaintiff's solicitor had written a letter to VOL. XXXIX. NO, 77.
the Lord Chancellor, pressing for a decision, and had seen his Lordship in his Private Chamber, upon the subject of the Decree, in the absence of the opposite solicitor, before that decree was pronounced. On this ground, the Decree was objected to as made ex parte and improperly, and, therefore, sought to be set aside; and against that attempt, and to sustain the transaction, the affidavit of the plaintiff's solicitor was made, in which, as we have stated above, and in his Bill of Costs delivered in the cause, are contained all the facts detailed to the House of Commons, and here, in part, adverted to again. From these two documents, then, it appeared, that the cause had been commenced upwards of twenty years,-that the charge by solicitors, for attendances alone, amounted to 14001. and more-a tolerably sufficient reason, besides the fear of giving offence, why solicitors should not be, of all mankind, the most dissatisfied with delay),—that the cause had been in his Lordship’s paper, and out of it, backwards and forwards, up and down, as the fashion there is, till the patience of the solicitor being fairly wearied out, he conceived the following new, and somewhat enterprising expedient. He resolved to write to the Lord Chancellor,--and did so in these words. « Ware •v. Horwood, and Rugeroh v. Warmington.--My Lord.—My • clients have great reason to complain of the great injury suf• fered by them in consequence of these causes not keeping • their station at the head of your Lordship’s paper, agreeably
to your Lordship's order repeatedly given in my hearing. It is now nearly seven years since they have been waiting for your Lordship's judgment; and, upwards of two and a half years ago, they had arrived at the top of paper; at which place
, I humbly entreat they may, until you can decide upon them, « remain. There is a fund in Court of 10,0001. and up
wards, locked up until your Lordship decides in these causes; • and it is therefore matter of great importance to my unfortu
nate clients, that your Lordship's decision may not be delay. .ed by the circumstances to which I have above alluded. It is • painful to me to state to your Lordship, that I have learnt
from authority, which I have no reason to doubt, that the in• fant, for whose benefit these suits were instituted, twenty years
ago, died of a broken heart, on account of being kept out of • his property, and that I have to contend against the bitter
feelings of his relations. Under this distressing circumstance, • knowing that your Lordship will pardon the liberty I have • taken in thus addressing you, and which nothing but the im• perious necessity of the case would have induced me to have
done, I have the honour,' &c. The scheme, bold as it was,
had its effect. The solicitor was immediately sent for to the private room of the Chancellor ;-and attendances on his Lord ship, upon this very singular and special mission, were charged to the client in his bill of costs, one item of which ran in the following form. To attendance upon his Lordship, in
• • his private room, when his Lordship begged for further indul gence till to-morrow.'. The thing went on. His Lordship,
, having begged and obtained a further respite, was at length as good as his word, and, with the spur in his side, made a de
Upon the letter above quoted, we have heard that it has been remarked, that the death of the infant was a point of stage-effect,--an incident got up to rouse and engage attention, and untrue. And
suppose it to be so—what man, who has a grain of understanding, can fail to see that the fact of delay and dilatoriness in a certain quarter is one thing, the actual ill consequence in the particular case, whether more or less, another ? Who can be so stupid as not to discover, that whether the infant was dead or alive, is for the purposes for which the statement was made,—to prove the fact of delay-as immaterial, as whether he wore a blue coat or a brown? Had the cause existed lwenty years? Had there been 190 attendances by solicitors, for the benefit, of course, of their clients? Did the solicitor, from the urgency of clients, dead or alive, or from the outrageous nature of the dilatoriness, feel himself driven to such a state of desperation, as to write such a letter? Was such an astonishing liberty overlooked ? Nay, more, was it instantly acted upon? Did the Lord High Chancellor condescend to become a suitor to a solicitor of his own Court, for the favour of a day's delay, and was such a favour graciously vouchsafed? Can it be accounted for, except from a consciousness of personal imputation being well-founded, that the writer of such a letter was not instantly reprimanded, and with the utmost severity ? Were these things-was any one fact in any of the cases detailed,
, contradicted, or denied ? or have they since, except indeed by a general assertion that every thing was order, decision and despatch, in the Court of Chancery? And could any thing be stronger to show the existence of the grievance, and, in no very obscure manner, to indicate the cause? Was it not, moreover, in favour of going into a Committee, to inquire, at least, that some new scheme for relief was avowedly in contemplation, and that, from time to time, different ones had been suggested, -as, for example, to separate the Judicial and Political duties of the Chancellor,—or to take away from him the business of Bankruptcy, pr to appoint Commissioners upon the plan pursued when the
Seals are in commission,-or to make the Chancellor of the county palatine of Lancaster an efficient officer,-or to set some of the masters at work where it was practicable? Would it not have been safe and right, then, to have called for the testimony of skilful and experienced persons as to the nature of the mischief, and to which, of all the schemes proposed for relief, a preference ought to be given ? Would it not have savoured of something like a decent attention to the necessities and importance of the case, to have inquired first, and legislated after instead of a contrary course? These questions were answered in the House by a majority! How they were answer'ed out of doors, we leave to the observation of our readers.
We should now proceed to consider the course pursued in the other House of Parliament, and the remedies proposed there :in the mild form of a Report, but tending in substance to the ousting of the jurisdiction of the other two branches of the Legislature.- We find, however, that we have no longer either time or space to enter upon this branch of the subject, and must therefore postpone the sequel of the discussion to some other opportunity.
We omitted to mention, in its proper place, that the statement on pages 40 and 41 of this Number originally appeared in the Morning Herald. It was drawn up by Mr Hume; and could only have been drawn up by one who had paid the greatest attention to such subjects, and understood them well.
QUARTERLY LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS,
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