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requiring some considerable standing at the bar should not be taken, the younger men of ability and promise, who have not yet had time or opportunity to distinguish themselves, and who now desire revisorships chiefly as a means of making themselves known, will not accept such an appointment, because they confidently hope to attain in time to wealth and reputation greater than it can confer. The older men of some practice and experience will not accept it, because they already draw from their professional exertions, with less labour and more credit, an income something like an equivalent, and because, though the experience of but moderate success has taught that the highest prizes of the profession are not for them, they still, if men of character, with reason hope for something better, for a high judicial station abroad, or an inferior judicial station at home. You will have, Sir, to choose only among the older men who do little or nothing, and the younger men who never hope to do much."

It would be invidious to comment on the qualifications of the gentlemen whose names were inserted in the Bill, the more particularly as some of them were named without being consulted, and received the first intelligence of their acceptance of the appointment from the newspapers; but we stand in little fear of contradiction when we say, that the difficulty experienced by the patrons of the measure in procuring recruits fit to stand a scrutiny, and the necessity under which they found themselves of using names without authority, afford ample proof that the argument last stated was based upon an accurate estimate of the views and motives of the bar.

But a still more fatal objection is the suspicion of partiality to which the new revisors would be exposed from the nature of the appointments, which, whether vested in the Premier, the Chancellor, or the Speaker of the House of Commons, would be, to all intents and purposes, political. Indeed, nothing can show this more strongly than the division that was to have been made of the patronage; five of the names inserted in the Bill having been selected by the Whigs and Radicals, and five by the Tories. This was done to conciliate opposition; but surer means could not have been devised for impeding the satisfactory operation of the scheme, for attention would thus have been called to the political opinions of each revisor at starting, and it would be difficult

to make the public believe that their conduct would not be influenced by a circumstance which was deemed important enough to be made the subject of a compromise. Now there certainly are districts in which a very slight leaning would turn the balance; and it will be remembered that the districts were to be assigned and shifted by the chief, the nominee of the ministry. Consider, too, the utter absence of responsibility under which these ten gentlemen would set forth

"But, Sir, (says the writer already quoted,) the grand objection to your amendment is, the comparative irresponsibility of the functionaries you propose to create. To a statesman so able as yourself, and in times so pregnant with warnings on the subject, I need not to enlarge on the paramount importance of securing in all public servants as complete a responsibility as is possible. Now I can hardly imagine any position more absolutely responsible than that of the Revising Barrister as at present constituted. He is responsible to the Judges who appoint him, to whom he looks for future kindnesses, and on whom depends his reappointment. He is re-. sponsible to his brethren and rivals in the profession, who do not fail to scan his proceedings with no indulgent eye. is responsible to the public, who take care to bruit abroad by means of daily and weekly prints, any error or impropriety he may be guilty of. He is responsible to the very attorneys in his district, from whom it is his aim and hope by satisfying them of his capacity, to obtain future professional assistance. In fact, his very existence as a lawyer depends upon his going through his task with honour and credit.”

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"What, Sir, on the other hand, is the condition of your revisors? Beyond that nominal quamdiu bene se gesserit' responsibility, which we all know is nothing in effect, they have but to avoid provoking any vehement indignation in the public. But to the blame or praise of that public, or of their own profession, whether judges, barristers, or solicitors, they will be almost insensible. They have nothing to gain by discharging their task admirably, nothing to lose by going through it indifferently. I confess, Sir, that all the advantages of your scheme do not in my mind counterbalance this evil."

The writer has here rather understated than overstated the objection. Shelved for life as regards the profession, and with

no higher step in their own peculiar walk to look forward to, it is to be feared that some of these gentlemen might occasionally seek to better themselves by pleasing the ministry of the day, to whom, in critical times, they might do service well worthy of a rich reward. A revising barrister, appointed to a few boroughs or a part of a county for a single year with a colleague, has not the means for conciliating favour in this manner, nor is he very likely to have the inclination, the hopes and wishes of most of his class being ardently and exclusively directed towards professional success. Accordingly, we do not at present remember more than one or two instances in which a Judge has been so much as suspected of prostituting his patronage for party purposes, or a barrister of being warped in his decisions by his politics.' In point of responsibility and freedom from suspicion, therefore, the new revisor would clearly be inferior to the old, and we see no reason for anticipating any material improvement in soundness of judgment or uniformity. It is a mistake to suppose that much legal learning or experience is requisite for the exposition of the Act: hardly one disputed vote in a hundred involves a law question of the slightest difficulty; and if the case were otherwise, we doubt whether a body of men set apart for the purpose, would conduct an investigation principally dependant on a due application of the general rules of evidence, better than barristers conversant with the daily practice of the courts. Serious differences, again, will henceforth be prevented by the operation of the declaratory clauses, and the appellate jurisdiction; but if not, ten would be quite sufficient to create the worst evils of inconsistency, and the inveteracy of conflicting opinions will more than compensate for any slight diminution in frequency. If Mr. A. were to make up his mind to give the widest possible construction to the word building, and Mr. B. the narrowest, more doubt would be occasioned, and more real mischief done, than if twenty of the present revisors, during any given year, were to put each his own individual construction on it. Admitting that no two gentlemen agreed out of the one hundred and seventy, it by no means follows, as some of their assailants seem to think, Great dissatisfaction has been occasioned by the last revision of the burgess lists, on account of the known political and local partialities of the mayor and assessors, and wishes have been expressed in many boroughs that the revision should henceforth (as in the first year) be conducted by a barrister.


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there were one hundred and fifty points of difference. On the contrary, we believe that there were not altogether above six or seven material ones.

The expense of the present system has been estimated on an average of years during which the political atmosphere has been more than ordinarily changeable, and the Bill in the most crude and unsettled condition. The Judges, moreover, on some circuits, have inconsiderately increased the expense by making more appointments than were necessary. Allowing for these and other accidental causes of increase, we are convinced that the average expense of future years will fall short of the sum (not less than 16,000l. a year) required to satisfy the exigencies of the new Metropolitan Court and the ten new revisors (with their clerks) constantly travelling at the public expense. It must be borne in mind, also, that the number of revisors under the present system may always be reduced or augmented according to the exigency; whilst the new Court, like Lord Brougham's Court of Review, must remain a standing charge on the country till the members die off, with whatever force its inexpediency may be demonstrated by circumstances, and to whatever extent the business may fall off.

We have thought it unnecessary to open the question as to the hands in which the appointments should be placed. The Judges may not have administered their patronage with that uniform discrimination and impartiality which the public and the profession were entitled to expect from them, and a few instances of personal favouritism might be particularized which would tell against our present argument. But, on the other hand, they have uniformly employed their best influence to induce the higher class of barristers to act, and there certainly are no persons in the kingdom so well acquainted with the qualifications of the candidates, or so superior, as a body, to the influence of party motives;--and this, after all, is what it should be the grand object to avoid in the formation of a tribunal, on which, in an easily conceivable emergency, not merely the rise or fall of a Ministry, but the very framework of the Government and the distinctive character of the Constitution, may depend.

We reserve to a future opportunity some comments we had prepared on the other provisions of the Amending Act, and Mr. Chambers' Pamphlet, in which that Act is ably discussed.



A Practical Treatise of Powers. By the Right Hon. Sir Edward Sugden. 6th Edition. 2 vols. London. 1836.

WE have here an old and esteemed friend in a new dress, two volumes instead of one, with many alterations as well as additions; but as the learned author has also favoured us with a new preface we cannot do better than let him tell his own tale :

"At the close of the preface to the first edition of this work, the author pleaded, as an excuse for the inaccuracies in it, the necessity of devoting his time to other labours, from which moments were snatched for this performance.

"More than a quarter of a century had elapsed since that apology, when the writer suddenly found himself, for the first time, in possession of leisure. After some relaxation, not unmindful of the debt which he must ever owe to his profession, he determined to review this book, and he has done so to the exclusion, for a considerable period, of all other pursuits. He must now trust to some other apology for his errors; but he may be allowed, in fairness to himself, to say that nothing has been spared to render the work correct and complete which unceasing labour, devoted to a favourite sub. ject, could accomplish.

"This work, in its original state, might be considered as a textbook, in which an attempt was made to deduce the rules from the decided cases. The plan has now been enlarged, and the leading cases are stated succinctly and examined, so that the practitioner will be enabled to collect, in a comparatively short time, the facts of the principal authorities; and the writer's observations upon them will at all events afford materials for reflexion. He knows, by a long experience, how useful this will be in the pressure of business, if the execution of this portion of the work at all justifies the time which has been bestowed upon it. He regrets that he has upon so many points differed from persons for whom he entertains unfeigned respect, but he has rather considered the principle of the rule than the weight due to the authority by whom it was pronounced; and his own erroneous impressions may readily be corrected, for it is but in few instances that he has given an opinion without stating the reason upon which it is grounded.

"The page of text has been enlarged, but still the additions, VOL. XVII.


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