Abbildungen der Seite

the subject of general petition. To ask why there are not petitions—why the evil is not more noticed, is mere parliamentary froth and ministerial juggling. Gentlemen are rarely hung. If they were so, there would be petitions without end for counsel. The creatures exposed to the cruelties and injustice of the law are dumb creatures, who feel the evil without being able to express their feeling. Besides, the question is not, whether the evil is found out, but whether the evil exist. Whoever thinks it is an evil, should vote against it, whether the sufferer from the injustice discovers it to be an injustice, or whether he suffer in ignorant silence. When the bill was enacted, which allowed counsel for treason, there was not a petition from one end of England to the other. Can there be a more shocking answer from the Ministerial Bench, than to say, for real evil we care nothing-only for detected evil? We will set about curing any wrong which affects our popularity and power: But as to any other evil, we wait till the people lind it out; and, in the mean time, commit such evils to the care of Mr George Lamb, and of Sir James Mackintosh. We are sure so good a man as Mr Peel can never feel in this manner.

Howard devoted himself to his country. It was a noble example. Let two gentlemen on the Ministerial side of the House (we only ask for two) commit some crimes, which will render their execution a matter of painful necessity. Let them feel, and report to the House, all the injustice and inconvenience of having neither a copy of the indictment, nor a list of witnesses, nor counsel to defend them. We will venture to say, that the evidence of two such persons would do more for the improvement of the criminal law, than all the orations of Mr Lamb, or the lucubrations of Beccaria. Such evidence would save time, and bring the question to an issue. It is a great duty, and ought to be fulfilled,-and, in ancient Rome, would have been fulfilled.

The opponents always forget that Mr Lamb's plan is not to compel prisoners to have counsel, but to allow them to have counsel, if they choose to do so. Depend upon it, as Dr Johnson says, when a man is going to be hanged, his faculties are wonderfully concentrated. If it be really true, as the defenders of Mumpsimus observe, that the Judge is the best counsel for the prisoner, the prisoner will soon learn to employ him, especially as his Lordship works without fees. All that want is an option given to the prisoner--that a man, left to adopt his own means of defence in every trifling civil right, may have the same power of selecting his own auxiliaries for higher interests.



But nothing can be more unjust than to speak of Judges, as if they were of one standard, and one heart and head pattern. The great majority of Judges, we have no doubt, are upright and pure; but some have been selected for flexible politics - some are passionate-some in a hurry, some are violent churchmen-some resemble ancient females—some have the gout—some are eighty years old-some are blind, deaf, and have lost the power of smelling. All one to the unhappy prisoner- he has no choice.

It is impossible to put sogross an insult upon Judges, Jurymen, Grand Jurymen, or any person connected with the administration of justice, as to suppose that the longer time to be taken up by the speeches of counsel, constitutes the grand bar to the proposed alteration. If three hours would acquit a man, and he is hanged because he is only allowed two hours for his defence, the poor man is as much murdered as if his throat had been cut before he came into Court. If twelve Judges cannot do the most perfect justice, other twelve must be appointed. Strange administration of criminal law, to adhere obstinately to an inadequate number of Judges, and to refuse any improvement which is incompatible with this arbitrary and capricious enactment. Neither is it quite certain that the proposed alteration would create a greater demand upon the time of the Court. At present the counsel makes a defence by long crossexaminations, and examinations in chief of the witnesses, and the Judge allows a greater latitude than he would do, if the counsel of the prisoner were permitted to speak. The counsel by these oblique methods, and by stating false points of law for the express purpose of introducing facts, endeavours to obviate the injustice of the law, and takes up more time by this oblique, than he would do by a direct defence. But the best answer to this objection of time (which, if true, is no objection at all) is, that as many misdemeanors as felonies are tried in a given time, though counsel are allowed in the former, and not in the latter case.

Oneexcuse for the absence of counsel is, that the evidence upon which the prisoner is convicted is always so clear, that the counsel cannot gainsay it. This is mere absurdity. There is not, and cannot be, any such rule. Many a man has been hung upon a string of circumstantial evidence, which not only very ingenious men, but very candid and judicious men, might criticize and call in question. If no one were found guilty but upon such evidence as would not admit of a doubt, half the crimes in the world would be unpunished. This dictum, by which the present practice has often been defended, was adopted by Lord Chancellor Nottingham. To the lot of this Chancellor, how


ever, it fell to pass sentence of death upon Lord Stafford, whom (as Mr Denman justly observes), no court of justice, not even the House of Lords (constituted as it was in those days), could have put to death, if he had had counsel to defend him.

To improve the criminal law of England, and to make it really deserving of the incessant eulogium which is lavished upon it, we would assimilate trials for felony to trials for high treason. The prisoner should not only have Counsel, but a copy of the indictment and a list of the witnesses, many days antecedent to the trial. It is in the highest degree unjust that I should not see and study the description of the crime with which I am charged, if the most scrupulous exactness be required in that instrument which charges me with crime. If the place where, the time when, and the manner how, and the persons by whom, must all be specified with the most perfect accuracy, if any deviation from this accuracy is fatal, the prisoner, or his legal advisers, should have a full opportunity of judging whether the scruples of the law have been attended to in the formation of the indictment; and they ought not to be confined to the hasty and imperfect consideration which can be given to an indictment exhibited for the first time in Court. Neither is it possible for the prisoner to repel accusation till he knows who is to be brought against him. He may see suddenly, stuck up in the witness's box, a man who has been writing him letters, to extort money from the threat of evidence he could produce. The character of such a witness would be destroyed in a moment, if the letters were produced; and the letters would have been produced, of course, if the prisoner had imagined such a person would have been brought forward by the prosecutor. It is utterly impossible for a prisoner to know in what way he may be assailed, and against what species of attacks he is to guard. Conversations may be brought against him which he has forgotten, and to which he could (upon notice) have given another colour and complexion. Actions are made to bear upon his case, which, (if he had known they would have been referred to), might have been explained in the most satisfactory manner. All these modes of attack are pointed out by the list of witnesses transmitted to the prisoner, and he has time to prepare his answer, as it is perfectly just he should have. This is justice, when a prisoner has ample means of compelling the attendance of his witnesses; when his written accusation is put into his hand, and he has time to study it-when he knows in what manner his guilt is to be proved, and when he has a man of practised understanding to

state his facts, and prefer his arguments. Then criminal justice may march on boldly. The Judge has no stain of blood on his ermine; and the phrases which English people are so fond of lavishing upon the humanity of their laws, will have a real foundation. At present this part of the law is a mere relic of the barbarous injustice by which accusation in the early part of our jurisprudence was always confounded with guilt. The greater part of these abuses have been brushed away, as this cannot fail soon to be. In the mean time it is defended, (as every other abuse has been defended), by men who think it their duty to defend every thing which is, and to dread every thing which is not. We are told that the Judge does what he does not do, and ought not to do. The most pernicious effects are anticipated in trials of felony, from that which is found to produce the most perfect justice in civil causes, and in cases of treason and misdemeanour: We are called upon to continue a practice without example in any other country, and are required by lawyers to consider that custom as humane, which every one who is not a lawyer pronounces to be most cruel and unjust- and which has not been brought forward to general notice, only because its bad effects are confined to the last and lowest of mankind.

Art. IV. 1. Article Egypt in the Supplement to the Encyclo

pædia Britannica, Vol. IV. p. 38, published in the Year 1819. 2. Lettre à M. Dacier, Secrétaire Perpétuel de l'Académie des

Belles-Lettres, relative à l’Alphabet des Hiéroglyphes Phonetiques, 8c. Par M. CHAMPOLLIon le Jeune. Paris, Didot,

1822. 8vo. avec quatre planches. 3. An Account of some Recent Discoveries in Hieroglyphical Li

terature, and Egyptian Antiquities, including the Author's Original Alphabet, as extended by M. Champollion ; with a

Translation of five unpublished Greek and Egyptian Manuscripts. By Thomas Young, M. D. F. R. S. London,

Murray. 1823. 4. Précis du Système Hiéroglyphique des Anciens Egyptiens, ou

Récherches sur les Elémens Premiers de cette Ecriture Sacrée, sur leurs diverses Combinaisons, et sur les Rapports de ce Sistème avec les autres Méthodes Graphiques Egyptiennes. Par M. CHAMPOLLION le Jeune. Paris, Treuttel & Würtz.

1824. 8vo. avec un volume de planches. 5. Lettres à M. le Duc de Blacas d'Aulps, premier Gentil

homme de la Chambre, Pair de France, 8c. relatives au Musée Royal Egyption de Turin; Première Lelire- Monuments Historiques. Par M. CHAMPOLLION, le Jeune. Paris, Didot.

1824. 6. ORIGINES ; or Remarks on the Origin of Several Empires,

States, and Cities. By the Right Honourable Sir WILLIAM

DRUMMOND. London, Baldwin & Co. 1824. 2 vols. 8vo. 7. Essay on Dr Young's and M. Champollion's Phonetic System

of Hieroglyphics; with some additional Discoveries by which it may be applied to decipher the Names of the ancient Kings of Egypt and Ethiopia. By HENRY Salt, Esq., his Britannic Majesty's Consul-General in Egypt, &c. &c. &c. Addressed to the Right Honourable Charles YORKE, &c. London, Longman & Co. 1825.

To "o the Antiquary and the Historian, ancient Egypt is a sub

ject of inexhaustible interest. However inclined some modern sceptics may be to dispute the fact, the country of the Pharaohs was undoubtedly the parent of art and science, the great luminary of the ancient world. At a period when the soil of Greece and Italy was covered with primeval forests, affording shelter only to wild beasts, or to a few roving barba• rians' hardly less ferocious, the valley of the Nile was occupied by a people who had already built temples in honour of their Gods, and reared columns to commemorate their kings. Nor does this high antiquity rest merely on doubtful chronologies, or vague antiquarian speculation. On the contrary, it is demonstrated by facts about which there neither is nor can


any controversy. So early as the days of Moses, Egypt, preeminent in laws, institutions, learning, and art, as well as in political power, appears to have reached that maximum of improvement at which nations generally remain for a longer or shorter period stationary. All the notices incidentally given by the Sacred Historian clearly indicate a people already arrived at this grand limit, and in the full enjoyment of all the benefit which could be derived from the peculiar forms of government and religion under which they lived. Even in that remote age, the learning of

the Egyptians' had become proverbial; nor can there be any doubt, we think, that the celebrated Jewish Legislator transfused into his Code of Laws much of the practical or written wisdom which he had learned in the country of his birth and education.

From the era of Moses, by whom Egypt is connected with the earliest traditions no less than with the first historical record of the human race, till that of the Persian Conquest, when its glory and independence were destroyed-that is, during the long interval of ten centuries—a few imperfect and unsatisfactory no

« ZurückWeiter »