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will tell us nothing can be more improbable; direct experience, that nothing can be more false. Was it from a love of England that Duke William visited Harold ? out of a love of Jewish mouths that King John officiated as their dentist? or in a mere ascetic horror of Hindoo luxury, that the Mahratta princes were so diligent in collecting Chouk? Now what is the fact ? Families existed before states : and Justice was and is equally necessary for their existence. Your children and servants quar. rel; and naturally come to you. During the hearing, your study becomes a court; your elbow-chair a bench, yourself a judge. For the performance of your duty, in this your domestic judicature, the same rules and operations are just as necessary to you, as if you were trying the Douglas or the Hastings' cause. This natural system of procedure seems to have been preserved, or restored as society advanced, in those portions of the law which were found necessary to the existence of the community. It consists simply in the disregard of the formalities out of which the judges, by the neglect and connivance of the legislator, have constructed the technical system. But for verse, prose would * not have had a name; but for technical, natural procedure
would not have needed one. These proceedings have been invidiously distinguished from regular by the name of summary; as if they were necessarily irregular, or despatched with less caution; and have been rendered odious from their appearance of arbitrary power, by the absence of a jury. Now summary implies short; it implies an efficient decision with less expense, vexation, and delay. But the advantage is supposed to be balanced by a greater liability to misdecision. To what degree does and must such a liability exist ? No answer has been ever given to this conclusive question. All the wits of all the lawyers by • whom civilized society is infested would sink under the task.' The truth is, the chance of right decision is by the technical system decreased in a variety of ways ; increased in none. There is so much additional delay, additional vexation, additional expense, on one hand; mention only the use on the other. In this plain speech they will feel the spear of Ithuriel ; • touch them with it one after another, the unclean spirit will stand confessed.'
Official profit being the ultimate end of judicature, and there being greater facilities for multiplying the occasions than for increasing the quantum of each fee, this latter course has unfortunately been adopted ; and the collateral mischiefs of additional vexation and delay have been aggravated in proportion. Meantime, don't suppose that the ends of justice are never actually pursued. The people must be deceived, and, as far as is neces
mercy is uple healthy favok covers the tist
sary for this purpose, the judges are obliged to give up a portion of their spoil, that they may preserve the remainder. Just as other public functionaries, who are embezzling the public money which passes through their hands, can only carry on their peculations by an occasional sacrifice of their immediate objects, and by applying a part of the money to the services for which the whole was designed. But the judges dislike trouble as much as they love profit. Observe therefore their double artifice. Whilst, on one hand, by the imposition of profitable delays, they are occupied in raising the greatest possible revenue from such suits as can afford to pay for it; we see them, on the other, saving themselves trouble by excluding all such unprofitable suitors as are not able or willing to yield the judicial tax-thus outlawing from six to nine-tenths of the English people by a denial of justice. However, it will be recollected, that their most tender
mercy is neglect. Justices of peace and courts of conscience are the simple healthy fare of the servants' hall, free from the diseases with which the cook covers the table of the rich.
The professional lawyer came into existence as soon as ever any one was in want of legal aid, and could not get it without paying for it. Then began, too, the community of interest between the two species of lawyers, the judge who was paid by fees, and the practitioner-co-operators, not competitors, in the art of making business. First, by their removal of so troublesome an obstacle as the personal presence of the suitor, whom they tormented by delays till he accepted the privilege of saving himself from attendance as a special favour; next, by the division of labour, increasing the business with the number of hands employed in it. Each made business of his own, and business • for the other. John was paid for attending Thomas ; Thomas . for being attended by John; John for writing what Thomas
was to read; Thomas for reading what John had written.' Next, by laying in a stock of lies, whose utterance is business, whose refutation is business, the decision upon which is business. Their generation is more easy, their detection more difficult, the slightest flush of shame prevented, when, instead of the party himself, is interposed a gang of professional lawyers • of different classes; as, in another branch of trade, the hustling • trade, the greater the number of the partners, the more diffi
cult is it to ascertain, at each given moment, in whose posses•sion the watch is to be found. The cases where the practitioner makes a profit, in which the judge does not share, are so intermingled with those in which he does, that a community of interests is established sufficient to secure the real object-a partnership; and this with more impunity-because the threads
of this corrupt connexion are now comparatively invisible-than if articles of partnership existed. The purity of the judges is in a certain sense compatible with a system rotten to the very core. It is probable no judge in living memory has received a bribe. • Were I obliged, as suitors are sometimes in those courts, to
make a bet, I would lay odds, that any new regulation would 6 be framed more in furtherance of the interest of the public • than of that of the learned partnership, since every day, in 6 point of obvious prudence, it becomes more and more necessary • for the partnership to consult that interest. But improvement
might go on at the rate here supposed for centuries, and leave • the character of the system, so thoroughly bad was it in its • beginning, essentially the same. The reforms proposed are • about as substantial as reducing the number of pledges to pro• secute, or separating the two turtle-doves, John Doe and • Richard Roe. No system can be so absurd or atrocious as to appear 80 to those born under it-much less to those who are
paid for upholding it. In Mexico, human victims were under• stood to be an acceptable fee-human blood, a bonne bouche
to the supernatural and immortal judge.' Judicial injustice must be taken for justice, or it would not be endured. To keep the morals and understanding of the people as depraved as is consistent with personal safety-to construct and keep at work the engines necessary for this purpose, may be set down as the constant study and occupation of the man of law. Posterity will one day wonder at the infatuation by which a whole people were reduced to such stupidity as to believe, that a judge, by the repetition of three or four words, null, void, bad, quash, irregularity, could convert injustice into justice, and be persuaded that wilful falsehood was not only meritorious, but necessary to the administration of justice in any thing like perfection. There 6 are decisions on the merits, and decisions not on the merits. In • some future age, such openness will be hardly credible.' En. gage a person once in an immoral act, and for his own peace and character he will soon seek to reconcile himself in opinion to what he has submitted to practise. In this way it is contrived, that, to obtain whatever benefits are granted under the name of justice, the body of the people must become one company of liars. The mire of mendacity through which a suitor passes into a court of law, is not less repugnant to the ends of justice, than is a roll in a night-cart a suitable introduction to a ball-room.
The track of utility is a common rendezvous for all minds, there, or nowhere, all have a chance of meeting. But if you wish to avoid a rencontre, the slightest deviation from the appointed spot will be sufficient. By stepping aside but a little out of the track of reason, the decisions of the judge are equally secure against all probability of conjecture, at the same time that the degree of irrationality admits of plausible pretences. It was, and is, the interest of the partnership, that the law be throughout as irrational as possible. Make but the materials inaccessible; and whether the law is really placed beyond the reach of conjecture, or only appears to be so, the consequences are about the same. In the first case, whilst two adverse parties are guessing at the law in different directions, a suit takes place, and the partnership benefits by it: in the latter, so much business is made for the opinionist, who is supposed to possess the faculty of conjecturing what is likely to be the eventual decision of the Judge. • The Judge's mind is the firmament,—the opinionist the as• trologer. The more incomprehensible the science, the more wonderful what is called its learning; and the grand Lama's chair becomes a model of the interchange which is made between the lawyers and the people.
This is the fashion in which Mr B. hangs his study round with the scalps of those against whom he rushes into the field; acting on the crotchet of the ancient naturalists, that a serpent, unless he devours a serpent, cannot become a dragon !It is expressly stated, that when Oughton's book was published, (twenty years before that of Blackstone,) no lay-lawyer had ever deigned to refer, in the loosest way, any part of procedure to the ends of justice. There is now and then an occasional admission, that folly may have more to answer for even than improbity. For, between the company of dupes and the fellowship of hypocrites, who shall draw the line ? Indeed, the same person who begins by being a dupe, and ends by being an impostor, shall not be able to mark the point of transit. Alchymy and astrology are different forms of the same principle; one cheats men on pretence of making gold, the other of foretelling future events, the last of administering justice. Whilst the alchymist and astrologer probably set down their failures to the deficiencies of the artist rather than the art; the Judge sets down the repugnance between the course of procedure and the ends of justice to the nature of things—and receives the certificate of his brethren that it is unavoidable on any other system. But these are exceptions which have escaped in the milkiness and weakness of an unguarded moment; for, whilst the early canonists were thought extravagant and impracticable persons, for prohibiting all good Christians from engaging in the profession of the law; Mr Bentham evidently regards it as impossible that a lawyer should be, wo will not say a Christian, but an honest man, Such is the contamination, too, of his society, that a strong moral difference is expected to be perceptible between a man who has once been engaged in a lawsuit, and his more fortunate neighbour who has not. Coke, speaking of the lack-learning Parliament holden at Coventry C. H. 4., wherein ‘no apprentice or other man • of the law was permitted to be elected Knight of any shire,' observes, that there never was a good law made thereat. Mr Bentham, who represents the Legislature as constantly gulled and thwarted by the lawyers, would expect to find it the only Parliament in which a decently just and reasonable statute ever passed. Thus he hangs out the bloody flag from the mast head : it is war to the knife! In despair of conciliating the fraternity whose province he is invading, his tone, from the first page to the last, breathes the same unmitigated defiance. He seems even to lament, and almost protest against the perusal of his book, by those unwilling and hostile readers,' into whose hands he yet foresees it must chiefly fall. It must be admitted, that the temptation they would have personally to withstand by refraining, is not exceeding great; for a nosegay of nettles is Arcadia itself, compared with the following flowers which we have taken out of the giant bouquet that he has prepared for their persons and their office.
First and principally, they are the favourite children of the father of lies.
1. v. 216. ·Under every system, every mercenary lawyer, under the fee-gathering system, every lawyer without exception, has an interest as unquestionably, though not as uniformly, opposite to the general interest, as that which forms the bond of union in communities of thieves or smugglers. For the sake of fees, they have an interest in prosecutions, for the sake of prosecutions in crimes—and especially in mendacity, the instrument and cloak of every vice; whence Judges, (being the only class of malefactors who have got the connivance of the Legislature,) have made judicial procedure a tissue of allowed, rewarded, and even necessitated lies. It is power thus obtained, which protects the mercenary advocate and fee-fed Judge from the infamy by which the occasional and unprivileged liar is overwhelmed.
225. "The Judge is the great multiplier, for his own profit, of unjust demands, unjust defences, and unjust delays, wherein he has attached rewards to the lies of his subordinate instruments and partners; and having been suffered to convert his own lies into a source of profit to himself, he has multiplied them, liessigned by his own hand, without limit and without shame.'
359. Special pleading, likę libelling and forgery, has grown