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saith Solomon, Fons turbatus, et vena cor
rupta est justus cadens in causa sua coram “ adversario." The office of judges may have reference unto the parties that sue, unto the advocates that plead, unto the clerks and ministers of justice underneath them, and to the sovereign or state above them.
First, for the causes or parties that sue. There be, (saith the scripture, “that turn “ judgment into wormwood;” and surely there be also that turn it into vinegar ; for injustice maketh it bitter, and delays make it sour. The principal duty of a judge is, to suppress force and fraud; whereof force is the more pernicious when it is open, and fraud when it is close and disguised. Add thereto contentious suits, which ought to be spewed out, as the surfeit of courts. A judge ought to pre- pare
way to a just sentence, as God useth to prepare his way, by raising valleys and taking down hills; so when there appeareth on either side an high hand, violent prosecution, cunning advantages taken, combination, power, great counsel, then is the virtue of a judge seen to make inequality equal; that he may plant his judgment as upon an even ground. “Qui for
" titer emungit, elicit sanguinem;" and where the wine-press is hard wrought, it yields a harsh wine that tastes of the
grape-stone. Judges must beware of hard constructions, and strained inferences; for there is no worse torture than the torture of laws; especially in case of laws penal, they ought to have care, that that, which was meant for terror, be not turned into rigour; and that they bring not upon the people that shower whereof the scripture speaketh, “ Pluet super eos laqueos ;" for penal laws pressed are a shower of snares upon the people; therefore let penal laws, if they have been sleepers of long, or if they be grown unfit for the present time, be by wise judges confined in the execution : « Judicis officium
est, ut res, ita tempora rerum, &c. In causes of life and death judges ought (as far as the law permitteth,) in justice to remember mercy, and to cast a severe eye upon the example, but a merciful eye upon the person.
Secondly, for the advocates and counsel that plead. Patience and gravity of hearing is an essential part of justice; and an overspeaking judge is no well tuned cymbal. It is no grace to a judge first to find that which
he might have heard in due time from the bar; or to shew quickness of conceit in cutting off evidence or counsel too short, or to prevent information by questions, though pertinent. The parts of a judge in hearing are four: to direct the evidence; to moderate length, repetition, or impertinency of speech; to recapitulate, select, and collate the material points of that which hath been said, and to give the rule or sentence. Whatsoever is above these is too much, and proceedeth either of glory and willingness to speak, or of impatience to hear, or of shortness of memory, or of want of a stayed and equal attention. It is a strange thing to see that the boldness of ada vocates should prevail with judges; whereas they should imitate God, in whose seat they sit; who represseth the presumptuous, and giveth grace to the modest; but it is more strange, that judges should have noted favour. ites, which cannot but cause multiplication of fees, and suspicion of by-ways. There is due from the judge to the advocate some commendation and gracing, where causes well handled and fair pleaded, especially towards the side which obtaineth not; for that
upholds in the client the reputation of his counsel, and beats down in him the conceit of his cause.
There is likewise due to the public a civil reprehension of advocates, where there appeareth cunning counsel, gross neglect, slight information, indiscreet pressing, or an bold defence; and let not the counsel at the bar chop with the judge, nor wind himself into the handling of the cause anew after the judge hath declared his sentence; but, on the other side, let not the judge meet the cause half way, nor give occasion to the party to say, his counsel or proofs were not heard.
Thirdly, for that that concerns clerks and ministers. The place of justice is an hallowed place; and therefore not only the bench, but the footpace and precincts and purprise thereof ought to be preserved without scandal and corruption ; for, certainly, grapes (as the scripture saith) “will not be gathered of “ thorns or thistles ;” neither can justice yield her fruit with sweetness amongst the briars and brambles of catching and pulling clerks and ministers. The attendance of courts is subject to four bad instruments; first, certain persons that are sowers of suits, which make the court
swell, and the country pine : the second sort is of those that engage courts in quarrels of jurisdiction, and are not truly “amici curiæ," but “parasiti curixe,” in puffing a court up beyond her bounds for their own scraps and advantages: the third sort is of those that may be accounted the left hands of courts ; persons that are full of nimble and sinister tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain and direct courses of courts, and bring justice into oblique lines and labyrinths; and the fourth is the poller and exacter of fees; which justifies the common resemblance of the courts of justice to the bush, whereunto while the sheep flies for defence in weather, he is sure to lose part of the fleece. On the other side, an ancient clerk, skilful in precedents, wary in proceeding, and understanding in the business of the court, is an excellent figure of a court, and doth many times point the way to the judge himself.
Fourthly, for that which may concern the sovereign and estate. · Judges ought, above all, to remember the conclusion of the Roman twelve tables, “ Salus populi suprema lex;" and to know that laws, except they be in order