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succeeded in establishing one worthy State in that deplorable land, one fresh oasis in that moral desert, one breathing spot in that suffocating prison-house, where freedom can take root and germinate and bear fruit for future years. In the difficult field of parliamentary government, where so many reputations have been beaten down, the Piedmontese have won their spurs: the constitutionalists — wholly inexperienced in the nice managements of party warfare; beset by the revolutionary faction on the one hand and the reactionary faction on the other; at strife with the court of Rome, and waging, in behalf of their infant light, an internecine war with every clerical and official bigot who had a vested interest in darkness ; watched, too, all the while, along their frontier by a vigilant, jealous, and malignant foe, ever on the alert to profit by every blunder, and to take advantage of the smallest opening for interference — have yet steered through the narrow channel, navigated the unwonted waters, and shunned the sunken rocks, with a degree of skill, nerve, patience, and sagacity which hitherto no Southern nation has attained. In the preservation and the prosperity of the free institutions of Piedmont lie, we believe, the future hopes of Italy. As they become firmly established and widely developed, as they bear their certain fruit and manifest their inestimable value, the other nations and other sovereigns of the Peninsula will begin to envy and desire to learn. The people will see close by their side and in actual working all the solid benefits they desire to gain, and they will tame down their wild dreams of a republic to similar institutions similarly won. They will have ever before their eyes a goading and encouraging example of what men- Italians like themselves — have actually done and are still daily doing. The monarchs will see with wonder, with mistrust at first, with conviction at last, a fellowsovereign more powerful with his parliament than they with their autocracy; more prosperous and wealthy with his unfettered industry, than they with all their ingenious fences, bounties, and restrictions ; stronger, because reigning over contented citizens, than they, while trampling merely upon crushed and cursing slaves; safer in the sincere love and loyalty of his emancipated people than they in all their costly panoply of foreign patrons and mercenary guards. The contrast cannot be without its fruit. Truth, when blended with self-interest will percolate even to the dull chambers of a Bomba's brain ; and the first Italian state that follows the example of Sardinia will make it imperative on all the rest to follow in its wake, and impossible for even Austria to forbid the progress.
One thing only can destroy, or indefinitely postpone, the
realisation of this beckoning prospect; and that is, a renewal of those wretched insurrectionary movements which will frighten back the timid despots of Italy into their old stupid and brutal cruelties, and give Austria the pretext she desires for further interference. Circumstances are just now arising which may tempt some misguided patriots into a commission of such follies, We trust they may take warning by the past, resist all inducements, and abjure all such mischievous and hopeless projects, or they will mar their country's prospects for long years to come. Austria seems as if she were about to break with her old accomplice and ally in despotism, and to fight side by side with England and France in resenting injustice and repressing the ambition of the great permanent enemy of popular rights. If she does so cordially and loyally, we can, of course, look with no favour on movements, however natural or inherently just, which are directed against a power whose interests for the time are united with our own; while, on the other hand, out of this new and strange set of European alliances, may arise much ultimate hope for Italian freedom, if Italians will only wait and watch. Austria's strength to oppress and crush the liberties of her own subjects or of other States cannot fail to be considerably impaired by the severance of her connexion with the Northern Autocrat; while, at the same time, she will feel that England, though never a favourer of revolutionary designs, can have no cordial friendship or sympathy with her so long as her name is known only as the narrow and merciless foe, not only of insurgents and democrats, but of the sober, moderate, rational votaries of freedom. Her hands are too bloody, and her system of government too narrow and severe, to obtain any countenance from us. If, therefore, having exchanged the alliance of her Russian patron for that of a free and justice-loving country, she wishes the amity of her new companion to be genuine and lasting, she will feel that she must henceforth abstain from those acts of barbarous oppression and of systematic faithlessness which make English blood boil and English flesh creep, and must purchase our oblivion of the past and our attachment for the future, by at least some decided approaches towards a more lenient rule and a more evenhanded justice, both in Italy and Hungary. The good offices of this country will not be wanting to suggest to her the wisdom of thus diverging into a new, and safer, and more reputable path. But how could we urge such a change of policy, if Austria could point in answer to renewed outbreaks and ceaseless conspiracies as proofs that any mitigation of severity was both unmerited and unsafe ? Matters, we firmly
believe, are ripening for a better day, if neither wild ambition nor insane impatience are permitted to step in and interrupt a process which to them seems inadequate and slow. Austria allied with England will at all events be a gentler tyrant and a less relentless foe than Austria bound to Russia by the ties of a common hatred against freedom and enlightenment; — and this for the present must suffice.
ART. VII.-1. Copies of the Lord Chancellor's Letters to the
Judges on the Criminal Law Bills of the last Session, and Copies of their Answers thereto. Ordered to be printed, 9th
February, 1854. 2. A Letter to the Lord Chancellor, containing Observations on
the Answers of the Judges to the Lord Chancellor's Letter. By CHARLES SPRENGEL GREAVES, Esq., Q.C., and JAMES JOAN LONSDALE, Esq., Barrister-at-Law (Secretary to the Common Law Commission). London: 1854. TT is now upwards of twenty years since the Government of
Lord Grey issued the first Commission for reducing the Criminal Law into a Code or Digest. The labours of the learned Commissioners produced valuable reports upon the subject of Codification in general, and two Digests - one of Crimes and Punishments, the other of Criminal Procedure. A Bill, founded on the first of these, was in 1845 presented to the House of Lords by Lord Brougham (he having been Chancellor when the Commission issued), and it was referred back, on Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst's suggestion, to the Commissioners with others added to their number. After thus undergoing a full revision by fresh minds, it was again introduced, and in 1848, 'and 1849, it was read a second time, and referred to Select Committees of their Lordships' House. The Commission having, by an oversight, been allowed to expire, Lord Derby's Government again took up the subject; it was thought by the friends of the Digest expedient to pass it in chapters, beginning with the most important and difficult of all the heads,- offences against the person; and their Chancellor, Lord St. Leonards, though averse to Codification, very candidly and diligently took charge of the measure. He was succeeded by Lord Cranworth, who engaged to bring in the other Bills, as that for offences against property, &c. The Bill for offences against the person was read a second time, referred to a Select
most deford some pointed their having But the peoples; and
aminates from out by sumption
Committee of the Law Lords and others, closely and elaborately scrutinised, with the aid of the draughtsmen, Messrs. Greaves and Lonsdale, and reported to the House, by whom it was postponed till next Session in consequence of one or two important articles which were directed to be further considered.
The Digest thus matured, had been prepared, revised, and approved by some of the most eminent lawyers of the country; Mr. Justice Wightman, Sir E. Ryan, Mr. Starkie, Professor Amos, Messrs. R. V. Richards, Jardine, B. Ker, J. Austin, as well as Messrs. Greaves and Lonsdale; by successive Chancellors, Lords Lyndhurst, Brougham, St. Leonards, Cranworth; Lords Chief Justice Denman and Campbell. The House of Lords having repeatedly decided that the Law should be digested, this was hardly a question so far open as to be fit for the decision of the Judges, though their observations upon the details of the Digest were most properly called for, and deserved when offered the most respectful consideration. Nevertheless the names we have cited afford some primâ facie presumption at least that many of the errors of detail pointed out by the Judges must have appeared such in their eyes from their having had no time to make a more careful examination of the particulars. But the principle of the measure had been repeatedly sanctioned by the Lords; and as Messrs. Greaves and Lonsdale justly observe, every Govern
ment for the last twenty years had considered it as a settled ó question that a Digest not only of the written but of the un
written Criminal Law was expedient and practicable. But Lord Cranworth, in his anxiety to do what was right, unfortunately fell into the mistake of submitting not only the detail but the principle to those learned persons, and submitting it in a form that almost called forth their condemnation; because he assumed that the unfinished work of the Commissioners and the Committee was as perfect an attempt at Codification as it was possible to make ; although, by his own admission, some of the most important definitions were left imperfect and reserved for further consideration. It was not more fair towards the Judges than towards the measure, thus to require an opinion which they manifestly were reluctant to give, on a subject which their judicial duties left them no leisure fully to examine. We may add, that their habits were almost certain to give their minds a bias on the question.
We do not now allude to the prejudice' engendered by the • professional habits of many years,' which Mr. Justice Coleridge fears may have influenced his judgment, but we refer to the direct interest which each of the Judges must have in preserving the law, as near as conveniently may be, in its present state.
As a body, but they armen, if they cahange in the
As a body, the Judges are upright, honourable, and zealous magistrates, but they are men still; and they must be something more or less than men, if they can contemplate, without serious dissatisfaction, a comprehensive change in the law which, however beneficial it may be to the public, must inevitably impose upon them considerable additional labour for some years to come. The viginti annorum lucubrationes have made them familiar with the law, which they so ably and so uprightly administer; and there is no task so repulsive as that of unlearning in old age the lessons of our youth. Men, when they come to the time of life of the Judges, are naturally desirous of ease. The even tenour of their way must not be disturbed. They cannot study novel inventions. New-fangled doctrines are an abomination to them. These are sentiments so universally prevalent, that it is idle to expect that the Judges should not entertain them. At three-score years and ten, why should a Lord Chief Baron have to master the thousand sections of a new Code? He has done without one hitherto, and he hopes that he has done justice. He can administer the old law without much trouble. Why, then, should he be required to learn a new law, in order,' as Mr. Baron Alderson expresses it, 'to • make an empty boast of possessing a Criminal Code?'
Feeling as we do the full force of this reasoning, we are not in the least surprised at the answers which the Judges have returned to the letter of the Lord Chancellor. One and all, they are opposed to the change; and it would, indeed, be a miracle if they were not. First, they contend that the Bill submitted to them is founded on 'a totally wrong principle,' inasmuch as it substitutes written rules for the unwritten doctrines of the common law. The rules of the common law,' says Mr. Baron Parke,' are clear and well understood, and they * have the incalculable advantage of being capable of application "to new combinations of circumstances perpetually occurring, • which are decided, when they arise, by inference and analogy "to them, and upon the principles on which they rest.'_To
reduce the statute law into a narrow compass,' says Mr. Justice Talfourd, “is an object entirely free from objection, and
which, if accomplished with care, can produce nothing but 'good; but to reduce unwritten law to statute is to discard one of the greatest blessings we have for ages enjoyed in rules capable of flexible application.' - It certainly requires a very judicial, as contradistinguished from a legislative mind to comprehend the full force of this reasoning. We can understand 2 Judge using it, for 'rules capable of flexible application' are extremely convenient loop-holes, when ill-considered judgments VOL. XCIX. NO. CCII.