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in just such another suit, with which we were equally conversant, in the supreme court of the same State, (New York) and tried before the Honourable Judge Edwards, in which the same legal questions were involved, the same doctrine of " probable cause," the pivot on which the case rested; when this profound and erudite judge, propounded dogmas—asserted legal principles, the very obverse, the very extreme, and antipodes of those which a few weeks before we had heard declared in solemn seriousness, and almost within his hearing by Judge Betts, as the settled and firmly established law of the land. We have indeed, heard and seen this—the same individual in the one suit, either robbed of a fair, or just equivalent for the injury, or loss he had most wantonly sustained; and when immediately after, as a defendant in another court, almost within the same building, and by means of a directly opposite version of the same law, mulct in a sum of fifteen hundred dollars and costs; and both, or either of these learned functionaries, influenced by motives we could well define, standing erect in this shameless prostitution of justice—this scandalous abuse of laws they were called upon to faithfully and impartially administer. It were a difficult matter, we confess, to recognise the law under these strange curvetings—to anticipate whatever course it may take in its dispensation, or to know what precise rule an innocent and oppressed man should pursue in the usual or daily concerns of life; the experience of the past being but seldom a guide to the future; the laws of

NON-INTERFERENCE OF THE PRESS. 121

yesterday as seldom the laws that are to direct and govern us on to-day; and both essentially different from those that are intended to control our actions on to-morrow. The public press, that in England is generally a fair echo of the public voice and the best protector of its rights and liberties, independent of the moral, the high-toned and constitutional formation of our own legal tribunals, is the best corrector of these, or any such like abuses, that might perchance creep into our system. But not so in America, where public opinion is scarcely defined, or at least of very uncertain influence in the correction of these or similar excesses—where the private or individual affairs of most men absorb every thought, and engross every mental effort in the advancement of their more immediate concerns, destroying in a great measure every noble and elevated feeling, all kind of friendly sympathy for each other ; while they take but little interest in watching the course of any judicial proceedings in which they themselves are not immediate parties, or in some way directly concerned; and rarely trouble themselves with the correction of public delinquencies of this kind, so long as the consequences appear removed from their own threshold. The press of the country seldom interferes in such matters; but would rather sanction the continuance of these, and far greater evils, than by using a corrective, admit the existence of any abuse, however dangerous to their peace and liberties, and that may not be directly chargeable to any of the opposing political parties in the state, or to allow any defect in the formation or working of their system of self-government to appear in its true and natural colouring before the world.

It will perhaps be said, that when an injury such as we have stated, is thus visited upon an innocent party, through the wantonness, the depravation, or misconduct of the judge, the law of America, being to a great extent assimilated in principle to the law of England in this respect, provides a remedy, in an appeal to some other or higher tribunal. But such is not the case in every instance. The appeal from Judge Betts sitting in Nisi Prius, was by the rules of this court permitted only to Judge Betts as sole presiding judge in his own court of appeal: and when that the party complainant did so appeal from "Philip drunk to Philip sober," and that a case had come before this just and discriminating expounder of American jurisprudence, for correction, according to the practice of the District Court, previous to its being again brought before him on argument, he disavowed every word he had so uttered in his elaborate disquisition to the jury on the trial—disclaimed having proclaimed the novel and heterodox opinions he had publicly asserted, and that had coerced them in finding their verdict ; and directed a new and opposite version of his charge, such as he had never spoken—perhaps until then, had not reasonably thought of, but now concocted and arranged in his private study "to be substituted instead;" as one which he could feel no

IN CASES OF APPEAL. 123

apprehension in placing on record before the world. An effort was made by the appellant in this suit, who had already expended large sums of money in its prosecution, to induce "his honour" to revise and alter this proceeding, and afford him some reasonable chance, at least, of maintaining his rights. But the tenacity with which men cling to error, the perversity with which they adhere to wrong once perpetrated, was not to be overcome in the instance of this public functionary; and the further prosecution of this suit was consequently abandoned.* The appeal from the decision of the Honourable Judge Edwards was in like manner given up, the learned judge in the full plenitude of

* It may be necessary to explain to our legal readers, as to others, the difference between the practice, and law of England, and of America, in matters of this kind. We believe it to be the case, according to the usage of the British law courts, that when a plaintiff or a defendant in a suit already tried, intends to appeal from the decision or verdict had against him, an application is generally made within the four first days of the next ensuing term to the judges of the court in which such suit was originally instituted, for a "rule nisi," praying liberty to set aside such verdict by entering up a nonsuit or verdict instead, for the party so appealing; or to grant a new trial founded on exceptions, or points of law raised on the trial, or on certain alleged facts set forth in an affidavit already on file: these facts generally, being some newly discovered evidence—or, of being taken by surprise; or what is sometimes the case, the misdirection in the charge of the learned judge to the jury, under which their verdict was rendered. A day is thereupon appointed, or comes on in course for the hearing; when the points raised, on which the rule is endeavoured to be made absolute, are fully argued before the court; and are overruled or admitted, as the case may justify: all action, or proceedings on the original verdict being stayed in the mean time. But in the American law courts, the prac

tice in such cases is very dissimilar. The attorneys of both parties, plaintiff and defendant, are there supposed to take a full and accurate report of the proceedings as they actually occurred on the trial, including the judge's charge, &c. Should either intend moving to set aside the verdict delivered by the jury, notice thereof is given within a certain prescribed time by the party so appealing, to the opposing attorney, and a copy of the report of the trial so taken, transmitted therewith, for his assent or correction, should it vary from the report that he has himself made out. This is called "a Case,'" which is thus returned to the appellant's attorney, with any alterations or amendments there may be; and thereupon submitted to the judge who may have tried the cause, to correct or reconcile the discrepancies in the report, should any exist between the said parties: after which the question of setting aside the verdict comes up for argument before the court. In the cause referred to, which was tried before the Honourable Judge Betts of the Supreme Court of the United States, the ground of appeal on which it was thought to supersede the verdict, was the extraordinary, perverse and wrongful interpretation of facts, and the plainest law, by the learned judge in charging the jury (to which exceptions had been taken on the part of the plaintiff on its delivery) by which they were coerced in their decision, and the plaintiff thus deprived of any reasonable equivalenifor the loss he had sustained. Yet, whatever this charge may have been, whether delivered under the influence of corrupt or unworthy motives—whether or not the doctrine laid down by the court was, or was not, the law of the land—whether contrary to every former precedent, and opposed to every established principle of American jurisprudence—the public, but more especially the plaintiff or injured party in the suit, became invested with an absolute property in its existence, and had a right to claim any advantage from its correct and faithful report being included in his

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