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force, probably of outlaws like himself, enters into Doe's tenements, “with the appurtenances,” and ejects him from them—appurtenances and all—and does other wrongs to him, which are not indeed specified, but which leave us, by their very vagueness, in a greater state of uneasy sympathy on poor Doe's account—to his great damage and against the peace of our lady the queen. Wherefore Doe saith that he is injured, as well he may, and brings his action accordingly; A, the landlord, not in the slightest degree interfering, but leaving his tenant Doe to fight it out with Roe as he best may. The next step in the proceedings is strikingly characteristic :-Roe, whether satiated with triumph, or stung by remorse, determines upon abandoning the fruits of his conquest; and therefore he writes a letter to B–of whom we, who are behind the scenes, know something, but the judges, judicially, nothing whatever—and this letter, whether in respect of its simplicity of style or loftiness of sentiment, we hold to be a composition surpassed by nothing in the range of fictitious literature, and equalled only by some of the pithy and strenuous “messages' recorded by Homer; we proceed without further preface to lay it before our readers:—
“I am informed that you are in possession of, or claim title to, the premises in this declaration of ejectment mentioned, or to some part thereof, and I being sued in this action as a casual ejector only, and having no claim or title to the same, do advise you to appear in next term in the court of at Westminster, by some attorney of that court, and then and there, by rule of the same court, to cause yourself to be made defendant in my stead; otherwise I shall suffer judgment therein to be entered against me by default, and you will be turned out of possession. Dated this 1st day of January, A. D. 1840.
“Yours, &c. “Richard Roe.”
We must not indulge ourselves in a detailed comment upon this elegant epistle—nor dwell on the admirable skill of the pleader-poet, who thus artistically informs his reader that B is “in possession of, or claims title to, the premises in question”—and that Doe has actually served Roe with a declaration in ejectment—facts most important in themselves, but which it might have been tedious to have narrated circumstantially, and which are thus told by inference:—nor can we dwell on the modest dignity with which Roe speaks of his great achievement, styling himself “a casual ejector only,” and the manly candor with which he admits he has “no claim or title" to the property—nor on the real kindliness of his disposition, which however concealed under a rugged nature is manifested by his friendly advice to B, pointing out the nice technical steps to be taken in his defence—nor on the stern solemnity with which he indicates the consequences of slighting that advice: we can do no more than suggest these things to our reader's discernment. But we recommend him to con the letter attentively, satisfied that the discovery of fresh beauties in every line will amply repay the time and study he may bestow upon it. Aster this we hear no more of Richard Roe : his future destiny, whether for good or ill, is left untold;—like that of the hero of the Iliad, whom, indeed, in more than one respect he may be said to resemble—
Jura negat sibi nata, nihil non arrogat armis.
We will resist the temptation of following out the investigation of other fictions with which our legal forms are happily replete, but leave them to the discovery and criticism of the judicious reader: but we will beg him to observe that our admiration for this style of writing is limited to those cases, where, in the words of sir W. Blackstone already quoted, the use of the fiction is “beneficial and useful”—where it is found not “to work an injury,”—and where its operation is “to prevent a mischief or remedy an inconvenience, that might result from the general rule of law.” If it shall be found that the adoption or retention of any fiction fails of this effect—or (for if it were merely harmless our love of the AEsthetic would forbid our censure) if it shall appear that the very contrary of all this good is worked, then it becomes our painful duty to be forward in the condemnation of it.
ART. V.-ON THE DUTIES OF GUARDIANS, SURETIES, ARBITRATORS, AND JURORS.
[From Combe's Moral Philosophy, Lecture 15.]
HAVING discussed the social duties which we owe to the poor and to criminals, I proceed to notice several duties of a more private nature, but which are still strictly social and very important. I refer to the duties of guardianship and surety. As human life is liable to be cut short at any stage of its progress, there are always existing a considerable number of children who have been deprived by death, of one or both of their parents; and an obligation devolves on some one or more of the members of society, to discharge the duties of guardians towards them. When the children are left totally destitute, the parish is bound to maintain them; and that duty has already been considered under the head of the treatment of the poor. It is only children, therefore, who stand in need of moral guidance, and who inherit property that requires to be protected, whose case we are now considering. We may be called on to discharge these duties, either by the ties of nature, as being the next of kin, or by being nominated guardians or trustees in a deed of settleWOL. XXV.-NO, XLIX. 6
ment executed by the parent who has committed his property and family to our care. Many persons do not regard these as moral duties, but merely as discretionary acts, which one may discharge or decline without blame, according to his own inclination; and there are individuals, who recount some half dozen of instances in which trustees and guardians have been subjected to great labor and anxiety, and been rewarded by loss, obloquy, and ingratitude; and who, on the exculpatory strength of these cases, wrap themselves up in impenetrable selfishness, and, during their whole lives, decline to act as trustee or guardian for any human being. It is impossible to deny, that instances of flagrant ingratitude to guardians have occurred, on the part of young persons, but these are the exceptions; and if this system of declinature were to become general, the young, who had lost their parents, would be left as aliens in society, the prey of every designing knave, or be cast on the cold affections of public officers appointed by the state to manage their affairs. While there are examples of misconduct and ingratitude on the part of wards, there are, also, unfortunately, numerous instances of malversation on the part of guardians; and those who are chargeable with this offence are often, when called on to account for the funds entrusted to their care, the loudest in complaining of hardship and want of just feeling, on the part of the wards. I have known some, but very few instances, indeed, in which children, whose affairs had been managed with integrity, and whose education had been superintended with kindness and discretion, have proved ungrateful; but I have known several flagrant instances of cruel mismanagement by guardians. In one instance, a common soldier who had enlisted and gone to the peninsular war, left two children, and property yielding about £60 sterling a year, under charge of a friend. He was not heard of for a considerable time, and the report became current that he had been killed. The friend put the children into the charity work-house of the town as paupers, and appropriated the rents to his own use. A relative of the soldier, who lived at a distance, at last got tidings of the circumstance, obtained a legal appointment of himself as guardian to the children, took them out of the workhouse, prosecuted the false friend, and compelled him to refund the spoils of his treachery. In another instance, both the father and mother of two female children died, when the eldest of the children was only about three years of age. The father was survived by a brother, and also by a friend, both of whom he named as guardians. He left about £3000 sterling of property. The brother was just starting in business, and had the world before him. He put £1500 of the trust money into his own pocket, without giving any security to the children; and during the whole of their minority, he used it as his own, and paid them neither capital nor interest. His co-trustee, who was no relation in blood, was an example of generosity as striking as this individual was of selfishness. He lent out the other £1500, took the two children into his house, educated them along with his own family, applied the interest of the half of their fortune which he had rescued, faithfully for their benefit, and finally accounted to them honestly for every farthing. When the children became of age, they prosecuted their disinterested uncle for the portion of their funds which he had mistaken for his own; and after a considerable litigation they succeeded in recovering principal, interest, and compound interest, which the court awarded to them, in consequence of the flagrancy of the case; but they were loudly taxed by him and his family with ingratitude, and want of the due affection for calling to a court of law so near and dear a relative. As a contrast to this case, I am acquainted with an 6%