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1815.) Norious Processes.-Mr. Mathson.
19 the manufacturer, in loss of the work. To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. men's time, as that of attending the gas SIR, apparatus. Where the expence of candles rises
THE ascendency of reason in the THE
affairs of a people, is the test of to 800l. or 1000l. per annum, the saving their advancement in civilization and will be a full half; because the atten. freedom. It is the unhappy cundition dance is very little increased, and the of nations, still savage or subject to desfirst cost, and wear and tear, by no potic sway, to be the dupes of prejumeans in proportion. This considera- dice and passion. On the contrary,. tion should weigh forcibly with the in. nation governed by its own free will, habitants of London, to adopt large and and by good intelligence, makes laws general apparatus for the shops, rather which inpose no impracticable condi. than small ones for individual establish. tions, and balance the just pretensions ments, as has been done in several si. of every class of the community. tuations in London where the expences The latter, in a qualified degree, is of attendance is proportionably so much the condition of the people of England. greater : also that they may reasonably The House of Commons may not be expect a greater saving, because the wholly adequate to all its professed conlight used in shops and dwelling houses, stitutional purposes, because so many are more costly than the cominon lights of its members do not represent their or lamps burned in manufactories or due proportion of the people; yet six streets.
F. hundred and fifty legislators cannot des To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. liberate two hundred days in every year, SIR,
without passing, even by chance, many HAVE read in your Magazine some salutary laws. In points which do not case to cover the head, to prevent the bad minister, it must be admitted by the effects of the fumes of inuriatic acid on severest patriotism, that they distribute the constitution in some branch of manu- equal justice between their fellow cifactures. It appears to me that great tizens; while, in the four hundred public benefit might be derived by those em- and private acts of every session, many ployed in many unhealthful trades, such of the provisions evince a disposition as painters, scythe-grinders, and others, to ameliorate the condition of society, by using a covering of that nature for the either closely following or often preces face, made with chick cotton or linen, as ding the progress of public intelligence. the injurious effects is known to be pro- It is my present purpose to invite atten. duced by what is taken in at the mouth tion to a law which has recently been and nose.
passed to adjust the relations of debtors
and creditors,..conmonly called, “ Lord To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. Redesdale's Act;" though its principle SIR,
had been urged for twenty years, by the provincial intelligence of your num. vernor General of India. It is one of ber for April last, p. 274, occurs the those laws in which the intelligence of the name of the “Rev. Mr. Mathson, of legislacure preceded that of large and acPattesdale." The article was doubtless tive portions of the public, in regard to copied from one of the newspapers, in some of whom its provisions interfered some of which I noticed the insertion of with their profits; while, in relation to his death as having lately happened. It others, it took away powers which they is rather a remarkable circuinstance that had too long been accustomed to exerthe Rev. Mr. Mattison, of Patterdale cise. An interested opposition has in con(for so his name and place of abode ought sequence been organized against this to have been spelt), died in the year 1765, law, which will call for all the firmness as appears from the obituary of the Gen- of parliament to resist. Practising attlenian's Magazine of that year. The tornies have not occasion to commence account of the singular circumstances the half of their customary number of of his life is inserted in Ilutchinson's suits; sheriff's officers do not make a History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 432, half of the usual number of captions ; where it is said he lived to the age of 96. the spunging-houses are without com. It has often been copied into different pany; the gaolers have fewer inmates on publications, as an amusing instance of whom to prey; the barristers gel but a industry and economy in the clerical cha. tythe of their ordinary fees; Jews and racter.
J.J. discounters meet with fewer cases of · Basingstoke,
[Feb. 1, urgent distress; and the officers of the the property of the debtor to his cre. courts of law experience a serious de- ditors. For this purpose an assignee, falcation in their perquisires.-How then, or assignees, usually the chief of the say all these people, can so injurious a creditors, are appointed to take possesJaw be suffered to remain in the Statute- sion of the property and make dividends book?
-the penalty of transportation is inSuch, at least, is the question of the flicted for making false returns--public hungry pettifogger, who calculates his advertisements and circular notices are gains by the number of victims he can given to creditors who are heard in pereinbarrass or iminure-of the buinbai. son, or by counsel--the debtor is subliff and his follower, whose subsistence jected to public interrogatories and depends on the business of their patron, great rewards are offered for discoveries the attorney-of the gaoler, who calcu. of concealment. These provisions, if lates his salary on the gratuities paid not effectual, were made as much so as by debtors for indulgence-of the bar. is consistent with the spirit of the Bririster who gets a fee for his opinions, his tish Con-titution; and, if on any point pleadings, his declaration, and his brief they appear to be insufficient, the framers on one side or the other and of the of the law can have no objection to officers of our tribunals, who, by a nar. improve or extend them, sv that, as row policy, are allowed to derive their far as human inquisition can extend, a salaries from misery, instead of being full disclosure of the debtor's property liberally paid by the public. In the shall be made. Let the reward be incounty of Middlesex, I am told, this bu- creased for the discovery of conceal. siness of these several classes bas fallen off ments—let the punishment be the most in the proportion of 1 to 3; and, through terrible known to the law, and let it be the whole kingdom, in the proportion invariably inflicted, rather than innocence of 1 to 4. Can we wonder, ther, that should suffer for the frauds of guiltor every trifiing difficulty, in the execution that the just principles of this law should of the hill, has been improperly magni. be abandoned, because they may ocfied—chạt cases, in which it inay hap- casionally be abused by knavery! Let pen to release unworthy objects, have the guilty be amenable for crimes, but been unduly dwelt upon--and that every then only. Define, as accurately as means have been exerted to aların the you can, the really culpable acts of cominercial world, and the powerful mem. debtors; and punish offenders as severely bers of the legal profession, into a belief as you please, but do not extend your of alledged dangers from its operation? penalties to the innocent or unfortunate,
Let us, however, dispassionately en- or, what would be worse than any definite quire into its purpose and objects. We legal penalty, leave them to be punished shall find, that its principle is to render in the discretion of any enraged, vengenot only the present, but the future pro- ful, and inexorable creditor. perty of the debtor, liable for his debts. Other provisions of the act deprive a And what more can reason expect or debtor of a second enlargeinent within desire ? Can creditors ask more of five years, so that no man can insult debtors than their property, present and public decency by incurring debts, in future? Ought not the present property the expectation of being speedily libeto have been sufficient-could justice rated again. An unprincipled career of fairly ask more?-Yet this law comınits ' a year inust be atoned for by four years all future property, and renders the onpitied imprisonment, a penalıy so far debtor virtually a slave, till the creditor beyond any prospect of advaniage, that is satisfied !- With what ground of rea- no better security could exist against the son then can creditors complain of this immoralities of spend thrifts and swinch acı? Do they want more than the pre- lers, than this provision of this very sent and future possessions of their statute. debtor ? --If they do, their wishes ought It appears that, in the first fifteen not to be gratified they are Shylocks, months of its operation, the new law has seeking their pound of human flesh, who relieved from personal duress, no less ought to be hunted out of civilized than FoUR THOUSAND debtors; that is, society—and tyrants, who ought not 2,400 in London, and 1,600 in the proto enjoy the protection of laws made vinces; the whole of whose debts, aver. by frie-inen in the spirit of reason and aging five hundred pounds, annunted justice!
to TWO MILLIONS. The dividends they The terms and provisions of the bill have paid have been trifling; but all tend to that object, the transfer of neither this consideration, nor that of
7815.] Horrors of Imprisonment for Debt.
21 the vast numbers discharged from con- timate advantage to their own estate. finement, afford any just or valid objec- It is notorious, that, under the system of tion to the bill.
indefinite imprisonment, not one creditor If their means had been commensurate in twenty ever obtained a farthing of with their debts, they would not have an imprisoned debtor; while be was often been objects for relief; they were in con. fixed with heavy and ruinous costs, and finement simply because they did not on the wretched debtor and his family a possess the means of paying their debts. load of useless misery was heaped, which It is therefore most absurd to object generally terminated his life, attended to the bill, because the means of those by circumstances that often defied all who bave been relieved by it, have borne the powers of the tragic muse !* any inconsiderable proportion to the Are we then to yield to the wishes amount of their debts. Rather would it of harpies of the law, and mistaken crenot bave been as cruel as unreasonable, ditors, and revive a system so pregnant to have persisted in detaining persons with horrors, so indiscriminate in its sewhose means are proved to have been so verity, and so inefficient in its operation? inadequate, than blame the instrument Are we to outrage every feeling of huma. which has relieved them from the pres- nity, and abandon every check on the illsure of debts, whose payment could not dulgence of bad passions, that cruelty may have been accelerated by the imprison- stand in place of prudence and discretion ment of the debtors, and by the hopeless among tradesmen? Is law to be the sufferings of their families.
snare in which the unwary or incautious The prodigious numbers relieved, or are to be caught by the speculating and who remain to be relieved, are in like grasping trader, who gives loose and unLanner no evidence against the justice guarded credit, trusting that he may exact, of the law; but rather seem to prove at by tho torture of imprisonment, from once its necessity as well as justice. tender-hearted parents, kind relatives, or The operation of (wenty-two years' wars sympathizing friends? Is it not more on the national industry--of taxes to reasonable that trade should be carried support their expences-of paper-money on at the proper risk of the trader; and to sustain the taxes of speculations and that it should be his duty scrupulously to experiments in every branch of indus. ascertain what, as well as whom, he trusts, try, to obtain a living in such times, or cheerfully submit to the penalty of of monopolies of land, which have driven bis credulity, and be satisfied with the starving population into towns and payment in the property of his cre-, of depreciated currency, affecting all an. puitants, and small incomes, has cre- * Otten have men been detained in priated a load of private debt and domestic son for debt or costs, of trifling amounts, suffering, which it would have been faith- for twenty or thirty years. I once saw a less not to have relieved, by abating the man in Newgate, who had been detained severity of the laws between debtor and there twenty-seven years; and I have creditor. This mass of insolvents ari- known a family of four brothers, who were sing from the foibles of the state, me.
detained in four several goals for the same rited the attention of those for whose debt above seventeen years, two of whom errors, they have innocently or wilfully victims of their novel condition of liberty,
died prisoners, and the other two became suffered; though it must be consessed, within a few months after the heir of their that under other circumstances it would
debtor had given them a free discharge. have been more just to have given such The man in Newgate told me, that his a law a prospective operation, and not creditor died a few years before, after payto have 'stepe şo abruptly becween the ing him ten times the amount of the deht contracts of debtor and creditor. in groats, and he was then able to supersede
It however beboves those creditors who the action; but in twenty years his friends, complain of the early effects of the new or connections in the world, as he termed law, to state whether they believe that in it, being all dead ; and having been so long any instance their condition would have habituated to one mode of life, in which by been improved if it had continued in their services to new comers he gained a living, power indefinitely to detain their debtor he felt the greatest terror at the idea of in prison. Unless they can make this being ejected from a habitation which had
become natural to him, and which time appear, the retrospective operation of had changed from a prison to an asylun. the bill is no valid objection to it; Persons who wish to inform themselves of and it may be suspected, that the in- all the villanies and extortions to which dulgence of an implacable spirit against the system of arbitrary imprisonment for * helpless debtor, is their true ground, debt is liable, should consnit Mr. Pearce's rather than any calculation of legi late publication on the Abuses of the Low.
Appeal to Justice and Humanity. [Feb. 1, ditor, as far as it goes, and not expect, in make themselves acquainted with the part of liquidation, the blood, hones, and spirit and the provisions of this law, bemarrow, of the victims of his credulity fore they suffer themselves to be misled or avarice?
by false statements and interested rea. It is impertinent in the opposers of sonings. They will then, I persuade this law to speak of the relief which they myself, hail it as a signal triumph of rea. say it affords to swindlers. No swindler son and benevolence over the prejudice is or can be enlarged by it. All frau- of custom, and the tyranny of avarice. dulent transactions are excluded from Among our laws on the subject of prorelief by an express clause. Swindlers perty, they will find it a ray of sun-sbie continue also as much as ever obnoxious breaking into a cavern of darkness. To to the criminal law, and the civil law as the weak and helpless, they will discover it stood, effected as little relief in the re. that it serves as a guardian against the covery of property from swindlers, as is caprice of the strong and wealthy, and pretended in regard to this new bill. places those under the protection of disNor does it appear by past experience that passionate authority who, without such swindlers, or any class of swindling cre, aid, were liable to become the victims of ditors, enjoy an immunity from this bill. hatred, revenge, and insatiable avarice. Among the 2400 liberated in London, a And, on whichever side they view it, large majority were unfortunate and un. they will find that its tendency is to happy persons, who but for this statute break the galling chains of hopeless and would have been borne down to their pennyless prisoners, serving to restore graves by the oppression of debts, which thousands to the bosoms of their afflicted they could never pay, or they must have families, affording them an opportunity sutiered imprisonments without any pros- of paying their creditors, giving them a pect of relief. Old and young, industri- chance of retrieving the errors of inous and idle, wise and foolish, male and experience or credulity, and enabling female, virtuous and vicious, have all them to become useful and respectable stoor at the bar of the court created by meinbers of society. this statute; and, after surinovnting the Ought more-need morebe urged in opposition and cross-examinations of favour of any human law? Considered their creditors, have happily been libe- merely as an alternative in a choice of rated.. say happily liberated, even ditficulties—its only errors are those of though some score of them might have charity and beneficence. But, estimated merited perpetual imprisonment; for was as one of those contrivances of wisdom, it not better that the whole should be by which man endeavours to confer perliberated, however culpable some might fection on his establishments, its faults, have been, than that many hundreds of though magnified by the prejudices of in. unfortunates should have been doomed ordinate self-love, can never be made to interininable miseries? Are we on more evident or conspicuous, than the this subject to reverse all the axioms, spots in the all-GLORIOUS SUN. even of criminal jurisprudence; and are
COMMON SENSE. we to punish ninety-nine who are inno. P.S. A petition having been presented cent lest one guilty should escape :* against the Act in toto, from the Common
I. a word, then, I conjure the humane Council of London, and Mr. Serjeant Best and intelligent part of my countrymen to having denounced it in the House of Com
mons, it seems likely that some alterI should diminish the utility of these ations will be proposed in the present sesremarks, if I forbore to state, as general șion of parliament. The principle of the conclusions, founded on the disclosures bill cannot be amended, but in the follow. before this busy tribunal, that, in nine cases
ing particulars, its practice may doubtless out of ten, the original cause of insolvency be greatly improved :arose from negociating accommodation
1. The court should consist of three bills. These led the parties into labyrinths, Judges instead of one. No human being from which they never could extricate themselves. That legislature therefore jurisprudence, there exists no check, in would honour itse!!, which should, by some civil cases, like that of grand juries in crispecial enactments, such as those which I minal ones. The enormous costs of a civil formerly pointed out, (see Monthly Mag. soit, are an evil against which the inoffenfor September, 1810,) prevent inexperi- sive ought to be tenderly guarded by speenced persons trom rusiting into this golph cial euactments; and it appears that a full of destruction, just as a moth rushes into a third of the insolvent cases which have candle. Another great cause of ruin ap- come before the court, have been created pears in the costs of attorvies in vexatious by the costs and extortions of inexorable suits, against which, to the disgrace.of our attornies.
1815.] Improvements of the Insolvent Act.
23 ouglat ever to be trusted with unrestricted tain liis discharge under this bill, who powers; and, above all men, no English has obtained goods from any creditor, for lawyer, a class of the community whose which he had no probable means of paying, professional subtleties lead thein, in spite or who re-sold or pawned such goods, or of good moral dispositions, into as many the major part thereof, not being a dealer labyrinths and erroneous conclusions, as in the same, for less than they cost him, or the school men in the dark ages fell into, who assigned them in preference to anfrom an equal use and abuse of logic. other creditor, within 12 months after
2. On all points in which the three he obtained the same, if for not less than Judges do not agree, the parties should be 501. and more than 1001.; or 13 months at liberty to appeal to a court, composed if between 1001. and 300l.; or 24 months if of one Judge and of a Jury, drawn in above 3001. equal proportions from Middlesex, Surry, 11. For the purpose of satisfying the and Westminster; this court to sit one creditors, in regard to the disposition week in every month.
of the property, the debtor applying for 3. Written notices should be sent one discharge should give an exact account of all mouth before the application for dis- lis receipts and disbursements, within three charge to every creditor, which notices months previously to his being in custoily; should also eshibit an abstract of the to- also a list of all bills, notes, bonds, assigntals of the debts and effects.
ments, or securities which he has granted, 4. The assignees should appoint a meet- or negotiated, within the same period; ing of the creditors within twenty-one and likewise an account of the sales of all days after their appoiorment, by circular real property which may have been in his letters, and send an abstract of the debts possession, within two years, and effects, as sworn before the court. 12. Cases of uncertiticated bankrupts
5. An allowance to the debtor, as å should be heard and decided in the same guard against the necessity and motive for manner as that of other debtors; and, if no fraud, should be made of one-fifth of the fraud or reservation of property is subeffects, provided it do not exceed 150l.; stantiated, they should be discharged like the same to be selected and estimated other debtors, under the act. by three persons, one named by the conrt, one by the creditors, and one by the debtor.
6. A special reward of one hundred To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. pounds to be paid for discoveries of conceal- SIR, ments over and above the proportion of the
N Monday, September 7, 1812, property now allowed.
about 12 o'clock at noun, as I was 7. Once a year, on reqnest from the assignees, or three of the chief credi. travelling along the turnpike road, I obtors, the discharged debtor, on one month's served, about two hundred yards before notice, to be required to state the nature me, something rising from the middle of and valne of his property, a dividend being to
the road, which appeared like a quall. be made on such amounts as exceed treble, tity of steam, or smoke, issuing rapidly the fifth allowed as above.
from a narrow aperture (perhaps six or 8. In all cases of debtors and credi- eight inches in diameter,) in the surface; tors, the decision and agreement of three-but, on my nearer approach, I perceived foarths of the creditors in number and it to be dust. It immediately ascended, amount, the proposal having been submit in a compact column, to the beight of ted to the whole, shall be binding on the fifty or sixty feet, where it expanded, other fourth, so as to preclude the necessity and was soon lost in the surrounding atof seeking relief under the bankrupt laws, or this bill, whenever three-fourths are sa. mosphere. tisfied with any proposed arrangement.
I would further observe, that the air 9. Debts of the crown to be concluded was unusually calm at the time; and, alby the agreements of other creditors, and though I particularly examined the by the provisions of the laws in regard to ground, I could not discover any traces debtors generally, the same general prin- to inark the precise spot whence it ciples of equity applying to crown debts issued. as to all others, and ihe crown being more The time from its first rising from the able to bear its proportion of losses than earth, till its dispersion, could not be private creditors; whereas, at present, more than half a minute. without the plea of necessity, and therefore
Would not the same cause, acting of jastice, the claims of the crown usually involve debtors and creditors in one com
upon a body of water, have produced mon loss, and often in ii retrievable ruin. what is commonly cermed a water.
C. S. 10. Nó person shall be allowed to vb. spout?