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when they came up, the Court had no choice but to impose a punishment
fixed by the Statute. By these means the time of the Court
was occupied, the expence of the public offices was increased, and
the defendants were subject to hardship, which made them objects
of compassion. – Two remarkable cases were fresh in his memory;
in one of them a poor woman walked up with a child in her
arms, from the West of England, to receive sentence for some trifling
offence against the revenue laws. When the poor woman came
into the Court the feeling of compassion was universal. Mr Justice
Bayley – than whom a more humane and learned man
did not exist – then emphatically addressed the Attorney General;
"Mr Attorney General, do you never proceed in these cases by indictment?"
In the last Michaelmas Term, also, a man walked
up from the borders of Scotland to receive judgement on account of
a petty squabble with an Excise Officer.

Mr. Denman said, the measure was objectionable
whether it was permanent or temporary, if it was to be permanent
it was objectionable so lightly to alter the constitution of
so high a court of justice; if temporary, it was objectionable to
make a judicial system a course of experiments.
Why was it
proposed to alter the constitution of one court in Westminster
Hall when two others were sitting idle? The arrear in the
Court of King's Bench was now the result of the superior estimation
in which that Court was held. There would always be a favourite,
not to say a fashionable Court. The only circumstances which
(independently of the accident of estimation) could render the King's
Bench more sought for by suitors, than the two other Courts
'were, – that the Exchequer was confined to particular Attorneys, and
the Common Pleas to particular Counsel. – To remove these restrictions,
therefore, were obvious measures to equalize the business
of the Courts, without tampering with the Constitution of
one of them. He agreed that the Judges should have time for relaxation – they should have also time for cultivation, for it
was not well, as Lord Bacon had said, to draw continually on
the old stock without supplying it with new stores. There
were means of relieving the Court of King's Bench from much
business. – 1. By passing sentence at the Assizes. – 2. By sending
persons to hear their indictment read in the Bail Court.
He denied that the arrears were now greater than they
had often been before, or that the delay of Justice was in general
great. As to the Vice Chancellor's Court which had been alluded
to, the effect of it he understood, had been to remove the

Identifier: | JB/109/160/001
"JB/" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 109.


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Parliamentary Reform

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