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whereon the trial is pending, to be amended in such particular by some officer of the court, on such terms as the court shall think reasonable. 7 Geo. IV. c. 15.
One of the great evils which had for ages been felt in England from the excessive rigor of the criminal code, was the facility with which judges, and all concerned in the administration of justice, yielded to captious and even frivolous objections to screen a party on trial from conviction. But now that reason and humanity have resumed their legitimate sway, and the laws have begun to be tempered by a milder spirit, the ground on which frivolous objections rest, is removed, and the law becomes, in reality, more worthy of reverence, and more effectual to promote the ends of society.
Every punishment for felony not capital, after it has been endured, now has, upon the civil rights of the sufferers, the effect of a pardon under the great seal, and no misdemeanor, except perjury, renders a party an incompetent witness in any court or proceeding, civil or criminal, after he has undergone his punishment. 7 & 8 Geo. IV. c. 28, s. 13.
To abridge the language of statutes relating to any offence, and to supply a convenient rule of interpretation, it is enacted by the 14th section of the last mentioned act, that wherever a statute uses words importing the singular number or the masculine gender only, it shall be understood to include several matters as well as one matter, and several persons as well as one person, females as well as males, and bodies politic as well as individuals, unless it be otherwise specially provided, or there be something in the subject or context repugnant to such construction.
By the 39 & 40 Geo. III. c. 94, s. 3, authority is given to justices of the peace, to commit for safe custody, persons under derangement of mind, and apprehended to be dangerous, which is not only to secure the persons and property of others, but that the unhappy individuals may themselves be taken care of.
All the laws relative to the qualifications and appointment of jurors, have been revised and condensed into the act of 6 Geo. IV. c. 59; and at the end of the volume is the statute of 4 Geo. IV. c. 76, respecting the solemnization of marriages. On all these new acts, the greatest care seems to have been bestowed, both to abridge their language and to render its meaning precise and definite.
After the lamented death of Sir Samuel Romilly, who devoted so much of his time and his great talents to the melioration of the criminal law, his views were carried forward by Sir James Mackintosh, who finally succeeded in inducing the house of commons bend its attention to this object. Since the year 1825, the subject has been followed by Mr. Peel, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, of whom Mr. Brougham, in bis celebrated speech, on the state of the law, Feb. 7, 1828, observed, that he had power, froin his situation, to effect reforms which others hardly dared to propose; bis connexions in the church and state rendering bis services in this department almost invaluable.' The revision is still proceeding under the care of this gentleman, who, inheriting the spirit of Romilly, is much more fortunate than he was in possessing the favor of the administration towards completing this great and necessary work.
In a speech in the house of commons, Feb. 18, 1830, Mr. Peel took the opportunity to mention what had been done with respect to the criminal law, a short extract from which will present a condensed view of the subject. “In the year 1825, an act was passed to consolidate and improve the laws relating to criminal justice. That act tended to remove the difficulties attending the conviction of an accessory before the fact; it regulated the expense of technical defences, and it corrected some abuses in the estreating of recognizances. Four acts for the improvement of criminal justice were then passed. The first abolishes benefit of clergy, making a pardon under the sign manual equivalent to benefit of clergy. The second consolidated the laws respecting burglary, embezzlement, and theft, the offences against property. The third had the same effect with respect to the laws relating to malicious injuries against property; and the fourth related to the consolidation of laws concerning remedies against the hundred. In 1828 an act had been brought in to consolidate the laws respecting offences against the person; and I have the satisfaction of knowing that great advantages have accrued to criminal justice from the acts I have introduced. In all, two hundred and seventy-two acts have been repealed, all the provisions of which that were worth retaining are included in eight acts of parliament; and I do not find that any inconvenience has resulted from either the repeal or the substitution. Having stated what has been done, I will now proceed to state
what I further propose to do. In the course of the present session, sir, I propose, with the assistance of my right honorable friend, the Master of the Mint, to introduce a bill for the consolidation of the laws relating to all offences against the coin of the realm; and it is our purpose to suggest, that such offences should be no longer punishable as high treason.
We likewise mean to propose the consolidation of all laws relating to forgery.'
The reformation of the law seems to have been delayed to render illustrious the reign of the present king, who has already shown such wisdom and liberality in the emancipation of his catholic subjects. Future ages will speak of this period with grateful admiration of the wise policy, which has thus secured to all classes of the British nation freedom of religious opinion and equal civil rights. The history of past time has demonstrated, that it is vain to attempt to enchain the free mind, and that persecution serves most effectually to rivet it to its errors. You cannot control the faith of men, but you may command their affections, by making it for their interest and happiness to strengthen and support the state.
It seems to be time to relieve the patience of our reader. If we could impart to him the pleasure which we have had in poring over this dry book, he would probably feel himself richly repaid for the trouble of reading these remarks. We will, however, venture to recommend to him, if he has leisure and taste for the study of the criminal law, to look into it, for the sake of its valuable notes, after he has well studied the volume of Sir Michael Foster, and the History of the Pleas of the Crown by Sir Matthew Hale. But may we not ask, who now reads the immortal writers on the criminal law? Not, however, that we would be understood to recommend to the ingenuous student to devote himself to the practice of the criminal courts only, and thus to draw all his business and importance from the crimes and vices of society. But we believe that the study of the criminal jurisprudence is not to be neglected by the law student, because it contains that learning which shows how life, honor, and innocence are to be defended, when they shall happen to be injuriously attacked.' Many lawyers have laid the foundation of their fame and fortune in an able defence of this character; and formerly the most eminent of the profession were ready to extend their aid to-the miserable; convinced that in that way they served public
justice, by their watchful regard to its correct administration.
Of law books it may be said with much truth, that they are in great measure made out of each other. Scarcely a new principle of law is discovered in the course of a century, although new cases arise daily, to which old principles are applicable, and the wisdom of the judge consists in finding the true principle, and in making the proper application. Like the principles of mechanics, which are few, but applicable to an infinite diversity of subjects. From the rapid increase of the volumes of reports, both in England and in our own country, will it not become necessary shortly to condense each into its simplest elements? Perhaps the common fault of the age is, not in reading too much, but too many books. For the consolation of the poor student, however, who groans under the oppressive tax of new publications, and with whom we well know how 10 sympathize, we will add, as the result of experience and of old observation, that few books are worthy to be read once ; but when one is found to be worth reading once, let him read it five or six times. It will in this way impart to him its richness, and essentially feed and strengthen his mind.
ART. II.-OPINION OF COUNSEL ON QUESTIONS OF
Interest at risk ;- Return of Premium. Four policies of $5000 each were underwritten by four insurance companies on the 18th May, 1827, on cargo of brig Clio, at and from Boston, for the term of eighteen months; on the same day, four other policies for $5000 each, were underwritten by the same companies on cargo of the brig Clio, at and from her port of lading in Brazil, to continue for the same period, namely, eighteen months from the date.
The Clio sailed from Boston on the voyage insured with a cargo amounting to $16,916. The amount shipped at her port of lading in Brazil was $26,170. On the 18th November, 1828, when the first policies expired, the brig was lading at New California, and sailed thence on the 11th December with a cargo amounting to $28,090, with which she arrived safely at Boston. On the 5th of March, 1829, the following endorsement was made on the six policies made by three of the companies above referred to :
• March 5th 1829. The company hereby agree to extend and continue the within policy on cargo of the brig Clio from and after the term of eighteen months limited until her arrival at port of discharge in the United States, at a pro rata premium for the additional time.'
No such endorsement was made on the policies executed by the fourth company.
On the 27th March, 1829, a new policy was made by another insurance company for $10,000, on cargo of brig Clio, at, to, and from all ports and places for and during the term of one year, commencing 18th November, 1828.
On these facts the following questions arise :
1. Was any portion of the cargo of the brig Clio uninsured, so that the policy of the last mentioned company attached to it, and if any, what portion ?
2. Are the assured entitled to any return premium from the companies who underwrote the eight policies abovementioned ? Or in other words, for what amount did each of said policies attach?
First : By the clause respecting prior insurance contained in all the policies it is settled that the insurance company last mentioned, were only responsible for the surplus of the cargo not insured by the former policies. These policies all expired by their own limitation on the 18th November, 1829; and the property was in fact wholly unprotected by insurance, from that day till March 5, 1829, when the endorsement above stated was made on six of the policies originally effected.
I consider this transaction as equivalent to the making of new policies to take effect (by relation) on the 18th November, 1828, and to continue, not for a specific period, but indefinitely until the arrival of the vessel at her port of discharge; and as they were upon the cargo of the Clio, they attached to all the property on board composing cargo on that day. Whatever was laden subsequently was not covered by those policies.
The policy effected at the insurance office last mentioned assumed the risk qt and from all ports and places, and therefore whatever cargo the brig had when she sailed from New California which was not covered by the preceding policies, was protected by that of the last mentioned company, who are of course entitled to a premium for that amount.