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the brilliants which adorn its pages, and may at some future season add to the number by taking up some other volume, which doubtless will yield as abundant and choice a crop, which
thus be saved from oblivion.
No. 1.-In a case in the House of Lords (5th August 1834), a parish minister appealed from an adverse decision of the Court of Session in a dispute with his heritors about cutting down some trees. Lord Brougham, then Chancellor, observed—“There must be an end to such appeals as these, otherwise the appellate jurisdiction of this House will be a curse instead of anything else. There is nothing like a point of law here, and the expense of this appeal cannot be less than £100.”
Mr. Sergeant Spankie—“I am happy to say the party is
Lord Chancellor" That is a good thing. It is only right your Lordships should make him pay ; but the blame is not always imputable to the party himself but the adviser, and I only wish your Lordships could get at him and make him pay.”
No. 2.—In a jury case (24th July 1834) where a deed of settlement was reduced framed by an agent in his own favour, on the ground of incapacity in the testator. The Lord President (Hope), charging the jury, remarked—“ You are told that there is nothing in the poor old man mistaking one shop door for another ; but then he actually walks in and remains in an apothecary's shop, smelling with all kinds of drugs, and mistakes it for a clothier's! He might have mistaken the door, but he could not have mistaken the gallipots." “I say that no man who had respect for his own character—no man who thought for a moment or was sensible of what was for his own interest, would have acted as this agent did. But there is an oft repeated proverbQuem Deus vult perdere prius dementat—that is to say—whom God wishes to destroy he first distracts—the agent was not aware of all the consequences that would follow from that conduct, or he would have avoided it, but he so mixed and mingled himself with the deed that it speaks fraud on the face of it, and I agree with that English judge, that when the deed is taken by the agent in his own favour, it raises a strong presumption against the deed."
No. 3.—In a jury trial (Nov. 1834), a deed of settlement was sustained, wbich was challenged on the ground that it was executed under the influence of Monomania.
Lord President (Hope) in his charge to the jury, observed, "The most extraordinary of all delusions—the most wonderful and unaccountable to man in his sound mind—is that which has been stated by the learned counsel who last addressed you, and yet it is a very common one; it is that which occurs in many people, mistaking their own identity, and believing themselves to be different sorts of beings, or different persons from what they really are ! One naturally says, is it possible that the human mind can mistake itself, or that a man can believe himself not to be what he actually is ? Yet it is so, and one cannot but marvel much even at that which is a common sort of delusion. We find it generally the case, that those labouring under such a delusion are found to be supposing themselves greater than they really are, or greater than they really, by human possibility, could be raised to. You invariably find that such persons are always imagining themselves to be Princes, Kings, or Emperors. Nay, often they imagine themselves God Almighty himself, or our blessed Saviour. I have known several instances of that nature. I remember the case which is mentioned in that judgment and opinion of Sir John Nicholl, in the decision of the cause Drew v. Clark; but I find he had not had before him the right edition of it. I heard it from Mr Erskine, who was himself one of the counsel in the cause. He told me the true story was this,—that a man was brought before a jury to be cognosced, as it is called, and he answered before the jury the various questions put to him, so sensibly, and in such a composed manner, that the jury when they heard him, stared and wondered how any party could bring such a case as his before them. Mr Erskine, however, it appears, had got his cue upon the subject of the particular species of delusion, and the proper mode of touching upon it, so as to discover it; and after the other counsel had addressed the jury, he rose, and, previous to addressing them, asked leave of the individual himself, sought to be cognosced, to put a few additional questions to him. To this the party had no objection ; but says he (the counsel) before doing so, 'I ought to fall down on my knees, and humbly ask your gracious forgiveness for daring thus to put questions to such a high, mighty, and supreme character as you avowedly are.' 'Stop (says the other), rise up, and fear not, thy sins are forgiven thee;' thereby showing at once the truth of what was suspected, viz., the fact of his actually imagining himself to be our Lord and Saviour. I had an extraordinary
instance of a similar nature occurring a considerable time ago
to myself, at my own Chambers in Hill Street, where a gentleman was announced as wishing to speak to me; he was a young man, and, as I supposed, was calling upon business. I accordingly saw him, and found him to be one of the genteelest looking persons I ever saw in my life. I asked him to sit down immediately, when he began to speak. I supposed he had some letter or petition to present to me; but finding that was not the case, I rose and said, 'I am just preparing to go to the Court, and may I beg to know what your demands are ?" Upon this he stared with astonishment, and said, 'What I don't you know me?' 'No; I don't at present recollect you, sir,' after looking firmly and stedfastly at him. That is very odd,” says the gentleman. Then I observed, 'It may be odd to you, but as I have no recollection whatever of ever having seen you, it would be more odd if I did know you. Let me know who you are, and then I can ascertain how it is that I should not recollect you. Let me know who you are in the first place ?' 'I am Jesus Christ,' says he. “Then,' says I, 'I really was not aware of that, but as I have not time to receive communications, I beg leave to postpone the interview, as I have to go to the court immediately, and therefore you must allow me to withdraw at present. He accordingly walked out of the room, and I soon afterwards found he was a person who had actually made his escape from his keepers, who were in pursuit of him. In fact, he was an insane or deluded person, who had escaped out of the custody of keepers who were waiting outside for his return. Besides these instances, we hear of many other delusions of a very extraordinary nature. There is one case upon record for instance, of a very honest gentleman who believed himself to be a tea-pot. How he managed that in his own mind, I really don't know; but, upon various occasions in the day time, he stood up with one band turned round in this way to represent the handle, and with the other, in an attitude to represent the stroup of the tea-pot. There also have been instances of other descriptions of delusive ideas; such as persons imagining that some parts of their bodies were made of glass, or that their whole frame is made of china. In short, the delusions of the human imagination are quite unaccountable, and there is no end of them.”
No. 4.-In an advocation from the Dean of Guild Court of Glasgow, it was held (15th Nov. 1834), that that court had no jurisdiction in cases of obstructions on a street. Lord President
(Hope) “If the Dean of Guild had jurisdiction in this he would have jurisdiction to prevent my carriage standing on the street, Lord Gillies.—Or to prevent half-a-dozen carts driving abreast with the carters all riding, while the Police are walking about as if they had nothing to do with the matter.”
No. 5.—Bill of Suspension was passed of a decree of removing at the instance of an heritable creditor against a proprietor (15th Nov. 1834), Lord Balgray, “I never heard of anything like this
-an heritable creditor to bring an action of removing in this way. I never saw anything so out of shape and so extraordinary. I will venture to say there are few proprietors in Scotland who might not be turned out of possession of their estates in ten days if this doctrine were sanctioned.”
No. 6.-In a case (19th Dec. 1834) of a reduction of the lease as granted between conjunct and confident persons being brothers. Lord Jeffrey remarked, “The causes of favour are infinite, and many of them stronger than brotherly affection an old schoolfellow---a political partizan—a boon companion—a skilful flatterer --are in fact more generally favourites than brothers—and no law can consistently interdict the latter from advantages which may be legally conferred on the former."
No. 7.-In a case of filiation and aliment (17th January 1835). Lord Glenlee remarked—“When a person is in a dilemma and does not know what to do, the best way is for him to do nothing. But that rule is applied only to men of years, not to a youth who may have thought that it was necessary to do something."
No. 8.—In an application for an interdict by a minister and kirk-session of a parish church against the undue interference of magistrates with the ringing of the church bell (7th Feb. 1835). Lord Meadow bank observed—“I conceive that with the single exception of the King's Chapel Royal, the bell of which was transferred by royal charter to an Episcopal Chapel in Edinburgh, where it still is, no body of dissenters are entitled to a bell. This is not a new idea. An attempt was made in Fife some time ago to put up a bell at a dissenting meeting-house. Opposition was given, however, and the law officers of the Crown (including the late Lord President Blair), gave a clear opinion that no dissenting body were entitled to have a bell at all, and the attempt wus consequently abandoned.”
Lord Medwyn—"I am of the same opinion with all your Lordships, and I would scarcely have occupied the time of the Court with any observations, but for the
peculiar situation in which I am placed as the only dissenter on the bench. Being satisfied, however, that it is a privilege of the Established Church to summon its worshippers by a great bell, I am for continuing the interdict." Even if there were no proper church bell but a town's house or court bell, I would not be for allowing it to be rung for the meeting of dissenting congregations.”
No. 9.-In a case of nuisance (7th March 1835). Lord Cockburn reported the bill of suspension, with the following note :--" The Lord Ordinary reports this case in consequence of the reference made by both parties to the views of the Court, when the former application for an interdict was advised. He has only to state, that on the day on which the bill was presented, he visited the premises in the absence of both parties, and that if he had disposed of the case himself, that visit would have made him grant the interdict. On that day there was a very considerable quantity of dung—no want of swine—and a public privy as close as possible to the public road—all in a very offensive condition, and all in a south-westerly direction to the premises of the complainer."
No. 10.—In construing a will (21st May 1835) the following legacy was given :-“The whole of the furniture in her own bedroom, and any other she may choose for furnishing her house." The question arose whether “any other” was limited to another bed-room, or to other furniture sufficient to furnish her house. Two judges were for the first reading, but the majority were for the second, and the decision was so given.
No. 11.-An apprentice barber bound himself to work holiday and week-day. He refused to shave customers on the Sabbath. The magistrates of Dundee held him bound. Lord Jeffrey held him not bound. The Inner House (19th May 1835) reversed, the Lord Justice-Clerk (Boyle) dissenting. But the House of Lords returned to the judgment of the Lord Ordinary. Per Lord Jeffrey—“It is ridiculous to speak of a public shaving shop as an establishment of such necessity as not to admit of interruption for a single day in the week. If the apprentice had refused to shave the head of a lunatic, or one whose skull had been fractured, the cases would have been parallel. The pretence of usage— especially such a partial usage as is alleged—is irrelevant in a question of illegality by violation of public law."