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or whether it may not, on the other hand, be such as the department would allow but for want of an appropriation, or some other technical reason. It is in this feature, we suspect, that the practice of the British government differs most widely from ours. Although the constantly growing magnitude of the private business pressed upon the attention of Parliament has for many years attracted attention, and has given rise to much discussion as to the best means of avoiding it, it is certain that that body is burdened with no such mass as encumbers Congress. Although Parliament legislates for the local business of three kingdoms, having with regard to them the function discharged in this country by the state legislatures, the number of private bills passed at one session did not for a long series of years exceed two hundred, and, exception made of railroad bills, never, we think, exceeds one hundred, or one hundred and fifty. The fees paid to parliamentary lawyers for their services with reference to bills of this sort are known to be enormous, although such services are confined to the preparation of papers and appearance before committees. Mr. Smiles, in his Life of Stephenson, speaks of a case during the first railway excitement, when for an utterly impracticable line, which never got so far as the House, the solicitor's bill amounted to £82,000 sterling; and the story is familiar of the parliamentary lawyer who, being retained to appear before a number of different committees at the same hour of the same day, having received a number of guineas for each attendance, was found by a friend reposing under a tree in the park, in order, as he said, that he might do equal justice to all his clients.
Private bills in the British parliament are classified under six heads, as follows: (1) agriculture; (2) companies ; (3) improvements in towns, &c. ; (4) internal communication, which includes roads and railways; (5) navigation, that is, harbors, piers, and docks ; (6) private regulation. This last subdivision would comprise nearly all of the bills which are known as private bills on the calendars of the two Houses of Congress, and the number is very small, varying from seven or eight in a session to forty or fifty. These, moreover, mostly relate to arrangements for the mortgage or settlement of private estates; and we can find among them scarcely a single one which bears any resemblance to the bills for claims which are so embarrassing to Congress.
It would seem that in Great Britain any person having a claim
of the nature of Mr. Trist's would present it to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. If admitted by that authority, it would be paid at once, unless the amount exceeded the means already at the disposal of the department for such payments, or unless for some other reason the head of the department preferred to lay it before Parliament. In this case he would include it in his estimates, and it would form a clause in the appropriation bill, to be considered by the House of Commons in committee of supply, where it would be open to debate and amendment to reduce the
Such amendments are often noticed in the reports, but they seldom succeed, as the administration generally ensures the presence of a majority of its friends on supply nights, on purpose to prevent defeat on questions of the kind. It is perhaps worthy of note that the practice under the British constitution in this respect, namely, the including such special grants with the regular appropriations, is precisely that which in this country is considered mischievous, and is, in fact, expressly prohibited by the rules of the House of Representatives.
The opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States sustaining the appeal of Mr. Trist's executor affords an admirable basis on which to build an improved system for dealing with private claims in Congress. Poor old Mr. Trist, whose pride led him to abstain for nearly a quarter of a century from claiming what he conceived to be his due, passed away from earth without fully enjoying the relief which Congress tardily accorded to him. But if in another world he is conscious of what is passing in this, we may well suppose that he finds in the opinion of the Court a gratification which may be regarded as a full equivalent for the chagrin he may have suffered in the matter during his lifetime; and hereafter he is likely to be regarded by his countrymen less as “the negotiator of the Treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo," than as the man who successfully withstood an assault from the lobby, and who led the Supreme Court of the United States to pronounce the opinion which crushed for ever a disgraceful practice.
DIGEST OF THE ENGLISH LAW REPORTS FOR FEBRU
ARY, MARCH, AND APRIL, 1875.
ABANDONMENT. See FREIGHT.
ACTION. See EstOPPEL; INJUNCTION, 2.
ADVANCEMENT. Bequest in trust for L. for life, and after his death as he should by will appoint, and in default of appointment to L.'s children. The testator empowered his trustees at any time during L.'s life to apply a moiety of the trust fund “in or towards the preferment or advancement of L. or otherwise for his benefit, in such manner as the trustees should in their discretion think fit.” Held, that the trustees might apply half the trust fund in payment of debts incurred by L. which absorbed nearly the whole of his income, and which L. could not pay from his own resources. - Lowther v. Bentinck, L. R. 19 Eq. 166.
AGENCY. See PRINCIPAL AND AGENT.
AMBIGUITY. - See LEGACY, 2.
ANNUITY. An annuity was charged upon land with power of distress and entry; but the quarterly payments of the annuity fell due about three weeks after rent day. Held, that the annuitant must wait for payment until the rent day, and that no portion of the prior rent was to be kept in hand for the purpose of paying the annuity. - Hasluck v. Pedley, L. R. 19 Eq. 271. APPLICATION OF SECURITIES. See BANKRUPTCY, 4.
ASSENT. See LEGACY, 4.
BAILMENT. - See NEGLIGENCE, 3.
BANK. The directors of a bank passed resolutions to increase the capital by the issue of 20,000 new shares of £50 each, to be allotted to the proprietors of the bank in the proportion of one new for every old share; £25 premium and £5 call to be paid on each new share. Shares not taken by proprietors were to be disposed of at £30 premium. The directors agreed to deliver all the untaken shares to S. Finding that he could not dispose of all the shares so allotted him, S. applied to the defendants, who were four directors of the bank, to relieve him; and accordingly they took a large number of S.'s shares, and afterwards disposed of them at a profit. Held, that the defendants must account to the bank for the profits they had so received. — Parker v. McKenna, L. R. 10 Ch. 96.
BANKRUPTCY. 1. J. executed a bill of sale to H. to secure repayment of a sum composed of one amount due other parties upon two bills of sale, which amount H. paid off, and of an advance made to J. by H. At the time of the bill of sale to H., he was aware that J. had committed an act of bankruptcy, upon which J. was subsequently adjudged bankrupt. Held, that the bill of sale to H. was valid against the trustee in bankruptcy to the extent of the two bills of sale which H. had paid off. · Ex parte Harris. In re James, L. R. 19 Eq. 253.
2. At a creditors' meeting in liquidation proceedings the solicitor of a creditor asked the debtor whether a certain letter was in his bandwriting, and the debtor replied that it was not. The solicitor then asked the debtor whether the letter was written by his authority; and the debtor's solicitor thereupon asked see the letter, but this was refused. The debtor's solicitor then advised him not to answer the question; and the examination proceeded no further. Resolutions accepting a composition were passed. Held, that the debtor's refusal to answer said question did not render said resolutions invalid. — Ex parte Mackenzie. In re Helliwell, L. R. 10 Ch. 88.
3. The proprietor of a phosphate mine who gets the phosphate out of the ground, makes it marketable and sells it, is not a trader under the English Bank
Ex parte Schomberg, L. R. 10 Ch. 172. 4. The drawer, acceptor, and indorser of a bill of exchange became insolvent, and the holder realized a portion of the bill from certain securities. Before the holder had realized his security, he proved for the full amount of the bill against the indorser, who was in liquidation, and received a dividend. Helu, that the proof must be reduced by the amount the holder received from the security, and that any excess of dividend must be repaid to the liquidator. — In re Barned's Banking Co. Ex parte Joint Stock Discount Co., L. R. 10 Ch. 198; 8. c. L. R. 19 Eq. 1; 9 Am. Law Rev. 470.
5. The discharge in bankruptcy of the acceptor of a bill of exchange does not discharge the liability of the drawer to the holder; otherwise if the holder agrees to accept a composition from the acceptor. Ex parte Jacobs, L. R. 10 Ch. 211.
See Bill in EQUITY, 2; RECEIVER.
BILL IN EQUITY. 1. An administratrix, who had exercised the option of becoming a partner in respect of the intestate's share, in a partnership business in which he was partner, assigned her share to trustees in trust to pay the intestate's debts, and then in trust for her. She subseqnently assigned her interest in said share to trustees upon certain trusts. The next of kin, who were also coheiresses of the intestate, and interested under his marriage settlement, filed a bill against the administratrix, her assignees in trust, and the trustees of the marriage settlement, praying administration of the real and personal estate of the intestate. The assignees in trust demurred for multifariousness. Held, that, as the various rights and interests of the plaintiffs could be most conveniently ascertained in one suit, the demurrer must be overruled. - Coates v. Legard, L. R. 19 Eq. 56.
2. A bankrupt should not be joined as defendant in a bill in equity brought by his trustee in bankruptcy, charging that the bankrupt has conveyed away his
property so as to defeat creditors. A party to a fraud may be made a defendant in a bill in equity for the purpose of obtaining discovery when he is an agent (under which term is included the case of his being an attorney or solicitor) or an arbitrator. See Weise v. Wardle, L. R. 19 Eq. 171.
BILL OF LADING. - See SALE.
BILL OF SALE. See BANKRUPTCY, 1. BILLS AND Notes. — See BANKRUPTCY, 4, 5; CHECK, 1; FRAUDS, STATUTE
OF, 2; SALE.
company notice of the assignment, and the company accepted the notice. Held, that the company had precluded itself from setting up against B. equities between itself and A. In re Hercules Insurance Co. Brunton's Claim, L. R. 19 Eq. 302.
BROKER. The owner of freehold property gave a real estate agent written instructions, requesting him to procure a purchaser for the property which he described, and stating the price. Held, tbat the agent had no authority to enter into a contract for the sale of the property. Hamer v. Sharp, L. R. 19 Eq. 108.
BURDEN OF PROOF. - See SEAWORTHINESS.
CALLS. See TRUST, 1.
CHECK. 1. A check is not an assignment of money in the hands of a banker: it is a bill of exchange payable at a banker's. — · Hopkinson v. Forster, L. R. 19 Eq. 74.
2. The prisoner was indicted for obtaining goods under false pretences, that he had £5 in a certain bank, that he had authority to draw a check on the bank for that sum, and that a check which he had given was a good and valid order for the payment of said sum; by means of which pretences he obtained certain goods. The prisoner had opened an account with a bank, and had drawn out all his deposit but 58. He went to the prosecutors and took said goods, saying that he wished to pay ready money for them, and gave a check for £5 on said bank. The prisoner knew the check would not be paid, and he did not intend to meet it when he gave it. Held, that there was evidence that the prisoner falsely pretended that the check was a good and valid order for the payment of £5. It seems, that there was evidence that the prisoner falsely pretended that he had authority to draw said check, but that there was no evidence that he pretended that he had £5 in the bank. — Queen v. Hazelton, L. R. 2 C. C. 134.
COLLISION. The steamship A., towing the disabled steamship B., which belonged to the owners of the A., ran into a sailing-vessel, and injured her so that she foundered.