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detected, by their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of the French, their Majesties the Emperor, Empress, and late Empress Dowager of Russia, their Imperial High. nesses the Grand Duke and Duchess Constantine of Russia, and the members of their august family, their Majesties the King of Prussia, the late King of Bavaria, the present and late King of Würtemburg, the Queen of Holland, and the members of the royal family of Holland; and many of these august personages have honored, and I believe still honor, me with their esteem and good-will, as I have resided in some of their palaces as a gentleman and their guest, not as a paid or professional person. They have had ample opportunities, which they have used, of investigating these phenomena, and of inquiring into my character. I have resided in America, Eng. land, France, Italy, Germany, and Russia, and in every country I have been received as a guest and friend by persons in the highest position in society, who were quite competent to discover and expose, as they ought to have done, any thing like contriy. ance on my part to produce these phenomena. I do not seek, and never have sought, the acquaintance of any of these exalted personages. They have sought me, and I have thus had a certain notoriety thrust upon me. I do not take money, and never have taken it, although it has been repeatedly offered me for or in respect of these phenomena or the communications which appear to be made by them. I am not in the habit of receiving those who are strangers to me and I never force the subject of Spiritualism on any one's attention. I trust that I am a sincere Christian. I conscientiously believe, as all the early Christians did, that man is continually surrounded and protected or tempted by good and evil spirits. I have, in my circle of friends, many who were not only infidels, but atheists, until they became convinced, by the study of these phenomena, of the truth of immortality; and their lives have been greatly improved in consequence. Some of the phenomena in question are noble and elevated; others appear to be grotesqne and undignified. For this I am not responsible, any more than I am for the many grotesque and undignified things which are undoubtedly permitted to exist in the material world. I solemnly swear that I do not produce the phenomena aforesaid, or in any way whatever aid in producing them."
The opinion of V.C. Giffard deals mainly with the facts. He regards the true principle as laid down in Hatch v. Hatch, 9 Ves. 292, 296, where Lord Elden says, “This case proves the wisdom of the court in saying that it is almost impossible in the course of the connection of guardian and ward, attorney and client, trustee and cestui que trust, that a transaction shall stand purporting to be bounty. The court cannot permit it, except quite satisfied that it is an act of a rational consideration, an act of pure volition, uninfluenced ; and that inquiry is so easily baffled in a court of justice, that, instead of the spontaneous act of a friend uninfluenced, it may be the impulse of a mind misled by undue kindness or forced by oppression. Therefore, if the court does not watch these transactions with a jealousy almost invincible, in a great majority of cases it will lend its assistance to fraud.” The Vice Chancellor's opinion closes in the following words :
“I have now only a few words to say in conclusion. I know nothing of what is called 'Spiritualism, otherwise than from the evidence before me, nor would it be right that I should advert to it, except as portrayed by that evidence. It is not for me to conjecture what may or may not be the effect of a peculiar nervous organization, or how far that effect may be communicated to others, or how far some things may appear to some minds as supernatural realities, which to ordinary minds and senses are not real. But as regards the manifestations and communications referred to in this cause I have to observe, in the first place, that they were brought about by some means or other
representation or not. French courts have not the stringent rules of evidence which govern our own, and occasionally this may afford a remedy where an English tribunal could have awarded none; but in the majority of cases a strict and intelligible rule must be far more acceptable to suitors than an arbitrary discretion intrusted to the judge; and we should be sorry to exchange the former for the latter. This Clicquot case, so far as the main circumstances go, bears a marked resemblance to Burgess v. Burgess, but very possibly a complete knowledge of the facts would show that the circumstances were such as would have induced an English court of equity to regard the transaction as fraudulent, or amounting to sufficient evidence of intentional misrepresentation. — Solicitors' Journal.
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. — The case of Shaw v. Gould, on which judgment was given by the House of Lords last week, illustrates the anomalous state of our existing laws with regard to marriage and divorce, and proves a necessity as urgent for legislation on the subject as that which led to the passing of 26 Geo. 2. c. 33. The facts are shortly these: On the 18th of June, 1828, a marriage was solemnized at Manchester, between Elizabeth Hickson, a girl under seventeen years of age, and a man named Buxton. Attempts were made to get rid of the marriage by an Act of Parliament, but without success, and in the month of December, 1838, Buxton and his wife joined in a deed of separation, under which certain benefits were secured to Buxton, in consideration of which he covenanted that his wife, who was described by her maiden name of Elizabeth Hickson, should be at liberty to live separate from him as if she were unmarried. The parties continued to live separate, and Buxton, from the time of the separation, if not before it, lived in adultery with a woman named Sarah Lant. In the year 1845, a gentleman named John Shaw, then studying for the English bar, formed an attachment for Mrs. Buxton, who was always designated by her maiden name, and he proposed to marry her. In order to accomplish this object, he resolved to take the necessary steps towards being called to the Scotch bar. In March, 1845, both Mr. Shaw and Elizabeth Hickson went to Edinburgh, and for ever afterwards they were resident in Scotland. In the month of September following, Buxton also went to Scotland, and when he had been there above forty days an action of divorce was raised against him by his wife before the Court of Session, founded upon the undisputed fact that he was living in adultery with Sarah Lant. The action was duly prosecuted, and the decree of divorce thereon was pronounced by the Court of Session, on the 20th of March, 1846. In the following month of June, a marriage, valid by the laws of Scotland, was duly celebrated in Edinburgh, between Mr. Shaw and Elizabeth Hickson, of which marriage there was issue three children.
The question which the House had to decide was, whether the three children of the Scotch marriage were legitimate or illegitimate for the purpose of inheritance in England; and this turned simply upon the point whether the decree of the Scotch Court of Session, in 1846, dissolved the English marriage of 1828. That the decree would have this operation quâ Scotland, and that, therefore, the children of the Scotch marriage are legitimate in Scotland, admits of no doubt, although it is an open question whether the validity of the Scotch marriage under the circumstances could be recognized by the tribunals of any foreign country,
Lambeth County Court on Wednesday. It appears that the defendants, a couple of spinster ladies, had a brother in the last stage of consumption. He was possessed of a little property, including a lease or two, which he wished to make over in some way or other, he did not know how, to his sisters. A solicitor, to whom he applied, advised him to make a will in their favor. On being asked what the costs would be, the solicitor said, about £4. The brother thought that a large sum, and declined to do any thing then; he would think about it. He thought a deed of gift could be done cheaper; it would save probate and other duties, and charges which he had a great dislike to paying. After a time he sent for a neighbor, who found him in extremis. He wished then to make the long delayed disposition of his property. The neighbor knew the plaintiff as a man often about county courts, and asked him if he knew a lawyer who could be brought immediately to the dying man to make a deed of gift for a trifling sum. The plaintiff introduced some person not in the profession, who drew a deed of gift, which was only just executed when the man died. The plaintiff charged £2 for what he and his friend had done, and the present action was to recover £1 of that money, still alleged to be due. It came out in evidence that the deed was so unsatisfactorily drawn that neither head nor tail could be made of it. Three counsel had been consulted, two of whom gave opinions in favor of the validity of the deed, and the third against it. Already the precious document had caused expense to the defendants to the extent of nearly £40, and was likely to cost still more. The judgment was, of course, for the defendants, with costs, on the ground of the incompetence of the plaintiff and his friend to do what they had undertaken. — Solicitors' Journal.