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and honourable,” as founded on an honest determination to exercise judgment according to fixed principles and certain laws, and based on “universal morality and philosophic reason.” And he mentions as marks of bad criticism “the substitution of assertion for argument, the frequency of arbitrary and sometimes petulant verdicts, not seldom unsupported by a single quotation from the work condemned, which might at least have explained the critic's meaning, if it did not prove the justice of his sentence, or extracts made without any fairness, and all without any reference to leading principles, or any attempt at argumentative deduction. The editor's idea of a good legal work is that which was thus happily expressed in a review in this journal, nearly 34 years ago of Story’s “Commentaries on Agency:”— “He has entered philosophically into the subject, has traced principles with persevering scrutiny and, without losing sight of the wants of a practical lawyer, has produced a treatise in which the student may ascertain the elements and principles on which the entire doctrine is founded.”— Law Magazine, Feb., 1840. One more word as to the avowal of Editorship. Lord Brougham is strongly in favour of avowed editol ship or authorship of articles in the Press. He mentions anonymous journalism as an evil: “Private individuals, bearing no certificate of any qualification to recommend them, assume the direction of periodical works, and do not give their names to the public. Their capacity for the task which they have undertaken is of course to be judged by the manner in which they perform it; about that there can be no difficulty. But their trustworthiness on grounds of opinion is wholly different, and of that, the most important portion of the character they ought to have, they furnish no voucher whatever.” No doubt, the noble author was speaking chiefly of the newspaper press, but the principle appears applicable to the periodical press in general. The periodical press, even in the form of a legal periodical, includes the expression of opinion on the deduction or application of law, and occasionally, on the conduct and character of public men, and the merits of legal works, and in all these forms of journalism, the sense of responsibilty attaching to open and avowed authorship or editorship, is a valuable guarantee, not only of intellectual honesty, but of thought, and consideration, and care. At all events, the Editor enters upon the exercise of his function with a strong sense of his responsibility, and an earnest desire to fulfil it honourably. And he has tried to show that his mind has been long prepared for it, by many years of labour in the courts, by competent acquaintance with the sources of law, and, above all, by reverent study of those great masters of thought whose works are best fitted to train and qualify the mind for such a task.
II.—CHANGES IN THE JUDICATURE.
ICHAELMAS Term, 1873, will be remembered in legal history, as commencing the last legal year under our old judicial system; and it was marked, also, by some great changes in our judicature which, in themselves remarkable, become still more so when considered in their bearing on the approaching changes in our judicial system. The Session of that year had been rendered memorable by the passing, under the auspices of a new Chancellor of rare eminence and influence, of a great measure for renovating our judicial system, and it appears probable that the measure will be carried out in the ensuing year under the same auspices. In the interval between the close of the Session and the opening of Term, the Lord Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas and the Mastership of the Rolls fell vacant, and were of course filled by the law officers who had, under the Chancellor, co-operated in carrying the measure through Parliament: and a Vice-Chancellorship was also vacated and filled
by an equity lawyer, who, it is said, had assisted him in the drawing of it. At all events, it is manifest that the two first of these changes in the judicature must materially conduce to the cardinal and effective operation of the changes in our judicial system, and in the other appointment which took place it is not likely that this object was overlooked. It is impossible, therefore, to consider these changes in the composition of our living judicature, apart from their probable influence upon the approaching changes in the constitution of the judicial system, and accordingly in the comments made upon the new appointments, this was borne in mind. Before, however, thinking of the appointments to be made, the profession gave some sad thoughts to the memory of those whom they had lost. Happily, the Rolls was vacated only by resignation, and we all hope that the judicial veteran, Lord Romilly, will many years enjoy his well earned retirement. But the Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas and the Vice Chancellorship were unhappily vacated by death, and the deaths of two men like Chief Justice Bovill and Vice-Chancellor Wickens, at an age which, with reference to their worth, may well be thought untimely—cannot but be regarded with melancholy and regretful reflections. They were very different men. The Saturday Review thus described these distinguished men —
“The death of Vice-Chancellor Wickens was followed almost immediately by that of Chief Justice Bovill, so that the long vacation ended with the loss of two judges, each eminent in his way. The late Vice-Chancellor was in many respects a model of what may be called the university type of judge. He knew a great deal of law, but he knew a great deal of many other things, and what he knew he knew well. With very wide reading, a singularly retentive and accurate memory, and sound judgment, he had resources of literature at his command in a degree which few rival who have given themselves up to literature altogether. As a lawyer, he was noted, while at the bar, for the lucidity, good sense, and accuracy of his opinions, and everything seemed to show that he could, as a judge, acquire a commanding reputation. But affliction and ill-health prevented him from doing justice to his powers after he became Vice-Chancellor; and he has now died too early to leave a judicial reputation behind him. But the judgment of a profession is rarely wrong, and so much could scarcely have been expected of a judge without a strong probability existing that the result, if it could have been ascertained, would have conformed to the expectation.”
Thus, also, it may safely asserted, on the unanimous testimony of the Equity Bar, is perfectly true and just. And the Saturday Review thus proceeded to describe the Lord Chief Justice:—
“Chief Justice Bovill was an equally good type of what may be termed the non-university judge. He began in a solicitor's office, he worked hard, he made himself an excellent commercial lawyer, he was a useful and successful advocate, and he won general good will, and even affection, by unfailing good temper and easy geniality, and by innumerable acts of kindness. He was for some time in Parliament, but without in any way seeking to make himself conspicuous, and even when he was a law officer he merely did the work that came in his way. He went through the House of Commons and the posts of Solicitor and Attorney General, in the due course of deserved promotion. When he was made Chief Justice, lawyers of all parties thought he had honourably earned the distinction, and were pleased that a man, popular and acceptable, had not been deprived, by ill fortune, of an adequate reward. It was the first Tichborne case that made his name and appearance familiar to the public, and no one could deny that a case of a most extraordinary character, length, and interest was placed under the superintendance of a legal dignitary who displayed an admirable patience and assiduity, and a cheerfulness which not even the prolonged tediousness of a neverending story could dispel or materially impair.”
This is perfectly true and just, as the writer, an eyewitness of that trial, and one who knew the late Lord Justice, at the bar and on the bench, for nearly 30 years, can testify, and he hopes to be able to pay to his memory the tribute of a biographical memoir.
It was impossible, of course, that the members of the profession could assemble at the opening of Michaelmas Term without some mournful recollections of those who had so recently been taken away from them. The key note of public feeling was well struck on the occasion in an admirable article in the Times :
“Michaelmas Term opens sadly. The same troop of judges and of Queen's Counsel will attend upon the Lord Chancellor to-day as he and his predecessors have been accustomed to welcome, but, instead of the accustomed cheerfulness with which men assemble after a Long Vacation, there will, we believe, be but one sentiment of regret among the bench and the bar. One of the most popular of the Common Law judges has followed a most popular ViceChancellor, and both have died a premature death. Both branches of the profession are thus afflicted with the sense of sudden loss. The grave of Sir John Wickens is scarcely closed before that of Sir William Bovill is opened. Both of them have been taken away, leaving a career unfulfilled, and they are followed with the respect and affection of the profession under whose watchful eyes their lives were passed. Sir William Bovill may not, perhaps, be ranked as one of the great judges whose tradition is handed down through generations of the bar, but he was unsurpassed at Nisi Prius and in the practical mastery of Commercial Law, and his ready kindliness will be remembered by many a kind word to-day. Sir John Wickens, working in the comparative obscurity of Lincoln's Inn, was necessarily less known to the world; but the members of the Chancery Bar rise to enthusiasm when they bear testimony to his rare worth. A man of a humorous yet sad temperament, a miracle of learning, and largely gifted with a ready sympathy, sensibility, and wit, Death has taken him from the bench just when his promise of growing usefulness seemed greatest.”
Every heart responded to the reflections thus suggested, and the feelings thus expressed. But these feelings found more authentic and impressive expression from the bench and bar, when the courts assembled. The Lord Chancellor, entering his court, attended by the other judges of his court, paid a touching tribute to the memory of the deceased judges. As the Times stated:
“Before commencing the business of the day, his Lordship made the following observations, which were received with marked attention and sympathy by the Bar, who remained standing, and the numerous spectators with whom the Court was densely crowded:—‘It is impossible for us to meet here to-day without a deep sense of the great losses the Bench and the country have sustained by the two eminent Judges so lately taken from us; and I feel sure I shall only be giving expression to the common feeling of all the members of the bar who are present, as well as to our own, if I attempt,