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nor justify, some hours in the stocks, or a private whipping, would be a punishment quite sufficient and much more effective. There is generally a school attached to each union; why not have a room, purposely adapted for small offenders for the first time, made part of such school, in which they might, under proper discipline, for a time receive correction and punishment without being marked with the jail brand ? The Juvenile Offenders' measure, if it had been devised and carried into operation in this manner, might have conferred great benefits on the public; at present it is no credit to the legislative Justices who passed it, and a sad disgrace to the country that suffers such a monstrosity to exist.
The county-police measure has also added immensely to the power of the Justices. This half-military army overspreads the whole country. In rural districts, almost every other man you meet is either a magistrate or a police officer; if either numerous body be much more increased, they will be obliged to apprehend and commit each other. The county expenditure is more than doubled; and, as it has been remarked, this heavy and increasing tax is imposed and expended by irresponsible Justices—all that the payers have to do, is to stand and deliver when they are
ordered to pay.
Magistrates' work is also palpably increased by this force. The force is drilled and made as military as possible. It is to be hoped that they will not be over-active in picking up very small matters, which, though not exactly right, may very often be, more advantageously to all sides, left alone than made the subject of prosecution. This new force, composed often of raw Irish and other rough materials, is apt harshly to interfere with sturdy yeomen and others who will not brook any thing of the kind; hence numerous cases of assaults of officers in the discharge of their duty, continually occur, and very much increase the duties of Justices at petty and quarter sessions. It is thought that a police, intended to be well drilled and tutored, should be under the guidance of a properly qualified magistracy, and that untutored Justices are not adapted to be judges between the
police force and the community, because it will be more easy for them to side with the police force than to interpret and apply the law of which they know nothing; the result will be, that a carefully drilled force will rule their untutored masters, the Justices, and the public will suffer from the anomaly.
To render the scheme of the county police of any value, or even endurable, we must have magistrates not only wishing to act justly, but possessing the legal and other knowledge—the necessary qualifications for independently standing between the police and the public, not partially siding with the one or the other. The main business of the police ought to be to prevent crime. When they see suspected persons, especially young ones, about to commit an offence, they should warn them that they are watched; but if, cat-like, they crouch in bye-places until the petty offence is committed, and then pounce on the small thief, they may assist to fill the jail, and increase the work of magistrates at sessions; but they will soon become an intolerable nuisance. For they will obviously increase an evil which is already an enormous one---namely, the number of petty offenders and juvenile jail birds. It is really questionable whether England, without this police army, did not expend too much time and money in detecting and punishing petty offenders. Safely locking, and a little more careful inspection, would in numerous cases have saved the public expense, and have prevented a great deal of moral degradation. There is often culpable carelessness on the one side, as well as dishonesty on the other. We do not want to maintain a costly force to watch over negligent people's affairs ; if such a policy be carried much further, we shall expend so much under the plea of defending property, that tax-payers will have nothing left to defend. One fact is quite clear and indisputable—that every year adds to the county expenditure, which is imposed and spent by an irresponsible magistracy. This is a great evil, but it vanishes into nothing when compared with that of Justices administering complicated laws of which they are wholly ignorant. Their taxing their countrymen and spending the proceeds, entirely un
answerable to the payers, is local tyranny which no free country ought to bear. To allow men, wholly unlearned and irresponsible, to inflict numerous contradictory laws on their countrymen at haphazard, is a state of things that reflects disparagingly on the wisdom of the British people.
Our main object here, is to bring to the notice of our readers the administration of the law by magistrates as one especially deserving their consideration. We are perfectly aware of the immense difficulties which on all sides encompass the subject; but we believe that the most inveterate stickler for the magisterial system, cannot gainsay nor controvert this standing maxim“That no one should be invested with the power of administering the law without first giving satisfactory proof that his knowledge of the law is sufficient to enable him to discharge such duty justly and satisfactorily.” Were the law which the Justices have to administer, simple, clear, and explicit, still its administrators could not perform their functions without some preparatory study and practice, of which the public should demand sufficient evidence. But the laws which come especially within the cognizance of magistrates are often intricate and contradictory, hard to understand, and difficult to apply. We will quote, in conclusion, a passage from the preface of Mr. Arnold's useful work, mentioned at the head of this article. He says—“Perhaps I may be permitted here to express an opinion, how desirable it seems that all the law relating to the duties of a Justice-of-thepeace should undergo a thorough revision and consolidation. The 19 and 20 Vict. c. 64 (the Statutes not in Use Repeal Act), passed in 1856, swept away, it is true, a great mass of obsolete rubbish, which, though still law, had long fallen into desuetude. There is still, however, a large quantity remaining, especially in connection with summary convictions. Few persons out of the trade, and perhaps not many in it, are aware of the stringent regulations still in existence with reference to the nearly obsolete ornament of metal buttons. With regard to the offence of simple drunkenness, I have ventured to express a doubt whether such an offence any longer exists; but, if it does, it is clear
that the penalty attaches to every case of private drunkenness, as well as to those of a public character, where the offence may be considered as a scandal to morals and decency. Profane cursing and swearing is still an offence punishable by fine, or, in default, by imprisonment with hard labour. If it be expedient, as possibly it may be, that irreverence and vulgarity in language should be put down by act of parliament, the law ought to be strictly enforced, otherwise it becomes worse than a dead letter, and exists merely as a trap in which the unwars may occasionally be caught. By the 19 Geo. II., c. 21, not only is the offender, that is, the utterer of profane curses and swearing, liable to a penalty according to his degree; but, should the offence be committed in the presence of a constable, he also is liable to a penalty of forty shillings if he does not apprehend the offender if unknown, and bring him before a Justice, or proceed to summon him if known; and further, should the swearing take place in the presence of a Justice, and he does not at once convict the offender, the Justice in his turn becomes liable to a penalty of five pounds, recoverable by action by any common informer.” Mr. Arnold here adds a practical note to the following effect :-“If a Justice-of-the-peace should ever so far forget himself and the penalty of the law, as to utter a profane oath or curse, it seems he ought, as a matter of honesty, following the example of Marmaduke Magog, to fine himself. That he should do so would be at least a matter of policy if the oath were uttered in the
presence of another
person; the penalty for the offence being only five shillings, but the penalty for not inflicting that penalty being five pounds, besides the costs of the action.”
The author further observes :" Not only does it seem advisable that there should be a revision of existing statutes, but it would be as well that there should be some sort of supervision of future acts of parliament; so as not only to insure greater harmony between them and former laws which are not meant to be interfered with, but also to provide against blunders and inaccuracies which too frequently disfigure the statute book.
But until a Minister of Justice, or some analogous officer, shall be established, it would be hopeless to expect so useful and necessary a reform."
Let us, however, add to these remarks of Mr. Arnold, that it will be of small advantage to reform our laws as suggested, and render them rational, consistent, and plain, unless we can, at the same time, secure for the public that our magistracy shall be intelligent, instructed, and capable.
ART. V.-CRIMINAL LAW OF FRANCE.
Histoire du Droit Criminel, des Peuples Modernes.-Con
sidéré dans ses Rapports avec les Progrès de la Civilisation.
Par Albert du Boys. Paris : Auguste Durand. THER 'HERE has been latterly, as we know, a tendency in the works
of French political historians, to examine the sources whence that principle of over-government and of over-centralization has sprung, which has been the bane of France, politically speaking, for the last two centuries at least, and manifestly since the time of Cardinal de Richelieu's rule. We are not aware that a similar tendency has been shown, or a similar object pursued, by any of the legal writers of France; yet here, more than in any other sphere of study, would it be interesting to watch the growth of a centralization which has little by little paralyzed all the several springs of individual activity in the nation. It is next to impossible to separate the political from the legal condition of a country. Its government will necessarily be reflected in its laws. The chief evil is, and an evil singularly active and visible among our neighbours, that law, instead of being the result of the workings of the national mind, results simply from the decisions of the governing body. This has been so persistently the case with Frenchmen, that if there is one thing they dislike and seek to elude, it is the action of the law,