Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.

and in their execution more liable to abuse Mr. Editor, - It is now some time than any other; because, by the latter, the since an intended publication was announc- University oħicers, is unhappily they should ed, under the title of os Observations on the be so inclined, have many opportunities of 6. Charters and STATUTES of the Uni-exceeding their legal power; and because, VERSITY of Oxford, so far as they re- by the former, they might be less liable to " Jate to the ProcurATORIAL Power over punishment (froin circumstances to be men " the non-inatriculated inhabitants of that tioned hereafter) than in His Majesty's

place, and on the VICE-CHANCELLOR'S ourts of common law.-In the Vice“ Court." This work has not yet ap-Chancellor's court, that officer hinself, or peared, and report says, that it never will. his assessor (who is appointed by him) sits From a conviction that recent circumstances as judge, assisted by the two University require something to be said on the subject, Proctors, whenever they inay think fit to and to be said without any further delay, attend. The process is carried ou “in a the person who now addresses you is in- | course much conformed to the civil law;" duced to come forward, though his plan is that is, the evidence is all in writing, and more confwed than that announced as the there is no jury. “ In this court, the Unitiile of the intended publicatiou must ne "versity has the liberty of claiming cognicessarily have been. -The writer of these zance, in exclusion of the King's couris, observations never had an opportunity of " over all civil actions and suits whatsoinspecting the Charters of the University, "ever, when a scholar or privileged perbut has been informed that so'ne were son is one of the parties, excepting in granted previously to the time of Henry III. '“ such cases where the right of freehold is and others by that prince and his inore im concerned." —Now, as the Viceniediate successors, and that they were all Chancellor and Proctors are the officers confirmed by parliaments in subsequent upon whom the duty principally falls, of reigns.—The Statutes of the University carrying the Statutes into execution, and to are printed and published, and consequent. whuin alınost the whule of the executive ly are accessible to every one. Previously government belongs, it may happen, ahi, to the time of Charles I. (in whose reign, with all their diguities, they are but men, through the exertions of Archbishop Laud, that they may err in the performance of who was the Chancellor of the University, their dury, or exceed their legal authority, and a Committee for the purpose in Oxford, and that an action may be brought against they were drawn up in their present form) thein in this very court (for, according to they are said to have been a cousused chaos. the present system, it can be brought in no This code remains still in force, “except other) for false imprisonment, or some other "upon points where the exigencies of mo. offence, to which the best and wisest of ma" dern einses have pointed out the wisdom of gistrates are sometimes liable. The con“ amendment or abrogation.”—The writer sequence would be, and, no doubt, to the feels less regret from the circumstance of great salisfaction of the plaintiff, that they his never having seen the Charters, as it is would be judges in their own cause ; or if, the cominonly received opinion in the Uni- on the other hand, they are plaintiffs, and versity, that in the Statutes, under their institute an action against any person by present forin, eyery thing that was thought whom they might think themselves agnecessary or conducive io discipline, was grieved, they would be equally judges in caresully selected from the Charters and their own cause, to the no less satisfaclion former Statutes, with some additions; and, of the defendant. - The thing is so ridiat the same tine, many things were omit- culously absurd, and, at the same time, so ted which had either become obsolete, or enormously unjust, as to be scarcely crediwere considered as unnecessary' and useless. ble. -BLACKSTONE, who was himself a

It is the writer's design to confine him- fellow of one of the most respectable colself to the Statutes, in the form in which leges in Oxford, and, as Professor of Canon they are now extant; and more particularly Law, read his Commentaries in the form of to those parts of them which relate to the Vinerian Lectures, and who frow his treVice-Chancellor's Court, and the power of quent residence, and his connexions with the searching houses, with some cursory remarks place, and his hubits of legal researchi, on the Procuratorial oflice.

-He has se must have fully understood the spirit of the lected these parts of the Statutes, because Statute, “ De Curia Commissarįi sive Vicethey are more odious, and more repugnant

Cancellarii Universitațis,” has placed the to the spirit of the English Constitution, Blackstone's Coumentaries, B. iii. ch. 6.98

cause

matter in a clear light, when he says, that their houses searched both by day and

THESE PRIVILEGES (ofthe Vice-Chancel night, at any time that the proctors (who «s lor's Court) WERE GRANTED THAT THE are frequently young men without much " STUDENTS MIGHT NOT BE DISTRACTED experience or knowledge of the world, and " FROM THEIR STUDIES BY LEGAL PROCESS often elated by the power intrusted to them

FROM DISTANT Courts, AND OTHER FO- by virtue of their annual office) may think

RENSIC AVOCATIONS.” We can hardly fit; and no redress is to be obtained, for suppose it possible that it could have been any excess or abuse of power, howin the contemplation of those who framed ever enormous it may be, but from a court, the Statute, that the officers of the Univer- in which there is no jury, in which the sity, and those very officers, too, who have expenses are so great as to operate to the the right of sitting as Judges in the court, total exclusion of the poorer clients, and in should protect themselves by such a mon which the very persons who may have comstrous privilege, in actions brought against mitted the injury complained of, are enthemselves. It is, however, well known, titled to sit as judges. The statute which that on the authority of this statute, claims authorizes the search of houses, authorizes of cognizance have been made in actions a measure utterly repignant to the spirit of brought against the Proctors for false im- our constitution, and to the feelings of prisonment, within a few years past. It is Englishmen. This statute conveys the almost needless to add, that these actions, power of a general search warrant—a most on cognizance being granted, were aban- unconstitutional measure, and liable to doned, except in one instance, in which the great abuse, as the necessity may be inplaintiff, as well as the defendant, was a ma. sisted upon by the officers, when it does triculated man, and in that instance the not exist in reality. If there be any al

was tried in the above-mentioned leged necessity of searching houses, a spe. court, and judgment given for one of the cial warrant should be granted for the parProciors, who was desendunt. The other ticular purpose by the Vice-Chancellor, actions were no more heard of, for the plain who is always a magistrate, and the parties tiffs, however bigh their opinious inight should be responsible to the common law have been of academical justice and in of the land. At all events, if the exercise tegrity, felt no particular desire to put of this enormous power be necessary, there themselves to the expense and trouble should be some check on its abuse, and the of having their causes tried in a court proctors should not be allowed to carry it where there is no jury, and before men into execution on their own individual and appearing in the double capacity of judges sole authority; and the courts of compon and defendants. As the matter stands law should be open, as in other places, to at present, to put an hypothetical, though those who may be aggrieved. The not an exaggerated, case ; let an act of the writer is aware, that it may be said, alnjost gross injustice be committed in Ox- though the right exists of searching the ford by the proctors against any individual, house of every inbabitant, without any disthough he may be a perfect stranger to the tinction or limitation, that the practice of place; and quite unconnected with the searching has, of late years, been confined University, his only possible mode of seek to houses inhabited by prostitutes and woing redress is through the medium of this inen of bad character. But this reply is court;-a court, in which there is no jury, unsatisfactory and vague, as the power still in which the expenses are great, and the remains of carrying it into execution to its process tedious ; und in which (for that full extent; and as it gives the proctors the material circumstance should not be omit. liberty of deciding on the characters of all ted) the defendants, if they think proper, the female inhabitants of the place, and of may sit as judges. Under these circum- condemning them, from partial representastances, the siruation of the inhabitants of lions, or individual caprice. However Oxford is peculiarly hard. They are put desirous we may be to suppress prostitution, out of the protection of the compion law of we should recollect, that we are not justified the land, in every case (short of felony) in in punishing offenders beyond the limits which they may be aggrieved by the proc marked out by the law. The method tors, or any mairiculated man. They are which has been lately used in Oxford of subject to ile most odious kind of inter- apprehending women of this description ference from the University officers. By a for inerely appearing in the streets, though particular statute * they are liable to have waiking orderly and quietly in the day

Titulus XV. $ 4. De Domibus Oppidunorum time, and sometimes when they have left non frequentandis.

their homes to purchase things in the shops,

is surely a rigour beyond the law. By what flarly of that which assumes the semblance statute of the University, or law of the of justice, or is clothed in the garb of auland, the conviction, and consequent com- thority. For publishing these observations, mitment to prison, by the Vice-Chancellor, he exposes himself to the ceusare of the is justified, the writer (though he has taken rigid disciplinarians of the University. They the greatest pains in examining the statutest will exclaim, that he has endangered the is not able to discover. The mode of discipline of the University, and espoused the conduct lately pursued towards these unfor- cause of the profligate and undeserving. tunate females seems to be both cruel and With respect to che discipline of the Uniinefficacious. -All severity of punish-versity, the writer is convinced that it dement, and particularly in these cases, is rives its best and most lasting support, from unjustifiable, unless preceded by some at an open and manly conduct in the public tempt to reform the objects who are ame- officers; frorn firmness, united with concinable to it. Without such an attempt be liating manners ; not to mention that it is ing made, what can be more cruel than to possible, that the methods put in practice commit to a cold and damp cell of a prison, to suppress vice, may, themselves, have a and, perhaps, in an inclenient season of most dangerous tendency, and even exceed the year, a female, whose constitution may in turpitude the particular vices they are have been weakened by disease. The la designed to correct. To encourage spies mentable consequence of such a proceeding and informers, and to listen at doors, and is sometimes a rheumatism so severe and to peep through windows, are means so inveterare, as to cripple the patient for life; base and disingenuous, that if they did not and an instance is well known to have oc fortunately create disgust, they night by curred in Oxford of an unfortunate prisoner their example trave a most pernicious effect, being driven into a state of insanity, from and weaken every moral principle. In which she vever recovered. -- lis ineffi anticipating the other charge, the writer cacy is apparent from the circumstance of can only say, that it is the boasted privilege of the delinquents being obliged, froin neces- this country to have justice administered sity, as soon as they are enlarged, to return with an even hand; that the profligate to their former course of life. Whatever should be punished, but punished accordremaining sense of decency they might have, ing to the kuown and equal law of the when first committed to prison, soon leaves land, and not with greater severity than them. They become desperaie from their that allows; and that by good magistrates, wretched stale of suffering, and renounce refororation will always be preferred to seall propriety of conduct. By the disgrace verity of punishment. To which may be broughi upon them by the notoriety of this ignoininious punishinent, they are deprived should be appointed, under the sauction of parof all means and opportunity of retrieving liament, for every two or three adjacent counthemselves. - This cruel severity has ties, (according to their size) consisting of a cer. been the ruin of many who otherwise would tain number of persons who should visit every have had an opportunity of recovering iheir prison and honse of correction, and perhaps characters. Considering the peculiar situa. at least every two or three months, but not at

workhot-es might be added) in such counties, tion, in which young females are placed in stated periods, and as much oftener as they Oxford, from the many temptations that might think proper. The commissioners should surround them, and the difficulty of ob. be elected, and well paid, both as to salary and taiuing employment, the motives of chris- their visitations miglit be held. A new election tian charity, independently of those of should take place at the end of every two or cuminon humanity, loudly call upon the three years. Their commission should enable officers of the University io temper justice them to inqnire into the management of such with wercy. Instead of their offence, on prisons, houses of correction, and workhouses;

to investigate the chief circumstances attending its first detection, being made public by the commitment of every prisoner, and to have their commitment to prison, an opportunity the power, wherever a case seemed to be markshould be given them of recovering themed with any peculiar severity, or whenever the selves froin their unfortunate state, of prisoner's good behaviour appeared deserving of which they are frequently more sensible magistrates, and sentences of quarter sessions. than the merciless persecutors imagine. They should make a report of their proceedings

- If in the foregoing reinarks the writer every six months, to be laid before the Privy has ever expressed himself strongly, it Council

, and both Houses of Parliament of inust be attributed to the abhorrence he Mayor or Chief Magistrate of every city, town,

which report copies should be transmitted to the feels of every kind of cruelty, and particu. and borough, in the respective counties.

added the writer's conviction, from cir- to shew that the methods now pursued are cumstauces which he does not wish to par- cruel, in proportion as they are ineffectual; ticularize, that the nethod lately pursued that some means should be adopted, which has had a very different effect from that of in- would at least have a probable chance of creasing the morality of the place ! - It effecting a reforin in their conduct; and at is hoped that the University will no longer the same time, it was the writer's design, persist in the support of the above-men to suggest to those persons, who are not tioned abuses, but that they will amend divested of every feeling of humanity, that and explain ihe Statutes in question, so the surrows, and misery, and disease, althat the inhabitants of Oxford may be most necessarily attendant ou prostitution, placed within the protection of the canon are, in the way of punishment, sufliciently law of Eugland. --- What objection the severe and acule, without the superadded University can have to this measure, the horrors of a prison; and the distress ariswriter cannot readily conceive; for he can ing from cold, starvation, and confinement. not suppose that they would wish to pro The writer will only add, that it is tect their officers in the exercise of any the duty of the inhabitants of every place to illegal power, or in the commission of any observe the conduct of the magistrates; for thing that is unjust. This measure, too, great power is naturally attended with perwould have the desirable effect of putting version and abuse. When the blessings of an end to those jealousies and disputes, peace are restored to our country, it is which are now apt, ou every opportunity, most earnestly to be hoped that the legislato break out, and to shew themselves in ture will have leisure, as well as inclinaopen acts of violence. It would, in short, tion, to inquire into abuses, and more partend to civilize the manners of the place, to ticularly into those which partake of cruelextinguish inveterate feuds, and prevently and oppression, and to diffuse throughthe frequent recurrence of disgraceful scenes out the land the benefits arising from the of riot. -The writer repeats that he has impartial administration of equal laws.brought forward the preceding facts and After all, however, in cases of this nature, observations, from a conviction that both much will always depend on accidental the morality and discipline of the Univer- circumstances, and ou public opinion; on sity, so far from being improved, are in the good sense and feeling of those in jured by the method now pursued. He is power, and ou the temper and spirit of the bound in duty, as well as inclination, to people. support the privileges of the University,

Oxford, February, 1814. but not their abuse; and he conceives that the best way of supporting them is to clear them from the abuses with wilich they are THE EMPEROR NAPOLEON AND now polluted, and not to lay upon them a

HIS ARMY. greater stress, or load them with a greater The details of Buonaparte's recent victoweight of authority, than they were ever ries over the Allies, which are now geneintended to bear. It was never the in- rally known, speak a language more decitention of the framers of that Statute, which sive in favour of his superior skill and is the most odious and obnoxious of any– splendid military talents, and are better of that which allows the entering and calculated to abash incredulity, and to sisearching of louses—that it should ever be | lence his cal&mniators, than any thing I can put into execution, unless the persons in write. That the allied army, at least that whom the authority was vested, were certain part of it under the command of Blucher, that gownsmen were in them at the time. had advanced to within 60 miles of Paris, If they did it under other circumstances, it is a fact which no one can dispute. But should be at their own peril. It was de- that the Allies had reached this point in signed that the Vice-Chancellor's Court consequence of having defeated Napoleoni, should protect the Students fro:n "being is what I, for one, am not so ready to admit. si distracted from their studies by legal pro- Since the battle of Brienne, we have learned “cess from distant courts," and not that from a dispatch of Lord Burghersh, dated it should protect the University officers Troyes the 8th instant, that Buonaparté left from any action or suit arising from the that place on the 6th, and proceeded to alleged abuse of their power. The Nogent. This movement his Lordship atwriter's observations respecting the extreme tributed to the inability of the French Emseverity of the University officers against peror to fight his opponents. In my last, certain unfortunate semales, were intended I ventured to give a different view of the

The “: army

matter : I stated, that Buonaparté appeared | cient to satisfy them, that they had nothing to me to have drawn 'his troops from to fear while the destinies of France were Brienne to Troyes, not because he had in the hands of Napoleon ? To the result been defeated, but because he had previous- then let us look for a solution of these ly intended to operate with them in another queries. We have in this case no dis. quarter. He determined, I said, " on con- patches from a Burghersh, a Stewart, nor

centrating his army, and effecting a juncea Lowe, lo guide us in our inquiry. We « tion of his different corps which at that mo must therefore rely on the accounts given

ment occupied separate positions, for the by the enemy, till these gentlemen are again purpose of enabling him to carry on pleased to favour us with more “ intelligent

operations in a quarter, where he had " and accurate details. From the “ calculated upon acting with greater ef- French official accounts then it is clear, that

s fect.This opinion of Buonaparte's Buonaparté, only a few days after he replan, was formed by me in consequence of tired from Brienne, attacked the Allies at an impartial consideration of the details of various points, and obtained over them a the battles of the 1st and 2nd, as given in series of splendid victories. the French bulletin, and in our own Ga " of Silesia, concludes the bulletin, comzelle. I was aware that the point upon posed of the Russian corps of Sacken and which Lord Burghersh and I differed, could Langeron, the Prussian corps of D’Yorck only be settled by the result; because, if " and Kleist, and about 80,000 strong, Buonaparıé had been greatly defeated; if " has been, in four days, beaten, dispersthe Allies, as his lordship asserted, had "sed, annihilated, without a general acgained a most glorious victory," it was " tion, and without occasioning any loss very clear that Napoicon could not recover “propurtioned to such great results.” from this for several months, and that the We also learn from the same source, that Allied army might proceed to Paris with the wreck of this formidable corps, which out any interruption. But if, as I con- had been within “ three marches” of Paris, tended, he was not defeated at Brienne, was in full retreat towards Rheins, á but had repulsed his assailants, he would distance of nearly ninety miles from the then be able, in a few days, according to French capital. The Times newspaper, my opinion, to meet the Allies and give which at last is forced to acknowthem batile. What then has been the ledge these misfortunes, endeavours to result? Has Buonaparte given way before conceal its chagrin, and to console its the immense and powerful armies which readers by hoping that Blucher may get threatened to close him in on all sides ? over them. "Notwithstanding the disusHas he been unable to protect the city of " ters," says that journal, “ (for such they Paris from being plundered and burnt by 6 must be confessed lo have been) which the " northern hordes ?” Did the aların, “ Marshal Blucher has experienced, we which such a prospect was calculated to may hope to see him in a very few days excite, occasion the removal of the seat of at ihe head of a formidable army, and government from the capital? Did the " perhaps resuming the menacing attitude Empress, yielding to the natural timidity " which he lately maintained." But of her sex, fly for protection, with her this is plainly the language of despair, not infant son, to a spot where she would have of hope; for if Marshal Blucher could not been in greater safety? Did symptoms force his way to Paris when at the head of like these, which would at once have indi. the flower of his army, and having only cated the discomfited and feeble state of raw undisciplined troops to oppose him, Buonaparté's army, appear 'at any period how is it to be supposed that he can effect among his subjects? Or rather, was not this by the straggling remains of a defeated every Frenchman devoted to his cause ? army (though he were again to succeed in Did they not, with enthusiasm, join his bringing them into action) against an enestandard, and march to expel the invaders, ny flushed with victory, and commanded the moment he signified this to be his wish? by a General like Buonaparte? The idea Were not the constituted authorities at is absurd. I am, indeed, of opinion with Paris, knowing that the sovereign had the Parisians, that “the most violent eneunder his command a numerous and well “ mies of France are defeated; the others provided army, perfectly confident that he's are not more terrible." By the others” would overcome all difficulties, and that is clearly meant the army under Schwarthowever vear, and however great the dan- zenburgh. To this army, say the war facger, the experience of the past was sufli- tion, " we have a right to look with stil!

« AnteriorContinuar »