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Saxon race. “To be hanged by the neck, what a death!” exclaimed a wretched murderess, the other day, as the judge pronounced the terrible sentence. Is not the horror which these words express a most powerful plea for the maintenance of a form of punishment the terror of which is a most formidable preventive against the darkest crime of which humanity is capable?
(The foregoing article from the Scottish Law Magazine we have published in connection with the proceedings of the Medico-Legal Society of New York, in order to give both sides of the question.
We are not in favor of the death penalty in any form. If the penalty is to be retained, the form of enforcing it should be freed from all elements of barbarity.-EDITOR LAW TIMES.)
In the correspondence of John Lothrop Motley, author of “Rise of the Dutch Republic,” recently published, there are some interesting descriptions of English public men. Motley, it may be remarked, was educated for the law, but found other occupations more congenial, and probably more useful to mankind. In 1851, the historian met Lyndhurst and Brougham at dinner. Here is what he writes of the latter:.
“Brougham is exactly like the pictures in Punch, only Punch flatters him. The common pictures of Palmerston and Lord John are not like at all to my mind, but Brougham is always hit exactly. His face, like his tongue and his mind, is shrewd, sharp, humorous. There certainly never was a great statesman and author who so irresistibly suggested the man who does the comic business at a small theatre. You are compelled to laugh when you see him as much as at Keeley or Warren. Yet, there is absolutely nothing comic in his mind. But there is no resisting his nose. It is not merely the configuration of that wonderful feature which surprises you, but its mobility. It has the litheness and almost the length of the elephant's proboscis, and I have no doubt he can pick up pins or scratch his back with it as easily as he could take a pinch of snuff. He is always twisting it about in quite a fabulous manner. .
“His hair is thick and snow-white and shiny; his head is large and knobby and bumpy, with all kinds of phrenological developments, which I did not have a chance fairly to study. The rugged outlines or headlands of his face are wild and bleak,
but not forbidding. Deep furrows of age and thought and toil, perhaps of sorrow, run all over it, while his vast mouth, with a ripple of humor ever playing around it, expands like a placid bay, under the huge promontory of his fantastic and incredible
His.eye is dim and could never have been brilliant, but his voice is rather shrill, with an unmistakable northern intonation; his manner of speech is fluent, not garrulous, but obviously touched by time; his figure is tall, slender, shambling, awkward, but of course perfectly self-possessed. Such is what remains at eighty of the famous Henry Brougham.”
The table talk of these two veterans of the law was not particularly interesting or brilliant. Motley says he does not repeat it because it is worth recording, but because he “tries to Boswellize a little" for the entertainment of the member of his family to whom his letter is addressed:
“The company was too large for general conversation, but every now and then we at our end paused to listen to Brougham and Lyndhurst chaffing each other across the table. Lyndhurst said, “Brougham, you disgraced the woolsack by appearing there with those plaid trousers, and with your peer's robe, on one occasion, put on over your chancellor's gown.' The devil,' said Brougham, 'you know that to be a calumny; I never wore the plaid trousers.” “Well,' said Lyndhurst, 'he confesses the two gowns. Now, the present Lord Chancellor never appears except in small clothes and silk stockings. Upon which Lady Stanley observed that the ladies in the gallery all admired Lord Chelmsford for his handsome leg. 'A virtue that was never seen in you, Brougham,' said Lyndhurst.”
One of the most interesting things in the book is Bismarck's description of parliamentary warfare. Bismarck and Motley were college companions at Gottingen and Berlin in 1832-3, and the friendship then formed continued throughout life. In a note jotted down in the Chamber (about 1864), Bismarck says: “You have given me a great pleasure with your letter of the 9th, and I shall be very grateful to you if you will keep your promise to write oftener and longer. I hate politics, but, as you say truly, like the grocer hating figs, I am none the less obliged to keep my thoughts increasingly occupied with
those figs. Even at this moment while I am writing to you, my ears are full of it. I am obliged to listen to particularly tasteless speeches out of the mouths of uncommonly childish and excited politicians, and I have, therefore, a moment of unwilling leisure which I cannot use better than in giving you news of my welfare. I never thought that in my riper years I should be obliged to carry on such an unworthy trade as that of a parliamentary minister. As envoy, although an official, I still had the feeling of being a gentleman; as (parliamentary) minister one is a helot. I have come down in the world, and hardly know how.
“April 18.-I wrote as far as this yesterday, then the sitting came to an end;, five hours' Chamber until three o'clock; one hour's report to his Majesty, three hours at an incredibly dull dinner, old important Whigs, then two hours' work; finally, a supper with a colleague, who would have been hurt if I had slighted his fish. This morning, I had hardly breakfasted, before Karolyi was sitting opposite to me; he was followed without interruption by Denmark, England, Portugal, Russia, France, whose ambassador I was obliged to remind at one o'clock that it was time for me to go to the House of phrases. I am sitting again in the latter; hear people talk nonsense, and end my letter.
“All these people have agreed to approve our treaties with Belgium, in spite of which, twenty speakers scold each other with the greatest vehemence, as if each wished to make an end of the other; they are not agreed about the motives which make them unanimous, hence, alas! a regular German squabble about the emperior's beard; guerelle d'Allemand. You AngloSaxon Yankees have something of the same kind also. Do you all know exactly why you are waging such furious war with each other? All certainly do not know, but they kill each other con amore, that's the way the business comes to them. Your battles are bloody; ours wordy; these chatterers really cannot govern Prussia, I must bring some opposition to bear against them; they have too little wit and too much selfcomplacency-stupid and audacious. Stupid, in all its meanings, is not the right word; considered individually, these
people are sometimes very clever, generally educated—the regulation German University culture; but of politics, beyond the interests of their own church tower, they know as little as we knew as students, and even less; as far as external poli. tics go, they are also, taken separately, like children. In all other questions, they become childish as soon as they stand together in corpore. In the mass, stupid,-individually, intelligent.” This inimitable description would apply to more than the Prussian Chamber.
We might continue our extracts, did we not fear to encroach too far on the domain of our “useless but entertaining" contemporary, The Green Bay. So we will conclude with a reference to the letter which ended Mr. Motley's functions as Minister to Austria. Somebody whose very name was unknown to him, wrote a letter to Mr. Seward in 1866, eharging Motley with being “a thorough flunky," and the like. A copy of this contemptible communication was formally addressed to the Minister, with a request for an explanation, and Motley resigned in disgust. “No man can regret more than I do," writes the chagrined ambassador, “that such a correspondence is enrolled in the Capitol among American State papers." United States secretaries have not all yet acquired a correct notion of what is decent or dignified in State papers.-(Montreal Legal News.)