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of certain offences, both of the clergy and laity. Justice is administered in them .# to the civil and canon law. The principa ecclesiastical courts are—1. The provincial courts of the two archbishoprics, of which the Court of Arches, in that of Canterbury, is the supreme court of appeal; 2. The diocesan or consistorial courts o each diocese; 3. The courts of the archdeacons ; 4. Peculiars (which indeed are local courts), of a small exclusive jurisdiction, which are very numerous. 6. The Court of Admiralty is held before the lord high admiral or his deputy: it consists of the Instance Court, which takes cognizance of contracts, and injuries on the high seas; and the Prize Court, which adjudicates on prizes taken in war. This court also professes to follow the civil law. Local courts, both of criminal and civil jurisdiction, are extremely numerous, and governed by a variety of different usages. Such are the courts of the boroughs having municipal corporations; manor courts; the courts of various exclusive jurisdictions, such as the Marshalsea or Palace Court in Westminster, the Stannary Courts of Cornwall, &c. &c. They are all subject to the general jurisdiction of the King's Bench. Such is the form and constitution of the principal English courts of justice. But their machinery will be best understood by a very brief sketch of the mode in which justice is administered by their means; which, for the sake of brevity, must be confined to the superior courts. 1. If a party have a complaint of civil injury against another, either in a matter of contract, or tort, i.e. civil wrong, such as trespass and the like, (unless for a debt below a certain amount, for which, by various statutes and customs, the plaintiff may sue, if he please, before various local and inferior tribunals — or for certain small trespasses cognizable by magistrates,) he commences a suit in one of the superior courts of common law. The first step in the action is technically termed a writ of summons.' If the suit were for a sum certain, the plaintiff had formerly the right to arrest or hold to bail the defendant; but this right is now extinguished, and the ordinary (or “non-bailable”) }. substituted for it, except in certain pecuiar cases. The writ of summons is followed by a statement of the cause of action, termed a declaration ; which the defendant answers by one or more pleas; and these reciprocal allegations are continued (being drawn up in a technical form, and shown by the one party to the other) until a direct contradiction (technically an issue) is arrived at, either in point of law or of fact. If the former, the case is argued before the court in which the action is commenced, and judgment given: if the latter, the cause is sent to be tried before a jury. The three courts of common law hold four terms in the year (each of about 3 weeks' duration), during which the judges of each sit together. In these sittings they decide on issues of law; hear applications in causes already decided by juries, to have them sent down again for what is termed a new trial ; set aside, or maintain, the verdicts of juries on grounds of law; and perform other business, which it is imssible here to particularise. The Court of K. B. also exercises at this time its appellate Jurisdiction over inferior courts. To try issues of fact, juries are summoned – 1. In London and Middlesex, four times a year, before each of the three courts, for a certain number of days during and after each term. A single
judge(usually the chief) of the court in which the action is commenced, presides at its trial by the jury. . 2. The remainder of England and Wales ivided into seven circuits: two of these (the Welsh) are travelled by a single judge each, who meet in the county of Chester. In the remaining five, two travel together. These circuits are held twice a year — spring and summer—occuo from seven to four weeks. In the course of them, the judges visit every county town. The selection of circuits is left to the choice of the judges. They hold several commissions, of which the principal are those technically termed of assize, nisi prius, oyer and terminer, and general gaol delivery. The first of these is now nearly obsolete. By virtue of the two second (through various fictions originating in ancient usages), they hold courts at which juries are summoned to try causes, in the manner before explained, in each county. It is evident, from the foregoing sketch, that the issues of fact in an action are not necessarily tried before a judge of the court in which the action was commenced; but if it be sought to set aside that verdict, or obtain a new trial, application must be made to that court. Persons are qualified to serve on juries by the possession of certain species of property; chiefly freeholders of 10l. per annum, and householders of a certain value. There are numerous causes of exemption, which practically extend to all the higher classes of society. Jurors are summoned by the sheriff, on a system intended to take all qualified persons in the county as nearly as possible in rotation; and twelve are selected by ballot from the list of those in attendance for the trial of each cause, – challenges being allowed under certain legal restrictions, but to such an extent as to exclude all individuals who can be fairly supposed to be biassed in favour of either party, or in a situation to hinder them from bringing in a conscientious verdict. Plaintiffs or defendants may, if so inclined, pray for a special jury; persons qualified to serve on which belong to a higher class of society. Witnesses are examined vivá voce, in open court. On verdict given, the court pronounces judgment, with damages and costs, according to the principles of law applicable to each case. Such is the course of an action at common law; but if the question arising between the parties touch on matters of equitable jurisdiction, (which, in technical language, is said to extend to trusts, charities, matters of account, fraud, accident, and mistake,) in some cases the preferable, in others the exclusive, mode of obtaining justice, is by application to a court of equity. That application is by a suit commenced by bill on information : questions arising in the progress of the suit are determined on petition or motion. Not only the pleadings, as in courts of common law, but the examination of witnesses, are conducted in writing. The judgment of the court is styled a decree. When a doubtful question of fact arises, the judge will sometimes send the question to be tried by way of issue before a jury in a common law court; but he is not bound by its verdict in making his decree. It is a general principle in courts of law and equity, that all the proceedings in a cause (with some very trifling exceptions) may be carried on by plaintiff or defendant in person; but this is very rarely done, from obvious causes. If not in person, the party can only carry them on by the authorised officers of the court – viz. 1. Attorneys, or solicitors, who are employed in carrying on all or most of the preliminary proceedings; 2. Barristers, or counsel retained by
the former to conduct the proceedings in court. Without entering into technical distinctions, it is sufficient to state that barristers (beginning with the lowest order) are classed as — 1. Utter, or within the bar, ranking by seniority; 2. Serjeants, a body formerly possessing the exclusive right to practise in the Court of Common Pleas – now confounded in practice with the next, or third class; 3. Counsel within the bar, — to which rank they are admitted by patent either as king's counsel or of precedency, enabling them to take rank according to the date of their patent. The attorney and solicitor general rank at the head of the bar. These officers are the counsel employed by the crown in various contingencies, and considered as forming part of the administration—going out of office along with it. There are also other classes of practitioners, not necessarily barristers, viz. pleaders, employed in drawing pleadings at common law; and conveyancers, whose business consists in drawing deeds relating to property. In the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts, the of are according to forms derived from the civil law: evidence is documentary. The duties of the attorney are executed by officers styled proctors; and the counsel are doctors of civil law, graduates of the universities. Criminal Process. - Crimes are divided by the ancient customary law of England into treasons, felonies, and misdemeanors: the latter, being generally offences of inserior importance (such as breaches of the peace, riots, attempts to commit certain other offences, &c.), are punishable by fine or imprisonment only. Parties suspected of criminal acts may be apprehended on the warrant of a justice, granted only on the sworn testimony of one witness at least, directed to the constable or other peace officer of the district; but any one may lawfully arrest one who has committed felony, or breach of the ace, in his presence. The offender is then carried §: a justice of the peace. Unless the case be one of those minor offences for which the justice has power to punish on summary conviction, without the aid of a jury, the party charged is committed to gaol, or admitted to bail, according to the nature of the offence. He is committed to take his trial, in most cases at the next ensuing sessions of the peace (either in boroughs or counties), or at the next gaol delivery, by the judges at the assizes, whichever may happen first; but capital, and in general the most serious, class of offences are tried at the assizes only. In Middlesex and certain adjoining parts, offences are now tried by the Central Criminal Court, which sits twelve times a year at least, and is usually attended by two or more judges of the superior courts, and the judicial authorities of the city of London. The prosecution is then carried on, in the name of the king, by indictment before the grand jury. This body, consisting of from 12 to 23 persons, (at the assizes, persons of rank in the county; at the sessions, persons of somewhat inferior station,) receives all indictments, and hears the evidence on the part of the prosecution. If the indictment be dismissed, it is returned to the court with the endorsement “no bill,” and the accused is free. If the evidence appear to themfood facie satisfactory, the bill is said to be found, and the prisoner or defendant is put on his trial. (The grand jury is also summonened to find bills
of the Home Office. The sheriff is the officer to whom the execution of the sentence of the law is intrusted. Crimes and Punishments. – If the returns as to the number of criminal offences might be depended on, it might be concluded that there had of late years been a great increase of crime. Little dependence can, however, be placed on these returns; and by far the greater part of the apparent increase of crime that has taken place of late years is to be ascribed to the greater vigilance and efficiency of the police, and to the committal of many persons for offences that were previously hardly thought worthy of notice. There has been of late years a great decrease in the number of most sorts of crimes of violence. The detestable crime of arson, or malicious fireraising, has, however, considerably increased; and there has also been a considerable increase of stabbing and maiming. Poverty and destitution have always been the great incentives to crime; and the measures best calculated to mitigate or avert the former, are, at the same time, the best calculated to mitigate or avert the latter. It would seem that the constitution of the police force in great towns might be materially improved. At present it is extremely well adapted for preserving order and preventing the committal of crimes, but it is ill-fitted for their discovery when committed; and it would, therefore, seem to be worth consideration, whether a select police force especially devoted to the discovery of crime should not be added to the present preventive police. The criminal law of England might formerly, perhaps, have been justly characterised as sanguinary; but in this respect a great change has been effected within these few years, and capital punishments are now never inflicted except for murder and other atrocious offences. It is, indeed, believed by many, and, perhaps, not without good reason, that, in this respect, we have recently gone too far on the side of le. niency. Prisons have, also, within these few years been much improved; and great attention is now paid to the classification of prisoners, and to the maintenance of an efficient prison discipline. Among the secondary punishments, transportation has long occupied a prominent place; but recently a notion has been gaining ground unfavourable to its efficiency; and, perhaps, it will, at no very distant period, be abandoned. But we incline to think that the abuses by which it has been infected might be removed by judicious regulations; and §. it will not be easy to substitute any punishment in its stead that will, on the whole, answer so well. We subjoin
I. An Account of the Sentences of Persons convicted of criminal Offences in 1841, 1842, 1843, and 1844.
against too. not in custody or on bail for for which there is no previous arrest, such as perjury; and these are tried at the ensuing gaol "...". There is also, in certain offences, chiefly of a public nature, a mode of proceeding by information, which supersedes the necessity of an indictment. The accused, when brought into court under this preliminary process, is arraigned before a petty jury, summoned in the same manner as the jury in civil causes just described. If he plead guilty on arraignment, his plea is recorded, and judgment given. If he plead not guilty, the trial proceeds. [There are also certain pleas in bar, or defences to the prosecution of a technical nature, rarely resorted to, as the accused by pleading them waves the trial by jury.] The witnesses are then heard; and if the jury find the prisoner “ not guilty,” he is released ; if “guilty,” he is convicted, and judgment passes. A judgment may be reversed for error of law, by the superior court; and pardon may be granted, either by act of parliament, or by the king's letters patent under the great seal. Pardon, and remission of part of the sentence, is, in point of fact, obtained through the agency
Church of England. – The king is head and supreme governor of the national Church of England; in which character he has the right to assemble, prorogue, and dissolve all synods and convocations of the clergy; is the ultimate judge of appeal in ecclesiastical causes (an ...}. exercised by the lord chancellor); and has the nomination to bishoprics and some other ecclesiastical preferments. The clergy of the Church of England are divided into three degrees or orders, – bishops, priests, and deacons. There are two archbishops and 24 bishops within the realm of England. They are nominated to their respective dioceses by the crown; the election being by a writ of congé d'élire, or licence to elect, addressed to the dean and chapter of the diocese, accompanied by a letter from the sovereign, directing them to elect a certain specified individual. By the canons of the church, every candidate for holy orders must be examined and approved by a bishop. The bishop has episcopal jurisdiction in his court in ecclesiastical matters; and the general superintendence over the clergy. An archbishop is the chief of the clergy in his province; has the inspection of the bishops and inferior clergy; and exercises an appellate jurisdiction from the episcopal courts. Magnitude and Emolument of Bishoprics. – The discrepancy that prevailed in ancient times in the size of bishoprics, though somewhat diminished by the erection of new sees at the Reformation, has continued down to the present time, and the inconveniences thence resulting have been greatly augmented by the wonderful increase that has taken place since 1760 in the population of certain districts compared with others. [A Table, giving a view of the populalation, parishes, &c. contained in each bishopric, as they existed on the 1st of May, 1831, is inserted at top of next o The revenues, too, as well as the territorial extent and pop. of the different sees, differed very widely; so much so, that while the bishop of i. had a nett revenue of from 18,000l. to 20,000l. a year, the revenue of the see of Llandaff did not exceed from 900l. to 1,300l. a year ! and there were other instances in which the discrepancy was not much less striking. This difference was partly owing to circumstances connected with the original establishment of the various sees, and partly to the property attached to some having, from various causes, become in the course of time much more valuable than that attached to others. But, however the inequalities referred to may have originated, it has long been felt that a new arrangement of the bishoprics, both as respects their territorial magnitude and their revenues, would be highly desirable; and such an arrangement is now in course of being effected. Commissioners appointed in 1834 recommended that two new bishoprics — those of Manchester and Ripon — should be formed in the principal manufacturing districts, chiefly out of territories
included in the dioceses of York and Chester. . They further recommended that, saving the rights of the (then) existing incumbents, the bishoprics of Gloucester and Bristol should be united, and the bishopric of Sodor and Man suppressed. At an average of the 3 years ending with 1831, the total nett revenue of the different sees amounted to 160,292l., giving, had it been equally divided, an annual income of 5,925l. to each see. But though the differences in the incomes of the various sees were then much too great, it is right that the revenues of archbishops should exceed those of bishops, and it may also be proper to make reasonable distinctions in the revenues of the latter. Such appears to have been the view of this matter taken by the commissioners; and they consequently recommended that according as opportunity offered sundry deductions should be made from the revenues of the sees of Canterbury, York, London, Durham, Winchester, &c.; and that the surplus revenue so arising should be formed into a fund for the endowment of the two new bishoprics, and for raising the income of the poorer class of sees to from 4,000l. to 5,000l. a year. These recommendations have since been confirmed and carried out in all their essential particulars by the act 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 77., and by the orders in council issued under its authority. The income of the bishop of Durham was reduced in 1836, on the death of Dr. Van Mildert, to 8,000l. a year. In the course of the same year Ripon was formed into a bishopric. The sees of Gloucester and Bristol have also been united; and the sees of Bangor and St. Asaph are to be united on the occurrence of the first vacancy in either. The formation of the bishopric of Manchester is to be delayed till this last mentioned event takes place, that the total number of bishoprics may not be increased. (See statement at top of next column, which sets the most important particulars now brought under the reader's notice in the clearest point of view.) Every diocese has a chapter, consisting of a dean and a certain number of canons and prebendaries. The chapter is often styled the council of the bishop; but it exercises, in point of fact, no sort of interference with the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, or with the general superintending authority of the bishop. The chief duty of its members consists in maintaining the constant celebration of divine service in the cathedral church. Deaneries
Account showing the Gross and Nett Revenue produced by the different Archbishoprics and Bishoprics of England and Wales in 1843 ; the Revenue that will be enjoyed by each Archbishop and Bishop under the Act 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 77., when it takes effect; and the Instances in which it has already (July 1845) taken effect.
| Income of Income of Archbi-li. | se-in which Sees. *"opol low. rics in 154 by Act 5 & IV. c. 77. has - 7 Will. IV. taken effect. Gross. Nett. c. 77. £ Canterbury - 20,970 15,000 York - - - 19,065 10, to London - - 12, 181 10,000 four harn - - 6,792 8,000 | Durham. Winchester - 9, 104 7,000 St. Asaph - - 5,749 Bangor - - § |} 3,200 Bath and Wells 4,005 5,000 Carlisle - - 1,585 4. (ro Chester - - 1,584 1.% Chichester - 6,381 Chichester. St. Lavid's - 4,077 St. David’s. Ely - - - 5,686 Ely. Exeter - - 34? Gloucester and Bristol - - 5,000 5. hereford - - 5,042 4,200 hereford. .ichfield - - no return; ..”00 Lichfield. ..in coin - - 4,439 5,000 Llandaff - . - 806 4,200 Norwich - - 7,568 4,500 | Norwich. -- - - 1,601 5,000 Peterborough - ,785 4,600 Peterborough. Ripon - - 4,124 4,500 Ripon. Hochester - 794 5,000 Salisbury - - 12,142 5,000 Salisbury. Worcester - ,674 5,000 Worcester. Mancho-ster - - - 4,5t
are in the gift of the crown; some by the form of election by the chapter (as in the case of bishops), others by the king's lotters patent. The canons are variously appointed,—by the crown, by the bishop, or by election among themselves. Besides the chapters in cathedral churches, there are also chapters in a few others, which are styled collegiate churches. Archdeacons are church officers, appointed (in most cases) by the bishops for their assistance in various matters connected with the superintendence of the diocese. Parsons are the incumbents of parish churches. They must be priests; and derive their title by presentation, induction, and institution. They are termed rectors or vicars; – the former being such as are entitled to the whole tithes of the parish; the latter only to a certain portion. The number of parochial benefices in England and Wales amounts to above 10,500. Of these, the advowson, or right of presentation, to about one half is in the hands of private owners; the remainder belong to the crown (of which the patronage is exercised, as respects livings of inferior value, by the chancellor), to archbishops and bishops, ecclesiastical corporations, universities, &c. The residence of incumbents in their benefices, and the restriction of the right to hold more than one benefice, have been the objects of a variety of regulations both in canons and statutes. Incumbents may be deprived either by sentence in the ecclesiastical courts for particular offences, or in pursuance of certain penal statutes. Curates are likewise priests, licensed by the bishop of the diocese, and nominated to serve cures. Stipendiary curates are such as are appointed by rectors, either to supply their place in case of non-residence, or to assist them ; whose salary is regulated by statute, or episcopal authority. Perpetual curates are appointed to churches in which there is neither rector nor vicar; or to chapels of ease, parochial chapels, and free chapels, that is, district churches in large parishes. The order of deacon, in the constitution of the English church, serves merely as a necessary
preliminary to that of priest. By the canons of the church, no bishop can admit any one to holy orders, “who is not of his own diocese, except he be either of the universities of this realm, or except he bring letters dismissory from the bishop of whose diocese he is.” But in practice, it is not usual for any bishop to admit to holy orders any one who has not taken the degree of Bachelor of Arts, or its equivalent, at the university of Oxford or Cambridge. Exceptions are made in favour of the new university of Durham for students of the North of England, of the college of Lampeter for Welshmen, &c., and in some cases, of Trinity College, Dublin. The canons of the church of England were made by the archbishop and clergy of the province of Canterbury convened in convocation in 1603, and ratified by James I. They have not been established by act of parliament, . consequently are binding on the clergy on 1 W. §e convocations of the clergy had, originally, the exclusive right of imposing taxes on that body, as well as of deliberating and making canons for the government of the church. They were summoned by the king : and consisted, in each province, of the archbishop, bishops, and deans, and a certain number of representatives (styled proctors) from the chapters and parochial clergy. They are still formally summoned at the commencement of every parliament; but have not been assembled since the reign of queen Anne. The revenues of the church are derived partly from land, and partly from tithes. The latter formed the original endowment of every parochial church. But a very large proportion of them fell gradually into the hands of ecclesiastical corporations; and a part of these again, at the dissolution of monasteries, into the hands of private individuals. Out of the 10,500 benefices, more than 3,000 have had their “great" tithes, or those of corn, wool, &c., appropriated or impropriated; in most of these instances, however, the “small tithes,” as they are termed, or those of fruit, milk, pigs, and such like articles, are reserved for the maintenance of the church. Nearly a third part of the land of England and Wales is wholly tithe-free, owing to exemptions enjoyed in former times by religious houses. Tithe is now, by an act passed in 1837, under a course of commutation for an invariable corn rent, to be converted into money, at the prices of the day. The Commissioners of Ecclesiastical Inquiry have given the following details with respect to the incomes of the clergy: — “From the returns of our, inquiries arranged and digested in the tabular statements before mentioned, it appears that the total amount of the gross annual revenues of the several archiepiscopal and episcopal sees in England and Wales, is 181,6311. ; affording an average of 6,7271. ; and the total amount of the nett annual revenues of the same is 160,2921. ; affording an average of 5,936l. “The total amount of the gross annual revenues of the several cathedral and collegiate churches in England and Wales is 284,24]!... and the total amount of the nett annual revenues of the same is 208,289/. “The total amount of the gross annual separate revenues of the several dignitaries and other spiritual persons, members of the cathedral and collegiate churches in England and Wales, is 75,854!. ; and the total amount § § nett annual separate revenues of the same is J., “ivo. M. “The total number of benefices, with and without cure of souls, the incumbents whereof have made returns to our inquiries, omitting those which are permanently or accustomably annexed to superior preferments, and which are included in the statements respecting those preferments, is 10,540. The total amount of the gross annual revenues of these benefices is 3,197,225l.,
giving an average income of 3031. ; and the total amount
apply any part of it to any purpose other than the support of the church 1 But a pretension of this sort is totally inadmissible. 'hether it would be wise and proper to make any such diversion is a matter dependent on circumstances, and to be judged of at the time; but certainly there is no principle or right of any kind to hinder parliament, should it be so disposed, from dealing with church property as it would deal with any thing else. An established church is neither part nor parcel of religion: it is a mere human institution, with functionaries appointed and paid by the state; and should parliament be honestly impressed with the conviction that the great interests of religion and morality will be better promoted by diverting a portion of the church property to other purposes, it is not entitled merely, but it is its bounden duty so to divert it. The rights of existing incumbents ought, of course, to be protected; but provided this be done, parliament is quite as much entitled to remodel the church, and dispose of its property, as it is to remodel the army or the navy, or to disband a regiment, or pay off a line of battle ship. Dissenters from the Church of England are now, after more than a century of struggles, placed entirely on an equal footing with its members in respect of political rights and privileges. The dissenters consist principally of— 1. The Roman Catholics, who have increased, chiesly through the immigration of Irish labourers, from 60,000 to 500,000 or 600,000 since the accession of George III. 2. The members of what are commonly called the three denominations,— Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists : of these, the first, since the period of the civil wars, when for a short time they had political power and the revenues of the church in their hands, have rapidly diminished. Many of their churches have become Unitarian. The Independents or Congregationalists are so termed from asserting, as their fundamental principle, the independence of each separate congregation. They are numerous, and, unlike the Presbyterians, have, for the most part, retained the funda. mental doctrines professed by the great majority of Christians. The Baptists are divided into general (or Arminian) and particular (or Calvinistic.) These three bodies do not ;P. to advance in numerical strength. 3. Of the Methodists, there are likewise two principal divisions. The Wesleyans, the most powerful and important, whose origin was about a century ago, now number about a million of members. Their dissent from the church is less complete than that of other sects. The Calvinistic Methodists are chiefly established in Wales. 4. The Quakers are more remarkable for the singularity of their tenets and observances (although their strictness in the latter appears to be on the decline), than for their numbers. 5. Jews are not numerous in England; but are supposed to have augmented considerably of late years, and to amount at present to 20,000 or 25,000. The following table of the number of congregations belonging to the more important bodies of dissenters from the Church of England was framed in 1836, and is supposed to be nearly
For details as to the military force, navy,
revenue, &c., of the kingdom, see ante, p.464, &c.