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of this country for centuries, does not all England cry aloud ? But permit and consider this simple question, is there any need of all this? Are the relative natures of Englishmen and lawyers such that the former cannot exist without the latter? Are we such fools that with our excellent monarchical, parliamentary, and jury systems, we would, if we could help it, mix up our disagreements with sophistry and lies for the gain of the lawyers, and the still greater gain of the devil ? if we had a just, simple, tangible code of civil jurisprudence, made not by lawyers nor for their benefit, but made by honest Englishmen for the benefit of honest Englishmen?
Permit also the consideration of this fact, as every act of obedience to the will of the GREAT CREATOR brings a man nearer and more acceptable to Him, and every item of rebellion to that will moves him further off, so does the simple, humble, obedience of every good man bring a nation nearer to God, and the strife, injustice, and cruelty of every bad man move it further off. Is it then a small thing that laws should be so constructed
," mari them,"
as to promote among us hatred to each other ? and can it be questioned that the law's delay and expense, and the lawyers' tyrannical and deceitful impositions, produce hatred from thousands every year, while its victims are pining in want and undeserved disgrace?
Permit us to inquire on what ground the whole paraphernalia of law and lawyers presume to lord it over the people as they do?
Had a really honest man two sons, one oppressing the other as the lawyers oppress their countrymen, he would sympathize with and earnestly endeavour to relieve the sufferer ; but how would he deplore the tremendous prospects that he could not help but fear for the other; and if he succeeded in placing them on a footing of mutual justice, which nothing but the loss of life or reason would deter him from attempting, would he not confer the greater benefit on the oppressor ? Surely not religion only, but reason, would answer, yes ; let not then the friends of lawyers strive against such laws as will enable the honest to be just, and compel the knave to be so.
Permit us just to ask if there be any great national difficulty, and extensive cause of mischief and distress; of injury and revenge ; and the causes thereof can be traced in any considerable degree to a bad system; and a specific class of persons: and further, if it can be shown that such class does fatten on those wrongs and glory in them; and such persons from talent, education, habits, and connexions, have almost overwhelming opportunities of continuing those tremendous, because very wide-spreading mischiefs : and further, if in great matters as well as small, honesty is the best policy for the welfare and happiness both of nations and individuals : can any one who reflects on these things deliberately believe himself an honest man if he neglect candid, fair, straightforward, opportunities in conduct or influence of opposing all such monstrosities?
If the law interest can show a natural, just, or original claim to put the property of the nation in requisition, let them have it; but if men are professedly made lawyers for the population, and not the population made for the lawyers, truly let us have just as much of them as is good for us, and not allow them to cram their hands into our pockets without our leave, and say to us, you sha’n't have justice unless you bribe us to allow it.
Although the expense and uncertainty of law-suits operate beneficially by promoting prudence in avoiding persons and transactions likely to lead to litigation, yet the disadvantages produced by the want of cheap, ready, and substantial justice to the sufferers, and the still greater evil of encouraging men to screen themselves under bad laws, thus presenting them with a bounty on villany, so altogether weighs up the other side, that one would ask leave to suggest, that in every district, (and if the system relative to courts of record for criminal offences be admitted, the same boundaries may do for each) that in every two such districts there should be established one court, sitting once a month for the two districts, for the settlement of all debts under five pounds, yet not less than
forty shillings, and in the same building a court should be held once a month also for all debts under twenty pounds, and not less than five pounds; that the court for the lower sum should consist of a judge and five jurymen; and that for the larger sum of a judge and ten jurymen : the same functionary might preside in the courts of as many districts as was reasonably convenient to expect of a sensible, confidential, servant of the king and country.
That the proceedings should be somewhat after the following fashion: A plaintiff applies at the court-house any day but court-day, or the Sabbath-day; gives his name and address; states the name and address of the defendant, and the sum he claims, at least twelve working days before the court-day; receives a ticket with names of plaintiff and defendant, day and hour of the court meeting; on a stampt paper of five shillings, if in the lower court, or ten shillings if in the upper court; and pays for stamp and expenses eight shillings, if to the lower court, or fourteen shillings if to the upper