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some instances the salaries should be increased, and in others should be diminished. The Government had increased some of the salaries, although not exactly in the proportion recommended by the Commission, and they had made no reductions in any instances. He was not prepared to make any promise to treat this matter in a different way to what it had previously been treated—namely, not as a whole, but as an inquiry into individual cases.
The ignorance and carelessness implied in this statement were exposed by a correspondent of the Scotsman two days later. It was said, "The statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Thursday night in regard to the salaries of the Sheriffs-substitute has created some surprise among those who are familiar with the subject. The right hon. gentleman said that the Law Courts Commissioners had recommended a certain amount of increase of salary and also certain reductions. The latter part of the statement must have proceeded upon imperfect information. The terms of the report of the Commissioners are unequivocal: "We are unanimously of opinion that the remuneration of the Sheriffs-substitute is inadequate to their position, and therefore recommend that it should be increased." We think the minimum salary of the Sheriffs-substitute should be £700 a year." Probably Mr. Lowe referred to a proposal to diminish the present number of the Sheriff's-substitute, and to create new officers (seven in all), with limited powers, to act as paid magistrates in certain outlying and thinly-peopled districts. But if so, it should have been mentioned that the Commissioners' report expressly bears that such stipendiaries need not be "persons of the same class or bearing the same title as the Sheriffs-substitute, or possessing the same amount of professional qualification.”
Collision at Sea.-Apportionment of loss where both vessels are to blame.-Last month, in the writing of Lord Selborne's judicature bill, we referred to his Lordship's proposed abrogation in England of the rule of the Admiralty Court and of the general maritime law, that in a collision where both parties are to blame the loss shall be equally apportioned between them, and substitution of the rule of the English common law that in such circumstances each shall bear his own loss. Mr. Rothery, the learned Registrar of the Court of Admiralty, has since published a letter addressed to the Lord Chancellor, entitled "A Defence of the Rule of the Admiralty Court in cases of Collision between Ships." He combats the view taken by the Lord Chancellor, that it is the owner of the worst vessel who would benefit most under the Admiralty rule. Mr. Rothery's statement is very clear. He says:-"I will take your Lordship's figures, and will assume that A. and B. are the owners of two vessels, worth respectively £10,000 and £50,000; that they come into collision and that both alike are to blame for the collision that being a condition precedent to the equal division of the damages. And, first, I will assume that A.'s vessel goes to the bottom, and that B.'s is uninjured-a not very unusual occurrence in VOL. XVII. NO. CXCVII.—MAY 1873.
collisions at sea. Then A., who has lost £10,000 by the sinking of his vessel, would, under the Admiralty rule, both being to blame, be entitled to recover one-half of his loss, or £5,000, from B. Secondly, let us assume that B.'s vessel goes to the bottom and that A.'s is uninjured; then B., who has lost £50,000 by the sinking of his vessel, would be entitled to recover one moiety of his loss, or £25,000, from A. Thirdly, I will suppose that both go to the bottom, both alike being to blame for the collision. Then A., having lost £10.000 by the sinking of his vessel, is entitled to receive £5,000 from B. for a moiety of his damage; whilst B. is entitled to recover £25,000 from A. for a moiety of his damage. Each loses £30,000; A. by having to bear the loss of one moiety of his own vessel, or £5,000, and by having to pay to B. £25,000 for the moiety of his (B.'s) loss; and B. by having to bear the loss of one moiety of his own vessel, or £25,000, and having to pay to A. £5,000 for a moiety of his (A.'s) loss. The mistake of those who think that the owner of a vessel worth £10,000 might, by a collision with a vessel worth £50,000, receive under the Admiralty no less a sum than £30,000 as a compensation, arises from their supposing that the amount at stake is a common fund to be divided between two claimants, not a joint loss which has to be apportioned between them." Mr. Rothery gives a learned history of the rule, and argues that the rule as to contributory negligence, whether generally expedient or not, need not be applied to so peculiar a kind of property as ships at sea. The subject is well worthy the attention of Scotch commercial lawyers and chambers of commerce, because the establishment of such a law in England would most probably lead to proposals for its introduction in Scotland also. At present the singular anomaly exists in England of two different laws governing the same case, and becoming applicable according to the Court to which the question is brought for adjudication. There can be no doubt as to the propriety of extinguishing one of these rules; but we are inclined to think that the Lord Chancellor proposes to extinguish the wrong one. We shall be glad to receive communications on the subject.
Bugs. A case tried at Guildhall a few days ago was rendered memorable by the display of an unusually profound acquaintance with the habits, period of incubation, and powers of increase of the creature known to the law as "a noxious insect." The occasion of all this research was the raising afresh of the oft-litigated question as to whether a person who takes a furnished house is entitled to quit it without notice, on finding that it is infested with bugs. It is singular that on a point which must be of frequent occurrence the law should still be involved in some uncertainty. The judgment in Smith v. Marrable, 11 M. & W. 5, which laid down the principle that, under the circumstances above mentioned, the tenant might throw up his lease, was founded upon earlier cases, which cannot now be supported, and it certainly laid down the law too widely;
but the decision itself has never been expressly overruled, and was, indeed, distinguished in the well-known case of Hart v. Windsor, 12 M. & W. 68, in which it was held that on the letting of an unfurnished house there is no implied contract that it is in a reasonably fit state for habitation. The distinction appears to be sound in point of legal principle, although it has been usually supported by reasons of common sense and convenience. In order to enable a tenant to avoid his lease on the ground that the demised premises are uninhabitable, there must be a default on the part of his landlord. Izon v. Gorton, 5 Bing. (N. C.) 501; Arden v. Pullen, 10 M. & W. 328. Whether this default has or has not occurred of course depends upon the further question-What was the engagement of the landlord? and in the absence of express stipulation this must be judged of from the circumstances of the case. A landlord cannot be taken to engage that a house which does not contain a single piece of furniture or article of domestic utility is fit for habitation; he merely undertakes that the tenant, who is to fit it for habitation, shall have undisturbed enjoyment. On the other hand, the landlord of a furnished house must be taken to engage that it is in a fit state for habitation, since the use of the furniture, which is the consideration for the greatly advanced rent which the tenant agrees to pay, cannot be had unless the house is habitable; hence if the furnished house is not reasonably fit for habitation, the landlord is in default, and the tenant is entitled to be released from his contract. Whether the house is or is not in this state is, of course, a question for the jury upon the evidence in each case; hence the degree to which the nuisance alluded to above must exist, in order to render the house uninhabitable, is a matter involved in some doubt. The nuisance must prevail to such an extent that the tenant "cannot fairly be expected either to grapple with or endure it" (Campbell v. Wenlock, 4 F. & F. 710); but then arises the important question, what number of bugs a man may fairly be expected to endure. There is authority for the proposition that a "few bugs" will not entitle him to throw up the lease (per Cockburn, C.J., in 4 F. &. F. at p. 725), and in the recent case, although the butler testified that he pinned twenty-six of these insects to a cupboard door, and that at least twenty had been previously slain, the jury found for the landlord.Solicitors' Journal.
The Legal Supremacy of Husbands.-The Supreme Court of Illinois has recently solemnly discussed the vexed question what has become of the legal supremacy of the husband under the operation of the various statutes passed from time to time in the United States. After an elaborate examination of English and American cases, the Court came to a conclusion which some will regard as inciting to disunion, and as utterly destructive of the domestic relationship. This is how the Court sees fit to express itself: "His legal supremacy is gone, and the sceptre has departed from him. She, on the contrary, can have her separate estate; can contract with reference to it, can sue and be sued at law upon the contracts thus made; can sue in her own name for injury to her person and slander of her character, and can enjoy the fruits of her time and labour, free from the control or interference of her husband. The chains of the
past have been broken by the progression of the present, and she may now enter upon the stern conflicts of life untrammelled. She no longer clings to, and depends upon man; but has the legal right and aspires to battle with him in the contests of the forum; to outvie him in the healing art; to climb with him the steps of fame, and to share with him in every occupation. Her brain and hands and tongue are her own, and she should be responsible for slanders uttered by herself. Our opinion is that the necessary operation of the statutes is to discharge the husband from his liability for the torts of the wife during coverture, which he neither aided, advised, nor countenanced." It is difficult to believe that this is the considered judgment of a court of law. It reads much more like an effusion from the pen of Miss Becker. It is, however, satisfactory to find the Court driven to the logical conclusion that where a married woman is constituted a feme sole for the purpose of contracting the husband is released from liability for her torts. We must add that three judges concurred in a dissentient opinion to the effect that such liability could not be taken away save by an Act of the Legislature.-Law Times.
Lord Romilly's Resignation.-Lord Romilly publicly withdrew from the Court of the Master of the Rolls on Tuesday, March 25, receiving as he did so some elegant compliments from Sir Richard Baggallay and the plaudits of a crowded. court. As a public man Lord Romilly has long held a high position. We have already intimated what is the professional opinion upon his character as a judge. The profession cannot readily forgive a judge whose more important decrees were either reversed or varied as a matter of course. But the bulk of the work in his court he did admirably, and after estimating the failings of a successor we shall probably be better able to appreciate the qualities of the judge who has just retired.-Law Times.
Law Agents' Fees-The Profession Overstocked.--The inadequacy of the fees of Law Agents under the present tables was under consideration of a late meeting of the Faculty of Procurators, Dundee, specially called to consider the subject. A good deal of discussion took place, some members contending that a movement should be made to get the fees raised, and others maintaining that they were already as high as the business will bear, and that the evil was that there were more practitioners in the field than there was work for. Ultimately it was remitted to a committee to consider the whole matter and report.
Faculty of Procurators, Dundee.-At the annual meeting of this body on 6th February the following office-bearers were elected, viz. Mr. J. B. Baxter, Preses; Mr. John Shiell, Vice-Preses; Mr. G. Heron, Treasurer; and Mr. J. A. Swanston, Secretary.
ROBERT FORREST, Esq., Writer and Banker, Kirriemuir, died there after a short illness, March 23, aged 44. Mr. Forrest was a native. of Kirriemuir, having been the youngest son of Mr. William Forrest, banker there. Mr. Forrest commenced practice about 1850, and soon acquired a large business-chiefly as factor on landed properties in the district. He was a Commissioner of Supply for the county of Forfar, and was, about a month before his death, appointed agent at Kirriemuir for the British Linen Company, on the retire
ment of his father and brother. He leaves a widow and young family. The funeral was a public one, and was attended by a large number of mourners.
WILLIAM CANDLISH HOTSON, Esq., Writer, Glasgow (1869), died there on 31st March, aged 31 years.
Seward. It is worth preserving the following beautiful “Editorial" on the death of Mr. W. H. Seward, which we find in our learned contemporary, the Pacific Law Reporter of San Francisco. It must be admitted that the language could not be paralleled by any legal or other journal on this side of the ocean. "The death of Wm. H. Seward is a national loss. To the Bar he was a pride and an honour. Few advocates were more able or earnest in the cause of their clients. There was no phase of the law with which Seward was not familiar. In civil and criminal cases he had remarkable success. His connection with the Michigan railroad conspiracy case is historical, and exhibited a courage, perseverance, and skill, unequalled. As a statesman his ability as a lawyer became pre-eminently conspicuous. A more devoted student of the law, a more firm advocate of the whole system, as the root of all government, freedom, and virtue, has not been numbered among our representative men.
"His eternal epitaph is graven in imperishable lines upon the fadeless tablets of unending time."
Notes of English, American, and Colonial Cases.
RAILWAY-Damage by Fire from Locomotive-Proximate and Remote Cause.—(1.) A locomotive, with a train of freight cars belonging to the appellee, in passing eastwardly through the village of Fairbury, threw out great quantities of unusually large cinders, and set on fire two buildings and a lumber yard, the weather at the time being very dry, and the wind blowing freely from the south. One of the buildings ignited by the sparks was a warehouse near the track. The heat and flames from this structure speedily set on fire the building of plaintiff's, situated about two hundred feet from the warehouse, and destroyed it. The Court held, on demurrer to the evidence, that it tended to prove that the fire escaped through the carelessness of the defendant, and that the destruction of the plaintiff's house was its natural consequence, which any reasonable person could have foreseen, and remanded the case for trial. (2.) Conflicting Authorities. The Court considers and repudiates the doctrine laid down in Ryan v. The N. Y. Cent. R. R. Co. (35 N. Y. 214), and by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Kerr v. Penn. R. R. Co. (P. F. Smith, 353), that where the fire is communicated by the locomotive to the house of A, and thence to the house of B, there can be no recovery by the latter, as the fire was not communicated directly from the railway to the house of B. (3.) Proximate Cause. That the true rule in all cases is to determine whether the loss was one which might reasonably have been anticipated from the careless setting of the fire under all the circumstances surrounding the careless act at the time of its performance, and if loss has been caused by the act, and it was, under the circumstances, a natural consequence which any reasonable person could have anticipated, then the act is a proximate cause, whether the house burned was the first or the tenth, the latter being so situated that its destruction is a consequence reasonably to be anticipated from setting the first on fire.
The following extract is from the opinion of the Court by Lawrence, C. J.:— Parsons, in his work on Contracts (ii. p. 456, 1st ed.), after alluding to the confusion in which the adjudged cases leave this question, says :-"We have been disposed to think that there is a principle, desirable on the one hand from the general reason and justice of the question, and on the other, applicable as a