16 APRIL 1831, Page 17


IT is an old saying, that at burials and marriages the truth comes out. The meaning of the adage, we take it, is, that in periods of strong excitement, those feelings and facts which had shunned the light in calmer moments, burst forth in spite of all attempts at con- cealment; when the well is stirred, the old lady, who ordinarily lies slumbering at the bottom, rises to the surffice. As it is with individuals, so it is with nations. No sooner does the public mind get strongly interested in any pursuit, than numerous particulars that were before unseen and unknown, spring forth to notice and notoriety. The people of England are at present agog on the reform of the Commons House of Parliament. Forth steps Mr. JAMES FRASER, in the most roundabout and apparently misdirected method imaginable—in a summons before a Scotch court for pay- ment of a debt—not to instruct John Bull touching poindings and hornings, but to let him into the secrets of the rotten borough of Weymouth. Nor is this all. He not only lets out the abuses of the House of Commons, but, quod nemo optanti promittere auderet, he adds, for John's farther gratification, an edifying chap- ter on the abuses of the House of Lords. Colonel GORDON, whose bargains with and through Sir EDWARD SUGDEN have afforded no small amusement, had some substantial as well as fanciful inte"- rest in the Upper House ; and observe how he seeks to improve it. The following copy of a letter to Lord GRANTHAM, touching an appeal from the Scotch Court of Session of a case in which the gallant Colonel was aparty, appears in the Times of Tuesday.

"Cluny Castle, 13th February 1826. .4. My dear Grantham—I am quite uncertain where this may find you, but I hope, when it finds you, it will find you and all your family as well as I wish. You are unacquainted, I know, with our Scottish law, and are averse to hazard an opinion on matters you don't thoroughly understand. I have an appeal case coming on before the House of Lords, and have no apprehension for its success if it gets fair play ; but hear Lord Lauderdale, who is said to have a good deal of influence with the Chancellor, • and .who, it is likely, will be applied to by my opponent, may interfere, and do me no good. If Lord Redesdale were present, I am certain that my case would have his support ; and if you were in London at the time, and could attend when it comes on to be heard, I cannot help thinking that you would see I have been unjustly dealt with by the Court of Session in this country, and would give me your vote for a reversal of their judgment. Oar old fellow Milian, Mr. Shadwell, is to plead for me,

" Believe me ever most sincerely yours,

" JOHN Goaome."

Now, we cannot say that Mr. FRASER, in putting before us, in his summons, this plain and pleasant document, has enabled us to make any new discovery. We have all heard of the judges in the tribunal of dernier resort being canvassed ; nay, in one notorious ease, we have heard that the canvasser, in a private appeal too, and one belonging not to himself, but to a friend, was a personage who afterwards became King of England, and was, when he went round the House to beg and demand votes, the heir-apparent to the throne. We have all heard of this, but then it did not come before us in so palpable a form as Colonel GORDON'S case. The merit of Mr. FRASER is, that he gives the truth—if truth it be—

in so questionable a shape that we cannot pass it by; it lies in our way, and we find it.

It is worth while to analyse the letter of the gallant appellant. The application is made to a. most respectable nobleman, Lord GRANTHAM—a man who is admitted to be ignorant of Scotch law. What was the case ? It is headed" Gordon against the Tenants of the barony of Slams;" and without going farther than the title, we venture to say, that it was impossible to understand it at all without some knowledge of Scotch law. But then, Lord LAUDER- DALE was retained on the opposite side ; and if one lord were en- gaged to oppose the appeal, why should not another be retained to support it? And when Lord GRANTHAM heard it, he would of necessity see that the Supreme Court of Scotland had decided it contrary to the law, which he knew nothing about ; ergo, he must give Colonel GORDON his vote. If all this were not sufficient— if neither his own ignorance nor Lord LAUDERDALE'S knowledge could influence Lord GRANTHAM, there was still a most sufficient reason behind—the appeal was to be conducted by an old fellow Johnian We are sorry that the silence of the reporters touching the doings and sayings of the Peers in the case of "Gordon against the Tenants of Stains," does not enable us to say, whether these in ducements prevailed with Lord GRANTHAM, and whether he or Lord LAUDERDALE made the longer speech on the occasion ; nor does it much signify. Considered only as an inchoate act, issuing in nothing, in what a light does this letter represent the House of Lords! Above all things, it is most essential that our Judges be not only pure, but considered to be so. We believe in the purity and justice of the tribunal; but what is the belief which, by plain implication, is set forth in the letter we have quoted ? Does it not say, " Here are a set of judges, who will allow themselves to be openly solicited for their votes—to be sub- jected to applications from suitors for what they call justice ; and so far from resenting such an insult,—so far from bringing so flagrant a case of contempt under the notice of the Court which it degrades,—will look on the request as a matter of course affair, and continue to regard the petitioners with the same friendly respect as if no such affront had been offered?"