16 MARCH 1872, Page 2

Mr. M'Lagan is pushing a very clever Bill very easily

through Parliament. It declares that whenever applied to, as in cases of suspicious death, the Coroner shall have power to hold an inquest on the cause of any fire, as he would upon the cause of any death, the expense being borne by the ratepayers and—as was subse- quently agreed—by the Insurance Offices. That is an excellent plan, and may be made much better by taking advantage of Mr. Bruce's mild suggestion that Coroners are often very stupid people, " deficient," as he said, in " judicial know- ledge." Suppose we take advantage of a good opportunity, and knock the ancient and disgraceful method of electing coroners on the bead. No other judges are elected, and they ought not to be, but carefully selected either by the Home Secretary or the Lord Chancellor, preferentially the former, as there is no need to deprive the doctors of their only little bit of State work. Picked doctors could inquire about fires quite as well as elected attorneys.