The Liberal electors of Lambeth, to the number of eight hundred, celebrated the return, for the fourth time, of their candidates, Mr. Ben- jamin Hawes and Mr. Tennyson D'Eyncourt, at a public dinner in the Rotunda of Vauxhall Gardens, on Wednesday. Mr. William Hawes was in the chair. The company included Mr. John Easthope, M.P.,
Mr. Hatton, the late Member for Dublin, Mr. Larpent, Mr. War- burton, M.P., Mr. Harris, M.P., Mr. S. Palmer, Mr. H. Redhead. In the speaking after dinner, Mr. Hawes gave a glance at the future, and promised much from the new Opposition— The people bad their friends in the House of Commons. It is true that they would be placed in a minority ; but from the energy, activity, intelligence, and power of the Opposition, they would be in fact the governing party. The public, however, would expect something more than a mere contest between parties : they would not be content to look on- •• While Tories mar what Whigs had scarce begun.
And Whigs undo what Whigs themselves had done."
They might depend on it that the Opposition in Parliament would be a bold and energetic one. They might, to be sure, fail in carrying out their desire to benefit the people; but of this the people might be well assured, that they could not fail even upon the score of inactivity, as regarded their interests, or from a want of understanding of those matters which were identified with their general and social progress. He made what seems to be a response to Mr. O'Connell's invitation to cooperation between Irish and English Reformers— Be was not going to discuss the entire question of Irish policy ; but he felt it a duty to himself and to the people whom be had the honour to represent, to declare that he would be opposed to the rule of any Government in Ireland which would not be based on the affections of the people of that country. There were seven millions of people in that country who sympathized deeply with the Reformers of England ; and he trusted that Englishmen would not be 80 base as to forget that sympathy, or not to give in return for it that support which their political necessities required. They were bound to support the great leader of the Irish nation in his efforts to obtain justice for his country ; for, beyond all doubt, he was always found to be the advocate of justice and liberty to the people all over the world.
Mr. Hawes promised that the Reformers would support Sir Robert Peel, if he would carry out Reform ; but at all events, he hoped that the Radical party would rally together in support of great principles, and propound practical and sound measures, which would come home to the happiness, wants, and comforts of the people.
The proprietors of the London and Birmingham Railway held their half-yearly meeting on Friday, at the Euston Square Hotel. The report stated that the capital of the Company was now 5,743,049/. 7 s. ; the total receipts for the half-year had been 833,017/. 15s. 10d., the disburse- ments 526,778/. 5s. 8d. ; the balance remaining being 306,239/. 10s. 2d. The receipts on the traffic account were stated under the following heads—passengers, 262,8931.; mails, 7,1951.: horses, carriages, &c., 16,9701.; parcels, 24,6701.; merchandise, 67,6171.; cattle, 3,1051.; total, 382,452/. The number of passengers who had been carried was 354,322, or 1,957 daily ; and the distance gone over was 23.399,936 miles. While the receipts for traffic had increased 11/. 8s. 6d. per cent, from the last half-year, the cost of management and of maintaining the line had actu- ally decreased 5/. 188. 6d. per cent. There was a discussion whether a dividend of 41. 5s. per cent., advised by the report, or one of 41. 10s., moved by Mr. Heyworth, would be the better ; but Mr. Heyworth at last withdrew his motion, and the first was adopted and declared. The bill for the Stafford and Rugby line having been lost, the Directors are arranging for one to Gloucester. A statement was laid before the meeting, that a free school for the education of 100 boys and 100 girls had been established, under the auspices of the Directors, for the chil- dren of the Company's servants ; 75 boys had already become scholars. A benefit society had also been founded, by which 420 persons had been relieved, and more than 700/. distributed. A vote of thanks to the Directors was passed.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council gave their decision in the great will case of Wood versus Goodlake, Helps, and others, on Mon- day last. The aggregate value of the property, real and personal, is about 1,000,000/. Upon Mr. Wood's decease various claimants started up for their share of his great wealth. Of these, the next of kin were represented in the snits commenced in the Prerogative Court, by a Mr. Hitchings and a Mrs. Goodlake, who were both his second cousins ; and between the two would have been divided the whole of the personal property, amounting to more than 700,000/, had there been no will. But these parties were opposed by two others; who claimed under a will of 1834 and under a codicil of 1835 respectively. The first party consisted of Sir Matthew Wood, whose political conduct had won the old man's friendship, Cbadborn, his solicitor, (who had gained his favour by doing business for him gratnitouly,) and Osborn and Surman, his two apprentices. The will which they set up was propounded as consisting of two papers. One, referred to as A, signed by the testator, hut un- attested, dated 2d December 1834, and headed "Instructions for the will of me James Wood," appointed the four to be his executors, and gave them all his real and personal property in joint tenancy, subject to such further disposition as he should afterwards endorse thereon. Another separate paper, which was referred to as B, dated on the following day, (the 3d December 1834,) properly attested, stated that he now completed his will according to his instructions, and gave again the whole of his property in common tenancy to his exe- cutors, but not naming or describing them. Both of these papers were very informal, though they were prepared by the solicitor of the testator. They were propounded as having been found by Chadborn wafered together, sealed up in an envelope labelled "The will of James Wood, Esq., 2d and 3d December 1834," and locked in the secret re- positories of the deceased, on the morning of his death : but in the course of the case it came out that the paper A, containing the appoint- ment of executors, had remained in Chadborn's custody till the death of Mr. Wood, or near then when it was taken by Chadborn himself and put into the bureau of the deceased without his consent or even know- ledge. The third party in the suit were the legatees under a codicil contained in a paper of Mr. Wood's own writing, and propounded un- der the following singular circumstances. It was sent by the threepenny- post to the Mayor of Gloucester (that corporation being a large legatee under it) with an anonymous letter declaring that it had been "saved (by the writer of the note) out of a number of papers burnt by parties whom he could hang ": it was itself both burnt at the corners and torn across the middle and signature. It contained a reference to other codicils not forthcoming, and alleged to have been destroyed unknown to the deceased ; in which the Corporation of Gloucester had been made a legatee of 140,0001., and it further gave that Corporation an additional sum of 60,000/., and the other legacies to the other par- ties claiming under it amounted altogether to about 210,0001. This codicil contained some wrong spelling of the legatees' names, and some peculiarities in the formation of certain letters, unlike Mr. Wood's cus- tom. The Prerogative Court bad decided that instructions were super- seded by a will; that A and B not being published together as the will of the deceased, nor annexed with his knowledge, and A not being un- equivocally referred to in B, A formed no part of the deceased's will : it therefore pronounced against A, but would make no decree as to B: the interest of the four executors was consequently at an end. On the codicil, the Prerogative Court held, that, as the evidence of writing was contradictory, although the gifts were probable, it could not pronounce that it was the act of the deceased. The matter now came before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The judgment there, which was read by Lord Lyndhurst, and which was given after a discussion shared by the most eminent barristers of the present time, was, that both the documents A and B should be received as together making a testament which might claim to be proved in the Prerogative Court ; and that the codicil was also the proper and unrevoked act of the deceased, and as well therefore entitled to proof: thus the whole of the legatees are let in to a participation in the fortune of the deceased, and Sir Matthew Wood with his three coexecutors are established in their position as devisees of the real property and as residuary legatees of the overplus of the personalty. The grounds of the decision were, that the weight of evi- dence was in favour of B; that B necessarily pointed to some other paper appointing executors, and that A fulfilled all that B required ; that the handwriting of the codicil was fully proved, the peculiarities in the spelling and handwriting having been such as occasionally ap- peared in Mr. Wood's hand—an accident not likely to have been imi- tated by a forger. The gifts bequeathed by the codicil were also probable in amount ; one was a legacy of 14,000/. to Samuel Wood and of 6,000/. to his family. Wood had in fact six children; the 6,000/. and the 14,000/. make 20,0001.; the exact sum given to two other rela- tions, named Wood and Goodlake. In a previous conversation, the tes- tator had actually questioned Samuel Wood as to the number of his children. Some unfair handling of the papers had been proved ; Chadborn was in the house early on the morning after Mr. Wood's death ; and the defaced condition of the codicil was not sufficient to show that Mr. Wood had intended to cancel it. Mr. Wood had been pressed to make a will, that his creditors might not be inconvenienced by any disorder in his affairs after his death ; and on •:ie 2d December, without saying that he had done so, he said that he had " settled " his affairs. He told the son of another creditor—" I have made a will, and have left my property to four good men, and they are my executors adding, "Two of them are Alderman Wood and Jacob" (Osborne.) The costs of suit were ordered to be paid out of the estate.
On Saturday evening, George Berryman, a labourer, who was foolishly crossing the South Western Railway, in making a short cut, was knocked down by a train, and his right hand was dreadfully crushed. He was carried, insensible, to St. George's Hospital, where the limb was at once amputated.