21 NOVEMBER 1835, Page 11


IN the Court of Chancery, on Saturday, Sir LANCELOT SHAD- WELL gave an explanation of the circumstances attending the omission of the visits to the Fleet prison, enjoined, by Sir EDWARD SUGDEN'S Act, on the Masters in Chancery. He said that " Master Brougham, the Master last nominated as the visitor by the Lord Chancellor, had for three successive quarters regularly visited the prison within the periods required by the Act. It was the duty of the Mat-ter to make a report to the Great Seal; and on that report being received, the Comma t nomirm iterl another Master to visit the prison. The report, in point of fact, had been made; but it was unfortunately sent in during time long vacation ; and not reaelming, on that account, the hands of the Lords Commissioners, no successor had been appointra to Master Brougham. This was the real state of the case: hut it was right also to observe, that in the examination before the Court no blame Was imputed to any one for the omission."

We apprehend that the Chancery Commissioners, of whom Sir LANCELOT himself is one, are to blame for the omission. If during the long vacation neither of the three Commissioners could personally attend to the routine business of the Court, they should have appointed some one to do it for them. It was their duty to name a successor to Master BROUGHAM; and that duty they neglected to perform. It may be very dignified in a Chancery Com- missioner to say, "It was the long vacation, nobody is to blame ;" but suppose that a person of less itnportance, a clerk in the Foreign Office, for instance, should reply to Lord Par.mansroer when charged with inattention—"Really, my Lord, lain not in tile habit of attending closely to business in this season of the year ; you see, the thing occurred during my absence on a shooting-party ; no- body is to blame,"—we suspect that the martinet in Downing Street would give his self-satisfied subaltern notice to quit, with- out delay. The public are Sir LANCELOT SHInwELL's masters instance at least, by his own confession, he has neglected to do. Yet he turns round and says, coolly, "Nobody is to blame." Very satisfactory this to the unhappy persons who, he stated, have been in the" greatest destitution' in the Fleet Prison, instead of being restored to their families and to liberty,—and all owing to the inattention of Sir LANCELOT SHADIVELL and his brother Commissioners.

The time is coming, we trust, when, however lofty their station or liberal their pay, the great as well as the insignificant servants of the public will be called to account for neglect of duty, when that neglect is, as in the present instance, the cause of prolonged suffering to numbers of their paymasters. What is the use of humane laws, when even the Judges of the land prefer "pastime and prodigality" to the due enforcement of them ?