The great Conservative guild of London, the Goldsmiths Company, entertained her Majesty's Ministers, at their hall, on Saturday evening ; and were in their turn delighted with a short speech from the eloquent Earl of Derby, which applied the gold discoveries of these times to his own position in the political world. The Duke of Nortiimberland, Viscount Harding; the Marquis of Salisbury, Mr.. Disraeli, and the Attorney-General, also made speeches, more or less suitable to the occasion and to their office ; but Lord Derby's quite eclipsed all the others.
Beginning with proper compliments to the eminence and sturdy loyalty of the guild, and a due acknowledgment of his own allegiance to the Prime Warden as a " brother goldsmith," Lord Derby went on to improve the in- cidents in the history of the precious metals-which have come upon the craft in the last three or four years. " Gentlemen, among the strange variations and changes that have taken place, perhaps there are few which are calcu- lated to produce so great an effect—few, certainly, have produced so great a feeling of astonishment and of wonder—as the recent discovery in various quarters of the world of that which we have heretofore been accustomed to consider a precious metal,' that which is the staple of the industry of our craft. Hitherto that metal has been considered to be confined to a very limited quarter, capable of very small extension, and spread over a very small portion of the globe ; but suddenly, to the astonishment of the world, from various distant regions, at one and the same time, it is pouring in upon us with a profusion that is astonishing all ranks and all classes, the effect of which it is difficult to foresee, but of which it is not difficult to say that it must work strange and extraordinary revolutions in the system of society. But it is not only in regard to the discovery of gold that new mines appear to be opened to us. Within a very short tune, as with regard to gold, so there was (as it turns out) a popular delusion that the geld of statesmen and of the political metal was almost as limited : it was supposed that the crop of statesmen was one of veryiimited amount, for which, if you were disposed to search, you must dig in certain favoured localities, and confine yourself to searching for them there. (Laughter and cheering.) I am happy to think, gentlemen, that, to some degree, I have been instrumental in dispelling that illusion. (Loud cheers.) A fortunate adventurer, as I was to consider my- self, honoured with, the commission from her Majesty to do the best that he could for her service, I have ventured boldly to open a new mine ; and I am happy to say that, in the opinion of competent judges, so far as it has yet been worked, the ore that has been raised contains among it as large a proportion of sterling metal, with as little admixture of dross, as any that was ever drawn from the old and exclusive mines to which we were formerly confined. (Loud chem.) Gentlemen, to speak seriously, the Prime Warden has told you that he is convinced—and he has done us justice in saying so—that we come forward not as the advocates or supporters of any particular interest, but feeling deeply our responsibility to maintain and up- hold all the great interests, of which it must be said that if any one suffers in this country it cannot suffer without affecting more or less the rest. We feel that it is our duty not to be the promoters of this or that class, but to be the protectors and defenders and upholders of the whole; and by maintaining and encouraging the industry of the country—by upholding and supporting those laws which are the best encouragement to that industry, because they secure to industry of every denomination the safe return for its successful ex- ertion—by upholding in their integrity the institutions of the country, whe- ther in Church or in S:ate—by maintaining inviolate the constitution, and up- holding the religious liberties of this country, and the rights of the Pro- testant religion, from whatever quarter they may be assailed—(Load cheer- ing)—by such a course, neither at home nor abroad assaulting any, but neither at home nor abroad tolerating assault or insult on the part of any, we feel sure that we shall best discharge those arduous duties which are cast upon us. That we shall best warrant the confidence that has been reposed in us by our gracious Sovereign, and best merit the support and the confidence of that people over whose interests we are about to watch. And, gentlemen whether our course be long or short, to recur again for a single moment to the metaphor that has been used—whether our course be long or short, it is our hope and trust, and will be our exertion, to secure that, when our career shall be closed, the country shall have no right to regret having subjected us to this our first assay." (Final and concluding "enthusiastic cheers.") A deputation from the Metropolitan Sanitary Association—very nume- rous, and headed by the Bishop of London—was received by Lord Derby at the beginning of the week, and assured by him that "short as the ses- sion would be, the Government was in hopes of doing something towards settling the important question of intramural burial before the separation of Parliament."
A movement against the Militia Bill has traversed the Metropolitan boroughs ; but it was a languid one, and seems to have been promoted at all its centres by the reappearance of the same persons, chiefly gentlemen connected with the Peace Society—Mr. Jacob Bell, Mr. Richards, and Mr. Chamerovzow.
The labouring engineers seem to have given up the formal point of quarrel between them and their masters; but large numbers of them hold out against signing the "declaration" required of them : so there are meetings still going on, to excite sympathy_and raise contributions on their behalf.
The Orthopaedic Hospital, an institution whose objects are so good and so deserving of sympathy and support that one is never tired of trans- lating its un-English name—the hospital for straightening club-feet or other deformed limbs—has elected the Earl of Shaftesbury as its Presi- dent. At a meeting of the Committee in Bloomsbury Square this week, it was stated that the financial affairs had gone well this year ; so that the original staff had been increased, and some portion of the debt paid offi The new President will be chairman at the approaching festival,
and it is Loped that the demonstration will be such as to improve still further the position of the institution.
The Court of Exchequer gave judgment in the Breit case of Miller vertu* Salomons on Monday, and determined that a Jew cannot legally vote as a Member of the House of Commons without taking the oath of abjuration "on the true faith of a Christian."
The judgment of the Court was not unanimous : Baron Martin was for the defendant ; Barons Alderson and Parke, with the Chief Baron Pollock, were for the plaintiff.
The argument of Baron Martin's judgment was this. By an elaborate criticism of all the acts on the subject, both those originally imposing general Parliamentary oaths which contain the germ of the abjuration oath, begin- ning in the time of Elizabeth, and those containing the abjuration oath it- self, beginning in the reign of William the Third, he established as an un- deniable proposition, that the object of those acts was not the establishment of any test of Christianity, but the exaction of a pledge for the security of the State and Crown, in the first instance against the aggressions of the Roman See, and in the second instance against the pretensions of an exiled dynasty ; and with these objects the persons particularly contemplated by the acts es- tablishing the-abjuration oaths were unloyal Christian subjects. At the time the first series of acts commenced, Jews did not exist in the kingdom, and could not have been in the mind of the Legislature; and at the time of the later se- ries, when the Jews had returned to this country and were numerous here, the persons expressly referred to and guarded against were Popish recusants, and those Christian scholars of the Jesuits who had been taught by them that the Pope could absolve from their oath of allegiance to the Protestant Sovereign of the English realm. The rules of legal construction are laid down on the highest legal authority to be these. First ascertain the mischief that is al- lowed by the prior law ; then consider the remedy provided by the remedial law ; and in interpreting the latter law, consider the "true reason of the remedy." The very words of the remedial law may be construed differently to their ordinary meaning, " to make the remedy of the mischief effectual" : "that construction is best which best answers the intention of the Legis- lature, though it be contrary to the letter of the statute." The "gramma- tical construction" must yield where it is "at. variance with the intention to be collected from the whole" ; " where it leads to any manifest absur- dity or repugnance." The whole of the statutes in pied materiel may be read as one. Now, applying these rules, it seems impossible to deny that the mischief to be remedied was the danger of the State and Sovereign from persons disaffected to the Crown ; that the remedy aimed at was a loyal oath binding on the conscience of the deponent with all the sanction of an obligation sacred in his own eyes; and that the way to obtain this in the case of a Jew, would be to administer the oath without the words on the true faith of a Christian, which would be blasphemous inhis mouth, absurd, and repugnant to the object of the statute.
The arguments of the other Judges all went to establish the narrower ground, that where the language of a statute is as clear as in this case, it must be obeyed ; the absurdity not being manifest enough, or the injustice flagrant enough, in this case, to justify any wresting of the plain grammatical sense. Baron Alderson traced the first insertion,of the words "on the true faith of a Christian" to the acuteness of King James the Firet ; starting the notion, that the manuscript "Treatise on Equivocation," lately found in the Bodleian Library, in the handwriting of the Gunpowder Plot Jesuit Gar- net, suggested the insertion of the phrase, to close all loopholes allowed by the Jesuit casuistry. The Jesuits taught that lies might be justified in every case except the one case where the true faith of the deponent was in ques- tion. He argued, that it could not be absurd to require this oath only in those cases where the deponent had to exercise important functions: there is not so much absurdity in that as to make one believe that the Legislature could not have meant it.
Baron Parke elaborated this argument, and held that the express words of the oath exclude all but Christians from the Legislature ; and that nothing can be collected either from the other statutes in purl materia, or from the legislative history of the times, which shows an intention to admit any but Christians into Parliament. The mischief was no doubt particular ; but there is no rule of construction that where the remedy is complete, and the enactment distinct and express, the words shall be altered in order to limit it to the repression of the particular mischief only.
Chief Baron Pollock, by an argument of wide illustrative range, deduced that there can be no doubt the real intention of the Legislature was that these very, words should be used in the oath, " whatever might be the con- sequence.
The opinions of the majority being against the defendant, judgment was given for the plaintiff. All the three Judges who were against the defendant, as well as Baron Mar- tin who was in his favour, betrayed their sense of the injustice of the law as it stands. Baron Alderson, by no means the least Protestant of all, was characteristically explicit. "I do most sincerely regret that I am obliged, as a more expounder of the law, to come to this conclusion; for I do not believe that the case of the Jews was at all thought of by the Legislature when they framed these provisions. I think that it would be more worthy of this country to exclude the Jews from these privileges (if they are to be excluded at all, as to which I say nothing) by some direct enactment, and not merely by the casual operation of a clause intended apparently in its ob- ject and origin to apply to a very different class of the subjects of England. I regret also that the consequences are so serious, involving disabilities of the most fearful kind, in addition to the penalty sought to be in this action recovered, and in fact making Mr. Salomon for the future almost an outlaw. It is to be hoped that some remedy will be provided, for these consequences at least, by the Legislature." What these consequences are, was explained by Baron Martin. "Every person neglecting or refusing to take the oath is to be esteemed and adjudged a Popish recusant convict, and to forfeit and be proceeded against as such. This involved the incapacity to hold any office or employment, to keep arms for his defence, to come within ten miles of London, to bring any action at law or suit in equity, to travel above five miles from his home unless by licence upon pain of forfeiting all his personal property ; and, if required by four justices so to do, to abjure and renounce the realm, and in the event of not departing within the time limited, or returning without the King's licence, to be guilty of felony, and suffer death as a felon."
At Newington Sessions, on Wednesday, a number of small shopkeepers who have been cruelly cheating the poor by means of false weights or scales, met with the usual inadequate penalty of pecuniary fines, ranging from 5s. to 41.
Joseph Swan, a young draper's shopman, has been remanded by the Bow Street Magistrate, on a charge of robbing the British Museum. Swan re- =sited in the mineral department when the public left the establishment ; he was discovered there soon after, and a lump of Californian gold which had cost 461. was found in his pocket ; he had taken it from a case by breaking the glass. It appeared from inquiries by the Police, that the prisoner had lost several situations by his idle habits and general neglect. Mary Ann Hill, a poorly-dressed needlewoman, was charged before the Marlborough Street Magistrate, on Tuesday, with stealing a jug and two
basins from the outside of a china-shop near Leicester Square. She hid the articles under her shawl ; when detected, she gave them up, and ran away Before the Magistrate, she exhibited no particular emotion, but said took them in an unguarded moment ; I could not have been in my sense, at the time." She was committed for trial, and placed in a cell. The
Welsh, inquired if he should send and acquaint her friends with her situ*: tion. The prisoner said she had a husband who was ignorant of what had occurred ; he was out of work, and she had no money to pay a messenger to send to him. Welsh replied, he would provide a messenger, and pay him himself, taking the chance of the husband repaying him. Welsh then left the cell, leaving the prisoner quite tranquil. A quarter of an hour after- wards, he discovered that the woman had strangled herself, by twisting silk neckerchief round her throat, fastening it to a grating in the door, and then throwing her weight upon it by assuming a kneeling posture.
"Lynch law" bas been .exercised at Chelsea. An impression prevailed that -Sarah Cox bad caused the death of her little girl by wilfully putting her on the fire; she was known to have been in the habit of ill-treating the child. A Coroner's Jury could not pronounce how the child came to be burned, but returned an open verdict. A furious mob pelted the mother at the funeral, and interrupted the burial-servioe; the Police bad great difficulty in pro. tecting the woman from worse treatment. At night she prepared to decamp from the neighbourhood; her goods were placed in a van, and concealedfor a time in a stable. The mob got information of this, and met the van as it was leaving the stable : the.contents were utterly destroyed—tables, drawers, bedsteads were broken up, beds emptied, glasses smashed. The Police were unable to prevent this ; for the mob was reckoned at 5000, and the hour was midnight. The woman herself, fortunately, did not fall into the hands of the rioters, who threatened to kill her.