5 MAY 1866, Page 3

A declaratory Bill, to replace the Legitimacy Declaration Act, which

is brought in by Mr. Chambers, the Common Serjeant, -comes on for its second reading on Tuesday. Its object is very saimple, namely, to declare, in Mr. Chambers's own words, " that the common law, ratified by Magna Charts and many subsequent :statutes, was not incidentally and silently repealed in 1857 or 1858, and to affirm that the Legislature never vested in the judge of the Divorce Court, or any other Court, a discretion himself to decide great questions of fact, involving legitimacy, nationality, claims of citizenship, lands, or titles, and conflicting interests between Crown and subject, without the intervention of a jury, when this isdesired by the parties." The position of the Con- servative opposition to this declaratory Act is peculiarly absurd. The learned author of that Act, Sir Fitzroy Kelly, asserts that nothing was further from his intention than to carry so important .and revolutionary a change by doubtful wording,. incidentally, and without any discussion, andis himself strongly opposed to it. Anyhow, it is ridiculous to maintain that a change of that kind could have been carried without a discussion, and those who wish to take this view will certainly be suspected of some special interest in asserting the power of a judge to refuse a jury on such a question of fact, contrary to all our precedents.