Page:Pleasant Memories of Pleasant Lands.djvu/372

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OPENING THE SESSION OF THE COURTS. 347

pageant, the passing through it of the twelve judges of England, to open the annual session of the courts. In their robes of state, and preceded by the Lord High Chancellor of the realm, they walked onward, slowly, amid the acclamations of the people, and took their seats in their respective places of jurisdiction. Their dignity of bearing, and brows marked by profound thoughts, justified the respect manifested by the dense throng assembled on the occasion. Though unaccustomed to see such pomp surrounding the judiciary in my own land, I could not but rejoice at every mark of reverence for the authority of law, believing that he who decries even in externals the sacredness of justice, may weaken the safeguards of his own fireside, or edge the steel of the assassin.

The full-bottomed wigs of the judges, and the less ample ones of the barristers, disclosing, as they often did, bright hair of an opposing color, and smooth young faces, did not fail to attract our attention. Being taken into the respective courts, I opened my republi can ears wide, expecting an eloquence commensurate with this pomp of prelude. But the first cause that I heard argued before her Majesty s criminal judges, happened to be concerning the seizure of a quantity of beer, for debt ; and its most elaborate point of juris prudence, whether the container, and the thing con tained, were comprehended in the same category, viz., whether the casks were the property of the creditor, or of the defendant brewer.

Several weeks afterwards, we visited the Privy

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