13 JULY 1850, Page 15


A CASE before the Court of Exchequer amusingly illustrates the judicial blindness to any fact not presented in the technical way. Payment having been demanded from the Albion Insurance Com- pany on the death of a Captain Clayton, it was resisted, on the score that the insurer's habitual intemperance was fraudulently concealed at the time of his effecting the policy. The question then arose, what is habitual intemperance, and when was Clayton habitually intemperate ? It was shown that he was always drink- ing and smoking ; that often he could not take his dinner until he had dozed off the fumes of intoxication, and then drank again after dinner ; that he beat his -mistress, made her get up to play a musical instrument at night, purposely broke the wine- glasses ; that in business he was habitually in a state of irritation, and spoke thick ; that at his tavern he drank glass after glasa, all the evening,—drinking, smoking, and playing at billiards, till midnight; that he went out to fish, and emptied a hamper of wine -and spirits ; that he staggered, bellowed, and bullied, all habitu- ally. But " sometimes " he was sober. Now what do you call this ? And such was his condition in 1845, when he effected the .–msluanoe, But so fastidious is the Court of Exchequer as to evi- dentist, that the Chief Baron thought the insuninco-offiee foolish not to have paid the money rather than raise the question. Per- haps it was : if everybody is liable to have his due questioned be- cause he told lies in earning that due who will be safe? Mulct a man for lying, and what becomes of due, trade ? Take another case. In the Insolvent Debtors Court, Busby, a milkman, avows that into agallon of milk he habitually put two quarts of water. What then is "milk," in sweet Cockaigne P It appears to be milk and water. Indeed it is Mere : at many a dairy in London, where the wateriness is palpable, you can palpably detect the peculiar soft roughness of chalk upon the tongue ; as in the " cream " of some inns you may taste undisguised white of egg, and the "cream" is raw batter. So in these two articles you daily and unconsciously swallow either raw pudding or i pllitysic, or both combined. 'Wily? Partly because the judicious

p 'c is mad for "cheapness," and permits the shopraim to cut off the crowning element of price, the charge for "verification." Partly because " eociety " finds it convenient to lie, and so does trade. We will not pay the due for labour and produoe—we will not en- force absolute truth on all occasions ; so we pay to drunkenness the subsidy due to sobriety, which that drunkenness is judicially called ; and we daily take physic for breakfast, without regard to the state of our health—an incessant course of chalk mixture. So be it—we like it, or it would not go on ; and when we complain, we laugh at each other—which proves our cheerfulness.