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INTERESTING LAW CASES,
CQUBT OF KING'S BENCH, ENGLAND.
Saturday, Dec. 7, 1816.
MAYHEW V. BOYCE.
This was an action to recover damages for an injury sustained by the plaintiff, in consequence of the overturning of a Brighton stage-coach, occasioned by the negligence and misconduct of the defendant's servant. In the afternoon of Saturday the 12th of October last, Mr. May hew took an outside place by the Phoenix coach to go to Brighton, and the vehicle at seven was overtaken by the Dart, of which the defendant was the owner. About a quarter of a mile beyond Patcham, near to a place called the Prince's Dairy, the Phoenix having to turn the abrupt angle of a curve in the road, Barrett, the coachman, made the necessary evolution by turning his leader a little to the right, in order to turn the angle in safety, his near fore-wheel being about three yards from the hedge; when, just at that moment, Snow, the coachman of the Dart, drove furiously up; and in attempting to pass the Phoenix, he came in contact with the wheels of the latter coach, which, in the concussion, was driven three feet against the embankment on the road side, and the instant she was cleared by the Dart, fell over on her side. In consequence, the plaintiff, who is a respectable attorney in the city, was,
thrown with the rest of the outside passengers with great violence upon the ground, where he remained for some time apparently lifeless, his forehead having received a deep gash, and the brain considerably concussed. By the collision, the dickey of the Dart was broken, and two of her passengers were also dashed upon the road, one of whom had his arm, broken, and the other was considerably bruised.
The stress of the case was upon the question as to which of the coachmen was in fault, and much contradictory evidence was given on both sides.
Lord Ellenborough however was of opinion, that the defendant's coachman was bound, in a case of peril, to have taken effectual means of avoiding it, by going to the very edge of his own side of the road, there appearing to have been 14 clear feet of space for him to pass, without coming in contact with the Phoenix. The jury found a verdict for the plaintiff. Damages 200/.
Monday, December 9.
HILL V. GRAY.
The Attorney General stated, that the plaintiff in this case was an artist, and the defendant one of the most honourable persons which this country had to boast of, an opulent British merchant. He was also a most liberal encourager of the tine arts, and especially, he
Lad a great taste and judgment for fine paintings. The plaintiff having a very fine one to dispose of—one of the finest of Claude Lorraine's productions, which he had purchased at the sale of Mr. Hope's collection—offered it, through an agent, to the defendant. At the time the plaintiff purchased it, the picture was in bad condition; its beauties very much clouded by varnish and dirt; and plaintiff cer. tainly bought it at a very low price, having given no more than 111/. for it; but having cleaned it by a process known only to himself, Mr. Hill discovered the prize he hud purchased, and it was offered for sale, as he had before stated, to the defendant, by a gentleman named Butt, who was known to Mr. Gray, and who, having seen the picture at Sir T. Lawrence's, where it was deposited by Mr. Hill, for the inspection and gratification of the admirers of fine paintings, called the attention of his patron to it; at the same time informing him, the picture was at Sir T. Lawrence's, and that the price was 1000 guineas. Mr. Butt, however, advised the defendant not to take his opinion of the painting, but to consult his other friends, and to take a week at least to consider of it. The defendant did accordingly do as his friend advised him, and having seen the picture, and approving it, he purchased it, and it was sent home to him; payment being fixed at a very short date from the delivery of the picture. Soon after tbe delivery of the picture, however, the defendant was told by some person, that the picture was not a Claude, and therefore he would not keep it;
and he accordingly returned it
The Attorney General now stated, that he should call the venerable President of the Royal Academy,
Mr. West, and likewise Sir Thomas Lawrence, and others, who would state, that to the best of their belief the picture was an original of Claude's; and further, Mr. West had said, that in his estimation it was one of Claude's best productions. If he proved these facts, he submitted, he should he entitled to a verdict.
Mr. J. Butt corroborated this statement. He said, when crossexamined, that he did not represent to Mr. Gray, that tbe Claude belonged to Sir Felix Agar, who being pressed for money was about to dispose of this, and other pictures, to raise 5250/.; he sever represented that nothing but want of money alone would have induced Sir Felix to sell this picture; nor did he at any time say to Mr. Gray that Sir Felix was in extreme rage at his having agreed to take a thousand guineas. There were three or four pictures at Sir T. Lawrence's, belonging to Sir Felix Agar^ and Mr. Gray might have fallen into an error, and supposed the Claude also belonged to Sir Felix, and witness did not consider it incumbent on him to explain the mistake. Witness believed even if Mr. Gray had known that it was not Sir Felix's picture, he would, notwithstanding, have bought it. Witness never told Mr. Gray that the mistake was his (the witness's) and as he had brought it under a misrepresentation, he was at liberty to return itness did say to Mr. Gray, if Pu will satisfy me this is not a Claude, I will never rest till I have reliev
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picture had been named before there was any conversation respecting Sir Felix Agar's picture* When he made his objection » the picture, and wanted to retu it, he said he wished to do so, *
cause the picture was not a Claude; this was a week after the sale was completed, and a time settled for paying.
The Attorney General said, he was ready to call Mr. West, Sir T. Lawrence, and several other gentlemen of eminence, who would prove that this picture was, as far as the same could be proved, a Claude, and one of the finest that great master ever painted.
Mr. Scarlett admitted it might be sp, but at the same time contended, that the plaintiff must be non-suited, since his own witness had proved the plaintiff had purchased it under a delusion, and supposing it to be a picture previously belonging to Sir Felix Agar.
Lord Ellenborough observed, here was sufficient to make an end of the case, even though the picture should be proved to be the finest that Claude ever painted. The contract, as appeared from the evidence of Mr. Butt, was concluded by the defendant whilst labouring under a delusion; the person conducting the negociation being fully aware of that delusion existing. It was the duty of the witness, as soon as he perceived that delusion, to have cleared it up. He had not done so, and therefore the contract was vitiated, and the plaintiff must be called.
The plaintiff in this case was a livery-stable keeper, residing in Blackfriars Road, and the defendant a young man of property, residing in Walcot-place, Kennington; and the present action was brought to recover a compensation in damages for an injury done to a horse belonging to the plaintiff, which he bad lent on hire to the
defendant. It appeared from the evidence, that on the 30th of May last, the second day of the Epsom Races, the defendant applied to the plaintiff to let him have a Bucephalus to carry him to the race ground; he was accordingly furnished by the plaintiff with a mare, youthful, handsome in figure, full of spirit, and good and safe in all her paces. The plaintiff's man, according to orders, took the mare to the defendant's house at the appointed time, and saw him safely mounted and started: he attended again by appointment, at eight o'clock in the evening, to receive defendant on his return, who did not, however, come home till between nine and ten o'clock. The mare was delivered to him, and he took her home to the stable. In his way he thought she went differently to what she usually did, and on getting her into the stable and examining her, it was found that she was cut and bruised on the shoulders, sides, hocks, and other parts, as if she had received a severe fall. Next morning the poor animal was so stiff she could not move out of the stable, where she remained for twelve weeks, unable to do any work) and for a considerable time under the care of a farrier, who now, in his examination, stated that the mare, previous to the accident, was a useful animal, equal to doing her work, which, in his opinion, she never would be again.
Two persons who had been in the habit of riding the mare spoke to her good qualities, and stated, that in their opinion, she was not liable to trip or fall, tine of them stated, that previous to the mare receiving the injury complained of, he would have given 25/. for her, now he did not consider r worth 5/.
The defendant paid 1/. 10«. as hire for the day.
The Attorney General for the defendant, submitted to the jury, that the plaintiff in this case was not entitled to recover any thing, since the accident had not arisen from any misconduct on the part of his client, but from imperfection in the animal itself; and, there lore, the sum paid for hire was to be taken as a fair remuneration for the plaintiff. If, however, the jury should think differently, and give only a pound damages, it would make the mare a hundred guinea one to his unfortunate client.
Lord Ellenborough observed, the present question for the jury was, whether this accident originated in any misconduct of the defendant, or whether it really originated in any imperfection in the animal. If the latter was the case, then the plaintiff was not entitled to a verdict; if, on the contrary, they should be of opinion the accident originated in any negligence or want of skill on the part of the defendant, then Kiey would find a verdict for the plaintiff, and give him reasonable damages.
The jury, after a short deliberation, found a verdict for the plaintiff.—Damages, 10/. Costs, 40*.
PARIS COURT OF ASSIZE.
Parity June, 1816.—The following extraordinary trial of a woman, named Caroline Leruth, was decided on the 14th. She was charged -with having stabbed the Sieur Delacour, with a sharp instrument, with an attention of putting him to death. It appeared from the confession of the woman, as well as that of Delacour himself, ihat this unfortunate man, being tired of his life) met the woman in the garden
of the Thuilleries, entered into conversation with her, took her to dine with him, accompanied her afterwards to her lodging, communicated to her his desperate intention of committing suicide, and offered her a large sum of money to kill him; she refused to perpetrate the horrid deed, although she was in great distress; he made her drink a quantity of wine, border to deprive her of her sense), with the hope that while in a slate of intoxication she might be prevailed on to do the act; he gave her bis note for 1000 francs and his watch. He then took her along with him to the Boulevards, where she still persisted in refusing to put him to death. He then sat down by a tree, took hold of her hand, put a sharp knife into it, and forced her hand, together with the knife, against his belly, which the knife entered. These were the principal facts of the case. The jury found Caroline Ixruth guilty of having wounded Delacour, and sentenced her to ten years solitary confinement.
Portsmouth, (JV. H) Fehruary 3.
The plaintive clearly proved that Dunn gave him the note; but Dunn resisted the payment on the I ground that it was obtained hy fraud and imposition.
The case as stated by Dunn was as follows:—The plaintiff* was one of that species of quacks who infest this part of the country, called "Cancer Doctors," and the defendant's wife had for some time been troubled with a small tumour near the eye affecting the lachrymal duct. The plaintiff was called in and represented it as a cancer. This alarmed Dunn and his wife. Felt promised a speedy cure; but demanded 5O dollars as a fee, and Dunn was induced to give him two notes of hand for g25 each, one of which had a condition annexed to it that it was not to be paid unless a cure was effected. The other was to be paid, cure or no cure. Felt began his operations, and after torturing the poor woman with caustics, See. for about eight weeks, it was found no cure 'was likely to be effected. Such was the torment Mrs. Dunn had endured, that her health was impaired, her constitution destroyed, and her lungs dangerously effected. Felt was dismissed. The tumour upon examination turned out to be a fistula lachrymalis, and the application of Felt to have been altogether improper. All these facts being very clearly proved, the honourable court after summing up the evidence to the jury, directed them that if Felt represented the tumour to be a cancer when it was not, and thereby induced Dunn to give the notes, both notes -were without consideration and void. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant.
This trial has done honour to the court and the jury, and it will be, it is not doubted, highly useful to the community. The most fatal disease which prevails in this part of the country is, it is verily believed—Quackery. The weak and the timorous are the objects of
its attacks. They are first alarmed with the fears of disorders most difficult and dangerous, then deluded with promises of miraculous cures, and thus first deprived of their money and then frequently of their lives. Hundreds of victims are thus sacrificed annually by quacks of different pretensions. It is hoped it will now be distinctly understood that the wages of quackery can not be recovered in a court of justice, and that there its victims will find protection. The public feeling begins to awaken—let quacks of all descriptions beware!
Kerne, (JY. H.) October 19.—At the Superior Court, holden in this town, the present week, came on for trial, a case of Pedda Day, v. John L. Dexter, for mal-practice as a surgeon. The evidence on trial was, that in the fall of 1815, the defendant was called on to examine a slight sore on the ankle of the plaintiff. The defendant pronounced it a cancer, and said he could cure it, and began to apply his caustics. By this application he eat and destroyed the flesh and muscles to the bone, and in cutting what he called the cancer, cut off the tendons and cords, and entirely destroyed the use of the ankle and foot. It appeared from the testimony of Dr. Twitchell, and other surgeons, that the sore, when Dexter began his application, was nothing like a cancer, and a surgeon of any knowledge would have known it was not. That the course of the treatment by D. was grossly improper. An advertisement of Dr. D. published in this paper in June 1815, was read in evidence, where the doctor