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and night, at times not known to the masters
or miners: and, Thirdly, a regular system of
registration of all accidents that occur in
mines, especially as regards defective
machinery and the explosion of gases.

This system of registration has been put in
operation with respect to the Factories, with
very good effect. No child can receive an
injury, which disables it from work for a
fortnight, without a report of the same, under
penalty of a heavy fine on the mill-owner,
being sent to the Inspector of the District.
The publicity caused by this has brought the
question so continually into notice that the
force of public opinion has operated most
beneficially in reducing the number of accidents.

If then, a system of inspections and
registration has been found necessary with regard
to works above ground, where the difficulty
of concealment must be so great, how much
more necessary is it in works conducted
hundreds of feet or fathoms under ground, where
almost any recklessness or gross abuse may be
committed with impunity, because unknown,
and where none of its wrong doings come to
light except with these terrific explosions and
waste of industrious human lives?

THE MARTYRS OF CHANCERY.

IN Lambeth Marsh stands a building better
known than honoured. The wealthy
merchant knows it as the place where an
unfortunate friend, who made that ruinous
speculation during the recent sugar-panic, is
now a denizen: the man-about-town knows
it as a spot to which several of his friends
have been driven, at full gallop, by fleet race
horses and dear dog-carts: the lawyer knows
it as the "last scene of all," the catastrophe
of a large proportion of law-suits: the father
knows it as a bugbear wherewith to warn
his scapegrace spendthrift son; but the uncle
knows it better as the place whence nephews
date protestations of reform and piteous
appeals, "this once," for bail. Few, indeed,
are there who has not heard of the Queen's
Prison, or, as it is more briefly and
emphatically termed, "The Bench?"

Awful sound! What visions of folly and
roguery, of sloth and seediness, of ruin and
recklessness, are conjured up to the imagination
in these two words! It is the "Hades"
of commercethe "Inferno" of fortune.
Within its grim wallssurmounted by a
chevaux de frise, classically termed "Lord
Ellenborough's teeth"—dwell at this moment
members of almost every class of society. Debt
the grim incubus riding on the shoulders
of his victim, like the hideous old man in the
Eastern fablehas here his captives safely
under lock and key, and within fifty-feet walls.
The church, the army, the navy, the bar,
the press, the turf, the trade of England, have
each and all their representatives in this
"house." Every grade, from the ruined man
of fortune to the petty tradesman who has
been undone by giving credit to others still
poorer than himself, sends its members to this
Bankrupts' Parliament.

Nineteen-twentieths in this Royal House of
Detention owe their misfortunes directly or
indirectly to themselves; and, for them, every
free and prosperous man has his cut and dry
moral, or scrap of pity, or screed of advice;
but there is a proportion of prisonershappily
a small onewithin those huge brick
boundaries, who have committed no crime, broken
no law, infringed no commandment. They
are the victims of a system which has been
bequeathed to us from the dark days of
the "Star Chambers," and "Courts of High
Commission"—we mean the Martyrs of
Chancery.

These unhappy persons were formerly
confined in the Fleet Prison, but on the
demolition of that edifice, were transferred to
the Queen's Bench. Unlike prisoners of any
other denomination, they are frequently ignorant
of the cause of their imprisonment, and
more frequently still, are unable to obtain
their liberation by any acts or concessions
of their own. There is no act of which
they are permitted to take the benefit; no
door left open for them in the Court of
Bankruptcy. A Chancery prisoner is, in fact,
a far more hopeless mortal than a convict
sentenced to transportation; for the latter
knows that, at the expiration of a certain
period, he will, in any event, be a free man.
The Chancery prisoner has no such certainty;
he may, and he frequently does, waste a
lifetime in the walls of a gaol, whither he
was sent in innocence; because, perchance,
he had the ill-luck to be one of the next of
kin of some testator who made a will which
no one could comprehend, or the heir of some
intestate who made none. Any other party
interested in the estate commences a Chancery
suit, which he must defend or be committed
to prison for "contempt." A prison is his
portion, whatever he does; for, if he answers
the bill filed against him, and cannot pay the
costs, he is also clapped in gaol for "contempt."
Thus, what in ordinary life is but an
irrepressible expression of opinion or a small
discourtesy, is, "in Equity," a high crime
punishable with imprisonmentsometimes
perpetual. Whoever is pronounced guilty of
contempt in a Chancery sense is taken from
his family, his profession, or his trade (perhaps
his sole means of livelihood), and consigned
to a gaol where he must starve, or live on a
miserable pittance of three shillings and
sixpence a week charitably doled out to him
from the county rate.

Disobedience of an order of the Court of
Chancerythough that order may command
you to pay more money than you ever had, or
to hand over property which is not yours and
was never in your possessionis contempt of
court. No matter how great soever your
natural reverence for the time-honoured

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