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In this conclusion, we think the visitor of
the old Cathedral would be right. But, it is
important to bring to the knowledge of all
visitors of old Cathedrals in England, and of
all who stay at home too, the most gigantic
and least known abuse, attaching to those
establishments. It is one which affects, not
only the history and learning of the country,
and that powerfully, but the legal rights and
titles of all classesof every man, woman,
and child, rich and poor, great and small,
born into this English portion of this breathing

For the purpose of the object on which we
now enter, we have consulted a great mass of
documents, and have had recourse to the
personal experience of a gentleman who has made
this kind of research his business. In every
statement we make, we shall speak by the
card, that equivocation may not undo us.
The proof of every assertion, is ready to our

The public have lately heard some trifling
facts relative to Doctors' Commons, through
the medium of a young gentleman who was
articled, by his aunt, to a proctor there. Our
readers may possibly be prepared to hear
that the Registry of the Diocese of Canterbury,
in which are deposited all the wills
proved in that large, rich, and populous
district, is a job so enormous as to be almost
incredible. That the Registrars, with deputies,
and deputies' deputies, are sinecurists of from
sixteen to seventeen thousand pounds, to seven
or eight thousand pounds, a-year; that the
wills are not even kept secure from fire; that
the real working men are miserably paid
out of the rich plunder of the public; that
the whole system is one of greed, corruption,
and absurdity, from beginning to end. It is
not, however, with the Registry of Canterbury
that our business lies at present, but
with the Registries and Peculiars of other
dioceses, which are attached to the old Cathedrals
throughout Great Britain, and of which
our readers may be by no means prepared to
hear what we shall have to tell.

Let us begin by setting forth from London
on a little suppositious excursionsay with
Mr. William Wallace, of the Middle Temple
and the Royal Society of Antiquaries.

Mr. William Wallace, for the purpose of a
literary pursuit in which he is engaged,
involving the gratification of a taste he has for the
history of old manners and old families, is
desirous, at his own proper cost and charge, to
search the registers in some Cathedral towns,
for wills and records. Having heard whispers
of corruption in these departments, and
difficulty of search, Mr. Wallace arms himself
with letters from the Bishops of those places.
Putting money in his purse besides, he goes
down, pretty confidently.

Mr. William Wallace arrives at Cathedral
number one; and, after being extremely
affected, despite a heavy shower of rain, by the
contemplation of the building, inquires for
the Registrar. He is shown a very handsome
house in the Cathedral-closea house very
superior to the Bishop'swherein the Registrar
resides. For, the Registrar keeps a first-
rate roof over his own head, though he keeps
his deeds in a dilapidated Gate-house; at which
he takes toll to the amount of seven thousand
a-year; and where, as at other toll-houses,
"no trust" is the rule; for he exacts his fees

Mr. William Wallace now learns that,
locally, the Registrar is a person of almost
inordinate power; besides his seven thousand-
pound-per-annum place, he is Chapter
Clerk, Town Clerk, Clerk to the Magistrates
a Proctor, moreover, in boundless practice.
He lives in great state; he keeps horses,
carriages, dogs, and a yacht; he iscould he be
anything else?—a staunch tory; he generally
proposes the tory members for the county, and
has been known to pay the entire electioneering
expenses of a favourite tory candidate.
Mr. Wallace, although fortified with a letter
bearing the mitred seal of the Bishop of the
diocese, feels that he is about to come in
contact with a great power; an awful something
that is not to be trifled with; one of
the noblest institutions of our land, who is
a very Miller of Dee, and accountable to

With a due sense of the importance of this
outside buttress of the Church, Mr. Wallace
presents himself with the Bishop's letter. The
Registrar storms, and takes it extremely ill.
He appears to confound Mr. Wallace with his
own foot-boy. He says the Bishop has no
power to interfere with him, and he won't
endure it. He says the Bishop don't know
what harm may come of showing wills. He
can't make out, what people want to see wills
for. He grudgingly concedes some obstructed
search, on the usual terms; namely, two
guineas per day for all the days a clerknot
fond of any sort of fatiguemay choose to take
in making any particular search. "But perhaps
you will allow me to look at the indexes?"
asks Mr. Wallace. "That's of no use," is the
reply, "for a great many of the years are
missing; and in those we have got, a great
many wills are not entered. We often have to
spend two months in finding a will." Our
friend then performs a little mental arithmetic:
two monthsor, even say fifty days
means one hundred guineas, to ferret out one
will. Complete indexes would only occasion
ten minutes' search, equal to one day, or,
according to the Registrar's tariff, two guineas.
Mr. Wallace then draws the inevitable conclusion,
that bad indexes partly occasion the inordinate
income of the Registrar, whose manifest
interest it is to keep them as imperfect as
possible. One little trait of the very early
volumes (the earliest wills are dated A.D. 1180,)
is as quaint, as it is productive to the Registrar:
the names of the testators are arranged
alphabetically, it is truebut under the
Christian instead of the Surnames. Imagine