previous next

[278] that the case might stop here; but no! the same facts were extracted, by means of question and answer, from the mouths of more than thirty witnesses. There was nothing like cross-examination; and I have reason to believe that this test of truth is entirely unknown to the French procedure. All the questions were put by the presiding judge, who, however, took no notes of the answers: and the questions were general, such as, names and times being altered, would apply to all cases. All persons are admitted as witnesses. Parents and near relatives of parties are not admitted if objection is made; neither is a person infamous,—namely, one who has been condemned for robbery, &c. These are the only exceptions I know of at present. Papers of all kinds are admitted. You will see from these few words that the duties of the judge and advocate are infinitely abridged; the lawyer giving his chief attention to his pleading (plaidoyer), and the presiding judge putting a series of questions which have been digested beforehand. Neither judge nor lawyer is obliged ‘to watch the currents of the heady fight,’ as with us, where almost every word of testimony makes its way against the serried objections of opposing counsel.

As ever affectionately yours,


Journal.

March 31, 1838. A day or two since I received an invitation to breakfast with M. Demetz,1 a Conseiller de la Cour Royale, —namely, a magistrate or judge. At a quarter before eleven o'clock I found myself with him. He is a man of about forty, who has visited the United States and written a book about the country; and yet he does not venture to speak English, or did not to-day. His wife received me cordially. The salon was—perhaps I may say, in Yankee phrase—splendidly furnished, and yet there was no carpet; the walls were all covered with silk, and the chairs also. We sat down to breakfast


1 Frederic Auguste Demetz, 1796-1873. In 1836 he visited the United States, accompanied by an architect, for the purpose of inspecting our prisons; and became a convert to the cellular system of Pennsylvania. In 1840 he renounced the profession of the law, in order to found and administer the famous Reform School for Boys at Mettray, upon the family system, known as ‘The Agricultural and Penitentiary Colony;’ and he remained steadfast in this work until his death. Lord Brougham, in Parliament, pronounced Mettray in itself sufficient for the glory of France. His institution has been the model of many others, not only in Europe but in this country. In Sept., 1873, the writer met M. Demetz at his lodgings in Paris. Though somewhat bent with age, his intelligence and good sense were as vigorous as ever. He died a few weeks later, Nov. 2, 1873. Sumner visited Mettray and had an interview with M. Demetz, on May 26, 1857. He was much touched by a remark of the philanthropist, made in the conversation, that he had renounced his position as judge, thinking that there was something more for him to do than to continue rendering judgments of courts (faisant des arrests;) that he had the happiness of being a Christian, and that it was of much more importance to him what the good God should think of him than what men thought. Funeral services were celebrated in Paris in the Église de la Trinite, at Dourdan, the place of his burial, and at Mettray, where he directed his heart to be deposited. On May 3, 1874, the busts of Demetz and his colaborer, Courteilles, were inaugurated at Mettray, with an address from M. Drouyn de Lhuys.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
M. Demetz (4)
Charles Sumner (2)
De la Trinite (1)
Drouyn Lhuys (1)
Milord English (1)
Frederic Auguste Demetz (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: