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31 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

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ASSASSINATION OF A GENTLEMAN…

COMTESSE D'ALTEYRAC v. LORD…

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COMTESSE D'ALTEYRAC v. LORD WILLOUGHBY D'ERESBY. In the Court of Queen's Bench the above cause has been tried, and was an action to recover the value of certain furniture, china, plate, &c., of the plaintiff, converted by the defendant to his own use. The amount claimed in the declaration was £20,000, The defendant pleaded Not Guilty," and that the plaintiff was not possessed as alleged. Mr. Coleridge, in opening the cue, stated that the plaintlfl was the wife of an officer in the French navy, who had been for many years separated from her husband. She made the acquaintance of the defendant, who was then the Hon. Alberie Drummond Willoughby, at Paris in 1847, and from that time until December, 1864, she lived with him as his wife, in and near London, and also at Paris and other places on the Continent. In February, 1848, a daughter was born, who, until her marriage recently, has always gone by the name of Miss Willoughby. In the year 1848 the Count D'Alteyrac obtained a judgment of separation from his wife, the effect of which, as the learned counsel averred, was to give the plaintiff entire control over the personal property of which she became possessed. She brought over to England about £ 1,600 of her own, and a large quantity of furniture and plate. During the residence of the plaintiff and defendant at Caen-lodge, Twickenham, the ilatter engaged himself to be married upon the death of plaintiff's husband, and, until the separation, the daughter was not aware that her parents had not been married. In 1852 Mr. Willoughby, being at the time very ill, wrote a letter to his father, asking him, In case of his death, to provide Madame D'Alteyrac with an income for life in return for the kindness and attention she had shown him. In that letter he acknowledged that all the furniture belonged to her. In 1862 a will was executed by the defendant, by which the house in which they were living, and all the furniture, horses, &< were left in trust for the benefit of the plaintiff for life, and for the daughter afterwards. An inventory was then drawn up of all the contents of the house, including that which was brought by the plaintiff from France, and was her own pro- perty, and that which had been purchased by the defendant. This inventory was examined and checked by the defendant; it included among other things a list of plate, weighing as much as 1,660 ounces, all of which, with very few exceptions, was marked with the crest or cipher of Madame D'Alteyrac. In December, 1864, up to which time the parties to this action had lived together upon most affectionate terms, the plaintiff went over to Paris to fetch the daughtwfrom school. After her departure a correspondence commenced, which ended in a consideration as to the terms upon which a separation should take place. From the time the plaintiff left England hi December, 1864, she has never seen the de- fendant, for at her return, at the end of January, 1865, the defendant's mother had just died, and before the end of the next month, his father, Lord Willoughby D'Eresby, also died, and the defendant succeeded to the title. It seemed that bv his father's will the defendant came into a large part of his property only en condition that he should give up all connexion with the plaintiff to the satisfaction of certain trustees named in the will. Soon after this Colonel Dudley Carlton proposed to Madame D'Alteyrac an arrangement on behalf of the defendant, by which she was to receive £1,500 and £2,000 a year; and upon the understanding that these terms were to be carried out, the plaintiff left Caen-lodge and went to Paris, one has since received only £300, and the defendant has taken possession of and sold the furniture and other ettects in the house at Twickenham, which, as the plaintiff alleged, all belonged to her. To the defendant's only answer is a denial of the plaintiffs right to the articles she claims, with the assertion of a technical objection that, being a married woman, she has no right to sue in a court of law in her own name. The learned counsel concluded by an eloquent appeal to the jury to give his client reparation for the injuries she had received, for he was happy to say that the defence raised was bad in law, as it was mean and dis- honourable. Madame D'Alteyrac was called, and examined by Mr. Philbric.—She said she was the wife of the Count D'Alteyrac, who was formerly the captain of a frigate In the French navy. In 1847, when she was living apart from her husband, she made the acquaintance of Mr. Willoughby in Paris, and commenced living with him in June of that year. In February, 1848, a daughter was born, and in 1849 they reo moved to England. She travelled with the defendant in Germany and Switzerland, and she was known by the name of Mrs. Willoughby and the daughter was called Miss Willoughby. The plaintiff brought with her to England about £1,600, and a considerable quantity of furniture, which Jifr own Property; a large part of this money was spent in fitting out and obtaining the lease of a house In Vincent- street, Ovington-squara. While living there the defendant wrote the letter to hia father which was mentioned in the opening speech, and which the plaintiff had ever since kept in her possession. At the recommendation ef the de- fendant's medical advisers they removed in 1852 to Caen- lodge, Twickenham, and conveyed there all the furniture which was in their previous residence. The will mentioned, which was produced and read, was executed on the 16th of March, 1862, about which time an inventory of all the articles In the house was drawn up by the plaintiff with the assistance of a Major Chambre, who was staying at Caen-lodge, and was approved by the defendant. At the end of 1864, on account of the defendant's Intimacy with the plaintiffs lady's maid, some disagreement took place between Mr. Willoughby and Madame D'Alteyrac. This, however, did not last long, and the usual affectionate terms were resumed before the latter left for Paris to fetch her daughter, In December of that year. In consequence of letters which she received, and of the conduct of the defendant in ad- vertising in the French newspapers that he would not be responsible for the plaintiff's debts, she wrote to the defend- ant, saying that perhaps they had better separate. Mr. Williamson, clerk to the defendant's attorney, came over to Paris and offered some terms, which were not aocepted. Afterwards, on her return to Caen-lodge, at the end of January, the plaintiff agreed to accept the terms proposed to her by Colonel Dudley Carlton, and she accordingly went over to Paris, leaving her furniture, plate, china, and other property in the house at Twickenham, none of which has she since been able to recover. In 1852, while living in Vincent-street, proceedings were taken by the Count d'Alteyrac in the Tribunal of First Instance of the Seine, and a judgment of separation from his wife was granted. Mr. Coleridge tendered a copy of the judgment with the seal of the French court. Mr. Hawkins objected to its reception. The Lord Chief Justice: Had you better risk it, Mr, Coleridge Y-Mr. Coleridge: I tender it. The Lord Chief Justice: If necessary I will adjourn the case for proof.—Mr. Hawkins: I object to Its reception. The Lord Chief Justice Are you really going to take such an objection, Mr. Hawkins ?—Mr. Hawkins: I must. It is not proved to be properly sealed. The Lord Chief Justice: I will certainly not allow justice to be defeated on such a point. If necessary I will adjourn the case for proof. Mr. Philbrick said if the document purported to be sealed with the seal of a foreign court it was sufficient The Lord Chief Justice: It Is sealed. Will that not do —Mr. Hawkins: Besides that the yroceediDgs on which it is said to be founded are not set forth. The Lord Chief Justice I must again put it to you, Mr. Hawkins, representing, as you do, a nobleman holding a public position, If you intend to persist in your objection to the reception of this evidence. I do not remember to have heard an objection so utterly and entirely unworthy of being made as this. (Slight applause.)—Mr. Hawkins: I hope your lordship does not think I have taken the objection my- self. The Lord Chief Justice: Quite so.—Mr. Hawkins: My instructions are to conduct the case with the greatest strictness. The Lord Chief Justice: I am not casting a shadow of blame on you personally, Mr. Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins said he wished a discretion had been vested in him, because if so he would exercise It. Mr. Coleridge said he would not press the reception of the judgment just then. The plaintiff, in cross-examination by Mr. Hawkins, said: I was married in 18S6. My daughter was born on 20th February, 1848, when I was living in Paris. I first became acquainted with the defendant in January, 1847 my daugh- ter was not two years old when my acquaintance commenced with the defendant. Mr. Hawkins: Do you mean to say she is his daughter? Plaintiff If Lord Willoughby were here I would ask him. I say yes. The child was not baptised until Lord Willoughby consented to her being brought up a Catholic. She was baptised at Isleworth when she was 11 years old. She was not baptised as "father unknown." I think my husband was travelling in America when I first became acquainted with Lord Willoughby. My husband had been away from me two years. I left my husband's family, with whom I had been residing, in February, 1847, to reside In Paris, at my husband's request. I brought £1,600 with me to London, which was spent on the house, &c., and I paid £200 besides to Parflt for the defendant's tailor's bill, and between £6,000 and £7,000, the remainder of my property, was settled upon our daughter. My daughter is now married. Half of the plate was purchased by the defendant and presented to me. In his illness I watched him day and night. It was feared the defendant would go mad, and then it was he gave me the letter to his father for a provision in case of his decease. Money had to be raised on mortgage with which to purchase Caen-lodge. I never said to Williamson that I wished to have the propertv in Caen-lodge made over to me. I never mentioned It to him, h's influence with the defend- ant. I that on the defendant's death I should receive ^o favour or affection from his family. I Cli aU the famUv always received Wn/ness i l^ft Caen-lod^B H !6v ant 8aw me in my carriage when the most affecting » dau8hter> ancl we parted on and Lord ^S-JI was 8ufferin8 from bronchitis, fnserted ihi „^g W Wlshed me t0 8° to Paris. Williamson thl £ advertisements that I was not to be trusted in sh-oii^ nf h pap?P' *1 the defendant's request. I was de- tiw! i separating, because I felt that I had not been eated as a wife and a lady ought to have been, in conse- quence of his familiarity with Lucy Wood, my lady's-maid. ,110' tell Williamson that I did not care about the defendant, and that all I wanted was the maintenance. I was too fond of the defendant to say that. I mentioned no sum that I should require on separation with which to pay my debts. I said I thought he ought to pay every one, as I had had the management of the house as his wife. I never said I was indebted £2,000. I have nearly paid every one 1 owe money to in Paris, between jE500 and £600. My per- sonal debts in England and Paris cannot be more than &1.000. Before the conclusion of the cross-examination an attempt was made to compromise the action upon the terms pro- posed by Colonel Carlton, but Mr. Coleridge refused to ac- cept anything less than Lord Willoughby d'Eresby s signa- ture to such a compromise; for, as he said, he knew his Lordship had given his attorney written instructions to allow no terms to be entered into. The Lord Chief Justice remarked that this was a matter which he thought ought to be arranged at the earliest possible moment, or put into the hands of some men of honour who should have full power to determine all disDutei between the parties He considered it a case of great public scandal, and when one considered the telationshin between the plaintiff and defendant, the action assumed an unplea- •ant and unworthy aspect. It ought to be settled eut of S?Uthe nfatotW-s8 m?H^ no complaint by the defendant of the piainturs misconduct, and after living together for right to turu a woman adrift UpoIl the stveets. It was then arranged to receive the evidence concer :,ii:g the French law in case it might be required, and aitenvarus to adjourn for a few days, in order that Lord Yv illough'iv. «lo was absent from London, might confirm the terms propused by his counsel. M. Ernest Le Beau was examined, through an in* .nireter, by Mr. Coleridge. He said he was formerly mayor ot Cr.iais and member of the Council General of the department of Calais. He had been thirty-seven years an advocate, an0. was a member of the Council of Advocates. lie rirodueofi and read Article 1,449 of the Code Civile of France, which is as follows :— "LafemrM separic, soitde corps et de bien#, soil de bic/ny. seulemerrt, en reprend la libra administration. El'c disposer de ion nwbilier et I'ali&ner. Elle 'M pent all&ncr [: immeubles sans le consentement du mari, ou sans eta autorisee en justice d son re/us." The witness further said that by the law of France a "woman separated from her husband can, with regard to persona) property, take proceedings without any authority from her husband or the law. She Is, in fact, a single woman. The copy of the judgment of separation produced was sufficient by the law of France to prove the legal separation. M. Auguste Petit and the Chevalier de Rosas, advocates oi the French Bar, concurred in the opinions expressed by M Le Beau. The court was then adjourned.

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THE MARKETS.