‘The law is an ass’
Sir, – Mr Pickwick most certainly had “sound instincts” (Letters, October 3rd) but he was not, as David Gwynn Morgan suggests, the Dickens character who made the observation “the law is an ass”.
That opinion was expressed by Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist, when he learned from Mr Brownlow that, under Victorian law, he was responsible for actions carried out by his wife.
His words and actions vividly convey the extent of his indignation when apprised of this legal fact: “‘If the law supposes that,’ said Mr Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, ‘the law is an ass – a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience – by experience.’” – Yours, etc,