Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

regard to the common law; and Bacon has also declared his belief of its utility. On the contrary, there is danger in reducing law to a written code, of introducing too much and minute regulation. We must beware that we do not enslave ourselves by fetters of our own forying, and entangle ourselves in a net of regulations which will impede the movements of society.

It is chiefly to be remembered, that from the multiplicity of those movements, to remove the smallest friction, becomes immensely important. How much would be saved, if it were only the one half of the labour and expense of every suit for all future ages.

The change necessary to the present state of society has partially been made with regard to the principles and rules of property, and the rights of individuals by the creation of a system of equity, but it exists in all the clumsiness and awkwardness of patchwork. We have abolished the gowns, wizs, squarecaps, and other trifling ceremonials, and forms, but are afraid to reform where reform is vastly more important, and where it is loudly called for. The state of law as a science, and the mode of its administration, are at variance with the spirit of the age and of the people. There is a strong interest combined and ever active to keep it so; but, I cannot think it will long prevail against the light which breaks in upon us.

Never were the minds of the people in a fitter state to effect a reform in a wise and prudent manner. Only let it be intrusted to proper hands and made with due deliberation. Neither to those who from ancient prejudices and long habits cannot be brought to think favourably of any change, nor to rash theorists, who would overturn foundations and rear up a ricketty and ill proportioned edifice. Not to a great number, lest there should be no responsibility, no concert and expedition; not to a very few, lest there should be wanting the combination of wisdom and omniscience of the subject. I have thus freely given you my views on this important subject; they are the result of experience, observation, and reflection, and not conjured up for the occasion. For my own part, I most sincerely wish that the obvious and necessary improvements were made in the science of law throughout the union; it really stands in need of reformation as much as religion did in the time of Luther. It is encumbered with similar forms and superstitions. Temporary expedients and enactments have been resorted to long enough; much that is useful has been and might yet be borrowed from the civil law; it is a system composed for a people in the highest state of civilization and refinement. The aid of the gentleman

now in Congress from Louisiana, and who may be said to belong equally to New York, should be called in. He is fervently devoted to the improvement of the science, and his distinguished abilities and experience would be of the utmost service.

Montesquieu has written the spirit of laws; let us have the practice of laws, that is, the practical system of jurisprudence best adapted to the administration of justice in a civilized, refined, and well informed community.

As a passionate lover of my profession, it would delight me to behold law, as the handmaid of justice, refreshing her weary suitors from the fountain of truth, and to see that in the draught, there should be neither injustice to make it bitter, delay to make it sour, nor expense to make it nauseous. Accept, sir, the homage due to the moral and intellectual courage displayed in agitating this important and interesting subject.

CHARLES WATTS.

THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.

The melancholy days are come—the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and

sere.

Heaped in the hollows of the grove the summer leaves lie

dead, They rustle to the eddying wind, and to the rabbit's tread; The robin and the wren are flown-and from the shrubs the

jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow, through all the gloomy

day.

Where are the flowers, the bright young flowers, that smiled

beneath the feet, Of hues so passing beautiful, and breath so passing sweet? Alas, they all are in their graves—the gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds with the fair and good of ours : The rain is falling on their graves—but the cold November

rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

The wind flower, and the violet, they perished long ago,
And the brier rose, and the orchis, died amid the summer's

glow; Vol. I.

62

But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
And the yellow sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty

stood, Till fell the frost from the clear cold Heaven, as falls the plague

on men, And the blossoms never smiled again by upland glade or glen. And now, when comes the calm mild day-as still such days

will come, To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home ; When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees

are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late

he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more. And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side; In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the

leaf, And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief; Yet not unmeet it was, that one like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.

B.

LITERARY INTELLIGENCE. Ma. Griscom, one of the Associate Principals of the New. York High School, has in the press a work on the application of the monitorial system to the higher branches of education, comprising also many views of the most recent and successful improvements in public education. In addition to the original essay of the author, and an account of the establishment of which he and Mr. Barnes are at the head, this volume will, we understand, contain copious extracts from the writings of Professor Jardine, from the most valuable foreign journals, &c. &c. so as to form a valuable manual for this country of all that is most useful in recent European speculations, or experiments in education.

There is now in the press, in this city, a work on “ the Doctrine of Contracts," especially considered in relation to the influence of suppression of facts, of inequality of knowledge between the parties, and of inadequacy of price, with the collate

ral question of warranties of kind or quality.-By Gulian C. VERPLANCK.

The plan of this treatise may be considered as original. It gives a general view of the several heads of contracts of mutual benefit, such as sales, insurance, &c. &c. as they have been regulated by the rules of Common Law, and the decisions of Equity, both here and in England. A similar view is then briefly given of the civil law, of the old and new French systems of jurisprudence, and the other codes derived from that of Rome.

The plain morality of these cases, without reference to external and positive law, is next investigated; and on this subject both speculative moralists and lawyers, and men of business, have entertained very discordant opinions.

The author concludes by applying to the Law the principles which he thinks are the clear decisions of conscience and common sense in private morals; shows how far they have already, in effect, been adopted and acted upon, and how far deviated from, or contradicted, in our jurisprudence.

The main object of the essay is to establish a few general and consistent principles, which, while they mark out the line of right and wrong in private conscience, as to sales and bargains, may also serve as sound, practicable, and uniform legal rules, upon a subject where there is now no little uncertainty, and the greatest contrariety prevailing between the several parts of the same sytem.

As this sheet was going to press, a friend placed in our hands, a pamphlet consisting of thirty-six pages, just printed in this city, and entitled a “Poetical Paraphrase of Select Portions of Scripture.” The General Convention of the Episcopal church in the United States having determined on a version of the Psalms and Hymns used in their service, a Committee was appointed for that purpose to report to the next convention. These paraphrases are stated by the author to have been prepared with a view to be submitted to this committee. The author thinks, that, for the purpose of psalmody, besides Psalms, or versified translations of the Hebrew Psalms, and Hymns, and devout original compositions, there should be another class comprised of paraphrases, or metrical versions of the more poetical and devotional parts of the Scriptures. He has accordingly paraphrased, with more or less freedom and originality, many passages from the Old and New Testaments, especially from the prophets and the less argumentative parts

of the epistles. The idea is a good one, and to judge from the two or three specimens which we have had time to read, the execution is also very creditable to the author.

THE POET.

Look at that high and marble brow,

The hair thrown back as if in ire;
Look at that cheek, how red its glow,

How bright those eyes with living fire!
Those parted lips—they seem to speak;
And yet no sounds the silence break.

What are thy thoughts ; rapt mortal, tell

Thou deign'st not unto us reveal ?
Do they on earth, sea, heaven, dwell?

O tell me, for I fain would steal
Some spark of thine, since we are—nay:
Frown not—both kindred of the clay.

[blocks in formation]

On heaven—are all yon stars of gold

Marshalled by God each night for thee?
When he the world's bright chart unrolled,

Was no sweet isle marked out for me?
O thou dost err-

r—those skies so blue
When I am dead shall be mine too.

Then think not, friend, I cannot share

The thoughts that lie too deep for speech,

« ZurückWeiter »