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more of it, we believe, must be seen, before what is now regarded as the auroral promise of an approaching brighter period to the world, shall be accomplished; and the light of the morning upon the tops of the mountains, shall descend and cheer every valley and region of the shadow of death.
And here, to be a little more definite, we beg leave to suggest, to all those under whose notice these remarks may chance to fall, and who desire the speedy prevalence of christianity over the earth, whether something might not, and ought not, to be done, by way of retrenchment in the present style of living among professed christians, for the purpose of doing good to others. The temperance reformation, which has been so auspiciously begun, in various and nearly all parts of the land, shews with what facility a more extended system of self-denial and retrenchment, in respect to many existing customs and habits, might be adopted and put in operation : and we cannot but regard the reformation just referred to, as being in fact the commencement of such a system. Whether this shall prove to be true or not, we see nothing visionary in the hope that it will be so, and that hope is certainly a grateful one. Indeed, one of the most interesting aspects of the reformation referred to,-interesting in every view as it is—appears to us to be its tendency to lead on to farther and more beneficial results, be yond those which were in the immediate contemplation of its early and its most zealous advocates and friends. li will have taught men, not only that they can, advantageously, deny themselves in one respect, but that, when duty demands, they can carry their self-denial still farther. At the same time, it will naturally suggest cases, in which (if such cases there be) duty will seem to require that it be carried farther : and in that way, it may be connected ultimately with an extended and important system of retrenchment, the bearing of which upon the happiness of many, here and hereaster, would be of the most auspicious kind.
Now, we beg leave to inquire, whether for the purpose ing, at home and abroad, and every where on earth where human beings are found, a wider scope and a more effective operation to the distinctive principles of the gospel, a little more self-denial, in the particular here brought to view, might not, and ought not, to be practiced? With those who live themselves, and who view others as living, only for this world, the inquiry here proposed is indeed already answered;" Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” . But, with those who believe in the immortality of the human soul, together with its sinful character and lost condition out of Christ; and who regard the cordial reception of the gospel, as the only method of insuring a happy immortality to any man, beyond the dark confines of his present existence; there cannot, we believe, be any serious doubt, as to the course which duty pre
scribes, in relation to this subject. There ought to be, there must be, ere long, we trust, there will be, a more decided, general, operative spirit of benevolent self-denial, discovering itself in the particular referred to, and leading mankind to change many of their present habits, for the sake of doing good upon a wider scale. And we think, that such publications as that before us, must lead those who read them, both to perceive the necessity of there being more of the spirit of which we have been speaking, among men, and also to seek to possess more of it themselves. In this view, as well as in many others, we hail such publications as being auspicious to the best interests of mankind.
ART. III.-REVIEW OF JUDGE STORY'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS.
A Discourse pronounced upon the inauguration of the author, as Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University, on the twenty-fifth day of August, 1929. By Joseph Story. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, Little & Wilkins. 1829.
MR. DANE of Massachusetts, who has been long known as a lawyer of great learning in his profession, and as a gentleman of high personal respectability, has lately founded a professorship of Law in Harvard University; and Mr. Justice Story, of the Supreme Court of the United States, whose great and merited reputation as a judge needs not our humble tribute, has been selected by Mr. Dane as the Professor. The Discourse, which we have made the text for the following article, was pronounced by Judge Story, at his entrance upon the duties of his department, and may be regarded as an Introductory Lecture to the regular course, which will be delivered to students of the profession attending upon his instructions. The circumstances connected with the endowment of this professorship, as we learn from the discourse itself, bear a marked similarity to those which led to the establishment of the Vinerian professorship of law in the University of Oxford, and among the fruits of which, are the admirable Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone. The first chapter of this great work is also an introductory lecture to the science which forms the basis of all those that succeed it; and, excellent as it is, we do it no injustice in expressing the opinion, that the discourse of the Dane Professor may claim a place by its side.
A considerable part of this discourse is devoted to inquiries respecting the character of the COMMON Law; its value, as a science; its importance, as a system of rules of action, to the community at large; and its more immediate influence upon the studies and conduct of the professed lawyer. E ch of these topics, which, if fully pursued, might easily exhaust a volume, is treated in the brief space which the limits of the discourse allow, with a judgment and dignity suitable to the occasion and the theme; and they will well repay every individual of a cultivated and liberal mind, for the time he may devote to their careful and thorough perusal.
It is not our design, however, to make this discourse the subject of a formal review: we have selected it, simply as a text for our own inquiries as an introductory title merely, to our examination of certain doctrines, which aim at an entire innovation in the form of the Law at large, as it now exists in our country; and which are of deep interest, not only to those who are its professed expounders and ministers, but to every member of the community. Were these doctrines advanced by the sciolist or the radical reformer alone, were they to rest upon what appears to us, their own intrinsic feebleness merely, we should think that silence would be the wisest reply; but when we find among their advocates men of education and intelligence, for whom we feel a decided respect and regard, a different course may be not only advisable, but imperative.
In common with our fellow-citizens, we cherish a deep concern for every thing that affects our national welfare; and as conductors of this review, we are prepared to allot a due proportion of its columns, among all the diverse subjects of this character. While topics of a religious nature form professedly the main theme of our discussions, we still look with a friendly eye on all those of a miscellaneous cast, which interest us as Americans, as freemen; nor in this are we chargeable with the least inconsistency. The world are now learning, that while religion disclaims all interference as an engine of state, or a constituent part of government, it rightfully challenges an intimate connection with every thing that is dear to man. Indeed, the only cause for wonder is, that a different sentiment should . ever have prevailed. Not a moment of our existence elapses, not an incident of our lives occurs, which does not proclaim its direct bearing upon us, as upon those who are now in a state of trial-who are preparing for an unalterable destiny through the influence of every thought, and word, and action, which form the sum of our being here; and to those who assent to such an opinion, we need offer no apology for the following investigation.
The opinion has of late been formally announced and defended, that the entire revision of the Common Law, and its incorporation into a Written Code, would be a judicious measure. of law as well as others, it is said, is now scattered through so many
different volumes, so much room still remains for uncertainty and conflict, so much that is obsolete or unfitted for American institutions and policy, still deforms the science, that its codification (we use the term for want of a better) is absolutely necessary.
The advocates of this measure find, indeed, but little difficulty in telling us of the burdens and obscurity that attend the law as it now is; of the defects and redundancies, the antiquated precedents, and the jarring cases, that deform our law books. But while all this, and much more, can be truly said, the remedy is by most of them, so generally and loosely described, that we are allowed full leisure for discontent and alarm without any very definite hope of improvement. We must have a code, is the sentiment; we want simplicity and precision; we cannot endure this rudis indigestaque moles. But what the code is to be, what its extent and method, who are to be the code-makers, with other important features of the plan; these matters are not always very clearly specified. We are referred to the Civil Law, as digested under the auspices of Justinian, to the Code Napoleon, to the Constitution of the United States, and to other examples, all of which prove, it is said, the practicability and usefulness of the scheme. Let us proceed then with the light afforded us, and suppose the question in substance to be : is it, or is it not, advisable to attempt the formation of a written code, which shall comprehend all, or most of what is valuable in the law of this country, and which shall be included (the limit assigned by a respectable writer*) within the compass of a single octavo volume?
It is asserted that, with so portable a text-book for study and reference, the people, as a mass, will better understand the law. But this is very doubtful. The community would never, or but rarely, read it. Its quantity of matter (for the Code Napoleon, small as it is, contains letter-press sufficient to fill two moderate octavos) would even then be such, that few readers, out of the legal profession, would devote the time necessary to a single faithful perusal; and it is not the reading once, or twice, or thrice, only, that makes the student at home, in a digested volume of law.
The nature of the science also, would effectually prevent any general acquaintance with the subject. Legal principles are abstract and precise, like those of mathematics; dry and repulsive to almost every one but the lawyer; and completely unfitted to the habits and thoughts of the great majority of society. To suppose then, that any code, the smallest possible, would be generally studied and understood, is as erroneous as the supposition that men will generally become opticians or algebraists. Another alledged advantage of such a code is, its tendency to diminish litigation. We are still doubtful, however. The causes of law-suits are almost as numerous as the suits themselves. Twenty actions
* See the XLV. No. of the North American Review, Article-Sampson's Discourse on the Common Law.
are brought in our courts, arising from partial and distorted statements by clients to their counsel, from the bad passions of the parties, or from the inability or unwillingness of debtors to pay, where one is brought from uncertainty as to the law. Let any one in doubt upon this subject, inquire of professional men, or satisfy himself by personal observation; let him attend the courts and notice, how often a case turns upon contradictory or controlling evidence, upon the application of settled principles to unsettled facts, or upon questions started only to gain time or delay, and he will doubt no longer. These are causes of litigation, which always exist. They spring from the character and condition of individuals, and of society; and, whether one or a thousand volumes, be the measure of a lawyer's library, they will remain unaltered. But the great argument for a written code, is yet to be mentioned; and as it has doubtless much force in itself, and embraces numerous important principles and facts-principles and facts, which carry their apparent confirmation with them, -it deserves a more particular consideration. We shall endeavor to state it fairly and fully.
It is said, and with great justness, that the common law of England, which we have adopted as our own law, is now scattered and diffused through hundreds of volumes ; that their number has been increasing for centuries, and has already reached an amount which but few lawyers can afford money to purchase, and which none can afford time to study; that the rate of increase has never been so rapid as at the present time, and that when we include, at the same time, the amount of Reports already published in the United States, the mass becomes so unwieldy as to be altogether unmanageable; that a vast number of these law-books are either obsolete, or, as the works of elementary writers, or Nisi Prius decisions, are entitled to but little or no authority; that an immense amount of contradictory cases and opinions are here introduced, which serve only to perplex the judge as well as the lawyer. this state of things, it is contended, that, unless some expedient is adopted, and none appears to be so remedial as codification, the labors of the lawyer will become intolerable ; reason and precedent will be often lost in the cloud of jarring decisions; law, instead of being what it should be, and what its admirers claim it to be-a science, will be, and is too often even now, a system of subtleties, of arbitrary, inconsistent doctrines, which not rarely mislead the counselor when advising his clients, and which render property insecure, impair confidence in the transactions between man and man, and make the termination of suits more the effect of chance or caprice, than the steady decision of clear and consistent rules. When such is the fact, it is asked, why object to a process that shall clear this Augean stable of its impurities, that shall prune