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tinsel, or drawn it into wire; what it has gained in splendor and extension, it has lost in weight and value. The following stanza affords a double specimen of the author's prettiness and his insipidity; of the former in the five first, and of the latter in the four last lines.
“And now its white the blossom'd hawthorn threw
"And on her cheek of mountain-snow there grew,
"She felt; and oft she wander'd to relieve distress."
There is so much sweetness and delicacy in the allusions of the
"A summer sun is Hope, whose cheering rays
"(Though Joy's rich autumn can return no more)
"By Memory's moonlight, where the harvest once has been !"
Art. VIII. An Elementary Treatise on Pleading in Civil Actions. By Edward Lawes, of the Inner Temple. 8vo. pp. 246. Price 78. 6d. Brooke and Clarke, Butterworth, 1806.
To those who are unacquainted with the practice and technical
terms of English jurisprudence, the word Pleading seldom conveys any other idea, than that of the statements and arguments of the parties, or their counsel, addressed vivá voce to the court or jury. It is in this sense only that it must have been understood, wherever there was an official administration of justice
before writing was known, in any particular country; and in this sense only it is now understood, even among professional men, in every country of Europe except England and Ireland. But in these islands it assumes quite a distinct meaning; and a man may obtain the reputation of an excellent pleader, who has never opened his mouth in court, and who possesses none of the rights or dignities of the Barrister. In this limited sense, the title and subject of this treatise are understood. Pleadings, in this acceptation of the word, are nothing more than the allegations of facts, made by the parties, and reduced to writing in a technical legal form. These allegations, for some centuries after the conquest, were made before the Court, by the counsel alternately, ore tenus, and taken down in writing by the clerk; and when eacli party had concluded his allegations, the counsel proceeded to argue on their legal effect, and the court pronounced judgement; we mean where one objected to the validity of his opponent's allegation in point of law; for if they came to issue on a disputed fact, the matter was referred to a jury, as at this day. At what precise period this practice of stating the allegations of fact orally before the court was discontinued, and the mode of exhibiting the pleadings in writing was substituted in its place, does not clearly appear, though the present practice has certainly existed ever since the Reformation.
Pleading, or, as it is now called, Special Pleading, has in all periods of our legal history been considered as the most nice and difficult branch of the profession; it has long been reduced almost to a science which is not of easy acquisition: it is now cultivated with success and reputation by a class of men who con¬ fine themselves to it exclusively. Mr. Lawes very truly observes, "that no man's cause is safe, unless it be entrusted to those who have a competent knowledge of this part of the law: nor have any other a well grounded hope of succeeding in any degree of eminence in the profession, than those who have diligently studied, and who thoroughly understand the science, previously to being called to the bar."
The author professes to give at present only an elementary treatise on the general principles of pleading, preparatory to a work on a more enlarged plan: from what he has already done, we augur well of this promised publication.
Our limits do not permit ns to give a detailed analysis of the work; but a slight sketch will enable the reader to judge what he is to expect from the perusal.
In the first chapter Mr. L. gives the general history of pleading, of the changes it has undergone, and its present state-in the second its several divisions; and in the third the general rules applicable to those several divisions. The five succeeding chaptors treat distinctly, and in their order, of all the different species
of allegations which can come under the name of Pleadings to the end of a cause. Each chapter has its Appendix, for the purpose of illustrating by precedents and notes the general doctrine in the body of the works.
In order and method the author has observed the rules of strict composition the style is in general more pure and inviting than in the majority of legal treatises; but it is not unfrequently a little involved, and in some instances it is incorrect.
Art. IX. Sermons on various Subjects and Occasions. By Alexander Grant D. D. Minister of the English Episcopal Chapel at Dundee, Vol. III. 8vo. pp. 296. Price 6s. Longman and Co.
SENSIBLE of the differences which prevail among both preachers and hearers, and aware of the different methods by which sermons may accomplish their important end, we are far from wishing to reduce all to one standard. But we expect to see a minister of religion attempt some valuable object by adequate means. The preacher, whose mind is stored with biblical knowledge, whose discourse illustrates the text he has chosen, and scatters many lights upon other passages which occur before his notice, has, in our judgement, performed a work which more than merits forgiveness, for some negligence of diction, or tameness of address. Nor are we displeased with a sermon, which possesses the single charm of luminous state> ment, and well-reasoned defence, of any important doctrine or duty of religion. Nay, even the pastor, who enforces only what others have explained, and gives the impulse which sends to the heart what before floated idly in the brain, deserves no small portion of esteem. But when sermons neither illustrate their own text, nor any other; present no important truth in either new or clearer light; and kindle no vital flame in the heart, to atone for deficiency of information to the mind, we are compelled to ask the mortifying question, why were they published? In this predicament we are placed by the volume before us this mass of inanity in a mist.
The sermons are twenty-four in number, but as the author has not attempted to assign them any titles, we hope our readers will not expect us to give a name to airy nothings. One of them is about Melchisedec, but the only thing clear in it is, that the author has given a Greek etymon of the word Jerusalem, which is obviously Hebrew.
.. It is hard to say, whether the following sentence comes nearer to the profane or to the vulgar, "I trust in God we shall not be blasphemers of his holy name."
The following is an example of ignorance and dullness which would disgrace the vapid theme of a school-boy, Speaking
of the unsatisfactory nature of earthly good, Doctor Grant says:
"Cæsar and Pompey, possessing such mines of wealth, as enabled each of them to support a numerous and powerful army, enough to render them rival candidates for the empire of the world; how many thousands looked up to those men as objects of envy, and examples of felicity?"
The 16th sermon, preached on a fast-day, shocked us with the display of national pride, when we were called to humiliation, and terrified us with the menace of revenge, when we ought to have been melted into the tenderness of contrition." Let us hope in God (says Dr. G.) that the time is Hot far distant, when this inhuman miscreant (Buonaparte) shall be convinced of his mistake by the signal notoriety of the just vengeance of heaven in his punishment," p. 191. Has the Doctor ever heard of one, who commanded his disciples to love their enemies, and who, in the agonies of death, prayed for his murderers? We could also wish to ask this writer, how he came to know that "the fallen angels committed but one sin, and that only in thought?" But the miserable pittance of any thing that can be called doctrine or thought in this volume, is so obscure, confused, or erroneous, that it is evident the author, though D. D., is no divine. It is of little importance from what part of the volume we select our extract; for its characteristic imbecility renders the worst passage nearly harmless, and the best nearly useless.
"Were we inclined to turn the tables, and treat the infidels of our day with the ridicule of which they are so liberal themselves; it were surely no difficult matter to foil them even at their own weapons, and prove their folly equal to their wickedness. For instance, what can be more ridiculous than for a man to rack his invention, that he may appear to argue ingeniously on a subject, wherein, if he should even prove victorious, he must be a loser by his victory? Now this must be the case with infidels, if they do at any time make a convert to their opinions. They loosen the ties of morality in his mind, make him regardless of the most sacred obligations, and fearless of punishment for any crime that can be committed in secret. By which means they render him dangerous even to themselves, if ever it should be his interest (I mean his present interest) to do them an injury. For to an infidel the present life is all. The utmost he can hope for hereafter is to become nothing; but to hope for nothing is in effect to have no hope at all, and it requires no proof that he who is void of hope is also destitute of consolation." pp. 262, 263.
A small pamphlet is bound up with this volume, called, An Apology for continuing in the Communion of the Church of England, (instead of joining the Episcopal Church of Scotland).
Art. X. The History of England, from the earliest Records to the Peace of Amiens, in a Series of Letters to a Young Lady at School. By Charlotte Smith. Three Vols. 12mo. pp. 1246. price 15s. bound. Phillips.
THE HE Histories of England are already so numerous, that it would seem unnecessary to compile another, espe cially as many are written professedly for the use of schools." -Thus far we read, and perfectly coincided in opinion with the compiler, or rather the compilers of the present work; for, notwithstanding the name of C. Smith stands alone in the title-page of each volume, that Lady informs us, " that, after she had finished about eight hundred pages," (that is, less than two volumes) "the continuation, to the close of the work, was undertaken by a Lady who, she doubts not, has proved herself competent to the task;" and indeed we think the work has lost nothing in literary merit, by being transferred to other hands.
Why "it appeared desirable to add to former histories a new one, in a single volume, chiefly for the perusal of young ladies," we cannot conceive; or if one volume only was desirable, we are at a loss to conjecture how three volumes were to supply that desideratum. We do not remember what there is in our abridgements of English History, that renders them
tedious, or improper for the perusal of young women:" nor can we discover any thing in these volumes to distinguish them, as female companions, except the interspersion of some poetical compositions, and a description of the dresses of the various periods described. As to the Epistolary form of this work, it is nothing but a name: we should certainly have read through the first two volumes without even dreaming that we were perusing a series of letters, if it had not been for the title, at the top of the page, or the commencement of a new number in the series. In some parts of the third volume, especially in Letters 108 and 110, we meet with that familiarity and ease which should have been more generally main tained, to have rendered the execution of the work agreeable to the plan, The style of this history, considering the di visions as chapters, instead of letters, is very commendable, commonly smooth, and sometimes elegant. There is as much useful information as the size of the work admits; though we too often meet with allusions to persons and events with which a young reader cannot be supposed to have formed any previous acquaintance, and of which no information is given in the course of the history. If abridgements were designed merely to assist the memory, this would be not only excusable, but proper; in abridgements, however, like the present, designed to give the first knowledge of the subject to young and