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"Again, it seems to us that in all cases where, on its being admitted or proved that the party published the alleged libel on some occasion or under circumstances recognized by the law as affording a qualified justification, dependent on the question whether he acted honestly and bond fide, in reference to the occasion, or malá fide, and out of mere malice, the truth or falsity of the alleged libel ought to be admitted to evidence, the better to enable the jury to decide on the real motives and intention of the party. It is, we think, plainly inconsistent, that in the first place the innocence or guilt of the party charged with libel should be made to depend on the actual disposition of mind and intention at the time of publication, and yet that one of the best and surest tests for deciding that fact should be withheld from the consideration of the jury. It is obvious that to exclude such evidence must often occasion the conviction of the innocent, and still more frequently the acquittal of the guilty; no evidence can possibly be more cogent to show that the party was acting malá fide than the fact that he knew that the injurious matter published was false."
The Commissioners express themselves in one passage as being pretty confident that these recommendations would practically unite the ancient with the modern law in respect of personal libels; they being of opinion that the ancient law of this country held the falsehood of a libel to be essential to its criminality. They also think that the provisions suggested would remove an unseemly anomaly to the general rules and principles of the law of evidence. In another and a later part of the Report, however, they show that they had discovered more difficulties and intricacies connected with libels, whether merely personal, or such as would lead to a breach of the public peace, than at first they contemplated; for they say,"After having attentively considered the grounds upon which the criminal law of libel at present stands, and traced the causes which have given rise to objections against that law, and having submitted what appears to us to be the most expedient course for obviating those objections and removing existing prejudices, we deem it to be proper to state, on the other hand, such objections as suggest themselves to us against any deviation from the present rules and practice of the law of libel." And they add,-"We do this for the purpose of drawing attention to every view of the subject which occurs to us, and also for the purpose of inviting and procuring, so far as we are able, such critical remarks from experienced persons as may serve either to confirm us in our views, or as may suggest something more desirable, or show that the present state of the law on this subject is such as to require no alteration." Here we have doubts and hesitation; nor do we think that it would be difficult to point out conceivable cases where grievous injury would be inflicted by the recommendations above quoted, especially as respects private reputation. Take such a case as we have seen quoted in
the Law Magazine, and given on the authority of the present Lord Chancellor, when he was Solicitor General. He said,
"The transaction to which he was about to refer, occurred many years ago, but it had made a deep impression on his mind at the time, and therefore he had no doubt that he would be able to state the circumstances connected with it correctly. A young woman had, in early life, been seduced by a man of title, but after living with him for a certain time, she became ashamed of the course of life she was pursuing, and taking the opportunity of escaping from it, she retired into a distant part of the country, where her seducer was unable to discover her. She obtained a situation in which she conducted herself with so much propriety, that she not only gained the good-will of her employers, but was appointed to a responsible situation in a public establishment. Some years after, her seducer discovered the place of her retreat; and having in vain made proposals for the renewal of their intercourse, he hit upon the expedient of depriving her of the means of subsistence, thinking that he should then succeed in his attempt to possess himself again of her person. He, therefore published in the town where she resided the history of her early life. The consequence was, that the unfortunate woman lost the esteem of the friends whom her subsequent good conduct had procured her, and she was deprived of the appointment by means of which she obtained her livelihood."
Now was not this woman entitled to compensation? But according to the laws which regulate civil actions, she could have obtained no redress, because the villain would have justified. And the same hardship would be the result of the penal law of libel if the recommendations of the Commissioners were adopted and fol
We need not add another word to show how difficult it is to frame a satisfactory libel law; or how needful it is to have the existing code on that subject remodelled and amended.
ART. X.-Remarks on the Mineralogy and Geology of Nova Scotia. By CH. T. JACKSON and FRANCIS ALGER. Cambridge, U. S.
THE progress in every branch of the natural sciences during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and their still more rapid advancement in the nineteenth, are matters not less remarkable than the course of improvement in mechanical invention and manufactures. The natural and the artificial, indeed, are necessarily closely allied, and may be said, in the respect mentioned, to be parallel, and to produce reciprocal influences.
Not only have all the sciences, before recognized as such, received such immense augmentations as to throw their former selves far into the rear, but even others, wholly new, but admitted to be dis
tinet, have been brought to light; while some of those of recent birth appear to be already not far from a mature state, or at least are so improved and developed as to afford sure and strong footing for all future extension and application.
Take the science of Botany, for instance: this is no longer an overgrown and repulsive dictionary of synonyms, without method, and lacking fertility, as it had been rendered by the followers of Linnæus. Entomology has taken rank as a defined science, and the truths to be deduced from its principles are susceptible of being directed to valuable practical ends. Comparative Anatomy has ceased to be a despised study, and is rapidly becoming the basis of zoological arrangement. And Ornithology,-why it is no longer the accumulation of uninteresting technicalities that it was in the day of the Swedish naturalist; nor, on the other hand, does it suffer from the crude and ridiculous though eloquent theories of Buffon. Just think of this Frenchman, when he had concluded the ornithological portion of his attractive but visionary work, announcing with the utmost self-complacency and dogmatic assurance, that he had completed the "History of the Birds of the World!" That work embraced, to be sure, eight hundred species from different parts of the globe; the discovery of which had been the work of nearly twenty centuries. But what will the reader now say when he learns that instead of these eight hundred,-which number astonished the contracted mind of Buffon, and led him to assert that his list was so nearly complete as not to admit of a material augmentation,-there are now known to inhabit the earth such a host, that the Frenchman's amounts to little more than a sixteenth part? What then must the modern student think of the recent progress of discovery and science, when he finds that while nearly twenty centuries on the one hand did not furnish the knowledge of one half so many hundreds of species, a single half century has multiplied that number almost by twenty?
And Geology, that branch which for interest and instruction ranks next to Astronomy, while it is the most profitable of all the natural sciences, has sprung at once, as it were, into light and life.
The inquiry would be an engaging, encouraging, and impressive one, did any competent person undertake to trace and describe the agencies by which all the modern improvements pointed at have been effected. Has it been by the munificence of governments, or the directions and support of scientific associations, that the wondrous changes mentioned have been accomplished? The answer must be in the negative, although it cannot be denied that something valuable has been achieved through patronage within the circle of the natural sciences. But what we wish to note particularly is this, that while national governments, and wealthy or influential societies have lent on many occasions their aid and their
countenance to the effectuating of grand results, it has been mainly owing to the arduous exertions, the silent studies, the enlightened investigations of private, comparatively poor and obscure men that the mighty revolution has been brought about; a revolution not more astonishing on the part of scientific principles and truth than in having awakened public opinion, overturned popular prejudice, and aided the interests of morality and religion.
Just contemplate the labours and the triumphs of Cuvier. A writer has thus spoken of him: "By his labours as a naturalist,by arranging, in a manner never before equalled, the objects of his research, by displaying at one view, the wonders of the remotest ages, and of the most distant portions of the earth,—as a public lecturer, who carried away with him his audience by the variety of his illustrations, the vividness of his descriptions, and the fascination of his eloquence, as the philosophical writer, by his powers of combination and analysis, by his classification of what was insulated, by giving system and unity to the most desultory fragments of natural science, by establishing new laws, by opening new fields of research, by throwing the light of his genius over the darkest pages of nature;-in fine, by a whole life devoted to that object, he carried away captive the intelligence of a whole people, and an almost universal acquiescence on the part of his countrymen in favour of his darling studies."
Such were the services of this great high-priest of nature, whose numerous followers are constantly finding realizations of his doctrines, and new facts to corroborate the truth of his system; so that we may just as reasonably expect that Providence and the laws which govern our globe and all the creatures upon it will change, as that the human mind will fall back into its former blindness and obduracy when reading the great book which is everywhere spread out around us.
It is not in closets and only by dimming the eyes over the pages of sedentary compilers, that the naturalist now-a-days pursues his most enlightened, valuable, and attractive studies. He goes forth into the fields not only to procure superlative enjoyments, but to elicit new facts which will delight and better the world. It may be that his only companion is a fowling-piece; but it is not as an idler, a careless observer, who does not know how to get rid of time, much less as a vagabond or outcast that he goeth forth. Even the entomologist, who was wont to be regarded as little removed from the condition of a monomaniac, when he was seen running after butterflies and searching for all sorts of bugs, is only now derided by the uninformed, the contracted in thought, and the perverse. We may safely pronounce civilization and intelligence to be essentially indebted to the study of the natural sciences; and, from the number of the votaries of these sciences which are rapidly springing up,
predict that there shall ere long be a finer and fresher display of thought and feeling than in past times has characterised the general mind and the ordinary pursuits of mankind.
What is the study of nature but the study of the works of the Almighty? We see in every portion, whether the animalcule, or the mastodon, the products of His all directing hand, the proofs of His infinite goodness and wisdom. No wonder, therefore, that every naturalist who has opened the book of nature, with a proper spirit, a strong desire to be instructed, and an humble notion of his own powers and fancies, has found that it ought to be perused along with the book of inspiration. We ourselves have never known an enthusiastic student of nature, even although he might not have schooled his mind assiduously at the shrine of Revelation, that was not amiable in private life. Merely in a simply moral point of view, we therefore regard investigations within the domain of natural history as of prime importance. The man who betakes himself to it cannot, for example, be ever idle; and every one is aware that the want of occupation is the same as an avenue, an inviting companion and host, to every species of immorality. It has been well observed by Swainson, that "the tediousnes of a country life is proverbial; but did we ever hear this from a naturalist? Never; every man who in his walks derives interest from the works of creation, is in spirit both a naturalist and a philosopher. To him every season of the year is doubly interesting. With each succeeding month new races of animals and plants rise into existence, and become new objects for his research; these in their turn pass away, and are succeeded by others, until autumn fades into winter, and both the animal and the vegetable sink into repose."
"Thus may our lives, exempt from public toil,
Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
The progress in all the branches of natural history, of late years, has been so great, that no person need, even in his closet, or at his fireside, however humble it may be, deny himself constant gratification and improvement from the study of them. To come nearer the subjects handled in the volume before us; think of what has been written and published in the department of geology. Travellers of high cultivation now give us the results of their geological observations in many countries, and their researches being amply illustrated, in many instances by maps and drawings, their works are thus rendered intelligible, both to the learned and those who have not been trained in science.
Even in popular travels it is quite common to meet with important geological descriptions more or less extended. In consequence of the habit of observation now so generally established, a rich re