« ForrigeFortsæt »
ON VARIOUS POINTS OF
CHIEFLY CONCERNING THE
COLONIES, FISHERIES AND COMMERCE
OF GREAT BRITAIN:
COLLEOTED AND DIGESTED, FROM THE ORIGINALS IN THE BOARD OF
TRADE, AND OTHER DEPOSITORIES.
BY GEORGE CHALMERS, Esq., F.R.S., S.A.
The answers of the wise, though last in order, are classed with the Principum placita of a servile court among the sources of law. “Constat autem jus nostrum quo utimur aut scripto aut sine scripto, ut apud Græcos,
sw vouwr or usv syy paçou, is de ay papou,' id est, legum aliæ sunt scriptæ, aliæ non scriptæ. Scriptum autem jus est lex, plebiscitum, senatus consultum, Principum placita, magistratuum edicta, responsa prudentum.” Juris Institutionum liber primus.
In these United States of America, rejoicing in the sovereignty we have now possessed nearly one hundred years, we are too ready to forget the history of the past. But if we permit ourselves to forget it, our descendants will take us to task, and though selfishness may say, “what has posterity done for us”, let us remember what our ancestors have done. This book, well studied, will repay the American reader for his pains. Colonial and provincial domination, under which the American colon
ies so long suffered, is at an end, but its records deserve to be treasured up. “Obsecro vos (says Canuleius in Livy,) si non ad fastos, non ad commentarios pontificum admittimur; ne ea quidem scimus, quæ omnes peregrini etiam sciunt ? Consules in locum regum successisse? nec aut juris aut majestatis quidquam habere, quod non in regibus ante fuerit ?" lib. 4. cap. 3.
The opinions of the Attorneys-General of the United States have been published, and their value is known to all lawyers. It cannot be said the present publication possesses the same practical value, but tempus edax rerum destroyed even the lintei libri of ancient Rome, and the American press may be said not to be ill employed in reproducing a book forgotten in Europe, excopt by the observing few. The adjoining British colonies, the growth of which it is so pleasant for us to witness, and who so largely avail themselves of our publications, will feel an interest in this production of our press. It is quite as much dedicated to them as to ourselves. In the might and majesty of the people of the United States of America, we can now say with the poet, while we chronicle the times of dependence long past :
“Una nota est Martis Nonis : sacrata quod illis
Ovidii Fastorum lib. 3. v. 429 et seq.
OF THE EDITOR.
George Chalmers, the compiler of the present volume, was born at Fochabers in Scotland in the year 1742, and educated at King's College, Aberdeen. He studied the law at Edinburgh, and in 1763 accompanied an uncle to America, to assist him in the recovery of certain lands claimed by him in Maryland. He soon established himself in the practice of his profession at Baltimore, and in a few years acquired an extensive and lucrative business. In the revolutionary struggle, he espoused the royalist cause, and in the great question relative to the payment of tithes, he appeared in behalf of the clergy. In this controversy he was opposed by the celebrated Patrick Henry of Virginia, and was admitted to have displayed much learning and ability in sustaining the claims of the Episcopal church, but the violence of party spirit, aggravated perhaps by the part he had taken in this dispute, soon compelled him to sacrifice his professional prospects and seek for refuge in his native country.