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the powers necessary for the collection of an immense revenue have, in several instances, interfered with this branch of her jurisprudential arrangement. The traveller was surprized to learn that the authorities for the laws in this singular nation were not to be found collected in any one volume, • which he might carry home under his arm,' but were only to be extracted, with great labour and pains, out of an immense library of volumes; and the usual imperfections of indexes to books of reference, and that which has been termed “ the glorious uncertainty of the law,” arising out of the conflicting authorities which too frequently occur, are illustrated by anecdotes and instances. We cannot entirely agree with the writer in the wish which he appears to entertain for an authoritative collection of the law; for, without entering deeply into a subject which is both difficult and dry, it appears to us that two strong reasons may be urged against entertaining any such project. In the first place, uniform experience, from the days of Justinian to those of Napoleon, appears to have, shewn the futility of those collections which have been called Codes; and it seems impossible for human wisdom prospectively to found such a system as the course of events will not derange in time, and for the most part in a very short time. New cases will arise which must either be met by new measures of legislation, or decided by reasonings drawn from old rules: if the first of these alternatives be adopted, the law has no fixity; if the latter, it remains open to all the uncertainty of argument and refinement. A law consisting of a few simple, general, and acknowleged principles, with an indefinite number of instances of their developement and application, is always open to improvement; - is, in fact, always improving itself, by becoming, from its own elasticity, adapted to the state of society which it is designed to regulate:--whereas a stricter and more defined system tends only to impede the improvement of society. It is, in truth, the case with all sciences, as Bacon has long ago remarked, that they remain progressive towards perfection only while they are not subjected to the confinement of systems. - In the second place, as it is an admitted principle that the law in every state must be the occupation of a distinct profession, it appears to us that a law so open as that of Armata is described to be must be the best calculated to draw out the distinctions of its votaries; and to give to talent that pre-eminence which is its due, but which it could not always attain if the knowlege of the law were a mere exercise of memory, and the lawyer a mer “ cantor formularum, et syllabarum auceps.”
The constitution and powers of a court resembling the Court of Chancery are next described and discussed: but its extensive jurisdiction over landed property is censured; and this remark introduces some others on the modern practice of conveyancing, to the intricacy and verbosity of which all the common objections are urged. The author considers this practice to have originated in the same cause which led to the extent of the equitable jurisdiction; namely, the construction put in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth on the law technically termed The Statute of Uses, on which a discussion of some pages is here rather oddly introduced. We cannot accede to this opinion, so generally stated; on the contrary, we think that it can by no means be admitted that this antient determination of the courts of law has been the sole, or even the principal, cause of the intricacy in which the transfer and settlement of property (which form the subjects of conveyancing) are in modern times involved. This is a matter of which we can, in course, be presumed to have a mere general knowlege, and we are aware of the fearful hazard of the argument which we are maintaining: but it seems to us that, whenever this topic is discussed, it will be very material to consider whether the intricacy of our legal forms be not chiefly owing to a corresponding refinement in their subjects. In a nation so fully peopled as Armata, it will not be difficult to conceive that the ownership of almost every acre of land must, in fact, be divided between numerous proprietors; whose rights will assume every shape and character which ingenuity prompted by interest can invent, and cannot, therefore, be defined and assured but by equal ingenuity and corresponding complexity. Besides, an enterprising and projecting people will naturally take pleasure in inventing modes of entail and settlement of property, the effect of which is to extend the dominion of the human mind over the subjects of its passions. The system to which the celebrated determination in question has given rise (however erroneous or absurd that decision may have originally been) is now admirably adapted to facilitate this refined subdivision and destination of property; and, in point of fact, it is not brought into operation except for that purpose; for in all simple transfers of property, and other unembarrassed cases, it is quite out of the question. In this view of the matter, we cannot bring ourselves to think that the effects of what the author calls this unexampled revolution
have been disastrous:' we even doubt much whether they were unforeseen; and it is not a little remarkable that this system has been found so convenient, that in modern times it has been applied to various descriptions of property, on which
the decision here implicated had no effect whatever.
- The simplicity of antient deeds, and the clear and cheap evidence of public possession,' were, no doubt, well adapted to the state of society in which they prevailed: but they would be of little use in such society as the author, in the preceding chapters of this work, has described to exist in Armata.
Having been thus detained by these legal discussions, we must pass more hastily over the topics of police and religion. On the subject of mendicity, we extract a passage which is probably founded in fact:
• The charity of the fair Morvina was proverbial, and our doors had long been surrounded by the poor of every description. There was an old man who peculiarly interested us, being one hundred and three years of age, confirmed by a certificate which seemed to be as old as himself; the writing being much torn, and the seal imperfect. — We were constantly attended also by a woman, who had lost her eyes from lightning, which were covered with black patches of silk, and by a man, her companion, who from palsy had lost the use of both his legs, and was drawn on a kind of sledge through the streets. There was, from time to time, besides, another wretched woman with six little children, and near delivery of a seventh ; all these
paupers, more, were almost daily relieved and fed, until an accident occurred for our deliverance. - To state it in almost a word, my watch was stolen and found upon one of them, who, to save himself from the gallows, informed me privately that we were the victims of imposition, and that if I would disguise myself, he would
carry me to where I might see the real condition of those on whom pity had been thrown away.
• I was pleased with the scheme, and having secured myself from discovery, he accompanied me at the time appointed to a public breakfast of the fraternity, before they dressed for their rounds.
. On entering the room I could not help thinking that my repentant conductor, as he described himself, had some new fraud in agitation, since I saw nothing that could give me the least expectation of meeting the wretches we had so long supported. The company were seated round a long table, where neither disease nor old age were to be seen, but on the contrary, above twenty well-dressed, healthy, happy people, regaling themselves with the best fare, and pledging one another in their cups; on the ringing of a bell their president told them to deliver in their accounts, and to assume their different characters for the day - the audit was soon over, and after they had been gone about a quarter of an hour, I saw all of them return, and every one of my friends amongst the rest. — They were exactly the same as I had always seen them, and their real characters and descriptions were as follows: - The old man of 103 had not seen 30, he had been a drummer in a regiment, and was just returned from transportation Rev. Aug. 1817.
before his time. *- The woman who had lost her eyes, which were now covered again with patches, my conductor had shewn me in the room, where instead of their being obscured by lightning, they flashed lightning, in every glance. - She was a beautiful creature not more than seventeen years of age, and hired for the purpose by the gang.-- The paralytic patient, whose sledge stood in the passage, was cutting his capers in the way to it, as indeed he very well might, having been a rope-dancer at one of the smaller theatres, from which he had lately been discharged, on his being discovered picking a pocket behind the scenes. - The pregnant lady was among the last, as her pillow had not been carefully adjusted, and she had to pay the mothers of the six children who were going out with her, as they always attended to receive the ready money for the day.
My felonious friend now made me a signal to be gone, as my disguise, he said, might perhaps be discovered, which would not only be ruinous to him but might be dangerous to myself.'
The question of religion is dismissed with a very few observations, on which we shall make no comments.
In the shape of general remarks, we have very little to add to those which we hazarded at the close of our review of the first part of this work. Its principal merit, we still think, consists in the eloquence with which its discussions are carried on, whenever the topics are of sufficient interest to excite eloquence: but in this particular the present volume has certainly less pretensions than the former; and the author's attempts at wit of the lower and more familiar kind are by no means successful. Taken as a whole, however, this publication is unquestionably calculated to excite interest and attention: though we must conclude with repeating an observation which we have already made, that it must be considered merely as a sketch, or an introduction to the subjects on which it touches, and not as an elaborate production from which a student may expect to inform himself of details or minutia.
ART. III. Ilderim ; a Syrian Tale. In Four Cantos. 8vo.
pp. 74. 48. 6d. sewed. Murray. 1816. ART. IV. Phrosyne ; a Grecian Tale. Alashtar ; an Arabian
Tale. By H. Gally Knight, Esq. 8vo.
sewed. Murray. 1817. THE HE poems of Phrosyne and Alashtar complete the series
of which Ilderim formed a part.' So the author informs us, in his advertisement; and he adds that they are meant
« * The Armatans transport their felons, as we do, to a very distant region.'
to illustrate the scenery and manners of the respective countries in which the scene is laid. The first (namely, Phrosyne) is but too well founded in fact. The second is purely imaginary; but authorities exist in nature for whatever is represented
We have the less apology to offer for our delay in criticizing Ilderim, because we have been thus enabled to see the plan of the poet entirely executed; and, certainly, we are justified in giving him a considerable share of praise for the observation which he has made, and the record which he has kept, of the peculiarities of a range of country and different classes of nations, which, until these few years, were but partially known to the British public. Since that period, the prose and the poetry of various travellers have imported into England the customs, the manners, and even portions of the language of Greece and its adjoining regions; and we have therefore become better qualified to judge of the degree of force and vividness with which an author conveys our imagination into the scenes of these interesting districts.
Such being the case, we are in truth and justice obliged to confess that the reality of Grecian scenery and Grecian life, in the nineteenth century, have never been so clearly and so strongly depicted as by the original and penetrating mind of Lord Byron. There is a something in that noble author's delineations, especially on this glorious ground for poetry, which leaves all competitors far behind him. With him we do indeed wander in the groves of classical antiquity, or climb the very
sacred hills and haunts of the Muses; and no cold or laboured effort here brings us to the shrine of Delphi, and to the summit of Parnassus. We will not, however, dilate on a subject of panegyric that is not so properly before us as the merits of a very different class of writers; yet still a class of highly respectable writers. The refined, the elegant, and the more tamely classical, are the characteristics of style belonging to that order of poets whom we designate; in whose compositions we find much to admire, and comparatively little to condemn. If these sons of song never rise to any very extraordinary height, they sail along gracefully through the middle regions of poetry; and, having lately transported themselves and their readers into striking and attractive scenes and situations, they have gained a novel power, and a popularity which never appertained before to
“ The mob of gentlemen who write with ease.” At the "
head and front of the excellence of this numerous species of authors, stands Mr. Gally Knight; and indeed B b 2