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and, consequently, in favor of Mr. Sears and his family, by a prosessional gentleman, who, certainly, would not have troubled himself in the matter if he had not been their friend. We do not charge that gentleman with having done any thing wrong or dishonorable; he wrote under his own signature, and expressed no wishes but his own ; he gave reasons for the opinions which he expressed; and he offered no other inducements to the editors to embrace them than the arguments which he adduced. We do not allude to this circumstance for the purpose of finding fault with our correspondent, to whom we acknowledge our obligation for his willingness to save us the trouble of thinking for ourselves, but merely for the purpose of saying, that, connected with the subsequent attack upon us, by Mr. Sears, aided by another professional friend, it furnishes stronger ground for charging him with a conspiracy against the legal press in this country, than he could possibly have for any charge of that nature against the editors of the Jurist and Law Reporter. But we make no such charge. Mr. Sears has professional friends, who, we have no doubt, have volunteered their services in his behalf, wholly independent of each other. The cause of truth and good morals, also, we rejoice to believe, has its friends (even among reviewers and newspaper editors), who can make themselves heard without previous concert.
Among the circumstances, which we might bring forward as indicative of a conspiracy on the part of Mr. Sears and his friends, we had almost forgotten to mention an attack upon us, in two articles in the Boston Atlas, signed “Wester,” purporting to be written by one who has been a subscriber to the Jurist from its first publication; but which bear internal evidence of the most conclusive character, that they could not have been written by any grown-up member of the bar. As a specimen of this internal evidence, our readers may perhaps be amused with the following extract :
“Again, it is said [in the Jurist], ‘the husband is entitled to the custody of the wife's person,’ &c. And, by the reasoning, I understand, the writer to mean to convey the idea, that this is a right, absolute, which the law will enforce,—not merely an abstract right, existing in form only, and to be enforced only by an appeal to the wife's conscience. If this be so, the husband can have a writ of habeas corpus, or some other process, known to that writer, to transfer the person of his wife from any other person to himself, its lawful keeper. If this be the law, it is certainly very important, and I trust, in the next number of that learned work, we shall all be furnished with the cases, to make it manifest. Until then, I doubt.” Our law-student must have been very unfortunate in his selection of a teacher, or his master's office must be very ill supplied with law-books; and, therefore, if our readers will pardon us, we will endeavor to relieve him from further doubt on this “very important” question. We say, then, that the husband is entitled to the custody of the wife's person ; that this is not a mere abstract right, but one which the law will enforce ; and that the husband is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus to have the custody of the wife transferred to him; and, for an authority, we refer Mr. Wester (our fullgrown readers need no reference) to the case of Rex v. Mead, in Burrow's Reports, p. 542. In this case the celebrated John Wilkes sued out a writ of habeas corpus against Mary Mead, for the body of his wife, who was the daughter of the latter. The respondent brought in Mrs. Wilkes, and returned on the writ, that she and Wilkes were living separate, in pursuance of articles of separation, in which Wilkes had covenanted, under a heavy penalty, that he would never disturb her or any person with whom she should live. The court said, that this covenant was “a formal renunciation by the husband of his marital right to seize his wife or force her back to live with him ; and they told the lady, she was at full liberty to go where, and to whom, she pleased.”
3.—Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts, from 1630 to the Revolution in 1775. By EMORY WASHBURN. Boston : Little and Brown. 1840.
Hoping, as we do, to present our readers with a review of this work, in some suture number, we incline to offer them our friend's own introduction of himself, as a passport to their favor, for the present. The following is his preface :
“The design of the following work may be very briefly explained. Neither the hope of fame nor expectation of profit entered into the considerations which have induced to its preparation or publication. “When entering upon the study of the profession, with the pursuit of which my success in life was to be identified, a curiosity was awakened to learn something of its history in our own commonwealth. But to inquiries upon the subject, I found little that was satisfactory. The ordinary sources of historical information furnished little from which the systems of judicature, or the forms and changes of judicial process in Massachusetts, could be learned; and while the actors in the events of its political, ecclesiastical, and military history had been remembered, comparatively most of those who had taken part in the administration of justice had been forgotten. “So obscure was this department of our history found to be, that nothing but an elaborate research seemed adequate to a satisfactory development of its details. “With a view of discovering these, and without the remotest idea of preparing a work for publication, I entered upon the investigation of the early judicial history of Massachusetts, and of the names and characters of those who had been connected with the administration of justice here. “These were sought, among other sources, in the general and local histories which had been published, the compilations of biographical notices, the records of courts and the state archives, and the reminiscences and collected facts which were furnished by individuals whose aid had been solicited in the enterprise. “These investigations, however, were chiefly confined to Massachusetts, independent of the colony of Plymouth before its union with Massachusetts Bay. Nor can this be regarded as an omission of any importance, since the work of Mr. Baylies so fully supplies the history of the former colony. “The work now dedicated to the profession is the result of these investigations. WOL. XXV.-NO. XLIx. 16
“If the facts which are here collected shall hereafter be wrought, by other hands, into a form which shall give to the legal and judicial history of this commonwealth an interest, in the public mind, proportionate to its importance, the purposes of this publication will have been answered. “Candor however requires that the general reader should be apprized, that he will find little to interest him in the following pages. “The field, it is true, was almost untrodden, but little has been gathered from it with which to gratify taste or give pleasure to the man of letters. “If, in endeavoring to snatch from oblivion the names of some of the early judges and lawyers of Massachusetts Bay, I have not been actuated by as high purposes as Old MoRTALITY, in chiseling out the inscriptions upon the monuments of the slaughtered Presbyterians of Scotland, I have found many of them no less obscured from the eye of the inquirer, than the moss-covered memorials of those whose deeds and whose virtues that devoted antiquary was seeking to restore. “I claim nothing for these sketches, but a diligent endeavor to collect facts, and a faithful exhibition of what seemed to be historical truths. “Although few of the authorities which have been consulted are cited in the work, nothing has been meant to be stated that is not fully sustained by satisfactory evidence of its truth. “To those who know the labor of such researches, I need not— to others, I could not, explain the difficulties which are inseparable from such an undertaking. “Such as it is, I offer the work for the use of those whose curiosity may lead them to inquire into the facts of which it purports to treat, in the hope that the labors of others or my own leisure may hereafter correct its inaccuracies and supply its defects.”
Our readers are perhaps aware, that the author of the work before us has contributed to our pages the sketches of American lawyers and judges, which we have from time to time published; and, when we were first informed that he had it in view to pub
lish the volume before us, we feared that its publication would put an end to our sketches. But, in this, we are happy to say we are disappointed. Mr. Washburn will continue his sketches as before, confining himself, however, to the period subsequent to the revolution. We have derived both pleasure and instruction from a perusal of this work, and hereby tender the author our thanks for its publication. The difficulty of collecting together the materials for such a work can only be appreciated by one, who has himself attempted to obtain any authentic information concerning the legal luminaries of the colony and province, and who has discovered for himself how scanty and scattered are the notices of their acts and lives. Those who are interested in the history of Massachusetts will find in this volume a fund of information of great value, and, for which, they may look in vain elsewhere ; while the legal antiquary, if any such there be, may very well regard it as a text book. Notwithstanding the modest title of “sketches" given to it by the author, the work is regularly divided into chapters, and possesses quite as much of the character of history, as many other works of much greater pretensions in that respect.
4—Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee, during the years 1838–9. By RETURN J. Meigs. Nashville: S. Nye & Co., Printers, 1839.
The volume before us is the first containing cases reported by Mr. Attorney General Meigs, of Tennessee, under the law of that state, which makes that officer reporter, ea officio. We have examined it with some attention, and find in it many valuable and interesting opinions, well reasoned and supported by an array of cases and authorities. We observe, also, that the reporter has occasionally added notes, full of learning, and containing much valuable matter. Among the authorities referred to, the works of Story and Kent occur on almost every page ; our own journal is now and then alluded to ; Mr. Angell's work on water-courses is mentioned two or three times in terms of strong approbation by the reporter; Dr. Ray's work on the medical jurisprudence of