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Perryn, serjeant Hill, Mr. Hargrave, Mr. Coxe, and other eminent lawyers of the same period. Lord Henley is also the author of the work commonly quoted as “Eden's Bankrupt Laws,” and was employed we believe to draw up the last Bankrupt Act. Of his last work, the one at present under our consideration, we have only to add to what we have already said, that it is written in a pleasing and unambitious tone, though not altogether in the style that we should have expected from a practised pen, had that pen been exercised on subjects better calculated to induce much study of the graces of composition. The author has avoided with tolerable success the partiality with which most biographers are chargeable, and which his relationship to the biographee might have rendered more excusable in him than in a stranger. If we have any thing to reproach him with on this score, it is with the sin of omission, rather than of commission. He appears anxious to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, but we much doubt whether he has told the whole truth. We think the two passages we have cited from bishop Newton, and from the lives of eminent lawyers, justify us in entertaining this suspicion. Of lord Northington's character and merits as a judge, however, it is fair to say, his grandson has in our judgment formed a very just and candid estimate, disclaiming for him any thing like competition with the Hales, the Holts, the Somerses, the Hardwickes, and the Mansfields, but at the same time, insisting upon his right to rank high among eminent judges of the second order. Perhaps the disadvantage of his being called upon to preside in the court of chancery immediately after lord Hardwicke, and his being superseded by lord Camden, may have caused his merits to be rated in his own time below their real value. This injustice, if it ever was committed, is likely to be so no longer, since the publication of his decisions, which are now often quoted, and always looked upon as good authority. Only six of his decrees have been reversed upon appeal, and of these reversals one is said by lord Henley to be certainly erroneous, two of doubtful correctness. We cannot conclude this account of him better than by repeating what, we are assured, has often been said by lord Eldon, “that he was a great lawyer, and very firm in delivering his opinion.”
ART. W. — LAWS OF THE SANDWICH ISLANDS.
It is already known to most of our readers, that, until quite recently, no printed laws have existed at the Sandwich islands, and that they are still few and very imperfect, and some of them doubtful, and others of evil tendency. It will, however, give sincere pleasure to all the friends of the Hawaiian nation, to learn, that the king and chiefs have recently published an acknowledgment of some of the most important rights of the people, and also enacted several laws of a more liberal character than any which have heretofore existed; laws which it is believed will have a direct tendency to promote the best interests of the nation. The minds of the chiefs have been called to the subject by a variety of means; not the least of which is believed to have been the articles published in the Kuma Hawaii," written by their own subjects, and mostly by the graduates and undergraduates of the seminary. The government has often been blamed by friends as well as enemies, by its own subjects as well as by visiters from abroad, for the continuance of that oppressive system which has been handed down from their heathen ancestors.
* Hawaiian Teacher, a native newspaper.
But here, as well as in more enlightened lands, it has been far easier to discover the faults of the old system, than to devise a new and better one, which could be carried into successful execution. So strongly did the chiefs feel their incompetence to the task, and still so sensible were they of the importance of the subject, that in the year 1836, they wrote to their “friends in the United States,” requesting that a civilian might be sent to them, on whom they might rely as a correct teacher of the science of government, in the same manner as religious teachers had been sent to teach them the truths of the gospel. It should here be remarked, that the missionaries, in their public instructions, are charged by their directors, that as “the kingdom of Christ is not of this world,” they are “to abstain from all interference with the local and political interests of the people.” To these instructions the missionaries have so strictly adhered, that they may perhaps be justly censured for having gone to the opposite extreme, While, therefore, the chiefs and rulers have some of them made very respectable improvement in their knowledge of the truths of the bible, and such other things as have been taught in the schools, they have by no means made equal improvement in their knowledge of the science of government. This fact may account for the imperfection of the laws as they have hitherto existed, and the still greater imperfection with which they have been executed. And when the same fact is considered, it will not be deemed strange, that the laws recently enacted, when literally translated, show indubitable marks of their origin, though they give abundant evidence of a design far more honorable than the plan with which the design is executed. The design itself, however, affords encouragement that there will be greater improvement hereafter. The laws of which we speak bear date of June 7th, 1839, and are printed in a pamphlet of duodecimo form, containing twenty-four pages. They were written by a graduate of the seminary, at the direction of the king, but without any definite instructions as to what he should write. He, in the first instance, wrote about one third of the present quantity of matter, and that was read to the king and several of the chiefs, who met and spent two or three hours a day for five days in succession, in the discussion of the laws, and the various subjects of which they treated. In some particulars the laws were pronounced defective, in others erroneous, and the writer was directed to rewrite them, and conform them to the views that had been expressed. This was done, and they were thus considerably enlarged, and then passed a second reading at a meeting of the king and all the important chiefs of the islands. At this reading a longer time was spent than at the first. They were still pronounced defective, and further additions and corrections were made in the same manner and by the same person as before. They then passed their third and last reading, after which the king inquired of the chiefs if they approved, and on their saying, yes, he replied, “I also approve,” and then rose, and in their presence suffixed his Iname. Having given some account of the origin of these laws, we will now proceed to acquaint our readers with some particulars of their character. The introduction we will give entire. “God hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on the face of the earth in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men, and all chiefs and all people, of all lands. “These are some of the rights which he has given alike to every man and every chief, namely, life, limb, liberty, the labor of his hands, and productions of his mind. “God has also established governments and rule for the purposes of peace; but in making laws for a nation, it is by no means proper to enact laws for the protection of rulers only, without also providing protection for their subjects; neither is it proper to enact laws to enrich the chiefs only, without regard to the enriching of their subjects also; and hereafter, there shall by no means be any law enacted, which is inconsistent with what is above expressed, neither shall any tax be assessed, nor any service or labor required of any man, in a manner at variance with the above sentimentS. “These sentiments are hereby proclaimed, for the purpose of protecting alike both the people and the chiefs of all these islands, that no chief may be able to oppress any subject, but that chiefs and people may enjoy the same protection under one and the same law. “Protection is hereby secured to the persons of all the people, together with their lands, their building lots, and all their property, and nothing whatever shall be taken from any individual, except by express provision of the laws. Whatever chief shall perseveringly act in violation of this constitution, shall no longer remain a chief of the Sandwich islands; and the same shall be true of the governors, officers, and all land agents.” The above sentiments were not all original with the writer of the laws mentioned above. But the whole of the remainder is purely the production of his own mind, with only such aid as he received in the discussion aforementioned. At one of the meetings of the chiefs, the writer proposed that the last clause, which assigns the penalty for the violations of the constitution, should be stricken out. To this the chiefs objected; and it was therefore retained, with their unanimous approbation. The laws are divided into thirteen sections, and close with eight minor divisions, partly by way of explanation, and partly by way of recommendation. Sec. 1st regulates the poll tax, which continues to be