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rupt statute.* But others are not so easily satisfied; they aim at codifying the whole system of English jurisprudence, including the common, civil, maritime, ecclesiastical, and statutory law, and the law of courts of equity, borrowed from all the others, and resembling none. But how is this to be effected? The most superficial view will satisfy every impartial man that the thing is impossible. It would in the first place be necessary to reconcile equity with law, or to place the two different systems in opposition to each other in the same code. This would necessarily lead to the abolition of the one or the other. These and other obvious difficulties have not escaped the observation of the code makers, and therefore, in order to cut the Gordian knot, it has been lately proposed to abolish the whole of the existing law of real property, with its tenures, uses, trusts, remainders and all, and substitute for it a system analogous to that of the civil law. This has been seriously proposed by Mr. Humphreys of Lincoln's Inn,t not a novice in jurisprudence; but a barrister of respectable character, and who appears, from the intrinsic evidenceof his own work, to be deeply skilled in the rules, principles and practice of the common law. This is one of the wonders of the pressnt age, and what is not less extraordinary, is, that the London Quarterly Review, hitherto the firm supporter of every thing existing, merely because it exists, and generally considered as the echo of the ministry, highly approves of the work, on the ground that "an opinion that the jurisprudence of that kingdom, is in a state which requires a strong interference of the legislature, to remedy its defects and abuses, and to produce a new and better administration of justice, has, for some time, been prevalent in that country, among all classes of people. "J
This is a broad admission, and the government are well aware that it is founded on fact. Therefore, we find that they are temporising with the feelings of their people. With this view, they have set on foot a revisal of some of their statutes, reducing into one act those that are in pari materid, and introducing occasional amendments. Thus, we are informed that their fiscal laws are digesting after this manner, and their late bankrupt act shows us how the plan is carried into execution. This is a wise measure, and may defer for a while the impending danger. But, unless they amend their laws pretty much as we have done in this country, it is to be feared that the whole system will be overtaken by a sudden storm, and involved in a general ruin.
• A letter to the lord chancellor on the necessity and practicability of forming a code of the laws of England, &c. By Cuofton Uniacke, esq., London, (printed,) Boston (reprinted) 1827.
f Observations on the actual state of the English law of real property; with the outlines of a code. By James Humphreys, esq. of Lincoln's Inn, barrister. London, 8vo. 1826. ... *
* Quarterly Review, No. 68, September 1826, page 540.
Here no such danger exists. The common law, as modified by our usages and local statutes, is very different from the same system as it obtains in England. There it has become at last utterly unmanageable, and it is to be feared that the disease will not yield to temporary palliatives. Here we have none of those excrescences which make the law, as it exists in England, so formidable to her citizens. We have successively done away its most objectionable features; and while we persist in our system of slow and gradual amendment, we need not be afraid of the result: but God preserve us from the extreme remedy of general codification! We may, perhaps, before long, see an example on the other side of the Atlantic, that will be sufficient to warn and guard us against the like attempt.
The third part of our author's work, which concludes this volume, consists only of four chapters, and treats of the various sources of the municipal law of the several states, which is composed of statute law and the reports of judicial decisions. The two last chapters are devoted, the one to a review of the different publications on the common law, and the other to a general history of the civil law, which, in some respects, is to be considered as connected with the law of the states, particularly in the courts of equity, and those which have been substituted for the English ecclesiastical tribunals. This part of the volume is short; but, like the rest of the work, is treated with considerable ability. Upon the whole, we cannot but recommend this book to the attention of the profession, and particularly to the students of our jurisprudence. We hope the learned author will soon publish the second volume; and that it will be followed by a third, and even a fourth, if the matter shall require so much. Every thing which may come from the pen of this eminent jurist, will be sure of being favourably received.
Art. IX. — The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, with a Preliminary View of the French Revolution. By The Author Of Wave Rle v.
A Portion of the printed sheets of this considerable and important work was lately received in this country. They include the Preliminary View, and some of the volumes of the Biography. Having obtained permission to read them, and found the Introduction to constitute a substantive performance, capable of being separately treated—so ample, indeed, as to impose this expedient upon us, who wish to do a certain measure of justice to all the author's labours—we have concluded to exercise the liberty, granted at the same time, of laying at once before our readers a summary account of the preliminary sketch. We can indulge the presumption that all the admirers of the Waverley pen—that is, all our republic of letters—will be glad to taste even a modicum of the fresh and large repast, and learn forthwith what they may expect in the whole. It will be our additional task to designate and exemplify the ingredients and tincture of the Life itself, when that, the main service, shall be within our reach.
When it was announced that the Shakspeare of novelists had undertaken to write the Life of Napoleon, the thunderbolt of war and the Man of Destiny, the world seemed to experience a mixed sensation of surprise, distrust, pleasure, and incredulity. It could hardly be credited that Sir Walter Scott, wonderfully successful and inexhaustible in the production of historical romance, would expatiate in the field of simple and cotemporary history; and a strong doubt arose with respect even to the aptitude of his powers and habits for such an enterprise. Many, who had discerned the political drift of some of his novels, and were acquainted with his general reputation as a high tory and an inveterate Briton, supposed that he must, necessarily, be governed by his own opinions and predilections, in the texture and colouring of his narrative; so far, that the French people, their Revolution, and Buonaparte, would be exhibited under the worst aspects and with the darkest shades, which party spirit and national prejudice could bestow. Others held it impossible to believe that his toil would correspond to the extensive and weighty subject; because, to treat it adequately, or in any suitable manner, required more of research, elaboration, and time, than was compatible with the distinct literary engagements which he was said to have contracted, or with the despatch which his altered fortunes might