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main subject, accompanied by those incidental comments which the occasion may suggest. will also be a space allowed for short critical notices of points which, however important in themselves, can neither require nor admit of the amplification of an essay.
Such is the general outline of the "JURIST." In its arrangement, it has not been deemed advisable to fetter its operations by any methodical classification of matter, according to the plan of some foreign journals of the same description. In the immediate selection of its subjects out of so wide a field, it must necessarily be guided, in a great degree, by a regard to the feelings and temper of the times, and the current of passing events; inasmuch as, ceasing to interest, it would cease also to be useful.
ART. I.-CRIMINAL CODE.
1. Substance of the Speech of the Right Honourable Robert Peel, in the House of Commons, on Thursday, March 9, 1826, on moving for Leave to bring in a Bill for the Amendment of the Criminal Law, &c. London, 1826.
2. Criminal Code; including a Digest, Consolidation, and Collection of the Statutes,-Forgery. By Anthony Hammond, Esq. of the Inner Temple, 8vo. London, 1823.
3. Reports from the Select Committee of the House of Commons, on the Criminal Low of England, April 2, 1824, and May 7,
4. The Criminal Code.-Burglary,-Housebreaking,-Churchrobbing,-Coining,-Forgery. London, 1826.
5. A Letter to the Members of the different Circuits. By Anthony Hammond, Esq. of the Inner Temple. London, 1826. 6. A Letter to the Lord Chancellor on the Necessity and Practicability of forming a Code of the Laws of England. By Crofton Uniacke, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law. London, 1825.
7. An Inquiry into the Means of Consolidating and Digesting the Laws of England. By Horace Twiss, Esq. of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law. London, 1826.
8. A Letter to Horace Twiss, Esq. M. P., being an Answer to his "Inquiry, &c." By Crofton Uniacke, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law. London, 1826.
"IL y a plus de mille ans que les femmes sont en possession de se brûler Qui de nous osera changer une loi que le tems a consacrée ?" So argued the eastern merchant in defence of the time-honoured ordinance which devoted widows to the flames ;—
and this is a species of logic' which has always enjoyed especial favor with the advocates of the existing state of the law in England. "The watchful foresight of our ancestors, "the vener able fabric of our laws," the accumulated wisdom of ages:" these are a few of the captivating forms of speech under which we have been taught to reverence the grand doctrine, that our legal system is of an awful and inviolable antiquity, and that to touch it would be profanation. In vain was it for years urged, that the perfection of laws consists in their being accommodated to the actual habits and wants of a nation,-to the rank which it holds in the scale of civilization,-to its political and moral state; and that, however well adapted a code may be to the infancy of society, the time must arrive when its provisions will become either nugatory or mischievous. In vain was it represented, that at the period when Justinian undertook to re-mould the laws of Rome, they possessed all the dignity that age could confer upon them; and that the Roman Emperor, far from regarding this circumstance as constituting a claim to his forbearance, has made it his boast that he renovated laws which were bowed down with the weight of years (leges antiquas jam senio prægravatas). The argument of antiquity maintained its ground against common sense and even against authority; and as each succeeding year necessarily added to its cogency, it presented obstacles to improvement the more formidable, because it was a species of superstition that set all the powers of reasoning at defiance. From this slough of despond we have been at length extricated by the declaration of a Minister of the Crown, that the Criminal Law, at once the most important and defective branch of our code, requires immediate revision.
Few speeches delivered in parliament have excited a warmer interest in the public mind, or obtained a larger share of unqualified applause, than Mr. Peel's speech upon the introduction of his Larceny Bill. In substance as well as tone it was excellent. No false homage to national vanity or national prejudice; none of the vulgar topics of popular oratory; but a simple detail of the grounds of the proposed measures, with little more embellishment than what was derived from an orderly arrangement of matter, and perspicuity of language. Instead of flattering the self-esteem of the assembly to which it was addressed, it conveyed truths which, if rightly felt, must have been in the utmost degree humiliating. "Of all the subjects," said the Right Hon. Secretary," which fall within the range of our deliberations, none perhaps has been more neglected than the Criminal Law." And it is this candid and unsparing avowal, accompanied by the acknowledgment that reparation is due to the community for past neglect, which constitutes the chief value of the speech in question. In legislation, as well