presentations, induces you to give him money, and that of him who knocks you down on the highway, and robs you of your purse? Mr. Hammond does not express so much: but having satisfied his mind, by what process we do not learn, that “the mischief arising from the means employed is, in degree at least, as great in fraud as in simple larceny," he arrives at the impotent conclusion, that, therefore, there is no reason for classing fraud and larceny generally as crimes of different natures. And then he recommends us, in a note, "to make a common form of indictment serve as well for fraud as for larceny, and leave it to the jury to find (as under the French system) a discriminating verdict." Where he has gleaned this piece of information, as to the practice under the French system, we know not. It is not impossible that he may have been led into error by the word "frauduleusement" in the definition of the crime" Vol." Code Pénal, Art. 379.

"Quiconque a soustrait frauduleusement une chose qui ne lui appartient pas, est coupable de vol."

But a reference to the "Rapport par M. Louvet," would have instructed him as to the legal acceptation of that word:

"Jusqu' ici le mot frauduleusement n'avait pas été compris dans la définition, et on avait été obligé de recourir à un article secondaire, pour expliquer que la soustraction de la chose d'autrui, faite par celui qui s'en croyait propriétaire, n'était pas un vol. Le mot frauduleusement ajouté à la nouvelle définition, rend inutile cette disposition auxiliaire, qui compliquoit l'ancienne, et qui a quelquefois causé de l'embarras dans la marche des jugements.” Code Pénal. Motifs et Rapports, t. 2. p. 274.

The "Code Pénal" certainly classes under the head of "Vol" many acts, which our law, in the true spirit of scholastic subtlety, denominates frauds. But so far is it from confounding the distinction between theft and fraud, that it has a separate title for the latter; (Banqueroutes, Escroqueries, et autres espèces de fraude; Liv. 3. t. 2. s. 2.) and we have no authority but that of Mr. Hammond for supposing, that when the president has proposed to the jury the question :-" L'accusé est il coupable d'avoir commis tel vol, avec toutes les circonstances &c." the jury is empowered to answer:-"L'accusé est coupable d'avoir commis une escroquerie."

One word more upon the " Observations," that our readers may learn to thank the genius of our government for another additional blessing to the many that have been so justly ascribed to it. "Much has been said," observes Mr. Hammond, "against the verbiage of our statute law; and comparisons to its disadvantage have been drawn between itself and the written laws of other kingdoms. This censure, however, seems for the most part to be

very unmerited, in that much of the verbiage of our statute law results from the genius of our government." We would fain believe that this is a piece of candied courtesy,"

"Melle soporata et medicatis frugibus offa,”

which the author presents to the Select Committee in return for its complaisance, in admitting his other crudities. We have, indeed, seen a mother enamoured of the deformities of her offspring. We know that there have been commentators upon Shakspeare, who in the fervour of their homage have found matter of admiration in his very anachronisms and geographical blunders. We know that the legal jargon, called law French, had many warm eulogists; and was declared by Sir John Davis to be "so apt, so natural, and so proper, for the matter and subject of his reports, as no other language would be significant enough to express the same.” So that we are not absolutely unused to paradoxical and startling notions. And yet we must confess, that we were unprepared to find, even in Mr. Hammond, an apologist for the verbiage of the statutes, or to hear that verbiage attributed to the "genius of our government."

We pass from Mr. Hammond's voluminous labours to the pamphlets of Mr. Uniacke and Mr. Twiss. The "Letter to the Lord Chancellor" is indited in passion,-somewhat "in King Cambyses' vein ;"-it is not, however, entirely devoid of interest. Scattered here and there, we meet with some judicious remarks, although it is not always easy to disengage them from the load of their cumbrous ornaments. There are also some ingenious experiments and illustrations, which are instructive as well as entertaining. The writer has taken a portion of Magna Charta, and dissolved it in the aqua distillata' of modern legislative phraseology, with most ludicrous effect. On the other hand, he has taken the Bankrupt Act, and translated it into ordinary language, changing the original style altogether, except, as he informs us, "where a total ignorance of the sense obliged him to borrow the words of the act. The new arrangement of the act is conducted upon the plan of Domat's Civil Law;-a plan which Mr. Uniacke recommends for general adoption in the consolidation of our laws. We have no objection to the plan in the abstract. On the contrary, we think it possesses many claims upon the favourable consideration of the public; of which, the circumstance that it unites brevity with perspicuity is not the least important. But we are not sanguine enough to imagine, that so fundamental a change in the scheme and structure of our jurisprudence would be received with universal approbation; or that it would be productive of all the advantages contemplated by Mr. Uniacke. Violent changes are cautiously to be avoided in legislation as well as poli

tics; and we are fortunately not reduced to the distressing dilemma of either abandoning all hopes of an adequate reformation of the laws, or of adopting a plan calculated to shock and confound all the received notions of those who are to carry the law into effect.

Mr. Uniacke has furnished us with an instructive epitome of the legislative operations of a session of parliament, by collecting the titles of sixty acts (out of 115) that passed in the session of 1824, all purporting to amend, alter, explain, or render more effectual, former acts; and these, no doubt, in the fullness of time, will require sixty other subsidiary laws, to amend, alter, explain, or render them more effectual.

As we are anxious to decorate our first Number with, at least, one piece of fine writing, we give the following superlative passage from the "Letter to the Lord Chancellor," even at the risk of thereby betraying the jejune insipidity of our own style, and incurring the fate of Dr. Homenas, in his Sermon-notes.

"Is there a man in the kingdom in the slightest degree acquainted with the method of science, or the ordinary perspicuity of language, who will not rise up and declare, that the style of the statute law of the realm is almost unintelligible, and ought instantly to be abolished as unworthy of the present enlightened age? We have the order and arrangement of science adapted to the flowers of the fields, to the minerals of the earth, to the birds of the air, and to the fishes of the sea. The insect and the reptile, the constellations of the heavens, and the great phenomena of nature, have all in their turns been obliged to yield to the systems and classification of human invention: but the laws which are to govern the first empire in the history of the world are in darkness and disorder, without arrangement or method-confusedly conceived-obscurely expressed-altered without regard to consistency, force, or meaning, and now almost beyond the comprehension of man, by whose wearied and distracted intellect they have been contrived, and for whose government they are designed. Even the sage is lost in the labyrinth through which the man of common sense is expected and bound to pass; and when he is bewildered in all its windings and perplexities, is proudly told, that he is sheltered by the blessed asylum which protects his property, his liberty, and his life. Shall man, whose lofty and commanding genius has searched the mysteries of nature, and called into useful action the principles concealed from ordinary observation, be any longer regardless of the simple principles on which the science of jurisprudence depends-or irresolute in the great enterprise of once more restoring them to the light which has almost ceased to shed a beam upon the shapeless and oppressive mass?" Pp. 8, 9.

So justly proud is the author of the sublime eloquence of the above passage, that he has copied it, word for word, into his "Letter to Mr. Twiss," p. 56. This second Letter is an answer to Mr. Twiss's "Inquiry into the Means of Consolidating and Digesting the Laws of England." It is written in the finest tone of irony: sometimes, indeed, so very delicate, that we are afraid it will escape the gross unspiritualized apprehensions of the bulk of readers. It insinuates that the world could well have dis

pensed with Mr. Twiss's "Inquiry;" for that all the topics therein discussed, and all the improvements therein recommended, had been already discussed, recommended, and exemplified, though with less display, by Mr. Uniacke himself, in his "Letter to the Chancellor." It hints also that Mr. Twiss cannot plead ignorance of the fact, that his "Inquiry" had been anticipated; for that he has most unceremoniously borrowed all Mr. Uniacke's choice ideas, and, with some slight alteration of costume, presented them to the public as his own; that he has, in short, robbed the "Letter to the Lord Chancellor" of its beauties;

Rifled all its sweetness,

Then cast it, like a loathsome weed, away.

Whether Mr. Twiss, by the efforts of his own unassisted genius, may have arrived at the grand results set forth in his "Inquiry," or whether he may have considered Mr. Uniacke's labours as public property, we shall leave others to determine;

Non nostrum

tantas componere lites.

From the tone of Mr. Uniacke's two Letters, it would appear that the boldness of his opinions has subjected him to perils and trials, sneers and misrepresentations: so true is it that persecution is the meed of exalted merit. It is gratifying, however, to find that he is possessed of intrepidity and self-devotion to meet the most appalling dangers. In p. 36 of his Letter to the Lord Chancellor, he professes that he "shall think his life nobly devoted" to the cause which he has undertaken; and at the conclusion of the same Letter we have the following inspiring words:

"Whether this proposal shall receive the attention of those in power, to whom it is now addressed, or shall suffer the check which cold neglect too often gives to the best and most rational schemes, will soon be determined: but it carries within itself a vigour, and is supported by a resolution too matured to pine away under neglect, or to yield pusillanimously to the most formidable opposition. I have seized the helm, my Lord, not, I trust, with a feeble hand-and I hope I shall have patience to endure the calm— and intrepidity to meet the storm.' Pp. 40, 41.

In the above remarks, we have purposely abstained from touching upon that part of Mr. Peel's speech, in which he professcs himself favourable to the appointment of a public prosecutor. It is, perhaps, one of the nicest and most interesting problems in English jurisprudence, embracing so many momentous considerations, and admitting of such a diversity of opinion, that it would be impossible to do it justice in an incidental discussion. Proposing, as we do, to examine the question in all its bearings at an early opportunity, we shall content ourselves at present with congratulating the public, that the improved temper of the legislature has tolerated the recommendation of a change so funda

mental; the most distant allusion to which would, in the "good old times," have blanched the cheeks of members, and made

Each particular hair (of the Speaker's wig) to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.

We must reserve our observations upon the Larceny Bill, as well as upon the three other bills, relating to Criminal Law, introduced in the present session, for a future Number, when they will have arrived at some greater degree of legislative maturity.


1 A Discourse concerning the Influence of America on the Mind, being the Annual Oration delivered before the American Philosophical Society, at the University in Philadelphia, on the 18th October, 1823, by their Appointment, and published by their Order. By C. J. Ingersoll. Philadelphia, 1823, 8vo. pp. 67.

2. A Dissertation on the Nature and Extent of the Jurisdiction of the Courts of the United States. By Peter S. Du Ponceau, LL.D., &c. To which are added, a brief Sketch of the National Judiciary Powers exercised in the United States prior to the Adoption of the present Federal Constitution. By Thomas Sergeant, Esq., and the Author's Discourse on Legal Education, delivered at the Opening of the Law Academy, in February, 1821. Philadelphia, 1824, 8vo. pp. 254.

3. The English Practice: a Statement showing some of the Evils and Absurdities of the Practice of the English Common Law, as adopted in several of the United States, and particularly in the State of New York. New York, 1822, 8vo. pp. 347.

4. A View of the Constitution of the United States of America. By William Rawle. Philadelphia, 1825, 8vo. pp. 347.

5. History of the United States, from their first Settlement as Colonies, to the Close of the War with Great Britain, in 1815. By N. Hale. London, published by John Miller, 1826, 8vo. pp. 467.

THE advanced and progressively improving, moral, intellectual, and political condition of the United States of North America is the most remarkable and gratifying fact on historical record; and in no point of view is their national superiority so singular as in the

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