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has been ameliorated, and its general character elevated. It is of no importance, as to our present purpose, to say, that these improvements were the consequence of the general advance of the age, and not of the connection of the study of the law with the universities. This connection was either an instrument or a cause. And whether the connection of the science of the law with the universities be considered as an instrument, to which, in its advancing progress, the age resorted for the improvement of that science, or whether it was itself the cause of the advance of the age in the direction which led to those improvements,-on either hypothesis, the object of the present argument is attained ; either as a cause, or as a selected instrument, the connection of the study of the law with the universities, has had an efficient agency in those great improvements in the science, which have been introduced in our day. From the hour when the great magician, Blackstone, standing in the halls of Oxford, stretched his scientific wand over the illimitable ocean, without bound,' where, to the uninstructed eye, 'cold, hot, moist, and dry, in their pregnant causes mixed, seemed to strive for the mastery,' confusion disappeared. In its stead was seen a well-proportioned, well-cemented fabric, pleasing to the sight, satisfactory to the taste, approved by the judgment, its architectural principles just, its parts orderly and harmonious, in which justice was found consorting with reason, and controversy guided by the spirit of truth, and not by the spirit of victory."- pp. 6—15.
In the United States, that portion of the common law which regards the feudal usages of former times, has, of course, been abolished.
Those rules which govern the monarchical constitution of the British empire, the rights of primogeniture, the establishment, and throne, have each been excluded from American jurisprudence. As a nation, we have abolished all those corruptions which have grown out of dark ages, and have adopted all those advantages which appertain to republican institutions. The body of men which constitute the legal profession in this country, are pressed down by no constitutional incumbrances, and are therefore enabled to pursue the science with a vigor and success which is the offspring alone of republican enterprize. Hence a change has been wrought out in American law, which in Europe has been the growth of ages.
Here also there is a novel and interesting branch of jurisprudence, which embodies in its service a large amount of professional talent and learning—the constitutional law of the United States. As a written code, the federal constitution is invested with as much of dignity and importance in its principles as the law of any nation or age. It is the grand organ of political freedom, and republican justice. A frame of poliiy established by the sages of our nation, its judicature is comprised of those men, who are most distinguished for their judicial talents. Justice here sits enthroned, not amid the gorgeous trappings of monarchical grandeur, but in the untrainmelled dignity of conscious freedoin. The reports proceeding from this court, comprising the decisions of Marshall and Story, are models of judicial composition and elegant learning, and as long as we have such men upon the bench, will be excelled, probably, by no productions of the kind in modern times.
We have thus endeavored, in this article, to show that the legal system, as it is at present organized, is the only safe depository of human justice, and that no system could be substituted in its stead, which could produce the same beneficial consequences to mankind. We have endeavored to show, that the prejudices which have grown up against it, have been based upon its few disadvantages, arising from that imperfection which must of necessity exist in every human system, and also the acts of some of its unworthy members, and that consequently they have no solid foundation. The legal system is the embodied wisdom of ages. It is founded upon uniform decisions, which have been made by learned men, ever since the establishment of civil government. It is the only ark of constitutional liberty, human happiness, and individual rights. By the agency of the law, every where justly administered, the world may eventually exbibit that condition of social order, portrayed by Sir William Jones, in his splendid vision of a perfect state.
"And sovereign laro the world's collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate,
The only mode of judging rightly of any political establishment, is, by its consequences. if such establishment is beneficial, the consequences springing from it, must, of course, be advantageous to mankind. If it is evil, such also will be its consequences. Now if we look abroad, we find that the security of human rights, and the measure of social order, is in exact proportion to the certainty, energy and justice with which the municipal law has been adıninistered. The cause of this is clear, from the fact that this law is founded upon the degeneracy of mankind. If men were righteous in their character, the necessity of the legal establishment would of course be superseded, because without it, their conduct would be governed by righteous principles, to enforce which, is the single design of this establishment. Its only object is to compel mankind to do what they would not otherwise perform by holding out compulsory motives.
Any man will be convinced of the advantages which we have enumerated, by contrasting the condition of civilized states with that of barbarous nations. Among these nations there is no certain law, and by consequence, no security for life, liberty or property. Individuals, debarred from that protection, which, in all well organized communities, is afforded to the meanest of its citizens, are compelled to take their own rights into their own hands. Here society exists in its unorganized elements. Each man is an armed russian in his own defence.
There is no law but the law of the strongest. The municipal code, however, stretches out a mighty bulwark, for the defence of human rights, to break the storms, and hurl back the billows of passion, crime, and fraud, which are forever thundering at its base. Overthrow this barrier, and they would roll in upon mankind like a flood.
Upon the whole, then, it is clear that the law-system, as it is at present organized and administered, is essential to the order of human society; and that without it, there would be no such thing as the administration of civil justice, or the enjoyment of human right. It is equally manifest, that this system is founded upon doctrines of common sense, as well as humanity; that it acts by certain and uniform rules, which are admirably calculated to discover truth; and that it is the only institution wbich has been framed large enough to reach the ordinary questions of human controversy. The facts which we have mentioned, all combine to show that it is a mighty and glorious fabric, majestic and venerable from its magnitude and its age, whose foundations were laid broad and deep, in principles of everlasting justice, by the masterminds of former times, associated together in high companionship, and that it must endure as long as human freedom,
and human happiness. Ought this fabric to be demolished, in order to give place to temporary passions and fluctuating jealousies--10 a discretionary power, acting upon no defined rules, and for no certain objects, because it may contain a few useless vaults, or cumbrous columns, while it is at the same time a safe refuge to thousands of the oppressed? This cannot be accomplished, while common
reason and common justice are the governing principles of mankind. We cannot better close our subject, than by quoting Hooker's sublime personification of the law, which terminates the first book of bis Ecclesiastical Politie.
“Of law, there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world; all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempt from her power; both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all, with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy."
Poems and Prose Writings. By Richard H. Dana.
Boston: Russell, Odiorne & Co. 1833. pp. 450.
"The Emperor. What schools for poets are there in Europe?
Asmus. We have beautiful heavens and a beuutiful earth there, Sire, and a holy religion.'*
That Mr. Dana is a favored pupil of the "beautiful earth,” is evident from a single stanza on his first page :
“But when the light winds lie at rest,
And on the glassy, heaving sea,
Sits swinging silently;
* See Claudius, Werke, B. II. Nachricht von meiner audienz bey'm Kaiser von Japan. VOL. II.
A finer gem in its kind, whether contemplated as a whole or anatomatized to the minutest particle, is not to be found. “ The Pleasure Boat," p. 115, abounds in similar lovely pictures, sketched with the like naked truth.
* The ripples lightly tap the boat,"
is the language of one who uses his own eye and ear, and who understands and loves nature too well to do her the wrong of obtruding between her and the reader proofs of his own fancied cleverness in the accumulation of fine words. But to copy a few stanzas,—for this power of Mr. Dana's deserves to be studied :
"Come, hoist the sail, the fast let go!
They 're seated side by side ;
The bay is fair and wide.
The ripples lightly tap the boat.
Loose !-Give her to the wind !
The strand is far behind.
Fair ladies, fairer than the spray
The prow is dashing wide,
Soft flow the blessed tide!
The boat goes tilting on the waves ;
The waves go tilting by ;
O'er head the sea-gulls fly.
Why dies the breeze away so soon ?
Why hangs the pennant down?
-Nay, lady, do not frown;
For, see, the winged fisher's plume
Is painted on the sea :
-Whose eyes look up at thee ?