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the pleas of the crown, as they were termed, involving | being in the marshal's custody the defendant is not at all offences; and being the highest judicial officer in liberty to dispute.' point of rank, his court was appointed to have cog- These mischievous fictions were not abolished until nisance over the two others. The matters connected the year 1832, when, by act of parliament, a uniwith the exchequers-namely, the regulation of the form process was established in the three common law royal domains, the collection of duties and other taxes courts. An appeal lies from the decision of any one
-were committed to judges called Barons, presided of these courts to the judges of the other two, who, over by a Chief-Baron. All tions about the posses- when met to decide on such appeals, constitute a court sion of land, and other litigations between one citizen called the Exchequer Chamber. Fourteen of the fifteen and another regarding matters of property, were called judges who form these common law courts hold the
common pleas,' and were committed to certain jus- assizes in the various county towns—in some of them tices, presided over by a chief-justice.
twice, and in others thrice a year. Here they act both The King's or Queen's Bench is thus the chief crimi- as civil and criminal judges. Offences committed in nal court, and the Exchequer is the principal tribunal London and its vicinity are tried by a tribunal lately for revenue matters; but these courts are by no means created, called the Central Criminal Court. restricted to the departments to which they are so The origin of the authority of equity tribunals has assigned-they possess, concurrently with the common been already considered. The principal establishment pleas, a jurisdiction in all ordinary questions of com- of this description in England is that of the Chancery. mon law. The manner in which they obtained this It has in it three distinct courts, and three judges—the power is one of the most extraordinary circumstances chancellor, the vice-chancellor, and the master of the in the history of the laws of any country. The instru- rolls. Formerly, all proceedings in bankruptcy centered ments made use of were, as has been hinted, the fictions, with the lord chancellor, but the increasing importance described as a peculiarity of the English law. To get at of this class of business rendered it necessary to approthe real motives which were at work, it is necessary to priate a separate court to the purpose. This was accomrecollect that formerly not only the judges, but all the plished in 1832 by Lord Brougham's act. The term officials connected with the several courts, were paid by Bankruptcy is in England confined entirely to persons fees, the amount of which depended on the extent of busi- engaged in commerce; and the jurisdiction of the court ness transacted. They were thus like so many trades- is so limited. Previous to its formation, however, it men keeping shops for the sale of justice, each anxious had been found expedient to create a court for the to keep a large supply of whatever was most wanted, relief of insolvent debtors who might not be engaged and to serve the public on the most tempting terms. in trade, on their giving up their property to their In this manner the courts of law undersold the courts creditors. By a late act for restricting imprisonment of equity by not demanding any sanction, such as an for debt, the practice of relieving insolvent debtors oath, for the truth of what litigants declared in their was improved, nearly on the model of the Scottish pleadings. An arduous run for business was carried system of cessio, and a bankruptcy code was applied to on between the three common law courts, the accounts debtors who might not be tradesmen. The utility and of which, as given in the legal histories and law-books, importance of the Insolvent Debtors' Court were thus are infinitely grotesque. The extent to which a court materially enlarged. Another court was lately brought could carry its jurisdiction by these means, depended into existence, called the Judicial Committee of the less upon reason than upon the muscular power of those Privy Council. It consists almost entirely of the officers of the court who enforced its decrees. The judges of the other courts. Its principal jurisdiction Exchequer, when it attempted to levy taxes, was told is in appeals from the colonial courts, and the Court occasionally that the person charged with them could of Admiralty. This Court of Admiralty has jurisdicnot pay, by reason that his debtors had not paid what tion in maritime contracts, and crimes committed on they owed him; while he hinted that if the Èxchequer the high seas. Having to deal with matters in which wished his money, they had better assist him in reco- the inhabitants of this and of other countries are vering it. On this, it became the practice of the Ex- jointly interested, it professes to follow, not the special chequer to assist those who were in debt to the crown law of England, but the general commercial law of to get payment of the money due to them. It occurred modern Europe, founded on the Roman law. In time to some ingenious lawyers, employed to recover debts, of war, the court receives a commission to adjudicate that if they stated to the Court of Exchequer that cer- regarding prizes taken from enemies, or from neutrals tain clients were debtors of the crown, and could not committing breaches of neutrality pay by reason of their own debtors not satisfying their Besides the tribunals mentioned, there are ecclesiasdemands, the court would make very little inquiry into tical courts in the two archiepiscopal provinces of Can. the truth of the statement, but would adjudicate in the terbury and York. In the former there are the Court case, and levy the money forthwith. The court made of Arches, the Prerogative or Testamentary Court, and 80 little inquiry as to the truth of the case, that it would the Court of Peculiars; in the latter the Prerogative not allow the statement to be contradicted, however Court and the Chancery Court. There are also many inaccurate it might be; and down to the year 1832, when inferior ecclesiastical courts. The chief jurisdiction one brought an action in the Court of Exchequer, it exercised by these tribunals, besides questions of ecclewas a matter of form that he should say he was a debtor siastical discipline, is in matters relating to succession to the king, and that he could not pay his debt, unless to moveable goods. If we were to complete the list of an obligation, incurred in his favour by the defendant, English tribunals, it would be necessary to include the were fulfilled. The jurisdiction of the King's Bench justices of peace, who, besides many special powers was limited to cases that were either purely criminal, in revenue and other matters conferred by act of paror had some connection with offences. When any one, liament, sit, at the general and quarter-sessions, as however, happened to be in the prison of the King's judges in minor offences. In addition to all these, there Bench for an offence, there was no means of getting at are various courts, of greater or lesser jurisdiction, conhim but through that court; and so the plan was de- nected with cities and boroughs; and in some places vised of stating that a man was in the King's Bench establishments called Courts of Requests, for adjudiprison when he was not. And in process of time,' cating in cases of petty debts. says Blackstone,' it (the Court of King's Bench) began, Having thus detailed the legal system of England, by a fiction, to hold plea of all personal actions what it is unnecessary to describe that of Ireland, which is soever, and has continued to do so for ages: it being almost in all respects a model of it. surmised that the defendant is arrested for a supposed trespass, which he never has, in reality, com
English Legal Usages. mitted; and being thus in custody of the marshal of The legal usages of England, though sanctioned the court, the plaintiff is at liberty to proceed against by inveterate custom, are generally clumsy, expenhim for any other personal injury, which surmise of sive, and to all but lawyers, unsatisfactory. The very
LAW OF SCOTLAND.
education of lawyers at the inns of court in Lon- unconstitutional seizure and incarceration by an action don, where they are supposed to receive instruc- of habeas corpus; that is, an action before a competent tion, and pursue certain studies, is a burlesque. court to be released, or have the custody of his own The whole machinery of executing writs, or orders person. In periods of civil commotion, the habeas of court, is equally objectionable. Imprisonment of corpus, as it is called, or power of replevin, is occasion. the person for the sake of safe custody is the ordi- ally suspended by an act of the legislature; by which nary means of enforcing claims in the civil law, and means the state can imprison without challenge, and of punishing in criminal cases. The largest jail for dismiss without trial. As may be supposed, this serious the reception of debtors is the Queen's Bench prison, infringement of the constitution is resorted to only in situated in Southwark. From the marshal or governor extreme cases, of this prison, however, a rule, or permission, may be obtained on payment, for liberty to go out of the prison for a day, or to reside within certain exterior bounds. From what has been already said, it will be gathered In other words, a debtor possessing the means (ab- that the law of Scotland was chiefly composed of the stracted from his creditors) may, while nominally in feudal system and the Roman law. The former was prison, be living at his ease and in the enjoyment of in practice according to the form in which it bad the general society of the neighbourhood.
adapted itself to the peculiar customs of the country, Trial by Jury is a remarkable legal usage, which, in the latter was taken from the doctrines of the civilians. reference to criminal accusation, is of great antiquity, The origin and progress of feudalism in Scotland are having its foundation in certain Anglo-Saxon forms fa- very obscure. The chroniclers attribute the foundation vourable to individual liberty. It is alluded to in Magna of the system to Malcolm II., in the eleventh century, Charta, wherein it is provided that all persons accused but with little probability. It is more likely that, of crimes shall be tried by the judgment of their peers with the resort of foreigners, Saxon and Norman, to the according to the laws of the realm. A jury is there court of the Scottish king subsequently to the conquest fore presumed to consist of persons in a rank as nearly of England, the system was imperceptibly and gradually as possible analagous to that of the party charged with introduced. The monarchs, who were ambitious of an offence. Practically, it is composed of individuals presiding over a distinguished court, gave particular miscellaneous in rank, so as to insure impartiality in encouragement to the Normans, to whom they granted decision. In England, the jury may be said to be of large fiefs or lordships; and it was natural that they two species, the grand and the petty jury. The grand should return the same homage to which they were jury cousists of twenty-four persons summoned by the accustomed in the country of their origin. The whole sheriff, to attend the court and present all offences of the Lowlands, indeed, and a great part of the Highcommitted within the county; that is, determine whe-lands, became nearly as thickly adorned with Norman ther the cases of criminal accusation shall go before aristocratic names as the broad plains of England; and the petty jury. The jury so called examine witnesses it was this alien aristocracy that submitted with so on oath, and receive other evidence; if satisfied that much indifference to the claims and encroachments of there are grounds for trial, they find a true bill, as it is | Edward I. There appear to have been many points on called, and the trial proceeds. The object of this in which the earlier laws of the two divisions of the island stitution is to prevent the oppression or damage of were identical. In England, however, as we have innocent persons; but in practice it is so clumsy as a already seen, the feudal system received many checks, method of investigation and deliberation, and so liable while in Scotland it was allowed to grow rank; and the to error from the vast quantity of business to be hur- deference paid to the civil law in the north served to ried through, not to speak of being so burdensome to widen the distinction. The alliance and continued the lieges, that it would long since have been abolished, intercourse with France, moreover, naturally drew the but for the rooted prejudices of the English in favour legal practice in the direction of the example set by of old usages, however absurd and valueless.
The that country: time seems to have arrived when it will require to be There is little information to be derived concerning superseded by the more efficient institution of a re- the practice of the law in Scotland previous to the sixsponsible public prosecutor.
teenth century. Edward I. probably destroyed some The petty jury for the trial of those against whom a vestiges, through which its history might have been true bill is found, consists of twelve men, drawn by lot traced; but he seems to have been charged by some from a larger number summoned. This jury is the antiquaries with the destruction of more than erer sole judge of the fact or facts charged, and its decisions existed. He did more, probably, by fabrication than require to be unanimous. In many instances a jury by destruction to poison the sources of Scottish juriscannot conscientiously arrive at an unanimous convic- prudence. The earliest alleged collection of the laws, tion, in which case either one or more must yield to the commonly called the Regiam Majestatem, bears so dear majority; or the whole, after experiencing the pangs of a resemblance to the English work of Glanvil, noticed hunger for one or two days, require to be discharged, above, that it is naturally supposed to have been a digest, when a new trial must ensue.
not of what the laws were, but of what the conqueror Trial by jury is usually considered to be the pala- wished them to be. The earliest Scottish legal writer dium of our rights and liberties; but this favourable whose works are quoted is Balfour, who prepared view of its character evidently needs modification. It about the latter end of the sixteenth century, a comis principally useful as a safeguard against vindictive pendium, chiefly derived from the Regiam Majestatem, attempts at oppression on the part of the crown or other the acts of parliament, and the decisions of the court, powerful accusers; yet even in this respect it has on In the reign of James VI., a commission was appointed various occasions proved faulty. If, however, it really to make inquiry into the laws, of which the celebrated shelters the subject, it can scarcely be said to be capable Sir John Skene was a member. The commissioners in all circumstances of protecting the crown. In Ire- collected and published many acts of parliament, the land, for example, where the English forms of grand Regiam Majestatem and other consuetudinary laws, and petty jury have been introduced, it is observable such as the customs of the royal burghs; and Sir John that there is scarcely a possibility of procuring a con. Skene wrote an interesting treatise on the meaning of viction where the state is the complaining and injured technical legal expressions. party, although the facts charged be proved beyond The first really scientific writer on the law of Scotthe possibility of cavil. Thus trial by jury can com- land, however, was Sir Thomas Craig, whose book on mand respect only where there is a deep sense of recti. the feudal law was published in 1655. It is a work of tude, and a disregard of public clamour.
great learning and thought, in which the reader is Habeas Corpus.--Only the law, not the sovereign or somewhat surprised to find that, though the work proany functionary of government, can imprison the per- fesses to be a Scottish law-book, it should derive so son of a subject, who can reclaim against wrongful or much of its learning from the practice of continental
nations. The next great authority is Lord Stair, 1 committing an illegal act, may bring, to have the law the equivocal statesman of the reign of James VII., as to the point declared, and his course of action made whose Institute, on the model of that of Justinian, is plain ; another is called a 'multiplepoinding,' which reinarkable for the breadth of its legal principles, and may be raised by a man having inoney in his hands the acuteness with which they are practically applied. which more than one person is claiming, that he may Soon after the middle of the eighteenth century, a know to whom he can legally pay it. Trial by jury was second Institute was prepared by Mr Erskine, professor not, until very lately, added to the jurisdiction of this of Scottish law, more suited to the knowledge of the age court. It is limited to certain descriptions of cases, than that of Stair, but more dry and formal. Sir Walter and is far from popular. Scott has justly denominated Erskine's Institute the The judges in the Court of Session, the advocates or Scottish Coke upon Lyttleton. There were formerly barristers, the writers to the signet or practising attorfew opportunities of acquiring a legal education in Scot- neys, and other functionaries, form an institution styled land, and it was the practice for the youth studying the the College of Justice. Scottish law to repair to one of the continental univer- The principal criminal court is the Court of Justiciary, sities, among which Leyden and Paris were preferred. consisting of seven of the judges of the Court of Session, On the occasion of the appointment to a chair of law who sit in Edinburgh, and commission some of their in Aberdeen, in the seventeenth century, Spalding the number to hold circuits in the country. The most Chronicler says, it was 'strange to see ane man ad-remarkable peculiarity in Scottish legal usages, is the mitted to teach the lawes, who was never out of the practice of criminal prosecution, which is clear, simple, countrie studieing and learning the lawes;' thus ex- and effective. All crimes of a high class are prosepressing his astonishment that any man could be pre-cuted at the instance of the Lord Advocate, or chief sumed to become acquainted with a system of law on public prosecutor, at the expense of the country. the spot where it is administered. The civil law is still | Lesser crimes are prosecuted by Procurators Fiscal, of professedly studied in Scotland, but its ancient influence whom one is attached to each sheriffdom. In no case is has sunk beneath the progress of commerce, and the the party injured put to any trouble or expense. The increase of statutory regulations, which compel the Lord Advocate, who is appointed by the crown, along lawyer to spend much of his time with acts of parlia- with crown-counsel, alone judge of the propriety of proment and reports of decisions.
secuting for crimes, there being no grand jury. The jury Scotland has a considerable quantity of early statute before whom cases for trial are brought consists of fifteen law, but not nearly so much as England. Down to the persons selected by lot from forty-five summoned jurors, time of the Revolution, the general principles only of and the decision or verdict is by a majority. The Scotthe acts had the assent of the assembled parliament- tish criminal law is partly statute, partly founded on the details were all prepared by a committee called the long usage. There are many offences which, by this Lords of the Articles. " The older acts are remarkable latter portion of the law, are punishable with death, if for their brevity and precision, in which respects they the prosecutor do not restrict the extent of punishment greatly excel the clumsy and wordy acts of parliament to be awarded, which he now does in almost every case of the United Kingdom, which, since the Union, has except murder. The sheriffs, or local judges of counlegislated for Scotland, often with little regard to the ties, have important judicial powers, both civil and peculiarities of Scottish practice. According to a usage criminal. The former extends to every description of derived from the civil law, acts of parlianient become dispute regarding property, except what refers to land. repealed by disuse in Scotland, technically, get into the powers of these judges have lately received extendesuetude-a principle unknown in English law. sive additions, especially in matters of insolvency and
The earliest superior tribunals in Scotland, were bankruptcy. They do not employ a jury, except in either the parliament, as the king's great council, or a criminal cases, in which their power of inflicting punishcommittee of it, acting with the delegated powers of the ment does not exceed imprisonment. The sheriff's of whole body. There was likewise, as in England, a the Scottish counties are advocates, practising before king's justiciar, whose authority was vast, and not very the supreme courts, not honorary functionaries, as in well defined, especially in criminal matters. Committees England. In each county there is, besides, a resident of parliament were, in the fifteenth and the beginning sheriff, or sheriff-substitute, who issues warrants and of the sixteenth century, sometimes formed into regular holds civil and criminal courts. To this useful class courts of justice, in which, however, a certain degree of functionaries Scotland is much indebted. of fluctuation could not be avoided. In 1532, the pre- In Scotland, there is a usage as absurd as that of sent Court of Session was constituted, on the model, it granting rules in the Queen's Bench prison. A debtor is believed, of the parliament of Paris. The chancellor, from any part of the United Kingdom may take the whose principal duties disappeared at the Union, was benefit of sanctuary in Holyrood, a suburb of Edinchairman of this body. It consisted of fifteen judges in burgh, including some fine open grounds. While in cluding a president, who was chairman in absence of the this sanctuary, and having a written protection, prochancellor. In 1830, the number of judges was reduced curable for a fee, the debtor is sheltered against all to thirteen; and about the same time, the authority of writs for civil claims, those of the state alone excepted; some other tribunals, the chief of which were the Courts and he is at liberty to quit this sanctuary during the of Admiralty and Exchequer, was transferred to the whole twenty-four hours of Sunday. This is the last Court of Session. It consists of two divisions, which existing relic of the privilege of sanctuary in Britain, are separate tribunals. Some of the judges also act as perhaps in Europe. individual judges in courts of their own, in which capa- There has latterly been some indications of the assicity they are termed lords ordinary.' An ordinary milation of the legal usages of Scotland to those of case, on coming into court, is discussed before a lord England, and it is highly desirable that an end should ordinary, from whose decision there is a reference to speedily be put to all existing diversities. one of the divisions of the Inner House,' as it is termed, where the remaining judges sit collectively. From them there is an appeal to the House of Lords. The ancient laws of France were a mixture of the There is no such conventional distinction as that between civil, feudal, and canon law. Partly they were the law and equity known in Scotland, and hence English doctrines of the authorities on the civil law, and partly lawyers, who are apt to measure all other systems by they were the ordinances issued by the various motheir own, absurdly enough speak of the Court of Ses- narchs. By far the greatest portion, however, in bulk, sion as a court 'both of law and equity. Besides the consisted of the peculiar feudal customs of the various usual adjudication of litigated cases, there are two very provinces. In these the feudal system was sometimes useful descriptions of action peculiar to this court. The retained in so high a state of purity, that the collections one is called an action of declarator,' which a person of provincial customs are esteemed excellent authorities who is puzzled about any difficulty, and is afraid of on the subject. But it was not merely in each province
THE FRENCH CODES,
that there was a local custom. The power of the crown, Such were the laws issued under the government of or any other paramount legislature, was so feeble, that Napoleon, commonly called Les Cinq Codes, or the Five wherever an assembly of men were held together by one Codes. There are other collections of regulations, which common tie, as where they were co-vassals of one lord, should be added to make up a complete body of French or members of the same civic community, they had in lawsa military code, issued by Napoleon; regulations some measure a code of laws of their own. The royal concerning woods and forests, issued under Charles X.; codes, which existed on a large scale, are estimated at various laws as to the press and theatrical exhibitions, about 300, but of the number of inferior local customs and alterations of the penal code, issued under the it would be impossible to inake an estimate. Voltaire government of Louis-Philippe ; and lastly, the enactobserves, that a man travelling through his country has ments under the existing republic. It is simply in to change laws as often as he has to change horses, and the Five Codes, however, passed under Napoleon, and that the most learned barrister in one village will be a confirmed at the Restoration, that the modern laws of conplete ignoramus a few miles off. The seignorial | France are known to Europe at large. They are genecourts were divided into three grades, according to the rally published in a small, thick, closely-printed volume; extent of the penal authority exercised by them. The and for the conciseness, clearness, and elegance of their principal courts of law were the parliaments of the re- language, and their intrinsic merits, they are a favou. spective provinces. Seats in them were generally held rite subject of study with many British lawyers, while by purchase, or were in the hereditary succession of there are few places in civilised Europe in which they great families, who thus constituted a species of pro- are not generally known. Independently of the divi. fessional nobility. The decrees of these bodies were sion into books and sections, the paragraphs in each often baffled or reversed by the royal authority, exer- code are numbered straight on from the commence. cised in the well-known form of lettres de cachet. These ment, an arrangement which gives peculiar facilities alterations of the decisions of the courts, however, were for reference. Thus there are in the civil code 2281 performed not as a judicial revision, but by the simple consecutively numbered paragraphs. In a country authority of the king; and thus the parliaments, being where the material of the law is so gigantic as it is in subject to no judicial control or responsibility, adhered England, it is of the highest interest to mark the pracbut slightly to fixed rules of law, and often acted accord-tical working of this grand effort at simplification. To ing to their own will and discretion. The jury, even an unlearned person in this country, it is a much easier so much of it as may have existed under the old feudal thing to know the law of France on any particular form, had entirely disappeared, and proceedings were point, than the law he is living under. If an English conducted in secret. Criminal investigations, instead lawyer is asked a question, his answer involves refeof terminating in a conclusive trial as in England, were rences to commentaries, decisions, and statutes innuprotracted through a lingering succession of written merable ; but in the general case, the answer of a pleadings and secret investigations, from which the French lawyer bears simple reference to such a para. accused could never calculate on being free. The tor-graph of such a code. ture was extensively employed; but in the general case, The French codes adopt the phraseology of the only when there was as much circumstantial evidence Roman law and many of its principles. The most as would justify a conviction in this country.
striking deviation from the previous law of France, and The whole of this systein was swept suddenly away the present system of other countries, is perhaps in the before the tide of the Revolution, but amid the troubled rules respecting succession. The children succeed to times that succeeded, it was long ere rulers could find equal shares of the parents' property, whether it consist peace and leisure for the erection of a substitute. In of land or movables; and if there be no legitimate 1800, Napoleon appointed a commission to draw up a children, illegitimate children may succeed. The parent project of a civil code. The project when prepared is limited in the disposal of his property by will. He was circulated for comment and suggestion, and was can only bequeath the half if he have one legitimate afterwards, along with the observations made on it by child, and the third if he have two. Restrictions the different courts of law, discussed in the council of somewhat similar are to be found in other countries state and the tribunate. Thus was formed the Code with respect to movable property, but not as to land. Civil, or civil code of France, more generally known The effect which the extensive partition, naturally by the term Code Napoleon, which was applied to it occasioned by this law, has effected, and may effect, under the Empire. Nearly at the same time, and in the in France, is a subject of great interest to political same manner, was framed the Code de Procédure Civile, economists. In the mercantile law there are several or code for regulating the form of process in civil provisions unknown in this country, such as registers actions, and specifying the jurisdictions of the various for hypothecs or securities held over movable goods courts. Being a subject more connected with technical or merchandise, and societies 'en commandite,' or detail, and involving less of general principle than the partnerships in which certain managing members are civil code, its provisions were left almost entirely to the responsible for the obligations of the company to the arrangement of the lawyers. Besides the technical extent of their whole property, while the sleeping part. directions in which lawyers are almost wholly interested, ners who advance money are not responsible beyond there are in this manual many which concern the ordi- the amount of their shares. The chief improveinent nary proceedings of citizens at large, such as directions in the criminal law effected during the Revolution, and for the order to be taken regarding the effects of a de- sanctioned by the code of instruction, was jury trial, ceased person, &c. This code is generally accompanied to which Napoleon was much opposed: the system, as by a table of fees in law proceedings. In 1807, another finally settled, bore more resemblance to the Scottish code was promulgated, called the Code de Commerce, than to the English forzo, prosecutions being conducted consisting of 648 sections. This is the commercial code by public prosecutors, there being no grand jury, and of France, regulating partnership, bills and notes, the jury of final trial deciding by a majority. In other banking, shipping, bankruptcy, &c. By this code pro- respects, the criminal law is more remarkable for its vision is made for merchants choosing boards or courts austerity than for its subserviency to the general good from among their own number, called Tribuneaux de of the public. With Napoleon, though that object Commerce. The jurisdiction of these courts, which are was not neglected, it was made secondary to the convery numerous, extends to questions between mer- solidation of his own power; and offences are measured chants, and disputes arising out of commercial trans- less by their pernicious effects on society at large, than actions. In criminal legislation, a different order was by the trouble or danger they might occasion to rulers. pursued from that adopted in the civil; the procedure llence was adopted in many cases the stern and simple code was prepared and adopted before the crimes to method of putting arbitrary power over criminals into which it was to apply, and the punishments it was to the hands of the administrators of the law, while enforce, were defined. The Code d'Instruction Criminelle punishments of the highest kind were reserved for was promulgated in 1808, and the Code Pénal in 1810. offences against the authorities,
HISTORY OF ANCIENT NATIONS,
Africa. From these three sources streamed forth branches which, intermingling in various proportions, have constituted the various nations of the earth.
Differing from each other in physiological characteristics, the three great varieties of the human species have differed also widely in their historical career. The germs of a grand progressive development seem to have been implanted specially in the Caucasian variety, the parent stock of all the great civilised nations of ancient and modern times. History, therefore, concerns itself chiefly with this variety: in the evolution of whose destinies the true thread of human progress is to be found. Ere proceeding, however, to sketch the early development of this highly - endowed variety of our species in the nations of antiquity, a few observations may be offered regarding the other two-the Ethiopian and Mongolian—which began the race of life along with the Caucasian, and whose destinies, doubtless, whatever may have been their historical functions hitherto, are involved in some profound and beautiful manner with the bearing of the race as a whole.
ETHIOPIAN OR NEGRO HISTORY. A German historian thus sums up all that is known of Ethiopian history—that is, of the part which the great Negro race, inhabiting all Africa with the excep
tion of the north-eastern coasts, performed in the geneAs the memory of a man extends back only to some ral affairs of mankind in the early ages of the world:point in his early boyhood, so the memory of our race On the history of this division of the species two extends back only to about 3000 years from the present remarks may be made : the one, that a now entirely date, leaving an indefinite space before that, during extinct knowledge of the extension and power of this which the infancy of the species must have been trans- branch of the human family must have been forced acted. Nor does the Scriptural account of the creation upon even the Greeks-their early poets and historians; settle this point. As many as two hundred different the other, that the Ethiopian history is interwoven calculations as to the age of our species have been throughout with that of Egypt. As regards the first founded, by different divines, on the statements of the remark, it is clear that in the earliest ages this branch sacred records——the discrepancy arising from the un- of the race must have played an important part, since certainty of those texts of the Old Testament in which Meroe (in the present Nubia) is mentioned both by numbers occur. The longest of these calculations dates Herodotus (B. C. 408) and Strabo (A. D. 20); by the one the creation of man at about 8800 years from the pre- as a still-existing, by the other as a formerly-existing sent time, or about 7000 years before the birth of seat of royalty, and centre of the Ethiopian religion Christ; the shortest at about 5300 years from the pre- and civilisation. * To this Strabo adds, that the race sent time, or 3500 years before the birth of Christ : the system usually adopted by historians is that of Arch
* Some years ago, a traveller, Mr G. A. Hoskins, visited the bishop Usher, which fixes the event at B.C. 4004, or
site of this capital state of ancient Ethiopia, an island, if it may
be so called, about 300 miles long, enclosed within two forking 5853 years from the present date. The general consent of mankind points to the region of magnificent pyramidal structures. Of one ruin he says
branches of the Nile. He found in it several distinct groups of Central Asia as having been the original seat from
Never were my feelings more ardently excited than in apwhich the human race dispersed itself over the globe; proaching, after so tedious a journey, to this magnificent necroand accordingly it is this region, and especially the polis. The appearance of the pyramids in the distance anwestern portion of it, which we find to have been the nounced their importance; but I was gratified beyond my most theatre of the earliest recorded transactions. In short, sanguine expectations when I found myself in the midst of it was in Central Asia that the first large mass of them. The pyramids of Gizeh are magnificent, wonderful from ripened humanity was accumulated—a great central their stupendous magnitude; but for picturesque effect and nucleus of human life, so to speak, constantly en- elegance of architectural design, I infinitely prefer those of larging, and from which emissaries incessantly streamed Meroe
. I expected to find few such remains here, and certainly out over the globe in all directions. In process of nothing so imposing, so interesting, as these sepulchres, doubttime this great central mass having swollen out till less of the kings and queens of Ethiopia. I stood for some time it filled Asia and Africa, broke up into three frag- lost in admiration. This, then, was the necropolis, or city of the ments - thus giving parentage to the three leading dead! But where was the city itself, Meroe, its temples and varieties* into which ethnographers divide the human palaces ? A large space, about 2000 feet in length, and the same species--the Caucasian, the Mongolian, and the Ethio- distance from the river, strewed with burnt brick and with piau or Negro-the Caucasians overspreading southern erection of the pyramids, formed, doubtless, part of that cele
some fragments of walls, and stones similar to those used in the and western Asia; the Mongolians overspreading north- brated site. The idea that this is the exact situation of the city ern and eastern Asia; and the Ethiopian overspreading is strengthened by the remark of Strabo, that the walls of tho
habitations were built of bricks. These indicate, without doubt, * In the PHYSICAL HISTORY OF MAN (No. 51), we admitted the site of that cradle of the arts which distinguish a civilised the five varieties as described by Blumenbach-namely, the from a barbarous society. Of the birthplace of the arts and Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malay, and American; but sciences, the wild natives of the adjacent villages have made a in as far as the social or historical progress of the race is con- miserable burying-place: of the city of the learned—“ its cloudcerned, the two latter may be considered as having no existence. I capt towers," its “gorgeous palaces,” its "solemn temples," No. 55,