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But that a cherub child
From us, all undefiled ?
From sin and sorrow freed,
To help us in our need?
We shall terminate our extracts with a Sonnet; all the Sonnets in the book are good; we take one almost at randoin :
• The brightest colours of a Christian's life
Death but the dawning of an Easter morn.' In conclusion, we cannot refrain from expressing a regret that poems written at a time when Mr. Furneaux must have been quite a boy should have been admitted into this volume. If Mr. F. were to cancel all, or all but a very few, of his earlier productions, he would gain in reputation. We refer especially to pages 37, 47, 64, 71, 86, 90, 93. It is rarely indeed that our boyish essays are worth publishing.
The True Grandeur of Nations. An Oration by CHARLES
SUMNER, Esq. Boston, Massachusetts. London, Wm. Smith, Fleet Street, 1846.
MR. CHARLES SUMNER, although, we presume, a member of the Peace Society, is a bold man at heart,-bolder than many a brawling demagogue in Congress or elsewhere; otherwise he would hardly have ventured to speak to his fellow-citizens, on the anniversary of the Declaration of independence, as follows:
On one side, by an act of unjust legislation, extending our power over Texas, we have endangered peace with Mexico ; while, on the other, by a presumptuous assertion of a disputed claim to a worthless territory beyond the Rocky Mountains, we have kindled anew on the hearth of our Mother Country, the smothered fires of hostile strife. Mexico and England both aver the determination to vindicate what is called the national honour ; and the dread arbitrament of war is calmly contemplated by our government, provided it cannot obtain what is called an honourable peace. Far be from our country and our age the sin and shame of contests hateful in the sight of God and all good men, having their origin in no righteous though mistaken sentiment, in no true love of country, in no generous thirst for fame, that last infirmity of noble minds, but springing in both cases from an ignorant and ignoble passion for new territories ; strengthened, in one case, by an unnatural desire in this land of boasted freedom to fasten by new links the chains which promise soon to fall from the limbs of the unhappy slave! In such contests God has no attribute which can join with us.
Who believes that the national honour will be promoted by a war with Mexico or England ? What just man would sacrifice a single human life to bring under our rule both Texas and Oregon ?
Such plain and manly language deserves to obtain a hear. ing, were it only as a contrast to the noisy turbulence of the Aunerican war party.
Without, therefore, pledging ourselves to subscribe to all its doctrines, we recommend Mr. Sumner's pamphlet to the attention of our readers.
Of the style of this oration we will say no more than that it is a trifle Transatlantic; we are tempted to subjoin a specimen :
The eagle of our country, without the terror of his beak, and dropping the forceful thunderbolt from his pounces, shall soar with the olive of peace into untried realms of ether nearer to the sun.
Report from the Select Committee on Mortmain, ordered by the
House of Commons to be printed, 24th July, 1844. Bill to alter and amend the Laws relating to the Disposition of
Property for Pious and Charitable Purposes. 2nd February, 1846. A YEAR or two ago the hero-statesman of our age being asked his opinion of the wisdom of some alteration in the laws
of mortmain, exclaimed, Mortmain. mortmain ; what's that? I never heard of that;' and we take it that the meaning, if not the very existence of the term, is, or_was until lately, as unknown to the great mass of educated Englishmen as it was to that illustrious warrior. It requires, then, some little courage to attempt to interest the public mind in a matter so remote from its usual studies. But convinced as we are of the conjoint injustice and absurdity of the present system, and of the daily increasing necessity of its subversion, we shall not further apologize to our readers for devoting an article to this mysterious subject.
With the early history of the Mortmain Lawe, we do not think it necessary to deal: they were demanded by, and had application to, a state of society, civil, social, aud religious, altogether different from that wherein we find ourselves now living, and are entirely obsolete. But the law which now is practically the Statute of Mortmain, and which, for the sake of convenience, we will, although incorrectly, call so, is but little more that one hundred years old, and this is the law we desire to see struck from the Statute Book, as uncharitable in its intentions, absurd in its inconsistencies, unjust in its provisions, and injurious in its operation. We shall now endeavour to show the justice of this heavy bill of indictment that we bring against the pet measure of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.
That the intention of the law and its authors was charitable is evident from its preamble, and from the whole tenor of Lord Hardwicke's subsequent interpretation of, and judgments upon it. The preamble says, “Whereas gifts or alienations of lands, tenements, or hereditaments in mortmain, are prohibited or restricted by his Majesty's courts and diverse other wholesome laws, as prejudicial to, and against, common utility; nevertheless this public mischief has now, of late, greatly increased, and many large and important alienations or dispositions have been made by languishing or dying persons, and by other persons, to uses called charitable uses, to take place after their death, to the disinherison of their lawful heirs.
And of Lord Hardwicke's views and feelings Sir Francis Palgrave most justly says, “ Coke's feelings and language form a singular contrast with the opinions of Lord Hardwicke, a great judge, but one whose narrowed, nay, bigoted views, have caused so much mischief to charitable uses. In the case of the Attorney-General v. Groves, one of the passages in the history of charitable uses, Lord Hardwicke says, “ I never was more clear than that it is both within the intention and words of the statute, and I will not construe this statute by the chicane with which the former statutes of mortmain have
been.”* And in another judgment, referring to the intentions of the legislature, Lord Hardwicke declares them to have been strongly against a charitable construction of the law. This view of the intention of the authors of 9th Geo. 2, c. 36, is entirely borne out by the Report of the Debate in the House of Lords, to which we refer such of our readers as are curious in such matters, for a complete exposure of the extremes to which a genteel though intolerant fear and hatred of piety can carry people.
But uncharitable as unquestionably were the intentions of the authors of this statute, it is no less true that the provisions whereby they sought to defeat the munificence they so dreaded, are not only alien from the general principles of English law, but inconsistent with themselves. There is no feature more prominent in the fabric of English jurisprudence than the reverence paid to the wishes and intentions of testators; the least modicum of evidence establishes a will; the contents of a scrap of paper ransacked out of a pigeon-hole, informally worded, badly spelt, unintelligible to ordinary mortals, are held by the parental kindness of the judicature sacred as the expression of a testator's last and most solemn wishes, and carried into strict execution; difficulties are removed ; facilities are afforded ; and, in short, it may truly be said that to establish a will is a favoured object of English law, no matter how foolish the disposition, how unworthy the recipient, how reprehensible the results, may be. But in solitary opposition to this marked and stately flow of legal purpose and judicial decision is the ebb against charity. If we may say so with reverence, the apostolic commendation of charity is taken against it, and the pervading name ef charity covers, not to protect, but to destroy, a multitude of innocent and beneficent bequests and dispositions, in direct contradiction to the other. wise uniform tenor of the law. Hostile to the spirit of our laws, this statute is at war with itself. · Your Committee will here point out the inconsistency which runs throughout this unfavourable construction of the law. The recital of the Act states its object to be, to prevent the disposition of lands, whereby the same shall become inalienable. But lands left with a direct injunction that they should be sold, meet with no more favour than bequests of personalty to be converted into land. Although in the similar case of a bequest to an alien, the legatee, who is disqualified from holding the real property, is allowed to take it as money. Again, although the law will marshal assets so as to throw upon the real estate · debts and other charges ordinarily chargeable upon the personal estate of the testator, thus exonerating the latter for the benefit of the
* Minutes of Evidence, s. 92
legatees, it refuses to marshal assets in favour of charitable legacies ; nor will it permit them to be charged upon, or satisfied out of, the land, or other real estate of the testator, nor, indeed, out of any of his personal estate, partaking in any manner of the nature of realty. Supposing, therefore, the alleged object of the statute to be a proper one, it appears to your Committee that land left to charities with a direction to be sold, and all virtually personal property, do not fairly come under the intent of that statute, nor do they think it just that charitable legacies should alone be excepted from the advantage of having assets marshalled in their favour.' This passage appears to us conclusive, and we cannot conceive how eminent law reformers like Sir Robert Peel and Lord Brougham, who boast of their past endeavours to simplify and purify our legal code, can consent to maintain so confused, incongruous, and blundering a specimen of legislation.
That the 9th Geo. 2, c. 36, is essentially unjust in its provi. sions appears from the above passage of the Select Committee's Report. What injustice, indeed, can be greater than that a man may bequeath his landed property to a worthless mistress or fawning toady, to maintain a menagerie of wild beasts, or rear a stupendous monument to his foolish memory, but may not bequeath even a bonâ fide personalty, such as canal and railroad shares, to build a church or hospital, school or alushouse, in the purlieus of St. Giles or the heart of Alsatia? Yet such are the provisions of this law, which Sir James Graham and Mr. Colquhoun regard as the palladium,--the one of our civil,-the other of our religious liberties.
It may appear almost needless, after what has been said, to offer any proofs of the last clause of our indictment of this law, and yet we are tempted to lay before our readers one or two instances of the injurious operation of this unjust and inconsistent statute :-Christopher Flaherty, a wealthy hatter, by his will, dated January 29th, 1805, after making certain bequests to his two daughters, one legitimate, the other illegitimate, bequeathed the residue of his property (personalty) to the building and endowment of a hospital or almshouse for poor Roman Catholics; this bequest was held (contrary, we need not say, to the whole spirit of our law) to fall within the 9th Geo. 2, c. 36, and his daughter, Mary Flaherty, possessed in consequence that property during her lifetime, and by her will, dated 14th December, 1843, bequeathed the bulk of it, to whom? her nearest relation? her expectant heir ? or by some pious legal fraud, to that charitable institution which so long had been injuriously deprived of it? Not a bit; but to that vindicator of charitable trusts, Lord Broughani! who, through the operation of this flagrant legal chicanery, will