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sup very early in the pursuit, and had the greatest industry, as well as abilities, and in short was a consummate master, of the profession. Yet he observes, “it was not the practice of this great judge to give his opinion on a sudden ; but after mature consideration, and after hearing all that could be said for and against the point in question.” Judges, who do not avail themselves of the “light and assistance” of former precedents, will be often found differing in opinion. In the course of nine months, and in the trial of little more than one hundred causes, we have observed a difference of opinion on the bench in no less than fifteen instances. In the King’s Bench, during a period of thirteen years, every rule, order, judgment, and opinion was Munanimous. This gave weight to the decisions, certainty to the law, and infinite satisfaction to the suitors. How honourable to the law, and we may add, to the judges : They were all men of unquestionable abilities, and some of them, as jawyers, not inferiour to lord Mansfield himself. But all were “long personally accustomed to the judicial decisions of their predecessors ;” all felt themselves bound by them. No one thought himself at liberty to “decide according to his own private judgment, but according to the known laws and customs of the land.” This extraordinary unanimity affords the highest evidence of their industry as well as candour. Lord Mansfield alluding to it, says, “it never could •ro * If our judges have objections to the pse of English authorities, there does not seem to be any reason why they should not avail themselves of American. We do not recollect to have met with a sin
gle quotation, either by the bench or at she bar, from Sullivan's Land Titles,
have happened, if we did not among ourselves communicate our sentiments with great freedom if we did not form our judgments without any prepossession to first
thoughts.” Too many of our ju
dicial opinions are nothing but first thoughts. If the present volume of reports should be less esteemed in the other states, than those of Mr. Dallas, we think it will not be on account of any superiority of Mr. D. over Mr. W. as a reflorter: and we are very unwilling to admit that the judges of Pennsylvania, and especially of the common pleas, (of which court there are some excellent decisions in Dallas) are men of superiour abilities to the judges of our supreme court. If the decisions of the former should be deemed superiour, it must be ascribed to the favourable advantages under which they were made. In that state questions of law are principally decided in Philadelphia, and trials of fact and issues of law are not mixed up together as with us. The mention of Dallas's reports reminds us of a hint to Mr. W. suggested by the perusal of the volume before us. We have observed in a few instances expressions which it would have been well to have avoided, some of them peculiar to New-England, We have no doubt Mr. W. has taken pains on this subject ; and we think the workis, in this respect, more correct than any legal work yet published in this state. Instead of summing up to the jury, Mr. W. speaks of charging the jury ; for evidence produced by the prosecutor, he speaks of evidence produced by government ; for first count in the indictment, in some instances, he says, first charge in the indictment; he uses, exceptions made, instead of taken, to a Plea ; motion reject*f, for motion did not prevail; Aolding a term of the court, for session ; letters of guardianship set aside, for revoked or annulled; passing a decree, for making a decree. We imagine the foregoing expressions will seldom be met with in eorrect legal writings. Put our great objection to this work, as far as Mr. W. is responsible for it, is its bulk. Its size is unreasonably swelled by harge type and large Thargin. By expunging all unnecessary matter, compressing what sught to be compressed, using a type similar to that used in the London edition of Burrow's reports, 2d edition, the work might have been comprized within something less than half its present bulk. It might have been published as the first fart of volume Afirst, to the great saving of the purse and time of purchasers and readers. This work, though “sent to its
r - *
account with all its imperfections
on its head,” (and they are not a few) we nevertheless recommend to the profession and to our readers. We sincerely hope Mr. W. will persevere. We wish him a double portion of the spirit of patience and labour. He already possesses judgment and accuracy of thinking ; and we will venture to assure him, that he will in due time, if he faint not, inherit the reputation of an excellent reporter. Let him always bearin mind, and let it animate him to use double diligence, that the man, who employs his time and talents in transmitting to posterity with accuracy, precision, and true judgment, a history of cases of weight and difficulty, is a real benefactor to the publick: And surely there never was a time, when such lahours, however they may be appreviated, were so much needed.
They cannot do all the good they ought ; but they will do much. The legislature must do the rest. We respectfully entreat that honourable body to consider the judiciary as an object of much the greatest importance of any confided to their care. We believe it is in their power to lay the foundation of a system of jurisprudence, which in a few years may even equal that of Great-Britain. To accomplish this, it is indispensable that the trial of facts and law be separated. The former should be in each county, and the latter in one, or, at most, in two or three stated places. There is, in the nature of things, no more reason why questions of law should be determined in each county, than that the statutes should be framed and, enacted in each county. County lines have nothing to do with either ; and it is just as proper that the legislature should be ambulatory, as that a court, not of trials, but of law, should be so. Let the legislature shorten their own sessions, and apply the saving to the support of the judiciary. The people would be every, way gainers. In England the judiciary costs the nation a large sum ; but not half so much as it is worth : the legislature...nothing. In this state the legislature costs the state a large sum, the judiciary...a mere trifle. It is time to abandon the expectation of law from a court of pie-poudre. Let not this institution of reporter be suffered to languish and die, for want of encouragement. Flet the legislature strengthen the “things that are ready to perish.” We may then look forward through the humiliation and gloom of the present time to the period, when our judicature shall lift up its head among the states ; and when eur judicial
45 20, the sentence following is unintelligible. 58, margin, expunge the word “taken.’ 87 l.21, for “this meeting" read their meeting. 92 20, for “diversion” r. diverting. 101, margin at bottom and index “deceit” for “an action brought against him for the articles,” r. for an action brought against him for the price of the articles. 104, margin, for “promisser” r. promissee. 1841.24, and margin, for “February 27” r. February 26, 135 29, for “June 23, 1801” r. June 23, 1800, (probably.) 152, note, last line, for och 10,1784,” read February 6, 1784. 198, margin, “Particular statutes of insolvency” would be more proper than “Statutes of bankruptcy.” See V. Acts of Cong.sec. 61 p.81. 201 1, 28, for “account” read decree. 202 28, for “plead” read pleaded.
203 4, for “administrator" r.executor. 304 15, and index “Statutes of Commonwealth,” for “ 19th June” read 20th June. 307 25, for “no statute” read a statute. 362 84, for “exigences" r. exigencies. 374 20, for “are” read were. 386 1, for “were” read was.
— 10, the sentence following is incorrect.
427 34,"prescription" is not the proper word.
It is possible, that the copy of the statutes, &c. cited and referred to, which we have used, may be incorrect ; for very few of our publications, not even excepting the statutes, have any pretensions to COrrectness. -oART. 14. Sketches of the life of the late Rev, Samuel Hoskins, D. D. fiastor of the first congregational church in JVewfiort, written by himself; ina tersfiersed with marginal notes extracted from his firivate diary: To which is added, a dialogue, by the same hand, on the nature and extent of true christian submission ; also, a serious address to firqfessing christians ? closed by Dr. Hart's sermon at his funeral. With an introduction to the whole by the editor. Published by Stefihen West, D.D. fiastor of the church in Stockbridge. Hartford, Hudson & Goodwin. 1805. fift. 240.
Nothing but the celebrity of Dr. Hopkins's name would have induced us to give that attention to these memoirs, which is commonly expected of reviewers ; for we
imagine they will be very interesting only to those, who have adopted his system of theology, or who are inclined to lay equal stress with him on the variety and frequency of what are called religious experiences. Indeed, the private thoughts and transient feelings of any man, when minutely registered in a diary, cannot be very intelligible to others, even if they are always understood by the writer; and a reader, unaccustomed to the kind of “exercises,” which are here detailed, might imagine, that he had been perusing the journal of a valetudinarian, or listening to the reveries of a love-sick maid, For ourselves we confess, that we think these emotions and drawingsout of the soul have not much to do with the growth of habitual piety, and the fruits of good living. We should not think the more highly of the filial affection of a child for his parents, because he had kept a bulletin of his yearnings and longings for them in their absence, or because in all his letters he had told them how much or how little he loved them. Neither do we think the character of a christian can be so safely estimated from the transcripts of his diary, as from the tenour of his conduct. By these remarks we mean not to depreciate the piety, or undervalue the eminent graces of Dr. Hopkins ; for we sincerely believe, that his readers will think more favourably, than he did himself, of the sincerity of his christian faith and conversion. Much less would we interrupt the consolation, which any christian may be disposed to receive from this record of religious doubts and confidences ; a record, which will undoubtedly be read by many, whose sentiments and passions, whose . Vol. III. No. 3. U ,
hopes and fears are similar to those of Dr. Hopkins. These sketches are introduced by some proper remarks of the editor, written in a much better style, than any other part of the volume. The facts in Dr. Hopkins's life, as in the life of every studious man, are few. We learn, that he was born Sept. 17, 1721, and died Dec. 20, 1803 ; that he was admitted into Yale college at the age of sixteen ; that he resided much in the family of President Edwards, with whom he studied divinity; that he was settled first at Housatonock, 1743 ; that he was dismissed in 1769, by the advice of a council, on account of the deficiency in his pecuniary support; that he was afterward invited, after much opposition, to settle at Newport ; that his enemies were at length reconciled to his sentiments; that he was ordained there April 11, 1770, and continued with this people, through mony difficulties and discouragements, till the day of his death. These memoirs contain also some domestick anecdotes, and, what will be more interesting to the theological reader, some account of the controversies, in which the Doctor was engaged. As he has given his name to a large and respectable class of christians in the United States, it may not be uninteresting to our readers to have a regular list of the Doctor's publications. The principal benefit, which he is supposed by his friends to have conferred upon the science of theology, may be stated in the words of the fond editor of this little volume.