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each county and district, for the encouragement of education, and a hundred pounds each to the trustees of three incorporated schools described in the grant. In addition to these means of promoting education in Nova Scotia, a college was established at Halifax in 1820, under the patronage of the Earl of Dalhousie, then governor of the province, called Dalhousie College, the design of which was declared to be for the education of students in the several branches of science and literature, as they are commonly taught in the university of Edinburgh.' A very spacious and handsome stone building has been erected, and the sum of nine thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling has been invested in the three per cent stocks, as a fund for the support of its officers, but its professorships are not yet filled, and the author of the work before us expresses his regret, that so much money should be expended in a way not likely to be useful for many years, instead of being appropriated to the endowment of additional professorships in King's college, and to the erection of the new buildings, which are much wanted in that institution. These various provisions for the encouragement of education in this infant colony exhibit a liberal and enlightened spirit on the part of the people and legislature, which deserves to be noticed and commended. The efforts of individuals to improve the agriculture of the province have also been liberally seconded by the legislature, by annual grants in aid of the funds raised by voluntary contribution, to be distributed in the form of premiums for agricultural improvements. The legislature in March last granted the sum of five hundred pounds, to be divided for these objects among the agricultural societies. By the exertions of these societies the face of the province has been much improved, and from the zeal and intelligence of their leading members still greater benefits are to be expected.
The book, whose title is placed at the head of this article, and to which we are indebted for much of the information here given, is quite a reputable work, of an unpretending character, apparently accurate in its statements, and affording a much more ample and satisfactory view, than has been presented in any previous publication, of the present condition and prospects of the province.
ART. IX.—An Abridgment of the Law of Nisi Prius, by William Selwyn, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law. Second American, from the Fifth London Edition; with Notes and References to the Decisions of the Courts of this Country. By HENRY WHEATON, Čounsellor at Law. Albany, 1823. 2 vols. 8vo.
SELWYN'S NISI PRIUS has deservedly acquired a high reputation. Of the treatises on the same subject which preceded it, the introduction to the law relative to trials at Nisi Prius, by Mr Justice Buller, is incomparably the best; but though of great authority, from the learning and fine talents of the author, it is deficient in method, and is in many parts incomplete. It has the appearance of having been sent to the press from the notes of a commonplace book, without much attempt to improve their arrangement, or supply their deficiencies. But though it can claim little merit as a systematic treatise, it discovers in every page the accurate learning and discrimination of the author, of whom it is praise enough to say, that he was recommended by Lord Mansfield to be his successor in the high office of Chief Justice of the King's Bench. Mr Espinasse's Digest, which was published some years after, is a laborious compilation of adjudged cases, collected without much choice, and not very happily arranged. By the aid of a copious index, it has proved a valuable work for reference, and may be used with advantage by those, who will consider it merely as a guide to the Reports. A work was still wanted, which should present with accuracy, and in some good method, the principles most likely to occur in practice; which should extract from the leading cases the precise point decided; and should contain such references to subordinate or collateral cases, as would direct the inquirer to the sources of more enlarged knowledge. This want Mr Selwyn has in a great measure supplied. In his treatise, he is more copious than Buller, more accurate than Espinasse, and more methodical than either. A happy example of his talent in compression and arrangement may be found under the title Assumpsit, in treating of the consideration necessary to support the action.
Wheaton's Edition of Selwyn's Nisi Prius. [July,
Mr Wheaton would have performed an acceptable service to the profession, if he had merely presented a new edition of Selwyn, with the corrections and improvements of the last London edition. But he has done much more than this. He has extracted the principles of nearly thirteen hundred American cases, and inserted them in the principal work, under their appropriate titles. In selecting these cases from the great mass of American decisions, we think he has acted judiciously in confining his attention to the courts of the United States, and of those states in which the science of law has been cultivated with most success. There is, undoubtedly, a great difference in the talents and learning usually found in the judicial tribunals of different states, and there should be as much difference in the authority attributed to their decisions. A habit of indiscriminate citation of adjudged cases would have a fatal effect upon the science and intellectual elevation of the bar. In that competition of opposite analogies,' which is the source of nearly all the controversies of our courts, the argument is more or less forcible, not only as the analogy is more or less striking, but as the analogical principle is itself well or ill founded. From the great pressure of business in the English courts, very little attention seems now to be paid to the examination of principles; and there is a correspondent decline in the character of the bar. Arguments are there carried on merely by the citation of opposing cases; and he who has the readiest memory, or the largest brief, seems to bear the palm of forensic eloquence. Let any one compare the Reports of Barnewell and Alderston, with those of Cowper, or Douglass, and he will seem to have passed from the barren subtleties of the schoolmen, to the enlarged philosophy of Bacon and Locke. A similar effect will be experienced in taking up Johnson, or Wheaton, after examining their contemporary English Reports.
Happily for the members of the bar in the United States, their attention is called not only to a greater variety of subjects than those discussed in the English courts, but frequently to subjects of much higher importance. The great constitutional questions, involving not only the principles of public law, but the foundations of government itself, which are now so frequently and ably discussed in the courts of the United
States, and occasionally in the several state courts, are sufficient to task the powers of the most gifted minds; and they have, in fact, been the occasion of a display of intellectual greatness, which is even yet but inadequately appreciated among us. They have introduced a new style of forensic eloquence, in which the enlarged views and liberal arguments of the statesman, are happily blended with the minute accuracy and strict logic of the lawyer. Non à Prætoris edicto, ut plerique nunc, neque à duodecim tabulis, ut superiores, sed penitus ex intimâ philosophiâ hauriendam juris disciplinam. The effect of such studies upon the profession is in the highest degree salutary, and is already becoming apparent. In our bright anticipations of the happiness and glory of our country, it is not one of the feeblest supports of hope, that the professors of law, in every country, an active, astute, and powerful class of men, are with us rapidly advancing in knowledge and liberality.
But to return to Mr Wheaton, from whom we have already strayed too far, it cannot be expected that we should give a minute account of the additions he has made to the work of Selwyn. In several of the titles, particularly Assumpsit, Bills of Exchange, Ejectment, and Insurance, they occur in almost every page. Under the head of covenant there is a valuable note on the proper measure of damages for the breach of covenants in a deed; a question that has been much considered by the courts in this country. The subject of the title necessary to support the action of ejectment is wholly omitted by Mr Selwyn; but the deficiency is well supplied by his editor. Under the head of Mandamus, we find a well digested account of the American decisions on this salutary remedy of the common law. The case of Baker & al. vs. Fales, xvI Mass. Rep. 147, in which it is held that replevin lies for a mere wrongful detention of goods, even when they had never been in the plaintiff's possession before seizure on the writ, and the authorities referred to by the court in rendering judgment, are very elaborately examined in a note in the second volume; for which the editor confesses himself indebted to a learned friend. It well deserves the attention of the professional reader.
On the whole, this edition of Selwyn may be safely recommended as a useful manual. Mr Wheaton has fulfilled the
duties of an editor in a manner, which will detract nothing from his established reputation. He has compressed within a narrow compass a great body of American law, and has presented it in a form the most convenient for practice. He deserves, and will doubtless receive the patronage of the profession.
ART. X.-Observaciones sobre las Leyes de Indias, i sobre la Independencia de América. Por LUIS LOPEZ MENDEZ.
Publicadas en LA BIBLIOTECA AMERICANA.
THE events of the last twenty years in South America, whether considered in themselves alone, or in their natural
and necessary consequences, claim to be ranked among the most remarkable features in the history of the present age. Within that period there have been in the old world political experiments, changes, and convulsions; wars long and bloody; and conspiracies of crowned heads to rob men of their rights, and the world of its peace. These occurrences have had, and must continue to have, a deep and lasting effect on the political relations, and social being and happiness of mankind. But it is no extravagant position to assume, that the changes which have in the mean time occurred in South America, the establishment of political institutions, the advancement of civil culture and knowledge, and the progressive emancipation of a whole continent, are destined to have an incalculably more important bearing on the future condition of the human race, than the great and dazzling scenes, which have been exhibited on the theatre of Europe.
Many wise men in this country, to say nothing of the eastern hemisphere, have ventured to express their doubts of the result of the revolutionary struggle, in which the South Americans have been engaged. We remember well, that but two years ago, when our Congress recognised the independence of the southern republics, several of the representatives raised but feeble voices in favor of this measure. And although one only had the courage to come before the world