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The Christian Observer. From the London Edition. Monthly. $4 per Annum. New York. S. Whiting.
Journal of Foreign Medical Science and Literature. Conducted by Samuel Emlin, Jun. M. D. Quarterly. $4 per Annum. Philadelphia. E. Littell.
WORKS PROPOSED. LEMUEL BLAKE and Samuel H. Parker, propose to publish in Boston, by Subscription, THE MOST APPROVED TRANSLATIONS OF THE ANCIENT Classics. In neat and uniform Octavo Editions. The price to Subscribers will be only one dollar and fifty cents per volume, neatly done up in marbled boards, with hollow backs.
In many instances the number of volumes will be less than the English Editions, reducing the price to about one third of the cost of the English copies in this country.
This project deserves encouragement. A uniform edition of a Translation of the Classics is a desideratum in this country. The English editions are costly, and many works not easily to be obtained. The publishers have selected a few works with which to make the experiment. Could they be sure of success, it would doubtless be the best plan to publish the different classes of authors in connexion ; that is, the Historians, Poets, Orators, Philosophers, &c. Such an attempt, perhaps, would have but a limited success, and in that case it will be more for the interest of the publishers to pursue their proposed course, and select the most popular authors. The exceedingly low price at which they offer the work is worthy of notice. Parker's handsome edition of the Waverley Novels is mentioned by the Publishers, as a specimen of the type
CAREY & LEA, propose publishing by subscription in Philadelphia a New Work, to be entitled, AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY, or Historical DicTIONARY of EMINENT AMERICANS. By Robert WALSH, JR.
John DOGGETT & Co. Boston, have now in publication, LiTHOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS of WASHINGTON, ADAMS, JEFFERSON, Madison, MONROE, and ADAMS.
ORIGINAL PICTURES of five of these distinguished personages from the pencil of Stuart are now in the possession of J. Doggett & Co. They have lately been returned from FRANCE, where they have been correctly copied on Stone by Monsieur Maurin, an eminent Lithographist of Paris. The Lithographic Press and Stones are imported, and impressions are to be taken here, for Subscribers.
The plan of the Publishers is to furnish a beautiful and correct Lithographic Portrait of each PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, produced by the united efforts of the best artists in Europe and America. The Portrait of the present President will be furnished in the same style with those exhibited.
The price to Subscribers for the series will be Two Dollars for each Print. When India Paper is used, an additional charge of fifty cents on each will be made.
These portraits are acknowledged to be among the best specimen's of lithographic art, which have ever been executed. The likenesses are copied with great fidelity from Stuart's paintings, and are allowed to be conveyed with accuracy and spirit. The proprietors have been at a good deal of trouble and expense in sending the paintings to Paris, and procuring the lithographic drawings, and it cannot be doubted that they will meet with a liberal patronage from the public. Independently of the associations connected with the portraits themselves, they present most striking examples of the high degree of perfection to which an art is brought, that has been discovered within the memory of many still living, and till very recently confined to the ruder branches of sketching and drawing.
IN PRESS, And will soon be published, SOME Account of the Life, WRITINGS, and SPEECHES of William PINKNEY. By H WHEATON.
This work will include some of Mr Pinkney's Speeches in Congress and at the Bar, never before published ; his Written Opinions delivered at the Board of Commissioners in London under the British Treaty of 1794; and his private Correspondence with Mr Madison, Mr Monroe, and others, during his Residence in England, Naples, and Russia, as Minister of the United States.
Also in Press, SKETCHES POLITICAL and HISTORICAL of AlGIERS ; containing an Account of the Geography, Population, Government, Revenues, Commerce, Agriculture, Arts, Civil Institutions, Tribes, Manners, Languages, and Recent Political Events of that Country. By WILLIAM SHALER, American Consul General at Algiers.
A review of Mr Verplanck's ' Essay on the Doctrine of Contracts' came too late for the present number. It will appear in our next.
Art. I.-An Essay on the Doctrine of Contracts ; being
an Inquiry how Contracts are affected in Law and Morals, by Concealment, Error, or Inadequate Price. By GULIAN Č. VERPLANCK. New York, 1825. 8vo. pp. 234. We believe it is Lord Bacon, who says, that important improvements in the existing laws of any country are not to be looked for either from mere technical lawyers, or from speculative philosophers. The first class he holds to be unfit for the task of legal reformation, because their intellectual habits are too narrow and confined, and the latter, because their theoretical notions are not enlightened by experience, and they are apt to generalize from a too hasty induction. The noble work of legislative improvement, opus heroicum, he assigns to those whom he calls statesmen, whose views are large and comprehensive, and at the same time rectified by an extensive and practical knowledge of human affairs. But in using this designation he certainly could not mean to apply it to those, who are vulgarly called statesmen; but who in all times have been, nearly without exception, entirely neglectful of every thing, except the business of war, negotiation, and finance.
Indeed the profound ignorance of the science of political economy, and of the philosophy of legislation, which attaches to some great names in this class, is truly remarkable. From the days of Pericles down to those of Pitt, what statesman has VOL. XXII.-N0. 51.
devoted his attention to promoting the happiness of his fellow men, by an enlightened and anxious investigation of the laws by which they are governed, and by an honest effort to amend their glaring defects ? Such men as Montesquieu, and Smith, and Filangieri, and Beccaria, and, notwithstanding his eccentricities, we will add, Bentham, have bestowed upon those subjects a depth of thought, and an extent of investigation, worthy of their importance; yet it is but recently that the writings of these and other philosophers have produced any effect upon the councils and conduct of the rulers of states. How else has it happened, that the administration of justice in most civilized countries continued in such a barbarous state, until the establishment of the new French codes, and that it still remains in the greater part of Europe so far short of fulfilling the great end of society? How has it happened, that it is still almost everywhere notoriously partial and corrupt, and where it is not so, that it should be burthened with so many idle, perplexing, and expensive forms of procedure? How is it, that the horrid practice of torture in criminal cases was in use all over Europe, until a comparatively recent period; in Scotland, so late as the year 1690; in Prussia, until the establishment of the Frederician code; in France, until the edict of Louis the Sixteenth, prompted by the benevolent mind of Malesherbes, and which was thought to be a mighty triumph of philosophy over inveterate prejudice? How has it happened, that in England, the country which is so far in advance of all other European nations in civil freedom, counsel were not allowed to the accused, even in cases of treason, where the terrors of the law and the whole weight of government are brought to bear upon the unhappy prisoner, until the statute of 7 Will. III, and is not allowed to this day in any capital case, except for the mere purpose of addressing the court upon such points of law as may arise!
*“I look upon the administration of justice," says Lord Hardwicke, “as the principal and essential part of all government. The people know and judge of it by nothing else. The effects of this are felt every day by the meanest, in the business and affairs of common life. Statesmen indeed have their attention called off to more extensive political views; they look abroad into foreign countries, and consider your remote interests and connexions with other nations. But of what utility are those views, great as they are, unless they be referred back to your domestic peace and good' order? The chief office of government is to secure us the regular course of law and justice." Hansard's Parliamentary History, vol. xiv. p. 20.
We have mentioned these things, not from a querulous disposition, nor because they are the most glaring examples we could have selected of the slow progress of legal improvement, and of the general indifference with which these subjects have been regarded by professional statesmen. We have only alluded to them for the purpose of contrasting this indifference with the spirit of inquiry, which has now gone forth. An anxious desire to engage in the investigation of these subjects is now extensively diffused. It is directed by such enlightened, sound, and practical views, that we may be allowed to hope for great improvements in all the institutions connected with the administration of justice. The liberal principles which have recently been professed by the British ministers, on questions relating to the science of legislation, and to political economy, are among the most remarkable signs of the diffusion of this spirit. At the time when Dr Smith wrote, firmly convinced as he was of the value and importance of the truths taught in his immortal work, he hardly dared to hope that they would ever be taken as a guide for the conduct of governments; and Sir Samuel Romilly, who had been so often baffled in his well considered projects of reform, by a blind and bigotted attachment to the existing order of things, could not have anticipated, that these projects were so soon to be adopted by the ministers of the crown, and carried through Parliament by the same influence, which had been before successfully exerted to defeat them.
The rulers of mankind begin to see, and to feel that the civil and penal legislation, by which nations have been hitherto governed, is far behind the general improvement of the age; that time, the greatest innovator,' has been silently, but actively at work, whilst they have been attempting to resist those salutary changes, which are necessary to adapt existing institutions to the changes wrought by this mighty agent; and that to avert sudden and violent revolution they must conduct off the spirit of innovation, which has been let loose, in some safe course of gradual and considerate reformation. Hence the extensive alterations in the British laws of trade and navigation, which have been proposed by Mr Huskisson, and the revision and consolidation of the statutes suggested by Mr Peel. Hence, too, the appointment of a commission to inquire into the abuses connected with the administration of justice, in the Court of Chancery. In this country we have already done more towards the simplification of the laws, and the practice of the courts, than will