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ly a list of Jewish names, but they are Jews, clad in Jewish costume, living in Jewish houses, expressing Jewish opinions, and talking, as far as possible, a Jewish language. The people are the descendants of Abraham, and the country is Palestine. We have exhibited a glimpse of Joab's portrait
, of David's, and of Ahithophel's; the rest are equally faithful, and Absalom's and Mephibosheth's are as marked and distinct as either of these three.
We see but little of the young Solomon ; and it is in the scene where he is brought forward, that the incident occurs, which we have said is beneath the general gravity of the piece. Hadad tempts the prince by showing hin a box, which contains an intoxicating perfume, and on the lid of which is depicted a glowing representation of Venus and Tammuz,—very like the snuff-boxes, we presume, which some of our beaux wear in a private pocket, and show to their particular friends. As the fiend is relating the story of the picture, the marplot Nathan enters, snatches the box from the prince, examines it, throws it on the ground, and it flashes and rises in smoke! We allow that the kind of temptation employed, is in perfect keeping with the character of Solomon, and his future frailties and follies; but to our taste, the snuff-box, the flashing and the smoke, are too childish and marvellous ; they savour too strongly of the puppet show.
We were somewhat surprised, considering our author's habit of correctness, to find him guilty in several instances, of false accentuation. In words of every day use, casual incorrectness may pass without rigid reprehension; because the living voice of the public, and a crowd of cotemporary writers will preserve the authorised pronunciation ; but among proper names, a deal of confusion may be introduced by a single respectable poet, if he does not take especial care to observe their orthoepy. If Mr Hillhouse had merely written precedence for prece'dence, and e'querries for equerries, we should not have minded it; but we deem it our duty to point out to his notice the accentuation of Gilbo'a instead of Gil boa; Aba'na instead of Ab'ana ; Maz'zaroth instead of Mazza'roth; Bethaba'ra for Bethab'ara ; Pagi'el for Pargiel ; and Nethi'nims for Neth'inims.
Here we will end our fault finding ; for we did not sit down to find fault, but to express the high opinion which we
entertain of this poem, and our gratitude to the author of it. There are some folks, we know, who pretend to think it very tame in us that we do not cut up every author who falls in our way, till we can see his bones; and who charge us with loading all American writers with thick and indiscriminate praise, for no other reason than because they are American. In answer to this, we will merely remark, that we are not blind to the miserable stuff, which is constantly thrown off by the presses of our country, but that it is not often we feel
any desire to soil our hands with it; secondly, that we have no compunction in confessing, that we do hail
, with infinitely more delight, a good work which is produced by native genius, than one of equal quality which is sent to us from the land of our ancestors, because we stand in lamentable need of such things, and the English have a plenty of them, and moreover because we are Americans ourselves. Our third remark is, that whenever we think a work is good, whether it be poetry or prose, we shall be sure to say so.
Mr Hillhouse's Hadad is an ornament and bright addition to the literature of our country. We can send it abroad without a blush or an apology ; not as being of the highest order of excellence, but as a sample of American poetry, full of beauty, dignity and interest. We read it with pleasure, and we came to its last page
ART. III.- Reports of Cases, argued and determined in the
Supreme Judicial Court of the State of Maine. By SIMON GREENLEAF, Counsellor at Law. Vol. II. Containing Cases of the years 1822 and 1823. Hallowell.
1824. “The attendance of courts,' says Lord Bacon, is subject to four bad instruments; first, certain persons that are sowers of suits, which make the court swell and the country pine ; the second sort is of those that engage courts in quarrels of jurisdiction, and are not truly “amici curiæ,” but “parasiti curiæ," in puffing a court up beyond her bounds, for their own scraps and advantages; the third sort is of those that may be ac
counted the left hands of courts ; persons that are full of nimble and sinister tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain and direct courses of courts, and bring justice into oblique lines and labyrinths; and the fourth is the poller and exacter of fees; which justifies the common resernblance of the courts of justice to the bush, whereunto while the sheep flies for defence in weather, he is sure to lose part of the fleece.' Had the learned chancellor continued to our own time, he might have found at least one more subject for his grave wit, in the multitude and increase of law reports.
To say nothing of the luxuriance of the English press in this department, our own country has become the field of so much legal disputation, and, consequently, of judicial decision, that it requires no despicable share of money and leisure, to supply our libraries with volumes, that publishers are continually laying before us, or to keep pace with the emphatically written reason,' which they tacitly demand of us to examine as well as to purchase. But hard as it is to pay so dear for what we may call technical books, and which the world cares so little about, we want our own reports.
Our age is not peculiar in its complaint of the increase of law books. Lord Mansfield, in the middle of the last century, referred to the multiplication of this species of human industry with infinite complacency. His remark was, that though the increase was great, it did not increase the quantity of necessary reading ; as the perusal of the new, frequently superseded the necessity of that of the old production. If this remark of his Lordship was true in his own time, it has certainly gained force since the period his splendid intellect adorned the British bench, and whether he referred to books of reports or elementary works, all of our age, and especially those of our countrymen, who are destined for the bar, will feel the peculiar pertinency and meaning of the observation. Indeed, in this country, where there is a score of independent sovereignties, each supporting its own system of judicature, and more than half of them their reporters of decisions, there is consolation in the thought, that the plan of systematising the science, and reducing the disjointed and rambling principles of the system, to the subjection of essays and law treatises, has gone so far; and
whether done by Englishmen or Americans, they both deserve the thanks of the profession. In this country, therefore, we may well entertain a special regard for all elementary works of the law. And the value of such works, for the concentrating character which they are intended to possess, is yearly increasing with us. It is not a matter of little surprise, that twentyfive years ago, the best library of American reports that could be summoned by money or magic, within the circumference of the Union, might have been
borne the circuits in a portfolio, while now, there are hardly less than two hundred within our territories. Valuable, then, must be such collections of legal principles, and dissertations upon them, while they serve to keep sacred and distinct the doctrines they discuss; and doubly valuable, when by the patience, and industry, and investigation of their authors, we find decisions upon those principles, collected from different parts of our country, and the reasons of those decisions brought into one comprehensive view, and confronted with the opinions of those, whose fame is in the Year Books, and who may almost be said to have fixed the immutable axioms of the law.
Numerous, however, as are the books of reports that are daily soliciting our attention, many of them are the vehicles of decisions, interesting and important in public estimation, so that, while we need not fear, with Mr Justice Buller, the
shipwreck of the law' from the intervention of hard cases,' we may well hope for the safety of it in those high authorities, which our own time has seen erected like fortifications around its principles. High political excitements, and political emergencies, give occasion for legal dilemmas; and though we should be slow to believe, that any situation of things would raise questions between parties, that could hide the old landmarks from the penetration of our learned jurists and judges, still the opinion may be ventured, that under circumstances of national tranquillity the science advances with surer, because soberer steps, and that we shall hereafter be induced to point to our peaceful times, as the periods of the most important decisions, and the highest juridical learning, as developed in our books of authorities. As it is, the principles of the common law are becoming every day, from such frequent application, better understood, and our judicial character more effectually established.
The character of an accomplished reporter is no ordinary acquirement. To win this reputation requires legal penetration and acumen, as well as a familiarity with principles and forms, and an adroitness in reference and application. A faithful and able reporter of judicial reasoning, gives a dignity and weight to the tribunal under whose adjudications he may sit. The method of compressing the arguments of counsel, which Mr Greenleaf has in some instances carried to an extreme, has been matter of complaint in the mouths of some men, too eminent in the walks of judicature to need such arguments at all. But we are sure, that neither the rights of parties, nor the reputation of the law, is jeoparded by such a
Judges have all the advantages desirable, from listening to the arguments in extenso, and we must be content to hope, that students will go to the fountains, to which the books of decisions will so frequently direct them.
Our readers need scarcely be told, that this is not the first time that Mr Greenleaf has been before the public in a legal character. His Collection of over-ruled Cases,' which appeared in 1821, bore good testimony to his industry, and entitled him to high credit, as well as to the thanks of the profession. The present is the second volume of the decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, which has appeared under bis auspices, since the separation of that State from Massachusetts. Mr Greenleaf is of the order of compendious reporters. He is lucid and direct in his statement of cases ; his argumeuts of counsel are arranged with logical exactness, and a well conceived brevity, which give us their outline well defined, and yet without any sinuosities.
sinuosities. He is happy in his discrimination of the onus of the reasoning, and his consequent exposition of it. Mr Greenleaf is always concise, while throughout he never fails to be just ; and this is no small praise, when the longest, or most important case in the volume, will be found to allow not above two pages to the arguments of counsel.
The present volume contains about one hundred cases, within the limits of little more than four hundred pages. Many of them are important as well as interesting. The book indicates great industry in the Court, and the decisions bear marks of precision and emphasis, which give to the ac