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the sabre and bayonet. His style, though hasty and dashing, bears the marks of a strong and vigorous mind; and his imagination, we hope, will hereafter be less apt to run away with his judgment.
We are just in time to state the disastrous finale, which we have received from an authentic source, of the rash and precipitous invasion of the Turkish territory by Russia-that alarming invasion which, in the opinion of Lieut.-Col. Evans, demanded an immediate armed intervention of all the powers of Europe, to stay the overwhelming career of the autocrat, who aimed at little less than universal dominion. The Turks, however, have done it effectually of themselves, single-handed, without the assistance of any one power, European or Asiatic; and the Sublime Sultan may now boast, with the Roman warrior,
'like an eagle in a dove-cote, I Flutter'd your Russians in Bulgaria; Alone I did it.'
Fluttered, indeed, with a vengeance! The rout was complete; resembling, on a smaller scale, that of the French from Moscow. We are told that not a living creature escaped out of this horrible Bulgaria, save man-and he, bare and destitute of everything that constitutes a soldier-without arms, without accoutrements, without baggage, and, as the French would say, completely demoralized;-all the draft horses, and cattle of every kind; all those of the cavalry and artillery, dead;-all the guns, carriages, waggons, ammunition, and provisions, left behind as spoil for the Turks. The extent of these disasters is endeavoured to be concealed at Petersburg, where the war, from the first, was unpopular; but now men shake their heads, by which, like the shake of Burleigh's in the play, they mean a great deal, though they say nothing; and they are afraid to write, as all letters are inspected at the post-office. It is to be hoped that this disastrous campaign will have taught the young emperor a lesson of moderation, which will counsel him to seek for peace rather than conquest.
ART. II.-The Chronological Index to the Statutes of the Realm, from Magna Carta to the End of the Reign of Queen Anne. Published by the Record Commission. London. 1828. OME faint idea of the bulk of our English records may be obtained, by adverting to the fact, that a single statute, the Land Tax Commissioners' Act, passed in the first year of the reign of his present Majesty, measures, when unrolled, upwards of nine hun
dred feet, or nearly twice the length of St. Paul's cathedral within the walls; and if it ever should become necessary to consult the fearful volume, an able-bodied man must be employed during three hours in coiling and uncoiling its monstrous folds. Should our law manufactory go on at this rate, and we do not anticipate any interruption in its progress, we may soon be able to belt the round globe with parchment. When, to the solemn acts of legislature, we add the showers of petitions, which lie (and in more senses than one) upon the table, every night of the session; the bills, which, at the end of every term, are piled in stacks, under the parental custody of our good friends, the Six Clerks in Chancery; and the innumerable membranes, which, at every hour of the day, are transmitted to the gloomy dens and recesses of the different Courts of common-law and of criminal jurisdiction throughout the kingdom, we are afraid that there are many who may think that the time is fast approaching for performing the operation which Hugh Peters recommended as 'A good work for a good Magistrate.' This learned person, it will be recollected, exhorted the commonwealth men to destroy all the muniments in the Tower
a proposal which Prynne considers as an act inferior only in atrocity to his participation in the murder of Charles I., and we should not be surprised if some zealous reformer were to maintain, that a general conflagration of these documents would be the most essential benefit that could be conferred upon the realm.
That there are inconveniences in the present system, under which our legal records are managed, must be admitted; but, allowing for some defaults, which may be easily remedied, they are included in the price which we pay for a limited monarchy. In Turkey, the Cadi writes his fetfa on the margin of the petition, and delivers it to the Plaintiff, whose well-timed and discreet administration of the purse of sequins has obtained a decree in his own favour, and ensured the application of the bastinado upon the luckless Defendant: but no memorials of the suit or vestiges of the decision are preserved; nor is it necessary, for when the law depends upon the will and pleasure of the judge, it is a work of supererogation to accumulate the history of proceedings, which do not furnish any materials for jurisprudence, or afford any security for life or property. Amongst the causes which have produced the government which we now enjoy, none, perhaps, have been more efficacious than the forms and technicalities of our jurisprudence. England owes more to the grey goose-quill than to the spear; more to the sheepskin than to the banner; more to the Judge than to the Baron; and, had it not been for the barriers arising from the rigid technicalities of the bench and the bar,
it is probable that, at this moment, we should be either subjected to absolute despotism, or to the still more bitter and searching tyranny of a licentious democracy.
Many matters of form,' which are often treated lightly, create a quiet, uninvidious, and constant opposition to any irregularity which may be detrimental to the commonwealth. Let us instance the old doctrine, that the King could neither give nor take but by record.' This restriction alone, by preventing the immediate and unconsidered effects of rapacity or exaction, was an element of good government, which gave old England' a better chance for obtaining rational liberty than all the prerogatives of a Justiza of Aragon. No one who has temperately and dispassionately considered the history of those much-vituperated periods, termed the 'middle ages,' can have failed to observe the singularly beneficial consequences which, on the whole, have resulted from the steady and silent legislation of precedent: occasional practices becoming usages; usages and customs becoming laws; growing with the growth of the state, and adapting themselves imperceptibly to the circumstances which at once created and required them. And although the mere mode and manner of shaping the documentary transactions of the legislature and of the courts of justice may not, at first, appear to be a very prominent feature in the constitution, still it will be found that the maxims resulting from the making up of records' have had a very marked influence upon the general character of our government and policy. During the eventful struggles which preceded the civil wars and the revolution, all the arguments by which the attacks upon the liberties of the subject were resisted or supported, were painfully and carefully adduced from the earliest muniments of the kingdom: either party appealed, not to abstract reasoning, but to the roll or the membrane, to the letter of the law. If a Castilian advocate, in the reign of Philip IV., had wished to make such references to the proceedings of the ancient Cortes, he could not have completed his pleadings. Instead of being collected in a legal and authentic form, the protocols of these Assemblies were dispersed in all the monasteries of the kingdom: they could never be consulted together. Putting the convenience of access out of the question, it is inconceivable how much the consequence of documents is increased by their juxtaposition and arrangement; and if the rolls of parliament had been scattered and concealed like the Spanish Capitulos,' whatever lessons are to be derived from the struggles, debates, and dissensions of our ancient legislature, would have been practically lost to posterity. In our civil wars, no less than in all our political strifes, each party has endeavoured to sustain its claims by law; and during the seasons of the greatest turbulence,
turbulence, we find constant appeals to the mildewed record and the mouldering charter. Nor must it be forgotten, that it was this political application of antiquity which created the inestimable writers, to whose labours we owe whatever sound knowledge we possess of English history, Spelman, Selden, Prynne, Brady, Petit, always stimulated, though sometimes deluded, by the zeal with which they engaged in the researches of constitutional literature.
Judicial records, in the strict sense of the word, could not exist amongst the Anglo-Saxons, whose popular courts, or folkmoots, were conducted by oral pleadings. The men of the Hundred, or of the Shire, assembled in the open air beneath the aged tree where their meetings had been held from time immemorial, or upon the hill where their ancestors had raised the rude and inartificial seat of justice. Scribe or register attended not, and the judgment of the court was recorded in the memory of the Witan, the judges by whom it was pronounced. In these courts all legal transactions took place. On rare occasions, the decisions of the Hundred, or Shire, were written in the blank leaves of the gospel or missal, belonging to some neighbouring minster. But although this mode of preserving a history of the transaction might be adopted, it had no legal effect. To employ our modern language, such an entry was not legal evidence, of which a court could take notice-it was not a record which could be pleaded. If any evidence was required of judicial proceedings, the proof was given by the testimony of the Hundred, or Shire, in its corporate capacity, the suitors bearing witness to the judgments which they or their predecessors had pronounced-without making reference to written documents or entries.
A contrary principle prevailed with respect to the instruments by which property was transferred. The 'land-boc,' as the charter was called, appears to have been considered as conclusive evidence in a court of justice. Great importance was, therefore, attached to these instruments, and though the title to real property depended mainly upon possession, still the landbocs' were so necessary for the legal security of the land-holder, that, when they happened to be outstanding in the hands of other persons, they were purchased by the payment of large sums of money, or 'got in' at a very dear rate. The monks of Ely, in one instance, gave three hydes of land to Alderman Aylwin, to induce him to assist in recovering certain cyrographs,' which had been kept back by the heirs of a party, one Edric Long,' from whom they had made a purchase. As the property consisted of seven hydes and a half, this retaining fee amounted to almost half the estate. In the end the monks obtained the much
coveted charters, by exchanging them with Alfwold, the brother of Edric, for certain deeds which he wanted, and by paying him thirty' aurei' over and above; and from the manner in which the transaction is commemorated in the Liber Eliensis, it is evident that it was reckoned to be an advantageous bargain. These land-bocs' may, in fact, be considered as records. The folkmoots were courts of voluntary, as well as of contentious jurisdiction: every act by which property could be acquired, took place in the assemblies of the people, except in some few cases, where an authentic publication might be effected by other means. If donation was made to a 'Minster,' the donor placed his landboc' on the altar, in the presence of the assembled monks and clergy, who were considered as equivalent to the moot' of the people. But the general rule was, that the agreement and intentions of the parties should be testified in the folkmoot. Contracts for the purchase of lands were made there. In such an assembly the money was paid; and there the charter was engrossed in the presence of the Witan, whose names were added as witnesses thereto. It also happened, not unfrequently, that a hostile suit, concerning land, was terminated by agreement before the Witan, and such a compromise would become the substance of a 'landboc,' in which the suit was recited, and which became a part of the title-deeds. Hence, the origin of the opinion amongst our common lawyers, that 'fines for the assurance of land are older than the conquest: an opinion which is substantially true, if we consider the purport and intent of those instruments, though erroneous, if applied to the formal documents which are grounded upon a real action, conducted according to the jurisprudence adopted in the Anglo-Norman tribunals.
The earliest repository of records noticed in history, is the 'house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.'† Here the decrees of the Persian kings were deposited, and, as may be inferred from the writ' of Darius, all instruments relating to the domains and revenues of the sovereign. Human affairs proceed nearly on the same scheme, in all times and countries. The reason of depositing legal muniments in a secure place of custody is so obvious, that we need not wonder to find that the practice prevailed equally in England, as well as in the ancient Persian empire. About the reign of Canute, we have various notices of the land-bocs,' executed in duplicate or triplicate, and of which one 'part,' to use the expression of conveyancers, was placed in
* This ' common assurance,' the foundation-stone of the art of conveyancing, is a compromise of a fictitious suit, in which the party who is to convey the land acknowledges it to be the right of the party in whom it is to be vested.
+ Ezra, chap. vi. ver. 2.