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moments, even then, when recollection of better things flashed across his mind, like angels' wings athwart the pit of darkness, and he shuddered with transient horror at the appalling
The faint gleam of such a mental vision still haunted him at the breaking up of a riotous meeting, during which he had finally arranged with his confederates the plan.which was to remove him (probably for ever!) from C and its vicinity. "But I will have one more look at the old place before I go," suddenly resolved Josiah, when he had parted from his companions. "At least I will have a last look at the outside of the walls-though I can't go inI can't face the old man, before I leave him he would not pass over what can't be undone and there's no going back now—but I will see the old place again."
It was late on the Sabbath evening when Josiah formed this sudden resolution, and so quickly was it carried into effect, that it wanted near an hour to midnight when he reached the low boundary of the cottage garden.
It was a calm delicious night of ripening Spring-so hushed and still, you might have heard the falling showers of overblown apple blossoms. Josiah lingered for a moment with his hand on the garden wicket; and while he thus tarried, was start led by a sudden but familiar sound from the adjacent close. It was the nichering salutation of his old friend Greybeard, who, having perceived, with fine instinct, the appoach of his young master and quondam play mate, came forward, as in days of yore, to the holly hedge, which divided his pasture from the garden, and poking his white nose through
Yet once again in his way down the garden path, he turned to look on the home be was forsaking. At that moment the evil spirit slept within him, and his better nature was stirring in his heart. The repose of night-its "beauty of holiness"the healing influence of the pure fresh air-the sight of that familiar scene-nay, the fond greeting of his dumb favourite-the thought for what purpose he was there-and of the old man who slept within those silent walls, unconscious of the shock impending over him in the desertion of his only child-all these things crowded together with softening influence into the heart of that unhappy boy, as he turned a farewell look upon the quiet cottage-and just then
the old gap betwixt the hawthorn a sound from within smote his ear and the gate, greeted him with that faintly. At first, a faint, low sound, familiar uicher. which deepened by degrees into a more audible murmur, and proceeded surely from his father's chamber. Josiah started-"Was the old man ill?" he questioned with himself— "Ill and alone!" and without far
Ah, old boy! is it thou ?" said the youth, in a low hurried voice, as he stopt a moment to stroke the face of his faithful favourite. "Dost thou bid me welcome home, old fellow?
Well-that's something!" and a short unnatural laugh finished the sentence, as he turned from the loving creature, and with quick, but noiseless steps, passed up the garden walk to the front of the quiet cottage.
Quiet as the grave it stood in the flood of moonlight-its lonely tenant had long since gone to rest; and no beam from hearth or taper streamed through the diamond panes of the small casements.
The Prodigal gazed for a moment on the white walls-on the honeysuckle already flowering round his own casement-then stept within the porch, and softly, and fearfully, as it were, raised his hand to the latchwhich, however, he lifted not-only softly laid his hand upon it, and so, with eyes rooted to the ground, stood motionless for a few minutes, till the upraised arm dropt heavily; and with something very like a sigh, he turned from the door of his father's dwelling, to retrace his steps towards C—.
ther parley, he stept quickly but noiselessly to the low casement, and still cautiously avoiding the possibility of being seen from within, gazed earnestly between the vine-leaves through the closed lattice. The interior of the small chamber was quite visible in the pale moonshine-so distinctly visible that Josiah could even distinguish his father's large silver watch hanging at the bed's head in its nightly place-and on that bed two pillows were yet laid side by side, (it was the old man's eccentric humour) as in the days when his innocent child shared with him that now solitary couch. But neither pillow had been pressed that night-the bed was still unoccupied -and beside it knelt Andrew Cleaves, visibly in an agony of prayer-for his upraised hands were clasped above the now bald and furrowed brow. His head was flung far back in the fervour of supplication and though the eyelids were closed, the lips yet quivered with those murmuring accents, which, in the deep stillness of midnight, had reached Josiah's ear and drawn him to the spot. It was a sight to strike daggers to the heart of the ungrateful child, who knew too well, who felt too assuredly, that for him, of fending as he was, that agonizing prayer was breathed-that his undutiful conduct and sinful courses had inflicted that bitterness of anguish depicted on the venerable features of his only parent. Self-convicted, self-condemned, the youthful culprit stood gazing as if spell-bound, and impulsively, instinctively, his hands also closed in the long-neglected clasp of prayer-and unconsciously his eyes glanced upward for a second, and perhaps the inarticulate aspiration which trembled on his lip, was, God be merciful to me a sin>ner!" Yet such it hardly could have been-for that touching cry, proceeding from a deeply stricken heart would have reached the ear of Mercy, and, alas! those agitated feelings of remorse, which might "if Heaven ! had willed it,"
Have matured to penitence and peace, were but the faint stirrings of a better spirit doomed to be irrevocably quenched ere thoroughly awakened.
The tempter was at hand, and the infatuated victim wanted moral courage to extricate himself by a bold effort while there was yet time, from the snare prepared for his destruction. Just at that awful moment, that crisis of his fate, when the sense of guilt suddenly smote upon his heart, and his better angel whispered, "Turn-yet turn and live!"at that decisive moment a rustling in the holly hedge, accompanied by a low whistle, and a suppressed laugh, broke on his startled ear; and, as if a serpent had stung him, he sprang without one backward glance from the low casement and the cottage walls-and almost at a bound he cleared the garden path, and dashed through the little gate which swung back from his desperate hand with jarring violence.
Those awaited him without, from whom he could not brook the sneer of ridicule-with whom he had mocked at and abjured all good and holy things, and with whose desperate fortunes he had voluutarily enbarked his own; and well they knew the hold they had upon him, and having at that time especial motives to desire his faithful adherence, they had dodged his steps to the lone cottage, under a vague suspicion that if an interview should take place between the father and son, Nature might powerfully assert her rights, and yet detach the youth from their unholy coalition.
"The children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light." They guessed well, and too well succeeded in securing their victim-and before Josiah had half retraced the townward way with his profligate companions, his mind was again engrossed by their nefarious projects, and all that had so recently affected him-the whole familiar scene-the low white cottage-the little chamber, and the aged man who knelt beside that lone
ly bed in prayer for an offending child-all these things had faded like a vision from his unstable mind; and secretly humiliated at the recollection of his momentary weakness, the
miserable youth bade an eternal adieu to the paths of peace and innocence, and gave himself up to work evil unreservedly.
HISTORY OF THE COURT OF CHANCERY.*
HIS work commences a new era in legal history. The History of Mr. Reeves and the Miscellanies of Barrington are mere dry and antiquarian records of the growth of law and English judicial establishments. The general "Histories of England" have been palpably deficient in that important and valuable department of historical illustration connected with the laws and jurisprudence of the country. Legal histories have been generally undertaken to expound the value of ancient institutions; Mr. Parkes's History of the Court of Chancery is to illustrate the value of the principles of legislation and jurisprudence, by showing the ignorance of science in the founders of our early courts of equity and common law. A knowledge of technical and black letter law has been generally wanting in the popular historians of our country, and in the instance of Coke the excess of that occult and mystical learning smothered his senses and all taste for the science and principles of his profession. All the modern lawyers of great intellect and acquirement, have been either absorbed in the craft of the law as a trade, or in the more gainful trade of politics. Moreover, they were too much interested in the spoils of the profession to acknowledge or to expose its grievances and unnecessary cost to the nation. The Barons in Magna Charta bound down their kings not to sell, deny, or delay justice; but when the sale, denial, and delay of justice gave birth to places and fees
(which, distributed among the younger children of the nobility, compensated them for the endurance of injustice), then the people were left to shift for themselves, and the famous stipulation in the charter became an obsolete statute. The last science also which in England has reaped the benefit of logic and correct reasoning, is jurisprudence: the fact is singular; the cause involves a longer disquisition than we can now afford.
A second re-action in the interests of the Aristocracy has again taken place-they are caught in the web of their own sophistry: the state of the law has now entangled in hopeless intricacy, litigation, and plunder, all the large landed properties and fortunes of the country: the nobles and collective wisdom of the nation are therefore once more interested in its reformation. This is undoubtedly one of the many causes operating in England for the reform and improvement of the laws. The vast commercial interests of the kingdom, also, the natural subjects of litigation, have deluged the existing tribunals with actions and suits beyond what even the physical powers of the administrators of justice can duly try or determine. Lord Eldon was accustomed to bag the papers of the equity suitors till Paternoster-row would not have held the mass of written evidence scattered through the chambers of his law subjects, the equity draftsmen and solicitors; and which his lordship, because he bagged all the fees, logically thought he could therefore read and adjudicate:
A History of the Court of Chancery; with practical Remarks on the recent Commission, Report, and Evidence, and on the Means of Improving the Administration of Justice in the English Courts of Equity. By Joseph Parkes. London, 1828. 1 vol. 8vo.
"I will take the papers home and endeavour to give judgment to-morrow." Sir Lancelot Shadwell, the present vice chancellor of the Court of Chancery, in his evidence before the Chancery Commission, and when he probably had not the rem in ipse, asserted that the load of business now in the court was so great, that three angels could not get through it." Sir Lancelot Shadwell is now of course an archangel. There are certain phases in the human mind analogous to the constitutional changes of the body; and few classes of society have been so remarkably subject to the pecuniary influence of these set periods of life as the lawyers.
Added to these causes of legal reform, the science of jurisprudence has certainly been of modern and rapid stride. The pandects and the old jurists no longer command that exclusive adoration which formerly prevented even men of genius from penetrating mysticisms and discovering reason. The political changes in Europe, during the last century, brought forth the Russian, Prussian, and Napoleon codes; and North America, having no ready-made-law suited to the demands of justice, and no sinister interests banded in corrupt support of the sediment of bad law left by the mother country when she separated from it, soou used her unshackled energies to construct and improve the various courts of justice. All these concurrent causes have gradually induced a more original and fruitful study of the science of jurisprudence. Ultimately the philosophical and original mind of Mr. Bentham, the great parent of the science, opened a revelation of natural truth; and the rays of light are bursting on all nations of the earth.
Mr. Parkes has submitted the Court of Chancery as the anatomical demonstrator exposes the human body to a complete and analytical dissection. Antiquity is used, not to sanctify defects, but to trace their origin, that historical investigation may discover, with the cause, the
cure of the diseases of the legal system. At the same time the weaknesses of the antiquarian and historian, who generally pile detail on detail, whether or not they illustrate the object of the history, are avoided. The work is a complete exposure of the fallacy of the adoration paid to the institutions of our ances tors, because they are old; and it completely dissipates the delusion, that the laws and legal institutions of this country were "founded on wis dom" and "first principles." It is made manifest, that they were imperfect works, constructed in dark ages, for the temporary purposes of the days of their creation, always struggling with wry birth and corruption for existence, and protected by a very limited appreciation of the real value or wants of justice.
This cormorant court has now within its jaws an increasing amount of property almost incredible. And the following account of its progressive and inordinate funds in court, distinctly marks the insatiate nature of its vortex :—
1756, the total amount was
d. £. s. 2,864,975 16 1 4,019,004 19 4 6,602,229 86 8.848,535 7 11 14,550,397 20 21,922,754 12 8 31,953,89095 33,534,520 0 10
This amount has now increased to
forty millions sterling! to which must be added its involvement in litigation and uncertain possession of various real and bankrupt property.
The first chapter in Mr. Parkes's history, argues the necessity of reform in the Court of Chancery. The second details the nature and origin of that anomaly of law, unknown in all other countries, improperly termed Equity; and the gradual way in which the king, who formerly heard petitions in person, subsequently referred them to his deputy. progress of the jurisdiction, and the administration of it, are then traced from the reign of Edward III. through all the dynasties, to the reign of James I. And it is not a little cu
rious to notice the incessant representations of the Commons against the usurpation of the court and its chancellors, the invasion of the common law and the rights of juries, and the predictions of future evils. The deplorable nuisance of the court, during the reign of Charles I., is narrated in Chapter VII. from indis putable authorities and historical evidence, and the innumerable evils resulting from the political functions of the chancellor, are distinctly and boldly exhibited. Indeed the subsequent proceedings of the Commonwealth men, to break up and re-construct the court, are fully justified in the enormity of the then existing evils of the jurisdiction, which the country loudly demanded should be terminated. The history of the Court of Chancery during the Commonwealth and Protectorate, forms the most original and valuable historical portion of the volume. It is an impartial and laborious collation of the journals of the two Houses of Parliament, and of innumerable contemporary tracts and legal works, from whence a new and singular light is cast on the proceedings of those calumniated and misrepresent ed times.
The remedial portion of the work is of course, though not historically, substantially, the most important. A
THERE HERE cannot possibly be placed on record a more striking example of the literal and circumstantial fulfilment of a prophecy, than the instance of the denunciations directed against the Seven apocalyptic Churches. The later events in the history of the world, the predictions of which profess to be contained in the writings of inspiration, are all cloaked in mystery, or couched in language which is impressive from its very obscurity. Here there is no circuitous style of allegory, and no 13 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
complete analysis is given of the various jurisdictions of the English Court of Chancery. The importance. and practicability of numerous reforms tending to remove the causes of litigation, or in other words, lessening the subjects of litigation, is first pointed out, viz.; the state of laws of real property, of the technical forms of conveyancing, the laws regarding trusts, corporations, and charities; the bankrupt laws and jurisdiction, and various alterations and amendments of the general law and judicial system of the country. For this great and necessary object, a real Commission is proposed for the deliberate and honest consideration of every department of reform. A subdivision of the labour of the court, and of the jurisdictions, is proposed and particularized; and though last, not least, the substitution of viva voce for written evidence, (not however with the accompaniment of a jury,) and which Mr. Parkes considers an amendment greatly overlooked, but all important. We cannot extract any portion of this part of the work, but must conclude with recommending it to the consideration of all those interested in the grave and paramount question on which so much light is thrown by Mr. Parkes's elaborate and valuable work.
THE SEVEN APOCALYPTIC CHURCHES.-FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY.
FROM RECENT "LETTERS FROM THE LEVANT."
dark forebodings dealt forth through the involutions of mysticism; the words of the prophet are plain, concise, and equally palpable in their enunciation and fulfilment. The accomplishment of some was deferred but a brief period from the moment of their declaration, whilst the more slow, but equally certain progress of the others is at length completed.
1. As the chief strong-hold of Christianity in the East, and that centre from whence its rays were most brilliantly disseminated, till