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sustain slavery, have any extra-territorial operation, so as to call on the courts of other countries to respect the right of property in slaves; whether the slave trade be in violation of the law of nature, or of the voluntary law of nations; whether that trade be piracy independently of treaties, making it so as between the contracting parties, &c. &c. Our author, in his inquiry into the legal causes of slavery, and how the state of the parent may affect that of his offspring, admits, in the course of his volume, that it may legitimately arise from individual consent, from the necessary disposal of parents, from birth, from the obligation to make reparation for damage done to individuals or to the public, and, lastly, from just war ;-all, however, with great and important limitations of the abstract doctrine. He properly distinguishes, on the general question of the alienableness of liberty, between natural, civil, and political liberty, the losing sight of which distinction has been productive of some errors. As to political liberty, when it is considered that, in its absence, no other sort, whether natural or civil, can ever be long or entirely safe, we may certainly conclude with our author, that he who 'yields it up on any occasion whatever, when it can be asserted with any prospect of success, commits such a crime against a prudent economy of his rights, as merits the appellation of a great enormity.' * Our Declaration of Independence asserts the unalienableness of liberty, and the history of human affairs seems to show it is hardly ever entirely alienated in fact. 'There will be found,' says Mackintosh, no institution so detestable as an absolutely unbalanced government;' nor has there been any despotism so complete as to prevent the occasional assertion, by the people, of their right to draw back the regards of their rulers to the consideration of their happiness. In these governments, a sudden struggle restores for a while, and in some degree, the balance which free policies aim to secure by regular checks in favorem libertatis.
Somewhat in connexion with this subject is the topic which occupies our author's fifth lecture, the right of civil government;' that is, on what foundation reposes the authority entrusted to rulers. An American refers that authority but to a single source, the consent of the governed; and so widely and deeply is this maxim established among us, that we hard
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ly comprehend the opposite and absurd doctrines which have been applied by writers far from contemptible. We hear with incredulity, that royal authority has been defended on the score of possession, as if the vulgar adage were as true in politics as in litigation, and as if the fact of ruling ill conferred the right to do it; that it necessarily descended by inheritance, or was unalterably confirmed by prescription and ancient consent, as if the right, and, we presume, the talent to govern, might be transmitted like an heir-loom; or that it arose out of the virtues of rulers, according to the strange conceit of Plato and Aristotle, who held good men to be kings de jure and de facto; a doctrine which would invalidate the title of many reigns, and cast infirmity sometimes on the elections of the people. Even those who have agreed on expediency as the source of the right of civil government, have differed on a very important point, the advocates of kingly power being unwilling to submit to the governed the determination of this expediency; while, in this country, we refer it wholly to their judgment, that is, in the language of natural law, to the consent of the governed.'
By what other tribunal shall we determine either the abstract right of government or its particular form, than by this general consent, which decides even the principles of the natural law, and pronounces on vice and virtue themselves? For though, according to our author, a man's assent to actions cannot alter their quality; though there exists a fitness of things,' independent of all human opinion, and often mistaken by it; by what other means than human opinion is this fitness to be ascertained; where resides this expediency but in the common judgment; and how is it to be settled, in the particular matter of government, but by the consent of the governed? While this expediency, therefore, must be the law to each man's conscience,' there is no human tribunal to enforce that law, except such as may be established by the common consent, or, what comes the nearest to it, and is equivalent to it for this purpose, the consent of the majority; to which foundation, therefore, which is that of our own, our author refers all legitimate government.
This subject is discussed by Mr Hoffman with clearness and good sense. The same praise, indeed, may be emphatically extended to the whole of the lecture on the right of civil government.' The seventh, on law and its general properties,' evinces both research and thought; and the subject of
the source of the law of nature is well treated in the eighth. Our limits compel us to pass over several matters in the volume, which we intended to make mention of, as well to express our opinion of the manner in which they have been discussed by the author, as to prove the general interest and importance of the questions with which the work is occupied, and their connexion with the studies of the student of mere municipal laws, as well as those of the publicist and the politician. The lecture on feudal law, which concludes the present volume, the first part being a general view of that system on the continent, the second, of its particular modifications in England, is a concise but spirited and lucid abridgment of what may be found more at large in the writers on this subject.
Amidst the great variety of topics treated, or touched on, in this elementary work, we have always to praise the industry with which different opinions are collected and collated, and generally the conclusions at which our author arrives. His method is clear, and his style, for the most part, accurate and easy. Some peculiarities, among which is the occasional too lavish use of epithets, might indeed be pointed out; and he winds up his discussions too frequently with apologies for their introduction or their length. These peculiarities are least apparent when the author grows engaged in his subject, or is employed on topics purely legal. Though the work pretends to no more than the elementary or institutionary character, some of the disquisitions do honor to both the author's ingenuity and his learning. These will be received with respect by that portion of his readers, whose recollections only he aims to awaken, while the more familiar points of information abounding in the volume will be generally useful and satisfactory to students. His love of learning is very obvious; nor do we think he overvalues the importance of ethics and natural jurisprudence to law students. If he sometimes praises works on these subjects which have admitted defects, it is probably because he thinks them unduly neglected; for in his 'Course of Legal Study,' as well as in the work under review, he has shown that he has read them, and wishes them to be read, with due selection.
The earnest conviction, indeed, so apparent throughout the present publication, of the benign influence on the minds and studies of jurists, of ethics and metaphysics, brings to remembrane the observations of Professor Stewart on the latter; 'a
word,' he remarks, formerly appropriated to the ontology and pneumatology of the schools, but now understood as equally applicable to all those inquiries which have for their object to trace the curious branches of human knowledge to their first principles in the constitution of our nature.' 'Accordingly,' he continues, it will be found, on a review of the history of the moral sciences, that the most important steps which have been made in some of those, apparently the most remote from metaphysical pursuits, (in the science, for example, of political economy,) have been made by men trained to the exercise of their intellectual powers by early habits of abstract meditation.'
On the whole, we greatly commend the scope and general execution of the present volume; and are led to anticipate that the analytical and philosophical spirit displayed in it, will, when extended to the whole scheme proposed by the author, produce a comprehensive elementary work, both useful to students, and acceptable to the profession generally.
ART. VI.-1. Debate in the British House of Commons on the American Tariff, July 18, 1828.
2. The American Tariff; an Article in the Edinburgh Review for December, 1828.
3. Commerce of the United States and West Indies; an Article in the London Quarterly Review for January, 1829.
In our late article on the 'Definitions in Political Economy' of Mr Malthus, we took occasion to allude to some remarks upon the Tariff thrown out by a writer in the Edinburgh Review, in a preceding number of that journal; and intimated that if he should, as he then expressed the intention of doing, enter upon a formal discussion of the subject in a future number, we might perhaps in turn be induced to offer some further observations upon it in reply. The writer alluded to has since redeemed his pledge, by publishing the article of which the title is quoted above. It is not, we think, very powerful in substance, or very courteous and candid in manner, and of course does not imperiously call for an answer. But as the question is still under controversy among ourselves; and as British opinions on all subjects have a good deal of weight in this country, although
upon this at least, in which Great Britain is a party directly interested, they are perhaps entitled, as such, to very little; we shall briefly examine on this occasion those which are stated in the article alluded to, as well as those which have been put forth in one or two other quarters of considerable authority in the mother country in reference to the same subject. The article in the London Quarterly Review, of which the title is prefixed, is principally devoted to the question of the Colonial trade, but takes up at the close that of the Tariff, and it is to this latter part alone that we propose at present to direct our attention. The debate in the House of Commons was short and accidental, but afforded opportunity for several members of different parties to express in general terms their respective views; and it is more for this reason, than for the purpose particularly noticing the arguments advanced by the speakers, that we have included it among the subjects of this article.
It is in fact the most remarkable circumstance in the state of opinion upon this question in the mother country, that all persons of all parties, who have said anything about it, have concurred, we believe without a single exception, in condemning the American system. Whigs, tories, and radicals, economists and anti-economists, politicians that differ completely upon almost every other point, seem to agree exactly upon this. Thus in the House of Commons Mr Huskisson, a liberal tory, opens the debate by a decided condemnation of our protecting policy. Mr Hume, a thorough reformer, is equally clear against the system, although he finds some apology for it in the British corn laws. Mr Peel, the minister, and a pure tory, agrees with pleasure to Mr Huskisson's request for a copy of the Tariff, and cordially joins him in denouncing this unlucky measure. Messrs Trant, Robinson, and Stuart hold the same language; and finally Mr C. Grant closes the debate by expressing the satisfaction he had experienced on hearing his Right Honorable friend (Mr Huskisson) bring forward the mo-. tion, which is then agreed to without opposition. This unanimity among the different parties in the House is, we think, a remarkable thing; and it is also worth attention that most, if not all the persons, who have expressed opinions against the Tariff on this and other occasions, are more concerned about the interest of the United States than that of England. They pass over, somewhat lightly, the question, how far this measure may affect their own manufacturers, and are generally inclined to think VOL. XXX.-No. 66.