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seen the root of this plant used in the country in considerable quantities as a sudorific, I was long since induced to doubt its emetic power. Subsequent experience has satisfied me that the freshly powdered root given to the extent of half a drachm, and probably in still larger quantity, excites no vomiting nor even nausea."
The reader will find much new and valuable information in regard to the active properties of a number of the articles in this work, more particularly of Phytolacca decandra, Coptis trifolia, Sanguinaria Canadensis, Cicuta maculata, &c.
The chemical analyses of the plants are conducted with care, and in nearly every instance they appear to be original. Vegetable chemistry is yet in its infancy, so that we may consider contributions like the present, to be valuable acquisitions to our stock of knowledge. We observe that no plant treated of in this book is left without an investigation of its proximate principles and interesting ingredients. The accounts of Arum triphyllum and of Rhus vernix will, we think, particularly reward the attention of the curious chemist.
The coloured engravings of this work are highly finished and very beautiful. They are all made from original drawings, and of course are more to be depended on for correctness than those which are given us by other authors at second hand, without examination. The attitudes of the plants are graceful, the perspective peculiarly correct, and the botanical dissections finished with great minuteness and accuracy. The engravings of the second half volume in particular we think superior in elegance and exactness to any botanical engravings which have been executed in this country. As a specimen we have selected the portrait of the Kalmia latifolia, a plant so named from Kalm, the Swedish botanist. It comprises several species, all of which are remarkable for their beauty. They are known in various parts of the United States, by the name of Lamb-kill, Sheep-poison, Calico-bush, &c. The present species, also the narrow leaved and glaucous Kalmia are highly prized in Europe for their elegance, and are cultivated for ornamental purposes.
We cannot close this volume without congratulating our readers on the appearance of a work on Medical Botany, which may
be cited without any apprehensions for our literary character. The present times are distinguished for improvements in all the sciences, and in none have the additions been so great as in that of botany. In accuracy, perspicuity and skill, it will be found that the American is net surpassed by any of his European cotempo-, raries. He seems to be aware that reputation is a plant which does not grow in the hot-house, under the influence of borrowed warmth. He sustains himself by an original and a natural heat. He never forgets that the main object of his undertaking is to make us acquainted with the medicinal properties of plants, and that the public does not purchase such expensive works in order to learn the important art of fabricating children's whistles or that of concocting morning drams.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.—JUDGE YEATES' REPORTS. Reports of cases adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, with some select cases at Nisi Prius and in the Circuit Courts. By the honourable Jasper Yeates, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, John Bioren, 1817-1818, three vols.
THIS paper was originally intended for the 7th Hall's Law Journal, but the great augmentation of law books and the high prices which they bear, seem to require that every thing should be excluded from them which is not authoritative. Reviews of professional works have frequently appeared in this Miscellany; and those which relate to jurisprudence are particularly entitled to a place, because the law concerns every member of society, and there can be no liberal education which does not embrace some knowledge of so important a science.
The species of publication to which we invite the attention of our readers, is peculiar to those countries in which the common law prevails. In those parts of Europe, where the civil law is established, it has not been usual for its professors to employ themselves in attending as historiographers of the public tribunals, to delineate the arguments of counsel, and to present in their own words the decisions of the judges. Treatises and disserta
tions are particular branches of the law, or compendiums of the whole body of it have been preferred as the vehicles of information, into which the decisions of courts and judges have been occasionally introduced. But, however arduous the labors, however profound the speculations of these learned men, they want what is technically termed by the common lawyer, authority. They may assist and influence, but they cannot bind the judge. The want of this character has two obvious effects; it tends to increase the number of publications, and it prevents the law from acquiring that certainty and stability which are necessary for the public safety.
The principles which it is open to one man to enforce, it is equally open to another to impugn.
The love of fame; the prospect of profit; perhaps sometimes even the pleasure of contradiction increase the number of writers, while the student is embarrassed and the judge disgusted.
An evil of this sort scarcely exists in English or American jurisprudence. With the exception of some early treatises, such as Bracton, Britton, Fleta, and the Mirror, the common law knew little of these general compositions till Littleton and his ́immortal commentator appeared. From that day down to the time of the enlarged publication of Fearne, the English lawyers relapsed with few exceptions into the plain and faithful task of publishing the decisions of courts instead of their own lucubrations. Perhaps some exceptions may be admitted. Hale and Hawkins may be mentioned. It is, however, to be observed as a characteristic mark of their compositions, that little is advanced even by Hale, and perhaps nothing by Hawkins, for which a decision is not referred to. The general object seems to be, to methodise principles which have been settled by the courts, not to obtrude the opinions of the authors. This is fully exemplified in some of the excellent commercial treatises of modern date. Abbott and Parke are particularly scrupulous; Marshall has sometimes, but cautiously, gone further.
In the United States, juridical disquisitions have been of course still more rare. Swift has published a system of the laws of Connecticut, Reeves and Livermore have given to their brethren good treatises on certain civil relations. Hall has furnished the student
with a guide in Admiralty Cases and a treatise on Maritime Loans. Duponceau has made Bynkershoek his own; and Sergeant has received the approbation of the Pennsylvania bar for his work on Foreign Attachments.
But the safer and more useful vehicle of Reports has excited more labor and has rendered more service.
Since the revolution, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, have all had their reporters. Something has been done in Louisiana, where we should look for much curious law-learning, from the mixture of so many codes or systems as are in force in this youthful member of our confederacy.
Of these reporters Johnson is entitled to the high praise not only of excellent composition, but of systematic perseverance. In the latter quality he is unrivalled except by East. In Pennsylvania we have had Dallas, Binney, Addison and Browne, to which may be added the decisions of one session of the Circuit Court of the United States, by Wallace, leaving us only to regret, that he who has shown how well he can report, has not yet gratified the public expectation in respect to the same court since judge Washington presided in it. But it is not our intention at present to discuss the merits of these antecedent reporters. Our further remarks are confined to the recent publication of the three volumes of judge Yeates.
Those who knew the patient and laborious character of this magistrate, and who expected to find, in these volumes, a statement of facts minutely accurate, a careful and scrupulous condensation of the arguments of counsel, and a faithful transcript of the decisions of the bench, have not been disappointed. The work commences with April term, 1791, when the learned judge took his seat on the bench of the supreme court. The first volume includes the cases which occurred from that period to the term of October 1795; the second continues the series down to March 1800; the third terminates with the Nisi Prius, held at Bedford in November 1803.
A great proportion of these cases has not been before reported. Mr. Dallas' second volume, however, contains a number which are found in those of judge Yeates. One general observation may
be made in respect to those which are given by both reporters: the former are, in most cases, less full and circumstantial than those now under consideration. This remark is not intended to derogate from the merits of Dallas. The credit of his reports is deservedly high, and the deceased author is entitled to the praise of having first broken the ground, and of having laid the foundation of a species of publication in this country, which is essential to a proper acquaintance with our peculiar jurisprudence. The local variations of common law, the expedients adopted to escape or surmount the want of a court of chancery, the exposition of our own statutes can only be known through this admirable medium. In the want of it what must be the resource but the uncertain or obscure traditionary information, which is too slowly and too imperfectly acquired, to afford satisfaction to the student, or be useful to the young practitioner?
It cannot form a weighty objection to a book of reports, that the same case has been already reported by another hand, unless there is an exact correspondence, not only in the facts of the case, but in the manner in which the principles under discussion is exhibited to the reader. In England there were, for some time, many cotemporary reporters, and an useful feature of a case could occasionally be found in one which was omitted by another.
But there is much original matter in judge Yeates's reports which Mr. Dallas scarcely had the means of collecting. The country cases, as they are termed by the Philadelphia bar, involve points of the highest importance in respect to titles under warrant and survey, settlements, &c. They embrace, likewise, many questions common to all parts of the state arising on wills, deeds, contracts, &c. Judge Yeates has sedulously improved the opportunities of preserving these cases which arose from the faithful performance of his itinerary duties. It is true that much of this part of the work contains only decisions at Nisi Prius, but there is a great difference between our manner of conducting trials at Nisi Prius and that usual in England. The reports of those trials in that country are of little comparative value, because they are chiefly confined to facts; there, when questions of law ar raised they are either decided without an argument or reserved at once for a hearing in bank. With us it has been usual, although it is