Gambar halaman

travels, and a volume of sketches called Tutti Frutti, both of them passable nonsense, sandwiched with an amiably ludicrous conceit and a wit so lumbering that it threatened to revive the inquiry set on foot by the Père Bouhours: Si un Allemand peut avoir de l'esprit. The prince, when he travelled, assumed the guise and believed himself to possess the port of "the modern Alcibiades." He married, returned to his estates, and there ran speedily through his fortune. When his money was gone, he and his wife took up a device which is quite common among adventurers whose marriages are strictly marriages of convenience, but has seldom been practised, we think, among princes church-wedded. Without ceasing to love and respect one another (so runs the bond) the Prince and Princess divorced themselves, and he went to England in a nankeen waistcoat to repair his fortunes by marrying an heiress, while she remained at home to read his devoted letters and give God-speed to the adventure. The heiresses however were not so susceptible as they ought to have been to the attractions of an elderly prince, fat and blasé, who spoke broken English and wore nankeen waistcoats, and the enterprise did not succeed. The Prince went back to his barren acres, and we suppose remained there until his death not very long ago.

We are not advised whether or not Schefer accompanied PücklerMuskau upon his English expedition, but he was Alcibiades' companion on his travels, and he died in a house on the Muskau estates which the Prince gave him. It speaks well for the German character that two such men could be friends and companions. Those who have read the Prince's books might reasonably wonder, after reading Schefer's, que diable allait-il faire dans cette galère; but the fact redounds much more to the credit of Pückler-Muskau than to the discredit of Leopold Schefer. If ever there existed a man with singleness of heart, a pure unsophisticated parish-priest nature, that man was Schefer. His life was a hymn, and his books are echoes of his life, chords struck with pious and reverent hands, chords attuned to the holiness of duty, the certainty of immortality, the high destinies of humanity, and the triviality, in comparison with these, of the petty carks and cares of every-day existence. In a dogmatic light, Schefer was a little Pantheistic, perhaps; but he saw such things through a golden glowing cloud of mystical love that prevented all objects from appearing distinctly, and his heterodoxy is of the most harmless description.


The Jewish New Testament, or The Restoration of the Hebrew Commonwealth. New York: E. J. Hale & Son.

THIS Somewhat remarkable work is evidently the production not only of a sincere believer, but of an independent thinker, who refuses, in his interpretation of Scripture, to be trammelled by the arbitrary canons which theologians have laid down, but receives and studies it as he would have done had he heard it from the lips of the inspired authors.

It maintains that the only correct principle of interpretation is to take the plain sense of the words, or obvious application of the fig

ures, as we do in other works. In this point it is in opposition to Swedenborgians, Friends, and all who assume a hidden, spiritual, or mystical sense in Scripture, to which they have the key. Authority has always been on the side of mystical expositions; but the author of this work boldly takes up the gauntlet against Origen and his antecessors and successors.

It maintains that there never has been but one visible Church established among men by divine covenant and with exclusive privileges; that that Church has never been abrogated; that the Saviour came as the Minister of that Church came as the Minister to the Jews for the express purpose of confirming the promises made to their fathers; and that this Church alone has the custody of the sacred oracles, sacraments, and authority. It challenges men to show when, where, by whom, and in whose favor this Church was abrogated or any other established.

It maintains that the differences between Christians will be reconciled by the Jews, and that "in them all the nations of the earth will be blessed," and that when they are thus set up above the nations, wars, pestilences, famine, and other calamities shall cease, and peace, plenty, and justice prevail.

These are questions, of course, entirely out of the scope of our criticism; but we have thought it not improper to call attention to this work that it may receive due notice at the proper hands.

J. K.

Hesiod and Theognis. By the Rev. James Davies, M. A. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

We have more than once taken occasion to speak favorably of the "Ancient Classics for English Readers," to which this volume belongs, as enabling those who are not able, from want of knowledge or of time, to study the classical authors in their original tongues, to acquire easily and expeditiously a considerable amount of knowledge as to who they were and what they wrote about.

That such knowledge is called "smattering" should not detera little knowledge is only a dangerous thing when it is unwisely used, or when its smallness is not recognised. There are few things of which it is not better to know something than to know nothing at all ay, even in reference to things not to be approved, we should be inclined to side with old Chaucer's Clerk of Oxenforde

"I hold it vertuouse, and right commendabil

To have veray knowlech of things reprovabil."

[ocr errors]

Certainly not many persons not professed scholars can be expected to give a thorough study to Hesiod and Theognis; and yet there is, as this book shows, much of interest in and about them which is well worth knowing.


T HERE is a good deal of quarrel just now, throughout the

country, with the administration of justice, in criminal cases, and trial by jury, like other institutions greatly venerated hitherto, appears to be getting into bad repute. There is doubtless foundation for the public dissatisfaction so generally expressed; but to imagine that the fault lies with any particular department, and can be cured by tinkering a little here and there, is to deal with the symptom instead of the disease.

No reasonable person ever supposed that trial by jury was a perfect method of getting at the truth. It is essentially clumsy, and combines with its valuable elements so much of the absurd and grotesque, that they who know most of its practical operation are not in the habit of regarding it with very great respect. At best, it may be looked upon as a reasonably impartial though somewhat complicated arrangement for the drawing of lots. To those who believe that the ballot furnishes the best solution of all human questions, it commends itself, no doubt, as a sort of primary meeting, locked up to determine what is right and what is wrong, by secret vote. If however these had been its only recommendations, it would hardly have lived thus long. But it comes down to us with the traditions of the days when it was a vigorous and beneficent popular institution — at times almost the only one of the country from which we have inherited our laws; and since it has ceased to be necessary as a protection for the many against the aggressions of the few, it has still had a great and substantial value, in connecting the people themselves with the actual administration of justice, and thus attracting to it their confidence and support. Its importance, however, even in this regard, cannot now be as great as it was, before the judges were elected by the people, and when public opinion was less potent than it is to-day with the courts.

And this brings us to the present dissatisfaction with the jury-system, which substantially is neither more nor less than an assertion of the right of public opinion to control the verdicts of juries. As soon as a crime is committed nay, even a private wrong, actual or asserted- of sufficient magnitude to interest the readers of the "local items" in the daily newspapers, the formation of a public opinion at once begins; and by the time that the matter comes on for trial, a decided and generally an aggressive public sentiment has grown up or been manufactured. The press takes sides, of course, and commonly against the accused, not only because indignant virtue affords large scope for "reportorial" rhetoric, but because there is almost inevitably a prima facie case for the prosecution, and the accused has not been heard. No doubt the press and the public are very often right in these unfavorable judgments, and in such cases abstract and natural justice might be done, if the criminal were taken out and hanged, without the ceremony of a trial. But the public and the newspapers are also occasionally wrong; and, whether they are or not, the safety and usages of civ ilised society do not permit questions of the sort to be disposed of quite so summarily. It is indeed precisely to prevent this that courts of justice exist; and if trial by jury has any function, purpose or merit whatever, at this day, in criminal cases, it is that of being a barrier interposed between individuals and the hasty judgments, the passions and prejudices of the crowd. If juries are to be but the echoes of the press and the mouthpieces of popular opinion or caprice, they are expensive and worse than useless machinery, and the sooner we get rid of them the better. If they are not

-if they are meant to be, in fact and substance, what they are in theory, the arbiters between the State and the citizen-bound by their oaths to decide according to the evidence and their own consciences - it is the interest of the public and the right of the accused that they be permitted to do so, without threat, or influence, or trammel. It is not less their own right to be neither bullied nor reproached by the courts, nor insulted nor denounced by the press, when they have rendered their verdicts. Of course their verdicts are often wrong, but so are the decisions of the courts, if we are to judge from the thousands of reversals which fill the law-books. But, right or wrong, those verdicts are the judgments of the tribunals appointed by law to decide the questions upon which they pass, and the policy of the law allows no appeal from them, and no new trial when they are in favor of the accused. That they may and frequently do let loose upon the community malefactors who ought to be delivered to the hangman, results, in the main, from the fact that jurymen, being men, are weak and fallible. It is by no means clear that those who form and express public opinion are less human or less fallible, or that if prisoners were to be tried by the crowd in the lobbies, or the reporters at the table, instead of by the jury in the box, the result would approach any nearer to the judgments of Infinite Wisdom. Indeed if we were to select from the criminal records of the past twenty years the cases in which public justice has been outraged most, by the escape of confessed and notorious criminals, we should find them to be those in which a depraved and maudlin public sentiment, fed and excited by the press, has opened the doors of the prisons. Case after case occurs to us of wanton and atrocious murder, in which brazen and abandoned assassins, men and women, have been elevated into heroes and heroines, and the very stain of blood upon them has been made a badge of honor.

Of course we do not mean to suggest, that where corruption invades the jury-box, the resentment of the public or the visitation of the law can be too decided or too prompt. But we doubt whether there is one case in which a juryman is purchased, or even fooled, for fifty in which men are influenced against the prisoner by outside opinion and the comments of the newspapers. And, indeed, where money or political or personal influence interferes with the purity and honesty of verdicts, it is impossible for us to shut our eyes to the fact, that such corruption is the result of the general condition of affairs and society, at this time, in the country, and has no special relation to the jury-system. As we have already intimated, it is but one symptom of a serious and wide-spread disease. It is impossible that any member of the body-politic-even the most insignificant - can be sound and healthy, when there is gangrene elsewhere in it, and especially where the poison is already in the vitals When judges are placed upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, for the express and specific purpose of reversing a recent and deliberate judgment of that high tribunal, upon a constitutional question, and the judgment is reversed by the vote of those judges, though the ink with which it was written is scarcely dry, it is idle to clamor over the comparatively petty manipulations of a jury-panel. On the side of the last legal-tender decision of the Supreme Court lay the interests of all the railway and other large corporations of the country, which had issued bonds before the legal-tender laws were passed, and which would have been compelled to pay the interest on those bonds in gold, if the first decision of the court had not been reversed. It was reversed, and they pay their interest in currency. With such a cloud of scandal, in regions so exalted, who can wonder at the little showers which sprinkle the lower world? What a farce it is, to be making a virtuous pother in New York over one of Tweed's miserable jurymen, because he had been in the penitentiary or deserved to be, and could not be cuffed or persuaded into rendering a verdict against his master, when there is the Honorable Oakes Ames, at Washington, with his crew of Vice-Presidents,

Senators and Representatives about him, and no one can tell which of them has been bribed or is perjured most. And there is Judge Durell in Louisiana; there is Underwood in Virginia; there is the whole South packed with runagates and ruffians, on the bench and about the courts, prosecuting and plundering, with Ku-Klux indictments, and negro (or worse) judges, magistrates and jurors, rioting in robbery and perjury, and all upheld by the strong Federal arm. Can all these things and people be, and be tolerated by the public sentiment of the country, and there be any room for wonder at the spread of corruption everywhere? If a man can get rich, without reproach, by creating a "corner" in Wall Street, with what face can the community, which receives him, make hue and cry after a brother operator, who has only loaded his dice, or marked his cards, or packed his jury? It is child's play to be straining at gnats, while the public throat is such a thoroughfare for camels. It is idle to be doctoring the mere leaves that fade and wither, when the worm that destroys them is gnawing the very root and heart of the tree.

We had hardly thought of entering so fully into this matter, when we were tempted to say a few words in regard to the current complaints about the administration of criminal justice. We cannot leave the subject, however, without a suggestion which, as far as it goes, is a little more practical than any which looks to an immediate reform of the public habits and morals. We allude to the necessity of extraordinary care in the exercise of the pardoning power. When cases arise really demanding the interposition of executive clemency, the very confidence reposed in the Executive requires that it should be yielded fearlessly and freely. But such cases are extremely rare. The conviction of the guilty is difficult enough, and that of the innocent can occur so seldom, and only under such extraordinary circumstances, that it may be treated, for the purpose of executive action, as almost impossible. The appeals which are made to the authorities are therefore rarely more than those of friends or relatives, or counsel, seconded by good-natured but weak people, who cannot refuse doing an amiable thing which costs them nothing. Sometimes, it is true, such applications are backed by the influence of politicians, who will bestir themselves to secure the release of a useful ruffian, when they would not turn on their heels for the pardon of the most repentant unavailable sinner. To such appeals and influences communities have a right to expect from the Executive the sternest and most inflexible resistance; and in every case of pardon, recklessly or improperly granted, they may justly fix upon the authorities who grant it, the responsibility of all the after crimes which the convict may abuse his freedom to perpetrate.

IT would be a curious and instructive lesson if the centralised and consolidated system into which the Federal Government was transformed, for the conquest of the Southern States, should be permanently fixed upon the North against its will. It would of course be far from surprising, for history is full of such retributions, and even fable has made them a warning. We all remember the fate of the "free and independent " horse, who called upon man as his ally to ride him against his enemies, and has been ridden and driven by his friend from that time to the present. But the consummation to which we have alluded in our own case, would be really singular, if it should be mainly wrought by the action of the Southern people. It is the possibility, nay, the growing probability of this, which attracts our attention to the subject.

[ocr errors]

We assume, it will be observed, that the Northern and Eastern States do not really favor the wholesale absorption of State rights by what is now so glibly and generally styled "the nation." This assumption is justified, we think, in spite of appearances and large discourse, by the entire spirit of their political history. Down to the time of the war, they certainly fought with all

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »