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COMMON LAW OF ENGLAND. The Law of England is usually divided into the Com. mon Law, Civil Law, Canon Law, and Statute Law.
The Common Law is the most ancient and general law of the realm, being common to the whole kingdom at large. It comprehends the customs, general and particular, otherwise called the unwritten law, and such statutes as were passed before time of memory, that is, before the time of Richard the First, which is the legal limitation of the time of memory.
In speaking of unwritten law, it must not be supposed that these laws are at present merely 'oral. On the contrary, the monuments and evidences of legal customs are contained in the records of the several courts of justice, in books of reports and judicial decisions, and in the treatises of the learned. We style these parts of our law unwritten, because their original institution and authority are not set down in writing, as acts of parliament are; but they receive their binding power, and the force of laws, by long and immemorial usage, and by their universal reception throughout the kingdom.
In the time of Alfred, the 'local customs of the several provinces of the kingdom were grown so various, that he found it expedient to compile his code or dome book, a collection of customs or usages, for the general use of the whole kingdom. Edgar and Edward the Confessor re-published this code, with such additions and improvements as the experience of a century and a half suggested. The maxims and customs thus collected are, however, of higher antiquity than memory or history can reach.
By these general customs the proceeding and determination of the courts of justice are guided. Thus, for example, that there shall be four superior courts of record, the Chancery, the King's Bench, the Common Pleas, and the Exchequer ;– that the eldest son alone is heir to his ancestor ;--that a deed is of no validity unless sealed and delivered ;--that wills shall be construed more favourably, and deeds more strictly: all these are doctrines that are not set down in any written statute or ordinance, but depend merely upon immemorial usage, that is, upon common law, for their support.
But here a very natural and very material question arises.—How are these customs or maxims to be known, and by whom is their validity to be determined ? The answer is, By the judges in the several courts of justice. They are the depositary of the laws, the living oracles who must decide in all cases of doubt, and who are bound by an oath to decide according to the law of the land.
Their knowledge of the law is derived from experience and study, and from being long accustomed to the judicial decisions of their predecessors. These judicial decisions, and all proceedings previous thereto, are carefully registered and preserved under the name of records, in public repositories set apart for that purpose. The doctrine of the law is, that precedents and rules must be followed, unless plainly absurd or unjust; for though their reason be not obvious at first view, yet we owe such a deference to former times, as not to suppose they acted wholly without consideration.
The second branch of the unwritten laws of England, are particular customs-laws which affect only particular districts. For reasons that have now been long forgotten, particular counties, cities, &c. were very early indulged with the privilege of abiding by their own customs, which privileges have been confirmed by acts of parliament. Such are many particular customs within the city of London, with regard to trade, apprentices, and a variety of other matters.
1. Vide Root.
PERSIA-(concluded). Between one and two centuries after the death of Xerxes, that is about 330 years before Christ, Persia was invaded by · Alexander the Great, king of Macedon. .
After this time, Persia became subject to the "Parthians, whose country had formerly been a province of the Persian empire. It continued under the government of the Parthian kings nearly four hundred years.
About the year 230 after the Christian era, a Persian, named Artaxares, excited a rebellion and made himself king. His descendants occupied the throne for many generations. One of the most distinguished was Chosroes the Great, who lived about six hundred years after Christ. He made war against the Romans, and ravaged their provinces in Asia.
One of his successors was likewise named Chosroes. This hateful monster caused his own father to be beaten to death. But Heaven punished him by the wickedness of his eldest son, whose name was Siroes. He murdered his father and all his brothers.
These things are very shocking, but it is necessary that we should know how very cruel men may become when given up to the influence of passion. Let us be thankful that the religion of Christ has taught us to look upon such crimes as were often practised by the Persian kings with horror and disgust.
During the reign of Isdigertes, in 630 of the Christian era, the Saracens, a warlike people of Arabia, invaded Persia and conquered it. Isdigertes was killed in battle.
Persia then became a part of the Saracen empire. It was ruled by the caliphs who resided at Bagdad, a splendid city which they built on the river Tigris.
1. Vide Root. 2. Founder of the third great empire, Daniel ii. 39. and viij. 5, 21. 3. Subdued by their king Mithridates, B.c. 141. The Parthian rule over Persia terminated A.D. 229.
In the year 1258 of the Christian era, the empire of the Saracens was 'subverted by the Tartars. Persia was governed by them a considerable time. It was afterwards ruled by monarchs called Sophis, or Shahs. The first of these was named Ismael, a man of Saracen descent. He took possession of the throne by violence, and reigned twenty-three years.
The greatest of these monarchs was named Shah Abbas. He ascended the throne in 1589. Abbas fought against the Turks, and gained many splendid victories. He also deprived the Portuguese of their possessions in the East.
In 1730, Kouli Khan took possession of the throne of Persia. He called himself Nadir Shah. He was a famous conqueror and tyrant, and was assassinated in his tent after a reign of about seventeen years. Since his death there has been much bloodshed in Persia. Ambitious men have often aspired to the throne, and involved the country in civil war. The present ruler is said to be a better man than many of his predecessors.
The king generally resides in the city of Teheran ; but he has a beautiful palace at Ispahan, called the Palace of Forty Pillars.
The kingdom is small, compared with the vast empire of Xerxes. Persepolis, the ancient capital, is now a heap of ruins. Teheran and Ispahan, the two principal cities, are of comparatively modern date.
GEOGRAPHICAL.- Area of modern Persia, 525,000 square miles. Population ten
inillions. Trace the boundaries of modern Persia–Georgia, the Caspian Sea, and Tartary on
the north ; Hindostan on the east; the Indian ocean on the south; and Turkey
on the west. How are Teheran the capital, Ispahan, Schiraz, Tauris, Herat, and Kerman,
situated ? What is the latitude and longitude of Kelat iu Beloochistan, and Afghanistan ? CHRONOLOGICAL.-The Parthians conquered Persia ..................B.C. 250. The Arabians subdued it....
............A.D. 634. The Monguls ................................................A.D. 1220). The Turcomans overcame the Monguls ..........................A.D. 1405. Thamas Kouli Khan re-established Persia .......................,A. D. 1730
ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY. On Structure and Functions generally. The science that teaches us the 'structure of organic beings is called 'anatomy; that which explains the actions and functions of such beings, 'physiology.
Organic beings are creatures capable of life, having either vessels or nerves, or more complicated structures, such as the heart, lungs, brain, stomach, the eye, &c. As these are called organs, beings possessed of one or all of these are called organic beings. Plants have amongst their other peculiarities, vessels ; and therefore the anatomy that informs us of their structure, is called vegetable anatomy; and the physiology that teaches us how plants grow and are nourished, is called vegetable physiology.
When the lower animals are the subject of discourse, it is called comparative anatomy and physiology.
When the structure and functions of man alone are spoken of, we call it human anatomy and physiology.
In man and the lower animals there is a certain uniformity, so that with a little variation according to circumstances, the organs and their action in man and animals are the same. Thus the lungs of man and beast are alike fitted to inspire and expire common air ; but fishes, that live in water, also require air, and they therefore have gills, which are lungs so modified as to 'extract the air which exists in the water. Again, man's stomach, when it receives the food, is fitted at once to retain and digest it; but the cow has a stomach having different compartments, by which the food is again thrown back to the mouth,—a process which is called chewing the
So also animals have different kinds of teeth, according to their appropriate food,-some for grinding, some for