« AnteriorContinuar »
them, which, though possible enough, does meanwhile, were watching their opportu-
(Vol. i. p. 146–153.) fidently along the shore. The guassos,
'Tis my vocation, Hal.--Shakspeare.
To the Editor.
Some of this goose-roasting, cabbage-pilfering tribe, have, with most unparalleled effrontery, presumed to quit the use of the silk handkerchief, for a blue bag, commonly called a law-bag. They fancy, perhaps, that there is some similarity between the contents of the lawyer's bag and the tailor's'; but I must tell them that they are mistaken, and that to have a bag of briefs, and to carry a suit, are not by any means the same ring.
bowers of Parnassus. At these pe- That what their cruelty doth forbid, your riods of indulgence perhaps an pity Essay may not be unacceptable to May give allowance to. you.
Naval (Senior, 1 Judge.) How long have MASSINGER'S FATAL DOWRY, Practis d in court ?
Char. Some twenty years, my Lord. Rowe's FAIR PENITENT.
Nav. sen. By your gross ignorance, it The opening of these dramas, the latter of which it is well known was
Not twenty days.
Char. surreptitiously stolen from the for
I hope I have given no cause mer, exhibits a very interesting in
In this, my Lord. cident founded upon a vulgar error.
Nav. sen. How dare you move the court In the one we are presented with a By Parliament, to the terror of all bank
To the dispensing with an act confirm'd very animated scene, in which the
rupts ? noble-minded Charalois, through his Go home, and with more care peruse the advocate Charmi, petitions the pro statutes, vincial tribunal of Burgundy for the Or the next motion, savouring of this restoration of his father's dead body, boldness, which had been arrested and de- May force you, Sir, to leap against your tained for debt by his rapacious cre
will ditors. Not being able to satisfy
Over the place you plead at.
Char. their debts, or appease their anger,
I foresaw this. he at length offers himself up to
In a note to this passage, Mr. prison, a living captive, to release Gifford, in the last edition adds, his father's corpse ; and submits to
“ Herodotus tells us, that Asychis, be buried in a dungeon, to procure
the grandson of Cheops, to facilitate his parent a grave. "It is this noble the borrowing of money, allowed the action which recommends him to Egyptians to pledge the dead bodies the father of Calista, and Beaumelle, of their parents, which, until redeemwho relieves him from prison, takes ed by payment of the sums advanced, him to his house and makes him his could not be deposited in the sepulson-in-law.
chres of their fathers. In imitation The following is the language of of this monarch, modern states have Massinger.
sanctioned the arrest of a person's Charmi. To say the late dead Marshal, dead body till his debts be paid ; but The father of this young Lord here, my tion, is in his followers a gratuitous
what was in Asychis a wise instituclient, Hath done his country great and faithful act of absurd and savage barbarity.' service
Both Massinger and his commenMight task me of impertinence, to repeat tator seem to me to have fallen into What your grave Lordships cannot but re a vulgar error. The one is very exmember.
cusable, because if either the law of He, in his life, became indebted to
England or of Burgundy was so unThese thrifty men, (I will not wrong their derstood by a great part of the audi
credits By giving them the attributes they now
ence, or it were a mere fiction of his merit)
own, the author might well derive And failing by the fortune of the wars
from it the incident which he has Of means to free himself from his en
formed. This is within the true ligagements,
cence of poetry. But with respect He was arrested, and for want of bail to the commentator, I am free to Imprison'd at their suit; and, not long after, confess that Mr. Gifford is much With loss of liberty, ended his life. more at home when he is explaining And, tho' it be a maxim in our laws, classical allusions than when he venAll suits die with the person, these men's tures upon the more dangerous
malice In death finds matter for their hate to
ground of the laws of arrest, or those
of Alsatia. He makes a good figure Denying him the decent rites of burial,
among the ruins of the capital of Which the sworn enemies of the Christian Rome, and describes them well; but faith
he is quite out of his way, when he Grant freely to their slaves. May it there- gets into the Fleet, or the King's fore please
Bench, or one of the Halls. His Your Lordships so to fashion your decree, quotation from Herodotus is correct,
but not quite applicable, and the and inviolable, dead or living; the consequences which he deduces from
statute of Queen Anne upon this subit are by no means natural. The law ject, was enacted merely to appease which he fancies to be so general in Peter the Great, and is generally Europe I believe never existed. understood to be only declaratory of None of the nations of Europe are so the common law. And in the next, it savage as to make the dead body of is hard to say that these gentlemen a debtor a pledge to his creditors. were denied Christian burial, when All of them do not admit of arrest their coffins are placed carefully in in the first instance for debt, but that sacred temple (by the guide's only in execution, and if by law the construction converted into a gaol) dead man were to be kept in prison in which are deposited, in similar till his son paid his debts, it is ob- coffins, the ashes of a long race of vious that every gaol must be also a kings and heroes. cemetery, and there must be cells ex Massinger wrote in the time of pressly for the dead as well as the Lord Coke, and it is plain that the living, like those of some monks, I law in his day could not have been believe the order of La Trappe, in as it is here represented; but in orItaly. But in the King's Bench pri- der to relieve my readers from all son there is nothing so common as to doubts upon the subject, and that hear of a wooden-habeas, as a nick they may all retire to rest without name for a coffin, by which the pri any idle apprehensions that their presoner is finally released from all con cious reliques when dead may be finement in this world, having satis violated by the hands of rude bailiffs, fied all creditors as to every claim to the terror of their wives and chilupon his person, by paying the great dren, I shall here extract from a modebt of nature. Before Mr. Gifford dern book of reports the words of the had cast this general slander upon
late Chief Justice Ellenborough on the legislatures of Europe, I wish he the subject, in which he held that had taken the trouble to examine even a promise to pay a debt extortinto the authorities upon which his ed from a person, through fear of a law is founded. I can find none. That dead body being arrested, was illegal, a prejudice commonly exists of this being without consideration and void kind, even at the present moment, is -which it could not be, if the threatwell known, and it is one of the ob ened arrest were legal. jects of this essay to destroy that
Now, as to the case of Quick v. Coppleprejudice. It was probably believed
stone, in that case the promise was made by Massinger, who, like Shakspeare
through fear of being arrested, and it is so and all our early poets, looked no stated in the declaration; and Hyde, C. J. further than their own country for held, “ that a forbearance to sue one who the manners of the place where the fears to be sued, is a good consideration ;”. scene was to be laid; and an instance and he cited a case in the Common Pleas, of it now exists, remarkable for its when he sat there, where a woman, who notoriety and absurdity. At West feared that the dead body of her son would minster Abbey, the guide who shows be arrested for debt, promised in considethe curiosities of the place, exhibits ration of forbearance, to pay, and it was in a small chapel, or cell, near to
adjudged against her, though she was nci
ther executrix nor administratrix. But Henry VIIth's brazen tomb, a couple of old coffins covered with red velvet,
the other Judges doubted of this; and I
think it would be bad even after verdict, which he gravely tells you contain
for it appears vitious upon the face of it. the bodies of two ambassadors, Such a means of extorting a promise is not whose remains were arrested for to be endured. It is impossible to look debt and not suffered to be buried. upon that as a good promise, which is made He also informs you that it is for this in consideration that a person will forbear reason they are not placed in a vault to do a violent and unlureful act; that he or tomb. I know not which to ad- will forbear to do a violent injury to the mire most, the folly of the inventor
feelings of all the relations of the deceased. of this fable, or the credulity of the
See Jacobus I. Smith's Rep. 195.-Jones blockheads who do not immediately
V. Ashburnham, B. R. Hilary Term, perceive its absurdity. For, in the 1804.--See also East's Reports, H. 44.
Gco. III. S. C. first place, by the law of nations, the persons of ambassadors are sacred With respect to the similarity of
the law of Asychis, the grandson of able testimonial of nobility like the Cheops, in imitation of which, ac statues of the Roman patricians; and cording to Mr. Gifford, the supposed to pledge these, was to give a man law of Europe has been introduced, an actual security for the money, I confess I am but a novice in the which was advanced expressly upon Antiquities of Egypt compared with that pledge, and apportioned to the that gentleman; but I should submit natural value of it. But this was a to him, that the imitation is very re- stipulated pledge by the son, not an mote and improbable, and the copy ordinary execution on the body of at best very unlike the original. the father; and, however odious it Like all copies, if it ever existed, it may now appear in the spendthrift would be a copy without the spirit heir, was more reasonable than the of its prototype. It was customary pledge which the law is supposed in Egypt to embalm the bodies of the to give of the dead body of the debtor, deceased, or to make mummies of which must necessarily impose upon them; and it is probable he who the creditor, who was to keep it unpossessed the most of these precious buried, the task of reviving, not the remains was most honoured for his dead body, but the long lost art of high birth. The mummy was then embalming, which is nearly as hopea moveable piece of goods, a valu. less an experiment.
A DREAM OF ORPHEUS.
I had a dream of Orpheus. The veil'd bed
And azure-billowing hills, that lowlier lie;
Woods and emerging plains that seem'd almost
Thus ruminating, on my ear there came
SONG OF THE BACCHANTS. Alas, Eurydice !--and where was he,
Within whose arm thy head had folded been?
Unconscious of thy perilous flight;