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cipal codes seem to have been arranged and edited. These provinces being united under one monarch, the Swedish legislators attempted a union of their custumals; and a general code or digest of the laws of all the provinces, of which the law of Upland, however, forms the basis, was effected at the diet held at Orebro, under king Magnus, in 1347. Few of the provinces, however, were willing to adopt the Landzlagh,' or law of the land,' in abrogation of their local codes. These differ so little from each other, that the opposition maintained by the Landzlagh, can only have been occasioned by the spirit of resistance which always prompts the component parts of a moparchy to insist upon their peculiar rights and customs, however unprofitable, and which may be considered as a laudable folly, The Landziagh, therefore, continued a dead letter: nor did it become law in practice until it was again promulgated, nearly A century afterwards, by king Christopher the Bavarian. This copious code is of great use in elucidating the sources from whence it is derived, being most frequently a glossed paraphrase of the older texts.
The ancient legal usages of the Jutes are preserved in the JYDSKE LOVBOG, which was compiled under WALDEMAR the Danish king, and accepted by the parliament of Jutland in 1280. A diligent study of this code, together with the other custumals of the Cimbric Chersonesus, and of Transalbinia, wou throw great light upon the principles of the English law, particularly with relation to the history of trial by Jury.
King Canute is supposed to have decreed his! WITHERLAGSRET' in England, This aulic and military code exists only in two abridgements; one inserted in the text of Saxo Grammaticus; the other comprised in the antient Danish translation of Archbishop Absalom, Other of the laws and ordinances of the Danes, are ascribed to obscure, perhaps to fabulous, legislators, Sveno Tiufveskegg, for instance, is said to have first enacted, that the daughter should share with her brother in the inheritance: and, with this boon, he rewarded female generosity. The Sclavonian monarch demanded of the Danes, that they should release their King, by paying his weight in gold, and twice his weight in silver. The stock of the more precious metal was exhausted, and the Danes despaired lest Sveno should linger in lifelong captivity. But, when thus lamenting, the matrons of Denmark cast their earrings and broaches in the scale, and completed the king's ransom. This supposed edict
I In qua
fortunæ violentia Sveno virili defectus auxilio, fæmineum expertus est: nam cum exhaustis regni opibus, ne aurum quidem redemptioni ejus suppetere videratur tanta ei matronarum humanitas
has been much discussed by the learned of the North; and not without reference to the laws of inheritance amongst the Jews and the Gentiles, the Chaldeans and the Arabs, the Greeks and the Romạns. The unlearned will be more willing to consider it as a romantic fanciful tale, which Saxo probably borrow, ed from some Saga. The early history of the laws of all nations abounds in fables: they pass into it from mythology, and from mythological romance; because the first legislator is usuatly a deified hero. Odin was naturally considered as the founder of Northern jurisprudence. We are told, in the Ynglinga Saga, that he set such laws in the land, as before were 'in use amongst the Asi;' and throughout all Swedland,
the people paid unto Odin a scotpenny for each nose.'* So long have taxation and legislation been inseparable !
We must emerge from the darkness of fabulous antiquity, and reject these tales. And yet, after allowing for the influence of Christianity, and the tardy progress of civilization, the existing codes perhaps reveal the peculiar institutions of the Goths 4 at the dawn of history. Fragments of these laws may have been transmitted almost from the ages of the Asi : writing was probably known to the Goths before they advanced beyond the Euxine.' Ulphila certainly modelled his characters of silver from the alphabet of the Byzantine scribes. Yet the magic runes were coeval with the alphabets of Celtiberia and Etruria. Like the Ogham and Cymbric alphabets, the angular forms of the Runic characters indicate that they were graven letters; and, in conformity to the usages of other ancient nations, tablets of wood received the signs. Thus, King Fengo addressed the English king by an epistle cut on a wooden tablet. Poetry was usually inscribed upon small quadrangular staves, which were conveniently adapted for the reception of a verse or stanza; each face containing a line. Amongst us, therefore, a verse and a staye are still synonymous.
Not less significant and hoary are the designations of the books and chapters into which
affuit, ut detractis aurium insignibus, cæteroque cultu, certatim digestam pondere summam explerent, plus commodi in salute principis, quam amenitatis in ornamentorum suorum.
* • Um alla Svithiod gulldu menn Odni skatt penning fyrir nef hvert.'— The Latin translators have, absurdly and unfaithfully, converted the nose tax into a capitation tax.
+ We shall not enter into any controversy respecting the true ap. propriation or etymology of this appellation, which has created so much learned ire; but content ourselves with remarking, that we use . it, in a general sense, to denote the entire genus, of which the Teutons, the Belgians, and those who afterwards became Scandinavia ans, are species.
the Swedish and Norwegian codes are divided. Each book is considered as a Balk or Beam; a title which would scarcely have been given after parchment became in common use: and each Balk is subdivided into flokkur, that is to say, into flakes, planks, or tablets. Thus, probably, were the laws engraved which Ulfliott brought over into Iceland. It is also worthy of remark, that the only manuscript written in Runic characters, and wholly free from suspicion, is a codex of the laws of Scania, referred by Suhm to the thirteenth century. Lawyers always
affect to shroud themselves in antiquity and unintelligibility; and the transcriber was probably instructed to employ the alphabet of the Asi, for the same reason that acts of Parliament were printed in the black letter, long after that awful type had been banished from all other publications,
In maintaining the substantial antiquity of the Scandinavian laws, an argument may be drawn from the consent of all the va, rious codes and custumals, which agree with each other in every material principle, and in most of the minor details. Stiernhook compares the Swedish custumals to the Naiads of Ovid
Facies non omnibus una, Nec diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum, And this quotation may be applied to all the other laws of Scan, dinavia. Their mutual affinity proves their descent from a common source; and as the septs and tribes which retained these laws were severed and hostile before the beginning of the first chapters of their history, this source must have existed at a period anterior to their separation. Other internal proofs of their antiquity may be briefly indicated. In a former Essay, we noticed the versification of the ancient Teutonic laws, by which the precepts and maxims of the legislators were impressed upon the memory of the people. Now, the authentic legal forms of the Scandinavians abound with fragments of alliteras tive verse, and their language is singularly poetical and figurative. Legal memory extended to the age of Paganism. If the inhabitants of a township in West Gothland claimed a prescriptive right to common land, they were to bring proof by the oaths of two men chosen out of two juries, that the town. land had been cultivated in the heathen time. The West Goths expressly deduced the series of their judges from the ante-christian era; and the two first lawmen of the country are stated to have been buried as heathens beneath the cairn. + In the same manner, the preface to the laws of Upland ascribes
* Such a township was called högabyr. Ihre, in voce Hedenhös.
+ The brief chronicle of Biorn Kialki, the second lawman' of West Gothland, is given with so much peculiarity, that we can scarcely suspect a falsehood in the writer. He was from Medhalby ;
the collection to a lawman,' a heathen in the heathen time, who was sent as ambassador by the king of the Swedes, the heroic Ingvalld.
From this half-civilized state of society, were derived the • visible signs which,' if we may borrow the words of Gibbon, . imperfectly supply the want of letters, and perpetuate the remembrance of any public or private transaction.' Long after the laws themselves were committed to writing, the art was rejected in the proceedings which originated out of the precepts and maxims of these laws. When the shire-mote was to be convened, the summoning symbol was borne by the weary husbandman, from dwelling to dwelling, over' moor and wild; and he was heavily fined if he failed to perform this public duty. The hieroglyphical token was varied in its form, according to its intent. An arrow called the people to sit in judgement upon the murderer, or told them that the land was herried by
War was signified by the fiery cross of the Gael; but in Scandinavia, the cross indicated that the precepts of the Church had been violated, and that the transgressors against the · Kristendoms bolkr’ were to appear before the court. An axe, or perhaps a staff, indicated that the tribunal would assemble merely in its usual course, and for the transaction of its ordinary business. Kindred customs may yet be faintly traced in England. There are manors where the tenants who have been presented as constables and tithing-men, are summoned, sitting the court,' by the delivery of the wand which is carried to their houses by the bailiff. Until the middle of the last century, the peace of the township of Chart was preserved by the dumb-borseholder: And this wooden magistrate, who discharged his duty as efficiently as many other country justices, was probably a Scandinavian summoning-token in his origin.
The same symbol which warned the freeholders to attend the court, summoned the defendant to appear before them. Regulations are prescribed, by the Scandinavian jurisprudence, for the institution of the process, which display the provident dili
and there he was buried beneath a hillock,' because he knew not holy Christ; and
upon that same hillock stands the clock-house which is now in Medhalby. This passage should find a place in the history of inventions. The clock in the clock-house built at Westminster in 1288 by Justice Hengham-an ominous name for a judge is usually considered as the earliest recorded instance of a Tramon. tane clock: but it should seem that the machine of Dondi had tra. velled north before the middle of the thirteenth century. The • Klockä-hus' of Medhalby may, however, have been only a belltawer.
gence of the lawgiver, equally solicitous to prevent delay, and to avoid injustice. Accompanied by the delivery of the arrow or the axe, the verbal citation was to be repeated by two freeholders, the stefnovitni,' or witnesses of the summons; and they were afterwards to swear, with uplifted lands, that they had duly declared their errand.
Corresponding with these stefrovitni, were the good summoners,' by whom the English Sheriff was directed to warn the tenant to appear in real actions; and an analogous office was assigned to the knights who witnessed that the Baron had been duly cited by the Bailiff or the Viscount, according to the custom of Normandy. In these instances, we may observe how the usages of an earlier period of jurisprudence were strictly retained in the process employed by succeeding generations, when all recollection of the foundation of the law was obliterated from the memory of the lawyer.
Much practical ability is displayed by the Norwegian laws in the definition of the legal domicile of the defendant, wherein it was presumed that the citation would fairly come to his knowledge, though he might personally avoid the presence of the unwelcome messengers. The domicile of the hind was to be sought in the cottage where he had sojourned for a fortnight and a day during the hay harvest.--The fisherman was summoned on the shore where his boat had lain during the fishing season. -A seaman who slept on board his vessel was summoned at his moorings- If a priest had no certain place of habitation, the summoners proceeded to the house of any one of the inhabitants of the parish wherein he had last performed divine service, for all might equally be supposed to have afforded hospitality to the holy man.-If a freeholder quitted the country, he was to appoint a known agent, or umbodsmadr,' on his behalf, who was to represent him during his absence; and if he failed to do so, then it was suíficient to serve the process upon his next heir.-Individuals, however, might be found, to whom none of the foregoing regulations could apply: this case was also foreseen by King Magnus.- Perhaps,' says the legislator, thou mayest intend to sue a man who hath newly come • into the township, who hath no heir, and who hath settled • since last Christinas Eve;'--such a person was to be asked to declare his domicile. If he named his place of residence, or
+ L'on doibt sçavoir que les Barons doibvent estre semons par le Bailly, ou par le Viconte, ou par le maistre sergent pardevant quatre Chevaliers au moins, qui puissent porter tesmoignage de la semonse; car s'ils defaillent ilz ne doibvent pas estre mesnez a la desrene. Ains doibt la semonse estre recordée par le temoignage de ceulx qui y furent.--Le Grand Coustumier, Chap. LXI.