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A. D. 1300, says, his, "predecessors had divided the law into two volumes; into the canon-law, which consists in amendment of spiritual offenses, and the written [common) law, which consists in the punishment of temporal offenses.” This written law he defines to be “the written law of the antient usages warranted by the holy scripture."*
This statement of the Mirror, one hundred and fifty years before the decision by Prisot, is sufficient evidence that such was the opinion of the ancient sages of the law; and it is supported by the history of those times. Immediately after the Romans left Britain, there were thirty-three independent provinces, or republics, each having a bishop, who regulated the ecclesiastical affairs, and had some power in civil maniers. The bishops anong the Saxons had also jurisdiction of many civil cases. The religious establishment of England and the payment of tithes, seems to have been coeval with the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to christianity :s and we are told by the Mirror, that at first, (that is, immediately afier the conversion of the Sasons,) " they made the king swear to maintain the chrISTIAN FAITH, with all bis power."|| The dome-book, which contained the diversity of customs prevailing in the days of Alfred, recognizes many principles of the christian religion among those customs. I
Mr. Selden, in bis notes on Fortescue, says, the common-law of England is grounded on six points; the second of which, he says, is " the Law of God;" and the Virror declares, that whatever is contrary to holy scripture, is noi law.** The same principle was decided in the court of king's benchi, in 1827.ft These authorities prove conclusively, that the essential principles of religion were recognized by the cominon-law, before the time of Prisot.
We shall now show,
5. That the authorities cited by Mr. J. do not warrant the con• clusion he has drawn.
The original of Prisot, from which Mr. J. says the principle in question was drawn, is, " A tiel leis qu'ils de seint eylise out en ancion scripture, covient a nous a donner credence; car ceo coinmon loy sur quels touts manners leis fondes. Ei anxy, Sir, nous sumus obligos de conustre lour ley de seint eglise, et semblablement ils sont obligos do connustre nostre ley.”
*Cl. see. I.
I Turner's Hist. Angl. Sax. b. ii. c. 8 pp. 192, 193. Wilkins' Ley. Angl. Max. LL. Edg.c.6. LL. 6. on c. 17. Bede, lib. iii. c. 25. Crabbi's list E Com. Law. pp. 20, 22.
Selden on Tihen, e. 10. Crubb, p. 22. ll C 1. sec. 2.
Bull's law of Libel, pp. 31,:32. Selden, on Law and Government. 1 Black. Com 04-6. Hale's Hil. Com. Lnw. p. 55. Mirror, c 4. sec. 18. p. 207,
De kuud. Leg. Ang 0. 15. p. 2'sirior, c. 5. sec. I. p. 224 c. 1. sec. 3. P.
6. ft Smith us. Sparrow. 4. Bing, 93, 13. Com. Law. 351. See also Fennel vs.
Bune vs Cris, 4. i. Com. Law Rep. 261.
A literal translation of this passage is, “ as to those laws, which holy church have in ancien scripiure, it behoves us to give credence, for this is common-law, upon which all manner of laws are founded; and thus, Sir, we are obliged to take notice of their law of holy church; and it seems they are obliged to take notice of our
Finch,t says Mr. J., and after him Wingates and Sheppard, translate ancien scripture, by holy scripture; Wingate quoting Finch, and Sheppard both Finch and Wingate. Finch gives the original of Prisot in the margin; and therefore both Wingate and Sheppard had it before them when they said, “That to such laws of the church as have warrant in holy scripture our law giveth credence.” It will be remarked, that ibis passage is not a translation of Prisot, but the stateinent of a principle, with reserence to the Year Books, as authorizing the statemeot.
The language of the Year Books, is marvelously like that we have already quoted from the Mirror of Justice. Prisot says in effect, that the common-law, upon which all other laws are founded, is the law contained in ancien scripture ; and the Mirror, that the common-law consists of the ancient customs, warranted by holy scripture. That both refer to the same thing, seems too evident to admit of a doubt.
It is no small argument in favor of the principle laid down by Finch, that it has been copied by several authors, all having the original before them, and that its falsehood had never been detected, until pointed out by Mr. J.
But it is not Finch alone, who is chargeable with blinking the truth; for it will be recollected, that Mr. J. defies the "best-read lawyer, to produce another scrip of authority for this judiciary forgery." Now Finch not only cites the Year Books, but also Hobart, 148, and Plowd. 265, both of which are omitted by Mr. J.
In the case of Colt and Glover vs. the Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, reported by Hobart, it was decided, " that the laws of the realm do admit of nothing contrary to the law of God.".
The assertion of lord chief justice Hale,si that christianity was part of the common-law of England, seems to bave been predicated upon the opinion of lord Coke, who had asserted the same long before that time;1 but of the assertion of lord Coke, Mr. J. has taken no notice.
But whether the translation or assertion of Finch be true or false, the chain ends with Sheppard, lord Hale not citing it.
* 34. Hen. 6. fol. 38. Trans. from Am. Jurist. vol. ix. p. 346. + Book of the Law, c. 3. # Wingate, Max. 3. § Tit. Religion. || Rex rs. Taylor. 1 Vent. 293. S. C. 3 Rel. 607.,
2. Inst. 220. Holt on Law of Libel, p. 32.
Again, in the case of the King vs. Woolston, the court would not perioit it to be debated, whether to write against christianity was an offense at common-law; giving as a reasoli, that it had been so decided in Rex vs. Taylor, and Rex vs. Hall;* but Mr. J. has taken no notice of the case of Rex vs. Hall, in which the same principle was asserted, as one well known and established, without reference to authority. So too lord Mansfield, in Evans' case, took it for granted, that this principle was so well established, as to be beyond question. The inference, therefore, that lord Hale or lord Mansfield made their decisions upon the authority of the Year Books, Finch, Wingate, or Sheppard, is wholly gratuitous, and unsupported by the facts. So far then, is this whole controversy from proving “a conspiracy between church and state,", as alledged by Mr. J., that it is wonderfully like a conspiracy against the former; and as such, we have felt it onr duty 10 expose it.
P. S. Since the foregoing was prepared for the press, the writer has seen in the American Quarterly Review, for June, 1835, No. 34, an article on the subject of the present inquiry.
The first position of the reviewer, that christianity is not recognized in the constitution of the United States, and of the various states, is in accordance with the assumptions of the foregoing article. The other part of the argument is based on Mr. J's. letter under consideration, and must fall with it; and the article, therefore, requires no further answer. To this it may be added, be inadvertently omitted to state, that it has been said by the Superior Court in Pennsylvania, that christianity has been part of the common-law since the days of Bracton. 11. Serg. and Rawle, p. 400.
Art. III.-MEMOIR OF Rev. John H. Rice, D. D. A Memoir of the Rer. John H. Rice, D. D., first Professor of Christian Theology
in Union Theological Seminary, Virginiu. By William MAXWELL. Philadelphia, 1835.
A Memoir of Dr. Rice, with whatever ability it might be composed, would of course be read with interest. There was much in his character and public services, in the cause of literature and religion, to excite interest. His standing, also, in the Presbyterian church, and the part which he took in founding a new theological seminary in our southern country, must make bis history an object of some curiosity, and his memory dear to many. The manner, too, in which the book before us is executed, is such, we think, as not to detract from the interest inherent in its subject. For ourselves we rejoice, that some account of this excellent man has been given to the public, and that the task of preparing it was assigned to hands so competent to perform it. We propose to give a brief sketch of bis life, draw out into distinct notice the prominent traits of bis character, and append to the whole a few general observations, suggested by the work before us.
* 1. Vant. p. 293. 1. Strange, p. 416.
Dr. Rice was born in the year 1777, in Bedford County, Virginia. His mental powers began early to be developed, and his passion for books was formed when he was quite a child. The most important of all subjects, the subject of religion, appears to have engaged his particular attention from his carliest years. the age of fifteen, he had made a public profession of bis faith and hope in the Redeemer, and connected 'bimself with the visible church. Previous 10 this, at about twelve years of age, he was deprived by death of his excellent mother, who had taken much pains in training his tender mind to those habits of thought and feeling which she believed would be most likely to result in his becoming a decided christian, and (as she fondly hoped) a minister of the gospel. When he was about fifteen years old, bis father, who it seerns wished to give bis son the best education in his power, sent him to Liberty Hall Academy, (since enlarged into Washington College,) in the town of Lexington, beyond the Blue Ridge, then under the care of the Rev. William Graham, a Presbyterian clergyman, who is spoken of as possessing distinguished talents. Here he remained one year and a bals; bis father's means of supporting him abroad at school, not enabling him to continue him there any longer. After this, he studied about the same length of time in a more private situation, under the instruction of the Rev. George A. Baxter, who was subsequently president of Wasbington College, at Lexington, and is now, we believe, the successor of his former pupil, as professor of christian theology, in Union Theological Seminary. In bis eighteenth year, he was employed as a teacher in a private family, for between one and two years, about thirty miles below Richmond, in bis native state. His next employment was that of a tutor in Hampden Sydney College, Prince Edward county. How he obtained that employment, and what was his appearance at this time, we leave his biographer to relate :
• At this moment, happening providentially to look into a newspaper, his eye
fell upon an advertisement of the Trustees of Hampden Sydney College, announcing that they were in want of a tutor for that seminary; and he resolved at once to apply for the place.
He set out, accordingly, for the college, on foot, walking all the way, a distance of more than seventy miles; and at the end of his journey had the mortification to find that the trustees had written to the Rev. Robert Logan, of Fincastle, inviting him to fill the vacancy, and were waiting for his answer. As, however, they encouraged him to hope that they would gladly employ him if that gentleman should decline their overture, he resolved to see him at once, and ascertain bis intention from his own lips. He set out, therefore, immediately, on foot again, for Fincastle, with only a solitary nine-pence in his pocket, and having obtained Mr. Logan's answer to the trustees, declining their invitation for himself, and recommending him to their favor, he returned with it to Prince Edward, to clain their promise ; and was immediately appointed a tutor of the college, according to his wish.
His appearance at this time, (as I am told by a gentleman who says he remembers it perfectly,) was not very promising. It was toward the end of the fall vacation, about the last of October, of the year 1796, when he was hardly nineteen years of age. He was tall and slender in his person, just recovered from a sickness which had left him pale and sallow; rather awkward in his carriage, and very shabby in his dress. His only coat had been fairly worn out in the service, and seemed to beg loudly for another, which he was yet unable to purchase. Add to this, he was anxious and troubled, it appears, about a small debt which he had contracted in Lexington, while he was a student in the academy there, and which he had not yet been able to satisfy.' pp. 11, 12.
It was during his residence as a tutor at Hampden Sydney College, that his acquaintance was formed with the Rev. Dr. Alexander, then president of that institution, and now one of the professors at Princeton; and from that time an intimacy was cemented between them, which continued ever afterwards, and which seems to have been a source of much mutual satisfaction. Having fulólled, for some two or three years, the duties of a tutor in the college, young Rice retired froin that office in the year 1799, and took charge of a small school again in a private family. One year he spent in this manner. He then commenced the study of medicine, with a view to its being his future profession for life. In the autumn of the same year, however, as he was about to go to Philadelphia, to attend the medical lectures there, the trustees of Hamnpden Sydney College invited bim again to become a tutor in that institution; and he was at length induced 10 give up his plan of going to Philadelphia, and to accept the invitation. On wbat slight incidents does the entire direction of one's life often depend ! It was here, while acting under this change in his previous purpose to go to Philadelphia and qualify bimself to become a physician, that he was led to review bis former plan of life, and io abandon it for the sacred ministry. For this responsible office he now began to prepare bimself, chiefly under the direction and assistance of Dr. Alexander, of Hampden Sydney College. In September, 1803, the Presbytery of Hanover, after due examination, gave him a license to preach the gospel. One year after this, he received ordination at the hands of the same body, and was setiled over a congregation in the vicinity of the college, to whom he had been previously preaching since the time of his