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grandfather or grandmother, or even more remote ancestors, has wisely consulted the probable wishes, as well as the natural duty of the intestate, and makes such a disposition of his estate as he probably would have done, had he made a will. Natural children, duly acknowledged, in France, are entitled by law to the same portion of their father and mother's estate as they are capable of receiving in Louisiana, by donation or testament; and here they can claim nothing except alimony, whenever they have not been expressly provided for, and never inherit as heirs, concurrently with legitimate children or ascendants.
By the former code, and the general principles of the law, a surety could not complain that the creditors had given an indulgence to the principal debtor, and could not discharge himself, unless the creditor had by his act put it out of his own power to subrogate the sureties, in all his recourse against the debtor on receiving payment from the party ; but by the new code, “the prolongation of the term granted to the principal debtor, without the consent of the surety, operates the discharge of the latter."
It has struck us, also, that more satisfactory provisions have been made for the administration of estates by the new code ; that creditors have a more direct and better marked cause to pursue for the attainment of their rights, and that when a succession is accepted with the benefit of an inventory, the beneficiary heir is subjected to the more immediate control of creditors. In these particulars, the system is greatly improved.
Essential changes have been made in the title of prescriptions. None now exist, which are not expressly enumerated in the code. Actions on bills of exchange and promissory notes, and on all effects transferrable by endorsement or delivery, except bank notes, are prescribed in five years, instead of thirty, as by the old code. The doctrine of mortgages and privileges remains essentially the same. In addition, however, to the legal mortgage in favour of the wife on her husband's real estate, the restoration of her dowry, and other rights, she has a privilege on the moveables, which gives her, however, only a preference over simple creditors for her dowry alone. There still remain many secret or tacit liens on real estate, arising out of, or resulting from acts of administration, or intermeddling in the concerns of minors, which occur in the ordinary business of life, of which no adequate notice can be given to strangers by a public record. In relation to these incumbrances alone, the maxim of caveat emptor emphatically applies ; but the basis of the whole system of judicial and conventional mortgages, is publicity; and he who neglects to inscribe or record his judgment or his contract, cannot avail himself of it to the prejudice of third persons, who have acquired rights in ignorance of its existence. Even a
judgment recovered in another state, and recorded in Louisiana, creates a mortgage on all the property of the debtor, from the date of its registry.
A detailed comparison of the two codes, and a minute examination of the changes which have been introduced, did not enter into our plan. We have glanced at the more prominent, and some of the most important alterations, and which have, in our opinion, rendered the system much more perfect. Such then is a general outline of the jurisprudence of Louisiana. That some parts of it are liable to serious objections, cannot be denied. The distressing revulsion of families, which might be occasioned by the effect of the matrimonial community of gains, may be imagined. A man commences his career in life with nothing-he marries a woman equally poor-by his unwearied exertions, he accumulates an easy competence. If he has the misfortune to lose his wife, and to be childless in the decline of life, her succession is opened-her heirs force a participation of all the property in his possession, and one-half of his earnings is iorn from him to enrich strangers. If he has children who have already attained the age of majority, or are married, it aggravates his calamity to be stripped by perhaps spendthrift sons, or sonsin-law, who become entitled to one-half in right of their mother. On the other hand, he has minor children—he liquidates the succession, and holds one-half as tutor of his children, and his property is tacitly mortgaged towards them, for the amount. He dashes into commerce, involves himself with those who are ignorant of his domestic engagements—he fails, and his children come forward and sweep the whole of his remaining property from the grasp of his just creditors. At the same time, the ample guards provided for the protection of the property of the wife, which was hers before marriage, when properly understood and administered, are but just and proper; for why should marriage be means of acquiring property ? Or why an heiress lose at once her fortune, her name, and her legal identity, by contracting an engagement of that character with a man, who perhaps aims at nothing but her fortune? It is enough that he is permitted to use and enjoy it, without having the power to leave her a beggar, by his extravagance and folly. That the name of a wife is often used under such a system, to frustrate the rights of creditors, cannot be denied; but this is an evil not inherent in the system itself, when well understood, but growing out of its abuse and perversion to purposes of fraud.
It has also been alleged as a glaring defect, that a man is not permitted to dispose of his whole property by last will as he pleases—that he is under the tutelage of his presumptive heirsthat parental authority is weakened, and by rendering children independent, they become disobedient, and the harmony and
subordination of families are endangered. On the other hand, it may be answered, that some general rule of succession is indispensable--that no man should be permitted, without just cause, to derogate from that established order of descent; and that children succeed by natural, rather than positive right, as every man who becomes a father, is bound by the law of nature to provide for his offspring. The law therefore makes such a disposition of his estate at his decease, as he ought to make of it himself, and as it is presumed he would have done, with a proper sense of his natural and moral obligations; and he is therefore restrained from capriciously and wantonly disposing of his whole estate, to the prejudice of those whom it is his duty to support and to protect. If the disobedience of children, occasioned by a knowledge of eventual rights, be sometimes to be feared, it appears to us, that the sordid submission inspired by a fear of being
disinherited, is not a very precious virtue.
To conclude. The system of jurisprudence, which prevails in Louisiana, is of venerable antiquity, and unites with those ad. mirable provisions for the protection of personal liberty, which it has borrowed from the common law of England, in return for the many important maxims which the latter had so largely imbibed from it, is one at once elegant in theory, and adequate in practice to all the essential purposes of social life. We trust that no rash hand of innovating theorists will be laid upon it—that it will be permitted to receive its full development in its operation. It rests upon a solid foundation—the written reason of Rome. Those nations of modern times, where it has always prevailed with some modifications, as they emerged from barbarism, found it already reduced to the regularity of a moral science, and Rome still surviving and immortal in her laws. It has been illustrated by the ablest writers of Italy, Germany, France, and Spain. It rests on no loose, floating, and traditionary maxims no fictitious statutes worn out by time; and its substratum is of primitive formation, and not composed of successive deposits-the mere alluvion of judicial dicta.
Art. IV.-Mexico in 1827. By H. G. WARD, Esq. His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in that Country, during the years 1825, 1826, and part of 1827. London, 1828. 2 vols. 8vo.
OUR neighbours of Mexico have hitherto had little reason to be proud of the notice of the literary world. With as many incentives to rational curiosity, and as many worthy objects of inspection and observation, physical as well as moral, as any country on the globe, Mexico seems to have afforded no sufficient attraction to the book-making voyager, and, in what may be called peculiarly the age of travelling, to have been the object of singular neglect. Every other portion of the western world has been explored. Colombia and Peru have been the subjects of elaborate description ; we have had our Fearons and our Fauxes; and yet Mexico, flooded as it has been by adventurers of all ranks and pursuits, has been the theme of not more than half a dozen works; and those, with a single exception, of less than ordinary merit. Presuming that they are little known to our readers, we feel the less hesitation in referring to one or two of the most distinguished.
The first in the series, is Mr. Bullock's Six Months in Mexico; which was ushered into notice, with every possible inducement to admiration and good will, under the auspices, if we mistake not, of fashion and of wealth, and with all the attractions which the English press could afford. Of this work, the production of a good-natured and well-meaning, though not very profound or well-informed individual, we are unwilling to speak harshly; but really such disappointment as in common, we believe, with every other reader, we experienced on closing the thick octavo, is not easily borne; and we have not yet forgotten the pre-eminent dulness of Mr. Bullock's vapid panegyrics and egotistical details, in the course of which, no fact worth remembrance occurs to afford relief; his recital of personal accidents and mishaps, of narrow escapes and perilous exposures, and last, not least, his ridiculous specimens of barbarous Spanish, all of which have combined to raise his itinerary to a most ludicrous distinction. A fact may be mentioned in connexion with this book, which is interesting as serving to illustrate the extreme credulity which at one time distinguished the speculators in England. Mr. Bullock, whilst on a visit to the mining district of Temascaltepec, conceived, for what reason it is not easy to say, that he had discovered a valuable metallic vein, which had hitherto escaped all observation, and which, if worked with energy, would yield most abundant returns. The miners in the neighbourhood gave him no encouragement; the records of the district afforded him no ground for hope. But Mr. Bullock's enthusiasm blinded him to all discouragement; and, in 1823, after taking possession of the mine, on condition of working it, or to use the technical phrase, after denouncing it, he returned to England and published his book in which all his gay anticipations were set forth, and the praises of the mine reiterated. A company was formed, and stock subscribed-Mr. Baring being the principal patron of the scheme, and Mr. Bullock returned to Mexico to superintend the operations, with a salary of seven
hundred sterling per annum. After erecting expensive works to effect the drainage, and having built not only very excellent accommodations for the family of the director, but a large and costly house for the amalgamation and preparation of the undiscovered ores, he ascertained within two years, that the mine was utterly worthless; and the company was dissolved, after sustaining at a moderate estimate, a loss of 20,000 pounds sterling. The ruined or rather unfinished works of Dal Vado, now remain to attest the fallacy of all the theories contained in the Six Months in Mexico in relation to mining operations, and of the culpable facility with which the most experienced commercial men in Great Britain lent the authority of their names to schemes so utterly futile. *
The Notes on Mexico, from the pen of one of our distinguished fellow-citizens, aspired to little more than a brief itinerary of a rapid tour through the country, and was intended not as giving an adequate account even of its physical resources and appearance, but as a sketch of the general character of a region whither public attention had recently been directed. Mr. Poinsett passed altogether less than two months in the country, and, in that time, travelled at least three hundred leagues. Such expedition was not compatible with minute or accurate observation; and, while we readily acknowledge the well known talent of the author, we say nothing that is by any construction unkind or disrespectful, when we repeat, that it was not such a work as we wished to see, and that it does not supply the deficiency of which we have complained. A residence of several years in the capital of the republic, with every opportunity of acquiring information, and of forming a true estimate of the moral and intellectual capacity of the people, has since enabled the gentleman to whom we have referred to supply the defect. The public has indeed a right to expect that, so soon as those connexions are at an end, which now render silence a matter both of delicacy and duty, he will give us the result of his experience and observation in a more expanded form. Such a production would bear the stamp of high authority, and must be entitled to great consideration and respect.
Captain Lyon, of the British Navy, already advantageously
We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of paying a merited compliment to Professor W. H. Keating of Philadelphia, now Director of the Baltimore Mining Company at Temascaltepec. With his professional merit and distinguished ability as a man of science the public are well acquainted. The sacrifice of personal convenience and enjoyment which he has made during his residence in Mexico, and the rigid and disinterested economy with which he bas administered the funds of his employers, stand in strong contrast to the wasteful extravagance of a majority of the English agents. If talent and integrity on the part of the agent be alone required 10 ensure the success of the speculation, our fel. low-citizens have every reason to be sanguine.