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cannot, however, be regarded even at this time, as one homoge. neous mass, in which every thing that affects a part will affect in the same manner the whole. In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may în time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country; but symptoms of a levelling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarter, to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger to be guarded against, on the republican principles? How is the danger, in all cases of interested coalitions to oppress the minority, to be guarded against ? Among other means, by the establishment of a body, in the government, sufficiently respectable for its wisdom and virtue, to aid, on such emergencies, the prepon. derance of justice, by throwing its weight into that scale. Such being the objects of the second branch in the proposed govern. ment, he thought a considerable duration ought to be given to it. He did not conceive that the term of nine years could threaten any real danger; but, in pursuing his particular ideas on the subject, he should require that the long term allowed to the second branch should not commence till such a period of life as would render a perpetual disqualification to be reëlected, little incon. venient, either in a public or private view. He observed, that as it was more than probable we were now digesting a plan, which in its operation would decide forever the fate of republican govern: ment, we ought not only to provide every guard to liberty that its preservation could require, but be equally careful to supply the defects which our own experience had particularly pointed out."

But our extracts are already going beyond the reasonable limits of an article, and we must close with earnestly recommending the Madison Papers to the careful study of all who are desirous of understanding the civil and political history of the revolution.

E. L. C.


American Criminal Trials. By Peleg W. CHANDLER. Volume I. Boston: Charles C. Little & James Brown. London: A. Maxwell, 32 Bell Yard, Lincoln's Inn. 1841.

The merry companion of the youthful Harry, whom the genius of Shakspeare has made immortal, congratulated himself that he not only possessed wit himself, but was the cause of wit in others. We think that we may, in like manner, felicitate ourselves, that if we have not written and published a collection of the celebrated trials of this country, we have perhaps been instrumental in causing it to be done by another. Whether the idea of making such a collection was suggested to its accomplished author, by the articles which have appeared in our pages upon this subject, or whether he has received any useful hints therefrom in regard to the manner of executing his task, we have not taken the liberty to inquire, and it is really a matter of no consequence.

The honor of filling a vacant department of Ainerican literature, of supplying a want which has been felt alike by the profession and by the public, belongs not to the individual who may have suggested the enterprize, but to him who has carried it into execution. It has given us no common pleasure, to find a work of this interest and importance undertaken by a gentleman so favorably known to the public as an editor and reporter, who possesses unusual facilities for prosecuting it with success; and who is admirably qualified for the work by habits of industry and patient research, by the possession of good taste, and by a sound and discriminating judgment.

The present volume, which, we presume, is but the commencement of the series which Mr. Chandler proposes to

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publish, contains four hundred and thirty-six pages, and in mechanical execution and appearance corresponds with Sparks's American Biography, one of the neatest and most popular works ever issued from the American press. The first twenty or thirty volumes of the French Causes Celebrès were of the same size. When Mr. Chandler shall have completed his labors, and have brought down his reports to the present day, we shall be much disappointed if they do not rank with either of the works before mentioned. The selection of cases, thus far, has been extremely judicious, and if the author exercises the same sound discrimination and good taste in collecting the materials for the volumes that are to follow, it must be a work of high value and of permanent popularity. The trial of an interesting cause has even more charms for the common mind than biography. It is a drama of real life, and, when reported with skill and vivacity, addresses itself more directly to the curiosity and sympathies of men than do “the annals of the great." From the days of the revolution down to the present, the American people have evinced a decided partiality for reading of this description, and it was to this that Burke attributed their ardent attachment to liberty.

The author has been obliged, however, to encounter one difficulty in the outset, which will constantly diminish as he advances. He has been compelled to begin at the beginning, — to go back to the earliest period of American history, and report a series of cases, which have lost much of their interest on account of their antiquity. He has been obliged to enter a field which had been previously gleaned by the historian, the essayist, and the lecturer, and to write upon topics which have been made familiar to the public through many channels of information. It is obvious, however, that it was incumbent upon him to enter this uninviting field, if he intended to render his work one of permanent value. When it shall have been completed in the style in which

it has been commenced, it will not be one of its least excellences, that it is a complete record of the most remarkable cases which have been tried in this country, from its settlement down to the present time. The moral courage of an author, who has cast aside the abundant materials, which are lying all around him, for making a collection merely ad captandum vulgus, who has resisted the temptation of writing a work that would acquire immediate popularity and would therefore sell, and has gone back to the dusty records of the past in order to render his work complete and deserving of lasting regard, is worthy of all commendation, and promises well for the spirit in which the enterprize will be prosecuted. In this respect, it presents a striking contrast to that wretched omnium gatherum of monstrosities, the Philadelphia book, entitled celebrated trials of all countries, of which we have spoken in a former number.

The volume before us contains ten cases. The first is that of Ann Hutchinson, for heresy, before the general court of Massachusetts, in 1637; and a most vivid picture it is of the unhappy religious dissentions of those unhappy times, and a touching memorial, too, of the character of a pious, high spirited, and brave woman.

Thirty pages are then devoted to the trials of the Quakers before the same tribunal, in 1656 and 1661, and seventy-five to the memorable prosecutions for witchcraft in Salem, in 1692.

These are followed by a short account of the trial of Thomas Maule, at Salem, in 1696, for a slanderous publication and blasphemy, and this by the trial of John Peter Zenger, before the supreme court of New York, for two libels on the government, in 1735, in which the right of the jury to find a general verdict was discussed at great length, and also whether the defendant, on an indictment for libel, was entitled to give in evidence to the jury the truth of the

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charges contained in the libel. This case was admirably reported at the time, and is deeply interesting as an evidence of the carly and zealous attachment of the American people to a free press. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty, which was received with shouts. Mr. Hamilton, the counsel of the accused, whose argument is reported at large, was conducted by the crowd from the hall to a splendid entertainment. The whole city renewed the compliment at his departure the next day, and he entered his barge under a salute of cannon. The common council of New York presented him the freedom of the city; and a splendid gold box, in which to enclose the certificate of the freedom, was also purchased by subscription, on which the arms of the city were engraved, encircled with appropriate mottos. Mr. Chandler has appended to this case an historical sketch of the discussions, which afterwards occurred in various states, of the great question which was agitated in the trial of Zenger, and a statement of the law as it now exists.

Considerable space is then devoted to the trials of certain negroes and others for a conspiracy to burn the city of New York and murder the inhabitants, in 1741, at which period domestic slavery existed in that state.

The two next cases, which are closely connected, are those of Jacob Leisler and Col. Nicholas Bayard for high treason, in New York, the first in 1691, the other in 1702.

The very brief account of the trial of the crew of the Pitt Packet, for murder, is interesting chiefly as an instance of desperate and determined resistance by Yankee sailors to impressment into the British navy.

The last and the longest case in the volume is the trial of the British soldiers, for the murder of several inhabitants of Boston, on the memorable fifth of March, commonly called the Boston Massacre.

The appendix contains a sketch of William Stoughton,

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