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decree, the grounds of which are not stated. The practice of reporting the arguments is of great importance in its influence upon the character of the profession, and so upon the administration of the laws in general. When all the reasons and authorities presented by the counsel, on each side of a question, are made a part of the report, it puts the court under a necessity of fortifying their decision against the reasons and authorities adduced to the contrary, and thus guaranties a diligent examination of the subject. And then it is but just that counsel, while they are responsible for the presentment of the case, should have whatever credit they may be entitled to, on account of their research, and whatever of talent and ingenuity they display. In consulting an authority it is often of importance, in order to estimate its weight and bearing, to know how the question was presented to the court; and the arguments of the counsel not unfrequently throw great light upon the judicial opinion, and serve as a key to the meaning, application, and force of the expressions used by the judges.
The reason for reporting the arguments of counsel at all, also point out the proper mode of reporting them. There are not wanting instances of American cases in which the reporter favors his readers with a great deal of the declamation of the counsel, including rhetorical flourishes, flights of fancy, and appeals from the understanding to the imagination, all literally recorded with as great fidelity, as if the reporter were a sworn stenographer. This is to reduce the business of reporting to a sort of clerkship, in which the labor of the hand takes precedence of that of the mind. Arguments reported in this fashion are a double loss to the profession, who lose the money they pay for them, and also, in general, the argument itself, for they rarely read these interminable discourses, the contents of which remain, forever, a secret known only to the reporter himself. It is enough if he gives concisely and distinctly, all the positions taken by the counsel, with all the reasons and authorities by which he supports them; and to sift these out, and present them distinctly, concisely, and fully, is a work of great labor and difficulty, in which it requires much diligence and skill in the reporter, to be short, and at the same time satisfactory. In this part we think Mr Pickering's reports are exceedingly well made; no
lawyer can have consulted them without remarking the condensed, perspicuous, full, and elaborate manner, in which he has given abstracts of the arguments, throughout this volume. And we more particularly notice this part of his reports, for the purpose of confirming and increasing the public expectation and claims, in respect to subsequent volumes, since this is the part of a report over which a reporter is most likely to begin to drowse, unless his vigilance is excited.
Dean Swift's remarks on the importance of indexes, which he illustrates by a string of ludicrous comparisons of a book and its index, to a ship and the rudder, &c. are gravely applicable to the case of law books, of which the index is by no means the least important part. A book of reports, especially, if it be any treasure at all, is to most purposes a hidden treasure, except so far as its contents are disclosed by the index. It is not surprising, that persons conversant with this sort of publications should sometimes be disappointed in finding some things in the reports that are not in the index, and some things in the index, that are not in the reports; for to make a complete index, requires a clear perception of the points and bearings of the cases, great vigilance and patience in noting them all, and conciseness, precision, and perspicuity in expressing them; and as the reporter may suppose his case to be finished, before the abstract of it is made, he is very likely to make it in too great haste. We have not examined Mr Pickering's abstracts of his cases sufficiently to attest to the accuracy and completeness of all of them, but in a great number which we have examined, we have not met with instances of any that are slovenly, or obscure, or that do not satisfactorily express the points in the case; and we observe in some instances that he is particularly careful not to indicate a broader decision than the court makes. A few of the abstracts include a perhaps, and the cases fully bear it out; but we doubt whether it is not more secure both to courts and to those, who must adopt their decisions as authority, that the judges should limit themselves to the expression of their opinions and doubts.
In regard to the subjects of decision in these reports, we do not propose to go into any particular examination of any of them. Many interesting questions are presented to the court for adjudication; and the evidences of patient delibeation and laborious research discoverable in the opinions of
the judges, reflect honor upon this tribunal, and upon the state of which it is so important an institution, and so great
There are in this volume three instances of decisions in pursuance of the opinion of a majority of the court, in opposition to that of two of the judges in one case, and that of the Chief Justice, in the others. In the first case, a deputy sheriff had, in levying an execution, seized the goods of a Mr Campbell, who thereupon brought an action of trespass against the deputy sheriff, in which he recovered a judgment, and by virtue of the execution issued upon this judgment, the deputy sheriff had been committed to gaol, whence he was discharged by order of law; and the judgment remained in full force and not satisfied; and the question was whether, after this, Campbell could maintain an action of trespass de bonis asportatis against the sheriff, on account of the same cause of action upon which he had already recovered a judgment against his deputy. Chief Justice Parker, and Justices Jackson, and Putnam, were of opinion that he could not; and so, accordingly, was the decision; Justices Thatcher, and Wilde were of opinion that he could maintain the action. The grounds of dissent, are given by Mr Justice Wilde. The second case, in which the court were divided, relates to the construction of the clause in the bill of rights prefixed to the Constitution of Massachusetts, and of the acts of the legislature, respecting the support of religious worship. Justices Thatcher, Putnam, and Wilde, were of opinion that if a person becomes a member of a religious society, without the limits of the parish in which he resides, and gives proper notice of this fact, he is not liable to pay any tax for the support of public worship in the religious society of the parish where he resides; whether the two religious societies be of the same, or of different denominations; and so the court decided. The Chief Justice was of opinion that an inhabitant of a parish is not, in this case, exempted from such tax, unless the religious society of which he becomes a member, is of a different denomination. Elaborate opinions are given in favor of these different constructions of the bill of rights, and the acts of the legislature.
The reporter has, in some few instances, added notes of authorities relating to the subjects of decision. The time that elapses from the giving of an opinion, until the publication
of the report of it, is not long enough to give an opportunity for many new decisions in other courts relating to the points involved in the cases reported, and it can hardly be expected of a reporter to go through all the indexes, in each case, to pick up what may have been overlooked by the counsel, on each side, and by the court; and accordingly but very few additions of this sort can be looked for. In one instance, p. 283, the reporter cites an additional case of some importance from Barnewall and Alderson, and subjoins-what we think might have been better omitted-a few remarks upon the question, whether the case in Barnewall and Alderson, if it had been brought under the attention of the court, would have influenced their decision. The reader is prepared to follow the editor of a book of reports, that has for some time been before the public, through a range of speculations, and arguments, as well as authorities, but there are many reasons why a reporter, more especially an official one, should confine himself, in the original publication of decisions recently made, to a report and references. The case cited in this instance is certainly very close, in its circumstances, to that decided by the court, and is well worth citing, and the remarks are so short, and at the same time so pertinent, that we should not have thought of excepting to their insertion, but for the practice that has been adopted by other reporters in a few instances, of appending distinct independent treatises to their reports, and thus blending things, which have very little connexion with each other; and making it necessary for many members of the profession to purchase treatises which they may not want.
ART. VIII.-1. The Seventh Annual Report of the American Society for Colonising the Free People of Color of the United States; with an Appendix. 8vo. pp. 176. Washington. Davis & Force. 1824.
2. Correspondence relative to the Emigration of Free People of Color in the United States; together with the Instructions to the Agent sent out by President Boyer. 8vo. pp. 32. New York. 1824.
THE history, designs, and operation of the American Colonisation Society have so recently been made topics of ample
discussion in our journal, that we have no occasion to add more at present, than a few incidental remarks on the present condition and prospects of the Colony abroad and the Society at home. The subject of devising means for relieving the United States of the burden of its colored population, must be deemed by every patriot, and every friend of humanity, as one of deep interest to the nation. We know it is easy to be very extravagant and very chimerical on this subject; to be zealous without knowledge, and active without discretion; to invent theories that will never be put in practice, and dream dreams that will never come to pass. All this we admit, and yet we affirm, that it proves nothing against the practicability of such a scheme as is contemplated by the Colonisation Society, carried forward judiciously and perseveringly to its natural results.
As to the two projects, which have occupied a large share of public attention of late, namely, colonisation in Africa, and emigration to Hayti, there seems no good reason why success should not be wished to both of them, since the ultimate purpose of each, as far as the United States are concerned, is the same. But if a parallel must be drawn between the two, we confess our partiality for the former, inasmuch as it promises in our opinion equal, if not greater advantages to the emigrants themselves, the same benefit to this country, and an infinitely greater one to the cause of humanity. The slave trade, that dark and bloody page in the history of man, can never be suppressed except by efforts in Africa itself. The plant will never wither, nor cease to exhale its poison, till it is thoroughly rooted from the soil, which ministers to its nourishment and growth. Governments may pass laws and execute them, arm navies, and fill the African seas with ships of observation; and all to little effect. The love of gain is the last passion, which is appalled by threatened danger, or yields to physical force. The malady in Africa is a moral and intellectual one; it must be removed by moral and intellectual remedies. Such is the power of habit on the mind, that, after the practice of ages, neither principle, conscience, nor humanity, utters a single remonstrance in the African bosom against this most odious and disgraceful traffic. Civilisation, a knowledge of the arts, and religion, must be the precursors of a better state of society. When this state shall be attained, slavery will exist no longer;