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obliging, and his condescension such to inform the persons whom " he could not satisfy, that few departed from him with ill will and ill wishes.
* But then this happy temper and these good faculties rather “preserved him from having many enemies, and supplied him with " some well-wishers, than furnished him with any fast and unshaken “ friends; who are always procured in courts by more ardour and “ more vehement professions and applications than he would suffer “ himself to be entangled with : 50 that he was a man rather ex“ ceedingly liked than passionately loved ; insomuch that it never “ appeared that he had any one friend in the court; of quality enough " to prevent or divert any disadvantages that he might be exposed " to. And therefore it is no wonder, nor to be imputed to hiin, " that he retired within himself as much as he could, and stood " upon his defence, without making desperate sallies against grow“ ing mischiefs, which he well knew he had no power to hinder, and “ which might probably begin in his own ruin. To conclude, his * security consisted very much in his having but little credit with " the king; and he died in a season the most opportune, in which " a wisc man would havc prayed to have finished his course, and & which, in truth, crowned his other signal prosperity in the 6 world."
The opinions of Mr. B. and Mr. H. are received ; but as our correspondent Affords us no sufficient anthority for publishing the names of the writers, they will be received as anonymous essays, important only for their intrinsic merite
Future Communications from H. of P. will be attended to.
M.G., to say the least, seems to write in a proper spirit, and will not be rejected.
The ANA, proposed by B., will deserve to be executed by other than young students. His first artiele is anticipated by a note in the last, the fourteenth, edition of the Commentaries, to which, and to Mr. Sedgwick's work, we must refer him. With the rest we recommcud him to grapple proprio marle, and proceed in bringing his plan to some degree of perfection.
C. and K., (Temple, 20th and 21st of Marcb,) are also received. The original Studens justly expostulates against the assumption of the same signature, by another. In bis former communication, for " commonly relates," read “ can only relate." He and Mr. H. must give us panse awbile, and we shall probably adopt a rule respecting the right of reply.
No Laws for - Society can be inserted. The answer, from Blackburn, to a question, is probably right, but inadmissible. We trust the proposer sent a case, with a fee, to a conveyancer, when he sent his. query to ns, for the recreation of students. On this subject we must declare, that no questions proposed will be answered by us, or our immediato friends, in the Law JOURNAL, and that there may be soine on which we shall, in duty to the Profession, with-hold any answer that may be given. It is not easy to describe those which may be answered ; our correspondents will be enabled to distio. guish, with a little reflection, and must trust to us for the exercise of our Veto, with discretion.
N. B. The pages of this Number being in three different series, for the contenience of
binding, the extent of each is marked on the wrapper, at each priaciper head, that subscriners may see when the number is completc,
ACCOUNT AND ANALYSIS
NEW LAW BOOKS,
WITH OCCASIONAL REMARKS.
ARTICLI. II.-A Compendious Law DICTIONARY, containing both
an Explanation of the Terms, and the Law itself ; intended for the Use of the Country Gentleman, the Merchant, and the Professional Man. By THOMAS Potts, Gent. formerly of Skinners'-hall,
12mo, Royal, 620 pp.-Ostell, Ave Maria-lane. 1803. THE preface, as well as the title to this work, boasts
much of the utility of a compendious Law Dictionary; and the author, in a brief address to LORD ELLENBOROUGA, says, “I have presumed to dedicate this trifling work to your lordship, * as most competent to judge of its public utility. The design of reducing the Law Dictionary into one small volume will, I trust, merit the approbation of every professional man; and should it be honoured with your lordship's patronage, obtain that share of public favour which would ever constitute the pride and ambition of,” &c. That his lordship is a competent judge there can be no doubt, and as little that his patronage would be the author's pride; but we cannot help thinking there is somewhat of adventurous boldness in thus challenging the approbation of a Lord Chief Justice to the Law Dictionary, reduced into one small rolume, which, “ as the author has selected his work from other writers, of the most acknowledged authority, and has devoted it to the use of the country gentleman, the mer. chant, and the professional man, he trusts will not be found unworthy of a place either in the library, the countinghouse, or the office." There is a good old maxim, de minimis non curat lex'; and as perhaps even the author is not
* We presume without authority. TOL, III, No. 15.
sanguine enough to hope that the Chief Justice can learn much from it, there is some fear that a great Law Lord may have so much to do, that he may chance to overlook the merit of this compendium.
To speak of the work seriously and candidly, we have our doubts, whether so compendious a dictionary of law can be useful to any professional man, unless it be as a glossary, for the explanation of antiquated or abstruse terms, to those who are mere novices in the study. We cannot even agree with the author, that “ the authorities recited in support of the authenticity of the respective articles are referred to, (with sufficient accuracy) to serve as a most complete index ; whereby the professional man may be enabled iminediately to direct his attention to any point under consideration,” This would be true of any copious and well executed Dictionary, or Digest, or Abridgment, and this in fact constitutes a great part, but by no means the whole of the merit of Comyns's Digest, Bacon's Abridgment, and Tomlins's edition of Jacob's Law Dictionary, by which latter work, we very inuch suspect, that the author has been assisted in his design of reducing the Law Dictionary into one small volume.” We are, however, by no means desirous of speaking lightly of the well intended labours of any one, and are readily inclined to believe, that if Mr. Potts, in his present attempt, is really less useful to his brethren of the profession than he intended to be, he is not so from the want of industry and ability; but from a radical defect in his plan; and because it is absolutely impossible to compress, into one pocket volume, any general view of the English law, without onnitting so many material qualifications of general principles, as to afford great room for misconception and error,
We always wish to enable our readers to form a fair judginent for themselves, and as we cannot give an analysis of a dictionary, otherwise than by saying, that it is digested in the order of the four and twenty letters of the alphabet, we shall extract a short article or two as a specimen of the excution of the rest.
“ INTEREST of money, is the premium paid for the use of a sum, and is by law, in this country, liınited to ó per cent. per ann. The laws relative to interest are extremely strict, and many difderent opinions have been formed on the subject. Thus the sum of 10001. borrowed for 12 months, on good security, may be well enough paid for with 501. and it may be difficult in general to employ it, so as to be able to reap advantage by paying more ; but the sum cf 201. borrowed for one month, can never be adequately paid sor by Is. 8d.
“ The law as it now stands, forbids, under an heaty penalty, a greater sum to be paid; and the person who would take 3s. 1d. for the loan of 201. for the period last mentioned, would incur that penalty as indisputably as if he had committed an extortion to a great amount. The nature of things, however, which is paramount to the regulations of men, has so ordered it, that a loan of a small sum, for a short time, may be as imperiously wanted as a large one, and it may be, proportionally considered, employed to much greater advantage. The law in this case then prohibits a transaction which would be beneficial to both parties, and which, in its nature, is just as fair as any of the large transactions which it does allow of.
“ Where an estate is devised for payment debts, Chancery will not allow interest for book debts. Ch. Rep. 34. In case of a vested legacy, due iminediately, and charged on land or money in the funds, which yield an immediate profil, interest shall be payable thereon from the iestator's death: but if charged only on the personal estates, which cannot be immediately got in, it shall carry interest only from the end of the year after the death of the testator. 2 Pere Wms. 26, 27. Where lands are charged with payment of a sum in gross, they are also chargable in equity with payment of interest for such sum, Fin. Rep. 286.
“ INTEREST, COMPOUND, or Interest upon Interest, is as the latter designation expresses, when the interest instead of being paid is added to the capital sum, and becomes an increased capital. This is not allowed by law, though it can be practised without infringing any statute, by renewing the bond, or instrument, and comprising the whole in it, or lending the interest separately.”
On this we shall ubserve, that the penalty, wbich is the vacating of the whole contract, infected by usury, and the consequent loss of the sum lent, together with a forfeiture of treble the sum, to be sued for by a penal action, ought to have been specified ; or an ignorant foreigner, who, perhaps, may be one of Mr. Pott's readers, might possibly fall into the mistake of supposing, that the heavy penalty of the law, which, is as certainly incurred by the loan of 10001. on usurious interest, as by the petty usury of a low peddling Israelite, who takes 50 per cent. on 201. or 205. is equal in both cases. The propriety of laws against usury, so peremptorily denied in the compendious Law Dictionary, we have not room or leisure to discuss. It is a great question of political economy, and is intiinately connected with the existence of the funding system, which would be greatly embarrassed, did not the government, by means of laws against usury, restrain the competition between loans
upon private and public security. We should not therefore too hastily decide upon a subject of such importance. The following extract will convey a more favourable opinion of the author's mode of stating the general result of the law upon a common and useful subject, though it will not afford complete satisfaction to those who want to know muclı about the matter, or who are accustomed to dip below the surface of things.
“ MORTGAGE signifies a pawn of land, or tenement, or any thing immovable, laid or bound for money borrowed, to be the creditor's for ever, if the money be not paid at the day agreed upon; and the creditor holding land and tenement upon this bargain, is called tenant in mortgage. He who pledgeth this pawn or gage, is called the mortgagor, and he who taketh it the mortgagee.
“ The last and best improvement of mortgage seems to be that in the mortgage deed for a term of years, or in the assignment thereof, the mortgagor should covenant for himself and his heirs, that if default be made in the payment of the money at the day, that then bis heirs will, at the costs of the mortgagee and his heirs, convey the freehold and inheritance of the mortgaged lands to the mortgagee and his heirs, or to such person or persons (to prevent merger of the term) as he or they shall direct and appoint; for the reversion, after a term of fifty or a hundred years, being little worth, and yet the mortgagee, for want thereof, continuing but a termor, and subject to forfeiture, &c. and not capable of the privileges of a freeholder; therefore,when a mortgagor cannot redeem the land, it is but reasonable the mortgagee should have the whole interest and inheritance of it, to dispose of it as absolute owner. 3 Bac. Abr. 633.
Although after breach of the condition an absolute fee simple is vested, at common law, in the mortgagee, yet a right of redemption being still inherent in the land, till the equity of redemption is foreclosed, the same right shall descend to and is invested in such persons as have a right to the land, in case there had been no mortgage or incumbrance whatsoever; and, as an equitable performance as effectually defeats the interests of the mortgagee as the legal performance doib at common law, the condition still hanging over the estate, till the equity is totally foreclosed; on this foundation it hath been held, that a person who comes in under a voluntary conveyance, may redeem a mortgage ; and though such right of redemption be inherent in the land, yet the party claiming the benefit of it must not only set forth such right, but also shew that he is the person entitled to it. Hard. 465.
“But if a mortgage be forfeited, and thereby the estate absolutely vested in the mortgagee at the common law, yet a court of equity will consider the real value of the tenements compared with the sum borrowed. And if the estate be of greater value than the sum lent thereon, they will allow the mortgagor, at any reasonable time, to recall or redeem the estate, by paying to the mortgagee his principal, interest, and costs. This reasonable advantage allowed to the mortgagors is called the equity of redemption. 2 Black.