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not furthered after all,—then great weight may be due to these objections. And, in fact, we think the utility of this plan very doubtful, and that it might possibly be not only useless but injurious.
In settling the merits of such a plan, the points to be considered are, whether it would make innocence more sure of acquittal and guilt of punishment, than they now are? As to the first of these, we believe that innocence is very sure of acquittal already. Our juries are not apt to be sanguinary:—the civilized part of mankind are never apt to be sanguinary, unless they are under some strong personal excitement. 'The law holds (says Blackstone) that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.' This maxim, which we believe to be as wise as it is humane, (for it is founded on that regard for individual security which lies at the root of all social order,) has long been completely established in the practice of our juries. Fatal exceptions, it must be acknowledged, have sometimes occurred;—there are instances in which the innocent have suffered the last penalty of the law. But this is owing to the imperfection of human nature, from the influence ol which even the btest judicial system cannot be wholly free. And besides, the science of criminal" law, like other sciences, is progressive. Such distressing examples as those alluded to are not likely to happen again; for we have been instructed by the effect of our mistakes. This remark may be illustrated by a case which is probably familiar to many of our readers. 'I would never (says Sir Matthew Hale) convict any person of murder or manslaughter, unless the fact were proved to be done, or at least the body found dead, for the sake of two cases.'—The two cases to which he refers are very curious, especially one of them. A young girl, who lived with her uncle, (who was also her heir at law,) was overheard to »ay, 'Good uncle, do not kill me!' Very soon afterwards, the child disappeared; and the uncle, being committed on suspicion of having murdered her, was admonished by the judges of assize to produce her against the next assizes. When the next assizes came, the uncle produced a child whom he declared to be his niece, and who certainly resembled her extremely; but who was proved by witnesses well acquainted with the person of the real niece to be not the same. On these presumptions, the uncle was found guilty, condemned, and executed. But, some years after, the real niece, who had been induced to run away by the ill treatment of her uncle, and had been received and brought up in a distant part of the country by a benevolent stranger, appeared, and, being now of age, laid claim to her inheritance. Her identity was established on the clearest evidence, and her claim allowed.* This is a shocking story indeed; but it is very clear that such an occurrence could not now take place. In the present state of the country, a
* 2 flak's P. C. *90,'
child absconding in this manner could hardly have lain hid; nor could the persons who harboured her have failed to hear of and to prevent the fatal effects of her disappearance. But at all events, so long as the important rule which Sir Matthew Hale has deduced from this very case continues in force,, (and we believe it is now always observed,) there exists a very strong security against the recurrence of so dreadful a mistake.
For the reasons already given, therefore, and perhaps for others that may appear in the sequel, it seems that appeals of murder are not wanted for the sake of the innocent. The next point is, whether they would increase the chances of detection to the guilty.
The office of a jury trying a murderer is among the most painful to which an ordinary member of society can be exposed. Between indignation at the crime, and the fear lest, through a mistaken verdict, another innocent life should be destroyed, their situation is most difficult. To act well in such a situation, men cannot be fortified with too strong a feeling of responsibility. It needs an intense sense of obligation to keep the judgment steady amidst so much excitement. At present, juries sitting on cases of this nature know that their decision is to be Final. If they convict unjustly, a fellow-creature may fall a sacrifice to their mistake. If they acquit improperly, they let loose a murderer on society. In either case, though in a different way, blood may be said to lie at their door. The feeling of this heavy responsibility keeps down the influences of mere passion or sentiment over their minds, and severely impels them along the path of duty.
But if it were settled that their decisions in such cases should be final no longer, as their sense of responsibility would necessarily be weakened, so they might be apt to maintain a less firm guard on their feelings. Let them know that, if they should chance to be misled by a generous ardour against crime, or a humane prejudice in favour of the accused, their mistake will be open to the correction of another jury ;—would this produce no effect on the state of mind in which they listened to the evidence, and drew their conclusion from it? In some instances would not a feeling of severity—in many more, would not one of false, or at least misplaced humanity—be too readily indulged? It is true that the obligation of an oath would remain; and far be it from us to underrate the effect of such an obligation on the minds of our countrymen. But, in cases like those we are now speaking of, cases in which the exercise of severe reason is peculiarly needed, and which yet, by a strange fatality, peculiarly move the passions, «urely no motive can be considered as superfluous. It is fitting therefore that the obligation on the juror's conscience should be heightened by the strongest possible conviction of the seriousness and solemnity of the duty which he is called to discharge.
If these views be just, it follows that the idea of there being an opportunity for a uew trial might occasionally lead juries to convict too hastily; but much oftener perhaps it would tempt them to flinch from the performance of a painful duty, and to be too hasty in acquitting. They would acquit in the anticipation of a new trial; but it is very material to observe, that the new trial might not come after all. Even in civil cases, uew trials are not granted— it is manifest that they could not be granted—in every instance in which the judges disapprove of the verdict given; for this would be to substitute the opinion of the judges for that of the jury—a substitution the more absurd as, in nicely balanced cases, the jury, who hear and see the witnesses, must be much more competent to decide on the effect of their evidence than the judges sitting in Westminster-Hall, who know it merely from report. It is only therefore where the verdict is glaringly, or very probably erroneous that the matter is sent down to a new jury; and, if this be the practice in cases purely civil, much more would the court be. inclined to observe the same caution and delicacy in directing a person acquitted on a charge of murder to be re-tried on the same charge. Besides this, it would be necessary, we presume, that the new trial should be moved for by some appellant or prosecutor; but is it certain that such a person would always be found? Would not indolence, or a want of means, or the invidious nature of the task, deter even those who were dissatisfied with the verdict from taking steps to set it aside?
It is therefore at least possible that this change in our criminal practice might relax the severe attention of juries, under the idea of a remedy being provided for their mistakes, without at the same time incurring the application of that remedy. In mentioning, however, this objection to the plan, we rather wish to suggest it for consideration, than to propose it as decisive. On a subject so important and serious dogmatism is peculiarly to be avoided; but we may be allowed to observe that, before any great change is introduced into the conduct of our criminal jurisprudence, a strong case of expediency should be made out. It is not enough that grounds for the alteration should exist, or even should appear; they must be palpable, in order that we may be secure of that co-operation from public opinion which is always conducive, and sometimes is essential, to the success of judicial reforms. Happily, however, this advantage is sufficiently ensured to us by the popular nature of our constitution, which makes it impossible to introduce any great innovation into our legal practice, without subjecting the measure in its progress to the closest inspection, both in an assembly which concentrates and reflects the good sense and the feeling of the people at large, and in one which either embodies, or immediately commands, all our living resources of judicial wisdom and experience.
Art. XL—Narrative of a Voyage to Hudson's Bay, in His 'Majesty's Ship Rosamond, containing some Account of the North-eastern Coast of America, and of the Tribes inhabiting that remote Region. By Lieut. Chappell, R. N. 8vo. London. 1617. 'I ''HE arctic regions are at this moment, from many circnm-*' stances, so peculiarly interesting, that we took up the present volume in the hope of meeting with some new or striking observations on the geography, hydrography, or meteorology of a part of the northern seas which of late years has not been much visited by men of nautical science: but we have been disappointed; and we cannot help thinking that the author has been extremely ill advised to publish with such slight materials. In the ' Voyage to Hudson's Bay' there is literally nothing worth communicating to the public at large; nothing in the slightest degree connected with professional subjects, unless it be the discovery (which is not a new one) that the Admiralty charts of Hudson's Bay are very defective, and those of the Hudson's Bay Company much better, but reserved for their own exclusive use. Lieut. Chappell, however, is as close as the Hudson's Bay Company, for not a hint escapes him in what the badness of the one or the goodness of the other consists. Indeed, he might just as well have written his little volume on a voyage to the South Seas as to Hudson's Bay, for any thing nautical which is to be found in it respecting this bay ;—the 'Voyage,' in fact, was confined to a passage to Fort York and back, a voyage which has been made annually for the last hundred and fifty years. With regard to the Esquimaux, of whom personally he could know little or nothing—of the Hudson's Bay Company's establishments, which he never saw—of tribes of Indians, in the interior, whom he nevervisited —of Lake Winnipeg, which he never approached within five hun dred miles,—and of many other matters of which he treats, but in which he had not the smallest concern—we do not think it worth while to trouble our readers with any observations upon them, more especially as by looking a little farther to the northward we shall meet with 'metal more attractive.'
Among the changes and vicissitudes to which the physical constitution of our globe is perpetually subject, One of the most extraordinary, and from which the most interesting and important results may be anticipated, appears to have taken place in the course of the last two or three years, and is still in operation. The convulsion of an earthquake and the eruption of a volcano force themselves into notice by the dismay and devastation with which, in a greater or less degree, they are almost always attended: but the event to which we allude has been so quietly accomplished,
ti 4 that that it might have remained unknown, but for an extraordinary change which a few intelligent navigators remarked in the state of the arctic ice, and the reports of the unusual quantities of this ice observed in the Atlantic. As it is a subject in which the British islands are particularly interested, we shall enter into some detail of the facts and of their probable consequences.
It is generally admitted that, for the last four hundred years, an extensive portion of the eastern coast of Old Greenland has been shut up by an impenetrable barrier of ice, and, with it, the illfated Norwegian or Danish colonies, which had been established there for more than an equal length of time preceding that unfortunate catastrophe, and who were thus cut off at once from all communication with the mother-country;—that various attempts have been made from time to time to approach this coast, with the view of ascertaining the fate of the unfortunate colonists, but in vain, the ice being every where impervious; and that, all hope being at length abandoned, that part of this extensive tract of land which faces the east took the appropriate name of lost Greenland.
The event to which we have alluded is the disappearance of the whole, or greater part of this vast barrier of ice. This extraordinary fact, so interesting to science and humanity, appears to rest on no slender foundation. Both its disappearance from its long longrooted position, and its re-appearance in a more southern latitude, have been witnessed by various persons worthy of credit. It had been observed in the summer-months of the year 1815, and more particularly in those of 1816 and 1817, by ships coming from the West Indies and America, as well as by those going out to Halifax and Newfoundland, that islands of ice, unusual in magnitude and number, occurred in the Atlantic, many of them as far down as the fortieth parallel of latitude. Some of these were detached ice-bergs, from a hundred to a hundred and thirty feet above the surface of the water, and several miles in circumference; others were flat islands of packed ice, presenting so vast an extent of surface, that a ship from Boston is said to have been three days entangled in it, near the tail of the Great Bank of Newfoundland. The ship of the Unitas Fratrum, proceeding to the missions on Old Greenland, was, last year, eleven days beset, on the coast of Labrador, with the ice-bergs, many of which had huge rocks upon them, gravel, soil, and pieces of wood. The packet from Halifax passed, in April last, a mountain of ice nearly two hundred feet in height, and at least two miles in circumference. By accounts from Newfoundland, Halifax, and other northern ports of America, it would appear, that greater quantities of ice were seen in the months of May, June, and July, than had ever been witnessed by the oldest navigators; and that the whole island of Newfoundland was so completely