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"Under the restrictions, and with the exceptions with which it is exercised in the English chancery, we cannot but think that it will be found a very useful addition to the means possessed by our courts of doing justice, and therefore that it is proper to introduce it into our system.
“The commissioners appointed by the British government to enquire into the practice of the courts of common law, have proposed to give those courts power to examine the parties in all cases upon interrogatories as an equivalent to the bill of discovery. It is our intention to submit a bill providing for means of compelling disclosure by one of these methods."
The eighth item relates to the determination of claims to property in the possession of a person pretending no interest. This is effected through the operation of a bill of interpleader, “which lies in every case in which a person is in the situation of a depositary or a stakeholder, and, by a very simple method of proceeding, relieves him from further responsibility on his bringing the money or property into court.”
The ninth item provides for the prevention or restraint of injuries. Upon this head the commissioners say:
“It is here that the powers of the courts of equity appear to possess a decided superiority over those of the courts of common law, and that instances most frequently occur of defects in our administration of justice. The principal cases in which the court interferes by its writ of injunction to prevent or restrain the commission of acts injurious to others, are-1. In case of nuisances : 2. In case of trespass : 3. In case of waste.
“In all these cases the power is most important and valuable. Indeed no system of justice can be considered to be complete without the means of prevention and restraint. In the case of waste our courts have been invested with powers to the fullest extent, and there appears no reason why they should not be extended to the other cases mentioned. It will be seen that in the bill relating to estrepement we have suggested a method of restraining the commission of trespass on lands in certain cases."
The tenth item respects affording specific relief where a recovery in damages would be an inadequate remedy. When the contract is for the delivery of a chattel, the action of replevin which has been extended in this state to all cases where one man claims property in goods which are in the possession of another, and is not confined, as it is in England, to the case of an unlawful taking, the peculiar nature of this remedy, which Jays hold on the thing itself, and gives the plaintiff either the possession or security for its forthcoming to the amount of its value, appears to answer all the purposes of a chancery proceeding.
With respect to land, the action of ejectment has always been an equitable remedy, and not only may land be recovered upon an equitable title, upon the principle that our courts will consider as already done whatever a chancellor would decree to be done, but the same result may be often attained in an action
upon the contract of sale through the medium of a conditional verdict. By the annexation of the general chancery power " it is not intended,” say the commissioners, “to dispense with the accustomed proceeding by ejectment, but merely to increase the number of remedies designed to supply the place of the bill for specific performance."
The next bill reported by the commissioners, is entitled “ An act relating to the commencement of action.” Full as it and the subsequent reports and bills are of provisions of great practical importance, we must content ourselves with enumerating them without a consideration of their details.
The seventh report is dated March 28, 1835, and comprises four bills, none of which have been acted upon. 1. "An act relating to lunatics and habitual drunkards.” 2. “An act relating to assignees for the benefit of creditors, and other trustees.” 3. “An act relating to domestic attachment.” 4. “ An act relating to writs of quo warranto and mandamus."
The eighth, or as it may be termed supplemental report, (for it was made after the last extension of time allowed the commissioners had expired, is dated January 4, 1836, and is accompanied by seven bills. 1. “An act relating to the liens of mechanics, and others upon buildings.” 2. “An act relating to the attachment of vessels." 3. “ An act relating to bonds with penalties, and official bonds." 4. "An act relating to the action of replevin.” 5. “An act relating to reference and arbitration.” 6. " An act relating to executions." 7. “ An act relating to insolvent debtors.”
The commissioners, also, during the session of 1833—4, made a special report on the subject of the law in relation to factors—and their accompanying bill was passed April 14, 1834.
Notwithstanding the expiration of their term of office without a renewal, the commissioners in their last report say: "Should the legislature desire it, we shall feel great pleasure in laying before them at such intervals as our duties and business will admit, the result of our labours upon the remaining portion of the civil code.”
Though in a detailed review of the revised code, some particulars might be enumerated, in which the commissioners appear to have lost sight of the just and cautious principles with which they set out, yet on the whole, there is every reason to be satisfied. Pennsylvanian jurisprudence has received an improvement from their labours and suggestions which will long be felt, and it is hoped acknowledged. Indeed nothing else could have been expected from the character of the gentlemen composing the commission. Of the living perhaps it would be unbecoming to speak as we might feel inclined. Not so, however, of the venerable head of the commission, upon
whose life death has now placed its seal. For more than half a century, he had been practically engaged in the administration of the law, and a close observer of the legal polity of Pennsylvania. To the opportunities afforded during that period by a very extensive practice-by intimate personal intercourse with the distinguished men, quorum pars magna fuit, who laid the foundations and reared the superstructure of the juridical system, during what may be termed the Augustan age of the bar of the state-he united extensive reading, profound and cautious study, habits of industry and research early acquired, and a sound and vigorous judgment. Belonging to the older school, and with experience and qualifications such as have been adverted to,—that he should have viewed sudden and radical revolutions with distrust, and imparted a cautious spirit to the labours of his associates as well as his own, was naturally to be expected--and the disappointments which may at times be experienced at the exhibition of a contrary principle, are far more than overbalanced by the many causes of felicitation which arise from this source.
ART. IX.-1. Miscellaneous Sonnets. 2. Sonnets dedicated to
Liberty. 3. Ecclesiastical Sketches. 4. The River Duddon ; a series of Sonnets. 5. Sonnets in the volume entitled “ Yarrow Revisited, and other Poems." By WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, complete in 1 vol. 8vo. Philadelphia, 1836.
It is matter of familiar observation, that the success of literary productions is sensibly dependent on the forms in which they are presented. In the domain of English poetry, there is a section to which we think justice has not been done : its quality is not held in very high repute, and the title to it is regarded as somewhat doubtful. We refer to that form of metrical composition which is denominated the sonnet. To prove that it has not found favour always even in the eyes of those who have cultivated a taste for other forms of poetry, we would venture to ask them whether, when they have met with its modest structure, they have not generally passed it carelessly by. Beside, in the minds of those who do not entirely neglect it, there may be detected a peculiar feeling, aptly to be described as unkindly; they regard it not with the look that a man gives to his own kin and countrymen, but with that which is cast coldly and doubtingly upon a stranger or foreigner. While the sonnet is read, an un-English feeling is found to be creeping about the heart, and the fancy is filled unconsciously with thoughts of Petrarch, and images of Laura and the Vaucluse. While its melody is falling on the ear, we are too often overtaken with a kind of misgiving that we are listening to the rich music of indeed our own mother tongue, but tuned to a strange note-that we hear its glorious words uttered through a foreign instrument. This is not as it should be. The muse of England should not stand a suppliant or a vassal any where. She holds in her own right, or she holds not at all. So far as literature is concerned, we are, by our calling, guardsmen of English rights and English merits; and as the form of poetry in question seems to be regarded as not having yet worked out its independence, it is our present purpose to undertake its vindication. We proclaim at the outset that we acknowledge no allegiance—we own no homage—to the Italian. Our literary territory is held absolutely, or it had better be relinquished entirely. There is too much Saxon blood in our veins to bide content on a divided soil or under a feudal tenure. It may be shown that the sonnet is a form of poetry fairly introduced into the literature of England, fully sustained, and now, without reserve or qualification, by the law of letters it is our own. We propose therefore to say a word, and if need be to strike a blow, for our English title and our English fame in this province of poesy.
Before advancing further, the looseness in the acceptation of the term “sonnet,” in consequence of its application to several different forms of poetry, demands some attempt to ascertain its true use or at least to give it some precision. The most obvious property, which is common to the sonnets of all countries, is its limitation to fourteen lines. With the exception of some of the earliest English sonnets, and those of not much merit, which extended to eighteen lines, this may be said to be universally true. It is composed of four parts, two quadrains and two terzines, which are usually indicated by the typography in the foreign sonnets but not in the English. Rhyme is also an essential property, and it is to it that the different varieties of the sonnet have reference : the lines are of equal length and the measure iambic. The form which is considered as especially entitled to the name, is that which is framed after the Italian sonnet—the Petrarcan model. In this the rhymes are repeated at certain intervals so as to produce a recurrence of the same closing sound, and it is this property which seems to suggest the origin of the name itself. The arrangement is such, that in fourteen lines there are but five, and sometimes not more than four, several rhymes. We are fearful of making ourselves disagreeable by the technicalities of prosody. By means of a specimen, we may accomplish our wish of conveying an idea of the general structure of this variety of the sonnet much better and certainly more agreeably. In quoting with this view Mr. Wordsworth's sonnet composed upon Westminster Bridge, we did not intend to be diverted from the mere consideration of its metrical character. We cannot however refrain from asking the reader to recall his feelings when he has happened to pass along the streets of a city yet in its slumbers, and unless our own deceive us, he will find, we think, an echo to them in the following specimen of the metre of the sonnet :
“Earth has not any thing to show more fair :
And all that mighty heart is lying still !" In this form the poem is cast by those who have implicitly revered the ancient landmarks. It is the most usual form of the Spanish and Portuguese, as well as the Italian sonnet. The English poets, with Shakspeare as a leader, have with a characteristic temper claimed greater freedom. This appears in several different structures of the poem, in which the variety is effected in some by a different distribution of the rhymes, and in others by increasing the number of them to six and seven, but not attaching them throughout to consecutive lines. The following, selected from the same poet in order to avoid distracting attention to other points of comparison, may serve as specimens of some of these varieties :
“The shepherd, looking eastward, softly said