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Of course, then, it could not have derived its name from a tower built in the reign of Piolemy Philadelphus, some half dozen centuries later.
It will be perceived by our readers, that we have wholly passed by several departments of the work we have been reviewing ; not for want of materials for comment, in the way both of praise and censure, but because our limits forbid us to prosecute the examination further at present. Notwithstanding the inaccuracies and omissions we have felt it our duty to point out, we repeat what we said at the beginning, that Dr. Anthon's "Classical Dictionary” is the best in the English language, and will be found in many points an extremely useful book. We regret that a scholar of his powers and attainments and opportunities, should have allowed bimself to hurry into the literary world a work of so great importance, with all its imperfections on its head. Professor Anthon owed it to his fame for scholarship, to the reputation of his country, and to the generation of young men whom bis works are exerting a great influence in forming, to expend his most ansious care, and the patient labors of many years, to exhaust all the learning of his capacious memory, and to apply all the powers of his vigorous reason, in making a classical dictionary fit to stand the test of the severest scrutiny at home and abroad; at once complete, condensed, harmonized, digested, and consistent; a work to be relied upon for the accuracy, as well as respected for the amount, of information it contains ; a work to which he might with justice assert the fullest claims of authorship. Such a work, the present Classical Dictionary can with no propriety be called. Nor is the typographical part entitled to all the praise which Dr. Anthon awards it, in his preface. Mr. Drisler, to whom he says the work is indebted for most of its correctness, has hastily and imperfecıly performed the duty assigned him. We have noticed many minute errors, many instances of false accentuation in Greek words, many mistakes in numbers, and inconsistencies in dates, which ought not to have escaped that gentleman's critical eye. We still hope that Dr. Anthon will use his abundant materials in preparing a book, more worthy of the high position he occupies in the literature of the United States, and more useful to those for whose benefit it was intended.
ART. VII.- American Criminal Trials. By Peleg W.
CHANDLER. Volume I. Boston : Charles C. Little &
The object of this work is, to bring together a fair and full account of the most important criminal trials, which have occurred in the history of the now United States. The idea of a middle course between the heavy " State Trials” of Howell, and the sprightly " Causes Célèbres” of the French, is a good one, and, as far as the volume before us, relating to trials before the American Revolution, is concerned, the reader will find it carried out in an interesting and instructive manner. The book is suitable for popular reading, being free from legal technicalities and formal statements. A trial is taken, and all the facts anterior to its occurrence, with other matters serving to throw light upon it, are carefully collected. The materials are then interwoven into a narrative of the writer's own, thus forming a series of interesting and prominent facts in juridical literature.
Besides the public principles unfolded and illustrated in the judicial proceedings recorded in this work, the details of circumstances leading to the trials, and of the evidence adduced at them, exhibit a minute, graphic, and striking view of the state of society and manners at different periods and places, such as is scarcely in any other way to be obiained. The interior of social, domestic, and private life is frequently thrown open in the course of an examination of witnesses, and an access afforded to the retired paths of ordinary human experience, which history, in any of its other forms, does not approach. There is a peculiar satisfaction in contemplating such representations of actual life, in its minutest relations and interests, brought out to view in the true and authentic aspect which they wear, when appearing with the sanction of oaths, and under the decisive tests of a public investigation, and an unsparing cross-examination. The mind reposes with confidence on the scenes thus presented, and is gratified in beholding the image of its own nature and condition reflected in so clear a mirror. When we consider how acceptable, from this and other causes, to the public taste and curiosity, the accounts of trials, particularly criminal trials, always are, and look at the manner in which the work before us is prepared, and take into view the field from which the author proposes to select his materials, we cannot doubt the success of his labors. The present volume justifies us in expressing the opinion, that Mr. Chandler, as he proceeds, will produce a work that will shed much light upon the progress of law and liberty, and also of manners and morals, in this country.
The first case presented is that of Anne Hutchinson. She was tried and condemned, not so much in consequence of alleged heretical opinions, as of the mischievous social influence she was believed to be exerting. At the meetings which she held, and which she made so attractive as to draw in a continually increasing number of the females of the colony, she is represented to have made a systematic assault upon the principles preached in the pulpits, and administered in the government, of Massachusetts. That assault was rendered effective and formidable by her genius and zeal. She was felt to be underrnining the foundations of the church and the state. The question came up in her case, which comes up in other forms in our own age; and it was settled by the New England fathers in the same way in which it has been settled of late in different parts of the country. It is, whether it is better to endure, in patience, the disturbance produced by agitators and fanatics, or by an exercise of absolute force to silence and suppress them. Upon a full and candid examination of the case the conclusion may, perhaps, be reached, that the New-England people of the olden time exercised about as much forbearance as men of this generation would commonly exhibit under similar circumstances.
Mrs. Hutchinson was not only in the daily habit of denouncing and ridiculing the clergy and the most cherished institutions of the country, but she advocated the startling doctrine of private revelations from the Divine Spirit, which she placed where, if real, they belonged, on a level with the revelations recorded in the Scriptures, or rather, as in effect it was, infinitely above them, because infinitely above any particular interpretations that may be made of them. She was powerful and ingenious in her knowledge and application of the Scriptures, long trained to disputation, fluent, prompt, and eloquent. Her sex shielded her from many of the means of opposition and resistance which might otherwise have been employed ; and, besides all this, there was mingled with her bold and fanatical notions and proceedings much truth, which
the age had not then reached, and of which the acquisition by her is wonderful and unaccountable. For these and other reasons, too numerous to be mentioned, she was indeed, most naturally, an object of the greatest dread, as an agitator and innovator, and was rapidly making progress in upturning and overthrowing the whole system of society and religion which the Puritans had fled to the American wilderness to establish and enjoy. And who that considers the sacrifices they had made, the privations they had endured, the sufferings and sorrows they had encountered, in procuring their settlement, the price they had paid for the institutions and arrangements of their social and religious state and order, — can wonder that they were unwilling to see the fruits of their labors and struggles blasted, and the fabric, they had carefully and painfully reared, undermined and cast down?
But much as we may sympathize with and pity them, we must not withhold our concurrence in that general voice of condemnation of their proceedings which is uttered by the present age. It is of the extremest importance that the principle, proclaimed in that condemnation, should be imprinted everywhere upon the public mind. It declares that no circumstances of provocation will ever justify the use of force in suppressing opinion, and that, however much disturbance, perplexity, and vexation, moral, political, or theological agitators and innovators may occasion, the hand of society must never attempt to restrain the utterance of their sentiments. We must endure and bear with them as incurable evils. We may try to keep out of their way, which, probably, is the better course, or we may, if we choose, resist them by argument; but, whenever we so far lose our patience as to think of employing force, of any kind, to put them down, we come under the same condemnation which we, and all the rest of the world, have pronounced against the persecutors of Anne Hutchinson.
The political lesson taught by the proceedings in this case is, the danger of allowing a community, in its executive and legislative functions, to exercise judicial authority. The trial was conducted by the General Court, the governor presiding, and the ministers of the colony being permitted to mingle in the deliberations and proceedings. The tribunal, thus constituted, was armed with the entire political and moral power of the State, and was, for this reason, uncontrolled
VOL. LIV. — NO. 114.
and incontrollable. It was held in check by no principle of law, freed from the restraints of judicial precedents and usages, limited by no provisions of charter or constitution, and safe in going to any extremity of violence and outrage, because sure of support from the passions and the power of the whole people. Whoever reads this trial, or the trials of the Quakers, or of the reputed witches, which are very satisfactorily and fairly reported and described in this volume, will learn the infinite value of an independent judiciary, as an essential department of government, and will be convinced that it is the only safeguard of the liberty and life of the citizen.
We notice that Mr. Chandler intimates that Mrs. Hutchinson was probably employed, as an instrument and dupe, to make the disturbance she did, for the sake of promoting the political designs of the party attached to Governor (afterwards the celebrated Sir Henry ) Vane. Unless he has better evidence of this than has come to our knowledge, we would suggest, whether the whole transaction is not rendered unnecessarily perplexed and entangled by such an insinuation.
One of the most curious and interesting events, in the history of society in this country, is presented in the chapter entitled “ The New York Negro Plot.” It occurred in 1741, fifty years after the witchcraft delusion, which has given such a peculiar notoriety to Salem, a city always at least on a level with any other in the intelligence of its population, but which, in consequence of its having happened to be the scene where the court assembled for the witchcraft trials, has ever since been most unjustly identified with popular superstition and fanaticism. We hesitate not to say, that in every particular the New York, Negro Plot runs parallel with the witchcraft trials, – in the absurdity of the delusion, in the ferocity of the popular excitement, in the violence that was done to common sense, réason, and the law, and in the bloody and awful results of the proceedings. And yet the world has been willing to forget the New York Negro Plot, while every child is taught, when the name of Salem is mentioned, to associate with it the horrors and the follies of witchcraft. But the New York Negro Plot ought not to be forgotten ; it teaches a much more important lesson than the witchcraft delusion. The latter illustrates the blind and destructive energy of the popular passions, under circumstances and influences, belonging to an age of comparative ignorance and superstition, and which can never again occur ; while the