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degree of moral advancement, and the comparative political power of our own and many other countries is thus shown to be connected with the former existence of a race of plants now extinct, which bore but a faint analogy to living species, and flourished at periods of immense antiquity, probably under a climate and in a state of the earth widely distinct from the present, the mind is elevated to an exalted conception of the magnificent extent of the whole system of nature, and of the wonderful relations subsisting between its remotest parts. The present disposition of the strata in the carboniferous series, and indeed in every other formation, is the best, if not the only conceivable, arrangement, by which each might be made to rise in succession to the surface, and present in its turn a variety of useful minerals or of soils adapted for different agricultural purposes. Had the strata been permitted to remain horizontal, they would have invested the nucleus of the earth,' as Dr. Buckland has justly observed, in concentric coats, and the inferior must have been buried for ever beneath the highest."* Now it scarcely admits of a doubt that the agents employed in effecting this most perfect and systematic arrangement have been earthquakes, operating with different degrees of violence and at various intervals of time during a lapse of ages. The order that now reigns has resulted therefore from causes which have generally been considered as capable only of defacing and devastating the earth's surface, but which we thus find strong grounds for suspecting were, in the primeval state of the globe, and perhaps still are, instrumental in its perpetual renovation. The effects of these subterranean forces prove that they are governed by general laws, and that these laws have been conceived by consummate wisdom and forethought. Their consequences were formerly enumerated amongst the signs of anarchy and misrule, whence the Epicurean hypothesis originated that the earth was first formed, and has been since maintained, by Chance; and in later times they have been appealed to as the visible manifestations of God's wrath and of a penal dispensation.

After the unexpected discoveries, for which we may already thank the Science of Geology, it can no longer be matter of surprize, that we remain in ignorance of the ends answered by many of the operations of nature and of her living works, in whose form and structure such infinite variety, contrivance and beauty are displayed. The zoophytes and testacea, whose exuvia are entombed by millions in stratified rocks, contribute to our wants and enjoyments perhaps in a far greater degree than the analogous races that now fill the great deep with life. The fossil species have

* Inaugural Lecture, p. 11. Oxford. 1819.


not only enriched the soil by their decomposition, and probably occasioned the universal contrast between the sterile wastes of primary formation and the rich tracts composed of strata replete with organic remains; they also enable the geologist to determine with accuracy that regular order and succession of rocks, of which the knowledge, as we have shown, may often be so important in its practical application.-But is this all? Those who have speculated on the probable final causes of the creation of inferior animals have generally assumed, as the basis of their reasoning, that the support, gratification, or instruction of mankind are the chief, if not the sole ends proposed in their existence, The rebuke given by geology to this proud assumption is striking, but is no other than the contemplation of the present constitution of nature might have afforded to any but the most superficial and unphilosophical observers. Milton has warned us against the vanity of indulging this train of thought,

'Nor think, though man were none,
That heaven would want spectators.'

And when, giving the reins to his imagination, he added,
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth


he must have felt conscious that no adequate purposes, wor thy of so many mighty exertions of creative power, have been yet discerned, and that since they will perhaps remain for ever mysterious to man, he was justified as a poet in invoking to his assistance the intervention of supernatural agents.

The facts now ascertained have convinced those naturalists who are most competent to form an opinion on the subject, that successive races of distinct plants and animals have inhabited this earth- —a phenomenon perhaps not more unaccountable than one with which we are familiar, that successive generations of living species perish, some after a brief existence of a few hours, others after a protracted life of many centuries. None of these fossil plants or animals appear referable to species now in being, with the exception of a few imbedded in the most recent strata; yet they all belong to genera, families, or orders established for the classification of living organic productions. They even supply links in the chain, without which our knowledge of the existing systems would be comparatively imperfect. It is therefore clear to demonstration, that all, at whatever distance of time created, are parts of one connected plan. They have all proceeded from the same Author, and bear indelibly impressed upon them the marks of having been designed by One Mind. There is a gradation of animated beings, from those of the simplest to those of the most complicated organization; from the invertebrated to the vertebrated;

brated; and, ascending in the scale from the lowest of the vertebrated class to the most perfect, we find at length, in the mammalia, all the most striking characters of osteological structure, and all the leading features of the physiology of the human frame fully displayed. When we have ascertained that animals of that class in which the type of our physical organization is so unequivocally developed, existed at distant, though not the most remote, periods in the history of this planet, and that a scheme, of which man forms an inseparable part, is of such high antiquity, the remarks of Bishop Butler on the connection of the course of things which come within our view, with the past, the present, and the future, are forcibly recalled to our recollection:

"We are placed (he observes) in the middle of a scheme, not a fixed but a progressive one, every way incomprehensible-incomprehensible in a manner equally with respect to what has been, what now is, and what shall be hereafter.'*

Indeed no department of science has ever illustrated and confirmed the line of argument adopted by that truly philosophical writer in a more satisfactory manner than geology. Relations between different portions of the system, however distant, are proved sometimes to subsist, and to extend even from extinct to living races of plants and animals. Sources of apparent derangement in the system appear, when their operation throughout a series of ages is brought into one view, to have produced a great preponderance of good; and to be governed by fixed general laws, conducive, perhaps essential, to the preservation of the habitable state of the globe. If the analogy between the constitution and government of the natural and moral worlds, supposed by Butler, be admitted as highly credible, the certainty that the former, so far as regards this planet, is a scheme of infinitely greater extent than we before had reason to imagine, greatly strengthens the presumption that of the latter also we as yet survey but an insignificant part; and that if the whole could be seen and comprehended by us, difficulties insurmountable by human reason, which now present themselves to every contemplative mind, would disappear; for things which we call irregularities may not be so at all; and some unknown relation, or some unknown impossibility, may render what is objected against, just and good; nay, good in the highest practicable degree.'‡

In a word, the farther we advance in the study of each branch of natural philosophy, the more our admiration of the grandeur and variety of nature's operations is called forth, while proofs of design and contrivance in all her works are multiplied. We are

* Analogy of Religion, natural and revealed, p. 167.
Ibid. p. 159.
+ Ibid. p. 158.


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moreover continually rendered sensible how insignificant is the sum of all we know, in comparison with what remains unknown; and this observation applies with peculiar force to the investigations of geology, constituting indeed one of the main attractions which recommend that study to our attention. It is not easy,' says Butler, even for the most reasonable men, always to bear in mind the degree of our ignorance.* That ignorance affords a full and satisfactory answer to all objections against the perfection of the scheme, whether of the natural or of the moral world, and thence against the wisdom, justice and benevolence of the common Parent and Preserver of them both.

ART. X.-Observations on the actual State of the English Laws of Real Property; with the Outline of a Code. a Code. By James Humphreys, Esq. of Lincolns Inn, Barrister. London... 8vo. 1826.

AN opinion that the jurisprudence of this kingdom is in a

state, which requires a strong interference of the legislature to remedy its defects and abuses, and to produce a new and better administration of justice, has, for some time, been very prevalent in this country, among all classes of people.

Government has not been heedless of it; nor has it disdained to take up the work of amelioration by whomsoever commenced. A bill for the improvement of our criminal law has at length passed both houses of parliament, without any opposition, and has received the royal sanction; nor have we yet heard a voice raised against the wisdom or the policy of its provisions. The Court of Chancery had long been the theme of unrestrained and unqualified censure, the tone of which, not unfrequently, was such, as to manifest a degree of ignorance most extraordinary and reprehensible in those who ought to have been better acquainted with its principles and forms of proceeding, considering how extensively these apply, and how considerable a part of the landed and commercial interest of the country is, at all times, of necessity more or less subject to their controul and influence. During the session of 1824, a commission was issued by his Majesty, having for its principal object to inquire whether any and what alterations could be made in the practice established in the Court of Chancery-or in the several offices of that court, whereby the expenses attending such proceedings, and the time during which they depend in court, may be usefully and beneficially abridged.' A Report has recently been made under that commission, and a copy of it presented to the House of Com

* Analogy of Religion, natural and revealed, p. 158.


Thellusson, who in his will directed the produce of his estates, both real and personal, to the amount of about 800,000l., to be accumulated and laid out in land, during (in effect) the lives of all his descendants, however numerous and remote, who should be living at his death. At the end of that period, the estates, as well devised as directed to be purchased, were to be divided in lots between the eldest male lineal descendants, then living, of his three sons. The trust, after having been contested in chancery, and on appeal in the lords, was finally established, and is in operation while I write; but it occasioned an act restrictive of accumulation, which will be noticed hereafter.

The rule, however, is still in full force as to capital. In its defence it is often urged, that all the candles are burning at the same time. Luminous as may be the illustration, it is somewhat defective in exactness: the candles are of equal length-but among a number of lives selected, a few will probably occur who far outlive the ordinary period of mortality. So calculate the life insurance companies; and so did the testator, or his legal adviser, in a cause of Bengough v. Edridge, which now awaits the judgment of the Vice-Chancellor, on the following singular will, which I shall cite somewhat at length, as strongly illustrative of the extent of perversion to which the defective terms of the rule in question exposes it. The object of an opulent testator, who had no issue, was to give his landed estates, and those which might be purchased with their produce during twenty-one years (the period still allowed by law for accumulation), to his collateral relations, consisting of five nephews and grandnephews, a niece and a grandniece, and their several male descendants, for successive life-interests, as far as the restrictions of the law against perpetuities would allow. For this purpose, all such estates were vested, and directed to be vested, in fee-simple, in trustees, who were to hold the same for a period of 120 years from the testator's death, if twenty-eight persons therein named (of whom the first seven were the above relations, and the other twenty-one strangers), or any of them, shall so long live; and then for a further period of twenty years, from the determination of the first term. These terms were intended as nearly commensurate with the periods during which estates might be tied up: viz. any lives in being and twenty-one years; and might be termed the machinery of the contrivance. Then followed its working, or the beneficial interests carved out of the terms. They consisted in a series of trusts for a term of ninety-nine years, if each successive donee should so long live, for the nephews, greatnephews, niece, and grandniece named, and the respective heirs male of their bodies in succession, forming, in effect, successive estates for life; and finally, failing the whole of these, for the individuals successively answering the description of the testator's right heirs, during similar derivative and determinable terms of ninety-nine years each, until the above technical terms of 120 years and twenty years should be exhausted, either by lapse of time, or the deaths of all the nominees. As to the reversion expectant on the above two terms of 120 years and twenty years, testator directs it to be conveyed on the determination of these two terms, and not before, to his nephews and greatnephews, niece and greatniece before specified, and their respective issue male, in the like order of succession in a course of M M 4


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