« AnteriorContinuar »
stated sessions annually, viz. on the Tucsdays of the weeks preceding the stated sessions of the General Assembly.
The county court is a court of chancery, empowered to hear and determine cases in equity, where the matter in demand does not exceed one hundred pounds. The superior court has cognisance of all cases where the demand exceeds that sum. Error may be brought from the county to the superior court, and from the superior court to the supreme court of errors, on judgment in cases of equity as well as of law.
The General Affembly only have power to grant pardons and reprieves--to grant commissions of bankruptcy-or protect the persons and estates of unfortunate debtors.
The common law of England, so far as it is applicable to this country, is considered as the common law of this State. The re. port of adjudication in the courts of king's bench, common pleas, and chancery, are read in the courts of this State as authorities ; yet the judges do not consider them as conclusively binding, unless founded on solid reasons which will apply in this State, or fanctioned by concurrent adjudications of their own courts.
The feudal system of defcents was never adopted in this State. All the real estate of intestates is divided equally among the children, males and females, except that the eldest son has a double portion.
And all estates given in tail must be given to some person then in being, or to their immediate issue, and shall become fee fimple eftates to the issue of the first donee in tail. The widow of an inteftate is entitled to a third part of the personal estate for ever, and to her dower, or third part of the houses and lands belonging to the inter. tate at the time of his death, during her life.
PRACTICE OF LAW.
The practice of law in this State has more fimplicity, but less precision, than in England. Assistants and judges are empowered to issue writs through the State, and justices through their respective counties. In these writs the substance of the complaints, or the declarations must be contained, and if neither of the parties thew good reason for delay, the causes are heard and determined the same term to which the writs are returnable. Few of the fictions of law, so common in the Englis practice, are known in this State. The plaintiff always has his election to attach or summon the defendant. Attornies are adınitted and qualified by the county courts. Previous
to their admiffion to the bar, they must study two years with a practising attorney in the State, if they have had a college education, and three years if they have not ; their morals must be good, and their characters unblemished, and they must sustain an examination by the attornies of the court of the county where they are admitted, and be by them recommended to the court. When admitted to the county court, they can practise, without other qualifications, in any court in the State. There are, upon an average, about fifteen attornies to each county, one hundred and twenty in the State; a very great proportion for the real exigencies of the people. Yet from the litigious fpirit of the citizens, the most of them find employment and support. There is no attorney-general, but there is one attorney to the State in
MODE OF LEVYING TAXES. All freeholders in this State are required by law to give in lifts of their rateable estate, such as horses, horned cattle, cultivated and uncultivated land, houses, thipping, all sorts of riding-carriages, clocks and watches, filver plate, money at intereft, &c. and of their polls, including all males between fixteen and seventy years of age, unless exempted by law, to persons appointed in the respective towns to receive them, on or before the 20th of August annually. These are valued according to law, arranged in proper order, and sent to the General Afsembly annually in May.
The sum total of the list of the polls and rateable estate of the inhabitants of Connecticut, as brought in to the General Assembly in May 1787, was as follows:
£ Sum total of the fingle list
1,484,901 6 41 Assessments
9 One quarter of the four-folds
1,176 9 4
Total 6. 1,533,867 18 58
Having thus taken a general view of the New-England States, we cannot help observing, that present appearances warrant us in concluding that industry and happiness are in a very great degree blended in them, that they offer every encouragement for the former, and furnith every thing neceffary to promote the latter in a virtuous mind. In these States, the principles of liberty are universally under stood, felt, and acted upon, as much by the simple as the wise, the
weak as the strong. Their deep-rooted and inveterate habit of think ing is, that all men are equal in their rights
, that it is impoffible to make them otherwise; and this being their undisturbed belief, they have no conception how any man in his fenfes can entertain any
other. This point once settled, every thing is settled. Many operations which in Europe have been considered as incredible tales or dangerous experi. ments, are but the infallible consequences of this principle. The first of these operations is the business of election, which, with the people of New-England, is carried on with as much gravity as their daily labour. There is no jealousy on the occasion, nothing lucrative in office ; any man in society may attain to any place in the government, and may exercise its functions. They believe that there is nothing more difficult in the management of the affairs of a nation, than the affairs of a family; that it only requires more hands. They believe that it is the juggle of keeping up impositions to blind the eyes of the vulgar, that constitutes the intricacy of state, Banifh the mysticism of inequality, and you banish almost all the evils attendant on human nature.
The people being habituated to the election of all kinds of officers, the magnitude of the office makes no difficulty in the case. Every officer is chofen with as little commotion as a churchwarden. There is a public service to be performed, and the people say who shall do it. The servant feels honoured with the confidence reposed in him, and generally expresses his gratitude by a faithful
Another of these operations is making every citizen a soldier, and every soldier a citizen; not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm. This fact, told in Europe previous to the revolution, would have gained little credit; or at least it would have been regarded as a mark of an uncivilized people, extremely dangerous to a well-ordered fociety. Men who build systems on an inversion of nature, are obliged to invert every thing that is to make part of that fystem. It is because the people are civilized, that they are with safety armed. It is an effect of their conscious dignity, as citizens enjoying equal rights, that they wish not to invade the rights of others. The danger, where there is any, from armed citizens, is only to the government, not to the fociety; and as long as they have nothing to revenge in the government (which they cannot have while it is in their own hands) there are many advantages in their being accustomed to the use of arms, and no possible disadvantage.
Power, habitually in the hands of a whole community, loses ail the ordinary associated ideas of power. The exercise of power
is a relative term; it supposes an opposition, fomething to operate upon. We perceive no exertion of power in the motion of the planetary system, but a very strong one in the movement of a whirlwind; it is because we see obitructions to the latter, but none to the former. Where the government is not in the hands of the people, there you find opposition, you perceive two contending interests, and get an idea of the exercise of power; and whether this power be in the hands of the government or of the people, or whether it change from fide to side, it is always to be dreaded. But the word PEOPLE in America has a different meaning from what it has in Europe. It there means the whole community, and comprehends every human creature; hence it is impossible but the government must protect the people, and the people, as a natural consequence, support the govern, ment as their own legitimate offspring.
BOUNDED north, by Upper Canada, from which they are sepaa rated by the lakes ; east, by the New-England States ; fouth, by the Atlantic ocean, Maryland, Virginia, and the Ohio river, which fe. parate them from Kentucky; west, by the Millisippi river.
RIVERS AND BAYS. The principal rivers in this district are, the Hudson, the Delaware, the Susquehannah, the Ohio, the Mississippi, and their branches. York, Delaware, and part of Chesapeak bays are in this district.
CLIMATE The climate of this grand divifion, lying almost in the same latitudes, varies but little from that of New-England : there are no two successive years alike; even the same successive seafons and months differ from each other every year : and there is, perhaps, but one steady trait in the character of this climate, and that is, it is uniformly variable: the changes of weather are great, and frequently sudden. The range of the quicksilver in Fahrenheit's thermometer, according to Dr. Mitchell, is between the 24th degree below, and the 105th degree above cypher; and it has been known to vary fifty degrees in the course of twenty-fix hours. Such alterations are much more considerable along the coast than in the interior and midland parts of the country; and, wherever they prevail, are accompanied with proportionate changes in the air, from calms to winds, and from moisture to dryness. Storms and hurricanes fometimes happen, which are so violent as to overset vessels, demolislı fences, uproot trees, and unroof buildings. Droughts, of fix weeks or two months continuance, occur now and then. Rain has been