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he resides. There are not perhaps, during the year, in any ove State, more than ten instances of actual incarceration.
The forms of English practice are strictly observed, as relates to the distinction of actions ; but the severity of pleading has been mitigated in every State, by statutes of amendment. Still, however, sufficient of the antiquated jargon re mains, to justify the reproach, that the improvements in the administration of justice have not been in any way proportionate to those in government and politics. As an instance of this, I may mention, that in the nineteenth century, John Doe and Richard Roe are still retainers in court, to the disgrace of a nation, which professes to have shaken off the prejudices of the mother country,
Yet it must be acknowledged, that important advances have been made in the principles, if not in the practice of the law. Entails have been abolished in every State. A man may, indeed, make any will that he pleases ; but if he die intestate, his property is .equally divided amongst his children, without distinction of age or sex. Many persons therefore make no wills; they say, " the State has made one for us, and will see it. executed.” Now it is the opinion of David Hume, that to the division of property occasioned by the Reformation, and to the prevalence of democratical opinions under the commonwealth, Great Britain owes that vigour of natural character, by which she has ever since been so eminently distinguished. It is clear therefore, that, as the subdivision of property prevails to a greater extent in the United States, the happiness of the Americans is proportionally secure.
In both civil and criminal prosecutions for libel or slander, the truth of the allegation is admitted as a reason for acquittal.
In every State, but that of Virginia, real estate is not liable for debt.
There are of course no game laws.
The judges generally hold their offices during good behaviour ; and in a few States, until they attain the age of sixty. To secure the exercise of their independence and impartiality, their salaries, which are too inadequate in most instances, cannot be diminished during their continuance in office,
The United States are indebted to England for the principal part of their law books; the decisions of the superior courts of that country being con, sidered authority.
In some States, the common law, and chancery jurisdiction are given to the same court, but in most of them, to separate courts. The principles of law, marking the difference between the two jurisdictions, are strictly observed.
It is nearly useless to mention, that since there is no exclusive national church, ecclesiastical courts are unknown.
“ The judicial power of the United States is vested in one supreme court, and in such superior courts as Congress from time to time establish. The present judicial establishment of the United States consists of one supreme court, of twentyeight distriet courts, and seven circuit courts, which are thus organised. The supreme court is composed of one chief justice and six associate justices, who hold a court in the city of Washington annually; besides which, each of these justices attends in a certain circuit, comprising two or more districts appropriated to each, and together with the judge of the district compose a circuit court, which is holden in each district of the circuit. The district courts are held respectively by the district judge alone. Appeals are allowed from the district to the circuit, and from the circuit to the supreme court; and in some cases, where the inconvenience of attending the court by a justice of a supreme court is very great, the district courts are invested with circuit court powers. Each State is one district, for the purpose of holding district and circuit courts therein, with the exception of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee, each of which is divided into two districts."*
The supreme court is the highest tribunal of the United States, and decides in all cases in which the General Government is a party, as well as in those in which the parties concerned are of different States.
* National Calendar.
An oath is attested in all the courts of the United States, by holding up the hand, and not as with us by kissing the Evangelists.
Political eminence is coveted by the inhabitants of the United States, perhaps more than by any other people whatsoever ; and as the practice of the law is the sure road to this, the study of jurisprudence generally constitutes part of a liberal education. Hence also the professors of this science are very numerous, and fill most of the public stations, near three-fourths of the Congress always consisting of lawyers.
JOURNEY ACROSS THE ALLEGHANIES.
AFTER a short but agreeable time passed at Washington, I set off for the Western States.
The first place of any consequence that I passed through, was Fredericktown, which, with the exception of Baltimore, is the largest town in the state of Maryland.
The country through which we passed, though thickly settled, and mostly in a state of cultivation, appeared barren and stony; the only fertile spots occurring here and there in the low bottoms, until within a short distance of Fredericktown. On the right, just before entering, stand some old barracks, built by the English before the revolution. The town is neat, and contains many substantial and well-built houses. Its population is 3640, and has every appearance of being on the increase.
From this place to Hagerstown, the road was the worst I ever travelled over, in a wheeled carriage. It was so full of holes and large pieces of rocks, that I am convinced nothing but the lowness of the stage prevented our being upset. But a regular turnpike-road is begun, and will be completed in a
year or two.