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Truth is the last object of legal research. Under most arbitrary governments, the law seems calculated to condemn the innocent: so anxious are the lawgivers to prevent the escape of the guilty. The English criminal procedure appears as directly aimed at screening offenders, under a false notion of protecting the innocent. Which is the most mischievous, it would be difficult to determine. The great object of investigating the truth, at once protects the public, and the lawful interests of individuals; while the business of the advocate is professedly to serve his client to the uttermost, and to lay aside all considerations of justice in his favour. In this he far exceeds the egotism of the parties themselves, who, if they pleaded their own cause, would be checked in their misrepresentations and quibbles, by some sense of shame, by some fear of the prejudice which detected falsehood would excite against them. Whereas the lawyer glories in his
sophistical ingenuity; and if bafiled in his effort, bears the whole blame for the bad spirit in which he has acted. Thus it happens most frequently that we do not try the accused, but the indictment; the overt act is lost in the accidents; the innocent are acquitted without the re-establishment of character, and the guilty are let loose, to renew their aggressions on society. Yet the law is the perfection of human reason !!
LA Bruyère observes, “ Il se croit des talens et de l'esprit; il est riche.”
This is the counter error to that of men of merit who complain that they have not attained wealth. The acquisition of large fortunes, in as far as it is not altogether a matter of accident, requires the exercise of far other faculties than wit and intellect: and it would be as reasonable to complain that this species of merit will not ensure health, as that it will not procure money.
THE love which most men have for truth, arises from the desire to make their own falsehood available. If falsehood were general in society, no man would be believed, and deceit would be impossible. It was a keen remark, that Fielding has, I believe, placed in the mouth of Jonathan Wild, that a lie is too precious a thing to be wasted. Truth is the first interest of society ; more harm is done by falsehood in an hour, than by violence in a year: yet have all nations paid dearly for establishments, calculated for the express purpose of confining inquiry in one exclusive direction, and shutting out all other avenues of light but their own.
What a gift, or rather what a fatal necessity is the temperament which leads to the living out of one's self, and becoming bound up in the existence of another, over whose will, passions, and conduct, one has no controul ! This faculty of devotedness is, I suspect, peculiar to females. It is quite possible that a woman, to whom honour and reputation are dearer than life, should risk them a thousand times for the man she loves (particularly if he be her husband), to save his life and honour. The attachment of a man, however strong and tender, would not reach this. We women love the person beyond all abstract principle; and the error (for it is an error in inorals) is seated in the organization which makes us wives and mothers. Men love principles, and even prejudices, more than the persons they love best; that is, they love themselves best of all, and love themselves in that point of honour on which the world's opinion depends.
" I could not love thee, dear, so well,
Ah! this “ honour more !"
Every woman has not the “cour aimant” of Julie: women of gallantry never, --coquettes and prudes rarely. Still, woman may be defined a loving animal, and tant pis pour
COBBETT and the Irish reformers look with detestation on Malthus and his doctrines: and many “ right thinking " persons, as they call themselves, fancy that they have discovered a valuable ally in him. The same error is common to both. If Malthus's position be true, (and no naturalist can doubt it,) it follows as a matter of demonstration, that there is a greater necessity for political freedom.