Imagens das páginas

sion found the Temple in a condition als having been written by a contemporary. together ruinous, and that this state was Let us think what that return actually owing in part to a work of deliberate was, the poor remnant of 42,360 wbo destruction at the hands of the kings of represented what had been a great naJudah (2 Chron. 34: 10, 11), may well tion, their struggle with difficulties, dismake it probable that he actually saw, in union, want of means (Haggai 1: 6,11), part at least, what he here describes. the opposition of kings and princes (Ez

We may ask, on the other hand, at ra 4: 4, 5), the joy and praise mingling what period towards the close of the Cap- with weeping and lamentations (Ezra 3 : tivity would the mind of a later writer 13), and we shall hardly think it likely have turned to so disastrous a marriage, that one who had that before him would and so ill-omened a name as that of Hephhave spoken so rapturously as this writer zibah, as suggestive of hope and glad does. ness? What is there in the books that

“ Break forth into joy, do tell us of the return of the exiles after

Sing together, ye waste places of JerusaCyrus had appeared, to lead us to think lem : of them as presenting in strange combi

For the Lord hath comforted his people, nation, the formal hypocrisy of a surface

He hath redeemed Jerusalem. religion and a wild craving after all forms

The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in of magical idolatry? Was Moloch wor

the sight of all the nations;

And all the ends of the world have seen the ship with its infant sacrifices a pressing

salvation of our God.”—52 : 9, 10. danger then? Was it likely at a time when the rigor of the teachers and lead No! here as elsewhere, the prophet, ers of the people was setting them seeing what was far off, was led to see against any tolerance of mixed marriages things in brighter colors and in nobler (Ezra 10 : 2), or the presence among forms than they actually appeared in them of men of other races (Ezra 4 : 3), when the time of their historical fulfilthat any unknown writer would have ment came. Like other prophets, he was spoken as this writer speaks, of the wel- “a man of desires.” There came before come to be given to the “sons of the his mind the vision of a Jerusalem, a city stranger ?" "Why at such a time, when of peace, beautiful and heavenly, which deliverance was close at hand, should be no earthly Jerusalem ever did or ever have thought that the "righteous was can realize. The yearning of his soul taken away from the evil to come,” and was to be satisfied elsewhere. He looked not rather have mourned for him as cut for " a city that hath foundation's, whose off from his share in the restoration ? builder and maker is God." Had there been such a man so full of On these grounds, therefore, I submit divine insight, so capable of guiding and to the judgment of such students of teaching, after Cyrus had taken Babylon, Scripture as may care to look into them, is it likely that there would have been that the hypothesis of a deutero-Isaiah, no record of his works in the books of the charge of supposititious authorship, Ezra and Nehemiah, not even in Jewish which has found favor with so many emitradition? Would it have been left to nent critics, must be dismissed as not Haggai and Zechariah to strengthen and proven, as involving those who accept it stir the people? Would such a wri- in a labyrinth of difficulties and contrater, assuming his existence, have been dictions, as robbing one of the noblest likely to come under the same influences, books of the Old Testament of half its to reproduce the thoughts of the same life and power. To separate that book prophet, to present the same images, from the old age of Isaiah is hardly less allusions, plays upon words and names, perilous a venture than that which sepaas the historical Isaiah.

rates the Pastoral Epistles from the old Lastly, we may add that the very glory age of St. Paul, or the Second Epistle and beauty of the language which speaks which bears his name from the old age of the return is against the notion of its of St. Peter.


Tempie Bar.

to produce the money or to find sureties

for its payment, he was delivered over to HISTORY OF DEBTORS' LAWS.

his creditor, who kept him in chains for six

ty days-exposing him to the public gaze Si non habet in ære, luat in corpore- on three successive market-days. When if he cannot pay with money, let him pay that term had also expired, the creditor with his person. So ran the old Roman

was entitled to seize

upon the property law, the spirit of which still pervades the of his debtor up to the full amount of his legislation of our own country in these claim; and if 'it proved insufficient, he our own times. Virtually the British could then either sell his victim into creditor still exclaims, in the words of slavery, or put him to death. For the Shylock,

recovery of interest the property of the “The pound of flesh, which I demand of him, debtor was alone, strictly speaking, anIs dearly bought, is mine, and I will have it."

swerable; but by means of a legal fiction It is true no usurer of the present day -known as nexum, or nezi obligatiocan put in force that charming enactment money-lenders contrived to include the by which, according to the laws of the interest in the original debt, so that the Twelve Tables, an insolvent debtor who borrower became liable in his person for happened to have several creditors might both principal and interest. A law passed be literally cut to pieces, and a portion about the year 325 A.U.C. abolished the of his quivering carcass be given to each nexum ; and another law gave a debtor in proportion to his claim. There was a his freedom on the surrender of all his clause, however, which Shylock would goods and chattels, provided his debts have done well to have studied, for it ex. had not been incurred through fraud or pressly held the creditors harmless if false pretence; but for all that the credthey cut off somewhat more or less than itor was to the very last unduly favored, they were strictly entitled to take: At si and even stimulated by self-interest to pluribus addictus sit, tertiis nundinis act harshly and tyrannically towards his partes secanto ; si plus minusve secue- debtor. runt, sine fraude esto. We are told, in Previous to the time of Solon, the deed, that there is nothing on record to Athenians were quite as severe as the show that this barbarous law was ever | less-polished Romans. All debtors who enforced, but neither is there any proof were unable to meet their engagements to the contrary; while the mere fact of became the bondsmen of their creditors, its having been passed lends probability together with their unmarried daughto the suspicion that it was also at times ters, their sisters, and their sons under carried into force. The fate of poor debt- age. The poor man, as Mr. Grote obors among the ancient Romans was par- serves, literally borrowed upon the seticularly hard and pitiable. There was curity of his body, and upon that of the no public debtors’-jail: the creditor was persons of his family. In many cases likewise the jailer. Under the Empire debtors were not only deprived of their the rich money-lenders had prisons with- liberty, but sold to foreign slave-dealers in their own houses, in which they kept and sent across the seas, while others their adjudicated debtors at hard labor only preserved their own freedom by ---thus turning their imprisonment to bartering that of their children. This some account, and so far depriving it of degraded and distressing state of society the appearance of a malicious revenge. was remedied by a general act of repuThere seems to have been a summary diation, so far as the lower classes were process for the recovery of debt. A debt concerned, and by a depreciation of the or who refused or neglected to pay his currency for the benefit of solvent but creditor was summoned to appear in embarrassed debtors. All contracts court, when, if he failed to justify his con- based upon the security of the borrowduct, he was enjoined to satisfy the plain- er's person or lands were at once canceltiff within a period of thirty days. At the led and entirely prohibited for the fuexpiration of that term the creditor was ture. No free citizen of Athens could empowered to lay hands upon him and from that time be enslaved, imprisoned, take him, if necessary by main force, be- or arrested for debt. The only redress fore the judge. If he then failed either was by means of a legal judgment, which

placed the debtor's property at the dis- | seventh year a sort of jail-delivery took posal of his creditor to the full extent of place, and debtors and bondsmen, being the liability of the former. One good re of the children of Israel, recovered their sult of the abolition of imprisonment for freedom and were cleared of all liabili. debt was, that the poor were prevented lies. Every man returned to his heredifrom thus involving themselves, as no tary patrimony, and started afresh in the one could be found to lend to them. Hab- great struggle for existence. But the its of thrift and industry were thus com- mild ordinances of Moses were not in all pulsorily acquired, in lieu of the reckless times treated with inviolable respect. At and gambling proneness to stake their the date of the second building of the own and their children's liberty upon the Temple, Nehemiah was called upon to chance of a speculation, or for the grati- rebuke the nobles and the rulers, and to fication of an extravagant fancy. charge them with exacting usury every

According to Herodotus, the ancient man of his brother. The evil must have Egyptians entertained peculiar notions risen to a great height; for the people on the subject of loans. Every man who complained that they had been obliged had occasion to borrow money was re- not only to mortgage their lands, vinequired to pledge the embalmed body of yards, and houses, that they might buy his father; and until this was redeemed, corn and pay the king's tribute, but also he was incapacitated from performing to bring into bondage their sons and the funeral rites of any of his own chil- their daughters. On this occasion Nedren; and in the event of his death, his hemiah acted much in the same manner own body was denied burial. This sin- as Solon under nearly similar circumgular custom must have proved particu- stances, and prevailed upon the rich to larly inconvenient to those whose fathers restore to the poor their houses and were still alive; but possibly they con- lands, and likewise one per cent. of the trived to elude the letter of the law by corn, wine, oil, and money they had exgiving a post-obit bond to surrender the acted of them in their necessity. body of their respected parent as soon Usury is likewise forbidden in the as it should be in a fitting condition to Koran. " Whatever ye put out at be received in pawn.

usury,” said the Prophet, “ to increase it It was clearly, therefore, not from the with the substance of others, shall have Egyptians that Moses borrowed his no increase from God.” Neither is it debtor-and-creditor laws. The absurd permitted by the Mohammedan Law to prohibition of usury or increase, however contine in prison for more than a few kindly intended, must have seriously in- months any but a fraudulent debtor, or terfered with internal trade as well as one who, having the power to discharge with foreign commerce. This prejudice, his obligations, yet refuses to do so. The however, was not confined to the He- custom is to summons a long - winded brews. The philosophers of Greece debtor before the kazee, when, if he acwere never weary of denouncing the ex- knowledge his debt, a brief delay is acaction of interest, while even such a sa- corded, within which he is bound to satgacious thinker as Aristotle deemed it isfy his creditor. Should he, however, not unworthy of his intellect to enun- set up an unjust defence, he is at once ciate an idle conceit, to the effect that, sent off to jail for a period varying from money being naturally barren, it must two to six months, at the discretion of be necessarily contrary to nature to ex- the kazee. The imprisonment in all pect offspring from it. Moses, however, cases terminates with the voluntary surknew the people well for whom he had render of property, as it does also on the to legislate, and accordingly threw the debtor taking a solemn oath that he is protection of the divine law round the not possessed of any effects whatsoever. poor and the friendless. For only six It is not in the kazee's power to compel a consecutive years could a Hebrew be prisoner to give up his goods and chatheld in bondage, and even then only in tels; but it is to seize upon any money the capacity of a hired servant; but as that belongs to him, and to distribute it nothing is said about the wages he was among his creditors. to receive, this stipulation is not likely In Richardson's translation of the to have stood him in much stead. Every Damathat we read that in the olden

time, if a Hindoo debtor was unable to for the punishment of debtors. They find either money or security, he was li- freely and with pleasure gave presents able to be sold into bondage, together to one another, but never fancied for a with his wife and children, and even his moment that the recipient was thereby grandchildren if living under the same laid under any obligation to the donor. roof with bimself. He could demand, It might be more correct, perhaps, to however, that a certain fair valuation say that in the absence of a circulating should be placed upon himself and fam- medium their trade was confined to å ily, at which they should be redeemable rude system of barter, and that debts by his relatives. In like manner, a price were unknown because there was no one could be set upon any landed property in a position to give any credit. It was be might possess; but the power of re- not so, however, with the Gauls in Cædemption did not extend to cattle, sar's time, who had no scruples about horses, elephants, or other live or dead either running into debt, or selling their stock, Whoso denied a just debt was debtors into captivity. not only fined, but sentenced to receive The Chinese, as we learn from Sir in open court from five to fifty cuts with John Davis, practice a much more sensia rattan in the presence of his wife and ble variety of dhurna than that formerfamily. And whoso was in the habit of ly in vogue among the Hindoos. Inrepudiating his obligations was sepa- stead of starving themselves to death, rated from his kinsfolk, and morally and and broiling in the sun, or shivering in civilly degraded. A troublesome debtor the rain, creditors simply quarter themcould also be placed in the stocks and selves and their families upon

their publicly exposed; but a debt was held debtors, and in doing so are forbidden to be cancelled as soon as interest had to make any noise or uproar. А

very been paid to double the amount of the obstinate debtor, who will take no trouoriginal claim. A borrower of copper ble to get clear of his liabilities, is subor iron was liable to pay cent. per cent.,jected, after a reasonable delay, to the if the loan were not returned within discipline of the bamboo. No claim can twelve months-and so also with grain; be enforced for interest to a greater but the latter had to be repaid fourfold, amount than that of the original debt, if two years were allowed to expire. on the not very logical principle that Poor creditors sometimes practiced a “the offspring must not be greater than peculiar mode of distressing rich but dil- the mother.” Sir George Staunton tells atory debtors. They would sit dhurna us that no man can be imprisoned for at their door or gate until some arrange- debt for any great length of time; but, ment or instalment was extorted by on the other hand, if a debtor, even aftheir importunity. From early dawn ter surrendering the whole of his proptill after sunset the poor wretch would erty, is still unable to meet his obligaremain without a morsel of food or a tions, he may be compelled to wear a drop of water, or the slightest shelter yoke round his neck in public, in the from the pouring deluge or the scorch- hope that his friends and relatives may ing sun. Should death supervene, it was take pity upon him, and make up the believed that the spirit of the deceased balance, to save him from such terrible would forever haunt and molest the disgrace. Whoso incurs debt by gamstony-hearted debtor, who had done him bling, or other immoral conduct, is subto death. Under the British govern-jected to corporal punishment and banment this practice has long since been ished into Tartary. Whoso owes money declared illegal, and can be proceeded to the crown, or would aid a father in against as an annoyance and a nuisance. distress, or is otherwise unable to bury The ancient Germans, if we may credit a deceased parent, is permitted to sell the somewhat fanciful picture of their himself and children as slaves-recovermanners and usages sketched by the ing his own and his family's freedom by master-hand of Tacitus, never dreamed good conduct through twenty years of of deriving a profit from the necessities servitude. The Emperor's debtors, if of their neighbors. As loans were un- they have been guilty of any species of known among them, they had no need fraud, are strangled; but if their embarto legislate for the recovery of debt, or rassments arise from misfortune or acci

dent, their wives, children, and proper sence of any movable property, the ty are put up to auction, and themselves debtor's “ body shall be taken where it deported across the border into Tartary. may be found, and kept in prison until

Our Saxon ancestors appear to have he have made agreement, or his friends entertained as crude notions on com- for him; and if he have not wherewith mercial matters as did their German he may sustain himself in prison, the brethren, according to Tacitus. No creditor shall find him bread and wine, traffic of any kind was permitted, except to the end that he die not in prison for in the presence of witnesses, four of default of sustenance, the which costs whom were required by the laws of Ca- the debtor shall recompense him with nute for any purchase exceeding in his debt before that he be let out of value the sum of fourpence. A creditor, prison." Two years afterwards, in moreover, was required to make three A.D. 1285, this statute was further condemands for payment in the court of his firmed, but with certain modifications. hundred, before he could even apply to It was now enacted that any time within the shiregemot, or county court, to fix three months after his imprisonment, a final date for the payment of his claim; the debtor should be at liberty to dison the expiration of which he became at pose of his lands, tenements, and goods, last entitled to levy a distress on his so as to satisfy his creditor; but if he debtor's property. But previous to the neglected to do so, the latter was then Conquest no Englishman, though he empowered to enter into possession were a bondsman, could be thrown into “ until such time as the debt is wholly prison; and under the first three Nor- levied ; and nevertheless the body shall man kings, not even a criminal could be remain in prison as before is said ; imprisoned until convicted by the ver- and the merchant shall find bim bread dict of twelve men. It was not until and water." the statute of Marlebridge, 52 Hen. III. Already a falling-off is perceptible in cap. 25, that any Englishman could be the treatment of the poor prisoners, confined on a civil action, and only then whose supply of wine is thus commuted on an implication of fraud. The statute for water. But it was not until 25 Edin question, commonly called “A reme- ward III. cap. 17, that the process for dy against accomptants,” was especially debt was assimilated to that used in directed against bailiffs and persons in writs of accompt, and that indebtedness trust, who absconded without rendering came to be regarded as a punishable a satisfactory account of their steward- offence. And yet, in the thirtieth or ship, and without leaving sufficient prop- thirty - first year of Queen Elizabeth, erty to cover their defalcations This one George Ognell instituted an action measure was somewhat enlarged by the against Clement Paston, sheriff of Nor“Remedy against Servants,” enacted 13 folk, for permitting the escape of two Edward I.; but in both cases fraud and debtors intrusted to his custody, when poverty were implied. In the eleventh the defendant pleaded that imprisonyear, however, of the reign of the last- ment for debt was contrary to the comnamed monarch, the Parliament of Ac- mon law of the land. This plea was ton Burnell registered the celebrated held valid by Sir Roger Manwood and “ Statute of merchants,” by which a the other judges, who ruled “that the staple merchant was empowered to awarding of the capias ad satisfacienbring his refractory debtor before the dum was erroneous, for by the law the

mayor of the town, and compel him to bodies of the recognizors were not liable i put his seal to a Bill Obligatory, paya. to the execution." This case was more

ble at a certain date. If this bond were than once cited in after times by imprisnot taken up when due, the creditor oned debtors petitioning for relief, as could again appeal to the mayor, who a proof of the illegality of their dewould incontinently cause the movables tention in confinement; but it does not of the debtor to be offered for sale to seem to have been viewed with much the amount of his liability; and if respect by the bench., These unhappy no buyers presented themselves, bis beings had only too much reason to goods were to be delivered to the cred complain, even assuming the justice and itor at a fair valuation. And in the ab-l expediency of punishing poverty and

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