Page images
[ocr errors]

surgery have been well adapted to form part of the treasure of the Royal College of Surgeons.

It must be remembered that, in the time of Mr. Ashley, astrology and alchymy were looked upon as veritable sciences, and respected accordingly even by true philosophers. The library evinces this by many a curious tome upon these subjects, since abandoned for the pursuit of other follies; and, although metaphysics and logic cannot be classed with follies, can it be truly said that they are, often and altogether, studies of much greater real utility ? Several dusty treatises are to be found here relating to the mysterious brotherhood of the Rosy Cross.

As Rosicrucian virtuosos

Could see with ears, and hear with noses," they could probably have transferred the sense of smelling to the eyes, a faculty which would have proved especially enviable in the early part of last summer, when the simple closure of those precious organs might thus have shut out the unutterably offensive breezes from Father Thames, which then rendered a visit to the Middle Temple Library scarcely endurable for any length of time, and of which there is much reason to dread the recurrence.

In works on the Fine Arts the nation has made enormous strides since the seventeenth century; still these were not forgotten in the original formation of the library, and they would yet be interesting, if not instructive, whether to the architect, the sculptor, the painter, or the musician; by far the greater part of them are in foreign languages. Neither was the physical education of templars yet unborn neglected by Mr. Ashley, and other benefactors of 1641. Judiciously was it remembered, for it is a subject of great importance; and, accordingly, the treatises on horsemanship, swordmanship, and other exercises, are not amongst the least curious treasures of the library, although several which should be there have been long since carried off. One upon the last-named art, “ Libro de las Grandezas de la Espada," is in manuscript, and very probably in the founder's hand, as he is known to have visited Spain, but the original appears to have existed in print.


The Middle Temple is more than indifferently well-provided with Dictionaries and Glossaries, and among these are many explanatory of the language current in divers English counties; an exceedingly valuable addition to a legal library, as we have known words, supposed to be technical, after a long and vain search through many a law lexicon, discovered to be merely provincialisms.

Until lately there were few good editions of Greek and Latin Classics, but, en revanche, a considerable number of miscellaneous works, in various languages, comprising a Chinese novel, and, among others, a numerous assemblage of Spanish romances, forming, in all probability, part of Mr. Ashley's collection, together with many an eccentric treatise or dialogue, Alphabet de l’Imperfection des Femmes, Dispute d'un Asne contre Frère Anselme Turmeda, &c., &c.

English poetry till recently was almost a nonentity here. We believe no edition of Shakespeare or Milton was to be discovered in the library furty years ago. Neither were the classic English prose writers in very great strength, and even now many additions, as regards these, might be advantageously made to the stock of the society. It should rather appear that Mr. Ashley preferred modern (1641) and foreign, to English or ancient literature. Of late years, law lists and other annual books of reference have been suffered to lie on the table in tolerable abundance, prior to which period these convenient instructors were not to be obtained here.

A treatise De Gestis Majorum Trium Regum, printed in 1477, is supposed to be the oldest work in the Middle Temple library; but several others approach it in antiquity. It is curious to observe how nearly the hopes and fears of former generations are represented by those of our own, and could we recover the stolen tract of 1599,-“Richard Crampton's Mansion of Magnanimity; or, the Strength of England to Withstand a Foreign Invasion;" or, “ A Baker of Bjulogne's Letter sent to the Pope” (1607), we should perhaps find as close a resemblance to the views of some of our modern speculators on national defences and the see of Rome,



as some difference of circumstances, affecting both subjects, woulu permit.

We have, thus far, seldom departed from our expressed intention of confining our article to a statement of what is, and has been, in the library of the Middle Temple, and of avoiding the utterance of suggestions of what should be the course of the honourable Society hereafter. In one particular, however, we venture again to depart (if we have already departed) from this our resolution, and to make an exception in favour of all books ordered to be read by the council of legal education, which should perhaps include all those selected for special reference by the readers on law respectively. These, we cannot but think, should be considered as an essential portion of the library; and ordered, as a matter of course, on every decree of the council, whilst the present system of professional education continues.

In other respects, although our opinions, as to what the composition and regulations of the library should be, have been long and reflectively formed, we forbear to express them, and close for the present our labours, wishing prosperity to the ancient col. lection of the honourable Society, in the new abode so rapidly preparing for it; and which, if we enter, we shall carry with us divers conflicting recollections--some sunny, some cloudy, some pleasant, others the reverse-of the older building, which, like the castle of Macbeth, "hath a pleasant seat," and which, we hope, will be so tenanted, as not to be degraded from its present position of importance among the edifices of the Inn.


The Logic of Banking : a Familiar Exposition of the Principles

of Reasoning, and their Application to the Art and Science of Banking. By J. W. GILBART, F.R.S., &c., &c. London: 1859.


IE title of this book is eminently unfortunate. The work

itself contains much that is highly valuable ; but all the connection that it has with logic, consists in a partial application of syllogistic forms to a few of the principal questions that ordinarily come before bankers for consideration in the conduct of their business. To men who are accustomed to observe, and compare, and draw inferences, this portion of the treatise will, we fear, prove little better than useless; while to those who are not in the habit of reasoning, it will assuredly fail to communicate the art, even in its rudiments. What Mr. Gilbart has in fact chosen, under this fantastic and unattractive appellation, to lay before the public, is a highly valuable repository of principles and maxims for the management of banking business-principles restiny, for the most part, on sound reasonings and great knowledge of political economy-maxims professedly derived from large and varied experience, and tested by reference to the opinions of the highest living authorities. As a hand-book of

practical banking, adapted for daily use and consultation by persons engaged in that pursuit, who, apart from considerations of a legal nature, look for guidance as to the safest mode of deriving profit from the occupation, leaving questions of law to be dealt with by their professional advisers, there is in print, we apprehend, no work that, for soundness and perspicuity, can pretend to range with this. In a remarkably small compass, much information, and many valuable results of personal experience and long devotion to the subject, are comprised.

We gladly lay hold of the occasion to offer some remarks on the subject of banking, in such a form as seems best adapted to

be acceptable to the class of readers for whom we principally write. Since 1844 the practice of “keeping a banker” has grown so rapidly, is now established so widely, the surns deposited have become in the aggregate so enormous, and the variety and importance of the questions relative to banking, which now so frequently occupy the courts of law and equity, and especially the latter, are so great, that it seems wholly unnecessary to offer any apology in a legal journal for the employment of some of its pages on topics of which the interest is so pervading. The truth is, that the science of banking is in a transition-state. Notions respecting the proper duties and objects of a bankerthe influence of his operations on the currency, and on prices, and the foreign exchanges, which were of universal acceptance so late as 1825, are, we don't hesitate to state, universally exploded at present. We trust, therefore, that in attempting to place before our readers, with some aid derived from the above work, and from other undoubted sources of the latest and best considered views, a condensed statement of leading principles, which govern the practical handling of the business of banking, and also of some of the rules which the law has laid down for the conduct and guidance of it—we may succeed more or less in serving the objects of those who have to choose a banker, and seek to learn the principles on which that choice ought to be determined; or who, having a banker, are desirous of making some approach, if possible, towards the means to solve the problem, whether he pursues his business in such a way as to deserve their confidence. If A is a banker who employs his customers' deposits in perilous adventures, he acts contrary to the rules of sound banking; if he evades or violates the law, as, for instance, in discounting accommodation bills, he is not in either case, it is obvious, such a dealer in money as a prudent man will trust with his cash balances. What we should wish principally to call attention to is, the complete mode in which the rules of law regarding banking support and confirm, as well as illustrate, those principles for the practical conduct of the business which have only of late obtained general acquiescence, the very opposite

« PreviousContinue »