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peer by the title of Lord Lifford; Sir Edward Willes, Sir William Blackstone, Sir William Henry Ashurst, Sir Nash Grose, and Sir Edward Buller. Again, of the many thousand judgments which Lord Mansfield pronounced during the third part of a century, two only were reversed. The compliment to Chancellors that their decrees were affirmed amounts to very little, for the only appeal is to the House of Lords, where the same person presides, so that it may be considered ab eodem ad eundem. But a writ of error then lay from the King's Bench either to the Exchequer Chamber, constituted of the Judges of the Common Pleas and Exchequer, or to the House of Lords to be heard before the Lord Chancellor and all the Judges of England, without any predisposition to affirm. What will appear to my professional brethren a more striking fact still, strongly evincing the confidence reposed in his judicial candor and ability by such men as Dunning and Erskine, opposed to him in politics, who practiced before him,-in all his time there was never a bill of exceptions tendered to his direction ; the counsel against whom he decided either acquiescing in his ruling, or being perfectly satisfied that the question would afterwards be fairly brought before the Court and satisfactorily determined on a motion for a new trial.”
The English people, as we all know, are not an effusive people. They are not given to attaching laudatory adjectives to men's names unless they belong there. Prior to Lord Mansfield's time, the single Englishman who, by universal consent, was called Great was King Alfred. They called him King Alfred the Great. But Lord Mansfield's powers and services had so impressed themselves upon English thought that on his tomb in Westminster Abbey is inscribed, “The Great Lord Mansfield.” The compliment is unique, but the compliment is deserved.
Other civil magistrates have performed great services to their states, but to Lord Mansfield alone has it been given to change the very nature of a people. He took from the Civil law the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and forced them into the Common law in the place of traditions that had come down from barbarians; and, thus forcing into the Common law
the elementary teachings of Christ, he changed the whole nature and character of the forces operating upon the minds and spirits of the English speaking people and started them in new directions never contemplated before. Where the impetus he gave to the new thought he had created will end, no man can tell. But it is safe to say that if our civilization ever perishes, which God forbid, Lord Mansfield's handiwork will stand out like the Morning Star, till chaos has enveloped all.
Reform of our Land Laws
PAPER READ BY EUGENE C. MASSIE,
OF RICHMOND, VA.
Standing here six years ago I sounded the first note for a comprehensive reform of our land laws. The movement then begun has steadily grown in momentum and intensity until now it is generally recognized that there are few, if any, subjects of greater consequence before the people of Virginia. It is no longer an academic question to which your attention is invited. It is a practical question, in which thoughtful people all over the State are deeply interested, that demands consideration at your hands. It is no moot question for idle debate. It is a live question about which voters in every county are concerned, that requires action by those whom they have nominated and are about to nominate as their representatives in the next General Assembly.
HISTORY OF THE MOVEMENT IN VIRGINIA.
Since the first effort was made in behalf of the Torrens System of Land Registration and Transfer for Virginia the following events have transpired:
A joint Resolution was passed by the Legislature on February 15, 1901, appointing a Committee, of which the speaker was Chairman, to draft a bill for future consideration. (Extra Session Acts 1901 p. 220 c. 210). Subsequent to this, the Constitutional Convention of 1901–2, appreciating the importance of the subject, devoted to it a complete section of the great instrument framed by those able and earnest men whose names will be enshrined and shine in history by the side of the best
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