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presence of a religious family. Certain it is that, in 1614, the religious enthusiasm which subsequently characterized Shakspere's descendants had already developed itself; for in that year one of the puritanical clergymen, who were encouraged by the corporation, found a lodging through the hospitality of the occupier of New Place,

“Item for one quart of sack and one quart of clarett wine geven to a precher at the Newe Place xxar, Chamberlain's accounts, 1614. It was customary at that time for the corporation to send complimentary presents of wine to strangers who preached at Stratford, and who sometimes stopped at inns, but were occasionally entertained at private houses. Entries of payments for wine so given are numerous in the Chamberlain's accounts during the 17th century.' “With this evidence before us of the religious tendencies of the inhabitants of New Place, no one can credit the tradition recorded by Ward, that Shakspere died of a fever con. tracted in a debauch, in which Ben Jonson and Drayton participated. Perhaps, however, the tradition was scarcely this. Ward, who wrote in 1662, says, “Shakespear, Drayton, and Ben Jhonson had a merry meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespear died of a feavour there contracted.' The traditions seem only to intimate that, shortly before his death, Shakspere gave an entertainment to his friends, and that he afterwards died of a fever. The inference of cause, and that an insufficient one, belongs to Ward. The first circumstance is probable, and perhaps there was a merry party assembled at New Place, on the 10th February, on the occasion of the marriage of Judith Shakspere to Thomas Quiney, at which no one was present who anticipated the mournful change destined to take place in the course of a few weeks, for on the 25th of the preceding, month Shakspere was 'in perfect health.'. Drayton was one of Dr. Hall's patients” (“Select Observations,” p. 26), “and was probably intimate with all the members of the Shakspere family. The second fact here recorded by tradition-hardly by tradition, for it must have been within the knowledge of many residing at Stratford only forty-six years after the event, -that the poet died of a fever, is highly probable, and to be accounted for in the then sanitary state of the neighbourhood of New Place. In all human probability the poet died from an attack of typhoid fever, an ailment the treatment of which was then very imperfectly understood. Let us not, on such an uncertain testimony as that given by Ward, conclude that the fatal event was caused by any indiscretion of his own. Let us rather picture to ourselves the great dramatist, surrounded by all the consolations that could on such an occasion be possible, and that these were not impaired by the thought that his dying moments were accelerated by even a venial error. The theory of his death by typhoid fever is not inconsistent with the tradition which records that the monumental effigy in Stratford Church was taken from a cast after death, for that fever is often too rapid in its fatal progress to render the countenance so emaciated as to cause a sensible difference in its form after dissolution” (pp. 24-28). Ample and elaborate proof is then given of the unhealthy state of Shakspere's neighbourhood; and Mr. Halliwell proceeds to say, "The foregoing notices of the state of Chapel Lane in former times, its mud walls,

open ditches, dunghills, and general squalor, appear to be of singular interest when viewed in relation to the probable cause of the great poet's fatal illness. Here there were close to his doors the chief elements required for the contraction of a low typhoid fever” (p. 36). “1604. In a survey of the King's manor of Rowington, taken October 24th, 1604, in a list of the customary tenants in Stratforde parcell of the said manor,' is the following entry:-William Shakspere lykewise holdeth there one cottage and one garden, by estimation a quarter of one acre, and payeth rent yeerlye ijs. vjd.'” (p. 41).

Such are a few specimens of some of the matters of interest gathered together by the researchful industry of Mr. Halliwell. In the text itself of the work we can learn the extent, the boundaries, and the form of New Place; get an idea of the scenery on which the poet looked in his latest years, and of the garden in which he, meditating, walked ; then we can acquire from its certain documents and references an aequaintance with his neighbours and their history, of his son-in-law Dr. Hall and his biography, as well as a knowledge of all the changes of ownership New Place underwent, from the days of Shakspere's death till the time of its purchase for national preservation and Shaksperian purposes by Mr. Halliwell, to whose lively enthusiasm it is due that the grounds of New Place have been made a possession that they may be a joy for ever.

This magnificent folio preserves in excellent form all that is known about the house in which Shakspere's last years were spent, in which his widow and children dwelt, and in which, doubtle sly, many of the splendid thoughts of Shakspere were gained and written. It is a painstaking labour of love, for which the special thanks of the Stratfordians are due to its writer, and the general gratitude of all the lovers of the mighty dramatist. We remember, when present at the banquet of the Tercentenary Festival, feeling a considerable quantity of lively indignation that upon the programme of the toasts proposed, no place was found for “The Biographers of Shakspere,” coupled with the name of J. 0. Halliwell. Surely Stratford cannot be ignorant that it is very much to the biographers of Shakspere that the interest felt in its scenes and surroundings is due, and the inhabitants ought to have recognized the great work done for Shakspere's town by Mr. Halliwell; all the more so if it be true, as we are informed, that he has prepared a companion volume to this history of New Place-a volume which is even now in the press, to be entitled, “ Stratford-upon-Avon in the Times of the Shaksperes." This work, we understand, is to be illustrated by extracts from the valuable manuscript council-books belonging to the corporation, especially selected with reference to the history of the poet's father.

No man living has done so much for the elucidation of the facts of Shakspere's outward life as Mr. Halliwell. He has exhausted every nook and cranny where research was likely to find documents regarding the facts of his career. Without attempting any subtle psychological interpretation of these facts, he has given a common-sense and clear statement of the conclusions to which they appear to lead. We might have quoted many other

passages

from this scarce and valuable volume, but we felt it a duty to restrain our pen in its borrowing haste. We have produced enough to show the value of the material, and to warrant us in 'saying that when the biographer of Shakspere shall arise who shall be able to reconstruct the facts known of him into a veritable memoir, he will not fail to confess that to Mr. Halliwell he is indebted for many of the main elements of his sketch.. This work on the home of Shakspere will have, if it gets justice, a home in the heart's remem. brance of every lover of the great dramatist.

The Topic.

OUGHT OATH-SWEARING IN COURTS OF JUSTICE TO BE

INSISTED ON BY LAW ?

AFFIRMATIVE. “ An oath for confirmation" is necessary in important proceedings, to bring the sense of God's presence near to the soul of a witness, to arouse all the moral nature of the individual, to excite watchfulness, and to impress with the feeling of responsibility. Law proceedings, as a general rule, are important, often highly so. Hence, in all serious cases at least, courts of law ought to insist on the administration of oaths; not only to its officials, but to all who by transacting business within their precincts, “especially in witnessbearing,' are concerned in the procuring or securing justice, whether that be freedom or punishment. In law earthly power is likest God's, and a witness ought to speak as if in the very presence of the Most High.D. M.

Oath-taking in courts of law is quite right. The objection that we are told in Scripture, “Swear not at all," has no relation to this subject. It relates only to profane swearing-swearing without reason or solemnity. We are often told in Seripture that “ God sware.” What He did cannot be wrong for men to do, for He asks us to be like Him. He has given us a law against false witness, and men should be brought with their face before God's law, that they may feel the sin of perjury, and avoid it. Christian legislation ought to be conducted with constant reference to God's law; and oaths in courts of justice are in harmony with this. B. S. S.

Quakerly affirmations are not suitable for every-day use. They pre-suppose. men under strong religious con

viction. Men are not in general so careful in word and evidence as they should be. To procure careful, wellweighed truthfulness of speech it is quite necessary to awaken the conscience, and to lead it to consider the serious consequences of causing a miscarriage of justice. Hence for men in general it is highly requisite that in courts held for the administration of law, oaths should be taken by witnesses and officials as an additional security for justice.-Q. P. L.

It is a sad fact, that in our courts of law oaths are often taken irreverently, and perjury is committed frequently. But is it not plain that if a solemn oath is unheeded, an ordinary affirmation would be still more carelessly observed ? Every one comprehends the difference between a lie and perjury. To abolish oath-taking would be to blot out the distinction in conscience between these two crimes. This will not do. Men are too ready to neglect the margin between sin and sin already, and need no help to make them worse, least of all from the law, for law is, in general, the measure of men's consciences, not religion.-EDWARD LUTON.

To live in the light of eternity, and to feel that the witness we bear is not a mere passing act whose end is when the words are uttered, is our duty. To insist that all evidence should be given in this light is the duty of Christian society. The policy of administering an oath in law proceedings may readily be justified by the felt necessity among all men of having some solemn mode of affirmation in all the important concerns of life. There may be men whose conscientious views are such that they cannot, consistently with their belief, take an oath ; for such, exceptional legislation is easy. We only require to apply the penalties of perjury to the evidence, if found false, of all persons claiming exemption from oath-taking on conscientious grounds. But to abolish oath-taking altogether would seem to absolve the consciences of ordinary men from the true restraint of honesty of giving evidence, which the taking of

an oath in general is. The essential thing in courts of law is to get at truth. To get at that some call to conscience seems requisite, and the briefest as well as the most efficacious is an oath, which is, indeed, only a solemn averment that truth shall be spoken in the fear of God for the furtherance of holy ends.D. K.

A royal oath-commission has been appointed to examine the whole matter of oath-taking. This shows that the 'Topic of the month is one of present and pressing interest. We have no hesitation in saying that an oath is simply a solemn affirmation, and that in our courts of law-which ought also to be our courts of justice---an oath is essential to the proper administration of law, and adjudication between man and man.

Unless the evidence of witnesses is to be solemnly and deliberately given as a statement of the truth so far as they know, it is worthless, and worse. As a solemn averment it is of value; as a mere statement it is not only stripped of its dependability, but of its honest appearance. Legal evidence demands something more solemn and unequivocal than a simple declaration so-and-so; and whatever this is, it is to all intents and purposes an oath.-—-V. K.

Lying is a crime and a sin. As a crime, it opposes itself to the interests of society; as a sin, it opposes itself to the good of the church. In this country, Church and State are theoretically

On this account it is that the State claims the aid of the Church to aid it in doing justice. To abolish the administration of oaths would be to violate the constitution of Church and State as by law established. It ought not to be done.A DERBYITE.

one.

NEGATIVE. No. For various reasons. 1. Many most conscientious Englishmen have strong objections to taking an oath. Their objections are such as claim consideration from their fellow-men. These objections are felt by many for whose veracity we need not the guarantee of an oath, therefore the law which com

ones.

pels such persons to do violence to their in the class of faulty men, not of sinful own consciences by taking an oath is

If it constitutes false witness a an unjust law. Some would rather crime punishable by statute in proporincur any penalty that is affixed to the tion to the evil effects resulting from refusal to be sworn, than take an oath. the falsehood, oaths may safely be aboGood and upright British subjects lished, and law will hold its own limits. ought not to be subjected to such vexa- -J. M. H. S. tions, and the law which subjects them Law holds the keys of the prisons of thereto is an unjust law. 2. An oath the land. It ought not to assert that is no security to the public that a dis- the keys of death and hell are given it honest man will speak the truth. He to keep. Yet in asking, nay, compelwho regards not his word is not likely ling men, in certain circumstances, to to regard an oath. The fact that per- take oaths, law is arrogating the right jury is known to be committed corro- to condemn to perdition those who seek borates this idea. 3. Oaths are of too to escape from its enmity, or to help solemn a nature to be trifled with, as others to escape from it. Let law stick they constantly are in courts of justice, to earthly penalties, but do not let it by being taken in a merely mechanical, pass beyond the earth in the stretch of routine, thoughtless manuer. 4. The its claim.-J. HARDIE. same penalties can be affixed to the An oath as at present administered crime of making a false affirmation in is just a remnant of the old torture and a court of justice as are now affixed to terrorism of the courts. It ought not the crime of perjury. This would to be administered in any legal court, obviate all necessity for oaths.-S. S. but it should be changed into an

I think oath-swearing ought to be affirmation carrying penalties. — P. entirely abolished, on account of the

HAWKE. generally careless way in which oaths Over infidels, atheists, and other proare administered and taken-disho- fessing unbelievers in any future state nouring God, whose name is so irrever- of being an oath can have no power; to ently called into question. There are a professing Christian an oath should many persons who think lightly about seem to be an insult. To administer swearing, and the punishment might be oaths to either is, therefore, useless. made equally severe when witnesses A great number of men are of neither give untruthful evidence, even if no clas because too thoughtless to inoath were previously taken by them. quire, or too regardless to love the As a substitute for affidavits, in all right. These take an oath with the courts, a declaration or certificate, equanimity of a person drinking a cap signed by the person making it, and of cold water. But it has no effect on attested by an authorized person, might their heart or conduct. be made equally binding. In truth, I therefore injudicious at least, if not dislike oath-swearing in any shape or sinful, when they are administered in form, and consider that it ought not to courts of law.-C. S. L. be insisted on by law, either in courts To exclude men from giving evidence, of justice or elsewhere.—R. D. ROB- and thus by law to cause a miscarriage

of justice by enacting that they must Perjury may be a sin. Law, how- hold a definite creed regarding God and ever, has nothing to do with sin, but "the great day of judgment," is unwise. with crime; and hence has no right to This is often the result of making the compel anything except that which may taking of an oath imperative on a witbe necessary to achieve its ends—the

ness; for every oath implies at once & punishment of wrong-doing, and the possession and a confession of faith.encouragement of right.

It has only, T. H. ARTHUR. therefore, a claim to place its witnesses i

Oaths are

JENT, Bristol.

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