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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing) 4 0 Browse Search
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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Bankruptcy laws, past and present. (search)
irs forfeited their rights of citizenship. The noble Roman and his Twelve Tables were more draconic than Draco. Gibbon tells us that: At the expiration of sixty days the debt was discharged by the loss of liberty or life; the insolvent debtor was either put to death, or sold in foreign slavery beyond the Tiber: but if several creditors were alike obstinate and unrelenting, they might legally dismember his body, and satiate their revenge by this horrid partition. In the time of Caesar Roman jurisprudence and civilization had so developed that the debtor, by the famous cessio bonorum, might at least escape slavery, and in most cases retain his civil rights; and about a century later our modern idea of a discharge to the honest debtor who gives up his all was graven on their laws. Shylock's savage rights may well speak for the laws of the Middle Ages, whose statutes were little better than a transparent palimpsest of the Twelve Tables of Rome. French laws have followed the
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Harrison, William Henry 1773-1812 (search)
all be called upon to perform. It was the remark of a Roman consul in an early period of that celebrated republic that a most striking contrast was observable in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them, they seldom carrying out in the latter case the pledges and promises made in the former. However much the world may have improved in many respects in the lapse of upward of 2,000 years since the remark was made by the virtuous and indignant Roman, I fear that a strict examination of the annals of some of the modern elective governments would develop similar instances of violated confidence. Although the fiat of the people has gone forth proclaiming me the chief magistrate of this glorious Union, nothing upon their part remaining to be done, it may be thought that a motive may exist to keep up the delusion under which they may be supposed to have acted in relation to my principles and opinions; and perhaps there may be some in th