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[144] letters while on my way from home, but those were Parthian shafts. I shall follow so close upon my letters, that it will be superfluous to write till I come home.


You will see that this is written in a hurricane of haste.

To Dr. Francis Lieber, Philadelphia.

Boston, July 17, 1834.
my dear doctor,—Yours containing the notice of ‘Mittermaier's Journal’ was duly received. I thank you for it; it was what was wanted. Your friendly address to me I appreciate, and under your advice shall hasten to learn German as speedily as possible. Judge Story will attest to you that my time is not unemployed; if it had been in the least otherwise for the last three months, I should already have made some acquests of that difficult language. I have just, by the help of a dictionary, made out the meanings of half a dozen title-pages in German, to enter in the list of new publications on jurisprudence at the end of our journal. Set that down as a beginning.

You may see at Micklin and Johnson's, probably, the ‘Law Magazine,’ No. 23, which contains Mittermaier's article on German criminal law. I see he has just published another medical work on ‘Proofs,’ &c.

I was with Judge Story when he received your letter giving an account of Mittermaier's article on his ‘Commentaries on the Constitution.’ How long is that article, and what is its purport and point? Ought it not to be presented to our public, translated?1 I burn to know German, that I may at once read all these things myself, and not pester with my ignorance my indulgent friends.

Can I help you about towns?2 You will wish first to state in brief what towns are in England,—to get, as it were, a unit of measure; and because ours are fashioned more or less upon those models. You will then be led to state that towns are public corporations: and here explain a nice distinction of the common law between public and private corporations,—a distinction unknown to the civil law, and, I presume, to German or any continental jurisprudence. The early history of New England should be searched, in order, as it were, to go behind the statute-book; for, I take it, towns were established long before there was much systematic legislation. Indeed, I have always regarded the formation of New England into towns as one of the peculiarities of the first settlers, to be accounted for by a study of their circumstances and character. Can I assist you? I have several engagements

1 ‘American Jurist,’ July, 1835, Vol. XIV. p. 247.

2 Mittermaier had requested Dr. Lieber to contribute to a German magazine an article on ‘Towns.’ This was prior to the publication of Tocqueville's review of the ‘American System of Townships,’ and particularly of the towns of New England, in his ‘Democracy in America,’ Vol. I. ch. 5.

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