RIDDELL'S LEGAL AND HISTORICAL TRACTS.
-THESE essays of Mr. RIDDELL are distinguished by indefatigable research, much antiquarian knowledge, and a good deal of minute and curious legal lore. They also display that completeness in plan and execution which a perfect mastery of his subject enables a writer to attain, The extracts from contemporary documents, that are interwoven with the text, present us with indications of the daily practices and the habits of thinking prevalent in ancient times. To persons who delight in subtle investigations into fa- mily genealogies, and single points of history, or who are pleased to trace the origin and establishment of laws, this volume will possess considerable interest. Such readers will disregard some blemishes of style occasioned by the use of technical phrases and Scotticisms, and will pardon an uncouth merriment, which is in- tended for irony, though it more closely approaches horse-play, and that of the least graceful kind.
Exclusive of illustrative documents, the contents of the work consist of Remarks upon the Scotch law of Legitimation by sub- sequent marriage, and upon the question of the legitimacy of the Stewarts ; Observations upon the Families of Rusky and Lennox, with a discussion of some other points connected with the Memoirs cf Napier of Merchiston; and a reply to Mr. TYTLER'S His- torical Remarks on the death of Richard the Second. This last subject, as it is the most popular in character, so it is by far the most elaborately and satisfactorily handled. The death of Richard is established by proofs much stronger than suffice for legal evi- dence of death; the moral impossibility of the person maintained in Scotland having been the King of England, is shown by an induction from a variety of circumstances ; the author, origin, and object of the scheme, are traced, as it appears to us, with suf- ficient clearness ; and the real identity of the impostor established, by an ingenious conjectural argument, if it do not rise to absolute certainty.