Imatges de pÓgina
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Norway there is no want of able lawyers as candidates for judicial function, with all its responsibilities. Procurators seek to be sorenskrivers. Advocates aspire to be judges in the Stifts Amt courts or Hoieste Ret court. Why should it not have been so in other countries, as in Scotland, if the same principle had come into operation at a period when property was in a similar state? Good government would gain a steady basis by the adoption, even now, of such a principle, with the modifications which the different state of society and property in different countries might require. The administration of justice would never be converted into an instrument for serving the temporary views of political power, and could never be unduly influenced by the spirit of party, even in times of the greatest excitement, in a country where the judge might be called upon to defend his decisions before a higher court, and be liable for the injury occasioned by a wrong one; where the higher court, too, is a constituent branch of the state, independent of the executive and legislative, its members irremovable and elevated above local or party feeling. In Norway, in prosecutions connected with the abuse of the freedom of the press, and in many cases in which the

, executive government had apparently a strong feeling, this highest court of final resort, the Hoieste Ret of the Norwegian constitution, by the calm independence of its judgments, has proved itself neither influenced by the spirit of the cabinet nor by that of the people, but to be truly and effectively athird estate in the body politic.

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CHAPTER VI,

ANOTHER FAIR. ---SKINS.-DOGS BRED FOR FUR.-BOOKS AT THE

FAIR.--BIBLE SOCIETY'S OPERATIONS COUNTERACT THE DIFFUSION OF THE BIBLE IN FOREIGN LANDS. -LAPLANDERS.—PECULIAR RACE.PRESENT STATE.-NUMBERS. -LANGUAGE-VALUE OF STOCK REQUIRED TO SUBSIST A LAPLANDER -THE FJELDE LIFE. ITS ATTRACTIONS. CORN BANKS. THRASHING-MACHINES-PROBABLY A NORWEGIAN, NOT A SCOTCH INVENTION.FENCES IN NORWAY. - DESCRIPTION.—ADVANTAGES,-ECONOMY. -RUSSIAN POPULATION.-POWER-POLICY.-VALUE TO RUSSIA OF A SEA COAST.-NORTHERN PROVINCES OF FINMARK AND NORDLAND.-THEIR CONNEXION WITH NORWAY WITH RUSSIA -PROBABLE VIEWS OF RUSSIA ON THAT PART OF SCANDINAVIA NORTH OF THE

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LATITUDE. IMPORTANCE OF SUCH AN ACQUISITION.-INDICATIONS THAT IT IS CONTEMPLATED.

Levanger, April 1835.- We had another fair in our little town in the beginning of March, which lasted a shorter time, but was more lively than the December one. The Jemtelanders, with their coffin-shaped sledges closed with lids, making not bad beds for a snowy night on the Fjelde, for which purpose they seem constructed, appeared in great numbers. They purchased horses, fish, manufactured and colonial wares, for the Swedish and Russian fairs. Young, sound, and very

handsome horses were sold for 40 or 45 dollars. I expected to have seen more skins of wolves and bears at a market so near to their homes; but such furs find a better sale among the nobles of Sweden and Russia, than among the Norwegian udallers.

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Those brought here were principally of the reindeer and goat, which are dressed with the hair on, and are used as blankets by the labouring class. There were two skins of the beaver in the fair. The animal, although not extinct, is rare in the Fjelde, and lives solitary, not like the American beaver, in society. The fur or skin used for their winter pelisses by the Fjelde people is really handsomer, although much cheaper than that of the wolf or bear. It belongs to a particular kind of dog, with a remarkably fine, soft, and glossy fur. These dogs are bred for the sake of their skins; and it appears to me that many of the best of the dark-brown or black muffs and tippets of our English ladies are merely well-selected skins of these Fjelde dogs. A pelisse of such fur costs about 18 dollars, while that of wolf skin costs 40 or 50. A fur pelisse is not however indispensable in this climate. The great majority, four-fifths at least, of every assemblage of people wear great-coats of good substantial home-made blue cloth. A few wear great-coats made of goat skin, prepared so as to be perfectly water-proof and light. It is lined with cloth, made like a modern great-coat, and would be a comfortable, dry, useful coat for a rainy night outside the mail coach.

From what I have observed at the two fairs in this place, which are among the most considerable in the Peninsula, I am satisfied of the correctness of the observation I made at Dronthiem, that the great subscriptions and exertions in England for printing and distributing the Scriptures in foreign

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countries, are counteracting their own object, as far as respects those countries in which the printing and selling of books are established trades. At this fair, several thousand people are assembled, many of whom dwell in the valleys high up in the Fjelde, remote from other men, and scarcely within the verge of civilised society, and with little opportunity, except at these yearly fairs, of supplying their wants. There appeared to be a considerable inclination among the common people to buy and read whatever came in their way in the shape of a book, and to take home something of the kind from the fair, just as we see at our country fairs in Scotland. Almanacks and ballads seemed in considerable request ; the old folks buying the former, and the girls with their sweethearts very busy over the latter. There were school books, cookery books, the law book of Christian V., the ground law of the Norwegian constitution, the transactions of the Storthing of 1824, to be found in the shops; also a reasonable supply of the catechism, and of the book of common prayer, as used in the Norwegian church : but there was not a single copy of the Bible or New Testament. The Scriptures have evidently been driven out of the market * by the Society furnishing them greatly cheaper than could be afforded by those who have to live by the printing and selling of books. The natural distribution through every corner of a country of all that the inhabitants use or may require, is by the hands of traders stimulated by their own interest to bring supply to every door at which there is any chance of finding a demand. It is dangerous to interfere with this natural course. The trader is actuated by the fear of loss as well as by the hope of gain. If he have no capital at stake, no loss to dread as well as profit to hope, his exertions will only be half of what are necessary for supplying a country. The application of this to the present question is obvious. The British and Foreign Bible Society may print a sufficient stock of Bibles to give one to every family, or even every grown person in a foreign country, at half of the ordinary price. They may send this stock to the principal towns, and even the parishes; but still the question remains, How are these books to be distributed ? If they are delivered to the trader at even half the ordinary price, he has just so much less inducement to bestir himself in getting them sold as he has less of his own trading capital embarked in them, and less loss or inconvenience to apprehend by a tardy sale.

* In the year 1816, in the bishopric of Bergen, there were found to be 3906 Bibles in a population of 146,999 persons. Budstikkens tredie aargang.

Give him the copies for nothing, or for a trifle, and it is evident he would not be at the expense and trouble of packing up and transporting to distant markets, fairs, or other places of sale, goods which occupied little or no portion of his trading capital. If trade then be the means adopted by the Society for its Bible distributions, they are depriving that means of half

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