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occafion once expreffed it *) in her principles and practice ever moft unquestionably loyal. The clergy of her perfuafion, holy in their doctrines, and unblemished in their lives and converfation, are alfo moderate in their ambition, and entertain juft notions of the ties of fociety and the rights of civil government. As in matters of faith and morality they acknowledge no guide but the fcriptures, fo, in matters of external polity and of private right, they derive all their title from the civil magiftrate; they look up to the king as their head, to the parliament as their lawgiver, and pride themselves in nothing fo justly, as in being true members of the church, emphatically by law established. Whereas the principles of thofe who differ from them, as well in one extreme as the other, are equally and totally deftructive of thofe ties and obligations by which all fociety is kept together; equally encroaching on thofe rights, which reafon and the original contract of every free ftate in the universe bave vefted in the fovereign power; and equally aiming at a diftinct independant fupremacy of their own, where fpiritual men and fpiritual caufes are concerned. The dreadful effects of fuch a religious bigotry, when actuated by erroneous principles, even of the proteftant kind, are fufficiently evident from the hiftory of the anabaptifts in Germany, the covenanters in Scotland, and that deluge of fectaries in England, who murdered their fovereign, overturned the church and monarchy, hook every pillar of law, juftice, and private property, and most devoutly established a kingdom of the faints in their ftead.'
Several things advanced in this paffage appear to be liable to very ftrong objections, and we are not without hopes, that, when the learned commentator fhall have coolly and deliberately reconfidered the whole paffage, he will think it neceflary, in a future edition, to foften fome things and alter others, especially those which we have printed in Italics.
In the laft chapter of this volume, the Author, by way of fupplement to the whole work, gives an hiftorical review of the moft remarkable changes and alterations, that have happened in the laws of England. Though he only proposes to draw fome outlines of an English juridical hiftory, by taking a chronological view of the ftate of our laws, and their fucceffive mutations at different periods of time, yet this part of his work is written with great judgment and ability, and fhews the Writer's confummate knowledge of his fubject.
The feveral periods under which he confiders the state of our legal polity, are the following fix: 1. From the earliest times to the Norman conqueft: 2. From the Norman conquest to the reign of King Edward the First: 3. From thence to the re
formation 4. From the reformation to the restoration of King Charles the Second: 5. From thence to the revolution in 1688: 6. From the revolution to the present time.
What he advances in regard to the fifth period, and part of what he fays relating to the fixth, we shall lay before our Readers.
Immediately upon the restoration of Charles II. the principal remaining grievance, the doctrine and confequences of military tenures, were taken away and abolished, except in the inftance of corruption of inheritable blood, upon attainder of treafon and felony. And though the monarch, in whose per fon the royal government was restored, and with it our antient conftitution, deferves no commendation from pofterity, yet in his reign, (wicked, fanguinary, and turbulent as it was) the concurrence of happy circumftances was fuch, that from thence we may date not only the re-establishment of our church and monarchy, but also the complete reftitution of English liberty, for the first time, fince its total abolition at the conqueft. For therein not only thefe flavish tenures, the badge of foreign dominion, with all their oppreffive appendages, were removed from incumbering the eftates of the fubject; but alfo an additional fecurity of his perfon from imprifonment was obtained, by that great bulwark of our conftitution, the habeas corpus act. These two ftatutes, with regard to our property and perfons, form a fecond magna charta, es beneficial and effectual as that of Runing-Mead. That only pruned the luxuriances of the feodal fyftem; but the ftatute of Charles the Second extirpated all its flaveries: except perhaps in copyhold tenure: and there also they are now in great meafure enervated by gradual custom, and the interpofition of our courts of juftice. Magna charta only, in general terms, declared, that no man fhall be imprifoned contrary to lawr the habeas corpus act points him out effectual means, as well to release himself, though committed even by the king in council, as to punifh all thofe who fhal! thus unconftitutionally mifufe him.
To thefe I may add the abolition of the prerogatives of purveyance and pre-emption; the ftatute for holding triennial parliaments; the teft and corporation acts, which fecure both our civil and religious liberties; the abolition of the writ de haeretico comburendo; the ftatute of frauds and perjuries, a great and neceflary fecurity to private property; the ftatute for diftri bution of inteftate's eftates; and that of amendments and jeafails, which cut off those fuperfluous niceties which fo long had difgraced our courts; together with many other wholesome acts, that were pafled in this reign, for the benefit of navigation and the improvement of foreign commerce: and the whole, when we likewife confider the freedom from taxes and armies which the fubject then enjoyed, will be fufficient to demonftrate this
truth," that the conftitution of England had arrived to its full vigour, and the true balance between liberty and prerogative was happily established by law, in the reign of king Charles the Second."
It is far from my intention to palliate or defend many very iniquitous proceedings, contrary to all law, in that reign, through the artifice of wicked politicians, both in and out of employment. What seems inconteftible is this; that by the law, as it then flood, (notwithstanding fome invidious, nay dangerous, branches of the prerogative have been fince lopped off, and the reft more cleared defined) the people had as large a portion of real liberty, as is confiftent with a state of fociety; and fufficient power, refiding in their own hands, to affert and preserve that liberty, if invaded by the royal prerogative. For which I need but appeal to the memorable catastrophe of the next reign. For when King Charles's deluded brother attempted to enslave the nation, he found it was beyond his power: the people both could, and did, refift him; and, in confequence of fuch refiftance, obliged him to quit his enterprize and his throne to gether. Which introduces us to the laft period of our legal history; viz.
From the revolution in 1688 to the prefent time. In this period many laws have paffed; as the bill of rights, the to leration-act, the act of fettlement with its conditions, the act for uniting England with Scotland, and fome others: which have afferted our liberties in more clear and emphatical terms; have regulated the fucceffion of the crown by parliament, as the exigencies of religious and civil freedom required; have confirmed, and exemplified the doctrine of refiitance, when the executive magiftrate endeavours to fubvert the constitution; have maintained the fuperiority of the laws above the king, by pronouncing his difpenfing power to be illegal; have indulged tender confciences with every religious liberty, consistent with the fafety of the ftate; have eftablifhed triennial, fince turned into feptennial, elections of members to ferve in parliament; have excluded certain officers from the house of commons; have reftrained the king's pardon from obftructing parliamentary impeachments; have imparted to all the lords an equal right of trying their fellow peers; have regulated trials for high treason; have afforded our pofterity a hope that corruption of blood One day be abolished and forgotten; have. (by the defire of his may
*The point of time, at which I would chufe to fix this theoretical perfection of our public law, is the year 1679; after the habeas corpus act was paffed, and that for licenfing the prefs had expired: though the years which immediately followed it were times of great practical oppreffion.'
prefent majefty) fet bounds to the civil lift, and placed the adminiftration of that revenue in hands that are accountable to parliament; and have (by the like defire) made the judges completely independant of the king, his minifters, and his fucceffors. Yet, though thefe provifions have, in appearance and nominally, reduced the ftrength of the executive power to a much lower ebb than in the preceding period; if on the other hand we throw into the oppofite fcale (what perhaps the immoderate reduction of the antient prerogative may have rendered in fome degree neceffary) the vaft acquifition of force, arifing from the riot-act, and the annual expedience of a ftanding army; and the vaft acquifition of perfonal attachment, arifing from the magnitude of the national debt, and the manner of levying thole yearly millions that are appropriated to pay the intereft; we fhall find that the crown has, gradually and imperceptibly, gained almoft as much in influence, as it has apparently loft in prerogative.'
For our accounts of the preceding volumes of this truly excellent Commentary on the Laws of England, we refer our Readers to the 34th, 35th, 36th, and 39th volumes of the Review fee the general Table of Contents to each volume, printed with the Appendixes.
Letters fuppofed to have paffed between M. de St. Evremond, and Mr. Waller, collected and published by the Editor of the Letters between Theodofius and Conftantia. Two Vols. 12mo. 5 S. fewed. Becket and Co. 1769.
HE Author of thefe letters would certainly be unwilling that they fhould be confidered merely as a work of entertainment; it can, however, be of ufe to exhibit the characters of St. Evremond and Waller, in letters which they are feigned to have written, only in proportion as it is fit their fentiments fhould be adopted: the fentiments, therefore, which are found in these letters, at least those that are established by them, muft be imputed to the Author. Many of these are, indeed, not only juft but refined, at the fame time that the characters of the writers are not ill fuftained. There is, however, fomething difgufting in the compliments which the Author is perpetually paying to himfelf in the perfons of his drama, when they are made to commend the fentiment, the vivacity, the wit, the judgment of the letters he has written for them."
In the IVth Letter the Author, in the character of St. Evremond, having mentioned the Dutchefs of Shrewsbury, who is faid to have held the Duke of Buckingham's horfe, difguifed
like a page, while he killed her husband in a duel, makes the following remark:
It was great weakness in Buckingham to be capable of lov ing a woman who wanted the characteristics of her fex, tendernefs and delicacy. The genius of bold and vulgar prostitution! What a depraved fpirit! what a groveling foul must he have, who can mix his paffions with any thing fo odious! A masculine woman is my immortal averfion! Mafculine in perfon, or in fpirit, fhe is equally dreadful! Courage in that fex is to me as difguftful as effeminacy in ours. I cannot bear to find even their sentiments of the male-kind-A female divine, a female lawyer, a female hiftorian, a female politician, are all infupportable monfters! Out of fex! Out of character! Out of nature! Loft to the very idea of propriety! and always affected to the laft excefs of abfurdity!'
If the Author had stopped at declaring that he could not bear to find even the fentiments of women of the male kind, his remark would have been juft and useful. But furely, it is arrogant in man, and injurious to woman, to fuppofe truth and knowledge to be, in this author's fenfe, of the male kind.
It is difficult to conceive how a woman becomes lefs feminine in her fentiments by knowing any truth either in divinity, hiftory, or law. Her fentiments feem to be out of the question; they may furely be juft as feminine if she is knowing as if the is ignorant, whether the communicates her knowledge or conceals it; juft as feminine combined with religion, as with fuperftition; with the spirit and ability of rational investigation, ds with implicit faith in the tales of the nursery. Neither is it true that knowledge always renders the fex odious by affectation. To poffefs knowledge and abilities is one thing, to overrate them another: to make intellectual acquifitions from which custom has generally precluded the fex is very different from giving up the character; and the Author is unfortunate if he knows no woman, who with all the elegance and foftness of female fentiment and manners, has all the difcernment and knowledge of the philofopher. It happens indeed, very frequently, that a learned dunce is more intolerable in petticoats than breeches. A woman that happens to have learnt old words, old facts, and old cuftoms, and nothing elfe, is very apt to fwell into ridiculous importance upon the acquifition; but this can be no reason why ufeful and important knowledge should not be trufted with genius, whofe characteristics are modefty and diffidence, left they fhould produce a monfter, loft to every idea of propriety, and affected to the laft excefs of abfurdity.'
Many little fictions are interfperfed in this work, which cannot fail to entertain the Reader; among others is the following, in a letter afcribed to St. Evremond: . REV. Oct. 1769. X