Page images



Art. 11. Obfervations on the Act of Parliament commonly called the Bofton Port Bill; with Thoughts on Civil Society, and Standing Armies. By Jofiah Quincy, junior, Counsellor at Law in Boston. Bolton printed, London reprinted. 8vo. 1 s. 6d. Dilly. 1774. NE peculiarly unlucky circumftance attending our American

Ο difputes, may be added to the reft, viz. that our fellow-fubjects

there are as well read in the nature and grounds of civil and religious liberty, as ourfelves; as appears by many of their late publications, in which they oppofe British pretenfions on British principles: and this fhrewd commentary on the Boston Port Bill, will incline us to entertain a refpectable opinion of their law pleaders. Were the caufe to be decided by pleading, it is not difficult to fay what the iffue would be; what it may be according to the actual mode of profecution, is too difagreeable a profpect on either fide to anticipate : the refult must be waited with a painful anxiety, by every true friend of liberty, and of his country.

The incroachments of power are very naturally reprefented; but ably as this ingenious Barrifter pleads the American caufe, it is, it feems, in vain to urge it any more. Why reafon is no longer the rule in political management, appears fully from what he fays on a fubject that intimately affects the whole empire, viz. that of a STANDING ARMY! This was once an alarming object of fenatorial complaint; but fo it is, fubjects complain till they are wearied, minifters Ture of a tame majority, laugh at fuch ineffectual representations, outnumber the talkers, and thus, which is the most mortifying circumftance of all, employ the forms of the conftitution to poifon it!

A parent first cherishes and inftructs his infant offspring; but the vigour of the one declining, perhaps the fooner for intemperance, while that of the other increases, their circumftances are at laft inverted. Hence the parent grows indolent, careless, and peevish; the young ones, vigilant, prudent, and affuming: therefore among other remonftrances from the American fhores, we are not to wonder at being reminded of an impending danger that we have too long forgot. Whether the remembrance may not come a day too late, and only to add to our forrow, is a question well worth the attention of those who are qualified for the investigation, and empowered to act pon it.

Art. 12. An Argument in Defence of the exclufive Right claimed by the Colonies to tax themselves. With a Review of the Laws of England, relative to Representation and Taxation. To which is added, an Account of the Rife of the Colonies, and the Manner in which the Rights of the Subjects within the Realm were communicated to thofe that went to America, with the Exercise of those Rights from their firft Settlement to the present Time. 8vo. 2 s. 6 d. Brotherton, &c. 1774.

Another folid and judicious advocate for the colonies has employed his pen to no farther purpose, than to render the contraft between equity and power more glaring.

Art. 13. The Justice and Policy of the late Act of Parliament for making more effectual Provifion for the Government of the Province of Quebec, afferted and proved; and the Conduct of Adminiftration refpecting that Province, ftated and vindicated. 8vo.

Wilkie. 1774

We have in this pamphlet a full and explicit difcuffion of the feveral objections raised against the Act for regulating the Government of the Province of Quebec. The particulars we apprehend it is needless to enter into; fince no one who confiders the circumftances of that province, and reads the act with due attention, will efteem the popular cavils worth reafoning upon, unlefs out of tenderness to weak minds, to prevent their becoming the dupes of defigning men. Such men, if they really mean any thing more than exalting themselves as bell-wethers of the populace here, muft wish to establish oppreffion and slavery under the mark of civil and religious liberty. Because the fortune of war has subjected a great number of inoffensive French Catholics, in a remote part of the world, to our power, are we to, Thock all their feelings and prejudices, deftroy their private peace, and diftract the government of the colony, to make them Englishmen and Proteftants vi et armis? We have done far wifer, in adopting the conduct of the apostle Paul, who tells the Corinthians, I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal ↑.

Art. 14. A Letter to the Earl of Chatham, on the Quebec Bill. 8vo. Is. Cadell. 1774.

This excellent letter has been afcribed to a young Lord, whofe character out of the house is as well known as his abilities in it: but it is now afferted that a worthy Baronet is the real father of this political bantling.

Lord C. had thought proper feverely to arraign the Quebec bill. For this he is now as feverely called to account; not indeed in harsh terms, calculated to catch the ear by humouring popular prepoffeffions, but with mafterly arguments, directed to the understand. ing of mankind.

If ever, fays the very sensible Writer, there was an event on which the Public might demand an opinion, it had a right to yours on the fettlement of Canada. From your rank and experience in the state, your importance in your country, and, above all, as the atchieve ment was yours, the manner of maintaining it should have been yours alfo. You was the minifter, the uncontrolled and uncontrollable minifter, when Canada was conquered. When you returned to power a fecond time, you propofed no legislative act for its regulation and government; muft I then fay to you my Lord, "Vincere fcis, victoriâ uti nefcis."-If your abilities are confeffed, who can excufe your neglect? Or if, in this bufinefs, either inaccuracy of head, inattention of mind, incorrectness of judgment, or infufficiency of reason, may be imputed to any man, on whom can that charge

For which we refer to the harangues and hand-bills of two late unfuccessful candidates for public offices in the metropolis. + 1 Corinthians iii. 2, 3.

L 3


fall more juftly than upon your Lordship? Why then did you choose this peculiar moment to break forth from your retirement? Surely, my Lord, your condefcenfion is not fuch as to lead you to become the meer harbinger of my Lord Mayor, and his addrefs within the palace, and of his co patriots without, who attended his Majefty from St. James's to the parliament.'

The expediency of affording fome legal form of government to that province is thus cogently pointed out:

Let us ftop for a moment, to fee what the government of Canada was, under the proclamation which you with to perpetuate,—it comprehended Eaft Florida, Weft Florida, and the Grenades, together with Canada, countries as different in their ettablishments as in their foil, and in their climate; various therefore were the inftructions given to the feveral governors, and afterwards changed according as information and experience pointed out new fyftems. In Canada, the French laws alone prevailed till 1764, then the English laws got fome footing. The governors and officers of justice always doubtful which to take for their guide, fometimes preferring the English, fometimes the French laws, as each feemed applicable to the cafe before them-One year a proclamation, another year an inftruction to a governor, another year a local ordinance, changed the principle, and varied the course of their jufticiary proceedings.In this state of fluctuation, no man knew by what right he could take, or give, inherit, or convey, poffefs, or enjoy property; or by what mode or rule he could bring his right to a trial. One neceflary confequence was a frequent refort to the crown for amendment, explanation, and decifion; cujus eft condere, ejus eft interpretari."-And what lefs than defpotifm is the power of the crown, when it can create or interpret, establish or deftroy laws, by virtue of its own mandates ?'

As to the civil government of Canada, after fome jutt remarks on the nature of trials by jury, the ingenious Writer thus proceeds;


Let us now, my Lord, fee what is the fund for an English jury in Canada; the number of freeholders (I do not fay there are none) is fmall indeed; but there are about three hundred Englishmen, who are houfe-keepers, and of thefe, perhaps thirty or forty are of the Jank of merchants and tradefmen; the reft are difbanded foldiers, most of them futlers; and it is a melancholy confideration that their chief traffic is in fpirituous liquors, of which they fhare pretty largely with their cuftomers the common foldiers. The courts of juftice fit once a week. The number of the better fort of English will not afford one legal panel in the whole year, and infufficient to do the business of juries, even fuppofing them to give up their time, and every other occupation to that fervice only: Mr. Maleres therefore admits that the burthen of attendance would be intolerable without pay; and he propofes five fhillings a head for every time they ferve: thus the office of jurymen would become a trade, a trade indeed, that none of the better fort will follow, but must fall of courfe upon those veterans who have left the army for the gin-fhop: fuch must be the English jury in Canada, without freeholders, without challenge, without change, and in fhort without one attribute of an English jury. Corruptio optimi fit peffima, is a true old adage, and I it as a proof of the perfection of an English jury, that in an


imperfect ftate it would be the worst way of trial upon earth. But it may be faid there are above an hundred thousand Canadians qualified to ferve upon juries; why not take your juries from them? Because your Lordship will hardly trust the property of your countrymen to a jury of Canadians only. But the juries may be mixed, -in what proportion? If you take an equal number of English and of Canadians, how are they to decide at all? Or take an unequal number, and decide by the vote (as in courts martial) then if the majority of the jury be Canadians, the verdict will be the fame as if the whole was Canadian, or if you throw the majority on the fide of the English, where is the impartiality, on which the Canadian can depend?

• Besides, the civil law of France, and the trial by jury in England, are fo diffonant, that the forms of one can never be blended into proceedings of the other; the rules in refpect of tenures, and alienations, dowers, and inheritances are quite different ;-how could the law go on in the two different languages? If the Canadian should have a caufe to try, how can his advocate prepare the process for an English jury? Or if he goes to an English attorney, how is the latter to fettle a proceeding according to the laws of Paris?

• But in criminal law the cafe is different; for to the fact of guilt or innocence, one man is as competent as another; and in our own courts, it is the actual practice, where a foreigner is to be tried, to have a jury de medietate lingue, one half English, one half foreigners.

I mean not, my Lord, a general defence of the criminal laws of England, as they are of late years multiplied and extended. For if a moiety of those who are condemned were to fuffer death, their blood would cry out for vengeance; and I am perfuaded, that THE FREQUENCY OF PARDONS, even where mercy is due, gives rife to nine in ten of the thefts and robberies that are committed. But the French law of torture to procure confeffion, is to us unknown. On the contrary, the accufed perfon is, or ought to be, warned from injuring himself by his own confeflion. It is but modern law that any man could be convicted on his own confeffion, and even now confeffions ought not to be admitted without the greatest caution.'

The obligation of conforming a government to the apprehenfions of the people who are to be governed, is enforced to conviction in the following passage :

In the courfe of all the evidence that has been laid before the Public, we find that the Canadians have expreffed one conftant uniform with to be governed by their own laws, and that the English have as fervently defired to be governed by the laws of England. The Canadians are above 100,000, the English not more than 2000 men, women, and children. The legislature was therefore to confider whether the law and government ought to be adapted to the many or to the few.

There can be no rule for the compofing of laws, but the fentiments and inclinations of those who are to be governed by them.

In a flate of nature, liberty knows no bound but that of fuperior


"Jura inventa metu injufti," and that portion of liberty which each man is willing to give up for the convenience, fafety, and protection of individuals, of families, of focieties, and of ftates, is the


L 4

first principle of law. It is true, the multitude do not compofe the form, but it must be framed to correfpond with their genius and temper, fo that their understandings may be prepared to meet, and their hearts ready to embrace it.-The habits, customs, and manners of a people, are the mirror in which alone their general difpofition may be feen; even regard must be had to their prejudices and their weakness; for law must be enacted (as Grotius has expreffed it) "cum fenfu humanæ imbecillitatis." When Solon was complimented on having given good laws to his countrymen, his reply was, "They are only fuch as the Athenians are capable of receiving." Even the law of God, as proposed by Mofes, was fubmitted to the judgment of the people before it was adopted by them.

But if thefe rules are indifpenfable in the formation, they apply much more forcibly to the actual establishment of law. If nothing but violence can impofe law, it would be fill greater tyranny to rob a nation of that law which they approve upon experience, and which is endeared by habit. Allowing then that the Canadians prefer a worse law to a better, even that bad choice is decifive upon the conduct of Great Britain. They yielded themselves up to our protection and our faith. How then can we deprive them of the first rights of human nature?'

But as religion has unhappily too often been converted into a stalking horfe in this country, and it is a better compliment to the heart than to the head of John Bull, that it has proved fo fuccessful a fcreen, the noble Author proceeds to answer the objections which have been brought against the bill, in this refpect: and his anfwer is, by many, confidered as completely decifive of the question: but we have not room to extract it. We fhall conclude with a caution to the good people of England, viz. that they would duly reflect on the old fable of the fhepherd's dog, who amufed himself fo often by raising alarms "that the wolf was coming," that no one believed his report, when the wolf actually came.

Art. 15. The Speech of a Scots Weaver: Dedicated to Richard.
Glover, Efq. Svo. I s. 6 d.
Nicoll. 1774.

The decline of the linen trade in Scotland is a known fact, and it might be thought from the chain of connexion between cause and effect, that the acting caufe of an alteration in demand for any object of commerce, could not lie too deep for investigation. We have, however, very different reafons given for the bad ftate of the linen manufacture, by Mr. Glover, and by this anonymous Weaver; and however tenacious both writers may be of their respective opipions, yet as they are able reafoners, there is the ftronger inducement to believe fome truths are urged on each side.

Mr. Glover found this difafter to originate in banking and projects; which is denied by the Weaver, who afferts that the decay of the linen trade began prior even to the inftitution of the Air bank: admitting, nevertheless, that the ftoppage of that bank_produced great diftrefs in Scotland; yet infifting from thefe bad affairs, all England cannot afcertain a lofs of 10,000 1. by Scotland.'


See Rey. June laft, p. 487,


« PreviousContinue »