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and shoulders, but afterwards by watchfulness and foresight; and, having attained a light in religion that will own their liberties, of them both they made up one garland, not to be touched by any rude hand; but as if it were the bird of the eye, the whole body startles therewith, the alarm is soon given and taken, and when the alarm is given, neither high nor low are spared that stand in their way,
“ This they do owe to the Eastern people, from whom they fetch their pedigree. So the only way to conquer them is to let them have their liberties; for, like some horses, they are good for carriage as long as their burdens are easy, and set loose upon them; but if too close girt, they will break all, or cast their load and die.
“ The two states of Lords and Commons, in their transmigration, being then in the nature of an army of soldiers, had a General by their election ; under whom, after they had obtained a peaceable settling, they named anew by the name of Konning (or the wise man), for then wisdom was more necessary than valour. But after the clergy had won the day, and this Konning had submitted himself to the ghostly father, they baptized him by the new name of Rex, and so he is styled on all written monuments which we owe entirely to ecclesiastics, although the vulgar held their appellation still, which by construction, or rather corruption, did at length arrive at the word King, a notion which as often changeth the sense as the air, some making the persons all in all, and some nothing at all, but a compliment of state.
• Speaking of the alteration made in the condition of the House of Commons of England, by Henry the Seventh, he concludes, os Henceforth the Commons of England are no mean persons, and their representatives of such concernment, as, if a king will have them to observe him, he must serve them with their liberties and laws, and every one the public good of the people. No man's work is bencath, no man's above it. The best honour of the king's work is to be nobilis servitus (as Antigonus said to his son), or in plain English, supreme service above all. I now conclude, wishing we may obtain the happiness of our fore-fathers, the ancient Saxons, who, according to Tacitus, were quilibet sorte propria contentus;”, every one contented with his own situation. Discourses on the Laws and vernment of England, folio.'
The slow process of the law in this country, so often the subject of complaint with those who have been obliged to have recourse to its decisions, acts nevertheless as a preventative on many who possess a spirit of unnecessary litigation. In a self with great spirit and energy; that liberty which secures to every individual the blessings of personal safety and private property, under the sanction of law †, and which is more generally enjoyed in this nation, than it has ever been in any other country in the world.'
+ “ Legum servi sum:is ut liberi simus," says Tully; and in the true spirit of this indisputable maxim, the republic of Lucca inscribes over the great door of its prison, in golden capitals, Libertas ; to shew that restraint is necessary to insure freedom, and that where there is no law, there can be no liberty,'
note on a curious article of this work, concerning a dispute between Lord Chief Justice Holt and the House of Commons, (p. 542,) summary justice seems to be recommended by the editor; without reflecting that there may be as much injustice in trials which are too short as in those which are too long. About 40 years ago, when the king of Prussia's celebrated Code. Frederic was much approved and desired in England, by many who had sufi'ered by “the law's delay," it was proved by a great civilian that, if a trial for life, honour, or property, were to be determined in a certain short and stated time, before the arrival of distant essential witnesses, or hearing the depositions of a sufficient number of those who were present, it would occasion great oppression and injustice, and give opportunity for the operation of favour and partiality in the judge. Yet, however incompatible we may imagine the Prussian Code to be with a free Government, we do not mean to say that the trial of Nir. Hastings, to which the editor alludes, was not protracted to an immoderate length.
The new and original articles, chiefly in the second volume, are the following: letters of Lord Peterborough, Sir Robert Walpole, and Sir Luke Schaub : Characters of Purcell, Handel, Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, and Dr. Farmer : Letter of Dr. Johnson to a young clergyman : Sketch of the life of Mr. Hastings, a long and curious article, from documents furnished by Major Scot; and a character of Dr. Warren, from the editor's personal knowlege. With the last article, we shall close our account of this very judicious and entertaining compilation : not omitting to mention the engravings which embellish the books, amounting to five, on interesting subjects, and well executed ; nor must we pass unnoticed a song, set by an ingenious lady to music of no vulgar kind.
• RICHARD WARREN, M. D. • This celebrated physician being asked one day what was the best school of physic, replied, “ The best school of physic that 1 krow is a large London hospital *.” Lord Mansfield said of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, that Wisdom herself would have chosen to speak by his mouth ; Sagacity itself would have chosen that of Dr. Wairen to record its observations; his expressions were neat and forcible, and plainly evinced that they arose from a mind pregnant with information and acuteness. Of every subject on which he con. versed he always went to the leading feature, the discriminating
•* This however, like every other aphorism, must be understood wih allowance. The great physician who made it supposed that a certain portion of medical reading and lectures had been gone through, Before the student observed the practice of that useful and arduous science.'
trait; and left every hearer convinced, that, had he pursued the Law, had he studied Theology, or had he taken to Politics, he would have been as distinguished in them as he was in his own particular science. In this he verified what was said of the illustrious Marshal Catinat to Louis XIV. “ Does your Majesty want an archbishop, a chancellor, a general, or a prime minister ? 'You may take Catinat for any of those great situations; he will fill either of them with honour to you and to himself.”
Much more might have been added to the character of this great physician and enlightened man; whose professional skill and experience, however successful and justiy renowned, were much aided in restoring the health of his patients by his captivating manners and conversation. What is said, however, is according to the truth; and let but the truth be told of him who traced the preceding slight sketch, and whose hand will never trace another, then will his character shine bright before the eyes of posterity, shaded by as few imperfections as are generally known to obscure the reputation of Man.
ART. VIII. A Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chrmistry, and the
Arts. Illustrated with Engravings. By William Nicholson, Vol. I.
literary works, have a reciprocal influence on each other, In the times when knowlege was confined to a few individuals, books rarely appeared; and those which did appear, containing the accumulated stores of profound research and extensive reading, were accessible to a few only, who had leisure, capacity, and perseverance. From such a state, the transition was not easy; the unequal distribution of knowlege determined the nature of the books in which it was stored ; and the nature of the books prevented a more uniform diffusion of knowlege. When presses multiplied, and restraints were removed from them,-when writing became a trade, and the love of gain operated with the love of fame as motives to authorship,- the number of literary productions increased, and their nature was changed: the serious and unremitted devotion of twenty or thirty years, to the study of a particular science, was no longer considered as a necessary preparation for work; and when a person imagined that he had some information to communicate, the means were ready.--He might not indeed acquire fame, but he might depend on escaping censure. When so much therefore was to be gained, and so little
was risked, it was no wonder that many adventurers in author. ship appeared ; and hence arose a great variety of small publications, which might be procured at a trifling expence, and understood by moderate capacities or with little previous information. The desire of knowlege thus soon spred itself through all ranks, and was quickly gratified; and the large masses of science and learning, when broken down, diffused a more uniform fertility over the whole soil.
The facility of publishing, and the temptations to it, are indeed adverse to the great accumulation of knowlege which was formerly observed in certain individuals. The vanity of an author is soon gratified: the present applause of the world is the motive which impels him : the reward which posterity can bestow is too remote to operate ; for few write as Zeuxis painted, “ in æternitatem."
There are also other causes which prevent individuals from acquiring the same depth of learning which they formerly attained. The circle of human intelligence has been greatly extended : the objects of curious speculation and of useful pursuit have multiplied: many new branches of abstract science have been invented ; many theories in physical philosophy have been established; the mechanical arts have received prodigious enlargement and improvement; criticism has had its principles rendered more evident, and its application more exact : the analysis of the human mind, almost unknown to former times, is now generally an object of inquiry; and modern authors, in yoluminous metaphysical treatises, in histories, poems, and in novels, “unfold the seminal principles of virtue and vice, and sound the depths of the heart for the motives of human action.” Of these objects of mental occupation, every man who is elevated above the lower orders of society is obliged to know something, either by the love of novelty or by the shame of ignorance. By the multiplicity of these objects, the attention is frequently distracted, and the powers of the mind are dissipated. To these causes, we may add one other, derived from the more frequent intercourse of men in advanced civilization. In this intercourse, learned and ingenious conversation has arisen, and the natural desire of superiority impels men to excel in it: but, in collecting means for acquiring excellence, the specious rather than the useful are sought: facts are stored, not for the exercise of rational criticism, nor for the deduction of important truth, but that they may be again distributed : learning hopes to oppress with the weight of its authorities; and wit, which means to perplex by its sophistry, and to surprise by the dexterity of its argumentation, neglects truth in order to furnish itself with the weapons of dispute.
The intellectual character of society, being modified by the causes which we have enumerated, requires that the nature of books should correspond to it; and if the objects of inquiry be various, each cannot be particularly investigated : we cannot search thoroughly and range extensively; the powers of the human mind are finite, and the union of accuracy and universality of knowlege is a chimæra. If, then, the objects of intellectual pursuit be many, the quest will not be for profound and systematic treatises, which examine a subject on all sides and in its minutest parts, detect it in its most obscure beginnings, and trace its influence in the remotest consequences: but for books of less tremendous bulk and importance, which exhibit the subject in its most material points, preserving general outlines and principal features.
The books of the latter description have appeared under the titles of Epitomes, Abstracts, Synopses, Abridgments, Magazines, Journals, &c. ; which are not only necessary because che turn of the public mind demands them, but in some in. stances claim higher distinction : for, when executed with ability, they prevent time from being unprofitably spent on worthless books, rescind useless matter, collect what is un. necessarily diffused, illustrate what is obscure, and familiarize what is abstruse.
That these publications occasionally furnish matter for reprehension is not to be denied : the little portion of ability with which some epitomes have been executed justify the reproof of Bacon *; and, in the abridgment of scientific and philosophic treatises, the most essential parts have been some. times omitted, or negligently treated. It is not to be forgotten, also, that works which are of a superficial rather than of a profound nature may produce an undue elation of the mind, when it finds that knowlege is acquired so soon, and with so slight an exertion of its powers.
Yet, if we attend to the true design of these publications, their defence is easy. The evil with which they are charged is not so inherent in their nature, but that it may be remedied by skill. They are not meant to contain every thing relating to a subject; and although they do not pretend to be profound, they still penetrate beyond the surface. If they were to cease, the great majority of the people would remain in ignorance, and be miserable; and is such a sacrifice to be risked for the chance of producing again a Bacon or a Newton ?
« * Epitoines are the moths and corruptions of history, that have fretted and corroded the sound bodies of many excellent histories, and wrought them into base and unprofitable dregs."