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to have the sole power of governing the conquered country and its inha. bitants, consequently that of making temporary laws for them according to his discretion, as being a necessary part of such government. But, when the peace is made, and the country is ceded for ever to the crown of Great Britain by the former sovereign of it, and the old inhabitants of the country are permitted to continue in it as subjects to the conquering sovereign, and to take the oath of allegiance to him (either with or without a restoration of their lands to them), There seems to me to be an end of the exercise of the king's prerogative of making war in such a country, and of all the incidental powers belonging to such prerogative. From that moment the laws of peace take place, and, as I Thould conceive, the legislative authority with respect to such new part of the British dominions, as well as with respect to the former parts of them, must revert to its proper channel, in which it runs in times of tranquillity, that is, to the king and the cwo houses of parliament conjointly. And, if it does not then so revert, it must be owing to some other cause, or reason, than the king's having the sole prerogative of making war and peace, because at this time both the war and peace are supposed to be com
the caure at thinated." Further reading that he lands,
But there is a further argument couched in Lord Mans, field's words, above quoted, that remains to be considered. His Lordship observes, that " the lands are the King's; and he may grant them to whom he pleases; and if he plants a colony upon them, the new settlers will hold the shares of the said lands which shall have been allotted them, subject to the prerogative of the conqueror.” Our Author contents himself with slightly noticing the very palpable petitio principii contained in the close of this paragraph; for what lels is it, to tell us, that the conquered hold their lands subject to the prerogative of the conqueror, when the whole question turns upon, What the prerogative of the conqueror is? He, then comes full charged against this argument, and proves, beyond the poffibility of a reply, that the circumstance of the King's being owner of all, the lands of a conquered country immediately after the conquest, cannot give him the shadow of a right to impose laws and taxes on the inhabitants. If, indeed, it could, an odd consequence would follow : every rich landholder in England might not only introduce a new system of laws among his tenants, by requiring them to promise obedience to such laws as a condition of their leases, but he might also, after the leases were made to them, change those laws for another system, and double the rents whenever he pleased, by imposing a tax upon them. The extravagance of such an opinion (says one of the dramatis perfonæ) is so striking in the case of a private person, that no man could, for an instant, be persuaded to entertain it.' And yet, if the mere ownership of the land could create a legislative authority over the persons who inhabit it, it must be confeled, that such a conclusion might juftly be in.
ferred from it. But, in the case of a king, people are apt to think the reasoning less absurd. The splendour of Majesty dazzles their imaginations, and overpowers their understanding." However, as this effect of conquest will probably never be agitated (it being precluded by the modern practice of capitulations), it is unnecessary to pursue this part of the subject any further.
The remaining arguments advanced by our Author, in opposition to Lord Mansfield's opinion, thall be confidered in a subsequent Review.
fent future rise and pres the Ancien
Art. III. The History of Modern Europe: With an Account of the
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and a View of the Progress of Society from the Fifih to the Eighteenih Century. In a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son. 8vo. 2 Vols.
12 s.' Boards. Robinson, &c. 1779. M ODERN history has been thought by many to poffefs
advantages over the Ancient, in point of utility, as it traces the rise and progress of those communities which at present subfift, and lays open the origin of the several excellencies and defects in the present forms of civil government. That this object of study is of great importance, cannot be doubted. To furnish young persons with a connected view of the progress of society in modern times, which shall give them something more than a chronological series of names and facts, and lead them to make just and useful reflections on the events which have occurred in the world, must therefore be acknowledged to be a laudable design.
With this view the History of Modern Europe, now before us, is profesiedly written; and, in our opinion, the design is executed in a manner which does credit to the writer's abilities and judgment, and will render the work highly acceptable to the public. The Writer has very successfully endeavoured to strike a medium between the dry chronological method of Puf. fendorf, and the desultory, but captivating manner of Voltaire, He has related facts with great perspicuity, and at the same time, with no inconsiderable hare of elegance of style. He interweaves with the general narrative many interesting anecdotes, and judicious reflections ; and through the whole, he discovers a liberality of sentiment, respecting both religion and civil policy, which will render his work particularly estimable in the judgment of those who have not learned to despise the idea, and ridicule the name, of Liberty.
The following remarks on the progress of society, from the settlement of the modern nations to the middle of the eleventh century, may serve as a specimen of this work.
• I have
• I have already given you an account of the System of Policy and Legislation establithed by the Barbarians, or modern nacions, on their first settlement in the provinces of the Roman empire; and I have endeavoured, in the course of my narration, to trace the progress of society, as it regards religion, laws, government, manners, and literature : but as the history of the human mind is of infinitely more importance than the detail of events, this letter shall be entirely devoted to such circumstances as tend more particularly to throw light upon that subject. I fhall also pursue the same method, at different intervals, during the subsequent part of your historical ftudies.
· Though the northern invaders wanted taste to value the Roman arts, laws, or literature, they generally embraced the religion of the conquered : and the mild and benevolent spirit of Christianity would doubtless have softened their savage manners, had not their minds been already infected by a barbarous superitition; which mingling itself with the Christian piincipies and ceremonies, pro. duced that absurd mixture of violence, devotion, and folly, which has so long disgraced the Romih church, and which formed the charaller of the middle ages. The clergy were gainers, but Christianity was a loser, by the converfion of the Barbarians. They rather chanced the object, than the spirit of their religion.
o The Druids among the Gauls, and the Priess among the ancient Germaos, and all the nations of Scandinavia, possessed an absolute dominion over the minds of'men. These people, after embracing Chriftianity, retained their veneration for the priesthood; and unhappily the clergy of those times had neither virtue enough to pre. serve them from abusing, nor knowledge sufficient to enable them to make a proper use of their power. They favoured the fuperftitious homage; and such of the Barbarians as entered into orders, carried their ignorance and their original prejudices along with them.
· The Christian emperor's had enriched the church ; they had lavished on it privileges and immunities : and chere seducing ad. vantages had but too much contributed to a relaxation of discipline, and the introduction of disorders, more or less hurtful, which had altered the spirit of the gospel. Under the dominion of the Bar. barians, the degeneracy increased, till the pure principles of Chriftianity were lost in a gross superstition, which, instead of aspiring to sanctity and virtue, the only sacribce that can render a rational being acceptable to the great Author of order and of excellence, endeavoured to conciliate the favour of God by the same means that satisfied the justice of men, or by those employed to appease their fabulous deities. .
• As all civil crimes were bought off by money among the northern . conquerors, they attempted, in like manner, to bribe heaven, by benefactions to the church; and the more they gave themselves up to their brutal pafsions, to rapine and to violence, the more profuse they were in this species of good work3. They seem to have be. lieved, says the Abbe de Mably, that avarice was the first attribute of the Divinity, and that the saints made à traffic of their influence and protection. Hence the bon mot of Clovis : “ St. Martin serves N 3
his friends very well; but he makes them pay foundly for bis trouble.”
“ Our treasury is poor,” said Chilperic, the grandson of Clovis; " our riches are gone to the church: the bishops are the kings !''
And indeed the superior clergy, who by the acquisition of lands added the power of forcune to the influence of religion, were often the arbiters of kingdoms, and disposed of the crown while they regulated the affairs of the state. There was a necesity of consulting them, because they possessed all the knowledge that then remained in Europe: they only knew any thing. The acts of their councils were considered as infallibie decrees, and they spoke usually in the name of God; but alas! they were only men.
• As the interest of the clergy clashed with that of the laity, op, position and jealousy produced new disorders. The priests made ole of artifice against their powerful adversaries; they invented fables to awe them into submiflion; they employed tke spiritual arms in defence of their temporal goods; they changed the mild language of charity into frightful anathemas: the religion of Jesus breathed nothing but terror. To the thunder of the church, the initrument of so many wars and revolusions, they joined the aflifance of the sword. War. Jike prelates, clad in armour, combated for their possessions, or to usurp those of othețs; and, like the heathen priests, whose pernicious influence was founded on the ignorance of the people, the Christian clergy sought to extend their authority by confining all knowledge to their own order. They made a mystery of the most necessary sciences : truth was not permitted to see the light, and reason was fettered in the cell of superstition. Many of the clergy themselves could scarce read, and writing was principally confined to the cloillers; where a blind and interested devotion, equally willing to deceive and to be ieve, held the quill; and where lying chronicles and fabulous legends were composed, which coptaminated history, religion, and the principles and the laws of society..
Without arts, sciences, commerce, policy, principles, almost all the European nations were as barbarous and wretched as they could pollibly be, unless a miracle had been wrought for the disgracę of humanity. Charlemagne indeed in France, and Alfred the Great in England, endeavoured to dispel this darkness, and tamę their subjects to the restraints of law; and they were so fortunate as to succeed: light and order dittinguihed their reigns. But the ig. norance and basbarism of the age were too powerful for their libe. ral institutions: the darkness returned, after their time, more thick and heavy than formerly, and fut:led over Europe, and society again fumbied into chaos.
The ignorance of the West was so profound, during the ninth and tenth centuries, that the clergy, who alone possessed the important secrets of reading and writing, became necessarily the arbiters and the judges of almost all secular affairs. They comprehended, in their jurisdillion, marriages, contracts, wills; which they cook care to involve in mystery, and by which they opened to themselves new fources of wealth and power. Every thing wore the colour of religion : temporal and spiritual concerns were confounded;
and and from this unnatural mixture fprung a thousand abuses. The history of those ages forms a satire on the human soul; and on rcligion, if we should impute to it the faults of its ministers.
o Redeem your souls from destruction,” says St. Egidius, bishop of Noyon, “ while you have the means in your power; offer presents and tythes to churchmen; come more frequently to church; humbly implore the patronage of the saints: for if you observe these things, you may come with security in the day of the tribunal of the eternal Judge, and say, Give us, O Lord, for we have given unto thee!"
• In several churches of France they celebrated a festival in commemoration of the Virgin Mary's fight into Egypt. It was called the Feast of the Ass. A young girl richly dresled, with a child in her arms, was set upon an ass superbly caparisoned. The ass was led to the altar in solemn procession. High inals was said with great pomp. The ass was taught to kneel at proper places : an hymn, not lafs childish than impious, was sung in his praise : and when the ceremony was ended, the priest, instead of the usual words with which he dismiff:d the people, brayed three times like an ass; and the people, instead of the usual response, brayed three times in return.
• Letters began to revive in the eleventh century; but what let, ters ?-A scientifical jargon, a false logic, employed about words, without conveying any idea of things, composed the learning of those times. It confounded every thing, in endeavouring to analyse every thing. As the new scholars were principally divines, theological matters chiefy engaged their attention : and as they neither knew hiftory, philosophy, nor criticism, their labours were as fucile as their inquiries, which were equally disgraceful to reason and religion. The conception of the blessed Virgin, and the digestion of the eucharist, were two of the principal objects of their speculation : and out of the latt a third arose; which was, to know whether it was voided again !
• The disorders of government and manners kept pace, as they always will, with those of religion and leiters. They seem to have attained their utmott height towards the close of the tenth century, Then the feudal policy, whose defeas I have elsewhere noticed, was become universal. The dukes or governors of provinces, the marquises employed to guard the marches, and even the counts in. trusted with the administration of juttice, all originally officers of the crown, had made themselves masters of their duchies, marquisates. and counties. The King indeed, as superior lord, fill received homage from them for those lands which they held of the crown, and which, in default of heirs, returned to the royal domain : he had a right of calling them out to war; of judging them in his court by their assembled peers, and of confiscating their estates in case of rebellion ; but in all other respects, they themselves enjoyed the rights of royalty. They had their sub-vassals, or subjects; they made laws, held courts, coined money in their own name, and levicd war against their private enemies.
• The most frightful disorders arose from this state of feudal anarchy. Force decided all things. Europe was one great field of