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try will admit of, and the sense of it will support. He must work his way towards improvement; not jump at it. Such humanity will be safe, because it is progressive; before he quits the footing he now holds, he will see the ground on which he is to plant his next step. The present vigour and force of the laws will experence no interruption, but continue to circulate through the new channels laid for thein.
In recommending a method less airy and ostentatious than will content the spirit of those who wish to get a name by making things better on a large scale; if there be any good sense in our advice, it must be taken as nearly an account of what Sir S. Romilly has done. His plan is the model we have been describing. He began with a single law; a very old one ; so old indeed that it was time for it to be taken down, having stood in some shape as a capital law for a thousand years. We have already described what it was. This piece of obsolete and injudicicus severity being reformed, he proceeded next to three statutes, nearly connected with each other in their subject; and with great temper of inquiry, and after a diligent exainination of the mode in which they had been executed, submitted them to repeal. We do not think he could have selected three more meritorious candidates for amendment. But that is not the point at present; what we wish to suggest is, that whether his notions be right or wrong as to what he wished to effect, he has taken the only course of proceeding we ever wish to see followed; a patient examination of his subject, and a single and temperate effort at once.
We might embellish our pages, if we were so inclined, with many forcible quotations from Lord Bacon, (who had planned a revisal of our laws, and has drawn an idea of what a good law ought to be,) from Stiernhook, the Swedish Blackstone; from Sir W. Blackstone himself; and from the recent work of Mr. Bentbam on the Theory of Punishments and Rewards; to illustrate the superior value of certainty and precision in laws above severity, and expose the defects of those legislators who have spared their wisdom, and trusted all to their vigour. But we shall forbear to collect maxims and sentences; perhaps an opportunity will occur when we may be able to treat those points more fully and usefully than in a series of quotations.
To return to the three acts we have been speaking of; our readers will observe that they are of a date comparatively recent ; having been passed in the reigns of William the Third, Queen Anne, and George the Second. The first two are levelled at offences which were capital before, but entitled to the benefit of clergy. The effect of the acts, therefore, was only to take away that plea of general grace. The time of their passing scems to
mark the increase of our wealth and commerce, which would contribute to render the crimes in question more frequent, as when the bees have filled their bive, the wasps will be there. hi different stages of society there will be a succession of new crimes to exercise the vigilance of the law; and the general habits and state of the times cannot vary faster than the vices produced or fostered by them. In a ruder age the violent crimes will prevail; in a more civilized
the meaner. We rather believe, however, that in a rude age there is much violence and baseness joined together; as none are more addicted to theft and sordid cunning than savages; but the atrocities throw the humbler vices into the shade, and cause them to be less felt in their own age, and less known in another. Commerce itself, however, is the fruitful mother of the crimes of theft in all their varieties; not more from the habits it bestows than the opportunity it affords to that offence. It pours in wealth in a shape the most convenient for plunder. The rural opulence of our forefathers was not completely safe; still, their oaken tables and their wheat ricks could not be carried off without some trouble, and men were honest because property was immovable. But when commerce has collected together the enjoyments of life, and given to more men the taste than the means of them, dishonesty is whetted by all it sees, and by the ease of invading it. We need not wonder at the activity of theft when we look at the accumulated riches of a metropolis, crowded with shops and houses overflowing with loosely-guarded plenty ; shops where trade thrives so well that the owner cannot attend to his customers and the thief at the same time; and houses where the display of wealth is more a fashion than the economy of it. In Newgate biography, perhaps, examples might be found of a man's setting out perfectly honest at the one end of Cheapside and becoming fit for a prison before he reached the other. The circulating force which keeps property constantly afloat, and ready to fly at a touch, places it equally in the way of traffic and of pillage. To be ready to be sold, it must be ready to be stolen. To protect all this plenty, and especially in its less divisions, the law is called upon to exert its power. The small proprietor, indeed, could hardly be called the owner of what he enjoys but for the strong hand of the law. His inventories and title deeds would be nothing without the statute-book.
That there was too much zeal, however, in the legislature when it made a capital offence of every small invasion of this property, is allowed by the universal disinclination to treat it as such at the present day. The spontaneous judgment and feeling of the courts have corrected the law. Our attempt has been to shew, that it would be expedient for the law now to fix the judgment and feeling of the courts.
ART. X. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, a Romaunt. By Lord
Byron. 4to. pp. 226. London, Murray. 1812. WE have been in general much gratified, and often highly de
lighted, during our perusal of this volume, which contains, besides the two first cantos of the Pilgrimage, and the notes by which they are accompanied, a few smaller poems of considerable merit; together with an Appendix, communicating a good deal of curious information concerning the present state of literature and language in modern Greece. The principal poem is styled 'A Romaunt;' an appellation, perhaps, rather too quaint, but which, inasmuch as it has been always used with a considerable latitude of meaning, and may be considered as applicable to all the anomalous and non-descript classes of poetical composition, is not less suited than any other title to designate the metrical itinerary which we are about to examine.
* The scenes attempted to be sketched,' says Lord Byron in his preface, are in Spain, Portugal, Epirus, Acarnania, and Greece. Here, for the present, the poem stops ; its reception will determine whether the author may venture to conduct his readers to the capital of the . east, through Ionia and Phrygia. These two cantos are merely experimental. A fictitious character is introduced for the sake of giving some connection to the piece; which, however, makes no pretension to regularity. It has been suggested to me by friends on whose opinions 1 set a high value, that in this fictitious character, ‘Childe Harold,' I may incur the suspicion of having intended some real personage; this I beg leave, once for all, to disclaim. Harold is the child of imagination, for the purpose I have stated.'
After the usual invocation to the muse, the supposed traveller is thus iutroduced to our acquaintance.
Save concubines and carnal companie,
But one sad losel soils a name for
Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme Can blazon evil deeds, or consecrate a crime. This description is continued through eight more stanzas, for the purpose of exhibiting, at full length, this singular child of profligacy, who is drugged with pleasure,' and driven, at once by the fulness of satiety,' and by the pange of unrequited passion, to seek relief from the intolerable tediousness and monotony of life, in voluntary exile. To quit the companions of his debaucheries required little effort; but he quitted with the same abruptness a mother and a sister, for whom he felt a sincere affection.
A few dear objects, will in sadness feel Such partings break the heart they fondly hope to heal.' These lines will probably recal to the memory of our readers the pathetic passage in Virgil where Euryalus makes mention of his mother.
Hanc ego nunc ignaram hujus quodcunque pericli est,
Dextera, quod nequeam lacrymas perferre parentis. Childe Harold now embarks; and having soon lost sight of land, seizes bis harp, and composes a lay of Good Night' to his native country. On the fifth day he reaches the mouth of the Tagus, and the city of Lisbon, whose image floating on that noble tide which poets vainly pave with sands of gold, inspires him with delight, nearly equal to the disgust with which he afterwards contemplated the filth of its interior, and the character of its inhabitants; then degraded by a weak government, and evincing no symptoms of that noble energy, by which they have latterly been distinguished. But it is the 'glorious Eden' of Cintra which calls forth his warmest admiration.
tints that gild the greenest bough,
The vine on high, the willow.branch below,
The buildings that add splendour to this sylvan scenery are next described; and Childe Harold, who, like Voltaire's Pococurante, is often disposed to be sarcastic, takes care to remind us of the celebrated Cintra convention, and ascribes to a wicked fiend, inhabiting the castle of Marialva, the absurdities of that martial synod, who were so eager to throw away their hard-earned laurels for the purpose of hooding themselves in the fool's cap' of diplomacy.
After casting one look at the palace of Mafra, the restless Harold proceeds in his devious wanderings.
Though sluggards deem it but a foolish chace,
Oh! there is sweetness in the mountain air, And life, that bloated Ease can never hope to share! In passing from the Portugueze to the Spanish territory, he is somewhat disappointed, by the smallness of the stream which forms the boundary between two nations, so long disunited by their reci. procal animosity.
The Paynim turban and the Christian crest
Red gleam'd the cross, and waned the crescent pale,
Count Julian's daughter, the Helen of Spain. Pelagius preserved bis independence in the fastnesses of the Asturias, and the descendants of his followers, after some cen. luries, completed their struggle by the conquest of Grenada.”