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Mr. Erskine on the House of Commons. . of polleffion: libérty, in this state, is not allowed to dispose of their estates, but an inheritance; it is little better than an the original tenure was made to follow alms from an indulgent or a cautious ad- the land through all its alienations ; conministration. It remains, therefore, to fequently, when the king's valial divided thew by what steps the people of England, his property, by fale, into smaller baro. without being drawn forth into personal nies, the purchaser had from thenceforth action, were enabled to act with more no feodal" connexion with the seller, but than personal force; in what manner they held immediately of the king, according acquired a political scale, in which they to the ancient tenure of the land; and if could deposit the privileges thus bravely these purchasers alienated to others the and fortunately acquired, and into which lands to purchased, still the tenure conevery future accumulation of power flow. tinued and remained in the crown. ing froin the increase of property and the Now, when we reflect that every tenant thriving arts of peace might filently and of a barony holden of the king in capite imperceptibly fall, bringing down the had a seat in parliament, we fee at once scale without convulsing the balance. the striking operation of this law; we fee

And here those historians must be fol- how little the wisest politicians foresee lowed with caution, who have made this the distant consequences of ambition : new order of the state to start up at the Edward and his barons, by this device, nod of Montfort or of Edward; neglect- monopolized, it is true, thé feodal soveing the operations of the feodal system, as reignties, and prevented their vassals thinking them, perhaps, more the province from becoming lords like themselves, but of the lawyer than the historian, they they knew, not what they were doing; have mistaken the effect for the cause, and they knew not that, in the very act of have ascribed this memorable event to a abridging the property of the people, they sudden political necesity, which was in were giving them a legislative existence, reality prepared and ripened by a slow which at a future day would enable them and uniform progression. This truth to overthrow. whatever stood in the way may be easily illustrated.

of their power, and to level that very feoThe law * of Edward I. still remains dal system which they were thus attempton the records of parliament, by which ing to perpetuate : for the tenants in capite the crown and the barons, in order to who had a right to be summoned to parpreserve for ever their fond feodal rights, liainent, foon became so numerous by the festrained the creation of any new lupe

alienation of the king's vassals (whose riorities. By this act, the people were

immense territories were divisible into:

many lesser baronies), that they neither * The statute of the 18th Edward I. chap. could, nor indeed wished any longer to i. commonly called quia emptores terrarum. assemble in their own rights; the feodal The great barons were very presiing to have peers were, in fact, become the people * ; this law passed, that the lands they had fold

and before the act might not be subinfeud, but might return to themselves by escheats, on * The House of Commons, and the spifailure of heirs, or by forfeiture in case of ritual Lords (who still fit in parliament as felony: but they did not foresee that the

tenants in capite) are the only remains of the multiplication of their own body would, in genuine feodal territorial pecrage; for, when the end, annihilate its consequence, and the tenants in capite became numerous and raise up a new order in the state: indeed the

poor, such an alloy was mixed with the antenancies in capite were multiplying fast before cient original nobility, that it would have .this act; for when a large barony escheated, been absurd to have allowed tenure in chief or was forfeited to the crown, it was generally

to convey any longer a personal honour and divided, and granted to more than one; and privilege: the peerage, therefore, no longer frequently these baronies descended to several passed with the fief, but from being territofemales, who inherited as co-parteners; it rial and official, became personal and honowas in consequence of this multiplication of rary; but as tenure in chief was still from tenures in capite that the smaller barons were the very nature of the foedal system a legissummoned per vicecomites, and not like the lative title, although its exercise was no greater ones, as early as the reign of King longer personally practicable from the multiJohn; their numbers being too great to addrefs plication of royal holdings, a representation writs to them all: but this niultiplication was naturally adopted. would probably never have produced a genu The feodal aristocracy thus expanded, ine house of commons, without the operation changed by degrees into a democracy, and of this act, as will appear by and by, from the aristocratical part of the government the comparison between the English and would have been utterly extinguished fón Scotch parliaments.

failure of the peers by prescription) if the

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250

Mr. Erskine on the House of Commons. and the idea of reprefentation came for- distinct body from the lords. This, ward by a necessary consequence : parlia- though a political accident, brought the ment, from being singly composed of English Commons forth into action; men who sat in their own rights to save their legislative existence was the natural the great from the oppression of the crown, birth of the feodal system, compressed by and not the small froin the oppression of the crown. the great, now began to open its doors To prove these truths, we have only to to the patriot citizen; the feodal and contemplate the history of our fifter kingpersonal, changed into natural and corpc. dom of Scotland (governed at that time rate privileges; and the people, for the first by the same laws), there being very little time in the history of the world, saw the difference between the Regiam Majeftatem, root of their liberties fixed in the centre the Scotch code of those days, and the work of the constitution.

compiled by Glanville, chief justice to As the multiplication of royal tenures Henry II. The law of Edward I. which from the enfranchisement of boroughs * produced these great changes * in Eng, (but chiefly from the operation of this land, was transcribed by the Scotch law) first gave rise to popular representa- parliament into the statute book of their tion; so it is only in the continued opera- Robert I. but the King of Scotland had tion of these principles, that we can trace not conquered that country as William the distinct existence and growing power had subdued England, consequently he of the House of Commons: we know that was rather a feodal chieftain than a mothey affembled for a long time in the fame chamber with the peers; that the It may be asked, what these changes separation was not preconceived by the were, which the act is said to have produced, founders of the conititution, but arose Since the burgesies were called to parliament from necessity, when their numbers be- in the beginning of Edward's reign, before came too great to form one assembly; and the act pasled; and since the lesser barons we know that they never thought of as

were summoned by the sheriffs, as early as the suming popular legislative privileges, till reign of King John. To this it may be anby this necessary division they became a feodal; the burgefiles representing those cor

swered, that these parliaments were entirely

porations that were tenants in capite, and the crown had not preserved it, by conferring on summons of the lefler barons being by no a few, by personal investiture, an hereditary means a popular election, but a proclamation tight of legislation in the room of that terri- for those who hold fufficient lands of the torial peerage that had branched out and be- king in cafite, to assemble in their own rights : come a popular right. This produced a great but where the statute of quia emptores had so change in the orders of the state, for the generally diffused the royal holding, that feodal baronage, after having produced the from being a feodal privilege confined to a House of Commons, continued to balance few, it canie to be a popular and almost uniand struggle with the prerogative as a demo- versal right, representation of the multicracy, in the fame manner that it had refifted tude succeeded upon feodal principles to a it before as an ari/tocratical body: whereas, personal right of legislation; the territorial the monarchical peerage, which sprung up on peerage sunk altogether, or rather dilated the decay of the feodal, is merely an emana- itself into an House of Commons; and that tion of the royal prerogative, interested in the power, which in other feodal countries, being support of the crown, from which it derives condensed like the rays of the sun to a focus, it luftre and its power, and has no connec consumed the rights of mankind, produced, tion with the feodal system which conferred when thus scattered abroad, á plentiful harno legisative rights but by tenure in cațite, veft of liberty. In Scotland, where the act which tenure diffused among the multitude, of quia emptores was never enforced, the feodal constituted the House of Commons.

baronage diffused itself, notwithstanding, so as * It is very probable, that burgage tenure at least to produce a representation, but it confirst gave the idea of a representative of the tinued to be a representation merely feodal; smaller barons: For when the king enfran- the knights of the shires were representative chised a town, and gave it lands from the barons, not representatives of the people; and royal demesne, this instantly made the cor never formed a distinct' order in the state: poration a tenant in capite; but, as the corpo- indeed, such a third power could never have sation could not fit in parliament, it elected a possibly sprung up from a feodal constitution, burgess. It is in consequence of this bur or any other principle, than that which is here gage tenure or tenancy in capite, of a corpora- laid down. There was no representation of tion, that we now see such an insignificant the Scotch barons till the year 1427, when it village as Old Sarun, fending two members was enacted by statute that the smaller to parliament, while such a fourishing town barons needed not to come to parliament, proas Manchester sends none,

vided they sent commisioners.

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Mr. Erskine on the House of Commons.

251 march, and had no power to carry this crown, they fat filent in parliament, relaw of Edward's into execution; for the presenting the flavery and not the freedom Scotch barons, although they would not of the people. allow their valfals to lubinfeud, yet when

But this dissemination * of property, they sold their own lands, they would not which in every country on earth is looner suffer the crown to appropriate the tenure, or later creative of freedom, met with a but obliged the purchasers to hold as vaf- fevere'check in its early infancy, from the fals to themselves: by this weakness of statute of entails; in this instance even the Scotch crown and power of the nobles, the crown of England had not sufficient the tenancies in capite were not multiplied strength to ripen that liberty which had as in England; the right to fit in parlia- fprung up from the force of its rays; for ment was consequently not much extended if Edward I. could have resisted this law, beyond the original numbers ; and Scot- wrested from him by his barons to perpeland never saw an House of Commons *, tuate their estates in their families, the nor ever tasted the blessings of equal go- English constitution, from an earlier equi

When the boroughs, indeed, librium of property, had suddenly arisen in latter days, were enfranchised, they to perfection, and the revolution in the fent their representatives ; but their num- reign of Charles I. had probably hapbers being inconsiderable, they assembled pened two centuries higher in our history, in the same house with the king and the or, perhaps, from the gradual circulation peers, were awed by the pride of the lords, of that power which broke in at last with and dazzled by the lplendour of the a sudden and projectile force, had never

happened at all; but the fame effects had

been produced without the effufion of * The representative barons and burgesses civil blood : for, no sooner was the statute never formed, in Scotland, a third estate (as of entails shaken in the reign of + Henry has been observed in the last note), they were VII. and finally destroyed by his fucceffor, considered as the representatives of royal than we see the popular tide which had tenants, and not of the people at large; and, ebbed so long, begin to lift up its waves, therefore, naturally affembled with the peers, till the mighty fabrics of prerogative and who sat by honorary creation: for tenures

aristocracy passed away in one ruin togein chief being confined to a very small number, when compared with other tenures, ftill ther. This crisis, which shallow men continued to be the criterion of legiNation; then mistook, and still miltake for anara and, though extended beyond the practica- chy, was but the fermentation of the unbility of personal exercise, was highly feodal, conquerable spirit of liberty, infused as even when expanded to a state of representa- early as Magna Charta, which in work tion. Whereas, in England, the statute of ing itself free from the impurities that quia emptores made tenure in capite almost uni- oppressed it, was convulling every thing versal, or in other words, gave legislative around : when the fermentation ceased, privileges to the multitude, upon feodal prin- the stream ran purer than before, after ciples; which consequently produced a repre- having, in the tumult, beat down every sentation, not of royal tenants, according to the principles of the feodal system, but of the people, according to the natural principles of * By the dissemination of property, in this human society. It is probably from this dif- place, is not meant, that which gave the ference between these principles of legislation, right of legislation to the people on feodal that the right of voting is to different in the principles, but that which is necessary to give two countries: in Scotland, the common weight and consequence to a third estate so council, and not the body of the burgesses, arisen. are the electors; because the corporation, as + The statute of fines, passed in the fourth the tenant in capite, is represented, and not year of Henry VII. was purposely wrapped the individuals composing it: and no forty up in obscure and covert expressions, in order Thilling freeholder can vote for a knight of the to induce the nobility to consent to it, who thire, unless hre holds immediately of the would otherwise have flung it out if they had king; for if his tenure be not royal, he thought it would have barred entails: but in must have four hundred pounds. Whereas, the thirty-second year of Henry VIII. when in England, the right of election (unless it the will of the prince was better obeyed, its has been otherwise fixed by prescription) is in real purpose was avowed, and the statute the whole body of the burgeffes; and all then made had a retrospective operation given forty shilling freeholders vote for the knights to it, so as to include all entails barred of the shire, whether the tenure be of the by fines fince the fourth year of the former king or a subject.

reign.

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Tenets of t'ie Quakers explained. bank that obstructed its just and natural To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. course, The confummation of these

SIR, great events is too recent and notorious to demand farther illustration; their best

I

behoves every one, who undertakes commentary is the happiness and freedom faith and opinions of any set of Christian which we enjoy at this day.

professors, to qualify himself so far as to The subject proposed is, therefore, obtain a correct knowledge of the subbrought to its conclusion; but it is a jeết, left he inadvertantly inftil those ersubječt too dear and important to be con rors into the minds of his readers, which cluded without a reflection that arises he may have imbibed. It was, no doubt, very itrongly out of it.

from negligence, that David Hume, in The English conditùtion will probably his “ Moral and Political Esays," has never more be attacked in front, or its communicated so gross an error respecting diz?olution attempted, by striking at the the Quaker's. In his 12th Essay on Suauthority of the laws; and, if such attack perstition and Enthusiasm, p. 111, he fhould ever be made, their foundations has the following passage, “ The Quaker's are too deeply laid, and their superstruc- are, perhaps, the only regular body of ture too firmly cemented to dread the Deilts in the universe, except the Liteevent of the contest : but the conititution rati, and the disciples of Confufcius, in is not therefore immortal, and the centi- China.” Guthrie, in his “ Geographical nel must not sleep: the authority of the Grammar,” is far from giving a juft laws themselves may be turned against the statement of their religious opinions : had {pirit which gave them birth; and the either of these writers taken the pains to English government, may be dissolved consult the productions of William Penn, with all the legal solemnities which' its the Apology of Barclay, or some other outward forin prescribes for its preserva- authors among this reipectable body of tion. This mode of attack is the more Christians, they might have escaped the probable, as it affords respect and safety censure which they have incurred, in not to the besegers, and infinitely more dan- searching for inforination on these points gerous to the people, as the consciences from those resources where it was most of good men are enthared by it: the vir- likely to be obtained. tuous citizen, looking up with confidence Now, Mr. Editor, I take the liberty of to the banners of authority, may believe conveying, through the medium of your he is defending the constitution and the useful Miscellany (and that in a lumlaws, while he is trampling down every mary way), a true Itatement of the reliprinciple of justice, on which both of gious principles of this fociety, so much them are founded. It is imposible,there- misrepresented, or so little understood out fore, to conclude, without expressing a of their own pale. fervent wilh, that every member of the They believe in one eternal God, and community (at the same time that he bows in Jesus Christ his Son, the Messiah, and with reverence to the supremacy of the Mediator of the New Covenant; they acftate and the majesty of the laws) may knowledge the divinity of Christ, who is keep his eyes for ever fixed on the spirit the wisdom and power of God unto salof the constitution, manifested by the vation. To Chrift alone they give the revolution, as the pole-star of his political title of the Word of God, and not to the course; that while he pays, the tribute of Scriptures; they reverence the excellent duty and obedience to government, he precepts of the Gospel, and believe, that may know when the reciprocal duty is to enable mankind to put in practice these paid back to the public and to kimself. sacred precepts, every man is endued

This corcluding wish is, I trust, not with a meature of the light, grace, or misplaced when delivered within these good fpirit of Christ, by which he is philofophical walls; the sciences ever enabled to distinguish good from evil, Hourish in the train of liberty, the foul of and to correét the disorderly passions and a flave could never have expanded itself corrupt propensities of his nature, which like Newton's over infinite space, and mere reason is insufficient to overcome. lghed in captivity at the remotest bar- They believe, that the influence of the riers of creation : in no other country Spirit of Christ is necessary to enable under heaven, could Locke have unfolded them, acceptably, to wormip the Father with dignity the operations of an immor- of light, and of fpirits, in spirit and in tal foul, or recorded with truth the truth ; and are of opinion, that to wait duties and privileges of society.

in lilence is most favourable to their.

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On Oil, as a Curè of the Plague.

253 having a true sight of their condition be- fons afflicted with the plague, and admi• ftowed upon them.

nistering of comfort to those whom all. They believe, that all true miniftry is the world rejected. derived from the same source, and that With this view, he repaired to Smyrna, it springs from the influence of the Holy and attached himself to the hospitalet Spirit, They reje&t the ceremonies of tablished there exclusively for those af. baptifin and the Lord's fupper; the first, flicted with the plague. His zeal and as belonging, according to St. John, to affiduity foon made him spiritual rector an inferior and decreasing dispensation, it of the establishment, a lituation which he being merely typical of true spiritual so well deserved to fill. He has had three baptilin: the latter rite they do not con or four attacks of the plague, one of sider as maintaining the communion be- which totally deprived him of the sense tween Christ and his church, which is of smell. This he confiders as a great only done by a real participation of his blessing, as it was the sense most offended divine nature through faith; one is the in the course of his ministry. Before he substance, the other the shadow. was deprived of smell, he could generally

They refuse to take an oath, or to hear judge pretty accurately by that means, arms, as being repugnant to the princi- whether a patient when brought into the ples of the Gospel. But their tenets in- hospital would live or die. He does not culcate fubmission to the laws of govern- hesitate to perform every office about a ment in all cases wherein conscience is person in every stage of the pestilence, not violated.

with no other precaution than to avoid Your's, &c.

I. N. inhaling their breath. No doubt, being

habituated to the notion of contagion,

and having a firm and unshaken reliance To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

on the protection of Providence, tend to SIR,

guard him against infection. He has been N addition to the interesting account in his present situation near twenty years, given in your Magazine for November that he may long continue to fulfil his last, permit me to offer you an original arduous duties. treatise, from the Reverend Father LEWIS It is worthy of remark, that some of Pomia, administrator of the hospi- cases have lately been published in this tal of St. Anthony, at Smyrna, given country, where inunction with oil, toby him to a friend of mine while at that gether with forcing small quantities of place, some years ago, and containing it down the throat, Teem to have cured the an accouně of his use of oil in curing dreadful contagion of hydrophobia, even the plague. I understand that the idea after the diseale had begun. of the use of oil, in this disease, was The Italian is in Father Lewis's own figgested to Mr. BALDWIN, by ob- hand-writing, and in the translation more serving that none of the porters constant- attention is paid to accuracy than eiely employed in loading the veflels with gance.

Your's, oil, in the various ports of the Mediter London, Jan. 1798.

A.P. B. ranean, and whose cloaths and bodies TRANSLATION from the Italian of a Paper of were constantly swathed with that fluid, Father Lewis, of Smyrna, on the Use of oil, were ever attacked by the contagion,

as a Cure for the Plague. even when most prevalent. He commu

“ The wonderful effects which have been nicated this obfervation to Father LEWIS, in the present year 1792, in this our city of

produced by the inunction with common oil, and he could not have pitched upon a Smyrna, miserably affiiéted with the peitiperson better fitted to bring its truth to the test of experiment.

lent contagion, must necessarily render ever

renowned the celebrated Signior BALDWIN, Father Lewis, I am informed, was ori. ingenious inventor of it, and the first who ginally a Frenchman, of noble birth and practised it during the latt year, at Alexanliberal education. From fome circum- dria. But it will also oblige every one that ítances, with which I am not acquainted, loves, according to the divine precept, to he was induced to dedicate himself to a succour his neighbour in the molt la ventareligious life. And he concluded, that ble and wretched condition, to which any there was no way in which he could at man can be reduced on earth, not to neziced once fo completely testify his constant re

to bestow on him so meritorious an act of liance on divine Providence, and, at the Christian piety, and humane commiseration; same time, benefit his fellow-creatures, which those who were unfortunately afflicted

and to thank God, that after so many ages, in as by becoming a religious assistant to an with the plague have been abandoned, without hospital established for the relief of pesa

hopes

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