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in fact, digested by a select body of persons of sufficient leisure for the task, and not so distinguished by official dignity as to exalt their labours above criticism. To such persons, all the sages of the law, and, more especially, the Chancellor, might safely lend the valuable support of their countenance and advice, without giving to any proposed measures the undue weight of their official sanction, and without compromising themselves, by engaging to carry them into effect, if, upon more extended investigation, they should appear to be inexpedient. A commission of this sort, if well filled, might unite the benefits of theoretical and practical knowledge, in a degree far exceeding what could be expected from the efforts of any official character on the one hand, or of any recluse student on the other. The suggestions of this body should be promptly attended to, but not hastily adopted. The evil of frequent changes should be provided against, and the permanence of the new system secured as far as possible, by allowing sufficient time minutely to consider, and thoroughly to mature it, before it is brought into action. Upon this point we cannot better express ourselves than in the words of the following extract, with which we shall close this article:

"It is to avoid that precipitation to which dilatoriness invariably leads, that amendments in the law should be projected long before the adoption of them becomes indispensably necessary. No new system of law, or alteration in one already established, ought to be sanctioned without full and fair examination. It is owing to the haste of Tribonian to do that in three years which he was allowed ten to accomplish, that the digest exhibits such a mass of incoherence and confusion. To press the adoption of any legislative measure, when insufficiently known or imperfectly comprehended, is neither wise nor honest. It is to the hurry and confusion in which the laws of England are made, that the greater part of their blunders and miscarriages are owing. Scarcely any permanent and important measure can be figured, which ought not, after it has been put into the shape of a bill, to be submitted to the judgment of the public for one year at least; and if it were to undergo a probation of several, it would usually be so much the better. Whenever the government is persuaded that any matter connected with the dispensation of justice requires revision, the examination to which the proposed alteration is subjected, can hardly either be too general, severe, or protracted. Above all, it ought to be submitted to the inspection of those who are supposed to be most suspicious of its expedience, or hostile to its introduction. Let such persons report up< on it, not in any kind of collective body, but what is invariably muck better, in their own words, according to their own plan, and upon their own responsibility. If any objections have been offered, let them be canvassed with candour, temper, and patience, and let the fate of the proposals depend upon the result of the ordeal to which they have been subjected. If, upon a full investigation, it appears that they are not sufficiently calculated to attain the ends proposed, or if they would

be accompanied with inconveniences which were overlooked or undervalued, let them be rejected; but if they have endured this test, whatever be their magnitude or importance, I believe that, in general, the public interest suffers, when either timidity, or local, or individual interest, prevents them from being effectually and resolutely adopted. -pp. 528, 529.

ART. VI. Letters from his late Majesty to the late Lord Kenyon, on the Coronation-Oath, with his Lordship's Answers; and Letters of the Right Hon. William Pitt to his late Majesty, with his Majesty's Answers, previous to the Dissolution of the Ministry, in 1801. 4to, pp. 45. Murray. London, 1827.


HE editor of this little collection is Dr Phillpotts; and by means of it, he has rendered, we think, a very signal service to the great cause of Catholic Emancipation. Whatever may have been his intention, we cannot but feel that he has advanced that question far more by this publication, than he ever retarded it by his elaborate and zealous, not to say angry pamphlets against it. So that, whether he may have earned with his patrons of the Protestant Ascendancy, any new title to their favour, or relaxed their anxiety for his advancement in the church, -and whether he may increase or diminish his share of that bright reversion in the hierarchy, to which all good intolerants look forward when the present hateful reign of liberal opinions shall be at an end, and exclusion be restored to its full swing,we at least, and all liberal men, are bound duly to acknowledge the obligation he has imposed upon us, by advancing our doc


We presume that the most bigoted Tory-the most devoted worshipper of kings, that is bred in Courts, or even in Cathedrals -never dreamt of maintaining that the mere authority of a monarch, simply as such, should have more weight than that of another man, after, in the course of destiny, he has ceased to fill the throne. If it were possible to contend for such a position, it would of necessity follow, that the opinions, the bare dicta of all deceased monarchs must be of equal authority, and equally entitled to implicit and submissive acceptation by their subjects, and the descendants of their subjects, throughout all generations. Thus, the authority of Alfred, and of King John, of Richard III. and Edward I., of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, nay, of good Queen Ann, the especial nursery mother of the Church, would be exactly equal; and George III. would have no better title to challenge our respect for his sentiments after his decease,

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than an unprincipled driveller like Henry VI., a blood-thirsty ruffian like Richard III., or a crafty and despicable tyrant like John. Each of these princes, while alive, in office, and clothed with regal powers, is, no doubt, esteemed of equal authority by the right believers of the true Tory breed; but after death, they must, in common sense, be regarded merely as human beings, and weighed in the scales of impartial justice. Their authority, therefore, must, to succeeding generations, be that due to their personal merits only, in which they differ-not to their kingly prerogative, in which they are equal. Weighed in such scales, what is the kind of merit to be chiefly regarded? Not certainly virtue; for, though this is of inestimable price, as regards the fame of a prince, it is of no avail in support of his opinions, inasmuch as the silliest of mankind, whose opinion no one in his sober senses would ever think of following, or even of asking about, may be the most candid, honest, and upright of his species. But it is to wisdom, sagacity, experience, soundness of judgment, that respect is due, when we are estimating the value of any one's opinion, whether king or subject, peer or peasant.

There is a most extraordinary want of reflection, then, in the reverend editor of these letters, when he confounds the respect paid to the late King's scruples on the Catholic question, with the estimate that should be formed of his authority on that subject. He was reigning monarch, invested with all the prerogatives of the Crown, and backed by much personal popularity, when all men, more or less, some a great deal too much, agreed to respect his conscientious prejudices against Emancipation. But the Reverend Doctor, with a temporary suspension of his usual acuteness, takes this to be equivalent to a general deference to the late King's opinion, and produces some letters of his Majesty, which only show, what we knew full well before, that he held such sentiments, and also, what was not known before, how very ill he could express them-how little he had profited by the diffusion of education in acquiring a tolerably correct mode of writing, and how royal a contempt of grammatical restrictions may set the head of a limited monarchy above the checks of the constitution of grammar, and the statutes of Priscian and Lilly. The Doctor, whose habitual sense of grammar seems to have survived the suspension of his other powers, apologizes for these inaccuracies, or rather, courtier-like, he turns them to praise of his late Majesty. "They are, indeed, only a gratifying proof "of the earnestness of the writer, who was more intent on the "solemn importance of his subject, than on the niceties of dic❝tion,”—(p. 11.) This certainly exceeds the old excuse for bad spelling, (whereof Lord Kenyon seems to stand in need,) which

a worthy magistrate urged, by throwing the blame upon the pen; his worship never thought of stating it as a proof of his honesty.

Now, the late King's authority being only entitled to deference in respect of his acuteness and wisdom, and there being no more reason in the world for adopting his opinion on the Catholic question, because he was once king, than for imitating his method of composition-what was there, let us calmly ask, in his Majesty's mental constitution, that should give him any peculiar claim to the character of extraordinary sense and discernment-or to that sound, and, above all, that calm practical judgment, which lends authority to the opinions, and even invests, with a title to veneration, the recorded sayings of deceased men? He was a good father-when not under the influence of prejudice, a kind and a just father; when under such guidance, a most harsh parent, as witness his very unfair treatment of the present King, whose filial conduct was marked, on the most trying occasions of his life, by the most exemplary respect and forbearance, and against whom, in this respect, no one ever brought any charge, except that he would not abandon his friends and his opinions, to humour that father's prejudices. He was a faithful husband, and of very retired and domestic habits; an early riser, punctual in his dealings, and a good man of business, after a regular every-day fashion. All these qualities add much, no doubt, to a man's respectability; and make his example useful in a moral point of view, if he is in a high station. But what weight do they give his opinions upon matters in Church and State? What force do they lend to his arguments? While actually reigning, while backed by fleets and armies, while able to win his way to the heart, through the treasure at his disposal and the patronage in his gift, the strength of reasoning which he brings to bear on any point may be of little consequence, because men do not, in general, much care to combat a logician who is master of many legions: But when he is gone to his account, and expectant beneficiaries come forth with posthumous adulation, or, under pretence of paying tribute to the memory of the departed Prince, fawn upon the living Prelate, and pursue their calling, at the risk of even vilifying the reigning monarch, and his chosen advisers, we must plainly and frankly tell them, that the value of George the Third's doctrines now, is exactly in proportion to his sense and calmness of mind as a man, and not to either his moral virtues or his station as a sovereign. Now, what rank did the late King occupy in this scale? A very humble one assuredly.

George the Third had, from nature, strong feelings; a plain and good, but very ordinary understanding; and a turn to

wards obstinacy, which, in any one, is inimical to instruction, but in a prince, is apt both to increase with time, and to prevent all mental improvement. His education was of the most narrow description; and he was bred up in prejudices of the most ordinary and illiberal kind, which strengthened with his years, and, at length, left his reason no room to play upon any matter of real importance. For the greater were the occasion to exercise deliberate wisdom, and to argue any point, the more prone was he to consider the subject as above or beyond the reach of discussion; to regard it as a matter of feeling, or conscience, or fixed principle, and therefore to view it as a ground from which all argument was excluded, and which was sacred to the dominion of preconceived prejudices alone. This is a very ordinary cast of understanding: And they who, from obstinacy of disposition, limited comprehension, or defective tuition, are the victims of it, never fail to regard as an enemy, or a designing traitor, every one who would open their eyes to the light of the truth."Let me live and die contented and ignorant," says one. -"None of your refinements!" echoes another." These are "points on which I will suffer no subtleties to raise doubts," says this country gentleman.-" Away with your special-plead"ing niceties," cries his sapient neighbour." The subject is "too sacred for human reason," adds a reverend Justice.-" Our "conscience, thank God, is beyond the reach of sophistry-of "what the liberal call reasoning," shout the whole chorus.So when the late Lord Melville ventured to show his late Majesty that there was a gross absurdity in supposing the Coronation Oath could bind any one for ever against doing his duty to the country, with the sanction of Parliament, or could apply at all to a new state of the law and the commonwealth, he is said to have been met by these memorable words, "None of your "Scotch metaphysicks!"

Such was his late Majesty, in the vigour of his faculties, and the prime of life. But Dr Phillpotts is not content with this, his best authority-these his weightiest dicta. He must needs give currency to the unfortunate King's lucubrations in the decline of life, when his reason was clouded, nay, when his faculties were on the eve, if not under the obscuration of the eclipse which, in 1801, darkened the royal understanding. The time which he judiciously selects, in his late Majesty's life, for trying his intellects in conflict with those of Mr Pitt, is the month of March 1801, immediately before the minister resigned in the prime of his faculties, and his royal master was consigned to medical care for the last of human calamities-the greatest deprivation by which either monarchs or their subjects can be visited. erhaps, be said, that the responses, without reasoning,

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