Page images


Art. XVI. A candid Review of the Falls in the Litigation between

Peter Barfoot, Esq. and Richard Bargus and others, with the Bishop of Winchester, concerning the Right of Fareham Quay; decided by the final Award of Robert Pope Blachford, Esq. of Orborne in the Isle of Wight. 8vo. pp. 200. 45. Boards. Green and Co. 1788. T is an advantage of no small importance in the proceedings

of the courts of law, that decisions by a jury, if they do not afford complete satisfaction to both parties, are seldom the subjects of appeal to the public on the score of injustice or partiality. Of determinations by arbitration, a mode sometimes recommended in preference, fo much cannot be said ; and the present work is an inftance of the truth of our observation. In widening the road at the town of Fareham, the commissioners of the curnpike are here charged with taking in some of the land of Mr. Barfoot, without giving him any satisfaction. After some negociations, that gentleman had recourse to law for redress; and the judge before whom the matter in dispute was brought, unwilling that, by the event of a verdict, the public should lose the benefit of the road, and defirous at the same time that right fhould be done to all parties, recommended the matter in difa pute to be referred to a gentleman whose character, it is but justice to remark, some of the witnesses teftified on oath, stood so high in the county of Southampton, that they did not believe him capable of prejudice or partiality; but whose award is here examined by the lofing party with great freedom, and censured with much asperity. To the public at large, the circumftances of this narrative will not be very interesting. The author's sentiments, however, on the value of trials by jury, are manly, and worthy of an Englishman; and, therefore, we think they ought to be universally known.

The following cafe [he says] shews the danger of submitting the decision of hereditary right to the whim or caprice of any one person, however high in public esteem, or deep in ability. The legislature have wisely provided against this evil by the establishment of juries; and I am convinced, that whoever seeks redress in a more summary way, is not only an enemy to himself, but to the community at large, by encouraging a mode, not very confiftent with the spirit of our laws, and in many cases productive of fresh animosity and litigation.

· Were it posible to derive impartial justice from the breast of one man, a verdict might with much more facility pass from the judge, who has greatly the superiority of a jury in point of legal knowlege. But experience convinces us, that strict impartiality is not an ingredient of the human heart. Few men exist who are not the dupes of some partial bias, which stimulates their actions, and blinds their judgment. By this they form a favourite opinion of their own, and stedfastly adhere to it, in spite of reason, of argument, or of facts.

• Bus < But when a matter is left to the determination of twelve indif. ferent persons, this local prejudice loses its effect. The caprice of one private opinion is balanced by that of another. Each man feels a diffidence of his own discernment; he dreads the fame of being detected in a partial design, and readily embraces that one, uniform, deliberate opinion, which results from the evidence immediately before them, and forms the purest and most impartial adjudication that any human fyftems have yet been able to produce.

• Reference to a sole arbitrator is precisely the same as trying a cause without a jury, and if the number of arbitrators be increased to three or five, the objection still remains, since one person eventually determines for the whole. To convince the public of the danger of trusting to arbitrations under any form, and to recommend them, upon every arduous occafion, to abide the issue of a trial by their peers, is the object of the present publication.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



For APRIL, 1789.

[ocr errors]

Art. 17. A short Elay on the Subject of Negroe-Slavery, with a parti-

cular Reference to the Island of Barbadoes. By the Rev. H. E.
Holder, of that Place, 8vo. pp. 45. is. Dilly. 1788.
ESTIMONIES relative to this interesting and much contra-

verted subject, on either side of the great and leading question,
delivered by persons who draw their conclusions from experience,
are entitled to our particular attention ;-and such is the information
communicated by the author of this moderate and judicious essay.

Mr. H. sets out with a general discussion of the nature and lawfulness of lavery; and he appeals to Scripture for proof that it is one of those gradations of raok and condition which God has been pleased to establish in this world. He then proceeds to fhew that the Negroes are actually Naves in their own country; and that their condition, in general, is not changed for the worse by their removal to the West Indies, &c. Hence, and from the importance of those islands to this country, he infers that the slave-trade should be to. lerated ; but he would have it carried on under certain limitations and restrictions, calculated for the accommodation of the flaves, in their passage from Africa. He next considers the condition and treatment of the poor 'emigrants,' after their arrival in the West Indies; and he informs us, that within the last 20 years, they experience much more humanity and tenderness than was generally the case in preceding times : especially in Barbadoes, where the author was an eye-witness of their general treatment.-And, as much has been said in regard to the Christian conversion of the Blacks, Mr. H. offers some judicious remarks on this difficult and delicate topic. He feems almost to despair of any considerable progress being made in that respe&t; but he would however try every proper means; and among others, he recommends Sunday schools, as being likely to work



some gradual and beneficial effect.--His last chapter treats on the manumiffion of the Negroe Naves; a measure which he seems to confider as visionary, and impracticable; or, if attempted, as of ruinous tendency, both to the Blacks and to their masters ; and totally subverfive of our vast interest in the sugar colonies, &c.-For particulars, we must refer to the pamphlet. Art. 18. Letters on Slavery, by William Dickson, formerly private

Secretary to the late Hon. Ed. Hay, Governor of Barbadoes. 8vo. 35. 6d. Boards. Philips, &c. 1789.

Mr. Dickson is a strenuous advocate for the gradual abolition of the African Nave-trade. Indeed, he is an enemy to slavery, both in its consummately absurd principle, and in its too general practice;' he pleads strongly for the natural equality of mankind; and he earnestly contends that the capacities of the Africans are by no means inferior to those of the Europeans. On this point, he seems to speak much from observation and experience; and he recites various instances of the virtues of the Negroes, as well as of their abilities. In short, he seems to have been so thoroughly convinced of their natural and indefeasible claim to the common privileges of mankind, and of the wickedness, injustice, and cruelty of our depriving them of those natural rights, that he declares, for his own part, that when he had it in his power, during his residence in Barbadoes, he never did. en Nave, or contribute to enslave, a fellow-creature.'—This, we con. ceive, must have been a rare instance of conscientious adherence to PRINCIPLE, on this subject, and in that part of the world; and it must be admitted as a proof of his fincerity, when he urges, as he warmly does, the laudable motives of humanity and benevolence, in our conduct toward our fellow-creatures, of whatever country, or of whatever colour.

The usual arguments in favour of the West Indian Negroe-slavery are here brought under confideration; and the sentiments of Messrs. Ramsay, Clarkson, and other writers on the subject, are appealed to, in aid of our author's sentiments. The principal publications on the other side of the question are likewise, occasionally, alluded to; and there is every appearance of candour and fairness in Mr. Dickson's manner of discussing the several points of argument that fall under his confideration. But the most valuable parts of his performance are those which come recommended to us under the sanation of his own personal knowlege of facts; particularly with respect to the pre, fent state of Navery in the island of Barbadoes, which, allowing for some local difference in circumstances, may, we imagine, be confidered as a fair specimen, with respect to the state of slavery in the West Indies, in general.

POLITICA L. Art. 19. Fru Thoughts on his Majesty's Recovery, and Resumption of

the Royal Powers. 8vo. pp. 54. 15. 6d. Kearsley, The author, who will be styled, by people who think not as he thinks, a political croaker, apprehends great danger from what he terms, the premature resumption and exercise of the royal powers. He talks much of what may happen : of relapses, of his Majesty's

going abroad ; and of evils which, we trust, are not likely to befal us. He seems to dread the ambition and influence of Mr. Pitt.—Speak. ing of the late abortive Regency Bill, he prophecies that it would have proved, had it taken place, the most infamous precedent that cver disgraced the parliamentary records :' alluding, we presume, to the restrictions of the intended Regent.-- But, however doleful and ill boding may be the train of thinking into which the author has fallen, he writes well; and does not appear to us merely in the light of a partizan of Opposition; we would rather give him credit for intentions truly patriotic; and we cannot refule our testimony to his political abilities. Art. 20. The Death and Diffeftion, Funeral Procession and Will of

Mrs. REGENCY. With a variety of New Characters, Burlesque Dirges, &c. &c. 8vo. pp. 55. 15. 6d. Walter, Piccadilly, &c. 1789.

A laugh at “the Party,” on account of their disappointment, in consequence of his Majesty's recovery, and the miscarriage of the Regency Bill. There is a good share of wit and satire in this whimsicai medley of jocular verse and profe. Art. 21.

Political Reformation, on a large Scale : or a Plan of an House of Commons. Being Plan the First, of a Series of Plans, comprehending a bleft System of virtuous Policy, founded on the natural and Christian Principles of universal Equity, Benevolence, and Liberty. With an Address to the People ; containing Arguments in support of the Plan, and recommending the Eitablishment of Parochial Associations, forming a National Convention for the Purpose of carrying it into Execution. To the whole is fubjoined a Word of Postscript respecting Ireland. By Francis Stone, M. A. F. S. A. Rector of Cold-Norton, Eflex. 8vo. pp. 76.

25. Kearsley. 1789. Following up the ideas of Major Cartwright, Sir William Jones, and other patriotic assertors of liberty, the present reformer stands forth, the zealous advocate for annual parliaments, and the natural rights of representation, election, &c. &c. and he stands forth at this time because (though he thinks no season improper for the great work of purifying our political constitution) he has some expectation that the premature death of a septennial parliament is not very diftant.

His proposal consists of twenty-one articles, of which we shall felect the first, second, fourth, eighth, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth, as fufficient to give our readers a general idea of the grand outline of

1. • Let not men, who hold offices or emoluments, civil or judicial, mediately or immediately, from the crown, be at the same time members of the House of Commons; and let every member cease to be such, on his acceptance of such office or emolument, and be declared incapable of re-election into the said house, as long as he holds it.

2.· Let all men of 18 years of age, and upwards, Romanists, men of every denomination of religion, and as well aliens as natives, be invelled with the exercise of their natural right of suffrage at the


his plan.

[ocr errors]

election of members of the House of Commons, those who hold offices or emoluments, civil or judicial, mediately or immediately, from the crown excepted.

4: Let the kingdom be distributed by a county division, into 558 diftricts, the amount of the members of the House of Commons; each district comprising as equal a number of electors as possibleeach elector having but one vote, and each district choosing but one representative.

8. Let the election of the members of the House of Commons be annual, or holden once in every year, and oftener, if need be.

9.• Let the members of the House of Commons be entitled to receive a guinea per day each, from the constituents of their respective districts, to defray the expences of their personal attendance on their legislative duty.

11. Let no man be permitted to offer himself a candidate to represent a district in the House of Commons; let the nomination of candidates by the electors, and the practice of canvading the electors for their votes, both in person and by agency, be altogether abolished; and let the man who shall be convicted of canvassing, or influencing, in person or by agency, the electors in their votes, by threats, intreaties, promises, or bribes, incur the penalty of the forfeiture of his rights of election and representation, for one year in the first instance of transgression, for three years in the second, for six years in the third, and so on in a trinal arithmetic progression to perpetuity.

13: Let the general annual election be holden, in the 558 districts of Britain, on some stated day in July; commence at sun-rise, and be finally closed at sun-set of the same day.'

Our author has a diftin&t, explanatory chapter, consisting of arguments and reflections on the subject of each article ; shewing the conftitutional ground of each point of regulation, and obviating objections, &c.

On this most important subject, he writes with great earnestness and energy; bui, sometimes, perhaps, with rather too great an appearance of heat, and too much in the strain of a declaimer. We would not exclude all spirit and animation from proposals of this kind, addressed to the public; but would not cool reaioning, aided by a thorough knowlege of the world as we find it, be more generally attended with conviction and success ?--Mr. Stone is, however, himself so thoroughly convinced of the utility, importance, and neceflity of his plan, or some other of a fimilar kind, chat he urges his proposed reformation in a tone of authority, and with expreflions of zeal, which cannot fail of impressing the mind of every public fpirited reader: and we scruple not to add, that, in our opinion, his work merits the serious atiention of the public.

His poft fcript, relating to Ireland, is founded on the news-paper accounts of a bill being brought into the Irida House of Commons,

for the exclusion of placemen and pensioners from their branch of the
legislatore ; which, he doubts not, will be carried through both
houses of their parliament, by incorrupt, independent majorities.-
Strack with this patriotic idea, he thus warmly apostrophises his
brethren of Great Britain ;
Rev. April, 1789.


• Blush,

« PreviousContinue »