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general are not fond of the trouble of collecting proofs, or appearing in the character of accusers; particularly when the delinquent is a white man, of interest perhaps in the colony, and the sufferer a black llave. Besides, there may in many instances be a full conviction of the crime, and yet the criminal may not be deemed within the grasp of those vague laws which the policy of Europe has thought fufficient for the protection of slaves from the cruelty of their matters. The law may direct, that a master Mall not order more than a limited number of stripes to be inflicted for any fault that his llave coin mits. But if the law requires no proof of the fault, except the allegation of the master, what security has the slave that he hall not be punished unjustly, or that his maiter shall not, as often as he pleafes, repeat the punishment at such intervals as keep him out of the reach of the law ? it must be owned that the slave has no security from such abuses, which is tantamount to putting it in the master's power to torture his slaves to death with impunity. Such laws are no safeguard, but rather a mockery of the unhappy race of men they pretend to protect
• This unlimited power, which is left in the hands of the masters, has a bad effect both on the slave and the master. It tends at once to render the first more wretched, and the second more wicked. How many men have, for a great part of their lives, supported the character of well-disposed good-natured people; and on going from Europe to the Weft-Indies, and becoming proprietors of Naves, have gradually grown ill-tempered, capricious, haughty, and cruel. Even Zeluco, though of a capricious, violent, and selfish disposition, was not natorally cruel; this last grew upon him in consequence of unlimited power. His severity to the soldiers arose from a desire of gaining the favour of the commander, by rendering the men under his immediate command more expert than others. In pushing this point he disre. garded, indeed, the sufferings of the men; because his excesive selfithness engrossed all bis feelings, and left him quite indifferent to the feelings of others; he still was not positively cruel. Independent of pallion or rage, he had no satisfaction in giving pain; he was only unconcerned whether they suffered or not. And afterwards, when he became the absolute master of a great number of unfortunate creatures, whom he confidered as his property, he thought that he had a right to make the most of them. And he was informed by those who have heads for such a calculation, and hearts to act in consequence of it, that to force slaves to their utmost exertions, and purchase new ones as the old expire, is, upon the whole, more economical than to treat them with a certain degree of gentleness, and oblige them to no more labour than is proportioned to their Atrength, although, by this means, the expence of new purchases would be less considerable, and less frequent. A person who passed for a very sensible man, who formery kept an inn on one of the great posting roads in England, and was at this time a considerable proprietor of land in one of the Welt-India islands, had assured him, that he had found this to hold with regard to post horses; and the argument was equally just when applied to faves. Zeluco therefore had originally no direct intention of injuring his flaves; his view was fimply to improve his eftates to the utmoit; but in the execution of this plan,' as their exertions did
not keep pace with his impatience, he found it necessary to quicken
hem by an unremitting ole of the whip. This produced discontent, tiurmurs, sulkiness, sometimes upbraidings on their parts; rage, threats, and every kind of abuse on his: he saw hatred in all their looks, he presumed revenge in all their hearts; he became more and more severe, and treated them as he imagined they wilhed to treat him, and as he was conscious he deserved to be treated by them; at length he arrived at that shocking point of depravity, to have a gratification in punishing, independent of any idea of utility or advantage to himself.
* This, unfortunately for a large proportion of mankind, is often the progress of unlimited power, and the effect which is too frequently produces on the human character.'
In the multitude of characters described and contrasted in this work, the virtues of Bertram, a citizen of Geneva, and the uninterrupted tranquillity of his mind, notwithstanding the per verty of his circumstances and the severity of his fortune, form a ftriking contraft to the vices, the prosperity, and the misery of Zeluco. A Scotch Presbyterian and Whig, named Buchanan, is set in opposition to a Scorch Jacobite and Tory, named Targe; and the extravagancies of boch parties are finely painted, and strongly ridiculed. The picture of Transfer, a wealthy citizen of London, will apply to many an original; and the common folly of men who have dedicated the whole vigour of their lives to one pursuit, that of accumulating money, and who yet expect in the wane of life to derive enjoyment from other occupations and other
amusements, is placed in the most striking point of view. The author excels in describing national characters, which he often paints by a single stroke. A French furgeon is employed to attend Zeluco, who is mortally wounded by a rope-dancer, the secret paramour of his mistress, Nerina, Having examined the ttate of his patient, the surgeon declares that he thinks it improbable he should live above (wo, or at most, three days. Father Mulo, a monk, urges the necessity of acquainting the wounded man with the danger of his condition. The surgeon replies, that he cannot think it confiftent with politeness to tell a gentleman a disagreeable, or unnecessary, truth on ar y occasion; observing that in France such a thing would be confidered as quite unpardonable. · How it would be considered in France, is very little to the purpose,' said father Mulo; 'the important point is, how it will be considered in the other world, where she manner of thinking is very different from what it is in France.' • That,' rejoined the surgeon, 'is saying a leverer thing of the other world, than I should have expected. from a man of your cloth.'
Zeluco is an anonymous work; yet from internal evidence only, we might safely ascribe it to Dr. Moore, author of the well-known travels through France, Germany, and Italy.
ART. VIII. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Con
cluded from Vol. Ixxix. p. 537. HE papers in the LITERARY Class of this collection,
consist of eight articles. The ilt and 7th articles contain Effays on the Origin and Structures of the European Legislatures, by Mr. Allan Maconochie, Advocate, and Profeffur of Public Law in the University of Edinburgh. In the first of these Estays, Mr. M. endeavours to ascertain the form of government of the Gothic nations in their original seats; and in the second, he examines che alterations which it underwent upon their fetele. ment in the Roman empire. He intends to add a third Effay, on some future occalion, in order to trace the progress and revolution of the European legislatures under the predominancy of the feudal system. In the first part of his work, Mr. M. examines the account which Tacitus has given of the Germans; on which subject we cannot expect any thing very new, or very interesting, after the laborious and philosophical researches of a Montesquieu, a Hume, and a Gibbon. The author, however, puts in his claim to originality by afferring, that the ancient Germans had not any order of nobility diftinguished from the general body of freemen: a position which seems inconsistent with the words of Tacitus, “ Reges propter nobilitatem;" and which indeed cannot be reconciled with these words, but by such logical chemistry as will convert any one proportion into another.
The second part treats of the legislature of the German nations during the first ages after their etablishment in the Roman empire. Mr. M. proposes his hypothesis at very great length; and then fums it up in the following words, which we hall quore as a specimen, though surely not of elegance, or of English.
• The leading proposition in the foregoing hypothesis is, that the diets of the European !tates were originally national assemblies, containing, de jure, the whole warriors belonging to them, conducted by their local chiefs or magistrates, who, together with the king and dignified ecclesiastics, formed a senate or council that, in general, directed the common resolves. I propose, in this part of the paper, to consider the grounds of this propofition, in the first place; and then, chiefly with a view to our own country, examine the evidence relative to the deliberative council which I have ascribed to the diets, and to the situation of towns, in order to justify the hypothesis, in ftating that the former was an assembly of the magiftracy, and that the latter resorted to the diets, in the same manner as the country districts.
• Considering how certainly we know, that the warriors or liberi bomines of every tithing and hundred were bound to attend personally, not only on the meetings of these districts, but in the general meetings of the province or Thire, where they not only were reviewed by the chief magiitrate, but affifted in the judicial and political de tio liberations which the business of their quarter required, it might
have been imagined, that a natural analogy would have led authors to agree in the supposition, that the national diet was nothing more than an aggregate of the provincial diets, in the same manner as the provincial diets were aggregates of those of lesser districts. The difficulty we feel in accommodating our reasonings to a period, when both the business and the amusement of a freeman consisted in making war, and when the habits of the migratory life of shepherd tribes were fill recent, and rendered the manners of society extremely different from our own, is the only reason I can offer for this opinion having met with little attention or regard. Strong arguments in favour of it, from the history of the ancient German nations, I flatter myself, will be suggested from what has been stated in the former parts of this paper. Those from the history of latter times, I hope, will be found equally satisfactory.'
In endeavouring to prove his point, that among the Gothic nations there was not any patrician order distinct from the order of freemen, and that all the soldiers, or what he calls the milia tary cast, were noblemen or gentlemen (for these terms were originally synonymous, and ftill remain fo in most countries), and constitutionally members of the legislative assembly, Mr. M. displays great copiousness of learning, and till greater confidence of conjecture. His system, he thinks, will reconcile the seemingly contradictory opinions of Lord Lytielton and the Abbé de Mably on the one side, who consider the Gothic governments as democracies; and of Montesquieu and Hume on the other, who regard them as aristocracies.
Mr. Maconochie's expedients for maintaining at once the rights of the nobility and of the people, put us in mind of a story of the Emperor Charles V. currently reported in Italy. In his journies through that country, the Emperor was often teized by the vain Italians for titles of honour, The inhabitants of Mantua and Vicenza were particularly importunate, crowding about the doors of the inn at his Majesty's arrival and departure. To deliver himself from such troublesome importunity in future, Charles said at the former place, “Let them all be marquifles ;” and at the latter, “ Let them all be counts." And hence the reason, that the title of marquiss is so common at Mantua, and that of count almost universal at Vicenza.
Mr. Maconochie, however, seems to be a man of much read. ing; he has the merit of thinking for himself. His observations on the deliberative body in the Anglo-Saxon and Scottish diers, and on the question, whether they contained representatives of towns? are ingenious and inftructive. On this latter subject, he observes:
s Very strong arguments have been derived from the progress of the House of Commons to its political consequence; and, from its rank and functions, when first found acting in the legislature, to
Thow, that it was, by no means, a body coeval with the conftitution. There, however, are well known, and need not be insisted on.
• But, independently of the foregoing observations, which, however they may produce conviction on people accustomed to estimate the force of political reasonings, will possibly be little relished by others; I apprehend we have evidence of a more direct nature again it the antiquity of the representation of towns. If, previous to the æra of charters of incorporation, towns were governed precisely in the fame manner as the country, it is manifeft, that nothing can be more improbable, than that they resorted to the diet in any other way than the rest of the nation; and an examination of the state of the AngloSaxon towns, compared with that of those on the Continent, both proves, that they contained the same order of persons, and the same political arrangements as the country; and even points out the circumítances, in their situation, which led them to exchange their ancient itructure for their present constitutions.
first place, it is evident from Doomsday (which, it will be remembered, mentions the state of things under Edward the Con. feffor, as well as their subsequent state under the Conqueror, when the survey was taken), that the towns were universally comprehended under the divisions of the country, by counties, hundreds, and tithings, and were subjected to certain public burdens, in proportion to the division at which they were rated. And we accordingly find, that, when the towns, in the succeeding centuries, purchased charters, erecting them into little communities, it was neceffary to separate them from the ancient system of subordination to which they belonged. Thus, those charters contained, among other privileges, exemptions from owing suit to the county, and even hundred courts; exemptions from the ancient authority of the sheriff, as collector of the revenues of the shire; and provisions, that burgesses should not be tried by a jury of the county, unless one-half of the jurymen were taken from their corporation. It is scarce necessary to add, tbat several of the towns which obtained charters were, at the conquest, nothing more than manors belonging to the king, or other great proprietors. ATKINS, in his Lex Parliamentaria, has long ago mentioned several ancient vills of the domain, that afterwards be. came royal boroughs.
2dly, Doomsday exhibits the government of towns as the same with that of the country. Thus, it mentions the comes, vicecomes, and their substitutes, viz. præpofiti, majores, &c. as the persons who had authority in towns: And those that ranked as hundreds are described not only as subdivided into wards or tithings, but as containing lagmen, who, we know, were a certain number of the most distinguished persons of a diftri&t, named in the assembly of it, in order to enquire into crimes and misdemeanors, and who decided causes on oath, if that mode of trial was preferred to the judgment of the assembly itself
. Thole towns that belonged to manors were no doubt governed indiscriminately with the rest of the territory of the manors. A manor formed a tithing within itself; and the officers of the proprietor, as præpofitus, senescallus, major domo, foreftarius, viarius (radman), bedellus, &c. by whatever name they were distinguished, performed the functions of magiftrates over it, while the tenants or