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opinion entertained by him of his brother judges. We are told, in the Diary of Henry, Earl of Clarendon, that in a confidential conversation which he held with Jefferies, then chancellor, on the affair of the bishops, Jefferies asserted that most of the judges were rogues. Soon afterwards, upon another occasion, he expressed himself in similar terms, at the same time calling chief justice Wright a beast.-(See Diary, p. 52.)
We shall only add the concluding scene of Jefferies's life, as given by the writer of the Lives of the Chancellors.
"The Lord Jefferies' fate, as well as that of his master, King James, came on apace for the Prince of Orange being landed, advanced towards London without opposition, and the king having taken the seal from the chancellor, left him in the lurch, and withdrew privately on the 10th of December, in the dead of the night, down the Thames, in order to go for France. The great seal was afterwards found by a fisherman, in the Thames; and the chancellor now without protection, having rendered himself obnoxious to most people, and being perfectly hated by the nation, on Monday, between three and four in the morning, withdrew; and having, in disguise, got down safe to Wapping, put himself on board a collier, which was pretended to be bound for Newcastle, but indeed was designed for Hamburgh; but some persons having notice thereof by the means of the mate, they went to a justice for a warrant to apprehend him; but he thought fit to put them off, whereupon they applied themselves forthwith to the lords of the council, who granted them a warrant, and they went immediately to search the ship; but on Tuesday night, not thinking himself safe on board the collier, in which he was to pass, he lay in another ship hard by, so that those who came that day to search for him, missed of him on board, but had information given them that he was hard by, at a little peddling ale-house, where accordingly they found him, being the sign of the Red Cow, in Anchor and Hope Alley, near the King Edward Stairs; from whence they immediately hurried him in a coach, guarded with several blunderbusses, to the Lord Mayor's, where the crowd was so great, and the rabble so numerous, all crying out togegether, Vengeance! Justice! Justice! that the Lord Mayor was forced to come out into his balcony, and, with his hat in his hand, desired the people to go away and keep the peace, and did promise them that he had already sent to the lords of the council about the matter, and that they should have justice done them; and that, in the meantime, their prisoner should be safely guarded; whereupon the people withdrew : and soon after, my lord, under a strong guard, was sent to the lords of the council, who committed him to the Tower, where he continued to the 18th April, 1689, when he was freed by death from his earthly confinement. He had, for some years before, been subject to terrible fits of the stone, which in all probability now accelerated his death; though others gave out that he abandoned himself to excessive drinking, thinking to support his sinking spirits by it, and that that helped forward to put a period to his life. He was buried privately in the Tower, the Saturday-night following, by an order his relations got from King William."-(Lives of the Chancellors, i. 185.)
On reviewing the characters of the persons who, between the restoration and the revolution, filled the highest judicial situations in this country, it is impossible not to be struck with the want of public principle, and too frequently of private virtue, which the majority of them exhibit. At every period of our history, the Bench has displayed a decided inclination to support the prerogative; an inclination which has been in general manifested with modesty and discretion; but in the reign of Charles II. and his successor, the judges did not hesitate openly to throw themselves into the arms of the Court. It was not a bias in favour of the Crown which they exhibited; they became the eager and shameless advocates of its most unconstitutional pretensions. Immediately upon the return of Charles, ⚫ the bench was indeed, as we have already remarked, filled with men of some moderation and honesty. The picture given by Clarendon may perhaps be considered somewhat overcharged:
"All the courts of Westminster Hall were presently filled with grave and learned judges, who had either deserted their profession or practice during the rebellious times, or had given full evidence of their affection to the king and the established laws in many weighty instances: and they were then quickly sent in their several circuits, to administer justice to the people, according to the old forms of law, which was universally received and submitted to with all possible joy and satisfaction. * * * Denied it cannot be, that there appeared sooner than was thought possible, a general settlement of the civil justice of this kingdom; that no man complained without remedy, and every man dwelt again under the shadow of his own vine, without any complaint of injustice and oppression."-(Clarendon's Life, v. ii. p. 42).
Clarendon was well aware, that the attempt to establish the high prerogatives of the throne upon the ruins of the judgment-seat, must necessarily be unsuccessful; and he therefore employed his influence to preserve some degree of purity in the administration of the laws. His disgrace, however, removed the only restraint upon the corrupt measures of the Court, and Westminster Hall soon exhibited the spectacle of a bench of judges holding durante bene placito, and for the most part scrupulously attentive to the nature of their tenure. The consequence of this system has been so well described by Mr. Booth, afterwards Lord Delamere, that we shall venture to repeat the passage:-"Our judges have been very corrupt and lordly, taking bribes, and threatening juries and evidence, perverting the law to the highest degree, turning it upside down, that arbitrary power may come in upon their shoulders. The cry of their unjust dealings is great, for every man has felt their hand." The creed of the crown lawyers of this day is to be found in the
writings of Roger North:-" I must needs say, that the prerogative of the Crown is a doctrine so constantly recommended in the law books, that a man cannot be an honest, learned lawyer, but he must be, in the popular sense, a prerogative man, and, in every sense, a hater of what they call a republic."-Acting under the influence of these principles, it is not surprising that the judges should have "turned the law upside down, that arbitrary power might come in upon their shoulders." The state of England, at this period, is so well described in the following paragraph, that with it we shall conclude the present article.
"No man who wished well either to the church, or the laws of England, was safe from the informations of mercenary wretches: fictitious conspiracies were every day hatched, and judges and juries were so corrupted, that the one gave their opinions, and the other their verdicts according to the directions they received from Court. No man was safe in his innocence, nor secure in his property; and trials and proceedings, which should have been exactly consonant to law and reason, to justice and mercy, were become only a mere solemn and ceremonious method of completing our ruin. It hath been thought an offence against the very law of nations, to poison a fountain of which even an enemy was to drink: how great a crime then must it be, and how near a kin to sacrilege, to corrupt the laws which are the very fountains and springs of political life, and to make them the instruments of oppression and wrong, which should be our greatest security and relief."-(A Charge given at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the County of Surrey, by the Hon. Hugh Hare. 1692.)
ART. VI. The Capacity and Extent of the Human Understanding; exemplified in the extraordinary Case of Automathes, a young Nobleman, who was accidentally left in his Infancy upon a desolate Island, and continued Nineteen Years in that solitary State, separate from all Human Society. A Narrative abounding with many surprising Occurrences, both useful and entertaining to the Reader. London: 1745.
"During my abode in my native county of Cumberland, in quality of an indigent curate, I used, now and then in summer, when the pleasantness of the season invited, to take a solitary walk to the seashore, which lies about two miles from the town where I lived. Here I would amuse myself, one while in viewing, at large, the agreeable prospect, which surrounded me; and another while (confining my sight to nearer objects) in admiring the vast variety of beautiful shells, thrown upon the beach, some of the choicest of which I always picked up, to divert my little ones upon my return. One time, among the
rest, taking such a journey in my head, I sat down upon the declivity of the beach, with my face towards the sea, which was now come up within a few yards of my feet; when immediately the sad thoughts of the wretched condition of my family, and the unsuccessfulness of all endeavours to amend it, came crowding into my mind; which drove me into a deep melancholy, and ever and anon forced tears from my eyes. I had not long continued in this pensive mood, ere I was diverted from it by the sight, as I imagined, of a small cylindrical trunk, about a foot long, rolling along with the tide, just below where I sat, with a key tied to the handle. I stepped into the water, to seize the supposed prize, which, upon opening, I found to contain nothing but a kind of written journal, rolled up, belonging (as I then conjectured) to some shipwrecked mariner; but, notwithstanding all the care that had been taken to keep it dry, a great part (of the beginning especially) seemed to be quite obliterated with the salt water; the leaves would not bear opening, without being torn to pieces: so that, though my curiosity was sufficiently raised to know what was contained in a manuscript, which had fallen after so strange a manner into my hands, yet, I was forced, for that time, to return it into its former receptacle, and wait till a fitter opportunity offered."
Such is the simple introduction to the history of Automathes. The manuscript thus discovered he contrives with some difficulty to decipher, and he learns from it, that it was written by a Benedictine monk, who, with others, was driven from the island of Japan, in 1614. This monk having been wrecked off the coast of America, is fortunate enough to gain the shore of a country which is designated as Soteria, where he meets with the singular subject of these memoirs, from whose relation he has written them down. This volume was written by John Kirkby, who acted as tutor to Gibbon for about eighteen months. This historian informs us, that "distress forced him to leave the country," and he adds, "his learning and virtue introduced him to my father, and at Putney he might have found at least temporary shelter, had not an act of indiscretion again driven him into the world. One day, reading prayers in the parish church, he most unluckily forgot the name of King George his patron, a loyal subject, dismissed him with some reluctance, and a decent reward; and how the poor man ended his days I have never been able to learn. Mr. John Kirkby is author of two small volumes; The Life of Automathes, (London, 1745,) and an English and Latin Grammar, (London, 1746), which, as a testimony of gratitude, he dedicated (Nov. 5, 1745), to my father. The books are before me: from them the pupil may judge the preceptor; and upon the whole, his judgment will not be unfavourable. The Grammar is executed with accuracy and skill, and I know not whether any better existed at the time in our language; but the Life of Automathes aspires to the honours of a philosophical fiction." The object of the
book is, as intimated in the title-page, to shew the extent to which the human understanding can proceed in the acquisition of knowledge and the enlargement of ideas unassisted by human intelligence, and uncheered by human converse. Not, as the author says, that he attributes those acquirements to the effect of our own capacity alone, any more than if he had had the most complete education which the world can afford.
"I have given you a brief history of my life, and the manner of my attainment of knowledge from my infancy, till the time of my entrance into human society; which happened towards the end of my twenty-first year, after I had continued in the island about nineteen years and ten months; and it is now near eleven years since. Through all which, I would have it well observed, that I attribute those acquirements no more to the effect of my own capacity alone, than if I had the most complete education which the world could afford. For I have all the reason in the world to believe, that if I had been left entirely to myself, after my father's departure from me, I should have been little better than my dumb companions. From whence I cannot but conclude, That man, by nature, depends as much after his birth upon the care and instruction of others, to bring him to act agreeably to his rational character, as he before depended upon the action of others to give him his birth.' And, if so, I think it may easily be made appear, that all nations of men, how distantly soever placed from each other, do actually derive their education from a supernatural original, and that ever since their first appearance in the world.'"
This proposition he attempts to prove principally by shewing that it is quite beyond the ability of human nature in itself to make such advances in education by experience, and that it is to be deduced from the agreement in the education of all mankind. Amongst the examples of agreement there are two which will, probably, excite a smile in our reader: "How comes it else," asks the worthy author, " that no people have been discovered at any time, but what are trained to walk always in an erect posture only;" he might as well have asked, "How comes it then, that no people have been discovered at any time but what are without tails?" a fact in which, we verily believe, although the real and bona fide existence of this quadrupedal ornament has not wanted learned advocates. "Again," proceeds the speculative philosopher,
"What reason can be assigned for the universal concurrence of all mankind, in attempting to express their thoughts by no other means than that of speech, by articulate sounds of the voice, made by the motion of the lips and tongue? By what means could it happen, that the tongue, at least, should have any share at all in this; when the same thing may be demonstrated to be capable of being as fully performed, and more easily taught, by the bare tuning or modulating the voice; which is said to be experimented in China?"