Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

. Mr. Fox justly attributes the astonishing progress of liter- SECTION ature, wrote in her reign. They certainly did, and for that. reason, the part of her reign, in which the effect of their writings began to be felt, is included in the same period with the reign of James the First, and part of that of Charles the First, under whom the improvement she had introduced was still making regular progression. The third is a remarkable instance of that sort of incoherent reasoning, to which Mr. Rose has frequently recourse, He says, it does not appear why our tranquillity having been uninterrupted sbould have influenced Mr. Fox's decision in this respect, “ because our being at peace or “ war could have no effect on our constitution.” Can this have been seriously thought, and deliberately written by Mr. Rose, who has taken a most active part in the politics of this country for the last thirty years? Without entering into the discussion of disputable and temporary questions, can it be denied that the burdens necessarily laid upon the people to maintain wars, and the tyrannical pressure of the feudal system in periods of public hostilities, did not add to the influence of the crown, and operate to the depression of the other branches of the legislature? And has our constitution, in modern times, undergone no changes, owing to those burdens? Has the funding system introduced no alterations? Desperate indeed must be the cases, in which the House of Commons could now be justified in disregarding the claims of the public creditors, and withholding the supplies; or the crown advised to

[blocks in formation]

give its negative to a bill which should have passed both houses of Parliament. But, farther : does Mr. Rose doubt that a series of years, passed in uninterrupted tranquility, must be favourable, in any reign, to the pursuits of literature ? And, if so, might not this circumstance powerfully influence the mind of Mr. Fox in fixing the limit of the period in question ? And may we not suspect that Mr. Rose here is arguing, more for victory than conviction, and looking more to the fame of defeating his adversary, than the justice of the cause, for which he combats ?-The fourth objection is, that “ as little should the “ observation of Mr. Fox respecting the additional value " that came to be set on a seat in the House of Commons “ have been a guide to him.” Mr. Fox had not in contemplation, as Mr. Rose seems to have had, the pecuniary price paid for a seat in the House of Commons; he meant that, in the general estimation of mankind, its members were become more honourable and respected, and a seat more the object of ambition than it had been before. He did not allude, as to a market price, for a commodity, which cannot legally be sold at all. But what is the amount of Mr. Rose's argument ? That in the year 1571, a seat having been purchased for five pounds, Mr. Fox's observation, that, at a subsequent period, an additional value was set upon one, is not well founded. This is certainly not very conclusive reasoning ; for a seat might be sought after in 1571, and yet be more an object of anxiety in 1588, or 1640. But here we have a

striking instance of carelessness in this most accurate SECTION
writer, for the sum given for the seat, in the case alluded
to, was not five pounds, but four pounds, and the story is
told not in the fifth volume of the Journals, which he
refers to, but the first.

the First and

Mr. Rose next objects to the observation, that “ the proceedings “ execution of the King was a far less violent measure against Charles “ than that of Lord Strafford,” but in thus selecting a Fad ce Strafed single sentence, without stating the whole context, he Rose, p. 6. has not done justice to Mr. Fox, who had before said, “ the prosecution of Lord Strafford, or rather, the manner for, p. 10. in which it was carried on, was less justifiable" than the proposed regulation with regard to the militia ; and afterwards added, as the reason, that “ nothing short of “ a clearly proved case of self-defence can justify or ex“ cuse a departure from the sacred rules of criminal jus“ tice.” The passage in a subsequent page, to which Mr. Rose objects, must therefore be taken to refer to the manner in which the trial of Lord Strafford had been conducted, and not to the prosecution itself; and the extent of Mr. Fox's observation to be, that the execution of the King was, in that respect only, a far less violent measure

a /2011. than that of Lord Strafford. Mr. Rose says, that Mr. Fox has given no reason, or statement, on which he founds that opinion, but it unfortunately happens for the argument, that Mr. Fox has, as above stated, expressly given


[blocks in formation]

not be posted ironi?

SECTION his reason, viz. that the sacred rules of criminal justice I had been departed from. Lögrzez la t do w has thomhle there sarrud mehes in Chis care comer

Mr. Rose, then asserts, what will not be disputed, that bills of attainder have passed upon several other occasions, and then proceeds to explain the circumstances of violence and injustice, which distinguished Lord Strafford's case, and to which Mr. Fox had only generally alluded. In a note, he informs us further, that so highly did the House of Lords disapprove this measure after the Restoration, as to make an order for obliterating all the proceedings relating to the bill of attainder in their journals. For what purpose this information is given, except to corroborate the proposition he sets out with combating, it is not easy to conceive.

Rose, p. 7.

Mr. Rose, however, soon loses sight of the passage in
Mr. Fox's book, and substitutes another for it, which
certainly is more liable to objection, for he supposes Mr.
Fox to have made a comparison between the injustice
and enormity of Lord Strafford's case and that of the
King. Now it so happens, that Mr. Fox has not written
a word of comparison between the injustice and enormity
of the cases, but only between the violent measures of the
respective executions. An unohtut tona Jane?

This unauthorized alteration of the passage serves as an

[ocr errors]

introduction to a charge upon Mr. Fox, of not having SECTION attended “ to the distinction between an abuse, or breach – “ of a constitutional law, and a total departure from, “ or overturning, the constitution itself.” But, as this distinction does not exist between the two cases, it was not necessary to attend to it. The constitution had been overturned before the trial of the King, the army had ceased to be the servants, and as Mr. Fox Fox, p. 11. rightly expresses it, had become the masters of the Parliament, and “ being entirely influenced by Crom“ well, gave a commencement to what may, pro“ perly speaking, be called a new reign. The subsequent measures, the execution of the King, as “ well as others, are not to be considered as acts of the “ Parliament, but of Cromwell, and great and respect“ able as are the names of some who sat in the “ high court, they must be regarded, in this instance, “ rather as ministers of that usurper, than as acting “ from themselves.” Nothing can more strongly mark the sentiments of Mr. Fox, as to the illegality and injustice of the trial of the King, than this passage; for he describes the court which tried him, to have consisted of the ministers of an usurper. The violence of republicanism did not, in Mr. Fox's mind, set aside all considerations of the monarchical part of the constitution, for that had been destroyed before, and he would not have disputed the remark of Mr. Rose,

« ПредишнаНапред »