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feud, to be-held to them and such of their heirs as they previously nominated to the king: and thus by degrees all the allodial estates of France were converted into feuds, and the freemen became the vassals of the crown. The only difference between thi« change of tenures in France, and that in England, was, that the former was effected gradually, by the consent of private persons; the hitter was done at once, all over England, by the common consent of the nation.
Jn consequence of this change, it beckme a fundamental maxim and necessary principle (though in reality a mere fiction) of our English tenures, " that the king is the universal lord and original proprietor of all the lands in his kingdom ; and that no man doth or can possess any part of it, but what has mediately or immediately been derived as a gift from him, to be held upon feodal services." For, this being the real cafe in pure, original, proper feuds, other nations who adopted this system were obliged to act upon the same supposition, as a substruction and foundation of their new polity, though the fact was indeed far otherwise. And indeed by thus consenting to the introduction of feodal tenures, our English ancestors probably meant no more than to put the kingdom in a state of defence by a military system; and to oblige themselves (in respect of their land') to maintain the king's title and territories, with equal vigour and fealty, as if they had received their lands from his bounty upon these express conditions, as pure, proper, beneficiary feudatories. But, whatever their meaning was, the Norman interpreters, skilled in all the niceties of the feodal constitutions, and well understanding the import and extent of the feodal terms, gave a ve.-ydifferent construction to this proceeding; and thereupon took a handle to introduce, not only the rigorous doctrines which prevailed in the duchy of Normandy, but also such fruits .and dependencies, such hardships and service-, as were never known to other nations; as if the English had in fact, as well as theory, owed every thing they
had to the bounty of their sovereign lord.
Our ancestors therefore, who were by no means beneficiaries, but had barely consented to this fiction of tenure from the crown, as the basis of a military discipline, with reason looked upon these deductions as grievous impositions, and arbitrary conclusions from principles that, as to them, had no foundation in truth, However, this king, and his son William Rufus, kept up with a high hand all the rigours of the feodal doctrines: but their successor, Henry I. found it expedient, when he set up his pretensions to the crown, to promise a restitution of the laws of king Edward the confessor, or ancient Saxon system; and accordingly, in the first year of his reign, granted a charter, whereby he gave up the greater grievances, but still reserved the fiction of feodal tenure, for the same military purposes which engaged his father tq introduce it. But this charter was gradually broke through, and the former , frievances were revived and aggravated, y himself and succeeding princes: till in the reign of king John they became so intolerable, that they occasioned his barons, or principal feudatories, to rise up in arms against him : which at length produced the famous great charter at Running-mead, which, with some alterations, was confirmed by his son Henry HI. And though its immunities (especially as altered on its last edition by his son) are very greatly short of those granted by Henry I. it was justly esteemed at the time a vast acquisition to English liberty. Indeed, by the farther alteration of tenures that has since happened, many of these immunities may now appear to a common observer, of much less consequence than they really were when granted: but this, properly considered, will shew, not that the acquisitions under John were small, but that those under Charles were greater. And from hence also arises another inference; that the liberties of Englishmen are not (as some arbitrary writers would represent them) mere infringements of the king's prerogative, extorted from our princes by taking
advantage of their weakness; but a restoration of that ancient constitution, of which our ancestors had been defrauded by the art and finesse of the Norman lawyers, rather than deprived by the force of the Norman a/ms.
% 64.. 0/ Brilijh Juries.
The method' of trials by juries is generally looked upon as one of the most excellent branches of our constitution. In theory it certainly appears in that light. According to the ori
final establishment, the jurors are to e men of competent fortunes in the neighbourhood; and are to be so avowedly indifferent between the parties concerned, that no reasonable excep. tion can be made to them on either side In treason the person accused has a right to cha'lenge five-and-thirty, and in felony twenty, without (hewing cause of challenge. Nothing can be more equitable. No prisoner can desire a fairer field. But the misfortune is, that our juries are often composed of men of mean estates and low understandings, and many difficult points of law are brought before them, and submitted to their verdict, when perhaps they are not capable of determining, properly and judiciously, such nice matters of justice, although the judges of the court explain the nature of the cafe, and the law which arises upon it. But if they are not defective in knowledge, they are sometimes, I fear, from their station and indigence, liable to corruption. This indeed is an objection more to the privilege lodged with juries, than to the institution itself. The point most liable to objection is the power, which any one or more of the twelve have to starve the rest into a compliance with their opinion; so that the verdict may possibly be given by strength of constitution, not by conviction of conscience; and wretches hang that jurymen may dine. Orrery,
§ 65. Justice, its Nature and real Import defined.
Mankind in general arenotsufficiently acquainted with the import os the
word justice: it is commonly believed to consist only in a performance of those duties to which the laws of society can. oblige us. This, 1 allow, is sometimet the import of the word, and in. this fense justice is distinguished from equity; but there is a j ustice still more extensive, and which can be shewn to embrace all the virtues united.
Justice may be defined, that virtue which impels us to give to every person what js his due. In this extended fense of the word, it comprehends th« practice of every virtue which reason, prescribes, or society should expect. Our duty to ovur Maker, to each other, and to ourselves, are fully answered, if we give them what we owe them. Thus justice, properly speaking, is the only virtue: and all the rest have their origin in it.
The qualities of candour, fortitude, charity, and generosity, for instance, are not in their own nature virtues; and, if ever they deserve the title, \\ is owing only to justice, which impels and directs them. Without such a moderator, candour might become indiscretion, fortnude, obstinacy, charity imprudence, and generosity mistaken profusion.
A disinterested action, if itbenotcondusted by j ustice, is, at best,indifferent in its nature, and not unfrequently even turns to vice. The expences of society, of presents, of entertainments, and the other helps to chearfulness, are actions merely indifferent, when not repugnant to a better method of disposing of our superfluities; but they become vicious when they obstruct or exhaust our abilities from a more virtuous disposition of our circumstances.
True generosity is a duty as indispensably necessary as those imposed on us by law. It is a rule imposed on us by reason, which should be the sovereign law of a rational being. But this generosity does not consist in obeying every impulse of humanity, in following blind passion for our guide, and impairing our circumstances by present benefactions, so as to render us incapable of future ones.
§ 66. Habit, the Difficulty of conquering.
There is nothing which we estimate so fallaciously as the force of our own. resolutions, nor any fallacy which we so unwillingly and tardily detect. He that has resolved a thousand times, and > a thousand times deserted his own purpose, yet suffers no abatement of his confidence, but still believes himself his own mailer, and able, by innate vigour of foul, to press forward to his end, through all the obstructions that inconveniences or delights can put in his way.
That this mistake should prevail for a time is very natural. When conviction is present, and temptation out of fight, we do not easily conceive how any reasonable being can deviate from iis true interest. What ought to be done while it yet hangs only in speculation, is so plain and certain, that there is no place for doubt; the whole foul yields itself to the predominence of truth, and readily determines to do what, when the time of action comes, will be at last omitted.
I believe most men may review all the lives that have passed within their observation, without remembering one efficacious resolution, or being able to tell a single instance of a course of practice suddenly changed in consequence os a change of opinion, or an establishment of determination. Many indeed alter their conduct, and are not at fifty what they were at thirty, but they commonly varied imperceptibly from themselves, followed the train of external causes, and rather suffered.reformation than made it.
It is not uncommon to charge the difference between promise and performance, between profession and reality, upon deep design and studied deceit ; but the truth is, that there is very little hypocrisy in the world; we do not so often endeavour or wish to impose on others as on ourselves; we resolve to do right, we hope to keep our resolutions, we declare them to confirm our own hope, and fix our own inconstancy by calling witnesses of our actions; but at last habit prevails, and
those whom we invited at our triumph, laugh at our defeat.
Custom is commonly too strong for the most.resolute resolvcr, though furnished for the assault with all the weapons of philosophy. "He that endea"vours to free himself from an ill ha"bit," says Bacon, " must not change "too much at a time, lest he should be' "discouraged by difficulty; nor too "little, for then he will make but "slow advances." This is a precept which may be applauded in a book, but will fail in the trial, in which every change will be found too great or too little. Tno^e wn0 have been able to conquer habit, are like those that are fabled to have returned from the realms of Pluto:
Pauci, quos aequus amavit Jupiter, atque ardens evexit ad æthera virtus.
They are sufficient to give hope but not security, to animate the contest but not to promise victory.
Those who are in^the power of evil habits, must conquer them as they can, and conquered they must be, or neither wisdom nor happiness can be attained; but those who are not yet subject to their influence, may, by timely caution, preserve their freedom, they may effectually resolve to escape the tyrant, whom they will very vainly resolve, to conquer. Idler.
§ 67. Halfpenny, its Adventures.
"Sir, "I shall not pretend to conceal from you the illegitimacy of my birth, or the baseness of my extraction: and though 1 seem to bear the venerable marks of old age, I received my being at Birmingham not six months ago. From thence I was transported, with many of my brethren of different dates, characters, and configurations, to a Jew pedlar in Duke's-place, who paid for us in specie scarce a fifth part of our nominal and extrinsic value. We were , soon aster separately disposed of, at a . more moderate profit, to coffee -houses, chop-houses, chandlers-ffiops, and ginshops. 1 had not been long in the world, before an ingenious transmute*
of of metals laid violent hands on me; and observing my thin shape and flat surface, by the help of a little quicksilver, exalted me into a shilling. Use, however, soon degraded me again to my native low station; and I unfortunately fell into the possession of an ur-, chin just breeched, who received me as a Christmas-box of his god-mother.
"A love of money is ridiculously instilled into children so early, that before they can possibly comprehend the use of it, they consider it as of great value: I lost therefore the very essence of my being, in the custody of this hopeful disciple of avarice and folly; and was kept only to be looked at and admired: but a bigger boy after a while snatched me from him, and releafed me from my confinement.
"I now underwent various hardships among his play-fellows, and was kicked about, hustled, tossed up, and chucked into holes; which very much battered and impaired me: but I suffered most by the pegging of tops, the marks of which I have borne about me to this day. I was in this state the unwitting cause of rapacity, strife, envy, rancour, malice, and revenge, among the little apes of mankind; and became the object and the nurse of those passions which disgrace human nature, while I appeared only to engage children in innocent pastimes. At length I was dismissed from their service by a throw with a barrow woman for an orange.
- '* From her it is natural to conclude, I posted to the gin-shop; where, indeed, it is probable I should have immediately gone, if her husband, a foot soldier, had not wrested me from her, at the expence of a bloody nose, black eye, scratched face, and torn regimentals. By him I was carried to the Mall in St. James's Park, where I am ashamed to tell how I parted from him *—let it suffice that I was soon after deposited in a night-cellar.
"From hence I got into the coat pocket of a blood, and remained there with several of my brethren for some days unnoticed. But one evening as he was reeling home from the tavern, he jerked a whole handful of us through a 8
fash window into the dining-room of a tradesman, who he remembered had been so unmannerly to him the day before, as to desire payment of his bill. We reposed in soft ease on a fine Turkey carpet till the next morning, when the maid swept us up; and some of us were allotted to purchase tea, some to buy snuff, and I myself was immediately trucked away at the door for the Sweethearts Delight.
"It is not my design to enumerate every little accident that has befallen me, or to dwell upon trivial and in* different circumstances, as is the practice of those important egotists, who write narratives, memoirs, and travels. As useless to community as my single self may appear to be, I have been the instrument of much good and evil in the intercourse of mankind: I have contributed no small sum to the revenues of the crown, by my share in each news-paper; and in the consumption of tobacco, spirituous liquors, and other taxable commodities. If I have encouraged debauchery, or supported extravagance; I have also rewarded the labours of industry, and relieved the necessities of indigence. The poor acknowledge me as their constant friend; and the rich, though they affect to slight me, and treat me with contempt, are often reduced by their follies to distresses, which it is even in my power to relieve.
"The present exact scrutiny into our constitution has, indeed, very much obstructed and embarrassed my travels; though I could not but rejoice in my condition last Tuesday, as I was debarred having any share in maiming, bruising, and destroying the innocent victims of vulgar barbarity: I was happy in being confined to the mock encounters with feathers and stuffed leather; a childish sport, rightly calculated to initiate tender minds in acts of cruelty, and prepare them for the exercise of inhumanity on helpless animals.
"I shall conclude, Sir, with informing you by what means I came to you in the condition you fee. A choice spirit, a member of the kill-care-club, broke a link-boy's pate with me last night, as a reward for lighting him
across across the channel; the lad wasted half his tar flambeau in looking for me, but I escaped his search, being lodged snugly against a post. This morning a parish girl picked me up, and carried me with raptures to the next baker's (hop to purchase a roll. The master, who was churchwarden, examined me with grea^t attention, and then gruffly threatening her with Bridewell for putting off bad money, knocked a nail through my middle, and fastened me to the counter: but the moment the poor fcungry child was gone he whipt me up again, and sending me away with others in change to the next customer, gave me this opportunity of relating my adventures to you". Adventurer.
$' 68. History, cur natural Fondness for. it, and its true Use. The love of history seems inseparable from human nature, because it seems inseparable from self-love. The same principle in this instance carries us forward and backward, to future and to past ages. We imagine that the things which affect us, must affect posterity: this sentiment runs through mankind, from Cæsar down to the parish-clerk in Pope's Miscellany. We are fond of preserving, as far as it is in our frail power, the memory of our own adventures, of those of our own time, and of those that preceded it. Rude heaps of stones have been raised, and ruder hymns have been composed, for this purpose, by nations who had not yet the use of arts and letters. To go no further back, the triumphs of Odin were celebrated in Runic songs, and the feats of our British ancestors were recorded in those of their bards. The savages of America have the fame custom at this day: and long historical ballads of their hunting and wars are fung at all their festivals. There is no r.ecd of faying how this passion grows among all civilized nations, in proportion to the means of gratifying it: but let us observe, that the same principle of nature directs us as strongly, and more generally as well as more early, to indulge our own curiosity, instead of preparing to gratify that of others. The child hearkens with delight to the 6
tales of his nurse; he learns to read, and he devours with eagerness fabulous legends and novels. In riper years he applies to history, or to that which he takes for history, to authorized romance: and even in age, the desire of knowing what has happened 'to other men, yields to the desire alone of relating what has happened to ourselves. Thus history, true or false, speaks to our passions always. What pity is it, that even the best should speak to our understandings so seldom? That it does so, we have none to blame but ourselves. Nature has done her part. She has opened this study to every man who can read and think: and what she has made the most agreeable, reason can make the most useful application of our minds. But if we consult our reason, we shall be far from following the examples of our fellow-creatures, in this as in most other cases, who are so proud of being rational. We shall neither read to sooth our indolence, nor to gratify our vanity: as little shall we content ourselves to drudge like grim» marians and critics, that others may be able to study,- with greater ease and profit, like philosophers and statesmen: as little shall we affect the flender merit of becoming great scholars at the expence of groping all our lives in the dark mazes of antiquity. All these mistake the true drift'of study, and the true use of history. Nature gave w curiosity to excite the industry of our minds ; but (he never intended it to be made the principal, much less the sole, object of their application. The true and proper object of this application, is a constant improve, ment in private and in public virtue. An application to any study, that tends neither directly nor indirectly to make us better men, and better citizens, is at best but a specious and ingenious sort of idleness, to use an expression of Tillotson: and the knowledge we acquire is a creditable kind of ignorance, nothing more. This creditable kind of ignorance is, in my opinion, the whole benefit which the generality of men, even of the most learned, reap from the study of history: and yet the study of history seems