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and confirmed by act of the then parliament. That in
It is not to be doubted, had the parliament finished
found also in for its revival. The rotten part of the constitution, as other wri. I think Burnet somewhere calls our small boroughs, ters. would then be incapable by their venality and corruption, of doing the mischief they sometimes have done, to themselves, their representatives, and the public.
Among the alterations requisite to be made on the • British government, in order to bring it to the most • perfect model of limited monarchy, says Mr. Hume, o the plan of the republican parliament' ought to be ' restored by making the representation equal, and by allowing none to vote in the county elections, who U 3
acting all law (ss) proceedings to be in the
0) Political' pofless not an hundred a year (k).' This restriction Ellays, p. appears not at all to have entered into the thoughts of 30 • 12mo. the parliament. An estate real or personal of two hun. Ejingb. 1:52.
dred pounds in value, was the qualification for an elector, in the instrument of government above :entioned.
(ss) Their attemp's to re, orm the law, and ena Fiing all law proceedings to be in the English tongue.] The tediouincís and expensiveness of law proceedings have long been the subject of complaint, as well as that gloricus uncertainty of the law, which lias been often boasted of with high-glee by some of its profcffors. It is not to be doubted but the low and prolix process of the law sometimes preserves the unwary or unskilful from being surprized, and affords the fairer opportunity to bring truth to light, or give relief to the oppressed: but whether these advantages are not outweighed by the vexation, trouble and expence neceflarily incurred thereby, those who have been to unhappy as to be engaged in it, can best determine.--As early as the year 164", the parliament was addrefled on this subject, in the following words : " Yee know, the laws of this nation are (unworthy a free people, and deserve from first to • laft, to be considered, and serioufly debated, and re
duced to an agreement with common equity, and "right reason, which ought to be the form and life of
every government. Maria Charta itself being but a 6 beggarly thing, containing many marks of intollera
ble bondage, and the laws that have been made fince by parliaments, have in very many particulars made our government much more oppressive and intolera
ble. The Vcrm in way for ending of controversies, was ' much more abusive than the English way, yet the Con
queror, contrary to his oath, introduced the Vorom.IM • laws, and his litigious and vexatious way amongst us; ? the like he did also for punishment of maletact rs, controversies of all natures having before a quick
English tongue; their seeking out, employ
6 and final dispatch in every hundred. He erected a • trade of judges and lawyers, to sell justice and ina justice at his own unconscionable rate, and in what
time he pleased ; the corruption whereof is yet res maining upon us, to our continual impoverishing and ( moleftation; from which we thought you should have o delivered us *'- In the copy of a very valuable manuscript paper, formerly belonging to colonel Saunders of Derby/nire, colonel of a regiment of horse, written about the end of the year 1647 ; among many other. excellent proposals for the establiihment of a firm and, present peace, is the following. " That the huge vo. • Jumes of ftatuce laws and ordinances, with the penalties therein imposed, as well corporal as pecuniary,
be well revised; and such only left in force, as shall < be found fit for the commonwealth, especially that ( mens lives be more precious than formerly, and that • lesser punishments than death, and more useful to the s publick be found out for smaller offences: That all • laws, writs, commillion, pleadings, and records be s in the English tongue ; and that proceedings be re• duced to a more certain charge, and a more expeji
tious way than formerly: That no fees at all be exailed • of the people in courts of j'fiice; but that the publick
ministers of fate be wholiy maintained cut of ihe puh. ·lick treasury.'- In the petition of the lo:d general and officers mentioned in the preceding note, we find among other things noticed, as worthy to be provided for by parliament, " The removing or reforming of 6 evils or inconveniences in the present laws, and ad< ininistrations thereof, the redreile of abuses, and fup• plying of defects therein, the putting of all the laws 6 and proceedings thereof into the Engliin tongue, the " reducing of the course of law to more brevity and less
* Remanfrancs of many thousand citizens and other freshorn per le of England to their own house of commons, occafioned by tie impune ment of John Liburn, 4to. uitloit nane or place.
ing and rewarding the best pens for writ
(1) p. 28.
o charge (?). These persons seem not to have con.
law of England is, because by many succession of
"it, Neminem oportet elle fapientiorem legibus : No man (m) On Lit. 6 (out of his own private reason) ought to be wiser than tleton, .the law, which is the perfection of reason (m).' 98. 2d. Edit.
However this may be, the parliament being urged by
mischief that grows from delays, the chargeableness
ing (TT) in behalf of liberty, civil and re
6 ble hand and character, and not in any hand com(monly called court hand.' This act does great honor to the parliament, and is an argument of their good sense, and concern for the welfare of the people. It is amazing so good a law should not have been continued by proper authority after the restoration! But it was generally a sufficient reason then to disuse a thing, though ever so good in itself, that it had been enacted by an usurped power. Of such fatal confequences are prejudices ! But thanks be to God! we have seen the time when this most exccllent ordinance has been again revived, and received the sanction of the whole legislature. It has indeed been questioned, · Whether a noble dead language, which has suf
fered no variation in it for above these thousand years - last palt, is not better to preserve records in than so (n) Parlia.
flux a one as English (n).'---For my own part, I mentary should think not: unless the uncertain good of very
y xix. p. 439. distant pofterity, is to be preferred to our own present real advantage, which I imagine few will say. But to go on How much were it to be wilhed, that a
committee of wise and prudent persons were once more employed to revise, amend and abridge our laws!
That we might know ourselves how to act, and not • be necessitated to make use of those, who (we are sen
fible) live on our spoils.--But much is it to be feared, " that our adversaries will be too hard for us, and that " we shall be obliged, for a time at least, to submit to • their yoke. But whenever the spirit of true patrio.
tism Dhall generally possess the minds of our senators,
I doubt not, but they will apply themselves to our de• liverance in good earnest, and bring it to perfection, (c) Hisori• (as it was long ago done in Denmark, and more lately cal and Crie « in Prulia) inasmuch as the happiness of the commu-count of
?tical ACv nity absolutely depends thereon (6).
Hugh Pe. (tt) Their feeking out, and rewarding the belt pens, ters, note
c(M), 8vo. &c.] There have been few governments destitute of Lond. 17