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Tytler's delightful work, “The Songstresses of Scotland,” receives a kindly mitigation. She died at Letterkenny, in Ireland, when not much past the middle term of life. It requires very little knowledge of human nature to know that the power of striking out a good song is no guarantee for the steady march or the fruitful issue of a well-rounded life drama. Sensibility finds a vent in song; purpose shapes a career.
From his Essays on the Songs
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE
harSLACKSTONE's “Commentaries » are the work of an essayist of
the first rank. It is true that his greatness as a jurist and L a historian of law obscures the high literary quality of his work; but constantly throughout the «Commentaries,” in handling single topics of universal interest, he shows the artistic sense of the . unities from which the essay derives a characteristic vitality such as no mere disquisition, however valid for its own purpose, can have. An essay must be as much an artistic whole as a poem. It must have the beginning, the middle, and the end, each in harmony with the other, as Aristotle insists, so that it will represent artistic completeness. Wherever one of Blackstone's essays occur in his “Commentaries,” it shows these characteristics to such an extent that the student who masters Blackstone must necessarily learn the principles of literature as well as of law. The first volume of the « Commentaries » appeared in 1765, the last in 1768. Though the completed work has always been regarded as the bulwark of the English aristocratic idea of government, Blackstone was no friend of despotism in any form. He was born in London, July roth, 1723. In 1758 he became Vinerian professor of Common Law at Oxford, and in 1770 Justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He died February 14th, 1780. Eight editions of his great work appeared during his lifetime. Without doubt, its study by one generation of lawyers after another constitutes the closest bond of political sympathy between England and the United States.
THE PROFESSIONAL SOLDIER IN FREE COUNTRIES
IN A land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a dis
tinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarch
ies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is that of governing by fear; but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and its laws; he puts not off the
citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citi. zen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier. The laws therefore and constitution of these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession than that of war; and it was not till the reign of Henry VII. that the kings of England had so much as a guard about their persons.
In the time of our Saxon ancestors, as appears from Edward the Confessor's laws, the military force of this kingdom was in the hands of the dukes or heretochs, who were constituted through every province and county in the kingdom; being taken out of the principal nobility, and such as were most remarkable for being sapientes, fideles, et animosi.” Their duty was to lead and regulate the English armies, with a very unlimited power; prout eis visum fuerit, ad honorem coronæ et utilitatem regni.” And because of this great power they were elected by the people in their full assembly, or folkmote, in the manner as sheriffs were elected; following still that old fundamental maxim of the Saxon constitution, that where any officer was intrusted with such power, as if abused might tend to the oppression of the people, that power was delegated to him by the vote of the people themselves. So, too, among the ancient Germans, the ancestors of our Saxon forefathers, they had their dukes, as well as kings, with an independent power over the military, as the kings had over the civil state. The dukes were elective, the kings heredi. tary; for so only can be consistently understood that passage of Tacitus, (reges ex nobilitate, duces ex virtute sumunt”; in constituting their kings, the family or blood royal was regarded; in choosing their dukes or leaders, warlike merit; just as Cæsar relates of their ancestors in his time, that whenever they went to war, by way either of attack or defense, they elected leaders to command them. This large share of power, thus conferred by the people, though intended to preserve the liberty of the subject, was perhaps unreasonably detrimental to the prerogative of the crown; and accordingly we find ill use made of it by Edric, duke of Mercia, in the reign of King Edmund Ironside, who, by his office of duke or heretoch, was entitled to a large command in the king's army, and by his repeated treacheries at last transferred the crown to Canute the Dane.
It seems universally agreed by all historians, that King Alfred first settled a national militia in this kingdom, and by his prudent discipline made all the subjects of his dominion soldiers; but we are unfortunately left in the dark as to the particulars of this his so celebrated regulation; though, from what was last observed, the dukes seem to have been left in possession of too large and independent a power; which enabled Duke Harold on the death of Edward the Confessor, though a stranger to the royal blood, to mount for a short space the throne of this kingdom, in prejudice of Edgar Atheling the rightful heir.
Upon the Norman Conquest the feudal law was introduced here in all its rigor, the whole of which is built on a military plan. I shall not now enter into the particulars of that constitution, which belongs more properly to the next part of our “Commentaries”; but shall only observe that, in consequence thereof, all the lands in the kingdom were divided into what were called knights' fees, in number above sixty thousand (1); and for every knight's fee a knight or soldier, miles, was bound to attend the king in his wars, for forty days in a year (2); in which space of time, before war was reduced to a science, the campaign was generally finished, and a kingdom either conquered or victorious. By this means the king had, without any expense, an army of sixty thousand men always ready at his command. And accord. ingly we find one, among the laws of William the Conqueror, which in the king's name commands and firmly enjoins the personal attendance of all knights and others; “quod habeant et teneant se semper in armis et equis, ut decet et oportet; et quod semper sint prompti et parati ad servitium suum integrum nobis explendum et peragendum, cum opus adfuerit, secundum quod debent feodis et tenementis suis de jure nobis facere.” This personal service in process of time degenerated into pecuniary commutations or aids, and at last the military part of the feudal system was abolished at the Restoration. ..
As the fashion of keeping standing armies, which was first introduced by Charles VII. in France, 1445 A. D., has of late years universally prevailed over Europe (though some of its potentates, being unable themselves to maintain them, are obliged to have recourse to richer powers, and receive subsidiary pensions for that purpose), it has also for many years past been annually judged necessary by our legislature, for the safety of the kingdom, the defense of the possessions of the crown of Great Britain, and the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, to maintain even in time of peace a standing body of troops, under the command of the crown; who are, however, ipso facto disbanded at the expiration of every year, unless continued by Parliament. And it was enacted by statute (10 W. III., c. 1) that not more than twelve thousand regular forces should be kept on foot in Ireland, though paid at the charge of that kingdom; which permission is extended by statute (8 Geo. III., c. 13) to 16,235 men, in time of peace.
To prevent the executive power from being able to oppress, says Baron Montesquieu, it is requisite that the armies with which it is intrusted should consist of the people, and have the same spirit with the people; as was the case at Rome, till Marius new modeled the legions by enlisting the rabble of Italy, and laid the foundation of all the military tyranny that ensued. Nothing, then, according to these principles, ought to be more guarded against in a free state, than making the military power, when such a one is necessary to be kept on foot, a body too distinct from the people. Like ours, it should be wholly composed of natural subjects; it ought only to be enlisted for a short and limited time; the soldiers also should live intermixed with the people; no separate camp, no barracks, no inland fortresses should be allowed. And perhaps it might be still better if, by dismissing a stated number, and enlisting others at every renewal of their term, a circulation could be kept up between the army and the people, and the citizen and the soldier be more intimately connected together.
To keep this body of troops in order, an annual act of Parliament likewise passes, “to punish mutiny and desertion, and for the better payment of the army and their quarters.” This regulates the manner in which they are to be dispersed among the several innkeepers and victualers throughout the kingdom, and establishes a law martial for their government. By this, among other things, it is enacted that if any officer or soldier shall excite, or join any mutiny, or, knowing of it, shall not give notice to the commanding officer; or shall desert, or list in any other regiment, or sleep upon his post, or leave it before he is relieved, or hold correspondence with a rebel or enemy, or strike or use violence to his superior officer, or shall disobey his lawful commands; such offender shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall inflict, though it extend to death itself.
However expedient the most strict regulations may be in time of actual war, yet in times of profound peace a little relaxation