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government? Our readers must speculate for themselves upon these, and other, perhaps equally probable, hypotheses; for we do not affect to see clearly through the revolutions which, we are afraid, still await our American kindred.
General Washington survived his retirement from the presidency only two years. He died on the 14th December 1799, of an inflammation in the throat, occasioned by a slight rain to which he had been exposed the preceding day. Soon after the disease commenced, he foresaw he should die; and he met his fate with his characteristic fortitude.-Washington's appearance, we are told, was noble and commanding; and it has been frequently remarked, that the impression of awe which it was calculated to produce, was never effaced by frequency of intercourse. He was reserved in his manners, and unaffectedly modest. He was hospitable, and his establishment expensive, but under exact regulation. He spoke with diffidence; but his letters to Congress, and his written addresses, are admirable for clearness and solidity. His personal habits were exceedingly temperate; and the purity of his morals was never questioned. In short, to use the words of a very great man, a character, of virtues so happily tempered " by one another, and so wholly unalloyed with any vices, is hardly to be found in the pages of history.'*
Mr Marshall is steady in his approbation of the measures of the great man whose history he writes; but, so far as we can discover, he is not unduly influenced in his strictures upon those who opposed them. This last volume is loaded with speeches, which clumsily and indistinctly supply the place of comprehensive views of the subjects to which they relate. Many of these speeches display great commercial knowledge, and a forcible and keen style of argument. But we have never yet seen any specimen of American eloquence, that did not grievously sin against the canons of taste; and, indeed, oratory is not to be looked for in a country which has none of the kindred arts. The consideration which absorbs every other, in a country situated like America, is that of acquiring wealth. Every particle of intellect, therefore, is attracted to active cccupations. Now, it is written in a wise old book, that learning cometh by opportunity of leisure, and that he that hath little business shall become wise. When America, then, shall have reached that more advanced stage,-when a greater accumulation of wealth shall have given leisure to a larger portion of her inhabitants-she will then nourish a class, new in her population, that of men of letters-then she will have orators, and poets, and historians, and then she will look back
Mr Fox's Introductory chapter.
with other feelings, than we suspect she at present entertains, to the ludicrous proposition of her Congress, to declare herself the most enlightened nation on the globe. ' *
In these volumes, we have found a great many words and phrases which English criticism refuses to acknowledge. America has thrown off the yoke of the British nation; but she would do well, for some time, to take the laws of composition from the Addisons, the Swifts, and the Robertsons, of her antient sovereign. In short, our previous impressions of American literature have by no means been weakened by the perusal of these books; and we think it pretty strong proof of the poverty of her literary attainments, that she has not yet been able to tell the story of her own revolution, and to pourtray the character of her hero and sage, in language worthy such subjects. These remarks, however, are not dictated by any paltry feelings of jealousy or pride. We glory in the diffusion of our language over a new world, where we hope it is yet destined to collect new triumphs; and in the brilliant perspective of American greatness, we see only pleasing images of associated prosperity and glory to the land in which we live.
ART. XI. A Letter to the Livery of London, relative to the Views of the Writer in executing the Office of Sheriff. By Sir Richard Phillips, Knight. One of the Sheriffs of London and Middlefex. London. Small Octavo. pp. 294.
SIR RICHARD PHILLIPS, we have been informed, has a bad opinion of reviews; and has been publicly called a great fool for this and fome other opinions. We have the misfortune to be perfectly indifferent as to his opinions,-or his capacity to form them but, judging from the work before us, from which alone it is lawful for us to know any thing about him, we have no hefitation in faying, that he feems to be neither fool nor knave. It is a bold, fenfible, and ufeful publication: and, though not compofed in the moft judicious or conciliating manner, contains many statements and fuggeftions which deferve to be attended to.
After fome general obfervations on the origin and importance of the fhrievalty, and a few judicious remarks on the propriety of felecting for this office fuch perfons only as are qualified to execute its duties with courage, probity, and talent, Sir Richard proceeds to ftate, that, when he was propofed for this high office,
* See Debate, Vol. V. p. 618.
he uniformly declared, in all his converfations with thofe members of the corporation of London who were active in promoting his election, that he would not be confidered as a mere parade officer; that he thould recur to the conftitutional duties of the office, and honeftly discharge them; and that it was only upon this principle he would accept the truft. His election having taken place, one of the first objects of his public attention was a reformation of the annual lift of freeholders liable to ferve on the petty, fpecial, and grand juries. This was in great meafure accomplished, by a letter from the fheriffs to the head-boroughs and conftables of the county, apprizing them of the refponfibility attached to, the correct preparation of their refpective lifts. The letter was accompanied with extracts from the feveral acts of Parliament relating to the fubject. To infure complete fuccefs, it is recommended that this duty fhould be committed to a more intelligent defcription of perfons, and that the legal penalties fhould be inflicted in all cafes of wilful or negligent omiffion. In the courfe of his letter to the Livery, he purfues this fubject at confiderable length; and his obfervations upon it difcover an anxiety for a pure and unexceptionable formation of juries.
His jealoufy of individuals ferving on petty juries, however, feems to be fomewhat exceffive and fantaftical. He fubdivided the county of Middlefex into fix parts, and compofed each jury of individuals refiding in three of thefe different divifions, from an idea that a fort of average of public feeling would thus fecure a decifion unbiaffed by local influence ;-entirely overlooking the fubftantial advantages which, in fome cafes, are derived from the local knowledge of the jury; and which, at the fame time, is perfectly compatible with independence of fentiment. The perfons qualified by law to act as petty jurors, form a very numerous clafs; and little difficulty can arife in ftriking from fo ample a lift, fuch jurors as are likely to act with judgment and impartiality. The administration of juftice, either in civii o criminal cafes, cannot furely require, that a variety of parishes or villages fhould be put in requifition to furnifh a dozen intelligent or uninfluenced jurors. No complaint upon this point has hitherto arifen; and, fo long as a juft medium is preferved, between a very limited, and a very extenfive number of jurors, the ends of juftice will, in all probability, be effectually fecured. It is certainly of importance, that a frequent recurrence of the fame jurors fhould be avoided, left an inclination to yield too much deference to the Bench fhould be imperceptibly produced. On the other hand, an unexpected demand throughout the county upon all perfons liable to ferve, would probably lead to many inconveniences, irregularities, and complaints. But, fince the freeholders' lift furnithes the
lousy on the part of the public. If the question, however, be solemnly brought to issue, we should feel disposed to enforce their attendance according to law. It is dangerous to tamper with any part of such an institution, or to narrow, in any degree, those securities which may at some time be essential to the great ends of justice.
Previously to every session of gaol delivery, the sheriffs are required to prepare for the judges a calendar of the various persons committed for trial. It is obvious that, unless such delinquents, as may have been sent to the magistrates' prisons, shall have been transferred to those which are under the sheriff's jurisdiction, a complete list cannot be prepared; and, from accidents, negligence, or design, persons may, contrary to law, be detained till after the period for their trial has elapsed. Sensible of the occasional existence of such irregularities, Sir Richard, shortly after being sworn into office, proceeded to ascertain whether all the prisoners committed for trial were at that time in his custody. His worthy predecessor, he says, could give him no accurate information on this point. He then addressed a general convention of gaolers, in a short speech, which he has preserved with the most scrupulous accuracy, and inserted in this work as a specimen of his rhetorical powers.
I am aware,' he observes, there are, and ought to be, houses of correction and punishment in the county, to which prisoners may be sent, after conviction, agreeably to the sentence of a court, or to which, under certain penal statutes, they may be committed for summary punishment by a justice of the peace; but are you not accustomed to receive, previously to every session of gaol delivery, a certain number of persons, who have for some time previously been fully committed for trial to various prisons, whose keepers I do not see here,-such as, the house of correction, Cold-Bath-Fields, the house of correction, Tothill-Fields, and the new prison, Clerkenwell?' This question being answered in the affirmative, he again addressed his audience, and, in particular, his predecessor in office. Do you know that all the persons, which have been thus committed to prisons, < where the sheriff has no controul, are every one of them brought to the sheriff's gaol of Newgate; or, may not others be detained behind without your knowledge?' The former sheriff replied, that, as he possessed no controul over the magistrates in this respect, he could not personally ascertain the fact.
It is exceedingly desirable, that the powers of the magistrates should, if possible, be clearly and distinctly determined. Discretionary authority is liable to abuse, and, upon the point in question, it may expose a magistrate to interference with the ju