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ther before the same jury or a new written religious parodies, whom one.-The case is not yet decided. nobody could suspect of feeling the
Hone was tried thrice on charges slightest wish to injure religion; of blasphemy, for having parodied and he thus proved that the mere the creed of Athanasius, and parts act of writing religious parodies of the liturgy of the church of Eng- could not be blasphemy, that the land: he also conducted his own intention and object must constitute defence on all these three trials. the crime. But though he thus The main ground of his defence made it clear that very staunch and was, that the crime for which he sincere friends of the church of was brought to trial was a political England had parodied parts of her one, not a crime against religion: service, it is impossible not to perand that if his parodies had not been ceive that this conduct, though it against the prince regent and his may proceed from no bad intenministers, but against their political tions, must be productive of the opponents, he would not have been most serious consequences co the brought to trial for them. He also cause of religion; and we are raendeavoured to prove that paro. ther disposed to be of opinion, that dies of the liturgy, and even of the in this case, as well as several others, scriptures, might be written, and the law ought to prevent that carehad actually been written, by men lessness and inattention to consewho had not the most remote idea quences from which public evil of bringing religion into contempt. flows; in the same manner as, in In his speeches he entered into a many cases, an injury done to an inlong historical detail of religious pa. dividual is punished, although the rodies, in order to prove these two proof that there was noevil intention points; and we must confess he did is most distinct and unimpeachable. prove them: but, as was observed, There were several circumstances repeatedly, by the judge, on the attending these trialsof Hone, which trials, proof that blasphemous pa- deserve notice and remark, as illusrodies had been suffered to pass trative either of the British manners unnoticed and unpunished, even and character, or of some parts of though it had been also proved, or the British jurisprudence, which in at least rendered probable, that our opinion require seformation. they escaped because their politics In the first place, the firm, unwere ministerial,—did not justify daunted, but by no means forward Mr. Hone, or afford a legal ground or impudent behaviour of Hone for his acquittal. His other plea during his trials is worthy of nowas more to the purpose : his ob- tice. The judges frequently en-, ject was to show, that a writer of deavoured to interrupt him, as parodies of the description of those going into matter not relevant to for which he was tried, might be his defence; but he carried his actuated by motives very opposite point, and was always at last perto those imputed to him; and that mitted to state and urge what he inunless it could be shown that his in- tended, Çertainly no counsel could tention was to bring religion into have gone so completely in teh teeth contempt, the charge of blasphemy of the judge as he did; and as cermust fall to the ground, and he tainly in no country, at least in must be acquitted. In his detail, Europe, could such a scene have he certainly proved that men had been witnessed. An obscure man, of no literary acquiremerts, quite struct the jury what verdict to prounaccustomed to speak in public, nounce. The latter mode we canconducting his own defence, before not help regarding as contrary to the judges of the land, against the the spirit of the British constitution, attorney-general and other counsel as well as beyond the duty of a of experience and high talents; and judge, and infringing on the pecuthis defence against an accusation liar province and privilege of a jury. which the judge was evidently dis. In fact, if the jury are in the smallposed to regard as well founded: est degree influenced by the opinion moreover, Hone's object was not of the judge, in the verdict they proto prove that he had not sold these nounce, that verdict is not their verparodies; but that these parodies, dict; it is not a verdict according which had all the outward signs of to their oath : and though they sit being blasphemous parodies on the there as jurymen, and the prisoner church of England service, were in may be said to have had the benefit reality not such.
of a trial by jury, he has in fact The second circumstance which had his guilt or innocence declared we wish to notice respects the ap- by the judge. In cases where the probation which the people in court crown is a party more particularly, expressed when the verdicts of Not that is in all cases of sedition, libel, Guilty were given in by the jury. high treason, &c. the judge ought This we think not only indecorous, most carefully to abstain from going but a practice which, if suffered to beyond his proper province of merego on, must strike at the root of ly stating the law and summing up fair and impartial trial: the jury, the evidence. Even during the having the feelings and wishes of first part of the trial, it will be men, cannot prevent the appro- very difficult for a judge totally bation or disapprobation that may to free himself from all preju. be expressed in court, from acting dice against the prisoner ; but on on their minds : on this account all such an opportunity of letting his symptoms of either ought to be own opinion be known, as must be most rigorously suppressed. And given if he does not strictly confine certainly those are no real friends to himself to lay down the law, and the great object of British venera- sum up the evidence, it will not be tion, the great bulwark of British possible for him not to discover a liberty, the trial by jury, who per- leaning for or against the prisoner. mit themselves to break in upon the In our opinion, therefore, the prodecorum and solemnity of the pro. vince of the jury ought not to be ceedings of a court of justice. invaded by the judge: the law
The next circumstance to which meant, and the spirit of the British we alluded, regards the duties of a constitution requires, that the guilt judgeonatrial. The practice of some or innocence of every man who is judges is merely, before the jury de- accused of a crime, should be deterliberate on the case, to sum up the mined by his peers; by men who, evidence, and lay down the law: when they know the law of the case, the practice of other judges is not and hear all the evidence for and only to do these things, but also to against the prisoner, will be fully give their own opinion respecting equal to decide upon that guilt or the guilt or innocence of the pri- innocence: and we therefore think, soner, or, in fact, to advise and in that for a judge to do more than
merely merely qualify a jury to give a ver- for which the prisoner is about to dict, by telling them clearly what be tried, and to be informed most is the law, and by giving a short accurately of the meaning and purand perspicuous summary of the port of the law which applied to his evidence, is for him to render the case. Thus being acquainted with trial by jury, a nominal, rather the law, and having it constantly than a real blessing,
in their recollection during the The practice is for the judge to whole of the trial, they would be lay down the law, after all the evi. better enabled to ascertain the full dence is gone through ;-would it bearing and weight of the evidence not be better if he were to lay down upon the case before them. the law at the very beginning of the The trial by jury is such an intrial?. If this were done, the jury valuable blessing, that every cirwould know the value of the evi- cumstance, which in the slightest dence, as wellas of the speeches of the degree defeats its object, ought to counsel on both sides, much better be immediately, utterly, and for than they do at present. The jury ever removed; and every mode of ought to know from the very be. rendering it more effectual ought ginning of the trial, the exact crime to be adopted.
Feelings of the People towards the different Branches of the Royal Family
the King—the Queen-the Prince Regent—the Dukes of York, &c.the Princess Charlotte-the Prince of Coburg-Death of the Princess
TE are well aware that we wards the constitution under which
are about to enter on de- they live, and towards those by licate ground, in this chapter; but whom that constitution is adminiit is the duty of an historian and an- stered. In our preceding chapters, nalist to give a full and impartial by pointing out the state of agripicture of the age of which he culture, manufactures, commerce, treats: and if he represents things and finance; the state of political as they are, he ought neither to be parties both in and out of parliapraised for giving a pleasing pic. ment, and the feelings of the peoture, nor be censured if his picture ple towards the government, as should happen to be displeasing. they were displayed either by the Our object is, not merely to relate loyalty of the great mass, or by the events, which usually are supposed disaffection of a few, we have left to fill up entirely the province of an for our consideration, only the tohistorian or annalist; but also to pics which are placed at the head give a sketch of the state of the peo- of the present chapter. ple of Britain,-as that state is ex- It would be interesting and inhibited in the means which they structive to contrast the feelings, possess of existence, comfort, and impressions and ideas entertained wealth, and in their feelings to- respecting the nature, character, and
privileges privileges of sovereigns in Asiatic do it. The circumstances which monarchies, and in the different we shall have to relate in this chapmonarchies of Europe, from those ter, will sufficiently prove that the which approach nearest the Asiatic, most unambitious and domestic to the most limited, as it exists in manners, the greatest plainness Great Britain ;-and also to con- and simplicity of life, are much trast the ideas entertained in Britain more effectual in gaining and rerespecting the sovereign, three or taining those feelings of respect, four centuries ago, with those which love, and attachment, which it is are entertained at present. An Asi- always desirable that a people living atic sovereign is seldom visible or under a nionarchy should possess approachable; a sanctity is thrown for their royal family, than the most round his conduct and character, gorgeous and splendid establishalmost as great as that with which ment. the Deity is invested. He is either The feelings of the British peosupposed to be free from all failings ple towards their present sovereign and imperfections; or these are not have undergone many changes. to be censured, or even exposed by When he first came to the throne, he his subjects. European sovereigns was very popular: his youth, his never were regarded in the same having been born and bred a Briton, light as those of Asia : but formerly rendered him so, as a man; and the they were beheld with more awe, successful war which he terminated, both as sovereigns and men, than as a sovereign. During the influthey are at present. In this coun. ence of Wilkes, and for a great part try, the other extreme has at least of the American and French wars, been approached; and the private he became very unpopular; nor as well as public conduct of sove. did he again become popular in a reigns is canvassed with a freedom, high degree, till he was afflicted and a want of candour and due with the malady under which he allowance for the circumstances in still labours. Now he is remem. which they are placed, and which bered only for his truly British must have influenced their conduct, qualities: for the plainness of his that would not be exercised towards mode of life ;-even little circum. any other individuals.
stances which would hardly render In another respect also the feel. any other man popular, contribute ings of the people in this country to to render him so; his having been a great degree, and probably in an early riser, and accustomed to every other European country to dine nearly at the old English some degree, towards royalty, are hour, and on the plainest dishes; altered : formerly, if royalty were his fondness for hunting and farm surrounded with much splendour, ing; the plainness of his dress; the she eyes of the multitude were so frankness of his manners; and even dazzled, that they were neither dis. his very loquacity, as it led him to posed nor able to penetrate beneath converse freely with all classes ; the surface;—what glittered on so these, united to his fondness for do. vereigns was gold to them. Now mestic life, fill the hearts of all who it is very different : the pomp and contemplate him now in extreme old splendour of royalty are no longer age deprived of his mental faculties, necessary to strike awe and respect with feelings towards him of the uts into the people, they will no longer most veneration and attachment.
The queen has never been a po- which the safety of the nation, in pular character. As the wife of the their opinion, required he should sovereign, and participating with adopt ; yet an immediate and strikhim in a mode of life much more ing change of conduct in public domestic than sovereigns generally men, is always viewed by the genepursue, she undoubtedly has always rality of the nation with distrust been regarded with respect. But and dislike. from the period of her marriage till But there was another circum. the present time, she does not seem stance that rendered him more geto have taken sufficient pains to nerally unpopular than this change identify herself with the British na. in his political principles and contion; and in more than one instance duct: we allude to his difference she is supposed to have interfered with the princess of Wales. The too directly in politics. The dis- people of this country, and probably countenance which she shows for of all countries, though of this in a female profligacy, is one feature in more particular manner, are disa her character on which even those posed to view with sympathy the who otherwise deny her praise, be sufferings, real or represented, of a stow the tribute of their respect. stranger and a female. Hence the
The prince regent has at times princess of Wales had the prejudices, been rather popular; at times the or rather the natural feelings of the people have manifested much in- nation on her side, in her difference difference about him ; and at times with the prince her husband; and as he has been unpopular. When he her character was impugned, the na. first entered on public life, the tion were disposed to scrutinize more circumstances of his joining the closely and rigorously the private party in opposition to his father's character of him who brought, or ministers, rendered him a favour. countenanced, the charges against ite with all who adhered to that her. Party, also, lent its aid to party; but of course ac- misrepresent and exaggerate the ceptable to those who supported difference between them, or rather the measures of government. His the real state, ground, and evi. youth too, and the openness of his dence of this difference. Hence, manners bent the public feeling while the prince came out of the strongly in his favour; and as it investigation with diminished powas confidently expected, on his pularity, the princess emerged from father's illness, that he would act it, the favourite of the people. At on those principles, and adopt those present, we believe, public opinion plans of reform and retrenchment, is more in unison with the dictates which during his whole previous of cool and impartial judgement, life he had both avowedly and vir- and looks more closely into the facts tually recommended and supported; of the case, than it did, when the this expectation being disappointed question between the prince and had a tendency to injure his popu- princess was first agitated. The larity; for though with many he princess, unfortunately and unad. was praised for having shaken off visedly for her own popularity, was nis old friends, and sacrificed what persuaded to go abroad, forgetting might be supposed his private or that absence weakens all kinds of unadvised sentiments, for those feeling, whether hostile or favour