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The grand and variegated profpects which now presented themselves to the traveller, whilft he moved along the bay of Naples, can only be conceived by thofe who have viewed that magnificent and beautiful landscape. At length he arrived in the city, of which he gives a particular account.
Faithful and agreeable delineation are not the only qualities with which Mr. Swinburne gratifies the taste of his readers; for he joins the information of history to the remarks of the traveller; and occafionally enriches the narrative likewife with philofophical reflections; of which, in this part of the volume, we meet with the following inftance.
From the flight mention made of Naples by ancient writers, we may infer that its inhabitants long lived in obfcure tranquillity, a happy though not a glorious fituation; for where no complaints are made, no difturbances heard of, peace and abundance may be fuppofed to reign. Great misfortunes as often as great fucceffes raife nations to a rank in history that entitles them to the notice of pofterity; victory and dominion did not, perhaps, procure to the Roman people a larger fhare of felicity than they would have tafted, had they remained the free but undistinguished poffeffors of their original confined territory; in that cafe their name would not have been pre-eminent in the hiftory of the great revolutions of the world; but their blood would not have flowed in profcriptions, nor would their liberties have been trampled upon by emperors the moft worthless of mankind. It is far from my intention to depreciate the value of generous ambition, and active spirit; on the contrary, I doubt whether any public profperity can be lafting without military exertions: philofophical content and moderation may enfure to private men an uncommon proportion of that imperfect fum of happiness, which alene is within our contracted reach, but if they predominate long in national councils, will inevitably lull the ftate into pernicious apathy; every political body is fo furrounded with rivals and enemies, and fuch is the neceffity of motion in human affairs, that if they do not advance, they must retrograde. A people of philofophers, if fuch a one could be formed, muft either fink rapidly into vi cious indolence, ending in confufion and flavery, or very foon be reinvolved in the bufy vortex of enterprize, which alone can preferve it from corruption.'
The account of Naples is fucceeded by that of Caferta, and the most remarkable articles which have been difcovered in the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The entrance of Pompeii is near the quadrangular barracks of the Roman cohorts that compofed the garrifon. A portico runs round the court fupported by pillars of ftone, covered with ftucco and painted, The troops, our author obferves, feem to have been accommodated with every convenience, and even luxury; for they G 3
had both a theatre and an amphitheatre belonging to their quarters. From an infcription lately dug up, fays Mr. Swinburne, I find that the Pompeians had places of public entertainment, not unlike the modern ones in the fuburbs of London and Paris.
The number of workmen now employed in uncovering this city is very fmall, on account both of the fatiety of antiqui ties, and the difficulty of finding proper fpots for the recep tion of the rubbish. Many projects of fubfcriptions have been propofed for carrying on thefe labours with activity, but hitherto none of them has met with the royal approbation.
The traveller continued his journey by Nocera and Salerno to the ancient Pæftum, celebrated by the claffic poets for its rofes. The wild rofe which now fhoots up among the ruins, is of the fmall fingle damafk kind, with a very high perfume; and our author was affured by a farmer on the spot, that it flowers both in fpring and autumn. The ancient town-wall is almost entire, and inclofes an area about three miles in circumference. The gates are placed in the centre of each fide of the quadrangle, and a great freet may yet be traced in a line from the north to the fouth gate. Nearest to the fouthwall is a quadrilateral building with nine columns in each front, and eighteen on each fide. But at a fmall distance towards the north is the most capital building, a temple of the kind called pfeudodipteros, having fix columns in the fronts, and fourteen on the fides. The pediments and entablatures are almost entire.
This, fays our author, is one of the nobleft monuments of antiquity we have left; though built in a ftyle few modern architects will adopt, it may perhaps ferve to infpire them with fublime ideas, and convince them how neceffary to true grandeur in architecture are fimplicity of plan, folidity in proportions, and greatnefs of the component members.'
We entirely join in opinion with Mr. Swinburne respecting the fubfequent remarks.
Not many years are elapfed fince Pæftum began to engage the attention of the literary world; the first publishers of its views inform us that an accidental vifit of a painter to a town in the neighbourhood refcued these ruins from oblivion; but we are not therefore to fuppofe that Pæftum had remained unknown, buried deep in impervious forests, and hidden for ages from the fight of man; it certainly never was furrounded with wood; and between the walls and the fea, a bare fandy down reigns along the coaft. The pillars of Pefto have long been, and are to this day, a landmark to failors, and are feen, as I can witness, from every part of the extenfive gulph of Salerno. I am forry to deftroy Mr. Brydone's hopes that fome magni
ficent heap of ruins will hereafter be discovered among the forefts of Calabria; the fituation of almost all its ancient Greek cities is afcertained; from my own knowlege, and the information of the natives, who are well acquainted with the receffes of their wilderneffes, and by no means inattentive to the remains of antiquity, I may venture to affirm that there is not à hadow of probability that any difcoveries of that kind can be made in Calabria. Pendofia and Tempfa are the only towns which antiquaries differ in placing, and neither of them was of fuch note, as to promife any very fuperb ruins, if by chance they should have remained concealed from all eyes to the fent time.'
The traveller proceeds afterwards to the island of Sicily, his account of which is prefaced with a general hiftory. Landing at Palermo he took the earliest opportunity of paying vifits, and delivering the letters he had brought from Naples to the principal people of the Sicilian metropolis. Moft of those recommendations had come from perfons of fuch rank, and such connections with thofe they were addreffed to, that Mr. Swinburne entertained the firmeft confidence of meeting with an agreeable reception in a city renowned for its civility to foreigners; but in this expectation he was difappointed. No notice was taken of the letters he prefented; no civilities fhewn, nor a fingle invitation given him to break bread under a Sicilian roof. To this general coolnefs he only makes two exceptions; one was the learned antiquary prince Lancellotti, of Torremufa, who paid great attention to his recommendatory introduction; and the other, monfignor Severino, of Naples, archbishop of the united fees of Palermo and Montreale.
Our author informs us, that from the fea Palermo exhibits a moft noble fpectacle. Its extenfive bay is confined by a circle of mountains of various elevations and forms. It is walled round in almost a circular shape, and divided into four parts by two treets which interfect each other at right angles. Palermo is crowded with ftatues of fovereigns and tutelar faints, but most of them done by unskilful hands. No confiderable Greek or Roman antiquities now remain; and the smaller memorials of ancient grandeur which have been preferved, are collected in one mufeum, in the great college lately directed by the Jefuits.
Having traced the progrefs of this agreeabie traveller to Sicily, we shall referve a farther account of the work for a fubfequent Review.
A Hiftory of the English Law. Vol. 11. By John Reeves, Efq. (Concluded, from Vol. LIX. p. 439.) ·
HAving already given a curfory view of the principal changes exprefly made in the law by the ftatutes of Richard II. Henry IV. and Henry V. we shall now proceed to mention the alterations tacitly introduced in the practice and conftruction of the law, during the fame period.
Actions on the cafe became more common in Weftminfterhall, and the limits of them were infenfibly enlarged, fo as to include not only the confequences of injuries actually committed, but to give damages for an injury fuftained by the non-performance of any contract which the party ought to have completed. This was much to the advancement of jus tice, as no action of covenant could be maintained which was not grounded on a deed.
The criminal law continued nearly on the fame footing as in Edward the Third's time. By the Year-book of the first of Henry the Fourth it appears, that the proceedings against a peer for capital offences were nearly the fame as they are now.
While the kingdom was fo divided into oppofite parties, it is no wonder if many were convicted of treafon without trial or examination. It is well for them who have lately preffed for reformation in all departments of ftate, that the law is fomewhat altered from what it was when fir Thomas Haxey was condemned to die the death of a traitor, for having moved in the house of commons, that economy must be promoted at court; in order to which, he propofed that the court should not be fo much frequented by bishops and ladies.
The commons, in the first of Henry IV, extorted a declaration from the lords, that they had a legislative authority in all ftatutes, grants, and fubfidies.
The roll, however, was not always drawn up according to their inftructions: upon which they remonftrated, in 2 Henry V. that as they were affentors as well as petitioners, ftatutes fhould be made according to the tenor of their petition, and not altered.
In the enfuing chapters we have caufe to lament that Mr. Reeves did not purfue his former plan. In the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV. the common law received fuch improvements from the decifions in Westminster, that it may juftly be called an era in our legal history. The Year-books of these reigns are the mines from which lord Coke extracted great part of that treasure of learning, which he displayed to the world in his Commentary upon Littelton. All this matter is crowded into fo fhort a compafs, that any account we could
give of it would be but the abridgement of an abridgement,
and we must refer our readers to the book itfelf. The character of Littelton feems to us to be drawn with much precifion. We shall therefore infert it at length, as a more juft and candid fpecimen of Mr. Reeves's own ftyle and manner, than the quotation of a quotation from an old Year-book, which, as we before observed, has been already extracted, to affift the public in forming a judgment of the prefent work.
Littleton was a judge of the common pleas, in the reign of Edward IV. and compofed his book of Tenures for the ufe of his fon, to whom it is addreffed. It contains three books; the firft upon eftates, the fecond upon tenures and fervices (which two tended to explain more at large the principal fubject of the old book of tenures), the third difcourfes of feveral incidents to tenures and eftates. This little treatife has acquired more notice than any other book in the law; which is to be afcribed partly to the nature of the subject, and partly to the manner in which it is treated, and the great character of the writer when a judge.
The learning of real property had, 'in the reign of Edward III. been cultivated with a minute attention: the period which had elapfed fince that reign to the time when our author wrote, had produced many additions and modifications of it, till this branch had grown into a very refined fyftem, conftituting, in every refpect, the most intricate part of our jurifprudence. These later determinations had rendered the old treatifes of the law in a great degree obfolete. Bracton, though more full than any of the reft, being more ancient, afforded no light in that fort of queftions which were now ufually canvaffed, and which had originated entirely fince his time: ftill lefs was to be expected from Fleta, Britton, and the Mirrour, though of a later age. In this ftate of things, it was an undertaking much to be wished, that fome one fhould explain, in a methodical way, the new learning that had arifen on the fubject of tenures and estates. This our author has done, with a felicity which has placed him in a rank above all writers on the English law.
If we enquire what is the excellence which has entitled the writer to fo high a character, it will be found to be of a particular kind. It is not a beautiful arrangement of fubject; not a remarkably apt divifion of his matter; not a ftrict adherence even to his own plan, by preferving a clofe connection between the matter and title of a chapter; in all which he is fometimes more defective than writers of inferior note. The excellence of Littleton feems to confift in the great depth of his matter, and fimplicity of his manner; in a comprehenfive way of thinking, and a happy method of explaining; with a certain fignificance and clearness of ftyle, that is always plain yet expreffive and fatisfactory,