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the propriety of fixing an intercourse and correspondence in every part of Europe. There was now to be seen a greater attention to arts, manufactures, and commerce. Instead of retainers and villiénis, a body of farmers began to be formed, who were treated with respect and with lenity. The manufacturer and the farmer came to understand that their in, terests were the same ; and a spirit tose up for the exportation of commodities.

Our Author having traced the rude beginnings of agriculture and commerce, arrives at the last part of his work, and employs himself in exhibiting the history of the landed and commercial policy of England from the accession of Henry the Seventh to the end of the reign of Queen Eliza beth.' To follow him through the variety of causes, which during this period concurred to establish the trade, the manufactures, and the liberty of England, would engage us in a task which is little suited to the limits of our journal. It is fufficient for us to inform our readers that his details are learned, ufeful, and convincing. He was conscious of the arduousness of the task he had undertaken; and we acknowledge with pleasure that his abilities are equal to it.

From this portion of his book we shall extract the following observations as a specimen of his merit.

Though the princes of the line of Tudor sometimes acted on more despotic principles than many of the kings from the time of signing the great charter, yet they imperceptibly laid the foundation of general freedom. Various causes concurred to bring about so fortunate an event. Henry the Seventh found, from the hiftory of foriner kings, that they had enjoyed a very precarious authority under the prelates and nobility, and that the crown itself had been frequently at their disposal. In those ages it was no flight mortification to the sovereign, that he should be obliged to act in this dependent capacity, and hold the crown and its prerogatives ar the pleasure of a few opulent and powerful subjects. To one of Henry's arbitrary disposition it was extremely mortifying. It became therefore an act of policy, for his own ease and the security of his family, to letfen the power of the nobles, and give authority to the commons. The last of these had generally been so tractable and submissive, and so much influenced by the crown or nobility, that they had given little opposition to the measures of the court, or to the demand of parliamentary aids. Few of the members of the house of commons had been patriotic enough to draw upon themselves the resentment of the crown by defending the rights of the people, as every attempt of this kind usually terminated in imprisonment of the payment of a fine. It was visible, from past and recent experience, that the principal oppofition to the will of the sovereign was to be expected from the barons, and for this reason their poiper alone became the object of his jealoufy.

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* To effectuate the defign of depressing the nobility, the state of things at that period was peculiarly favourable. Many of the nobles had perished in the struggles between the houses of York and Lancaster; and their power had been lo diminished by mutual confiscations, that it became a work of no great difficulty to reduce it to a proper degree of fubjcction. The few that remained atter the accellion of Henry, were attached to him through tear or intereit; and he was not of a temper that would refore his enemies, or strengthen the peerage by the revival of old titles, or the creation of many new;

His ministers and favourites were so unconnected with the nobility as to be obliged to depend upon him, and obey his orders ; and if it became necessary, like an cafiern despot, he could facrifice them to popular refentment, and gratify this avarice, without giving offenee to the moít powerful of his subjects.

-- By enforcing the acts against the giving of liveries, by permitting the cutting off entails, diffolution of the monafteries, encolle. ragement of trade,' and other caufes. co-operating with them, the house of Tudor gave a fatal blow to the power of the nobility; and in some degree enabled, though very undefignedly, the commone under a future reign to overturn the throne with almoit the same facility as the barons had frequently done in former ages.

The great number of dependents retained by the peers laid the foundation of an extensive authority, and helped to maintain it againit the attempts of the crown or commonsto reduce it within such bounds as might have been useful in the support of liberty. On every occafion of disgult given to the nobility by the king or his ministers, they generally came-armed to the parliament with their fervants and retainers, 'under a pretence of providing for their fafety ; but in reality to support their authority against the power of the forereign. An affectation of grandeur, as well as policy, led them to maintain fach a number of attendants-in a kind of military service. Several acts had been made, under former kings, to restrain this practice, and confine the giving of liveries to menial or domeftic fervants. But the opulence of the barons, and the unsettled state of the nation during the contest between the houses of York and Lancaster, prevented the execution of these falutary laws. They were never duly executed till Henry the Seventh took upon himself this care, and by one levere example struck a terror into all offenders against them. The lower ranks of people, thus abandoned as it were by their fuperiors, were obliged to exert fome degree of industry, and to depend on their labour fór a maintenance. And the barons, finding at the same time a greater advantage in receiving.money from their tenants than a personal attendance, very willingly exchanged it for services that were now become useless or dangerous.

The power of entailing eftates has always been a favourite object of the nobility and gentry, in every country where freedom has been established, as necessary for supporting and perpetuating the grandeur of their families. Or if the heirs of such estates sometimes complained of the limitations and restrictions under which they held them, no attempt was inade by the legiflature to relieve them till the reign of Edward the Fourth. A statute of Edward the First, which gave a power to entail eftatcs, was pretty trictly abserved till that

time

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time, when it was rather eluded than repealed. Landed poffeffione, heid under these limitations, were fimilar to those of the clergy, aini operated upon commerce in the same manner. Debts, however jult, could not always be dilcharged, fer want of liberty to alienate estates, and satisfy the demands of creditors: nor could money be raised on any exigence or occalion, though it might fonetimes have been laid out for the benefit of the family in püllellion, or for the public service.

This was a grievance felt by men of moderate fortunes, and by the merchants in general; and it became infupportable as the national commerce was enlarged. Debts were contracted through necessity or prodigality, which justice required to be paid ; and money ricas fo necefiary for the encourageinent of itrade, that it became equally ufeful to the creditor and merchant to break the entails of estates, and levy money upon them by fale or mortgage. It is, nevertheless, doubtful, whether any of thele reasons led the legislature to permit the alienation of lands by fine and recovery. When this useful liberty was obtained, our commerce was incensiderable, and held in fuch low eitimation by the gentry, that the interest of trade can scarcely be supposed to have had any influence in procuring it. It was perhaps primarily designed to weaken the poiver of the nobility, and letlen their authority ainong the commons, by permitting them to diffipate their fortunes. Whatever might be the reason, the practice of breaking entails, which was begun under Edward the Fourth, received a confirmation and encouragement froin Henry the Seventh; and, from his suspicious temper and jealousy of the nobilit;, it may be presumed, that he would give it a fanction with a secret intention to undermine their opulence and power. And by the gradual advancement of trade and accession of wealth, under the fucceeding princes, it brought many lands into commerce which had formerly been almost as un alienable as those belonging to the charch.or abbies*: The benefit of this revolution in landed property accrued chiefly to the merckants and tradesmen, who were enabled by it to enlarge che cominérge of the nation, and to reduce the power of the nobility, which had formerly been fo oppreffive to the subjects.

* And this circulation of landed property was haltened by the leave given under the fame king to such as ferved abroad in a military capacity to alicnate their eitates. The necessary expences incurred in these expeditions gave occasion to this liberty, and.co operated in reducing the subjects nearer to an equality, as well as promoting the interest of trade. A power was afterwards obtained of difpofing of fome landed estates by will, which had formerly been subject to many restrictions; and, after various ftruggles for the exercise of it under Henry the Eighth, was in a great measure et fected. The power of the nobility was thus almost imperceptibly diminished, and a foundation laid for raising the superstructure of a more equal government on the ruins of the ancient feudal establishment."

The erudition of our Author, the and the good sense with which he every where abounds, are

by his reasonings, worthy of high praise, and cannot fail of recommending him to attention. It is with extreme cordiality that we bestow

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our suffrage upon him; and that we express our solicitude, that he would continue down his remarks from the reign of the elder James to the present age.

With regard to composītion, and the trappings of language they have been neglected altogether by our Author; and this omifsión must hurt the reputation of his work in a period when literature is so generally diffused that the taste of the public is perhaps too delicate and refined. He is rather a man of business than a man of letters, and it appears to be his ambition rather to inftruct than to please, He is satisfied with the glory of throwing out to the world his extensive information ; and in our future historians many of his thoughts and reflections, we doubt not, will shine with uncommon luftre.

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Art. II. Robin Hood: or Sherwood Forest: a Comic Opera.

As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal, in Covent-Garden. By
Leonard Mac Nally, Esq. Svo: is. Ộd. Almon. 1784.

HE performance before us is professedly founded upon
and Edwin and Angelina. The original design of the Au-
thor was to have taken all the songs from old ballads; and,
as it is, this is the case with a great 'majority of them, they
being either inserted entire, or with slight and immaterial
alterations. Robin Hood therefore, upon the most favour
able calculation, can have no very elevated pretensions to
originality and genius. The bashful, the timorous, and
the indolent however, are not always the men moft flen-
derly endowed with abilities. We havę usually been of
opinion that theatrical performances claimed a very diftin-
guished attention from the conductors of a literary review.
In pursuance of this idea, we will in the present instance
endeavour to investigate what are those talents, which Mr.
MacNally has thought proper, in thịs publication, as iç
were, to" hide under a bushel.” The songs however we
dare not meddle with. We do not profess a very universal
acquaintance with old ballads; and we are by no means de-
firous of being found," criticising the gaudy peacock or
the folemn owl, when we imagined the subject of our ani-
madversions, to be no other than the jackdaw.
* Mr.'MacNally,' not contented with the three stories we
have enumerated, has added 'a fourth, drawn purely from
the stores of his own invention. Here then it is that we
may best learn the fertility of his genius, the brilliancy of
his wit, and the accuracy of his acquaintance with human
nature. The design of this story is, tò illustrate the pre-

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ference of virtue and rectitude to a fair outside. For this purpose a female is introduced, full of innocence and fimplicity, who is addressed by two lovers ; Scarlet, a fine Hathy beau, but an unprincipled knave; and little John, coarse, diminutive and ordinary in his appearance, but upright, generous and good. The two suitors are represented, we apprehend exactly as the Author intended, the knave by Mr. Brett, the favoured lover by Mr. Quick. The following is a scene, which passes between Stella the maiden, and Allen-a. dale, her brother, respecting them,

Allen. I am certain something diftreffes you; tell me, my dear filter what is it? Iyour brother and friend, have a right to question you:

: believe me, Stella, few women would fall into error, if they inade confidants of their male relations.

Stella. I do believe you love me, brother ; and I hope you have no reafon to complain of my wanting affection. Let me ask you a queltion; what think you of Will Searlet ?

Allen. That in manners he is a vain fop; and in his heart, a cunning deceiver. Like an over-ripe pear, tair without, but bad within,

Stella. You are right brother, he is a fop; for when he brings home polies from the meadows, he always cuțls the sweetest and the prettiest to ornament himself; and he is a deceiver, as poor Martha knows to her coit. Oh! poor Martha ! she was once the very

life of the forest.
"But what think you of Little John?

Aller. I think him a' rufsetan, goodly apple, with a plain outside, but sound core.

Stella. And I think so too, for he itrews thyme under my window, when he thinks I do not see him ; and when he gathers wild strawberries, or filberts, or finds honeycombs in the woods, he always prefents them to me untouched.

Allen. There is as much difference between John and Scarlet, as between an honest man anda knave. I know they are both your admirers, but be cautious in bestowing your affection ; you are very Foung Stella; and love, my girl, has its bitters as well as sweets. Stella. I would tell

you a
fecret-but

you

must hear me without censure ; or if you reprove, remember, the lessons of affection make the deepest impressions when breathed in gentleness.

Allen. Speak with freedom. Something I fear has hurt you.

Stella. Yes, I am hurt, yet I cannot tell where. I am pleased too, yet I cannot tell why. I figh when I wish to smile. Nay, more, I am warm in the cool fade, and freeze even in the sun. Heigh ho!

Allen. And how long have you had this complaint ?

Stella. 'How long! It has been coming on me by degrees at least thefe long, long two months. Let me whisper you a question ; nay, turn your head, I cannot speak while you look in my face. You must know, Little John this day gave inę fome wild plumbs--La, I çannot say a word more! Allen. Then the complaint lies there.

Q4

Stella.

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