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has done as much as was, perhaps, practicably advisable, with the least prospect of success, in the attempt to give a permanent interest to temporary subjects,-in the presumption that he was always addressing readers of accomplishment and taste,-and in the resolution to have no distinction between his public and private character, but to make them and keep them one. By these means he has kept his pages clear of the brigand airs of a literary adventurer; and has stamped upon his professional life the impress of personal rectitude and spirit. It is clear that but a small circle could be expected to unite the necessary qualifications for admiring such a writer, as he deserves. But Mr Fonblanque did not wait, on that account, till a higher standard of public morals, or a more extended cultivation of political and literary enquiries had raised for him a class of readers. Still less did he condescend to lower his principles or his style. He has gone on writing in advance; and venturing as far as an author in this department can rationally venture in the nice experiment of forming by degrees a little public of his own. We have heard of a Cambridge under-graduate who apologized for the defects of his prize-poem by observing, that he had written it for the prize. We make no question but that the circulation of the Examiner would at the present moment have been much greater, in case Mr Fonblanque could have brought himself to pander to mere prejudices, and to write with less delicacy and finish. The invidious name of Trimmer' (which he himself has at times too wantonly affixed to more cautious politicians) has not deterred him from now discharging what he considered to be his duty by the public; and he has lately, with his usual manliness and candour, given Lord Melbourne's Government all the credit to which he has thought it to be entitled,-relying on his superiority to the insinuations which extravagant zealots are always so free to lavish, and honourably indifferent to the crafty policy of coarser rivals.

The particular point of view in which we have been looking at Mr Fonblanque's political essays, is quite independent of their general excellences or defects as compositions. He has done much to redeem newspapers from the charge of vulgarizing our language. The writing is admirable as writing—always elegant and polished. We do not wonder that Mr Savage Landor places. him higher than at the head of his contemporaries. His style is as clear as Swift's, and sometimes as graceful as Addison's, whilst it is more figurative in expression, and much richer in anecdote and allusion. The only fault is, that, for the sake of a tricksy word, he is sometimes tempted to defy the matter. He is too often seen leaving the main body of the argument to shift for

itself, whilst he is running a metaphor or a story out of breath for his amusement. We have met with little or no philosophy in moral or legislation scattered over his pages but what is transferred bodily and in the gross from Bentham. If Bacon is occasionally quoted, it is just as plays and farces are-by way of illustration. Indeed such a happy and continuous application was never before made of the literature of half-price at Drury Lane to serious subjects. The old despotism of France was said to be tempered by epigrams. Mr Fonblanque might expect that the empire of Radicalism was to be established by means of stories. The reasoning faculty here exhibited, is, as it appears to us, more mathematical and logical than philosophical. The power of vision is direct rather than broad: excellent in following out the deductions of a single line-failing if other segments of the circle are to be embraced, and their radii brought down and applied to the common centre. Wherever the question was to depend upon one point only, we should feel it to be almost a certainty that Mr Fonblanque would be right; where it depended on more than one, we should begin to feel doubtful; where it depended on many, we apprehend the probabilities are in favour of his being wrong. We are disposed to place to the same account, another defect, of which his adversaries have too frequent reason to complain. It is a sophism which, in morals and politics, can lead only to error, to take an extreme case, and to proceed dropping from out of the argument all the conditions, compromises, and degrees by which it would have been limited and guarded in your adversary's hand. In assigning to Mr Fonblanque his literary rank, we should class him among the men of wit, rather than among the masters of eloquence. He charms us by his talents, but does not rouse us by his energy or feeling. He presents us with the surface of a bright and lively sea, not with the swell of a mighty ocean. We never feel that it is one deep calling to another.

The principal question which we have been examining has little or nothing to do with the correctness of the peculiar articles of faith held by Mr Fonblanque, and other members of his Communion. We will not conclude, however, without observing, that, as political reasoners, they have, in our opinion, far too little confidence in the present British constitution. But most of all are we convinced, that as political observers, they grievously underrate the opposition which the people of England (reckoned according to any possible form of franchise) would as yet offer to speculative reconstructions of the House of Lords. We say as yet. For the fate of the House of Lords will not depend upon lectures on the principles of human nature, or upon metaphors from me

chanics. It will depend entirely on the nature and extent of its differences with the more popular assembly. The differences may, in their causes and in their limits, be of the very kind in which Paley, in his observation upon the House of Lords, recognises the principal use of such an institution. In this case, the Peers are safe. On the other hand, the differences may go the length of implying that the Sabbath was not made for man, but man for the In Sabbath. In this case, the Peers are ruined. We shall see. the mean-time, this is a problem not to be settled by the result of a single question, or on the evidence of a single year.

Of the points connected with the elective franchise, the ballot is that which Mr Fonblanque has mainly laboured. Both sides, we think, attach a great deal too much importance to it-the one, in what they apprehend; the other, in what they expect. We are far from being satisfied that the ballot would attain its immediate object-concealment. We see still less reason for presuming that concealment is the most appropriate security that an elector will be influenced by no other consideration than the merits of the candidate. A legislator, before he adopts machinery of this description, owes it to common sense to ascertain that the means are adequate to the end. In the next place, suppose the efficiency of the ballot to be made out on better grounds than we yet have ever seen, it is allowed that there are some indirect advantages on the side of open voting. It remains to be shown that its direct disadvantages are so preponderating as to render them comparatively of less account. The direct disadvantages of the present system are represented by the amount of undue temptation, in the shape of fear or favour, prevailing under it; and which the argument supposes the ballot would remove. Instances of intimidation and corruption are revolting to all men of humanity and spirit, whose political morality has not been debauched by bad example. The first impulse in this case, as in that of the pension list, is to set about abating it on any terms. It requires an effort to look farther. The partial popularity of the ballot is honourably accounted for. Ardent men, indignant at abuses, are ready to accept any measure of plausible protection against tyranny and vice. They do not wait to examine very strictly how far the measure is likely to be successful; or to care to strike a balance between the public inconveniences which it promises to obviate, and the public inconveniences which it may introduce.

The political independence which we long to procure for an elector, is something different from being made independent of public opinion, and of the other moral influences of which publicity is one of the strongest guarantees. The end itself is as dear

to us as it can possibly be either to Mr Fonblanque or Mr Grote. It is from our very worship of it that we are unwilling, prematurely as it seems to us, to recognise and sanction, by enactment, our absolute despair of accomplishing the end by higher means. Under the high franchise and low morality which exist at present, the ballot is not viewed with suspicion, only by parties meaning to misuse the powers which publicity confers. Mr. Fonblanque must be well aware how unpopular it is with the chief advocates of universal suffrage. Regarding the electoral privilege, in the hands of limited constituencies, as a public trust, they insist upon their right to have the means kept open to them by which they can know and judge the conduct of their trustees. We agree with them in thinking, that in political arrangements every thing may at times depend upon the order in which the several steps are taken. While, therefore, we are far from wishing to taboo any subject from its claim to be duly considered in its turn, we feel that the proper season for discussing, to most advantage, the extension of the suffrage-triennial parliaments—or even ballot, has not yet arrived. If our superstructure is to be firm, we must lay our foundations lower. In doing this, it will be far the best to at once begin with the beginning. At our present stage of civilisation, there can be no security for liberty and order but in a proportional and adequate NATIONAL EDUCATION. BY it alone the people can learn their true position; can learn, on the one hand, what they are entitled to expect shall be done for them by laws; on the other, what are the things which lie beyond the power of individuals or governments, and in which the body of the people must depend almost entirely on themselves. In looking forward to the improvements, by which our system of Education is to become worthy of the name of National, the nature and application of the funds provided for it, is in England, and especially in Ireland, a very important feature. In this point of view, the imperfect manner in which, from the change of times, ecclesiastical revenues are at present fulfilling their original destination, will appear in a new and striking light. It is a question which no collateral difficulties attending the discussion of it can much longer keep from being discussed. The state of things is unknown in as much of the rest of Europe as pretends to civilisation. It belongs to that great chapter of complete Religious Toleration, in which we are far behind the moral and intellectual standard which we have reached on most other subjects. Its time, however, we trust, is at hand. For it is a state of things, which to discuss is to overturn.

ART. VIII.-1. First Report from his Majesty's Commissioners on Criminal Law. Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 30th July, 1834. Folio.

2. Second Report from his Majesty's Commissioners on Criminal Law. Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 20th June, 1836. Folio.


LL that we propose, in the present short article, is to give a general statement of the objects of the Criminal Law Commission, and an outline of the results of its labours; in the hope that such an introduction may be of use in preparing the reader for any after enquiries in which we may engage, and for the discussions now prevailing upon the measures which the Commissioners have recommended, and the Government has introduced.

The object of the Criminal Law Commission has been frequently misunderstood. It has been supposed that the Commissioners were appointed to frame a new Code of the Criminal Law, and give their views thereon; whereas they were merely directed to digest into one statute all the enactments concerning 'crimes, their trial and punishment; and to digest into another 'statute all the provisions of the Common Law touching the same; ' and to enquire and report how far it might be expedient to 'combine both those statutes into one body of the Criminal Law, repealing all other statutory provisions; or how far it might be 'expedient to pass into a law the first-mentioned only of those 'two statutes.' To this, the main object of their enquiry, was added another, not unnaturally arising out of it, though foreign to the Criminal Law. They were to enquire how far it might be expedient to consolidate the other branches of the existing Statute Law, or any of them.

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The First Report of the Commissioners was made in June, 1834; the Commission having been issued in July, 1833.

It begins with a statement of their opinion that it would be expedient to reduce the written and unwritten Criminal Law into one Digest; and then proceeds to state the operations necessary in the process of digesting the unwritten Law, and the materials from which the digest is to be made, viz., the decisions of the

*The Commissioners were originally Messrs. J. Austin, Starkie, B. Ker, Wightman, and Amos. Upon Mr Austin going to Malta, Mr Jardine was appointed in his place. It certainly would not be easy to find any where men better fitted for the satisfactory discharge of the important duty committed to them.

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