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So that each word gasped out is like & shriek
Pressed from the sore heart, or a strange, wild note,
Sung by some fay or fiend? There is a strength,
Which dies if stretched too far, or spun too tine,
Which has more height than breadth, more depth than length.
Let but this force of thought and speech be mine,
And he that will, may take the sleek, fat phrase,
Which glows, but burns not, though it beam and shine,
Light, but no heat, -

-a flash, but not a blaze,'1

Results. So does the English language combine, to an extent unequalled by any other living tongue, the classic (Latin) and the Teutonic,- the euphony, sonorousness, and harmony of the first; the strength, tenderness, and simplicity of the second; a happy medium between French and German,- more grave than the former, less harsh and cumbersome than the latter, grammatically simpler than either. From its composite character come that wealth and compass, that rich and varied music, which have made English Literature the crown and glory of the works of man.

It has an abode, far and wide, in the islands of the earth; gives greeting on the shores of the Pacific, as of the Atlantic. Fixed in multitudes of standard works and endeared to the increasing millions who read and speak it, the natural growth of population, the love of conquest and colonization which has distinguished the Saxon race since they traversed the German Ocean in their frail barks, will help to extend and perpetuate its empire.

I Dr. J. A. Alexander.

CHAPTER III.

FORMING OF THE LITERATURE.

Wherever possible, let us not be told about this man or that. Let us hear the man himself speak, let us see him act, and let us be left to form our own opinions about him.Froude.

My friend, the times which are gone are a book with seven seals; and what you call the spirit of past ages is but the spirit of this or that worthy gentleman in whose mind those ages are reflected.- Goethe.

The view of human manners, in all their variety of appearances, is both profitable and agreeable; and if the aspect m some periods seem horrid and deformed, we may thence learn to cherish with the greater anxiety that science and civility, which has so close a connection with virtue and humanity, and which as it is a sovereign antidote against super. stition, is also the most effectual remedy against vice and disorder of every kind.-Hume.

Politics.- From the primitive stock -Angles and Saxons, reinforced by the Danish ravagers, buried, re-elevated, and modified, by the Conquest — were to spring the nation and its history. In pursuance of Germanic custom, there was an early division of the kingdom, as we have seen, into counties, and of these into hundreds, the latter partition supposed to contain a hundred free families. Each had its tribunal; the Court of the Hundred held by an alderman, next in authority to the king -- being the lower. In course of time, the County Court became the real arbiter of important suits, the first contenting itself with punishing petty offences and keeping up a local police. Chiefly to this the English freeman looked for the maintenance of his civil rights. The hundreds were further distributed into decennaries, or tithings, known as “ten men's tale.' In one of these, every freeman above the age of twelve was required to be enrolled. The members were a perpetual bail for each other; so that if one of the ten committed any fault, the nine were indirectly responsible. From earliest English times there had prevailed the usage of compurgation, under which the accused could be acquitted by the oath of his friends, who pledged their knowledge, or at least their belief, of his innocence. The following passage in the laws of Alfred refers to this practice:

"If any one aceuse a king's thane of homicide, if he dare to purge himself, let him do it along with twelve king's thanes.' If any one accuse a thane of less rank than a king's thane, let him purge himself along with eleven of his equals, and one king's thane,'

This was

Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence proceeded, as here, upon the maxim that the best guarantee of every man's obedience to the

government was to be sought in the confidence of his neighbors. This privilege, the manifest fountain of unblushing perjury, was abolished by Henry II; though it long afterwards was preserved, by exemption, in London and in boroughs. There was left, however, the favorite mode of defence, the ordeal, or judgment of God.' Innocence could be proved by the power of holding hot iron in the hand, or by sinking when flung into the water, for swimming was a proof of guilt. When these were annulled in 1216, the combat remained, but no longer applicable unless an injured prosecutor came forward to demand it. of Norman origin. The nobleman fought on horseback; the plebeian on foot, with his club and target. The vanquished party forfeited his claim and paid a fine. It was the function of the court to see that the formalities of the combat, the ordeal, or the compurgation, were duly regarded, and to observe whether the party succeeded or succumbed,-a function which required neither a knowledge of positive law. nor the dictates of natural sagacity.

The seed of our present form of Trial by Jury may be discovered in a law of Ethelred II, binding the sheriff and twelve principal thanes to swear that they would neither acquit any criminal convict

any

innocent person. In 1176, precise enactment established the jury system, still rude and imperfect, as the usual mode of trial:

nor

* The justices, who represented the king's person, were to make inquiry by the oaths of twelve knights, or other lawful men, of each hundred, together with the four men from each township, of all murders, robberies, and thefts, and of all who had harboured such offenders, since the king's (Henry II) accession to the throne.'

The jurors were essentially witnesses distinguished from other witnesses only by customs which imposed upon them the obligation of an oath and regulated their number. For fifty years yet their duties were to present offenders for trial by ordeal or combat. Under Edward I, witnesses acquainted with the particular fact in question were added to the general jury; and later these became simply "witnesses, without judicial power,

while the first ceased to be witnesses and became only judges of the testimony given. It was the abolition of the ordeal system in 1216 which led the way to the establishment of what is called a “petty jury' for the final trial of the prisoner. Centuries were to pass, however, before the complete separation of the functions of juryman and witness should be effected.

The ‘Meeting of Wise Men’ no longer retained, under Alfred, its character of a national gathering, as when the Saxons preserved in simplicity their Germanic institutions. Then all freemen, whether owners of land or not, composed part of it. Gradually, by the non-attendance or indifference of the people, only the great proprietors were left; and, without the formal exclusion of any class of its members, it shrunk up into an aristocratic assembly.

After the Conquest, in the reign of John, the national council was a gathering, at the king's bidding, of all who held their lands directly from the crown, both clerical and lay. It was like the *Meeting of the Wise Men,' only more people sat in it, and they were the king's feudal vassals. Those who were entitled to be present, could only be present themselves - could not send representatives. At the county courts, groups of men sent from the various parts of the shire represented, in the transaction of business, the whole free folk of the shire. Slowly and tentatively this principle was applied to the constitution of the Great Council. Henry III and his barons alike ordered the choice of discreet knights from every county, 'to meet on the common business of the realm. In 1246, the word parliament was first used as the name of the council. The extension of electoral rights to the freeholders at large is seen in the king's writ of 1264, sent to the higher clergy, earls, and barons; to the sheriffs, cities, and boroughs throughout England, commanding the former three to come in person, the latter to send representatives. It was long, however, before the chosen deputies were admitted to a share in deliberative power. In 1295, Edward gathered at Westminster an assembly that was in every sense a national Parliament. It straightway fulfilled the sole duty of a Parliament in those days,-- voted the king a supply. Two years later the one thing still wanting was gained,-a solemn acknowledgment by the king that it alone had power to tax the nation. The idea of

representation has risen. "It is a most just law,' says Edward, *that what concerns all should be approved of by all, and that common dangers should be met by measures provided in common.' In Edward's reign, the barons began to hold their deliberations privately. The knights from the shires and the deputies from the towns formed a second chamber. From this time, therefore, dates the origin of the House of Lords and the House of Com

mons.

The rights of self-government, of free speech in free meeting, of equal justice by one's peers, were brought safely across the ages of Norman tyranny by the traders and shopkeepers, who alone, unnoticed and despised by prelate and noble, had preserved the full tradition of Teutonic liberty. Henry I, promising to govern the English according to their own wishes, with wisdom and moderation, granted them a first charter, which, though of short duration, was the first limitation imposed on the despotism of the Conquest. A hundred years later, the barons extorted from King John the glorious and powerful Magna Charta, ever after the basis of the English freedom, the corner-stone of the noble edifice of the Constitution. Life, liberty, and property were protected. No man could henceforth be detained in prison without trial. No man would have to buy justice. These words, honestly interpreted, convey an ample security for the two main rights of civil society:

No freeman shall be seized or imprisoned, or dispossessed, or outlawed, or in any way brought to ruin: we will not go against any man nor send against him, save by legal judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. To no man will we sell, to no man will we deny or delay, justice or right.'

SO

At the end of the thirteenth century, the charters were firmly established that no monarch would venture to disturb them.

Small and obscure are the beginnings of great political institutions, and unforeseen are the tremendous results of the actor's deeds, who, as he casts the seed into the soil, little dreams of the mighty and perpetual germination it will disclose in after days.

Society.-By Alfred's day, it was assumed that no man could exist without dependence upon a superior. The ravages and long insecurity of the Danish wars drove the freeholder to seek protection from the thane. His freehold was surrendered to be received back as a fief, laden with service to its lord. Gradually

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