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He heard, he tells us, a physician call the parks the lungs of London. Very likely; but it must have been a quotation-the phrase was for years current in society, and attributed, we believe justly, to Mr. Windham.
Mr. Rush was much interested by the case of wager of battle which occurred (Ashford v. Thornton) in 1818, and thinks, sensibly enough, that the desuetude might have been taken as an abrogation of that old form ; but he does not seem to have understood the exact case; he
says— • By the ancient law of England, when a person was murdered, the nearest relative of the deceased might bring what was called an appeal of death, against the party accused of the murder. Under this proceeding, the accuser and accused fought.'—p. 178. In this he has omitted the chief point of the case.
The appeal was not, as he seems to think, a mode of trial for the murder at the option of the nearest relative—but, after a trial and acquittal by the usual processes of the law, if the nearest relative were still dissatisfied with the verdict, to such a degree, as induced him to risk his own safety in avenging his murdered kinsman, he had then a right of appeal from the verdict which he considered erroneous, to what was called the wager of battle. This was no doubt a proceeding little suited to our times—and since there was any doubt as to the effect of desuetude, Sir Samuel Shepherd did well to put an end to all chance of its recurrence, by an act of parliament, but it was not so entirely absurd as Mr. Rush supposed.
We are very much obliged to Mr. Rush for one piece of information which he gives us about our own court, and by which we hope our government will profit. He states that, after foreign ministers have been presented, they are waited upon by some classes of the king's servants—the king's music—the king's waits—and so on, who demand certain fees, to which they prove themselves entitled by the production of their book,' as they call it, in which they keep a register of the donations they receive; and of course, the foreigners, under the authority of the book,' cannot resist this, as it seems to us, scandalous extortion. Mr. Rush is so good-natured as to make no complaint about it-nay, he tries to excuse it, for he says, that he finds that whenever a foreign minister leaves this country, he is presented with a sum of moneyif an ambassador, 1000l. ; and if an envoy, 500l.: which he kindly and ingeniously supposes may be intended to cover the before-mentioned contributions: if that were the case, we hope the compensation would be ample, for surely those fees cannot amount to anything like such sums. But we fear, that the excuse he makes for us is not well founded—there is, we understand, no
connexion at all between the two circumstances; and the contributions are levied, or attempted to be levied, from every one who is presented at court, whether he may belong to the fortunate class so remunerated or not. We
the sums given to foreign ministers may be a commutation of the old presents of snuff-boxes, usual at courts; but we have heard, in answer to the inquiries which Mr. Rush's statement induced us to make, of another still more objectionable circumstance connected with these money payments ;-it is stated, that the officer who is charged with making them, informs the foreign minister that he expects to receive ten per cent. for his trouble, and does actually receive that amount.
We have heard that, four or five years ago, something of this kind was brought to the knowledge of the Lord Chamberlain, who forth with corrected the irregularity in the special instance; whether the abuse was 'reformed altogether, or whether it has since revived or not, we have no means of knowing; but after this authentic disclosure of so shameful a fact, we trust that a full inquiry will be made into all such practices, and that if any of them still subsist, they may be extinguished without a week's delay. We learn from Mr. Rush, not without some mortification, that though the American ministers acquiesce in these demands for fees, they invariably decline receiving the snuff-boxes, or the still grosser douceur in money; about which it seems the envoys of other powers are not so scrupulous. We should have no objection to the boná fide present of a snuff-box, of a moderate value—it is a trifle which a gentleman might prize individually, and feel gratification in leaving to his family, as a memorial of bis having filled a great public station ; but we fear these snuff-boxes have been made an article of traffic; and we have heard, that the royal goldsmith, who charges his majesty 1000l. or 5001. for the box, is in the habit of purchasing it, next day, from the donee for about half or at most two-thirds of the nominal value; and that the same box is again supplied, and again re-purchased, and continues to circulate in this way till some foreigner, not liking the practice or the price, puts the box in his pocket. We know that this matter, as far as related to exchange of snuff-boxes on the signatures of treaties, was regulated in the time of that high-minded gentleman Lord Castlereagh; but we believe that the other practices to which Mr. Rush alludes, are not within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Office, but in that of the court-functionaries. In whatever department it may be, we trust that it either has been regulated since Mr. Rush wrote, or will be so immediately: and again, we heartily thank Mr. Rush for having mentioned, with so much good nature, so scandalous a practice.
Lord Castlereagh gives an official dinner tö-ray, to the members of the cabinet and privy council, amounting in all to between thirty and forty. The object is, to agree finally upon the Prince Regent's speech to parliament.'---p: 413. Here is a trilling error, which would not be worth noticing in an ordinary foreigner, but the minister of a representative governa ment might have been expected to be more accurately informed of our proceedings : the king's speech is not read by the leader of the house of commons only—it is read by the leaders of both louses ; and of course not to the same audience, the cabinet and privy council--but respectively to such of the cabinet and privy council as happen to be peers or commoners, to whom are added all the official members of either house.
But Mr. Rush had another informant; who gave him, it seems, more important intelligence-no less than of a plot against thé dignity and character of his country, in which we find, to our infinite surprise, that we ourselves were implicated :
July 21. Mr. **** called upon me. He said that there would appear in the next Quarterly Review, an article on the life and character of Franklin. It was to be the medium of an attack upon the United States. It would disparage the people, and underrate the resources of the nation. It would particularly examine the claims of the United States as a naval power, and strip them of importance. It would state their tonnage at less than nine hundred thousand, and as decreasing ; endeavouring to show from this and other things, that their maritime resources were not only inconsiderable at present, but not formidable in prospect. The object of the publication was to lower the reputation of the United States in Europe. To this end, it would be translated into French, republished in Paris, and thence widely circulated. Finally, that the article was already known to persons who stood high in England, and countenanced by them. The last part of what my informant communicated may or may not be true.'—pp. 275, 276. But all the former part is, of course, gospel. Unfortunately, the Number of our Review, published shortly after the time he refers to, happens—which is rather unusual—to contain nothing whatsoever concerning America ; and up to this day we have never produced this formidable 'article on the Life and Writings of Franklin.'. We are really surprised that Mr. Rush should have known so little of our government, and of our literature, as to have thought such an absurdity worth recording in his diary, but still more so that he should have now published it, when, if he had turned to the Number in question, he would have seen that the story was a fiction. We are personally flattered, no doubt, at the European influence which he ascribes to us, and not less so at perceiving how sensitive this soberminded and kindhearted man is
of our observations ; but we had rather that he had paid us these compliments on some occasion in which there was a colour for believing that we might have deserved them. The whole, he adds, with air air of proud indifference, is of small concern '— certainly; a mere nonentity, the vision of his officious informant's brain, was of small concern-but, somehow, his observations upon this small concern will be found to spread themselves over five pages of his book. By any rule of proportion, if such an article had really appeared, it must have occupied a whole volume.
Amidst all this " bald unjointed chat’ Mr. Rush interposes the accounts we have already alluded to of his official conversations and negociations, into which we have neither space nor wish to follow him. The greater part, as he truly says, relates to matters since arranged, and no longer of any immediate interest : their greatest merit is that they give shortly and clearly the American view of the several negociations,--for that purpose they may be worth consulting ; but, as we have already hinted, such unilateral statements must be of very small authority, however we may personally respect the parrator. On one of the principal questions, and one which is not yet settled, we must take the liberty of entering our protest against some of Mr. Rush's statements, we mean the subject of impressment. Mr. Rush states,
• Britain disavows, unequivocally, all claim to impress, from American ships, any other seamen than her own. Her sense of justice would not allow her to set up any pretence of claim to take Americans; yet these she unavoidably does take, and in numbers sufficient to surprise those not informed upon the subject.
• From å report made to Congress; by the Secretary of State in April, 1816; it appeared, that the impressed American seamen on board of British armed ships at the commencement of the war of 1812, a war occasioned chiefly by this cause, amounted to one thousand four hundred and twenty-two. Here is no exaggeration. The fact comes from the archives of Britain. It is taken from official lists, furnished by functionaries of the British government to the American agent for prisoners of war in London. These men had been transferred from English ships to English prisons, on the breaking out of the war; or during its progress.'--pp. 162, 163.
Now this, instead of being 'no exaggeration;' is, in our opinion; afi exaggeration so gross of the fact, and so entire a mis-statentent of the principle, that we beg leave to say a word or two on the subject. We are confident that no such list was ever furnished by British functionaries, and there is evidence that the British archives fürnishi results toto cælo different. We have before lis å most convincing pamphlet, published (by Mr. Murray) in 1814, entitled “The Right and Practice of Impressment as concerning Great Britain and America, considered-and drawn up, as we have reason to believe, by the authority of the British government from the information of the British archives.'
In that pamphlet we find the following passage :
• It may be now proper to state why the British government has, since the American war, consented to consider as Americans, persons whom, before, it detained in its service as not being Americans.
* Great Britain never impressed an American, knowing him to be such; and she never held in her service an American who was proved to be such ; and, in her liberality, she admitted the collectors' certificates, and the certified lists of the crew, to be proof, where there were no contradictory evidence; and it will, I think, now be admitted, that though we may perhaps accuse ourselves of being too lax in our concessions, America at least has no right to complain that we were too strict; and it will also be allowed, that, at a time when America was at peace with all the world, and Great Britain was carrying on a war for her own existence and the independence of Europe, the detention of seamen suspected to be British subjects, until they should produce some proof of their being Americans, was no more than, perhaps not quite so much as, the rule of self-presery
• But, when America declared war against Great Britain, the case was in a material degree altered ;-the consequence of any mistake in impressing, and, even for a time, detaining in our military serrice, an American, would have the effect of forcing the citizen to bear arms against his native country. This was a risk to which Great Britain, true to her principles, and revering the first duty of a citizen -his natural allegiance—would not, even for a week, expose any man.
• She therefore consented to release from her military service, and to consider as American prisoners of war, those who should claim this admission. Some produced documents—some offered assertionsand some made oath to their American citizenship. The British Government had not altered its opinion of these documents; it knew that these assertions were probably untrue, and it was not bound to give credit to oaths which there was every reason to fear would be too readily and loosely taken; but, I repeat it, the risk of forcing a man to incur the crime of treason, and the penalty of death, was too serious to be put in a balance of evidence and probabilities. It was besides felt, that though there would be many cases of fraud, there would probably be some real cases of American citizenship; and, in consideration of the difficulty which a poor and illiterate seaman might have in procuring perfect documents to prove his citizenship, it was very justly determined that the ordinary strictness of proof ought not, in such a case, to be required; and accordingly between seven and eight hundred seamen were discharged from his Majesty's ships, on their allegation that they were Americans, and on our admission that no man can be held to fight against his country.'--pp. 4.4—52. These were just and liberal sentiments, and were carried into