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Into my brain ! Yet so I fear 'twould split
My head, as air shut up does water bubbles.
To make a wit? I had it from the Sibyl,
Her books at such a rate.
Pray let me see it ;
Ak the king my cousin :
And takes the trouble off my hands.
Who told thee fo?
And more, when he sent for me from the farm
And such like serious matters.
Of thy rare, hidden knowledge,
Yes, yes, all men
Thy father and thy brother were accused of,
Live, and be happy; the ingenuous heart,
Aruns. Aye, 'tis a simple manners-speaking face.
These thy qualities,
Of damn’d conspiracy against thy fovereign-
As for thy land, to ease thee of all care,
And art thou nat
Will I forget it ! 'tis my constant prayer
Oh-take it gratis
Firft then; attend with caution-But the message
You brought from Tarquin.--
And say you're coming ?
If thou wilt, good Brutus ;
And follow at thy leisure, [Exeunt Aruns and Titus, Brutus alone. Yet, 'is not this which ruffles me—the gibes
And scornful mockeries of ill-govern'd youth-
We confess ourselves to be in the number of those, who wish that the less studied diction, and more plain and level metre of the school of that immortal poet (which seems to have ended with Southern) had been continued to the prefent time.' And as far as our Author has adopted the diction of the school of Shakespeare, we approve of his dialogue, which is often flowing, easy, nervous, and characteristic; but it cannot be denied that it often sinks into gross familiarity and meanness, and sometimes goes in such a hobbling pace, and falls into such low expressions, that it cannot with justice be termed even ' meafured prose.'
« A diversification of character' hath not only been attempted in this play, but in many instances successfully executed : nor can we think with the Writer, that his piece is, on that account, less proper for the stage, or less adapted to the multitude. The stage and the multitude are equally favourable to pieces of character, and receive, with equal coldness, such dra. mas as are void of that ingredient; which is the chief reason why so many tragedies (lince the days of Southern) have « ftrutted and fretted their short hour upon the stage, and then been heard no more !”
It is a very unfortunate circumstance for an Author to indulge his felf-complacency so far, as to take it for granted that his taste and abilities are superior to the age in which his works are published. This idea is the parent of lovenliness and inaccuracy; and there is in the piece before us, if we may hazard the expression, a kind of laboured incorrectness; the Author seeming to disdain the trouble of giving the necessary compactness to his fable, or the last polish to his style.
Notwithstanding these defects, which it was our duty to observe, this historical tragedy abounds with uncommon beauties of language and situation, and much exquifite delineation of character, all which excellencies would be still heightened, if the Author would vouchsafe to amend the irregularities, and supply the deficiencies, which would, in its present state, prove the only obstacles to its success in theatrical representation. Such corrections would also render it still more pleasing in the closet.
Art: VIII. The Hißory of Edinburgh. By Hugo Arnot, Esq; Ad
il. S s. Boards. Edinburgh printed; fold by Murray in London. 1779. N the viciffitudes and accidents which characterise the hif
tory of towns, we find, in general, many important objects of research and curiosity; but when the towns described have the peculiarity of being the capitals of a nation, the instruction communicated is of the greater moment, and the materials
of the author are the more connected with great events. The plan of the work before us was originally of a limited nature; and we are informed, by Mr. Arnot, that it grew into its present magnitude from his attention to a variety of matter which tended to illustrate the fate of manners in Scotland, and to throw a new light upon its public tranfactions. There is no thing, indeed, which appears more certain, than that the affairs of a kingdom and its capital are deeply interwoven. To give a wide range to inquiry and investigation is, of confequence, the most instructive method which can be adopted in works of this kind.
The minuteness of this Historian will, perhaps, be considered, by some readers, as a merit. The search which he acknowledges was made by him into most of the public records of Scotland, was highly proper. The colleges of St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh consented to afford him the aids he required; and to several private gentlemen he returns his acknowledgments for the politeness of their communications.
Whatever has a particular relation to the city of Edinburgh, in the civil and ecclefiaftical history of Scotland, is detailed by this laborious Inquirer, and furnishes such materials as are the most capable of composition and ornament. ners of the Scottish nation, the prices of provifrons, and the value of money, engage his attention. He describes the public buildings of Edinburgh, its religious houses, its population, and its amusements. He treats of the legislative and the judicial assemblies; and, on this subject, he advances the evidence of many improper acts of magistrates. His freedom and fpirit, in this particular, are worthy of praise, as they have in view the promotion of the interests of liberty and mankind.
The account he has given of the Court of Justiciary in Scot. land will afford entertainment to our Readers, and will be accepted as a specimen from which they may form a judgment of the abilities of the Author :
• It has been already explained, that the Justice-ayre, or Court of Jufticiary, was the supreme court, civil as well as criminal, over the barons, and those residing within their domains. After the original Court of Session was instituted, it still retained its civil jurisdiction; but, upon the erection of the College of Justice, the authority of the Court of Justiciary was restricted to criminal affairs. The judges were the Lord Justice General, Justice Clerk, and certain aftefiors added to them by the Privy Council, who were chosen from among persons not versant in the laws, and whose commissions only latted during the particular trials upon which they were appointed to prefide. A conftitution * so highly improper, was altered by Charles IT. and the court modelled into its present form. It now consists of the
# Charles II. parl, 2. sefl. 3. c. 16.'
Lord Justice General, who is always a peer of the most distinguished rank or influence, the Lord Justice Clerk, and five Commissioners of Justiciary, who are also Lords of Session. The office of Lord jur. tice General bears a fimilar relation, in the Court of Justiciary, to that of one of the extraordinary Lords formerly in the Court of Serfon, and, like these too, ought to be abolished t.
The Court of Justiciary has a supreme jurisdiction in criminal affairs. The de rees of Theriffs, and other inferior criminal courts, as well as those of the Court of Admiralty, are liable to its review, It has been doubred, how far the decrees of the Court of Juiticiary itself are subject to the review of the House of Lords. This is a matter of great importance; and, in so far as may be consistent with the deference due to the respectable persons who entertain opposite notions, we deliver our opinion without diffidence or reserve, That an appeal lies from the Court of Justiciary to the House of Lords."
• The decrees of the ancient court of King's Justiciary, or Justice. ayre, from which the present court has, after several changes, been modelled, were subject to the review of parliament. That court took cognizance of causes both civil and criminal, and these too by jury. After the inftitution of the College of Justice, when the King's Jufticiary no longer meddled with civil causes, we find King James V. taking the opinion of parliament, upon a criminal trial depending before that judge. Even since the erection of the court into its prefent form, frequent instances of the reversal of sentences of ý forfriture occur in the parliamentary proceedings. But further, an appeat from the Court of Justiciary was actually received by the House of Lords, A. D. 1713 1, and the judgment of that court reversed. In a late case, where a petition of appeal, presented from that court, was dismissed, it was only found, “That the said petition || and appeal, was not properly brought; nothing was decided respecting the general point.
• The stress which is laid upon no instances of appeal being to be found from the Court of Juiticiary, as presently modelled to the Scots parliament, is over-balanced by other considerations; belides, it is easy to explain why there were none. Appeals from the rupreme civil court were not admitted after the inititurion of the College of Justice, down till the revolution. In that period of a hundred
++ We apprehend there was no System of liberty in Scotland till the union. Since that, we know but of three trials in which the Lord Justice General presided. They were all political. In all of them, government exerted itself to make the prisoners 'objects of exemplary punishment. The first was that of the Glasgow rioters ; aná in it, the Lord Justice General entered his diffent and protest against the opinion of the ordinary judges, in finding that the rioters were not subject to a capital punish
The second was that of Provoft Stewart. The third was that of James Stewart of Aucharn, for the murder of Campbell of Glenure, the only trial that we know of, in which a Lord Justice General, and Lord Advocate, condescended to go
A trial, in which government was supposed to have exerted its ot. most influence to procure a conviction of the prisoner ; and in which, upoo his conviction, the Lord Juliice General addressed him in a molt insulting (prech; a speech, which, far from being expreffive of generosity and compaflion, breathed an ardent spirit of political haired and resentment. Rec. of Juft4th O&. 1725 : printed trial of James Stewart of Aucharn, A, D. 1753.' • James V. parl. 6. c. 69.'
fi. c. conviction of high treason.' I'Law Tracts, p. 276.'
! • Maclaurja's caies, p. 581,'
upon a circuit,