Imágenes de páginas

A quick return, if life indulg'd defire,
Should prove the witness of your faithful fire-
Give willing WALLIS to his OBRA's arms,
For OBRa then had empire, and had charms !-
Pour at her feet--fond tritute of his heart!
The richest products diflant realms impart
Whate'er for use or ornament design’d,
What decks the person or delights the mind,
Should here transplanted own his foitring hand,
Bloom all around, and bless the lovely lando-

Canit thou forget, how cheerful, how content
TAHEITEE's fons their days of pleasure spent!
With rifing morn they fought the healthful Aream,
And walk’d, or work'd till sultry noon-tide came,
Then social join’d, from vain distinctions free,
In mirth convivial round the spreading tree,
While tuneful flutes, and warbling wood-notes near,
In rival strains still charm’d the lilt’ning ear:
At grateful eve they mix'd the artless tale,
The jeft, the dance, the vegetable meal;
Paid the last visit at some fountain's head,
To cleanfe, and cool them for the peaceful bed ;
Deem'd the bright sun declin'd for them alone,

These isles the world, and all the world their own. The incidents, though not peculiarly striking, are in general well imagined; nor is the verfification, except where a provincial rhyme accidentally obtrudes itself, deficient in harmony.

If there be any thing to which we can object in the conduct of this poem, it is, that Oberea fometimes forgets that she is an O'taheiteean. Her sentiments and ideas are frequently more Exropean than is altogether consistent with her character and ficuation: and yet, though we have thought it necessary to start this objection, we must, at the same time, ingenuously confess that we do not see how it could easily have been avoided.

Art. VIII, The Speeches of Ijæus in Caules concerning the Law of Sul

ceffion to Property at Athens, with a prefatory Discourse, Nutes critical and historical, and a Commentary. By William Jones, Esq; Barrister at Law, Fellow of University College, Oxford. 410. 10 s. 6d. fewed. Dilly. 1779.

HESE Speeches make their appearance in an English

dress with every advantage of which they are susceptible. Ifzus was a lawyer, and he has here found a lawyer for his commentator : Ilæus was an orator, and he is fortunate in have ing a critic of confiderable reputation and talents for his tranflator. In the prosecution of his undertaking Mr. Jones Inews himself perfectly well qualified for this double office. To have rescued from the perplexity and ignorance of grammarians the


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

works of an author whom the difficulty of his forenfic terms has well nigh banished from the schools, implies no small praise. But this is only the secondary aim of the present work : whatever may be thought of the general utility of philological researches, Mr. Jones wishes to thew that ancient literature may be applied to many valuable purposes beyond those intended at the school or the college.

There is no branch of learning' (he observes in his prefatory discourse) • from which a student of the law may receive a more rational pleasure, or which seems more likely to prevent his being difguited with the dry elements of a very complicated science, than the history of the rules and ordinances by which nations, eminent for · wildom and illustrious in arts, have regulared their civil polity : nor is this the only fruit that he may expect to reap from a general knowledge of foreign laws both ancient and modern ; for, whilft he indulges the liberal curiosity of a scholar in examining the customs and institutions of men, whose works have yielded him the highest delighi, and whose actions have raised his admiration, he will feel the satisfaction of a patriot in observing the p:eference due in most instances to the laws of his own country above thofe of all other ftates; or, if his juft prospects in life give him hopes of becoming a legislator, he may collect many useful hints, for the improvement even of that fabric which his ancestors have erected with infinite ex. ertions of virtue and genius, but which, like all human systems, will ever advance nearer to perfection and ever fall sort of it. In the course of his enquiries he will constantly observe a Itriking uniformity among all nations, whatever seas or mountains may separate them, or how many ages foever may have elapfed between the periods of their existence, in those great and fundamental principles, which, being clearly deduced from natural reason, are equally diffused over all mankind, and are not fubject to alteration by any change of place or time; nor will he fail to remark as striking a diversity in those laws, which, proceeding merely from positive inftitution, are consequently as various as the wills and fancies of those who enact' them : such, among a thousand, are the rules by which the posses. fions of a person deceased, whether solid and permanent, or incorporeal and fluctuating, are transmitted to his heirs, or succeffors, and which could never have been so capriciously diversified, if they had been founded on pure reafon, instead of being left to the discretion

of every society, for whose convenience they are calculated.'

The foregoing reflections are ingenious and solid ; and the discrimination between jurisprudence as a science and as an afsemblage of local and merely positive regulations, is accurate. But we find little occasion to renew our acquaintance with this distinction in perusing the speeches of Ifæus ; for they turn wholly on matters positivi juris, which led no light on the great and fundamental principles above alluded to. The laws of succession to property are, in every country, the most complicated branch of its laws, and the least capable of being transferred, by analogical reasoning, to those of any other. The 6


causes from which they take their original cast, and peculiar bent, as well as the progressive variations they undergo, lie generally involved with a multitude of fortuitous circumstances which escape the notice and mention of history. But though the duty of a commentator necessarily ties up Mr. Jones to the discussion of many minute questions of Athenian antiquities, he sometimes makes an excursion from his author into a more enlarged field, and discovers a mind enriched with various knowledge, and capable of applying it with skill. The narrow and injurious policy of the Athenian law, with respect to the rights and property of women, calls from him the following reflections :

Nothing can be conceived more cruel than the state of vassalage in which women were kept by the polished Athenians, who might have boasted of their tutelar goddess Minerva, but had certainly no pretensions on any account to the patronage of Venus. All unnecessary restraints upon love, which contributes fo largely to relieve the anxieties of a laborious life, and upon marriage, which conduces fo eminently to the peace and good order of society, are odious in the highest degree; yet at Athens, whence arts, laws, humanity, learning, and religion are said to have sprung, a girl could not be legally united with the object of her affection, except by the consent of her xúcic or controller, who was either her father or her grandsure, her brother or her guardian: their domination over her was transfer. red to the hulband, by whom she was usually confined to the minute details of domestic economy, and from whom she might in some inftances be torn, for the sake of her fortune, by a second cousin, whom probably the detefted; nor was her dependence likely to cease; for we may collect from the speech on the estate of Philoctemon, that even a widow was at the disposal of her nearest kiofman, either to be married by him, or to be given in marriage, according to his inclination or caprice. Yec more ; a husband might bequeath his wife, like part of his estate, to any man whom he chose for his successor ; and the mother of Demosthenes was a&ually left by will to Aphobus, with a portion of eighty minas: the form of such a bequelt is preserved in the first speech againft Stephanus, and runs thus : “ This is the last will of Palio the Acharnean. “ I give my wife Archippe to Phormio, with a fortune of one talent “ in Peparrhethas, one talent in Attica, a house worth a bundred « minas, together with the female slaves, the ornaments of gold, 6 and whatever else may be in it.” For all these hardships, which the Athenian women endured, a very poor compensation was made by the law of Solon, which ordered their husbands to sleep with them three times a month.

" Whether the fairer, but weaker, part of our species should, in well-ordered states, succeed to an entire inheritance, and dispose of it as their passion or fancy prompts them, may admit of some doubt ; and we find on this point a remarkable diversity in the laws of different nations, and of the same nation in different ages ; on which fubject Perizonius has written a learned dissertation. The moft ancient fuit, perhaps, of which any account remains, was that infti


tuted by the five daughters of Zelophehad, who died without fons, for a pofefion among the brethren of their father : they gained their cause; and it was thenceforth a rule among the Jews, that “ if a' man died, having no son, his inheritance thould go to his daughter ;” but when it was remonítrated, that, if Mahla, Noa, Hagla, Milca, and Tirza, were to marry the fons of other tribes, their inheritance would be taken from the tribe of their father, the divine legislator answered, Let the daughters of Zelophehad marry whom they think beft; only in the family of their father's trile let them marry ; and if Solon had made no other restriction, his ordinance would have been more conformable to nature and reason; but the narrow policy of keeping an estate con@ned in a single family can be justified by no good principle whatever.

• The Pagan Arabs, although divided into tribes, had no such reAtraint


their natural inclinations; for there is not a more common topic in their ancient elegiac poems than the separation of two lovers by the removal of the tents belonging to their respective tribes, which were not connected, like those of the Hebrews and Greeks, by any regular bond of union, but seem to have been distinct and independent communities : as their inftitutions, indeed, were per*fectly military, they excluded women, who were unable to serve in their wars, from all right of succession to property; but Mahomed, like another Justinian, abolited this law of his countrymen, and ordained expressly, that females should have a determinate part of what their parents and kinsmen left, whether it were little or whether it were much, allowing a double portion to the males, on account, says he, of the advantages which God has given them over the other fix.

. Among the early inhabitants of Rome, both males and females were permitted to inherit the posfellions of their anceltors; and this appears to have been the law of the twelve tables, which were derived in part from the institutions of Solon; but the middle jurisprudence, departing from the old fimplicity fo favourable to legirlation, admitted fifters only to a fraternal inheritance, and rejected all other female relations from the agnatic succession, as if they had been perfect strangers, till the Prætorian equiry mitigated this rigour by degrees ; and Juftinian, whose benevolence in this respect has been highly commended, restored the Decemviral law, with some additional directions of his own. The feudal law, like that of the old Arabians, and from the same principle of military policy, generally excluded daughters, unless there had been a special inveltia ture of their father in favour of them; and it is almost superfluous to mention the strictness of the Salic feudifts, who preferred one sex to the total exclusion of the other : our own laws observe a medium between their severity and the latitude of the imperial conftitution.'

We haften to consider Mr. Jones in the capacity of a critic.

Isæus was the master of Demofthenes, and may be justly ftiled the true fountain of that eloquence which afterwards Aowed with so impetuous a stream. . His strong and nervous diction peculiarly fitted him to excel in that mode of speaking which is called by some of the ancient critics popular, and which alone seems to be calculated for real struggles in active life. Mr. 5


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


WAK der, Orda

[ocr errors]

Jones is unwilling that he should be represented as the ini.

bus tator of Lysas, whose compositions were too soft and deli.

Dul cate for the harshness of, forensic combats. Isæus, fays be, took nature alone for his guide, and discovered and pursued a

the new species of eloquence, which Demofthenés carried to fuck

the perfection that no mortal will ever furpass, nor perhaps equal him, until the same habits of industry, and folidity of judge ment, shall be found united in one person, with the fame fire ject of imagination and energy of language.' He proceeds to draw the following masterly comparison between his Author and

skei Lyfias.

ing • The true comparison between Lyfias and Iseus appears 10 b:

fort this : purity, accuracy, propriety, conciseness, perspicuity (in th: perfect mixture or rather union of which Hermogenes makes the

der popular style confift), were common to both of them in an equal de


, gree, and both possessed that roundness of expression, to which oo thing could be added, and from which nothing could be removed without dettroying its juftness and fymmetry; but the orations of Lysias had all that sweet fimplicity, that exquisie grace, that clearness, and, as it were, transparency, which characterized the genuine Attic di&tion, and which may be more easily conceived than defned


her admired than imitated; for it is analogous to gracefulness in motion,

whit to melody in a series of sounds, and to beauty in the moit beautiful

alle of all visible obje&ts, the human form : the lineaments of Isæus were more dignified and manly, and his graces rather those of Mars than

BIC of Adonis ; for Dionyfius observes, that his figures were itronger and

arg more various, his composition more forcible and impetuous, and that the he furpassed Lysias in ardour and vehemence, as much as Lysas exo celled him in fimple and natural charms. In respect to the form and order of their speeches, there appears to have been infinite are in boch those orators ; but the critic represents the art of Lysias as more

сар fubtile and recondite, that of lfæus as more easily discoverable: ac.

his cording to him, there was hardly a speech of my author, which had not the appearance of being premeditated and moulded into a fashion

ber the belt adapted to the purpose of winning the minds of the jurymen, and of seducing their reason, if he could not convince it; but this allo we must take in great mcafure upon trust, for scarce any

ger of this open and apparent art, with which both Ifæus and his pupil were reproached, are visible to us in their compofitions, which breathe the spirit of truth and justice, and seem to have been dictated by nothing more than a natural animation. We may argue, however, as long as we please : it is certain, that both Ifæus and Demoithenes had the reputation of being extremely subtile advocates,

be a reputation by no means favourable at the bar, 'as it always dimi. nishes and frequently destroys the confidence of the jury, who, 8 through a fear of being deluded, are apt to suspect a snare in every argument of such a speaker : it is no less certain, that, in this refpect, the ancients allowed the fuperiority of Lysias over all pleaders Y of causes who ever existed; for no artfúl arrangement appeared in his speeches, no formal divisions, no technical mode of reasoning; but he opened his case with a plainness that captivated his audience,

bee dee two

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »