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the supreme courts of common law and equity. The ap peals have augmented so much within the last thirty years, that the House is now under the necessity of attending to them from day to day, whereas, formerly, a day or two in the week was sufficient for the dispatch of this description of business. But as the number of peers necessary to constitute a house did not spontaneously attend, a standing order has been made to compel the appearance, in rotation, of three temporal peers, and one bishop, who are nominated by ballot! These "noble conscripts" are, of course, profoundly igno-. rant of the questions which are brought before them, and, indeed, they do not think it necessary to exhibit even a semblance of attention to the proceedings. They sit apart as far from the bar and the table as the dimensions of the house permit, and they consume the day, as well as they can, in private conversation! This seems absurd enough, but it does not end here. The attendance of each set of these compulsory judges is limited to one day, whence it follows that, as the proceedings in appeal-cases generally occupy many days, it is impossible that the same person should hear out both sides of the argument, unless he attend the House voluntarily, which is the last thing on earth a peer would, in such cases, think of doing. Next comes the appointment of the DeputySpeaker, a new public officer, never before known to the constitution, whose station is undefined, and whose powers are strangely regulated. He, it seems, hears only the Scotch. appeals. This is, unquestionably, an invidious distinction, if it be not even an infringement of the act of union, which gave the people of Scotland a right of appeal to the highest law authority in the empire. If the number of appeals required the attendance of the House every day, the Chancellor should not have abdicated the woolsack. That is his highest, and perhaps his most useful, station. He should have come to the root of the evil at once, and surrendered the Chancery to commissioners, or to two or three new equity Judges, without whose assistance it is in vain to expect that the arrears of the business of that Court can ever be got through.
It will have been seen from this analysis, that the subjects embraced in Mr. Miller's book are various, and all of very great importance. We trust that his suggestions will speedily receive the attention of the legislature, and that something like order, and utility, shall be restored to our laws and courts of justice, before their abuses call down upon them the detestation of the whole country.
ART. VI. Babylon the Great: a Dissection and Demonstration of Men and Things in the British Capital. By the Author of "The modern Athens." 2 Vols. Small 8vo. 18s. Knight. 1825.
THIS HIS account of Babylon the Great is sketched by no unworthy hand. But it is evident, even from a slight inspection, that the first title is a misnomer, and the second rather too ambitious. For a great part of the work is a panegyric on one part of the periodical press, or an invective against the other; and the remainder consists of a review of the talents and moral qualities of the leading members of the two Houses of Parliament, a description of a storm at sea, remarks on John Bull, and something about the city. If we except the first chapter, the two volumes afford to a stranger almost as little of the details of this metropolis as Pope's Essay on Man.
The introductory chapter excites such high hopes of a truly philosophical work, that, clever as it is on the whole, we were, nevertheless, disappointed, when we came to the end: so dangerous is it for an orator or an author to have too splendid an exordium.
The literature of England, of Europe, of the world, at any place or for any time, contains not a page, a volume, or a book, so mighty in import, or so magnificent in explanation, as the single word LONDON. That is the talisman which opens the book of nature and of nations, and sets before the observer the men of all countries and all ages, in respect both of what they are and what they have done. Whatever is profound in science, sublime in song, exquisite in art, skilful in manufacture, daring in speculation, determined in freedom, rich in possession, comfortable in life, magnificent in style, or voluptuous in enjoyment, is to be found withing the precincts of that great Babylon; and there, too, are to be found every meanness, every vice, and every crime, by which human nature can be debased and degraded.
Elsewhere one may contemplate a single feature or lineament of the great picture of man; but here they are all together and at once upon the canvass, singularly blended and even confounded together, but still strong, graphic, and perfect in all their peculiarities. The direct contemplation of this vast picture is, perhaps, too great a labour for any one man; and the details, if minutely given, would form a work from the perusal of which the most voracious reader would turn aside; and therefore a sketch, which shall exhibit the great features, physical and intellectual, must, with however light and hasty a pencil it is touched, be fraught with interest.
London may be considered, not merely as the capital of England or the British empire, but as the metropolis of the world,
not merely as the seat of a government which extends its connexions and exercises its influence to the remotest points of the earth's surface not merely as it contains the wealth and the machinery by which the freedom and the slavery of nations are bought and sold - not merely as the heart, by whose pulses the tides of intelligence, activity, and commerce, are made to circulate throughout every land-not merely as possessing a freedom of opinion, and a hardihood in the expression of that opinion, unknown to every other city. not merely as taking the lead in every informing science, and in every useful and embellishing art, -but as being foremost and without a rival in every means of aggrandisement and enjoyment, and also of neglect and misery of every thing that can render life sweet and man happy, or that can render life bitter and man wretched.'
The second chapter is occupied with an account of the author's voyage (from Scotland we suppose). Besides being too long, it has little or nothing to do with Babylon the Great. Moreover, it tells us that the person, who is about to give an ample and accurate account of this metropolis of the world, with a Dissection and Demonstration of the Men and the Things which it contains, (subjects demanding, at least, some length of experience,) is, in fact, a comparative stranger. No sooner does he land, than he gives as broad, and we had almost said as dogmatical, an account of the society of London, to which, it is evident, he has not been very widely introduced, as if he had lived in that great mart of good living more than half a century.
There are many points, in which the good citizens will be ready to go hand in hand with him: but whether they will feel equally well pleased with his accusations, that they possess vulgar manners, and are in possession of scarcely one human sympathy, is more than we can determine. There are, nevertheless, many remarks in this and the succeeding chapter exceedingly true, amusing, and pointed: as for instance,
Every where you meet with that perfect frankness and civility to which I have adverted, and which, as it is the result of frequent casual intercourse, makes that intercourse pleasing. But if you have come from a little society where external courtesy is the sign of cordiality of heart, you will be sadly out in Babylon. The Babylonian smile, and bow, and welcome, are the genuine smile, and bow, and welcome of the counter. They are levelled not at you, but at your purse. The man varnishes his speech for the same purpose that he varnishes his sign-board, and arranges his smiles just as he arranges the goods in his shop-window-for the purpose of attracting customers; and he who is so very fair with you in the purchase of what you require, and so polite when you are paying him for it, cares no more for you than the gown or
the gallipot upon his shelves, and would look with all the complacency in the world upon you taking the air upon the little platform in front of Newgate.'
The fourth chapter contains some very sprightly remarks on the elements of that character, so much talked of by the world, and so much applauded by himself—JOHN BULL, and on the various modifications which have been made in the constitution of that character by the Irish, Welsh, and Scotch, who form so large a part of the London population. In spite of all these associations, however, John Bull, according to this author, is in no degree altered from his original character.
The imprint upon John is as deeply stamped as upon a Greek medal; and wherever you find him, whether in London or Calcutta, whatever be his rank, and whether he commands or obeys, he never can be mistaken. Every where he is a blunt matter-offact sort of being, very honest, but cold, and repulsive withal. He has the solidity of a material substance all over; and you can never fail to observe that wherever he is, or with whoever he associates, John always considers himself the foremost man,- nor will he take an advice or a lesson from any body that previously gives him a hint that he needs it. Wherever he is, too, you can perceive that his own comfort his own immediate personal comfort is the grand object of all his exertions and all his wishes.'
The fifth chapter treats of the corporation; and the astonishment of the author at the grandeur of the Lord Mayor's personal appearance; the splendor of his coach, harness, and barge; his power as an annual king; the portly wisdom of the city peers; and the attractive eloquence of its house of
The next chapter handles a very important, and a very delicate, subject, -the Ladies of the Metropolis. There is in it some point, and no small share of truth.
To compensate for the want of those two grand sources of mental enjoyment,' (regular and systematic gossipping and blue stockingism,) Babylon spreads out for her daughters an ample display of more substantial, if less sublime and ethereal pleasure. If women be withdrawn from their criticism and philosophical display, - from the circle of their pursuits, the Graces are sent to console them for the first, and Cupid helps them to bear the miseries of the second: they are very prone to enter into wedlock; and they hesitate not to confess, or at least to show, that all their education, all their habits, all their occupations, and all their amusements, have that for their grand and invariable object. If they belong to the humbler classes of society, they readily bear a part in the labours of the profession, and second their husbands in turning the chances of business to the best account. So perfectly,
indeed, in the under ranks, are the sexes identified in their employments and in their amusements, that, but for the difference of their dress, it would hardly be possible to distinguish the one from the other. When the rank is a little higher, there is just as complete a separation; and it very frequently happens that the lady of a superior Babylonian tradesman, or inferior Babylonian merchant, who lives within four miles of the bridges," enjoys very little of her husband's society, and cares not much for him, so that she can keep up her own establishment, and enjoy her pleasures, uninterrupted and uncontrolled. Woman's a paradox in every place; and no where is she more a paradox than in Babylon the Great.'
The eight remaining chapters of the first volume are devoted entirely to the Parliament. And here the author appears more completely at home, than in any other part of his subject. It is impossible to peruse his sketches of men and parties, and his dissection of their relative merits and defects, without acknowleging his varied powers.
We shall confine ourselves to his sketches of Lords Liverpool, Grey, and Holland, in the House of Lords, and of Mr. Canning in the House of Commons.
LORD LIVERPOOL is thus characterized :
Lord Liverpool possesses a moderate and reasonable degree of original talents; and they have received a moderate share of cultivation, though that has been a cultivation in business-details rather than in original or theoretical principles. His judgment is respectable, although it has by no means the acute and searching profundity of that of Lord Eldon; and though upon the whole he be a clear logician, he is apt to fall into many blunders upon many subjects; and this evidently because many of the subjects with which he has to grapple involve combinations which are too intricate for his disentanglement, and principles which are too large for his grasp. In his appearance there is something extremely prepossessing; and no man can be more specious in his manner, or more mild in his expressions: nor do these agreeable qualities appear to be in the least assumed, they are so easy and so habitual, that he must have received them from nature. His voice is loud and clear; and his language, though not of the most powerful or classical character, is notwithstanding good. Nor is there any great reason to quarrel with the structure of his speeches: they are rather loose, to be sure, and generally somewhat lengthy; but as both the looseness and the length have the appearance of being the result of a continual endeavour to make himself perfectly understood, they are never either tiresome or offensive. Lord Liverpool is an agreeable speaker, as well for the qualities that I have noticed, as for the air of perfect earnestness and good faith which are always playing about him. When he blunders, though there scarcely be any one in whom we regret the existence of a blunder so much, there is perhaps no man with whom we feel so little disposition to be offended. Notwithstand