صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

1830.]
Walk through the Highlands.

109 ed wonderfully to confirm the favour- the still glittering west. At length our able impression we had made.

crew gradually raised the song, and We discussed our repast, and a glass once more we'" listened to the breeze of whisky on board, and as the even. of night, to hear the voice of the rowing, though fine, was somewhat cold, ers, to hear the song of the sea.” Many wrapped ourselves up right comfortably were the tunes which they chaunted, in blankets and great coats, and enjoy- but their voices were inferior to those ed surprisingly the scenery around us. of our first party. They were harsh,

A gentle gale swelled out our can- their songs rather boisterous than plainvass, and we proceeded pleasantly, · tive; apparently drinking songs, rather though at no great rate. The boat- than, as in the first case, the lamentamen, after their meal, threw them. tions of ill-starred lovers : and though selves down carelessly in different parts we listened to them with pleasure, of the vessel, and their fancies seemed they failed to give us that satisfaction 10 have been wonderfully elevated by which we had experienced from the the whisky, and they chalted, sung, more musical and pathetic strains which and laughed with the greatest vivacity. had fallen so genily on our ears while We could not indeed understand them, sailing swiftly by the now dilapidated for theirs appeared to us a sort of turreis of the once powerful Castle chough's language, “gabble enough, Duart. These men beat the time vioand good enough,” yet we did not fail lently with their hands; their whole to derive much satisfaction from their appearance, and all their gestures, bewitticisms, which were enlivening and ing perfectly savage and bestial. [ somewhat practical. One indeed up- know not what might be the subject derstood and spoke English tolerably of their songs, but they refused to bewell, and he joined our party, while gin them till they were assured that the other three were most bountiful of we knew nothing of Gaelic. It was their jokes amongst themselves. Now probably some joke against ourselves or it was that he confessed our situation

our country, for they laughed much had been extremely perilous in the and loudly, though at the same time moroing, and complimented us upon they did us the favour carefully to asthe self-command and coolness we had sure us that their songs only meant displayed in the midst of it.

that "they would bring the EnglishAlihis time the scenery around us man safe home again,” and protect was wonderfully splendid.' We were him from all the danger of the seas. gliding smoothly over the undulating Complete darkness now surrounded bosom of the Ailantic, surrounded by us, and once again the seas sparkled rocks and islands famed in song. Even- round our boat of night, highly beautiing was preparing to cast her dim man- ful indeed, but with a brilliancy very tle over all things; the sun was sinking inferior to that displayed on a former gradually in his watery bed, throwing occasion. Perhaps ioo we now derived à dazzling and golden light over the less pleasure from their appearance, as gently rippling waters. The clouds, well as from the songs, because they tinged by its departing beams, display- had each ceased 10 possess that most ed the most fantastic shapes, and ap- powerful of all charms-novelty. We peared to figure out to us ihe wrathful sighed for our inn at Ulva, and as the heroes of other years, meeting dread- wind had now almost entirely died solly in the combat, or encouraging away, our sailors again took to their their fleet hounds in the chase. Little oars, regulating their labours by the imagination was necessary to picture song. They pulled manfully, and afout ihese and divers other strange ap- ter an interval somewhat tedious, we pearances in Heaven's wide canopy. re-landed on our wished for island, a Indeed the night was so transcend- little before eleven. A SUBSCRIBER. antly magnificent, that it did not fail at the time to call forth our greatest

ON CREATING PEERS FOR LIFE. admiration. Suddenly the great luminary sunk beneath the wave, and twi

WE

E have been favoured with a light gave to the objects around beau

copy of a pamphlet, printed for ties which they had failed to exhibit private circulation, bearing the title of in the more vertical glare of his beams. " A Leller to the Duke of Wellington,

In the full enjoyment of all this on the Propriety and Legality of creatsplendour, we had unconsciously sunking Peers for Life : with Precedents." into silence, our eyes direcied towards To guard against the evils of an im

[ocr errors]

110
On Creating Peers for Life.

[Aug.
poverished and needy Peerage is indis- Peerages; and to disgrace that prero-
putably an object worthy the attention gative of which he was in theory so
of a wise Minister. The constituent jealous, by allowing its honours to be
members of the Upper House have at the command of ibe highest bidder.
been vastly increased in number during The profit was conferred on some
the two past reigns; and fears are en- greedy courtier, who made the inost of
tertained lest they should become too his turn; and doubtless the King ima-
numerous either for the maintenance gined that he thus obliged two parties
of their own respectability and dignity, at once. In that he was quite mista-
for the welfare of Government, or even ken; the individual who had purchased
the safety of the State. That such evils his stalking horse of the broker in the
have arisen from a profuse disposal of market, acknowledged no obligation
peerages is matter of experience. The to its breeder; and many purchasers
first is at this day exemplified on some found cause of offence in subsequent
parts of the continent; where, from the creations, where others had cheaper
general diffusion of titles, they have in bargains than themselves.* It is to
a great measure ceased to distinguish these circumstances we may in a great
rank, and rather appear to be indis- degree atribute the numerous titled
criminately sprinkled as nicknames names seen opposed to the Crown, the
throughout all the grades of society. fountain of their honours, at the Re-
The inconvenience to the Government bellion. Charles, during his troubles,
of a numerous dependent nobility is erred in a similar manner, though less
manifest; families once raised above wantonly: in reward to his faithful
the sphere in which fortuues are to be adherenis, he had little but titles to
made by personal exertion, hang about bestow. Originally, perhaps, of low
the Sovereign and the Minister for sup- fortune, and drained lower during their
port; and, too many to be all relieved, persecutions, many of the parties thus
they become disappointed and discon- raised left their families by no means
tented. Upon this the State and Con- in a condition to support their rank.
stitution are endangered. It is a popu- Sir Edward Walker, Garter (whose
lar cause for alarm that the Peerage essay on the subject is most pertinently
should be at the beck of a Minister; quoted in the Appendix to the present
but, beyond this, the unsatisfied por- pamphlet) thus remarks upon them:
tion of a needy aristocracy become the
leaders of faction and sedition. Eng- honour given by the late King (Charles the

To speak a little of the many titles of land has already suffered in this way. First] during the Rebellion. Although Elizabeth, whoin history deems one of much may be said for the doing of it, yet I our wisest sovereigns, and who at- fear, considering the small fortunes many of tached to herself the most devoted ser. them have for to support their dignities, and vants, as well as attained the greatest the great pretensions they have, his Majespopularity, was get the most sparing of ty, when it shall please God to restore him, her honours. She found herself beiter (this was written at the Hague in 1659-4) served by the expectant than by the

will find trouble enough to content them. ungrateful or the disappointed. Her Whereas, had his late Majesty been pleased

to have made them Bannerets, or otherwise successor James, naturally more liberal in his disposition, was tempted by suc

personally gratified them, their posterities cessive bad counsellors and by his neces

had stood upon their own merits for the fusities to an opposite extreme. The colo- voice in Parliament, and (beiug but men,)

ture; whereas now they will have place and nization of Ulster (in itself a wise mea. may prove as discontented as others that had sure) was the original plea for the sale as great obligations, and yet proved unof his new order of Baronetcies. It led grateful." him to allow of a similar disposal of It is in favour of such personal in

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

* The price of a Barony had been 10,0001., when the profligate Buckingham thus audaciously wrote to the King : “Here is a gentlenian called Sir Francis Leake, who hath likewise A PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. 'Tis worth but eight thousand; he will give it me,

if you will make him a Baron." The King obliged his favourite, at the expense of his own credit. In the same mode of depreciation, Sir Joho Holles, having given 10,0001. for the Barony of Houghton, was made Earl of Clare for 5000l. more, although the price of an Earldom had a few years before been 30,000. But our readers will find an assemblage of notices of those venal prostitutions of the Royal prerogative, in a review of Nichols's “ Progresses of King James the first,"' in our vol. xcvii. i. 151.

"To

1830.]
On Creating Peers for Life.

111 stead of hereditary honours that the 1. To prevent the parties inheriting forcible and well-argued pamphlet be- peerages to be hereafter conferred, before us is written. We shall give, as coming, through want of means, either far as we are able, a summary of its disgraceful to themselves, or injurious contents.

10 other branches of the community. Justly regarding the Lords' House as

2. To reward distinguished merit, an integral part of the British Consti. without the necessity of incurring that tution, the author considers the pre- danger; and sent peerages to be inviolable.

3. That the House of Lords may provide (he says in p. 25) against the profit by individual talent, and in partievils which may aitend peerages al- cular be supplied with those various ready created is impossible.”

descriptions of legal talents and acquireBut it is suggested that by confining ments which it so much requires; by the hereditary peerages to extraordinary giving the judges of the several courts services, and to cases where strict en- personal seats and votes, but without tails of a fortune adequate to the main- ihe privilege of transmitting them to tenance of the title can be secured, such posterity. evils may very properly be avoided for With regard to our present law the future.

Lords, the author mentions these facts: And that the House of Peers may that many causes in the House of Lords not languish for want of an infusion of are appeals from the Lord Chancellor fresh talent-particularly legal talent, in one place to the same Chancellor, which as a court of judicature it so unassisted, in another; that though greatly requires-it is proposed that the opinions of the Judges are at the peerages should be created for life. command of the House, they have no That this arrangement would be con- right to give them except when asked, sistent both with law and precedent is which being seldom done, they are not fully shown by the author. For the accustomed to attend ; that Scotch aplaw, the highest authorities are quoted, peals are now decided by English lawand none are found to dispute it. Of gers alone, who cannot be expected to precedents two lists are given, one of be intimately acquainted with the pevarious early peerages created for life culiarities of the laws of Scotland; only, (and wiih female instances ex- that the claims to Peerages, which are tending down to the reign of George discussed before the House of Lords the Second); and the other of those alone, offer a field for legal investigacreated with every variety of arbitrary tion (involving the constitution of ihe remainder, showing that the Crown, House itself, *) which has become alas the creator of the title, may arrange most deserted since the death of Lord the remainder in any manner it may Redesdale ; and, finally, that " cases judge proper. The very two last in- are also every day occurring-divorces stances are—that of the Earldom of for example in which the assistance Norbury in 1827, limited to the second of civilians is desirable ; but the only son in exclusion of the eldest; and that noble Lord who is eminent for his of Viscountess Canning in 1828, with knowledge of the civil law has attained remainder not indifferently to her own an age which precludes the possibility male issue, but to those only she had of even occasional attendance in Parby her late husband.

Jiament.” The " legality” of the proposed mea- It is further remarked that the mosure is thus briefly ascertertained. The dern practice has been important reasons for the “propriety"

“ to raise a Judge to the Peerage when his of its adoption we have already inciden- infirmities oblige him to retire from his own tally noticed; and may be summed up Court ; as if by transplanting him to an as follow :

aristocratic soil, health would necessarily be

* In p. 62 we find the following allusion to the singular claim of Colonel Berkeley to a seat in the House, as Lord of Berkeley Castle per Baroniam : “There is at this moment a claim before the House, which, if admitted, will give to the possessors of all lands wbich five centuries ago were held of the Crown by a certain tenure, a right to the Peerage, with precedency over two-thirds of the Barons of the country. Many hundred instances exist of lands being once held by this tenure, the owners of which will have the same right as the present claimant : and, as each of them can, like himself, transfer those lands to any other person at his pleasure, Peerages, unless the Legislature interposes, may be sold to the best bidder."

tocracy,

or

112
On Creating Peers for Life.

(Aug. restored to his body, or vigour to his mind. Thirdly, are to be considered those But Nature is indifferent to honours ; and standing merits of an hereditary arisinfirmities will seize their victim, without considering that it was intended he should bear appeals in the House of Lords."

" that the living representative of a man

ennobled for his services becomes a memoEven when an individual is less ad

rial of his virtues, and stimulates others to vanced in years, the general uncertainty similar exertions ; and that one of the chief of life forms almost a sufficient objec- incentives to serve our country is, not only tion against making a Peer of a man

the hope of acquiring for ourselves, but of with a family but no wealth; and “a transmitting to our posterity, the dignity of recent instance" was memorably un- a Peer of the Realm." fortunate. In that case,

These advantages are not denied; but “the expediency of placing a learned

in the present plan others are corresponJudge in the House to assist in its decisions,

dent. The descendants of a peer for was so great as to surmount the obstacle ; but he died before it had been benefitted by his life, instead of becoming degenerate, as services, leaving his successor without a suf

those of some hereditary peers, may be ficient income to maintain a private gentle- stimulated to achieve the same man, and who has already become a pensioner higher honours. If fewer are able to of the crown.”—p. 13.

transmit a title to posterity, more will The author has not overlooked the

be able to attain one. most obvious objections that may be

It must, also, be distinctly undermade to his proposal. He presúmes stood, that our author does not conthem to be,

template a cessation of the creation of 1. That the dignity of a Peer of peerages for perpetuity, but only that the Realm is in its nature hereditary,

none be conferred without correspondand that, if deprived of that quality services on which the nation, by Par

ent fortune, or without those eminent the constitution of the House of Lords will be changed." This he affirms to liament, may be disposed to confer be merely an assumption arising from

such fortune. the general practice; but that, besides We have only to add, that we feel the precedents of creations for life well satisfied with the plan reconwhich he adduces, the power the mended in this letter. It is highly Crown has always possessed of limiting desirable as an improvement to the a peerage according to its pleasure (as judicial character of the House of in'the before noticed cases of Norbury Lords; it may properly give the first and Canving,anda multitude of others.) coronet to a distinguished Senator of sufficiently proves that it is not neces- the lower house, an hereditary peerage sarily hereditary.

following or not according to circum2. “ That creating Peers for life stances; and for military or naval serwill tend to form two classes of Peers.” vices it may take the place of that To this it is replied that the Represen- something better than a Baronetcytative Peers of Scotland and Ireland (the the Irish peerage; from the creation of latter possibly ancient, the former un- which the Crown has been so nearly doubtedly so,) are already specimens of debarred since the Union, and has thus Peers for life. That Bishops are also perhaps been occasionally forced to conPeers for life; and that, if the children fer British peerages where an Irish tiof the proposed Peers partake of the tle would otherwise have sufficed. present privileges of Peers’ children,

Finally, we presume there would be ihey will so far have the advantage of the same moral checks to a King or his our Spiritual Peerage, whose wives and Minister's excess in creating peerages families have not special rank alloited

for life, as at present on their conferring to them. It may be added, that the hereditary peerages ; the prerogative tenants of old peerages wanting heirs, being now unlimited (as to British are in no better condition than Peers peerages) except by public opinion. for life. At all events it is presumed Nor will the present Peers object to a that the learned men we have been

measure which will so greatly tend to principally considering would from maintain the respectability and dignity iheir personal characters never rank as of their order. The commencement of a despised class, whatever danger there a new reign is a proper era for its may be of that being the fate of their

adoption. posterity, if hereditary Lords.

« السابقةمتابعة »