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some of the elaborate eulogies bestowed on the Dutchess of Portland, and my Lord Duke and the infant Marquis ; but meritorious and characteristic as all these things are, we have no longer room for them. Upon the whole, we think the vivacity of these letters attractive; -hough it is sometimes childish, and almost always theatrical, We think the familiar style excellent, and the eloquence abominable; and are of opinion, that they would have been infinitely more charming, if two thirds of the wit could have been exchanged for a few traits of sinplicity and affection. Comparing them even with the earliest letters of Lady Mary Wortley, it is impossible not to be struck with the vast superiority of the latter, in sound sense, good taste, and facility. There is, in those delightful compositions, such a mixture of just thinking and solid sagacity, as gives both dignity and relief to the wit and trifling which intervenes ; and the trifling itself is far more graceful and striking, both because it is less laboured, and infinitely less verbose. Mrs Montagu certainly comes nearest that admirable model in her lighter strokes of personal satire, and the purity of such parts of her diction as she had not determined to make splendid,
In making these strictures on the letters before us, we do not forget that they were all written under the age of twenty-three ; and have even a reasonable degree of faith in the editor, when he assures us, that if we will only have patience, we shall find her hand improve astonishingly in the course of the next five or six volumes. All we say is, that there are great faults in the volumes before us; and that we do not exactly perceive the necessity of reading the bad letters before we are favoured with the good. If the letters were all as good as Lady Mary's, the editor may depend upon it, that the public will neither buy nor admire twenty volumes of them ; and if there be ten or twelve volumes out of the twenty that are not quite so good, we are clearly of opinion, that the best thing he can do for his aunt's glory and his own credit, is to suppress these twelve,-together with four or five of the remaining eight. There are many works, besides those of the old Sybil, the value of which
hich may be prodigiously increased by diminishing their number.
Art. VI. Application de la Theorie de la Legislation Penale,
ou Code de la Sureté Publique et Particuliere, fondé sur les regles de la Morale Universelle, sur le droit des gens ou primitif des societés, et sur leur droit particulier, dans l'etat actuel de la civilization ; redigé en projet pour les Etats de sa Majesté le Roi de Bavière. Dedié à sa Majesté, et imprimé avec son au torization. Par Scipion Bexon, ancien Avocat, officier du Ministere public, Commiffaire du Roi, Juge de Paix, Accusateur militaire, Accurateur public, President du Tribunal Criminel de Paris; actuellement Vice-president du Tribunal Civil de la même ville ; ancien Professeur de Legislation Criminelle à l'Université de
Jurisprudence, &c. &c. Folio. pp. 752. Paris, 1807. WE
É deem it of great importance to give some account of this
book, while the penal code of our own country remains ir a state of such extreme imperfection, and the community in general seems so indifferent about its amendment.
When a man like Blackstone, in whom education, profession, fituation and prospects in life, combined to engender the admiration of whatever was established, and who, in his review of the laws of England, scarcely ever finds room for any thing but praise -when a man of this description appears the herald of blame, we may safely conclude that the evil is not only indisputable, but fiagrant. This popular author, however, * after observing that, “in proportion to the importance of the criminal law, ought also to be the care and attention of the legidature in properly forming and enforcing it; and that it should be conformable to the dictates of truth and justice, the feelings of humanity, and the indelible rights of mankind,' proceeds to tell us, that it has hitherto existed in all the countries of Europe, and England among the rest, in a very different situation ; for, on the other hand, he adds, either from a want of attention to these principles, in the first concoction of the laws; and adopting, in their stead, the impetuous dictates of avarice, ambition and revenge; from retaining the discordant political regulations which successive conquerors or factions have established, in the various revolutions of government; from giving a lasting efficacy to sanctions that were intended to be temporary, and made (as Lord Bacon expreffes it) merely upon the spur of the occasion; or from, lastly, too hastily employing such means as are greatly disproportionate to their end, in order to check the progress of some very prevalent offence; from some, or from all
* See his Commentaries on the Laws of England, B. iv. ch. 1:
of these causes, it hath happened that the criminal law is, in every country of Europe, more rude and imperfect than the civil.'
This is a remarkable passage ; and deserving of the most profound meditation. It is a description, perfe&ly just, and, as far as it goes, accurate, of the manner in which a great part, not only of the criminal law, but of the whole body of law, civil, criminal and conftitutional, has been built up in every country in Europe. To reason, seriously and fincerely endeavouring to trace out the footsteps of utility, or to discover the regulations by which the greatest prosperity might be secured to the whole community, nations hitherto have owed very little. It is to the accidental, but in several respects unavoidable connexion between the interests of the community, and the interefts of the governing classes, that the nations of the world owe almost all that is excellent in the actual system of their laws.
Of the defects in our criminal code, Blackstone goes on to fay, * • These have chiefly arisen from too scrupulous an adherence to fome rules of the ancient common law, when the reasons have ceased upon which those rules were founded.' This, too, is an important observation, and one which we should scarcely have expečted from the great champion of the wisdom of our ancestors ;' and one of the great abhorrers of innovation. • Those rules, the reasons for which have ceased to exist,' are they all to be discarded? This is rather a sweeping decision ; especially if we include among them, as we plainly should, all those which never had any reason, or never any but a bad one. Such a proposition in a more modern author, would run some risk of being reprefented as absolutely revolutionary and jacobinical. We shall quote but one other passage from this great English lawyer, before proceeding to the work of his foreign difciple.
After exhibiting fome samples of absurdity and mischievousness in our criminal laws, and dwelling with lamentation upon the obvious necessity of amendment, he adds, ' Were even a committee appointed, but once in an hundred years, to revise the criminal law, it could not have continued to this hour a felony, without benefit of clergy, to be seen for one month in the company of persons who call themselves, or are called, Egyptians,'t &c. &c. With these few but striking admonitions, as to the wisdom and the necessity of looking at home in all our reflections upon subjects of universal importance, we pass at once to the consideration of the work before us.
The king of Bavaria, like our Edward the First, is a never-ending reformer. During the few months of peace which succeeded
* Commentaries, B. iv. ch. 1. † Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, B. iv. ch. 1.
the treaty of Amiens, the periodical publications of the Continent were filled with the accounts of the plans which he was pursuing for the improvement of his government, and for meliorating the condition of his subjects. We find, by the publication before us, that he has not abandoned the work, even in the season of war; that he has not shrunk from a fundamental reform of the condition of his people in that cardinal point, on which their condition so eminently depends,--the administration of justice.
The course, too, which he has pursued, is one which, in its general bearing, is distinctly traced by the hand of wisdom. He looked out for an individval whom reputation designated as eminently fit, and whom particular recommendation, no doubt, singled out as the most fit, to draw up a code of laws ; and to him gave a commission to execute the important task. *
The code, as proposed by the author, was printed and published; that whatever the observations of the people for whom it was designed, or of the enlightened men of all Europe, might offer for its improvement, might be received before it was finally adopted; and, if not rejected upon such a trial, that it might afterwards be established with all the advantages which those means of perfecting it could supply. Had the choice of the man, to whom the primary operations were entrusted, been as fortunate as the plan was prudent, our present task would have been much easier, and more delightful, than it is likely to be.
The work to which our attention is now directed, is intended to exhibit a complete set of penal enactments, and of regulations or enactments of police ; together with such elucidations of the general principles of law, as may show the reasons of the several enactments proposed, and afford the instruction most necessary to estimate justly what has here been performed.
The system of penal enactments, together with such provisions as M. Bexon thinks belong to the head of police, he designates by the general title of ' Legislation de la Sureté.' The idea he seems to have entertained, that police and penal law fell both, and to the exclusion of other branches of law, under this denomination, is the most probable reason that can be assigned for his joining the legislation of police with that of crimes and punishments, as possessing, with each other, a connexion more intimate than subsists between either of them and any other branch of law, and as forming, together, one great and entire department of legal regulation.
* Not one individual only has undertaken the work. There is a • Projet redigé pour les etats de S. M. le Roi de Bavière, par M. Klinschrod.
An indication is afforded thus early, of what is but too fully confirmed in the sequel,--that M. Beson's manner of thinking is far too vague, for much improvement in the science of legislation to be expected from his best exertions. Security is not the object of penal laws and laws of police alone. Civil and constitutional laws contribute to it quite as essentially, and, in many instances, as directly, as penal laws themselves. Security is the joint result of the whole system of legislation, and cannot be obtained where any part is wanting or defective. What, for example, would be the security of property, though the penal laws against theft and robbery were ever so perfect, if there were no civil laws to compel the payment of debts, and the performance of contracts ? On a distinction thus perfectly inapplicable, it is melancholy to observe the stress which is laid by M. Bexon. He regards it as a discovery of his own making, of the greatest consequence, and as forming one of the most remarkable characteristics of his book. Formerly, nations, he tells us, were too little enlightened to have any just conception of it. Civil laws occupied, to great purpose, their attention, but the great, and still more interesting subject,
la legislation de la sureté, n'a guères été, dans l'antiquité, l'objet des méditations des écrivains et de la sollicitude des Gouvernemens.'
1. Police.-This, as forming the branch of the subject undertaken by M. Bexon, which in his large volume is first presented to our view, is the part on which we shall first submit our observations. He has traversed the ground with suflicient minuteness; and few, among the particulars which called for his notice, have escaped it; but the sort of eye with which he surveyed it, was that of a man better disposed, than qualified, to find out the improvements capable of being effected in it. A few sentences, or articles, as he calls them, from the commencement of his · Code de Police Administrative,' will afford some means of judging of the species of instruction which, on this head, he has afforded us.
• Art. I. Definition de la Police Administrative.--La police administrative est instituée pour veiller au maintien de la sureté générale et de la paix publique, à la conservation des personnes et des choses.'
He must have had a very singular conception of what a definition is, who could call this a definition. • Administrative police is instituted for the purpose of watching over the maintenance of general security and public peace, over the preservation of persons and things. Now, though this may be perfectly just and true, it is no more a definition of the peculiar functions and