« ZurückWeiter »
thit the influence of the democracy has long been gaining ground in our constitution, lleinsilisth.it the monarchy, deprived as it is of the legal power necessary to its defence, cannot maintain itself without influence: but at the same time he admits that a government of influence is baneful in its nature; and that the resources of no state whatever can for a continuance support it: he is therefore an advocate for a reform, though, as we have already said, on principles different from any yet recommended to the public.
'Unless (fays he a radical amelioration of legislative policy takes place, anarchy will triumph, or despotism will crush every remnant os liberty.Th's horrid alternative canbe prevented only by active and strenuous exertions of the advocates for order and rational freedom. Whoever values his properly and his honours, must owe their preservation to himself: he can no longer enjoy them in indolence under the protection of laws, or a constitution, for which the contending parties feel no reverence,whichthc one endeavours to destroy, and the other to abuse.'
A great blefling attending our government, he observes, is, that we need not disorganize in order to regenerate, and that a complete reformation may be obtained by adhering to the spirit, without departing from the forms, of our present constitution :—but, in order to proceed with effect, he thinks the legislature ought to begin in time. To those who have, property, and to those who have hitherto possessed a kind ot monopoly of places, he gives very wholesome advice in the following words:
'The rich would do well to imitate the. fabled policy of the beaver, v ho is said to bite off the part for
which the hunters pursue him, and, submits to be maimed in order to lave his life. The upper rank cannot long retain an exclusive right to the lucrative offices of the state. The greedy multitude will at first insist on having a share; they will then take the whole, and the private possessions of therich will soon follow. Before it is too late, all salaries and profits arising from offices of state should be infinitely reduced, and neither the populace nor their leaders will then be very keen in the pursuit of barren honour and unprofitable labour.'
After the last chapter, are given 101 pages of notes, illustrating various propositions laid down in the body of the work; to which is subjoined an Appendix of 31 pages, containing many very judicious observations on agriculture, inclosures, &c.
Such is the outline of a Work, which, we are convinced, cannot be read without benefit by any class or description of thinking men. It contains undoubtedly much that will be condemned, or at least disputed, by many, on the subjects of the army, militia, religion, garrisons, royal prerogative, commerce, and reform : but the parts which may be condemned by some, will be infinitely overbalanced by those that must be praised by all*
The History and Antiquities os the County of Leicester, compiled from the be/I and most ar.tient Historian!:, tStc. Including also, M'. Burton's Description os the County, pMijbed in i6»2; a-id the later Collections os Mr. Steiokley, Mr. Carlt, Mr. Peck, and Sir I bom as t.avi. ByJohn MicMs, F. S. A Edinburgh and Perth. In 4 veil, folio.
Vol. I. Part. I. Containing IntroduStsy Records, Illustrations, &c.
and the Early History of the Tirwn
o/Lt'utster. Vol. 2. Parti. Containing Framland
Hundnd. Common Paper, $1. jj. Royal Paper,
"/. "js. boards, hichds. 1796.
WE cannot sufficiently admire nr applaud the extraordinary perseverance and assiduity of research ■which our estimable author must have bestowed on so dry but useful > publication as the one now be/ore us.
We have no hesitation in placing the history of l.eicestersliire at the head of all the county histories xvhich have yet appeared, for extent of information and ininuteness of investigation, and though frem its bulk and locality, its merit is not likely to be sufficiently appreciated hy the presmt generation, yei posterity will consider it as an invaluable legacy, and be grateful to its .disinterested author for so complete a collection of antient records, authentic documents, and original information.
The introductory volume begins with an account of Leiceslerlhire extracted from Domesday book, '■with a translation. It is succeeded by a curious and valuable dissertation on Domesday book, closed by a tabulary description os Leicestershire as it was in the time of William the conqueror. Then follows au essay on the Mint at l.eicesteiihire, with views of coins. The names and arm3 of knights of the county of Leicester who served r.nder Edward I. are next given, with other lists of persons who bore honours, &c. A copy of the Testa <le Neville, as far as it relates to this county, a matriculus of the churches of the archdeacourv of
Leicester in 1220, a rotula of the churches of Leicestershire in 1344. and other tables relating to ecclesiastical matters, come next. These are followed by a variety of papers, containing taxations, lists of freeholders, knight's fees, tenants in capitt, &c. &c. Mr. Leman's treatise on the Roman roads and stations in Leicestersliire, with additional observations by the bishop of Cork, and remarks on Roman roads by other writers, together with a learned essay on a Roman milliary found near Leicester, by the Rev. George Alhby, form the succeeding set of papers. The rivers and navigations of Leicestershire are the subject of the next article, chiefly enlisting ofcop'esof the acts obtained lor the purposes of navigation, mostly of very late date. Dr. Pulteney then contributes a catalogue of r.irer plants found in the neighbourhood of Leicester, Loughborough. anl in Clnrley forest, drawn up win the judgment and accuracy that might be expected from so able a botanist. The returns made to parliament of charitable donations within the county fill a large number of sueceeding pages. All the remainder of 1 he volume is composed ot the history and antiquities of the town of Leicester, with a serifs of its bishops, of the kings, dukes, and earlsofMercia, and their successors, earls of 1 eicester. A great portion of this trenches deeply on the general history of England, in which the Montfort family, with others who bore the Leicester title, made so conspicuous a figure. The writer (an anonymous friend of Mr. Nichols) has also contrived to bring in the whole story of Thomas a Becket, who seems to
be be a favourite character with this memorialist, who certainly displays an intimate acquaintance with many nice historical points ; though few, we imagine, will follow him through all his narrations an.1 disquisitions, which are however little enlivened by the beauties of composition. An appendix of charters, deeds, and other legal papers, concludes this first part of the introductory volume.
The first part of the second volume, containing an account of Framland Hundred, is a specimen of what is t6 constitute the proper matter of the work. Every township in the hundred is separately treated in an alphabetical order. The author's general method is to give the name, situation, and contents of the district; then to trace all the owners of the manor and the landed property of the place, from the earliest records, down tp the present time: with this are introduced genealogies of all the principal families, as well as anecdotes, biographical and literary, of all extraordinary persons connected, by birth or otherwise, with the township. Ecclesiastical matter comes next, such as notices of all religious and charitable foundations, account of the churchliving, its nature and value, patrons, and incumbents; monumental inscriptions, extracts from the parish register, population, and bills of mortality at different periods, £c. Very few details of natural history or economical matter are to be found; and, indeed, little occurs for the amusement of a common reader, except the biographical relations, some of which are curious. The present volume, comprising Belvoir castle and Sta
pleford, has a minute account of the noble families of Rutland and Harborough, the latter of which is peculiarly rich in genealogical illustrations, decorated with many fine engravings. Other distinguished families, and not a few men of letters and divines of note, are recorded in the course of the work. We shall present our reader with the transcript of one article, as a neat model of topographical description, unattended with antiquities. It is an account of the natural history of the parish of Little Dalby, communicated by professor Martyn.
'This lordship is remarkably hih ly, being thrown ab/out in small swellings in such a manner, that in the greater part of it, it is difficult to find a piece of flat ground. The largest portion of it is an an? cient enclosure; and none of the inhabitants know when it took place. I thought at first to have discovered the date of it from the age of the trees in the hedge rows; but none of them which I have had an opportunity of examining are more than about 120 years old; but if the enclosure went no further back than this, we should have learnt the date of it from tradition. I then searched the parish register, to find whether any depopulation had taken place since the time of Elizabeth; but could find none, and therefore concluded that the enclosure was at least as early as her reign. That there has been a depopulation 1 conclude, not only from the natural consequence of enclosing, but from the foundations of buildings which are discovered in the closes near the church.
'The wholelordfliipisin pasture, M ro 2 except except here and there a small piece which the landlords permit the tenants to break up occasionally, when it becomes very mossy; but then this is laid down again usually at the end of three or four years. There are no woods; but there are some, small plantations of oak, asli, and elm of nn very long date. There is abundance of ash in the hedge rows, and scarcely any other tree. The soil is a strong clay; there is no waste ground in thelcrdfhip ; but it is not cultivated, in my opinion, to the t-est advantage. They depend chiefly on their dairies; they breed, however, very fine sheep, famous for the whiteness of their fleeces, which weigh from seven to nine pounds: they breed also fine horned cattle; but the lordship, in general, is not good serding ground.
'This lordthipis remarkable for having first made the best cheese perhaps in the world, commonly known by the name of Stilton cheese, from its having been originally bought up, and made known, by Cooper Thornhill, the landlord cf the Bell inn at Stilton. It began to be made here by Mrs. Orton, about the year 1730, in small quantities; for at first it was supposed that it could only be made from the milk of the cows which fed in one close, now called Orton's close; but this was afterwards found to be an error. In 1756 it was made only by three persons, and that, in small quantities; but it is now made, riot only from one, but from a'most every close in this parish, and in many of the neighbouring ones. It is well known that this sort of cheese is made in
the shape, and os the size, of a collar of brawn. It is extremely
rich, because they mix among the new milk as much cream as it will bear. It requires much care and attendance; and, being in great request, it fetches lod. a pound on the spot, and Is. in the London market.
'There is no stone, gravel, or sand, in this lordship, except a little sand stone on the side of Bur"row-hills: it is mostly a strong blue clay; and in seme parts of it is a good brick earth. There is only one spring,and that a chalybeate; it lies high, in a close belonging to the vicar, known by the name of the spring close; it runs over a great part of the year, and discharges itself into the valley, where the village lies. Nobody ever attempted to sink for a well in this parish, till, in the winter of 1777 and 1778, Edward Wigley Hartop, Esq. dug and succeeded. He penetrated through a bed of siiflFblue clay; and at the depth of 66 feet the water gushed in, when, I apprehend, the workmen were coming to the limestone rock, by their having thrown out some fragments of blue stone. To the depth of 10 feet were frequent nodules of chalk; at that depth the clay was full of small selenites. At 30 feel deep the clay was found to be full of pectens, and other (hells very perfect, but extremely tender. Nodules of Indus belmontii were interspersed; ammonites of different species in great quantities, gryphites, and other (hells ; and plates of a clear foliaceous mica, resembling Muscovy gluts. I am inform-, ed that the water did not prove good, and that little or no use is made of this well.
'I have not found any natural productions, either animal, vegetable. table, or fossil, but what are common in other places. There is neither wood nor waste ground in the parisli; and we know, that w!~ere man has completely subdued the toil tohisown use,he permits nothing to feed or prosper, but what is serviceable to his private interest.
«The air here is dry and healthy; fogs are not frequent, and clear off early when they happen. The inhabitants are happy, and many of them live to a gooil old age.
'Their fuel here is pitcoal, which they have chiefly brought from Derbyshire and some from lord Middleton's coal-pits near Nottingham. The carnage being heavy, and the roads bad, it used to cost them ljd. or i6d. per hundred weight: but, since the navigation has been completed to Loughborough, they get it for lod. or nd. per hundred.
'No great road leads through the parilh; but the turnpike road from Oakham to Melton passes within a mile by Leesthorp, and they come upon it in going to Melton, at about the fame distance before they come to Burton.
* 1 here is not any river that runs through the parisli, or comes near it; and only one inconsiderable brook, which is sometimes dry. T his joins another, more considerable, that comes from Somerby by Leesthorp, and both, proceeding jointly by Burton Lazars, fall into the river Eye, between Brentingby and Melton.
•There is no papist in this parisli, nor one dillenter of any denomination.
• The parochial feast follows St. James; to whom the church is dedicated.
'There have been no perambulations time immemorial. 2
'The rent of the whole parisli is 142:!. ;s.
'The number of houses is 2:; families 22; and inhabitants 123; three teams kept.
'The land tax at 4s. raises 164I. 14s. id.
'Labourers have is. 2d. per day in summer, and Is. in the winter; in harvest Is. 6d. and their Victuals. Land lets at 15s. an acre.
'The nett expenceof the poor in 1776 was 27I. 16s.
'Medium of three years, 1783 — 1785, 45I. 8s. 4d.'
These volumes are illustrated by a very liberal provision of engravings, in which a view is giveti of every individual parim-church. as well as of feats, monuments, antiquities, and other remarkable objects. An appendix to the second volume contains 3 number of deeds, charters and other papers relative to each hunJred; which addition will doubtless be repeated in the future volumes.
Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Abbate Metnjiofta. In <which are incorporated 7 rar.Jlations of bis principal Le.ters. Bv Charles Barney, Muf. D. F. K. S. 8v». 3 F»l<. 1796.
THE name of Metastasio has long been associated in every European metropolis with the cxquisi te pleasures of the noble, the opulent, and the polished. The euphony of his lines and the sitnefs of his sentiments have been impressed on our recollection, in concert with the most vivid and brilliant displays of all the arts of delight. Melodies of the most fascinating composers, assisted by punctual orchestras,