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the democracy in the fecond: the one could always deftroy what the other had established: nay, the one, by a fudden and unforeseen motion, might take the start of the other; and totally annihilate its rival, by a vote, which from the nature of the conftitution, had the full authority of a Law, But no fuch conteft or ftruggle is obferved in the history of Rome: no inftance of a quarrel betwixt these two legiflatures; tho' many betwixt the parties that governed in each. Whence arose this concord, which may seem so extraordinary?
The legislature established at Rome, by the authority of Servius Tullius, was the Comitia centuriata, which after the expulfion of the kings, rendered the government, for fome time, altogether ariftocratical. But the people, having numbers and force on their fide, and being elated with frequent conquefts and victories in their foreign wars, always prevailed when pufhed to extremities, and firft extorted from the fenate the magiftracy of the tribunes, and then the legiflative power of the Comitia Tributa. It then behoved the nobles to be more careful than ever not to provoke the people. For befide the force, which the latter were always poffeft of, they had now got poffeffion of legal authority, and could inftantly break in pieces any order or inftitution, which directly oppofed them. By intrigue, by influence, by money, by combination, and by the refpect paid their character, the nobles might often prevail, and direct the whole machine of government; but had they openly fet their comitia centuriata in oppofition to the tributa, they had foon loft the advantage of that inftitution, along with their confuls, prætors, ædiles, and all the magiftrates elected by it. But the comitia tributa, not having the fame reason for respecting the centuriata, frequently repealed laws fayourable to the ariftocracy: they limited the authority of the nobles; protected the people from oppreffion; and controuled the actions of the fenate and magiftracy. The centuriata found it convenient always to fubmit; and tho' equal in authority, yet being inferior in power, durft never directly give any fhock to the other legiflature, either by repealing its laws, or establishing laws, which, it forefaw would foon be repealed by it,
3. The third cuftom we propofed to obferve regards England; and tho' it be not fo important as thofe, which we have pointed out in Athens and Rome, it is no lefs fingular and remarkable. 'Tis a maxim in politics, which we readily admit, as undifputed and univerfal, that a power,
however great, when granted by law to an eminent magiftrate, is not fo dangerous to liberty, as an authority, however inconfiderable, which he acquires from violence and ufurpation. For befides that the law always limits every power, which it beftows; the very receiving it as a conceffion establishes the authority whence it is derived, and preferves the harmony of the conftitution. By the fame right that one prerogative is affumed without law, another may alfo be claimed, and another, with ftill greater facility: while the firft ufurpations both ferve as precedents to the following, and give force to maintain them. Hence the heroism of Hampden, who fuftained the whole violence of royal profecution rather than pay a tax of twenty fhillings, not imposed by parliament; hence the care of all English patriots to guard against the first encroachments of the crown and hence alone the existence, at this day, of English liberty.
There is, however, one occafion, wherein the parliament has departed from this maxim; and that is, in the preffing of feamen. The exercife of an illegal power is here tacitly permitted in the crown; and tho' it has frequently been deliberated on, how that power might be rendered legal, and under what reftrictions it might be granted to the fovereign, no fafe expedient could ever be propofed for that purpose, and the danger to liberty always appeared greater from law than from ufurpation. While this power is exercised to no other end than to man the navy, men willingly fubmit to it, from a fenfe of its ufe and neceffity; and the failors, who are alone affected by it, find no body to fupport them, in claiming the rights and privileges, which the law grants, without distinction, to all English fubjects. But were this power, on any occafion, made an inftrument of faction, or minifterial tyranny, the oppofitefaction, and indeed all lovers of their country, would immediately take the alarm, and support the injured party: the liberty of Englishmen would be afferted: juries would be implacable; and the tools of tyranny, acting both against law and equity, would meet with the fevereft vengeance. On the other hand, were the parliament to grant fuch an authority, they would probably fall into one of these two inconveniencies: they would either beftow it under so many reftrictions as would make it lofe its effects, by cramping the authority of the crown; or they would render it fo large. and comprehenfive, as might give occafion to great abuses, for which we could, in that cafe, have no remedy. The
very illegality of the power, at present, prevents its abuses, by affording fo easy a remedy against them.
I pretend not, by this reasoning, to exclude all poffibility of contriving a regifter for feamen, which might man the navy, without being dangerous to liberty. I only observe, that no fatisfactory scheme of that nature has yet been propofed. Rather than adopt any project hitherto invented, we continue a practice feemingly the moft abfurd and unaccountable. Authority, in times of full internal peace and concord, is armed against law; a continued and open ufurpation in the crown is permitted, amidst the greatest jealousy and watchfulness in the people; nay proceeding from those very principles: liberty, in a country of the highest liberty, is left entirely to its own defence, without any countenance or protection: the wild state of nature is renewed, in one of the most civilized focieties of mankind and great violences and disorders, among the people, the most humane and the best natured, are committed with impunity; while the one party pleads obedience to the fupreme magiftrate, the other the permiffion of fundamental laws.'
Our author, in his tenth discourse, which is the longest of all, as well as the most curious, treats of the populoufness of ancient nations; but we must refer the account of this and the following ones to fome future article.
ART. III. A continuation of the Experiments on Subftances. refifting putrefaction; by John Pringle, M. D. F. R. S. From the Philofophical Tranfactions, No. 496. Publifhed laft Month.
in his former
paper, (fee Review for October laft) mentioned the comparative force of certain falts, and other fubftances refifting putrefaction, he now proceeds to a more particular account of thofe experiments, with fome others, fince made on that subject.
1. Three pieces of the lean of fresh beef, each weighing two drachms, were put separately into wide-mouthed phials. Two ounces of ciftern-water were added to each; in one. were diffolved 30 grains of fea-falt; in another 60; but the third contained nothing but flesh and water. These bottles were little more than half-full; and, being corked, were placed in a lamp-furnace, regulated by a thermometer, and kept about the degree of human heat.
About ten or twelve hours after, the contents of the phial without falt had a faint fmell; and in three or four hours more were putred*. In an hour or two longer the flesh with the leaft falt was tainted; but that which had moft, remained sweet above 30 hours after infufion. This experiment was often repeated with the fame refult, making allowance for variations of the degree of heat.
The 'ufe of this experiment was for making standards, whereby to judge of the feptic or antiseptic ftrength of bodies. Thus, if water with any ingredient preserved flesh better than without it, or better than with the additions of the falt, that ingredient might be faid to refift putrefaction more than water alone, or with 30 or 60 grains of sea-salt, But if, on the other hand, water, with any addition, promoted corruption more than when pure, the substance added was to be reckoned a feptic, or haftener of putrefaction.
The following experiments were therefore all made in the fame degree of heat with the quantity of flesh, water, and air, as above fpecified; together with fuch feptic or antifeptic fubftances, as fhall be afterwards mentioned, and were all compared with the ftandards. But whereas the leaft quantity of falt preferved flesh little longer than plain water, I fhall always compare the feveral antifeptic bodies with the greateft quantity of falt; fo that whenever any fubftance is faid to oppofe putrefaction more than the ftandard, I mean, more than 60 grains of fea-falt.
2. I began with examining other falts, and compared them in the fame quantity with the standard; which being of all the weakest, I fhall fuppofe it equal to unity, and exprefs the proportional ftrength of the rest in higher numbers in the following table.
Table of the comparative Powers of Salts in refifting Putrefaction.
It is to be observed, that thefe pieces were all entire ; but when they are beat to a confiftence of a pap, with the fame quantity of water,,the putrefaction then begins in less than half the time mentioned here.
In this table I have marked the proportions by integral numbers; it being hard, and perhaps unneceffary, to bring this matter to more exactnefs; only to fome I have added the fign+, to fhew, that thofe falts are ftronger than the number in the table by fome Fraction; unless in the three laft, where the fame fign imports that the falt may be ftronger by fome Units*. The tartar vitriolated is rated at 2; tho more than 30 grains of it was taken to equal the ftandard: But perceiving all of it was not diffolved, an allowance was made accordingly. On the other hand, as part of the Hartfhorn flies off, its real force must be greater than what appears by the table. The falt of amber is likewife volatile; and as three grains of it were found more prefervative than 60 grains of fea-falt; it may therefore be much more than 20 times ftronger. This is indeed an acid falt; but as the acid part of it is inconfiderable, this high antifeptic power muft be owing to fome other principle. The Spiritus Mindereri was made of common vinegar and falt of hartfhorn; the faline mixture of falt of wormwood faturated with lemon-juice. The alcaling part in either of thefe mixtures with water only would have refifted with a power of 4+; fo that the acid added rendered these falts lefs antiseptic; viz. the Spiritus Mindereri by a half, and the faline mixture by a third part: which was a circumftance very unexpected.
3. Next I proceeded to try refins and gums, and began
*Five grains of Borax was the smallest quantity compared with fea-falt; but holding out fo much longer, I fufpect three grains would have been fufficient; in which cafe the force of this falt was to be estimated at 20: A fingular inftance of the strength of a falt not acid. One grain of Alum was weaker than 60 grains of fea-falt; but two grains were ftronger. The power therefore of alum lies between 30 and 60: but, as I couldjudge by the experiment, nearer the first number.