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of truth and reason. That the constitution is in many respects susceptible of improvement, cannot be denied; but they who aim their hostility at the judicial tenure, would do well to consider the perils which may be encountered by not only subjecting the judges to a condition of dependence, but by increasing the patronage of the public authorities wherever the power of appointment may be lodged. Political offices may appropriately be held for limited periods. They are generally of very short duration. Their duties are of a description which require frequent appeals to the judgment of the people, or of the authorities under whose control they are placed. Permanency seldom exists in such cases. The popular will has ample scope; and, being directed upon objects which it is competent to control, the great channels of political authority are kept sufficiently active and pure by the popular currents which unceasingly flow through them.
Whilst the stream moves on, creating periodically the most striking changes; prostrating the lofty, and elevating the humble; not unfrequently effecting an almost entire alteration in the public counsels, and, after a lapse of a few years, leaving scarcely a vestige of those who for their brief space of popular favour exercised a dominant sway over the state, it seems to be peculiarly appropriate that some land-marks should be permitted to remain. Whilst every thing else submits to alteration, the administration of the laws should be firm, and exempt from fluctuation. In other branches of the government, the excitement of party spirit may exercise a salutary operation ; but if it once ascends the bench, it will be a pestilence to be more seriously dreaded than the scourge which prostrates its victims without mercy or discrimination. Separated from popular excitement, and uncontrolled by men who rule for a time the commonwealth, amenable to a constitutional jurisdiction when incompetent or faithless to their exalted trusts, it is impossible to conceive a wiser or more truly republican judicial tenure, than that which is contained in the constitution of Pennsylvania.
The importance of the duties of the convention cannot be exaggerated. The peace, freedom, and prosperity of a great and growing commonwealth, may be involved in the faithful performance of them. Party spirit, selfish feelings, and temporary interests, should not be allowed to mingle with considerations so deeply important to the community, and to posterity. The result of its deliberations will excite intense interest. Its wisdom and patriotism may powerfully aid in perpetuating the durability of free principles, and the security of social order. Animated by a spirit of forbearance and moderation, and
keeping the permanent good of the state constantly in view, we may confidently hope that its labours will redound to the honour and prosperity of the commonwealth.
ART. XII.-A Narrative of Events, connected with the Rise and
Progress of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia. To which is added an Appendix, containing the Journals of the Conventions in Virginia, from the commencement to the present time. By Francis L. Hawks, D. D. 1 vol. 8vo. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1836..
nce, to be he is well History of fresting
We received, too late for an extended notice, the above work, which the author modestly entitles the commencement of “Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the United States.” The subject was too novel, and the book itself too valuable, to permit its being passed over in silence. The church history of our Union, we refer now to all the different sects in the country, is almost untrodden ground; and certainly no one (to judge from the present specimen) is better fitted to be the pioneer in this interesting and worthy labour, than the author of the History of the Episcopal Church. Of that church he is well known, from his learning and eloquence, to be a distinguished ornament; and, from the time he has devoted to the subject, and the materials which, by patient industry, he has collected, it would appear that no one was more capable of illustrating her annals. The work shows abundant marks of laborious research, and careful investigation and comparison; and, though more peculiarly acceptable to the members of one religious persuasion, yet, from its connection with the general history of our land in its first advances towards nationality, it may present much to engage the attention of all readers. He has commenced, very properly, with Virginia, as being not only one of the earliest settled among the states, but because the planting of the Episcopal church there was coeval with the settlement of the colony; and the rise of the one is therefore connected intimately with the infant struggles of the other. The "old dominion," too, at one time exhibited the spectacle so little agreeable to American modes of thought, of a union between church and state; the episcopal forms and doctrine being, in fact, for many years, there the “establishment.” Some very important questions of law and
of general liberty had their origin in this state of things, which are well worthy of the consideration of all classes in our land, though the immediate solution of them was of more confined interest. The reverend author writes with the inclinations belonging to his persuasion and profession, though exhibiting none in a degree to interfere with a dispassionate and just view of the great interests involved. The ultimate advantage to the cause of religion, seems to have been one main object which prompted his efforts; and in this, certainly, he will have the good wishes and countenance of every friend to her advancement.
The style of the book is exceedingly agreeable, throughout; and, occasionally, passages will be found of no ordinary degree of eloquence.
The three greatest poets of this century are, we think, Shelley, Wordsworth and Byron. We place them in what seems to us the order of their merit, though this of course will be a matter of dispute—and it will be a very difficult thing to reconcile opinions where the question concerns minds of such various and different powers. Between the first and last, there can hardly be a doubt as to which deserves pre-eminence—the difficulty lies only between the first two. We are conscious that in thus putting Byron beneath any one, whether of the present time or the past, it will appear to many as a depreciation, arising from ignorance of his works, or an incapacity to estimate them. To this we must submit. We only give private opinion, and oppose prevailing notions; neither from eccentricity or an absurd wish to claim originality, but from conviction. It is but a short time since we so far escaped from the fascination of Byron's muse as to be able to judge of his poetry, or to yield any thing but an unhesitating and impetuous admiration. The feelings were too deeply interested to admit an appeal to the judgment. He stood in relief, beyond all contemporary genius, the personification of human perfections, and only the poet of his age. The voices of all the rest sounded from a distance. They could gain no audience, find no response, in the pre-occupied bosom of his admirer. But time has checked all this : our intensity has died away. And we are now able to compare and class, where before we saw nothing but unqualified perfection. Like removing the quickVOL. XIX.-No. 38.