« 上一页继续 »
And the writs are extant, which summon every city, borough, and market town to send two deputies to a council in the eleventh year of his reign. The knights and burgesses thus chosen, as well as the clergy within the province of Canterbury, met at Northampton : those within the province of York at that city. And neither assembly was opened by the king. This anomalous convention was, nevertheless, one means of establishing the representative system, and to an inquirer free from technical prejudice is little less important than a regular Parliament. Nor have we long to look even for this. In the same year, about eight months after the councils at Northampton and York, writs were issued, summoning to a Parliament at Shrewsbury two citizens from London, and as many from each of twenty other considerable towns. Though a very imperfect, this was a regular and unequivocal representation of the Commons in Parliament. But their attendance seems to have intermitted from this time to the twenty-third year of Edward's reign.
Those to whom the petition of St. Albans is not satisfactory will hardly yield their conviction to that of Barnstaple. This town set forth, in the eighteenth year of Edward III., that among other franchises granted to them by a charter of Athelstan, they had ever since exercised the right of sending two burgesses to Parliament. The said charter, indeed, was unfortunately mislaid ; and the prayer of their petition was to obtain one of the like import in its stead. Barnstaple, it must be observed, was a town belonging to Lord Audley, and had actually returned members ever since the twenty-third of Edward I. Upon an inquisition directed by the king to be made into the truth of these allegations, it was found that “the burgesses of the said town were wont to send two burgesses to Parliament for the commonalty of the borough ;” but nothing appeared as to the pretended charter of Athelstan, or the liberties which it was alleged to contain. The burgesses, dissatisfied with this inquest, prevailed that another should be taken, which certainly better answered their wishes. The second jury found "that Barnstaple was a free town from time immemorial ; that the burgesses had enjoyed, under a charter of Athelstan, which had been casually lost, certain franchises by them enumerated, and particularly that they should send two burgesses to Parliament; and that it would not be to the king's prejudice if he should grant them a fresh charter in terms equally ample with that of his predecessor Athelstan.” But the following year we have another writ, and another inquest, the former reciting that the second return had been unduly and fraudulently made; and the latter expressly contradicting the previous inquest on many points, and especially finding no proof of Athelstan's supposed charter. Comparing the various parts of this business, we shall probably be induced to agree that it was but an attempt of the inhabitants of Barnstaple to withdraw themselves from the jurisdiction of their lord : for the right of returning burgesses, though it is the main point of our inquiries, was by no means the most prominent part of their petition, which rather went to establish some civil privileges of revising their tenements, and electing their own mayor.
It has, however, probably occurred to the reader, that in these two cases of St. Albans and Barnstaple, the representation of the Commons in Parliament was not treated as a novelty, even in times little posterior to those in which we have been supposing it to have originated. In this consists the whole strength of the opposite argument. An act in the fifth year of Richard II. declares that if any sheriff shall leave out of his returns any cities or boroughs which be bound, and of old time were wont, to come to the Parliament, he shall be punished as was accustomed to be done in the like case in time past. In the memorable assertion of legislative right by the Commons in the second year of Henry V., they affirm that “the commune of the land is, and ever has been, a member of Parliament.” And the consenting suffrage of our older law-books must be placed in the same scale. The first gainsayers were Camden and Sir Henry Spelman, who upon probing the antiquities of our constitution somewhat more exactly than their predecessors, declared that they could find no signs of the Commons in Parliament till the forty-ninth year of Henry III. Prynne, some years afterwards, with much
vigour and learning maintained the same argument, and Brady completed the victory. But the current doctrine of Westminster Hall, and still more of the two chambers of Parliament was certainly much against these antiquaries ; and it passed at one time for a surrender of popular principles, and almost a breach of privilege, to dispute the lineal descent of the House of Commons from the Wittenagemot.
The true ground of these pretensions to antiquity was a very well-founded persuasion, that no other argument would be so conclusive to ordinary minds, or cut short so effectually all encroachments of the prerogative. And it may be observed that several pious frauds were practised to exalt the antiquity of our constitutional liberties. These began, perhaps, very early, when the imaginary laws of Edward the Confessor were so earnestly demanded. They were carried further under Edward I., when the fable of privileges granted by the Conqueror to the men of Kent was devised; when Andrew Horn filled his “ Mirror of Justice” with fictitious tales of Alfred ; and above all, when the “method of holding Parliament in the time of Ethelred” was fabricated, about the end of Richard II.'s reign-an imposture which proved to be not too gross to deceive Sir Edward Coke.
MODES OF SALUTATION IN VARIOUS
COUNTRIES. Where men salute each other in an amicable manner, it signifies little whether they move a particular part of their body or practice a particular ceremony. In these actions there must exist different customs. Every nation imagines it employs the most reasonable modes of showing respect ; but all are equally simple, and none are to be treated as ridiculous.
This infinite number of ceremonies may be reduced to two kinds—to reverences or salutations, and to the touch of some parts of the human body. To bend and prostrate oneself to express sentiments of respect appears to be a natural motion, for terrified persons throw themselves on the earth when they adore invisible beings; and the affectionate touch of the person they salute is an expression of tenderness.
Modes of salutation have sometimes very different characters, and it is no uninteresting speculation to examine their shades of difference. Many display a refinement of delicacy, while others are remarkable for their simplicity or for their sensibility. In general, however, they are frequently the same in the infancy of nations, and in more polished societies. Respect, humility, fear, and esteem are expressed much in a similar manner, for these are the natural consequences of the organisation of the body.
Primitive nations have no peculiar modes of salutation. They know no forms of reverence or other compliments; or, if they do, they despise and disdain them. The Greenlanders laugh when they see a European uncover his head and bend his body before him whom he calls his superior.
The islanders near the Philippine Isles take the hand or foot of him they salute, and with it they gently rub their face. The Laplanders apply their nose strongly against that of the person they salute. Dampier says that at New Guinea they are satisfied to put on their heads the leaves of trees, which have ever passed for symbols of friendship and peace. This is, at least, a picturesque form of salutation.
Other salutations are very incommodious and painful. It requires great practice to enable a man to be polite in an island situated in the Straits of the Sound. A traveller tells us they saluted him in this grotesque manner : “They raised his left foot, which they passed gently over the right leg, and from thence over his face." The inhabitants of the Philippine Islands use a most complex attitude. They bend their body very low, place their hands on their cheeks, and raise at the same time one foot in the air with their knee bent.
An Ethiopian takes the robe of another and ties it about his own waist, so that he leaves his friend half naked. This custom of undressing on these occasions takes other
forms; sometimes men place themselves naked before the person whom they salute : it is to show their humility, and that they are unworthy of appearing in his presence. Sometimes they only undress partially. The Japanese only take off a slipper ; the people of Arracan take off their sandals in the street and their stockings in the house.
In the progress of time it appears servile to uncover oneself. The grandees of Spain claim the right of appearing uncovered before the king to show that they are not so much subject to him as the rest of the nation. The English do not uncover their heads so much as the other nations in Europe. Uncovering the head with• the Turks is a mark of indecent familiarity; in their mosques foreigners must keep their hats on. The Jewish fashion of wearing their hats in their synagogues is, doubtless, the same oriental custom.
The negroes are lovers of ludicrous actions, and hence all their ceremonies seem farcical. The greater part of them, when they meet, pull the fingers of each other till they crack. A traveller gives an odd representation of an embassy which the king of Dahomey sent to him. The ceremonies of salutation consisted in the most ridiculous contortions. When two negro monarchs visit, they embrace in snapping three times the middle finger.
Barbarous nations frequently imprint on their salutations the dispositions of their character. When the inhabitants of Cormena would show a peculiar mark of esteem, they opened a vein, and presented for the beverage of their friend the flowing blood. The Franks tore the hair from their head, and presented it to the person they saluted. The slave cut his hair and offered it to his master.
The Chinese are singularly affected in their personal civilities. They even calculate the number of their reverences. The most remarkable postures are the following: The men move their hands in an affectionate manner, while they are joined together on the breast, and bow their head a little. If they respect a person they raise their hands joined, and then lower them to the earth in bending the body. If two persons meet after a long