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" Both interwoven with so nice an art,
• She spoke ; and ere SBRENA could reply,
In terms so eloquent, so sweetly bold,
Art. IX. Letters to the Right Honourable the Earl of Mansfield,
By Mr. Burtenhaiv. 410. 10's. 6 d. Kearsley. 1781.. THESE Letters contain a severe animadversion on the con
duct and decision of the learned Chief Justice in a Cause that came on some time since in the Court of King's Bench, between Sir James Brown, the heir at law, and Lady Brown, the widow and devisee, of Sir Robert Brown deceased, and was determined in favour of the latter. Mr. Burtenshaw, it appears, sustained the whole expences of the litigation: not, we believe, from any propensity (as we have heard maliciously suggested) toward the hazardous and delusive amusement of title-hunting; but from motives of humanity and generofity to the unfortunate Baronet, whose inheritance was in dispute ; and whose right and title to the estate must have appeared, to Mr. Burtenshaw at least, clear and incontrovertible." But it sometimes happens in law, as in criticism,
“ A litile learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taite not, the Pierian spring." Mr. Burtenshaw seems to have studied law enough to puzzle himself, but not to convince others; enough to put him in the wrong, but not to set him right.
He affails the decision of the Court with a mixture of sarcasm and legal arguments, with a parade of diction, and a forced attempt at wit and humour, that altogether make this a very singular publication. As an author, Mr. B.'s talents are certainly above mediocrity. But, unfortunately, the work is spun out to so tiresome a length, chat an admirer of his wit and humour,
and a subscriber to his law, must be equally fatigued and disgufted. There is too much law for a humourist; and too much humour for a lawyer. The first will think the argument heavy, and the last the wit misplaced. Beside the wounded spirit too evidently appears throughout; and, while the Writer points the shafts of ridicule at the noble and learned Judge, it is easy to perceive the barbed arrow in his own fide. “ Hæret lateri lethalis arundo.”
To shew the odd compound of which this work confifts, we shall just extract from the Table of Contents the heads of two or three of these Letters (out of nineteen in a similar strain) which will give the Reader some idea of the question of law, as well as of the Author's manner of treating it:
LETTER II. • Circumstances of the Brown family stated.
Mr. Attorney General's opening arguments in behalf of Lady Brown.
• A fallacy in his arguments pointed out.
"A noble Lord opens and consecrates; he is dangerous to Kings; seeks to pin Serjeant Davy down to more than he had admitted. • Mr. Attorney General proceeds in his argument.
The noble Lord represents Sir Robert's strict injunction concerning his name to be only a recommendation. He takes the reversion in fee to be left to the daughter.
• He abuses Sir James; observations thereon.
LETTER VI. "The weight of the lightness of vanity. Whilft a juryman is out of Court, the noble Lord resolves the Cause into mere matter of law, with which the jury have nothing to do; with an observation thereon.
• He declares he will never leave the construction of a will to a jury; observations thereon, and on another decision of his,
• The urinary paffage.
• Mr. Serjeant Davy's argument on the law point, in which he seeks to introduce matter of fact, concerning copyholds; but is repelled by the noble Lord.
LETTER XIX. . Congratulation of the Kirk.
"The Author is terrified, and makes fresh auricular confeffion of new fins.
• Analogous reasoning from the kitchen axiom, that sauce for a goose is sauce for a gander.
• To lay down as a general position, that the declarations of dead persons shall never under any circumstances be received in evidence would be unjust; and why so.
• False « False delicacy.
« The Author enters into an obligation for his future good behaviour, and binds himself over to appear at the Summer Afs fizes for Sussex in 1782.
• The duties of juries and distinctions between law and fact refumed.
• A return to more preposterous idolatry than had been renounced.
• Of speculative and practical matters of law with respect to rules of descent, wherein the doctrine of the feudifts, and of Littleton, Lord Coke, and Sir Martin Wright are considered.
• The noble Lord hangs the better half of Lord Coke, and faves the worst.
• A difficult law-question solved mathematically: knotting and splicing.
A magical intail created by the noble Lord; gaming harpies virtuous rivalry; friendship; leopards; tantararara; Nathan and the noble Lord.
• Gavelkind lands and petticoat law.
"Of proceedings before the Court since the trial, and how the noble Lord runs his hand in the Author's pocket, with obfervations.
• One motive which stimulated the Author to write a book.
. Of the apprehensions of the people of Sussex ; Mr. White field and the Queen of France; the Author is vexed at the noble Lord's Nandering him, and proposes to him an alternative.
6 Of the origin and continuance of evil, and of new Scrip.'
If our Readers should not be highly delighted with the union of the humourist and the lawyer here displayed; still less as Reviewers have we any reason to rejoice at the union of the two characters of litigant and author. If every cause that is tried in the Courts of Law, where the question lies in so narrow a compass as it appeared to the Court of King's Bench to do in the present case, were to produce its quarto pamphlet of 297 pages, we should tremble at the commencement of every term in Weft. minster Hall, as being pregnant with new labours to us unfore tunate Reviewers. The press would swarm with pamphlets,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
. MILTON. It is natural for a man to think his own cause of great public importance. Every circumstance, however minute, acquires consequence in his mind; every argument in his favour, however flight, rises to demonftration; and every objection against him, however strong, is unwillingly received, and thus efore willingly forgotten. At last the cause comes before a Court of Judicature:-- he is astonished that the same effect is not produced in other minds: he is filled with indignation at the Judge,
England. ither the Universome of the greatephy: ple
the Jury, and the Counsel: resolves to appeal to the world: goes home :--and writes a pamphlet.
T. Art, X. Chemical Flays: By R. Watson, D. D. F. R. S. and
Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. Two
Volumes 12mo. 8 s. sewed. Elmsly, &c. 1781. THE subjects of these Essays, to use the Author's own words, T o have been chosen, not so much with a view of giving a syftem of chemistry to the world, as with the humbler design of conveying, in a popular way, a general kind of knowledge, to persons not much versed in chemical inquiries.' He accord ingly apologises to Chemists, "for having explained common matters, with what will appear to them a disgusting minuteness; and for having passed over in silence some of the most intereft. ing questions, such as those respecting the analysis of air and fire, &c. With much less propriety the learned Author apologises to Divines; whose forgiveness he solicits for having stolen a few hours from the studies of his profession, and employed them in the cultivation of natural philosophy: pleading in his defence the example of some of the greatest characters that ever adorned either the University of Cambridge, or the Church of England' For our parts, we earnestly wilh that this Univerfity and Church furnished a greater number of members, than we yet find they possess, who employed their abundant leisure hours so very laudably.
In the two first of these Essays, the Author gives an hiftorical account of the rise and progress of chemistry, and explains in a familiar manner the principal terms and operations used in that art. In the third, he treats of saline substances, such as acids, alcalis, and the neutral salts compounded of them. After relating some observations and experiments respecting alcalis, he obferves, that it would be a great saving to the nation, if pot. alh could be made here in sufficient quantities; as it is supposed that we pay to Russia, and other foreign states, not less than 150,000 pounds annually for that article.
. We have,' says the Author, ' inexhaustible mines of rock salt, in this country, which the proprietors can afford at 10 thillings a ton. A ton of rock salt, as has been before observed of common salt, contains about half a ton of mineral alcali, which is for most purposes far preferable to pot-ath. If a method could be contrived of extracting this alcaline part from rock falt, it would be a most serviceable discovery.'-To those who may have leisure to profecute this inquiry, the Autbor proposes this hint:- whether the alcaline part of rock salt may not be obtained by calcining it in conjunction with cbarcoal' in open fires ?' --His reason for this conjecture is founded on the following experiment :