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ably well. This account perhaps (says Mr. Baretti) does no great honour to my dear country ; but shall I tell lies to do honour to my'dear country?
• P. 329. He affirms that, till within these two or three years, for half a century paft, sonnets, eclogues, love ftanzas, &c. have infected all Italy; and that this poetical pestilence has, during that period, committed the moit cruel devastation on logic, good taste and common sense.
• P. 381. That amongst the innumerable false opinions which are adopted in wise Italy for true ones, that which Itasians form in regard to their langu?ge, is not the least talse ; as they suppose without scruple, that it is superior, in beauty, to all the living languages; and that it even equals those of Greece and ancient Rome ; but that he shall fhew them, with clear evidence, the falsity of this notion, and prove to them, that their language is not equal, much less superior, to the living languages of France and England.
· P. 168. That in Italy there are, at this time, more writers than readers ; but that there are only three authors generally read; one, a good writer, Metastasio, the other two, Goldoni and Chiari, bad writers.
* P. 253. That however Italy inay not be fo totally destitute of accomplished ladies, as some women-haters would make us believe ; nevertheless we must, to our shame, confess, that our ladies are not generally educated with the same attention, as in other parts of Europe. In France, Germany, and even in Denmark and Sweden, it is as easy to find many women perfectly well educated, and consequently knowing and amia. ble, as in this our peninsula, to meet with foolish and ill be haved women; nevertheless the blame of this disgraceful difference betwixt all our ladies, and all the ladies of those countries, is not to be imputed entirely to our fathers and mothers, though they fcandalously neglect this their principal duty, but in great part to the writers in Italy, who have not yet been able to supply their country with proper books for finishing a woman's education.'
This is only a small specimen of Mr. Baretti's impartiality with regard to his dear country. Who could think that the author of the Account of Italy, and the writer of the Frufta Letteraria, were describing the same land, men, women, and manners ?
• In a chapter to which Mr. Baretti has given the title of the glories of the age of darkness, he says, If in future times, any learned men shall compile the insipid literary history of modern Italy, I beg my name may not be mentioned amongst those of my countrymen ; and my ghost will be much obliged to them;
"'$f they will inform their cotemporaries, that I never spoke of the age
I lived in, but under the title of Tenebroso; and a few lines lower, he calls it an age, with respectato Italy, dark, very dark Tenebroso, Tenebrofiffimo. I shall make no comment on these bold strokes, and seeming caricatures ; but the reader, I suppose, will, after this representation, forbear to censure Mr. Sharp's total filence on the ftate of learning in Italy; as it is natural to believe, that however wide his opinions may have been from those advanced in the Frufta Letteraria, by Mr. Baretti, yet he could hardly dare to oppose the judgment of a man, who was a critic by profeffion, and who being an Italian, was fo much better qualified than he could be, to write on so difficult a subject.'
Mr. Sharp in the next place takes notice of the representation which Mr. Baretti has made in his Frufla Lette. raria of the Vocabulary of the Crusca. • Though the Vocabulary of the Crusca (says he) contain four thousand more words, than either Johnson's Dictionary, or that of the French Academy ; yet one third of them are not used, either in writing, or in conversation; whereas both the English and French adopt in a manner every word in their dictionaries. Mr. Baretti thinks it would be of utility to the public, were the vocabulary purged of the various kinds of obiolete, and certain obscene words with which it abounds. He laments that the ancient and present members of the academy, being mostly Florentines, have always prescribed to authors the use of the Tuscan language. He says, that in France the language of books is the same through the whole kingdom; and that in England the same rule is observed ; but that in Italy authors are constrained to study the dialect of a particular country, which would not have been the case, had the vocabulary of the Crusca been a universal, and not a provincial vocabulary. Another objection to their vocabulary, is their choice of words from infamous and vulgar writers; whereas in England, the models of the language are the writings of Clarendon, Tem
Swift, &c. and in France, the Corneilles, the Racines, the Molieres, are their models, all venerable names ;-and, says he, shall we Italians number amongst the authors of our language, a croud of scriveners, barbers, coopers, carpenters, and fuch like räbble? Can a language written in the times of barbarism, when we knew neither science nor criticism, ftand in any competition 'with the languages written by Bossuet and Tillotson ? What ample diAionaries would those of England and France be, if the French still registered the words used by Amist, Rabelais,'Comines; and the English preserved those
of Gower, Chaucer, and Caxton?. He finishes this critique on the Italian vocabulary with an observation on Boccace, which, as I efteem it equally curious with all the opinions ad. 'vanced under this article, I shall beg leave to lay before the reader..
« Boccace had wit, a lively imagination, eloquence, and all the other endowments necessary to form a good writer ; nevertheless Boccace has been the ruin of the Italian tongue, and the chief cause that Italy does not yet possess a good and universal language ; because these writers who first succeeded him, and afterwards the academists of the Crusca, delighted with his writings, the best they had yet seen, and charmed more than they should have been with the wantonness of his pen, they went on from year to year, and from age to age, celebrating him so much, that at length the universal opinion, or rather the universal error, was established ; that in point of language and style, Boccace was absolutely without a fault; and consequently that whoever would write well in Itahan, ought to write as Boccace had written.-But how can it be believed, that a man who lived in an age nearly barbarous, could perfect the language of our country ? that a servile imitator of the transposed phrases of the Latin, a dead language, could be the original of his own, a living one? Nevertheless fuch was the respect paid to his works, that for the space of two hundred years, hardly any writer prefumed to adopt a word not consecrated in them. This is the reason why our written language still retains the Latin character, and that people in general cannot be pleased with the writings of Boccace, nor his followers : whilst in England and in France, where they fortunately had no Boccace, nor disciples of - Boccace, there have been formed two written languages, equally intelligible to the highest and the lowest orders of men.”
We shall not trespass upon this performance, by producing farther instances of Mr. Baretti's absurdities, inconsistencies, and contradictions, which are to be found in every page. It is fufficient to say, that Mr. Sharp has more than vindicated his own candor as a gentleman, and his character as a traveller and a scholar. He has fully shewn his antagonist to be deficient in both, after trying him by the most unexceptionable of all evidences, his own free and uncompelled teftimony; and that he is only, to give him the most favourable appellation, à literary harlequin, but destitute of skill and abilities to perform
IV. Commentaries on the Laws of England. Book the Third. By
William Blackstone, Esq. Solicitor General to her Majesty. 410. Pr. 18s. Bathurst. Concluded,
R. Blackstone, in the very interesting part of his work
at which we broke off in our last Review, distinguishes between an appeal from a court of equity, and writs of error, from a court of law. That the former may be brought upon any interlocutory matter, the latter upon nothing except only a definitive judgment : That on writs of error the house of lords pronounces the judgment, on appeals it gives direction to the court below to rectify its own decree.
The next court that I shall mention is one that hath no original jurisdi&ion, but is only a court of appeal, to correct the errors of other jurisdictions. This is the court of exche
chamber ; which was first erected by statute, 31 Edw. III. f. 12. to determine causes upon writs of error from the com mon law fide of the court of exchequer. And to that end it consists of the lord treasurer, the lord chancellor, and the juftices of the king's bench and common pleas. In imitation of which, a second court of exchequer chamber was erected by statute 27. Eliz, c. 8. consisting of the justices of the common pleas, and the barons of the exchequer; before whom writs of error may be brought to reverse judgments in certain fuits ori, ginally begun in the court of king's bench. Into the court also of exchequer chamber, (which then consists of all the judges of the ree superior courts, and now and then the lord chan. cellor allo) are sometimes adjourned from the other courts fuch causes, as the judges, upon argument find to be of great weight and difficulty, before any judgment is given upon them in the court below.? 2. Qur learned author's account of the jurisdiction of the house
peers is equally, rational and natural. He observes, that it has no çriginal jurisdiction, but only, upon appeals and writs of error. The reason of this is, that upon the diffolution of the Aula Regia, which was composed of the barons of para liament, and when its jurisdiction was split into fubordinate tribunals, it follywed, that the right of receiving appeals, and fuperinzend ng all other jurisdictions, still remained in that nor bie flexibly, from which every other great court was derived:
, confidence in the honour and conscience of the members. He mentions afterwards a tripunal established by statute the 14th of Edward II. coniifting of one prelate, two earls, and two barons. This court or rather coinmittee, seems to have been instituted to remcuy the defects or delays in the proceed
ings of inferior courts, and intended to be a kind of supplement to the court of peers, left the subject should suffer för want of an appeal during its non-feffion.
Mr. Blackstone next gives an account of the courts of aflize and nifi prius; but we shall omit particulars, as lawyers can be no ftrangers to their institutions, and the knowledge of thein is not extremely necessary to the generality of other readers.
The contents of the fifth chapter, which treats of courts ecclefiaftical, military, and maritime, must be both interest ing and entertaining to all readers. In the Saxon times, the Jay and ecclefiaftical jurisdictions were the same. The bishop fat in judgmont with the aldermen and fheriff of the county; but a greater deference of opinion was given to him in ecclefi. aftical matters, as in temporal matters to the lay judge. Our author thinks that this moderate and rational plan was de stroyed by the ambition of the court of Rome, which feparated the ecclefiaftical from the lay jurisdi&tion, and monopolized to itself the cognizance of all clerical matters and clergymen. Henry I. when he restored the laws of Edward the Confessor, restored that part of the English conftitutión ; but the ambitious prelate archbishop Anselm opposed it; and in the fynod of the clergy at Westminster, the 3d of Henry I. they ordained, that no bishop should attend the difcuffion of temporal causes, which foon dissolved this newly effected union. We need not point out to the reader the mischief and the bloodshed which this papal arrogance occafioned not only in England, but all over Europe, nor the absurd doctrines upon which it was formed. We cannot, however, in this place avoid the temptation of observing, that other ranks of men besides the clergy are fond of having their institutions considered as facred, and to contain mysteries of which they themselves only can be the judges; though, in fact, a very small portion of common sense
may enable any man, as well as an adepi, to give a found rational verdict upon the offence. ---Discipline, it is said, must be kept up.-The church of Rome always did, and still does make use of the fame argument; but we can fee no reason why a free British subject is reduced to a state worfe than that of flavery, on pretence of preserving discipline. • In treating of courts Christian or ecclesiastical, Mr. Blackstone obferves the same method he pursued when he explained the nature of civil courts ; for he begins with the lowest, and afcends gradually to the supreme court of appeal.
The archdeacon's court is held in his absence by his official, and from thence lies an appeal to
The consistory court, which every diocefan bishop holds in his cathedral, for trying ecclesiastical causes within his diocese.