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"Both interwoven with fo nice an art,
She fpoke; and ere SERENA could reply,
While, on the lovely Queen's enchanting face,
In terms fo eloquent, fo fweetly bold,
ART. IX. Letters to the Right Honourable the Earl of Mansfield. By Mr. Burten haw. 4to. 10 s. 6d. Kearsley. 1781.
HESE Letters contain a fevere animadverfion on the conduct and decifion of the learned Chief Juftice in a Cause that came on fome time fince in the Court of King's Bench, between Sir James Brown, the heir at law, and Lady Brown, the widow and devifee, of Sir Robert Brown deceased, and was determined in favour of the latter. Mr. Burtenfhaw, it appears, fuftained the whole expences of the litigation: not, we believe, from any propenfity (as we have heard maliciously suggested) toward the hazardous and delufive amufement of title-hunting; but from motives of humanity and generofity to the unfortunate Baronet, whofe inheritance was in difpute; and whofe right and title to the estate must have appeared, to Mr. Burtenfhaw at least, clear and incontrovertible. But it fometimes happens in law, as in criticism,
"A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Mr. Burtenfhaw feems to have ftudied 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 decifion 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 fingular publication. As an author, Mr. B.'s talents are certainly above mediocrity. But, unfortunately, the work is fpun out to fo tirefome a length, that an admirer of his wit and humour,
and a fubfcriber to his law, muft be equally fatigued and difgufted. There is too much law for a humourift; and too much humour for a lawyer. The firft will think the argument heavy, and the laft the wit mifplaced. Befide the wounded Spirit too evidently appears throughout; and, while the Writer points the fhafts of ridicule at the noble and learned Judge, it is easy to perceive the barbed arrow in his own fide. Hæret lateri le
To fhew the odd compound of which this work confifts, we fhall just extract from the Table of Contents the heads of two or three of these Letters (out of nineteen in a fimilar strain) which will give the Reader fome idea of the queftion of law, as well as of the Author's manner of treating it:
• Circumftances of the Brown family ftated.
Mr. Attorney General's opening arguments in behalf of Lady Brown.
A fallacy in his arguments pointed out.
A noble Lord opens and confecrates; he is dangerous to Kings; feeks to pin Serjeant Davy down to more than he had admitted.
Mr. Attorney General proceeds in his argument.
The noble Lord reprefents Sir Robert's ftrict injunction concerning his name to be only a recommendation. He takes the reverfion in fee to be left to the daughter.
He abufes Sir James; obfervations thereon.
Blowing hot and cold; Lord Somers and Dean Swift.
The weight of the lightnefs of vanity. Whilft a juryman is out of Court, the noble Lord refolves the Caufe into mere matter of law, with which the jury have nothing to do; with an observation thereon.
'He declares he will never leave the conftruction of a will to a jury; obfervations thereon, and on another decifion of his. The urinary paffage.
Mr. Serjeant Davy's argument on the law point, in which he feeks to introduce matter of fact, concerning copyholds; but is repelled by the noble Lord.
Congratulation of the Kirk.
The Author is terrified, and makes fresh auricular confeffion of new fins.
Analogous reafoning from the kitchen axiom, that fauce for a goofe is fauce for a gander.
To lay down as a general pofition, that the declarations of dead perfons fhall never under any circumftances be received in evidence would be unjuft; and why fo.
• False delicacy.
The Author enters into an obligation for his future good behaviour, and binds himself over to appear at the Summer Affizes for Suffex in 1782.
The duties of juries and diftinctions between law and fact refumed.
A return to more prepofterous idolatry than had been renounced.
• Of fpeculative and practical matters of law with respect to rules of defcent, wherein the doctrine of the feudifts, and of Littleton, Lord Coke, and Sir Martin Wright are confidered.
The noble Lord hangs the better half of Lord Coke, and faves the worst.
• A difficult law-queftion folved mathematically: knotting and fplicing.
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 fince the trial, and how the noble Lord runs his hand in the Author's pocket, with obfervations.
• One motive which ftimulated the Author to write a book. • Of the apprehenfions of the people of Suffex; Mr. Whitfield and the Queen of France; the Author is vexed at the noble Lord's flandering him, and proposes to him an alternative.
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 difplayed; ftill lefs as Re-viewers 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 queftion lies in fo narrow a compafs as it appeared to the Court of King's Bench to do in the prefent cafe, were to produce its quarto pamphlet of 297 pages, we should tremble at the commencement of every term in Weftminfter Hall, as being pregnant with new labours to us unfor tunate Reviewers. The prefs would fwarm with pamphlets, "Thick as autumnal leaves that ftrew the brooks In Vallombrofa."
It is natural for a man to think his own cause of great public importance. Every circumftance, however minute, acquires confequence in his mind; every argument in his favour, however flight, rifes to demonftration; and every objection against him, however ftrong, is unwillingly received, and therefore willingly forgotten. At laft the caufe comes before a Court of Judicature:-he is aftonished that the fame effect is not produced in other minds: he is filled with indignation at the Judge,
the Jury, and the Counfel: refolves to appeal to the world: goes home and writes a pamphlet.
ART. X. Chemical Fays: By R. Watfon, D. D. F. R. S. and Regius Profeffor of Divinity in the Univerfity of Cambridge. Two Volumes 12mo. 8 s. fewed. Elmfly, &c. 1781.
HE fubjects of these Effays, to use the Author's own words, have been chofen, not so much with a view of giving a fyftem of chemiftry to the world, as with the humbler defign of conveying, in a popular way, a general kind of knowledge, to perfons not much verfed in chemical inquiries.' He accordingly apologises to Chemifts, for having explained common matters, with what will appear to them a disgusting minuteness;" and for having paffed over in filence fome of the most interefting queftions,' fuch as thofe refpecting the analyfis of air and fire, &c. With much lefs propriety the learned Author apologifes to Divines; whofe forgiveness he folicits for having ftolen a few hours from the ftudies of his profeffion, and employed them in the cultivation of natural philofophy: pleading in his defence the example of fome of the greatest characters that ever adorned either the University of Cambridge, or the Church of England. For our parts, we earneftly with that this Univerfity and Church furnished a greater number of members, than we yet find they poffefs, who employed their abundant leisure hours fo very laudably.
In the two firft of thefe Effays, the Author gives an hiftorical account of the rife and progrefs of chemistry, and explains in a familiar manner the principal terms and operations used in that art. In the third, he treats of faline fubftances, fuch as acids, alcalis, and the neutral falts compounded of them. After relating fome obfervations and experiments refpecting alcalis, he obferves, that it would be a great faving to the nation, if potafh could be made here in fufficient quantities; as it is fuppofed that we pay to Ruffia, and other foreign ftates, not less than 150,000 pounds annually for that article.
We have,' fays the Author, inexhauftible mines of rock falt, in this country, which the proprietors can afford at 10 fhillings a ton. A ton of rock falt, as has been before obferved of common falt, contains about half a ton of mineral alcali, which is for moft purposes far preferable to pot-afh. If a method could be contrived of extracting this alcaline part from rock falt, it would be a moft ferviceable difcovery.'-To those who may have leifure to profecute this inquiry, the Author propofes this hint: whether the alcaline part of rock falt may not be obtained by calcining it in conjunction with charcoal in open fires?'-His reafon for this conjecture is founded on the following experiment: