Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

edified. And so they would, did he not too often substitute affectation for simplicity, and a few sweet sounding aphorisms, equally refined and unintelligible, instead of the perspicuous and affecting doctrine of Christ.

Such pastors are well pourtrayed by the satirist in the following liness

“ The things that mount the rostrum with a skip, 's
And then skip down again; pronounce a text;
Cry --- hem; and reading what they never wrote,
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work ;
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene !"

Yet even these fashionable and flimsy orators are pardonable, compared with the avaricious pluralist, who combines the deceit of the hypocrite with the covetousness of the miser, while his meanness reAects an odium on religion.

Some clergymen go still farther, and convert the sacred avocation into a sinecure. A recent instance, however, has occurred, in which this shame ful omission has been punished: we are informed by the public papers that, at a late Summer assizes, held at Durham, the Rev. Mr. W---, vicar of that city, was fined ten pounds a month for nonresidence during the nine preceding months; though he was proved to be actually building a house for the purpose of residence.

LAWYERS.

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch and not their terror.

SHAKESPEARE.

AMONG the various sciences, jurisprudence is entitled to a conspicuous place. The complexity and fitness of the law to almost every case deserves the reverence of the public. By its subtlety, right and wrong can be separated out of the chaos in which they are involved beneath the wig of a serjeant, or in the still more intricate labyrinth of an attorney's brain; nay, by the power of eloquence, equity can be metamorphosed into injustice.

High-spirited people, instead of appealing to honest neighbours as arbitrators of a dispute, wisely seek redress from the civil law, which very civilly disburthens them of their superfluous cash, leaving them to enjoy the pleasing reflection, that they have effected the ruin of one another. This litigious disposition has been stigmatised by the name of obstinacy; but, if traced to its origin, it will be found to spring from benevolence! Let us only consider what a multitude of serjeants, counsellors, attornies, and their coadjutors the catch-poles, would be destitute of employment, did not their good-natured countrymen contribute to their support by law suits.

Pope says, “ All discord's harmony;"and doubtless the apparent discord in our courts of justice is conducive to the social harmony and happiness of

L%

numbers, whose time is occupied by the litigations of others. Indeed the patriotic exertions of our lawyers are wonderful. With what zeal do they espouse

the cause of the client, not for the trifting customary fee, but a god-like love of justice! Our Court of Equity may be truly denominated the temple of Astrea, where the lawyers, like sacred priests, attend in solemn robes to dispense her blessings to the community. A foreigner, unacquainted with our laws, would feel the greatest veneration for those excellent men, whose deportment accords so well with their innate integrity; but how great would be his astonishment, when informed, that this respectable body was wholly supported by the folly and vices of their countrymen; and that the pride and phrensy which stimulates to litigation, enriched thousands of virtuous men, who were educated purposely to assist in the administration of justice*

But as the most sacred institutions are not ex. empted from censure, it has been asserted that bribery misleads even some of these advocates of equity. History indeed affords a memorable instance of the fallibility of a great lawyer. Lord Bacon pleaded against the unfortunate Earl of Essex, who had formerly been his patron; and he was afterwards degraded from his exalted situation, in consequence of bribery and corruption.

Some attornjes act in the double capacity of law

* The number of the Courts of Justice in the metropolis amounts to 61; the l'risons 14; besides four Houses of Correction; and the number of persons employed in the different departments of the law is estimated at 7040.

yers and bankers. These ingenious gentlemen, reflecting that a man who is mad enough to go to law is incapable of managing his own affairs, on the successful issue of a suit, prudently lock up the money for the client's future use.

This excellent device is sometimes aided by coincident circumstances. A person employed his attorney to recover a debt, which the latter effected, and appropriated the money to his own use, amusing his client from time to time with promises that the affair should be brought to a favourable termination. Meanwhile the person died who had paid the debt, and the attorney now looked upon the cash as his own in reality! The papers of the deceased indeed discovered the fraud, but, in vain ; for who would enter a suit against an attorney?

This solitary instance of ingenuity, however, is inapplicable to that respectable class at large; for is not the integrity of an attorney proverbial ?

Superstition in religion has given place to that worst of mental diseases, infidelity; but the superstitions of law and physic yet maintain their ground. When will quackery in both, that so often deprive men of their lives and fortunes-when will these gigantic evils he reinoved from society? When mankind prefer temperance to excess, and exercise to indolence, health will be promoted. And when the natural beneficence of the human heart is die rected by prudence, men will not involve their families and themselves in want and ruin by litigation.

1

L3

QUACK DOCTORS,

Arm'd for virtue when I point the pen,
Brand the bold front of shameless guilty nen:
Hear this and tremble, you who 'scape the laws.

POPE.

LET us now turn our attention to those wonder working men who profess the power of healing the sick, however inveterate the disease.

The first of these distinguished personages is Dr. Brodum, whese medicines have so long been the theme of paragraphists. This ingenious man is a German Jew*; he attended Dr. Bossy in quality of footman, when that beneficent sage came over to enlighten the eyes of the English, and with him made the tour of England. Having attained the knowledge of several medical terms, by being present at the lectures of his eloquent master, this en terprising little lacquey resolved to commence Doce tor himself. We are not certain whether the love of gain, or a desire to alleviate the sufferings of his fellow creatures, first induced Dr. Brodum to give up the science of shaving, dressing a wig, and brushing a coat, for the more elegant art of prepa

* It is to be regretted that so few authentic documents are to be found respecting this great man.

Another account informs us, that he was the menial servant of Le Maitre, a French Quack. As Dr. Brodum, however, inust be consinced that obscurity is one source of the sublime, he probably is willing to conceal his origin.

« PředchozíPokračovat »