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injury sustained by Kia subjects Yee to a “ When any person accuses another of punishment of 100 blows only: neverthe two or more offences, whereof the lesser less, if it appears that Kia only returned only proves true; and when, in the case the attack, and had the right on his side, of a single offence having been charged his punishment shall be reduced two de- by one person against another, the state. grees, and accordingly amount to eighty ment thereof is found to exceed the truth; blows and two years banishment. On the upon either supposition, if the punishcontrary, if Yee only returned the attack, ment of the falsely alleged, or falsely ag. and had the right in the dispute, his pu- gravated offence, had been actually in. nishment shall be reduced two degrees, flicted in consequence of such false accuand amount to 80 blows only; the punish. sation; the difference (estimated accorment to which the antagonist is subjected, ding to the established mode of compu. remaining in either case the same as be. tation hereafter exemplified) between the fore." p. 326, 327.
falsely alleged and the actually committed
offence, or between the falsely alleged The punishment for striking an greater, and the truly alleged lesser of individual of the imperial blood is less fence, shall be inflicted on the false accusevere than for striking an officer of
ser; but if punishment, conformably to
the nature of the falsely alleged, or falsely the government. Persons inflicting
aggravated offence, shall not have actual. wounds are liable for their conse- ly been inflicted, having been prevented quences, for twenty, thirty, or fifty by a timely discovery of the falsehood of days, according to the nature of the the accusation, the false accuser shall be injury. If the sufferer die after the permitted to redeem, according to an es. legal period, the assailant is not re
tablished scale, the whole of the punish
ment which would have been due to him sponsible. A slave striking a free
in the former case, provided it does not man, suffers only one degree more exceed 100 blows; but if it should exceed severely than for an assault among 100 blows, the 100 blows shall be inflicted, equals; and vice versa; though a and he shall be only permitted to redeem master may strike his slave with the excess. p. 366, 367. impunity, if it be done for correc. There is a very long section on tion, and do not cut. Striking pa- bribery, with a prodigious scale of rents is death in all cases. Wife stri. punishments, as usual, according as king husband is punished three de- the bribe is large or small, or taken grees more severely than for a como for an innocent or a criminal object. mon assault; if she maim him, with The pains range from 60 blows with death; if he die, with death by tor- the bamboo to death; that extreme ture. If a father kill his child by punishment being inflicted for taking excessive chastisement, a hundred more than 80 ounces of silver sunblows. There is no warrant in the der 301.] for an unlawful object, and letter of the law for infanticide. If 120 or 601.7 for a lawful one. A. one kill another to revenge the greeing to take a bribe has the same slaughter of a parent, the punish- punishment as actually taking it; ment is only a hundred blows.
offering or giving it a much lighter The author of all anonymous ac. one; and if asked or extorted by an cusations against others, shall suffer officer of government, no punishdeath, although the charge should ment at all. prove true. False and malicious ac- Forging an imperial edict is death; cusations shall be punished with a or counterfeiting the copper coin, pain two degrees more severe than the only proper currency of the emthe accused would have undergone, pire. There does not appear to be if the charge had been true. This, any precise regulation about the for. again, is exemplified by the anxiety gery of private writings. of the legislator, through a great Rape is punished with death; avariety of imaginary cases. We dultery among private persons, with shall give merely the general rule 100 blows; but much more severely of equation.
among persons high in office; forni
cation, with 70 blows; other offences for killing a Chinese in an affray. of a more detestable nature only The native merchant who had be. with the same punishment.
come answerable for the good conA person accidentally setting fire duct of the crew, finding it imposa to his house, shall receive 40 blows; sible to get the officers to deliver up and if the fire spread to the gate of the man, contrived, by bribes, to an imperial palace, shall be put to the amount, as was reported, of no death. Wilfully setting fire to one's less than 50,0001. not only to get a own house, 100 blows; to any other whole host of witnesses to swear to house, publick or private, death. a detailed story directly contrary to Very severe penalties for neglecting the truth, but to prevail on the trithe reparation of roads, bridges, and bunals and chief magistrates, among canals, and for damaging or en. whom the real state of the fact was croaching on them.
notorious, to certify and report it to Such are a few of the leading the supreme government at Pekin, provisions of this oriental code: and and to pronounce a solemn sentence defective as it must no doubt appear, in conformity to that statement. in comparison with our own more Such, however, will always be the liberal and indulgent constitutions, fate of A NATION WITHOUT HOwe conceive, that even this hasty NOUR; and this is the grand and pesketch of its contents will be thought culiar reproach of the singular peosufficient to justify all that we have ple we have been contemplating. said of its excellence, in relation to That noble and capricious principle, other Asiatick systems. How far it which it is as difficult to define, as is impartially enforced, or conscien- to refer in all cases to a sure fountiously obeyed, we have not, indeed, dation in reason or in morality, is, the means of knowing; and so slight after all, the true safeguard of nais the connexion between good laws 'tional and individual happiness and and national morality, that prohibi- integrity, as well as of their dignity tions often serve only to indicate the and greatness. It is found, too, in prevalence of crimes, and the de- almost all conditions of society, and nunciation of severe punishments to in every stage of its progress; aniong prove their impunity. Of one crime, the savages of America, and the indeed, and that the most heavily bandits of Arabia, as well as among reprobated, perhaps, of any in this the gentlemen of London or Paris; code, we know the Chinese to be among Turks, heathens, and Chrisalmost universally guilty; and that tians; among merchants and peais, the crime of corruption. At Can- sants; republicans and courtiers; ton, it is believed, our traders have men and children. It is found every never yet met with any officer of where refining and exalting moragovernment inaccessible to a bribe; lity; aiding religion, or supplying and where this system is universal, its place; inspiring and humanizing it is evident that the very founda- bravery; fortifying integrity; overtions of justice and good govern- awing or tempering oppression; sof. ment must be destroyed in every tening the humiliation of poverty, department of the state. Of the ex- and taming the arrogance of suc. tent to which falsification may be cess. A nation is strong and happy carried, and of the impunity of exactly in proportion to the spirit of which it may be assured by bribery, honour which prevails in it; and no a notable instance is recorded in the nation, ancient or modern, savage or detail published by sir George civilized, seems to have been alto. Staunton, in the appendix, of the gether destitute of it, but the Chicircumstances attending the trial nese. To what they are indebted for and acquittal of an English seaman, this degrading peculiarity, we shallnot pretend to determine. The des. enough for a race to whose habits it potism of the government; the tra. was originally adapted, and who have ding habits of the people; the long quietly submitted to it for two thoupeace they have enjoyed; and their sand years. When governments bewant of intercourse with other na. gin to think it a duty to exalt and tions, may all have had their share. improve the condition of their subThe fact, however, we take to be jects, the Chinese government will undoubted; and it both explains have more to do than any other; but and justifies the chief deformities in while the object is merely to keep the code we have now been consi. their subjects in order, and to re. dering. If such a code could be im- press private outrages and injuries posed by force upon an honourable to individuals, they may boast of and generous people, it would be having as effectual provisions for the most base and cruel of all atro- that purpose, as any other people. cities to impose it. But it is good
FROM THE QUARTERLY REVIEW, Old Ballads, Historical, &c. By Thomas Evans. Revised, &c. by his son, R. H. Evans.
4 vols. cr. 8vo. pp. 1504. London. 1810. Essays on Song Writing, &c. By John Aikin. A new edition, with Additions and
Corrections, and a Supplement By R. H. Evans. cr. 8vo. pp. 380. London. 1810. Vocal Poetry, or a Select Collection of English Songs. To which is prefixed, an Essay on Song Writing. By John Aikin, M. D. post 8vo. pp. 304. London. 1810.
WE class these publications to- rious dissertations upon şubjects gether, as being a species which connected with or tending to elucicharacteristick simplicity and the date the ancient ballads which they powerful union of musick render preceded. The arrangement of the generally acceptable, as well to specimens was so managed as to high-born dames in bower and hall, exhibit the gradation of language, as to “the free maids that weave the progress of popular opinions, the their thread with bones."
manners and customs of former The reviver of minstrel poetry in ages, and the obscure passages of Scotland, was the venerable bishop our earlier classical poets. The plan of Dromore, who, in 1765, published of this publication was eminently his elegant collection of heroick calculated to remove the principal ballads, songs, and pieces of early obstacle which the taste of the pepoets, under the title of Reliques riod offered to its success. To bring of Ancient English Poetry. The Philosophy from heaven to dwell plan of the work was adjusted in among men, it was necessary to de. concert with Mr. Shenstone, but we vest her of some of her more awful own we cannot regret that the exe. attributes, to array her doctrines in cution of it devolved upon Dr. Percy familiar language, and render them alone. It was divided into three vo- evident by popular illustration. But lumes, each forming a distinct series Dr. Percy had a different course to of ancient poetry, selected with pursue when conducting Legendary classical elegance, and interspersed Lore from stalls, and kitchens, and with modern imitations and speci. cottage chimneys, or at best, from mens of lyrick composition. The the dust, moths, and mould of the various subdivisions of the work Pepysian or Pearsonian collections, were prefaced by critical and cu- to be an inunate of the drawing Loom and the study. The attempt so soon as the publick ear had been was entirely new, and the difficulties won by the more elegant and polishattending it arose from the fastidious ed edition of Dr. Percy. It had been taste of an age which was accustom- well if the industrious Ritson, and ed to receive nothing under the de- other minute and accurate labourers nomination of poetry, unrecommend in the mine of antiquity, had coned by fowing numbers and elabo- tented themselves with exhibiting rate expression. To soften these specimens of the ore in its original difficulties Dr. Percy availed himself, state, without abusing the artist who to a considerable extent, of his own had made the vein worth digging, poetical talent, to alter, amend, and by showing to what its produce decorate the rude, popular rhymes might be refined. which, if given to the publick with The Reliques of Ancient English scrupulous fidelity, would probably Poetry seem, shortly after their pubhave been rejected with contemptlication, to have exceeded even the and disgust. It was not then so expectation of the editor in giving much the question whether an an- a strong and determined impulse to cient poem was authentick, accord- publick taste and curiosity, the efing to the letter, as whether it was, fects of which have only abated withor could be rendered, worth read. in these very few years. Mr. Tho. ing; and it might be said of Dr. mas Evans, bookseller, was the first Percy's labours as an editor, nihil who endeavoured to avail himself of guod tetigit non ornavit. It may be the taste which they had excited, by asked by the severer antiquary of publishing the collection of which the present day, why an editor, his son has now given us a second thinking it necessary to introduce edition. such alterations, in order to bring This publication, although intendforth a new, beautiful, and interesting ed as a supplement to the Reliques sense from a meagre or corrupted of Ancient Poetry, cannot be consioriginal, did not, in good faith to his dered as continued upon the same readers, acquaint them with the plan. There are no dissertations liberties he had taken, and make prefixed, and the preliminary matter them judges whether, in so doing, which prefaces the ballads, is but he transgressed his limits. We an- meagre. The ballads themselves swer, that unquestionably such would are chiefly such as the more cau. be the express duty of a modern tious taste of Dr. Percy had left editor; but such were not the rules unpublished, either because their of the service when Dr. Percy first rude structure was incapable of deopened the campaign. His avowal coration, or because they were so of alterations, additions, and conjec. well known as to render decoration tural emendations, at the bottom of unadvisable. The principal source each page, would have only led his from which they were taken, is a readers to infer that his originals small publication in three vols. 12mo. were good for nothing; not to men- entitled: “A Collection of old Bal. tion that a great many of those ad. lads, corrected from the best and ditions derived their principal merit most ancient Copies extant, with from being supposed ancient. In Introductions, historical, critical, or short, a certain conformity with the humorous: illustrated with coppergeneral taste was necessary to in- plates." It is now, we believe, extroduce a relish for the subject; tremely rare, and sells at a price accuracy, and minute investigation very disproportionate to its size. of the original state of the ballads, The volumes appeared separately, was likely to follow, and did follow and from the edition now before us,
the first seems to have been re- bella Stuart, Anna Bullen, The printed in 1723, the second in the Lady and the Palmer, The Fair same year, the third in 1725. The Maniack, The Bridal Bed, The editor was an enthusiast in the cause Lordling Peasant, the Red-Cross of old poetry, and selected his mat. Knight, The Wandering Maid, The ter without much regard to decency, Triumph of Death, Julia, The as will appear from the following Fruits of Jealousy, The Death of singular preface to one or two in- Allen. These seventeen ballads, delicate pieces of humour. “One which we believe have never been of the greatest complaints made by published except in this work, have the ladies against the first volunie a sort of family resemblance which of our collection, and, indeed, the indicates a common parent. The only one which has reached my ears, antique colouring in all of them is the want of merry songs. I be- originally consisted in the adoption lieve I may give a pretty good guess of a species of orthography embar. at what they call mirth in such rassed with an unusual number of pieces as these, and shall endeavour letters, and regular exchaungynge to satisfy them, though I have very the i for the y in the participle,' little room to spare.” From this which is, for farther dignity, graced, fountain, the late Mr. Evans, seeins uniformly, with a final e. These into have drawn such supplies as it judicious marks of imitation, which afforded. Most of his historical can no more render a modern ballad ballads are taken from it, and many like an ancient, than a decoction of of the Tales of Robin Hood, although walnuts can convert the features of he probably used some of the Gar- a European into those of an Asia. lands respecting the hero of Sher- tick, are rejected by the present wood, in correcting and completing editor, Mr. Ř. H. Evans, who thus that series. In the present edition leads us to infer that he does not these are materially improved by consider the poems we have enumecomparison with, and reference to, rated, as authentick remnants of the black-letter copies. .
antiquity. We wish he had favoured But, although Mr. Evans did not us with some light upon their hisimitate Dr. Percy in the more learn- tory. They appear to us to be the ed and critical department of his work of an author endowed with no labour, and although he stands ac- small portion of poetical genius. quitted of having taken the same Many marks of haste appear in the license with originals of acknow. composition, which the writer proledged antiquity; yet he not only bably considered as of little im. followed his plan in admitting the portance, since he never intended to compositions of modern authors in be responsible for his offspring. imitation of the ancient ballad, but But there are touches of great the third and fourth volumes of his beauty of description, and an exworks contain also some pieces pre. pression of sentiment peculiarly soft, sented as ancient, which, from the simple, and affecting, in almost every orthography, language, sentiments, one of these neglected legends. and numbers, are evidently spurious. The knowledge of history, too, These ballads, which we have al- which they display, argues that the ways considered as the most valua. author mingled the pursuits of the ble part of Mr. Evans's collection, as antiquary with those of the poet, far as poetry is concerned, are Bishop and was enabled, by the information Thurston and the King of Scots, so collected, to realize and verify Battle of Cuton Moor, Murder of the conceptions of his imagination Prince Arthur, Prince Edward and when employed upon the actual Adam Gordon, Cumnor Hall, Ara- manners and customs of the feudal