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Dunham to the contrary notwithstanding,) — to stand between the people and the crown, and see ihat right and prerogative were preserved in their due constitutional relations. This high functionary, himself the supreme judicial court of the land, was empowered even to pronounce against the constitutionality of a law, - a feature of judicial action in our own constitution, which excites so much admiration in its ablest foreign expositor, the candid and acute De Tocqueville. The Justiza had also power, by process analogous to the long-boasted habeas corpus of England, which this Spanish provision preceded by more than two centuries, to inquire into all causes of imprisonment, and discharge persons unjustly detained, by whatever authority; and the further power to evoke causes from the inferior courts, or compel performance of their duties by a species of mandamus. He was also ex officio a counsellor of the king, and administered the coronation oath.
These analogies, several of which are striking, led Mr. Hallam to say, that he “did not perceive that the functions of the Justiza of Aragon were, in any essential respect, different from those of the Chief Justice of England, divided, from the time of Edward the First, among the judges of the King's Bench; but our author's view of the nature and extent of bis authority, supported by ample reserences to authentic sources of information, would make the Justiza a far more efficient barrier against encroachments of royal prerogative than ever the Chief Justice of England was, according to her history. To this office, neither a noble of the higher class, nor a commoner, could be raised; he was required to be selected from the intermediate order of knights, a grade answering relatively very nearly to the untitled gentleman of England, and he was selected with due regard to his learned qualifications. His appointment was by the crown,-a fact of too much importance, by the way, to have been tucked, as it is, into the obscure corner of a note, especially when Robertson had complained that he was unable to find any thing on that subject. But that appointment was for life; and he was removable only by the King and Cortes united; and for his conduct in office he was amenable, not at all to the crown, but merely and directly to the Cortes, who appointed a standing commission of seventeen members, which sat throughout the year, to inquire into and report upon all charges which might be preferred against him. But the
and who regards language as but the transparent vehicle of thought. There is no affectation of fine rhetoric, no dressing up of pictures either to delight or to shock the imagination; but scenes and characters are painted to the life, and then left to interpret themselves, to forge their own rhetoric and to impress their own moral. Our author writes not as a partisan. He has no political or ethical theory to build up, no ulterior end to subserve. He separates the facts of his narrative, alike from the local conflicts, in which they originated, and from more recent and less sanguinary controversies, in which they might be eagerly adduced. He confines himself to the proper province of an impartial historian, claiming only the privilege of praising or censuring, where natural justice must needs give a spontaneous verdict.
St. Domingo, discovered by Columbus during his first voyage, and the seat of the first settlement made by civilized man in the new world, has certainly a strong claim upon the curiosity of every American. Its fortunes acquire a painful interest, when we reflect that it has been from the very first the football of contending nations, yearly drenched both with native and with foreign blood, wrestled for, whole scores of years together, at an expense of treasure, which, were its soil all silver and its sands all gold, its possession could hardly replace. Its ill-starred inhabitants have always been, in life and fortune, victims to conflicts not their own. Either the torch of European war has set fire to their plantations and warehouses ; or, when the fire and sword of civil discord have been let loose among themselves, the apples of strife have in every instance been cast into their midst by trans-atlantic powers. The torrents of guilt and misery that have deluged this unhappy island have all fowed from European mismanagement and profligacy; and the student of political economy may here find luculent commentaries on the colonial system in general, and on every form of unsuccessful and malignant colonial legislation and government. We have here too, for a little while, upon the canvass, a brilliant picture of colonial magnificence and luxury; for, during the most prosperous period of the French régime, the elegances of Parisian lise and the splendor of Versailles might have found their most genuine reflection from the western shore of St. Domingo. We have also in this island the novel phenomenon of an independent gorernment established and administered by a race of men, who have there first, at least for many centuries, found space and opportunity to test, on an ample scale, their own political capacities and tendencies. Add to these considerations the size of the island (nearly as large as all New England exclusive of Maine,) the beauty of its scenery, its vast agricultural capabilities, its commercial advantages, its vicinity to our own shores, and the extensive mercantile connexions already established in its principal ports by our own citizens ; and we surely have the strongest inducements to make ourselves acquainted with its past fortunes and its present condition.
The work before us has been stereotyped; and, as the first impression is in the process of rapid sale, the plates will doubtless be again put in requisition in the course of a few months. We would suggest to the author the expediency of prefixing to the next edition a full and accurate map of St. Domingo and the neighbouring islands. The lack of such a map is the only deficiency which we have detected. It is a deficiency, which few of Dr. Brown's readers may be able to supply for themselves, and which he only makes more constantly felt by the accuracy of his topographical indications and sketches. We close our notice by commending the work to the favoring suffrages of the public, and by extracting from it a curious and graphic picture of the manners and mode of life of the outlaws, who constituted the germ of the French colony of St. Domingo.
“ Just off the northwestern coast of St. Domingo there lies a little wooded island called Tortugas. It is low and fertile, and stretches itself across the entrance of a fine harbour on the neighbouring coast of the main island, called by the French name of Port de Paix; hid by bold headlands and overhung by bald or wood-crowned mountain peaks. That the celebrated freebooters of this century (the seventeenth) selected this convenient spot as their refuge from danger, and retreat from toil, but proves the deep forethought of this enterprising race of adventurers. The sea-rovers had now increased in numbers far beyond the supply of booty to be taken, and their profession was overdone to an extent that rendered success in its pursuit too much a problem of chance to satisfy for a long time the activity of their impatient natures; and many of them abandoned their old employments for new modes of life.
“ Become attached to the mild regions of the tropics, and incapacitated, by a long life of wild adventure, for the restraints of civilized society, some went to the bay of Campeachy and became cutters of logwood, while most of them remained at their old retreat, Tortugas, and employed themselves in hunting wild cattle on the coast of St. Domingo. This coast was a wilderness, and the business of hunting the wild cattle, that roamed in herds through its solitudes, became profitable from the sale of the hides and tallow to the ships visiting the West Indies for purposes of traffic. The flesh was converted into sustenance by smoking it on hurdles, or, as they were termed, boucans, a word used by the Carib Indians to express that apparatus for curing their meat. From this term, and the business they followed, these hunters were called “Buccaneers.” They called themselves “ Brethren of the Coast ;" — an appropriate term when their mode of
living is considered. As they were without wives and children, it was a custom with them to live together, in couples, that the various duties of a family establishment might be performed with more completeness and order. While one was engaged in hunting, the other commonly remained at home, engaged in curing the beef of yesterday's hunt, or in cooking their meals against the return of his fellow lodger. All property was held in common between the two, and it descended, in case of death, to the surviving partner. Theft was unknown, though locks were never used for security. What one did not find at home he proceeded immediately and without ceremony to take from the cabin of his nearest neighbour, without other word than to apprize the owner of it if he was at home, or, in case he was absent, to inform him on his return. Disputes were unfrequent, and when they did occur were easily accommodated. If the cause was grave, or the parties not to be reconciled, instead of a lawyer and jury, they employed the musket to bring about a decision of the question. The ground was chosen, and the whole fraternity were made spectators of the mortal arbitrament. The word was given to fire, and if the ball took either party in the back or side, it was adjudged to be unfair dealing, and the head of the murderer was cleft in two on the spot. The laws of their native country went for nothing among the brotherhood. They pretended that they had been emancipated from all allegiance to them by the baptisın of the sea, which they had each undergone in passing the tropics. Even their family naine they abandoned, and noms de guerre, chosen to suit each one's whim or fancy, were the appellations by which they were known, and which in after times descended to their posterity.
“ Their usual dress was a hunting shirt dipped in the blood of the animals they had slain in the chase; coarse drawers, yet more foul ; for a girdle, a strip of raw hide, in which were stuck a small sword and several knives; a cap with a small portion of brim in front for convenience in removing it; and shoes without stockings.
" Thus dressed and equipped, this hybrid race, the product of civilization and the wilderness, limited all their ambition in having a gun that would carry an ounce ball, and a pack of twenty-five or thirty hounds. They had no other occupation than hunting in the woods of St. Domingo, which since its abandonment by the Spaniards had become filled with immense herds of wild catile. They proceeded immediately to skin their game when they had killed it, and then hurried forwards to bring down others, till they were possessed of the requisite number for the day. When fatigued and hungry, they proceeded to cook a portion of the meat they had stripped from the wild carcase, and, with the pepper and orange juice they found plentifully around them, made a meal to satisfy all the wants of their appetite. They had no bread, and drank nothing but water. The description of one day's mode of living is that of every day, till they were in possession of the number of hides they had contracted to deliver to the vessels of different nations which visited their settlement. They then proceeded with the trophies of their success to the harbour or inlet where the ship was waiting her homeward cargo, and received in exchange such commodities as their wants and situa
of information, and an infinite fund of amusing anecdote ; enough to furnish D’Israeli with a whole volume of curiosities of literature.
Are our readers aware, in this stage of our analysis, that we have thus far only spoken of those parts of the work which in subject are not new, although treated with entire originality; and that they form but a small portion of the whole ? Such is the fact. The residue, and greater bulk, is on ground literally untrodden by any English writer, or translator, known to us, unless it be in some very general summary, or brief incidental notices and allusions. Generally speaking, it is equally untrodden by any modern popular writer, in any other language ; and most of the matter can be found only by laborious researches among antiquated annalists, foreign works of reserence, and unpublished manuscripts. Bidding adieu, therefore, to the whole literary world, and glad to eschew, hereafter, these odious comparisons of which we are heartily tired, unless it be in an incidental way, we propose to run rapidly with our author over a free and open field, where we find novelty and interest at every step.
After the general introduction already noticed, which has placed the reader in Spain shortly before the rising of the curtain, the work opens with the reign of John the Second, the father of Isabella, in the then separate kingdom of Castile, and affords an interesting picture of a feeble politician, the tool of his own favorites, the victim of an unruly nobility and a boisterous commons, who was yet a man of taste and letters, and did much to cultivate refineinent in his court. Here we are made acquainted with several distinguished literati who adorned the scene, and did much for the infant poetry of the nation ; and we are interested by the shifting fortunes of Alvaro de Luna, the ruling favorite, who long governed the kingdom as High Constable, in his master's name, and at last, like Cardinal Wolsey, whom he much resembles, both in character and fate, perished on the scaffold. Here, too, we are introduced to ihe infant Isabella, the heroine of the history, sure to win our affections as soon as she is known.
We next move to the then separate, but adjoining kingdom of Aragon ; where the father of Ferdinand, another Jobn the Second, by the way, as if on purpose to perplex the reader and the historian,) occupies a yet more unquiet throne than his Castilian brother. Here appears the infant Ferdinand, the