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volcano having been seen in a state of activity. The height he estimated at no less than 8000 feet. The volcanic energy, however, seems more entire in this than in any other region of the world. In the neighbourhood of Oonalashca, which is situated about the centre of the Aleutian chain, a new island, nearly 20 miles in circumference, has been formed within these twenty years. The following is the account of it which M. Lisiansky collected from eyewitnesses at Cadiack.

In the evening of the 26th, while I was alone, writing the memorandums of my journal, a Russian introduced himself, who had resided on the island of Oonalashca, when a new island started up in its vicinity. I had heard of this phenomenon, and was therefore desirous to learn what he knew respecting it. He said that, about the middle of April 1797, a small island was seen where no island had been seen before. That the first intimation of its appearance had been brought by some Aleutians to Captain's Harbour, who, returning from fishing, observed a great smoke issuing out of the sea that this was the smoke of the volcano, which was then gradually rising above the surface of the sea, and which in May 1798, burst forth with a blaze, that was distinctly seen from a settlement called Macooshino, on the island of Oonalashca, at the distance of no less than forty miles to the north-west. This new island is tolerably high, and about twenty miles in circumference. It has been remarked, that it has not increased in size since the year 1799; and that no alteration has taken place in its appearance, except that some of the highest points have been thrown down by violent eruptions. p. 175.

The quotations we have given are a fair specimen of the style and manner of Mr Lisiansky's book; the perfect fruition of which publication may be obtained for three guineas, and might have been afforded for the same number of shillings.

ART. V. Teoria de las Cortes, ó Grandes Juntas Nacionales de los Reinos de Leon y Castilla. Monumentos de sa Constitucion politica y de la Soberania del Pueblo. Con algunas observaciones sobre la lei fundamental de la Monarquia Espanola, sancionada por las Cortes Generales y Extraordinarias y promulgada en Cadiz, a 19 de Marzo de 1812. Por El Ciudadano DON FRANCISCO MARTINEZ MARINA, & Canonigo de la Iglesia de Jan Isidro de Madrid, &c. Madrid. Ano 1813. 3 Vol. 4to.


E author of the work before us has published several memoirs on the history, and a volume on the ancient laws of

Castile, which we had lately occasion to notice. He has endeavoured, in the present publication, to trace the institutions of the ancient Cortes of that kingdom; and has produced a work which, though considerably more instructive than entertaining, will yet be perused with pleasure by all who take any interest in what may be called the Comparative Anatomy of the early governments of Europe. Nothing indeed can be more curious than the investigation of those free constitutions engrafted on monarchy, which arose at one time in every quarter, and now survive only in our own island. The original similarity is striking; the present difference is awful. On these subjects we find Marina an intelligent and useful guide: but we cannot accompany him to the conclusion of his work, without some feelings of bitter sympathy with the disappointment which subsequent events have brought to all his sanguine anticipations of Spanish freedom. The sudden relapse from opening liberty to renovated despotism-the reestablishment of the Inquisition-and the vindictive proscription of those who had presumed to assert the privileges of free men-present indeed a spectacle at once lamentable and humiliating to all who had dared to think favourably of human nature-to all with whom love of our constitution is not hypocrisy, and philanthropy a convenient profession. If there are any among our people who once desired to see Spain liberated, and now glory in beholding Norway enslaved, we expect to find them quite indifferent to the future fortunes of the Peninsula. Having got rid of Napoleon, who hung like a naked sword over their meals and poisoned the relish of their sensual delights, they care not what becomes of the liberty or the happiness of mankind: and the sufferings and degradation of Spain cease to excite the smallest emotion, the moment they seem to be unconnected with their personal security or enjoyment. We shall be better entitled, however, to indulge in such reflections, after we have performed our duty to the work now before us.

Under the Gothic kings of Spain, the national assemblies were of two kinds. The first, entirely political in its nature, seems to have been called only on extraordinary occasions. The other was the ordinary council of the kingdom; where laws both civil and penal, and binding even on the person of the sovereign, were regularly enacted. The interests of religion always formed the first subject of deliberation; and upon this sacred subject, the clergy alone had the right either of voting or debating. Public and private affairs were afterwards discussed by the whole council, consisting of the King, the Clergy, and the great Barons. From the earliest times to the commencement of the Austrian dynasty, the King was always assisted by

the advice of his subjects. Whether under the name of Concilium, generally assumed by the Gothic legislature-that of Curia, which seems to have prevailed chiefly in the twelfth century—or of Cortes, first introduced. under Ferdinand the Third, there seems to have been no intermission in the practice of calling together the Estates of the realm. And the custom was at length confirmed by an express statute of 1328, inserted in the Recopilacion, which enacts, that because we have need of the advice of our subjects, and particularly of the representatives of the Commons, on the arduous affairs of the kingdom, Cor⚫tes shall be called, and an assembly of the Three Estates held, according to the practice of our predecessors, on all such weighty and arduous affairs. '

With regard to the time of assembling the Cortes, there is no positive enactment to be found. On one occasion, indeed, it is ordered, that Cortes be called every two years; but the law was temporary, and intended to keep order during a minority. It is certain that the Cortes had a right to be called together, both by law and prescription,-to take the oath of allegiance to the heir of the crown,-to proclaim and acknowledge a new king, or when any doubts arose relating to the succession, or the choice of a Regent. As long as they held the purse of the country, it was unnecessary to make any farther stipulation.

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With regard to the constituent parts of the Cortes, the King presided, and generally assisted in person. As to the aristocra tic branch, an examination of the records leads to the following conclusions. 1st, That the archbishops, bishops, masters of the orders of knighthood, the grandees, ricos-homes, knights, and all the lesser barons, had a right to be summoned to the General Cortes of the kingdom. 2d, But it was not essential for the legal constitution of the Cortes, that the clergy and nobility should assist at it. There are several instances in proof of this; and particularly, at the Cortes of 1295, no bishop or baron was present. 3d, When the whole body did not attend, some individuals, both of the clergy and nobility, were generally present, and are mentioned in the preamble of the statute; and when any point was discussed, which seemed to require the advice of these two branches of the Legislature, they were specially summoned. Of this kind is a writ issued by Ferdinand and Isabella, informing them, that a topic had arisen in the Cortes of 1480, which called for their deliberation, and inviting them to discuss that point only. There exists a very curious protest of the Archbishop of Toledo in 1333, in which he complains of being excluded from the Cortes, with the other Prelates, and the Temporal Lords

when he came to defend the rights of the Church; and that the acts of Cortes state the consent of the Bishops when they had not consented, nor had even been summoned to attend. 4th, The clergy and nobility had the privilege of proceeding to the town where the Cortes was held, either in person, or by their representatives, there to present petitions describing their grievances, and demanding redress. These petitions, and the answer of the King, were formed into separate statutes; and it appears from one example, that the petitions of these bodies, after the dissolution of the Cortes, prevailed on the King to sign the repeal of laws enacted in the presence of that body. The great officers of the Crown are always mentioned as present in the preamble of the statutes; and nothing could proceed without them. The writs, the statutes, and other documents issued from Chancery.

The representation of the Commons took its rise, as in the rest of Europe, from the increasing prosperity of the towns, and the policy of the Sovereign to raise them up as a barrier against the power of the Nobility, who derived in Spain, from the war against the Infidels, a pretext for increasing their power, and maintaining an independent authority. The city of Leon received a charter erecting it into a Corporation, and confirming the jurisdiction of the city officers, in 1020-a century earlier than the most ancient charter known in France. The officers of the Corporation were anciently elected by all the inhabitants; but, in the 14th century, this right was taken. away, on account of the disorders it occasioned, and given to the Corporation itself, whose number was at the same time fixed. Many precautions were taken to secure the independence of these bodies. No office could be executed by deputy, or held by a stranger ten years residence formed a qualification. Where the King had the right of naming the regidors, he was obliged to take one of three persons elected by the Corporation, and was strictly prohibited from granting a reversion of their places. The Cortes excluded the nobility from these municipal elections, and declared the municipalities independent of any jurisdiction, excepting the King's tribunals.

We can hardly assent to the broad proposition of our author, that the privilege of sending representatives to Cortes was inhe rent in all those towns, heads of hundreds, and counties corporate, which had obtained, by royal grant, a municipal constitu tion, and territorial jurisdiction. The carliest mention of the Commons is in the General Chronicle of Spain, which records, that the citizens, and all the municipalities of the kingdom of Castile, assisted at the Cortes of 1169-nearly a century before

Leicester's Parliament, and 46 years before Magna Charta. In the Cortes of 1188, the representatives of 48 cities and towns were present. In those of 1202, peculiar to Leon, were

many of each town in the kingdom.' In 1208, a Cortes was held civium multitudine destinatorum a singulis civitatibus considente.' It is singular that the Marquis of Mondexar's Chronicle of Alonzo VIIIth, is totally silent with respect to the composition of the Cortes, in which was introduced so remarkable an innovation. The epoch of the introduction of the Commons is also signalized as being the period when the Crown, having been rendered hereditary, Leon united with Castile, and Toledo gained from the Moors, the nation became fixed in its institutions, and uniformly superior in its contest for the possession of the Peninsula.

By a law of the Siete Partidas, it is enacted, that, upon the death of the King, the good men (homes buenos) of the cities and towns which held of the Crown, should attend the council of the nation. During the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, we uniformly find an enumeration of the cities and towns which obeyed the injunction; and the detail proves, that there is scarcely a considerable place in the country, which has not at one time or other sent members to Cortes. 192 representatives of 111 cities and towns, met at the Cortes of Burgos in 1315; and 126 from not more than 50 towns, at those of Madrid in. 1391. These meetings of the Legislature, however, appear to have been unusually full. The knights formed a separate body in the Cortes; and it does not appear that they ever joined the burgesses.

The origin of representation is always difficult to trace; but the little light we have is conformable to the most natural conjecture.. Those who were supposed to be most able and independent, were called upon to assist in the Cortes: But this description was applied at different times, to very different persons; at one time. to all those who held of the Crown; at another, to the commercial boroughs from whom the King expected to obtain supplies. Many improvements were introduced towards the end of the. 14th century; and the constitution was becoming every day more perfect, when Henry III. died in the bosom of the Cortes. †

Lord Hale was clearly of opinion that the representation of the Knights of the Shire, is very much older than the 49th Henry III. -Hargrave's Jurisconsult Exercitations, vol. 2. There is no certain account of the boroughs being summoned till that period, and it is not likely that they were rich enough much earlier.

† 1406.

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