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tope; is so plainly repugnant to common fense; is capable of being so easily and grossly perverted to the manoeuvres of private interest or of party; and so nearly resembles the Popish plan of putting one man's conscience into the hands of another ; that the surrender of this privilege would apparently be at once honourable to the House of Lords, and beneficial to the Nation,
It has long been the practice of the House of Lords to be guided in pronouncing judgement in cases of appeals by the opinion of a few Peers eminent for their knowledge in the law. To the learning, experience, and integrity of Noblemen fo circumstanced peculiar deference is unquestionably due; yet it seems to be carried beyond its proper bounds, when it permits the filent rise and progress of an opinion, that a Peer not belonging to that profession, who shall take an active part in such deliberations, oversteps the limits of his province. It appears highly desirable that a considerable number of Noblemen should be
qualified by an acquaintance with the general grounds and principles of evidence, and a par
ticular study of those branches of the legal code most frequently involved in the disquisitions which come before the House, to appreciate with accuracy the several arguments of the Counsel at their Bar, of their own professional Members, and of the Judges summoned to assist them. By these means, not only the collective mass of wisdom exercised in the decision would be enlarged; but additional security would be obtained against those misapplications and abuses, to which power,
when lodged in the purest hands, may sooner or later be seduced, if it shall cease to meet with superintendence and controla
Such are the public duties of Peers in general. On those of particular descriptions peculiar obligations are incumbent. Proposals for the improvement of the Marine come with fingular propriety from the ennobled Admi. ral. The cause of the Soldier is best pleaded by the Commander, who has earned his seat in the Upper House by military services. Amendments in the civil, criminal, and judicial system are chiefly expected, and most favourably received, from the dignified Luminaries of the Bar. And to those who are elevated at once to pre-eminence in religious functions, and to the privileges of Peerage, the Nation will look for plans for the elucidation of the scriptures, the amendment of morals, and the suppression of seminaries of vice ; for the establishment of new institutions for the instruction of the poor, and the improvement of those already existing for the rich; more especially as far as they involve the education of persons destined for the clerical profeffion.
II. A few observations on the duties of Peers in private life remain to be subjoined.
While the Nobleman guards for his own fake against those temptations to overbearing manners, and an oftentatious mode of living, to which his elevated rank, and the ample property which commonly attends that rank, render him particularly exposed; and more especially against such of those temptations as derive an accession of force from his own temper and turn of mind, or from any adventitious circumstances ; let him
constantly recollect the power which he porfesses of influencing the conduct and manners of others. Next to the example of persons allied to the Monarch on the throne, that of the Peer is the most alluring and efficacious. It diffuses its effects not merely among those who are admitted to his society and to his table; but is propagated from one knot of imitators to another, and spreads through the adjoining country far and wide. The pattern which he exhibits has a prevailing influence in deciding whether vanity and pride shall be deemed honourable, or disgraceful ; whether the tide of extravagance, luxury and disfipation shall be quickened, or retarded; whether useful plans and institutions shall meet with countenance, or neglect; whether industry, morality and religion shall flourish, or decline; whether unassuming merit shall be encouraged, or its recompense be intercepted by fhameless ignorance, and accommodating, perhaps brilliant, vice. Viewing all his own proceedings in this light, let him be careful, and not for his own fake only but for the fake also of society, that the influence of religion be not diminished by his example ; and diminished it will be, if he is negligent and irregular in his attendance on public worship; if he employs the fabbath in needless journies, or surrenders it without urgent necessity to the hurry of visits abroad, or of company at home; much more if he abets the growing fashion, a fashion unknown till of late in this country, (e) of giving up its evenings to routs and musical entertainments. If he thinks proper to have a clergyman reside in his family, either as chaplain, or in any other capacity ; let the person
(e) The modern concerts termed sacred appear by no means to deserve an exception. If they consist, as is said not unfrequently to be the case, of common music interspersed for the sake of decorum with a sparing mixture of sacred performances, the intention and the effect of them are equally obvious. And supposing them to be really and altogether what they profefs to be, they will in few cases excite religious impressions sufficiently strong to repay the hearers for the interruption of those Sunday evening occupations, which might otherwise have taken place at ļome; while the servants of all the parties, instead of being left at leisure for religious employments, are occupied precisely as on a common visiting day. And the lower classes of the people, who do not make refined dirtinctions, will conceive their superiors to be in pursuit of their amusements on the Sunday as during the rest of the week; and will thence learn to indulge themselves without scruple in their own.