« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
“In free States," Sir William Blackstone remarks (6), “.no man should take up arms “ but with a view to defend his country,
and “ its laws. He puts not off the citizen when “ he enters the camp ; but it is because he is “a citizen, and would wish to continue so, " that he makes himfelf for a while a foldier.' This just reflection points to that depravation of public principle, which too often takes place among the Military of despotic monarchies. Trained to habits of implicit obedience, and of entire dependence on the will and favour of the Prince ; insulated in camps
and fortresses; and detached from the offices of civil life; they learn to 'consider themselves as possessing an interest distinct from that of the other members of the community, and thence are more ealily led to co-operate in oppressing them (Þ). It must be confessed that this danger
will subsist, in a greater or a less degree, in all countries where standing armies are
(0) Commentaries, vol. i. p. 407, 5th edition.
(p) The nature and circumstances of Naval service are such, that offers in that line are little exposed to this temptatioii, unless it be in what regards the impress service,
maintained; as some of the circumstances from which it originates are essential to discipline and subordination. , And on this account, as weil as for many other reasons, the numbers of the standing army ought ever to be restrained within the narrowest bounds consistent with the public security. But the natural spirit of liberty is, it surely may be hoped, too strong, and a rational sense of duty too prevalent, among British Officers, to leave reasonable ground for apprehension that their arms will ever be employed otherwise than for the support of the rights of their countrymen. . The British Constitution has wisely engaged the Military Officers in its defence, and shewn a just confidence in their patriotism, by admitting them to all the civil honours and occupations consistent with their peculiar functions, and even to feats in both Houses of Parliament,
If an Officer is also a member of the Legiflature, never let him prostitute his vote in a single instance for the purpose of advancing himself, or of being employed in his profession. And let every Officer, whether in Par
liament or not, equally abhor acting a mean and dishonest part at the beck of any person whatever, whether in a public or in a private station, with the view of obtaining preferment.
СНАР. CH A P. IX.
ON THE DUTIES OF THE LEGAL PRO
“A BARRISTER, according to the pre“ jent mode of exercising his profession, lives
by the practice of systematic and flagrant in
justice. It is his almost daily business to vin“ dicate proceedings which his understanding “ and heart must condemn, to defend culprits So whom he knows to be guilty. How is the
man, who strives by legal subtleties to esta“blish for his client the validity of an iniqui“tous bargain, less criminal than if he had rob“ bed the sufferer on the highway? How is the
man more innocent in the eye of conscience, “ who, by availing himself of verbal infor“ malities in a will, gains the estate to his em"ployers in contradiction to the known intens tions of the testator, than he would have “ been, had he forged a deed of gift in their " favour? Why is the Advocate, who by the
“ aid of technical quibbles and flaws rescues “ from public justice the wretch who has
perpetrated a murder, less to be abhorred " than the murderer himself? Let the practi« tioner at the Bar renounce at once all concern “ with causes, the merit of which he has rea“ son to distrust; or, if he is conscious that “ he should thus reduce his emoluments below “ the most moderate recompense which his
industry and exertions demand, let him re
nounce a profession incompatible with the « fundamental dictates of morality.”
Such we may conceive to be in substance the objeđions, which, had they been decorated by the admired imitator of Lord Bolingbroke with the brilliancy of his eloquence, might have been formed perhaps into a powerful argument against one of the most distinguished institutions of civil society. The difficulty which they present has disquieted with scruples the minds of wise and good men. It becomes us therefore to clear the profession itself from the imputation of inherent criminality, before we attempt to illustrate the duties of those who follow it.