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mean to imply, in conformity with a vulgar opinion, that the language is deficient in energy or compactness. Its harmony is no proof of its weakness. It allows more licenses of contraction then any other European tongue, and retains more than any other the vigorous inversions of its Latin original. Dante is the most concise of early moderns, and we know none superior to Alfieri in this respect among those of our own age. Davanzati's literal translation of Tacitus is condensed into a smaller compass than its original, the most sententious of ancient histories. But still the silver tones of a language, that almost sets itself to music as it is spoken, must have an undue attraction for the harmonious ear of an Italian. Their very first classical model of prose composition is an obvious example of it.
The frequency of improvisation is another circumstance, that has naturally tended to introduce a less serious and thoughtful habit of composition.—Above all, the natural perceptions of an Italian seem to be peculiarly sensible to beauty, independent of every other quality. Any one, who has been in Italy, must have recognised the glimpses of a pure taste through the rags of the meanest beggar. The musical pieces, when first exbibited at the theatre of St Carlos, are correctly pronounced upon by the Lazzaroni of Naples. And the mob of Florence decide with equal accuracy upon the productions of their immortal school. Cellini tells us, that he exposed his celebrated statue of Perseus in the public square, by order of his patron Duke Cosmo First, who declared himself perfectly satisfied with it on learning the cominendations of the people.* It is not extraordinary, that this exquisite sensibility to the beautiful should have also influenced them in literary art, and have led them astray sometimes from the substantial and the useful. Who, but an Italian historian, would, in this practical age, so far blend fact and fiction, as for the sake of rhetorical effect, to introduce into the mouths of his personages sentiments and speeches never uttered by them, as Botta has lately done in his History of the American War?
In justice, however, to the Italians, we must admit, that the reproach incurred by too concentrated an attention to beauty,
* Vita di Benvo. Cellini. Tom. II. p. 339. VOL. XIX.-NO. 45.
to the exclusion of more enlarged and useful views in their lighter compositions, does not fall upon this, or the last century. They have imbibed a graver and more philosophical cast of reflection, for which they seem partly indebted to the influence of English literature. Several of their most eminent authors have either visited or resided in Great Britain, and the genius of the language has been made known through the medium of skilful translations. Alfieri has transported into his tragedies the solemn spirit, and vigorous characterisation peculiar to the English. He somewhere remarks that 'he could not read the language.' But we are persuaded his stern pen would never have traced the dying scene of Saul, had he not witnessed a representation of Macbeth. Ippolito Pindemonte, in his descriptive pieces, has deepened the tones of his native idiom, with the moral melancholy of Gray and Cowper. Monti's compositions, both dramatic and miscellaneous, bear frequent testimony to his avowed admiration for Shakspeare; and Cesarotti, Foscolo, and Pignotti, have introduced the severer muses' of the north to a still wider and more familiar acquaintance with their countrymen.* Lastly, among the works of fancy, which attest the practical scope of Italian letters in the last century, we must not omit the Giorno' of Parini, the most curious and nicely elaborated specimen of didactic satire produced in any age or country. Its polished irony, pointed at the domestic vices of the Italian nobility, indicates both the profligacy of the nation, and the moral independence of the poet. .
The Italian language, the first born of those descended from the Latin, is also the most beautiful. It is not surprising, that a people endowed with an exquisite sensibility to beauty, should have been often led to regard this language rather as a means of pleasure, than of utility. We must not, however, so far yield to the unqualified imputation of Madame de Staël, as to forget, that they have other claims to our admiration, than what arise from the inventions of the poet, or from the ideal beauties, which they have revived of Grecian
* Both the prose and poetry of Foscolo are pregnant with more serious meditation and warmer patriotism, than is usual in the works of the Italians. Pignotti, although his own national manner has been but little affected by his foreign erudition, has contributed more than any other, to extend the influence of English letters among his countrymen. His works abound in allusions to them, anul two of his principal poems are dedicated to the memory of Shakspeare and of Pope.
art; that the light of genius shed upon the world in the fourteenth, and that of learning in the fifteenth century, was all derived from Italy ; that her writers first unfolded the sublimity of christian doctrines as applied to modern literature, and by their patient philological labors restored to life the buried literature of antiquity ; that her schools revived and expounded the ancient code of law, since become the basis of so important a branch of jurisprudence, both in Europe and our own country; that she originated literary,* and brought to a perfection, unequalled in any other language, unless it be our own, civil and political history ; that she led the way in physical science, and in that of political philosophy; and finally, that of the two enlightened navigators, who divide the glory of adding a new quarter to the globe, the one was a Genoese, and the other a Florentine.
In following down the stream of Italian narrative poetry, we have wandered into so many details, especially where they would tend to throw light on the intellectual character of the nation, that we have little room, and our readers, doubtless, less patience left for a discussion of the poems, which form the text of our article. The few stanzas descriptive of Berni, which we have borrowed from the Innamorato, may give some notion of Mr Rose's manner. The translations have been noticed in several of the English journals, and we perfectly accord with the favorable opinion of them, which has been so often expressed, that it needs not here be repeated.
The composite style of Ariosto owes its charms to the skill, with which the delicate tints of his irony are mixed with the sober coloring of his narrative. His translators have spoiled the harmony of the composition, by overcharging one or other of these ingredients. Harrington has caricatured his original into burlesque; Hoole has degraded him into a most melancholy proser. The popularity of this latter version has been of infinite disservice to the fame of Ariosto, whose aerial fancy loses all its buoyancy under the heavy hexameters of the English translator. The purity of Mr Rose's taste has prevented him from exaggerating even the beauties of his original.
* Ginguenè. Hist. Lit. &c. Tom. III. p. 160.
Art. VI.-A Practical Treatise upon the Authority and
Duty of Justices of the Peace in Criminal Prosecutions. By Daniel Davis, Solicitor General of Massachusetts. 8vo. pp. 687. Boston. Cummings, Hilliard and Co. 1824.
A CORRECT, practical guide for justices of the peace in criminal prosecutions, presenting an analysis of their duties, in a convenient and accessible form, has long been wanted. The office of a justice is of the highest importance to the public. He has a very extensive and summary jurisdiction. He has power to arrest and imprison any of his fellow citizens. In cases of smaller offences he regulates the punishment ; in complaints for the higher crimes he examines the circumstances of the case, discharges the accused or commits him for trial, and either refuses or regulates the bail, at his own discretion. The cases in which he is required to act are numberless; he is daily and hourly called upon to administer justice. He is the general preserver of the peace and good order of society. Speaking of the institution of justices of the peace, lord Coke says, 'It is such a form of subordinate government for the tranquillity and quiet of the realm, as no part of the christian world hath the like, if the same be duly executed. A magistrate of such power, and so important in the regulation of civilised society, ought to be well versed in the duties of his office. He should understand the nature of crimes, the law of evidence, the statutes regulating punishments, the forms of proceeding, and the rights of the citizen. His ignorance on any of these subjects may occasion much injustice and oppression. And it may even be questioned, when we take into view the vast number of cases in which they are required to act, whether the unskilfulness of justices might not produce a greater amount of injury and vexation, than could arise from the want of knowledge in higher judicial officers.
The ignorance of justices with regard to their duty has often been, however, a subject of complaint, both in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The causes of this want of knowledge, as far as it respects our own country, will partly appear from the following passage of our author.
Many, perhaps the greater part of the magistrates in this counry, have not the means of acquiring a competent knowledge of their official duties. With respect to such of those duties as it is the object of this undertaking to explain, no treatise specially confined to them, and fully pointing them out, has ever been published, either in this country, or, (as it is believed,) in England. In the year 1773, an abridgment of Dr Burn's • Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer' was made and published in Boston. This was a useful undertaking at the time; but much of the matter, selected for that abridgment, is inapplicable to, and foreign from the object of this work. A volume by Samuel Freeman, Esq. and another by R. Dickinson, Esq. upon the office and duty of justices of the peace, have also been published in Massachusetts. But very small portions, in either of these, relate to the subject of criminal prosecutions. They were, probably, not intended by their respectable authors, as complete guides in that branch of a justice's duty.
'It is not to be expected that many of our practising magistrates can obtain the requisite information upon this branch of their duty from English law books. The more ancient treatises, such as those of Lambard, Crompton, and Dalton, have ceased to be practical guides, though frequently recurred to as venerable authorities, The work of Dr Burn, before alluded to, is of high and unquestionable authority ; but the former editions of it contain four volumes, by far the greater part of which is of no use to an American magistrate. An analysis upon this subject is contained in the first volume of Mr Chitty's Practical Treatise on the Crown Law, published A. D. 1816. The English edition of this work is in four large volumes, and comprises a complete system of practice, pleading, and evidence, in criminal prosecutions in the English courts ; together with a copious collection of precedents and practical forms used in those courts. This work is of value in the library of a lawyer; but a very small portion of it is of any immediate use to a practising magistrate in this country. The size and expense of it are somewhat diminished by a late edition in two volumes, by Richard Peters, jun. Esq. of Pennsylvania. Still the expense of purchasing this, or any other English work, merely for what it contains upon the particular duties of a justice of the peace in criminal prosecutions, cannot be readily or conveniently incurred. Two other works upon the powers and duties of justices of the peace and parish officers have been published within a few years; one by Thomas W. Williams, in five volumes; the other by William Dickinson, in two volumes ; but they have not as yet been received in this part of the United States.' p. 3–5.
We may add, that no compilation with which we are acquainted, supersedes the necessity of such a work as that