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and the noblest-nation the world ever saw. Every aim, every blessing, that collective Man ever sought for is within their command, if only they are wise and just. But it is in vain to deny that immorality of more than one kind has eaten deeply into the heart of the people. Their objects are not noble, their means are not scrupulous or pure, their standard of what is worthy, lovely, and of good report is neither lofty nor righteous. They are greedy, grasping, and over-bearing; immoderate in the extent and not delicate as to the character of their earthly desires. Their egotism, not unnaturally, has grown gigantic and blinding. In the idolatry of their self-worship and self-seeking, they have become regardless of the equal rights, and almost ludicrously unconscious of the relative position, of others. We cannot say that morally, intellectually, or physically, they have of late been an improving race. Their literary taste and their political behaviour seem to have degenerated. The language and temper of their public men at this conjuncture, especially towards England, are really painful and astounding, and show how a long career of self-indulgent encroachment, and long habits of childish self-adulation, have blinded them alike to what is reasonable and what is decent, and augur ill of their fitness to guide and govern a great nation in a noble path. But the crisis of a startling calamity may shock them into soberness, and prove the commencement of an altered course. It will assuredly be their own fault if they are not in future a worthy as well as a mighty people.

The destiny of the Southern Federation, when erected into a separate sovereignty, is of far more questionable promise. It will start with some of the worst difficulties which can beset the cradle of a nation-a heterogeneous people, an anomalous and radically vicious social condition, and the peril and perplexity of slavery on the most gigantic scale. There are the men of British origin in the Atlantic States, the French Creoles in Louisiana, the Germans in Texas, besides many of Spanish or mixed descent both there and in Florida Greater contrasts in rank and property are scarcely to be found in any country in the world; and these are accompanied with complete political and with nominal social equality. Nearly every white man is, or may be, a proprietor; but nine out of ten possess little but a patch of land, or a clearing in the woods. The entire number of slave-holders (and there are few considerable proprietors who are not slaveholders) does not now exceed 350,000, and of these, only 100,000 hold more than ten Negroes. When Virginia and Kentucky (whose future must be free) are deducted, the number must be still fewer. The citizens of the new Confederation may be classified much as follows: the cultivated and somewhat aristocratic gentlemen of Georgia and the Carolinas, the wealthy and imperious planters of the cotton States, and the great merchants of New Orleans and Charleston, fiery, intelligent, and over-bearing,—the gentry of the land,—with their families, cannot amount to a million ;—the smaller holders, the thriving settlers, the German farmers, who lie chiefly south and west of the Mississippi, with the tradesmen of the large towns, constitute what may be termed the middle class, and may range, on a liberal estimate, at between one and two millions (but as to the numbers we can only speak conjecturally);—the remainder of the population consists of the “mean whites,” as they are called, loafers, squatters, dwellers in the woods, hangers-on among the cities,-amounting to several millions, and forming, in fact, a numerical majority, who are equivalent to the working-classes of European countries, and (as described by all writers, and especially by Mr. Olmsted) are about as ignorant, squalid, and brutal as can well be imagined,—with the additional mischief that, owing to the institution of slavery, they are not the working-classes of the country. A worse material out of which to form a safe and well-ordered State it is not easy to conceive, more particularly where that State must be organised on strict democratic principles. Add to all this four millions of Negroes, who will probably be eight millions by the end of the century, at once dreaded and despised by their masters and fellow-citizens, and in a position which it appears as impossible to perpetuate as to change. We confess we can form no conjecture as to the issue of the strange complication of anomalies. We cannot conceive eight millions of blacks living among twelve or fifteen millions of whites in any other relation than that of servitude, especially when servitude has been the uniform antecedent relation. As little can we conceive, or are we willing to anticipate, an indefinite continuance of such relation. Perhaps the ultimate issue that is most probable will be the concentration of the blacks as free. men and independent in the Gulf States: but the mind shrinks from picturing the events which must precede such a solution, and cannot even conjecture the mutual relations which would follow. It is much to see the largest portion of the American continent rescued from the terrible contingencies of such a problem.

The future form of government of the Southern Federation might afford ample matter also for puzzled speculation. An oligarchy or a despotism might organise and control its heterogeneous social elements: how a republic can coexist with such we are at a loss to imagine. Altogether, so grand yet so dark a question as the coming destinies of America, political history never presented to the conjectures of mankind. Merely to watch its evolution will be enough to give interest to what remains to us of life,


Munimenta Gildhalle Londoniensis. Edited by Henry Thomas

Riley, M.A., Clare Hall, Cambridge, of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law. Vol. I. “Liber Ålbus.” Vol. II., Parts I. II., « Liber Custumarum.” (Published by the authority of the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, under the direction of

the Master of the Rolls.) Longman and Co., 1859-1860. De Antiquis Legibus Liber: Cronica Maiorum et Vicecomitum

Londoniarum, fc. Curante Thoma Stapleton. (Camden So· ciety), 1846. Cronique de London, depuis l'An 44 Hen. III jusqu'à l'An 17

Edw. III. Edited, from a Ms, in the Cottonian Library, by George James Aungier. (Camden Society), 1814.

The history of the capital city of a great empire must (even under the most decentralised governments) be to some extent an epitome of the social and political progress of the empire itself. Even its distinctive life, and the exceptional privileges and advantages which it enjoyed, illustrate by the contrast which they imply the general condition of society beyond its walls. It is not a little remarkable therefore that the publication of the Records of the city of London should have been reserved to the present century, and that historians should have been in general contented to gather their knowledge of their contents from the extracts and references scattered through the pages of voluminous topographers of London, such as the industrious Stowe, and his more learned editor Strype. The example set by the Camden Society, in some of its valuable publications, has, however, at length been followed up with still more interesting results, by the volumes whose titles we have placed at the head of this Article, and which will be pronounced by any who have glanced at their contents to be among the most useful fruits of the noble enterprise which is being pursued under the authority of the Master of the Rolls. The name of Mr. Riley is too well known in antiquarian circles in connection with the subject for which he has been selected, to render necessary any additional recommendation of his labours on our part. We need only say that he has performed his onerous duties in the present instance, with great ability and success, and, in his valuable introductions, has brought together, within the compass of a comparatively tew pages the materials for drawing a really accurate picture ot' medral London. But as his volumes, from their bulk and antiquarian character, can only have a limited circulation, we cannot but think that we shall be doing good service in laying before our readers, in our own pages, some of the more salient features of the civic life of our forefathers which are deducible from his labours, and those of his predecessors of the Camden Society, Mr. Aungier and Mr. Stapleton.

Old London has been now for so many generations numbered with the things which have passed away, that we need be in little fear of jarring on any traditional feelings in our remarks on its characteristics. The London of the present day, in the wider sense of the word, is an inorganic accretion of men and houses—a floating population, drawn from every part of the world, pursuing a thousand different and independent modes of existence, and only affected by the genius loci so far as all must be affected who are nearest the springs of national activity and progress, and under the excitement produced by the concourse and stir of large masses of thought and feeling. There is, indeed, a narrower sense in which the term “ City of London” is still employed, and of which that pageantry of fictitious honours and dead forms, which is still paraded every year through the old City Limits to the equally metamorphosed City of Westminster, is the serio-comic representative. But it is not necessary to point out that whatever character and greatness still linger within this moribund civic jurisdiction, are derived from accidental or outlying elements rather than from any municipal vitality,- from the respectability and honourable fame of individuals, or the casual operation of certain regulations of corporations (such as the liveries of the great City Companies) included within the City constitution, but almost wholly abstaining from any participation in the modern City life, and not from any significance attaching to the action of the City authorities in their corporate character. The contrast, then, between modern London, in either sense of the term, and the old baronial corporation, fenced in and shackled by innumerable privileges and restrictions ; standing side by side with the great bodies of the State, as a leading organ of political strength; and with one common and regulated life pervading the well-disciplined ranks of its citizens ;-is so strong that we may at once dismiss the London of our own days altogether from our minds, when we open the pages which disclose what it was in former times.

The nature of our materials may be soon stated. “There is no city in the world,” it has been remarked by M. Delpit (a distinguished French antiquary, well qualified to form an opinion on the subject) “that possesses a collection of archives so ancient and complete as the collection at Guildhall.” Of these, it will be sufficient here to allude to those which have as yet been published. The original portion of the Ms. of the Liber de Antiquis Legibus was written throughout in Latin in the year 1274, the 2d of Edward I., and the remainder added at different intervals in French. A considerable portion of the volume is filled with extracts from the Gesta Regum Anglorum of William, the monk of Malmesbury, under titles of the writer's own composition. In the middle of the Ms. commence the Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London, and the events which occurred in their times, from the year 1188 to the year 1274, up to the month of August; the preparations for the coronation of Edward I., who landed at Dover the 2d of that month, being the subject matter of the closing paragraphs. The title of the “Book of Ancient Laws” is only applicable to two chapters; the first of which contains the regulations prescribed, by the name of Assise, to the inhabitants of London in respect of their buildings and dwellings; and the second the Provisions made by Henry III. to amend the English laws, of which the larger portion had been ordained in the time of the Earl of Leicester, A. D. 1264, after the battle of Lewes. The Liber Albus is a compilation giving a systematic abstract of the institutions, privileges, usages, and laws of the City, in historical sequence. The last book, however, is only a calendar to certain of the then-existing books or rolls in the City records, the compiler having abandoned his original plan. The volume is written in the hand known as “modern Gothic” throughout. The second part of the first book is of earlier date by a century than the rest of the work, which was written under the superintendence of John Carpenter, the Common Clerk, or Town-Clerk, in the year 1419. This praiseworthy official will be better recollected by most readers as one of the executors of the will of the renowned Sir Richard Whittington. He sat in Parliament for the City in 1436 and 1439, and by his will, in 1441, left certain lands and tenements for educational purposes, out of which arose the City of London School. The Liber Custumarum is an aggregate of various documents illustrative of the civic history, grouped together, but having each a separate character, and forming a sort of City commonplace book. The compilation in its original form was probably made in the latter years of the reign of Edward II. Certain entries were made on the blank leaves of the volume between that date and the reign of Henry V.; and in this state it continued to exist down to the date of the compilation of the Liber Albus, in which an index to the contents of the then Liber Custumarum is inserted by Carpenter. At some period subsequent to the reign of Henry V. this original volume was taken to pieces; 102 pages were added to it at the beginning, containing mat

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