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DREADFUL REVOLUTIONS, AND CIVIL AND FOREIGN WARS. — APOSTACY, AND ITS CAUSE.-A STORY IN POINT.---A GUNPOWDER PLOT AND A DAGGER SCENE.---WITH AN ANECDOTE OF A BRITISH SAILOR.---ON THE AMAZING PASSION WHICH HUMAN NATURE EVINCES FOR EVERY THING UNNATURAL, AND THE USE WHICH SAGE POLITICIANS CONVERT IT TO.---THE BOOK BREAKS OFF AT PREPARATIONS FOR THE SQUIRE'S MARRIAGE,
Men who are fond of high-sounding and long-winded phraseology, may tell us that, in the commotions of empires, as in the great convulsions of nature, the fatal effects are seldom confined to the source of the calamity; the adjacent territories become gradually involved in the vortex of destruction, and the most distant regions, when the evil operates, are sometimes not less seriously affected than those which are more centrically situated. But all this circumlocu.
tion is nothing more than what the old proverb briefly implies : “ when once a house catches fire, there is no telling where it will stop.” The tenants of the Manor of Bighose, who had taken part with the occupiers of the Thirteen Acres against Freeland, had imbibed their spirit of resistance to their rulers; they wished to imitate their example, and to check, or throw off entirely the power of their Stateholder.The Lord opposed these innovations, but he was driven from the Manor, and obliged to take shelter under the wing of bis lady's brother, one Frederic, Lord of the Eagles, who instantly raised his tenants, and compelled those of Bighose to submit implicitly to their lord. After being thus crammed like turkies, the Bigo hose could never digest their forced meat, and they only waited for a fair opportunity to disgorge it.
The inhabitants of the Lowlands, which were a dependency on the manor of Gormandy, belonging to one Lord Joseph, followed the example of the Bighose with more success, as they frustrated all the efforts of their lord to reduce them to subjection. The revolutionary
blaze at length extended to the manor of the Gulls, belonging to Farmer Lewis, wbo, as well as all his predecessors, had been an inveterate foe to Freeland. Farmer Lewis, being hardly put to it for cash, bad contracted for a loan and applied to his stewards to raise certain reliefs to answer it; they refused for a while; and, at last only yielded to his positive orders. Eyen this compliance was clogged with a mortifying remonstrance, that public economy was the only genuine source of liberty, and thé only means of providing for the necessities of the manor, and of restoring that credit which borrowing had reduced to the brink of ruin. In this dilemma, Lewis called together his. Court Baron; but thie members of it treated bim equally, if not more cavalierly; and he was then obliged to assemble the principal tenants at a general convocation. · When the members were met, a dispute arose between the lord's household, the officers of the Court Baron, and the tenants; the two former wishing to restrict the three bodies to one 'vote each, and the latter insisting that every individual should have a voice, by which mode they
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would not only level all distinction of rank, but, as they were far more numerous, would be certain of carrying every thing their own way. The two other bodies would not concede the point, and the tenants voted themselves the effective body by the appellation of The Po. pular Assembly. Lewis at first opposed this decision; but as the tenants were resolute, he thought proper to appear at least to acquiesce in it. He, however, began to collect all his bailiffs and constables to awe the tenants; but they, on the contrary, proceeded to acts of outrage, destroyed the stocks, the whipping-post, and the gaol, and soon reduced the power of the Lord to a mere cypher. Intimidated by these violent measures, Lewis was obliged to disband kis posse.
Many of the Freelanders were rejoiced at this success of the Gulls, as their tenure was excessively oppressive and opprobrious, it being that of rilleinage, or vassalage, of which Blackstone gives the following description :-“ Villains could not leave their lord without his permission ; but, if they ran away, or were pur. loined from bim, might be claimed and recovered by action, like beasts, or other chattels. They held, indeed, small portions of land by way of sustaining themselves and families; but it was at the mere will of the lord, who might dispossess them whenever he pleased; and it was upon villan services, that is, to carry out dung, to hedge and ditch the lord's demesne, and any other the meanest offices; and their services were not only base, but uncertain both as to their time and quantity.” The Freelanders beld their lands as copyholds of inheritance, which were not at the disposal of the lord, by fealty, services, and reliefs. The rights of the lords and the tenants had been so accurately dea. fined by ancient court rolls and records, that neither party could step over the line without the instant knowledge 'of the other, who might claim the ground which had been infringed upon. The line had certainly been often violated by both parties, for tenants are no less apt than lords to abuse their power when they can get the opportunity. There was no comparison, however, between the situations of the Freelanders and the Gulls, so much more freedom and happiness did the former