Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION. The term Constitution, in matters of polity, signifies the form of government established in any country or kingdom.

The supreme government of England includes the legislature, consisting of the 'monarch, the House of Lords, and the 3 House of Commons; and the executive, which consists of the king or queen alone.

The king, according to the Constitution, in his political capacity, can do no wrong, his ‘ministers being held responsible to the law. In the same sense, the king never dies,—that is, the executive authority never ceases to exist.

The king and the three estates, as they are termed, the lords spiritual, the lords temporal, and the commons, form together the great corporation or body politic of the kingdom, of which the king is said to be the head, the beginning, and the end. For, upon their coming together, the king meets them in person, or by representation, without which there can be no beginning of a Parliament; and he also has the power of 'dissolving them.

It is highly necessary, for preserving the balance of the constitution, that the executive power should be a branch, though not the whole of the legislature. Without this, the legislature would soon become tyrannical, by making continual encroachments, and gradually assuming to itself the rights of the executive power. To hinder any such encroachments, the king is himself a part of the Parliament; his share in the legislation consisting in the power of "rejecting, rather than resolving. The crown cannot begin of itself any alterations in the present esta

blished laws; but it may approve or disapprove of the alterations suggested and consented to by the two houses.

Herein consists the true excellence of the British government, that all the parts of it form a mutual check upon each other. In the legislature, the people are a check upon the nobility, and the nobility a check upon the people, by the mutual privilege of rejecting what the other has resolved; while the king is a check upon both.

The executive power is again checked and kept within due bounds by the two houses, through the privilege they have of inquiring into, impeaching, and punishing the conduct (not indeed of the king, which would destroy his constitutional independence, but, which is more beneficial to the public,) of his evil and pernicious counsellors.

Thus every branch of our civil polity supports and is supported, regulates and is regulated by, the rest ; for the two houses naturally drawing in two directions of 1 opposite interest, and the prerogative in another still different from them both, they mutually keep each other from exceeding their proper limits; while the whole is

prevented from separation, and artificially connected together by the mixed nature of the crown, which is a part of the legislative, and the sole executive magistrate.

Like three distinct forces in mechanics, they jointly impel the machine of government in a direction different from what either, acting by itself, would have done; but at the same time in a direction partaking of each, and formed out of all; a direction which constitutes the true line of the liberty and happiness of the community.

1. Vide Root. 2. Consisting of two archbishops, twenty-four bishops, and of all peers entitled to a seat by inheritance, creation, or election. 3. Consisting of 658 persons, returned by counties, cities, and boroughs. 4. Those who hold the highest offices in the state. 5. Illustrate-period of the CommonWealth.

GREECE From the Death of Alexander to the present time.

The Greeks, when they heard of Alexander's death, attempted to regain their liberty. But their struggles were unsuccessful; and the country was reduced to subjection by ? Cassander, who had been general of Alexander's cavalry. Cassander died in a few years. Thenceforward, the history of Greece tells of nothing but crimes, and revolutions, and misfortunes.

The Greeks had now almost entirely lost their love of liberty, as well as the other virtues which had formerly distinguished them.

One hundred and forty-six years before the Christian era, Greece submitted to the authority of Rome.

From this time forward, the history of Greece is connected with that of other nations. The Greeks had no longer any power, even in their native country. But they were still respected on account of the poets, and historians, and sculptors who appeared among them.

But in course of time, the genius of the Greeks seemned to have deserted them, as well as their ancient valour. They were then wholly despised.

Between three and four hundred years after the Christian era, the Roman dominions were divided into the Eastern and Western empires. The capital of the Eastern empire was Constantinople. The 'territory of ancient Greece was 'included under this government, and it was sometimes called the Greek empire.

Above a thousand years elapsed, and nothing happened of much importance. But, about the year 1450, the Turks invaded the Eastern empire of the Romans. Greece then fell beneath their power. During almost four centuries, the Greeks were treated by the Turks like slaves.

1. Vide Root. 2. Vide Daniel viii. 21, 22. The four horns being understood of his four generals, among whom his empire was divided.

Cassander had Macedonia, Greece, and the Western Islands,
Lysimachus had Thrace, Bithynia, and the Northern parts.
Ptolemy had Egypt and the countries of the South.
Seleucus had Syria and the Eastern countries.

At last, in the year 1821, they rebelled against the tyranny of the Turks. A war immediately broke out. It continued a long time, and was carried on with the most shocking cruelty on both sides.

Many people from other countries went to assist the Greeks. The ancient renown of Greece made friends of all who were acquainted with her history.

The Turks, however, resolved not to give up the country. The Greeks, on the other hand, determined either to drive away their oppressors, or to die. But they would not have succeeded, if England, France, and Russia had not taken their part.

The fleets of these three nations formed a "junction off the coast of Greece. They were all under the command of the English admiral Sir Edward Codrington. In October, 1827, they attacked a Turkish fleet of more than two hundred vessels, in the bay of Navarino.

The Turks were entirely beaten, and their vessels were sunk or burned. In consequence of their losses in this battle, they were unable to continue the war. Greece was therefore evacuated by the Turks.

But as the Greeks were not considered entirely fit to govern themselves, a king was selected for them, by England, France, and Russia. The new king was a young man of eighteen, named Otho. He was placed on the throne in the year 1829.

GEOGRAPHICAL.- How are the following modern towns situated, - Napoli di

Romania, Mistra, Tripoliiza, Lepanto, Livadia, and Negropont? What places are in the same degree of latitude as Athens? What places on the

globe are in the same degree of longitude ?
CHRONOLOGICAL.-Cassander subdued Greece ......... B.C. 322

Greece invaded by the Gauls
Greece became a Roman province .................. B.C. 146
The Turks conquer Greece ........................ A.D. 1453
Greece fights for her freedom

...................... A.D. 1821 Battle of Navarino............................... A.D. 1827

.............. B.c. 278

CHEMISTRY.

Attraction or Affinity. CHEMISTRY is the science which teaches the nature and constitution of bodies, and the manner of their action on each other.

In the constitution of bodies there is one all-powerful influence, which is called 'attraction. Its various kinds are classed according to its results.

Attraction of cohesion is that by which particles of the. same kind are held together, as lead to lead, water to water, or, where there is no combination, by only sticking or adhering together, as the mortar to the brick. ..

Attraction of gravitation is that by which substances are kept near or in contact with the earth ; as if a ball be thrown up into the air it falls back again, because the earth attracts it.

Attraction of electricity is that peculiar attraction seen in the tendency of wax after being rubbed, to attract feathers, paper, and other light substances; and in the iron 'conducting-rod of large buildings to draw the lightning.

Chemical attraction or affinity acts between the particles of dissimilar bodies, producing generally great changes. For instance, take two bodies that are poisons, as sulphuric acid, (oil of vitriol) which has a very sour and burning taste, and caustic ? potash, which is very acrid and corroding; each of these, if taken separately, would destroy life; but mix them together, and the result is a salt called sulphate of potassa, almost without any taste, and beneficial to take. Again, harmless things will produce poisons, by chemical attraction, thus water, sulphur, and oxygen, will produce oil of vitriol. Two bodies separately cold, when mixed together become quite hot, as oil of vitriol and water, or spirit of wine and water.

« AnteriorContinuar »