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348

MAR YARD LA W RE VIE W.

be called a new creation : in its separation of the powers of government, in the division of the legislature into two branches, and in the union of the executive as a third branch, the constitu- tion of England was closely followed. We may say the same as regards the bill of rights, which was added to the constitution by amendments ; the leading principles are all to be found in Magna Charta and other charters of English liberty which the people of America at the time of the Revolution had claimed as a part of their inherited freedom, and demonstrated their right to by their success.

It is worthy of note, however, that the principles of liberty which were thus appropriated were likely to have a somewhat different meaning, and to give a broader protection in America than in England. Adopted in America, they took on to some extent an American sense ; they were relieved from implied limitations and exceptions which were known under the English system, but were foreign to American ideas and usages. We imported our law, but in some sense it was raw material to be worked over, and the first step in the process was to relieve it of whatever had come from the recognition of privileged classes, or of classes subject to special burdens. Magna Charta, therefore, in its protection of life, liberty, and property by the law of the land means more in America than it did in England ; it is more comprehensive, more impartial. Voltaire has an anecdote of meeting, when in England, a boatman on the Thames, who, seeing that he was a Frenchman, with characteristic boorishness bawled out with an oath that he would rather be a boatman on the Thames than an archbishop in France. The next day Voltaire saw this man in prison with irons on, and praying alms from the passers-by; and so asked him whether he still thought as seriously of an archbishop in France. "Ah, sir,*' cried the man, "what an abominable government! I have been carried off by force to go and serve in one of the king's ships in Norway. They take me from my wife and my children, and lay me up in prison, with irons on my legs, until the time for going on board, for fear I shall run away." A countryman of Voltaire confessed that he felt a splenetic joy that the people who were constantly taunting the French with their servitude were in truth just as much slaves themselves ; " but for my own part," said the philosopher, " I felt a humaner sentiment ; I was afflicted at there being no liberty on earth." If the Frenchman had come to