for impartiality, in the main well deserved, was by its
nature conservative, and by its constitution the associate and the support of the House of Lords.
Westminster Hall, which had stood through many revolutions and many dynasties, and was become venerable from an unchanged existence of five hundred years, sent the first officer in one of its courts, from however humble an origin he might have sprung, to take precedence of the nobility of the realm, and act as president of the chamber of peers.
That branch of the legislature derived an increase of its dignity from the great lawyers whom the crown, from time to time, was accustomed to ennoble; and moreover, it formed, of itself, a part of the judicial system.
The House of Commons, whose members, from their frequent elections, best knew the temper of the people, possessed exclusively the right to originate votes of supply; but the final judgment on all questions of law respecting property rested with the House of Lords.
The same cast of aristocracy, intermingled with popularity, pervaded the systems of education.
From climate, compact population, and sober national character, England
was capable beyond any other country in the world of a system of popular education.
Nevertheless it had none.
The mass of its people was left ignorant how to write or read.
But the benevolence of Catholic ages, emulated also in later times, had benefited science by endowments, which in their conception were charity schools; founded by piety for the education of poor men's sons; where a place might sometimes be awarded to favor, but advancement could be obtained only by merit; and the sons of the aristocracy, having no seminaries