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was, it should be extended to co.' mean, might not hope by honeft pyholders and leaseholders, who industry and fair exertions to raise were bound to pay a certain annu- himself to distinction. And he al rent, a certain number of years, begged to observe, that a man ar. But the reform which he had to rived at the respectable fituation of propose in the other branch of re- being a father, and consequently presentation, was of a much more master of a family, having given extensive nature. It was, that the hostages as it were to society, as remaining four hundred members an assurance of his interest in its Mould be returned by one descrip- welfare, was not unworthy of a tion of persons, which were house. share in the legislation of his counholders. If it were possible, one try.

If the reform in the repreperson should not be permitted to sentation was adopted, but not ovote for more than one member of therwise, the duration of parliament parliament. In order to prevent should be limited to three years. expense, the poll ought to be taken Ore objection had always been through the whole kingdom at one made to similar motions, viz. that time: this was the outline of his it was an improper time to agitate plan -- to state that it could be ob- the question: so far from this aptained at first with exactness, or pearing of any weight, to him, was not liable to difficulties, would the time was one of the great be presumptuous and absurd; but inducements to bring it forward. he fattered himself there would be in prosperity we were told that found no insuperable or funda. there was no need of reform: and mental objections to it. The land- though Mr. Pitt at one time had conowner would find his property tended for its necesy, if we would suitably represented, the merchant mun the recurrence of the evils of fupport in the householders, and the American war, he quite forgot men of respectability and talents in his promise on coming into power. the different profesions would find We were now in a state very far a fair door open for admission into from prosperity : calamity had sucparliament. The only persons ceeded calamity, and every effort whom he wished to exclude from of the friends of their country had that house, were men who were been ineffe&tual in ftemming the neither poffeffed of landed proper- tide of its misfortune; for laimself ty, nor engaged in commercial en he should despair of any endeaterprise, nor professors of any parti- vours which he could make after ticular science, and who without this night being successful, and property, without industry, and though he always would be present without talents, obtained seats in to vote for or against measures the house of commons by the in- which might be prejudicial to his Auence of great men, for the conftituents, ' he would not again purpose, not of consulting the trouble the house with his observa. good of the people, but of promot: tions. ing their own interests. The men Mr. Erskine seconded the mobers would then hold their seats, tion, and with all the powers of elonot on the basis of universal fuf- quence, with all the knowledge and frage, but of universal representa- perspicuity which the subject retion. The qualification would be quired, he pointed out the advanso i. sed, that no man, however tages it was calculated to produce,

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and its consistency with the princi. Whilst the English were engaged ples of the constitution.

in a struggle for their liberties aé In entering into an examination gainst an arbitrary executive, actwhether the present constitution of ing by prerogative, and not by corthe house fulfilled its office in the ruption, it was enough that there government, it was necessary, he was a house of commons. Whofaid, to reflect what the office and ever sent the members, they had, character of the house of commons when assembled, a common intereally was in genuine theory, and rest with the whole body of the 126 original practice: its office was to tion. Common danger united them balance the other branches of the against the crown, and they had government, to watch with jealousy nothing wherewith to buy off indiover the executive power, which viduals from the performance of for the ends of good and active fu- their duty to the whole. When perintendence ought to be strong the crowii could not buy this house and powerful, to protect the popu- it was driven to curb its privileges. lar privileges against the encroach. This made the house as one man ; ments of aristocratic influence: and and the representatives of ten or of unless the house of commons was ten thousand had the same spirit sufficient to maintain this charac and the sainę interests on all politi. ter, it was a branch of the confti- cal objects. Mr. Erskine faid, if tution cut off: the principle of go- illustration was 'necessary, we had vernment was lost, and the people only to look back to the struggles had no more political existence of the commons during the reigns, than llaves who groaned under the of the Stuarts; there we might befcourges of despotic power. That' hold it in its genuine office and the house once fulfilled this office, character, reflecting the image of was certain; that our liberties were the constituent body, partaking its established by its constant exercise feelings, and contending with firme was acknowledged: we could re ness and wisdom against every enCollect with pride and triumph the: croachment of the crown. But hy. glorious exertions of our fathers man institutions were not made for within those walls, when tyranny, immortality; they mult change century after century, was

with the infenfible changes in hubated and defeated, and the free man affairs, or perith by violence. dom of England, and of the world, the revolution of 1688 was a glowas establimed.' It may be alkeil, rious æra in the conftitition of wherefore was it, that when the England : it established the true house of commons in its present principle of all political constituframe had so balanced the crown; tions; 'in maintaining the immutaand fo reared up the British go. ble rig lit of the people to correct its vernment from infanicy to matu government - but unfortunately, rity, we were called upon to restore' too little care was taken to guard it to its original purity and vigour? against abuses fo corrected. The forWhy, in such a moment of danger midable prerogatives of the fove. and disgrace, was it requisite to all reign were, indeed, reduced within ter what had for ages pait accom- the bounds of a juft executive authoplished the purposes of its institu- rity, a:d limited by the strict letter tion ? Because the circumstances of of the laws. But the terror and jeaour fituation were no longer the same.' lousy of the people were quieted


by this victory, and the seducing terations time may have introduce dominion of venal influence stole ed, this character can never be sufupon us in its stead, bestowing a tained unless the house of commons more fatal authority than ever ex be made to bear some stamp of the isted in the most arbitrary periods actual disposition of the people at of government. The crown, in large. It would be an evil more stead of being balanced and curbed natural and tolerable, that it should in this house, had, during the be infected with every epidemical greater part of this century, erect. phrensy of the people, as this would ed its ftandard within those walls, indicate some consanguinity, some and thrown the privileges of the sympathy of nature with their conpeople into the scale of the prero- ftituents, rather than be wholly un. gative, to govern the nation at plea- moved by their opinions and feel. fure. So far was the house of com- ings. By this want of sympathy mons from being any controul up- they would cease to be a house of on it, that it was the great engine commons; for it is not the derivaof its power. Appearing to act tion of the power of that house with the consent of the people, from the people which makes it, in through their representatives, yet a distinct sense, their representative. in fact carrying on a system which • For the king is the representative of the most absolute prince in our the people, lo are the lords, and so history could not have fastened are ihe judges; all are their trustees upon England for centuries paft. as well as the commons, because The celebrated judge Black ftone, no power is given for the fole fake with all his leanings to the crown, of the holder; and, although gohad confessed, that such a system vernment certainly is an institution could not have been intended by of divine authority, yet its forms, our patriot ancestors, who struggled and the persons who adminifter it, to curb the prerogative, but by originate from the people. A poan unaccountable want of fore pular origin cannot, therefore, be a fight had established a principle popular representative, which bemore dangerous in its stead. So longs equally to all parts of gosaid lord Chatham, fir G. Saville, vernment, and in all forms. The and lord Camden; so, lastly, said virtue, Spirit, and efsence of a house of the right honourable gentleman commons confit in its being the express himself (Mr. Pitt), and he would image of the feelings of the nation. If not have said fo in vain, had he was not instituted to be a controul honourably persevered in that glo- upon the people, as of late it had rious course, which was the pledge been taught, but a controul for and promise of his youth to his them. A vigilant and jealous eye country and to the universe. Mr. over executory and judicial magiErskine declared, that he did not stracy-an anxious care of public , bring this to the memory of the money ear open to public house for the purpose of personal complaint-these are the true chainsult and mortification, but to add racteristics of an house of comthe authority of the minister's un mons. But an adresing boufe of derstanding to the other great ones commons, and a petitioning nation; a. he had cited. He begged the house bouse of commons full of confidence, to judge of his opinion then, as it when the nation is plunged in despair; stands on record - Whatever al in the utmost barmony with minifters



wbom the people regard with abhor. in vain, at the head of a corrupt reace; uho vote thanks whin the pub. government, that he now endealic opinion calls upon them for im- voured to repress the do&trin--s prachment; who are eager to grant,' which himself had propagated, or suhen the general voice demands rec. to extinguish the popularity of a re . koring and account; who in all di- form in parliament, without which {patei betoveen the people and admini- he had himself solemnly maintain. Jaration decide against the people; ed that the liberties of this nation cuba punish their diforders, but refuse were undone. The only cure for 10 ingu're into their provocations, this the evils of government was, to is an unnatural, a monstrous fate of make it what it had been in the things in this conftitution.“And this days of our fathers, when it pre(continued Mr. Erskine) is the de- served the freedom of the people, graded and disgraceful state of this and was crowned with their love affembly at this moment. There and veneration. Upon that sound was a time, when the right honour- principle, Mr. Grey had brought able gentleman admitted this to be forward his former motion in the the truth. He confessed, during year 1793, which Mr. Erskine said the American war, what he now he considered it his duty to second, denies, in order to maintain the as he was now seconding the mocause of his own war. It had been tion of this night; that they then faid, that the American was at first thought as they thought yet, that the war of the people ; it was so, the only mode of giving a safe dias every act of government would rection to a spirit turbulent in the be popular which began from demand of liberty, was to give to the people's representatives, in- Englishmen the substantial blest: stead of the crown. The crown ings of their own government. The secures all the men of influence, surelt antidote against those visionproperty, and confideration in par. ary and dangerous theories which liament, and they carry the people constantly spring up from the heat with them until they are brought of revolutionary movements, was at last to their senses by calamity to hold out to the people the real and impending ruin. By the advantages which the British concrown having in its hands the ma- ftitution it its native purities was nagement of our mighty revenue, calculated to bestow-to raise a together with the manner in which standard, around which the lovers of the members of the house were Englif liberty might proudly rally, ele&ted, the house of commons had which would secure allegiance, not totally loft its original office and cha- by terror (which always fails in the racter as a balance aginst the crown. moment of peril), but By the enBy the concurrence of accidents, joyment of solid happiness, by the rather than by the operation of per- return of lenient laws, of personal manent causes, great events of the security, and the postellion of the world were brought to pass. The fruits of their own industry, which seeds of reformation came up at were squeezed to the very first but slowly, but they had been husks by the grinding machinery carefully gathered and re-fown by of an overwhelming revenue. This the right honourable gentleman was the propofition set forth, and himseli. 66 That which a man rejected. The right honourable Joweth shall he also reap.” It was gentleman, not contented with a

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postatising from the principles he to our readers the whole of Mr. had often professed, refifted them Erskine's speech; the substance of in a spirit and language of the lof. its remaining part was an exatieft pride and arrogance, which mination whether the plan prohad since received their just rebuke posed by Mr. Grey was likely to in disgrace and humiliation but produce the practical benefits we unfortunately this once great na- defired; and if it was, whether the tion had also been humbled and present was a fit moment for making degraded. The cause of reform any alteration in the confitution of was to be part down, and all who our government? Respecting the maintained it were to be liigma- former, Mr. Erskine was clearly of tised, persecuted, and oppresed. opinion that it would be beneficial: The reformers had mixed with the house of commons, he said, their cause an enthusiasm for the ought to emanare from the people, liberties of France, and for that and this plan attained the object reason the liberties of France were with safety; the representation of to be crushed. But the infolence land would continue, only be more with which the changes of the rif- equally extended and widely dif. ing world were denounced within fused. No good reason could now those walls, was an awful lefton to be algned for excluding copy. mankind. It had taught us, that holders from the right of voting; there was an arm fighting against their estates only differed from freethe oppresors of freedom, tronger holds in the mode of conveyance, than any arm of flesh, and that the and the privileges of lords were no great progressions of the world, in longer what tiey had been in feu. spite of the confederacies of power dai times. They were not priviand the conspiracies of corruption, leges of property, but merely conmoved on with a steady pace, and nected with authenticity of title. would arrive in the end at a glorious Leaseholders of a certain value, and consummation. The object of mi- for a certain term which a mounts nisters, it seems, was to maintain to property, were in the fame fituathe subordination of the laws, to tion. Inhabitants and householders uphold public credit, and preserve paying fcot and lot, through all the regular system of things. What their ranks and gradations, comhad been the consequence? In this pleted the system of rational reprenew mode of supporting mona, chi- sentation. How could a people be caleftablishments, they had absolute better described? Who would prely changed and were hourly chan.. tend to fay, that the masters of faging into republican establishments milies, householders, every one of the whole fice of the earth; in fupwhom had some relation, some tie, port of public credit, they had fome members of a little circle broke the bank; in pursuit of pub- round his fire-fide to whom he was lic order they were driving Ireland, attached, had no ftake in the public as America formerly was driven, to fare, and were unworthy to enjoy seek emancipation in the arms political rights ? Such a body of of France; and if the present system conftituents would, io a considerawas not overturned, ingland would ble extent, remove the disgraceful Mortiy be what Ireland was.” practices which elections now ex

We regret that it is not within hibited. Suffrages were sometimes the limits of this work to present bartered for money, for a place, for

a ribband,

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