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a ribband, for the most trifling con- equally oppose at all times, though fiderations. To remedy these abuses, dilimilar occafions would be altermake the electors vote each in their nately used as pretences. It had particular parishes: they would been the opinion of the celebrated then come with calmness to exer- Mr. Burke (whose extraordinary tacise the most important of political lents had since been so mifem; loyprivileges, and weigh maturely up- . ed' in supporting rrejudices, and on whom they were to devolve the diffufing errors which had been faguardianship of their civil rights. tal to all Europe)—it had once been Such a plan would have all the ad- his opinion, " that the criterion vantages of universal suffrage with which more than all the rest distinout any of its defects"; properly guished a wise government from an speaking, indeed, it was a univer- administration weak and improvifal right of fuffrage, because all dent was this, well to know when who were not included in it might and in what manner to yield what be faid, without a figure, to be vir- it was impossible to keep. Early tualiy represented. All the people reformations were amicable comin their various degrees were repre- promises with a friend in power, septed, if not personally, in the per- Late were terms imposed upon a fons of their fathers or their nearest conquered enemy. Early reforkindred, and bound in every feel- mations are made in cool blood; ing as well as every interest which late are made in a state of inflamarose out of social existence to sup- mation. In such a state the people port an afsembly proceeding from fee in government nothing respecte such an universal national will; able; they will look at the grievwhereas the personal inclusion of ance, and they will look at nothing every individual might give an un- else: like a furious populace produe influence inconlistent with the voked by the abuses of a house of true spirit of independent elections. ill fame, they no longer think of Mankind have a right to be well- regulation; they go to work the governed, but they can have no fortest way; they abate the nuiright to infist upon any mode in- fance, they pull down the edifice." compatible with the very end pro- This, said Mr. Erskine, is a fort of poled. The fyftem laid before the epitome of universal history; above house was practicable; it had no all
, of the times we live in.' From tendency to disorganise fociety, or the rejection of these maxims of to Chake the efablidhments of the policy and prudence, the governbation,
ments of Europe fall into ruin by Mr. Erskine then discussed his sudden violence, instead of being last point — " was the present a insensibly altered by peaceable remoment fit for making any altera. formation. To this cause the indee tion in the government." "He pro- pendence of America is to be afelled to think it fingularly and scribed : in the beginning the fought eritically seasonable, and that those only the reasonable privileges of a who denied it would lay the same dependent com.nunity; we refused hold on prosperity if the fame mo- to look at her grievances while tion were proposed on the return they were curable, and America of
peace. That which men were was separated from us for ever, determined to oppose from a cor, He protested he saw no alterrupt interest in abuse, they would native between an immediate re
form and a revolution involving tude than that we were defirous this country in blood and perdition to repair must be confidered, and We were now in the most perilous how far it was prudent to give an predicament; government called opening to principles which aimed upon the people for greater exer at nothing less than the annihilations than at former times; bur- tion of the constitution. dens which appeared insupportable '. The learned gentleman (Mr. Erand impracticable even in specula- fkine) had remarked fomewhat intion, were now to be endured, and sidiously, “ that those who former. carried into eifect : this must be ly supported parliamentary reform, done by affection or coercion, and had sown the seeds of eagerness for this was the moment for the choice. it, which were now displayed;"
“ Grant, (said he) to the people to which he answered, that it was the bleffings of the constitution, and no inconsistency to forego a present they will join with ardour in its advantage for a future benefit, or defence; raise a standard, around to avoid impending evils: was it which the friends of freedom may not better to endure some little inrally, and they will be attracted by convenience rather than hazard the the feelings of confidence and of at- annihilation of a system under tachment. It will unite all who which this country had flourished are divided, and create a general in its prosperity, by which it had fpirit to bear up against the cala. been supported in its adverfity, and mities impending."
acquired energy and vigour to reMr. Chancellor Pitt stated his cover from the distrefits which it reasons for giving his decided ne. had endured ? gative to the motion. The ho This moderate reform was pronourable gentleman, he said, who posed, to separate those whom such had introduced it had disclaimed a plan would satisfy, from men very diftinétly, and as far as he who would be satisfied with none; went very satisfactorily, all those but who by this means would only abstract principles of imprescribable labour with more success to subvert right on which those without doors the whole constitution. Men who had rested the propriety of their could treat parliament as usurpademand, and upon which alone tion, and monarchy as an invasion they would be contented with any of the rights of man, would not respecies of parliamentary reform; ceive that reform which was not a but in disclaiming these views upon recognition of their right, and which the subject, he had not stated all they would conceive as vitiated if the confiderations by which the conveyed in any other soape. Mr. conduct of a wise statesman was to Pitt atħrmed, that there was no call be regulated, and the judgment of upon the house to adopt this meaan upright senator to be guided. fure, in order to satisfy men friendThe question was not, whether ly to moderate reform, for such men some alteration might not be at: had not expresied any will upon tended with advantage, but whether the subject. Before the practical the degree of benefit might be expediency was discussed, the prace worth the chance of the mischief tical neceility must be establithed. it probably or possibly might in The war with France, the inroads duce. The danger of introducing upon the conftitution, the profu. an evil of a much greater magni Gon of public expenditure, were
the evils which, it was asserted, glected, because it fent only two might have been avoided, had par- members to parliament; or that liamentary reform been adopted. Birmingham or Manchester expeBut he would contend, that the war rienced any ill consequences from originated not with us; that what having no representatives. The had been called inroads were bul- proposition was new, extensive, warks for the defence of the confti. overturning all the antient system tution, and that the feelings of the without substituting any real benepeople went uniformly along with fit. In the mixed representation the proceedings of the parliament; which now fubfifted, the foot and never did it enjoy the confidence lot elections were those which had of the country more than at this been thought most objectionable ; critis. (Here Mr. Fox fhowed fome and the honourable gentleman had figns of diffent). Mr. Pitt said he formerly agreed with him, that burcould maintain this assertion; for gage tenures and small corporations was the house of commons so far were even less exceptionable than from being the image of a repre- open burghs with small qualificasentative assembly, that a general tions : yei from this extension of election afforded no opportunity to them it had been a general comthe people to express their fenti- plaint, that much confufion, dements: He desired gentlemen to bauchery, and abuse of elections recollect how far the opposition, had arisen, which, notwithstanding and the fupport of administration, formed the principal feature in the were grounds of pretension in dif- plan. Upon these grounds, feferent popular ele&tions, and what riously surveying the situation of had been the result of these con- the country, examining facts with tests? They might recollect also, attention, unless we would belie that in the city of London, where the teftimony of our constituents, they were most confident of their and seal our own dishonour, Mr. strength, where they were so affur- Pitt avowed his total disapprobaed that the voice of the livery was tion, and gave his negative to the in unison with their efforts, they motion. were confuted by the result of a Sir Francis Burdett' declared it poll. They could therefore produce was his most ardent wish to preserve no proof that parliament had acted the country from ruin. He wanted in opposition to the voice of the (he said) to protect the rights and country - the reverse was truth. liberties of the people, but not the He objected strongly in the next undue influence of a junto of noplace to the introduction of nume- bility and placemen. He deplored rical representation. On what ex- that humiliating confidence which perience, on what pra&ice, was it had enabled the minifter to bring to be introduced? Were we to re us into fo deplorable a condition : nounce the benefits of a tried sy. it had supported him in a war, stem for a monopolizing theory which, like that of America, was a which had no example in its fa- bold and daring but unsuccessful vour! It never had been contested, attempt to ftifle the flame of liberthat the inequality of the represen- ty. The minister had endeavoured tation had been attended with any to restore monarchy in France, he practical disadvantage; that the in- had procured its utter annihilation; terest of Yorkshire had been ne- he had endeavoured to destroy the
principles of the French republic; the first moment he saw the pro-
was in poflible to unite them, or even the knowledge of parlia- The reason for so much dissen. ment.
All these weie abuses of fion was obvious: the evil of the ancient constitution, and never which they complained had no excould have crept into it but by the ilience; if it had, there would have corruption of the executive go- been no difficul'y in fixing the revernment, and that corruption, un- nedy. He observed, there had been less we had a reform, would be many wars in which this country come its enthanasia.
had been engaged that might not Mr. Robert Thornton denied that have been juft or necessary; many the system of government had been that were actually fo, had been proas corrupt as the last speaker had tračied longer than was wise or represented. Some reform was re- prudent, but none in which the quilite, but tht se were times un house had perfiled against the will friendly to reformation ; in a few of the people. The American war years he hoped it would be other was, at its commencement, a popu. wise. He gave his negative to the lar war; the house of cominous present motion.
and the people went hand in hand Sir Richard Hill said, he was far together; the opinions of the latter from considering the present as a changed in the course of that war, weak administration ; there never fo did those of the former; and the had fat in that house one more reason that administration was af. able. As to their wickedness he terwards supported was, because charged them not all; he would some riots happened in the metro join neither side in abuse; he be polis, which made the house, out of lieved there was much virtue in a sense of common danger, rally both, and he wished to see them round the 'executive government united to save the country. From to fupport the tiate from impending
ruin. This was a striking instance publishing them, that was concernof the parliament acting in unison ed in any of the massacres in that with the people. And at this mo- country; and here he repeated what ment, so far was the house of com- he had said on former occasions, that mons from speaking any language excess was the natural effect of all rebut that of the people of this coun- volutions, when men shook off their try, that they expressed the very slavery. Under the necessity of res sentiments of the majority; and lo' covering their liberty by force, they far from innovating upon their were naturally intemperate. If the privileges, that he would pledge queition was asked him who were kimseli to prove the popular pow. the real authors and abettors of these er was continually improving, and massacres, he should not hesitate o that the house was more popular place certain despots in the front of than ever it had been before this his accusation. Mr. Sheridan faid time. In short, his lordship pro- nothing could be more unjuft than feiled himself convinced that the the view which the minister had motion would lead to the over thought proper to take of the rethrow of monarchy and the house form and the reformers. He had of commons together.
defired the public to look upon the Mr. Sheridan ridiculed with a one as so'many malked traitors, great deal of in genuity the alleged and upon the other as a latent mode proof, " that because there was dif- of overthrowing the constitution. ficulty in fixing the remedy, the He knew not why univerfalsuffrage evil did not exist.” It reminded should have been brought into such him of the old adage, “When doc- contempt; he remembered having tors differ," &c. If that was to be signed his name with the duke of the answer, it would follow, that if Richmond at some meetings in fathey differed about the remedy, the vour of it and of annual parliapatient, though apparently dying, ments. He considered it as the was in perfect health. He knew right of every man to propose that, not where the noble lord had ftu. if he thought fit; its expediency died his logic, but certainly it was was matter of discussion and delinot in the college of physicians. beration; if any other plan was Much had been said of throwing better, there was no reason for its the country into confusion; the not being preferred. But it seemed minister and his advocates affected now to be treated as a species of to dread the prioriple of the pre- treason; nor would he admit that fent measure, because it seemed to every man who thought universal, proceed upon the Rights of Man, fuffrage the best method, would and these principles were adopted necessarily with for anarchy and by the French, and led to all the confution. It had been stated, that horrors which had been transacted the number of those who desired a in their revolution. But for his own reform in parliament, was small; part, he must deny that the horrors he did not believe it. The whole, of it were produced by the rights body of the diffenters withed it, of man : bloody calamities there without pulling down the fabric of had been; but that they originated the constitution. He had himself in these principles, he disputed been accused of seeking to join the There was not one individual who friends of anarchy he begged to was concerned either in writing or ask, what temptation he could