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mensurate to it as possible. Property, by the original principle of the constitution, was the source of all power, both elective, and legislative; the liberi tenentes including at that time, in effect, the whole property of the country, and extending to the mass of the people, were the elective body. The persons, whom they chose to Parliament, sat in right of the property of their electors; and the barons sat in right of their own baronies; that is to say, of their own property. At that time, they were not creatures of royal patent, as now. But now that the Lords are crea

tures of royal patent merely, and that freehold property . is a very inferior part of the property of the nation, the

a national property is not as fully represented as it was originally, and as it ought to be still by the constitution. The constituent body is also defective in point of number, as well as in point of property. The whole number of electors is infinitely short of what it ought to be, and what is worse, the majority of the representatives, who decide for the whole, are chosen by a number of electors not exceeding six or eight thousand ; though these representatives are to act for eight millions of people. A new body of constituents is therefore wanting; and in their appointment, two things are to be considered ; one, that they should be numerous enough, because numbers are necessary to the spirit of liberty; the other, that they should have a competent degree of property, because that is conducive to the spirit of order. To supply this deficiency both in the representative and constituent body, my proposition shall be directed.

“ But I am told this is not the time. And why? because forsooth there are disturbances in France. Now, first I say, that if those disturbances were ten times greater than with every exaggeration they are represented to be, yet that mass of confusion and ruin would only render the argument more completely decisive in favor of a timely and temperate reform here. And why? because

it is only for want of timely and temperate reform there, that these evils have fallen upon France. They could not begin with reparation in France; there was nothing to repair ; they did not begin with ruin, they found ruin accomplished to their hands. Neither the King nor his ministers knew where to find the constitution. The King called upon his notables (no legal body) to see where the constitution was to be found. Not a vestige of it could be recovered. They had lived so long as slaves, that they had unlearned the constitution: they were driven to speculation, because practice had vanished; and hence all those ca mities which have excited such tragical exclamations here.

“ To what have the convulsions in former times in England been owing? To the same want of timely and temperate correction. Had the encroachments of the Tudors been seasonably repressed, CHARLES the First might not have mistaken those usurpations to be his constitutional prerogative ; and so the miseries of the nation might have been avoided. Had not the evil practices of Charles the Second been so tamely endured, as to encourage the tyranny of JAMES, the last revolution might not have become necessary. I am no friend to revolutions, because they are an evil: I am therefore a friend to timely reform ; and for this reason, that it renders revolutions unnecessary; whilst they who oppose such reform may be enemies to revolutions in their hearts, but they are friends to it by their folly. Another strong argument from the situation of France in favor of a reform is this, that France will improve her constitution. Now what has enabled this country to be at all times equal, and oftentimes superior to France ? Not her climate or soil, which are not superior; nor her territory, nor population, which are so greatly inferior: it is only in the excellence of her government she has found her superiority. What follows? That if France improves her government, you must restore yours. Again-what is your situation as to external danger? France, the great objectof external danger to England, can no longer give alarm: during her disturbances she cannot have the power; and after her liberty is established, she will not have the inclination to make ambitious war. The better her government is, the more rational will be her counsels: the more rational her counsels, the more pacific they will be. Kings may hope for glory, and their ministers and minions may hope for plunder from warfare ; but what can the people expect from an ambitious war? Nothing, but an accumulation of taxes, and an effusion of blood. Now, if a state of external danger would be a strong argument against a reform, a state of external safety is as strong an argument in its favor. Again—what is your situation at home? You are not in a state of despondency, on the one hand, that might tempt you to a measure of despair, nor in a state on the other hand, of that drunken prosperity, by which nations are rendered ignorant of the present, and regardless of the future. You are in that happy medium, which is the best friend to sobriety of judgment, and consequently the fittest state for framing a rational and temperate reform, the only one which I would propose, and the only one to which I would consent. But it is dangerous, it is said, to tell the people of England, that they are not duly represented! And is this indeed a secret? Are the people of England in such a state of infancy as not to know, that they do not elect those representatives for whom they do not vote? Nobut if ever it was a secret to them, it has long been divulged ; it was proclaimed to them in a loud voice in the Middlesex Election, when a minority was voted to be a majority-a determination so iniquitous as to shake the fabric of Parliament to its base. What was the consequence? The house of commons, in a moment of repentance, erased the record of it, and stripped themselves for ever of their former judicial power

in elections, in expiation, and contrition for this abuse of it. Now what was this abuse? It was making a minority do in one county, what could only be constitutionally done by a majority; and the danger of it in example was, that it might be extended to other counties. But what is the abuse of which I complain, when I complain of the inadequacy of representation? It is, that a very small minority of the people do now act for the whole in electing the entire representative of the nation. Now this is as much a greater abuse than the former, as the whole is greater than a small part; and as one was expunged by the Parliament, the other ought to be expunged by the people. Again—this secret of inadequate representation was told the people in thunder in the American war ; which began with virtual representation, and ended in dismemberment. To the inadequacy of repre. sentation, I charge that war.

“ Profuse councils, attendant on unconstitutional majorities, had left upon you a debt, which induced the minister to look to America for taxes. There the war began : the instinctive selfishness of mankind made the people and Parliament wish that others should be taxed rather than themselves. At first, and until America resisted, I agree that this wish was common to the Parliament and people ; but when America resisted, and the measure came to deliberate judgment, the people were the first to recover their senses; whilst the minister, with his majority, went on to ruin. I

say, that the inadequacy of representation, as it was the cause, so it was the only argument that was attempted in justification of that war. When the American exclaimed, that he was not represented in the British house of commons, because he was not an elector, he was told, that a very small part of the people of England were electors; and that therefore he was in the same state in which an infinite majority of the people of England were ced. As they could not call this actual, VOL. I.


they invented a new name for it, and called it virtual representation; and gravely concluded that America was represented. The argument no doubt was fallacious : it was perfectly sufficient, however, to impose on multitudes in a nation, wishing that others should be taxed rather than themselves; and who were in the habit of thinking that the Americans being an inferior species of beings, they ought to be contented with their situation, though they did not partake at all in the elective capacity. The influence of corruption within doors, and of this fraud of argument without, continued the American war.

“ It terminated in separation, as it began in this empty vision of a virtual representation, and in its passage from one of these points to the other, it swept away part of the glory, and more of the territority of Great Britain, with the loss of forty thousand lives, and one hundred millions of treasure. Virtual Parliaments, and an inadequate representation, have cost you enough abroad already; take care they do not cost you more at home, by costing you your constitution.

" But the people of England have not only read this secret in the dead and decisive letter of events, but they have imbibed it from the living oracles of their ablest statesmen. When the city of London, the greatest and freest metropolis of the world, applied to Lord CHATHAM to assist them in shortening the duration of Parliaments, what was the answer of that great minister ?--It was this, . That shortening the duration of Parliaments alone would not be sufficient ; that alone might do hurt; that the representation itself must be amended ;' and his proposition was, to infuse a fresh portion of vigor into the representative body, by an addition of county representatives, leaving the rotten boroughs to drop off by time.

“ The authority of the son, both when a minister, and when not a minister, has been added to that of the father. The authority of many other of the most eminent men,

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