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universal suffrage, before demanding that their plan should be adopted, were bound to shew, that it was for the good of the people, that it should be adopted. It would be also recollected that he had never grounded his motion for reform upon the inequality of the present representation. Inequality of representation of itself he did not consider as a sufficient ground for reform. For instance, he never had argued, that there should be a reform in the representation of the people, because Cornwall sent as many representatives to Parliament as all the counties of Scotland together; and because there were some boroughs with a few houses and a handful of inhabitants returned as many members to the house of commons as the opulent and extensive county of York. Though this sounded strange in theory, yet if it was not shewn that in practice it was injurious to the rights of Englishmen, their defence was good, who contended that the nation under its present system of government had enjoyed much prosperity and a large portion of happiness, and who argued against the inexpediency of a change for the chance of endangering the existence of the system, and of giving birth to evils of a much more serious nature than those which were experienced under it. Having thus stated his general principles upon the subject, he proceeded to inquire what was the end and the use of the house of commons, and what was the present representation of the people. When he considered what it ought to be, the questions naturally occurred, whether it had acted for the interest of the people? Whether it had watched the conduct of the ministers? Whether it had controled the executive government in its operations? and above all, whether in the exercise of its appropriate duty it had been a faithful guardian to the public purse? When he considered what it was, suggestions of a different nature occurred. Instead of attention, he was afraid there had been negligence; instead of inquiry, that there had been confidence ; instead

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of control, there had been obedience; and instead of economy there had been profusion. But if it had thus failed in its duty, and if misfortunes numerous and dreadful had been the consequence of the failure, whatever difference of opinion there might be, respecting the time and mode of reform, he was convinced there could be little or no objection to the measure considered abstractedly. How then did they stand ? It was now five years since he first made a motion for a reform in Parliament. At that time the country was described as being in a state of great prosperity, and the public were induced fondly to entertain the prospect of a prolongation of the term of peace. When he looked back however for thirty years; when he reflected on the wars in which it had been engaged ; and when he reviewed the conduct of the different administrations during these wars. When in particular he considered the conduct of the American war, and the embarassments, into which the country was brought in consequence of the profuse expenditure which marked the administration of that period; when moreover he beheld a new æra arising in France which threatened a great and momentous change in the political system of Europe, from all these considerations he was induced to bring forward a measure, which, in his opinion, would tend to prevent those evils from again recurring which the nation had formerly occasion to lament, and which might withstand the influence of new opinions. In a short time after we engaged in a war with France, our prosperity was still stated to be undiminished. One campaign was to decide the contest, and the triumphant march to Paris was for ever to check the insolence of the enemy. A noble Lord then argued for the prosperity of the country, from the comparative statement of our exports and imports, and concluded a most eloquent description of our increased resources with saying, “ that we had a rise from humiliation more glorious than from its fall, and trusted we might

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feel no second fall.” That argument he considered as deficient, because he did not advert to the causes which produced that state of adversity from which we had just emerged; and he proposed at the time a measure, by which the nation might be guarded against a second humiliation. Whether the remedy would or would not have been effectual, he knew not; but this he knew, that the remedy was rejected, and the country was again reduced to a state of calamity, which made the effects of the American war, when compared with it, trifling, and our situation after it enviable. If, as the noble Lord contended, the prosperity of the country was matter of credit to the house of commons, and if it was an argument against any change in the constitution of that assembly, the disasters which it has lately suffered, and the state of adversity to which it is now reduced, was to the full as good an argument either against its wisdom or its virtue, and in favor of a change of constitution. In stating the evils arising from universal suffrage, the noble Lord instanced the government of France, under which that mode of election obtained, and the profuse expenditure consequent upon it, Here again Mr. GREY contended, that he had the advantage of the noble Lord in argument, for if extravagance and prodigality were fairly charged as objections to the constitution of the government of France, would not the same objection apply with equal force to the profuse expenditure of public money in this country, the guardianship of which immediately belongs to the house of commons? What, since that time, had been our situation? We had been reduced from a state of great and unparalleled prosperity to a state, if not of despondency, at least of imminent danger and deep distress. Under the pressure of great and accumulated calamities, how had the house of commons conducted itself? Had they shewn either the vigilance of enquiry or independence of spirit? Had they investigated the origin of their misfortunes, or

checked ministers in their mad and ruinous career? Nay, the very reverse. In a war, remarkable only for misfortune, and distinguished on our part solely by disgrace, they had suffered ministers to go on from failure to failure, adding misconduct tu inisfortune, and madness to folly, without either investigation or enquiry. When attacks were made on the liberties and even the lives of the subject, the house of commons did not interpose in behalf of freedom invaded, or innocence assaulted! When the shores of our sister kingdom were laid open and defenceless to the fleets of an invading enemy, no inquiry was instituted into the cause of such gross and criminal neglect. When, by the mandate of the privy council, the bank of England stopped payment, and a shock unequalled at any other time was given to public credit, the minister was absolved upon his own excuses from

any kind of censure. Having stated the effects of the system, it was needless to enter upon the mode of election, but was it not notorious to every one, that men without holding any communion with the people, without either property or talents, merely by throwing themselves on the patronage of a great man, got seats in Parliament, not for the purpose of consulting the good of the commonwealth, and defending the rights of the people, but for the purpose of promoting their own interests, by betraying the trust reposed in them? As a remedy for these evils he proposed to alter the system from whence they flowed. Had he implicitly followed the dictates of his own private judgment, he should have adopted the mode of moving for a committee to enquire into the nature and extent of the evil, and to save found out a remedy suitable and proportionate to it. Though that appeared to him to be the better mode of proceeding, when he proposed it before at different times, there was always one objection offered to it, which, on the present occasion, he was desirous of obviating. It was objected, “ would you loosen the confidence of the people in the present

house of commons, by acknowledging the defects of its constitution, without proposing a remedy by shewing how it might be constituted better?” To obviate this objection, he should state the outline of the plan which he conceived might remedy the evil of which he complained. His object then was to obtain for the people a full, fair, and free representation in the house of commons. He wished to alter no part of the constitution. It was his desire, that it should remain as it had been established, composed of King, Lords, and Commons. He did not wish to alter any thing which could remain in its present state, consistently with the attainment of his object, which,

he before stated, was nothing more than a full, free, and fair representation of the people. He should propose, therefore, that the same number of members should serve in Parliament as at present. He should propose that the county representation should remain nearly on the same footing. There were a few alterations, however, which he thought should take place. Instead of ninetytwo county members, which there are at present, he thought that in future, in order to put an end to the inequalities that now exist, there should be one hundred and thirteen. For instance, instead of two for the county of York, as there are at present, he thought there should be two for each riding; and so in other counties where the present representation is not proportionate to the extent of soil and population. The next alteration, which he submitted to the house, referred to the mode of return. In order to put an end to compromises, &c. he should propose, that each county or riding should be divided into grand divisions, each of which should return one representative. The only other alteration, which he had to propose in the county representation, related to the qualification of electors. The right of election, instead of being confined to freeholders, as it now is, he thought should be extended to copyholders and leaseholders, who

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