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It would be the last part of the elective, and to what in a monarcommunity from which the go; chy the prince, in a republic the vernment would dare to ask for or senate, should nominate.' expect afsistance, when the service Tle question of fuffrage natuin which it was to be employed rally leads to that of representation, would be attended with injury or The author gives an historical aceven danger to the liberty of the count of the manner in which it country.
was introduced into our confiitu. Mr. Michell suggests several im• tion, and then observes that the provements respecting the age at idea of it became at last lo cherished which gentlemen Mould be allowed by the people, that representation to fit in parliament. At 21 he was with them a synonimous term thinks a man cannot be properly for liberty; so that those who qualified for the important duties were not represented were confi. of a legislator; and therefore he iş dered as not free. Mr. M. insists of opinion that he ought not to be that this opinion is founded in er. eligible by law for a seat in the le. ror;, or that it must be admitted gidature, before he has attained that women, minors, and foreignthe age of 30 years.
ers, residing aniong us are Alaves; In chapter VI. Mr. M. speaks of for they are not represented by any the qualification of electors; and, one deputed by them to appcat instead of extending the right ot and act for them. suffrage to every male of the age He concludes the chapter with of 21, he contends most strenuo fome very handsome compliments ously for withholding it from all to the British House of Commons; those who poifels not fixed pro- from which, he says, constituted perty, but who are altogether de- as it always has been, the nation pendent for their fubfiftence on the has derived great happiness, wealth wages of their daily labour; and and glory. he maintains that, without this The Vilth chapter treats of a restriction, it is impoflible that the monarchical and a republican forın conftitution should be secure. of government, and gives to the
Mr. M. would disfranchise only former a decided preference. the populace, and would commu. In chapter VIII, he treats of the nicate the right of voting to all nature and extent of power that above that class, with the double ought to be trusted to the king. view of preventing an ariftrocratic Be renfarks that, if a sovereign tyranny, and spreading as widely does not poffefs fufficient legal as possible an interest in the public power to enforce a vigorous and welfare. "To mark the line of effective government, he must obdiscrimination is the business, (says tain it through influence, or anhe) of a legiflator occupied in archy will ensue. framing a particular conftitution, In chapter IX, he investigates and mult be adapted to the manners the origin, progress, and decay of of each particular people. It belongs absolute power in France; and to him also to ascertain what are this discussion leads him to search the offices wbich may be rendered for the foundation of British free
dom, and the causes of the real might have been thought that no danger that threatens our conftitu- thing new could be said on them. tion.
It has been a favourite measure In the beginning of the Xth and with reformers to counteract the last chapter our author is impar: venality of rotten boroughs, either tial enough to acknowledge that, by admitting the inhabitants of though the Britih constitution be the neighbouring hundreds to a in its nature calculated to preserve right of voting equally with the the fabric of liberty in this coun- burgesses, or persons holding by try, it does not follow that any burgage tenure, or by entirely dil other ftate would to a certainty ad franchising those boroughs, and wisely in adopting it. The bler- granting to populous towns the fing of freedom, (he fays,) depends right not bow enjoyed by them, chiefly on the manners of a people; of sending members to parliament. its existence therefore is compatible Neither of thefe remedies would, with almost every form of govern- in liis opinion, remove the eril ; ment; and perhaps it will be for the venality, taking its rise found that every community, far from the corruptí manners of the advanced in civilization, or long people, cannot be remedied by a eftablished, contains within itself fransder of the franchise from one such remnants of past, or such set of electors to another, as both seeds of future freedom, in curs would most certainly act in the toms and prejudices, which have fame manner.' The expences ats crept in by degrees, that an en- tending elections he says, are lightened patriotic legiflator will such, that gentieren of moderate always adopt the maxiın of Tuci- landed property are almost exclud: tus-- he secret of fitting up a newed from the Houle of Commons; fute confifts in reinining the image of and such land-owners as do take the old. Obferving, next, tliat seats in it are poffefred of estatés fa the British parliament is the only very large, as to be candidates for senate that ever was able to re- a peerage, and therefore are more ftrain the power of kings, withont open to corruption than men of annihilating monarchy, and to moderate inconies. The namber effect this restraint without tu- of merchants admitted into the mult or violence, he fays, it is House of Commons he also con worth while to chiscover, if poflible, fidcrs as highly' dangerous to the what in reality are thote peculiari- conftitution, assuming it as a mas. ties in its construction, to which we im that they attend more to their ought to afcribe its peculiar excel- private interest than to the public lencies.' This investigation forms wcal. He also objects, in the folthe principal fubject of the Xth lowing terms, to the admission of chapter, which touches on too a great number of lawyers into the great a variety of objects to be boule. particularized by us. Some re- · Lawyers muft be bad legiflamarks, however, made by Mr. tors, unless to profefliopal kill they M. we cannot refrain from infert- join a mais of general knowledge. ing here, as containing new ideas This cannot be expected in men on subjects already to trite, that it whose time, from their youth upwards, has been totally absorbed narchical government; and that in the studies and practice of their this defect in the conftitution can profeflion, and this must be the be palliated only by the general case with all eminent lawyers, who venality of individuals; we vecd alone can afford a seat in parlianot be at a loss to account for the ment. But if we alio consider, that degeneracy of parliament*.' of late years the highest honours, and Hence it is evident that our the most lucrative offices of state, author is an advocate for reforın are prizes, which every lawyer, who but on principles very different from can join parliamentary confequence those on which reform has hitherto to profesional eminence, is sure to been defended: he would first reform obtain; we cannot be surprized if the manners of the electors, as the lawyers have, in general, proved beft means of securing political inte. themselves the mott zealous parti- grity in the elected : he would thien fans of faction, the most subfervient introduce a greater portion of the tools of government.'
wards, honourable tbat
landed interest into parliament, The constitution is alfo in dan- and confiderably leffen the number ger, he says, from the admission of of professional men and merchants too many military men ; fince such who should be admitted to fit in members, in his opinion, for the it; and he would extend the pow. most part consider their seat in par- er of the crown, at the same time liament as a step subservient to, that he would diminish that of the perhaps neceflary for, their pro- house of commons, by inaking the fessional advancement, and there- prince less dependent on it :-but fore betray their duties as senators. it is not the lower house alone, acHe then adds the following ob- .cording to Mr. M. that calls for refervation :
form; the house of lords, in his opiIf, in addition to this change nion, tiands in as much need of it. in the character of the members, A moments reflection (lays hey we also take into consideration the will serve to convince us, that the great increase of power that the political power vefted in the lords, lenate has necessarily arrogated to enables them to perform but a itself, fince the crown was render- small part of what is required of ed entirely dependent on its good them; and unless this power, their will; when we recolle that ex- titles of honor, and their insignia cessive power corrupts the best dil- of rank, are united to great perpofitions; that the actual exercise fonal authority, derived from ample of what the house of commons hereditary poiletlions, and to ibe poffefs, is incompatible with a mo- respect which is always paid to
** Those who are advocates for the present system of government, yet allow that it is supported by influence, leem not aware that their arguments lead to an ablirdity. The power of influencing a preponderating part of the prople vested in the crown, is nugatory, unless there is also a disposition in the people to be intele enced. Such a dilpolition implies a proportional annihilation of political intes grity. But where political integrity is in general extinct, the nation must det Bline.'
honourable birth, their power peer, can safely be entrusted only would be nugatory, their inlaynia to one who is altogether indepenridiculous. Luxury, that bane to dent of the smiles of the prince, or national prosperity, by causing the the minister, as to his fortune; and extinction of old families, incurably if the house of lords is, as it always vitiates, to a certain degree, the has been esteemed, the firmeit conftitution of the house of lords. support to royalty, and a necessary A new-created peer will never be refuge to the conftitution againsi respected as much as one who de- the fickleness and violence of the rives his honours from a long line of people, it is the interest both of the ancestors. This evil would not, people and of the crown to unite, however, be very confiderable, if as formerly, political power and the vacancies were supplied as they honorary splendour to hereditary ought to be; but of late years, in- opulence and personal authority. ftead of seleđing those commoners Whatever may be his abilities and who are moft diftinguished by their merits, however splendid his ferfamily and fortune, peerages have vices, a new man, (norus bomo,) been lavished on professional men, particularly if he has his fortune to often of the moit obscure birth, make, is not competent to fulfil and wbo sometimes have not even all that is required of a peer.' attained an independence, but are Then, criticising the famous palcompelled Atill to follow their pro- fage in Goldsmith, feflions, or truft to places and penfions for a maintenance. This
“ Princes and peers may filourish practice partly arises from the
or may fade, indolence and effeminate frivo
A breath can make them, as a lity of those who are born to opu- breath has made; levce, and who desert the service
But a bold peasantry, their counof the public, or at leatt confider
try's pride, it as fubordinate to their pleasures When once defiroy'd, can nerer and amusements ; they therefore
be supplied :" not only have no claims to any recompence from government, but, from the degradation of their per- he says-The sentiment is false, for fonal character, are of little im- it would be still more difficult te portance in the eye of the mini. re-establish a peerage than a peafer. It proceeds, however, ftili fantry; and he is certainly right, more from the necessity the mini- if it be true that hereditary nobles fter lies under, of attaching to him- are useful inasmuch as they are self as many men of profesional venerated by the public, and that eminence as poflible, who, know- antiquity of descent is one of the ing their own importance, make caules, if not the principal one of the their own terms; and also of se- veneration in which they are held curing a devoted majority in the by the people. He then proceeds upper as well as in the lower houte. to thew that, notwithstanding the
* It behoves all parties at pre- many additions made to the lift sent to recolle&t themselves. Pow- of peers, the power of the ariftoer, such as is vetted in an English cracy is rather on the wane, and
that the influence of the democra- which the hunters pursue him, and cy has long been gaining ground fubnits to be mained in order to in our conttitution. He infilts that save his life. The upper rank cannot the monarchy, deprived as it is of long retain an exclusive right to the legal power necessary to its de- the lucrative offices of the itate. fence, cannot maintain itself with. The greedy multitude will at first out influence : but at the same infilt on having a share ; they will time he admits that a government then take the whole, and the pri• of influence is bapeful in its na- vate posiesions of the rich will soon ture; and that the resources of no follow. Before it is too late, all saftate whatever can for a continu. laries and profits arising from ofance support it: he is therefore an fices of state should be infinitely advocate for a reform, though, as reduced, and neither the populace we have already said, on principles nor their leaders will then be very different from any yet recommend- keen in the pursuit of barren ho. ed to the public.
nour and unprofitable labour.' • Unless (says he a radical ame- After the last chapter, are given lioration of legislative policy takes 101 pages of notes, illustrating place, anarchy will triumph, or de- various propofitions laid down in spotism will crnth every remnant of the body of the work; to which is liberty. This horrid alternative can be subjoined an Appendix of 3! pages, prevented only by active and strenu- containing many very judicious obous exertions of the advocates foror- servations on agriculture, incloder and rational freedom. Whoever sures, &c. values bis property and his honours, Such is the outline of a work, must owe their preservation to which, we are convinced, cannot be himself: he can no longer enjoy read without benefit by any class them in indolence under the pro- or description of thinking men. te&tion of laws, or a conititution, for It contains undoubtedly much which the contending parties feel no that will be condemned, or at least reverence, wbichthe one endeavours disputed, by many, on the subjects to destroy, and the other to abuse.' of the army, militia, religion, gare
A great blessing attending our risons, royal prerogative, commerce, government, he observes, is, that and reform : but the parts which
need not disorganize in may be condemned by fome, will order to regenerate ,
and that be infinitely overbalanced by those a complete reformation may be ob- that must be praised by all. tained by adhering to the spirit, without departing from the forms, of our preient conftitution :- but, The History and Antiquities of the in order to proceed with effect, he
County of Leicester, compiled from thinks the legislature ought to be
the best and most antient Hiftorians, gin in time. To those who have
&c. Including also, Mr. Burton's property, and to those who have
Defcription of the Couniy, prehlijhed hitherto potsessed a kind of mono
in 1622; aid the later Collections poly of places, he gives very whole
of Mr. Sterukley, Mr. Carie, Mr. some advice in the following words :
Peck, and Sir thomas lauz. •The rich would do well to imi
John Nichols, F. S. A Linburgh tate the fabled policy of the beaver,
and Perth. In 4. vols. folio. who is said to bite off the part for Vol. 1. Part. 1. Containing IntroVOL. XXXVIII.