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justice. Such is now the difference, in point of cor" ruption, between a common jury and the grand jury “ of the nation! such a mutual assistance and support " have they been to one another in the several misma
nagements of their trusts !!
I trust, my Lord, the nation is not in a temper to view with apathy these proceedings. If it can submit to these things, and longer endure the usurpations of a Borough faction, it is a nation fit only to furnish places, and pensions, and pillage to the unprincipled and avaricious! and if, after Mr Pitt's black share in the transactions reported by the Commissioners of Naval inquiry, and the part he has acted in the proceedings we have spoken of, it can tamely bear the continuance of his ministry, it is a nation that ought to forget it ever produced Russells and Sidneys and Hampdens; and to blush at the very mention of freedom or public spirit! no, my Lord these things and these men cannot be forgotten. Flesh and blood can but bear to a certain point. We are on the eve, I trust of this man's utter expulsion from a power he has most criminally misused, never more to contaminate by his vices the counsels of his sovereign; never more to exert bis
influence as a minister,” to rivet on the neck of the nation the yoke of a plundering faction; never more to possess the power of plunging again the dagger of an apostate into the bosom of the constitution : and we are on the eve of the day, I also trust, when the nation shall pass its irreversible sentence of extinction, on that claim to a right of voting without responsibility, which has been followed up by actually voting against the rights, the justice, the indignant feelings, the honour, and the unanimous and known judgment of the nation. The nation and the faction are now at issue : there is no medium. We must again my Lord, assemble in our counties, and our towns; and let it be seen whether the faction shall master the nation, or the nation master the faction.
1 The danger of MERCENARY PARLIAMENTS: with a preface shewing the infinite mischiefs of long and PackED PARLIAMENTS. p. 9, 13. Edition of 1722, but written in or before 1702.
BUT it is said that many of the two hundred and sixteen, and many of the too hundred and twenty nine, although they voted according to their own judgment, and their own conscience, yet voted against their own opinions, frequently declared in private company. How is this? Is not here a contradiction in terms? An. absurdity? What then! still it is just as it should be, that is, it naturally grows out of a system which is nothing else but contradiction, absurdity, and wickedness; the system, by which such non-entities as Midhurst, Gatton, and Old Sarum give actual, operative legislators to the land; legislators who are at any time ready to enact, that they had, have, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the people of England, as once they bound the people of America, in all cases whatsoever, that especially of TAXATION. Amongst the other absurdities of the system, are those respecting instructions from constituents. It is the language of the law, the constitution, and common sense, that representatives, who are attornies, stewards, vicarious deputed persons, acting for others who have elected them so to do, are bound to obey instructions, provided only the instructions be not contrary to the moral law, or impossible of execution. But a certain shop-keeper who thinks himself more learned than the law, and more wise than the constitution, together with many others, treats the doctrine of instructions with insolent contempt both in theory and practice; that is to say, all instructions given by the people for their own benefit or self-defence: but then there are in this admirable system another sort of instructions which are to be implicitly obeyed. “When gentlemen,” says
Mr. Fox, “represent populous towns and cities, then “ it is disputable whether they ought to obey their “ voice, or follow the dictates of their own conscience; “ but if they happen to represent a noble Lord, or a “ noble Duke, then it becomes no longer a matter of “ doubt; he is not considered as a man of honour who “ does not implicitly obey the orders of his single con« stituent. He is to have no conscience, no liberty,
no discretion of his own; he is sent here by my Lord “ this, or the Duke of that, and if he does not obey " the instructions that he receives, he is not to be con“ sidered as a man of honour and a gentleman. Is a
gentleman to be permitted, without dishonour, to act “ in opposition to the sentiments of the city of Lon“ don, of the city of Westminster, or of Bristol; but if “ he dare to disagree with the Duke, or Lord, or Ba“ ronet, whose representative he is, that he must be “ considered as unfit for the society of men of ho“ nour? This is the chicane of tyranny and cor“ ruption, and this, at the same time, is called repre“ sentation. In a very great degree the county mem“ bers are held in the same sort of thraldom; a num. “ ber of Peers possess an overweaning interest in the
county, and a gentleman is no longer permitted to “ hold his situation, than as he acts agreeably to the “ dictates of those powerful families.” Under what instructions the votes of the two hundred and sixteen, and the two hundred and twenty-nine were given, the nation, no doubt, have taken into their serious consideration; as I trust will be seen in the next popular meetings.
What then, my Lord, remains to be done? Shall we now speak, or for ever hold our peace! Shall we now act, or for ever remain a passive prey, to men who claim a right to have their hands for ever in our pockets, because forsooth they have purchased Gattons and Old Sarums? Shall we behold our countrymen the dupes of such reformers as a North, a Burke, a Pitt, and a Dundas, (now Lord Melville,) or advise them to take counsel of the conSTITUTION, and their own understandings? If the duty of common defence be universal, it is yours, my Lord; it is mine, it is every
man's alike. Who, then, when he hears the trampling of the foe, or sees his embattled phalanx, waits for example to stand forth? Or who, when the foe is in the field, and his neighbours are asleep, leaves them to be slain, or made captive, instead of breaking their fatal slumber, and calling them to their post ? Stand forth then, men of England, in defence of your rights, your liberties, and your property! Do ye claim a right to the enjoyment of political liberty ? Men conversant with the science of civil government aver that, under your present circumstances, it does not in England exist. Claim ye a right to a genuine efficient representation in parliament Be assured, ye have it not. Taxation, indeed, ye have in reality; but representation only "in forms, in types, and shadows, and ~ fictions of law.”1
But if representation be gone, and with it liberty, perhaps ye are content with being masters of your property ? Alas! here again ye are equally deceived ; for THOSE WHO ARĘ ONCÉ MASTERS OF A COUNTRY's LIBERTY, ARE FROM THAT MOMENT MASTERS OF ITS PROPERTY ALSO !
Stand forth ther, I say, men of England, to discuss these high questions ! On these questions it depends whether," in the majestic sense of the word,” 2 ye have, or ye have not, a COUNTRY ; that which was the COUNTRY of your fathers; that which ye ought to leave as a COUNTRY to your children.
What is POLITICAL LIBERTY? Tbe political liberty of a nation, is its power of self-government. A nation can only be self-governed, when its laws are made by the people, either personally in a public assembly, (only practicable in very small states) or by representatives freely and fairly chosen. The political liberty of a citizen in a state governed by representation, is not a mere personal but a social right and condition ; and, to be perfect, the following requisites are essential 1st. He must be a member of a self-governed nation: 2d. He must enjoy, free from controul or persecution,
1 Burke's Thoughts on the Cause of the present Discontents, p. 82.
2 Sir William Jones, in a private letter to the Author.
a fair share in electing the national representatives : and 3dly. His right of election must not be subject 10 unjust denial, or unjust suspension ; for if there be a power which can suspend the exercise of
elective right for three years, or for seven years, the same power may suspend it for seven times seven, or for ever; so that a power of suspending, is a power of denying: and what is that, but a power
of enslaving ? What is REPRESENTATION? It is that concentrated essence of the English constitution, it is that portable extract of liberty, which the deputies of a nation carry with them into a legislative assembly, and by which they express the nation's will in the enactment of its laws. Genuine REPRESENTATION is therefore the life, the energy, the majesty of national freedom. When Englishmen were first driven by persecution into the wildernesses of America, this constitutional essence, this extract of liberty, was the heavenly manna of a weary pilgrimage; and continues to this moment that food of political life, which has raised and nourished them into a great people, free and flourishing, and which is rapidly spreading human liberty and human enjoyment over an immense continent.
What is PROPERTY? It is the absolute command over our substance that constitutes PROPERTY. It must be ours, and ours only, to give or to with-hold, to grant or to refuse, either to our neighbour or to the crown, or it is not secure. If it can be rightly taken from
us, even by “the supreme power, without our consent, we have in it no property at all; for truly I have no property in that which another can by right take from me when he pleases without my consent.”ı If he have such right, the substance is his property, not mine.
What then, is the result? Do we not see how connected, how interwoven, how inseparable, are political liberty, legislative representation, and property ? liberty be impaired, property is endangered; and when liberty is gone, property is no more,
That day once
I Locke on Gov. c. v. 21.