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1. “ No man or body of men in any nation, car “ have a just right to any privilege or franchise not " common to the rest of the nation, without having * done the nation some service equivalent, for which " the franchise or privilege was the recompence or « consideration.
2. “ No man or body of men, can be justly deprived “ of a common right, but for some equivalent offence, “ or injury done to the society, in which he enjoyed u such right.
3. “ If a number of men are unjustly deprived of a « common right, and the same is given in addition to “ the common right of another number, who have not “ merited such addition, the injustice is double. .
4. “ Few, if any of the boroughs in England, ever « performed any such particular service to the nation, “ entitling them to what they now claim as a privilege “ in elections. . 5.“ Originally in England, when the king issued. “ his writs, calling upon counties, cities, and boroughs, “ to depute persons who should meet him in a parlia“ ment, the intention was to obtain by that means “ more perfect information of the general state of the “ kingdom, its faculties,strength, and disposition, togefr ther with the advice their accumulated wisdom might " afford him, in such arduous affairs of the realm, as he “ had to propose : and he might reasonably hope, “ that measures approved by the deputies in such an $ assembly, would on their return home, be by them
well explained, and rendered agreeable to their con“ stituents and the nation in general.
6. “ At that time being sent to parliament, was not que considered as being put into the way of preferment or to increase of fortune; therefore no bribe was given to “ obtain the appointment. The deputies were to be « paid wages by their constituents ; therefore, they " being obliged to send and pay, was considered rather « as a duty than as a privilege. At this day in New “ England, many towns who may and ought to send 6 members to the assembly, sometimes neglect to do it; 6 they are then suminoned to answer for their neglect, « and fined if they cannot give a good excuse; such as
* some common misfortune, or some extraordinary “ public expence, which disabled them from affording « conveniently the necessary wages : and the wages
allowed being barely sufficient to defray the deputy's expence, no solicitations are used to be chosen.
7. “ In England, as soon as the being sent to parlia" ment, was found to be a step towards acquiring both “ honour and fortune, solicitations were practised, and, " when they were insufficient, money was given. Both o the ambitious and the avaricious became candidates. “ But to solicit the 'poor labourer for his vote, being “ humiliating to the proud man, and to pay for it hurt“ ing the lover of money, they, when they met, joined “ in an act1 to diminish both those inconveniences by “ depriving the poor of the right of voting, which cer
tainly they were not impowered to do by the Elec“ tors, their constitutents, the majority of whom were “ probably people of little property. The act was
therefore not only unjust but void. These lower peo“ ple were immediately afterwards oppressed by another “ act,2 empowering the justices to fix the hire of day “ labourers, and their hours of work, and to send them “ to the house of correction, if they refused to work for « such hire; which was deposing them from their con« dition of free men, and making them literally slaves.
8. “ But this was taking from many freemen a com« mon right, and confining it to a few. To give it back “ again io the many is a different operation. Of this “ the few have no just cause to complain, because they “ still retain the common right they always had, and “ they lose only the exclusive additional power, which “ they ought never to have had. And if they used it “ when they had it, as a means of obtaining money, ~ they should in justice; were it practicable, be obliged “ to refund, and such money be distributed among of those who had been so unjustly deprived of a right of " voting, or forfeited to the public.
18. Hen, vi. c. 7. 2 8. Hen. vi. c. 8. being the very next statute: but the reference is not quite correct; for two years before, a similar act had passed, namely, 6. Hen. vi. c. 3. but probably it was to continue in force only until the next meeting of parliament, which was in the 8th year of the king, when it was confirmed. But statụtes for regulating wages are older than that reign.
9. “ Corporations therefore or boroughs, who from “ being originally called to send deputies to parliament, " where it was considered merely as a duty and not as “ a particular privilege, and therefore was never pur“ chased by any equivalent services to the public, con6 tinue to send now that by a change of times it affords " them profit in bribes, or emoluments of various kinds, “ have in reality no right to such advantages, which " are besides in effect prejudical to the nation, some of “ those who buy, thinking they may also sell.
10. “ They should therefore in justice be immediately “ deprived of such pretended right, and reduced to the “ condition of common freemen.
11.“ But they are perhaps TOO STRONG and their “ interest too weighty to permit such justice to be done. " And a regard for public good in those people in“ fluencing a voluntary resignation is not to be ex
12. “ If that be the case it may be necessary to sub" mit to the power of present circumstances, passions “ and prejudices, and purchase, since we can do no " better, their consent; as men, when they cannot “ otherwise recover property unjustly detained from “ them, advertise a reward to whoever will restore it, « promising that no questions shall be asked.” « Passy, June 16th. 1785.” · Whether the Borough faction be, or be not, at this time “ too strong” for the nation, that is, whether the nation be or be not, brought to its senses by the two hundred and sixteen and the two hundred and twenty nine, is now the sole question necessary to be decided. While the faction was “ too strong," we know that it would not even SELL a single borough, but rejected, by a vote of two hundred and forty eight againstone hundred and seventy four, the purchasing project of “ the first financier in the world," when he “ rose with “ hopes infinitely more sanguine than he ever felt be. « fore, and with hopes which he conceived to be ra
tionally and solidly founded, to propose and to re
« commend to the house the establishment of a fund “ for the purpose of purchasing the franchise of such “ boroughs as might be induced to accept of it.”[.
When robbers, “ too, strong” for us seize us while asleep and rifle our house, we of course submit; and are even glad to get back the stolen goods by “ adver“ tising a reward;" but when the hue and cry has been raised, and the robbers with their booty are surrounded, we do not then “purchase” of them a restitution of our property.
Now, what says Lord Chatham? The present Earl of Buchan having asked his lordship "But, Sir “ what will become of poor England, that doats on “ the imperfections of her pretended constitution ?” He replied, “ my dear Lord, the gout will dispose of • me soon enough to prevent me from feeling the con' sequences of this infatuation : but before the end of
this century either the parliament will reform itself ' from within, or be reformed with a vengeance from o without.”2
Mr. Burke's emphatic words are as follow : “ Early
reformations are amicable arrangements with a friend “ in power; late reformations are terms imposed up“ on a conquered enemy: early reformations are made « in cool blood; late reformations are made under a “ state of inflamation. In that state of things the ~ people behold in governmeni nothing that is respec. “ table. They see the abuse, and they will see nothing “ else--they fall into the temper of a furious populace “ provoked at the disorder of a house of ill fame; " they never attempt to correct or regulate, they go “ to work by the shortest way--they abate the nui. ~ sance, they pull down the house."3— Let us, my Lord, pull down the faction, that the house may stand!
The public, my Lord, while reading this address, may ask — But is not the duke of Bedford a Borough
1 Wyvill's Political pa. II. 372, 389. 2 Essay on the lives and writings of Fletcher and Thompson; by the Earl of Buchan, 215. - 3 Speech, Feb. 11, 1780. On presenting a plan for the better gecurity of the independence of parliament,
• proprietor or patron? Does the author make no dis• tinction ? Are all equally a faction ? All in equal "enmity to virtue and their country? No: those among the possessors of such property or patronage (and the duke of Bedford is not the only one) who are nevertheless parliamentary reformers, are of the highest order of patriots. It is by quoting such instances we prove the age in which we live to have no small share of public virtue ; for small is the virtue where there is no sacrifice. By holding up to a nation's imitation such examples, public virtue is increased and diffused : and when our cause has strenuous supporters in persons of high rank, of a deep interest in the preservation of property, order, and institutions; of examplary morals, of useful lives, of sober minds and superior understandings, of a deep acquaintance with the constitution, and of hereditary English virtue; and whose closest intimacies and friendships lie amongst men distinguished for a love of liberty, as well as for political experience and wisdom; surely we shew that REFORMATION JS JUSTIFIED OF HER CHILDREN.
It is therefore with a satisfaction no words can express, it is said with the pride and exultation of an En. glishman who truly loves and wishes to serve the country of Russell and Sidney, of Hampden, Locke, and Milton, that the writer can tell the people of England what the DUKE OF BEDFORD has told him: “ I should “ be ashamed to give support to any set of men who « did not feel the necessity of a radical amendment in “ the whole system of our government. The source “ of our evils is an inadequate, defective representation “ of the people in parliament, and until that source is “ cut off, in my humble judgment, abuse and corrup~ tion will never cease to flow in a thousand different « channels. I hope and trust, the day is not far dis« tant, when that most desirable event, a substantial :“ and radical reform in the representation of the peo“ ple may be brought to bear : in the mean time, let “ them see the extent of their grievances, let them “ know whence they arise, and let them coolly and “ dispassionately forin their own judgments upon the “ best and surest remedy: it is at hand, simple, and.