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STATE OF THE NATION;
SERIES OF LETTERS,
TO HIS GRACE
DUKE OF BEDFORD.
By JOHN CARTWRIGHT Esq.
The English constitution is, in fact, a two-fold and admirable system
of civil and MILITARY polity most happily combined; whereby these two characters, like the faculties of intellectual ability and *bodily force in man, are inseparably interwoven, and constitute a complete state, or free government.
APPEAL, CIV. AND MIL. ON ENG, Cox.
The experience of many hundred years hath shewn that by preserving
this constitution inviolate, or by drawing it back to the principles on which it was originally founded, whenever it shall be made to swerve from them, we may secure to ourselves and to our terity ihe possession of that liberty, which we have so long enjoyed.
BOLINGBROKE's DissERT. UPON PARTIES.
[ Price Four Shillings. ]
PROFIT OF THIS PUBLICATION
IS GIVEN TO
THE MIDDLESEX FREEHOLDERS CLUB,
INSTITUTED IN 1804, FOR GUARDING
THE FREEDOM OF ELECTION;
AND THEREBY PRESERVING
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE COUNTY,
DUKE OF BEDFORD.
The blood of a Russell, shed for his country's freedom, was not, we believe, shed in vain. The remembrance of such an event might not, it is true, have been necessary towards forming the Russells of the present day, to what we have seen them; because morality, sound understanding, and the right exercise of that understanding, ought to be of themselves sufficient to make a man the friend of liberty, and a promoter of the happiness of his species: but doubtless a zest is given to patriotism, when it recalls to public recollection an illustrious ancestor, who, for the eminence of his virtue, fell a sacrifice to the malice of a tyrant, and the profligacy of his satellites.
I address you, my Lord, and in your person I wish to address whatever is independent and high-minded of the nobility and gentry of our land; whatever there is among them of public spirit, or even of ordinary prudence, or of regard for posterity; since my subject is not only the present state of the nation, but to what that nation must rapidly degenerate, unless the counsels of better times be again resorted to; and disregarded, but sound maxims of government be once more revived.
A FREE STATE, IS A STATE SELF-GOVERNED. Such a state suffers not weak or wicked ministers, after proof of incapacity or of perfidy, to continue in the management of its affairs; and consequently, is not likely to
fall under any great calamity ; much less into a condition to inspire with despondence intelligent and reflecting citizens. But the calamities of England, my Lord, are manifold and severe; and despondence is now but too common a feeling among us: and seeing indeed that the magnitude of our difficulties and dangers, and the gloominess of our prospects, are the frequent topics of our ablest statesmen in public debate, we are imperiously called on, not only to make ourselves acquainted with the true state of the nation, but also with the real causes of that state ; that so we may rightly understand by what means our evils can be removed, and our condition amended. As bad ministers cannot long make part of a good government, if evil government have been of long continuance, then we shall assuredly find, that, bad as the conduct of ministers may have been, their dismission will be a point of but secondary consideration, for their past mismanagements must be considered as a necessary effect, more properly than as a sole cause? But indeed, when the state machine is out of order, our primary consideration ought ever to be, the coNSTITUTION of our government;—that on which it depends, whether we are, or are not, members of “A FREE STATE?” or do, or do not, enjoy political liberty --that only possible security against misgovernment !
It certainly is not possible to know the state of the nation, unless we know whether it be, or be not, governed agreeably to the principles of the consTITUTION: it is not possible to understand the state of the nation, unless we examine in what degree, more or less, or whether at all, we are members of 'A FREE STATE, actually possessing, and practically exercising the rights of free men
: nor without ascertaining what, or where, are the deficiencies (if any) in our freedom. Such then are the ideas on which the present inquiry will be conducted; and I think it right to give in the outset this explanation, as well as to apprize my readers, that strong as is my hostility to the present minister, I date not the origin of the worst evils of the state, from the period of his elevation to power; but from sources anterior to his existence; sources however which, in writing for truth and freedom, for our coun.