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^i V
V
^i
speciAi
coLLeccloNS
OouqLas
LibRARy
queeN's UNiveRsiiy
AT kiNQsxroN
kiNQSTON
ONTARIO
CANADA
LONDON:
P1S.INTED
BY WItSON
&
CO. ORIKNTAI TRE^S,
180I,
WILD
COURt'.
/-i
(<?//.
lUi.
Lri
THE REV. CHRISTOPHER WYVILL,
Button Halt, Yorkshire.
London^
Dear
In your
defire to
of the nth, you exprefTcd a
the caufe of my wifh for your
letter
know
tion leads to a wide field,
much engaged
That explana-
for never
the afliflance
I
am
me
were
at prefent
It
would
it
other-
had the public more need of
of thofe
devote themfelves to
It
and
with private bufinefs.
be extremely gratifying to
;
14, 180I.
Sir,
prefence this fpring in London.
wife
March
its
who
are
difpofed
to
fervice.
mull now be near twelve months ago,
lince an excellent perfon, well
known
to you,
intimated to me an expecflation of an early
meeting taking place, between certain men of
high rank, feme of
whom
A 2
do not appear prominent
minent
who
public fituations
the caufe of freedom
fome
efFedtual ftand
are decidedly friends to
in order to confider if
could not be made againfl
which the idea originated,
circle in
to
it
;
under-
fhould take
who was
the meeting one perfon
either
I
have been intended that each of the
parties fird confulting together,
to
the
In
career of miniftcrs.
the deftruclive
Hoed
with others in
in parliament, together
not
in
Hou/e of Parliament, and our friend
propofed
me
to
to
be the perfon he fliould in-
troduce.
enough, from only
It is eafy
a flight
know-
ledge of the world, to account for fome delay
in a matter of fuch a nature
but when great
;
part of a year had elapfcd without the meeting
Uking
fubje(5t,
I
eirccl,
and
I
wrote to our friend on the
at the
time of
my
writing to you
had not learned his fentiments fo fully
as I
done fincc. I lately made him a vifit,
and found him in a Hate of chagrin, being abfolutely at a lofs to guess when any concerted
ppenuions, fuch as wc had expeded, were now
liave
likely to take place.
but
as the
This
difcouraging
thing ought not to be defpaired of,
fuch checks only flimulate
ertion.
is
Knowing
fevcring kind,
it
me
the
more
to ex-
you, alfo, to be of the per-
will afford
me
fatisfacflion to
jrive
my
give you the outline of what has pafTcd in
mind
communication I had on
and I the more readily do
the matter laft year
it, as it is with a hope of its being a mean of
promoting the object I have mentioned.
iince the
firft
;
To
you
I
need not defcant on the general
of the nation.
ftate
every view of
It is, in
it,
We are even under circumftances,
truly awful.
which, on a fuperficial view, feem aftonilhing;
for the only proceeding
to fafety
is
which can
very rarely noticed, and then only
fo flightly touched
upon,
and
effecl:.
produce no
to
poflibly lead
as to
beget no union,
Various m.ay be the
causes for what feems fo unaccountable; but
the principal caufe unqueftionably
ignorance
it
;
or perhaps
half-thinking.
A
it
may be
is
is
prolific
partial
better to call
confcioufnefs of ignorance
begets a teachablenefs of difpofition
thinking
is,
;
but half-
of dangerous error,
and
the withering blight of found knowledge.
As
those
who perfuade themfelves
affairs are yet retrievable,
while thofe
who mult
trieved, are of courfe
for
that our
feem to be very few
wiih them to
many
;
here
is
;
be rea reafoii
hoping the many may ere long be more
ready than heretofore,
Hence
it is,
to liften
we may account
to the few.
for the
fymptoms
favourable
W'.
favourable to confultatlon and to union which
lafl
year appeared
the very nature of the case,
mufr continue
ing the
firft
to exift*.
we may conclude
Then, notwithftand-
blofToms were fcattered, yQt, as
the prefent feafon
refledlion,
we may
propitious for maturing
is
daily look for a frefh
of this wifdom, and cherifli the hope of
The
from
a difpofition which,
;
bloom
fruit.
intelligent have long apprehended, that
nothing but fevere calamity would ever aroufe
the nation to a true fcnfe of
its
the neceffary efforts for
prcfervation
its
fituation, or to
;
and
they have equally fcen^ that nothing but vifible
danger to our inflitutions,
v.'ould
fufficiently
awaken men of rank and great pofTefHons, to
the neceflity of lincerely (iding with freedom,
and cordially uniting with the lower orders for
its
prcfervation.
It is
impolTible for
tion not to fee that
men of the Icafl obfervaan uncommonly ruinous
adminiflration has greatly accelerated the cala-
mitous
ing,
crifis that
was forcfeen to be approach-
and that the public danger
ficiently terrifying, to
of
all
men
command
is
now
fuf-
the attention
not devoid of reflection, and to call
forth
• Confifferablc evidence of the cxiflcncc of this difpofnion has fmcc appeared.
%
not wholly
forth the exertions of every one
deflitute of public virtue.
Thofe,
my
dear Sir,
who have been calum-
niated and profcribed, becaufe of the confti-
knowledge and principles which unthem the frauds and deceptions of the
grand impoflor, and preferved them from the
tutional
veiled to
infatuation of the times, are thofe
who can now
with moft compofure look the public danger
in the face, and
hand when
who may
their counfels
expedl the time
may
obtain the
is
at
coi;-.
fideration they merit.
You who have
fo long
and
afliduoufly
fo
laboured to avert, by timely reform, the dreadful evils
with which we are
now
furrounded,
doubt not, even draw from
t3ur prefent calamitous fituation, a fort of conSad experience
folation, or rather of hope.
having fhewn us that corruption was fo deepwill
with me,
rooted,
and
I
the
higher clafles fo
little
ac-
if
not indifpofed to
true
por
quainted with,
litical
nothing fhort of a crifis
and danger to their eftates and
liberty, that
like the prefent,
privileges flaring
them
in the face, could ever
^:all
forth an energetic patriotifm on their part;
we,
I
fay,
who had
fo long anticipated fuch
days, and had niade fo
many
exertions to avert
t^e
the danger, cannot but
from the prefent
a
flate,
of things,
hope of producing,
vation
lefs
we wifhed
draw fome confolation
if it afford
us
at lafb, that political fal-
to have fecured at periods
alarming.
Cut, notwithftanding the hopes to be entertained,
no intelligent mind can diveft
itfelf
of
painful apprehenfion, while contemplating the
we
period at which
the
lofs
of
given both our
we have
in
pulled
;
a period
when
reprefentation
and our
eflates
crown; a period
pence,
are arrived
conftitutional
to
libertie:^
has
the
at
a ruinous ex-
down our
better fortunes
which,
to purchafe only the general enmity of Europe
and a period when the
upon
its
afflicling
the nation, to bring
reafon.
At
it
hand of God
;
is
to a fober ufe of
a period fuch as
every mind, imprelTed with the
this,
when
awful ovcr-
fnadowing gloom, is divining, in anxious fufpenfc, what is to be the particular mode of
our deflruclion, or what may be the extraordinary cataflrophe that awaits us,
is
it
not
—
matter of moft melancholy confideration is it
not aflonirhing and perhaps one of the worft
—
fymptoms
of our cafe,
that
we do not
fee
our
old nobility, nor the heads of our ancient families,
rallying around the Conftitution with the
high
fpirit
of their forefathers, and forming a
folid
and refisting rampart to beat back the farther encroachments of corruption and defpotifm on fome dignified plan atlrading public
attention, infpiring confidence, begetting an
folid
;
enthufiaflic unanimity,
and fuccefsfully aroufing
the fpirit of the nation in defence of
liber-
its
ties.
Independent
of
advances
the progrefllve
from bad to worfe, which muft of neceflity
have gone on, until flopped by the operation of reform, we ought not to be ignorant of the vaft change which has already taken
place, and
of
human
is
powerfully operating in the field
intelled throughout Europe, touch-
ing the fubjed of civil government
until
governments
fliall
and that
;
be modelled on the
beft principles of that fcience,
no permanent
And
tranquillity can any where" be expeded.
we muft
alfo
be fenfiblc of an almoft
nihilation of confidence in public
own
'country,
which (without
total
men
an-
of our
adverting to
particular inftances of tergiverfation) has been
a necelTary confequence of that general
mode
of acling in parliament, which grew out of the
corruptions of the inftitution.
The fadlious fyftem, and the
lic condud it generated, have in
B
general
Ihort
pub-
brought
us
10
us into a fituation totally new; in which no
parliamentary coalition,
the true principles
of
unlefs
political
bottomed on
liberty, can
ever again have any folid or durable fupport
from without.
Confidering the relative fituations
King and the Barons
of the
Crown and
James
II.
in the reign of
of the
John, or
the Nation in the reign of
on neither of thofe occalions was
more imperious call upon Englifli pa-
there a
triotifm for exertion than at the prefent
ment
army
efpecially as there
;
in
now no
is
mo-
foreign
the country under circumftances
vouring patriotic exertion,
as
there
fa-
was on
Keeping our
each of thofe former occafions.
on the latter of
of fuccefsful reliftancc, and com-
eye, however, for the prefent,
thofe cafes
paring
it
with our
own
difgraceful apathy,
we
muft fee, on the very face of the comparifon,
that we have either much lefs virtue and vigour
than En^ifhmen had a century ago, or that the
effort to be now made is thought to be greater,
and the
tafl't
more
difficult,
than
it
was then.
Arduous enough is the tafk, God knows
and indeed it is a tafk of far greater magnitude
than fliould feem to be comprehended by fome
public men, if we may judge from the nature
i
of
u
of their inefficient meafures
;
and
yet,
if
I
might be allowed the mode of expreflion, I
fhould obferve, there is more of magnitude
than of difficulty in the undertaking. No man,
at the
that
form
it
;
fame time, is more aware than I am,
is an Herculean labour \vc have to perno one has more contemplated the length,
and breadth, and depth of the defpotifm we
have to encounter, nor the extent of the corrupt fyftem we have to correct.
But every
fyftem that violates nature, and that fhocks
the underftandings, the morals, the feelings,
and the
interefts of
man,
is
a fabric eredled over
mine ftored with explofive combuftibles of
which human intelled:, all the moral princi-
a
ples,
;
and
all
the generous and noble pallions of
more powerful 'than gunpowder, are
ever in readinefs, when once touched by the
fpark of patriotic enthufiafm, to blow it in
the foul,
fragments into the
air.
Let not the word enthufiafm be condemned.
Both the word and the thin<]c are good. You
yourfelf,
my
dear Sir, are an enthufiaft.
out enthufiafm
who
who
With-
ever eminently excelled
?
ever became illullrious by great achieve-
Without this heavenly fpark, whoever
and perfeveringly toiled in the
caufe of truth, or virtue, or public freedom?
ments
?
dilintereftedly
Enthuliafm
12
Enthufiafm
firion
compo-
the ardent fpirit in the
is
of mind, without which
corruption, nor
is
it
neither relifts
inflamed with a genuine love
of liberty.
Docs not the
mofi:
phlegmatic General
to excite the enthufiafm of his
flrive
army, as the
main fpring in the execution of his defigns ?
And when the philofophic Statcfman, in like
manner, aims to crufh fadion cemented by
fordid felf-interest, and fortifying itfelf by
corruption,
touch
this
how
is
he to fucceed unlefs he
fpring? for thus only will he be
enabled to aroufe, to organife, and to diredt
the fpirit of the people
is
!
Thus, then, enthufiafm
an effential of national refiftance to national
But he that would infpire
oppreflion.
a
de-
feated army, or a difpirited nation, with enthu-
fiafm, muft
firfl:
therefore have wifdom,
eftednefs
terefts
;
muft
genius, and difinter-
he muft devote himfelf to the in-
of thofe under his condud:, and he muft:
he muft
and fympa-
be patient of labour in their fervice
feel
He
poifefs its confidence.
for
them
a paternal affedion,
;
thize in their feelings and their wifhes.
And fuch precifely muft: be the character of an
aflbciation
now formed
to reanimate the fpirit
of the People, and to fave our tottering State.
it
13
It is equally evident, that all thofe
whom
part
it
in
would belong
to
to take a confpicuous
fuch an afTociation, ought to form
themfelves on this model
an eminent degree,
leader; for an
lefs
members
but
fhould,
in.
be the charaftcr of
its
:
it
acknowledged leader
it
doubt-
ought to have.
After fuch an afTociation Ihould have agreed
upon, and fhould have defined
have chofen
its
wifdom
its
leader,
to exprefs
it
its
its objecfl,
would be
confidence in that
warmth and energy belaw of nature, it would more effec-
leader, in terms of
by
caufe,
a
and
a proof of
;
tually identify itfelf with the people, through
the perfon of
mode.
much
It
leader,
its
would
than by any other
alfo be right to provide, as
as poflible, that every vifible
movement
of fuch an afTociation, fliould be in the perfons
of individuals of the higheft charadters.
But when grand achievements are to be performed againfl powers apparently refiftlefs, and
the greatefl effed:s are to be wrought by feemingly flender caufes, we muft look not only to
the principles, but
a(ftion.
to the practicabilities of
In the cafe before us, they will pro-
bably be found few and limple.
to be thefe,
1
take
them
namely
Firfl,
u
An
Firft,
aflbciation to be
The
Secondly,
A
Thirdly,
prefs to be
patriotic ufe
ment to be fully adopted
Fourthly,
:
formed
:
employed
of* feats
:
in parlia-
and.
Perfonal exertions to be encou-
raged.
Firft, then, in
there be
left
regard to an aflbclation,
if
any true nobility;
if
in the land
the once-manly charader of an Englifli gentle-
property retain
m.an be not extindt
;
of independence;
if refpccftable
if
meafure can be found
;
and
its
pride
movers of the
if liberty
and cou-
rage have not wholly fled from our fliores; fuch
an alTociation may, and mufl^, foon
You now, my
igence.
wilhcd
Come,
for
I
dear Sir,
your early prefence
ex-
know why
I
London.
in
befeech you, as foon as your patriotic
labours in the country will permit
mence
rife into
in the capital other,
efficacious, labours in the
The main
objcd: of
next to be confidcrcd.
J<ecp alive,
;
fame caufe
fi^
and com-
and perhaps more
!
an alTociation
is
In order to excite, to
and perpetually to augment the
public fympathy, that object ought to be
made
clear
u
and captivating to
clear to all underflandings,
all
hearts
;
fo that
it
may be efpoufed by
people with faith and energy.
exhibited in
all
the
be
fliould
It
convenient fimplicity; but
it
fhould be of fuch a nature, and fo comprehenfive, that a reference to
whereby might be
of almoft
all
fhould be a
it
tried the merit or
meafures
political
immediately
Let the
afFecT:ing the conjiitiition.
be, the recovery of political liberty
teft
demerit
-,
objecfl
but
then
yet,
in
order to prevent mifapprehenfions and mifreprefentations, let
tical
it
be explained, that the poli-
liberty intended,
under the Englijb
its full
is
conjiitiition,
extent according to
of which reprefentation
is
which
that
is
found
when enjoyed in
own principles,
its
the moft prominent
and the moft vital.
Then,
fecondly,
as
political
liberty
mufl
ever be endangered, in proportion as the prefs
fhall
be filenced through
fear, or
polluted by
the diflemination of flavilh dodlrines, fo too
much
care cannot be taken to guard
pendence, to preferve
its
reputation, and to-employ
its
inde-
purity, to exalt
its
its
energies for the
public good.
As
juries are recovering
from the mania of
fraudful alarm, and as minifters and their crea-
4
tures
16
growing more cautious, fo the prefs
from its late degradaBookfellcrs dare once more deal in poliwritings, and, under the patronage of
tures are
is n-radually recovering
tion.
tical
fuch a fociety as
is
we
are contemplating, there
perhaps no political dodrine
fit
for
men
of
character to avow, that may not be openly circulated.
Public opinion being the Archimedean
lever by which dcfpotifm can only be overturned, neither pains nor expence ought to be
fpared in employing the prefs, for producing
an enlightened public
Under
opinion.
the fofter-
ing patronage of the fociety, the flood-gates of
genius in favour of reform ought to be opened
effedual care, however, at the fame time being
taken, that nothing get abroad, under the fociety's fandion, but
what
fliould
do
it
honour,
incrcafmg the attachment and admiration of
the public towards their benefactors.
While projecling
a literary warfare againft
corrupt power, a warfare that cannot be waged
but at confiderable expence, we need not be ftar-
between fuch
a re-
command, and
that
tled at the apparent difparity
venue
as
we may be able
of the Exchequer.
If
to
man
be indeed a moral
being, then a thoufand^ in the caufe of truth
and
17
and liberty, will go farther than a million ia
the diflioneft fervice of falfehood and flavery ;
and
if
the virtue of the times
fociety itfelf, the
fiiall
fame virtue
will
give us the
provide the
necelTary funds.
As
the flrength and
ultimate truft
of
all
ufurped and arbitrary power is its mercenary
Handing army, fo the (Irength and hope of re-
forming patriotifm
The
at
is
a free
and vigilant prefs.
muft be kept
prefs, therefore,
Men
no niggard expence.
in adlivity
with Miltonic
pens and a Miltonic devotion to liberty are to be
found, who, if treated with delicacy, and enabled to give
up
their time
to
the
public,
would foon write down, in the public eflimation, a fa(flion whofe relation to liberty is the
fame as is the relation to property of thieves
When wit and humour, fatire,
and robbers.
argument, and eloquence, all combine to undeceive an abufed public falfehood, fraud, and
;
treafon, foon
On
muft hide their odious heads.
the third head of our means, -namely, a
right ufe of feats in parliament,
cife.
We
liament,
is
know
that
what
faid to the
is
I
may be con-
well faid in par-
whole nation.
He who
can thus fpeak to millions, can do more immediate
good than
a multitude of writers; and,
c
until
18
until the prefs be completely reftored to free-
dom
and adlivity, he can do that good, which,
by writers, cannot be done at all.
And
as the
we
very objedl of fuch an aflociation
is to put an entire end
which is the root of all our political
evilj the Borough fyftem, thofe of the aflociation who fhall have Borough patronage and
influence, mufl, of courfe, hold the whole in
readinefs, as a facrifice on the altar of liberty.
as
are propofing,
to that
If,
meanwhile,
a
new
eleiflion
take place be-
fore .the facrifice be called for, they will necef-
introduce on the parliamentary theatre
none but men perfedly found in principle, and
farily
of ability, either for fpeaking, for writing, or
for counfel
;
fo that not a particle
of patriot
power be wafled.
On
the fourth, and
laft
head, namely, per-
fonal exertion, the very creation and appear-
ance of the fociety, would call into
acl:ion the
fympathetic patriotifm of the whole country,
now
latent,
and only venting
itfelf in
defpond-
ing lamentations or unavailing complaints.—'
The wrongs and
rankling
find
a
grievances of the people,
at the heart in
tongue
fpcech and
;
dumb
difcontcnt,
and fmothered
a(5lion.
now
would
indignation,
Hence, in the exigence of
fuch
19
fuch a fociety, we iliould probably find a fecu-
from the infurredion of mifery and de-
riry
fpair; as well as a preventive of that military
defpotifm to which fuch infurredions might
but too probably
lead.
While fpeaking of perfonal
tnuft not overlook the
many
exertions,
we
apoftles of liberty,
who, infpired by the example of the fociety,
would every where preach
their dodlrine of fal-
and doubtlefs their good tidings of
great joy would gain them difciples by thoufands, at lead amongft the poor and needy,
vation
;
be ready lifteners
to the words of commiferation and comfort;
and, in refpeftof p(?////Vrz/treafure, who amongft
whofe
us
charadleriflic
it
is
to
not, alas! emphatically, poor and needy?
is
Having thus given you an
ciation, for
which there feems
time an imperious
fider
what
idea of an alTo-
title it
neceflity,
to be at this
we may now conThe following,
(hould bean
perhaps, might be unexceptionable, namely
*'
The
;
Society for promoting a Parliamentary
Reformation, on the true Principles of Repre-
Recovery of Political Liberty,
and the Prefervation of the Englifh Confti-
fentation, for the
tytion.'*
On
On
i/i.
this title I fhall
make
Farliamcniary Reformatiou being, in a general
fenfe, the only
objed,
means of arriving
ill
example
our grand
at
the fociety ought not
political liberty ^
to fet an
by wafting
to the people,
flrength, or beftowing
its
four obfervations
its
attention,
upon
any inferior o^jert, except for the purpofe of
fince in political liberty every poli-
illuflration,
tical
good
idly.
is
that
As
is
included.
the democratic branch of parliament
where the reformation
the fociety ought, in
its
is
be applied,
to
outfet, to fatisfy the
people, that, in the intended
mode
of that re-
formation, no facrifices to the interefts, nor to
the prejudices of the ariflocracy or the crown,
would be thought of; but
rule the fociety
had
laid
that
down
it
was a facred
to itfelf, faith-
fully to confult the fcience of rcprefentation,
and
flrictly to
adhere to
the only fpecific
its
true principles, as
means of obtaining
real poli-
tical liberty.
If the fociety
lic
would
entitle itfelf to the
confidence, (without which
thing,) this muft be
its
line of
it
pub-
could do no-
condud. In pre-
tending to reform the application of any other
fcience, whether within the
bounds of natural
or of moral philofophy, a fociety which (hould
I
prcfcribe
21
prefcribe rules of pracflice, in dired: violation
known
of the
principles
of the fcience in
queftion, muft, at once, forfeit both
tenfions to knowledge, and
its
pre-
its
charadler for
integrity.
In England, then, a country which has been
under reprefentative government for
fand years, and which to the
reft
a
thou-
of the w^orld
has been the fountain of political inftrudlion,
a fociety for parliamentary reformation, at a
moment
fo awful as the prefent, will feel the
high demands of
and of
its
its
reputation for knowledge,
charader for integrity, too ftrongly
to be relifted.
"^dly.
The recovery of
political Uhcrty
being
the grand objecT: of the propofed reformation,
,
it
would not only be neceffary
jirfi
to attend to the
principles of the fcience of reprefentation,
but likewife to
all other
principles clearly de-
ducible from the
firjl ; and alfo to adhere to
fuch maxims and pradical regulations as fuc-
cefsfui experience
had recommended.
But, farther, lefTons of prudence fliould
like-^
wife be drawn from unfuccefsful experience \ and
when
can be difcovered, which at
any time occafioned the lofs of liberty, the
omifiions
fee u titles
fccurities
for
omitted (hould, in future, be adopted
Utterly to fubvert the
prefervation.
its
foundations laid by Alfred, has employed the
of England for nearly ten centuries r
but, profiting by ruinous experience, and wifely reforting to the fimple means to be difco-
traitors
vercd by confulring nature, and the true principles of the fcicnce of civil
liberties
may,
if
government, our
the earth fhall fo long endure,
have a tenfold duration.
And
^thly.
prefervation of the EngUJh
ought to be added to the recovery
coiijlitHtiony
of
The
political liherty, as
tion
;
an objed of the afibcia-
indeed, from any fenfe of moral
not,
duty ow ing to the Miniflers of the Crown, and
to that large proportion of the Peerage,
their criminal aggreflions
buf
liberties,
conflitution
have fubverted and deflroycd that
and whofe punifliment would be
them prithey have ungratefully employed to
jud, were
vileges
;
it
never more to confer on
undermine the very
by which thofe pribut that addition ought
fyfl-cm
vileges were conferred
to be
who, by
on the palladium of
;
made from motives of an enlarged and
generous policy, combined with confidcrations
of humanity, and with, a rational hope, that,
once rcftorcd, that conflitution
fortified in
^-
future, as,
might
if
be io
by the very enjoyment
and
,2?
and exercife of true political
hereditary privilege
Having
thus,
its
my
bed
liberty, to afford
fecurity.
dear Sir, given, you
my
on fuch a patriotic inflitution as I conceive to be adapted to our prefent licuation, it
ideas
remains only
on the
now
to offer
fome general remarks
fubjed:.
When
it
was judged to be for the
publi<7..
^ood, that one of the Stuart race fhould be recalled to a vacant throne; and when, again,
became neceffary
to banilh
his
brother;
who were
purfe-ftrings of private men,
it
the
refpec-
were liberally
tively zealous in thofe caufes,
drawn; and even fums of princely magnitude
were furnifhed by private individuals. Was,
then, the unconditional reftoration at that time,
of a Stuart, to be compared to the recovery at
this
time of our Conftitution
catalogue of fubordinate
referring to
mere
tailed in the
moment
in
prefentaliouy
Or can the whole
?
objetfts,
legal proie^iouy
Bill
which
are de-
of Rights, be put for one
competition with
which
almofl wholly
is
conjlitutional re-
a convertible term for
political liberty f
Do we
not here fee the wretched imbecility,
?ind the puerile bultle
about
trifles,
of the Re-
formers
£4
formers of 1688;
who,
to protedl
litical liberty itfelf,
of fecuring
inftead
common
within the democratic
the tree of po-
them under
its
ihade, and to fhower down upon them, with-
out
flint,
its
only, like
delicious nourifhment, fnatched
filly
children, at the fruits they had
been accuflomed to
tafle
;
while they
the
left
tree itfelf expofed to be infidioufly taken into
the domain of arillocracy, by whofe encroach-
ing pale
it
is
at
length encompalTed, and held
as a private property?
on the two occafions I have noticed, and for fuch wretched objeds as I have
inftanced, the whole nation was put in motion,
and men liberally put down their money, fhall
If,
then,
not we, whofe objecfl
is
of inconceivably more
value, as liberally fubfcribe?
parative
As
necefTity of reform, in
com-
to the
1688 and in
1801, a tranfient view of the two periods
fatisfy us.
debt
in
We
may,
for inftance,
may
compare a
1688 of half a million^ with a debt in
1801 of more than five hundred millions
may compare -^por
rate in
i
we
1688 of a few hun-
dred thoufands, with a poor rate in 1801 of
we may compare the
two periods we may compare
eight or ten millions
taxation of the
:
:
the prerogative of one period with the influence
of the other; and foldiers* quarters with foldiers'
25
diers' barracks
we may compare the
:
armies of the two periods
;
as well as the
of the prefsy and of pcrjonal
compare
larther
trials^
the Second
trials,
in
terrors
we may
:
under James
ufe,
with the imprifonments and Jiate
;
and hulks and
and the exer-
folitary cells,
and vindication of
cife
liberty
Hate
imprifonments and Jlate
the
and other
fianding
torture, for
which we
have been indebted to the Minifters of George
the
Third: and,
we may compare a
finally,
popular reprefentative, which James the Second
dared not ajfemble^ with a Houfe of Parliament,
which placemen under George the Third ( without reprehenlion or a forfeiture of ofHcej have
maintained, does
the people.
not,
and ought
not, to reprefent
then, but for the reformation
If,
of 1688, the nation
mud
have funk into abfo-
more ramore completely exe-
lute flavery; what, but a reformation
tionally planned, and
cuted, can
If others,
now
my
view themfel ves
prevent
it
dear Sir, feel as
as flaves in the
I
do, they muft
hands of unprin-
cipled barbarians, and be ready to redeem themfelves at
any price.
be
after
left,
Out of what
the agents
reprefent at ion (hall have
own
fhall
annually
of taxation without
done their office, and my
have been
eafily-fatisfied neceffities fliall
D
provided
26
provided
at
the
fpeak
for,
every remaining fhilling fnall be
command
What
of.
of fuch an alTociation as I
would
man
noble, or what
poircfTions, to repel
of large
French or Ruffian invaders,
not, during the conflidl, readily contri-
bute half his income? Then
off invaders, who,
without
by
not, to drive
their fyftem of taxation
have adually pofTefled
rcprefeniation,
themfelves already of
why
all
men's
eJlateSy
real
and
perfonalt
and metamorphofed the rightful pro-
prietors
into
for delivering
mere agents of the Exchequer,
up
their
own property whenever
called for by the captain of the
the
more
fyftem
to a
fo,
when
now fpoken
it
is
of, necefTarily leads either
French extindtion of nobility, or to
fian degradation of
As
And
band?
alfo evident that the
a
Ruf-
it.
fo fimple a thing, as the right
formation
of an earthen plate, was never fincc the Creation
difcovered till hit upon by a Wedgewood, 'tis
no reproach
to fay, that a fyftem in detail for
giving fucccfs to fuch a fociety as we are con-
lidering,
may
not have occurred to fuch per-
fons as ought to be confpicuous
but,
the legitimate
members of
it;
means once pointed out,
while the imperious neceifity for fuch an alTociation
feen and
we muft not permit
ourfdves to doubt, but that afufficient number
is
felt,
amongft
27
atnongft thofe of the higheft rank and largeft
fortunes
in
the community,
will
to
rejoice
adopt the plan, and flrenuoufly exert themto give
felves
membered
no
lefs
has in
it
efFed.
And when
it
re-
is
that the tafk to be undertaken,
is
than that of fubduing a fadion, which
its
hands the whole power, and
at its dif-
pofal the whole revenue of the ftate, it is to be
prefumed that the funds of the fociety, by the
wife and high-minded liberality of its members,
will be rendered fully adequate
to
its
occa-
lions.
At
*tis
a
time when, with fuperficial obfervers,
a fafliion to
deny the exiftence of
real
pa-
and impofing example
that would be given, in the formation of fuch
triotifm, the dignified
a fociety, would have an eledlric effect on the
public
fpirit
mind it would rekindle a patriotic
through the country; and beget anew,
;
0-
by its new principles, a confidence in public
men. Thus, by a readlion founded in moral
caufes, the Borough Facflion, by carrying corruption to an extreme, and defpotifm to the
length of intolerable oppreflion, will raife up,
I truft,
an oppofing power, by which
it
fhall
ihortly be annihilated.
When
our Peers polTefs incomes from twenty
to
128
to fifty
many
and
lixry
thoufand .pounds a year, and
of our gentlennen rival the nobility in
wealth,
how
eafy
it
fhould feem to be, to pro-
vide, during the period of exertion in the caufe
of our
liberties,
named
!
To
almoft any revenue that can be
abridge his expence? what
pend the
man
fave his country, what
man
will not fuf-
gratification of his tafle in
much more,
will not
the fine
mere matters of luxurious indulgence, of empty parade, or coftly
fplendour ? Will not the man of refined taftc, and
of a truly elegant imagination, warmly feel, that
arts,
and,
Italian painting
in
and Grecian fculpture are vapid
and empty fources of delight, compra-ed with the
exalted virtue of refloring his Country's Liberty! and what lofty-minded
man
but will re-
volt at the thought of raifingpalaces enriched with
Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian beauty, wherein
he muft dwell
in
melancholy grandeur, deprived
that firft
of freedom, heavenly emanation
gave infpiration to Doric, Ionic and Corinthian
!
genius
!
What muft
minds of
country, who have crawled
pafs in the grovelling
thofe ferpcntsof their
and wriggled into the Peerage throuj^h borough
filth and political ferviljty, 'tis difguding to
think; but if the ancient high-born nobility
retain a fpark of that honour, a particle of that
Engl
i
ill
—
'9.9
Englifh
fpirit,
which dilated, fword
in
hand,
the Great Charter, they will difdain to fubmit
to a
borough fovereignty, the ufurpation of
which
has, in all political
king, put
enflaved
Come
down
effecfl,
dethroned the
the hereditary great men, and
all.
hither, then, refpecled veteran
in the
caufe of Reform! and exert the influence belonging to experienced wifdom, and long-tried
virtue, to
awaken
fieeping patriotifm, to aroufe
torpid public fpirit, to counfel doubting virtue, and to hold up to a wronged, difhonoured,
and negligent nobility, the conftitutional mir-
them fee that their high
and hereditary authority are become
let them behold how
vendible commodities:
money-dealers from city Ihops have feated thcmror! In that mirror, let
dignities
—
by purchafe, amongft our Fitzroys and
our RulTels, our Percys and our Howards;
and how Haves in foul have, by their very mean-
felves,
neffes,
made themfelves Lords of
Country
a once-free
1
Are thefe things
to be endured
cient nobility, and thofe
gentlemen among
us,
?
who hold
can our anthe rank of
witnefs without emotion
the degradation into which they are linking?
and
so
and
mud
fpirit
it
not be difcerned, that unlefs, by
and fortitude, we avert our
we are on
which our
fate,
the eve of fome dire convulfion, of
nobles and our gentlemen would be the
viclims
they
;
mud
?
Viewing our
mud
mod
be the
pillaged flaves
I
firft
which
confpicuous and mod
or of a horrid defpotifm, under
fituation, then, in all itsafpects*
needs think
we
are arrived at a crifis,
when nought but genuine
patriotifm can avail
man, or any
men, offering thcmfelves as leaders,
US; whe-fe'tis not in nature for any
fociety of
ever to grow into a reiidlefs column, through
the confidence and jundlion of the people, unlefs
they utterly cad from them every prejudice
adverfe to the caufe of genuine Liberty.
Confcious,
as
we
mud be, that hereditary pow-
er and privileges are not fandioned by the laws
of nature and knowing, as we do, that royalty
and nobility are in podeflion of much more than
belongs to them; thofe orders ought to fee the
prudence of doing timely judice to the people.
;
who wifh
All thofe
privileged orders,
for the abolition of thofe
mud
have a complacency in
the prefentafpcc5t of things, and ceafe to be advo-
Reformation of Parliament
cates for a
cxtcnfivc
may be
the alienation of
;
and how
mind of
that
clafs
31
clafs
conftitute thephyfical ftrength of the
who
community, from
a confiitution
they are miferable,
(hall rather leave
I
judge than venture to fuggeft.
caufe to wonder, if
under which
it
you to
Should we have
were to a confiderable
Be that however as it may, nothing
but an equitable and truly patriot condudt on
extent
?
the part of a virtuous phalanx in the Ariftocracy
(meaning of property
lower
affording the
as well as
orders
of atflual peers)
more favourable
views of that conftitution, and a profpecl: of
enjoying
concile
it
uncorrupted, can
them
to
it.
As
longer re-
the people, however,
are not flocks and ftones,
even on principles of
much
it
fhould feem that
felf-interefl
and common,
prudence, our intelligent nobility ought not
merely
to declare
themfelves confenting to a
Parliamentary reformation, but ought to exert
themfelves to the utmofl to obtain
They
it.
ought accordingly to explain to the people its
happy effedls, and above all to convince them
which
that it would produce political liberty
;
is
the only fecurity in nature for a redrefs of
grievances, and the only circumflance that can
give any one government a decided preference
They ought
to any other.
to court the people's
acceptance of reformation by the mofl win-
ning addrefs
attachment
and to feek their confidence and
by afliduous attentions and real
;
friend-
32
fricndfliip.
I
have fome authority for believing
would be met more than half-
their advances
way, and with enthufiafm: but, confidering the
precipice on which we fland,
I
dread the efted:
of an omi(?ion, or even of hefitating counfels.
Whether the
ariftocracy wiih for the people's
happinefs, or for their
let
them contend
tion! But
if,
own peace and
for parliamentary
fecurity,
reforma-
on the contrary, they wi(h the peo-
ple to be opprefled and pcrfecuted into an
Hi-
bernian mifery and madnefs, and themfelves to
by pre-
live in perpetual dread of aflaflinationj
may
venting parliamentary reformation they
reafonably expect to have their wifli. If Statef-
men
wifh to
make
the country the abode of
comfort and content, they will reflore
its
dom, and render
more an
its
conflitution once
object of rational attachment
:
But
if
free-
they are
men in France, and
would reduce our IHands to French Provinces,
let them continue their enmity to freedom, and
in the intercfl: of the worft
their trcafon to the conflitution.
The form-
ing of fome fuch aflbciation as hath been fpoken^
of,
fliould
feem
commendations
:
to
have the
It
could not
flronf^-eft
make our
of refitua-
tion worfe, but, befides refcuing us
the moft terrific,
it
from dangers
might even place us in a
lituation fuperior to any v/hich this country at
any time ever enjoyed. And, fliould the antient
nobility
33
Mobility and the virtuous gentry inftantly take
which fo much becomes them, the
awe it would imprefs on rafh men, meditating
farther violations of liberty, and new infults
on public opinion, would at once, no doubt,
have vifible effecfls of the happieft nature and
prefage.
May, then, the glorious effort be
i pofition
made
1
Here,
already
I
my
dear
Sir,
fhould
I clofe this letter,
fear too long, did I not feel a
erful imprelTion
on
my
pra^ical importance,
mod pow-
mind, of the immenfe
at this crifis,
of a certain
principle in the fcience of reprefentation,
has not yet, as
I
conceive, had
preciated, even by
man
liberty.
You
many
its
which
value duly ap-
fincere friends of
perceive
I
hu-
fpeakof the uniBut its in-
verfality of the right of eledion.
trinfic value
might, methinks, have been con-
ceived to exift, from obferving the peculiar
alarm which this principle, above
all
others,
excited inthebreafls oi the borough fusion about
eight or nine years ago, and from the extraor-
dinary pains they took to reprefent
They
ous.
it
as danger-'
were right; for dangerous
it
was,
and ever will be, to fuch prefumptuous
Although too many friends of Freeufurpers.
and
is,
dom
are prejudiced againft this univerfality of
right, our
borough
fac1:ion
E
have fagacity enough
to
to perceive
its
importance
believe that fo long
as
and they appear to
principle can be
;
this
beaten down, they have nothing to fear; for
without the energetic operation of this prin-
we never, as they think, can be ftrong
enough to cope with them.
ciple,
Itwill be recolledled, that wherever this principle was abfent, Parliamentary Reformers have
proved
a
rope of fand
;
but, where prefent, they
have been knit together
the dread of
mod
as
one man.
Hence
of the focicties of 1792
;
and
hence the abfolute profcription, by name, of the
London Correfponding Society in particular !
Thofe who acknowledge the do6inne of univerknowing, and
falit)\ are reformers on principle
indignantly feeling, that where the right is ab\
fent, there
by which
man
is
in
the condition of a brute
they are convinced, that the fyflem
;
is
and cannot pofTibly be beneficial
They fee, on the contrary,
to human fociety.
radically bad,
human
fo-
ciety as the exercife of this right, becaufe
no-
that nothing can be fo beneficial to
thing can fo raife its
moral
chara(fler.
Thofe, on the other hand, who, mifled by
pride, or prejudice, or felf-intereft, are capable
of rejecting this principle, are utterly bewildered in their notions, without having on their
minds
35
minds any flrong impreflion of right or wrong;
and whether a line of feparation between eledor
and non-eleclor fhall be drawn at this point, or
at that point, or at another point,
minds
a matter of cold
fo
little intereft to
in
human
expediency
mankind,
nature, that
as
in their
it is
;
and
it is
of
having no root
never can be poflible
it
for the friends of our liberties,
on fuch fandy,
flippery foundations, to raife up, unite, and hold
together a fufficient number of
men
to
make
head againft the confolidated power of thofe
who hold us in chains.
Man
That a
has a right to vote in the choice
of Legiflators, hecauje he
beaft, or a ftone, is
is
a Maiiy and not a
no maxim deduced by fub-
nor a truth which philofoup from the bottom of a well;
but it is 2i principle^ intuitively feen and felt and
as every human being is by nature formed to
fee and to feel, in refped: of himfelf, the truth of
tlety of reafoning,
phy
has fifhed
;
this principle, fo in this principle
means of
every
human being who
mind
is
man
you have the
interefting, in the caufe of reform,
is
not bribed, or whofe
not ftrangely perverted.
being ever
feel a
Did any hu-
convidrion that he ought
to be a jlave f
Encompafled, as we are, by the
powers of corruption and the fvvord, and wit-
nefling the agonies of our expiring liberties,
there hence
no pra^ical good
to be
is
drawn by
wife
;
56
men
wife,
be
?
our
in this crifis of
If,
fate,
there
not, in the practical ufe of this fingle princi-^
pie, an efficacy tenfold
more powerful towards
the recovery of our Conflitution, than in ought
can be adopted,
elfc that
I
muft needs think
nature works in vain; but from nature having
engraved
this principle
and ftamped
alTured that
Some
wife
it
on the underltanding,
on the heart of man, are we not
God
friends
intended
(»f
it
for praclical utility
Liberty, however, fay other-
and inftead of admitting
;
?
it
to be ufeful,
they, unfortunately agreeing with our worfl: adverfaries, maintain
thefe are
*tis
men
it
to be dangeroys. Amongfl:
entitled to
much
confideration
when
feem entitled
to ferious anfwers
anfwers
have been given, perhaps
be
;
only on this account their objections fhould
(hall
;
but,
it
thefe
will
feen, that thofe perfons, inflead of confulting
original fcience, have only looked at the queflion
through the medium of the exifting fyftem,
which
is
a
tradiction,
The
monftrous patch-work
abfurdity,
objections
may be
injuftice
tifTue of conand mifchief.
refolved into thefe two
namely,
The univerfality of elcdtion would give
to thofe who have no property, a power that
would be dangerous to thofe who have prp17?.
'
*
^
*
pcrty.*
idly.
sr
idly.
'Theuniverfality of
cIc(flion,
by giving
*
votes to the poor and neceilitous, would pro-
*
duce an univerfality of corruption, whereby
all power would centre with thofe who were
*
*
rich
enough
One
to
buy the
votes.'
obfervation will, in
fadl,
anfwer both
power
to the poor^ and as the other gives all power to
the wealthy fo, like duellifts, who in the fame
thefe objecflions, as one of
them gives
all
;
inftant give each a mortal fliot, they reciprocally
put an end to each other, and fo rid us
moment
of both.
— But, out
in a
of refped: to the
objed:ors, over the corpfe of each dead obje(flion
I
will fay a
few words
;
firfi:
remarking, that
both objedbions fuppofe the univerfality of fufupon our frefent mon~
to be ingrafted
frage
firous elebive fyjleniy inftead of our conftituting
^ totally
new fyftem,
fimple, pcrfpicuous, equit-
able and beneficent, according to the principles
of reprefentation and the
tution, in
fpirit of
our Confli-
which univerfal fuffrage fhould be a
mere featurey not only beautiful, but beneficial
in the highefl degree.
With
particular reference to the
firft
objec-
tion, which warns us againft danger from the
poor, I
would
afk,
is
a vote once a year, or a
muf-
ket all the year round, in a poor man's hand,
the
38
the mofl: dangerous to the rich man*s property
?
and do we not know that poor men may be fo
entrufled with mufkets? The fecurity is derived
When
from orgauizalion.
the mufl<et has
counterbalancing powers in
fyftem,
I fliould
all is fafe.
a
be
its
well-organized
as
ready as any
pronounce that Starefman mad, who
fhould, without any one precaution, aflemble
what is called the rabble of London in Lincoln's-inn Fields, give each man a mulket and
man,
to
ammunition, and then difmifs tUe aflembled mulI Ihall
not, however, pafs a fentence of
infanity, either
on Alfred who armed the whole
titude.
Englifh people, or on Edzvard the
caufed every
man
Firjl^
who
would preferve
to fwear he
him by law. Thefe immortal
knew how, by (9r^^«/2i2//o;/, to com-
the arms appointed
Legifiators
bine with the univerfality of arms the univer-r
fality
of liberty and peace.
And
ble, as I
as
mad
as
him who
have fuppofed,
arm the rab..
deem any Statcf-
fliould
fliould
I
man, who, without other alteration, fliould
merely graft upon our prefent elective fyflem,
univerfal fuflrage.
verfality of
And
arms was, by wife
interwoven into our
any one be
yet, feeing
Law and
fo rafli as to
how
the uni-
organization,
Conflitution, will
deny the pra5lic ability
of fo intcrv.eaving into the fame web the uniT
verfality
59
verfahty of fuffrage? It
is,
however, an eternal
truth, that free arms, and free voices, muft for
ever be the very woof .and warp of the
Freedorn
ven can
;
it
web of
for of no other materials under Hea-
be woven.
mad
we fhall
not have far to feek. When we fee the wifdom
of an Alfred defpifcd, and the craft of a James
THE Second adopted when (with only fome
partial faEfious exceptions) we fee the landIf
we
are to look for
Statefmen,
—
holders and houfe-holders difarmed, and arms
in the
hands of an immenfe ftanding arrny of
hirelings; fhall
we dream of danger
from poor men
votings
to property
and not be awake
a tranfcendant danger as this
?
And
to
fuch
in this
age
of awful revolutions, will the Englifh nobility
reft fatisfied
fingle
with a military fyftem, which
moment may
annihilate their order,
give their eftates to thofe hirelings,
ward
vader,
in a
and
as the re-
for going over to the ftandard of an In-
who mny come proclaiming
Liberty and
Equality; while, in their negleded books, and
even in their unrepealed
ftatutes,
they have the
military fyftem of Alfred, giving to themfelves,
to their eftates,
and
to their country, infallible
protedion, with perfed freedom, and ivilhout
expcncef
And
refearch, in
again
:
In thefc days of political
which the lower ranks of people
in
all
40
all
the great towns,
now
in a ftate of mifery
difcontent beyond example, have
77iore conftitu-
tional knozvledge than bready will the nobility
gentry
fatisfied
reft:
and
and
with a corrupt fyflem of
government, to which the people, if not
muft be enemies ? or, will they not think
civil
ideots,
it
more wife
to procure to the
reform and by
juftice, the
warm attachment
political liberty
is
of
all
?
government, by
fmcere friendlhip and
know, that
for all muft:
not only the beft cure for
all
political grievances, but the only polTible se-
curity again ft
repeat
it, lies
fibility
of danger from tht poon as
where more
Duke
of
at large demonft:rated,
Richmond
And now,
I
I
have elfe-
and
as
the
alfo has well explained.
with regard to the fecond objec-
by which we are told of clanger from the
tion,
contrary,
rich; this, like
its
goblin, which,
at the light
like
In organization,
their return.
the fecret for preventing the pof-
manner
of
organi-zatlAi, in
infl:antly vaniflies.
So fully have
fuitable providons for
tailed
this
by myfelf and others
provifions
1
an unfubflantial
is
hold the ballot
purpofe been de-
(amongft which
in
the
higheft
eRimation, becaufe by \txy (imple means
it
may be made uncvadeable), that 'tis now unneccilary to add more than a few words.
According
41
According to my
marked by Selden,
recollecflion,
different periods
it
has been re-
with regard to high
that,
.treafon in this country,
it
Hiftory
fliews, that at
has had not only a dilferent
legal defcription, but the
has had a different
law againft that crime
objecfl.
In the
firft
times,
when, for the killing of a Saxon king, the homicide was fined a certain number of thrymsas,
high treafon was that only which aimed deftruction at the State or Conjlitutioni but from the
period of the baneful influx of
Norman law
ifm and
ftitution
was
left
to
at the
fliift
defpot-
Conqueft, the Confor itfelf,
The only
for a feafon annihilated.
Conjiitiition
Norman
and was
Slate or
acknowleged by the law of defpot-
ifm being the per/on and
ivill
of
the defpot,
the defpot's per/on becomes of courfe the fole
object of protection to the laws againfl high
treafon.
This change in the law of England
accordingly took place at the
queft
;
and,
Norman Con-
notwithftanding the
degree
of
afcendancy which the Saxon principles after-
wards gradually recovered, and the degree in
which the elecflive Saxon Conffitution was in
time reffored to us; yet, from the fad sera of
the Conqueft to this day, the Crown has had
intereft
enough, contrary to the cleareff princi-
ples of civil government and to
r
common fenfe,
to
;
43
to
monopolize
to itfelf
all the protedion
af-
forded by the laws againft high treafon.
Having elfewhere proved,
that although the
king has an executive fovereignty, there
is
In
parliament a legijlative fovereignty, ncceffarily
fuperior to that which
only executive
is
and
\
again, in the People an original abfoluteiov tvt'ignty,
of which the legiflature
itfelf is
only a truftee,
and the king only a magiftrate it necelTarily
follows, that the protection due to the magif;
trate
is,
to fay
whole of the
the
leaft,
equally due to the
legiflature, and, in
an efpecial and
fupereminent degree, to that branch of the
le-
which the People, by their repreTentative, are prefent, and perform the office of
legiflation: for, in the reality, and the purity
and the perfeclion of that reprefentative, congiflature in
fifts
the people's liberty^ or, in other words,
their political exigence.
He,
therefore,
who aims
defl:ruclion at the political exiftence of a
People,
is
infinitely
only attempts the
So long
as
it is
more
life
a
whole
a traitor than he
who
of their chief magiftrate.
maxim
of our law, that the
king never dies, no one but a madman will ever
fet about a change in the government, by killing a king
;
(id infinitum^
bccaufc another king, and another,
mult fucceed to
mock the attempt
and
4^
whether the perfon on the throne fhall die
by natural, or by violent means, will have no
cind
influence on the ftate or conilitution, as Englilh
hiflory has abundantly fliewn.
the king's
It is
expofed to a common danger with the
the people^ in a
mon
intereft
common
and a
is
of
peo-
the Jole objecft
likely to
is
gered by the king lofing his
as
liberties
caufe, that the
which
Constitution,
inafmuch
is
war wherein both have a com-
ple's political exijlenccy
of the
when
only
Alfred,
in the cafe of
as
life,
life
;
be endan-
and that only
on fuch an event may hinge the
pjccefs of the war.
It
my
muft, I prefume, be
argument goes
to
ittVi.^
that nothing in
{hew that the
of the
life
com-
king {hould not be guarded by the law as
pletely
and
thing more,
as effedtually as pollible
I truft^ will
the political exifence of the people
of protecftion of
all
ftill
magiftracies and
only for the people,
But fome-
:
be feen, namely, that
is
an
objecfl:
higher importance
all
inftitutions are
for
;
made
v,'ho{e political exijlence
is
the very end and objedl of the conilitution.
If
I
am
founded
low, that every
acfl
in
my
reafoning,
which
of eledlion, either as
it v/ill
fol-
freedom
to the whole or any part
violates the
of the people's reprefentative,
is
of the very
nature
44
nature and elTence of treafon, and ought to be
want not to fee fanguinary executions follow the crime of which I
am fpeaking; but he who has fhewn himfelf a
punifhed accordingly.
I
doubt-
traitor to the liberties of his country, has
lefs forfeited his intereft in
ought
theconftitution, and
at leafl to fuffer a civil death,
by
a fen-
tence of banilliment, and a devolution of pro-
perty to his heirs.
When,
framed on
Ihall
therefore, our eledlive fyftem fhall
be wifely organized
evade able
by
and
ballot,
when
\
its
every one zvho violates
;
then fhall
its
may endure to
(hall
be im-
and
«;/-
treafon attaching on
freedom or indepen-
we have nothing
our eledlions even from the
ties
it
a fimple
purity farther protecfled
of high
the penalties
dence
and
the true principles of reprejentat ion ^
proved by the introdudion of
be
rich^
to fear at
and our liber-
the end of time.
Although
at
Athens there was no reprefentative fovereignty
for the purpofes of Icgiflation, as the laws
were
made by
the affemblcd people themfclves, yet
fo jealous
were they of whatever appertained to
their fovereignty, that they punifhed as
treafon every
elecftions
then, ought
elc(5tions
improper interference
of mere magijlrates'.
of
all
in
high
their
How much
more,
improper inrerfejence in the
legijlators to
be fo punifned!
There
45
There is, indeed, a third objection, which I
had nearly forgotten to notice. It is faid, the
poor are not competent to judge of laws and
legiflators.
fees, the
who
So
Chief
rejecfted that law,
and the Rulers of old
But,
it
who was
chofen, by the
has fince been the
of learning and genius in
the difcernnient and
;
which was received, and
crucified that legiflator,
poor.
and the Phari-
faid the Scribes
Priefts
all
employment
ages, to vindicate
wifdom fhewn on
that
oc-
cafion by the poor, to the difgrace of their
learned and proud opponents.
^his objedlion to the competency of the poor,
is
not the fruit of due confideration or of can'Tis not any individual poor
dour.
be met with by accident in the
ftreet,
man,
to
neither
is
it
the poor exclufroely^ that are intended alone
to
elecT:
a
member of parliament
;
but the whole
derive community , confiding of the different
clafTes and gradations, high and low, rich and
poor, learned and illiterate.
When, by the
means touched on
in thefe fheets, venality
and
bribing (hall be cut up by the roots, the choice
of
fit
mon
legiflators will
interefl: to
then be an objed of
each eleflive body
competition fhould take place,
it
;
and
comif
any
will not be,
whether wifdom or ftupidity, exalted virtue or
the lowed profligacy, Ihall be the objed of
choice
;
46
choice
but
J
It
will of courfe be for a preference
amongft candidates, all of
ledge, talents and merit.
whom
In fuch elections, wherein we
have know-
may prefumc
.there would be no finifter intcreft, and wherein
might therefore be expecfled to decide each man's vote, the poor and illiterate, if*
mere
opinion
undecided in opinion, would,
fparks
upwards,
fly
as naturally as the
liften to the counfel
of the
more learned and judicious. When a campaign
is to be entered on, do the defpifers of the poor
being foldiers and en-
objecl: to the illiterate
trufled with mafquetSf
on pretence of their not
being competent to name the beft General to
command them
;
or unqualified to judge of
military fcience or military law
;
or incapable
of deciding on the juftice or injuftice of the
w ar
No
?
caufe
it is
:
they
make no fuch objedions
familiar to every man's obfervation,
that each individual foldier, illiterate as he
be,
is
and
in other refpects fo circumftanced, as to be
member
of the machine,
and fubfer-
vient to the plans of the prefiding mind.
fo
it
may
fo placed in the ranks, fo taught his duty,
a ufefui
this
be-
;
is
h
the
known effedt
As
all
of military organization;
for civil legiflation,
fo to organize
our
cleaive fyftem, and confequently fo to place,
fi^
10 inlhu^fl,
and
fo to
circumllance each citizen
47
tizen of the lower clafs
who is not blefTed with'
who amongft the candi-
fcieiice,
nor can decide
dates
moft learned, that in exercifmg his vote^
is
by the wifdom of the fyftem,
and neceflarily ad: under the influence of fuperior knowledge and good example
and then
he
fhall benefit
;
the ifTue
own
may be
fafely trufled, not only to his
human
mind which always prefers right to wrong, unlefs when under a counterading temptation.
It
intereft,
but to that principle in the
is,however, agrofs miftake to imagine that the
poor do not generally know what gentlemen of
their neighbourhood bear the bed characlers,
and ftand the higheftforthe reputation of talents
and knowledge.
And what more
diredt their choice
is
wanting to
?
But when we recolledl that t\\Q poor have the
fame natural faculties as ourfelves, and have
been enurufted by the great Creator and Legiflator of the univerfe, with the means and management of their own felf-prefervation, phylical and moral, and even with the means of
their ov/n eternal falvation, this denia' of their
competency
to (hare in the eledion of thofe tvho
have full povoer over their property ^ their families,
their lives and liberties y appears to
a fatire
tlence.
me
to be
both
on our fpecies, and a libel on ProviAnd from the lips of the advocates for
ele^ions
48
the objecflion comes with a
ele^fions as they are,
peculiarly
they arCy
many
grace
ill
we
fiiall
for
;
in
if,
our
ele5lions as
on one hand cad an eye on
of our corporations,
we
fnall find a
majo-
rity of the eledlors precifely of that defcription
of perfons, ihe poor and
objedtion
tells us are not
laws and legiflators
we
j
illiterate
— which
competent
and
if,
to
the
judge of
on the other hand,
turn to the clofe boroughs and to the
parti.-
tioned counties, where wealth and accomplifh-
ments command the
them
refts
our
eledlions,
of liberty and the conftitution
elections as they are,
fhall
find
;
fo that, in
whether the influence
be with the poor or with the
is
we
for the moft part carried againft the inte-
rich,
every thing
poifoned and perverted, and, for that very
reafon,
is
muft therefore
bad,
it
confefs, that fuch a fyftem
cannot be made worfe
compelled
We
by too many objectors preferred.
alfo to
;
and we
is
fo
fliall
be
acknowledge, that the very
thing we expecl to hear of, is the choice of
man, becaufe of his being particularly con-
Jaft
«i
verfant with our coiiflitution,
cares any thing about
hold lucrative
offices
it.
or becaufe he
Lazvyers^ indeed,
who
under the crown, and are on
their road to higher preferments,
we
fee regularly
returned for fome of the clofe boroughs, either
of the treafury or of
its
dependents \ but to talk of
fuch men, when fo bribed and fo appointed, as
fit
49
would be
reprefeiitatives of a free people,
fit
no mark of
my
Here,
any underftanding.
iefpe(5l to
dear Sir,
I
wilh you to turn your
thoughts to the nature of the Englifh Conftitu-
which
tion, to that reprefentative
and
part,
tion
:
I
is its
vital
to the true principles of reprefenta-
wilh you alfo to have prefent in your
mind, that, as faft as we have increafed our
knowledge in the fcience of civil government,
fo faft have we fcen our reprefentation and our
freedom melting away, till nothing of either
remain but a fliadov/ and a name I willi you,
moreover, to advert to the degraded and melan:
choly condition of our boroughs and molt cf
our eledive bodies, and to the pradlices almoU
univerfally prevalent in our eled:ions
ing
it
;
next to an impoffibility for any
render-
man
to
fome
which muft be kept feinftead of being lifted up
get into parliament without tranfgreffing
rule of law or morals,
cret to avoid
fhame
to that elevated
;
for
ftation
virtues,
and by
means, the publicity of which v/ould cover him
with praife
finally,
and honour.
And
I
wifii
you,
on one hand, the ne-
to contemplate,
celTary dependence and the poverty of the great
mafs of the community
and, on the other
band, the immenfe wealth of many individuals :
;
Having, then, duly v/eighed
cj
all
thefc confiderations.
.
so
tions,
you
will
be able to judge, "whether
quire more than
I re-
neceflary towards reforming
is
our reprefentative fyftem, and prefer ving our
And, having alfo refiecT:ed
on the immenfity of evil that muft perpetually
liberties in future
:
flow from corrupt elecflions, and from that par-
liamentary corruption which fuch eledions muft
generate,
you
will be able to fee, that infinitely
more would be done towards
a reformation of
national morals by a complete and radical refor-
mation of our
other
On
elertions, than
can be done by any
human means.
the prefent occafion,
fupcrfluous to fay
it
may, perhaps, be
more than
I
have faid alrea-
dy, for vindicating the poor man's right to vote
for reprefentatives, or for
on the part of
fhewing the wifdom,
a patriotic aflbciation, of efpouf-
ing and alTerting that right
;
but the unfpeak-
able importance, at this perilous time, of entertaining juft notions, and adopting a right political
conducl, appears to
me
fu^h, that
rather hazard faying a few words too
I
fhall
many, than
being too concife.
Where
rights of nature are concerned, I fet
no value on precedents
;
but thofe
who
in fuch
them of any weight, will find the
Aatutcofyth Henry IV. c. i^, declaratory of the
cafes think
very
51
very right in queftion. Should
it
be contended,
that that ftatute could not have been intended to
apply to the
villeiny
dered as not free
;
whom
the law then confi-
the anfwer
is
this,
— villeinage
in our day has no exiftence; nor will the law
any man (the infane, the
criminal, and in fome degree the infant ex-
permit
it
to be faid of
cepted j^ that he
is not free\.
Many years, as I prefume you know, have
now elapfed, fince I laboured to convince the
no danger to them
could proceed from allowing the poor to vote,
but that fuch danger might arife from denying
them that right. I fear there will now be found
polTefTors of property, that
in that argument, not only truth, but prophecy,
as I conceive the
that,
'
danger
is
already arrived
combined with another danger,
it
;
and
threatens
not only our property, but our inftitutions. I
have already touched on what may be appre-
hended, in the hour of
from a ftanding
trial,
army of hirelings who are deftitute of property.
And when that hour fhall come, muft not the
danger be increafed tenfold, when we reflecfl
on the ftate and temper of a half-familhed populace, who, under what
is
an Englifh Conftitution, are
infultingly called
as
miferableas bad
government can make them ? Will not thefe
people throw that conllitution in your face with
contempt.
contempt, and flock by thoufands and tens of
thoufands to an invader, for the mere chance
of better things, or at the lead for vengeance?
But
means of averting fuch a
are not the
dreadful evil, and of doing away the very appre-
henfion of
it,
fimpic and obvious? Addrefs but
the poor in the language of fellovv-men and bre^
and render them juftice and from that
moment you will have nothing to fear. Once
made parties in our elections, and thofe eledlions
thren,"-
;
reformed
as they
make them
it
be eafy to
will
underlland, that, then having po-
litical liberty
ment
ought to be,
could
no other govern-
in full extent,
pofTibly
Raifed in their
own
better their
condition.
eftimation from enflaved
fubjecls to free citizens, refpcdl for themfclve^s
•would
make them
which they
refpecl the conftitution of
acT:ually
partook
;
and they would
be taught patience, until the change in
their political condition fliould ameliorate their
eafily
condition in
life,
as affuredly
it
would, unlefs
flavcry and freedom be the fame things.
This
argument receives
illuflration
known
becoming a member of a
fa6l,
that
from thg well-
friendly fociety, with a free vote in
its
concerns,
has in general a vlfible influence in improving
the moral habiis and railing the charader of
the pooreft man.
How,
then,
would
their bo-
fom^
!
53
foins
glow with an honeft
pride,
on becoming
voting members of a great and free nation
Thus, make but the whole of your p(>pulace
free
men
and in the fame
;
their country and
and
a country for
be ready to
whom now
attachment,
affedtionate
which they would
llied
their blood.
at all
The
times
invader,
but too probably they would receive
with open arms
as a friend
would then appear
deilrroyer.
conftitution objefls to
its
them of pride and
you make
inftant,
them
to
and a deliverer,
as
But, (hould they be
fent degraded condition,
and
an enemy and a
left in their
pre-
lliould mifery,
and
refentment, and temptation, caufe them to repair to an enemy's
it
a very
fiife
camp,
enterprize,
fliould not
account
to attempt
to turn
I
them, by haranguing them on an EngUJh
tution or
Conjli-
on Englijh Liberty.
In creating our new eledlive fyftem,
if that
happy day fhould ever arrive, we muft copy
him who created ourfelves. For our exiftence,
our right condudr, and our wellbeing, he has
provided by a frame of body and mind adapted
our purpofes, high and low
to
all
by
organization.
We
riffe(5lions, funvflions,
rations,
have
;
in fhort,
intelledl,
paflions,
and mere mechanical ope-
amongft which there are thofe which
i^4
do not adminijier
to
our pride^ although efTential
We
to the fyftem.
have not a paflion, an appe-
or a funftion which, if not counterbalanced,
tite,
would not foon put an end to ourexiflence; and
fome of them would be equally deflrudlive to
others; were
not that, in our organizaiiov^.
it
paflion balances pafTion, reafon holds the fcales,
and
felf-interell,
refts,
coinciding with general inte*
finally determines
our adiions
fo
;
that
the defign of Providence in our formation
Now, expunge but from our
fulfilled.
any one
paflion, or
may
feem, and we fhall
it
no longer be what
has pleafed
much
nature
any one fundlion, mifchie-
vous or difgufiing as
us, but a
is
it
God to make
And fo, in the
worfe thing.
great fyftem of fociety, expunge, with facrileoious hand,
from the general liberty of man-
kind, the liberty of the poor, and at the fame
ftrokeyou
maim and
emafculate
human
fociety,
you debafe and degrade the fpecies, and you ig,
norantly do incalculable mifchief!
If
God
have laid the foundations of
liberty, in the
human
intellcvfl:
and the
heart, or, in other words, in the nature
ftitution of
of
fair or
human
human
and con-
man, independently of the accidents
dark complexions, of higher or lower
ftature, of patrician or plebeian birth, of wealth
or poverty, then muft
we not,
in the conftitution
of
55
of
man
himfelf, and not in thefe accidents,
look for thofe foundations unlefs we think our-
He
felves wifer than
God
very lingularly
formed,
?
muft have a mind
who
does not fee,
that, notwithftanding an earthen
lamp confli-
tuted almoft the whole extraneous property of
an Epidetus, he had
dom,
as
as
proud
a title to free-
had he whofe wealth purchafed of the
Praetorians the
Empire of Rome.
But, if a
certain meafure of extraneous property fhall
alone confer political liberty,
it
does not appear
that even a Jefus of Nazareth, were he
now
an
Englifhman, would be qualified to vote for
member
a
of parliament.
If civil government be the fcience for confer-
ring on mankind, through the indifpenfable
medium
of political liberty, fecial happinefs,
what muft we think of thofe philofophers and
llatefmen, whofe attainments in that fcience,
and whofe acquaintance with human nature,
has taught them nothing better, than, in their
wretched fyftems, to exclude from political
human
berty more than half the
my own
fpecies
!
li-
For
part, if danger to the pofTefTor of
pro-
perty be a reafon for denying to the poor
man
a vote at his parifh church
needs think the precaution,
cfice
a year, I muft
— a precaution which
only
66
only irritates in (lead of
and
end
totally inadequate to the
that there would be
— very abfuid,
difabliiig
more good
in
view
fenfe in putting
out the poor man's eyes, or maiming
him by
fome other bodily mutilation, according
antient pradlice of the Eaft
;
where thofe
to the
whom
coward
fear pictured to the ever-jealous
tortured
mind of defpotifm,
ous to
as perfons
and
danger-
repofe, were fo treated.
its
Here,
and
j
my
dear Sir,
I
could make powerful
appeals in fupport of the claim
I
vindicate on
behalf of the labouring clafs, to the political
economift, to the financier, to the naval or the
military
commander,
to the ftatefman, to the
philofopher, and to the divine;
fpedlively
know that
clafs to
of produ6live induflry,
who muft
re-
be the very organs
the creators
venue private and public, the fmews
of
re-
of the
ftate,
the phyfical ftrength of fociety, the moil
a(5live
partners in the national company, carry-
ing on the agriculture, the manufadures and
the
commerce of
with the
highefl:
the country
;
and, in
common
and the prouden", brethren of
the great family of mankind, and joint heirs 'A
immortality; but
I
will
content myfelf with
appealing to any objector himfelf, as a man,
and
I
will afk
trafii in his
jii'L'ye,
him,
if it
be en account of the
purfc, or of his rea Tuning and moral
that he
founds his
title
to freedom,
and
57
and feeb that he has the fame right as other
men to excrcife the means of felf^defencc
againft injuftice or oppreflion
I will
him
afk
if the
alfo,
!
power of giving
a great additional value to the foil
and to every'
raw material, by labour, ingenuity, knowledge,
and fkill, muft not arife from mix'm^ic property
in the giver
On
ment
?
this interefting fubje^fl, let us for a
trace the workings of a
Burns.
Knowing
like that of
that the property of a cul-
of a mixed nature, being com-
tivated field
is
pofed,
of the owner's
firfl:,
mind
foil
and
the wear and tear of his implements
condly, of the labour and
this latter property
(kill
mere body.
of fuch a
field
A
feed,
BurnSy then,
and
and fe-
;
of the workm.an
he juftly accounts the
valuable, being the foul to which
is
mo-
is
;
mod
the reft
all
the cultivator
for a wortHtefs owner.
The
mafter, a qualified freeholder, pafTes the day at
a
modern
ele(ftion,
Weft India Planter,
there felling his vote to a
in order to
make the cruel
men and to
lord -of flaves alegiflator of Uto:
ftrengthen
the
of
fa6licn
a
;
minifter,
trampling on the Conftitution of
while
his country,
and deluging the world with human blood in
the caufe of dcfpotifm; and this elector then
H
fpends
58
fpends the remaining hours in
temperance,
and
feaftinc^
and in-
difleminating the worft
in
poifon of fociety, profligate fentiments, tending
to debafe our fpecies for the aggrandifement of
bad men.
The ploughman, mean
accufl:(5med
while, purfues his
occupation during the hours of
labour, and then, repoling under fome friendly
man and his means of haphe rapturcufly hymns the praifes of the
fhade to moralife on
pinefs,
Creator in the fong of Liberty
:
but, retiring
to his cottage with flow and meditating
fl:ep,
wounded
not mine!"
his gufliing tears eloquently fpeak his
mind
At
— " Alas
!
but freepom
is
length, however, by unremitting toil and
parfimony, he becomes, through purchafe, the
pofi^eflforofa freehold, dedicating his periodical
vote to the caufe only of his country's liberty.
But obnoxious
to the malice
and the confpir-
ing vvickcdnefs of his quondam
monfl:cr,
by
a falfe
title,
chicanery of the law,
mafl^er,
this
by bribery, and the
robs
him of
his land,
reducing him once more to day-labour for his
fubfifl:ence.
Another cleclion occurs
He now
can thitherward
in his
ca(t
county town.
only a
tcar-
dimmcd
59
dimmed
and the emotions of an exalted
foul
while his low-minded implacable enemy
pafTes him with a leer of triumph, and an in^
folent fcorn, once more, unreproached by the
prefcnce of integrity, to vote away that public
freedom which the honeft ploughman would
eye,
;
What a tempeft of inmoment raife in the imBunts ! " Regardlefs," fays
have died to preferve.
dignation muft fuch a
paflioncd foul of a
he,
*'
as I
am, while
polfelTed of an independent
mind, and of a toil-hardened body, of being
defpoiled of
my
againft this
wretch's fcorn,
much
1
What!
freehold
fufficeth
misfortune await
me?
even proof
;
this,
as
not, that injury
it
that
thofe
firft
conceived
who endure
its
train a legal
injufticel"
Defpicable
!
it
its
If fuch
man, and on fuch an
and
but muft the triumph of
a villain neceffarily bring in
be fuch law
am
this is too
degradation from the rank of freemen
curfed
I
1
And more
folly,
the
!
Acmind
defpicable
or fubmit to
language,
its
from fuch a
occalion, be not too ftrong,
we ought
to recoiled, that
and lower
claifes
between the higher
of fociety,
it
does not appear
that nature, in the diftribution of her mental
gifts,
{hews any partiality
ferior in general
Culture of
mind and
reajoning heings,
;
and
that,
how
in-
the lower claffes may^be, in
polifh of fpeech, they are
abounding with ftrong minds
and
60
and fliarpened
nifhing
many
faculties
poets, they
To conclude
fear
from
;
:
and, though not fur-
abound with
Considering
a potent faction,
all
we have
who have
hands the purfe and the fword, the
the judicial powers of the
menfe preponderancy
flare,
in the
confidering likewife what
orators.
to
their
in
civil
and
and an im-
Icgiflature
we have
;
and
to appre-
hend from a confederacy againfi: us of almofl
all Europe, with the wonder of the age at its
while a great majority of the nation muft,
head
;
it is
but too probable, be alienated from the
Conliitution, and difgufted at the government
aiid at the higher orders in fociety
;
I
humbly
means of our falvarion be not thofe
which are here pointed out ? And if not, then
what are they, and where are they to be found ?
afk, if the
With
the greateft regard and eilecm,
I
remain. Dear Sir,
Yours
moll: faithfully,
J.
POSTSCRIPT,
Rumour
mentary
oj
C.
Jpril 3.
gives us to undcrftand, that parliapo-jtion to miniflers
more union, more
fcrength, and
is
acquiring
more energy
Qf
61
of adion.
ftill,
'Tis indeed
high time
until all perfons, confcious of
due influence over the
boroughs, our
cities,
it
did
;
but
having un-
eledlions, either in our
or our couiiiies, fhall be
prevailed on, or compelled, to facrifice to the
public good
all
thole corrupt intcrefls,
our whole eledtive fyftem
fliall
be
and
new-mo-
delled on the true principles of reprefentation,
the formation of fuch a fociety as hath been
propofed will
flioukl
be as necelfary
ftill
as ever;
and
indeed feem to be the only m,cafure that
can give efficacy to fuch a reported union of
patriotic
men,
or fatisfadion to an abufed
nation.
Our
difcafe
—
it
cannot be too often repeated,
THE LOSS OF POLITICAL LIBERTY, Or, In
other words, the v/ant of constitutional
REPRESENTATION whcreas, our other calamiis,
;
ties,
— war,
taxes, arbitrary
imprifonment, mili-
government, torture, and a Tory Miniflry,
which is the hnmediate caufe of thefe feveral
curfes, are all of them mere fymptoms of this
difeafe
and on its cure will be {^zr\ no more,
tary
;
although fears may be
left
behind.
Parliamentary oppofition,
any folid gpod, mufl; extend
People, and have
therefore, to
its
do
union to the
for its fupport an enlightened
1>UBLIC
;
!
62
and
PUBLIC OPINION,
VOICE
;
an energetic
unlefs oppofition
public
direcl
iliall
its
main
it
can-
eiForL for fecuring the people's objed:,
not, in
my judgment,
indeed
ought not, to
it
have the people's fupport.
Should oppofition do no more
did the
nozVy
than
it
time the nation was nearly ruined
laft
by war, what will be the extent of our obligation to
cejfation
it ?
It
mere temporary
will obtain us a
of a national fcourgc
;
war
for as
is
the
harveft of corruption, and the grand engine of
defpotifm, as foon as the nation
fliall
have re-
covered the ability of feeding war, war will infallibly return.
1
have fcen a
defcribing
fatire,
a certain herd of fvvine, in the hands of keepers
who live upon their blood, and who of courfe
do not bleed them at any one time quite to
death, but only
till
The
they faint.
bleeders
then ftop their hand, and permit the fwine
to
run loofe again amongft the acorns, until
fufficiently
but,
as
recovered
favourite repall, no longer refpite
and the bleeding
fo
is
infinituju.
If,
be not a nation of fvvine inrtead
lar
is
is
determine on having
2^
their
allowed,
immediately repeated
on alternately, ad
fhall
bleeding
for another
of their fwine
the blood
;
and
we
of men, wc
Jcciirity
indeed,
from (imi-
treatment
N.B.
63
N.B.
By
" Society"
words " AlTociation," and
the
in this letter, the writer only
means
fuch an union, for communication of opinions
and co-operations of
public good
but
;
acflions, as
ftill
be implicated in any
that
acfl
to
may be
for the
no individnal
which he
to
is
not hira-
is
felf a party.
NOTE on
the fuggcflion in p. 44, for punifning the violation
of the freedom of election, as High Trcafo7i.
The Writer
fcription of
of men, doubtlefs
fays
aware of the attacks which, from one de-
is
men, probably ma^, and, from another defcription
it'z//,
be made upon this fuggeftion.
the flippant half-thinker,
*' is
to be
it
High Trea/on
give a pot of porter to a voter at an elcftion
culous to be thought of!"
of corruption
chilfl
punlfhment.
fanftion
;
it
Then comes
" But here
:
is
" What !'*
?
to
'Tis too ridi-
the deeper difciple and
no gradation of crime and
Such a fyftem can never receive a parliamentary
contradicts
all
the principles of legiflation, thus to
confound great and fmall crimes, and to ccnfider them as the
fame."
The
\J}f
anfwers are (hort and plain.
\i gvv'ing a pot of porter vftrt to be an overt aft, by
which a proof of High Trea/on could
ftantiated
againft
High Trea/on
this
day be fub-
any man, he v/ould of courfc be hanged,
drawn and quartered.
law.
at
And, 2dlj,
has no degrees
\
In the contemplation of
fo that,
a8, by which the treafonable intention
the giving a pot of porter, or
is
whether /he
made
making war upon
the
o-vcrt
manifeft, be
king within
the
!
64
the Hatio w at
fo
is
ilie
head of an army, the crime
is
the famcj and
the punifhment.
The
whether nny overt ad, great
fole queftion, therefore, is,
or fmall, which manifefts a trenjcnnble attack upon the fo've.
i^eignfj,
or,
other
in
words,
the
political ex'tjience of the
people, ought or ought not to be jTuniihed as
For the
reafons he has affigned,
befo punifned
and he
;
High Treafon
the writer thinks
trufts that the
f
ou^ht to
it
convidlion of every intcl*
ligent and virtuous mind, duly imprefled with a fenfe of the
deluge of iniquity, and the infinity ofill confequences flowing
from the poifoned fountain of corrupt
faiiie as his
will
eleftion,
be
the
own.
Let not, however, the unwary be enfnared to his deftruflion.
Let the crime be accurately defined, and the law be fo
mulgared, and with fuch frequent repetitions,
be ignorant.
againit
Then, whether
the k'nigy
a-
whofe counfcls
whofe power delegated to wicked
to,
a
by
minifters,
may have brought
ftranger
whofe fhadowing wings no man could
fit
;
ill
advice, and
or againft the Conji'ttu.
which,
in the
if
land,
fufFer oppreflion
adhered
and under
;
is it
that the traitor (hould receive his reward
Printed, at the
O^EHIAL
can
man's treafon were merely
in its moft vital organ, a Conftitution
would make calamity
pi'o-
ifjfluenced
upon the nation the heavieft calamities
t'lon
that none
tKEii, by V.'lLtON »«* CO. Wild CgwtC
not
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