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sitions of territory, and increase of system will exclude all such men, trade and riches? Do not the light- save in the exception. nings of talent flash on the unhallow- All sides declare that talent ought ed attempt to subject to spoliation, to be admitted; why, therefore, is bondage, oppression, and destruc- nothing done to gratify this unanition? Are not the young Burkes mous national feeling? Because the and Sheridans, who are struggling sages of the Cabinet can only allow with poverty and obscurity, appeal- one mode of election. In forming ing to public justice against this sor- anew such an assembly as the House did and guilty measure for closing of Commons, it is to be divested of to them the path of patriotism, dig- the leading essentials for enabling it nity, and immortality? Alas ! alas! to discharge its duties, and preventat least let it no longer boast the in- ing it from being a public scourge, sane support of its intended victims! merely that its members may be all
How this will operate on public elected in the same manner, by the interests, may be in some degree ga- same descriptions of people. Rail thered from what I have stated. If
no more against the ages of darkness it be necessary for both sides of and barbarism ! Is it impossible to every great question to be carefully give the House the proper quantiexamined by the House and the ties and varieties of talent, without country, it is equally necessary for trenching on the rights of the peothe House to contain a sufficient ple? I say no; and that to refuse number of gifted men, and for them it them, is to trench in the most unto be fairly divided between both pardonable manner on these rights. sides of it. Yet this plan must con- I cannot tolerate the miserable error fine the talent to one side, and there- that the people's rights call for the by prevent scrutiny, debate, and cor- sacrifice of their interests-that to rect judgment. The Ministry, par- enjoy their rights, they must possess tial, interested, and incapable, will a House of Commons which will have no eloquent men; and, there. ruin them. fore, no party of moment to contend If one mode of election will not with. If I were asked what would give the House the requisite portion be the means for enabling a Ministry of talent, another mode that will do under the constitution to keep con- so is the sacred right of the people, stant possession of office, and make and it is a practicable matter. With itself practically despotic, my reply regard to the Ministry, there could would be-give it the power to ex- be no difficulty. It is of the first clude talented opponents from the consequence that Ministers should House of Commons; by this you be perfectly independent and imwill give it the House, the voice of partial between the different divithe House, and a sufficiency of the sions of the community, and that Press; you will put the King under they should not be permitted to emits feet, and prohibit the formation ploy the mighty means they possess of another Ministry.
in corrupting and intimidating elecWith regard to the other descrip- tors. If the same man be both a tion of talent, although the present minister and a representative, he system makes no adequate provision must betray his trust in the one chafor introducing a proper portion of racter or the other. On every prinit into the House, it still makes much ciple of public good, they ought to more than the new one will do. An have seats in virtue of office. If the able banker, merchant, or manufac- Cabinet were allowed to dispose of turer, may now be certain of obtain- any number of seats, for example ing a seat for a certain sum of twenty, this could not be abused; inmoney; he must pay the price, but terest would compel it to give the he is sure of receiving for it the de- seats to the most worthy occupiers. sired equivalent. Under the new There would be no boroughmongers system, he must depend on the to treat with, or popular electors to choice of electors who notoriously bribe; the election would be pure, select for any thing rather than abi- and it would only give seats to men lity; and he must generally expend compelled by the public service to a large sum of money, with the possess them. chances against his success. This The difficulty would lie with the
Opposition, and I think it might be chosen by the Whig part of the posurmounted. It is, as I shall soon pulation, and the Tory ones by the shew, as essential for the Opposition Tory part; both would therefore be leaders as for the Ministers to be in really chosen by the community to dependent and impartial between the fill and dispose of the seats for its divisions of the community; and, of benefit. The seats could not on eicourse, it is equally essential that ther side be gained and retained by they should enter the House by other any thing save unrestrained, unbiasmeans than popular election. They sed popular choice; therefore they are generally too well known to ad- would not infringe in the least on mit of mistake. Suppose a power popular election. Of course, they were vested in any proper quarter, would be wholly free from the objecfor example, with the independent tions which attach to the close boand non-political part of the judges, rough ones. Half the population to name at every election a fixed spontaneously, enthusiastically, and number of them, they being, as an on talent and desert alone, selects indispensable condition, the heads of certain men as its political leaders; the great Whig or the great Tory it declares, that they ought not only party; and then, that this number to be in Parliament, but to possess should dispose of twenty seats. This the Cabinet; and am I to be told would give the Opposition no more that there is in this no nationalsuf. really than it now possesses; there frage-no popular election ? Am I would be no boroughmongers or to believe that these men ought to bribery; and I think abuse in every be excluded Parliament, if they canway might be prevented. The seats not severally enter it by means of would be disposed of under respon- the prejudiced, interested, corrupt sibility to Parliament.
votes of some county or borough ? I believe the feeling is general, I must not be so deluded. If these that Ministers ought to have seats in men were suffered to enter the virtue of office; in truth, it is a mat House of Commons in the way I ter of clear right to them, if they have described, they would really ought to be in the House. Let it be be more independently, impartially, remembered, that the Opposition is and popularly elected, they would on public grounds quite as necessary really possess a more diversified, as the Ministry—that the seats of pure, numerous, popular, and unexthe former will be on the popular ceptionable constituency—than its side, while those of the latter will other members. be on that of power-that the Oppo If the weaker interests were suf. sition seats will not only neutralize fered to have representatives in the the Cabinet ones, but be in all cases manner I have mentioned, this would a clear gain to the people—that the secure to the House a proper porOpposition leaders can only, in the tion of the other kind of talent. body, gain regular admission into Bankers, merchants, &c. &c., would the House by some such means--and be sure of gaining seats gratuitously that they toil most laboriously in the on the score of ability and intellipublic service without stipend : let gence. This ought to be suffered all this be remembered, and every for qualifying the House to do its man who is willing to give free ad- duty, if even equal representation be mission to Ministers, will be still disregarded. more so to give it to the heads of Let me now look at the plan with Opposition.
reference to its provisions for maThis would be equivalent to be- king the general decisions of the stowing ten close boroughs on each House of Commons independent and side of the House of Commons—to impartial. enabling each side to elect twenty The great end of free government members as its leaders. It would is to enable the majority of rank, interfere with the vote of no man, talent, intelligence, and property, as and leave every county and borough well as numbers, to rule the minoperfectly independent. Virtually, the rity in matters of opinion and expeoccupiers of the free seats would be diency; but to place both on a level elected by the community at large. in matters of right and privilege: it The Whig leaders are practically is to make the rights and privileges
of the minority wholly sacred and extent requisite for causing it to pay secure against the majority-to pro- the most prompt attention to comtect the former from the latter. The plaint and grievance, and examine House of Commons exists as a means carefully the calls of popular feeling; of gaining such government; and of it is equally essential, that, in its decourse, in forming it, the great end liberative, ruling part, it should be of representation is to make it per- composed of totally different menfectly impartial, just, and equitable men who represent only the comtowards all, and between the majo- munity in the aggregate. It is not rity and minority to render it the more necessary that a large part of effectual protector of the latter the House should represent the se. against the former.
parate interests and classes, than it It follows, that, if the majority be is that a large part should not do suffered to prevent the minority from being duly represented in the The old system stands on this, but House, and to govern the decisions its provisions are very defective. Its of the latter, there can be no equa independent seats have in a large lity of right and privilege-there can degree fallen into the hands of imbe no freedom; a tyranny must ex- proper electors; they can be obist of the most guilty and destruc- tained by unfit men, and nothing is tive character.
attached to them to impel their ocThe representative of an interest cupiers to labour zealously for the or class must, in the nature of things, general good alone. be a partial, prejudiced, interested But what is the new plan? It man; he offers himself to his con- labours to compose the House solely stituents, because he holds their opi- of partial, interested representatives nions; he perhaps belongs to them; of separate interests and classes; to and he is sent to Parliament to ad- such an intolerable extreme does it vocate their separate interests against carry this, that, in order to make those of the rest of the community. Ministers such representatives, it In matters which affect all equally, disqualifies them for discharging for example, foreign policy, the cri- their official duties. The evil would minal laws, &c., there is nothing to
be the less, if it gave equal repreincite one part of the people to seek sentation; because the many kinds the injury of the other; but matters of the warring partisans would in of unequal operation, such as taxes, some degree neutralize their powers laws which affect trade, propertyof mischief. But in its most unjust labour, &c., impel the various divi- disposal of representation, it contines sions of the community to continual- it mainly to interests and classes ly seek the spoliation and ruin of which are sure to use it in the most each other. Such a representative destructive manner to the general must be in most things a mere parti. weal. It divides the electors into san, not more anxious to promote two great parties-the one consisting the interests of one division, than to in the vast majority of small and midruin those of another.
dling town housekeepers, who are Compose the House wholly of everywhere the same in interest and such men, and it must of necessity feeling; and the other of the agriculbe in the majority grossly partial turists; and it expressly makes them and solicitous on mercenary, private the democratic and aristocratic pargrounds, to injure, rob, and distress ties. It involves them in a war of a vast part of the people. Give the extermination, first on interest as the majority to those who are hostile to trading and agricultural bodies; and taxes, and it will plunder the public then on feeling, privilege, and power, creditor-give it to those who wish as the democracy and aristocracy. to abolish the Corn Law, and it will The representatives must of necesruin the landed interest-give it to sity be what the electors are. The those who are hostile to the church, House of Commons therefore must and it will overthrow her.
be divided into the trading and deWhile, therefore, it is essential for mocratic party, on the one hand, and the House to contain the represen- the agricultural and aristocratic one, tatives of every interest and class, on the other, and to be composed of them to the A popular form of government, in
every other country where it has proof that the King, Ministry, and been fully tried, has led to public ruin Legislature, ought to leave nothing and slavery. Why? Because it pro- undone for its suppression. Human duced war between poor and rich, blindness and infirmity never before the democracy and aristocracy. The exhibited such an error. same cause must in any nation pro Is it impossible to reform the duce the same effect. The fratrici- House of Commons without compodal strife must be between physical sing, it wholly of interested conpower, aided by minister, legislator, flicting partisans, and making the and the suspension or perversion of most powerful division of it consist legal law, against moral; and victory of men anxious to destroy the promust
be with the party of destruction. perty of the funded, landed, colonial, The British Constitution has long, in and various other interests, and to glorious contrast, been the parent of pull down the aristocracy, with every every benefit, because it has protect- thing else that supports the monared us from the baleful war. We chy? If it be, reform must only sufhave had, not democrats and aristo- fer this House to detail grievances crats, but Whigs and Tories—names and utter speeches; it must take away as ridiculous and unmeaning as heart its power of judgment and lawmacould desire, but invaluable for being king. But it is not impossible. so. Instead of arraying class against The public weal imperiously declass, they have united high and low; mands that Ministers shall be wholly and have only compounded parties free from influence and bias, and of from equal portions of each to strug- course shall not represent any integle for general advantage.
rest or class. It demands the same If there be one thing which in a touching the Opposition leaders. The free country ought to be prevented latter, as well as Ministers, have to above every other, it is this war of labour for all parts of the people with class—if there be one thing which the utmost impartiality, and they must ought to be guarded against above occupy office in case of change. every other in the formation of such Every public man who seeks office, a body as the House of Commons, it ought to be strictly preserved from is the entrance into it of this war. the control or influence of separate Light up the latter in the Legislature, interests and classes. Place the heads and it must feed the conflagration in of the two great parties in the House, every quarter until all is consumed. by some such means as I have named,
That which ought to be so espe- to represent the whole community, cially guarded against, is to be espe- but not any parts, and how will it cially produced: the House of Com- operate ? Reply shall be furnished mons is to be remodelled, that it may by the history of the past. be filled with the infuriated combat. Hitherto the voice, control, and ants of democracy and aristocracy, direction of the House, have been and made an engine for converting possessed by men of talent and hothe whole population into such com- nour, who have not been sent into it batants. Whigs and Tories are to be by popular election, and who hare turned out of it and destroyed; all had deep personal interest in comwho might moderate, disarm, or keep bining the aristocracy and democracy. apart the hostile bodies, are to be They have really been put into it to scrupulously excluded. Ministers contend with each other for the Camust be democrats or aristocrats, the binet,—and their hope of success, Opposition leaders must be the same, emolument, dignity, and fame, has and the struggles of public men for laid in labouring to gain equal favour office must be in the most powerful with the aristocracy and democracy party struggles to confiscate, plunder, -keep them in harmony-and conand enslave-to overturn institu fine the party divisions of the House tions and ruin the empire.
to contention for general good, withThis is to be the case when war be- out reference to class and interest. tween the democracy and aristocracy From this, if elections have been dehas already placed every kind of pro- cided by war between aristocrat and perty in jeopardy, dragged the em- democrat, the representatives have pire to the threshold of revolution, not been able to carry it into the and produced every conceivable House; on entering the latter, they
have found it engaged in a totally plan is to give, it would be free from different war, and if they have at- objection. Suppose that in two or tempted to introduce that of class, three towns, and a surrounding disthey have had its talent, eloquence, trict, such inhabitants as are not in and party power turned against them. any business or profession, and posThe Opposition has had the same sess a yearly income of not less than interest as the Ministry in opposing one hundred pounds, arising from the them. Thus representatives, in spite rent of land and houses, or the inteof creed and ground of election, have rest of money, were permitted to been compelled to leave aristocratic elect two representatives; the towns and democratic distinctions at the and district being to possess in addidoor of the House, and to be in it tion what the plan of Ministers is to merely Whigs and Tories, placing all bestow. This would make representclasses on an equality.
ation more perfect, it would, in This has always had the best effect truth, give it to a most valuable part in keeping the destructive strife of of the people which otherwise will class from elections and the commu- have none, and it would make no innity at large. The eloquence and vidious distinction; the smaller houseexample of the House have been con- keepers and freeholders would still stantly directed against such strife, have their representatives. and its division into Whig and Tory What I on the whole advise is has compelled candidates and elec- this-give twenty members to each tors to divide themselves in the same side of the House of Commons, in manner.
all forty, who shall be independent Let it be observed, that these in- of both the aristocracy and demovaluable benefits have been drawn in cracy separately considered, and ina pre-eminent degree from the talent, cited by personal interest to labour number, and independence, of the impartially for their union and muOpposition leaders. By them, prin- tual benefit. To make them so, let cipally at elections, and in the House, them represent not this class or that, the low democratic party bas been but the whole population ; therefore restrained from possessing ability and let them be selected, not by this class power. The new plan must prohi- or that, but really by the community bit Whigs and Tories, save in the ex- in the aggregate. Make them the great ception, from leading the Opposition, teachers and guides of the House; and substitute for them furious de- and to do this, let them be men of the mocrats, dependent for seats, and first talent, eloquence, information, every thing, on their advocacy of the and experience. Then place in the worst doctrines.
House a considerable number of men Make then, I say, the heads of the able and experienced in commercial two great constitutional parties the matters, and add to them a number representatives only of the whole more to be chosen only by unconpeople in the body, the inpartial nected individuals of independent tribunal to listen to the representa- property; let the whole be as far as tives of, and decide between, the possible independent and disinterestcontending parts. To aid them, give ed between Whig and Tory,Democrat the weaker interests representatives, and Aristocrat, and the representaas I have recommended. The latter tives of great masses of property, will be in a large degree neutral be- intelligence, and virtue alone. Hatween the aristocracy and democracy, ving composed the House in this and they will operate to temper, re- manner to the extent requisite for strain, and connect both. To make making it an independent, impartial, this independent part of the House and wise judge, let the remainder more powerful, and form the proper of it consist of the representatives, balance in itself, give four members the counsel—the interested partisans each to the Universities, and a certain of the great clashing interests and number to people of independent for- divisions. tune only. * To confine the votes in a I maintain, that if the House be not town to such people, is a thing to be formed in some such manner, it will avoided; but if it were done in two be utterly incapable of discharging or three towns, and a district jointly, its duties—it will be the reverse of without taking away what the new what it was ever intended to be-it