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VOL. XXII. No. 1.] || LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY 4, 1812.
“ That the Election of Members of Parliament ought to be free."-BILL OF Rights. 1]
sions of Mr. Hunt compared with those of TO THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORS
Sir Samuel Romilly.
As to the first, you will bear in mind,
Gentlemen, how often we, who wish for a LETTER I.
reform of the parliament, have contended, Gentlemen,
that no njerober of the House of Commons Your City, the third in England in point ought to be a placeman or : pensioner, of population, and, for the bravery and We have said, and we have shown, that public-spirit of its inhabitants the first in in that Act of Parliment:"Ly; virtue of the world, is now become, with all those which the present family was 'exalted to who take an interest in the public welfare, the throne of this kingdom; we have an object of anxious attention. You, as shown, that, by that Act, it was provided the Electors of Westminster were, have that no man having a pension or place of long been the sport of the two artful fac- emolument under the Crown should be capations, who have divided between them the ble of being a member of the House of Comprofits arising from the obtaining of your mons. It is, indeed, true, that this provivotes. One of each faction has always sion has since been repealed; but, it havbeen elected; and, as one of them always ing been enacted, and that, too, on so imbelonged to the faction out of place, you, portant an occasion, shows clearly how whose intentions and views were honest, jealous our ancestors were upon the subject, consoled yourselves with the reflection, When we ask for a revival of this law, that, if one of your members was in place, we are told that it cannot be wanted ; beor belonged to the IN party, your other cause, if a man be a placeman or a pensioner member, who belonged to the OUT party, before he be chosen at all, those who choose was always in the House to watch him. him know it, and if they like a placeman But, now, I think, experience must have or a pensioner, who else has any thing to convinced you, that the OUT as well as do with the matter? And, if a man be the IN member was always seeking his made a placeman or pensioner after he be own gain at your expense and that of the chosen, he must vacale his seal, and return nation; and that the two factions, though to his constituents to be re-elected before openly hostile to each other, have always he can sit again; if they reject him he canbeen perfectly well agreed as to the main not sit, and, if they re-choose him, who point; namely, the perpetuating of those else has any thing to do with the matter? sinecure places and all those other means To be sure it is pretty impudent for these by which the public money is put into the people to talk to us about choice and about pockets of individuals.
re-choosing and about rejecting and the With this conviction in your minds, it is like, when they know that we are well innot to be wondered at that you are now be formed of the nature of choosings and reginning to make a stand for the remnant of choosings at Old Sarum, at Gation, at your liberties; and, as I am firmly per- Queenborough, at Bodmin, at Penrynn, at suaded, that your success would be of inf- Honiton, at Oakhamptou, anci ai more nite benefit to the cause of freedom in gene than a hundred other places; it is pretty ral, and, of course, to our country, now impudent to talk to us about michuber's groaning under a compilation of calamitics, I going back to their constituents at such I cannot longer withhold a public expres- places as those here mentioned; but, what sion of the sentiments which I entertain re willeven-the impudence of these people find specting the struggle in which you are en to say in the case of those members, wlog gaged ; and especially respecting the elec- upon having grasped places or pensions, do tion now going on, the proceedings of r go back to their constituents, and upon recent meeting in London, and the preten- being rejected by them, go to some bo
rough where the people have no voice; or steps are, you have seen; and what those who, not relishing the prospect, do not go principles are the miserable people of Engto face their former constituents, but go, at land feel in the effects of war and taxation. once, to some borough, and there take a But, I beg your attention to some circum: seat, which, by cogent arguments, stances connected with the election, which doubt, some one has been prevailed on to ought to be known and long borne in mind. go out of to make way for them? What The WRIT for electing a member for Briswill even the impudence of the most pros- tol in the room of Bragge Bathurst was tituted knaves of hired writers find to say moved for, in the House of Commons, on in cases like these?
Tuesday evening, the 23d of June, and, at Of the former Mr. GEORGE TIERNEY the same moment, a writ for electing a presents a memorable instance.
He was member for Colchester, in the room of formerly a member for Southwark, chosen Richard Hart Davis, was moved for. So, on account of his professions in favour of you see, they both vacate at the same infreedom, by a numerous body of indepen- stant ; your man, not liking to go down to dent electors. But, having taken a fancy Bristol, the other vacates a seat for another to a place which put some thousands a year place, in order to go down to face you in of the public money into his own indivi- his stead. Observe, too, with what quickdual pocket, haying bad.the assurance to ness the thing is managed. Nobody knows, go back to his constituents, and having or, at least, none of you know, that Bragge been by them rejected with scorn, he was is going to vacate his seat. immediately chosen by some borough where rently knew it, because we see him raa seat had been emptied in order to receive cating at the same moment. The WRIT is him, and now he is a representative of the sent off the same night; it gets to Bristol people of a place called Bandon Bridge in on Wednesday morning the 24th; the law Ireland, a place which, in all probability, requires four days notice on the part of the he never saw, and the inhabitants of Sheriffs ; they give it, and the election which are, I dare say, wholly unconscious comes on the next Monday. So, you see, of having the honour to be represented by if Mr. Hunt had been living in Ireland or so famous a person.
Your late represen- Scotland, or even in the Northern counties tative, Mr. Bracce Bathurst, has acted of England, or in some parts of Cornwall, a more modest, or, at least, a more pru-, the election might have been over, before dent part. He has got a fat place, a place there would have been a POSSIBILITY of the profits of which would find some hun his getting to Bristol. And though his dreds of Englishmen's families in provisions place of residence was within thirty miles all the year round; he has been made what of London, he who was at home on his is called Chancellor of the Duchy of Lan- farm, had but just time to reach you soon caster, which will give him immense pa- enough to give you an opportunity of exertronage, and, of course, afford him ample cising your rights upon this occasion. Mr. means of enriching his family, friends, and Hunt could not know that the writ was dependents, besides his having held places moved for till Wednesday evening, living, of great salary for many years before. as he does, at a distance from a post town; Thus loaded with riches arising from the and, as it happened, he did not know of it, public means, he does not, I perceive, in- I believe, till Thursday night; so that, it iend to fuce you; he cannot, it seems, screw was next to impossible for him to come to himself up to that pitch. We shall, in all London (which, I suppose, was necessary) likelihood, see, in a few days, what bo- and to reach Bristol before Saturday. rough opens its chaste arms to receive him; While, on the other hand, Mr. Davis had but, as a matter of much greater conse- chosen his time, and, of course, had made quence,
I now beg to offer you some re- all his preparations. marks upon the measures that have been Such, Gentlemen, have been the means taken to supply his place.
uscd preparatory to the election. Let us It was announced to his supporters at now see what a scene your city exhibits at Bristol, about three months ago, that he this moment; first, however, taking a look did not mean to offer himself for that city at the under-plot going on in London in again, and Mr. RICHARD Hart Davis, of favour of Sir Samuel Romilly. whom you will hear enough, came forward It is stated in the London news-papers, as his successor; openly avowing all his and particularly in the Times of Saturday principles, and expressly saying, that he last, that there was a meeting, on Friday, would tread in his steps. What those at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand,
the object of which meeting was, “ to raise offered to chalk me out a big piece upon a
money" by subscription for “ supporting board. I forget the way in which I vented “ the election of Sir Samuel Romilly al my rage against him; but, the offer has “ Bristot ;" and it is added, that a large never quitted my memory. Yet, really, sum was accordingly raised. This meeting this seems to come up to the notion of Mr. appears to me to have for its object the de- Mills : the carpenter offered me SOMEceiving of the electors of Bristol ; an object, THING LIKE a big piece of bread and however, which I am satisfied will not be cheese. Oh! no, Gentlemen, it is not this accomplished to any great extent. I do something like that you want :, you want not mean to say, that Sir Samuel Romilly the thing itself; and, if Sir Samuel Rowould use deceit; but, I am quite sure, milly meant that you should have it, do you that there are those who would use it upon believe, that neither he, nor any one for this occasion. The truth is, that the rais- him, would have made any specific promise ing of these large sums of inoney (amount- upon the subject? Even after Mr. Mills ing already, they say, to £8,000) proves had said that you wanted something like that Sir Samuel Romilly does not put his Reform, there was nobody who ventured trust in the FREE VOICE of the people to say, that Sir Samuel Romilly would enof Bristol. At this meeting Mr. Baring, deavour to procure even that for you. His one of the persons who makes the loans to friends were told, that, if he would disthe government, was in the chair. This tinctly pledge himself to reform, whether alone is a circumstance sufficient to enable in place or out of place, Mr. Hunt, who you to judge not only of the character of only wished to see that measure accomthe meeting, but also of what sort of con- plished, would himself assist in his elecduct is expected from Sir Samuel Romilly tion; but, this Sir Samuel Romilly has not* if he were placed in parliament by the done, and, therefore, he is not the man means of this subscription. Mr. Whit- whom you ought to choose, though he is BREAD was also at the meeting, and spoke beyond all comparison better than hundreds in favour of the subscription. But, we of other public inen, and though he is, in must not be carried away by names. Mr. many respects, a most excellent member of Whitbread does many good things; but parliament. Gentlemen, these friends of Mr. Whitbread is not always right. Mr. Sir Samuel Romilly call upon you to choose Whitbread subscribed to bring Mr. Sheri- him, because he is, they tell you, a dedan in for Westminster, and was, indeed, cided enemy of the measures of the prethe man who caused him to obtain the ap sent ministers. Now, they must very well pearance of a majority ; Mr. Whitbread know, that all those measures have had the supported that same Sheridan afterwards decided support of the parliament. Well, against Lord Cochrane ; and though Mr. then, do these his friends allow, that the Whitbread is so ready to subscribe now, parliament are the real representatives of he refused to subscribe to the election of Sir the people, and that they speak the people's Francis Burdell, notwithstanding the elec- voice? If Sir Samuel's friends do allow zion was in a city of which he was an inha- this, then they do, in fact, say, that he is bitant and an Elector'. These, Genılemen, an enemy to all those measures which the are facts, of which you should be ap- people's voice approves of; and, if they do prized; otherwise names might deceive not allow this; if they say that the parliayou.
ment do not speak the people's voice and I beg to observe also, that, at this ineet are not their real representatives, how can ing, there was nothing said about a parlia- they hope that any man will do you any mentary reform, without which you must good who is not decidedly for a reform of be satisfied no good of any consequence can that purliament? Let the meeting at the be done. There was, indeed, a Mr. Mills, Crown and Anchor answer these questions, who said he came from Bristol, who ob- or, in the name of decency, I conjure them served that “ the great majority of the in to hold their tongues, and to put their sub
habitants of Bristol feli perfectly con- scriptions back again into their pockets. 66 vinced of the necessity of SOMETHING To say the truth (and this is not a time “ LIKE Reform.” And is this all ? Does to disguise it from you) this subscription is your conviction go no farther than this ? a subscription against, and not for, the I remember, that, when a little boy, I was freedom of election. If Sir Samuel Rocrying to my mother for a bit of bread and milly's friends were willing to put their cheese, and that a journeyman carpenter,
trust in the free good will of the people of who was at work hard by, compassionately Bristol, why raise money in such large
quantities, and especially why resort to a little, snug, rotten-borough-like election, party men and to loan makers for this pur- was, at that moment, getting up in that pose? They will say, perhaps, that the very city, for the interest and honour of money is intended for the
purpose which they were affecting so much conrying down the London voters and for that cern! And, can you, then, believe them of fetching voters from elsewhere; but, sincere? Can you believe, that they have why are they afraid to put their trust in the any other view than merely that of securing resident voters of Bristol ? The object of a seat for the parly in Bristol ? Can you this subscription is very far indeed from doubt, that the contest, on their part, is resembling the object of that which was not for the principle but for the seat? set on foot in Westminster, which was not Having pointed out this circumstance to to gain votes by dint of money, but merely your attention, it is hardly necessary for me to pay the expenses of printing, of clerks, to advert to the conduct of Mr. Hunt, and other little matters inseparable from which, in this case in particular, formos a an election at Westminster, and the whole contrast with that of the other parties too of which did not amount to more than striking not to have produced a lasting imabout eight hundred pounds; whereas as pression upon your minds. He does not many thousands are stated to be already content himself with talking about defendsubscribed for procuring the election of Sir ing your liberties. He acts as well as Samuel Romilly. In short, this attempt of talks. He hears that the enemy is in your the friends of Sir Samuel Romilly is like camp, and he flies to rescue you from his many others that have been made before. grasp. He does not waste his time in a ta* It is purse against purse. Mr. PROTHERO vern in London, drawing up fourishing rehas shaken his purse at Sir Sanuel; and, solutions about public spiril.” He as the latter does not choose to engage with hastens amongst you; he looks your and his his own purse, his friends, with a loan adversary in the face; he shows you that maker at lheir head, came forward to make you may depend upon him in the hour of up a purse for him; and the free and un trial. These, Gentlemen, are marks of bought voice of the electors of Bristol is such a character in a representative as the evidently intended by neither party to times demand. Sir Samuel Romilly is a have any weight at all in the decision. very worthy gentleman ; an honest man;
Let us now return and take a view of the a humane man; a man that could not, in political picture which Bristol at this mo- my opinion, he, by any means, tempted ment presents. And, here, the first obser- to do a cruel or dishonest act; and he is, vation that strikes one, is, that neither the too, a man of great talents. But, I have friends of Sir Samuel Romilly nor the no scruple to say, that I should prefer, and friends of Mr. Prothero say one word in greatly prefer, Mr. Hunt to Sir Samuel opposition to Mr. Hart Davis, though he Romilly, as a member of parliament; for, avowedly stands upon the principles of Mr. while I do not know, and do not believe, Bragge and the present ministers ; though that the latter excels the former in honesty he quitted his canvass about ten weeks ago, or humanity, I am convinced that his tato come express to London 10 vote in fa- lents, though superior, perhaps, in their vour of the Orders in Council; and though kind, are not equal, in value to the public, he now says, that he will tread in the steps to the talents possessed by Mr. Hunt, who of Mr. Bragge. Though they have all this is, at this moment, giving you a specimen before their eyes, not one single syllable of the effect of those talents. does any one of them utter against the pre Gentlemen, the predominance of Lawtensions or the movements of Mr. Davis ; yers, in this country, has produced amongst and, though the meeting at the Crown and us a very erroneous way of thinking with Anchor took place several days after the respect to the talents of public men; and, Bristol and Colchester writs were moved contrary to the notions of the world in for, and though the parties at the meeting general, we are apt to think a man great in must necessarily have been well acquainted mind in proportion to the glibness of his with all that I have above stated to you tongue. With us, to be a great talker is upon the subject of those writs, not one to be a great man; but, perhaps, a falser word did they utter against the pretensions rule of judging never was adopted. It is of Mr. Davis, nor did they (according to so far from being true as a general maxim, the printed report of their proceedings) that it is generally the contrary of the even mention his name, or take the smallest truth; and, if you look back through the notice of the circumstance, that an election, list of our own public men, you will find,