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inhabitants of all the houses in England, connected as they are with a thousand intersecting interests, with the public credit and stability of the government? Will you say, that the masters of families, house-holders, every one of whom has some relation, some tie, some members of a little circle round his fire-side, to whom he is attached, have no stake in the public fate, and are unworthy to enjoy political rights? Such a body of constituents would remove to a considerable extent the disgraceful practices which elections now exhibit. Suffrages, it is notorious, are sometimes bartered for money, for a place, or a ribband, or for the most trifling and ridiculous considerations. To remedy these abuses-to remove all riot and debauchery-make the electors vote each in their particular parishes-they will then come with calmness to exercise the most important of political privileges, and consider maturely upon whom they are to devolve the guardianship of their civil rights. What is the vice and danger of the times in the opinion of those who rule at the present moment? Is it not a contempt of the authorities of government, and a disaffection to the Parliament of the kingdom? What better cure can be suggested by the wisdom of man for that evil, than to make the Parliament emanate from the people, tomake it the creature of their own creation? If they are prone to arraign the conduct, and to despise the authority of those in whose election they have no share, they will view in a more favorable light the objects of their own choice. The constituent will then entertain confidence in the representative, and the representative will feel some more regard for the opinions and wishes of those by whom he has been sent. Who then is to raise up sedition against such a government? As we lately had a national conspiracy without conspirators, now we must, in such an event, have a rebellion without rebels. Such
a representation would secure universal and permanent tranquillity. It has all the advantages of universal suffrage, without any of its defects. It is, indeed, properly speaking, an universal right of suffrage, because all those who are not included in it, may, without a figure, be said to be virtually and in substance represented. All the people in their various degrees, not included personally in such a representation, are members of, some house or another, they are therefore represented in the persons of their fathers, or their nearest kindred, and bound in every feeling, as well as every interest which grows out of social existence, to support an assembly proceeding from such an universal national will: whereas the personal inclusion of every individual might, as I have already adverted to, give an undue influence inconsistent with the true spirit of independent elections. There is this last advantage in the mode proposed; it is a practical system standing upon no other foundation but its aptitude to promote the practice and enjoyment of British government, whereas universal suffrage is argued to be an unalienable right. To be well governed, is a right unquestionably unalienable; but if that could be said of universal suffrage, then, as I have already observed, the right of mankind is narrowed to one system and form of government; and however pernicious it may be found in practice, it cannot possibly be changed, since no legitimate government can be built upon the usurpation or the restraint of human rights which are universal.
"In this way, honest but visionary men, confounding the unalienable right of every man to be well governed with a right unalienable to interfere in the administration of actual government, impose an actual tyranny upon the world in their zeal for universal freedom.
"The system proposed by my excellent, and enlightened friend, therefore, avoids this dangerous stumbling
block, and erects a practical government upon principles which have no tendency to disorganize society, nor to shake the establishments of the nation.
"The last point of all, and certainly the most momentous, now stands in its order, viz. Is the present a fit moment for making any alteration, however beneficial in the constitution of the government?-My opinion is, that it is singularly and critically seasonable; and that those who seize upon the time as a foundation for objection, would lay the same hold on prosperity, if it were proposed on the return of peace. To try this, let us suppose that our situation were reversed, that commerce was flourishing; that our public credit was beginning to reestablish itself; that the winter of our affairs had passed away, and the summer was beginning to reappear— would it not then be said to the proposers of Reform, What but mischief can be your object? No sooner are the springs of industry again put in motion-no sooner are the sources of commerce unlocked, and pouring forth the riches of the country in every direction-no sooner has returning confidence in a re-animated government given a new impulse to every exertion of skill, and new directions. to labor and ingenious industry, than you agitate your question of reform to set men mad theories of government, instead of supporting it by the peaceable enjoyment of its practical blessings, checking the rising prosperity of peace, and plunging us back into all the dangers and difficulties from which we had almost miraculously emerged. In this way the friends of reform would again be clamored down, and stigmatized with new topics of reproach, enforced by all the new corruptions which peace would furnish, and in which the seeds of other wars would be again certainly deposited and ripened. Depend upon it the enemies of reform are unalterable enemies to it upon principle, and will find
no time seasonable for its adoption. That which men are determined to oppose, from a corrupt interest in abuse, they will equally oppose at all times and upon all occasions, though dissimilar times and occasions, as they happen accidentally to shift, will be alternately made use of as pretences.
"But it is farther said, in objection to the times, that there is at this moment a dangerous disaffection prevalent in the minds of men to the government of this country, and that pestilent and destructive theories have poisoned public opinion against all monarchical constitution. There may, Sir, be many persons disaffected to government." [Hear! Hear! from the opposite side.] "I put the case which the gentlemen on the other side are so loud to give assent to; and, though the existence of dissaffection may be true concerning all government in all times, yet I deny it to be true in the degree which has in this house been so repeatedly asserted. But admitting, for the sake of argument, that the imputation of wide-spread disaffection is just, how is the evil to be remedied? If despair of obtaining any moderate reform has driven any considerable numbers to republicanism, to whom is the fault to be imputed ? Will any man deny, that the foundation of this spirit, whatever may be its extent, was laid in the declarations of the right honorable gentleman himself, who affirmed that it was impossible an upright or useful administration could exist whilst the house was constituted as it is, and who has unanswerably illustrated the truth of his position by the evidence of his own? Did the right honorable gentleman imagine, that he could prescribe bounds beyond which this spirit should not pass? Did he imagine that he could plant the root, and prevent the shoots from springing up? Does the right honorable gentleman think, that he can extinguish in the minds of the people
that distrust of the present system of government which he himself has taught them to entertain? Or does he think by coercion to make them tamely submit to those abuses which he himself was the foremost to expose ? Does he think to guard the constitution from violence by persecuting those who would peaceably reform it? Does he think to silence the voice of complaint by a sullen refusal to remedy the grievance? This road may be pursued for a season, BUT THE END THEREOF IS DEATH. Instead of inflaming by persecution, let me advise you to conciliate by seasonable concession. The system of terror can neither remove nor silence a deep-rooted and well-founded discontent. Let me remind you of the opinion of Mr. BURKE upon this subject. Much as I now differ from that great man, much as I lament that he has mis-employed his extraordinary talents to render prevalent those errors which have entailed such frightful consequences, it is impossible not to admire that profound wisdom which formerly distinguished his efforts in the cause of humanity and justice. In the fatal contest with America, he most luminously marked out the great duties and interests of governments in moments of emergency, and has shewn them to be inseparable. If there be one criterion,' said Mr. BURKE, which more than all the rest distinguished a wise and prudent government from an administration weak and improvident, it is this: well to know when and in what manner to yield what it is impossible to keep. Early reformations are amicable compromises with a friend in power-Late reformations are terms imposed upon a conquered enemy. Early reformations are made in cool blood -Late reformations are made in a state of inflammation. In such a state, the people see in government nothing respectable. They will look at the grievance, and they will look at nothing else. Like a furious populace provoked