« PreviousContinue »
ties in proportion as they curtailed the indisputable, that this principle is absoPrerogative of the Crown--an ingredient lutely annihilated by the present frame of in the Constitution as essential to its exist- the Representation of this is ouse, to which ence, as is an uncorrupt, full and fair Re- a Petition on your table offers to prove, presentation of the People in this House. that one hundred and fifty-seven indivi
Had the constitutional power of the duals have the power of returning a majoCrown remained undiminished, this House rity; so that the whole property of the free would not now be in its present contami- subjects of this kingdom is, in violation of nated state, the just and great prerogative this first and plain principle, at the disof the Crown would have been exercised posal of 157 Borough mongers, or in other beneficially, and given the King liis pro- words, 157 Borough-mongers have usurpeil, per weight in the administration of national and hold as private property, the sovereignaffairs, wbilst the People would have a ty of England--and can we be satistied shield—and a shield and not a sword is all with this miserable, pitiful substitution for the people expect, in an uncorrupted and the King and Constitution ?---Can the Peofairly elected House of Commons. This ple remain contented with the legislation I take to be the Constitution of England- of such a power ? --Impossible. Believe but out of this usurpation upon the crown, me, Sir, the discontent that exists in this conspiring with the innovations of time, a country, arises principally from the cer. third power has arisen, that of the Borough- tain knowledge ihe People now have of mongers—the creature of inwovation, the the corrupt state of this House, and their worm of corruption, always unknown to exclusion from that share in the Constituour laws, now become greater than the lion to which they are by law intitled, that laws, equally hostile to King and People, they are not fairly, nor indeed at all repremisrepresenting one to the other, filling the sentcd,-in fact, that the interests of this mind of one with jealousy, the ears of the House are not identitied with, but opposite other with alarm, wbich, by perpetuating to theirs-remove this defect, repair this discord, reigns sole arbiter of the strite, great injury, and the advantages will be and establishes its ignominious dominion immediate and important; the People will over both.—My first object, therefore, is, to then believe, that all that is practicable for reunite the King and the People, by the constitu- their benefit will be done, and from that tional bond of Allegiance on the one hand, and conviction they will naturally be reconProtection on the other.
ciled to those evils, which they would sce “ The wisdom of our laws,” says Lord a disposition to alleviate, and a mutual inCoke, “ is most apparent in this, that any terest to redress. "departure from their established princi Every part of the Empire will feel the “ples, although at the time wearing the benefit of the Reform; but no where will
specious appearance of advantage, never the great advantages of the measure be " fails to bring along with it, such a train likely to prove more salutary than in that “ of unforeseen inconveniences, as to de- most interesting part of the empire-IRE“monstrate their excellence and the ne
From the deep interest I take in cessity of again having recurrence to the concerns of that country, from my idea " them." And, how strikingly that ob- of its mighty importance, have I reserved servation is exemplified in the consequences the mention of it till last; though the conwhich have followed the departure from sideration of the manner in which I could the principles of the Constitution, which devote my best service to it has never been has led to the establishment of this griev- out of my mind, never till now did it ous Borough-monger System : the incon- mature any practicable plan, calculated to sistency of which with the principles of give universal satisfaction to that generous, our laws and institutions, so glaring in the ihat insulted people, with perfect seterms of the Writs of Elections, as in every curity to the state.
If Reform is neother point of view, no one can dispute. cessary here, it applies much more forci. The simple principle upon which, as upon bly there ; indeed, the peculiar sitùa pivot, the whole of this subject of Repre- ation of that country makes it a measure sentation turns, is this ; that the free sub- of iinperious necessity. -- On the subject jects of this kingdom have a Right of of Ireland I can hardly speak, from the Property in their own goods ; in other fear of trespassing on the rule I had laid words, that the People of England can- down for my conduct upon this occasion. I not be legally and constitutionally taxed dare not venture to trust myself with the without their own consent.--I suppose this grievances of Ireland. It is a subject I will not be denied ; and yet it is equally I cannot discuss without a more considera.
ble degree of warmth, than is consistent usurped all but the pageantry and outwith that dispassionate line of conduct I ward shew and forms of Royalty. am upon this occasion particularly anxious What is the condition of the King under to maintain. My desire is to have Ireland this Faction? Instead of taking advanunited with this country upon terms, how- tage of the elevation of his situation, where ever, very different from those which at the Constitution had placed him, as the present exist. I should wish to see there eye of the nation, for the purpose of taking a perfect equality of advantage, and no extensive views for the advantage of the exclusions. Of the present Union, so national interests, beyond the contracted called, I shall speak but little at this time: horizon of ordinary men, his whole time suffice it 'to say, that it was a measure is employed, his whole skill directed, not contrary to the wishes, repugnant to the towards the duties of his high office, but interest, revolting to the feelings of that in trying to keep his balance, in endeanation; and effected by means the most vouring to conciliate the support of such flagitious, ifthe most unblushing corruption and such a Borough-monger, in order to on the part of the agents, and the breach obtain his permission to allow the Governof every solemn assurance to the great ment to go on.-In truth, the Borough body of that people, not only implied Faction have such power, that he is more but expressed by the government of that like a Rope Dancer, than a King; as they country, deserve the appellation. Instead make it necessary for him to be perpeof that parchment Union, I shall propose tually upon the alert to balance bimself å real Union of heart and affection, founded on his slippery elevation, whilst the uton the broad basis of the Constitution, of most he can do is to keep his place. Such is equal rights, and reciprocal interests. the state to which he is reduced under the Away with that crooked policy, that nar- influence of this ignominious system, inrow-minded bigotry of legislation, that into stead of having his throne fixed on the rock lerable intolerance, which keeps alive per- of the Constitution, and bound to the hearts petual heart-burnings, hatred, and rerenge. of a whole people. This is not the situaİwish not to dwell upon this system; it is high tion in which the Laws and Constitution time to put an end to it.—Is it to be any have placed the King, nor that which his longer endured, that four millions of Irish- dignity requires, and the best interests of men should be aliens and outlaws in their na- the people, demand. tive land? Is it safe to have four millions The System, of which I have now giren of the people thrust out of the pale of the but a short sketch, which was introduced Constitution? Is it consistent with rea- at the Revolution, and grew out of the son, with common sense, putting justice encroachments on the Prerogative of the out of the question, any longer to tolerate King, aided by the innovations of time, bas such a system? By the adoption of Re- already cost this nation nearly Eight form, the government will have the fairest Hundred Millions of Debt; for though it opportunity of removing the principal has been wittily said, that one half of this grounds of dissatisfaction in Ireland ; now enormous Debt has been incurred in rewill be the time to do every thing without sisting the perfidy and restless ambition yielding any thing, to legislate upon en- of the house of Bourbon; the other half farged principles, knowing nothing of par- in striving to replace it on the throne vf ticular parties, sects, or factions; keeping France, this is not true; the fact is, the alive no distinctions of Catholic, Protes- whole has been incurred in ihe prosecutant, and Presbyterian, Tory, Whig, or tion of the scheme of corrupting this Jacobin; alarming no prejudice, insulting House. no party, they may now include the whole This question is so completely decided within one bond of union of the Constitu- by Magna Charta, "* which," as Lord tion, embracing and ensuring the safety Coke says, is such a fellow that be wil and tranquillity of the empire at large.“ bear no equal,” so strongly forrifi d by We shall then, and not till then, have an all our constitutional laws, ihat no inferior United Kingdom-one King-one People. authority can be required; but, were is
-We shall by this recurrence to the disposed, I could cite a host of legal and Constitution, not only seat the Chief Ma- constitutional Writers; and all those memgistrate upon his throne, and fix the Crown bers of this house, who have from time to upon his head; but we shall place within time expressed their sentiments in support his hand the sceptre and legitimate power of this measure, whose arguments were of the King, in despite of those 157 Bo- never confuted, and whose ralents, thouga fough-mongers, who have TRAITEROUSLY | successful on all other occasions, were uit:
arailing when exerted in support of Re- ! rat; no « Wealthy Brewer," as was hu. form. This problem, however, is easily mourously described, who, disappointed of solved, when we consider that the appeal a job, takes, in coasequence, " the inde. is made to the Borougio-mongers them- , - penient line, and bawls ont against selves, whose interest is opposite to the “Corruption :" no opportunity would remeasure. Their interest is ditierent from main for such mock' Patriotism : - no that of the people.
| leading Attornies galloping about the Having taken the Laws and the Constitu- country, lying, cheating, and stirring up tion for my guide, in preparing the mea- the worst passions amongst the worst peosore I shall bare to propose, I at the same ple:-noill blood engendered between time examined attentively all those Plans friends and relations-setting families at for carrying the same principle into exe- variance, and making each county a percution, which hare at different times been petual depository of election feuds and proposed ; and having avoided all those quarrels :-No Demagogueing.- If I am a intricacies which I considered as so many Demagogue, I am as complete a felo de se impediments in the way, bare reduced it as can well be imagined--this puts an end to that plain and simple form, the express to the occupation :- There would be an image of the Constitution itself. My Pian end to all odious and fanciful distinctions consists in a very few, and very simple, of persons and property-all would be regulations; and as the Disease we now simple and uniform; their weight and inlabour under has been caused by the disc fluence proportioned to their intrinsie vaunion of Property and Political Right,which lue-no qualifications nor disqualifications reason, and the Constitution, say should no inviduous exclusions by reason of never be separated, the Remedy I shall any office, from the highest to the lowest, propose will consist in re-uniting them either in the Elector or the Elected-no again.
variable, fantastical, litigious rights of For this purpose I shall propose : voting — no possibility of false votes-no That Freeholders, Householders, and treating--no carrying out voters--no
others, subject to direct Taxation in charges of any kind-no expense, legal or support of the Poor, the Church, and illegal-no contested elections.—The peothe State, be required to elect Meni- ple would have a choice without a contest, bers to serve in Parliament.
instead of a contest without a choice ;--no That each County be subdivided ac- sham remedies worse than the disease pre
cording to its taxed male Popula- tended to be cured-No Grenville Act; tion, and each subdivision required to here I speak feelingly; I have undergone elect one Representative.
this remedy. It is the remedy of a toa: That the Votes be taken in each Pa- under a harrow.—“ Haud ignara malis,
rish by the Parish Officers; and all “ miseris succurere disco." That Act, the Elections finished in one and the which has been so highly extolled, was itsame day.
self called a reform;-as all the acts agThat the Parish Officers make the Re- gravating the mischief, which have been
turns to the Sherifi's Court to be substituted for the Constitution, are called held for that purpose at stated pe- in this House. riods.
Under the operation of that Act, I have And, Thar Parliaments be brought back suttered a greater pecuniary penalty than to a Constitutional Duration.
any which the laiv would have inflicted The simplicity of this Pian appears for any crime I could have committed'; from its being the true Constitution of this remedy is a luxury, a man must be England, which has already prepared all very rich, indeert, io indulge himself in. the means ready to our hands of carrying I could not afford it a second time, andit into immediate effect; and I make no preferred abandoning my seat after having hesitation in delivering it as my well been returned to undergoing another operadigested opinion, that under the operation tion of the Grenville Act. One great ob. of this Reform, it would be attended with ject I have in view is to relieve other Genmuch less dificulty to return a whole Par- tlemen from the like benefits, by preventliament, than to seitle a dispute at a vestry ing the necessity of having recourse to about a parish pauper. By the adoption such remedies in future-by getting rid of of this Plan of Reform, those disgrace. all disputes, and contested elections: this fuł practices, which now attend even good consequence will result from the County Elections, would be put a stop to. adoption of this Plan, besides preventing No bribery, perjury, drunkenness,' nor endiess litigation ruinous expense, per
jury, ill blood, and periodical uproar and nothing to bias my mind; nor any other confusion, this House will be saved one view than the public good. It will, at third of its time in Election Committees; the same time, be naturally understood, and the Statute Book will be relieved from that having devoted so much of my time the shameful burden of one hundred and and reflection to this subject of vital imthirteen confused and intricate laws, all portance, my opinions cannot easily be pitiful substitutes for the Constitution. shaken, nor affected by slight and com
There may be some Gentlemen who think mon-place arguments. we should not get a better assembly with I have stated fully and dispassionately, in this House by this or any other Plan of and I hope clearly and satisfactorily, to Reform.--Even supposing, but by no this house and to the public, the Remedy means admitting, such should unaccount for all our Grievances, which I have been so ably be the case, the positive evils we often called upon to produce. I have obeyed should get rid of are sufficient recommen- that call: in that at least I hope I have given dations to its adoption. It must also give satisfaction.The Remedy I have prorise to other important results, those who posed is simple, constitutional, practicable, complain of popular clamour—of persons and safe, calculated to give satisfaction to allying themselves with the people against the People, to preserve the Rights of the the sentiments and decisions of this Crown, and to restore the balance of the House, would cease to bave any room for Constitution. These have been the objects complaint. In the event of such a Reform of my pursuii—to these have I always di. no such clamour could exist, no such al rected my attention-higher I do not asliance could be formed; for then the sense pire, lower I cannot descend. I conjure of the people would be truly and fairly col- this house to consider the necessity of lected within these walls.
doing something to satisfy the rational es. The benefits that would immediately pectations of the public, that we should follow the adoption of this Reform are in not go back to our respective parts of the calculable. Though I am not one of those country in our present acknowledged who would apply a sponge to the Debt of contaminated condition, without holding the Nation, yet am I firmly persuaded, out sonic reasonable hope to the country that a reformed House of Comnions would for its peace and tranquillity, that a Reintroduce such a system of economy, both form adequate to the removal of the enorin the collection and expenditure of the mous and multiplied Abuses and CorrupPublic Revenue, as would give instant case tion now known to exist, and which I conto the subject, and finally, and that at no tend can only be effected by a House of very distant period, by a due application Commons fairly chosen by the people, of national resources to national objects, will early in the next session be enterand to them alone, free the people from tained with good faith, and taken into our that enormous load of debt and consequent most serious consideration.- I would taxation, under which the nation is weigh- have the timid bear in mind who stand so ed down.
much in dread of Innovation, that the simThree descriptions of persons, I will ad- ple Remedy now proposed is but a recurmit, would have great cause to complain rence to those Laws and that Constitution, of this Reform: The Borough-mongers, the departure from which has been the the Lawyers--and the King's Printer. sole cause of that accumulation of evils The whole of the question then is, Which which we now endure that in many is to be preferred, The interest of the whole cases timidity is no less fatal than rashEmpire, or the interest of the Borough- ness--and' “ That the omission to do mongers-the Lawyers—and the King's " what is necessary, seals a commission to Printer?
“ a blank of danger.”-I shall now conAt all events, I hope this consequence clude with moving, “ That this llouse will, will follow, that after this night it will not “early in the next session of parliament, be asserted nor insinuated, that I have any “ take into consideration the necessity of concealed purpose, that I shrink from “ a Reform in the Representation." speaking my sentiments frankly, that I decline to act an open part, or that I have On a Division, the Numbers were any designs beyond those I avow : not- | For Sir Francis Burdett's Motion - 15 withstanding what I have urged, I beg Against it
74 leave to repeat, that I am open to conviction; that I am still ready to listen to Majority against the Motion all fair reasoning on the subject; that I have
LIST OF THE MINORITY.
of a very great part of the honourable
llouse ; but, it was not the opinion of the Adams, Charles Maxwell, W.
nation. The nation thought quite differBurdett, Sir Francis Moore, Peter Campbell, General
The nation thought, and were Thornton, Henry
ently. Combe, Harvey Traces, Hanbury
convinced, that infamy, deep and everCuthbert, J. R. Turton, Sir Thomas
lasting infamy, and criminality deserving Hatchinson, C. Wardle, G. L.
of legal punishment, (which punishment knapp, G. Western, C. C.
they hope yet to see inflicted) attached, Lefevre, C. S.
Wharton, John Madocks, W. A,
not to Mr. Wardie, but to those who slan
dered him, and who used all the means in Lord Cochrane was, accidentally, out of the House at the time of the Division, and the Hou.
their power to do injury to his cause, Mr. Lytueton paired off.
which was justly regarded as the cause of the country:
- Therefore the new threat *** In a few days the above Speech not, I should suppose, much terror in it
of infamy, or, of “ standing convicted,” has will be published, by Messrs Bone and for Mr.Wardle. -The honourable House Hone, Booksellers, Strand, in the form of a
called upon him for proof of the truth of Pamphlet, for the purpose of general dis- what he had said about the saving of the tribution,
answer was, I will prove
it, if you will give me the papers ; if you SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
will give me the accounts; but, without those papers,
I will now, before the close MR WARDLE's Pledge. -This gentle of this session, make a Statement which man, the reader will recollect, pledged shall show, that I have good grounds for himself to show, that, by a House o. Com- what I have said. The honourable House mons, chosen by the people
, the amount of appears to have been eager to hear this the Income Tax would be saved. -This statement. They did not, indeed, seem he first stated at a Meeting at the Crawn to be over-joyed in the same degree as and Anchor; and, upon being reproached when they hailed the “ tangible shape;"' with it in St. Stephen's Chapel, he repeated but, they appeared to be very glad ; " very his statement, in defiance of the threat of glad indeed ;” and Mr. Tierney was Mr. Tierney, who said, that, un ess the quite witiy upon the subject. Well, statement was made good by Mr. Wardle, this Statement, this Chapter II. of the tanhe would stund convicted in the face of the şible shape, was laid before the honourworld. lle does not appear to have said aale House on Monday last, the 19th inst.; of what he would stand convicted ; but, I anl, really, the honourable House did not suppose he meant of infumy, as in the case appear to express so much satisfaction as of the Duke of York.---Mr. Tierney and one might have expected, especially as it Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning and was pretiy evident, that even more than Mr. Perceval might think, that he really Mr. Vardle had stated might be saved, did stand convicted of infamy, in the case withou: the smallest injury to the service of the Duke; nay, Mr. Windham, who of the country, or the smallest diminution srems generously to volunteer as a forlorn of the splendour and dignity of the crown. hope upon all these occasions, did as good - The Statement was very long, and as say that this was the case, for that the embraced a great number of items of taking away of Mrs. Clarke's letter: was saving, some of which only I shall notice an act worse than the worst of those imouted here, together with the answer of Mr. Husto the Duke of York; and, as Mr. Wurdle kisson, who, it seems, was the only person did take those letters away, in the mamer present thought capable of giving any supposed by Mr. Windham, he, of cairse, answer at all. Here is another striking according to Mr. Windham's doctrne, instance of the predominance of mind; was guilty of a crime greafer than any for, this Mr. Huskisson, only about twelve that he álledged against the Duke, au, or fourteen years ago, used to stand with his therefore, it was upon him that the infumy hnt off, waiting for an answer to notes that alighted. ---This might be the opinon of he used to be sent with to Sir Evan NeMr. Tierney and the Lords Peits and pean.
A little while before that his name Castlereagh ; of George Rose and Charles | cut a very respectable figure in the discusLong ; of Mr. Huskisson and Mr.Ward sions of the famous Clubs at Paris, where and their two wires, who are penioned he discovered great ability in urging the upon us for life ; of Mr. Canning and the necessity of abolishing tythes and funds. Hunns; in short, it might be the opinion Mr. Huskisson is certainly a clever man.