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IHave not the Happiness to be in the least known to you, but have, with all England, Obligations to you for the Greatness of Mind which you exerted in refusing, not long ago, to be made a Peer of this Realm in an hasty and surreptitious Manner: It was not so much as pretended, that thedozen of Nobles were then introduced for any others Purpose, but to gain a Question of the highest Importance, no less than a Question of Peace and War. Were the Point obtained by it never so much conducive to our Good, the Novelty, if not obviated for the future, cannot but tend to the apparent Danger of the Queen and all her Subjects. It is from a Report that there are another half dozen to be made within fewDays, that I am engaged to give you this Trouble.
You, Sir, who are adorned with more than Title, a Superiority to it, from the Refusal of it when you thought it inconsistent with Honour, are the properest Man to be addressed, when I consider the Danger of making occasional Lords, and lay before the World this satal Novelty, as it affects the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, the House of Peers, and the whole People of England.
Honour is the Conscience of doing just and laudable Actions, independent of the Success of those Actions. God is the Fountain ©f this Honour, and animates and supports all who are actuated by it; he is an inexhaustible Foun• B j tarinj
tain, and cannot be impaired by his Creation si But if it be not Prophane to mention, so neac after his Omnipotence, any Distinctions we give one another here, I would proceed to say that it is not so with Sovereigns upon Earth, whom we phrase Fountains ofHonour. They, alas! are themselves diniinished in Proportion to what they grant out of themselves. An unguarded and lavish Hand, in Grants of this Kind, would very soon make the Honour, flowing from a Prince, of no Value and Consideration tothofeon whomitis bestowed, and take away any Power of giving more from the Giver. To come immediately to the Point; I assert, that the numerous Creation of Peers is the greatest Wound that can be given to the Prerogative. A Peer and his Heirs are Checks in the Legislature to the Queen and her Heirs; that Part of the Leg stature which is in the Queen, is apparently diminished by so much as she gives out of it, from her own into other Families. This is equally destructive with relation to the Merit of the Persons on whom Honour is conferred; if they happen to be Men who are barely unblamable, without Talents or high Qualifications, they do but crowd that illustrious Assembly, and like all other Crowds, they are serviceable and hurtful but jufl as they are inspired by those who have Skill to lead them. Thus the Crown h no way sure of their Concurrence any sarther than by Promise of their first Vote; and they may ever aster turn Patriots on the side of the People, to the constant Interruption of Affairs; for it generally happens that those who are conscious- of an Inability toj>romote Business, give themselves a Figure,
gtrre, and sancy they areconsidersble, from the Power of retarding it. Thus much as to what regards the Queen's most Excellent Majesty.
As to the House of Peers, It is visibleto any thing above a natural Fool, that the Power of" each Lord is so much less considerable as it is repeated in other Persons; but the great Hardship to that Great and Awful Body, whose Privileges have so often been a Safety and Protection to the Rights of us below them, 1 say the great Hardship to these noble Patriots is, that when they are prepared with the most strict Honour and Integrity to do their Duty in relation to their Prince and Country, all their Determinations may be avoided by a Sett of People brought in the Moment before they come to a Question. This has been done once, as I am credibly informed, in so frank a way, that there have been above six at a time brought into that Place, without any further Preamble than, This Gentleman's Name is so, do not call him Mr. from this time forward, but My Lord, for he is now one of you: Sit close there, let the Gentleman sit down; I beg Pardon, make way for bis Lordjhip.
Now when we come to consider the Introduction of Occasional Lords with Regard to the People, what can be more plain, than that it is doing all that is necessary to take from them both Liberty and Property at once. If there were nothing in being a Lord, but the Advantage of being received with more Distinction and Ceremony, let it be given to any who are delighted with it; they may be well pleased, and we not hurt: But the Case is much otherwise; for from the very Moment a Man h«s