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hands; and there must also be a suitable distribution of talents for managing the two houses of parliament. Then, say they, we shall have a strong government, in which the continental powers can confide for a consistent plan of co-operation; then we shall have alliances on which we can depend, for combined efforts to reduce the enormous power of France; and then, in due time, we may expect such victories in Italy, in Switzerland, and in the low countries, as will reduce the power, and exhaust the resources of France, until she will accept of peace on terms consistent with the safety of the other powers of Europe.
But is not this to insult and to mock us? When, since England was England, was there ever such unanimity in parliament in support of the ministry, as during the late confederacy against France? When was there ever such treasure remitted to her allies? When such subsidies sent a begging round Europe for armies? And are we desired to act all this over again, without a pretence that we have now a better prospect of succeeding by such means, than in the former trial?
But, my Lord, there is a gross fallacy in the very foundation of this reasoning. These wretched men, whose meanness of soul chains down their understandings, who, for ever surrounded with the impure and muddy atmosphere of corrupt policy, can see nothing beyond such despicable factious operations, or who mean todeceive us by the ambiguityof a word,here confound two things which are totally distinct; namely, the government, and the ministry. I will avoid this confusion of ideas, and state my own meaning, when I speak of a strong government. It can only be produced by a restoration of the Constitution, in both its branches, civil and military; and when so restored, a strong ministry, if there be any ability in the country, will follow as a necessary consequence. In the present state of the representation of the people in parliament, we know by dire experience, that the strength of the ministry is weakness to the government, and debasement and misery to the nation. Although no man was so averse to a constitutional representation of the people as Mr. Burke, yet no man has incidentally more strongly shewn its necessity. "Never," says he " were "ministers better snpported in parliament. Parliamerr"tarysupport comesand goes with office, totally regard* "less of the man, or the merit. Is government strength" "ened? It grows weaker and weaker; the popular "torrent gains upon it every hour. Let us learn from "our experience. It is not support that is wanting to "government, but reformation." l And I shall here also say with Mr. Burke, " until a confidence in govet n* ment is re-established, the people ought to be exci"ted to a more strict and detailed attention to the con"duct of their representatives. Standards for judging "more systematically upon their conduct, ought to be "settled in the meetings of counties and corporations."
"Frequent and correct lists of the voters in all impor"tant questions ought to be procured." 2
Mr. Burke's object in saying all this was completely factious. He aimed at nothing-more than to raise a popular cry, for forcing his own party into power: but I repeat it, in hopes ot restoring the people themselves to that power, which constitutionally belongs to them; and to recover which is worth their best exertions.
With reference to the other continental nations, I will farther say with Mr. Burke, "let the commons in "parliament assembled, be one and the same thing "with the commons at large. The distinctions "that are made to separate them, are unnatural and "wicked contrivances. Let them be identified and "incorporated. Then indeed they will be truly great. "Respecting themselves, they will be respected By
"THE WORLD." 3
Nothing can be more evident, nor is there an historical truth more established than this, that of all governments, that in which the ruler and the people have but one interest and one inclination, is the strongest. Under what form of government then is that cause of strength best provided for? Doubtless under that, where representation is most full, fair, and complete; and the duration of representative power the shortest.
1 Thoughts on the causes of the present discontents. 2d. ed, by Dodsley, p. 104. 2 lb. p. 100. 3 See his speech on presenting his plan for official reforms. Ed. 1780. p. 92.
Did foreign courts want confidence in Edward the third, Henry the fifth, or Elizabeth, when parliaments were sessional, and when elections were not corrupted? Or do such courts now want confidence in the American government, although it consists of nineteen separate states, the legislatures of which are annually elected, and even the sovereign of which holds his office only for four years ? l But what foreign state could have confidence in a Richard the second, who corrupted his parliament, and was at variance with his people? Or what court could confide in such a capricious wretch as Henry the 8th. although he managed parliaments until they passed a statute to declare his will as binding as Jegislative acts?
The present scheme for forming a strong ministry on a rotten borough foundation, and a coalition of discordances, is quite in the spirit of the stupid pretences in the year 1716, in favour of septennial parliaments; nor were such arguments ever heard of, until the true constitutional principle had been set aside, by the statute of 6 William and Mary, c. 2. for giving parliaments a three years continuance. But the doctrine of the Bub Doddingtons, to yield up our liberties, in order to make a strong government, necessarily leads to this conclusion; that the greater the despotism of any government, the more will it be, with all other governments, an object of confidence; than which no proposition was ever more absurd. The government of Prussia is despotic enough, one would think, for any reasonable politician of the Bub Doddington school; but Prussia took our subsidies against France, and then left us in the lurch: and if despotism be the grand quality recommendatory to diplomatic confidence, we had it in perfection in our late magnanimous ally, the emperor Paul; but he too, in a freak, changed sides, and, had he not been assassinated, would probably have been our most vindictive enemy.
It does not therefore appear, that to overturn our constitution, is the right way of obtaining or of preser
1. To the original thirteen states, there have been added, Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, Tenessee, Columbia, and Mississippi. -
.; -..>:..:'.. !. . . . -; ving Peace. On the contrary, the wisdom of those ancestors, who planned that constitution, and who cemented its foundations with their patriot blood, is ouf security, that those ends can no way so effectually be secured, as by restoring it to full vigour and energy. Keeping then in mind, that our Constitution consists of two distinct branches, as stated in my motto, I must here by the way observe, that on a certain occasion, its civil fundamental was not so properly undervalued, as in fact sold for power in prompt payment, by one who was then as grey in deceit and treachery^ as he was green in years and the qualities of a mature statesman ; whereas its military fundamental he might originally have overlooked ; but after the extreme danger into which his insidious and desperate counsels had brought his country, had forced it upon t,be observation of himself and his lately retired colleague, it met with no other attentions than such as prove that, were it possible to raise mercenary soldiers in sufficient abundance for a full security against invasion, and to extort from the people taxes to pay for the military chains of an immense standing army, this branch of their constitution would be as little respected as the other; and our patriot volunteers would be disarmed and treated with public contempt, instead of the private hatred which corrupt and arbitrary ministers must, and undoubtedly do, at this moment bear them.-—-Having now spoken of the American war, and indulged in reflections on some questions of importance, let us advert to the prominent consequences of that war.
'X HE lives sacrificed in that unjustifiable war, must have contributed to have weakened our population; but much more so the subsequent emigrations from Great Britain and Ireland, in consequence of the increasing difficulties of subsisting. The debt incurred, falls of course the heavier on those who remain; but, in a mere political calculation of permanent ill effects, these are trifles to the fatal consequences to the stamina of our national power and dominion, by having lost to our navy the services of the whole body of American Seamen. In order to understand the extent of this misfortune, let us compare the satisticai accounts that have been published in both countries.
From the end of the war to the end of the last century, a period of eighteen years, the shipping of this country had increased from 1100,000 to 1500,000 tons; while that of America in the same period, had increased from 500,000 to 1100,000 tons; or on the part of England 400,000 tons, or about 46 per cent, whereas on the part of America, the increase was 600,000 tons or 120 per cent. During the four years and a half of the present century, the ratio of relative increase must, I presume, have been much more to the disadvantage of England; especially if information I lately received, and which struck a pang to my heart, was correct. It was stated to me by a gentleman, who professed to speak on the authority of a person particularly conversant with the concerns of the shipping interest, that a few weeks ago there was building on the banks of the whole river Thames, One Single Merchant Ship, and no more.
Wow, calculating for the American shipping 5f men to every hundred tons, then their seamen at the close of the century amounted to sixty thousandJive hundred; 1 having increased since the war, thirty three thousand; to which add only a fourth part of that number for the fourth part of eighteen years, the number would then be sixty eight thousand two hundred and fifty; but as the increase has doubtless been, not in an. arithmetic proportion to the former period; but in a much more operative ratio, the seamen of America
1 By a statistical table with which I have been faroured, I find this number to be considerably under the true pne; for it appear* that in 1799, the number ejf seamen was 63,500.