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*' session, has, upon an average, amounted to above one "hundred pobnds per day; and that the attornies bills "in one case, the trial of which in point of form only "lasted two days, and in point of fact only six hours, "amounted to very near twelve hundred pounds." It i9 indeed well known, as I have on another occasion observed, that to contest a county is to risk an estate ; and to appeal against a return,is equivalent to disinheriting half a gentleman's children, although he be a man of large estate. Can we be surprized then, when we hear of a candidate for a western county,the young heir of a man raised to wealth from being a writer, that is, a clerk, in the East Indies, shaking his purse at all the country gentlemen in derision and terrorem?
But we learn in a speech made on the 30th of April 1792, in the court of king's bench, respecting the Westminster election of 1788, that, about, " a thirtieth or "fortieth part only of its merits was entered into, and "its costs, for the petitioner alone, amounted to up"wards of fourteen thousand pounds." Again: "In "little more than four years, one hundred thousand "pounds, on each side, was expended on the city of "Westminster."—After naming several persons in high offices who contributed on the side of the court to the expence, the speaker adds, " I could take the list out of "my pocket and read them to you. They may have "their actions or informations against me, if they "please, and I have no objection to a trial on that "question. I can prove the fact. As the rest of the "money was furnished by the Secretary Of The "Treasury, he best can tell from whence it came."
Proceeding to shew the magnitude of the expence which, under the act of 28 Geo. III. c. 52. the noble Lord who in that year had been the petitioner, might, had he persisted, have been put to, he savs, ,' If he, as "I have done, had contested with two adversaries, and "had been found frivolous and vexatious, his own ex"pence of fourteen thousand pounds, would not have "been thought sufficient punishment for him, or suf"ficient discouragement to others; but he must have "been adjudged to pay the whole costs for the three, "which would have amounted at least to forty two '.' thousand pounds, and this only for a fortieth port of "his petition. If be had gone through the whole of "his petition, and it had been voted frivolous and vexa"tious, the costs for him to pay wyuld have amounted "to above a million and a IwlJ of money. A tolerable "penalty this, without the intervention of a Jury; and "upon a man too, not necessaiily supposed, to possess"more than a life estate of300/. ft year, that is, a prin'( cipal of about 30(X)l. And for what crime is this '( monstrous punishment inflicted I For being a can* "didate to represent the people. Upon whom think "you this storm was intended to fall? Upon any "independent friend of his country; who must coa"sequently b.e of no .faction, but against all factions, "and must therefore have all factions against him."— "Frivolous and vexatious are new crimes invented in "1788 the judgment and application of which crimes, "the usurpers of the representation of the people, the "private proprietors of stolen boroughs, have reserved "to themselves; for this act of parliament does not "leave you, the jury, to enter into the merits of the "case, (upon which however, you are upon your oaths ,( to pronounce,) nor into any thing that relates to its "merits. And for this most * * * * act of tf parliament, we are obliged to the pretended reformer "of the representation in parliament, the present most "treacherous and deceitful minister."
Will not these reflections present to our minds such a State of the Nation, respecting its Legislative RePresentation, or, in other words, its Political Liberty, as, provided we had no means of redressing ourselves, ought to excite in our hearts more fear, than if Bonaparte were in the heart of the kingdom at the bead of five hundred thousand men i
Let me here, my Lord, suppose that ornament of our country and of human nature, Sir William Jones, to have survived his labours in Bengal, and to have returned to his native land, where he must have enjoyed the universal reverence of all who respect what is great and good, and where, not only from the capacities but the natural bent of bis grand mind, he must instinctively have felt the Commons House of parliament to be his proper element; what borough, let me ask your grace, spurning at a patron's command, would have chosen this uncorrupting and incorruptible man as the depository of its constitutional rights, and the representative ot its political power? What English cities, rivalling those honourable cities of Greece which contended for the glory of having given birth to Homer, would have contended for the glory of being the constituent of Jones? Or what county, forgetting in its admiration of wisdom and virtue, the littlenesses of faction and the habits of servility, but imitating Rome when by a solemn embassy she drew from his Sabine retirement to place on her throne, the godlike son of Pomponius > and pupil of the muse Egeria,— what county, I ask would have so drawn from his retirement to have personified her in the national legislature, this accomplished lawyer, this first of scholars, this " most enlightened of the sons of men," 2 this inflexible patriot? O, no my Lord, with anguish I feel that no such embassy would have visited the retirement of him who long since had said, and whose whole life had proved the truth of the assertion "The "time never was, when 1 would have enlisted under "the banners of any faction ;—my party is that of the "whole people, my principles, which ihe law taught "ate, are only to be changed by a change of exis"tence:3" O no, my Lord, far from the din and strife of contending factions, such a man would have been left undisturbed at his books and meditations in the cottage 4 of learning and wisdom, sighing over the consideration of what, by union and energy, of half & score men of rank and influence, devoting themselves to their country, might effect; as when thus he addressed lord J/thorpe, now Earl Speticer. "As to V- the xttxnrymn* [regeneration] of our noble constitu"tion which has happily presented itself to your ima
1 Numa. 2 Dr. Johnson. See Memoirs 531. 3 Ibid—331.
4 " I had flattered myself with a hope of making a visit to our "venerable friend [ Dr. Franklin] at Philadelphia, before the re"treat which I meditate to my "humble cottage in Middlesex."
Letter to Dr. Price. Memoirs 340.
"gihation) the very idea fixes me with rapture. No, "my dear Lord, never believe that any thing is ira"possible to virtue; no, if Ten Sucij As You con"ceive such sentiments as your letter contains, and "express them as forcibly, if you retain these sentU "ments, as you certainly will, when you take your "place in parliament I will not despair of seeing the "most glorious of sights, a nation freely governed by "its own laws. This I promise, that, if such a decem"virate should ever attempt to restore our constitu"tional liberty by constitutional means, 1 would ex"ert in their cause, such talents as 1 have, and, even "if [ were oppressed with sickness, and torn with pain, "would start from my couch, and exclaim with Tre"bonius, if you mean to act worthily, O Romans! I "am well."i
Think, my Lord, on what must be the state of the Nation, when we cannot figure to ourselves the means, by which such a man as Sir William Jones could now gain admission into the house of Commons; while the doors of that house are thrown wide and invitingly open to every son of rapine and violence, of ignorance and vulgarity,—to the plunderer of the East, and the slave-holder of the West, to the loan-hunting locust of 'change alley, and the place hunting reptile of the court, to the illiterate legislator from the shop and the warehouse, to the low minded tavern waiter, and the prosperous shoe black; even to the perjured cheat who has stood in the pillory ! 2—God grant me patience while stating wrongs so intolerable! but O curse not gracious heaven my country, with patience to endure
1 Memoirs 143. By referring to WyvilFt Politkalpapers V. I.
I find among the deputies from the committees of several counties, cities and towns, for a redress of grievances, in the year 1780, the name of Lord Althorpe; as a deputy from Buckinghamshire; and that on the 20th. of March, when I, as a deputy from Nottingham, voted against an alteration in the Representation of Parliament, and for shortening the duration of parliaments, being re* commended to the petitioning counties, to be made articles of their associations, his Lordship voted for that measure.
2 The examples here alluded to are so well known, it is unnecessary to be more particular.
them! the constitution knows not of wrongs without remedies: and England, could she be conscious of such wrongs and not demand redress, would be fit only to crouch with other degraded nations, beneath the iron sceptre of a Napoleon! or could she, in speechless acquiescence, longer endure to behold the reins of her government in the hands of one, who, for the highest place in a system of corruption, wickedness and shame, basely bartered away the glory of standing foremost in the phalanx of patriotism and virtue, her degradation in character would be as deplorable as his own! no; reading the evil nature of the horrid system in her own grievous sufferings, and roused from her lethargy by the recent addition of insult to injury, she is preparing I trust to do herself right. Of the impossibility of her salvation, while robbed of her constitutional representation, damning were the proofs in the never to be forgotten divisions of the-8th. of April, and the 25lh. of June. And equal demonstration did they afford, of whom Mr. Pitt is properly the minister. Whose voice did he on those occasions obey? Whose sentiments did he utter? Whose standard did he carry? Whose work did he do? The faction's! the faction's! the faction's!
"To govern," says Bolinghroke, "a society of free"men by a constitution founded on the eternal princi"pies of right reason, and directed to promote the "happiness of the whole, and of every individual, is "the noblest prerogative winch can belong -to huma"nity; and if man may be said without profaneness "to imitate God in any case, this is the case. But "sure I am, he imitates the devil, who is so far "from promoting the happiness of others, that 'he "makes his own happiness to consist in the misery of "others.; who governs by no rule but that of his pas"sions, whatever appearances he is forced sometimes "to put on; who endeavours to corrupt the innocent, "and to enslave the free; whose business is to seduce, "or betray;; whose pleasure is to damn; and whose "triumph - is to torment. Odious and execrable as "this character is, it is the character of every priuce "[or minister] who makes use of his power to.subvert,