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give a DECIDED OPPOSITION." | objection is, that, if elections were so To what? Why, to any proposition very frequent, the representatives of the which shall be made in the ensuing, or people would not be able to consider any other Parliament, “ for SHORT- any great question with freedom, being ENING the duration of Parliaments." placed in such a continual state of dea Thus he, a servant of the King, in public pendence. I do not well understand his pay, not himself a member of the Par- lordship here. Why, men who represent liament at the time when he spoke, an- others, ought to consider themselves as nounces, by speech, publicly made, the constantly acting for those others, whedetermination of himself, together with ther they be, or be not, chosen frequentother servants of the King (some of ly; and with regard to there not being whom are PEERS observe), to oppose, time for the members to bring to perfecand prevent the adoption of, certain tion any great measure, so far are annual measures which are likely to be brought elections from being likely to cause a forward in the ensuing House of Com- perpetual change of persons in the mons. He announces, in a public members, they have an exactly contrary speech, that he and other servants of tendency. They cause a good underthe King are bound to do this thing with standing to be constantly existing berespect to the ensuing House of Com tween the people and their representamons. Without stopping here to in- tives; and, therefore, they cause a quire how nearly this resembles many permanency in the personal composition of the acts for which servants of the of the representation. If the reason of King have been impeached at different the case were not sufficient here, the times, some of which servants have lists of the Houses of Representatives of been severely punished for such acts; the Congress of the United States, who without stopping here to go into this are elected for two years ; and the lists premature inquiry, the conclusiori is, 1 of the Senate and House of Representaam afraid, forced upon us, that Mr. tires, in the State of Connecticut, who STANLEY was, upon this occasion, the are all elected for one year, would estaauthorised organ of Lord Grey, as the blish the fact beyond all contradiction. chief of the servants of the King. It very rarely happens, that the memLeaving this matter, however, to be bers of these assemblies are replaced by hereafter settled by the evidence of facts, new members, except on account of let us
now proceed (having already death, old age, ill health, acceptance of shown that the question was clearly re- some office, or elevation from one branch served) to inquire a little into the merits of the legislature to another. Look at of the question.
the history of the seven presidents ; look I have always been, ever since I have at the history of all the speakers that well reflected upon the subject, of opi- those assemblies have had ; and you nion, that a House of Comnions, chosen will find, that that republican and deANNUALLY, would be the best. It was mocratical government has experienced the ancient practice of the country; it less of personal change in its legislative is the practice now in the best-governed bodies, than has been experienced in State of America. My Lord Join our House of Conimons, during the RUSSELL, in that part of his speech time that the American government has which I have quoted above, objects been in existence. In what case has to the period being very short, on the choosing of a new Congress pretwo accounts, first, because the mem- vented, or retarded, the adopiion of any bers of the House would be “kept great measure, in the United States ? 6 in a perpetual canvass.' This ob. Look at the steadiness of purpose; took jection, his lordship must see, would be at the profound political wisdom; look completely obviated by the use of the at the unbroken uniformity, in pursuit BALLOT; for, ifthat regulation were adopt- as well as in principle, which has marked, there would never be any canvassing at ed the wonderful progress of that reall by any members. His lordship's other publican and democratical government ; look at the profound political science, be obtained. When legislative assemwhether foreign or domestic, which has blies are elected at shortly-recurring marked all its measures ; look at the periods, the people who suffer, or who astonishing influence which it has ob- think they suffer, from their enactments, tained, and the unshaken confidence wait with patience for the election to which it has inspired, in all foreign come; because then they know that the courts; see how steadily it has gone on power of obtaining redress will return to establishing a permanent and powerful their own hands; but if the period be naval force ; observe how carefully each distant, their patience is insufficient to succeeding House of Representatives has restrain their resentment, and they recontinued on, and carried to perfection, sort to an expression of that resentment, the good measures begun by former in a manner inconsistent with the peace Houses of Representatives ; in short, let of society and the security of property; my Lord John Russell behold a nation and physical force is required to preswelled up from three millions to twelve vent anarchy from coming and overmillions of people in the space of fifty- throwing all the orders in the state. two years, exchanging half a dozen gun- Hence we behold a republican goboats for a powerful and the most com- vernment beginning and continuing on plete navy as the world ever saw; and for fifty-two years; we see great cities exchanging a few trading sloops and rising up urder: it ; we see the monbrigs, for a commercial marine, scarcely strous error and evil of paper-money (in surpassed by that of England herself: imitation of England) come to destroy let my Lord Joun Russell look at contracts and to transfer property; we these things; and, let him remember, see violent political struggles from time that these have all proceeded from a to time arising; we see the country parliament chosen once in every two invaded at all points by the most poweryears; and, if he thus observe, and thus ful nation in the world; we see the caremember, these objections will be in-pital burnt by our own hands, and the stantly swept from his mind.
President compelled to flee from it; But a great, and, perhaps, the great. we see great sufferings in various towns est argument in favour of short Parlia- and districts, arising from these causes; ments, is, that they naturally and neces- we see the several states at times ensarily tend to the peace of the community; gaged in serious contentions from rival
. to the preventing vf discontents from ship; we see the commerce pitted breaking out into violent actions; and, against the agriculture, each striving of course, to prevent the necessity of for the mastery ; yet in the whole of the that unnatural force, and all the ex- fifty-two years, we see not one single riot penses of that force, which were wholly under this republican and democratical unknown to our fathers, and which, if government; and we see not one single we now do our duty, will be equally solitary instance of military force being unknown to our children. In all human necessary to protect the property or the institutions, in everything which is the person of any man ; while, under our work of man, in the conducting of all own kingly and aristocratical governgovernments, there will arise, whether ment, we see three hundred barracks, or from error or from the bad passions of inland fortresses or depositories of the men, wrongs, either real or imaginary, military force necessary for the protecdone to the millions who are governed. tion of persons and property; while we Andis it not taught us by our very natures, behold in those bives of admirable inand by all the experience of our dustry, which distinguish our country, lives, that resentment against wrong- always a place of deposit for this midoers, or imaginary wrong-doers, is litary force. Why this difference, so in exact proportion to the smaliness of disgraceful to us ; why this difference the hope of redress. This hope is small Not because that is a republican and in proportion to the greatness of the democratical government, while ours is length of the time when the redress can a kingly government; but because the
people under that government hare, Stuarts sometimes did not call
any been truly represented ; and, especially, House of Commons together. Therebecause the duration of its parliaments fore, at what is called the glorious rehave been short.
volution, the bargain made with the It has been said that, though ours newly-chosen king, was, that a Parliaare called seven-year parliaments, they ! ment should in future be called once have, in fact, not been, for many years in every three years at the furthest. past, more than about three or four- This bargain, Mr. STANLEY will find exyear parliaments. Ah! but this, instead pressed very clearly in an act passed in of being an alleviation of the evil, is a the year 1694, being chapter the 2. ofthe great aggravation of it. The uncer- acts passed in the sixth year of the reign tainty in which we constantly are in this of King William and Queen Mary. respect, is worse even than an assurance This act, which has always been called of the continuation of evil. With the the TRIENNIAL BILL, stands in the exception of the cases of the demise of statute book, in the following words : the crown, the people well know that new elections have not taken place in
TRIENNIAL BILL. order to benefit thein ; but in order to AN ACT FOR THE FREQUENT MEETeffect some purpose which, nine times
ING AND CALLING OF PARLIAout of ten, must be injurious to them.
MENTS. In America the new Congress is elected
" Whereas by the ancient laws and statutes on a day appointed by the constitution of this kingdom, frequent Parliaments for the purpose. If wrong exist, the peo- ought to be held ; and whereas frequent and ple know the very day when the redress“ new Parliaments tend very much to the hopwill come, and this is their sure ands
'py union and good agreement of the king and certain cause of uninterrupted peace; and of that constant and implicit and willing obedient subjects, the Lords spiritual and
people; we, your Majesties' most loyal and obedience to the laws, for which our forefathers were so famed throughout temporal, and Commons, in this present Parthe world, while, for ages upon ages,
liament assembled, do most humbly beseech they knew of no force other than that your most excellent Majesties that it may be of the sheriff's wand and the constable's declared and enacted by the King's and staff: and what reason upon earth is Queen's most excellent Majesties, by and with there that we and our children should the advice and consent of the Lords spiritual not see these happy days again?
and temporal, and Commons, in this present Thus far, as to the reason of the Parliament assembled, and by the authority thing: thus far without any appeal to of the same, That from henceforth, a Parliaauthorities, or the formally expressed
ment shall be holden once in three years at the
least. opinions of men ; and, if I were to stop here, I am persuaded, that, with a very
II. And be it further enacted by the authofew exceptions, the whole nation would rity aforesaid, That within three years at the condemn the declaration which Mr. furthest, from and after the dissolution of this STANLEY has made against a repeal of present Parliament, and so from time to time the Septennial Bill. But, now, let us for ever hereafter, within three years at the see a little what the law says about this furthest, from and after the determination of bill, and about the grounds upon which every other Parliament, legal writs under the it was passed. Now, then, Mr. STAN- Great Seal shall be issued by directions of Ley is to learn, that, according to the your Majesties, your heirs and successors, for ancient laws and usages of the king- calling, assembling, and holding another new dom, a House of Commons never conti- Parliament. nued to exist for more than one year ; III. And be it further enacted, by the authat, every time a House of Commons thority aforesaid, That from henceforth no was called together, it was new Parliament whatsoever, that shall at any time House of Commons; a House of Com- hereafter be called, assembled, or held, shall mons newly chosen ; but then, the have any continuance longer than for three
years only, at the furthest, to be accounted |“ the subjects of this realm, thao were ever from the day on which, by the writs of sum- “known before the said clause was enacted; mons, the said Parliament shall be appointed " and the said provision, if it should continue, to meet.
may probably, at this juncture, when a IV. And be it further enacted, by the au- “ restless and Popish faction are designing thority aforesaid, That this present Parlia- " and endeavouring to renew the rebellion ment shall cease and determine on the first " within this kingdom and an invasion from day of November, which shall be in the year “ abroad, be destructive to the peace and the of our Lord one thousand six hundred and,“ security of the Government:" be it enacted, ninety-six, unless their Majesties shall think by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by fit to dissolve it sooner.
and with the advice and consent of the
Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons *This act continued in force until the in Parliament assembled, and by the auyear 1715; that is to say, the first thority of the same, That this present Paryear of the reign of George the First, liament, and all Parliaments that shall at who was the first king of the house of any time hereafter be called, assembled, or Hanover. Then it was that this bargain held, shall and may respectively have conmade with King William was cancelled tinuance for SEVEN YEARS, and yo longer, by another act, which stands in the to be accounted from the day on whieb, by statute book, being chapter 38, 2d the writ of summons, this present Parlia- , statute, of 1st George the First; and this ment hath been, or any future Parliament act is called the SEPTENNIAL BILL, shall be, appointed to meet, unless this and it stands in the statute book in the
present, or any such Parliament hereafter following words:
to be summoned, shall be sooner dissolved
by his Majesty, bis heirs, or successors." SEPTENNIAL BILL.
Now, we have not only these acts beAN ACT FOR ENLARGING THE TIME
us, but we have the grounds upon OF CONTINUANCE OF PARLIAMENTS,
which they were passed; and we are APPOINTED BY AN ACT MADE IN THE SIXTH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF smarting under the stripes, which we
have had laid on upon us in consequence KING WILLIAM AND QUEEN MARY, of the last-quoted act. You see, that INTITULED AN ACT FOR THE FRE- the first act was passed, because “freQUENT MEETING AND CALLING OF
quent and new Parliaments tend very PARLIAMENTS.
“ much to the happy union and good 66 Whereas in and by an Act of Parliament agreement between the King and peo“ made in the sixth year of the reign of their "ple ; " and I have shown you how they “ late Majesties King William and Queen have tended, and how they have presery “ Mury (of ever blessed memory), intituleded that happy union and good agreement “ An Act for the frequent meeting and calling between the Congress of America and “ of Parliaments, it was among other things the people of that country. Why, then, "enacted, That from thenceforth no Parlia- was this act repealed? Why was that “ ment whatsoever, that should at any time act abolished which was made for the “ hereafter be called, assembled, or beld, purpose of causing “happy union and “should have any continuance longer than good agreement between King and « for three years only at the furthest, to be people?". Look at the Septennial Bill, " accounted from the day on which by the and you will see, that the chief ground « writ of summons the said Parliament should was, that these frequent eleetions might “he appointed to meet. And whereas it has favour the designs of “a restless popish “ been found by experience that the said clause faction” to renew the rebellion, and “ hath proved very grievous and burdensome, by cause an invasion of the country from
occasioning much greater and more conti-abroad. This was a false and base pre“nued expenses, in order to elections of mem- tence; but, allowing it to have been a “bers to serve in Parliament, and more vio- ground really then existing, does that “ lent lasting beats and animosities among ground exist now! You know that it
does not exist; and that here there is House of Commons : unable to get the not the smallest pretence in the world money from the people fast enough in for continuing this bill in force. taxes, the King's servants and their Par
Another pretence was, that frequent liaments proceeded to the borrowing of elections were “grievously burden- money; a great standing army has been some” by the “great expenses” which necessary to collect the taxes to pay the new elections occasioned. So, you interest of their debts ; and thus, at see, that bribery, corruption, and bo- last, we find ourselves with three hunroughmongering, had begun at this dred barracks, with a standing army, in time ; and this bill was intended to time of peace, of a hundred thousand render, them less expensive to the bo- men, and with a debt of eight hundred roughmongers. But can this pretence millions, taking from us, and from our apply NOW, when a bill has been children, the very bread that we ought passed to divide the polling places, to to have to eat. confine the polling to two days, and to What pretence can there be now, reduce the expenses of an honourable then, for the keeping in force of this candidate to next to nothing, even for a aet, which was clearly and unequivocounty? A rich villain may still cally an act of daring usurpation ? squander his money in the bribing and What pretence can there be for keeping carrying of voters ; but there is no need this act in force NOW? and yet, Mr. for an honest and honourable man to STANLEY is daring enough to tell us, expend any money worth speaking of that he and the rest of the King's serTherefore this pretence is taken away; vants are bound to prevent its repeal! I and, to continue this bill in force now, have heard (for I have not seen it in would be to discover a settled design to print), that Mr. SPRING Rice (who is coerce the people, and to compel them one of the Secretaries of the Treasury, I, to submit to acts of injustice.
believe) told the electors at CAMBRIDGE I pray you, to remark on the flagi- that the Septennial Bill was a very tious character of the transaction of this bad thing before the Reform Bill was Septennial Bill. The members of the passed; but that now it would be atHouse of Commons, of that day, had tended with no evil consequences ; that been chosen by the people to sit for the Reform Bill having passed, it would three years, and no more : and they, not be necessary, therefore, to repeat the without any new election, without con- Septennial Bill;, in short, that the sulting the people in any manner what. Reform Bill required seven-year Parsoever ; they, aided by the King and liaments, and that the Septennial Bill by the Lords, CHOSE THEMSELVES was mischievous only before this ReTO SIT FOR FOUR YEARS LON-form Bill was passed. If it be true, that GER; and this, too, in the face of the Mr. SPRING Rice did utter words to Act of Parliament under which they this effect, I greatly fear, that Mr. were assembled, and which Act declared, STANLEY was the true organ of Lord “ that frequent and new parliaments Grey himself upon this occasion; and “ tend very much to the happy union if so, the people will be roused with in“and good agreement between the dignation from one end of the country “ king and people.” So unjust, so to the other. But, will my Lord Grey daring, so open, so flagrant, an act as give his countenance to this daring dethis, never was committed before in the claration ; and will he, after that, have word; and it has been followed by all the hardihood to look his insulted counthe natural consequences of an act of try in the face? I am sure that he will this character. It soon took from the not. Will HE hold the language that people all real voice in choosing their Mr. SPRING Rice is said to have held representatives: it was immediately at CAMBRIDGE ? Will HE say, that followed by a monstrous waste of the the causes of confusion, litigation people's money: the servants of the and expense having been removed, there King soon became the masters of the is now no need to shorten the duration