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narchy, and the death of that blessed they looked for a slavish and obse . martyr Charles 1. Well may the quious thing ministering to the am.' Reviewers plume themselves upon bition, the caprices, or the vices of their own metaphysics, which, to à court; and they found that prerodo them justice, do not appear to gative was not so effectual a means possess sodeleterious anil king-killing of producing such a thing, in Charles's á tendency, as this plaguy theory time, as influence has been since ; does of “ king, lords, and commons, and in this I readily concur with “ cach acting upon a view of its own them; but I will never accede to s peculiar interest;" for which, I these gentlemen, that Charles otved think, Sir, they vught nevertheless his misfortunes to the impracticabito take shame to themselves; for lity of the constitution; to the cirwere they not like three passengers cumstanceof having free parliaments, embarked in the same vessel, did neither influenced by bribery, or they not see themselves exposed to brow-beaten by authority; for such one common danger, and ought they ought all parliaments to be; and if not to have discovered that they had we cannot have such, it would be a common interest? But I pray you, much better to have none at all. Mr. Editor, to remark, how gingerly Charles's parliaments were constituour Reviewers can express themselves tional, but his assumed prerogative when they see occasion. It was was not : in theory, its pretensions truly, the attempt to adhere to the were not even allowed to be questheory, that proved so fatal to mo- tioned; and in practice, it produced. narchy,—not an attempt to give the most complete despotism ; it the people the reality of the consti- subverted the fundamental laws of tution; no, Sir, of this Charles Stuart the kingdom, and violated his corowas never supposed to be guilty! nation oath; finally, it was the but the inference which the Review- cause of his death, respecting which, ers would draw is, that a constitu- the constitution of our government tion composed of king, lords, and has nothing to answer for, although commons, is not only an impracti- that misfortune, which was entirely cable, but a dangerous thing; and owing to himself, has been often therefore, after shewing that influence used to create a jealousy of the powould have safely accomplished for pular part of it; seldom however Charles what he ruined himself by has that jealousy been carried so attempting to effect by means of pre- far, even by tory writers, as it has rogative, they triumphantly conclude in the present instance, by these the paragraph by remarking, that professed whigs, who bold out as a at last “ the reign of influence and lesson to our Kings, that they may “ regular freedom began, and thetrue be in danger of sharing the fate of “ principles of the constitution were Charles Stuart by “ an attempt to s recognised;" which is but another adhere to the theory of our constituway of saying, that corruption, and tion."* bribery are the true principles of the constitution ! .
* The following quotation shews what
the Reviewers conceive to have been the As for the real constitution, it is
state of the nation before the time of the very plain that the Reviewers have ne- Stuarts. w
Stuarts, when they pretend the commons ver looked for it; nay, that they have had no effective power; and what they even shut their eyes against it: they conceive to have been afterwards the did not look for a free parliament, consequence of that power becoming efspeaking the voice of the nation, fective as they call it, in Charles's time; which a British Sovereign is by duty bound to listen to and respect; but
misrepresentation to shew that the peo, ple ought not to hava their due weight in
The power of the monarch over before the practice was introduced the vassals of his own domain in of purchasing them; but I am surfeudal times, did extend to the rais- prised that any man should allude ing of money “ in a variety of ways," to such incidents by way of proving, which could not be practiced over that we never had a free constituthe nation at large, whose right it tion: I acknowledge, that the bula always has been, never to be taxed warks of our freedom have not als but by their own consent: I acknow- ways proved impregnable; I even ledge that parliaments were some- admit that corruption has done by times tricked, and sometimes bullied, stratagem, what prerogative could
the legislature, and that free parliaments and neglecting the means of influencing uninfluenced by gold or prerogative, are the parliament. He made various efforts, dangerous things.
indeed, to seduce and gain over the « These propositions might be copi- most formidable of the popular leaders ously illustrated by the whole history of in that assembly; but he chose, most the English government, ever since the absurdly, to proclaim his triumph, by increasing weight and consequence of the making them inmediately desist from \commons gave them an effective power that occupation, and enlisting them as in the proceedings of the legislature. open advocates of his prerogative. InWhile the Sovereign lived on his royal stead of submitting to receive the popudemesnes, and wars were supported by lar leaders as his ministers, and in this knights' service; -- while there were way bringing all the weight of the royal scarcely any taxes, and the business of influence to bear through that commanda legislation was settled in a few days in ing channel upon the parliament, he each year, the house of commons had never promoted them to office till they little to do but to vote a scanty supply, had lost all power and popularity by an and sometimes to accompany it by a re- avowed desertion to the separate party monstrance of no terror nor authority of the King; and thus, by allowing the The Sovereign, in the first place, could commons to carry every thing before do without the supply, if it should be them in their own house, and then opactually withheld; in the second place, posing the naked walls of his prerogative he could levy what he pleased, in a varie- to the full shock of that unbridied curs ty of ways, without the consent of that rent, he invited a contest, that, even in assembly; and, finally, he and his no- those days, proved ruinous to himself bles and their retainers, for whose equip- and to the constitution. The same prinment it was wanted, could at any time ciple of mis-government, aided indeed easily overbear the whole house of com- by baser practices on a baser generaphons and their constituents, and compel tion, lasted down till the revolution ; them to yield whatever was demanded. when, as is universally acknowledged, This state of things lasted till the time of the true principles of the constitution Henry the Eighth, or Elizabeth; down were first recognized, and the reign of to which period the constitution of En- INFLUENCE and regular freedom began ! gland actually consisted of the separate “With these impressions, then, not and uncompounded elements of King, only of the harmlessness, but of the vital Lords, and Commons, each acting upon necessity of a certain infusion of royal and a view of its peculiar interest. The grow- aristocratical influence in that assembly ing importance of the commons, and the which virtually engrosses the whole powwants of the government, made a prac-er of the legislature, it will easily be ontical change necessary in the reign of the derstood, that we have no great indulStewarts; and the attempt to adhere to gence for those notions of reforin, which the theory of the constitution produced seem to be uppermost in the minds of the destruction of the monarchy and the some of its warmest supporters; and death of the King. Mr. Laing, in his that we should consider such a change late accurate and profound history, has in the constitution of that house, as Sir pointed out this distinctly as the cause F. Burdett and Mr. Cobbett. appear to of these unhappy convulsions. The King, think essential to its purity, as by far the he observes, ruined himself and the greatest calamity which could be inflicted. country, by standing on his prerogative, upon us by our own hands."--Ed.R.p. 303,
not do by force; and that at present, 'shuns the face of open day, and like it has insinuated itself into the Sanc- a conscience-struck criminal hides tum Sanctorum of the constitution; itself in darkness and concealment; but I will not therefore say, that so that we are as much bewildered our constitution is gone, much less as ever in our inquiries into the systhat it has never existed : The fa- tems of these political theorists bric still remains; it may be defiled, which, as Sir Francis Burdett ex, but it is not destroyed ;---had it ne- presses it, still elude our grasp. ver been, it could never have been This difficulty of defining what is polluted; and to know that it is meant by the constitution, in the polluted, we must know what it vocabulary of visionary politicians, Qught to be, and what it is our duty statesmen &c. reminds me of the to do in order to cleanse it. We dispute between Hudibras and his are told that the temple of Jerusa- man Ralpho about honour. The lem became a den of thieves; still Knight defined honour to be it was the temple of Jerusalem ; and
like that glassy bubble,
That gives philosophers such trouble, so our Saviour considered it, when
Whose least part crack'd the whole he drove out of it the money chan
[does Ay, gers and sellers of doves. Except on
And wits are crack'd to find out why. this particular occasion his whole Quoth Ralpho, honour's but a word lite was one continued lesson of suf To swear by, only in a Lord, fering and forgiveness; but by his In other men 'tis but a huff, example in assaulting and driving
To vapour with instead of proof, forcibly out of the temple those
. That like a wep looks big and swells,
Is senseless, and just nothing else. who defiled it, he has taught us
Let it, quoth be, be what it will, that there are injuries which it would
It has the world's opinion still. be even criminal to pardon, and Thus, Sir, we find that there are which ought to be opposed by ener- many things that have the world's gy, courage, and perseverance.
opinion still, though the world canIt is not an easy matter, Mr. Edi- not agree what it is they understand tor, to ascertain the nature of our go by them. This is exactly the case vernment, according to the concep- between the Edinburgh Reviewers tions of these gentlemen; but it is and your humble servant, in respect very easy to see, that their idea of to the constitution, which they it is not at all conformable to our praise, because they consider it as charters and law-books. The poli a mere theory, and the perfection of tical union of King, Lords and Com- it to consist in influence, and which mons they entirely reject; they seem I praise because I hold it to be some. to entertain the same idea of it that thing directly the reverse. If I cona the ancients did of a Chaos; it is a ceived it to be in reality what they sort of ruda indigestaque moles where say it is, I should call it a glassy hot and cold and all the elementary bubble, of no use whatever but iu principles contend together. Fortu- crack the wits of such metaphysical nately, about the year 1688, an politicians as themselves, or a word omnipotent power, called influence, for ministers and mock patriots to extracted order and beauty and har- vapour with, as Ralpho terms it, or mony from this chaos! But when else a wen that looks big and swells, we would inform ourselves respects is senseless--and just nothing else! ing this creative power, which hath I would liken it, to “ a tale told by done such wonders, how great is “an ideot;full of sound and fury,but yur disappointment, to find, that it “ signifying nothing."--I do not mean is something that will not suffer it to say that the Edinburgh Reviewers self to be known; something that have told such a tale; no Sir, thero js too much art and finesse in their REMARKS ON A PASSAGE IN THE account; but there is nothing lumi EDINBURGH REVIEW. nous in it, and yet the writers have laboured hard, and are men of great
SIR, ability. They have not however In your number for October, you been able to make me hate the cone had the goodness to insert a few testitution; but I fear they will make marks which I sent you, on an armany hate it, who will take their ticle in the Edinburgh Review, on word for its being only a theory, the subject of a Reform in Parliaand who feelingly know it to be a ment. The object of those remarks very specious and successful one for was, to point out the inconsistency feecing the people: this is the prac- of a writer, who had maintained, tical construction which they will with considerable force and effect, make of influence. But Sir, I main- that most of the public calamities tain, that the Reviewers have libelled, which now stare us in the face, were the constitution, and that its excel- owing to the imbecility and incapalence consists in being directly the city of the existing ministers; and reverse of what they have described yei, in the same breath, attempted it; it being, not the instrument' of 'to convince his readers, that a Parextortion, but å guard against it; liamentary Reform would be of no being, not a fiction, but a reality; use in removing the evil. It apin short, Sir, it is a possession of in- peared to me, Sir, next to impossiestimable value; for without it every, ble to believe that a man of so much other possession becomes uncertain, shrewdness and ability as this writer and with it, every man is assured in undoubtedly is, would venture to the OWNERSHIP of what he hath. affirm two such propositions, unless This I trust has become in some de- he were in the interest, if not in the gree apparent by the remarks that pay of a party. This suspicion is, have already been made, and the I think, greatly corroborated by the proofs that have already been ad- following extract from an article in vanced, for the purpose of elucida- a succeeding number of the Review; ting the real constitution; and I will and which article is evidently the venture, Sir, to assure your readers, offspring of the same writer as the that the further we proceed in these foriner. “ If, again," says this Reinvestigations, the greater cause shall viewer, “every measure and every we have to be persuaded of this im- . " minister be covered over with its portant truth,--that the government “ (that is, the parliament's approbabequeathed to us by our ancestors, “tion) then we will venture to precontains the best means that can be “ dict, not that the government is devised by the wisdoin of man for in- '" acquitted, but that the parliament suring to us the freedom of our per- “ stands condemned ; and we shall sons, and the safety of our property; “ most unwillingly be compelled to and if those institutions are at pre- “appear, in the foremost rank of sent defective in attaining these " those, who must acknowledge thut great ends, it is because we have " they are convinced and converted. suffered them to become corrupted, “ For it is needless to disguise the and are too indolent to restore them “ matter. A refusal to punish the to their genuine purity.'
" authors of our misfortunes can
“ only mean one of two thingsTam, &c,
"cither that there has been no blame TIMOTHY TRUEMAN. “ incurred--or that it is inexpedicüt
“ to declare it, because such a re Devonshire, Dec. 1.
“ solution would drive the guilts
" persons from the government. In lutary, but absolutely necessary to “the one case, the parliament will the salvation of the country.-Should " show that it is not the representa the ministers go unpunished (which “ tive of the country; in the other, it is very probable will be the case) “ we shall have a conclusive proof, that you will be bound to proclaim, that “.the ministers of the crown are ifré- you are a convert to a reform in par“ movable."* Now, Sir, whatever Itament;'but you may depend upon may be the conduct of the parlia- it, no man of sense will give you · ment in its approaching sessions, we credit for discovering in 1810, what may fairly ask this writer ;-Did you you had the same means of knowing not tell us last March, thar the dis in 1809. , W. X. Y. graceful convention of Vimeira, and Newcastle, Dec. 4.
the disastrous campaign in Spain, ' . under the immortal Alvore, was to be attributed to the weakness and ON THE PROPRIETY OF CABINET incapacity of ministers ? Did not MINISTERS HAVING SEATS IN you exclaim, in the same indignant THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. tone as at present, against the Copenhagen expedition, as a lasting The letter of your correspondent disgrace to this country? Well then! Mr. Stephen Leach, inserted in your Have not you seen the present par- last number, contains more asperity liament acquit ministers of all these than argument; I therefore find it disgraceful transactions, and cover difficult to reply to his remarks, and them over with large majorities? You will only attempt to defend my own are compelled, in the very article I positions which seem to be by nó ám quoting, to acknowledge, that means untenable.—Mr.Leach affirms you have repeatedly witnessed such that retaining the eleven cabinet miconduct. Why then not acknow- nisters in the house of Coinmons, ledge now, what it is evident you would undo all the good that might believe, that the parliament is not the be obtained by a reform in parliarepresentative of the people? Why ment; but he does not condescend do you defer pronouncing this opin to give one single reason for so thinknion, till you see the majorities on ing.--Does he imagine that there is the motions, which you expect will something so contaminating in the be brought forward in the approach. very look and aspect of ministers of ing sessions, respecting the conductof state, that their merely sitting in the the war in Spain, and the expeditions house, would corrupt the represento Walcheren and Sicily? You tatives of the people when frechy seem to be aware that a change must chosen? It is not the presence of take place in the government; and the ininisters, nor their individual in case the change be not in favour votes in the house of Commons that of your party, you are preparing to has caused all the evils we now suffer become a convert to reform ; and to from a corrupt representation ; but abandon your former opinions with the influence they possess in sending as much grace as possible. But their friends, and dependents there. this ruse de guerre will not succeed: to occupy the places of inore honest you stand convicted of inconsistency, representatives. Let us deprive them and are suspected of dishonesty ;--of of this power, and of that enormous having written against a measure, extent of patronage which enables which you knew to be not only sa-' them to bribe even the members for
counties and independent boroughs, * Ed. Rev. for October. See the and we need not much fear their quotation at larga in i preceding article. personal influence in the house.