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With some ocher late objectors to parliamentary reformation, be argues, that equality of representation never was in view in the formation of the House of Commons, which is rather a representa tion of property than of numbers *; that it is impracicable, and if an atteinpt of this kind were cnce begun, the nearer the approach was made to what cannot be perfected, the greater cause of complaint would rest with those who must till remain under exclufion; that to distranchise any boroughs would be an arbitrary act of oppression and to offer a compensation for the loss of ancient rights, would be addjog insult to icjuftice. Upon the whole the Author thinks“ it does not require the gift of second fight to discover, that when once the excellent fabric of our conftirution is in the least degree impaired, enthusalts with the best, and ambitious men with the worst intentions, will soon be found to propose further innovations; an intance of this has already occurred; the county of Flint, one of the petitioning counties, a'ter making the same prayer as is to be found in the other petitions, desires that bishops may not be translated from one fee to another, and gently hints that deans and chapters are use. Jess and fuperfluous. I would wish to ask of our polirical reformers (in the words of Mr. Fox, on another occasion), How far they mea to go, and when, and where a ftop is to be put to the proposed changes ! where a ftand is to be made, and when we are to say, the conficution is now perfect, enough has been done, and no more thall be at:empied ? Bus even should some of the reformers be prepared for such moderation after their favourite plan has taken effect, are they quire certain that all their coadjutors will ooite with them ? will they not be told, you think you have gone far enough, we are not of that opinion ; you have carried us thus far when we were not able to proceed without your adilance; the case is altered; we now find oorlelves itrong enough to go alone, and we can and will go further without your help? Thus by degrees will our venerable conftitution be destroyed; and it will be no consolation to its friends to be cold, we who first began the great work, undertook it from the best motives, and with a determined with co do our country service, but we at last found that thole who aĉied with us had not the same inten. tions as ourselves, that they were enemies to the conftitution, and wished to destroy it ; baving discovered this, we quitted them, and did as firmly oppose as we had before supported them. But will this be thought a te fiicient answer ? no certainly: we shall say, this is no excuse; a child need not be told, that when mobs are once let loose, there is no lopping them; the attempt would be like that of Canute, to ftopine ride in iis course; and the proposers of it would be equally obnoxious to ridicule as the flatterers of che monarch." Those who, with the present writer, conceived this measure big
But whac is property ? Money and land? Hath not the poor hones labourer p operiy of a kind superior to either? Hath he not his liberty, his freedom of mind, his religion ? Those politicians who calk so much of property feem to have no idea of any property but duft and dirt ! - Bui, admitting all the regard that men thinks due to riches, is not the poor man's lamb a property as dear to bim as the rich man's numerous filocks ?
with so much alarming mischief, are now doubriess more at ease, on the great question being negat.ved in a very full House of Com. Art. 28. Thoughts on i Reform in the Representation of the People
in the Commons Houfe of Partiament. Addrelicu to the nion. Wulisan Pill.
I s. 6 d. Stockdale. Proposes the addition of a hundred knights to the House of Com. mons, to be chosen by all fach persons as at present have no voice in the election of representarives. These additional knigh:s to be al. Joried to the several counties, in proportion to the numbers of their worepresented inhabitants. Copyholders, and leffees for a certain number of years, to be admitted to vote, under the same refrictions as freeholders. Elections to be parnchial, and to con nence at che same day and hour throughout ibe kingdum. To ascertain the rosa ten broughs, aind to extend the right of voting for them to as many neighbouring towns as will establish a certain number of voters.
A Letter to a Patriot Senator, including the Heads of a Bill for a Cuniticucional Representation of the People. 8vo. 1 s. Diliy.
This is a very cool, fenfible writer, who argues with great justice against the political dillinction between the landed and trading intereft ; ' a partial interest fubfitting in a nation, distinct from the general prosperity, seems a range absurdity in a constitution!'Hence he infers, that if an idea of independent men without land had been conceived, when votes were limited to landed poffe ilions, meo of personal property would have been admitted to their hare in legislation, without ine condition of their being freemen of borougho; bui commerce was then in the cradle, and its maturity was not conjectured.
Contormable to these ideas, the Author has framed a bill for the annu.I election of a House of Commons, composed of fix hundred members, by all the inbabitants in the nation not receiving charity, who are to be sworn at their parish churches, or meeting-houses, by the officiating minifters, on the Sunday preceding the day of election, to their qualifications, and receive a cerrificate of such Oath. They are then io vore at the handred court, before the high constable or bailiff-from whom the sheriff receiving the votes, is to declare the election at a county court.
Without entering into the particular merits of this plan, it will, perbaps, on the whole, appear too regardless of long establithed usages, which canot safely be shaken. The Author of the I boughes on Equal Representation (Art. 27.) has very juitly remarked the eager. ness with which the people, harassed by republican projects, restored their ancient form of government with King Charles I.; and it may be added, that she hatred of novelty appeared again soon after, in a Atrikiog instance, when a dreadful fire affordea the only opportunity ever to be expected, of restoring the metropolis upon a pian, in which health, conveniency, and beauty were equally consulted; but, note withstanding the greatest security was offered, chac the private inte. rests of the landlords should not suffer by the reform, it was found that nothing less than having their old city again, under all its difadvantages, would content them!
G g 4
It will appear
Art. 30. Thoughts on the Constitution, with a View to the pra:
posed Reform in the Representation of the People, and Duration of Parliaments. By Lord Carysfort. 8vo. 1 s. 6 d. Debrett.
Lord Carysfort gives a clear and well-connected theoretical view of the frame of the British government, from which he inters, that every free man should exercise a vote for the House of Commons, and the represencation of Scoiland in both Flooses be festled on a more adequate establishment. But when alterations for the better are medicated, they thould be represented in heir true point of view, as improvements. So far would a general diffufion of representation be from recurring to first principles, from which Lord Carysfort confiders our conftitution as having degenerated, that it never was pere fected from its rude beginnings, until modelled and defined at the Revolution, when, asliited by the progress of commerce, it attained its present form, by a happy accommodation betweev law and power, that had long been ftruggling, at convenient opportunities, for fuperiority. If we descend from speculative assumprions and deductions, to plain, historical information, we shall find, that so far was popular representation from being the result of any liberal, systemarical ideas of human rights; that is originated in irregular power, merely to gain popular sanciion to a feudal revolt. also, that the people were fo far from claiming, or defiring legida. tive power, that they were capriciously ordered to send knighis and burgesses by our monarchs afierward, according to no feitled order whatever; and that they confidered compliance with such mandates as a disagreeable obligation, rather than as an exercise of their rights. Even at present, the intention of reforming our representation did not originate with those who complain of an injurious exclusion, bus with some who, enjoying the full benefit of parliamentary rights, have aliducully laboured to excite such complaints, and with no great success. There are paradoxes in politics, as well as in orber Subjects; and those who please themselves with the propriety and beauty of speculative truins, will often be astonished at their being contradicted by facts, and opposed in practice! Art. 31. An Address to the Landed Gentlemen of Scotland, upon
the Subject of Nominal and l'iclitious Qualifications used in the Elections of Members of Parliament for the Shires of Scotland, With Observations upon Two Sketones of Bills presented to the Standing Committee upon Freehold Qualifications at Edinburgh. 8vo. Is. 6 d. Cadeil. 1783.
No terms of cenfure are strong enough to execrate those who at. tain and exercise political rights by virtue of fictitious qualifications; the first fep to which exercise is, a violation of the most sacred, religious, and moral sanctions! A depravation we thould not bave ex. pected to be so common among the pious members of the Kirk of Scotland. In England, indeed, we are such latitudinarians, char we make light of being occasional conformiits in all things, making free even with religion, when it is convenient to profitute the forms of it. But in our good lifter-kingdom, we hoped that a greater portion of integrity was yet to be found. - Yet even there, clergy, as well as Jairy, we find, take, without hesitation, an oath, which implies consciousncss of perjury in the wery act !-- This well wrisco pamphlet
merits-the attentive regard of all who are interested in, or who wish to be acquainted with, the subject.
AMERICA. Art. 32. The Constitutions of the several Independent States of
America; the Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederacion between the said States; the Treaties with his Moft Christian Majerty, &c. Published by Order of Congress. Philadelonia printed; London reprinted, for J. Walker. 8vo. 35. 60.
We must here refer to what we have said in relation to former re. publications of these American State-Papers. See, particularly, Review for February, p. 184. Art. 33. The Treaties between his most Christian Majesty and
the Thirteen United States of America. Published by Order of Con. grefs. Philadelphia printed, London reprinted. 8vo. 19. Stock
His moft Chriftian Majesty promises in good faith, and on the word of a King, to agree to, confirm, and establish for ever, and to accomplish and execute punctually, all that our faid dear and bes Pored Conrad Alexander Gerard, Mail ftipulare and sign,' &c.
Experience has proved, in inftances beyond number, that there is a honey moon in political, as well as in matrimonial connexions; and to this moon, we may suppose the warm terms for ever, mult refer. Time only can shew what virtuous dispofitions the young virgin ftates may possess ; but mould any complaints for crim. con. or other causes of divorce be infituted, and tried vi et armis between the high con. fracting parties, they will be no more than events of course.
MILITÀ RY. Art. 34. An Inquiry concerning the Ntilitary Force proper for a
free Nation of extensive Dominion : in which the British Military Establiments are particularly.confidered. 8vo. 18. 6 d. Blamire, 1782,
This inquiry results in an approbation of our present militia establih ment, under a few suggested improvements. One is the addition of a week to the annual swenty-eight days for embodying and isa ning the militia during peace: another, that when this term is expired, the serjeants and drummers of each battalion should form a company; and a suitable number of these compose a battalion, to be commanded in rotation by the field oficers of the circuit they are drawn from. The advantage would be great to the service, the Au. ibor juftly thinks, from the serjeanis being kept in the constant exercise of military duty; and the body of drummers, with good manage. ment, would prove an excellent nursery for lerjeants, the want of which, during the peace eftablishment, has been severely felt.
The Author, though a strong advocate for militia, while officered by gentlemen truly intitled by their landed qualifications, as the conftirucional defenders of the country, recommends a strict attention to perfection in the manual exercise, and military discipline and parade, with great good sense, on philofophical principles. Deeming the milicia and regular forces fully fufficient for internal security, he condemns the extraordinary measures lately recommended through Lord Shelburne, for arming particular descriptions of the people, not of
the most sober and orderly, but of the most debauched and riotous classes, as unconftitutional, highly dangerous, and therefore alarming. Art. 35. Confiderations on Militias and Standing Armies. With
Some Observations on the Plan of Defence luggeited by the Earl of Shelburne, and some Thoughts on the Propriety of Military Exercises on Suoday, and on the Necellity of a Scotch Miliia. By a Member of Parliament. 8vo. I s. 6 d. Kearley. 1782.
The Author of these conderations, hurried along by his fondness for new-modelling the militia according to a scheme bere proposed, clears the way before him by reciting all the usual objections againt a tanding army: and having in fiited, in very frong terms, on the dangers attending the support of regular forces, he with equal facility depreciates all dependance upon aaval protection. Fleets, he observes, cannot be upheld without commerce; and ancient and modern bittory will inform us that commerce is uncertain. Ship: are bail of perishable materials, and need continual repairs; confequently, if they are neglected, they will dwindle away. If a fleet is ruined, either by superior furce, or by accident, years will not replace it. Ships are exposed to the baneful ef-&s of ail the elemente, carth, air, fire, and water; a desence depanding upon any element, is far from being a certain one; but when it is subjected to ail, it muft indeed be precarious. Lastly, even a fuperiority at sea will not always prevent invasion; for winds and rides may lock op one Squadron, and fill the fails of another; a tempeit may disperse or deftroy the British feet, while those of the enemy are secured in their barbours, or are forwarded by the torm!
Alas, what can we do now? We used to put our trust in our wooden walls, and yet it af pears that our contidence was fadly mirplaced ! To add to our misfortunes, if we even turn our dejected eyes to the militia, we may be equally deluded; and for the following cogent reasons: A militia is composed of men, and what are men but ftrarge untractable beings, perverse and crazy, both in mind and body? For military use, they will scarcely lait 10 long as thout well-seasoned lips; and taking into the estimate the irregular lives of soldiers, notwithstanding every regiment is provided with a chap. lain, they will need as many repairs. So much are they exposed to impreffions from the elements without, and agitated by the conflict of worse elements within, that if regiments are formed complete to. day, the number of effe&tive men will be much reduced within the Thort compass of twelve months. Many of them will die, and many of them will be down under the hands of the furgeons for disorders little to their credit: they are continually loading the parishes where they quarter with battará children; they often defert; now and then get themselves banged for robberies, rapes, and murders; and thould an enemy land, numbers of them will be killed, and some will be such rascals as to go over to them! Under this melancholy view of the natural defects of a militia, the conclusion must be, that neither their numbers, bealih, nor priociples, are intitled to our confidence: it follows of course that we are deltirute of all security whatever against the depredations of any invaders who chule to visit us. It is happy for the nation, that our enemies have not hitherto perceived