Imagens da página

ruption of manners, the idleness and profligacy of the lower fort of voters, no prudent' man would propose to increase such an evil, if it be, as I fear it' is, out of our power to administer to it any remedy. The author proposes nothing further. If he has any improvements that may balance or inay leffen this inconvenience, he has thought proper to keep them as usual in his own breast. Since he has been so reserved, I should have wished he had been as cautious with regard to the project itself. First, because he observes justly, that his scheme, however it might improve the platform, can add nothing to the authority of the legislature; much, I fear, it will have a contrary operation : for, authority depending on opinion at least as much as on duty, an idea circulated among the people that our constitution is not so perfect as it ought to be, before you are sure of mending it, is a certain method of leffening it in the publick opinion. Of this irreverent opinion of parliament, the author : limfelf complains in one part of his book; and he endeavours to increase it in the other. - Has he well considered what an immense operation any change in our constitution is? how many discussions, parties, and passions, it will necessarily excite; and, when you open it to inquiry in one part, where the inquiry will stop? Experience Thews us, that no time can be fit for such changes but a time of general confusion; when good men,


finding every thing already broke up, think it right to take advantage of the opportunity of such derangement in favour of an useful alteration. Perhaps a time of the greatest security and tranquillity both at home and abroad may, likewise be fit; but will the author affirm this to be juft such a time? Transferring an idea of military to civil prudence, he ought to know how dangerous it is to make an alteration of your disposition in the face of an enemy, !,";! ....; i1

Now comes his American representation. Here too, as usual, he takes no notice of any difficulty, nor says any thing to obviate those objections that must naturally arise in the minds of his readers. He throws you his politicks as he does his revenue; do you make something of them if you can.' Is not the reader a little astonished at the proposal of an American representation from that quarter? It is proposed merely as a * project of speculative improvement; not from the necessity in the case, not to add any thing to the authority of parliament, but that we may afford a greater attention to the concerns of the Americans, and give them a better opportunity of stating their grievances, and of oba taining redress. I am glad to find the author has at length discovered that we have not given a sufficient attention to their concerns, or a proper re

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

dress to their grievances. His great friend would once have been exceedingly displeased with any person, who should tell him, that he did not attend fufficiently to those concerns. He thought he did fo, when he regulated the colonies over and over again: he thought he did so, when he formed two general systems of revenue; one of port-duties, and the other of internal taxation. These systems fupposed, or ought to suppofe, the greatest attention to, and the most detailed information of, all their affairs. However, by contending for the American representation, he seems at last driven jvirtually to admit, that great caution ought to be used in the exercise of all our legislative rights over an object fo remote froin our eye, and so little connected with our immediate feelings; that in prudence we ought not to be quite so ready with our taxes, until we can secure the desired reprefentation in parliament. Perhaps it may be some time before this hopeful fcheme can be brought to perfect maturity, although the author seems to be no wise aware of any obstructions that lie in the way of it. He talks of his union, just as he -does of his taxes and his favings, with as much

fang froid and ease, as if his wish and the enjoy- ment were exa&tly the same thing. He appears -- not to have troubled his head with the infinite

difficulty of settling that representation on a fair balance of wealth and numbers throughout the

several several provinces of America and the West Indies, under such an infinite variety of circumstances. It costs him nothing to fight with nature, and to conquer the order of Providence, which manifestly opposes itself to the possibility of such a parliamentary union.

But let us, to indulge his passion for projects and power, suppose the happy time arrived, when the author comes into the ministry, and is to realize his speculations. The writs are iflued for electing members for America and the West Indies. Some provinces receive them in fix weeks, fome in ten; some in twenty. A vessel may be loft, and then some provinces may not receive them at all. But let it be; that they all receive them at once, and in the shortest time. A proper space must be given for proclamation and for the election; some weeks at least. But the members are chosen; and, if thips are ready to fail, in about fix more they ar, rive in London. In the mean time the parliament has fat and business far advanced without American representatives. Nay by this time, it may happen, that the parliament is diffolved; and then the members ship themselves again, to be again elected. The writs may arrive in America, before the poor members of a parliament in which they never fat, can arrive at their several provinces. A new intereft is formed, and they find other members are chofen whilst they are on the high feas. But, if


the writs and members arrive together, here is at beft a new trial of skill amongst the candidates, after one set of them have well aired themselves with their two voyages of 6000 miles.. . · However, in order to facilitate every thing to the author, we will suppose them all once more elected, and steering again to Old England, with a good heart, and a fair westerly wind in their stern. . On their arrival, they find all in a hurry and bustle; in and out; condoleance and congratulation; the crown is demised. Another parlia: ment is to be called. Away back to America again on a fourth voyage, and to a third election. . Does the author mean to make our kings as immortal in their personal as in their politick character?. or, whilft he bountifully adds to their life, will lie take from them their prerogative of diffolving parliaments, in favour of the American union? or are the American representatives to be perpetual, and to feel neither demises of the crown, nor diffolutions of parliament? .: But these things may be granted to him, with: out bringing him much nearer to his point. What does he think of re-election? is the American member the only one who is not to take a place, or the only one to be exempted from the ceremony of re-election? How will this great politician pre

Serve the rights of electors, the fairness of returns, " and the privilege of the house of commons, as the


« AnteriorContinuar »