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whatever language, or with whatever rites, pardon is asked for sin, and reward for those who imitate the Godhead in His universal bounty to His creatures. These honors you deserve, and they will surely be paid, when all the jargon of influence and party and patronage are swept into oblivion.
I have spoken what I think, and what I feel, of the mover of this bill. An honorable friend of mine, speaking of his merits, was charged with having made a studied panegyric. I don't know what his was. Mine, I am sure, is a studied panegyric, — the fruit of much meditation, the result of the observation of near twenty years. For my own part, I am happy that I have lived to see this day; I feel myself overpaid for the labors of eighteen years, when, at this late period, I am able to take my share, by one humble vote, in destroying a tyranny that exists to the disgrace of this nation and the destruction of so large a part of the human species.
REPRESENTATION TO HIS MAJESTY,
THE HOUSE OP COMMONS
BY THE RIGHT HON. EDMUND BURKE, AND SECONDED BY WILLIAM WINDHAM, ESQ.,
ON MONDAY, JUNE 14, 1784,
WITH A PREFACE AND NOTES.
THE representation now given to the public relates to some of the most essential privileges of the House of Commons. It would appear of little importance, if it were to be judged by its reception in the place where it was proposed. There it was rejected without debate. The subject matter may, perhaps, hereafter appear to merit a more serious consideration. Thinking men will scarcely regard the penal dissolution of a Parliament as a very trifling concern. Such a dissolution must operate forcibly as an example; and it much imports the people of this kingdom to consider what lesson that example is to teach.
The late House of Commons was not accused of an interested compliance to the will of a court. The charge against them was of a different nature. They were charged with being actuated by an extravagant spirit of independency. This species of offence is so closely connected with merit, this vice bears so near a resemblance to virtue, that the flight of a House of Commons above the exact temperate medium of independence ought to be correctly ascertained, lest we give encouragement to dispositions of a less generous nature, and less safe for the people; we ought to call for very solid and convincing proofs of the existence, and of the magnitude, too, of the evils which are charged to an independent spirit, before we give sanction to any measure, that, by checking a spirit so easily damped, and so hard to be excited, may affect the liberty of a part of our Constitution, which, if not free, is worse than useless.
The Editor does not deny that by possibility such an abuse may exist: but, primd fronte, there is no reason to presume it. The House of Commons is not, by its complexion, peculiarly subject to the distempers of an independent habit. Very little compulsion is necessary, on the part of the people, to render it abundantly complaisant to ministers and favorites of all descriptions. It required a great length of time, very considerable industry and perseverance, no vulgar policy, the union of many men and many tempers, and the concurrence of events which do not happen every day, to build up an independent House of Commons. Its demolition was accomplished in a moment; and it was the work of ordinary hands. But to construct is a matter of skill; to demolish, force and fury are sufficient.
The late House of Commons has been punished for its independence. That example is made. Have we an example on record of a House of Commons punished for its servility? The rewards of a senate so disposed are manifest to the world. Several gentlemen are very desirous of altering the constitution of the House of Commons; but they must alter the frame and constitution of human nature itself, before they can so fashion it, by any mode of election, that its conduct will not be influenced by reward and punishment, by fame and by disgrace. If these examples take root in the minds of men,