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is simply a resolution, which binds only him that is willing to be bound.
I have thus punctiliously and minutely pursued this disquisition, because I suspect that these reasoners, whose business is to deceive others, have sometimes deceived themselves, and I am willing to free them from their embarrassment, though I do not expect much gratitude for my kindness.
Other objections are yet remaining, for of political objections there cannot easily be an end. It has been observed, that vice is no proper cause of expulsion; for if the worst man in the House were always to be expelled, in time none would be left. But no man is expelled for being worst, he is expelled for being enormously bad; his conduct is compared, not with that of others, but with the rule of action.
The punishment of expulsion being in its own nature uncertain, may be too great or too little for the fault.
This must be the case of many punishments. Forfeiture of chattels is nothing to him that has no possessions. Exile itself may be accidentally a good; and indeed any punishment less than death is very differe:t to different men.
But if this precedent be admitted and established, no man can hereafter be sure that he shall be represented by him whom he would choose. One half of the House may meet early in the morning, and snatch an opportunity to expel the other, and the greater part of the nation may by this stratagem be without its lawful representatives.
He that sees all this, sees very far. But I can tell him of greater evils yet behind. There is one possibility of wickedness, which, at this alarining crisis, has not yet been mentioned. Every one knows the malice, the subtility, the industry, the vigilance, and the greediness of the Scots. The Scotch members are about the number sufficient to make a house. I propose it to the consideration of the supporters of the Bill of Rights, whether there is not reason to suspect, that these hungry intruders from the North, are now contriving to expel all the English. We may then curse the hour in which it was determined, that expulsion and exclusion are the same. For who can guess what may
be done when the Scots have the whole House to themselves?
Thus agreeable to custom and reason, notwithstanding all objections, real or imaginary; thus consistent with the practice of former times, and thus consequential to the original principles of go. vernment, is that decision by which so much vio. lence of discontent has been excited, which has been so dolorously bewailed, and so outrageously resented.
Let us however not be seduced to put too much confidence in justice or in truth; they have often been found inactive in their own defence, and give more confidence than help to their friends and their advocates. It may perhaps be prudent to make one momentary concession to falsehood, by supposing the vote in Mr Lutterel's favour to be wrong.
All wrong ought to be rectified. If Mr Wilkes is deprived of a lawful seat, both he and his electors have reason to complain; but it will not be
easily found, why, among the innumerable wrongs of which a great part of mankind are hourly complaining, the whole care of the publick should be transferred to Mr Wilkes and the freeholders of Middlesex, who might all sink into non-existence, without
other effect, than that there would be room made for a new rabble, and a new retailer of sedition and obscenity. The cause of our country would suffer litttle; the rabble, whencesoever they come, will be always patriots, and always supporters of the Bill of Rights.
The House of Commons decides the disputes arising from elections. Was it ever supposed, that in all cases their decisions were right? Every man whose lawful election is defeated, is equally wronged with Mr Wilkes, and his constituents feel their disappointment with no less anguish than the freeholders of Middlesex. These decisions have often been apparently partial, and sometimes tyrannically oppressive. A majority has been given to a favourite candidate, by expunging votes which had always been allowed, and which therefore had the authority by which all votes are given, that of custom uninterrupted. When the Commons determine who shall be constituents, they may, with some propriety, be said to make law, because those determinations have hitherto, for the sake of quiet, been adopted by succeeding parliaments. A vote therefore of the House, when it operates as a law, is to individuals a law only temporary, but to communities perpetual.
Yet though all this has been done, and though at every new parliament much of this is expected to be done again, it has never produced in any former time such an alarming crisis. We have found by experience, that though a squire has given ale and venison in vain, and a borough has been compelled to see its dearest interest in the hands of him whom it did not trust, yet the general state of the nation has continued the same. The sun has risen, and the corn has grown, and whatever talk has been of the danger of property, yet he that ploughed the field commonly reaped it, and he that built a house was master of the door: the vexation excited by injustice suffered, or supposed to be suffered, by any private man, or single community, was local and temporary, it neither spread far, nor lasted long
The nation looked on with little care, because there did not seem to be much 'danger. The consequence of small irregularities was not felt, and we had not yet learned to be terrified by very distant enemies.
But quiet and security are now at an end. Our vigilance is quickened, and our comprehension is enlarged. We not only see events in their causes, but before their causes; we hear the thunder while the sky is clear, and see the mine sprung
before it is dug. Political wisdom has, by the fore of English genius, been improved at last not only to political intuition, but to political prescience.
But it cannot, I am afraid, be said, that as we are grown wise, we are made happy. It is said of those who have the wonderful power called second sight, that they seldom see any thing but evil: pɔ. litical second sight has the same effect; we hear of nothing but of an alarming crisis, of violated rights, and expiring liberties. The morning rises upcu new wrongs, and the dreamer passes the night in imaginary shackles.
The sphere of anxiety is now enlarged; he that hitherto cared only for himself, now cares for the Publick; for he has learned that the happiness of individuals is comprised in the prosperity of the whole, and that his country never suffers, but he suffers with it, however it happens that he feels no pain.
Fired with this fever of epidemick patriotism, the taylor slips his thimble, the draper drops his yard, and the blacksmith lays down his hammer; they meet at an honest alehouse, consider the state of the nation, read or hear the last petition, lament the miseries of the time, are alarmed at the dreadful crisis, and subscribe to the support of the Bill of Rights.
It sometimes indeed happens, that an intruder of more benevolence than prudence attempts to disperse their cloud of dejection, and ease their hearts by seasonable consolation. He tells them, that though the government cannot be too diligently watched, it may be too hastily accused; and that, though private judgment is every man's right, yet we cannot judge of what we do not know; that we feel at present no evils which government can alleviate, and that the publick business is committed to men who have as much right to confidence as their adversaries; that the freeholders of Middlesex, if they could not choose MrWilkes, might have chosen any other man, and that he trusts we have within the realm five hundred as good as he; that even if this which has happened to Middlesex had happened to every other county, that one man should be made inca