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and yet I am grolly deceived if any so- with a vote for electing members in the ber man, of very moderate talents, when House of Commons. Because every man he reflects upon the many ridiculous hurt- is full of zeal for his own religion, alful maxims, customs, and general rules though he regards not morality; and, of life, which pievail in this kingdom, therefore, will endeavour to his utmost to would not with great reason be tempted, bring in a reprelentative of his own prinaccording to the present turn of his hu- ciples, which, if they be popular, may mour, either to laugh, lament, or be angry; endanger the religion eltablished; which, or, if he were sanguine enough, perhaps as it hath formerly happened, may alter to dream of a remedy. It is the niittake the whole frame of
government. of wise and good men, that they expect A standing army in England, whether more reason and virtue from human na- in time of peace or war, is a direct ab. ture, than, taking it in the bulk, it is surdity. For, it is no part of our buliin any fort capable of. Whoever hath ness to be a warlike nation, otherwile been present at councils or assemblies of than by our fleets. In foreign wars we any sort, if he be a man of common have no concern, further than in con. prudence, cannot but have observed such junction with allies, whom we may either results and opinions to have frequently aslift by sea, or by foreign troops paid pasied a majority, as he would be alham- with our money.
But mercenary troops ed to advance in private conversation. I in England can be of no use, except io fay nothing of cruelty, oppreffion, in. awe senates, and thereby promote arjustice and the like, because these are bitrary power, in a monarchy or oligarfairly to be accounted for in all assem- chy. blies, as best gratifying the passions and That the election of fenators Thould be interelts of leaders; which is a point of of any charge to the candidates, is an absuch high consideration, that all others furdity; but, that it should be so to a mi. must give place to it. But I would be niftry, is a manifest acknowledgment of under kood here to speak only of opinions the worst designs. If a ministry intendridiculous, foolish, and absurd, with con- ed the service of their prince and counclusions and actions suitable to them, at try, or well understood wherein their own the same time when the most reasonable security belt consisted, (as it is imposlible propositions are often unanimoully re. that a parliament freely elected, accordjected.
ing to the original institution, can do any And, as all assemblies of men are li- hurt to a tolerable prince, or a tolerable able to this accusation, so likewile there ministry ; ) they would use the strongest are natural absurditjes froin which the methods to leave the people to their own wiseft states are not exempt, which pro- free choice ; the members would then ceed less from the nature of their climate consist of persons who had the best eitates in than that of their government ; the the neighbourhood or county, or at least Gauls, the Britons, the Spaniards, and never of Atrangers. And surely this is at Italians, having retained very little of least full as requisite a circumstance to a the characters given them in antient hi. legiNature, as to a juryman, who ought kory.
to be, if possible, ex vicinio ; fince such By these and the like reflections, I persons must be supposed the best judges have been often led to consider some pub- of the wants and desires of their several lic absurdities in our own country, moft boroughs and counties. To chuse a reof which are, in my opinion, directly presentative for Berwick, whose estate is against the rules of right reason, and are at the Land's-End, would have been attended with great inconveniencies to the thought in former times a very great foleftate. I mall mention such of them, as cism ; how much more as it is at present, come into memory, without observing where so many persons are returned for any method; and I shall give my rea- boroughs, who do not posless a foot of son why I take them to be absurd in land in the kingdomn. their nature, and pernicious in their con By the old conftitution, whoever por. fequence.
seffed a free-hold in land, by which he It is absurd that any person, who pro- was gainer of forty Millings a year, had a fefleth a different form of worship from privilege to vote for a knight of the shire. that which is national, should be trusted The good effects of this law are wholly
eluded, partly by the course of time, and York, Printer, for publishing a Libel partly by corruption. Forty shillings in against the Governor. those ages were equal to twenty pounds in
(Continued from p. 289.) ours; and therefore it was then a want of sagacity to fix that privilege to a deter- Mr. Chief Just. ET me see the minate fum, rather than to a certain
Book. quantity of land, arable or pasture, able Here the court bad the case under conto produce a certain quantity of corn or foderation, a confiderable time, and every hay. And therefore it is highly absurd, one was filent. and against the intent of the law, that Mr. Ch. Just. Mr. Attorney you have this defect is not regulated.
heard what Mi. Hamilton has said, and But the matter is itill worfe : for any the cases he has cited, for having his gentleman can, upon occasion, make as witnesses examined, to prove the truth of many freeholders as his estate or fet:le- several facts contained in the papers fet ment will allow, by making leafes for life forth in the information. What do you of land at a rack rent of forty shillings, say to it? where a tenant, who is not worth one Mr. Attorney. The law, in my opifarthing a year, when his rent is paid, nion, is very clear; they cannot be admitShall be held a legal voter for a person tó ted to juttify a libel ; for, by the authorirepresent his county, Neither do I enter ties I have already read to the court, it is into half the frauds that are practised not the less a libel because it is true. I upon this occasion.
think I need not troub the court with It is likewise absurd, that boroughs de- reading the cases over again: the thing cayed are not absolutely extingui Nied, be- seems to be very plain, and I submit to cause the returned members do in reality the court. represent nobody at all, and that several Mr. Ch. Justice. Mr. Hamilton, the large towns are not represented, though court is of opinion, you ought not to be fu!I of industrious townlinen, wiio much permitted to prove the facts in the papers: advance the trade of the kingdom. these are the words of the book, “ It is
The claim of senators, to have them- far from being a justification of a libel, selves and servants exempted from law, that the contents thereof is true, or that suits and arrests, is manifestly absurd. the person upon whom it was made had a
The proceedings at law are already. so bad reputation, since the greater appeascandalous a grievance, upon account of rance there is of truth in any malicious inthe delays, that they little need any ad- vective, so much the more provoking it dition. Whoever is either not able, or is." not willing to pay his just debts, or, to Mr. Hamilton. These are Star-chamkeep other men out of their lands, would ber cafes, and I was in hopes, that pracevade the decision of the law, is surely tice had been dead with the court. but ill qualified to be a legislator. A Mr. Ch. Justice. Mr. Hamilton, the criminal with as good reason, might fit court have delivered their opinion, and on the bench, with a power of condemn- we expect that you will use us with good ing men to be hanged for their honesty. manners; you are not to be permitted to By the annual fitting of parliaments, and argue against the opinion of the court. the days of privilege preceding and fub. Mr. Hamilton,' With fubmiffion, I sequení, a fenator is one half of the have seen the practice in very great courts, year beyond the reach of common ju- and never heard it deemed unmannerly to stice.
That the sacred person of a senator's Mr. Ch. Justice. After the court have foot-man Mould be free from arrest, al declared their opinion, it is not good though he undoes the poor ale-wite by manners to infilt upon a point, in which running on score, is a circumstance of you are over-ruled. equal wildom and justice, to avoid the Mr. Hamilton. I will say no more at great evil of his master's lady wanting this time; the court I see is againft us in her complement of liveries behind the this point; and that I hope I may be alcoach.
lowed to fay
Mr. Ch. Justice. Use the court with The Trial of John Peter Zenger of New
council. Nay, though it were even ad- their patron and recommender shall be conded, that he refrains from going to court, tinuing his private visits to the royal payet these are not circumstances that can lace, and be there as graciously received conclude against the plainer voice of rea as the utmost ambition of a subject could fon, which teaches, that successors and wish :- In such a case, I say, can any great officers, nominated to their high man hesitate whether the recommender is places by a bad minister, must be known not also the direttor of all ministerial by bim to be fit for his purpose. Their measures? What! though he goes not to very recommendation proves, that they the council, what! though he atlifts not are not raised to the honours they enjoy at the public deliberations of the execufor the sake of answering any one natio- tive part of the government, can these be nal purpose whatever ; but, that obedience be given for reasons that he has no fare to their recommender is the tenure by in the administration? If they can, it which they hold their places; and, that, would be as fair a conclusion to atfirm, long before their nomination, the strietest that the prompter in theatrical exhibitions, Scrutiny must have been made into their docs not direct the actors, nor has any morals, principles, and views, by the man concern whatever in the performance, whose power-perhaps very being-must because he does not appear on the ltage. reft upon bis not being mistaken in the in. It is not at all uncommon for favourites quiry.
to deceive, or attempt to deceive, an hoWhat can any sensible man conclude of nest and well-meaning people, in this persons that have undergone so fri&t an manner. Our own histories are sa replete inquiftion, and have been pronounced with incidents of this kind, that it would qualified for screening a wicked minister, be an affront to every Englihman, to and continuing his schemes against a peo- fuppose a necessity of recapitulating them. ple his principles abhor? What apprehen. And it is, happily, a fatality atiending fons ought to be entertained of luch fub- favourite ministers, that their temper alministers? The person who is weak e- ways hurries them on to such a conduct, nough to fuppose they will carry on any as ever to put it beyond dispute, that national purpole from sentiment (though “ the finger of Job is in it.". they may chance to do such a thing from A Pigeon, Mr. North Briton, may as policy) is more fit to be treated as a lu- well hope for preservation in the talons natic than permitted to roam about at of a Hawk, as a free people entertain large. The most extensive charity will hopes of security, under a tame submillinot demand such a belief; because, the on to such an administration. In so amoft extensive Charity does not command Jarming a state of ministerial arrangements, to give the lie to reason and a thousand we are morally certain that all the great examples.
offices of power and honour must be moIt is therefore, I hope, plain, in what light nopolized by the mox vitious and aban. every națion ought to view the retirement doned part of the people. Vice inuit of ministers grown odious to the people, Aourish, and public virtue fall a martyr and the tranfactions of Statesinen, recom to oppreflion. In a word, that man mended by the minister retired. But how cannot feel for his country, for virtue, much greater caule is there for additional for liberty, who, in a situation of affair's fears, when the persons recommended, like this, can lit down in quiet, and perare perceived not only feculoully to guide suade his fellow subjects that danger is themselves by the fame clue of oppreffion not to be feared -- the greatest danger that as their predecessor, but also to carry
can threaten a free nation! incan the matters to a more mischievous length than danger of losing its liberty and indepen. he ever dared ? not niggling at the out- dency. works of liberty, but actually destroying every security of property, and every fence of freedom ! not only fapping by piecemale the national bulwarks, but
SIR, battering down the strongest towers of
Your reader and correspondent; public defence! While, at the fame time, June, 1769.
The NORTH BRITON, No. 151. say, that never nation groaned more loud
ple of this kingdom, and I will be bold to On the People's Difiress. ly; and yet, that never national com
plaints were less regarded by ministers Siis defiderio fit Pudor aut Modus;
ihan now !--The industrious poor are al.
most universally in an uproar, universally I
Do not remember to have met wiih, racked with the torturing prospect of the
nor do I believe the whole world of want of bread, but no national scheme hiltory afforrls, a fivigie example of so has been executed—nay, no adequate hardened and unfeeling a system of poli- plan yet been formed--for their relief; tics, as that in England of the present although never nation had a more ample day. The miseries of the generality of field for effe£lually removing these calathe people seem to be no longer a subject mities, would our itatesmen (if statesmen worthy of regard. If the bringing in of they must be called, give theinselves the money to the public coffers, were alone a trouble of a few moments real reflection mark of public virtue, and of great abi. on the subject. A subject, which, if it lities, we are blessed with as virtuous and is not soon regarded, as it ought, will, I as able Statesmen, in that particular, as fear, but too luddenly juítity every apever guided a national helm; but if, with prehention that can be raised from the the fiux, we consider too, the reflux of present pungent situation of the lower orthis golden tide, we meet with as grand ders of the people. errata as ever were given to rectify a iy Lait year, instead of applying the propographical error! The word virtuous per means for lowering the price of promuit give place to iniquitors, and that visions, we continued the only meafure of abie be obliterated for ignorant. whole fufpenfion could have procured us The hand of corruption feizes one part of a considerable degree of eale. We exthe treature, and the fingers of incapacity hautted the exchequer in the payment of deal out another amongit a let of people, bounties upon the exportation of wheat, degenerate enough to become the hireling and thus laid out near two millions on an partizans of wickedness and inability. expedient that tended to enhance instead None but men of this turn, could have of lifening the miseries of the poor ! offered such a reply as has been given to I am not ignorant what large sums our reproaches for the not funding of the were thereby brought into the kingdom; navy debt!-" That debt (lay they) a. but where are they lodged? principally “ mounting to two millions of money is in gle coffers of that part of the people “ ozing 10 failors; many of whom are which of all others deserve the least portis out in the merchanis service, and may on of encouragement-I mean, the en“ never return to make their claims; grofitis. And this year the same per
some are in foreign service, and may plexing Manoeuvre has been continued to “ 'never come home; others are dead ihc farther milery of the induftrious indi"s without reprefentatives; and, in a gent. What would we think of a nation " short time, numbers more may take the that disposed of thousands of its people
fame course; to that, with a very lit- into Navery, for the sake of enriching the " ile patience, but a trifle of ca; cuill be reft? Yet the practice here complained of “ required to get fatirely rid of this is Gill more cruel. Our poor are familh" debt,"
ed, extended upon the excruciating rack To point out the barbarity (not to of hunger, for the sake of amaiing gold, mention the ingratitude) of sentiment, and enriching a boily of men, whole betrayed in this dishonest antwer, must wealth is already the forment of the human be needless : Happy, however, would it race; and who, were they till richer, be for us, was shis the only specimen of wouli einploy the whole encreate in the inbumanity which could be brought to fame inhuman manner. characteristically distinguish the stater But it will be avenred, that the kingdom men of the palling moment. Let the in- in gener.id, considered to in respect to the cuttrious poor all over the nation speak landeci interest, are considerable gainerstheir respective griefs, let the general well, be it yet our Hatefinen, did acomplainis be attenled to which now are they but think üt all, would one day made by all the working part of the peo- Ituñible upon this icfe&tion, that gold of
itself is of no value, and only estimable of wheat at the public charge, and under for the conveniencies it may be barter an equitable public inspection as to the ed for. This position is as true in re- prices and distribution of the cargoes. spect to nations, as it is to individuals. No other means, I believe, can be adeIt is an old received adage that “ Gold quate to the evils with which we are prefmay be bought too dear;" and furely led. However, it must be admitted, at that is so, which is purchased by the cries any rate, that there is great cause of and miseries of the bulk of every nation, complaint, that this remedy (the bare the poor? The gold that adds to the pub- importation of wheat, without such regulic griefs, is, in truth, a raging enemy. lation) weak as it is, has been hitherto The nation that strives to enrich itself neglected to be administered towards al(that is, to enrich the richer part) by dif- leviating such a crying calamity as want. tresling the indigent, perpetrates a greater A calamity which could not be thought crime (abstracted from the disproportion of by perfons possessed of the least degree between the number of criines in a nati- of humanity, without the strongest einoon and a single person) than the man tions of compassion! though beheld by who instantly murthers whom he robs on the present obdurate managers of the state the highway ; because farving is indis: (if actions may be allowed to speak the putably more painful than immediate souls of men) 'with eyes of the most inhudeath.
man indifference! Well, but, suppose the bounties were It is no wonder that such a savage unto be discontinued, and the importation concern for the miseries of the human instead of exportation of Wheat
was per. race, should strikingly alarm every suf. mitted, would not that be a sufficient re- ferer thereby. Can we be surprised that lief? I answer, no. It is a remedy (so our weavers should express the strongest late in the day) by no means proportion- resentment at those who seem as if they ed to the diseale. It may be, no doubt, breathed but to afflict? Who, not cona palliative expedient, but can never tent with having embarrassed the nation adequately answer the great end of duly by a peace, as inglorious as inadequate, lowering our markets. At belt, the poor are buiying themselves in countermining, must pay the whole expences of the rather than promoting, every project, of voyage. This great charge upon the our patriot commoners, for the relief of cargo muft necessarily, even without a the commercial part of the kingdom : combination amongst the forestallers, who, not satisfied with the disposal of our keep up our markets. But, if we farther fisheries and plantations to a natural eneconlider, that these cargoes of wheat my, are conniving at, if not contriving, are brought over under the direction of, new schemes, in order to feed a rival and and by, engrossers, what benefit of conse- implacable neighbour with that bread quence can the public reap from an impor- which our own laborious poor have tation that is to be parcelled out by their most unquestionable right to eat: who, all-grasping and all-griping hands? instead of exerting all the influence their
In times of public distress, the Romans high stations velt them with, for the emoadopted the most falutary measure that lument of their country, prostitute it in could be poslibly deviled to alleviate or the Itudy how to fetter her with new remove fo general and fatal a diltemper. chains; but, more particularly, how to They thought the miseries of their poor of reduce the industrious part of the kingcon sequence sufficient to import corn from dom to the hard necessity of drinking was foreign parts, at the charge of the com- ter; living (inferior to the scabby Scots) monwealth; and then, to place the pow. on something worse than oatmeal; and, er of distribution in magistrates, who, by wearing wooden shoes without even the popular assent, were known to be endow- despicable comfort of foup-maigre ! ed with patriot virtues. By these pru. It is absurd to imagine that a people dent and generous methods the importa- loaded with such deep distress can be uttion became of real utility to the poor ; terly patient, while they observe the ma. and, in our own case, it requires no un- nagement of affairs continued in the hands coinmon fund of penetration to foresee, of men whom neither reasoning nor facts that the public wants are not to be office can convict; whole imperious tempers tually supplied, except by an importation render them deaf to the most poignant
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