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from hence; and there was a delicacy about taking them from Ireland. I was one of those, who promo. ted an inquiry into that matter in the other house; and I was convinced we had not regular troops sufficient for the necessary service of the nation. Since the moment the plan of augmentation was first talked of, I have constantly and warmly supported it among my friends. I have recommended it to several members of the Irish house of commons, and exhorted them to support it with their utmost interest in parliament. I did not foresee, nor could I conceive it possible, the ministry would accept of it, with a condition that makes the plan itself ineffectual, and, as far as it operates, defeats every useful purpose of maintaining a standing military force. His majesty is now so confined by his promise, that he must leave twelve thousand men locked up in Ireland, let the situation of his affairs abroad, or the approach of danger to this country, be ever so alarming, unless there be an actual rebellion, or invasion, in Great Britain. Even in the two cases excepted by the king's promise, the mis. chief must have already begun to operate, must have already taken effect, before his majesty can be authorized to send for the assistance of his Irish army. He has not left himself the power of taking any preventive measures, let his intelligence be ever so certain, let his apprehensions of invasion or rebellion be ever so well founded. Unless the traitor be actually in arms; unless the enemy be in the heart of your country, he cannot move a single man from Ireland.
I feel myself compelled, my lords, to return to that subject which occupies and interests nie most I mean the internal disorder of the constitution, and the remedy it demands. But first, I would observe, there is one point upon which I think the noble duke has not explained himself. I do not mean to catch at words, but, if possible, to possess the sense of what I hear. I would treat every man with candour, and should expect the same candour in return, . For the noble duke, in particular, I have every personal respect and regard. I never desire to understand him,
but as he wishes to be understood. His grace, I think, has laid much stress upon the diligence of the several publick offices, and the assistance given them by the administration, in preparing a state of the expenses of his majesty's civil government, for the information of parliament, and for the satisfaction of the publick. He has given us a number of plausible reasons for their not having yet been able to finish the account; but, as far as I am able to recollect, he has not yet given us the smallest reason to hope that it ever will be finished; or that it ever will be laid before parliament.
My lords, I am not unpractised in business, and if, with all that apparent diligence, and all that assistance, which the noble duke speaks of, the accounts in question have not yet been made up, I am convinced there must be a defect in some of the publick offices, which ought to be strictly inquired into, and severely punished. But, my lords, the waste of the publick money is not of itself so important as the pernicious purpose to which we have reason to suspect that money has been applied. For some years past, there has been an influx of wealth into this country, which has been attended with many fatal consequences, because it has not been the regular, natural produce of labour and industry. The riches of Asia have been poured in upon us, and have brought with them not only Asiatick luxury, but, I fear, Asiatick principles of government. Without connexions, without any natural interest in the soil, the importers of foreign gold have forced their way into parliament, by such a torrent of private corruption, as no private hereditary fortune could resist. My lords, not saying but what is within the knowledge of us all, the corruption of the people is the great original cause of the discontents of the people themselves ,of the enterprise of the crown, and the notorious decay of the internal vigour of the constitution. For this great evil some immediate remedy must be provided; and I confess, my lords, I did hope, that his majesty's servants would not have suffered so many years of peace to relapse, without
paying some attention to an object, which ought to engage and interest us all. I flattered myself I should see some barriers thrown up in defence of the constitution; some impediment formed to stop the rapid progress of corruption. I doubt not we all agree that something must be done. I shall offer my thoughts, such as they are, to the consideration of the house and I wish that every noble lord that hears me, would be as ready as I am to contribute his opinion to this important service. I will not call my own sentiments crude and indigested; it would be unfit for me to offer any thing to your lordships, which I had not well considered, and this subject, I own, has not long occupied my thoughts. I will now give them to your lordships without reserve.
Whoever understands the theory of the English constitution, and will compare it with the fact, must see at once how widely they differ. We must reconcile them to each other, if we wish to save the liberties of this country; we must reduce our political practice, as nearly as possible, to our principles. The constitution intended that there should be a permanent relation between the constituent and representative body of the people. Will any man affirm, that, as the house of commons is now formed, that relation is in any degree preserved? My lords, it is not preserved; it is destroyed. Let us be cautious however, how we have recourse to violent expedients.
The boroughs of this country have properly enough been called the rotten parts of the constitution. I have lived in Cornwall, and without entering into any invidious particularity, have seen enough to justify the appellation. But in my judgment, my lords, these boroughs, corrupt as they are, must be considered as the natural infirmity of the constitution. Like the infirmities of the body, we must bear them with patience, and submit to carry them about with us. The limb is mortified, but the amputation might be death.
Let us try, my lords, whether some gentler remedies may not be discovered. Since we cannot cure the disorder, let us endeavour to infuse such a portion of new health into the constitution, as may enable it to support its most inveterate diseases.
The representation of the countjes is, I think, still preserved pure and uncorrupted. That of the greatest cities is upon a footing equally respectable; and there are many of the larger trading towns, which still preserve their independence. The infusion of health which I now allude to, would be to permit every county to elect one member more, in addition to their present representation. The knights of the shires approach nearest to the constitutional representation of the country, because they represent the soil. It is not in the little dependent boroughs, it is in the great cities and counties that the strength and vigour of the constitution resides, and by them alone, if an unhappy question should ever arise, will the constitution be honestly and firmly defended. It would increase that strength, because I think it is the only security we have against the profligacy of the times, the corruption of the people, and the ambition of the crown.
I think I have weighed every possible objection that can be raised against a plan of this nature ; and I confess I see but one, which, to me, carries any ap. pearance of solidity. It may be said, perhaps, that when the act passed for uniting the two kingdoms, the number of persons who were to represent the whole nation in parliament was proportioned and fixed on for ever. That this limitation is a fundamental article, and cannot be altered without hazarding a dissolution of the Union.
My lords, no man who hears me can have a greater reverence for that wise and important act, than I have. I revere the memory of that great prince who first formed the plan, and of those illustrious patriots who carried it into execution. As a contract, every article of it should be invio able; as the common basis of the strength and happiness of two nations, every arti. cle of it should be sacred. I hope I cannot be suspect.
ed of conceiving a thought so detestable, as to propose an advantage to one of the contracting parties at the expense of the other. No, my lords, I mean that the benefit should be universal, and the consent to receive it unanimous. Nothing less than a most urgent and important occasion should persuade me to vary even from the letter of the act; but there is no occasion, however urgent, however important, that should ever induce me to depart from the spirit of it. Let that spirit be religiously preserved. Let us follow the principle upon which the representation of the two countries was proportioned at the Union; and when we increase the number of representatives for the English coun. ties, let the shires of Scotland be allowed an equal privilege. On these terms, and while the proportion limited by the Union is preserved by the two nations, I apprehend that no man who is a friend to either, will object to an alteration, so necessary for the security of both. I do not speak of the authority of the legislature to carry such a measure into effect, because I imagine no man will dispute it. But I would not wish the legislature to interpose by an exertion of its power alone, without the cheerful concurrence of all parties. My object is the happiness and secu . rity of the two nations, and I would not wish to obtain it without their mutual consent.
My lords, besides my warm approbation of the motion made by the noble lord, I have a natural and personal pleasure in rising up to second it. I consider my seconding his lordship’s motion, and I would wish it to be considered by others, as a publick demonstration of that cordial union, which I am happy to affirm, subsists between us--of my attachment to those principles which he has so well defended, and of my respect for his person. There has been a time, my lords, when those who wished well to neither of us, who wished to see us separated for ever, found a sufficient gratification for their malignity against us both. But that time is happily at an end. The friends of this country will, I doubt not, hear with pleasure, that the noble lord and his friends ar