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assent of listening and obsequious friends ; in public, the venal cry and prepared vote of a passive senate, confirm him in habits of begging the question with inipunity, and asserting without thinking himself obliged to prove.
CHOICE OF MINISTERS.
The popular election of magistrates, and popular disposition of rewards and honours, is one of the first advantages of a free state. Without it, or something equivalent to it, perhaps the people cannot long enjoy the substance of freedom ; certainly none of the vivifying energy of good government. The frame of our commonwealth did not admit of such an actual election : but it provided as well, and (while the spirit of the constitution is preserved) better for all effects of it than by the method of suffrage in any democratic state whatsoever. · It had always, until of late, been held the first duty of parliament, to refuse to support government, until power was in the hands of persons who were acceptable to the people, or while factions predominated in the court in which the nation had no confidence. Thus all the good effects of popular election were supposed to be secured to us, without the mischiefs attending on perpetual intrigue, and a distinct canvass for every particular office throughout the body of the people. This was the most noble and refined part of our constitution. The people, by their representatives and grandees, were intrusted with a deliberative power in making laws; the king with the controul of his negative. The king was intrusted with the deliberative choice and the election to office; the people had the negative in a parliamentary refusal to support, Formerly this power of controul was
what kept ministers in awe of parliaments, and parliaments in reverence with the people. If the use of this power of controul on the system and persons of administrations is gone, every thing is lost, parliament and all. We may assure ourselves, that if parliament will tamely see evil men take possession of all the strong holds of their country, and allow them time and mcans to fortify themselves, under a pretence of giving them a fair trial, and upon a hope of discovering, whether they will not be reformed by power, and whether their measures will not be better than their morals ; such a parliament will give countenance to their measures also, whatever that parliament may pretend, and whatever those measures
Every good political institution must have a preventive operation as well as a remedial. It ought to have a natural tendency to exclude bad men from government, and not to trust for the safety of the state to subsequent punishment alone : punishment, which has ever been tardy and uncertain; and which, when power is suffered in bad hands, may chance to fall rather on the injured than the criminal.
Before men are put forward into the great trusts of the state, they ought by their conduct to have obtained such a degree of estimation in their country, as may be some sort of pledge and security to the public, that they will not abuse those trusts. It is no nean security for a proper use of power, that a man has shewn by the general tenor of his actions, that the affection, the good opinion, the confidence, of bis fellow citizens have been among the principal objects of his life; and that he has owed none of the gradations of his power or fortune to a settled contempt, or occasional forfeiture of their esteem.
That man who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends, or who losing it has no friends to sympathize with him; he who has no sway among any part of the landed or commercial interest, but whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it ; is a person who ought never to be suffered by, a controuling parliament to continue in any of those situations which confer the lead and direction of all our public affairs; because such a man has no connexion with the interest of the people.
Those knots or cabals of men who have got together, avowedly without any public principle, in order to sell their conjunct iniquity at the higher rate, and are therefore universally odious, ought never to be suffered to domineer in the state ; because they have no connexion with the sentiments and opinions of the people.
These are considerations which in my opinion enforce the necessity of having some better reason, in a free country, and a free parliament, for supporting the ministers of the crown, than that short one, that the king has thought proper to appoint them. There is something very courtly in this. But it is a principle pregnant with all sorts of mischief, in a constitution like ours, to turn the views of active men from the country to the court. Whatever be the road to power, that is the road which will be trod. If the opinion of the country be of no use as a means of power or consideration, the qualities which usually procure that opinion will be no longer cultivated. And whether it will be right, in a state so popular in its constitution as ours, to leave ambition without popular motives, and to trust all to the operation of pure virtue in the minds of kings and ministers, and public men, must be submitted to the judgment and good sense of the people of England.
It is a serious affair, this studied disunion in government. In cases where union is most consulted in the constitution of a ministry, and where persons are best disposed to promote it, differences, from the various ideas of men, will arise ; and from their passions, will often ferment into violent heats, so as greatly to disorder all public business. What must be the consequence, when the very distemper is made the basis of the constitution; and the original weakness of human nature is still further enfeebled by art and contrivance? It must subvert government from the very foundation. It turns our public councils into the most mischievous cabals; where the consideration is, not how the nation's business shall be carried on, but how those who ought to carry it on shall circumvent each other. In such a state of things, no order, uniformity, dignity, or effect, can appear in our proceedings either at home or abroad. Nor will it make much difference, whether some of the constituent parts of such an administration are men of virtue or ability, or not; supposing it possible that such men, with their eyes open, should choose to make a part in such a body.
All men who, under whatever pretext, take a part in the formation or the support of systems constructed in such a manner as must, in their nature, disable them from the execution of their duty, have made themselves guilty of all the present distraction, and of the future ruin, which they may bring upon their country.
I SHALL be compelled to conclude the principle of parliament to be totally corrupted, and therefore its ends entirely defeated, when I see two symptoms ; first, a rule of indiscriminate support to all ministers ; because this destroys the very end of parliament as a controul, and is a general previous sanction to misgovernment; and secondly, the setting up any claims adverse to the right of free election ; for this tends to subvert the legal authority by which the house of commons sits.
I repeat it again--He that supports every administration, subverts all government. The reason is this: The whole business in which a court usually takes an interest goes on at present equally well, in whatever hands, whether high or low, wise or foolish, scandalous or reputable; there is nothing therefore to hold it firm to any one body of men, or to any one consistent scheme of politics. Nothing interposes, to prevent the full operation of all the caprices and all the passions of a court upon the servants of the public. The system of administration is open to continual shocks and changes, upon the principles of the meanest cabal, and the most contemptible intrigue. Nothing can be solid and permanent. All good men at length fy with horror from such a service. Men of rank and ability, with the spirit which ought to animate such