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be futile. Can such a national, principled union be resisted by the tricks of office or ministerial manœuvres? Heaping papers on your table, or counting your majorities on a division, will not avert or postpone the hour of danger. It must arrive, my lords, unless these fatal acts are done away: it must arrive in all its horrours; and then these boastful ministers, in spite of all their confidence and all their manœuvres, shall be compelled to hide their heads.
But it is not repealing this or that act of parliament; it is not repealing a piece of parchment, that can restore America to your bosom: you must repeal her fears and resentments, and then you may hope for her love and gratitude. But now, insulted with an armed force, irritated with an hostile array before her eyes, her concessions, if you could force them, would be suspicious and insecure. But it is more than evident that you cannot force them to your unworthy terms of submission: it is impossible; we ourselves shall be forced ultimately to retract; let us retract while we can, not when we must.
I repeat it, my lords, we shall one day be forced to undo these violent acts of oppression: they must be repealed; you will repeal them. I pledge myself for it, that you will in the end repeal them: I stake my reputation on it: I will consent to be taken for an idiot if they are not repealed." Avoid then this humiliating, disgraceful necessity. With a dignity becoming your exalted situation, make the first advances to concord, to peace, and to happiness. Concession comes with better grace and more salutary effect from superior power: it reconciles superiority of power with the feelings of man, and establishes solid confidence on the foundations of affection and gratitude.
On the other hand, every danger and every hazard impend, to deter you from perseverance in the present ruinous measures: foreign war hanging over your heads by a slight and brittle thread-France and Spain watching your conduct, and waiting for the maturity of your errours, with a vigilant eye to America, and the temper of your colonies, more than to their own concerns, be they what they may. To conclude, my lords, if the ministers thus persevere in misadvising and misleading the king, I will not say, that they can alienate the affections of his subjects from the. crown; but I affirm, they will make the crown not worth his wearing. I will not say that the king is betrayed, but I will pronounce, that the kingdom is undone.
PROPERTY AN ELEMENT OF SOCIETY.
Extract from a Speech of Mr. Upshur in the Convention of Virginia.
THE question before us, is not whether a majority shall rule in the Legislature, but, of what elements that majority shall be composed. If the interests of the several parts of
the Commonwealth were identical, it would be, we admit, safe and proper that a majority of persons only should give the rule of political power. But our interests are not identical, and the difference between us arises from property alone. We therefore contend that property ought to be considered, in fixing the basis of representation.
What, sir, are the constituent elements of society? Persons and property. What are the subjects of legislation? Persons and property. Was there ever a society seen on earth, which consisted only of men, women and children? The very idea of society, carries with it the idea of property, as its necessary and inseparable attendant. History cannot show any form of the social compact, at any time, or in any place, into which property did not enter as a constituent element, nor one in which that element did not enjoy protection in a greater or less degree. Nor was there ever a society in which the protection once extended to property, was afterwards withdrawn, which did not fall an easy prey to violence and disorder. Society cannot exist without property; it constitutes the full half of its being.
Take away all protection from property, and our next business is to cut each other's throats. All experience proves this. The safety of men depends on the safety of property; the rights of persons must mingle in the ruin of the rights of property. And shall it not then be protected? Sir, your government cannot move an inch without property. Are you to have no political head? No Legislature to make laws? no Judiciary to interpret them? no Executive to enforce them? And if you are to have all these departments, will they render their services out of mere grace and favour, and for the honour and glory of the thing? Not in these. money-loving days, depend on it. If we would find patriotism thus disinterested, we must indeed go back to a period prior to Bible history.
And what are the subjects upon which the law-making power is called to act? Persons and property.
two subjects, and not to one of them alone, is the business of legislation confined. And of these two, it may be fairly asserted that property is not only of equal, but even of more importance. The laws which relate to our personal actions, with reference to the body politic; which prescribe the duties which we owe to the public, or define and punish crime, are comparatively few in number, and simple in their provisions. And one half of these few, find their best sanctions in public opinion. But the ramifications of the rights of property are infinite. Volume upon volume, which few of us, I fear, are able to understand, are required to contain even the leading principles relating to them; and yet new relations are every day arising, which require continual interpositions of the legislative power.
If, then, sir, property is thus necessary to the very being of society; thus indispensable to every movement of government; if it be that subject upon which government chiefly acts; is it not, I would ask, entitled to such protection as shall be above all suspicion, and free from every hazard?
NECESSITY OF PROTECTING PROPERTY.
Second Extract from the same Speech.
GENTLEMEN have admitted the principle, that property must be protected, and protected in the very form now proposed; they are obliged to admit it. It would be a wild and impracticable scheme of government, which did not admit it. Among all the various and numerous propositions lying upon your table, is there one which goes the length of proposing universal suffrage? There is none. Yet this subject is in direct connexion with that. Why do you not admit a pauper to vote? He is a person: he counts one in your numerical majority. In rights strictly personal, he has as much interest in the government as any other citizen. He is liable to commit the same offences, and to become exposed to the same punishments as the rich man. Why, then, shall he not vote?
Because, thereby, he would receive an influence over property; and all who own it, feel it to be unsafe, to put the power of controlling it into the hands of those who are not
the owners. If you go on population alone, as the basis of representation, you will be obliged to go the length of giving the elective franchise to every human being over twenty-one years, yes, and under twenty-one years,-on whom your penal laws take effect; an experiment, which has met with nothing but utter and disastrous failure, wherever it has been tried. No, Mr. Chairman, let us be consistent; let us openly acknowledge the truth; let us boldly take the bull by the horns, and incorporate this influence of property as a leading principle in our Constitution. We cannot be otherwise consistent with ourselves.
I was surprised to hear the assertion made by gentlemen on the other side, that property can protect itself. What is the meaning of such a proposition? Is there anything in property, to exert this self-protecting influence, but the political power which always attends it? Is there anything in mere property alone, in itself considered, to exert any such influence? Can a bag of golden guineas, if placed upon that table, protect itself? Can it protect its owner? I do not know what magic power the gentlemen allude to. If it is to have no influence in the government, what and where is its power to protect itself? Perhaps the power to buy off violence; to buy off the barbarian who comes to lay it waste by a reward, which will but invite a double swarm of barbarians to return next year. Is this one of the modes alluded to? This, I am well assured, never entered into the clear mind of the very intelligent gentleman from Frederick.
How else, then, may property be expected to protect itself? It may be answered, by the influence which it gives to its owner. But in what channels is that influence exerted? It is the influence which prevents the poor debtor from going against the will of his creditor; which forbids the dependent poor man from exerting anything like independence, either in conduct or opinion; an influence which appeals to avarice on both sides, and depends for its effect on rousing the worst and basest of passions, and destroying all freedom of will, all independence of opinion.
Is it desirable to establish such an influence as this? an influence which marches to power through the direct road to the worst, and most monstrous of aristocracies,—the aristocracy of the purse? an influence which derives its effect from the corruption of all principle, the blinding of the judgment, and the prostration of all moral feeling? and
whose power is built on that form of aristocracy, most of all to be dreaded in a free government? The gentleman appeals to fact, and says that property always has protected itself, under every form of government. The fact is not admitted. Property never has protected itself long, except by the power which it possessed in the government.
ENTERPRISE OF NEW ENGLAND COLONISTS.-Burke.
As to the wealth, Mr. Speaker, which the colonies have drawn from the sea by their fisheries, you had all that matter fully opened at your bar. You surely thought those acquisitions of value, for they seemed even to excite your envy; and yet, the spirit by which that enterprising employment has been exercised, ought rather, in my opinion, to have raised your esteem and admiration. And pray, sir, what in the world is equal to it? Pass by the other parts, and look at the manner in which the people of New England have of late carried on the whale fishery.
Whilst we follow them among the tumbling mountains of ice, and behold them penetrating into the deepest frozen recesses of Hudson's Bay, and Davis's Straits; whilst we are looking for them beneath the arctic circle, we hear that they have pierced into the opposite region of polar cold, that they are at the antipodes, and engaged under the frozen serpent of the south. Falkland Island, which seemed too remote and romantic an object for the grasp of national ambition, is but a stage and resting-place in the progress of their victorious industry.
Nor is the equinoctial heat more discouraging to them, than the accumulated winter of both the poles. We know, that whilst some of them draw the line and strike the harpoon on the coast of Africa, others run the longitude, and pursue their gigantic game along the coast of Brazil. No sea but what is vexed by their fisheries. No climate that is not witness to their toils. Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous and firm sagacity of English enterprise, ever carried this most perilous mode of hardy industry to the extent, to which it has been pushed by this recent people; a people who are