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furthering this, object; and in all of these his services were exerted with great advantage to the cause he espoused. In the

year 1785 another general meeting of the county wa3- summoned, where, in support of the petition which he drew up for the occasion, he delivered one of the most animated and energetic defences of the measure, that. perhaps ever was made, and of which the following is but a very brief abstract.

He began with endeavouring to restore the harmony of the meeting, which had been something endangered by one gentleman indulging the warmth of the moment, and expressing more than he probably intended, and by other gentlemen apprehending too much from even an indirect opposition to a measure, in which their hearts were so honestly concerned. He was persuaded, that they agreed in wishing well to the general object that was in view, though they might differ in smaller matters, which, whether right or wrong, would not in all probability be even contemplated by the Le

gislature,

gislature, and therefore, however objects of private speculation, could not wisely be introduced into public debate. But with respect to the general question, he thought he could clearly collect, that it met all their minds; that the broad face of wisdom, of justice, and of utility, which it presented, enforced approbation or submission from all. It seemed to be conceded by all, that the representative body was not what it ought to be, and that the national security, which à true representation promises, must be ábandoned to despair, if it's constitutional character were not recovered, if some salutary reform were not effected in this exceedingly degenerate and corrupted body. There was a shamefacedness in the opponents of a parliamentary reform, a shrinking from the question, which induced a suspicion, that their voice was at variance with their heart,

secret conviction, that no arguments of truth, of right, of fitness, or of wisdom, could be adduced to give a colour to their opposition. The reform, which the petition

prayed

prayed for, was constitutional, it was wise, it was necessary. In vindicating it's claim to a constitutional right, he repeated in a concise manner that historic view of our constitution, which he had stated at large to the county when it was last assembled at Mansfield. To this he added, that the same clear truth was to be inferred from the very theory of our constitution, as it was conceived by every one, by foreigners as well as natives. No one ever expressed his idea of it in other terms, than that of a coalescence of three distinct estates for a common good. The only three civil orders of men, which the idea or experience of government can give birth to, and which separately or unitedly stamps a character on every government that man has known, were all adopted by the excellent constitution of these kingdoms, that what might not safely be intrusted to one or two of the three, might be secured by the union of all, that they might form a well-balanced depository. of that Supreme Power, which every go

vernment

vernment must somewhere repose. This, whether in the same terms or no, is the idea which has ever been entertained of the British

government, which every writer on the subject has expressed; it is the common notion of us all, for which we might equally appeal to the enemies as to the friends of the petition. But the truth and essence of this fine idea of the British government was gone, if one of these three independent orders of the state were utterly swallowed up by one or both of the remaining two. There ought to be a common sense, a decent consistency in our notions, whatever they be; yet men and Britons can so far abandon all sense and meaning, as to talk with rapture of the unrivalled form of their government, yet acknowledge as an incontested fact, that one of the three orders, the independency of which enters into the very theory of this government, is, as to all it's efficacy and power, created and controlled by the other two. Either mairitain, that the government of these kingdoms is wisely reduced from three or

ders

ders to two, or reassert the independence of that house of commons, which was meant to originate from us, and to be actuated by our soul. In the true spirit and virtue of our constitution, we were designed to be freemen; abandoned to the will of the other two orders of the state, we must descend with the other nations of the Earth to the condition of slaves; for it is not in human wisdom to provide for freedom, when all power is surrendered to those higher ranks of life, whom virtue sooner quits, and who are not formed to sympathize with the degraded mass of the community.

In maintenance of the same constitutional right, he appealed to the constitutional language of these kingdoms. The meaning of established terms, early adopted by, and for ever preserved in the course of any government, exhibited the most decisive proofs of the original spirit and intention of it's constitution. King, Lords, and Commons, meant three separate unmixed political orders, or meant nothing that answered to the ex

pressions.

VOL. I.

1

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