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to their force, are still a minority of the people of this country. But nothing is so likely to convert that minority into a majority, as feeble, graceless concessions on our part, concessions by which we shall forsake the vantage ground on which we stand, by which we shall surrender our best weapons of defence, by which we shall increase the strength of our enemies, without at all abating their rancour. Sir, in every age, and in every country, those who have been entrusted with the power of the state, have had to contend with something which for the moment has been the favourite project of vain, ambitious, or mistaken men. In our days they have thought fit to aim at a vital part, and the constitution of parliament is what we have to defend, and what it will require our utmost efforts to secure. Indeed, the very nature and condition of man almost forbid one to expect, that blessings so great as those we enjoy under the existing order of things, should, for long together, be held without interruption, and without struggle. For that struggle, I trust, we are prepared; since, if I am not much deceived, it will be long, perilous, and doubtful. But, at least, let us have no paltry ineffectual compromise. Letus make our standuponourimmemorialusages,upon the wisdom of our ancestors, and far more, for there are persons to whom these things seemlight, uponthe practical benefits we have derived from the present system in times of singular dif. ficulty and danger. This is our only

chance either for dignity or safety;

but if we come at last with our miserable canting confession, implied or expressed, that we, heretofore falsely and fraudulently denominating ourselves the Commons of England, are not the Commons of England, and that we are too weak and too corrupt to manage the affairs that have been entrusted to us, and that therefore we

will allow ourselves to be reformed a little, and suffer the government to be brought something nearer the pure and perfect model of democracy that ought to exist in this house; they will rejoice at the principle we shall admit, but they will require, and justly require, that we should follow it up with much larger concessions; they will laugh at our moderate reform, and treat us with scorn for believing, that, after having been so long kept out of their clear, and, by ourselves, acknowledged rights, they will at last be satisfied by the restoration of a small and insignificant part of them. They will proceed, as indeed, to do them justice, they have openly and manfully declared, in their own way, and upon their own principles—principles utterly incompatible with that order of things under which we have hitherto lived, and under which, I am not ashamed to say, I am still desirous to live. We may purchase a truce with these persons, but there can be no real peace, no substantial agreement between us. No concordat could be framed by which they can enter into our church, or we into theirs. Sooner or later the difference must break out, and the resistance must be made; and those which my honourable friend considers as timely concessions, and healing measures, are, in fact, only so many demonstrations of weakness and irresolution, which, though they may stagger the faith, and chill the zeal of the great body of the people who are still true to the constitution, will neither gain to us a single useful proselyte, nor retard our fate by a single hour. “Sir, I beg pardon for having detained the house so long, but I was anxious not to lose this opportunity of expressing my settled aversion to this and all similar measures. If, for any thing that I have said, I am thought less true to the principles of free government, or less attached to

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those with whom I have hitherto acted, it will be to me a matter of the most serious concern. I have always been, and still am, a sincere and zealous friend to civil and religious freedom, and I have therefore been anxious that the conduct of affairs should be entrusted to persons resting upon some more solid and constitutional basis of power than mere court favour, and that some check should be given to the influence of the crown, so increased with our increasing establishments, and with these objects in view I have been naturally led to concur, for the most part, with those that opposed the ministers of the crown. But if these objects, the attainment of which I do not despair of under the existing order of things, are to be pursued by means of a change in the constitution of the country, if we are to put every thing at stake in order to remedy a partial grievance, why then, sir, I can only say, that “non haec in a fadera veni,” I have made no such to engagement, I will embark in no such design, I will subscribe to none of these new articles of faith, borrowed from the Gallican church, to be added to our ancient creed. The “Borough System,” as it is invidiously called, existed very nearly in its present form in what are justly considered as the best times. Perhaps the na3 ture of liberty may be a great deal better understood now than it was by our ancestors, and it may be idle to appeal to the authority of statesmen who flourished a hundred years ago. For my own part, however, I am not ambitious to live and die under a better-constitution than that which was bequeathed to us by those great men that brought about the Revolution of 1688. These men were neither ignoout of the foundation upon which their rights rested, nor timid or lukewarm in asserting them; they were men capable of proceeding to the WOL. V. PART I.

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- - . . . . . . . . boldest deeds upon the most enlightened joi les, and who had not hes, sitated, in defence of their civil an religious liberties, to hurl their sove-, reign from his throne, and begin a new era in the history of their country. And yet, sir, when the authors, and supporters of that measure had accomplished their object, when Lord Halifax, and Lord Somers, and Lord, Godolphin, and Lord Sunderland, the Cavendishes, and the Russells, when all the great families, and all the most illustrious individuals, who acted upon what were then called Whig rinciples, imagined, vainly (as it has {. lately discovered,), and foolishly imagined, that they had reared a fa. bric under which they and their posterity might live to happiness and to glory, the people of England were i. as imperfectly represented in pariament as they are now. In those days, as well as in these, the elective franchise was vested in decayed towns and in small corporations; and, as far as it can be ascertained as many persons owed their seats to individual influence as at the present moment, and yet no person appears so much as to have pretended that these anomalies were in their nature grievances, or that it was necessary to render the House of Commons a purely democratical asto in j. to preserve the liberties of the people. Be it right or be it wrong, this doctrine is not of ancient date, as some persons idly pretend, and without the least colour of authority from history or tradition, but is #. mere offspring of the age in which we live. hether or not it is to prevail, whether the present order of things draws to a close, or whether, notwithstanding some unfavourable appearances, the same good sense and good fortune, which have conducted the people of England to that pinnacle of prosperity on which they now stand, will be sufficient to F.

avert their minds from these delusive phantoms of imaginary happiness and unattainable perfection, I am as yet unable to foresee; I am willing to hope for the best; but there are symptoms in the public mind and in the conduct of some of our most eminent public men, that make me tremble for the worst.” Allusions were made in the course of the debate to the number of placemen and pensioners in the house, to whose votes the triumphs of ministers over their opponents were of course ascribed. These reflections drew a short reply from Mr Perceval, of which the following passage places this famous topic of declamation in a very luminous point of view. “He had no objection to the lists of the majority and minority being dissected. If this were done in order to leave none who were biassed by interest in favour of government, all the placemen would be at once struck off as a

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CHAP. III.

Returns under the Population Act laid before Parliament. Barrack Estimates. Debates on some recent Appointments. Mr Creevey's Motion respecting the Tellership of the Exchequer. Sinecure Qsice Bill. The Budget. Finance

Resolutions.

w The increase of population has, in general, been considered by statesmen as a great advantage in itself, and an unequivocal symptom of the prosperity and happiness of the state. The researches of an able and original writer of the present day have thrown new lights on the subject; they have shewn that a proposition which was once almost universally received, must be taken under important limitations; that the increase of population is not in itself a positive good, but may in some cases be a very strong symptom of misgovernment, and that it is only when the means of subsistence are increased in the same ratio with the numbers of the people, that the rapid growth of Population ought to be desired. The general principle which pervades the Essay on Population must command the assent of all who are capable of understanding the subject; but, like many other excellent principles, it is often forgotten amid the complication of details, and the variety of aspects which ‘very great political question presents in its application to practice. But when we find that population has been increasing, while the comforts of the great body of the people have, at the ome time, been improved; that the losses inevitably sustained in a course

of protracted warfare have not been felt, but that the energies of the country have risen superior to the difficulties with which it has been surrounded, the advantages of an increased population are at once unquestionable and unmixed; and the reasons for congratulating the country on such a state of things may be deduced from the most o and liberal principles of political, philosophy. Such was, in fact, the state of England, after twenty years of general warfare, in which she took so great a part and made so conspicuous a figure. A comparative statement of the population of the several counties of Great Britain in the years 1801 and 1811, together with the returns under the act passed in the last session of parliament, were laid before the House of Commons. It may be proper to mention here, that no regular census had been taken of the population of England, Scotland, and Wales, until the year 1801, when Mr Abbot’s bill was passed, which was followed up in the last session by Mr Rose’s act, under which the late enumeration was completed. When the accounts were presented, Mr Rose made some excellent remarks on this important subject.—From the papers on the table,

it appeared, that, in the course of the last ten years, viz. since the census of 1801, an increase of population, to the amount of more than one million and a half, had taken place. In England that increase appeared to be in a ratio of fourteen per centum, in Wales twelve, and in Scotland thirteen. This increase of population exhibited an extent and duration unexampled in the history of the country: and what was still more surprising, the increase of the males had been as great as that of the females. The total population of England, Scotland, and Wales, in 1801, was 10,472,048 ; it now amounted to 11,911,644, making an increase of 1,439,596 persons actually resident in the country; which, added to 170,000 serving in the army and navy abroad, made a total amount of 1,609,498. It is a singular proof of the energies of the country, that the population should have increased so fast, when the drain of men for the army, navy, and mercantile service is considered. It might be said, that at a period when the country exhibited such an increased population, employment for the lower orders had diminished; but in the manufacturing counties, and there only, had a temporary failure occurred. Every where else, the demand for labour kept pace with the increase of the ... . taking the whole circumstances of the country into consideration, it was of greatimportance to the empire that the population exhibited this progressive increase. Some persons wereof opinion, that the apparent increase in the present census arose, in some measure, from the imperfect execution of the former act; but the census of 1801, which was entrusted to the same persons who were employed on the present occasion, was very nearly correct. A subject of very grave importance stood connected with this increase of population—the ity of supplying O

the people with food. The high price of provisions at home, and the uncertainty of a supply of grain from other countries, called upon the legislature to devise means to enable the country to sustain its population independently of foreign aid.—The amount of H. importations of grain was placed in a clear point of view by an account produced about the same time with the returns of the population. By that account it appeared, that during eleven years, from 1775 to 1786, the average quantity of grain imported annually was 564,413 quarters; from 1787 to 1798, 1,136,101 quarters; and from 1799 to 1810, including three years of scarcity, 1,471,003 quarters. The average prices were 30s. per quarter, in the first period, 40s. in the second, and 60s. in the third. During the last year not less than 4,271,000l. went out of the country for the sustenance of the inhabitants—a matter of most serious importance to the public interest. By another account, it appeared that the consumption of wheat and flour imported from foreign countries, had been progressively increasing from 1775 to the present time. In 1810, the quantity imported was 693,000 quarters, which clearly proved that the increase in the consumption of wheat was greater than that which had taken place in all the other kinds of grain; and that those who did not formerly consume wheat, now made it a principal part of their food.—To meet the growing wants of the population, without having recourse to foreign countries, formed one of the great objects of an enlightened legislation. The inclosure of commons and waste lands had been carried to a great extent; but had not kept pace with the necessities of the country. All the lands fit for the growth of barley, oats, &c. Mr Rose observed, should be continued under that species of tillage; and every en

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