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him to linger in the same prison which his temporary passions might tempt him to prepare for others.
In consequence of this disposition of things, great men are made to join in a common cause with the people, for restraining the excesses of the governing power; and, which is no less essential to the public welfare, they are also, from the same cause, compelled to restrain the excess of their own private power and influence; and a general spirit of justice becomes thus diffused through all parts of the state.
The wealthy commoner, the representative of the people, the potent peer, always having before their eyes the view of a formidable power,-of a power, from the attempts of which they have only the shield of the laws to protect them, and which would, in the issue, retaliate a hundred fold upon them their acts of violence,—are compelled, both to wish only for equitable laws, and to observe them with scrupulous exactness.
Let then the people dread (it is necessary to the preservation of their liberty), but let them never entirely cease to love, the throne, that sole and indivisible seat of all the active powers in the state.
Let them know it is that, which, by lending
an immense strength to the arm of justice, has enabled her to bring to account, as well the most powerful as the meanest offender,which has suppressed, and, if I may so express myself, weeded out all those tyrannies, sometimes confederated with, and sometimes adverse to, each other, which incessantly tend to grow up in the middle of civil societies, and are the more terrible in proportion as they feel themselves to be less firmly established.
Let them know, it is that, which, by making all honours and places depend on the will of one man, has confined within private walls those projects, the pursuit of which, in former times, shook the foundations of whole states;has changed into intrigues the conflicts, the outrages of ambition ;-and that those contentions which, in the present times, afford them only matter of amusement, are the volcanoes which set in flames the ancient commonwealths.
It is that which, leaving to the rich no other security for his palace than that which the peasant has for his cottage, has united his cause to that of the latter,-the cause of the powerful to that of the helpless,-the cause of the man of extensive influence and connexions to that of him who is without friends.
It is the throne above all, it is this jealous power, which makes the people sure that its representatives never will be any thing more than its representatives: at the same time it is the ever-subsisting Carthage, which vouches to it for the duration of their virtue.
The Powers which the People themselves exercise.The Election of Members of Parliament.
THE English constitution having essentially
connected the fate of the men to whom the people trust their power with that of the people themselves, really seems, by that caution alone, to have procured the latter a complete security.
However, as the vicissitude of human affairs may, in process of time, realize events which at first had appeared most improbable, it might happen that the ministers of the executive power, notwithstanding the interest they themselves have in the preservation of public liberty, and in spite of the precautions expressly taken to prevent the effect of their influence, should at length employ such efficacious means +
of corruption as might bring about a surrender of some of the laws upon which this public liberty is founded. And though we should suppose that such a danger would really be chimerical, it might at last happen, that conniving at a vicious administration, and being over-liberal of the produce of general labour, the representatives of the people might make them suffer many of the evils which attend worse forms of government.
Lastly, as their duty does not consist only in preserving their constituents against the calamities of an arbitrary government, but moreover in procuring them the best administration. possible, it might happen that they would manifest, in this respect, an indifference which would, in its consequences, amount to a real calamity.
It was, therefore, necessary that the constitution should furnish a remedy for all the above cases: now, it is in the right of electing members of parliament, that this remedy lies.
When the time is come at which the commission, given by the people to their delegates, expires, they again assemble in their several towns or counties: on these occasions they have it in their power to elect again those of
their representatives whose former conduct they approve, and to reject those who have contributed to give rise to their complaints. A simple remedy this, and which only requiring, in its application, a knowledge of matters of fact, is entirely within the reach of the abilities of the people; but a remedy, at the same time, which is the most effectual that could be applied; for as the evils complained of arise merely from the peculiar dispositions of a certain number of individuals, to set aside those individuals is to pluck up the evil by
But I perceive, that, in order to make the reader sensible of the advantages that may accrue to the people of England from their right of election, there is another of their rights, of which it is absolutely necessary that I should first give an account.
The Subject continued.-Liberty of the Press.
As the evils that may be complained of in a state do not always arise merely from the