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• I cannot fing with lib'ral hand the grairt,
And tell the feather'd race fo bleft around,
With broken necks you futter on the ground.”
Enjoy the fruits that bounteous nature yields ;
Skim the free air, and search the fruitful fields-
No violence hall take your shelter'd home ; 'Tis life and liberty shall glad my groves;
The cry of murder Thall not damn my dome.” The Elegy on my dying Ass’ abounds with reflections in teresting, pathetic, and natural. The following lines contain a mixture of tenderness and humour: the poet's eyes are full of tears, but a satirical (inile plays about his mouth: the patody is well executed, and its object need not be pointed out.
« Oft to the field as health my footstep draws,
Thy turf shall surely catch thy master's eye ;
Dwell on past days, and leave thee with a figh.
When innocence upon our actions (mild !--
Thou a wild cub, and I a cub as wild ?
How oft we wander'd at the peep of morn;
And filence listen'd to the beetle's horn.
The various trophies by thy fleetness won;
Beheld the feats by nametake Peter done.' The Academic Ode, on the Danger of Criticism; the Progrefs of Admiration, or the Windfor Cardeners, in other words, the Progress of the Windfor Gardener's Admiration of Ma. jesty; the Progress of Knowledge, in which a neighbouring monarch is wickedly represented as going to Eton, to enquire about the actions of Cæfar; and to introduce, by his questions, some of the ridiculous traits, which Squire Peter and others,
not yet taken,' have industriously invented or embellished, follow. They have the true Pindaric relish, and will be laughed or frowned at, according to the humour or the party of the seader. The Address to tie Virtu:s is highly humourous, and
we shall transcribe a few lines. If Peter objects to our quotations, we must remind him of his first address to the Reviewers in his “Supplicating Epistle.'
• Quote from my works whate'er you please ;
For extracs loI'll put no angry face on,
To trounce a bookseller like *Thele, however, must be the last ;' finis chartæque viæques
* I know your parentage and education-
“How could you think the passions to withstand,
An entire and complete History, political and personal, of the
Boroughs of Great Britain. Vol. I. 8vo. 103.6d. Boards.
Riley. 1792. 7 A
Reform in parliamentary representation has undergone
much difcuffion of late years; and though some of its advocates have brought discredit upon the measure, by the chimerical plans they proposed, and the vehemence with which they were actuated, yet the subject is undoubtedly of the greatest importance to a free conftitution, and deferves, when temperately treated, the most serious attention of the public. The chief complaint with regard to the rights of the people, is the inequality of representation, by which, in its present state, only a small part of the commons is entitled to a fuffrage at the election of members of parliament. This partial and exclusive privilege, it is contended, is inconfiftent with liberty; the nature of which requires, that all the inhabitants of a free stare fhould enjoy in an equal degree every privilege eilintial to the conftitution of such a government.
Against this general and indiscriininate equality of right, it is argued, on the other hand, that ail men do not, either by nature or fortune, enjoy the fame capacity of exercising the right of election, to their own political advan-age, or that of the community; and that, even admitting the existence of such a capacity, the conftitution of parliament, established by dong prescription, has placed the right of election in the hands of a few, whom to deprive of this ancient inheritance, would therefore be an act of injustice.
It will readily be acknowledged by all impartiaļ enquirers, . that however great, and almost unsurmountable, may be the disliculties annexed to a general right of election, yet such a right is actually inseparable from the idea of perfect liberty. Upon the same principle it may be argued, that any charter granted by the crown, to confer the privilege of sending members to parliament, is a violation of general freedom, by re stricting to local districts a privilege which belongs equally and unalienably to every part of the nation. And it will thence likewise follow, that no prescription, however ancient, can justly be urged as a fanction to such a mode of representation as is incontent with the general equality of the people, con sidered in a political view,
In whatever light this great public question be considered, the final determination of it is attended with no small embar rassment; and political theory and practice seem to be at variance in the decision. If we admit the universal right of election, it will be found extremely difficult to regulate the exercise of that right, in such a manner as not only to render it beneficial, but to prevent it from becoming actually injurious to public freedom. If, on the other hand, we attempt to avoid those effects, by any limitation of right, even under the most plausible pretext, we should offer violence to a principle which is, in fact, the basis of liberty. In such a dilemma, it might be prudent to make a compromise, between what is ftrictly just in speculation, and what may be practised with the greatest advantage to the community. For this purpose, perhaps, a reform of apparent abuses only, is the expedient which ought to be aimed at by a politician of moderate prine ciples, without attempting, especially all at once, a total renovation of what may seem to have been the original conftitution of the country. This temperate conduct is the more ad. viseable, when we consider not only the great prosperity of the nation, but the length of time during which it has maintained įts liberties, under the prelent mode of representation ; and thofe liberties never can be infringed, while there fubfifts that jealousy of the executive power, which is natural to a mixed form of government, and is the cistinguishing characteristic of British subjects. Let us now proceed to give an account of the work before us.
In the first chapter, the author considers the necessity, propriety, and chief principles of enquiring into the original state of our reprefentation. His purpose is, to prove that our liberties may be renovated without the defiruction of the constitu tion or personal facrifice, by a free, equal, and entire representation of the people.
In the second chapter he treats of parliament; its meaning power, and privileges, with attendant observations.
• As our ftate-abuses, fays he, are not in the laws but in their administration, we are not under the fame neceflity of creating a new system; nor need we, to restrain unjust influence, intrench upon just prerogative. The evil resides more in ourselves than in the government. Were every voter in the kingdom to resolve never, from this moment, to receive a bribe or gratuity, or to choose a placeman or pensioner, the constitution would recover its energy, and corruption would cease. But as human nature in general is more likely to be reduced by the offer of a present advantage, and is very little affected by the prospect of diftant consequences, while bribes are offered they will be received. The remedy is, therefore, to prevent all posibility of tempting the voter by either re. ward or promise, and to effect this, with safety to the constitution, requires the united wisdom and disinterested efforts of the nation.'
In the three succeeding chapters the author examines the right of representation before the conquest. It has been afserted by some political writers, that the commons of England were no part of the ancient commune concilium before the 49th of Henry the Third, and that it was then introduced by rebellion ; but the author endeavours to prove, and in our opinion with success, that the mickle-gemote, wittenagemote, commune concilium, and baronagium Angliæ, were chiefly constituted by the commons or people of England during the time of the Britons and Saxons.
The fixth chapter treats of ancient right to landed property, This the author concludes to have been allodial, and possessed free from all those services and incumbrances which afterwards distinguished feudal tenures. Some writers have maintained, that lands held by allodial tenure were only annual possessions; but our author justly observes, that as they were deviseable by sale, or deed of gift, they must have been an inheritance. The following extract from this part of the work, will give our readers an idea of the author's principles, at the same time that it shows the difficulty of correcting the abuses which he wishes to be eradicated :
• The country being, thus, divided into two species of individuals, one possessing the land as the proprietor, and the other cultivating it as their vassals, the privilege of attending the legislative assemblies, as well as having a share in the proceedings of the judiciary courts, were necelarily confined to the land-holders. But it muß be observed, that this privilege of land-hol
ders extended to every freeman of the country. War and agris culture being their chief employments, there were no other but posiestors of land to claim the privilege. Arts and commerce had not then created other ranks to claim the exercise of this invalu able blessing. The ancient right, therefore, of freeholders atiend. ing their leiler parliaments of the county courts, and the greater of the wittena-gemotes, has been falsely urged as a precedent to frove, that none but poffe Xors of such estates were competent to the exercise of elective franchise,-unless they were freemen of fhartered horoughs. As land was the only original pelieflion of our Saxon anceitors, it was this species of property alone which could entitle them to the right of freemen. But had they owned any value of merchandize that claimed the protection of their government, as free and independent members of the community, they would equally have had the power of making their own laws, Not merely poliefing the right of ele&ting representatives, they would have been, as they were, their own legisla:ors. The Saxon right of election was not confined to the choice of a member of parliament. Every officer, whether civil, military, ecclefiaftical, and even regal, they appointed. And this right of election, which our ancestors brought with them from Germany, still exists in that country. The election of the emperor is the remains of that noble and distinguished privilege. Thus, while the de. scendants of Saxons in England have so lost their ancient right, as not one in thirty-tuo has the power of choosing a member for a paltry borough, one Saxon in Germany has a vote in the choice of his fovereign. Such is the different tenour of liberty in England and Saxony. But this is not the fault of our confiturienį it is the corrupt practices which have turned even our privileges against our intereits. According to the present system of election, a small part of us have the power of voting for those who sacrifice us to their own ambition. And if such be the consequence of our ele&ive rights, is it not in anity to be desirous of claiming a favour which, according to the present fyftem of influence, we mult exercise to our destruction ? We should first restore the practice to its original purity, before we can expect to resume our rights with the leait advantage to ourselves or the community. We may prove that every copyholder, as well as freeholder-every householder as well as every hurgess of a chartered city or borough have, according to the firit principles of our constitution, an equal right in the legi cure. We may prove that charters were only infringements on the univerial liberties of the people, in favour of such as were in the immediate interest, or under the arbitrary controul, of sovereignty. But all these evidences will not restore our rights, unless all parties unanimously join in the renovation of the state. he corrupt infiuence of contending ambition, must be changed