« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
for di Ginterested patriotism. The personal emoluments of individuals, must be sacrificed to social restoration. The desire of
power, the envy of eminence, the fear of opposition, and the sancour of party muit subside, before ministers will resign their influence, members their election traffick, voters their sale of purchase, or parties their resentments and opposition. While these evils remain we may, by extending our ancient privilege of voting, increase the corruption which impoverishes the country. Adding to the number of voters, will only increase the number to be bribed. And, in proportion to the election expences of our representatives being thus increased, their claims of reimbursement, with interelt, can only be satisfied by increase of taxation.'
In the next chapter the author endeavours to prove, that copyholders being deprived of a right to vote for a representative, is a departure from the principles of our ancient and free conftitution. Admitting what he had before advanced, that all the subjects of the kingdom had an equal right to representation, this proposition must follow, as a necessary result from such a doctrine.
• To deprive copyholders of a share in the legislature, says he, is not only in a general point of view unjust, but is contrary to the laws of nations : copyholders being originally such as were enfranchised from a state of bondage or villenage, they were certainly entitled to the same privileges as the freedmen among the Romans, and every other ftate where this power of introducing new citizens to a government, prevailed. Although it was necelsary to make some distinction between those who were free by birth, and those who were frec by acquisition, yet the distinction mould not have been such as to have deprived them of the first right of citizens. This difference was sufficiently made between a copyholder and freeholder, by obliging the firit to hold it so far at the will of his lord, as it could not be sold or transferred, without being first resigned into the hands of the said lord, who then gave it to the intended possessor, to be held of him, on performance of the same services as the former owner had held it, according to she całom of the respective manor. But the freeholder could alienate his land without even the knowledge of his lord, provided he reserved a fufficiency to secure the performance of his feudal services.'
The sentiments of fir W. Blackstone against the elective rights of copyholders, having been the cause of an express statute, made in the gift of George the Second, to exclude them from the exercise of this privilege, the present chapter concludes with some pertinent observations upon the misinterpretation of the law, and what he thinks inconsistencies, in
the above mentioned learned judge's opinions respecting this subject.
In the eighth chapter the author treats of borough-repre. sentation, and endeavours to show that, according to the principles of our ancient government, as traced in the preceding chapters, every householder has a constitutional right to a Thare in the legislature.
In the ninth chapter he takes a summary view of the government, from William the First until the present period. He then recites what he calls the claims of the people of England; and subjoins the plan of Mr. Glanville Sharp for reforming the representation of Great Britain.
Having already delivered our own opinion respecting the subject of the present volume, it will be fufficient for us to observe, that the author is a zealous affertor of the general right of representation in parliament; that he investigates the principles of the constitution by fair enquiry; and that he seems to have formed his opinions upon what he considers as natural inductions from those principles. But, notwithstanding the moderation he avows, and to the praise of which, in many respects, we think him justly entitled, there is perhaps some reason to question both the practicability and advantage of such a total change in the system of representation, as is evidently the object of his enquiry. We scruple not, however, to acknowledge, that we readily coincide with him in principle; and with regard to the execution of the plan of reform, we join in opinion with the philosophical poet,
Eft quodam prodire tenus, fi non datur ultra. After an investigation of constitutional rights, the author proceeds to the history, political and personal, of the boroughs ; detailing separately the boroughs of each county, according to the alphabetical order of those districts. The present volume contains an account of the boroughs in Bedfordshire, Berkfhire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devonshire, and Dorset hire. The plan pursued by the author, is to give the political character of each borough ; its ancient state of representation ; corpo. ration; right of election; number of voters; returning of. ficer, and patron. As a specimen of the narrative, we shall lay before our readers what is said of Wcymouth and MelcombcRegis, which we have fected on account of the anecdote with which it concludes.
· Political character. These boroughs were the property of the famous Bubb Doddington, who was afterwards created lord Melcombe ; in whose celebrated Diary, the history of these places fo:in a complete account of the politics of vie cimes, when fir
Robert Robert Walpole, lord Wilmington, Mr. Henry Pelham, duke of Newcatile, duke of Devonshire, and the late Mr. Pitt, were minilters. These boroughs then became the property of the late Mr. Tucker; from whom they descended to the late Gabriel Steward, esq. who was mayor of these boroughs for this present year, and is lately deceased. Being in posfellion of these boroughs, he had the lucrative office of paymaller of marines, wbich is 6oool. a year. This gentleman fold them to W. Pulteney, esq. the present poffeffor, whose brothers are two of the four representatives.
Ancient representation.-Melcombe sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward III. which was before Weymouth had the privilege ; and in the reign of Edward III. it was in fo Aourish, ing a ftate, that it was appointed a staple by act of parliament; but, for its quarrels with Weymouth, its privileges, as a port, were in the reign of Henry VI. removed to Poole : they were however rellored to them by act of parliament, in the time of Eli. zabeth ; and in the next reign they were confrmed, on condition that Melcombe and Weymouth should form but one corporation, and enjoy their privileges in common.
• United corporations-consist of a mayor, a recorder, two bailiffs, several aldermen, the number of whom is uncertain ; yet they send four members to parliament, as if they were distinct corporations. In Melcombe there is a good market-place and town-hall, where the members of the corporation, residing in Weymouth, come to attend on public bufiness.
• Right of election.—There has been no resolution of the house as to the express right; but, upon the trial of a contested elec. tion in 1730, the counsel on both sides agreed to the following ftatement of the right being—" in the mayor, aldermen, and capital burgesses inhabiting in the borough, and in persons seized of freebolds within the borough, and not receiving alms."
• Number of voters. The numbers have been as low as 200, and as high as 600 ; but as they are now the property. of an indi. vidual, their decision is entirely at his pleasure.
• Returning oficer- the mayor:
• In the penfion-litt that was published in the reign of Charleş II. is inserted the following paragraphı :
• Weymouth. - Sir W often Churchil, now one of the clerks of the green-cloth, proffered his own daughter to the duke of York, and has got in boon 10,000l. has published a print, that the king may raise money without parliament."
From the nature of this History, it must prove particularly useful to those who shall hereafter be candidates for seats in parliament. But every true friend to the constitution will fino çerely lament, that the important privilege of election, ori
ginally ginally intended for the security of public freedom, should be converted into an engine for the gratification of private ambition or avarice ; and if any thing can add to the weight of argument in favour of a parliamentary reform, a confideration to humiliating as that which has just been mentioned must tend very much to recommend the expediency of such an attempt.
We are informed by the publisher, that the second volume will appear in May next.
Memoirs of the Life of the late Charles Lee, Esq. Lieut. Colonel
of the 44th Regiment, Colonel in the Portuguese Service, Major General, and Aid du Camp to the King of Poland, and fecond in Command in the Service of the United States of America during the Revolution: to which are added his Political and Military Effrys. Alo Letters to and from many diftinguished Characters, both in Europe and America. 800. 53. Boards. Jordan.. 1792. TH *HESE Mcmoirs, we are informed, were transmitted to
England, for publication, in the year 1786, by Mr. Langworthy, a member of congress for the state of Georgia; since which time they have remained in the hands of the editor, uintil, at lait, he resolved to put them to the preis. The perfun to whom they relate bore a conspicuous part in the latt war; and was not less diftinguished by the incidents in his life, than the incoherent and contradictory motives which fucceffively irinenced his conduct. At one time he was a determi, ned royaliit, at another a violent republican. The rigid exertion of regal authority would now be the object of his warmest approbation; in the next moment he was the panegyrist, the idolater, and the voluntary victim of liberty. Through the whole of his life he appears to have been vehement and eccentric; and, if not in his personal attachments, at least in his opinion of men and things, almost perpetually fluctuating.
It appears from the Memoirs, that mujor-general Lee was the youngest son of John Lee of Dernhall, in the county of Cheiter, who was promoted, in 1742, to a regiment of foot. The son was an officer at eleven years of
and we are told that, from his earliest youtil, he was ardent in the pursuit of knowledge. After acquiring a competent skill in the Greek and Latin, tactics became his favourite study, in which he spent much time and pains; defiring nothing more than to distinguish himself in the profession of arms. He served in the British arniy in the war of 1756, and received a wound at the battle of Í'iconderoga. In the war of 1762, he bore a
colonel's commission, and served under general Burgoyne in Portugal, where he distinguished himself by his military conduct. At the conclusion of the peace he returned to England, after having received the thanks of his Portuguese majeity for his services. We are told that he had, at this period, a friend and patron in high office, one of the principal secretaries of ftate; so that there was every reafon for him to have expected promotion in the British army. But this, it seems, was prevented by his enthusiasm for America ; on which account he loft the favour of the ministry, and with this all hopes of promotion.
Naturally averse to inactivity, he now betook himself to the Polish service; and was of course absent when the stamp act passed. It appears, however, that he did not cease labouring in the cause of America ; but exerted all his abilities with every correspondent he had, in either house of parliament, of any weight or influence. The author of the Memoirs observes, that this famous act had divided almost every court in Europe into two different parties : one of them, affertors of the prerogative of the British parliament; the other, of the rights and privileges of America. He affirms that general Lee, on this occasion, pleaded the cause of the colonies with such earneltness as almost to break off all intercourse with the king's ministers at the court of Vienna, men that he personally loved and esteemed; but, at the same time, it was thought, that he pleaded with so much success as to add not a few friends and partizans to the American cause.
The general who, we are told, could never stay long in one place, during the years 1771, 1772, to the autumn of 1773, had rambled all over Europe ; but nothing of any consequence can be collected relative to the adventures of his travels, as his memorandum-books only mention the names of the towns and cities through which he passed. It appears, however, that he was engaged with an officer in Italy in an affair of honour, by which he lost the use of two of his fingers: but having recourse to pistols, the Italian was dain, and
he was immediately obliged to fly for his life. His warmth of temper, it is added, drew him into many rencounters of this kind
Towards the end of 1773, general Lee arrived in America, where he became second in command in the service of the United States. After some successful encounters with the British troops, he was, in 1776, made prisoner by colonel Harcourt, but exchanged with other prisoners fubiequent to the affair of Saratoga.
The statement of the general's fortunc when he joined the Americans, is as follows: four hundred and eighty pounds