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They can do very little harm--for
[_by the bye, he is no dealer in political cant_] the English are a
sober-thinking people, and are more intelligent, more solid, more steady
in their opinions, than any people I ever had the fortune to see. [_This
is pretty well laid on, though, for a new beginner_.] But if there
should ever come a time when the propagation of those doctrines should
agitate the public mind, I am sure for every one of your Lordships, that
no attack will be made on the constitution, from which it is truly said
that we derive all our prosperity, without raising every one of
your Lordships to its support It will then be found that there is no
difference among us, but that we are all determined to stand or fall
together, in defence of the inestimable system "--[_of places and
pensions_].

* See his speech in the Morning Chronicle of Feb. 1.--
Author.

After Stormont, on the opposition side, sat down, up rose another noble
Lord, on the ministerial side, Grenville. This man ought to be as strong
in the back as a mule, or the sire of a mule, or it would crack with
the weight of places and offices. He rose, however, without feeling any
incumbrance, full master of his weight; and thus said this noble Lord to
t'other noble Lord!

"The patriotic and manly manner in which the noble Lord has declared
his sentiments on the subject of the constitution, demands my cordial
approbation. The noble Viscount has proved, that however we may differ
on particular measures, amidst all the jars and dissonance of parties,
we are unanimous in principle. There is a perfect and entire consent
[_between us_] in the love and maintenance of the constitution as
happily subsisting. It must undoubtedly give your Lordships concern, to
find that the time is come [heigh ho!] when there is propriety in the
expressions of regard to [o! o! o!] the constitution. And that there are
men [confound--their--po-li-tics] who disseminate doctrines hostile to
the genuine spirit of our well balanced system, [_it is certainly well
balanced when both sides hold places and pensions at once._] I agree
with the noble viscount that they have not [I hope] much success. I am
convinced that there is no danger to be apprehended from their attempts:
but it is truly important and consolatory [to us placemen, I suppose] to
know, that if ever there should arise a serious alarm, there is but one
spirit, one sense, [_and that sense I presume is not common sense_]
and one determination in this house "--which undoubtedly is to hold all
their places and pensions as long as they can.

Both those speeches (except the parts enclosed in parenthesis, which
are added for the purpose of illustration) are copied verbatim from the
Morning Chronicle of the 1st of February last; and when the situation of
the speakers is considered, the one in the opposition, and the other
in the ministry, and both of them living at the public expence, by
sinecure, or nominal places and offices, it required a very unblushing
front to be able to deliver them. Can those men seriously suppose
any nation to be so completely blind as not to see through them? Can
Stormont imagine that the political _cant_, with which he has larded his
harangue, will conceal the craft? Does he not know that there never was
a cover large enough to hide _itself_? Or can Grenvilie believe that his
credit with the public encreases with his avarice for places?

But, if these orators will accept a service from me, in return for the
allusions they have made to the _Rights of Man_, I will make a speech
for either of them to deliver, on the excellence of the constitution,
that shall be as much to the purpose as what they have spoken, or as
_Bolingbroke's captivating eulogium_. Here it is.

"That we shall all be unanimous in expressing our attachment to the
constitution, I am confident. It is, my Lords, incomprehensibly good:
but the great wonder of all is the wisdom; for it is, my lords, _the
wisest system that ever was formed_.

"With respect to us, noble Lords, though the world does not know it, it
is very well known to us, that we have more wisdom than we know what to
do with; and what is still better, my Lords, we have it all in stock. I
defy your Lordships to prove, that a tittle of it has been used yet; and
if we but go on, my Lords, with the frugality we have hitherto done, we
shall leave to our heirs and successors, when we go out of the world,
the whole stock of wisdom, _untouched_, that we brought in; and there is
no doubt but they will follow our example. This, my lords, is one of the
blessed effects of the hereditary system; for we can never be without
wisdom so long as we keep it by us, and do not use it.

"But, my Lords, as all this wisdom is hereditary property, for the sole
benefit of us and our heirs, and it is necessary that the people should
know where to get a supply for their own use, the excellence of our
constitution has provided us a King for this very purpose, and for _no
other_. But, my Lords, I perceive a defect to which the constitution
is subject, and which I propose to remedy by bringing a bill into
Parliament for that purpose.

"The constitution, my Lords, out of delicacy, I presume, has left it as
a matter of _choice_ to a King whether he will be wise or not. It has
not, I mean, my Lords, insisted upon it as a constitutional point,
which, I conceive it ought to have done; for I pledge myself to your
Lordships to prove, and that with _true patriotic boldness_, that he has
_no choice in the matter_. This bill, my Lords, which I shall bring in,
will be to declare, that the constitution, according to the true intent
and meaning thereof, does not invest the King with this choice; our
ancestors were too wise to do that; and, in order to prevent any doubts
that might otherwise arise, I shall prepare, my Lords, an enacting
clause, to fix the wisdom of Kings by act of Parliament; and then, my
Lords our Constitution will be the wonder of the world!

"Wisdom, my lords, is the one thing needful: but that there may be no
mistake in this matter, and that we may proceed consistently with the
true wisdom of the constitution, I shall propose a _certain criterion_
whereby the _exact quantity of wisdom_ necessary for a King may be
known. [Here should be a cry of, Hear him! Hear him!]

"It is recorded, my Lords, in the Statutes at Large of the Jews, 'a
book, my Lords, which I have not read, and whose purport I know only by
report,' _but perhaps the bench of Bishops can recollect something about
it_, that Saul gave the most convincing proofs of royal wisdom before
he was made a King, _for he was sent to seek his father's asses and he
could not find them_.

"Here, my Lords, we have, most happily for us, a case in point: This
precedent ought to be established by act of Parliament; and every King,
before he be crowned, should be sent to seek his father's asses, and
if he cannot find them, he shall be declared wise enough to be King,
according to the true meaning of our excellent constitution. All,
therefore, my Lords, that will be necessary to be done by the enacting
clause that I shall bring in, will be to invest the King beforehand with
the quantity of wisdom necessary for this purpose, lest he should happen
not to possess it; and this, my Lords, we can do without making use of
any of our own.

"We further read, my Lords, in the said Statutes at Large of the
Jews, that Samuel, who certainly was as mad as any Man-of-Rights-Man
now-a-days (hear him! hear him!), was highly displeased, and even
exasperated, at the proposal of the Jews to have a King, and he warned
them against it with all that assurance and impudence of which he was
master. I have been, my Lords, at the trouble of going all the way to
_Paternoster-row_, to procure an extract from the printed copy. I was
told that I should meet with it there, or in _Amen-eorner_, for I was
then going, my Lords, to rummage for it among the curiosities of the
_Antiquarian Society_. I will read the extracts to your Lordships, to
shew how little Samuel knew of the matter.

"The extract, my Lords, is from 1 Sam. chap. viii.:

"'And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked
of him a King.

"'And he said, this will be the manner of the King that shall reign
over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for
his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his
chariots.

"'And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over
fifties, and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest,
and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

"'And he will take your daughters to be confectionnes, and to be cooks,
and to be bakers.

"'And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your
olive-yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

"'And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and
give to his officers and to his servants.

"'And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your
goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

"'And he will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his
servants.

"'And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your King, which ye shall
have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.'

"Now, my Lords, what can we think of this man Samuel? Is there a word of
truth, or any thing like truth, in all that he has said? He pretended
to be a prophet, or a wise man, but has not the event proved him to be a
fool, or an incendiary? Look around, my Lords, and see if any thing has
happened that he pretended to foretell! Has not the most profound peace
reigned throughout the world ever since Kings were in fashion? Are not,
for example, the present Kings of Europe the most peaceable of mankind,
and the Empress of Russia the very milk of human kindness? It would not
be worth having Kings, my Lords, if it were not that they never go to
war.

"If we look at home, my Lords, do we not see the same things here as are
seen every where else?



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