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6d. English) is an elector. What article will Mr.
Burke place against this? Can anything be more limited, and at the same
time more capricious, than the qualification of electors is in England?
Limited--because not one man in an hundred (I speak much within compass)
is admitted to vote. Capricious--because the lowest character that can
be supposed to exist, and who has not so much as the visible means of an
honest livelihood, is an elector in some places: while in other places,
the man who pays very large taxes, and has a known fair character, and
the farmer who rents to the amount of three or four hundred pounds a
year, with a property on that farm to three or four times that amount,
is not admitted to be an elector. Everything is out of nature, as Mr.
Burke says on another occasion, in this strange chaos, and all sorts of
follies are blended with all sorts of crimes. William the Conqueror and
his descendants parcelled out the country in this manner, and bribed
some parts of it by what they call charters to hold the other parts of
it the better subjected to their will. This is the reason why so many
of those charters abound in Cornwall; the people were averse to the
Government established at the Conquest, and the towns were garrisoned
and bribed to enslave the country. All the old charters are the badges
of this conquest, and it is from this source that the capriciousness of
election arises.

The French Constitution says that the number of representatives for
any place shall be in a ratio to the number of taxable inhabitants or
electors. What article will Mr. Burke place against this? The county
of York, which contains nearly a million of souls, sends two county
members; and so does the county of Rutland, which contains not an
hundredth part of that number. The old town of Sarum, which contains
not three houses, sends two members; and the town of Manchester, which
contains upward of sixty thousand souls, is not admitted to send any.
Is there any principle in these things? It is admitted that all this
is altered, but there is much to be done yet, before we have a fair
representation of the people. Is there anything by which you can trace
the marks of freedom, or discover those of wisdom? No wonder then Mr.
Burke has declined the comparison, and endeavored to lead his readers
from the point by a wild, unsystematical display of paradoxical
rhapsodies.

The French Constitution says that the National Assembly shall be elected
every two years. What article will Mr. Burke place against this? Why,
that the nation has no right at all in the case; that the government is
perfectly arbitrary with respect to this point; and he can quote for his
authority the precedent of a former Parliament.

The French Constitution says there shall be no game laws, that the
farmer on whose lands wild game shall be found (for it is by the produce
of his lands they are fed) shall have a right to what he can take; that
there shall be no monopolies of any kind--that all trades shall be free
and every man free to follow any occupation by which he can procure
an honest livelihood, and in any place, town, or city throughout the
nation. What will Mr. Burke say to this? In England, game is made the
property of those at whose expense it is not fed; and with respect to
monopolies, the country is cut up into monopolies. Every chartered
town is an aristocratical monopoly in itself, and the qualification of
electors proceeds out of those chartered monopolies. Is this freedom? Is
this what Mr. Burke means by a constitution?

In these chartered monopolies, a man coming from another part of the
country is hunted from them as if he were a foreign enemy. An Englishman
is not free of his own country; every one of those places presents a
barrier in his way, and tells him he is not a freeman--that he has no
rights. Within these monopolies are other monopolies. In a city, such
for instance as Bath, which contains between twenty and thirty thousand
inhabitants, the right of electing representatives to Parliament is
monopolised by about thirty-one persons. And within these monopolies
are still others. A man even of the same town, whose parents were not
in circumstances to give him an occupation, is debarred, in many cases,
from the natural right of acquiring one, be his genius or industry what
it may.

Are these things examples to hold out to a country regenerating itself
from slavery, like France? Certainly they are not, and certain am I,
that when the people of England come to reflect upon them they will,
like France, annihilate those badges of ancient oppression, those traces
of a conquered nation. Had Mr. Burke possessed talents similar to the
author of "On the Wealth of Nations." he would have comprehended all
the parts which enter into, and, by assemblage, form a constitution.
He would have reasoned from minutiae to magnitude. It is not from his
prejudices only, but from the disorderly cast of his genius, that he is
unfitted for the subject he writes upon. Even his genius is without a
constitution. It is a genius at random, and not a genius constituted.
But he must say something. He has therefore mounted in the air like a
balloon, to draw the eyes of the multitude from the ground they stand
upon.

Much is to be learned from the French Constitution. Conquest and tyranny
transplanted themselves with William the Conqueror from Normandy into
England, and the country is yet disfigured with the marks. May, then,
the example of all France contribute to regenerate the freedom which a
province of it destroyed!

The French Constitution says that to preserve the national
representation from being corrupt, no member of the National Assembly
shall be an officer of the government, a placeman or a pensioner. What
will Mr. Burke place against this? I will whisper his answer: Loaves and
Fishes. Ah! this government of loaves and fishes has more mischief in
it than people have yet reflected on. The National Assembly has made the
discovery, and it holds out the example to the world. Had governments
agreed to quarrel on purpose to fleece their countries by taxes, they
could not have succeeded better than they have done.

Everything in the English government appears to me the reverse of
what it ought to be, and of what it is said to be. The Parliament,
imperfectly and capriciously elected as it is, is nevertheless supposed
to hold the national purse in trust for the nation; but in the manner in
which an English Parliament is constructed it is like a man being both
mortgagor and mortgagee, and in the case of misapplication of trust it
is the criminal sitting in judgment upon himself. If those who vote the
supplies are the same persons who receive the supplies when voted, and
are to account for the expenditure of those supplies to those who voted
them, it is themselves accountable to themselves, and the Comedy of
Errors concludes with the pantomime of Hush. Neither the Ministerial
party nor the Opposition will touch upon this case. The national purse
is the common hack which each mounts upon. It is like what the country
people call "Ride and tie--you ride a little way, and then I."*[5] They
order these things better in France.

The French Constitution says that the right of war and peace is in the
nation. Where else should it reside but in those who are to pay the
expense?

In England this right is said to reside in a metaphor shown at the Tower
for sixpence or a shilling a piece: so are the lions; and it would be
a step nearer to reason to say it resided in them, for any inanimate
metaphor is no more than a hat or a cap. We can all see the absurdity of
worshipping Aaron's molten calf, or Nebuchadnezzar's golden image; but
why do men continue to practise themselves the absurdities they despise
in others?

It may with reason be said that in the manner the English nation is
represented it signifies not where the right resides, whether in the
Crown or in the Parliament. War is the common harvest of all those who
participate in the division and expenditure of public money, in all
countries. It is the art of conquering at home; the object of it is an
increase of revenue; and as revenue cannot be increased without taxes,
a pretence must be made for expenditure. In reviewing the history of the
English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded
by prejudice nor warped by interest, would declare that taxes were not
raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.

Mr. Burke, as a member of the House of Commons, is a part of the English
Government; and though he professes himself an enemy to war, he abuses
the French Constitution, which seeks to explode it. He holds up the
English Government as a model, in all its parts, to France; but he
should first know the remarks which the French make upon it. They
contend in favor of their own, that the portion of liberty enjoyed in
England is just enough to enslave a country more productively than by
despotism, and that as the real object of all despotism is revenue,
a government so formed obtains more than it could do either by direct
despotism, or in a full state of freedom, and is, therefore on the
ground of interest, opposed to both. They account also for the readiness
which always appears in such governments for engaging in wars by
remarking on the different motives which produced them. In despotic
governments wars are the effect of pride; but in those governments in
which they become the means of taxation, they acquire thereby a more
permanent promptitude.

The French Constitution, therefore, to provide against both these evils,
has taken away the power of declaring war from kings and ministers, and
placed the right where the expense must fall.

When the question of the right of war and peace was agitating in the
National Assembly, the people of England appeared to be much interested
in the event, and highly to applaud the decision. As a principle it
applies as much to one country as another. William the Conqueror, as
a conqueror, held this power of war and peace in himself, and his
descendants have ever since claimed it under him as a right.

Although Mr.



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