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he can give me no
answer. If I ask him what monarchy is, he believes it is something like
a sinecure.

Notwithstanding the taxes of England amount to almost seventeen millions
a year, said to be for the expenses of Government, it is still evident
that the sense of the Nation is left to govern itself, and does
govern itself, by magistrates and juries, almost at its own charge, on
republican principles, exclusive of the expense of taxes. The salaries
of the judges are almost the only charge that is paid out of the
revenue. Considering that all the internal government is executed by the
people, the taxes of England ought to be the lightest of any nation
in Europe; instead of which, they are the contrary. As this cannot be
accounted for on the score of civil government, the subject necessarily
extends itself to the monarchical part.

When the people of England sent for George the First (and it would
puzzle a wiser man than Mr. Burke to discover for what he could be
wanted, or what service he could render), they ought at least to have
conditioned for the abandonment of Hanover. Besides the endless German
intrigues that must follow from a German Elector being King of England,
there is a natural impossibility of uniting in the same person the
principles of Freedom and the principles of Despotism, or as it is
usually called in England Arbitrary Power. A German Elector is in his
electorate a despot; how then could it be expected that he should be
attached to principles of liberty in one country, while his interest in
another was to be supported by despotism? The union cannot exist; and it
might easily have been foreseen that German Electors would make German
Kings, or in Mr. Burke's words, would assume government with "contempt."
The English have been in the habit of considering a King of England only
in the character in which he appears to them; whereas the same person,
while the connection lasts, has a home-seat in another country, the
interest of which is different to their own, and the principles of the
governments in opposition to each other. To such a person England
will appear as a town-residence, and the Electorate as the estate. The
English may wish, as I believe they do, success to the principles of
liberty in France, or in Germany; but a German Elector trembles for
the fate of despotism in his electorate; and the Duchy of Mecklenburgh,
where the present Queen's family governs, is under the same wretched
state of arbitrary power, and the people in slavish vassalage.

There never was a time when it became the English to watch continental
intrigues more circumspectly than at the present moment, and to
distinguish the politics of the Electorate from the politics of the
Nation. The Revolution of France has entirely changed the ground with
respect to England and France, as nations; but the German despots, with
Prussia at their head, are combining against liberty; and the
fondness of Mr. Pitt for office, and the interest which all his family
connections have obtained, do not give sufficient security against this
intrigue.

As everything which passes in the world becomes matter for history, I
will now quit this subject, and take a concise review of the state of
parties and politics in England, as Mr. Burke has done in France.

Whether the present reign commenced with contempt, I leave to Mr. Burke:
certain, however, it is, that it had strongly that appearance. The
animosity of the English nation, it is very well remembered, ran high;
and, had the true principles of Liberty been as well understood then
as they now promise to be, it is probable the Nation would not have
patiently submitted to so much. George the First and Second were
sensible of a rival in the remains of the Stuarts; and as they could not
but consider themselves as standing on their good behaviour, they had
prudence to keep their German principles of government to themselves;
but as the Stuart family wore away, the prudence became less necessary.

The contest between rights, and what were called prerogatives, continued
to heat the nation till some time after the conclusion of the American
War, when all at once it fell a calm--Execration exchanged itself for
applause, and Court popularity sprung up like a mushroom in a night.

To account for this sudden transition, it is proper to observe that
there are two distinct species of popularity; the one excited by merit,
and the other by resentment. As the Nation had formed itself into
two parties, and each was extolling the merits of its parliamentary
champions for and against prerogative, nothing could operate to give
a more general shock than an immediate coalition of the champions
themselves. The partisans of each being thus suddenly left in the lurch,
and mutually heated with disgust at the measure, felt no other relief
than uniting in a common execration against both. A higher stimulus
or resentment being thus excited than what the contest on prerogatives
occasioned, the nation quitted all former objects of rights and wrongs,
and sought only that of gratification. The indignation at the Coalition
so effectually superseded the indignation against the Court as to
extinguish it; and without any change of principles on the part of the
Court, the same people who had reprobated its despotism united with it
to revenge themselves on the Coalition Parliament. The case was not,
which they liked best, but which they hated most; and the least hated
passed for love. The dissolution of the Coalition Parliament, as it
afforded the means of gratifying the resentment of the Nation, could not
fail to be popular; and from hence arose the popularity of the Court.

Transitions of this kind exhibit a Nation under the government of
temper, instead of a fixed and steady principle; and having once
committed itself, however rashly, it feels itself urged along to justify
by continuance its first proceeding. Measures which at other times
it would censure it now approves, and acts persuasion upon itself to
suffocate its judgment.

On the return of a new Parliament, the new Minister, Mr. Pitt, found
himself in a secure majority; and the Nation gave him credit, not out
of regard to himself, but because it had resolved to do it out of
resentment to another. He introduced himself to public notice by
a proposed Reform of Parliament, which in its operation would have
amounted to a public justification of corruption. The Nation was to be
at the expense of buying up the rotten boroughs, whereas it ought to
punish the persons who deal in the traffic.

Passing over the two bubbles of the Dutch business and the million
a-year to sink the national debt, the matter which most presents itself,
is the affair of the Regency. Never, in the course of my observation,
was delusion more successfully acted, nor a nation more completely
deceived. But, to make this appear, it will be necessary to go over the
circumstances.

Mr. Fox had stated in the House of Commons, that the Prince of Wales,
as heir in succession, had a right in himself to assume the Government.
This was opposed by Mr. Pitt; and, so far as the opposition was
confined to the doctrine, it was just. But the principles which Mr. Pitt
maintained on the contrary side were as bad, or worse in their extent,
than those of Mr. Fox; because they went to establish an aristocracy
over the nation, and over the small representation it has in the House
of Commons.

Whether the English form of Government be good or bad, is not in this
case the question; but, taking it as it stands, without regard to its
merits or demerits, Mr. Pitt was farther from the point than Mr. Fox.

It is supposed to consist of three parts:--while therefore the Nation
is disposed to continue this form, the parts have a national standing,
independent of each other, and are not the creatures of each other. Had
Mr. Fox passed through Parliament, and said that the person alluded to
claimed on the ground of the Nation, Mr. Pitt must then have contended
what he called the right of the Parliament against the right of the
Nation.

By the appearance which the contest made, Mr. Fox took the hereditary
ground, and Mr. Pitt the Parliamentary ground; but the fact is, they
both took hereditary ground, and Mr. Pitt took the worst of the two.

What is called the Parliament is made up of two Houses, one of which is
more hereditary, and more beyond the control of the Nation than what
the Crown (as it is called) is supposed to be. It is an hereditary
aristocracy, assuming and asserting indefeasible, irrevocable rights
and authority, wholly independent of the Nation. Where, then, was
the merited popularity of exalting this hereditary power over another
hereditary power less independent of the Nation than what itself assumed
to be, and of absorbing the rights of the Nation into a House over which
it has neither election nor control?

The general impulse of the Nation was right; but it acted without
reflection. It approved the opposition made to the right set up by
Mr. Fox, without perceiving that Mr. Pitt was supporting another
indefeasible right more remote from the Nation, in opposition to it.

With respect to the House of Commons, it is elected but by a small part
of the Nation; but were the election as universal as taxation, which it
ought to be, it would still be only the organ of the Nation, and cannot
possess inherent rights.--When the National Assembly of France resolves
a matter, the resolve is made in right of the Nation; but Mr. Pitt, on
all national questions, so far as they refer to the House of Commons,
absorbs the rights of the Nation into the organ, and makes the organ
into a Nation, and the Nation itself into a cypher.

In a few words, the question on the Regency was a question of a million
a-year, which is appropriated to the executive department: and Mr. Pitt
could not possess himself of any management of this sum, without setting
up the supremacy of Parliament; and when this was accomplished, it was
indifferent who should be Regent, as he must be Regent at his own cost.
Among the curiosities which this contentious debate afforded, was that
of making the Great Seal into a King, the affixing of which to an act
was to be royal authority.



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