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of their desire by the very eagerness with which they attempt to grasp it. Inheritors and conservators of rational freedom, let us, while others are seeking it in restlessness and trouble, be a steady and shining light to guide their course, not a wandering meteor to bewilder and mislead them.
Let it not be thought that this is an unfriendly or disheartening counsel to those who are either struggling under the pressure of harsh goveryment, or exulting in the novelty of sudden emancipation. It is addressed much rather to those who, though cradled and educated amidst the sober blessings of the British Constitution, pant for other schemes of liberty than those which that Constitution sanctions, other than are compatible with a just equality of civil rights, or with the necessary restraints of social obligation ;-of some of whom it may be said, in the language which Dryden puts into the mouth of one of the most extravagant of his heroes, that,
· "They would be free as Nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began,
3. When wild in woods the noble savage ran." Noble and swelling sentiments !--but such as cannot be reduced into practice. Grand ideas !--but which must be qualified and artjusted by a compromise between the aspirings of individuals, and a due concern for the general tranquillity ;-must be subdued and chastened by reason and experience, before they can be die rected to any useful end! A search after abstract perfection in government, may produce, in generous minds, ao enterprise and enthusiasm to be recorded by the historian and to be celebrated by the poet': but such perfection is not an object of reasonable pursuit, because it is not one of possible attainment: and never yet did a passionate struggle after an absolutely unattainable object fail to be productive of misery to an individual, of madness and confusion to a people. As the inhabitants of those burning climates, which lie beneath a tropical sun, sigh for the coolness of the mountain and the grove; so (all history instructs us) do nations which have basked for a time in the torrent blaze of an unmitigated liberty, too often call upon the shades of despotism,-even of military despotism,-to cover them
"o quis me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi
Sistat, et ingenti ramorum protegat umbra !" a protection which blights while it shelters; which dwarfs the intellect, and stunts the energies of man, but to which a wearied nation willingly resorts from intolerable heats and from perpetual danger of convulsion.
Our lot is happily cast in the temperate zone of freedom; the
clime best suited to the developement of the moral qualities of the human race; to the cultivation of their faculties, and to the security as well as the improvement of their virtues :-a clime not exempt indeed from variations of the elements, but variations which purify while they agitate the atmosphere that we breathe. Let us be sensible of the advantages which it is our happiness to enjoy. Let us guard with pious gratitude the flame of genuine liberty,—that fire from heaven, of which our Constitution is the holy depository; --and let us not, for the chance of rendering it more intense and more radiant, impair its purity or hazard its extinction! in · The Noble Lord is entitled to the acknowledgments of the House, for the candid, able, and ingenuous manner in which he has brought forward his Motion. If in the remarks which I have made upon it, there has been any thing which has borne the appearance of disrespect to him, I hope he will acquit me of having so intended it. That the Noble Lord will carry his Motion this evening, I have no fear; but with the talents which he has shown himself to possess, and with (I sincerely hope) a long and brilliant career of parliamentary distinction before him, he will, no doubt, renew his efforts hereafter. Although I presume not to expect that he will give any weight to observations or warnings of mine, yet on this, probably the last, opportunity which I shall have, of raising my voice on the Question of Parliamentary Reform, while I conjure the House to pause before it consents to adopt the proposition of the Noble Lord, I cannot help conjuring the Noble Lord himself to pause before he again presses it upon the country. If, however, he shall persevere, and if his perseverance shall be successful, and if the results of that success shall be such as I cannot help apprehending ;-his be the triumph to have precipitated those results,-be mine the consolation that to the utmost, and the latest of my power, I have opposed them.
Mr. SPEAKER, In pursuance of the notice which I gave, I rise to bring under the consideration of The House, the state of the Representation of the People in Parliament.
If at all times, and upon all subjects, I must be most unwilling to trespass on the attention of this House, on no occasion can I be more reluctant than on the present; and I can assure you, that nothing but a deep sense of public duty, and an anxious desire to put an end to that spirit of discontent, now so generally prevailing, could have induced me to take up a question, the great and important interests of which I feel that I am not competent adequately to protect. In the first place, I know that I have to contend against that disinclination which has invariably been shown by this House towards its discussion; a disinclination founded possibly on that dislike which is inherent in all men, and bodies of men, to hear accusations against themselves, and statements of faults and corruptions openly laid to their charge. If I wanted any evidence in support of this assertion, this well-known truth, I should undoubtedly find it in the present state of the benches opposite to me. Perhaps indeed I should be justified in taking advantage of it, and at once submitting my Motion to the vote; as the result of that division clearly would be its adoption : for it requires no great discernment to perceive that at this moment the majority is greatly on the side of the Friends to Reform.
But, Sir, I shall not be tempted into this irregularity, as it would prevent that ample discussion, that calm and deliberate consideration, to which this important subject is justly entitled, and without which it would be a mere mockery to propose it. If this scantiness of attendance is meant as an insult to myself, I treat it with contempt; if it is pointed at the question, I then repel it with feelings of deep indignation, and can only hope that it will not be lost on the people of England, who will not, cannot be insensible to the manper in which a subject, so interesting to them, has been treated by His Majesty's Ministers. Indeed of all the placemen who usually crowd the opposite benches, at this moment I only perceive those Right Honourable Twins, so lovingly united in affection, in principle, and in the representation of the oysterdredgers of Harwich.
In addition to this studied neglect, I have also to lament the disadvantage of following those eminent and illustrious characters, who have at different times advocated this question, and who by their virtues and their abilities have conferred as much lustre on the cause, as they received from the sacred and patriotic nature of the trust confided to them. I know, likewise, that I shall have to contend against the weight of the overwhelming eloquence of a Right Honorable Gentleman opposite, who has ever placed him. self first and foremost in the ranks of those who oppose any alteration in the state of the Representation, and whose hostility is never directed with more zeal, energy, or ability, than against that extended principle of amelioration, which it is my duty this night to press on the consideration of this House. Under these great and manifold disadvantages, therefore, and a deep sense of my own inadequacy, to overcome them, I can only hope that the House will extend to me that indulgence, which at no time was more necessary, and that they will believe me when I assert, that my motives for undertaking this arduous office are founded solely on an ardent desire to serve my country, and to conciliatę large classes of the community, loudly, but steadily complaining of their deprivation of the greatest privilege of our Constitution,-and attributing, and justly in my opinion, the distress under which they are at present laboring, to a long system of misrule and mismanagement, which never could have existed, much less continued, if it had not been caused and protected by a gross and notorious system of corruption in the Representation of the People
Sir, I have heard much said lately of the dangerous state of the times and I think with justice, for they are awful and portentous; sad from the recollection of past, and gloomy from the prospect of future events, before the fulfilment of which, the importance of * 1 The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Bragge Bathurst, who were then seated side by side, and were the only members on the Treasury Bench. : * Mr. Canning.