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to the Revolution, by statute only-to do away (as far as precedents can shame men into fairness) with the possibility of all questions of right on these occasions, and to remit us to the discussion of policy only. From Edward I. to Henry IV., it seems that the right of election of the knights of the shire was in all freeholders. The 7th Henry IV. invaded this monopoly, by throwing it open to 'suitors duly summoned, and others. The evil of excessive numbers,' recited in its preamble, brought in the celebrated enactment of 8th Henry VI., which disfranchised all people who had not a freehold to the value of (what was then no inconsiderable sum) forty shillings a-year. The Unions, in the instance of both Scotland and Ireland, could be only carried into execution at the price of almost national disfranchisements. The mode in which, since 1663, the Convocation has sunk into the opportunity for a divine to make a ceremonial speech in Latin, and by which the right of ecclesiastical taxation is transferred to Parliament, whilst the clergy have been admitted to vote at elections in right of their glebes, are recent innovations which usage has sanctioned, and is sanctioning, as law. Yet all this, according to some people's notions, must be a scramble of injustice. Whatever opinion the reader may entertain of the legal rights of a clergyman to sit in the House of Commons previous to 41st Geo. III.-and our opinion is decidedly in favour of Lord Thurlow and of the right-there can be no doubt of the view which Parliament, in passing that statute, must have taken of its duty. It acted on its own responsibility, as trustee for the public, on grounds of policy alone, and in disregard of suggested rights, when, without referring a doubtful question to a court of justice, it undertook to decide the point by an express disqualifying enactment. Professor Christian, whose prejudices make him an authority on a subject of this sort, properly remarks, the most strenuous advocates for the admissibility of the clergy by the common law, will not necessarily ob'ject to their exclusion by an act of the legislature. They were 'so excluded from the Parliaments of Scotland and Ireland. And perhaps it may be justly observed, that sound policy and the most important interests of society require, that the ambi'tion of a clergyman should be confined to his own profession, ' and that piety and learning should be his surest recommenda'tion to advancement.' All observations on this branch of the legislature must appear superfluous (except as historical facts), after the annihilation of 200,000 Irish freeholders within these two years. Before the shoes were old,' in which they had walked as the chief reformers at the funeral of the electoral fran
chise of a whole people, it required no trifling degree of assurance, in the chief opponents of the present measure, to storm, and protest against the insecurity to property, which the disfranchisement of a few aldermen, non-resident burgesses, and potwallopers, must inevitably produce.
The singling out an individual, as in the case of Wilkes and Tooke, and the destroying the right of which he is in possession, are the most odious cases of legislation, from being occasional and personal acts, and liable to all the suspicions of personality which had made proceedings of this kind, under the name of privilegia, so atrocious in the opinion of the Romans. Yet in this, the worst of all cases, Burke is far from questioning the right. His argument, on the Middlesex election, against the vote by which Wilkes had been expelled from the House of Commons by means of a simple resolution of the House, went on the distinction-not that the disqualification in question, or any other, might not properly exist-but that it was legislative in its nature, and therefore required the concurrence of the whole legislature. 'A legislative act has no reference to any rule but ، these two original justice, and discretionary application. 'Therefore it can give rights; rights where no rights existed before and it can take away rights where they were before ، established. For the law which binds all others, does not, and 'cannot bind the law-maker: he, and he alone, is above the law.' There is no peculiar sanctity impressed on political, or any other franchises, in the case when they are engrafted on that intangible and invisible creation of the law called a corporation, whether the corporation be municipal or ecclesiastical. If there is a difference -the fact, that the whole mechanism and structure of an artificial body of this sort, are so plainly arbitrary, that no man was ever idiot enough to imagine that they were of the essence and nature of man and of society, shows on which side the difference lies. Among natural rights, who ever maintained that the law of nature entitled a man to be an Alderman of Scarborough, for instance? or in that capacity to job its representation;-in other words, to exchange the right of legislating for the people of England, in consideration of the presentation of the sons of the said alderman to the cure of souls in the Vale of Belvoir?
The adoption of the plan developed in Mr Palgrave's pamphlet, entitled Conciliatory Reform, would, we fear, conciliate few of the alarmists, except its learned author. Mr Palgrave has not been so far betrayed by antiquarian affections, as to take under his patronage the sophism of corporation rights. But a touching remonstrance on the folly of our not reconstructing our legal habit
ation on the vanished groundwork of Saxon guilds, and the notion that unmeaning masses of population' will acquire a meaning, by the process of incorporation, appear to us to be only one degree more reasonable. Places lying without the liberties of a corporation in the present age, are no worse off, as far as we can observe, than places which happen to be so blessed. On walking one day through Mary-le-Bone, and the next day through the city, we do not see that the case of Mary-le-Bone, and our suburbs, calls for the pity which is expressed on their behalf, as subjected to neglect, perhaps without a parallel in Europe.' At all events, Mr Palgrave knows as well as ourselves-indeed must know infinitely better, if he stops to reason on his knowledge-that, on a comparison of English and foreign institutions, the distinction of corporations will not account (as is suggested) for that prosperous combination of progressive freedom and tranquillity which has so eminently characterised our constitutional career. Other countries have resembled us much more closely in our system of corporations than in our other political divisions of the public power, or in the invaluable schoolroom, as well as guardroom of a jury.
There is not now, nor ever was, any necessary connexion between the exercise of the elective franchise, and the proper duties of a corporate body,-whether the body was united on the terms of a municipal jurisdiction-an association for the prosecution of felons, or for any other purpose-a friendly society, or a professional club. Our representative system was complete in its principle, if not in its spirit, without the intervention of the commercial guilds, whose principle was monopoly; or that of the municipal corporation, whose most important object was revenue or police. The more we enquire, the more we find that most of our liberties of every kind bad a fiscal origin. Franchises were given to places which could pay for the additional protection. Members were summoned from places which could give the most decisive answer concerning taxes. The chief men in guilds, when there were any, or the borough officers, would be begged, as being the principal people in the place, to undertake the journey, and make the best terms they could, in a matter where they had a deeper interest than the rest, in proportion to their wealth. If the Parliamentary wages were paid only by the electors, the right of election would soon become exclusive, without the charge of usurpation. The complication of villainy and baseness, by which, in later times, the corporate and political connexion has been, in most occasions, consummated, and by which it has been stained to its very bone and marrow, passes all conception and belief. If boroughs have
not destroyed the muniments they have so long concealed, the historian of the English constitution, and the historian of human corruption, may both hope soon for the publication of a mass of new materials. In case the Cornish boroughs had been placed in a circle within twenty miles of London, instead of being sheltered in the obscurity of a distant province, the moral indignation of the heart of England would have broken to pieces those infamous organizations of corruption a hundred years
Under these circumstances especially, it has been matter of surprise and pain to us, that so many pastors of a Christian church should have deemed it decent to make common cause with the rotten boroughs. We lament that the clergy, and the body of the English people, seem, at least in political opinion and feeling, to be separated by such a distance-we had almost said such a chasm. Clergymen have as much right to their own sentiments as any other members of the community. But our regret is not the less that this difference in sentiment should exist; nor are our apprehensions less serious for the consequences to which a pertinacious adherence in, and an active manifestation of extreme opinions may (indeed must, in that case, sooner or later) ultimately lead. The sort of opposition which a people will the least forgive, is that which implies the existence of separate interests and of personal distrusts. The necessity that the Church of England must, in many points, itself submit to be reformed, is no secret. Calmly and judiciously reformed, it will remain a national blessing, and speedily regain the affections of the people. The only question is, by whom, and in what manner, and to what extent, this shall be done. A collected opposition by the leaders of the church against a measure of pure political reformation, must tend to generate most suspicious inferences, and unavoidable bitterness of feeling. Such an occurrence would, therefore, seriously endanger the present prospect of confining within its proper limits, and of peaceably accomplishing that species of Reform, which the end, and the popularity of the Ecclesiastical Institutions of England, absolutely require. Without this, the wisdom and eloquence of their chosen advocates (the best, we take for granted, they could get) from the University of Cambridge, will be of no avail. There are strange rumours in circulation of the course in meditation by the bishops. In what hopes are they indulging? As far back as 1321, to be sure, among the reasons for avoiding the award by which the two Despencers had been banished, is to be found the allegation that it has been passed without the assent of the Prelates. But Bishop Gardiner got no encouragement in his day
for the notion, that acts of the legislature would be void for his absence, and that of the other ecclesiastical members of Parliament, even though they were absent by constraint. Laud's brethren took as little by the protest made by them against all acts passed in their absence, as being the acts of a Parliament no longer free. Coke and Selden establish, by sufficient precedents, the validity of a bill, although every spiritual lord should have voted against it. In case the venerable Bishop of Norwich cannot get a proxy, his presence, nevertheless, we trust, will save us from the necessity of solving the debated problem, by what style an act of Parliament should be entered, which has been passed (as was the Act of Uniformity, 1st Eliz. c. 2) with the dissent of all the bishops. We should dread
the omen of the precedent in that statute: the name of the lords spiritual is omitted throughout the whole. Lord Eldon's notions on Reform might come to pass.
God forbid that the English nation should be driven back, in retrospect, to those fatal periods of clerical disaffection to the constitution! It is painful to remember the temper with which George I. was welcomed by the Church of England, when his Parliamentary title to the throne was the only objection to his person, and the formation of a Whig ministry the only grievance of which the clergy could complain. Of that period, Mr Hallam observes, that the clergy, in very many instances, were a curse ' rather than a blessing to those over whom they were set; and the people, while they trusted that from those polluted fountains they drew the living waters of truth, became the dupes of factious lies and spirits. Some circumstances, at the late Cambridge election (especially the sort of reception given to Lord Palmerston, by St John's), made us think of Gray's complaint against that learned University, and of the baneful influence which Jacobitism had produced there on good manners and good letters.' The germ of this disease is of longer standing. Its inveterateness may be best conceived, by turning to the remarkable debate of 1705, and by considering the declarations which were wrung from every bishop, to whose manliness that church was indebted for its existence, against the undutifulness of a clergy devoted to the Pretender and his cause. Compton, Burnet, Patrick, and Hough, rose in succession to protest against their conduct. Burnet's observations on this debate are worthy of a bishop of 1688. In one respect, it was acknowledged that the church was in danger. There was an evil spirit, and a virulent temper spread among the clergy. There were many indecent sermons preached on public occaThese were dangers created by those very men who