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Much more, Sir, is he to be abhorred, who, as he has advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and become more wicked with less temptation,-who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remains of his life in the ruin of his country.
But youth, Sir, is not my only crime: I have been accused of acting a theatrical part.-A theatrical part may either imply some peculiarities of gesture, or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and the adoption of the opinions and language of another man.
In the first sense, Sir, the charge is too trifling to be confuted, and deserves to be mentioned only that it may be despised. I am at liberty, like every other man, to use my own language; and, though I may perhaps have some ambition to please this gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, nor very solicitously copy his diction or his mien, however matured by age or modelled by experience.
But if any man shall, by charging me with theatrical be haviour, imply that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain; nor shall any protection shelter him from the treatment which he deserves. I shall, on such an occasion, without scruple, trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity intrench themselves, nor shall anything but age restrain my resentment; age, which always brings with it one privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment.
But with regard, Sir, to those whom I have offended, I am of opinion, that if I had acted a borrowed part, I should have avoided their censure; the heat which offended them is the ardour of conviction, and that zeal for the service of my country which neither hope nor fear shall influence me to suppress. I will not sit unconcerned while my liberty is invaded, nor look in silence upon public robbery.-I will exert my endeavours, at whatever hazard, to repel the aggressor and drag the thief to justice, whoever may protect him in his villany, and whoever may partake of his plunder.
5.-LORD LYTTELTON'S SPEECH ON THE REPEAL OF THE ACT CALLED THE JEW BILL, A. D. 1753. SIR,It has been hitherto the rare and envied felicity of his Majesty's reign, that his subjects have enjoyed such a
settled tranquillity, such a freedom from angry religious disputes, as is not to be paralleled in any former times. The true Christian spirit of moderation, of charity, of universal benevolence, has prevailed in the people, has prevailed in the clergy of all ranks and degrees, instead of those nar row principles, those bigoted pleasures, that furious, that implacable, that ignorant zeal, which had often done so much hurt both to the church and the state. But from the ill-understood, insignificant act of parliament you are now moved to repeal, occasion has been taken to deprive us of this inestimable advantage. It is a pretence to disturb the peace of the church, to infuse idle fear into the minds of the people, and make religion itself an engine of sedition. It behoves the piety, as well as the wisdom of parliament, to disappoint those endeavours. Sir, the very worst mischief that can be done to religion, is to pervert it to the purposes of faction. The most impious wars ever made were those called holy wars. He who hates another man for not being a Christian, is himself not a Christian. Christianity, Sir, breathes love, and peace, and good-will to man. A temper conformable to the dictates of that holy religion has lately distinguished this nation; and a glorious distinction it was! But there is latent, at all times, in the minds of the vulgar, a spark of enthusiasm; which, if blown by the breath of a party, may, even when it seems quite extinguished, be suddenly revived and raised to a flame. The act of last session for naturalizing Jews, has very unexpectedly administered fuel to feed that flame. To what a height it may rise, if it should continue much longer, one cannot easily tell; but, take away the fuel, and it will die of itself.
Sir, I trust and believe that, by speedily passing this bill, we shall silence that obloquy which has so unjustly been cast upon our reverend prelates (some of the most respectable that ever adorned our church) for the part they took in the act which this repeals. And it greatly concerns the whole community, that they should not lose that respect which is so justly due to them, by a popular clamour kept up in opposition to a measure of no importance in itself. But if the departing from that measure should not remove the prejudice so maliciously raised, I am certain that no further step you can take will be able to remove it; and, there
fore, I hope you will stop here. This appears to be a rea sonable and safe condescension, by which nobody will be hurt; but all beyond this would be dangerous weakness in government; it might open a door to the wildest enthusiasm, and to the most mischievous attacks of political disaffection working upon that enthusiasm. If you encourage and authorise it to fall on the synagogue, it will go from thence to the meeting-house, and in the end to the palace. But let us be careful to check its further progress. The more zealous we are to support Christianity, the more vigilant should we be in maintaining toleration. If we bring back persecution, we bring back the antichristian spirit of popery; and when the spirit is here, the whole system will soon follow. Toleration is the basis of all public quiet. It is a charter of freedom given to the mind, more valuable, I think, than that which secures our persons and estates. Indeed, they are inseparably connected together; for, where the mind is not free, where the conscience is enthralled, there is no freedom. Spiritual tyranny puts on the galling chains; but civil tyranny is called in, to rivet and fix them. We see it in Spain, and many other countries; we have formerly both seen and felt it in England. By the blessing of God, we are now delivered from all kinds of oppression. Let us take care that they may never return.
6.- -SIR JOHN ST AUBIN'S SPEECH FOR REPEALING THE
MR SPEAKER, I am aware it may be said, that frequent new parliaments will produce frequent new expenses; but I think quite the contrary: I am really of opinion, that it will be a proper remedy against the evils of bribery at elections, especially as you have provided so wholesome a law to co-operate upon these occasions.
Bribery at elections, whence did it arise? Not from country gentlemen, for they are sure of being chosen without it; it was, Sir, the invention of wicked and corrupt ministers, who have from time to time led weak princes into such destructive measures, that they did not dare to rely upon the natural representation of the people. Long parliaments. Sir, first introduced bribery, because they were worth pur
chasing at any rate. Country gentlemen, who have only their private fortunes to rely upon, and have no mercenary ends to serve, are unable to oppose it, especially if at any time the public treasure shall be unfaithfully squandered away to corrupt their boroughs. Country gentlemen, indeed, may make some weak efforts, but as they generally prove unsuccessful, and the time of a fresh struggle is at so great a distance, they at last grow faint in the dispute, give up their country for lost, and retire in despair; despair naturally produces indolence, and that is the proper disposition for slavery.-Ministers of state understand this very well, and are therefore unwilling to awaken the nation out of its lethargy by frequent elections. They know that the spirit of liberty, like every other virtue of the mind, is to be kept alive only by constant action: that it is impossible to enslave this nation, while it is perpetually upon its guard.Let country gentlemen then, by having frequent opportunities of exerting themselves, be kept warm and active in their contention for the public good: this will raise that zeal and spirit, which will at last get the better of those undue influences by which the officers of the crown, though unknown to the several boroughs, have been able to supplant country gentlemen of great character and fortune, who live in their neighbourhood. I do not say this upon idle speculation only I live in a country where it is too well known, and I appeal to many gentlemen in the House, to more out of it, (and who are so for this very reason) for the truth of my assertion. Sir, it is a sore which has been long eating into the most vital part of our constitution, and I hope the time will come when you will probe it to the bottom. For, if a minister should ever gain a corrupt familiarity with our boroughs; if he should keep a register of them in his closet, and, by sending down his treasury mandates, should procure a spurious representation of the people, the offspring of his corruption, who will be at all times ready to reconcile and justify the most contradictory measures of his administration, and even to vote every crude indigested dream of their patron into a law; if the maintenance of his power should become the sole object of their attention, and they should be guilty of the most violent breach of parliamentary trust, by giving the king a discretionary liberty of taxing the people,
without limitation or control, the last fatal compliment they can pay to the crown;-if this should ever be the unhappy condition of this nation, the people indeed may complain; but the doors of that place, where their complaints should be heard, will for ever be shut against them.
Our disease, I fear, is of a complicated nature; and I think that this motion is wisely intended to remove the first and principal disorder. Give the people their ancient right of frequent new elections; that will restore the decayed authority of parliaments, and will put our constitution into a natural condition of working out her own cure.
Sir, upon the whole, I am of opinion, that I cannot express a greater zeal for his Majesty, for the liberties of the people, or the honour and dignity of this House, than by seconding the motion which the honourable gentleman has made you.
7.-PART OF SIR ROBERT WALPOLE'S REPLY.
As to bribery and corruption, Sir, if it were possible to influence, by such base means, the majority of the electors of Great Britain to choose such men as would probably give up their liberties; if it were possible to influence, by such means, a majority of the members of this House to consent to the establishment of arbitrary power, I would readily allow, that the calculations made by the gentlemen of the other side were just, and their inference true; but I am persuaded that neither of these is possible. As the members of this House generally are, and must always be, gentlemen of fortune and figure in their country, is it possible to suppose, that any one of them could, by a pension or a post, be influenced to consent to the overthrow of our constitution; by which the enjoyment, not only of what he got, but of what he before had, would be rendered altogether precarious? I will allow, Sir, that, with respect to bribery, the price must be higher or lower, generally in proportion to the virtue of the man who is to be bribed; but it must likewise be granted, that the humour he happens to be in at the time, the spirit he happens to be endowed with, adds a great deal to his virtue. When no encroachments are made upon the rights of the people, when the people do not think them