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generally in proportion to the virtue of the man who is to be bribed ; but it must likewise be granted, that the humor 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 themselves in any danger, there may be many of the electors who by a bribe of ten guincas might be induced to vote for one candidate rather than another; but if the court were making any encroachments upon the rights of the people, a proper spirit would without doubt arise in the nation, and in such a case I am persuaded, that none, or very few even of such electors, could be induced to vote, for a court candidate, no, not for ten times the sum.
“ There may, Sir, be some bribery, and corruption in the nation : I am afraid there always will be some ; but it is no proof of it that strangers are sometimes chosen : for a gentleman may have so much natural influence over a borough in his neighbourhood, as to be able to prevail with them to choose any person he pleases to recommend; and if, upon such recommendation, they choose one or two of his friends who are perhaps strangers to them, it is not thence to be inferred that the two strangers were chosen their representatives by the means of bribery and corruption.
“ To insinuate, Sir, that money may be issued from the public treasury for bribing elections, is really something very extraordinary, especially in those gentlemen who know how many checks are upon every shilling that can be issued from thence : and how regularly the money granted in one year for the public service of the nation must always be accounted for the very next session in this House, and likewise in the other, if they have a mind to call for any such account. And as to the gentlemen in offices, if they have any advantage over country gentlemen in having something else to depend upon besides
their own private fortunes, they have likewise many disadvantages: they are obliged to live at London with their families, by which they are put to a much greater expense than gentlemen of equal fortune who live in the country--this lays them under a very great disadvantage with respect to the supporting their interest in the country. The country gentleman, by living among the electors, and purchasing the necessaries for his family from them, keeps up an acquaintance, and correspondence with them, without putting himself to any extraordinary charge, whereas a gentleman who lives in London, has no other way of keeping up an acquaintance or correspondence among his friends in the country, but by going down once or twice a year at a very extraordinary charge, and often without any other business ; so that we may conclude a gentleman in office, cannot, even in seven years, save much for distributing in ready money at the time of an election; and I really believe, if the fact were narrowly inquired into, it would appear that the gentlemen in office are as little guilty of bribing their electors with ready money, as any other set of gentlemen in the kingdom.
“ That there are ferments often raising among the people without any just cause, is what I am surprised to hear controverted, since very late experience may convince us of the contrary. Do not we know what a ferment was raised in the nation towards the latter end of the late Queen's reign? And it is well known what a fatal change in the affairs of this nation was introduced, or at least confirmed by an election's coming on while the nation was in that ferment? Do not we know what a ferment was raised in the nation soon after his late Majesty's accession? And if an election had then been allowed to come on, while the nation was in that ferment, it might perhaps have had as fatal effects as the former : but, thank God, this was wisely provided against by the very law which is VOL. I.
now wanted to be repealed. As such ferments may hereafter often happen, I must think that frequent elections will always be dangerous ; for which reason, as far as I can see at present, I shall, I believe, at all times think it a very dangerous experiment to repeal the septennial bill.”
The question being then put upon Mr. BROMLEY's motion, it passed in the negative by 247 to 184.
Towards the close of the year 1744, the resignation of Lord CARTERET led to a coalition between the PELHAMS and the popular leaders in both houses ; at which some of the old adherents of the latter were much offended ; and one of them, Mr. CAREW, took an early opportunity, in January 1745, to put to the test, as he called it, the patriotism of the new ministers, by bringing forward a measure for which they had before expressed the greatest zeal—He introduced his motion with a speech nearly to the following purport:
“ From the compromise that happened about the beginning of this session, and the great things that were said to be stipulated, by those who were then come into power, it might have been expected, that the motion I am to conclude with, would have come from another quarter, and that a bill for that purpose would have, long before now, been passed into a law. Whether our new ministers and quondam patriots did really stipulate any thing in favor of their country, or in favor of that cause they seemed to glory in espousing, I do not know ; but from what has hitherto appeared, they seem to have stipulated nothing, but places for themselves. Whatever may be in this, I am resolved to put them to the trial : and from the fate of the question I am to propose, I shall determine, whether our present new ministers deserve all the hard names they have themselves so liberally bestowed upon those they have now supplanted, as well as the hard names they formerly lavished upon those they have now joined with. These hard names they must not expect to evade, by giving a simple vote for this question, or any question of the like nature: the world is now too clear-sighted to be imposed on by such gross dissimulation : the question must be carried, and effectually carried, or otherwise, they ought to throw up the places they have so rashly accepted, and declare against those, with whom they lately so rashly united. I say rashly, Sir, for if they are not resolved to desert the cause of liberty, I must say it was rash in them to unite with those who have for so many years declared against it, without some very particular and express stipulations in favor of the liberties of their country. What may now be the way of thinking with some gentlemen among us, about the liberties of their country, I shall not pretend to determine, Sir: but if people's way of thinking can be learned from their speeches and declarations, I am very certain that their former way of thinking was, that the liberties of this country could not be preserved, unless some proper methods should speedily be taken for preventing the effect of ministerial corruption, both in Parliament and at elections : and that the most proper, and effectual method for this purpose was to make elections as frequent as possible. This, I am sure, was formerly their way of thinking : I hope it is so still : but whether it is so or not, it is a right way of thinking, and therefore I shall conclude what I have now to say, with a motion for returning to our ancient method of having a new Parliament every year chosen. That this ancient constitution cannot be disputed because it is so expressly declared by two acts of Parliament in EDWARD III's reign, that a Parliament shall be annually holden: and every one knows that long prorogations, or adjournments were not then introduced, or known: so that the meaning of both these laws must be, that a Parliament should be every year chosen as well as held, which is the opinion of all those who have wrote upon the subject ; and if we con
sider the nature and business of this Assembly, it is certainly agreeable to reason it should be so.
“ The members of this House, Sir, are the great and general inquisitors of the nation : we are to take notice of, and to take proper methods for redressing all the grievances that occur, whether they be such as relate to the kingdom in general, or such as relate to the particular counties, cities, or boroughs we represent. Now as grievances are almost annually occurring, and as some grievances are the more difficult to be removed the longer they continue ; therefore it is necessary we should visit our constituents, at least, once a year, to know their sentiments, and to examine upon the spot the grievances they complain of: but this is not to be expected unless you make the elections annual: for we find by experience, that after gentlemen are once chosen for a long term of years, they fix their abode in this city, and seldom revisit their constituents till it becomes necessary for them to go down to solicit their votes at a new election. Nay, since the establishment of septennial Parliaments, we have often had gentlemen in this House, who never saw the borough that sent them hither ; nor knew any thing of its constitution, or interest: perhaps could not recollect its name, till they looked into the printed lists of Parliament for their own name, and there found they represented such a Borough. Another part of our business, Sir, is to represent to our Sovereign, the sentiments of our constituents, with regard to the measures he is advised by his ministers to pursue, as well as with regard to the persons he employs in the executive part of the government. If we ever think of doing this faithfully, and sincerely, we must visit our constituents at least once a year, because every year produces some new measure, and every year some new persons are introduced into public business. This, I say, is another part of our duty; and when it is faithfully or sincerely performed, it is of great advantage