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into the proposed provisions of this bill; before we proceed to inquire, whether this be the sort of reform, that is wanted, it is quite necessary for us to trace the progress of this reforming bill; for, in that progress we shall clearly discover, what the 310, who voted against Mr. Madocks's motion, expect from this bill.

however, we proceed to an examination | he appears to have been convinced must, if suffered to stand as the avowals and doctrines of the House, produce, in a short. time, an universal persuasion of the worsethan-uselessness of that House.—Therefore, when the House went into a Committec, on the 1st of June, and, of course, gave the SPEAKER an opportunity of delivering his sentiments, he made that III. This bill was introduced before MR. Speech, which is inserted in the former part MADOCKS made his motion, the account of of this Number, and which, in the newswhich motion is contained in the motto to paper reports, has been read with great this sheet; but, when leave was given to interest by all ranks of people.—A new bring in the bill, MR. MADOCKS had given turn has thus been given to the fortunes notice of his motion.——Now, mark: the of Mr. Curwen's bill. The seat-merchants bill has leave to be brought in; and, when and stand-makers appear to have become Mr. Madocks makes his motion, he is told less audacious; and, according to present to wait, and see what effect Mr. Curwen's appearances, the bill, with various modifibill will produce. But, Mr. Madocks's mo- cations, will finally pass.- -But, what is tion having been got over; "a stand" well worthy of notice here, is, how comhaving been made, the two factions seemed pletely the Speaker justifies all that we determined to throw out the bill altogether; have said against the practice of selling or, at most, to let it go no further than seats; against the wretches concerned in just to get into a committee. This was such traffic; and as to the mischievous pretty plainly expressed in the debate of consequences that must arise from it. the 26th of May, upon the motion for When, on the ever-memorable 12th of May going into a committee. But, during that (it was morning when the division took debate, corruption received an assault, place) the House by a majority of 310 which appeared to have shaken its nerves. against 85, declared, that there should be In that debate Sir Francis Burdett expressly no inquiry, though Mr. Madocks distinctly denied, that that House was the Commons' charged three members of the House with House of Parliament; he distinctly said: having been concerned in the sale of a seat; "this House is not now the Commons of upon that occasion, there was heard, from England in Parliament assembled;" and all quarters and corners of the House, the that he would never again call it so. This exclamation: "a stand! a stand!"" It is," speech, which, from beginning to end, was exclaimed many voices at once, "high time well calculated for the purpose, appears "to make a stand against popular encroachto have excited much sensibility in the "ment;" just, of course, as if the people were SPEAKER, who, after all the other intima-guilty of insolence in coming, by one of tions usual upon such occasions, actually called Sir Francis to order. Lord Archibald Hamilton having observed, that," by the openly avowed and defend"ed corruptions, the House itself appeared "to have disclaimed its title," the SPEAKER replied: "It is my duty to call any mem"ber to order, who affirms, that this is not "the House of Commons; and I will do it "as long as the House will support me "in it." Sir Francis resumed with a statement of his reasons for not calling that assembly the House of Commons, which statement was, in a very pointed manner, addressed to the Speaker.- -There can be no doubt, that it was this speech, which produced, in the mind of the Speaker, a resolution to break through general custom, and to deliver his sentiments, not upon Mr. Curwen's bill, but upon the avowals and doctrines to which he had lately been obliged to listen, and which


their representatives, to complain, that seats were bought and sold. But what says the Speaker? The Speaker has seen much and read more about proceedings in parliament; but, he had never either seen or read of any thing like what he saw and heard, during the night of the eleventh and the morning of the twelfth of May last, and which I wish with all my soul, the whole of the people of England could have seen and heard; for, if they could, there would be no writing necessary about Parliamentary Reform. Conviction would have been, at once, imbibed from a sight of actions, such as will never be forgotten, by those who were witnesses of them. What says the Speaker? Does he talk of a stand against popular encroachment? Does he avow the practice of seat-selling, and say that it makes a part of the Constitution? Does he say, with MR. WINDHAM and MR. GEORGE JOHNSTONE, that the sell

have not the House refused to inquire into the matter? Are not these things notorious? And, is not this a pretty good beginning in the way of reform? Have we not great reason to repose confidence in those, who voted against that inquiry? Must not Mr. Curwen's bill, which they

ing of seats was a thing carried on amongst our ancestors to a greater extent than amongst us? No: he says, "that it is a proposition, at the sound of which our (i ancestors would have startled with indig"nation." We have heard the avowal with indignation; and, because we have, in our several meetings, expressed that in-approve of, be a fine thing for us? They, dignation, we have, by this same House of Commons, been called factious rabbie. The Speaker, as to this point, has now spoken to the House the sentiments of the people, He has gone full as far as any of us, upon this subject of complaint; and, it is no wonder, that his hearers were, as it is said they were, thunder-struck at his speech, which speech, as to its allegations, was quite equal to any speech of Mr. Madocks.

IV. Now, as to the probable effect of this bill of Mr. Curwen's, for the passing of which bill the Speaker appears to have been so anxious, my opinion has already been stated, that it will be no reform at all; that it will only serve the corrupt crew as a pretence for having made a " moderate reform;" and that, unless care be taken to watch, detect, and expose the measure in its progress, it will become a source of much deception and mischief ———The Speaker, after expressing his indignation at the doctrine, that it was right for seats in parliament to be bought and sold like stalls in Smithfield; after dwelling upon the profligacy of the open avowal of the long existence of that, for having asserted the existence of which so many men have suffered fine, imprisonment, and pillory; after having reprobated the acknowledged existence of that, for endeavouring to accomplish what would have remedied which, Palmer, Muir, and Gerald were sent to Botany Bay, and Tooke and Hardy were tried for high treason; after having expressed his horror of the conduct of those, who had openly and unblushingly acknowledged, that it had been common for the ministers (to which ever party belonging) to buy and sell seats in parliament, and to bargain for the votes of those members, to whom the said seats were sold; after telling the House, what a scandal this was to the parliament and the country, how directly in violation of every principle of the constitution, the Speaker said distinctly, that, to buy or sell a seat in parliament was, and always had been, an offence at common law. Well, then, does not Castlereagh, Henry Wellesley, and Percevai (the Tinman's prosecutor) stand charged, by Mr. Madocks, of this offence? And


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several of them, repeatedly declared, that, supposing what Mr. Madocks charged against Castlereagh and Perceval to be true, to the full extent, they should not think the worse of them for it. Must not Mr. Curwen's bill be, then, a very pretty sort of reform, seeing that these same persons like it very well?- -But, let us now come to its provisions. What is its professed immediate object? It is this: to prevent, in future, the sale of seats in the House of Commons. And what is its ultimate object, to prevent the members from voting away the people's money, in order that they themselves may pocket a share of it.- -This, turn the question about and about, as long as you please, is the main object, which every man of sense has in view, when he talks of a reform in parliament. The House of Commons, according to the constitution, are the people's stewards; the guardians of the national purse; and, what is complained of in the louse, as it now stands, is, that many of the members, many of the guardians of the people's purse, do receive into their own pockets, moncy voted by them out of that purse.

-While this is the case, we, who wish for a reform in parliament, think it downright nonsense to taik of a represen tation of the people; and Mr. Curwen, apparently in the hope of checking the evil, proposes a bill, which, as he seems to think, will prevent the actual sale of seats, or the exchange of them for offices under the govern ment. This he proposes to do by oaths and penalties. Members are to swear, that they have given no money for their seats, and seat-sellers are to swear that they have made no bargain for any office or title, for any seat placed at the disposition of the minister. Now, for my part, I am convinced that the Oath, if taken, would have no other effect than that of excluding some few men of fortune and of good intentions, who might otherwise get in by means of their money; for, can any man believe, that the miscreant who should enter the House of Commons with the sole view ofturning his vote to a good account, with the sole view of selling the sound of his voice, or of saving his forfeit carcass from the hands of a swindled and justly enraged creditor; can any man, who has not

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tions or friends.We will first see how far Mr. Curwen's Oath would be likely to answer the Speaker's purpose, and then we will see how his purpose would square with the interests of the nation.

V. Now, for instance, 1, in 1802, saw a Doctor of Divinity, who had two seats in the House of Commons to dispose of, at that general election. The Doctor, who had come to London for the purpose, said, in my presence, that his intention was to

taken leave of his senses, believe, for one moment, that such a miscreant, if such an one should be found, would hesitate to take Mr. Curwen's, or any other, oath that could be tendered to him?-But, does not the Reader see how many ways would and must offer for the evading of any such oath? It would be impo-sible so to frame a law as to stop up all the crevices that an ingenious rogue would discover. We have already about one hundred and twenty statutes, made for the express purpose of pre-exchange his seats with the minister for venting what it is now proposed to prevent; and, they have all been found to be ineffectual. Nay, the Speaker himself tells us, that the thing now to be put a stop to is already an offence at Common Law; and, if prosecutions do not now take place against those, who are charged with having committed oflences of this sort, what reason have we to suppose, that any law, now to be passed, will, by this same House of Comm ns, be caused to have effect If there is to be no punishment for the past, why should there be any for the future? Many members of the House expressly declared, that they did not think the worse of the ministers for their having been concerned in selling a seat in parliament, supposing the charge to be true; and, what are we to expect, then, from an oath intended to prevent the traffic in seats? After all, however, the Oath, supposing it to be adopted, and supposing it never to be taken falsely, would not answer, it appears to me, any useful purpose. -What we want is, a House composed of members having interests and feelings in common with the whole mass of the people of property; and, how are we to have this as long as an individual returns, of his own will, several members to the House of Commons; and as long as nine tenths of the people of property have no share whatever in returning members to that House?Mr. Grey's Petition stated, that one hundred and fifty four individuals returned three hundred and seven members to the House of Commons. This is a notorious fact; and, Mr. Curwen's Oath, supposing it to have all the eflect that can possibly be wished for from it, does not pretend to go one inch towards the removal of this evil. All that it professes to do; nay, all that the Speaker himself seemed to hope for from this bill was, that it would cause seats to be given in cases where they are now sold. He talks of the 'shame of carrying the seats to a market amongst strangers; but appears to have no objection at all to their being given to rela

some dignity, or something good, in the
church. Whether the swap actu ily took
place, or not, I cannot say; but, such was
the reverend trader's intention.- Now,
supposing such an intention to have been
carried into execution; supposing the
Doctor to have been made a Dean, or a
Bishop, and supposing the ministers to
have given the seats to two of their own
tribe, would not these two have taken the
oath very safely? Neither the lay minis-
ter nor the divine Doctor would have been
sworn. They would have had no oath ten-
dered them relative to the transaction; and
yet, is it possible to form an idea of any
transaction more corrupt, more disgraceful
to the parliament, or more injurious to the
people?-Suppose the owner of any
borough wishes to sell his seats. He offers
them to the treasury, and he gets so much
money for them, it being, in such a case,
by no means difficult to see whom the mo-
ney comes from. Very well: the bo-
rough-monger gets his money
from the
minister, and the minister sends down
to the borough a couple of fellows to be
elected. When they take their seats, sup-
posing them to have consciences, they
swear, and they safely swear, that they
have given no money for their seats, and
that they know of none that has been
given.Thus, supposing a seat to be
actually purchased by the minister with
the people's money, and then filled by
the minister so as to secure him a de-
voted voice in the House; supposing this,
even then, even in such a flagrant case, Mr.
Curwen's Oath might be safely taken by
the member returned, and to him alone
the Oath would, or could, in such case be

VI. What, then, is the main tendency of this Bill? Why, to give the Treasury a monopoly of the saleable Seats. The member cannot, supposing him to have any regard for an Oath, or to be at all afraid of any of the penalties of the Bill, purchase the seat himself, either directly or indirectly; for, I shall suppose the law so

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well contrived as to leave no room for evasion. But, the borough-monger would still sell; he must have a market; and, as the Treasury would then be the only market, thither he must carry his article. He would not obtain so high a price; but sell he must, and sell he would, to the minister of the day.This would be a reform with a vengeance. We should see 300 Seats, out of the 658, sold to the Treasury; the Treasury would nominate the meinbers; and those members, bound by Mr. Curwen's bill, and regarding an oath and fearing to incur penalties, would readily and safely take the oath prescribed, or take the seats without the oath. That the ministers would take care to put in such persons as they could trust, there can be no doubt at all; so that when once a parliament was thus packed, it would be quite impossible to obtain the smallest chance of removing any minister; and, as to grievances, the people in India might as well talk of grievances, and with just as much hope of redress.

VIII. The SPEAKER seems to have conceived the idea, that those boroughmongers, who now notoriously sell their seats to the highest bidder, would, after the passing of Mr. Curwen's bill, not only not attempt to sell seats again, but would be completely divested even of the desire to sell them, or even to turn them, in any way, whatever, to pecuniary account! This were, indeed, iniraculous. What! take from the borough-monger; the trafficker in seats; the vender of votes; take from such a man the desire of still deriving profit from his commodity! Well; if you can do this, Mr. Curwen, your bill is certainly a wonderful invention; but, still, I shall deny, that it is, in any sense of the word, a reform of the House of Commons; and I also shall deny, that it will operate to the benefit of the nation. For what do you effect? You put a stop, if this miracle takes place, to the selling of seats and to the obtaining of offices from the minister, through the means of disposing of seats to relations and friends and underlings; but, you are still as far as ever from having representatives of the people. The members will still, in fact, be the representatives of particu

very best, you will create a new sort of unprincipled opposition to every ministry that the king may choose. Indeed, there would, in this case, arise a much more complete oligarchy than there is at present. The seats, now sold for money, would be kept in hand; and, the decision, upon every question, would depend upon much fewer free voices, than are now heard in the House of Commons.

VII. That this is the sort of" moderate reform," which the bill of Mr. Curwen would produce, is, I think, so evident, that it was useless to dwell upon the point so long as I have done. But, even supposing,lar families and individuals; and, at the that the bill should (as the Speaker seems to wish, and to content himself with) prevent the sale of seats, and cause them to be given by the patrons to their friends and relations. Suppose the bill shound effect this amiable object, what would it do for the people? How would it contribute towards the independence of parliament?My lord Shabbaroon, for instance, has got a borough, and he wants money for the couple of seats. But, Mr. Curwen will not let him sell them, either to the minister or any body else. He cannot get money for them. Well, then, he must have money's worth; and he seeks a good sinecure either for himself, or some of the sons or younger brothers of the family of Shabbaroon. He, therefore, puts in his sons or brothers or his attorney and steward, or some other persons totally dependent upon him; and, by the votes of these he obtains his object. Would it, not, now, be much better to leave the thing as it is; to leave my lord Shabbaroon to sell his seats to persons, who have the money to spare; who may be independent if they will; and who may do, with that independence, a great deal of good; while, if à law cut off the possibility of their getting into the Bouse, their independence must be useless to the country?

IX. Such is the "moderate Reform," which Mr. Curwen has in contemplation; and, by which Reform, if he could get the people to believe in its efficacy, he would, I am fully persuaded, do this country more mischief than has been done to it by any man for the last hundred years, Pitt not excepted; and, it is not the less mortifying to reflect, that there is every reason to suppose, that he is sincerely inclined to do good instead of harm.There is one passage in the speech of the SPEAKER, which I do not clearly comprehend. It is that, where, in speaking of the effect of the scandalous facts, relative to the traffic in seats, lately come to light, and of the new doctrine, upon which the sale of scats has been justified in the House, he says: "it furnishes the most formidable weapons to those, who are professing, and, I am willing to believe, sincerely

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That bill is, in short, little more than a measure for regulating the traffic in parliamentary seats, while it professes to put an end to that traffic. And, is it, then, possible, that the Speaker can suppose, that those, who really wish for Reform,

professing, to reform, but, as I fear, are, in "truth and in fact, by the tendency of their "endeavours,labouring to subvert, the entire system of our Parliamentary Represent "ation.”—I will not affect to misunderstand, that the Speaker here alludes to those, who, at the public meetings, rewill be satisfied with a measure like this? cently held, in different parts of the kingX. Whatever the Speaker may suppose, dom, have declared for a Reform in the Gentlemen, certainly we, who see and who Commons' House of Parliament; but, I most sorely feel the evils of a system, really do not see the consistency of sus- which, in fact, deprives the people of all pecting such persons of endeavouring, voice in the Legislature, shall not be sathough unintentionally, to subvert our sys- tisfied with any such measure; which, tem of Parliamentary Representation, were there no other objection to it, would when the avowed object of those persons, and must be looked upon with a very susis, to do away, in the most effectual man- picious eye, when we see it applauded, ner, the evil of which the Speaker com- when we see it cherished with the kindest plains. To be sure, they mean to go attentions, by all those who were the very much further; they, and for the rea- loudest in opposition to Mr. Wardle. We sons which I have stated, see nothing at shall find, in our county, that all the wellall in a plan like Mr. Curwen's, but the known peculaters and plunderers, all the very likely means of deceiving weak peo- slaves, who dance attendance upon the ple; of spreading delusion in the country; great distributer of government favours, of drawing a crust over the wound, and will approve of this bill; of this meathereby rendering the cure more difficult, sure, so well calculated to enable them to and leaving small chance of life, except spread deception through the county, from amputation. In short, what they and to enable them to impose upon the want is, a representation of the people; they unreflecting, by representing a reform as want the House of Commons to be in fact, having been begun by the House of Com what it is in name. "Would that men mons itself. It is surprising how harmo"should be what they seem; or that they niously all those, who hate the idea of real "should scem none!" This is the maxim refora, chime in, in praise of this bill of they act upon. They think it would be a Mr. Curwen. Even the hired news-papers; great deal better to have no House of the papers, which, in a late debate, Mr. Commons at all, than to have a House of Whitbread openly declared to be in the Commons, the seats in which should be employ of the government; even these bought and sold; but, they are, at the downright hired vehicles, part of whose same time, fully convinced, that, unless business it is to stifle inquiry into abuses, and the people really have the choosing of the to traduce and vilify every man who is an members, it can be of no consequence at enemy to corruption; even these publiall to them, whether the seats be salcable,cations highly approve of Mr. Curwen's or not. If, through the operation of a bill, which they call a 66 temperute remeasure, like that of Mr. Curwen, the mo- form." nopoly of seats were fixed in the Treasury, XI. This is not the Reform that we and the chance of seeing an independent want. We want a Reform, not that shall man lay out his money for a borough consist of new regulations about the manwere completely done away, we should ner of disposing of seats; not of prohibithink our situation a little worse than it tions or permissions, relative to the barnow is; but, as to whether seats are sold gain and sale for offices and seats; we want or not; as to whether some hunks, who a Reform, not to consist of a statute to has a desire to gild the remnant of his life prescribe whether our rights shall be sold, with a title, takes money or takes empty swapped, or given away, but that shall resound for his scats; this is a matter of store those rights to us, their owners. 12 very little consequence to the people. I find a man has taken away, or, by any Their sufferings and disgrace; the profli-means, got possession, of my field, I do gate waste of their money, and the disre-not, in my proceedings against him, comgard of their feelings, arise from such hunks having seats at his disposal at all. It is his possessing of the seats, which is the curse to them; and this is a curse,which Mr. Curwen's bill does not attempt to remove.

plain of the manner in which he uses my field; whether he ploughs it or plants it or lays it down in grass, or whether be lets it to another or keeps it in his own hands. I do not trouble myself with

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