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sheer nonsense; mere sham; unless the framers of it had supposed cases, in which the king might differ in opinion and views from the people; for, it is manifest, that unless such difference arise, the rights can never be brought into exercise. But, the opposers of petitioning upon the present.occasion, whose arguments will, indeed, apply to all other occasions, would fain have us believe, that we have the right only when we do not want to make use of it; and yet, to preserve the constitution, of which the right of petition is a principal feature, these same persons call upon us to spend our last shilling and to shed the last drop of blood; aye, the last drop of our blood for tights, which according to their doctrine, we are never to exercise!

Gentlemen, before the answer was given to the city of London, there was but one object in petitioning the king; namely, obtain a full and impartial developement of all the causes that led to the Convention in Portugal, and to produce the punishment due to its real authors. Now, there is this object, and, in addition, the more important object of asserting one of our principal rights; of convincing the ministry and the world, that we have not entirely given up all pretensions to the enjoyment of those political liberties, for the recovery and preservation of which our fathers wrote and fought with such admirable ability, perseverance, and courage. We are told not to forget the feelings of "our old and venerable king." We do not; but, neither do we forget our own feelings, our own sacrifices, losses, and sufferings, and the hardships, which, by the deeds of which we complain, will be entailed upon our children's children. If we have had "forty-eight years of experience" of the king, the king has had forty-eight years experience of us; and never did king meet with subjects more generous, dutiful and patient. In what instance have we been refractory or niggardly? Has not our subinissiveness been unbounded? Have we not poured out our all at his feet? And, shall we now be reproved and rebuked because we pray, that he will be pleased to order an inquiry into the conduct of those, who, in our opinion, have with the treasure and the blood of the country, purchased its lasting injury and disgrace? Expedition after expedition is fitted out; expence after expence is incurred; the treasury of the nation is thrown open, and her sons are shipped off in thousands; battles are won, rejoicings are heard; and, at every close, comes a dismal account of failure. All is in vain. We pay and hunger and labour and arm and

fight, but the conclusion always is, that we have gained nothing solid, while he, who has sworn our destruction, keeps on his firm and steady pace of encroachment and of conquest.

In this way have we been proceeding for fifteen long and disgraceful years. The country is not so destitute of men of discernment as for these things, together with their causes and their necessary consequen ces, not to be clearly perceived; but, so enormous, so overbearing, are become the powers of seduction and corruption, and so completely have even good men been divided by faction, alarmed by craft, and awed by meances of ruin, that at last, public spirit, though not quite extinguished, exists only in latent sparks in the bosoms of individuals, and is as useless as the fire in the flint buried under ground. Many are the occasions, even within these few years, when a spirit worthy of Englishmen bas made its appear ance; but, the moment it began to be perceived, forth has issued the demons of faction, with all their train of insinuations, calum nies, lies, and hypocrisy, 'till, in a short time, followed confusion, strife, and, finally, that, in which alone the guilty could hope for impunity, the division of good men. I would fain hope, Gentlemen, though I aware that it is too sanguine a hope to tertain, that, upon the present occasion, attempt will be made to render your feelings of indignation at this national injury subser vient to the views of faction; for, much as I desire you to add your voice to that of others who have called for an inquiry, I would infinitely rather see you mute, than behold you the tools of selfish and ambitious men. It is not against the ministry that we have to petition; it is not for the purpose putting one ministry out and another in, that we are about to meet; it is for the purpose of obtaining justice for a great national wrong and of securing ourselves and our children against that ruin, which, from the prevalent incapacity, or perfidy, of persons entrusted with our affairs, now so awfully threatens us. What is it to me, or to any of my neighbours, who enjoy the honours or the emoluments of office, so that we are ably and faithfully served? What a fool, what a contemptible thing, must that man be, who, having no selfish views, makes himself the tool of a party; gives up his understanding to others; sees with their eyes and hears with their ears; voluntarily abandons truth, impartiality, and integrity, or, at best, exchanges them for the honour of being designated by an appellation proceeding from the name of some detestably


impudent knave, who is, or has been, the leader of a party! The very existence of a knave implies the co-existence of a fool; but, it is the lot of this nation to see men of sense as well as worth become the instruments of knavery. The silly ambition of being thought to belong to a party has corrupted the hearts of thousands, and has made millions instrumental in their country's disgrace. From this supremely contemptible passion, I hope, Gentlemen, that you will prove yourselves to be free, and in that hope I remain

Your friend,

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Parliamentary Debates.

The Eleventh Volume of the above Work, comprising the Period from the 11th of April to the close of the Session on the 4th of July, 1808, will be ready for delivery on Saturday next.


Sir,-Praying a truce to personal compliment, let us as honest men continue our efforts in the cause of human freedom, persuaded that such efforts will in some way and at some time prove serviceable to mankind, although they should not immediately succeed. It has been well said, that he who causes two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before, is a benefactor to the public; and the same may doubtless be said of him who either produces or disseminates political truth. Although our observations shall at this time refer to the case, of Spain, yet, as before observed, they may not be unserviceable to our own country, since the cause of liberty is now common to both; and the very same reforms, which are necessary to the salvation of the one, are no less necessary, although

the necessity may not to the vulgar eye be quite so obvious, to the other.

That the present contest in Spain is not, as some had imagined, a mere war of priests and court nobles, who desire only to expel the French, as their rivals in despotism, that their own power and that of the crown may be restored in their full extent, as exercised prior to the late events, without any thought of recovering the national liberties, we have now, in the oath of the deputies, on opening the supreme national junta, no slight evidence. That oath, if we may take it to mean what it says, and I cannot have the slightest suspicion of the contraryindeed, contains in it every thing which wish. patriotism can Knowing how passionately the people are devoted to the religion of their ancestors, as well as the opinion which, in that particular, they entertain of the French, the preservation of their religion is very properly made the first Conscious likewise of object of the oath.

the strong attachment of the people to their native princes, of their universal detestation of the attempt to force on them a new dynasty, and the excess of indignation felt by all Spain at the perfidy of Buonaparte, and at his wickedness in making war upon them in a cause the most infamous, they would have been bad politicians had they not, independent of any sense of duty, concurred in the choice which the nation with one voice had made of Ferdinand VII. and in their predilection for a succession in the reigning family;" that, whatever might befal Ferdinand and the rest who are in the power of the tyrant, there might be no want of an object around which the nation might rally.


Having very wisely laid these foundations of union and enthusiasm in defence of their country, they then shew their adherence to the family of their choice is to be no bar to whatever reformations of their government, and whatever future limitations of the regal power, experience may have shewn them to be necessary; for they bind themselves under the most solemn of all sanctions to the duties of triotism. They swear that they "will pro mote the preservation of the rights and privileges, the laws and usages of their country; and finally, that they will promote every thing conducive to the general welfare and happiness of the kingdom, and the amelioration of its customs." After thus swearing, they farther pronounce oa themselves a solemn imprecation, in case they shall not act up to what they have sworn; for, as a response to the officiating

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prelate, who says: If you do so, Ged be your helper; and if not, may he punish you, as one who has taken his holy name in vain," they, on their part, say "Amen." In this most rational oath of allegiance, we are reminded of the ancient oath of the Arragonese, who in return for protection promised allegiance, "but if not, not." The present oath, however, is a happy improvement on that model; for the junta now expressly swear allegiance to the liberties of their country, as well as to their prince. While they promise to "detend their king, his rights and sovereignty," they also unequivocally swear to perform the duties of patriot reformers. Can the friends of human liberty and good government wish for more? And this oath, so different from the fabrications of statesmen under court influence, must, as I conceive, have been privately drawn up and agreed on by the members of the jenta themselves; for it is not to be believed that any oath, of which they were previously ignorant, could have been proposed to them; nor was 'there in existence any power capable of dictating what they were not disposed to adopt. In this view of the matter, the excellence and value of this oath rise in our estimation; it is not an ordinary official oath, taken as a thing of course; it is not the invention of A, to be sworn to by B; but is an oath first drawn up, and then voluntarily taken by the same men; who, had they hot been determined to have acquitted themselves as real reformers, would have put together a very different form of words. I shall conclude these observations on the oath of the Spanish junta, with an ardent wish that the English privy council, and members of both houses of parliament, would, by a like solemnity, bind themselves to the duties of state reformation.

This Spanish oath is in its own nature an invitation to discussions and communications on the science of government, for men who swear" they will promote every thing conducive to the general welfare and happiness of the kingdom, and the amelioration of its customs," do in fact, by the publication of their oath, seek the aid of such as are like-minded. Such statesmen are the last to arrogate to themselves omniscience, and ever the most ready to receive information. They are aware that he must have little knowledge of statesmen, who does not discover that the most ac-. complished among them frequently needs the aid of men of very inferior capacities and attainments; as the greatest warriors derive services essential to the prosecution

of their designs from the men of detail on their staff, as well as even from commissaries, and such like.

When, indeed, we reflect on the disadvantages under which, ever since the reign of Philip the 2d, the science of government must have been studied in Spain, and the peculiar advantages which since the same era our own more fortunate country has com paratively enjoyed, it may reasonably be imagined, that the most enlightened patriots of Spain have already studied politics in the English school, and will cast a not unwilling eye on what may now issue from the English press, that shall be applicable to the work they have in hand Should they not find themselves instructed, a sympathy of sentiment, and a desire to serve them must, at least, be causes of complacency, and cements, of the alliance now subsisting be tween the two nations.

Having, Sir, in my late letters, touched en the fundamentals of a free and sound govern ment, namely, the militia and a legislative representation, it is time we advert to the executive. In treating on this branch of i government, we shall have considerable pr judice to encounter. From causes too vious to need specifying, we know that on this topic more than any other, not even excepting religion, pains have been taken to establish erroneous and even absurd creeds, and to fortify those creeds by mystery, bigotry, corruption, and terror. Hence the almost universal despotism of governments, and the infinity of human calamities pi which that curse to our species is the immediate cause! But he who, in the extraordinary convulsions of our day, convulsions by which both hemispheres have been shaken, and by which Europe from one extremity to the other is at this moment violently agitated,— he, I say, who in these convulsions does not perceive political light breaking in upon the human mind, for correcting past error on the subject of executive government, must have little profited from experience or reflection.

That something radically unnatural, and in the highest degree adverse to the wholesome regimen which is necessary to the political health and happiness of nations, is to be found in their executive governments, is a broad fact to which all history bears testiniony. But it is a fact of a more peculiar na ture, that, on taking a survey of the reigning families in Europe within the last half century, it affords a sort of presumption, especially when coupled with the above-mentioned convulsions, that Providence has for some time past been preparing the human mind

for a salutary change of opinion on the subject of executive government. Nor have they been less instructed as to the necessity of such an improvement, from the actual disposal of thrones which those convulsions have already produced, and the means employed. We may therefore hope the time is drawing nigh, when, notwithstanding, the efforts of even a Napoleon to keep alive an impious imposture, we shall hear no more of any thing mysterious about the office, or sacred * about the person, of any chief magistrate of whatever denomination; but that their commissions and their duties will everywhere become subjects of sober reasoning, and honest regulation, in like manner as those of all inferior officers, and thereby rendered subservient to the welfare of nations. It may contribute to this end if we establish correct ideas on the nature of sovereignty, the different species of which, although perpetually presenting themselves to minds, we are not in the habit of distin-mistry, and had such rewards and honours guishing.

I say proper sovereignty, because it is int fact the only one which in strict propriety is entitled to that appellation; for in the nature of things there cannot be two supremes; the cause and the effect, the parent and the offspring, the fountain and the stream, cannot be one and the same, nor can we but understand which of these respectively is first. It is only through the poverty of human language that in our speech the three species of sovereignty have been confounded'; as in practice it has also, to the misfortune of mankind, been generally found, that even the third, last, and inferior of the three, has monopolized all power. In this, I say, there is something radically unnatural: and when the order of political nature is subverted, we must not be surprised at the despotism and calamity with which human society is but too generally deluged. Had the science of government been, as open to discussion as physic, astronomy, or che


The word sovereignty has three separate significations; and although, for reasons sufficiently obvious, sovereignty is for the most part ascribed solely to the executive magistrate, yet, by a little attention to the nature of things, it will soon appear, that the sovereignty of the chief magistrate, is the most inferior of the three species we designate by that term. It is observed by Locke that there can be but one supreme power, to which all the rest are, and must be subservient; yet the legislative being only a fiduciary power, to act for certain ends, there remains still in the people a supreme power to remove or alter the legislative, when they find the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them "+ Here, then, we see two of the three species of sovereignty; one active, the other, except in elections and on extraordinary occasions, quiescent; the one derivative, the other original; the one limited, the other by nature boundless; a fiduciary or vicarious sovereignty being conferied upon, and entrusted to, that legislative which the will and pleasure of the nation have created for its own service and benefit; while the only underived, absolute, or proper sovereignty is that which is, and must be, inherent in the people.

*This word is objected to only when superstitiously or absurdly or servilely applied. From wrong or violence of every kind, every man's person is as sacred as that of any other. Inviolability of person, is a mere political invention, unconnected with any superstitious fancy.

↑ On Government, B, 2. C. 13.

awaited those who had therein enlarged the sphere of human knowledge by their discoveries, as the suffrages of mankind have conferred on a Harvey, a Newton, and a Davy, the condition of nations would ere now have been infinitely more happy than it is; and the activity and energies of mankind would have had a better direction than in mutual slaughter, for seating on thrones the pests of the human race. In the science of government the generality of nations are in the darkest ignorance, and even the generality of statesmen in mere infancy. Indeed, considering the comparatively small progress made in this science, which, by the way, is to mankind more important than any other (for religion, as a revelation from the Deity, I do not call a science) it would be presumptuous in any man to pretend to be a complete master; but still there are probably some few, in different nations who have studied it abstractedly, and who might be able, if opportunities invited, to introduce valuable improvements.

It is not my intention to undervalue, but to make a right estimate of, the political knowledge of statesmen; a..d when we consider te geucial motives of action, and how little hope a real political reformer can entertain of ever being admitted into a political party, much less of arriving at state advancement, it will not perhaps be uncharitable to remark of statesmen, as Mr. Tooke, upon his trial in 1794, observed of the lawyers. As these, according to that gentleman, studied only those parts of the law, by which they were to shine in Westminster Hall and get their wealth; so the

others may, too generally, be thought to study only those parts of government and state policy, by which they are to make a figure in courts, camps, or senates, and work their way to high offices in the state. Under a government in a state of such purity and vigour, as to make patriotism of intrinsic value to the individual, by raising him to distinction, the science of government will be properly studied, for preserving the laws and liberties of the people, and advancing the true glory of the state; but when corruption has found its way into the legislature, and faction and favouritism are the high roads to power or to honour, to seats in a cabinet or the command of armies, all knowledge of the true principles and ends of government will go to decay, and statesmen become subtle and expert only in those parts of knowledge by which they can come in for a share of the power and spoil of their country; and a resistance of all reformation will become a conspicuous part of their policy.

But let us return to the affairs of Spain. Considering the condition of her government for nearly three centuries past, it would be miraculous, indeed, were her supreme junta composed of none but men, who by their previous studies, had completely qualified themselves for state reformers: but we may hope, that, in the present exigency, men in general of talents and integrity have been chosen; and we have grounds for believing that some among them are highly enlighteneland of the most patriotic sentiments. It is to the influence of these eminent individuals, Spain must chiefly look for salvation. The Junta are to Spain, what the original Congress was to America, and the first National Assembly to France. To both, they may look back with advantage, and in the present temper of the Spanish mind we may safely conclude, they will have no great predeliction for improperly following French. examples. Perhaps they may see a closer parallel to their own case, in the Convention Parliament of England, which had at once to supply a vacancy in the throne, occasioned by the abdication of James, and to restore the government by a substantial reformation, from despotism to constitutional freedom. But if that way they should cast their eyes, I trust they will not only review that boasted era in our annals, but likewise our subsequent history, and therein see what they have to avoid.

Although the junta has not in it the proper character, either of a legislature, or an executive power, yet, from the necessities of the case, and on the authority of the general

voice in its favour, it must, pro tempore, assume the functions of both; and there should, seem to be nothing in the way of its proposing to the Spanish nation a constitu tion of great perfection. In proportion as, in that particular, it should aim at simplicity, it would probably succeed. Perhaps it would be advisable to confine its interference to that end, to three objects, namely, the militia, the legislature, and the execu tive power; leaving all else to be the work of subsequent legislation. As the immediate end of a constitution is to preserve the liberties of a nation, should those three powers be clearly defined in writing, adopted, and introduced in practice according to the written model, all that would be actual ly necessary as the fundamentals of a constitution should seem to be provided. It might still be highly expedient, as soon as the legislature should commence its functions, that a declaration of rights, after the manner of our Magna Charta and Bill of Rights, should, as the very first of its acts, and with peculiar solemnity, be passed as a fundamen tal law. Every means ought then to be adopted, by periodical readings in all courts of justice, places of worship, and seminaris of education; by the annual oaths of legislators and magistrates; and other slemnities; that such fundamental law should be impressed upon the mind of the whole nation, that they might understand their po litical rights: nor ought such a fundamental law to be capable of the smallest alteration, by a decision of any less number than three fourths of the legislature.

Possibly, Sir, many of your English readers may not at once perceive the sufficiency of such a constitution, as above-mentioned, for the security of a nation's liberties. Before they can accede to such an opinion, it will perhaps be, necessary they should acquire correct ideas of what the militia, and the legislature of their own country, according to its genuine constitution, ought to be: as well as more constitutional notions of the proper office and powers of an English king, than are to be derived from the slavish doctrines introduced with the Bastard of Nor mandy, who, with no better title to the throne of England than Joseph Napoleon has to that of Spain, unhappily succeeded in establishing his dynasty, as well as in administering poisons to both our constitution and our law, from the effects of which they have not to this day wholly recovered. In addition to what I have already said in my letters which appeared in your Register of the 17th of Sept. and 1st of this month, on the subject of a militia, and have laid down

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