It was called necessitudo sortis; and it was looked upon with a sacred reverence. It is of the utmost moment not to make mistakes in the use of strong measures; and firmness is then only a virtue when it accompanies the most perfect wisdom. Whether all this be a vision of a distracted brain, or the invention of a malicious heart, or a real Faction in the country, must be judged by the appearances which things have worn for eight years past. His revenue for the civil establishment, fixed (as it was then thought) at a large, but definite sum, was ample, without being invidious. They who remember the riots which attended the Middlesex Election; the opening of the present Parliament; and the transactions relative to Saint George's Fields, will not be at a loss for an application of these remarks. In the 1770 Works 1:347--49 . But we must purposely shut our eyes, if we con sider this matter merely as a contest between the House of Commons and the Electors. It is not in Parliament alone that the remedy for Parliamentary disorders can be compleated; hardly indeed can it begin there. If, by any chance, the Ministers who stand before the curtain possess or affect any spirit, it makes little or no impression. Unable to rule the multitude, they endeavour to raise divisions amongst them. The pretence was, to prevent the King from being enslaved by a faction, and made a prisoner in his closet. Both the Law and the Magistrate are the creatures of Will. In the former case, only the few are affected; in the latter, only the inconsiderable. For his own person, no office, or emolument, or title; no promotion, ecclesiastical, or civil, or military, or naval, for children, or brothers, or kindred. Foreign Courts and Ministers, who were among the first to discover and to profit by this invention of the double Cabinet, attend very little to their remonstrances. This scheme might have been expected to answer at least its own end, and to indemnify the King, in his personal capacity, for all the confusion into which it has thrown his Government. See what's new with book lending at the Internet Archive. So that if you were to gratify them in their humour to-day, that very gratification would be a ground of their dissatisfaction on the next. The third point, and that on which the success of the whole scheme ultimately depended, was to bring Parliament to an acquiescence in this project. If other ideas should prevail, things must remain in their present confusion; until they are hurried into all the rage of civil violence; or until they sink into the dead repose of despotism. In Edmund Burke: Political life …issue is his pamphlet “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770). I hope I shall be indulged in a few observations on the nature and character of that assembly; not with regard to its legal form and power, but to its spirit, and to the purposes it is meant to answer in the constitution. Even the holding of offices together, the disposition of which arose from chance not selection, gave rise to a relation, which continued for life. Certain it is, the best patriots in the greatest commonwealths have always commended and promoted such connexions. A sullen gloom, and furious disorder, prevail by fits the nation loses its relish for peace and prosperity, as it did in that season of fullness which opened our troubles in the time of Charles the First. Those high and haughty sentiments, which are the great support of independence, were to be let down gradually. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. The unifying theme of all three documents is Burke’s fear of arbitrary power divorced from political prudence. Thus Parliament was to look. Such was. Prime. The House of Commons can never be a controul on other parts of Government unless they are controuled themselves by their constituents; and unless these constituents possess some right in the choice of that House, which it is not in the power of that House to take away. To have exceeded the sum given for the Civil List, and to have incurred a debt without special authority of Parliament, was, prima facie, a criminal act: as such, Ministers ought naturally rather to have withdrawn it from the inspection, than to have exposed it to the scrutiny, of Parliament. The direct consequence of which is, that the first franchise of an Englishman, and that on which all the rest vitally depend, is to be forfeited for some offence which no man knows, and which is to be proved by no known rule whatsoever of legal evidence. They will be able to serve him effectually; because they will add the weight of the country to the force of the executory power. These opportunities and these arguments, the use that has been made of both, the plan for carrying this new scheme of government into execution, and the effects which it has produced, are in my opinion worthy of our serious consideration. Several imagine, therefore, that they have a very good excuse for doing all the work of this Faction, when they have no personal connexion with Lord Bute. It ought to have a natural tendency to exclude bad men from Government, and not to trust for the safety of the State to subsequent punistiment alone: punishment, which has ever been tardy and uncertain; and which, when power is suffered in bad hands, may chance to fall rather on the injured than the criminal. They will trust an inquisitive and distinguishing Parliament; because it does enquire, and does distinguish. To be fully persuaded, that all virtue which is impracticable is spurious and rather to run the risque of falling into faults in a course which leads us to act with effect and energy, than to loiter out our days without blame, and without use. Every thing would be drawn from its holdings in the country to the personal favour and inclination of the Prince. Nor are we engaged in unsuccessful war; in which, our misfortunes might easily pervert our judgement; and our minds, sore from the loss of national glory, might feel every blow of Fortune as a crime in Government. We have no direct right to examine into the receipts from his Majesty's German Dominions, and the Bishoprick of Osnabrug. It is worthy of some observation, that these gentlemen, so jealous of aristocracy, make no complaints of the power of those Peers (neither few nor inconsiderable) who are always in the train of a Court, and whose whole weight must be considered as a portion of the settled influence of the Crown. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect, it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. For the meanest and most dependent instrument of this system knows, that there are hours when its existence may depend upon his adherence to it; and he takes his advantage accordingly. Here and there indeed a few individuals were left standing, who gave security for their total estrangement from the odious principles of party connexion and personal attachment; and it must be confessed that most of them have religiously kept their faith. Attributed to Edmund Burke--National Union Catalog pre-1956 imprints. And whether it will be right, in a State so popular in its constitution as ours, to leave ambition without popular motives, and to trust all to the operation of pure virtue in the minds of Kings and Ministers, and public men, must be submitted to the judgement and good sense of the people of England. But in one hour, and in the self-same Assembly, without any assigned or assignable cause, to be precipitated from the highest authority to the most marked neglect, possibly into the greatest peril of life and reputation, is a situation full of danger, and destitute of honour. applicable to the service of the Civil List of his present Majesty. Those who in a few months after fouled over head and ears into the deepest and dirtiest pits of corruption, cried out violently against the indirect practices in the electing and managing of Parliaments, which had formerly prevailed. These were some of the many artifices used to reconcile the people to the great change which was made in the persons who composed the Ministry, and the still greater which was made and avowed in its constitution. Such I call the ransom of Manilla, and the demand on France for the East India prisoners. Other institutions have been formed for the purpose of checking popular excesses; and they are, I apprehend, fully adequate to their object. By such means it may appear who those are, that, by an indiscriminate support of all Administrations, have totally banished all integrity and confidence out of public proceedings; have confounded the best men with the worst; and weakened and dissolved, instead of strengthening and compacting, the general frame of Government. A strenuous resistance to every appearance of lawless power; a spirit of independence carried to some degree of enthusiasm; an inquisitive character to discover, and a bold one to display, every corruption and every error of Government; these are the qualities which recommend a man to a feat in the House of Commons, in open and merely popular elections. Indeed it was then asserted, and, I have no doubt, truely, that for many years the net produce did not amount to above 550,000l. Printed for J. DODSLEY, in Pall-Mall, Then what has the Crown of the King profited by all this fine-wrought scheme? Their restless and crooked spirit drives them to rake in the dirt of every kind of expedient. Constitute Government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of Ministers of State. But whoever becomes a party to an Administration, composed of insulated individuals, without faith plighted, tie, or common principle; an Administration constitutionally impotent, because supported by no party in the nation; he who contributes to destroy the connexions of men and their trust in one another, or in any sort to throw the dependence of public counsels upon private will and favour, possibly may have nothing to do with the Earl of Bute. Nobody, I believe, will consider it merely as the language of spleen or disappointment, if I say, that there is something particularly alarming in the present conjuncture. Upload. I reflect virtue in all its situations; even when it is found in the unsuitable company of weakness. When any construction of law goes against the spirit of the privilege it was meant to support, it is a vicious construction. Mr. Pelham gave such an assurance, and he kept his word. those which the law had prescribed? Indeed the increase of the power of the State has often been urged by artful men, as a pretext for some abridgement of the public liberty. I know that the courts of law have made as strained constructions in other cafes. But a system unfavourable to freedom may be so formed, as considerably to exalt the grandeur of the State; and men may find in the pride and splendor of that prosperity some sort of consolation for the loss of their solid privileges. It is true, that about four years ago, during the administration of the Marquis of Rockingham, an attempt was made to carry on Government without their concurrence. No complaisance to our Court, or to our age, can make me believe nature to be so changed, but that public liberty will be among us, as among our ancestors, obnoxious to some person or other; and that opportunities will be furnished, for attempting at least, some alteration to the prejudice of our constitution. Never were Ministers better supported in Parliament. In removing it from a dangerous leaning towards one side, there may be a risque of oversetting it on the other. Afterwards they are sure to destroy him in his turn; by setting up in his place some person in whom he had himself reposed the greatest confidence, and who serves to carry off a considerable part of his adherents. They enjoy a privilege, of somewhat more dignity and effect, than that of idle lamentation over the calamities of their country. When the House of Commons was thus made to consider itself as the master of its constituents, there wanted but one thing to secure that House against all possible future deviation towards popularity; an unlimited fund of money to be laid out according to the pleasure of the Court. It must be always the wish of an unconstitutional Statesman, that an House of Commons who are entirely dependent upon him, should have every right of the people entirely dependent upon their pleasure. These compose the inventory of prosperous circumstances, whether they regard a Prince or a subject; their enjoyments differing only in the scale upon which they are formed. They will be able to serve their King with dignity; because they will never abuse his name to the gratification of their private spleen or avarice. It is the business of the politician, who is the philosopher in action, to find out proper means towards those ends, and to employ them with effect. But when this submission is urged to us, in a contest between the representatives and ourselves, and where nothing can be put into their scale which is not taken from ours, they fancy us to be children when they tell us they are our representatives, our own flesh and blood, and that all the stripes they give us are for our good. Their odium might become, strained through the medium of two or three constructions, the means of sitting as the trustee of all that was dear to them. ; 4⁰. In such a strait the wisest may well be perplexed, and the boldest staggered. This has been the great scheme of power in our time. They gave themselves, under the lax and indeterminate idea of the honour of the Crown, a full loose for all manner of dissipation, and all manner of corruption. There is an opinion universal, that these revenues produce something not inconsiderable, clear of all charges and establishments. A vigilant and jealous eye over executory and judicial magistracy; an anxious care of public money, an openness, approaching towards facility, to public complaint: these seem to be the true characteristics of an House of Commons. A Minister of State will sometimes keep himself totally estranged from all his collegues; will differ from them in their councils, will privately traverse, and publicly oppose, their measures. They are a matter incapable of exact definition. With the loss of their dignity, they lose their temper. Additional Information. This system has not risen solely from the ambition of Lord Bute, but from the circumstances which favoured it, and from an indifference to the constitution which had been for some time growing among our gentry. The popularity which should arise from such an opposition was to be shewn unable to protect it. If this were compassed, the influence of the Crown must of course produce all the effects which the most sanguine partizans of the Court could possibly desire. He goes, however, into another department of the lame office, that he might not be obliged officially to acquiesce in one situation under what he had officially remonstrated against in another. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents. These singular advantages inspired his Majesty only with a more ardent desire to preserve unimpaired the spirit of that national freedom, to which he owed a situation so full of glory. If he has not the talent of elocution, which is the case of many as wise and knowing men as any in the House, he is liable to all these inconveniencies, without the eclat which attends upon any tolerably successful exertion of eloquence. ", transactions relative to Saint George's Fields, https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Thoughts_on_the_Cause_of_the_Present_Discontents&oldid=9537494, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The people, by their representatives and grandees, were intrusted with a deliberative power in making laws; the King with the control of his negative. This gentleman, by setting himself strongly in opposition to the Court Cabal, had become at once an object of their persecution, and of the popular savour. I once more caution the reader, that I do not urge this consideration concerning the foreign revenue, as if I supposed we had a direct right to examine into the expenditure of any part of it; but solely for the purpose of shewing how little this system of Favouritism has been advantageous to the Monarch himself; which, without magnificence, has sunk him into a state of unnatural poverty; at the same time that he possessed every means of affluence, from ample revenues, both in this country, and in other parts of his dominions. Fourth in descent, and third in succession of his Royal family, even the zealots of hereditary right, in him, saw something to flatter their favourite prejudices; and to justify a transfer of their attachments, without a change in their principles. The military arm is the sole reliance; and then, call your constitution what you please, it is the sword that governs. Before men are put forward into the great trusts of the State, they ought by their conduct to have obtained such a degree of estimation in their country, as may be some sort of pledge and security to the publick, that they will not abuse those trusts. Government is put under the disgraceful necessity of protecting from the severity of the laws that very licentiousness, which the laws had been before violated to repress. a year. To put their hands upon such articles of expenditure as they thought improper or excessive, and to secure, in future, against such misapplication or exceeding? The science of evasion, already tolerably understood, would then be brought to the greatest perfection. For there is a material distinction between that corruption by which particular points are carried against reason, (this is a thing which cannot be prevented by human wisdom, and is of less consequence) and the corruption of the principle itself. It was more strongly and evidently the interest of the new Court Faction, to get rid of the great Whig connexions, than to destroy Mr. Pitt. The consequences were, however, curious. It is, therefore, not at all wonderful, that people should be so desirous of adding themselves to that body, in which they may possess and reconcile satisfactions the most alluring, and seemingly the most contradictory; enjoying at once all the spirited pleasure of independence, and all the gross lucre and fat emoluments of servitude. And when we hear any instance of ministerial rapacity, to the prejudice of the rights of private life, it will certainly not be the exaction of two hundred pullets, from a woman of fashion, for leave to lye with her own husband. By the former of these, lawful Government is undone; by the latter, all opposition to lawless power is rendered impotent. The interior Ministry are sensible, that war is a situation which sets in its full light the value of the hearts of a people; and they well know, that the beginning of the importance of the people must be the end of theirs. sister projects: Wikipedia article, Wikidata item. The reason is evident. A new project was therefore devised, by a certain set of intriguing men, totally different from the system of Administration which had prevailed since the accession of the House of Brunswick. For then the evil is not accidental, but settled. Our Ministers are of opinion, that the increase os our trade rind manufactures, that our growth by colonization and by conquest, have concurred to accumulate immense wealth in the hands of some individuals; and this again being dispersed amongst the people, has rendered them universally proud, ferocious, and ungovernable; that the insolence of some from their enormous wealth, and the boldness of others from a guilty poverty, have rendered them capable of the most atrocious attempts; so that they have trampled upon all subordination, and violently born down the unarmed laws of a free Government; barriers too feeble against the fury of a populace so fierce and licentious as ours. And when they are become so, they have then the best chance for being well supported. The laws reach but a very little way. If the authority of Parliament supports itself, the credit of every act of Government which they contrive, is saved; but if the act be so very odious that the whole strength of Parliament is insufficient to recommend it, then Parliament is itself discredited; and this discredit increases more and more that indifference to the constitution, which it is the constant aim of its enemies, by their abuse of Parliamentary powers, to render general among the people. They who can read the political sky will see an hurricane in a cloud no bigger than an hand at the very edge of the horizon, and will run into the first harbour. It is not easy to foresee, what the effect would be, of disconnecting with Parliament, the greatest part of those who hold civil employments, and of such mighty and important bodies as the military and naval establishments. To say nothing of the horrible disorders among the people attending frequent elections, I should be fearful of committing, every three years, the independent gentlemen of the country into a contest with the Treasury. If one of those Ministers officially takes up a business with spirit, it serves only the better to signalize the meanness of the rest, and the discord of them all. Volume 1 of Select Works of Edmund Burke contains "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents" (1770), Burke's brilliant defense of the American colonists' complaints of British policy. To recommend this system to the people, a perspective view of the Court gorgeously painted, and finely illuminated from within, was exhibited to the gaping multitude. He did not dispute the right of the crown to tax the colonies but objected to doing so without the consent of the colonists. They certainly may act ill by design, as well as by mistake. Would not such a coincidence of interest and opinion be rather fortunate? Without this, the whole would have been no better than a visionary amusement, like the scheme of Harrington's political club, and not a business in which the nation had a real concern. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. But whether the compliment was to one or both, to this nation it was the same. The Court was obliged therefore to delegate a part of its powers to men of such interest as could support, and of such fidelity as would adhere to, its establishment. Filled with an anxious concern for whatever regards the welfare of our Sovereign, it is impossible, in considering the miserable circumstances into which he has been brought, that this obvious topick should be entirely passed over. It is a right, the effect of which is to give to the people, that man, and that man only, whom by their voices, actually, not constructively given, they declare that they know, esteem, love, and trust. A plan of Favouritism for our executory Government is essentially at variance with the plan of our Legislature. Here it is that the natural strength of the kingdom, the great peers, the leading landed gentlemen, the opulent merchants and manufacturers, the substantial yeomanry, must interpose, to rescue their Prince, themselves, and their posterity. Volume 1 of Select Works of Edmund Burke contains "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents" (1770), Burke's brilliant defense of the American colonists' complaints of British policy.Faithfully reproduced in this volume are E. J. Payne's notes and introductory essays. Nor was the House at all more attentive to a provident security against future, than it had been to a vindictive retrospect to past, mismanagements. The other party seemed rather pleased to get rid of so oppressive a support; not perceiving, that their own fall was prepared by his, and involved in it. Addressing himself to Britain. However, the House of Commons thought all these to be antiquated principles; they were of opinion, that the most Parliamentary way of proceeding was, to pay first what the Court thought proper to demand, and to take its chance for an examination into accounts at some time of greater leisure. He set great…. Nor is it that vice merely skulks in an obscure and contemptible impunity. A body of loquacious place-men go out to tell the world, that all he aims at, is to get into office. None are considered as well-wishers to the Crown, but those who advise to some unpopular course of action; none capable of serving it, but those who are obliged to call at every instant upon all its power for the safety of their lives. Frequent and correct lists of the voters in all important questions ought to be procured. Theirs was rooted in the country. Thus far I am certain, that there is not a single public man, in or out of office, who has not, at some time or other, born testimony to the truth of what I have now related. This is punishing the offence in the offending part. I too have thought on this subject: but my purpose here, is only to consider it as a part of the favourite project of Government; to observe on the motives which led to it; and to trace its political consequences. Try The people have no interest in disorder. A deficiency of the Civil List duties for several years before, was stated as the principal, if not the sole, ground on which an application to Parliament could be justified. But the throne of no Prince has stood upon more unshaken foundations than that of his present Majesty. It is very clear that we cannot free ourselves entirely from this great inconvenience; but I would not increase an evil, because I was not able to remove it; and because it was not in my power to keep the House of Commons religiously true to its first principles, I would not argue for carrying it to a total oblivion of them. 1 Citations; 54 Downloads; Abstract. That Connexion and Faction are equivalent, terms, is an opinion which has been carefully inculcated at all times by unconstitutional Statesmen. The due arrangement of men in the active part of the State, far from being foreign to the purposes of a wife Government, ought to be among its very first and dearest objects. Its effect on the public credit of this kingdom must be obvious; for in vain is the Sinking Fund the great buttress of all the rest, if it be in the power of the Ministry to resort to it for the payment of any debts which they may choose to incur, under the name of the Civil List, and through the medium of a Committee, which thinks itself obliged by law to vote supplies without any other account than that of the mere existence of the debt. An opportunity for this purpose was taken, upon an application to Parliament for payment of the debts of the Civil List; which in 1769 had amounted to 513,000l. Such complaints and humours have existed in all times; yet as all times have not been alike, true political sagacity manifests itself, in distinguishing that complaint which only characterizes the general infirmity of human nature, from those which are symptoms of the particular distemperature of our own air and season. Is Government strengthened? However, we must take care not to be mistaken, or to imagine that such persons have any weight in their Opposition. The latter character, even when it is not in its extreme, will execute this trust but very imperfectly; and, if deviating to the least excess, will certainly frustrate instead of forwarding the purposes of a controul on Government. Nothing can render this a point of indifference to the nation, but what must either render us totally desperate, or soothe us into the security of ideots. of the holder; and although Government certainly is an institution of Divine authority, yet its forms, and the persons who administer it, all originate from the people. But, if it be a legal remedy, it is intended on some occasion to be used; to be used then only, when it is evident that nothing else can hold the constitution to its true principles. Particular punishments are the cure for accidental distempers in the State; they inflame rather than allay those heats which arise from the settled mismanagement of the Government, or from a natural ill disposition in the people. The whole is certainly not much short of a million annually. They who will not conform their conduct to the public good, and cannot support it by the prerogative of the Crown, have adopted a new plan. Without them, your Commonwealth is no better than a scheme upon paper; and not a living, acting, effective constitution. For this reason they discover upon all occasions the utmost: fear of every thing, which by possibility may lead to such an event. If a few puny libellers, acting under a knot of factious politicians, without virtue, parts, or character (such they are constantly represented by these gentlemen), are sufficient to excite this disturbance, very perverse must be the disposition of that people, amongst whom such a disturbance can be excited by such means. a year. It will not be conceivable to any one who has not seen it, what pleasure is taken by the Cabal in rendering these heads of office throughly contemptible and ridiculous. If the King should put his affairs into the hands of any one of them, he is sure to disgust the rest; if he select particular men from among them all, it is an hazard that he disgusts them all. The late proceeding, I will not say, is contrary to law; it must be so; for the power which is claimed cannot, by any possibility, be a legal power in any limited member of Government. He is sapping the foundation of its liberty, disturbing the sources of its domestic tranquillity, weakening its government over its dependencies, degrading it from all its importance in the system of Europe. While they are men of property, it is impossible to prevent it, except by such means as must prevent all property from its natural operation; an event not easily to be compassed, while property is power; nor by any means to be wished, while the least notion exists of the method by which the spirit of liberty acts, and of the means by which it is preserved. He will, however, continue in his employment. necessity of conspiring, instead of consulting. The people indeed have been told, that this power of discretionary disqualification is vested in hands that they may trust, and who will be sure not to abuse it to their prejudice. They teach him first to distrust, and then to quarrel with his friends; among whom, by the same arts, they excite a similar diffidence of him; so that, in this mutual fear and distrust, he may suffer himself to be employed as the instrument in the change which is brought about. Party is a body of men united, for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed. And this is all that ever was required for a character of the greatest uniformity and steadiness in connexion. But those who advise him may have an interest in disorder and confusion. Every profession, not excepting the glorious one of a soldier, or the sacred one of a priest, is liable to its own particular vices; which, however, form no argument against those ways of life; nor are the vices themselves inevitable to every individual in those professions. To promote any of them to considerable rank or emolument, they commonly take care that the recommendation shall pass through the hands of the ostensible Ministry: such a recommendation might however appear to the world, as some proof of the credit of Ministers, and some means of increasing their strength. In all this, they see nothing but the operations of parsimony, attended with all the consequences of profusion. If a man happens not tosucceed in such an inquiry, he will be thought weak and visionary; if he touches the true grievance, there is a danger that he may come near to persons of weight and consequence, who will rather be exasperated at the discovery of their errors than thankful for the occasion of correcting them. But when the House of Commons was to be new modelled, this principle was not only to be changed, but reversed. Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents & Speeches: Burke, Edmund: Amazon.sg: Books. When, therefore, the abettors of the new system tell us, that between them and their opposers there is nothing but a struggle for power, and that therefore we are no-ways concerned in it; we must tell those who have the impudence to insult us in this manner, that of all things we ought to be the most concerned, who and what sort of men they are, that hold the trust of every thing that is dear to us. Impeachment, that great guardian of the purity of the Constitution, is in danger of being lost, even to the idea of it. They do, but the protests aren’t about that. If they have any evil design to which there is no ordinary legal power commensurate, they bring it into Parliament. If the opinion of the country be ot no use as a means of power or consideration, the qualities which usually procure that opinion will be no longer cultivated. Of this stamp is the cant of Not men, but measures; a sort of charm, by which many people get loose from every ho nourable engagement. If the wealth of the nation be the cause of its turbulence, I imagine it is not proposed to introduce poverty, as a constable to keep the peace. As there always are many rotten members belonging to the best connexions, it is not hard to persuade several to continue in office without their leaders. No wonder that it produces such effects. It was soon discovered, that the forms of a free, and the ends of an arbitrary Government, were things not altogether incompatible. This reserve of theirs I look upon to be equivalent to the clearest declaration, that they were resolved upon a contrary course. Have they not beggared his Exchequer, tarnished the splendor of his Courts funk his dignity, galled his feelings, discomposed the whole order and happiness of his private life? This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. This method therefore of governing, by men of great natural interest or great acquired consideration, was viewed in a very invidious light by the true lovers of absolute monarchy. It is this unnatural infusion of a system of Favouritism into a Government which in a great part of its constitution is popular, that has raised the present ferment in the nation. The laws of this country are for the most part constituted, and wisely so, for the general ends of Government, rather than for the preservation of our particular liberties. But it was thought necessary effectually to destroy all dependencies but one; and to shew an example of the firmness and rigour with which the new system was to be supported. It is absolutely necessary to have frequent recourse to the Legislature. Would to God it were true, that the fault of our Peers were too much spirit! Undoubtedly the very best Administration must encounter a great deal of opposition; and the very worst will find more support than it deserves. It is not more the duty than it is the interest of a Prince, to aim at giving tranquillity to his Government. If our liberty has enfeebled the executive power, there is no design, I hope, to call in the aid of despotism, to fill up the deficiencies of law. This was the most noble and refined part of our constitution. No conveniency of public arrangement is available to remove any one of them from the specific situation he holds; and the slightest attempt upon one of them, by the most powerful Minister, is a certain preliminary to his own destruction. This is a topick upon which for many reasons I could wish to be silent; but the pretence of securing against such causes of uneasiness, is the corner-stone of the Court Party. I do not know whether this might not have been rather to overstrain the principle. Hoc vero occultum, intestinum, domesticum malum, non modo non existit, verum etiam opprimit, antequam perspicere atque explorare potueris. and confining it to that sum, adds to the number of obsolete statutes which load the shelves of libraries without any sort of advantage to the people. nor, in the whole course of our history, has any compliance with the will of the people ever been known to extort from any Prince a greater contradiction to all his own declared affections and dislikes than that which is now adopted, in direct opposition to every thing the people approve and desire. Thy favourites grow not up by fortune's sport,Or from the crimes or follies of a court.On the firm basis of desert they rise,From long-try'd faith, and friendship's holy ties. In the last session, the corps called the King's friends made an hardy attempt all at once, to alter the right of election itself; to put it into the power of the House of Commons to disable any person disagreeable to them from fitting in Parliament, without any other rule than their own pleasure; to make incapacities, either general for descriptions of men, or particular for individuals; and to take into their body, persons who avowedly had never been chosen by the majority. It was considered as a control, issuing immediately from the people, and speedily to be resolved into the mass from whence it arose. Such application had been made upon former occasions; but to do it in the former manner would by no means answer the present purpose. The instinct which carries the people towards the choice of the former, is justified by reason; because a man of such a character, even in its exorbitances, does not directly contradict the purposes of a trust, the end of which is a controul on power.
burke thoughts on the cause of the present discontents