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which founded and fortressed it; in most perfect strength, on the rock of the Constitution, was the climacteric of our limited form of Monarchical Governament. Then its highest degree of perfection. exposed it to utmost peril. Till the attainment of that state, the moral energies, which by nature have inclination to encroach on their own part, were employing their forces to check encroachment on the part of others. Absorbed in efforts to compass the latter object, they had not their present leisure to devote to endeavours-after the former:
Commerce, too, in weakening the natural ties of kindred as well as kind in dispersing families, and forcing mul-.. titudes into stations in which the insolence of newly-acquired power seduces them to obtrude claims of equality upons every thing superior, and to treat with arrogance and oppression every thing in-ferior, has an inevitable tendency to chea rish the democratic spirit of the age. In thus describing the effects of commerce upon the subordination of social life, I would by no means have you to -understand me as depreciating its inestimable advantages. I am merely acting in conformity with the maxim, that “ to know an evil completely, is half its cure.” If commerce, therefore, have serious disadvantages, by well ascertaining what they are, we shall the more easily and surely be enabled to prevent the mischief to which they might otherwise give birth., The benefits of any system should not merely counterbalance but very considerably over-balance its evils. An equilibrium which a straw's weight can destroy, is too ticklish a state to possess the qualities of durability: The Constitution is a mighty engine of conflicting powers; and it is indispensable to the well working of the whole, that these powers should only be so opposed as to perform the harmonious
offices of antagonist muscles. An impaired or an overgrown force in any one of these powers must of course tend to the dislocation and derangement of the rest. This position is self-evident'; but the injunction it involves of preserving the balance of the Constitution, in a very imperfect observance, will task alb the resources of public resolution and accumulated experience.
To assist in the attainment and stablishing of this momentous object, it is necessary to ascertain with precision on which side the scale preponderates. The investigation of the quantum of unjust preponderance, will inseparably involve the best suggestions how to rectify the disarrangement, and repair whatever ins jury it may have originated
:: Further to fortify my declaration, that popular encroachment is the crying evil of the day, it will be serviceable to superadd to the assertion, that the
power of the Crown was reduced within
proper limits in the last reign, an explanation how that result was ultimately consummated. The gratuitous and noble sacrifice made by the late King, of that pernicious portion of the prerogative which could interfere with the Judges ; the successful vindication of the right of Juries to return a general verdict in cases of political libel ; together with the constitutional concession, that expulsion from the House of Commons cannot of itself disqualify for being re-elected to a seat in Parliament, (as otherwise the power which can alone belong to the whole Legislature would, in every case of ejection, he usurped by a single branch of it) these three important achievements in behalf of rational freedom andi social security, I conceive to have pruned the power of the Crown, as available, either through influence or prerogative, of all extraordinary means of
endangering the commonweal, and there by, on its own part, shaking the foun... dation of its own security.
Having shewn on which side encroach--ment is at work, and laid down the rea. sons why its offensive operations should be now solely directed against that quarter, it remains to develope the end and aim,, as well as the mode of its attack. Since the symptoms of this evil partake rather: of the chronic than the acute nature, by thus tracing its progress, I hope to warn: you with success from suffering your*selves to become so far familiarized with a state of disease, as shall expose you to the peril of only appreciating its ravages in its sudden and ultimate fatality. Nothing is easier than to raise a clamour or congregate a mob : but is merit to be measured by hireling suffrage, or questions of national importance to be decided by the yells of designing men,, or the vociferations of deluded ones?