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granting, or denying aids or monies for the public service, and should have the first commencement and consideration, and the sole modelling in their house not only of all laws for imposing taxes, and levying and raising aids or money upon the people for the defence and support of the state and governa ment; but also of all laws touching the taking from any man his property; and fhould have power to enquire into, and judge of the uses and occasions, for which monies are to be demanded and given; and to appropriate the fame to those uses, and to inquire into the applications, and to censure the misapplications thereof, and that this right should be so inviolable, that neither of the other two estates Thould propound any thing, nor interpose, nor meddle in any of their debates or proceedings, touching these matters; and that these powers and privileges should be, and be ac
counted bereditary, and as the most.eminent · pillars of this constitution ; and that the com- Right of the
mons in parliament assembled should also have in peach state the terrible power of inquiring into grievances, and questioning and impeaching such malefastors, as should be found subverting, or endeavouring to subvert, or advising the subvere. fion.or alteration of the fundamental form of this government.”
Election of the commons must be free.
As the members of the house of commons are to be freely chosen to represent the frec people of England in parliament, so the constitution will not permit the nightest deviation from the principle free-election, in any one of them. *“ If any part of the representative body be not chosen by the people, that part vitiates and corrupts the whole. If there be a defect in the representation of the people, that power, which alone is equal to the making of laws in this country, is not complete, and the acts of parliament, under that circumstance, are not the acts of a pure and entire legislature. I speak of the theory of our constitution; and whatever difficulties or inconveniences may attend the practice, I am ready to maintain, that as far as the fact deviates from the principle, so far the practice is vicious and cortupt.”
+ « It is the ancient indisputable privilege and right of the house of commons, that all grants of subsidies, or parliamentary aids do begin in their house, and are first bestowed by them; although their grants are not effectual to all intents and purposes, until they have the assent of the other two branches of the legislature. The true reason arising
house of com
from the spirit of our constitution seems to be this: the lords being a permanent here- Why money,
bills must oric ditary body created at pleasure by the king, ginate in the supposed more liable to be influenced by the mons. crown, and when once influenced to continue so, than the commons, who are a temporary elective body, freely nominated by the people, it would therefore be extremely dangerous to give the lords any power of framing new taxes for the subject; it is sufficient, that they have a power of rejecting, if they think the commons too lavish or improvident in their grants. But so reasona- Who will not bly jealous are the commons of this valua- permit them to ble privilege, that herein they will not suffer the lords. the other house to exert any power, but that of rejecting; they will not permit the least alteration or amendment to be made by the lords to the mode of taxing the people by a money bill; under which appellation are included all bills, by which money is directed to be raised upon the subject, for. any purpose, or in any shape whatsoever, either for the exigences of government, and collected from the kingdom in general, as the land tax; or for private benefit, and collected in any particular district, as by turnpikes, parish rates, and the like.
E e 3 : “In
nofts the ex
In the election “In the elections of knights, citizens, and
ex burgeffes consists the exercise of the demoercise of the democratic part cratical part of our constitution ; for in a deof the constitu
mocracy there can be no exercise of fovereignty but by fuffrage, which is the declaration of the people's will : in all democracies therefore it is of the utmost importance to regulate by whom, and in what manner the fuffrages are to be given. And the Athenians were so justly jealous of this prerogative, that a stranger, who interfered in the assemblies of the people, was punished by their laws with death ; because such a man was esteemed guilty of high treason, by ufurping thofe rights of sovereignty, to which he had no title. In England, where the people do not debate in a collective body, but by reprefentation, the exercise of this fovereignty confifts in the choice of representatives. The laws have therefore very strictly guarded against usurpation or abuse of this power, by many falutary provisions, which may be reduced to thefe three points: 1. The qualifications of the electors ; 2. The qualifications of the elected ; 3. The proceedings at elec, cions.”
It may not be improper to preface the consideration of these three points with some
tering the mode
observations upon the general complaint of the malcontents of the day, against the present representation of the people in parliament, which they most loudly reprobate, as partial, inadequate, and corrupt. .
The principle of our constitution undoubtedly is, that the representation of the people shall be full, free, and unbiased; and as far as the nature of circumstances will allow, it has from time to time enforced and supported this principle by the wifest rules, orders, and regulations. If at present they confitrional do not chuse, or think it expedient and ad- delicacy in alviseable, to make or introduce any changes of electing re..
presentatives, or alterations into the parliamentary reprefentation of the people, it must be attributed to a very laudable and constitutional aversion from innovating upon the declaration and settlement of our rights at the revolution. Such an event is never more likely to happen in this country; it was a temporary dissolution of the government, effected not by the act of the people or governed, but by that of the crown or governor, which there. The opportunia fore afforded an unprecedented opportunity tyour ancestors
enjoyed of als to the people of recurring to their primeval tering what rights of modelling and squaring that form defective in the
representation. of government, by which they chose in fu· Ee 4
ever they found