Page images

against which there is a law in other cases. It amounts to a combination of persons in one common interest.”

* « For whatever their separate politics as to parties may be, in this they are united. Whether a combination acts to raise the price of any article for sale, or the rate of wages; or whether it acts to throw taxes from itself upon another class of the community, the principle and the effect are the same ; and if the one be illegal, it will be difficult to shew that the other ought to exist.”

+ “ These are but a part of the mischiefs flowing from the wretched scheme of an house of peers. As a combination, it can always throw a considerable portion of taxes from itself; and as an hereditary house accountable to nobody, it resembles a rotten borough, whose confent is to be courted by intereft

$ " Having thus glanced at some of the defects of the two houses of parliament, I proceed to what is called the crown, upon which I shall be very concise. It signifies a nominal office of a million sterling a year, the business of which consists in receiving

money. Whether the person be wife or foolish, fane or infane, a native or a fo

[ocr errors]


Rights of Man, P. ï. p. 102.
Ibid. p. 107.

+ Ibid. p. 105.


reigner, matters not. Every ministry acts upon the same idea that Mr. Burke writes, namely, that the people must be hoodwinked, and held in fuperstitious ignorance by some bug-bear or other; and what is called the crown answers this purpose, and therefore it answers all the purposes to be expected from it,”

* “ Notwithstanding the sycophancy of historians, and men like Mr. Burke, who seek to glofs over a base action of the court by traducing Tyler, his fame will out-live their falsehood. If the barons merited a monument to be erected in Runnymede, Tyler merits one in Smithfield.”

+ “ It has cost England almost seventy millions sterling to maintain a family imported from abroad, of very inferior capacity to thousands in the nation,”

“ Primogeniture ought to be abolished, not only because it is unnatural and unjust, but because the country suffers by its operation.”

S“ Change of ministers amounts to nothing. One goes out, another comes in, and still the same measures, vices, and extravagance are pursued. It signifies not, who

* Rights of Man, P. ii. p. 112.

Ibid. p. 148.

+ Ibid. p. 120. Ibid. p. 157


is minister; the defect lies in the system. The
foundation and the superstructure of the go-
vernment is bad.”

* « The time is not very diftant, when
England will laugh at itself for fending to Hol-
land, Hanover, Zell, or Brunswick for men,
at the expence of a million a year, who under-
stood neither her laws, her language, nor her
interest, and whose capacities would scarcely
have fitted them for the office of a parish
constable. If government could be trusted to
such hands, it must be some easy and simple
thing indeed, and materials fit for all the

purposes may be found in every town and village in England.”

† “ I presume, that though all the people of England pay taxes, not an hundredth part of them are electors, and the members of one of the houses of parliament represent nobody but themselves. There is therefore na power but the voluntary will of the people, that has a right to act in any matter respecting a general reform.

† I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points, think alike, who think at all. It is only those, who have not thought, that appear to agree.

[ocr errors]

+ Ibid. p. 163.

* Rights of Man, P. ii. p. 161.

Ibid. p. 172

It is in this case, as with what is called the British constitution. It has been taken for granted to be good, and encomiums have supplied the place of proof. But when the nation comes to examine into its principles, and the abuses it admits, it will be found to have more defects, than I have pointed out in this work, and the former.”

[blocks in formation]

Сн А Р.




Religion often made the pretext for rebelLion.


HAT all rebellions did ever be

gin with the faireft pretences for reforming of somewhat amiss in the government, is a truth so clear, that there needs no manifestation thereof from example ; nor were they ever observed to have greater success, than when the colours for religion did openly appear in the van of their armed forces; most men being desirous to have it really thought (how bad and vile foever their practices are) that zeal to God's glory is no small part of their aim; which gilded bait hath been usually held forth to allure the vulgar by those, whose end and designs were nothing else, than to get into power, and so to possess themselves of the estate and fortune of their more opulent neighbours.”

I do not undertake to write a full history of all the disturbances and insurrections, which

• Dugdale's Preface to his Short View of the late Troubles in England.

« PreviousContinue »