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vindicate themselves by deriding the blunders and extravagancies of self-constituted politicians. But they are not sufficiently aware of the natural consequences of the fupineness which they recommend. No circumstance so effectually deters the Government of any country from involving itself in unjust or pernicious enterprises at home or abroad; no circumstance so powerfully stimulates it, when engaged in them, to measure back with speed the steps which it had taken ; as the consciousness that the vigilant eye of the people is fixed on all its proceedings. He is the sincere and the wisest friend of his country, who, aware of the fallibility of the most experienced Administration, and of the almost irresistible temptations which are attached to the possession of authority, regards with stedfast though unoftentatious attention the conduct of those who manage the affairs of Government; who gives
; them every degree of reasonable confidence, makes candid allowances for their unintentional defects, and forbears to weary and embarrass them by interference on trivial occasions; but who is at all times ready on a crisis of importance, whether it be for the purpose of fur
thering equitable and beneficial undertakings, or of counteracting measures which are iniquitous' and impolitic, to give a temperate yet à manly and decided testimony of his opinions, by communications to his Representatives, by petitions to Parliament, by addresses, and, if circumstances require, by remonftrances to the Throne.
CH A P. V.
ON THE DUTIES OF PEERS.
Our enquiry into the peculiar duties of those classes of society, which fall within the limits of the plan proposed, leads us in the first instance to an order of men elevated above their fellow-subjects by the honours and privileges of Peerage.
It may be proper in the outset to premise a few brief observations, respecting the constitutional purposes which a House of Lords is intended to answer.
At one time we have heard sober argument alleged, to shew the impolicy of investing a body of men with such extensive powers on grounds independent of personal merit;
i and at another, ridicule has been employed in constructing comparisons between hereditary legisbators and hereditary poet-laureats. It is not however difficult to state several very important ends, which this part of the Constitution is calculated to accomplish ; conducive at once to the stability of the remaining parts, and to the preservation of popular liberty.
1. In consequence of the necessity to which every Bill passed by the House of Commons is subjected of being reconsidered in all its parts in the Upper House, and undergoing the delays occasioned by various forms and standing orders, by means of which the number and intervals of discussions may be protracted almost to whatever length the situation of affairs renders advisable, and are usually protracted to a considerable length, except in cases of
great and real urgency; the intrinsic merit of any proposed measure becomes much more likely to be ascertained. It is not merely that a longer period for deliberation is afforded ; that time is allowed for ferments to fubside ; that further opportunities are given for persons interested in the fate of the Bill to produce evidence in support of their respective opinions; and that both its friends and its enemies without doors are enabled to come forward afresh with particular advantage, by having mutually learnt during its passage through the
Lower House the strongest arguments offered in its behalf, and the most powerful objections urged against it: but in addition to circumstances so favourable to a just and wise determination, the tribunal which tries the cause is altogether new; the members who form it, collectively considered, are respected for their talents, knowledge, and integrity; and, though exposed by their station to prejudices of their own, are likely to be exempted from many by which the decisions of the House of Commons may have been influenced. The latter peculiarity will more especially incline them to consider with the most scrupulous attention, and except in great emergences will induce them to reject, Bills which they conceive to have originated in the sudden heat of popular phrensy; and to stem the torrent of democratic power, if it should pass its established bounds.
When a Bill originates in the Houfe of Lords, advantages in most respects similar to those which have now been enumerated result from its being obliged afterwards to go through the House of Commons.