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ships undergone are not sufficient finally to produce civil commotions, yet in proportion to their frequency and magnitude the prosperity of the State will be impaired and retarded.

That in the whole code of British Laws there is not an individual statute, which men accustomed to the investigation of moral principles can fairly charge with any deviation from the line of strict justice, is a position for the validity of which it would be too much to contend. It is not likely that such an assertion could be maintained with respect to any Government existing. But that the British Conftitution bears in every part of it the broad and strong characters of justice, is a truth so prominent and obvious, that it should seem entitled to the immediate asient of every rational advocate for the duty of civil obedience, on whatever theory he may be disposed to rest the obligation. If he founds the rights of government on the genuine and solid ground of national consent expressed or implied, he sees that the British Government

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that in each of the three branches it is fanctioned not merely by the passive concurrence, but by the avowed and zealous approbation of the great mass of the Community ; that it is regarded with an attachment, which, being established on the wiseft principles, and confirmed by the experience of ages, is, we trust, more likely to increase than to abate, and

may equally preclude from all hopes of success the favourers of a republican form of government on the one hand, and the supporters of the indefeasible rights of kings on the other. If he contents himself with looking to expediency alone, and measures the title of Civil Governors to the submission of their subjects solely by the scale of the general welfare; he discovers persons and properly secured, industry encouraged and rewarded, and public and private happiness permanently enjoyed in Great Britain, in a degree scarcely if ever paralleled in

any
other
part

of the earth.

One leading circumstance however in the British Constitution, the state of Popular Representation, has been repeatedly stigmatised as incompatible with the fundamental principles

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of justice. It is undoubtedly true that a very large majority of the inhabitants of this kingdom has no elective voice in the appointment of the members of the House of Commons ; in other words, most of the people of Great Britain have no suffrage in the nomination of the persons who are to enact the laws, by which non-electors in common with the rest of the nation are to be governed. But the limited diffusion of the elective franchise cannot fairly be affirmed to be necessarily a breach (d) of justice. The right of voting for a member of parliament is a public trust; it is as truly a civil office as the most conspicuous employment in the State ; and, humble as it may seem, is a civil office of considerable importance. All public offices and trusts being constituted in this kingdom for the general good of the whole; it is just that they should be conferred under such political conditions as the general good may demand; and be devolved to those persons alone, who possess the political qualifications deemed essential to the proper discharge

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(d) Whether the limitation of the right of voting be repugnant to sound policy, is a question which will be conGidered hereafter in its proper place.

of the duties attached to them. Of these conditions and qualifications the nation is the judge. In exercising its judgment, it is bound not to establish invidious distinctions founded on unreasonable and partial grounds of preference. The medium which ought to be studied in the establishment of every civil qualification is to lay no greater restraint on the rights of any individual than is manifestly desirable for the general benefit of the community. But when the nation lias fixed according to its best views of public utility the terms on which each public office shall be conferred, and the description of persons to wltom it shall be entrusted; no man who is deftitute of the civil qualifications prescribed has any plea for complaining of injustice in being precluded from filling the post. It would be as unreafonable in a person thus disqualified to contend that he is treated with injustice in not being permitted to be an elector, as it would be to affirm that - he is unjustly treated in not being permitted to be king. The king and the elector are alike public officers ; and the nation has the same right to appoint citizens of a particular defcription to choose members of parliament,

it has to appoint a particular family to occupy the throne.

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We have also heard of late a direct charge of injustice urged against the whole of the British Constitution, on the ground of the Government being hereditary. The substance of the argument is, that to establish a particular family with hereditary powers is defpotisın, because it operates to preclude the consent of succeeding generations; that the generation which first telects a person, and invests him with fovereignty, ads according to its own free determination, and lives under a Government chosen and established by itself; but in eltablishing hereditary succession it assumes a character to which it has no right; it changes itself from a Legislator to a Testator, and affects to make its will, thereby to take from each subfequent race of men the right which itself had exercised, of choosing any form of government deemed advisable, and to force on them a previouly appointed for against their consent (e).

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(v) Had they, who urge this argument, pointed their accusations not against the abstract institution of hereditary

Govern.

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