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MR. BURKE'S REPRESENTATION TO THE KING RESPECTING
THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE AT THE OPENING OF
June 14. 1784.
THE "HE new parliament assembled on the 18th of May 1784,
and on the next day, his majesty opened the session with the following Speech to both Houses :
* The above Representation, together with the Notes, was pube lished by Mr. Burke, in the shape of a pamphlet, to which was prefixed the following
PAFFACE: “ The Representation now given to the public relates to some of the most essential privileges of the House of Commons. It would appear of little importance, if it were to be judged by its reception in the place where it was proposed. There it was rejected without debate. The subject matter may, perhaps, hereafter appear to merit a more serious consideration. Thinking men will scarcely regard the penal dissolution of a parliament as a very tifling concern.
Such a dissolution must operate forcibly as an example; and it much orts thc people of this kingdom to consider what lesson that example is to teach. VOL. III.
that by possibility such an abuse may see is no reason to presume it. The House
complexion, peculiarly subject to the wak babit. Very little compulsion is necesve yule, to render it abundantly complaisant to si Jescriptions. It required a great length
xiustry and persevcrance, no vulgar policy, he saiki ENNY tempers, and the concurrence of
you every day, to build up an independent Scawicioa was accomplished in a moment,
rally hands. But to construct is a matter siul tury are sufficient.
www.lions has been punished for its indeam a Bade: Have we an example on record, i smanden for its servility? The rewards of a
on to the world. Several gentlemen are meinde 'Unitution of the House of Commons:
constitution of human nature itself, by while y mode of election, that its concon reward and punishment, by fame and ***** ake root in the minds of men, what
gh not to be corrupt ? Especially Ya Waness is so very broad and easy. waliament, no dignity of mind, no
ability, no industry, no learning, were necessary. To defend a post ated 2 is hy, requires an Elliot; a drunken
in so important a moment, to the sense of my people. I have a just and confident reliance, that you are animated with the same sentiments of loyalty, and the same attachment to our excellent constitution, which I have had the happiness to see so fully manifested in every part of the kingdom. The happy effects of such a disposition will, I doubt not, appear in the temper and wisdom of your deliberations, and in the dispatch of the important objects of public business which demand your attention. It will afford me peculiar pleasure to find, that the exercise of the power entrusted to me by the constitution, has been productive of consequences so beneficial to my subjests, whose interests and welfare are always nearest my heart.
“ Gentlemen of the House of Commons; I have ordered the estimates for the current year to be laid before you ; and I trust to your zeal and affection to make such provisions for their farther supply, and for the application of the sums granted in the last parliament, as may appear to be necessary. I sincerely lament every addition to the burthens of my
invalid is qualified to hoist a white flag, or to deliver up the keys of the fortress on his knees.
“ The gentlemen chosen into this parliament, for the purpose of this surrender, were bred to better things; and are no doubt qualified for other service. But for this strenuous exertion of inactivity, for the vigorous task of submission and passive obedience, all their learning and ability are rather a matter of personal ornament to themselves, than of the least use in the performance of their duty.
“ The present surrender, therefore, of rights and privileges, without examination, and the resolution to support any minister given by the secret advisers of the crown, determines not only on all the power and authority of the House, but it settles the character and description of the men who are to compose it; and perpetuates that character as long as it may be thought expedient to keep up a phantom of popular representation. • " It is for the chance of some amendment before this new settlement takes a permanent form, and while the matter is yet soft and ductile, that the editor has republished this piece, and added some notes and explanations to it. His intentions, he hopes, will excuse him to the original mover, and to the world. He acts from a strong sense of the incurable ill effects of holding out the conduct of the late House of Commons as an example to be shunned by future representatives of the people."