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Spaniards having invaded what they call their own, had shrunk to a difavowal of their attempt and a relaxation of their claim, would ftill have inftigated us to a war for a bleak and barren spot in the Magellanick ocean, of which no ufe could be made unless it were a place of exile for the hypocrites of patriotism.
Yet let it not be forgotten, that by the howling violence of patriotick rage, the nation was for a time exafperated to fuch madnefs, that for a barren rock, under a ftormy sky, we might have now been fighting and dying, had not our competitors been wiser than ourselves; and those who are now courting the favour of the people by noify profeffions of publick fpirit, would, while they were counting the profits of their artifice, have enjoyed the patriotick pleafure of hearing fometimes, that thoufands had been laughtered in a battle, and fometimes that a navy had been difpeopled by poisoned air and corrupted food.
He that wishes to fee his country robbed of its rights, cannot be a Patriot.
That man therefore is no Patriot, who justifies the ridiculous claims of American ufurpation; who endeavours to deprive the nation of its natural and lawful authority over its own colonies; thofe colonies, which were fettled under English protection; were constituted by an English charter; and have been defended by English arms. !
To fuppofe, that by fending out a colony, the nation established an independent power; that when, by indulgence and favour, emigrants are become
become rich, they fhall not contribute to their own defence, but at their own pleafure; and that they fhall not be included, like millions of their fellow-fubjects, in the general fyftem of reprefentation; involves fuch an accumulation of abfurdity, as nothing but the fhew of patriotifm could palliate.
He that accepts protection, ftipulates obedience. We have always protected the Americans; we may therefore fubject them to government.
The less is included in the greater. That power which can take away life, may feize upon property. The parliament may enact for America a law of capital punishment; it may therefore establish a mode and proportion of taxation.
But there are fome who lament the ftate of the poor Boftonians, because they cannot all be fupposed to have committed acts of rebellion, yet all are involved in the penalty impofed. This, they fay, is to violate the first rule of justice, by condemning the innocent to fuffer with the gulty.
This deferves fome notice, as it seems dictated by equity and humanity, however it may raise contempt, by the ignorance which it betrays of the state of man, and the system of things. That the innocent should be confounded with the guilty, is undoubtedly an evil; but it is an evil which no care or caution can prevent. National crimes require national punishments, of which many must neceffarily have their part, who have not incurred them by personal guilt. If rebels fhould fortify a town, the cannon of lawful authority will endanger ually the harmless burghers and the criminal gareqn.
In fome cafes, those suffer most who are least intended to be hurt. If the French in the late war had taken an English city, and permitted the natives to keep their dwellings, how could it have been recovered, but by the flaughter of our friends? A bomb might as well deftroy an Englishman as a Frenchman; and by famine we know that the inhabitants would be the first that should perish.
This infliction of promifcuous evil may therefore be lamented, but cannot be blamed. The power of lawful government must be maintained; and the miferies which rebellion produces, can be charged only on the rebels.
That man likewife is not a Patriot, who denies his governors their due praife, and who conceals from the people the benefits which they receive, Those therefore can lay no claim to this illuftrious appellation, who impute want of publick spirit to the late parliament; an affembly of men, whom, notwithstanding fome fluctuation of counsel, and some weakness of agency, the nation must always remember with gratitude, fince it is indebted to them for a very ample conceffion in the refignation of protections, and a wife and honest attempt to improve the constitution, in the new judicature inftituted for the trial of elections.
The right of protection, which might be neceffary when it was firft claimed, and was very confiftent with that liberality of immunities in which the feudal constitution delighted, was by its nature liable to abuse, and had in reality been fometimes mifapplied, to the evasion of the law and the defa of juftice. The evil was perhaps not adequate eat
the clamour; nor is it very certain, that the poffible good of this privilege was not more than equal to the poffible evil. It is however plain, that whether they gave any thing or not to the Publick, they at least loft fomething from themselves. They divested their dignity of a very fplendid diftinction, and fhewed that they were more willing than their predeceffors to ftand on a level with their fellowfubjects.
The new mode of trying elections, if it be found effectual, will diffuse its confequences further than feems yet to be foreseen. It is, I believe, generally confidered as advantageous only to thofe who claim feats in parliament; but, if to chufe reprefentatives be one of the most valuable rights of Englishmen, every voter muft confider that law as adding to his happiness, which makes his fuffrage efficacious; fince it was vain to chufe, while the election could be controlled by any other power.
With what imperious contempt of ancient rights, and what audacioufnefs of arbitrary authority former parliaments have judged the disputes about elections, it is not neceffary to relate. The claim of a candidate, and the right of electors are faid scarcely to have been, even in appearance, referred to confcience; but to have been decided by party, by paffion, by prejudice, or by frolick. To have friends in the borough was of little use to him, who wanted friends in the houfe; a pretence was eafily found to evade a majority, and the feat was at last his, that was chosen not by his electors, but his fellow-fenators.
Thus the nation was infulted with a mock election, and the parliament was filled with fpurious representatives; one of the most important claims, that of a right to fit in the fupreme council of the kingdom, was debated in jeft, and no man could be confident of fuccefs from the justice of his cause.
A difputed election is now tried with the fame fcrupuloufnefs and folemnity, as any other title. The candidate that has deferved well of his neighbours, may now be certain of enjoying the effect of their approbation; and the elector, who has voted honestly for known merit, may be certain that he has not voted in vain.
Such was the parliament, which fome of those, who are now aspiring to fit in another, have taught the rabble to confider as an unlawful convention of men, worthless, venal, and proftitute, flaves of the court, and tyrants of the people.
That the next Houfe of Commons may act upon the principles of the laft, with more conftancy and higher fpirit, must be the wish of all who wish well to the Publick; and it is furely not too much to expect, that the nation will recover from its delufion, and unite in a general abhorrence of those who, by deceiving the credulous with fictitious mifchiefs, overbearing the weak by audacity of falfehood, by appealing to the judgment of ignorance, and flattering the vanity of meannefs, by flandering honefty and infulting dignity, have gathered round them whatever the kingdom can fupply of base, and grofs, and profligate; and raised by merit to this bad eminence, arrogate to themfelves the name of PATRIOTS.