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tural bias, if he is not bought off. Whoever endeavours to buy him off must certainly come up to his price, and this price will be higher or lower, according to the elec. tor's honour and circumstances, and the natural bias he has for the other candidate. A great many men may be perhaps bought off with 100 or 1000 guineas, when if half that sum were offered, they would spurn it away with an honest disdain. I hope, sir, there are a great many electors in this kingdom, whose honour upon such occasions is above the power of any such corrupt temptations; but that there are likewise a great many who may be bought, is a fact, which I believe no gentleman in this house will dispute ; and in this view let us exa. mine the difference between triennial and septennial parliaments.

Give me leave, then, to suppose two gentlemen set up in opposition to each other, for representing one of our little boroughs in parliament; one of them a country gentleman of a great natural interest in the place, the other a citizen of London, or a place-man, not near equal to him in interest, but depending entirely upon the money he is able to lay out. Suppose the citizen or place-man comes to a calculation, and finds that it will cost him at least 30001. to buy the country gentleman out of his interest in that borough : if the parliament were to continue but for three years, he would very probably resolve not to be at such an ex. pence, and so would refrain from being guilty of the crime of corrupting his countrymen; but when the parliament is to continue for seven years, he may as probably resolve to be at that charge. Thus, by corruption, he may get a seat in this house; and it is to be feared, that he who comes in here by corruption, will not walk out with clean hands.

Gentlemen are very much mistaken if they imagine the price of an election depends upon the duration of a parliament, or that a man who sells his vote for 100 gui. neas at the election of a septennial parliament, would sel! his vote for the half of that sum, if the parliament to be chosen were to continue only for three years. No, sir, there are very few of this sort of electors who think of futurity ; the present offer is the temptation, and the only temptation which can be of any weight with them Besides, they cannot depend upon having the like offer made them at the next election; and 50 guineas ready money, with an uncertain hope of having 50 more three years lience, is not surely so great a prica as 100 guineas ready down : the natural interest of the country gentleman, and the honour of the electors, arc what the dealers in corruption are to contend with, and against these a small price cannot be so prevalent as one a little higher. Some may, perhaps, be corrupted by a small price; but certainly the higher it is, the greater will the numbers be that are tempted to yield to it; and as a man may give a higher price at the election for a sep. tennial parliament, than he can do at one for an annual or triennial, therefore the greater the numbers will be of those who yield to his temptation, the more he may depend upon corruption; and the more it is to be de. pended on, the more general and the more frequent will it certainly be. From hence it appears evident, that tho increase of bribery and corruption is as natural a copse. quence of septennial parliaments, as any one thing can be conceived to be the consequence of another.

There is no way, sir, of effectually preventing corruption, but by putting it out of the power of any man to corrupt. There is no corrupting any man but by coming up to his price; therefore the only way of putting it out

of any man to corrupt, is to put it out of the power of any man to come up to the price of any num. her of electors : and this can only be done by making our elections frequent: the more frequent the better. It is pertain, a gentleman who enjoys a good pension for seven years, is more able to give a high price, than if he had enjoyed that pension but for one year, or even for three ; and he will more willingly give a high price, when he is

of the power

thereby to purchase the continuance of that pension for seven years, than when he is to purchase it only for one or for three years. This, sir, is so evident, that I am astonished to hear it controverted within these walls.

If our parliaments were annual it would be impossible for place-men or pensioners to save as much yearly as would be sufficient to bribe country gentlemen out of their interest, and the electors out of their honesty : which I am afraid is a practice now too frequent in many parts of this kingdom. How can it otherwise be imagined that the people would choose persons they never saw, persons they perhaps never heard of, in opposition to gentle men who live in the neighbourhood ; gentlemen who give them daily employment, by buying in their shops and markets all the manufactures and provisions they have use for in their families, and gentlemen whose ancestors have perhaps often represented that very place in parliament with great honour and universal approbation? I remember, sir, I was told by a gentleman who is now dead, and therefore I may name him, I mean Mr. Spencer Cowper, afterwards one of the judges of the common pleas, he told me himself that he had never been in the borough he represented in parliament, nor had ever seen or spoke with any of his electors; and I believe I could, without much difficulty, name some who are now in the same situation. Can such, sir, be called the representatives of the people ? or can it be supposed that they are chosen by means of that natural interest by which every man ought to hold his seat in this house ?

The parliament, sir, is the great council of the nation, and the business of this house in this particular is to represent to his majesty the grievances of the people; to inform his majesty if any of his ministers or his officers make an ill use of the power he delegates to them ; and to impeach and prosecute such evil ministers. Now I would be glad to know who are the most proper representatives for these purposes, gentlemen who have large properties in the country, who are independent of the mi. nisters and officers of the crown, and who by living in the country are perfectly acquainted with the circumstan. ces of the people; or gentlemen, who for their chief support depend upon the ministers and officers of the crown, who know nothing of those they represent, and are not only ignorant of their true interests, but are real.

indifferent about their welfare. I hope i: will not be controverted, but that the first sort of gentlcmen are the most proper representatives of the people; and if so, annual or triennial parliaments are better than septennial, because there is a greater probability of their being chiefly composed of such gentlemen.

As bribery and corruption, therefore, are a natural consequence of long parliaments, as it must always in. crease in proportion as the term for the parliament's continuance is prolonged, I am persuaded that all those who are against bribery and corruption will join with me in voting for the restitution of triennial parliaments. It is not the expence of an election that country gen. tlemen are to be afraid of; the most extravagant entertainments that a stranger in the county could give, would have but little weight, if to these he did not add downright bribery; and even those bribes must be so high as to overbalance the natural interest of the country gentleman, as well as the honesty of the greaiest part of the electors. As these bribes cannot be made so high for a triennial parliament as they may be for a septennial, they cannot be so prevalent among the electors; and therefore a gentleman, who depends upon nothing but his natural interest, will always have a better chance for representing his county in a triennial parliament, than he can have for representing it in one which is to continue for seven years. For which reason I cannot but think that every gentleman who has a mind that his posterity shall depend for their seats in parliament upon the natural interest they may have in their respective counties, and not upon the frowns or the favours of the minister for the time being, must necessarily be for our returning to our former constitu. tion in this respect. This, sirs, is in my opinion absolutely necessary; and it must be soon done, otherwise country gentlemen, tired out with contending against those who purchase their elections, perhaps with the very money which the country gentlemen are obliged to pay out of their estates in public duties and taxes, will at last have nothing to do but to sit down and bemoan the fate of their country : but their complaints will then be to very little purpose, for the doors of that place where the groans of the people ought to be heard, will then be shut against them. We may depend on it, that those who obtain their seats in this house by ministerial influence, will, while here, be directed in all their proceed: ings by the same sort of influence, and by none other.

To conclude, sir, I am very certain that there is nothing that would be more agreeable to the people in general than the repeal of the septennial law; and therefore I, as one of the representatives of the people, chosen with out bribery or corruption, and as one who have nothing to consider but the interest of those I represent, shall readily vote for the motion.

MR. (afterwards SIR) JOHN BARNARD, Was originally a merchant, and was chosen to represent the city of

London in parliament, in consequence of the abilities he displayed on being appointed by the body of wine merchants to state before the house of lords their objections to a bill then pending. He continued to represent the city forty years, and so much to the satisfaction of his constituents, that they erected a statue to him in the exchange. He was knighted by George II. He was born 1685, and died 1764.

Sir John Barnard's Speech on the same.

Sir, I am a good deal surprised to find that none of those gentlemen who usually have a great share in our des VOL. I.


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