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It seems to be the opinion of many, that expulsion is only a dismission of the representative to his constituents, with such a testimony against him as his sentence may comprise ; and that if his constituents, notwithstanding the censure of the House, thinking his case hard, his fault trifling, or his excellencies such as overbalance it, should again chuse him as still worthy of their trust, the House cannot refuse him, for his punishment has purged his fault, and the right of electors must not be violated.

This is plausible, but not cogent. It is a scheme of representation, which would make a specious appearance in a political romance, but cannot be brought into practice among us, who see every day the towering head of speculation bow down unwillingly to grovelling experience.

Governments formed by chance, and gradually improved by such expedients, as the successive discovery of their defects happened to suggest, are never to be tried by a regular theory. They are fabricks of dissimilar materials, raised by different architects, upon different plans. We must be content with them as they are; should we attempt to mend their disproportions, we might easily demolish, and difficultly rebuild them. Laws are now made, and customs are establish

these are our rules, and by them we must be guided.

It is uncontrovertibly certain, that the Commons never intended to leave electors the liberty of returning them an expelled member, for they always require one to be chosen in the room of him that is


expelled, and I see not with what propriety a man can be re-chosen in his own room.

Expulsion, if this were its whole effect, might very often be desirable. Sedition, or obscenity, might be no greater crimes in the opinion of other electors, than in that of the freeholders of Middlesex ; and many a wretch, whom his colleagues shouldexpel, might come back persecuted into fame, and provoke with harder front a second expulsion.

Many of the representatives of the people can hardly be said to have been chosen at all. Somc by inheriting a borough inherit a seat; and some sit by the favour of others, whom perhaps they may gratify by the act which provoked the expulsion. Some are safe by their popularity, and some by their alliances. None would dread expulsion, if this doctrine were received, but those who bought their elections, and who would be obliged to buy them again at a higher price.

But as uncertainties are to be determined by things certain, and customs to be explained, where it is possible, by written law, the patriots have triumphed with a quotation from an act of the 4th and 5th of Anne, which permits those to be rechosen, whose seats are vacated by the acceptance of a place of profit. This they wisely consider as an expulsion, and from the permission, in this case, of a re-election, infer that every other expulsion leaves the delinquent entitled to the same indulgence. This is the paragraph :

If any person, being chosen a member of the - House of Commons, shall accept


office “ from the crown, during such time as he shall con56 tinue a member, his election shall be, and is here

* by declared to be void, and a new writ shall is“ sue for a new election, as if such person so ac

cepting was naturally dead. Nevertheless such person shall be capable of being again elected, as « his place had not become void as aforesaid.”

How this favours the doctrine of re-admission by a second choice, I am not able to discover. The statute of 30 Ch. II. had enacted, That he who should sit in the House of Commons, without taking the oaths and subscribing the test, should be disabled to sit in the House during that Parliament, and a writ should issue for the election of a new member, in place of the member so disabled, as if such member had naturally died.

This last clause is apparently copied in the act of Anne, but with the common fate of imitators. In the act of Charles, the political death continued during the parliament; in that of Anne it was hardly worth the while to kill the man whom the next breath was to revive. It is, however, apparent, that in the opinion of the parliament, the dead-doing lines would have kept him motionless, if he had not been recovered by a kind exception. A seat vacated, could not be regained without express permi sion of the same statute.

The right of being chosen again to a seat thus vacated, is not enjoyed by any general right, but required a special clause, and solicitous provision.

But what resemblance can imagination conceive between one man vacating his seat, by a mark of favour from the crown, and arother driven from it for sedition and obscenity? The acceptance of a place contaminates no character; the crown that


gives it, intends to give with it always dignity, sometimes authority. The Commons, it is well known, think not worse of themselves or others for their offices of profit; yet profit implies temptation, and may expose a representative to the suspicion of his constituents; though, if they still think him worthy of their confidence, they may again elect him.

Such is the consequence. When a man is dismissed by law to his constituents, with new trust and new dignity, they may, if they think him incorruptible, restore him to his seat ; what can follow, therefore, but that when the House drives out a varlet with publick infamy, he goes away with the like permission to return ?

If infatuation be, as the proverb tells us, the forerunner of destruction, ow near must be the ruin of a nation that can be incited against its governors, by sophistry like this. I may be excused if I catch the panick, and join my groans at this alarming crisis, with the general lamentation of weeping patriots.

Another objection is, that the Commons, by pronouncing the sentence of disqualification, make a law, and take upon themselves the power

of the whole legislature. Many quotations are then produced to prove that the House of Commons can make no laws.

Three acts have been cited, disabling members for different terms on different occasions; and it is profoundly remarked, that if the Commons could by their own privilege have made a disqualification, their jealousy of their privileges would never have . admitted the concurrent sanction of the other powers.

I must for ever remind these puny controvertists, that those acts are laws of permanent obligation : that two of them are now in force, and that the other expired only when it had fulfilled its end. Such laws the Commons cannot make; they could, perhaps, have determined for themselves, that they would expel all who should not take the test, but they could leave no authority behind them, that should oblige the next parliament to expel them. They could refuse the South Sea Directors, but they could not entail the refusal. They can disqualify by vote, but not by law ; they cannot know that the sentence of disqualification pronounced to-day may not become void to-morrow, by the dissolution of their own House. Yet while

same parliament sits, the disqualification conti. nues, unless the vote be rescinded, and while it so continues, makes the votes, which freeholders may give to the interdicted candidate, useless and dead, since there cannot exist, with respect to the same subject at the same time, an absolute power to chuse and an absolute power to reject.

In 1614, the Attorney-General was voted incapable of a seat in the House of Commons; and the nation is triumphantly told, that though' the vote never was revoked, the Attorney-General is now a member. He certainly may now be a member without revocation of the vote. A law is of perpetual obligation, but a vote is nothing when the voters are gone. A law is a compact reciprocally made by the legislative powers, and therefore not to be abrogated but by all the parties. A vote

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