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disadvantage, with respect to the fupporting their interest in the country. The country gentleman, by living among the electors, and purchafing the neceffaries for his family from them, keeps up an acquaintance and correspondence with them, without putting himself to any extraordinary charge; whereas a gentleman who lives in London, has no other way of keeping up an acquaintance or correfpondence among his friends in the country, but by going down once or twice a year at a very extraordinary charge, and often without any other bufinefs; fo that we may conclude, a gentleman in office cannot, even in feven years, fave much for diftributing in ready money, at the time of an election ; and I really believe, if the fact were narrowly inquired into, it would appear, that the gentlemen in office are as little guilty of bribing their electors with ready money, as any other fet of gentlemen in the kingdom.
THAT there are ferments often raifing among the people without any just cause, is what I am surprised to hear controverted, fince very late experience may convince us of the contrary do not we know what a ferment was raifed in the nation, towards the latter end of the late Queen's reign? And it is well known, what a fatal change in the affairs of this nation was introduced, or at leaft confirmed, by an election's coming on while the nation was in that ferment: do not we know what a ferment was raised in the nation, foon after his late Majefty's acceffion? And if an election had then been allowed to come on, while the nation was in that ferment, it might perhaps have had as fatal effects as the former; but, thank God, this was wifely provided against by the very law which is now wanted to be repealed.
As fuch ferments may hereafter often happen, I muft think that frequent elections will always be dangerous; for
which reafon, as far as I can fee at prefent, I fhall, I be lieve, at all times, think it a very dangerous experiment to repeal the feptennial bill.
CHA P. XI.
LORD LYTTELTON's SPEECH ON THE REPEAL OF THE ACT CALLED THE JEW BILL, IN THE YEAR 1753.
SEE no occafion to enter at prefent into the merits of the bill we paft the last feffion for the naturalization of Jews; because I am convinced, that in the prefent temper of the nation, not a fingle foreign Jew will think it expedient to take any benefit of that act; and therefore, the repealing of it is giving up nothing. I affented to it last year in hopes it might induce fome wealthy Jews to come and fettle among us in that light I faw enough of utility in it, to make me incline rather to approve than diflike it; but, that any man alive could be zealous, either for or against it, I confess I had no idea. What affects our religion, is indeed of the .highest and most serious importance. God forbid we should be ever indifferent about that! but, I thought this had no more to do with religion than any turnpike act we past in that feffion; and after all the divinity that has been preached on the fubject, I think fo ftill.
RESOLUTION and steadiness are excellent qualities; but, it is the application of them upon which their value depends. A wife government, Mr. Speaker, will know where to yield, as well as where to refift: and, there is no furer mark of littlenefs of mind in an adminiftration, than obftinacy in
triflès. Public wifdom on fome occafions muft condefcend to give way to popular folly, especially in a free country, where the humour of the people must be confidered as attentively, as the humour of a king in an abfolute monarchy. Under both forms of government a prudent and honest miniftry will indulge a small folly, and will refift a great Not to vouchfafe now and then a kind indulgence to the former, would discover an ignorance of human nature; not to refift the latter at all times, would be meannefs and fervility.
SIR, I look on the bill we are at present debating, not as a facrifice made to popularity (for it facrifices nothing) but as a prudent regard to fome confequences arifing from the nature of the clamour raised against the late act for naturalizing Jews, which seem to require a particular confideration.
Ir has been hitherto the rare and envied felicity of his Majefty's reign, that his subjects have enjoyed fuch a fettled tranquillity, fuch a freedom from angry religious difputes, as is not to be paralleled in any former times. The true Christian spirit of moderation, of charity, of universal benevolence, has prevailed in the people, has prevailed in the clergy of all ranks and degrees, inftead of those narrow principles, thofe bigoted prejudices, that furious, that implacable, that ignorant zeal, which had often done fo much hurt both to the church and the ftate. But from the ill-underftood, infignificant act of parliament you are now moved to repeal, occafion has been taken to deprive us of this inestimable advantage. It is a pretence to disturb the peace of the church, to infuse idle fears into the minds of the people, and make religion itself an engine of fedition. It behoves the piety, as well as the wisdom of parliament, to
disappoint those endeavours. Sir, the very worst mischief that can be done to religion, is to pervert it to the purposes of faction. Heaven and Hell are not more diftant than the benevolent fpirit of the gofpel, and the malignant spirit of party. The moft impious wars ever made were thofe called holy wars. He, who hates another man for not being a Christian, is himself not a Chriftian. Chriftianity, Sir, breathes love, and peace, and good-will to man. A temper conformable to the dictates of that holy religion has lately diftinguished this nation; and a glorious diftinction it was! But there is latent, at all times, in the mind of the vulgar, a fpark of enthufiafm; which, if blown by the breath of a party, may, even when it feems quite extinguished, be fuddenly revived and raised to a flame. The act of last seffion for naturalizing Jews, has very unexpectedly adminiftered fuel to feed that flame. To what a height it may rife, if it should continue much longer, one cannot eafily tell; but, take away the fuel, and it will die of itself.
IT is the misfortune of all the Roman Catholic countries, that there the church and the state, the civil power and the hierarchy, have feparate interefts; and are continually at variance one with the other. It is our happiness, that here they form but one fyftem. While this harmony lafts, whatever hurts the church, hurts the ftate: whatever weakens the credit of the governors of the church, takes away from the civil power a part of its ftrength, and shakes the whole conftitution.
SIR, I trust and believe, that, by speedily paffing this bill, we shall filence that obloquy, which has fo unjustly been caft upon our reverend prelates (fome of the moft refpectable that ever adorned our church) for the part they took in the act which this repeals. And it greatly concerns the whole
community, that they should not lofe that refpect, which is fo justly due to them, by a popular clamour kept up in oppofition to a measure of no importance in itself. But if the departing from that measure should not remove the prejudice fo malicioufly raised, I am certain that no further ftep you can take will be able to remove it; and therefore, I hope you will stop here. This appears to be a reasonable and safe condefcenfion, by which nobody will be hurt; but all beyond this, would be dangerous weakness in government. It might open a door to the wildeft enthusiasm, and to the most mischievous attacks of political difaffection working upon that enthufiafm. If you encourage and authorise it to fall on the fynagogue, it will go from thence to the meeting-houfe, and in the end to the palace. But let us be careful to check its further progrefs. The more zealous we are to fupport Christianity, the more vigilant fhould we be in maintaining toleration. If we bring back perfecution, we bring back the anti-chriftian spirit of popery; and when the fpirit is here, the whole fystem will foon follow. Toleration is the bafis of all public quiet. It is a character of freedom given to the mind, more valuable, I think, than that which fecures our perfons and eftates. Indeed, they are infeparably connected together: for, where the mind is not free, where the conscience is enthralled, there is no freedom. Spiritual tyranny puts on the galling chains; but civil tyranny is called in, to rivet and fix them. We fee it in Spain, and many other countries; we have formerly both feen and felt it in England. By the bleffing of God, we are now delivered from all kinds of oppreffion. Let us take care, that they may