Thomas Broughton.

The political history of John Bull; or, The true Englishman, neither a republican nor an aristocrat ... Addressed by John Bull to the Right Honourable William Pitt. Also, remarks on the present state of the elective power of the people, and the constitution of Parliament, with propositions for accom online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryThomas BroughtonThe political history of John Bull; or, The true Englishman, neither a republican nor an aristocrat ... Addressed by John Bull to the Right Honourable William Pitt. Also, remarks on the present state of the elective power of the people, and the constitution of Parliament, with propositions for accom → online text (page 1 of 15)
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.1 know their political juggling,
Things which ftartle Reafon, and make me deem
Not this, nor that, but every Conftitution falfc.















Read not to contradift and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, ncr to
find Talk and Difcourfe, but to weigh and confider. BACON.



082 -&


313 *

^ A S the obfervations contained in the fol-
. *- lowing Papers were made prior to the
^recent debate in the Houfe of Commons on
<the neceffity of a Parliamentary Reform, and
^before a number of independent Gentlemen
aflbciated to efFecl: that grand purpofe, it is but
a juft tribute to the patriotifm and refpeftabi-
lity of thofe real friends of the people to ob-
ferve, that they anfwer the defcription, both
in principles and worth, of thofe truly inde-
pendent characters, who are here reprefented
as the only proper perfons to effect this eflen-
tial meafure. And as they wifely proceed on
conftitutional grounds, they merit the unani-
mous fupport of the whole nation ; that
thefe are my humble, unbiafled fentiments,
will, I truft, be proved from the freedom of
the following cafual remarks ; in which it will
appear that JOHN BULL is neither aMinifte-
rialift nor Anti-minifterialifl, nor Whig nor
a 3 Tory.



Tory. He cannot reconcile the idea of a di-
vifion of the common intereft : he is con-
vinced the very name of Party augurs a hoflile
intention againft his liberties ; and after much
converfation we had together on this fubjeft,
it was with infinite concern on his part he
concluded, that he could not look up with
confidence to either fide for the fupport of
his real intereft : he was afraid that thofe
who avowedly oppofed Minifters in every
meafure were in purfuit of the Hefperian
Garden ; and if they could flay the dragon,
they would take pofTeffion of the golden fruit,
and notwithftanding all their fair promifes,
ftill leave him in the lurch. He had no
hopes left ; fecret and corrupt influence had
thrown a contempt on patriotifm, and eftab-
limed a paradoxical fyftem, wherein inte-
grity and abilities were confidered as hoftile,
and cunning and treachery alone found fa-
vour ; and he had now no other alternative
tnati to encourage the union of. independent
country gentlemen and citizens to obtain a


t vu

free and equal reprefentation, that practical
Government might combine with the udmi-
lable theory of his Conftitution. He was a
plain Englishman, imhacknied in the arts of
managing a Parliament or a Party ; but in-
flexibly determined to maintain the free ope-
ration of his Conftitution with his life and for-
tune. This he wiflied might be underftood
to be a principle he drew in with his breath ;
it lived with him, and could only be annihi-
hilated with his perfon. As for myfelf, who
am but the humble vehicle of his fentiments,
I beg leave to obferve, if in the generous ardor
of liberty, and the fincere reverence for a Con-
fHtution eftablifhed by the wifdom of fuccef-
(ive ages, iome proportions and terms mould
efcape me of too pofitive a nature, every true
friend to conftitutional liberty will put a li-
beral conftru&ion on every attempt to defend
thofe principles* which, for this laft century,
have attracted the admiration, as well as ex-
cited the envy of all Europe; and every fuch
friend to our Conftitution will overlook the
a 4 animated

animated manner a free difcuflion of its abufes
demands, as an unavoidable effect of the true*
fpirit of liberty. It is therefore with deference
and refpect I appeal to the underftanding of
every reader, that if my expreflions on the
abufe in the National Reprefentation, which
is the leading fubject of inveftigation, fhould
appear to be conveyed with too much fervor*
I hope to find an apology in their own feel-
ings. At the fame time I am confcious, that

o 7

neither fatire can influence the candid and
impartial, nor warmth of expreffion convince
the better informed, My object will be ac-
complifhed, if my endeavours fliall induce
one from the many better qualified to refume
a fubject the moft important to every Briton,







THE language of flattery is grateful to
the ear ; and though it conveys an in*-
fult to the fenfe, the underftanding applauds
the facrifice, and deals to it both favour and
friendfhip. But the voice of fincerity fre-
quently conveys a fting which wounds the
Jpride of (elf-love ; and notwithstanding the
difpleafure it excites, is palliated by the ifi<-
ward conviftion of its truth ; a real friend is
too often confidered in the light of an enemy.
Thefe prefatory remarks difclofe to you my
intention ; which, as a man loyal to his King,
and zealous in the fupport of the civil and
religious liberties confirmed at the Revolu-
tion, duty rather impofes than choice dic-
tates, the detailing of vices which are grow-
ing on the Conflitution.

I lament

( * )

I lament that you, Sir, formed by nature
and education for eminence, adorned with the
beft private virtues, and graced with abilities
early matured by your immortal father, mould
become a facrifice to Borough traffic. But I
more than lament, that a Conftitution in its
component parts fo well conftruftcd, in its
efFect fo aptly deiigned for public profperity
and private happinefs, fhould in its Demo-
cratic part, by that traffic, labour under an
Ariflocratic gangrene.

In your integrity your friends may place a
confidence ; but individual rectitude, cannot
item the contagion of former Adminiflrations.
Abufes are too frem in the public mind to
induce it to repofe implicitly in a fallible man.
The wifdom of paft ages has given to pofte-
rity the independence of Parliament as the fa-
cred palladium of Britifh liberty. But this
bulwark of freedom is held by fo precarious
a tenure, that for many years paft the abfo-
lute neceffity of a Reform in the National


Reprefentation has refounded from every
quarter of the kingdom. The rights of the
people demand an equal and free reprefenta-
tion. On this point the colle&ed wifdom of
the nation centers. The great majority of
people are imprefled with one fentiment,
" That the Conftitution is a glorious fabric."
But the chief pillar of its fupport has been for
years decaying; the ftamina is contaminated;
the freedom of election is perverted, and by
that perverfion the Conftitution of Parliament
is violated. It is this corrupted part of the
Conftitution that affords to republicanifm a
triumph. It is this which gives to faction
a form and figure.

Painful as the convidlion of thefe fa&s are
in the breaft of every true Englifhman, yet
the facred maxim of his Conftitution, which
gives a remedy when a right is invaded, ex-
alts his mind to its true dignity, that with an
equanimity which equality and juftice only
produces, he can look up to power with a re-


folution which will triumph over opprerfion*
and maintain his rights. No one act, there-
fore, can you atchieve that will enhance
your name fo much with pofterity, as to meet
the times with a temperate reform. This is
the great crifis of your public career ; your
patriotifm and your reputation are at ifTue ;
embrace the tide now flowing to immortal
honour ; the wifhes, the endeavours, and the
interefts of the fober, independent part of the
nation are with you ; face the enemy in the
firft inftance, and the levelling hydra will
fink into oblivion ; it gains flrength from
your fears ; it merely exifts by the delay of a
meafure which will conciliate all difajfeftion,
preferve the texture and genius of our
happy conftitution, and redound to the ho-
nour of the fir ft free kingdom in the world.

Thefe, Sir, are the fentiments of a loyal
people ; men imprefled with the love of their
country ; men whofe ardent wiihes are to
draw from the wholefome flatutes of the land


their priftine vigour, vvhofe efforts will be to
maintain the energy of their reprefeutation.

In reply to this it will be alledged, and I
am ready to meet the hacknied afTertions,
that it is much eafier to complain than to re-
medy ; that materials are eafily found, but
defects are not fo readily fupplied. Innova-
tions are hurtful, operating on particulars,
they excite prejudice. Let us not touch
the bafis, left the breath of anarchy mould
diffipate the fabric. Such ignoble fentiments
on a conftitutional neceflary meafure, if not
interefted, are unworthy of an enlightened
people, and degrade a free nation ; all ranks
of people reverence royalty ; every true En-
glimman will fupport the Crown ; but there
is not a man but knows the Crown has no
longer any analogy to liberty than as the re-
prefentatives of the people are independent,
and the Parliament free,

If my refpect furmounted my duty, I might
have forborn to have reminded you of your


illuftrious father. May the filial remembrance
of him ftimulate you to this glorious purfuit.
The eftabliming of confKtutional liberty on
its true foundation is worthy of honour ; it
will acquire you immortal fame. Permit me
to fay, it is your duty to fet at defiance the
Ariftocratic party in the Houfe of Commons.
Your firft engagement was to promote and
effeft a reform in Parliament.

The olive branch now courts the laurel ;
remove therefore the ma(k from the Genius
of the Constitution, and the nation will en-
twine your brow with the emblems of li-
berty. Recorded honours will hover round
your name. The difappointed levellers may
cavil at your fuccefs ; but future ages will
engrave your virtues on marble. Animated
with a true zeal for the real interefts of the


I am,

Right Honourable SIR,
Your Friend,





4 Brief Sketch of tbe Charter of John Bull,
with a prefatory Dialogue, containing Re-
marks on the Republican and Arijlocratic
Doclrines of the Day i


Remarks on the Rights of Man, Society, and
Government 45


The Political Hiftory of John Bull; or, Remarks
on Political Liberty under the Britons 63


Remarks on Political Liberty under the Saxons
and Normans 80


Remarks on Political Liberty, from the Confir-
mation of Magna Charta, under King John,
to the Succejjion of the Houfe of Stuart 98




Remarks on Political Liberty, from the Succejfion

of the Houfe of Stuart to the Revolution 114


I'be Rights of Engli/hmen ; or, The Eriti/b Con-
Jlitution i 141


Remarks on the prefent State of the Elective
Power of the People, and the Conjiitution of


General Proportions for accomplijhing an Equal
Reprefentation of the Commons of Great Bri-
tain in the High Court of Parliament


A Conftitutional Mode of Reform .







A britf Sketch of the Character of JOHN BULL,
with a prefatory Dialogue, containing Remarks on the
Republican and Arijlocratic DoRrines of the Day*

AS a man cannot in all cafes fpeak of him-
felf without the imputation of vanity, it
may be neceflary firft to premife the character of
JOHN BULL. A favourable prepofieffion, which
engages the heart, and attaches the mind, is a
favourable circumftance, which, though not al-
ways within our reach, merits our utmoft endea-
vours to attain. If this attempt mould fail, it muft
be attributed to a deficiency of talents in the au-
thor juftly to delineate his worthy appellant. For
if generous principles difplay the dignity of man,
John Bull by Nature poiTefles the beft gifts of
Heaven ; philanthropy ennobles his heart, and in-
fpires his mind with the moft liberal fentiments ;

B in

in which courage and chanty contending for emi-
nence, honour interfered, and united diem. Dig-
nified as he is in difpofition, yet he is too credu-
lous, which arifes from thofe principles of fecurity
he had early imbibed from his excellent Conftitu-
tion ; and all his views and defigns are marked
with that open franknefs, that manly aflfurance and
dignity of conduct, which fo particularly diftin-
guifh him from the natives of arbitrary States. A
combination of fuch noble qualities naturally pro-
duces a temper which is fuperior to faction ; with
contemptuous difdain he looks on, while Envy is
biting her lips, and Ambition is treading the air.
But when Injuftice unites her iron hand, and
tramples on his rights, he exerts himfelf with that
energy and effect which have ever diftinguimed
his patriotic meafures, and will always preferve his
freedom. Such being the general traits of his
character, it cannot be expected his plain lan-
guage will accord with the fophiftry of inte-
refted politicians. On the contrary, perceiving a
regular progreffion of immorality, which threatens
his Conftitution, keeping pace with fafhion, folly,
and luxury, John Bull will have his rights alTerted
in a true Englifti ftyle j in which if a dafh of ec-
centricity fo congenial with his nature mould ap-
pear, his found principles and good intentions
muft apologize. Agreeable to his engagement, he
now vifited me; and after the ufual congratulations,
we entered on bufineis.


[ 3 1

John Bull. If you are, Sir, a plain lettered man,
*nd free from the bias of party, I (hall not be dif-
appointed having engaged you to aflert my rights,

The Author. Really, Sir, I had no reafon to ex-
pect that honour from a man of your importance,
having no claim on the world for pofleffmg that
humble talent ; neither mould I venture to aflume
fuch a claim, but on fo plain fubject as your rights.
By trade I know you to be a dealer in facts; I mail
be proud, therefore, to tranfcribe your ledger, and
draw out your bills on your debtors. To party I
am unknown, and by the Conftitution, free ; un-
der your protection, I may then venture with con-
fidence j at leaft my beft endeavours will be to de-
fend ths Conftitution, and merit your approbation.

John Bull. The privilege of fpeaking truth being
denied, her facred value is loft ; and the tongue
tortured by reftraint, or intereft, feeks the colours
of fophiftry to (hade the dictates of the heart.
Hence the variety of opinions on the fimple theme
of liberty keeps pace with the growth of politicians,
to which the French Revolution has afforded a
fruitful feafon. For here I find a Republican level-
ling his predatory principles againft me, and there
an Ariftocrat endeavouring to ftrangle me. And
for this long time paft, I have been put in fear of
my life ; and without a transfufion of new blood
into my veins, I fhall not be able to withftand


t 4 ]

their attacks ; for I find my Conftitution much
impaired by infractions made on it in my youth ;
and my infirmities have much increafed fmce the
paralytic ftroke, which deprived me of my voice in
St. Stephen's Chapel, where for many years paft I
have fat as an inanimate idol in the Oracle of
Delphi, to fan&ion the previous refolutions of the
Priefts of a Council. But perceiving there are now
two partries, both enemies to the health of my
Conftitution, the one pulling the cords or ftamina
of my exiftence at one end, and the other pulling at
the other, I am determined to make good my hold,
to prevent their breaking ; for my anceftors left me
this facred axiom " That we mould all pull toge-
" ther, and form three feparate pillars for the fupport
" of ONE GRAND FABRIC," which I am bound fa-
credly to maintain. But the regaining of my pub-
lic voice being abfolutely necefTary to aflure my right
to collateral aid and equal benefit, I mail depute
you to afiert my privileges, and refpedtfully fuggeft
to the Higher Powers a mode of Reform in my
Reprefentation. Be candid and impartial ; we
have but one intereft ; we can have but one wifh.
It is the birth-right of Englimmen to keep the
Britifh Oak of Liberty free from corrolions. Let
it be our pride, as it is our duty, that pofterity
may find it flourishing in the greateft fplendour.

The Author. Indeed, Sir, you utter your com-
plaints with fo much emphafis, I find you have


[ 5 1

already made fome advance on my feelings. I fhall
beg to propofe, that we make our joint remarks on
popular topics in this Section ; during the courfe
of which I fhall have an opportunity of catching
your ftyle ; and alfo that your complaints, your
interefls, and your rights, may make fuch an im-
preffion on me, that when I write the dictates of
your heart, I may find them equally accord with
the fentiments of my own mind. This is actually
neceflary before I can make remarks on your poll
tical hiftory.

John Bull. What flows from the dictates of the
heart men in general admire, which can only be
attributed to fympathy ; for, on fixed principles,
you will find theory and practice at continual va-
riance. But the heart, though involved in every
intricate evolution of the mind, flill retains the
human bias.

Author. Philofophy and liberty, it is faid,
are infeparable ; and certainly it would reflect a
cenfurable flupidity in me not to admire and con-
gratulate you on their progrefs. And mail it now
be faid the prefent age mufl flill wear the garment
of Liberty with that tattered appendage of Norman
rigour, the Borough Reprefentation, becaufe we
have not a Juftinian to refcind it ? Let the ignoble
thought be banifhed, and the Britifli Conftitution
be purified.

B 3 John

t 6 ]

John Bull. A great political character fays, we
cherifh our prejudices becaufe they are prejudices.
Under this idea, I imagine, he termed the people
a fwinilh multitude. This pillar of hereditary
rights and arbitrary claims will eventually find a
free State the wrong market for his principles ; it
being my will to roufe from patriotic apathy, and
examine if indolence and fupinenefs have not occa-
fioned a breach in the bulwark of our freedom ;
and probably in the fting of difaffection may be
found a truth, which being embraced may preferve
the fpirit of the Conftitution.

The Author. However we may differ from the
principles of difaffected writers, we are not to dif-
regard fome truths which they convey. But it is
become a fafhion among men to defpife truth, be-
caufe it affects their pride ; and a man is equally a
depredator, whether he attacks another's purfe or
his pride ; fo the law conftrues truth, which Na-
ture ordained the fountain of virtue ; but now it is
become the libellous pander of Juflice.

John Bull, Let the lawyers torture words, and
diffedt Ads of Parliament, keep to the letter of
my confthutional right, and deal freely with the^
Republican and Ariftocratic doctrines of the day ;
and if it fhould appear to have a tendency rather
to amufe the mind than to convince the judgment,
let it be remembered, if fatire be ever in the leaft


[ 7 ]

allowable, it is when it has for its object Vice, and
for its end Truth.

'The Author, A man may certainly venture to
hold up the mirror of Truth under your patronage,
particularly when the chief object is his country's
benefit ; and if from the refult of our inveftiga-
tion abufes mould appear, it becomes the duty of
Government to apply immediate and effectual re-

John Bull. Abufes exift which require neither
fcience nor ingenuity to explore.

The Author. And from thofe abufes have arifen
our enormous national debt, which hangs a dead
weight from the neck of Britannia. Yet her Ions
make a figure, as if (he were mounted in a golden
car. Thefe are glittering days !

John Bull. Public credit keeps them floating on
the tide, where, if they would attend to my voice,
they mould continue to be wafted, but not till an
ebb takes place will they liften to me.

The Author. And by a new philofophy *, this
enormous debt is declared to be a great national

* See the Eflays of the Marquis de Cafaux and George
Crawford, which proceed upon the idea that it is abfurd and
injurious to attempt to diminifli the national debt.

B 4 bleffing ;

blefilng ; for as neceffity is the parent of invention,
fpeculation has now arrived to the very fummit of
perfection. The tax-gatherers give a fpur to in-
cluftry ; they quicken the genius, and mature the
invention of a whole family ; they give energy to
trade, life to commerce, and fpirit to the whole
nation. One novelty fucceeds another, till curio-
lity is loft in a maze. Medical men, for inftance,
have added fome hundred drugs to the Materia
Medica, hitherto unknown, whofe virtues are
grand fpecifics. Indeed, the knowledge of Galen
and Hippocrates is wholly exploded by the deep
refearches of modern advertifing empirics of health
Paint, Patch, and Perfume.

John 'Bull. I will venture to impart a fecret to
you. Thefe grand fpecifics poflefs two virtues ;
the firft enables them to fet up a chariot and make
a figure, and the fecond enables them to pay the
taxes which fupport the national debt.

The Author. Which fully prove Neceffity to be
the parent of Invention. The tax-gatherers, again,
have in an amazing degree fharpened the wits of
the lawyers, who are now become fupremely fpe-
culative. They can foon convince a man that a
light pair of heels is better than a fafe confcience.
For if he brings in -a. fat caufe into court, notwith-
ftanding he may have reafon and truth on his fide,
yet they immediately throw it into the fcale of felf-

intereft ;

[ 9 ]

intereft ; and to incline the balance in their favour,
they torture, flice, and trim the letter of the law,
till he is fixed with enormous cofts, and then he
muft either run or pay.

John Bull. Taxes muft be paid ; the national
debt muft be fupported.

The Author. The tax-gatherers have alfo thrown
a new light on trade. Firft, the bankers, to fup-
port needy tradefmen, opprefled with taxes, and
the confequent advance of the articles of life, dif-
count the manufactured paper of thofe who are of
fair fame. Secondly, the wholefale traders encou-
rage young men to fet up retailers, without capi-
tals, who have the repute of having been fober and
fteady afliftants to eminent traders. Thefe are ne-
ceflary connexions to fupport fictitious paper, and
create large returns. Hence the numerous acco-
modations, from the loweft mechanic to the higheft
merchant ; hence the increafe of country banks ;
hence the increafe of attornies ; hence the increafe
of brokers j and, finally, hence the increafe of

John Bull. Taxes muft be paid ; the national
debt muft be fupported.

'The Author. The tax-gatherers rout out the lower
^A of people from their peaceful habitations, and


the advance of common neceffaries induce them to
forfake honeft avocations. Hence the increafe of
fwindlers, mail-robbers, highwaymen, pickpockets,
&c. hence the aggrandizement of the colony of
Botany Bay to our antient kingdom, and the rapid
increafe of its population.

John Bull. Taxes muft be paid ; the national
debt muft be fupported.

The Author. Your replies being fo uniform, you
are certainly of opinion the morality of the people
is the leaft confideration, when the public good is
to be confulted. I may reckon you a difciple of
Mandeville, who affirms, that private vices are
public benefits. The taxes muft be paid un-
doubtedly ; but by what means can public credit
be fecured ?

John Bull. By the brokers keeping up the price
of ftocks*, notwithftanding it gives the advan-
tage to foreigners to buy and fell to our wrong.

* The fpirit of flock -jobbing is to the fpirit of trade what
the fpirit of faction is to the fpirit of liberty. The tendency of
both is to advance the intereft of a few \vorthlefs individuals, at
the expence of the whole community. T ^e confequence of
both, if ever they prevail to the ruin of trade and liberty, muft
be, that the harpies will ftarve in imaginary wealth, and that
the children of faction, like the iron race of Cadmus, will de-

ftroy one another.

Bolingbroke 1 s Remarks, Hijl. Eng. p. 1 69.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryThomas BroughtonThe political history of John Bull; or, The true Englishman, neither a republican nor an aristocrat ... Addressed by John Bull to the Right Honourable William Pitt. Also, remarks on the present state of the elective power of the people, and the constitution of Parliament, with propositions for accom → online text (page 1 of 15)