‘The British Administration will come to no
decision,’ such was Du Chatelet
's report to Choiseul
‘They will push time by the shoulder, till the Americans
consolidate their union, and form a general plan of resistance.’2
The question turned on the reality of the principle of representation.
America was not alone in asserting representative liberty; the principle was at the same time violated in England
The freeholders of Middlesex
to represent their shire in Parliament.
wished him expelled; and the House of Commons expelled him. The people rallied to his support; the City of London
made him one of its magistrates; by the unanimous vote of Middlesex
he was again returned.
The House of Commons voted the return to be null and void.
The public mind was profoundly agitated; men united as ‘Supporters of the Bill of Rights
,’ to pay the debts of Wilkes
and his election expenses.
A third time he was returned and unanimously; for his intended competitor proved too much of a craven to appear.
Once more his election was voted to be null.
At a fourth trial he was opposed by Luttrell
, but polled nearly three fourths of all the votes.
The House of Commons, this time, treated him as a person incapacitated to be a candidate, and received Luttrell
in his stead.
Their disfranchisement of Wilkes
had no authority in law, and violated the vital principle of representative Government; by admitting Luttrell
, they sequestered and usurped the elective franchise of Middlesex
; and Wilkes
, who, if he had been left