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at families. Sons of peers, even chap. III.} 1763. the oldest son, while his father lived, could sit in the House of Commons; and there might be, and usually were, many members of one name. Nor was the condition of the elective franchise uniform. It was a privilege; and the various rights of election depended on capricious charters or immemorial custom rather than on reason. Of the five hundred and fifty-eight members, whom the House of Commons then consisted, the counties of England, Wales, and Scotland elected one hundred and thirty-one as knights of the shires. These owed their election to the good will of the owners of great estates in the respective counties; for it was a usage that the tenant should vote as his landlord directed, and his compliance was certain, for the ballot was unknown, and the vote was given by word of mouth or a show of hands. The representatives of the counties were, therefore, as a class, country gentlemen, independent of the court. They were, co
feeble will, and was very obstinate. which never belonged to him. With the bequest of Bute's office, the new minister inherited also the services of his efficient private secretary, Charles Jenkinson, who now became the principal Secretary of the Treasury. He was a man of rare ability. An Oxford scholar without fortune, and at first destined for the Church, he entered life on the side of the whigs; but using an immediate opportunity of becoming known to George the Third while Prince of Wales, he devoted himself to his service. He remained always a friend and a uniform favorite of the king. Engaged in the most important scenes of political action, and rising to the highest stations, he moved with so soft a step, that he seemed to pass on as noiselessly as a shadow; and history was hardly aware of his presence. He had the singular talent of being employed in the most delicate and disagreeable personal negotiations, and fulfilling such trusts so calmly as to retain the friendshi
n the work of compulsion. Gage to Conway, Sept. It was already known there, that the king, desirous of changing his ministry, had sent for William Pitt; and the crowd that kindled the bonfire in King-street on the birthday of the Prince of Wales, rent the air with God bless our true British king! Heaven preserve the Prince of Wales! Pitt and liberty for ever! And high and low, rich and poor, joined in the chorus, Pitt and liberty! The daybreak of Wednesday, the fourteenth of chap.Wales! Pitt and liberty for ever! And high and low, rich and poor, joined in the chorus, Pitt and liberty! The daybreak of Wednesday, the fourteenth of chap. XVI.} 1765. Aug. August, saw the effigy of Oliver tricked out with emblems of Bute and Grenville, swinging on the bough of a stately elm, the pride of the neighborhood, known as the Great Tree, standing near what was then the entrance to the town. The pageant had been secretly prepared by Boston mechanics, Gordon, i. 175. J. Adams, II. 178. true born Sons of liberty, Benjamin Edes, the printer, Thomas Crafts, the painter; John Smith and Stephen Cleverly, the braziers; and the younger Avery
not here armed at all points with law cases and acts of parliament, with the statute-book doubled down in dogs' ears, to defend the cause of liberty; if I had, I would myself have cited the two cases of Chester and Durham, to show, that even under arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing a people without their consent, and allowed them representa- chap. XXI.} 1766. Jan. tives. Why did the gentleman confine himself to Chester and Durham? He might have taken a higher example in Wales that was never taxed by parliament till it was incorporated. I would not debate a particular point of law with the gentleman, but I draw my ideas of freedom from the vital powers of the British constitution—not from the crude and fallacious notions too much relied upon, as if we were but in the morning of liberty. Moffat. I can acknowledge no veneration for any procedure, law, or ordinance, that is repugnant to reason, and the first elements of our constitution; and, he added, sneering a