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This petition, though explicit and firm, is temperate and decorous. The petition from Yorkshire, drawn up by Burke's friend, Sir George Saville, was in a similar style. Some were presented of a very different nature, being in the style of imperious remonstrances and licentious abuse ; among the rest, that from the Livery of London, as unlike the one supported by Burke, as in the principles of a turbulent DEMOCRAT are to those of a moderate constitutional Whis.
The political opinions and principles of Burke were about this time published at considerable length, in a pamphlet intituled . Thoughts on the Causes of the Present Discontents:
Burke's • Thoughts on the Discontents" deserves the studious perusal of the politician, as it marks with great impartiality the state of the public mind at that period. The work endeavours to find the causes of the prevailing opinions and sentiments in the condition of the country, and the conduct
of the Court. It calls for the peculiar attention of the biographer, as A LAND-MARK of BURKE'S OWN DOCTRINES respecting the British Government, and the means of carrying it into the most successful effect.
· The fact, that discontents had existed during a great part of the present reign, and that they had risen to an alarming height, being very obvious, and denied by none, Burke presumes it to be generally admitted : he proceeds, therefore, to investigate the cause, to describe the modes of its operation, to display its effects, and to propose a remedy. Courtiers .ascribed the prevailing dissatisfaction to the seditious wickedness of libellers, and other demagogues; causes which have very frequently produced groundless discontents, but not always. According to the court party, affairs had been managed with consummate wisdom and remarkable moderation; if the character these persons gave of themselves were just, then there certainly could be no foundation for the discontents. The pre
mises, however, Burke does not admit: he contends, that there were strong grounds for dissatisfaction. Mr. Burke's hypothesis is, that a plan had been formed by the Court, and in a great degree executed, to govern by the private influence of its favourites. The production is a very ingenious and consistent theory, founded on this assumed * principle.com's Burlarini
The various acts of Administration he attempts to deduce from a system of making every part of government depend upon a junto of court favourites. • To secure," he says; to the Court the unlimited and uncontrouled use of its own vast influence, under the sole direction of its own private favour, has been for some years the great object of policy. If this were compassed, the influence of the Crown must of course produce all the effects which the most sanguine partizans of
* We say assumed, because, whether actualiy true or false that such a junto did exist, notwithstanding all the clamour of the Opposition, its existence was never satisfactorily
the Court could possibly desire. Government might then be carried on without any concurrence on the part of the people, without any attention to the dignity of the greater, or to the affections of the lower sorts.' To this plan of making every part of government dependent on a junto of court favourites he attributes the various evils of that time. The court junto he calls a double cabinet,
Having, in the passage I have quoted, described the alledged object of the real or supposed band of courtiers, he proceeds to the means: · These were, to draw a line which should separate the Court from the. Ministry ;' to render the ostensible Ministers merely the agents of this favourite junto. • By this operation, two systems of administration were to be formed ; one, which should be in the real secret and confidence ; the other, merely ostensible, to perform the official and executory duties of Government. The latter were alone to be responsible ; whilst the real advisers, who enjoyed all the
power, were effectually removed from the danger.
Secondly, A party under these leaders was to be formed in favour of the Court against the Ministry.
• Thirdly, Parliament was to be brought to acquiesce in this project. It was to be taught by degrees a total indifference to the persons, rank, influence, abilities, connections, and character of the Minister of the Crown. A cabal of the closet and back-stairs was substituted in the place of a national administration.
His hypothesis proceeds to the progress, success, and consequences of favouritism, and very eloquently shews its hurtfulness to a free government. •A PLAN OF FAVOURI-; TISM for our executory government is essentially at variance with the plan of our legislature. One great end, undoubtedly, of a mixed government, like ours, is, that the Prince shall not be able to violate the laws.