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new commission, his seat becomes void; though such member is capable of being reelected.
Such are the precautions hitherto taken by the legislators, for preventing the undue influence of the great prerogative of disposing of rewards and places; precautions which have been successively taken, according as circumstances have shown them to be necessary; and which, we may thence suppose, are owing to causes powerful enough to produce the establishment of new ones, whenever circumstances shall point out the necessity of them.*
*Nothing can be a better proof of the efficacy of the causes that produce the liberty of the English, than those victories which the parliament from time to time gains over itself, and in which the members, forgetting all views of private ambition, only think of their interest as subjects.
Since this was first written, an excellent regulation has been made for the decision of controverted elections, Formerly the house decided them in a very summary manner, and the witnesses were not examined upon oath. But, by an act passed a few years ago, the decision is left to a jury, or committee, of fifteen members, formed in the following manner :-Out of the members present, who must not be less than one hundred, fortynine are drawn by lots out of these, each candidate strikes off one alternately, till there remain only thirteen, who with two others, named out of the whole house (one
Of private Liberty, or the Liberty of Individuals. WE have hitherto treated only of general liberty, that is, of the rights of the nation as a nation, and of its share in the government. It now remains that we should treat particularly of a thing without which this general liberty, being absolutely frustrated in its object, would be only a matter of ostentation, and even could not long subsist,-I mean the liberty of individuals.
Private liberty, according to the division of the English lawyers, consists first, of the right of property, that is, of the right of enjoying exclusively the gifts of fortune, and all the various fruits of one's industry; secondly, of the right of personal security; thirdly, of the loco-motive faculty, taking the word liberty in its more confined sense.
by each candidate), are to form the committee. In order to secure the necessary number of a hundred members, all other business in the house is to be suspended, till the above operations are completed.
Each of these rights, say again the English lawyers, is inherent in the person of every Englishman; they are to him as an inheritance, and he cannot be deprived of them, but by virtue of a sentence passed according to the laws of the land. And, indeed, as this right of inheritance is expressed in English by one word (birth-right), the same as that which expresses the king's title to the crown, it has, in times of oppression, been often opposed to him as a right, doubtless of less extent, but of a sanction equal to that of his own.
One of the principal effects of the right of property is, that the king can take from his subjects no part of what they possess; he must wait till they themselves grant it to him: and this right, which, as we have seen before, is, by its consequences, the bulwark that protects all the others, has moreover the immediate effect of preventing one of the chief causes of oppression.
In regard to the attempts to which the right of property might be exposed from one individual to another, I believe I shall have said every thing, when I have observed, that there is no man in England who can oppose the irresistible power of the laws;-—that, as the judges cannot be deprived of their employ
ments but on an accusation by parliament, the effect of interest with the sovereign, or with those who approach his person, can scarcely influence their decisions ;-that, as the judges themselves have no power to pass sentence till the matter of fact has been settled by men nominated, we may almost say, at the common choice of the parties, all private views, and consequently all respect of persons, are banished from the courts of justice. However, that nothing may be wanting which may help to throw light on the subject I have undertaken to treat, I shall relate, in general, what is the law in civil matters, that has taken place in England.
When the Pandects were found at Amalphi, the clergy, who were then the only men that were able to understand them, did not neglect that opportunity of increasing the influence they had already obtained, and caused them to be received in the greater part of Europe. England, which was destined to have a constitution so different from that of other states, was to be farther distinguished by its rejecting the Roman laws.
From the extensive right of challenging jurymen, which is allowed to every person brought to his trial, though not very frequently used.
Under William the Conqueror, and his immediate successors, a multitude of foreign ecclesiastics flocked to the court of England. Their influence over the mind of the sovereign, which, in the other states of Europe, as they were then constituted, might be considered as matter of little importance, was not so in a country where, the sovereign being all-powerful, to obtain influence over him was to obtain power itself. The English nobility saw, with the greatest jealousy, men of a condition so different from their own, vested with a power, to the attacks of which they were immediately exposed, and thought that they would carry that power to the height, if they should ever adopt a system of laws which those same men sought to introduce, and of which they would necessarily become both the depositories and the interpreters.
It happened therefore, by a somewhat singular conjunction of circumstances, that to the Roman laws, brought over to England by monks, the idea of ecclesiastical power became associated, in the same manner as the idea of regal despotism was afterwards annexed to the religion of the same monks, when favoured by kings who endeavoured to establish an arbitrary government. The nobility at all times