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From Historical Hastings
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against which the universal voice would inveigh. A wise man once said he respected others because he respected himself. It is “Via Media” who sneers. My demeanour towards the Council was one of respect. The allusion to the Corn Law is unfortunate. Does your correspondent think that the House of Commons ought to carry measures in opposition to the wishes of the people? Is it not known that Mr Cobden delivered countless appeals to the millions, and that throughout the length and breadth of the land the trumpet of repeal was sounded until the voice of the many was at last so unmistakeably echoed within the walls of the senate as to bring forth a response, not in despite of the peoples’ wishes but in accordance with them? That the measure was opposed to the wishes of some does not alter the case. The wishes of the people were consulted and the members for particular constituencies (and this, after all, was the drift of my observation) considered the interest of others as though they had actually represented them. I am, once again, misunderstood with respect to the parade wall. The whole that my observations under this head were intended to convey was simply that the mere fact of exclusion of a local Act proved nothing; because as Hastings had a local Act as well as St Leonards, if the latter was to be circumscribed, the former must be also. But I do not mean to say that the boundary line in any such Act is to be a permanent limit to either place. The objects principally contemplated by Acts of this kind are internal regulation, self-government etc.; and as Acts of Parliament are necessary for the purpose, it is obvious that their operation cannot extend beyond the line actually drawn in their provisions. My illustration of the Channel or gigantic river would, says “Via Media”, be most valuable but for the fact that over the imaginary river exists municipal authority; and he asks me, with an air of triumph, to answer that question. But what, Sir, if the municipal authority does not alter the case? What if I tell “Via Media” that whether there was royal, manorial or municipal jurisdiction, the gradual annexation of which I spoke, would as effectually and as legally change the name to that of B’s estate as if it had always borne it? Your correspondent said that in his last letter he challenged a reply to matters of fact. First, I reply, the onus probandi, or burden of proof, not upon those who oppose the measure (this is law), but upon those who bring -