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value of 18001. sterling.
I think this a good Right of Election ; for the Electors have an interest to Elect those who will keep taxes moderate. I know it may be said, that there are other articles which require to be defended as well as the Subject's property ; such as his life and liberty. This is true; but it is the property of the Subject which the Minister wants, and it is, therefore, the property which we ought most solicitously to guard ; and, let it be remembered, that the Representative who has an interest to guard my property because he is at the same time guarding his own, will, for the same reason, be interested to guard my life and liberty.
I have heard it said, that Reform in the House of Commons would prevent those men who have abilities, but are without property, from being Members of that House, and that these men are very useful. I am of a different opinion. I think they are rather mischievous than useful. I wish the House of Commons not to continue to exercise that share in the Executive Government which it has lately acquired. The Minister always wishes the House of Commons to vote a previous approbation of that measure which he is about to adopt. By this means, he is protected from, subsequent crimination.
But the Nation is deprived of one of the most important advantages which it is entitled to expect from a House of Commons; viz. An Assembly watchful over the conduct of Ministers, and punishing them for acts injurious to their Country.
I have given my opinion thus fully on the subject of Reform ; because I am convinced, that either Reform or Revolution must soon take place. I wish for Reform, and deprecate Revolution.
I have thus ventured to give my opinion on the probability that a Reform of the House of Commons will take place in Great Britain. I have expressed my wish that a Reform may take place, as being the only means by which Revolution may be avoided. I have also expressed my opinion as to the manner in which Reform may be effected.
Most certainly more
regulations than those which I have suggested will be necessary.
Members of the House of Commons were first summoned to Parliament to protect the King against his great Nobles ; they are now wanted to protect the People against immoderate taxation. To induce them to afford this protection, they must themselves be interested ; and to secure that they shall be interested, they must be elected by men who are payers of the taxes. With this view, the right of electing Members must be taken from many of the small Towns, and transferred to the inhabitants of large Towns. (Note 14.) )
Some men have thought, that Triennial Parliaments might be of great benefit; and this is the only Reform which the great Whig Families seem disposed to consent to. I cannot say that I see any great advantage in the adoption of this measure. It would render the House of Commons less suited to share in the exercise of the Executive Government. And this is the only benefit which I can see in it. I admit that this would be a benefit ; for while the House of Commons continue to possess that share in the Executive Government which they have been allowed to usurp, they are disqualified to watch over the conduct of the Executive Government, perhaps the most useful duty which they have to discharge. (Note 15.)
On the State of Parties in England.
The present political parties in England affect to rally under two names ;
viz. Pittites and Foxites.
Has either party any great Political object which it professes to wish to carry
? The Pittites profess no other object than that of preventing changes; the Foxites profess no definite object. The people, therefore, view the two parties under the more intelligible names of the Ins and the Outs. Admit, for the moment, that both Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox had great talents, and that both conferred much benefit on their country. It does not follow, that those who call themselves Pittites have the same talents, or have a right to claim, as heirs, the reward of his merits. The same answer may be given to the Foxites.
The names are brought forward as noms de guerre, and to give splendour to the several parties.