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oly, which can be dedicated to corruption. The Chancellor, e Admiralty, the Treasury, the Secretaries of State, divide mong them, at present, the chief patronage of the Govern ent. But if the whole of this patronage were concentrated in e Treasury, no one can doubt that its effect in creating inmence in the country, and in the House of Commons, would
much more considerable. It is with regret, therefore, we serve, that the tendency of late years has been to augment the ready enormous patronage of the Treasury ; and we are conneed, that nothing would tend more to increase the independce of the House of Commons, than to lessen the influence of e Treasury, by transferring a portion of its patronage to the her departments of the Government.
We hesitate about proceeding farther. Parliamentary reem has never been popular in this country. When the
quesn was first stirred in 1780, the persons who associated and titioned the House of Commons, were more anxious about onomy and retrenchment of expenditure, than desirous of a orm in Parliament; and it was only by connecting the two estions that any considerable party couki be brought to petin for the latter. When revived in 1792, Parliamentary re-m had still less support from men of rank and property, ose minds were at that time filled with the most dismal, and, it seems to us, most absurd apprehensions, from the progress republicanism in France. At present, as tar as we can judge, nas still fewer supporters of weight and consequence than at
former period. We regret this indifference, we may say ersion, of the public to a question of so much importance. nvinced as we are that the influence of the Crown has inased, and ought to be diminished, we most anxiously desire see such a reform of the House of Commons as would ren- it more independent of ministers: But unless the natural positaries of power in this country are of the same opinion, are convinced the attempt is utterly impracticable, and the suit of it, on a great scale, not only useless, but hurtful, by erting the attention of the public from the less splendid, but re practicable opposition to bad measures and to bad ministers. our subject, however, naturally leads to the question, we I lay our thoughts on it before our readers without reserve ; ugh we fear they will displease the warm advocates of' reform much as our preceding language may have offended the parns of prerogative. Our view of the question is founded on general or abstract theories of representation, but directed to sole object, which is to lessen the influence of the Crown in House of Commons.
We must begin, then, by stating, that we are under no apprehension from the influence of Peers in returning members to the Commons. There is no rivality or opposition of interest between the two Houses. Their respective privileges are settled, and no longer contested on either side. The chief difference between a rich Peer and a rich Commoner, consists in the one having a seat for life in one assembly, while it costs the other some expense and trouble to procure a seat for seven years in another assembly. They have the same interests, live in the same society, are educated at the same schools, and connected by the same family and party attachments. The House of Lords is more tenacious of established law than the House of Commons, and more careful and scrupulous in passing private bills, or interfering by legislative acts with the rights of individuals. And this spirit is, on the whole, beneficial to the public; though it often suspends, and sometimes prevents entirely, the reform of abuses. The Lords have less public business to perform than the Commons, and have less controul over the public purse. They have, therefore, less influence on the measures of Government.
The House of Commons may be divided into three classes, or descriptions of men.
The first and most numerous consists of party men, whether attached to Ministry or to Opposition. By party men, we mean persons, who usually act and vote together, in consequence of having certain public principles and opinions in common, which they consider of sufficient importance to be a bond of union; or in consequence of entertaining similar views on great points of foreign and domestic policy. Of this description was the party that opposed the American war; the party that united against Lord Shelburne's peace; the party formed against the Coalition and India bill ; the party. that remained united from 1784 to 1792, in maintenance of the antient authority of the House of Commons; the party that resisted the war of 1793, on the ground that it was an unjustifiable interference with the right of an independent nation to chuse its own form of government; the party who supported that war, on the ground that the conduct of the French revolutionists endangered the stability of every government in Europe ; and, lastly, the party that remained together in 1807 in support of Catholick emancipation.
The individuals of a party, though agreeing in one common object, often differ widely on other points. The members of the present cabinet are divided on the question of Catholick Emancipation. The leading members of Opposition took different sides on the renewal of the East India Company's charter. What is called the Whig party, has always contained some men friendly to Parliamentary reform, and others decidedly hostile to that measure. The party, that overthrew the Coalition ministry in 1784, was composed of Courtiers, Parliamentary reformers, and Dissenters. They agreed in one common object, which was, to reject the India bill, and turn out the ministry; but differed on every other possible point. Some men follow the general current of their party more steadily than others; and when new and great occasions arise, individuals or bodies of men, who differ from the rest of their party, separate from it entirely, if they conceive the ground of difference to be of sufficient magnitude and importance to justify the separation. The Duke of Leeds went out of office in 1791, when Mr Pilt abandoned the views and projects of the triple alliance. The alarmists separated from Mr Fox in 1793, on account of the difference of their opinions on the French Revolution.
Besides the two great parties of Ministry and Opposition, there are sometimes small knots of men, united for some object of a public nature, which they steadily pursue amidst the changes of administration, sometimes lending their support to Ministry, and sometimes to Opposition; but generally voting with the Government. Of this description is a well known party in the House of Commons, distinguished by their zeal and perseverance for the abolition of the African slave trade. There are also now and then small squads of a different sort, who make no profession of any community of principle or opinion, but are united by some common views of interest, which they conceive may be more effectually promoted by keeping together, than by acting separately. These men lie in wait for some temporary weakness or unpopularity of the Government, and, taking advantage of their opportunity, sometimes by loud opposition, but more frequently by secret intrigue, get admission into the Ministry, and procure for themselves and their dependants a large share of honours and emoluments from men, who are ready to sacrifice a part, rather than lose the whole. Such a party, or rather faction, is a mere association of political adventurers, who prefer extortion to importunity, and calculate, that more is to be got by menacing the Treasury in a body, than by bargaining with it singly.
The second class into which we should divide the members of the House of Commons, consists of persons who vote, in general, with the existing government, of whatever materials it may be composed; either from an opinion that the King's government, however constituted, ought in general to be supported; or from a desire of procuring for themselves and friends a share of the patronage which ministers have to give. The first is a Tory principle; and, though it appears to us a mistaken sense of duty, it is so far deserving of respect, that the persons who act upon it, though narrow-minded, are often disinterested men. The latter description of persons form the worst and least respectable members of the House. When the conduct of ministers leads to great public calamities, their Tory supporters usually begin to manifest their disapprobation, by absenting themselves from pinching and unpopular questions; and it is only after repeated hints of this sort, and the most thorough convic. tion that ministers are incorrigibiy bent on pursuing the same pernicious courses, that these gentlemen are ever brought decidedly and steadily to vote against them. The second class, on the contrary, are uncommonly alert in discerning the signs of the times; and when a minister begins to totter, whether from losing the favour of the Court, or the confidence of the Hlouse, they are usually the loudest and most violent against him, in the hopes of recommending themselves to his successor for a still more liberal distribution of favours and patronage.
The third class consists of single individuals, of more vanity in general than talent, who make great pretensions to independence, and boast that on every question they are guided by their own solitary judgment and opinion. Men of this sort are sometimes of importance in the House, when parties are nearly balanced, and Tories and jobbers are doubtful which way to turn themselves. As they are seldom men of solid judgment, when their independence is not a match for other purposes, there is no inconsistency of which they are incapable. They will vote for war to-day, and refuse the supplies to carry it on to-morrow. Their numbers, in general smail, are occasionally reinforced, by some discontented party-man, who quits the ranks of ministry or opposition, without the pretence of any difference on public grounds, because he fancies his talents and importance underrated, or thinks his speeches not sufficiently cheered, or his conversation not enough listened to and admired. The half-way house, för such travellers, is this limbo of vanity, from which they gradually sink into jobbing, or dwindle into insignificance.
Of these classes or descriptions of men, the last is too inconsiderable, in numbers and importance, to be objects of legislative enactment. De minimis non curat prætor; and, besides, defects arising from vanity are equally incident to county members and to gentlemen who have bought their seats. Tuo ries, that act on the principle of supporting the Government se it is the Government, without a reference to its comon or its measures, are equally beyond the reach of stale provisions. Jobbers and party-men only remain. No who regards the independence of Parliament, will say a in favour of Jobbers: But of Party-men there are two deions. Those who derive their seats from their personal at and popularity, or from the confidence and good opiof their private friends, without the assistance of ministepatronage, whether they vote for ministers or opposition, ribute in no degree to increase the influence of the Crown e House of Commons. But those, who are brought into iament by the Treasury, or other departments of the Goment, though equally honest in their votes and conduct
the others, are the persons that, with the 'Tories and the pers, enable a government, otherwise weak and incapable, aintain itself in power, long after it has lost the confidence
support of the country. If the object, then, of Parliatary reform is to lessen the influence of the Crown, by diishing the number of members in the House of Commons,
will support any, administration that has the favour and ntenance of the Court, these are the persons to be exclud
if possible, from the House. Let us consider, then, by it avenues Jobbers and Treasury members usually find admis
into that assembly. The House of Commons may be divided into county memS; representatives of cities and boroughs that have at least bundred resident voters; representatives of places that have : than five hundred resident voters; and inembers for close coughs. 1. Counties. We know of no practical defect in our county resentation, except that the great size of the counties, and nsequent expense of contested elections, deprive the electors,
nine cases out of ten, of the substantial choice of their reesentative, because no man can afford to bring the freebolders
a great county to the poll, without a large fortune of his -n, or a liberal subscription from his friends. We see no efctual remedy for this defect, but to diminish the size, and inease the number of the counties. 1: hars been proposed to ke the votes of the different hundreds in succession ; but it is oubtful whether this expedient would lessen the expense of the ection ; and it is certain that it would prolong the duration of e contest. It has been also proposed to take, on the same ay, the votes of every parish in the county, and to send the cturns to the county town, to be there examined and compar!, and the result proclaimed by the sheafl. A better expedia