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the monarchical form of government, tempered by law, is sanctioned by public opinion, and confirmed by the happiness of a civilised community.

The late Mr. Pitt seemed to have been aware of the growing power of public opinion, and of the influence of personal property, when he stated that "admission into the House of Peers ought to be rendered easy to great capitalists (if not engaged in trade or commerce) as well as to great landowners." It appears that on more than one occasion he acted on this principle in the selections for the peerage during his administration. Under the reign of Geo. I., an attempt was made to bring in a bill to restrict the crown from creating peers; if this infringement on the royal prerogative had succeeded, its consequences would have been most pernicious, both to the sovereign and towards that body it was intended to protect. To the crown it would have been an injury, by depriving it of one of its inherent privileges, that of being the fountain of honour, according to its will and pleasure. To the House of Lords, the result might have been equally injurious; this House gains its considerable strength and influence with the public from the men of talent and property that are poured into it, without which, its resolves. might be less in accordance with the sentiments of the country than they have been for a considerable time, and are at present.

The separation of the people into classes accord

ing to their property seems of very ancient date. Little credit is to be attached, as already observed in the chapter on Rome, to the account given by Livy of that ancient commonwealth; but, if correct, it appears that Numa Pompilius divided the population of that city into so many tribes, who voted according to their wealth. Even therefore in those early days it appears that property, such as it then was, obtained a superiority over numbers in legislative enactments.

Before the extension of civilisation, looking at the several nations in the world who have attained a great superiority over others, from the Romans to the inhabitants of the British isles, we find that most, if not all, the great achievements performed by such people, have been accomplished whilst they were governed, or at least were under the influence of an aristocratical form of government. The chief fault of an aristocratical government is, that in home legislation it is apt to consult the interest of its own order, not that of the people. In its relations with foreign nations, however, it has always acted wisely for the benefit of the home community. An aristocratical government is always steady in following its object. The mass of the lower class may be diverted from its true interest by its passions, or led away by ignorance. The judgment of a monarch may also be mistaken, or he may have little, or may not reign long; but an aristocratical assembly is too much alive to its own interests to

be deceived, too well informed to be led by the passions which may influence the lower classes. An aristocratical assembly resembles an able individual, resolute in his purpose, who never dies.

"I know not if there has ever existed any aristocracy so liberal as that of England, one which has, without interruption, supplied for the government of the country men so deserving and so enlightened.

"In the United States, where the public functionaries have no particular interest of any class to advocate, the continuous and steady march of the legislature and the government is for the public good, although the persons by whom the machine of the government is directed are often not qualified by ability, and sometimes even are contemptible." *

"In an hereditary monarchy, it is indispensable that an hereditary assembly, as one of the branches of the legislature, should exist. It is scarcely possible to imagine that in a nation where such an hereditary assembly was not in existence, and where all distinction by birth was rejected, that the highest

* "Je ne sais s'il a jamais existé une aristocratie aussi liberale que celle d'Angleterre, et qui ait sans interruption fourni au gouvernment du pays des hommes aussi dignes et aussi éclairés. Aux Etats Unis, où les fonctionnaires publics n'ont point d'intérêt de classe à faire prevaloir, la marche générale et continuée du gouvernement est bienfaisante, quoique les gouvernans soient souvent inhabiles, et quelquefois meprisables."-Tocqueville on Democracy, vol. ii. p. 113. edit. 1835.

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dignity in the realm, that which most affects in its functions the repose and the interests of the nation, -the hereditary monarch-could be retained. If monarchy is any where found without an hereditary assembly of legislators, such a monarchy is pure despotism. The elements of that government which consists of a sovereign unassisted by an assembly of hereditary legislators, are a monarch who commands, an army which executes, and a people who obey. To give freedom to a nation governed by an hereditary monarch, an intermediate body must exist between the sovereign and a popular assembly."*

* "Dans une monarchie héréditaire, l'hérédité d'une classe est indispensable. Il est impossible de concevoir comment, dans un pays où toute distinction de naissance serait rejettée, on consacrerait ce privilège pour la transmission la plus importante, pour celle de la fonction qui intéresse le plus essentiellement le repos et la vie des citoyens; pour que le gouvernement d'un seul subsiste sans classe héréditaire, il faut que ce soit un pur despotisme. Les éléments du gouvernement d'un seul, sans classe héréditaire, sont un homme qui commande, des soldats qui exécutent, un peuple qui obéit. Pour donner d'autres appuis à la monarchie, il faut un corps intermédiare.” -Principes de Politique, par M. Benjamin Constant, vol. i. chap. iv.

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CHAPTER XVII.

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Powerless State of the Commons in former times.- Conduct of the Tudors and Stuarts towards the Commons' House. - Peter and Paul Wentworth. - Subserviency of the Commons. — Advance of the House in Power. - Early Desire for representative Government. Influence of Property. — Curtailment of the Privileges of the House. The Commons act in accordance with Public Opinion.

THE King's "Poor Commons," as they styled themselves, were assembled for a long period, as already observed, not to participate with the barons and ecclesiastics in the functions of legislation, but submissively to represent their wants, and lay their grievances at the foot of the throne.

Even after some trifling increase in the middle class, when the Commons' House had, by the union of the county and borough members, become more numerous, considerable time elaped before any inclination was manifested, or rather influence possessed, to assume any power in legislation. In the fifteenth century they, the Commons, were considered as only entitled to petition the King and the Lords. They were told by their sovereign, Henry IV., that such was the only right they possessed. Whenever the Commons in those days

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