To the other strong reasons for reducing the numbers of the House, will sooner or later be added one of economy. We mean, of course, when the members are paid—a change to which we shall certainly come, and of which our author is a warm advocate:
Even with regard to the element of property, there cannot be room for more than a momentary doubt. The class who are rich by inheritance, are so far from augmenting their fortunes, that it is much if they can be said to keep them up. A territorial aristocracy always live up to their means—generally beyond them. Our own is no exception to the rule; and as their control over the taxes becomes every day more restricted, and the liberal professions more overcrowded, they are condemned more and more to bear the burden of their own large families; which to the heir the means of keeping up, without becoming embarrassed, the old family establishments. It is matter of notoriety how severely the difficulty of providing for younger sons is felt even in the highest rank; and that, as a provision for daughters, alliances are now courted which would not have been endured a generation ago. The additions to the “money-power” of the higher ranks, consist of the riches of the who are continually aggregated to that class from among the merchants and manufacturers, and occasionally from the professions. But many of these are merely successors to the impoverished owners of the land they buy; and the fortunes of others are taken, in the way of marriage, to pay off the mortgages of older families. Even with these allowances, no doubt the number of wealthy persons is steadily on the increase; but what is this to the accumulation of capitals and growth of incomes in the hands of the middle class? It is that class which furnishes all the accessions to the aristocracy of wealth; and for one who makes a large fortune, fifty acquire, without exceeding, a moderate competency, and leave their children to work, like themselves, at the labouring oar.
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The native of New England is attached to his township, because it is independent and powerful, he feels interested in it, because he takes part in its management: the prosperity he enjoys in it makes it an object of his attention: he centres in it his ambition and his hopes. He takes a part in every occurrence in the place; he practises the art of government in the small sphere within his reach; he accustoms himself to those forms, without which liberty can only take the shape of revolution; he imbibes their spirit; he acquires a taste for order, comprehends the mutual play of concurrent authorities, and collects clear practical notions on the nature of his duties and the extent of his rights.
Your essay should be formal in content, not informal.
Recommending this important subject to the consideration of our author in his next edition, we take leave of him; cordially wishing that his country may be enriched with many similar productions from his pen, and regretting that he has not yet obtained the opportunity he sought, of proclaiming in the House of Commons the great principles which this work will contribute so largely to diffuse. That he failed to obtain that opportunity is anything but creditable, all circumstances considered, to the electors of the great and important town for which he offered himself as a candidate. We trust that, ere long, some liberal constituency will claim for itself the honour which his own townsmen knew not how to appreciate.
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What, in contradistinction to a representation of classes, every rational person does wish to see exemplified in Parliament, is not the interests, but the peculiar position, and opportunities of knowledge, of all the classes whom the theory enumerates, and many more; not in order that partial interests may, but in order that they may not, be consulted. The first desideratum is, to place every member of the legislature under the most complete responsibility to the community at large, which the state of civilization of the community renders consistent with other necessary ends. The second is, to compose the legislature, in as large a proportion as possible, of persons so highly cultivated, intellectually and morally, as to be free from narrow or partial views, and from any peculiar bias. But as such persons are rarely to be found in sufficient numbers, it is doubtless desirable that the remainder of the body should be of as miscellaneous a composition as possible (consistently with accountability to the people), in order that the twist of one person may be neutralized by the contrary twist of another; and if the individuals must be biassed, the evil be at least avoided of having them all biassed one way. An indistinct perception of this truth, is what gives all its plausibility to the doctrine of class-representation. But the principle thus stated, needs no especial provision to be made for it in a scheme of representation. The diversity of local circumstances, and the varying spirit of local constituencies, provide for it sufficiently.
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that attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, nothing struck me more forcibly than the general equality of conditions. I readily discovered the prodigious influence which this primary fact exercises on the whole course of society: it gives a certain direction to public opinion, and a certain character to the laws; it imparts new maxims to the governing powers, and peculiar habits to the governed. I speedily perceived that the influence of this fact extends far beyond the political character and the laws of the country, and that it has no less empire over private society than over the government: it creates opinions, engenders sentiments, suggests the ordinary practices of life, and modifies whatever it does not produce.