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had increased to such a degree that the number of representatives for towns and boroughs had been increased so as to bear a quadruple proportion to that of the members for counties, and that those representatives were, and continue to be, deputed by the meanest and most miserable places in the kingdom.

As to the present mode of election, it is as defective, with very few exceptions, in the great towns, as in the most rotten boroughs. In the one, the members are elected by a hired mob, in the other they are nominated by some individual. A total abolition is therefore proposed of the rights of corporations and boroughs, as now constituted, to send members to Parliament; and that in conformity to the original practice of the constitution, every considerable town in England shall have a right of sending one or more members to Parliament, in a given proportion to the number of voters in such town, to be elected by all the householders, subject only to the restriction of such a qualification in point of property, as may prevent those gross abuses, which now prevail in almost all the elections for popular towns.

Qualification of the Electors.

As the riches of the inhabitants of towns, arise more from their industry, than from any permanent property of which they are possessed, it will be a matter of some difficulty to ascertain the amount of the qualification, required in this instance, and the mode, by which the existence of that qualification is to be proved.

Adam Smith says, " In general there is not perhaps any one article of expense or consumption by which the

2 Wealth of Nations, Vol. III. 285.

1. Blackst. Com. 174.

liberality or narrowness of a man's whole expense can be better judged than by his house-rent."-In conformity to this authority I should propose that every inhabitant of a town, occupying a house of the annual value of ten pounds, should have a right to vote for the representatives of such town.

The right of voting for the representatives of towns should, upon this principle, be extended to every person, actually and bonâ fide residing in such towns, and inhabiting a house rated to the parish taxes at the annual sum of ten pounds or upwards.

Qualifications of the Elected.

As to the qualifications of the persons to be elected members of the House of Commons, it is not intended to make any alteration in the quantum of it; but as it is notorious that the law requiring a qualification of property in a member of the House of Commons, is constantly evaded, it is proposed that the proof of such qualification shall not rest, as it now does, on the oath of the member himself, but that some other mode of proof may be adopted.

Number of Members.

With respect to the number of persons who shall constitute the House of Commons, no alteration seems necessary. But as it is clear that the representatives of the landed interest ought to be much more numerous than those of the trading and monied interest; it is proposed

' Vide 1. Hen. V. c. 1.



2 Vide Black. Com. v. I.


p. 174.


that three fifths of the House of Commons shall be elected by the counties; and the other two fifths by the


The inequality of the counties in extent and population is so great, that I fear it will be impossible to obtain a full and fair representation of the landed interest without a new division of the country for the purpose of representation only. Nor do I see any very great difficulty in dividing the country of England (excluding the towns intitled to send members to Parliament) into one hundred districts, each district to consist of as many parishes as may contain together a hundredth part of the wealth and population of the whole, and to lie contiguous to one another each of these districts would be intitled to send three members to Parliament; so that the representatives of the landed interest would amount to three hundred. I cannot see any great difficulty in making a division of this kind. An inspection of the assessments made in the different parishes, for raising the poor's rates, would immedi ately show (with sufficient correctness for our purpose) the wealth of each parish.

As to the towns, the number of houses in each, rated to the parish taxes at ten pounds, might be immediately ascertained and then the apportionment of the number of members which each town would be intitled to return, (the total number of members for towns being fixed at two hundred) would be very easily settled.

Register of Votes for Counties.

The inconveniences which might arise from the difficulty of ascertaining the qualifications of the electors, and the tumults which now disgrace our popular elections, would probably be removed by establishing in every county and town intitled to return members to Parliament, a register

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of all the voters contained in such county or town, according to the following plan: and by taking the poll for counties in the different hundreds, and for towns in the different parishes.

1. That every person claiming to vote for a county, shall procure his name to be registered in the manner herein-after mentioned at some court of quarter sessions to be held for the same county, in a book to be provided and kept for that purpose by the clerk of the peace, to be called the voters' book.


2. That for this purpose every person claiming to have a right to vote for a county, shall, six weeks before the day on which the court of quarter sessions is to be held, deliver to the clerk of the peace a memorial in writing under his hand (drawn up according to a schedule, &c.) containing the particulars of the property in right of which he claims to vote, and praying that his name may be entered in the list of the persons, to be presented to the justices of the quarter sessions, in order that it may be inserted in the

voters' book.

3. That the clerk of the peace for each county, shal make out a list of the names of all those who shall present such memorials, in alphabetical order, to be affixed upon the doors of the sessions house, during eight days preced

the day on which the quarter sessions are to be held, for the inspection of all persons whatever, and shall also keep all the memorials, delivered to him, at an office to be established for that purpose, at the town where such quarter sessions shall be held, and shall permit any person to inspect the said memorials during those eight days, and shall also make and deliver true copies of any such memorials, to any person requiring the same.

4. That after the usual business of the quarter sessions is finished, the chairman shall cause the clerk of the peace

to read aloud in court a list of the names of all those who have presented memorials, in alphabetical order, together with their places of abode, and a description of the property in right of which they claim to vote, and upon such proof being produced of the qualification stated in each memorial as the justices shall require, by each of the persons whose names are contained in such list, the chairman of the quarter sessions shall cause all the said names to be entered into the voters' book, each page of such book in which an entry of naines shall be made, to be signed by the chairman of the sessions and the clerk of the peace.

5. That in case an objection is made by any inhabitant of the county, to any person claiming to have his name entered in the voters' book, as not having the qualification required, the chairman of the quarter sessions shall write down the name of such person so objected to, and when the whole list shall be read over, the chairman shall call on the persons who have made the objections, to come forward and substantiate the same; and then the chairman and the rest of the justices shall proceed to hear the per sons making such objections, either by themselves or by their attornies or counsel, and shall examine on oath all witnesses produced on either side, and after due consideration had of the nature and validity of such objections, shall determine by a majority of voices, whether the names of the persons to whom such objections were made, shall be entered or not in the voter's book.

6. That after the first formation of the voters' book, the clerk of the peace of each county, shall, fifteen days before the day on which the quarter sessions shall be held, transmit to the clergyman and churchwardens of every parish in the county a list of the persons entered in the voters' book, as resident in each parish, and such clergyman and

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