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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37

Power and Rights of the People in olden time

page 70

Power and Rights of the People in olden time.

In the Rolls of Parliament of the time of Edward the Third the following occurs:—

"The gentlemen who are at this Parliament for the Communes have well understood the estate of our lord the king, and the great need he has to be aided by the people. Wherefore the said gentlemen who are here for the Commune pray of my lord duke and the other lords who are here that it may please him to summon another Parliament at a certain day to be agreed upon; and in the meantime each one will betake himself to his country, and they promise loyally on the legeance which they owe to our lord the king that they will be at all the pains they can, each towards his country, to have aid good and convenient."

Even Mr Cobden, when he had a serious financial proposition to make, proposed not to "go forward," but to "go back." The term of retrocession he chose was only 1835. It would be preferable to "go back" to a period when there was no national debt, no excise, and scarcely any customs duties—when parliamentary majorities could not bind the minority—and when no representative could vote for a tax unless it was sanctioned by the presentment of the Community which sent him to parliament.

To show how ineffectual a "reformed" parliament is in controlling an extravagant Cabinet the following figures are curious:—

The amount expended on army, navy, and ordnance in 1830 (unreformed parliament) was £13,914,776; in 1861 (reformed parliament) it was £29,523,748 The annual vote of supply for the civil service in 1830 was £2,031,897; in 1861 it was £7,848,069.

The motto inscribed on the banner of Lord Grey's Ministry in 1830 was "Reform—Retrenchment—Nonintervention." We have more than doulled our expenditure, and interfered in every country in the world.

(Anon. 1866,)