That House [The Commons] is, within itself, a much more subtle and artificial combination of parts and powers than people are generally aware of. What knits it to the other members of the constitution; what fits it to be at once the great support, and the great control of government; what makes it of such admirable service to that monarchy which, if it limits, it secures and strengthens, would require a long discourse, belonging to the leisure of a contemplative man, not to one whose duty it is to join in communicating practically to the people the blessings of such a constitution. — National Assembly (IV. 316).
If by aristocracy they mean the peers, I have no vulgar admiration, nor any vulgar antipathy towards them; I hold their order in cold and decent respect. I hold them to be an absolute necessity in the constitution; but I think they are only good when kept within their proper bounds—Speech on Marriage Act (III. 385).
The peers ought naturally to be the pillars of the crown ; but when their titles are rendered contemptible, and their property invidious, and a part of their weakness, and not of their strength, they will be found so many degraded and trembling individuals, who will seek by evasion to put off the evil day of their ruin.— Regicide Peace (VI. 401).
Mr. Fox and the friends of the people are not so ignorant as not to know that peers do not interfere in elections as peers, but as men of property-they well know that the House of Lords is by itself the feeblest part of the constitution ; they know that the House of Lords is supported only by its connexions with the crown, and with the House of Commons; and that without this double connexion the Lords could not exist a single year.— The Minority (V. 331).
Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion, evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, from any endeavour to give it effect.... Your faithful friend, your devoted servant, I shall be to the end of my life: a flatterer you do not wish for.— Bristol, 1774 (II. 165).
If faith with the House of Commons, the grand security for the national faith itself, can be broken with impunity, a wound is given to the political importance of Great Britain, which will not easily be healed.— Representation to H. M. (III. 157).
But he (Townshend) had no failings which were not owing to a noble cause; to an ardent, generous, perhaps an immoderate passion for fame; a passion which is the instinct of all great souls. He worshipped that goddess wheresoever she appeared; but he paid his particular devotions to her in her favourite habitation, in her chosen temple, the House of Commons.— American Taxation (II. 141).
A seat in this House, for good purposes, for bad purposes, for no purposes at all (except the mere consideration derived from being concerned in the public counsels), will ever be a first-rate object of ambition in England. Ambition is no exact calculator. Avarice itself does not calculate strictly, when it games. One thing is certain, that in this political game the great lottery of power is that into which men will purchase with millions of chances against them. . . . Nothing will ever make a seat in this House not an object of desire to numbers by any means or at any charge, but the depriving it of all power and all dignity; this would do it—Speech on Duration of Parliaments (III. 347).
He is but a poor observer, who has not seen, that the generality of peers, far from supporting themselves in a state of independent greatness, are but too apt to fall into an oblivion of their proper dignity, and to run headlong into an abject servitude. Would to God it were true that the fault of our peers were too much spirit!— Present Discontents (II. 22).