APPENDIX F
THE PARLIAMENTARY FUNCTION OF PATRONAGE

Letter to Lorth North on his Re-election into the House of Commons, by a Member of the late Parliament. London, 1780 ( Bodleian Library, Godwyn Pamphlets, vol. 938)

(THE premature general election of September 1780 followed the success, on 6 April, of Dunning's Resolution 'that the influence of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished', and the failure, later in the month, of the attempt to restrain the King from dissolving parliament until the resolution had been implemented by legislation. The Letter points out that in spite of the protestations of the economical reformers, their attack on the King's influence was in fact followed by an attack on the King's prerogative. This alienated many country gentlemen who had voted for Dunning and was, in the opinion of the author of the Letter, one of the reasons for the government's electoral successes. Against this background, the author discusses the place of influence in the constitution.)

...I am no advocate for a slavish and mercenary House of Commons; but I am ready to profess myself a friend to royal influence in the state. The ideas are perfectly distinct and separate; so much so, that when influence and corruption are confounded with one another, and used as synonymous expressions, I cannot give credit to mankind for such a degree of stupidity, as to believe them unable, and therefore must suppose them unwilling, to discern the difference.... That influence, to a certain degree, and under proper limitations, ought to exist, is admitted fairly by those who are now for its diminution; in all their speeches they fairly state, that the Crown has too much influence. Their arguments all go to shew an approbation of it, if kept within proper bounds; they are ready to recognize and justify it as a principle of Whiggism. Even Mr. Hume, who has sometimes been supposed to be no great favourer of those principles, has directly opposed and answered the position in Lord Bolingbroke's Dissertation on Parties 'that the dependence of Parliament, in every degree is an infringement

-156-

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