Sir Eardley Wilmot has published a pamphlet on Reform, valuable
for its statistics, but we need not discuss his plan. It has a fatal blot, being based on the increase of the House of Commons. Will men otherwise so able never see that unless the number of members is kept sacred, as unchangeable as if it had been written on the tables of stone, the possibility of maintaining the play of constitutional forces ends ? The party in power has only to enlarge the House to give itself a dictatorship for ever. If. 700, why not 1,000, the odd 300 being given say to universal suffrage in the counties? The safeguard of the Constitution is the possibility it offers of readjusting the relation between numbers and power, but no readjustment is possible unless the number of .members is unalterably fixed. An increase would have just the .effect in the political world which inconvertible paper has in corn- merce,—it alters all values, changes all calculations, but adds nothing to the national store.