An ENQUIRY into public ERRORS, DEFECTS, and ABUSES. Illustrated by, and established upon FACTS and REMARKS extracted from a Variety of AUTHORS, ancient and modern.


To draw the timely ATTENTION of GOVERNMENT and PEOPLE to a due Consideration of the Necessity, and the Means, of REFORMING those ERRORS, DEFECTS, and ABUSES; of RESTORING the CONSTITUTION, and SAVING the STATE.

[James Burgh]


Printed for E. and C. DILLY, in the Poultry.



quoted, or referred to, in this First Volume.]



Of Government, briefly.

CHAP. I. Page 1.

Government by Laws and Sanctions, why necessary.

CHAP. II. Page 3.

The People the Fountain of Authority, the Object of Government, and last Resource.

CHAP. III. Page 5.

Of Government by Representation.

CHAP. IV. Page 6.

Advantages of Parliamentary Government, which have recommended it to many Nations.

[Needs correction, formatting.]

Of Parliaments.

CHAP. I. Page 22.

Parliaments irregular and deficient, 1, By Establishment. 2, By Abuse. By Establishment they are an inadequate Representation of the People, and their Period is too long. By Abuse they are corrupt.

CHAP. II. Page 24.

Inadequate Representation, its Disadvantages.

CHAP. III. Page 36.

What would be adequate Parliamentary Representation.

CHAP. IV. Page 39.

View of the present State of Parliamentary Representation.

CHAP. V. Page 55.

How Parliamentary Representation came to be thus inadequate.

CHAP. VI. Page 62.

Evil of the Boroughs having so disproportionate a Share in Parliamentary Representation.

CHAP. VII. Page 72.

Inadequate Representation universally complained of. Proposals by various Persons for redressing this Irregularity.


Of the second Constitutional Irregularity in our Parliaments, viz. The excessive Length of their Period.

CHAP. I. Page 83.

Parliaments were originally annual.

CHAP. II. Page 87.

Brief History of the lengthening and shortening Parliament.

CHAP. III. Page 95.

Example of several Nations, who have shewn a Fear of inveterate Power.

CHAP. IV. Page 104.

Example of the English, in some Instances, shews an Apprehension of Danger from inveterate Power.

CHAP. V. Page 106.

Sense of Mankind on inveterate Power; or, Arguments for short Parliaments.

CHAP. VI. Page 173.

Of Exclusion by Rotation.

CHAP. VII. Page 176. Of Electing by Ballot.


Effects of the above Irregularities.

CHAP. I. Page 180.

Members of Parliament no longer hold themselves responsible to the People.

CHAP. II. Page 186.

The Denial of Responsibility is a novel Doctrine.

CHAP. III. Page 199.

Arguments for Responsibility of Members to the People.

CHAP. IV. Page 205.

Unwarrantable Privileges assumed by the House of Commons, in Consequence of inadequate Representation, and too long Parliaments.

CHAP. V. Page 236.

Parliamentary Privileges and Prosecutions have been too generally frivolous and unjust.

CHAP. VI. Page 256.

Of excluding the People from the House of Commons, and punishing those who publish the Speeches made there.

CHAP. VII. Page 262

Of Absentees from the House, and Members neglecting Parliamentary Business.


Of Parliamentary Corruption.

CHAP. I. Page 267.

Of the Origin, Funds and Materials of Corruption.

CHAP. II. Page 278.

Of Corruption in Elections.

CHAP. III. Page 345.

Statutes, Resolutions, &c. against corrupt Proceedings at Elections.

CHAP. IV. Page 359.

Of Ministerial Influence in the House.



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