CHAPTER XI: The Powers which the People themselves exercise.—The Election of Members of Parliament. - Jean Louis De Lolme, The Constitution of England; Or, an Account of the English Government 
The Constitution of England; Or, an Account of the English Government, edited and with an Introduction by David Lieberman (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007).
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- De Lolme’s Life and Early Writings
- The Constitution of England
- Later Writings
- Editions of the Constitution of England
- A Note On the Text
- The Constitution of England
- To the King.
- Book I
- Chapter I: Causes of the Liberty of the English Nation.—reasons of the Difference Between the Government of England, and That of France.—in England, the Great Power of the Crown, Under the Norman Kings, Created an Union Between the Nobility and the People
- Chapter II: A Second Advantage England Had Over France:—it Formed One Undivided State.
- Chapter III: The Subject Continued.
- Chapter IV: Of the Legislative Power.
- Chapter V: Of the Executive Power.
- Chapter VI: The Boundaries Which the Constitution Has Set to the Royal Prerogative.
- Chapter VII: The Same Subject Continued.
- Chapter VIII: New Restrictions.
- Chapter IX: Of Private Liberty, Or the Liberty of Individuals.
- Chapter X 1: On the Law In Regard to Civil Matters, That Is Observed In England.
- Chapter Xi 1: The Subject Continued. the Courts of Equity.
- Chapter XII: Of Criminal Justice.
- Chapter XIII: The Subject Continued.
- Chapter XIV: The Subject Concluded.—laws Relative to Imprisonment.
- Book Ii
- Chapter I: Some Advantages Peculiar to the English Constitution. 1. The Unity of the Executive Power.
- Chapter II: The Subject Concluded.—the Executive Power Is More Easily Confined When It Is One.
- Chapter III: A Second Peculiarity.—the Division of the Legislative Power.
- Chapter IV: A Third Advantage Peculiar to the English Government. the Business of Proposing Laws, Lodged In the Hands of the People.
- Chapter V: In Which an Inquiry Is Made, Whether It Would Be an Advantage to Public Liberty, That the Laws Should Be Enacted By the Votes of the People At Large.
- Chapter VI: Advantages That Accrue to the People From Appointing Representatives.
- Chapter VII: The Subject Continued—the Advantages That Accrue to the People From Their Appointing Representatives, Are Very Inconsiderable, Unless They Also Entirely Trust Their Legislative Authority to Them.
- Chapter VIII: The Subject Concluded.—effects That Have Resulted, In the English Government, From the People’s Power Being Completely Delegated to Their Representatives.
- Chapter IX: A Farther Disadvantage of Republican Governments.—the People Are Necessarily Betrayed By Those In Whom They Trust.
- Chapter X: Fundamental Difference Between the English Government, and the Governments Just Described.—in England All Executive Authority Is Placed Out of the Hands of Those In Whom the People Trust. Usefulness of the Power of the Crown.
- Chapter XI: The Powers Which the People Themselves Exercise.—the Election of Members of Parliament.
- Chapter XII: The Subject Continued.—liberty of the Press.
- Chapter XIII: The Subject Continued.
- Chapter XIV: Right of Resistance.
- Chapter Xv 1: Proofs Drawn From Facts, of the Truth of the Principles Laid Down In the Present Work.—1. the Peculiar Manner In Which Revolutions Have Always Been Concluded In England.
- Chapter Xvi 1: Second Difference—the Manner After Which the Laws For the Liberty of the Subject Are Executed In England.
- Chapter Xvii 1: A More Inward View of the English Government Than Has Hitherto Been Offered to the Reader In the Course of This Work.—very Essential Differences Between the English Monarchy, As a Monarchy, and All Those With Which We Are Acquainted.
- Chapter XVIII: How Far the Examples of Nations Who Have Lost Their Liberty, Are Applicable to England.
- Chapter Xix 1: A Few Additional Thoughts On the Attempts That At Particular Times May Be Made to Abridge the Power of the Crown, and On Some of the Dangers By Which Such Attempts May Be Attended.
- Chapter Xx 1: A Few Additional Observations On the Right of Taxation Which Is Lodged In the Hands of the Representatives of the People. What Kind of Danger This Right May Be Exposed To.
- Chapter XXI: Conclusion.—a Few Words On the Nature of the Divisions That Take Place In England.
- Guide to Further Reading
- De Lolme’s Principal Publications
- Works Cited By De Lolme
- Classical Sources
- Modern Sources
The Powers which the People themselves exercise.—The Election of Members of Parliament.
The English Constitution having essentially connected the fate of the Men to whom the People trust their power, with that of the People themselves, really seems, by that caution alone, to have procured the latter a complete security.
However, as the vicissitude of human affairs may, in process of time, realize events which at first had appeared most improbable, it might happen that the Ministers of the Executive power, notwithstanding the interest they themselves have in the preservation of public liberty, and in spite of the precautions expressly taken in order to prevent the effect of their influence, should, at length employ such efficacious means of corruption as might bring about a surrender of some of the laws upon which this public liberty is founded. And though we should suppose that such a danger would really be chimerical, it might at least happen, that, conniving at a vicious administration, and being over liberal of the produce of the labours of the People, the Representatives of the People might make them suffer many of the evils which attend worse forms of Government.
Lastly, as their duty does not consist only in preserving their constituents against the calamities of an arbitrary Government, but moreover in procuring them the best administration possible, it might happen that they would manifest, in this respect, an indifference which would, in its consequences, amount to a real calamity.
It was therefore necessary that the Constitution should furnish a remedy for all the above cases; now, it is in the right of electing Members of Parliament, that this remedy lies.
When the time is come at which the commission which the People had given to their delegates expires, they again assemble in their several Towns or Counties: on these occasions they have it in their power to elect again those of their Representatives whose former conduct they approve, and to reject those who have contributed to give rise to their complaints. A simple remedy this, and which only requiring in its application, a knowledge of matters of fact, is entirely within the reach of the abilities of the People; but a remedy, at the same time, which is the most effectual that could be applied: for, as the evils complained of, arise merely from the peculiar dispositions of a certain number of individuals, to set aside those individuals, is to pluck up the evil by the roots.
But I perceive, that, in order to make the reader sensible of the advantages that may accrue to the People of England, from their right of election, there is another of their rights, of which it is absolutely necessary that I should first give an account.