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LETTER III.: TO THE EDITOR OF THE SCOTS CHRONICLE. - John Millar, Letters of Crito, on the Causes, Objects, and Consequences, of the Present War 
Letters of Crito, on the Causes, Objects, and Consequences, of the Present War, Second Edition (Edinburgh:the Office of the Scots Chronicle, 1796).
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TO THE EDITOR OF THE SCOTS CHRONICLE.
June 7. 1796.
While the French Revolution had become the object of such alarm and terror in the neighbouring despotical governments, it was regarded, by many people in Britain, in a light less favourable than might have been expected. Instead of rejoicing in the conversion of their ancient political adversaries to the principles of liberty, a considerable part of the English nation appears to have viewed the transactions in France with an eye of jealousy and disgust. With all the solid good qualitics by which John Bull is distinguished, it must be confessed, that he is not a little overrun with prejudices. In the simplicity of his heart, he is apt to feel, and even to express a blind prepossession in favour of those usages which have long been familiar to him, and an overweening conceit of himself on account of those advantages which he has been supposed to enjoy. As the French were accustomed to prescribe to their neighbours with respect to the fashions of dress, and the modes of ordinary behaviour; so the English have long claimed a superiority in politics, and have considered their constitution as a model of perfection. It could not fail, therefore, to shock the feelings of many worthy politicians in England, to observe that the French had the audacity to think for themselves on that subject; and that the Constitution arising from their united labours, differed, in many important particulars, from that which has been so long established and admired in this country.
This objection to the proceedings in France had probably lurked in the bosoms of more people than were willing to acknowledge it; but it soon came to be followed by another, which was thought of greater importance, and which produced a much greater effect upon persons at the helm. The progress of knowledge, which, from the circumstances of society in England as well as in France, had pervaded a great proportion of the inhabitants, could not be prevented from exciting the same spirit of inquiry, and from producing a similar enlargement of ideas. Though the English may be under strong prepossessions in some points, their understandings have been much exercised on the subject of politics. They have been long accustomed to canvass the measures of administration, to mark the line of conduct pursued by opposition, and to examine the various topics which make the ground of contention and altercation between those two parties. Having a good government, they are not disposed to find fault with it; but on the contrary, are impressed with a powerful bias towards all their own institutions and customs. Whatever may be thought of this in philosophy, it certainly is a happy circumstance in conduct; as it tends to discourage useless innovation and to avert those evils with which all violent changes in government are apt to be attended. But, notwithstanding this laudable disposition in the people, they could not fail to observe the urgent necessity of correcting some very flagrant abuses, which, in the course of time, have crept into our political system, and which have, at length, produced a remarkable deviation from its original principles.
Of these, the Constitution of the House of Commons affords a glaring instance. The advantages of our mixed form of government, for preventing the excesses, either of pure monarchy, of aristocracy, or of democracy, have been universally admitted; but in order to preserve the democratical part, it is indispensably necessary that the House of Commons should comprehend the representatives of, at least, a considerable proportion of the whole nation. That this was the aim of our forefathers, in the formation of that House, none but Arthur Young, the late political traveller, has ever, so far as I can observe, been hardy enough to dispute. But so widely has the practice deviated from the original principles of the Constitution, that more than a majority of the Commons, according to a late publication, are now in reality nominated, or returned by the interest of single individuals; and of these real constituents, it is likewise to be observed, that a great proportion are peers, who, having a seat in the Upper House, ought to have no share in forming this other branch of the Legislature.
The necessity of a reform in this particular, to check the rapid advances of prerogative, and to retain the Constitution upon its ancient basis, has long been acknowledged; and a motion for this purpose, by men of great eminence and abilities, has repeatedly, though hitherto unsuccessfully, been brought into parliament. The important transactions in France naturally recalled the attention of British subjects to the state of their government at home; and as the prevalence of greater abuses in that neighbouring kingdom had produced a violent change of system, it was thought by many, that in Britian we might thence derive an useful lesson; to correct, without loss of time, the abuses of our own Constitution; to remove, by the ordinary and regular interposition of the Legislature, such defects as had given any just ground of complaint; and thus, by small and partial alterations, to guard ourselves from the danger of a total revolution. The greater the apprehensions entertained from the example set before us, these precautions become the more indispensible. If our neighbour is likely to suffer by a violent quack-medicine, we should be the more anxious, in our own case, to call an experienced and approved physician; and, if we are afraid of contagion from abroad, we should double our diligence in the timely application of a remedy, which may prevent a slight distemper from being converted into a desperate disease.
The opposition, however, that has been made, from interested motives, to a parliamentary reform, and consequently to the French Revolution, I shall afterwards take the liberty of considering.
I am, &c.