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LETTER IV.: 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 10. 1796.
In my last letter, I hinted that, how reasonable or necessary soever a reform of the parliamentary representation may appear, it is likely, from views of private interest or ambition, to be, on every occasion, warmly and uniformly opposed by many powerful individuals, and bodies of men. This observation is chiefly applicable to persons of three different descriptions.
Men of great fortunes, the nobility and gentry, who have acquired the nomination of members of parliament, and who by that means are enabled to gratify their ambition, and to promote their own emolument, or that of their respective families, have a great interest, in retaining the present corrupted system, and may be supposed ready to employ every pretext whatever for warding off the intended reformation.
I shall not take upon me to censure, with immoderate severity, the behaviour of such persons. They have a great pecuniary interest at stake. The sums which have been given for, what is called, the property of a borough, are immense. The person who commands four or five of these boroughs is, besides, exalted to superior consideration and rank. He is possessed of a considerable share in the Legislature of a great nation; and may be said, in some sort, to belong to a company of sovereign princes. When he struggles, therefore, to retain those advantages, at the expence of our national freedom, he only declines a sacrifice which few people would be willing to make. He cannot indeed say, with the Apothecary in Shakespeare, “My poverty, and not my will, consents.” But wealth, as well as poverty, has her necessities; at least her violent passions, which produce no less powerful temptations. The misfortune is, that such persons are, from their situation, obliged to have the words, public spirit, very frequently in their mouths. In a case of this nature, to mention the fact will be sufficient; I leave it to the clergy, those especially in the southern part of the island, who, from their profession, no doubt, are abundantly disposed to point out the immorality of such conduct.
The rotten boroughs, themselves, form another class, highly interested to maintain the present system of corruption. These, in their public capacity, will always be strongly actuated by a corporation spirit, and considered as made up of individuals, educated in the detail of gainful professions, which lead them to reckon any thing according to the price that it will bring, are disposed, of course, to weigh their privileges in the common scale of mercantile profit. As an appendage to these boroughs, may be considered a multitude of needy adventurers, who, having been unsuccessful in trade, and hoping to procure places or pensions from government, derive an immediate benefit from that system of things, which enables them to sell their paltry services to the best advantage. To this class, also, may be joined the numerous tribe of borough-mongers, those pimps and panders of political prostitution, who carry on a regular and lucrative trade by the infamous management of elections. All such people may be expected to unite as one man, in the practice of every artifice within the sphere of their education and abilities, for preventing a change that would reduce them to a state of beggary or insignificance.
The ministry form a third class, more powerful than the two former, and no less interested in preserving those abuses, which put it in their power so easily to overrule elections, and so effectually to defeat all the efforts of opposition. To give a history of the conduct and sentiments of our Prime Minister, from his first appearance on the political theatre, would be to probe an empoisoned sore, which, I am persuaded, no ordinary medicine can cure. The popular arts by which he first brought himself into notice; his invectives against the authors of the American war, and the zeal which he expressed in promoting a reform of the representation in parliament; his arrogant, but very intelligible declaration, that he could not pretend to the first ministerial situation, and would not accept of a secondary one; his procuring that unconstitutional interference of the Crown in the deliberations of a great assembly, by which he forced himself into office; and the long train of dissimulation and deception, which he practised and advised, for the purpose of concealing the measure of a dissolution of parliament that, in order to obtain a majority in the House of Commons, he had all along determined to execute; these are events, which, taken in connection with each other, will not soon be forgotten; and, when compared with his posterior conduct, they must make an impression on the public mind which will not soon be effaced. That such a minister, and his adherents, of similar principles, will not willingly relinquish any part of the undue influence acquired by the crown, there is every reason to believe.
How extensive, at the same time, this influence has become, and how universally it pervades all ranks and orders in the community, the army, the church, the retainers of the law, and of the revenue, those who speculate in monied and mercantile transactions; the nobility, the great corporations throughout the kingdom, not to mention placemen and pensioners, and the various classes of executive officers; whoever examines the state of the fact, and considers the vast and increasing magnitude of the patronage, in the hands of administration, will be at no loss to discover.
It is not surprising, therefore, that when, in May 1792, a motion for obtaining a reform of the national representation was made in the House of Commons, by a gentleman no less distinguished by his eloquence and spirit, than by opulent family connections, which afford a pledge of his aversion to anarchy and popular disturbance, it excited uncommon marks of apprehension and terror. The measure, though it had formerly been proposed by the minister himself, was now represented as taking its orgin from the French Revolution; and as calculated to introduce in this country similar innovations to those which had taken place in France. To promote the same idea, a royal proclamation was issued soon after, tending to spread an alarm over the country, and to insinuate suspicions, that our happy constitution was in danger from the propagation of, what are called, French opinions.
I am, &c.