Thoughts on the cause of the Present Discontents

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Edmund Burke (1729—1797) politician and author

John Wilkes (1727—1797) politician


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A political treatise by E. Burke, published 1770.

Burke reflects on Wilkes's expulsion from Parliament after the Middlesex election, and expounds for the first time his constitutional creed. He attributes the convulsions in the country to the control of Parliament by the cabal known as the ‘King's friends’, a system of favouritism essentially at variance with the constitution. He thinks the first requirement is the restoration of the right of free election, and looks for further safeguards in the ‘interposition of the body of the people itself’ to secure decent attention to public interests, and in the restoration of party government.

Subjects: Literature.

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