RepositoryRoyal Archives
CollectionCorrespondence of William IV
ReferenceGEO/MAIN/35895-35906
TitleLetter from William IV to Lord Grey, written at Brighton
Date4 February 1831
WriterWilliam IV, King
AddresseeGrey, 2nd Earl
DescriptionExpressing his concerns about the proposals for amending the representation of England, Scotland and Ireland. The King recalls that just a few months before, and only 4 months into his reign, the country was in need of a new Government and he chose one that would not be committed to pledges on popular questions likely to be rejected by the House of Lords, thus creating quarrels between the two Houses.
On the proposal of the Election by Ballot [present in a previous draft of the Report, but than ruled out by Lord Grey] the King disagrees; similarly, he opposes the idea of universal suffrage 'one of those Wild Projects which have sprung from Revolutionary Speculation'.
His position on these matters, the King mantains, comes only from his attachment to old English institutions beneficial to the country. He does see the imperfections in the parliamentary system, but he wonders whether changes could do worse to the system in place - and reforms of the kind proposed would favoured the introduction of Republicanism. He sees, on the other hand, as desirable, the union of the Upper and Lower classes of society, as a measure against revolutionists. He also warns from the danger of these reforms making the House of Commons more popular than it already is.

Although disapproving of those major reforms, the King admits the validity of some stances in the report - eg. acknowledging the demand for change; desirability of providing the perfect settlement of the question; etc - and approves the other amendements, mostly relatively to the disinfranchisement or increase in the number of representatives in Parliament; being these moves, however, based on the amount of population, he suggests that a new census should be taken. On the question of the Forty Shilling Franchise he hopes the bills will not lower the rates.
He objects to shortening the duration of the parliament from 7 to 5 years.
LanguageEnglish
Document Image

GEO_MAIN_35895-35906.pdf

Extent1 document (24 pages)
Physical DescriptionLoose manuscript paper; mounted
LevelItem
CreditAll rights reserved
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