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...need a second, we may well be thankful for them. But we must not permit them to blind our eyes. Those merits of the Lords have faults close beside them which go far to make them useless. With its wealth, its place, and its leisure, the House of Lords would, on the very surface of the matter, rule us far more than it does if it had not secret defects which hamper and weaken it.
The first of these defects is hardly to be called secret, though, on the other hand, it is not well known.A severe though not unfriendly critic of our institutions said that the cure for admiring the House of Lords was to go and look at it.--to look at it not on a great party field-day, or at a time of parade, but in the ordinary transaction of business. There are perhaps ten peers in the House, possibly only six; three is the quorum for transacting business. A few more may dawdle in or not dawdle in: those are the principal speakers, the lawyers (a few years ago when Lyndhurst, Brougham, and Campbell were in vigour, they were by far the predominant talkers) and a few statesmen whom every one knows. But the mass of the... Bagehot, Walter
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