Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/454

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The principle there maintained admits, I think, of an extension to the election of representatives.

In that case, each person would have one vote on the ground of his personality, and other votes in proportion to is income. Whenever any further extension of our representative system becomes necessary, the dangers arising from the extension of the personal suffrage may fairly be counterbalanced by giving a plurality of votes to property. Such a course would have a powerful tendency to good, by supporting the national credit and by preventing the destructive waste of capital by war, and it might even make us a highly conservative people.

As the subject of political economy will be considered rather dry by most readers, I shall endeavour to enliven it by an extract from that pamphlet, which singularly illustrates the question of direct and indirect taxation. I had mentioned the productive pump of my Italian friend to the late Lord Lansdowne, who supplied me with the counterpart in the unproductive pump erected by the late William Edgeworth, at Edgeworth Town, in Ireland.

That proprietor, whose country residence was much frequented by beggars, resolved to establish a test for discriminating between the idle and the industrious, and also to obtain some small return for the alms he was in the habit of bestowing. He accordingly added to the pump by which the upper part of his house was supplied with water, a piece of mechanism so contrived that, at the end of a certain number of strokes of the pump-handle, a penny fell out from an aperture to repay the labourer for his work. This was so arranged, that labourers who continued at the work, obtained very nearly the usual daily wages of labour in that part of the country. The idlest of the vagabonds of course refused this new labour test: but the greater part of the beggars, whose