Anthony Trollope, The American Senator, 1876Then, quite early in the Session, immediately after the voting of the address, a motion had been made by the Government of the day for introducing household suffrage into the counties. No one knew the labour to which the Senator subjected himself in order that he might master all these peculiarities,—that he might learn how men became members of Parliament, and how they ceased to be so, in what degree the House of Commons was made up of different elements, how it came to pass, that though there was a House of Lords, so many lords sat in the lower chamber. All those matters which to ordinary educated Englishmen are almost as common as the breath of their nostrils, had been to him matter of long and serious study. And as the intent student, who has zealously buried himself for a week among commentaries and notes, feels himself qualified to question Porson and to Be-Bentley Bentley, so did our Senator believe, while still he was groping among the rudiments, that he had all our political intricacies at his fingers' ends. When he heard the arguments used for a difference of suffrage in the towns and counties, and found that even they who were proposing the change were not ready absolutely to assimilate the two and still held that rural ascendancy,—feudalism as he called it,—should maintain itself by barring a fraction of the House of Commons from the votes of the majority, he pronounced the whole thing to be a sham. The intention was, he said, to delude the people. "It is all coming," said the gentleman who was accustomed to argue with him in those days. He spoke in a sad vein, which was in itself distressing to the Senator. "Why should you be in such a hurry?" The Senator suggested that if the country delayed much longer this imperative task of putting its house in order, the roof would have fallen in before the repairs were done. Then he found that this gentleman too, avoided his company, and declined to sit with him any more in the Gallery of the House of Commons.
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Not meant as any sort of political commentary (unless we are talking about 19th century politics). But I enjoyed the Porson and Bentley reference.
Joel Eidsath -- email@example.com