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large number of working men last century, headed by Lord Chatunder the operation of that Act in ham, defined it to be “the reprethat great urban constituency was sentation not of person, but of pointed out; but if it be so in the property"; and enlarging on this suburbs of Manchester and other text, the great Commoner declared great towns, how will it be in the "that the knights of the shire"scattered populations of many of then elected by the freeholders exthe English, Scotch, and Welsh clusively — "approach nearest to counties? The law forbids the car- the Constitutional representation riage of voters to the poll, the poll- of the country, because they reing-places are necessarily in more present the soil.”! What may be or less populous centres, voting- termed the modern Constitutional papers are not permitted, the peas- view is a combination of both, and ant cannot afford to lose a day's is found fairly exemplified and pay in order to trudge many miles effective in the present system. In to record his vote, and the result the boroughs person in the shape of will be the concentration of elec- householders, in the counties protoral power in the small towns and perty in the shape of £12 ratepayers villages which are polling - places. and 40s. freeholders, are roughly, The only method, short of polling- and in the main satisfactorily, reppapers, by which this disfranchise- resented. Nor is this all: under ment can be prevented the suf- those two great heads, intelligence, ficient multiplication of polling- education, thrift, and other qualiplaces—would so largely increase fications, which justly find favour the expense of elections as to ex- with the more philosophical Radiclude all but rich men from the cals of the school of Bentham and costly honour of county representa- John Stuart Mill, have at any rate tion. Possibly it may be attempt a chance of asserting themselvesed to throw this burden on the a chance greatly increased by the rates. No such attempt in the varied character of the existing present condition of the ratepaying constituencies. Thus, taking the mind has a chance of success; and present system as we find it, with we commend this difficulty to the all its roughness, inequalities, and consideration of those Conserva- anomalies, we are prepared to detives who are disposed to think fend it as approaching nearer to favourably of adopting household an ideal representation of a civ. franchise in the counties. But ilised community than any system having thus broken ground on the which has preceded, or is likely question of reform, we will venture to supplant it. This view, inin a few sentences to express our deed, must have been shared by general view upon it. What, then, Mr Bright and his colleagues is the ideal representation of a only three short years ago, when State? for upon its attainment is they proclaimed the present outbased the present demand for a come of the system, the actual subversion of the settlement of House of Commons, to be the best 1867. The reformers of to-day and wisest ever elected. If, then, answer, “The equal vote of every so much of agreement exists as to householder,” or “of every sane the theoretical and practical merits man unconvicted of crime,” ac- of the existing system, why is it cording to the school to which to be subverted? On account, we they belong. The reformers of are told, of its anomalies. In what
See Lecky's History, vol. iii. p. 178.
sense, we would ask, are its an- Radicals; but it is material to omalies greater or more grievous point out that although the county than the civilisation of which it qualification would have been by is the outcome and the exponent ? it reduced from £50 to £10, the Is it more anomalous that one man representation of property would, in a village should have a vote down to that limit, have been mainand his neighbour not have one, tained, and the number of county than that one man should have voters would not have been in£1000 per week and his neighbour creased beyond the representative only 10s.? The destruction of an- capacity of rearranged county omalies in an ancient civilisation divisions. But the experience means the destruction of all social gained on that occasion was not and material as well as political dif- lost on Lord Derby, Mr Disraeli, erences between man and man; and and their colleagues; and when, must we take Robespierre or the In- nine years afterwards, they were ternationalas our guide and lawgiver called upon again to deal practiin this matter of reform, instead cally with the question of reform, of Mr Chamberlain and conferences they maintained in principle the at Leeds or Glasgow? But what distinction between the two sufare these anomalies, the burden of frages ; and nothing ever fell from which is so grievous as to necessi- Lord Beaconsfield in subsequent tate their immediate removal at all debates to show that he was dishazards and at all risks? As de- satisfied with the arrangement fined by the leaders of the move then made, or in any way inclined ment, they are two: Ist, that men to repeat in a more hazardous living in houses under £12 rated fashion the doubtful experiment he value just outside parliamentary had on a limited scale proposed or boroughs have no vote, while those sanctioned in 1858. On the conliving inside the boundaries have trary, his speech in 1874 is a reone; and 2d, that the agricultural pertory of facts, figures, and argulabourers, as a class, are deprived ments against any further lowering of the franchise. It is perhaps of the county franchise-though he worth noting that both these anom- was far too wise, too just, and too alies existed under every electoral appreciative of the sterling merits dispensation previous to 1867, and and worth of our peasantry to dewere not created by that Act: nay, fend their exclusion from the franmore, not only did they exist pre- chise, as a class, by the odious imvious to and under the Reform putation of ignorance and unfitness Act of 1832, but were proposed to urged against them by Lord Ranbe perpetuated by every Reform dolph Churchill. Do you recomBill brought forward by Lord John mend then, we may be asked, that Russell, Lord Palmerston, Mr Glad- no attempt should be made, if not stone, or Mr Bright. In one to remove, at least to mitigate, the scheme of reform, and in one anomalies you admit to exist? By alone, that of 1858, did they dis- no means. It was well pointed out appear, and with them disappeared last year by Sir Richard Cross in the Government which proposed Lancashire, that by the creation of their abolition. We are not con- a few new boroughs, and the recerned to defend that luckless arrangement of the boundaries of measure, which fell beneath the a few more, the most salient of combined attacks of Tories like those anomalies in the manufacturMr Henley and Mr Walpole, and ing districts could be satisfactorily the united forces of Whigs and dealt with. One of the alleged anomalies of the present system opinion is favourable to Conservawhich was proposed to be removed tism—that is, to the maintenance by the Leeds, is recommended to be of existing institutions in Church retained and consequently intensi- and State. While, then, we do not fied by the Glasgow, Conference- quarrel with the reticence of our the exclusion of female ratepayers. leaders, we earnestly deprecate Without expressing any positive random admissions of the prinopinion on the question itself, it ciple of identity of franchise, such stands to reason that if in the as appeared in Mr Houldsworth's counties many thousands of female address to the electors of Manchesratepayers under the £12 franchise ter. In his case, it is true, some are deprived of the vote, their num- qualifying words followed; but the ber will be greatly increased, prob- public notes the admission of the ably doubled, when household suf- principle in vital questions of this frage is established in the counties. kind, and properly disregards the Thus, in attempting to cure one qualifying expressions, which may anomaly, the Glasgow reformers, be satisfied by some slight conceswho claimed to speak the mind of sions in Committee on the Bill: the Government, would magnify and we earnestly trust that, when and exasperate another.
Parliament meets, the ConservaIn the counties, from the nature tive party will find itself able and of their local government, the re- willing to maintain, in substance, cess has afforded hardly any oppor- the liberal settlement of 1867. tunities of testing the prevalent Before leaving this subject, a feeling as to reform. The only few words are due to Mr Goschen's contested county election since Par- deliverances upon it at Edinburgh liament rose-that of Rutland—is last month. He appeared as a noticeable as expressing the opinion Liberal of the Liberals. His openof the most exclusively rural con- ing sentences were of scathe and stituency in England, and its ver- contempt for Tories and Toryism, dict was decidedly hostile to the and his peroration was an almost threatened reform. With respect fulsome eulogium of Mr Gladstone. to the boroughs, it is different. In Yet, on the merits of this great their annual municipal elections it test question, as it is called, not is possible to trace the predomi- the late Mr Croker, nor the presnant current of urban opinion, ent Lord Sherbrooke, could have A few days after those pretentious expressed more fervent alarm, or conferences had issued their dis- uttered words of more solemn warncordant commands to a perplexed ing. Mr Goschen's deliberate opinMinistry, the municipal elections ion is expressed in the following took place in England, — and no words: “I see a measure before one will pretend that their result me which, in my judgment, clenches indicated the slightest desire for the supremacy of one class at the further political reform. Even poll, and makes it irrevocably the Leeds itself turned its back on the arbiter of all interests and all Conference, and helped to swell the classes."1 Anyone hearing or Tory triumph. It should be. re- reading this weighty judgment, membered that last year a similar unless he had carefully studied result occurred, and that conse. Mr Goschen's parliamentary career quently it may now be fairly as during the last three years, would sumed that the settled bias of urban exclaim, “Well, here the alarmed
1 "Times,' November 1, 1883.
and recalcitrant Whigs have found versity Rectorial contest as a proof not only a mouthpiece but a leader! of the growing power of ConservaThe Fitzwilliams, the Russells, the tive opinions among the educated Ramsdens, and the Lambtons will youth of Scotland. Without unduly no longer be “like dumb driven magnifying Sir Stafford Northcote's cattle," but will, under such dis- triumph over Mr Trevelyan, we tinguished leadership, strike a bold may at least draw from it the conblow in defence of the existing clusion that the majority of the Constitution.” Alas! if they do, future ministers, doctors, lawyers, it must be under some other leader. and professional men of Scotland, Mr Goschen possesses all the quali so far as they are subjected to the fications of leadership—but one; influences of the University of he has no backbone : and so, hav. Edinburgh, will belong to the Coning denounced the contemplated stitutional party; and the manner measure of reform, he hastened to in which the Universities of Glasassure his audience that he meant gow and Aberdeen are represented nothing by his vigorous words— in Parliament, leaves no doubt as that the country had made up its to the political convictions of the mind on the subject, and “there's graduates of those learned bodies. an end on't." Those who witnessed In spite of Lord Hartington's dicMr Goschen's interference at the tum, the majority of the cultured end of one of the most important classes in Scotland adhere to the discussions in Committee on the “stupid party”; and we are bold Irish Arrears Bill last year, will to add our conviction, that in no not feel surprised at this lame and part of the United Kingdom is the impotent conclusion. White with Conservative reaction stronger than apprehension lest the amendment in Scotland. At the next election, he approved should be carried, and we confidently anticipate that the wringing his hands in the extremity sturdy band of patriots who now of his terror lest the Government he so well represent the Constitutional condemned, yet supported, should Toryism of Scotland will be at be defeated, he abjectly entreated least doubled in number; and to the Committee to vote, not on the this result the admirable addresses merits of the amendment, but in delivered during the recess by Mr support of the Minister. The Gibson at Glasgow and Inverness, Whigs, if they wish, as they prob- Sir Richard Cross at Aberdeen and ably do, to emerge from the un- Paisley, Mr Stanhope at Perth and comfortable, not to say discredit Edinburgh, will have not a little able, thraldom so pungently de- contributed. The complimentary scribed by the author of " Disin- yet just terms in which the Liberal tegration," must enlist under the Provost of Aberdeen, on the occabanner of some other leader than sion of conferring the freedom of Mr Goschen, or follow the example that ancient city on the late Home of the Duke of Norfolk, Lords Zet Secretary, referred to his legislative land, Scarborough, Bury, and other labours on the great question of hereditary Whigs, and take their improving the dwellings of the place in the Conservative ranks. working classes in our large towns,
Having referred to the recent show that honest work in the cause municipal elections in England as of social reform will be properly indicative of a salutary change in appreciated by the public at large; urban politics across the Border, it and we do not doubt that Sir is gratifying to be able to point to Richard's outspoken language on the result of the Edinburgh Uni- this subject at Aberdeen and
Paisley, coupled with Lord Salis- the Tunisian expedition, the quarbury's terse and lucid plea for rel forced on Madagascar, the atfurther action in that direction, tack on Annam and Tonquin, the will make many Liberal philan- Tricou telegram, and the undiplothropists hesitate before they agree matic behaviour of M. Challemel to postpone all social amelioration Lacour and M. Ferry towards the to the tinkling brass of a political Chinese ambassador in France, at revolution.
once rise up before us, and forbid The oratory of the recess has us to regard M. Waddington as a been so copious, and promises to complete representative of French produce such important results, foreign policy à la mode Républithat the attention we have felt caine. A test of the friendliness bound to bestow upon it leaves of that policy will soon be afforded but scant space for noticing foreign in Egypt. Cairo is to be evacuated and colonial events during that by our troops, unless the disaster period. Abroad, the turbulent and to Hicks Pasha in the Soudan bellicose action of the model Re- should serve to make the Governpublic, France, in Madagascar and ment pause. If six months after Tonquin, threatens to affect our that evacuation we hear of no honour and our interests; and it French intrigues to regain a parais impossible to feel that either mount influence over the Egyptian are safe in the feeble hands of the Government, we shall be agreeably present Ministry. According to disappointed, and admit that we Mr Gladstone's rose-coloured state- misjudged the temper of those who ment at the Guildhall on the 9th control the foreign policy of the ult., the reparation granted by Republic. France to Mr Shaw and to Eng Lord Derby was present at the land for the outrages at Tamatave banquet, but neither from him nor has been ample and spontaneous. from Mr Gladstone did a word fall Considering that nearly half a on the present or future condition year has elapsed since the Prime of our great but ill-used dependenMinister startled the House of cies in South Africa. That their Commons from its propriety by policy has hopelessly broken down his denunciation of the miscon- both as to the Transvaal and Zuluduct of the French naval authori- land, is too plain and palpable to ties at that port, and that we are be denied; and that its failure has still ignorant of the nature of the brought with it a deplorable loss amende which has been made to of life and property is equally unour insulted flag, it would appear deniable. Prestige, we know, Mr that if the amplitude of the repar- Gladstone and Lord Selborne deation does not exceed its spon. nounced and abandoned ten years taneity, the Government of this ago. Mr Goschen has recently inempire is very easily satisfied. M. formed us that in a similar spirit Waddington, favourably known to he repudiates honour; but he stops us by his friendly and judicious at “credit." How stands British conduct at the Berlin Conference, “credit,” we should like to ask contributed to the City banquet him, in South Africa, from Simon's somegracefuland reassuring phrases Bay to the Tugela ? Mr Goschen in vindication of the just and peace will hardly say that he expects it ful aims of French foreign policy. to be raised from its present deSo far as that policy is influenced pression by the result of any negoby him, we cordially accept his as- tiations now pending between Lord surances; but the Kroumirs and Derby and the Transvaal Delegates,