« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
in the fields and in the workshops, is sponge to the national debt into their the obvious interest of employers, and hands, and untaxed spirits into their of the shopkeepers who deal in their mouths.” produce; but at present the workmen The last obvious defect of the Re. have not a single representative in the form Bill was, that it greatly diminishLegislature to speak in their behalf. ed the representatives of intellect in “ The frequency and alarming charac- the Legislature. Of old, the House ter of the strikes which have prevailed gathered to itself all the young men in every part of the empire since these of known intellect throughout the principles were carried into practice," country, and brought them in through says our author, " and the steady emi. the nomination boroughs. It was in gration of above 250,000 agricultural this way that Pitt and Fox, Burke labourers for the last eight years, even and Sheridan, Wyndham and Romilly, in times of greatest prosperity, from the Canning, Mackintosh, and Brougham, British Islands, prove that the effects took their places in the Chapel of of this class legislation have been fully Saint Stephen's. We have a dearth felt by the working classes, and that of such men
Even Macau, they have sought to escape from them, lay was turned out by the shopeither by illegal combination against keepers of Edinburgh, aristocratic the laws, or by withdrawing entirely as that constituency is generally refrom the sphere of their influence.” garded; and the consequence was, that
Another evil of the Reform Consti. he disdained to stand again, and in 1852 tution is the vast increase of corruption was elected only by a rallying of the at elections. After the last general better classes of both parties. “ Inelection in 1852, no less than fifty-two dependence of character," says Sir A. returns were petitioned against on the Alison, “intrepidity of thought, wide ground of bribery. Nothing approach. views for the universal good, can ing to this was ever heard of in the bardly now obtain admission into the worst days of the old House of Com- House of Commons. Large constimons; and the potable failures of the tuencies have an instinctive dread of Legislature to remedy the evil are due such characters; they are either jeato the fact, that the evil arises from a lous of or hate them. Ability and permanent cause namely, that the eloquence, indeed, they all desire, but chief power in the constituencies is it is ability devoted to their interests, vested in a class accessible to bribes. eloquence governed by their will. The decisive proof of this is to be found Their wish is to have, not representain the fact, that, though petitions tives, but delegates, and no against borough returns have been so worthy of ruling an empire will befrequent since the Reform Bill passed, come such. Hence, the House of there have been none against those for Commons, since the passing of the counties. The reason of this is, not Reform Bill, has been nearly deserted, that the forty-sbilling freeholder is in- so far as new members are concerned, accessible to bribes-probably he would by men of brilliant talents; and they often as willingly take them as the have sought to influence public affairs freeman or ten-pounder in towns--but by writing in the periodical and daily that that class have not the majority Press, the talent in which has as much in counties, and they are not bribed, increased since the change, as that of because it is no man's interest to bribe the new entrants into the Legislature them. “ Even if, by lowering the has diminished.” franchise,” says Sir A. Alison, the In closing his remarks on this im. constituencies were made so large that portant era of our history, Sir A. Alino fortune could corrupt them, the son asks, but leaves unanswered, the evil would not be removed, it would deeply-interesting question :-" Is the only assume another and a still more transference of power from the land dangerous form. The worst and most to the boroughs in England analagous dangerous species of bribery is that to, and produced by, the same causes which is practised by holding out pros- as that which removed power from the pects of legislative injustice and spoli- Roman senate, the stronghold of the ation; and the nation will have little patricians, to the Dictator, the reprecause to congratulate itself if it escapes sentative and idol of the urban multislipping sovereigns into electors' tude ? and is the clamour for cheap pockets, but induces the putting the bread, which in our times has changed
VOL. XLVI.-NO, CCLXXI.
the whole policy of the empire at bot- time) repeat their policy of 1830, and tom, the same as the cry, - Panem et meet it by a negative. They must Circenses !' which ruled the whole po- bring in a bill of their own.' They licy of the Cæsars, and, in the end, must not merely say to the country, by destroying the rural population in “ We do not like our opponents' meaits heart, subverted the Roman Em- sure, and shall vote against it :" they pire ? If so, are we to rest in the must introduce one of their own, and mournful conclusion that the seeds of leave the country to judge between mortality are indelibly implanted in them. In such a case, if they show nations as well as individuals - that ordinary wisdom, they need not fear these seeds are quickened into life for the verdict. equally by victory and defeat, and that There are two main points to be to both the lines of the poet are pre- attended to - two transparent decisely applicable
fects in the Reform Bill to be re«• The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
medied. These are the represen. And all that virtue, all that wealth ere gave,
tation of Labour, and the representaAwait alike the inevitable hour;
tion of Intellect. In his recent aborThe paths of glory lead but to the grave ?!!
tive bill, over whose fate no one shed We incline to take a more favour. tears but himself, Lord John Russell able view of the future. The ques- could devise nothing better than a getion of Reform cannot fail to be re- neral lowering of the franchise - a vived, but the country, we trust, will measure, whose fatal result would bave be wiser this time. In 1830 it took a been to transfer the chief power in the leap in the dark. Even the Whig State from the £10 and £20 voters to leaders were totally mistaken as to the a class still lower. This is most obeffect of the Reform Bill—Earl Grey, vious. Society is like a cone or pyrafor instance, repeatedly expressing his mid, narrow at the top, and widening conviction “how unfounded is the towards the bottom. Each stage or alarm of those who think that the pre- segment as you descend the mass besent measure will be fatal to the influ. comes greatly larger than those above ence of the landed interest.” En- it. At present the voters, paying lightened by events, the Whig leaders rents between £10 and £20, outnuin. cannot fall into this mistake again ber all the classes above them though a love of popularity, it is to be tend the suffrage indiscriminately, as feared, may again prove too strong for Lord John proposed, and the £6 to their patriotism. In any case, the true £12 voters will then be the predomi. course for the Conservative party is nant class in the burghs, and (as the clear. When the question of Reform burghs predominate over the counties) is revived, they must not (unless it be in the Empire.
By all means let la. introduced at a notably unscasonable bour be represented. In those days
Last autumn a Parliamentary Return was printed, the contents of which showed in a most striking manner the insane character of Lord John Russell's proposal to lower the franchise to a £6 qualification, and sufficiently explains why Lords Lansdowne and Palmerston, and divers others of the noble lord's colleagues, were so strenuously opposed to the further progress of the measure. The new class of voters, we find, would actually be almost as numerous as the whole of the present constituency. Let us give a few instances. The town of Bedford has now a constituency of 551 persons, occupying houses of from £10 to £100 value. But the whole number of houses rated to the poor at £6 and upwards, is 1,261. So that 710 persons, living in houses of £6, £7, or £8 per annum, may be added to the list, outnumbering the whole of the present constituency. In Reading, the present electors are 1363, but the houses rated at £6 and upwards are 2,552. In Cambridge the present constituency consists of 1,939 persons. The bouses rated at £6 and upwards are 3,824. In Macclesfield the present constituency consists of 1,156. The houses rated at £6 and upwards are 3,121. In Stockport the electors are now 1,497 in number. The houses rated at £6 and upwards are 2,944. In Carlisle the constituency now amounts to 833. The houses rated at £6 and upwards are 1,704. In Whitehaven there are now 560 electors, but the houses rated at £6 and upwards are 1,301. In Derby the present list contains 2,130 names. The new list may contain 4,378, if £6 houses are enfranchised. In Exeter the constituency may be raised from 2,165, the present number, to 4,679, if £6 houses are to be added. In Weymouth the list would be raised from 630 to 1,295. In Durhan it would be augmented from 090 to 1,285; in Sunderland, from 2,176 to 4,304; in Colchester, from 802 to 1,639; in Cheltenham, from 2,148 to 5,699; in Dover, from 1,080 to 2,990; in
of “ strikes" and feuds between em- Then as to the representation of ployers and employed, it is indispen- general intellect and worth. At presable to give fair play to the latter, sent it is notorious that local whims or and afford a safety-valve to smoulder- interests suffice to secure the rejection ing complaint. Á mere lowering of of any candidate, however gifted. Not the franchise is the simplest but crudest to come too near home, we see the form of doing this. We do not think anti-Maynooth pledge made a sine it is the best one; but suppose it so. quâ non in some parts of Scotland; in What then? Does it follow that, others, as in Glasgow, the interests of therefore, the rest of the constituency the publicans and sinners are parais to be swamped by the introduction mount, and must be attended to; and of these new voters? Does it follow so on in more glaring instances in other that the only course is to suffer the parts of the empire. Petty points or middle classes to be nullified by the selfish interests prevail over questions lower, and the only representation to of statesmanship. First-class thinkers be that of the national ignorance? will not debase themselves to humour Certainly not; and Lord John Rus. such constituencies; and few men but sell never made a more glaring mis- those accustomed to tumult will face take (and he has made many) than the party-turmoil, and, it may be, in thinking so. Enfranchise those violence of the hustings and election£6 rent-payers if you will — though in meetings. To secure our end, then, this form the representation of labour let us once more make a seizure of is a crude one; but keep them sepa- seats rendered disposable by the disrate from the eristing voters. Enter franchisement of some of the burghs them on a roll by themselves. And marked out for destruction by Lord let them have representatives for them- John Russell. Take twenty of them, selves. There are plenty of burghs to and (this idea is not a new one) conbe disfranchised. Take ten or eleven of vert them into imperial members i.e., the members thus set free, and set not elected by local constituencies, but them apart for the new class of voters by a general voting all over the king(rural and urban) thus called into ex- dom. For this purpose, let it be opistence. Let these voters be arranged tional for any voter belonging to the in districts : say two members for the £10 and upwards class to withdraw south of England, two for the central his name from the local register, and district, two for the northern ; one for to enter it upon the imperial one (or, the west of Scotland, one for the east ; if subdivision be desired, let England, one for the north of Ireland, one for Scotland, and Ireland each have a gethe centre, one for the south. Several neral registry of its own). In this case, indirect advantages will accrue from still more than in the proposed represuch a division. As the election pro- sentation of labour, it is obvious that cess will be spread over a large area, the ordeal and agitation of electionand be centred in many different foci, cering will be avoided, and well-known there cannot be much hustings work celebrity and printed addresses will be or popular agitation ; and the candi- the chief passports to success. Firstdates will have to trust more to well- class men of all kinds would not hesiknown character and printed ad- tate to address themselves to such a dresses, than would be the case under constituency; and the fact of having the present system. A dozen repre- one's claims to distinction ratified by sentatives is no mean gift to a class so wide and (we should expect) calmnever before enfranchised, especially toned a tribunal, would be deservedly as these members (unlike those elected accounted one of the proudest honours by an ordinary constituency) will be all a citizen could win. their own.
We shall not enter further upon de
Chatham, from 1,348 to 2,910; in Blackburn, from 1,357 to 3,302 ; in Ashton, from 990 to 2,371; in Liverpool, from 15,506 to 62,126 ; in Rochdale, from 1,183 to 4,029 ; in Salford, from 4,183 to 11,335; in Lincoln, from 797 to 2,047; in Shrewsbury, from 1,111 to 2,943. The return shows that in England and Wales the number of persons already on the list of Parliamentary electors in boroughs is 363,000; and the total number of persons rated to the poor at sums exceeding £6 is 260,000. In other words, the new voters, having less than a £10 qualification, would number about three-fourths of the present constituency, and in many boroughs, as we have seen above, would greatly outnumber it.
tails. As we bave pointed out some of the defects of the Reform Bill of 1832, we have likewise desired to indicate the general course by which it seems to us that these defects may be, if not removed, at least lessened. We shall be glad, also, if the moral of the story we have been drawing from Sir A. Alison's pages be not lost sight of. At the sight of so much trouble and danger safely passed through, we may take comfort, and feel reassured amidst our present embarrassments. We shall be glad, also, if our statesmen lay to heart the truth, that it is misgovernment, want of wisdom in the rulers, and consequent suffering in the people, that is the real parent of political discontent and desire for change. It will be lastingly for the good of the empire, if, by
the example of the past, they learn to beware of great changes in the constitution, seeing how seldom even the foremost men of the age discern the true tendencies of the measures which they originate. And from the terrible crisis of 1830-2, when the inflammatory harangues and political agitation of the Whig chiefs brought the country to the very verge of civil war, and hurried themselves into a position from which they would willingly have receded, may the leaders of all parties learn moderation and a truer patriotism; that so the country, in those crises and changes which await it, may be agitated by no factitious passions, and be spared the calamity of having itself tortured and blinded to suit the purposes of party.
We are accustomed, with some slight degree of arrogance, to look upon our own race, the Anglo-Saxon, as the one that has spread most widely and generally over the face of the globe. Considering that the whole of the great continent of North America is almost entirely occupied by this race, and that Australia is almost equally so, that we rule by scattered individuals over the vast empire of India, and that we have colonies, or forts, or garrisons, north and south, east and west, in every portion of the earth's surface, the boast is perhaps not altogether unfounded. Still the Spanish and Portuguese nations, taken together as one race, are almost equally wide spread. With almost all the Atlantic Island, with Mexico in North and with all South America, except the little patches in Guyana, with Cuba in the West Indies, and the Philippines in the East, they occupy and possess perhaps as large a portion of the surface of the earth as the English and Americans.
It is, however, only four hundred years since both these European races
were strictly limited and confined within the narrow bounds of their own original territories, mere spots upon the globe.
Long, long years before that—so long that neither history, nor tradition of their first emigration, nor any memory even of the place whence they sprang, can now be traced - there was a great widely spread race of people, whose extension over the globe even exceeds our own, and equals that of ours and the peninsulars aforesaid taken together, if we regard mere distance, measured by latitude and longi. tude, and not the area of land included in it. This great race is the MalayoPolynesian. Some ethnologists include in it even the inhabitants of Madagascar. If that be a well-founded classification, the race extends from the east coast of Africa through the Indian and Pacific Islands to Easter Island and Waihou, no very great distance from the west coast of South America, or over a space of 220 degrees of longi. tude. This is considerably more than half, and very nearly two-thirds, of the
* " Polynesian Mythology." By Sir George Grey. London: Murray. 1855.
+ We do not here mean to refer to any traditions of migration among themselves, from one country or island to another, but to the first origin and primal spread of the race, in consequince of which they became possessed of the general area they now occupy:
circumference of the globe. If, how- Mariner was able to understand from ever, we throw aside Madagascar as his knowledge of the Polynesian. Yet doubtful, and commence with Sumatra the Malays and the Friendly Islanders only, we still have 160 degrees of lon- have no knowledge of each other, never gitude, or four-ninths of the circumfe. even heard of each other, and inhabit rence of the earth occupied principally countries somefive thousand miles apart. by people of a common origin. *
No other similar instance among unWhat do we mean, however, by civilised nations is known in the world; this term “common origin”? because but there is still more than this. The the reader might say all men have a language spoken all over the Pacific common origin. We mean, then, that Ocean is absolutely one, and the natives the different nations of the great Ma- of all the different islands find themlayo-Polynesian race are much more selves able to converse with each other intimately connected among themselves freely whenever they meet, quite as by physical structure and appearance, freely as a Yorkshire man and a by babits, manners, and customs, both Somersetshire man can talk together, of thought and practice, by the charac- if not more so. But the distance beter of their laws, of their original reli- tween the Sandwich Islands and New gion, of their polity, and distinctions of Zealand is about five thousand geograsocial rank, and lastly, and above all, phical miles, while from the northern by their language, than they are with extremity of the Marshall islands to any other nations or races.
Easter Island the distance is close upon Their languages may be divided into six thousand miles. This would be two great groups - the Malay and its about the same thing, so far as space dialects, spoken in all the islands of the is concerned, as if we were to suppose Eastern Archipelago, from Sumatra to good English spoken exclusively from the Philippines, and the Polynesian, the west coast of Ireland into Indespoken over all the great Pacific Ocean, pendent Tartary, or from England from New Zealand to the Sandwich along the shores and islands of the AtIslands, and from the Carolinas to lantic as far as the Brazils. Easter Island. Even these two sepa- But it is even yet more remarkable rate groups, however, have hundreds than those supposed cases would be, of words in common, as may be seen because the people thus united by a by referring to Mariner's "Tonga Is- common tongue are separated by wide lands." Mariner, an uneducated sailor, spaces of ocean, and inhabit little who learned the Polynesian language groups of islands or small isolated in the Friendly Islands, knew the islets, that are often very difficult to meaning of several hundred words of find, even by European navigators, Malay, as given in Marsden's diction- with all our present resources of nauary of that language, compiled from tical science. the tongue as spoken at Malacca. It becomes nothing less than mar
We all know how intimate is the vellous when we consider that these connexion between German and Eng, people have contrived to light upon lish, how many words are similar in every habitable spot, however small, the two languages, so that the scholar and however distant from the rest, secs at once that they spring from a throughout all this vast space, with common root. But try this test upon their trail barks, and trusting to the them; take an uneducated English- winds and stars alone for guidance. man, who never heard German spoken, The islands of the Pacific are of two and go through the German dictionary, kinds—the high islands and the low repeating each word to him, and see islands: the former made of ordinary how many he will be able to under- rock, usually volcanic; the latter almost stand and translate, and you will find entirely coral islands. the number very small indeed compar
Of these the coral islands are the ed with the number of Malay which most remarkable, both for the singu
There is included within the Malayo-Polynesian area the great island of Australia, and the considerable islands of New Guinea, New Ireland, New Caledonia, &c., occupied by a different race of people. The great Malayo. Polynesian race spread round these, having been unable probably to occupy them, from the barrenness of the soil in the case of Australia, and from the numbers and fierceness of the people in the case of the Papuan Islands.