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nothing beyond reform and public to dispose of its seats. Assuming good, will say that Ministers ought that these heads at present consist of to have seats in the House of Com- Sir R. Peel and his friends, how long mons; and if this be true, the coun will they continue to do so ? Only, try ought to provide them with seats. we suspect, until Ministers will take A number of boroughs might be Sir Robert and certain of his colgiven to them without any danger of leagues into office. If afterwards their being improperly used. A Mi- the heads of Opposition be found in nister ought not to represent any Mr Hume, Mr O'Connell, Mr W. populous place; he ought not to be Harvey, &c., it will scarcely be said exposed to election unpopularity and that they ought to be intrusted with defeat, or to be enabled to employ the filling of the free seats. If the the mighty means given him by office parties which, until lately, bore the in intimidating and corrupting elec- names of Whig and Tory, were pertors; he ought to be wholly inde- petually separated, the matter might pendent of every place and interest. be arranged; but they are not. For The connexion of Mr Canning and some time before the change of MiMr Huskisson with Liverpool had the nistry, there were two great hostile most baleful effects on the councils parties in opposition—the old Tories of the empire, and it frequently cau and Whigs-the one of which had at sed great embarrassment to govern- least quite as much right to be deemment by the disclosures they made, ed the constitutional Opposition as in public and private, to their consti- the other. Thus we know not how tuents; we do not say how far it the difficulty could be surmounted produced the scandalous corruption of naming proper men to dispose of which the people of Liverpool have the seats in question. just displayed. It would be a gain There has often been, and there to public convenience and benefit, if ought always to be, an independent Ministers had seats in virtue of their party-one not seeking office, and offices, were restricted from beco- holding the balance between the Miming candidates for populous places, nistry and Opposition. This party is and had a limited number of seats quite as necessary, and needs talent for promising young men as subor as much, as the others. It, theredinates or supporters. This would fore, ought to have a small share of exempt them in a considerable de- these seats. gree from the pernicious influences If the close boroughs be wholly which, not the Aristocracy, but a abolished, and no provision be made few individual Peers, exercise over for securing to talent admission into them; and it would remove the the House of Commons without cost, things which so often deprive the and exempted from the caprice and leading Peers of virtue and patriot- control of popular electors, we are ism. Practically a Minister might confident that the abolition will inas well sit in virtue of his office, as flict infinitely more injury on the of the votes of the electors he nomi cause of the People than on that of the nally represents. The object in re Aristocracy-will be chiefly a gain taining the boroughs is to retain the to arbitrary power-and will give a seats, without giving any power of deadly blow to the best interests of choice to the ostensible electors. the empire. If the plan of the re
The difficulty would rest with the formers we have mentioned do not Opposition boroughs. It is essential secure half of the boroughs it may for the Opposition to have as many retain to the constitutional Opposiof these boroughs or free seats as tion, its retention of a part will be the ministry. But then the perplex- more pernicious than the abolition ing question shews itself—How is it of the whole would be: it will deto be defined and distinguished ? TH stroy the portion which is invaluable Ministry is a duly appointed and re to the country, and give the worst cognised body; but the Opposition, operation to the other. Talent will although quite as necessary, is not. only be able to gain the free seats The world knows who form the lat- by ranging itself with the Ministry; ter, but the constitution knows no and the heads of Opposition, or, in thing of it save in sufferance. The other words, its ability, knowledge, heads of it, like the Ministry, ought and integrity, must make themselves
the slaves of popular passion and de- are their seats to be transferred ? lusion, or be expelled Parliament. Putting out of sight the Aristocracy,
Every Whig reformer will declare, they have always in the most flourishthat it would have been a great pub- ing part of English history, belonged lic evil, if when the Whigs were in to the landed interest; and if nothing opposition, such men as Fox, Burke, beyond reform be attempted, they Brougham, Tierney, &c., had been must, after the abolition, belong to excluded from the House of Com- it. The name of this interest has, mons. Yet they would have been in late years, been as studiously in danger of exclusion at every elec- suppressed, as though it had been tion, and they could only have esca- without existence. The newspaper ped it through the money of others, scribes and gin-shop reviewers have had it not been for the close bo- always spoken from motives alike roughs. If such men ought always guilty and obvious, as though the to have seats, it needs no proof to whole land of the country were held shew that seats ought always to be by the great Aristocrats. Placing provided for them; they could place the latter and their land entirely out no dependence on popular favour, of the question, there is a landed and their election through it would interest, which in wealth and numbe rather injurious than beneficial; bers is of far greater importance than it of course follows that they ought any other; and according to the conto have seats given them in some stitution, justice and equity, it has as other manner. The man who would much right as any other to be reprereplace a system which secures them sented in the House of Coinmons. constant admission into the House Every honest reformer will say, that with one which would generally ex- on the score of public good, the clude them when in opposition that seats which are now its own, must is, when their presence in it would not be taken from it by reform; how be the most necessary for public to secure them to it, requires much good—is not a friend to popular consideration. liberty and privilege.
This great interest in late years We do not speak thus for the sake has been far more inefficiently reof the Aristocracy; the distinction presented than any other, the causes of the boroughs might, we believe, be of this are continually enlarged, and effected without injuring its interests. without reform, the distress which We are anxious to see the abomina- has so long sat on it must soon betion they form in principle removed;
come ruin. but, seeking nothing beyond reform, In circumstance and system of we are also anxious to retain the election, other interests have a debenefits they yield in operation. We structive superiority over it; and this cannot consent to sweep away good is utterly indefensible, even on the with evil. It is an easy matter to uniformity doctrines of the Radicals. generalize, and if it were only neces- In the first place, while it has no insary to look at the elector, reform fluence in filling the seats of other might be understood by the factious interests, the latter have almost as dunces who decide on it so rashly. much as itself in filling the only seats But impartial men who love their it possesses. The landowners have country will not be satisfied with no share in electing the members of merely glancing at the surface; they manufacturing and trading places; will not be moved by assertion and but the manufacturers and traders calumny; they will examine deeply have a vast share in electing the and widely, and sanction such change members of counties; and they have alone as will be improvement. Either lately gained the support of various substitute for these boroughs some- borough owners. Small country thing which will secure to the great towns which are open, are about as leaders of opposition the easy and free from the influence of the landcertain entrance into Parliament ed interest as London and Liverthey have hitherto had, or, for the pool; and their inhabitants are as sake of liberty and the empire, pre- hostile to it, as those of the manuserve them with all their iniquity! facturing districts.
If they, or any part of them, be abo- It follows that the members of malished, the question arises-to whom nufactures and trade represent them
only, and therefore they zealously greater choice of members, and is promote their interests at the cost of represented with more ability and agriculture, as the best means of se independence, than the county. curing their own re-election; but In the fourth place, the members those of agriculture represent manu of the landed interest are connected factures and trade likewise; in con with the party Aristocracy; but those sequence they cannot, in many cases, of other interests are not. If, thereeven defend its interests, without en fore, Ministers decide on sacrificing suring their expulsion from their it, they, by their influence with this seats ; probably of two county mem Aristocracy, are enabled to array albers, one regularly acts with its ene- most half its own members against mies, while the other opposes them it, and neutralize the whole. Although with nothing better than compro this interest has a great number of mise.
members, it is little better than noThis state of things rapidly grows minally represented; it is at the worse. The cities and boroughs con- mercy of government; on every tinually become more independent emergency, one party of them by of, and hostile to, the landed inte their dependence on trade and marest; and manufacturing and trading nufactures, on the one hand, and the freeholders increase very greatly, party Aristocrats on the other, make while agricultural ones remain al the whole powerless in its favour. most stationary. This interest has If trade and manufactures be attackalready been stripped of the county ed, their members act unanimously members in Middlesex and Surrey, and independently in their defence. and if no reform take place, it will And in the fifth place, government soon share the same fate in various has been for some time acting on the other counties. Its members are policy of basing itself more and more losing the seats for boroughs they on trade and manufactures, and conformerly possessed; and not many ciliating them by inroads on agricul. of them can now afford to contest ture—the great party aristocrats are either borough or county. Not only ranging themselves more and more manufacturers and merchants, but with trade and manufactures-the even trading lawyers and party em- latter are carrying on a war of ex. pirics, aspire at present to county termination against agriculture, and seats.
both the Ministry and Opposition In the second place, the elective have embraced the doctrine, that its franchise in manufactures and trade continual, though gradual, sacrifice is gained not only by purchase, but to them, is necessary for the comby birth, servitude, occupancy, and mon good. we think marriage : in agriculture it From all this, our own most careis gained only by property. In the fully formed and conscientious opiformer, mechanics, labourers, and nion is, that the Landed Interest and petty tradesmen, to an enormous Aristocracy, as a whole, have only extent, have votes, independently of this choice before them-Reform or property of any kind; and in the lat- ruin. It is demonstrated by expeter, neither labourer nor farmer has rience, and the nature of things, that a vote, if he have not a freehold of a the present system will soon virtu. certain value. In manufactures and ally drive them out of the House of trade, the poor voters go with the Commons, and render them defencerich ones, and surpass them in hos- less against the mighty enemies who tility to agriculture; but the small seek to plunge them into destrucand middling freeholders of country tion. towns, are as much opposed to the It is asserted by the constitution, latter, as those of large manufactu- right and public good, that the landring places.
ed interest ought, in respect of reIn the third place, a borough can presentation in Parliament, to be plabe contested at far less cost than a ced on an equality with every other; county, and the latter cannot be con- and he who denies it, is not a retested on the side of agriculture, former, but a revolutionist. We care with any hope of success, without not for the Peers; it would be far the support of certain great families. better for this interest if the more It follows that the borough has influential of them had nothing to do
with the choice of its members; we or they will again become the pro, will throw them out of the question, perty of borough owners. and then we may safely affirm, that These objects must be kept in the landowners who are not Peers, view—the vote must be principally farmers, and husbandry labourers, confined to those who are interested have as much right to be directly re in agriculture-a large number of presented in the House of Commons, landowners must share in the elecas the manufacturing and trading tion-and the expense must be part of the population,
They would perTo produce the equality, it is haps be the best attained by a modi. manifestly essential that manufac- fication of Mr Pitt's plan for increa. tures and trade should have as little sing the number of county members, to do with electing the members of It is objected that the experiment agriculture, as it has to do with has failed in Yorkshire ; but we electing theirs. Let the large towns imagine matters would have been have members, but restrict their in- quite as bad in this county as they babitants from voting for county are, if no change had been made. ones, For example, let the free. The four-member system might, we holders of Liverpool, Manchester, or think, work as well in a county as it Leeds, vote for its members, instead does in the city of London; perhaps of those of the county. This would more might be said in its favour ; it be so far from being unjust, that it might break the power of the great is necessary to remove indefensible landowners, and cause-which is a injustice. The town freeholder in thing much to be desired-many of general has as much connexion with the county members to owe their trade, and as little with agriculture, election to middling and small ones. as the burgess; yet he is prohibited We of course say this on the assumpfrom voting for the members of the tion, that manufacturing freeholders town who represent the trade to would not be permitted to vote for which he belongs, and allowed to counties. vote for the county ones who repre. A county might be divided into sent an interest he has nothing to do two parts, for the purpose of giving with, and is hostile to. In number two members to each; or a number Jess cases, he votes for both the town of its existing divisions might be and county ones—he votes for fourformed into a whole, and receive while the agricultural freeholder two members. The system of atcan rarely vote for more than those taching the adjoining bundred to a of the county. The inhabitants of country town is objectionable, be. Westminster, Southwark, and their cause it gives the turn of the elecsuburbs, elect not only their own tion, either to men who are hostile members, but the county ones also; to agriculture, or to one great land, they thus usurp a double portion of owner. Nothing less than a district the franchise, and practically dis- ought to have menibers. franchise the landowners. The un. To reduce the pernicious ascend. constitutional and flagitious charac, ency of the great landowners, the ter of this must be obvious to every number of electors ought to be en. one.
larged. The vote should be given The freeholder of the town too to copyholders. The principle of small for members ought still to vote giving it to occupancy is recognised, for county ones.
and the reformers intend to make it · Having thus in a great measure the leading one in bestowing mem. separated the electors of the landed bers on the large towns; why then interest from others, it must next be cannot it be adopted in agricultural considered which would be the best elections ? The great landowners let mode of giving them the members of cheap farms, and in consequence the abolished close boroughs. If their tenants are to a wide extent these members be given to country freeholders; the middling and small towns, they will either be elected on ones demand high rents, therefore the same grounds as those of manu. their tenants have few votes; thus facturing places--they will in effect in proportion to quantity of land, be given to manufactures and trade, the former have a great advantage
over the latter. If every occupier of We will observe, that if the mem. land worth annually twenty pounds bers of the abolished boroughs be and upwards, had a vote, the effects given to counties, without taking we think would be greatly in favour from manufacturing and trading freeof the middling and small landown- holders the power of voting for ers. This vote for occupancy should, county members, it will be virtually however, be confined to the occus to the landed interest much the same piers of land, and withheld from as though they were given to the every freeholder; its object should large towns. If Middlesexand Surrey, be to put the respectable occupier get each two additional members, on a level with the latter.
who will elect them? The manuFor the same purpose the ex- facturing parts of Yorkshire already penses of election ought to be re- boast that they return two of the duced. We do not wish to substi- county members; and it is evident tute one extreme for another ; on enough, that in the space of seven the contrary, we are convinced that or fourteen years, they will be able a system which should elect the to return all the four. In most members of the House of Commons counties, the additional members free of cost, would be a very ruinous must fall into the hands of the freeone. The existing law of qualifica- holders we have named; who betion can be, and often is, evaded; if sides must neutralize the others to there were no election expenses, the landed interest. men without a shilling could easily It matters not whether the close gain seats; and it is evident enough, boroughs in question, or an equal that, in every quarter, such men number of the small independent would be amidst the first in seeking ones, be secured to agriculture; it them. What business has a man is however evident, that if the prowithout fortune in the House ? He posed change transfer seats from must live, and his seat will yield the latter to hostile interests, it will him no honest income; he must, be the reverse of reform. therefore, either follow some em- Of these small boroughs we need ployment which will disqualify him say little ; their members might be for discharging his public duties, or given to the large towns ; although become a hireling; in truth, he must they are in many cases called agriat once be a slave to gain his nomi- cultural ones, theyare generally in dal property. Such a system would both feeling and representatives the be in effect an extension of the close contrary. Should they be retained borough one; and it would increase for agriculture in lieu of the close the corrupt power of the leading ones, the combining of them with a Peers and Ministers. This of course large track of surrounding country does not apply to what we have said will not be sufficient; the vote in respecting the free admission of ta- them ought also to be taken from lent, because it is to be confined to the trading and given to the agricultalent only, not elected by popular tural part of the inhabitants. choice.
What will reform do with the We wish to see agriculture still large boroughs ? They are the most represented by reasonably rich coun- corrupt and dangerous of the whole; try gentlemen; but we also wish to and if it do not operate on them see that practical disqualification re- with an unsparing hand, it will promoved which now rests on them. duce small benefit. The system unOur plan would be to reduce the der which the franchise is gained expenses of a seat for a county or by apprenticeship and birth, is not agricultural district so far as to put more false in principle than perniit within the reach of any of them, cious in effects. A petty tradesman in order that the candidate might is free, but a rich one is not; from offer on ability only-the middling this alone the apprentices and child. and small landowners might have å ren of the former gain the vote ; and proper share in choosing their re- those of the latter are depied it. Bepresentatives—and the members of cause a labourer is free, his children the landed interest might be duly are; because a merchant or profesdependent on the mass of their con. sional man is not free, bis children stituents.
are not. This system confines the