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In England we trace analogous facts. The Barons who bridled the tyranny of King John, though not formally appointed, were virtually impromptu representatives of the nation; and in their demand that justice should neither be sold, denied, nor delayed, we discern the social evils which led to this taking of the power into their own hands. In early times the knights and burgesses, summoned by the King with the view of getting supplies from them, had for their especial business to obtain from him the redress of grievances, that is—the execution of justice; and in their eventually-obtained and occasionally-exercised power of withholding supplies until justice was granted, we see both the need there was for remedying the iniquities of autocracy, and the adaptation of representative institutions to this end. And the further development of popular power latterly obtained, origin. ated from the demand for fairer laws-for less class-privilege, class-exemption, class-injustice: a fact which the speeches of the Reform-Bill agitation abundantly prove. In France, again, representative government grew into a definite form under the stimulus of unbearable oppression, When the accumulated extortion of centuries had reduced the mass of the people to misery-when millions of haggard faces were seen throughout the land—when starying complainants were hanged on “a gallows forty feet high”-when the exactions and cruelties of good-for-nothing kings and vampyre-nobles had brought the nation to the eve of dissolution; there came, as a remedy, an assem. bly of men elected by the people.

That, considered à priori, representative government is fitted for establishing just laws, is implied by the unanimity with which Spanish, English, and French availed themselves of it to this end; as well as by the endeavours latterly made by other European nations to do the like. The rationale of the matter is simple enough. Manifestly,



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cases, a man will protect his own interests more solicitously than others will protect them for him. Manifestly, where regulations have to be made affecting the interests of several men, they are most likely to be equitably made when all those concerned are present, and have equal shares in the making of them. And manifestly, where those concerned are so numerous and so dispersed, that it is physically impossible for them all to take part in the framing of such regulations, the next best thing is for the citizens in each locality to appoint one of their number to speak for them, to care for their claims, to be their representative. The general principle is, that the welfare of all will be most secure when each looks after his own welfare; and the principle is carried out as directly as the circumstances permit. It is inferable, alike from human nature and from history, that a single man cannot be trusted with the interests of a nation of men, where his real or imagined interests clash with theirs. It is similarly inferable from human nature and from history, that no small section of a nation, as the nobles, can be expected to consult the welfare of the people at large in preference to their own. And it is further inferable that only in a general diffusion of political power, is there a safeguard for the general welfare.

This has all along been the conviction under which representative government has been advocated, maintained, and extended. From the early writs that summoned the members of the House of Commons-writs which declared it to be a most equitable rule that the laws which concerned all should be approved of by all-down to the reasons now urged by the unenfranchised for a participation in political power; this is the implied theory. Observe, nothing is said about wisdom or administrative ability. From the beginning, the end in view has been justice. Whether we consider the question in the abstract,

or whether we examine the opinions men have entertained upon it from old times down to the present day, we equally see the theory of representative government to be, that it is the best means of insuring equitable social relations.

And do not the results justify the theory? Did not our early Parliaments, after long-continued struggles, succeed in curbing the licentious exercise of royal power; and in establishing the rights of the subject ? Are not the comparative security and justice enjoyed under our form of government, indicated by the envy with which other nations regard it ? Was not the election of the French Constituent Assembly followed by the sweeping away of the grievous burdens that weighed down the people—by the abolition of tithes, seignorial dues, gabelle, excessive preservation of game—by the withdrawal of numerous feudal privileges and immunities—by the manumission of the slaves in the French colonies ? And has not that extension of our own electoral system embodied in the Reform-Bill, brought about more equitable arrangements ?-as witness the repeal of the Corn-Laws, and the equalization of probate and legacy duties. The proofs are undeniable. It is clear, both à priori and d posteriori, that representative government is especially adapted for the establishment and maintenance of just laws.

And now mark that the objections to representative government awhile since urged, scarcely tell against it at all, so long as it does not exceed this comparatively limited function. Though its mediocrity of intellect makes it incompetent to oversee and regulate the countless involved processes which make up the national life; it nevertheless has quite enough intellect to enact and enforce those simple principles of equity which underlie the right conduct of citizens to each other. These are such



that the commonest minds in a civilized community can understand their chief applications. Stupid as may be the average elector, he can see the propriety of such regulations as shall prevent men from murdering and robbing each other; he can understand the fitness of laws which enforce the payment of debts; he can perceive the need of measures to prevent the strong from tyrannizing over the weak; and he can feel the rectitude of a judicial system that is the same for rich and poor. The average representative may be but of small capacity, but he is competent, under the leadership of his wiser fellows, to devise appliances for carrying out these necessary restraints; or rather -he is competent to uphold the set of appliances slowly elaborated by the many generations of his predecessors, and to do something towards improving and extending them in those directions where the need is most manifest. It is true that even these small demands upon

electoral and senatorial wisdom are but imperfectly met.

But though constituencies are blind to the palpable truth, that if they would escape laws which favour the nobility at the expense of the commonalty, they must cease to choose representatives from among the nobility; yet when the injustice of this class-legislation is glaringas in the case of the Corn-Laws—they have sense enough to use means for getting it abolished. And though most legislators have not sufficient penetration to perceive that the greater part of the evils which they attempt to cure by official inspection and regulation, would disappear were there a certain, prompt, and cheap administration of justice; yet, the County-Courts-Act, and other recent law-reforms, show that they do eventually recognize the importance of more efficient judicial arrangements. While, therefore, the lower average of intelligence which necessarily characterizes representative government, unfits it for discharging the complex business of regulating the entire national life; it does not unfit it for discharging the comparatively simple duties of protector. Again, in respect of this original, all-essential function of a government, there is a much clearer identity of interest between representative and citizen, than in respect of the multitudinous other functions which governments undertake. Though it is generally of but little consequence to the member of Parliament whether state-teachers, state-preachers, stateofficers of health, state-dispensers of charity, etc., do their work well; it is of great personal consequence to him that life and property should be secure: and hence he is more likely to care for the efficient administration of justice, than for the efficient administration of any thing else.

Moreover, the complexity, incongruity of parts, and general cumbrousness which deprive a representative government of that activity and decision required for paternally superintending the affairs of thirty millions of citizens; do not deprive it of the ability to establish and maintain the regulations by which these citizens are prevented from trespassing against each other. For the principles of equity are permanent as well as simple; and once having been legally embodied in their chief outlines, all that devolves on a government is to develop them more perfectly, and improve the appliances for enforcing them: an undertaking for which the slow and involved action of a representative government does not unfit it. So that while by its origin, theory, and results, representative government is shown to be the best for securing justice between class and class, as well as between man and man; the objections which so strongly tell against it in all its other relations to society, do not tell against it in this fundamental relation.

Thus, then, we reach the solution of the paradox. Here is the reconciliation between the two seemingly contradictory positions awhile since taken. To the question

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