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effort to carry them, it is a reasonable expectation that these convictions, pushed with this determination, would soon be expressed in law, if those who held them had a dominant power. With working men, questions concern ing the regulation of labour are of the highest interest. Candidates for Parliament would be more likely to obtain their suffrages by pandering to their prejudices on such questions, than in any other way. Should it be said that no evil need be feared unless the artisan-class numerically preponderated in the constituencies, it may be rejoined that not unfrequently, where two chief political parties are nearly balanced, some other party, though much smaller, determines the election. When we bear in mind that the trades-unions throughout the kingdom number 600,000 members, and command a fund of £300,000— when we remember that these trades-unions are in the habit of aiding each other, and have even been incorporated into one national association—when we also remem ber that their organization is very complete, and their power over their members mercilessly exercised, it seems likely that at a general election their combined action would decide the result in many towns: even though the artisans in each case formed but a moderate portion of the constituency. How influential small but combined bodies are, the Irish Members of our House of Commons prove to us, and still more clearly the Irish emigrants in Amer. ica. Certainly these trade-combinations are not less perfectly organized; nor are the motives of their members less strong. Judge then how efficient their political action would be.

It is true that in county-constituencies and rural towns, the artisan class have no power; and that in the antagonism of agriculturists there would be a restraint on their projects. But, on the other hand, the artisans would, on these questions, have the sympathy of many not belong.




ing to their own body. Numerous small shopkeepers, and others who are in point of means about on their level, would go with them in their efforts to regulate the relations of capital and labour. Among the middle classes, too, there are not a few kindly-disposed men who are so ignorant of political economy as to think the artisans justified in their aims. Even among the landed class they might find supporters. We have but to recollect the antipathy shown by landowners in Parliament to the manufacturing interest, during the ten-hours' agitation, to see that it is quite possible for country squires to join the working men in imposing restrictions unfavourable to employers. True, the angry feeling which then prompted them has in some measure died away. It is to be hoped, too, that they have gained wisdom. But still, remembering the past, we must take this contingency into account.

Here, then, is one of the dangers to which an extension of the franchise opens the door. While the fear that the rights of property may be directly interfered with, is absurd, it is a very rational fear that the rights of prop-. erty may be indirectly interfered with—that by cramping laws, the capitalist may be prevented from using his money as he finds best, and the workman from selling his labour to the greatest advantage. We are not prepared to say what widening of the representation would bring about such results. We profess neither to estimate what amount of artisan-power a £6 or a £5 borough-franchise would give; nor to determine whether the opposing powers would suffice to keep it in check. Our purpose here is simply to indicate this establishment of injurious industrial regulations, as one of the dangers to be kept in view.

Turn we now to another danger, distinct from the foregoing, though near akin to it. Next after the evils of that

over-legislation which restricts the exchange of capital and labour, come the evils of that over legislation which provides for the community, by State-agency, benefits which capital and labour should be left spontaneously to provide. And it naturally though unfortunately happens, that those who lean to the one kind of over-legislation, lean also to the other kind. Men leading laborious lives, relieved by little in the shape of enjoyment, give willing ears to the doctrine that the State should provide them with various positive advantages and gratifications. The much-enduring poor cannot be expected to deal very critically with those who promise them gratis pleasures. As a drowning man catches at a straw, so will one whose existence is burdensome catch at any thing, no matter how unsubstantial, which holds out the slightest hope of a little happiness. We must not, therefore, blame the work ing-classes for being ready converts to socialistic schemes, or to a belief in the sovereign power of political machinery."

Not that the working-classes alone fall into these delusions. Unfortunately they are countenanced, and have been in part misled, by those above them. In Parliament and out of Parliament, well-meaning men among the upper and middle ranks, have been active apostles of these false doctrines. There has ever been, and still continues to be, very much law-making based on the assumption, that it is the duty of the State, not simply to insure each citizen fair play in the battle of life, but to help him in fighting the battle of life; having previously taken money from his or some one else's pocket to pay the cost of doing this. And we cannot glance over the papers without seeing how active are the agitations carried on out of doors in furtherance of this policy, and how they threaten to become daily more active. The doings of the Chadwick-school furnish one set of illustrations. From

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those of the Shaftesbury-school other illustrations may be gathered. And in the transactions of the body, absurdly self-entitled “ The National Association for the Promotion of Social Science,” we find still more numerous developments of this mischievous error.

When we say that the working-classes, and more especially the artisan-classes, have strong leanings towards these Utopianisms, which they have unhappily been encouraged to entertain by many who should have known better, we do not speak at random. We are not drawing an d priori inference as to the doctrines likely to find favour with men in their position. Nor are we guided merely by evidence to be gathered from newspapers. But we have a basis of definite fact in the proceedings of reformed municipal governments. These bodies have from year to year extended their functions; and so heavy has in some cases become the consequent local taxation, as to have caused a reaction against the political party that was responsible. Town-councils almost exclusively Whig, have of late been made comparatively Conservative, by the efforts of those richer classes who suffer most from municipal extravagance. With whom, then, has this extravagance been popular? With the poorer members of 'the constituencies. Candidates for town-councillorships have found no better means of insuring the suffrages of the mass, than the advocacy of this or the other local undertaking. To build baths and wash-houses at the expense of the town, has proved a popular proposal. The support of public gardens, out of funds raised by local rates, has been applauded by the majority. So, too, with the establishment of free libraries, which has, of course, met with encouragement from workingmen, and from those who wish to find favour with them. Should some one, taking a hint from the cheap concerts now common in our manufacturing towns, propose to supply music at the public cost, we doubt not he would be hailed as a. friend of the people. And similarly with countless socialistic schemes, of which, when once commenced, there is

no end.


Such being the demonstrated tendencies of municipal governments, with their extended bases of representation, is it not a fair inference that a Central Government, having a base of representation much wider than the present, would manifest like tendencies? We shall see the more reason for fearing this, when we remember that those who approve of multiplied State-agencies, would generally ally themselves with those who seek for the legislative regulation of labour. The doctrines are near akin; and they are, to a considerable extent, held by the same persons. If united the two bodies would have a formidable power; and, appealed to as they would often be, by candidates expressing sympathy on both these points, they might, even though a minority, get unduly represented in the Legislature. Such, at least, seems to us a further danger. Led by philanthropists having sympathies stronger than their intellects, the working-classes are very likely to employ their influence in increasing over-legislation: not only by agitating for industrial regulations, but in various other ways. What extension of franchise would make this danger a serious one, we do not pretend to say. Here, as before, we would simply indicate a probable source of mischief.

And now what are the safeguards ? Not such as we believe will be adopted. To meet evils like those which threaten to follow the impending political change, the common plan is to devise special checks—minor limitations and qualifications. Not to dry up the evil at its source, but to dam it out, is, in analogous cases, the usual aim. We have no faith in such methods. The only effi

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