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THE CORRELATIVE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT.

377

erty, and freedom to exercise the faculties. But let it un. dertake to bring home positive benefits to citizens, or to interfere with any of the special relations between class and class, and there necessarily enters an incentive to injustice. For in no such cases can the immediate interests of all classes be alike. Therefore do we say that as fast as representation is extended, the sphere of government must be contracted.

POSTSCRIPT.—Since the foregoing pages were written, Lord John Russell has introduced his Reform Bill; and in application of the general principles we contend for, a few words may fitly be added respecting it.

Of the extended county-franchise most will approve, save those whose illegitimate influence is diminished by it. Adding to the rural constituencies a class less directly dependent on large landowners, can scarcely fail to be beneficial. Even should it not at first perceptibly affect the choice of representatives, it will still be a good stimulus to political education and to consequent future benefits. Of the redistribution of seats, little is to be said, further than that, however far short it may fall of an equitable arrangement, it is perhaps as much as can at present be obtained.

Whether the right limit for the borough-franchise has been chosen, is, on the other hand, a question that admits of much discussion. Some hesitation will probably be felt by all who duly weigh the evidence on both sides. Believing, as we do, that the guidance of abstract equity, however much it may need qualification, must never be ig. nored, we should be glad were it at once practicable more nearly to follow it; since it is certain that only as fast as the injustice of political exclusion is brought to an end, will the many political injustices which grow out of it, disappear. Nevertheless, we are convinced that the forms which freedom requires, will not of themselves produce the reality of freedom, in the absence of an appropriate national character, any more than the most perfect mechanism: will do its work in the absence of a motive power. There seems good reason to think that the degree of liberty a people is capable of in any given age, is a fixed quantity; and that any artificial extension of it in one direction, simply brings about an equivalent limitation in some other direction. French republics show scarcely any more respect for individual rights than the despotisms they supplant; and French electors use their freedom to put themselves again in slavery. In America, the feeble restraints imposed by the State are supplemented by the strong restraints of a public opinion which, in many respects, holds the citizens in greater bondage than here.

And if there needs a demonstration that representative equality is an insufficient safeguard for freedom, we have it in the trades'-unions already referred to; which, purely democratic as is their organization, yet exercise over their members a tyranny that is almost Neapolitan in its rigour and unscrupulousness. The greatest attainable amount of individual liberty of action, being the true end ; and the diffusion of political power being regarded mainly as a means to this end; the real question when considering further extensions of the franchise, is—whether the average liberty of action of citizens will be increased ?whether men will be severally freer than before to pursue the objects of life in their own way? Or, in the present case, the question is—whether the good which £7, £6, or £5 householders would undoubtedly do in helping to abolish existing injustices, will be partly or wholly neutralized by the evil they might do in establishing other injustices ? The desideratum is, as large an increase in the number of electors as can be made without enabling the people to carry out their delusive schemes of over-legislation

INFLUENCE OF TRADES’-UNIONS.

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Whether the increase proposed is greater or less than this, is the essential point. Let us briefly consider the evidence on each side.

As shown by Lord J. Russell's figures, the new borough-electors will consist mainly of artisans; and these, as we have seen, are in great part banded together by a common wish to regulate the relations of capital and labour. As a class, they are not as Lord J. Russell describes them, “fitted to exercise the franchise freely and independently.” On the contrary, there are no men in the community so shackled. They are the slaves of the authorities they have themselves set up. The dependence of farmers on landlords, or of operatives on employers, much less servile; for they can carry their capital or labour elsewhere. But the penalty for disobedience to trades-union dictates, pursues the rebel throughout the kingdom. Hence the great mass of the new boroughelectors must be expected to act simultaneously, on the word of command being issued from a central council of united trades. Even while we write, we meet with fresh reason for anticipating this result. An address from the Conference of the Building Trades to the working classes throughout the kingdom, has just been published, thanking them for their support; advising the maintenance of the organization; anticipating future success in their aims; and intimating the propriety of recommencing the ninehours' agitation. We must, then, be prepared to see these industrial questions made leading questions; for artisans have a much keener interest ice them than in any

others. And we may feel certain that many elections will turn

upon them.

How many? There are some thirty boroughs in which the newly-enfranchised will form an actual majority—will, if they act together, be able to outvote the existing electors; even supposing the parties into which they are now divided were to unite. In half-a-dozen other boroughs, the newly-enfranchised will form a virtual majority-will preponderate unless the present liberal and conservative voters coöperate with great unanimity, which they will be unlikely to do. And the number proposed to be added to the constituency, is one-half or more in nearly fifty other boroughs: that is, in nearly fifty other boroughs, the new party will be able to arbitrate between the two existing parties; and will give its support to whichever of these promises most aid to artisan-schemes. It may be said that in this estimate we assume the whole of the new boroughelectors to belong to the artisan-class, which they do not. This is true. But on the other hand it must be remembered, that among the £10 householders there is a very considerable sprinkling of this class, while the freemen chietly consist of it; and hence the whole artisan body in each constituency will probably be not smaller than we have assumed. If so, it follows that should the tradesunion organization be brought to bear on borough-elections, as it is pretty certain to be, it may prevail in some eighty or ninety places, and command from 100 to 150 seats-supposing, that is, that it can obtain as many eligible candidates.

Meanwhile, the county-constituencies in their proposed state, as much as in their existing state, not being under trades-union influence, may be expected to stand in antagonism to the artisan-constituencies, as may also the small boroughs. It is just possible, indeed, that irritated by the ever-growing power of a rich mercantile class, continually treading closer on their heels, the landowners, carrying with them their dependents, might join the employed in their dictation to employers; just as, in past times, the nobles joined the commonalty against the kings, or the kings joined the commonalty against the nobles. But leaving out this remote contingency, we may fairly expect

NATURAL RESTRAINTS OF CLASS-INTERESTS.

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the rural constituencies to oppose the large urban ones on these industrial questions. Thus, then, the point to be decided is, whether the benefits that will result from this extended suffrage-benefits which we doubt not will be great-may not be secured, while the accompanying evil tendencies are kept in check. It may be that these new artisan-electors will be powerful for good, while their power to work evil will be in a great degree neutralized, But this we should like to see well discussed.

On one question, however, we feel no hesitation; namely, the question of a ratepaying-qualification. From Lord John Russell's answer to Mr. Bright, and more recently from his answer to Mr. Steel, we gather that on this point there is to be no alteration—that £6 householders will stand on the same footing that £10 householders do at present. Now by the Compound-Householders-Act of 1851, to which we have already referred, it is provided that tenants of £10 houses whose rates are paid by their landlords, shall, after having once tendered payment of rates to the authorities, be thereafter considered as ratepayers, and have votes accordingly. That is to say, the ratepaying-qualification is made nominal; and that in practice it has become so, is proved by the fact that under this Act, 4,000 electors were suddenly added to the con stituency of Manchester.

The continuance and extension of this arrangement, we conceive to be wholly vicious. Already we have shown that the incidence of taxation ought to be made more direct as fast as popular power is increased; and that, as diminishing the elector's personal experience of the costs of public administration, this abolition of a ratepaying-qualification is a retrograde step. But this is by no means the sole ground for disapproval. The ratepaying-qualification is a valuable test-a test which tends to separate the more worthy of the working classes from the

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