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Ib. v. 208, p. 1113, v. 219, p. 250; e Fertile theory of the constitution


pire, f does not justify this conclusion. On the contrary,
we have every reason to fear that a wide extension of
the suffrage to a class who are less instructed, and less
capable of apprehending political questions, than those
who are now enfranchised, must have a downward
tendency. Eival parties will bid against each other
for the support of this new portion of the national con-
stituency ; and in order to obtain it must adopt their
views, and pander to their prejudices. Thus, by sure
degrees, the interests of the nation will be subjected to
the ultimate control of ' its more ignorant, instead of
its more educated classes of its lowest instead of its
highest intellects.' g The transference of power to a
class of men who are incapable of exercising a sound and
enlightened judgment upon political questions, who are
full of misapprehensions concerning the province and
purposes of government, and are ignorant of the causes
which determine their own economical condition, must
be fraught with the greatest peril to the noble institu-
tions of England, which have been the safeguard of
liberty, and are the admiration of the world. ' Hardly
any other feature of our parliamentary system appears
so ominous to a thoughtful observer as the growing
exclusion of young men from the House of Commons ; '
' perverted as the nomination boroughs undoubtedly
were to a very large extent, they brought into the
House of Commons a far larger proportion of young
men of promise and genius than have ever, under any
other system, entered its walls.' h

For a careful statement of the main arguments against any
further reform of Parliament in a decidedly democratic direction,

of the United States, see Dub. Rev. v. f See Ed. Rev. v. 122, p. 272;

29, N.S. pp. 494-508. For its prac- Fras. Mag. v. 72, p. 158 : Hans. D.

tice, see Tremenheere's Eng. and Am. v. 182, p. 2110.

Const, compared ; Grey's Parl. Govt. K See Fras. Mag-, v. 72, p. 158.

new ed. pp. 155-184; and Jenning's h W. E. II. Lecky : N. Am. Rev.

Eighty Years of Repub. Govt. in v. 126, pp. 71-76.

the United States.


pointing out the probable effects of certain specific changes, and
showing how a deterioration in the House of Commons would neces-
sarily re-act upon the national character, see Professor Austin's
Plea for the Constitution, London, 1859, pp. 16-42. See also Report
of the Lords' Committee, in 1860, upon the probable result of a
reduction of the franchise. 1

But in view of the tendency of recent legislation, we Effects of
must anticipate that, ere long, the few remaining small cratic"
boroughs will be disfranchised and absorbed into larger reform
constituencies. The disastrous consequences of any such authority
change may be easily inferred from the explanations
already given as to the assistance rendered by the small
boroughs to the work of parliamentary government^
It is already but too evident that the weak point in our
political system is the feebleness of executive authority.
Mr. Pitt foresaw what is now happening when he said,
1 the part of our constitution which will first perish is
the prerogative of the king, and the authority of the
House of Peers ; ' k and Mr. Disraeli has observed, with
equal truth, that ' in this age the elements of governing
are daily diminishing, the power of governing nations
is every day weakening.' 1 Mr. Bagehot, in the intro-
duction to the new edition of his work on the ' English
Constitution,' published in 1872, admits that he is 'ex-
ceedingly afraid of the ignorant multitude of the new
constituencies.' As a class, the new voters are as yet
unconscious of the extent of their power, and decidedly
unfit to exercise it wisely. But their numbers have
made them virtually supreme in the country, and unless,
as heretofore has been the case, they should defer to
the guidance of the aristocratic and moneyed interests,

' Mr. Lowe's speech, Hans. D. on the effects of the Reform Bill,

v. 187, pp. 788-799 ; and Mr. Hans. D. v. 182, p. 1959.
Goschen's speech, Hans. D. v. 235, ' Hans. D. v. 170, p. 430. In the

p. 558, deprecating an extension of debate on the Address in 1852, Mr.

the county franchise. Disraeli remarked that he thought it

j See ante, p. 13, Earl Russell in 'one of the great misfortunes of our

Hans. D. v. 189, p. 445. time, and one most injurious to public

k Stanhope's Life of Pitt, v. 1, p. liberty, that the power of the Crown

133. And see Sir R. Peel's remarks had diminished.' Ib. v. 119, p. 138.


the result must be disastrous. Before and even after
the Eeform Act of 1832 the prominent leaders in the
Commons, whether of the Government or of the Oppo-
sition, were principally of the aristocratic class. They
are now, and especially since the Eeform Act of 1867,
being gradually supplanted by the middle-class element.
Wealth, not birth, is now the prevailing influence in
the Commons, whereby the aristocratic element, and
likewise the political influence of the House of Lords,
are proportion ably weakened. ' The full effects of the
last extension of the franchise,' says a writer in the
'Nineteenth Century,' 1 " 'have not yet had time to
declare themselves, but it is surely impossible to main-
tain that the experience of the past twelve years with
its revelations of popular fickleness and popular ex-
citability, of decline in the authority and repute of
Parliament, of platform dictation, of ministerial policy,
and of ministerial gropings for the opinion of the
platform has not confirmed the gloomy forebodings '
of those who predicted disastrous consequences from
this measure. Anticipating, therefore, that a further
reform of Parliament will inevitably lead to further
democratic encroachment, it should be the endeavour
of practical statesmen to devise some plan to strengthen
the authority of the ministers of the crown in Parlia-
ment pari passu with the concession of a reformed and
Necessity extended franchise. But such an attempt, to be suc-
for con- cessful, must be urged upon proper grounds. It should

serving ...

themon- distinctly claim for the monarchical and aristocratic
andarfs- elements in our constitution as their right, that they
tocratic should be adequately represented in that branch of


incur the legislature which has now become the source and

tSm" centre of political power. No considerations of mere

expediency would warrant the recognition of such a

demand. No attempt to increase the authority of the

m V. 8, p. 643.


crown in the House of Commons merely because it was
abstractedly desirable, would be likely to succeed. But
if it could be shown that unless we are willing to
admit the right of the crown, and of the landed gentry,
to a proportionate influence in the councils of the
reformed popular assembly we must be prepared to
acquiesce in the curtailment of their just share in the
control of public affairs, in the overthrow of the prin-
ciples of English constitutional monarchy, and in the
virtual establishment of a democratic form of govern-
ment, the bulk of the nation would, it may be hoped,
be ready to acknowledge the justice of such a concession,
and to discern in it, moreover, a reasonable solution of
a great political problem. 11

In 1873, Mr. Disraeli, adverting to the great questions which
have been disposed of in our day, pointed out that other questions of
equal, if not greater, importance must soon engage public attention,
and especially ' the attributes of a constitutional monarchy ; whether
the aristocratic principle should be recognised in our constitution,
and if so, in what form ; and whether the Commons of England
shall remain an estate of the realm, numerous, but privileged and
qualified, or whether they should degenerate into an indiscriminate

Thus far, we have seen, the landed proprietors of Represen

England, the natural guardians of law and order, have

no cause to complain of being inadequately represented interest.
in the House of Commons. It is true that, since the
Reform Bill of 1832, the landed interest is no longer
supreme ; and that the commercial and manufacturing
interests have acquired a share of power, to which, by
their growth and development, they had become justly
entitled. But although, by this great measure, the
House of Commons became a truer representation of
the people, the groundwork of our electoral system was

n See Hans. I), v. 185, pp. 230- Lessons of the War ' in the Qunr.
232. And an article by the Marquis Eev. v. 130, p. 256.
of Salisbury C?^ ou the ' Political Black. Mag. v. 118, p. 242.



of repre-

tions on

not changed. Even since the later Eeform Act of 1867
property has not wholly ceased to be regarded as the
rightful basis of representation, although, in the changes
of the franchise, effected since 1831, the tendency has
been increasingly to regard the claims of occupancy
rather than that of ownership. But should ever the
theory of representation according to population find
favour and acceptance, the influence of the aristocracy
in the Commons' House of Parliament will be materially
diminished, if not altogether annihilated.

In a paper read by Professor Leone Levi, before the British
Association, in September 1865, on the Statistics of Representation,
it is computed that if representation in England were based upon
population, 'for every 100 votes there should be given 4 to the
upper, 32 to the middle, and 64 to the working classes. If, on the
other hand, it were in proportion to the amount of taxes paid by
each, of every 100 votes 83 should be given to the upper classes,
13 to the middle, and 4 to the working classes.' This will afford
some idea of the vast social revolution which would be effected by
the introduction of representation according to population into the
electoral system of England.

This contingency, indeed, has not yet arrived ; but the
danger is so imminent, and the practical difficulties of
government are so increasingly apparent, that our states-
men are becoming impressed with the necessity for
strengthening the authority of the crown in Parliament,
as well as for improving the machinery of representation,
in connection with any further extension of Reform.

Various suggestions to this end have been offered
by political thinkers to which it may be useful to direct
attention. Thus, Earl Grey, in a revised edition of his
able essay on ' Parliamentary Government,' has urged
that in connection with any further measure of parlia-
mentary reform provision should be made, 1. For the
representation of minorities ; 2. For the apportionment
of a certain number of seats in the House of Commons
to members representing universities, the learned pro-
fessions, and the principal industries and trades; 3. For


the election, by the House itself, of from twelve to
fifteen life members, to be chosen by a ' cumulative
vote,' in batches of three at a time, from amongst the
leading men of different political parties.

By a ' cumulative vote ' is meant the principle of giving to every
elector as many votes as there are members to be chosen by the con-
stituent body, with the option of giving all his votes to a single
candidate, or of dividing them amongst the several candidates pro-
posed. By this process minorities would have a fair opportunity of
ensuring the election of their favourite candidates. This mode of
voting was approved by Mr. J. Stuart Mill.P It has also obtained
the qualified support of Earl Russell.i

4. For the election, by the House, at the commence-
ment of every Parliament, and for the duration of the
Parliament, of a limited number of persons, to be pro-
posed for membership in a list which should be framed
and submitted to the House by the existing administra-
tion. This would afford an opportunity for the intro-
duction into political life of young men of talent, who
could be trained for the future service of the state ; it
would provide seats for such holders of political offices
as were required to be present in the House of Commons,
but could not otherwise find entrance therein ; and it
would confer upon the ministry the inestimable benefit
of a compact body of staunch supporters, who, while
they contributed to uphold the authority of the crown,
were themselves approved of by the suffrages of the
House of Commons. The selection of this class of

p See his Rep. Govt. p. 141. 1299. And it has been proposed to
q Eng. Const. Introd. p. 51. See extend it to Municipal Elections, Ib.
Grey's Parl. Govt. p. 203. And it v. 217, p. 482 ; v. 225, p. 1425.
has been successfully applied to the Rep. Com e . H. of Com. on Local
School Boards in England and Wales, Govt. (Ireland), 1876, Index, p. 439.
chosen under the Elementary Educa- And in regard to Plural voting at
tion Act, 1 870. See Hans. D. v. 207, Municipal Elections, see Ib. p. 484.
pp. 1525-1538. See Statistical Re- But the principle itself is still con-
turns as to the Cumulative Vote at eidered as open to grave objections ;
these Elections : Com. Pap, 1877, v. see Duke of Argyll, Ib. v. 229, p_ .
67, p. 571. And to School Boards 192. For other instances of its appli-
in Scotland by Act 35 and 36 Vic. cation, see Law Mag. N.S. (1872), v.
c. 62, sect. 12; Hans. D. v. 211, p. 1, p. 206.


tions to

members being made by lists, a majority of the House,
acting in concert, would have the power of naming the
whole ; and the lists being presented for the sanction of
the House by ministers, the agreement thereto would
be a question of confidence. Finally, his lordship pro-
poses that members of the House accepting parliament-
ary offices should be relieved from the necessity of being
re-elected by their respective constituencies/

The acknowledged reputation of Earl Grey as a
political philosopher, and his practical experience in
proposal? administration, entitle these suggestions to a respectful
hearing. It is nevertheless worthy of remark, that
other men, of equal consideration, have differed from
him in regard to certain portions of his scheme. Thus,
Professor Austin strenuously denounces the introduction
of an electoral qualification consisting in the mere pos-
session of intelligence and knowledge, apart from pro-
perty. 8 Earl Eussell contends that a graduated franchise,
as a means of 'averting the dangers of universal suffrage,
and of unlimited democracv,' would be an ' invidious '

/ 7

novelty/ And a writer in the ' Saturday Eeview ' pro-
tests against the ' elaborate complications of electoral
machinery which are recommended by Lord Grey and
Mr. Hare, n in order to afford artificial protection to the
minority, as being fit only to serve as intellectual amuse-

T Grey, Parl. Govt. pp. 204-240.
For a careful review of the literature
of this subject, see an article on The
Machinery of Politics and Propor-
tional Representation, in the Am. L.
Rev. v. 6, p. 255. It gives the
origin and meaning of ' Gerryman-
dering.' To the same effect, see Mr.
H. R. Droop's paper on the various
methods of Electing Representatives,
read before the Statistical Society on
12th April, 1*81, with the discussion
thereon; Statis. Soc. Jour. v. 44,

Bp. 141-202. And a debate in the
ew Zealand II. of Rep. July 6,
1881, in favour of the application of
* Hare's System ' to representation in

both Houses. The motion did not
pass. Mr. L. Courtney's paper in
19th Cen. v. 6, p. 141. Amos, Fifty
Years of the Eng. Const, pp. 54-64.
And Mr. Buckalew's Rep. of Sel.
Com e . to U. S. Senate in 18C8-9,
No. 271.

5 Plea for the Const, pp. 21, 22.
And see some pithy remarks to the
same effect in Henry Drummond's
Letter to Mr. Bright (London, 1858),
p. 35.

* On the Ensr. Govt. new ed. p. li.

n The Election of Representatives,
by Thos. Hare, 4th ed. London,
1873; and Hare's paper in Fort.
Rev. v. 23, p. 75.


ments ; ' declaring with great justice that ' the minority
is more or less effectually protected at present by the
limitations of the franchise, by the dissimilarity of diffe-
rent constituencies, and by their great inequality in
numbers. ' v This, indeed, is undeniable, so long as the
interests of the minority continue to be secured indirectly
and unconsciously by the number and variety of the
constituencies into which the electoral body is divided ;
but the extreme liberal party contended for a redistri-
bution of electoral power, which they claimed would
secure a more complete representation of the people.

The representation of minorities was suggested by Earl Grey in
a report from a Committee of the Privy Council, in 1850, on the
Constitution of the Cape of Good Hope, as proper to be applied
to the election of legislative councillors in that colony. w A similar
principle was introduced by Earl Russell into the Reform Bill
which he laid before the House of Commons in 1854, x and approved
by Sir G. C. Lewis, y

As at first introduced, this Bill contained certain checks and Reform
limitations, which, in the progress of the measure through the House '
of Commons, were either modified or done away with. The principal
provision of this kind was to allow a dual vote, in boroughs, in

r Saturday Review, February 25, question was disposed of by the Court

1865 The objections to the principle of Common Pleas on Nov. 7 and 9,

of the representation of minorities are 18G8, who decided on appeal from a

very admirably put in a paper by Mr. decision of a revising barrister that

J. Boyd Kinnear, in the Fort. Rev. women were legally incapacitated

v. 4, p. 40, &c. And see arguments from voting under the said Act. L.

against the system proposed, by Mr. T. Rep. N.S. v. 19, p. 534. See

Hare and Mr. Mill, of ' plurality of debates on Bills to remove the poli-

votes,' and, ' personal representation,' tical disabilities of women, Hans. D.

in Hearn, Govt. of Eng. c. xix. and v. 201, pp. 194, 607 ; v. 206, p. 68;

in the Ed. Rev. v. 122, p. 277. On v. 211, p. 1 ; v. 223, p. 418 ; v. 228,

the other hand, for arguments in p. 1658 ; v. 234, p. 1362.

favour of Mr. Hare's scheme of ' per- w Grey's Col. Pol. v. 2, p. 456.

sonal representation ' see Mr. Mill's x Hans. D. v. 130, p. 498.

speech in Hans. 1). v. 187, p. 1343. y Ed. Rev. v. 100, p. 226. See

See also his ingenious speech in fa- Lewis's Letters, p. 283 ; also Tremen-

vour of conferring the franchise upon heere's Prin. of Govt. [18821. For

women, Ib. p. 817. Though this debates on motions for the partial

proposition was rejected by the introduction of the principle of the

House, it has been argued that by a representation of minorities, see

legal construction of the new Act Hans. D. v. 188, pp. 1037-1068; v.

females are entitled to the franchise. 189, pp. 433, 535, 1125; v. 192, p.

See Anstey's Notes on the Reform 900 ; v. 212, p. 890. And see Fras.

Act of 1867, pp. 74-104. But the Mag. v. 72, p. 155.


certain cases. It has been computed that, through the agency of
the dual vote, some 300,000 new electors of the middle and upper
classes would have been raised up to counterbalance the votes of
some 100,000 working men already on the register, and of another
Eeform 100,000 who would have been enfranchised by the Bill as it stood
Bill, 1867. a t first. Other checks were established by the permission to use
voting papers ; by requiring a two years' residence to give a vote
in boroughs, because they did not pay their own rates ; and by the
provision refusing the franchise to compound householders. But all
these limitations were swept away, and, by the abolition of ' com-
pound householders,' an immense addition was made to the con-
stituent body. 2 But, by returns laid before Parliament in 1869,
it appears that the constituent body in England and Wales was
doubled by the new Reform Act. In counties the electors were
increased from 542,633 to 791,916 ; and in boroughs, from 514,026
to l,220,715. a In round numbers, a total of 2,000,000 voters, which,
deducting 10 per cent, for plural votes and other casualties, leaves a
constituency of 1,800,000 to a total population of 22,700,000, or, to
an adult male population, by the census of 1870, in England and
Wales, of 5,753,000. b Earl Grey considered that it would be the
tendency of the new Reform Act ' to substitute, for the influence of
old connection and the territorial power of great families, the bare
influence of money in its lowest and most degrading form.' This
influence, he thought (as was the other) would be exercised through
the small boroughs ; and therefore he advocated ' the plan of uniting
these boroughs in groups for the purpose of forming constituencies
sufficiently numerous to give a hope of their independence.' This, he
contended, would be far better than their total disfranchisement, as
' it is desirable to keep this element of small towns in the representa-
tion.' c But the system of grouping boroughs, though it has worked
successfully in Scotland and Wales, has not found favour in England.
It was one of the features of the Reform Bill of 1866 which inspired
general dissatisfaction,* 1 and the resolution in favour of it was rejected
by the House of Lords. 6

1 Ed, Rev. v. 126, pp. 548, 551, (in Bradley v. Baylis, and two other

and 553. cases, on appeal from decisions of

a L.T. Oct. 16, 1869, p. 421. And revising barristers), the number of

see Mr. C. Anstey's paper in ' Recess electors in borough constituencies

Studies,' p. 351. has been largely increased, the fran-

b Mr. Disraeli, Hans. D. v. 207, p. chise being distinctly conferred on

852; Com. Pap. 1873, v. 53. A all separate tenements in the same

later return gives the registered house. L. T. v. 72, pp. 75. 70. But,

electors of England and AVales at on appeal, two out of these three

2,377,761 ; of Ireland, at 231,265; decisions were reversed. Ib. p. 129.

of Scotland, at 302,313. Com. Pap. c Hans. D. v. 189, p. 531.

1877, v. 68. By decisions of Judges d Ib. p. 640-575.

Denman and Bowen, in Nov. 1881 c Ib. p. 592.


The second part of the new Reform Act provided for the re-
distribution of seats. It empowered Manchester, Liverpool, Birming-
ham, and Leeds to return three members each, which, it was supposed,
would usually confer a seat upon the party in the minority in these
places ; no boroughs were disfranchised by this Act, but thirty-eight
boroughs, having a population of less than 10,000 each, were to
return one member only. Nine new boroughs, to return one member
each, were enfranchised ; also the borough of Chelsea to return two
members. Merthyr Tydvil and Salford to return each two members;
and the Tower Hamlets to be divided into two divisions, and each to
return two members. Thirteen counties to be subdivided, with two
members for each division ; and the University of London to be
empowered to return one member. But the anomalies of the present
system under which a minority of the whole population of the
Kingdom, dwelling in represented towns, returns to Parliament a far
greater number of members than the majority, who reside in counties,
are clearly shown in a paper by Mr. E. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, in
' Mac. Mag.' Nov. 1872. See also debate in the House of Commons,
on May 6, 1873, on Sir C. W. Dilke's motion, to resolve, ' That it is
desirable to redress the inequalities of the distribution of electoral
power in England, Scotland, and Ireland.' And on Mr. Trevelyan's
Bills to introduce household franchise in English counties/ And on
Sir C. W. Dilke's motion, on July 15, 1875, ' That it is the duty of the
Government to cause inquiry to be made into the various methods of
bringing about a juster distribution of political power, with a view of
securing a more complete representation, of the people.'

But these objections are only aimed at those recom- His plan
meiidations of Earl Grey which are designed to create creasing
a counterpoise to the diminution of aristocratic or terri- fche
torial influence in the House of Commons, as a result of of minis-
changes effected in the representation by further mea- ^riia 1 -
sures of parliamentary reform ; they do not at all affect ment.
the integrity of his plan for obtaining a moderate in-
crease of the power of ministers in Parliament, which

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