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THE POLITICAL PAST AND FUTURE.
PARTIES perish-principles survive. Men may in politics is desirable. Men seek, naturally, the change their opinions, but the opinions are not best of cverything; but until they can procure affected by the change. For some years now past, firsts they do not reject seconds. Nobody starves perhaps a majority of the public have rejoiced in with abundance of brown bread, because whiter belonging to no party. If they had closely ex- loaves are not to be obtained. Even so it should amined the origin of their joy they would have found be with government by the people. It means the that it sprang from their possessing no political healthful life of society; but if it cannot be proprinciple. The late Sir Robert Peel has been accused cured in one form we must strive for another ; if of the murder of party in this country, but he did it cannot be secured in perfection we must take a worse deed in destroying popular belief in the the smallest imperfection that is procurable. The principles of public men, and enshrining the doc. Royal British Bank depositors will not refuse five trine of expediency in its place. We charge him shillings per £l this month, and four shillings per not with catering only for his own love of power £1 next month, because they want twenty shillings and vanity, as others have done, * bu: he was the in the long run- and we hope they may get them. statesman of expediency ; a hazardous guide, and Wisdom in monetary is wisdom in political affairs. in this respect be debauched political confidence in Go for the whole right, but never reject an instalpublic men, and ended it. Every man is supposed ment. Take that, nieanwhile; it will give you by many men to have his mission. It is obviously heart to push harder for the remnant. truc; but some people's mission is not easily per
Government by the people is avowedly sought ceptible to others. “Sir Robert Peel's was probably by all the Liberal party; and by almost all parties that blow at partizanship which he struck with a in this country. The Conservative party, with few tremendous power. Nobody can regret too little exceptions, profess the same "principle.” In the death of old party distinctions, but their cradi- France, the electors of the legislative assemblies cation may be bought dearly if party principles have are obviously not the people. In Russia, the by mistake been committed to the same grave; for people do not govern ; but are bartered or bought, these belonged to men who should not forget them. and governed. Even in the United States, the
“Principles are few, details are many." Twenty free coloured men do not govern, for their citizenyears since, the people were agitated concerning ship is denied, and the slaves carry votes for their details, while they believed that they were labour- owners, but none for themselves. The inhabitants ing for principles. They were disappointed, and of India do not have government by the people ; soured, by delay and procrastination, not because but they are nearer to that result than either their principles were defeated, but because their French, Russians, or Americanised-Africans of the details were unsuccessful. In 1857 it is melan. United States, for they have a free press, un. choly to turn back in memory to 1837, and the fettered rights of speech, and assiduous efforts struggle then commenced for the details and the made for their intellectual and religious progress. principles of political reform. One half of the All parties in this country speak of popular leaders in that movement are dead, without seeing government and the influence of public opiniouany result of their labours, except disappointment. two different matters -- for public opinion, probably, Government by the people is a principle, and it influenced Nebuchadnezzar, and was not altogether may be secured by more ways than one. Optimism lost on Nicholas ; although neither of these Em
perors submitted to popular government. These See Jelinger Symons on Peel, noticed in our last number. general statements, confused occasionally as they
are, do not interfere with the possibility of working | lature ; while the persons who are affected chiefly out the principle of popular government, without by these proceedings are refused the criminal's a hard adherence to every detail. The Legislature right of being heard by counsel in their own beof our country includes a slight representation of half. the learned bodies; a larger of the middle classes ; The law does not by statute refuse the la. the army and the navy indirectly; the bar and the bourer a vote. It is not prohibitive, except in church in the same fashion; the banking and the the sense of a Russian tariff of seventy to a huncolonial interests in an equally crooked way; and dred per cent., which is called protective, but is the larger proportion of the representation falls to prohibitive. A working man earning £60 annuthe landed interest, although that community have ally cannot pay £10 for rent with prudence. He not advantageously employed their influence at all is, therefore, virtually excluded by statute unless times. The artisan class, as separated from the he be an extravagant person; and those who labouring, or lower paid classes, have a certain make laws should remember that rents are one degree of influence over the representation of charge, and the costs of housekeeping and taxes several boroughs ; but the agricultural labourers, are additional expenses. It is not the difference a very numerous body of men, have no represen- in rent alone, but in many other matters, that contatives ; the miners in counties, have nothing to say stitutes the increased expenditure in a large over in the choice of members ; small farmers are less a small house. than small, they count nothing at the polls ; factory The inadequate representation of the operative operatives in county villages, comprehending an classes cannot be denied, but many persons hold intelligent and numerous body, neither directly that they would not be benefited, indeed that they nor indirectly affect elections; and the great ma- would be damaged, by any extension of their pojority of labourers and operatives in all towns, litical power. They want information and can be have not a shadow of influence over the legisla- better cared for by others than by themselves. ture. Individuals belonging to other classes are Arguments of that nature would be thoroughly disfranchised by accident, but they are left desti- useless, if they had no truth in them. Truth is tute of political power .by design. The shop the grain of salt that keeps the corrupting mass keepers and tradesmen of counties who pay rents from becoming thoroughly offensive. We could under £50 per annum bave no vote. The arrange. all bear more information than we possess, and ment is bad. But the individual only suffers. His occasionally others see our interests more clearly class is represented. We are dissatisfied with that than we perceive them. For these reasons we do distribution of power; and those who suffer from not prefer to be called ignorant, or leave our affairs it should also be dissatisfied, but the exclusion of entirely to the guidance of wise neighbours. entire classes, comprising the majority of the Truth in this case is in the form of grains. They nation, from any share in the formation of its laws, are few, and very small. Truth in this description is still worse.
of pleading is atomical ; and anatomical precision If the law regarded labourers as helots or serfs, is necessary to trace its place in the mass. The or slaves, the consequent exclusion from the feudal system was maintained by the same apology. suffrage would not be logically wrong. The law The serfs of Russia are supposed to be incapable that calls a man a chattel, is not hypocritical in of caring for themselves. The slaves of the refusing to him a vote. The arrangement in the United States are kept in slavery for their own States is different. There the slaves are considered good. The interest of the oppressed has been to be politically under age. Their owner is their often the reason pled by the oppressor for his trustee who votes for them. This law is hypocri- deeds. The preservation of law and order has tical. It assumes that a good time is coming for not seldom been made the justification of prothe negroes ; that they are abstractly entitled to ceedings that rode roughshod over the foundation political power, but are not yet ripe for the use of of all law. their rights.
Government by the people for the people, insers Personal freedom is guarded more jealously in that all classes of the people share its arrangethis than in any other land. We are entitled to ments; but in this country we have an excluded come or to go, as we please.
The right is even class; and that class the more numerous portion now carried occasionally into something very near of the nation. Our meaning in seeking for prinwrong. A man is free to get drunk as he pleases ciples, instead of mere details, is illustrated by an if he avoid any trangression of the police regula. empire and a republic. The Emperor Napoleon lations. The personal right of property runs into was chosen to occupy the throne of France, by the extravagance. We have heard of a Scotch land direct votes of the electors. Mr. Buchanan has owner levelling a thousand homes for a crotchet. been selected for the White House at Washington, To high and low we assign a large personal freedom. by the indirect votes of the electors. The latter
If labour were a silent sufferer, the policy of chose delegates to vote for a President, instead of our course might be wiser. People would speak directly naming their man upon the ballot cards. against rousing questions that slept, or wrongs The details in these cases present considerable that were not felt to be wrong; but now labour differences, that may even change the result of and its interests are perpetually before the legis- I elections ; but if the votes have been fairly given
in both instances, we must concede to Buchanan The post is gone irretrievably and with it many, and Bonaparte election by the people,
who might have helped us now. The future is before The present Government may fulfil the promise us, and should not be wasted. The people, we inade by another Government, three years since, suspect, are not much inclined to waste strength, to carry an extension of the suffrage, combined and, although some may say that we surrender with a re-distribution of electoral districts. As a right by consenting to a substitute, yet we sur. the opening of the Parliamentary session approaches render nothing by taking what can be first obtained we hear less of the rumour. The bill, however, as a means to all that is requisite. They do not may be introduced and passed. It will not see the folly of declining to storm the Malakoff, certainly be a perfect bill, but if it presents an unless they can carry the entire Sebastopol at honest step in advance, it should not be opposed.
a blow. Mr. King has frequently pressed the extension A knot of questions surround this suffrage of borough rights to county farmers and trades- movement; but they are chiefly dependent upon men. The reform urged by bim is merely the its solution. The use of the ballot, the payment assimilation of the county franchise to that of Par- of the members of the legislature, and the duration liamentary boroughs, and would effect a great of parliaments, may be raised before the suffrage, improvement; but it would not solve the entire
or after, or never ; but when the great body of question-yet it should not be opposed.
the people have a fair place in the State, they can A five instead of a ten pound franchise would impute no blame to statesmen if such details are more than treble the number of electors, especially left in an unsatisfactory condition. in small towns; and would introduce a useful class Rights exist that scarcely repay a struggle to of voters in many constituencies. It would not obtain. Many individuals among the unenfranbe abstractly right. It would be only an imper- chised consider that the suffrage is one of these fect system, founded on brick and mortar after rights. It is not worth the trouble of seeking for, all, but still it should not be opposed.
in their opinion. The future will, probably, re. An intellectual qualification is proposed, fortified duce their number day by day. Our political by a tax on voting, or the registration of all per- wants can only be smoothly supplied by the agency sons, conforming to the intellectual requirement, of this reform. The people can carry many and producing a receipt for income tax, to vote in measures, or prevent others, when they become the locality where they have resided for six agitated and angry;, but anger is a disease, and months. If the tax be within the means of the one of a dangerous nature. great body of the people, it would be cheerfully In
many parts of Scotland the land is held by paid; and would produce a large revenue, easily a few individuals, whose power has been employe 1 collected ; and if the intellectual part of the quali. to weaken the nation. That subject needs to be fication were rendered plain, as it might be, reading rectified. We have no wish to take from any man and writing for example, the plan would give a his possessions; but neither has one man a right great extension of the suffrage, and, perhaps, settle to convert them into nuisances, nor has another the question for ever; yet it might not be ab- the right to render his property in them obnoxious. stractly right.
The nation could not suffer loss from the entail of All these plans deserve to be aided and promoted; money, but it suffers great injury from an entail of and in this way, by seeking to advance, we may land." The life-renter has to make provision for attain the practice of popular government, with a family, and his land provides only for one of a . out securing every detail
, good in itself, yet not flock, perhaps. As a wise man, therefore, he absolutely requisite to the result wanted.
starves the land, that his childreu, and his childIn the past, this policy has been overlooked. ren's children, excepting in one line, may not The advocate of household suffrage has professed starve. Improvements have been accomplished hostility to the friend of universal suffrage, while recently in the law of entail; but the future needs the latter styled the former a poor supporter of the abolition of any law on the evil, except one for brick instead of mind; and both assailed any per- its destruction. son who hinted at the propriety of an intellectual The game laws have become an engine of moral qualification, as a bitter foe; and all three joined evil. They have rendered many persons into osten in aspersing the very general sort of man, canvassers for the jail ; and yet a man must be who was for an extension of the suffrage, without permitted to exclude trespassers from his property, caring how small, even if by hair-breadths, as a and to feed any sort of animals, not absolutely mere pretender, which he might or might not be dangerous, on his domains. A limit exists even We do not say that all the persons in all or in to this right. If the Duke of Buccleugh became, any of these classes have acted in that way; but for example, possessed by a passion for breeding many of them, forgetting that we wanted a means locusts, and were successful against the influence to an end, a road through Idumea if possible ; but of climate, we presume that the neighbouring if not, through the wilderness, have acted as if landlords would seek for other obstructions—but only one direction pointed to the journey's locusts are dangerous. If another person with terminus ; and no way but their way could take many acres turned them all into a vast preserve us there.
for destructive game, and all game are not des
LAW, CURRENCY, AND COLONIES.
tructive of anything useful to man, his neighbours public mind on the subject will repeal them. would resent this employment of the rights of Necessity may do more than reason or right on private property. The line between the preserves this matter, and but for the discoveries of gold in that may be tolerated, and those that are intolera. Australia and California, the laws in question ble, has never been clearly drawn, but it exists, would have been long ago repealed in the midst of and may be overstepped. The legislature, in a ruin. From the nature of these discoveries the laws proper and rational state, would find a remedy in stillexist to wring a privatetax from those who labour, taxation. Taxes have a virtue that will never be for the good of those who do not require to practically understood until they are applied to toil. deer forests and game preserves, and to all extra- The colonial relations of the empire open out vagances of a similar kind.
questions of more consequence to "the industri. The army, the navy, the civil service, indeed ous" sections of the population, to those who earn, every service, is periodically submitted to discuss and who must earn to live, than to any other sion without all those good results that might and portion of the community. The larger group of and should arise out of so much nervous talking colonies—those in North America— wish for union and sensible writing, as are expended on the sub- with this country on fair terms. The questions ject; although the progress of improvement is submitted to the people, by such men as Judge visible even in the recesses of Government pa- Haliburton, are two—“Will it be wise to be weak tronage, but it would be more visible if the legis- or strong in coming times ?"_and—"Is it better lature reflected the popular will in some to extend England, Ireland, and Scotland, by accurate manner than it does at present.
regions larger than all Europe, or to cramp ourThe mode of taxation offers many abuses. We selves up in a few islands ?" Upon the industrious have been engaged for a number of years in rea- falls a large share of the fighting and paying, and soning upon the comparative value of income from all the working. From them, therefore, the res. property and wages.
A clever coterie of men ponses to these questions should come. A short have been allowed to persuade the country time since, many persons thonght that a separation that the doctor's or the minister's five hundred, into distinct and independent communities would or one hundred pounds per annum, for work done, be more beneficial than a federal union, who have are as taxable, because they are as valuable, as the been otherwise taught, by experience, and their squire's rents of the same amount. It is the number will be increased rapidly; but, be the most puerile question that could be raised. Aanswer what it may, ere we part from possessions money lender will decide it in a moment. Only so extensive, from a prospect so grand-let us let A.B., whose fees run annually to three hundred have the answer, not from a part, but from the pounds, and C.D., whose rents are equal in amount, whole of the people. both try together to raise money upon the capabi- Our foreign relations have become intricate; lities or industry of the one, or the acres and and the progress and stability of liberty everyhouses of the other; from E.F., the banker, and where, combined with the material prosperity, the he will explain to them soon the distinction bc- social and religious advancement of mankind, tween their respective properties. The public require that they should be carefully studied. We have allowed themselves, nevertheless, to be amused are at war withi Persia; and certain working men with this stupid question, while the tax has been of Newcastle-on-Tync, according to common plagoing on and rising up, partly because its early and cards on the walls, pledge themselves to prosecute total repeal was expected, without any better ang officers, or soldiers, who may hereafter be reason than a Parliamentary promise, and partly proved to have engaged in that war. The officers because the bold impertinence of the statement and soldiers, we fear, are more likely to be prosetakes their breath from the boldest ; until they cuted if they should refuse to obey orders. The are familiarised with its proportions ; yet this placards are, however, part of an industrial abuse could not have been passed, or, if it had system, pursued by persons who think they do the passed, would have been immediately repealed; if world good service hy asserting that our Govern. the Parliament had reflected the people; within ment is always wrong. A society in one Yorkshire twelve months from the day when it was felt. town have been snubbed by one member of Par
The currency laws are the plainest infractions of liament, at least, if not more, for venturing to free trade that have existed in our country within consider foreign affairs through a different medium a civilised and recent period. A prospect of action from that which he uses. Bradford, in Yorkshire, and, we trust, execution upon them during the has a society of the same nature. Sheffield has next Parliamentary session exists, yet for many been long famous for a lively opinion upon foreign years they have sown ruin over the land and have matters, not always sound, but always vivid. We been assiduously defended by many friends of free do not discuss these matters here, although we trade, who bounced ont with the question—"What is believe that our Government has frequently acted a pound ?”—and ran off without hearing a definition. from better motives than have been ascribed to it, A Parliament that gave a fair interpretation of in some quarters; yet as all the people have to public opinion would have rever passed these pay for, and many of them to fight, in these laws; and the first Parliament that reflects the quarrels, they should enjoy better means than they