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strength by such a change, to the landed interest, is a chimera and a bugbear, which ought to be at once dismissed from the mind of every honest and intelligent reformer.
The sources of such accession of strength are plainly twofold. 1.–That out of the 115 borough members, to which the thirty agricultural counties would be entitled, they would have a larger proportion of landlord nominees and Conservatives, than in the present number of 225; and 2.—That they would gain a proportion of the new votes, to which the manufacturing districts would be entitled, greater than the number of Tory votes, in the 109, which would be expurgated in the agricultural counties.
Carefully analysing 'Dodd's Parliamentary Companion,' we have the following classification of the 215 members returned by the agricultural counties : Present
Number of Number Conser- q: Memberspro
of vative. Members
Rental. Counties in which the
Conservatives have a 10 85 majority .. ..) Counties which are neutral 6 36 18 18 16 79 Counties in which the ) Liberals have a ma. 14 jority
Conser- Liberal. portionate to
30 215 108 117 115 62 It needs only a glance at these figures, to perceive that the counties in which Conservatism has its strongholds, will suffer the greatest reduction of members ; eighty-five being diminished to thirty-three,- little short of two-thirds. On the other hand, the counties which return a majority of Liberals, would only suffer a reduction of thirty-eight on 104,-or little more than one-third. Supposing, that after the adjustment of numbers according to the rental of real property, the ratios of Conservative and Liberal members remain the same, the following table will exhibit the result:
Members. Conservatives. Liberals.
At present, the Liberal majority in these thirty counties is nine. On the adjusted scale it would be thirteen. We incline to the opinion, that the gain would be greater than this, because the pocket borough influence would be almost annihilated, by merging the pocket boroughs in districts sufficiently large to give the right of returning one or more members. The scale for one member being £130,289.; and the pocket boroughs scarcely averaging more than £20,000. rental, it is evident that the influence of one family, or laudlord, would, in the great majority of cases, be entirely destroyed. In all probability, rival Conservative and Liberal claims would be set up, where the one or the other now reigns in undisputed sovereignty; and whenever men are so far delivered from the torpedo-influence of a system which leaves them no mental exercise, as to the matter of voting, further than to get an intelligent idea from their patron's steward, who it is their patron wishes or directs them to vote for, we have some hope that truth will prevail ; and when that prevails, there will not be the dead lock of Toryism,there will be progress, in some form or other. We cannot, then, see how landlordism, or Conservatism, is to gain in the thirty agricultural counties. Let us now enquire what probability there is that it would gain in the metropolitan, the mining, and the manufacturing counties ; which, for convenience, we shall class together in one group. These counties return ninety nine borough members, of whom thirty-two are Conservative, and sixty-seven, Liberals. They would have 208 members under the proposed system ; and if the proportions of Liberals and Conservatives remained the same, there would be 141 of the former, and sixty-seven of the latter; leaving a Liberal majority of seventy-four. The whole gain of the Liberal party would then stand thus :
Gain in thirty agricultural counties ..
. .. .. 39
Total gain .. .. 43 This gain must not be confounded with that shown on p. 238, which, it may not be amiss to repeat, simply shows the gain in mere numbers. The figures above (forty-three) show the political results of the adjustment, as distinct from the numerical. Now, we have taken the proportions of 141 Liberal, to sixtyseven Conservative members, for the ten counties, on a supposition the least favourable to the former : that is, we have taken the aggregate ratio of sixty-seven to thirty-two; whereas, taking the sections of counties in detail, and calculating the results separately, the proportions would stand thus,-one hundred and fifty-five, and fifty-three, in place of one hundred and forty-one, and sixty-seven. Thus calculated, the Liberal gain would be seventy-one, in place of forty-three. We are quite willing, however, for the sake of strengthening the argument, to take the least favourable supposition, because it will best meet the objection made in several quarters,—that the landed interest would gain by the apportionment of members, to the ratio of population, or property; for, although the objection is taken to an apportionment according to population, it will presently be demonstrated, that whether population or property be the basis, the results are all but identical.
It will be urged, we know, that the new members given to the manufacturing counties of York (W. Riding), Lancaster, Warwick, Stafford, and Chester, will, in the main, be returned by the agricultural districts of those counties. But on a very minute examination of this assertion, we find it to be without foundation. In fact, the large towns would take one-half of the new members, and the districts which now have no voice, except as they share in the county representation, would get the other; and we conceive it to be quite certain, seeing that those unrepresented districts are so thickly studded with considerable towns and villages,—such as Dewsbury, Barnsley, Keighley, Otley, and Holmfirth, in the West Riding of York; and Burnley, Has. lingden, and Darwen, in Lancashire ;– that, at the least, the votes would be equal.
As to the metropolitan counties, of which the borough representatives are as three Conservatives to sixteen Liberals, if the same ratio were obtained in the apportionment of the eightythree new members, there would be sixteen Conservative and eighty-six Liberal members; but, as already observed, we have taken an aggregate ratio of thirty-two to sixty-seven, for the ten metropolitan, mining, and manufacturing counties, the result of which is, thirty-three Conservative to sixty-nine Liberal members for the metropolitan section ; a proportion which seems to us a very probable one.
The preceding statements and calculations may, with advantage, be put in the form of six distinct and short propositions : 1.-That thirty agricultural counties of England return 225 bo
rough members to Parliament, and ten other counties return ninety-nine members, leaving a majority of 126 members in
favour of the former section. 2.- That if the representation of England were adjusted, according
to the scale of rental, the thirty agricultural counties would return one-hundred and fifteen members, and the ten other counties two hundred and nine members ; leaving a majority
of ninety-foar members in favour of the latter. 3.-That in the present borough representation, the Liberal party
have a majority of nine in the thirty agricultural counties, and a majority of thirty-five in the other counties, making an ag
gregate majority of forty-four Liberals. VOL. XXIV.
4.-That if the members respectively returned for the two great
sections of counties, after the re-distribution according to rental, should be in the same ratio as to political opinion, the numbers would stand, one hundred and eighteen Conservatives, and two hundred and five Liberals, leaving a majority
of eighty-seven, in favour of the latter. 5.–That the majority of Liberals on the present system being forty
four, the gain of re-distribution would be forty-three. 6.- That re-distribution would not affect the ratio of Liberal and
Conservative county members, in any appreciable degree.
We have stated that the results of a re-distribution of the representation, whether in the ratio of rental, electors, dwellinghouses, males above twenty years of age, or of population, would not augment the strength of the landed and aristocratic party in the House of Commons. We now give a table which exhibits the results on each of these modes of re-distribution.
In the ratio In the ratio In the ratio In the ratio of In the ratio of property of electors of houses males above of popula
20 yrs of age tion. Counties. Members. Members. Members. Members. Members. 30 Agricultural 222
260 246 247 3 Mining 20 21 23
24 2 Metropolitan 166 112 52 5 Manufacturing 119 120 132 127 129
40 Total. Total 467 467 467 467 467
The most formidable objection to re-distribution is that which is directed against it as based on population, or on uni. versal suffrage. The preceding table shows that, on either of these principles, the total gain of the agricultural counties would be twenty-five votes, as compared with a re-distribution according to rental. But the gain is not necessarily a landlord orConservative gain. It would only be a gain, measured by the different ratios of Liberal and Conservative members in the agricultural and manufacturing districts, respectively. In round numbers, these would be as seventy-five to fifty, in the former, and as one hundred and forty to seventy, in the latter, after redistribution. Twenty-five votes, therefore, would give fifteen Liberal, and ten Conservative, votes, in the former case, and sixteen Liberal, and eight Conservative, votes, in the latter. The gain wonld be one vote to the agricultural counties.
The discrepancies in the ratios of the table are marked, but they admit of an easy solution. The ratios of rental and of electors are closely accordant, and for an obvious reason, the present electors are the propertied classes, to use a current phrase. The ratios of inhabited houses are greatly discrepant,
opnufacturing celle calculation, and the men, than asach section
void alle to the Libec present scals
because houses in agricultural districts are not in the same juxta-position to vast masses of real property, as in the great seats of trade and manufactures. For a similar reason, the population is in a less ratio to property in the metropolitan and manufacturing counties. If, however, the whole of Great Britain were taken into the calculation, the relative numbers of members returned for the agricultural and the manufacturing counties would be less favourable to the former, than as shown for England alone; and, dividing the members for each section (as to politics) according to the present scale, the result would be more favourable to the Liberal interest.
We avoid all discussion on the question of equal electoral districts. The true rationale of representation supposes all classes to have a voice. A system which gives a mere majority the entire representation would be a representation of one class, and that class not the landed, We think it idle to say the land is represented by the House of Lords. It is in the Commons that all great questions affecting the whole people are decided ; and that House ought to speak the voice of all the lieges. The county representation is one we have no wish to disturb. It has the prestige of antiquity, and a manifest utility,
In whatever aspect, then, re-distribution is viewed, it is demonstrated that the landed interest would not gain by it, so far as respects England. Still less would it gain when applied to Wales and Scotland, if the representation of those portions of the empire be adjusted on the same principle as that of England, namely, each division retaining its present number of members, and those members being apportioned, pro ratione, to the rental of land and other real property. It would extend this article beyond due bounds to give the details; it must suffice to state, that whilst in Wales the re-distribution would not affect the relative strength of parties at all, --in Scotland, it would greatly increase the borough representation, which, it is almost unnecessary to say, is more liberal than the borough representation of England. But then there is Ireland ! We do not deny the difficulty, if either population, or males above twenty years of age, be taken as the standard of re-distribution. Or any one of the other standards of distribution,---rental, ten pound householders, or inhabited houses (distinguishing houses from mud-hovels),- Ireland would have less than its present share of members in the imperial legislature. Rental, separately, would only give it seventy-four members in place of 103. The difficulty vanishes at once, if the cxisting proportion of members for the four primary divisions of the two islands be retained. And the difficulty, such as it is, of arbitrarily maintaining those proportions unchanged, whilst the proportions for