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SECESSION AGAIN!

REFORM! SHALL ABERDARE HAVE…

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REFORM! SHALL ABERDARE HAVE A MEMBER OF ITS OWN? The question whether Government would or would not bring in a lieform Bill has long ceased to occupy the public mind and the inquiry now is. what sort of a Bill will Ministers introduce ? The opinion appears to gain ground that in his recent speech at Roehdale Mr. Bright's remarks were founded, if not upon an actual knowledge of ministerial intentions, at least, upon a toler- ably safe surmise of ministerial probabilities. Should Ministers introduce a Reform Bill extend- ing the franchise to £ 10 occupiers in the coun- ties, and £6 in the boroughs, We may make up our minds to a vigorous opposition. The change 18 so vast that the territorial influence of the Legislature may reasonably be expected to array itself against it, while the great body of the "Conservatives will naturally oppose, on political grounds, what they will consider too violent and sweeping a change entirely in one direction. Everything foreshadows a determined struggle on both sides. On the one hand the country is l'airly around in the exp -ctftion of a large mea- sure of representative reform, and on the ntr.er t .e lauded aristocracy and the Conservative party will probably energetically oppose any such measure as that to which we have referred, not only on account of the terms of the bill itself, but recognising that ib is hut an instalment, the commencement of an eraoF reprtsentative reyo lution. Should the question of the franchise alone be treated, the Legislature and the country will know full well that behind this measure will be the ballot and a re-distribution of seatsâqu°s- tions only second in importance in the public mind to 'that of the franchise. Even supposing then that the House of Commons pass such a measure, it becomes a question how far tIle House of Lords are likely to entertain it. The Upper House is far more Conservative in its ten- dencies than the Lower House, and the idea of such a sweeping reduction of the franchise mu-t be distasteful to the majority. That they will pass such a measure willingly and heartily we do not for a moment believe, but they may do it from motives of expediency, lest a worse thing befal them." The question of there-distribution of seats, if we may judge from Lord Russell's reply to the deputation which waited upon him recently touching the nromised Reform Bill, is one which has not sufficientiyengaged the at- tention of the framer or framers of the measure referred to. That a re-distribution of seats should form a feature in the forthcoming Bill is one which no one who has carefully watched the pro. gress of our country can see any reason to doubt. Row many little b -roughs have we seen fall off into comparative nothingness in point of popula- tion and commercial importance since 1832? On the other hand, how many places have grown from rude villages to majestic town since that period? Take Aberdare as an example. Who knew anything of or eared anything for Aber- dare thirty years ago? At present who is there that does not regard it as one of the most rising of the mining and manufacturing towns of Wales ? Aberdare has a population of some 3>,000 âdaily on the increase, be it notedâand yet it is without a political representative of its own. True, we have the advantage of Mr. Bruce's able representation, but as he has but one vote to record on behalf of his numerous constituency, and he is in reality the Member for Mei'thyr Tydfil," we think we have some reason to com- plain. Anyhuw, the whole question as to the redistribution of seats demands the most careful attention of the Government, and we shall be much disappointed if, amongst the many political reforms we have a right to expect at their hands, we do not find Aberdare down for a parliamen- tary representative of its own. On this subject the Daily Leader says: "Large and populous towns in the coal and iron districts have fewer members than agricultural counties ¡ that have not half so many householders. Soon- er or later a day of calculation must come. Fi. gures and statistics must gain a victory in the end. If we take, for instance, Merthyr, Dow- lais, Aberdare, and Mountain Ash; these towns, with their vast works and immense population, instead of having only one member, ought rightly to have two, if t.0t three. Towns that are in- creasing in commercial importance should also increase in political responsibility and power. Merthyr is not the village that it was, nor is Aberdare composed of the few little cottages once so solitary:in the valley. There was a time when one member was sufficient for both, and even a less able one than Mr. Brucl" would have done. But the advance of civilization and the spirit of enterprise have wrought a wondrous change. Those places have attained a position which it is useless for the State to ignore, and towns that exercise a considerable influence on the trade of the nation ought to have a corres- ponding influence on the nation's politics The old Reform Bill gave additional members to the large manufacturing towns of England, and we may reasonably expect that the new Reform Bill will act with equal justice .towards the large manufacturing towns of Wales."

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