Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page



BEAUTIES OF OUR REPRESENTATION. THE* constitution of England is frequently declared to be the admiration of the world and the envy of surrounding nations. It is undoubtedly tolerably just in theory, but it is wofully wrong in practice. If any proof of this is needed, we apprehend that the following focts and figures which were given in Mr. Hume's speech will be found to answer Z, the purpose. They demonstrate that the real opinions of the people cannot be made known in the House of Commons as at present constituted, and this being the case, the excellency of the British constitution exists only in theory. It is a maxim of the Constitution, that taxation and represen- tation should go together. All who pay taxes and do not enjoy the franchise are deprived of their rights, and differ little from slaves. At present, five out of every six male adults in the country have no share in its representation. Out of 6,000,000 of adult males, only 1,000,000 are registered electors; and, as many of them are registered more than once, the real number of electors is, not more than 800,000 or 850,000 at most. Five millions of adults are, therefore, deprived of the rights to which they are en- titled, and are of course, to a certain extent, discontented. There are three English counties—Huntingdon, Rutland, and Westmore- land, which return two members each, six in all. The males above twenty in those are about 26,400; the registered electors 9,000, and they return six members. Middlesex, South Lanca- shire, and West Yorkshire, return six members. Here the male adults, instead of 26,000, are 316.000, and the registered electors about 73,000. This population of :U6,oOO pers9ns is met by the voice of Huntingdon, Rutland, and Westmoreland the Tower Hamlets, with a population of 400.000, has no greater voice than Harwich, with 3,7O0. Harwich, Thetford, Chippenham, Totnes, Huntingdon, and Kmiresborough, return twelve members. The gross population of the six is 28,000. Their influence in the re- presentation is as great as that of Westminster, the Tower Ham- lets, Liverpool, Finsbury, Marylebone, and Manchester, with 9 1,000 electors and a population of 1,500,000. There are three constituencies in Scotland, Banffshire. Peebleshire, and Selkirkshire, with 2,173 registered electors and 12,330 adult males. These may be compared with Edinburghshire, Lanarkshire, and Aberdeen, where the electors are 9,500 and the male adult population J 71,00J. Rutland, with than O,OOi' inhabitants, has more ectors that) two Irish counties, rangingbetween 7 0,000 and 100,000, than two more ranging between 100,000 and 1-10,000, than two more with upwards of 150,000, than one more with more than 250,000 and, lastly, than another with more than 300,000. The population of Westmoreland is 42,464 the number of its electors, -4,392. The population of Londonderry is 207,848, and the electors 2,172. Thus Londonderry has ail excess of 165,384 of population, while Westmoreland has an eXCt sS of 2,220,- of electors. Downshire, with a population of six to one greater than that of Westmoreland, has 1,260 fewer electors. Lisburn, Portarting- ton, Tralee, Dungannon, Enniskillen, and Kinsale, six boroughs, ijave 1,097 electors, and return six members, while Cork, Dublin, anu Limerick, with 1,1,540 electors, only return the same number. 1;1 the six small boroughs ore member is returned for 183 electors, while in the large constituencies, there is .only one member to 2,423 electors. Mr. Mackay has taken twenty-two boroughs, the aggregate population of which is but a fraction above 100,000, and; found that they have 42 representatives, one member for every 2,390; while twenty other ciues and boroughs, with a population of 3,7K0,0w0, also return forty-two members, being one member for about every 90,000 persons. Of the cities and boroughs now tending two representatives each, there are 15 with a population upwards of 150,090; 16 of from 50,000 to 100,000; 27 of from 20,000 to 50,000; 23 of from 10,000 to 20,000; 47 of under 10,000. Of those returning one membcrthere are, 3 with a popu- lation of from 50,000 to 100,000 10 of from 20,000 to 50,000 33 ot from 10,000 to 20,000; 30 under 10,000. Of those with a population under 10,000, 32 have only 5,000 and under; and of these 1 of which falls to below 2,000, no less than 2.0 return two members •; o' Parliament. The metropolis, including all its Parlia- with a- popuiation of 2,000.000. is represented by 1 ömembets io PaHiainent; The eight boroughs of Bridge north, Houiton; .Harwich. Thetford,. Richmond (Yorkshire), Totnes, taff0rd,:tl:d Lymington, with an aggregate population falling short of 40,000, return the same number of members. Thus we have one groups of members, 16 in number, representing 2.000,030 of people and more property than is accumulated on any uther spot of equal dimensions on the globe, and another groupe, stonsirting of the same number, representing less than 40,000 people, with but petty interests nt stake, and all of them, so far as jhe franchise is'concerned, under local influence. Thus the whole ml'lueuce of the metropolis is neutralized, by the members for these eight boroughs. The irregularities and inequalities are so glaring that they ought to induce Parliament to do justice to the people in order to restore peace, order, and contentment to the country. Such is the state of the representation. That it impera- tively demands reform is beyond the province of reasonable doubt. Bad as matters are, however, there is no need of despair. Great as the work is, it shall be done. Let the people league themselves together in quiet and resolute de- termination to seek all necessary reform, and point after point will be gained, until at last our sea-girt isle Shall be great, glorious and free, First flower of the earth, first gem of the sea."





WEDNESDAY, Junf. 28.