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to all it produced. Historians may lament that Lord John Cavendish was preferred to Mr. Burke; but if the old system of representation were once more re-established, a similar phenomenon would happen again : the near connections of the large proprietors of parliamentary property would again be preferred by those proprietors to all others. The universal tendencies of human nature ensure that it should be so.
On the other hand, although the close boroughs did not aid men of able minds and sensitive natures in the entrance to public life, they did aid men of able minds and coarse natures. The latter were willing to be dependents, and were able to be serviceable dependents; they were inclined to be slaves, and were able to be useful slaves. The pecuniary profits derivable from a public career, the places and pensions open to and readily obtainable by an able public man, brought a large number of such men into Parliament. We need not cite many instances, for the fact is evident. The entire history of the last century is full of such men,-as Mr. Rigby, as the first Lord Holland, as Bubb Dodington. The suspicion of dependence, and the reality of aristocratic patronage, were easily endured by men of covetous dispositions and vulgar characters: they only desired to have as much as possible of whatever profits were obtainable, and whatsoever the path to great profits might be, that was the road for them. And independently of these extreme cases, the close boroughs tended to fill the House of Commons with men of commonplace opinions and yielding characters, who accepted the creed of their patron very easily, and without, in all ordinary cases, any conscious suppression of their own. Their preferences were so languid, that they were not conscious of relinquishing them. The facile flexibility of decorous mediocrity is one of the most obvious facts of human nature; and it is one of the most valuable facts, for without it the requisite union of great political parties would scarcely be attainable.
Such and so great seem to us the deductions which are to be made from the common belief that the close boroughs tended to open the House of Commons to men of original minds and refined dispositions. They are so great, as to make it dubious whether that observation has even a nucleus of truth ; they indisputably show that in its ordinary form it is an extreme exaggeration; and they suggest a doubt whether as much or more may not be said for the very opposite of it.
We have now, therefore, completed our long investigation. We have inquired whether our old system of parliamentary representation did or did not give us a Parliament substantially accordant with the true public opinion of the English nation; whether it gave, to all classes who had political ideas to express, the means of expressing them; whether it had any peculiar tendency to ensure to us a succession of strong administrations; whether it had any peculiar tendency to produce great and original statesmen.' What, then, are the results which we have learned from this investigation? What are the lessons which this remarkable history, when it is examined, tends to teach us ?
First, we should learn from it to distrust complicated expedients for making strong administrations, and refined expedients for producing wise and able statesmen. The sole security upon which we can depend for a strong government is a consistent union in the nation. If we have that, under any tolerable parliamentary system we shall have a strong government; and if we have not that, we shall not have a really strong government on ordinary occasions under any. The true security for having a sufficient supply of good statesmen is to maintain a sufficient supply of good constituencies. We need not regret the rotten boroughs, if we have instead of them an adequate number of tolerably educated and not too numerous constituencies, the great majority of the voters in which are reasonably independent and tolerably incorrupt. There was nothing in either of these two respects very valuable in our old system of representation. It did not secure to us an unusual number of coherent and powerful administrations; it did not of itself give us an exceptionally great number of able and honest statesmen.
Secondly, we should learn from the history of the last century that it is perfectly idle to attempt to give political power to persons who have no political capacity, who are not intellectual enough to form opinions, or who are not high-minded enough to act on those opinions. This proposition is admitted in words; every body says that it is a truism. But is it admitted in reality? Do not all the ordinary plans for a uniform extension of the suffrage practically deny it? Will not their inevitable effect be, in the sinaller and poorer boroughs at least, to throw, or to attempt to throw, much power into the hands of voters who are sure to be ignorant, and who are almost sure to be corrupt ?
Lastly, the events of the earlier part of the last century show us—demonstrate, we may say, to us—the necessity of retaining a very great share of power in the hands of the wealthier and more instructed classes—of the real rulers of public opinion. We have seen that we owe the security of our present constitutional freedom to the possession by these classes of that power: we have learned that under a more democratic system the House of Stuart might have been still upon the throne; that the will of the numerical majority in the nation would probably have placed it there, and would probably have
kept it there; that the close boroughs of former times gave, in an indirect form and in an objectionable manner, the requisite influence to the instructed classes; and we must infer, therefore, that we should be very cautious how we now proceed to found a new system, without any equivalent provision, and with no counterbalancing weight, to the scanty intelligence of very ordinary persons and to the unbridled passions of the multitude.
If we duly estimate the significance of these conclusions, we shall perhaps think that to have been once more reminded of them, at a critical instant, is a result of sufficient significance to justify this protracted investigation, and an adequate apology for the detail which has been necessary to render it intelligible.
BOOKS OF THE QUARTER SUITABLE FOR READING
The Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose, con
taining Original Letters of the most distinguished Statesmen of his day. Edited by the Rev. Leveson Vernon Harcourt. 2 vols. Bentley.
[This book does what it professes to do,—throw new lights on the cha
racter and career of many eminent statesmen,- and is therefore one of real historical value, and has much interesting political gossip. It is not well edited; and Mr. Rose himself is not a subject of much
moral or ideal interest.] Civil Correspondence and Memoranda of the Duke of Wellington while Chief Secretary for Ireland, from 1807 to 1809. Murray.
[A work which, taken in conjunction with the correspondence of Lord
Cornwallis recently published, presents a very curious picture of
anew, with special reference to the Doubts and Discoveries of Modern Times ; being the Bampton Lectures for 1859. By the
Rev. George Rawlinson. Murray. On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Pre
servation of favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. By Charles Darwin. Murray.
[Reviewed in Article VIII.) Ishmael, or a Natural History of Islamism in relation to Christianity.
By the Rev. Dr. J. Mühleisen Arnold, formerly Church Missionary
in Asia and Africa. Rivingtons. A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and
his Companions. By Captain M'Clintock, R.N., LL.D. With
the season. It is very well and tastefully illustrated without colours.] Schiller's Life and Works. By Emil Palleske. Translated by Lady
. The Friends, Foes, and Adventures of Lady Morgan. By W.J. Fitz
patrick. Simpkin and Marshall.
Books of the Quarter suitable for Reading-Societies. 257 The Booke of the Pylgremage of the Sowle. Translated from the
French of Guillaume de Guileville, and printed by Caxton in 1483; with Illuminations taken from the Ms. copy in the British Museum. Edited by Katharine Isabella Cust. Basil Montagu Pickering.
[A quaint book of much beauty, which was no doubt one of the sources
from which Bunyan drew the conception of his “ Pilgrim's Progress." It is embellished with the illuminations of the old copy in the British Museum; and, as a whole, will be found interesting quite beyond the
circle of mere antiquarians.] The Divine Life in Man. By the Rev. Baldwin Brown. Ward.
[Truly fine and thoughtful sermons,-given in a style at times some.
thing too ornate.] Expository Lectures on St. Paul's Epistles to the Corinthians. By the late Rev, F. W. Robertson.
[Though often very fragmentary, these reports of Mr. Robertson's Lec.
tures on the Corinthians will not be amongst the least admired of
his admirable sermons.] The Peculium: an Endeavour to throw Light on some of the Causes of
the Decline of the Society of Friends, especially in regard to its claim of being the peculiar People of God. By Thomas Hancock.
Smith and Elder. Quakerism, Past and Present; being an Inquiry into the Causes of its
Decline in Great Britain and Ireland. By John Stephenson Rown
tree. Smith and Elder. A Fallen Faith. By Dr. Sheppard. Piper, Stephenson, and Spence. Miscellanies. By the Rev. Charles Kingsley. 2 vols. J. W. Parker.
[Noticed in Article I.] Recreations of a Country Parson. J. W. Parker.
[A very agreeable chatty book, reprinted from “ Fraser's Magazine."] Poems, by the Author of " John Halifax," Hurst and Blackett. Self-Help By Samuel Smiles. Murray. Women Artists. By Mrs. Ellet. Bentley.
[A book of good design, and showing not a little labour, but not very
well executed; and containing, in some of the biographies, real
trash.] The West Indies and the Spanish Main. By Anthony Trollope. Chapman and Hall.
[An amusing, and in many respects an instructive, book, but one indi
cating very hasty judgment. Mr. Trollope's criticisms on the co.
loured population are unripe, and derived from hearsay.] Heathen and Holy Lands; or, Sunny Days on the Salween, Nile, and
Jordan. By Captain J. P. Briggs, Deputy Commissioner, Tenasserim
and Martaban Provinces, Charge of Province Tavoy. Smith and Elder.
[The account of Burmah in this book, or rather of the Tenasserim pro
vinces, is one of the most interesting results of travel that we have seen for a long time, at once fresh and thorough.]