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present circumstances of the colony, and would reduce the Governor to a nonentity. Probably hereafter, when the country shall have become more populous and extended, such a force or power might be beneficial; but at present, the necessary measures transacted here would be insufficient to call for the exercise of a third estate like this, whereas by combining the Governor's functions with those of the Executive Council, it would give a degree of weight and importance to that body which otherwise it would be defective in, if merely composed of nominees of the Governor, or I should say more properly, of the Crown, and it would give the Governor that necessary degree of employment which, with two independent bodies legislating for the country, he would otherwise not possess. Besides, it would give him that necessary degree of authority in the affairs of the country, which every head of a Government should possess; and although the constitution, formed on this basis, would not quite assimilate to that of England, yet it would approach it as nearly as the state of circumstances and the colony would permit; which could scarcely be the case if (in relation to the second query) " the Legislative Assembly were to be the only legislative power in the colony." By the creation of two independent legislative bodies (i.e. independent of each other), that proper supervision and check is established, that watchful care and control which no one single independent body can either possess or exercise. “ On what principles are the representatives to be distributed throughout the colony, so as to give Cape Town and the towns in general their legitimate share in the representation and no more.”
To this I should decidedly say, and I think common sense points out that the proportion should be according to the population, about one representative to every 5,000 of the inhabitants; and assuming the representative number of inhabitants in the colony at 125,000, the number of representatives would be twenty-five, or one to every five thousand,--to be distributed as follows : viz, Western Province, 14.
Eastern Province, 11. Cape Town and District 5 Graham's Town and Albany 3 Stellenbosch and District 2 Graf Reinet and District
2 Worcester and District 2 Utenhay and District
2 Swellendam and District 2 Cradock, I; Colesberg, 1
2 George, 1; Beaufort, 1,
1 The above would be a fair proportion, and give to each its fair proportionate quota of representation and would attain as nearly as possible the second part of the same qnery~"in other words, by what plan is it proposed to secure to a scattered population, occupying a large space, their due proportion of representatives in competition with a more limited population occupying a more limited space;” But in this point there are some exceptions; as for instance, where considerable wealth aud intelligence is comprised in a small area or space, as at Graham's Town or Algoa Bay, such is as fully entitled to a representative member as a larger number of a rural population spread orer a larger surface, as in Beaufort or Somerset, and it is on this principle generally that members are conceded to boroughs or towns, where population and wealth are condensed, or to universities, where intelligence and knowledge exist. These considerations almost answer the next query, “That if proper electoral districts could be described, if it was contem. plated that representatives should be elected by the distant districts of
the colony by the inhabitants of the same. I should say to this undoubtedly, if proper and competent persons can be found residing in them; if not, that any candidate presenting himself properly qualified from Cape Town (as referred to in the query) or elsewhere, should be entitled to the attention of the electors. With respect to the question, "If fit persons would be found willing to bestow their time and incur the necessary expense,” I should say that a moderate scale of remuneration shonld be allowed (the same as in the United States,) to country members, the acceptance to be at the option of the representative; it may be supposed that many of independent mind or property would reject it, on the contrary, it might be an object to others of slender means. But I think the representatives of Cape Town and probably Graham's Town might be excepted, and that it should apply to the members from the remote districts. It must be also supposed that no member will offer himself as a candidate for any one district, without possessing some local knowledge of it, and that thus another portion of this query would be guarded against, “that of guarding against those local views and prejudices which would make their representatives, if elected in Cape Town, in reality the representatives of Cape Town. It also must be considered that many individuals, inhabitants of the districts, occasionally change their residence to Cape Town, and thus carry local knowledge with them. With respect to the concluding paragraph of the same query, “ That in a country where communication between representatives and their constituents must of necessity be tardy and imperfect, how the representatives will be able to ascertain correctly the sentiments of their constituents upon measures submitted for discussion and legislation,” a second weekly post (it may be readily answered,) would obviate this ; which would approximate all parts of the colony more closely together: to this there may be likewise added the necessity of appointing a centrical situation (as Utenhay,) for the sittings of the colonial parliament, by which every portion of the colony would be brought into easy communication and the representatives be thus enabled to receive their constituent's opinions on all measures submitted to them.
Query 3.-"Where are the votes of the electors to be taken ?” Answer.–At the district towns, as in England and Ireland. To the question, “Whether there be only one polling place in the district, parties would be found willing to travel inconvenient distances to exercise the franchise,' I should say, there would be no compulsion. Those that were willing, or near the towns could attend easily, while a sufficient number of electors would be always found in the towns for the purpose. In fact, when I say towns, they must not be considered as so wholly distinct from the country as those in the mother country, but as being in most instances merely condensations of the rural population, pressed more closely together, and when we see the avidity with which the farmers flock in to perform an ungrateful task, that of paying taxes, there would on this ground, with all the excitement of an election, be no reason for anticipating non-attendance; thus obviating another portion of this query, • that the representation would become nominal in those places from non-attendance." By confining the polling to one place another fear also would be removed, of “how the integrity of voting should be guarded, if there were many polling places?"
The next query is rather important, and may require consideration, but I think it may be as easily disposed of as any of the foregoing
“On what grounds do the petitioners conceive that the right of representation may be indifferently bestowed upon the various races, as well those of European as of African descent, of which the population of the colony is made up." To this I would decidedly say, the elective franchise should be confined to the British and Dutch inhabitants, and for this reason, that none of the native inhabitants of the colony are sufficiently advanced in intellect to understand or appreciate such a boon, neither, if granted, would they value or care for it. And as to inflaming heats and jealousies, it may for instance be mentioned that the most advanced among them as to intelligence, the lazy and indolent Hottentot would scarcely be at the trouble of attending, even if paid; so that there would be little dread or apprehension either of a powerful majority or a discontented minority. But I think this ques. tion may be regarded as quite superfluous, as the principle of voting should be this, that no particular class be allowed to vote, unless one of the number be competent to become a candidate. As it is very evident that this is not the case at present with the native tribes, nor will be for a considerable period, I think all fears on this head may very reasonably be dismissed. But not so the next query, relative to a “property qualification for the electors." On this point I should say that a rent-payer of ten pounds in town and twenty* pounds in the country should be competent or eligible to vote. Through the municipality all householders are rated at a certain amount; this information thus pre-existing, could be made subservient to the registry of freeholders, and in the country the various returns could be made by the field. cornets and returned to the clerk or secretary of the municipality in the towns respectively. A higher rate than this would be unsuited to the circumstances of the colony, while a lower would lead to abuses. In a former day, in England, and more especially Ireland, the qualifi. cation was vested in any householder capable of lighting a fire or boiling a pot. Then came the forty shilling freeholders, but as this low rate led to abuse, it was subsequently raised to £5, and in England to £10 and £50, and it was owing to the instrumentality of the country, that the Conservatives lately owed their accession to power.
With respect to the next, of “a property qualification for the candidate," I should think any such unnecessary, as, in the present state of the colony, almost every one is known. And it should be recollected that young aspirants at the bar, or other professional men, that would be likely to become candidates or to canvass, very frequently possess,
if their talents be accepted, none. I therefore think that abilities and not property should be the test of fitness in a representative. In fact, a man of independent fortune (the plea usually put forth) is the last that a free constituency should elect, as he soon becomes independent of them altogether; whereas if possessed of necessary fitness and more dependent on his constituents by receiving a certain allowance, the candidate would be more likely to attend to their interests.
We can see an instance of this in O'Connell, a lawyer, a man of talent, being paid for his services by the Irish people, and the consequent fidelity with which he discharges his task; and so it should be in all cases. And these and the foregoing considerations apply to the 9th query,
* Why make a difference? A farmer has many people under him ; more than 2 tradesman in town; and who, not having votes, would feel that theirs and the farmer's interest was only half represented. Put all on the same footing.-ED.
that is to say, the rate above alluded to, of £10 in town and £20 in the country, would be sufficient, and without any offence to the native classes, it would have the effect of confining the elective franchise to that portion of the community fitted to receive it, viz. the Dutch and English inhabitants, as it is scarce necessary to advert again to the fact that the native tribes would neither understand, appreciate, or know how to use it, and a lower rate would decidedly have the effect contemplated in the query, " of letting in a number of persons whose political power the rest of the community might regard not alone as dangerous, but which, as totally and wholly unsuitable, would scarcely be permitted or entertained. In England any member of the community may offer himself, or be eligible as a candidate, and many such have originated from the humble classes and walks of life : as an instance, it may be mentioned that the present Premier, Sir Robert Peel, is the son of a manufacturer. But ages must elapse before any one among the native classes here would be fitted for such an office, and indeed a very long period must elapse before they will be able even to exercise the elective franchise, so we may dismiss this query with a decided negative.
These are, however, but individual opinions,--if accordance with the spirit of the day, it should be thought proper to throw the franchise open to the native classes, then the property test would bare the effect on one hand of admitting those among them most fitted to exercise it, and on the other of excluding, to make use of Lord Stanley's words, “ a number of persons, unfitted to receive it, whose admission to political power might be considered dangerous.”
In reference to the next enquiry “ If the petitioners meant that the constitution of the Legislative Assembly should be modified in any way or manner, by its existing division into its Eastern and Western divi
on this point I should say that I consider any such modification unnecessary; the number of members given, i.e. 14 representatives for the Western and 11 for the Eastern, would fairly represent both, the Western being composed of 7 districts, and the Eastern of 6. But the country is not yet sufficiently populous for any special measures founded on such division, which is more nominal than real.
It has already been recommended that the sittings be held in some centrical point; both portions or parts of the colony would thus be brought into juxta-position. We may see in a federal parliament, as in the United States, containing the representatives of many and widely different divisions, that they are all actuated by one and the same spirit, and thus all pull together. With this instance before us,
there can be no reason for anticipating a different result from the mere division of the colony into two parts only.
Having already dwelt on the machinery through which votes were to be registered, it is almost unnecessary to revert to the concluding query, except it be to strengthen what we have already said; but further it may be added that the municipalities, which in fact are local parliaments on a small scale, are the best machinery through which, in the present legislative infancy of the colony, the business of registering, or polling, or the elections generally could be carried on, and this great and fundamental basis being laid throughout the colony, the superstructure of elective constituent representation may be well raised on it. Probably hereafter, as we before said, when the country becomes more populous, a wider scope and more extended range of action may be
taken, but for the present we should suit our measures to our circumstances, and for the purpose of registering voters and conducting the business of elections, there cannot be better machinery than that al. ready in existence,--the manicipal bodies.
CONCLUSION. Such is a slight ontline of the plan submitted for consideration in framing a representative form of government here, which those at all acquainted with the colony will admit to be peculiarly applicable in its present circumstances. Supposing the Assembly to consist of 25, and the Executive Conncil of 11, a body of 36 legislators will be amply sufficient to legislate for the present population. Great care and cira cumspection will be necessary in forming the rules and regulations to guard against the possibility of misconstruction. The Legislative is usually considered the highest body in the state, and to which others should be secondary. We have lately seen in the present Legislative Council what material changes the error of merely a few words lately produced, but which were happily set aside; and more recently the disagreeable collison between the Members of Council and Judges of the Supreme Court. It is to be hoped that in the formation of the con. templated Assembly such will be avoided, and that it will remain to future ages the directing, guiding-star of the colony of the Cape of Good Hope.
Graham's Town, August 25th, 1842.
COMMERCE OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.
(From the Graham's Town Journal.) The outcry has been raised against the progress of colonisation in this country will, if carefully analysed, be found to originate either in the credulity of the ignorant, the fatuity of the idiot, or the deliberate misrepresentations of fanatic partizans. In some instances it is a compound of all of these. Every objection, however, that has been made to the extension of civilised society in South Africa is opposed by the evidence of our senses, and by a long series. of indubitable facts. And yet, notwithstanding all this, the same objections are reiterated, and endeavours are still being made to hinder, if possible, the spread of colonisation, on the plea that we have no right to forbid and put down the debasing and injurious practices of the Aborigines ; albeit it is clearly evident, and is not denied, that those customs must be sub. verted ere the individual can be raised in the scale of intellectual and moral existence. In this argument the fact is forgotten that injustice consists in doing injury to another, not in conferring upon him, though it may be unasked and even against his consent, a positive benefit.
We make these prefatory remarks, and which, if time would allow, might admit of great amplification, with the design of directing the especial attention of our readers to the valuable returns of the trade of this Province, which have been furnished to us by Mr. J. C. Chase, and will be found below. To these returns we point with perfect confidence in support of our argument.
It is true that they give but a fragment of the higtory of the colony, but still in this case a part may be safely taken for the whole, and the true principles of colonisation be tested thereby with unerring aceuracy.