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no more, it gives the greater number to them, and only a few, in comparison, to the rich. But though this expedient does not of itself give the solution of the problem of which we are in search, it gives us the means of alleviating the inconvenience attaching to what we have found to be one solution of that problem: we may by means of the minority principle give a voice to the rich in the exceptional constituencies in which it has been proposed to lower the franchise so as to include the workingmen. In these constituencies we only wish to give the rich some power; it is the principle of the proposal to give the greater power to their inferiors.
One of the modes in which the minority principle might be made use of for this purpose has an appearance of equality which would be, I should imagine, attractive to consistent democrats. It is proposed that no matter what the number of members for the constituency may be, no elector shall have more than one vote. As has been previously pointed out, this is by far the most efficacious form of the minority principle, because the minority to which it gives a member is smaller than it is under any other modification of that principle. If there were only two members for a constituency, a minority at all exceeding one-third might be certain of returning a single member. I cannot, indeed, imagine that in this form the principle could ever be adopted or even seriously advocated: no one would say that one-third plus one of the nation was entitled to as much voice in its deliberations and decisions as two-thirds minus one of it; a small minority — as such, and no matter how composed could never claim to have as much power as a large majority, the members of which might, for aught which appears, be equally intelligent. Nor, even if we supposed the minority to be the rich and educated and the majority the poor and ignorant, would the result be satisfactory. The error would then be in the other direction: the ignorant majority would in that case have as much power as the instructed minority, which is exactly what we desire that they should not have. Like all other modifications of the minority principle, this one fails as an anti-democratic expedient applicable to the whole country: it would be most dangerous to lower very greatly the franchise throughout the country, in reliance on its efficacy in precluding a despotism of the uneducated. But if the franchise be only extended to the working classes in certain exceptional constituencies, the adoption of the rule that no elector should have more than a single vote might in them be very beneficial. Suppose that three members were assigned to such constituencies, and that no elector possessed more than a single vote: a moderate fraction (one-fourth of the constituency plus one) could always be sure of returning a member, and the remaining part of the constituency (three-fourths minus one) would return the other two. If the higher classes of a great town were really united, and used their legitimate influence with zeal, they could always command somewhat more than a quarter of the constituency; they would be secure of returning a representative to the legislature as well as their inferiors.
The same end would be reached by the adoption of what is called the “cumulative vote" in these exceptional constituencies. By this is simply meant that the elector should be permitted to give all his votes to a single member if he pleases: thus, if the members to be elected for the constituency be three, and each elector have three votes, he would be enabled to give all his votes to anyone candidate, instead of being compelled, as at present, either to distribute them among three candidates or abstain from using some of them. By means of this expedient, also, a minority at all greater than one-quarter could with certainty return a member; and the effect in that respect would be of course the same as if that result had been attained by the other expedient. I cannot but think, however, that the latter mode is very preferable in other respects. Mr. J. S. Mill says very justly that the principle of giving the elector fewer votes than there are members to be elected must always be unpopular, “because it cuts down the privileges of the voter;" while on the other hand the adoption of the cumulative vote increases them, and has in consequence a tendency to be popular. Mr. Mill justly observes also that the expedient of the “cumulative vote” has another great advantage : it enables voters to indicate not only their preference for a candidate, but the degree of their preference. Instead of voting mechanically for all the candidates put forward by their party, it enables them to select the one whom they really themselves most approve, and to support him only. This would tend to secure to eminent and trusted statesmen a secure position in their respective constituencies, which is one of the most important among the minor excellences of a representative system.
By one or other of these two schemes, it would be possible to give a real representation to the working classes in the large towns in which they live, and to preserve a portion of influence and a share in the local representation to the higher classes of the town. Both schemes are, however, liable to the very considerable objection that they permit, or rather provide for, the election in the same place of a member for the poor and a member for the rich, which is very likely to cause local ill-feeling, and may sometimes irritate the poor into momentary turbulence. On this ground, it seems to me preferable that the higher classes in the large towns should be content with such indirect compensation for their local disfranchisement as would be afforded by the two plans which were noticed first. But popular impression has an incalculable influence in such questions; and if the higher classes in these first-class constituencies would feel it a stigma or an injustice to have no share in their local representation, such a share must be reserved to them, although we are thereby compelled to allow of the election of two contrasted kinds of members for the same town.
It may likewise be objected to the creation of such exceptional constituencies as I have proposed, that their exceptional character could not be permanent. If you once lower the qualification in one constituency, it may be said, there will be no rest from agitation until it has been lowered to the same extreme point in all constituencies. But this appears to me to assume that the democratic tendencies of the country are far more powerful than they really are. The extension of the suffrage, especially a very large extension of it, is not very popular with the existing constituencies; if we give to such privileged bodies a good argumentative defense, the oligarchical tendencies of human nature , will go far to insure their maintaining their privileges. Nothing tends to the longevity of a public benefit so much as its being also a particular private advantage to some one who will look after it. Such a defense the existing constituencies will really have if we assign to the working classes some real representation in Parliament; but while the most numerous class have no means at all of making their voice heard, there will always be an uneasy feeling that they are unduly depressed and unfeelingly disregarded. So far, then, from the creation of exceptional constituencies tending to weaken the arguments in favor of the general structure of the present constituencies, it is the only way of removing the most telling argumentative objection to our existing arrangements.
An exceptional character in particular constituencies is, it should be observed, an essential element in every system of class representation. If you lay down the principle that there shall be persons in Parliament qualified and authorized to speak the sentiments of special classes, you must take care that in certain electoral bodies those classes shall predominate, that the member for such bodies shall be their member. You can only secure speciality in the member by a speciality in the constituency. This is the very ground on which borough populations were originally selected for a separate representation : it was believed that places differing so much from the rural districts in which they were situated would have distinct interests to advocate, distinct opinions to maintain, possibly distinct grievances to state; in a word, it was believed that they would [each] send a special representative, with something to say different from that which an ordinary county representative would ever say. By selecting for particular representation, towns occupied in all the important kinds of trade, we have secured an expression to the opinions and sentiments of all kinds of capitalists; by giving special representatives to the universities, we have provided perhaps not adequately, but still to some extent-for the characteristic expression of the peculiar views of the cultured classes. I believe that the principle of special representation should be extended to the lower classes also, who, from an improvement in education, have now in the larger towns opinions to state, and perhaps, in their own estimation, grievances to make known. If a special representation is given to such persons, it can only be in the same way that special representatives are given to other classes, - by creating constituencies with a corresponding speciality.
It is to be observed that the necessity for creating such exceptional constituencies would not be obviated by the recommendation which Mr. Mill has made of giving one vote to every man, whatever be his education, and additional votes in a rapidly ascending scale to persons of greater education. The object of this recommendation is to keep the principal authority in the state in the hands of educated men; the scale of votes is avowedly arranged for that purpose. By the adoption of this scheme, you would give to the