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and literary pursuits, and whose posi- party could select_no considerations tion in life imposes upon them the of a personal nature will justify such performance of varied and interesting a man in refusing to obey the call of social duties, the nature of the com- the constituency. But we are satispanionship to which a seat in Parlia. fied that if instances of a contrary line ment is to introduce them, cannot, of conduct have occasionally occurred, under any circumstances, be a matter the fault lies principally with the of indifference. It is of such men electors, who will not sufficiently perthat the Conservative party in the ceive that in imposing on an indeHouse of Commons is composed. pendent country gentleman the oflice Even to the leaders of that party, it of their representative in Parliament, must be no small sacrifice, to renounce they are not so much conferring a the tranquillity of domestic life, and favour, as exacting the performance of the many sources of enjoyment a duty, of which the sole benefit will which leisure, and affluence, and the be theirs, while the burden falls entireconsciousness of intellectual vigour, ly on the object of their choice. and local and personal influence Professions of gratitude to their open up to their possessors, for the Parliamentary representatives are very laborious and often thankless duties of frequent in the mouths of Conservathe public service. And if in their tive electors. And to none is such a case, the laudable ambition of filling tribute so justly due, as to the memplaces of trust in the Executive Go bers of a party who have no personal vernment may be supposed to afford objects to serve, and whose public consome inducement for the devotion of duct is regulated by the purest and their time and talents to Parliament. most disinterested motives. But do ary life, no such object is presented to individuals of the party always evince the great body of Conservative mem- by their conduct a conviction, that in bers. It is impossible, therefore, too estimating the relative amount of obhighly to appreciate the vast sacrifice ligation between a body of electors and of personal gratification which is made their representative, the balance is by these gentlemen, who, from a single fearfully against the constituency ? Do and disinterested desire to promote 'all act under the impression, that a zealthe public good, devote season after ous and conscientious member of Parliaseason to a pursuit, which in the pre- ment confers an infinitely greater fasent state of the House of Commons, vour on those for whom he labours, can have few charms for a man of than they conferred on him by placing taste and intellect, and the toil of him in that situation? Do personal which is scarcely equalled by the dislikes, and private jealousies never drudgery of a laborious profession. interfere with that independent exer
Let it not be supposed that these cise of the franchise which every elecremarks are intended to afford an apo. tor owes as a sacred duty to himself logy for those men--of whom we fear and his country, and which no selfish there are some_who refuse to avail consideration ought ever to be permitthemselves of any opportunities of ser ted to influence or control ? Under ving their country with which Provi. the old system of election, the existdence has furnished them. By the ence of these or similar motives of laws of Solon, non-interference in action, if not excusable, were at least civil broils was accounted a crime, easily accounted for. The divisions And in a season of national danger which agitated the limited constituenand difficulty, such as that in which cies of those days were, in the genethis country is at present involved, we ral case, not so much political conhold that man highly culpable, who tests, as family rivalries, and the votes from any motive, whether of selfish in- of the freeholders were bestowed less dulgence or mistaken diffidence, denies in reference to party distinctions, than to the public the exercise of the talents to private friendships, and personal which he possesses, or the employment connexions. But the contest' is now of any degree of influence with which between the great majority of the landcircumstances may invest him. If ed proprietors and their tenantry on any county contains an individual, the one side, and a few powerful Whig who from his political attainments, or families, supported by the town and personal popularity-- from his own village voters, on the other. Nothing position, or his family connexions—is therefore can justify those, who callThe most eligible candidate whom his ing themselves Conservatives, allow their conduct in public matters to be hand to the good cause_if the very influenced by inflated ideas of self- conduct which they blame in others importance, and their votes to be dic- serves as an apology for their own intated by paltry jealousies, or corrupted dulgence in a similar error-is it not to by fancied slights and imaginary in- be feared that the class of men by sults. A visit not duly returned, or a whom the House of Commons ought letter unanswered by return of post, to be filled will refuse to undertake a is in the eyes of some men, a much duty at once so irksome and so thankdeeper stain on the character of a less, and that thus, instead of repremember of Parliament, than an sentatives selected from the landed unprincipled vote, or absence on an aristocracy of the country, we shall be important division. It matters not driven to the choice of political adwith what zeal and fidelity a repre- venturers and speculating capitalists ? sentative attends to his duties in the The tendency of the state of public House of Commons, – there will feeling in Scotland to produce such a always be those among his consti- result, is illustrated by a reference to tuents, who grudge him the enjoy the present representation of the Whig ment of every hour snatched from party, among whom the evil has been public business for the purposes of of more early growth, principally behealth and recreation, and to conciliate cause their connexion with the resiwhom his whole vacation must be one dent gentry is slender indeed comparprotracted canvass, and his every do ed with that of the Conservatives. mestic arrangement have no object in What connexion has Mr Maule with view but the support and extension of Perthshire? Mr Dennistoun with Dumhis political importance.
bartonshire ? Mr Maxwell with LanWe are far from denying the obli- arkshire ? What are Mr Abercromby gation under which every Member of and Sir John Campbell's claims on the Parliament lies to stand well with his electors of Edinburgh—or Lord Wilconstituents. On the contrary, we liam Bentinck's on those of Glasgow ? admit, that every man who accepts What made Sir Henry Parnell memthat honourable office, is bound to ber for Dundee, or Dr Bowring for make every exertion which may be Kilmarnock ?-what but the impossinecessary for retaining it. But we bility of finding among the resident demur altogether to the principle, by proprietors of similar political princiwhich this part of his duty is consider- ples, men willing to submit, year after ed in any degree equal in importance year, first, to all the drudgery of a parto the right discharge of his legislative liamentary campaign, and afterwards to functions. And regarding the elective all the annoyances of a recess occufranchise as a trust reposed in indivi. pied in obeying the unreasonable exduals, not for their own benefit, but for actions of a numerous constituency. the public good, we can find no apo. Another circumstance which has a logy for those who allow themselves tendency to produce the same effect, to be influenced in its exercise by any is the vast expense with which a seat consideration except the political prin in Parliament is in the ordinary case ciples of their representative, and his attended. The annual charge incurfitness to perform his parliamentary red by the Registration Courts alone, duties. If the mutual relations in is a serious drain on the pocket of any which a Member of Parliament and representative ; and when to this is his constituents stand to each other added the frequent recurrence of elecwere rightly understood, any remiss- tion contests, the sacrifice is greater ness or negligence on his part would than the fortune of almost any combe the most powerful argument for in- moner in Scotland can be expected to creased exertion and activity on theirs. bear. In order, therefore, to prevent The maintenance of the constitution, the evils which would flow from the for which the Conservative party con- introduction into our county and burgh tend, is the cause not of the few, but seats, of political hacks from Downing of the many. Its defence is the duty Street, and purse-proud speculators of the electors as much as of their re- from the Stock Exchange, it is absopresentative ; and if those who are the lutely necessary that a portion of the loudest in their complaints of the ne- expense in every district should be gligence and inactivity of their Parlia contributed by those for whose benementary leaders, are themselves the fit it is incurred. This is especially most backward to lend a helping true, in regard to the annual revisal of the roll of electors, in which assuredly false delicacy prevents the scions of the interest of the constituency is the noblest houses from acknowledgmuch greater than that of any indivi- ing the contributions of the lealdual representative can possibly be. hearted yeomen, in support of prinThe expenses incident to the Regis- ciples, in the maintenance of which tration Courts may be diminished and all classes are alike interested. Nocurtailed in various ways. Profes- thing would contribute more matesional men ought, as far as possible, rially to the propagation of sound to lend their gratuitous assistance. political feeling in Scotland, than the Electors of all classes should attend as adoption of a system which gives each witnesses, without accepting of any individual elector as it were a perremuneration ; and in the preparation sonal interest in the issue of every conand lodging of claims and objections, test. We are persuaded that the idea material aid may be derived from the requires only to be familiarized to the formation of local committees. But minds of the Conservative party, in though all these measures are adopted, order to meet with almost universal the business of the registrations can- adoption. And the liberal contribunot be properly conducted without tions which are continually flowing incurring considerable expense. And in from the members of that party, in when it is considered that the neglect support of every scheme of enlightenof a single year may be productive of ed philanthropy and Christian beneirretrievable consequences, it must be volence, forbid us to doubt that an evident that the object is of far too appeal to their principles in behalf of high importance, to be suffered to dethe cause of the Church and the Conpend on the will of any individual, how stitution would not be made in vain. ever sincere and zealous in the cause. Of the sacrifices which every citizen Besides, it is surely a more dignified of a civilized state makes in return for attitude for a respectable constituency the advantages of a free government to assume, to refuse to be indebted for and equal laws, none is more reasonthe annual purging of their roll to the able than would be a small annual man whom for the time they have contribution to a local Conservative chosen as their representative. By fund. It would be in fact a tax proincurring to their present member portioned to the station and property such repeated obligations, they in fact of the individual, and appropriated to renounce the power of future choice the support of the institutions by which ---and increase, not so much the his best interests are preserved—a strength of the party, as the influence small expenditure of yearly income, to of the individual. Without supposing secure the enjoyment of the remainit possible, in the case of any Conser- der—a trifling payment of interest, to vative member, that that influence may prevent the loss of capital. one day be exerted in support of diffe. But it is not by money alone that rent principles, it is sufficient to recol- the Conservative cause must be suplect that it must die with its possessor. ported in the counties and burghs of The only mode by which an ascen- Scotland. There is need of that which dency can be obtained for right prin the party generally are much less ciples, which shall be independent of lavish in bestowing-namely, labour. the caprices of a single mind, and the The representation of this country will chances of an individual life, is by the never be permanently placed in right control of the registrations being as- hands, till every elector feels the magsumed by the constituency themselves. nitude of the dangers by which we are And in no other way can this be pro- threatened, and his own personal inperly effected, than by the institution terest in the efforts made to avert of an annual registration fund, to them. It must be to each individual which every elector shall be invited an object of daily and hourly solicito contribute according to his means tude, to gain converts to the good and inclination. For our own part cause, and to strengthen the resoluwe should be glad, for the sake of the tion of those already embarked in it. electors rather than the representa. And in the pursuit of this object, none tives, that a similar principle were must forget the vast alteration which adopted for defraying the election ex- the Reform Act has effected in the con: penses of every Conservative can stituencies, and consequently in the didate. In English counties the means by which alone any party can practice is almost universal ; and no acquire political strength. The invention of gunpowder did not intro- ment, and patronage, by which alone duce a greater change into the system a periodical journal can be called into of European warfare, than the infu- existence, and maintained in efficiency. sion of Democracy into the electoral It should be remembered too, that bodies has made in the weapons by every week which is permitted to which alone the battle of the consti- pass without the establishment in tution can henceforth be fought. any district of a local organ of con
The Conservative party have hi- stitutional principles, is an inducement therto been too little ambitious of po held out for the dissemination within pular favour. Naturally disgusted that district of revolutionary sentiwith the sycophantic arts and clap-trap ments. Every subscription paid to a devices, with which the leaders of the Radical newspaper is a premium ofMovement purchase the support of the fered for the propagation of error. most depraved and ignorant of the Every advertisement inserted in its populace, public men on the other columns is a tacit approval of the side have frequently confounded the noxious principles they contain. If deliberate expression of the nation's each county and every considerable sentiments with the senseless clamour burgh in Scotland possessed the powof the rabble. No error can be more erful agency of an enlightened and inmischievous, or, since the extension dependent press, which, without deof the elective franchise, more fatal. scending to local squabbles and vulgar Whether it was expedient to vest in personalities, might fearlessly expose the large body of the middle classes the unprincipled conduct of the Whigthat degree of political power which Radical faction and their subordinates they now possess, it is too late to en- and dependents, an important step quire. The Reform Bill is law; and would be gained towards disabusing none but a madman can ever dream the public mind of the prejudices inof its repeal. To allow to the rural stilled into it by selfish agitators for tenantry and ten-pound householders the promotion of their own private the exercise of the elective franchise, ends, and securing the ultimate triand then to refuse attention to their umph of those principles of governwishes, and receive with indifferencement which are essential to the wellevery expression of their approbation being of the nation. or censure, would be to grant the sub- What cannot be done by the public stance of authority, and grudge the press may often be effected by private possession of its shadow. But the in- expostulation and personal intercourse. Auence which cannot be taken from There is no elector in whatever sphere, them, may be controlled and regulated who in his family circle, and among the either for good or evil. And to de- pursuits and companionships of everyprive the revolutionary party of all day life, cannot materially serve his hold over the allegiance and sympa country by the propagation of sound thies of the great mass of the commu- and patriotic political opinions. But nity, all that is necessary is to instruct the opportunities of gaining converts the reason of the nation as to the true to the good cause are principally open objects of Conservative policy, and to men of high station and cultivated enlist their affections in a cause with minds. And in the relations subsisting the support of which their best inte between landed proprietors and their rests are identified.
tenantry, nothing, we are persuaded, For these purposes, the most powerful has prevented the universal adoption instrument is the press ; but it is one of the same sentiments on public matof which the friends of the Constitu- ters, except those habits of exclusivetion have not hitherto sufficiently avail. ness which have frequently been reed themselves. Of the talent by which ferred to, as endangering the hold its power may be wielded in defence which the aristocracy of this country of the truth, there is no lack in the possess on the affections of the people. Conservative ranks. Neither can it Nothing can be more unreasonable be difficult to insure the extensive cir- than the indulgence by the possessor culation of newspapers reflecting the of extensive estates in habits of sullen opinions of the vast majority of the reserve or haughty indifference, toeducated classes. Moreover, the po- wards those of the less wealthy prolitical party to which we address our prietors or possessors of the soil, who, selves, is rich above measure in the if his inferiors in birth, are his equals, various means of support, encourage- it may be, in every quality of the man and the citizen. In reference to the them with other feelings then those of present state of political parties, no- distrust and envy. Preferring the thing can be more unwise. No coun- first place at a village debating club, try can boast of a more intelligent to the second at a county meeting, it and independent race of men, than is of such materials as these that the tenantry of Scotland, and the the revolutionary party in every age lesser proprietors. If the extension and nation has been composed. For of the franchise had been confined to men of this stamp there is but one these important and influential classes, remedy—the expiry of their leases. there would have been few so enam. We abhor nothing more than any oured of the former system of election, unjust interference on the part of a as to quarrel with the change. The landlord with the mode in which his great majority of their number are tenants exercise the franchise. The attached by a community of sentiment, electoral privilege is a trust committed and an identity of interest, to the same by law to the possessor of the soil, for cause as their landlords and richer the right discharge of which he is reneighbours; and on the occasion of a sponsible to his own conscience alone. contested election, no class of the con. So long as he continues to occupy the stituency render such efficient aid. If property to which the right of voting there are exceptions to this rule, their is attached, the vote is his; and no existence is, we are persuaded, mainly man has any right to quarrel with its to be attributed to the cause to which exercise. But when the subject we have alluded. Men conscious of reverts to its proprietor, he too has a no inferiority in point of taste, ta- duty to perform. In the exercise of lents, or acquirements, to the land- his undoubted right, he is bound to ed aristocracy of the country, find look to the good of his country; and themselves denied admittance to their unless the apprehensions with which society,-excluded from participation we contemplate the continued ascenin their amusements,--and occupying, dency of the Movement party be unapparently, no place in their regards founded, no considerations of personal and sympathies. Can we wonder if advantage can weigh for a moment such men form harsh and erroneous against the political evil of allowing reconclusions as to the social qualities volutionary principles to gain strength. and political designs of the higher Even if influenced solely by selfish classes ? or that, mistaking for hearts considerations, the proprietor of land less indifference what is in reality but in this country may well ask himself, a compliance with the cold formalities whether it is not better to rest satisof fashion, they listen to the revolu- fied with a smaller rent, if he can thus tionary projects of republican level secure an additional vote for the good lers, and instead of being the willing cause. But when the possession of followers of their more influential property is considered in its true lightneighbours in the cause of order and as a trust reposed in certain indivigood government, become the leaders duals, not for their own benefit, but of the mob, and the prime instigators for their country's good, it must be of the Movement ? Let but the landed evident that that man is grossly culgentry throughout the kingdom show pable, who allows the estate of which themselves in their true colours, divest- he is the proprietor to be represented ed of the cumbrous trappings in which in the register by men of unsound pomp and fashion would involve their political principles, and the influence social intercourse, and almost every which Providence has given him for county in Scotland will exhibit the upholding the institutions of the counspectacle most hateful in the eyes of try to be weilded by those who seek party rancour and Whig philanthropy, their downfall. of a cordial union between the pro- But there is another class of the prietors and possessors of the soil, and constituency which is more numerous a common determination to support than either the proprietors or occuthose principles by which both classes pants of land; we mean those who must prosper or fall together.
possess the franchise in respect of the There may be some few individu- household qualification. To conciliate als among the tenantry, to whom these this class of electors similar means are anticipations do not apply ; and whom requisite to those which we have reno degree of cordiality on the part of commended towards the tenantry. their landlords could induce to view · The agency of an honest and inde