« הקודםהמשך »
wick and the State of Maine IV. The West Indies .........
V. Legislation in India . VI. Irish Affairs .........
No. III. I. The Surplus of Ecclesiastical Revenue in Ireland .... 69 II. The Hudson's Bay Company ...... ........ III. Municipalities in Ireland ..... IV. Legislation in India ...
V. The High Court of Parliament
103 111 121
Monday, 1 October, 1838.
A new turn of Irish affairs presents the following demands for contemplation.
1. That the number of representatives for Jreland in the House of Commons shall be in the same proportion to the whole House which the population of Ireland bears to that of the United Kingdom. In round numbers, the population of England and Wales may be taken as
658 2. That government in Ireland shall be carried on according to the will of the numerical majority in Ireland.
3. That such laws shall be made as may be requisite to prevent the government in Ireland from being ever again conducted on any other principle.
4. That judges, sheriffs, and justices of the peace, shall be removed, who have not the approbation of the numerical majority, and that their places shall be filled by others who have that approbation.
5. That one-fifth of the rent-charge which has recently been substituted for tithe, shall be remitted to those by whom it is payable, and that the remainder shall be taken away from the Established Church, and appropriated to such purposes as may be approved of by the the numerical majority in Ireland.
These proposals advance us some way on our road to that point at which it must one time or other be decided, Whether numbers can be made the basis of representation, without abandoning the principle of property?
Those who have no property constitute every where the numerical majority. One of the first objects of those who have no property is to get some. The shortest way, of doing this, is for those who have none to take it from those who have some; and the doubt is, whether, if legislation and government should be conducted according to the will of those who have no property, or, in other words, according to the will of the numerical majority, laws might not be made and executed for the transfer of property from those who have it to those who have it not.
The question of universal, and the question of extended suffrage, and, indeed, all the questions respecting representation which are of much importance, turn mainly upon this point. As to the apportionment of the numbers of representatives to the numbers of the people in different parts of the kingdom, the proportion which ought first to be established, and the only proportion which ought to be regarded by a legislature, is the proportion of the number of representatives to the number of those persons whom the same legislature recognises as qualified to vote in the election of representatives.
It is not evident that Ireland may not according to this principle have something to claim. But to give to Ireland a number of representatives proportioned to the number of her population, would create the anomaly of a number of representatives exceeding its due proportion to the number of voters. At present, they are making wild work in Ireland of the notion of identification which they have taken from an expression of Sir Robert Peel's. Mr. O'Connell thinks, that to make the Roman Catholic religion the dominant religion of Ireland would identify the religious institutions of Ireland and England : and, perhaps, it would do so ere long, if they could also proportion the number of representatives of the United Kingdom to the numbers of the people in the several electoral districts, without reference to the number of qualified electors.
There are some indications that the Corn Laws will be brought under the consideration of the House of Commons in the next session, with more of concert and with a stronger support from amongst the people than on former occasions.
It will not do in these times to evade such discussions, or to attempt to frown them down.' We must come to the point; and let it be clearly understood on what grounds the change is demanded by one party, and resisted by another. Lamentations and protestations, as to the mischief of agitating such questions, are unavailing. They only amuse and encourage the agitators. But let it once be universally understood what are the effects which would ensue, and which are desired by one party and dreaded by the other, and perhaps we shall either have rest or progress.
A committee of inquiry might be so constituted as to make these consequences manifest; but an ordinary committee would perhaps only add to existing doubts and increase the confusion. An enactment for the free and unlimited importation of corn, unaccompanied by any other enactment, would, for some time at least, extinguish a large portion of the value of property in land, both leasehold and freehold, and would reduce to comparative poverty those families whose income consists in the rent