Page images
PDF
EPUB

. 109 . 84 • 77 . 161

222

[ocr errors]

! 1. Aberdeen

182 | 15. Haddington . . 2. Argyle

• 11916. Inverness . 3. Ayr .

202 17. Kincardine . . 4. Bamff.

49 18. Kirkcudbright 5. Berwick

151 19. Lanark 56. Bute.

:21 20. Linlithgow Caithness

50 21. Orkney $7. Clackmannan

16 22. Peebles f Kinross

21 23. Perth 58. Cromarty

19 24. Renfrew > Nairne

17 25. Ross 9. Dumbarton

72 26. Roxburgh 10. Dumfries

• 84 27. Selkirk 11. Edinburgh

166 28. Sutherland 12. Elgin .

: 31 | 29. Stirling 13. Fife .

• 236 30. Wigton 14. Forfar

• 122

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

But calling the total number abont of them to his friends only during their three thousand two hundred and fifty: lives; whichi, by certain legal forms, he three, is rather a flattering view of the can easily do, without at all impairing his political state of Scotland. Two deduc- estate. These donees, or purchasers, ap. tions must be made :-1. There are a pear technically as the absolute life-owngreat many cases in which the freeliold ers; but they are generally under feelings belongs to a proprietor, but is entitled to nearly as strong as written obligations, to be used during life by another. The support the person who has trusted them. names of both these persons are on the And then, lest these qualifications should rolls, but only one of them can vote. be lost to the family, it is lawful to entail 2. Many persons have votes in a plurality thien along with the family estate. So of places. If these double reckonings bè that a great landed proprietor may first discounted, it is very doubtful if the total be surrounded by his own satellites while number of persons would be above two bis attraction lasts; after which, the lesser thonsand five liandred. Some think that stars return and are lost in their parent la they would not exceed two thousand. minary; who again sends then periodi

A franchise so little attennated by diffi- cally forth to perforor the same evolutions, sion, is worth having. The tenth or twó Althongh the present number of voters hundredth part of a member of parliament be only about three thronsand two hundred is a dear article in the political market. and fifty tliree, yet, if all the latent voters The holder of it is an important man to were to be brought into action, they could government. Some people therefore buý be very greatly increased. But still the votes as an investment. There is never increase would take place on the same a contest at which snch purchasers do not principle of each landed proprietor derely appear; and they are generally the last to multiplying his friends, without holding declare how they are to go. It is ob- out any prospect of relief to the publie. served, moreover, that those who take II. In the towns, the system is different, such charge of the representation, seldom but not better. There are sixty-six places, have their families long on their hands. which, in consequence of their mimicipal These qualifications, even after being constitution, and their holding of the stripped of every thing except the mere crown, are termed royal burglis. Of these, riglit of voting, are probably never worth Edinborgh is the only one which returns á less than 2001. or 3001.--the average price member for itself. All the rest are divided is probably about 5001.; they frequently into clusters either of four or five; and sell for double this sum; and, on one re. these four or five return one member cent occasion, six of them, exposed to amonig them. Many of these places are public sale in one day, brought above so insignificant, that their share in the 60001. What is so valuable cannot be representation is the only thing which reeasily parted with ; and, therefore, de minds the public that they exist, and vices have been fallen upon for giving out (somehow or other) constitutes their only qualifications for occasional use, witliout wealth. And, on the other band, there permanently losing them. The most com. are many very large places, such as Lrith mon of these schemes is, for a person and Greenock, with abont twenty-five whose estate affords many votes to dispose thousand or thirty thousand inhabitants

each, and Paisley with fifty thousand, + Each of these three pairs only returns a mem- which do not contribute to return any ber alternately.

fragment of a member; because, although

great towns, they are not royal burghs. been defended, is, that the closeness of The mode of electing in these burghs is one place is compensated by the openness this: the town council of each elects a of another - there being still popularity delegate, and these four or five delegates enough upon the whole. Neither Burke, from each cluster meet, and choose the nor Blackstone, nor any one who has exmember. Each delegate is appointed on cused these defects, ever carry their apothe faith that he will yote agreeabiy to the logy beyond this. But in Scotland wishes of those who trust him; but he is there is no popularity at all in any one not legally bound to do so; and these de- place. It is all close burgh or close legates sometimes fiud it convenient to county. . take their own way. When a fit of this It is therefore unnecessary to explain kind comes upon them, the member is that the people of Scotland scarcely feel elected by these four or five individuals ;- any interest in the election of what are when they are faithful, he is chosen by called their representatives. They are not a majority of those persons' consti- taken into calculation by the parties entuents.

gaged ; and, having no right to interfere, · Now, in the appointment of these con- the expression even of their opinion is gestituepts, the people have no voice what- nerally considered obtrusive and dangerever. Nothing can be more close than ous. While every other part of the emthe most liberally constituted Scotch town- pire is teeming with life, they are dead. council; of which the universal, the hi. The candidates and their friends take the deolis, the ludicrous, and the peculiar only concern is the proceedings ; and the feature is, that each set of magistrates ceremony of an election, and the subelects its own successors ; to the utter ex- stance of a dinner, are gone through with clusion of the rest of the public, and to the due animation by them. But the people -eternal perpetuation of their own feelings. are left entirely out of view; and, conNothing can be fairer than to take Edin- scious of degradation, withdraw from a buigh as an example of the whole: be- scene where they can only exhibit themcause it is amongst the best, and has an selves in humiliating contrast with others entire inember tor itseif. Now, in Edin- certainly not better edncated, and not neburgli, the town-council consists of only cessarily wealthier than themselves. The thirty-three individuals, which is consi- bustings, which conld not be put down .derably above the usual number. The without potting down England, are things sum total of the property of these persons that Scotland never saw. The county freewithin the town was rated, when it was holders always meet under cover; someJast examined, at about 28001. a-year. times in a church, but generally in a These thirty-three individuals, or rather a room; and the four or five town electors majority of them, have the absolute power burrow in boles still more obseure. The of electing tlie member who is to repre. whole fifteen members of all the sixty-six sevt a population far exceeding one hun. burghis are always chosen on the same dred thousand, and possessing property day; yet, in so far as thc public is conrated at above 400,0001. a-year; or, in cerned, no day passes more entirely like other words, the right of voting is en- another. If it were not from seeing the cirgrossed by less than the three-thousandth cumstance mentioned casually in the part of the population, and by about the newspapers next day, the very fact that a one hundred and fiftieth part of the real member had been elected would often not property. This population contains above be known to those living in the same one thousand two hundred merchant bur- street. The burgh delegates merely take - gesses; above two thousand persons con- . the oaths, vote, and depart. The county neeted with the profession of the law; at freeholders are much more operose They least one bundred and fifty, including pro- sometimes wear out both the day and the fessors in the university, engaged in the night. before their incubation be over. higher branches of education; a clergy of But, instead of discussing public meaabout sixty or seventy persons; and at sures, or men, they are engaged in wrangleast a hundred of the medical and other ling about feudal niceties, and trying to learned professions ;- not one of whom pick or vote holes in deeds. The scene has a single word to say in the election resembles a meeting of attorneys, endeaeither of the meniber, or of the town-coun- vouring to overreach each other in a set of cil. It is town-councils so constituted conveyances. that elect all the delegates. .

These are the facts.-Their consequences It is important to observe, that this sys-* are inseparable from the system, and are tem, both with respect to the counties marked by the deepest lines. and the burgbis, is the only one that A Scotch elector finds himself the posexists. The chief ground on which the sessor of a privilege, which he owes solely defects in the English representation have , to his being a landbolder or a member of a town council. This parrows him to country is turned away from parliament. a sympathy with one or other of these Usefulness or glory in the House of Coul, particular classes. He sees himself cut off mons forms no object with the youth of from the rest of the people to exercise Scotland, and indeed is rarely ever thought a high and invidious privilege. Con- of. And that portion of the talent of the scious of the jealousy which this inspires country which is admitted into parliament, in the body of the people, he considers is trammelled by its supporters. Having them as opponents, and regards even their no connection with the people, the member approbation, not as an object of ambition, does not partake of their character. He but an encroachment on his right. In goes to parliament without constitnents, the exercise of his privilege be may act and is treated according to the insig. with perfect purity; but great is his merit nificance of his origin. Speaking the senti. if he does so ; for he has no publicity to “ments of no portion of the community check him. He has paid, or could get, depending for his seat on a pod-and not 'a large price for his freehold or its use; prepared, by habit or, education, to atand it is not unnatural that the master tain, while he is allowed to sit, that dis of an article for which there is a keen tinction which of itself will do him little demapd, should look out for the highest good ou his next canvasshe is driven by purchaser, In Scotland what is of less his very helplessness to earn that pro weight than the resolutions of a town- tection from government, which can alone council, or of a meeting of freeholders? save him. If he fail in this, he is gone, What would be of more weight, if these If he obtain it, any sacrifice he may have bodies were constituted as they ought to made is immaterial, for he has no electors be? They are so constructed that even at to fear. If a stranger were to coipe to general elections, they are sensible of the Scotland, and to ask what sphere of public operation of only two interests that of life shone with the largest portion of the government, and that of some individual national talent who would say it was of great local influencc. · Among yoters, parliament? Io all the other avocations of who are so few, and each with his feelers genius, industry, or knowledge, the coun: "out, the power of goveroment is acknow. try is fuļl of competitors, many of them 'ledged in all places, at all times, and, splendidly successful; there is not one when not counteracted by the local family, other department in public life, at thie is absolute. It is a conclusive fact against head of which the natives of Scotland are the Scottish system that no man can, by not to be found ;--and they have increased 'almost any possibility, enter the walis of the general stock of public intellect iq parliament for a Scotch place, except on a portion far exceeding their numbers, one or other of these two interests.' We Yet, where is the great member Scotland do not believe that any one member was has ever sent to parliament? Deduct those ever returned by any body of Scotch whose personal influence cannot be sepa, · electors, solely in consequence of bis rated from their official, and the poverty public character or services. On the of our contribution to the harvest of contrary, whenever the most meritorious parliamentary patriots is most lament, public servant, ceases to be backed by able. And it is the more humiliating, : government, or by the commanding in- that many of the brightest names by

fluence of the local family, that instant he which parliament has been adorned, have ' is on the waine as a Scotch member. been those of men born, educated, and

Hence it is that Scotchmien rejected by chiefly interested, in Scotland. It has - the electors of Scotland, are often received sometimes been said, that even although

with acclamation by the electors of Eng. there were popular elections in this coon. jand, and that the most distinguished try, nearly the same individuals would be

public men of Scotland, instead of ap- · returned. Even though it were so, these · pearing in their natural position as repre- individuals would be different members, ·sentatives of their native country, are The simple circumstance of their depend· obliged to give the honour of clioosing ing on a larger portion of the intelligence "them to strangera. He who thinks of of their country, would change their

being a representative in parliament for natures. A reformed system of election · Scotland, knows that there are only two would breathe a better spirit into the re- pivots on which he can enter it, Instead presentatives; and it is the only thing

of preparing himself, therefore, by powers, that will ever enable the country to re> or connexions, or principles, worthy of am. deem itself from the hereditary shame

bition, 'bis views are limited to those of producing everything that is great,

means by which-in the local ministerial except statesmen. • leading-string-he may gain the unsatis. But the chief thing is the character of

factory favour of a handful of voters. the people. It is not merely the miş. Thus, the greater part of the talent of the fortune of the people of Scotland, their

not being permitted to exercise a par- misery, which yet I pray may not be viticular function, but in the circumstance sited upon her dear and aged head. My that this interdiction plucks the good father, Sir Charles Glenham bad, together qualities connected with the exercise of with his brother, taken too active a part that function from their breasts. What in the king's affairs, even before he found these qualities are, a Scotchman may well himself at war with his parliament, to de, be excused for asking. They are watclic vote much time to home occupations; and fuluess, courage, fairness ;=an interest in afterwards, active service, in the cause of public affairs and men ;-a love of justice; his royal and unfortunate friend, prevented

and the elevation which is imparted by his bestowing that care on my education the consciouspess of being trusted, and of which might, in part, have remedied the having rights, in the administration of the natural defects of my character; as it was, national business. The great blessing of I was wholly left to my mother's guidance, a free government consists in its gene- and consequently, when an infant, I was rating the virtues of freedom, which, in thrown into convulsions by every storn"; their turn, become the only preservatives as a child, trembled before erery threat of of that which creates them. But the my maid; and, as a youth, slirauk from all people of Scotland are expected to have my conipanions, who, were braver and the manliness of liberty without its prac- "stronger than myself, and scrupled not to ticę; and a taste for constitutional rights, bay off punishment with the meapest conwhich they only know by having them cessions. My youth did not pass away, described as wliąt they must not touch, but that soide flagrant instances of cowThe law hạs as yet assigned them no place ardice met with the contempt and chas. pr privilege, which connects them directly tisement they merited; nor was my sensi. with the political part of the state. They tiveness to shame less poignant that it was form no political element-have no ļegiti. over-mastered by my fear. These painful mate power- no established vent for their lessops, taught me, however, better to disa opinions and are placed in pinnatural op- guise the latter, and generated a hate position to the classes with which it would against my adversaries, naturally the more be most useful for them all that they were implacable, that fear barred its iron door blended. There is no common general upon all ont ward expression of this pas thouglit to make them oņé.

sion.' It required all the softness and sweet feminine forgiveness that formed

the ornament and very essence of my mo. ligos amareromang

ther's character, to counteract this most

fearful and natural consequence of cow, THE COWARD.

ardice. Even her words, though they

dropped like honey upon my irritated

· feelings, might have proved unavailing, I seek relief and sympathy at the price but that she early acquired a powerful asof wide-spread infamý; I would awake sistant, to whose gentle biduing I was · that pity for my suffering which must be more obedient than are the wild waves to denied to its cause. I am a coward; but their silver-queen, there are moral and physical dastards :. Į bad attained my eighteenth year, and and how many of the former have been in my fond mother was suffering daily torture debted to the aecident of robust propor- from the fear that I should receive a hasty tion and the sense of strength it bestows summons to join my father at Oxford, in for concealment of this worst species of order to commence my military education cowardice? Is he to blame whose delicacy and career immediately under bis eye, of make and constitution hath rendered when the event took place to which I him timid and prone to fear? And where have alluded. Equally new aud unex. fear is the master passion, the nobler vir. pected, it at once put away from me all tues become choked in the self-abasement bitter thoughts, and filled me with that and dependence it creates. A moral luxuriance of happiness which throws dastard may be personally brave, but a back its hallowed light over the whole physical coward 'necessarily becomes a earth to make it heaven. Helen Morti, moral one also.

mer, an orphan heiress and distant rela: I inherited from my mother a sickly tive of my mother, came to reside under coustitution and a ftame-work of the her roof. One year younger than myself, slightest and most fragile description; her character had early attained a matu. and to the pampering and excessive care rity, which it owed rather to the times and

slie bestowed upon my infancy and youih,' the conflicting scenes she had witnessed, · do I owe at least in part my subsequent than to an inward and self-born sense of

strength. Friend after friend, her tatlier . . † From the Keepsake for 1831.

and brother, wad all fallen vietiins to their

áltachment to their king; and the demand rage fail. Tarry not an instant; lest my made upon her energies to bear up against woman's tears cast a dampness on thy her repeated misfortunes, to decide and soul. When thou art gone, I shall find act for herself, under the most trying cir- tiile enough to weep.Farewell.” cumstances, seemed to give them birih, Thus urged, nuy departure was necesbecause it called them into early action. sarily immediate; and by keeping strictly Her stature, not yet arrived at its full and cautiously the very letter of my height, was nevertheless above the middle father's instructions as to the route, I size, and the fragility of her person, the reached him in satety. cloudless radiance expressed by her sweet It was on the 29th of Juue, the eve of and regular features, and that sheen the success of Cropredy Bridge, that I smoothness of beauty that belongs ovly to arrived at Banbury. On the following the first stage of womanhood, were requin morning, raw and inexperienced, unacsite to repress a something of awe, the quainted with discipline, and possessed by firmness of purpose and indexibility of the demon of fear, I was to earn, as voluntprinciple she evinced at first inspired. teer by my father's side, a commission in

I know not how I won this bright and his regiment. : beautiful creation to be my own ; I cannot “ This is my son," I heard my father but think the very detects of niy character say to some brother veterans, with a feelchiefly aided me; my ductile principles ing of honest pride;" he cannot prove a and unsettled resolves she knew how to recreant." guide and strengthen, and the interest Could he at that moment have read that with wbich I inspired her, from being son's soni, I do believe he would have tinyeil with compassion, was in itself so sought and found a glorious death in the tender, that it easily sofrened into love. morrow's baule. He was reserved for a After a while. I spoke ber thonguts, and harder fate. The morning rose ; a mantle my conduct was swayed by her senti- of cold gray mist spread over the heavens ments, and she looked upon her work and and the earth one duil and uniform colonr. loved it..

My teeth chattered, and my heart beat so • My mother no sooner discovered our loudly, that I could not at first distinguish mutual affection, than she overcame every a word uttered by my father, though his obstacle occasioned by our yonth, my fa. voice was clear and powerful. At length ther's absence, the impossibility of ob- I beard him, and then his words seemed tamning the king's sanction, and we were louder than thunder, and I was stopified privately married; in the hope, I firmly with the imaginary noise. "At length the believe, that this marriage would prevent hver for action came. A large detachmy joining the army.

ment of Sir William Waller's parliamentary For a while we were happy--but short army was ordered to cross the bridge at was my happiness, I' was peremptorily Cropredy, and fall upon our rear as we -summoned to join niy father. The king's proceeded towards Dáveutry: this we forces had suffered defeat, and it was learnt afterwards. At the moment of judged necessary to reinforce the arnry by attack, I looked around to find some posevery possible accession of numbers. I sible chance of escape. Alas! Looly met was called upon to join instantly the galo : my father's eye, and felt that searching lant throng who fearlessly devoted their glance upon me every way I turned. The lives and fortunes to the losing cause, and word was given, and my charger galloped seemed to glory in a death that closed as eager to the fight as though he bore their eyes on the triumph of their enemies. a willing burden. I recollect closing my I cannot express the mingled sensations, eyes, and yrasping my sword. From that all of reluctance, that assailed me on this instant, till in my father's arms, I had no summons. Hitherto I had believed my consciousness at the time, nor any recol; Jove for Helen to be the strougest feeling lection afterwards, of any thing that ocof my being : but the pang that shot curred. I gathered, however, from others, through my frame, and left me covered that I'made my onset with headlong im with a cold and death-like dew, was not petnosity-was among the first that reoccasioned by the thonght of her grief, pulsed the enemy--and had borve myself nor" of lier unprotected condition, but of as well and gallantly, considering my inthie danger I was about to encounter. If experience, as the bravest among them. for a moment I entertained a fond hope. A mere scratch on my sword-arm was the that Helen would urge me to remain near only wound I had received. It will be her, I was bitterly mistaken.

thought that this unexpected triumplı gave Go, my beloved," she said, “ without me at once pleasure and confidence; such, delay; and as you honour your king, deal it appears to me, ought to have bee its

heaviy with his enemies. Think not of natural consequence; but I was over· me, lest thine arm tremble, and thy cou. whelmed with horror. My safety was too

« PreviousContinue »