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interested in the property of the soil, was / who, by the very instrument by which extremely sınall, and of these the num- they were professedly made free, were ber of real votes scarcely exceeded that reduced to the most abject state of poliof the fictitious ones.
tical bondage. Thus many of the counThe new basis of county suffrage ap- ties, in choosing their representatives, lay pears, by the Reform Act for Scotland, to under the absolute dictation of some great be assimilated, as closely as the difference territorial proprietor ; and there were few between the modes of possessing and oc- in which a coalition of two or three of the cupying lands, &c. in the two countries principal landowners would not deterwill permit, to the system established for mine the election according to their own England and Wales. While the old class wishes. Under these circumstances, the of rights to the suffrage are preserved to provision of the Catholic Emancipation the individuals in actual possession of Act of 1829, which raised the freehold them before March 1, 1831, provision is qualification in the counties of Ireland made against their perpetuation; while from 40s. to 101., can hardly be regarded the body of electors newly admitted con as a virtual disfranchisement. sists of owners to the value of 101. a year, The whole civil organization of Ireland - of leaseholders for 57 years or for life, having been introduced directly from whose clear yearly interest is not less than England, and the system of tenures in 101.-of leaseholders for 19 years, where particular being the same in both counsuch yearly interest is worth not less than tries, the provisions of the Irish Reform 501., -of yearly tenants whose rent is not Act which have reference to the terriless than 501. per annum,—and of all torial franchise are more strictly analotenants whatsoever who have paid for gous to those of the act for England than their interest in their holding an amount those of the Scottish act could well be not less than 300l. The same difference made, at least in appearance. The existis made as in the English act, between the ing freehold rights being preserved here, freeholder and the mere occupier, as to as in the other two divisions of the emthe six months' proprietorship required in pire, to their individual possessors, and the former case and the twelve months' the 101. freehold franchise being already occupancy in the latter; and the like ex established by the above-mentioned proceptions from this condition as to the vision of the act of 1829, the classes of length of possession in favour of cases electors newly created are-1, the 10l. wherein either ownership or lease comes copyholders ; 2, lessees or assignees havto a person by inheritance, marriage, ing a clear yearly interest of 101, in a marriage settlement, “ mortis causâ dis- | leasehold created originally for 60 years position," or appointment to any place or or upwards, or of 201. in a leasehold of office.
not less than 14 years, whether in their IRELAND.—The Act of Union made no actual occupancy or not; 3, sub-lessees alteration in the parliamentary suffrage or assignees of any under-lease in either of the Irish counties. The qualification of the two cases just mentioned, actually of a freeholder remained the same as be- occupying ; 4, the immediate lessees or fore, a clear annual forty-shilling interest assignees, and they only, having a 10l. for a life; and as it was customary in yearly interest in a 201. lease, and actuIreland to grant leases on lives, free- ally occupying. The like provision is holders were thus created whose votes, made as in the English act, against any from their extreme poverty, and conse title to the county franchise being derived quent inability to discharge their legal from any holding whatever that would obligations to their landlord, were dis- entitle to vote for a city or borough. posable by him as a matter of course. This practice of multiplying freeholds
CITIES AND BOROUGUS. for election purposes merely was carried ENGLAND AND WALES.—The want of to an excessive and most mischievous ex any uniform basis of suffrage in the partent, reducing the franchise almost to liamentary boroughs, the endless diversity universal suffrage, among individuals of the claims to its exercise derived from
the various political as well as local in-, voter, need not be always the same preAuences that had operated upon them in mises, § 28, but may be different premises the course of ages,-a diversity which occupied in immediate succession by such the numerous, various, and often conflict person during the twelve calendar months ing decisions of election committees of the next previous to the last day of July in House of Commons had additionally com such year : such person having paid, on plicated and confused—was one of the or before the 20th of July in such year, most grievous defects of the old repre- all the poors' rates and assessed taxes sentative system, The generally prevail- due before the 6th of April preceding, in ing custom, too, that the non-residence of respect of all such premises so occupied borough voters entailed no disqualifica- by him in succession.-Furthermore, tion, was one of the most serious evils $ 29, when any premises in any such comprised under this head. The Reform city or borough, or place sharing in the Act prepared the way for sweeping off election, shall be jointly occupied by more all the claims to the franchise founded on persons than one, each of such joint occuthe old and long-abused titles to borough piers shall be entitled to vote, in case the freedom, by establishing a uniform quali- clear yearly value of such premises shall fication, resting chiefly on the basis of be of an amount which, when divided by inhabitancy
the number of such occupiers, shall give It provides, § 27, that in every city a sum of not less than 101. for each occuor borough which shall return members, pier. And, g 30, in every city, borough, or every male person of full age and not place sharing in election, it shall be law. subject to any legal incapacity, who shall | ful for any person occupying as above occupy, within such city or borough, or specified in any parish or township in within any place sharing in elections with which there shall be a rate for the relief it, as owner or tenant, any house, ware of the poor, to claim to be rated; and house, counting-house, shop, or other upon such occupier so claiming, and acbuilding, either separately or jointly with tually paying or tendering the full amount any land, of the clear yearly value of not of the rates, the overseers are to put the less than 101., shall, if duly registered, as name of such occupier upon the rates ; directed in another part of the act, be and in case such overseers shall peglect or entitled to vote in the election of members refuse so to do, such occupier shall neverfor such city or borough ; provided theless be deemed to have been rated. always, that no such person shall be so The formerly anomalous position of registered in any year, unless he shall cities and towns which are counties of have occupied such premises for twelve themselves, as regards the possession of calendar months previous to the last day the elective franchise, is rectified by the of July in that year ; nor unless such per- act, $ 18. Such counties of cities and towns son, where there shall be a rate for the are now included, for the purposes of relief of the poor, shall have been rated county elections, in the several counties to all the rates for the relief of the poor at large, or divisions of counties, in which made during such his occupation ; nor they are locally situated -- with this reunless such person shall have paid, on or striction only as regards freeholds for life; before the 20th of July in the same year, – that no person shall be entitled to vote all the poors' rates and assessed taxes due in the election of knights of the shire, or from hím previously to the 6th of April of members for any city or town a county preceding; provided also, that no such of itself, in respect of any freehold whereperson shall be so registered unless he of such person may be seised for his own shall have resided for six calendar months | life, or for the life of another, or for any previous to the last day of July in such lives, except such person shall be in the year within the city or borough, or within actual occupation, or except the same the place sharing in the election, or within shall have come by marriage, marriage seven miles thereof. The premises in re- settlement, devise, or promotion to any bespect of the occupation of whieh any per- nefice or to any office, or except the same son shall be entitled to be registered as a shall be of the clear yearly value of not
less than 10l. It is further provided, $ 31, , or borough by virtue of any other qualithat in every city or town being a county fication than those already mentioned, of itself, in the election for which free shall retain such right so long as he shall holders or burgage tenants, either with or be qualified as an elector according to the without any superadded qualification, usages and customs of such city or bonow have a right to vote, every such free- rough, or any law in force at the passing holder or burgage tenant shall be entitled of the act, and shall be entitled to vote if to vote, if duly registered ; but no such duly registered; but in both of the above person shall be so registered in respect of cases it is enacted that no such person any freehold or burgage tenement, unless shall be so registered unless he shall
, on he shall have been in actual possession the last day of July, be qualified in such thereof, or in receipt of the rents and pro- manner as would entitle him then to vote fits for his own use, for twelve calendar if such day were the day of election; nor months previous to the last day of July unless for six calendar months previous (except where the same shall have come to that day he shall have resided within to him, within such twelve months, by such city or borough, or within seven descent, succession, marriage, marriage miles from the place where the poll shall settlement, devise, or promotion to any heretofore have been taken, or, in the benefice or office), nor unless he shall case of a contributory borough, within have resided for six calendar months pre- seven miles of such borough. As regards vious to the last day of July within such the second class of voters last mentioned, city or town, or within seven miles of it; it is further enacted that every such person - the limits of such city or town a county shall for ever cease to enjoy such right of of itself, being, for the purpose of this voting if his name shall have been omitenactment, those settled by the general ted for two successive years from the parliamentary Boundary Act for England register of parliamentary voters for such and Wales. Sinuilar provision as to city or borough, unless he shall have length of occupancy, &c. was made in the been so omitted in consequence of his case of persons having a previous free- having received parochial relief within hold qualification to vote for any of the twelve calendar months previous to the boroughs of Aylesbury, Cricklade, East last day of July in any year, or of his Retford, or New Shoreham.
absence on naval or military service. Such are the provisions which consti The expedient to which, to serve party tute what is popularly called, by reference purposes during the agitation of the Reto their most prominent feature, “the ten- form measure, many of the governing pound householder qualification.” bodies of corporations bad resorted, of
But as in the settling of the places admitting unusually large numbers of which were thenceforward to elect, and | freemen, occasioned the following limitain apportioning the members, the new act tions of the above reservation of the made a large compromise with the old elective franchise of freemen to be introsystem, so also it made no inconsiderable duced into the act, viz:- That no person ore, for a season at least, in sparing to a who shall have been elected, made, or certain extent the rights to the parlia- ! admitted a burgess or freeman since mentary franchise grounded on the old | March 1, 1831, otherwise than in respect of titles to borough freedom. In all such | birth or servitude, or who shall hereafter cases, however, it imposes the very impor- | be so, shall be entitled to vote, $ 32; that no tant condition of residence. It provides person shall be entitled as a burgess or that every person who would have been freeman in respect of birth, unless his entitled to vote in the election of members | right be originally derived from for any city or borough as a burgess or through some person who was a burgess freeman, or in the city of London as a or freeman, or was entitled to be admitted freeman and liveryman, shall be entitled as such, before the said ist of March, to vote if duly registered: and that every | 1831, or from some person who since other person having, previous to the act, that time shall have become, or shall a right to vote in the election for any city hereafter become, a burgess or freeman
in respect of servitude, $ 32; and that no | and payment of all rates due for more person shall be entitled to vote for any city than one half-year. Reservation was also or borough (except it be a county of made, as in the English boroughs, of itself) in respect of any estate or interest rights by freehold under 101., when in any burgage tenement or freehold accruing before the passing of the act, by which shall have been acquired by such descent, marriage, &c. The clause of person since the same Ist of March, 1831, the Catholic Emancipation Act, which unless it shall have come to such person raised the freehold qualification in counpreviously to the passing of this act, by ties at large to 10l., left it at the old descent, succession, marriage, marriage amount of 408. in the several counties of settlement, devise, or promotion to any cities and towns; but the Reform Act benefice or office, $ 35.
raised it there to the same scale as in the It is also provided in general that no counties at large (only reserving for life person shall be entitled to be registered the existing 40s. rights', and at the same in any year as a voter for any city or time gave the parliamentary franchise for borough who shall, within twelve calendar such corporate counties to the same months previous to the last day of July, classes of leaseholders, and on the same in that year, have received parochial relief conditions, whom it admitted in the counor other alms which, according to the ties at large. previously existing law of parliament, disq ified from voting.
SCOTLAND.-Owing to the previous In the two English universities the absence of all pretence or shadow of parliamentary suffrage is independent of popular suffrage in the Scottish boroughs, residence, property, or occupancy, being the revolution made in their parlia- vested in the doctors and masters of arts mentary constituencies by the Reforın of Cambridge and Oxford respectively, Act of 1832 was effected simply, com so long as they keep their names on the pletely, and at once. The franchise is boards of their respective colleges. In taken from the members of the town that of Dublin, in like manner, it is poscouncils and their delegates, in whom as sessed by the fellows, scholars, and grasuch it was before exclusively vested, duates of Trinity College, on the like and a 101. qualification, by ownership or
condition. occupancy, substituted in its place, with The establishment of a general and the like conditions, as in the English act, uniform system of registration of voters, of twelve months' previous occupancy, calculated to obviate much of the inconpayment of assessed taxes, registration, venience of contested returns, is another and non-receipt of parochial relief. very important feature of the Reform
IRELAND. - In the Irish cities and Acts; for the various and rather compliboroughs the change immediately worked cated details of which we must refer the by the Parliamentary Reform Act was reader to the acts themselves. relatively greater than in England, owing Having thus given a view of the qualichiefly to the fact that the municipal fications for exercising the parliamentary corporations of the former country'existed franchise as now established throughout in a state yet more thoroughly anomal- the British Islands, it remains to notice ous and corrupt than those of England. the principal of those legal disqualificaHere again, the actually existing and tions which are of a personal nature, and the inchoate titles to the parliamentary operate independently of all proprietorsuffrage being reserved, as in the English ship or occupancy. act, on condition of residence within Every woman, of whatever age, and seven iniles, and honorary freemen however independently situated as to procreated since March 30, 1831, being experty and social relations, is as much cluded, the 101. ownership or occupancy excluded from voting as from being qualification is established as the new elected. As to age in male persons, the basis of suffrage, on condition of registra-only exception is that which excludes all tion with six mouths' previous occupancy | minors, that is, all who have not com
pleted their twenty-first year. As to the or Kent, or for any city or borough within exception which regards aliens, this is not the metropolitan district. By 2 Geo. II., the place in which to examine the various c. 24, $ 6, persons legally convicted of difficulties that in many cases have arisen perjury or subornation of perjury, or of and still arise in strictly defining who are taking or asking any bribe, are thereby aliens and who are not. By the ancient for ever incapacitated from voting. “law of parliament,” which forms an in As regards religious grounds of distegral portion of the common law, luna- qualification in general, it should be obtics are very reasonably incapacitated, as served, that as no oaths are now required also are paupers in city or borough elec- to be taken, nor declaratious to be made, tioris. It was resolved by the House of as preliminary either to registration or to Commons in 1699 (14th December), that voting, all such disabilities as might have “no peer of parliament” has a right to arisen from refusal to take or make them vote for members of that house. After are of course removed. the Union with Ireland, this resolution, which was usually repeated at the be
3. Qualifications of Candidates. ginuing of every session, was altered into Of the close relation so long subsisting the following form : “ That no peer of between the grounds of the elective franthis realm, except such peer of that part chise and of eligibility, and which had of the United Kingdom called Ireland as sprung from their original identity, we shall for the time being be actually elected, find distinct traces in the similarity beand shall not have declined to serve, for tween the heads of disqualification in any county, city, or borough of Great either case. Women, minors, aliens, and Britain, hath any right to give his vote lunatics are of course excluded in the in the election of any member to serve in latter case as well as in the former. It parliament.” The vast increase, since the would be needless to remark, that peers commencement of the last century, owing of parliament, that is, actual members of to the establishment of so many new the House of Lords, are ineligible to the branches of revenue, in the number of House of Commons, except in order to persons employed immediately by the point out this distinction—that any Irish crown as revenue-collectors, occasioned peer, not being among the twenty-eight the enactment of several statutes of ex- sitting in the House of Lords for the time clusion from the parliamentary franchise. being as representatives of the Irish peerThus the 22 George III. c. 41, excludes age, and being, therefore, though a peer every class of officers concerned in the of the realm, not a peer of parliament, is collection or management of the excise, eligible to represent any constituency in customs, stamp duties, salt duties, vindow the United Kingdom, although such is and house duties, or in any department not the case with Scotch peers who are of the business of the post-office. By 3 not representative peers. No person conGeorge IV. c. 56, § 14, it was first en- cerned in the management of any duties acted that no justice, receiver, surveyor, or taxes created since 1692 (except comor constable, appointed by that act at any missioners of the treasury), nor any offione of the eight police-offices of the Eng- cer of the excise, customs, stamps, &c., lish metropolis, shall be capable of voting nor any person holding any office under for Middlesex, Surrey, Westminster, or the crown created since 1705, is eligible. Southwark; and by 10 George IV. c. 44, In like manner, pensioners under the which established the new system of crown during pleasure, or for a term of police in certain districts of the metro years, are wholly excluded. Any mempolis (the operation of which has since , ber, however, who accepts an office of beeu extended to meet the local exten- profit under the crown existing prior to sion of the police-system), it was enacted 1705, though he thereby vacates his seat, that no justice, receiver, or person belong. is capable of being re-elected. Contracing to the police force appointed by virtue tors with government are ineligible ; and of that act, shall be capable of voting for it is enacted, that if any persou só disMiddlesex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Essex, qualified shall sit in the House, be shall