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century after century to the hereditary determination of a single family. Men say it is the power of a standing army, discouraging resistance. But why is the army in the interest of that family more than in that of the million families from which itself has sprung? The army gains from the imperial patronage nothing but hard fare, a life of dangerous and ignoble warfare, and the undying hatred of those of its fellowsubjects who are capable of so active an emotion. The tyranny of which the soldier is the tool does not press less heavily upon him than upon his brother of the field or of the shop. How, then, does it happen that in almost every country of Continental Europe there is constant war, open or suppressed, between a royal or imperial family on the one hand, and ten, twenty, forty millions of subjects on the other? One would think the contest must come to a speedy end. But the secret lies in the fact, that the people of these countries, however willing they may be to change their condition, and to substitute self-government for the absolutism which they so detest, are not willing and able either “ to do what is necessary to keep their government standing,” after they have established it, or “ to do what it requires of them to enable it to fulfil its purposes.” How should they be? The slavisliness of temper which makes it possible for a despot to rally around him an army of a million of men to maintain his rule, which removes from the breasts of these men all shame at the meanness of their position, all remorse for the treachery they practise against their countrymen, makes it also possible for the rest of the population to rest quietly under the yoke, except in the periodical spasms of revolution, which occur perhaps once in a generation, and of which the result is pretty surely the same, - a return to the old despotism, and a settling down of the disheartened people into their old places, with fetters strengthened, with soil impoverished, with taxes increased. We do not wish to echo the flippant cry of young American tourists, that France or Italy or Austria is fit for nothing but despotism. That cry was foolish enough in the days of our prosperity ; — God forbid that we should exult over or despise the people of those unhappy countries in the day when our own is torn by a direr struggle than they have ever witnessed! But we must think, nevertheless, that among them there does not exist that sturdy love of liberty for its own sake, that quiet determination to possess and maintain it at all hazards, and “ in the teeth of clenched antagonisms," and the rational civilization to appreciate and rightly use its blessings, which have alone made Liberty at home in England and in America.
A single peculiarity in this work indicates the radical difference in the constitution of society between England and the United States. This is the constant emphasis which Mr. Mill gives to the expression of the dangers of “class-legislation," and the constant assumption that the candidate of a majority of voters, under a system of universal suffrage, would inevitably be the representative of the operative class alone, and thus, from the necessity of his position, the advocate of measures tending to the advantage of that class, as against that of the higher and more cultivated classes.
" In that falsely called democracy, which is really the exclusive rule of the operative classes, all others being unrepresented and unheard, the only escape from class-legislation in its narrowest, and political ignorance in its most dangerous form, would lie in such disposition as the uneducated might have to choose educated representatives, and to defer to their opinions. Some willingness to do this might reasonably be expected, and everything would depend upon cultivating it to the highest point. But, once invested with political omnipotence, if the operative classes voluntarily concurred in imposing upon themselves, in this or any other manner, any considerable limitation to their self-opinion or self-will, they would prove themselves wiser than any class possessed of absolute power has shown itself, or, we may venture to say, is ever likely to show itself under that corrupting influence.” — p. 230.
We claim no superior virtue in the operative classes of the United States over those of any other community ; but so little tendency is there in the course of the complicated politics of this country to the development of the evils above alluded to, and so untrue is it with us that democracy is “the exclusive rule of the operative classes, all others being unrepresented and unheard,” that we do not remember a single instance in the history either of Congress or of the State legislatures in which such an abuse has ever been suspected by the most sensitive of what in England would be called the conservatives. But the sharper definition of the “operatives” as a class in English society, and the limited extent of political power and social influence accorded to them, undoubtedly render it probable that if, under a system of universal and equal suffrage, they should suddenly find themselves invested with the dignity of electors, they would exhibit a tendency, more or less marked according to the behavior of the wealthier classes under the circumstances, to abuse their power in the manner indicated by Mr. Mill. In this probability the author finds one of the strongest reasons why members of Parliament should take their seats unpledged to the support of any specified measure or policy, and also one of the strongest arguments for a reform of which very little has hitherto been said in this country, but which has for some years past engaged the consideration of many of the public men of Great Britain, and of which Mr. Mill, though not the original proposer, has been probably the most conspicuous advocate, — the Representation of Minorities.
Mr. Mill thinks, with reason, that the rule of the majority does not necessarily or in justice imply the silence of the minority; and if the minority has the right to make itself heard before an election, it has the same right to consideration, and to a due and proportionate share of influence, after the election. We have not quite the spur for interest in the application of this principle that the Englishman has, since, as we have said, the assumption that the majority will always be the laboring classes, and that the minority will thus comprise all that is wisest and most cultivated in the kingdom, is founded on a condition of society which has never existed in this country. The principle, however, whatever may be the motives for its adoption, is undoubtedly a correct one.
“Nothing is more certain, than that the virtual blotting out of the minority is no necessary or natural consequence of freedom; that, far from having any connection with democracy, it is diametrically opposed to the first principle of democracy, — representation in proportion to numbers. It is an essential part of democracy that minorities should be adequately represented. No real democracy, nothing but a false show of democracy, is possible without it." - p. 137.
The system by which Mr. Mill proposes to effect this desirable improvement in representation is that drawn up by Mr. Thomas Hare, “a man of great capacity, fitted alike for large general views and for the contrivance of practical details." His plan was explained in a volume published in 1859, entitled a “Treatise on the Election of Representatives.” Mr. Mill thus describes the main provisions of the scheme :
“According to this plan, the unit of representation, the quota of electors who would be entitled to have a member to themselves, would be ascertained by the ordinary process of taking averages, the number of voters being divided by the number of seats in the House, and every candidate who obtained that quota would be returned, from however great a number of local constituencies it might be gathered. The votes would, as at present, be given locally, but any elector would be at liberty to vote for any candidate, in whatever part of the country he might offer himself. Those electors, therefore, who did not wish to be represented by any of the local candidates, might aid by their votes in the return of the person they liked best among all those throughout the country who had expressed a willingness to be chosen. This would so far give reality to the electoral rights of the otherwise virtually disfranchised minority. But it is important that not those alone who refuse to vote for any of the local candidates, but those also who vote for one of them and are defeated, should be enabled to find elsewhere the representation which they have not succeeded in obtaining in their own district. It is therefore provided that an elector may deliver a voting paper containing other names in addition to the one which stands first in his preference. His vote would only be counted for one candidate ; but if the object of his first choice failed to be returned, from not having obtained the quota, his second might perhaps be more fortunate. He may extend his list to a greater number, in the order of his preference, so that if the names which stand near the top of the list either cannot make up the quota, or are able to make it up without his vote, the vote may still be used for some one whom it may assist in returning. To obtain the full number of members required to complete the House, as well as to prevent very popular candidates from engrossing nearly all the suffrages, it is necessary, however many votes a candidate may obtain, that no more of them than the quota should be counted for his return; the remainder of those who voted for him would have their votes counted for the next person on their respective lists who needed them, and could by their aid complete the quota. To determine which of a candidate's votes should be used for his return and which set free for others, several methods are proposed into which we shall not here enter. He would of course retain the votes of all those who would not otherwise be represented, and for the remainder drawing lots, in default of better, would be an unobjectionable expedient. The voting papers would be conveyed to a central office, where the votes would be counted, — the number of first, second, third, and other votes given for each candidate ascertained, and the quota would be allotted to every one who could make it up, until the number of the House was complete, first votes being preferred to second, second to third, and so forth. The voting papers and all the elements of the calculation would be placed in public repositories, accessible to all whom they concerned, and if any one who had obtained the quota was not duly returned, it would be in his power easily to prove it.” — pp. 139 – 141.
To any plan for so radical a change as is here proposed in that department of practical politics which is at the foundation of all representative government, the objection is sure to be brought forward,“ that it is impracticable, - very fine it may be as a theory, but of no use as a working scheme, - in short, visionary.” Commonly, the more feasible and clearly useful the plan proposed, the more loudly is this objection urged, and the more obstinately insisted on by the great body of those conservatives, self-styled, to whom all change is sacrilege. In the case before us, the objection may not be altogether unfounded. The plan of Mr. Hare, unless it is intended to work as a special instrument in the hands of the upper classes for the protection of their interests against the class-legislation of the operatives, would seem to presuppose among the latter class a wider acquaintance with the comparative merits and abilities of the public men of the country than Mr. Mill would probably give them credit for. Even if that condition were likely to be fulfilled, it is quite possible that the adoption of such a system of election, simple as it seems in print, would, in the elections of a country of thirty millions of inhabitants, end by involving the whole canvass in a confusion perfectly inextricable. But it is also possible, on the other hand, that the confusion would be only the temporary result of the want of familiarity, on the part of voters and inspectors, with a scheme so novel, and that, after a few trials, the practical good sense of a people long trained in the exercise of political