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Proposed new Electoral Districts.
this category, including the metropolis and its different districts, there are (or were in 1841) 40 cities, towns, and boroughs, which now, among them, return 78 members, representing an aggregate population of 5,178,000; — which population, on the proposed basis, would entitle them to 124 members. There are 12 parliamentary boroughs, and several others, at present unrepresented, with a population of between 30,000 and 40,000. These boroughs, many of them containing four-fifths of the population required to constitute a parliamentary district, might be classed with those just alluded to, inasmuch as the townpeople would be sure to control the elections. But, to be within the mark, let us take 124 as the number of purely town representations, what would be the result? The House of Commons would then be divided into two classes; one class, the 124 representing constituencies exclusively of one character, and all the rest, 534 in number, representing mixed constituencies of town and country people, of one uniform tone and colour, so that the majority in one would probably be the majority in all. If again, however, the prevalent plan of giving two members to each constituency were adopted, the electoral districts would include a population of 83,000, and would, of course, be only half as numerous. In that case, the number of pure constituencies would be greatly diminished, and the mixed ones would be increased; and, becoming necessarily more and more homogeneous as they became larger in extent, the evil of the exclusive representation of the majority would become more and more enhanced.
Finally any very wide and general extension of the franchise would have a noxious operation not commonly perceived, unless it were accompanied with a provision never hitherto suggested or desired. In order to reap from it the public benefits which its really patriotic advocates anticipate from itin order to render it even innocuous or safe, it would require to be coupled with a provision to make voting compulsory, or, at least, so to facilitate it by arrangements and enforce it by consequences as to render the exercise of the franchise virtually as universal as its possession. The reason will be apparent on a little consideration. It is obvious that all which the most complete representation even if such actually and successfully followed from 'complete' suffrage-could do, would be to confer upon the mass of the people the power to act as they liked; to act wisely, if wisdom were their salient characteristic; to act selfishly and unwisely, if folly, ignorance, or ill-intention predominated in their ranks. But it remains to be seen whether universal or quasi-universal suffrage-'complete suffrage,' as
VOL. XCV. NO. CXCIII.
We feel averse to tables in which a considerable conjectural element must necessarily enter. Otherwise, if we could have ventured to give the estimate we had framed from the recorded votes of the number of electors who actually polled in the larger boroughs and counties, we should have brought out still more strongly the two conclusions deducible from this table; viz. first, the inadequate number of the registered electors who take the trouble to vote -- sometimes not half, often not above two-thirds; and secondly, the much larger proportion of electors who record their votes in small boroughs, and those under local influence, than in the larger constituencies; showing that where left to themselves, they are languid in the matter, and vote in full numbers only when driven to the poll. We believe we are near the mark in stating that, taking together London, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Lambeth, Leeds, Marylebone, Newcastle, and Nottingham, out of 131,169 electors, only 72,187, or 55 per cent., recorded their votes; while in Bridgenorth, Cirencester, Devonport, Dover, Horsham, Lymington, Westbury, Aylesbury, Hastings, Pontefract, and Taunton, out of 10,638 electors, 9850 voted, or 92 per cent.
No. CXCIV. will be published in April.
ordre par M. le Comte de Marcourt. Paris: 1846.
THE HE work, of which we have prefixed the title to this Article, is one of an intended series which was interrupted by the revolution of 1848. We have not been able to find more of it than these two volumes; and we believe that no more has been published. They form, however, a complete work, containing the life and remains of a man who was one of the most distinguished members of the French Bar during one of its most brilliant periods, and one of the most able and intrepid of the statesmen who, after the Bar was silenced, sacrificed their lives in the attempt to erect a stable government out of the ruins left by the Convention. We believe that a short notice of it may be interesting, both as illustrating the remarkable social state which preceded, and in fact brought on, the great French Revolution, and also as throwing light on the military revolution of the 18th Fructidor, which, next to that of 1789, has been the event which has most affected the fortunes of France and of Europe,—a revolution which deprived France of the glorious peace which Pitt was eagerly offering to her, which led her to play double or quits with Fortune, until the unlucky throw, sure to come at last, stripped her of the winnings of twenty years of successful war, and which during the fifty-six following years has always placed her sceptre in the hands which know best how to use the sword.
Tronson du Coudray was born at Rheims, on the 18th of November, 1750. His family belonged to the noblesse of the town; a class which the facilities of locomotion, the preponderance of Paris, and a growing contempt for provincial illustration,
VOL. XCV. NO. CXCIV.
and indeed for provincial life, have now nearly extinguished in France, as they have in England; but which, a century ago, constituted in every city a respected aristocracy, with a public spirit and a public opinion of its own. He was one of ten children, and the means of his family would not have enabled him to receive more than a very narrow education; but the talents which he displayed as a boy attracted general notice, and the city of Rheims supplied the funds necessary to carry him through the University. His favourite study was the law, then a necessary part of a liberal foreign education; not, indeed, the municipal law of France, (for among the heterogeneous illassimilated provinces into which France was then divided, there was no general law of France, any more than in England there is a general law of copyholds,) but the great magazine of jurisprudential experience, skill, and philosophy, the Roman Civil Law. His exertions injured his health, and he was advised to try a total change of scenes and pursuits. He connected himself with a commercial firm in Rheims, and travelled on the business of the house through Germany, Poland, and Russia. His health was restored, but on his return he found himself engaged in a lawsuit with his partners. This decided the course of his future life. He pleaded his own cause, and his success made him resolve to make the law his profession. At the age of twenty-eight, in 1778, four years after the accession of Louis XVI., he was received as avocat in Paris, and began his short but illustrious career.
The system of criminal procedure which then prevailed in France, as it still does in the greater part of Europe, is one which in England is adopted merely as preparatory to trial. It is called, by foreign jurists, the process by inquiry, to distinguish it from that which we adopt, which they call the process by accusation. Under the latter system the sovereign, on the complaint of an individual, brings forward and supports a specific accusation, against which the accused defends himself: a time is appointed for the decision, at which all the evidence on each side must be ready. If at the trial any link is wanting in the prosecutor's chain of evidence, so much the worse for justice; if one is wanted on the part of the prisoner, so much the worse for innocence. When once the curtain has been raised the play must be played out. The witnesses are bound to remain in attendance, the jury are kept from their homes, the court sits on from hour to hour, or, if necessary, from day to day, until the verdict has been pronounced. But the process by inquiry, as is the case with us with respect to the preliminary proceedings before the committing magistrates, is not
The false Count Solar.
confined within any fixed period. The question which the Court has to decide is not whether a prosecutor has proved that a specified accused person has committed a specified offence, but whether any and what offence has been committed, and who has committed it.
The inquiry, therefore, is at first ex parte. If a plausible case is made out against an individual he is arrested, imprisoned, and examined; his own examinations being expected to afford or to indicate the best evidence against him. When all the criminatory proof has been collected, it is communicated to the prisoner, who now, perhaps for the first time, knows the nature of the charge, and for the first time has legal assistance. As justice has not hurried herself in collecting the evidence against him, she does not hurry him in preparing his defence. No time is fixed for the termination of the proceedings. They are to end as soon as the Court is convinced of his innocence or of his guilt. Further proofs on either side may be adduced at what appeared to be the last moment. An accusation is a drama, in which all the unities, action, time, and place, are preserved. An inquiry resembles a novel, in which event succeeds event, and the story wanders on from year to year.
The first important cause in which Tronson du Coudray was. engaged was a remarkable one.
On the 1st of August, 1773, a horseman, who was approaching Peronne, found on the high road a boy of about eleven years old, covered only by half-consumed rags, attenuated by want and fatigue, and uttering inarticulate cries. The traveller took his new acquaintance with him to Peronne, set before him food, which he devoured with a voracity which showed that he had long endured hunger, and endeavoured to learn his history. This, however, he found impossible, for the boy was deaf and dumb. A charitable woman took charge of him for some weeks, at the end of which, through the intervention of M. de Sartine, the well-known minister of police, he was placed on the 2nd of September in the Bicêtre, then used as an asylum for foundlings. Food and rest restored his bodily health, but he shrank from the contact of the boys among whom he was thrown. They belonged, most of them by birth, all of them by education, to the lower orders. His appearance, and, as far as his infirmities permitted it, his manners, were aristocratic. He had the quick intelligent look which often animates the countenances of those who derive knowledge only through their eyes, and the docility and refinement which are the results of early cultivation. He was of course oppressed and persecuted