this character. Next I quote from Earl Grey's work on Parliamentary Government and Reform, seventh chapter.

This is a new edition, published in 1864. He says:


“The first of the reforms of a conservative tendency which I should suggest, and one which I should consider a great improvement under any circumstances, but quite indispensable if any changes favorable to democratic power are to be admitted, would be the adoption of what Mr. James Marshall has called the 'cumulative vote;' that is to say, the principle of giving to every elector as many votes as there are members to be elected by the constituency to which he belongs, with the right of either giving all these votes to a single candidate or of dividing them, as he may prefer.

“The object of adopting this rule would be to secure to minorities a fair opportunity of making their opinions and wishes heard in the House of Commons. In order that it might fully answer this purpose, the right of returning members to Parliament ought to be so distributed that each constituency should not have less than three representatives to choose. Supposing that three members were to be elected together, and that each elector were entitled to three votes, which he might unite in favor of a single candidate, it is obvious that a minority exceeding a fourth of the whole constituency would have the power of securing the election of one member. It is probable that in general three members would be thus returned, each representing a different shade of opinion among the voters

“The advantages this mode of voting would be calculated to produce, and the justice of making some such provision for the representation of minorities, or rather, the flagrant injustice of omitting to do so, have been so well shown by Mr. Marshall in the pamphlet I have already referred to, and by Mr. Mill in his highly philosophical treatise on Representative Government, that it is quite needless for me to argue the question as one of principle. But I may observe that, in addition to its being right in principle, this measure would be in strict accordance with the lessons of experience if read in their true spirit. One of the most remarkable peculiarities of the British House of Commons, as compared to other representative bodies, is that it has always had within its walls members representing most of the different classes of society, and of the various and conflicting opinions and interests to be found in the nation. Much of the acknowledged success with which the House of Commons has played its part in the government of the country has been attributed (I believe most justly) to this peculiarity.

“The changes made by the reform act, and especially the abolition of the various rights of voting formerly to be found in different towns, and the establishment of one uniform franchise in all the English boroughs, (with only a small exception in favor of certain classes of freemen,) tended somewhat to impair the character of the House in this respect. The greatly increased intercourse between different parts of the country, and the rapidity with which opinions are propagated from one extremity of the kingdom to another, have had a similar tendency; and there is no longer the same probability as formerly that different opinions will be found to prevail in different places, so as to enable all parties to find somewhere the means of gaining an entrance to Parliament for at least enough of their adherents to give expression to their feelings.”

And then he goes on with an elaborate investigation and application of this scheme to the House of Commons. There has been, therefore, not only an inquiry abroad, but an assent from minds

differently or variantly constituted, in favor of cumulative voting; from Mr. Mill, a representative of radical opinion, than whom there is no one more eminent in political literature; and then, again, from Earl Grey, representing a more conservative shade of political sentiment in that country. Why has not this plan been adopted in Great Britain and applied in practice, and why has it not been incorporated in the existing reform bill? Because in that country they have not the same advantages that we have for its introduction. Here our existing States offer the facilities for introducing this plan without inconvenience, whereas in Great Britain, where they have their districts formed, districts which have existed for centuries, where the habits and relations of the people have been formed for long periods of time, until they have become inveterate, it is almost impossible to make up political constituencies upon whom to apply this plan of voting. In our States, however, in nearly all of which more members than one are to be elected by the same body of electors, the introduction of this plan is both possible and convenient.


I conclude, Mr. President, by saying that I shall attach, probably, to my remarks a tabular statement, summing up the results of representation as they are exhibited by the existing system in the composition of the Fortieth Congress, excluding, possibly, some of the returns which I do not possess. Now, I submit to the Senate, and to whoever in the country may pay attention to our proceedings and see my remarks on this occasion, that upon grounds of both reason and authority this proposition has been sustained; and that if it be introduced into this country, whether in one State or in many States, or universally throughout the country, in any event it will bear the character of a material, useful, and necessary reform of our political system.



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Fellow-Citizens of the City of Philadelphia:

You have had stated to you the circumstances under which I appear in your presence to speak upon the subject of representative reform. Without any introductory remarks, without pausing over preliminary topics, I shall proceed to the subjectmatter of my discourse.

Ours is said to be a Government of the people, meaning by that term the whole electoral body with whom the right of suffrage is lodged by our constitution. The people, considered in this sense, are said to rule themselves, and our system is therefore described as one of self-government. Those who are bound by the laws are to enact them. Power is in the first instance exerted by them and obedience yielded afterward. All rests upon their voluntary assent and upon their free action. But, as it is impossible that the whole mass of the political community should assemble together for the purpose of enacting or agreeing upon those rules of conduct

which are to bind the citizens, and as it would be impossible for such an enormous body, even if it were convened, to act with convenience or to act at all, we, like the people of other countries in former times have resorted to what is known as the representative system.

From the impossibility of convening ourselves together to determine those great questions which pertain to the political and social bodies, and about which government is employed, we have determined to select from among ourselves a certain number of persons with whom shall be lodged all our powers connected with legislation and with government, and whatsoever they shall determine shall be to us and to all men within our borders the law of individual conduct.

Well, now, gentlemen, in carrying on this system of representative government the manner in which the agents of the people shall be selected becomes in the highest degree important. Although by our theory, although by our fundamental principle of self-government by the people, all the people are to be represented in the making of laws and in the administration of government, in point of fact we have not attained to this result. We have fallen short of it in our arrangements, and hence it is that men of intelligence and of sagacity, driven to their conclusions by thorough examination and by full inquiry, have been compelled to declare that our system is imperfect, and imperfect to such an extent that the quality of our government is deeply affected, and many pernicious things have place in its administration.

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