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the registry can prevent the offence complained of. The Tories know this well; and they know that they are practising a fraud, when they tell the public that Lord Stanley's bill is requisite because of the prevalent personation. Lord Stanley's bill would do mischief in another direction, but it would leave the mischief here untouched; in point of fact, it would do one thing while it professed to do quite a different thing. We know that men, both in England and Ireland, in some few cases personate others who have been fairly and legally registered, but the way to mend this is not to throw difficulties in the way of registration, but to affix a severe penalty to the crime of personation.

It is probable that in some cases personation is practised, but it is utterly incredible that it is carried on to the extent alleged. Is the world to believe that when a man appears in a polling booth, and publicly swears that he is the same person whose name appears registered, there is no one to confront him and detect his perjury? Is it to be taken for granted that there are no Conservative agents present to put the prescribed questions ? that the man appears a perfect stranger in the court,--utterly unknown to every body ? that he is not known to his neighbours --the parish officers--the parochial clergy—and his very landlord ? Who will believe this?

In the Irish elections, lawyers of the utmost skill are employed by the Tories, and it is well known that every voter undergoes a severe examination. No one will accuse the Irish Conservative party of want of energy. Now we ask, if personation is practised, why do not the Conservatives demand redress in courts of justice? If it be true that personation is carried on so extensively, why are not the offenders brought to trial ? The law provides ample punishment; and when we see that the Tory party, instead of bringing offenders before the legal tribunals of the country, choose to make loose, vague, and general assertions in public prints

, and in parliament, we are obliged to suspect that the hardships complained of, if not altogether ideal, are grossly exaggerated. People have run away with the notion that in Ireland a man has only to go into a polling booth—say that he is an elector--and then give his vote without fear of consequences ! But this notion is very far from being a true one. In the first place a certificate is granted to an elector when registered, and a man is liable to transportation for seven years who forges any such certificate. In the second place, every voter at the poll is liable to be sworn as to his proper identity; and if he swears falsely is liable to indictment for perjury. Here is a copy of the oath to be taken by voters at polling, before returning officer, sheriff, or his deputies, if required on behalf of any candidate.'*

* Sec Rogers's Law and Practice of Elections, Appendix ccclix. [Ireland.]

next year.

uniformity, introduce into England the system established in the sister country! The Tories will readily enough, in such a case as this, give equal laws' to both countries; but they will not raise Ireland to the level of England; they will first depreciate the Irish franchise, and then sink the English franchise to that depreciated level! Such is Tory condescension.

For the present Lord Stanley has been defeated, and has abandoned his bill till next session. But this is only a matter of expediency. The noble lord and his party have merely consented to a delay, and not changed their course of action. Their plan has been decided on; and nothing but the determination and energetic counter-working of Reformers will drive them from it. We readily believe Lord Stanley when he declares that it is his intention to renew the attack upon the Irish registration system

Now everything depends upon the question whether the electors—whether the great mass of the people who are interested in the good government of the country, will improve the late discussions to their own advantage. Are they more alive to the advantages of attention to registration? Do they comprehend more perfectly the anti-popular scheme of the Tories to neutralize the power which the Reform Bill gave the people, and grasp it once more themselves? If so, they must betake themselves energetically to work, and remember that the battle is to be fought

and won in the registration courts.' The ground on which the Tories have rested their late desperate attack upon the Irish system of registration is, that under its provisions fictitious votes' are readily manufactured. It is alleged, also, that PERSONATION prevails to a great extent; and we are informed by a leading Tory publication, that · Upon this “principle a man has stood in all possible degrees of relationship

to himself: he has personated his uncle, his grandfather: he • has been his own father, his own dutiful son: in fact, according

to the vast variety of possible combinations, men have piously discharged the duties of so many departed kinsmen, that at last “they have found themselves unable to say in what precise de'gree of relationship they might stand to themselves.'

And how do they propose to remedy the evil of personation ? Marry by making registration more difficult. Can any thing possibly be more absurd than this ? That one man personates another who had been fully qualified and legally registered cannot be laid to the charge of the system of registration. The utmost that the most perfect system of registration can effect is to bestow the franchise upon those only who are legally qualified; but it cannot provide against frauds committed after registration, in the name of those who are properly registered. It is quite obvious that no enactments directed against the placing of names on

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the registry can prevent the offence complained of. The Tories know this well; and they know that they are practising a fraud, when they tell the public that Lord Stanley's bill is requisite because of the prevalent personation. Lord Stanley's bill would do mischief in another direction, but it would leave the mischief here untouched; in point of fact, it would do one thing while it professed to do quite a different thing. We know that men, both in England and Ireland, in some few cases personate others who have been fairly and legally registered, but the way to mend this is not to throw difficulties in the way of registration, but to affix a severe penalty to the crime of personation.

It is probable that in some cases personation is practised, but it is utterly incredible that it is carried on to the extent alleged. Is the world to believe that when a man appears in a polling booth, and publicly swears that he is the same person whose name appears registered, there is no one to confront him and detect his perjury? Is it to be taken for granted that there are no Conservative agents present to put the prescribed questions ? that the man appears a perfect stranger in the court,--utterly unknown to every body ? that he is not known to his neighbours -the parish officers--the parochial clergy-and his very landlord ? Who will believe this?

In the Irish elections, lawyers of the utmost skill are employed by the Tories, and it is well known that every voter undergoes a severe examination. No one will accuse the Irish Conservative party of want of energy. Now we ask, if personation is practised, why do not the Conservatives demand redress in courts of justice? If it be true that personation is carried on so extensively, why are not the offenders brought to trial ? The law provides ample punishment; and when we see that the Tory party, instead of bringing offenders before the legal tribunals of the country, choose to make loose, vague, and general assertions in public prints, and in parliament, we are obliged to suspect that the hardships complained of, if not altogether ideal, are grossly exaggerated. People have run away with the notion that in Ireland a man has only to go into a polling booth—say that he is an elector---and then give his vote without fear of consequences ! But this notion is very far from being a true one. In the first place a certificate is granted to an elector when registered, and a man is liable to transportation for seven years who forges any such certificate. In the second place, every voter at the poll is liable to be sworn as to his proper identity; and if he swears falsely is liable to indictment for perjury. Here is a copy of the oath to be taken by voters at polling, before returning officer, sheriff, or his deputies, if required on behalf of any candidate."* * See Rogers's Law and Practice of Elections, Appendix ccclix. [Ire

land.)

'I A. B. do swear (or being a Quaker do affirm], that I am the same A. B. whose name appears registered in the certificate or affidavit now produced ; and that my qualification as such registered voter still continues ; and that I have not voted before at this election ; and [in case of householders in cities, towns, and boroughs] that not more than one half year's grand jury or municipal cesses, rates, or taxes are now due or payable by me in respect of the premises in this certificate mentioned.'

Yet notwithstanding these very precise and stringent enactments, men venture to allege that the Irish registration law encourages the commission of fraud, perjury, personation, and so forth!! We beg those gentlemen who talk so flippantly on this subject, to tell us whether they have or have not detected any cases of these frauds.

If so, have they punished the offenders according to law? If they have, what more is required? If they have not, then how are we to avoid the inference that they had no case for a jury,—that in fact they make assertions which will not bear the test of forensic discussion and judicial scrutiny ? From these considerations, we think it will be evident that the statements on the subject of personation are made for the purpose of effect, and are most improperly exaggerated; that the law does not encourage the offence, but provides severe penalties against offenders; and whether the thing be true or false, that the provisions of Lord Stanley's bill directed against the insertion of names on the register, could not all affect an offence subsequent to the fact of registration.

Another ground on which Lord Stanley's bill is alleged to be necessary is, that “FICTITIOUS VOTES' can be created under the provisions of the existing act. On this subject we cannot possibly do better than refer our readers to a paper in Blackwood's Magazine for 1837.* They will there find a discussion on the subject of the “fictitious votes' in Scotland said to have been manufactured by Conservatives; and will see that the candid writers of that high Tory publication, consider that to be, in Scotch Conservatives, quite a venial thing, which in Irish liberals is a heinous crime !

• That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.'

In 1837, Blackwood's Magazine thus argued on this subject:

Even supposing a claimant to have all the doubts and scruples imaginable with regard to his claim, he may surely, with a perfectly

* Vol. xli. p. 385.

safe conscience, go to the registration court, in order there to be informed whether it is a good claim or otherwise ; and to say that after his right is considered and recognized by that court, he does not possess a bona fide vote, is to use language of which we are quite unable to comprehend either the legal or the moral meaning.'

This, it must be confessed, is pretty decided language; but only a month ago this same magazine expresses very different opinions on the right of the people of Ireland to do the identical thing which is here justified. Every Irish elector's claim has been considered and recognized by the court constituted by law; and in every case, an opportunity was afforded to any one to prove by evidence that he was not possessed of the necessary qualification ; yet the decision of that court is called in question ! If,' adds Blackwood's Magazine, there be any moral question here at all, it is of course settled by the legal judgment; and from the very nature of the case, it can obviously be settled in no é other way;' yet now the legal judgment is considered as altogether valueless ! Again, in 1837, Blackwood affirmed tható fic*titious votes' were no more than the tares which always spring up among good wheat; now it protests in reference to Ireland:

Fy on't! O fy! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed ; things rank and gross in nature,
Possess it merely!'

What can possibly be more opposed to the spirit of Lord Stanley's bill than the following passage ?

• Under our present system, these fictitious votes are weeds which will always spring up here and there along with the healthful produce of the soil; from which, however, there is no possible means of distinguishing and separating them; if, then, we must get rid of them, how are we to escape the truly radical conclusion that both should be rooted out together? If we must extirpate these few depredators, who thus defy the mouse-trap—it is quite clear that we must take the radical plan of doing it, and pull the house down !'

This is so applicable to the member for Lancashire's notable project, and so fully meets the quibbles of those who have raised the outcry against the Irish system of registration, that we might fairly dismiss the subject, did not one or two of the leading clauses of Lord Stanley's bill demand consideration, as having an especial reference to the present system of registration in England, on which, for the reasons stated, we are desirous to fasten the attention of all who are in earnest on the subject of reform and equitable government.

Lord Stanley proposed to establish in Ireland the system at

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