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for the shires, than a modern farmer resembles the Barons of Magna
This increasing and prodigious degradation of the franchise, by the lowering in the value of money, would, when acting in conjunction with the vast increase of commercial and manufacturing wealth, and the spread of political information by means of the press, have long ago overwhelmed the Crown and the Aristocracy, had it not been counteracted by the decay of many boroughs, and the influence acquired over others by the nobles who resided in their vicinity. This cause, as every body knows, threw a great number of the boroughs into the hands of the Aristocracy, and this alone counterbalanced the continual additions which the democratic influence was receiving from the change in the value of money, and progressive lowering of the franchise.
Seeing that the balance of the Constitution was thus maintained, a wise administration, if they deemed the nomination boroughs an eyesore to the people which required to be removed, would have restored matters to their original situation, by restoring the franchise to what it was before the change commenced: in other words, by raising the qualification to the present value of forty shillings in the days of Henry VI., that is to about L.70 Sterling.
Instead of this, what have they done? Proposing, on the one hand, to extinguish the whole nomination boroughs, do they propose, on the other, to reach to the real standard which prevailed before that species of influence had acquired any ascendency? On the contrary, they proposed to lower it to the L.10 householders: in other words, to a class of men, of whom the great majority, so far from being worth L.70 a-year of freehold property, are literally worth nothing. And this is called resto ring the balance of the Constitution, and reverting to the pristine order of things!
A mechanist finds a machine in which the opposite weights are nearly equally balanced: conceiving that the weight on one side is not of the kind which he approves, he removes two thirds of it. To restore the equilibrium of the machine, what
corresponding weight does he withdraw from the other side? He quadruples the weight on the other half of the beam, and still insists that the machine will balance itself.
It shews how deplorably ignorant nineteen out of twenty are of those who speak in favour of Reform, when it is recollected that this obvious and decisive consideration has once been alluded to by the advocates of the proposed change. They speak incessantly of restoring the Constitution to its pristine condition, when they are seriously proposing to lower the qualification of all the borough voters, that is, of two-thirds of the House of Commons, to less than an hundredth part of its former amount. No one can deny, that the qualification of the majority of the L.10 house tenants will be below an hundredth part of the forty shilling freeholders in the time of Henry VI., that is, of L.70 a-year freehold property at this time. Three-fourths of the present electors would be swept off if that standard were really to be adopted: hardly one of the L.10 householders would find an entrance under the old qualification. The freeholders, instead of being raised to a million, would be reduced, in all probability, to little more than a hundred thousand. The Reform candidates with such constituents would have been rejected in twothirds of the English counties.
But this is not all.-The Reformers justify the assumption of this low standard of L.10 householders for the election of these boroughs, that is, of two-thirds of the House of Commons, upon the ground that the potwallopers and scot and lot voters are to be disfranchised. But when does this disfranchisement take effect? Upon the death of the present voters, and not till then. Now it is during the lifetime of the present voters, in the years immediately succeeding the Bill, that the perilous consequences of this sudden addition to democratic ambition are to be apprehended. If we get over the effects of that prodigious change for ten or fifteen years, the remote effects, after the excitement has subsided, are comparatively little to be apprehended. The whole present democratic part of the constitution; all that now counterbalances the no
mination boroughs is to be retained; the pot-wallopers of Westminster, Southwark, and Preston, are to vote alongside of the L.10 householders of the Tower Hamlets, Manchester, and Birmingham; and this at the time that the whole nomination boroughs are to be instantly destroyed. The vast addition to the one side of the balance is to be immediately imposed; this alleged counteracting weight to the other side, is to be postponed till this period has arrived, when it is comparatively little required, and before which the machine will probably have been destroyed.
France, after the experience of her first Revolution, deemed it only safe to give the elective franchise to 80,000 of the richest proprietors in that kingdom, out of a population of 30,000,000. With such a constituency, a parliament so democratic was returned as rendered it impossible to carry on the government. After the impulse to popular power which arose from the second Revolution, the ministers of Louis Philippe only venture to raise the number to 200,000 voters; in other words, to one in one hundred and fifty of the people. These are the measures of those well versed in the history of revolutions. The Reform Bill proposes to extend the right at once to a million of voters out of a population in Great Britain of 16,000,000: in other words, to one in sixteen.
And this is said to be attending to the lesson of experience; securing the ascendency of property, and reverting to the principles of the Constitution!
Without pretending to solve the difficulty of amending the representation, we venture to submit the following principles, as essential to the formation of any stable govern
1. That no existing right of returning a member to Parliament should be taken away without either a full equivalent or proved delinquency. It is no doubt desirable not to make the legislature too large; but the inconvenience of having one
hundred more members than at present, is trifling in comparison of the evil of confiscating innocent property: in other words, unhinging every estate in the kingdom.
2. That if the present system of unequal and varied representation is to be broken in upon to any extent, the qualification over the whole kingdom should be greatly raised. Experience having proved that it is the higher class of voters alone who are inclined to resist a subsequent extension of the franchise.
3. That it should be made to depend not on being the tenant, but the proprietor of a house: the latter of these parties only having a direct interest in resisting measures of spoliation.
4. That the rural freeholders only should vote for the county members, and not overwhelm the influence of landed property by the introduction of urban voters, subject to opposite prejudices, and swayed by an adverse
5. That if the system of nomination, or close boroughs, is to be abandoned, a freehold qualification should be bestowed on funded movable property of the same value as that which affords a qualification for land or houses.
6. That unless they retain their present indirect representation, a certain number of members should be bestowed on our American and Indian possessions.
If the leading principles of the present Bill, viz. the disfranchisement of all the nomination boroughs, and the adoption of the low freehold standard, are adhered to, the country is thenceforward placed under the dominion of the tenants of ten pound houses. Let any man examine the principles, habits, and information of these men in his own neighbourhood, and say, whether he would willingly submit his private affairs to their management. If he would not, is the state, with all its complicated interests and weighty dependencies, safe in hands unfit to be trusted with the management of the affairs of a private family?
VOI, XXX. NO. CLXXXIÍ,
BEECHEY'S VOYAGE TO THE PACIFIC AND BEHRING'S STRAIT.*
In England, almost the first thought of youth is the sea, and the first aspiration of boyhood to be a sailor. Every thing that we read, or see, or hear, impresses on our mind the same feeling; and who cannot remember having been enraptured long, long days together, over the tales of strange, new scenes, and dangerous passages, and wild adventures, in Anson, Vancouver, or Cook? and having longed to see the beings of another world there portrayed, or to wander through those sweet islands in that ocean, happily called the Pacific? Few there are who have not such remembrances, and the book at present under review will call up in the minds of all many a pleasant daydream of early years, when the thought of dangers and difficulties was as nothing before the spirit of young adventure; and every unknown spot, from the desolate and icy cliffs of Cape Horn, to the smiling solitudes of Juan Fernandez, was involved in the lustrous atmosphere of dawning imagination. Amongst such scenes this voyage was directed; and the account of it is conceived in the spirit of a gentle man, and written in the plain and unaffected style of a sailor. Captain Beechey acknowledges in the Introduction, that he is not what the world calls a literary man, and he apologizes for it, by reminding the reader of the early age at which he entered a profession which claimed and received all his attention. The apology for the absence of very refined composition in the production of a sailor, was hardly necessary. Pomp and elaboration of style is not expected from a naval man, nor would it harmonize well with the subject of a voyage. Neither is there in the mere wording of Captain Beechey's book any thing to offend, if there be nothing to dazzle; while the plain, straightforward, sailor-like manner, in which he describes scenes of interest, adventure, and danger, brings them up more
forcibly to the mind's eye, and engages the feelings of the reader more strongly in the cause of the narrator, than any display of artful eloquence.
His style, in general, is plain and manly; and the only passages which appear at all objectionable in this point, are a very few, in which an occasional desire for what is called fine writing has led him from his more simple and natural manner.
The land expeditions of Captain Franklin in the Arctic regions, will never be forgotten by any one who has read the vivid account of the sufferings, dangers, and fatigues, which he and his companions underwent; and the feeling which every one entertains in regard to that gallant officer, would communicate itself in some degree to a voyage undertaken to co-operate with, and assist him in, his second great attempt, even if the voyage itself had not possessed matter of infinite interest. But, apart from all collateral causes of pleasure, this book contains within itself much both to please and delight, from the vast variety of different scenes the excitement of somethe splendour of others-and the rapid transition from extreme to extreme-from those climes where,
Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring's Strait, to co-operate with the Polar Expeditions, &c. &c. By Captain W. F. Beechey, R. N. London: Colburn and Bentley. 1831.
tion they afford to curiosity; and to those persons who have seen them, from the re-awakening of drowsy memoirs to matters of thought and feeling long past. But in Captain Beechey's book, there is a mingling of valuable observation with amusing narrative, which merits more detailed examination.
In 1825, Captains Parry and Franklin set out upon their last expedition, to seek for a north-west passage to the Pacific; and Captain Franklin being unprovided with the means of returning to England in case of his success, the Blossom sloop, mounting sixteen guns, was sent out to Behring's Strait, for the purposes of meeting him, and of rendering assistance to either expedition whose endeavours might prove effectual. Precautions were taken to strengthen the vessel, and to provide her with every thing necessary for exploring the coast, overcoming the difficulties she might meet with, and for culti vating the regard and friendship of the natives in those countries to which she was destined.
Various officers, well known for their scientific acquirements, were appointed to the vessel, and Captain Beechey, who had already accompanied two of the northern expeditions, was placed in command. The instructions given by the Admiralty were minute, and somewhat restrictive. The particular survey of various points in the Pacific, the position of which was doubtful, was one great object of the voyage; but Captain Beechey was directed to make every thing subservient to the purpose of meeting Captain Franklin. In case of that officer not appearing either in 1826 or 1827, the Blossom was to remain as long as possible in Behring's Strait, without running the risk of being forced to winter there; and then to return directly home. This command was precise, and was perhaps both prudent and necessary; but yet, it may be regretted now, that a greater degree of license was not permitted both to Captain Franklin and Captain Beechey, as those two officers came within so short a distance of each other, that exertions, slight in comparison to those which they had previously made, would have effected their meeting, and produced results which would
have satisfactorily determined some of the most obscure points in the science of modern geography.
Captain Beechey sailed from Spithead on the 19th of May, 1825; and, after a passage distinguished by nothing of any great importance, arrived at Rio Janeiro, whence he proceeded, as soon as possible, towards the Pacific, doubling Cape Horn. In this part of the passage some interesting scientific details are slightly touched upon; but, in general, the great mass of information of this kind, obtained during the voyage, is collected in the Appendix, by which means, the course of the narrative is allowed to proceed uninterrupted. The accounts of the voyage round Cape Horn, and along the Chilian coast, however, are entertaining from their very simplicity; and some of the descriptions, without any effort, and probably without the writer's consciousness, are highly pictu resque. What Sir Joshua Reynolds was accustomed to call " the repose of a fine picture," is often happily transferred to descriptive writing, but it must always be unaffected and easy. Such a character runs through the few lines which describe the approach to Talcahuana, the seaport of Conception.
"Our arrival off the port, was on one of those bright days of sunshine which characterise the summer of the temperate
zone on the western side of America. The cliffs of Quiriquina, an island situated in the entrance of the harbour, were
covered with birds, curiously arranged in rows along the various strata; and on the rocks were numberless seals basking in the sun, either making the shores reecho with their discordant noise, or so unmindful of all that was passing, as to allow the birds to alight upon them, and peck their oily skin without offering any resistance."
The dangers of the passage round Cape Horn have been represented as so tremendous, by those who achieved the feat in an age when it was seldom attempted, that for a considerable time, a double license was allowed to the magnifying and story-telling propensities of all who could boast of having accomplished the undertaking. Captain Beechey, however, very much reduces its terrors, and leaves the bugbear of for
mer navigators greatly diminished in importance. The city of Conception was found by the officers of the Blossom just beginning to revive from the desolating effects of many years of anarchy and turbulence, and Captain Beechey dwells with philanthropic pleasure on various objects, which evinced the renewal of law and confidence, since the visit of Captain Hall. The state of society, however, does not offer the most delightful picture, notwithstanding the salubrity of the climate, and the vigour and activity of the inhabitants. The same fierce and determined character, which, in days of old, gave new features (at least in South American warfare) to the struggles so beautifully depicted in the Araucana of Alonzo de Ercilla, are still to be found amongst the Indians of this province; and as, thanks to European civilisation, they are generally intoxicated, their presence is any thing but desirable. Other subjects of greater interest, however, still remain to be touched upon; and, after running rapidly over two thousand miles of the wide Pacific, where the living changes of the capricious tropics were all that accompanied the vessel on her course—now blazing round her in the lightning-now sleeping over her sunshiny track in the calm drowsiness of an equatorial day-the Blossom approached at length one of those small insulated cradles of human nature, which some unknown fate has scattered so strangely over that wide world of waters. In truth, it must be with a sweet, a singular, and a thrilling feeling, after the eye has rested for days and weeks on nothing but sky and sea, that the voyager of the ocean first beholds one of those solitary islands rising over the waves, while the firm, steadfast aspect of man's natural dwelling place, the earth, contrasts strongly with the fluctuating instability of that element which he has so boldly made his home. How many, too, must be the expectations raised in the small world-the microcosm of a shipas it sails up to a little spot like that, pitched in the midst of the wild billows, full of warm life, and all life's thousand strange relationships, and thronging with beings whose every thought, and habit, and feeling, and desire, is new!
To think of the human creatures who, in the very youth of their nature, inhabit the islands of that wide expanse of sea which flows between South America and Asia, instantly brings on regret that it is impossible so to circumscribe their communion with the more civilized savages of other countries, that they should neither be taught to dread and fly the sight of the stretched canvass, which, from time to time, comes as if
And were sailing on the sea,”
a cloud had dropt from heaven,
nor to learn vices and sorrows from men who have neither virtue nor happiness to impart. Did such men as Cook, and La Perouse, and Beechey, alone visit the infant tribes of the Pacific, the terrible changes which have been observed in the manners of many of these islanders would not have taken place. Alterations, but alterations for the better, would have followed, and we should have planted neither the passion for European vices, nor the hate of European violence. Not long ago, the inhabitants of Easter Island were only spoken of as a mild, though very uncivilized race; but some trading vessels, it is known-and Captain Beechey thinks many more than are known-have lately touched at this island, and committed acts of unjustifiable violence, the result of which is proved by the events which attended the visit of the Blossom. Those events themselves are full of interest, and therefore, though the extract be somewhat long, it may as well be given as a specimen of the book.
"As the boats approached, the anxiety of the natives was manifested by shouts, which overpowered the voices of the officers and our boats, before they gained of swimmers, clinging to the gunwale, the the beach, were surrounded by hundreds
stern, and the rudder, until they became unmanageable. They all appeared to be friendly disposed, and none came emptyhanded. Bananas, yams, potatoes, sugarcane, nets, idols, &c. were offered for sale, and some were even thrown into the boat, leaving their visitors to make what return they chose. Among the swimmers, there were a great many females, who were equally, or more anxious to get into the boats than the men, and made use of every persuasion to induce the crew to admit them. But to have