TOPICS OF 'THE DAY.
As examination of the b,ll for imprming tho system of Muni- cipal Covernment m Zngland and Wales, has contained the opinion NYC expressed last week of its exceeding value and im- portance. The obje et of such a. measure should be to give the People the power of vigilantly controlling the administration of their local allliirs ; and the provisions of the bill introduced by Lord .10IIN Ru.ssELL seem, in the main, well calculated for this end. In the iirst place, the right of voting fo.- members to sit in the Munici:fal Parliaments is sufficiently extended. It is to be confe, red 'an all permaneut residents and rate-payers, ace,irding to the ratio......1 principle of giviug. every one who directly contributes to the .Avaert of the state, a voice in the management of public alliiir.,—•sonte power to call those to account who are intrusted with the c penditure of the public money. It inoy be a question, whether it is advisable or not to require from voters so long a period of permanent residence as three years, or el ie payment Of so much as three years' taxes. Doubtless, in some Instoncos, this provision will exclude from the exercise of the .franehise persons who would use it in the most unexceptionable lnallniT. On the other hand, it will prevent the intrusion into a to:onoli c\traneous and illicit influence. There must be consi- derable lal;tude allowed in determining what is or is not permanent resideoe2; end were one Vcar's residence only required, it might :happen that, for a particular rurpose, cottages might be built or Aired, and persons rated, in such numbers as to turn an election
tl,e really permanent occupiers, and those mainly interested in seeming the gonl government of the community. And this would be facilitated greatly by requiring payment of one 3 ear's taxes only, the amount of which might be trilling. It would be very c1,43 for the Duke a NEWCASTLE, or Lord Exorint, or the Duke of Boonoon, to play such tricks as these; and when party- spirit runs high, the same practice would be resorted to by the rival sections in a borough. We see enough of what is going on in re-
girl the creation of voters for counties, in din:Ire:it parts of the country, to be aware of the necessity of applying a check to the abuse when establishing new municipal institutions. Besides, it must be remembered, that in every borough the vast majority of inlnbilants are and have been permanent residents; and mere chwir:-., a premises will not affect the right of voting.
The election of one third of the members comprising the local Representative Chamber, is to be annual. Some of the Torv organs are cryiug out against this part of the measure; well kno%ving how important it is for establishing that system of "
popular control,- declared by the Commissioners and felt by the Ceuntry to have beceme so necessary to the public welfare. It appears to us to be an admirable provision against ill-considered measures, as well as a sufficient security against the continuance of misconduct in the representative body for any length of time. The 11c-formers of Scotland have tried the plan, and are satisfied that it works well. It is the mode of election adopted almost universally by Englishmen when left to themselves—by the East India Com- pany, the Bank of England, almost every joint-stock banking and in- surance company, and the great majority of literary and scientilic institutions. It seems almost a matter of course to introduce into an act of incorporation a clause compelling a certain number of directors or managers to retire annually, their places to be sup- plied by the constituent body. While they' acknowledge the advantage of' retaining the services of persons who have had some experience in the conduct of their affairs, men of business insist upon the privilege of altering periodically the materials of which
their mame!ing council is composed. We often see cause to lament that l.inglishmen do not act in pith die concerns ill accordance with tlee.e s it oil nal disereet rules which they fellow when their private intere..t is at stak,‘. When this bill, however, shall have been carried, a fruitful Sollrec of misehiel will be stopped up, as the means of providing f.o. an eeontnineal, regular, and safe conduct a munivipal chairs, will be at the disposal of the People.
Ile must be very ignorant of the-priuciples which actuate men in this u,ndil, or flutist have a very unjust and mean opinion of the Peoplr.1 of England, who can suppo,e, that for the conduct of matters which closely and directly interest them, and which are under their c aistant and immediate cognizance, tiny would ha- bitually pr,...fer fools or knaves to honest and well-informoil men. We have no such fear. A.Ve see constantly, that, when not inter- fered with, Englishmen matecre their altirs with a steady p■ 0 to profit. The:. ill ay are occasimallv misled, will not be deuied. But hues the " Collective '‘`,"isiloni." never erred? Have the Bo- 1-oughnionger:1 and Septennialists been unillnimly right? or have -not their blunders in legislation, and their political prefligoov ken g:a ring and insufferable ? , , It will poi:hops be said by seine timid persons, that triennial elections of the whole body of the Ovic Council would be pale- sable to the mode or electiug one third annually : and this they
will advocate as a moans of preventing sudden chanoes But a
_Attie reflection must surely convince even these self-deluded persons of their mistake:- According to the sohemo of election in the bill, only one third of the Council can in one year be changed. 33ut if the triennial election should take place during a period of ttrong cxeitement—such as frequently occurs in relation to local alfairs--then indeed there would be a chance of a sudden and ill- comidereel change, as the voters would have the power of at once
We have heard it suggested, that the plan of voting by wards, which is continod by the bill to about twenty of the large towns, should be universally adopted : and it is urged, that were each ward to eleet a number of Councillors to reFesent that ward eqeeially, the members would be more clos.dy watched, and a more correet esti:note funned of their honesty and capabilities.
sugge.;tion is worthy a consideration ; and it may be well purhaps to inexase the number of those towns in which ward- votimt. should be adopted as 'a matter of emvenience. But we doubt the propriety of extending it to the sin ill constituencies; some of which, at the first ("union more particularly, will not ex- ceed a fie.v louvireils in numher, and might as well elect their Conneillers us lb 'v now cheise Members of Parliament, or the Veslry. 1Vith rcgard to the other part of the propo:al—that of electing pors:Its es;e,cially to rci.re,eat certain districts —we
doubt its propriety very It w-uld lnv,2 a tendeoey to clean: a di‘.: at of iotere rejit t the geateral welfare, mil to
It! :••,‘ almo,t van.ty of rev,- j .alutisies. A
narr. , , )1.1 •.•,, to bane o1' small re- publ • , not be, g.:verninont.
ive th:. I which relate to the • c:,'Ien t V.
l• • ' bee, v. h.,..
111.11ellitV, V1-1 :
grand and leollin -, at elleet, lie over lost ;.21,t of. I .:,1 ! I cort,orali a , and tint' adrift 1! ., sweeping off the whole of their representative body, and replac- ing them with their favourites of the hour. Against this evil, the mode of election adopted by the frmors of the bill, . amply
go into a dt,:eus- .•;,,:t or the measure for the present, Committ,,e Will be
,• under its considera- tion. It i; to ' • .eve I, leo. iv relate to points of extreme
: et, I that the limits are
• for even in this is visible. let its eleine'es it must the old corrupt in the work
of 'ere.; tioo. It to time people .• the expentlitu., then' contri-
, the public s•oo.ice. It will cut up the influence of
,1. :Itt:ros, ltv deprivine' Comity :Magistrates of the power to v:nis 1,1•1 o!--h ,e-es. It will circuit: cribe their juris-
diction, s e!: :• baneful, in all dirccions. It wil
. put a i'?.ep to charitable funds 1.1.. .lishonest cor- : p :rotors, awl prevent the in .11 gaging of civic property for the purposes of election bribery. Li brief, so varied and searchiug will he its operation, so itenoral at ni valuablo the improvements it must effect, that we haul rather it passed at enc.., with all its hut- perfections en its head, than tint any of its leadi.vg provisions tip principles should be daina the duty of the Legislature, Committee, will he to simplify and correct the details, without it:Ai:airing the main structure of the bill.
the duty of the Legislature, Committee, will he to simplify and correct the details, without it:Ai:airing the main structure of the bill.