23 MAY 1835, Page 11



AT length wo may congratulate the British Reformers on the prospect of their energies being exerted with effect against the upholders of abuses in Church and State. It is needless to dwell upon the errors of the past, except for warning. The progress and result of the last general election boar ample testimony to the want of concert and timely preparation which was visible in the Reform council and camp. On the other hand, the tactics and management of the Tories displayed the advantages of union and industry. Our antagonists have not discontinued their efforts : on the contrary, their perseverance is unwearied; and, unless coun- teracted by similar exertions, will unquestionably deprive the country of the benefits which were expected to flow from the Charter of 1832. To render the Reform Act as little hurtful as possible—in other words, to make it an instrument of corrupt instead of just and cheap government—is the avowed end of the organization of Political Unions, which, under the direction and superintendence of the Carlton Club, is now in progress all over the country.

The leading men of the Liberal host have been stimulated .by the activity with which the Tories pursue their flagitious de- signs of misgovernment, to establish a Reform Association, whose headquarters will be in the Metropolis, but whose operations and influence will extend into every county, town, and parish in the kingdom. The main objects of this Association will be to insure the registration of electors, and to protect them in the independent exercise of the franchise. With this view, means will be taken to procure correct information of the numbers and circumstances of the different constituencies ; to examine the state of the regis- tries, and to aid in the formation of associations for registering votes of Reformers, and preventing, what has been practised to a great extent, the foisting of illegal votes on the Overseers' lists. The circulation of cheap digests of the Reform Act, and of treatises calculated to instruct the people in their electoral rights, and the best way of exercising them, will be an essential part of the duties of the Association. In short, to counteract undue in- fluence on electors, in every shape, and especially that which the Conservative Clubs are intended to exercise, is the aim of the in- telligent and patriotic individuals under whose auspices and by whose exertions the Reform Association has been organized.

The extensive advantages which the good cause must derive from the Association, scarcely require to be pointed out. In every part of the country where political oppression is practised, the person aggrieved may look for aid and protection from the Dis- trict or Central Society. Let him prefer his complaint, and he will be backed by a powerful and united body of Reformers, who will make common cause with him, and expose at least, if they cannot always punish, his persecutor. The consciousness of being thus befriended, should, and doubtless to a great extent will, en- courage him to defy intimidation.

Bribery was unscrupulously used at the last election, by the wealthy Tories, and the nominees of the Carlton Club. In most cases it has been employed with impunity; but let the corrupt agents of Toryism in future beware. The means and the deter- mination to call them to account for such practices will not be wanting at the next election. Prosecutors will not be scarce. A few penalties of five hundred pounds each, will be acceptable ad- ditions to the Reform fund, and will furnish the means of unseat- ing the briber by a petition to the House of Commons. The country is crammed with Tory officials, from the Lord Lieu- tenant to the parish beadle ; and none of these myrmidons have been more useful to their old masters and patrons, than the Over- seers, whose duty it was to register, but whose aim in too many instances seems to have been the disfranchisement of voters. These delinquents must be made to suffer for wilful end corrupt neglect of duty, and the funds of the Central Society may be well expended in an occasional prosecution of such offenders.

At the last general election, Reform constituencies and candi- dates hardly knew where to look for each other. The Carlton Club had their men ready in all directions. Their party was sure of aid, and of somebody in the shape of a candidate, where there was the least chance of success. All that was necessary was to apply to the Club; and assistance, encouragement, and advice, were immediately and cordially proffered. But where could the Reformers make similar applications? There was no general Reform Club then in existence ; and the loss of a hundred votes in the House of Commons was the consequence. We have now a bond of union and a cabinet of consultation. As the Central Society will have correct intelligence from all quarters, its managing Committee will be able to point out the places wherein exertion is most needed, and really Liberal candidates required. There will be no necessity for electing lukewarm and uncertain Reformers, or the members of the STANLEY Tail, because no other candidate offers. Good public men, of a high order, are not yet so plenty as they would have been if our representation had been real and popular, instead of fictitious and oligarchical ; but every year is adding to the number of able and honest Reformers ready to serve those constituencies who sincerely wish to have them. The electors in the smaller or more remote boroughs may be at a loss to whom they should apply ; but the Reform Association will at once assist them with the best information on the subject.

We have said enough to show that the plan of the Reform Association is large and liberal. Its objects are definite, and the

means by which it seeks to secure them lawful and praiseworthy. All real Reformers, whatever minor differences of opinion may exist among them, may safely and conscientiously join this com- prehensive Society. Nay, it is their bounden duty to join it, either formally or virtually, by contributing aid to the fulfilment of its objects. The Tories have got the start of us; they have organized and matured a system of corruption and intimidation, which will infallibly throw a majority of the Representatives into their hands, unless the Reformers unite to oppose them. It is now seen that the mere passing of the Reform Act is no security for good government. It is necessary to look to the WORKING of the Reform Act ; which has been in a great degree perverted to purposes of misrule, and the means of securing false returns of Members to Parliament. The object of the Association is, in one word, to make the Representation real. A glance at the names of the Acting Committee will be a sufficient assurance that all is right; that Reformers throughout the country may rely upon their contributions being honestly used for the furtherance of their principles, not for the promotion of party views; and that their energies in the cause of improve- ment will be directed so as to produce substantial benefits, instead of being wasted, as was the case lately in too many instances, in a fruitless, desultory struggle with a superior because an or• frant-ed force.