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of the West in the plenitude of their power, he experienced nothing but mortification and defeat. Every pie-purveyor's place was filled up, in possession and reversion, through interest and by means, of which his simple soul never dreamed, and he not only never received a second order, but was unable to obtain payment for half the first. However, after all, the balance was greatly in his favour; for the first noise of his success prodigiously increased his custom amongst his plainer dealing neighbours, who considered it would be shewing an unpardonable want of taste not to eat his pies even to surfeit.
But, to return to the hero of the story, in whom Mr. B. began to take a permanent interest. Finding from examination that he had attended more to pie-making than to scholarship, he advised him to devote his leisure-time to attendance upon some competent master; “ For,” said he, “ if you get on in the world, which you seem well qualified to do, you will find the want of suitable acquirements a constant hinderance and mortification. Lose no time in beginning, and I will charge myself with the expense.' With such encouragement it is not to be wondered at that the scholar soon came to write a beautiful hand, and to be more than commonly expert in accounts, by which means he was enabled greatly to assist his less learned uncle, who, in return, made him first his partner, and finally his heir; and to his benefactor, who happened to possess a neglected property in the vicinity of his residence, he was fortunate enough, by his local knowledge and zealous superintendence, to render the most important services.
IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.
BY THOMAS WALKER, M. A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
No. VII.] WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 1835.
The Art of attaining High
The notions of the upper classes as to the nature and importance of parochial government are in general most inadequate and erroneous. They are scarcely extended, as I have said before, to any thing beyond the administration of the poor-laws; and as that has been a very troublesome and disagreeable duty, and as the discharge of it was under the control and exposed to the caprice of the magistracy, it has been considered that parish offices were only fit to be filled by persons of unrefined habits and low station. The consequence has been the gross neglect of the fundamental principle of sound government, which is the principle of self-government by small communities. In the mean time the wealthy and enlightened classes, either from public spirited motives, or sense of duty, or from love of distinction, or want of occupation, have diverted their attention to expedients, which either very inade
quately remedy, or greatly aggravate the evils arising from the absence of efficient local government.
The means of accomplishing a beneficial change consist in a re-organization adapted to present circumstances, in the concentration of existing powers, and in the creation of new ones. By re-organization I mean, first, internal division, where division is requisite; secondly, the creation of new functionaries, more in number than at present; thirdly, a remodelling of the mode of election. By the concentration of existing powers I mean the transference of all powers, vested in separate boards, or commissions, or officers, to the general parochial council. By the creation of new powers, I mean of such increased powers of interference, of taxation, and of making improvements, as might be advantageously entrusted under a system of completely organized popular control. The greater the power vested in parochial government, the more likely it would be to fall into proper hands: because, in the first place, it would enhance the inducements to seek it; and, in the second, it would create an apprehension of abuse, if misplaced, and it would make electors more cautious in their choice. In order to ensure a willingness for office on the part of the well-qualified, it would be necessary to remove all control over them, except that of the higher legal tribunals. It would be extremely unfitting to submit men, freely elected by their fellowcitizens, to the control of individual magistrates. They ought to be responsible to no tribunal lower than the court of Quarter Sessions. The instances of abuse could but be very infrequent, and a feeling of independence is absolutely necessary to the manly discharge of public duty.
According to my view, parishes should be divided into five classes. The first class is that in which the population is so small as not to admit of representation, and in that case the vestry would be the council, and from itself would choose what executive officers were required. The second class is that which would not need division, but which would be sufliciently populous to elect a council. The third class is that where a division into wards is necessary, but where the wards would not be sufficiently numerous for the heads of them to form a council, and then it would be requisite that each ward should elect a certain nnmber of members besides the heads to constitute a council. The fourth class is where the wards are so numerous, that the heads of them would be sufficient to form a council; and the fifth class is that in which the heads would be too numerous, in which case they ought to choose amongst themselves who should be of the council. I have before observerl, that I do not think the population of each ward should ever be much more than one thousand, and I am of opinion that the council of the largest parishes should not exceed fifty.
For the purposes of illustration, I will again suppose a parish of thirty thousand inhabitants, divided into thirty wards, each ward having its head, his deputy, and ten of the most fit inhabitants as constables, all annually elected by residents of six months standing, paying for their own occupancy, and by rate-payers for the same period. It should be the duty of the head and his subordinates, by continual personal inspection, to see to the good keeping of the ward, both as to its peace and its local arrangements. It should also be in the power of the head to call the inhabitants together, if he or they wished it, to consult upon any particular point. The business of the council should be to elect a president and his deputy, with a clerk, and what other paid officers might be necessary, and to choose from themselves the executive officers. The council should form an estimate of the expenses for the year, consolidating the rates into one for the purposes of collection, but distinguishing them as to their intended application. They should publish, as often as convenient, for circulation through the heads of the wards, statements of their estimates, and of their projected measures, together with accounts of their expenditure, so that the public might always know what was going on, and either object in time, or cheerfully agree. Under such circumstances, there would be no danger in granting considerably increased powers of taxation, improvement, and superintendence. It should also be the duty of the council to inspect the parish from time to time, because such inspection would not only be preventive of evil, but where it existed, would be the most efficacious mode of making it disappear. If the chief men of any large parish were to associate together for the purposes of government under such an organised system, there would, beyond all doubt, soon be a very great change for the better, and many of those drawbacks to the well-being of society, which, when seen at a distance, are supposed to be remediless, would dwindle into insignificance. At present there is an unapproached mass of evil, which it is sinful and unchristian, as well as most impolitic, to leave unattended to. A field is open for the most interesting and beneficial exercise of the moral faculties, and till it is entered, it is in vain to think of any thing really sound in any part of the state. The foundation is rotten.
I have asserted in my third number, that the only plan by which properly qualified persons, that is, “ the most successful in the honourable conduct of their own affairs,” could be induced to give up time sufficient to superintend the affairs of their respective communities, would be by making government “a social and convivial affair—a point of interesting union to the men most deserving the confidence of their fellow-citizens.” It is not very difficult, often very easy, to induce such men as above described to come forward in emergencies; but when some particular grievance is redressed, or improvement carried into effect, they return again to their own affairs, leaving those of the public to the ordinary incompetent, or self-interested superintendence, and a retrograde movement, or at least no further advance is the consequence. Cheap government is the favourite doctrine of the day; but it is only sound