By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Proportional Representation Applied To Party Government
Author: Ashworth, T. R. (Thomas Ramsden), Ashworth, H. P. C.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Proportional Representation Applied To Party Government" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




T.R. ASHWORTH (_President of the Victorian Division, Australian Free
Trade and Liberal Association_)


H.P.C. ASHWORTH (_Civil Engineer_)






CHAPTER                                               PAGE





       BE REMEDIED                                     122


       DELEGATION                                      162

       THE LIMITED VOTE, &C.                           172


       LEGISLATURES                                    194


     "Majority and minority, in and for themselves, are the first
     requisite of popular government, and not the development or
     representation of separate groups."--Bradford's "Lesson of Popular
     Government," vol. ii., page 179.


The subject of electoral reform has been brought into prominence in
Australia by a clause in the Commonwealth Bill which provides that the
Federal Senate shall consist of six senators from each State, directly
chosen by the people, voting as one electorate. The problem thus
presented has been keenly discussed. On the one hand we have the
advocates of the Block Vote asserting that the party in a majority is
entitled to return all six senators; and on the other, a small band of
ardent reformers pressing the claims of the Hare system, which would
allow the people in each State to group themselves into six sections,
each returning one senator. The claim that every section of the people
is entitled to representation appears at first sight so just that it
seems intolerable that a method should have been used all these years
which excludes the minority in each electorate from any share of
representation; and, of course, the injustice becomes more evident when
the electorate returns several members. But in view of the adage that
it is the excellence of old institutions which preserves them, it is
surely a rash conclusion that the present method of election has no
compensating merit. We believe there is such a merit--namely, that _the
present method of election has developed the party system_. Once this
truth is grasped, it is quite evident that the Hare system would be
absolutely destructive to party government, since each electorate would
be contested, not by two organized parties, but by several groups. For
it is precisely this splitting into groups which is causing such anxiety
among thoughtful observers as to the future of representative
institutions; Mr. Lecky has attributed to it, in his "Democracy and
Liberty," the decline in the parliamentary system which has accompanied
the progress of democracy all over the world. The object of this book is
to suggest a reform, which possesses the advantages of both methods and
the disadvantages of neither; which will still ensure that each
electorate is contested by the two main parties, but will allow its just
share of representation to each; and which will, by discouraging the
formation of minor groups, provide a remedy for the evil instead of
aggravating it.








Old establishments, like the British Constitution, said Edmund Burke,
"are not often constructed after any theory; theories are rather drawn
from them." In setting out on an endeavour to understand the principles
underlying political representation, the saying expresses exactly the
course which should be followed. The inquiry is the more necessary as,
although representation more than anything else in the domain of
government distinguishes the modern from the ancient world, the ideas
which prevail as to the part it has played, is playing, and is destined
to play on the world's stage are not merely hazy, but extremely
inaccurate. The intimate connection of representation with the progress
which has followed its introduction is so little recognized that the
most advanced democracies are now willing to listen to any proposal to
return to direct government. In spite of the fact that the nineteenth
century has witnessed the triumph of the historical method in most
fields of social inquiry, the dangers of _a priori_ speculation on
political institutions are as much in evidence as when Burke wrote.

If we would understand, then, the meaning of representative
institutions, it is in the gradual development of the "mother of
parliaments" that we must seek for the most reliable information. We
must be careful, however, to leave out of sight those features of the
growth of the British Constitution which are merely the expression of
transitory social conditions, and to confine our attention to the
landmarks which bear directly on the inquiry. The subject is best
divided into two stages; the first characterized by the origin of
representation; and the second by the division into parties, and the
creation of cabinet government.

+The First Stage of Representation.+--Rightly to understand the
conditions which led to the introduction and development of the
representative principle, we must look back to the period immediately
following the signing of the Great Charter by the tyrant King John.

The Charter reaffirmed the ancient principle that free Englishmen should
not be taxed without their consent, and representation was the natural
outcome of that provision. A brief glance at the social conditions of
the time is necessary to understand why this was so. First, it must be
remembered that the true political unit of ancient times was the city
or local community. England at that time was a collection of local
communities, having more or less a corporate life. Then, again, there
were the three estates of the realm--the clergy, the lords, and the
commons--who were accustomed to confer with the King on public affairs.
The stage which marks the birth of representation was when these
different estates and communities were asked to tax themselves to
relieve the necessities of the King. It was obviously impossible that
the consent of every freeman should be obtained, hence the duty had to
be deputed to agents. Now, the idea of agency was not unknown in the
ancient world, but that agents should have power to bind those for whom
they acted was something entirely new. It was necessary, however, that
they should have this power, and it suited the King's convenience that
they should exercise it. Already, in the earliest writ of which we have
knowledge, summoning each shire to send two good and discreet knights,
it was provided that they should be chosen in the stead of each and all.
This happened in 1254, and in the following year the clergy were also
summoned for the same purpose of granting aid to the King. In the
meantime the merchants and trade guilds in the cities were growing rich.
The King cast longing eyes on their possessions, and wished to tax them.
So we find that in 1264 Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, issued the
celebrated writ summoning each of the cities and boroughs to send two
of its more discreet and worthy citizens and burgesses. This is
sometimes regarded as the beginning of the House of Commons, but it was
really not until the fourteenth century that these several assemblies,
each of which up till then taxed itself separately and legislated in its
own sphere, coalesced into the present Houses. First the lower clergy
fell out, and, with the knights, citizens, and burgesses, were merged
into the House of Commons; and the higher prelates with the earls and
barons formed the House of Lords.

This, then, is the first stage of representation. What was the nature of
this new force which had come into the world and was destined to so
profoundly affect the whole course of human affairs? One result of
immense importance is apparent at a glance. It solved a problem which
had baffled the ancients--that of the nationalization of local
communities on a free basis. But it is generally assumed that the only
difficulty overcome was that of size; that the representative assembly
is a mere substitute for the larger assembly of the whole nation.
Starting with this assumption, it is claimed that the representative
assembly should be a mirror of the people on a small scale, and the more
faithfully it reflects their faults as well as their virtues, their
ignorance as well as their intelligence, the more truly representative
it is said to be. It is even asserted that with the modern facilities
for taking a poll, representative government might be dispensed with
and the people allowed to govern themselves. Democracy, we are assured,
means that every man should exercise an equality of political power.
Now, if this conception is correct, we should at once insist that every
law should be submitted to a direct referendum of the people; that
legislators should be mere agents for drawing up laws; and that the
executive should be directly responsible to and elected by the people.
But if representation is not a mere substitute for the direct action of
the people this idea as to the true line of democratic progress falls to
the ground. The whole question, therefore, hinges on what representation
is and what are the principles underlying it.

Looking back to the history of its introduction, we have seen that it
was only in proportion as the deputies of the local communities were not
regarded as delegates or agents that they became representatives.
Professor E. Jenks has written an interesting article in the
_Contemporary Review_ for December, 1898, in which he advances the
theory that representation is a union of the ideas of agency, borrowed
from the Roman law, and of vicarious liability from barbaric sources. As
to the latter he points out that in Anglo-Saxon times the only way for
the King to control the free local communities was to exact hostages
till crimes were punished or fines paid. In England, where these ideas
were combined, constitutional monarchy was firmly established; but in
France, Germany, &c, in whose medieval parliaments the idea of agency
prevailed, and where in consequence the parliamentary idea was weak,
absolute monarchy held its ground. When Edward I. desired for purposes
of his own to emphasize the unlimited liability of political
representatives, and insisted that they should have "full and sufficient
power to do what of common council shall be ordained," he probably never
realized that a body having power to bind the shires and towns was a
formidable institution, or that the trembling hostages would become in
time haughty plenipotentiaries. But whatever may have been the social
conditions which gave rise to the idea, it is certain that it was the
power of binding those to whom they owed their selection which enabled
the representatives to resist the encroachments of the monarchy on the
liberties of the people. At first they were not legislators, but merely
sought to uphold the ancient laws. They presented petitions to redress
their grievances; but in time these petitions became demands; and they
refused to grant the King's subsidies till the demands were complied
with. It was, therefore, this first stage of representation which
enabled the people to start that long struggle against the power of the
King and nobles which has ended in complete self-government; nay, more,
it was necessary that they should pass through this first stage before
they could learn to govern themselves. Yet we have seen that if we apply
the modern ideas on representation the start could never have been
made. In what respects, then, did these early representative
institutions differ from the modern conception as a reproduction of the
people on a small scale? One obvious difference at once suggests itself.
The representatives were not average members of the communities; they
were the most influential; they were selected because of their special
fitness for the work to be done; they were leaders of the people, not
followers; they did not take inspiration from the people, but brought it
to them; and having selected these men the people deferred to their
judgment to act for them and protect their interests. Here, then, we
arrive at the first principle involved in representation, which is

But there is another and still more important difference between a
representative assembly and a primary assembly of the people. It is
this: that a representative cannot be a violent partisan of a small
section of his constituents; he must be in general favour with all
sections. Therefore a representative assembly is composed of moderate
men, representing a compromise of the views of their individual
supporters. Moreover, the representatives appeal to the people to sink
their minor differences for the general welfare. This feature is very
prominent in the early parliaments. The local communities were arrayed
as a united people against the aggression of the monarchy. The principle
which is here apparent is that of organization. In the first stage of
English parliamentary history we may say at once that these two
principles--organization and leadership--were most conspicuous. The
people, sinking all minor differences, formed one united party; and
recognised that their struggle against the party of prerogative depended
on the ability, influence, and integrity of their deputies.

+The Second Stage of Representation.+--There is no need to enter into
that long struggle between the nation and the monarchy which followed.
We pass on, then, to the time when the parliaments, having wrested a
share of power, began to split up into parties. It was natural that when
power became divided two parties should arise; one upholding the
authority of the Parliament against the King; and the other favouring
the divine right of Kings. The Puritans and Cavaliers in the troublous
times of Charles I. were the earliest signs of this tendency. The Long
Parliament, which met in 1640, was divided on these lines; the
misdemeanors of the King brought on civil war; the parliamentary troops
defeated the royal troops after a bloody struggle; and the King was
brought to execution. The succeeding events were full of instruction.
The Parliament attempted to govern the nation--or, rather, we should say
the House of Commons did, for the House of Lords was abolished. But it
proved quite unfit for the purpose. It was thoroughly disorganized, and
rent by violent factions. The anarchy which ensued was ended by a
military despot, Oliver Cromwell, who entered the House of Commons in
1653 with his soldiers. The Speaker was pulled from his chair; the
members were driven from the House; and Cromwell was proclaimed
dictator. It is strange, indeed, that the lesson which is to be drawn
from this event, and which has been repeated in France time after time
since the Revolution, has not yet been learned: the only escape from
continued political anarchy is despotism. But the weakness of despotism
is that it ends with the life of the despot. Cromwell's son was forced
to abdicate, and the monarchy was restored. The same division of parties
in the Parliament continued, and they began to take the names of Whigs
and Tories. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the dissensions
of these two factions again threatened to make government impossible. In
administration the evil was felt most; the union of ministers of both
parties was proving unworkable. So fickle did legislation become that no
one could say one day what the House would do the next. It was at this
crisis, and about the year 1693, that William III., who cared more for a
strong administration than for political differences, created what is
known as cabinet government, and, as Professor Gardiner says, "refounded
the government of England on a new basis." Recognizing that power should
not be separated from responsibility, he affirmed the principle that the
ministers of state should be selected from the party which had a
majority in the House of Commons. But the time was not yet ripe for the
complete application of this principle. Early in the eighteenth century
Sir Robert Walpole set the example of resigning when he no longer
possessed the confidence of a majority of the House of Commons; but in
the latter half of the century the great Earl of Chatham introduced
again the practice of selecting ministers irrespective of party. Despite
the fact that he was supported by the personal influence of George III.,
the attempt failed. A succession of weak ministries followed; and out of
the confusion the modern division of Liberals and Conservatives emerged.
Thus it was not until the beginning of the present century that the
doctrines of the solidarity of the Cabinet and its complete dependence
on a majority of the House of Commons were thoroughly developed in their
present form. England, now grown into the United Kingdom, had at last,
after six centuries of strife, won her national independence, and for
one brief century has enjoyed a full measure of self-government.

+Comparison of the Two Stages.+--How do the conditions presented by the
nineteenth century differ from those of the fourteenth? And how is the
problem of representation affected? We have seen that the great forces
which animated the nation in the fourteenth century were organization
and leadership. Have these forces ceased to operate? Assuredly not. In
the fourteenth century we had a united people organized under its chosen
leaders against the encroachments of the King and nobility on its
national liberty. In the nineteenth century the people have won their
political independence, but the struggle is now carried on between two
great organized parties. The principle of leadership is still as strong
as ever. The careers of Pitt, Peel, Palmerston, Beaconsfield, and
Gladstone attest that fact. The one great difference, then, between the
fourteenth and the nineteenth centuries is that instead of one party
there are two. The problem of representation in the fourteenth century
was to keep the people together in one united party, and to allow them
to select their most popular leaders. Surely the problem is different in
the nineteenth century. The requirements now are to organize the people
into two great parties, and to allow each party separately to elect its
most popular leaders. And yet we are still using the same method of
election as our forefathers used six centuries ago. Although the
conditions have entirely changed, we have not adapted the electoral
machinery to the change. The system of single-membered electorates was
rational in the fourteenth century, because there was only one party. Is
it not on the face of it absurd to-day, when there are two parties?

+The Meaning of Party Government.+--Why should there be two parties
instead of one in order that the people should be able to govern
themselves? To answer this question we must start at the beginning, and
consider what is the problem of popular government. The best definition
is that it is to promote the general welfare--to reconcile or average
the real interests of all sections of the community. Now, if the people
could all agree what is best in the interests of all, unity of action
might certainly be obtained; but even then the problem would not be
solved, for the people are not infallible. The greater part of the
problem consists in finding out what is best in the interests of all,
and no amount of mere abstract speculation can solve this part. So
diverse and so complex are the interests to be reconciled, so interwoven
and interdependent one with another, that the problem of securing a just
balance is incapable of solution by anything short of omniscience. But
in any case the people cannot be always got to agree to one course of
action. Therefore the people cannot govern themselves as one united
party. The only workable basis is, then, the rule of the majority, and
the problem of popular government is how to ensure that the majority
shall rule in the interests of all.

Party government provides the best known means of solving this problem.
The only way of finding out what is best for the whole people is by the
incessant action and interaction of two great organized parties under
their chosen leaders; each putting forth its energies to prove its
fitness to hold the reins of government; each anxious to expose the
defects of the other. This healthy emulation as to what is best for all,
with the people to judge, is the real secret of free government. The
two parties are virtually struggling as to which shall be king. Each is
striving to gain the support of a majority of the people; and the
grounds on which it appeals for support are that the measures it
proposes are the best for the country, and that the men it puts forward
are the best men for passing those measures into law and carrying on the
administration of the country. This constant agitation, and this mutual
competition to devise new measures, and to bring forward new men,
prevent stagnation. Both sides of every leading public question of the
day are presented in the rival party policies, and the people are
invited to decide between them. The forces on which the parties rely to
move the people are enthusiasm for measures and enthusiasm for
men--party and personality, or, in other words, organization and
leadership. It is in opposing these forces to counteract the selfish and
anti-social passions that party government acquires its virtue. By
appealing to their higher nature it induces the people to subordinate
their class prejudices to the general welfare, and by setting before
them definite moral ideals, and appealing to them by the force of
personality, it raises the character of public opinion, and moulds
individual and national character to an extent that is seldom
appreciated. Here, then, is the key of human progress. Direct
democracies may hold together so long as there are external enemies to
induce the people to sink their differences in the common interest, or
so long as there is a slave caste to do the menial work, as in the
ancient democracies; but representative democracy offers the only hope
of welding together a free people into a united whole. The unrestrained
rule of the majority under direct democracy must degenerate into the
tyranny of the majority. Instead of the equality of political power
which it promises, the minority is deprived of all power. Representative
democracy, on the other hand, deprives the people of the personal
exercise of political power, in order to save them from the free play of
their self-assertive passions, but still leaves to every man an equality
of influence in deciding the direction of progress. Thus every man is
induced to express his opinion as to the direction of progress; and the
party policy is the resultant direction of progress of all the party
electors, and therefore represents their organized opinion. Now, bear in
mind that the true direction of progress is not known, and can only be
found out by constant experiment directed by the most far-seeing and
capable minds. It is the means of carrying on this experiment which
party government provides. The party representing the organized opinion
of the majority has, rightly, complete control of the direction of
progress so long as it remains in a majority. But, although deliberation
is the work of many, execution is the work of one. Hence the creation of
a small committee of the party in power--the cabinet--associated with
the leader of the party, who becomes for the time being the Prime
Minister, the cabinet ministers being jointly responsible for the
control of administration and the initiation of measures for the public
good. But an organized minority is quite as essential to progress as an
organized majority--not merely to oppose, but to criticise and expose
the errors of the party in power, and to supplant it when it ceases to
possess the confidence of the country. Hence progress under party
government may be compared to a zigzag line, in which the changes in
direction correspond to changes in ministry. By this mutual action and
alternation of parties every vote cast has, in the long run, an equal
influence in guiding progress. The only justification for majority rule
sanctioned by free government is that when two parties differ as to what
is best for the whole people the majority shall prevail, and party
government tends to realize this condition. But direct government by the
people offers no check whatever on the power of the majority, which is
as absolute as that of the Czar of Russia. As Calhoun, the American
statesman, writes in his "Disquisition on Government," "the principle by
which constitutional governments are upheld, is _compromise_, that of
absolute governments is _force_!" Now, the significance of party
government as a guarantee of free government lies in this: that party
policies represent a compromise of what every section composing each
party supposes to be the interests of the whole people; and the parties
are engaged in fighting out a compromise of the real interests of every
section of the people.

Lest it be thought that in this panegyric on party government we have
been indulging in a wild flight into the region of speculative politics,
we hasten to add that the ideal condition we have pictured has never
been reached. The British Parliament has perhaps most nearly approached
it, but already shows signs of retrogression. America and the Australian
colonies are drifting further away from it. Already political
philosophers are shaking their heads and predicting the failure of
popular government. The cry everywhere is for a stronger executive.
Party organization is breaking down; small factions actuated by
self-interest hold the balance of power between the main parties, and
render government unstable and capricious. The main parties themselves
tend to degenerate into factions. Personality is declining--the demand
is for followers, not leaders. Compromise is supplanted by log-rolling
and lobbying. And, to crown all, the rumbling of class strife grows
ominously louder. The danger is that these tendencies may be allowed to
go too far before reform is attempted--that the confidence between
classes may be destroyed.

+Organization and Leadership.+--We have shown that the two great
principles underlying representation are organization and leadership.
Now, after all, there is nothing very profound in this conclusion. Is
there a single department of concerted human action in which these same
principles are not apparent? What would be thought of an army without
discipline and without generals; or of a musical production in which
every performer played his own tune? Even in the region of sport, can a
cricket or a football team dispense with its captain and its places? And
yet many people imagine that a disorganized collection of delegates of
various sections can rule a nation? Such an assembly would be as much a
mob as any primary assembly of the people, and would in no sense be a
representative assembly. The fact is that the growing intensity of the
evils which beset representative institutions throughout the civilized
world to-day is due to imperfect expression of these two principles.
Representative assemblies are not properly organized into two coherent
parties, nor is each party allowed free play to select its most popular
leaders. What is the remedy?

+A Change in Electoral Machinery the Key to Reform.+--The great mistake
made by all writers on electoral reform is that they have failed to
recognize that the character of public opinion depends upon the way it
is expressed. If the electoral machinery be adapted to give effect to
those principles of organization and leadership which lie at the root of
representation, then the character of public opinion will be improved.
Representation, in fact, is not only a means of expressing public
opinion, but also of guiding, informing, educating, and organizing it.
Therefore, the method of election is an all-important factor.

The first and greatest necessity is to counteract the tendency of the
people to split up into factions. It may seem a startling conclusion
that this is a mere matter of electoral machinery, but it is
nevertheless quite true. It must be remembered that we are dealing with
human beings and not with insentient figures. If the method of election
allows representation to two sections only, the people will group
themselves into two sections. But if it allows representation to a large
number of sections, then the people will group themselves into as many
sections as are allowed. Now, party government offers every hope of
preventing two sections degenerating into factions, but with a number of
sections there is absolutely none.

Here, then, we see the one great merit of the present system of
election, which explains why it has persisted so long, with all its
faults. It is that it tends to confine representation to the two main
parties, since each electorate is generally contested by them; but in so
far as it does not completely effect that object and allows
representation to independent factions it is defective. Moreover, the
merit we have indicated is purchased at too high a price. It is these
defects which are causing the degradation of representative institutions
throughout the world to-day.

It is obviously impossible to give a just share of representation to two
parties and allow each party to elect its most popular leaders, in an
electorate which returns only a single representative. Hence the first
necessity for reform is to enlarge electorates, so that each may return
several representatives. Now, the requirements for giving effect to the
principles of organization and leadership in such an electorate are:--

     1. Proportional representation to the two main parties--Ministerial
     and Opposition, the majority and the minority.

     2. The election by each party of its most popular
     candidates--_i.e._, those most in general favour with all sections
     of the party.

This is the problem of representation as it presents itself to us.
Leaving a detailed account of the means by which it is proposed to give
effect to these great desiderata to a later chapter, let us indicate
briefly where they strike at the root of the evils of the present

+Enlarged Electorates.+--With enlarged electorates the minority will not
be excluded. Each party will secure its just share of representation.
When both parties are represented in each electorate the interests of
the electorate will not be bargained for as the price of support.
Members will cease to be mere local delegates.

+Proportional Representation to the Two Main Parties.+--Representation
must be absolutely confined to the two main parties, and each party must
be allowed its just share. Every candidate should be required to
nominate either as a Ministerialist or Oppositionist, and each party
should be allotted a number of representatives proportional to the total
amount of support received. If democracy means that every man's opinion,
as expressed by his vote, is to have the same weight, it follows that
the parties should be represented in the Legislature in the same
proportion as among the people, otherwise it is ridiculous to talk of
the rule of the majority. The present system sometimes results in
minority rule and sometimes in minority extermination; it is difficult
to say which alternative is the worse.

+Election of its Most Popular Candidates by each Party.+--It would be
little use to confine representation to the two main parties if the
parties were allowed to split up into factions. The only way to prevent
this is to provide such electoral machinery as will ensure the return of
the candidates most in general favour with all sections, and will
exclude the favourites of sections within the party. This distinction is
vital. The general favourite is a representative; the favourite of a
faction is a delegate. A representative is not only independent of any
one section, but if he does favour a faction he will sink in general
favour. He therefore represents a compromise of the demands of all
sections. But a delegate is the mouthpiece of a faction--a follower, not
a leader of the people.

No section will be disfranchised by this proposal, for the true
function of all minor sections is to influence the policies of the two
main parties. Thus every section will be proportionally represented in
one or the other policy and by all the party candidates. Not only will
each party be proportionally represented but all the sections which
compose each party will be proportionally represented in its policy.
This is the only true meaning of proportional representation.



All schemes of electoral reform hitherto proposed under the name of
proportional representation are based on the so-called "representative
principle"--viz., that every section of the people is entitled to
separate representation in proportion to its numbers. The ideal varies
somewhat, but the usual conception, is that if each member represents a
different section or interest the assembly will represent all sections
or all interests. Now this is simply an attempt to return to what we
have described as the first stage of representation, but without the
fear of the monarchy to keep the sections together. For a deliberative
body or a king's council it might be suitable, but for an assembly
charged with the complete control of government in the interests of all
it is utterly impracticable. Each representative must represent all
interests; he must be elected on a definite policy as to what is best
for all the people. If he is sent in as the agent of one interest or one
section of the people, he ceases to be a representative and becomes a
delegate. All these schemes are therefore not proportional
representation at all, but proportional delegation.

We have shown that representation means the organization of public
opinion into two definite lines of policy, and that this is the only way
to prevent political anarchy. But the proportionalists (as they like to
call themselves) say that it means representing men and the opinions
they hold in proportion to their numbers. The fundamental error is that
they neglect the all-important factor of human nature. They look on
public opinion as something having an independent existence apart from
the questions about which it is expressed and from the means of
expressing it; and they fail to recognize that the character of public
opinion depends on the manner in which it is expressed and organized. It
is but a natural consequence that they also conceive the number of
sections of opinion awaiting representation as pre-existing and
independent of the electoral machinery.

In short, they reduce the whole problem to a nice little exercise in
mathematics, requiring only for its clear exposition some columns of
figures and a few coloured diagrams to represent the different shades of
public opinion. No better example of the dangers of _a priori_
speculation could be adduced than this chimerical idea of the
proportionalists that public opinion is something to be divided into
fractions like a mathematical quantity, unless it be, perhaps, the
conclusion that if you gather together delegates representing these
fractions you will have an assembly representing the sum total of public

The issue is quite clear. Are we to have two parties aiming at the
control of administration and appealing to all sections for support, or
the separate delegation of a number of sections? In the one case we will
have parties based on national policies, and in the other case we will
have a number of factions, each wanting something different and
determined to block progress till it gets it. Remember that it is a mere
matter of electoral machinery which will determine the choice. It is
true that at present we do not have two very coherent parties, but that
is the fault of the present electoral system.

It would seem that there can be but one answer to this question, and yet
the "representative principle" shows such wonderful vitality that it is
worth while considering the arguments on which it is based, and the
various stages through which the idea has passed.

+Mr. Hare's Scheme.+--The "representative principle" was first
propounded in England in 1857 by Mr. Thomas Hare. He proposed that the
United Kingdom should be constituted one huge electorate for the return
of the 654 members of the House of Commons. The people were to group
themselves into 654 voluntary unanimous sections, each returning one
member, and each gathered from every corner of the kingdom. We propose
to consider here not the scheme itself but only the principle on which
it was founded. Mr. Hare rightly conceived that the great evil of the
present system is the exclusion of the minority in each electorate, but
he altogether failed to appreciate that the excluded minority nearly
always represented one of the two main parties. He could not see, in
fact, that to divide each electorate into majority and minority is to
divide the whole country into majority and minority, nor that the
injustice is tolerated because it is usually as bad for one party as the
other. Instead, therefore, of proposing to do justice to both the
majority and the minority in each electorate, he proposed to allow
representation to as many minorities as possible. To him, the rule of
the majority was the rule of a majority of interests; this he called the
constitutional majority, as opposed to the "mere rule of numbers." Now,
at the time Mr. Hare wrote party government was rather weak in England.
He quotes with approval a statement of Mr. Sidney Herbert, M.P., that
the House was divided into many parties, or rather no party, because the
country was divided into many parties or no party, and that the division
into two parties would never be restored again. It is amusing, in view
of after events, to find Mr. Hare asking what would be the result of any
contrivance to re-establish party. Assuming that _party_ representation
was dead, Mr. Hare proposed to substitute _personal_ representation. It
is positively ludicrous at this interval of time to note how the
electors were expected to group themselves. They were to take personal
merit as the basis of representation; every vote cast was to be a
spontaneous tribute to the qualities and attainments of the person for
whom it was given. And in order, presumably, that they should choose
good men in preference to corrupt men, the polling-day was to be set
apart as a sacred holiday, and church services were to be held to
solemnize the public act and seek for the Divine blessing!

The maintenance of a responsible ministry in such a House presented no
difficulty to Mr. Hare. The electors were to indicate whom they
considered the most illustrious statesmen, and no one would dare to
question their decision!

It seems strange now that this scheme should have received serious
consideration. Mr. Hare was so much under the spell of the apparent
justice of the underlying principle that he was blind to its results.
But it was soon perceived that the electors would not group themselves
as Mr. Hare supposed; that the personal ideal of every class of electors
would be simply men of their own class. It was further pointed out that
cranks and faddists and every organization founded on questions of the
remotest interest would combine to secure representation. Mr. Disraeli
declared it to be "opposed to every sound principle, its direct effect
being to create a stagnant representation ... an admirable scheme for
bringing crotchety men into the House." Mr. Shaw-Lefevre condemned it
as "a vicious principle based upon a theory of classes," and Mr.
Gladstone said that it regarded electors "not as rational and thinking
beings, but merely as the equivalents of one another." Walter Bagehot,
in his standard work on the "English Constitution," opposes the
principle of voluntary constituencies, because it would promote a
constituency-making trade. "But upon the plan suggested," he writes,
"the House would be made up of party politicians selected by a party
committee, chained to that committee, and pledged to party violence, and
of characteristic, and therefore unmoderate, representatives for every
'ism' in all England. Instead of a deliberate assembly of moderate and
judicious men, we should have a various compound of all sorts of
violence. I may seem to be drawing a caricature, but I have not reached
the worst. Bad as these members would be if they were left to
themselves--if in a free Parliament they were confronted with the perils
of government, close responsibility might improve them, and make them
tolerable. But they would not be left to themselves. A voluntary
constituency will nearly always be a despotic constituency."

The practical difficulties in the application of Mr. Hare's scheme are
almost insuperable, but it is not worth while pursuing the subject,
since it is now admitted by recent advocates that the faddist argument
is fatal. This is an admission that Mr. Hare completely neglected the
factor of human nature. Professor Nanson writes:--"Hare proposed that
there should be only one electorate, consisting of the whole State. It
is unfortunate that this proposal was made. There can be no doubt that
it has retarded the progress of true electoral reform for at least a
generation ... it would inevitably lead to the election of a certain
number of faddists."

+John Stuart Mill.+--The great vogue which the Hare system has obtained
is to be traced more to the influence of John Stuart Mill than to that
of anyone else. Mill was captivated by the apparent justice of the
proposal, and devoted a chapter of his "Representative Government" to
it, wherein he declared:--"Mr. Hare's scheme has the almost unparalleled
merit of carrying out a great principle of government in a manner
approaching to ideal perfection, while it attains incidentally several
other things of scarcely inferior importance." Believing in the absolute
justice of the principle, Mill and Hare were certainly consistent in
setting no limit to its application except the size of the assembly.
Mill is emphatic on this point. "Real equality of representation," he
asserted, "is not obtained unless any set of electors, amounting to
average number of a constituency, wherever they happen to reside, have
the power of combining with one another to return a representative."
Now, the recent disciples of Mr. Hare are never tired of claiming the
support of Mill, although they have thrown this definition to the
winds. But they are guilty of far more than that, for in another chapter
of Mill's book we find that his conception of a representative assembly
elected by the Hare system is a purely deliberative body. He expressly
declares it to be radically unfit for legislation, which he proposes to
hand over to a commission appointed by the Crown. The value of his
testimony is very much discounted by this fact.

+Sir John Lubbock.+[1]--We have asserted that the proportional principle
should be applied to two parties only--the majority and the minority,
and that every section can then be represented. Mill and Hare thought
that no limit should be set except the size of the assembly. All the
recent advocates of the system take up an intermediate position.
Appreciating the serious objections against allowing independent
representation to a large number of small sections, Sir John Lubbock,
president of the English Proportional Representation Society, proposes
to constitute electorates returning only three to five members each,
thus confining representation to only three to five sections in each
electorate, and sacrificing to a great extent accurate proportional
representation. In his book on "Representation," he writes:--"I have
assumed that Parliament should be 'a mirror of the nation;' if the
object were to secure unity of action rather than freedom of discussion,
to form an executive body such as a Government, a Board of Directors, or
a Vestry, the case would be quite different. It is, however, I presume,
our wish that Parliament should be a deliberative assembly in which all
parties should be fairly represented." But to make Parliament a
deliberative body is to destroy its power to secure unity of action at
all, and to render it useless as a working machine.

+Miss Spence.+--An active campaign has for some time been carried on for
the adoption of the Hare system in Australia. Miss C.H. Spence, of South
Australia, was the pioneer reformer, and has laboured in the cause by
pen and voice for no less than forty years. Great credit is undoubtedly
due to Miss Spence for the clear and simple manner in which she has
expounded the system, and for the good work she has done in exposing the
defects of the present methods. Not only has she lectured in all parts
of Australia, but she has made visits to England, where she met Mr. Hare
and Sir John Lubbock, and also to America. But we may admire Miss
Spence's courage and devotion to principle without agreeing with her

At a meeting held at River House, Chelsea, London, in 1894, Miss Spence
submitted an analysis of 8,824 votes recorded at 50 public meetings in
South Australia. The audiences were in each case asked to select six
representatives out of twelve candidates. The result of a scrutiny of
all the votes combined was that the following six "parties" secured one
"representative" each--viz., Capital, Labour, Single Tax, Irish
Catholic, Prohibition, and Women's Suffrage. Miss Spence frankly
confesses that these "parties" are minorities, but holds that a majority
can be formed by the union of minorities, and that party responsible
government can still be carried on. Now, can any sensible man or woman
imagine a working ministry formed by a union of any four of these
"parties?" Capital would certainly be permanently opposed to Labour and
to Single Tax, and as for the others, there is not a single principle in
common. How, then, could a union be formed? The only possible way is by
log-rolling; they must make a bargain to support one another's demands.
Such a union could not possibly be stable, because the minority is free
to offer a better bargain to any one of the "parties" to induce it to
desert. Again, it may be called the rule of the majority, but what sort
of a majority? Is it not plainly the rule of a majority in the interests
of minorities? That is very different to the rule of the majority in the
interests of all, which free government demands. The simple truth is
that the "parties" are factions, and that the "representatives" are mere
delegates of those factions.

But in practice the case would be far worse than we have assumed. There
is not the slightest guarantee that the same six factions would be
elected in each six-seat electorate. We might have an unlimited number
of delegates of various religions, classes, races, localities, and
political organizations on all kinds of single questions. An assembly
formed on these lines could hardly be dignified with the name of a
representative assembly.

Mr. G. Bradford, in his work on "The Lesson of Popular Government,"
displays a more intimate knowledge of human nature than any other recent
writer. Of these schemes for the representation of minorities he says:--

     As an illustration of the effect in popular government of looking
     to popular impulse for the initiation of measures, it may be
     observed that perhaps the worst of all expedients for remedying the
     defective working of a government by a legislature like ours, that
     which combines the evils of them all, is one which is urged by
     perfectly disinterested advocates of reform, and is known as
     proportional representation. If there is one principle at the base
     of popular government it is that the majority shall rule. If the
     largest of three or four fractions is to rule it ceases to be
     popular government, and becomes government by faction. If the
     tyranny of the majority is bad a tyranny of the minority is still
     worse. (Vol. i., p. 505.)

And the following picture could hardly be better drawn:--

     If the basis of carrying on the government is to be the wishes of
     some millions of units, it is evident that they must to a greater
     or less extent agree in wishing for something. It is equally
     evident that they cannot all agree in wishing for the same thing at
     the same time, while if they, or any considerable number of groups,
     want different things at the same time, the result in so far is
     anarchy. Government is paralysed, and with the well-known
     excitability of humanity in groups men begin to confound the
     importance of the thing wanted with the importance of getting what
     they want. The clash of contending factions is apt to suggest the
     clash of arms. The first necessity, therefore, is the formation of
     large and coherent parties, not merely for the purpose of
     accomplishing what is desired by the majority of the people, but
     also for suppressing agitation and social disturbance on behalf of
     what may be called merely objects of passion or private interest
     with comparatively small groups, at least until those objects
     enlist the support of a large minority. (Vol. i., pp. 492, 493.)

+Professor Nanson.+--In Victoria the Hare system is championed by Mr.
E.J. Nanson, Professor of Mathematics at Melbourne University. Professor
Nanson approaches the subject entirely from a mathematical standpoint,
and resolutely refuses to admit the factor of human nature into his
calculations. Following Mr. Hare, he is a declared opponent of party
government, and "would like to see it pushed further into the
background." Moreover, he regards every step in the process as an end in
itself. Thus the act of voting is one end, representation is another,
and the rule of the majority a third. Leaving aside for the present,
however, the elaborate mathematical devices which are proposed for
attaining these supposed ends, let us take only the principles on which
they are based. These are laid down as follows:--

     (_a_) The rule of the majority.

     (_b_) The fair representation of all parties in proportion to their

     (_c_) Perfect freedom to every elector to vote exactly as he

     (_d_) The emancipation of the voters from the tyranny of the
     political "boss" or caucus.

     (_e_) The full value of his vote to each voter without loss or

The principles involved, we are assured, "must appeal to every democrat,
to every Liberal, to every lover of true and just representation."

As to the first claim, we are willing to grant the rule of the majority,
if the words are added "in the interests of minorities." The second
could also be granted if by "all parties" were meant both parties, for
there cannot be more than two parties in the true sense of the word. But
Professor Nanson proposes such large electorates that any small section,
from one-sixth to one-twelfth, can secure independent representation.
Notwithstanding this, he claims that it is quite possible to give fair
representation to the main parties and to small sections at the same
time. In illustrating the system he avoids the issue as to the character
of these sections by giving them a "scientific" nomenclature, such as
Colour, Place, Pursuits, Qualities, &c. These abstractions are very
misleading, as attention is diverted from the fact that they refer to
voluntary groups of men united for some political purpose. The real
question is, on what basis are these groups likely to be formed? When
the element of human nature is taken into account it must be apparent
that they will be formed for the propaganda of some sectional interest;
some on a religious basis, others on a class basis, &c. Now, if we were
to ask each candidate to declare his religion, we could easily take
religions as the basis of representation and allow proportional
representation to each religion; and similarly with classes, races, and
so on. But we could only take one basis at a time, and the important
deduction is that if we were to take religions as the basis of
representation, the people would be induced to vote according to
religion; if we were to take classes, according to class, and so on.
Now, no one but the fanatic or the demagogue will claim that the
majority is entitled to rule where religions only or classes only are
represented. The questions then arise--What is the correct basis of
representation? How should the people be induced to vote? And the answer
is clearly that the people should be induced to vote on questions of
general public policy, on the leading questions of the day which decide
the party lines, and that, therefore, _the policies of the two main
parties should form the primary basis of proportional representation_.
But the Hare system, by taking individual candidates as the basis of
representation, induces the elector to vote on any basis or on sectional
lines. It promotes dissension instead of repressing it, and instead of
encouraging all sections to express their opinion as to what is best for
the general well-being, it encourages them to express their opinion as
to what they imagine to be best for themselves. Public opinion expressed
on these lines would be worse than useless. But Professor Nanson thinks
that the electors would still have regard for the main parties, even
though they grouped themselves into small sections. He declares that
"any party amounting to anything like a quota would not only have two
candidates of its own--one Liberal and one Conservative--but would also
be wooed by candidates of both leading parties." We may well question
whether factions would trouble themselves about the main parties; but,
granting the assumption, the small parties might just as well be single
electorates as far as the main parties are concerned. The Liberal
candidates might be successful in all of them, and the Conservatives be
unrepresented. The peculiar feature is that the defeated Conservatives
are expected to transfer their votes to the Liberals to make up the
quotas for the small parties!

The third claim is that electors should have perfect freedom to vote
exactly as they please, and yet Professor Nanson, in condemning Mr.
Hare's original scheme, has denied that they are free to vote as
faddists; but he still holds that they are free to vote on any basis if
only they form one-sixth to one-twelfth of an electorate. Thus the
amount of freedom is variable and a matter of opinion. Now, we
altogether deny that electors should be given the opportunity to
subordinate the national interests to factious interests. Just as the
faddist argument is fatal to Mr. Hare's original scheme, so the
splitting up into factions is fatal to Professor Nanson's present
scheme. Where is the freedom which Professor Nanson claims under the
present system of election? Is it not the fact that throughout England,
America, and Australia the electors have very often a choice between two
candidates only--one Ministerialist and one Oppositionist? By all means
let us have as many political organizations as possible to make known
the wishes of all sections; but the true function of all such
organizations is to influence the policies of the two main parties, and
not to secure independent delegates in Parliament. This means simply
that the compromise among the different sections supporting a party must
be effected in the electors' minds, and at the elections, and not on the
floor of the Legislature.

The fourth claim is the emancipation of the voters from the tyranny of
the "boss." Now, the power of the "boss" lies in the control of
nominations, and although to some extent this control is necessary with
the present system of election, it is not essential to party government,
as we hope to show. But with government by faction there would be no
escape from this control. The tyranny of a faction is worse than the
tyranny of the "boss." The voters need saving from their own selfish
passions far more than from the "boss."

The final claim that each elector is entitled to the full value of his
vote, regardless of the way in which it is used, is really a claim to an
equality of political power, _i.e._, to direct government. It means
that electors are absolutely free to combine for their own interests, or
for their interest as a class, in opposition to the public welfare.
These combinations would, with an equality of direct political power,
soon bring on social disruption.

+Professor Jethro Brown.+--In the preface to "The New Democracy," by
Professor Jethro Brown, the two fundamental difficulties of present-day
politics are correctly stated to be--how to express public opinion, and
how to improve its value. For the first of these Professor Brown
recommends the Hare system, and for the second the study of history.
Later on he writes:--"How is the amelioration of popular sovereignty to
be effected? Not, I venture to believe, by the pursuit of the policy
which hopes to play off ignorance against ignorance and prejudice
against prejudice, and to secure good government by the arts of
flattery, manipulation, and intrigue; nor, indeed, by the improvement of
democratic machinery, though this is extremely desirable, and calls for
immediate attention. For, above all, towers the question of character."
It is quite evident that Professor Brown shares the delusion of the
other advocates of the Hare system, that the manner of expressing public
opinion has nothing to do with the character of public opinion. The two
difficulties laid down are essentially one. The cardinal fact underlying
representation is that it is a real social force, capable of reacting
upon and moulding character, and therefore of improving the value of
public opinion. The independence, love of freedom, respect for
minorities, and capacity for self-government, which are the most
distinctive traits in the English character, are not innate, but are
largely the products of the British Constitution. If the only chance of
improving the value of public opinion lay in the hope of inducing the
individual electors to study the lessons of history, the prospect would
be indeed gloomy.

Professor Brown regards party government as a necessary evil, resulting
from the mechanical difficulty of securing unity of action from a
plurality of wills. This is practically equivalent to saying that
legislation itself is a necessary evil. But he writes:--"Whatever may be
the evils of party government, there can be no doubt of the utility as
well as of the necessity of the institution itself. The alternative to
party government is the system of government by small groups. In
Australia the evils of this alternative have been occasionally displayed
in practical politics; but it is to France that we must look for their
supreme illustration." Turning to the chapter on the Hare system, we
find that Professor Brown believes that the electors would still divide
themselves into two parties, even if given the opportunity to form small
groups. "I cannot believe," he writes, "that the reputation of our race
for sound common-sense is so far misplaced that a provision for the
faithful representation of the people would end in an immoderate
Legislature! For, although the Hare system is not perfect, it does
undoubtedly afford an opportunity for an absolutely _fair
representation_. Of course the opportunity would be abused by some; but
to argue that the abuse would be general, or if at all general, would
long continue, is to argue that the people would prove themselves
unworthy of the opportunity offered." While he was at the University of
Tasmania the first election under the Hare system was held, and
Professor Brown's opinions are based on the result. A second election
has, however, just been held, which shows the futility of his hopes.

+The Tasmanian Experiment.+--Despite the fact that it has been advocated
for over forty years, the trial now being made of the Hare system in
Tasmania is the first application of the "representative principle" to
any assembly modelled on the English plan of party government, and
therefore deserves more than passing notice. But the experiment is on
such a small scale, and has been conducted for such a short time, that
the result can hardly be expected to be conclusive as yet. The objection
against the Hare system is not so much that it is not suitable to
present conditions as that it will speedily bring about altered
conditions. It is interesting to find that this is exactly what is
taking place. The system is applied in two electorates only, at Hobart
and Launceston the former returning six members and the latter four. At
the first election, in 1897, the possibilities of the system were not
appreciated, and electors voted on the old lines; and although the
results were rather erratic and unexpected, they were considered fairly
satisfactory. But the second election, held early in the present year,
proved a great blow to the system. No less than three of the successful
candidates were intensely unpopular; and one of them, an ex-minister,
had recently been banished from public life on the report of a select
committee of the House. His reinstatement aroused a storm of indignation
throughout the colony, and he was forced to retire again before
Parliament met. It will be as well to take the evidence of a strong
advocate of the system--the _Argus_ correspondent. Of one candidate he
writes:--"Judging by all available definite evidences, it seemed that
five-sixths of the electors of Hobart were directly in favour of the
construction of the railway by the present Great Western Railway
Syndicate; while those of the remaining sixth were variously opposed to
the company or to the project of constructing such a railway by private
enterprise at all. This sixth is represented by Mr. R.C. Patterson, who
headed the poll." Of another candidate we learn that "Mr. Mulcahy had
fought a hard fight, and it is a fair assumption that on the list of the
elected he represents the Roman Catholic vote. As a member of a
generally popular Government, the extent of Mr. Mulcahy's personal
unpopularity was remarkable and probably unique." But it was over the
return of Mr. Miles that the storm raged most. The excuse is made that
"the fault of Mr. Miles's return (assuming that it is a fault) lies with
the electors who returned him, and not with the system under which his
return was accomplished.... Once grant that a section of Hobart electors
have the right to select for their representative whom they choose, and
it would seem that the Hare system must be held free of all
responsibility for the return of Mr. Miles." But this is precisely what
cannot be granted for a moment, as we have endeavoured to show. The
assertion is made that Mr. Miles would have been returned as easily
under the old system, but this is not a fact. He polled only one-eighth
of the votes, so that, even supposing that his supporters were twice as
strong in a single electorate, he would have had only one-fourth of the
votes. It is safe to say, from the small proportion of second and third
preferences which he secured, that if the Block Vote had been adopted he
would have been at the bottom of the poll. Commenting on these results,
the _Argus_ declares that the Hare system does not pretend to reform or
guide the people. Very likely not! But is it not quite evident that it
has the opposite effect?

Is it too much to say that, if the Hobart experiment be persevered with,
the ultimate tendency will be the return of six members, each acceptable
to one-sixth of the electors, and obnoxious to the other five-sixths?
It is quite obvious already that the usual party lines are entirely

+Professor Commons.+--The best book on the subject yet published is the
"Proportional Representation" of John E. Commons, Professor of Sociology
in Syracuse University, U.S. Its great merit is that the political and
social bearings of the reform are fully treated. Professor Commons
rejects the Hare system in favour of the Free List system. He
writes:--"The Hare system is advocated by those who, in a too
_doctrinaire_ fashion, wish to abolish political parties. They
apparently do not realize the impossibility of acting in politics
without large groupings of individuals." He makes a great step in
advance of the disciples of Mr. Hare in recognizing that the
proportional principle should be applied to parties, and not to
individuals, and he even defines parties correctly as being based "not
altogether on sectional divisions, but on social and economic problems
of national scope;" but, unfortunately, he fails to see that there can
be only two parties, and that the representation of small parties would
not reform the main parties, but break them up altogether. At the same
time he is no mere theorist, for he declares:--"If a practicable and
effective method of proportional representation cannot be discovered,
the theoretical principle is a mere dream." Moreover, he prudently
recognizes that his arguments as regards Federal and State Legislatures
in America are in advance of what the public is ready to accept, and
adds:--"We, as a people are not yet ready to abandon the notion that
party responsibility in Federal affairs is essential to safety." His
immediate object is, therefore, the reform of city councils, which in
America are controlled by the national parties, and are exploited by the
notorious "machine" organizations. We may sympathize with this object,
for parties in an administrative body are a serious evil, but with
legislatures the case is quite different. Professor Commons admits that
third and fourth parties, if given their proportionate weight in
legislation, would hold the balance of power, but he declares that "the
weight of this objection, the most serious yet presented against
proportional representation, varies in different grades of government."
He then proceeds to examine the objection "as applied to Congress (and
incidentally to the State Legislatures), where it has its greatest
force, and where pre-eminently party responsibility may be expected to
be decisive." And the only answer he can find is that the objection
"overlooks the principle of equality and justice in representation. It
may prove here that justice is the wisest expediency. It is a curious
anomaly, showing confusion of thought regarding democracy, that a people
who insist on universal suffrage, and who go to ludicrous limits in
granting it, should deny the right of representation to those minor
political parties whose existence is the natural fruit of this
suffrage." But these minor parties would not be denied representation if
they were allowed to exercise freely their true function, which is to
influence the policies of the main parties; and it is essential to the
working of the political machine that they be limited to that function.
Professor Commons continues:--"The argument, however, of those who fear
that third parties will hold the balance of power is not based solely on
a dread of the corrupt classes, but rather of the idealists, the
reformers, 'faddists,' and 'cranks,' so called. They would retain
exclusive majority rule and party responsibility in order to prevent the
disproportionate influence of these petty groups. They overlook, of
course, the weight of the argument already made that individual
responsibility is more important for the people than the corporate
responsibility of parties." The assumption is here made that the
complete suppression of individuality is an essential feature of party
government, whereas it is in fact a peculiar feature of American
politics, due to "machine" control of nominations. The one point which
Professor Commons has missed is that individual candidature can be
permitted and representation still be confined to the two main parties.

+Conclusion.+--The advocates of proportional delegation have failed to
grasp the importance of the principles of organization and leadership,
which underlie representation. Mr. Hare thought that the effect of doing
away with organization would be to improve leadership. But he reckoned
without his host--Human Nature. Organization cannot be dispensed with
without destroying leadership and bringing on the strife of factions.


[1] Now Lord Avebury.



+England.+--We have seen that the fundamental error of the
proportionalists is that they have failed to distinguish between the two
stages of representation. In constantly appealing back to the earlier
parliaments they altogether overlook the fact that the functions which
Parliament now exercises were then vested in the King. But this error is
not confined to the proportionalists, most of whom, indeed, however
inconsistently, favour party government. It is also put forth as an
argument by those who lay all the blame of present evils on the party
system, and who think that all sections should work together as one
united party. Take, for instance, the diatribe of Mr. W.S. Lilly on "The
Price of Party Government" in the _Fortnightly Review_ for June, 1900.
Mr. Lilly complains bitterly that the infallible oracle in politics
to-day is "the man in the street." He asserts that all issues are
settled "by counting heads, in entire disregard of what the heads
contain." His bugbear is the extension of the franchise. "Representative
institutions, for example," he asks, "what do they represent? The true
theory unquestionably is that they should represent all the features of
national life, all the living forces of society, all that makes the
country what it is; and that in due proportion. And such was the
Constitution of England up to the date of the first _Parliamentary
Reform Act_. Its ideal was, to use the words of Bishop Stubbs, 'an
organized collection of the several orders, states, and conditions of
men, recognized as possessing political power.'" Could anything be more
ridiculous? Political power is to be apportioned in the nineteenth
century as it was in the fourteenth century! The people are to be always
governed by their superiors! Mr. Lilly continues:--"It appears to me
that the root of the falsification of our parliamentary system by the
party game is to be found in the falsification of our representative
system by the principle of political atomism. Men are not equal in
rights any more than they are equal in mights. They are unequal in
political value. They ought not to be equal in political power."

The mistake here is in the premise. Has not the demagogue more power
than his dupes, or the Member of Parliament more power than the elector?
We have hardly yet reached, and are never likely to reach, that ideal of
direct government. But what is this price which Mr. Lilly is railing at?
"The price may be stated in eight words. 'The complete subordination of
national to party interests.' The _complete_ subordination. I use the
adjective advisedly. Party interests are not only the first thought of
politicians in England, but, too often, the last and only thought." All
this is sheer nonsense. The coincidence of party aims with the real
interests of the people which the British Parliament has displayed since
the _Reform Act_ of 1832 has never been even remotely approached by any
other country. Two causes have contributed to this great result; first,
the gradual extension of the franchise to all sections of the people,
and second, the fact that the principles of organization and leadership
have been highly developed. In one respect, however, Mr. Lilly is right.
The zenith has been passed. Party government is not the same to-day in
England as it was twenty years ago. But the fault lies not with the
extension of the suffrage, but with the fact that the principles of
organization and leadership are less operative. True, the extension of
the franchise is indirectly concerned in the failure, but the primary
cause is that the present system of election is unable to bear the
increased strain. It no longer suffices to organize the people into two
coherent parties. The effect on the parties is correctly noted by Mr.
Lilly. "A danger which ever besets them," he declares, "is that of
sinking into factions."

Now, the result of the want of organization is the presence in
Parliament of small independent factions, which, by holding the balance
of power, cause the main parties to degenerate into factions.

This tendency is apparent even in England, and the rock on which the
parties have split is the Irish faction. Into the merits of the Irish
question we do not propose to enter; it is the career of the faction in
Parliament which interests us. But it may be noted that the Irish party
rests on a three-fold basis as a faction; it is based mainly on a class
grievance, and is also partly racial and partly religious. It was the
Irish party in the House of Commons which first discovered that, by
keeping aloof from the two main parties, it could terrorize both; and
thus found out the weak spot in party government. Its tactics were
successful up to a certain point, for Mr. Gladstone succumbed to the
temptation to purchase its support, and brought in the Home Rule Bill.
The result is known to all; the historical Liberal party was rent in
twain; party lines were readjusted; Mr. Gladstone was left in a hopeless
minority; and the remnant of his following is to-day in the same
condition. What is the lesson to be learned from these events? That
these tactics cannot succeed in the long run. All interests suffer, but
the culprits most of all. Moreover, such tactics are unconstitutional,
and would in some circumstances justify retaliatory measures. Let us
trace the constitutional course. The Irish members could have exerted a
considerable influence on the policies of both Liberals and
Conservatives, just as the Scotch did. If they had followed this course,
might they not have been in a better position to-day?

Of course, the Irish faction can hardly be said to be the result of the
present system of election; it is mainly the expression of old wrongs.
But it has set the example, and the disintegration of the old parties is
rapidly proceeding. One feature, however, in connection with the present
system in Ireland may be mentioned, and that is the permanent
disfranchisement of the minority. In the greater part of Ireland there
is no such thing as a contest between the main parties. If a system were
introduced by which the minority could get its share of representation
the parties would compete on even terms for the support of the people,
and good feeling would tend to be restored.

To return to Mr. Lilly. The present position of party government in
England is not due to defects in the institution itself, still less to
the extension of the suffrage, but to imperfect organization. The true
remedy is, therefore, to improve organization, not to restrict the
suffrage. By this means such a condition will be brought about that if
either party favours a faction it will lose in general favour; then,
indeed, we may hope that the main parties themselves will cease to
degenerate into factions.

The same number of the _Fortnightly_ contains an unsigned article on
"Lord Rosebery and a National Cabinet," in which the party system is
alluded to as defunct, and in which the suggestion is thrown out that on
the retirement of Lord Salisbury a national cabinet should be formed,
comprising both Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Rosebery. Impending foreign
complications are given as the excuse for terminating party action. Now,
it is not to be denied that party government is more suitable for what
Mr. Herbert Spencer calls the industrial type of society than for the
militant type. Quite recently Lord Salisbury blamed the British
Constitution for the state of unpreparedness for the present war. But it
is equally true that in foreign affairs party action is generally
suspended: in the control of India, for instance, it is so. The real
question, then, is this: Is the danger of foreign aggression so serious
that all questions of internal policy can be permanently set aside? If
we have reached this stage, the end of modern civilization is in sight.
In effect, the proposal is a return to the first stage of
representation, with the difference that all sections of the people are
expected to be held together by the fear of foreign aggression, instead
of the fear of the aggression of the monarchy.

Mr. David Syme is a censor of a very different type. So far from wishing
to take control from the people, he would give the people absolute
control over everything, and at all times. Seldom has the case against
party government been more powerfully presented than in his work on
"Representative Government in England." But Mr. Syme founds his proposed
remedies on a theory of representation which is based on the literal
meaning of the word. No one has put the delegation theory more clearly
than in the following passage, or gone so far in applying it:--

     Representation is a mental act; it is the presentation or
     reproduction of the state of mind of another person; and before one
     person can represent another person he must first know what the
     opinions of that other person are. A representative is a
     substitute; he stands in the place of, and acts for, another
     person. But one man cannot act for another unless he knows what
     that other would do were he acting for himself. In other words, he
     requires to know the motives which actuate that other person, or
     what influences his motives, namely, his principles and beliefs.
     The House of Commons is a representative body, not because every
     individual member of it represents the opinions of the whole
     nation, but because members in the aggregate represent those
     opinions, (p. 170).

This position is diametrically opposed to the principles we have laid
down, for it eliminates entirely the ideas of organization and
leadership. Again, Mr. Syme says:--"If the government is to be carried
on for the benefit of all classes, representatives should be chosen from
all classes. We had class representation in the early parliaments, but
then all classes were fairly represented." We have shown that the
analogy from early parliaments is fallacious. Representatives should now
be chosen irrespective of class, and not as class delegates. But Mr.
Syme does not carry his theory to its logical conclusion. For if
representatives merely express the thoughts of others, and should be
class delegates, surely all classes are entitled to have their thoughts
"represented;" and Mr. Syme should range himself among the disciples of
Mr. Hare. But here comes in an interesting difference. Mr. Syme would
retain the present system and make members continually responsible to a
majority of their constituents; he would even give this majority power
to dismiss them at any time. Now, this is practically an admission that
representation involves the existence of a majority and a minority, or,
in other words, is a means of organizing the people into a majority and
a minority. Again, as regards leadership, the theory will hardly bear
the test of facts. Could a man like Gladstone be said to merely express
the thoughts of his constituents? Was he not rather a guide and leader
of the thoughts of a great part of the British nation?

In addition to the continual responsibility of members to their
constituents, Mr. Syme would also make the individual ministers of state
responsible to a majority of the members. He adds:--"The whole system of
party government could in this manner be quietly and effectively got rid
of." We do not propose to criticise the latter suggestion, as we do not
believe it would be put forward to-day, in the light of fuller
knowledge. Mr. Syme's book was written nearly twenty years ago. But, as
regards the continual responsibility of members, we consider it
important that the electors should not have their way on single
questions. They should periodically express their opinion as to the
general line of progress, and the representatives should then have
complete control. The necessity for this is to save the people from
their anti-social tendencies, which we have already stated as the great
objection to all forms of direct government. Lord Macaulay once defined
the position exactly in a letter addressed to the electors of Edinburgh.
"My opinion," he declared, "is that electors ought at first to choose
cautiously; then to confide liberally; and when the term for which they
have selected their member has expired to review his conduct equitably,
and to pronounce on the whole taken together."

We hope to have left on the reader's mind by this time no doubt as to
the intimate connection between the machinery of election and the
resulting character of the legislature. Now it is a most extraordinary
fact that this connection is hardly noticed by the leading
constitutional authorities. It is true they often recognize that
suggested changes like the Hare system would debase our legislatures,
but it never seems to occur to them that present evils might be cured by
a change in the electoral machinery. They point out the evils indeed,
but only to indulge in gloomy forebodings at the onward march of
democracy, or as warnings of the necessity for placing checks on the

Take Bagehot's study of the House of Commons in his standard work on
"The English Constitution," where he classifies the functions exercised
by the House. He insists that the most important of these is the
elective function--its power to elect and dismiss the ministry. In
addition, it exercises an expressive function, a teaching function, an
informing function, and, lastly, the function of legislation. But not a
word is said of the relation of these functions to representation, or to
the method of election. It is asserted that the reason the House of
Commons is able to exercise these functions is because England is a
deferential nation, and the people leave government in the hands of
their betters, the higher classes. On one point he is emphatic, and that
is the absolute necessity of party. He writes:--

     The moment, indeed, that we distinctly conceive that the House of
     Commons is mainly and above all things an elective assembly, we at
     once perceive that party is of its essence. The House of Commons
     lives in a state of perpetual potential choice; at any moment it
     can choose a ruler and dismiss a ruler. And therefore party is
     inherent in it, is bone of its bone, and breath of its breath.

As to the present trend of affairs, the opinion of a foreign observer,
Gneist--"History of the English Constitution"--may be quoted:--

     England, too, will experience the fact that the transition to the
     new order of industrial society is brought about through a process
     of dissolution of the old cohesions, upon which the constitution of
     Parliament is based. The unrepresented social mass, which is now
     flooding the substructure of the English Constitution, will only
     stay its course at a universal suffrage, and a thorough and
     arithmetical equalization of the constituencies, and will thus
     attempt, and in a great measure achieve, a further dissolution of
     the elective bodies. To meet the coming storm a certain fusion of
     the old parties seems to be immediately requisite, though the
     propertied classes, in defending their possessions, will certainly
     not at first display their best qualities. As, further, a regular
     formation in two parties cannot be kept up, a splitting up into
     fractions, as in the parliaments of the Continent, will ensue, and
     the changing of the ministry will modify itself accordingly, so
     that the Crown will no longer be able to commit the helm of the
     state in simple alternation to the leader of the one or the other
     majority. And then a time will recur in which the _King in Council_
     may have to undertake the actual leadership. (Vol. ii., pp. 452,

In other words, that an industrial society is incapable of
self-government! Note the reason for this remarkable conclusion--a
splitting up into fractions, _i.e._, imperfect organization.

Take now the evidence of the distinguished historian and publicist, Mr.
W.E.H. Leeky, M.P., as given in his recent work on "Democracy and

     After all due weight has been given to the possible remedies that
     have been considered, it still seems to me that the parliamentary
     system, when it rests on manhood suffrage, or something closely
     approaching to manhood suffrage, is extremely unlikely to be
     permanent. This was evidently the opinion of Tocqueville, who was
     strongly persuaded that the natural result of democracy was a
     highly concentrated, enervating, but mild despotism. It is the
     opinion of many of the most eminent contemporary thinkers in France
     and Germany, and it is, I think, steadily growing in England. This
     does not mean that parliaments will cease, or that a wide suffrage
     will be abolished. It means that parliaments, if constructed on
     this type, cannot permanently remain the supreme power among the
     nations of the world. Sooner or later they will sink by their own
     vices and inefficiencies into a lower plane. They will lose the
     power of making and unmaking ministries, and it will be found
     absolutely necessary to establish some strong executive
     independently of their fluctuations. Very probably this executive
     may be established, as in America and under the French Empire, upon
     a broad basis of an independent suffrage. Very possibly upper
     chambers, constituted upon some sagacious plan, will again play a
     great restraining and directing part in the government of the
     world. Few persons who have watched the changes that have passed
     over our own House of Commons within the last few years will either
     believe or wish that in fifty years' time it can exercise the power
     it now does. It is only too probable that some great catastrophe or
     the stress of a great war may accelerate the change. (Vol. i., pp.
     300, 301.)

And the reason assigned for this very unsatisfactory state of affairs is
precisely as before:

     All the signs of the times point to the probability in England as
     elsewhere of many ministries resting on precarious majorities
     formed out of independent or heterogeneous groups. There are few
     conditions less favourable to the healthy working of parliamentary
     institutions or in which the danger of an uncontrolled House of
     Commons is more evident. One consequence of this disintegration of
     Parliament is a greatly increasing probability that policies which
     the nation does not really wish for may be carried into effect. The
     process which the Americans call "log-rolling" becomes very easy.
     One minority will agree to support the objects of another minority
     on condition of receiving in return a similar assistance, and a
     number of small minorities aiming at different objects, no one of
     which is really desired by the majority of the nation, may attain
     their several ends by forming themselves into a political syndicate
     and mutually co-operating. (Vol. i., pp. 152, 153.)

Mr. Lecky, too, holds out very little hope for the future:--

     When the present evils infecting our parliamentary system have
     grown still graver; when a democratic House, more and more broken
     up into small groups, more and more governed by sectional and
     interested motives, shall have shown itself evidently incompetent
     to conduct the business of the country with honour, efficiency, and
     safety; when the public has learned more fully the enormous danger
     to national prosperity as well as individual happiness of
     dissociating power from property and giving the many an unlimited
     right of confiscating by taxation the possessions of the few--some
     great reconstruction of government is sure to be demanded. Fifty or
     even twenty-five years hence the current of political opinion in
     England will be as different from that of our own day as
     contemporary political tendencies are different from those in the
     generation of our fathers. Experience and arguments that are now
     dismissed may then revive, and play no small part in the politics
     of the future.

Why make democracy the scapegoat for all these evils, when they are
simply due to the imperfect organization of democracy? In any case, the
most that could rightly be urged would be that universal suffrage had
come before its time. The conclusion that its time will never come is
certainly not warranted. Universal suffrage cannot be condemned till it
has had a fair trial under a rational system of election. Mr. Lecky
appreciates so little the connection between the method of election and
the splitting up into groups that he views without alarm the Hare
system, which would still further develop groups.

But perhaps no one has caught the spirit of party government more truly
than Mr. Lecky. Dealing with the motives which should actuate the
statesman, in his latest work, "The Map of Life," he writes:--

     In free countries party government is the best if not the only way
     of conducting public affairs, but it is impossible without a large
     amount of moral compromise; without a frequent surrender of private
     judgment and will. A good man will choose his party through
     disinterested motives, and with a firm and honest conviction that
     it represents the cast of policy most beneficial to the country. He
     will on grave occasions assert his independence of party, but in
     the large majority of cases he must act with his party, even if
     they are pursuing courses in some degree contrary to his own

     Everyone who is actively engaged in politics--everyone especially
     who is a member of the House of Commons--must soon learn that if
     the absolute independence of individual judgment were pushed to its
     extreme, political anarchy would ensue. The complete concurrence of
     a large number of independent judgments in a complicated measure is
     impossible. If party government is to be carried on there must be,
     both in the Cabinet and in Parliament, perpetual compromise. The
     first condition of its success is that the Government should have a
     stable, permanent, disciplined support behind it, and in order that
     this should be attained the individual member must in most cases
     vote with his party. Sometimes he must support a measure which he
     knows to be bad, because its rejection would involve a change of
     government, which he believes would be a still greater evil than
     its acceptance, and in order to prevent this evil he may have to
     vote a direct negative to some resolution containing a statement
     which he believes to be true, (p. 112.)

Mr. Lecky goes on to point out that "many things have to be done from
which a very rigid and austere nature would recoil;" but he
adds:--"Those who refuse to accept the conditions of parliamentary life
should abstain from entering into it." Moreover, he holds that
"inconsistency is no necessary condemnation of a politician, and
parties as well as individual statesmen have abundantly shown it." But
still "all this curious and indispensable mechanism of party government
is compatible with a high and genuine sense of public duty."

The American theory of government is that checks must be placed on a
democratic legislature by a fixed Constitution and a separate executive
exercising a veto. The late Professor Freeman Snow, of Harvard
University, was a strong supporter of this school. His objections to
cabinet government are given in the "Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science" for July, 1892:--

     Cabinet government is the government of a party; and for its
     successful operation it must have at all times a majority at its
     back in Parliament. If it were possible to direct the current of
     public opinion into exactly two channels, there would be but two
     parties, one of which would generally be in the ascendency; but in
     practice this is found to be a very difficult thing to accomplish,
     and it becomes the more difficult as the right of suffrage is
     extended to the mass of the people, with their ever-varying
     interests. In the countries of continental Europe parties, if
     indeed they may be said to exist, are broken up into groups, no two
     or more of which ever act together for any considerable length of
     time; and ministries are without a moment's notice confronted at
     brief intervals with opposing majorities, and must give place to
     others, whose tenure of office is, however, equally unstable and
     ephemeral. There is no other alternative; one of the two great
     parties must yield to any faction which becomes strong enough to
     hold the balance of power between them, or suffer the inevitable
     consequences--instability and impotence of government.

Dr. Snow evidently thought that it is not possible to direct the
current of public opinion into exactly two channels. He certainly had
not the slightest idea that it might be a matter of electoral machinery.

Finally, we may quote the opinion of Mr. James Bryce, M.P., whose
"American Commonwealth" is one of the most complete studies of the
tendencies of democracy in existence. Comparing the English and American
systems, he writes of the former:--

     That system could not be deemed to have reached its maturity till
     the power of the people at large had been established by the Reform
     Act of 1832. For its essence resides in the delicate equipoise it
     creates between the three powers, the ministry, the House of
     Commons, and the people. The House is strong because it can call
     the ministry to account for every act, and can by refusing supplies
     compel their resignation. The ministry are not defenceless, because
     they can dissolve Parliament, and ask the people to judge between
     it and them. Parliament, when it displaces a ministry, does not
     strike at executive authority; it merely changes its agents. The
     ministry when they dissolve Parliament do not attack Parliament as
     an institution; they recognise the supremacy of the body in asking
     the country to change the individuals who compose it. Both the
     House of Commons and the ministry act and move in the full view of
     the people, who sit as arbiters, prepared to judge in any
     controversy that may arise. The House is in touch with the people,
     because every member must watch the lights and shadows of sentiment
     which play over his own constituency. The ministry are in touch
     with the people, because they are not only themselves
     representatives, but are heads of a great party, sensitive to its
     feelings, forced to weigh the effect of every act they do upon the
     confidence which the party places in them.... The drawback to this
     system of exquisite equipoise is the liability of its equilibrium
     to be frequently disturbed, each disturbance involving either a
     change of government, with immense temporary inconvenience to the
     departments, or a general election, with immense expenditure of
     money and trouble in the country. It is a system whose successful
     working presupposes the existence of two great parties and no more,
     parties each strong enough to restrain the violence of the other,
     yet one of them steadily predominant in any given House of Commons.
     Where a third, perhaps a fourth, party appears, the conditions are
     changed. The scales of Parliament oscillate as the weight of this
     detached group is thrown on one side or the other; dissolutions
     become more frequent, and even dissolutions may fail to restore
     stability. The recent history of the French Republic has shown the
     difficulties of working a Chamber composed of groups, nor is the
     same source of difficulty unknown in England. (Vol. i., pp. 286,

Thus we find the opinion unanimously held that the one great fault to
which cabinet government is liable is instability of the ministry, owing
to imperfect organization of public opinion into two definite lines of
policy. Bagehot called it a case of unstable equilibrium, and Bradford,
in "The Lesson of Popular Government," goes further when he
declares:--"Not to speak disrespectfully, the ministry is like a company
of men who, after excessive conviviality, are able to stand upright only
by holding on to each other."

Yet, after all, the amount of stability simply depends on the state of
organization; and England has demonstrated in the golden period of her
political history (about the middle of the present century) that the
cabinet form of government can be quite as stable as the presidential
form. Therefore, if the present position gives cause for alarm, it is
not in the abolition of the cabinet or the restriction of the suffrage
that the remedy must be sought, but in improved organization. And this,
we hope to show, involves improved electoral machinery.

+France.+--Turn to France. Is there no lesson to be drawn from the
history of that unstable country since the Revolution let loose its
flood of human passions, ambitions, and aspirations? Has not every
attempt at popular government failed for the same cause--want of

France before the Revolution had groaned for centuries under the burden
of a decayed feudalism and an absolute monarchy. The last vestige of
constitutional forms had disappeared. The representatives of the estates
had not been convened since the meeting of the States-General in 1614.
The widespread and unprecedented misery of the people caused them to
revolt against being taxed without their consent, and a cry went up for
a convocation of the estates. The finances were in such a bad way that
Louis XVI. was forced to consent, and the three estates--clergy, nobles,
and commons--met at Versailles in 1789. At first they called themselves
the National Assembly, but the King foolishly took up such a position
with regard to the people's representatives that they swore solemnly
that they would not separate till they had laid the foundation of a new
Constitution, and henceforth were known as the Constituent Assembly. It
was determined that the King should no longer be absolute, and the
choice lay between a constitutional monarchy and a republic. The
Declaration of the Rights of Man was first drawn up, and the Assembly
settled down to its task. The leading spirit was Mirabeau. He had been
to England, and had studied the British Constitution, and he rightly saw
that France was too distracted by faction to maintain an independent
executive. He therefore openly advocated a constitutional monarchy with
a cabinet chosen from among the majority of the representatives. But,
unfortunately, the Assembly refused to follow his lead; nor would the
King take his advice to make a separate appeal to the people. In the
midst of the negotiations Mirabeau died, and the last chance of
establishing a constitutional monarchy disappeared. The King realized
this, and tried to escape to the German frontier but was brought back.
He then accepted the new Constitution, and the Legislative Assembly was
elected in 1791. From the first it had no elements of stability, being
split up into groups, and subject to the fear of the Paris mob. The King
continued to plot with the emigrant nobles against the Constitution, and
the foreign armies massed on the frontier. The danger brought on the
triumph of the revolutionary spirit in 1792. The Paris commune
overwhelmed both the King and the Assembly, and the republic was
proclaimed. Then followed the execution of the King, the Reign of
Terror, the control of the Committee of Public Safety, till finally the
anarchy was ended by the military despotism of Bonaparte, who became
First Consul and afterwards Emperor.

What is the significance of these events in the light of our previous
examination of English history? Simply this: That the French, in passing
at once from absolutism and feudalism to complete self-government, were
trying to jump to the Second stage of representation without passing
through the first stage. Mirabeau was right; the republic was foredoomed
to failure because the people had learned neither the power of nor the
necessity for organization.

In many respects the French Revolution parallels the English Revolution.
In each case the King was beheaded; in each case the anarchy of a
disorganized representative body was succeeded by a military despotism;
and in each case the monarchy was restored.

It was after the restoration that the English system of party government
was developed. Why did this system not now take root in France? Partly
because France was not blessed with a king like William of Orange, and
partly because the new _systeme de bascule_, the balance system, in
which the king allows each faction in turn to hold the reins of power,
was discovered. So, instead of the gradual growth of constitutional
liberty which took place in England, the tendency in France was back to
absolutism. In 1830 Charles X., finding that he could not manage the
Chamber of Deputies, issued the ordinances of St. Cloud, suspending the
liberty of the press and dissolving the Legislature. Paris immediately
broke out into insurrection, and the King was forced to abdicate. The
crown was offered to Louis Philippe, and a second attempt at
constitutional monarchy was made. But France was too divided by her
unfortunate legacy of faction to maintain a continuous policy. The
Legitimists, the Republicans, and the Bonapartists were all awaiting
their opportunity. In 1848 the second revolution broke out in Paris; the
king fled to England, and a republic was again tried. But the
imperialist idea revived when Louis Napoleon was elected President. In
1851 he carried out his famous _coup d'etat,_ and again the Constitution
was swept away. In the following year he was accepted as Emperor by an
almost unanimous vote. Thus France again elected to be ruled by an
irresponsible head. The Third Empire ended with the capture of Napoleon
III. at Sedan in 1870, and since then France has carried on her third
experiment in republicanism. But still the fatal defect of
disorganization retards her progress; the Legislature is still split up
into contending factions, and in consequence it has been found
impossible to maintain a strong executive. Occasionally the factions
sink their differences for a time when their patriotism is appealed to,
as they have agreed to do during the currency of the present Exhibition,
but it is abundantly evident that France can never be well governed
till the people are able to organize two coherent parties. There is
ground for hope that the monarchical and imperialist ideas are
declining, and that the people are settling down to the conviction that
there is nothing left but the republic. What makes recovery difficult is
that the national character has been affected by the continual strife in
the direction of excitability and desire for change.

Those who wish to understand the forces which brought about the
different changes and revolutions, traced by one who has grasped their
meaning, should read the account in the first volume of Mr. Bradford's
"Lesson of Popular Government." His conclusion only need be quoted

     As has been said, that which constitutes the strength of the
     English. Government, that which has made up its history for the
     last two hundred years, is the growth and continuity of two solid
     and coherent parties. Occasionally they have wavered when available
     leaders and issues were wanting, but as soon as a strong man came
     forward to take the reins the ranks closed up and the work of
     mutual competition again went on. On the other hand, the curse and
     the cause of failure of representative government on the Continent
     of Europe is the formation within the legislature of unstable and
     dissolving groups. In France the Extreme Eight, the Eight, the
     Eight Centre, the Left Centre, the Left, and the Extreme Left are
     names of differing factions which unite only for temporary purposes
     and to accomplish a victory over some other unit, but which are
     fatal to stable and firm government. The same is true of Italy,
     Spain, and Austria, and if not of Germany it is because military
     despotism holds all alike in subjection.

Mr. Bodley has come to the same conclusion in his work on "France." He

     There is no restraining power in the French parliamentary system to
     arrest a member on his easy descent, and he knows that if he
     escapes penal condemnation he will enjoy relative impunity. Many
     deputies are men of high integrity; but virtue in a large assembly
     is of small force without organization, and, moreover, a group of
     legislators leagued together as a vigilance committee would have
     neither consistency nor durability, which the discipline of party
     can alone effect. Corruption of this kind, which has undermined the
     republic, could not co-exist with party government. A party whose
     ministers or supporters had incurred as much suspicion as fell on
     the politicians acquitted in the Panama affair would under it be
     swept out of existence for a period. When the first denunciations
     appeared, the leaders of the party, to avert that fate, would have
     said to their implicated colleagues--"In spite of your abilities
     and of the manifest exaggeration of these charges we must part
     company, for though you may have been culpable only of
     indiscretion, we cannot afford to be identified with doubtful
     transactions;" and the Opposition, eager not to lose its vantage,
     would scan with equal keenness the acts of its own members. With
     party government the electorate would not have appeared to condone
     those scandals. But as it was, when a deputy involved in them went
     down before his constituents, whose local interest he had well
     served, with no opponent more formidable than the nominee of some
     decayed or immature group, they gave their votes to the old member,
     whose influence with the prefecture in the past had benefited the
     district, rather than to the new comer, whose denunciations had no
     authority; whereas, had each electoral district been the scene of a
     contest between organized parties, the same spectacle would not
     have been presented." (Vol. ii., pp. 302, 303.)

Mr. Bodley has, in this last sentence, touched the heart of the
problem. If the salvation of France depends on making each electoral
district the scene of a contest between two organized parties, is not
electoral machinery destined to play an important part in the solution?

+The United States.+--The third great experiment in representative
democracy which the nineteenth century has furnished is that which is
being conducted in the United States. The contrast with France is
remarkable. Just as France is the supreme example of want of
organization, so America is the most conspicuous instance of perfect
organization into two great national parties which the world has seen.
Yet both experiments were started by a revolution, and practically at
the same time. The difference lay in the fact that the Americans
inherited the capacity for self-government from their British ancestors,
and had already practised it in colonial times, while the French only
inherited innumerable causes of dissension.

But organization is not the only characteristic feature of American
politics. Strange to say, it is accompanied by a suppression of
individuality just as complete. It is organization without responsible
leadership. For, in the first place, the politicians look on themselves
not as leaders but as followers of the people; and in the second place,
there are no leaders in Congress, corresponding to the cabinet ministers
of British countries.

Now, the view which we wish to emphasize here is that the present
position of American politics is the natural result of the principles
embodied in the Constitution adopted in 1789, when the Union was formed.
The complete organization and the want of leadership are directly to be
traced to the labours of George Washington and his associates. A brief
glance at the Constitution and the early history of its working will
make this clear.

The thirteen States which revolted from England worked fairly well
together under the "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union" as
long as the war lasted, but as soon as peace was proclaimed it was, as
Washington said, no better than anarchy. The famous Convention of 1787
was therefore held, and the Constitution was drawn up. One guiding
principle of its framers was to divide power so as to place checks on
the will of the people, and on outbursts of popular passion, which were
then greatly dreaded. One means of attaining this object was the
attempted separation of the legislative and executive functions. We say
attempted advisedly, for time has but shown that the two are
inseparable. But the framers of the Constitution divided the legislative
function between the two Houses, and vested the executive function
almost entirely, as they thought, in the President. Montesquieu, in his
"_Esprit des Lois_" had laid down that the great merit of the English
Constitution was the separation of these functions, and the Americans
accepted this view. But, in truth, the English cabinet system had not
then been fully developed. The King was still, not only in appearance,
but to some extent also in fact, the head of the executive, and there
was nothing to indicate that ministers were so soon to become the real

The effect of this provision was a struggle between the two branches for
supremacy, and the legislatures have won. The President has been
degraded to a mere agent, and the legislatures have absorbed the greater
part of executive functions, even to the control of finance. Now, the
framers of the Constitution were apprehensive that the President might
become a mere party agent, and they tried to strengthen his position by
two devices. First, they gave him the power to veto statutes unless
overruled by a two-thirds majority of Congress; and, secondly, they
provided for his election by an electoral college, or by a double system
of election. This second provision was designed to ensure the election
of a President for personal instead of for party reasons; but it has
proved a complete failure. Almost from the first the electoral delegates
have had to pledge themselves to support the party nominee. The veto,
therefore, has also become practically useless. Thus it has come about
that Congress is a body entirely without leaders.

A second defect in the Constitution was that it said nothing about the
right of any State to withdraw from the Union. After nearly 70 years
this omission was responsible for the Civil War. The legal basis for
secession was then abandoned, but combinations of States have since been
regarded with the greatest apprehension. This conviction that the Union
must be maintained at any price has had very important consequences on
the party system. The danger of allowing combinations of States to
dominate party lines was demonstrated; and the division of each State by
the same national parties was recognized as essential to safety.

In the meantime, as we have seen, Congress had practically got control
of the executive functions, which were supposed to be exercised by the
President, including the nominations to office. Thus every member of the
party in a majority had a share of the plunder, and "the spoils to the
victors" became the basis of party organization. The system soon
underwent such a remarkable development that nearly 200,000 public
offices were at the disposal of the victors at each election. The party
organizations immediately became omnipotent. The secret of their power
lay in the control of nominations. Each party would nominate one
candidate only, and the electors voted neither for men nor measures, but
blindly for party. As Mr. Bryce declares:--"The class of professional
politicians was therefore the first crop which the spoils system--the
system of using public office as private prize of war--bore. Bosses
were the second crop."

The development which these party organizations have now reached is
extraordinary. Practically we may say that there are only two
parties--Republicans and Democrats--and they dominate not only Federal
and State politics but also city government. Each party has its list of
registered electors, and each holds a primary election before the real
election, to decide the party candidate. But these primary elections are
a mere matter of form. Only a small fraction of the electors attend
them, and only those who have always supported the party are allowed to
vote. The nominations are therefore really controlled, by fraud if
necessary, by the "ring" of party managers. Generally there is one man
who can pull the most strings, and he becomes the "boss." All power is
centred in the hands of this irresponsible despot. The men who are
elected owe their positions to him, and are responsible to him, not to
the public.

Remember that these "machine" organizations have absolute sway in every
electorate, from one end of the United States to the other. It may be
wondered why the people tolerate them, but they are powerless. Sometimes
an independent movement is attempted, but it very rarely succeeds, and
even when it does the two "machines" combine against it and agree to
divide the spoils. Mr. Bryce writes:--

     The disgust is less than a European expects, for it is mingled
     with amusement. The "boss" is a sort of joke, albeit an expensive
     joke. "After all," people say, "it is our own fault. If we all went
     to the primaries, or if we all voted an independent ticket, we
     could make an end of the 'boss.'" There is a sort of fatalism in
     their view of democracy. (Vol ii., p. 241.)

What is the meaning of all this wonderful party machinery? It is this:
that organization without responsible leadership can only be founded on
corruption. In other words, _the spoils system is the price which the
United States pay for maintaining the Union under the present
Constitution_. The fault lies ultimately, therefore, in the
Constitution, which tends to repress responsible leadership.

Now, the mass of public opinion in America, as Mr. Bryce continually
points out, is sound, and attempts have not been wanting to put an end
to the system of rotation in public offices. A sustained agitation for
civil service reform was entered upon, and the system of competitive
examination was applied to a large number of offices. Now at last, the
reformers thought, American politics would be purified. But, no! The
corruption, simply took a new and more alarming turn. Direct money
contributions took the place of the spoils. It became the practice to
levy blackmail on corporations either to be let alone, or for the
purpose of fleecing the public. The monopolies granted to protected
industries are the source of a large share of these "campaign funds."
The Legislatures are crowded by professional lobbyists, and it is, in
consequence, impossible to obtain justice against the corporations.
Surely no stronger proof can be needed that corruption is and must
remain the basis of organization so long as there is no responsible

It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that the Americans are not
alive to the failure of their representative institutions. Since Mr.
Bryce's great work on "The American Commonwealth" was published two
books by American authors have appeared which are very outspoken in
condemnation. These are "The Unforeseen Tendencies of Democracy," by Mr.
E.L. Godkin; and "The Lesson of Popular Government," by Mr. Gamaliel
Bradford. The keynote of the first of these two books is to abolish
corruption by destroying the power of the "machine" and the "boss," and
of the second to introduce responsible leadership. Mr. Godkin traces the
disappearance of distinguished men from public life to the control of
all entrance to it by the "machine." The reform of primary elections, he
holds, is then the first necessity, since "independent voting" has
ceased to be a remedy. But he fails to find a solution. The conclusion
he comes to is as follows:--

     Is the situation then hopeless? Are we tied up inexorably simply to
     a choice of evils? I think not. It seems to me that the nomination
     of candidates is another of the problems of democracy which are
     never seriously attacked without prolonged perception and
     discussion of their importance. One of these was the formation of
     the federal government; another was the abolition of slavery;
     another was the reform of the civil service. Every one of them
     looked hopeless in the beginning; but the solution came in each
     case, through the popular determination to find some better way.
     (Pp. 92, 93.)

But the evil goes far deeper than Mr. Godkin appears to think. To
abolish corruption is to take away the present basis of organization
without substituting any other. If irresponsible leadership is to be
abandoned, responsible leadership must be introduced. Mr. Bradford's
plan, therefore, promises more, for if responsible leadership could be
introduced into Congress corruption would then be abolished also.

Mr. Bradford's whole book may be said to be a study of the relations of
the executive to the legislature, and the conclusions at which he
arrives are a complete vindication of cabinet government. But he finds
one fault, and that is the instability of ministries, which he confesses
has not been apparent so far in the British House of Commons. He holds,
however, that it will become more apparent with the rising tide of
democracy. It is rather amusing to find that the greatest obstacle which
has to be overcome in proposing a responsible executive is the
veneration in which the Constitution is still held and the dislike to
copying anything from England. His plan is, therefore, an adaptation of
the cabinet to the conditions imposed by the Constitution. He holds that
the ministers appointed by the President should sit in Congress and have
control of the initiation of legislation. It is to be feared that this
would hardly realize the idea of responsible leadership. Mr. Bradford
establishes a chain of responsibility by the fact that the ministers are
responsible to the President and the President is responsible to the
people; but that is a very different thing to the continual
responsibility of the cabinet to a majority of the legislature. It is
probable that the President's ministers would have to encounter the
opposition of a majority in one or both Houses, and it is difficult to
see how a deadlock could be avoided. Mr. Bradford contemplates that the
people would settle any issues which arise between the two branches at
the end of the Presidential term of four years; but it is just as likely
that there would then be a new President in any case. We are driven to
the conclusion, therefore, that responsible leadership is incompatible
with the American system of divided powers and fixed terms of office.

Mr. Bryce comments on the proposal as follows:--

     It is hard to say, when one begins to make alterations in an old
     house, how far one will be led on in rebuilding, and I doubt
     whether this change in the present American system, possibly in
     itself desirable, might not be found to involve a reconstruction
     large enough to put a new face upon several parts of that system.
     (Vol. i, pp. 290, 291.)

This is very true, but is not a new building required? Is not the old
house built on a rotten foundation? Mr. Bradford has certainly
overlooked the effect of his proposal on party organization for one
thing. If the power over legislation, and especially over expenditure of
public money, is to be taken away from the irresponsible committees of
Congress, the basis of party organization would cease to be corruption,
and both representatives and parties would have to take on an entirely
new character. As to the present character of representatives, Mr. Bryce
advances a number of reasons why the best men do not go in for politics,
such as the want of a social and commercial capital, the residential
qualification, the comparative dullness of politics, the attractiveness
of other careers, &c, but Mr. Bradford declares that the one explanation
which goes further than all these is the absorption of all the powers of
the government by the legislature, and the consequent suppression of
individuality. He writes:--

     The voters are urged to send to Congress men of character, ability,
     and public spirit. They might as well be asked to select men of
     that quality to follow the profession of burglars, a comparison
     which is not intended to convey any disrespect to the number of
     honest and respectable men who constantly are sent to Congress.
     Chosen as burglars, they would fail just the same in the
     business.... It is the organization of Congress which offers every
     facility to those who wish to buy and those who wish to be bought.

Again, as to the present character of parties, Mr. Bradford declares:--

     The names of the two great parties, Republicans and Democrats, have
     in themselves and at the present time no meaning at all.

Simply because the basis of organization is corruption, and not
questions of public policy. For the same reason recent elections have
been fought on popular "crazes," such as the silver question. But Mr.
Bradford says:--

     New parties cannot be formed on constantly changing issues, since
     to have any strength they must have a certain degree of permanence.
     The only two nations which have succeeded in forming great national
     parties are Great Britain and the United States. In other European
     countries the splitting into groups has almost made representative
     government impossible.

What Mr. Bradford has failed to appreciate is that the absolutely rigid
division into two camps which prevails in America is founded on
corruption, and will disappear when corruption is abolished. In the
United States such a thing as a Congressman deserting one party for the
other is practically unknown. In Great Britain, on the contrary, party
lines do continually change as new issues arise; and when they are
founded on questions of public policy it must be so. What gives them
permanence is that certain principles underlie most questions, and men
who have the same political principles are likely to think the same on
any single question; and further that a member would rather follow his
party and sacrifice his opinion on a single question than sacrifice most
of his principles.

Therefore, even if the Americans do succeed in purifying their politics,
they will be faced with the same difficulty as exists elsewhere--namely,
such improved organization as will secure the return of representatives
on questions of general public policy only. The present system of
single-membered electorates will not suffice. The only remedy lies in
enlarged electorates with electoral machinery which will organize public
opinion into two definite lines of policy, and will, by allowing
individual candidature merge the primary election into the actual

All this involves a radical alteration, both in the Constitution and in
the methods of election. But the United States have the great advantage
over France that it does not involve also a serious change in the
national character. It is not unlikely that some such reform must be
brought about before long.

The present position cannot last. The Republican party has so long
identified itself with Capital in all its forms, with the protected
monopolists, the trusts and the corporations, that the mass of Labour
threatens to support the Democrats; and as the latter party maintains
the doctrines of direct government and the infallibility of the
majority, the result will be such a financial crisis and such an
industrial revolution that the Americans will have at last to admit that
their government needs total reconstruction.

+Australia.+--On the first day of the nineteenth century the Union of
the Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland was accomplished; on the
first day of the twentieth century Britain's daughters in the southern
seas will inaugurate, under her ægis, a new experiment in
democracy--the Australian Commonwealth. The time is opportune, then, for
a review of the tendencies of Australian politics, and for a comparison
with the other great democracies. Thus only can we attempt to cast the
horoscope of the new nation.

Australia starts with many advantages over France and America. The
science of government is better understood now than when they started;
the folly of placing too many checks on the people is recognized; and
the British system of responsible leadership by a cabinet in the
legislature is fully developed. All these features are embodied in the
Constitution, and it only remains for the people to prove their fitness
to work it.

Applying the same tests as we have used in the case of the great
democracies to the present position of Australian politics, what is the
result? First, as regards organization, where do we stand? It must be
confessed that we are far behind Great Britain and America, though
certainly we are not in the same sad plight as France. Still there is
the fact that we are classed among the failures. Take the evidence of
Mr. E.L. Godkin in "Unforeseen Tendencies of Democracy:"--

     In his Journals during a visit to Turin in 1850, Senior records a
     conversation with Cesare Balbo, a member of the Chamber in the
     first Piedmontese Parliament, in which Balbo said, after an
     exciting financial debate:--"We have not yet acquired parliamentary
     discipline. Most of the members are more anxious about their own
     crotchets or their own consistency than about the country. The
     ministry has a large nominal majority, but every member of it is
     ready to put them in a minority for any whim of his own." This was
     probably true of every legislative body on the Continent, and it
     continues true to this day in Italy, Greece, France, Austria,
     Germany, and the new Australian democracies. (Pp. 102, 103.)

He adduces in support of the statement the fact that the three colonies
of New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria have had respectively
twenty-eight, forty-two, and twenty-six ministries in forty years. Is
the prospect any brighter for the new Commonwealth? It is to be feared
not, if the present tendencies towards disintegration are allowed to
grow. For in the last decade a change has come over Australian politics
which portends the gravest danger. We refer to the direct class
representation which, under the name of Labour parties, has spread all
over the colonies. These so-called Labour "parties" are neither more nor
less than class factions. Their policy is everywhere the same--viz., the
use of the "balance system," which has proved so disastrous to France.
The worst effect is that they prevent the main parties from working out
definite policies on public questions, and cause them also to degenerate
into factions. In Victoria we have actually had the ludicrous spectacle
of the Opposition saving the Government time after time when deserted by
its own followers. In New South Wales the individual member is sunk in
the party; he must vote as the majority decides. Mr. Reid's term of
office was ended by one such caucus. In Queensland, where the party is
strongest, it has now practically become one of the main parties, and
the whole colony is divided on class lines. Already an Intercolonial
Labour Conference has been held, and a pledge drawn up which must be
signed by all candidates for the party support at Federal elections. The
danger of these tactics is not rightly apprehended in Australia. In
reality they mark the first step towards social disruption. We may cite
the authority of Mr. James Bryce on this point. After pointing out in
"The American Commonwealth" that since the Civil War combinations of
States have always acted through the national parties, he writes:--

     This is an important security against disruption. And a similar
     security against the risk of civil strife or revolution is to be
     found in the fact that the parties are not based on or sensibly
     affected by differences either of wealth or of social position.
     Their cleavage is not horizontal, according to social strata, but
     vertical. This would be less true if it were stated either of the
     Northern States separately, or of the Southern States separately:
     it is true of the Union taken as a whole. It might cease to be true
     if the new Labour party were to grow till it absorbed or superseded
     either of the existing parties. The same feature has characterized
     English politics as compared with those of most European countries,
     and has been a main cause of the stability of the English
     government and of the good feeling between different classes in the
     community. (Vol. ii., p. 38.)

How is it that the public conscience is not alive to the enormity of
this anti-social crime? Mainly, we think, because the true principles of
representation are not properly understood. It is almost universally
assumed that there is no real distinction between direct and
representative government. Minorities are tacitly allowed to have as
much right to representation as the minority, and the confusion of terms
is passed over. The working classes are told by self-seeking demagogues
that they are in a majority; that the majority is entitled to rule; and
that they have only to organize to come into their heritage. These
sycophants, who, as Aristotle of old pointed out, bear the greatest
resemblance to the court favourite of the tyrant, ask the people to
believe the silly paradox that the united wisdom of the whole people is
greater than that of the wisest part. The truth is that no people is fit
to exercise equal political rights which is not sensible enough to
choose the wisest part to carry on the government, providing only they
have control over their selection, and can hold them responsible. Are
the working classes in Australia going to demonstrate that they are
unfit for the exercise of political rights? Are they going to justify
the prognostications of the opponents of popular government? That is the
real question at issue. Unless public opinion be aroused to the iniquity
of class delegation, the further degradation of Australian politics is
inevitable. Let it not be thought that we are decrying the organization
of the working classes for political purposes. On the contrary, we hold
that the organization of every class and every interest is necessary in
order that it shall exert its just share of influence. But the only way
in which every class can get its just share is by acting through the
two main parties. A class which holds aloof can exert for a short time
an undue share of influence, as a faction holding the balance of power,
but only at the expense of paralyzing the government.

But the working classes are hardly to be blamed in this matter, for it
is a fact that before their action they were not able to exert their
just share of influence. The government was such as to promote the rule
of private interests instead of the general welfare, and, consequently,
their interests were shamefully neglected. The real cause of the
mischief was, as in America, the nominating system, which is inseparably
connected with the present method of election. The consideration of this
question brings us to the second characteristic of Australian
politics--namely, the irresponsible leadership of the press.

We have seen how in America organization has been effected without
responsible leadership in Congress, only at the expense of the
irresponsible leadership of the "rings" and "bosses" who control the
"machines." In Australia an analogous result has been brought about by
different causes. We have not had civil strife to teach us the necessity
of organization, nor have we a spoils system available as a basis, but
the disorganized state of the legislatures and the consequent weakness
of the executive have thrown a large share of leadership into the hands
of the press. Both in America and in Australia the prevalence of the
ultra-democratic theory that representatives should follow and not lead
the people has been a powerful contributing cause. And yet it is as
clear as possible that the choice lies between two alternatives. The
people must either submit to responsible leadership in Parliament or to
irresponsible leadership outside. The ultra-democrats hold that
responsible leadership in Parliament is incompatible with popular
government. We believe that this is the fundamental error which is
leading both the Australian and the American democracies astray. On the
contrary, it is the irresponsible despotism which is exercised by the
"bosses" in America and the newspapers in Australia which is really
incompatible with free government.

The source of the error lies in the failure to grasp the meaning of the
term "responsible leadership." It is assumed that either the people must
lead and the representatives follow, or the representatives must lead
and the people follow. Bagehot may be taken as an exponent of the latter
position. He thought that cabinet government was only possible with a
deferential nation as opposed to a democratic nation. England he held to
be the type of deferential nations, because the people were content to
leave the government to the "great governing families"--_i.e._, to defer
to caste, which is in principle the same as deferring to a king, who is
supposed to rule by divine right. Mr. Bradford also gives a somewhat
exaggerated idea of the importance of the force of personality when he
declares that the mass of the people have no "views" on public
questions; all they want is to be well governed. The late Professor
Freeman Snow, of Harvard University, U.S., was a supporter of the
ultra-democratic view. In the "Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science" for July, 1892, he declares:--

     Mr. Bryce thinks that, "like other crowds, a legislature must be
     led and ruled." And he has formulated a theory which he believes to
     be "the essence of free or popular government, and the
     justification for vesting power in numbers." "Every question that
     arises in the conduct of government," he asserts, "is either a
     question of ends or a question of means." And as the "masses are
     better judges of what will conduce to their happiness than are
     the-classes placed above them, they must be allowed to determine
     ends." But, assuming the end to be given, they--the masses--should
     leave to their leaders--the trained statesmen--the choice of means.
     The defect in this theory is that it depends for its successful
     operation upon the continued "deference of the multitude for the
     classes placed above them ... upon the principle of _noblesse
     oblige_," a principle, by the way, derived from feudal monarchy,
     which has no existence in the United States, and which ought to be
     considered a misfortune in any free country....

     Mr. Bryce has made a step in advance of Mr Bagehot in trusting the
     people to determine ends, whatever they may be; why not go one step
     further, and trust them to determine all questions of policy?

These are the two opposite points of view. They are both equally wrong.
The first is simply irresponsible leadership, and the second amounts to
the same thing in practice, however much the people may appear to lead
in theory. The true position is that the relation between the
representatives and the people is reciprocal. Both lead and both follow.
The people defer to the representatives, not on account of rank or
caste, nor upon the principle of _noblesse oblige_, but only in so far
as the representatives are able to demonstrate their fitness to devise
measures for the general welfare. The people, on the other hand, are the
ultimate judges, both of measures and of men. This mutual action and
reaction constitutes the responsible leadership, which is one of the
fundamental principles underlying the device of representation. To it we
have already traced the virtue of representation as a social force,
capable of moulding national character and of appealing to the higher
nature of the people.

An elector who is unable or unwilling to decide grave questions of
public policy himself may be a very shrewd judge as to who is best
fitted to decide them; and deference to ability is totally different in
principle to deference to caste. In a country in the transitional stage
between aristocracy and democracy, his judgment may be based partly on
the principle of _noblesse oblige_; but there is not the slightest
reason why in a democratic country he should require the representative
to defer to him. He will merely require a higher standard and a closer
and a more constant demonstration that the measures proposed are
conducive to the public well-being. Moreover, it is still necessary that
the representatives should be judged periodically on general lines of
policy, and that the elector should not have the power of exercising
control on single questions. Under these conditions the result of the
mutual relation will be an improvement on both sides. But if, under the
influence of irresponsible leadership outside Parliament, the people
insist on increasing control over their representatives, then not only
is Parliament degraded, but progress towards government in the general
welfare is stopped.

This long digression as to the real meaning of responsible leadership is
necessary in order to gauge the drift of the prevailing tendency towards
the irresponsible leadership of the press in Australia. The evil exists
in all the colonies, but it is perhaps worse in our own colony of
Victoria than in any other country in the world, although it is said to
be very bad in Switzerland since the referendum was introduced. We have
two morning newspapers in Melbourne, which take opposite sides on nearly
every question which arises. They admit into their columns no facts and
no arguments which tell against the position they have taken up; nay,
more, they resort to downright misrepresentation to support it. It will
be said that this is only a form of the party game, but the danger lies
in the fact that they circulate in different classes, and therefore
these classes see only one side of every question. Moreover, in their
competition for the support of classes in which they desire to increase
their circulation they use their influence to secure legislation which
will appeal to class prejudices, or even undertake a prolonged agitation
to relieve special interests from legitimate charges. The _Age_ has for
a long time thrived by pandering to the prejudices of the working
classes, and especially of the artisans; the _Argus_ now seeks to get
even by creating dissension between town and country.

All this interference with the functions of Parliament has a baneful
influence on the working of the political machine. The party lines are
practically decided by the newspaper contest. We have spoken of the
resemblance to the "machine" control over American politics. One of the
newspapers is, in effect, managed by a "ring," the other by a "boss."
The despotism of David Syme in Melbourne is as unquestioned as that of
Richard Croker in New York, or Matthew Quay in Pennsylvania. How close
the analogy is may be inferred from the fact that Mr. Syme has
exercised, and still claims the right to exercise, control over
nominations to Parliament. It is notorious that the ten delegates who
"represented" Victoria at the Federation Convention were elected on the
_Age_ "ticket." Again, Mr. Syme is known as "the father of protection,"
and has been able, by the force of his indomitable will, to impose on
the colony a tariff which can be compared only to the M'Kinley tariff
in America, thus showing that irresponsible leadership in either form is
more favourable to the rule of private interests than to the general

We have said enough to show that in internal affairs the influence of
the press, when it directly interferes with Parliament is an anti-social
force. In matters of foreign policy the case is still worse. The press
is almost universally jingoistic, because it is financially interested
in sensationalism. A war generally means a fortune to newspaper
proprietors. In such matters, therefore, responsible leadership by
Parliament is still more urgently required.

We now come to the claim of those ultra-democrats who preach the
poisonous doctrines of direct government and of unrestrained majority
rule, that responsible leadership is incompatible with popular
government. This claim, is of course, supported by the radical press in
Australia. We have already quoted from Mr. Syme's work on
"Representative Government in England" the extreme views in which he
confuses representation with delegation. "Popular government," he
declares, "can only exist where the people can exercise control over
their representatives at all times and under all circumstances." The
method proposed to obtain this control is to give a majority of the
constituents power to dismiss a representative at any time, and is
utterly impracticable. Imagine the position of a member elected by a
majority of one or two votes! The true way to prevent members abusing
their trust is not to increase the direct control of the people, but to
prevent the control of the press and all other irresponsible agencies
over them; and so to ensure the return of better men.

Perhaps the most striking anomaly in Mr. Syme's position is that, while
he would confine the office of Parliament to expressing public opinion,
he declares in the same work that "the press at once forms and expresses
public opinion."[2] Now, it is quite true that if Parliament is weak and
disorganized, or occupies itself in fighting for the spoils of office,
the power of forming public opinion is thrown into the hands of the
press. But the more power is seized by the press, the more Parliament is
degraded, and the less is the chance of recovery. The situation presents
little difficulty to Mr. Syme. Every newspaper reader, he declares,
"becomes, as it were, a member of that vast assembly, which may be said
to embrace the whole nation, so widely are newspapers now read. Had we
only the machinery for recording the votes of that assembly, we might
easily dispense with Parliament altogether."

These ideas are not of mere academic interest; they have dominated the
trend of Victorian politics for many years. The time has now arrived for
the people to consider whether it is better to keep a Parliament of weak
delegates to express the public opinion which is formed by the press
than to elect a Parliament of "leaders of the people," highly-trained
legists, economists, and sociologists, to form and direct the public
opinion which is expressed by the newspapers. Why should the principle
of leadership, as exemplified in Mr. Syme's own career, be given full
scope in the press, and entirely repressed in Parliament? As to the kind
of influence we mean, no better description could be given than that of
the well-known Labour leader, Mr. H.H. Champion. In an open letter to
Mr. David Syme in the _Champion_ of 22nd June, 1895, he wrote:--

     Yet, if you rose to-morrow morning with the resolve to dismiss the
     ministry or to reverse the policy of the country, to stop
     retrenchment or to recommence borrowing, that resolve would
     infallibly translate itself into fact in a few weeks.

     In no country that I know of has any organ in the press so much
     influence as your paper. It is practically the sole source of
     information for the majority of the people. It has no competitors.
     It can make any person or policy popular or unpopular. It can fail
     to report any man or thing, and for four-fifths of the citizens it
     is as though that man or thing were not. It can misrepresent any
     speech or movement, and the printed lie alone will reach the
     electors. It could teach the people anything you choose. It has
     ruled the country for a couple of decades. It rules the country

Professor Jethro Brown shows himself alive to the danger of press
domination in Australia. In "The New Democracy" he writes:--"The
_prestige_ of Parliament is destroyed when its deliberations and
conclusions cease to be the determining factor in legislation. The
transfer of the real responsibility for legislation to a new power
implies the discrediting of the old school for training leaders." And he
quotes with approval the expression of opinion by the Honourable B.R.
Wise in the Federal Convention:--

     There may be, as Mr. David Syme suggests, no risk involved in the
     change of masters; but for my part I would sooner trust the
     destinies of the country to the worst Parliament the people of
     Australia would elect than to the best newspaper the mind of man
     has ever imagined.

It is little use, therefore, for the press to further degrade Parliament
in the eyes of the people by railing at it in the following terms:--

     So it is that Parliament as a working machine is about the
     clumsiest and least effective that can be conceived of. All our
     Parliaments are modelled on the necessities of bygone centuries. We
     want a working Parliament improved up to date; but we lack
     political invention, and have to jog along with the old lumbering
     machine--a sort of bullock dray trying to compete with an age of
     electric railways and motor cars.[3]

The remedy lies with the press itself. Let it abandon all illegitimate
influence, and use its power in a legitimate direction to give effect to
the principles of organization and responsible leadership in Parliament.
But just as the Labour faction cannot altogether be blamed for the
present disintegration of Parliament, so the press cannot be held
responsible for its degradation. In both eases cause and effect have
been interrelated. The mistake which the press has made has been in not
perceiving that the more it interferes with the legitimate functions of
Parliament, even although with the best intentions, the more it degrades

We have now passed in review the two great dangers which assail the
Commonwealth at the inception of federation. We have shown how
intimately related they are to the two great principles underlying
representative government--organization and leadership. Nay, we have
seen that all the varied phenomena presented by the great democracies of
the world can be expressed in terms of the same two principles.

It remains to show that to give effect to the expression of these two
principles in a more perfect manner than ever yet attained is a problem
of electoral machinery. This task we shall now undertake.


[2] "Representative Government in England," p. 123.

[3] _Age_, 28th June, 1900.



How to give effect to the principles of organization and leadership in
an electoral reform--that is the problem which we shall now attempt to
solve. We have already laid down the theoretical requirements, which are
(1) proportional representation to the two parties--the majority and the
minority, and (2) the election by each party separately of its most
popular leaders; and we shall now have to consider also how these
requirements are modified by practical considerations.

+Proportional Representation to the Two Parties, the Majority and the
Minority.+--It will be as well to illustrate the method proposed by
reference to the conditions imposed by an actual election, such as that
for the Federal Senate. The Commonwealth Bill provides that each State
shall be polled as a single electorate, returning six senators. Suppose
that 120,000 electors vote on party lines in any State. It is clear that
a party which has the support of 20,000 electors is entitled to one
senator; also, that a party which has the support of 40,000 electors is
entitled to two senators; of 60,000 electors to three senators, and so
on. Now, suppose that one party has the support of 50,000 electors, and
the other of 70,000 electors, then the minority is entitled to two and a
half senators, and the majority to three and a half senators. But
senators are living units, and cannot be divided into fractions. The
question therefore arises, Which is entitled to the odd senator, the
majority or the minority? And the answer is that they are both equally
entitled to him; for it is as much a tie as if each party has the
support of 10,000 electors in a single-seat electorate. But if the
minority had the support of 49,999 electors, or one elector less, it
would be entitled to only two senators, and if it had the support of
50,001 electors, or one elector more, it would be entitled to three

From the above simple facts can be deduced general rules applicable to
any particular case. It is evident that the result is not affected by
the number of votes allowed to each elector, providing only that each
elector has the same number of votes. It is also quite irrespective of
the number of candidates nominated in the interests of each party. But
it would never do to allow party organizations to control nominations.
How are we to combine individual candidature with party nomination? The
only way to do this is to require that each candidate shall declare,
either when nominating or a few days before the election, on which side
of the House he intends to sit, and be classified accordingly as
Ministerialist or Oppositionist. To decide the relative strengths of the
two parties, it is then only necessary to take the aggregate votes
polled by all the candidates nominated for each party as a measure of
the amount of support which it receives.

The great advantages of this provision are at once apparent. There is no
incentive to limit the number of candidates so as to prevent splitting
the votes. On the contrary, it is to the interest of each party to get
as many strong candidates as possible to stand in its interests. There
will be no necessity to ask any candidate to retire for fear of losing a
seat to the party. Thus the control of nominations, which leads to the
worst abuses of the present system, will be entirely obviated.

Now, suppose that in the instance we have already given each elector is
allowed to vote for one candidate only, the total number of votes
recorded will be 120,000. Then the _unit of representation_ or number of
votes which entitle a party to one senator will be 20,000 votes; each
party will be entitled to one senator for every whole unit of
representation, and the odd senator will go to the party having the
larger remainder. For instance, if the aggregate votes polled by all the
Ministerialist candidates be 72,000, and by the Oppositionist candidates
48,000, the Ministerialists, having three units plus 12,000 remainder,
are entitled to four senators, and the Opposition, having two units plus
8,000, to two senators.

Similarly, if each elector be allowed to vote for a number of
candidates, all these figures will be increased in proportion. For
example, if each elector has three votes, the unit of representation
would be 60,000 votes. The following general rules may therefore be

     1. The unit of representation is equal to the total number of valid
     votes cast at the election, divided by the number of seats.

     2. Each party is entitled to one seat for every whole unit of
     representation contained in the aggregate votes polled by all its
     candidates, and the odd seat goes to the party which has the larger

The fact that the last seat has to be assigned to the party which has
the larger remainder is sometimes advanced as an objection, but it is
evidently the fairest possible division that the size of the electorate
will permit. Of course, the larger the electorate the more accurately
proportioned will be the representation. Hence the representation would
be most accurate if the whole assembly were elected in one large
electorate. But if, for the sake of convenience, the assembly be elected
in a large number of electorates in which the relative proportions of
two parties vary the gains which a party makes in some electorates will
be balanced by losses in others, so that the final result would be
almost as accurate as if the whole country were polled as one
electorate. It must be remembered that the result in any electorate
cannot be foreseen, and that it is a matter of chance which party gains
the advantage. Now, if the limits of variation comprise even a single
unit of representation, each party will stand an equal chance of
gaining, and therefore the laws of chance will ensure that the gains
balance the losses in the different electorates. Supposing a party which
averages 40 per cent. in the whole country to vary between 30 per cent.
and 50 per cent, in the different electorates (which may be taken as a
fair assumption), the unit of representation should equal 20 per cent.,
or one-fifth. Under these conditions the laws of chance will ensure
correct representation, so long as the electorates do not contain less
than five seats.

The above facts furnish a complete answer to the arguments advanced by
Mr. J.W. M'Cay, ex-M.L.A., in a series of articles in the _Age_ against
the application of proportional representation to the Federal Senate.
While apparently recognizing that it is utterly impossible for the
minority to secure a majority of the representation, he based his
objection solely on the fact that a minority is able with electorates
containing an even number of seats to secure one-half of the
representation, and thus lead to what he terms "the minority block."

The force of the objection will entirely depend on the size of the
minority which is able thus to thwart the will of the majority. The
Federal Senate will consist of 36 senators, each of the original States
contributing six. No reasonable man would complain if the minority,
being only entitled to 17 senators, actually returned 18, but Mr. M'Cay
points out that it is possible for a minority entitled to 15 senators to
return 18. To bring about this result he makes the absurd assumption
that in each of the six States the minority polls exactly two whole
units of representation, and a bare majority of a third unit. It is safe
to say that this would not happen once in a thousand years. If the
relative proportions of the two parties vary in the slightest in the
different States some must be under and some over the assumed
proportion. It is most probable that it will be under it in three States
and over it in the other three States; and, under these circumstances,
the party will return 15 senators, the exact number to which it is
entitled. It may happen to be under the assumed proportion in only two
of the States and over in the other four, and that the party will get
one more senator than it is entitled to; but it is extremely improbable
that it will get two more, and virtually impossible that it will get
three more senators than its just proportion. Mr. M'Cay's conclusion
that proportional representation can only be used in electorates
returning an odd number of representatives is shown to be entirely
unwarranted. Equally fallacious is Professor Nanson's rebutting
statement that "scientific proportionalists recommend odd electorates."
While the number of States remains even, the mathematical chance of a
minority securing one-half of the representation is precisely the same
whether the States return an odd or an even number of senators. As a
matter of fact, the danger of a minority securing one-half of the
representation is much greater at the intermediate elections for the
Senate, when each State returns three senators, the reason being the
smaller field.

We have dwelt at some length on the preceding example, because it serves
to refute another error into which some of the proportionalists have
fallen. It is held that the unit of representation should be ascertained
by dividing the total votes, not by the number of seats, but by the
seats increased by one. This unit is generally known as the Droop quota,
having been proposed in a work published by Mr. H.R. Droop in 1869.
Since one vote more than one-half of the total votes is sufficient for
election in a single-seat electorate, it is argued that one vote more
than one-third suffices in a two-seat electorate, one vote more than
one-fourth in a three-seat electorate, and so on. The unit in a six-seat
electorate would be one-seventh of the votes instead of one-sixth, and
it is pointed out that by this means the whole six seats would be filled
by whole units, leaving an unrepresented residuum of one-seventh of the
votes divided between the two parties.

The error lies precisely as before in concentrating attention on one of
the electorates, and in neglecting the theory of probability. The Droop
quota introduces the condition that each party must pay a certain
minimum number of votes for each seat, and the real distinction is that,
instead of the minority and the majority having an equal chance of
securing any advantage, the chances are in the same proportion as their
relative strengths. If the majority be twice as strong as the minority,
it will have twice the chance of gaining the advantage. To prove this,
consider the position of a one-third minority in a number of five-seat
electorates. The Droop quota being one-sixth of the votes, the minority
will secure two seats or 40 per cent. in those electorates where it is
just over one-third, and one seat or 20 per cent. where it is just
under. Since the mathematical chances are that it will be over in one
half and under in the other half, it will, on the average, secure only
30 per cent., although entitled to 33 per cent. Again, if the 670
members of the House of Commons were elected in three to five-seat
electorates, and the Droop quota used as proposed by Sir John Lubbock,
and if the Ministerialists were twice as strong as the Oppositionists,
they would, on the average, return 30 more members than the two-thirds
to which they are entitled, and this would count 60 members on a

The following table illustrates the erroneous result obtained by
applying the Droop quota when a number of grouped-electorates are
concerned. It will be noticed that where parties are nearly equal it
makes very little difference which unit is used:--

|             +----------------------+---------------------+
|    PARTY    |Five-Seat Electorates.|Ten-Seat Electorates.|
| 10 per cent.|      2 per cent.     |     6 per cent.     |
| 20  "    "  |     14  "    "       |    17  "    "       |
| 30  "    "  |     26  "    "       |    28  "    "       |
| 40  "    "  |     38  "    "       |    39  "    "       |
| 50  "    "  |     50  "    "       |    50  "    "       |

The Droop quota, therefore, gives, not proportional, but disproportional

+Election by Each Party of its Most Popular Candidates.+--Still keeping
in mind the six-seat electorate for the Federal Senate, we may note that
there are two rival systems in the field--the _scrutin de liste_ or
Block Vote, in which each elector votes for any six of the candidates,
and the Hare system, which allows each elector an effective vote for one
candidate only. The adoption of either of these systems would be
unfortunate. To force each elector to vote for six candidates is
probably to require him to vote for more than he is inclined to support,
and certainly for more than his party is entitled to return; and, also,
to put it in the power of the majority to return all six senators. To
allow him to vote for one candidate only, on the other hand, is to break
up both parties into factions by allowing the favourites of sections
within the parties to be elected, instead of those most in general
favour with all sections composing each party. An intermediate position
is therefore best. No elector should be required to vote for more than
three candidates, and no elector should be allowed to vote for less.
Because in the first place it is evident that each party will, on the
average, return three senators, and, secondly, it may be taken for
granted that even the minority will nominate at least three candidates.
Two alternative proposals may be submitted as fulfilling these

    _1. Each elector should vote for any three candidates, or

    2. Each elector should have six votes, and have the option of giving
    two votes to individual candidates._

The first plan is the simpler, but the second is probably the better, as
it allows more discrimination without sacrificing any of the advantages.
Either proposal is practically equivalent to applying the Block Vote to
each party separately; and whatever may be the objections to applying
the Block Vote to two or more parties it is the simplest and best system
to elect the candidates most in general favour when one party only is
concerned. It is true that the majority will return rather more than
one-half of the representatives and the minority rather less than
one-half, so that the minority will have more votes in proportion to its
strength. But with two parties of fairly equal but fluctuating strength
the fairest way is to require each elector to vote for at least one-half
of the number of representatives. Besides, apart from the fact that it
is not known before the election how many seats each party will obtain,
it is absolutely necessary that each elector shall have the same number
of votes in order that each party be allotted its just share of
representation. Moreover it is not proposed to limit the elector's
freedom of choice in the slightest by confining him to the candidates of
one party. The great majority of electors will vote on party lines,
because every vote given to a candidate of the opposing party tells
against the representation of their own party. The reason of this is
that every vote counts individually for the candidate and collectively
for the whole party. Any elector, therefore, who divides his voting
power equally between the two parties practically wastes it as far as
the party representation is concerned. But it is neither necessary nor
desirable to bring about such a rigid party division as prevails in
America, for instance, where a man is born, lives, and dies Republican
or Democrat. If electors were confined to the candidates of one party,
an elector who wished to vote for an individual candidate of the
opposing party would be placed in the dilemma of deserting either his
favourite or his party. The division into parties is really required in
the elected body, and not in the constituent body.

+Rules for the Reform.+--We are now in a position to draw up a list of
rules for the proposed reform, applicable to all legislatures in which
party government prevails:--

1. Electorates to be grouped so as to contain at least three seats, and
preferably not less than five seats nor more than twenty seats.

2. Candidates to declare when nominating, or a few days before the
election, whether they are in favour of or opposed to the party in
power, and to be classified accordingly as Ministerialists or

3. Ballot papers to contain the names of all candidates nominated,
arranged in two parallel columns, one headed Ministerialists, and the
other Oppositionists. The list of candidates under each heading to be
arranged in alphabetical order.

4. Each elector to have as many votes as there are seats, and to be
allowed to give either one or two votes to any candidate. The votes to
be distributed as he pleases among all the candidates of both lists.

5. The total number of valid votes cast at the election to be divided by
the number of seats; the quotient to be known as the "unit of

6. Each party to be allowed one seat for every whole unit of
representation contained in the aggregate votes polled by all its
candidates, and the last seat to go to the party which has the larger

7. The candidates of each party having the highest number of votes to be
declared elected to the number of seats to which each party is entitled
in accordance with the preceding rule.

8. In case of a tie between candidates or parties the lot decides.

The alternative plan for rule 4, which is somewhat simpler, would read
as follows:--

4. Each elector to vote for half the number of candidates that there are
seats, _i.e._, three votes in a five or six-seat electorate, four votes
in a seven or eight-seat electorate, &c. The votes to be distributed as
he pleases among all the candidates of both lists.

It is unnecessary to dwell on the absolute simplicity of these rules.
They involve no radical departure from existing methods of voting or of
counting votes. Once the totals are added up, the calculations necessary
to decide the successful candidates are within the reach of a school

EXAMPLE.--Take as an example 13 candidates in a six-seat electorate who
poll as follows:--

BROWN           83,000              YOUNG          53,000
RYAN            74,000              BELL           51,000
COX             44,000              HUME           47,000
WHITE           42,000              JONES          45,000
PEEL            38,000              BLACK          34,000
ADAMS           35,000                            -------
GREY            33,000                            230,000
SWIFT           21,000

Total votes = 370,000 + 230,000 = 600,000.

Unit of representation = 600,000/6 = 100,000.

Ministerialists: 3 units + 70,000 remainder = 4 seats.

Oppositionists: 2 units + 30,000 remainder = 2 seats.

The Ministerialists, having the larger remainder, secure the last seat.
The successful candidates are Brown, Ryan, Cox, and White (M.), Young
and Bell (O.)

It will be noted that without the proportional principle the
Ministerialists would have returned two members only, and the
Oppositionists four.

It is to be distinctly understood that the simpler plan of voting for
half the number of candidates that there are seats is practically as
good as the other. In order to show, however, that the plan we have
favoured may be simplified, we illustrate by a sample ballot paper a
method which has been used in Belgium. Two white spots are printed
opposite each candidate's name. An ink pad and stamp are then provided
at each polling booth, and the elector stamps out a white spot for each
vote he wishes to give. In the paper illustrated two votes are given to
Brown, two to Jones, one to Grey, and one to Swift. This elector has,
therefore, given two-thirds of his voting power to the Ministerial
party, and one-third to the Opposition, and has thus directly influenced
both policies. A further advantage of the proposal is the ease with
which such a paper can be read by the returning officer.


       *       *       *       *       *

Ministerialists.   Oppositionists.

+---------------+ +---------------+
|     |         | |     |         |
| o o |  ADAMS  | | o o |  BELL   |
|     |         | |     |         |
+---------------+ +---------------+
|     |         | |     |         |
| x x |  BROWN  | | o o |  BLACK  |
|     |         | |     |         |
+-----+---------+ +---------------+
|     |         | |     |         |
| o o |  COX    | | o o |  HUME   |
|     |         | |     |         |
+-----+---------+ +---------------+
|     |         | |     |         |
| o x |  GREY   | | x x |  JONES  |
|     |         | |     |         |
+-----+---------+ +---------------+
|     |         | |     |         |
| o o |  PEEL   | | o o |  YOUNG  |
|     |         | |     |         |
+-----+---------+ +---------------+
|     |         |
| o o |  RYAN   |
|     |         |
|     |         |
| x o |  SWIFT  |
|     |         |
|     |         |
| o o |  WHITE  |
|     |         |

1. You are allowed Six votes, and can give either one or two votes to
any candidate on either list.

2. Stamp out one of the white spots if you wish to give a candidate one

3. Stamp out the two white spots if you wish to give a candidate two

4. Your ballot paper will be invalid if you stamp out more or less than
Six white spots.

+Character of Parties.+--We must now prove that the methods proposed
will actually organize the people into two coherent parties. Let us
suppose either party to be composed of three sections. The problem is to
induce these three sections to work together, and to sink their petty
differences in the general interest, in short to unite as a party,
aiming at the control of administration with a definite policy on public
questions. Let us further suppose the party entitled to three
representatives. Now, it is quite conceivable that exactly the same
three candidates would be elected if each elector had any number of
votes from one to three, and this would actually tend to be the case the
more united the party is. But herein lies the difference: that with one
vote only any one section holding narrow and violent views can return an
independent delegate, and therefore has a direct inducement to do so,
while with three votes it is forced to work with the other two sections,
for if it refuses to do so it is in their power to exclude its nominee.
It is this power to exclude independent factions which is the first
requisite to prevent the main parties degenerating into factions. Now,
the advocates of the Hare system declare that each elector should have
one effective vote only, no matter how many seats the party is entitled
to. The elector would therefore only express his opinion as to the
delegate of his own section, and not as to the constitution of the whole
party, and there would be nothing whatever to prevent the election of
the favourites of sections, instead of the representatives most in
general favour with all sections.

But if there were only one party it would be impossible to make all the
sections work together in this manner. Some of them would combine into a
majority of the party, and would exclude the minority. With two great
competing parties, however, the case is quite different. So far from
either party wishing to exclude any small minority, both will compete
for its support, providing only that it will fall into line with the
other sections on the main questions of policy. Each section will
therefore support the party which will consent to embody the most
favourable compromise of its demands in its policy. If its demands are
such that both parties refuse to entertain them, it will exercise no
influence in the direction of furthering its own views. From this
statement it is evident that no system of independent direct
proportional representation within the party can be recognized as a
right to which the different sections are entitled, as it would
inevitably break up the party, and lead to sectional delegation. The
sections would then change in character, and become violent factions.
But, nevertheless, if the sections work together as described, every
section will be proportionately represented in the party policy, and
therefore by every representative of the party. Moreover, no section can
dictate to either party, or obtain more than a fair compromise. For all
the sections are interdependent, and any section which attempts to exert
more than its just share of influence will sink in general favour, and
will find those who are inclined to support its pretensions rejected at
the election.

The difference between the two stages of representation may now be
clearly appreciated. In the first stage we have seen that the fear of
the aggression of the monarchy held all sections together in one party.
In the second stage, however, it has been abundantly demonstrated by
experience that the fear of each other will not hold the sections of the
two parties together. The electoral machinery must, therefore, supply
the deficiency.

+Party Lines.+--With the altered character of parties there is ground
for hope that the basis of division will become questions of general
public policy, and that all causes of factious dissension and of social
disruption will tend to be repressed. This improvement is indeed
urgently needed. For if in any country party lines are decided by
geographical considerations, as town _v._ country; by class, as Capital
_v._ Labour; by race as in South Africa; by religion as in Belgium; or
by personal ambition for the spoils of office--in any of these cases the
future of that country is open to the gravest doubt.

Perhaps the greatest danger which assails most democratic countries
to-day is the risk of the working classes being persuaded by demagogues
that equal political rights have been extended to them in order that
they shall govern, instead of in order that they shall not be
misgoverned. If the general welfare is to be advanced, all classes must
influence the policies of both parties. This condition is indispensable
to bring about the ideal condition of two parties differing only as to
what is best for all.

Equally to be condemned is the narrow-minded and intolerant view of
those who can see no virtue in an opposing party; who define, for
instance, the distinction between parties as the party for things as
they are, and the party for things as they ought to be; the latter
being, of course, their own party. This is one of the objectionable
features of Australian newspaper-made politics.

A more rational view of the distinction which often underlies party
divisions is between those who desire change and those who oppose
change. J.S. Mill points out how the latter may often be useful in
preventing progress in a wrong direction. There are times when such
attitude is called for, but generally speaking we may say that the
fundamental distinction between parties should be a difference of
opinion as to the direction of progress. Nor is it inconsistent for a
party to change its opinion or alter its policy; on the contrary, it is
essential to progress. The majority must often modify its policy in the
light of the criticism of the minority, and the minority must often drop
the unpopular proposals which have put it in a minority. These features
are all essential to the working of the political machine.

+The Character of Representatives.+--Granting that all sections of each
party can be induced to work together, the beneficial effect on the
character of representatives would be incalculable. Instead of being
forced to pander to every small section for support, they would appeal
to all sections. The enlarged electorates which are contemplated would
be arranged to embrace the widest diversity of interest, and a
representative would then be free to follow his own independent
judgment, unfettered by the dictation of small cliques. His actions
might offend some sections who supported his election; but he has a wide
field, and may gain the support of other sections by them. Therefore, he
may actually improve his position by gaining more supporters than he
loses. Contrast this with the present system, in which the
representatives are cooped up in single-membered electorates to denned
sets of supporters. The very principle of community of interest on which
these electorates must be arranged in order to get a fair result is
destructive of the idea of representation. It is no wonder, then, that
the present system is tending towards delegation. Local delegation we
have always had, more or less, but we are now threatened by class
delegation also.

The conclusion of Mr. Kent in "The English Radicals" may be quoted on
this point. He says:--

     The question of the relationship of members to their constituents
     is at the present time perplexed and undetermined; for though the
     control of Parliament by the people is an indisputable fact, yet it
     is maintained by means of quite another kind from those which the
     early Radicals proposed. The result is somewhat paradoxical, for
     while the system of pledges has been contemptuously rejected, yet
     the theory that a member is a delegate tacitly prevails in English
     politics. That members of the House of Commons have tended and do
     tend to lose their independence it is impossible to doubt. A
     distinguished French publicist, M. Boutmy, for instance, has
     remarked the fact; and he thinks that in consequence a
     deterioration of the tone of politicians is likely to recur. Mr.
     E.L. Godkin, an American writer, whose judgments are entitled to
     respect, has expressed much the same opinion; "the delegate
     theory," he says, "has been gaining ground in England, and in
     America has almost completely succeeded in asserting its sway, so
     that we have seen many cases in which members of Congress have
     openly declared their dissent from the measures for which they
     voted in obedience to their constituents."

It is one of the greatest merits of the proposed reform that this vexed
question of representation or delegation would be definitely settled.
For, although the area of independent action is enlarged, definite
limits are set to it.

+Possible Objections.+--We may now reply to some objections which have
been or might be urged. At the outset we would point out that the
critics nearly always base their objections on the conditions which have
prevailed in the past or do exist in the present chaotic state of
parties; and seldom appreciate the fact that they would lose force if a
better condition could be brought about. Let us take the Melbourne
_Argus_ report of Professor Nanson's objections:--

     Professor Nanson pointed out that the scheme depended for its
     efficacy on the existence of party government, which the Professor
     was glad to say was being pushed more and more into the background.
     He took a practical illustration from the defeat of the O'Loghlen
     Government in 1883. In that case, after the election the Government
     came back with a following of one-tenth. The other combined party
     had nine-tenths, and of these a little more than half were Liberals
     and a little less than half were Conservatives. He pointed out that
     under Mr. Ashworth's system the Liberals would have got the whole
     of the Opposition seats and the Conservatives none, whereas under
     any intelligent modification of the Hare system the parties would
     have been returned in the proportion of five Liberals, four
     Conservatives, and one O'Loghlenite. The system contained the evils
     of the _scrutin de liste_ doubled by being applied to two parties,
     the evils of the Limited Vote, which had been condemned by all
     leading statesmen, and it played into the hands of these who were
     best able to organize.

Take the latter statements first. The evil of the Block Vote or
_scrutin de liste_ is that it gives all the representation to the
majority, and excludes the minority; its merit is that it prevents the
formation of a number of minorities. How this evil will be doubled if it
is entirely removed by allowing both majority and minority their just
share of representation we leave the Professor to explain. The statement
that the scheme would play into the hands of those who are best able to
organize is absolutely without foundation. On the contrary, the
organization is automatic. It would certainly encourage the formation of
organizations to influence the policies of the parties, since every
organization would be able to exert its proportionate influence, but
that is an advantage, not an evil. We will leave the statement about
party government alone, and now take the "practical illustration." The
Professor here assumes three distinct parties, but it is quite evident
there are only two. It is not usual for Liberal Unionists and
Conservatives to fight one another at elections in Great Britain at
present. In the same way, if a section of Liberals and a section of
Conservatives unite to oppose a Government, they will work together and
not try to exclude one another. Moreover, they will have a common
policy, so that it matters little who are elected so long as they are
the best men to carry out the policy. Is it likely the Conservatives
would join the Liberals, if the latter were trying to get all the
seats? Thus all the Professor's assumptions are incorrect. But even if
they were correct the conclusion is still wrong. The Liberal section
could not get all the seats if they tried. Imagine a ten-seat
electorate, in which the combined party is entitled to nine members. The
electors would not be required to vote for more than five candidates,
whereas the Professor has assumed that they would be forced to vote for
nine. He has forgotten that the Block Vote becomes the Limited Vote
under the conditions named, and that the Limited Vote allows the
minority a share of representation. Besides, in any case, these
conditions would never arise in a country in a healthy state of
political activity, because then parties would tend more nearly to
equalize each other in strength.

It has also been objected that a Ministerialist candidate, say, might
stand as an Oppositionist, if the votes of the Opposition candidates
were more split up and it was likely to require less votes for election
in that party. This is a rather fantastic suggestion. The candidate in
question would have to declare himself in favour of a number of things
which he would oppose immediately he was elected. If not, he would have
to openly declare his intention, but that could easily be made illegal.
In any case there would be very little gained, and there is further the
risk that, if defeated, all his votes would count to the Opposition.

Another possible objection is that too many candidates might stand,
since it is to the interest of each party to get all the support it can.
But candidates are not likely to stand to oblige the party or when there
is no chance of being elected. It is quite possible that, in a country
already split up into numerous groups, the groups would refuse to act
together, and that each group would nominate its own list. This is an
extreme assumption, and certainly would not happen in British countries.
And there would be a constant incentive to the groups to compromise,
since a combination can return its candidates.

We hope now to have at least established the fact that the organization
of a democracy into two coherent parties--a majority and a minority--is
vitally connected with the electoral machinery. We do not claim that the
method we have proposed will induce a people to vote on true party lines
all at once, for human nature cannot be changed in a day; but we do
confidently assert that it will greatly accelerate that desirable
result, and will tend to give effect to the principles of organization
and responsible leadership.



From the inception of the representative system it has been usual to
elect representatives in small districts, returning only one or two
members, and the single-membered electorate is now almost universal. In
the early Parliaments, however, elections were not contested as they are
nowadays. It was merely a choice of the most suitable men to represent a
corporate local community. Hence an indirect method of election was
generally resorted to, the final choice being left to a small committee
of the most important men. With the gradual rise of the party system the
conditions entirely changed; and it is important to gain a clear idea of
what is involved in the change.

In the first stage we have referred to it is not probable that there
were any candidates at all. The position of member of Parliament was not
sought after; it was rather thrust upon the man selected as a duty he
owed the community. The choice would usually be unanimous, since there
would be some men whose recognized influence and attainments would mark
them off as most fitted for the position. If there was any difference of
opinion it would be merely as to who was best fitted to represent all,
and therefore there would never be any excluded minority.

The essential difference in the second stage is that every election is
contested by two organized parties. The choice is now not of men only,
but of measures and of men as well. It is a contest in the first place
within each party as to who is best fitted to represent the party, and
in the second place between the two parties for the support of the
people. The party in a majority secures all the representation; the
party in a minority none. Now, the minority is certainly not represented
by the choice of the majority; on the contrary, its views are exactly
the opposite. Hence the question arises: Is not this exclusion of the
minority an injustice? Does it not amount to disfranchisement? The usual
reply is either that the majority must rule or that the injustice done
in some electorates is balanced in others, so that in the long run rough
justice is obtained.

As to the first contention, it is the party which has the support of a
majority of the whole people which should rule; and the excluded
minority in some of the electorates belongs to this party. The second
practically amounts to the statement that two wrongs make a right.

A practice prevails in the United States which will illustrate the
position. Each State sends a number of representatives to Congress
proportional to its population, and the division into electorates is
left to the State. By manipulating the electoral boundaries the party
which has a majority in each State is enabled to arrange that the
injustice done to itself is a minimum, and that the injustice done to
the opposing party is a maximum. By this iniquitous practice, which is
known as the gerrymander, the party in a minority in each State is
allowed to get only about one-half or one-quarter of its proper share of
representation. But as the practice is universal in all the States, the
injustice done to a party in some States is balanced in others. Will
those who seek to excuse the injustice done to the minority in each
electorate by the present system of election seriously contend that the
same argument justifies the gerrymander?

The truth is that the present system has survived the passage from the
first stage of representation into the second, not because it does
justice to both parties, but because it has operated largely to prevent
the formation of more than two parties. It has, therefore, been a means
of giving effect to the central feature of representation, viz.: the
organization of public opinion into two definite lines of policy. But it
is a comparatively ineffective means, and it no longer suffices to
prevent sectional delegation in any of the democracies we have examined.
Besides, it is accompanied by a series of other evils, which in so far
as they lead to the suppression of responsible leadership, tend to the
degradation of public life. We propose now to consider the effect of the
reform in remedying these defects of the present system.

+Parties Not Represented in the Legislature in the Same Proportion as in
the Country.+--Representation under the present system is purely
arbitrary; the amount which each party secures is a matter of chance. If
a party with a majority in the whole country has a majority in each of
the electorates it will secure all the representation. On the other
hand, if it splits up its votes in each electorate, or even only in
those electorates where it has a majority, it may secure none at all.
Theoretically, then, any result is possible. The argument would lose its
force, however, if in practice the result usually came out about right.
But this seldom happens, and, speaking generally, two cases may be
distinguished: first, when parties are nearly equal, the minority is
almost as likely as the majority to return a majority of the
representatives, thus defeating the principle of majority rule; and,
second, when one party has a substantial majority, it generally sweeps
the board and annihilates the minority. A few examples will illustrate
these facts.

The 1895 election for the Imperial Parliament is analyzed by Sir John
Lubbock in the _Proportional Representation Review_. He shows that out
of 481 contested seats, the Liberals, with 1,800,000 votes were
entitled to 242, and the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists, with
1,775,000 to 239, a majority of three seats for the Liberals. But the
Conservatives and Unionists actually returned 279, and the Liberals only
202, a majority of 77 seats. The Conservatives and Unionists obtained
also a majority of 75 of the uncontested seats, giving them a total
majority of 152, instead of the 72 to which they were entitled.

Recent elections for the United States Congress are shown by Professor
Commons to present striking inequalities. At the election for the 51st
Congress, 1888, the Republicans polled 5,348,379, and the Democrats
5,502,581. But the Republican minority actually secured 164 seats
against 161, a majority of 3, and were enabled to carry the McKinley
tariff law. For the 52nd Congress, 1890, the Republicans, with 4,217,266
votes, only elected 88, while the Democrats, with 4,974,450 votes,
elected 235, and the Populists, with 354,217 votes, elected 9
Congressmen. The Democratic majority should have been only 2, instead of
138. Compared with the 51st Congress, their proportion of the popular
vote increased only 1 per cent., but their proportion of the
representatives increased 21 per cent. It required 47,923 votes to elect
a Republican, 44,276 to elect a Populist, and only 21,078 to elect a

To come nearer home, did not Mr. Reid return to power at the 1898
election in New South Wales although the Opposition polled a majority of
15,000 against him? The last election in Victoria illustrates nothing so
much as the chaotic state of parties, brought about by newspaper
influence in promoting false lines of division. No less than 30 seats,
representing 81,857 votes, were contested only by candidates who
professed to be Ministerialists of various shades. Of 52 seats contested
by Ministerial and Opposition candidates, each party secured 26; but the
Ministerialists paid 59,255 votes for their seats as against 44,327 cast
for the Opposition. 13 seats were uncontested, 9 Ministerial and 4
Opposition, giving a total of 65 members to the Ministerial party and 30
members to the Opposition.

The arbitrary and haphazard character of these results is obvious. It
would be entirely removed by the reform. Every election would reflect
the true feeling of the country; the right of the majority to rule would
be rendered certain, and the right of the minority to a fair hearing
would be assured. Taking the country as a whole, the Ministerialists
would pay almost exactly the same number of votes for each seat as the
Opposition. In each separate electorate the accuracy would not be so
great, but the rectification of even this slight and unavoidable
inequality would, instead of being arbitrary, be subject to the laws of

+Ineffective Votes.+--Under the present system, all votes cast for
rejected candidates are ineffective; therefore nearly one-half of the
electors have no voice in the Government. A Liberal elector may live in
a Conservative constituency all his life without having the opportunity
to cast an effective vote. The evil of popular indifference is largely
to be explained by this fact. It is no answer to say that it affects
both parties equally. The trouble is that nearly one-half of the
electors of each party have no influence in deciding who are to
represent the party, and therefore do not help to frame its policy.

This evil would also be entirely removed. Every vote cast would count to
one or the other party. It is not necessary that every vote should be
counted to some one candidate, as the advocates of the Hare system
claim. Votes given to rejected candidates would be in effect just as
much transferred to the successful candidates as by the Hare system.
Moreover, it is an important gain that the candidates of each party
would be ranged in order of favour, as the relative position of the
candidates would be an index of the feeling of each electorate, not only
as regards men but also as regards measures. Therefore, even the votes
given to rejected candidates would affect the framing of the party
policy, and show the progress of public opinion.

+Uncontested Seats.+--At the 1895 election for the Imperial Parliament
no less than 189 seats out of 670 were uncontested. Thus one-quarter of
the people had no opportunity of expressing any opinion. In Australia
the proportion is often quite as large. The present Legislative Council
of Victoria is an extreme instance. One-third of the Council retires
every three years; and at the last election not a single seat was
contested. Only 4 out of the 48 sitting members have had to contest
election. Under these circumstances the holding of an election at all
becomes a farce. No doubt it is very convenient for the favoured
individuals; but as the primary object of elections is the ascertainment
of public opinion, it is very desirable that every seat should be

The chief cause of this evil is that when one party is strong in an
electorate it is hopeless for the minority to contest it, unless the
majority nominates more than one candidate. On the other hand, the
majority knows that if it does split its votes the minority will
probably win the seat. The result is that the sitting member has a great
advantage, and is often tolerated even though he is acceptable to only a
minority of his own party.

With the reform each electorate would become the scene of a contest
between the two parties for their proportional share of representation.
It is very unlikely, indeed, that in any electorate no more candidates
would be nominated than are required to be elected.

+Limitation of Choice.+--Even when seats are contested, the elector's
choice is very limited under the present system. Wherever party
government is strong, each party nominates only one candidate, owing to
the danger of splitting up its votes and so losing the seat. The elector
has then practically no choice. He may disapprove of the candidate
standing for his own party, but the only alternative is to stultify
himself by supporting the opposing candidate. If in disgust he abstains
from voting altogether, it is the same as giving each candidate half his
vote. Even when two or three candidates of his own party are nominated,
and he supports the one whose views coincide most closely with his own,
he can exert very little direct influence on the party policy. Besides,
he will often think it wise to support the strongest candidate rather
than the one he favours most.

These considerations show what a very imperfect instrument the present
system is for expressing public opinion. The test which should be
applied to any system of election is whether it allows each elector to
express his opinion on general policy, and from this point of view the
present system fails lamentably; all opinion which does not run in the
direct channel of party is excluded. Mr. Bryce has fixed on this defect
as the weak point of the party system, but the fault really lies in the
limitation of choice connected with the present system of election. It
is quite true that "in every country voting for a man is an inadequate
way of expressing one's views of policy, because the candidate is sure
to differ in one or more questions from many of those who belong to the
party."[4] But if, in the first place, the incentive to limit the number
of candidates be removed and the field of choice widened, and if, in the
second place, each elector be allowed to vote for several candidates
instead of one only, the defect would be remedied. Now, the reform makes
both these provisions, and the importance of the improvement can hardly
be overrated. It means, first, that every elector will be not only
allowed, but also induced, to express his opinion on general policy. He
may give his votes to candidates either for their general views or for
some particular view; or, if he lays less stress on measures than on
men, he may give them to men of high character or of great
administrative ability. It means, secondly, that every section of
opinion composing each party will be fairly represented, and that none
will be excluded, because the candidates of each party will compete
among themselves for the support of all sections, in order to decide
those most in general favour. Hence every section will directly help to
frame and influence the party policy, and there will be not the
slightest excuse for independent action outside the two main parties. In
the third place, it means the substitution of individual responsibility
for the corporate responsibility of parties, since the electors will
have the power to reject those who wish to modify party action in any
direction contrary to the general wish. It means, finally, that every
elector's opinion, as expressed by his vote, will have equal influence
in deciding the direction of party action.

+Control of Nominations.+--There is a constant incentive with the
present system of election to limit the number of candidates to two, one
representing each party. For if either party splits up its votes on more
than one candidate it will risk losing the seat. But the necessity to
limit the candidates involves some control of the nominations, and this
is perhaps the worst feature of the system. It means that, instead of
the electors being allowed to select their representative, he is chosen
for them by some irresponsible body. We have seen how in the United
States the nominating system is the source of the power of the "boss"
and the "machine;" and the same result is only a matter of time in
British countries. The registration of voters is not yet conducted in
the same rigid manner as in America, nor is the farce of holding a
primary election gone through; but whether the control be exercised by a
political organization, a newspaper, a local committee, or a secret
society, the principle is the same. Mr. Bryce has noticed the rapid
change in the practice of England on this point:--"As late as the
general elections of 1868 and 1874 nearly all candidates offered
themselves to the constituency, though some professed to do so in
pursuance of requisitions emanating from the electors. In 1880 many--I
think most--Liberal candidates in boroughs and some in counties were
chosen by the local party associations, and appealed to the Liberal
electors on the ground of having been so chosen. In 1885, and again in
1892, all, or nearly all, new Liberal candidates were so chosen, and a
man offering himself against the nominee of the association was
denounced as an interloper and traitor to the party. The same process
has been going on in the Tory party, though more slowly. The influence
of the locally wealthy, and also that of the central party office, is
somewhat greater among the Tories, but in course of time choice by
representative associations will doubtless become the rule."[5] Is it to
be expected that this power will not be abused as in America? The
trouble is that no association can represent all the party electors, and
that the representative becomes responsible to the managers of the
association, to whom he really owes his election. Any control of this
kind is fatal to the principle of responsible leadership. And yet the
only alternative with the present method of election is the break-up of
the party system. This is the dilemma in which all modern democracies
are placed. The evil will be completely obviated by the reform. Instead
of limiting the candidates, it will be to the advantage of each party to
induce the strongest and most popular candidates to stand on its behalf,
since the number of seats it will obtain depends only on the aggregate
votes polled by all the candidates. With individual candidature there
can be no "machine" control of nominations. All are free to appeal
directly to the people.

+Localization of Politics.+--The local delegate is unfortunately the
prevailing type of Australian politician. The value of a member is too
often measured by the services he renders to his constituents
individually or the amount of money he can get the Government to spend
in his constituency. Hence the nefarious practice of log-rolling in
Parliament. Is it any wonder that some of the colonies promise to rival
France in the proportion of unreproductive works constructed out of loan

How few of our members approach the ideal expressed by Edmund Burke in
his address to the electors of Bristol:--"Parliament is not a congress
of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests
each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and
advocates; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of our nation, with
one interest--that of the whole--where not local purposes, not local
prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the
general reason of the whole. You choose a member, indeed, but when you
have chosen him he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of
Parliament." It must be confessed, however, that Burke's ideal is rather
exalted; it is the duty of a member to make known the requirements of
his district. It is the ministry which is specially charged with
looking after the interest of the whole and of resisting illegitimate
demands. But it cannot do so if its position is so insecure that it must
purchase the support of the "parish pump" politician.

The only way to nationalize politics is to ensure that every electorate
shall be contested on national issues by organized parties, and that
every locality shall be represented on both parties. The proposed system
will provide this remedy. In enlarged electorates each party will take
good care that its candidates are men of local influence in the most
important divisions of the electorate; therefore, sectional and local
interests will be represented, but they will be subordinated to the
interests of the whole electorate; and where there are a few large
divisions the interests of each will more nearly coincide with national
interests than where there are a large number of small divisions.
Besides, log-rolling will not be so easy between groups of
representatives as among single representatives.

+Incentive to Bribery and Corruption.+--We now come to a class of evils
which to a large extent result from the fact that a few votes in each
electorate decide whether a party gets all the representation or none at
all. Candidates are impelled, in order to gain support from every
faction, to acts degrading to themselves and destructive to the moral
tone of the people. Foremost among these evils is the great incentive to
bribery and corruption; it is manifested not only in direct expenditure
at the elections, but also in promises of patronage and class
advantages. Direct bribery is perhaps worst in America; Professor M.
Cook states, in a paper on "The Alarming Proportion of Venal Voters" in
the _Forum_ for September, 1892, that in twenty-one towns of Connecticut
16 per cent, of the voters are venal. As Professor Commons remarks:--"It
is plain that the bribable voters themselves are adequate to hold the
balance of power between the parties. The single-membered district,
therefore, places a magnificent premium upon bribery." In England the
_Corrupt Practices Act_ has done immense good: nothing reflects so much
honour on the Imperial Parliament as the voluntary transference of the
duty of deciding cases to the judiciary. In Australia this much-needed
reform has not yet been introduced, and direct bribery prevails to a
much larger extent than would be supposed from the number of cases
investigated. Members of Parliament are naturally loth to convict one of
their own number, and the knowledge of this fact prevents petitions
being lodged.

The mere existence of secret bribery is bad enough, but a greater danger
is that acts of indirect bribery are openly practised, with the tacit
approval of electors. "There have been instances," says Mr. Lecky, in
his "Democracy and Liberty," "in which the political votes of the police
force, of the P.O. officials, of the civil service clerks have been
avowedly marshalled for the purpose of obtaining particular class
advantages--a disintegrated majority is strongly tempted to conciliate
every detached group of votes." In Australia this has become a regular
practice; and a still worse feature is that Members of Parliament have
free access to public departments to promote class and local interests.
Class legislation is frequently brought forward on the eve of an
election with the sole object of influencing votes. These conditions
favour the wire-pullers and mere self-seekers, and, in so far as they
prevent the electors from voting on the political views and personal
merits of the candidates, they are inimical to the public interests. Mr.
Lecky has pointed out that a certain amount of moral compromise is
necessary in public life, and that a politician may indulge in
popularity-hunting from honourable public motives; the danger is that
unworthy politicians may screen themselves under shelter of this excuse.

We do not claim that the proposed system would abolish corruption, but
we are justified in hoping that it would mitigate it very much. Even if
the venal vote still held the balance of power between parties, parties
are not so easily corrupted as individuals. But the most important gain
is that it could only exert an influence proportional to its numbers; it
could not decide whether a party gets all the representation or none at
all, as at present. In most cases it would be doubtful if it would
affect a single candidate. Consider, again, the case of individual
candidates of the same party; any candidate resorting to bribery in
order to increase his chance of election would do so partly at the
expense of the other candidates of his own party, who would immediately
denounce him. Instead of being forced to conciliate selfish factions,
the candidates would be free to appeal for the support of the unselfish

+Continual Change in Electoral Boundaries.+--The irregular growth of
population necessitates a periodical revision of the electoral
boundaries of single-membered electorates. Owing to the influence of
vested interests, this is generally effected in an arbitrary manner; and
the glaring anomalies only are rectified. We have in Victoria at the
present day some country electorates with 6,000 electors on the rolls
and others with only 1,500. An elector in the latter has four times the
voting power of an elector in the former. The process of alteration of
the boundaries offers great temptation to unfairness; and in American
politics the opportunity is taken full advantage of by a practice which
has received the name of the gerrymander. In his work on "Proportional
Representation" Professor Commons writes:--

     It is difficult to express the opprobrium rightly belonging to so
     iniquitous a practice as the gerrymander; but its enormity is not
     appreciated, just as brutal prize-fighting is not reprobated
     providing it be fought according to the rules. Both political
     parties practise it, and neither can condemn the other. They simply
     do what is natural: make the most of their opportunities as far as
     permitted by the constitution and system under which both are
     working. The gerrymander is not produced by the iniquity of
     parties, it is the outcome of the district system. If
     representatives are elected in this way there must be some public
     authority for outlining the districts. And who shall be the judge
     to say where the line shall be drawn? Exact equality is impossible,
     and who shall set the limit beyond which inequality shall not be
     pressed? Every apportionment act that has been passed in this or
     any other country has involved inequality; and it would be absurd
     to ask a political party to pass such an act and give the advantage
     of the inequality to the opposite party. Consequently, every
     apportionment act involves more or less of the gerrymander. The
     gerrymander is simply such a thoughtful construction of districts
     as will economize the votes of the party in power by giving it
     small majorities in a large number of districts, and coop up the
     opposing party with overwhelming majorities in a large number of
     districts. This may involve a very distortionate and uncomely
     "scientific" boundary, and the joining together of distant and
     unrelated localities into a single district; such was the case in
     the famous original act of Governor Gerry, of Massachusetts, whence
     the practice obtained its amphibian name.[6] But it is not always
     necessary that districts be cut into distortionate shapes in order
     to accomplish these unjust results. (pp. 49, 50.)

He illustrates a gerrymander which actually made one Democratic vote
equal to five Republican votes. We have quoted this description of the
methods of the gerrymander not so much because the evil has attained any
magnitude in Australia as because it offers a warning of the probable
result of adopting the single-membered district system for our Federal

With enlarged or grouped electorates the periodical revision of
boundaries would be entirely obviated, because the size of the
electorate may be kept constant, and the number of representatives
varied. Under such a system all unfairness would disappear, and the
gerrymander would be impossible. Representation would automatically
follow the movements of population.


[4] Bryce, "The American Commonwealth," vol ii, p 325

[5] Bryce, "The American Commonwealth," vol. ii., note on p. 81.

[6] Governor Gerry contrived an electorate which resembled a salamander
in shape.



The single transferable vote, generally known as the Hare system, was
first invented by a Danish statesman, M. Andrae, and was used for the
election of a portion of the "Rigsraad" in 1855. In 1857 Mr. Thomas
Hare, barrister-at-law, published it independently in England in a
pamphlet on "The Machinery of Representation." This formed the basis of
the scheme elaborated in his "Election of Representatives," which
appeared in 1859.

He proposed to abolish all geographical boundaries by constituting the
whole of the United Kingdom one electorate for the return of the 654
members of the House of Commons. Each member was to be elected by an
equal unanimous number of electors. The method of election was therefore
so contrived as to allow the electors to group themselves into 654
constituencies, each group bound only by the tie of voluntary
association, and gathered from every corner of the Kingdom. The total
number of votes cast (about a million) was to be divided by 654, and the
quotient, say about 1,500, would be the quota or number of votes
required to elect a member. But some of the candidates would naturally
receive more votes than the quota, and a great many more would receive
less. How were all the votes to be equally divided among 654 members so
that each should secure exactly the quota? The single transferable vote
was proposed to attain this result. Each elector's vote was to count for
one candidate only, but he was allowed to say in advance to whom he
would wish his vote transferred in case it could not be used for his
first choice. Each ballot paper was, therefore, to contain the names of
a number of candidates in order of preference--1, 2, 3, &c. Then all the
candidates having more than a quota of first choices were to have the
surplus votes taken from them and transferred to the second choice on
the papers, or if the second choice already had enough votes, to the
third choice, and so on. When all the surpluses were distributed a
certain number of members would be declared elected, each with a quota
of votes. The candidates who had received the least amount of support
were then to be gradually eliminated. The lowest candidate would be
first rejected, and his votes transferred to the next available
preference on his ballot papers; then the next lowest would be rejected,
and so on till all the votes were equally distributed among the 654
members. Such was the Hare system as propounded by its author. The
electors were to divide themselves into voluntary groups; then the
groups which were too large were to be cut down by transferring the
surplus votes, and the smaller groups were to be excluded and the votes
also transferred until the groups were reduced to 654 equal
constituencies. These two processes, transferring surplus votes and
transferring votes from excluded candidates, are the main features of
the system. Mr. Hare's rules for carrying them out are drawn up in the
form of a proposed electoral law, and in the different editions of his
work the clauses vary somewhat. They are also complicated by an
impossible attempt to retain the local nomenclature of members. As
regards surplus votes it was provided that the ballot papers which had
the most preferences expressed should be transferred; still a good deal
was left to chance or to the sweet will of the returning officer, and
this has always been admitted as a serious objection. The process of
elimination is still more unsatisfactory. Mr. Hare was from the first
strongly opposed to the elimination of the candidate who had least first
preferences, and he therefore proposed that, in order to decide which
candidate had least support, all expressed preferences should be
counted. This involved such enormous complication that in the 1861
edition of his work he abandoned the process of elimination altogether
in favour of a process of selection. He then proposed to distribute
surplus votes only, and to elect the highest of the remainder,
regardless of the fact that they had less than a quota. He then
wrote:--"The reduction of the number of candidates remaining at this
stage of the election may be effected by taking out the names of all
those who have the smallest number of actual votes--that is, who are
named at the _head_ of the smallest number of voting papers, and
appropriating each vote to the candidate standing _next_ in order on
each paper. This process would be so arbitrary and inequitable in its
operation as to be intolerable. It might have the effect of cancelling
step by step more votes given to one candidate than would be sufficient
to return another.... Such a process disregards the legitimate rights
both of electors and of candidates." But the process of selection was
not proportional representation at all, being practically equivalent to
a single untransferable vote, and Mr. Hare finally adopted, in spite of
its defects, the "arbitrary and inequitable" process of elimination in
his last edition in 1873. And all his recent disciples have been forced
to do the same, because nothing better is known.

Mr. Hare's scheme has ceased to be of any practical interest, since it
is now generally admitted that electorates should not return more than
ten or twenty members. Moreover, it is admitted that the electors would
group themselves in very undesirable ways, and not as Mr. Hare expected.
And yet the only effect of limiting the size of the electorates is to
reduce the number of undesirable ways in which electors might group
themselves. Let us briefly note the different proposals which have been

+1. Sir John Lubbock's Method.+--In his work on "Representation," Sir
John Lubbock says:--"The full advantage of the single transferable vote
would require a system of large constituencies returning three or five
members each, thus securing a true representation of opinion."
Three-seat electorates are, however, too small to secure accurate
proportional representation; with parties evenly balanced, for instance,
one must secure twice as much representation as the other.

The following rules are given to explain the working of the system:--

(1) Each voter shall have one vote, but may vote in the alternative for
as many of the candidates as he pleases by writing the figures 1, 2, 3,
&c, opposite the names of those candidates in the order of his


(2) The ballot papers, having been all mixed, shall be drawn out in
succession and stamped with numbers so that no two shall bear the same

(3) The number obtained by dividing the whole number of good ballot
papers tendered at the election by the number of members to be elected
plus one, and increasing the quotient (or where it is fractional the
integral part of the quotient) by one, shall be called the quota.

(4) Every candidate who has a number of first votes equal to or greater
than the quota shall be declared elected, and so many of the ballot
papers containing those votes as shall be equal in number to the quota
(being those stamped with the lowest numerals) shall be set aside as of
no further use. On all ballot papers the name of the elected candidate
shall be deemed to be cancelled, with the effect of raising by so much
in the order of preference all votes given to other candidates after
him. This process shall be repeated until no candidate has more than a
quota of first votes or votes deemed first.

(5) Then the candidate or candidates having the fewest first votes, or
votes deemed first, shall be declared not to be elected, with the effect
of raising by so much in the order of preference all votes given to
candidates after him or them, and rule 4 shall be again applied if

(6) When by successive applications of rules 4 and 5 the number of
candidates is reduced to the number of members remaining to be elected,
the remaining candidates shall be declared elected.

Objection is commonly taken to this method on account of the element of
chance involved in the distribution of surplus votes. Suppose the quota
to be 1,000, and a candidate to receive 1,100 votes, the 100 votes to be
transferred would be those stamped with the highest numerals. But if the
hundred stamped with the lowest numerals or any other hundred had been
taken the second choices would be different.

Strictly speaking, however, this is not a chance selection--it is an
arbitrary selection. The returning officer must transfer certain
definite papers; if he were allowed to make a chance selection it would
be in his power to favour some of the candidates.

Sir John Lubbock points out that the element of chance might be
eliminated by distributing the second votes proportionally to the second
choices on the whole 1,100 papers, and that it might be desirable to
leave any candidate the right to claim that this should be done if he
thought it worth while.

+2.--The Hare-Clark Method.+--The Hare system has been in actual use in
Tasmania for the last two elections. It is applied only in a six-seat
electorate at Hobart and a four-seat electorate at Launceston. The rules
for distributing surplus votes proportionally were drawn up by Mr. A.I.
Clark, late Attorney-General. The problem is not so simple as it appears
at first sight. There is no difficulty with a surplus on the first
count; it is when surpluses are created in subsequent counts by
transferred votes that the conditions become complicated. Mr. Clark
adopts a rule that in the latter case the transferred papers only are to
be taken into account in deciding the proportional distribution of the
surplus. Suppose, as before, the quota to be 1,000 votes, and a
candidate to have 1,100 votes, 550 of which are marked in the second
place to one of the other candidates. Then the latter is entitled to 50
of the surplus votes, and a chance selection is made of the 550 papers.
The element of chance still remains, therefore, if this surplus
contributes to a fresh surplus.

+3.--The Droop-Gregory Method.+--This method, advocated by Professor
Nanson, of the Melbourne University, is claimed to entirely eliminate
the element of chance. The Gregory plan of transferring surplus votes is
defined as a fractional method. If a candidate needs only nine-tenths of
his votes to make up his quota, instead of distributing the surplus of
one-tenth of the papers all the papers are distributed with one-tenth of
their value. Reverting to our former example, if a candidate is marked
second on 550 out of 1,100 votes, the quota being 1,000 and the surplus
100, then instead of selecting 50 out of the 550 papers, the whole of
them would be transferred in a packet, the value of the packet being 50
votes, or, as Professor Nanson prefers to put it, the value of each
paper in the packet being one-eleventh of a vote. Should this packet
contribute to a new surplus the third choices on the whole of the papers
are available as a basis for the redistribution. The packet would be
divided into smaller packets, and each assigned its reduced value. It
might here be pointed out that the use of fractions is quite
unnecessary, the value of each packet in votes being all that is
required, and that the-same process may be used with the Hare-Clark
method to avoid the chance selection of papers. The only real
difference is this: that when a surplus is created by transferred votes
Mr. Clark distributes it by reference to the next preference on all the
transferred papers, and Professor Nanson by reference to the last packet
of transferred papers only--the packet which raises the candidate above
the quota.

Which of these methods is correct? Should we select the surplus from all
votes, original and transferred, as Sir John Lubbock proposes; from all
transferred votes only, with Mr. Clark; or from the last packet only of
transferred votes, with Professor Nanson? Consider a group of electors
having somewhat more than a quota of votes at its disposal. If it
nominates one candidate only every one of the electors will have a voice
in the distribution of the surplus, but if it puts up three candidates,
two of whom are excluded and the third elected, Mr. Clark would allow
those who supported the two excluded candidates to decide the
distribution of the surplus, and Professor Nanson only those who
supported the last candidate excluded. Both are clearly wrong, for the
only rational view to take is that when a candidate is excluded it is
the same as if he had never been nominated and the transferred votes had
formed part of the original votes of those to whom they are transferred.
Whenever a surplus is created it should therefore be distributed by
reference to all votes, original and transferred. As regards these
surpluses, Mr. Clark and Professor Nanson have adopted an arbitrary
basis, which is no more than Sir John Lubbock has done; and they have
therefore eliminated the element of chance only for surpluses on the
first count. It may be asked, Why cannot all surpluses be distributed by
reference to all the papers, if that is the correct method? The answer
is that the complication involved is enormous. Yet this was the plan
first advocated by Professor Nanson, who wrote, in reply to a definite
inquiry how the Gregory principle was applied:--"I explain by an
example. A has 2,000 votes, the quota being 1,000. A then requires only
half the value of each vote cast for him. Each paper cast for him is
then stamped as having lost one-half of its value, and the whole of A's
papers are then transferred with diminished value to the second name
(unelected, of course). The same principle applies all through. Whenever
anyone has a surplus all the papers are passed to the next man with
diminished value." Now, the effect of this extraordinary proposal would
be that the whole of the papers would have to be kept in circulation
till the last candidate was elected, with diminishing compound
fractional values. In a ten-seat electorate a large proportion would
pass through several transfers, and would towards the end of the count
have such a ridiculously small fractional value that it would take
several millions of the ballot-papers to make a single vote! It is no
wonder that this method was abandoned when the complications to which
it would lead were realized.

A simple method of avoiding this complexity would be to treat
transferred surplus papers as if the preferences were exhausted. It must
be remembered that in all transfers a certain number of papers are lost
owing to the preferences being exhausted, and the additional loss would
be small. Thus at the first Hobart election 206 votes were wasted, and
this number would have been increased by two only. Every surplus would
then be transferred by reference to the next choice, wherever expressed,
on both original papers and papers transferred from excluded candidates.

It might be provided, however, for greater accuracy that all papers
contributing to surpluses on the first count only should be transferred
in packets. Should these contribute to a new surplus, it should be
divided into two parts, proportional to (1) original votes and votes
transferred from excluded candidates, and (2) the value of the packet in
votes. Each part would then be distributed proportionally to the next
available preferences wherever expressed. To divide the packets into
sub-packets is a useless complication. The loss involved in neglecting
them would usually be less than one-thousandth part of the loss due to
exhausted papers.

Having now dealt with the main features of the different variations of
the Hare system, we may proceed to consider some details which are
common to all of them. A difference of opinion exists, however, as
regards the quota. Sir John Lubbock and Professor Nanson advocate the
Droop quota, which we have shown to be a mathematical error; Miss Spence
and Mr. Clark use the correct quota.

+The Wrong Candidates are Liable to be Elected.+--The Hare system may be
criticised from two points of view; first, as applied to the conditions
prevailing when it is introduced, and, secondly, as regards the new
conditions it would bring about. Its advocates confine themselves to the
first point of view, and invariably use illustrations based on the
existence of parties.

We readily grant that if the electors vote on party lines, and transfer
their votes within the party as assumed, the Hare system would give
proportional representation to the parties; but even then it would
sacrifice the interests of individual candidates, for it affords no
guarantee that the right candidates will be elected. The constant
tendency is that favourites of factions within the party will be
preferred to general favourites. This at the same time destroys party
cohesion, and tends to split up parties. Nor can this result be wondered
at, since the very foundation of the system is the separate
representation of a number of sections.

One reason why the wrong candidates are liable to be elected is that the
electors will not record their honest preferences if the one vote only
is effective. They will give their vote to the candidate who is thought
to need it most, and the best men will go to the wall because they are
thought to be safe. Mr. R.M. Johnston, Government Statistician of
Tasmania, confirms this view when he declares--"The aggregate of all
counts, whether effective or not, would seem to be the truer index of
the general favour in which each candidate stands, because the numbers
polled at the first count may be greatly disturbed by the action of
those who are interested in the success of two or more favourites who
may be pretty well assured of success, but whose order of preference
might by some be altered if sudden rumour suggested fears for any one of
the favoured group. This accidental action would tend to conceal the
true exact measure of favour in the first count." If this statement
means anything it is that the three preferences which are required to be
expressed should have been all counted as effective votes at the Hobart
election instead of one only; and this is exactly what we advocate. It
is also admitted that when two candidates ran together at the first
Launceston election the more popular candidate was defeated; and again
the _Argus_ correspondent writes of the recent Hobart election:--"The
defeat of Mr. Nicholls was doubtless due to the fact of his supporters'
over-confidence--nothing else explains it. Many people gave him No. 2
votes who would have given him No. 1 votes had they not felt assured of
his success."

A second reason why the wrong candidates are liable to be elected is
that the process of elimination adopted by all the Hare methods has no
mathematical justification. The candidate who is first excluded has one
preference only taken account of, while others have many preferences
given effect to. We have shown that this glaring injustice was
recognized by Mr. Hare, and only adopted as a last resort. Professor
Nanson admits that "the process of elimination which has been adopted by
all the exponents of Hare's system is not satisfactory," and adds--"I do
not know a scientific solution of the difficulty." To bring home the
inequity of the process, consider a party which nominates six
candidates, A, B, C, D, E, and F, and whose numbers entitle it to three
seats, and suppose the electors to vote in the proportions and order
shown below on the first count.

           FIRST     SECOND    THIRD    FOURTH
           COUNT.    COUNT.    COUNT.   COUNT.
7-vote     ADEFBC    ADEBC     AEBC     ABC
6-vote     EFDACB    EDACB     EACB     ACB
5-vote     CEBDFA    CEBDA     CEBA     CBA
4-vote     BDFACE    BDACE     BACE     BAC
4-vote     DCEFBA    DCEBA     CEBA     CBA
3-vote     FBAECD    BAECD     BAEC     BAC

It will be noted that F, having fewest first votes, is eliminated from
the second count, D from the third count, and E from the fourth. A has
then 13 votes, B 7, and C 9. If the quota be 9 votes, A's surplus would
be passed on to B, and A, B, and C would be declared elected. But D, E,
and F are the candidates most in general favour, and ought to have been
elected. For if any one of the rejected candidates be compared with any
one of the successful candidates it will be found that in every case the
rejected candidate is higher in order of favour on a majority of the
papers. Again, if the Block Vote be applied, by counting three effective
votes, the result would be--A 10 votes, B 12, C 9, D 21, E 22, and F 13.
D, E, and F would therefore be elected. Thus we see that A, B, and C,
the favourites of sections within the party, are elected, and D, E, and
F, the candidates most in general favour--those who represent a
compromise among the sections--are rejected.

In practice, then, the Hare system discourages compromise among parties,
and among sections of parties; and therefore tends to obliterate party
lines. This has already happened in Tasmania, where all experience goes
to show that the Hare system is equivalent to compulsory plumping. In
every election the result would have been exactly the same if each
elector voted for one candidate only. The theory that it does not matter
how many candidates stand for each party, since votes will be
transferred within the party, has been completely disproved. Votes are
actually transferred almost indiscriminately. The candidates have not
been slow to grasp this fact, and at the last election handbills were
distributed giving "explicit reasons why the electors should give their
No. 1 to Mr. So-and-so, and their No. 2 to any other person they
chose."[7] Three out of every four first preferences are found to be
effective, but only one out of every five second preferences, and one
out of fifty third preferences. The first preferences, therefore, decide
the election.

The actual result is that, in the long run, the Hare system is
practically the same as the single untransferable vote. The whole of the
elaborate machinery for recording preferences and transferring votes
might just as well be entirely dispensed with. The "automatic
organization" which it was to provide exists only in the calculations of

+A Number of Votes are Wasted.+--It is claimed for the Hare system that
every vote cast is effective, because it counts for some one candidate.
But unless every elector places all the candidates in order of
preference some votes are wasted because the preferences become

When a paper to be transferred has no further available preferences
expressed it is lost. In order to reduce this waste, a vote is held to
be informal in the six-seat electorate at Hobart unless at least three
preferences are given. Notwithstanding this, the number of such votes
wasted was 7 per cent, at the first election and 10 per cent, at the

The effect of this waste is that some of the candidates are elected
with less than the quota. At the last Hobart election only three out of
six members were elected on full quotas, and at Launceston only one out
of four. The result is to favour small, compact minorities, and to lead
sections to scheme to get representation on the lowest possible terms.

The Droop quota, being smaller than the Tasmanian quota, would have the
effect of electing more members on full quotas, and it is often
recommended on that account. Indeed, Professor Nanson declares:--"In no
circumstances is any candidate elected on less than a quota of votes.
The seats for which a quota has not been obtained are filled one after
the other, each by a candidate elected by an absolute majority of the
whole of the voters. For the seats to be filled in this way all
candidates as yet unelected enter into competition. The matter is
settled by a reference to the whole of the voting papers. If any
unelected candidate now stands first on an absolute majority of all
these papers he is elected. But if not, then the weeding-out process is
applied until an absolute majority is obtained. The candidate who gets
the absolute majority is elected. Should there be another seat, the same
process is repeated. If an absolute majority of the whole of the voters
cannot be obtained for any candidate, then the candidate who comes
nearest to the absolute majority is elected." It will be seen that
Professor Nanson proposes to bring to life again all the eliminated
candidates, in order to compete against those who have less than the
quota. The proportional principle is then to be entirely abandoned, and
the seats practically given to the stronger party, although the minority
may be clearly entitled to them. The vaunted "one vote one value" is
also to be violated, because those who supported the elected candidates
are to have an equal voice with those still unrepresented. And finally,
the evil is not cured, it is only aggravated, if an eliminated candidate
is elected.

+The Hare System is not Preferential.+--The idea is sedulously fostered
that the Hare system is a form of preferential voting, and many people
are misled thereby. The act of voting is exalted into an end in itself.
The most elaborate provisions are now suggested by Professor Nanson to
allow the elector to express his opinion only as far as he likes. The
simple and practical method in use in Tasmania of requiring each elector
to place a definite number of candidates in order of preference is
denounced as an infringement of the elector's freedom. Why force him to
express preferences where he does not feel any? The Professor has
therefore invented "the principle of the bracket." If the elector cannot
discriminate between the merits of a number of candidates he may bracket
them all equal in order of favour. Indeed, where he does not indicate
any preference at all, the names unmarked are deemed equal. Therefore,
if he does not wish his vote transferred to any candidate, he must
strike out his name. It is pointed out that a ballot paper can thus be
used if there is any kind of preference expressed at all, and the risk
of informality is reduced to a minimum. All the bracket papers are to be
put into a separate parcel, and do not become "definite" till all the
candidates bracketed, except one, are either elected or rejected; the
vote is then transferred to that candidate. And as bracketed candidates
will occur in original papers, surplus papers, and excluded candidates'
papers at every stage of the count, the degree of complication in store
for the unhappy returning officer can be imagined.

The whole of these intricate provisions are founded on a patent fallacy.
Preferences are not expressed in the Hare system, as in true
preferential voting, that they may be given effect to in deciding the
election, but simply in order to allow the elector to say in advance to
whom he would wish his vote transferred if it cannot be used for his
first choice. The elector is allowed to express his opinion about a
number of candidates, certainly, but after being put to this trouble
only one of his preferences is used. And which one is used depends
entirely on the vagaries of the system. The principle of the bracket
illustrates this fact; if the elector has no preference the system
decides for him. If his first choice just receives the quota the other
preferences are not even looked at. Again, of all the electors who vote
for rejected candidates, those who are fortunate enough to vote for the
worst (who are first excluded) have their second or third preferences
given effect to, and few of their votes are wasted; but the votes of
those who support the best of them (who are last excluded) are either
wasted or given to their remote preferences. In Mr. Hare's original
scheme, for instance, the votes of the last 50 candidates excluded would
have been nearly all wasted, unless some hundreds of preferences were

Another claim on which great stress is laid is that by the process of
transferring votes every vote counts to some one candidate. This means
nothing more than that the votes of rejected candidates are transferred
to the successful candidates. Where is the necessity for this? So long
as each party secures its just share of representation and elects its
most favoured candidates, there is no advantage gained by transferring
the votes. Miss Spence even declares that "every Senator elected in this
way will represent an equal number of votes, and will rightly have equal
weight in the House. According to the block system, there is often a
wide disparity between the number of votes for the highest and the
lowest man elected." Surely the mere fact of transferring votes till
they are equally distributed does not make all the successful candidates
equally popular! On the contrary, it is very desirable to know which
candidates are most in favour with each party.

+Ballot Papers Must be Brought Together for Counting.+--This is a
practical objection to the Hare system, which puts it out of court for
large electorates. If the whole of Victoria were constituted one
electorate, as at the Federal Convention election, the transference of
votes could not be commenced till all the ballot papers had come in from
the remote parts of the colony, two or three weeks after the election.
On this point Professor Nanson writes:--"In an actual election in
Victoria this 'first state of the poll' could be arrived at with the
same rapidity as was the result of the recent poll on the Commonwealth
Bill. In both cases but one fact is to be gleaned from each voting
paper. The results from all parts of the colony would be posted in
Collins-street on election day. These results would show exactly how the
cat was going to jump. The final results as regards parties would be
obvious to all observers, although the result as regards individual
candidates would be far from clear. But this, although of vast
importance to the candidates themselves, would be a matter of small
concern to the great mass of the people." These remarks are based on the
assumption that the electors vote on strictly party lines, which a
reference to Tasmanian returns will show is not usually the case. Few
will be disposed to agree that a knowledge of the successful candidates
is a matter of small moment.


[7] _Hobart Mercury_



The _Liste Libre_, or Free List system, is a far simpler and more
practical method of proportional representation than the Hare system.
The distinctive feature is that it applies the proportional principle
not to individual candidates but to parties. But, like the Hare system,
it places no restriction on the number of parties. It is therefore
particularly adapted to the circumstances of the countries on the
Continent of Europe, which, having already a number of strong party
organizations, wish to retain them and to do justice to each.
Accordingly we find that nearly all experiments in proportional
representation to the present time have been confined to those

Perhaps the very earliest attempt to apply the proportional principle
was that of Mr. Thomas Gilpin, in a pamphlet, "On the Representation of
Minorities of Electors to act with the Majority in Elected Assemblies,"
published at Philadelphia in 1844. He proposed that electorates should
be enlarged, and that each party should nominate a list of candidates
equal to the number required to be elected, and should place them in
order of preference. Each elector could then vote for one of these
lists; and each party would be allotted a number of representatives
proportional to the amount of support it received. The highest on each
list, to the number allotted, would be elected. It will be seen that
this is really a system of double election; for the order of favour of
the candidates of any party would have to be decided before the
nominations were made.

Only two years afterwards M. Victor Considerant published a similar
scheme at Geneva, Switzerland. Each elector was to vote first for a
party and then for any number of candidates on the party list whom he
preferred. The party votes were to decide the number of members allotted
to each list, and the individual votes the successful candidates.

The little republic of Switzerland has been the scene of nearly all
subsequent improvement. In 1867 Professor Ernest Naville founded the
_Association Réformiste_ at Geneva to advocate the principle of
proportional representation. In 1871 the Association adopted the _Liste
Libre_ system, invented by M. Borely, of Nimes, France, in which each
elector was to place all the candidates of his party in order of
preference. But as this allows the electors little direct influence on
their own candidates and none outside of them, a combination of the
cumulative vote and the _Liste Libre_ was adopted in 1875. Each elector
was to have as many votes as there were seats to be filled, but he
could not only give them to any candidates on any list, but he could
also give as many votes as he liked to any one candidate. Thus if there
were ten seats to be filled the elector could give ten votes to one
candidate, or one vote to each of ten candidates, or five votes to one
candidate and divide the remaining five among others, and so on. The
only condition necessary was that his votes added up to ten. The
aggregate votes given to all the candidates of each party were then to
be taken as the basis of proportional distribution among the parties and
the highest on each list to the number decided were to be elected.

It was not till the year 1890 that this scheme was actually put into
practice. The election of 1889 had resulted so unjustly to the Liberal
party in the canton of Ticino that an insurrection broke out. This
forced the hand of the Federal Government, which had to quell the
disturbance, and proportional representation was recommended and
adopted. Several other cantons followed suit, and it is expected that
the whole of Switzerland will soon adopt the reform.

A modification of this plan has lately been adopted by the Swiss
Association. In this later plan electors can give a single vote only to
individual candidates, but if they do not use all their votes in this
way they may cumulate the balance on any one party list by marking at
the head of the list. Thus if the elector in a ten-seat electorate gives
five votes to individual candidates, and places a mark at the head of
one of the lists, the balance of five votes will count to that list. The
aggregate votes given to individual candidates on any list, plus the
votes placed at the head of the list, will form the basis of
proportional distribution among the lists. This is the plan adopted by
the American Proportional Representation League as most nearly suited to
American habits, and recommended by Professor Commons in his book on
"Proportional Representation."

Belgium has also quite recently adopted a scheme of proportional
representation. As in Switzerland, its advent was hastened by political
disturbances. The Catholic party, not satisfied with exerting a
preponderating influence in the country districts, wished to obtain also
its proportionate share of representation in the cities, and proposed a
scheme of proportional representation for them only. This caused such
ill feeling that riots took place in the streets of Brussels. Finally,
proportional representation was promised all round, and became law for
both the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate at the latter end of
1899. In Brussels, where there are 18 seats to be filled, a trial
election had already been held in 1893 with satisfactory results. Six
lists were nominated, the largest being that of the Socialists, who
nominated ten candidates; and over 12,000 electors voted. Each elector
was allowed 18 votes, and the methods in which he could distribute them
were somewhat complicated. He might (1) mark at the head of a list, (2)
mark at the head of a list and also opposite one or more candidates on
the same list, (3) mark opposite the names of not more than 18
candidates on any list. In the first case his 18 votes counted to the
list marked, in the second case one vote was counted to each of the
individual candidates marked and the balance counted for the list; in
the third case one vote was counted to each candidate marked. The
aggregate of votes marked at the head of each list, plus the individual
votes on the list, was then taken as the basis of proportional
distribution. So many of the votes were cumulated on lists that only
about one-fifth of the votes cast were operative in the selection of

In the bill which has recently become law a new method has therefore
been adopted, which gives more power to the party committees, but allows
the electors to modify their choice. For this purpose the party
organization nominates the candidates in order of preference. The
elector may then accept this order by marking at the head of the list,
or he may give his vote to any one candidate on the list. If all the
electors of a party vote in the first way, those nominated highest on
the list, to the number to which the party becomes entitled, are
elected. But if all the electors vote in the second way, those with the
highest single votes are elected. The actual result will usually be a
compromise between the two, and it is evidently the interest of the
party organization to place the candidates in their real order of
favour, in order that the electors may accept the list. For if an
unpopular candidate were placed at the head of the list few would accept

The first election under this system has just taken place, and the
result was, as expected, to reduce the Clerical representation

In all the above variations of the Free List system the distribution of
seats is effected by dividing the aggregate votes polled by each party
by a unit of representation, but three different methods of determining
this unit are in use. The first is obtained by simply dividing the total
number of votes by the number of seats.

The objection to this unit is that when there are several parties, part
of the seats only can be allotted on full units, and the rest have to be
allotted to those parties which have the highest remainders or fractions
of a unit, and this unduly favours small parties, who do not poll even a
single unit. The rule to divide the total votes by the number of seats
increased by one, which was first proposed by Mr. H.R. Droop, reduces
slightly the number of seats allotted on remainders, and was adopted by
the canton of Soluthern in 1895. In Belgium a third plan, devised by
Professor D'Hondt, of Brussels, is used, which is designed to prevent
any seats being allotted on remainders. This unit is evidently smaller
than either of the others, and is to be found by trial. It is only
necessary that the sum of the quotients obtained by dividing it into
each of the lists shall be equal to the number of seats to be filled.

Suppose a five-seat electorate in which 6,000 votes are divided among
four parties, who poll 2,500, 1,850, 900, and 750 votes respectively.
Then if we take one-fifth, or 1,200 votes, as the unit, the result would
be the following:--

(1) 2,500 = 2 units of representation + 100 remainder = 2 seats.

(2) 1,850 = 1 unit of representation + 650 remainder = 1 seat.

(3) 900 = unit of representation + 900 remainder = 1 seat.

(4) 750 = unit of representation + 750 remainder = 1 seat.

If the Droop unit of one-sixth, or 1,000 votes, be used, the result will
be different:--

(1) 2,500 = 2 units of representation + 500 remainder = 2 seats.

(2) 1,850 = 1 unit of representation + 850 remainder = 2 seats.

(3) 900 = unit of representation + 900 remainder = 1 seat.

(4) 750 = unit of representation + 750 remainder = seat.

By the third method any number of votes between 834 and 900 will be
found to comply with Professor D'Hondt's condition, and the result
would, in this instance, be the same as by the Droop method. Although
the highest number was at first used, the lower limit has been adopted
in the new bill.

In no case can the proportional distribution be considered satisfactory.
If the electorates are small, and the number of parties large, accurate
proportional representation is quite out of the question. In
Switzerland, however, the electorates are made to contain sometimes as
many as 30 seats. The effect of such large electorates must be in time
to encourage the formation of a great number of small factions. At the
same time there is not so much incentive to split up the parties as by
the Hare system.

Passing now to the selection of party candidates, none of the methods
can be said to ensure the election of those most in general favour. When
electors are allowed to cumulate on individual candidates, the
favourites of sections within the party will be elected. If, on the
other hand, they are allowed to cumulate on party lists, all votes thus
given are ineffective in the selection of the successful candidates. It
may be noted that although the nomination of candidates in lists by
party organizations is less in accordance with the practice of British
countries than the individual candidature of the Hare system, there is
nothing to prevent one candidate being nominated to stand in the place
of a party.

A word of warning must be added as to the danger of holding up Belgium
and Switzerland as examples of true electoral justice to Australia. The
direct government of the people which Switzerland has adopted bears not
the slightest resemblance to the representative institutions of British
countries. Both the referendum and proportional delegation are suited to
direct government and are destructive to party responsible government.
The Swiss adopted the referendum to save themselves from the lobbying
and plutocratic character of their legislatures. The initiative and
proportional delegation have followed because they are complementary
reforms. The consequence is that the legislators have been degraded to
mere agents for drawing up measures, and leadership has been transferred
to the press. It is the peculiar conditions of Switzerland which enable
it to tolerate unrestrained majority rule. It is a small country,
surrounded by powerful neighbours, whose strength lies in its weakness.
Moreover, the people are very conservative. In Zurich, for instance,
which is largely devoted to manufactures, a proposal to limit the hours
of work in factories to twelve hours a day was rejected by the people.
Nor is direct government proving a success; the tyranny of the majority
is already apparent. The first federal initiative demanded a measure to
prevent the slaughter of animals by bleeding, designed to interfere
with the religious rites of the Jews. Despite the fact that it was
opposed by the Federal Council, as contrary to the right of religious
liberty guaranteed by the Constitution, it was carried by the
referendum. Belgium, again, can hardly be taken as a model of
constitutional liberty. Surely we in Australia do not want the factious
strife of religious, racial, and class sections, which so nearly brought
on a revolution last year. Yet this is exactly what proportional
delegation to sections would bring about. Belgium has a hard task to
reconcile two races so differently constituted as the Walloons and
Flemings, and has been able to avoid instability of the ministry so far
only because the Clerical party, which is mostly Flemish, still has a
majority. The new system has only consecrated the sectional principle,
and will do nothing to restore harmony.



+Preferential Voting.+--Laplace, the great mathematician, to whom we owe
so much of the theory of probability, showed more than a century ago
that although individual electors may have very different views as to
the relative merits of a number of candidates for any office, still the
expression of the degree of favour in which the candidates are held by
the whole body of electors will be the same if each elector be assumed
to have a uniform gradation of preference. Suppose that there are ten
candidates, and it is required to place them in order of general favour.
Each elector should be required to place the whole ten in the order of
his preference, 1, 2, 3, &c. Let the maximum degree of merit be denoted
by ten marks, so that every first preference will count as ten marks.
Then, although an individual elector might be disposed to give his
second preference only five marks, and the rest of his preferences, say,
two marks, Laplace demonstrated that it is most probable that the total
result would be the same if each elector be assumed to give his second
preference nine marks, his third preference eight marks, and so on.
Therefore, if all first preferences be multiplied by ten, second
preferences by nine, and so on in regular order down to last preferences
multiplied by one, the total number of marks will be an index of the
order in general favour. If there is one office to be filled, the
candidate with the highest number of marks should be elected; if there
are two offices, the two highest candidates, and so on.

But the assumed condition must be rigidly complied with; each elector
must express his honest preferences. Whether he will do so or not
depends upon the circumstances. Laplace recognized this element of human
nature, and declared that if electors are swayed by other considerations
independent of the merit of the candidates the system would not apply.
For instance, if the candidates are the nominees of a number of
independent sections, each of which is anxious only to secure the return
of its own candidate, and to defeat those who stand most in his way, the
tendency will be general to place the more popular candidates, those
whose success is most feared, at the bottom of the list, so as to give
them as few marks as possible. The result would be to favour mediocre
men, or even in extreme cases the most inferior.

Practically, therefore, the system is not applicable where any of the
electors are personally interested in the result. If a number of judges
were called on to decide the relative merits of several essays or prize
designs, and the competitors' names were not known to them, the system
might be used. But even in such a case a simpler method is available;
for, although it may be difficult to pick out the best, it is generally
easy to agree upon the worst. It is usual, then, to gradually eliminate
the worst, and when the number is reduced to two to take the decision of
the majority.

This process of elimination may be, however, combined with the
preferential system, and the result is more accurate than if one count
only be made. At the first count the candidate with the fewest marks
would be eliminated and his name struck out on all the papers. All those
under him on each paper would then go up one point in order of favour,
and further counts would be held, eliminating the lowest candidate each
time till the candidates were reduced to the number desired. This method
is very complicated, and involves a great amount of trouble.

Consider now the case of a voluntary association of individuals, such as
a club or society; and suppose that it is required to elect a president
or committee. The condition is clearly that he or they should be most in
general favour with all the members; and the question whether
Preferential Voting is applicable will depend on how united the members
are. Now, clubs are not usually, nor should they be, divided into
cliques or parties; indeed, if a serious split does take place it
generally results in the resignation of part of the club and the
formation of a separate organization. But in a live club it is
impossible to prevent slight differences of opinion; and an
officer-bearer who has the interests of the club at heart must often
offend small sections who want to exert undue influence. In an election
for president this office-bearer would stand no chance of election if
there are several candidates and any small section likes to put him at
the bottom of the list, so as to give him as many bad marks as possible.
This is the weak point in Preferential Voting; any small section can
ensure the rejection of a general favourite. The greater the number of
candidates the smaller the minority which is able to do this; dummy
candidates may therefore be introduced to make it more certain. The risk
would, however, be very much lessened if the process of gradual
elimination we have described were adopted.

When we come to the election of representatives to a legislature it is
evident at once that Preferential Voting is not applicable at all. We
have shown that the true condition required is not the return of
candidates most in general favour with both parties, but the return of
the candidates most in general favour with each party separately.
Preferential Voting would therefore only be applicable if the electors
of each party voted separately for its own candidates; and even then it
would be open to the objection we have already urged. If it were applied
to the two parties voting together the electors would certainly not be
influenced only by the merit of the candidates. They might record their
honest preferences as regards the candidates of their own party, but
they would naturally place the candidates of the opposing party in
inverse order of merit. The candidates most in general favour would be
those who represented neither party. Suppose there are three candidates
for a single seat, two representing large parties of 49 per cent, each,
and the third a small party of 2 per cent. The electors of the large
parties would be more afraid of one another than of the small party, and
would give their second preferences to its candidate. This candidate,
representing one-fiftieth of the electors, would then actually be
elected; he would receive 202 marks, and neither of the others could
possibly secure more than 200. Moreover, he would still be elected if
the process of elimination were adopted, since on the second count he
would beat either of the other candidates separately by 51 votes to 49.

These plain facts are indisputable. What is to be thought, then, of the
claim made by Professor Nanson that Preferential Voting, with the
process of elimination, is the most perfect system known for
single-membered electorates.

+The Block Vote.+--The Block Vote, General Ticket, or _scrutin de
liste_, is in general use when there is more than one seat to be filled.
Each elector has as many votes as there are members to be elected, and
the highest on the list, to the number of representatives required, are
successful. Dealing first with elections to a legislative body, the
system is eminently unjust to parties. A rigid control of nominations is
necessary in the first place, because any party which splits up its
votes spoils its chance. Each party will therefore nominate only as many
candidates as there are seats, and the stronger of two parties, or the
strongest of a number of parties, will elect the entire list. A minority
might in the latter case secure all the representation, but the
practical effect of the Block Vote is to force the electors to group
themselves into two parties only. It therefore has the same beneficial
effect as the single electorate of confining representation to the two
main parties. This is apparently nob recognized by Professor Nanson, who
writes, in his pamphlet on the Hare system:--"Contrast with this the
results of the Block system. With strict party voting, which has been
assumed throughout, each of the five parties would put forward seven
candidates. The seven seats would all be secured by Form, with 44 votes
out of a total of 125, and the remaining 81, or more than two-thirds of
the voters, would be wholly unrepresented." Does the Professor really
think that the 81 (who, by the way, are _less_ than two-thirds) would be
so foolish as not to combine and secure all the seats?

The exclusion of the minority in a single-membered electorate excites
only a feeling of hopelessness, but when it fails to secure a single
representative in an electorate returning several members, a spirit of
rankling injustice is aroused. The Block Vote has, therefore, never been
tolerated for long in large electorates. In the early history of the
United States many of the States adopted it, and sent to Congress a
solid delegation of one party or the other. This proved so unjust, and
operated so adversely to the federal spirit in promoting combinations of
States, that Congress, in 1842, made the single-membered electorate
obligatory on all the States.

In France it was adopted at the election for the Chamber of Deputies in
1885. The result as regards parties was about as good as with the single
electorate system. The Republicans and Conservative-Monarchists, whose
numbers entitled them to 311 and 257 seats respectively, actually
secured 366 and 202. But it was abandoned after a trial at this one

The Block Vote was adopted in Australia for the election of ten
delegates from each colony to the Federal Convention. This was a work in
which all parties might fairly have joined together; and in most
colonies the people did select the best men, regardless of party. In
Victoria, however, the newspapers took on the _rôle_ of the "machine,"
and the ten candidates nominated by the _Age_ were elected. Many of the
supporters of the defeated candidates voted for some on the successful
list who just defeated their own favourites. Had this been foreseen they
would have thrown away these votes by giving them to those sure to be
elected or to those least likely to be elected. The injustice of forcing
each elector to vote for the whole ten is thus brought home. We are now
threatened with the adoption of the Block Vote for the Federal Senate,
and in some of the States for the House of Representatives as well; and
it is in the hope of preventing this wrong that the present book is

So far we have been considering the Block Vote as applied to the
election of a legislature with two or more parties; we now propose to
consider it as applied to one party only. It is a matter of common
knowledge that the Block Vote, when used for such an election as that of
the committee of a club, works very well, and results in the return of
the candidates most in general favour with all sections. The reason is,
of course, that all sections work together, and members vote for the
best men, regardless of sectional lines. We will go further and say that
the Block Vote is by far the best method for such purposes, and is
superior even to Preferential Voting. In the first place it is free from
the defect that a small section can ensure the rejection of a general
favourite; and in the second place it rests on at least as secure a
theoretical basis. To fix our ideas, suppose there are ten candidates
for five members of a committee. Laplace assumed (1) that each member
would have a knowledge of the merits of all the ten candidates, (2) that
his estimate of the respective candidates would vary arbitrarily
between nothing and a maximum degree of merit, (3) that each member
would express his honest preferences. The Block Vote, on the other hand,
assumes (1) that each member can pick out the five best candidates, and
therefore express his opinion as to how the committee should be
constituted, (2) that he will be inclined to place these five candidates
on one plane of favour and the other five on one plane of non-favour. We
submit that the latter assumptions agree more closely with the actual
state of affairs. The members can distinguish between candidates who
have merit and those who have no merit or of whose merit they are
ignorant; to force them, therefore, to place all the candidates in order
of preference is to make them express preferences where none exist.[8]
On the whole, then, the Block Vote is more likely to place the
candidates in their real order of favour.

But some reservation must be made. The Block Vote works best when the
number of candidates does not exceed two or three times the number of
vacancies. Suppose, first, that the candidates present in the final
result a fairly regular order of favour from lowest to highest. Each of
the successful candidates will then be supported by at least an absolute
majority of the members, providing the number of candidates be not
greater than twice the number of vacancies. But if there are four or
five times as many candidates as vacancies, none of the successful
candidates will have the support of a majority of the members. On the
other hand, however, the candidates do not usually present a regular
order of favour from lowest to highest when there are a large number of
candidates, for there may be a long "tail" of candidates who receive
very few votes. The following general rule may therefore be laid
down:--The Block Vote works best when the total votes given to rejected
candidates do not exceed the total votes given to successful candidates.

The difficulties indicated above were met by the Australian Natives'
Association by a plan which provided that no candidate should be elected
except by an absolute majority of the voters. The Block Vote is used
throughout; and if at the first ballot the required number of candidates
do not obtain an absolute majority a second ballot is held, from which
those at the bottom of the poll and those who have been elected are
eliminated. This process is continued till all the vacancies are filled.
Four or five ballots are sometimes required, and the proceedings become
very irksome. A sub-committee was recently appointed to investigate the
subject, and reported in favour of the Preferential System with one
count only. The process of elimination was considered too complicated to
be practicable. Now, the conditions presented by these elections, in
which a very large number of candidates are generally nominated, are
precisely those in which Preferential Voting lends itself most easily to
abuse. An insignificant minority may defeat a candidate who should be
elected, by placing him at the bottom of their lists.

A variation of the Block Vote may be suggested which is much simpler and
better. The preferential ballot papers should be used, and two counts
should be made. At the first count the primary half of the preferences
should be counted as effective votes, and the candidates should be
reduced to twice the number of vacancies. A second count should then be
made of the ballot papers, using the Block Vote. All or nearly all the
candidates would then obtain an absolute majority, and it is practically
impossible that any candidate should be eliminated by the first count
who would have had any chance of election in the second.

This plan is far superior to the original method. It is right that
members who vote for candidates who are hopelessly out of it should be
allowed to transfer their votes; but it is not right that members who
first help to elect some candidates at one ballot should have the same
voting power as others at subsequent ballots.

The Hare system is sometimes advocated for clubs on account of its
supposed just principle. Any live club which adopts it runs the risk of
disruption. It merely encourages the formation of cliques and sections;
any slight split would be accentuated and rendered permanent.

+The Limited Vote.+--The injustice of the Block Vote led to the
introduction of the Limited Vote, which allows the minority some share
of the representation. We have seen that the Block Vote forces each
party to try to return all the representation, and of course one party
only can succeed. But if neither party be forced to try to return more
than it is entitled to each party will get its correct share of
representation, providing both parties are equally organized. This leads
to the Limited Vote, in which each elector has a number of votes
somewhat less than the number of seats.

The Limited Vote was used in England for a number of three-seat
electorates, which were created by the Reform Bill of 1867, each elector
being allowed to vote for two candidates only. By this means the
majority would usually return two candidates and the minority one. Thus
the Limited Vote has the same advantage as the Block Vote and the single
electorate system, that it tends to confine representation to the two
main parties, but it creates an artificial proportion of representation
between them. Moreover, it renders strict party organization even more
necessary, since each party must arrange to use its voting resources to
the best advantage. Consider the three-seat electorate, for instance.
The minority will, if it is wise, nominate two candidates only; and the
majority may nominate either two or three. But if the majority does
divide its votes among three candidates it runs the risk of securing one
only. It can do so safely when two conditions are fulfilled: first, it
must be sure of polling more than three-fifths of the votes; and,
second, it must arrange to distribute all its votes equally among the
three candidates. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that the
Limited Vote was responsible for introducing "machine" tactics into
England. In Birmingham, when Mr. Joseph Chamberlain organized the
Liberals and succeeded in carrying all three seats, the electors in each
ward were directed how to vote so that as few votes as possible might be
wasted. These three-cornered constituencies were abolished by the
_Redistribution Act_ of 1884; and Sir John Lubbock, reviewing the
experiment, declared--"On the whole, it cannot be denied that under the
Limited Vote the views of the electors have been fairly represented."

The system has also been tried to a smaller extent in the United States.
In New York 32 of the delegates to a constitutional convention were
elected from the State polled as one electorate, each elector being
allowed to vote for 16 candidates. Both parties were afraid to split
their votes, and the result was that each returned 16. The rest of the
delegates were elected in single-membered electorates, and of these the
Republicans secured 81 and the Democrats 47. It might here be pointed
out that the Republicans might have secured more than 16 of the
delegates from the State at large if they had nominated 20 candidates
and allowed the laws of chance to regulate their organization. Each
elector might have been directed to put the twenty names into his hat,
and to reject the first four he pulled out. The same evil is apparent in
Boston, where twelve aldermen are elected at large, each elector being
allowed seven votes. Each party nominates seven candidates only; and the
majority invariably elects seven and the minority five.

The Limited Vote is therefore not a satisfactory solution of the problem
of representation. It gives an artificial instead of proportional
representation, and it necessitates strict party organization and
control of nominations. At the same time it will generally give a very
fair representation if parties are not strictly organized, and might
well have been adopted for the Federal Convention, five or six votes
being allowed instead of ten. Newspaper domination would thus have been

+Election of the Candidate Most in General Favour.+--It is often
required to ascertain the candidate most in general favour where one
party only is concerned, such as an election for leader of the
Opposition or president of a club; and the methods in general use are
very defective. We do not refer to the theoretical difficulty, which
perplexes some persons, of giving effect to the actual degree of favour
in which the candidates stand in the electors' minds, but to the simple
problem of finding out who is preferred most by the bulk of the
electors. Thus it is universally recognised that when two candidates
stand the candidate who has the support of an absolute majority of the
electors is entitled to election. Yet it is possible that the rejected
candidate may be nearly twice as popular. This might happen if the
majority held that there was little to choose between the two
candidates, while the minority thought they could not be compared. But
it is quite evident that such distinctions cannot be recognized; the
candidate who is preferred by an absolute majority must be elected. It
is when there are more than two candidates that the difficulty arises.
To elect the candidate who has most first preferences is open to very
serious objection; he may have a small minority of the total votes, and
each of the other candidates might be able to beat him single-handed.

The best way to overcome the difficulty is undoubtedly by some process
of gradually eliminating the least popular candidates till the number is
reduced to two; the candidate with the absolute majority is then
elected. We propose to consider the different ways in which elimination
might be made. We assume, in the first place, that each elector has cast
an advance vote--_i.e._, that he has placed all the candidates in order
of preference. The most primitive method is to eliminate at each
successive count the candidate who has least first preferences. This is
the method adopted in the Hare system, and we have already shown that
it is very defective; in fact, it is no improvement at all. The
eliminated candidate might be most in general favour, and might be able
to beat each of the other candidates single-handed. A second method is
to use Preferential Voting to decide which candidate should be
eliminated at each successive count. This is far superior, but it is
extremely complicated, and is open to the objection that when there are
a large number of candidates a small section may cause the rejection of
the general favourite. We propose to describe a method based on the
Block Vote which is much simpler, and which does not lend itself to
abuse. We have shown that the Block Vote works best when the candidates
can be divided into two equal sections of favour and non-favour. Suppose
there are four candidates, the first two preferences should therefore be
counted as effective votes, instead of the first preference only. The
eliminated candidate will then be the least in general favour. A second
count is then made of the three candidates left, and the first
preferences and half of the second preferences are counted as effective,
and the lowest again eliminated. The candidate who has an absolute
majority is then elected. The method may be indefinitely extended; if
there are five candidates the first two preferences and one-half of the
third preferences are counted, and so on. But when there are a great
many candidates more than one might be eliminated. Any number up to
eight could be safely reduced to four at the first count.


[8] The bracket principle introduced by Professor Nanson into the Hare
system involves a partial recognition of this fact.



+The Double Election.+--In the preceding chapter we have strongly
insisted that the different methods considered for ensuring the return
of the candidate acceptable to all sections are not applicable to the
election of legislators. The true principles of political representation
require, not the election of the candidate most in general favour with
both parties, but the election by each party separately of its own most
favoured candidates. But as it is impossible for both parties to be
represented in a single-membered electorate, the best alternative is
that both should contest the seat and one be represented. The present
system of election has largely tended to realize this alternative,
especially in those countries in which party government was strong, such
as England and the United States; and representation has in consequence
been confined to the two main parties. In England, where the party
system was gradually developed, this result was attained without any
rigid control of nominations, because the true party spirit prevailed
and personal ambition was subordinated to political principle; and in
the United States it was only brought about at the cost of "machine"
control of nominations. But on the Continent of Europe, where party
government was transplanted from England, it has never really taken
root. Each small group nominated its own candidates, and the successful
candidate represented only a plurality, and not a majority, of the
electors. Instead of a contest between two organized parties there was a
scramble among numerous factions.

In France, Belgium, Italy, and Germany an attempt has been made to check
this evil by the double election. If at the first election no candidate
secures an absolute majority of the votes, a second election is held,
for which only the two candidates who head the poll at the first
election are allowed to compete. One must then get an absolute majority.
The double election has undoubtedly tended to prevent a further
splitting up into groups, but the Continental countries offer such poor
soil for the growth of party government that it has only restricted the
contest to two factions in each electorate; and, of course, the dominant
factions are not the same in the various electorates.

+The Advance Vote.+--In Australia the same evil has become increasingly
evident, and it is now no uncommon thing for a candidate to be elected
by less than one-third or one-quarter of the total votes. In Queensland
a plan has been introduced to meet the evil, under the name of the
Advance Vote, which is designed to secure the advantages of the French
plan without the trouble and expense of a second election. The electors
simply declare in advance at the first election how they would vote at
the second election. All that is necessary is that they place the
candidates in order of preference, 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. Then, instead of
holding a second election between the two who have the greatest number
of first preferences, it is merely necessary for the returning officer
to consult each ballot paper and see which of these two candidates is
higher in order of favour. Thus if one is marked 3 and the other 4, the
vote is counted to the candidate marked 3. This device is assumed to
give exactly the same result as the French plan, providing only that the
same electors vote at both elections, and do not change their views
between the two elections.

But in reality it possesses hardly any of the advantages of the French
plan. It is another instance of the danger of neglecting the factor of
human nature. The French do not go to the trouble and expense of a
second election for nothing. Their plan is far the better. First of all,
consider the candidates. They know well beforehand that unless one of
them gets an absolute majority of the votes at the first election they
will be put to the expense and delay of a second election, therefore it
is to their interest that the number of candidates be restricted. This
tends to keep down the representation to two sections. Next, consider
the electors. They know also that unless they give a majority of votes
to one of the candidates they will be put to the trouble of voting a
second time, therefore they will take good care the votes are not split
up, even if the candidates wanted it. What is the result? Simply that in
the vast majority of cases one of the candidates gets a majority at the
first election, and no second election is necessary; and, most important
of all, the tendency to split up is counteracted.

Now take the Queensland system. None of these checks operate. The
splitting up into groups is actually encouraged, and it is to the
interest of each group to see as many more groups as possible formed, in
order to increase its own relative importance, for the delegates of the
two strongest groups have a chance of election instead of the strongest
group only.

In practice the plan threatens to break down, owing to a practical point
being overlooked. It is evident that the success of the Advance Vote
depends on the electors marking all the preferences. The ballot paper
should be made informal unless all the preferences are given. In
Queensland this has not been done, and the consequence is that a large
proportion of the electors refuse to give more than one preference. No
more conclusive evidence is needed that the scheme has promoted the
growth of factions. These electors voluntarily disfranchise themselves
rather than vote for any of the other candidates, and of course the very
object of the scheme is defeated; the successful candidate cannot secure
a majority of the votes cast.

+The Exhaustive Ballot.+--A bill has just been introduced into the
Legislative Assembly of Victoria, providing for a further extension of
the principle of the Advance Vote. The plan is favoured by Professor
Nanson, and professes to be an improvement on the Queensland plan,
although it is only an "instalment of reform" in view of the ultimate
adoption of the more perfect Preferential Voting. The Queensland plan is
objected to because all but the two highest candidates are thrown out.
Suppose, for instance, two candidates stand for the weaker party and
three for the stronger party, it is quite likely that all the candidates
of the stronger party will be thrown out. Therefore the lowest candidate
only of the five should be thrown out. All his papers should be
transferred to the candidate who is marked 2 on them; and those below
him on all the papers should go up one point in order of favour. If he
stood 3 on a paper, the candidate who was 4 would now become 3. Another
count of first preferences should then be made, and the lowest again
thrown out; and so on till one candidate gets an absolute majority. It
is pointed out triumphantly that this plan, which is known as the
Exhaustive Ballot, actually saves in this instance all the trouble and
expense of no less than three separate elections. The process of
elimination is the same as that adopted in the Hare system, and is
little, if at all, better than the Queensland plan in securing the
election of the right candidate, while as regards the formation of
groups it is worse. For this plan actually encourages the groups to
split up, since if one candidate nominated by a group is thrown out his
vote will be transferred to the others. Therefore the double election is
much better than either form of the Advance Vote. They would do nothing
towards restoring the one redeeming merit of the single electorate, of
confining representation to the two main parties. And all other
mathematical schemes founded on the _a priori_ assumption that the
candidate most favoured by all sections is entitled to the seat are just
as objectionable.

The conclusion that must be reached from all these considerations is
that, except when there is a single candidate standing in the interests
of each of the two main parties, it is impossible to say with the
present system who ought to be elected. The difficulty is one of
fundamental principle. The only way to do justice to both parties is to
enlarge the electorates so that each can get its proportionate share of
representation, and then to provide such machinery as will allow each
party separately to elect its most favoured candidates. In no other way
can the people be induced to organize into two coherent parties.



+Federal Legislatures.+--The keynote of the Australian Federal
Constitution, as expressed in the Commonwealth Bill, is full and
unreserved trust in the people. This is in direct contrast with the
American Constitution, which seeks to place checks on the people by
dividing power among the President, the Senate, and the House of
Representatives, and assigning to each separate functions. Do we fully
realize the dangers as well as the glorious possibilities of unfettered
action? Do we sufficiently feel the weight of the responsibility we have
undertaken? In reality we have declared to the world the fitness of the
Australian democracy to work a Constitution from which the most advanced
of the other nations would shrink! We do not hesitate to avow our firm
belief that there is only one thing that can save the situation. Unless
Australia is to show to the world a warning instead of an example, all
her energies must be bent on the formation of two coherent organized
parties, dividing each State on national issues, and competing for the
support of all classes and all interests in every electorate throughout
the Commonwealth.

That is the lesson we have endeavoured to inculcate throughout this
book, and we are tempted to quote in support of it the opinion of an
American author, Professor Paul S. Reinsch, in a work just published on
"World Politics." He says:--

     The political experience of the last two centuries has proved that
     free government and party government are almost convertible terms.
     It is still as true as when Burke wrote his famous defence of
     party, in his _Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents_,
     that, for the realization of political freedom, the organization of
     the electorate into regular and permanent parties is necessary.
     Parliamentary government has attained its highest success only in
     those countries where political power is held alternately by two
     great national parties. As soon as factional interests become
     predominant; as soon as the stability of government depends upon
     the artificial grouping of minor conflicting interests; as soon as
     the nation lacks the tonic effect of the mutual criticisms of great
     organizations, the highest form of free government becomes
     unattainable. (pp. 327, 328.)

The greatest strain on the Constitution will probably be felt at the
outset. Both people and politicians are suddenly called upon to rise to
a higher plane of political thought and action. The idea that each State
is to send representatives to fight for its own interests must first be
got rid of. The only way in which all interests can be reconciled is by
each State acting through the national parties. The greatest danger
which assails the Commonwealth is the risk of combinations of States
dominating party lines; and it is the more imminent that divergent
opinions between the larger and the smaller States were already apparent
at the Convention. The four smaller States, Western Australia, South
Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, with about one-third of the
population, will have two-thirds of the representation in the Senate;
while the two large States, Victoria and New South Wales, will have
about two-thirds of the representation in the House of Representatives.
At the Convention the fear was expressed that the former, representing a
majority of the States, and the latter, representing a majority of the
people, might come into conflict, and that a deadlock would ensue. It
was on this issue that the great struggle at the Convention took place,
resulting in the adoption of a double dissolution and a subsequent joint
sitting of the two Houses if necessary. By this machinery all disputes
will be finally settled. But what will happen if some of the States
consider themselves unjustly treated? Even apart from conflicts between
the two Houses, if only one State stood aloof from the main parties it
could paralyze government, just as Ireland did in the Imperial
Parliament. It is evident, then, that the very existence of the Union is
bound up in the immediate formation of national parties.

In the United States this lesson was not learned till the Civil War had
demonstrated the danger of combinations of States. Since then two great
parties have been maintained, even though their existence involves the
spoils system and machine organization. In Switzerland, too, the federal
tie was not drawn close till after the revolution in 1847, in which the
Catholic cantons attempted to secede.

Unfortunately, another cause of dissension menaces the Commonwealth. We
allude to the class representation which we have already animadverted
upon. The separate representation of sections or classes within the
States is just as much to be dreaded as the separate representation of
States, and bodes as much ill. It seems not unlikely that the fate of
the first Federal ministry will be in the hands of the Labour party,
which will be able to dictate its policy. It is utterly inconsistent
with the democratic theory that a small minority should have this power;
and it is to be hoped that in the wider field of federal politics its
true character will be recognized. It is only by the mutual action of
two great national parties that the true direction of progress, favoured
by the people, can be worked out; a small minority studying only its own
interests is sure to be a bad guide. A steady pressure maintained
through the two national parties will ensure the recognition of all just
demands; such extreme and ill-considered demands as that for the
initiative and national referendum can only provoke opposition and cause
reaction. Even those who sympathize with the ultimate objects of the
Labour unions must see the folly of their present unpatriotic and
suicidal tactics.

It is a matter for hope that in the wider sphere of federal politics the
irresponsible leadership of the press is not likely to be the power for
harm that it is in some of the individual States at present. But while
it may not dominate the Federal Parliament as a whole to the same
extent, its control over nominations in the States will be quite as
great, and immeasurably greater if the Block Vote is adopted. Nor are
signs wanting of a union of some of the larger newspaper ventures in the
principal States, with a view to increase their power.

Such is a brief review of the outlook. The great requisites essential
for progress are the organization of two national parties and
responsible leadership in the Federal Parliament. The dangers to the
Commonwealth may be summed up under the two heads of lack of
organization and irresponsible leadership outside Parliament. Is it
possible that the dangers may be avoided and the requisites secured by a
change in electoral machinery? Those who have no conception of the
working of social forces, and who do not trace the law of causation into
the realm of mind, will be inclined to scoff at the suggestion. To them
the only hope of improvement lies in appealing to the people to elect
better men. They ignore entirely the reciprocal relation of the
Parliament and the people, and while recognizing the influence of the
people on the character of Parliament, they deny the influence of
Parliament on the character of the people. They declare that the people
are "free agents" and will have better government when they make up
their minds to get it; and no electoral machinery or parliamentary
machinery can influence the result. Such is the passive attitude which
consciously or unconsciously is almost universally assumed. Yet who can
study the history of the British Constitution without being impressed
with the fact that every step in the evolution of its machinery was a
true sociological invention and had the effect of directing the people's
will, which is the motive force, into channels conducive to the general
welfare? Take away the responsible leadership of the Cabinet in the
British Parliament, and it would become a sink of corruption like the
United States Congress; take away its organization into two national
parties, and it would become a rabble like the French Chambers. Now, is
not the electoral machinery the connecting link between the people and
Parliament, and therefore a vital part in the machinery of government?
Does it not actually decide the constitution of Parliament? If this be
granted, it follows that unless the electoral machinery be adapted to
give effect to these two great principles, parliaments will inevitably
decline; and that the present method of election is a very inadequate
means of giving effect to them few will deny.

Our claim for the application of the electoral reform set forth in the
preceding pages rests simply on the fact that it will give effect to
these principles under conditions in which the present system would
fail. We press especially for its application to the Federal House of
Representatives, which will be the most important Australian
representative assembly; for it it there that organization and
responsible leadership are most urgently needed. That they will not be
obtained if the present schemes of dividing the States into
single-membered electorates are adopted is morally certain; and the
result can only be disaster and bitter disappointment. If the
mathematical devices described in the last chapter are added, the
disorganization will be still more complete. And as for the scheme for
allowing separate delegation to a number of sections, which is advocated
under the name of the Hare system, it would be absolutely fatal. Who can
believe that if Mr. Hare's wild scheme to divide the British people into
several hundred sections had been adopted 40 years ago the Imperial
Parliament would now be an organized assembly?

Take the conditions presented by the first elections for the Federal
Parliament, to be held early next year. In some respects it is fortunate
that a definite issue is available as a basis of party organization; for
there is a general consensus of opinion that all other considerations
must be subordinated to a pronouncement on the tariff issue. In an
article on "The Liberal Outlook" in _United Australia_, the Hon. Alfred
Deakin writes:--"By the very circumstances of the case the tariff issue
cannot but dominate the first election, and determine the fate of the
first ministry of the Commonwealth. There will be no time for second
thoughts or for suspense of judgment. The first choice of the people
will be final on this head. The first Parliament must be either
Protectionist or anti-Protectionist, and its first great work an
Australian tariff. That is the clear-cut issue. The risk is that a
proportion of the representatives may be returned upon other grounds, as
the electors as a whole may not realize all that is at stake or make the
necessary sacrifices of opinions and preferences to express themselves
emphatically on this point." Now, the only way to avoid the risk
indicated is to take this one definite issue as the basis of
proportional representation. Each State should be divided on it, and
should elect its proportional number of Freetrade and Protectionist
representatives. Tasmania and Western Australia could conveniently be
polled for this purpose each as one electorate; South Australia might be
divided into two electorates, Queensland into three, and Victoria and
New South Wales into four or five.

It is very desirable that the first election be contested on definite
policies advanced by the prospective party leaders; the suggestion that
the first ministry should be merely a provisional ministry, to act till
the first responsible ministry is formed after the election, is
therefore open to serious objection. The leader of the Freetrade party
or the leader of the Protectionist party should be chosen as first
Federal Premier, and the first election should decide which policy is to
be adopted.

Contrast this scheme with the proposals now under consideration. In
Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland bills have been introduced
dividing the States into single-membered electorates, and some of the
smaller States are inclined to use the Block Vote. In Victoria a bad
precedent has been established by giving the party in power the duty of
determining boundaries. From time to time it will be necessary to
rearrange the boundaries, not only on account of movements of population
within the State, but also because the number of representatives which
the State is entitled to will vary. Look forward to the time when the
State becomes entitled to one more representative; every one of the 23
electorates, in which vested interests will have been created, will have
to be altered These are precisely the conditions which have led to the
growth of the gerrymander in the United States.

Already the first scheme submitted to the Assembly has been defeated by
a combination of country members, who held that Melbourne was allotted a
larger share of representation than it now has in the local Parliament.
Whatever may be the arguments by which the disparity between the size
of town and country electorates be supported in local affairs, surely
they cannot apply where national issues only are at stake. The principle
of equal electorates is recognized in the Commonwealth Bill by the rules
for allotting representation to the States. Why not, then, for the
divisions of each State? It is said that a larger proportion of the
electors vote in the town, but it is not those only who vote who are

In dividing a State into electorates for the purpose of the reform, the
number of electors in each division should therefore form the basis of
proportional distribution. The unit of representation would be the total
number of electors in the State divided by the number of seats. One
representative would be allowed to each division of the State for each
unit of representation, and the remaining seats, if any, would go to
those divisions with the largest remainders.

Coming now to the Federal Senate, the bill provides that every State,
except Queensland, must be polled as one electorate for the election of
six senators at the first election and in case of a double dissolution;
at intermediate elections three senators only will be elected, as they
retire in rotation. This equal representation of the States might be
taken to imply that the Senate is intended to represent State rights,
and the provision that each State is to be polled as one electorate
would seem to support that view. On the other hand, the senators are not
required to vote according to States, for it is provided that "each
senator shall have one vote;" the vote of a State may therefore be
neutralized by its representatives. And again, the Senate is to be
elected directly by the people and not by the State legislatures, as at
first proposed. To some extent, therefore, the Federal Senate as now
constituted presents a new problem in representation, on which it is not
advisable to dogmatize. Personal considerations will probably have more
weight than in the selection of representatives; but when we reflect
that it is really little more than a revising assembly, elected by the
same voters as the House of Representatives to deal with the same
questions, and having no special functions of its own, the conclusion
seems irresistible that the election must be contested by the same
national parties, and that the same method of election should be

Until the Parliament of the Commonwealth prescribes a uniform method of
choosing senators, the duty is to be left to the State parliaments; and
it is to be regretted that the States have taken no steps to secure
uniform action at the first election. In Victoria a fierce newspaper
contest is being waged over the Block Vote and the Hare system, and the
arguments, being mutually destructive, only go to prove that both are
equally objectionable. The _Age_ naturally wishes to have the privilege
of electing six senators as it did ten delegates to the Federal
Convention, and contends that the majority should elect all the
senators; the _Argus_ rushes to the other extreme in declaring that six
separate minorities ought to be represented, and ignores the risk that
these minorities would be formed on a class or religious basis. The
middle position advocated in this book--namely, that majority and
minority should each return its proportional share of representation--is
free from the objections to both these extreme views.

+State Legislatures.+--Even after federation the State Houses will still
continue to touch at most points the daily lives of the people; they
will merely be shorn of some of their powers and drained of some of
their best leaders. The fiscal issue, which has had great influence in
deciding party lines in the past, will be removed from the arena of
strife, leaving no other than an indefinite line of division into
Liberals and Conservatives, which in practice tends to become a division
into lower and upper classes. This is the danger ahead; and it can only
be avoided by the formation of strong party organizations appealing to
all classes to work together for the general welfare. Party government
is just as necessary in State politics as in national politics.

The present position is intolerable; the disintegration of parties is so
complete that there is not a responsible ministry in Australia worthy of
the name. Among the causes which have led to this deplorable state of
affairs the present method of election is undoubtedly the most potent;
it frequently happens that four or five candidates, representing as
many groups, contest a single seat. In Victoria, where the state of
chaos is perhaps worst, the influence of the press, the existence of a
strong Labour section in the Lower House, and the class character of the
Upper House, representing property and capital, have been the principal
contributing causes.

With the advent of federation a revision of the State constitution is
widely demanded, and is likely to be conceded. One of the first steps
necessary to restore harmony must be reform of the Upper House by a
gradual extension of the franchise and a lowering of the qualification,
so as to ensure that elections are freely contested; it is its present
unrepresentative character which gives force to the appeals of the
radical press and intensifies class divisions.

The relation of State parties to the national parties is an important
subject. In the article from which we have already quoted, in _United
Australia_, Mr. Deakin writes:--"There cannot be a series of Liberal
parties, one Federal and the others in the States, each going its own
way. There must be but one party, with one programme, to which effect
will require to be given continuously in both the States and the
Commonwealth." He therefore deplores that the Liberal party, together
with its "left wing," the Labour class, will be split on the fiscal
issue. "It is this apparently unavoidable rupture in the party," he
declares, "which endangers its prospects and presents an opportunity to
the Conservative classes of either seizing or sharing an authority to
which they could not otherwise aspire." If this means that the "Liberal"
and Labour classes are entitled by reason of their numbers to a
perpetual lease of power in both domains, there can be no more dangerous
doctrine. Parties should be decided by questions of progress and
financial policy, and not on class lines; and since the State and
Federal legislatures have separate spheres of action, parties should be
separate also, unless, indeed, they are to be founded on corruption, as
in the United States, where the same two parties control not only
national and State politics, but city government also.

In the consolidation of public opinion into two definite lines of policy
based on the questions to be dealt with lies the only hope, then, of the
progress of the individual States within their own range; and in
promoting this desirable result the reform advocated in these pages
finds its true application.



+The Agent of Progress.+--If the analysis made in the preceding pages of
the principles underlying political representation comes to be regarded
as correct, the science of sociology must be profoundly affected: for it
is a fact that not only the importance but the very existence of the
principles involved has been completely missed by speculators in that
field. The view we have taken is that representation is the most
important sociological invention which has been made in the whole
history of the human race; that the successive steps taken in the
evolution of the British Constitution mark a series of inventions
scarcely less important, and that the resulting institution of party and
responsible government is the indispensable agent of democratic
progress. We have traced throughout the electoral and parliamentary
machinery on which the institution is based the action of two great
principles--organization and responsible leadership--and we have shown
that these are the mainsprings of the whole mechanism. Yet we find even
such an authority as Mr. Herbert Spencer objecting to the party system,
on the ground that it lends itself to a one-man or a one-party
tyranny.[9] The fact is that it is only when representative government
is weak, and approaches direct government, that such a result can
happen, and the distinction is so little recognized that a brief
recapitulation may be permitted.

The fundamental error is in conceiving representation as merely a means
of registering the popular will; many even go so far as to regard it as
an imperfect means of ensuring that each single question will be decided
according to the will of the majority. All such conceptions really
amount to direct government, and where they are given effect to, whether
by the referendum or sectional delegation, society is not organized for
consistent progress. Indeed, if the lessons of history can be trusted,
such a state of society is bound to be wrecked from within by
anti-social influences; political power becomes the object of factious
strife, and the rule of the majority degenerates into the tyranny of the

We have endeavoured to show that the true conception of representative
government involves a recognition of the principles of organization and
leadership, and that representation is in consequence a means not only
of registering the popular will, but also of organizing and guiding it.
In both cases, therefore, the popular will is the ultimate motive force,
but in the one case the desires of the people clash, while in the other
they are directed into channels conducive to the general welfare. We
have regarded it as an essential condition of representative government
that the popular will be expressed only as to the direction of progress,
that is to say on general policy and not on single questions, and that
complete control of progress be then left to the representative body. In
no other way can the people be saved from their anti-social tendencies,
and induced to express their opinion as to what is best for all. We have
seen how the electoral machinery is adapted to organize this expression
of the popular will into two alternative directions of progress; how
this is effected by the fact of two parties competing for the support of
the people on policies expressing these lines of progress; and how the
parliamentary machinery allows the stronger of these two parties for the
time being complete control of administration and of the direction of
progress. The effect of this organization is that the popular will is
reduced to effective action in one direction at a time--a result which
is not possible with direct government.

Nor is the principle of responsible leadership which is involved in the
reciprocal relation of the representative body and the people any less
important. Society cannot progress faster than the individual units
composing it. True progress lies therefore in raising the standard of
public opinion, and it is this principle which ensures that result by
reacting upon and moulding individual character. Hence we find that in
countries like England, where the principle is operative, progress is
effected without supervision and undue interference in the affairs of
the individual by the State, while in countries where the principle is
not operative, such as the Continental countries of Europe and some of
the Australian colonies, the contrary is the case. Legislation should
therefore be directed to changing the nature of the individual, and
should not be too far in advance of public opinion. This is what Mr.
Lester F. Ward, in his work on "Outlines of Sociology," calls attractive
legislation. He writes:--

     The principle involved in attraction, when applied to social
     affairs, is simply that of _inducing_ men to act for the good of
     society. It is that of harmonizing the interests of the individual
     with those of society, of making it advantageous to the individual
     to do that which is socially beneficial; not merely in a negative
     form as an alternative of two evils, as is done when a penalty is
     attached to an action, but positively, in such a manner that he
     will exert himself to do those things that society most needs to
     have done. The sociologist and the statesman should co-operate in
     discovering the laws of society and the methods of utilizing them,
     so as to let the social forces flow freely and strongly,
     untrammelled by penal statutes, mandatory laws, irritating
     prohibitions, and annoying obstacles. (p. 274.)

Now, we submit that this attractive legislation is possible only when
there is no oppressed minority, and is therefore the peculiar province
of representative government; for we have shown that the whole machinery
is adapted to induce the people to desire only what is best in the
interests of society.

Let us briefly examine the bearing of the view that representative
machinery is the agent of progress on previous theories of social

+Professor Huxley.+--No one has more clearly laid down the conditions of
social progress than the late Professor Huxley in his essay on
_Evolution and Ethics_. The gradual strengthening of the social bond by
the practise of self-restraint in the interests of society he called the
ethical process, and he showed that social progress means a checking of
the cosmic process at every step and the substitution of this ethical
process. This action he compares to that of a gardener in clearing a
patch of waste ground. If he relaxes his efforts to maintain the state
of art within the garden, weeds will overrun it and the state of nature
will return. So the human race is doomed to a constant struggle to
maintain the state of art of an organized polity in opposition to the
state of nature; to substitute as far as possible social progress for
cosmic evolution. He says:--

     Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of
     society depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in
     running away from it, but in combating it. It may seem an audacious
     proposal thus to pit the microcosm against the macrocosm, and to
     set man to subdue nature to his higher ends; but I venture to think
     that the great intellectual difference between the ancient times
     with which we have been occupied and our day, lies in the solid
     foundation we have acquired for the hope that such an enterprise
     may meet with a certain measure of success....[10]

     Moreover, the cosmic nature born with us, and to a large extent
     necessary for our maintenance, is the outcome of millions of years
     of severe training, and it would be folly to imagine that a few
     centuries will suffice to subdue its masterfulness to purely
     ethical ends. Ethical nature may count upon having to reckon with a
     tenacious and powerful enemy as long as the world lasts. But, on
     the other hand, I see no limit to the extent to which intelligence
     and will, guided by sound principles of investigation, and
     organized in common effort, may modify the conditions of existence
     for a period longer than that now covered by history. And much may
     be done to change the nature of man himself. The intelligence which
     has converted the brother of the wolf into the faithful guardian of
     the flock ought to be able to do something towards curbing the
     instincts of savagery in civilized men.[11]

But Huxley never realized that the real cause of the better prospects of
success in modern as contrasted with ancient times is the discovery of
representative machinery. "The business," he declared, "of the sovereign
authority--which is, or ought to be, simply a delegation of the people
appointed to act for its good--appears to me to be not only to enforce
the renunciation of the anti-social desires, but wherever it may be
necessary to promote the satisfaction of those which are conducive to
progress."[12] There is no conception here of the principles of
organization and responsible leadership, so necessary in constituting
this "delegation."

+Herbert Spencer.+--By a great many sociologists it is denied that man
has his destiny in his own hands, or can by common effort modify the
conditions of existence so as to promote progress. The conception which
is held to justify this view is that there is an exact correspondence
between the progress of human society and the growth of an organism.
Foremost among those who take this view is Mr. Herbert Spencer. The
close analogy which the progress of the assumed social organism bears to
the growth of the physiological organism is worked out in great detail
throughout the "Synthetic Philosophy," and is taken to establish "that
Biology and Sociology will more or less interpret each other." The
practical conclusion which is drawn is that the growth of society must
not be interfered with; if the State goes beyond the duty of protection,
it becomes an aggressor. So Mr. Spencer is a most uncompromising
opponent of State action, even education and public sanitation coming in
for his condemnation. Moreover, he holds that if the social organism be
let alone it will tend to a future state of society in which social
altruism will be so developed that the individual will voluntarily
sacrifice himself in the interests of society.

In an essay on _The Social Organism_ ("Essays," Second Series), he

     Strange as the assertion will be thought, our Houses of Parliament
     discharge in the social economy functions that are, in sundry
     respects, comparable to those discharged by the cerebral masses in
     a vertebrate animal.... We may describe the office of the brain as
     that of _averaging_ the interests of life, physical, intellectual,
     moral, social; and a good brain is one in which the desires
     answering to their respective interests are so balanced that the
     conduct they jointly dictate sacrifices none of them. Similarly we
     may describe the office of Parliament as that of _averaging_ the
     interests of the various classes in a community; and a good
     Parliament is one in which the parties answering to these
     respective interests are so balanced that their united legislation
     concedes to each class as much as consists with the claims of the

The error of regarding society merely as an aggregate is here clearly
shown, for if the "parties" in Parliament were based on class
delegation, as assumed, social progress would be blocked. The only real
foundation for the resemblance between society and an organism is this:
that unless the individual units composing society reduce themselves to
unity of action in a definite direction, society as a whole cannot
progress; or, in other words, that the principles of organization and
leadership are essential to progress. Yet Mr. Spencer denies that there
is any sphere of collective action for the operation of these

+Benjamin Kidd.+--The "social organism" theory is also the foundation of
the theory of social progress with which Mr. Benjamin Kidd startled the
scientific world a few years ago in "Social Evolution." While
appreciating the importance of the factor of individual reason, he
contended that self-restraint by the individual in the interests of
society is impossible without an ultra-rational sanction; that, in
fact, without this the reason is the most anti-social and
anti-evolutionary of all human qualities. The central fact therefore
with which we are confronted in our progressive societies is stated as
follows:--"_The interests of the social organism and those of the
individuals comprising it at any particular time are actually
antagonistic; they can never be reconciled; they are inherently and
essentially irreconcilable._" What becomes of this extraordinary
proposition if it is clearly established that the amount of
reconciliation depends on the extent to which the principles of
organization and responsible leadership are given effect to by
representative machinery?

+Past Progress.+--The question will naturally be raised: If a
representative body is now the indispensable agent of social progress,
how can progress previous to the introduction of representation be
explained? The answer is that the same principles were operative, but in
different forms, more suited to the stage of social development. Indeed,
we may say that, from the time that man emerged from the brute stage and
became a social animal, the types of society which have survived in the
struggle for existence with the state of nature and with other types
have been those in which the principles of organization and leadership
have been most active. Even the lowest types of savages, such as the
native tribes studied by Professor Baldwin Spencer and Mr. Gillen in
Central Australia, have a complicated system of organization, the
peculiar feature of which is totemism, or group marriage; but this is
more the result of development than of conscious effort. Leadership also
is rudimentary, for, although the old men have control of the elaborate
ceremonies described, they conform almost entirely to custom and
tradition. Out of this savage stage there grew in favoured countries the
second type of human society--the patriarchal, in which leadership
becomes personal, and centred in a chief who exercises despotic
authority. Patriarchal society grew out of the necessities of a pastoral
existence; indeed, it was the discovery of the domestication of animals
which gave rise to it. Among other interesting features which were
developed are permanent marriage, slavery, and ancestor worship. There
can be no doubt that the latter played an important part in binding the
tribe into one organization, and in inducing all the tribe to submit to
the leadership of the chief. There is a second stage of patriarchal
society in which the large tribes break up into clans and become less
nomadic. Professor Jenks has shown, in his "Short History of Politics,"
how this stage originated in the adoption of agriculture. We begin now
to have the village community, bound by the tie of kinship, and
submitting to the leadership of a lord; and are already on the threshold
of modern political society, in which all these ancient barriers are
broken down and the individual becomes the social unit. The cause of
this momentous change is development of the art of warfare. But before
we reach the modern State there is an intermediate stage, namely,
feudalism. The feudal chief is simply the successful warrior--the leader
of a band of adventurers who get control of a definite territory and
exact military allegiance from its inhabitants. Out of the consolidation
of these bands, or by conquest, modern States were founded. Leadership
was now vested in an irresponsible despot--the king; and the trouble was
to render this new institution permanent, and to induce the people to
submit to it. The former result was attained by making the kingship
hereditary, but the latter has always been a difficult task. It is
doubtful if it would ever have been accomplished but for a significant
alliance--that of Church and State. The convenient fiction of the divine
right of kings was invented, and religion was used to bolster up the
institution and to provide a sanction for submission to absolutism. In
other words, irresponsible leadership was tolerated because
responsibility was supposed to exist to a Higher Power. So we find that
all the great religious movements--Christianity, Mohammedanism, and even
Buddhism--have been associated with the establishment of mighty
kingdoms. Moreover, the only two kingdoms in Europe in which absolutism
still holds out are Russia and Turkey, in which the head of the State is
also head of the Church. But military despotism, which was based solely
on the exploitation of weaker communities, of which ancient Rome was
the culminating type, wanted the elements of permanent progress, and was
bound to disappear before a new type which rested on the development of
internal resources. Militarism must therefore be looked on as a real
stage of progress; for in contrast with patriarchal society it was
competitive, and it broke down many ancient barriers, and prepared the
way for industrial co-operation. Thus we arrive at the conditions
favourable to the rise of representative institutions. For when the cost
of wars had to be raised out of the national resources kings found it
convenient to get the consent of the people to taxation. Hence the great
movement throughout Western Europe for the establishment of parliaments
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Why is it that in England alone
this movement was successful? Partly no doubt because its isolated
position was favourable to internal progress, but mainly because it was
the only State in which the principles of organization and responsible
leadership were continuously given effect to. So it is that in England
there was developed that wonderful machinery of representative
government which has enabled the people to substitute responsible for
irresponsible leadership, and has made the national character what it
is. This machinery has now been adopted nearly all over the world,
wherever it has been desired to make the popular will felt, but in no
case has it sufficed to give effect to the underlying principles to the
same extent; and success has been attained only in so far as they have
been effective. The lesson of the last century has been that the
machinery which proved sufficient in England, where progress was uniform
through several centuries, breaks down when the pace of progress is
increased. An extreme instance is the recent attempt to introduce party
government into Japan, a country just emerging from the feudal stage, an
interesting account of which is given in the _Nineteenth Century_ for
July, 1899. The experiment failed because the clans could not be divided
on questions of political principle. In a greater or less degree that is
the fundamental source of difficulty everywhere; if the representative
machinery produces only sectional delegation the tendency is back
through anarchy to absolutism. Is it not an extraordinary fact, then,
that the vital distinction between representation and delegation is so
universally ignored?

Such is a brief outline of the evolution of human society; however
inadequate it may be, it at least serves to illustrate the truth that
social progress has never been made in the past except when the
principles of organization and leadership have been operative.

+Future Progress.+--As to the ultimate tendency of future progress it
would be pedantry to dogmatize; our task has been the humbler one of
pointing out the means by which progress is to be attained. We have
assumed, however, that there is a separate sphere of collective action
in which government is an instrument for the positive amelioration of
social conditions. We are aware that this conclusion is at variance with
the two extreme schools of modern thought; on the one hand, with the
individualists, who hold that government should only be used for mutual
protection and to keep order; and on the other hand, with the
socialists, who would leave nothing to individual action. Professor
Huxley has reduced the claims of these two schools to absurdity and
impossibility respectively; and we believe that the problem of the
future is to find out that middle course between the anarchy of the one
and the despotism of the other which makes for progress. It seems likely
that the state of society we are approaching will be one in which, while
natural inequalities will be recognized, neither the artificial
inequalities of fanatical individualism nor the artificial equalities of
regimental socialism will be tolerated, and every man will enter the
rivalry of life on terms of an equality of opportunity. This is the
state foreshadowed by Mr. Lester Ward in his "Outlines of Sociology" and
called by him _Sociocracy_. Such ideals, however, serve only to refute
false conceptions and offer little practical guidance. What is wanted is
a clear recognition of the fact that _progress depends on collective
effort acting through representative machinery, the efficiency of which
depends on the extent to which the principles of organization and
responsible leadership are operative._ The question with which
democratic countries are faced to-day is this: Must it be acknowledged
that the people are unfit for self-government, or is the representative
machinery defective? We have supported the view that the latter is the
case as regards English-speaking-countries at all events; and we have
shown that in British countries the remedy lies in improved electoral
machinery, while in the United States both electoral and parliamentary
machinery are at fault.


[9] "Principles of Ethics."

[10] "Collected Essays," vol. ix., p. 83.

[11] _Ibid._, p. 85.

[12] "Collected Essays," vol. i., pp. 275-276.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Proportional Representation Applied To Party Government" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.