Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
By John J. Lalor
NEITHER American nor English literature has hitherto possessed a Cyclopædia of Political Science and Political Economy. The want of a work of reference on these important branches of knowledge has long been felt, especially by lawyers, journalists, members of our state and national legislatures, and the large and intelligent class of capitalists and business men who give serious thought to the political and social questions of the day. The present work, which will be completed in three volumes, is the first to supply that want. It is also the first Political History of the United States in encyclopædic form—the first to which the reader can refer for an account of the important events or facts in our political history, as he would to a dictionary for the precise meaning of a word. The French, the Germans and even the Italians are richer in works of reference on political science and political economy than the Americans or the English. The Germans have Rotteck and Welcker’s
Staatslexikon, and Bluntschli and Brater’s
Staatswörterbuch; the French, Block’s
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, and the celebrated
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, edited by Guillaumin and Coquelin.The “Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States” is intended to be to the American and English reader what the above-named works are to French and German students of political science and political economy. The articles by foreigners in our work are largely translations from the
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, the
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, the
Staatswörterbuch, and original articles by Mr. T. E. Cliffe Leslie, the eminent English economist; while the American articles are by the best American and Canadian writers on political economy and political science. The task of writing the articles on the political history of the United States was confided to one person, Mr. Alexander Johnston, of Norwalk, Connecticut, thoroughness, conciseness and the absence of repetition and of redundancy being thus secured…. [From the Preface]
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Originally printed in 3 volumes. Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
- V.1, Entry 1, ABDICATION
- V.1, Entry 2, ABOLITION AND ABOLITIONISTS
- V.1, Entry 3, ABSENTEEISM
- V.1, Entry 4, ABSOLUTE POWER
- V.1, Entry 5, ABSOLUTISM
- V.1, Entry 6, ABSTENTION
- V.1, Entry 7, ABUSES IN POLITICS
- V.1, Entry 8, ABYSSINIA
- V.1, Entry 9, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 10, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 11, ACCLAMATION
- V.1, Entry 12, ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH
- V.1, Entry 13, ACT
- V.1, Entry 14, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 15, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 16, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 17, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 18, ADJOURNMENT
- V.1, Entry 19, ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 20, ADMINISTRATIONS
- V.1, Entry 21, AFRICA
- V.1, Entry 22, AGE
- V.1, Entry 23, AGENT
- V.1, Entry 24, AGENTS
- V.1, Entry 25, AGIO
- V.1, Entry 26, AGIOTAGE
- V.1, Entry 27, AGRICULTURE
- V.1, Entry 28, ALABAMA
- V.1, Entry 29, ALABAMA CLAIMS
- V.1, Entry 30, ALASKA
- V.1, Entry 31, ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
- V.1, Entry 32, ALBANY REGENCY
- V.1, Entry 33, ALCALDE
- V.1, Entry 34, ALCOHOL
- V.1, Entry 35, ALGERIA
- V.1, Entry 36, ALGERINE WAR
- V.1, Entry 37, ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS
- V.1, Entry 38, ALIENS
- V.1, Entry 39, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 40, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 41, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 42, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 43, ALLOYAGE
- V.1, Entry 44, ALMANACH DE GOTHA
- V.1, Entry 45, ALSACE-LORRAINE
- V.1, Entry 46, AMBASSADOR
- V.1, Entry 47, AMBITION
- V.1, Entry 48, AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
- V.1, Entry 49, AMERICA
- V.1, Entry 50, AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE
- V.1, Entry 51, AMERICAN PARTY
- V.1, Entry 52, AMERICAN WHIGS
- V.1, Entry 53, AMES
- V.1, Entry 54, AMISTAD CASE
- V.1, Entry 55, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 56, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 57, ANAM
- V.1, Entry 58, ANARCHY
- V.1, Entry 59, ANCIEN RÉGIME
- V.1, Entry 60, ANDORRA
- V.1, Entry 61, ANHALT
- V.1, Entry 62, ANNEXATION
- V.1, Entry 63, ANNEXATIONS
- V.1, Entry 64, ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY
- V.1, Entry 65, ANTI-MASONRY
- V.1, Entry 66, ANTI-NEBRASKA MEN
- V.1, Entry 67, ANTI-RENTERS
- V.1, Entry 68, ANTI-SLAVERY.
- V.1, Entry 69, APPORTIONMENT
- V.1, Entry 70, APPROPRIATION.
- V.1, Entry 71, APPROPRIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 72, ARBITRAGE
- V.1, Entry 73, ARBITRARY ARRESTS
- V.1, Entry 74, ARBITRARY POWER
- V.1, Entry 75, ARBITRATION
- V.1, Entry 76, ARCHONS
- V.1, Entry 77, AREOPAGUS.
- V.1, Entry 78, ARGENTINE CONFEDERATION
- V.1, Entry 79, ARISTOCRACY.
- V.1, Entry 80, ARISTOCRATIC AND DEMOCRATIC IDEAS.
- V.1, Entry 81, ARITHMETIC
- V.1, Entry 82, ARIZONA
- V.1, Entry 83, ARKANSAS
- V.1, Entry 84, ARMISTICE
- V.1, Entry 85, ARMIES
- V.1, Entry 86, ARMY
- V.1, Entry 87, ARTHUR
- V.1, Entry 88, ARTISANS
- V.1, Entry 89, ARYAN RACES.
- V.1, Entry 90, ASIA
- V.1, Entry 91, ASSEMBLY (IN U. S. HISTORY)
- V.1, Entry 92, ASSESSMENTS
- V.1, Entry 93, ASSIGNATS
- V.1, Entry 94, ASSOCIATION AND ASSOCIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 95, ASYLUM
- V.1, Entry 96, ATELIERS NATIONAUX
- V.1, Entry 97, ATTAINDER
- V.1, Entry 98, ATTORNEYS GENERAL
- V.1, Entry 99, AUSTRALIA
- V.1, Entry 100, AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
- V.1, Entry 101, AUTHORITY
- V.1, Entry 102, AUTHORS
- V.1, Entry 103, AUTOCRAT
- V.1, Entry 104, AUTONOMY.
- V.1, Entry 105, AYES AND NOES
- V.1, Entry 106, BADEN
- V.1, Entry 107, BALANCE OF POWER
- V.1, Entry 108, BALANCE OF TRADE
- V.1, Entry 109, BALLOT
- V.1, Entry 110, BANK CONTROVERSIES
- V.1, Entry 111, BANKING
- V.1, Entry 112, BANK NOTES.
- V.1, Entry 113, BANKRUPTCY.
- V.1, Entry 114, BANKRUPTCY, National.
- V.1, Entry 115, BANKS.
- V.1, Entry 116, BANKS, Functions of.
- V.1, Entry 117, BANKS OF ISSUE
- V.1, Entry 118, BANKS, Advantages of Savings.
- V.1, Entry 119, BANKS, History and Management of Savings,
- V.1, Entry 120, BAR
- V.1, Entry 121, BARNBURNERS
- V.1, Entry 122, BARRICADE
- V.1, Entry 123, BARTER.
- V.1, Entry 124, BASTILLE
- V.1, Entry 125, BAVARIA
- V.1, Entry 126, BELGIUM
- V.1, Entry 127, BELL
- V.1, Entry 128, BELLIGERENTS
- V.1, Entry 129, BENTON
- V.1, Entry 130, BERLIN DECREE
- V.1, Entry 131, BILL
- V.1, Entry 132, BILL OF EXCHANGE
- V.1, Entry 133, BILL OF RIGHTS
- V.1, Entry 134, BILLION
- V.1, Entry 135, BILLS
- V.1, Entry 136, BI-METALLISM.
- V.1, Entry 137, BIRNEY
- V.1, Entry 138, BLACK COCKADE
- V.1, Entry 139, BLACK CODE.
- V.1, Entry 140, BLACK REPUBLICAN.
- V.1, Entry 141, BLAINE
- V.1, Entry 142, BLAIR
- V.1, Entry 143, BLOCKADE
- V.1, Entry 144, BLOODY BILL
- V.1, Entry 145, BLUE LAWS
- V.1, Entry 146, BLUE LIGHT
- V.1, Entry 147, BOARD OF TRADE.
- V.1, Entry 148, BOLIVIA
- V.1, Entry 149, BOOTY
- V.1, Entry 150, BORDER RUFFIANS
- V.1, Entry 151, BORDER STATES
- V.1, Entry 152, BOURGEOISIE
- V.1, Entry 153, BOUTWELL
- V.1, Entry 154, BRAHMANISM.
- V.1, Entry 155, BRAZIL
- V.1, Entry 156, BRECKENRIDGE
- V.1, Entry 157, BROAD SEAL WAR
- V.1, Entry 158, BROKERS
- V.1, Entry 159, BROOKS
- V.1, Entry 160, BROWN
- V.1, Entry 161, BUCHANAN
- V.1, Entry 162, BUCKSHOT WAR
- V.1, Entry 163, BUCKTAILS
- V.1, Entry 164, BUDDHISM
- V.1, Entry 165, BUDGET
- V.1, Entry 166, BULL
- V.1, Entry 167, BUNDESRATH
- V.1, Entry 168, BUREAUCRACY
- V.1, Entry 169, BURGESSES
- V.1, Entry 170, BURLINGAME
- V.1, Entry 171, BURR
- V.1, Entry 172, BUTLER, Benj. F.
- V.1, Entry 173, BUTLER, William Orlando
- V.1, Entry 174, CACHET
- V.1, Entry 175, CÆSARISM
- V.1, Entry 176, CALENDAR
- V.1, Entry 177, CALHOUN
- V.1, Entry 178, CALIFORNIA
- V.1, Entry 179, CANADA
- V.1, Entry 180, CANALS
- V.1, Entry 181, CANON LAW
- V.1, Entry 182, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 183, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 184, CAPITULATION
- V.1, Entry 185, CARICATURE
- V.1, Entry 186, CARPET BAGGERS
- V.1, Entry 187, CARTEL
- V.1, Entry 188, CASS
- V.1, Entry 189, CASUS BELLI
- V.1, Entry 190, CAUCUS
- V.1, Entry 191, CAUCUS SYSTEM
- V.1, Entry 192, CAUSE AND EFFECT IN POLITICS.
- V.1, Entry 193, CELIBACY, Clerical
- V.1, Entry 194, CELIBACY, Political Aspects of.
- V.1, Entry 195, CELTS.
- V.1, Entry 196, CENSURE.
- V.1, Entry 197, CENSURE OF MORALS.
- V.1, Entry 198, CENSURES
- V.1, Entry 199, CENSUS.
- V.1, Entry 200, CENTRALIZATION and DECENTRALIZATION.
- V.1, Entry 201, CEREMONIAL
- V.1, Entry 202, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 203, CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES.
- V.1, Entry 204, CHARITY, Private.
- V.1, Entry 205, CHARITY, Public.
- V.1, Entry 206, CHARITY, State.
- V.1, Entry 207, CHASE
- V.1, Entry 208, CHECKS AND BALANCES.
- V.1, Entry 209, CHEROKEE CASE
- V.1, Entry 210, CHESAPEAKE CASE.
- V.1, Entry 211, CHILI.
- V.1, Entry 212, CHINA
- V.1, Entry 213, CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
- V.1, Entry 214, CHIVALRY.
- V.1, Entry 215, CHRISTIANITY.
- V.1, Entry 216, CHURCH AND STATE
- V.1, Entry 217, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 218, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 219, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 220, CHURCHES AND RELIGIONS
- V.1, Entry 221, CHURCHES
- V.1, Entry 222, CINCINNATI
- V.1, Entry 223, CIPHER DISPATCHES AND DECIPHERMENT
- V.1, Entry 224, CIRCULATION OF WEALTH.
- V.1, Entry 225, CITIES
- V.1, Entry 226, CITIES AND TOWNS.
- V.1, Entry 227, CIVIL ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 228, CIVIL LIST.
- V.1, Entry 229, CIVIL RIGHTS BILL
- V.1, Entry 230, CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
- V.1, Entry 231, CIVILIZATION
- V.1, Entry 232, CLAY
- V.1, Entry 233, CLEARING, AND CLEARING HOUSES
- V.1, Entry 234, CLERICALISM
- V.1, Entry 235, CLIENTÈLE AND CUSTOM
- V.1, Entry 236, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 237, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 238, CLINTON
- V.1, Entry 239, CLINTON, George
- V.1, Entry 240, CL�TURE
- V.1, Entry 241, COASTING TRADE
- V.1, Entry 242, COCHIN CHINA
- V.1, Entry 243, COINAGE
- V.1, Entry 244, COLFAX
- V.1, Entry 245, COLONIZATION SOCIETY
- V.1, Entry 246, COLORADO
- V.1, Entry 247, COLOMBIA
- V.1, Entry 248, COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 249, COMMERCIAL CRISES
- V.1, Entry 250, COMMISSION
- V.1, Entry 251, COMMITTEES
- V.1, Entry 252, COMMON LAW
- V.1, Entry 253, COMMONS
- V.1, Entry 254, COMMUNE
- V.1, Entry 255, COMMUNISM
- V.1, Entry 256, COMPETITION.
- V.1, Entry 257, COMPROMISES
- V.1, Entry 258, COMPULSORY CIRCULATION
- V.1, Entry 259, COMPULSORY EDUCATION
- V.1, Entry 260, CONCESSION
- V.1, Entry 261, CONCLAVE.
- V.1, Entry 262, CONCLUSUM
- V.1, Entry 284, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
- V.1, Entry 301, CONVENTION
- V.1, Entry 375, DISTILLED SPIRITS
- V.1, Entry 384, DOMINION OF CANADA
- V.2, Entry 7, EDUCATION
- V.2, Entry 18, EMBARGO
- V.2, Entry 33, EXCHANGE
- V.2, Entry 35, EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS
- V.2, Entry 37, EXCHANGE OF WEALTH
- V.2, Entry 121, GREAT BRITAIN
- V.2, Entry 130, HABEAS CORPUS
- V.2, Entry 180, INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION
- V.2, Entry 225, JUSTICE, Department of
- V.2, Entry 246, LAW
- V.2, Entry 364, NEW GRANADA
- V.2, Entry 379, NULLIFICATION
- V.3, Entry 4, OCEANICA
- V.3, Entry 29, PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE
- V.3, Entry 32, PARLIAMENTARY LAW.
- V.3, Entry 116, RACES OF MANKIND
- V.3, Entry 137, REPUBLICAN PARTY
- V.3, Entry 155, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
- V.3, Entry 195, SLAVERY
- V.3, Entry 278, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- V. 2, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of American Writers
GREAT BRITAIN. The official designation is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.” The greater island was known in Cæsar’s time as Britain, a name of prehistoric (probably Iberian) origin and uncertain meaning. The inhabitants were called Britons by their Roman conquerors, but called themselves Kymry; their English conquerors afterward called them Welsh, or “strangers.” Another ancient name of Britain is Albion, a word of Celtic origin, meaning “hilly,” and kindred with the names of the Alps, Albania on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, and Albany, an ancient epithet of Scotland. The island is supposed to have taken its name Albion from the cliffs of Dover visible from the opposite Gaulish coast. The northern part of the island was known to the Romans as Caledonia, a Celtic name of disputed meaning; but it acquired its name of Scotland from the Scots, an Irish tribe which early in the Christian era obtained possession of the western highlands. Ireland itself, Ierne, or Hibernia, is simply “the western land.” From the fourth century to the tenth, Britain was overrun and occupied by successive swarms of invaders from the northern coast of Germany, from Denmark, and from Norway. The German tribes were known chiefly as Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians. The Angles, coming from a little district called Angeln, on the Baltic coast of Sleswick, were much the most numerous, and at last gave their name to the new home, Angleland, or England, although it was first under a Saxon king that the various parts of the country were united into a great kingdom. Of these tribes the Jutes and Frisians settled mainly in Kent and the Isle of Wight; the Saxons settled in the south and centre of the English territory, and the Angles in the east and north, as far as the site of Edinburgh. The Danes and Norwegians, coming later, effected settlements on the east coasts of England and of Ireland, and on the northern coasts of Scotland. In the course of these centuries of invasion, the ancient British population of Britain was largely forced into the western districts—into Cumberland and Lancashire, Wales and Cornwall, and into Brittany, the northwestern peninsula of Gaul. The various tribes of North German invaders, under leaders bearing now the title of kings, now simply that of
ealdormen or earls, founded many petty kingdoms in Britain, some of which corresponded nearly in outline to modern shires or counties. But the title “king” in those days did not mean the ruler of a specified territory; it meant the principal chief of a particular tribe of men. At various times there were kingdoms of the Northumbrians, or “people north of the Humber”; of the Mercians, or people on the
March or western border against the Welshmen; of the East Angles, of the East, Middle, South and West Saxons, and of the Kentish men or Jutes Modern authors used to speak of a
heptarchy, or system of seven Teutonic kingdoms in Britain; but the expression is inaccurate, as there were never at any one time seven regularly organized states, and at some times the number of fluctuating divisions amounted to ten or eleven. The relations of these states were those of chronic warfare. Sometimes one king gained a temporary supremacy over all his rivals, and then called himself Bretwalda, or “wielder of Britain,” but this did not mean that he was king over the whole country, in the modern sense; it only meant that the other kings owed him, for the time being, an indefinite homage. In the first half of the seventh century Northumbria took the lead among these little kingdoms; in the following half century the lead passed to Mercia; at the beginning of the ninth century the first place was decisively taken by Egbert, king of the West Saxons, but England can hardly be regarded as constituting a single kingdom until the reign of Edgar, 959-75. Since the time of Edgar, England has always been under a single government—an instance of political stability to which the history of the rest of the world has hitherto afforded no parallel—but its boundaries have in one instance been enlarged, namely, by the conquest of Wales under the great king Edward I., in 1283. Scotland was also conquered by Edward I. in 1296-8, but regained its independence in the following reign, the work being completed by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314. At the death of Elizabeth in 1603, the crown of England passed to the king of Scotland as next of kin, and for another century the two kingdoms remained distinct and independent, with one king, but with two parliaments, one at Westminister and one at Edinburgh. In 1706-7 Scotland was united to England, and began to be represented in the parliament at Westminster in such manner as will be shown below. At this time, therefore, the “United Kingdom of Great Britain” began its formal existence. The conquest of Ireland was attempted as early as 1170, in the reign of Henry II., by Richard, earl of Pembroke, surnamed “Strongbow”; and Ireland indeed continued thereafter nominally subject to the king of England. Yet the conquest of Ireland
can hardly be said to have been accomplished earlier than the reign of Elizabeth, and it was first really carried to completion by Oliver Cromwell. Though subject to the English crown, Ireland retained its independent legislature until 1801. when it was formally united with Great Britain, and began to be represented in the parliament at Westminster. So the formal existence of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,” strictly speaking, begins with the beginning of the nineteenth century.
—The total geographical area of the United Kingdom is about 122,161 square miles, divided as follows: England, with Wales, 58,311; Scotland, 31,326: Ireland. 32,524; total, 122,161. In other words, the area of England with Wales is almost exactly equal to that of the New England States, omitting Vermont; or to that of the state of New York with Vermont added; or to that of the state of Georgia. The area of either Scotland or Ireland alone is a little less than that of the state of Indiana. The area of Great Britain without Ireland is equal to that of the six New England states with half of New York added. The area of the United Kingdom is equal to that of the four states of Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The greatest length of Great Britain, from its southwest corner at Land’s End to Duncansby Head, where John of Groat in the reign of James IV. built his celebrated ferry-house on the beach of the Pentland Firth, is about 600 miles. Its greatest width, along the south coast, is 320 miles; its least width—say from Kincardine on the Forth to Dumbarton on the Clyde—is less than 30 miles. The greatest length of Ireland is 300 miles, and crosswise from Carnsore Point to Erris Head it measures about 200 miles. The higher mountains of Great Britain rise in the west of the island, so that most of the rivers belong to the North sea drainage. The largest of these, the Thames, draining an area about equal to that of the state of Connecticut, and possessing a tidal upflow for 60 miles from its mouth, makes London practically a seaport. The climate of Great Britain displays to a remarkable extent the effects of maritime situation. While the parallel of London runs through Labrador, the summers are not only much cooler, but the winters are much less severe, than in any part of the northern United States. In January the thermometer in London seldom goes below 32° Fahrenheit, while in July it seldom goes above 80°.
—The population of the United Kingdom during the following decennial periods is shown in the table below:
It will be seen that the population of England has nearly trebled since the beginning of the present century, and that the population of Scotland has more than doubled; while, on the other hand, the population of Ireland remains the same as at the beginning of the century, the natural increase having been drawn off by emigration. The rate of increase in Great Britain, though very small compared to that of the United States, has been greater than that of any other European country. England is more densely populated than any other country in the world excepting Belgium. The population of England is 437 to the square mile, whereas that of Massachusetts, the most densely peopled state in the American Union, is 225 to the square mile, and that of China proper is about 300 to the square mile. At the beginning of the reign of Edward III., in 1327, the population of England is estimated to have reached 4,000,000; but in 1348 and the following years the terrible plague known as the Black Death, destroyed half the population, reducing it to about 2,000,000. Toward the end of Elizabeth’s reign the population had reached about 5,000,000. In 1700 it was 6,045,008; in 1750 it was 6,517,035.
—England is divided into 40 counties or shires, and Wales into 12; Scotland into 32 counties and 1 stewartry (Kirkcudbright, formerly administered by a royal steward with powers more extensive than those of a sheriff); Ireland into 32 counties, forming 4 provinces. Some of the English counties—as Kent, Surrey, Essex, etc.—correspond to old kingdoms; others being regarded as parts of old kingdoms, were known as
shires or divisions; some, such as Durham, were ancient bishoprics. As these counties have all grown up historically, and not as the result of any arbitrary subdivision of the kingdom, they are extremely irregular in extent and in population. Yorkshire, the largest of the English counties, is forty times the size of Rutland, the smallest. In Ireland the four provinces—Ulster. Leicster, Munster, and Connaught—retain the names of ancient Celtic kingdoms, but the division into counties was made for administrative purposes after the English conquest. Three of the English counties—Durham, Lancaster and Chester—are called counties palatine, and in mediæval times their earls possessed peculiar prerogatives.
—I. CONSTITUTION. In order to speak intelligently of the government of Great Britain, it is necessary to distinguish carefully between its two aspects, formal and practical. In form, the English government is a monarchy, in practice, it is a republic. That is to say, while the supreme governing power nominally resides in the hereditary sovereign, subject to specific constitutional limitations, in reality it does nothing of the sort; in reality the supreme governing power resides in the house of commons. It has been customary to speak of “king, lords and commons” as three estates of the realm, among which the powers or functions of government are subdivided; but this is a mistake. The powers
and functions of government in England are not subdivided between three estates of the realm, but they are concentrated in the house of commons. The house of lords may protest against a given decision of the commons, but has no power to reverse it; and the sovereign has in reality no veto power whatever, not even such power of protest as is possessed by the lords. As Mr. Bagehot forcibly observes, the queen “must sign her own death-warrant if the two houses unanimously send it up to her” Yet in the view of the law, and in common parlance, the sovereign is the source of all government in England. Though not possessed of legislative power, the sovereign is often spoken of as the executive; yet it is only by a palpable legal fiction that the sovereign of Great Britain can be regarded as the executive. The executive power really resides in a body unknown to English law, in a committee of parliament generally called the cabinet; and principally in the chairman of that committee, generally known as the prime minister or premier, though his official designation is usually “First Lord of the Treasury.”
—Viewed in this way, stripped of the legal fictions which result from its peculiar historic development, nothing can be simpler than the actual working of the English government. A house of commons is chosen by the people. The recognized leader of the party which wins the election is appointed (nominally by the crown, but this is a mere form) to conduct the government and to form a cabinet. So long as this government is supported by the votes of a majority of the house, it continues in office. When it ceases to be supported by the votes of a majority of the house, two courses are open to it. On the one hand, the prime minister and his cabinet may resign, and thus make room for a cabinet of the opposite party; or, on the other hand, the prime minister may dissolve the house of commons and order a new election, in which case, if his party returns a majority of members he continues in office, but if it fails to do so, he resigns at once. In this way, anything like a deadlock between the legislative and executive powers is rendered impossible. In this way the final authority in every disputed question rests with the house of commons. For though the prime minister may refuse to recognize as final the decision of a particular parliament, he can only do so through dissolving that parliament and ordering the election of a new one, and to the verdict of this election he must submit. But, although there must be a new election of parliament at least once in seven years, so long as the party of a given prime minister continues to return a majority of members so long may he continue in office, be it for half a century. In its practical working, therefore, the English constitution has this peculiar excellence, that the supreme executive power is entrusted to a minister who may be kept in office as long as he is satisfactory to the people, but can instantly be removed, without disturbance of any sort, the moment any feature of his policy is seriously disapproved by the people. And it there be room for any doubt as to whether the conduct and policy of the chief executive magistrate are satisfactory or not, the question can be settled at any time by a direct appeal to the people.
—It is common in the United States to speak of the secretary of state as our “prime minister” or “premier,” but nothing could well be more absurd. The American secretary of state answers to the British secretary of state for foreign affairs; there is nothing in his position or in his functions which is in any way analogous to the position or the functions of the British premier. But in many respects the American president answers to the prime minister. He is unlike the prime minister in that he acts in his own name, in that he is not a member of the legislative body, and in that his term of office is arbitrarily limited by the constitution. But he is like the prime minister as being the chief executive magistrate for the time being.
—It was said above that the house of lords has no power to reverse a decision of the house of commons. There is no possibility of a real deadlock between the two houses. In point of fact, a bill which has passed the commons may be defeated in the lords, but whether the commons accepts such a veto or not depends entirely upon the strength of its determination and of its interest in the bill. When the commons has finally made up its mind, the lords must sooner or later submit. In case the lords were to persist in opposing the will of the commons, the lord chancellor would be authorized to commission a sufficient number of new peers to “swamp” the upper house. This prerogative is something to be used only with reluctance and as a last resort, and it has not actually been used since the reign of Anne, but the knowledge that it can be used constitutes a sufficient check upon the house of lords. In 1832 the government was prepared, if necessary, to secure the adoption of the reform bill by the creation of eighty liberal peers; and the knowledge of this fact at last caused the lords to withdraw their opposition to the bill. In the reign of George I. an attempt was made to take away this prerogative of creating new peers (technically supposed to be a prerogative of the sovereign), but it was evidently fortunate for the peers as a legislative body that the attempt was unsuccessful. The continuance of the independent existence of the house of lords is favored by its manifest inability to obstruct seriously the course of legislation, while as a revising and criticising body it has often been found of great service. In like manner the continuance of the English monarchy is favored by the fact that the sovereign has come to be merely an ornamental part of the governing organization, without the power of doing serious mischief. In many instances, indeed, the sovereign is useful as the theoretical source of “prerogatives” that derive their practical value only from being exercised by a responsible ministry with the approval of the majority of the house of commons.
—This unquestioned supremacy of the
commons in the English government is of modern growth. We can hardly refer it to a period back of the revolution of 1688, at which time, as we shall see, cabinet government, in the strict sense of the term, had its beginnings. Yet back of that time, and far back in the middle ages, it is not so much true that the ultimate governing power did not reside in the commons as that it was more or less uncertain where it resided. In Plantagenet times it was to some extent true—as it is not at all true to-day—that the sovereignty was shared between “king, lords and commons.” To determine precisely where the ultimate authority resided, and in what ways it might constitutionally exert itself, required several generations of discussion and more or less of hard fighting. England has never at any time, save for five years under Cromwell, been governed despotically; at no time has the sovereign been able to override the laws, save now and then through the subserviency of the judiciary, which was one great curse of the Tudor and still more of the Stuart times. The gradual dissolution of the feudal system, which resulted in the temporary establishment of despotic government all over the continent of Europe, resulted in the firm establishment of a free popular government in England. Many circumstances conspired to bring about such a result, but one of the most important was the conquest of the kingdom by the Normans. The accession of William the Conqueror was marked by a tendency toward centralization such as at that time characterized no other kingdom in Europe, but this centralization was achieved at the expense of the nobles, not at the expense of the common people. The old English nobility, through manifold acts of confiscation, was pushed down into a subordinate position in the social and political scale; while the new Norman nobility, through the very circumstances of its creation, was unable to assert such an independence of the crown as was asserted until nearly the end of the middle ages by the nobility of France and other continental countries. The king’s authority, through his sheriffs and lord lieutenants, penetrated, with more or less efficiency, into every county. Instead of tyrannizing over the common people, and making war on the king, each in his own interest, the nobles were obliged to court the aid of the yeomanry and burghers, and, when they opposed the crown, to do so in an organized body and for the acquirement of certain permanent legal rights which under the circumstances they must needs share with the yeomanry and burghers who were their allies. Such was, in rough outline, the general character of the relations between “king, lords and commons” during the great formative period of English constitutional history between the Norman conquest and the accession of Edward I. Its most important feature was the alliance between the nobles and the common people, which resulted from the weakness of the nobles relatively to the crown, and which was consummated during the thirteenth century in the rebellion organized against Henry III. by the barons under Simon de Montfort. It was in the course of this struggle that the house of commons, as an independent legislative body, originated. The oldest English sovereigns—the kinglets over such little realms as Kent or Essex—used to hold consultations with their “elders” or nobles, after the fashion of Homeric kings, while the crowd of “churls” or common people stood about and listened, and signified approval or disapproval by cheers or groans, or by clashing their weapons. But after there had come to be one king over all England, the common people could not all come to hear his consultations with the nobles, and rattle their spears or quarter-staves; and so the
parliaments or meetings for “talking” public business came gradually to consist only of the king and such great nobles as he thought it worth while or felt obliged to invite to come and discuss public affairs with him. In the days of the united monarchy before the Norman conquest, such meetings of king and nobles were called ”
witenagemote” or “meetings of wise men.” But though the common people—the yeomen and burghers—had given up the practice of attending such royal meetings, they never quite gave up the practice of attending county meetings. When it had become manifestly impracticable for all the freemen in a county to attend in a body, they hit upon the device of sending representatives. Each township sent to the county assembly its “reeve” or principal magistrate, accompanied by “four discreet men.” This had become a time-honored custom long before the thirteenth century, and so when Simon de Montfort wished to increase the strength of the popular party espoused by the barons, he had a precedent for a representative assembly all ready to hand. In 1265 Earl Simon called together a parliament in which the peers sat in person as heretofore, while each town sent two elected citizens and each county sent two elected “knights of the shire.” And these elected citizens or burghers, and knights of the shire, sitting and voting separately from the body of peers, formed the first real house of commons.
—The tendency to an alliance of interest between the nobles and the commons, which early brought forth such sound practical results, was further increased by a circumstance of which the importance in English history can hardly be overrated. In the countries on the continent of Europe the children of nobles were always regarded as themselves noble; nobility came to them as a birthright, and in the absence of any common legislative dealings between the nobles and the common people this circumstance went far toward bringing about an entire separation of feelings and interests between the two classes. It tended toward the creation of a
caste of nobility, destitute of sympathy with the common people. Such a caste, in France for example, could go so far as to compel the non-noble caste to pay all its taxes for it. But in England there has never been a noble
class, as such. After the Norman conquest only those persons
came to be regarded as peers whom the king summoned to attend his great council or witenagemot. Other people might possess great wealth or importance, but until summoned to the witenagemot they were not politically distinguishable from the mass of commoners, they were not regarded as peers. By degrees the right to be summoned to the great council came to be regarded as hereditary in certain families through long usage; but as the thing which was inherited was simply the right to occupy a legislative office, it could not belong to more than one member of a family at a time, at least as a matter of mere inheritance. Hence the children of a peer have always been commoners, and only one child at a time has been able to reach the peerage merely through inheritance. This state of things has from the outset thrown an active and influential set of people into the house of commons, giving to that body a weight and importance which in mediæval times at least it could not possibly have acquired in any other way. And through the legislative co-operation thus ensured between plain country gentlemen and city merchants on the one hand, and the heirs of noble families on the other hand, it has prevented anything like a determined hostility between the two houses of parliament, and greatly increased their ability to limit and define the prerogatives of the crown. One of the most conspicuous facts in English history is the harmonious way in which the two houses have worked together; and it is a fact to which elsewhere in European history we find no parallel. At first, as might have been expected, it was the commons that generally followed the lead of the lords; but it was inevitable that in course of time this relationship should be reversed. As the so-called lower house represented not only the inhabitants of the chartered towns, but also the great majority of landed gentry and yeomanry—the whole nation, in short, with the exception of the personal holders of hereditary or official seats in the upper house—it was inevitable that such an assembly should gradually draw into itself all the real governing power of the state.
—In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the power of parliament was perhaps almost as great as at the present day when fairly brought to a final test, but it was far more liable to encounter resistance on the part of the crown. As Mr. Freeman observes, “the ancient parliaments demanded the dismissal of the king’s ministers; they regulated his personal household; they put his authority into commission; if need be, they put forth their last and greatest power and deposed him from his kingly office. In those days a change of government, a change of policy, the getting rid of a bad minister and the putting a better in his place, were things which could never be done without an open struggle between king and parliament, often they could not be done without the bondage, the imprisonment, or the death, perhaps only of the minister, perhaps even of the king himself. The same ends can now begained by a vote of censure in the house of commons; in many cases they can begained even without a vote of censure, by the simple throwing out of a measure by which a ministry has given out that it will stand or fall.”
—The political events of the fifteenth century tended to increase the power of the crown at the expense of parliament; but in such a way that the influence of the lords suffered much more diminution relatively than that of the commons. From the earliest times it has been one of the most fundamental principles of the English constitution that the king can levy no tax save with the consent and by the authority of parliament. And this principle has at all times prevented the crown from becoming independent of parliament. At all times, indeed, the crown has possessed certain sources of revenue, established by immemorial custom, and not liable to be interfered with by parliament. In Blackstone’s Commentaries, book i., chap. viii., these sources of revenue are fully described under the head of the king’s “ordinary revenue.” Among these sources were divers fines and aids connected with the bestowal of ecclesiastical preferments, escheats and confiscations of property, and such minor matters as deodand, treasure trove, flotsam and jetsam, etc. But in ordinary times all these sources of revenue were insufficient to maintain the crown in independence, or to enable it to carry on the work of administration without calling upon parliament for aids and subsidies. And the granting such aids and subsidies, which had to be raised by taxation, naturally fell into the hands of the commons as representatives of the nation at large. During the great wars of Edward III. and Henry V. the crown would have been powerless for want of pecuniary resources but for the aid of the commons. If a public policy proposed by the crown were disapproved by the nation at large, it could be frustrated by a refusal on the part of the commons to grant supplies; and it is no doubt ultimately through this control of the public purse that the house of commons has come to be the supreme power in the government.
—But during the fifteenth century the power of parliament in both its houses received a shock through that terrible series of struggles known as the wars of the roses. These wars during a period of thirty years (1455-85) were carried on with an obstinacy and barbarity unequaled elsewhere in English history. The battles were distinguished for their enormous slaughter, that of Towton, March 29, 1461, having been probably the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. After each victory of either party followed a series of wholesale executions; such of the nobles as escaped death on the field were usually beheaded without mercy. So great was this slaughter that the first parliament of Henry VII. contained only twenty-nine lay peers. The old nobility, in short, was almost annihilated, both in person and in property; for along with the slaughter there went wholesale confiscations, and these confiscations added greatly to the disposable wealth of the crown. These events contributed
in various ways to enhance the royal power at the expense of parliament. In the first place, the peers newly created by the Tudor kings were for a time inclined to be subservient to the crown; and this tendency was aided under Henry VIII. by the dissolution of the monasteries, which at once withdrew thirty-six abbots and priors from the house of lords, and thus eliminated another source of opposition to the royal authority. In the second place, the available wealth of the crown was so far increased by escheats and confiscations that it became for a time to some extent independent of the house of commons; it became unnecessary to summon parliaments quite so frequently as before. In the third place, the effect of thirty years of anarchy was to arouse in the people a feeling of intense loyalty to the Tudor sovereigns as the guarantors of order and peace. And this feeling was strengthened by the curious uncertainty as to the succession which prevailed through the Tudor period. Throughout the sixteenth century the terrible memories of the civil war of the fifteenth made people unusually sensitive to the evils of a disputed succession. It was this feeling which caused some of the most atrocious acts of Henry VIII. and his daughter Mary to be condoned. This feeling went far toward making the Tudor parliaments more subservient to the crown than any others which have ever assembled in England. “Very different indeed,” says Mr. Freeman, “from the parliaments which overthrew Richard II. and Charles I. were the the parliaments which, almost without a question, passed bills of attainder against any man against whom Henry’s caprice had turned, the parliaments which, in the great age of religious controversy, were ever ready to enforce by every penalty that particular shade of doctrine which for the moment commended itself to the defender of the faith, to his son or to his daughters.”
—Nevertheless, even during the reign of Henry VIII., when the English government made perhaps its nearest approach to despotism, the importance of the house of commons was acknowledged by the persistence of the efforts made to corrupt it. The Tudor tyranny was scrupulously legal in form, and it has been truly said that “every deed of wrong done by Henry with the assent of parliament was in truth a witness to the abiding importance of parliament.” One feature of the Tudor period was the continual and energetic interference of the government in parliamentary elections, and this alone shows that the assent of the commons was even in these times held indispensable. Still stronger illustration of this is shown by the creation of rotten boroughs, more especially in Cornwall, which we must be careful not to confound with such other rotten boroughs as Old Sarum. Many of the boroughs disfranchised by the great reform bill of 1832 had become “rotten” in a natural way, simply by being outstripped in rate of growth by adjacent towns. But besides these, many rotten boroughs were called into existence in the Tudor period by the government sending writs of election to petty places likely to return members who would be found subservient to the court. That the crown could not get along without the house of commons is shown by nothing more forcibly than by the very pains which it thus took to pack that legislative body. Nevertheless all such proceedings tended to impair the quality of the legislature and to weaken its authority; and it was clear that if English freedom was to be maintained, a constitutional struggle must arise, in which the independence of parliament must be asserted and the arbitrary tendencies of the crown checked. Such a struggle would no doubt have come before the end of the sixteenth century but for reasons which it is easy to point out. During the first half of Elizabeth’s reign the dread of a disputed succession, which had been so effective ever since the accession of her grandfather, was greatly enhanced by the fact that in case of her death without issue her probable successor would be the Catholic queen of Scotland, whose cause was supported by Philip II. of Spain, the most formidable enemy to popular liberty in all Europe. Until the overthrow of the Invincible Armada in 1588 the king of Spain was an enemy whose power of mischief it would not do to underrate. This state of things so thoroughly identified the interests of the people with the interests of the great queen, both before and after her magnificent triumph over Spain, that anything like a serious constitutional struggle between herself and her parliament was quite out of the question. Besides all this, Elizabeth was a woman of too much good sense and tact to get herself drawn into a quarrel about questions of authority and prerogative. After her death all was changed. It was clear that no future sovereign could afford to take such liberties with the constitution as the Tudors had done, unless endowed either with unusual shrewdness or with unbounded personal popularity, or both. But Elizabeth’s successors had little shrewdness and little personal popularity. In foreign relations, while the cause of Elizabeth had been identical with that of England, on the other hand the Stuarts always contrived to favor just that line of foreign policy most calculated to alarm and disgust the English people. While the memory of the Armada was still fresh in the land, James I. ostentatiously cherished a perverse friendship for Spain; and in the latter part of the century, when Spain had ceased to be dangerous, and France under Louis XIV. had become the chief enemy to freedom in Europe, then James’ grandsons showed even greater perversity in their criminal subservience to the French court. Thus, as the causes which kept the nation loyal to the Tudors no longer existed, it was natural that the great struggle which was to teach the sovereign hereafter to “know his place” should begin with the accession of the House of Stuart. By this time, too, the spirit of the old nobility had
grown up again in the new, and the united strength of lords and commons was as great, in relation to that of the crown, as it had been in the days of Richard II. The occasion for conflict, moreover, was precipitated by the impecuniosity of the Stuart kings. James I. and Charles I., without anything like the pecuniary resources of Henry VII., were much more anxious than Henry VII. to get along independently of parliament, and the larger part of the history of their reigns is the history of their attempts to raise money in unconstitutional ways. “Tonnage and poundage,” “ship money,” and other similar illegal exactions, combined with the persecution of the Puritans to bring about the rebellion which for a few years resulted in overturning the throne. The so-called commonwealth, which ensued, far from vindicating for the popular legislature its title to the supreme authority in the government, proceeded to overturn the legislature as well as the throne. The brief period of the commonwealth was in reality a season of anarchy, save during the briefer included period of Cromwell’s supreme authority. The attempts of Cromwell to rule in connection with a house of commons were totally unsuccessful, because the constitution supplied no precedents adequate for determining the character of the relations between the two. In case of a conflict of policy the ultimate authority must rest with the party strongest for the time being, which in this instance was the lord protector as head of an invincible army. The brief rule of Cromwell, though deservedly glorious in English History, was a pure despotism with nothing constitutional about it. It was a despotism which did not deserve to last, which endured some five years only by reason of the transcendent ability and weighty character of Cromwell himself, but to which even Cromwell’s greatness could hardly have sufficed to insure a much longer duration. The restoration of the monarchy, with all the constitutional precedents grouped about it, was really the only condition upon which the good work begun by the long parliament could be successfully carried on. The essential triumph of the Puritan rebellion was illustrated in the reformatory measures of the first parliament of Charles II., and it would have been even more complete but for the temporary reaction of feeling which the anarchical character of the commonwealth had brought about. For a moment the crown was once more associated in men’s minds with peace and quietness, a feeling of which Charles and his brother proceeded to take advantage to defy public opinion.
—The second revolution, in 1688, finally settled the question as to where the ultimate authority in the English government resided. It settled it in much the same way that it had been settled in 1399 by the deposition of Richard II., but this time the questions at issue had been much more definitely propounded, and the solution was much more unmistakable. The turning out of Richard had been a plain assertion of the right of parliament to make and unmake kings; but the turning out of James, coming as it did within forty years from the overthrow and execution of his father, showed that henceforth the king of England could keep his place on the throne only on condition of “governing by act of parliament.”
—This final and unmistakable assertion of the supremacy of parliament has been further illustrated by the growth of modern cabinet government, which took its rise in the revolution of 1688. Before William III., the kings of England had had ministers, but up to his time each minister had been regarded as the personal servant of the crown so far as concerned the discharge of the duties of his own office. Each minister was separately responsible before the law, but that kind of collective responsibility whereby the whole group of ministers assume or resign office together had not yet been established. It was not even necessary that the various ministers should belong to the same political party, or should hold similar views on great questions of public policy. Under William III, began the practice of insuring practical co-operation between the crown and parliament by means of total changes in the ministry; and from this beginning it has gradually come to pass that the change of ministry is determined entirely in accordance with the will of parliament, and not at all with reference to the will of the sovereign; and thus it has further come to pass that the real executive power in England no longer resides in the crown but in the cabinet. A conflict between crown and parliament, such as occurred in the seventeenth century, could not occur at the present time, since all the active power of the crown has passed into its representative, the cabinet—a representative agent which changes in personality as often as the parliamentary majority changes. The crown, as such, is in England a mere “survival”; and such reasonable prospect of permanence as it has is mainly due to the very fact that it has become a mere survival. Yet from a practical point of view it can hardly be doubted that the abolition of the monarchy to-day need not modify in any essential respect the already well-established operation of cabinet government in England.
—This complete absorption of the executive power by the cabinet, with the concomitant complete dependence of each cabinet upon its parliamentary majority, has been brought about only by degrees. The change has been, so to speak, stealthy in its progress. It would be hard to say precisely when it was consummated. George III.—the last English sovereign whose will has really counted for anything in politics—had considerable influence in deciding who should be his ministers. His antipathy to the elder Pitt was effective in keeping Pitt out of the cabinet. George III. also took part in cabinet affairs himself. He was opposed to his own prime minister, Lord North, as to the desirableness of prolonging the war against the American colonies; and his obstinacy
was to some extent successful in prolonging the war. Nothing of the sort would be possible to-day. The opinions and wishes of the queen can not make the slightest difference as to the selection of Mr. Gladstone for prime minister or as to the passage of the Irish land bill.
—But although we can not say precisely when this change was consummated, we may say that the most important date in English constitutional history since 1688 is unquestionably 1832, the year of the great reform bill. In that year was inaugurated a change whereby the house of commons has come to represent, much more truly than before, the whole English people. While the old “rotten boroughs” and “pocket boroughs” existed, although the vote of the commons determined what was to be the supreme law of the land, it was nevertheless possible and customary for the crown and the peerage, through corrupt influence upon the elections, to determine to some extent the composition of the house of commons. The year 1832 may be assigned as the epoch at which the supremacy of the commons became finally complete throughout all departments of the government.
—For the composition of the so called lower house, and the changes wrought in it by the reform bills of 1832 and 1867, see
—The finances of India and of the colonies are kept entirely separate from those of the United Kingdom. Not a penny from the revenues of these countries finds its way into the coffers of the imperial exchequer, nor is the British treasury in any way responsible for any of their expenses, except in certain special cases, as for example, where the imperial government guarantees a loan contracted by one of the colonial governments with the approval of parliament. The British treasury pays the salaries of the governors and other important officers in a few of the colonies; but in all the principal colonies these expenses are provided for by colonial taxation. From the beginning it has been a fundamental principle of British colonization that it should be self-supporting; and to this circumstance, no doubt, a considerable part of the extraordinary success of British colonization is due. At the same time, where military defense is concerned, the imperial government charges itself to a certain extent with the protection of the colonies, as well as with the maintenance of its dominion in India.
—The first principle of taxation in Great Britain is that the government can neither raise any tax, nor expend a penny of the public revenues, except through a vote of parliament. This principle, which has always lain at the bottom of the English constitution as the ultimate practical guaranty of English liberties, was distinctly and formally acknowledged by the crown in the reign of Edward I.; and although English sovereigns—notably the first two Stuarts—have since then sought to evade it, their attempts have been unsuccessful. On the other hand, the initiative in levying taxes or in disposing of public moneys is never taken by parliament, but always by the cabinet, or nominally and in former times really by the crown. So strictly is this rule adhered to that the house of commons refuses to receive petitions soliciting any particular disposition of the public funds for any purpose whatever. If lobbying of this sort is to go on at all, it must go on with the ministry, not with the legislature.
—The treasury department of the British government was in former times administered by the lord high treasurer an officer who ranked immediately after the two archbishops and the lord chancellor, as the fourth personage in the kingdom outside of the royal family. But this office became obsolete in the reign of Anne, and the treasury is now administered by a bureau or committee of five. The chairman of this committee, known as the “first lord of the treasury,” is usually the prime minister, who has the general business of the government to superintend; so that, in point of fact, the especial charge of the business of the treasury is lodged with the second officer of the committee, who is known as the “chancellor of the exchequer.” The other three members of the committee are of no especial account. Now and then it has happened that the same person has occupied the offices of first lord of the treasury and chancellor of the exchequer at the same time. This was the case with Sir Robert Peel in 1834 and with Mr. Gladstone in 1874; and both offices are held by Mr. Gladstone at the present time (1881); but in the nature of things such a union of two such onerous offices must be exceptional. All the five members of the treasury committee, as well as their two secretaries, must be members of parliament and all go into or out of office together when there is a change of administration. It is the business of the chancellor of the exchequer to present each year to the house of commons his financial statement for the year just expired, and also his “budget” or estimate of receipts and expenses for the current year. The financial year in Great Britain ends on the last day of March, and the budget is usually presented to the house a few weeks later. In presenting the budget, the chancellor indicates what modifications, if any, the government proposes to make in the system of taxation for the ensuing year; and he usually makes out his estimate in such a way as to allow a margin of from two to three million dollars for incidental or unforeseen additions
to the reckoned expenses.
Revenue. The total revenue of the United Kingdom for the year ending March 31, 1880, amounted to £70,747,079, equal to $339,585,979. The chief sources of this revenue were, 1st, Custom house duties, £19,326,000; 2d, Excise tax, £25,300,000; 3d, Income and property tax, £9,230,000; 4th, Stamp duty, £10,316,103; 5th, Land and assessed tax, £2,670,000; 6th, Postoffice receipts, £3,330,000; 7th, Crown lands, £390,000; 8th, Miscellaneous, £184,976. These sources of revenue may be considered in detail.
—1st. Custom House Duties. Since 1845 customs duties have been levied only on imported goods, and the number of articles subject to duty has been greatly reduced. In 1841 the tariff list contained something like 1,200 articles; in 1881 it contained only eight, of which only five are of any importance, to wit: tea, yielding £4,016,319; coffee, yielding £216,925; wines, yielding £1,378,508; spirits, yielding £4,941,871; tobacco, yielding £8,596,757. The only other dutiable articles are chicory, cocoa and dried fruits. Customs duties are levied indiscriminately upon goods produced in British colonies and goods produced in foreign countries, and no distinctions are made with reference to the nationality of the ships from which goods are landed. The articles made dutiable are in the main articles which can not be produced in the United Kingdom. Where a dutiable article is produced in Great Britain, as in the case of spirituous liquors, it is subjected to an excise tax as nearly as possible equivalent to the duty. It will be seen, therefore, that the British tariff is devised simply for the purpose of raising revenue, and not at all for the purpose of what is called “encouraging native industry” by taxing consumers for the benefit of producers. The most important changes made in the tariff during the present century have been made by Sir Robert Peel in 1842 and 1845, and by Mr. Gladstone in 1853 and 1860. The results of these changes, as affecting the revenue derived from the tariff, may be seen in the following brief statement: In 1842 the total revenue from 1,200 articles was £22,523,000; in 1880 the total revenue from eight articles was £19,326,000. The custom house department is administered by a board of six commissioners holding office for life or during good behavior; this board is under the general direction of the treasury, and, more specifically, of the chancellor of the exchequer. Customs duties have in all ages been part of the revenues of the British government. In former times they were known by the epithet “tonnage and poundage,” the tonnage duties being applicable to wines or spirits, and the poundage duties being analogous to what are now commonly known as
ad valorem duties.
—2d. Excise. The principal articles subject to excise at the present day are spirituous liquors, beer, hops, chicory, and the sugar used in breweries. Besides this, the excise department receives a very considerable revenue from licenses, hackney carriages and cabs, and race horses. License taxes are levied on innkeepers, brewers, wine merchants and venders of beer and spirits, tobacconists, and grocers selling tea, coffee or pepper. A revenue is also derived from licenses for killing or selling game. During the past forty years a great many excise duties have been abolished, such as the excise upon salt, leather, candles, beer, vinegar, glass, soap and paper; yet the revenue derived from the excise has been increased, instead of being diminished, by these exemptions.
—3d. Income Tax. The income tax is levied upon incomes of £100 per annum and upward. The net yield of this tax is estimated as averaging £1,100,000 per penny; so that a tax of nine pence on the pound will yield a revenue of £9,900,000. The income tax is levied upon incomes derived from rent of land or houses or other real estate, from commerce or professional services, or from salaries. The income tax was first established by the younger Pitt in 1798. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, in 1815, when its annual yield was about £14,000,000, it was abolished; and was not again imposed until 1842, when a deficit of £10,000,000 having rolled up in the course of five years. Sir Robert Peel laid a tax of seven pence in the pound on incomes of £150 and upward, for three years. Incomes in Ireland were exempted from this tax. In 1845, in order to assist Sir Robert Peel in his projects of commercial reform, the tax was continued; and since then it has from time to time been continued by special legislation, for various specific purposes. In 1853 Mr. Gladstone extended the tax to incomes of £100 and upward, besides extending its operation to Ireland. This arrangement was intended to last only until 1860; but the Crimean war intervening in 1854, it was found necessary not only to prolong the period of the tax, but to increase its rate even to sixteen pence in the pound. Since 1860, although the rate has been reduced to four pence, and although a tax of this kind is always and deservedly unpopular, the proper occasion for abolishing it altogether does not seem to have arrived.
—4th. Stamp Duty. Stamps are required upon all wills, bills of exchange, receipts, title deeds and policies of marine insurance.
—5th. Land Tax. This is a tax of four shillings in the pound, or 20 per cent. on the annual income of all landed property. These figures seem enormous, but are really moderate enough. since the valuation upon which the tax is assessed is the valuation of the year 1692, which is a merely nominal figure when compared with the present value of estates. Besides this, in the same group of taxes, come the taxes upon dwelling houses, upon domestic servants, private carriages and horses, and various articles of luxury. Note of these taxes are levied in Ireland.
—6th. Postoffice Receipts. The postal service, in connection with the public revenue, was established by Cromwell in 1657, but its revenue-yielding function has always been regarded as entirely secondary to its function as a public convenience. In
1868 the telegraph lines throughout Great Britain were purchased by the government, and have since that time been operated by the postoffice department, greatly to the benefit of the public. Throughout Great Britain and Ireland every post-office has a telegraph office connected with it, and messages are sent to any distance at a uniform rate of one shilling for twenty words. The revenue derived from this source amounts to about one-tenth of that derived from the carriage of letters; but this ratio constantly tends to increase, from which it may perhaps be inferred that the tariff will ultimately be diminished.
—7th. Crown Lands. These are landed estates forming, so to speak, the residuum of the ancient hereditary domain of the crown. They are now ceded to the state by every sovereign, at the moment of his accession, in consideration of an annual allowance granted him for life by parliament, and known as the “civil list.” The crown lands are administered by a special department, the commissioners of woods and forests. But these lands do not include the duchy of Cornwall, which is separately administered, and the revenue from which is assigned to the Prince of Wales, nor the duchy of Lancaster, whose revenues are paid to the queen.
—8th. The revenues from the sale of antiquated or worthless accoutrements of the army and navy, unclaimed arrearages of the national debt, contributions from the viceroyalty of India in partial reimbursement of expenses incurred by the imperial government on account of the military armament of India, dues or arrears paid in by foreign governments,
conscience money (
i.e., anonymous remittances of uncollected taxes), and various other occasional, unimportant or unclassifiable receipts.
Expenses. The national expenses of the United Kingdom may be considered under three heads: 1st, the consolidated funds; 2d, the public expenses of administration; and 3d, the national debt. The annual expenses of administration are provided for from year to year by special votes of the house of commons. Expenses relating to the consolidated fund, or to the liquidation of the national debt, are regulated by acts of parliament extending over an indefinite period, and remaining in force so long as they are not formally abrogated.
—1st. The Consolidated Funds. The yearly revenue, after having been paid in to the exchequer, is placed to the credit of the consolidated funds. Against this credit there are charged certain debits as follows, first, the regular interest of the national debt; then, the civil list, or annual endowment assigned to the sovereign; then, the expenses of the courts of justice, along with the salaries of certain permanent officers, such as the comptroller of the exchequer, and other matters which are not regarded as worth while to be rearranged at every parliament. All these charges are summed up as the regular annual charges against the consolidated fund. The surplus is applied to the public expenses of administration.
—2d. Public Expenses of Administration. Some time before the annual meeting of parliament, the heads of the different departments, after consultation with the lords of the treasury, prepare estimates of the probable expenses of the administration of their departments for the ensuing year. Four especial budgets are handed in: one for the navy, one for the army, one for the revenue department, and one for the civil service. The civil service is subdivided into departments, such as that of public works, law and justice, education, colonial and consular service, and charitable institutions; and besides all this, there is a section devoted to various temporary purposes. Down to the year 1863, moreover, a small sum was put at the disposal of the ministers for unforeseen expenses. But since 1863 this item has been provided for by a regular and permanent assignment of £120,000. The estimates are subdivided into articles, each article having reference to a special branch of expense. The amount assigned by parliament for the civil service of the preceding year is set down in a column by itself; and by the side of it are set down the corresponding estimates for the ensuing year; and these estimates are accompanied by very elaborate explanations concerning every detail of expense, however minute. Printed copies of these estimates are distributed to each member of the house of commons. After a while they are submitted to the committee of supply for examination, and the articles are then discussed and put to vote, one after another. After a certain number of articles have been adopted, an act is passed authorizing the lords of the treasury to apply a certain proportion of the public revenue to the purposes assigned by vote of the house of commons. This act is called the “ways and means act.” The gross amount specified in this act can never exceed the amount of the sums already appropriated by the committee of supply. Several acts of ways and means are ordinarily passed in the course of each session, in accordance with an old constitutional tradition whereby enough money is to be granted during the sitting of parliament to prevent any delay in public business, without putting into the hands of the crown enough funds to enable it to dispense with parliament. Thus are the financial proceedings of the house of commons still affected by reminiscences of that family of Stuart kings whom it was not safe to trust with money! At the close of the session a general act of ways and means is passed, recapitulating all these minor acts, and authorizing the lords of the treasury to appropriate the revenue in general as therein assigned. This general act is called the act of appropriation. In times of war, when it is impossible to foresee exactly the characters and amounts of all the expenses that may be found necessary, it is customary to pass a “vote of confidence,” allowing the government several millions sterling in order to provide for extraordinary war expenses. Funds granted in this way can not be appropriated for any purpose that is not immediately connected with the war going on at the time. If the government
turn out to have need of any further funds, parliament must be summoned and demand made for a further credit.
—A few words concerning the practical operations of the exchequer will here be in place. All the revenues collected are paid into the exchequer, from which no funds can be withdrawn except by order of the comptroller of the exchequer, an officer of high rank and independent position, who can be removed from his post only after an address presented to the crown (that is, to the prime minister) by both houses of parliament. Whenever an order for money is presented to the exchequer, it is the business of the comptroller to see that the object for which the money is drawn is one of the objects which have been authorized by parliament, and that the amount demanded falls within the limits of the credit allowed by the house of commons for this specific purpose. The comptroller can not himself draw any money whatever from the exchequer; he can only order the bank to charge moneys to the credit of a third party whom he designates. Most of the demands on the public funds of the interior are made by the paymaster general, who advises the treasury daily of the sums which he is intending to draw on the following day, and of the several accounts to which they are to be charged. The treasury then authorizes the comptroller of the exchequer to give the paymaster the necessary credit, and the paymaster can then transfer this credit to his drawing account and proceed to make payment. His payments are made in various ways; small sums are paid in ready money at the paymaster’s window, and larger sums by checks on the bank. Payments abroad are usually effected by means of orders on the treasury drawn by government officers resident abroad, and accepted on presentation by the paymaster general. Officers entitled to draw such orders are usually officers of the commissary department, and the orders are drawn on account of what is known as the treasury chest fund. This fund consists of about £13,000,000 coming from the accumulation of disposable balances of various sorts, and it furnishes a very convenient means for making disbursements in different parts of the world. The final check relating to the expenditure of the public revenues is furnished by the audit office. The bureau of audit consists of four commissioners who are removable only in the same way as the comptroller of the exchequer. Most of the public accounts are sent in to the audit office for examination, but the detailed accounts of the army and navy are revised by especial military comptrollers. The audit office does not approve an account unless it can be shown that the credits have been appropriated in strict accordance with the acts of ways and means. There are two different kinds of audit, one called the “detailed audit,” the other known as the “appropriation check.” So far as the first is concerned, the duties of the audit office consist in ascertaining whether each responsible person has expended legitimately the funds entrusted to him. Before each responsible person is set a statement of all the advances which have been made to him, and he is required to render an account of the manner in which he has expended these sums. This account is carefully examined item by item, and the commissioners require a full explanation of every obscure or doubtful point. If the explanations are unsatisfactory, the commissioners “disallow” the items to which they relate, and at last, after concluding their examination, they make their report to the treasury; and the treasury decides for itself in the case of disallowances whether it will accept or cancel them. The “detailed audit,” however, only certifies that the accounts to which it refers are duly balanced, that there are vouchers for each payment, and that every payment has been duly authorized. The “appropriation check” goes farther than this, and by means of it the commissioners of audit indicate to parliament the exact sums that have been expended in every particular for which appropriations have been made, showing, moreover, whether the sums appropriated have been entirely expended. This second kind of audit is applied only to a few very important departments, such as the army and navy and the public works.
—The following tables show the total amounts of revenue and expenditure for the sixteen financial years 1866-81:
The expenditure for the financial years 1868 and 1869 included supplemental appropriations for the Abyssinian expedition, amounting to £5,600,000, and the expenditure for 1874 included the sum of £3,200,000 paid for the Alabama claims under the treaty of Washington.
—During the whole period of sixteen years there has been an almost uninterrupted reduction of taxation, as may be seen from the following statement. In 1864 the taxes were
reduced by £4,615,508; in 1865 by £3,235,384; in 1866 by £5,343,405; and in 1867 by £601,462. In 1868 they were
increased by £1,285,000; and in 1869 by £1,450,000. In 1870 they were
reduced by £2,735,670; and in 1871 by £4,497,343. In 1872 they were
increased by £3,050,066. In 1873 they were
reduced by £3,895,105; in 1874 by £3,327,380; in 1875 by £4,554,903; and in 1876 by £66,000. In 1877 they were
increased by £1,549,050. In 1878 they were
reduced by £6,000. In 1879 they were
increased by £4,340,000. The increase in 1868 and 1869 was connected with the expenses of the Abyssinian expedition; that of 1877 was connected with extraordinary disbursements on account of the war between Russia and Turkey; and that of 1879 was connected with the war in South Africa.
—The annual revenue derived from the income tax, the most important of the direct taxes, during each of the financial years 1870-81, was as follows.
—3d. National Debt. The largest branch of national expenditure is that for the interest and management of the national debt. The origin of the national debt goes back to 1694, when the bank of England loaned the government £1,200,000 at 8 per cent. interest, in consideration of certain chartered privileges which were secured to it at about that time. During the past hundred years the expenditure on account of the debt has increased more than fivefold. The debt is partly funded, partly unfunded. The holders of the funded debt can not demand the payment of the principal, but only the annual interest, while the holders of the unfunded debt can call for payment of principal as well as interest. The funded debt has been funded partly in perpetuity, partly in terminable annuities. The perpetual annuities are redeemable on payment of the principal which they represent; but in the case of most of them the government can not exercise its right of redemption without giving at least a year’s notice. The unredeemed principal of the perpetual funded debt amounted in 1871 to about £731,000,000. Of the terminable annuities, some are the outstanding balances of annuities of which the term was originally fixed, while others are brief annuities created by the government in exchange for loans of money applied to the redemption of the perpetual funded debt; so that the creation of a terminable annuity in this way is a step toward the payment of the debt.
—An attempt was made by Mr. Gladstone in 1853 to reduce the interest of a considerable portion of the debt to 2½ per cent.; but the attempt was unsuccessful. The principal feature of this plan was the issue of exchequer bonds bearing 2 8/4 per cent. interest until 1864, and 2½ per cent. until 1894, after which the bonds should be redeemable at the pleasure of the government. These bonds were offered in exchange for bills of exchequer or for shares in the consolidated fund, but they were only taken up to the amount of about £400,000, and this was almost solely in exchange for bills of the exchequer. The arrears of the national debt are paid through the agency of the bank of England, which receives a commission upon the payments that it makes. Formerly so much importance was attached to the maintenance of a sinking fund for redeeming a certain amount of the debt each year, that loans were often made for the purpose of keeping it up. But the obvious futility of borrowing in order to pay the debt caused this sinking fund to be abolished. But by the provisions of an act of parliament of 1875, the national debt is now to be gradually reduced by means of a new permanent sinking fund, maintained by annual votes of the legislature. The charge of the sinking fund for the financial year ending March 31, 1876, was fixed at £27,400,000; for the following year at £27,700,000; and for every subsequent year at £28,000,000. It was also provided that the charges under this head should be entered under the consolidated fund.
—The unfunded or floating debt comprises bills of the exchequer and bonds of the exchequer. There are various kinds of exchequer bills, distinguished as “supply bills,” “deficiency bills,” and “ways and means bills.” Between the two latter kinds of bills there is a close analogy. The bills of ways and means serve as a guaranty for loans made at the bank in order to cover some deficit in the quarterly revenues designed for supplying the public service; and in just the same way the deficiency bills provide against slight deficits in the consolidated funds. These two classes of bills may be issued without special recourse to parliament, in virtue of the general authority given to the government for financial management. The supply bills of the exchequer are issued in virtue of a direct authorization by parliament. They are a kind of promissory notes, bearing an interest fixed from time to time by the treasury, and payable
at assigned dates. These notes are usually issued in March and June of each year, and they usually run for one year from the date of issue. They have most of the characters of bank bills, and are receivable in payment of the revenues for the year in anticipation of which they are issued. But formerly the sum of these bills in circulation would occasionally become too large to be redeemed under these conditions; and in such cases it was customary to authorize a new issue each year for the purpose of paying off the bills of the preceding year arrived at maturity. The inconvenience of this is obvious, and in 1861 a new system was introduced. Bills of the exchequer are now charged to the account of the consolidated fund. They are thus payable at the close of one year from the date of issue, but are only paid in case payment is demanded by the holders. If they are not presented for payment at the end of the year, they are payable at the end of the following year, and so on. The treasury is authorized to issue new bills in amount sufficient to replace those which have been paid on presentation. The holders of bills of the exchequer which have not more than six months to run may offer them in payment of taxes. The treasury has the right to fix the rate of interest on these bills, which can not, however, exceed 5½ per cent. per annum. The sum total of exchequer bills in circulation does not exceed £6,000,000, though formerly it attained a much higher figure.
—Exchequer bonds are notes bearing interest and payable at specified dates. They are issued for periods of five or six years. The sum total of bonds in circulation twenty years ago was nearly £4,000,000, but has dwindled until it is now less than £1,000,000.
—The following table exhibits the condition of the national debt from its origin down to the year 1881, at various periods:
—During the fifteen years 1867-81, the capital of the national debt varied as follows:
—The balances in the exchequer for the sixteen years 1866-81, are shown in the following table:
—Parliament has at various times placed at the disposal of the government large sums to be loaned to private individuals or companies upon personal security, in order to facilitate the progress of works of national importance. Advances of this sort are known as “exchequer loans.” They are made upon proper security, at a reasonable rate of interest, and are payable at specified periods.
—III. LOCAL ADMINISTRATION. The principal administrative division of the kingdom is the
county, of which, as above stated, there are 52 in England and Wales, 33 in Scotland (including the “stewartry” of Kirkeudbright), and 32 in Ireland. The county of York is divided into three parts or districts known as
ridings, a word which is probably a corruption of
“third.” The principal county magistrates are the lord lieutenant, the sheriff, the justices of the peace, and the coroners.
Lord Lieutenant. This officer is appointed by the crown (
i.e., by the prime minister), and is chosen from among the principal noblemen residing in the county. He is assisted by one or more deputies whom he appoints himself, and who compose with him the lieutenancy of the county. He is the keeper of the rolls, and in this capacity takes part in the sittings of the justices of the peace. Down to 1871 he was commander of the militia, and appointed its officers, as well as those of the yeomanry and the volunteers; but in 1871 these prerogatives were transferred to the crown.
Sheriff. In ancient times the sheriff was elected by the freeholders of the county; but since the reign of Edward I. he is appointed annually by the crown. It is not permissible to refuse the position of sheriff, although no salary is attached to it and the office brings with it considerable expense; but the social consideration connected with the office is such that the principal landholders of the county are usually very desirous of obtaining it: The penalty, in case of refusal, is a fine of £600. An interval of three years must elapse between any two successive incumbencies of the same sheriff. The sheriff is charged with the maintenance of the public peace and the execution of the laws. He presides over elections, he is superintendent of jails, he arrests persons accused of crime or misdemeanor, he summons juries, and sees that judgment is executed. To assist him in the discharge of his duties he appoints a deputy sheriff, as well as bailiffs and jailors. The sheriff is not a justice of the peace, and can not take part in the sittings of these magistrates. The sheriff of the county of Middlesex is not appointed by the crown, but is elected by the citizens of London.
Justices of the Peace. The administrative functions of the ancient county courts have been passed down to the justices of the peace. These magistrates are nominated by the lord lieutenant in his capacity of keeper of the rolls, and are appointed by the lord chancellor. They must necessarily be residents in the county. Their numerous duties are performed in assemblies known as quarter sessions, petty sessions, and special sessions. The business transacted in quarter sessions is both judicial and administrative. As civil judges they decide appeals from decisions of the petty county courts; they decide upon questions relating to local taxation, licenses, and the practical administration of the poor laws. As criminal judges they have cognizance of petty crimes and misdemeanors, and may arrest persons or bind them over to keep the peace. Their principal administrative duties relate to the supervision of bridges and highways, prisons and asylums, and local police. They appoint the chief of the police, subject to the approval of the home secretary, and the chief appoints his subordinate officers, subject to the approval of the justices of the peace. An officer known as “clerk of the peace” who is appointed by the lord lieutenant, attends the sessions as secretary, and is charged with the execution of their decisions. The justices of the peace appoint a treasurer. In order to facilitate the transaction of business, each county is divided into districts, and the justices resident in each district hold petty sessions, from which an appeal lies to the quarter sessions. The justices of the peace in quarter sessions also assess the county taxes in accordance with a uniform valuation of the taxable property in the county. The county expenses are chiefly incurred in the building and repair of bridges and highways, and of county court houses. These are all provided out of the general tax levied at the quarter sessions. A special tax is devoted to the maintenance of prisons and lunatic asylums. The local police is also supported in the main by the county, though a certain proportion, not exceeding one-fourth of the expense, is usually contributed by the national treasury. The various committees charged with the separate items of county affairs, such as the committee on prisons, the committee on buildings, etc., prepare an account of the expenses incurred in their several departments; and these accounts, together with the report of the treasurer, are submitted to the approval of a committee of finance appointed by the justices of the peace.
Coroners. The duties of the coroner are the same in Great Britain as in the United States. Though, as his title imports, he is
par excellence the “crown officer” or representative of the crown, he is usually elected by the freeholders of the county. In some instances, however, he is appointed by the crown, or by the chief magistrates of certain cities. Each county has from three to six coroners.
Cities and Boroughs. These names are applied particularly to municipal corporations independent of the county, which retain, by virtue of a charter or of a special act of parliament, the power of self-government intact. Legislation regarding these corporations was summed up and epitomized in an act of 1835. A municipal corporation consists of a mayor, a board of aldermen, a common council, and citizens or burgesses. The citizens are all individuals having attained their legal majority who have occupied during three consecutive years a house, shop or office within the city, or who have their true residence within the city or within a radius of seven miles of it, and who have besides been enrolled as liable to the poor tax. The citizen list, or roll of burgesses, is publicly revised every year. The citizens elect the councilors, auditors and assessors. Councilors are chosen subject to a property qualification of not less than £500. No ecclesiastic can be elected councilor, nor can any one who is in receipt of a salary from the city. Councilors are elected for a term of three years. Aldermen are appointed by the common council, and hold office for a term of six years, and no one is eligible as alderman who is not eligible as councilor. The aldermen
men preside at city elections, and one of them takes the place of the mayor in the case of his absence or death. The mayor is elected annually by the common council, and is taken indifferently from among the aldermen or from among the councilors. The mayor is
ex officio justice of the peace during his year of office and the following year. In the municipal council his sole privilege is to preside at the meetings. The municipal council holds its meetings quarterly, and besides this, extraordinary meetings can be summoned by the mayor or by any five councilors. Two-thirds of the members of the council are required for a quorum. The council may make regulations for the city and ensure their observance by affixing fines not exceeding £5. Such regulations become effective only after having been posted for forty days at the entrance to the city hall, and after having been communicated to the home secretary. The council administers the municipal estates and revenues, and it has supervision over the local administration of justice, over prisons and houses of correction, and other local matters. Besides the council there are in every city certain officers which are either appointed by the council or elected by the citizens. The assessors and auditors are elected by the citizens, while the other officers are appointed by the council and hold office for life or during good behavior. Among these are the town clerk (who has charge of the charters and archives of the city, and prepares the electoral lists), the town treasurer, etc., etc. In most cities and boroughs there are county courts for the trial of civil actions, the extent of their circuit being prescribed by the lord chancellor. These courts have cognizance of all civil actions not exceeding £50 in value. At the request of any city, its magistrates may undertake the administration of criminal justice in petty cases, the expense being defrayed by the city. The principal expenses of cities and boroughs are expenses for lighting, water, repair of streets, and police.
Parishes. At the base of local administrative organization in Great Britain is found the parish. The ancient division of the county was into hundreds and townships, but these divisions at the present day have had their principal functions merged in or obscured by those of the county and the parish. At the head of each hundred there is an officer called the high constable, who was formerly elected by the freeholders of the hundred, but who is now appointed by the justices of the peace in quarter sessions. The duties of this officer have lost their ancient importance, and are now limited to the collection of taxes and the serving of writs. The word “town” has to a considerable extent departed from its ancient meaning. Towns which are not especially chartered as cities or boroughs have no distinct government as such, but for all administrative purposes make a part of the county in which they are situated. Nevertheless, neither the old townships nor the old free assembly of the township have disappeared, though both are disguised by a peculiar nomenclature. The change from the old
township to the modern
parish is in most instances merely a change of name; and the old
town meeting survives in the
vestry meeting of the parish. The vestry elects officers for the administration of parochial affairs, such as church wardens, commissioners of cemeteries, constables, overseers of the poor, and highway surveyors. The church wardens, of whom there are two in each parish, have charge of the repair of the parish church and of whatever secular business belongs directly to the church. They are paid from the revenues of the church; and before 1868, when their wages from this source were inadequate, a special tax was levied, known as the church rate, which could not exceed 5 per cent. of the annual revenue from the properties on which it could be laid. Since 1868 the payment of church rates has been made optional. Wherever there is a parochial cemetery, its administration is entrusted to a special committee, which provides for its expenses by a tax on burials. Whenever it is necessary to establish a new cemetery, or enlarge an old one, the committee may negotiate a loan, with the consent of the vestry. All country roads except turnpikes are kept up by the parishes, by means of a highway rate which is assessed in precisely the same manner as the poor rate. Petitions for the abatement of these classes of taxes may be heard by the justices of the peace in special or quarter sessions. Besides these obligatory charges, the vestry can undertake, at its own option, the service of the police and that of lighting the streets, the taxes for these purposes being assessed after the manner of the poor rates, except that properties consisting in buildings pay three times as much as lands. Besides these local services, there are others—such as public carriages, water supply, fire department, repair of town clocks, public baths, markets, etc.—which are sometimes discharged by the vestry, but perhaps more generally by local committees whose sphere of activity may extend over several parishes. The extent of the circuit of such local committees is determined by the home secretary, but the committees are responsible not to the national government, but to the parishes with which their work is concerned.
City of London. The huge metropolis, with its population (in 1879) of 4,714,000, is technically known as the “Metropolitan District,” and its current name is London. Properly speaking, however, the city of London contains hardly 100,000 of this vast population. The city contains 108 parishes, and is divided into 26 quarters or wards. The municipal government is vested in the council, consisting of the lord mayor, 26 aldermen, and 206 councilors. The lord mayor is elected annually by the council of aldermen and the assembly of guild masters, among the aldermen who have held the office of sheriff. Within the city the lord mayor takes precedence over the members of the royal family with the exception of the sovereign. He has the
prerogatives of a lord lieutenant, and besides his administrative functions he is the first justice of the peace for the city, and sits in several local courts. The aldermen are elected by the freeholders occupying houses of more than £10 rental. The common council can not contain more than eight members following the same trade. To be eligible as councilor it is necessary to possess, in one’s own ward, a house of at least £10 rental. The common council is at once a legislative and an executive body. It regulates and alters the constitution of the city, without appeal to any other authority in the kingdom. It disposes of all the funds of the municipal corporation; and it appoints all the municipal officers whose appointment has not been reserved to the aldermen. Among the municipal officers the most important is that of the
recorder, who is elected for life by the board of aldermen. He is the consulting lawyer of the corporation, and represents the lord mayor in his judicial functions. In all cases where the lord mayor and the aldermen sit as judges, the recorder sums up the arguments and pronounces the decisions. He also attends the central criminal court as representative of the lord mayor, and at the close of each session of this court he makes report to the crown concerning capital sentences. He presides over the quarter sessions at the Guildhall and at South wark; and he is also the advocate of the city, charged with the defense of its interests, if necessary, before parliament. The
common sergeant, elected by the common council, is the assistant of the recorder. He attends the meetings of the aldermen and common council, as well as those of the different municipal committees, to give legal advice when required. The
town clerk. chosen also by the common council, has charge of the archives and is keeper of the municipal seal. The
remembrancer is an officer who attends the houses of parliament in order to watch the interests of the city there, and to make a report of whatever is said or done that may affect its privileges. The
chamberlain, besides filling the office of city treasurer, receives the oath from persons who have established their right to the freedom of the city, and decides disputes between masters and apprentices. After these officers come the comptroller, the auditors, the secretary of municipal works, the coroner, and the two sheriffs.
Metropolitan District. The various departments of public service entrusted to local committees, of which mention was made above, constitute in London a special administrative department, which deals principally with public works. The metropolitan circuit, for this purpose, comprises the city of London and county of Middlesex, with certain parts of the counties of Essex, Surrey and Kent, the whole making up the enormous aggregate known to modern geography as London. This metropolitan circuit is divided into thirty-eight districts, each of which has its board of commissioners. The city by itself forms one district, and the same is the case with some of the more important metropolitan parishes. The administration of the entire metropolis is under the supreme direction of a metropolitan commission composed of forty-three members, appointed by the district commissions and by those vestries which perform the same work as the district commissions. The members hold office for three years, one-third of the number being replaced each year. The metropolitan commission elects its own president and other officers. This metropolitan commission has charge of the sewers, decides upon the opening of new streets or the widening or altering of old ones, and also controls the naming of the streets and the numbering of houses. The purification of the Thames is one of the most important works which the commission has in hand; and to defray the cost of it parliament has authorized a tax of three pence in the pound on the rental of all the real estate in the metropolis for forty years. The general expenses of the commission are met by a tax graded equitably with reference to the wealth of the various districts and the advantage which they relatively receive from a given set of improvements. The members of the district commissions are chosen in each parish from among those people who pay poor rates assessed on an annual income of not less than £40; and they are chosen by a vestry consisting of not less than 18 nor more than 120 members. Parishes containing more than 2,000 electors are divided into sections. In districts formed of a single parish the vestry itself acts as a district commission. These local commissions and vestries superintend the local lighting, sewerage, paving, and street cleaning. They also employ physicians to inspect the sanitary condition of their districts. Each vestry or district commission defrays its expenses by means of two taxes: the general rate and the sewer rate. Separate accounts are kept for each of these taxes, as well as for street lighting when that is provided for by a general tax. The vestry or district commission is authorized to abate taxes, in whole or in part, in the case of localities which derive little or no advantage from them. These taxes are collected by the inspectors of the poor rate, unless the vestries or district commissions appoint special collectors. The accounts of all these local boards are approved by auditors elected at the same time as the vestrymen. A special auditor, appointed by the government, approves the accounts of the metropolitan commission.
—The total amount annually raised by local taxation was as follows, in the three divisions of the United Kingdom, in the year ending March 31, 1874, this being the latest official return:
—The following table exhibits the amounts of the various branches of local expenditure in the year ending March 31, 1874:
|ENGLAND AND WALES.|
|In the Metropolis:|
|Poor relief, including workhouse loans repaid||£1,636,541|
|All other parochial expenditure payable out of poor rates…||136,507|
|Local management by vestries (exclusive of metropolitan board of works) maintenance of roads, watering, lighting, sewerage, etc.||1,516,964|
|Metropolitan board of works; local public works, sewerage, etc…||1,385,015|
|Corporation and com’rs of sewers of London: local public works, sewerage, etc…||1,136,371|
|Burial boards, etc…||56,710|
|Total local expenditure in metropolis…||£7,658,157|
|Poor relief, includ’g workhouse loans repaid.||£6,053,998|
|All other parochial expenditure payable out of poor rates…||583,154|
|County purposes: police, prisons, asylums, etc…||2,780,165|
|Municipal boroughs, for public works, police, etc…||3,573,433|
|Urban sanitary authorities…||7,958,208|
|Rural sanitary authorities…||159,419|
|For maintenance of public roads, by highway boards…||1,575,608|
|Burial boards for public cemeteries…||341,971|
|Total local expenditure in country districts||£25,334,137|
|For erection and maintenance of commercial harbors…||£3,082,571|
|Lighthouses, pilotage, and saving life at sea||680,689|
|Total local expenditure in coast districts…||£3,763,260|
|Total England and Wales…||£36,750,534|
|Parochial boards for relief of the poor…||£851,365|
|County assessments: police, prisons, roads, etc.||258,000|
|Grand jury cess: roads, bridges, prisons, etc….||1,139,583|
|Harbors and lights…||477,861|
|England and Wales…||£36,750,554|
|Total United Kingdom…||£44,523,720|
—IV. CHURCH. The established church of England is the Protestant Episcopal, the fundamental doctrines of which are regarded as embodied in the thirty-nine articles, agreed upon in convocation in 1562, and finally settled in 1571. The separation of the English church from Rome, which was declared by Henry VIII., was consummated at the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth. The crown was declared by parliament to be the supreme head of the realm in matters spiritual as well as in matters temporal. The thirty-nine articles, together with the book of common prayer, were adopted as containing an authoritative statement of the cardinal tenets of the church. The dogma of transubstantiation was rejected, and with it were rejected works of supererogation, purgatory, indulgences, the worship of images and relics, the worship of the virgin and the saints, auricular confession, and the celibacy of the clergy; and communion in both kinds was allowed to the laity as well as to the clergy. An oath was required of all the clergy, as well as of all members of parliament and all public officials, recognizing the sovereign as the head of the church. At first there was no recognition of liberty of conscience; both Catholics on the one hand, and Calvinistic Puritans on the other, were subject to persecution. But the spirit of persecution is not congenial with the spirit of civil liberty which has always been so powerful in England; and by the eighteenth century complete toleration had begun to prevail. At the present day all sects are fully tolerated in England, and civil disabilities do not attach to any class of citizens for religious reasons.
—The sovereign, as temporal head of the church, possesses the right to nominate to all vacant archbishoprics and bishoprics; but this, like most of the rights of the crown, is practically exercised by the prime minister. The premier appoints to deaneries and such prebendaries and canonries as are in the gift of the crown. There are 2 provinces and 31 dioceses in England. The provinces are those of Canterbury and York, each under its archbishop. The former contains 23 dioceses, the latter contains 8. The archbishop of Canterbury is the primate; as spiritual head of the church he presides at the coronation of the sovereign and administers the oath. The archbishops are the chiefs of the clergy in their provinces, and they confirm and consecrate all the bishops. They have also each his own diocese, wherein they exercise episcopal, as throughout their provinces they exercise archiepiscopal jurisdiction. Thus there is the diocese of Canterbury, as well as the province of Canterbury, comprising the dioceses of Canterbury, Winchester, Salisbury, Exeter, London, etc. For the management of ecclesiastical affairs, the provinces have each a council, called the convocation, consisting of the bishops, archdeacons and deans, in person, while the inferior clergy are represented by proctors. These councils are summoned by the archbishops in the queen’s name. In the province of Canterbury the convocation is divided into two houses, like parliament, the archbishop and bishops sitting in the upper house, while the deans and the representatives of the inferior clergy sit in the lower house. In the province of York all sit together in one house. The archbishop of Canterbury
takes precedence of all other subjects, after the members of the royal family. The archbishops and bishops sit, by virtue of their office, in the house of lords; and this circumstance in English history has, very fortunately, prevented the development of the convocation into a separate estate of the realm, co-ordinate with the peers and the commons. The houses of convocation have their sessions during the same season as the sessions of parliament, but their powers have become with time very much restricted, and at the present day none of their decrees are in any way binding on the laity unless confirmed by act of parliament. It has become one of those happy devices, of which English history is so full, of allowing certain classes of people to play at sovereignty, and even to exercise here and there a little harmless jurisdiction, while the real sovereignty remains all the time with the chosen representatives of the people in the house of commons. The ecclesiastical courts take cognizance of questions of heresy and schism, of public worship, and of the revenues of the clergy. In each diocese the archdeacon’s court is the court of primary jurisdiction. Above this comes the consistorial court of the bishop. Appeals lie from this to the provincial court of Canterbury, known as the court of arches, and from this there is a final appeal to the judicial committee of the privy council.
—There are about 12,000 parishes in England, besides something like 200 places ranked as extra-parochial. Every parish has a parish church, presided over by the rector, who is called the “parson.” He holds during life the freehold of the parsonage, with its manse and glebe-lands, and receives the tithes and other dues. But in some cases the benefice is annexed in perpetuity to some spiritual corporation, which thus appropriates the dues and becomes the patron of the living. A
vicar is a person appointed by such a corporation, to hold the living as its lieutenant; in other respects the vicar does not differ from a rector. The patronage, or right of nomination to a benefice, is called the
advowson, and is legally classified under the head of real property. Of the 11,728 benefices now existing in England and Wales, 1,144 are in the gift of the crown, 1,853 are presented by bishops, 938 by chapters, 931 by officers of metropolitan churches, 770 by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the colleges of Eton, Winchester and others, and 6,092 by lords, gentlemen and ladies in the enjoyment of private patronage. Rectors receive the whole revenue of their benefices; but vicars, as simple agents or delegates of the holders of the benefices, receive only a portion. By an act of 1871, when a parson who has held a living for seven years or more is incapacitated by physical infirmity from discharging his duties, he may be retired on a pension not exceeding one-third the revenue of the living.
—The church revenues are derived very largely from real estate, and also from tithes (which in 1836 were commuted for a fixed charge in money), as well as from surplice fees for baptisms, marriages and burials. The sum total has been estimated at £4,480,000. The archbishop of Canterbury receives about £15,000; the archbishop of York, £10,000; the bishop of London, £10,000; the bishop of Durham, £8,000; the bishop of Winchester, £7,000; and the other bishops from £3,000 to £5,000. The deans receive £1,000 and upward.
—Of the entire population of England and Wales, about 14,000,000 belong to the established church, leaving about 11,500,000 to all other sects. Among the Protestant dissenters, the most numerous and influential are the Independents or Congregationists, the Wesleyans, and the Baptists. The Wesleyans have more than 9,000 places of worship, the Congregationalists about 3,500, and the Baptists about 2,000. Other dissenting sects of more or less social importance, are the Unitarians, Quakers and Moravians. There are about 1,000,000 Roman Catholics in England; and the Roman church has 14 dioceses there, all united in the socalled “province of Westminster,” and presided over by one archbishop and thirteen bishops. In Scotland the Roman church has three vicars. In 1877 there were 1,039 Catholic chapels in England, and 233 in Scotland.
—The established church in Scotland is Presbyterian in government and Calvinistic in doctrine. There is in each parish a parochial tribunal, called a “kirk session,” consisting of the minister as president, together with several other persons prominent in the neighborhood, of whom two are selected as “elders.” A certain number of parishes constituting a district send each its minister and one of its elders to an assembly called a “presbytery,” which has the power of ordaining ministers, of authorizing candidates to preach before ordination of investigating complaints against members of the church, of admitting new members, and of pronouncing sentences of excommunication. Minor matters of church discipline are dealt with in the kirk session, from which, however, an appeal always lies to the presbytery, and ultimately to the general assembly, the highest body in the Scotch church. The general assembly is composed partly of ministers and partly of lay members, elected annually by the different presbyteries, boroughs and universities. It consists of 386 members, and meets in May every year. The nomination of ministers belongs either to the crown or to private individuals. In 1830 some of the Scotch people protested against this use of patronage, and in 1843 the result was the division of the church. Alongside of the national church of Scotland there grew up the free church of Scotland. The latter church, supported entirely by voluntary contributions, has built 900 churches and 600 school houses, besides establishing several foreign missions. Including the free church, considerably more than half the population of Scotland may be ranked as dissenters from the established church of Scotland. There are numerous bodies of Congregationalists,
Wesleyans, Baptists and Unitarians. The national church of Scotland has three presbyteries in England.
—In 1876 it was estimated that there were 51,250 Jews in Great Britain, of whom 39,883 resided in London.
—In 1871 the census of Ireland showed the following distribution of sects: Roman Catholics, 4,141,933; Episcopalians, 683,293; Presbyterians, 558,238; Wesleyans, 41,815; Baptists, 4,643; Congregationalists, 4,485; Quakers; 3,834; Jews, 258; Miscellaneous, 19,035.
—The Roman Catholic church in Ireland has 4 archbishoprics (Armagh, Cashel, Dublin and Tuam) and 23 bishoprics. The church is supported by fees on the celebration of births, marriages and masses; by Christmas and Easter dues; and by voluntary subscriptions and free-will offerings. The Catholic college of Maynooth was disendowed Jan. 1, 1871. The Protestant Episcopal church was established by law in Ireland, from the time of Elizabeth until 1869, when Mr Gladstone’s government disestablished it. It is henceforth on the same footing practically as any other free or dissenting sect.
—V. POOR LAW. Down to the time of Henry VIII. the only institutions for public charity were the monasteries, which by distributing alms alleviated distress in a fitful and irregular manner. Upon the dissolution of the monasteries it was soon found desirable to establish some civil machinery for the relief of the poor, and various more or less ineffectual measures were passed during the sixteenth century, with this object in view, until at last in 1601 the famous statute 43 Eliz., c. 2, became the foundation of the modern English poor law. This statute provided that every parish should have a board of overseers of the poor, consisting of the churchwardens, together with from two to four householders to be appointed annually by the justices of the peace nearest at hand. It was the duty of these overseers to levy a “poor rate” upon the landed property in the parish, and to apply the proceeds of this tax, first, in setting to work indigent children and able-bodied persons without means of subsistence; and secondly, in relieving the aged or infirm or other poor people who were unable to work, and who had no parents, grandparents or children able to support them. Should any parish prove unable to furnish sufficient money for these purposes, the justices might make good the deficiency out of any other parish within the hundred; and if the resources of the hundred also were found inadequate to bear the burden, the deficiency might be made good out of some other part of the county. An appeal against the rates might be carried to the justices in quarter sessions. The overseers were further authorized to apprentice pauper children, and, with the consent of the lord of the manor, to build poor houses on the waste land of the parish. In cities and boroughs the mayor might exercise the powers herein granted to the justices of the peace. One evil result of this arrangement was that the well-regulated parishes had to carry a heavier burden than the poor and ill-managed parishes, as paupers were inclined to migrate from the latter to the former. This evil gave rise to what was known as the doctrine of settlement, in accordance with which it was provided in 1662 that, on complaint of the churchwardens or overseers, an indigent person coming into a parish might be compelled to return to the parish where he was born, or at least where he was last settled. Such abuses prevailed in the administration of this system of poor relief that in 1834 a new act was passed, placing the administration of the poor law under the control of a board of commissioners to be appointed by the crown. The powers lodged in this board passed through various vicissitudes into the hands of the local government board in 1871. By the act of 1834, and later acts, the board was authorized to insist upon the erection of workhouses in which able-bodied paupers should be compelled to reside; and, wherever necessary, to consolidate several adjacent parishes into a union, with a workhouse in common. Masters of workhouses and other wage-receiving officers of unions or parishes were made removable by the board, which was also empowered to provide for a thorough inspection of workhouses, and for a proper audit of the accounts of overseers. Each parish was to remain separately chargeable for the maintenance of its own poor. The effects of this act of 1834 were such that within three years from its passage the total annual expenditure for the relief of the poor was reduced from £6,317,253 to £4,044,741. The expenditure at the present time is over £8,000,000 annually for England and Wales; but in view of the enormous increase in wealth and population, this burden is much lighter than in 1834.
—VI. PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. Public education has made great progress in Great Britain during the past half century, but has nowhere attained so high a level as has been reached in the northern United States. The difference in respect of illiteracy, moreover, between different counties of Great Britain is quite as marked as the difference between Massachusetts and Mississippi. The test usually applied is only an approximate one, consisting in ascertaining the proportion of men or women who are able to sign the marriage register. Judged by this test, the percentage of illiterate men in England in 1841 was 33, and the percentage of illiterate women was 49; but in 1876 the percentage of men was reduced to 16 and that of women to 22; and in 1877 the percentage of men was 15 and of women 20. In Scotland the percentage of illiteracy is much smaller, being 9 in the case of men and 18 in the case of women. In Ireland it is much greater, being 31 in the case of men and 37 in the case of women. Among the different parts of England the smallest percentage of illiteracy is found in Westmoreland, and next in Middlesex, while next in honorable mention come Surrey and Rutland. The highest percentage of illiteracy is found in Wales. As compared with the rest of Great Britain in respect to
public education, Scotland has ever since the reformation been far in advance. The Presbyterian reformers ordered every parish to establish a primary school under the supervision of the minister, and these schools have been of immense benefit to the country. In 1871, out of 629,235 children in Scotland between the ages of five and thirteen years, 494,860 were enrolled as attending the public schools. An important measure toward the advancement of primary education in England was carried through parliament by Mr. Gladstone’s government in 1870. In this act it is ordered that “there shall be provided for every school district a sufficient amount of accommodation in public elementary schools available for all the children resident in such district, for whose elementary education efficient and suitable provision is not otherwise made.” These schools are in each district placed under school boards invested with great powers, among others that of enforcing attendance at school upon all children between the ages of five and thirteen. The expenses of these schools are charged upon the local rates. Under the operation of this act we find that whereas in 1871 there were 9,521 schools, attended by 1,345,802 children, in 1879 there were 17,166 schools, attended by 2,594,995 children. The members of the school boards are elected for three years by the burgesses in boroughs or by the rate payers in parishes. The number of members varies from five to fifteen. They serve gratuitously, but are allowed indemnity for expenses or damages resulting from their service on the board. The board àppoints the instructors and any other necessary officials, it fixes their salaries, and can dismiss them when requisite. Instruction is not absolutely gratuitous, as in the United States, but there is a small charge for tuition, the rate being fixed by the board. If the parents of a child are too poor to pay the tuition fee, the board pays it for them; if it appears, on due inspection, that a district is too poor to bear the expense of tuition fees, the department of education authorizes the board to establish a school there which shall be entirely gratuitous. In 1879 the average amount of school fees paid by each scholar was 10s. 5¼d., equivalent to $2.50½. Scholars who distinguish themselves may continue their education in normal schools, where £23 are allowed for expenses in the case of a boy and £17 in the case of a girl.
—In secondary as well as primary education Scotland takes the lead. Instruction is given in the “borough schools,” and in special industrial schools or mercantile colleges. The Andersonian university, founded in 1708 at Glasgow for scientific studies, is now an evening school where some 800 pupils receive instruction in penmanship, modern languages, book keeping, and elementary mathematics and physics. At Edinburgh the Watt institution, founded in 1821, teaches chemistry, physics, mathematics, modern languages, drawing and modeling; more than half the pupils are laboring men. There are something like twenty mechanics’ institutes in Scotland; and schools of design have been established in many cities, of which that in Edinburgh is attended by 1,800 pupils. In England there are a great many higher schools established by private liberality and more or less richly endowed. In the first rank come the great schools of Eton with 800 pupils. Harrow with 520, and Rugby with 500, which were founded in the sixteenth century and are situated in the country; others, somewhat less celebrated, are situated at Winchester, London and Shrewsbury. The expense of living at these schools often reaches £200 per year, but there are systems of pecuniary aid analogous to those adopted in American colleges. More modern in character are the college of the city of London, founded in 1841, giving instruction in ancient and modern languages, mathematics and vocal music; the Owens college at Manchester, giving scientific and literary instruction; and the collegiate institution at Liverpool, which is at once a scientific school and a preparatory school for the universities. Among the institutions especially devoted to industrial training, a most conspicuous place is held by the public institution established in 1859 at South Kensington under the name of the “Science and Art Department.” This establishment comprises a normal school of design, a central school of design, and an industrial museum. Pupils in the normal school of design, after having passed six semi-annual examinations, are placed in charge of art schools established in different towns and cities of the United Kingdom. In 1871 there were 212,500 pupils studying in these art schools. In scientific instruction the department has made use of various “mechanics’ institutes” and other popular courses of instruction which were already in existence. Deserving pupils obtain prizes and endowments for the purpose of pursuing their studies in the royal school of mines, the royal college of chemistry, the London laboratory of metallurgy, or the royal scientific college at Dublin. The courses of study comprise all the sciences, as well as architecture and the designing of machinery.
—As regards the higher instruction, the two great universities at Oxford and Cambridge are subjects far too extensive and complicated to be treated, even in a cursory way, in a brief, sketchy article like the present. The university of London, founded in 1837, differs from these in giving no direct instruction; it simply examines candidates for a degree, and its examinations are very severe. Women are admitted as candidates. To this university, however, are attached two colleges, both situated in London. The one, known as University college, prepares pupils for the examinations, and is entirely unsectarian in its management; the other, called King’s college, is Episcopalian in complexion. In Scotland there are four excellent universities, at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and St. Andrews.
—VII. ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. The simplest form of the administration of justice in England has already been described under the
head of “Local Administration.” In every county there are magistrates called justices of the peace, selected from among the most respected landholders of the county. They serve without pay, and when once appointed usually hold their offices for life. Their general administrative duties have already been described. At assizes the justices usually sit as a grand jury, though the members of a grand jury do not need to be justices. As judges in quarter sessions, or even sitting singly, the justices of the peace may try petty cases, either civil or criminal; but an appeal always lies from the decision of a single justice to the quarter sessions. There are about 18,300 justices of the peace in England, but in some cases the title does not necessarily imply an active discharge of the duties of the office. There are sinecures in this, as in all other institutions.
—Besides the justices of the peace, there are the sixty
county courts in England and Wales, which deal with petty matters. These courts are held by a single salaried judge, appointed for life, and they can try cases involving not more than £50. They have also the powers of a court of chancery in cases involving not more than £500. By an act of 1863, in towns with a population of 25,000 or more, there may be appointed, at the request of the local authorities, a salaried magistrate who, either by himself or with the aid of the justices of the peace, may do the work of these county courts. In London and some other cities there are special police courts, held also by a single salaried judge, which take cognizance of petty crimes and misdemeanors. In the city of London the lord mayor also holds a police court at the Mansion House, and one is held by an alderman at the Guildhall.
—The higher courts of common law (modified by acts of 1873 and 1875) are: the court of king’s bench, the court of exchequer, and the court of common pleas. They are held at Westminster, where the court of chancery also sits. Each of these common law courts is held by a president and four assistants. The presiding judge, in the queen’s bench and in the common pleas, is called lord chief justice; in the exchequer he is called lord chief baron. Formerly the provinces of these three courts differed considerably, but with the progress of business they have come to overlap each other in many directions; but the court of exchequer, as its name implies, is purely a fiscal court; the common pleas is simply a civil court; while the queen’s bench has cognizance of both civil and criminal cases, and appeals lie to it from all the inferior courts.
—For judiciary purposes, England is divided into eight circuits, and the judges of these three supreme courts are obliged twice a year to hold
assizes in these circuits. The judges allot these circuits among themselves, and go about, holding their assizes in person. Each individual judge, in holding a court on his circuit, sits as a delegate of the supreme court to which he belongs. By means of these circuits, the jurisdiction of the common law courts at Westminster is extended all over England, taking direct cognizance of all cases, whether civil or criminal, which lie beyond the jurisdiction of the county courts or of the justices of the peace.
—The supreme court of chancery at Westminster is held by the lord chancellor, but as the relations of equity to common law are very much the same in England as in the United States, the peculiar functions of this court require no special explanation here. A final appeal, in many cases, lies to the house of lords; but there is nothing in England which answers to the supreme court of the United States, as the circumstances pertaining to a federal government are non-existent in Great Britain. Within the limits of the crude outline sketch here given, however, the administration of justice in England does not materially differ from the administration of justice in the United States. But the English understand the value of a good judge better than the Americans; for the inferior judges receive salaries equivalent to $6,000, while the judges of the highest courts are paid at the rate of from $30,000 to $40,000 per year.
—VIII. ARMY. The maintenance of a standing army in time of peace, without the consent of parliament, was prohibited in 1690 by the bill of rights. It requires an annual vote of the house of commons to keep the army in existence from year to year. A cabinet meeting is held shortly before the sitting of parliament, which receives communications from the commander-in-chief respecting the number of officers and men, in each branch of the service, which are needed for the ensuing year. On the basis thus furnished, the cabinet authorizes the secretary of state for war to draw up his “army estimates” to be submitted to the approval of the house of commons. A further efficient means of controlling the army is furnished by the mutiny act. In the absence of the mutiny act, the soldier on English soil is subject only to the common law, and could be punished, even for desertion, only by a civil action of contract. That martial law, without which an army can not maintain its orderly existence, exists itself only through the mutiny act which is limited in duration to a single year, and consequently has to be renewed at the beginning of every session of parliament. To such precautions were the English people led by the attempts of the Stuarts to set up a tyranny; and they were obviously so thorough as to make henceforth the merest beginning of a military despotism well nigh impossible.
—The force of the regular army at decennial periods since the beginning of the present century, and cost of maintaining it, have been as follows:
The regular army of the United Kingdom in 1882, exclusive of India, consisted of 7,222 commissioned
officers, 17,555 non-commissioned officers, trumpeters and drummers, and 108,217 rank and file; a total of 132,994 men of all ranks. The following table shows the composition of this force:
—The following table shows the cost of maintaining the army for the year ending March 31, 1882:
|General staff and regimental pay, allowances, etc.||£4,436,000|
|Administration of martial law…||39,800|
|Medical establishment and services…||300,500|
Auxiliary and Reserve Forces.
|Militia pay and allowances…||476,800|
|Enrolled pensioners, and army reserve force…||218,800|
|Commissariat establishments and wages…||404,800|
|Provisions, transport, and other services…||3,411,000|
|Clothing establishments and supplies…||780,000|
|Manufacture and repair of war stores…||1,170,000|
Works and Buildings.
|Superintending establishment and expenditure for works, buildings and repairs, at home and abroad…||758,900|
|Administration of the army…||222,200|
|Total effective services…||£13,089,800|
|Rewards for military service…||34,000|
|Pay of general officers…||129,700|
|Pay of reduced and retired officers…||1,054,700|
|Widows’ pensions and compassionate allowances…||124,200|
|Pensions for wounds…||17,000|
|Militia and volunteer corps…||37,400|
|Total non-effective services…||£3,019,600|
One or two items of the foregoing table require a word of explanation. Beside the regular forces, the army estimates include appropriations for four classes of auxiliary and reserve forces, the titles of which appear in the table under that heading. In the year 1880-81 the total number of militia was 139,111; that of yeomanry, 14,511; that of volunteers, 245,648; and that of enrolled pensioners, etc., 47,000; making the total auxiliary force, 446,270. This, added to the regular army, 1880-81, makes a total of 553,370 men available for the military defense of Great Britain.
—The total force of the British army in India usually stands at about 60,000; since 1877 it has been kept at the figure of 62,653.
—About 40 per cent. of the British regular army is stationed in England and Wales, 2 per cent. in Scotland, 12 per cent in Ireland, and 46 per cent. abroad.
—There is no conscription, or enforced military service, in Great Britain; the force of the army is maintained entirely by voluntary recruiting. The greatest abuse which had characterized the army administration, namely, the purchase of commissions, was abolished by Mr. Gladstone in 1871.
—IX. NAVY Down to the time of Henry VII., whenever it was necessary to have an armed fleet for the defense of the British or the assault of the French coasts, it was customary to press merchant vessels into the service, very much as the United States government in 1861 appropriated New York ferry-boats to be used as gunboats. It was under Henry VIII. that the English navy first assumed a distinct existence, although nearly two centuries before, under Edward III., the English had won at Sluys a naval victory of the first magnitude, destroying the antagonist French fleet almost as thoroughly as at the Nile or at Trafalgar. The superiority of the English navy became pronounced in the reign of Elizabeth, and by the end of the seventeenth century was generally acknowledged, though the French and Dutch still held their position as formidable rivals. Since the middle of the eighteenth century the supremacy of the English navy over the waters of the earth has been undisputed. Until the reign of Anne the government of the navy was
vested in the lord high admiral; but since then it has been administered by the board of admiralty, or “Lords Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral.” The board consists of five members who are always changed with every change of the government. The financial secretary of the board is also changed. The fixed administration, independent of the state of political parties, consists of two permanent secretaries, the controller of the navy, the accountant general, the directors of engineering and architectural works, of transports, of contracts, of naval construction, of naval ordnance, and of the medical department, and the superintendents of victualing and stores. The first lord of the admiralty, corresponding to our secretary of the navy, is always a member of the cabinet; he has supreme authority over the navy, and all questions of importance are left to his decision. The other members of the board are the senior naval lord, who is responsible for the discipline of the fleet, and directs its general movements; the third lord, who superintends the management of the dock yards and the building of ships; the junior naval lord, who superintends the transport and commissariat; and the civil lord, who is responsible for the accounts. Unlike the army, the existence of which has to be renewed every year by act of parliament, the British navy is a permanent establishment, and the statutes in accordance with which its discipline is maintained run in perpetuity, or until revoked or amended by the house of commons.
—The following table gives the navy estimates for the year ending March 31, 1882:
|Wages to seamen and marines…||£2,704,226|
|Victuals and clothing…||1,014,481|
|Coastguard service, naval coast volunteers, and royal naval reserve…||194,481|
|Dock yards and naval yards at home and abroad…||1,446,346|
|Victualing yards and transport establishments…||71,917|
|Ships, etc, built by contract…||683,289|
|New works, building, machinery, and repairs…||550,141|
|Medicines and medical stores…||70,460|
|Martial law and charges…||10,069|
|Total effective services…||£8,434,553|
|Half-pay, reserved half-pay, and retired pay to officers of the navy and royal marines…||£877,890|
|Military pensions and allowances…||847,035|
|Civil pensions and allowances…||337,991|
|Total non-effective services…||£2,062,916|
|SERVICES FOR OTHER DEPARTMENTS|
|Army department for conveyance of troops…||£228,450|
These estimates not being found quite sufficient, a supplementary grant for the navy, of £83,000, was made toward the close of the session of 1880.
—The number of seamen and marines at present serving in the navy is as follows:
|Boys, including 2,200 for training…||4,900|
|Coast guard, officers and men…||4,000|
—The number of ships in the British navy has undergone great variations, not simply with the growth of the navy in actual strength, but also with the progress of the art of naval warfare. In 1588 the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada consisted of 176 ships and 14,992 men; but of this great force only 34 ships and 6,225 men belonged to the royal navy; the rest were volunteers serving in merchantmen pressed into the service. In 1679 there were 76 ships-of-the-line in commission. In 1750, shortly before the beginning of the war which made England the mistress of the seas, the navy consisted of 135 ships-of-the-line, 112 frigates, and 130 sloops and smaller vessels. During the great war between England and France at the beginning of this century, the British navy was increased to enormous dimensions. In 1800 it comprised 850 ships of all classes. In 1810 it comprised 1,239 vessels actually ready for service, of which nearly 300 were ships-of the-line, about 600 were frigates, and the remainder were sloops and corvettes. In 1820 the navy comprised 745 vessels, of which 140 were ships-of-the-line. In 1822 the introduction of steam brought about an entire revolution in naval warfare. The grand old line-of-battle ships soon began to become obsolete. Down to 1835, however, the 625 vessels of which the British navy consisted comprised 110 ships-of-the-line, 150 frigates, and 350 smaller craft, with only 15 steam ships. In 1842 the invention of the screw propeller by Ericsson, and its substitution for the paddle wheel, introduced fresh changes of great importance into the art of naval construction; six years after, the British navy contained 49 screw steamers, of which 1 was classed as a ship-of-the line and 10 as frigates. At the close of the Crimean war in 1856, the navy comprised 964 vessels, among which were 45 screw steamers classed as ships-of-the-line, 30 classed as frigates, and 300 of inferior power; besides all this, there were 14 paddle wheel frigates, and 100 paddle wheel corvettes; of sailing vessels, there were 50 ships-of-the-line, 125 frigates, and 300 sloops and brigs. In 1860 the introduction of plated armor, followed in 1862 by Ericsson’s invention of the turret ship, taken in connection with the simultaneous progress in the art of gunnery, entirely revolutionized the art of naval construction. The appearance of the “Monitor” in Hampton Roads, March 9, 1862, marks perhaps the greatest single step that has ever been taken in the history of naval warfare. Its immediate effect was to render antiquated all the most recently built ships then existing in all the navies of the world. Important innovations have been made since the invention of the “Monitor”; but
the present British navy dates from the year 1862; and for the purposes of naval warfare at the present day the great navy of the Crimean war would be of no more use than a squadron of 964 pleasure boats.
—The most important portion of the present British navy at the beginning of 1881, consisted of 68 ironclad ships, afloat and building, of which number 48 were described as efficient, while 17 had become antiquated or otherwise inefficient, and 3 had been built solely for colonial use and were not reckoned as strictly British. The following table gives a general idea of the character of the 48 effective ironclads:
In this table the ships marked with an asterisk were not yet launched at the beginning of 1881, but were expected to be finished in the course of the year. The Inflexible, built at Portsmouth and launched in 1878, is the most formidable war vessel that has ever existed. She is 320 feet in length and 75 feet in extreme breadth. In her central part a citadel 12 feet high, one-half above and one-half below the water, contains the engines and boilers, the hydraulic loading gear, the magazines, and the base of the rotating turrets. The walls of this citadel, 41 inches thick, consist of armor plates varying from 16 to 24 inches in thickness, with a strong teak backing. Within this armored citadel are the two turrets, 12 feet high and 28 feet in diameter. The turrets do not stand in line fore-and-aft, but are placed
en échelon, so as to command a fore-and-aft fire from all the guns. Each turret holds two 81-ton guns, capable of firing a ball weighing 1,650 lbs., with a charge of 300 lbs. of powder. The vessels of the second class are designed for ocean warfare, but are inferior in power to those of the first class. The Polyphemus, now building at Chatham, deserves especial mention as representing an entirely new style of war ship. She may be described as simply a steel tube, deeply immersed, her convex deck rising but 4½ feet above the water line. She carries no heavy guns, her whole power being concentrated in a tremendous ram 12 feet in length. Besides the ram, the Polyphemus has three torpedo ports. The third class comprises a group of very swift and powerful cruisers. The ships of the fourth class are at present regarded as fit only for coast defense. Those of the fifth class were built for the most part between 1861 and 1863, and are now antiquated, except for the protection or destruction of mercantile fleets. Not a single vessel built prior to 1861 now remains in use in the British navy.
—X. RESOURCES: AGRICULTURAL, INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL
Agriculture. According to the official reports, of the 77,000,000 acres constituting the superficial area of the United Kingdom, about 47,000,000 are devoted to agriculture, including both grazing and the growth of cereals, etc. Of this, 11,833,000 acres are devoted to cereals; 5,271,000 to kitchen vegetables; 565,000 are left fallow; 6,236,000 are laid out in gardens, orchards, etc.; and 22,525,000 are utilized as pasture lands. The area devoted to cereals is subdivided as follows, wheat, 3,831,000 acres; barley, 2,617,000 acres; oats, 4,362,000 acres; rye, 81,222 acres; beans, 550,613 acres; and pease, 391,250 acres. The average yield of wheat in the United Kingdom is estimated at 27 bushels per acre, of barley from 35 to 40 bushels, and of oats about 45 bushels; thus giving a total average yield of wheat, 103,437,000 bushels; of barley, 98,137,500 bushels; and of oats, 196,290,000 bushels. The principal fruit raised in Great Britain is the apple, the yield of which is estimated at four tons to the acre.
—The census of 1871 showed in Great Britain 549,784 farms of all sizes. Of this number 51.3 per cent. were farms of 20 acres and less, and 48.7 per cent. were larger farms. It is difficult to make a very precise estimate of the wages paid for agricultural labor, since the usages, the rates and the mode of payment differ considerably in different parts of the country. In some districts wages are paid in kind; in some places a certain amount of labor is given in exchange for rent. Wages paid in money range ordinarily from 12 to 15 shillings (
i.e., from $2.88 to $3.60) per week.
Mineral Products. British agriculture, though conducted with great care and skill, is too limited in extent either to obtain a controlling position in the markets of the world, or to furnish a sphere for the activity and satisfaction for the material wants of the dense and rapidly increasing population of the United Kingdom. The industrial and commercial development of Great Britain has been primarily due (next to the free constitution of the government) to the immense mineral resources of the country. The most important mineral and metal products are coal and pig iron, the annual yield of which, in the years 1868-79, is shown in the following table:
The total amount of iron ore produced in 1879 was 16,692,802 tons, valued at £6,746,668. As to other mineral products, the yield for 1879 is shown in the following table:
—The production of coal in 1879 was distributed as follows.
|Durham and Northumberland…||31,210,000|
|Wales and Monmouthshire…||19,464,000|
|Staffordshire and Worcestershire…||13,990,000|
|All other districts…||9,268,012|
The production of pig iron in 1879 was distributed as follows:
|Wales and Monmouthshire…||737,037|
The exports of coal to foreign countries have increased more than fivefold since 1850. In 1879 the quantity of coal exported was 15,740,082 tons, valued at £6,793,932, of which 3,317,370 tons went to France, 2,055,080 tons to Germany, and the remainder, distributed in quantities not exceeding 100,000 tons, to some forty different countries.
Textile Industries. Important as are the working of metals, and the mining of coal, as elements in the national wealth of Great Britain, these industries still derive their chief importance from the facilities which they have afforded for the development of the enormous textile industries for which Great Britain is so famous. The various inventions designed to replace by machinery the slow processes of manual labor have been promptly put into operation in England, thanks to the abundance of all the raw materials needed for the construction of machinery, as well as of cheap coal, placing at the disposition of manufacturers all the mechanical power required for their various purposes. The introduction of machines for spinning and weaving has had such an influence upon manual labor as to reduce very considerably the number of hands requisite for producing a given quantity of thread or of cloth. But, far from lessening the general demand for labor in textile industries, it has enlarged the field of labor to such an extent that the population for which these branches of production now furnish the means of subsistence, in the United Kingdom alone, may be counted by millions. It is to the work of Arkwright, Watt, and their fellows, more than to all other causes combined, that the enormous increase of Great Britain in wealth and population during the present century is due.
—The recent condition of the textile industries of Great Britain may best be represented in a series of tables. In 1815 the total imports of cotton were 99,000,000 lbs.; in 1820, 152,000,000 lbs.; in 1830, 264,000,000 lbs., in 1840, 592,000,000 lbs.; in 1850, 663,576,861 lbs.; in 1860, 1,390,938,752 lbs.; and in 1863, 669,583,264 lbs. The falling off between 1860 and 1863, due to the blockade of the southern states in the rebellion, is very noticeable; and it is worthy of remark that a supply of cotton more than adequate for the industries of England in 1850, had become, through the mere expansion of industry, so inadequate, only thirteen years later, as to produce a period of distress almost comparable
to a famine. Subsequent fluctuations are exhibited in the following table:
The first shipment of cotton from the United States to Great Britain was in 1791, and consisted of 182,000 lbs. During the past fifty years other countries have begun to rival the United States as cotton growers. The imports of raw cotton, from various parts of the world, in 1837 and in 1879, have been as follows:
—Until the nineteenth century the manufacture of woolen cloths was the principal industry of Great Britain. In 1801 the total manufactures of the country were valued at £60,000,000, of which woolens represented more than one-fourth. Since then the production has quadrupled. England and Scotland now consume in their mills one-fourth of the total wool clip of the world; the mills count more than 5,000,000 spindles and 279,000 operatives. The fluctuations in the wool trade from 1867 to 1880, inclusive, were as follows:
—The following table shows the number of textile factories, and of operatives employed in them, in the three divisions of the United Kingdom, on Oct. 31, 1874:
Of this total number of persons employed (1,005,685) there were 61,209 boys and 64,677 girls under thirteen years of age. The average wages of the cotton operatives in Lancashire were estimated in 1860 at 18s. 6d. per week for men, 10s. 2d. for women, 7s. for boys, 5s. for girls. In the linen factories at Belfast wages vary from 5s. 6d. to £2 per week, according to the skill of the workman. The average wages paid in England and Scotland for work in the woolen factories were at the same time from 6s. to 7s. per week for spinning, and 9s. for weaving; these operations being mainly carried on with the assistance of women and young girls; the wages of men in the same factories averaged from 16s. to 26s. per week.
Hardware. The manufacture of hardware, cutlery and machinery employs 530,000 workmen. The raw material is valued at £20,000,000, and the manufactured goods amount in value to over £100,000,000 annually, of which about two-thirds are used in Great Britain and one-third exported. Until quite recently the hardware industry of Great Britain surpassed in magnitude that of all the rest of the world put together; and, though no longer without competitors, it is still advancing as rapidly as ever. Through the increase of the manufacture of cutlery, pins, and other hardware, such towns as Sheffield and Birmingham have quadrupled their population within seventy years.
The annual product of the
total manufactures of the kingdom is about £665,000,000, and the number of workmen employed is 2,930,000.
Commerce. In the first decade of the nineteenth century, when the grandfathers of the present generation of Englishmen were spending £624,000,000 to overthrow Bonaparte, the commerce of the British empire did not exceed £60,000,000. At the present day it reaches about £931,000,000, of which about £320,000,000 represents the trade of the colonies. This is about one-third of the entire trade of the world. The following table gives the declared value of the imports and exports during the eighth decade of the century:
—The following table exhibits the dealings of the United Kingdom with the remainder of the world during the year 1879:
These tables show that while the commerce of the United Kingdom extends all over the world, its principal dealings are with few countries. More than one-half of all its commercial dealings are with six countries: the United States, France, India, Germany, Australasia, and the Netherlands. Our own country ranks first in the list; and the trade between Great Britain and the United States is more than twice as great as that between Great Britain and France, the second country on the list in the table of 1879. In other words, the commercial ties between Great Britain and the United States are more than twice as strong as the ties between any other two countries in the world; and their strength is rapidly growing year by year.
—The six chief articles of import into Great Britain for the year 1880 are as follows:
|1.||Wheat and flour…||£62,857,269|
|5.||Wood and timber…||16,726,809|
The six chief articles of export for 1880 are exhibited in the following table:
|Piece goods, white or plain…||£34,755,147|
|” ” printed or dyed…||22,377,370|
|” ” of other kinds…||6,529,916|
|Cloths, coatings, etc…||6,736,721|
|Flannels, blankets and baizes…||897,088|
|Carpets and druggets…||1,133,545|
|All other sorts…||1,256,667|
|Woolen and worsted yarn…||3,344,740|
|3.||Iron and steel:|
|Iron, pig and puddled…||5,218,660|
|” bar, angle, bolt and rod…||2,376,379|
|” tinned plates…||4,457,887|
|” hoops and plates…||3,383,120|
|” wrought, of all sorts…||3,792,128|
|” old, for re-manufacture…||1,165,069|
|Steel, wrought and unwrought…||2,096,805|
|4.||Coal, cinders and fuel…||8,372,933|
|White or plain…||4,818,841|
|Printed, checked or dyed…||150,182|
Shipping. The number of vessels carrying the British flag was at the beginning of the present century greater than that of any other nation of ancient or modern times, and during the present century it has quadrupled. The following table exhibits the total shipping of the United Kingdom, both sailing and steam, and for both home and foreign trade, for years 1867-80:
—The following table shows the distribution of the total amount of shipping into sail and steam, and also into home and foreign trade, for the years 1866 and 1879, omitting the intervening years:
It will be seen from this that the proportion of steamers is growing so rapidly that before very long the sailing vessels will be in the minority. The tendency of the merchant vessels is to increase in size and tonnage. The average tonnage has more than doubled since 1840, and in this way the nation has effected a saving of 123,000 seamen, as compared with the former number of hands to tonnage, as we may see from the following table:
According to the scale of 1849 it is obvious that 320,000 seamen, instead of 197,000, would be required to man the British merchant fleet at the present day. The saving thus effected in gross amounts to 38 per cent., thus allowing a great reduction of freight charges, and enabling food and raw materials to be imported, and manufactures to be exported, with less expense and greater profit.
—The proportion of trade done all over the world in British vessels is as follows: United Kingdom, 55,120,000 tons, or 88 per cent.; United States, 7,434,000 tons, or 59 per cent.; Canada, 5,673,000 tons, or 80 per cent.; France, 5,254,000 tons, or 36 per cent.; Australasia, 4,492,000 tons, or 93 per cent.; Netherlands, 3,790,000 tons, or 51 per cent.; Germany, 2,298,000 tons, or 36 per cent.; Italy, 1,887,000 tons, or 23 per cent.; South America, 1,200,000 tons, or 50 per cent.; West Indies, 1,180,000 tons, or 60 per cent.; Russia, 1,006,000 tons, or 34 per cent.; South Africa, 1,004,000 tons, or 86 per cent. The total carrying trade of Great Britain is therefore about 90,000,000 tons, which, at an average of 10s. ($2.40) per ton, yields an income of £45,000,000 per annum. The sum paid by British underwriters averages £1,500,000 yearly, being about £6 per ton on vessels and £8 per ton on cargoes. The total amount of marine insurance usually exceeds £450,000—
Railways. From the opening of the first railway, in 1825, down to the end of 1850, the number of miles of railway constructed in the United Kingdom was 6,621; this was at the rate of 265 miles annually. In 1860 the length of lines was 10,433, the average rate of construction being 381 miles annually. At the end of 1879 the length of lines was 17,696, the annual average on the total length having increased to 402 miles. The principal recent railway statistics of Great Britain are comprised in the following table:
At the end of 1878 the total length in miles of railways in the British empire was as follows:
|Dominion of Canada…||5,574|
|Australia||New South Wales…||650|
|Cape Colony and Natal…||154|
At the end of 1879 between 5,000 and 6,000 miles of new lines were in process of construction in the different parts of the empire. The railways in the United Kingdom employ a force of 276,000 men. No less than 176 members of parliament are railway directors. From 1847 to 1873 the number of passengers killed per million steadily decreased; since 1873 it has risen, as is shown in the following table:
|In||1847-9 the ratio of deaths was 1 in||4,782,000|
|1856-9″ ” “||8,708,000|
|1866-9″ ” “||12,941,000|
|1871-3″ ” “||20,083,000|
|1874-8″ ” “||11,688,000|
|1879″ ” “||5,350,000|
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