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are in themselves, however, of great moment; same parts in the same spirit. But in close and are such as to demand for the question contests, where twenty votes constitute the the most serious and candid consideration. “ triumphant majority," and where many One of them, and the most important, con- times that number may be bound hand and nects itself with the working of our electoral foot to the interests of some principal supsystem. The theory of the franchise is, porter of each candidate, it is of the utmost that the vote, as given to a candidate, repre- importance that the honest voter be enabled sents the political opinions and decision of the to record an honest vote by being protected, in elector. But this theory, in its working so doing, from the malice of a disappointed under the present system, is subject to many party. Under the actual circumstances in and various checks. A vote, when tendered which electors are now placed, it is cruel at the poll, indicates too often, not so much and wicked to preach to them about the the views of the elector, as the necessities of franchise being a high and sacred trust for his position. Our complaint, indeed, against the unrepresented, which they must conscithe system of open voting is, that it permits entiously and fearlessly discharge in face of and directly encourages those electoral vices, all consequences. And it is, besides, simply to the suppression of which the energies of ridiculous, from the fact, that the very cirour legislators have been so often directed. cumstance which gives rise to the appeal is It is the peculiar vice of the system that it that which entirely deprives it of force. It subjects, in some degree, every elector to is the flagrant disregard of the right of pripossible injurious consequences as the result vate judgment in things political, and the of his vote; which possible consequences no less flagrant violation of duty in regard become realized and painful verities in pro- to it, which characterizes to so great an exportion to the closeness of contests, and the tent the conduct of political partisans, which violence of passions evoked by the heats of creates those very risks to which honest party strife. But though the nature and conviction is called upon to submit. I prothe manner of their application are both well fess I can see no heroism–I think, rather, known, it is scarcely possible to estimate the that the word is vilified by the connectionextent to which the operation of these undue in a man, as things go, sacrificing the peace influences reaches. The gentleman of for- and comfort of his family, if not their very tune, the professional man, the tradesman, means of support, upon the altar of mere and the mechanic are all liable, more or political partiality. Corn Laws are not to less, to a pressure being exerted upon them, be repealed every seven years; nor does the which is as mischievous and immoral as it is fate of a ministry always depend upon the unconstitutional. Instances of hardship, the result of the election in our borough: while, result of such pressure, are frequently be on the other hand, the essential difference of coming public, some of which would be sentiment in the candidates for a borough of astounding, were it not that they are, unfor- any decided and known political character tunately, too common.
is not such, generally, as to render necessary We have a right, we think, to claim of any great sacrifice on the score, exclusively, our opponents that the question of the ballot of earnest political conviction. We do not be recognized and discussed mainly as one decry, and would not discourage, political of protection to the voter; as a measure of earnestness ; but we would intensify and defence to the weak against the malice of extend it, by rendering the expression of it the unscrupulous, and the perverted power SAFE. Further than this, I am not quite of the strong. It is the constant and un- clear about that “high and sacred trust blushing abuse of the system of open voting, just adverted to. The argument which with the fact that no partial remedy can be hangs upon that peg is, that the franchise, successfully applied, which renders its entire being a trust held for the benefit of the unabrogation imperative and inevitable. Those represented, it must be discharged publicly, "free and independent electors” who love to that it may be known to them how far their parade their opinions in the market place, rights and interests are respected by the who swell the procession to the hustings, vote given. I, however, believe it to be no and conspicuously display their party favours, “ high and sacred trust” at all, but that the would no doubt, ballot or no ballot, act the assertion, that it is so, is unmitigated fudge
and fiction. No constitutional authority has sion may enter in upon him; or a scourge ever so defined it; and the highest legal which spite and ill-will may freely and fearopinion in its favour I recollect ever to have lessly lay upon his own back. The latest met with was that of a young tory lawyer, authority upon this point is Sir Joseph Paxat a borough contest in Durham. When a ton, who, within the past month, has declared, man takes up his qualification to vote for a “ I have had a good deal to do with county member of parliament, who confides this trust elections, and I have seen the screw put on, to him? What are the terins of it? And and have been well aware that a man could to whom is be made responsible for its right not venture to vote as he liked. You might discharge? If I, being one of the unrepre- as well give him a knife to cut his own sented, should present myself on the eve of throat as the franchise in that case. Now an election to a voter, and tell him that, as I think, that if you give the people a privihe holds an important trust in my interest, lege, they ought not to suffer for exercising I am come to remind him of his acquired it, and I have looked upon the ballot as a responsibility, and to assist him in deter- necessary protection.” mining for whom he shall vote, there is no The ballot would render intimidation doubt that if I was not kicked for my pains, harmless, and most methods of corruption I should certainly deserve to be so. The unproductive, or at least, of uncertain effifranchise, I take it, is an important and cacy. Sharp electioneering agents would precious privilege, acquired by the tempo- find it unprofitable to pay the rates of needy rary possession of so much brick and mortar; and worthless electors, while deprived of the but it is no trust requiring to be discharged guarantee of their faithfulness ; treating, publicly; and except as regards the right of and the promises of good things to come, sale, a man may deal with it strictly as would die out; while the state of the poll personal property. If, therefore, a man being unknown till its close, there would finds himself, unfortunately, so circum- exist no inducement to the candidates to destanced that he cannot exercise the electoral cide the doubting ruminations of unconscionprivilege except at great personal risk, he is able elective scoundrels by urging the justified in throwing up bis qualification if weighty considerations usually employed on he can; and if any blame attaches to such a those occasions. step at all, it rests with those who have The ballot question has, in late years, rendered it necessary. That it is done in made decided progress, and is now ripe for numberless cases is, of course, well known. parliamentary settlement, to which end it A vote, when it ceases to be in the keeping would be a desirable and justifiable course of a man's own conscience, ceases to be to of action for every friend of it to adopt, to him a power and a privilege; and becomes, make adhesion to it, on every occasion, the instead, an open door through which oppres- sole condition of a vote.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: A STUDY.
TALENT is much more extensively diffused talent wisely directed and vigorously emthan genius, and when nobly exercised it is ployed. The biography of men of genius our duty to reverence it for the good which may interest us, but we often consider them it effects, and for the mental energy which as those whose inherent capacities separate it manifests. That it is not genius, is no them from the common mass,-men of finer reason why it should not be rewarded with clay, so to speak, than that in ordinary approbation, nor be regarded as an example. use,—and we can only regard their industry We now purpose, in an appreciative spirit, and general conduct as capable of translato refer to the character of Dr. Benjamin tion into every-day practice. Franklin, alFranklin as an illustration of the results of though a man of talent, cannot be termed a man of genius. He had talent, which, as a / and his whole life was dwarfed by a low idea compensation for the want of genius, pro- of religion. He may have believed Chrisduces a perceptible influence on society, while tianity in its most rigidly orthodox acceptathe results of genius are often gradual and tion, and yet have fallen into the common scarcely traceable.
error of confining religion and secular matters Franklin's life was in a large measure ex- to separate provinces, without grasping the ternal. His name is indissolubly connected conception of a religion flowing forth upon with the political events of his time. It life, directing it with a spiritual aim, and will not be difficult, therefore, to form a pro- imparting to it the energy and fire of the per estimate of his character in its public world to come. It is more probable, howrelations. Moreover, he has left an auto- ever, that he despised Christianity as a docbiography, which, although incomplete, will trinal system, and his mind was incapable guide us to a correct conclusion regarding of rising to that spiritual sublimity and raphis whole character and conduct. This turous fervour, which we admit may in rare autobiography is one of the most interesting cases consist with a disbelief in many of the in our language, both from the features of life facts interwoven with the Scriptures. Our which it delineates, and the simplicity of its cause of regret must be, not so much that he style; and independent of the stimulus which embraced erroneous theological opinions, as we believe it has afforded towards the pur- that he was uninfluenced by a profound consuit of an honourable and industrious course, viction of those spiritual relations which give we think that to it we are in some degree in an earnest tone to the character. He did debted for the characteristic works of a similar not ascend higher than the idea of morality, description which abound, referring to indi- unspiritualized, unsoftened, and unbeautified viduals who have risen by the exercise of by worshipful emotion towards the loving similar qualities to affluence and honour. It Father, and shed abroad in sunlight pleniis not coloured as some biographies are, it tude over the great brotherhood of true souls. being thought the part of the biographer, He contented himself with framing and like the portrait painter, to present a flatter- working out rules which invested natural ing likeness. It is true it is in some por- religion with a faint and deceptive christotions too eulogistic of the writer. Praise logy. This must have dimmed the purity is taken for very trifling actions, ---actions of his motives, and made his life somewhat comparatively insignificant, and in which narrow and utilitarian, in a lower sense than Franklin had only a share. It does not the spirit of self-sacrifice, which is the esappear, however, that this autobiography sence of our religion, however feebly it may was written for public perusal; and expres- be manifested in modern society. Franklin sions might be excused in a series of epistles is generally regarded as an example of sucto a son, which would be regarded as vain or cessful industry alone; while this opinion is conceited if intended for the world. After incorrect, his own intrinsic want of elevaall, if a man's actions, -actions in a very tion has contributed towards an estimate of striking sense his own, as wrought out by himself lower than the facts will justify. his own energy and skill,- meet with gene- With pleasure we turn to those features ral approval -a fact of which he cannot be of character which Franklin displayed, clearly ignorant;-self-praise can scarcely be blamed commendable in him, and worthy of imitawith severity when lie becomes his own bio- tion. His industry is proverbial. It began grapher. The autobiography of Franklin is in poverty, was exercised amidst various sufficiently ingenuous, as he is bold enough vicissitudes, and was quickened in the to refer to various moral errata, as he terms wider fields of labour on which he ultimately them, in the early part of his career, of a entered. It originated in a workshop, and very serious kind; and on the whole, the ended at the courts of kings, and in the events themselves have every appearance of senate of a nation. He braved successfully naturalness and truth, and point to indis- the inducements for ease upon which numputable characteristics of the narrator. bers make their pillow through life. He
Amidst his various migrations before he early acted on the idea, which many men rose to eminence, Franklin appears to have scarcely recognise, though they receive not come much into contact with unbelievers, I a few of the buffetings of life, viz., that our
existence is a great battle against inward principle, however, may be abused, and genesloth and outward difficulty. His was not, rate a miserly selfishness of disposition. It however, an indiscriminate industry, carried would be a mischievous idea that we must on as the result of a vigorous appetite for exercise a rigid economy, shutting out all labour, and strong powers of endurance, but the claims of humanity and religion till we was used with wisdom to secure honourable gain a competence for ourselves ;—that up ends. One thing well done after another to a certain stage we must be purely selfish gave him a former foothold in society, or, to enable us afterwards to attend to the cochanging the figure, was an enduring stone, ordinate interests of ourselves and others. adding to the monument of character which we are aware there are those who, professing he left behind him. Through life he carried Christianity, put forward, at least praction this patient building, with a strict aim cally, such pleas for their sordid course, but after the substantial, till candid men were while they injure their brethren—those whose constrained to look on the strong and well. sin, degradation, and sorrow, or hollow mirth finished pile as a model for much which the are claims upon them—they generally end world requires in its numerous busy ways of with as much selfishness as they commenced industry and honour. Besides industry, he with. The beneficence of the comparatively had the desire of pleasing. He did not con- poor towards the poor-a fact which puts to tent himself with working early and late to shame the calculating charity of the wealthy produce a quantity of work, little regardful -does not leave them really poorer, while it of its quality, but what he performed was is a noble contribution to the higher life of well executed. The principle which led him society, which consists in a spirit of selfto print a page in an excellent manner, in- sacrifice. The intense desire which prevails duced him also to write good articles for a to acquire wealth, to provide material comnewspaper, to forage an army plentifully, fort, and to lift up the descendants of those and to conduct, to a successful termination, born poor, surely calls for the application of delicate and important political negotiations. those passages of the New Testament which This desire of approbation, guided by prin- condemn an excessive anxiety for the future, ciple, will in all of us spring up in fair and the feeling that we are not safe in the arms noble outward manifestations, affording to of the great Father unless firmly established ourselves pleasure, as well as contributing to on the foundations of material wealth,-pasthe world's comfort and intelligence. Thus sages which have in themselves a profound all half work and avoidable imperfection be- significance, however we may seek to quadcomes incongruous and painful. We thus rate them with the dwarfed conceptions and have confidence in a man, knowing that wishes of our commercial life. There is, though success may not always attend his however, an economy truly praiseworthy,– exertions, yet he does as well as one can do, that which, independent of our material and, to use the common expression, deserves interest, consists also in the sacrifice of lower
This desire of approbation led to higher ends. While we do not consider Franklin to seek many disinterested methods Franklin as one who carried out this idea in of action, of which he would not otherwise a high degree, yet we honour him for an have thought. And it is indeed wonderful economy which was exercised with so much how flexible time may be made; what signal regard to the public good. Franklin cultiresults may accrue from a careful use of vated a knowledge of literature and science. opportunity; how well our individual pecu- He received little education in youth, but he diary interests may be attended to, and yet afterwards fully supplied this deficiency. something effectual be done for our own Intense must have been the industry which intellectual culture and the good of mankind. enabled him successfully to engage in the Franklin was economical. This, to the competition of business, and in the toil of extent of providing in a moderate degree public life, and yet to become acquainted for future wants, is not only essential to our with different languages and other departwelfare, but is a positive virtue, an impera- ments of knowledge. His discoveries in tive duty, so far as it lies within our power. natural philosophy are valuable and well We have the capacity of foresight, of reflec- known. That he made these, arose not so tion, and we are bound to use it. This much from any particular talent which he possessed, as from close observation and England, and came under engagements by repeated experiment. His writings display which he incurred great risk of loss. We the characteristics of his mind. They are honour, then, Franklin for his patriotism. clear, ingenuous, and candid. They display This judgment is of course formed irrespecthe spirit of the humble enquirer rather than tive of the views which he, as the representhat of the dogmatist. He produced no tative of America, urged upon Great Britain. literary works that will survive, but this is But those views will now be generally adlittle to be regretted, as the fruits of his mitted to be sound, although opposed to the talent remain in important philosophical dis- despotic principles which then prevailed in coveries and political institutions. Franklin the public councils of the British Empire. was distinguished for his public spirit, or, in On the whole, Franklin was a man of prinother words for his patriotism. His was ciple; he possessed those qualities which, not the spirit of the tradesman, to whom the combined, constitute an excellent character. political relations of an empire are nothing I'rom our spiritual stand-point we cannot except as they affect the current of business recognize Franklin as a great ideal. But the or the price of stocks, and to whom genius influence of character may radiate from is a troublesome phantasy, and learning an many a soul, diffusing a bright light on the unprofitable labour. Franklin did not despise ordinary ways of men, while it throws not a the humblest matter of public utility. He single glance into the gloom of the Infinite, obtained a regular supply of scavengers for and gives no celestial form and beauty to the the public streets of Philadelphia; and a dim shadows of the unseen. water company and fire brigade were or- Franklin is worthy of imitation for the ganized by him. He established an academy features of character to which we have now and an hospital. He originated circulating adverted. Industrious—we shall overcome libraries in America, and started one of its the difficulties which surround us; and at earliest journals. In the widest sense be all events we shall have the consciousness of was a patriot. His country had none who acting an honourable part, “each in his served it with greater or purer zeal. He vocation and ministry;" having the desire represented America with much dignity and to give satisfaction, we shall obtain that ability both in England and France; and in approbation which will smooth our path, those countries, where he spent a consider- and encourage our efforts. Economical-we able part of his life, his company was eagerly shall have greater power to promote our courted by politicians and literary men. In interests, and to answer those claims of huEngland the Government looked to his influ- manity which are the very keys of heaven. ence for averting the threatened calamity of Cultivating our intellectual powers war, and even when he was ambassador at shall, obtain that knowledge which will Paris, they endeavoured, he observes, to pro- make our way through life interesting and cure his favour for that purpose. The pa- instructive. Let us add Religion, which will tience and perseverance with which he offered make our whole lives divine, how humble one scheme of settlement after another, not- soever may be our condition, how environed withstanding repeated disappointments, is soever with difficulty, or depressed by care. worthy of high commendation. He organized Religion! — which will not only guide us a militia in a Quaker province, for defence with success through life, and win for us the against the French; he advanced consider- esteem of man, but obtain for us the Divine able sums of money for the English troops, favour, and bless us with the felicity of before the commencement of the war with God.
DECIMAL COINAGE:-THE NECESSITY FOR ITS ADOPTION-ITS ADVANTAGES OVER THE PRESENT SYSTEM-AND THE VARIOUS PLANS FOR CARRYING IT OUT WHICH HAVE BEEN PROPOSED,
No. IV.-(Continued from Vol. V.) WE purpose in this, our concluding paper, thod, as well as the advantages, of using to give a few practical examples of the me- | the decimal system, and also to glance at