Page images
PDF
EPUB

But what, we may inquire, is the precise meaning to be attached to this phrase? Does the proportion apply to numbers only, or to education, general and political, and social position? The answer seems in truth to be that each of these is to be considered to a certain extent as a factor in the perfect or ideal scheme of Representation. VVhen first introduced into political language, or rather, perhaps, into the language of Electoral Reform, the word “ proportional" appeared, says Brunialti, to be accurate: to say proportional representation was, at any rate, an advance on the expression “ representationof minorities” previously employed, because, as Hare observes, “the question is not one of majorities and minorities, but of an Electoral body with all its shades of opinion, which, when they reach a certain development, have a right to representation.” Nevertheless, Brunialti admits that objections may be brought against the use of this expression, which it is contended ought not to be used in its formal sense, but rather as Mill and others would use it, in its relation to the imposts which the elector pays, and to his intellectual capacity and social position. This may seem something of a change of front; but it is perhaps one not unknown in other branches of “practical politics." The expression which Brunialti himself favours, and thinks best adapted to set forth the true bearing of the reform he desires, is “ the just representation of all electors.” What this name fails in as a reform cry seems to be its length. “ Proportional representation" is a phrase that may easily be in ore omnium. Dr. Brunialti's amendment is one rather for the student of (shall we say?) theoretical politics. The quotient system has been tried we learn, in several societies and clubs in Italy, and been found to work well. On the other hand, the existing system is, in Dr. Brunialti's eyes, condemned by the logic of facts, such for instance as he finds ready to hand in the figures of recent elections in Great Britain, and the United States, as well as in Italy and Germany. Then, taking his figures as they would work on the Hare system, Brunialti shows us what would be the results in a given borough in Italy, choosing Vicenza as his example with a body of 9,540 electors, seven deputies to elect, and three parties dividing the votes. If 4,320 are recorded for the A. side, 3,750 for B., i,47o for C., the total number of electors divided by that of the deputies gives a quotient of 1,363, which goes 3 times in 4,320 (A.), twice in 3,750 (B.), once in 1,470 (C.). Hence the result is arrived at that the A. party has a right to three deputies, the B. party to two, and C. to one. It would seem as though this amount of representation ought to satisfy everybody, though it may be observed that one deputy (probably a neutral) is not reckoned. For this apparent omission we are not accountable.

Turning now to the question what chance this “ ideal system" has of being carried out in practice, Dr. Brunialti seems to us to rely greatly on the fact that compromise enters largely, and that of necessity, into our administrative systems. The many objections which can be brought forward, the many difficulties which can be raised, are not passed over. But the advocate of Hare’s system thinks, with Stuart Mill, that it deserves as much consideration in the region of politics as railways and telegraphs among material reforms. Calhoun said that Parliamentary government was a government of compromise. It is argued, we presume, by the advocates of proportional representation that when they are strong enough they will find their opponents ready to give in. Whether this will first be the case in Italy or in Spain, we do not presume to forecast. But that the day will come when the “just representation” which he supports shall be adopted, Dr. Brunialti is firmly convinced. It will be with representation, he believes, as with Mont Blanc. A few years ago how few were the climbers! Yet now whole bands of friends are constantly making the ascent. “ Excelsior " thus seems to be the cry of the advocates of this Electoral Reform which is to make us all satisfied with ourselves and with others.

# * 11

The subject of Copyright has been lately brought before the Law Amendment Society, through a paper by Mr. Leybourn Goddard, who enjoyed the special advantage of having been Secretary of the Royal Commission. In the course of his Paper Mr. Goddard showed by some amusing instances what a dense ignorance prevailed in many minds as to the nature of Copyright, requests having been freely made to the Secretary that he would “ take out Copyright” for certain persons, as though he were a Registrar of Patents for Inventions. Mr. Goddard manifested the bent of his own views as being strongly on the side of Sir Louis Mallet, who appended a separate Report of his own, advocating the Royalty system. This plan is also supported by Mr. Macfie, of Dreghorn, in the first volume of a book on “ Copyright and Patents for Inventions” (Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark. London: Hamilton & Adams), in which he has reprinted an Essay on Literary Property, by Lord Dreghorn of the Court of Session, first published in 1772, founded on notes of the pleadings of the learned judge as Counsel in an Edinburgh “cause célébre," turning on the interpretation of the 8th of Anne. The Royalty system does not want for ability in its advocates, but it does not appear to have the command of anything more than a respectable minority in this country. Sir Travers Twiss, who presided over the Law Amendment Society's meeting, gave a lucid résumé of modern Continental Legislation on the subject, including in his survey some Legislations which had escaped the attention of the reader of the Paper. Sir Travers's own view appeared to be rather in favour of a definite period, irrespective of the author's life, and for which he suggested that sixty years would be a suitable limit. \-‘Ve still think, however, that the conditions of existing European Legislation being, as we have already shown in these pages, based on the author's life, render that the only practicable basis for International Conventions. In the discussi0n,which was very well sustained, several interesting facts were brought out. M. Clunet, editor of the “journal de Droit International Privé," gave a most graphic sketch of the position taken up by French Artists at the Art Copyright Congress in Paris last year, and stated that there were good grounds for believing the present Belgian Government to be favourable to the idea of an International Copyright. He also confirmed the fact that the Spanish Bill (printed by us, Law Magazine and Review, No. CCXXIX., August, 1878) had passed into law, and that therefore the duration of Copyright in Spain has been extended from fifty to eighty years. Mr. Carmichael showed, by reference to the action of recent Congresses on Literary and Artistic Property, and the Bills laid before several Continental Parliaments, that the tendency of modern Legislation was to increase the duration of Copyright, and expressed the view that the term proposed by the British Royal Commission would not be found adequate to meet this tendency. Dr. Tomkins gave some of his experiences of one of the earliest meetings in favour of International Copyright, held in the United States, and believed that the feeling there was now much stronger in favour of coming to an agreement. The discussion mainly took an International view of the question, which is the view most requiring immediate attention, but also the one which the reader of the Paper, in his reply, said that he had especially endeavoured to avoid. But some

subjects refuse to be thrust aside.

The Second Session of the International Literary Congress has been held in London, under the presidency of M. Edmond About, M. de Lesseps, &c., in the enforced absence of Victor Hugo, owing to Parliamentary engagements. The questions dealt with were connected with Translation and Adaptation. We were sorry< to observe two things about the London meeting, viz., the absence both of the English men of letters, who might have been expected to take part in the discussions, and of the greater number of the Frenchjurists who took part in the Foundation Congress in Paris last year. Although we did not find ourselves able to agree with some of the views expressed and the arguments advanced by members of the French Bar last year, those views and arguments were always lucidly put, and the mere habit of mind of the advocates often enforced upon the meeting the necessity of adhering to the subject under discussion. In the London Congress we had to deplore the want of method and order which frequently made it impossible to discover what was before the House. VVe were unable even to obtain from the Secretaries authentic copies of the Resolutions passed, and we fear that the conditions under which we saw some of them passed must disentitle them to that weight which the well-considered opinions of an International assembly would legitimately possess. This is the more to be regretted, because the objects of the Congress, and of the International Literary Association which it has founded, are in themselves such as command our sympathy, and we think the journal published by the Association (Bulletin de l’Association Litteraire Internationale, Paris, Secretariat, 14., Rue Lepic) is deserving of support as a medium of inter-communication on the subjects taken up by the Congress. But from a literary point of view the “ Bulletin” stands as much in need of revision as the Congress itself does from the point of view of order and aspect of the meeting as a Conference on International Law. The foreign contingent, it is to be hoped, will muster in equal strength, so as to ensure the representative character so essential to such gatherings. We observe some new features in the programme, e.g., International Rules of Quarantine, a subject on which Sir Sherston Baker has recently published a valuable manual, noticed elsewhere in our present issue; Uniform Standards of Weight and Measure ; the International Maintenance of Lighthouses; and the International Protectorate of Telegraphic Communications, a subject closely connected with the recent International Telegraphic Conference.

method. D

The Seventh Conference of the Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations, to be held at the Guildhall, in August, sets forth in its programme an ample field for the useful occupation of the jurists, bankers, merchants, and others interested in the various branches of International Law. The eminent names to be found on our side, including, as Presidents, the Lord Chief Baron, the Right Hon. Sir Robert Phillimore, and Sir Travers Twiss, augur well for the scientific

« PreviousContinue »