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only 4 names. At the first Scrutinio those are elected who have obtained the great test number of votes, provided that number exceeds one-eighth of the registered electors. If that proportion is not attained a new ballot is held on a following day. It may easily be seen from this sketch that the Scrutinio di Lista lately adopted by Italy is not the classical Scrutin de Liste of the French school, but something between that and the uninominal voting paper. The circumscription of the Italian Constituencies does not coincide, except in a few cases, with that of the province which forms the unit of the French system, but corresponds in many cases with the three-cornered Constituencies of the English electoral system. I, for my part, consider this limitation of the Italian law very wise..
It has been rightly remarked in criticism of the uninominal Constituency that it establishes too narrow an area, and one where local mediocrity, municipal coteries, village-green interests and ideas, and personal considerations hold sway unopposed and prevail over political considerations in prompting and determining the Elections. All that is perfectly true, and quite sufficient in my opinion, to condemn uninominal Constituencies. Still one must guard against falling into the opposite error, bearing in mind the saying, incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim. The too narrow area must not be so excessively widened as to possibly deprive the elector of a sufficient knowledge of the candidate, and hence of the power of giving a conscientious vote. This consideration acquires greater importance in Italy from the extension of the Franchise which has been granted at the same time. In the first discussion in the French assembly, M. Dufaure, then Minister, observed that the country-folks go from the house to the fields, and from the fields to the house ; all their existence revolving within that circle. In order therefore to render the electoral urn more accessible to them, the Elections, both in Italy and in France take place on Sundays, the polling booths are, as much as possible multiplied, each Commune having one in France. In short, every possible facility is afforded for the exercise of the right to vote. Now by what logical argument can it be maintained that such men ought to vote with other districts, with which they have no connection, and for candidates whom they do not and cannot know, and that they ought also to share in the organization and preparation required in a large circumscription ? This they practically cannot do. Some one then will do it for them. If they are not capable of making up a list with ten or twenty names, there will be some one who will hand them one ready-made. Who will undertake to do that? The Committees. Who will compose these Committees? If the electoral district is not so extensive as to prevent all healthy local influence, such as results from an unblemished reputation, a life spent for the welfare of the country, it may reasonably be hoped that at the head of these Committees will be found persons deserving of public esteem; but if the districts are so vast that those influences may be lost, then the field remains open to intriguers, professional agitators, traders in politics, and then we have a Caucus in the worst meaning of the word—that is, not the regular organization of a party, but the prevalence of its most turbid and dangerous elements. Reybaud, in his Jérôme Paturot à la rechérche de la meilleure des Républiques, which is a perfectly charming satire on the Utopias of French Radicalism, has depicted in lifelike colours the tyrannical ways in which the Committees were worked in the elections by Scrutin de Liste in 1848. In the recent discussion in the French Assembly, Gambetta endeavoured to ridicule the threats of that spectre, the fear of that occult power, that Electoral Vehmgericht of the Committees. But I believe that such a danger does really exist, and that the only way of preventing it is not to extend the electoral district too much.
It cannot be denied, on the other hand, that a small uninominal district is a source of corruption. The too close bonds which unite the electors to their member, make of him a business agent, a pleader for private interests, from whom all the electors claim his assistance and service, and his influence in administration of justice and of local interests. To that indirect form of corruption is often joined a more direct one, since the scanty number of electors in a small electoral district makes the venality of voters easy. This, I fear, happens more or less everywhere, since a small district is like a pond, in which stagnation of necessity induces putrefaction. As to the effects which it produces in England, I am not competent to speak. I believe, however, that I am not much mistaken in affirming that corruption in the small districts is very extensive, although it may not attain such a high degree as was manifested in the towns of Oxford, Gloucester, Macclesfield and others, over which the threatened punishment of a temporary disfranchisement is hanging.
What the small Electoral district proved itself to be in France under Louis Philippe, we are told in the burning words of Armand Carrel, Paul Louis Courier, and Louis de Cormenin, who have held up to condemnation that corruption which a man so eminent as Guizot did not know how to abstain from allowing. What that same corruption was under the Second Empire, the sad notoriety of the candidature officielle has revealed. Neither does it work better under the Republican régime.
In the Italian Constituencies, it may be affirmed, that trading in votes was limited to a very few cases ; on the other hand, all too extensive was the indirect corruption by which a member held his supporters close in hand by getting honours conferred upon them ; by upholding their preponderance in the Municipal administration; by obtaining reprieve or diminution of punishment for them when falling under the rigour of the law; by causing functionaries obnoxious to them to be removed; and by backing them up in their transactions with the Government, obtaining for them favours, advantages, privileges, or even material gains. The spreading and the deep root of these pernicious customs, derogatory to the dignity both of the electors and the elected, has urged Parliament to dry up their source by suppressing the uninominal Constituencies. The majority of the Moderate Liberal party, although it acknowledged the evil, was still opposed to the Scrutinio di Lista, and proposed other remedies in its stead. Signor Minghetti, who, if not the first of Italian statesmen for acquaintance with the practical art of government, is certainly one of the very first in eloquence and learning, in a book where he reviews all the evils and inconveniences which affect the Parliamentary system, pleads for an ample Decentralization, the responsibility of Public Officers, the suppression of many arbitrary privileges which the law grants them, and finally for justice in the administration, which Signor Spaventa had already loudly demanded. While joining in all these demands, I remain of opinion that the Scrutinio di Lista will also efficiently contribute to that effect. And though I do not share the unbounded confidence which Signor Zanardelli, who has been its most zealous advocate places in it, I yet cannot, like Minghetti, feel distrust of it. Much less can I agree with the illustrious political and scientific luminary, Quintino Sella, who has shown so much aversion to it as to decline the command laid upon him by the King to form a Ministry, because he could not agree with his colleagues on the subject of the Scrutinio di Lista. However, we have in Italy a fair opportunity of comparing the Political with the Municipal elections, in which latter no corruption is or could be detected, because carried out on the principle of the Scrutinio
di Lista. In England, on the other hand, where the Municipal Councillors are elected by wards, it is found that, where there is corruption in the Political Elections, there is it also in the Municipal. Thus in the Report of the Royal Commissioners appointed to inquire into the existence of corrupt practices in the City of Oxford, I read as follows :—“Politics have for a considerable period largely “ influenced the municipal elections for the different wards, “ and although the expenditure at these elections has been “ far below that incurred at the Parliamentary elections, “ it is certain that money has frequently been expended in " the municipal contests in ways which would not bear the “ light." I believe that in England also a reform, based on that lately adopted in Italy, would raise a bulwark against corruption. Lord Brougham has already pointed this out in his well-known work on the English Constitution, in these remarkable words :-“ It is certain that bribery is “ confined to the towns, and to those generally speaking of “ a moderate size ; that in hardly any of the very large ones “ does it prevail at all; that in none of the counties is it “ known. The right course, it should seem, is to choose " the members not by towns and counties, but by districts “ composed of town and country together. Nor can there “ be any valid objection to thus blending the town with “ the country. Nay, were there even an objection, it “must be a very formidable one to counterbalance the “ mighty benefit of putting down the pest of corruption, “which threatens our national morals as well as the purity “ of our parliamentary system and the existence of our “ free Constitution.”
Against the moderately extensive Constituencies of the Italian law objections were raised in Parliament by the partisans of the opposite extremes. Those who wished for very large Constituencies wanted to destroy absolutely all local influences, affirming that this was the only way to fill