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often to prevent applications to the Board, and, in consequence they adopted the practice of offering their services whenever they heard of a dispute as pending or as about to commenceservices often confined to getting the parties to meet round a table at the Chamber of Commerce, and to settle their own disputes.

The success of the Board appears to be very considerable. Mr. Boulton, speaking towards the end of 1892, said that a week rarely passed without some communication being made to the Board, and that in nine cases out of ten, when the parties got together, an agreement was come to, either by the parties alone or by the help of the Board. Between 1890, when the Board came into operation, and the end of 1897, eleven voluntary agreements had been effected by conciliation, and eleven awards had been made which were more or less permanent settlements of matters in dispute.

To me it appears that more is to be hoped for from an extension of the system of domestic tribunals—from Boards of Conciliation and Arbitration adopted by the parties themselves -than from statutory bodies; that more is to be hoped for from active steps taken for the prevention of strife than from attempts to quench it when it has arisen.*


Much useful information on the history of industrial conciliation and arbitration-and the subject is now a large one-may be found in Mr. Henry Crompton's Industrial Conciliation (London, 1876); and in Industrial Arbitration and Conciliation, compiled by Josephine S. Lowell (New York, 1893).-E. F.





ment by the central authority, has always existed in England; but not till recently in the form in which we now know it. The development of our present system has been gradual, and may be said to have commenced with the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835. Previously to that time many of the larger towns-notably the city of London—as well as many insignificant villages, possessed the right of regulating their own internal affairs. This right, in the first instance, probably had grown up by usage founded on convenience, and was subsequently confirmed by charters which at some time or other had been granted by the sovereign. The terms of these charters varied greatly, and so consequently did the powers enjoyed by the governing bodies of different corporate towns.

Originally the freemen in a borough probably comprised the great mass of the inhabitants or householders. But in course of time, in most towns, the privileges conferred by the charters had come to be exercised by a small number of persons, who usurped the name of corporation, and themselves enjoyed the powers and property originally intended for the general benefit. The anomalies and abuses which thus had gradually become developed, at length attracted attention, and in July, 1834, a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the state of the municipal corporations in England and Wales, and to collect information respecting the defects of their constitution. The Commissioners presented a voluminous Report early in 1835. They found that there were then in existence in England and Wales 246 corporations possessing or exercising municipal

functions; that the constitution of the different governing bodies varied greatly; and that most of those bodies were corrupt, and neglected the interests of the towns over which they ruled-for the sake of furthering their own private ends. An oligarchy which had obtained possession of governing powers, had a tendency to perpetuate itself by usually filling vacancies on the ruling body from relations or friends of the existing members. The Report with reference to the city of Coventry may be taken as typical of many

other corporations.

“A permanent and self-constituted body-powerful from their position and the possession of magisterial authorityinfluential from the considerable revenues over which they exercise an irresponsible control, and from the distribution of extensive charities which they assume a right to dispense as a matter of personal patronage; presiding over a commercial city subject to the influence of no individual patron, it became the leading object of the corporation to secure to themselves the nomination of the members of Parliament for the city." "To the attainment of this object all the functions of the corporate authority have been rendered subordinate. Manifold and serious abuses have been the necessary result. All the offices of municipal government have been exclusively confined to one party, by no means in the majority of instances comprehending the highest order of citizens, either as regards station or intelligence. And from the same causes have proceeded-unfair practices in the admission to corporate rights; partiality in the administration of justice, and inefficiency in the protection of the public peace; undue application of the corporate revenues to party purposes, and a partial and corrupt distribution of charitable fundsoperating, on the one hand, to create an immoral influence over the poorer freemen, and on the other, to exclude from a participation in common benefits the more honest and independent, who even in poverty were unwilling to

sacrifice public principle to considerations of private advantage."

“ It is a remarkable fact that the select body has been composed pretty equally of Whigs and Tories, and candidates of both parties have been alike supported by the corporation as a body. Thus the local politics have by no means quadrated with the national, and the prevailing distinction has been, not between the supporters of the different parties in the State, but between the corporation and the anti-corporation party-corporation and anti-corporation candidates.”

Similar reports were made with reference to many other corporate towns; and showed that for the inhabitants generally the benefits intended by their original charters had ceased ; individuals, comparatively few in number, were frequently misusing privileges granted for the common benefit. The Reports of the Commissioners produced the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835, which defined the lines on which the whole framework of municipal government has since been elaborated.

This Act (5 & 6 Wm. IV. c. 76) repealed so much of all previously existing Acts, usages, and charters as should be found to be inconsistent with its provisions, and for the first time provided a uniform system of local government for all the corporate boroughs included within its scope. The management of each town was vested in a council, consisting of (a) councillors elected by the burgesses, who for the future were to be persons occupying property and paying rates within the borough; and (b) a mayor, and (c) aldermen elected by the councillors. The council were to appoint a town clerk and treasurer, who might not be members of the council, and such other officers as they deemed necessary. They also might petition for the appointment of a recorder and stipendiary magistrate or magistrates; but the actual appointment of those officers rested with the Crown. Important

functions, such as police and lighting, could be undertaken by the council, and they were also declared to be the trustees for executing the powers and provisions of Acts of Parliament affecting their borough. The income derived from any property belonging to the borough and all payments on the public account, were directed to be paid into a fund called the Borough Fund, out of which all necessary expenses were to be defrayed; and the council were empowered to make rates for the purpose of meeting any deficiency. The councillors held office for a term of three years, the aldermen for six, and the mayor was elected annually. The terms for which officers were appointed varied; but in practice they usually continued in office as long as their conduct was satisfactory.

No general provision for the government of any place not incorporated as a borough was made for some time longer; but many localities obtained powers for managing specific matters for themselves, under private Acts of Parliament. In 1847 a general Act was passed regulating the election and proceedings of the commissioners, to whom the execution of the powers conferred by such Acts should thenceforth be entrusted ; and this Act may be looked on as the model on which the constitution of many local governing bodies was afterwards elaborated. Many districts with a growing urban population also obtained an elected governing body under the Public Health Act, which was passed in the next year (1848). The powers conferred by this Act were mainly powers for preserving and improving the health of the inhabitants, and were in boroughs exercised by the council. But from the year 1848, every populous district might have an elective governing body, by which some portion at any rate of its local affairs was administered, theoretically at all events, in accordance with the wishes of the electors. This Act was from time to time extended and amended ; the districts which had their own governing body became

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