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and in the smallest of England's pro- purposes. The precedent had a long
a vincial guildhalls. Mayors and their innings. The liberties of the boroughs colleagues, being as human as the same were not restored until the Reform gentlemen in the twentieth century, Bill
Bill of 1832. It was quite reasonable had yielded to temptation and become that Dr. Brady should in 1690 write transformed into close and determined a big book to make it clear to everyoligarchies. Increase of population in one that the right of election of mem& borough tended to increase the bers of parliament was vested in the power of the dominant body and mayor and aldermen and only the lessen the cohesion of the governed. chief burgesses of corporations, not With the removal of the monasteries in the citizens at large.
The comand their educative influences, another monalty had so long been poor pawns check on the scarlet-gowned gentry in for great folks to play with that they office passed away. The minds of the aspired to do no more than live with tax-paying community lay fallow, or as little discomfort as might be. begat only inoffensive weeds of dis- They had few innate rights and content in the diminishing amount of privileges to realise outside their own useful leisure that remained to them. houses. Small wonder that where, in They kept their bodies in fine con- spite of the sophistries of time-serving dition with wrestlings and archery Dr. Bradys, they had the power of aud quarter-staves, but it was beyond helping to send a representative to them to criticise intelligently the parliament, they combined only to doings of their masters. They were make the price as high a one as the the inferiores, and the scarlet-gowned candidates could be induced to pay. score or so in the guildhall were the In all other matters as touching their potentiores ; and only by a devotion own interests, whether as subjects or to trade which left them little vigour citizens, they were a disconnected and or inclination to revolt could they ignorant crowd. Parliament had no hope in time to be admitted to that option but to tax them to the utteraugust company of publicans and most, and locally, if they had a mayor sinners. For then, as now,
the and corporation, they accepted the licensed victuallers got a firm clutch mystery without an effort to underon the sweets of office; and then, as stand it. Their civic rulers finessed it may be in the future, the oppor- with circumstances placidly enough. tunity of bleeding the commonalty in The word progress was a battle-cry the interests of a nefarious few was rather for individual encouragement found to be irresistible. Even in the in those days. National taxation was fourteenth century symptoms of a severe, but civic rates were kept low. dangerous monopoly of the headship Our local Red Books and Blue in the boroughs had appeared ; Nico- Books and Yellow Books tell a different las Langton was in 1342 elected tale. They show our modern mayors Mayor of York for the seventeenth and town-councillors as very resolute time.
applicants of this same blessed word But in the sixteenth century the progress to all the fields of municipal King, as the great monopolist, put an enterprise in which they have the right end to the old free civic institutions. to labour. Their predecessors of long He pocketed England's towns and ago lived gently for the moment; it cities and established the precedent of seemed to them that each generation using them and their parliamentary should bear its own burdens. It is representatives for his own tyrannical otherwise with the present race of
municipal governors; they cannot look keep out of the bankruptcy court to too far ahead. Bills of costs do not have any time to devote to public terrify them so long as they can rely agitation ; others drown care in the on the eloquence or sophistries of their public-houses, or at the music-halls town-clerks to persuade the Home and football-matches which are Office experts that their enterprises are conventional features of the modern sufficiently plausible. If the town be town as an alarming improvement small, it is argued that it will promptly rate ; others are too lazy, too timid grow in the strength of these designed or too exasperated to protest sanely improvements. If the town's death against the accumulation of extravarate be rather above the average,
gances. The town has had little there is no opposing the plea that difficulty in borrowing half a million this is due to sanitary arrangements or a million of money for its past which demand to be superseded. adventures in municipal progress. It Having made up their corporate hopes to continue the pastime, and go mind to an expenditure, nothing is on garnishing itself with palatial allowed to stop the way, not the frills and fripperies. The burgesses groans of anonymous scribes in the are encouragingly patient upon the local paper, nor leading articles, nor whole. Either on demand or after the still small scruples which continue summons, they pay their local to whisper in their own consciences. exactions of about fifty shillings & Costly measures sanctioned when trade head for every man, woman and child is exceptionally good begin to be paid in the borough, and content the townfor when trade is exceptionally bad, council and the Guardians of the thereby making trade still worse. Poor. Or they fail without any From one standpoint it is the pictur- particular fuss and disappear, and esque irresponsibility of the spend other sanguine citizens come obligingly thrift; but from another point of into the town and take their place, view it is not so picturesque. The attracted, as the town's rulers had children of the poor eat bread without foreseen, by just these manifold tokens butter and go breakfastless to school of a truly progressive borough which that the town may rejoice in the made the last straw of the burden prettiest kind of municipal tramway
that broke the backs of the men system, in elegant municipal market- whose place they fill. halls, public parks, slaughter-houses This is no fairy tale, nor even a which the butchers cannot be per- somewhat fanciful sketch of the suaded to use, dazzling electric lamps, ambitions and consequent emotions cold store establishments, and a suc
of the modern borough. It is a cession of experiments in pavements conventionally true portraiture. One and road material which delight the
is driven to think that the mayor, contractors and disturb everyone else. alderman, and councillors of the
The burgesses lament faintly and modern borough could hardly be a submit. They seem as irresponsible worse infliction if they were an assoas their well-meaning but incompetent ciation of bandits who had taken and impetuous rulers. It is the busi- possession of the council chamber by ness of all of them to have a voice in force and decided to oppress the the disposal of the tens of thousands citizens to the very limits of their of pounds which are annually taken endurance. They are nothing like from their tills and pockets ; but that, of course, but their achievements some are too fiercely endeavouring to belie them, A certain amount of
compassion is due to them indeed, or better for the degraded tradesmen to would be if they kept the pains and have a fixed salary as managers (and penalties of their greatness to them- far more satisfactory to their wives) selves. Many of them wear them- than to continue to grapple with the selves out prematurely in
changes and chances of good trade yearning to do justice equally to their and bad and their attendant phantoms own private concerns and the town's. of extravagant living and the bankThese are the weaklings, the handy ruptcy Court. One may reasonably material for the more irresponsible go a little farther still with this few to work upon in the furtherance forecast. When a town council atof those schemes of municipalised tempts to manage a town as if it trading which so inevitably were just so many departments of a attractive. Our modern boroughs are huge store like Whiteley's, it will have like a desperate gambler at Monte to offer a course of pleasing sops to Carlo. They have gone so far that the common folk to persuade them they cannot without an abject avowal that they are by no means so uncomof failure either stop or recede. fortably in bonds of servitude to their They are committed to a system. rulers. The hospitals, theatres, musicThe money squandered and largely halls and leading football-clubs will lost upon one enterprise must be be taken up by the municipality as recovered somehow ; and hence comes well as the butchers' and bakers' the greedy and astonishing desire to shops. Free admission to footballtake the very bread from the mouths matches will go a long way to soothe of ratepayers by competing with them the feelings of the multitude, even if upon an unfair advantage in their the sublime oligarchy in command find own poor little industries. It is so themselves forced by circumstances easy to make up a flattering tale (the Bank rate, for example) to go in justification of such interference. back on their earlier declarations of The mayor and his council feel a benevolence and unduly raise the paternal anxiety about the quality of price of chops and loaves. As for the bread and milk and vegetables the integrity of the individual memwith which the town's citizens are bers of town-council in this supplied. They are not at all satis- gwollen state of importance, one fied that these comestibles are the must be a little more or less than best obtainable and—80 forth. Hay- human to expect it to be spotless. ing got this thin (or not very thin) Opportunity makes the thief, alike edge of the wedge well under the with unhinged managing directors of body corporate of the town, what tottering companies, Spitalfields pickmore simple than to proceed to a pockets, and imperial autocrats. It course of monopolies which shall in were vain for
a somewhat needy time reduce two-thirds of the town's town-councillor at the head of tradesmen to the position of salaried committee which handled millions a managers, or paid dependents, of the
year to pray daily “Lead us not into town-council ? “Every extension of temptation,” when the temptation of public action limits the sphere of innumerable feats of remunerative private action ": this dictum of Her- jobbery battered at his virtue every bert Spencer's will have no influence working day of his life. upon a town-council fully committed But enough. Things are not to its career of philanthropic piracy; likely to be allowed to come to so for it will be argued that it would be monstrous a climax. It would be
the Middle Ages over again in certain advocatus diaboli, address her seriously of its (to us) most amusing aspects. and explain to her in the most per Up to a point, local self-government suasive language possible what a foris as necessary as it is wise and
midable step she is about to take in honourably developing. Westminster thus surrendering the charms of the has been generous to the provinces, world and the possible pleasures of but it must not be as extravagant motherhood. Where her father and and foolish as the boroughs show mother may have failed the State every tendency of becoming. Having Commissioner may succeed. been generous almost to the degree Our municipalities have had great of folly, it must now consider how powers given to them which many best to restrain the hands of the of them have abused. It is a matter irresponsible gentlemen who find of national importance that these themselves in control of such astonish- should either be revised, or the ingly irresponsible citizens as these citizens whom they govern stimuof the twentieth century. Seeing lated to take an active and intimate that they are unable to take care interest in their own affairs. This of themselves, the latter must be might be done by the establishment taken care of lest they be insidiously in every considerable borough of a choked with good things which they Crown Officer somewhat similar to cannot digest.
the Commissioner of San Marino or One may learn wisdom, of a sort, the Podestá of the old Italian reeven from babes. In this matter it publics. The town-clerk might not is suggestive to remember how things like it, but that would be a grievance are managed even in so petty, yet for the town-clerk alone.
The comprosperous, a State as the little Re- monalty would benefit inasmuch as public of San Marino. For hundreds it would be this new official's busiof years it has been the custom there ness to work solely in their interest, to elect a learned and immaculate and he would be answerable for destranger to the second rank in the linquencies or errors to the Home State. He comes after the Regents, Office only. With his discreet hand who are the worshipful figure-heads in check upon the impertinent interin San Marino. To him are com- ference of municipalities with the mitted the control of the law-courts money market, our national credit and sundry other offices of the most would have a chance of re-establisheminently practical kind. His alien ing itself.
ing itself. Consols would continue to origin and limited term of office rise, and the Red Books and Blue combine with his previous character Books and Yellow Books of the as guarantees of his impartiality and municipalities would
municipalities would no longer be wisdom. He is required to be wholly as beguiling in their statements of free from prejudices; so much so accounts as the balance sheets of a indeed that when a San Marino company like the late lamented Lonyoung lady desires to enter a nunnery, don and Globe Finance Corporation, it is his duty to go to her, and, as
her hand to count: “Yo-ji, Go-ji," in
the quaint Japanese tongue, “RokuO HARA SAN was in the garden ji, Shichi-ji.” i But the last picking irises. It was not an easy note fined off into silence, she turned task, for the purple flags rose grace- in alarm, for a footstep sounded on fully from several inches of water, the path beside her, an unusual occur. and great care was necessary to avoid rence in this secluded spot. It was unsightly splashes. Not desirous of
not the soft shuffling of bare feet, nor being splashed O Hara San had care
the click-clack of clogs, but the unfully tucked up her gay dress, and mistakable tread of civilised leather. the shortened skirt revealed the
O Hara San's foolish little heart beat prettiest feet imaginable, thrust into with a vague fear. There was nothing the inevitable wooden clogs.
to be afraid of in the newcomer's A shaft of sunlight came striking appearance, however ; he was young through the bamboo hedge, and
and an Englishman, and he regarded touched with glory the little maid's her with kindly interest. dark hair. The delicate tints of her
She dropped her eyes, and bowed dress blended into the brilliant carpet low, again and again ; a difficult feat of the iris bed, and the faint bloom when one is balanced on a stone in of her cheek would have rivalled the
the midst of a water-field, but the rosy petals of the cherry-blossom, but stranger's gravity was unruffled as he the season of cherry-blossom was over. returned the salutation. “O'Hayo,”? As she stood, airily perched on a he ventured cheerfully. “O'Hayo," moss-grown stone, her slender form
she made answer, and her gentle bending to meet the upturned flowers, tones sounded like the cooing of a she might have stepped straight off a wood-pigeon in contrast. After this Japanese fan, only indeed no painted conversation languished. Shyness on figure was ever half so charming. O Hara San's part, ignorance of the Above the garden walls towered
language on the young man's, held the giant cryptomeria trees, and them silent. Then she, with her beyond again were the mountains, all sheaf of iris blooms clasped to her blue and mysterious, half veiled in
breast, prepared for fight, and the morning mist.
Englishman, fearing to lose this pretty O Hara San sang as she worked, butterfly creature, surreptitiously conand the little grey lizards crept out sulted his guide-book, and rattled off into the sun to listen.
a sentence with great aplomb. Eastern mournful song, a story of love and nations are renowned for the perfecrevenge, but she had no knowledge of tion of their manners, but the Japaneither, as yet, and sang merrily. ese are gifted with a sense of humour,
Suddenly, from a temple near, the and O Hara San was no exception. great bell struck the hour, firm, solemn strokes, fraught with Time's warning
| Four, five, six, soven. signal, and little O'Hara San stayed
? Good morning.