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nation's assembly. In the boroughs men bribed the sheriff to let them off. In short, as Professor Jenks puts the matter,
The counties hated it because they had to pay the wages of their members. The boroughs hated it because (in England at least) the parliamentary boroughs (those which were summoned to send members to Parliament) paid a higher scale of taxation than their humbler sisters. And all hated it because a Parliament invariably meant taxation.'
But by and by it was discovered that to grant money gave a good chance to petition for redress of wrong or for privileges. It also in time gave a chance to get favors for the towns which were represented. And when at times it came about that there were rivals for the throne, then Parliament sometimes found that it had real power in aiding one rather than another. In these ways the House of Commons came to take the lead which at first the greater barons had held, and to exercise more and more control over the king.
It was significant, however, that when the Parliament came to have real power the people of social rank became anxious to attend themselves, and proceeded to limit the persons who should have any choice in electing them. A law was passed limiting the right to vote to those “ freeholders” (a certain class of landowners) who owned land renting for forty shillings or more. As this would be the rental for eighty acres it would include only a small part of the people; but this law remained unchanged for four hundred years in England. In the eighteenth century there were only about 160,000 voters in a population of 8,000,000. This would be about one in ten of the grown men, or less than one in twenty men and women. Until 1832, then, the part
of the nation which had anything to say about government was less than one in twenty of the people over twenty-one years of age.
In the boroughs the case was worse. sentatives were sometimes chosen by the town officers, sometimes by those who had the “ freedom of the town" (gained by membership in the merchants' gild), sometimes by those who owned certain houses or lots (the voting right was transferred to the new owner if the property changed hands). So it was often a very small group that named the representatives, and sometimes the vote was "owned” or controlled entirely by the large landlord, or by the king.
When we consider how small a proportion of the people had any actual share in the government, we wonder that the English people secured as many rights as they had. On the other hand, we are not surprised that the common law for many years treated the villeins as having no property rights, and that Parliament passed a series of laws of a kind which we should call “ class-legislation.” Such was the act forbidding children to learn any craft if they had followed the plow to the age of twelve years; the act forbidding the tenant to send his boy to school except by consent of the lord; the acts fixing wages and compelling laborers to work at the wages fixed; the provision that unmarried persons under thirty not having any trade and not belonging to a nobleman's household might be compelled to labor at the request of any person using an art or mystery (a trade); and that persons between twelve and sixty, not otherwise employed, might be compelled to serve by the year in husbandry, and that unmarried women between twelve and forty might be compelled to serve likewise. It was also prescribed that
persons of certain classes must not leave the parish boundaries under penalty of a heavy fine, and in order that boys might remember where these limits were they were sometimes taken round the boundaries and there publicly whipped.
It is surprising, on the whole, that when the colonists came to America they were as liberal as they were in the matter of suffrage. The main reasons are perhaps two. First, the colonists were themselves very largely of one class; very few of the gentry emigrated. The other factor which soon began its work was the influence of the frontier, of which more will be said later.
The liberty, which depends upon education and 6. Freedom self-control, was for a long time left either to the from church or to individuals to work out for themselves. habit Early schools and universities were largely established and fear by the church. The great universities, Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge, date back to the twelfth century. The cloisters and abbeys maintained schools for training monks. The gentry had private tutors. The common people had very little opportunity. When the Bible was translated into English and men came to believe that they ought to study it for themselves, a new motive came in to stimulate the desire of the common man to read. Another influence which aided education was the growth of trade, for some knowledge of arithmetic and reading was very convenient for keeping accounts and carrying on business.
The growth of science and discovery as distinct from education was largely due to individual men who had the passion for understanding the world. When the telescope enabled man to see the moon and other heavenly bodies more clearly he began to realize that the
sky which used to be regarded as the dwelling place of all kinds of evil and dangerous spirits, was really the same kind of place as the earth. A great load of superstitious fear was thus taken off the minds of men. And when Newton discovered the laws of gravitation men felt that they could really count upon the moon and planets to move in a regular and uniform way. By this means, man was becoming free of his world, that is, he felt that he understood it better, and was not so fearful.
But in this progress of education and science the state at first had little part. Not until recently has the state undertaken to establish universities and public schools of all kinds, which are now so important for the maintenance of this sixth kind of liberty.
In conclusion, then, of this sketch of how the membership of the state has grown, we may say that up to the time when the early American colonists left England, the national state governed all the people, but only a small part of the people were full members of it. Beginning with the king and his warriors and advisers, the governing class had come to include the larger landholders, and the more prosperous merchants and craftsmen. The great bulk of those who rented farms or worked on them, and of those who lived in towns, had no share in making their laws or carrying on the state. Under a good king there was sometimes a degree of government for the people; there was no government by the people. Before there could be democracy the state must include all.
PROGRESS OF LIBERTY: FROM SPECIAL
PRIVILEGES TO EQUAL RIGHTS
OW have men gained these various kinds of How liberty which we have sketched in the preced- liberty
has been ing chapter? We may say broadly that they gained have gained them: (1) By fighting for them; (2) by bargaining for them; (3) by appeals to reason and sympathy as voiced by prophets, poets, and philosophers. Both the first two methods have usually secured “ liberties” or privileges for certain groups-barons, freemen,” or white men, or men as contrasted with
Hence we shall have to trace also how liberties won for the few have been extended to larger and larger numbers, and it will be convenient to speak of the influence of prophets, poets, and philosophers last of all. We consider in this chapter the methods of fighting and bargaining.
It is natural to think first of the method of gaining 1. Gaining liberty by fighting, and to suppose that it has been the liberty most important method. It is, however, only under by
fighting certain conditions that fighting has accomplished much for any of the kinds of liberty except national independence. It is easy to exaggerate its importance because our histories tell so much more about wars than about bargains, or the work of the courts, or the growth of new ideas about men's rights. It is no doubt true also that a war is so dramatic that it appeals to our