Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section 9.: Election Districts and Polling Districts, how marked out. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3
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Section 9.: Election Districts and Polling Districts, how marked out. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 3.
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Election Districts and Polling Districts, how marked out.
Art. I. In this Section, provision is made for determining the limits of the several election districts, with the polling districts therein respectively contained.
In the following Section, for determining the mode in which the several vote-making households shall be ascertained, registered, denominated, and marked.
Art. II. For these purposes, commissioners, in such number as to his Majesty shall seem meet, will by his Majesty, at the recommendation and with the advice of the election-master-general, be appointed.
Their numbers may, from time to time, be augmented or reduced, as occasion may require.
Of these commissioners, the official name is—Commissioners of Survey and Demarcation and Enumeration for Parliamentary Election purposes; or Commissioners of Survey and Demarcation; or Demarcation Commissioners.
Art. III. For Great Britain, one set of such commissioners shall be appointed; for Ireland, a different one.
Art. IV. No election district or subdistrict shall be composed partly of land in Great Britain, partly of land in Ireland.
Art. V. As between England and Scotland, no such separation, as per Article III. need have place.
Art. VI. The surveys to be performed are two:—1. The preliminary or ordinary geographical; 2. The appropriate.
Art. VII. The preliminary operation is, that by which the geographical divisions—expressed by degrees, minutes, and, if need be, seconds, of longitude and latitude—will, as in ordinary maps, be determined and marked out, by physical and mathematical observations, measurements, calculations, and delineations; with the addition of the physical distinction between land and water, with or without the distinction between plain land and elevated; together with the existing political divisions into kingdoms, provinces, counties, hundreds, and so forth.
Art. VIII. The appropriate operation is that by which the new and appropriate division into election-districts and sub-districts will be performed.
It will have for its basis the ordinary geographical operation.
Art. IX. The appropriate operation, in its several parts, may either be performed at nearly the same time with the ordinary operation, or at any greater intervals, according as the election-master-general shall from time to time appoint.
In so doing, let him have regard to convenience in respect of delay and expense; and, in each instrument of appointment, particularise his reasons.
Art. X. For the preliminary and the appropriate operations, the same set of commissioners may serve.
Out of the general set, particular sets or particular individuals may from time to time be appointed by him to particular portions of the business: he will throughout have regard to presumable appropriate aptitude, as indicated by profession, known experience, or otherwise.
Art. XI. Of the preliminary operation, the maps, constituting the geographical result, will be upon two different scales:—namely, the country scale and the town scale.
Art. XII. The country scale is that upon which the general or all-comprehensive map is to be constructed.
Of this general map, let the scale be large enough for inserting, in every space allotted to a country parish, the name of the parish.
Also, in every space allotted to a town parish, a number referring to its name in the margin of the map; as likewise, in a manner more or less conspicuous, an indication of the site of every the smallest dwelling-house.
Art. XIII. From this map shall be copied or constructed, on the same scale,—or on a scale as much larger as local convenience, in the judgment of the election-master-general, may require,—separate parish maps, exhibiting the several parishes:—namely, either on the original country scale, or on an enlarged country scale.*
In some instances—for example, to the purpose of the poor-rates—the parish, by reason of its largeness, stands already divided into sections, named tythings or townships, or by some other appropriate name. In every case of this sort, at the discretion of the commissioners, may be constructed, instead of one map of the whole parish, a map for each one of these sections.
Or, so as the whole parish be exhibited, any two or more of them may be comprised in one and the same map.
An extra-parochial place may either have a map to itself, or be comprised in the map belonging to some adjacent parish or section of a parish.
Art. XIV. On the town scale, shall be constructed maps, and portions of maps, large enough to exhibit to view, in a more distinct manner, the sites of the several habitations.
According to the density of the population, in some parishes the whole of the territory will require to be laid down upon the town scale;
In other parishes, no part of it.
In others again, the whole of the territory being laid down upon the country scale, namely, on the original scale,—or, as per Article XIII, on the enlarged scale,—particular portions, one or more, will require to be laid down likewise upon the town scale.
These will be to be exhibited either in the margin, or upon a separate sheet, as convenience may require.
Art. XV. Here follows the description of the mode of indication, which, for facility of reference, shall be employed in every such map:—
1. By parallel vertical lines, crossed at right angles by horizontal lines, the whole surface of the engraved part of the paper or parchment is divided into a certain number of compartments.
2. To the left of the left-hand one of the vertical columns thus formed, is attached a correspondent vertical column, composed of the letters of the alphabet, with any such number of additional marks of the same nature, as may be necessary for the designation of the total number of the compartments in that column, as A B, &c.; A a, A b, &c.; B a, B b, &c.
3. Over the highest horizontal line runs a line of numbers in numerical order; one over each vertical column.
4. By means of a LETTER or pair of letters, with a number added to it, each compartment in the map will thus have its distinctive name. The LETTER will show the place of the compartment in the horizontal line; the number will show the place of the compartment in the vertical line.
5. Thus the first compartment on the left at top will be A 1; the next to it in the horizontal line at top will be A 2; the next below it in the vertical line B 1.
6. The several places mentioned in the map are set down in the margin of it, in the alphabetical order of their names. Immediately after the name of each place comes the LETTER and number of the compartment within which it will be found.
7. As for example:—Abingdon, D 7; if that be the compartment within which that town is placed in the map.
8. Of this series of names, with such their respective accompaniments, entered as above on the margin, is composed an index to the map. It is called the marginal index.
9. The lines by which the boundaries of the compartments are expressed are called indicative lines, index lines, lines of reference, or reference lines.
10. These lines of reference are to be expressed in such manner as to be as clearly distinguished as possible from the ordinary geographical lines, expressive of longitude and latitude.
For example: by difference of colour, or by their being, the one undiscontinued, in the manner of an ordinary line, the other composed of dots.
Art. XVI. Here follows the mode in which the districts are to be marked out:—
In the operation, the commissioners will have for their object the rendering these portions of territory as nearly equal to one another in respect of population, as the necessarily and continually changeable condition of every portion of country, in respect of population, and the regard due to local convenience, will allow.
As they proceed in their survey, they will note and set down the several habitations in each parish or other such place.
In each habitation, they will inquire out, and set down, the numbers of the inhabitants, under the distinctions of sex and age. Of the male inhabitants, the age will be to be noted: of the female inhabitants, not.
To this purpose, habitations are to be distinguished into simple and compound.
A simple habitation is a habitation inhabited by one householder,* and no more: and thus containing but one household.
A compound habitation is a habitation containing householders, and thus households, more than one.
Instances of compound habitation are—
1. An ordinary house, when it happens to be inhabited by more householders than one:
2. An edifice, designed to contain, and accordingly containing divers habitations; as a college, an alms house, an hospital, an inn of court:
3. An edifice which, though not principally designed for habitation, yet incidentally affords lodging to householders, one or more: as the treasury, the East India House, a town hall, or any other public office.
Art. XVII. For these purposes it will be necessary, that not only each habitation, but in each compound habitation each household, shall have its distinctive name.
These names will be constituted by words and figures, for which see Section 10.
The name of the habitation will be composed of the name of the approach to it, with a number (to wit, the name of an arithmetical number) annexed.
Of what is meant by approach, the words Edgeware Road, Hounslow Heath, Kew Green, Putney Common, Parliament Street, Chancery Lane, Grosvenor Square, Palace Yard, will serve for the present as examples. See Section 10.
Art. XVIII. As the population comes thus to have been ascertained, the numbers expressive of it will be set down in the map with reference to the division into parishes.
So likewise with reference to the compartments in the map, as per Article XV.
In each parish, section of a parish, or extra-parochial place, as the case may be, males so many; females so many; males, of such and such ages.
So in each compartment.
Art. XIX. When the United Kingdom has thus been laid down in the general map, and the several habitations with their inhabitants noted down in it, then and not before will be the time for determining and marking out the division into districts and sub-districts; always with a view to equality of population as between every one and every other.
Art. XX. In the marking out of districts and sub-districts, the commissioners are to be guided by the division into parishes, sections of parishes, and extra-parochial places.
On this occasion they are not to divide a parish, or section, or extra-parochial place, in such sort as to allot one part to one district or sub-district, and another part to another;
Unless, for want of such division, the inconvenience should be in an adequate degree considerable—
1. In respect of length of journeys* to and from the polling district;
Or, 2. In respect of inequality of population, as between district and district.†
[* ]For some years past, a survey of Great Britain, on a scale that promises to be fully competent to this purpose, has been going on with, under the orders of the Ordnance Board. Of the engravings, the scale is an inch to a mile, not more: on this scale thirty sheets are already published. In these sheets are included the following six counties entire: namely, 1. Essex; 2. Cornwall; 3. Devon; 4. Somerset; 5. Dorset; 6. Hants; 7. Pembroke; 8. Rutland. Also parts of the four following ones:namely, 1. Kent; 2. Surrey; 3. Berks; 4. Wilts; 5. Shropshire; 6. Staffordshire. One of these maps is before me. In parts that I am acquainted with, I see expressed the sites, not only of streets in towns, but of single houses, where the magnitude of them is considerable. Even this might, perhaps, serve for the scale spoken of in the text, by the name of the country scale. But the scale on which the original drawings were made, is a scale of six inches to a mile. This scale might at any rate serve for what was in view in the text, in speaking of the enlarged country scale. Whether this would suffice for the town scale, I cannot take upon me to say. But, that which at any rate could not fail to suffice for this largest scale, is that on which Horwood’s map of London is constructed. The scale of this map, if the information furnished from the geographer-royal’s shop is correct, is twenty-six inches to a mile: a sheet of it lies before me.
[* ]A precise definition of a householder, as contradistinguished from an inmate, would be requisite on this occasion, as well as on the occasion of the vote-making certificate, as per Section 2.
[* ]In and by the course above submitted, any person might take upon himself to answer for the carrying the design into effect; and to describe such a course seemed to be the problem, the solution of which was called for by the nature of the case. Not but that, in a rough manner, it might perhaps be found not altogether impracticable to arrange the business without this process of survey, demarcation, and registering of habitations: and, if it were practicable, the saving in expense would be of no inconsiderable importance;—the saving in time, of incomparably greater importance. But, in that case likewise, the essential thing would be—that the direction of the process should be, the whole of it, in one hand: if committed to a number of hands, those, for instance, of so many local authorities, there would never be an end to it.
[† ]The journeys in question are—those between the abodes of the several voters on the one part, and the respective polling offices on the other.
[† ]The journeys in question are—those between the abodes of the several voters on the one part, and the respective polling offices on the other.
[a]In the Congress House of Representatives, the proportion was, in 1810, one representative to every 35,000 inhabitants: that is, if the whole territory were divided into election districts, 35,000 inhabitants to an election district.—Seyfert, p. 13.In the constitution of these United States, of which the Congress is the general legislative body (date of the constitution, 17th September 1787,) in speaking of the Congress House of Representatives, it is said:—“The number of representatives (meaning from all the States taken together) shall not exceed one for every 30,000.” Art. II. Section 2.