Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section 10.—: Vote-Making Habitations, how defined. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3
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Section 10.—: Vote-Making Habitations, how defined. - 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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Vote-Making Habitations, how defined.
Art. I. The operations, ordained by this section, have for their purpose the determining with precision what individuals shall possess on each occasion the right of suffrage.
The mode employed, is that of reference made to the habitations which they respectively inhabit.
For this purpose, it is necessary to appoint a set of marks by which every such habitation may at all times be manifestly known to have that effect; and may at the same time be indisputably distinguished from every other.
The sort of mark employed for this purpose is the name of some approach to it, with the addition of some numerical figure or figures, as per Section, 9, Article XVII.
It differs no otherwise from what is everywhere already in use, than by being fashioned to the degree of conciseness and uniformity which is necessary to adapt it to the present purpose.
Art II. The name of an approach is to be composed of two words, and no more: the first constituting the individualizing part of the name; the other, the specific part:—to wit, the name of the species of approach.
Thus, in Downing Street, Downing is the individualizing part; Street, the specific part.
Where the name in present use contains, as above, two words and no more, it will, without special reason for alteration, be preserved unaltered.
Where it consists of but one word, this word will be the individualizing part of its name, and a specific part will be to be added. Thus Whitehall may become Whitehall Street.
Where the name contains more than two words, all that are above two are to be omitted. Thus Saint Anne’s Street becomes Anne Street.
Where, for their present name, two or more streets have, each of them, some individual name, with an adjective or other distinctive name, different in each, added to it, the distinctive names are to be both omitted: the two approaches are to be thenceforward designated by one and the same name.
Or else let a new name be given to one or each of them.
Thus, in the case of Upper Brook Street and Lower Brook Street, either Upper and Lower may be both omitted, and the two streets thus reduced to one;
Or, if they are kept distinct, the name of one may remain unchanged; and in this case a new name will be given to the other.
Thus, if Upper Brook Street is named Brook Street, Lower Brook Street may be named River Street.
The case of the two-worded name being the most common case, in general no change will need be made. In no instance let any change be made, unless for special reason assigned.
But, for avoidance of confusion, let matters be so ordered that in no parish shall any two approaches stand designated in the maps by the same name.
So neither in any polling district.
Art. III. Of every habitation, whether simple or compound, the name is to be composed of two parts, the verbal and the numerical:
The verbal part is to be the name of the approach; the numerical part is to be the name of the number, in the common Arabic character, as is at present customary on house-doors.
In the case of each approach, the numbers are to follow one another, as usual, in the order of the numeration table.
Art. IV. Where the habitation is near or contiguous to more approaches than one, the verbal part of the name is to be the name of some one and no more of the several approaches: of one or of another, as may be most convenient.
Art. V. Where the habitation is a compound one, there, in the marginal index of the map, as per Section 9, add to the name of the number the LETTER C.
And distinguish from each other the several households in it by numbers, in the same manner as simple habitations are to be distinguished, as per Article III.
Art. VI. A simple habitation may give any number of inmates’ votes; but it can give no more than one householder vote.
A compound habitation gives as many householder’s votes, as it contains households having each its householder of the male sex.
In addition to each householder’s vote, it may give any number of inmates’ votes.
Art. VII. A household, which on one day has for its householder a person of the female sex, may, on another day, have for its householder a person of the male sex.
This considered,* let no habitation or household be omitted in the account, by reason that the householder is a female.
But let females’ households be distinguished by an appropriate mark; for instance, the letter F.
Art. VIII. In the marginal index of each map, as per Section 9, the approaches are to be set down in the alphabetical order of the individualizing parts, and not under that of the specific parts of their names. Thus Downing Street will stand before Exchange Alley; although Alley would stand before Street.
For it is by the individualizing part of its name that the object is principally distinguished. The specific parts are in many instances indiscriminately applicable. In this case, for example, are the words road, street, lane. Not so the words square, crescent.
Art. IX. Under the direction of the election-master-general, door-plates, resembling those in common use, but on a uniform plan, to be fixed, one on some one door of every habitation in the United Kingdom, shall for this purpose be provided.
The use of them is—to make it known, at all times, to all persons concerned, what habitations confer votes, and what do not: and thus save the need of applying on every occasion to a register; and at the same time afford indications for securing the correctness of the books in which votes are registered.*
Art. X. In the provision made respecting door-plates for this purpose,—cheapness, durability, and uniformity, will be to be attended to.
Uniformity is of itself a help to cheapness:—since the greater the number made on the same pattern, the cheaper the article may be afforded.
Its durability will be the greater, the more effectually, in case of depredation, its marketable value would, in the act of depredation, be destroyed.
For this purpose it should be as thin as is consistent with natural durability: and, by a pin passing through the door, it may be effectually fastened in the inside.
Having regard to these objects, it will be for the election-master-general to determine—in what, if any, proportion these implements shall be furnished from his office, and in what, if any, proportion, from any and what other places.
The plates themselves being thus provided, the inscriptions may, perhaps, be most advantageously made by stamping machines, one to be kept at each district office, as per Section 5.
For, the several appropriate inscriptions can no otherwise be ascertained than from the maps;
And of the territory comprehended in the district, there will of course be a general map kept in the district office.
Also a set of maps of the several parishes and parish-like places contained in it.†
Art. XI. For the affixing of the door-plates, persons are to be provided, by authority, in each district.
In each district they are regularly to be appointed by the poll-clerk.
But in any districts the election-master-general may direct that they shall be appointed by the respective district clerks.
The districts, in which the demand for the exercise of this power is most likely to occur, are those which are completely town districts.
The reason is—that in town districts, the extent of ground requisite to be traversed will be comparatively so inconsiderable: so that in one town district a smaller number might perhaps suffice than would be necessary in each one of the whole number of sub-districts contained in a country district.
A door-plate fixer is removable at any time by the authority by which he was appointed.
For the guidance of door-plate fixers in the performance of their duty, the election-master will from time to time furnish instructions.
Before the tenor of the instrument is definitively determined, he will cause it to be communicated to the several district clerks and sub-district clerks, in such sort as to receive any such suggestions as they may respectively see reason to communicate.
To each door-plate fixer shall be delivered a printed copy of such instructions, signed by the office-bearer by whom he has been appointed.*
Art. XII. In the interval between election and election, fresh rights of suffrage will have come into existence. This effect will have been produced in every one of four ways:—
1. New habitations will have been erected and become inhabited by householders.
2. Habitations that for a time had been uninhabited, will have received inhabitants, and thence householders.
3. Habitations, whether simple or compound, will have received additions to the number of their householders.
4. Households will have passed from female into male hands; and will thus, in each instance, have given birth to a fresh vote.
This considered, here follows the provision made for the giving publicity and effect to the several rights of suffrage, as they come into existence:—
[NA] days at the least before the earliest day for the receiving of blank vote-making certificates, to be filled up for the purpose of the then next election, as per Sections 2 and 7, every person, who in any one of the above four ways has come into possession of a right of suffrage, applies in person or by his agent, at the polling-office, for notoriety and effect to be given to such his right.
The demand made, and [1s.] paid, appropriate mention is thereupon made, in his presence, in the registers of the office, in the margin of the map of the polling-district as kept in the polling-office, and in the margin of that copy of the map of the parish in question which is kept in the polling-office.
At the same time he receives a certificate, in which the existence of these entries is declared, and an assurance given, that on or before a day therein mentioned, an appropriate door-plate will have been fixed on the door of the household of which he is householder.
For the fixing of such door-plate, within the time so described, the poll-clerk is accordingly responsible.
Art. XIII. By the converse of the several events brought to view in Article XII. rights of suffrage will have become extinct.
For the making of the requisite entries and the requisite changes in door-plates, it belongs to the election-master-general to take order, and by printed circulars from time to time to transmit directions, correspondent in tenor or effect, to the several polling-offices.
Art. XIV. In several parts of Great Britain, for various purposes, parishes have, as above, been considered as divided into subparishes, called tythings or townships.
In relation to every such sub-parish, it rests with the election-master-general, in each instance, to determine whether, to the purposes of this Act, as per Section 9, Article XX., it shall be considered as included in the parish of which it forms a part, or on the footing of a separate parish.
Art. XV. In divers parts of Great Britain are to be found tracts of land, which have never been considered, at least to all purposes, as included within the limits of any parish; these have accordingly been known by the name of extra-parochial places.
As often as, in the course of their operations, the commissioners come to any such extra-parochial place, they shall proceed in relation thereto, in the same manner as in relation to a parish.
Art. XVI. As to the map, they may, in this case, attach it to the map of any contiguous parish at their choice: regard being had to convenience in respect of bulk and other particulars: distinguishing it in this case by some particular colouring.
Or they may consign the representation of it to a separate map.
Such separate map they shall cause to be deposited in the vestry of some contiguous parish: in the choice of such parish, they will have regard to the convenience of all parties interested.
Art. XVII. In some instances, portions of territory subject to the same authorities are severed from each other.
Of this or that parish, in this or that hundred or other division of a county, one part is severed from another by one or more intervening parishes.
Of this or that parish, one part lies in one hundred or other such division; another in another.
Of this or that parish, one part is in one county, another in another.
In a case of this sort, no part of a parish shall, to the purposes of this Act, be considered as belonging to any part, from which it is in any of those ways severed: but each part shall either be considered as constituting a separate parish, or shall be annexed to some other parish, such as shall be pointed out, as above, by regard to general convenience.
So, in the case of sub-parishes, as above.
Of any such divided township or parish, or county, or division of a county, one part may accordingly be included in one district; another in another.
So likewise one part in one polling-district; another in another.
So even where, as in the ordinary case, the several territories are at present undivided.
Art. XVIII. So soon as commissioners have been appointed, in a number sufficient to proceed on the business, notice of such appointment, mentioning the days, shall, by the election-master-general, be caused to be inserted in the London Gazette.
From thence it may be inserted, tax-free, in every periodical and other publication.
On the first day of every month succeeding that in which such appointment shall have been completed, the several sets of commissioners shall respectively transmit to the election-master-general an account of their respective proceedings.
Of these several accounts, notices, with brief abstracts, shall, as soon as may be, and not later than within a week after they have respectively been received, be inserted in the London Gazette.
From the London Gazette, they may forthwith be copied, tax-free, into all other periodical publications.
Each account, at length, shall with all convenient speed, by the election-master-general, be transmitted for impression to, and be accordingly printed by, the king’s printer.
It shall be printed in at least two forms at the same time.
One shall be the cheapest legible form that can be devised.
This, as soon as printed, shall be transmitted for sale to each polling-district, to be sold at the office, or at any such other places as the election-master-general may appoint.
It shall be sold to retail customers at a price not exceeding [ten] per cent. upon the retail price of the paper on which it is printed.
[* ]The formulary thus expressed is here substituted throughout to the Whereas which has been hitherto in use. Without the benefit of the addition made by it to the otherwise sufficient incomprehensibility of the rule of action, the sentences in an act of parliament are sufficiently protracted and involved: with this addition, the attention is frequently exhausted before so much as any one expression of the legislator’s will is so much as commenced. In Ruffhead’s edition, I remember seeing a statute, in which the preamble, introduced by this word, occupies more than thirteen pages of that close and spacious letter-press. Bound volumes might be found, each of which does not contain more than this preamble. I am sorry I cannot now make reference to the statute. I am inclined to think it is one of those of which the East-India Company was the subject.
[* ]Various and important are the collateral uses which a complete register of this sort might be found to have, chiefly under the head of police; for example, provision for the poor, prevention of crimes, securing the equal payment of taxes, &c. It will be evident, upon a little reflection, what strength would be given to whatever is good and popular in the laws, if, by means of everybody’s habitation, everybody’s abode were thus, at all times, capable of being made known to everybody. Let it not be forgotten, that the state of things in which the sort and degree of notoriety, that would be the result of the survey here in question, would have place, would not be that unhappy state of things, in which it is a question whether most evil would be produced by the execution or non-execution, by the strength or the weakness of the laws.
[† ]Parishes in England and Wales are 10,647; in Scotland, 921: parishes and sub-parishes taken together, in England and Wales 15,741; in Scotland 1,005: extra-parochial places, about 200. By sub-parishes is here meant such divisions of parishes as severally maintain their own poor (stat. 13 & 14, c. 2, c. 12.) They are called “tythings or townships.” Parishes and sub-parishes together are the places stated as having made separate returns. The parishes so divided are chiefly the seven northern counties of England, and they are all so: 30 or 40 miles square is no unusual extent; upon an average these northern are seven or eight times the extent of the southern counties.—Parl. Pop. Returns, Prel. Observ. 14, 15.
[* ]For the execution of this business, on which, trifling as it may seem, the right in question will in so great a degree be dependent, neither the individuals interested, nor any local authorities, would be to be trusted. In neither case could uniformity of proceeding, or completeness of execution, be reasonably expected. In the case of individuals, failure in abundance would be produced by absence, poverty, or negligence; in the case of local authorities, by negligence or disaffection. In neither case would there be any effectual responsibility. In either case the expense would be greater than on the here proposed plan, reckoning consumption of time as expense.