Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/596
578 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
tion by lot. The Samoans, for instance, by sj^inning a cocoanut, which on coming to rest points to one of the surrounding persons, thereby single him out. Early historic races supply illustrations ; as the Hebrews in the affair of Saul and Jonathan, and as the Homeric Greeks when fixing on a champion to fight with Hector. In both these last cases there was belief in supernatural interference : the lot was supposed to be divinely determined. And probably at the out- set, choice by lot for political purposes among the Athenians, and for military purposes among the Romans, as, also, in later times, the use of the lot for choosing deputies in some of the Italian republics, and in Spain (as in Leon during the twelfth century), was influenced by a kindred belief ; though doubtless the desire to give equal chances to rich and poor, or else to assign without dispute a mission which was onerous or dangerous, entered into the motive or was even pre- dominant. Here, however, the fact to be noted is, that this mode of choice which plays a part in representation may also be traced back to the usages of primitive peoples.
So, too, we find foreshadowed the process of delegation. Groups of men who open negotiations, or who make their submission, or who send tribute, habitually appoint certain of their number to act on their behalf. The method is, indeed, in such cases necessitated ; ^ since a tribe can not well perform such actions bodily. Whence, too, it appears that the appointing of representatives is, at the first stage, originated by causes like those which reoriginate it at a later stage. For, as the will of the tribe, readily displayed in its assemblies to its own members, can not be thus displayed to other tribes, but must, in respect of inter-tribal matters, be communicated by deputy, so, in a large nation, the peoj^le of each locality, able to govern them- selves locally, but unable to join the peoples of remote localities in deliberations which concern them all, have to send one or more per- sons to express their will. Distance in both cases changes direct utterance of the popular voice into indirect utterance.
Before observing the conditions under which this singling out of individuals in one or other way for appointed duties comes to be used in the formation of a rei^resentative body, we must exclude classes of cases not relevant to our present inquiry. Though representation as ordinarily conceived, and as here to be dealt with, is associated with a popular form of government, yet the connection between them is not a necessary one. In some places and times representation has coexisted with entire exclusion of the masses from power. In Poland, both before and after the so-called republican form was assumed, the central Diet, in addition to senators nominated by the king, was com- posed of nobles elected in provincial assemblies of nobles : the people at large being powerless and mostly serfs. In Hungary, too, up to recent times, the privileged class, which, even after it had been greatly enlarged, reached only *' one twentieth of the adult males," alone