Territorial Divisions of the United Kingdom

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After what has already been said on this subject in the Introduction to the First Volume, and in preceding paragraphs, we have further to add that the question appeared to us to be so intimately connected with a complete Census, and with the great questions of administration, of local government, and local taxation, that we have drawn up a condensed view of the territorial divisions of the United Kingdom in an Appendix (C.), to which we refer with confidence.

Confusion of territorial subdivisions

The confusion of our territorial divisions is at least in part due to the ignorance on this subject of even educated men, who often know more about the geography of remote countries than they know about the territorial subdivisions of their own county. Very little of the information in the Appendix (C.) will be found in the school or in any other books of geography; and afterwards men only inquire into those subdivisions of the country with which they have immediately to do: the magistrates into their sessional divisions, the lord lieutenants into their lieutenancy subdivisions, the town councils into their town limits, the guardians into their unions. Even Government departments have apparently subdivided the country with a view only to their own immediate convenience, and not with any view to the harmony of the whole administrative system of the kingdom. And we venture to express a hope that the information in the Appendix (C.), to which the public departments, and our colleagues in Scotland and Ireland, have kindly contributed, may be found useful, and may serve to show the need of simplification in existing territorial subdivisions.

Territorial subdivisions of India

With a view to compare the territorial divisions of other countries with those of these islands we addressed a brief list of queries to our colonies, to the India Office, and to foreign countries. The account of the territorial divisions of India by Mr. C. C. Prinsep will be read with interest. The colonies have also supplied some answers. The returns from foreign countries are full of interest, but as they are not yet complete their publication is deferred.

The report with the evidence received by the Select Committee of the House of Commons, of which the President of the Local Government Board, Mr. Stansfeld, was chairman, contains a great deal of valuable information on the subject in connection with "Local administration and taxation."1

1 In the Appendix to the Report of the Committee will be found two "papers handed in by Mr. Bosanquet": the first under the title of the "Registrar General's Letter to Bruce;" the second headed "Copy of Letter to Mr.Secretary Bruce in reply to the Registrar General's Letter to Mr.Bruce," signed "S.R.Bosanquet , Chairman of Board of Guardians, Monmouth Union, and Chairman of Quarter Sessions," the letter dated 12th February 1873.

We think it right to state here that the Registrar General addressed no such letter to the Secretary of State; and that the so-called letter appears to be a leading article of the Times newspaper on the two first volumes of our Report, which were dated 27th December 1872. The Times article appeared in the impression of February 10th; Mr. Bosanquet's letter is dated Febuary 12th.

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