In 1853, when the Cape Colony was granted representative institutions by the British Government, the franchise qualification allowed Coloured men to be placed on the voters' roll. To qualify for the franchise it was necessary to occupy, for twelve months, property valued at £25 or to earn a salary of £50, or a salary of £25 if board and lodging was provided. At the time, as in later years, there were many who regarded this qualification as low. Since the ultimate responsibility for the £25 franchise belonged to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, historians and others have come to see it as being the result of humanitarian influences. In fact the process that led to representative government, and with it the £25 franchise, was far more complex, involving as it did a series of interweaving class, national, colour and imperial considerations. Nevertheless, humanitarian influences need to be closely examined, for they reveal a relationship with the more significant structural factors and provide us with our most convenient starting-point.