HC Deb 26 February 1824 vol 10 cc455-85

On the Motion of Mr. Abercromby, a petition, which he had presented last year to the House, was read. It was signed by nearly seven thousand persons, and prayed for an Inquiry into the state of the Representation of Edinburgh.

Mr. Abercromby

then rose, to submit to the House his promised motion, and addressed the House to the following effect:—Mr. Speaker; in obedience to the wishes of a very numerous, intelligent, and respectable body of my fellow-countrymen, I presented to the House in the course of the last session, that petition which has just been read. At the time I received it, I found the House occupied with various and urgent questions, and in the exercise of that discretion which was vested in me, I felt that I should best consult the interest of the petitioners by postponing their case to a season when I might obtain the patient and undivided attention of the House. I was desirous that that petition should be again read, as it contains a clear and distinct detail of the present state of the representation of Edinburgh, setting forth, in a striking manner, the grievances of which they complain. It has seldom happened, that a petition has been presented to the House containing more respectful, and, at the same time, confiding language; and, if the result of this night should prove that that confidence has been misplaced, I shall have the bitter mortification to feel, that the failure must be attributed to the weakness and inefficacy of the advocate whom the petitioners have most unwisely chosen; for it can never be supposed, that their failure could arise from a want of strength, or truth, or justice in their case. I am far from being insensible to the difficulties with which I should have to contend, were I about to submit a proposition of reform of a general, extended, or comprehensive nature. I know I should have to struggle with the recorded votes of this House, I should have to oppose the settled and fixed opinions of many individuals, and some might think, I should have to encounter still stronger obstacles, not merely political prejudices, but motives of self-interest. But, although the measure which I mean this night to propose, will be of a limited and qualified nature, still I shall have to struggle with some of the difficulties in a minor degree, which would attend the discussion of the larger question. However, I shall be sustained by the strong conviction which I feel, that the more the facts and the details of the subject are agitated and canvassed, the more apparent to the public will be the truth and justice of the proposition. I also know, that the case of the Petitioners is upheld by a great mass of public opinion; and therefore it is, I feel myself justified in looking forward with confidence to ultimate success. The petition, Sir, which yon have just heard read, was voted at a very large and numerous meeting of the respectable inhabitants of the city of Edinburgh. It is true, they had not the good fortune to have had the sanction of the Lord Provost, the chief magistrate of the city, for that gentleman had been of opinion, that he should best discharge his public duty by withholding his sanction from a meeting of his fellow citizens, assembled for the purpose so distinctly and respectfully stated in the petition. However, the petition was adopted, as I have already said, by a most numerous and intelligent body of men, and it contains the signatures of some of the most respectable inhabitants of Edinburgh, and I am persuaded, that they have the acquiescence and cordial wishes for success of a very large majority of the people of Scotland. The petition contains nearly seven thousand signatures. Now, so large and numerous a body would, from mere numbers alone, be entitled to the favourable consideration of the House; but when I see who they are, I can boldly as- sert, that there never was a petition which more urgently called for, or on behalf of which public justice more loudly demanded, the fullest and the most serious consideration. The body of householders in Edinburgh amounts to 21,000, of that number 10,168 are rated at five pounds rent and upwards. That number includes females, and those who are rated for two residences. Now, considering how Edinburgh is situated I am sure I may fairly deduct from that number one fourth for females and absentees, which will leave it 7,626. Deduct for the sick 1,000, and of the remaining number more than three-fourths have signed the petition. Then I say, that the petition, from the character, number, and situation of those who have signed it, demands your attention. When it was put to the vote at the meeting to which I have alluded, those who had the conduct of it came to a resolution, that there should be as few signatures as possible of those who were rated at a less annual rent than 5l.; and at five different places which were appointed to receive signatures, persons who felt interested in the subject, stationed themselves and excluded all those who were not so rated; and although there might be a few exceptions, still I am sure the deductions I have made are more than the fact would warrant. When I say they were anxious to exclude all those who were rated lower than 5l. I do not mean to insinuate {nothing further from my intention) that they were actuated by the false notion, that no man had a right to be heard in that House, whose annual rent was not to that amount, but they adopted that course, knowing the value that would be attached to their petition, if the persons to whom it was confided were enabled to make that statement. At least it affords a strong presumption, that the petitioners have all enjoyed the advantages of education, that they have fixed residences, that they are possessed of property, and are therefore interested in the tranquillity of the country.—These were the grounds upon which that course, was pursued, and if I know any thing of this House, they will derive more satisfaction from the petition, on account of this statement, which is perfectly consistent with truth and fact.

Having thus described the character of the petitioners, I shall now come to the actual state of the Representation of Edinburgh, and I beg the House to remember I am now speaking of a City, which contains 100,000 inhabitants. Out of this body, in how many does the House suppose is the right of election vested? Nominally, it amounts to 33, but practically to 19 [hear!]. This representation is vested in the magistrates and town council of Edinburgh, who amount to 33 in number. This body is formed upon the principle of self election, for, although they do not individually elect themselves, still, in their corporate capacity, the principle is self election. Perhaps the best illustration of it I can give, is this—I elect my successor, and the price I am paid, is the right of choosing his successor. That is the nature of the practice. Then of this 33, nineteen is the majority. So that, in point of fact, these nineteen persons constitute the body who possess the efficient representation in the metro polis of Scotland. There were, it was true, the deacons, fourteen in number, who were nominally elected by the incorporated trades, amounting to about 700 persons. But, in what manner did these trades exercise the right of return? Each trade chose, in what was called long leet, six persons. From that list the town council struck out three, and out of the remaining three chose the deacon. Un less, therefore, these trades were enabled to return six persons, in all of whom they had equal confidence, it was impossible for them to return the actual representative in the corporation whom they de sired.

This is the state of the representation existing in Edinburgh. Such is the system of exclusion from all political power on the part of the property, the intelligence, the public spirit of that interesting population. How such a system can be defended—on what pretensions it can be maintained—I declare myself wholly at a loss to discover. They will not say, that such a system is upheld on the principle of property—for the persons who form these incorporations, are but ordinary tradesmen, in possession of not greater wealth than usually falls to the share of that description of persons. Nor will such a system be sustained by any attempt to claim for these nineteen persons, in possession of the representation of the city of Edinburgh, a spirit of patriotism, beyond the reach of ordinary men, an exclusion from all those personal motives, which so generally govern human conduct—an absence of all those interested feelings, which too generally influence the exercise of political power, when that power is placed in limited and uncontrolled hands. To set up such an argument with the hope of palliating such a system of representation, if representation it can be called, would only expose these worthy magistrates to the scorn and the odium of the great body, not only of the population amongst whom they reside, but of the people of Scotland. So strongly do I feel this, that, unwilling to expose the corporation of Edinburgh to the ridicule of the country, I shall not suppose it possible that such a defence will be hazarded. When we look to the composition of this House, it is easy, for men to ascertain what will be the probable motives which will operate on a body, constituted as the town council of Edinburgh is: we may come to such a knowledge by merely reflecting on those ordinary inducements to which I have before adverted. Is it not likely that thus possessing such a power, to the exclusion of their fellow-citizens, they will dispense it rather with a view to their own private advantage than to the general benefit? There exists in almost all cases a certain sympathy between the representative and the constituent, and from the tendency of that disposition, it is easy to form an opinion of the kind of solicitude that prevails as to the direction the choice will take. Is it not likely then, from the frame and constitution, of the council in Edinburgh, that those who really make the return, in place of sending to this House a member who would discharge his high trust in a fearless, and manly manner, will look out for one who has connexions with the dispensers of patronage and possesses a ready access to the Treasury. Is it not to be expected, that such a body will view measures, not with reference to the great interests of the community, but solely as such measures will affect their own interests, comforts, and worldly advancement?

But, if these are the natural results of such a system, arising out of its very frame and composition, what does, the conduct of this town council actually disclose? I have never heard of even the slightest participation, on the part of that body in the feelings, the wishes, or the interests of the citizens of Edinburgh. The public feeling of that populous city, and of other, parts of Scotland, have been on questions of high political importance powerfully excited; yet, in no one case that I have ever heard of, have I been able to discover any participation of feeling—any congeniality of sentiment, or identity of interests, on the part of the council with the public voice. When we hear of the body who possess the efficient representation of Edinburgh at all, it is only when they are at variance with the great majority of their fellow-citizens. Can it then, I ask, for a moment be maintained, that a member who owes his return to this House to that body alone, can be called the member for the city of Edinburgh, or that the body who returns him can be supposed to respect in this House the feelings and opinions of its inhabitants? The fact is otherwise. The whole history of the city of Edinburgh proves that the people and the corporation have acted upon different views, and been guided by different impressions. All those institutions of a local character, which had heretofore been under their control, have been rescued from that control; and the date of their being thus rescued has been the commencement of their prosperity. This is the feeling that universally prevails throughout the great population of Edinburgh. If any new institution is in contemplation, the first, the last expression, amongst all men, Whigs or Tories, no matter—is, "For God's sake keep the business out of the hands of the town council." Upon what principle then, I ask, is it, that while to such a body the public voice of their fellow-citizens would not confide the superintendence of the most insignificant of its local interests, the legislature will give it the exclusive power of exercising the greatest privilege that freemen can discharge; namely, the power of returning a representative to the House of Commons? Of the election, or of the member so returned, the citizens of Edinburgh know nothing, until they see the return in the gazette. In what relation of a representative can a person, selected by the town council, stand towards the great majority of the inhabitants? He might set at nought their solicitations: might utterly defy them; might vote against every measure which benefitted their interests; and with perfect security, provided be was backed by the nineteen members of the town council [hear, hear!]. Not even the slightest connexion existed between such a choice and the wishes of the population. I am by no means disposed to speak of that body, the town council, in language that the whole facts of the case do not establish. I know the names of the individuals who at this moment compose it, and, therefore, if I were capable of acting upon any personal prejudices, there is, at least, no ground for the imputation. Indeed, in speaking of them as I do, I only repeat what has been the uniform expression of all who have turned their attention to their conduct. It is proverbial, that there is nothing new under the sun, and in reviewing the proceedings of the corporation of Edinburgh, I know I am but stating that which has been the opinion of every man who has ever spoke or written on the question. In the year 1658, on a great clamour being raised, from the prevalence of gross and undisputed abuses, even the council themselves passed a resolution, describing the evils of the practice that prevailed in perpetuating magistracies in the same persons, to the exclusion of good and meritorious citizens. This act I have taken from a very able pamphlet, which has been recently put into my hands; and the statements of which, if I had any doubts on the subject of the abuses of the present system of mis-representation, would have entirely removed them. My original impressions, strong as they certainly were against the duration of such a system, have by the writer been most fully confirmed and strengthened.

I now proceed to the main consideration which this question involves. What danger, I ask, can possibly be suspected to arise from the change in the system of representation in Edinburgh which the petition of its inhabitants claims? Let us see who the persons are, who, under a more popular state of the representation, would possess the exercise of the elective franchise. In taking this view of the question, we must remember the circumstances that peculiarly influence society in the city of Edinburgh. It being the seat of the supreme courts of judicature, and the residence, consequently, of the profession of the law, that of itself attracts all the activity, intelligence, and public spirit (for which that body is so peculiarly distinguished) to the metropolis. Such a class must, as they do, indeed, possess a controlling influence over the public opinion of the whole people of that country. There was also a highly distinguished university, with all the influence of its enlightened professors. A vastn umber also of respectable individuals, having realized fortunes, were attracted by many inducements to reside there, together with an intelligent and numerous class of householders. In such a constitution of a population, what danger, I repeat, can be apprehended from an extension of the elective rights [hear, hear!]. Is it possible that there can be any other result but benefit, if the legislature were wise enough to make the concession? I say that the anxiety and solicitude for that extension are deeply felt in Edinburgh. I say that such feelings are spreading with rapidity throughout the whole of Scotland. They have, the House may depend upon it, taken deep root there; and therefore it is, that I ask this House—is it wise, is it prudent, to refuse to the inhabitants of Edinburgh this concession, possessing as they do such a controlling power over the public opinion of the country generally? Is it right to leave them in that state of dissatisfaction and alienation which at present exists? The inhabitants regard themselves as treated unjustly, as degraded and insulted, in being restricted from that power which freemen value most highly. They consider it a blot upon the constitution of the country. Believe me, Sir, that, in the present state of public opinion, if we allow such feelings to increase, and the dissatisfaction to become more aggravated, we shall have reason to regret that we refused so gratifying, so just, so necessary a concession. For its adoption there exist the highest political considerations, unaccompanied with the slightest apprehension of any danger. Refuse it, and the consequence will be, that the existing dissatisfaction will swell until it assumes a most formidable character. Let the House bear in mind what the state of the representation in Scotland is generally. It is in the hands of an oligarchy, with the people utterly excluded. I shall, by a close analogy, endeavour to make it intelligible to the English members. I shall suppose, for instance, that the representation of the great cities of London, Westminster, Bristol, &c. were in the hands of a small compact body of nineteen persons. I shall fancy, that in the English counties no man, no matter what his property in the soil might be, had a right to vote except the lords of manors; that these manorial rights were capable of being sold to strangers and others having no connexion with the people; that they were split so as to convey elective rights under an implied agreement, equally binding with an expressed one, on gentlemen, to vote in a certain way; and lastly, that in place of the House of Peers, as existing here, we had an hereditary aristocracy, a portion of which were delegated to the legislature, and therefore the great body of which looked to those arrangements of manorial rights, those oligarchical privileges, as the chief means of securing ministerial influence. The truth is, that there never has been one instance of an election in Scotland, where the rights of the people, as the people, have ever been recognized. If the House were wise, it would hail with promptitude the opportunity of making, at this advantageous moment, an experiment so likely to be productive of benefit. But it is possible, that, as there can be no specific ground of objection to the proposition, so far as it applies to the population of Edinburgh, an objection may be made on the assumption, that it is a step in the progress of parliamentary reform, and that therefore it ought to be resisted. I must repeat here what I stated on a former occasion, namely, that there is no obligation on any member who supports the present proposition, to vote for the great question of parliamentary reform. But, I put this question to the House, and with confidence a wait the answer: were England situated as Scotland is, as to the system of her representation; were the people of this kingdom excluded, as the people of Scotland are, from all share in the elective franchise, then I ask, is there an English member in this House who would venture to declare himself opposed to a reform in parliament? If that be the fact, then why should we say that to be right and expedient, with regard to Scotland, which, under the same circumstances, we would not venture to say was right with regard to England? When the general question of reform has been discussed in this House, the language of its opponents has been, that the people already possess a full power in the constitution of this House; and that an extension of that power would be inexpedient. Insufficient as this power may be in the minds of those who are friendly to reform, the very founding the objection to it, on the ground that the people possess at present a full share of that power, is an admission of the principle, that they ought to possess the power. Why, then, should not that principle be extended to the people of Edinburgh? The anti-reformers of England are bound to vote for the reform of Scotch representation on their own assumption. Scotland is not represented in parliament—no, not even as England is said to be. I should like to see the man who would be bold and daring enough to say, that if the representation of England were like that of Scotland, there ought not to be reform. With what face can the House continue to withhold this first privilege of free citizens, namely—the right of choosing their own representatives? But then it is said that the people of Scotland are represented by the parliament of England. Perhaps they are as well, or better represented by the English gentlemen than by their own members. But, are there no interests separate from those of the people of England to be looked after? Were there not obvious distinctions between this country and Edinburgh, that actually demonstrated the necessity of having in this House men who possessed the confidence, and who spoke the opinions of the Scotch people? Scotland had a different system of jurisprudence, and a different Church establishment. Much had been said of virtual representation; but, did not these great interests require in that House at least five-and-forty members who were the object of the choice of the people of Scotland. At all events, in the case I at present press, where the demand for concession is urgent and the remedy safe, I cannot anticipate the objections to accede to it. If there be in this country persons who will not rest satisfied without some great, thorough, and comprehensive system of reform—these are the very class of men who will rejoice in the refusal of this House to attend to the prayer of the present petition. For if it should go forth under the sanction of this House, that because the general question is to be resisted, every flagrant abuse is to be continued, lest the remedy may be considered a step in the general progress—if such are the anxious feelings of the people of Scotland on their interests, rapidly extending—if such, I repeat, is to be the determined conduct of this House, then, I say, it must prepare itself to find embodied against it all descriptions of reformers. I shall now move, Sir, "That leave be given to bring in a bill for the more effectual Representation of the city of Edinburgh."

Mr. Stuart Wortley

observed, that he had listened with considerable attention to the speech of the hon. and learned gentleman, but had not been able to discover the least argument for the alteration he proposed [hear, hear! from the Opposition benches]. He would repeat his assertion, that, in his judgment, the hon. and learned gentle man had made out no case to induce the House to alter the constitution of the representation of Scotland. The House would bear in mind, that it was simply on the ground of the form of the representation in Scotland that the hon. and learned gentleman called for the alteration. He had made out no case of mismanagement. He did not impute to the burghs or corporations of Scotland any overt act of corruption or venality. Had he established any charge of that character, then indeed there would be ground for the interposition of parliament. Had the hon. and learned member shown that these rights of the corporations of Scot land, or that of the city of Edinburgh, were invasions of the more extended rights of the people, and that their pre sent tenure was by usurpation? He had made no such attempt; because he well knew, that no such conclusion could be supported by facts. Since Edinburgh had been Edinburgh—since the boroughs of Scotland had been Scotch burghs, the same frame and constitution had existed. The hon. and learned gentleman, with this conviction, had rested his argument on other grounds. He had asked, whether public opinion in Scotland, ought not to be gratified? But, if he had laid good grounds, why should they stop here? If Edinburgh was not properly supplied with electors, having only thirty three, what must be the state of Glasgow, which had not a quarter of those votes? Why should they stop at the representation of Scotland? Wits not the alleged evil as great in the close corporations of England? Did not the cities of London and Westminster return representatives, to the exclusion of a large majority of those who resided within those two cities? Why should the population of Liverpool, which was 100,000, have an elective body consisting of no more than 3,000? The right of voting was, in every case, limited to corporations, which consisted, some of more, and some of less numbers. But, as to the representation, he could not see the least reason for the present motion, Edinburgh was unquestionably filled with an enlightened and moral population. Of all cities that a stranger could enter with in the British dominions, Edinburgh pre- sented the fewest objects for dissatisfaction and the most for admiration. Looking to the actual condition of Edinburgh, he must be allowed to say, that he never visited it without a proud recollection, feeling how strangers must be struck with the character of the people. Was it not creditable to the magistracy and the good government of the city to know that such was the general impression? Descended as he was from Scotch ancestors, though born and educated in England, and having some property in that kingdom, he had always participated fully in such a feeling, on his many visits to that metropolis. Such comfort, such order, such decency in all its regulations; and these were the work of the town council! If this city were taken as an example of the defective nature of the Scotch burghs, it was badly chosen. But if representation in Scotland had actually worked as the hon. and learned gentleman had stated, what use would arise from the reform in Edinburgh alone? None. But, viewed as a step in the progress of reform, as it was called, it was allowing the first insertion of the wedge. Before the House acceded to motions of that character, it was bound to reflect on those engagements, which had been ratified by the articles of Union between the two countries. At that period, the integrity of the burghs and corporations was regarded with as much jealousy as the Church establishment of Scotland. When an attempt was made on the memorable riot in Edinburgh, so eloquently described in a novel written by the great person whom we do not know, he meant the Porteous Riot, as it was called, to interfere with the rights and practices of the corporations of Scotland, in the precise case of the rights and privileges of the corporation of the city of Edinburgh, the duke of Argyle, in his place in the House of Lords, held the following language:—"To pass the present bill, my lords, in the shape it is now in, is what I will be bold to say, and I say it of my own knowledge, and of my own experience (but with all the respect that is due to this august assembly), it is what even the whole legislative body cannot do. I was in the parliament of Scotland when that part of the treaty of Union relating to the privileges of the royal burghs was settled, and, my lords, these privileges were put upon the same footing with religion; that is, they were not alterable by any subsequent-parliament of Great Britain. It is true, some moved, that they should be submitted to such alterations as the parliament of Great Britain should in time coming, for good reasons, think fit to make. But, my lords, after a full debate, it was carried, that they should not be subject to any such alterations. The nation of Scotland, in all the proceedings at that time, treated with England as an independent and free people; and as that treaty, my lords, had no other guarantee for the due performance of its articles, but the faith and honour of a British parliament, it would be bath unjust and ungenerous, should this House agree to any proceeding that has the least tendency to infringe it." Lord Hardwicke, who opposed the duke of Argyle, found it nevertheless necessary to agree to his grace's general propositions, which he acknowledged in the following terms:—"As I very much respect the noble peer who spoke last. I shall be likewise far from doubting of the truth of what he has advanced with regard to the tenderness which the last parliament of Scotland expressed for the right of the royal burghs in that kingdom. I say, I shall be far from doubting it, because the noble lord advances it from his own knowledge. But these privileges must be always looked upon as privileges which the citizens of Edinburgh immemorially enjoyed, and of which they could not be deprived without injuring them, not only as citizens of Edinburgh, but as subjects of the kingdom. Had a bill been brought into parliament for breaking their charter, dissolving their corporation, or taking from them their right of sending a representative to parliament; that, indeed, had been striking at essentials, and there would have been great weight in what was objected by the noble lord."* Such were the privileges of the city of Edinburgh. And what did the motion of the hon. and learned gentleman propose to do? To take those privileges from that city; to destroy those rights which the constitution had imparted [hear, hear!]. He knew the meaning of that cheer. It meant, that such privileges were not granted by the constitution: but, the fact was, that privileges of that description were trusts vested in certain bodies for the good of the people. When once vested they could not be withdrawn, unless some case of gross abuse and mis- *New Parl. Hist., vol. 10, p. 239. conduct in the exercise of them were first established. The question for the House, now to determine was, whether they would consent to begin a system of reform, the progress of which, if it were once commenced, every man of the least sagacity, could easily foresee. For his part, he for one, thought the House of Commons, as it was, sufficient for the government of this country. He had seen the House of Commons carry the country through good and evil days: he had seen the House of Commons carry the country through war: he had seen the House of Commons carry the country through peace, until at last the hon. gentleman opposite were obliged to allow, that it was in the most flourishing and improving condition. With the constitution of a House of Commons which had so conducted the country he was perfectly satisfied. It was undoubtedly true, that there were some modes of returning members to that House which were irregular and anomalous; but, under the present system of representation generally, the country had risen; nay, Scotland had especially risen, in a manner which could not be believed by those who had not been in that country. He knew perfectly well, and so did the hon. and learned mover, that there were many persons in this country who were more inclined towards democracy than towards monarchy. By such persons, a change in the constitution of parliament was certainly desired. But retaining, as he did, an attachment to a limited monarchy, wishing to see the king with a certain portion of power, the House of Lords with a certain portion of power, and the House of Commons, as at present, with a great share of power, hoped things would remain as they were. He was not desirous that the people should have all the power. Such were his views on the subject. He was far from believing, that the hon. and learned gentleman was fond of republicanism; but, such motions tended to cherish republican sentiments. They encouraged vituperation of the existing system. To accede to the motion would be the first step to the destruction of the elective rights of every corporation in the kingdom; and it would be much better for the hon. and learned gentleman to move at once for a removal of all the rotten boroughs. He should meet the motion with a direct negative.

Lord John Russell

expressed his utter astonishment to hear any honourable member contend, that the object of the motion was not desired by the people of Edinburgh, in the face of the petition of those very people themselves. That Scotland could be supposed solemnly to have stipulated at the Union, that nineteen persons in the city of Edinburgh, should return a representative to the House of Commons, in spite of, and sometimes in contradiction to, the remaining 21,000 of the respectable inhabitants, was so complete an absurdity, that he could not believe it ever entered any heads but such as were sometimes to be found in that House. There were some things which appeared so extraordinary and absurd at first hearing, that even public meetings, at which frequently the most ignorant were present, rejected them; and they could be propounded only in the House of Commons. Of that description was the proposition of the hon. member for Yorkshire, with respect to the solemn stipulation to which he had adverted. The hon. member for Yorkshire had also discovered, that the constitution of the House of Commons was so admirable, that it had led the country through all its difficulties—through all the good and evil it had experienced. But, did the hon. gentleman mean to say, that the present state of the country—that its gradual recovery from the distress by which it had been nearly overwhelmed—was at all attributable to the wisdom of that House? Why, when the distress of the agricultural interest was at the highest, did ministers venture to say that they had any proposition to make to remove that distress? On the contrary, was it not said by gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House, and at last acceded to by the gentlemen on the other side, that there could he no relief given, except by relieving the country from taxation? Was not that proposition at first treated with scorn? And was it not said, that the natural course of events, seconded by the energy and industry of the people of England, would relieve us from any difficulties? And that, in fact, was the case. What man of common sense was there but must see that it was so? We had also the advantage of living under some good laws, and it was owing to the security derived from the knowledge that those laws could not be violated, that the country flourished, even in despite of the corrupt manner in which that House was constituted. The hon. member for Yorkshire seemed apprehensive, that the gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House were going to form a republican constitution; but he could not concur in that apprehension. From the constitution of some republics—that of Holland, for example—such a motion as this could not safely be entertained; but, in this country, where there existed a House of Lords with great independent privileges, no danger need be apprehended. There being a King and a House of Lords endowed with large powers, and possessed of the respect and veneration of the people, the House of Commons belonged to the people, and the more the people were truly represented in it, the more satisfied they would be with the constitution generally. "But," said the hon. gentleman, "if you grant this boon to Edinburgh, why not grant it to Glasgow, or to Dundee?" And he (lord J. R.) was ready to do so, if as strong a case were made out. But, his hon. and learned friend had made out so strong a case for Edinburgh that no other that he had heard could be compared with it. He had shown, not only that Edinburgh was not represented, but that the country, in the centre of which it stood, was not represented. His hon. and learned friend had shown, that that great and enlightened country was not represented; and he would himself add, with reference to the city of Edinburgh, from a personal knowledge of it, that, if there were any people among whom an experiment of parliamentary reform might be safely tried, it was among the inhabitants of Edinburgh, who were distinguished for their love of Order, and for the enlightened, calm, and deliberate view which they took of political subjects. They were under the influence of persons, the very reverse Of wild in their principles, and whose abilities were such, that if they were in that House, they would be reckoned amongst its greatest ornaments. Those who knew Edinburgh, knew this to be the fact; and that if the people of that city were to be put in possession of popular rights, they would use those rights, not rashly, but with discretion and moderation. He was convinced that no better beginning could be made in the course of amendment, than by acquiescing in his hon. and learned friend's motion.

Lord Binning

declared, that the prin- ciples which the noble lord had just laid down were such as he could never subscribe to. The noble lord and those who thought with him on the subject of parliamentary reform, finding that they were unable to carry that question as a whole, were determined if they could, to accomplish it piece by piece; and they well knew that if they could, in any one instance, be successful, that case would stand them in stead as a precedent for further innovation. The noble lord had argued that a regard to the character of the House, and to the removal of the existing stains and spots on the face of its constitution, should induce them to restore it to its purity, by giving to the people of the city of Edinburgh, which the noble lord described, and justly described, as deserving of every consideration, a greater share than it possessed in the representative system of the country. Against this general principle he for one must protest. He willingly admitted, that in cases in which corruption and malversation were proved, that House was bound, and it had always shown itself ready, to apply a corrective. So far he was quite disposed to go. But, to the removal of such spots and stains as the noble lord alluded to, to the destruction of close, or comparatively close corporations, in which, by institutions existing from time immemorial, the right of voting for members of parliament was confined to a certain number of individuals, he for one would never consent. The noble lord had begun his speech, by expressing his surprise at what had fallen from his hon. friend the member for Yorkshire, on the subject of the debate, in the reign of George the Second, between the duke of Argyle and ord Hardwicke. But, could the noble earl, with all his ingenuity in ascribing various meanings to words, "rail the seal from off the bond." Could he deny that it was stipulated, by one of the articles of the Union, that the Old chartered rights of boroughs in Scotland should in all times be preserved and maintained? That was what the article stated; and it was out of the power of the noble lord, or the hon. and learned gentleman, to get rid of the plain meaning of those words. But they assumed that the change they proposed would be for the benefit of Scotland. Thus they began by begging the question. Now he, and those who thought with him, doubted whether the change would be for the benefit of Scotland. They were sure that it would not tend to the benefit of Scotland to endeavour to make any change in the constitution generally, and above all in the constitution of the House of Commons; and he for one, as a Scotchman, and as deeply interested as any man could be for the happiness of his country, even if he thought the representation in Scotland bad, would not consent to amend it, if he thought, as he thought on the present occasion, that by so doing he should infallibly subvert the whole representative system of the empire. He by no means meant to say that the present representative system of Scotland was the best that could possibly be devised. He readily admitted, that if that House were about to settle a constitution for a new country, or to grant a new constitution to any country, it would not enter his head to frame that constitution in strict conformity to the representative system in Scotland. He would go a step further. If by any strange and extraordinary concurrence of circumstances, Scotland were to be completely divided and separated from England, a case would then arise as different from the present as light from darkness; and it might justly become a matter of doubt, if the government of Scotland ought to be continued to be carried on, without considerable changes in the representative system of that country. The hon. and learned mover had argued as if there were no public opinion in Scotland, or as if that public opinion had no weight. But the fact was that public opinion had very great weight in that country. It operated powerfully on the representatives for Scotland; and the doors of the House of Commons were open to receive, and the representatives of the empire at large willing to hear, all the representations that the people of Scotland might feel disposed to make: To him it appeared, that no case had been made out by the hon. and learned mover. All those who argued the question took especial care to separate Scotland from England as much as possible in their consideration of it. Now, that was most unconstitutional. The representation of Scotland formed a component part of the representation of the empire. It was by the representatives of the empire at large, that the liberties and happiness of the people of Scotland were protected and secured. The hon. and learned mover had been well remind- ed by the hon. member for Yorkshire, that he had begun in the wrong place. But the fact was, as he had already observed, that the object was, to obtain that by piecemeal, which it was found impracticable to obtain as a whole. For instance, Grampound was one of those spots and stains on the constitution, of which the noble lord complained. By taking away Grampound here, and Edinburgh there, and Glasgow and so on, the advocates of what was called parliamentary reform, hoped they might eventually achieve their object. He wanted to know why Edinburgh had been selected for the present experiment? The noble lord, indeed, had said, that he was very willing to take Glasgow too. Yes, and every other borough in the kingdom, no doubt. But he (lord B.) was talking to those who had no such object—he was talking to those who wished to uphold the constitution—and to those persons he would observe, that there was nothing in the case of Edinburgh which pointed it out as the place to be selected for this experiment. Why Edinburgh, and not Glasgow? The case of Glasgow was much stronger than that of Edinburgh. Glasgow was only one of four boroughs represented by a single member, yet Glasgow was more populous than Edinburgh; it was one of the largest manufacturing towns in the kingdom; it was the second place in point of population, being inferior in that respect only to London; and yet this great town, with all its population and all its commerce, had only the fourth share of a representative in parliament. If he were to choose between Glasgow and Edinburgh on the present occasion, he would certainly prefer Glasgow, and give it a member to itself; and he did not think the people of Glasgow were much obliged to the hon. and learned gentleman for having left them in the lurch.—But the noble lord seemed to think, that the measure, which he considered a proper one in itself, was rendered more proper by the respectable character of the individuals for whose supposed benefit it was to be adopted. The noble lord could not have more respect for the character of the inhabitants of his (lord B's.) native place than he had. He perfectly concurred in the praises which the noble lord had bestowed on the people of Edinburgh. They deserved them all. But was it any argument in favour of altering the institutions of a place, that it happened to contain many virtuous and respectable persons? On such a ground, it might be proposed to change the constitution of any place, not because there was manifest corruption of a political kind, but because the people were morally good. But, where would be the end of selecting places on the score of character? Would it be a wise principle to establish, that a change of political institutions was to be the reward of virtue and good conduct; and that the House of Commons were to be the judges and the dispensers of that reward?—He had heard with much pleasure the just encomiums which the hon. member for Yorkshire had bestowed on the character and conduct of the House of Commons. That hon. member had spoken of the House with a strong and a due sense of the benefits which it had conferred on the country. He had truly stated, that the House had carried the country through good and through evil, through peril and difficulty, through a long and tremendous war; and that they had at length brought it to a state of peace, and thank God! to a condition improving and prosperous beyond precedent. The noble lord, not being very well able to deny the result had contented himself with denying that the House of Commons either had or could possibly have had any share in producing it. He (lord B.) did not suppose that the hon. member for Yorkshire meant to confine his praise to the House of Commons. He was sure that the hon. member did not mean to exclude from it the people of England whose conduct, throughout the whole of the; late awful contest, could never be enough applauded, and would be dwelt upon with pride by future historians, and held up as a brilliant example to other nations. But, that which he (lord B.) considered as the true test on the present occasion was, that during the whole of the period to which he had just alluded, the sentiments of the House of Commons were in strict accordance with the sentiments of the people; and it was in that point of view especially, that he thought the encomiums of the hon. member for Yorkshire, on the House of Commons, peculiarly justified.—The hon. and learned mover had begun his speech, by giving some account of the petition which had been presented to the House, on the subject of his motion. He had understood the hon. and learned gentleman to say, that great pains had been taken to exclude from signing the petition all persons who were not rated at five pounds a-year. Now, really, it was a most extraordinary proceeding on the part of these popular leaders, these determined Whigs, to take upon themselves to put inquiries to the good people of Edinburgh on this subject "Are you rated at five pounds a year"? "No, only at four pounds ten." "Oh! then you must not sign our petition," These gentlemen certainly resembled what the French called the aristocracie populaire, and yet they boasted, that the petition was signed by six or seven thousand persons! Now really, he wished to know how, after all, the persons who were posted at various places to receive signatures could ascertain, that the persons offering to sign came within the prescribed limitation. The inquiry would be impracticable, if it were decent; and it would not be decent, if it were practicable. However, it appeared that, after great pains had been taken, after speeches had been uttered, and pamphlets published by persons undoubtedly of eminent abilities and information, out of 21,000 persons, 6 or 7,000 had been induced to sign this petition to the House of Commons, praying for a change in the representation of the city of Edinburgh. So far was he, however, from being overwhelmed by such an authority in favour of the hon. and learned gentleman's motion, that the only thing that surprised him was, that the petition had not been signed by a much greater number of persons. The nuisance complained of was, according to the hon. and learned gentleman, intolerable; the town council monopolized the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of Edinburgh; and yet, when a petition was prepared to be presented to the House of Commons, praying for an abatement of that nuisance, and a restoration of those rights and privileges, out of 21,000 householders, only 6 or 7,000 could be prevailed upon to subscribe it! And, let it be recollected, that even from this number some deduction ought probably to be made, for those who perhaps signed their names twice over, or who did so, from mere amusement and wantonness; so that the friends of the petition had no right to say that it proceeded from even a third of the inhabitant householders.—But, if the petition actually had spoken the sentiments of a third of the inhabitant householders of Edinburgh, was it a reason for the House to do that which the parliamentary reformers wished them to do, that they were asked to do it? If that were to be admitted, they would soon have numerous petitions, from towns, and even from counties in England; some calling for extended qualifications; others for qualifications which had not hitherto existed; and others bewailing the existence of any qualifications at all. Under such circumstances, he imagined it would be considered very praiseworthy in the House of Commons to stand out against so great a variety of demands; and he trusted they would show their opinion on the Subject in the present instance. If at arty time when the popular feeling happened to be excited, the inhabitants of any district or town were to require a change in their constitution, and their requisition were to be listened to, parliament would never be at rest for a moment. The constitution would be altered every day at the popularis aura. There were abundance of deficiencies to be supplied. Where was the member for Leeds? Where was the member for Manchester? Where was the member for Birmingham? Where was the member for Sheffield? Why did not the noble lord remonstrate with his hon. and learned friend on his unjust partiality for the city of Edinburgh, when others stood so much in need of his assistance? Why was Leeds to be totally neglected and left unrepresented? Why was not the ancient and medicinal city of Bath, with its 36,000 inhabitants, taken under the patronage of the hon. and learned member for Calne? There a corporation of not more than nineteen or twenty persons returned both the representatives, and that corporation was confined almost entirely to the learned faculty of medicine. According to his (lord B's.) view of the question. He never would consent to disfranchise even the Bath doctors; but, with that instance staring him in the face, it was, surely, a little too much for the hon. and learned gentleman to come down with a grave complaint about Edinburgh, as if that were the only place in the empire so unjustly treated. Let Bath tremble if Edinburgh fall! for they stood in precisely the same predicament. The noble lord, the member for Lanark (lord A. Hamilton), on the two great occasions when he had brought under the notice of parliament the state of the Representation in Scotland, had followed the same course as that pursued by the hon. and learned gentleman to-night. In dis- cussing the questions by the Royal Burghs, and of the counties of Scotland, he had invariably told the House, to put out of its view the subject of parliamentary reform A long lecture to the same effect had been read by the hon. and learned member for Calne [Mr. Abercromby across the table, denied that he had said a word of the kind.] Such at least was the conclusion to be drawn from what he had stated, and yet it was clearly shewn that parliamentary reform, if it were good for any thing, ought to be extended to Scotland. The hon. and learned gentleman had said for instance—"There is no reason upon earth, why you, the House, should not adopt this motion; if you are consistent, you will approve it, because you uphold the mixed popular constitution of the British empire." The conclusion was inevitable; the assertion was, that there was nothing popular in the elections in Scotland, and, consequently, that parliamentary reform ought to be extended to that country, in order to make them popular. He hoped the hon. and learned gentlemen, by this display of ingenuity, would not be led to fall into the common error of thinking the cases of Scotland and England separate and distinct; in point of truth, reason, and justice, they were the same, although it might answer a temporary purpose to represent them as different. The people of Scotland were influenced by the debates here, and the debates here were influenced, in return, by the people of Scotland. The press was perfectly free in Scotland, and though the church establishment might not be the same as that in England, the people of both were one in feeling and one in interest. If Scotland were to be considered a component part of the British empire, the argument, if good for anything, applied to it in every way. If the people of Scotland valued the constitution under which they lived and flourished, they would not consent to this breach which the hon. and learned gentleman was anxious to make in that part which was most assailable, and which ought, therefore, to be most strenuously and most carefully defended. The motion, if carried, could do no possible good to Edinburgh, which had so flourished and improved under the government of a town council. Of that town council, and its members, he knew nothing: he only knew, that the city was under the greatest obligations to it; and he was not prepared to treat so important a body, as if it were the corporation of same small borough which thought of nothing but eating and drinking. The greatest improvements in Edinburgh had been carried on, under the auspices of the town council, and, owing to their exertions and superintendence, that ancient city now excited the admiration of all strangers, whether foreigners or Englishmen. Upon this point he begged to appeal to those who had seen Edinburgh, at that most interesting moment when it was honoured with the presence of its sovereign. Was there any thing at that time, which could lead to the supposition, that the miserable inhabitants were living under the rule of a petty, close, and narrow-minded corporation. He gave the present motion his most decided opposition, and he was persuaded that the people of Edinburgh felt no sympathy with the hon. and learned member who had introduced, it.

Sir J. Newport,

reference to what had fallen from the hon. member for Yorkshire on the claims of parliament, as the authors of the present prosperous state of the country, said, that he had lived long-enough to remember the panegyrics rung out by its members upon the parliament of Ireland, previous to the union. It was said, that they were proceeding in the best of all possible ways to secure the happiness of the people of Ireland; in short, that nothing could be wiser or better than the measures they adopted. He would venture to say, that if the debates from the year 1790 to 1800 were gone through, it would be found that nine-tenths consisted of eulogiums pronounced by the parliament of Ireland upon itself. How well deserved those eulogiums had been, it was needless for him to point out; enough was known to make him and others very sceptical as to the justice of the praises which the hon. member for Yorkshire had so liberally lavished. The Irish parliament had accelerated its own downfall, by separating itself from the feelings and interests of the people they professed to represent; and it was not improbable that, in the case of England, the same cause would lead to the same effect. The noble lord who spoke last had maintained, that the petition so respectably and so numerously signed, did not speak the sentiments of the inhabitants of Edinburgh. But, if this were true, why had no counter petition been got up and laid upon the table? Sufficient time had been allowed; as the petition now before the House had been presented last year; and although the lord provost had refused to summon the meeting at which it was agreed to, he might, perhaps, without any great difficulty, have been induced to sanction, even with his presence, an assembly which had for its object the de feat of the present motion [hear, hear!] The noble lord had asked, why the case of Glasgow had not been brought for ward to-night as well as that of Edinburgh? The answer was plain—because there was no petition from Glasgow. As to the signatures to the petition from Edinburgh, it could not be denied that they were those of people of character and property, since the greatest pains had been taken to exclude all others; yet, the opponents of the object in view now turned round, and the very men, who on all former occasions had ridiculed representations from what they termed the rabble, complained, that the petition upon the table did not come from the inhabitants at large, but only from a select class. The point for which the noble lord had contended was neither more nor less than this, that, because there are many blots and defects in the system of representation, on that very account it was improper to commence a remedy. In other words, the worse the whole state of the representation was, the more fit it was to allow it to go on until it arrived, if he might so say, at the perfection of evil. If the House rejected the present motion, and persevered in an obstinate refusal to listen to the just com plaints of the people on the subject of re presentation, it might in time exhaust the patience of the nation, and accelerate its own downfall [hear!]. As soon as the right hon. baronet sat down, the question was called for from the Ministerial Benches.

Mr. Kennedy

expressed his surprise, that the right hon. gentleman, the member for Edinburgh (Mr. W. Dundas), had not thought it worth his while to deliver his opinion upon the present occasion. Under all the circumstances, his silence was remarkable; for the right hon. gentleman had stated at a former time, as would probably be remembered, that whenever this debate was brought on, he should not fail to be in his place to make the House acquainted with his sentiments. Perhaps the right hon. gentleman thought that his notions were pretty well understood and it was much better for him to act consistently, and say nothing; feeling that he had, in truth, no right to speak on the question, as he was not in fact the representative of the people of Edinburgh [hear, hear!]. He should not have troubled the House this evening, had he not observed, that some hon. gentleman had made use of an unwarrantable argument connected with the act of union with Scotland. The same argument had been employed last year, but as it was then fully exposed and exploded, he had hoped that this year it would have been abandoned as untenable. The hon. member for York, and the noble lord had both stated that the rights of the corporation of Edinburgh were preserved to them by the act of union, and consequently that the House of Commons was barred from interfering with them. This was the argument which neglected the clear distinction, between the various corporate privileges possessed by the town council, and the right of sending a member to parliament. The opinions of the duke of Argyle and of lord Hardwicke had been relied upon by them, without troubling themselves to go to the fountain head, the act of union itself—in order to ascertain its provisions, and to see whether they bore out what was founded upon it. It would be found upon due inquiry that the opinion delivered by lord Hardwicke had no application to sending members to the House of Commons, but merely to the privileges of the corporation. The 22nd article of the act of Union related to the return of the forty-five members for Scotland, fifteen of whom were representatives for the royal Burghs,: it then proceeded to say, "that the town of Edinburgh shall have a right to elect and send one member to the parliament of Great Britain." Here was no mention of the corporation: the "town of Edinburgh" only was spoken of; and, in another part of the act, the "city of Edinburgh" was again mentioned, also to the exclusion of the corporation. There was no question, that an act of that kind ought to be construed strictly; and, strictly construed, the "town of Edinburgh," and not the town council, had the right to elect the member to represent it in parliament. Such a proceeding was consistent, not merely with the wording of the act, but with common sense.—It was really a little too much to hear the noble lord endeavour to depreciate the petition; it was wonderful that he did not take a more manly course, as an open and strenuous opponent of reform in every shape. Why should the noble lord endeavour to undervalue the respectability and importance of the individuals who had signed the petition? What did he gain by it? Nothing; because, whatever he might allege, it was not to be contradicted, that they were most respectable persons and all possessed of property. The hon. member for Yorkshire had stated, that corruption was not even alleged, much less proved; but without going thus far, was it not enough to say, that the city of Edinburgh was no longer what it was when the corporation was first composed? The inhabitants of that day did not exceed 12,000; but much as they had increased since that date, they were still rapidly increasing, and the city proportionably growing in magnitude and importance. He might enter more at length into this subject; and, if he did not do so at present, it was not because he did not feel the strongest zeal upon the question, but because the hon. member for Yorkshire, and the noble lord, had offered so little that required reply, and because it was needless to argue self-evident propositions. One of those was, that reform in the city of Edinburgh was greatly needed; and if it were not granted both there and elsewhere, the refusal would tend much to alienate the feelings of the people of Scotland from the House of Commons.—As no member rose to address the House.

Mr. Abercromby

rose to reply. At least, Sir, (said the hon. and learned member) thus much has been gained for the people of Scotland—that no honourable member has ventured to vindicate the state of the representation of the city of Edinburgh. No one has had the hardihood to say, that he will undertake the defence of the existing representative 6ystem in Scotland. The hon. member for Yorkshire has insinuated, that reformers are generally republicans. At least, I am not a republican; for the leading principle of the reform I contend for, is to produce such a gradual and wholesome change in the representation of the people, as to arrest all danger of the establishment of a republic. Those, indeed, may be truly called republicans, who, adhering to antiquated defects, and modern corruptions, refuse to listen to the voice of a well-informed people calling for a rational change and an easy remedy. I am well assured, that, as education has advanced in this country the desire of reform has advanced also, and it will continue to advance, until at length the object is triumphantly attained. Do those who resist the motion of to night, and the prayer of the petitioners, really believe they can persuade the people of Scotland to think it safe and right, that they should be entirely excluded from all share in the representation? Does the noble lord, or even the hon. member for Yorkshire, flatter himself that he has powers of eloquence sufficient to make the people believe, that a parliament composed of individuals with whose choice they had nothing to do, will promote their interests, maintain their rights, or conciliate their esteem? Do not education and experience, on the contrary, teach them that, if they are to be secure in their liberty or their property, they must have a due share in the representation? All my calculations upon this great question are formed upon the rapid growth of knowledge, the progress of mental improvement among all classes; and this House will find, that unless some reform be effected, it will enjoy less and less the confidence of the nation. As usual, when the occasion offers, the self-love of the House has been administered to this night, with a prodigality of compliment, and the hon. member for Yorkshire has pronounced a panegyric which might have been received with more modesty and less violence of expression, had it been better deserved. He told us to look at the flourishing condition of the country and its unexampled prosperity; and followed it up by a declaration, that that prosperity had been produced by the ability, wisdom, skill, prudence, and above all, by the purity of parliament. But, let me ask who leads in every great question, this House, or the country? I will limit myself to the period during which I have been a member, and I say with the greatest confidence, that on all questions in which any thing has been gained to the public by the decision, the country has led the House, and not the House the country [hear! from Mr. S. Wortley]. Does the hon. member for Yorkshire imagine that I do not know the use he is prepared to make of what I have just said? I was aware of the manner in which it would be applied by him, and t repeat, that whenever any thing beneficial has been at last dragged from this reluctant House, it has been accomplished by the exertion of the voice of the people, raised so loudly and so widely, that no man even dared to be deaf to it [hear!]. But does it follow, that because the concession has been extorted after a series of years, that it might not have been obtained much sooner, had the nation possessed a due share in the representation. Had we not possessed a free press, and had not education made such rapid strides, the members of this House, fenced in by privileges, protected by power, and screened by corruption, would still have rejected the claim which they did not longer dare to deny. Some right hon. gentlemen whom I see opposite, and who have not long been in office, must be deeply convinced of the truth of what I am advancing. It is to their praise—and I do not wish to withhold applause where it is due—that they have endeavoured more to consult public opinion! their labours have been devoted, both before and since the commencement of the session, to secure popularity; thereby, give me leave to say, admitting the superior influence of the public, and the necessity of securing its favour. They may for the present, perhaps, accomplish their object by a good deal of artifice and some share of delusion; but this cannot succeed for ever; it must be seen through ere long; and though they may postpone it for a time, I believe that few of those whom I now address are weak enough to suppose, that they can at last avert the trial and decision of this great question of parliamentary reform. The people are every day becoming more and more convinced, that the only real security for all they cherish and esteem is to be found in securing to themselves that weight in the representation to which they are entitled. A good deal has been said regarding the signatures to the petition I had the honour of presenting last session, and it is not to be wondered at, that great efforts should have been made this night to do away with the effect of their numbers and respectability. Persons of rank and property only subscribed it, in acquiescence with the often-repeated claim of this House, that those who had nothing to lose, and every thing to gain, should not be brought forward to demand a change in that representation, with which they had no concern. And, after all that we have heard and seen on the subject of petitions for reform, is it for this aristocratic House now to turn round, and to taunt the people who remonstrate, with being aristocratic plebeians, and exercise an influence over those who are inferior to themselves? Yet, such was the language of the noble lord, who, as it suited his purpose, either exalted or vilified the most respectable classes in the city of Edinburgh. It has been observed, that, if this motion were carried, it would only be the beginning of a system of reform, and that the same principle must be followed up with regard to other places similarly circumstanced. I, for one, feel no difficulty in saying, that if I could succeed to-night—of which I cannot have much expectation—I should be ready to co-operate, personally, with those who may think it expedient to go further. I admit, that the introduction of this bill might lead to the reform of other places; but, those who apprehend there from the dissolution of the whole of the present system, must indeed think very poorly of their own cause, and very weakly of their own strength, if they mean to say that they could not stop at whatever point they thought fit. The argument, if such it deserve to be called, used against me and my hon. friends to-night, means no more nor less than this:—"We know the nature of the contest in which we are engaged: we know that public opinion and public knowledge are decidedly against us; and our only chance of maintaining ourselves is to resist with vigour the first attempt made to remove us." Is not this, let me ask, a strong proof of infirmity? They dare not even admit of inquiry; and that amounts of itself to an admission of all with which we charge them. It is an admission, that will sink deep into the minds of the people of Scotland, and will lead to ultimate success on the part of the petitioners. Let it be remembered, that we live in times when the people call things by their right names—when they are no longer to be imposed upon by pretences that might have satisfied their forefathers—when they know truth from falsehood, and can distinguish between an argument and an assertion. To make them believe what has been advanced by the hon. member for Yorkshire, and supported by the noble lord, you must deprive them of the use of their senses and of their understandings. You must prevent them from either hearing, reading, or speaking; for all are fatal to corrupters and corruption. When thus much is accomplished, you may perhaps make the people give credit to these two propositions: first, That they have no interest in the choice of their representatives; 2nd, That it is better that members of parliament should be chosen by 19 suspected persons, than by the whole body of the inhabitants. Give me leave to add, that the time will come when the House will be compelled to submit, and when it will not be allowed the opportunity of yielding with a good grace. When a wise and politic minister sees public opinion gathering head against him, he will endeavour to conciliate; and to do so in Scotland at the present time, is of the highest importance, even to those who are best satisfied with things as they are. In a country like this, while a free press exists, no efforts on the part of government can arrest the progress of public opinion; but the doctrine of to-night is, that though there is a great mass of public feeling in favour of reform, the tide, which cannot be turned, will be checked for a while by the sophistical and delusive argument of virtual representation.

The House divided: Ayes, 75. Noes, 99. Majority against Mr. Abercromby's motion, 24. The result of the division was announced, amidst loud cheering on the Opposition side of the House.

List of the Majority, and also of the Minority.
A'Court, A. H. Dawson, G. H.
Alexander, J. Disbrowe, W. C.
Arbuthnot, rt. hon. C. Davenport, D.
Ashurst, W. H. Dawkins, H.
Astley, sir J. D. Douglas, J.
Balfour, J. Downie, R.
Baker, E. Dundas, rt. hon. W.
Bathurst, hon. S. T. Dunlop, James
Blair, James Denison, J.
Bourne, rt. hon. W. S. East, sir Hyde
Brownlow, C. Eastnor, visc.
Bruce, R. Ellis, C. R.
Boyd, W. Ellison, C.
Burgh, sir U. Eastcourt, T. G.
Chetwynd, G. Fleming, J. (Saltash)
Calvert, J. Forbes, sir C.
Campbell, A. Fynes, C. H.
Canning, rt. hon. G. Gilbert, D. G.
Cartwright, W. R. Gladstone, J.
Cherry, G. H. Gordon, hon. W.
Clerk, sir G. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Clinton, sir W. H. Herries, W. C.
Clive, hon. R. Holford, G. P.
Cockerell, sir C. Holmes, W.
Cocks, James Hotham, lord
Copley, sir J. S. Huskisson, rt. hon W.
Cotterell, sir J. G. Horton, R. W.
Cripps, Joseph King, hon. H.
Croker, J. W. Lamb, hon. W.
Cumming, G. Littleton, E. J.
Curteis, E. J. Long, rt. hon. sir C.
Lowther, visc. Rogers, E.
Lushington, S. R. Ross, Charles
Macnaughton, E. A. Sandon, visc.
Martin, sir Byam Scott, hon. W. H. S.
Magennis, R. Seymour, H.
Martin, R. Somerset, lord G.
Miles, P. J. Sotheron, F.
Monteith, H. Stuart, W. (Armagh)
Morland, sir S. B. Thompson, W.
Mundy, G. Thompson, J. L.
Nichol, rt. hon. sir J. Trench, F. W.
Nightingale, sir M. Walpole, hon. J.
Paget hon. B. Wellesley, R.
Palmerston, lord Wetherell, C.
Peel, rt. Hon. R. Wilson, W. W. C.
Peel, W. Y. Wynn, C. W.
Phillimore, J. Wortley, J. S. junr.
Prendergast, M, G. TELLERS.
Rae, sir W. Stewart, Wortley, J.
Robinson, rt. hon. F. Binning, lord
Althorp, visc. Marjoribanks, S.
Baring, Alex. Martin, J.
Baring, sir T. Milton, visc.
Benyon, B. Monck, J. B.
Bernal, R. Newman, R. W.
Brougham, H. Newport, sir J.
Bury, visc. Ord, W.
Bentinck, ld. W. H. C. Palmer, C.
Calcraft, J. Palmer, C. F.
Carter, J. Pares, T.
Chaloner, R. Pym, F.
Clifton, visc. Portman, E. B.
Coffin, sir I. Ramsden, J. C.
Colborne, N. W. R. Rice, T. S.
Creevey, T. Ridley, sir M. W.
Crompton, S. Robarts, A. W.
Evans, W. Robarts, G. J.
Ellis, hon. G. A. Robinson, sir G.
Farrand, R. Rumbold, C. E.
Gaskill, B. Russell, lord J.
Graham, S. Russell, lord G. W.
Grattan, J. Scott, James
Guise, sir B. W. Smith, John
Gordon, R. Stanley, hon. E. C.
Haldimand, W, Stanley, lord
Hamilton, lord A. Stuart, lord P. I. C.
Heathcote, G. J. Sykes, Daniel
Heron, sir R. Tennyson, Charles
Hobhouse, J. C. Tierney, rt. hon. G.
Honywood, W. P. Warre, J. A.
Hume, J. Webbe, Edward
James, W. Western, C. C.
Johnstone, W. A. Williams, John
Lamb. hon. G. Wyvill, M.
Leycester, R. Wrottesley, sir John
Lethbridge, sir T. Whitmore, W. W.
Maberly, J. TELLERS.
Macdonald, J. Abercromby, hon, J.
Mackintosh, sir J. Kennedy, T. F.