HC Deb 02 November 1830 vol 1 cc54-5

The usual Sessional Orders were read.

On the Motion that they be agreed to,

Mr. Brougham

said, he could not allow the opportunity which that question presented, to pass over without giving notice of his intention, on that day fortnight, to bring the great question of a Reform of the Commons House of Parliament fully under consideration. He thought it right to take the opportunity which that notice gave him, to disavow, in the most solemn and deliberate manner, certain plans of Parliamentary Reform which had lately and sedulously, without any good motive that he could ascertain, been ascribed to him. Those plans, and all the plans of a limited, and bounded nature of reform, of which only he was said to be disposed to be the advocate, he begged now fully to say, were not his, but quite the contrary. At the time he formerly alluded to the subject, he had distinctly stated when they were said to be in contemplation, that they had his assent; but he qualified that assent by declaring that he looked to them merely as part and parcel of that larger and more satisfactory change in the representation, which had become so imperatively necessary. In the next place, he begged to deny a report put forth from a quarter very opposite to that of the other, namely, that he was disposed to favour that radical sweeping kind of reformation which he conscientiously believed must ultimately end in something little short of revolution. On the contrary, he had distinctly stated that he intended to bottom his reform on the ancient days of the Constitution of this country, as exhibited in the plan of its representative system. Without entering into details which he felt would be at that time both irregular and inconvenient, he would merely state, that the whole of his plan would be found to be one of conciliation, so as to combine all interests and all opinions in favour of a restoration of the Constitution to its state of original purity. He was desirous of obtaining the consent of all classes and of all interests, and of all opinions, and of all who were disposed to go even the shortest way with him in the course which he proposed, and to repulse none who might be willing to admit, that there were good reasons to believe the representative system was in want of some reformation; for it was reform, not change, that he had in contemplation. He had only to add, without detaining the House any longer, that he intended to employ the interval, between that time and the day of his bringing forward his Motion, in communicating diligently with all those who held opinions of different degrees on the subject, in order that he might, as far as in him lay, secure the co-operation and support of all who were interested in the great questions which it embraced. One word, however, he thought it now necessary to add, with respect to the principle of his measure and that was, to repeat his declaration, that his object was not revolution but restoration—to restore the representation to that state in which it ought to be, not to change it from what it had been—to repair, not to pull down.

Sessional Orders adopted.