Sir J. Walsh
presented a Petition from the borough 1392 of Sudbury, stating that the population of the town and suburbs amounted to 5,450, and praying to have their case taken into consideration, as regarded the right of returning Members to Parliament.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
said, he thought the borough of Sudbury had a fair claim to consideration. He wished to take that opportunity of deprecating an irregular practice that lately prevailed in the House, of commenting upon speeches made out of doors, or in preceding debates. He must particularly object to the custom of some hon. Members rising in the absence of others, and, without any previous intimation of their intention, or communication with the absent parties, making the reports of speeches assumed to have been delivered by those individuals the subject of parliamentary comment. This course had been pursued the other night by the hon. member for Essex (Colonel Tyrell), in relation to something supposed to have fallen from him at the county meeting recently held at Chelmsford on the subject of Reform. The hon. and gallant Member represented him as approving of the Ministerial Bill merely on the ground of its being an introduction to a more sweeping measure of Reform. He denied that this Representation was correct. He had advocated the present measure, as being calculated, in his opinion, to do away with the feeling of discontent so prevalent in the country, and to enlist on the side of the Constitution a large and important class of the community. He referred to what he considered a correct report of his speech, and would read an extract or two from it, in proof of his present statement, and in order to show what sentiments he had really expressed on the occasion in question. The hon. Member read an extract from a report of his speech at Chelmsford, to the effect, that "so far from advocating any thing tending to revolution, he deprecated Annual Parliaments, Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot, as calculated to create a democratic influence in Parliament, inconsistent with a peerage or a limited monarchy. If, however (he had added), some persons thought the country could be better governed without these, he did not deny their right to think so; but he hoped that those who thought so would have the candour to speak out, and let their opinions be known as their own— not his; for when he said this he entirely dissented from those who thought thus, or 1393 who advocated the doctrines he had adverted to." The hon. and gallant Member wished, in making his remarks on a former occasion, to impress upon the House the idea that many of the supporters of Reform, and he (Mr. Harvey) among the number, advocated the present Bill because they considered it the lever with which they could hereafter accomplish their revolutionary objects. As far as he was concerned personally, he decidedly protested against this, and he might add, that he did not believe there were twenty men in the county of Essex who would be found to advocate Universal Suffrage and Annual Parliaments, or any who looked forward to this Bill as likely to afford the means of attacking the Established Church. He believed there were not many connected with the agricultural interest in Essex who did not look forward to a beneficial alteration of the tithe system as extremely desirable; but who would nevertheless be very far from attacking the Church. His own sentiments on the subject might be collected from what he was reported to have said at the Chelmsford meeting; and it would appear that they were very different from those attributed to him by the hon. and gallant Member. He had said, "he hoped those interested in the Church would have the good sense to reform it before it became necessary that it should be reformed by others. In the same way he hoped the House of Commons would reform itself; for if it did not, then would come the question of a revolution, which he wished to avoid, because, when a revolution came, no man could say how dangerous might be the consequences to the best interests of the country"—a sentiment which the reporter stated to have been received with loud and repeated cheers. He now asked if he had uttered any sentiment that ought not to fall from an individual favourable to our Constitution, civil and ecclesiastical? In conclusion, the hon. Member took that opportunity to express his dissent from the opinion entertained by the hon. member for Preston, who objected to the Bill because it only added 500,000 persons to the constituency. He was of opinion, if a constituency of 700,000 or 800,000, framed as was now proposed, were not found to work well, that it would not be made purer or more effective by further infusion of the numerical strength of the country.
§ Colonel Tyrell
thought the hon. member for Colchester the very last person who ought to complain of any attack proceeding from him; for it had been his misfortune to meet the hon. Gentleman on every public occasion as the political agitator of the county of Essex; and the hon. Member, who was not himself particular as to whom he assailed, ought not to complain so bitterly of having his own sentiments canvassed in turn. The hon. Member had not ventured to contradict the assertion which he bad made,—namely, that the question of ecclesiastical Reform did take up a considerable share of the time of the meeting at Chelmsford. He had repeatedly heard the hon. Member, who, in his opinion, made a bad use of his acknowledged talent, decrying and ridiculing the clergy of the Established Church, and holding them up to the contempt and ridicule of the people. It appeared to him that the hon. member for Colchester had availed himself of this opportunity to give at full length that speech which had not been fully reported in The Times, and other public newspapers, and of which some notice had been taken. He had expected that the hon. Member would have made some observations on the meeting of the hundred of Rochford; but as he had abstained from doing so, and only attacked him, he would say a few words on that point.
§ Mr. L. Wellesley
rose to order. He objected to the course the hon. Gentleman was taking, as irregular.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
denied, that he had made any attack on the hon. Gentleman. He had, in fact, risen to reply to an attack which the hon. Member had made on him. He now called on the hon. Member to say,—and if he could, to prove,—that he had ever, either at the Essex or any other meeting, made any observations against the Established Church? He requested him to state whether he had ever heard, him, on any occasion, utter an expression for the purpose of holding up the Established Church to ridicule and contempt? He was, on the contrary, attached to it; and he did not think that he showed himself less the friend of the Establishment by advocating the removal of such abuses as tended to bring it into discredit.
§ Colonel Tyrell
said, the impression on his mind was, that he had heard the hon. Member make observations derogatory to the character of the Established Church. 1395 He spoke of a matter of notoriety—a fact as notorious as the sun at noon day—that the hon. Member was in the habit of making attacks on the Established Church. He had met the hon. Member on various occasions at elections and meetings. He had recently met him; but whether the hon. Member was then acting as a paid agent or not he could not determine.
§ The Speaker
said, he could not rise to explain in the midst of an hon. Member's speech. He could only rise to order.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
said, he would then speak to order. He had to complain greatly of the observations made by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member said, that it was notorious as the sun at noonday, that he (Mr. Harvey) held up the Established Church and its professors to ridicule and contempt. Such language was, in his opinion, most unparliamentary. He denied the accusation altogether; and when the hon. Member persevered in his attack—neither in good taste nor in good language—he felt that he was bound to rise and to repel it. He was not the heir-apparent to a title—nor was he the expectant of large possessions; but he was the Representative of a large constituency, and, though the son of an humble tradesman, he was as jealous of his honour and character as the hon. Member. He was determined not to allow persons of high pretensions (he did not. indeed, think that the hon. Member was one of these, because individuals of that class would not have introduced such topics) to attack him with impunity. The hon. Member had spoken of him as a paid agent! What did the hon. Member mean? He could tell the hon. Member that he was as independent a man as the hon. Member was.
§ The Speaker
said, the hon. Member had a right to appeal respecting the orders of the House when he felt himself aggrieved, and all sides of the House would unquestionably support him. But on the other hand, he had no right, nor privilege, voluntarily to break through these orders. Further he must observe, that when Gentlemen knew what was the press of petitions before the House, and that it was necessary, in justice to the petitioners, to open the subject-matter of those petitions, they must see that the benefit arising from such discussions must be materially reduced, if Gentlemen diverged 1396 from the subject-matter, and addressed themselves to circumstances connected with some petition which had been presented, or notice for the future presentation of which had been given. The evil was still farther increased, if, in so diverging, they introduced matter personal to any one in the House or out of it. Such a proceeding, to say the least of it, was employing very unsatisfactorily the time of the House. He hoped, therefore, that Gentlemen would confine themselves to the question immediately before them.
§ Colonel Tyrell
said, if in the warmth of debate he had said any thing offensive to the hon. member for Colchester, he regretted it. With respect to the hon. Member's having been a parliamentary agent, he had heard him at one time boast of it, and even say, that such had been his situation on other occasions.
§ Mr. Western
was sorry that his hon. Colleague had introduced the topics which he had done on the presentation of the Essex petition. Nothing which he had said on that occasion could have justly provoked his hon. Colleague to make the observations in which he had then indulged.
§ Colonel Tyrell
did not think that his hon. Colleague had any just reason to complain, as he was present when the observations alluded to were made, and he had not made any remark on them.
§ Mr. Blackett
wished, as the Representative of a borough included in one of the Schedules of the Bill, to ask a question of the noble Lord. It appeared that the amount of population was to decide the fate of the several boroughs; but, in some instances, the population of the parish, and in others the population of the borough only, was taken. Now he should be glad to know, as the population of the parish and borough of Beeralston was larger than that of the parish alone, whether the noble Lord would not remove that borough from Schedule A to Schedule B, which would give it the right of sending one Member to Parliament?
Lord J. Russell
said, there was no intention of removing Beeralston from schedule A to schedule B; and when the proper time arrived, he would state the reason why the alteration would not be made.
§ Mr. G. Dawson
trusted, that equal 1397 justice would be done, not only to Beeralston, but to Calne. The population of the borough and parish of Beeralston amounted, it appeared, to about 4,000 inhabitants; and it was stated in the return laid on their Table to-day, that the borough of Calne contained 997 male inhabitants. Now it did appear to him that in common justice the noble Lord ought to remove the borough of Beeralston from schedule A, which would deprive it of both its Members, and transfer it to schedule B, and that the borough of Calne ought to take its place.
Lord J. Russell
said, he believed that no alteration would be made in the Bill with respect to the borough of Calne. As the hon. Member had asked him so many questions, he would permit him he hoped to ask one in his turn. He should be glad to know, on what principle the hon. Member would place the borough of Calne on either of those schedules? If the hon. Member had any plan to propose, he would be most ready to examine it in the Committee.
§ Mr. G. Dawson
said, he had nothing to do with the Bill, except to give it his decided negative, which he had done and would continue to do. He was called on in his situation as a Member of that House, to do nothing but to point out the absurdities of the measure. If any hon. Gentleman could show him any one clause of this Bill which was consistent with common sense or common justice, he should be very much surprised. He defied the noble Lord to point out such a one. If, however, it was intended to carry this measure of Reform into effect, he thought justice, fair and equal justice, should be extended to all the boroughs.
Lord J. Russell
said, assuredly justice should in all cases be done; and if the hon. Member saw absurdities in the measure, he believed that they originated and rested with the hon. Member himself. The return which he had referred to was one of those made by the returning officers of different boroughs; and he had already said, that his Majesty's Ministers did not mean to proceed on those returns, although it was thought proper that they should be laid before the House. If the hon. Member knew of any better rule for directing their decision than that which had been adopted by his Majesty's Ministers, he ought to point it out. If he could not do this, he was himself guilty of commiting 1398 one of those many absurdities of which he complained.
§ Sir C. Wetherell
said, he would use in speaking of this Bill, a stronger word, and therefore a more appropriate word, than that to which his hon. friend had recourse. He would describe it as fraught with gross injustice. He would maintain, that these boroughs were handed out like bank notes. A bank note to a friend— disfranchisement to an enemy. The fact which had just been stated, proved this. A borough, it appeared, was allowed to stand untouched, which ought to be placed if impartiality were attended to, in the disfranchised list. It turned out, and was clearly shown, that the return for the borough adverted to was wrong; yet that borough was suffered to remain. Ministers ought not to have done so unworthy and unfair a trick as to save a borough because it belonged to a friend.
Lord J. Russell
said, he was very reluctant to detain the House, but, after the observations which had been made, he could not avoid doing so. The Bill, as he had often declared to the House, and now, for the fiftieth time repeated, was founded, with respect to the disfranchisement clauses, on the population returns of 1821. Wherever that population return justified disfranchisement, according to the line which Ministers had laid down, they had disfranchised; and, whatever the hon. and learned Gentleman might assert—whatever he might be pleased with a loud voice, to charge on Ministers,—he defied him to prove that any partiality had been extended to persons holding a system of politics favourable to this measure, or connected, on the other hand, with those who were of a different party. Some of those who opposed the measure arraigned Ministers for partiality, because one borough was disfranchised, while another was saved. But it was impossible for any person who looked on the subject with candour and fairness, to deny that, taking the test which Ministers had done—a parliamentary return—a record which the present Ministers did not make, and with which they had nothing to do—considering that, and examining that test, he asserted that it was impossible for any man, if he admitted that parliamentary record to be proper to be adopted as a test, to show that partiality had been extended to one borough in preference to, and at the expense of, another. He defied the 1399 hon. and learned Member, or any other Member of that House, to prove, that in bringing forward this great measure any partiality had been shown; or that any thing had been done to countenance the accusation of those base and unworthy motives which had been brought against Ministers. If the hon. member for Harwich had any charge to make, let him make it openly. Let him show, if he could, that because this borough belonged to a friend, it was spared; and because that borough was influenced by an enemy, that it was disfranchised. Ministers had adopted no such narrow rule; and he could not but say, that those frequent charges from the Gentlemen opposite rather pointed to the manner in which they themselves would have proceeded— rather showed the manner in which they themselves would have acted, had they been placed in the situation of his Majesty's Ministers—than impugned the honour and integrity of the Government. They only convicted themselves of want of candour, of want of justice, and of want of impartiality, in their manner of conducting their attacks upon Reform.
§ Mr. W. Bankes
said, that he should have to present a Petition on this subject from no inconsiderable number of persons, connected with the large and flourishing town of Marlborough, which was situated within twelve miles of the borough (Calne) which had given rise to this discussion, and if the next time the noble Lord travelled that road, he would not use those blinds which he had so expediently adopted in the course of last summer, he would see, that Marlborough, which was to lose one Member, was a large and flourishing town, and Calne which was to retain two Members, was not equal to it. In the petition to which he had referred, the petitioners stated, that there were in Marlborough 300, or nearly 300, persons, who paid an annual rent of 10l. each for their houses; while in the borough of Calne, the number of those who paid 10l. a-year rent, was 124. Let the noble Lord deal with those numbers, and adopting that new-fangled arithmetic which it was supposed would add greatly to the improvement and prosperity of the country, prove that 124 was a larger number than 300. If the noble Lord would afterwards diverge a little, and proceed to the borough of Downton, he would find that it was a mere village, and, that there were but nine 1400 houses in it paying 10l. a-year, which borough was to retain one Member. It had been very properly asked, who drew the line, and on what principle was it drawn? In this House it was stated that its basis was population; but, in another place, to which he could not regularly refer, he had heard that it was property—nothing but property. But what became of either proposition, when he pointed to the case of Marlborough, and contrasted it with those of Calne and Downton? His objection, under all the circumstances, was to the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill.
§ Mr. H. Gurney
said, that looking to all the principles of the Constitution, Ministers had, in his opinion, got themselves into an inextricable dilemma. Every one who knew any thing of the British Constitution must be aware that it depended on separate jurisdictions, exercised by different powers of the State. Those jurisdictions the present bill tended to melt into one. He cared not whether this was called an aristocratical or a democratical Reform; but of this he was certain, that it was a Radical Reform which threatened to sap and undermine all the institutions of the country. The Members who supported the enlargement of the suffrage frequently referred them to the working of the democratical system in America. Now a friend of his who happened at this moment to be in that country, and who had heard of our demands for Reform, thus expressed himself in a letter which he had written to him on the subject:—He said, "that his prejudices in favour of the Democratical System had much abated and that his disposition with respect to it was changed since he had an opportunity of observing its working here," and he concluded by saying, "but whatever you do, take a year to consider of it;" advice which he thought it would be prudent for his Majesty's Ministers to follow.
§ Mr. L. Wellesley
said, that every improvement in the returns would tend to make the bill more perfect; and he was much astonished to hear Gentlemen object to alterations which would make it more conformable to their own views.
Mr. G. Dawsons
said, it was due to himself and to the House, after the observations of the noble Lord, to shew what were the absurdities to which he had alluded as being contained in this Bill. His remarks arose from the question which had been 1401 put to the noble Lord by the hon. member for Beeralston (Mr. Blackett); who inquired, whether the noble Lord intended, on the consideration of the two schedules, to amend them, where the borough and parish united gave a sufficient number to authorize Representation? In other words, whether when the parish had a population of above 2,000 persons, the borough should not be exempt from disfranchisement. Now it appeared that Beeralston, proceeding on this principle, had a population of 2,198. This was a matter of considerable importance, because when the hon. member for Weymouth, in making his excellent speech on this subject, mentioned Beeralston, the noble Lord said, that the learned Gentleman need not proceed with that point, because the error would be corrected at the proper time. [Lord J. Russell.—No.] He understood the noble Lord to say, that the decision with respect to that borough would be suspended. Now he would say that equal justice would not be done, if, taking population as the criterion, Calne should be allowed to send Members to Parliament, while Beeralston and other places similarly situated were disfranchised. The noble Lord, however, had told them that there was no intention of making any alteration as to Beeralston. He was convinced that the House would be surprised when he read the return of the population of Calne, which had been laid on the table this day,—the population of Calne, which was to retain both Members, while Beeralston was to be disfranchised. The return ran thus:—"1st. The limits of the borough of Calne are not the same as those mentioned in the population returns of 1821—viz. the parish of Calne. 2. The borough of Calne is only a part of the parish named in the population return. The borough comprises only 885 acres; but the parish, including the borough, contains 7,964 acres. 3. The population return of 1821 does not distinguish the borough from the other parts of the parish, nor can the population of the borough be collected from the account then taken; but, at the present time, the borough contains 461 houses, and 997 male inhabitants, reckoning all children as well as men." Now, admitting that the females were as numerous as the males, (and the proposition was a very fair one), then the whole population of Calne did not amount to 2,000, and therefore that borough 1402 ought not to be represented. Why should Beeralston be disfranchised, then, if Calne is to be preserved? If you include the population of the parish in the one case, why exclude it in the other? If you include the population of the parish in the case of Beeralston, which is part of the parish of Beerferris, you will have a larger population than in Calne, and he repeated that if the Members were retained in the one case, they ought to be in the other. He contended then, that the noble Lord was not justified in accusing him of absurdity, which he should hope was meant only in a parliamentary sense, when he pointed out some of the great inconsistencies of this Bill. He conceived that the House ought to have an explanation on these points before it went into the Committee; and if such explanation were not given,— if the noble Lord did not give a satisfactory answer to the question put to him,—he would tell him to his face, and in the face of the country, that the Government had been guilty of great partiality in making the selection of particular boroughs for disfranchisement, and exempting others. He repeated, that if the noble Lord did not give a satisfactory explanation on these points, neither his taunts nor the cheers of those by whom he was supported, would redeem him from the charge of partiality. If the noble Lord should give such satisfactory explanation, he (M. Dawson) would retract his charge most readily, for he assured the House that it was painful to him to be obliged to make such a charge, and he hoped that for his own sake the noble Lord might give a satisfactory explanation.
begged to ask, when the right hon. Member complained of the use of harsh terms, who it was that began to use such terms? Did they not come from the right hon. Gentleman himself, who seemed overcome with the situation in which he was placed? He contended that it was the use of harsh terms, begun by the right hon. Gentleman, which caused the noble Lord to use terms which certainly were much less so than those addressed to him. Surely hon. Members on the opposite side could not complain of such terms, after what had been heard from their own side of the House. Had not the House just heard the words "gross injustice" and "trick" applied to the conduct of Government by an hon. and learned Gentleman, who, on this occasion, 1403 appeared even more frantic than usual? Why if the House was not familiar to the use of such langnage from that quarter,— if they had not heard the same style of attack, not only against the present but against former Governments, when they had attempted any measures of improvement,—some more notice might be taken of them than he believed any hon. Member was now disposed to take. He thought it would be a sufficient answer to those insinuations to say, that the character of the members of his Majesty's Government was too well known to require a defence against general insinuations of this kind. But he would ask his hon. friend, (Mr. W. Bankes) who he was sure had too high a sense of honour to make any charge which he could not substantiate,—he would ask him, when he made a charge of partiality against the Government for drawing the line between those boroughs which were to be disfranchised and those which were to remain—he would ask him, did he believe that the exemption of the borough of Calne was made by the Government for the sake of the interest of the Marquis of Lansdown; for the implied charge came to that? Would his hon. friend,— would any man in the country—say, that this was done to serve the interest of the noble Marquis? He was sure his hon. friend or any man of honour would not believe any such thing. But what, he asked, was the allusion to the blinds being-drawn up in the carriage to prevent the noble Lord from seeing the borough of Calne as he passed, but a reiteration of the same charge which had been so often insinuated? If his hon. friend, or any other hon. Member, had any charge of the kind to make, let it be brought forward fairly, and not imputed in this indirect manner. His hon. friend had stated, that he had a petition to present from the large and flourishing town of Marlborough. Now he (Mr. Hobhouse) happened to be well accquainted with that town, probably much better than the hon. Member who represented it, and he must say, with great respect for his hon. friend's partiality for the place, that it was neither large nor flourishing. Probably the blinds of his hon. friend's carriage were drawn up when he was there, or it might happen that his hon. friend had never seen it at all, for it was by no means necessary in many boroughs that the Representative should be well known to his constituents. But he would 1404 ask his hon. friend whether the petitioners to whose prayer he was so anxious to draw the attention of the House had included in that prayer, that the large and flourishing town should be released from any influence of the Marquis of Ailesbury in the return of their Members? Or did they pray that the 300 householders there should have a voice in the return of those Members, as well as the little knot of thirteen or fourteen who usually returned the Members, but who in the recent march of improvement, and to preserve something more like a constituency, had enlarged their numbers to twenty-eight? Or did they ask that that small body should continue to send the hon. Member and his colleague, against the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants? He hoped, as his hon. friend had, no doubt, a wish to protect the rights of that large and flourishing town, that if the present measure should fail, he would be prepared with some measure which would have that effect. If the hon. Member would visit Calne, he would find it a flourishing town, with two important branches of manufacture. However, let the Committee deal with those several boroughs as it should please when the bill was before them. What he objected to was, the bringing forward charges of this kind against the Government.
§ Mr. W. Bankes
, as he had been so positively alluded to by the hon. member for Westminster, begged permission to say a few words in explanation. The hon. Member had referred to the case of Calne. Now he (Mr. Bankes) had undoubtedly taken up an opinion with respect to the conduct of the Ministers; and if he had found, when errors were pointed out to them, they had taken immediate means to correct them, he should have felt bound to alter that opinion. When he saw, however, the arithmetical errors, respecting which there could be no mistake, pertinaciously retained, he must confess that he could not divest himself of an impression that there was partiality in their determination on the subject of some of the boroughs the rights of which were questioned. With respect to the hon. Member's observations on his knowledge of the town of Marlborough, and the opinions of its inhabitants, he could only say, that he had attended in that town on all occasions when an election demanded his presence, and as he was always attended 1405 to the Town Hall by a large number of the respectable inhabitants, as well as the Corporation, he must take leave to think that the unanimity of feeling between them and the corporation was much more extensive than the hon. Member seemed to believe.
§ Lord Stormont
said, that after all the tact that had been used on this subject, one thing was certain—that in the way in which the case was now left with respect to those boroughs, the Bill was one of great absurdity, or great injustice. It so happened, that all the partiality appeared to be on the side of the Whig boroughs. There was no complaint of any errors in the returns with respect to them. Now it was to him inexplicable, on any fair and impartial principle why a borough with a population of 2,000, and of 4,000, in that and the parish, should be disfranchised, while another borough with a much smaller number should retain its members, or why an union of the parish and the borough should not take place in one case as well as in another—why, for instance, Aldborough, with a population of 2,500, should be wholly excluded from representation. He did not say this from any personal feeling as the representative of that place. He spoke on the general principle, or rather the departure from principle, manifested in the whole measure.
§ Lord Eastnor
said, he did not see on what principle it was that they should not adhere to the ancient boundaries of boroughs, or let in the whole vicinity. He wished to know, when the 2,000 could be made up from the vicinity, whether the noble Lord would not think that sufficient for the retention of representatives?
Lord John Russell
said, that it would be impossible for him to give answers to the various questions which were put to him, without anticipating the statement he intended to make on Monday, and thus bringing on a premature discussion. He hoped, that on Monday he should be able to satisfy the noble Lord and the House that the course which Ministers were pursuing was correct as founded on the Population Returns; and why in many cases they were not guided by the later Returns.
§ Sir R. Peel
thought it was of the utmost importance that the House should understand the course which was intended with respect to the Bill when in Committee. The first clause in the Bill would go to the disfranchisement of a certain number 1406 of boroughs, not named in that clause, but included in a schedule annexed to the Bill. Now, the first question they would have to decide would be, whether or not they would disfranchise the whole of the boroughs included in schedule A, by the adoption of the first clause; or were they to be called on to consider the schedule by itself, and take each borough separately. He asked, were they to dispose of all the boroughs by a single vote, or would parties be allowed to move an Amendment in each particular case?
Lord J. Russell
said, that he meant to propose that they should go to the whole clause, but Members would have the opportunity of leaving out any borough they might think proper, as any Member might move an amendment for the omission of a particular borough.
§ Sir R. Peel
thought it was very important that they should know the exact course they were to take. The noble Lord said, that opportunities would be given of moving Amendments to schedule A. Then the schedule must be considered before the clause, for what he understood was, that when they voted the clause, they would vote away all the boroughs in the schedule to which it referred.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that when the House was called on to agree to the first clause, any Member would have the right to move any Amendment to schedule A that he pleased.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, the House were yet not put in possession of the exact course which it was intended to pursue, and it would be a matter of much convenience that they should know on Friday the course which it was proposed to adopt on Monday. The usual course in cases where schedules were annexed to bills was, to go on with the bill, clause by clause, until they came to the schedule. Now he wished to know whether this course was to be adhered to on the present occasion? Were they to go on with the Bill till they came to schedule A, or were they to proceed at once to that schedule as a part of the first clause?
Lord J. Russell
said, the right hon. Baronet was perfectly correct in asking the exact course which it was intended to adopt, and he had no objection to state it, but he thought it was already known to the House from what he had Said. The usual course, as the right hon. Baronet had stated, was to go on with the Bill till 1407 they came to the schedule, but in the present case, Ministers thought that that would not be the most convenient. They therefore would proceed with the schedule as part of the clause; but, on this subject, he was anxious to appeal to the opinion of the Chair.
§ The Speaker
.—I look upon this in the same light as the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord. I think it is quite clear that the Committee could not be called upon to come to a vote upon the clause, until they had the whole clause before them. The clause says, that all the boroughs in schedule A shall be disfranchised, and schedule A has the names of the boroughs which it is so intended to disfranchise: it thus becomes a part of the clause. In ordinary cases the practice is, to leave the schedule annexed to a bill to the last, but that is only in cases where the schedule contains nothing which does not properly belong to it. In cases where forms of conviction are contained in a schedule, this is so, but it is not an invariable principle. In the present case, there is nothing parallel to that where all the subject matter of the schedule is in the clause itself. I own I do not see why the clause should net contain the names of the boroughs, as in some of the other clauses where new Members are given, as to York and Lincolnshire, but the Committee must deal with the Bill as it finds it; and as the whole are referred to as in the schedule A, it strikes me that that schedule should be taken as a part of the first clause, and as so many lines in it. The question then will begin with Aldborough, the first named in the schedule, and so on to the end. If any boroughs remain, the question will be, that the clause so amended stand part of the Bill; but if none are left, then there will be no clause at all.
§ Petition to be printed.