put the question, that the clause that "Each of the towns of Portsmouth, Rochester, and Kingston-upon-Hull shall, after the end of this present Parliament, return two Members to serve in Parliament, jointly with the other places respectively, as described in schedule E to this Act annexed," stand part of the Bill.—Agreed to.
§ The Chairman then read Schedule E. On coming to the words, that Kingston-upon-Hull, including Sculcoates, Yorkshire, should stand part of schedule E,
said, he had no connexion with the place, but, in consequence of what he had said on a former occasion, he had received a communication from Sculcoates, which had furnished him with some valuable information. He confessed he was so ignorant of that part of the country, that he had never even heard of the name of the place, until the discussion arose on this Bill. He had then thought that Sculcoates was sufficiently separated from Hull to entitle it to return a Member for itself, as Gateshead had been permitted to do. He did not see any reason for making the distinction, or to prevent that place being put on the same footing as the favoured town of Gateshead. It appeared to him, that the arguments urged against uniting Gateshead to Newcastle, applied, in a much stronger degree, to the case of Sculcoates with Hull. Sculcoates was under a separate jurisdiction from Hull, and was situated in a different county—the one being in the county of Kingston-upon-Hull, the other in the East Riding of the county of York. The two places were separated also by docks, making the towns quite distinct from each other. If Ministers were, therefore, prepared to grant a separate Member to a town situated in a peculiarly favoured county, they could not, in accordance with the principles they professed to act upon, refuse a Member to one placed in nearly the same circumstances. Sculcoates contained a larger and more respectable population than Gateshead, and was a place of more importance. If Ministers, therefore, really desired to give protection to the shipping interest, they could not choose a better place than Sculcoates, which was inhabited chiefly by merchants and ship-owners. He trusted, therefore, Ministers would reconsider this case.
said, he was not well acquainted with Newcastle, therefore he would not speak with certainty as to the localities of that place, but he understood Gateshead was separated from it by the Tyne. That case was different from Hull and Sculcoates. It was very difficult to determine the boundary-line between them; and most assuredly, a stranger would consider them one and the same place. They ran into one another, like London and 1049 Westminster. He could not conceive, therefore, there was any necessity for an additional Member for Sculcoates, for there was only a nominal line of separation between the two places, and a complete identity of interest.
§ Mr. Wrightson
said, he was well acquainted with all the local circumstances of the two places. He was ready to admit, there was a material difference between the cases of Sculcoates and Gateshead. The great body of the merchants of Hull lived in Sculcoates, and it was hardly possible, that any circumstances should arise which could tend to a clashing of interests between them. It would be as difficult to discover their physical as their moral boundaries. This was not the case with regard to Newcastle and Gateshead. The House was probably aware, that a considerable portion of Hull was occupied by docks; and he believed, the boundary line passed through the middle of them. The population and wealth of Sculcoates had of late very rapidly increased. In 1821 it was 10,000; and, according to the recent returns, it was 14,000. There was no particular desire that the places should be separated for the purposes of Representation; and, if a third Member was to be granted, the general feeling, he believed, would be in favour of three Members for the two places jointly. This, however, he was quite sure, that such was the feeling in favour of Reform in the town of Sculcoates, that the inhabitants would be prepared to make this, or any other sacrifice, rather than the success of the Reform Bill should be rendered doubtful.
said, the letter he had received from Sculcoates contained very different sentiments from those expressed by the hon. Member; for, according to that, a very strong feeling existed in the place in favour of having a separate Member. He was told, the boundary line was formed by the docks which had been constructed on what were formerly the walls of Hull; so that, no doubt or dispute could arise on that point. Sculcoates was governed by its own Magistrates, which were those of the East Riding of York. The Magistrates of Hull exercised no power whatever in the town of Sculcoates, which was increasing in importance every day. In his opinion, this was a very strong case, and they were bound in justice to give a separate Member to the town.
differed entirely from the views taken by the right hon. Gentleman. The circumstances of Sculcoates and Gateshead were very different; still all the facts of the case had not been stated. It was obvious that, although Sculcoates was not within the county of the town of Hull, yet it was an offset of the latter place still closely connected with it, and had the same interests. Gateshead was separated from Newcastle by a wide river, and they were in separate counties. It should be remembered also, that Hull, although it was a town and county in itself, yet was virtually a portion of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
§ Mr. Wrangham
would not put his local knowledge of the towns in question in competition with that of the hon. Gentleman who represented Hull, and who spoke last but two; but he had, notwithstanding, some knowledge of the two places. He had presented a petition on this subject some days ago, and had then stated, that this was a case worthy of the attention of the Committee. Hull was built upon a point of land at the confluence of the rivers Hull and Humber: at a certain distance from the point of meeting of these two rivers was the boundary of Hull. Beyond that line stood Sculcoates; and it was obvious, that all further increase must take place on the side of this town. When, therefore, he considered the importance and situation of the place, and remembered that a Representative had been granted to Gateshead, he saw abundant reason to give to Sculcoates the same privilege. Every argument urged in favour of the former applied equally to the latter. It had been said, that Gateshead was in a different county from Newcastle; that it had a separate jurisdiction; that it was daily increasing—all these circumstances were precisely similar at Sculcoates. With regard to population, it was triumphantly said, Gateshead had 12,000 people. To this he should only answer—Sculcoates had 14,000. Independent, however, of all these favourable considerations, there was one, which had been relied upon as unanswerable, to prove, in the case of Sudbury, that the borough of that name, and the hamlet, were separate; and that was, the existence of two separate paving Acts for the two places. That was also the case with the borough of Hull, and the town of Sculcoates. This was, however, a stronger case altogether than that of Sud- 1051 bury. He had turned over the Statutes, and found two distinct Acts, passed within a short period of each other, one relative to the paving and lighting of the town of Kingston-upon-Hull, in the county of Hull; the other, for paving and lighting the town of Sculcoates, in the county of York. When the noble Lord was informed of this case, it would, no doubt, change his opinion, for here they had the fact of difference of county assigned as a reason for the different Acts.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the argument of the hon. Member would not produce the effect upon him which he seemed to anticipate. There was no parallel between this case and that of Sudbury; and the opinion he had delivered when that case was under consideration, had been confirmed by all that he had since heard. He had received a letter from a professional gentleman, who had been engaged in a suit respecting some property which was situated both in Sudbury and the hamlet of Ballingdon; and he stated, there was a legal decision which determined that the hamlet was entirely distinct from the borough. With regard to the question before the Committee, it had been admitted by the hon. Member, that Sculcoates and Hull were so united, that the latter could not further increase from the position of the former. This argument, if it proved any thing, could only prove the intimate connexion between the two places. The situation of Gateshead, as had been before observed, was entirely different, for a large river flowed between that place and Newcastle. Again, there was no difficulty, from the situation of Gateshead, to prevent Newcastle from increasing greatly. There was a complete separation in one case, and only an imaginary line in the other. Hull and Sculcoates could only in reality be considered as one town, although there might be a partial separation, from the position of the docks; and, for the purpose of Representation, they should be perfectly justified in considering them as one. It had been stated, that the merchants and shipowners of Hull resided generally in Sculcoates, and that Hull was for the most part occupied by persons engaged in the business of the port; and it had been said, that the same was also the case with Gateshead. This was met by the hon. member for Durham declaring, that no one would live in Gateshead, who could possibly live in the beautiful town of Newcastle. He 1052 must confess, he had heard no reasons urged that would induce him to adopt the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. He wished further to observe, that Ministers had considered, under very different aspects, the questions of disfranchisement and enfranchisement. In the latter case, they had looked out for interests which did not appear adequately represented, and where a competent constituency could be obtained; while, in the former case, their object had been, to get rid of inconsiderable places, which at present returned Members. After the decisions with regard to Dorchester and Guildford, it would not have been just or expedient to give way in the case of Sudbury, as that town was evidently not better entitled to Representation than they were. He had certainly, at first, entertained some doubts with respect to Sudbury, but afterwards, on investigating the evidence, these doubts were wholly removed.
said, the noble Lord had given no reason why Newcastle and its suburb should have three Members, while Hull was only to have two. He continued to think, and would declare, that the rules laid down as applicable to Gateshead were wholly departed from in the case of Sculcoates. The fact, that the latter place must evidently increase in size and importance, with the increase of the trade of the port of Hull, was an additional argument in its favour, particularly when coupled with the circumstance, that the place was principally occupied by the more respectable classes, and which was directly at variance with Gateshead, and very much to the advantage of Sculcoates. It had been stated by the hon. member for Durham, and quoted by the noble Lord, that no person would stay at that place, who could live in the neighbouring town of Newcastle.
§ Lord Althorp
would again state, in reply to the right hon. Gentleman, that Newcastle and Gateshead were entirely independent of each other, while Hull and Sculcoates must necessarily be united from their situation.
An Hon. Member
said, he had some local knowledge of all the places in question, and he should say, that Hull and Sculcoates were situated, in relation to each other, as London and Westminster, while Gateshead and Newcastle might be compared to Southwark and London.
was happy to hear the distinctions drawn by the hon. Member. 1053 Newcastle and Gateshead, being like London and Southwark, were to have separate Members, and as Hull and Sculcoates were similar to London and Westminster, they ought, by the same rule, also to have separate Members. He therefore looked for the support of the hon. Member.
said, that Sculcoates and Hull were, practically speaking, the same place, although situated in different counties nominally, for the county of Hull was within the county of York. If the paving Acts were relied on on one side, he must, as a set-off, plead the Dispensary which was common to both, on the other.
§ Lord Morpeth
would not have opposed Sculcoates having a separate Member, had it been originally proposed in the Bill, but he thought that place would be adequately represented by being united with Hull. As a Yorkshireman, he should certainly agree to any proposed increase of Members for that county; but, if his opinion on the question before them was asked, he should say, there was not a sufficient distinction and separation between the two places to entitle Sculcoates to a Member. He had reason to believe, there was not a very strong feeling in the place on this subject, for he had addressed a large assembly there, who were generally in favour of the Reform Bill, and he had heard not a word on the subject of a separate Representative. The right hon. Gentleman had himself furnished the strongest argument against his own proposition, when he declared he had never heard of the name of Sculcoates, until this Bill had been brought forward.
§ Mr. Wrangham
said, that Gateshead was situated in Durham, which had been highly favoured by this measure, while the county of York had received a very small addition to the number of its Representatives. As a matter of grace, therefore, the noble Lord might yield in the case of Sculcoates.
§ Question agreed to.
§ The next proposition was, "That Penryn and Falmouth stand part of schedule E."
§ Mr. Freshfield
said, that Ministers proposed to add Falmouth to Penryn, an arrangement which was by no means beneficial to his constituents. His object, therefore, in rising, was, to have Penryn separated from Falmouth. The noble Lord, in proposing this union, assigned as a reason for it, that the two towns were 1054 prosperous and flourishing. Such certainly was the fact; but he thought, that that circumstance, instead of calling for the union of the two places, rather demanded that each should have the right of returning Representatives. Within the last century, the number of voters for Penryn had risen from fifty or sixty to near 500; they were mostly freeholders, and he believed, that no body of men exercised the elective franchise more honestly. The object of the noble Lord was, to procure a good and efficient constituency, and, therefore, he proposed granting the franchise to all 10l. householders. He, however, was inclined to think, that the noble Lord never would, by any plan, create a better constituency than that which now existed in Penryn, and which consisted chiefly of scot and lot voters. It should be observed, that there was a very considerable rivalry between Penryn and Falmouth, and the union of the two places would, of necessity, give the preponderance to Falmouth, and the whole would be under the influence of Government.—A very great hardship was also likely to be inflicted on Penryn, under the 24th section of the Bill. By that section, the Commissioners appointed to mark out the electoral boundaries, were imperatively directed to annex adjoining townships, &c., to cities or boroughs containing fewer than 300 houses, &c., rated at 10l. Now, he doubted very much whether Penryn and Falmouth contained so many; and, if such were the fact, the Commissioners would be obliged to have recourse to the adjoining district. In the column opposite to Penryn, he found Falmouth simply mentioned. Now that, he conceived, was not a definition sufficiently clear and explicit. In fact, it might let in the whole rural population of the district of Falmouth. As they were both flourishing towns, he thought that they ought respectively to return Members. He should, therefore, move, "That the borough of Penryn do continue to send two Members to Parliament, to be elected by resident freeholders, and inhabitant householders paying scot and lot;" and, at the proper time, he should propose, that Falmouth should also enjoy the right of sending Members to Parliament.
§ The amendment having been put,
§ Lord Althorp
said, the question to be considered was, whether it was advisable 1055 to give Parliamentary Representatives to both these places. Ministers had not deemed it necessary to do so, and had taken the present course, in obedience to the peculiar circumstances of the case. If they had acted otherwise, and adhered to the rule of population, which they had laid down, Penryn could have sent but one Member to Parliament, but by uniting it with Falmouth, two Members would be returned. The hon. Member had spoken of the great respectability and purity of the electors of Penryn, but he must recollect a case relative to that borough, where the hon. Member was agent, before a Committee of that House, which disclosed facts that did not bear out the hon. Member's statement. With respect to what the hon. Member had said on the subject of seeking for a constituency in the neighbouring districts, the fear which he had expressed on that point was groundless, because he was quite certain, that more than 300 houses of 10l. rent would be found in the two places.
§ Mr. Charles Stewart
did not rise to oppose the motion before the Committee, because he confessed, according to the line of population laid down by his Majesty's Ministers, that the borough of Penryn would not be entitled to return, exclusively, two Members to this House; still he must protest, in the name of his constituents, against any measure that would deprive them of that share in the Representation of the country, which they had possessed for so many centuries. There could be no doubt, that the town of Falmouth, which was to be joined to Penryn, was a most important sea-port—that it contained a large, intelligent, and highly respectable inhabitancy; and, from its being our most western port, and possessing a capacious harbour, and being an important packet-station, it was as fully entitled as any place in this country, to be directly represented in this House; and he (Mr. Stewart) could only regret, that that Representation should be created at the expense of his constituents; for, although Penryn, for some years to come, would be enabled to assert its share in the joint Representation of the towns, yet the right of returning Members would be eventually merged (after the extinction of the present scot and lot voters) in Falmouth, which would contain upwards of 500 electoral houses; whereas the borough of Penryn would remain with only 150 1056 houses of that denomination. As the noble Lord opposite had made some remarks on the voters of Penryn, he should be doing injustice to his own feelings, were he not to state, that, having contested the borough on two occasions, the last election being one of the most severe that had taken place in this kingdom, and having at these periods had an opportunity of judging minutely of the conduct of the voters, he felt himself justified in stating, that the electors of Penryn were as pure and incorrupt as the voters in any other open town in this country. As had been justly stated by his hon. colleague, Penryn was neither a decayed nor a decaying place—its population, including; the parish, was nearly 5,000—it contained a number of resident gentry—many respectable professional men, and merchants, carrying on considerable trade, and the generality of the voters were as intelligent and as well-informed as any class of voters in this country; and this led him to remark, that he hoped his Majesty's Ministers would reduce the right of voting in the towns of the West of England, for he could assure them, that the 3l. and 4l. householders in those districts, were of the same rank of life, equally intelligent, and as fully qualified to exercise the elective franchise, as the 10l. householders in the North of England. He (Mr. Stewart) was inclined to think, that it would be a measure of less danger to grant the elective franchise to all inhabitant householders, paying scot and lot, than to the 10l. householders, for he believed, that the influence of property would be felt much more by the lowest classes of voters, than by the 10l. householders; and in this he was borne out by what had occurred in Ireland, where the landlords had found, that the extinction of the 40s. freeholders had not increased, but much diminished, their influence. In conclusion, he would only remark, that his lot had been much happier than that of many hon. Members, who had been obliged to deplore the extinction of their boroughs. He had to celebrate the union of two important towns, and although he had forbidden the banns, and had done all in his power to prevent the marriage, still, if it must take place, he trusted it would prove for the mutual advantage of both parties, and that the first fruits of the union would be, their returning him to the House as one of their Representatives.
§ Sir Charles Lemon
resided within two or three miles of both places, and, therefore, could pretend to some local knowledge of them. The borough of Penryn, including the whole of the parish in which it stands, had a population of upwards of 4,000. The population of Falmouth was rather greater than that of Penryn, so that probably the joint amount would be nearly 10,000. The number of houses rated at 10l. in the borough of Penryn was 374, and the number of the same rate in the important town of Falmouth, and the parish of Budock, was upwards of 500. Part of both the towns of Falmouth and Penryn, stood in the parish of Budock. He was, therefore, of opinion, from all these circumstances, that the union of these towns for the purpose of Representation, was a most desirable arrangement. These were both thriving towns and ports, increasing in importance, and he had no doubt their union would be attended with beneficial results.
Mr. Robert Gordon
complained, that Ministers, in this instance, as in some others, had departed from their own rule; for, as Penryn had a population of more than 2,000, it ought to have been placed in schedule B, and be entitled to one Member only. He had heard no satisfactory reason assigned for departing from the rule in this case. He had voted against Ministers, whenever he found them abandoning the course they had chalked out for themselves, particularly with regard to Downton and Saltash, which were decided directly contrary to their own principles. When places were thus capriciously disposed of, he considered he had a right, as a firm supporter of Reform, to demand what were the grounds of exception.
§ Lord Althorp
said, it was very true, that the population of Penryn amounted only to 2,933 persons, and, therefore, was only entitled to send one Member to Parliament. The cause of the exception in this case was, that the large town of Falmouth was in its immediate, neighbourhood. Ministers thought, that Falmouth and Deal had a fair right to send Representatives to that House. Falmouth was near Penryn, and Deal was near Sandwich; and, in each case, it was deemed proper to unite the two places, and to give them Representatives.
§ Mr. Freshfield
was aware, that Penryn had a bad name, and as that circumstance 1058 had been alluded to by the noble Lord, he trusted he might be indulged with a few words in reply. Penryn had formerly been a close borough: by the perseverance and independence of the electors, however, the place had been opened, and the influence which had prevailed had been destroyed. The struggle was of some continuance, and during its existence, much local party feeling was excited, and measures of attack and defence were resorted to, or at least imputed. Charges were met by recrimination, and the disputes were frequently brought under the notice of the House; so that much prejudice was generally entertained against, the borough. The noble Lord had referred to the investigation after the general election of 1826; he would, therefore, beg to remind him, that the person whose conduct caused that inquiry, was a stranger in Penryn, a regular electioneering agent, who might, with equal propriety, have practised his mischievous schemes upon any other town in the kingdom. It must not, however, be forgotten, that when the House of Commons sent up a bill of disfranchisement to the other House, the Peers found not the slightest reason for the imputation sought to be fixed upon the great body of electors. He had asserted nothing, which, upon his honour, he did not believe, respecting the character and conduct of the electors, and he must, therefore, conclude by repeating, that no transactions had ever been proved against Penryn, which might not, with equal propriety, be charged against every open borough in the kingdom.
§ Amendment negatived, and the original question carried.
§ The next question was, "that Portsmouth and Portsea stand part of schedule E."
§ Mr. Croker
said, if he could have seen that the Government acted upon their own principles, he would not have now made a single observation. But in that he was disappointed. The borough of Portsmouth had originally Members to represent it, and he did not see why it was now to be united with Portsea. The Arsenals of Portsmouth, and Plymouth, were places of great importance; but they were also worthy of special consideration as constituent bodies from other circumstances. It was obvious, that these places must have increased in size, and extended themselves, as the public establishments 1059 had increased, and the inhabitants had multiplied beyond the capabilities of the ancient towns to contain them. This was the case in both of these great naval Arsenals; but the borough of Plymouth was to retain its own Members, and the place which had recently received the name of Devonport, where the dock-yard was situated, and the adjacent parish of Stoke Damerel, and the neighbouring district called Stonehouse, where also a town had grown up, were to be united into a new borough, and to have two Members. With respect to Portsmouth, that town had extended itself into the parish of Portsea, where a large town of the same name had also grown up, but Ministers declined to grant additional Members to Portsea, as they had given to Devonport. They proposed to unite the two Portsmouth towns, and give them only two Members between them. The population of Plymouth, including Stoke Damerel, Stonehouse and Devonport, amounted to 61,000, for which four Members were to be returned. Now Portsmouth, including Portsea, Alverstoke, and Gosport, had a population of 57,000, and were only to return two Members. He could not understand why this distinction was made. He believed, however, that the Government suspected, that its influence might not be so powerful at Plymouth as at Portsmouth, and therefore to counterbalance any opposition from independent Plymouth, they provided themselves with two Members from Devonport, where the Government interest must be predominant. No doubt the power of the Government would be great in the naval arsenals; he did not believe its influence could be eradicated, nor was he quixotic enough to attempt to do so: he knew it would necessarily exist, so long as the arsenals were kept up. He did not, therefore, complain of the two additional Members given to the arsenal at Plymouth, but he said they ought to give the same privileges to Portsmouth. The Bill, however, included Portsea with Portsmouth, and thus threw into the latter a large increase of voters, but gave it no additional Representatives. He would propose to leave Portsmouth two Members to be elected by the new constituency of that large and important town, to include with Portsea, the parishes of Alverstoke and Gosport, situated on the opposite side of the harbour, and which places contained a portion of the naval establishments, and give 1060 these places, which were situated on the same harbour, close to each other, and possessing common interests, two additional Representatives. By the proposed arrangement under the Bill, Portsmouth would be completely sluiced by Portsea. It was true, the latter was under the magisterial jurisdiction of the former, but, if their interests ever became different, the increase of Portsea would wholly eclipse the influence of Portsmouth, and this, the parent town, would be infinitely worse represented than at present. He would conclude by saying, that this Bill was both anomalous and unjust. The 10l. franchise in Cornwall and Middlesex could not be fairly assimilated. In the latter it would almost amount to Universal Suffrage, while in remote districts, the qualification would be very high. Two remarkable illustrations of the absurdity of the proposed franchise might be Found in Cornwall and Wiltshire, which could hardly, on the 10l. principle, muster, in the entire counties, a sufficient constituency to complete their boroughs, though both possessed a great number of respectable inhabitants in the towns. Some regulation of the franchise ought to take place, by which people of a similar rank of life, both in Cornwall and Middlesex, should enjoy the same privileges. He did not mean to assert, that this argument applied particularly to the case before them. But it was suggested to him, by information which he had received, that the 10l. franchise would operate very differently in Portsmouth and Plymouth, and that the constituency, which might be thus created for Portsmouth, would be, on the 10l. principle, more numerous than that afforded by the more numerous population of Plymouth; and he was satisfied, that a constituency could be obtained at Portsmouth, Portsea, and Gosport, in every respect equal to that at Plymouth, Devonport, and Stonehouse, which latter were to return twice as many Members as the former.
§ Lord Althorp
begged to reply in a few words to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, relating to the franchise, which he had asserted would be really very unequal, although nominally of the same money value; he admitted this, but thought that was no disparagement; on the contrary, he considered it as an advantage, that a line chosen by a simple rule, nominally equal all over the kingdom, did, in point of fact, give variety. 1061 When they came to the clause respecting the franchise, he should be ready to defend it because it had those effects which the right hon. Gentleman imputed to it as a fault. With respect to the case before them, the number of voters at Portsmouth at present, did not, he believed, exceed thirty, and, therefore, admitting they were doing wrong by extending the franchise, the inhabitants of Portsmouth did not suffer, the great majority of whom had no votes at all. The right hon. Gentleman must be well acquainted with all these places, so that he felt no surprise at his anxiety to give Gosport a share of the Representation. He should have made no objection to that, had Gosport come in their way, but he should certainly not go across the harbour of Portsmouth to find it. Gosport was separated from the other towns of Portsmouth and Portsea, which were most intimately united and connected by the harbour. If the whole of the case of these two great naval arsenals were considered, the Ministers could not be accused of partiality, for Portsmouth had oftener returned Members connected with the party to which he was attached than Plymouth. On the whole, therefore, he continued to maintain the propriety of the arrangement, which he was determined to support.
§ Mr. Croker
meant to assert, that it was improper and absurd, not to say fraudulent, to profess to establish an equal scale of qualification, but to apply the apparently equal scale in such a way as to create the most unequal results. A town might be considerable in the west of England, with a small number of houses rated at 10l., whilst a place near London would be insignificant, though it had many such houses. Thus Dorchester, Guildford, and other towns, would be deprived of a part of their franchise, whilst it would be given to other places, really less important, merely because they were more densely peopled, and house-rent was, of course, high. As to Gosport, his only object in wishing to include that place was, because Stonehouse had been introduced into the Plymouth part of the Bill, and he wished, that equal justice might be dealt to all; but the noble Lord had not used the strongest argument in his own favour: he might have at once overthrown all the arguments in favour of Gosport, by asserting in one word, that Gosport was the Gateshead of Portsmouth.
§ Question agreed to.
§ The next question was "that Rochester, with Chatham and Stroud, in the county of Kent, stand part of schedule E."
said, he must enter his most serious protest against this combination of places. Subscribing as he did to the principles that had been generally pursued in the conduct of this Bill, he thought the facts of the present case were not correctly understood. There was no necessity whatever for joining Chatham and Stroud with Rochester. The returns of the population of that place, and of the number of houses, was most incorrect. Rochester was set down as containing 156 houses of 10l. a-year rent; whereas it actually contained 1,069 houses of that value. Its population in 1821, was 9,309, and it now contained 9,890, and the total number of houses was 1,862. The question was, whether this was a sufficient number to furnish an effective constituency, without the addition of the neighbouring places of Chatham and Stroud. Of the latter, he would say nothing, because it was a small place, and not liable to the same objections as Chatham. The population of Chatham alone amounted to 16,000, and it contained 1,506 10l. houses. He must protest against deluging the 1,000 voters of Rochester with such a constituency as this; which would have the effect of disfranchising Rochester altogether. There was, moreover, much jealousy between Chatham and Rochester, as had been proved at a late public meeting. They might be joined, but could never form a happy couple, even with the addition of a "friend to the family" named Stroud. The noble Lord had just stated, that he had connected Portsmouth with Portsea, partly because it had a small constituency, and was a close borough, and that the same measure was not dealt to Plymouth, because that place and Devonport were separate, and could each furnish a respectable constituency. He only asked him to apply the same principles to Chatham and Rochester. Surely the noble Lord would not say, this place was added because a portion of the High Street of the former was within the limits of the liberty of the latter? Upon the same rule, Guildford and Dorchester would have been saved; but having refused to admit those instances, he would surely not avail himself of a similar union to support a precisely reverse case. 1063 He must further inquire, if Chatham was to be added to Rochester, because they were a little connected at one end, why Gillingham, which intersected Chatham in all manner of ways at the other, and contained 6,000 inhabitants, was not to be joined to it? He could not suffer injustice to be committed to the ancient city which had returned him free and independent, without exclaiming against it. He should certainly oppose the proposition now before them, and take the sense of the Committee upon it.
§ Lord Althorp
confessed, that this was a case which had struck him as one of great difficulty, but that, when he came to consider the situation of the two towns, he had not been able to see how they could be separated. The city of Rochester, properly so called, was not very extensive; but, if they took the city and the liberties of Rochester together, they made up a very respectable constituency. A part of the liberties of Rochester, however, ran into Chatham, so that, if it had been resolved that both Chatham and Rochester should send Members, there would have been great difficulty in distinguishing, for the purpose of elections, the limits of the liberties of Rochester. The hon. Gentleman had said, that the effect of the present arrangement would be, to take away the Representation of Rochester altogether. He could not see how such an effect could be produced by the arrangement. He believed that there were about 1,100 10l. houses in Stroud and Rochester, and about 1,500 in Chatham; and he could not see how those who had more than two-fifths of the votes would be deprived of all weight in the election of Members. From what he knew of Rochester, it was one of the last towns he should wish to deprive of its rights, but on the other hand, Chatham was a place fully entitled to Representation. But in arguing questions like the present, Gentlemen always assumed, that the inhabitants of towns would act together in a body. This, however, was very improbable, for the same causes which led at present to differences of opinion among the electors of one town, must necessarily produce the same difference among the electors of any two towns that might happen to be joined for the purpose of returning Members. Under such circumstances, he saw no objection to the union of these places.
said, that this proceeding 1064 was robbing Rochester to give to Chatham. He protested against the noble Lord treating Rochester as a new borough. Its ancient privilege was, to return two Members, and it in no wise derived this from the bounty of his Majesty's Government. Chatham was the creation of the Dock Yard, and long before a house stood there, Rochester had returned Members to Parliament. He was convinced, that if this arrangement were carried into effect, the electors of Chatham would act in a body, and return their own Member in spite of Rochester. If Chatham was admitted, they must also admit Gillingham, for a part of Chatham was situated in that parish. Even the dock-yard was in it. The liberties of Rochester had been clearly distinguished for many years past, for all purposes which regarded the freemen of Rochester, and he thought that there could be no difficulty in preserving the distinction when they came to deal with 10l. houses, There was also no community of interest between the two places, and they would return a very different description of Representatives. No one objected to Chatham returning Members, and the noble Lord might give Members to it if he pleased, but he had no right to rob Rochester for the purpose of giving Representation to Chatham. The noble Lord had a bank of his own, of thirty Members, which he might draw upon for this purpose. It had been said by the Gentlemen opposite, that it was wrong to swamp Gateshead in Newcastle. Then let him ask them, if it was not equally improper to swamp Rochester in Chatham and Stroud? The electors of Rochester were at present independent, whereas the interest of Government in Chatham was very great. If, therefore, the noble Lord wished to get rid of improper influence, and not to create nomination boroughs, let the noble Lord abandon his proposition for adding Chatham to Rochester. He should, therefore, most cordially join in supporting the proposition of his hon. friend, and endeavour to preserve for Rochester those rights which it had enjoyed for so many centuries, and had never made an improper use of.
§ Lord Althorp
had never said that there was any difficulty in defining the liberties of Rochester, as Rochester was at present situated. What he had said was this—namely, that if Chatham and Rochester were each to return Members separately, 1065 then, as the liberties of Rochester ran into Chatham, there would be a difficulty in deciding, whether a particular house was in Chatham or in Rochester. As to what the noble Lord had said about the interest of Government in Chatham—surely, if what the noble Lord had said was correct, they ought not to give separate Members to Chatham. On the contrary, the best, way of getting rid of that influence would be, to add Chatham to Rochester, which was admitted to be independent of all such control. He confessed, that this arrangement was not according to his wish, but that it was the best which he and his colleagues had been able to devise under all the circumstances of the case.
repeated, that the noble Lord had a bank of his own of thirty Members, and that it was very unfair for him to make a run upon the banks of others. The part of Chatham which ran into the liberties of Rochester, did not exceed sixty yards.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
was surprised to hear it asserted, that there could be any difficulty in separating Chatham from Rochester. The noble Lord had never funnel any difficulty in ascertaining the limits of flourishing and respectable towns, and which could by no means be considered as nomination boroughs, when he had resolved to disfranchise them. In such cases, a little ditch or a stream, which a child could step over, was quite a sufficient boundary. But now the noble Lord saw great difficulty in separating places that had always been distinct from each other. He had heard charges of special pleading made against the opposers of the noble Lord's Bill, but he was sure that argument, about the difficulty of separating those places, was no more than special pleading—there was no sense in it. He thought that the noble Lord ought to give the Committee some reason for the distinction which he made, between the difficulty of separating places for the purpose of disfranchisement, and the difficulty of separation in cases of enfranchisement. When ancient rights were to be destroyed, if separation suited the object of the noble Lord, there was then no difficulty; he could always draw a notional line across a town, and cut off a portion of its population. But when the noble Lord wished to bring in a plan for enfranchisement, difficulties of separation which had never been known before, were suddenly discovered, 1066 and pronounced to be insuperable. Most liberal was the noble Lord in giving in such cases, and was he dealing with his own property, his generosity could not be too much extolled. But as, unfortunately, they were dealing with the rights of the people of England, and were disposing of the privileges of the most ancient and flourishing towns, which had always exercised them most constitutionally, they ought to be rather more cautious than the noble Lord wished them to be. He believed no place had returned its Members more honourably than Rochester, although he had not, agreed with the politics of its Representatives. Although the liberty of Rochester did certainly run into Chatham, yet the town of Rochester was in no way to be confounded with Chatham, and no difficulty in distinguishing them had ever been found on the spot.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the principle upon which the Bill proceeded with respect to disfranchisement, was to take the Representation from those boroughs in which the number of voters were so few as to render them either corrupt or subject to nomination, or which were so inconsiderable as to be sufficiently represented by one Member. He denied that he had resorted to special pleading; but he thought that term might not inaptly be applied, when every sort of contrivance was resorted to, to get this corner of one parish, and that corner of another into a borough, which, according to the rule laid down by the Bill, could not justly be allowed to return the same number of Members as formerly. In the cases of such boroughs, the Committee had agreed to a strict rule, by which they were to be decided. But the same rule did not apply to cases of enfranchisement, nor was there any reason that it should be applied to them. The object of the enfranchising part of the Bill was, to give Members to important towns, which had the most just claims to be represented. With respect to Rochester, he admitted, that there would be no difficulty, if it were not intended to give Chatham a share in the Representation; but, as Chatham was to be represented, then it became a matter of great, difficulty to separate the constituency of that place from that of Rochester.
said, the liberties of Rochester extended only along one side of one street in Chatham; there could not be the slightest difficulty in distinguishing where 1067 one constituency ended, and the other began.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
perfectly agreed with the noble Lord (Lord Althorp), that there ought to be a different rule in disfranchising and enfranchising; but then he totally differed from the noble Lord as to the nature of that rule. He thought, that in disfranchising places of a right which they had long enjoyed, the rule ought to be applied most liberally, and that any place that could be added to them—any corner or portion of a district, if the noble Lord pleased—ought to be added to them, to save them from disfranchisement. The contrary plan, however, had been adopted by the Ministers. The most trifling, the most contemptible, the most insignificant, the most imaginary distinctions had been laid down in order to compass the work of disfranchisement. One side of a street had been taken, and the road-way between it, and the other side had been considered a boundary sufficient to prevent the unhappy borough from being saved by the population on the other side. This was what his side of the House complained of. As to Dorchester, Guildford, Clitheroe, and other towns, with respect to them a rule was laid down, which was strictly to be adhered to; but when a town was to be enfranchised, at the expense of a neighbouring ancient, large and populous city, more considerable than many boroughs which had been left untouched, and not supposed to be under any improper influence, the electors of which had the strongest right to retain their franchise—when such an object was to be compassed, all ancient and well-known boundaries were broken through. Even if the line of separation was not distinct, what was to prevent the roving Commission which was contemplated, from separating these two towns? How were the limits of Westminster and Marylebone, and all the new constituencies in the vicinity of the metropolis, to be ascertained? In whatever manner these were to be settled, the same rule could be applied to ascertain the exact boundaries of Rochester and Chatham. But it appeared to him, the authors of this clause acted upon the reverse of what was right. Where they were strict, they ought to be lax, and where they were lax, they ought to be strict. In ancient walled towns, the population had diminished generally, for traders had erected their dwellings outside the walls, 1068 when there was no necessity to resort to them for a security, for the convenience of greater space, and thus had many ancient boroughs overflowed their original limits; yet in such cases, they had determined the new erections should not save the old borough from being disfranchised. Now, however, when an ancient city had kept up its population and wealth, it was to be deprived also of its franchise, by the abandonment of the principle they had hitherto acted upon. He could by no means conceive why Chatham should not have a separate Representative.
would concede to the right hon. Gentleman, that the rules of enfranchisement and of disfranchisement ought to be of the character, and ought to be applied, in the manner which the right hon. Gentleman had laid down, if the places which had been selected for disfranchisement and for enfranchisement were, cœteris paribus, similarly circumstanced. The right hon. Gentleman, however, was sufficiently acute to perceive that the difference between the two classes of places was very great. The rule which had been laid down was, that all places which had only 4,000 inhabitants should not exercise a greater right than their amount of population fairly entitled them to exercise; and this rule had been strictly enforced, in order to guard against the admission of any extraneous population, which might nominally, though it would not really, swell the constituency of such places. The object of the Government had been, to prevent inconsiderable places enjoying the same share of Representation as large and populous towns; and further, having thus placed at their disposal a certain number of seats, to give them to as extensive populations as, consistent with their duty, they could select. In pursuance of this object, the Government had not taken two small places, which, added together, might make up a respectable constituency; but they had selected such large and populous places, that it was not necessary for them to proceed upon so nice a rule as they had thought it necessary to enforce in the case of places of 4,000 inhabitants. This, he said, was not necessary; because, in the places they had selected, a difference of 1,000 or 2,000 was not a matter of any consequence, those places being, by this mode of selection, far more populous than, as was admitted, they need be, according 1069 to the rules of disfranchisement. There was considerable difficulty in saying which was Rochester, and which was Chatham. That difficulty did not exist in ascertaining who was entitled to vote for Rochester, but in actually separating the two places. By joining Chatham to it, which was justified by their contiguity, the identity of their interests, and the difficulty of distinguishing their limits, a sufficiently independent, and certainly not over numerous, constituency would be obtained. But hon. Gentlemen said, Government would have great influence in Chatham; and, in the same breath, say, give Chatham a Member to itself. If Government would have an undue influence over the voters of that place, this was an additional reason for joining that place to Rochester, instead of giving it a separate Representation.
§ Sir C. Wetherell
said, that if he had known that this case was coming on tonight, he should have moved, that the Chairman, pro hac vice, do leave the Chair. He need hardly say, that he should not have moved this out of any disrespect to the Chairman—he should have made this preliminary motion because, by the Chairman remaining in the Chair, Rochester lost a most able advocate. However, on the report being brought up, the Chairman would have an opportunity of moving—as he was sure the Chairman would move—that Rochester be left as Rochester now was. Now, this case of Rochester and Chatham was one of those cases which, the more he had studied it, the more confused he became. Yes; but it was the Government that had confused him. It was true, that when they were creating a new borough, they might act on a different principle from that on which they were acting when they were avowedly disfranchising, but still there ought to be some common sense in the new principle. When they had the case of Fowey before them, one part of which was separated from the other by a river, it being a place with a Custom House collecting duties to the amount of 15,000l. a year, they were told, the contiguous port of Fowey could not be added to it, to save it from disfranchisement. In like manner, in the cases of Durham, Bridport, Guildford, and Dorchester, it was resolved not to take advantage of the nearest contiguity; but now they were to strain every nerve to unite places which naturally ought to be If the political cranium of the 1070 framers of this Bill were dissected by a skilful phrenologist, he had no doubt that the phrenologist would say, that the organ of destructiveness was not only fully developed, but that it protruded marvellously. The organ of destructiveness would only be second in size to the organ of inconsistency. The Ministers, for the sake of Republicanism and the democratic right of voting, could make their arms grow fifteen miles long, in order to lay hold upon a parish; but the organic and systematic destructiveness which gave them this length of arm in such cases, crippled them so much that they could not reach to the end of the space which really constituted a town, when, by so reaching, they could save that town from disfranchisement. No; the principle of destruction and of spoliation was the only principle in which the Ministers were consistent. This case had been so fully discussed, that he would trouble the Committee with no observations upon it. He could only say, that the conduct of that House had given great disgust to the people of Kent, for the manner in which the House had dealt with the Kentish boroughs. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland had told them, that the Government had not been so nice in their rules of enfranchisement as in their rules of disfranchisement. This was quite true; but what was the object of it? The object of it was, to get seats for the purpose of handing them over to their democratic population. The object of Ministers was, to violate rights which had existed for centuries; rights communicated by Charter, and enjoyed by places, the conduct of which had, for ages, been wholly unimpeached. But the eyes of the people of England were opening, and they were ridiculing the absurdities of this Bill.
§ Mr. Hodges
said, that he felt it necessary to say a word or two upon an observation of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that there was great disgust in the county of Kent at the manner in which the House had dealt with this Bill.
§ Mr. Hodges
continued.—Well, the hon. and learned Gentleman was quite right, He was sorry to say, that in the county of Kent considerable disgust had arisen in consequence of the proceedings on this Bill. Yes—considerable disgust—but it 1071 was disgust at the delay which had taken place in the progress of the Bill. The people would never change their mind on the subject of Reform, or if they did, it would be replaced by a desire for a Republic, and then adieu to the Constitutional Reform, which there was now a hope of effecting. With regard to the subject now under consideration, he begged to state, that he had a petition from the people of Chatham, which he was sorry not to have had an opportunity of presenting, stating, that they had no desire for separate Representation, and deprecating all alterations in the Bill.
§ Lord Eliot
observed, that the difficulty of dividing Chatham and Rochester might be overcome by a little of that ingenuity which had been displayed by the other side in the discussion of the different cases in schedule B. If the territorial limits of Rochester had been ascertained, as was stated, where could be the difficulty? Nor could there be any difficulty as to Chatham. If Rochester was to have two Representatives on account of its wealth and property, and they were told it contained 1,000 10l. householders, which was 700 more than had preserved the rights of other places, why should not Chatham have one? The noble Lord had said, that it would be a nomination borough, under the influence of Government. But if that was the objection, surely it would be much more so to return two Members, as it would, in fact, under this Bill. He knew nothing of the jealousies prevailing between the two towns, but thought the inhabitants of Rochester the best judges of the matter, and they heard from them, that animosities and rivalry did exist between them.
said, that the people of Rochester and Chatham were so anxious for the success of the Bill, that he would undertake to say, they would rather give up any wishes of their own than see its course impeded, but the interests of Rochester were so different from those of Chatham as to make a separate Member essential.
begged to observe, that he had not proposed to give a separate Member to Chatham, as seemed to be implied by the speech of the noble Lord; he had only suggested a way of doing so without committing an injustice on Rochester.
§ Mr. Hunt
said, that, disguise it how they might, the common sense of the question before the House was this— 1072 whether they should not only give two nomination Members to the Government, but also, whether they should take away two independent Members from Rochester? He had no objection to giving Chatham two Members, but he had the strongest objections to swamping Rochester by means of Chatham, and as the first had only 1,000 voters, and the last 1,500, that would be the inevitable result of uniting them. During the whole progress of the measure, he had not noticed anything so unjust as depriving Rochester of its Members. No one could dispute, that the Government possessed great influence in Chatham, and perhaps some future Ministry might use it improperly; but of that he did not complain so much as taking away two independent Members from Rochester. He had frequently heard the noble Lord, the member for Northamptonshire (Lord Milton), boast of his independence, he should be glad to see him exert it now. Nothing could be easier than to ascertain the boundaries of the two places; the Commissioners would have nothing further to do than to inquire from the parish Officers of the two towns. The Ministers could not conceal from the people of England, that they were making this measure a means of gross partiality and injustice. After seeing what had been done with Gateshead and other places, he could not as an independent Member of that House, avoid giving his vote against the Government, should it persist in uniting Chatham to Rochester.
§ Mr. Croker
said, that the hon. member for Maidstone had stated a fact which was decisive of the question. He had said, that the people of Chatham, so far from wishing to be erected into a separate borough, and to have one Representative of their own, were so much attached to the Bill, that they would rather remain as it left them, than impede its progress by any alteration. To be sure they would; and he would tell the hon. Member why—because they knew full well, that the Bill, as it stood, would leave them with the power of sending the two Members into Parliament instead of one. The two nominal representatives of Rochester would be really elected by Chatham. This was the secret of the self-denial of Chatham. Chatham knew, that with its 1,500 voters, it could beat down the 1,000 voters of Rochester even now, and, that while Rochester could not increase its numbers, 1073 Chatham, Stroud, and Brompton, would be daily advancing their majority. Now he was not prepared to accept the interested generosity and affected forbearance of the people of Chatham. They knew their own interests best, and that they should not be much hurt by their magnanimity upon this occasion. But it was because he would not give them two Members at the expense of their neighbours, that he declined their voluntary sacrifice. He was willing to give them one honest Member of their own, but he would not assist them in gaining fraudulent possession of the two Members for Rochester.
said, that, if the right hon. Gentleman questioned the disinterestedness of Chatham, what did he say to the statement of the same hon. Member, that Rochester was also desirous that the Bill should not be altered?
§ Mr. Croker
said, that, if the right hon. Secretary had been earlier in his place, he would have heard a distinct statement from one of the hon. members for Rochester, and a supporter of the Bill, that the people of Rochester, considering their rights destroyed by this part of it, were strongly opposed to the union with Chatham.
said, he was sure the hon. member for Maidstone had spoken of the wishes of the people of Rochester without any recent communication with them. He could satisfy the hon. Member by documents in his possession, that the parties to whom he alluded, almost to a man, now thought their rights would be gone the moment the Bill as it stood should be carried. He had been a supporter of the principle of the Bill from the first, and it would have been his interest to have remained silent now. But he declared, that he should be sacrificing his conscience and disobeying the dictates of his sense of justice, if he did not openly declare, that he had never witnessed a more violent example of injustice than that now proposed. The claims of Rochester were so clear, and its destruction as a represented City was so manifest, that nothing should deter him from expressing his opinion of this part of the measure. In support of so violent and unjust a course he must say, that he had heard not a shadow of argument or reason adduced, excepting upon the single point of the difficulty of deciding where the line should be drawn that was to divide Chatham from Rochester. 1074 Now if this were the real difficulty, and the only motive of the noble Lord, he should like to be told what was to be the use of that commission, appointed by the Bill for the especial purpose of settling such questions. If this part of the measure were adopted, he would say to the last, that the case of Rochester was a case of gross and glaring injustice.
observed, that the whole debate had been conducted, and particularly by the hon. member for Rochester (Mr. Mills), as if the question in discussion was as to the right of individual bodies to Representation. He conceived that the only question with which the Committee had to do was, to decide what was best, not for particular places, but for the people of England. With respect to the rights of Chatham and Rochester, he could not but express his astonishment, at the observation of his right hon. friend, the member for Montgomery (Mr. C. W. Wynn), when he said, that the Bill appeared to him more a Bill of disfranchisement than of enfranchisement. If this were the case, then the rights of the electors of England were not held as a trust for the people of England, but for their own special and peculiar benefit. They were for the peculiar community of Rochester, and not for the great community of England. He (Lord Milton) was of opinion, that it was not private rights, but general rights, they were to regard; and he asked the hon. Members on the other side, if on the banks of the Medway there were to be two boroughs, one of an ancient, the other of a new Constitution, both being close together, each being moderate-sized towns, and therefore of a description liable to be influenced improperly, or whether they would form one borough out of them, answering to that extent of population which was entitled to the exercise of the elective franchise? He should vote for the schedule as it stood.
called upon the noble Lord to show how the disfranchisement of Rochester could benefit the people of England. If the people of England were to be served by a change in the Representation of that town, it surely was not by taking away the Representation altogether, as the Bill was calculated to do, by comprehending the population of the neighbouring town in the constituency. It would be more advisable, in this case, to have three Representatives than two, 1075 for the whole of the independent interest of Rochester would otherwise be overwhelmed by the population of Chatham. The noble Lord (Lord Milton) had said, that upon the question before the House, private rights were of no consideration; that it was not a matter of moment whether or not the franchise was to be given to one body or to another. What, he begged to know, were they, night after night, discussing, but the propriety of giving the elective franchise to one body and taking it from another? But the noble Lord had said, that he would rather have one borough than two on the banks of the Medway. Had the noble Lord forgotten the banks of the Tyne? Had he forgotten what had taken place but a few nights ago with respect to Newcastle and Gates-head? Could the noble Lord act upon the principle of separation in the one instance, which was certainly the weaker, and deny it to that of Chatham and Rochester? When an additional weight was to be thrown into the county of Durham, it was easy to reconcile the inconsistency, and a new borough was at once established, but the principle was not to operate beyond that point. In the county of Kent no such interest was to be sustained, and accordingly, the principle lost its operation.
said, he had not forgotten the decision upon Gateshead and Newcastle. He remembered that the population of Gateshead and Newcastle was double the population of Chatham and Rochester, and that the claim of Gates-head was in proportion to that numerical superiority. He considered that his Majesty's Ministers had exercised a sound judgment in deciding upon the claims of the towns alluded to, and he should certainly vote for the proposition.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, that they were certainly bound in their deliberations to consider what was best for the people of England, but they were also bound to accomplish the good with as little as possible injury to the rights of individuals. Were they not constantly discussing private rights? The noble Lord might as well question the right of his father to sit in the other House of Parliament, as to deny the right of towns to privileges which they had long possessed.
said, that, in this case, no rights were intended to be taken away. If the elective franchise was to be ex- 1076 tended for the benefit of the public, it could be exercised as well jointly by Chatham and Rochester as by either separately.
§ Mr. Croker
begged to know what the noble Lord, if he argued for the separation in one case, and for combining the constituency in another, when the cases exactly corresponded, meant by sluicing a borough?
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, that Rochester would sustain certain injury from letting the population of the neighbouring towns into it. He begged to remind the Committee, that a borough had recently been thrown open to the hundred on account of bribery, and that was considered a proper punishment for the offence. The Committee, therefore, were about to apply a penalty to Rochester which had committed no offence.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
could not refrain from saying a few words after hearing imputations cast upon a noble friend of his. He understood what was meant by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goulburn) when that right hon. Gentleman alluded to the banks of the Tyne. It was meant, that a noble friend of his, Lord Durham, had used his influence in the Cabinet to obtain an additional Member for Durham, to serve his own purposes. He would not sit there and hear his noble friend traduced [laughter]. Hon. Members might laugh, but the interpretation he had given to the insinuation, was the plain English of it. He would meet that representation with the most complete contradiction ["hear, hear"]. He would tell those hon. Members who cheered, that if they would get up and make such an imputation, he would meet it with the most unqualified contradiction. If by that cheer it was intended to support the assertion made by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by a side-wind to confirm the imputation cast upon his noble friend, he would meet it as it deserved to be met, and pronounce it to be a base and wicked calumny [loud cries of "order" and "Chair, Chair."]
said, that he was sure it was not necessary to impress upon the hon. Member that, in the heat of argument, he had used expressions which the hon. Member would not, in a calmer mood, and in the exercise of a sober discretion, have uttered.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
said, he was in 1077 his discreet and sober moments when he uttered the words, and he assured the Committee that he sincerely intended what he had said [cries of "order" and "Chair."]
§ Mr. Jonathan Peel
said, that the hon. Gentleman had used the words "base and wicked calumny," in allusion to his right hon. friend; and, instead of retracting, the hon. Gentleman used an aggravation of his harsh language.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
observed, that if the hon. Member had been in his place on the night to which he referred, he would have heard that no imputation was cast upon the noble Lord who had been alluded to, but it had been stated that the Bill gave advantages, which were not justifiable, to the county of Durham. If the hon. Member would look to the comparative circumstances of Gateshead, which was to have a Representative, independent of Newcastle, and to the cases of Rochester and Chatham, he would see a stronger reason why Gateshead should be annexed to Newcastle, than have a Member of its own. The right hon. Gentleman was proceeding, when he was called to order by
who said, that there was another Gentleman in possession of the House, when he was called to order.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, he had risen in an amicable spirit, to state to the hon. Member, that if he had been in his place the other evening, he would have been sensible that no imputation had been cast upon the noble Lord who was alluded to, and he thought, if he proceeded to show that Gateshead was not a defensible case, he might have succeeded in his object.
Sir Robert Inglis
spoke to order. The hon. member for Hertford had used the words "base calumny;" upon which the Chairman told the hon. Member, that he was sure, that if he exercised his sober discretion, he would not pursue such a line of remark; but the hon. member for Hertford declared, that he was in the exercise of his sober discretion; and thereby, instead of apologizing to the Committee, or to the right hon. Member against whom the observation was directed, virtually repeated his statement. He (Sir R. Inglis) begged to know from the Chairman, what was the law of the House under such circumstances.
said, that during the little experience which he had had in his present office, he had frequently listened with 1078 pain to expressions which were certainly not justifiable. It was not only of late, but it was for years, that he had observed the difficult situation of the Member who filled the Chair, when called upon to interfere. It was a very unpleasant task He was sure, however, that what had fallen from his hon. friend, the member for Hertford, had escaped from him in the heat and hurry of argument; and as they all knew his hon. friend could not mean to violate the rules and orders of the House, he was sure that his hon. friend would have no difficulty in explaining.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
declared, that nothing should induce him to retract the sentiment which he had uttered, until that which had produced it had been withdrawn. When he put into plain English the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—when he said that it meant that Lord Durham used his influence in the Cabinet to add a Representative to the county of Durham, to the prejudice of other places in England—he appealed to the Chairman whether that statement had not been cheered by the other side of the House? When he heard it so cheered, he went on to say, if those cheers were meant to confirm the statement, that it was a wicked and false insinuation. He cared not what penalty he might incur. If that penalty were imposed upon him for speaking the truth, by that truth he was nevertheless ready to abide [repeated calls to "order" and "Chair."]
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, it was impossible that the House could properly and satisfactorily discharge its functions, if language were to be used on either side which would not be used by gentlemen in private society. Any assertion made by one hon. Member was open to contradiction by another; but the contradiction ought not to be accompanied by the imputation of wicked and base motives. He presumed that the hon. member for Hertford only intended to express himself strongly, and that he did not mean to violate the rules of the House, as well as the rules of gentlemanly intercourse. The orders of the House were founded upon necessity, and they owed to them the freedom of debate in the House, and it was right to prevent such language as they had heard, from being used. That the House had the power to do so there could be no question, and it was the duty of the Chairman to cause the rules to be 1079 obeyed. He should be sorry to see that power exerted upon the present occasion, as he firmly believed the hon. Gentleman who had made use of the offensive expressions, had been hurried away in the heat of debate, and that he did not mean to express himself contrary to the rules of the House. If, however, the offensive language were not retracted, then he should move that those rules be enforced [cries of "Move."] He hoped, however, that such an extreme course would be rendered unnecessary by the hon. Member admitting that the words were used in a moment of warmth, and not deliberately maintained.
§ Lord Althorp
observed, that they must all be desirous that as little personality as possible should be introduced into their proceedings. With regard to the fact, if it were meant to say that his noble friend had been influenced by interested motives in his conduct on the subject, he concurred with the hon. member for Hertford in denying the charge in the strongest and most indignant terms. But he was quite satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman opposite did not intend to advance any serious charge of that nature. He, therefore submitted to his hon. friend, the member for Hertford, that he was not justified in using the expressions which had fallen from him, and, therefore, that he should at once say that they were hasty, and not intended to convey what they imported.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
said, if the right hon. Gentleman would get up and say he did not mean to impute anything to the noble Lord, he would do so, but not otherwise.
§ Sir George Murray
observed, that the question was, whether the Chairman had expressed his disapprobation of certain expressions; and those expressions being followed by a more strong, and a more deliberate assertion of them, whether the Chair was to be supported or not.
§ Mr. Stephenson
wished to say, that from his knowledge of the noble Lord alluded to, he was perfectly convinced, that any imputations against him of this nature, must be totally without foundation.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
repeated, that till he heard the expression to which he referred, retracted, he should not retract; and he begged leave to say, that he maintained his former opinion ["order" and "Chair."]
§ Colonel Lindsay
said, that the observa- 1080 tions of the hon. Gentleman opposite, were really assuming a tone of defiance, in opposition to the general feeling of the Committee. He did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman had made any such insinuation as the hon. Member had assumed. The whole proceeding of the hon. Member was unparliamentary, and he had no right to call for explanations.
Mr. John Stanley
observed, that if the hon. Member put a hypothetical case, as he understood him to do, it was competent for him to say, that if such an imputation had been made on the noble Lord, it was false.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
had only heard his right hon. friend say, that there were different rules established for Kent and for Durham. He had heard no allusion to Lord Durham.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
would ask, whether the silence of the right hon. Gentleman, did not confirm the inference he had drawn from his observations [repeated calls to "order" and "Chair," which drowned the hon. Member's voice, and prevented him from proceeding.]
§ Mr. Frankland Lewis rose to order. The question now was, whether the Committee would maintain those rules which were indispensable to the freedom and independence of their proceedings? The hon. member for Hertford had again and again accused another hon. Member of making a wicked, base, and false statement. The Committee were, therefore, placed in this situation. He knew that phrases of a strong nature were frequently passed by without notice. But here the attention of the Committee was expressly called to the subject, and they were required to pronounce whether it was competent to one hon. Member to say of the argument of another, that it was a wicked and base calumny. That was the point which they were called upon to decide. They were to decide whether or not the debates of that House could be satisfactorily carried on, if the use of such language were permitted. How were they to proceed? He was sure that the whole affair originated in an entire misapprehension. The House called on the hon. member for Hertford, to act with discretion on the occasion. If, in the heat of his ardour for Reform, the hon. Gentleman had allowed himself to violate the rules of sober discussion, he must not permit any punctilious notions of a supposed honour to prevent him from 1081 retracting expressions, the use of which in the debates of that House must diminish the public respect, by showing that their deliberations were not carried on in a proper state of mind, but were accompanied by a heat and violence which indicated incapacity of judgment. If the hon. Member really did believe that the right hon. Gentleman had asserted a wicked and false calumny, he ought to call upon the right hon. Gentleman to state what it was he did say, and to have it taken down; and if it appeared not to bear such an interpretation, the Chairman was bound to state to the hon. Member, that expressions such as he had used could not be tolerated.
said, his desire had always been, and was now, to keep peace as far as possible. He would, therefore, suggest, that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) should repeat what he did say; but he really thought, that his hon. friend, who had spoken so warmly, had gone rather beyond the point at issue. When the right hon. Gentleman spoke of the difference of the principle which operated upon the banks of the Tyne, and the banks of the Medway, he (Lord Milton) did not apprehend that the right hon. Gentleman threw out any imputation on Lord Durham, of using his influence in the Cabinet for the purpose of promoting his personal interests; and it did not appear to him to be necessary that the hon. member for Hertford should infer what was passing in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman when he made that remark. If that were so, then it was evident, that the expressions of the hon. member for Hertford were too hastily uttered. Why, therefore, could not the right hon. Gentleman repeat what he had said?
§ Mr. Croker
perfectly agreed with the noble Lord, except in one particular. His right hon. friend had not alluded to Lord Durham at all, but to what had been stated by other hon. Gentlemen on a former night. It must also be recollected, that the observations of the hon. member for Hertford did not apply to any thing that passed at the moment, they were not made in the sudden heat of argument, but had reference to what had taken place on a previous occasion.
§ Sir James Scarlett
said, his right hon. friend was not bound to repeat what he had said on the occasion alluded to. Indeed, it was too much to call upon an hon. Member to repeat his observations, when 1082 neither the Chairman nor any other hon. Gentleman could state they were unparliamentary.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
also said, it was contrary to all rules to call upon a Member to repeat the words he had used, unless immediately after they had fallen from him. The hon. Member should have called to order, if he found any thing objectionable at the moment. [Loud calls for Mr. Thomas Duncombe to explain.]
§ Mr. Western
begged for a moment to call the attention of the Committee to an expression used by his hon. friend, the member for Hertford, after he had been corrected by the Chairman. His hon. friend had said, that "if" the right hon. Gentleman meant to insinuate that the noble Lord (Durham) had made an improper use of his influence as a Minister, to obtain a larger share of political importance for the county of Durham, and if the cheers by which he was assailed were meant to confirm that insinuation, the statement was a base and wicked falsehood. This was only putting the case hypothetically, and surely the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) could not object to tell what it was he did mean. If the right hon. Gentleman meant no charge of the kind, and he did not say the right hon. Gentleman had, he had a right to say so.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
I am very much surprised at the lecture with which I have been favoured by the right hon. member for Radnor. I hope, Sir, that I know what is due to my own honour, and to this House, without any lecture at all.
§ MR. Thomas Duncombe
The right hon. member for Radnor recommended me not to be too punctilious about my own honour. My honour, however, is as dear to me as his honour is to him. The observations which I used, and which have been so frequently repeated, were these:—I said, that if the right hon. Gentleman, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, imputed certain motives to Lord Durham as a direct assertion, I should meet that assertion by a direct contradiction; but if it was only thrown out as an insinuation, which I supposed, I should treat it as a gross and wicked calumny. Now, it is in the power of the right hon. Gentleman, and of the right hon. Gentleman only, to make me retract this asser- 1083 tion. I should wish to know whether the right hon. Gentleman has ever looked into the population returns of the county of Durham?—[cries of "Chair, chair," and great disorder.]
did not rise to call the hon. member for Hertford to order, but to call the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were crying out "Chair," to order. He had one Member particularly in his eye—one of the hon. members for the borough of Eye. It was not fair nor just, when the hon. member for Hertford was stating his case to the House, to interrupt him.
§ Mr. Burge
said, that though the noble Lord (Milton) had assumed the jurisdiction that belonged to the Chairman, and which he (Mr. Burge) conceived was very well placed in the hands of the Chairman, arid had taken upon himself to call him (Mr. Burge) to order, he should not so far forget what was due to the House as to answer the noble Lord. He should address himself to the Chairman and to the Committie, for to them only was he responsible for his conduct. That which induced him to cry out "Chair" was, that the language addressed to the Committee by the hon. member for Hertford, not only remained uncontradicted and Unexplained, but was actually persisted in, though the Chairman had pronounced his opinion upon it—an opinion which was supported by the Committee. With all deference to the noble Lord (Milton), it was for the Chairman to state his opinion, whether it was right that the hon. member for Hertford should persist in the offence he had committed. Until the offensive expressions were retracted, and the Members of that House restored to the independence and freedom of debate, it was too much to enter upon the general question. The hon. member for Hertford was bound to satisfy the Committee for the offence he had committed, and to purge himself from the stain. Notwithstanding the reproach which the noble Lord opposite, who was a very old Member, addressed to him, who was a very new one, he knew enough of what was due to the honour and feelings of men, arid of parliamentary proceedings, to enable him to state, that the House ought not to proceed to the general question until satisfaction was given for the offence which had been committed.
§ Mr. Cutlar Ferguson
put it to the Committee, Whether the hon. Member who had 1084 just sat down was not out of order, in calling "Chair," whilst an hon. Member was explaining. If the hon. member for Hertford was to be stopped in the midst of his speech, it would be the first time in his experience when a Member of that House was prevented from explaining. His hon. friend, the member for Hertford, had drawn a distinction which, if not intelligible to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, was intelligible to the rest of the House. The distinction used by the hon. Member was, that it was a base and unfounded calumny, if the right hon. Gentleman, the member for the University of Cambridge, insinuated that Lord Durham used his influence for so base and sordid a purpose. If such an insinuation was thrown out, no language of a parliamentary nature was too strong to apply to it. The hon. Gentleman, the member for Hertford, did not intend to say, that the right hon. Gentleman had used so base a calumny. What he said was, that if the right hon. Gentleman insinuated such a charge against Lord Durham, it was a base calumny, and that hypothetical assertion was answered by a loud cheer. Was it too much then for the hon. member for Hertford to say, that if those cheers meant to convey approbation of the charge against Lord Durham, they conveyed a base and unfounded insinuation? If the cheers did not mean to convey approbation, they went for nothing at all. If they were intended to convey so vile an insinuation, what was it but the continuation of the same system pursued by Members at the other side of the House day after day? Insinuations of the grossest character were thrown out, day after day, against the character of the noble Lord (Durham) and the rest of his Majesty's Ministers; but, luckily for them they stood too high to be affected by such insinuations; and he admired the conduct of those noble persons, who disdained to answer such imputations.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that if the hon. Member who had just sat down, intended to act as a peace-maker, he was satisfied that the hon. Member had not succeeded. He, or any other friend of the hon. member for Hertford, did right to endeavour to explain away any thing offensive in the language used by that hon. Member; but that object could not be obtained by casting Insinuations on the opposite side of the House, riot only in 1085 reference to this occasion, but as to what had passed during the whole course of those debates. He appealed to the Committee, whether the hon. and learned Member had not done this, when he said, alluding to the insinuations which had been supposed to have been thrown out against Lord Durham by his right hon. friend, "It was but a continuation of the same course pursued day after day by Members opposite." For his part, he had no degree of personal feeling against the noble Lord (Durham), but he had used as strong expressions himself, with regard to Gateshead, as had that night fallen from his right hon. friend (Mr. Goulburn), than whom there was no man in that House less capable of making strong assertions reflecting on individuals, or making an unfair attack of any kind on any man. It was wonderful the hon. member for Hertford had not fixed upon some other individual, who had used expressions equally strong with regard to Lord Durham. His right hon friend, the member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), he (Sir Henry Hardinge), and several others who sat near him, had used precisely the same words. Knowing the county of Durham as he did intimately; believing Lord Durham to have no property in Gateshead, and having no personal hostility to the noble Lord, nor any such motives acting on his mind, he had made the same allusion to him, in even stronger language than that used by his right hon. friend, and no notice whatever had been taken of it; and, without meaning to throw out any threat, but in the same amicable feeling, he did not hesitate to say, that he was prepared to repeat the same words over and over again, whenever the case of Gateshead was broached. But in doing so, he meant to cast no unfair imputation on the noble Lord. Knowing the feelings with which the words had been used, he asked, whether it was not fair to infer, that his right hon. friend had made the same allusions without intending to convey any offensive imputations? When the hon. member for Hertford addressed the party aggrieved (he would not say insulted), and called upon him to take the first step, and to say he did not mean to cast any imputation on Lord Durham, he called on the right hon. Gentleman to take a step which no Gentleman in that House ought to take. After what had passed, it was impossible for his right hon. to friend offer an 1086 explanation in the first instance. It was perfectly well known to the hon. member for Hertford, and to the House, that the right hon. member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn) was the last man in the House to offend any one. He therefore appealed to the candour of the hon. member for Hertford. This was not a question of obstinacy, as to who should hold out longest, but as to who gave the first offence? His right hon. friend had not given the first offence. He himself had applied the words used by his right hon. friend to Lord Durham, and would do so any night, but without meaning to cast any personal imputation upon the noble Lord. If the hon. member for Hertford gave the original offence, and he must feel he did, as a man of known spirit land honour, the hon. Member ought to get himself and the House out of the difficulty In which he had placed them, and no longer protract this unpleasant discussion.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
.—I am not at all desirous to protract this discussion, but how am I to know that the right hon. Gentleman is offended? The right hon. Gentleman, the member for Newport (Sir H, Hardinge) has endeavoured to explain the words which fell from the right hon. Gentleman; but not a word has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman himself to make me suppose that he is offended. I don't know whether he is offended or not.
§ Mr. Thomas Duncombe
.—It is said the House has been offended. I am very sorry for it. The last thing in my contemplation was to say any thing unparliamentary or uncivil. I must repeat, however, what I said. It was, that if the imputation on Lord Durham, which I understand to have been conveyed by the right hon. Gentleman's language, was meant as an assertion, I would give it a direct contradiction. If it was meant as an insinuation (and I did not say it was an insinuation at all)—but if it was meant as an insinuation, I said it was base and unfounded; and I was going on to prove that it was unfounded by a reference to the population returns. In the case of Gateshead I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last with great pleasure; but he must excuse me if I say, that in my mind, nothing of the kind was insinuated by him in that discussion like what was this night insinuated by the right hon. member for the 1087 University of Cambridge. The case of Gateshead being past and gone, the right hon. Gent, asserted, that one rule of justice was plied to the county of Kent, but the same rule was not applied to Durham. The right hon. Gentleman then used some language which I tried to translate, and my translation was confirmed by the cheers with which it was received from the opposite side of the House. Upon hearing those cheers, I used the language which has been repeated over and over again, hypothetically, and in that way I must again repeat it, if such an insinuation shall be directed against the noble Lord. Knowing that no advantage, nor no electioneering influence will that noble Lord obtain, nor does he wish to obtain, by this Bill, but that which he at present enjoys, and which he possesses as the unflinching advocate of the rights of the people—an influence, of which I hope nothing will deprive him—no illiberal insinuations against him shall ever be made whilst I have a voice in this House, without my rising to repel them.
§ Mr. C. W. Wynn rose amidst loud cries of "Question" and great confusion. He said, that if the hon. Members who called "Question" made any distinct motion, he should speak to it. The question was, whether the hon. member for Hertford was or was not in order? According to his own showing, because some hon. Members cheered the construction put by the hon. member for Hertford on the right hon. Member's language, the hon. member for Hertford made use of certain offensive expressions, reflecting particularly on the right hon. member for the University of Cambridge. The provocation which the hon. member for Hertford resented was given by the hon. Members who cheered, and not by the right hon. Gentleman. He did not think there was any thing which fell from his right hon. friend that any one could fairly consider as personally offensive. To say that an Administration had been partial in its arrangements as to return of Members of Parliament, however unfounded in fact, was a different thing from imputing conduct, personally dishonourable, to the members of that Administration.
thought it would conduce to the progress of the Committee, if the Chairman read the question now before them.
§ Lord Stormont
thought this discussion 1088 had lasted a great deal longer than was consistent with the dignity of the House. The question was, whether the member for Hertford had used parliamentary language or not? If the hon. member for Hertford had used parliamentary language, the time of the House should not be wasted—if the contrary, and he had been guilty of violating the parliamentary rule, they would be justified in calling upon the House to assert its privileges, and the decorum of its proceedings, and to report what had taken place to the Speaker. He therefore wished the Chairman to state, whether the Committee was justified in adopting any further proceedings.
§ Mr. Grosvenor
said, that the subject which had occupied the attention of the House appeared to be concluded. The hon. member for Hertford having conceived that an insinuation was cast upon Lord Durham by the right hon. Gentleman, in consequence of a cheer which came from some hon. Members opposite, had stated his regret for having used unparliamentary language. He thought, that expression of his hon. friend ought to conclude this unpleasant discussion.
§ The Speaker
(who had not been in the House in the early part of the discussion) rose, and was received with loud cheers from both sides of the House. He said—Sir; There is no Member in this Committee that more heartily concurs than I do in the anxious wish expressed by more than one hon. Member, that this discussion should now come to a determination, and I have the greater eagerness on this point from the long experience I have had, for in all my parliamentary experience, I have never found a question of disorder mitigated or simplified by being elongated, and the discussion on it protracted. I was not present in the Committee when this discussion commenced, but since I have come down stairs, I have heard enough to satisfy me that some hon. Members have deviated very much from the point which they originally set out from, that unpleasant feelings have been excited, and that impressions have been entertained, which were never intended to be conveyed by the language made use of. If I have collected right, expressions have been used by the hon. member for Hertford, which I will not say have been offensive to the right hon. Gent., the member for the University of Cambridge, because, as the hon. member for Hertford 1089 observed, the right hon. Gentleman has not complained of any offence. But, if the offence of disorder has been committed, that is an offence against the Committee itself. Now I have collected, that whatever the offence was, or whatever gave rise to it, the offensive expression originated in an hypothesis. The hon. member for Hertford said, that if what fell from the right hon. Gentleman was meant as an insinuation against a noble Lord, putting it hypothetically, that insinuation was totally unfounded. The hon. member for Hertford, it will be in the recollection of the Committee, stated, in the last speed which he addressed to the Committee, that he regretted having entertained that hypothesis, which led him to use expressions which gave offence to the Committee, and the proper application of which was negatived by the sense of the House. Matters have been so explained, I think, that the hon. member for Hertford must be satisfied, that he took offence without cause (and I am not the one to say, that his expressions would have been orderly, even if cause had existed) but it is clear that he was not orderly, as he admits that no cause existed. This being the state of the question, I do not think it necessary we should continue the discussion any further. Having got rid of the difficulty, depend upon it, the longer the discussion is protracted, the more difficult we shall find it to make our way out of it.
§ The Committee divided on the original question. Ayes 253; Noes 152—Majority 101.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Viscount||Bouverie, Hon. P. P.|
|Adam, Admiral C.||Brayen, T.|
|Adeane, H. J.||Briscoe, J. I.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Brougham, W.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Brougham, J.|
|Anson, Hon. G.||Browne, J. D.|
|Astley, Sir J.||Brownlow, C.|
|Baring, Sir T.||Buck, L. W.|
|Baring, F. T.||Bulkeley, Sir R. W.|
|Barnett, C. J.||Bulwer, E. L.|
|Bayntun, Capt. S. A.||Bulwer, H. L.|
|Belfast, Earl of||Burke, Sir J.|
|Benett, J.||Burton, H.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Byng, G. S.|
|Berkeley, Captain||Byng, G.|
|Biddulph, R. M.||Calvert, C.|
|Blackney, W.||Calvert, N.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Callaghan, D.|
|Blamire, W.||Calley, T.|
|Blunt, Sir C.||Campbell, W. F.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Campbell, J.|
|Bouverie, Hon. D. P.||Carter, J, B.|
|Cavendish, C. C.||Hudson, T.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Hughes, J.|
|Cavendish, H. F. C.||Hughes, W. H.|
|Cavendish, W.||Hughes, Colonel|
|Chapman, M. L.||Hume, J.|
|Crampton, P. C.||Ingilby, Sir W.|
|Clifford, Sir A.||James, W.|
|Clive, E. B.||Jeffrey, Rt. Hon. F.|
|Colborne, N. W. R.||Jerningham, Hn. H. V,|
|Copeland, Alderman||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Cradock, Col. S.||Johnston, A.|
|Creevey, T.||King, E. B.|
|Currie, J.||Knight, H. G.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Knight, R.|
|Davies, Col. T. H. H.||Labouchere, H.|
|Dawson, A.||Lamb, Hon. G.|
|Denison, W. J.||Lambert, J. S.|
|Denman, Sir T.||Langston, J. H.|
|Dixon, J.||Lawley, F.|
|Don, O'Connor||Leader, N. P.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Dundas, C.||Lennard, T. B.|
|Dundas, Hon. T.||Lennox, Lord J. G.|
|Dundas, Hon. Sir R. L.||Lennox, Lord W.|
|Dundas, Hon. J. C.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Easthope, J.||Lester, B. L.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Littleton, E. J.|
|Ellice, E.||Lloyd, Sir E. P.|
|Ellis, W.||Loch, James|
|Evans, Col. De Lacy||Lumley, J. S.|
|Evans, W. B.||Maberly, Colonel|
|Evans, W.||Maberly, J.|
|Ewart, W.||Macdonald, Sir J.|
|Fergusson, R.||Mackenzie, Sir J.|
|Ferguson, R. C.||Maule, Hon. W. R.|
|Ferguson, Sir R.||Mangles, J.|
|Fitzroy, Lt. -Col. C. A.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Fitzgibbon, Hon. R.||Marryatt, J.|
|Folkes, Sir W.||Marshall, W.|
|Fordwich, Viscount||Martin, John|
|Fox, Lieut-Col.||Macnamara, W. N.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Mayhew, W.|
|Gisborne, T.||Milbank, M.|
|Gordon, R.||Milton, Lord|
|Graham, Sir S.||Morison, J.|
|Grant, Right Hon. R.||Moreton, Hon. H. G.|
|Grattan, James||Mostyn, E. M. L.|
|Greene, T. G.||Mullins, F. W.|
|Grosvenor, Rt. Hn. R.||Musgrave, Sir R.|
|Guise, Sir B. W.||Norton, C. F.|
|Gurney, R. H.||Nowell, A.|
|Handley, W. F.||Nugent, Lord|
|Harcourt, G. V.||O'Connell, D.|
|Harvey, D. W.||Orde, W.|
|Hawkins, J.||Osborne, Lord F. G.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Offley, F. C.|
|Heneage, G. F.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Heron, Sir R.||Paget, T.|
|Heywood, B.||Palmer, General|
|Hodges, T. L.||Parnell, Sir H.|
|Hodgson, John||Payne, Sir P.|
|Horne, Sir W.||Pendarves, E. W. W.|
|Hoskins, K.||Penlease, J. S.|
|Host, Sir J.||Penrhyn, E.|
|Howard, R.||Pepys, C. C.|
|Howard, P. H.||Petit, Louis H.|
|Howick, Viscount||Petre, Hon, E.|
|Philipps, Sir R.||Stuart, Lord P. J.|
|Philipps, G. R.||Stuart, Lord D. C.|
|Phillips, C. M.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Ponsonby, Hon. G.||Thicknesse, R.|
|Polhill, Captain||Thompson, Alderman|
|Portman, E. B.||Thomson, Rt. Hn. C. P|
|Powell, Col. W.||Throckmorton R. G.|
|Power, R.||Tomes, J.|
|Poyntz, W. S.||Torrens, Col.|
|Price, Sir R.||Townshend, Lord C.|
|Protheroe, E.||Trail, G.|
|Ramsbottom, J.||Tyrrell, C.|
|Ramsden, J. C.||Venables, Alderman|
|Rice, Right Hon. T. S.||Vere, J. H.|
|Rickford, W.||Vernon, Hon. G. J.|
|Rider, T.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Robarts, A. W.||Vincent, Sir F.|
|Robinson, Sir G.||Walker, C. A.|
|Robinson, G. R.||Waithman, Alderman|
|Rooper, J. B.||Warburton, H.|
|Ross, H.||Warre, John A.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Waterpark, Lord|
|Russell, R. G.||Wason, W. R.|
|Russell, John||Watson, Hon. R.|
|Ruthven, E. S.||Webb, Colonel E.|
|Sandford, E. A.||Western, C. C.|
|Sebright, Sir John||Westenra, Hon. H.|
|Sheil, R. L.||Weyland, Major|
|Sinclair, G.||Whitbread, W.|
|Smith, J. A.||Whitmore, W. W.|
|Smith, M. T.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Smith, G. R.||Wilks, John|
|Smith, R. V.||Williams, W. A.|
|Spence, G.||Williams, Sir J. H.|
|Spencer, Hon. F.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Stanley, E. J.||Winnington, Sir T.|
|Stanley, Rt. Hn. E. G.||Wood, Alderman|
|Staunton, Sir G.||Wood, John|
|Stephenson, H. F.||Wood, Charles|
|Stewart, P. M.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Strutt, E.||Wrottesley, Sir J.|
|Paired off in Favour.|
|Anson, Sir G.||Kemp, T. R.|
|Atherley, Arthur||Killeen, Lord|
|Barham, J.||King Hon. R.|
|Belgrave, Earl of||Knox, Hon. J. H.|
|Bernard, Thomas||Lambert, J. S.|
|Blount, E.||Lefevre, C. S.|
|Brabazon, Viscount||Lopez, Sir R.|
|Browne, D.||Morrison, J.|
|Calcraft, G. H.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Chaytor, W. R.||Newport, Sir J.|
|Chichester, Sir A.||O'Connell, M.|
|Chichester, Colonel||O'Ferrall, R.|
|Coke, Thomas W.||O'Neill, Hon. Gen.|
|Doyle, Sir J. M.||Ossory, Earl of|
|Fazakerly, J. N.||Oxmantown, Lord|
|Foley, Hon. T. H.||Paget, Sir C.|
|Heathcote, Sir G.||Palmer, Fysche|
|Howard, H.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hutchinson, J. H.||Skipwith, Sir G.|
|Innes, Sir H.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Jephson, C. D. O.||Strickland, George|
|Johnston, J.||Tufton, Hon. H.|
|Johnstone, J. H.||Tynte, Charles|
|Kennedy, T. F||Uxbridge, Earl of|
|White, Colonel||Duncannon, Viscount|
§ Lord Althorp moved, as an addition to this schedule, that the borough of Sandwich should be joined with Deal and Walmer, in Kent.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, this was another of the grand junctions proposed by Ministers, in the propriety of which he could not concur. If he was not greatly misinformed, the people of Sandwich were averse to the union with Deal and Walmer, and would have thought it more expedient had Sandwich been united with Ramsgate or Margate. They also complained, that under this Bill, by excluding the non-resident electors, Sandwich would ultimately be converted into a nomination borough, under the control of the Admiralty.
supported the proposition of Government. Deal was but four miles from Sandwich, whilst Ramsgate was seven miles, and Margate nine miles. It was much more expedient, therefore, that Sandwich should be united with Deal than with either Ramsgate or Margate. If he thought it would render Sandwich a nomination borough, or put it under the control of the Admiralty, he should oppose the arrangement; but he had no idea that it would produce any such effect.
§ Mr. Croker
thought the hon. Gentleman mistaken, if he stated, that Sandwich was only four miles from Deal. It might be so by some bye-road, but the distance between the two places, by the regular route, was at least six miles.
knew that by one road it was six miles, but by the straight road it was only four miles.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
found, when he travelled that way, he had to pay seven miles for post horses.
§ Question carried.
§ Lord Althorp
proposed, as an addition to the schedule, that the parish of Christ-church, and the liberty of the Clink, be added to the borough of Southwark.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
concurred in the propriety of the proposition, and added, the liberty of the Clink was well known as the place where the first play-house was erected.
§ Mr. Charles Calvert
was satisfied the arrangement would be hailed with great satisfaction. The parish of Christchurch was formerly included in the borough of Southwark, and possessed the privilege of voting at the election of Members for that 1093 place, and he could not understand how it came to lose that right, which he was happy to find was to be restored.
§ Mr. William Brougham
was also favourable to the addition of the parish of Christchurch, and the liberty of the Clink, to the borough of Southwark, on account of the extent and importance of those districts.
§ Question agreed to; and the clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ The Chairman proceeded to read the sixth clause, when
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, that it involved anew subject, of great interest, and which ought not to be gone into at so late an hour. As yet there had been no discussion with respect to the Welsh boroughs.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the discussion of a clause usually occupied them for several nights, and he did not see, that the case of the Welsh boroughs would be prejudiced by proceeding with it at present. If his right hon. friend wished to make any observations on the clause, he could have no better opportunity than the present.
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
said, it would certainly be more convenient to postpone the consideration of the clause; many of the provisions contained in it would necessarily lead to long discussion.
The sixth clause was then read as follows:—"And be it enacted, that after the end of this present Parliament, each of the places named in the first column of the schedule (F) to this Act annexed, shall have a share in the election of a Member to serve in Parliament for the shire-town or borough mentioned in conjunction therewith, and named in the second column of the said schedule (F)."
Mr. Frankland Lewis
hoped, that the operation of this clause would be confined to the places within the principality of Wales, and that the Commissioners would not possess the power of adding to the contributory boroughs of Radnorshire, that portion of the parish of Presteign which extended into Herefordshire, which was under a separate and distinct jurisdiction, and had no connexion with that part of the parish which was in Radnorshire.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that if the part of Presteign which extended into Hereford, was merely a continuation of the town, he should feel great objection in acceding to the desire of the hon. Member.
Mr. Frankland Lewis
said, that the 1094 whole of the town of Presteign was in the principality; that part of the parish which extended into Herefordshire, was composed entirely of a rural population, and did not contain more than six or eight houses.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
feared, that the most, injurious consequences would result from the operation of this part of the Bill, owing to the large number of the freeholders in boroughs which were taken from the constituency of the counties. They could not, according to the provisions contained therein, have votes both for the county and borough. He objected also to the great extent, of ground which Ministers were obliged to travel over, in order to make up the districts of boroughs in Wales.
said, that the constituency of the counties of Wales was not great, and that it would be much diminished by the formation of the district boroughs, the voters of which could not vote for the counties.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the objections of his right hon. friend, and of the hon. Gentleman, rather applied to a clause in the Bill to which they had not yet arrived, and they could not, on the discussion of the question, of what boroughs were to be placed in the schedule, very conveniently consider the subject to which reference had been made. He was not aware, however, that the difficulties attending the permitting freeholders to have votes at borough elections would be attended with the consequences apprehended, or be of the insuperable nature described.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, the effects of the arrangement proposed in this part of the Bill would be considerable in some of the Welsh counties. It must be obvious, that these boroughs, from having so many contributory branches, would take a larger portion of the constituency from the Welsh counties, than the English boroughs did from the respective counties in which they were situated. There were not so many boroughs in Wales in proportion, but still he feared the result must be such as he had stated. The question appeared to be, whether they would permit freeholders to vote at some of the elections for boroughs; and he believed this proposition originated in the difficulty of gaining a competent constituency in such boroughs, without the addition of such freeholders. He believed the population of the borough of Denbigh amounted to about 7,000, and the county altogether contained 70,000 1095 inhabitants. The whole of the freeholders, therefore, among one-tenth of the inhabitants, were abstracted from the county. He could not ascertain the precise number of such freeholders, but it must be considerable, from the nature of the freeholds in towns. The same effect would also prevail in other counties, and his noble friend must observe, this made a material alteration, when they considered the number of boroughs in each case.
considered it essential, before they proceeded to legislate upon this subject, to make the Committee aware of the probable consequences that would result from it to the Welsh counties. According to the returns on the Table, there were, in the town of Radnor, 127 houses rated at 10l. per annum and upwards. It was clear, that in this district of boroughs, the freeholders must be taken, in order to make up the necessary number of voters. This must also be the case in the Cardigan and Anglesea districts, and probably also in other places. Indeed, if he was not very much misinformed, all the boroughs, with the exception of one or two, had less than 300 householders of the required qualification adopted by the provisions of this Bill. He could not agree in the propriety of abstracting freeholders from counties to make up constituencies for boroughs. It must also be observed, in reference to this remark, that, under the present system, none of the Welsh boroughs were "nomination boroughs," but they were all open to contests. He observed, that the hon. member for Worcester had given notice of a motion, that all freeholders in towns should have votes for the places in which they were situated, and not for the county. This would, therefore, afford an opportunity for discussing the whole question, and he should defer his remarks until that time; but he would at present observe, that, in his opinion, it would be advisable to reduce the qualification to 5l. householders in remote country places, and to take the utmost care that accurate returns of the various classes were made. On the whole, he considered, as there appeared so many difficulties to contend with, that the best way would be, to let these boroughs alone.
§ Lord Althorp
did not think the number of freeholders so great in boroughs as to occasion the inconvenience to the county constituencies which his right hon. friend 1096 appeared to apprehend. However, though alterations might be necessary in this respect, this was not the proper time to consider them. He could not agree, however, to the suggestion, that the freeholders in boroughs should have votes for the counties in which they were situated, as well as for the borough. He did not anticipate any great difficulties from the operation of this clause, or that the effect would be such as the hon. Member seemed to anticipate.
Mr. Frankland Lewis
said, the effect of the operation of the Bill would be considerable in the county of Radnor; but he did not concur in all the objections entertained by the right hon. Gentleman who had made them. The great body of the voters that would be introduced into the borough constituencies, would be persons residing in farm-houses, in the vicinity of towns. He would, however, suggest, that instead of the qualification being the rental of the house, it should be, the quantity of land attached to the farm. There were many persons in the county of Radnor, who held extensive tracts of land, and yet lived in farm-houses which were not rated so high as 10l. per annum. On the part of the freeholders of Radnorshire, he did not object to the clause of the Bill relating to the qualification to vote for counties; but he protested against other parts of it which related to the borough of Radnor. Together with its contributory boroughs, it contained a population of 5,000 inhabitants; and he believed the noble Lord would materially improve the working of his Bill in these places, if he allowed the qualification to extend to holders of a certain quantity of land, in addition to the holders of houses at 10l. per annum rental.
was quite sure the hon. Gentleman's proposition of extending the qualification to holders of certain quantities of land, could not be carried into effect. It would lead to the utmost confusion, as must be apparent, when the amazing difference in the value of different descriptions of land was considered. It was a much more certain means to have the qualification rest entirely on houses, and to adopt his suggestion as to reducing its amount in remote districts. In reference to what had been said as to Radnor, he begged to remark, that the rural portion of that borough contained 10,000 acres, which might account for his hon. friend being favourable to a landed qualification. 1097 He, however, again declared, such an arrangement would be impolitic and impracticable. They must act cautiously if they did not intend to make close boroughs in Wales, where at present none existed.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
said, that he could not agree in the propriety of extending the borough rights over such extensive tracts of land as had been proposed. He believed that in most instances his noble friend would have no difficulty in finding 300 householders, with the qualification required, in a much smaller compass. From inquiries he had made, he had strong reasons for suspecting, that the return laid on the Table of the number of 10l. householders was, in general, much below the real number. In the principality of Wales, he knew it to be most inaccurate. He would take the opportunity of making a few allusions to the general question of the Representation in Wales. The House was most probably aware, that, until the reign of Henry 8th, no steps were taken to introduce the English institutions into the principality. By a statute of the 34th of Henry 8th, the Welsh counties, and a certain number of the Welsh boroughs, were authorised to elect twenty-four Members to this House. The county of Monmouth was separated from Wales, and was allowed to return two county Members, and one for the county-town; while the Welsh counties were only to return one county Member each, and one Member for the combined boroughs in each shire, except that of Merioneth. This was settled at a time when the population of Wales, as well as its wealth and importance, were much less in proportion to England than at present. Yet at that time, when England returned about two-thirds of the number of Members it now does, it was thought that Wales, with Monmouthshire, was entitled to twenty-seven Members. In the time of Henry 8th, the whole Representation of England was not near so great as at present. Considerable additions were made to the number of Members in the reigns of Elizabeth and the Stuarts. No addition, however, had been made to the number of Members for Wales since the period when that country was first allowed to send Members to Parliament. There were only twenty-four Representatives for the principality—namely, eleven for North Wales, and thirteen for South Wales; which was a very inadequate Representation, when 1098 the wealth and population of that portion of the country were compared with the rest of the empire. By this Bill it was proposed that two additional Members should be granted; but it was most extraordinary that they were both to be given to the same county, to the exclusion of the rest of Wales. The population of the county of Glamorgan, including Merthyr Tydvil, was 103,000, who now returned one county and one borough Member. Two county and two borough Members were, by this Bill, allotted to this county. According to the principle laid down by the noble Lord, in the amended Bill, any county with above 100,000 inhabitants, was entitled to three county Members, besides town Members. If, therefore, this Bill was to apply generally, the counties of Wales, with more than half that number of inhabitants, were surely entitled to more than one Member. The county of Carmarthen, with a population of upwards of 90,000 inhabitants—within 10,000 of the number of persons in Glamorganshire—had only one Member for the county, and one for its boroughs. If Ministers had acted consistently, they would have granted at least one additional county Representative to Carmarthenshire, as well as to Glamorganshire. The county of Bedford, with a population of 84,000, returned four Members, two for the county, and two for the town; and Westmorland, with a population of 51,000, had two Members for the county, but by the Bill would have none for the towns. Again, the county of Huntingdon, with 48,000 inhabitants, would retain three Members, two for the county, and one for the town; while Cardiganshire, with 57,000 inhabitants, Carnarvonshire, with nearly the same number, Montgomeryshire, with 59,000, Denbighshire, with 76,000, and Pembrokeshire, with 74,000, were to have only one county Member each. Why, he would ask, should Merionethshire, with 34,000 inhabitants, have in all only one Member, while Rutland, with 18,000, had two? From the county of Merioneth, indeed, he had some days ago presented a petition, praying that it might be allowed, a Member to represent its boroughs; but if the inhabitants of those boroughs were to be subtracted from the county constituency, it would effect such a diminution of their number of voters, that he should himself much prefer 1099 giving to it an additional county Member. If Ministers professed to act upon principle, they ought to apply the same rule to every case. Wales had been in a state of constant collision for upwards of three centuries: from the time of its conquest in the reign of Edward 1st, until the middle of the reign of Henry 8th, when steps had been taken to introduce the institutions of this country, and since that period, peace had prevailed, and civilization had extended itself, so that the people were fully equal in intelligence to those in any other of the provinces. Before the people were allowed to send Members to that House, they were riotous and turbulent, but since that time tranquillity had prevailed. He contended, that his Majesty's Ministers would not act with fairness and justice, if they did not give an additional Member to each of the Welsh counties.
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman, the member for Montgomeryshire, had, in the course of the observations which he had addressed to the Committee, insisted on the right of several Welsh counties to return additional Members, he thought that Brecknockshire, which contained a population of 44,000 souls, was equally entitled to two Members, as most of the boroughs in England, and some of the counties, to which the Bill allowed that privilege.
confessed, that the observations which had been made by the right hon. member for Montgomery had made considerable impression upon him. They were worthy of consideration, and he therefore hoped, that the members of his Majesty's Government had not irrevocably made up their minds as to the distribution of the Representation in and through Wales. He felt convinced, that the scheme of the noble Lord, if carried into operation in its present shape, would have the effect of throwing all the Representation into the hands of the aristocracy of the principality, to the utter destruction of the free and incorrupt return of Members by independent bodies of the community. The Welsh counties were in general much smaller than the English, and were, on that account, more likely to fall under the influence of individuals. Whatever the intentions of Ministers might be with regard to the English and Irish counties and boroughs, he trusted they would most fully consider the peculiar situation of the Welsh counties, before they determined 1100 to separate the borough constituency from them.
§ Mr. Dixon
did not wish to interrupt the course of the Debate, but, as a Member representing a large Scotch constituency, he felt it necessary—in consequence of the two first schedules of the Bill having been agreed to, and which had left a bank of borough Members, if he might so term them, in the hands of Ministers, to be disposed of in the most advantageous manner for the general weal—to express his hope, that this bank would not be exhausted before a due share of its contents was apportioned to the Representation of Scotland, which was advancing more rapidly in wealth and population than even England itself was, but by this Bill was worse treated than either of the other parts of the empire. She had a fair claim to an increase in her Representation proportionate to her increase in power, in opulence, in manufactures, and in general wealth, since the Union. He for one was determined to enforce her claims. He was grateful for the addition given to Glasgow, but that was not enough. Her counties ought to be better represented. Certainly a great improvement would be made in her constituency by the Bill, but he wished to see the Representatives also increased in numbers. The industry and intelligence of her people, admirably qualifying them to exercise the franchise demanded at the hands of Parliament that they should have ample justice done to them, and those qualities were a guarantee that they would exercise the franchise well. It had been hinted, that if such claims were made in behalf of that country, larger demands would come in from Ireland; but he should not be deterred by any consideration of that kind from advancing the fair rights of the northern portion of the island. He thought the county of Dumbarton ought to be restored to its situation in the Representation, from which it had, with great injustice, been attempted to be displaced. Unless some distribution more favourable to Scotland were determined on than that now proposed, he could acquaint the Ministers, that they would find it more difficult than they imagined, to carry the Scotch Reform Bill—he should certainly oppose it.
§ Lord Althorp
had listened with attention to the arguments of the hon. Gentleman, and he thought every one must clearly perceive, that there would be a great difficulty in increasing the county 1101 Representation of Scotland, to a greater extent than had been proposed by the Bill introduced for the purpose of amending the Representation of that country. He could certainly hold out no hope that it was the intention of Government to accede to the desire of the hon. member for Glasgow. With respect to the Representation of Wales, he had been much surprised at hearing his right hon. friend object to the proposition for increasing the number of boroughs in the principality; for he was perfectly satisfied, that, with one or two exceptions, that increase would cause a very small diminution in the county constituencies, and on the whole, tend very much to place the county Representation of Wales on a much more respectable foundation than his right hon. friend anticipated. He therefore trusted they would be allowed to proceed with this schedule, and to discuss its provisions, each on its own merits.
§ The Chairman then read the introductory clause to schedule F, when
§ Lord Althorp moved, that the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again to-morrow.—Agreed to. The House resumed.
§ The Speaker,
on resuming the Chair, said, he hoped the House would permit him to address a few words to them, before their separation, in reference to the unpleasant circumstance which had taken place in the Committee. He regretted, that he had not been in the House at the moment when the motion was made for the House resuming, because, he should have much preferred making the few observations which he had to make in the Committee, in which the occurrence had taken place. It would be for the House to judge, whether the views which he had taken on the subject were right or wrong. He could sincerely assert, that he had honestly and fairly addressed himself to the misunderstanding which had occurred, directing his best endeavours, as he always did, to the maintenance of the dignity of the House, and to the preservation of the freedom of debate; at the same time, that he looked with the utmost delicacy and anxiety to the honour and character of every individual Member. He should have been glad if he had had an opportunity of obtaining the general assent of the Committee to his opinion, that all that had passed should be obliterated and put into complete oblivion, knowing, as they all 1102 must, how intemperate language sometimes escaped in the course of earnest debate—how difficult it was to account for the impression created by involuntary expressions, and feeling, as he did, from his experience in the Chair, that these cases never occurred without its being the most gratifying result to all parties, that they should have an opportunity of having all unpleasant feeling removed, by an expression of the judgment of the House, that no offence was meant.
§ Lord Althorp
said, he could not avoid expressing the feeling which he was convinced was unanimous in the House, as to the mode in which the Speaker, on such occasions, always conducted himself, and of his constant endeavours, not only to preserve the dignity of the House, but also to keep untouched and untarnished, the honour of every individual Member. Although the language which had been used was such as he regretted, yet it had been used hypothetically, and the hon. Member who had used it, subsequently stated so, and apologised for it. It appeared to him, that the course which the Speaker had taken, was the most consistent with the dignity of the House, and that every Member would be satisfied with the further communication which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir George Murray
said, that as it appeared to be the general sense of the Committee, that the expressions which fell from the hon. Member in the course of the discussion, had been used inadvertently, and as such, the hon. Gentleman had apologised for them; he hoped and trusted, that the sense of that apology expressed by the House, would satisfy his right hon. friend. He could not refrain, at the present opportunity, from expressing his strong sense of the impartiality which always marked the conduct of the Speaker on such occasions, and which so much tended to preserve order in their debates. If any thing was to be regretted in the present instance, it was his accidental absence at the moment when the misunderstanding had arisen, but which had now been placed by him upon its proper footing.
§ The conversation here dropped.
§ The Committee to sit again the next day.