§ The blanks having been filled up in Clause 11, that Clause, enacting that the following counties, contained in schedule G, namely, Chester, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derby, Devon, Durham, Essex, Gloucester, Kent, Hampshire, Lancaster, Leicester, Norfolk, Northumberland, Northampton, Nottingham, Salop, Somerset, Stafford, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick, Wilts, and Worcester, shall be divided into two divisions, and shall return four Knights of the Shire each—was agreed to without discussion.
§ Clause 10, postponed on the previous night, enacting "That, in all future Parliaments, there should be four Knights of the Shire instead of two, to serve for the county of Lincoln—that is to say, two for the parts of Lindsay, in the said county, and two for the parts of Kesteven and Holland, in the same county; and that such four knights shall be chosen in the same manner, and by the same classes and description of voters, and in respect of the same several rights of voting, as if the said parts of Lindsay were a separate county, and the said parts of Kesteven and Holland together, were also a separate county," was read.
felt opposed to the principle of the division of counties which had been carried last night, but as that had been decided by so great a majority, he did not think that it would be courteous towards his Majesty's Ministers to press his opposition to this clause. To that principle, however, his objections remained as strong as before that discussion took place. The very reasons assigned by the defenders increased his disgust and alarm, so much had been said about a necessity to support the influence of property, an influence which one great object of the present Bill went to prevent. As these reasons showed that patronage and nomination would be the certain result, he must deprecate the measure, as tending to subvert the very foundation on which the Bill was raised. He, therefore, upon every fitting occasion, would express his regret at the decision which had been come to on this clause. In particular, he must deplore the division of the county of Lincoln, from which he expected vehement contests and disastrous 1312 dissensions. He would endeavour to confine the few observations he had to make to the clause before them. As it had been established that a division of the county of Lincoln must certainly take place, he approved that such division should be made by Parliament, and consist of Lindsay for one part, and Holland and Kesteven for the other, as proposed by the clause, rather than that any other division should be made by Commissioners to be appointed under this Bill, and which he considered as one of its most objectionable parts. He acquiesced in the clause, and the division it would produce, protesting always that while he considered the county of Lincoln fully entitled to four Members, they ought to have been returned by the whole body of freeholders, from an undivided county. Yet he would suggest, that as the Commissioners would not be required to interfere in the division of Lincolnshire, it would be desirable, that nothing relating to that county should be involved in their decisions. By the clause, in pursuance of which they were to be appointed, it was provided, that they should regulate in what towns the elections for the divided counties should take place. To that interference with Lincoln he firmly objected, and proposed that the House should themselves settle the point, by declaring the election of Members for Holland and Kesteven should be held at Boston, the most important town in that part of the county, and very conveniently situated for the purpose, while the elections for Lindsay should be held at Lincoln. He had discharged his duty to his constituents in opposing that principle to which they felt opposed, and he therefore should not, on this occasion, press his opposition to this clause, further than to express a hope, that the suggestions he had thrown out might be adopted.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, that the county of Lincoln was one, of all others, which required mature and peculiar consideration as to the division of it, to prevent it being reduced to the condition of a nomination borough. In one part, a noble friend of his, for whom he entertained a sincere respect, had a paramount interest; in the other part he also feared something like nomination would prevail; much would depend on the place appointed for the election to be held at; Boston was, in his opinion, an unsuitable place, besides, there was something apparently wrong in the 1313 contemplated division. In Kesteven and Holland, the smaller portion of the county, there were now three boroughs, Grantham, Stamford, and Boston; which, with the two Members for the division, would give eight for that portion, while the larger district of Lindsay, including the city of Lincoln, would have only six. These proportions was a reason why he objected to the division, for it would be impossible to draw any line, giving to the freeholders of the city of Lincoln, the rights and privileges they were entitled to, without, at the same time, saddling them with twofold rates, one for the city, the other for the county. He did not believe the proposed division had the general sanction of the county. He wished, on this occasion, to correct a misstatement of what he had said, which had appeared in those Journals that were not very favourable to those who spoke on that side of the House where he sat, and where he hoped to continue to sit. It was stated in those Journals, that he was against giving additional Members to the county of Lincoln. So far from that being the case, he had stated, that the county of Lincoln, in point of acres and of population, had as good a claim as any other county that got four Members, to additional Members. He must complain of the interruption he met with. It was hard that those Members who had not partial and friendly Journals, who would write and publish speeches for them, and who would make up for their deficiencies, should not get a patient hearing. He did not write any speeches for the public Journals, and he begged to say, that he would not be deterred by such discourtesy on the part of the Committee, and such partiality on the part of the Press, from exerting what powers he might possess, in support of his constituents. In conclusion, he said, that though only five Members should divide with him, he would divide the Committee on this clause, in order to prevent the county of Lincoln from being converted into nomination boroughs.
Sir William Ingilby
would beg to remind his gallant friend of the real state of the county of Lincoln, for he must deny that the division of the county would cause it to fall into anything like the condition of nomination boroughs. He did not deny, that there was a predominant interest in the northern part of the county, but that was not strong enough to control 1314 even that division; on the contrary, he believed that, the public feeling and the spirit of honest independence was so alive there, that, if that great interest he had alluded to, wished to control the free voices of the men of that division, so far from returning two Members, it could not command the election ever of one. In the southern parts of the county there was not any predominant influence—property was equally divided, and there was no power which could suppress the free will of the people. There were, he believed, in Kesteven and Holland more really independent freeholders than in any other equal portion of England; and the same would apply also to Lindsay, where there was a body of 1,200 or 1,500 freeholders, free from any influence, save their own will, and their honest and invincible desire to benefit their country. Now, as to the city of Lincoln being placed in the division of Lindsay, it was hard to say where it ought to be placed, as it, and the villages under its jurisdiction, stood partly in Lindsay, and partly in Kesteven, so that if it had been placed in Kesteven division, his gallant friend might then ask, why it was not placed in Lindsay? As the county was to be divided, he thought that, like the case of Yorkshire, there could not be a better arrangement than that of going according to its ancient, and well-known divisions.
Mr. Hughes Hughes
said, that for reasons which he had stated to the Committee on a former evening, when this clause was under discussion, he had then doubted whether he ought to take the sense of the Committee on the proposed division of the county of Lincoln. If he had then doubted as to the course he ought to pursue, the discussion of last night, upon the larger question, involving the unconstitutional mode of effecting divisions which did not apply in this case, where the division was almost natural, compelled him to say, that he could not support the motion of his hon. and gallant friend, the member for Lincoln. He would urge him, indeed, to withdraw it.
§ Mr. Croker
suggested to the hon. member for Lincoln, not to press his opposition to this clause, after the principle of the division of the counties had been decided by so large a division last night.
said, the provisions of the clause were, that all the freeholders of the city of Lincoln should vote in the division 1315 of Lindsay. The city extended itself into several villages, locally situated in Kesteven, while the city itself was wholly within Lindsay, but the whole was subject to the jurisdiction of the city. As it was provided, therefore, that all within that jurisdiction should vote in Lindsay, it followed, that all the freeholders, of course, would possess the right to vote in that division.
said, that it was useless to resist the phalanx of the noble Lord, and therefore he should not divide the Committee, though the Bill was most partial and unjust with respect to Lincoln, and he rested his hope that Ministers would be defeated in another quarter. He wished to add one word in reply to the noble member for Northamptonshire. He had said, those parts of the dependencies of the city of Lincoln, locally situated in Kesteven, were to possess the right of voting for Lindsay, which would be found rather awkward in practice, as they would have the right of voting in one division, and be exempt from the control of the Magistrates of that part in which they were to vote.
§ Lord Althorp
thought, his noble friend had sufficiently explained, that those parts which were tinder the jurisdiction of the city of Lincoln, were to vote in Lindsay.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
There are distinct Sheriffs for the city and county of Lincoln; who was, therefore, to be the returning officer for these dependencies? The city Sheriff had authority within them, and yet those parts were to have votes where their Sheriff had no authority.
thought his hon. and gallant friend acted wisely, in not pressing a second division upon a point which had already been decided, however much they might regret it. But as the noble Lord had not given any answer to the suggestion he made, as to the places where the elections were to be held, he begged to repeat, that in this clause he wished it to be made absolute, that the election for Lindsay should be held at Lincoln, and that for Kesteven and Holland at Boston. These were undoubtedly the most convenient places for the purpose.
§ Lord Althorp
said, he did not think the places named by the hon. Gentleman were really the most convenient; and besides, the places to be appointed were of comparatively little importance, as the place of nomination was to be provided for.
Sir Robert Heron
considered Boston the most inconvenient place that could be selected for holding the elections for Kesteven and Holland.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, the other boroughs of that part of the county would at least be as convenient as Boston, but he should recommend that part of the county called the Garden of Eden, for the purpose.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ The Chairman then put clause 12: "That freeholders and others claiming to vote in counties divided, shall vote as if such divisions were separate counties."
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, this clause brought them to the consideration of what were actually to be the rights of freeholders and others; he therefore wished the noble Lord to state, whether persons holding freeholds in two divisions of a county, should have the right of voting for each of those divisions, or whether his right should be confined to only one of them. The clause said, that an elector "shall vote only for a Knight or Knights of that Riding of the county of York, those parts of the county of Lincoln, or that division of the county so to be divided, in which the property, in respect to which he claims to vote, shall be situated." He confessed he did not comprehend this clause, or the necessity for inserting it in the Bill. It was clear that when a county was divided, the party who had property in one division, could not vote for the other. The divisions were to be, in effect, separate counties, for the purpose of elections; therefore, to suppose that property in one division could entitle a man to vote in another, was wholly out of the question. But what he wanted to know was, whether a man having property in two divisions of a county, would be entitled to vote for both? [Noise—cries of "Order, order," and "Bar, bar," from the Opposition benches, and even from the Chair.]
, the Chairman, said, that he was really sorry to be obliged to beg assistance on the part of the Committee to enable him to preserve order. Order being restored,
§ Sir Edward Sugden
hoped, that no misrepresentations would be made upon this, and he trusted, that he should not be again told, that what he said in that House was met by loud clamour. The Act ought to declare whether a freehold, divided as it 1317 might be by the Commissioners, was to give the right of voting for each of the divisions of the county or not. It was now time for the Committee to consider the cumulative rights of voting. He came to the very essence of the Bill. The Bill would give small freeholders the right of voting in cases where larger freeholders would be deprived of that right. It was provided, "that, not with standing anything herein before contained, no person shall be entitled to vote in the election of a knight or knights of the shire to serve in any future Parliament, in respect of any house, warehouse, or counting-house, or of any land occupied together with a house, warehouse, or counting-house, by reason of the occupation of which respectively, he or any other person shall be entitled to vote in the election of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament, for any city or town being a county of itself, or for any other city or borough." They had now to consider what would be the various rights of the freeholder, the landholder, and the actual tenant, or occupier, with respect to voting. Suppose a man had twenty freeholds, each of them of the annual value of 10l., in a town, and that they were also within the county; take Brighton for example, if a man held such freeholds there, he would be entitled at present to vote for the county of Sussex, but by this clause each tenant would be entitled to vote for the town, and the landlord with a considerable estate would be disfranchised. Again, if a person had only a freehold of the annual value of 40s. situated in the same place, his tenant would not acquire a vote for the town, and the freeholder's rights would remain as they were—he would still possess his right to vote for the county; this could not be correct. He felt sure, that what he was now saying was on a point of great importance, but Gentlemen appeared to be determined to pay no attention to it. The principle never could be right which allowed the small freeholder to retain his rights, and took them from the large freeholder. He therefore submitted to the consideration of the Committee, that it was by no means advisable to throw the small freeholders of the towns to be enfranchised upon the counties. [Great confusion in the House; calls of "Order" and "Bar."]
§ Colonel Sibthorp rose to order. He was particularly interested in the question before the Committee, but it was impossible 1318 for him to hear the learned Gentleman, from the incessant interruptions and noise with which he was received. Although he might be called factious, if the interruptions continued, he should feel it his duty to move an adjournment of the debate.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
resumed. He was anxious to say only a very few words. He wished to know what Ministers would do with those freeholds in a city or borough, which were too small to entitle the tenants or occupiers of them to vote for the city or borough. This was really important. There were a certain description of freeholds, good in law, but not in fact, and these nominal freeholders would actually have two votes, while the real 10l. freeholders would have no such privilege; this evil would be made greater by the division of counties. From the county constituencies they were about to take all the borough and town Representation of above a certain value, and retain the 40s. freeholders to make up the county Representation. Now the operation of this principle might be very dangerous, because it would depend upon what towns or boroughs were placed in each division; whether the rural constituency which consisted in general of the larger proprietors, might not be completely overwhelmed by the 40s. freeholders living in the towns. They ought, therefore, to be very cautious, in legislating, to prevent such an effect. This was no party question. He most solemnly addressed himself, in the sincerity of his heart, to Ministers, in order to see what good he could do to the Bill. He was at one time inclined to think the clause might be much improved by giving all freeholders a right to vote for counties, but by proceeding in that way they would destroy other constituencies, and no hon. Gentleman, whatever his opinion on this Bill generally was, could agree that the mischief of nomination, which was said to prevail in certain boroughs, should, under another description of things, be transferred to counties where it had never previously prevailed. County Members always had, and ought to continue to have, great weight in that House, but by the course now proposed to be pursued, the respectability and weight of their constituencies would be much impaired. He should, therefore, propose some modification of the 16th clause.
§ Lord Althorp
complained, that the learned Gentleman was out of order in making 1319 suggestions which did not apply to the clause before the Committee, but to the 16th clause of the Bill, upon which he would explain himself when the Committee had arrived at the clause.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, that although he was taking a general view of the right of voting, yet he admitted the observations of the noble Lord were correct, and he was happy to hear that some explanations were to be given; but the House ought, not with standing, to have had some explanation of what was presumed to be the general operation of the principle they were then discussing. This would have prevented him from being obliged to resort to other clauses to explain the one before them. If the object really was, to extend the rights of voting, it should be freely and fully stated. He therefore, in conclusion, begged to press upon the noble Lord the consideration, that a man might possess the freehold of the whole Marine Parade of Brighton, and yet, if these houses were all let to tenants, he would have no vote either for the town or county.
§ Lord Althorp
would confine what he had to say to the clause now before the Committee, although he fully appreciated the knowledge and acquirements of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and would, on those accounts, by no means neglect any remarks that came from him. The object of the Bill was obviously to give to freeholders, copyholders, and leaseholders, of a certain description, the right of voting at elections. It was intended that the voters in towns and boroughs should be excluded from voting for counties, and by this means the town and county Representation would be kept distinct, and the landed interest would claim an advantage which at present it did not possess. As the division of counties would make each division of the nature of a separate county, a property in both would give the right of voting for both, in the same way that a person who had a freehold in Lincoln, and another in Nottingham, would have a vote for each of those counties. With respect to non-resident voters, the counties were on a footing different from that of towns, for although it was very desirable that non-residents should not vote for towns, it was impossible to extend this regulation to counties. He would select his own case as an example; he resided the principal part of the year in London, perform- 1320 ing his duties in that House, but his house and property were in Northamptonshire, if non-residence, therefore, was to be a bar to his voting, he should lose that privilege; but by confining the right of voting in towns to the bona fide occupiers of houses, they did away completely with the evil of non-residents, as far as the towns were concerned.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, he understood the noble Lord very clearly; his object was plainly perceived, and he intended, undoubtedly, to give to a man possessing freeholds, even in the separate divisions of a county, the right of voting for each.
§ Sir George Clerk
doubted if a property ought to have votes for each division of a county, because the line of demarcation drawn by the Commissioners might divide it into two.
The Solicitor General
said, the question appeared to rest upon this, whether the clause was or was not necessary; but surely its introduction could do no harm. The object the Ministers had in view was, to explain that an individual having two freeholds in separate divisions of a county should have a vote for both. This was the important principle; but as it was provided for by other parts of the Bill, there would be no great objection to dispense with that part of the clause here.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, the clause was more than unnecessary, it actually tended to obscure the subject, for he did not know what was its object until he heard it explained. He therefore proposed that in lieu of it a short clause should be inserted, explaining, that the several divisions of a county should be considered as wholly separate so far as regarded the right of voting. He would beg to ask the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) a question; he understood there were to be some considerable improvements suggested to a clause which was about to be taken into their consideration. He had many objections to that clause as it stood, but if the alterations that were proposed to be made were not explained previous to their being laid before the House, he should have no time or opportunity to consider their bearings; he therefore called upon the noble Lord to make some arrangements by which Members could have time to consider the amendments before they were obliged to vote. They were about to make and form an entirely new constituency throughout the country, and considering that as 1321 the most important part of the Bill, it ought not to be discussed without further notice, and on a Saturday when so many, of the most important Members would necessarily be absent.
§ Lord Althorp
was ready to adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and would therefore consent that the clause in question should not be gone into to-morrow. They might proceed with other clauses not so likely to provoke discussion, and fill up blanks in the Bill. With respect to the clause now under consideration, he saw no objection to striking it out.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, that some of the clauses depended so much upon others, that he felt it difficult that such a selection could be made as the noble Lord proposed.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
did not think that any great alterations could be intended, or the whole Bill must be recommitted. The clauses which the noble Lord proposed to amend, were the most important of the Bill. They were intended to enact the right and manner of voting; it was, therefore, very important that they should have ample time to consider the proposed amendments.
said, he had given notice of an amendment on one of the Clauses to be considered, and he wished to have a full attendance of Members. He knew many must be absent; he therefore wished the House should adjourn over to-morrow.
§ Mr. Croker
must also press an adjournment, as the noble Lord must be aware that clauses 15 and 16 were the most important provisions of the Bill, and it was evident they would create much discussion.
§ Lord Althorp
must say, that as he intended to propose certain amendments, it would be necessary to enter into some explanation respecting them, before they were printed and distributed, and on this account he wished the House to meet tomorrow.
§ Sir James Scarlett
was of opinion the clause now before them was wholly unnecessary; the 16th clause would answer every purpose for which it was intended.
The Attorney General
admitted, that the clause was superfluous. It had been in- 1322 serted only to leave no doubt respecting the division of counties. As the House seemed to consider that it was not necessary, he should propose to withdraw it, for it was a bad practice to introduce useless matter into an Act of Parliament.
§ The 12th clause was, pro forma, negatived.
§ The Chairman then put the question, that the blank in the 13th clause (that investing Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorsetshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, and Oxfordshire, with the power of returning an additional county Member) be filled up by the number "3."
protested against the principle of this clause. It was a proposition which would not be considered as a boon by the freeholders of these counties, for it would involve the different parties it them, at every election, in a constant struggle, which of them should return the third Member. He objected to the clause that it made an invidious distinction between the seven favoured counties, and those which should return only their present amount of two Members, though equally entitled to an increase, so far as wealth and population were concerned. If it was the noble Lord's object to add to the agricultural Representation in that House, his best plan would have been, to have proposed that each county in Wales should return two Members. No man could say the Welsh counties were adequately represented. In England the proportion of Representation to population, was as one to 20,000, but in Wales the ratio was much higher. He could not account for this unfair preference, except by supposing, that as Wales was added to England by conquest, and not by union, the inhabitants were compelled to take what the dominant country thought proper to allow them. He could assure the House, that the Welsh constituency was most respectable and independent. He observed, there was a motion to give Carmarthen another Member. He hoped he might rely on the hon. Gentleman who had given that notice for his support to the proposal to give seven additional Members to Welsh counties, which he thought they ought to have, for two especial reasons—first, that the proposed addition would remove the cause of strife and contention; and second, that Wales had not its due proportion of Members; he therefore hoped his Majesty's Ministers would consider the suggestions he had 1323 made, and adopt them in preference to the proposed arrangement.
§ Sir George Clerk
fully agreed with the hon. and gallant Member, that Wales was entitled to an increase in the number of county Representatives. The Principality was not adequately represented. He could by no means comprehend why Government objected to giving four Members to counties in common, on account of party struggles, and yet proposed the present clause, which would most assuredly, as had been represented by the hon. Gentleman, give rise to the most vehement party struggles who should return the third man. Although he admitted the claim of Wales, yet he could not advocate her interest without pressing the claim of Scotland. On the principles on which the Reform measure was introduced, there were very strong and cogent reasons why that country should have additional Representation. If he understood those principles correctly, every county with a population of 100,000 was to have an increase of Members. By the census of 1821, several of the counties of Scotland, as Aberdeen, Ayr, Fife, Edinburgh, Lanark, Perth, and Renfrew exceeded that amount. In Scotland the ratio of Representation to population was much higher than in England at present. This disparity there was good reason to complain of—Scotland yielded to no country of equal extent in wealth and commercial prosperity, and if it received its due proportion of Members, one to 20,000 souls, it ought to have an increase of eighty Members. He was, however, quite ready to allow, that it was wholly impossible to give such an increase; but he should certainly propose, that every county of Scotland with a population of above 100,000, should have an additional Member, and when the Scotch Reform Bill was before them, he should urge this point, and he hoped with success.
§ Lord Althorp
, in reply to the hon. member for Edinburghshire, had only to say, that a county having a population of 100,000 souls, was not the principle which had guided them in giving additional Representation. The real cause was, as had been previously explained, that in the formation of the Bill, it was found necessary to give more Members to boroughs and large manufacturing towns, than was originally contemplated. It therefore became necessary to give the agricultural interests an increase, as a balance, by se- 1324 lecting seven counties where it was known the agricultural interests preponderated, and give them each an additional Representative. It was not because these counties contained more than 100,000 souls that they were selected—but because they were likely to return Members dependent on the agricultural interest. He would say a few words in answer to his hon. friend the member for Breconshire (Colonel Wood), who had supposed that Wales had fewer Representatives than England because it was a conquered country. Now what were the real facts? For 250 years after it had been annexed to this country, it had no Representatives, and was perpetually the scene of riot and disorder, being almost in a state of rebellion. In this emergency, it was thought advisable to bestow a small share of the Representation on the principality, and this was attended with the most salutary effects. These circumstances shewed, that the small amount of Members returned by Wales, was not solely on account of its being a conquered country. Again his hon. friend had asserted, that three Members being given to a county would occasion the most violent party struggles to return the third man; but the case of Wales showed, that an odd Member had no such effect. With regard to Scotland, the hon. Baronet had said, Scotland was not fairly treated. It was quite true they had not increased the amount of Representation equally to that of England, but Scotland was to have a large proportional increase, and a better method of returning Members in comparison with what it had at present. With respect to the clause in general, it should have his support, for he thought considerable advantage would be derived from additional county Representatives. It was quite evident, unless precautions were taken to guard against it, that the commercial and manufacturing interests would preponderate under the new Bill.
maintained, that Cambridge-shire would still be deficient in its due share of Representation. By the census of 1821, its population amounted to about 121,000 souls, to represent which, they were to have only five Members, three for the county, and two for Cambridge itself; the University Members, of course, he did not consider. The average proportion of Members to population throughout England, was as one to 15,000, but in Cam- 1325 bridge there was only one to 28,000. This at once proved, that it was hardly treated; he should therefore recommend, that Wisbeach, in that county, should be invested with the power of returning at least one Member. Its population and wealth entitled it to this distinction.
§ Mr. Throckmorton
, as a Representative of one of the counties to which it was proposed to give an extra Member, must be allowed to express his surprise at the modest proposition of hon. Gentlemen, to increase the Representation of their own counties, at the expense of their friends. He had no objection to Wales and Scotland having an increase, but would never consent, that England should be cut down from her fair proportion. He conceived the clause to be founded on a wise principle, particularly as it applied to Berkshire—a county the wealth, population, and agricultural importance of which, well entitled it loan additional Representative. The Bill had given general satisfaction, and he should support this clause as one of its best enactments.
§ Mr. Cutlar Ferguson
could assure the Committee, the feeling of satisfaction was not confined to Berkshire, and he quite participated with the hon. Member for that county, in his feeling of surprise at the proposal of the hon. Gentlemen to increase the Welsh Representation at the expense of the English counties. The only evil he could see from a third candidate was, that if the electors were restricted to two votes, there might be a split between the favourite or popular candidates, and that consequently, the most unpopular person might come in as third.
§ Sir George Murray
trusted he might be permitted to say a few words with regard to the Representation for Scotland on this occasion. An hon. Gentleman opposite had said, that Cambridge shire had only one Representative to 28,000 inhabitants, and he thought the interests of that county required more to equalize the proportion to that of other counties but throughout Scotland, the ratio was much less than in England, and if the rule laid down by the hon. Gentleman was followed, that country would be entitled to a large increase. The only argument he had heard in favour of giving three Members to certain counties, was, that the inhabitants would be glad to have them, and no doubt the inhabitants of other places had the same desire, and if one was to be gratified, why not the 1326 other? It had been asserted, that the whole representative system of Scotland was defective; but leaving out of the question, at present, the manner in which he was elected, he considered himself as much charged to protect the interest of every individual in the county of Perth, as if he had been returned by universal suffrage. He would therefore assert, that he was as much the Representative of the people as any other hon. Gentleman, however broad might be the basis of his constituency. If the manner in which he was elected was made an objection to him, he would tell the noble Lord, he would not be the Representative of the people of England, when elected by 10l. householders, who could only be a small portion of the whole people. It had been said, that the seven additional Members were to be allotted to certain counties, to keep up the balance between the agricultural and manufacturing interests, which otherwise could not be maintained. This applied equally to Scotland. The agriculture of Scotland had flourished in proportion to its manufactures, yet there was nothing like a balance between them kept up by the Reform Bill for that country. It was proposed, on the contrary, to reduce the county Representation, and augment that of the towns and boroughs. He wished to speak at all times with respect of these different interests. He knew the connection between them was so intimate that they were mutually dependent on each other, but the general effects of the proposed alterations, he considered, would be, to give the commercial and manufacturing interests a large increase of I influence, and on that account he wished the Scotch counties to have an increased number of Representatives. He thought it was important that each county should have two Members, for that naturally prevented one interest from overwhelming the others. This doctrine he had maintained whether in or out of office, and he should be prepared, at the proper opportunity to insist upon this measure of justice being dealt to Scotland.
said, it was quite evident that his right hon. and gallant friend had overlooked the vices of the Scotch Representation. While placed in such pure and honourable hands as his, it did not, probably, much matter how the Member was elected, but surely it must have occurred to him, that there was no security generally for the interests of the constituency being 1327 adequately attended to, unless they had a voice in the choice of their representative. He thought he might venture to say, that by the proposed improvements, Scotland would not only receive an addition of five Representatives to its manufacturing and commercial interests, but all the Members to be sent for that country would be additional, for they would be returned by the people. Hitherto, from one end of Scotland to the other, there had never been a popular election. With respect to giving additional Members to Wales, he had not yet heard any reasons to satisfy his mind, that they ought to be granted. His noble friend, however, must permit him to say, that of all the clauses of the Bill, this was the oddest. He objected to the selection of seven counties which were not the most important. If it was the object of his noble and hon. friends to give additional Representatives to the agricultural interests, instead of selecting the counties named in the clause several of which only contained 150,000 or 160,000 inhabitants, on the whole, they ought to have selected the large divisions of Yorkshire and Devonshire for the purpose, which were in every respect agricultural districts, and had a comparatively small portion of Representation. It appeared to him somewhat inconsistent, after several of the large counties, such as Cumberland, Lancaster, and others, had received four Members, and several of the smaller counties two, that a middle class was created which were to have each three. This latter class were selected, if he understood the principle, in order to give additional weight and influence to agriculture; but what was the fact, the counties thus selected were not remarkable as agricultural districts, while the most important divisions connected with that interest were overlooked. But independent wholly of such considerations, he objected to the principle of giving three Representatives, which he thought would have the effect of introducing Members not much connected with the counties or constituencies they were supposed to represent. For these reasons he did not consider the arrangement now before the Committee a judicious one.
§ Mr. Croker
said, the question that this clause stand part of the Bill, should cer- 1328 tainly be postponed, for the amendment which a noble friend of his intended to move went to the very essence of the clause itself.
§ Lord Althorp
hoped to have been able to get through the clause that night. Was there any objection to fill up the blanks, report progress, and go on with the discussion to-morrow?
The Marquis of Chandos
said, was he to understand, if that course were adopted, they were to proceed with the discussion of the clause for giving three Members to certain counties, to-morrow; as that was a proposition he should oppose to the utmost.
§ Mr. Charles Douglas
said, there was no wish in Scotland to obtain additional Members at the expense of England. He was really apprehensive that hon. Gentlemen did not understand the system of Scotch Representation, if they asserted there was no popular elections in that country; the existing methods answered well for such a purpose.
adverted to the close attendance which these meetings on Saturdays occasioned, and the consequent weariness which it produced. Many Gentlemen had understood that the Committee would proceed to-morrow only with clauses of no importance, and therefore had intended to go into the country.
§ Lord Althorp
said, he had been misunderstood. What he said was, that he wished those clauses not to be proceeded with to-morrow which required discussion, and where the main principle of the Bill was affected; but this was not one of those clauses. The Committee made considerable progress on Saturdays, and though he was fatigued, he was not exhausted, and should therefore persist in his motion for sitting to-morrow.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
had intended to propose an addition to the Representation of Wales, but he could not do it on a Saturday, when so many Members were likely to be absent.
Mr. Frankland Lewis
was of the same opinion. The clause was one of great importance, and therefore he implored it might not be discussed to-morrow, when an understanding had already been come to, that no important matter should be brought under consideration. He sincerely believed, that if England and Wales were polled, man by man, upon the specific question, as to whether they would have 1329 the number of Members reduced, that there would be twenty to one against any reduction. He therefore hoped that the question would not be decided upon on a Saturday.
Mr. Stuart Wortley
said, the question as to any increase in the Representation of Wales did not rest with the noble Lord. An hon. Member had already given notice of his intention to bring that subject forward.
interposed, and said, the question before the Committee was, that the blank be filled up with the word "three."
§ Mr. William Bankes
observed, that if this practice of sitting on Saturdays was to be persevered in, and the hon. and learned Member on the other side (Mr. Robert Grant) intended to bring in his Jew bill, some inconvenience would be felt by hon. Gentlemen of that persuasion.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, that some of the clauses of the Bill might appear to some hon. Members of less importance, but he considered every line, every word, to be important. The Committees should adjourn over till Tuesday.
§ Mr. Croker
said, the speech of a noble Lord (Milton) had relieved him from the necessity of then making any remarks upon the curious, not to say absurd clause before the Committee.
§ The Motion that the blank be filled up with the word "three," agreed to.
§ House resumed—Committee to sit again on the following day.