§ The House resolved itself into a Committee—Mr. Bernal in the Chair.
§ The question was, "That the borough of East Grinstead stand part of schedule B."
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
was not one of the party who had been trained to cry out "the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill;" he, therefore, protested against the unconstitutional course now attempted to be adopted by his Majesty's Ministers, in unsettling all our ancient institutions. He was acquainted with East Grinstead, and could assert, that no people in the British empire were better entitled to have the elective franchise than the voters of that place, and it would be most unjust to deprive them of their privileges.
§ Question carried.
§ The next question was, "that the borough of Guildford stand part of schedule B."
said, he was not opposed to the Reform Bill, as the House well knew, but was, in fact, an ardent friend to its principle, notwithstanding the observations which he should feel it necessary to make on this particular case. He had hoped that the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the noble Paymaster of the Forces, would have acceded to the request contained in a memorial which had been presented to them by the Corporation of Guildford on this subject; but as they had refused to accede to the representations which were contained in that memorial, it devolved upon him, as an imperative duty, to lay the facts before the Committee, and that duty he would perform with as much brevity as possible. In the short statement which he meant to make, he should say nothing whatever about the boroughs that were already disfranchised. He would only endeavour to make out such a case against depriving the town of Guildford of one of its Representatives, as would, he hoped, ensure him the support of the Committee. In so doing, he would not advert to the population of 1831, but would confine himself strictly to the census of 1821. He believed, however, that in the latter census a mistake, and a very great mistake, had 530 been committed; and he would read to the House a memorial addressed to his Majesty's Government by the Mayor and Aldermen of Guildford on this subject. The memorial set forth, that if the population of all the parishes which the said town comprised in 1821 had been enumerated, it would have appeared that the total amount of population at that time was 4,212 persons, although the return made it only 3,161. There were three parishes in Guildford—that of the Holy Trinity, that of St. Mary, and that of St. Nicholas; and Guildford, including these parishes, but excluding the rural population, extending two miles in the environs of the towns, had, in 1821, a population of 4,212. It was also to be observed, that the Guildford Magistrates had jurisdiction over the neighbouring parish of Stoke. Their jurisdiction extended, not only over the three parishes in Guildford, but also over the large parish of Stoke, and had extended over that since the reign of James 2nd. As to the number of 10l. houses and upwards, they were thus enumerated:—In those parts of the parishes of the Holy Trinity, of St. Mary, and of St. Nicholas, within the limits of the borough, there were 213:—in the villages adjoining the limits of the borough, but not in the town, there were thirty-seven:—in Spital-street and Chertsey-street, sixty-seven; which gave a return of 315 houses of 10l. a-year and upwards. Having thus stated the population of 1821—having pointed out the number of 10l. houses that Guildford contained—and also having shown, that the parish of Stoke was under the jurisdiction of the Magistrates of Guildford, he flattered himself that he had made out a case, so far as these points were concerned. The taxation amounted, in the parish of St. Nicholas, to 1,960l., which exceeded the amount of taxation paid by any borough in schedule B. The town had returned Members to serve in Parliament from the 23rd of Edward 1st, and the right of election was in the freeholders and the freemen resident. Almost the whole town consisted of freeholds; five-sixths of the electors were freeholders, and one-sixth freemen. There was not, he believed, a purer elective body in the kingdom. It was not an obscure and distant village; it was the county-town of Surrey; and, as many hon. Members, and as all who ever travelled that, road must know, it was highly respectable for buildings, wealth, industry, 531 and population. It was remarkable also for the beauty of the scenery and the fertility of the soil around it, and was daily advancing in prosperity; He was sorry to hear his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General, speaking as he did the other night of county-towns. It did not, perhaps, become a person so humble and insignificant as himself, to offer an opinion on anything that might have fallen from a person of his high station and eminent talents, but upon that occasion he thoughtHe leaped his light courser o'er the bounds of space.He would appeal to every hon. Member who heard him, whether they did not regard with something like affection the county-town so often visited in early life, the scene of so many pleasures, and of joyous intercourse with friends and acquaintance. He regretted that his two noble friends below him did not take this circumstance into consideration. They ought to be the last to do anything which had a tendency to demolish the county-towns. In conclusion, the hon. Member thanked the Committee for its attention. He threw himself on its justice, and would cheerfully abide by its decision, whatever it might be.
took the same view of the subject with the hon. member for Surrey. After what had fallen from his hon. friend, it was not necessary for him to trouble the Committee at any length. He merely wished to call its attention to the petition presented to the House, from the Mayor, Aldermen, and other inhabitants of Guildford, a fortnight before. The petition referred the House to the census taken in the year 1821, by which it appeared that the population of the parishes of St. Mary, St. Nicholas, and the Holy Trinity, within the borough, then amounted to 3,161; and that the parishes of the Holy Trinity and St. Nicholas, particularly the latter, extended to a considerable distance beyond the limits of the borough. The petitioners added, that "They believe that such population, added to that within the borough, would have made an aggregate number of 4,000; the petitioners also take leave to state, that the populous part of the parish of Stoke next Guildford, forms, to all appearance, a part of the town of Guildford, the boundary lines of the said parish of Stoke being occupied by houses which stand partly in the parish of the Holy Trinity, Guildford, and partly 532 in Stoke; and that the petitioners believe that such houses in Stoke, which immediately adjoin the town of Guildford, contained, in 1821, a population of upwards of 500, and was comprised in the number 1,120, returned by the census of 1821, as the population of the parish of Stoke." They stated, that the parish of Stoke was within the jurisdiction of the Corporation of Guildford, and that a great number of the owners of property in the town have also property in Stoke; and that the persons who live in Stoke, generally have property in the borough of Guildford. They also stated, "That there are now about twenty respectable houses built on a tract of land which is extra-parochial, but subject to the town jurisdiction (being the site of a priory or religious house), although the same land is near the centre of the town of Guildford, and Such houses have not yet been comprised in any census or population returns; that the petitioners can with pride and satisfaction refer the House to the fact, that an uncorrupt freedom of election has always been preserved in the borough of Guildford, which has returned Members ever since the 23rd year of the reign of King Edward 1st, the constituency being confined to freemen, and freeholders resident in the borough, and paying scot and lot, and the whole of the property in the borough being freehold: that the petitioners can with pride also state, that the town of Guildford is largely increasing, both in population and in wealth, and the commerce which is carried on in the town is scarcely to be equalled by any town of the same extent in the empire." In conclusion, the petitioners humbly submitted to the consideration of the House, "That Guildford, being the county-town of a county which comprises a part of the metropolis, and the population of which does not fall far short, at the present time, of half a million, is fairly entitled to retain its ancient privilege of returning two Members to serve in Parliament, and they also submit, that eleven Members for the county of Surrey will not be an undue proportion, compared with the other counties of England." Under all these circumstances, he thought a case had been made out which would warrant the Committee in continuing to this flourishing and increasing town, its present right of sending two Members to Parliament.
§ Mr. Norton
did not wish to take up the 533 time of the Committee, but he had a duty to perform to his constituents, which he could not neglect. He had been long and well acquainted with the borough of Guildford, and could bear testimony to the respectability, the independence, and purity of the electors. If all other boroughs were like this, there would be no occasion for disfranchisement. In place of becoming a victim, it was worthy of being made a model. Here it would be unnecessary to go far into any adjoining rural district to secure the required amount of population or 10l. houses. All were to be found in the borough itself, and the parishes immediately adjoining and forming part of the town.
§ Mr. Best
said, a large part of the population of the parish of the Holy Trinity was not included in the census of 1821. The population and number of 10l. houses, if fairly taken in 1821, would have been quite sufficient to bring it within the line. He fully concurred in all that had been said of the purity and independence of the electors. No person who represented it since he knew the place, ever paid a shilling to an elector. It was no nomination borough, and had always been represented by honourable and independent men. He had no personal interest in offering these few words in its defence; they were drawn from him only by a sense of justice.
Lord J. Russell
was sensible, that the hon. member for Surrey had done no more than his duty in bringing forward this case; but let him remind the hon. Member, that admitting, as the Government did, the respectability and wealth of the town, and all those other circumstances which the hon. Member had alleged as entitling it to a favourable consideration,—let him remind the hon. Member that, admitting all this, they were not about to disfranchise the town, but only to deprive it of one Member, and that, too, on the ground that the population, however respectable, did not amount to that number which had been fixed as the minimum of population which ought to return two Members. Upon this principle the Government and the House had proceeded with regard to other boroughs which were as equally favourably circumstanced as Guildford; and, after a careful consideration of this case, the Government had found, that they could not remove the borough from schedule B, without doing great injustice to other boroughs, or esta- 534 blishing some other rule, which, if they should do, still that other rule, whatever it might be, would not protect the House from claims of exception similar to those which were made under the present rule. Now, as he understood the circumstances of this case, the total population of the town was 3,723. This was all that could be made out. It was said, however, that there was another parish, adjacent to the town, which contained a population of 489; but he did not see, either in the memorial or the petition, any attempt to prove that the whole of these 489, or that any great part of them, were within the town. Unless this were proved, he could see no reason why Guildford should be made an exception to that rule which had been adhered to in the case of other boroughs. He had considered the subject attentively, and he could not perceive how these 3,723 could he made 4,000 by any addition of population resident within the town.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, that notwithstanding the audacity of the Press in attacking by name, and charging him with opposing delay to the progress of the Reform Bill—notwithstanding the petitions with which the House were threatened, and which certain hon. Gentlemen had thought proper to recommend—notwithstanding all such intimidations, he should fearlessly persevere, and continue to point out the anomalies of the Bill. Though he had been thus pointed at by name, he should again say, that he meant inflexibly to adhere to the course which his sense of duty had prescribed to him. Before he adverted to the circumstances of this case, he wished to allude to an observation of an hon. Gentleman opposite, who talked of the flippancy of Members in delivering orations which could answer no other end than that of procrastinating the passing of the Bill. He wished it to be recollected that such speeches were only delivered on the other side; or, if his name was to be traduced either in that House, or by that great moral instrument, the public Press, for no other reason than making long speeches, he thought his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General, ought to share the same fate, and he was not quite sure but that the observation to which he had alluded as coming from the hon. Gentleman opposite, was meant rather for the Attorney General than for himself. To what had been said of him in the Press he 535 would not even condescend to give an answer ["oh, oh."] Did the hon. Members who called out "oh," mean thereby to intimate that they were prepared to maintain the ascendancy of the Press? ["Question."] He should think, that that incognito outcrier who exclaimed "question," had not yet been denounced by the Press, and when the Gentleman was so denounced, perhaps he would not call out "question, question," but "privilege, privilege." It was now admitted on all hands, that the returns upon which the schedules in the Bill were founded, were in many instances erroneous, and yet, when he or any other hon. Member pointed out those inaccuracies, they were instantly assailed with charges of unnecessary delay. He was glad to see the hon. member for Surrey acting independently of the Government, and bearing honourable testimony to the character of the inhabitants of Guildford; he was glad to see that hon. Gentleman setting an example of independence, and shewing that he was not at the beck of the Treasury. Such conduct he was glad to hold up for imitation to the hon. member for Worcester, who had joined in that senseless cry about delay, as if the Bill was perfect, and admitted of no improvement. When it was stated the parishes adjoining to Guildford did not form a part of the borough, it was right on his part to state, that he had a copy of the charter, and in that document, jurisdiction over these parishes had been distinctly given to the borough. He could not admit as valid the argument that, because Appleby had been disfranchised, therefore ought Guildford to be deprived of her privileges. The case of Appleby was, he thought, one of great hardship, and so was that of Bridport; but the case of Guildford was much stronger than either. The excuse in the case of Bridport was, that a river separated the town from the parish. What would the Committee think when he told them, that a lady might walk across through this stream (miscalled a river) without wetting her shoes? This great river was, in point of fact, nothing wider than a gutter; but, according to the impression sought to be conveyed by the Reformers, one would suppose it was another Vistula. Unfortunately for their cause, however, in the present instance, there was no Vistula at Guildford; nor was the case analogous to that of Chippenham. The testimony ad- 536 duced respecting Guildford called at least for inquiry, which he felt confident would shew, that in point of property and population, it was fairly entitled to its usual share in the Representation; but even if it had not the prescribed number of inhabitants, still he should feel serious alarm, and he was sure the county of Surrey would feel dissatisfaction, at finding the county-town as it were dismantled. This was the case in Westmoreland, Huntingdon, and Dorset, and now they came to the work of demolition in Surrey, in all of which the county-towns were to be razed like the fortresses in Belgium. But though the razure of the fortresses might be popular there, the flippant, easy, unwarrantable razure of county-towns in England by the Reformers, would disgust and alarm all the thinking people of this country. Though Mons might be razed, though Tournay might be razed—[cries of "Oh."] Gentlemen need not be alarmed, he was not going to mix up foreign and domestic politics; but this he would say, that whatever might be the propriety or the impropriety of razing the fortresses of Belgium, yet it was intolerable and tyrannical that such towns as Dorchester and Guildford, should be subjected to the military razure and proscription of the Cabinet. In all these proceedings there had been no regard paid to established, rights, nor any fixed principle adhered to in performing the work of destruction. The principles of Ministers were random principles, or rather no principles at all. It was a proscription that was intolerable, and ought not to be tolerated. When Ministers had been told, that some of the cases included in the schedules were ones which, upon their own rule, ought not to be disfranchised, the answer was always, "Point out the particular case, and the error shall be rectified." Then when he and other hon. Members brought under consideration the case of one borough, the answer again was, "This is not the proper time; or this is not the proper case," and so had they gone on, night after night, again and again; but the occasion or the time had never arrived, nor did he think it ever would. He wished to know when the time would arrive at which the Ministers would receive, as they had promised to receive, before the House went into Committee, information respecting those boroughs which had been improperly put into the schedules. He wished to know this from 537 the noble Lord (Lord Althorp), though he thought he could make a pretty good guess at what the nature of that time was. He thought that in reading Dr. Clarke's Homer that morning, he had found out this time. Dr. Clarke was, as many Gentlemen were aware, very nice and particular in his divisions of time, and among those divisions he had one tense which he called the paulo-post-futurum. Now this time—this Greek time—this time so remote as to be a little removed even from the future—this was the time, he had no doubt, which the Gentlemen opposite had fixed for the reception of the evidence and information to which he alluded. That was a division of time that the learned Doctor said, looked a little beyond the horizon of futurity; in his opinion, the Ministerial adoption of that division did not peep an inch above the horizon. The Ministers said, they would not hear evidence on these boroughs; the Press said they ought not to hear speeches: between them both, therefore, no information was to be given, and yet both agreed that the boroughs were to be disfranchised. He trusted, that the Committee would pay proper respect to the statements of the hon. member for Surrey, than whom a man of higher honour or greater independence was not to be found, and who had laid before them a case in favour of this borough, on which they ought to pause before they proceeded to its disfranchisement. But inquiry, it seemed, was never to be given, but at a future time, a time indeed so future, that he feared the supporters of this borough's franchise would never find it arrive.
An Hon. Member
could not conceive a stronger case than Guildford; the Old Manor House, in the parish of Stoke, was within the limits of the borough, and the whole formed but one town. Between this Manor House, the borough limits, and the part of Arlington which was clearly within the town, there was a population of 552 and 489, which, added to the population of the town, made the whole in 1821 amount to 4,212. He felt bound, therefore, to vote against the disfranchisement of Guildford.
§ Sir J. Scarlett
expressed a hope that, upon further consideration, his Majesty's Ministers would agree to take this borough out of the schedule. Of the town and its inhabitants a long residence in their vicinity enabled him to speak with 538 confidence, and he felt happy in being able to add his testimony, and join in the panegyric bestowed upon the place by the hon. member for Surrey. If called upon for his opinion as to the fitness of any towns to send Members to Parliament, he should have no hesitation in pointing out Guildford as a model for the rest of the kingdom. It contained within it all the elements of good constituency. There were to be found wealth, intelligence, and independence. The neighbourhood abounded in men of independent circumstances. It was a county and market town, possessed a large corn trade, and was increasing in wealth and business. If the opinion of the people of Surrey were taken on this subject, he was sure they would be in favour of giving Guildford two Members; and he was sure that great mortification would be felt throughout the county, when it was known that the town was to be even partially disfranchised. From his own experience he could state, that a purer state of Representation did not exist in any part of the country. The tradesmen of the town were respectable and independent, for most of whom it was not necessary, in order to live independently, to continue in business. He could assure the House, that such a thing as bribery was not known there, and he felt confident that no power of money would induce the electors to give votes that did not accord with their own opinions and feelings. Under these circumstances, he still hoped, that the noble Lord would exclude this borough from the schedule. He was free to acknowledge, that what was strictly called the borough, did not contain the required number of inhabitants, but then those parts of St. Nicholas, and Holy Trinity, and Stoke, which had been spoken of, were essentially part of the town; and the population of those places, added to that of the borough, would bring it within the rule which saved other boroughs. It was also to be recollected, that there were twenty houses in the borough which were not included in the returns of 1821. There was also the outskirt of Arlington, with a population of 489 persons, which ought to be included in the population of the borough. Altogether, within a circuit of less than half a mile from the centre of the town, there existed a population of upwards of 4,000, and in common justice, therefore, and in accordance with the line laid down by the 539 Bill itself, he contended that Guildford should be taken out of this schedule. This case, he thought, almost in every respect resembled that of Truro, which was saved, and he hoped to see the same justice done to Guildford.
§ Lord Althorp
thought the case before the Committee was precisely similar to that of Dorchester, which had been disposed of the day before, and he saw no reason why a distinction should be made in favour of Guildford. The question was, not whether the addition of some parts of adjoining parishes would entitle this place to have two Members, but whether it was consistent with a great principle of the Reform Bill, and whether it was such a town as, compared with other great towns in England, deserved to have a double share in the Representation of the country. As to what had been said about inquiry, he thought it was wholly unnecessary in this case, as there was not any the slightest dispute about the facts stated; so that, the facts being admitted, a decision might be had without the inconvenience and delay of inquiry. He did not think the place entitled, according to the principle laid down in the Bill, to have more than one Representative, and therefore he would not consent to have it removed out of the schedule.
§ Sir James Scarlett
wished to remind the Committee, that in this case there would be no necessity for hunting about for a rural population. There could be no question but that the addition of the adjoining houses would give Guildford the required amount of population.
§ Mr. Pearse
thought, the hon. member for Surrey had made out such a clear case for the borough, that he should vote for its being removed from schedule B, and allowed to continue to return two Representatives.
wished again to remind the Committee, that the question before them lay in a small compass. It was on all sides agreed that the population of the parishes of St. Mary, the Holy Trinity and St. Nicholas, all within the limits of the borough, amounted to 3,161 that in Stoke, there were 562, and in other parts of the parishes named 489 which would make the town population above the required number. There would also be a greater number of 10l. houses than was required by the Bill.
§ Sir E. Sugden
felt great pleasure in ob- 540 serving, that whenever any of the Gentlemen opposite had felt it necessary in their own particular cases to defend any of the condemned boroughs, they always employed the arguments used on his side of the House in opposition to disfranchisement. This was the case that evening with the hon. member for Surrey, who did himself great credit in opposing the disfranchisement of so respectable a constituency as that of Guildford. This, however, made no great difference to him (Sir E. Sugden), as the arguments were equally good from whatever quarter they might be delivered. It did appear to him that the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was in error when he compared the case of Dorchester to that of Guildford. It was true, he thought the former place had been hardly dealt with, but then there were features in the present case which made it a still greater injustice to deprive this place of one of its Members. Bridport, too, had been decided on other grounds; but Guildford combined all those advantages which had been so forcibly put forth to induce Ministers to exclude Dorchester and Bridport from the schedule; and, in addition, it had other claims to preserve its Representatives. Here was what every person knew to be a flourishing town, the capital of the county, and an extensive market, a sufficient population, and its wealth, proved by the test of taxation, together with a sufficient number of houses, and an intelligent and honest constituency. It had been stated to the Committee on authority that could not be doubted, that the houses which were proposed to be included in future in the borough had been always supposed to form a part of it; nor did some of the oldest inhabitants know the exact boundaries, so completely did those houses form a part of the town. Of these houses some were built on the very bounds of the parishes and boroughs, and, if excluded from the borough, they would be in the anomalous situation of belonging to neither. If Parliament really wished to give a tone of importance and independence to the constituency of England, he would ask what better opportunity they could have, than that of giving Members to such constituents as those of Guildford? At that place were to be found a sufficient number of 10l. householders, without the necessity of searching for them by means of a riding commission. The Every circumstance connected with Guild- 541 ford tended to bring it within the rule which saved other boroughs. But it had been said, that Dorchester had not been allowed this privilege. Now he would ask whether the Committee would abandon a broad principle, merely because it might in some measure trench upon a rule laid down in the case of another borough?—That would be neither just nor consistent. There was one point upon which he wished to be informed, and probably he might get the information from the noble Lord the member for Devonshire, and who, on a former evening, made some remarks on the duties to be performed by the Commissioners under this Bill. What he wished to know was, whether the Commissioners, in making additions to towns were to take in the whole of the adjoining parishes, or only a sufficient part to make up the fixed number of constituents? If it was only a part, he should like to know whether they were to have a discretion, or whether they were to take their instruction from higher quarters? These he thought were important points, and upon which the House must have some information.
Mr. Hughes Hughes
felt a great interest in the welfare of Guildford, and he regretted extremely that his Majesty's Ministers did not give that important town the benefit of their own rule, by which in justice it ought to be taken out of schedule B, and retain its right of sending two Members to the Legislature.
§ Sir John Brydges
said, the case made out by the hon. member for Surrey completely established the claim of this borough to the same indulgence, or rather right, which had been allowed to others. Yet they were told, that because Dorchester was not allowed two Members, Guildford was only to have one. Was that fair? What would be thought of a Judge who, in passing sentence upon criminals (for these boroughs were treated as criminals) would leave altogether out of consideration their different shades of guilt? Would it not be right in such cases to take into account circumstances of mitigation, and not punish all indiscriminately? It would, he thought, be gross injustice to disfranchise this borough, and he did not hesitate to say, that the disfranchisement of those county towns would make a great impression throughout the country; and if the objections made against their disfranchisement did not make an impression upon the other side of 542 the House, he was sure they would at least open the eyes of the country.
§ Mr. Hunt
said, that Guildford and Calne did not deserve to be named together on the same day, and that if Calne were entitled to have two Members, Guildford would be entitled to have six. When the proper time should come, he would certainly move that Calne be put in schedule B at least. He said "at least," for he was of opinion that Calne should be disfranchised altogether, as an infamous nomination borough. He thought, that Guildford was fairly dealt with in this instance, for it surely was not entitled to have as many Members as such places as Westminster and Manchester.
§ Mr. Pusey
said, there had been much inconsistency and confusion caused by the manner in which Ministers applied one principle or rule to one head, and a different one to another place. They began by applying the principle of population to two places at the bottom of a schedule, and then they applied the principle of property to boroughs at the top pf the list. What he wished was, that Parliament should adopt some fixed principle, and adhere to it.
§ The Committee divided; Ayes 253; Noes 186—Majority 67.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Lord||Bulwer, H. L.|
|Adam, C.||Bulwer, E. L.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Burdett, Sir F.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Burke, Sir J.|
|Atherley, Arthur||Burton, H.|
|Baillie, J. E.||Byng, G.|
|Baring, Sir T.||Calcraft, G.|
|Baring, F. T.||Calley, T.|
|Barnett, C. J.||Campbell, W. F.|
|Bayntun, S. A.||Carter, J. B.|
|Belfast, Lord||Cavendish, Lord G. A.|
|Benett, J.||Cavendish, H. F. C.|
|Berkeley, Captain||Cavendish, C. C.|
|Bernard, T.||Chapman, M.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Chaytor, W. R.|
|Blamire, W.||Chichester, Sir A.|
|Blount, E.||Chichester, A.|
|Blunt, Sir R. C.||Chichester, J. P. B.|
|Bodkin, J.||Clive, E. B.|
|Bouverie, Hon. D. P.||Colborne, N. W. R.|
|Boyle, Hon. J.||Cradock, S.|
|Brayen, T.||Creevey, T.|
|Briscoe, J. J.||Currie, J.|
|Brougham, W.||Curteis, H. B.|
|Brougham, J.||Dawson, A.|
|Brown, J.||Denman, Sir T.|
|Browne, D.||Dixon, J.|
|Brownlow, C.||Dundas, Hon. Sir R.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. W.||Dundas, Hon. J. C.|
|Buller, J.||Dundas, C.|
|Easthope, J.||Langton, W.G.|
|Ellice, E.||Lawley, F.|
|Ellis, W,||Leader, N. P.|
|Etwall, R.||Lee, J. L.|
|Evans, W.||Lefevre, C. S.|
|Evans, W. B.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Evans, De Lacy||Lennard, T.B.|
|Ewart, W.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Fergusson, Sir R.||Lennox, Lord W. P.|
|Ferguson, R.||Lennox, Lord J. G.|
|Ferguson, R. C.||Lester, B. L.|
|Fitzgibbon, Hon. R.||Lloyd, Sir E. P.|
|Foley, Hon. T. H.||Loch, J.|
|Foley, J. H.||Lopez, Sir R. F.|
|Folkes, Sir W.||Lumley, J. S.|
|Fox, Col.||Littleton, E. J.|
|French, A.||Maberly, J.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Maberly, W. L.|
|Gisborne, T.||Macauley, T. B.|
|Gordon, R.||Macdonald, Sir J.|
|Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J.||Mackenzie, J. A. S.|
|Graham, Sir S.||Mackintosh, Sir J.|
|Grant, R.||Macnamara, W. N.|
|Grattan, J.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Greene, T. G.||Marshall, W.|
|Guise, Sir E. B.||Martin, J.|
|Gurney, R. H.||Maule, Hon. W. R.|
|Handley, W.F.||Mayhew, W.|
|Harty, Sir R.||Milbank, M.|
|Harvey, D. W.||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Heathcote, Sir G.||Mills, J.|
|Heneage, G. F.||Milton, Lord|
|Heywood, B.||Moreton, Hon. H.|
|Hill, Lord G. A.||Morrison, J.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Mostyn, E. M. L.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Mullins, F. W.|
|Hodgson, J.||Noel, Sir G. N.|
|Horne, Sir W.||North, F.|
|Hort, Sir W.||Nowell, A.|
|Hoskins, K.||Nugent, Lord|
|Howard, R.||O'Connell, D.|
|Howard, P. H.||O'Connell, M. D.|
|Howick, Lord||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|Hudson, T.||Offley, F. C.|
|Hughes, W. H.||O'Grady, Hon. S.|
|Hughes, Colonel||O'Neil, Hon. J. B. R.|
|Hughes, J.||Ord, W.|
|Hunt, H||Osborne, Lord F. G.|
|Hutchinson, J. H.||Paget, Sir C.|
|Hawkins, J.||Paget, T.|
|James, W.||Palmer, C.|
|Jeffrey, Right Hon. F.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Jephson, C. D. O.||Parnell, Sir H. B.|
|Jerningham, Hon. H.||Payne, Sir P.|
|Johnston, A.||Pelham, Hon. C. A.|
|Johnston, J.||Pendarvis, E. W. W.|
|Kemp, T. R.||Penlease, J. S.|
|Kennedy, T. F.||Penrhyn, E.|
|Killeen, Lord||Perrin, L.|
|King, E. B.||Petit, L. H.|
|Knight, H. G.||Petre, Hon. E.|
|Knight, R.||Phillips, Sir R. B. P.|
|Knox, Hon. J. J.||Phillips, C. M.|
|Knox, Hon. J. H.||Philips, G. R.|
|Labouchere, H,||Ponsonby, Hon. B. W.|
|Lambert, H.||Ponsonby, Hon. G.|
|Lambert, J. S.||Powell, W. E.|
|Langston, J. H.||Tavistock, Marquis of|
|Power, R.||Tennyson, C.|
|Poyntz, W. S.||Thicknesse, R|
|Protheroe, E.||Thompson, Alderman|
|Pryse, P.||Tomes, J.|
|Ramsbottom, J.||Torrens, R|
|Rice, Hon. T. S.||Townshend, Lord C.|
|Rickford, W.||Traill, G.|
|Rider, T.||Troubridge, Sir E.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Tyrell, C.|
|Robarts, A. W.||Venables, Alderman|
|Robinson, Sir G,||Vernon, Hon. G. J.|
|Robinson, G. R.||Vincent, Sir F.|
|Rooper, J. B.||^aithman, Aid.|
|Ross, H.||Walker, C. A.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Warburton, H.|
|Russell, John||Wason, R.|
|Ruthven, E. S.||Watson, Hon. R.|
|Sandford, E. A.||Webb, E.|
|Scott, Sir D.||Westenra, Hon. H. R.|
|Sheil, R. L.||Western, C. C.|
|Skipwith, Sir Gray||Weyland, Major R.|
|Smith, J.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Smith, J. A.||White, H.|
|Smith, G. R.||White, S.|
|Smith, M. T.||Whitmore, W. W.|
|Smith, V.||Wilks, J.|
|Spencer, Hon. F.||Williams, W. A.|
|Stanhope, R. H.||Williams, Sir J. H.|
|Stanley, Lord||Williamson, H.|
|Stanley, Hon. E. G. S.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Stanley, J.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Staunton, Sir G.||Wood, Alderman|
|Stewart, P. M.||Wood, J.|
|Strickland, G.||Wood, C.|
|Strutt, E.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Stuart, Lord D. C.||Wrottesley, Sir J.|
|Stuart, Lord P. J. H. C.||Wyse, T. jun.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Duncannon, Viscount|
§ The question "that the borough of Helston stand part of schedule B" was agreed to.
§ On the question "that the borough of Honiton stand part of the schedule,"
§ Sir G. Warrender rose, he said, to pronounce a short funeral oration over the borough of Honiton. He should occupy the Committee but a few moments, and it was not his intention to ask for a division. Honiton was a flourishing town, containing very nearly 600 electors at present; it had above 300 10l. householders, and many of his constituents were gentlemen of education, attainments, and independence. There was not a borough in the kingdom which less deserved to be called a close or nomination borough than Honiton. Property was so equally divided, that no individual in the borough could command five votes. After the decisions which the Committee had come to in other cases, he felt, however, that he had no chance of procuring its exemption, 545 During the reign of despotism in a neighbouring country, there was a court called a Lit de Justice, and he thought the House was, night after night, erecting itself into a court of injustice to convict innocent and unoffending boroughs. The House was only registering the edicts of the Government. But he hoped some change was at, hand: one member said, that Appleby was a hard case; another said, that Saltash was a hard case, and Ministers themselves had felt so; and this very day, more than one Member, as respectable as any in the House, had told him (Sir G. Warrender), that though they had voted against Dorchester, they thought it as hard a case as any in the schedule. "But," said they, "we are pledged to support the whole Bill"[cries of "name," from the Ministerial benches.] No, he would not name those Members; for though he thought it perfectly justifiable for a Member to state, on his word of honour, a fact of this kind, he did not think it honourable to divulge names. He was convinced that if schedule B was persevered in, it would be the ruin of the Bill; but he was persuaded, it would not be persevered in, notwithstanding the hustings' jargon of "the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." It was consolatory to him to think, that there was a place elsewhere, which was intrusted with a wise jurisdiction, and which, when acts of spoliation had been attempted in other Parliaments, had protected the rights of individuals. He looked to that other place, where private wrongs were redressed, in the full hope that justice would be done in a case of public wrong; that in the exercise of a wise discretion, it would grant to the aggrieved subjects of this country that security and protection which it had heretofore afforded in cases of private injury. Such conduct would rescue Parliament from the scandal of passing such a measure as the present. He concluded by expressing his gratitude to the electors of Honiton for the pure and honourable support they had given him at the last election.
§ Mr. Gisborne
(who spoke from the gallery,) said, that when the right hon. Baronet referred to the registering of edicts in a neighbouring country, and implied that the House was registering the edicts of his Majesty's Government, he begged to say, that his Majesty's Government was registering the edicts of the country. On 546 a late occasion, 150 staunch reformers had refused to follow his Majesty's Government. The House followed the Ministers only in the sense in which the King followed Madam Blaize:—The King himself has followed her, When she has walked before.The Ministers were obliged to follow the opinion of the people on this subject. He had given his vote against Dorchester, because no case was made out, to show that it was above the line of population laid down, and not because Ministers refused to take it out of schedule B. Many other Members, no doubt, voted on equally independent grounds; and he therefore trusted that, in future, the hon. Baronet would refer, not to private conversations with Members, but to those Gentlemen's votes.
§ Sir George Warrender
had not alluded to the hon. member for Stafford, nor to any one directly; he merely said, that several Members had expressed the sentiments he had mentioned.
thanked the hon. member for Stafford (Mr. Gisborne) for his testimony, that the House was not led by Ministers in this measure, but was blindly following the popular cry. The moment Ministers opposed the popular cry, be it ever so wild and wicked, he firmly believed that all their present strength would melt away.
§ Question agreed to.
§ On the question, "that Huntingdon form part of the schedule,"
said, that after what had occurred last, night, whatever might be the merits of the case, or whoever might, be the advocate, it was perfectly useless to state any objections. If the place was within the line, the noble Lord opposite said, it was against the spirit of the measure to exempt it; and if the numbers were small, and the spirit of the measure was not violated, the noble Lord intrenched himself within his line. Huntingdon was so exactly like Dorchester, that, not even the talents of his hon. colleague could induce the House to come, to a different conclusion. It paid as much, nearly, to the assessed taxes as any borough in schedule B. It was not merely the county-town, but the only borough in the county. If there had been only two schedules, A and B, he should then have had not a word to say: but when there was a schedule E, he did 547 wonder that it did not occur to the noble Lord to unite Godmanchester to Huntingdon, as he had united Penryn to Falmouth. He appealed to any person who had visited it, whether, in travelling along, it was possible to distinguish Godmanchester from Huntingdon. He had only further to remark, that in 1824, or 1825, the inhabitants of this borough had established their rights before a Committee of the House, at great expense. With these remarks, he should only express his hope, that in another place, and before another tribunal, the Members of which were not pledged to support the propositions of Ministers, by the penalty of losing their seats, justice would be done to this borough, as well as to Honiton, Dorchester, and others.
observed, that the question was, whether this place should have one Representative, or Lord Sandwich should return two persons to Parliament. They were not taking a Representative from Huntingdon, but they were giving it one.
had some local knowledge of the places mentioned, and did not think Godmanchester so contiguous to Huntingdon that the House would be justified in retaining two Members for the latter place.
§ Question agreed to.
§ The borough of Hythe was inserted in the schedule without remark.
§ The next question was, "that Launceston stand part of the schedule,"
§ Sir John Malcolm
would, in future discussions, say no more respecting the principle of the Bill than the particular case under discussion might require. Launceston was a county-town, in which the Assizes had been held for the last three centuries; and it was situated, from accidental localities, in five different parishes. The borough itself included the whole of two of those parishes, and a part of each of the other three. Including those portions of the three parishes, the population of the whole town would be 4,140. As Newport, which might be regarded as forming a continuous street with Launceston, had been put into schedule A, he thought, that the disfranchisement of the former was an additional reason for the preservation of two Representatives to the latter, uniting it with Newport. Taking the two places together, they had, according to the returns of 1831, a population of 5,117 persons. He knew, that it was useless to state those facts to the Com- 548 mittee, after the little attention which he had seen paid to the claims and rights of the county-towns of England. He had examined the list of Members sent into that House by the borough of Launceston, and he found, that it included the names of the highest, and best, and wisest families in the country. For the last 150 years, the great, majority of the Members for that borough had been persons of distinction, connected with the county of Cornwall. He knew that argument was useless on the present question, as the Ministers were adopting the system which was followed formerly on the borders of his (Sir John Malcolm's) own county, and were administering Jedburgh justice to those boroughs; that is, they were going to execute them first, and try them afterwards. He could not conceal his dread of the principle of the Bill, which he considered one of change. If it passed, the towns might be attacked again. They would then have no prescriptive rights, and all would be swept away. If the Bill did pass into a law, his hope was, that the constituency might return men to support the glory of the country, which the measure, in his opinion, would subvert. He should not, however, press the question to a division, but would leave that to the judgment of his hon. and gallant colleague.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge,
being called on by his hon. friend, would recommend him not to divide the House, as he and every Member on that side must have been convinced before now, that it was useless I to appeal to the justice of a pledged majority, and such a pliant majority as they had that night seen. He was convinced that there were not twelve Members of the House who rightly understood the Bill, the principles of which were so elastic, that the noble Lord who had introduced it could make them fit any case, in whatever way he chose to apply them.
§ Lord Althorp
said, it could not be denied that Launceston came within the principle of the Bill; therefore it was unnecessary to trouble the House with any observations.
§ Question carried.
§ Liskeard being proposed next,
§ Lord Eliot rose to state, that the borough was an increasing and improving market-town. It had not a population of 4,000 in 1821; therefore, he would not contest the point. The 10l. voters would not be more than ninety-five, and a new 549 assessment would not, probably, add more than twenty or thirty to that number. A document on the Table reckoned such houses to be about 160, but this he believed to be an exaggerated statement; it was, therefore, clear that a constituency must be made upon the adjoining rural districts. The low rents on agricultural districts, made the 10l. qualification there a very different standard from the same sum in manufacturing and large commercial districts. The population of Liskeard, by the census of 1831, amounted to 4,040, and he hoped to receive the same support from the new constituency as he had from the freemen. He felt conscious of having done nothing to forfeit their esteem, and the support he had invariably received. He gave his testimony in favour of the respectability of the borough.
§ Question carried.
§ Lyme Regis, also, was voted part of schedule B.
§ On the question, "that Lymington do stand part of the schedule,"
§ Mr. Croker
addressed the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman observed, that on a former day he evinced a desire to bring under consideration, the peculiarities of the boroughs of Helston and Lymington. On the occasion to which he alluded, he said, he took the opportunity of speaking upon these boroughs because it appeared to him, that there was one principle which applied to both—namely, the principle which had removed Truro from schedule A. With a view to ascertain the sense of the House on the subject, he took a division on Cockermouth. The sense of the Committee was against him, and he did not repeat the division. Having in this instance reminded the House that Lymington was in a situation similar to Cockermouth, it would convince them that he had no desire to renew a former investigation.
§ Mr. Mackinnon
said, that after the discussion of yesterday, on the borough of Cockermouth, it, was unnecessary for him to repeat the arguments in favour of the place that he had the honour to represent; the cases were similar, and the arguments applied to one, applied equally to the other. The case of Cockermouth had been yesterday so ably discussed by his right hon. friend, the member for Aldeburgh, that it was useless to repeat them again. The funeral oration just pronounced by 550 the hon. member for Honiton, and by his hon. friend (Colonel Peel) on the respective places they represented, would render it useless for him at that late hour to say much on the same subject; it would prove to the noble Lord and the Gentlemen around him, on the opposite side of the House, as "tedious as a twice-told tale, vexing the ears of a drowsy man." However, out of respect to his constituents, and from the hardship of the case, as far as the borough he represented was concerned, he must, in the strongest manner, protest against the motion of the noble Lord. It appeared, that Christchurch was to return two Members, and Lymington was to lose one. Now, the population of the latter place amounted, in the whole parish, to 5,600, whilst that of Christchurch was little more; the number of houses of 10l. rent and upwards in Lymington was 295, and in Christchurch, a little above 300. The wealth, however, of the two places, if it could be ascertained by the assessed taxes, was much in favour of the place that sent him to Parliament. The amount of assessed taxes paid by Lymington in the year 1830 was 1,0761.; the amount paid by Christchurch was only 557l.; yet, while the former place lost one of its Members, the latter was to retain both. Could any thing be more preposterous or more absurd? Could any argument prove the absurdity of the Bill more strongly? Fully aware of the sentiments of the majority of the Committee, and satisfied that arguments or opposition were equally useless, he should say nothing more than protest in the strongest manner against the arbitrary proceedings of that night. He did this as a duty towards the highly respectable individuals who were his constituents, and for whom he entertained the highest regard.
§ Question carried.
§ It was then moved, "that the borough of Maldon do stand part of schedule B."
said, the preamble of the Reform Bill was deficient in one material point. It stated, that it was intended to grant privileges to large and populous places, but it did not add, "and to deprive several persons of those privileges they now enjoyed." He should propose such an amendment at the proper time; he was uncertain whether he could make any impression on the House, yet he could not avoid stating, that the borough he had 551 the honour to represent was highly respectable. The voters were, in 1826, 3,119; there were at the present time, 4,000, in which number was included, 223 Magistrates, clergy, and gentry, 1,500 farmers and tradesmen, and 1,380 labourers and mechanics. They were as honourable as any class he had ever met. He admired the diversity of the existing franchise, which was a great connecting link that wound the various orders of society together. Maldon was the principal port of Essex, and contributed largely to the public purse. The population amounted, in 1821, to 3,198, and in 1831 to 3,831; the number of houses was 606, and those of the value of 10l. 225; upwards of 1,500 non-resident freemen of Maldon would be cut off, but the pot-wallopers of Preston and Westminster were to remain; this was very unfair. He had to remark, that a petition was presented by his hon. colleague, containing 545 signatures, but he had understood that some of those represented persons who were dead.
said, he should not have presented the petition unless it had been regularly signed. The petitioners had come forward to state, that they were ready to sacrifice their valuable privilege in support of a great principle, intended for the benefit of the country at large. He regretted the sacrifice required from the borough; but, looking at it as the effect of a great plan for the general benefit, he could not refuse to concur in the motion. It was a great satisfaction to know, that the majority of his constituents were willing to make the sacrifice.
§ Mr. Western
was well acquainted with the borough, having represented it twenty years. He should be glad to find any facts to justify him in excluding it from schedule B, but he knew it could not, be taken out of that clause. He was anxious to give a vote in favour of the, borough, but was afraid he could not do so consistently with the principle laid down by Ministers. The population of the borough was 3,350—it was not a nomination borough, and the inhabitants were most respectable. The out-voters, he was also bound to say, were respectable. Independent of the borough, there was another place adjoining to it—namely, Heybridge, which had a population of 800, which, with the population of the borough, would make the population altogether amount to 552 more than 4,000. In the contest of 1826, the then Members expended no less a sum than 40,000l. He believed it was a very dear borough to some hon. Members.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, he felt much for Maldon, but certainly more for Lincoln. And with such a Jury as the present, there could be no doubt of the effect. He had been solicited for that borough, though he was glad he had not accepted the invitation. It was clear, that Maldon was not a nomination borough—no bribery was proved against it—and his strong objection to the disfranchisement of the borough was, that it reduced the proportion of Representatives for Essex; while the county of Durham was most shamefully preferred, even according to the average of the two counties. He cared neither for frowns nor smiles, and if the Committee divided upon the subject, he would oppose the motion.
Sir F. Vincent
wished to know if the two new county Members which Essex was to receive, while Harwich was to be thrown open, would not counterbalance the loss the county would experience by the partial disfranchisement of Maldon?
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
considered, that injustice was done to the borough of Maldon, and he contended there was a sufficient constituency in that borough to entitle it to two Representatives. The House would deal harshly with the borough if they agreed to this motion.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
begged to acquaint the Members who had just come in, that this was was not a question as to rotten boroughs. Maldon had a population of 3,350 persons. Unfortunately, a river divided it from other parishes, and thence it was to lose one Member, which he considered to be unfair. He was once asked to look at Maldon, to use a military phrase, but he only looked at it from a distance. He believed the noble Lord had been guilty of injustice, for, à priori, he must consider that the noble Lord was aware of the objects of the Bill. There were 500 resident freemen, and the right to vote was communicated with facility; consequently, there were many non-residents, and the principle of the Bill was to disfranchise those. He would not go into the case of non-residents at present, but he objected in this, as in every other case, to the disfranchisement of freemen.
Mr. Alderman Waithman
said, it was quite lamentable that such lengthened discussions should take place, when all knew that the borough of Maldon was for many years decidedly corrupt.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
said, that he was one of the burgesses of Maldon, and he did not think it so corrupt as had been stated. Large sums were necessarily expended in bringing the out-voters from a distance, and not for the purposes of corruption.
said, he never found any corruption in Maldon. He had never given bribes himself, nor did he think his agents had. He was as incapable of offering as of taking them. The enormous expense was chiefly caused by bringing up such an extensive constituency.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, that the worthy Alderman had been so accustomed to hear of corruption in the city of London, that he believed it to exist elsewhere. He must really have learnt the phrase by heart, for it was always on his lips.
§ Mr. Western
felt himself bound to deny the existence of corruption in Maldon. He had been acquainted with the borough many years, and had represented it formerly. The expenses of its elections were undoubtedly large, but, as had been already observed, they were incurred for the purpose of bringing up out-voters, and not for bribery and corruption.
defended the purity of the conduct of the electors of Maldon. From the extent of the constituency, bribery was out of the question.
Mr. Alderman Waithman
merely wished to observe, that the expense of a contested election at Maldon usually amounted to between 20,000l. and 30,000l. The Committee would, therefore, draw their own conclusions.
§ Question carried.
§ On the question, "that the borough of Malmesbury do stand part of schedule B,"
§ Lord Althorp moved, that the further proceedings of the Committee be deferred, and that the Chairman do report progress.
§ On the Chairman putting the question,
Sir Robert Peel
wished to have some understanding with the noble Lord, the 554 Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to their sitting to-morrow. He thought they had better go on to the usual hour (it was then half-past twelve) that evening, and adjourn over, as usual, to Monday. Besides, that the noble Lord's Motion took them all by surprise, it was contrary to an understanding which he had had with the right hon. the First Lord of the Admiralty, respecting the progress of the Bill. Unless some hours of relaxation were afforded hon. Members, it would be physically impossible to do justice to the important measure before the House. The proposal for sitting to-morrow was, moreover, a direct violation of the noble Lord's own former arrangement, to which the House had assented; and he had little doubt that many hon. Members, relying on that arrangement, had paired off that evening, and gone into the country for the purpose of obtaining a little necessary recreation.
§ Lord Althorp
replied, that the House had been so full when he had first intimated his intention of proposing to sit to-morrow, that it was very unlikely hon. Gentlemen would be taken by surprise, as the right hon. Baronet apprehended. He should certainly persevere in his proposition, thinking it but fair that they should devote another day to the Reform Bill, as it was understood that the House would not sit on Monday, and it ought also to be recollected, that a considerable portion of that evening had been engrossed by the Dublin election petition, which was so far a drawback on the progress of the important measure under consideration.
Sir Robert Peel
said, Ministers were as fully aware a week since as now, that it was his Majesty's intention to open London Bridge. There was ample time, therefore, to have given notice of the intention to sit on Saturday.
§ Lord Althorp
admitted this, but the discussion on the Dublin election Committee this evening had consumed so much time, that he should certainly persist in his proposition for the House to meet to-morrow.
thought, that there was no absolute necessity for such precipitation. The measure itself required the utmost deliberation. Did the noble Lord, relying on the powerful majority behind him to cheer him on, propose to wear out the comparatively few Members who were striving to do their duty by their constituents and the country?
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, they had already consumed more time in debating the noble Lord's proposition, than they should make up by sitting to-morrow. This attempt would exasperate all parties, and prejudice the future discussions on the Bill. He therefore implored the noble Lord not to urge them to extremity.
§ Mr. Attwood
would not then divide against the noble Lord's proposition, but to-morrow he would resist going into the Committee. Such conduct was most unfair.
was sure the noble Lord would meet much opposition, and therefore implored him not to press the proceeding.
§ Sir George Murray
objected to such an important motion being brought on without notice. The time lost by the discussion on the Dublin election might be made up by sitting two hours later to night. He was willing to make any sacrifice to attend his duty, but he saw no necessity for meeting to-morrow.
Mr. C. W. Wynn
regretted, that the noble Lord should persist in a proposition that his own judgment condemned. If his noble friend were sitting on the Opposition benches, he would be one of the first to resist such a proposition; and he hoped, therefore, that his noble friend would not drive the Opposition to have recourse to those arms by which they might yet defend themselves.
[No hon. Member on the Ministerial side rose to address the Committee; and the only reply given to the hon. Members who expressed themselves adverse to sitting on Saturday, was a loud and general cry of "Divide, divide!" as each sat down.]
§ The House resumed. On the Chairman asking leave to sit again the next day,
wished to know plainly and clearly, whether it was intended that the noble Lord would proceed with the Reform question to-morrow or not? Why precipitate a question like the present? The opponents of the Bill could have no hope of success, and being, as far as he was individually concerned, broken down in spirits, in mind, and body, he really required some repose.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the Committee had already occupied eleven days, and had not yet gone through schedule B. He, therefore, thought that they were bound to get on as fast as they could, consistently with fair discussion.
Sir Robert Peel
said, that the proceedings on the Bill ought also to be consistent with justice; for his own part, he neither could nor would be in his place on Saturday.
§ Mr. George Bankes
suggested, that the House might do, as in former times, when Committees sat in the evening after business was concluded.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
reminded the noble Lord, that, it was necessary that the Government, should retain the character of fairness and uprightness. They had already lost four hours in debating the question. The Opposition had at present a very favourable opinion of the noble Lord, but if he departed from his character for fairness, he would find hereafter that this opinion and the feeling of the Opposition would be decidedly different.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, that if the noble Lord did not behave fairly, if he departed from the understanding entered into with the Opposition, he would show that he had sacrificed his independence as a Minister to the domination of the Press. The Press wanted to usurp the power of the Ministry. Any man who read the newspapers must know, that the Press threatened that House and the Members who sought to do their duty. His hon. friend said, he was weary in body, and heart-broken: he was heart-whole, because he was informed that the Reform Bill, by the examination it had received in that House, was going backwards in the public opinion. He heard that from all parts of the country. The Ministers were giving way to the Press, because they were afraid to meet the questions of the Livery. They were sacrificing that House and their parliamentary faith to the instigations of the Press.
§ Mr. Courtenay
was sure, that the noble Lord would not impute factious opposition to him, for he had not voted in any one of the vexatious divisions which had taken place. He must, however, say, that the present course was one of the most outrageous breaches of parliamentary faith he had ever heard of.
§ Mr. Wrangham
said, that the noble Lord persevered because his retreat was cut off by his friends behind him. He was afraid that the Gentlemen on the other side wished to force the Opposition to strong measures, which he, for one, would not be deterred from adopting by any fear of unpopularity.
§ Sir Robert Price
deprecated the tone in 557 which the question had been taken up by the Gentlemen on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman might say, that he would not attend in his place, but that was no reason why the House should not meet it their duty required it. He entreated the Opposition not to follow a course which would have a most injurious effect on the country.
recommended the House to meet, and employ its energy in promoting the measure rather than in opposing it.
§ Sir George Murray
said, the result of the observations of the Gentlemen opposite was, that they thought an agreement, however binding others supposed it, might be cancelled by a majority.
§ Mr. Charles Dundas
stated, that the arguments about the Committees was of no force, as there would be a commission to-morrow which would break up the Committees. As to cancelling an agreement, he denied that any agreement concerning Saturday had been entered into.
§ The Committee divided on the question "that the Chairman do ask leave to sit again to- morrow:"—For the Motion 216; Against it 143—Majority 73. House resumed. Committee to sit again the next day.