HC Deb 23 September 1831 vol 7 cc527-77

The Lord Advocate moved the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Reform Bill (Scotland).

Mr. Goulburn

inquired on what day the Irish Reform Bill would be brought forward?

Lord Althorp

stated, that it stood for Monday; but he could not bring it forward on that day. He wished to consult the convenience of the Members in bringing it on. He had not yet been able to ascertain whether it was their wish that it should be discussed on alternate nights with the Scotch Bill, or that the latter should be first concluded. When he had ascertained that, he would inform the right hon. Gentleman when the Bill would come on.

The Lord Advocate

then proceeded. He rose, he said, in the terms of the order which had just been read, to propose to the House that the Bill for reforming the Representation of Scotland should be read a second time. When he looked to the nature and the state of the Scotch Representation, to what it had been since the Union, and long before, and when he looked at the nature of the change proposed, he did not consider it would be necessary to trespass on the House at length, considering the greatness of the object, in order to induce the Members to give the Bill their cordial assent. It was impossible, however, not to know that indications of dissatisfaction had appeared; not merely at its details, which were not then to be considered, but at the whole measure; and there even existed discontent at any change, as appeared by the special notices given by hon. Members. He was afraid, therefore, that it would be expected that he should trouble the House with some few observations before making the Motion. He believed the House of Commons was aware of the defects which had always prevailed in the Scotch system of Representation; but from the opportunities he had had of conversing with the Members of that House, he did not think that the nature of that system was familiar to them, and he was led to believe, that an imperfect idea was entertained of the incredible defects it contained. The system was indefensible in every part, and it was difficult to explain how it had existed so long in the sight of England, after it had become a part of the empire. But he must say, that any erroneous view entertained of that system might have been dissipated by an observation which he had heard, not without surprise, from the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel), in the excellent speech he made on the question that the English Reform Bill do pass. The right hon. Baronet had then alluded to the Scotch system of Representation, as calculated, by its utter and total rejection of the popular element, to counterbalance the excess of the democratic spirit which he imputed to the proposed change. The system of Scotland was not a representation of the Crown, nor of the Peers, nor of the great landed proprietors; but, excluding all these, it was only the representation of a most insignificant oligarchy, not very high in rank or station, and of which the majority was not even connected with the great landed interests. The whole constituency of thirty counties, the whole number of the voters, according to the list of freeholders, did not exceed 3,000, from which were to be deducted between 500 and 600 who had votes and freeholds in two or three counties, making the whole number of voters not exceeding 2,400 or 2,500—a constituency for the whole of Scotland below the average of the smallest counties in England. The constituency of the boroughs was quite as bad. It consisted of the majority of the Town Councils, who elected each other, and the numerical amount of the whole was only 1,440 for the sixty-six boroughs of Scotland. The whole constituency, then, of Scotland, both for the counties and boroughs, was less than 5,000, and probably did not exceed 4,500. The qualification for the right of voting was derived from what were called Superiorities—a species of right without any real property, which were disposed of in the market, and gave a man no more power over the land than that they reserved to him some nominal right, such as a pepper-corn rent. All the 2,500 freeholders, who made up the whole constituency of the counties, and were possessed of the right of voting, were not actual landed proprietors. He did not know the actual number of freeholders who were at the same time landed proprietors, but he believed that those who merely owned superiorities were more than the half of the whole; so that, therefore, the half of these 2,500 freeholders were not actually the possessors of property in Scotland. A valuable return to elucidate this had been laid on the Table; it was a list of the freeholders of the different counties of Scotland, and from it he would quote a few particulars. In the county of Argyle, in 1821, there were 47,000 inhabitants, while the number of freeholders was 115; but eighty-four of these were not proprietors, leaving, therefore, only thirty-one actual landowners to return the county Members of 97,000 inhabitants. The next place he would refer to was not of much importance—it was the county of Bute, which had a population of only 14,000, and of which the number of freeholders was twenty-one; but, according to the Return, it appeared that no fewer than twenty of these retained no property whatever in Bute, and that the whole 14,000 inhabitants were represented by one single voter living in the county. His right hon. friend opposite knew something more of the county of Bute than he did, and perhaps he knew other instances similar to that which he would mention to the House. At an election at Bute, not beyond the memory of man, only one person attended the Meeting, except the Sheriff and the Returning Officer. He, of course, took the Chair, constituted the Meeting, called over the roll of the freeholders, answered to his own name, took the vote as to the Preses, and elected himself. He then moved and seconded his own nomination, put the question to the vote, and was unanimously returned. Similar events had, he believed, taken place since. Caithness was the next county he would refer to, which with 30,000 inhabitants, contains forty-seven freeholders, and thirty-six have no property in the county. Dumbarton numbered seventy-one freeholders, but fifty-two of them have no property in the county; and Inverness, which has a population of 90,000, has eighty-eight free holders, and no fewer than fifty of them have no property in Inverness-shire. He would not fatigue the House with more particulars; he knew that, in some of the counties, the proportion of resident freeholders was greater, but he believed he did not exaggerate the proportion when he said, upon an average, that more than one-half of those who exercised the right of voting had no property whatever in the land, and that they exercised their right to the exclusion of the real landed proprietors. That was a system of glaring absurdity. It injured the resident gentry, and all those who were connected with land. The proportion of freeholders, he regretted to say, who had no property, was on the increase. The superiorities which gave them this right were a species of merchandise, were bought and sold, and were very often purchased by attornies, who found, that by expending a few hundred pounds, they could get employed as agents through the influence of a freehold qualification, and increase their business at the expense of the county. He had already stated what the proportion of the constituency in the boroughs was, and for the sixty-six boroughs, the whole number of electors was only 1,440, and they consisted of the members of the Town Council, who mutually and reciprocally elected each other. They were renewed indeed every year, but they chose one another. In Glasgow, a city containing 200,000 people, distinguished for their wealth and intelligence, the whole constituency consists of only thirty-three individuals; and, should a contest arise, seventeen persons would decide for the whole city. But moreover, they shared the right of electing a Member with three other towns, and thus the inhabitants of Glasgow have only the fourth part of a Member to look after all their great, varied, and complicated interests. Edinburgh, with 165,000 inhabitants, stood in the same predicament. The Member—it had a Member to itself—was chosen by a majority of thirty-three persons, who represented the whole intelligence of that great city, though they were themselves not distinguished for wealth and intelligence, and might, in general, be placed rather below the middle classes. He would not allude to Aberdeen and Dundee, with 50,000 or 60,000 inhabitants, each of which had, only a fourth or a fifth share in electing a Representative. He did not exaggerate the faults of this system, which was all that was vicious as a system of Representation; and so vicious and so indefensible, that the existence of such glaring absurdities would hardly be believed, if they were stated for the first time on any light authority. This system had existed ever since the Union, and even before. He knew that it would be said that, notwithstanding, Scotland had been prosperous; and that, under the fostering care of this system, she had increased in wealth, population, and intelligence. If it were true, that Scotland was indebted for all her wealth and prosperity—for her uniform advance in civilization—for her internal peace and contentment—for the. preservation of good, to this admirable institution, no answer, he thought, could be made to one of two alternatives—either a system of popular Representation was of no use whatever, or the great prosperity of Scotland, which had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman opposite as a proof of the advantages of the present system of Representation in England, could only be looked on as reductio ad absurdum, for in Scotland there was no Representation at all. He admitted the great prosperity of Scotland, her increase in wealth and intelligence, but he denied that this increase and this improvement had been caused by that system which had usurped the name of Representation. Scotland, within the last half century, had made great and splendid advances in every element of wealth and industry; but would any man say, that this proceeded from limiting the numbers of her constituency, and from a system which excluded the whole of her proprietors from a voice in the government of their affairs; and that putting twenty or thirty superiorities over 200,000 electors was so advantageous, that you should preserve that, as being conducive to prosperity, and so entirely the cause of it, that to remove it would place all in imminent peril? He could not part from this portion of the subject without intimating his own disbelief and contradiction of the fact, that the influence of this system had been beneficial, or rather without, on the contrary, declaring it to have been pernicious and detrimental. He said, that Scotland, since the days of her feudal government and warlike glory, never had the benefit of popular Representation; and that, when the changes in the structure of society had made popular rights available, the defects of her elective system had been aggravated by the Union with England, although they had been, no doubt, greatly compensated by the benefits she had in other respects derived from her connexion with this country. He also said, that the want of Representation was felt by the whole body of the people, and by many individuals whose feelings had induced them loudly to complain. The feudal period of the history of Scotland they might pass over. Certainly, in the separate state of that kingdom, and before the union of the two Crowns, we could see but the dawning of that intelligence, and that wealth, which were the ground works of a free Constitution. From that period to the time of the Union, the condition of Scotland had been a matter of surprise and compassion to the world, and to Scotland herself a scene of humiliation and of shame. Her servile Parliament her venal Statesmen—her pliant and corrupt tribunals, and her extreme acts of rigour to suppress discontent, which were yielded to without a murmur, spoke volumes to the historical student of the condition of Scotland. She had always for her means, and for the limits of her territory, more than her share of eminentindividuals. Scholars and warriors she possessed in abundance; but she had no parliamentary heroes—she had no champions of popular rights—she had no noble leaders of the people's cause, for there did not exist that arena for their display, as the Constitution of the country prevented it. There might have been in the last stages of her separate existence a Fletcher of Saltoun, and a Lord Belhaven; though of these he was not a passionate admirer, as their zeal was national, and not popular. Why, even during the great outbreak and overflow of English liberty which threw down the throne, and deluged the land with a portentous and alarming flood, but which, at the same time, brought along with it the fertilising mould, and left the seeds of that harvest of liberty which we have reaped successfully ever since; even then Scotland took no part on the ground of civil liberty, and he could not see amongst those who took part in the struggle at that time, any other share than that which emanated from a gloomy fanaticism, and a devoted and a sincere attachment to their religion. And it was lamentable and melancholy to see a religious people, whose religious education had been attended to by the Government, while they submitted to other oppressions quite as grievous, fly to arms only when their religion was attacked. The only struggles made by the Covenanters was for their conventicles and their Bibles; and, while they suffered political oppressions unresisted, drew their swords at once for a scattered remnant and a broken covenant. That was a proof that, to secure tranquillity and justice, political instruction and political freedom were wanted. Then last came the Union with England. That was a bargain, but it was an ungenerous one; the stronger party imposing conditions that seemed not equitable on the weaker. It might have been expected, that when the two Legislatures were united, in order to make room for the two together, that a fair diminution would have been made in both: but it was not so, and the whole diminution was made on one side. In order to make a fair and equitable Union, the Legislature of both countries should have been reduced in proportion; but while England retained her whole 513 Members, not one-third of her Representatives were left to Scotland; and her 157 Members were reduced to forty-five. He was not contending against the Union. Scotland had benefitted by having her interests brought under the view of the English Legislature, and by having them watched over by Members who represented the whole kingdom. He begged not to be understood as defending virtual Representation; but Scotland had derived from England, not merely the benefit of greater liberality of ideas, but greater knowledge of political rights, and more respect for political duties. Had the nomination of the forty-five Representatives of Scotland been vested in a Sovereign possessed of uncontrolled power, or reposed in the discretion of the Commander-in-chief of the Army, he was confident, that out of the many able and well-informed men with which Scotland fortunately abounded, the Representatives would have discharged their duties conscientiously, and with a due and fitting regard to the honour and interests of their native country. But—and this was the great and crying grievance of the system—the connexion between these forty-five thus selected, and the persons who would be miscalled their constituents, the sympathy with their feelings, the knowledge of their wants or their wishes, would have been as great as that which now subsists between the people and the forty-five Gentlemen who had the honour of sitting in that House for the counties and boroughs of Scotland. They confer, like a gracious despot, the favour of their countenance to Scotland, and of their protection to her interests; but for the discharge of those duties which a just system of Representation requires, the people have no security, and no pledge—their resentment is not feared—the consequences of neglect are not cared for, and their gratitude neither hoped for nor considered worth the slightest estimation. Looking back to the best part of the period since the Union, he certainly could not deny, that the Representatives of Scotland had been all men remarkable for their respectability of character, their intelligence, and their willingness to promote the interests of their country. But—and the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) referred to it as a matter of illustration the other evening—the Representatives of Scotland, during the same period, had almost wholly, from the causes he had already described, been of the court rather than what is called the country party, always found supporting the Minister, and swelling the ranks of his majority. It was not, however, their want of independence, objectionable as that might be, which formed the chief ground of complaint against the Representatives for Scotland: it was their alienation from the people; it was the absence of all opportunity of intercourse—the cutting off of all the tenures by which the elected should be connected with the elector, and through which their opinions on any subject of local interest could be brought to bear on the discretion of these Representatives. For full fifty years after the Union with England, he admitted that Scotland exhibited no symptoms of national feeling on any subject except religion; and the want of an adequate Representation excited no attention amongst its people; but this was the result of a state of ignorance which the advantages of a rapidly increasing trade, and a more extended intercourse with other countries, have now so thoroughly dispelled, that there was scarcely a man to be found in Scotland who was not in some degree imbued with the impression, that they were entitled to have some portion of those privileges which they saw in possession of the people of the other divisions of the empire. But it was not so much on the growing up of this spirit as on the direction it had taken, that he rested an unanswerable argument for that extension of rights contained in the Bill. If he wanted an argument of more than common weight beyond that of justice and principle, it would be found in the growing urgency for Reform, which arose from the perfect knowledge of political rights, with a sense of the power to maintain them, which now pervaded the great mass of the people of Scotland. Beyond all that, there had, however, been growing up for some time a spirit of dissatisfaction, not applying itself to the Government, but, if he might say so, apart from the Government; a spirit producing opinions not in connexion will the Aristocracy of the land—not going along with it, but apart from it—manifesting itself in times of quiet by indifference, and in times of disturbances by open hostility. Notwithstanding all this, the knowledge of which was, he thought possessed by every man in Scotland, and the universal demand for Reform, by which it betrayed its existence and extent, an hon. Member had declared the other evening, that the demand for a better system of Representation in Scotland was anything but general. He (the Lord Advocate) took it upon him to deny that assertion and to state positively, that the demand for Reform pervaded all classes in that country, except those few privileged persons who monopolised its Representation and the benefits which flowed from the monopoly; and he believed most sincerely, that in no part of the Empire were the people more sensible of the extent of their rights, or more determined to obtain them. The petitions from Scotland might enable the House to form some conception of the feelings of the people. Scotland had little better than two millions of inhabitants; England and Ireland had two or three and twenty, and yet the petitions from Scotland in favour of Reform were more numerous than those received from all the rest of the Empire put together. The feeling in favour of Reform was, indeed, and he spoke from his own knowledge, greater, deeper, severer, more settled, fixed and resolute, and indestructible among the great body of the intelligent and independent of the middle classes, than it was possible, without an opportunity of Studying their character, or viewing the traces of its existence and the circumstances attending them, for the House to conceive. And the reason of this was obvious. They saw the current of opinion flowing through all classes—they knew the power which they possessed to give it effect—and they were deeply sensible therefore of the necessity of Reform, because they saw the dangers of a serious concussion, in the event of the failure of their expectations, to be more alarming and more pregnant with mischief than those which might take place even in Birmingham or Manchester. He testified to this as one speaking not without knowledge. He testified to it, he admitted, not without pain, but he testified to it as a matter of fact in connexion with a number of others, of which the testimony was complete, that ought to have considerable weight over the decisions of the House. He would proceed, after having endeavoured to show the nature of the mischievous system which had prevailed, to explain the substance of that better system which he hoped to substitute in its room; and to whatever criticism that system might be liable, or to whatever suggestions it might be open, he would at once set out by stating that any change must be for the better, but that the total abolition of all these abuses was the most desirable, and he was sure would prove the most satisfactory. He would then at once declare that the object of the Bill was not to take away any part of the system, but to take down the whole of it, to take it down altogether, for the whole principle of it was bad. He gloried in making the avowal that no shred or rag, no jot or tittle of it was to be left. Who would venture to get up and gravely say, that the holder of a bit of parchment—that 113 persons, of whom perhaps not two-thirds possessed any property, were to usurp the rights of 100,000 of their fellow citizens?—that Magistrates re-electing each other should be allowed to stand between the Legislature and the wealth, the intelligence, and the industry of the community? The Bill before the House said, that twenty-one, or thirty-three, or any other number of Magistrates or of electors who have usurped exclusive privileges, should no longer arrogate to themselves the power of disposing of the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, and, without the shadow of a pretence, nominating whom they pleased to represent them in the Council of the Empire, He would not then detain the House by going into any detailed explanation of the qualification proposed in the Bill. It had been already printed and made public. He should merely say, that some modifications would, probably, be necessary in the Committee, so far as related to corresponding alterations in the English Reform Bill, and for the purpose of rendering its provisions more analogous to some of those introduced in the course of the late discussions. The qualification was to be, the payment of 10l. rent by a householder. Proprietors of heritages of 10l. a-year were already proposed, and leaseholders for a term of sixty years, to vote for counties. Glasgow was to have two Members; and, according to a late estimate, it would be found that, under the new arrangement, there would be a constituency of 8,000 persons. The City of Edinburgh was also to have two Members; Aberdeen, Dundee, Paisley, Greenock, and Leith, with Musselburgh and Portobello, each of them having more than 40,000 Inhabitants, were to have one Member each. These, with some little alterations in the classification of the boroughs formed all the points which it was necessary to notice at that stage of the Bill. Before he concluded, he could not, however, abstain from saying one or two words with respect to an argument urged frequently against the English Reform Bill, and which would, doubtless, be revived in the Course of the coming debates. That argument was founded on the question of why they introduced a measure abounding with anomalies, for the purpose of merely superseding anomalies of another description which could not be suffered longer to exist. Now he conceived that hon. Gentlemen laboured under a mistake in the view they took of this principle, and that they seemed to forget the application was purely with reference to extreme cases. To take, for instance, the course pursued in the English Reform Bill. They disfranchised Gatton and Old Sarum and Midhurst, but they left in one schedule, places which could muster 2,000 inhabitants, and in another, places which could number 4,000, giving them one or two Members respectively. If they had been called on for the first time to frame a new system, he did not mean to contend that they would not and should not act differently, but in the situation in which they were placed it was necessary to draw a line, and they thought it better to cut off the extreme cases and those which verged on a palpable absurdity as connected with any system of Representation. To take an illustration of another kind: in recruiting for the army, men might probably be found of full height and strength at seventeen, and of good health and sound constitution at sixty-one; but still it was necessary to take a rule, and, as in the case of the boroughs, to cast off the extreme cases. He had only to observe, that they made an addition to the total number of Members; a small one, he admitted, but it was an addition which could do no injury to the existing constituency; and by the means of that and the other alterations, they hoped to make an addition of fifty real Representatives on behalf of Scotland in the British Legislature. In order to avoid setting the example of going into the details at a stage of the Bill when they were called on to consider the principle, he should abstain from saying more at present on that subject, and he entreated the House not to impede the progress of the measure by any objections which did not apply to the question of whether the Bill should be read then, or on that day six months. He moved that the Bill be then read a second time.

Mr. Charles Douglas

said, that in offering his observations on the Bill now under discussion, he was as anxious as the noble and learned Lord to avoid entering into any details, objecting, as he did, to the principles of the measure, so strongly as to wish he could induce the noble Lord to postpone its second reading altogether. He was ready to admit, that the interest which the noble and learned Lord had justly described to exist in Scotland on the subject of Reform, certainly existed in a very powerful degree; but it was caused by efforts of so extraordinary a nature as to be calculated to mislead rather than guide the judgments of those who expressed so vehement a desire for Reform. He was strongly of opinion, that the correction of the present Representation of Scotland ought to be and might be, effected in a manner that would not, as this measure would, entirely disrupt and break up all the domestic ties and habits of the people in every county in Scotland. He was ready to admit, that great changes had taken place in the last fifty years in Scotland; they had changed from a state of poverty to one of comparative wealth—from barrenness to cultivation—from ignorance to knowledge—and lastly, though not least in importance, they had changed from a state of rebellion to one of strong and enthusiastic loyalty. But he could not allow of the noble Lord's other statements as to the changes in the people of Scotland—for their reasons in demanding Reform were attributable to far other causes than those which he had so eloquently described. The learned Lord gave a much worse picture of the constituency of Scotland than the occasion required. He admitted that the parchment votes were an abuse and a grievance, and if the learned Lord had proposed, and it were found possible, to get rid of the system of separating the superiorities from the property, he was willing to give him his support. He thought that the plan of the learned Lord was a direct attack on the agriculturists, and that it would give the whole power of the Representation into the hands of the manufacturers. The separation of the counties was, in his opinion, peculiarly objectionable. Dumbartonshire, for instance, which was to be united with the county of Bute, and to have only one Member, had a population greater than two English counties, or than fifty of the English boroughs which were allowed to retain their right of returning one and two Members each. He was convinced, indeed, that Scotland could claim at least sixty Members, on grounds as good as those which gave Members to the new boroughs in the manufacturing districts. If property in houses were to give a vote, it must be placed, he conceived, on a very different footing and different valuation. The payment of 20l. for a house was but equal to 10l. for land, for it should be recollected that, in addition to all sorts of duties, the land of the heritor was subject to the payment of all the poor-rates. He admitted that the system of self-election among the magistracy of Scotland was bad, but still, the measure for remedying it went much too far; and he considered the danger likely to result as worthy of the most serious consideration, from the influence which the Representation of the great towns must exercise over the whole body of the constituency. He approved of the plan of giving Representatives to those great towns, and if the present Bill went no further than that, he was quite willing to support it. Conceiving, however, that it went much too far, he would move that it be read a second time that day six months.

Mr. Ramsey

declared, that the Bill was, in his opinion, too sweeping, and decidedly revolutionary. Great stress had been laid on the general demand for Reform put forth in the petitions from Scotland, and at the late elections, but he contended, that both the one and the other were the work of individuals, and that the elections had not been carried on in that straightforward manner which would enable them to judge of the real sentiments of the people. He was far from being one of those who were opposed to all Reform in the Representation of Scotland. An extension of the elective franchise was, to a certain degree, and with reference to large towns, in his opinion, desirable; but he trusted the House would pause before they went to the extent to which the Bill under consideration would carry them. For himself, he spoke without any reference to party considerations. He was wholly independent of party, and was quite ready to support whatever Ministers appeared to him best to support the interests of his country.

Mr. Gillon

observed, that in claiming for a short time the attention of the House, he would not enter upon the general question of Reform, after the very long and fatiguing discussion it had undergone in this Parliament and the last, but would confine himself as closely as possible to that branch of it which affected Scotland. Allusions had been made to the riots which had taken place in Scotland during the elections. And what were they after all? A few stones thrown—a very common occurrence at elections. A few noisy demonstrations of feeling in other parts of the country. He would ask, had nothing been done to provoke those riots by the injudicious conduct of the authorities, and the improper introduction of military force insultingly paraded before the people? Instead of wondering at this trifling effervescence, his only astonishment was, as is stated by one of the most talented newspapers of the day, that a state of things so revolting to common sense had not produced, on an occasion like this, an ebullition of popular fury in every part of the country. The people of Scotland had been always deemed a highly educated, intelligent people, and were any proof wanting of this, it was, that the close corporations of Scotland had, on the present occasion, by a large majority, returned men of liberal principles, and alive to the signs of the times, whereas the close boroughs of England had returned men wedded and pledged to every ancient abuse, to every vile corrupt system which had impoverished and disgraced the country; the light of reason had penetrated the murky cloud of northern darkness, and the necessity for Reform had reached even that beau ideal of a boroughmonger's imagination—the constituency of Scotland. The House had been told in the last Parliament, that the people of Scotland were indifferent to Reform, and this declaration had proceeded from the Member for the capital; but that hon. Member had only proved how little he was acquainted with the wishes of the city he was said to represent. It might be very true, that the Town Council of Edinburgh were indifferent, nay, averse to Reform, and the late election had proved that a great majority of them were still so. This was not to be wondered at, considering the many snug jobs they had been enabled to share in. He did not mean to impute any thing improper to the present Magistrates of Edinburgh, with some of whom he was well acquainted, and whom he highly respected. He was sure if they were to job, it would be for their city not for themselves. This was a more excusable species of jobbing, but this had not been the case in the royal burghs of Scotland. He ventured to say, that the history of the royal burghs of Scotland presented a scene of corruption, petty tyranny, fraud, and demoralization, both in their elections and their municipal government, unexampled in any other part of the kingdom, and barely credible to those not acquainted with the facts and the pitiable results. He begged to ask hon. Members acquainted with the subject, if almost all the burghs of Scotland, with funds originally more than sufficient for carrying on their affairs, were not now deeply in debt—if their funds had not been wasted in the most absurd and useless litigations, and in grants to the Magistrates themselves and their creatures? Nor could any one be surprised that it was so, when they saw a body of men meeting at the end of each year to carry on the farce of self-election; and that even the small infusion of popular opinion in the Town Councils, from the Representatives of the Trades, was controlled by a power in the self-elected to strike out one, two, or more from the list presented to them. When it was considered that these men were irresponsible for their conduct, and held their places in defiance of every dictate of reason and common sense, what could be expected? He spoke warmly on this subject, because he had too lamentable a picture of this fact before his eyes, in what had occurred in a burgh he had now the honour to represent, not to feel warmly on the subject. He wished for a general measure of Reform, because in a Reformed Parliament we must immediately follow up that first step by burgh Reform, which the people of Scotland might in vain have called for to a Parliament as rotten as those who sent them? He begged to thank the noble Lord who had introduced this measure, and the learned Lord Advocate for Scotland on behalf of the burghs of Scotland, and to tell him, that this was one of the tangible and practical benefits that must ensue from the carrying it. He did not mean to press this subject at present, but he pledged himself in a future Session, or, should he have the honour of a seat in a future Parliament, to bring forward or support a wholesome system of burgh Reform. He asked again, could there be a stronger proof, were any wanting, of the necessity of Reform in the Scotch system of Representation, than the facts of the late Edinburgh election, when seventeen self-elected individuals—at least the great majority of them were so—succeeded in forcing a Representative on the inhabitants of that metropolis against the wishes of ninety-nine out of a hundred of them? Having said thus much, he begged to offer his humble testimony to the upright and independent conduct and public spirit generally of the Town Councils of Scotland at the late election; men who, from their station in life, might have been supposed to be the most biassed to the old system, by which they had been in the habit of receiving direct personal advantage. With a generosity worthy of the country which gave them birth, they declared themselves ready to sacrifice all personal or corporate considerations on the altar of their country, in voting for a measure now so imperatively called for. Had the freeholders of Scotland, men in a high sphere of life, and supposed to be better educated than the Town Councils, evinced an equal liberality, the returns from that country would have been more creditable than they were. But seeing, as who could not see, the blindness and tenacity of Princes and Potentates, could they wonder that Scotch lairds, generally necessitous, and hungry after places and pensions, should stick closely to the system by which they had hitherto so largely and exclusively profited? He would now only observe, that if the Scotch burgh system was bad, that of the county Representation rivalled it in absurdity—a franchise not depending on property, for it was more frequently disjoined from than united to it; confined to a most limited and inadequate constituency, and participating in all the barbarisms of feudal institutions. What had been the result of all this? Why that the Scotch Members had been generally a nonentity in that House. He could not suppose this had arisen because men of greater talent could not be found, but because men of talent hated and detested the system of jobbing it was necessary to pursue. And here he could not resist relating an anecdote of a Scotch county Member, which afforded a pretty good specimen of the lot with some honorable exceptions. Of this gentleman it was said—and he begged to add that he was a staunch supporter of Mr. Pitt and his policy—that his invariable rule was, never to be present at a debate or absent at a division—and that he had only once, in his long political life, ventured to vote according to his conscience, and that he found on that occasion he had voted wrong. Call you this a Representative, or a Delegate, or what? He would undertake to make as good a one any day out of a bundle of straw. He trusted he might be permitted to allude to what had fallen on a previous evening from the hon. member for Nairne, when he rather prematurely introduced the subject of the Scotch Bill. The hon. Member had told the House that the farmers of Scotland were averse to the measure of his Majesty's Government. He did not know how the hon. Member had got that information. The farmers of East Lothian, the greatest agricultural district of Scotland, had petitioned for it—the farmers in his part of the country had shown no aversion to it; and he had since met a friend of his, a very large northern proprietor, who said he had not met a man of any description in the north who was not favourable to it. And as the leasehold votes were to be given, and most properly so, in England, surely, for the sake of that uniformity, which Gentlemen on the other side contended for, it would not be denied to the yeomanry of Scotland—a body of men so intelligent, and, he would add, so loyal, that he did not hesitate to say they were as fit to judge of what was good for their interests as any Member of the House. It was really difficult to know how to meet the arguments of Gentlemen on the other side—they blamed this Bill in the gross, because it established too great an uniformity of voting; and they then pulled it to pieces in detail, because it was not uniform enough. They said, why was there not a 40s. franchise in the counties of Scotland as it prevailed in England? He himself had no objection to a 40s. franchise—the Representation could not be made too popular; but would this please the hon. Gentleman who pointed out the inconsistency? He would say, that the rottenest borough now about to be disfranchised in England was not more in need of amendment than the Scotch counties; the traffic in votes went on, not for money, perhaps, but for place and emolument. He supposed he should be told how much Scotland had flourished since the Union, and that, therefore, its system must be excellent; but he contended that Scotland had flourished, not in consequence of, but in spite of, her system of representation; and something was to be ascribed to the infusion of some portion of popular ingredients from the Union with England, where, with all the rotten boroughs, there were not half so many defects—so many glaring absurdities—such a decided want of all that constituted representation—as prevailed in Scotland. He repeated what he had said on a previous occasion, that, however he might wish that Ministers might find it consistent with their arrangements to give additional Members to Scotland, he must ever regard this, and he was sure his countrymen did so too, as a great and magnificent boon, as giving them not five but fifty Members at once; for he defied any man to prove that Scotland had, hitherto, been represented at all, or that her energies had not been cramped and deadened, instead of being fostered and cherished by her system of representation. On the minor details of the Bill he did not mean to enlarge now, but he would take the liberty of expressing freely his opinion in the Committee, though hon. Gentlemen called him a delegate. The principle of the Bill should have his warmest support, more especially as putting an end to the system of voting in counties, and certainly without compensation, which he hoped he should never hear urged again, after the very able and eloquent refutation of that doctrine by the hon. member for Calne. When last in Scotland, he had mingled much and often with the people of all classes—he had attended meetings consisting of many thousands of his countrymen, and he had found them all actuated but by one spirit—the most devoted loyalty to their King—the hearty approbation of the measure of Reform submitted by his Majesty's Government—and the most thorough dislike to the boroughmongering faction, who would rivet more firmly the chains that already gall us to the quick. They hail this as the commencement of a new era of economy in the administration of affairs, and as giving them some voice in the election of those who impose their burthens, the main end of all representation. He rejoiced to think, that it had been admitted on the other side of the House, that the Government of the country had been somewhat expensive. This was, no doubt, a very soft and decorous mode of expressing what he would characterize as profligate extravagance, and contempt both for the wishes and interests of the country. And here was another of the practical goods arising from Reform. Had our burthens not gone on increasing? And what security had we in the integrity of a Parliament, the nominees of individuals, that our funds should not again be equally and scandalously wasted in carrying on long and unjust wars against the liberties of mankind, or in pampering those minions of Government, who, while suffered to riot in luxury and ease, cared not for the groans or sufferings of their countrymen. When the Members of that House—Representatives he would not call them—were not amenable for their conduct to their constituents, there was but little encouragement to hope that frugality would be the order of the day. He hailed this measure of Reform, especially as introducing into his native country a better system of representation, founded not on ideal possession of paper votes separated from real property, not on the disgusting system of close and self-elected corporations, but on the property and intelligence of the country; he trusted, that with this extended constituency, well-informed, and full of loyalty and patriotism as he knew his countrymen to be, that hereafter Members for Scotland would be something better than non-entities, which they had too generally been in the House; and that in appealing to their constituents, they would to secure their votes, use some argument more worthy of themselves and their country, than this hitherto too general one—"that they were ready to inflict on their country any burthen, however galling, or make their votes subservient to the carrying of any job of the Minister of the day." This might seem strong language, but he assured the House it was the language and feeling of the great majority of his countrymen, who had been maligned by being called indifferent to Reform. If they had at any time appeared less zealous in the cause of Reform, it was because hope had given place to sullen despair; they loved their King, and respected the institutions and laws of their country and, detested revolution; but after the flagrant case of East Retford, what hope had they at that time, that, by constitutional means, they were to arrive at a correction of the manifold abuses of the representative part of the Constitution? Hon. Members on both sides of the House had spoken of their belief, from local knowledge, in a reaction having taken place on this important subject. He was bound to express his deep conviction, that in Scotland no such reaction had taken place. As in that country Reform was most required, in consequence of the existence of abuses, so there the feeling in its favour was the strongest—the most deeply rooted: he could not quote a stronger instance of that deep-rooted feeling than in the transactions that took place at the election for the county of Stirling. When the result of the votes of the freeholders of that county was announced to the assembled multitude who had left the town, that they might not be accused of endeavouring to dictate or overawe, what then took place? Instead of breaking into noisy and riotous expressions of disapprobation, they reversed the flags which they had carried in honour of their generous and beloved Monarch, and in mute and mournful procession left the field. This silence spoke more loudly than ten thousand tongues. Were these men to be easily turned aside from the settled purpose of their minds by a change of Administration, or protracted delay to the accomplishment of their hopes? The memory of their noble ancestors—the sense of their own wrongs, was too strong to be easily obliterated. You might as well go stand upon the beach and bid the tide to bate its usual height, as by protracted debates on the minor details of the Bill, or even by holding up to their view as ranged against them the august body of the Aristocracy, for whom they naturally entertained the most sincere respect, expect to shake the firm resolve of an enlightened and united people.

Sir George Warrender

complimented his hon. friend who had spoken last but one on the talent which he had exhibited, but he could not agree with him as to the general state of feeling in Scotland with respect to Reform. For himself, he certainly felt obliged to unsay much of what he had said upon the subject in March last. Whatever shafts of ridicule might be directed against him for this declaration, he trusted that the House would do him the justice to believe, that the change proceeded from honourable and honest motives. On a former occasion he had expressed his opinion, that the people of Scotland, and particularly the inhabitants of the metropolis, if not hostile to any Parliamentary Reform, were at least indifferent to it. After the firebrand of the English Bill had been thrown amongst them, however, there was a change; and he believed that there now did exist in Scotland an earnest desire for the adoption of the measure of Reform. Such being the case, he was ready to abandon those rights which he felt he must abandon. But why was he ready to abandon them? To secure the tranquillity and interests of his country. He confessed this might appear strange in him who had formerly used such strong language, and even characterized the measure as one of spoliation. The state of Scotland now, and of its present feeling, would be his best apology for the change of sentiment he confessed he had undergone. He had, however, been always so far a Reformer as to feel the expediency of admitting all great, rising, and aspiring interests into the Representation, from which an older and more restricted policy had excluded them. As for the English Reform Bill, he had felt it to be his duty to oppose it in all its stages; although in so doing he had run counter to all considerations of: private friendship and attachment—a proof, he hoped, that he was not actuated by any undue motives. He certainly thought, that an increase of the Members for Scotland would be beneficial to that country; and he should vote for the second reading of the Scottish Bill, because he did not apprehend any danger to Scotland from the measure; whereas he had voted against the second reading of the English Bill, because he did apprehend, at that time, and he still apprehended danger to England from the measure. As to the details of the Bill, he should state his objections to several of them when the Bill went into a Committee; and especially to the proposed marriage of certain districts and counties, the banns of which had been forbidden by all hands in Scotland. There were various enactments, however, of which he approved; in particular that by which the eldest sons of Peers of Scotland, who were now precluded, were admitted into the House. To other parts of the Bill he could not consent; yet it was capable of being so remodelled and improved in the Committee, as to recommend itself to those who might object to it in its present state. He, therefore, should give his assent to the second reading of the Bill, reserving his objections till it was in Committee. He had heard nothing from the learned Lord which made him suppose that the accession of members to the Representation of Scotland was to be limited to five. If his Majesty's Government would consent to add a further accession of five more Members, he was sure nothing would tend so much to increase the popularity of the measure in Scotland.

Mr. Keith Douglas

thought it would be inexpedient to vote against the second reading of the Bill; because that would be to imply that they were against all Reform. Unless they gave the people of Scotland the opportunity of seeing, from the discussions in the Committee, what it was proposed to do, he did not think that they would be satisfied. In one remark of the learned Lord he could not concur, namely, that there had been a great separation of feeling between the higher and lower classes in Scotland. He believed there was no such separation. On the contrary, it was a sort of complaint that there was a peculiar mutual kindness subsisting between his countrymen. This, therefore, was not one of those reasons on which the change of Representation could be founded. The circumstances of Scotland, its vast improvement during the last fifty or sixty years, in comparison with England, and with other of our distant possessions, showed that the state of its Representation was no bar to the intellect of the country; yet a growing feeling had extended itself before this Bill was submitted to the country, that additional Representation should be given to the great towns. As compared with what had been done for England by the Bill that had just been passed, he did not think that this Bill was any boon to Scotland, as the Lord Advocate had supposed it to be. The learned Lord had said, that Scotland had had the worst of the Union; if so, it was the duty of the learned Lord, in laying down the rules that were to be their guidance in future, to improve the relative condition of Scotland as compared with England. He had not done so in this Bill, and he would be giving no benefit to Scotland unless a very considerable number more of members was given to that country than what she now possessed. With the exception of Members given to a few large towns in Scotland, there was no increase whatever. Under these circumstances, he thought that justice had not been done to Scotland; and he declared, that if this Bill was to pass, it must undergo a very serious alteration in that respect. For himself, he certainly would not consent to pass the Bill, until several alterations had been made in it, so as to give Scotland her fair share in the Representation of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Robert Ferguson

, said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down, was mistaken as to the wishes of Scotland upon this Reform Bill. What they wanted was—not a mere increase of the number of their Representatives—but such a change of system as would secure them an independent constituency. They desired to have the advantages that would be afforded by the means of making an independent return of their Members, an advantage which as yet they had never had. When the learned Lord said, that Scotland had the worst of the Union, he meant—not that Scotland had not Members enough given her, but that the means of obtaining an independent constituency were not secured. That disadvantage was now to be compensated, and an independent constituency created. He had always hoped to see the time when Scotland would be able to return Members independently; and he believed that the moment had now arrived. In that respect the Union had done no good to Scotland, but it had drawn a thorn from the side of England. All the advantage had, therefore, been with England, but now he hoped that the system of ruling Scotland by patronage would be at an end, and that Scotland would enjoy the benefits of which it had hitherto been deprived. The system under which Scotland had been governed had degraded its political character. They had often heard from the mouths of English gentlemen the expression of Scotch jobs, and he believed that it was well warranted. A system of corruption the most gross had hitherto prevailed there, and had, he repeated, degraded the political character of the people. That blot had, however, been now wiped away by the honest and honourable enthusiasm which the people there had lately manifested in favour of Reform. His standing there was a proof of that enthusiasm and of its purity. He had been returned by the Corporation of the town he represented, because they were wise and honest enough to see that the property in elections which they had hitherto possessed was inconsistent with the true independence and happiness of their country. He denied that there was in Scotland any dislike towards the higher orders; and he asserted most positively, that the Scotch entertained, as they had always done, a strong feeling of attachment towards their superiors. The spirit now raised in Scotland was not that of a turbulent insurbodination, but of a desire to obtain those political rights of which the mass of the people, notwithstanding their intelligence and industry, had hitherto been deprived. The higher orders would always be able to keep up their proper influence in the country, but they must keep it up by kindness and good conduct; the repellent system, on the contrary, was fraught with vexation and mischief to those who had recourse to it. Their English and Irish brethren had long held out the hand of friendship to Scotland, on the score of her hospitality; he trusted they would now be able to do so on the score of her political independence and her constitutional liberty.

Colonel Lindsay

complimented the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, on the speech he had just delivered; but could not agree with him in the opinions he had expressed. He knew the course that his constituents would pursue towards him, for the opposition he should give this Bill; he knew that they would elect another in his stead; but that would not deter him from doing his duty. He had ever been the advocate of reform where abuses had been pointed out, and where the remedy was shewn; but that was not the reason why he should support this Bill, which he thought was fraught with mischief. Upon that principle he had supported the government of the Duke of Wellington, who was not opposed to Reform, but was only opposed to speculative notions of Reform. The last Ministers had done many things deserving the thanks of the people, especially in the reduction of taxes; but in contrast with them, the present Ministers had done nothing. If the poor of that country were to be supplied with what they wanted, and the condition of the lower orders was to be bettered by this Bill, he should support it; but as it was not proved to him that the Bill would have any such effect, he should oppose it. He asked the stranger who had visited Scotland, whether the rich man there did not live upon his property? and whether he did not bestow a portion of the blessings he had received for himself upon others? whether it was not true that the people there were among the best agriculturists of the day? that they taught the principles of it to others? that the lower orders were happy, contented and grateful? that the law in that country was fairly and justly administered? that the people were moral—that their religion, though primitive in its forms, was respectable? who, then, could deny that that country was happy? that it was most flourishing? that all the blessings of Heaven were showered upon it? that these blessings were the consequences of that Constitution under which they had long and happily lived? He objected to this Bill, that by its provisions respecting the 10l. householders, it would throw all the power into the hands of the manufacturers. The farmers were, in many places, few and scattered, and they would be overpowered by the influence thus given to the 10l. householders. He objected to it besides, that it put an unconstitutional power into the hands of Sheriffs of counties, with respect to the registration of voters. He maintained also, that this Bill did not give a fair proportion of Members to Scotland, considering the wealth and population of that country. The proportion had been long settled, and being altered, as it was now proposed to be, the Articles of Union were violated; while, at the same time, justice was not done to Scotland. He maintained that the main principles of this Reform measure were cruel and unjust to Scotland, depriving her, as it did, of any thing like a proportionate share in the Representation of the empire, according to her population, which the noble Lord had put forward as one of the leading principles on which they were to legislate. When such boroughs as Malton, with 4,005, and Monmouth, with 4,100 inhabitants, were to send two Members to Parliament, was it just to Scotland, that some of her populous and wealthy counties were to send half a Member each? He did not deny that the people of Scotland were now desirous of having Reform in those places where the franchise was to be extended to 10l. householders, and where new Members were to be given. They were desirous now of getting it, because it had been promised them, and it was the character of his countrymen, never to give up their claim to any thing respecting which they had obtained a promise. But he denied that they had sought or wished for Reform, until it was offered them by his Majesty's Government, and recommended to them as a benefit, which he believed it would never prove. The hon. Member then read a list of the petitions presented from Scotland, for Reform, in each of the years, from 1820, downwards. In several of those years there were none, and in others, only one or two. In the year 1828, and 1829, there were none; and in the beginning of 1831, after the excitement created by the acts of the Government, there were 129. What did this prove but that the people, until excited by the Government, were contented with the system under which they lived, and desired no change? He should have been ready to support a moderate and temperate measure, if such a one had been proposed, under the circumstances, but to go from one system to the extreme of another at once was an experiment to which he would not consent. A moderate quantity of wine might be a good thing, but to get intoxicated was the reverse. In fact, there was no good quality under the sun that did not become a fault if carried to excess. Generosity carried too far became extravagance—economy became parsimony—courage, rashness— caution, timidity—religion, fanaticism—and even liberty became licentiousness; and this was the point to which this Bill would lead. He opposed this measure on that account, and because he thought that this change was only the precursor to other and greater changes. Last night the Constitution of England had been ejected from the doors of that House by a majority of the Commons of England—a Constitution in the plenitude of its vigour, in the height of its excellence, now purer and more free from corruption than ever it had been; it had been cast forth, to adopt the base, wretched, newborn, deformed, offspring of his Majesty's Ministers; he had almost said, the offspring of a body of reckless men. He must expect that the same fate would attend the Constitution of Scotland. To conclude, he should borrow the words of another, which more elegantly expressed his feelings than his own words might do. He would quote the sentiments of Mr. Canning on a like occasion. In the concluding part of his speech on the question of Reform, in the year 1822, he said, "Although I presume not to think that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) will give any weight to observations or warnings of mine, yet on this, probably the last, opportunity which I shall have of raising my voice on the question of Parliamentary Reform, while I conjure the House to pause before it consents to adopt the proposition of the noble Lord, I cannot help conjuring the noble Lord himself to pause before he again presses it on the country. If, however, he shall persevere, and if his perseverance shall be successful, and if the result of that, success shall be such as I cannot help apprehending, his be the triumph to have precipitated those results; be mine the consolation that, to the utmost and latest of my power, I opposed them."*

Mr. Charles Grant

was happy to find that the Bill had been discussed with so much temper and moderation. He viewed the measure as one of vast importance to Scotland, where the impression for a long time had been felt, that some change must take place in the state of the Representation there. The people of that country, in fact, regarded Reform to be so indispensable, and believed the government of * See Hansard's Debates (New Series), vol. vii. p. 136. the country to have been so long convinced of that necessity, that they could attribute the delay to nothing but the apprehension that the call for a Scotch, would necessarily invite to a discussion or the merits of an English Reform. Scotland was at present actually without a Representation, for those who were called the Representatives of the people there, were in no way responsible to the people, nor elected by them. He claimed for Scotland, therefore, the right of Representation—the right which had been denied to that country upon the pretence that the people were not free enough to be released from the trammels of exclusion and monopoly, which were added to the other bonds by which they were distinguished from the rest of the empire. The effects of exclusion and monopoly were known to be injurious to commercial traffic in which individuals were concerned, and why should they not operate in a baneful manner when applied politically and against a whole nations? Some hon. Members had spoken of the Scotch Bill as if they feared that it would break down the English Constitution. He did not see how the Scotch Bill could have any effect, except that of giving additional vigour to the English Constitution, by more closely rivetting the connection between the two countries. It was quite impossible that a reciprocity of advantages could arise, when in one country there was not the shadow of a Representation. The Bill would, however, remedy the inequality which established a line of demarcation so unfavourable to Scotland. It was with pride he stated, that in no country did the several classes of the people blend together in a more harmonious manner than in Scotland. It was, indeed, delightful to see feelings which sprung from very different sources mix together, and prove mutually beneficial. Being connected with Scotland, he felt proud in acknowledging the virtues of the Scotch people, and must call upon the House to say whether it was possible to deny any longer, to a population remarkable for learning, industry, and great commercial spirit and exertion, the rights of the Constitution. He was convinced, for his part, that the Government durst not any longer withhold from the Scotch the rights which they claimed so reasonably, and, at the same time, so warmly. The boon would, without doubt, more closely knit together the different classes of the community, whereas the refusal of it would constitute between the two countries a barrier which ought never to exist. Above all, he would impress upon the House the necessity of giving the boon cordially, generously, and graciously.

Sir George Clerk

was glad that the House had had the benefit of hearing again the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman, after so long an interval of silence on his part. He had been curious to hear the right hon. Gentleman explain the grounds upon which he supported that Reform against which he had so often the happiness of dividing with the right hon. Gentleman. But in the midst of all the right hon. Gentleman's declamation, and the talent with which he never failed to address the House, he had given no reason whatever for the measure, excepting that which all the supporters of the English Bill had given for it, namely, that the people willed it. He denied that any other reason could be given, and appealed to the condition of the people of Scotland as a proof that no extensive change was required in that country. When they were told so much of the evils of the representative system in Great Britain, as resulting from the theoretic defects of our Constitution, it might be fair and reasonable to look at that part of the empire where such defects were worst, and to ask whether they had produced the worst results in the condition of the people. But what was the fact? If they looked to the moral and social condition of the people of Scotland, it would be found, that in their intelligence, their habits of industry, and in the general diffusion of comfort amongst them, they were the most favoured portion of the empire. Was it, then, upon speculative grounds alone that they were to abandon a system, under which the state of the people, the great and crowning object of all good government, had been brought about? They were, indeed, at first told that this measure would not change the Constitution; that it was only intended to restore it. In the late debates, that position had been very much avoided, if not abandoned; but it was left for the learned Lord Advocate of Scotland to throw off the mask, and boldly declare, that it was the intention of his Majesty's Ministers not to leave one single vestige of the system under which the country had most umdeniably attained to unexampled greatness and prosperity. He regretted that the learned Lord should have so vehemently attacked the system by which he had found his way into Parliament. But whatever might be the evils of the existing state of the Representation of Scotland, they were not very likely to be remedied by the measure of his Majesty's Ministers, who did not appear to have any other motive for bringing it forward, than that the people required it—a motive which seemed to be quite sufficient, without any reference to political exigency, Scotland, notwithstanding all that had been said, had her landed interest adequately and ably represented; but this Bill would utterly ruin the interests of the small landed proprietors, and throw them into a state of comparative vassalage. It would, no doubt, be desirable to prevent a strong line of demarcation from being drawn between the countries; still it was impossible, from the different nature of the property in both, to establish a precisely similar state of Representation in each; and the violent method proposed by Ministers was calculated not only to shut out persons having the necessary acquirements for the Representation, but to place the small resident proprietors of land as completely under the dominion of individuals as ever was the constituency of the boroughs in schedule A. Such a result would tend to diminish the interest which these proprietors felt in doing good to the community. He hoped the hon. and learned member for Kerry had considered the fact, that Scotland was subject to numerous evils whilst she enjoyed a local legislature under the dominion of the English Government, but that a new era of prosperity and happiness dawned upon her as soon as the legislatures of the two countries were united. There existed in Scotland, as there still existed in Ireland, a feeling of jealousy and hostility towards those who had been mainly instrumental in bringing about the Union; but this feeling soon died away, and when the Pretender landed in Scotland, he found so little appearance of a desire to repeal the Union on the part of the people of that country, that he erased from his proclamation a clause which referred to that measure. The prosperity of Scotland, from the Union up to the present moment, had progressively inceased, though it had made more rapid strides of late years, particularly since the conclusion of the American War. He was most anxious to adhere strictly to the recommendation of the Lord Advocate, to reserve all considerations on the details of the Bill until it got into Committee. At the same time, he knew it was extremely difficult to urge any thing in favour of the Scotch system of Representation on the minds of those who had always, until very lately considered the English Constitution as alone worthy of imitation. The English system of Representation, too, though so long admired, had been so much remodelled and altered by the Bill which had lately passed that House, that he could not expect that any arguments of his could induce the House to deal with the Representation of Scotland with a more unsparing hand. Although all corporate rights, however, were to be put an end to in England; and although he should admit the practicability and expediency of giving the right of voting to 10l householders in all the boroughs in Scotland; yet he must contend, that the plan for the county Representation would not be beneficial to that country. Although it was pretended that it would give additional weight to the agricultural interest—and he admitted that there could not be a more intelligent, independent, and respectable class of persons, than those to whom it was proposed to give the right of voting for counties in Scotland—yet he doubted whether the tenantry or the landlords would be benefitted by the proposed extension of the franchise. He feared they would find, as was well observed by the hon. Baronet, the member for Hertfordshire (Sir John Sebright), with regard to the English county Representation, that there might, be conflicts between landlord and tenant as to the manner in which the franchise should be exercised, little productive of that harmony and good will which, he was bound to say, had hitherto subsisted between landlord and tenant in Scotland. He was glad to find, that the right hon. the President of the Board of Control (Mr. Charles Grant) had borne out his hon. friend behind him, who had denied the accuracy of the statement of the Lord Advocate that the minds of the lower orders in Scotland were alienated from their superiors. He (Sir George Clerk) had heard this assertion of the Lord Advocate with astonishment, for he believed no such feeling existed. The hon. Baronet (Sir George Warrender) had referred to the feeling in Scotland in favour of Reform. He admitted that the feeling prevailed to a great extent during the late general election, and it would have surprised him if that feeling had not existed, considering the great pains taken to excite it. He believed, however, that the feeling would subside as rapidly as it had grown up, and that the people of Scotland would soon return to that state of political feeling in which they had been for so many years past. He was of opinion, that as so great an alteration was proposed in the general system of Representation, a larger number of Representatives ought to be given to Scotland. His Majesty's Government it appeared, were induced to resist this proposition, for fear of creating jealousy in England; but if so reasonable a proposition was acceded to, it would be most gratefully received. If there was the slightest chance of any amelioration or alteration in the Bill, he might be induced to concur with those who said they were unwilling to vote against the second reading, because they thought the present system of Representation in Scotland did require some amendment. His Majesty's Government, however, gave no encouragement that they would assent to any amendments in the Bill; and the majorities on the English Bill proved how hopeless it was, to bring forward any case, however good, in a Committee, when his Majesty's Ministers had previously made up their minds on it. No person who knew anything of Scotland but must feel, that this measure completely destroyed the influence of the landed interest in the Representation, and threw all the power into the hands of the 10l. householders and the village population. He would candidly admit, that he considered the Scotch system of Representation most useful as a part of the English system; and his chief objection to putting an end to that system was, that it would increase the democratic influence in the House of Commons, which, in his opinion, needed no increase. He was also of opinion, that the indirect influence which the Aristocracy exercised in that House was necessary to conduct the government of the country. The chief complaint against the Scotch system of Representation was, the paucity of the electors. He admitted, that they were few in number, but they were equal in fortune and rank to the Members of that House. The Scotch Representation, therefore, sent a strong phalanx to the conservative side of that House, not so likely to be led away by popular influence as the Members for English counties, who were dependent for their seats upon a more numerous constituency, and, in many cases, upon the manufacturing interests. The body of Scotch Representatives, he believed, was most useful in this point of view, as a check upon the increasing democratic influence. Under all the circumstances, he felt it impossible to give his assent to this measure. There was great distress in the manufacturing districts of Scotland, and the embarrassment of trade, and all the evils which the people endured, were now ascribed to the state of the Representation. He trusted, however, to the good sense of the people, that this prejudice would rapidly wear away. He admitted the feeling existed, but it could not induce him to give his assent to a measure which could afford no practical relief to the existing distress. Upon those grounds, he should oppose the second reading, and vote in favour of the motion to postpone the consideration of this Bill.

The Lord Advocate

disclaimed having said, or intended to say, that any general feeling of hostility existed in the mind of the lower classes in Scotland towards their superiors. What he had intended to convey (though doubtless he had done so imperfectly) was, that as public opinion in Scotland had no legitimate channel, in consequence of the state of the Representation, in case of any great excitement, a degree of hostility might exist in the minds of the lower orders towards those above them.

Sir James Mackintosh

said, he did not rise for the unnecessary purpose of attempting to strengthen the arguments adduced by the Lord Advocate and his right hon. friend (Mr. Charles Grant), which needed no strengthening; but to vindicate himself from the suspicion of want of sensibility on a question involving the rights, character, interest, and honour of the people of Scotland. The hon. Baronet (Sir George Clerk) defended the Scotch system of Representation on the ground that the oligarchical phalanx which Scotland sent to that House, was a wholesome curb upon the mouth of English democracy. It was rather a mortifying argument, however, for a Scotchman to hear the Representatives of his country designated as a useful check upon the influence of popular opinion, acting on the English Members. A few minutes before the hon. Baronet concluded, he admitted that no people could be more safely trusted with the elective franchise than the people of Scotland, to whom it was about to be extended. When the hon. Baronet admitted this, he left himself no ground to stand upon. He admitted that no nation in the world could be more safely intrusted with popular privileges, and yet he voted against the second reading of a Bill which proposed to give some popular privileges. He was sorry no English Member had taken part in this discussion, for he should have liked to ask any English Gentleman one or two short intelligible questions. Could any Englishman call a government free in which there was not a shadow of popular election? and could an Englishman say any government could be good which was not free? It was admitted by all the opposers of the Bill, that the Representation of Scotland was not in a state of Utopian perfection; that there were some dark spots in its brightness; those consisted, however, in the total absence of that popular influence which was the life of every good system of Representation. It was truly said by the opponents of this Bill, that its supporters could not say, as they had done with regard to the English Bill, that it was a renewal and a renovation. England always possessed a freedom in its system of Representation, from the days of Simon De Montfort until the day before yesterday, when the Reform Bill passed, which was to give that principle a greater extent and greater vigour. In England it was very proper to talk of the Reform Bill as a restoration of ancient principles; but it was impossible, without an insulting mockery of the people of Scotland, to say, that the measure now under consideration restored rights they had never possessed, and renewed a Constitution which they never enjoyed. Such language would be nothing less than the most cruel irony. The hon. Baronet, on the other side of the House, lad referred to the pages of history, and lad made quotations from them in support of his view of this question of Reform. In many of the observations—the historical observations, if he might so call them, which he made, he perfectly concurred. It was only natural that the descendant of Sir John Clerk should have an accurate knowledge of the history of the Union of the two countries in which his ancestor took so distinguished a part. He thought, however, that he might adopt his historical Representations without any detriment to his own argument. For what was the question? whether the progress of Scotland, in all the arts of peace and war, had been owing to the state of its Representation, or to other causes. He would only take the historical statement of the right hon. Baronet, and upon it he would undertake to determine that question. From whatever period the history of Scotland was looked at, from the time of the Union of the Crowns to the Union of the kingdoms, it was found that it had had the same Parliamentary Constitution, and the same system of Representation it had up to the present day. Yet, under that Parliamentary Constitution, and that system of Representation, Scotland became the scene of bloodshed—the theatre of atrocious crime—of cruel religious and civil wars, and of every horror that could barbarize a nation. Let any man read the account of the state of Scotland at the end of the seventeenth century, given by him whose memory he held in the highest esteem—whom he ventured some time ago to call the last of Scotsmen—the last Scot of the old era, when Scotland was an independent nation. Let any man read the account of the state of Scotland in the last thirteen years of the seventeenth century, written with great purity and power of diction, by one who could command the pen as well as the tongue, and who could use both as boldly as he used the sword—let him read the history given by that great man; and let him say whether it did not lead him to conclude, that Scotland at that time was in a state of actual barbarism. Were they not correct, then, in ascribing the progress which Scotland had made, not to its Parliamentary Constitution, or to its Representative system, but to the union of its Parliament with that of England—to the intimate connexion thus formed between the two countries—to the ideas imbibed by the Scotch gentry, from their association with the gentry of England, and to the example of a free government, which they daily saw in the practice of that of England? The hon. Gentleman on the opposite side, seemed to attribute all the improvements which, within the last century, had taken place in the state of Scotland, to its Parliamentary Constitution, and yet he admitted that, under that very Constitution, from the time of Queen Mary down to the reign of Charles 2nd, and even to the period of the Union of the kingdoms, Scotland was the continued scene of rebellion and bloodshed, and of all the horrors of civil and religious wars, accompanied with every aggravation that absolute barbarism could afford. Surely, then, their mode of explaining the progress which Scotland had made in civilization, and in all the arts of peace—in commerce—in manufactures—in agriculture—in learning and science, was more reasonable than to ascribe it to a cause which, for a long period before, did not produce the same beneficial effect. They were told that the measure which was now proposed would enable the greater proprietors to acquire an influence in the Scotch counties which they did not now possess. And yet the hon. Gentleman who principally advanced this argument, told them, in the very next sentence, that his main objection to the Bill was, that he considered it to be too democratical. He did not know how he proposed to reconcile these two statements. For his part, he was only sorry that he did not agree with him, nor with the hon. member for Lanarkshire, in any of the arguments which they had advanced, except in this—that the flagitious freeholders in one county might be large landholders in another. That might be the case, but it was not as large landholders that they voted. They might be landholders, or they might be proprietors of other property, but as voters they were not necessarily so. He therefore contended, that the system of Representation in Scotland exhibited a double deformity, which it would be difficult to find in any other political institution, shewing, on the one hand, county Members and county voters, neither of them having any necessary connexion with the county to be represented; and, on the other hand, borough Members having no connexion with the people whom they did represent. In short, he could not conceive a greater political monster than that which existed and was called the system of Representation of Scotland. He conceived that that system had not any resemblance to the system by which the people of England were represented. Scotland was, undoubtedly, a country which had many excellent institutions. The doctrines of her Church were pure; her clergy were respectable and learned; her gentry were well educated, and, above all, her people were as moral, as industrious, and as intelligent, as any in the world. But what could be said of her system of Representation? The abuses, aye, the grossest abuses of the English Constitution, were Utopian perfections compared with the Representation of Scotland; a mode of Representation which did not only contain some abuses, but was in itself one enormous and hideous abuse; a mass of unmixed and unmitigated evil. He defied any man to shew that it bore the slightest resemblance to anything in the shape of a popular Representation. Undoubtedly, the existing system of Representation in Scotland had its conveniences as a means of patronage, particularly to the middle classes of the gentry. Scotland contained a class of gentry of high birth and great respectability, but whose hereditary fortunes were not very large. To them the existing system afforded the means of providing for their sons, by obtaining appointments for them in India, or in any of the British settlements. He had heard of a provident Scotch father, who was so strongly impressed with the desirableness of this sort of patronage, that he bought qualifications in five or six counties, in order to be able to provide for the whole of his family. Before he closed his observations, he begged to call to mind the appeal made to the justice of the House, by his right hon. friend on his right hand. How would the House answer the appeal of the people of Scotland for a share in that popular Representation which was now, and ever had been, the glory of England? The people of Scotland claimed a share in the advantages of such a system of Representation; the partial experience which they had had of it, by their union with this country, had sharpened their desire for it; they had seen it in the state in which it had been most disfigured by abuse, and most distorted by perversion from its proper purpose; yet they had seen it place the English nation among the highest in the scale of the nations of the world. Other countries had had monarchical and aristocratical forms of government, but no other nation in Europe, till within the last half-century, had made any attempt to obtain that most important part of the Constitution of England—a Representation of the people. Would they, he continued to address the English Members, belie the whole of their English experience, and say that a Representation of the people was unnecessary to good government? This they would be obliged to say, if they refused to extend the advantages of Representation to the people of Scotland. They must either say, that a popular system of Representation produces none of the benefits which he had stated, and which were commonly ascribed to it, or they must allow, that it was the Anti-reform system which had produced to Scotland the advantages which she had derived from the Union. If they rejected the measure, they would withhold from Scotland the right which they had given to the smallest of all their dependencies—which they had given to all the provinces of North America, and which a sense of justice would soon compel them to give to those of their possessions in the East, which were now claiming that benefit from their hands; they would give it to every dependency of the empire, and yet they would declare that the people of Scotland were unworthy of it.

Sir Robert Peel

did not rise to make any observation on the question before the House. His only object was, to set the right hon. Gentleman right with regard to what he had said on Wednesday night. On that occasion he contended, that a great addition would be made by the Bill to popular influence, and that some of the checks and controls would be removed. He pointed out Scotland as one of those checks, but he did not say whether it was a proper check or no; all he said was, that the proposed change would increase the popular influence. He would be the last person to say any thing humiliating to Scotland.

Mr. Stuart Wortley

thought that the system of Representation in Scotland was wholly untenable, if the principles recognised in the Representation of other parts of the kingdom by the Ministerial measure of Reform were to be confirmed by the Legislature. That system could only be maintained by an unmitigated opposition to popular Representation in the United Kingdom. He would not oppose the Bill in the present stage, but to many parts of it he had great objections. It was difficult, indeed, to apply the English principle of Reform to the Representative system of Scotland. The manufacturing interest in Scotland stood upon a footing different from that of England. Prescriptive rights, which had been treated with so little ceremony in the English Reform Bill, were of the greatest importance in Scotland. If Reform was to be introduced into Scotland, it would be impossible to maintain the present system of county Representation; it must be changed. He would admit leaseholders to vote, and lower the value of superiorities. He did not wish then to go further into the details: he was only desirous of shewing that he had substantial reasons for not opposing the second reading of the Bill. By permitting the Bill to go into Committee, he did not pledge himself to support it at a future stage, for, if not greatly altered in Committee, he should feel bound to resist it to the utmost.

Sir George Murray

would take up as little time as possible in addressing the House on this subject, and would endeavour to follow the recommendation given by the learned Lord, not to enter into the examination of the details of the Bill further than it might be impossible to avoid. His objections to the general Bill, of which that now before them formed a part, had been all along chiefly directed against its principles, and they were so so strong as to leave him no alternative but that of opposing its second reading. He should, as shortly as he could, state his reasons for doing so. If he felt greatly interested in the Bill which had been lately under their consideration, for altering the system of Representation in England and Wales, he must naturally feel much more interested in the Bill before the House, which was to make a complete and a sudden change in the system of election and the constituent body, which had, up to this time, existed in his native country. He felt that he should be under the necessity of referring to the English Bill in the course of the observations with which he should trouble the House; for the whole question of Reform by means of these Bills, was so intimately combined together, that it was not possible to make allusions to one part without introducing matters connected with the others. It appeared to him, that if the Bill for England were dangerous, in consequence of the great changes which it would introduce into the Constitution, the extending of similar, or even greater alterations, into another part of the United Kingdom, could only increase the danger which was to be apprehended. He had before stated, that he should abstain at present from going into details—another, and more convenient opportunity would occur for doing so; but his objections to the principle of the measure were strong and decisive, and this was the period of the discussion when it was proper to make objections of that nature. He never was an enemy to all Reform; and he had, upon every occasion, been ready to admit of the expediency of some modifications in the Scotch system of Representation; but he objected to the utter abandonment of the principle of Representation which had ever existed in that country, and under which the people of Scotland were enjoying so much liberty, and had attained their present high degree of prosperity. It was truly said of the English Bill, that it occasioned great changes in the ancient institutions of the country; but the Scotch Bill went far beyond that, as it completely overturned and destroyed the system of Representation which had existed in that portion of the empire both before and subsequent to the Union. It had been said, that Scotland had never had an independent Representation, and that this had arisen from the body of the people of Scotland having had no direct share in the election of the Members returned from the counties and burghs of that portion of the United Kingdom. He could not concur in this doctrine; for he thought that the real interests of the people of Scotland had been most ably represented, and he considered, that nothing could be more independent than the system of Representation in the larger Scotch counties. He felt himself perfectly independent—as much so as any Member in that House—as the Representative for a Scotch county, and much more so, perhaps, than he could expect to be if this Bill should be brought into operation. It was contended that there were no Representatives for the Scotch counties, because the large mass of the people had no share in the election; and bethought the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, also said, that there was this objection to the system of Representation in Scotland, that the Members from that part of the kingdom were not sent to this House by a numerous constituency. But what sort of a constituency was it intended to form by this Bill? It was proposed to create a large constituency by conferring the franchise on all the 10l. householders in the towns which had not a share in the burgh Representation; and, as a sort of balance, to prevent the too great preponderance of the town interests, it was intended to confer the franchise also on the farmers. By this means, an attempt was made to equalize as much as possible the different interests; but it was obvious that this was to create a numerous constituency of one kind of voters, and then to neutralize their power by creating a numerous constituency of an opposite description. How did this system of Representation work in the English counties, where there was a numerous constituency? The noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, in allusion to an objection that was started by some hon. Gentleman, as to giving three Members to a county—that he was perfectly well acquainted with the arrangement, by which the two Members for that county had heretofore been returned, and that he believed he could make a pretty accurate guess at the arrangement which would be made for the election of the three Representatives who would be allowed by the Bill. Now, this was a distinct admission that the return of the Members for the English counties, even under this Reform Bill—the ostensible object of which was to destroy nomination—would be under the direct influence of two or three of the great families in a county; and that the large constituencies which were to be such a boon to the people of Scotland, were, in the English counties, to a great degree under the control of an oligarchy. He could not think, that the Representation in Scotland would be benefitted by a system which would supersede the present independent electors for the. purpose of introducing such a system of control as had been described by the noble Lord. The Scotch Members were not now returned by an oligarchy; but he feared that this Bill would lead to the exercise of a species of control over the proposed electors, of a nature that would destroy that kindly feeling that at present existed, and indeed had ever existed, in Scotland, between the landlord and tenant, and, generally, amongst all ranks and classes of society. At present the Representatives from Scotland were truly independent; for on the one hand they were not called upon to court, by popular arts, a numerous constituency, nor, on the other, were they the nominees of noble families, In the county which he had the honour to represent, there were several resident families of the highest distinction, but none of them exercised a direct control over the return of the Member. He had had the honour of the support of all these families, many of whom had been connected with the county of Perth as far back as the records of history extended. At present none of these families possessed an overwhelming influence, and certainly he should not think it desirable that any one or two great families in the county should be able to influence the return of the Member, to such a degree as to destroy the independence of the country gentlemen possessing less extensive properties, and it was obviously an objectionable part of the proposed Bill, that it was calculated to throw too great an influence into the hands of the principal families. With regard to the influence of the Scotch Representatives in that House, it was a most salutary one. He had uniformly looked at these Bills with reference to the change they would effect in the general character of the House of Commons. There must always be in that House, from the very nature of the constituency which elected them, a number of Members who must constantly be the advocates of popular rights, and whose endeavour it would be to extend democratic principles. It was, therefore, necessary to have in the House of Commons a proportion of Members also, who, from the mode of their election, would be the supporters of other principles; and having lessened that number in England by the English Bill, it would be inexpedient, and even dangerous, to disturb, at the same time, the Scotch system of Representation, the general tendency of which was, to resist the excess of democratic influence. If all the Members in that House were returned by democratic influence, and by numerous constituencies, the most dangerous result would follow, and there would soon be an end of many of the most admirable institutions. But what were the reasons assigned for the mighty change proposed by the Bill? What were the motives which had induced Ministers to bring forward this measure? It was stated that the people demanded it. He should be very desirous of gratifying the demands of the people, if it could be safely done, but it must be remembered, that the demands which were now made, did not originate with the people themselves, but that the grounds upon which the people proceeded were suggested to them by the originators of this Bill. But, believing, as he did, that it was not safe for the people to make such extensive and untried changes in our institutions, he could not consent to yield to the popular judgment on this question. He considered the demand of the people as injurious to their best interests, and, therefore, could not consent to give way, and abandon his opposition to the Bill. With reference to Scotland, the people there had been excited by the Bill, and the demands for such changes as it proposed to make in that portion of the empire, did not become urgent until the Bill was brought forward. The right hon. Baronet, the member for Honiton, said, that the Bill had been a firebrand in the country. He agreed with him—it resembled the fiery cross which, according to a Scottish poet, used in former times to be sent from house to house, and from village to village in Scotland, to rouse the people to arms. Such was the manner in which this Bill was made use of to stir up the multitude. The noble Lord and Gentlemen opposite had often told the House, that the only way to allay the excitement produced by the advocates of this Bill, was to make concession; but he could allow no such unsafe conclusion to be come to, when the permanent interests of the country were at stake. The proposal indeed reminded him of an expression in the same poet to which he had just alluded; where, with reference to another passion, he said:— Go fetter flame with flaxen band, And stop the stream with moving sand. A similar result would be the consequence of an attempt to satisfy the popular demands; and, by endeavouring to allay by extravagant concessions, the excitement raised by this Bill. Allusions had been made to the probable fate of the Reform Bill in the other House: they had no right to anticipate what the House of Lords would do on this subject; and still less had they a right to represent to the people, that it was a question in which the Sovereign felt personally interested. The King's name had been most improperly used, and this had tended much to the excitement of the people. They had no right to anticipate what might be the King's decision upon the Bill, nor could they, constitutionally, have any knowledge of his Majesty's sentiments upon it, until it had been submitted to him after having passed the other two branches of the Legislature. He should feel very great anxiety for any Sovereign who placed his whole reliance on the popular voice, and who was induced, in consequence of excitement, to yield to popular demands. It had been most industriously circulated in Scotland, that the King was desirous that this Bill should pass, and an alliance had been represented to have been formed in the King's name between monarchy and democracy. This opinion had been greatly strengthened by expressions similar to one which he recollected to have heard used in that House during the last Parliament—that this was the cause of the King and the people against the Aristocracy. He could not conceive anything more dangerous to the continuance of a monarchical form of Government, than an alliance of this nature. He could only conceive two alternatives under which such an alliance could be made, and neither of these alternatives existed in this country. The one alternative was, where a Prince was so weak as to allow himself to be made the instrument of a popular faction. Several cases were mentioned in history, which pointed out the danger to the State of an alliance between monarchy and democracy under such circumstances. The fate of Louis 16th ought to serve as a warning against such a step. That Prince placed all his power in the hands of M. Neckar, who endeavoured to carry on the government by making concessions in every instance to popular clamour, and the most fatal consequences ensued, both for the king and for the people. The other alternative was, when a sovereign, carried away by ambition, and reckless of consequences, sought for the attainment of arbitrary power in a way in which it had often been obtained before, namely, by employing democracy to overturn all other authorities in the State, trusting to being able, when that had been effected, to spurn the ladder by which he had ascended, and to trample upon the necks of the people; and a more sure way could not be devised of destroying the rights and liberties of the people, than by commencing by the destruction of the Aristocracy. This was not a new opinion in the world, for, on referring to the historian of Rome, they found that such was the advice that one of the Tarquins gave to his son, as to the mode in which he should obtain absolute power in a neighbouring city in which he had ingratiated himself with the citizens. He told him to destroy the Aristocracy, and then he would not be long before he would be able to triumph over the liberties of the people. It was of the utmost consequence to the preservation of the liberties of the people, that an intermediate body should exist between them and the Throne, which should have an interest in maintaining the rights of both, and thus preserve the balance between monarchy and democracy. He earnestly deprecated, therefore, the attempt that had been made to induce a belief that the King and the people were to be united against the Aristocracy; than such an impression, nothing could be more injurious to the Sovereign, or more prejudicial to the best interests of the people themselves. As reference had repeatedly been made to the French Revolution in the course of these discussions on the Reform Bill, he would once more allude to the case of Louis 16th and his minister, M. Neckar. They had been told to call to mind what the nobles of France lost by their resistance to the popular voice, although their losses could, with more historical accuracy, have been imputed to concession. But a question might be asked, of much more importance, with reference to the present discussions. What did the people of France gain?—for the important question was not, what can others lose—but what are the people to gain by the proposed changes? What had the people of France gained by the alteration which they had made in their constitution, and by the entire subversion of their ancient institutions? were they now nearer the promised land of liberty than when they commenced their journey in search of it forty years ago? No— after all their wanderings, sufferings, disgraces, and disasters, they were, perhaps, not now nearer to the enjoyment of real liberty and happiness, and the possession of a permanent and free Constitution, than they were at the outset of their attempt. The leaders of the French Revolution acted upon the principle of destroying the ancient institutions, and of overturning the social edifices that had existed for generations. The learned Lord now admitted that he was desirous of proceeding on a similar principle, notwithstanding he had this striking example of the failure of such a course when pursued in France. The learned Lord said, that he would not have one rag or shred existing in Scotland of its old system of Representation—not one stone standing upon another of the former edifice. He had not the least doubt that many of the leaders in the French Revolution were actuated by the most honest intentions, and the most benevolent motives, in the cause they adopted, but how wofully they failed in all of them— They were desirous of forming a Constitution on theoretical views of ideal perfection, and for this they abandoned those courses which history and experience had pointed out as the best that could be followed. Indeed, this seemed to be the error of all political Reformers; they looked not to practical good through experience, but to theoretical good through speculation. England and Scotland had known unexampled prosperity, because they had adhered to the guidance of experience, whilst their neighbours had trusted to their own speculative opinions, and to the untried conclusions of their own judgment. It was to their unequalled Constitution that the English were indebted for all the benefits they enjoyed. He did not look to what might be called the theory of the Constitution, but to its practical operation. The Reformers who supported these Bills went upon the opposite principle—and because the present constitution of that House did not correspond in all its features with the theory of Representation, it must be altered. What was it that made all nations regard the British Constitution with envy? It was undoubtedly the practical efficiency which it had hitherto shewn in cherishing all the various interests of the community, and which had tended so much, not only to the maintenance of the great principle of the security of property, combined with general freedom, but also to the increase of the wealth and industry of the people, and the power and greatness of the State. But this did not satisfy speculative politicians—they did not look at that which had produced all these benefits, but at the picture which had been drawn of it by those who had sought to pourtray it; and in place of doubting the exact accuracy of those sketches, they wanted to force an alteration of the features of the original to make them correspond with those of the picture. The learned Lord admitted fully, that the wealth and industry of the people of Scotland had greatly increased during the last century—and every one, indeed, who had any knowledge of Scotland must admit, that during these last fifty years it had exhibited, not a sudden and precarious, but a radical and regularly-progressive course of improvement, unexampled, perhaps, in any other country, and which it must afford the highest gratification to all who were connected with it to contemplate. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (the President of the Board of Control) had, with his accustomed eloquence, drawn a beautiful picture of the present condition of his native country. He had admitted all that he (Sir George Murray) had said of her general prosperity, and he had dwelt with peculiar satisfaction upon her learning, and that sympathy which so happily existed there amongst all ranks and classes of society. Yet hon. Gentlemen were willing, and even anxiously desirous, that the continuation of all this should be put in jeopardy, for the sake of a speculative experiment of the most doubtful success— They argued, that the country had advanced to prosperity in this extraordinary manner, and in civilization and every kind of improvement, in spite of the badness of its political system—but their reasoning on this head was much too paradoxical for him to assent to, or to comprehend. He admitted that there were blemishes in the Representative system of Scotland, but they were not such as might not be easily removed; and he could not think that the defects in their system called for so rash, so sudden, and so fatal a change as was proposed to be effected by the present Bill. He was not opposed to a gradual and well-digested modification, but decidedly inimical to such destructive innovations as the present. He should like to have it pointed out to him more clearly than had hitherto been done, that the people would gain by this change; and that the mass of the population of the country would derive great, and essential, and permanent advantages from it. This he asked as a Representative of the people. It had been said, that the proposed measure of Reform, brought forward by his Majesty's Ministers, would protect the people against the recurrence of expensive wars; but, before he could admit this, it was necessary to prove to him that democracy was not prone to war. Let the House look at France—which was the war party in that country? The government there was sincerely desirous of peace, but the democracy would not hear of peace; and it was with the utmost difficulty that the government, could maintain itself against that party. The king of the French was compelled to boast, in his opening speech to the Chambers, of having sent a plundering expedition to Lisbon, that he might conciliate the democracy, and gratify the popular love of vain glory. And since then, a minister had lost the favour of the democracy, and had actually resigned his office, he was reinstated in the popular favour and replaced in office, by the mere announcement of the march of a French army into Belgium. The Government of this country was perfectly aware that the French ministry had been obliged to court popularity by feeding the appetite of the people for military exploits; and had even acquiesced, in some degree, in that line of conduct, rather than allow the tottering government of France to be overthrown, and France, and all Europe, perhaps, to be plunged by that event into the miseries of war. Let it not be said, then, that democracy was friendly to peace. He did not condemn the people. Even at the moment when a multitude was guilty of the greatest and most criminal excesses, they acted under the momentary delusion that they were doing what was right; but they did what was wrong, because they fell into the hands of artful, selfish, cruel, and often cowardly demagogues. An hon. friend of his (the member for Kirkaldy) had said, that all that Scotland required was, the alteration of the present mode of election, and, if that were altered, that forty-five Members would be sufficient. He must protest against that doctrine. If Scotland was to have this measure of Reform, she should have its advantages, as well as its defects. If the principle of giving Representation on the ground of population was to be applied, either with reference to the general population of the kingdom, or to English and Welsh counties and boroughs separately, Scotland had a just claim to benefit by the application of the same principle. This was, indeed, one of those principles which, together with some others which he should not stop now to criticize, must render it impossible that the present measure of Reform could be a final measure; but he could not consent that the large Scotch counties should have but one Representative, although some of them had a greater population than counties in England and Wales, to which three Members had been given by the English Bill; nor could he consent that large towns and cities in Scotland should be unrepresented, whilst places in England with 2,000 inhabitants had one Member, and those with 4,000 inhabitants retained two Representatives. He could not avoid remarking, that the nature of the votes in Scotch counties, called superiorities, was liable to be very greatly mistaken. These votes had been called "paper votes," from which Gentlemen unacquainted with Scotland might be led to suppose, that they could be created at pleasure, and to any amount; but that was not the case, for each of those voters must represent, and be connected with a certain extent of landed property. These voters were, in many instances, the representatives of that influence which the noble Lord opposite had called the "legitimate influence of property." That legitimate influence of property, however, which the noble Lord was willing to preserve, would be in a very precarious state, even in England, after the passing of the Reform measure; for it bore too near a resemblance to nomination, to allow it to escape the improvement of future Reformers. But the noble Lord might, perhaps, say, how could the influence of property be destroyed, unless property itself be destroyed? But future Reformers would find an easy remedy, and, by doing away with the law of primogeniture, they would at once remove that influence of property which, according to them, would be an evil too much akin to nomination, to be allowed to remain. The noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had admitted, not long since, in that House, that he had been a party-man all his life. He did not blame the noble Lord for it; and he must say, that there had been no improper indication of party-feeling evinced by the noble Lord throughout the whole of the discussion on the measure. The noble Lord had conducted himself with the greatest good-temper, and the greatest fairness, in all these discussions, and had discharged the task he had undertaken in a most becoming manner, and with unremitting diligence and attention. He respected, also, the private character of the noble Lord who was at the head of his Majesty's Ministers. He acknowledged and admired his abilities. But he sincerely lamented that those noble Lords and their colleagues had been led away by principles which would draw them along with a gradually-increasing power, like that of a whirlpool, against which no strength could successfully struggle, until they were carried, at last, to the shipwreck, both of themselves and of their country.

Lord Althorp

did not think that he was called upon to discuss the general question of Reform on that occasion, though the greater part of the speech of the right hon. Baronet related to that. In his opinion, the question before the House was, whether, having applied the principle of Reform to England and Wales, it would be judicious to extend that principle to Scotland,; and he must say, that it appeared to him a monstrous proposition, that Reform having commenced, it should not be extended to Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman had admitted that there were blemishes in the Representation of Scotland; but he should say, that there was but one blemish, and that it was such a one as to cover and blot the whole system. It was also said, that the call for Reform in Scotland had only arisen in consequence of the introduction of the Reform Bill: but the hon. member for Dumfries had truly stated, that the desire for Reform in Scotland had been gradually growing stronger and stronger every day for a considerable period of time. But, it was said, that Scotland was in a very flourishing state without a Representation; and upon that it was asked, why should Representatives be given to it? But that appeared to him to be no argument at all on the question of Representation; for, no doubt, it had happened before, in the history of the world, that countries unrepresented had arisen to a high pitch of prosperity. The manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had argued for an increase of Members for Scotland, appeared to him to be a little inconsistent with the apprehension which the right hon. Gentleman expressed as to the democratic principle of the Bill. There was one point, however, in which he fully concurred with the right hon. Gentleman, which was, that the influence of property ought never to cease to exist as long as the property itself existed; but, at the same time he must contend, that the very principle of this Bill was, to give due weight to the influence of property. The best proof of the necessity of Reform was the general discontent that had been evinced by the people all through the empire; which appeared to him to be a practical illustration of the necessity of Reform and improvement; and it was the desire to effect that improvement which had induced his Majesty's Ministers to bring forward these Bills.

Mr. Hunt

said, he should not have risen were it not for the observation of the learned Lord, that the excitement and the desire for Reform were great in Scotland. He did not say, that they were in favour of this Bill. The learned Lord said, he did not mean the Radicals and the rabble. He would ask the learned Lord, whether, at the last election, he did not find the Radicals and the rabble very convenient allies? The walls of the House often resounded with the praises of their system of Representation, the envy and admiration of surrounding nations. What would become of the envy of surrounding nations when the last rag, the last shred of the Scotch Representation was taken away?

Mr. Cresset Pelham

opposed the Motion. He thought it would have been more convenient if this Bill proceeded pari passu with the other. It was every way as objectionable as the other.

The House then divided on the original Motion:—Ayes 209; Noes 96—Majority 113.

The Bill read a second time, and the question being put that it be committed for Monday,

Sir Charles Forbes

said, the speech of the learned Lord was the most Radical speech he had ever heard. The learned Lord had done more that night for the destruction of the happiness of the country than he had done by the whole of that publication which had been under his direction. He proposed to destroy the whole of the Representative system of Scotland, and not to leave one stone standing upon another. This Bill was not so fully discussed as the importance of it required.

The Bill ordered to be committed for Monday.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral C. Baillie, J. E.
Agnew, Sir A. Bainbridge, E. T.
Althorp, Viscount Baring, F. T.
Bayntun, Captain Harcourt, G. V.
Benett, J. Hawkins, J. H.
Bentinck, Lord G. Heron, Sir R.
Bernal, R. Heywood, R.
Blake, Sir F. Hobhouse, J. C.
Blamire, W. Hodges, T. L.
Blount, E. Hodgson, J.
Bouverie, Hon. D. P. Horne, Sir W.
Briscoe, J. I. Hoskins, K.
Brougham, W. Howard, P. H.
Brougham, J. Howick, Viscount
Buller, J. W. Hughes, W. H.
Bulwer, H. L. Hume, J.
Bunbury, Sir H. E. Hunt, H.
Blackney, W. Ingilby, Sir W. A.
Bourke, Sir J. James, W.
Brown, J. D. Jeffrey, Right Hon. F.
Byng, G. Jephson, C.D. O.
Calvert, N. Johnston, A.
Campbell, W. F. Johnston, J.
Campbell, J. Johnstone, J. J. H.
Carter, J. B. Jones, J.
Cavendish, C. C. King, E. B.
Cavendish, H. F. C. Knight, R.
Chaytor, W. R. C. Knox, Hon. Colonel
Crampton, P. C. Lamb, Hon. G.
Chichester, J. B. Lambert, H.
Chichester, Sir A P. Langston, J. H.
Clifford, Sir A. Lawley, F.
Clive, E. B. Leader, N. P.
Colborne, N. W. R. Lee, J. L.
Cradock, Colonel Lefevre, C. S.
Creevey, T. Leigh, T. C.
Currie, J. Lemon, Sir C.
Curteis, H. B. Lennard, T. B.
Denman, Sir T. Lennox, Lord J. G.
Dixon, J. Lennox, Lord A.
Don, O'Conor Loch, J.
Douglas, W. K. Lumley, J S.
Dundas, Hon. Sir R. L. Maberly, Colonel
Dundas, Hon. J. C. Maberly, J.
Dundas, T. Macaulay, T. B.
Ebrington, Viscount Macdonald, Sir J.
Ellice, E. Mackenzie, Sir J.
Etwall, R. Mackintosh, Sir J.
Evans, Col. De Lacy Macnamara, W.
Evans, W. M'Leod, R.
Ewart, W. Mangles, J.
Ferguson, R. Milbank, M.
Fergusson, R. C. Mills, J.
Fitzgibbon, Hon. R. Moreton, Hon. H.
Foley, J. H. H. Morpeth, Viscount
Folkes, Sir W. Mostyn, E. M. L.
Fordwich, Lord Mullins, F.
Foster, J. Musgrave, Sir R.
French, A. North, F.
Gillon, W. D. Norton, C. F.
Gisborne, T. Nowell, A.
Godson, R. Nugent, Lord
Gordon, R. O'Connell, M.
Graham, Sir J. R. G. Ossory, Earl of
Graham, Sir S. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Grant, Right Hon. R. Owen, Sir J.
Grant, Right Hon. C. Paget, T.
Grattan, H. Palmer, C. F.
Grattan, J. Parnell, Sir H.
Handley, W. F. Payne, Sir P.
Palmerston, Viscount Stuart, Lord J.
Pendarves, E. W. Stuart, Lord D. C.
Penlease, J. S. Stewart, Sir M. S.
Petit, L. H. Tennyson, C.
Petre, Hon. E. Thicknesse, R.
Philipps, Sir R. Thompson, Ald.
Ponsonby, Hon. W. Thomson, Rt. Hon. C.
Ponsonby, Hon. G. Throckmorton, R. G.
Power, R. Tomes, J.
Poyntz, W. S. Torrens, Colonel
Price, Sir R. Traill, G.
Protheroe, E. Tyrell, C.
Pryse, P. Vere, J. J. H.
Ross, H. Vernon, Hon. G. J.
Ruthven, E. S. Villiers, T. H.
Ramsbottom, J. Walker, C. A.
Ramsden, J. C. Warburton, H.
Rickford, W. Warrender, Sir G.
Robinson, Sir G. Waterpark, Lord
Robinson, G. R. Watson, Hon. R.
Rooper, J. B. Webb, Colonel
Russell, Lord J. Westenra, Hon. H.
Russell, R. G. Weyland, J.
Sanford, E. A. Weyland, Major
Scott, Sir E. D. White, S.
Sebright, Sir J. Whitmore, W. W.
Skipwith, Sir G. Wilbraham, G.
Smith, J. Wilde, T.
Smith, J. A. Williams, J.
Smith, R. V. Williams, W. A.
Smith, G. R. Williams, Sir J. H.
Smith, M. T. Williamson, Sir H.
Stanhope, Captain Willoughby, Sir H.
Stanley, E. J. Wood, Ald.
Stanley, Rt. Hon. E. G. Wood, J.
Stanley, Lord Wood, C.
Stephenson. H. F. Wortley, Hon. J. S.
Stewart, P. M. Wyse, T.
Strickland, G. TELLER.
Strutt, E. Kennedy, T. F.
List of the NOES.
A'Court, E. H. Dering, Sir E. C.
Alexander, James Domville, Sir C.
Arbuthnot, Col. C. G. J. Douro, Marquis
Arbuthnot, Hon. Gen. Dundas, R. A.
Balfour, J. Encombe, Viscount
Bankes, W. J. Fane, Hon. H. S.
Bankes, G. Ferrand, W.
Beresford, Colonel M. Forbes, Sir C.
Blair, W. Forrester, Hn. G. C. W.
Boldero, H. G Fox, S. L.
Brudenell, Lord Freshfield, J. W.
Bruce, C. C. L. Gordon, Colonel J.
Brydges, Sir J. Gordon, J. E.
Buller, Sir A. Gordon, Hon. Capt. W.
Burge, W. Goulburn, Rt. Hon. H.
Burrard, G. Graham, Marquis
Cole, Lord Graham, Lord M. W.
Cole, Hon. A. Grant, General Sir C.
Conolly, Colonel Grant, Hon. Col. F. W.
Cooper, E. J. Handcock, R.
Corry, Hon. H. L. Hardinge, Sir H.
Courtenay, Rt. Hon. T. Hay, Sir J.
Cumming, Sir W. G. Hayes, Sir E.
Cust, Hon. Colonel E. Herries, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Davidson, D. Holmes, W.
Hope, J. T. Porchester, Lord
Inglis, Sir R. H. Praed, W. M.
Ingestrie, Viscount Pringle, A.
Jenkins, R. Pringle, Sir W. H.
Knight, J. L. Pusey, P.
Lefroy, Dr. T. Rae, Rt. Hon. Sir W.
Lefroy, A. Ramsey, W.
Legh, Colonel T. Rochfort, Colonel G.
Lindsay, Colonel J. Rose, Rt. Hon. Sir G. H.
Lowther, Hon. H. C. Rose, Captain P.
Lowther, J. H. Scott, H. F.
Maitland, Viscount Severn, J. C.
Maitland, Hon. A. Sibthorp, Colonel
Malcolm, Sir J. Somerset, Lord G.
Maxwell, H. Stewart, Sir H.
Meynell, Captain H. Stormont, Viscount
Miles, W. Tullamore, Lord
Miller, W. H. Taylor, G. W.
Murray, Rt. Hon. Sir G. Ure, M.
Neeld, J. Villiers, Viscount
Peach, N. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Pearse, J. Wrangham, D. C.
Peel, Rt. Hon. Sir R. Young, J.
Perceval, Colonel
Pelham, J. C. TELLERS.
Pemberton, T. Clerk, Sir G.
Pollington, Lord Douglas, Hon. C.