§ On the question being again put that the Order of the Day be read,
§ Mr. Croker
said, before the Order of the Day for going into a Committee on this Bill was read, he wished to ask the noble Lord, whether it was the intention of the Government to proceed in the Committee on the postponed clauses, or to go into the schedules? Those schedules comprised certain boroughs which had been placed in them upon a calculation made by Lieutenant Drummond, founded upon the number of houses in each borough, and the amount of Assessed Taxes paid by each: of course, unless the materials on which Lieutenant Drummond had founded his calculations were full and accurate, the calculations could not be much worth. He had stated a month ago, that he believed it would be found that, without imputing any blame to Lieutenant Drummond, his results were not quite accurate; and the inaccuracy was occasioned by defects in the data on which he had been obliged to proceed. The returns of the Assessed Taxes were, in many particulars, incorrect: in some cases the amount of the Game Certificates and of the Cavalry Exemption Duty had been taken into calculation, while in others, these duties had been quite omitted. He had already, on January 24th, moved for a return of the details of the Assessed Taxes in such boroughs as he thought the most important; and till that return was laid on the Table, he thought it was impossible for the Committee to proceed. He would mention one case, to shew how the defects of the data would operate on Lieutenant Drummond's calculations. The Borough of Helston now stood 84 on the List, and was to lose one Member. It was exempt from a portion of Assessed Taxes, on account of cavalry horses, to the amount of 75l. The amount also of Game Certificates was 41l., and this sum was not, he believed, included in the Assessed Taxes of Helston. If the first of these duties were included in the 537 calculation, Helston would be 87 or 88 on the list, and would be omitted altogether from the schedule. If the last was included, it would be raised still higher, and be placed in a still safer position. Having these facts before them, how could they proceed to discuss the schedules till ample materials for correcting these inaccuracies were laid on the Table. All he wanted was, to do justice, and give fair play to all. In a short time information might be received that would correct all these inaccuracies, and till then, he thought, the discussion on the schedules ought to be postponed. The same difference that existed with regard to Helston, would, he believed, be found to exist with regard to other boroughs. For example, he had reason to believe, that if the Game Certificates were included in the Assessed Taxes paid by Aldeburgh, the borough he had the honour to represent, that it would be transferred from Schedule A to Schedule B. The same principle would apply to other boroughs; and he, therefore, must press on the noble Lord opposite, and on the Committee, the propriety of postponing the schedules till accurate information was procured.
Lord John Russell
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had correctly stated that there was a difference with regard to some of the boroughs, as to the amount of the Game Certificate Duty being included or not in the calculation of taxes paid by them. He had been told of this before, and he had, therefore, directed that the Commissioners should pursue one uniform rule; and either always include, or always exclude, the calculation of these duties. The Commissioners obeyed his directions, and endeavoured to obtain the returns so as to include the Game Certificates in all cases. But when the list came to be made out, from some misunderstanding, the rule was not, in every instance, exactly observed. There was one other point which made a difference in the returns, which the right hon. Gentleman had not noticed; and that was, that in some places the Assessed Taxes had been discharged as to portions of those places, and yet those places were still noticed in the same way as if every part of them still paid the Assessed Taxes. However, he had spoken to Lieutenant Drummond on the subject, and he understood that these differences, though it would have been advisable to avoid them, would not make such a difference as to 538 effect an alteration in the situation of any of the places in the list. He thought, therefore, that it would be of no use to delay the consideration of the schedules on this account.
§ Mr. Croker
did not speak of the payment of minor duties, but of a great principle which had been neglected, namely, the uniformity of the calculations. He did not blame the Ministers for these imperfections, for he knew how hard it was to obtain correct returns. Some of the returning officers were, he believed, wilfully perverse, and others were naturally stupid. Between them, undoubtedly, the Government must have considerable trouble; but still he thought the two great classes of duties he had mentioned might be uniformly included, or uniformly excluded. He could assure the noble Lord, that including these taxes for Helston would save it from disfranchisement, while other boroughs, like Aldeburgh, must be trembling in the balance. No time would be lost by the noble Lord assenting to his proposition; while the postponement would effectually secure the Committee against the conviction that they might have acted unjustly.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, the case of each particular borough ought to be decided by one uniform rule, and according to their respective merits, founded upon some general principle of calculation after the fullest information that, could be obtained. As it was notorious that, in some cases they had reason to believe the returns, on which the calculations had been made, were not precisely correct, nor prepared upon one plan, he thought the other part of the Reform Bill might go on, and the schedules be postponed till the fullest information had been obtained.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that it would not be necessary to proceed with the boroughs in the order of the schedules. The Committee might begin with the lowest of those in the first schedule.
§ Mr. Croker
again expressed his hope, that the noble Lord would not force him to divide the House. They (the Opposition) were ready to go into the Committee, provided the noble Lord would postpone the schedules. But if the noble Lord meant to persevere in his intention to proceed with the schedules, he would divide the House.
considered the course proposed by his noble colleague (the Chan- 539 cellor of the Exchequer) to be perfectly convenient. As they were to begin with the boroughs at the bottom of the list, and not according to an alphabetical arrangement, the question relating to their relative merits, mooted by the right hon. Member, would not be brought before the House that evening.
§ Mr. Stephenson
thought, that the Committee could at once proceed to the disfranchisement of ten boroughs, beginning with Old Sarum, as there was very little room for discussion respecting them.
§ Mr. Croker
said, that he thought it the more necessary to oppose the Motion that the Speaker do leave the Chair, in consequence of what had fallen from the hon. Member opposite. It had always been understood that the boroughs should be considered singly; but now it was proposed to disfranchise ten of them in the lump.
said, it followed, from the right hon. Gentleman's supposition, that he was opposed to the disfranchisement of Old Sarum.
§ Mr. Croker
No. It only implied, that he would not consent to lump it with other places that had merits of their own.
§ The Order of the Day was read. On the question, that "the Speaker do now leave the Chair," the House divided: the numbers were—Ayes 112; Noes 74;—Majority 38.
|List of the AYES.|
|ENGLAND.||Handley, William F.|
|Adeane, H. J.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Hudson, Thomas|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Ingilby, Sir W. A.|
|Atherley, Arthur||Johnstone, Sir J.V.B.|
|Bernal, Ralph||Jones, J.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Kemp, Thomas R.|
|Blount, Edward||King, Edward B.|
|Brougham, James||Knight, Henry G.|
|Brougham, William||Knight, Robert|
|Bunbury, Sir H.E.||Lefevre, Charles S.|
|Byng, Sir John||Leigh, Thomas C.|
|Byng, G. S.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Calvert, Charles||Lennox, Lord W.|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Lester, Benjamin L.|
|Colborne, N. W. R.||Lumley, J. S.|
|Crampton, P. C.||Marryatt, Joseph|
|Creevey, Thomas||Milbank, Mark|
|Davies, Col. T. H. H.||Mills, John|
|Denison, W. J.||Milton, Lord|
|Duncombe, Thomas S.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Ellice, Edward||Mostyn, E. M. L.|
|Evans, Col. De Lacy||Newark, Viscount|
|Ferguson, Gen. Sir R.||Nowell, Alexander|
|Godson, Richard||Nugent, Lord|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Ord, William|
|Grosvenor, Earl||Owen, Sir J.|
|Guise, Sir B. W.||Paget, Thomas|
|Palmer, General C.||SCOTLAND.|
|Pendarves, E. W. W.||Campbell, W. F.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Ferguson, Robert|
|Robarts, A. W.||Fergusson, R. C.|
|Robinson, Sir G.||Johnston, Andrew|
|Russell, Lord John||Johnstone, J. J. H.|
|Russell, Lieut.-Col.||Mackenzie, Stewart|
|Sanford, E. A.||M'Leod, R.|
|Skipwith, Sir G.||Ross, Horatio|
|Smith, Hon. R.||Sinclair, George|
|Smith, John||Stewart, Sir M. S.|
|Smith, R. Vernon||IRELAND.|
|Spencer, Hon. Capt.||Bellew, Sir P.|
|Stephenson, H. F.||Blankney, W.|
|Strickland, George||Bodkin, John J.|
|Strutt, Edward||Brown, John|
|Stuart, Lord P. James||French, Arthur|
|Thicknesse, Ralph||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Torrens, Col. Robert||Killeen, Lord|
|Venables, Alderman||Lambert, Henry|
|Vernon, Hon. G. J.||Leader, N. P.|
|Vernon, G. H.||Macnamara, Wm.|
|Wellesley, Hon. W. T. L.||Musgrave, Sir R.|
|Whitmore, W. W.||O'Counell, Daniel|
|Wilbraham, George||O'Connor, Don|
|Williams, Sir J.||O'Farrell, R. M.|
|Willoughby, Sir H.||Ossory, Earl of|
|Winnington, Sir T.||Ponsonby, Hon. G.|
|Wood, John||Power, Robert|
|Wood, Alderman||Ruthven, E. S.|
|Wrottesley, Sir J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Walker, C. A.|
§ The House in Committee.
wished to know when it was intended to bring on the postponed clauses? Some of them were of great importance, and he wished them to be discussed in a full House, which was not likely to be the case if they were postponed until the schedules were disposed of. The 55th clause was one of these.
§ Lord Althorp
thought it would be better that the reserved clauses should be taken after the schedules. He saw no reason to fear that there would be a want of attendance in Members.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, that it was understood that the Committee would proceed with all the clauses of the Bill before they approached the schedules. He thought that the clause relating to the expenses of elections ought to be taken then, when there was an opportunity of discussing it in a full House. If it should be postponed, it might be brought on hereafter when very few Members would be in attendance.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the course recommended would be found very inconvenient. The clauses were postponed for the pur- 541 poses of being amended, or new clauses introduced in their stead; and, therefore, he considered that it would be more regular to go through with the whole Bill before those clauses were brought up for discussion.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
repeated, that there was an express understanding that all the clauses should precede the schedules. He did not see by what magic the schedules were conjured forth for discussion on Monday in preference to any other day.
§ Lord Althorp
thought, that the present discussion was merely a wasting of the time of the Committee.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
hoped that the noble Lord did not mean to accuse him of wilfully wasting the time, of the House.
§ Lord Althorp
did not intend to cast any imputation upon the hon. and learned Gentleman, but he really did not see to what good the discussion tended.
Lord John Russell
said, that the Bill had been postponed on Friday to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the schedules had been expressly appointed to come on that evening.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that to prevent any further delay he would consent to proceed with the postponed clauses. He moved, that clause 55 be read. The noble Lord explained, that the amendment he had introduced into this clause, was to require that each person, on his name being entered in the register, was to pay one shilling. He thought the sum thus obtained would retrieve the Poor-rates from all charges for the registration.
§ The Chairman read the 55th (the Registration) Clause.
said, it appeared to him that there were several difficulties connected with this clause, and that it would he found to be attended with great confusion as well as injustice in its operation. The words of the amended clause now were, "That such notice of claim to be inserted in the list, shall not be rated unless such sum of 1s. has been paid." How were the non-resident freeholders to pay yearly for their registration as they might pay no Poor's-rates upon which the shilling could be charged. It was obvious that the shilling could not be sent any distance by post without incurring a most enormous charge, which ought not to be allowed to fall upon the Poor's-rates. By the present clause it appeared that a person was to remain on the list if he was 542 not objected to by the Overseer. This ought not to be the case, as persons who had no title might thus be continued on the lists. Again, the clause did not state clearly whether or not the freeholders in the counties should pay a shilling annually in the same way as voters in the boroughs. Again, it would appear, from the wording of the clause, that the shilling was to be paid to the Overseer for his trouble in preparing his list, and also for the expense of registration; but that, in county elections, the expenses of the Sheriff and the Clerk of the Peace were to be paid out of the Poor's-rates. At present, in many of the boroughs, persons were entitled to vote who did not contribute to the Poor's-rate. By the operation of this clause, all these persons would be deprived of their votes, unless they paid Poor's-rates together with the shilling for registration. It was also perfectly clear, that if the Overseer was allowed to make indefinite charges for registration, this shilling would not be sufficient to defray the expenses. Indeed the charges for registration would be much heavier than the noble Lord anticipated. Even the expense of the Barrister alone would, in many districts, swallow up nearly the whole of the sum that would be collected in this way. It would be almost impossible to form a judgment, with any degree of accuracy, as to the number of days that would be requisite for registration. Some persons supposed that the time required would be very short; but when there were so many persons interested in occupying as long a period as possible in forming the register, no such result could be anticipated. Let the Committee only recollect that the Barrister was interested in keeping this open as long as possible; so was the solicitor, who was employed to watch the proceedings; so was the Overseer, who was allowed his expenses; and, of course, the longer the registration lasted, the larger would be the amount to which the expenses could be swelled. At the termination of the late election for Dorsetshire, which lasted fifteen days, it was stated, that upwards of 300 votes were left undetermined by the assessor: it was fair to assume that a great number of doubtful votes had been decided upon in the course of the fifteen days. Again, at the last, election for Oxfordshire, several hundreds of votes were left undetermined. In the election for Pembrokeshire, which also 543 lasted fifteen days, a great many votes were also left undetermined. It was by no means clear that, in these three counties, the assessor was dilatory, and that unnecessary delay took place in determining as to the validity of these votes. Even from the cases just mentioned, it was clear that the Barrister could not prepare the register for a county in less than fifteen days. According to this Bill, also, nearly every county in the kingdom would have double the number of voters that it had at present. It was obvious, that if the Barrister gave due consideration to the various disputed cases which came under his examination, he must devote ample time to the subject; and, therefore, it would be impossible to get through all the votes upon which a question would arise in a county in less than fifteen days. The House was now proceeding to tax all persons who were hereafter to vote at elections for Members of Parliament, which it was not authorized to do. He protested against the Members of this House throwing the whole expenses of the registration, and of the election, upon their constituents; in point of fact, it was making them pay for exercising the franchise. He trusted that the noble Lord would, on consideration, be induced to alter this part of the clause, as, in point of fact, they were sacrificing their duty to those who sent them to Parliament, for the purpose of saving their own pockets.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that one object of the system of registration, and of the polling at several places in the one day, as well as of shortening the duration of the poll was, to enable gentlemen of small fortunes to stand for the Representation of their respective counties, without incurring ruinous expenses. He must further observe, that a person having once put his name upon the register, as an elector for the county, would not have to pay a second fee.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
said, that the clause was so framed, that whilst the county elector would have to pay but one shilling registration-fee in his whole life, perhaps the elector in a borough would be obliged to pay a shilling every year. He thought that the registers would require to be revised every year, as otherwise some names might remain on them after the death of the elector, who might, consequently, be personated by others.
§ Mr. John Wood
said, in the borough he 544 had the honour to represent—Preston, there were between 4,000 and 5,000 persons entitled to vote, not above one-third of whom paid Poor-rates. He begged, therefore, to inquire, whether such persons must pay the registration-fee, or suffer disfranchisement.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the clause only referred to those who now paid Poor-rates, leaving the privileges of those towns where electors had the privilege of voting by other qualifications just as they were.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
was sure the expenses attending the registration would be considerably less than was anticipated, but there was one part of the clause which he thought would admit of improvement. It was provided by it, that where a borough consisted of several townships, each township should pay a given sum to cover the expense, without regard to the relative number of voters contained in each, and he thought it would be a beneficial alteration if the whole expenses were paid in proportion to the number of voters. He begged further to suggest, that it would be well to provide that the expenses of the Overseer should not be allowed until they had been approved of by the Magistrates at the Quarter Sessions.
§ Mr. Freshfield
said, as the voters at Preston were to be exonerated from the payment of the registration-fee, he put it to the noble Lord, whether the poor scot-and-lot voters were not entitled to the same indulgence? If, in addition to their charge for Poor-rates, was now to be added one shilling annually for registration, that sum might be of consequence, and would lead to its being paid by candidates, and so introduce a system of bribery. The noble Lord defended the clause on the principle that it would lessen the expenses of elections, but there was one case in which it would increase them, by bringing additional candidates into the field. Another hard case was, that the poorer voters, the electors for boroughs, were to be registered annually, while the county voters were not subject to such a regulation.
§ Lord Althorp
had not asserted, that the increase of candidates would diminish the expense, but that the general effect of the clause would have that tendency.
§ Clause, with verbal amendments, agreed to.
§ Clause 68 also agreed to.
Lord John Russell
then stated, that he 545 meant to proceed with the boroughs contained in schedule A, in the order in which they were given in Lieutenant Drummond's list, and not alphabetically, as stated in the Bill. That was a course, which, he was persuaded, would be attended with great convenience to the House. He would therefore move, that Old Sarum, Wiltshire, stand part of schedule A.
§ The Chairman then put the question.
§ Mr. Pollock
said, he rose to take the first opportunity which had presented itself in the Committee of stating the objections he entertained against the manner in which the schedules they were now about to dispose of had been constructed. The Committee were acquainted with the instructions given to Lieutenant Drummond by the Government, and, now that they were come to decide upon the question to which those instructions referred, it was very material that they should know whether or not the calculations before them were accurate, and whether the person who made them had dealt, with the materials and the numbers which formed them correctly. Shortly after the papers containing these calculations were before the House he applied his best attention to their examination, and, in doing so, was assisted by others, whose ability and accuracy could not be questioned in such a matter; and the result of his labours had been, a clear and undoubting conviction that Lieutenant Drummond had fallen into very considerable errors, and that his calculation, illustrated in his own statement by the supposed boroughs A, B, C, D, E, was founded upon an erroneous principle, not applicable to the subject, and had consequently led to an erroneous conclusion. There were, then, two questions before the Committee—whether there was an error in the calculation, and what was the extent of the error; and whether it had not led to an erroneous result in placing the boroughs in the schedule. His object in calling the attention of the Committee to an examination of the details was, to show that errors had been committed, and the system adopted in making the calculations had led to placing some boroughs in schedule A, and others in schedule B which, according to the objects professed by the Government, in their instructions to Lieutenant Drummond, should be placed in a different schedule, or should be exempt from both. To establish this, he would pro- 546 ceed to read the instructions given to Lieutenant Drummond, in Lord Melbourne's letter of the 24th November, 1831. That letter stated, that the Government having determined to found the Reform Bill on a new basis (and he admitted, that the new basis was better than the former one) they requested Lieutenant Drummond to ascertain the relative importance of the small boroughs in England and Wales, it being proposed to take the number of houses, and the amount of Assessed Taxes together as the test of disfranchisement. He would read the instructions conveyed to Lieutenant Drummond in the third paragraph of the letter as they stood.You will have the goodness, therefore, to make a scale containing, in addition to ninety-seven boroughs (the numbers comprised in schedules A and B of the former Bill), the ten or fifteen immediately above them in size or importance. You will arrange these boroughs in such a manner that the lowest may be the first, and the highest the last, on the list. I shall be obliged to you to send me, at the same time, an account of the manner in which the calculation has been made.He would next direct the attention of the Committee to so much of the answer of Lieutenant Drummond as would show what he understood those instructions to be. Lieutenant Drummond said,The principle on which the list is founded consists in allowing equal weight, in the estimation of the relative importance of a borough, to the number of houses which it contains, and amount of Assessed Taxes which it pays; and the method adopted for carrying this principle into effect may be stated in the following words.
It would appear from this, then, that Lieutenant Drumrnond first found an average of the number of houses contained in all the boroughs to be disfranchised, and that, by dividing the number of houses in each borough by this average number he obtained a series of fractions denoting the relative value of each borough. He then pursued a similar plan to obtain a series of fractions, showing the relative importance of the different boroughs with regard to Assessed Taxes. He then reduced to a common denominator the fractions contained in the two lists which related to the same borough, and afterwards added them together in order to obtain a series of numbers denoting the relative importance of the different boroughs with respect to houses and Assessed Taxes. By subsequently multiplying these numbers by 1,000, to avoid fractional parts, he formed the scale of boroughs which had been recently submitted to the consideration of Parliament. He would confidently state to the Committee, and that upon better authority than his own, that such a principle was generally erroneous; that it had a tendency to be sometimes correct, and particularly where the numbers were very large, but that it so happened, in its present application, that, with regard to one borough, as the Committee would very soon see, it led to a very different result from what would be obtained by an accurate calculation. The only mode, he was prepared to show, in which that could be done was, giving equal weight to both taxes and houses, and to multiply them by each other. Of this he would give an illustration which must make the subject plain to every one at once, and which he defied any man to show was not precisely the same case as that which had been submitted to Lieutenant Drummond. He would suppose a person to be in possession of a large number of bales of merchandize of different size and value. That person wished to have the assistance of some able calculator, Lieutenant Drummond for instance, to ascertain the relative value of each bale. How would he proceed? He forms a list in two columns, in one of which he sets down the bulk, and in the other the price of the bales: he gives them to the calculator, and desires 548 the calculator to tell him the relative value of each. What would the calculator in such a case do? He would multiply the quantity of each bale by the price, and he would thus bring out their relative value. Could any one doubt that this would be the method of any accountant? It was no answer to him to be told that there was some mode by which the accuracy of Lieutenant Drummond's scale could be maintained. There might be such a mode, but he had not discovered it; nor did Lieutenant Drummond himself profess to have found it. Neither would it be any answer to him to say, in allusion to his illustration, that the number of houses in a borough was nothing like the bulk, and that the amount of assessed taxes was nothing like the price, of a bale of goods. If they told him that the scale was to be calculated by the number of houses contained in, and by the amount of assessed taxes paid by, each borough, then, he said, it was a matter of science about which there could be no doubt that the multiplication of the fractions, and not the addition of them, could alone give them the correct result. He would now call the attention of the Committee to one instance in Lieutenant Drummond's list. If the Committee: would look at page 3 of No. 8, they would find Petersfield with 278 houses, and paying 540l. assessed taxes, whilst Westbury had 536 houses, and paid 278l. assessed taxes. Now if these two scales were to be blended together, so as to give them equal weight in the relative importance of each borough, Petersfield with its 278 houses and its 540l. assessed taxes, ought to be in a higher place in the scale of importance than Westbury, with its 278l. assessed taxes, and 536 houses; whereas by the process of Lieutenant Drummond turning the numbers into fractions, (and he could not find out any reason for that) Westbury, with the lower number, occupied a place higher in the scale than Petersfield. That was a statement which no man acquainted with figures could deny. He was convinced that if this list was laid before an unprejudiced person, and he was told to give an equal weight to the numbers in both cases, the preference would be given to Petersfield; inasmuch as the preponderance of taxes in Petersfield was greater than the preponderance of Westbury over Petersfield in the other scale. In order the more clearly to illustrate what he meant, he 549 would take the case of four boroughs, so as to show how the two systems worked. Of course, he was quite ready to admit, that in some instances the plan of Lieutenant Drummond, through leading to errors, produced none that would make any material difference in the order of the schedules. No system, for example, he supposed, could ever raise Old Sarum—the borough now under discussion—to a higher place; but still there were other cases in which the operation of Lieutenant Drummond's scheme would be very fatal, and would undeservedly condemn a borough to disfranchisement. Lieutenant Drummond, in his calculations, had taken five boroughs to illustrate his system. He, however, would only take four, in order as much as possible to save the time of the Committee. Now, for this purpose, he would suppose four boroughs, to be called A, B, C, and D. He would also suppose that the borough A contained 200 houses, and paid 900l. taxes; that B. contained 650 houses, and paid 300l. taxes; that C contained 800 houses, and paid 250l. taxes; and that D. contained 1,000 houses, and paid 150l. taxes. Nor let it be supposed that this last example was exaggerated, for in the last Bill they had an instance of a place, Downton, being so deficient in 10l. houses as to cause it to be deemed unworthy of retaining the franchise. Neither ought it to be said that four boroughs were not sufficient to show the effect of Lieutenant Drummond's plan; for he did not know anything in that Gentleman's arbitrary rule that rendered it more fit for eighty boroughs than it was for only four, or vice versa. He had tried these four boroughs by Lieutenant Drummond's system of fractions, and the result was, that the four boroughs, A, B, C, D, came out in this order—B, C, D, and A; whereas, by multiplying the figures in one series by the figures in the other, which appeared to him, as he had already explained, to be the proper way, the order would be, D, A, B, C; so that by this juxta-position it became quite evident that one of the two systems must be wrong. According to Lieutenant Drummond's fractional mode, A, with 200 houses, and 900l. taxes, came before B; and so it ought, because the taxes bore a greater disproportion than the houses. But the fractional plan also placed B after D, whereas D had only half the amount of the taxes of B; and B had more than 550 half the number of houses of D; from which it was quite manifest, that, to get the proper result, they ought to multiply the two scales together. But, as he had already remarked, Lieutenant Drummond's system, in some cases, led to very serious mistakes; and he would now call the attention of the Committee to some of them as shortly as he was able. If the Committee would look at No. 8, page 3, they would observe that the borough, No. 56, was Amersham, No. 57, was Petersfield, and No. 60, was Westbury; and he meant to contend that, if the calculation was properly worked out, Westbury ought to occupy the place No. 56. He did not state this without having worked out the whole of the numbers to see how they would stand, and to illustrate his position, he would state a few of the results to the Committee, by taking eight of the places that stood in the immediate neighbourhood of the line of separation. On referring to Lieutenant Drummond's list, it would be seen that No. 53, was Appleby; 54, Lost-withiel: 55, Brackley; 56, Amersham; 57, Petersfield; 58, Ashburton; 59, Eye; and 60, Westbury; but, according to the calculations he had made, the order ought to be Appleby, Lostwithiel, Brackley, Westbury, Petersfield, Amersham, Ashburton, Eye, Wilton, Midhurst, and Wareham. He was not bringing this matter forward with a view to impede the progress of the Bill, but because he was desirous to see the calculations established on a correct basis. There was, accordingly, one remark which he wished to make in this place, in all candour, and he trusted that the noble Lord would find it worth his attention. It was this—that it would have been much better if, instead of fixing on No. 56, for the boroughs in schedule A absolutely, imperatively, and without appeal, the Ministers had looked at the lists—marked the difference, and observed where that chasm ensued which should most justify them in making the grand separation of schedule A and schedule B. Many hon. Gentlemen who were listening to him, must be aware that such was the course pursued at all the schools and all the Universities. As long as individuals were found so near to the head man, as to present no very striking shade of difference so long the same class was preserved; but when such a difference was found as to justify the separation, then the chasm was made. He was quite ready to admit, that 551 some point of separation must be agreed upon; but he contended, that the chasm between No. 55 and No. 56, was not such as to justify the separation being there made; and if the noble Lord would be so good as to follow him through the differences of the respective boroughs, he thought that the noble Lord would very clearly see that such was the case. Taking the top of the list (and in this he was following: Lieutenant Drummond's own calculations), the first stood at 903, the next 936, the next after that was ten more, the next one more, the next four more, and so on until they came to No. 52; and then there was a sudden rise from 1,294 to 1,337; this was a considerable start; but perhaps it might not be thought sufficient to justify the separation being made at that place. But now he would go on a little further: No. 54, was 1,350, No. 55, 1,380, and No. 56, 1,580—that is to say, there was a greater difference between Amersham and Brackley, Nos. 56 and 55, than between Brackley and Downton, Nos. 55 and 46. But there was another reason for making the chasm between No. 55 and No. 56, instead of between No. 56 and No. 57. The very next borough to Amersham was Petersfield, which stood at 1,604, making only twenty-four difference between that and Amersham, while Amersham was separated from Brackley by nearly 200. With such a fact as this staring him in the face, could he help asking whether it must not produce a great degree of jealousy and heartburning in those boroughs that found themselves particularly interested in the existing arrangement? He would next call the attention of the Committee very briefly to the difference which his calculations would make with regard to schedule B. He had calculated the relative importance of all the boroughs from No. 83 to 103, upon what he considered to be the correct principle, and he found the result to be this—that whereas in Lieutenant Drummond's list the order was Morpeth, Helstone, Northallerton, Wallingford, Totness, Bodmin, Chippenham, Buckingham, Thetford, and Cockermouth; the order, according to his calculation, was Wallingford, Morpeth, Northallerton, Helstone, (which was therefore turned out of schedule B), Totness, Cockermouth, Chippenham, Bodmin, Thetford, and Buckingham. Of all these ten places, which he had named, Thetford was the only borough which still kept the 552 same place in the scale. He had another observation to make on the method of calculation adopted by Lieutenant Drummond, which he thought must strike the Committee as worthy of attention. It was possible that a place might have houses without taxes; and, if so, he presumed that the noble Lords would concede, that such a place ought not to find any admission into the calculation of Lieutenant Drummond; and yet, as he (Mr. Pollock) understood the principle, the effect would be to put a place where the number of houses was large, without any payment of taxes higher than a place that contained a moderate number of houses, and paid a moderate amount of taxes. He begged to say that he had made these observations in that spirit, which he trusted, he should always evince in the remarks he might put forth in that House; and it was now for the noble Lord to show in what manner he was willing to receive them. But there was one point in particular which he wished to press upon the attention of the noble Lord, and that was, that inasmuch as some of the boroughs were not to be considered that night, but postponed for further information, the Committee would be placed in a very delicate situation as to those four or five boroughs which were just before and after No. 86. He would admit that when Lieutenant Drummond's calculation came to No. 88 it was correct, but the question was, whether he was right in his calculation at No. 56 and No. 86. Be that, however, as it might, he had felt it to be his duty to lay his opinions on the subject before the Committee; and he begged to assure it, that he had not made this statement without paying the greatest attention to the calculations, and without having his own opinions confirmed by the judgment of others, in whom he could place the fullest confidence.
- "1. Take the average number of houses contained in the boroughs to be arranged, divide the number of houses in each borough by this average number, and a series of numbers will be obtained denoting the relative importance of the different boroughs with respect to houses.
- "2. Take the average amount of the Assessed Taxes paid by the same boroughs, and proceed precisely in the same manner as described with respect to the houses, a series of numbers will result shewing the relative importance of the different boroughs with regard to Assessed Taxes.
- "3. Add together the numbers in these two lists which relate to the same boroughs, and a. series of numbers will be produced denoting the relative importance of the different boroughs with respect to houses and Assessed Taxes combined.
- "4. With a view to explain this statement, suppose that the number of boroughs to be arranged in the manner prescribed is five, in-
547 stead of 110. The principle not being affected by the number, the explanation will be rendered more simple by using the smaller number."
Lord John Russell
I shall endeavour, in answer to the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman, to state to the Committee the principle on which we have proceeded with respect to these schedules, and why I think that I have a right to call on Parliament to rely on the system of Lieutenant Drummond. And in the first place, in order to make the matter more clear, I will state to the Committee what the question was that we put to Lieutenant Drummond, and the manner in which he proceeded to investigate that question. The question which the Government put was 553 this—that taking a number of boroughs, equal to the number contained in the two last schedules, and adding some more boroughs to them, in order that no borough should escape, so as to make the number about 110, a scale should then be formed on the conjoint calculation of houses and taxes, from which a general result was to be deduced. Now, Lieutenant Drummond understood, and rightly understood, this question to mean, that he was to give equal weight to the number of houses and to the amount of taxes; and, therefore, he then had to consider what way he might best give that equal weight. One of the modes that was presented to his notice was, the very mode that has this evening been suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman as the correct one, but which Lieutenant Drummond, on consideration, deemed to be inadmissible. But the hon. and learned Gentleman, by way of illustration, put the problem of a number of goods, and founds his calculation on the number of bales, and the value of the article per pound. If that was the proposition now before the Committee, I should be quite ready to agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that he was right in taking the compound ratio and in multiplying the numbers together: but surely the hon. and learned Gentleman must see, that when you state, a bail of goods contains so much at a value of so much per pound, you state two numbers that can very properly be combined together. If, for instance, the goods were sugar, the real value of that would be easily ascertainable; and it was because there was a distinct proportion between the quantity and the price. In such a case, the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition was unobjectionable. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman goes on to propose that this mode of calculation shall be carried on to houses and taxes. I can no longer agree in his proposition; because there is no natural and immediate method of settling what is the value of a house in taxes. There is no proportion, in fact, between them; and we, therefore, did not say to Lieutenant Drummond, "here are 500 houses worth 1,000l. in taxes, or 300 houses worth 700l. in taxes." Under these circumstances, it was felt that it would not be a fair way of arriving at a conclusion, to take the houses and the taxes of one borough as a criterion; for which reason, the plan adopted was, to take 554 the whole number of boroughs and the whole number of houses into one scale, and the whole number of boroughs and the whole amount of taxes into another scale, and thus to found a calculation on the union of the two; and then, supposing a result of 16,000 houses and 30,000l. worth taxes, it afterwards came to the same thing, whether the fractional method of Lieutenant Drummond was adopted, or whether we took from that product a datum that a house was worth so much in taxes. This was the way in which the problem ought to be worked; and all who will study the question must come to the conclusion that this was the only mode by which a fair result could be obtained. But the hon. and learned Gentleman says, hence follows a great absurdity, because the positive difference is got rid of. But how is this? A is lower in the scale of taxes than B, but higher in the scale of houses; and yet the two are placed in different situations. But this arises from taking, not the positive difference, but the proportionate difference; the one number of houses, being to be compared to the total denominator which has been derived from all the houses; and the other, number of taxes, to the total denominator which has been derived from all the taxes. So that since their amounts have to be compared with different numbers, it is very evident that the results must be different. This is the real foundation and nature of the problem on which Lieutenant Drummond has proceeded; and now, having cleared up that point to the Committee, I will say a few words in explanation of what would be the consequence of the hon. and learned Gentleman's plan. The consequence would be this—that if a place was taken with fifty houses, and 50l. in taxes, and another taken with 100 houses, and 100l. in taxes, the former place, instead of being estimated, as it ought, at one-half of the latter, would only be valued on the multiplication plan at one fourth; or, to carry the same example still further—if another place of fifty houses, and 50l. in taxes, was added to the former place of fifty houses and 50l. in taxes, the two together would only stand at one-half of the place that had 100 houses and 100l. in taxes, though the respective amounts of the two would be exactly the same. This, too, I may be allowed to say, is a result that has already been pointed out; and, therefore, I am happy to feel that I am not here relying 555 on my own calculations; but that I am building my own observations on the comment of some of the first mathematicians of the day. Backed by these authorities, I have no hesitation in saying that Lieutenant Drummond's plan was the best that could be adopted; and that if the hon. and learned Gentleman's method was adopted, it would lead to some very ridiculous consequences, such as that which I have already pointed out, and which goes to show that two halves are not equal to the whole. The advantage of the method which we have adopted is, that it is one consistent with itself, and that may be easily practised. But if hon. Gentlemen are inclined to consider this as a mere abstract mathematical question, I am happy to have it in my power to meet them on that ground, and to refer them to the opinions of some of the first mathematicians of the day. Mr. Professor Airey, of Cambridge, has borne testimony to the judiciousness of our plan in the following manner: "I have no hesitation in saying, that the method alone, or one equivalent to it, is the only one that can be used. If you attempt to multiply together the number of houses and the amount of taxes, you will find ridiculous consequences (as for instance the sum of two halves of a borough would not be equal to a whole), which could only be removed by more ridiculous means still. The method alone is consistent with itself and is easy." Mr. Barlow, of Woolwich, on the same subject, remarks that the system is not only correct in itself, but calculated to lead to an equitable arrangement of the boroughs, according to the conditions prescribed in the instructions. Professor Wallis, of Edinburgh, in his communication, not only approves of the principle, but goes into details for the purpose of showing that he had thoroughly given his mind to it; and, by various illustrations into which he entered at length, he proves the principle to be perfectly correct. There is one further authority which I can not consent to omit, as I have been given to understand by Captain Beaufort, that there is no objection to my alluding to Sir John Herschel by name, and to my stating that, in his opinion, the principle is fair, mathematical, and correct. I think that I have now said sufficient to show that the principle of Lieutenant Drummond has not been taken up on light grounds, nor in ignorance of that science which that Gentleman has so long and 556 so successfully studied. But the hon. and learned Gentleman has put another point, and says, that if we take our calculation in this way, we ought to divide the schedules at that place where the greatest chasm presents itself. On this head I will tell the Committee in what way we proceeded: When the lists were first made out, the information that we had received about many of these boroughs was very incomplete; the calculations were not made out; and Government, in many instances, was not able to settle the exact position of several boroughs. The feeling of the Government, however, was, that a list of about 100 of the least important boroughs ought to be made out, under competent authority; and it was likewise considered, that as fifty-six was the number of boroughs contained in the former schedule A, it would be advisable to retain the same number in the present schedule A. But I have already stated all this to the House on a former occasion, as well as the reasons which induced us to make the number of the present schedule B 30. This being the case, it will easily be perceived that these numbers are quite independent of the question of what particular boroughs should be inserted in A and B; and it was not till the lists were finally made up (which, by the by, was not till the very day when I had the honour of submitting them to the House,) that it was determined which were to be the eighty-six boroughs composing the double lists contained in schedules A and B. I must say, that I think this, upon the whole, was the fairest way in which we could look at the subject: it was a mode entirely free from all suspicion of partiality, as the number of the boroughs being definitely fixed, it was clear that all that remained for us to do was, to take each borough in its turn, until the whole was made up. It is certainly true, that the House may adopt the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and separate schedules A and B by a wider chasm; but then this new question will arise—which is the most proper chasm; and we shall, no doubt, have a strange variety of opinions on that subject, for I doubt not that as decided a chasm may be found between No. 60 and No. 70 as that which the hon. and learned Gentleman has pointed out between No. 50 and No. 60. I think, therefore, on these two points, that we cannot do better than proceed on the assumption that Lieutenant Drummond's 557 principle is correct, according to the best information that could be obtained; and that, as the line of separation must be drawn somewhere, it is advisable to retain the number of the original schedule A.
§ Mr. Pollock
observed, that an hon. Member cheered when the noble Lord stated, that by the multiplication plan which he had proposed, the product would give an unequal result between one single borough and two conjoint boroughs, supposing that the amount of them was respectively the same. But, he begged to say, that he was perfectly aware of the result, and that it was only because he did not wish to lead the Committee into too abstract a mathematical proposition, that he forbore pointing out that by a subsequent calculation, this supposed absurdity would be altogether got rid of. When the noble Lord spoke of his (Mr. Pollock's) plan, he begged to say, that he was not so presumptuous as to propose any plan. What he complained of was this, that the principle upon which the calculation was made, was wholly unexplained in the instructions given by Ministers, and that if those instructions were to be adhered to, the principle followed by Lieutenant Drunmmond was erroneous. Such was his complaint, and in it he persevered, for, although he had heard a great deal of authority from the noble Lord, he had heard but very little of argument.
Mr. Davies Gilbert
said, that nothing could be plainer or more satisfactory than the basis on which Lieutenant Drummond's calculations were founded. The two data by which those calculations were governed were the values of the houses and taxes, and they required, as a first step, to be reduced to a common denominator, and the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member of multiplying these two data together, and of taking the product as the value, was not at all applicable to the case. The House would, no doubt, recollect that he had voted in the minority on the second reading of the Bill, because he was opposed to the principle; but this question of calculation was an abstract point of mathematics, and one upon which he felt bound to state his opinion. Were the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member to be adopted in cases where, as in Manchester, the houses were numerous and the taxes comparatively low, the result of multiplying these two into each other to form an estimate of the value of 558 that town would be perfectly absurd; and although, in nearly equal cases, this method of multiplying the two data into each other might produce a result somewhat near the truth, yet in cases where the two factors, as they were mathematically termed, were so widely different, as they must often be in the boroughs on the list, the result of multiplying them together would be very wide of the truth. He should, therefore, simply declare—if his authority on this subject possessed any value—that he had examined the subject with great attention; and, although he could easily understand the grounds upon which the hon. and learned Member's remarks were founded, yet he was of opinion that the calculations at present acted upon were perfectly correct; and so firm was he on this point as to leave him no hesitation in declaring that he had never come to a more decisive opinion than that which he had expressed.
said, that although it was true that the hon. and learned Gentleman had taken honours at the University, he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would excuse him, if he attached more weight to the opinions of those eminent mathematicians who had been mentioned by the noble Lord, than he did to the opinions of the hon. and learned Gentleman on this subject. What he was chiefly afraid of was, that they would examine this question too mathematically, though at the same time he was quite ready to admit that they ought to guard against running into any absurdities by going to the opposite extreme. He doubted whether anything could be proposed more absurd than the gross inconsistency of coming to a decision that two halves were not equal to the whole, or that a half was not to be represented by a half, but by a quarter; and yet it was to such conclusions as these that the hon. and learned Gentleman's hypothesis would lead the Committee. The main question that Lieutenant Drummond seemed to have considered was, what amount of taxes may be considered as equal to one house; because it was naturally felt that the great difficulty was to tell how an equation was to be drawn between these two very different materials. The result of Lieutenant Drummond's calculations was, that one house was equal to 24s. of taxes; and this was a conclusion that was come to after taking the average of 100 boroughs. And here was 559 one of the nice points of the inquiry; for it might be said, why was not the whole number of boroughs taken, in order to make this calculation as general as possible, so as to produce an unobjectionable equation? But the fact was, that this was purely an arbitrary question; and for anything that he could see, 100 boroughs were just as effectual as any other large number. The equation having once been arrived at, he felt sure that Lieutenant Drummond had followed it out in the only reasonable way. Not so, however, with the hon. and learned Gentleman. His plan was to multiply the two together, instead of resorting to addition through the medium of a common denominator; and he had even forgotten to tell them that when that multiplication was performed, they were then to look for the square root.
Ah, now the hon. and learned Gentleman, in the shape of a second explanation, told the Committee that the square root was to be taken; but this was a trifling fact, that did not come out in the course of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech. But, however, without going any further into this newly proposed method, he felt bound to say, that he had heard nothing adduced, that, in his mind, was sufficient to impugn the principle on which Lieutenant Drummond had proceeded.
§ Mr. Croker
said, he never had heard the arguments of any hon. Member more inaccurately stated than had been those of his hon. and learned friend (Mr. Pollock) by the hon. member for Bridport. The hon. Member had reiterated the charge of inaccuracy brought forward by the noble Lord opposite, and that, too, after his hon. and learned friend had distinctly rebutted that charge. If, then, the hon. member for Bridport was so inaccurate as to what passed before their eyes in the Committee, he must be excused if he refused to place any confidence in his authority as to matters which passed elsewhere. He did not intend to attempt following his hon. friend, the member for Bodmin, through his scientific observations, although he must say, that they appeared to him to be far from convincing; nor should he attempt to follow the noble Lord, the member for Devonshire (Lord John Russell), through his remarks, which dealt but little in mathe- 560 matics, and were more remarkable for authorities quoted in support of the calculations than for any reasoning upon their principle; but he begged to address a few practical observations to the Committee, and doubted not but he should be able to show that there was radical error in the principle pursued by Lieutenant Drummond. He meant to impugn the principle adopted by Lieutenant Drummond for the purposes to which it was applied. He did not mean to say, that there were not circumstances in which those principles might not be correctly acted upon, but he did contend that they were not suited to the present case. In the first place, he must notice a mistake which pervaded both the calculations and the speeches on the other side of the House. The hon. member for Bodmin and the noble Lord, had both spoken as if relation, and not order, was the point to be attained. The object of the calculations should have been to find out, not the relation to each other, but the order, in which the boroughs should have appeared. He did not want to know what relation Bishops-castle might bear to Aldborough, on a consideration of the average importance of all the boroughs of England, but he did want to know whether, in point of order, Bishops-castle, or any other borough, should stand higher or lower in the list than it did, and that the calculation did not at all decide. The order of the boroughs was what he wished to arrive at, and that would be arrived at by the plan suggested by his hon. and learned friend, whether the square root was subtracted or not, from the result of the multiplication. A remarkable peculiarity in the principle proceeded upon by Lieutenant Drummond was this, that it called into its aid elements which had nothing whatever to do with the transaction. Lieutenant Drummond did not attempt to arrange the boroughs upon their several individual merits, but he fixed an arbitrary standard as to the value of one of the elements, and proceeded upon that which was clearly an unjust basis. For instance, eighty-six boroughs were to be disfranchised, and what was the course which any person would naturally take? Why, any one would at once say, "What is the order in which the eighty-six boroughs stand? Which are the least considerable? "Did Lieutenant Drummond do that? No such thing. Lieutenant Drummond took 100 boroughs—fourteen boroughs more 561 than had any thing to do with the transaction, and by so doing, changed the position of many of the boroughs. He would state a striking fact to the Committee, a fact which he thought must convince every one of the inaccuracy of the principle. Lieutenant Drummond, in his first calculation, gave in a list of 100 boroughs. That calculation was delivered before Christmas. When it was delivered, the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) stated, that there might be a few places in it respecting which there was some doubt. The gallant officer then corrected the list, and furnished the amended calculations. Now, could any one who had heard the noble Lord, imagine that more than a few boroughs were left in a state of doubt in the first calculation? Assuredly not: no one could have supposed that the doubts entertained were to affect the positions of boroughs respecting the number of houses in which, and the amount of assessed taxes they paid, there was no difficulty or error. But what was the fact? Why, of the 100 boroughs respecting which the calculation was made, no less than forty-eight occupied a different position in the second list to what they did in the first. In other words, the first return, as compared with the second, was erroneous in forty-eight instances. When he looked at the two returns, he really thought the gallant officer could not understand his own principle.
The Committee would also remember that, in the first calculation, Lieutenant Drummond took no notice often small boroughs, which he considered so insignificant as not to require attention, but which, it would seem, when they did receive attention, effected a mighty alteration. A remarkable proof of the consequences of adding the ten boroughs to the calculation, which Lieutenant Drummond regarded as wholly unimportant, was to be found upon reference to Nos. 76 and 77 in the list. Great Grimsby was No. 76, and Calne No. 77. The Committee would find, that, by taking into the calculation the ten small boroughs which Lieutenant Drummond had estimated as utterly insignificant, Calne and Grimsby changed their places—Calne became No. 76, and Grimsby No. 77. Was not that one fact sufficient to shew that this was not a satisfactory mode of proceeding? But he might be asked, how was it that extraordinary result was produced. Simply in this way;—The number 562 of houses, was upon the first calculation to the Assessed Taxes, as 456 to 543; by adding the ten smaller boroughs, the houses got a still greater weight, while the taxes declined, and, therefore, the number of houses in Great Grimsby told with a greater effect; and thus, by the addition of Old Sarum, Beeralston, Gatton, and those other magnificent places as they had been called, Calne and Grimsby had changed places. This was a point of much importance, for if Blinisters had drawn the line at seventy-six, instead of eighty-six, the addition of the small boroughs would have caused the disfranchisement of Calne, and the preservation of Great Grimsby. Could it be right that the disfranchisement of a borough should depend upon, or be regulated or decided by, such vague and partial calculations? Suppose that, instead of the arbitrary number of 100 being taken for the whole of the calculation, the calculation respecting the first schedule had been confined to sixty boroughs, what would have been the consequence? Why, there was not one borough, from No. 51 to No. 59, that would not occupy a different position to what it now did. And in the same way with respect to schedule B; if the calculations had been confined to the thirty boroughs contained in it, every borough from No. 81 to No. 89 would have to change its place. Therefore, on the two very points upon which the difficulty turned would there be change and confusion. The lion, member for Bridport had stated, that Lieutenant Drummond had taken a house to be of the value of 24s. in taxation, but how did that operate practically in the calculation? He thought most unjustly. It had this effect:—It made a house in Appleby worth 2l. 5s. in the calculation, and a house in Westbury worth 10s. and yet Appleby, a town of so much respectability, that its houses were nearly five times more valuable than those of Westbury, were disfranchised, while West-bury was preserved. That was the admirable principle which was so much commended. Look, too, at the lists themselves. In the first list Helston came in under Clitheroe. Clitheroe had 990 houses, and paid 468l. taxes; Helston had 629 houses, and paid 841l. taxes. In these figures there was no alteration whatever made; and yet in the first list Clitheroe was No. 84, and in the second list No. 82; and Helston in the first list was No. 83, and in the second 563 list No. 84. There was no reason whatever for this change but the mere addition of the ten insignificant boroughs to the calculation: and seeing such an alteration effected by such means, he must be allowed to say, that he saw no reason for thinking that if the whole of the boroughs in the kingdom had been taken into account, every borough in the list would not have changed its place. He did not assert that that would be the case, but he contended there was nothing to shew that it would not. He contended that the principle adopted was neither certain nor safe. Order, and not relation, ought to have been kept in view, and that could only have been effected by deciding the order of the boroughs with respect to houses and taxation. If those two elements had been kept distinct until each borough had been under them assigned its respective place, then a compound order might have easily been framed. He was of opinion, that Westbury should stand No. 56, and not Amersham, and that Wallingford should take the inferior place now assigned to Helston. When they came to those places in the list, he should propose such changes, and be ready to justify his proposition.
thought the arrangement of the boroughs was made on an erroneous principle, inasmuch as it proceeded upon two grounds, as the basis of the calculation, when, for all useful purposes, one would have been sufficient. He did not presume to find fault with Lieutenant Drummond, but with those who had given him directions; he had acted up to the principles he was desired to proceed upon, no doubt, and on that probably his calculations were correct, but the result was, so far as the House was concerned, that they were involved in a maze of figures, which appeared to puzzle the heads of the widest among them. He was of opinion, that taxes and houses should not be compared. One of these tests should have been taken to the exclusion of the other. If it should happen that two boroughs contained exactly the same number of people, or paid exactly the same amount of taxes, on which ever element the calculation was founded, then the other test might be brought in to decide between them, but as a general principle taking the two conjoint tests was fallacious, and caused anomalies and discrepancies in the scale. For instance, Brackley, which was the 56th on the list, was to be 564 wholly disfranchised, although it contained 161 10l. houses, while Midhurst, which stood 62 on the list, and contained 157 10l. houses, escaped with one Member. Again, Dartmouth which stood at 79, was to retain one Member only, although it contained 411 10l. houses, while No. 88, which contained only 200 such houses, was to return two Members. How could a system which produced such results be adopted, for a borough with a smaller number of voters would be retained, and the larger one discarded. He could not conceive that such an anomalous arrangement would work beneficially. Having based the Bill upon the 10l. franchise, if in building the superstructure, they allowed such a place as Wallingford, which contained 212 houses of 10l. value to return two Members, while Totness, which contained 283 10l. houses, was in part to be despoiled, they introduced a great anomaly into their own work, to which it was no answer to say, the borough with the smaller number of houses paid the most taxes, for these taxes might be paid by a few wealthy individuals.
§ Lord Althorp
wished to trouble the House with a few observations, in reference to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman. It was quite clear, that if it was intended to give equal power to taxation and the number of houses in this calculation, it was necessary to compare the taxes with taxes, and the houses with houses. Therefore Ministers were obliged to take the amount of the whole of the houses, and the amount of the whole of the taxes. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that the ten first boroughs ought to be taken in: the reason they were not, was, that there was a variance in the number of houses, and the amount of the taxes between these ten and the rest of the boroughs. In one case there were thirty-five houses, and 14l. taxes: in St. Mawes there were 139 houses, and 14l. taxes. It would not, therefore, have been either fair or just if Government had proceeded in the way the right hon. Gentleman proposed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said, that they ought to have taken houses with houses, and not have referred to taxation at all. The best way of applying the rule was to look to the place itself. If boroughs were placed in schedule A which ought not to be in schedule A, and in schedule B boroughs which should not be in schedule B, it must then have been 565 admitted to the House that there was something perfectly defective in the view Ministers had taken, and that it could not be preserved. But no man who was of opinion that some disfranchisement should take place, would refuse to acknowledge that schedule A contained only such boroughs as ought to be disfranchised. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of Amersham and Westbury. He would not argue the question à priori, and should feel it a matter of indifference whether the decision of the Committee was, that one of these boroughs should be in schedule A, or that the other should be placed there. If the right hon. Gentleman looked to the number of houses in the boroughs in schedule A, he must at once admit that they were generally below the necessary amount. Ministers had not laid down the number of 300 houses as a strict rule, however, because the only circumstances which made it necessary to establish some such rule in the former Bill was, that they directed the Commissioners to do that which was to be done now by the House itself—to prescribe the limits of the boroughs. In the former case it was necessary to give the Commissioners some rule to go by, but that was now settled by the Committee, and it was not necessary to tie down the Committee by such strict rules. He was satisfied of the correctness of Lieutenant Drummond's calculations, and hoped that the House would place equal confidence in them.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
did not think that the practical view of his learned friend (Mr. Pollock) had been answered. His proposition was, that for all purposes of trying the question, the houses and taxes ought to be considered as equivalents in value, and the boroughs placed on the list according to their relative amounts of both added together. How had Ministers formed this list of boroughs that were to be disfranchised? What were the data on which that list was founded? To meet his inquiry, the noble Lord tendered him a large volume, and he need scarcely remind the House that a great book was a great evil. Now, he wanted something else on which, as a Member of Parliament, he could form his opinion. He had heard much learned discussion from the senior optimes in mathematics. But he would say, "Away with the mathematicians,—away with speculative arguments,—and let us look at the question as Members of 566 Parliament." If they desired to observe it with the eyes of men of business, perhaps some of the hon. Members opposite would inform him why Midhurst, which had but 122 houses, was to send one Member to Parliament, whilst other places, having 200 houses, were placed in schedule A, and were to be deprived of both Members? He would maintain that there were boroughs included in schedule A which had double the number of houses of some of those that were enumerated in schedule B, and he was anxious to know by what species of process those mathematical Gentlemen preserved one Member for the latter, while they wholly disfranchised the former. He was sorry that those who framed this extraordinary plan had not some chymists as well as mathematicians amongst them, because they might then have placed the houses and the taxes in a crucible together, and formed a new system out of the amalgamation. He looked upon this plan to be exceedingly unsatisfactory, because those who had formed it had not explained, and he believed could not explain, how they had arrived at such a result. The noble Lord said, that Ministers had formerly been blamed for founding their principle of disfranchisement on mere population, making it extend to places where the inhabitants were under 2,000, "and, therefore," said he, "we took the more certain ground of houses and taxation, that being a more perfect principle." He denied that it was so. It was less clear and intelligible than the other. He was, indeed, puzzled by these mathematicians, because he could not conceive why a borough should retain a Member when another borough which had more inhabitants was deprived of both its Representatives and this was the case in many instances. The calculations he looked upon as altogether erroneous, and the political principle on which the noble Lord proceeded struck him as being totally incorrect.
had paid the greatest attention to the statements made, and the arguments so ably and ingeniously drawn from that statement, supposing that statement and the assumptions it contained to be true, by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Pollock); yet he confessed he differed altogether with him in the inferences he had drawn as respected the value in the list of the two boroughs of Westbury and Petersfield, because, though 567 he admitted the statement that Petersfield had 278 houses, and 540l. taxes, whilst Westbury had 536 houses, and 278l. taxes, yet the inferior number of houses in the one case depressed the borough lower than the greater amount of taxes raised it in the scale. The whole number of houses in all the boroughs in schedule A, was 10,746, while the whole amount of the taxes was 10,194l. It was evident, therefore, that the 278l. of taxes, was not equal to 278 houses, and notwithstanding the difference between 540 and 536, still that did not make up for the inferior rate of taxes to houses.
§ Mr. Stephenson
defended the mode in which Lieutenant Drummond had drawn up the lists, as being likely to procure, without going into details of a mathematical nature, the most correct practical estimate of the positions each of these boroughs ought to occupy with respect to each other, and upon the schedules A and B.
§ The question that the borough of Old Sarum, Wiltshire, stand part of schedule A, was then put and agreed to.
§ The question was then severally put on the following boroughs, and carried amidst loud "Ayes" from the Ministerial, and equally loud "Noes" from the Opposition Benches, and they were accordingly ordered to stand part of schedule A:—Newton, Isle of Wight; St. Michael's, Cornwall; Gatton, Surrey; Bramber, Sussex; Bossiney, Cornwall; Dunwich, Suffolk; Ludgershall, Wiltshire; Saint Mawes, Cornwall; Beeralston, Devonshire; West Looe, Cornwall; St. Germains, Cornwall; Newport, Cornwall; and Bletchingley, Surrey.
§ On the question that Aldborough stand part of the schedule,
§ Mr. Croker
said, that on a former occasion he had stated, that in his opinion this borough ought to have been united with Boroughbridge, and that with such an union it would be better entitled to Representation than some of the boroughs which were retained, and he had pledged himself to bring forward a proposition to that effect; but he considered it fair to the House to decline making such a proposition, on the ground that when united these places would not stand lower than about 54 or 55, and he therefore thought it useless to give the Committee any further trouble on that point.
§ The question agreed to.
§ The question was severally put and 568 agreed to on the following boroughs:—Camelford, Cornwall; Hindon, Wiltshire; East Looe, Cornwall; Corfe Castle, Dorsetshire; Great Bedwin, Wiltshire; Yarmouth, Isle of Wight; Queenborough, Kent; Castle Rising, Norfolk; East Grinstead, Sussex; Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire; Wendover, Buckinghamshire; Weobly, Herefordshire; Win-chelsea, Sussex; Tregony, Cornwall; Haslemere, Surrey; Saltash, Cornwall; Orford, Suffolk; Callington, Cornwall; Newton, Lancashire; Ilchester, Somersetshire; Boroughbridge, Yorkshire; Stock-bridge, Hampshire; New Romney, Kent; Hedon, Yorkshire; Plympton, Devonshire; Seaford, Sussex; Heytesbury, Wiltshire; Steyning, Sussex; Whitchurch, Hants; Wootton-Basset, Wiltshire; Downton, Wiltshire; Fowey, Cornwall; Milborne Port, Somersetshire; and Alde-burgh, Suffolk.
§ The question was then put, that the borough of Minehead, Somersetshire, stand part of the schedule.
trusted the House would recollect, that when this borough was under discussion, on a former occasion, it appeared that all the inhabitants of the parish of Dunster had a right to vote in the borough, and although the limits of the borough were confined to a portion only of the parish of Dunster, yet that restriction in no degree interfered with the right of the inhabitants of the latter place, that is to say, those situated without the limits of the borough, to vote. If the Bill before them proceeded upon any intelligible principle, it ought to include within the limits of a borough all the persons which heretofore had the right of voting for such place. He observed, however, that all that part of the parish of Dunster outside of the borough of Minehead was excluded; he begged, therefore, to be informed of the cause of this omission.
Lord John Russell
said, that, after a careful examination, it had been found, that no persons had votes for Minehead, except parishioners either of Minehead or Dunster resident in Minehead.
§ Mr. Croker
could by no means understand, how it was, that the inhabitants of the parish of Dunster, which now possessed the right of voting for Minehead, were to be deprived of it.
Lord John Russell
observed, that the inhabitants who had the right of voting were not excluded, because no one possess- 569 ed that right unless he resided within the limits of the borough.
§ Mr. Croker
said, that was no reason at all for excluding Dunster from the borough of Minehead. He was afraid that, when they came to the discussion of the Boundaries Bill, this would be one of the many proofs that would be appealed to, to show that they were then creating boroughs, not near so rich, populous, or flourishing, as those which they had in this way disfranchised.
§ The question put, and carried; and Minehead was accordingly placed in schedule A, as were also the following boroughs:—Bishop's-Castle, Shropshire; and Okehampton, Devonshire.
§ On the question that the borough of Appleby, Westmoreland, stand part of schedule A.
§ Mr. Croker
said, that, as the understanding at the commencement of the evening was, that the undisputed boroughs only should be disposed of on that occasion, and that an interval of another day should be allowed before the cases of those which were doubtful should be considered, he trusted the noble Lords opposite would not think it unreasonable if he proposed that they should stop at Appleby. It was necessary that the additional information, with respect to that and the remaining boroughs in schedule A, which had that evening been laid upon the Table, should be examined before the Committee came to any decision with respect to them. Under these circumstances, he hoped that the Chairman would be allowed to report progress, and that the consideration of the cases of the remaining boroughs, which it was proposed to disfranchise, should be postponed until to-morrow.
§ Lord Althorp
admitted the understanding which had been entered into in the earlier part of the evening; but did not conceive that the line between the disputed and undisputed boroughs could be properly drawn at Appleby.
§ Mr. Croker
said, that, as at present advised, he believed in his conscience he could make out a case which would take. Appleby out of schedule A. Whether an examination of the additional information to which he had alluded would weaken that conviction of course he was then unable to say; but if, after the investigation which he requested to be allowed the opportunity of making, he should come to the conclusion that the case of Appleby 570 was untenable, he should, to-morrow evening, be ready to admit it. At all events, he thought it would be extremely inconvenient, as well as highly improper, to go into any discussion upon it at present.
§ Lord Althorp
had no wish to press the further progress of the Committee that evening, if seriously objected to.
§ The House resumed, Committee to sit again the next day.