§ First Clause postponed.
§ On the second Clause being put,
§ Mr. Gillon
objected to the disfranchisement of the borough of Selkirk. It was the only instance of disfranchisement in the Bill and seeing no necessity for it he must protest against it.
thought this disfranchisement very capricious, and though he seldom agreed with the hon. Member, he would join him in protesting against this part of the Bill.
The Lord Advocate
wished it had been possible to avoid this disfranchisement, but, as the population of both counties united did not exceed 17,000, it was not possible; and even, as it was, these counties might consider themselves particularly favoured. The population of the borough of Selkirk was about 6,000, and it was considered, on the whole, more expedient to throw the borough into the county.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On the third Clause being read,
§ Sir George Murray
thanked the learned Lord for having postponed the consideration of the first clause of this Bill, inasmuch as it enabled him to bring on the motion of which he had given notice in a more desirable shape, and at a more convenient opportunity, than if he had 322 been obliged to propose it to the Committee on the reading of the first clause of the Bill. He was also happy that the request made to the learned Lord, for the postponement of the first clause, had afforded him an opportunity—the last which, perhaps, could occur—of testifying some remaining respect for the ancient institutions of his country, by stating that he had borrowed the arrangement, at least, of the clauses of his Bill from that observed in the Treaty of Union. He would submit to the Committee a claim, on the part of Scotland, to a larger proportion of Representation than that which was allotted to her by the present Bill. He was perfectly aware, that it would have been easy for Scotland to have found a much abler advocate of her claims, on this occasion, than himself; but it would be difficult for any advocate to find a cause more firmly founded on every principle of reason and of justice than that which he had then to plead. He did not mean to throw any false colouring over this question: he wished to state it as simply and as concisely as possible, giving it no other colouring than that which it would receive from the facts he had to state, and from the arguments by which those facts could be fairly supported. He did not ask, on the part of Scotland, that she should be placed on a better footing than the other parts of the United Kingdom, but that she should be placed in a situation nearly similar to that in which England was placed by the English Reform Bill. In the course of these discussions, arguments had been used with regard to Scotland, to the effect that she having hitherto had, as some hon. Gentlemen were pleased to say, no constituency, it was quite a sufficient boon now to give her only a constituency. But surely it could not be consistent with justice to give to Scotland a constituency, and, at the same time, to refuse to grant to her that adequate share of Representation to which such a constituency was most justly entitled; and, whatever degree of plausibility there might appear to be in such arguments, when brought forward by hon. Gentlemen in the House, exercising more of ingenuity than of sound judgement.—the people of Scotland were too intelligent, and too shrewd a people to be put off by such arguments from pressing their just claims to a larger portion of Representa- 323 tion than was allotted to them by the present Bill. Other Gentlemen had referred to the Union, and had stated, that at the period of the Union, the proportion of Representation proper for Scotland was duly allotted to her; but this argument could not be sustained, for the principles established and the stipulations made at the time of the Union had already been frequently departed from, in many more important particulars. Before the Union, the Representation of Scotland was, indeed, fixed at the number of forty-five; but the Committee would, perhaps, allow him to refer to the 22nd Article itself of the Treaty of Union between England and Scotland, which was in these words:—'Forty-five Members are to be elected 'to sit in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain, according to the agreement in this Treaty, in such a manner as by an Act of this present Parliament of Scotland shall be settled; which Act is forcibly declared to be as valid as if it were a part of, and ingrossed in this Treaty; and the forty-five Members for Scotland (such forty-five Members being elected and returned in the manner agreed upon in this Treaty) shall assemble and meet together, &c.' The present measure entirely departed from the manner in which it was determined, by this Article of the Union, and by the Act of the Scotch Parliament referred to in it, that the Scotch Members should be elected. This Bill introduced an entirely different mode of election from that which was settled at that time. The rule formerly laid down for the purpose of assimilating the Scotch constituency and mode of election to that which had been established for England, by the English Reform Bill, had been abandoned; as also the number of forty-five Members, as settled at the time of the Union. All he had to ask was, that they should also depart from the Union in another point, by assimilating, in some degree at least, the proportion of Representation allotted to Scotland to that which was bestowed upon England. He was willing to admit, that if this measure of Reform had been adopted separately and successively in the different portions of the United Kingdom, there might have been some ground for maintaining, that there should be an adherence to the proportions of representation already established; but, as this measure had been 324 general and simultaneous, except with reference to the exact period at which those branches of it which related to the different divisions of the United Kingdom had been discussed—he did not see why the proportion of Representation given to Scotland in that House should have reference to the proportion settled at the time of the Union. At the period of the Union, the nobles of Scotland amounted in number to 154. By the articles of the Union, the proportion of Representation allotted to the Scotch Peerage was sixteen; so that about one-tenth only of the whole number of the Peerage was allowed to represent that body of nobility in the Parliament of Great Britain. But what was the case now? By the successive creations of British Peers, in consequence of the judicious and proper exercise of the prerogative of the Crown, the Peerage of Scotland had now a much greater share of protection in the British Parliament than it was at that time allowed to have; and thus the introduction into the Parliament of Great Britain of a much larger number of Scotch Peers than was settled at the Union, had gradually applied a remedy to that part of the Treaty. The total number of the Scottish Peerage at present was about eighty, and of that number there were no less than thirty Scotch Peers also Peers of Great Britain, and who, therefore, had hereditary seats in the British Parliament, in addition to the sixteen elected Representatives; giving to the whole of the Peerage of Scotland the protection of forty-six of its members in possession of seats in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. Thus, by the gradual exercise of the prerogative of the Crown alone, the Scottish Peerage had obtained a much larger portion of Representation in the Parliament of Great Britain than was allotted to it at the time of the Union. But the Commons of Scotland had obtained no such advantage. Scotland had largely increased in population and in wealth; the people had rapidly advanced in instruction and intelligence, but no addition whatsoever had been made to the Representation of the Commons of Scotland. The Crown had no power of itself to assist them. The increase which had taken place in the population could be stated; but as to the increase in wealth and intelligence in Scotland, and in the various important interests which had sprung up, these were subjects with respect to which no accurate 325 calculation could be made, and it was difficult to state whether these different elements of a nation's prosperity were twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty times greater now than at the time of the Union, and yet no greater share of Representation had been given to the people of Scotland than was allotted to them at that period. It was perfectly undeniable, that some remedy ought to be applied to this obviously existing defect. The letter of the Treaty of Union, indeed, remained, with regard to the Representation of the people of Scotland in the House, but the spirit of the Treaty did not remain. The spirit of the Treaty was entirely gone; for the Representation of Scotland, at the period of the Union, was fixed upon certain principles, which, if they were applied now, would give to that country a much greater share of Representation than was allowed to it by this Bill. At the time of the Union, the two principles taken as a basis of calculation were, population and taxation. The united population of England and Wales amounted, by the last census, to 13,894,574; that of Scotland to 2,365,807. Now, if this basis of calculation were taken singly, and the number of Members which should be allotted to Scotland determined by it, applying the same principle as that which had been made use of by his Majesty's Ministers in the enfranchising clauses of the Reform Bill for England, it would be found, that if England and Wales had 500 Representatives, Scotland ought to have, by her population, eighty-five. Again, if the revenues of the two countries were alone made the basis of calculation, the revenue of England and Wales being, by the latest returns, 43,258,991l., and that of Scotland 5,113,353l., the proportion of Representation for England and Wales being as before, 500, Scotland ought then to have fifty-nine Representatives in that House. But if these two proportions were taken together, the number that should be allotted to Scotland, on the same principles as were established and followed at the Union, would be seventy-two Representatives in the House of Commons. But these statements of the amount of revenue were in some degree unfair towards Scotland, because there were several descriptions of goods imported exclusively into England, but the duties on which fell ultimately upon Scotland; the article of tea, for instance, was one of these, and if an allowance of a million of money 326 were made for these duties, this would raise the proportion of Representation which ought to be given to Scotland, on the joint principles of population and of revenue, to the number of seventy-eight Representatives. Assuming another principle as the basis of calculation—a principle which could not be taken at the Union, the value of real property, as assessed in 1815, and which was a very fair basis of calculation, the annual value of real property, as assessed in England and Wales in that year, amounted to 51,898,423l., and in Scotland to 6,652,625l. This principle of calculation, applied singly, would give to Scotland sixty-four Members. But if the average of all these three principles—population, revenue, and the assessment of real property in 1815—were taken—the result of that calculation would be, to give to Scotland sixty-nine one-eighth Members, making no allowance for those duties to which he had already alluded; but if the allowance of one million were made for the duties, then Scotland would be entitled to seventy-five two-thirds Representatives. There was yet another element of calculation. The noble Lord, the Paymaster General of the Forces, in the discussion which took place upon the English Reform Bill, on the 5th of last March, had stated, that the proportion of Representation given to the southern counties of England was one Member to 22,000 inhabitants, and that the proportion of the northern counties was one to 28,000 inhabitants, which gave for the whole of England an average of one Representative to every 25,000 inhabitants. Now, if Scotland had Representation given to her upon the same scale, she would have not less than between ninety-four and ninety-five Members in this House. The average of Representation proposed to be given to Scotland by the present Bill, however, was in the proportion of one Representative only to every 44,636 inhabitants; so that the average proposed to be given by the present Scotch Reform Bill was exactly one half of that which was given to the southern counties of England. The observations made by the noble Lord, the Paymaster of the Forces, on the occasion to which he alluded, were these: 'A right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel), in a former debate, drew a line betwixt the north and south, and endeavoured to show that the latter had been sacrificed. He had since 327 examined that calculation, and he found that in the south the proportion of Representation would be as one Member for 22,000, while in the north there would be one to 28,000 or 29,000. It would be perceived by the returns he had quoted that Durham had by this arrangement no more than one Representative in 25,000, and he would, therefore, conclude by declaring that, in his opinion, the share it possessed in the aggregate Representation of the country was only meted out in a just proportion to the strength, revenue, and welfare of the empire at large.'* This reasoning appeared to the noble Lord to be peculiarly apposite and well founded when applied to the north of England, and in particular to the county of Durham; and he (Sir George Murray) was by no means disposed to deny its application. But why did this reasoning of the noble Lord stop short in England? Why was not that principle extended also to Scotland? Had it no just application there? Had Scotland no strength, no importance, no prosperity? Did she not contribute her due proportion of all these to the State? Why, therefore, was Scotland to be treated in a different manner from the northern counties of England, and from the county of Durham? He could see no ground of argument whatever upon which to support such a doctrine. A few nights ago, on a discussion upon the Irish Reform Bill, an hon. Gentleman remarked, with reference to the recorded saying of Louis 14th, that there were no longer any Pyrennees to divide France from Spain; and the hon. Member said, that he wished there might no longer be any Irish channel to divide England from Ireland as to rights and interests. He (Sir George Murray) asked much less; he asked only that there might no longer be any Tweed or any Cheviot Hills; that those limits which formerly beheld so often two neighbouring nations marshalled against each other in hostile array, but which now saw them united by bonds of friendship, which he trusted would never be broken, and emulating each other only in intelligence and industry, might cease henceforward to be the landmarks of any invidious and unjust distinctions. All he required was, that the inhabitants of the north of an united country might receive, if not exactly the same, at least something like the same share of privileges*Hansard (third series), vol. x. p. 1136328 with those who inhabited the south. But, in support of his argument for additional Representation for Scotland, he might refer also to the case of Wales. The population of Wales was stated by the census to be 805,236, and the Representation given to that principality was in the proportion of one Member to 28,758 inhabitants. In Scotland the proportion was, by the Bill, one Member to 44,600 inhabitants. Now, here also was a very great disproportion against Scotland in the share of Representation allotted to these two parts of the United Kingdom; and on what principle of fairness or justice could such a proceeding be defended? He was perfectly at a loss to understand it; and he had been unable to discover any argument by which such an arrangement could be supported. His Motion might be opposed by the will of the Minister, and defeated by a majority of that House, but he could conceive no argument on which it could be resisted. He would now look to the Representation of some of the English counties taken separately, and compare it with that of the counties in Scotland; and here again he must beg permission to refer to what was said by the noble Paymaster of the Forces, on the same occasion to which he had before alluded. The noble Lord observed—'It was said, that Durham 'was better represented than any other county. But how was this proved? Certainly not by the population Returns, for Wiltshire had one Member for 13,000 inhabitants, Sussex one for 15,000; Southampton one for 19,000; Dorset one for 11,000; Bucks one for 13,000; Here ford one for 15,000; Huntingdon one for 13,000, and Rutland one for between 9,000, and 10,000, while Durham had one for every 25,000 only. By these statements it appeared that the southern counties had a great advantage in point of comparative Representation'.* That was the argument of the noble Lord in support of the amount of Representation given to Durham. The Scotch county which stood first in the list—the county of Aberdeen—had a population of 177,600. The Representation allotted to that county was two Members and a quarter, making the proportion of Representation to population about one Member to 79,000 inhabitants; whereas, it appeared by the speech he had just read, that in eight orHansard (third series), vol. x. p. 1136.329 ten counties in England, the average was from one Member to 13,000, to one Member to 15,000 inhabitants. To the county of Argyll, with a population of 101,400, the Representation given was one Member and a quarter, being in the proportion of one Member to 81,000 inhabitants. The county of Ayr, with a population of 145,100 had two Members and a half, being in the proportion of one Member to 58,000, inhabitants. In the counties of Fife, the proportion of Representation to population was one to 36,000; For far, one to 46,000; Inverness, one to 71,000; Perthshire, which contained 142,900 inhabitants, had two Representatives only, one for the county and one for the city; the proportion of Representation to population being in this case, one Member to 71,450 inhabitants. In the county of Edinburgh, which had a population of 219,600, the proportion of Representation was one Member to 54,000 inhabitants; and in Lanarkshire, which had a population of 316,800, the proportion of Representation was one to 100,000 people. The House might determine that this should be the proportion of Representation which should be given to Scotland, but then the people of Scotland would have a just right to complain, especially when they recollected that the House was proceeding upon the principle of remedying abuses, and of endeavouring to establish one general system, and one uniform plan, which his Majesty's Ministers had all along told the House they trusted would be a final arrangement. He was, however, perfectly convinced that their plan never could lead to a final arrangement, fraught as it was with injustice in many respects, and in none more so than in the treatment which Scotland would receive from them. In his opinion, the measure which was to ameliorate the political system of any country could never be a final one, but that it would be found more expedient to have a gradual and cautious Reform, on safe and moderate principles, instead of vainly and rashly attempting to establish a final system by one great, sudden, and violent exertion. He hoped that what he had stated was quite sufficient to satisfy all impartial men of the strength and justice of the case which could be made out in favour of Scotland, and he trusted that he had put forward the arguments which had occurred to him on the subject in a tone of moderation and of good temper. He 330 was aware of the dryness of all arguments resting chiefly upon calculations, and he felt most grateful, therefore, for the patience and attention with which he had been heard. Whatever importance he might have attached to those details, it would not appear to the people of Scotland to have been greater than they deserved, or that he had acted improperly in strongly recommending them to the most attentive consideration of the House. As a Scottish Member of Parliament, and as a county Representative from that part of the United Kingdom, he had thought it his duty to bring forward this Motion. Scotland was unfairly dealt with in this measure, and therefore he had brought forward her just claims. With respect to the county of which he had the honour to be the Representative, he trusted that he had discharged his duty towards all its inhabitants without any distinction, and with as much anxiety to promote their welfare as be could ever feel or possess under any change of system whatever. He put forward these claims, which he had now submitted for consideration, upon the part of a numerous portion of the population of the United Kingdom; upon the part, certainly of a portion of its inhabitants who were nowhere surpassed either for their industry or for their intelligence, and for that general instruction which pervaded in Scotland, even in the humblest classes of the community, a circumstance upon which, very properly, much stress had been laid by those who had argued in favour of the measure now under consideration. He also felt bound to say, that he put forward these claims on the part of a people than whom there was none more distinguished by morality or by their love of order, and to whom it would be more safe, therefore, to intrust the discharge of all those duties that would in future be reposed in them by the alteration which was now proposed to be made in the political system of the country; on the part of an ancient and a gallant nation, conspicuous in all ages, and under all circumstances, for a high spirit of independence, and which discharged all its duties in this great and united empire in such a manner as gave it an irrefragable claim fairly to participate in whatever rights, privileges, and advantages, the Constitution of the country could anywhere bestow. Whatever might be the fate, therefore, of this Motion, he should still maintain that it rested upon the soundest 331 foundations of equity and of justice. He would now read to the Committee the Amendment he had felt it his duty to offer. He proposed to omit all the words in the third clause of the Bill, which was the clause under consideration, after the words "Be it enacted," down to the words "Provided always," for the purpose of inserting the following words—"That the Members hereafter to be returned to Parliament by the shires of Scotland, shall always be two Members for each of the larger shires, enumerated and described in the schedule A hereunto annexed, and one Member for each of the lesser shires, enumerated and described in schedule B hereunto annexed." In the event of the Motion being carried, he should hereafter submit the schedules he had to propose.
said, he had listened attentively to the gallant Officer's speech, in order to convince himself whether he was serious or not. Did the gallant Officer forget that he had all along refused all Reform, and had asserted that Scotland wanted no Reform? He could not reconcile the gallant Officer's Motion for an enlargement of the Representation of Scotland with his former declarations, and must protest against the Bill being delayed by this new light breaking in upon the gallant Officer. He was convinced that the people of Scotland would be satisfied with the Bill, for, instead of giving them only eight Representatives, as the gallant Officer said, it would give them at least thirty, as so many at least, were nominees, and not their Representatives.
§ Sir George Murray
denied, that he had been an enemy to Reform. He challenged the hon. Member to produce a single speech of his (Sir George Murray's) in which he had declared himself an enemy to Reform. On the contrary, he had always declared himself ready to consider any plan of Reform of the political system, and particularly with respect to Scotland.
The Lord Advocate
said, that though he intended to oppose the Motion of the gallant Officer, he confessed that, on the first view of the subject, he had been impressed with a similar feeling. He was, therefore, bound to explain the grounds on which he had been induced to adopt a different opinion. If he had been left to form his opinion upon fair abstract principles, he might have thought that a larger Representation should be given to Scotland. 332 But it was impossible to proceed upon such principles, and in many of the counties of England, anomalies might be shown to exist, an attempt to remedy which, and to reduce the whole to one uniform system, would have exposed the framers of the Bill, and justly, to the imputation of adopting a theoretical and fantastical scheme. It turned out, too, upon the application to Scotland of the principles on which the English Bill had been framed, of population and assessed taxes, that the proportion of Members due to Scotland would have been only fifty-eight, a number to which, in fact, it very nearly approximated. The right hon. and gallant Officer had asked, why make a distinction between the countries on different sides of the Cheviot hills; and, in reply, he might ask, why make any distinction between the counties on the southern side of that border? If, for example, they took the counties of Middlesex and Surrey, with the addition of the metropolitan Members, they would find, that their united population, to a small fraction, was equal to the whole population of Scotland. The population of Surrey and Middlesex was, 2,324,000; the population of Scotland was, 2,345,000: so that, within 20,000, the population of these two counties was equal to that of Scotland. He was not ashamed of this fact, neither did he blush for the poverty of his countrymen; but he would say, that in point of wealth and taxation, there was a monstrous preponderance in favour of these districts in England. The assessed taxes of Scotland amounted to 280,000l.; the assessed taxes of these districts only, in England, to 1,600,000l. Now, what addition was given to the Representation of England by these obnoxious metropolitan Members? The whole of the Representation given by the English Reform Bill to the mass of population and wealth in the counties of this country was but forty-three. The allowance of Members to Scotland altogether amounted to fifty-three; that was to say, that, in this view of the case, they got an advantage of ten. Now, applying the combined elements of population and wealth, the result would be, that out of ninety-six Members, Scotland should have only thirty-one: and these districts sixty-nine. Therefore, if this region—round the spot where they were now assembled (which, by-the-by, were supposed to have been unduly favoured) were adequately represented by forty-three Members, while Scot- 333 landhad fifty-three, no undue partiality had been shown to the south of England, nor any unfair distinction made between it and Scotland. In the northern part of England, in which it had been said, that great partiality had been exercised, he would consider, for the purposes of this argument, the two counties, Yorkshire, and Lancashire, possessing, as they did, a very large population, 2,700,000, Scotland had a population of 2,345,000, leaving a difference of about 400,000 in favour of the two English counties. The proportion of assessed taxes was about one to two on the side of Scotland; and the result of this calculation was, that Scotland should have only forty-seven Members instead of fifty-three. It these two counties were compared with the southern districts of Middlesex and Surrey, and added together; it would be found that Scotland should have only thirty-five Members, according to this calculation, while Surrey and Middlesex alone would be entitled to eighty, and York and Lancashire to forty-four. All that any body could ask for Scotland was, that the towns in the north of the island should be dealt with as the other places in the south had been. Both these classes of places were those of which the opponents of the Bill had complained as being unduly favoured; and if these facts were correct, he confidently submitted that they made out a case in favour of the course which had been pursued. He would only add a word as to the peculiar scheme and nature of the augmentation which was called for by the gallant Officer. The gallant Officer had not informed the House how many counties he proposed to include in his schedule A; but judging, from what he stated in his calculation of what Scotland would be entitled to, he (the Lord Advocate) should rather think that somewhere between thirteen and fifteen would be about the number which he proposed to add. He did not propose to add anything to the boroughs; the addition, whatever it was, was to be made to the counties. There was only one other point on which he should feel it necessary to trouble the Committee, and that was, whether there were any great partiality in the augmentations which had been made to the counties of Scotland, as compared with the borough Representation of that part of the empire. He could not conceive on what principle of practice, ancient 334 or modern, it was possible to doubt for one moment that the proportion of county Representation given to Scotland was either larger or smaller than it ought to be. In the first place, the proportion that existed at the time of the Union was much larger than what existed a short time before; for it might be known to hon. Gentlemen who had looked into Scottish history, that after the year 1690, the whole number of county Members for Scotland was reduced to ninety, while the number of borough Members was sixty-nine, and this would afford precisely the proportion of thirty to twenty-two, which was the proportion established by the present Bill. This was the state of things in 1690. Twelve or fifteen years before the Union, the number of county Members was increased from sixty-four or sixty-six to ninety; and, therefore, they were now going back to the ancient standard established by the Scottish Parliaments. But then they were told, that by the proposed change they did not sufficiently increase the county in proportion to the borough Representation. The old borough Representation of England was to the present day four-fifths of the whole; and, therefore, there was plenty of room for the operations of this Reform Bill in England to take effect. Even now there would be something between two-thirds and three-fourths more of borough Members than of county Members in England, while the preponderance of borough Members over county Members in Scotland would be in the proportion of about one-third. If they were to adhere to the old plan, the borough Representation ought to be still double that of the counties. In short, the whole foundation of the error was to be found in the determination of those who were carried away with the captivating words "agricultural interest," not to trespass on its cherished and invaluable privileges. Scotland having only 2,345,000 inhabitants, had no less than thirty-three counties; while England, possessing a population of 13,500,000, had only forty. Was it reasonable—was it just—was it tolerable—to say that there should be the same proportion of Representation for these small Scotch counties as fort he large and important counties of England, because they had chosen to eke out their land into certain portions, and then to baptize those portions by the magnificent name of "counties?" If these places were to have such a Repre- 335 sentation, there must be a double Representation for the English counties, at the expense of a single Representation for towns. He had another table of calculation, with which, however, he would not trouble the House. As regarded the proportion which should belong to Scotch county Representation, compared with that of the counties of England, he might have a patriotic partiality in favour of his own country; but he could not deny the vast and important difference which existed between the counties of Scotland and those of England. Was it reasonable to call upon Ministers to depart from the course they had taken, when they were not breaking down existing institutions, but placing them on a fair and proper footing? On these grounds, therefore, he objected to the motion of the right hon. and gallant Officer; and he objected to it also on this ground—that the southern districts, with a population not less than that of Scotland, were by no means as efficiently represented. Under all these circumstances—seeing that Scotland had the advantage of a recurrence to the principles of the Union—seeing that out of 513 Members for England and Wales, they had deprived themselves of eight to increase her Representation; and recollecting, above all, that they had not only given her Representatives, but a constituency—he did think that Scotland ought thankfully to receive the boon which had been granted her. Even if the amount of her Representation had been left the same as at the time of the Union, she ought to have been grateful; but she ought to receive the benefit which was now held out to her as an inestimable and invaluable boon.
§ Sir George Murray
said, in explanation, that the reason why he had not resorted to Lieutenant Drummond's calculations was, because they appeared to him to be based upon a principle adopted for the particular purpose of disfranchisement.
§ Sir George Clerk
said, that he could not coincide in the opinion expressed by the learned Lord at the conclusion of his speech. Some of the boroughs were disfranchised because the patrons of them represented only themselves, and not the people; and, it would be in the recollection of the House, that, in the first Bill, it was not proposed to fill up the blank in the House which would be created by the disfranchisement of those boroughs. Why, then, should Scotland be so very grateful, 336 as the learned Lord said she ought to be, for the cession of the small portion of this Representation which would otherwise have been a nullity. He had listened with some anxiety to the speech of the Lord Advocate, after he had heard him declare that he did not think that Scotland, under this Bill, would have her fair proportion of Representation, in order to ascertain by what process of reasoning he could satisfy his mind that he was acting consistently in supporting the Bill. After hearing the reasons assigned by the Lord Advocate, he must say, that there were no anomalies whatever which the same sort of reasoning would not justify. Considering the population of Scotland, and the amount contributed by that country to the national revenue, he contended that a sufficient number of Members had not been given to Scotland. He could not see the justice of the learned Lord's reference to the metropolitan districts, for the objections to their claim to a share in the Representation were peculiar; and with respect to the great English counties he had compared to Scotland in point of population, they were the only counties that could have been thus brought forward. The learned Lord had stated, that there were thirty-three Scottish, and but forty English counties, but he had not reminded them of the fact, that the smallest shire in England (Rutland) had two Representatives. It was provided by the measure of his Majesty's Government, that where the population of a county exceeded 150,000, it should be empowered to return four Members; and where the population exceeded 100,000, it should be entitled to return three. Now, he would only ask for Scotland the minimum of English county Representation. He wanted no more than the number of Members granted to Rutland for Scottish counties that contained four or five times the amount of its population. But to attempt to determine the claims of Scotland by any analogy to the English Reform Bill, which was itself a mass of anomalies, was altogether vain. The principle to which he, therefore, would refer the present Bill was that upon which the Representation of Scotland was based before the Union; that was, the preponderance of the agricultural interest. It was to be remembered also, that, from the Union to the present time, persons of wealth and influence, having deep interests connected with Scotland, found their way 337 into that House, by means of those English boroughs which were now to be done away with; and that those persons were no less attentive to the interests of Scotland than if they had been more directly sent to represent that country. He did not wish to say much with regard to the electoral qualification, but he had reason to believe, that in the counties for which they asked a double Representation, it would give a great preponderance to the manufacturing and commercial interests over the agricultural. He believed that such would be the consequence of the 10l. franchise in the counties of Fife, Renfrew, Lanark, Forfar, and Edinburgh. When the learned Lord reverted to the ancient state of the Scottish Representation, he must have recollected that there was then but one Chamber in Scotland, the great Barons being required to attend in person, and the lesser to choose a Representative. The thirty county Members had been hitherto agricultural, but with one Member to the large counties, he was persuaded, that the agricultural interest would be materially affected by the Bill. He did not contend now that they ought to adhere to the ancient institutions of Scotland, but, as they were changing the system, they were hound to do Scotland justice, and to take care, above all things, that it would not be worse represented under the new system than it had been under the old. Even upon the Lord Advocate's own showing, Scotland was entitled to five or six Members more than were apportioned to that country under the present Bill. He did not say, that it would be convenient to add to the total number of the Members of that House, but it would be much better, as he conceived, to incur that inconvenience, than to do an act of injustice to Scotland. If the Bill were passed as it then stood, it would, ere long, be found to disappoint the expectations of the people of Scotland. They were convinced that they ought to be put upon a footing of equality with the people of England, and they would be thankful to his right hon. friend for his Motion.
§ Sir John Malcolm
cordially concurred in the sentiments of his right hon. and gallant friend. The hon. member for Middlesex had inquired why his gallant friend had not produced petitions. He must admit that the petitions were all on one side; but he would take leave to add, that he did not consider that to be 338 a circumstance which should sway the judgment of the House. The people, by their petitions, seemed likely to become a fourth estate, which, he maintained, was not consistent with the Constitution of this country. Having been a witness of the rapid growth of Scotland's prosperity, he did not think it expedient to make a total change in the system under which so many blessings had been attained.
§ Colonel Lindsay
thought the Lord Advocate must have been educated in some Jesuit's College, for he had never heard a more remarkable instance of special pleading than his speech on this occasion manifested. All he (Colonel Lindsay) asked for Scotland was, the same measure of justice which had been granted to the English boroughs. He undoubtedly meant to vote for his gallant friend's Amendment, as he conceived, by every principle on which Ministers professed to base their Reform measures, Scotland was entitled to a larger share of Representation than that proposed in the present Bill. If they took population, it was entitled, relatively to England, to sixty-nine Members; if population with assessed taxes, to sixty-four. According to Lieutenant Drummond's scheme, the learned Lord said it was entitled only to fifty-eight. He did not know how that was made out, but that was five more than the Bill gave it. He was sure that the people of Scotland were not aware of the details of the Bill. If they were aware of those details it was impossible they could be satisfied, for the Bill inflicted a gross injustice on their country.
§ Sir George Warrender
conceived, the argument of the learned Lord Advocate, against the founding an increase of Representation on mere population, to be unanswerable, and therefore would vote against the Amendment. Besides, if Scotland claimed so many more Members in consequence of her relative population, with what grace or justice could they refuse Ireland an increase in proportion to her population? He was aware, that this opinion was inconsistent with his former declaration, but he disregarded the taunts of inconsistency, the rather, perhaps, as consistency was not just now the most fashionable of public virtues; and, though he changed his opinions, no man could charge him with base or interested motives.
§ Mr. Sinclair
entirely subscribed to the opinions of the learned Lord Advocate, 339 and therefore would vote against the Amendment.
Mr. Stuart Wortley
would vote for the Amendment. He thought that the arguments of the learned Lord had been completely answered by his hon. friend near him. The Motion, however, placed him in some little difficulty, for he did not like to alter the numbers of the Members of this House, as he thought that was the removal of a landmark from the institutions of the country which might lead to further innovation. But, on every principle of justice and consistency, Scotland was fully entitled to all the advantages which even Wales, comparatively a much inferior place, would derive under the Reform Bills.
§ Mr. Patrick M. Stewart
would give the Bill, as it stood, his most cordial support, as he was confident—as were the people of Scotland—that as no part of the empire so much required Reform as Scotland, so no part would be so much benefitted by its advantages being extended to it. Representation in Scotland was at present a perfect mockery; the Bill would invest its middle classes with the power of freely exercising the elective franchise. By so doing it would confer a benefit, for which the people of Scotland felt very grateful. He was delighted with the Debate, because the Gentlemen on the opposite side had furnished arguments in favour of Reform which appeared to him unanswerable.
§ Mr. Robert A. Dundas
was as much opposed as ever to the principle of Reform; but saw no alternative, after the decision of that House, but to vote for his gallant friend's Amendment, which was based on the principles of that decision.
§ Sir Adolphus Dalrymple
supported the Amendment, and denied that there was any inconsistency in voting for that, though he had supported General Gascoyne's Motion.
§ Mr. Cumming Bruce
also supported the Amendment. He must admit; that the learned Lord had been very eloquent, and very powerful, but he had completely failed to make out a case against his right hon. and gallant friend.
was of opinion, that the claim of Scotland to additional county Representation was unanswerable, and he would give the Amendment his most cordial support.
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
, declared, that on the Lord Advocate's own showing, Scotland 340 was entitled to more Representatives, and, as long as he was a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, he would stand up for doing justice to every part of it.
wished to know how it happened, that when there were four universities in Scotland, and only one in Ireland, it was proposed to give two Members to the Irish University, and none to the Scotch Universities?
§ The House divided on the Amendment:—Ayes 61; Noes 168—Majority 107.
§ Clause, as originally proposed, agreed to. Several other Clauses were agreeed to. The House resumed—Committee to sit again.
|List of the Noes.|
|ENGLAND.||Grant, Right Hon. R.|
|Adeane, H. J.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Handley, W. F.|
|Anson, Sir G.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Anson, Hon. G.||Heron, Sir R.|
|Baillie, J. E.||Heywood, B.|
|Barham, J.||Hobhouse, Sir J. C.|
|Baring, F. T.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Barnett, C. J.||Horne, Sir W.|
|Beaumont, F. W.||Hoskins, K.|
|Blamire, W.||Howard, P. H.|
|Blunt, Sir C.||Hughes, Colonel|
|Bouverie, Hon P. P||Hughes, Alderman|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Hume, J.|
|Brougham, J.||Ingilby, Sir W.|
|Brougham, W.||James, W.|
|Burton, H.||Jerningham, Hon. H.|
|Byng, Sir J.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Byng, G.||Jones, J.|
|Calvert, N.||King, E. B.|
|Campbell, J.||Knight, R.|
|Carter, J. B.||Lefevre, C. S.|
|Cavendish, Lord||Leigh, T. C.|
|Cavendish, Hon. C.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Chaytor, W. R. C.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Lennox, Lord G.|
|Creevey, T.||Lennox, Lord W.|
|Clayton, Colonel||Lester, B. L.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Littleton, E. J.|
|Denman, Sir T.||Lumley, J. S.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Maberley, Colonel|
|Dundas, Sir R. L.||Macaulay, T. B.|
|Dundas, Hon. J.||Maddocks, J. F.|
|Dundas, Hon. T.||Macdonald, Sir J.|
|Ellice, E.||Mangles, J.|
|Evans, W.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Evans, W. B.||Marshall, W.|
|Ewart, W.||Milbank, M.|
|Fazakerly, J. N.||Milton, Viscount|
|Ferguson, Sir R.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Foley, Hon. T. H.||Morrison, J.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||North, F.|
|Folkes, Sir W.||Norton, C. F.|
|Fox, Lieut.-colonel||Ord, W.|
|Gisborne, T.||Paget, T.|
|Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Pendarves, E. W. W.||Johnstone, A.|
|Penleaze, J. S.||Johnstone, J. J. H.|
|Petre, Hon. E.||Loch, J.|
|Phillipps, C. M.||Mackenzie, S.|
|Philips, G. R.||M'Leod, R.|
|Poyntz, W. S.||Morison, J.|
|Rider, T.||Sinclair, G.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Stewart, Sir M. S.|
|Robinson, Sir G.||IRELAND.|
|Rooper, J. B.||Acheson, Viscount|
|Russell, Lord J.||Belfast, Earl of|
|Russell, Lieut.-col.||Brown, J.|
|Russell, C.||Browne, D.|
|Sanford, E. A.||Bourke, Sir J.|
|Schonswar, G.||Chichester, Sir A.|
|Scott, Sir E. D.||Duncannon, Viscount|
|Sebright, Sir.J.||Killeen, Lord|
|Slaney, R. A.||King, Hon. R.|
|Smith, J.||Knox, Hon. J. J.|
|Smith, J. A.||Oxmantown, Lord|
|Smith, R. V.||Ponsonby, Hon. G.|
|Stanley, Lord||Power, R.|
|Stanley. Rt. Hn. E. G. S.||Rice, Right Hon. T. S.|
|Stephenson, H. F.||Russell, J.|
|Stewart, P. M.||Walker, C. A.|
|Strickland, G.||Westenra, Hon.|
|Strutt, E.||White, Colonel|
|Stuart, Lord D.||White, S.|
|Stuart, Lord P. J.||TELLER.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Kennedy, T. F.|
|Thicknesse, R.||PAIRED OFF.|
|Thompson, Alderman||Atherley, A.|
|Throckmorton, R. G.||Brabazon, Lord|
|Tomes, J.||Buxton, T. F.|
|Townley, R. G.||Cavendish, Hon. H.|
|Tracey, C. H.||Cradock, Colonel S.|
|Venables, Alderman||Crampton, P. C.|
|Vere, J. J. H.||Davies, Colonel|
|Vernon, Hon. G. J.||Ebrington, Lord|
|Villiers, T. S.||Heneage, G. F.|
|Wason, W. R.||Knight, G.|
|Watson, Hon. R.||Labouchere, H.|
|Wellesley, Hon. W.||Lamb, G.|
|Whitmore, W.||Mayhew, W.|
|Wilbraham, G.||Nugent, Lord|
|Wilks, J.||Ossory, Earl of|
|Williams, Sir J.||Parnell, Sir H.|
|Williams, W. A.||Paget, Sir C.|
|Wood, J.||Pelham, Hon. C.|
|Wood, Alderman||Ponsonby, Hon. J.|
|Wrightson, W. B.||Price, Sir R.|
|Wrottesley, Sir J.||Robinson, G.|
|SCOTLAND.||Rumbold, C. E.|
|Adam, Admiral C.||Stanley, J. E.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. C.|
|Ferguson, R.||Tynte, C. K. K.|
|Gillon, W. D.||Walrond, B.|
|Grant, Right Hon. C.||Western, C. C.|
|Haliburton, Hon. D. G.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Jeffrey, Right Hon. F.||Williams, J.|
|Johnston, J.||Wood, C.|