HC Deb 07 June 1832 vol 13 cc512-43

The Order of the Day for the further consideration of the Report on the Division of Counties Bill read.

Lord John Russell moved, that the Bill be recommitted.

The Speaker put the question, "That I do now leave the Chair."

Mr. C. W. Wynn

expressed his approval of the principle of the Bill; but he thought it would be well if its provisions were carried further. For example, there were several instances of detached portions of counties lying surrounded by other counties. It would be proper to have a provision for taking the poll for such places on the spot. And as they were making regulations for conveniently taking the poll for county elections, he thought some regulations might be introduced to make the attendance of jurors and witnesses more convenient, by selecting other places than at present for holding the Assizes throughout the country.

Lord John Russell

reminded the House, that the Bill which had this day received the Royal Assent, and the Bill now before the House, formed, as it were, one Bill, the object of which went to the regulation of elections for Members to serve in Parliament, and he thought, that such being the case, it would be well to keep these two measures distinct and separate from any other object. He, at the same time admitted, that a different division of counties, for the purposes of the administration of justice, would be most desirable, and he should be happy to see a separate Bill introduced for the consideration of the House for that purpose, after the present measure had been disposed of.

Mr. C. W. Wynn

said, that on consideration, he felt it would be better to confine the present Bill to its purpose, more particularly as allusion and reference was made to it in the Reform Bill.

House in Committee.

On the first clause being put,

Mr. Croker

inquired if it was intended by his Majesty's Ministers to propose any alteration in the Bill as it stood.

Lord John Russell

replied, that no alteration would be made in the principle of the Bill, but with respect to some of the details, he meant to propose alterations, while, with respect to others, he should wait until he had seen the feeling of the Committee upon them.

Mr. Croker

said, he must, then, consider that the Bill was now before the House as it was substantially proposed to stand. He did not rise for the purpose of offering any opposition to the clause before the House, but for the purpose of pointing out the discrepancies contained in the provisions of the Bill. His principal objection to the Boundary Bill was, that it was ancillary to the Reform Bill. It was a continuance of the same system of delusion, anomaly, and illegality, as that of the Reform Bill, which he had deemed so flagrant that he had thought it his duty to denounce it in the strongest terms. He would begin by stating, that to part of the Bill he had no objection, always subject, however, to his general objections to the measure as ancillary to Reform. The general rule of taking in any new town which had grown out of the limits of a borough, was a fair one, and any contrary course of proceeding would have involved the House and the proceeding in great difficulties. But he confessed he was surprised at many cases where that principle had not been applied, and at others in which it had been stretched beyond all justice and reason. He would, for example, take the case of Exeter, which had already been cited for the purpose. Exeter was a city containing 28,000 inhabitants, and at present 2,500 electors. Two villages had grown up near the city, mere places of recreation for the inhabitants, and both of them were beyond the bounds of the county of the town. He did not see what necessity there was for disturbing the ancient landmarks of the place, and yet Ministers had done this in order to include the people of these villages in the franchise of Exeter, although that city already possessed a sufficient number of electors to render the elections open and free. In the case of Abingdon, no such alteration had been made, though the number of inhabitants was only 5,000, and the number of 10l. houses not above 300. Again, there was the case of Helston: it stood on the edge of a parish, and the buildings beyond the boundary were not added. [Lord John Russell: These are to be.] Then he would say nothing further on this ground, but that proved what he had long ago remarked, namely, that the Boundary Bill might render both schedules delusive and nugatory. If by a rule of the Boundary Bill, boroughs were increased to a certain size, schedule A, as contradistinguished from schedule B, was an absurdity. Would the House believe that Old Sarum, the bye-word of Reformers, was, by the operation of the Boundaries Bill, to be preserved? If there was one borough, the name of which had been rendered more opprobrious than another, it was Old Sarum, and yet how had Ministers acted in order to preserve this calumniated borough? They had contrived to throw the constituency of Old Sarum into that of Wilton, and thus was Old Sarum, somehow or other, still preserved in schedule B, under the name of the borough of Wilton. Wilton stood thus:—

Population. Houses 10l. Houses. Taxes
Original borough 1997 316 75 £432
Proposed borough 7753 1717 299 £1966
Being an addition of 5,756 inhabitants, 1,401 houses, 224 10l. houses, and 1,534l. taxes. And here this extraordinary fact presented itself. To form the new borough of Wilton, seventeen parishes, or parts of parishes, were added; and amongst them was the parish of Stratford-under-the-Castle, which happened to include Old Sarum. As the Bill preserved all existing rights, Old Sarum was just as much preserved as Wilton; and was, however it might be phrased—whether they professed to give the electors of Old Sarum votes in the new borough of Wilton, or the electors of Wilton votes in the new borough of Old Sarum, the fact was the same, and proved his proposition, that Old Sarum itself was, by the Ministerial plan of additions, capable of being raised into a sufficient constituency. The noble Lord applied the epithet "scandalous" to the three boroughs of Old Sarum, Gatton, and Midhurst. Now, let the House see what had become of them. Old Sarum was preserved, as he had already shown; Midhurst was preserved in all its integrity; and Gatton had the narrowest possible escape of being preserved; for Reigate, which was near to it, had only 270 voters, and if the general rule had been followed in making up its constituency to 300 voters, Gatton also would have been preserved. This was ludicrous; but it involved likewise grave considerations, for it showed the injustice of the original disfranchisement of the boroughs in schedule A, without considering the result of the whole operation. He would ask any Gentleman on the opposite side, who voted for the preservation of the towns in schedule B, whether it was not under the impression that they offered a better constituency, and were more considerable boroughs than those placed in schedule A? Now, that was positively not the fact. It did so happen, that a majority of the boroughs in schedule A, if they were to be treated as the Boundary Bill treated the boroughs in schedule B, would, in almost every case, afford a superior constituency. He would mention to the House two or three instances where this was the case. He would first refer to Midhurst and Amersham. In the first Reform Bill which Ministers had introduced into that House, the borough of Midhurst had been placed in schedule A, and the borough of Amersham in schedule B. Thus stood the case in the first Bill, but, by a dexterous manipulation, Ministers had reversed the case, and in the second Bill, Midhurst was found in schedule B, and Amersham had been transferred to schedule A. But how were Ministers to get a constituency for Midhurst, which the noble Lord had called "scandalous," to justify the transformation? They had to look about for seventeen adjoining parishes, and having included these as part of the town of Midhurst, they were enabled to bring the borough into schedule B. But by a similar addition, under this Bill, of only five parishes, Amersham, would have a population of 12,590, yet it was placed in schedule A, while Midhurst, which formerly occupied a station in schedule A, was placed in schedule B, in consequence of the addition of seventeen parishes to it, raising it to a population of about 5,000 persons—not half the amount to which the addition of five parishes would have raised Amersham. He must not, he was told, charge Ministers with partiality, but he would ask, was this fair justice to the inhabitants of Amersham? Midhurst contained 1,478 inhabitants; Amersham 2,862, double the number of Midhurst; and if additions must be made, make them equally on both sides, and Amersham would still maintain its immense superiority. If this was not injustice, if this was not a principle altogether unintelligible, he did not know what was. There might be some excuse if one was a very ancient borough, or if there were peculiar circumstances which rendered it important that it should be preserved; but there was no excuse of the kind. Ministers had a legerdemain of their own, and they had disfranchised the larger one, and preserved the least deserving. He would next notice Wilton and Bedwin. The last was condemned in schedule A, while Wilton was preserved in schedule B. Now Wilton had a population of only 1,999, while that of Bedwin was 2,191. In the case of Wilton the Commissioners were obliged to go a great distance, and to include no less than eighteen parishes to procure a constituency. In their way they found Old Sarum, which he thought was completely dead and buried in schedule A, but by this Boundary Bill it was galvanized, and, in a manner, restored to life, so that the electors found themselves just as important as those of Wilton. He did not mean to say that Wilton would be a nomination borough when Old Sarum was added to it, but no more would Old Sarum have been if it was placed in schedule B and Wilton joined to it. Shakespeare said that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," and a rotten borough surely would not smell less ill by whatever name it might be called, whether Old Sarum or Wilton. By the junction of these eighteen parishes, the population of Wilton itself must be completely swamped, for it amounted now, with these extravagant additions, to 8,300. If only the five parishes immediately adjoining Bed-win were taken, there would be a population of 6,298; much more dense, therefore, than the population round Wilton. He came now to Droitwich, which was preserved by the addition of eleven parishes to make a population of 5,900; while Wendover was condemned, where a population of 6,600 might be had by joining the five parishes which immediately touched it. He had similar observations to offer with respect to Aldeburgh, which he had the honour to represent, and Plympton, and other places, but should not mention them now, his only object being to show the result to which the Boundary Bill actually led in some instances, and which it was, therefore, probable it would produce in so many others. Such circumstances as these must naturally lead to a suspicion that all was not right, and that the Boundary Bill was as little founded on principles of justice as the other measure with which it was connected. The country had a right to expect that the same principle would be applied in all cases; but when the practice so greatly varied from the principle, people would be led into a suspicion that there must be some motive for it. There were not less than twenty-seven of the boroughs created by this Boundary Bill which contained more than 10,000 acres of land. Malmesbury, which was placed in schedule B, had originally only 130 acres, and an addition was made to it of not less than 22,000. The borough of Marlow stood at first in schedule A, but they afterwards voted it two Members. It had at first only 200 acres; now it had no less than 12,000. Morpeth had only 270 acres; it had now 14,000. Every person must see that these were, in point Of fact, by such large additions of land, not boroughs, but small counties. It was mere mockery to call them boroughs. As the poet said of his over-adorned mistress, the borough in these cases was the least part of itself.

The case of Tamworth was deserving of particular notice. It was a curious case. The limits of the town and of the borough were originally the same, or very nearly so, containing within its limits eighty-three acres. By the Boundary Bill, however, it had 11,000 acres. It was a remarkable fact that Tamworth had a sufficient constituency without this addition. The Commissioners, however, said, "the rates are uncertain; we will not, therefore, consider ourselves bound by the rated value of houses; we will look to their real, and not to their rated, value. In other cases, when they found a place with 300 bona fide rated houses, they went no further for a constituency. Why not do the same in the case of Tamworth? In Tamworth, by a rating which took place in 1826, when there was no thought of the Reform Bill, it appeared that the number of houses rated at 10l. was 325. Notwithstanding this, an effort was math to swamp it by the addition of 11,000 acres. This, of course, could not arise, nor did he mean to say it did, from a view to the interest or inconvenience of any particular person. Still he saw no satisfactory way of accounting for it. But what was the case of Stafford? Tamworth and Stafford were similarly circumstanced in almost all respects. In both cases the limits of the borough were very nearly the same as the limits of the town. There were in the borough of Stafford 370 acres. The limits were well defined; but there was a place called Fordgate adjoining, and this, consisting of about 200 acres, was added to the borough. There was a small suburb also similarly situated with respect to Tamworth. Did the Commissioners join this to Tamworth, as they did Fordgate in the other case? No, but they added 11,000 acres to Tamworth, and only 200 to Stafford. All this was done under the pretence of getting a constituency. It was said, there were only 248 rated houses in Stafford, and that the number of 10l. houses must be greater there than this, he admitted that it was probable; but there were ninety more rated houses in Tamworth than in Stafford, and supposing the rating to be as imperfect in one as in the other, what excuse was there for subjecting Tamworth to an addition which Stafford was spared? He could see no honest difference in the two cases, and no reason why there should be added to Tamworth 11,000 acres, while only 200 were added to Stafford.

Let the House also see how these principles were applied in the cases of Bridport and Arundel. The rule laid down by the Commissioners was, to take the town itself first; if the town or borough did not present a sufficient constituency, they took the parish; if the required number could not be found in the parish, they took in other parishes. Now, in the case of Bridport they did not add the parish, but three small districts adjoining, making the population 5,800, and adding 318 acres. Some might suppose, from the name, that Bridport immediately adjoined the sea. That, however, was not the case. The river ran down a distance of about a mile from Bridport to the harbour, and along this line there were warehouses, storehouses, and other buildings. If their own rule was to be adopted, one should think that the Commissioners, in forming the new borough, would connect the town with its harbour. But no such thing. They entirely excluded two parishes which connected the town and the harbour. Now, look at the case of Arundel. In this the Commissioners went for a constituency to Little Hampton, not less than seven miles distant. [An Hon. Member: Only three miles; seven by water.] Well, let it be three or five or seven miles. In the case of Arundel the Commissioners went to Little Hampton for a constituency, while in that of Bridport they declined going to Bodden Hampton for the same purpose, though only one mile distant from the town. It was just in the same way that the Bondgate of Rippon was included, while the Bondgate of Appleby was excluded.

He should say nothing of the borough of Stroud, and such others, which obtained Representation on the ground that they formed the centres of great manufacturing industry, though the population was somewhat scattered. The borough of Stroud was not less than twelve miles long and eleven broad. In place of the word "borough," applied to many such places, he should rather substitute the new word "scatteration," which they had heard that night for the first time, and he thanked the hon. Member who furnished him with it. He knew no other which could so forcibly or so clearly convey an idea of the newly-made boroughs.

He meant to impute no blame to the Commissioners for differing in their respective views. It was quite natural they should do so in an affair of so much difficulty and variety but he must complain that the whole face of the country was thus parcelled out at the will and pleasure of any set of men, without the superintendence and direction of some master-mind, capable of applying some just and general principle to all the cases. To show upon what different principles the Commissioners had acted, he would only quote two or three instances. To the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed and contrary to the wishes of the townspeople the Commissioner added the town of Tweed-mouth. Why? Because the inhabitants of Tweedmouth desired it. In that instance, then, the wishes of the inhabitants of Tweedmouth were preferred to those of the inhabitants of the old borough of Berwick. But what was the course of proceeding at Nottingham? At Nottingham, said the Commissioner, "there is a mass of continuous buildings adjoining, and, indeed, firming a part of the town:" but he forbears to recommend the addition of those houses to the borough, because, said he, "it will be in direct opposition to the wishes of the inhabitants of Nottingham." In the instances of those two towns, two directly opposite principles had been acted upon. The wishes of the people of Berwick were set at defiance—the wishes of the people of Nottingham were strictly and carefully regarded. Of the two Commissioners by whom the limits of those several boroughs were fixed, one said white—the other black. Now it happened that there was a third Commissioner, who, in the case of another town, was willing to steer between the black and white extremes, and make his report of what was just now a very popular colour—grey; for the Commissioner who visited Boston said, "the making an addition to Boston would gratify the feelings of one party, and offend the feelings of another." But, continued he, very wisely, "the feelings of parties are no part of our province;" so that the Commissioner at Berwick felt it to be his duty to disregard the feelings of the people of Berwick; the Commissioner at Nottingham had a different opinion upon the subject, and felt it to be an imperative duty to yield to the wishes of the people of Nottingham; and the Commissioner for Boston felt it to be his duty to regard the feelings of neither one party nor the other. Then another Commissioner went to Grimsby, and he said, "Grimsby is increasing enormously." Yet that fact did not preserve to Grimsby its original integrity. It was to have an addition of he did not know how many acres, but something very considerable. "But," said the Commissioner, "although Grimsby is a considerable town, and increasing enormously, it has at present only 189 10l. houses." And whereas it happened to have 399 existing resident freemen, the Commissioner felt himself "reluctantly obliged," in order to establish something like a proportion between what he called "property votes," or 10l. houses, and resident freemen, to add he (Mr. Croker) did not know how many houses to Grimsby, for the purpose of deluging those who, by servitude or inheritance, had obtained a right, to vote. This was the first time that he had ever heard that a number of resident electors was a ground for disturbing the boundaries of a town, and deluging its constituency by an influx of foreigners. Such, however, was the Commissioner's avowal in the case of Grimsby. But e contra, as the law books said, in the case of the freemen of Berwick. At Berwick there was a vast number of freemen non-resident, "the consequence of which," said the Commissioner, "is, that the number of freemen will be so much diminished, as to render it absolutely necessary to add Tweed mouth to it, in order to make up the deficiency of voters." What was that but blowing hot and cold with the same breath? Why was not the principle acted upon at Grimsby to be equally good at Berwick? Or why was not the rule adopted in the case of Berwick applied to Nottingham, to Dover, to St. Alban's, to Hertford, to Durham, to Newark?—in every one of which cases, Gentlemen who examined the returns would find that the disproportion between freemen and householders was greater.

He had with him a mass of papers containing further instances of the same kind, with which, however, he was unwilling to trouble the House. He had mentioned only a very small part of the numerous cases of injustice and absurdity which appeared in this Bill. Any Gentleman who pleased might, with very little trouble, increase the list, for he defied any man to examine a single page of these six volumes of Reports without finding similar anomalies, partialities, and absurdities.

He then came to another observation of great curiosity and importance. Schedules A and B were first formed on the standard of population, and undoubtedly there was no other sound principle, according to the doctrines of the day, that could be applied; but Ministers afterwards adopted, as a new guide, the number of houses and amount of assessed taxes: which, after all, was only another, though less satisfactory process, for arriving at the same result; for although the new element of taxation would disturb the ratio here and there, yet he believed it would be found that, in a country like England, the number of inhabitants and the number of houses were pretty nearly in equal proportions. Nor did the introduction of taxation into the new calculation destroy, though it might affect in particular instances, the principle of population, because it would generally be found that 10,000 people in Lancashire paid pretty much the same amount of taxation as 10,000 people in Yorkshire, and though taxation varied more in cities and towns, still, on the whole, there was a certain proportion observable between taxation and population. Thus, then, indeed—and the noble Lord was candid enough to confess it—though disguised under the form of houses and taxes, population was still the professed Ministerial basis of enfranchisement and disfranchisement. Now, would it be believed that this Boundary Bill, the handmaid of that Reform Bill which, in its principle and details, affected to consider population as the first element of Representation—would it be believed that the Bill then before them was about to abandon that standard altogether, and to confer the franchise in so partial and arbitrary a manner, that in a numerous and important class of boroughs the greater population should have the less share of Representation? The first case he would notice was, the town of Honiten; and, the House would permit him preliminarily to observe, that he made no objection whatever to the decision which had been come to in this case, of leaving Honiton its two Members. All he said was, that if the decision in this case be right, as he thought it was, there were numerous decisions to which the Commissioners had come, which must, on the same principle, be, to all intents and purposes, substantially wrong, as he thought they were. The town of Honiton was to have two Members; it received very little addition—very little indeed—and contained 3,509 inhabitants, 738 houses, 318 10l. houses, and paid 1,129l. in assessed taxes. Recollect this place was to return two Members. He would then mention six other places, all superior to Honiton; superior in every one of the points which Ministers would have them believe they had taken as their guides—population, houses, 10l. houses, and taxation—but which, notwithstanding their superiority, were doomed to lose one Member; these were—

Population. Houses £10 Houses. Taxes.
Christchurch 6,087 1,354 400 2,066
Hythe 6,903 1,478 537 1,336
Morpeth 6,678 1,125 446 1,130
Shaftesbury 8,518 1,641 382 1,371
Clitheroe 9,890 1,853 359 837
Wallingford 7,159 1,409 412 1,794
He did not object to Honiton keeping two Members; on the contrary, he rejoiced at it, for he had never advocated any of these changes; but what he said was, if Honiton, on a principle of houses, population, and taxation, was to have two Members, why were towns of double its importance, in all those respects, to have but one? Perhaps it might be said, that he picked out Honiton on the one side, and the six boroughs he had mentioned on the other, and that what he complained of was a mere accident. He should show, that such accidents were very frequent; and in order to exhibit a more general and indisputable proof, he would, instead of one, give the House ten examples. He would compare ten boroughs that are to return one Member each, with ten boroughs that return two Members each. That was pretty fair, he thought. This decimal average could not be very much garbled when it was considered that there were but thirty of these boroughs altogether. Perhaps it would be sufficient to give the total of each set of boroughs, as he feared the House must be fatigued with those tedious details. Did the House choose that he should read the names of these boroughs, or should they be taken in the gross? [Read! read!]. Perhaps he had better read them. The matter was of such great importance, and of so serious a nature, that the House and the country ought to be put in possession of all the facts. Well, then, he would first read the ten boroughs that are to return one Member each, and then the ten boroughs that are to return two Members each:—
ONE MEMBER. Population. £10 Houses.
Eye 7,015 330
Woodstock 7,055 370
Christchurch 6,087 400
Malmesbury 6,136 351
Hythe 6,903 537
Dartmouth 4,612 422
Shaftesbury 8,818 382
Clitheroe 9,896 359
Morpeth 6,678 446
Wallingford 7,159 412
70,359 4009
TWO MEMBERS. Population. £10 Houses.
Thetford 3,462 203
Maldon 4,895 260
Marlborough 4,186 299
Richmond 4,722 301
Sudbury 5,500 301
Leominster 4,300 307
Bodmin 5,358 311
Totness 4,108 319
Honiton 5,509 318
Chippenham 5,270 319
47,310 2938
Thus, by this impartial and rational Bill, rendered necessary by the anomalies and inequalities of the present system, and moulded for eighteen months in the plastic hands of the Ministers, they obtained this fair, just, and satisfactory result—that ten places, having 70,359 inhabitants, and 4,009 electors, are to return ten Members; while ten other places, with 47,310 inhabitants, and 2,938 electors, are to return twenty Members. If noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen should tell him that such was the state of things now—that London returns only four Members, and that Weymouth and Melcombe Regis return four Members, his answer was—very well; the country had borne with those anomalies, because they had come down to this generation, sanctified, as it were, by use and custom; they were borne by our ancestors, and they had become accommodated to our habits, if not to our reason; but in the list of the ten boroughs which he had read, every one of them had been handled and moulded by his Majesty's Ministers to their own fancies, and not one of them had been left in its original state. It was in their power to have corrected old anomalies. These new ones were of their own seeking and their own making. Why, was there ever such a thing heard of as that, upon a principle—a principle of rating—a principle of taxation—a principle of population; was ever such a thing heard of, as that double the number of electors, in one set of places, should return but half the number of Representatives that were to be sent by another set of inferior places?

But, not to rest on selected cases—not to look at only one, or even at only ten cases—he would take the whole thirty boroughs of schedule B, and compare them with thirty other boroughs, which preserved their two Members, but which had also undergone such alterations of boundary as to the Ministers seemed just; and what was the result? The population of the thirty boroughs in schedule B, returning thirty Members, was 170,000; the population of thirty other boroughs, returning sixty Members, was only 152,000; so that a population smaller, by near 20,000, would return double the number of Members. Had he treated this case fairly? All he could say was, that he had made those calculations to the best of his ability, and he had no doubt this would be found as correct as calculations of this sort could be. There was the calculation, however, and any noble Lord, or hon. Gentleman opposite, whether versed in decimal calculations or not, would be able to correct him if he had stated anything incorrectly.

Having made these statements, the House would excuse him for saying, that he declined altogether to enter into the details of the Boundary Bill. With such anomalies running through it, founded on such incomprehensible principles, and leading to such extraordinary results, he confessed he did not see how, by any labour on his part, it would be possible to alter it to anything like impartiality, justice, or common sense. These anomalies, in in his opinion, arose altogether, or at least in a great degree, from departing from the original principles, and desiring the Commissioners to exercise their discretion as to the additions which they should make to the different boroughs. If the noble Lords had adhered to the principles which must have been in their minds when they originated the two schedules, A and B—if they had adhered to the professions on which they debated them in Committee—namely, considering the town as the borough, and treating it as such, these anomalies could not have arisen. But, from whatever source they had come—from whatever fountain they had been derived—the result was still most unfortunate, most lamentable, and most disgraceful. If he looked at the Reform Bill before with dissatisfaction and apprehension, he looked at it now with double apprehension, and still greater dissatisfaction, because he was satisfied that, amalgamated as it was with this Boundary Bill, if it were in itself as full of youthful life and vigour as the noble Lords could wish it to be—he was satisfied, he said, that, tied to such a mass of inconsistency, anomaly, and absurdity as the Boundary Bill, it could not last through two Sessions of Parliament. That was his solemn belief. He was sorry—very sorry for it. The Reform Bill had now passed beyond their control, and would to God that they could flatter themselves that it would work safely and well, so as to enable the country to escape those dreadful results of which revolution, in every stage, was productive and of the horrors of which they had this day received a new and fearful corroboration. It was only the other evening, that by a curious coincidence, at the very moment when an eloquent Gentleman, whom he did not see in his place, was eulogizing, in the happiest language, the last revolution of France for its moderation—for its bloodlessness—and for the tranquillity with which it had blessed that country—at the very moment that the hon. Gentleman was speaking of that revolution in this strain of encomium and approval, cannon were roaring and blood was flowing in the streets of Paris; and there arrived this day a practical contradiction to the eloquent but fallacious argument of that hon. Gentleman. He hoped and trusted that this country would never come to a similar catastrophe, though he could not hope that the Reform Bill would be allowed to work long enough to become assimilated to our habits and our wants. It had within itself principles of movement and change, the force of which this Boundary Bill only increased, and rendered more formidable. He had once hoped—indeed, he had had no doubt—that in another place there would have been found the means of assimilating some portion of the new system to the pre-existing state and sentiments of this once great and happy country—of agreeing on some modifications which might have alleviated, or at least postponed, the results to be expected from it. But he did most solemnly assure the House, that even if the expectations he had formed of the influence of the other branch of the Legislature had not failed, in his opinion this Boundary Bill would of itself be sufficient to deprive him of all hope that Parliament was making an arrangement which would be satisfactory or permanent. For could it be believed that the thirty boroughs partially disfranchised in schedule B, containing 170,000 inhabitants; and permitted to return but thirty Members, would be contented or satisfied, when boroughs no better than themselves, on any consideration whatever—worse, indeed, by 20,000 in population—were to return double that number? Was it in nature, that all the towns in the west should not look to Honiton, and say—"How does it happen that the smallest amongst us all is the best used?" Was it possible that they could hope to have satisfied the citizens of Exeter? He laid no stress on the case of Exeter, except that they had healed it so differently from Nottingham and other places that they had changed the ancient boundaries of the place—they had shaken the ancient institutions—they had disturbed all the Representation of the country—and for what? For nothing but to gratify their own fancies or perhaps their political prejudices. If the Reform Bill involved, as it certainly did, gross errors of detail, as well as of principle, there was still some excuse to be made for such defects. The Reform Bill was a great moral and political measure, and in morals and politics there was no absolute and unvarying rule by which every part could be adjusted to one standard; but here, in a geographical Bill—an arithmetical Bill—a numerical Bill—a standard existed, and it was unpardonable, in adopting the system, not to adhere to that standard strictly. It was unpardonable to allow the fugacious fancies, the local or personal partialities of a set of Commissioners most of whom were also candidates, to interfere and derange the perfect fairness of arrangement. When Gentlemen opposite were kneading those boroughs, as a baker kneads the dough of which he makes his loaves, it was unpardonable not to form them of the same size and shape, and, in equity, they were as liable to an indictment as the fraudulent baker who palmed off false weight and measure on his customers. He thanked the Committee for the indulgence with which he had been received, and assured them it was with pain he had made these observations, the last, perhaps, which he should ever have an opportunity of uttering in that House; but he added, in conclusion, that it would afford him more pleasure than any circumstance that had occurred in the twenty-seven years of his parliamentary life, if the noble Lord opposite could convince him that, in the several points he had mentioned, he had been in error, and that there was the slightest probability that the country could acquiesce in new parcelling of the limits, land, and franchises of England.

Lord John Russell

thought, that the accusations of partiality, in treating the cases of particular boroughs with favour or injustice, which charges had been of great use to the right, hon. Gentleman during the Reform discussions, would not have been renewed, now that the season for them seemed passed, more especially as those accusations had been so frequently and fully refuted. He did not feel it necessary to follow the right hon. Gentleman very closely over his extended field of remark; if there was any force in his complaints, the proper time to consider the subject would be, when the boundaries of each individual borough came to be determined. Reserving to himself the right of defending the determination of the Commissioners, in respect to particu- lar places, when he came to them, it might be best for him not to refer at length to details, but rather to the principles on which the Commissioners had proceeded in founding their report. In the case of great cities and towns, where the town had grown beyond the limits of the borough, or where there was an adjoining village, closely connected with, or having an interest in the town, it was thought right to add to the town or city, however large, and although possessing in itself a sufficient constituency, that additional population which the increase of commerce and business and wealth had placed in its vicinity. This was the case of Exeter. But, where there was a town with a sufficient population and constituency, and no villages connected with it, but an outlying agricultural district adjoining, it was thought proper not to propose any addition. Such was the case of Ipswich. In other instances, from the smallness of the borough, it became necessary to add to it several parishes, not going, however, beyond a reasonable distance. Whatever might be the wishes of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to carry this measure further, he must observe, that he did think small country towns, with moderate rural districts round them, were extremely likely to send valuable and well qualified Members to Parliament, and that many whose habits and pursuits rendered them familiar with matters of great importance, and who would be found ornaments of the House, might feel, that though they could not become Representatives of considerable constituencies, or of counties, they would consent to be nominated as candidates for boroughs of this kind, to the inhabitants of which their characters were known, and through which they could enter the House of Commons without the anxiety and responsibility attendant on being Representatives of more extended communities. This was the principle on which places barely out of schedule A, and just within the limits of schedule B, were treated. The course that had been taken depended on the application of the different principles mentioned; there was such a variety in the situation of the boroughs as precluded strict uniformity of principle, on the assumption of which, and by comparing and contrasting things perfectly unlike in nature and circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman founded his objections. Some of the right hon. Member's observations carried them back to the old dispute, as to whether certain places should be at the top of schedule A or the bottom of schedule B, but the Reform Bill having now become the law of the land, the House could effect no useful legislative purpose by discussing the question, of what particular boroughs ought to be selected for total or partial disfranchisement; and the same remark applied to the enfranchising clauses. However, the right hon. Gentleman's observations all admitted of easy and obvious answers, and if he abstained from going into them seriatim, it was with a view to save the time of the House, rather than through any apprehension of failing to make out a case. To take a few instances, however, of the right hon. Gentleman's comments: the right hon. Gentleman complained that Amersham should be wholly disfranchised, whilst Midhurst, which was less considerable, obtained a place in schedule B. Undoubtedly, if they proceeded by their original rule of population, Amersham was the superior place, but the moment they admitted (in consequence of objections in the Lords) the consideration of payment of assessed taxes, the situation of Midhurst and Amersham became changed, and the former took place of the latter; the amount of assessed taxes in the disfranchised borough being 429l., while that of Midhurst was 734l.: it was obvious, therefore, that having abandoned the rule of population as an exclusive standard of Representation, and combined with it the payment of assessed taxes, Midhurst must take place of Amersham. If they had been guided by population alone, the right hon. Gentleman might have reason to complain; but following, as they had, the rule proposed by his own friends, and by Members of the House of Lords, there was no ground for the charges he had made. The right hon. Gentleman said, Old Sarum, if it had been treated like some other boroughs, would have fallen within the line of schedule B. Now he was ready to admit, that if the Commissioners had taken a certain range around Old Sarum, or had added to the five houses of Gatton, 295 houses of the value of 10l., they would have brought both these places within schedule B, but they would have been sunk in the adjoining districts, and as effectually deprived of sending a Member as they were by the present Bill. The rule was now to take the houses and assessed taxes together, and the consequence was, the adoption of an arithmetical and mathematical scale, which they could no more alter than they could make two and two five. The right hon. Gentleman talked of the propriety of adding to boroughs parishes immediately around them. Suppose Ministers had said, "instead of comparing together existing boroughs, we will take a circle round them, and then compare the contents," would not that mode of proceeding have been loudly and fairly objected to, as unjust to particular boroughs, because it afforded no means of deciding with correctness upon their individual merits? Might not a charge of partiality have been justly urged under such circumstances? Of course it was a consequence of the application of the rule of taking in adjoining districts, that some old decayed, and now disfranchised, boroughs came within the limits of places contained in schedule B; but that circumstance did not lead to or support the right hon. Gentleman's conclusion, that Old Sarum was restored. Ministers had taken places in schedule B which afforded a considerable portion of a constituency, though not all that was required, and they had added to them so as to obtain a sufficiency in that respect. They took 300 as the number of 10l. houses required, and, looking at schedule B, they found already in Launceston, 196; Liskeard, 210; Helston, 225; St. Ives, 200; Rye, 284; Arundel, 254: so that the number to be added only made in those instances (and he might have quoted more) one-fourth or one-fifth of the whole number of houses required. However, he frankly admitted that was not the case in every instance; but if the right hon. Gentleman complained of this, the only legitimate consequence of this argument was, that Ministers ought to have carried disfranchisement further, and enlarged schedule A. The right hon. Member complained that they had made large additions to places hitherto of small extent. No doubt they had, but it did not follow that, because a great number of acres, and even a considerable amount of population, were added to a place, there would be a great number of 10l. houses to form a constituency. The right hon. Gentleman had mentioned the case of Tamworth, as if peculiar injustice had been done in that instance, and as if the Commissioners had had some particular and unworthy motive for their conduct. Now look at the mode of proceeding adopted in all cases; the Commissioners were persons of unblemished reputation, of various politics, or of no politics at all, and they had drawn the boundaries without reference to individual interests or party politics. The boundaries having been arranged, the next step was, to refer the consideration of them to the hon. member for Staffordshire, Captain Beaufort, and Lieutenant Drummond, all individuals of the highest character. So that, if the right hon. Gentleman's charge meant anything at all, it was this, that those three gentlemen entered into a base conspiracy to favour? particular persons whom the Government wished to favour, and to injure the interests of others whom the Government desired to injure. Was that a charge that could be advanced with any face or appearance of probability? Taking no account of the intentions and wishes of the Government, but admitting that they wished, for party purposes, to form these boroughs according to their own party views, was it likely that they would find these gentlemen ready to act with them, and to share in their culpability? What, however, did the Commissioners say with regard to the borough of Tamworth? They said, "there are many boroughs in which the number of 10l. houses is pretty nearly the same as in Tamworth: we have therefore thought it right that a similar mode of treatment should be adopted with respect to them, and this has been the course pursued." The consequence was, that the borough of Tamworth had been treated in precisely the same manner as the borough of Tavistock; and he could go through eighteen or twenty places to which a similar addition had been made, under similar circumstances. Where, then, was the partiality? There was the case of Bridport. The right hon. Gentleman asked, how it had happened that some place had not been added to that borough. The same thing which happened in this case had happened to others. The Commissioners sent up a plan of this borough. When he saw that plan, he said that he thought it would have been proper to have added the space which connected Bridport town with Bridport harbour. He thought, however, in that case, as in most others, that the Commissioners were the best judges; and when they recommended that that place should not be added, he gave up his opinion, and did not oppose their determination. This was a case in which the right hon. Gentleman made a charge of partiality against the Ministers, because they had not added a place which, for his own part, he should have liked to have seen added. With respect to the last observation of the right hon. Gentleman, namely, that several places contained in schedule B (that is, returning one Member each) exceeded in population, and in some instances assessed taxes, places which, under the Bill, would return two Members each, all he had to say was, that the right hon. Gentleman was correct as to his facts, but incorrect as to his reasoning. Ministers never professed any scheme of perfect theoretical uniformity whatever; their only object was, to disfranchise such boroughs as were, in the nature of things, incurable—that is, incapable of furnishing an adequate constituency—and to enfranchise such as furnished a sufficient number of bona fide householders, or had the means of an independent constituency in their immediate neighbourhood. In such places, where throwing in the population of the contiguous parish would raise to the rank of an independent and numerous constituency, the ancient boundary was extended; where a sufficient constituency was contained within the precincts, the boundary was not required to be extended. The right hon. Gentleman was correct as to Christchurch, with its additions, which would return but one Member, exceeding Honiton, which returned two, in population; but when the towns of Christchurch and Honiton were compared, the latter would be found more worthy of a full complement of Representation. As to there being any future discontent, as said by the right hon. Gentleman, he expected nothing of the kind, for in fact, the greater part of the places alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman had as large a share of the Representation as they could in justice expect. After making these objections in detail, which the right hon. Gentleman had not substantiated, the right hon. Gentleman wound up his doleful story by an appeal to the melancholy events which had taken place in Paris, and by them he warned us to expect no stability from the present measure. The right hon. Gentleman had made an allusion to what his right hon. friend near him had asserted the other night, as to the present situation of France—and had observed, it was sin- gular enough that his right hon. friend should, at the moment, be speaking of the peace of that country when it was again in a state of disturbance and confusion. The right hon. Gentleman had not accurately represented what his right hon. friend had asserted. His right hon. friend had never alluded to the late French revolution as other than a great calamity; but still he had contended, and all must allow, that it was an inevitable calamity, unless the doctrine was held that there was nothing for a nation except passive obedience, even when a King had overthrown the law by his ordinances, and violated his oath and the charter, as the late king of France had done.

Mr. C. W. Wynn

asked, which late King?

Lord John Russell

said, the right hon. Gentleman might rejoice in the prospect of a new revolution, but he did not, and he alluded to Charles 10th. He (Lord John Russell) would here ask, whether any Member could defend the conduct of Charles 10th? Had he not disregarded the charter, and by his ordinance driven the people to resistance? It could not, however, be denied that a change of dynasty caused considerable inconvenience, and often a degree of danger to the people of a country. Before rash conjectures and sneers were indulged in at the expense of the reigning monarch, it should be borne in mind that all new dynasties (that of the houses of Orange, and Brunswick in this country, for example) required time to become invested with those rooted associations attached to ancient monarchies. The question was not whether danger might follow in the train of a successful resistance to a Government which had rendered itself odious to the people, but whether, revolution having taken place, those who had caused such a revolution were justified in the course they had taken. With regard to the question as to the insecurity of Kingsin France, spoken of by the right hon. Gentleman, it had no sort of point in relation to the state of things in this country. He (Lord John Russell) should not have made the latter observations, on a subject so foreign to the matter as the Bill now under the consideration of the Committee, had not the right hon. Gentleman introduced the subject in the course of his speech.

Mr. Croker

said, that the noble Lord had mistaken his argument. He had only alluded to the strange coincidence of the right hon. Gentleman's happening to talk of the tranquillity which prevailed in France at the very moment when blood was flowing in the streets of Paris, more profusely than it had done since the first revolution. But his disapprobation of such revolutions as France had been exhibiting for forty years past, did not, and could not, imply any acquiescence on his part in the antiquated doctrine of passive obedience. If the revolution of July, in France, which had been eulogized by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. C. Grant), and the noble Lord, received their praise for its bloodless moderation, he could not, he said, go along with them, for out of that revolt arose the present tumults, which were attended with extreme violence and frightful bloodshed. The recent lamentable events, as well as others of the same deplorable kind, which would probably follow, were the natural consequences of the monstrous principles of the July revolution. But he would not again enter into that often debated subject.

The noble Lord imagined that he had complained that the Government had laid down certain rules for the conduct of the Commissioners; but he did not. On the contrary, what he complained of was, that neither the Ministers nor the Commissioners had any clear and certain rule of proceeding—that they did this thing in one place, and that thing in another. For instance, with regard to Exeter and Nottingham, he wished that either rule should be equally applied to both places. The noble Lord said, that the principle which had been acted upon in the case of Exeter had been everywhere else applied. The noble Lord was mistaken. He would give him another instance, in addition to those he had before stated—the case of the town of Derby. The Commissioner reported that there were certain villages within a mile of the town of Derby, flourishing places, with 1,700 inhabitants; but he nevertheless took upon himself to decide that these two places had no claim, from their situation, to be added to the town of Derby. He asked the noble Lord, how he would distinguish these two cases from St. Leonard's and St. Sidwell, in the case of Exeter? These latter places had been added to Exeter, while the two other places, which almost joined the continuous mass of houses of Derby, had, it seemed, no claim to Representation on account of their situation. So much for Exeter and Derby. But there was the case of the town of Birmingham, which certainly had been treated in the most extraordinary manner. The town of Birmingham was extended on one side three or four miles; on the other it was so confined, that who did the House think was excluded from a vote for Birmingham? The House would be rather surprised when he told them, that the father of the arts in Birmingham, the great manufacturer, the man who had done more for the industry and trade of that great town than almost any individual that ever lived—Matthew Bolton, was excluded from a vote for Birmingham, although his house and celebrated manufactories were within a much smaller distance from Birmingham than other places which were taken in. [Sir John Wrottesley: Soho is in the county of Stafford.] In the county of Stafford! Would the hon. Gentleman tell him of a single other instance in which the difference of counties had been regarded? Would the hon. Gentleman tell him, even in the case of Birmingham itself, that it had been regarded? Did the hon. Gentleman not know that several boroughs were extended by this Act into different counties? He was sorry to be obliged to tell the hon. Baronet, as he had been obliged to do once or twice before, that he did not understand the subject on which he had thus volunteered his erroneous evidence. The noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, said, that he (Mr. Croker) had made a radical mistake in contrasting the new boroughs, with the old. The noble Lord said, that the old borough of Midhurst had 200 or 300 houses above Amersham; that he denied, and he challenged the noble Lord to the proof. It was said, that Midhurst was superior in taxation; but taxation was only taken as a guide when it seemed to serve the particular purpose of the Ministry; while Amersham was greatly superior in point of population, which was the standard by which Ministers professed to be guided in their great operations. It might be true, that the old borough of Midhurst had the advantage in point of taxation, but he repeated, that if the borough of Atnersham had been dealt with as Midhurst had been, the new borough of Amersham would have vastly exceeded the proposed borough of Midhurst, in houses and taxation, as well as in population and general importance. There was one phrase which fell from the noble Lord that was heard with great surprise. The noble Lord said, Ministers did not make schedule A more extensive because they were unwilling to carry disfranchisement further than was absolutely necessary. Absolutely necessary! Now, when he recollected what lately happened in another place, and remembered that they were told it was a fair ground for the resignation of Ministers, that the other branch of the Legislature should have been inclined to vote that disfranchisement should not be carried further than was "absolutely necessary," it did appear to him to be one of the most extraordinary things, that this identical phrase should have come so pat to the noble Lord—that he could find no other than this identical phrase, which they had heard repeated, like the words in a catch, in all the debates which occurred in another place, and in all the discussions to which those debates had given rise. This very phrase fell from the lips of the noble Lord, as the natural and spontaneous feelings of his own heart; and he (Mr. Croker) could not but wonder at the consistency which, a fortnight ago, denounced and reprobated the very sentiment which was to-day so confidently adopted. He agreed most heartily with the noble Lord's present and better opinion, that it was not wise or prudent to extend disfranchisement further than was absolutely necessary; but he wished the noble Lord had explained why his Majesty's Government resigned when the House of Lords expressed a precisely similar opinion? The noble Lord said, that he had accused the three superior Commissioners, and suspected their motives. Any one who looked at the Reports would find they were not signed by the superior Commissioners, but that each of them was signed by the individual Commissioner who was sent to the individual place; and he did not mean to arraign any Commissioner for more than his own share of the anomalies which had been committed. The noble Lord said, the Commissioners stated that they had treated Tamworth in the same way as they had treated Tavistock and Horsham; and asked, could they have been guilty of the slightest impropriety if they had done so? and he would answer, certainly not: but the noble Lord was totally erroneous in his premises. The noble Lord chose to forget or to overlook altogether this important fact, upon which the whole question turned, that Tamworth had 325 rated houses, that Tavistock had but 260, and Horsham only 130. The instructions given to the Commissioners were, "If you find 300 10l. houses in any borough, you have nothing to do with it." That was the general rule. They were to find 300 10l. houses; they were not restricted from going beyond that amount, but they were to find 300 10l. houses, and to proceed until they obtained them. It was not necessary, therefore, for the Commissioners to have added one single acre or one single house to Tamworth; and they had added no less than 11,000 acres; but it was necessary to add to Tavistock, which had only 260 houses, and to Horsham, which had only 130. It might be right or wrong to add to Horsham and to Tavistock; but Tamworth having a sufficient number of houses already, it was not right to add to Tamworth. The noble Lord had endeavoured to reply to his observations on Gatton—with what success the House would judge. But to show the absurdity of all the Ministerial proceedings he would only make one additional observation, that if the noble proprietor of that borough had happened to pay his taxes at his house in Gatton, instead of paying them at his house in London, that borough too might have been saved, as well as its two fellows, Old Sarum and "scandalous "Midhurst. If such a result had taken place, the noble Lord would have said, "This is a case which I may regret, but which must be determined by the general rule." But what, then, was that rule good for, which, if properly applied, would create a system of Representation, which, in effect, preserved Old Sarum and Midhurst, and ought to have preserved Gatton?—The Reformed Parliament would probably answer that question!

Mr. Littleton

wished to say a few words on the present occasion, as to the instructions given the Commissioners, there being an erroneous impression abroad upon the subject. The arrangements were not, as most persons, in and out of doors, imagined, entirely in the hands of the Commissioners, who, under the present Bill (not so under that of last Session), were but so many agents collecting information for Ministers. It was perfectly true, that the original instructions were, as had been stated, when 300 10l. rated houses were found in a place not to extend the boundary, but, since the introduction of the present Bill, those instructions had undergone modification. He was one of the three before whom those matters had come, and he must say, that the Commissioners acted more on the spirit than the letter of their instructions, and were in many instances—Tamworth, for example—determined by a variety of circumstances, other than the mere arithmetical standard of 300 voters. In some places it appeared to them that twenty or thirty under that number would be no practical disadvantage; in others, that twenty or thirty above it constituted no practical disadvantage; and they exercised a discretion accordingly. With regard to the borough of Tamworth, he knew there was a discrepancy between the statement of the Commissioners, who had made their inquiries upon the spot, and the information transmitted to Government by the Town Clerk and the Vestry Clerk. The principle upon which the borough had been treated he had no hesitation in declaring to be the one acted upon in other cases. It was singular enough that this was the only case in which a discrepancy appeared between the Reports made. It was true, that by the Returns to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred, the town of Stafford contained but 250 householders, voters, but the Bill would increase that number to 410, independently of the freemen of the borough. With such a constituency, therefore, it would be needless to extend the boundary; not so Tamworth, with 325 voters. When the Committee reached Exeter in the Bill, he should be ready to defend the course pursued as respected that city. This he would here say, that no parallel existed as to the cases of Exeter and Derby. Then, with regard to Birmingham, there was nothing in the objection of the right hon. Gentleman. The situation of the premises of Messrs. Bolton and Watt was such that it could not be conveniently included in the boundary. In the whole of the six volumes now on the Table he did not, on his honour, believe that the Commissioners, in their lines of boundary, went one yard, either to the right or to the left, with a view of serving any particular interest.

Mr. Croker

must still insist that Tamworth had been differently treated to Tavistock and Horsham.

Mr. John Campbell

said, that under the Bill, Stafford would contain at least 700 bona fide voters, and it was impossible that any just objection could be made with respect to the conduct of the Commissioners in regard to that place.

Sir Charles Wetherell

said, he should select one or two cases for his remarks. The hon. member for Stafford considered the limits of Stafford sacred, but why were the limits of Tamworth to be violated? The case of Tamworth was a gross one. He would not offend the fastidious eats of Ministers and their satellites by applying the term "partiality" to the proceedings of the Boundary Commissioners, but he would beg the Gentlemen who objected to the milk and water term of "partiality" to review their own vocabulary, such as "boroughmongers," and other terms equally in demand among the epicures of Reform? He would not use the word partiality, but he would charge the Commissioners with ignorance in setting out these boundaries, and say, that either through ignorance or design, they had departed from their own principles. In making new boroughs they travelled out of the ancient limits; but in the demolition of franchises they took the narrowest limits. If they had done for the boroughs in schedule B as much as they had done for the places in the schedules C and D, every borough in the former would continue to return two Representatives, and not half of those in schedule A would deserve disfranchisement. And why had they capriciously and partially departed from the principles which they professed to act upon? Simply to give the Radical party a dirty victory over the ancient and constitutional principle of prescription. It was to keep pace with the programme of a new Constitution promulgated by M. Lafitte in France. This it was, that led to the various anomalies and partialities of the present Bill and its predecessor in innovation; and this it was, that made Ministers resign on a paltry question of alphabetical precedence. His right hon. friend (Mr. Croker) had demonstrated their injustice towards Tamworth and other places from motives that were obvious—the same motives that made them swamp the electors of the city of Oxford, by annexing to it the adjacent and populous parishes of St. Giles and St. Clement. Oxford contained ten or eleven parishes, and he wished to know upon what principle these parishes out of the city had been added, for they paid nothing towards the assessments for the city. He thought such an addition to a constituency of several thousands was both wanton and capricious. It was said, that the present measure would be a final one, but how was that possible when the system which it established was to the full as anomalous as that which it was to supersede? The House was told that additions were made to the different boroughs, on the principle of contiguity; but in the case of Arundel the Commissioners had taken a carrier-pigeon or wild-duck flight over five or six parishes in order to take in Little Hampton. It happened, that the interest of the Duke of Norfolk was very predominant at Little Hampton. He would not be deterred by any consideration from using a fair parliamentary argument, and saying, that it was partiality to the Duke of Norfolk's interest which had included Little Hampton in the boundary of Arundel, and excluded other parishes more contiguous. He would hereafter comment upon other cases as they came before the Committee. For the present he would content himself with making a few observations on what had fallen from the noble Lord on the subject of the French Revolution. ["Oh"] Those hon. Members who did not like any allusion to that subject might have given a little hint to the noble Paymaster of the Forces who introduced it. When a topic was introduced by one Member as the foundation of an argument, it was usual to allow another Member to reply to it. The French Revolution was an arrow taken out of the quiver of the Reformers; it was not shot from his side of the House. He alluded to the subject only for the purpose of stating that a new Representative system had been tried in France three times—first, by the Charter of 1792; secondly, by the Charter of Louis 18th; and thirdly, by the Charter of the present king, if king he now were, or king he deserved to be called: on each occasion the experiment had failed. Events were now going on which pretty plainly portended that a new representative system would be tried in France for the fourth time, and he had no doubt with no greater success than had attended the previous trials. Gentlemen need not be alarmed; he was not about to enter into the history of the existing French Revolution, or that of the last, but would confine himself to the fact that attempts had been made in France to frame a representative system which would satisfy the people, and all had failed. That was one of the reasons which had induced him to oppose the Reform Bill, because, when the system of prescription was abandoned, there was established in its stead a system as anomalous and discrepant as that which it supplanted.

Lord Althorp

said, that the hon. and learned Member seemed to be surprised that any one should object to the use of the word partiality. The hon. and learned Member contended that it was perfectly parliamentary to use the word. That was a position which he was not disposed to dispute; but he thought that, in such a case as the present, it would be better not to employ the word, because here it meant very little less than dishonesty. He thought that the hon. and learned Member would not himself feel particularly gratified at being told that he had been guilty of dishonesty. The hon. and learned Member said, that if Ministers had added to the boroughs which were wholly or partially disfranchised by the Reform Bill, as they had added to the boroughs enumerated in the Boundary Bill, the whole of the places in schedule B would have been preserved, together with about twenty of those in schedule A. He would go further than the hon. and learned Gentleman, and say, that if that course had been adopted, the whole of the boroughs in schedule A would have been saved. But would not Ministers have more than ever been exposed to the charge of partiality, if they had attempted to bring boroughs within the line by adding to their boundaries? They were obliged to take a fixed boundary with a view to disfranchisement, and, the task of disfranchisement having been completed, it only remained to give a proper constituency to the places which were to remain, or be enfranchised. In order to effect this object, it was necessary to make additions to their boundaries. It appeared to him impossible that they could have acted in any other way than they had done. The hon. and learned Member had alluded to the French Revolution; but he (Lord Althorp) could not see the relevancy of the French Revolution to a Bill to determine the boundaries of boroughs. It was not extraordinary that an expression of surprise should have escaped from some hon. Members when that subject was in- troduced. The hon. and learned Member said, that two whole parishes were added to the city of Oxford; but, as far as be (Lord Althorp) could see, from the Report of the Commissioners, and the Plan upon the Table, only the parish of St. Clement was added to Oxford, and that was done on the principle of continuity. In this case he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman had gone even beyond his usual strong mode of stating his own views, when he said, that the constituency of Oxford, consisting of upwards of 2,000, would be swamped by the addition of 180 voters. It was rather surprising that those who had always professed themselves friendly to the landed interest should object to the addition of agricultural districts to boroughs, by which the influence of that interest must be augmented. As an objection, however, was made to the monstrous size of some of the boroughs created by the Bill, he might be excused for referring to the extent of some of the boroughs which existed before the Bill was introduced. Colchester, for example, contained upwards of 11,000 acres; Thetford, 6,977 acres; and Wenlock, 47,000 acres. Thus it appeared that it was not a novelty in the constitution of boroughs that they should extend over a great number of acres. The hon. and learned Gentleman had accused the Commissioners of having skipped over several parishes in order to get at Little Hampton. That was not the case. All the intermediate parishes were included in that district. He would not enter further into detail. All he could say was, that if it should appear to the House that additions had been improperly made in some cases, or omitted in others, Ministers would be ready to make any alterations which were necessary. They had no interest in the matter, one way or the other. He was certain that if hon. Gentlemen looked at the manner in which the additions were made, they would be satisfied that no advantage was given to any political party. He might here be allowed to mention, that in the comparison which the right hon. member for Aldeburgh had made, of ten boroughs which returned one Member each, and the ten which returned two each, it so happened that the disadvantage was on the side of the party with which he (Lord Althorp) was politically connected. The result of a dispassionate inquiry would prove that the Commissioners had in no instance been swayed by a political bias. He would not say that mistakes might not be proved against them, but he would assert that no partiality, either political or personal, could be.

First Clause agreed to.

On the Clause relating to Gloucestershire,

Lord Granville Somerset

recommended that Thornbury should be substituted as the place of nomination, instead of Wotton-under-Edge.

Lord John Russell

assented, and Thorn-bury was accordingly substituted.

On the Clause respecting Lancashire,

Lord John Russell

moved an Amendment, to alter the place of election for the southern division from Wigan to Newton.

Mr. Thicknesse

said, that Wigan was better than Newton which was a mere village.

Lord Stanley

supported the proposed change.

The Committee divided on the Amendment:—Ayes 54; Noes 5—Majority 49.

Clause agreed to, as were the Clauses to Worcester.

House resumed—Committee to sit again.