§ Sir Robert Heron
moved, that the 6th of Anne, c. 7, be read. This having been done, the hon. Baronet proceeded to say, that, in bringing forward the Motion of which he had given notice, he wished to correct an impression on the subject which had by some means or other got abroad. It had been stated in the newspapers, and elsewhere, out of that House, that he brought forward his present motion with the sanction of his Majesty's Ministers; but this was not the fact, for, up to the period of giving his notice, it was not known to the Government that he ever contemplated submitting such a motion. Having made this observation, he would proceed, as briefly as possible, to lay the grounds on which his Motion was founded before the House. As he did not wish to occupy their time by unnecessary remarks, it would be sufficient for him to say, that the principle which the Bill he proposed to introduce was intended to establish had been constantly acted upon up to the time of the Reformation and afterwards, though not always so regularly. The two Acts that had placed the matter on its present footing, were the 6th of Queen Anne and the 41st of George 3rd. Before the Reform of Parliament, no member of this House, or of any former House, would have conceived the idea of disapproving of any portion of the check the people either possessed, or were supposed to possess, upon the influence of the Crown, or upon the appointment of its Ministers; but now that Parliament was reformed,—now that the people were substantially represented 383 —now that it was utterly impossible for any administration to continue in power without the confidence, or contrary to the wishes of the nation,—it seemed to him that the provision was perfectly unnecessary, and that it could have no other effect than to embarrass the just prerogatives of the Crown in the choice of its servants. The people had obtained their rights, and he rejoiced at it; but the more their power and that of the House of Commons was thereby increased, the, more necessary it was to maintain the legitimate rights of the other branches of the Legislature—the privileges of the Lords, and the prerogative of the King. It could not be denied, that all popular assemblies were subject to sudden impulse: they were liable to be carried away by ambitious and unprincipled demagogues, and excitement prevailed upon no occasion more than at elections. The ultimate and deliberate opinion of the people was rarely wrong; they soon recovered from their delusion, in this island at least. In former times, when the vacating of seats might have been useful, it was constantly avoided, and became utterly fruitless. Now that it was unnecessary, it was most powerful and effective. While it was utterly inoperative for good, it was potent for annoyance. Hon. Members were, perhaps, scarcely aware of the manner in which it was formerly maintained; and the consequence was, that few of the principal ministers of this country had ever sat for populous places. Sir R. Walpole sat for Lynn; the first Mr. Pitt for Seaford; Mr. H. Pelham was almost a solitary exception, as he was a county member; Mr. Perceval sat for Northampton, then, in some degree, a nomination borough; Lord North sat for Banbury; Mr. Pitt and Lord Lansdown were members for Universities, which certainly could not properly be said to possess a popular constituency. Mr. Fox, for the short time he had been in power, was Minister, as it were, in defiance of the Crown; Mr. Addington represented Harwich; but the most remarkable instance was Mr. Canning, who sat for Liverpool until he became Minister, and then thought it necessary to relinquish it. But the custom of vacating seats, which before the Reform Bill was fruitless, at this moment was most effective and inconvenient. No Minister could now avoid it; he must sit for a popular place, since there were no others; nomination boroughs were at an 384 end. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to deny that they were at an end; but if nomination boroughs were not entirely swept away, it must be allowed that there were not many of them remaining. He would not dispute, however, that there were still places in which individuals had a great and preponderating influence. A man might persuade his neighbours to elect a son, a brother, or a friend; but he would not be able to persuade them to withdraw their confidence from the Member whom they had chosen in order to confer it upon a stranger. The Member, too, however desirous of supporting the Minister, would not be able to give them his constant aid. In short, a Member could not be governed as formerly; the steward of a borough could not now reply, "I neither know nor care whom I have nominated;" nor would another returning officer be obliged to send to a distance to ascertain the name of the candidate before he could insert it. He repeated, therefore, that the practice of vacating seats, formerly merely nugatory, was at this time effective even to the disturbance of the King's prerogative. The most popular Ministry might thus be disorganized: a Member who well deserved the approbation of the rest of the community might be rejected on an appeal to his constituents, because he had opposed some local job. Almost every one acknowledged, that it had become absolutely necessary to find a remedy for the evil of Ministers now vacating their seats; and he had heard only two remedies suggested. One was that which he understood was to be proposed as an amendment to his Motion, namely, to give seats to certain Ministers of the Crown ex-officio upon their being nominated to their places in the Government. The difficulties of this arrangement were supposed to be renewed by not giving to such officers the right of vote, but only to speak. He confessed, he thought the House required no accession of talkers. He would ask, if they had proved themselves a House of such taciturnity as to make it necessary to import twenty or thirty additional talkers ex-officio, who were to have nothing else to do? He objected to such a plan. The scheme was French; and, however much he respected that country, and hoped long to preserve our alliance with it, yet her institutions did not suit us; and while we had good ones of our own, he was not disposed to go abroad for others. 385 He was decidedly opposed to this remedy, because there was another perfectly equal to the object, and that was to abolish altogether the custom of vacating seats in that House upon taking office. Some had proposed, that the principle of not vacating the seat should be confined to a mere change of office, and that, in case of office under Government being accepted for the first time, the Member should vacate his seat. To this he saw many objections; and the first was, that it was not adequate to the evil. It seldom happened that a Minister was kept out of Parliament by such a change, though there was now a remarkable instance of it. But what would the country say to such a plan? Why, that the majority of the present House, who were friendly to the Ministers now in office, were disposed to put in their hands a power to keep themselves there by allowing them to make such changes without subjecting them to the control of the people; while, as soon as his Majesty should wish to choose their successors, then they called for a popular election. He should therefore propose a Bill upon the plan he had himself stated, and the officers he should include in it would be the following:—The Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Treasurer, the Commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretaries of State, the Secretary at War, the President of the India Board, the President and Vice-President of the Board of Trade, the Secretary of the Admiralty, the Secretary of the India Board, the Master-General of the Ordnance, the Clerk of the Ordnance, the Surveyor-General of the Ordnance, the Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance, the Paymaster-General of the Forces, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, the Attorney-General for Ireland, the Solicitor-General for Ireland, the Lord Advocate of Scotland, and the Military Secretary of the Commander-in-Chief. There were two other officers which, for obvious reasons, he had not included, and they were the Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, and the Steward of the Hundred of East Hendred. It now only remained for him to state the period at which the Act should come into operation. As it seemed to him to be an obvious impropriety that hon. Members of that House should 386 legislate that they themselves should not vacate their seats upon accepting office, he would leave the period blank; but, in his opinion, the Act ought not to take effect until after a dissolution. He concluded by moving for leave to bring in a Bill to prevent the necessity of hon. Members accepting certain offices vacating their seats.
§ Mr. Edward Lytton Bulwer
was of opinion, that this was a question, above all others, in which there ought to exist no misinterpretation on the part of the public as to the motives of hon. Gentlemen. It should not be brought forward by a Tory, lest it might be suspected to be a sly invasion of popular rights; neither should it be brought forward by a Whig, however liberal his views, who was in the habit of supporting the present Ministry. It was far better, that such a recommendation should come from an independent Member, attached to neither of the two parties, and, therefore, he had undertaken to propose an amendment, to which the hon. Baronet had alluded, the principle of which was, that Ministers should have a right to seats in this House by virtue of their office, but that they should not enjoy the privilege of voting, unless returned by some popular constituency. He was not satisfied with the proposition of the hon. Baronet, because he thought, while it violated a great theoretical principle, it did not remove the worst dangers of the present system. It violated a great theoretical principle, because it was obvious, that when a constituency chose an independent member of Parliament, they often chose him on account of his very independence. They might be dissatisfied with a government, they might elect a member exactly because he sympathized with them in that dissatisfaction, and the instant he was returned he might accept office, and for the next six years retain a seat, enforcing, as a Minister, that very set of opinions which he had obtained that seat by opposing as a member. It was a fiction to call such a man a representative of the people. He might have good reasons for his change; he might be an honest minister; but he was not a true representative. The principle of the Constitution was, not that the people should choose Ministers, but that they should have an immediate opportunity of deciding whether or not they wished their representatives to become 387 Ministers; and this principle the present measure would entirely destroy. In short Parliaments the Bill would be less dangerous; but with the present long duration of Parliament, it would only be a shelter for tergiversation, and a shield to apostasy. But if the measure thus violated a great and sound principle, did it meet all the practical evils of the present system? The obvious and most glaring inconvenience of the present system was, that men might be chosen to office, not in proportion as they would fit the station with honour, but in proportion as they could vacate their seats with safety. The motion of his hon. friend certainly remedied that evil; but there were others more latent and more dangerous, which it did not meet. As the practical inconvenience of losing men of ability and experience just at the very time when their talents might be put to the greatest use,—as this inconvenience increased, and the public as well as the Government experienced its effects, there would grow up a disposition to wink at any means by which the inconvenience could be repaired; small boroughs, under the influence of property, would gradually be pressed into service in any emergency, and many a phœnix would silently rise out of the smouldering ashes—suppositos cineri doloso—of Gatton and Lostwithiel. He granted that, at the present moment, there seemed to be no danger of a want of vigilance on the part of the public, and that they seemed to be even morbidly anxious that no green spot should be found for the wandering ark of a disconsolate Attorney-general. But then that gentleman, and some others in a similar predicament, whatever might be their talents or services, were not very noisily or dangerously popular at the time they were so suddenly expelled from the paradise of those benches; the danger was, that in the first instance some very popular persons, darlings of the press and of the public, should by some accident, some local manœuvre, lose their seats, and that, in the excess of their popularity, any resources for their re-entrance into that House would be easily pardoned; the precedent once set in this instance, it would be very easy for an artful and crafty administration to establish and confirm it. These, then, appeared to be the evils of the present system—inconvenience to the public in the loss of able men; a probable undue pre- 388 ponderance in the cabinet of the agricultural interest; a subjection to the wishes of peculiar constituencies, rather than an impartial view of the general interests of the country at large—a principle which, if faulty in an ordinary member, was most faulty in a Minister; and lastly, the great temptation afforded to corruption. Now, the hon. Baronet's measure, if it remedied the evils at all, only remedied them in part. The measure he would propose seemed to him to remedy them entirely. The hon. Baronet's bill did not apply to general elections, which, no less than in occasional contests, an honest and able servant of the public might lose his seat: it did not, therefore, prevent the temptation to close boroughs, nor the undue regard to the sectarian interests of peculiar constituencies. But the remedy he intended to propose seemed to him to meet all the evils. It was obvious that, if Ministers held seats by virtue of their office, there could be no local or temporary causes for not selecting, as ministers, the ablest men, whether in that House or out of it; that this balance of interests in the Cabinet could always be adjusted; that there would be a greater freedom from the undue influence of peculiar constituencies, and that there would be no inducement to an administration to attempt to effect once more the convenient resources of rotten boroughs. One objection might be urged, both to his project and that of the hon. Baronet: it would be said, that you take away a great check which the people hold upon the Government in making them see how far they were acting in accordance with, or in opposition to, the popular opinion. He would not include, in his proposition, all the dii minores of the Ministerial Pantheon; partly because the business of the state was not greatly interrupted, the machinery of legislation did not stand still, if a Lord of the Admiralty or a Lord of the Treasury suddenly left an aching void upon the opposite benches; but principally because the lesser officers were rather living proofs of the patronage of state than persons supporting high and responsible duties; and it might be well that they should be, from time to time, subjected to their constituents, in order that it might be clearly ascertained that they were not guided by a low ambition in the adoption of offices leading often to no further eminence, and having more connexion with profit than distinction. 389 The measure he would propose should include one organ in that House of each of the principal departments of state, whether secretary or under-secretary, president or vice-president (because the heads of the office might, perhaps, be in the House of Lords)—such as the Home Department, the War-office, the Foreign-office, the Admiralty, the Colonies, the India Board, and the Board of Trade, to which he thought should be added the office of Secretary for Ireland; and as the presence of one law officer in that House was expedient, he thought it wisdom as well as charity to include either the Attorney or Solicitor-General. In his Motion, he should not, however, define the offices, but make merely a general proposition; the number of offices was a detail, and not a principle, of the measure. But this only he would say, that the precise number signified little, if none had votes, unless returned by a constituency; nor did he know one of the offices he had named in which an organ in that House was less necessary than another. He said, if they had no votes, unless they were bonâ fide members; for in allowing Ministers seats in that House ex officio, he never for a moment confounded them with the representatives of the people. He did not give them the great distinction of a representative—the right of voting. They would reap the advantages of the talents and the services of a Minister, but he did not propose to establish, as the hon. Baronet in some measure did, the dangerous precedent of allowing a man to vote on behalf of the people whom the people had not chosen. He left the Minister that which he was—an officer of the state, explaining his views and answering questions; hut he did not suppose the Minister to be that which he was not, a man intrusted by the suffrage of a constituency with the power of voting, as well as advising, on matters of legislation and finance. By preserving that distinction, it would be obvious, that while they promoted the public convenience and advantage, they guarded themselves against any infringement of a popular principle. Perhaps the most convenient period to fix for a Minister's continuance would be the remainder of the Session in which he retired, and the one following; if the retirement happened during the recess of Parliament, the following Session would be sufficient. The period of his continuance was, however, a detail, 390 and not a principle in the resolution which he offered to the House, and would, of course, require more consideration than at this moment it might be necessary to bestow upon it. They might talk of popular principles being always sure to return a Minister; but how many constituencies were there which would reject a Minister for his very regard to the three most popular cries of the day—cheap law, cheap knowledge, and cheap bread. Let a people be ever so enlightened, there were always in the world bright and luminous minds, that cast their shadows far beyond the popular sight—the science of statesmanship was, indeed, a mockery and delusion, if there were not some of its professors who went beyond the multitude in the great principles of legislation, and offended the vulgar opinion by the very energy and providence of their views. If they adopted this, or some similar measure, they would obviate the most rational objection made to the abolition of close boroughs during the debates on the Reform Bill, but in a manner free from all the evils to which the system of close boroughs was exposed. They would advance the public convenience; they would give to an administration its legitimate energy—the unfettered power of selecting the fittest Ministers. They would guard the people in great measure from the influence of local jobbing and the temptation to future corruption; they would in no degree injure a popular principle; they would remove a serious obstacle to able and united government. Let them for once legislate in time before the mischiefs they foresaw came upon them. To prevent was an easy task; to cure was a most difficult one. A recourse to shifts and expedients, to hasty patchings-up of evils that could be endured no longer, was a very common, but always an ungracious and a very unsuccessful policy. Much better in this as in all respects, with the true providence of statesmen, to legislate afar off, and so avoid that task which they now in other things perpetually and vainly attempted—namely, the administering to evils long felt either sudden remedies or temporary palliatives. With the hope that this House and the Government might be so inclined, and while the worst consequences of the present system were yet in the bud, he moved the following amendment to the Motion of the hon. Baronet:—"That for the convenience of the public 391 service, and the promotion of the public interests, it was desirable that one Member in each of the principal departments of state should have a seat in that House, but without the privilege of voting, unless returned by the suffrages of a constituency."
§ Dr. Lushington
expressed his regret, that such propositions should have been made by the two hon. Members who had just spoken. He would vote both against the Motion and the Amendment, as it was not possible to make such a Motion palatable by any Amendment whatever. The principle of both was, to deprive the people, the electors of the kingdom, of one of their most valuable constitutional privileges; and the abandonment of this constitutional privilege would be the greatest insult that could be offered to the people by the Reformed Parliament, for it would be equivalent to saying, that the electors of the empire were unfit for, and unable to fulfil, those newly-received rights and duties which had been restored to them. Would hon. Gentlemen, then, venture to say, that the electors under the provisions of the Reform Bill were not as capable of exercising their judgment in the choice of their exercising as the constituencies, so to call them, of Old Sarum and the other boroughs which had been placed in schedule A. It had been urged by the hon. Member, that the privilege exercised by the people had in former times proved ineffectual. Now, however, it had acquired consistency and strength. And what was the result? Why, the moment it began to be efficacious and to produce those consequences, which it was considered desirable it should produce in former times, that moment came the hon. member for Lincoln to deprive, as far as he might, the people of England of the privilege they had of old enjoyed; and upon what principle was this?—on the principle of distrust in the people of England?—on the principle, that they were not able to judge for themselves in the choice of their representatives? The hon. member for Lincoln had, in fact, made a speech worthy of the highest Tory in the very worst of Tory times. He would say, let Government appoint whom they liked to office, but let the people decide who were fit to represent them. To what, he asked, were they indebted for this proposition—one, by the way, which could not fail to work serious injury to the constitu- 392 tion and to the privileges of the people? It had so happened, that a Lord of the Treasury and an Attorney-General had not succeeded in being again returned for the places which they had vacated on accepting office. He might be sorry, that the House was deprived of the benefits resulting from the diligence and talents of his hon. friend the Attorney-General; but this he could not weigh against the privileges of the people of England; and he could not consent, in order to prevent the recurrence of such inconveniences to the Administration, to sacrifice one of their most valuable privileges. He strenuously denied, that the liberal portion of the House would suffer more, as had been asserted, from the exercise of this privilege, than did the Tory Members. The great object of the Reform Bill was, he contended, to cement the union between the electors and the representatives. If a man did his duty fairly and honestly in that House, he could not fail to enjoy the perfect confidence of his constituents, and when he came again to ask for their suffrages, he would be sure to receive that to which alone he was entitled—a reception in accordance with his deserts. It did not follow, and should not follow, that because the King chose to appoint an individual to office, the people should be therefore compelled to bestow their confidence upon him. To assert such a doctrine, to put men into that House, responsible only to the Crown, speaking opinions for which they were not answerable to the people, might be cultivating the prerogative of the Crown, but it was treating with great contempt the privileges of the people. He protested against having any man in the House who was responsible only to the Crown. He for one would at all events oppose it, even if he were to stand alone.
§ Colonel Davies
agreed with the hon. and learned Member who last addressed the House in expressing his strong disapprobation of the Motion originally brought forward, as one calculated to infringe the elective rights of the people. At the same time he thought it an object of the greatest importance, that the Ministers of the Crown should have ex-officio seats in that House, in order to explain matters and give information connected with their offices, which could otherwise only be arrived at by uncertain means. He would vote for the Amendment.
§ Mr. Ward
said, that to him the speech of the hon. member for Lincoln was incomprehensible. He could not enter into the hon. Member's refinements. He was strongly opposed both to the original Motion and to the Amendment; believing, as he did, that either must weaken the connecting link which bound the people to their representatives, and tend to raise an irresponsible power in the House. This tie he had hoped was drawn closer by the Reform Bill—it was at least more valuable, and he was not prepared to abandon it because Gentlemen whose opinions he for the most part shared were in power. For the sake of their immediate convenience, he was not prepared to cast aside his old convictions, and to place in that House men who were wholly irre-responsible. France and Belgium had been referred to but he was yet to learn, that they had got so much the start of us in the forms of their constitution and the arrangements of their assemblies, that we should be led to take example from the peculiar provisions of their popular institutions. He could not see why that expression of public opinion—in one, too, of its ancient and unobjectionable forms which in this country had hitherto carried everything which had been generally considered beneficial to the commonweal without force—should now be repressed; and he sincerely hoped, that both Motion and Amendment would be rejected by the House.
§ Mr. Roebuck
was quite opposed to the principle, that a Member, on accepting office, should not vacate his seat in Parliament, but it did not therefore follow, that Ministers of the Crown should not have ex-officio seats in that House. That might be very convenient; and if the principle were to be admitted that the members of Government should hold seats in that House by virtue of their office, in order to give information upon matters connected with their several departments, he could not see why the same principle should not be extended to give them a right to sit in the other House of the Legislature, where their explanations, after having been delivered in the House of Commons, might be repeated much to the advantage and convenience of all parties. He conceived, therefore, that the Amendment was deserving of support, but thought it should have been brought forward as a substantive Motion.
§ Lord Althorp
, being loudly called for, rose, and said, that he considered the question one of the greatest importance both to the House and to the nation. It had been objected to both the measures proposed, that they would have the effect of making a great change in the principles of the Constitution. The objection he had against agreeing to either proposition did not, he must admit, arise from any apprehension of that sort. There were two propositions before the House—the original Motion of the hon. member for Peterborough, which hon. Member wished to do away with the existing regulation, that a Member on accepting office under the Crown must of necessity vacate his seat; and the Amendment of the hon. member for Lincoln, who wished, that the acceptor of certain offices under the Crown should ex officio be entitled to a seat. It was said, that these propositions if agreed to, would be an infringement on the great principles of the Constitution; he could not say that he thought so. The Act which gave a constituency the right of expressing their opinion on their Representative's acceptance of office under the Crown, conferred, no doubt, a very valuable privilege upon the people, and one which they ought not to be deprived of, except for very strong and peculiar circumstances; but he did not think, that the deprivation would amount to any violation of constitutional principles. The regulation was adopted by Parliament as a sort of compromise in the reign of Queen Anne. It had been first proposed, that no person holding such an office should at the same time hold a seat in the House; but as it was foreseen, that this arrangement would lead to many inconveniences, the appeal to the constituents by the vacation of the seat was adopted as a sort of compromise or expedient; and on the several occasions when the expedient had been resorted to, there were very few instances of any inconvenience resulting to either the Government, the Member, or his constituency. In the proposition of the hon. Baronet, he (Lord Althorp) saw no tendency towards an infringement on the Constitution: but, in the Amendment proposed by the hon. member for Coventry, he did see an infringement of the Constitution. That hon. Member's proposition appeared to him calculated to produce a complete change in the Constitution. If he were 395 obliged to choose between the propositions, he should adopt that of the hon. member for Peterborough; but the question was, whether the inconvenience sustained by the Government or people, was sufficient to justify any alteration at all. He thought not. The passing an Act whereby, for the future, any Member might accept office under the Crown, without being under the necessity of taking the sentiments of his constituents as to such acceptance, was depriving the latter of a very valuable privilege. On the other hand, the existence of the necessity of such an appeal had on several, though not many occasions, been an inconvenience to the Administration. An hon. Member had instanced Sir John Hob-house, as a case in point, but this was a mistake. Sir John Hobhouse had been re-elected after his acceptation of office: he was thrown out, after having resigned his seat on a subsequent occasion, which had no reference to his acceptance of office. The case of the Attorney-General, undoubtedly, was an instance in point, for that officer bad lost his seat in consequence of his acceptation of office, and his absence from the House had been felt as a great inconvenience by his Majesty's Government. During the discussion on the Reform Bill, it had been suggested to Ministers, that it would be well to introduce some regulation to this effect: it might or might not have been right to do so, but, in the circumstances under which Ministers were then placed, it was impossible to attempt it. The question now, however, was, whether the inconvenience which had been experienced by Ministers as yet, only in the single instance of the Attorney General—[Mr. Hume: There was a Lord of the Admiralty!] He did not consider that a case in point; but he did consider, that it was an extreme inconvenience to Government, that the Attorney General for the Crown should not have a seat in Parliament; nor was it merely an inconvenience to Government, but it was a very great injury to the public interests; and if the case were to occur often, that a member of the Government, whose presence in the House was so essential, was excluded from a seat, he should be disposed to agree, that an alteration in the law was called for as a matter of great public importance; but, as he before said, as such an inconvenience had, as yet, been 396 only felt by the Administration in a single instance, however peculiarly hard upon them that instance, was, he thought, that at present there did not exist any necessity for agreeing to the hon. Member's proposition. He was one of those who had changed his opinion on this point of members of the Government having seats in the House. There was a time when he was of opinion, that members of the Government should be excluded from the House altogether; he had changed his opinion; but this change of opinion was not induced by his accession to office, for he had altered his mind on the subject before he became a member of the Government. Hon. Members seemed to laugh; he could assure them office was no such bed of roses; he should not be particularly annoyed at the occurrence of any incident which would render it necessary for him to go out of office, But to the question. The worst effect of members of the Government not having seats in the House would be, that such an exclusion must necessarily tend to lessen their responsibility; he did not mean to say, their legal responsibility, which was great, but their positive, actual, and practical responsibility in that House, which was also very great. Sitting there night after night to propose and defend their measures, and being always liable to attacks from those who thought they did wrong, or from their political opponents, if they were not able to make a good defence for their conduct, and to answer the arguments or charges against them, the extent to which their character was liable to suffer, appeared to him the most certain and strongest practical responsibility that any man could be subject to. That responsibility, however, would be greatly diminished, if the members of Government, by being excluded from the House, were rendered incapable of explaining or defending their views and measures. It had been said, that a member of Government vacating his seat on acceptance of office need be under no apprehension of not getting into the House, after a short interval at any rate, for that there were always vacancies occurring; and if the individual did not recover his former seat, he might easily get a seat for some other place. He, however, by no means agreed in that opinion. If an hon. Member, on vacating his seat under such circumstances, were to be rejected by his pre- 397 sent constituents, it would be somewhat more difficult than was supposed to get other constituents to adopt him. Members, when rejected under such circumstances by one set of constituents, were very likely to be kept some time altogether out of Parliament. He was ready to admit his apprehension, that, at some future time, the inconvenience complained of might become so mischievous as to require some such alteration as that proposed by the hon. member for Peterborough; and, when such a necessity arose, he should be one of the first to recommend the plan. At present, he repeated, he did not think the necessity existed, and he should, therefore, recommend the hon. Member to withdraw his Motion. The proposition of the other hon. Member (Mr. L. Bulwer) he altogether disapproved of; to send an Administration into the House, with mere liberty of speaking, but without the right of voting, would be to place the members of Government in a position equally unpleasant and degrading.
§ The original Motion, and the Amendment, were both withdrawn.