HC Deb 07 March 1837 vol 37 cc8-67
Mr. Grote

spoke as follows:—Mr. Speaker, the subject on which I am about to address you, stands described in your paper of notices for this evening. It is one which I have already more than once submitted to your attention, and I propose on the present occasion to move, as I did last Session, for leave to bring in a Bill for taking votes by Ballot, at elections for Members of Parliament. Impressed as I am, Sir, with a deep conviction of the importance of the measure which I recommend, I entreat your patient attention while I set forth the grounds of my recommendation; and I shall promise neither to detain you for any great length of time, nor to overstep by one hair's breadth the strict limits of the subject. It is not my intention to trouble you with the details of the Bill, which I should propose, if leave were granted to me, to lay upon the table of the House. I shall content myself with stating, in general terms, that there are no great or insurmountable difficulties in providing effectual machinery for carrying the principle of the Ballot into execution. It is easy to devise means of rendering the process of voting by Ballot so short and so simple, that no voter in the community, however uninstructed, can be at all embarrassed in performing it; while at the same time full security is taken that the act of voting in the case of every voter shall be entirely secret and un-discoverable. Though I am perfectly prepared to enter into these explanations of detail, when the convenient season shall arrive, I think it best to omit them for the present; the more so, as I could not perform the task without occupying more of your valuable time than I am at all entitled to demand. Sir, if I were discussing the comparative advantage of open or secret suffrage, considered simply and exclusively as modes of voting, I should be enabled to prove to you that the Ballot, considered on this ground alone, presents the clearest title to your preference. It disengages you altogether from that disorderly tumult and vexatious obstruction which is inseparably connected with the pronunciation of a candidate's name at the hustings, and with the continuous proclamation of the varying state of the poll. It secures to you the inestimable advantage of quiet, gentleness, method, and propriety from the beginning to the end of the ceremony of polling. But, Sir, I do not rest my proposition exclusively on this narrower ground. My main purpose is, to procure free, sincere, and independent voting—to get the sense of the community fairly and freely taken. I desire, above all things, to protect the individual voter against seduction or coercion from without, in the exercise of his franchise. I desire to guard the nation at large against fraud and spurious returns, in collecting the aggregate sentiments of the electoral body. Your present system shamefully fails as to both these important points. I contend that you will attain neither of them without the Ballot. At the first statement, Sir, of the objects which I aim at, it should seem that I ought to have every man in the community heartily conspiring with me for the attainment of it, at least, every sincere politician, whether he be Whig, Tory, or Radical; for how can any man repudiate the principle of general freedom of votes, without assuming to himself a despotism little less monstrous than that of the ancient inquisition in matters of religion? What more will any man venture to demand, except that he shall be allowed full liberty of expressing his own opinion in his own vote; and is he not bound, as an essential condition of his own freedom in this respect, to accord the like to every other elector whatever? Besides, Sir, apart from such considerations of individual arrogance, look at the matter in a public point of view, and see whether the same principle is not forced upon us by reasonings the most evident that can be imagined. What is the public object for the accomplishment of which elections are instituted in England, as well as in every other country where they are known? It is, surely, to collect the sense of the people. Allow me to read to you a few words out of Mr. Burke's Thoughts on the Causes of the present Discontents (page 304);— It is material to us to be represented really and bona fide, and not in forms, and types, and shadows, and fictions of law. The right of election was not established merely as a matter of form, to satisfy some method and rule of technical reasoning; it was not a principle which might substitute a Titus or a Mævius, a John Doe or a Richard Roe, in the place of a man specially chosen—not a principle which was just as well satisfied with one man as with another. It is a right, the effect of which is to give to the people that man, and that man only, whom by their voices, actually and not constructively given, they declare that they know, esteem, love, and trust. This right is a matter within their own power of judging and feeling; not an ens rationis, or creature of law; nor can those devices, by which anything else is substituted in place of such actual choice, answer in the least degree the end of representation. Now, Sir, take the right of election, as it is here described in the forcible language of Mr. Burke; and let me ask, how can you give effect to that right, if the votes of electors be not fairly and freely taken? How can you find out "that man, and that man only, whom the people know, esteem, love, and trust," if the mode of election be such as to deter electors from telling you their real minds? Let me not be accused, Sir, of trifling with your time when I presume thus emphatically to remind you that free agency is the very soul of voting. However little such a proposition may be controverted in words, verbal assent is far from being all that is required. You find freedom of election recognised in the law books as the normal state of the constitution: nay, you find it not only formally announced, but loudly extolled as the safeguard and bulwark of English political liberty. But, Sir, the more forcibly we are touched with the solemnity of these declarations of right, the more we are delighted with the picture as we find it exhibited in books of authority, the stricter ought to be our watch that the reality as it exists corresponds with so pleasing a description. Now, let us look for a moment into the world without, and examine whether elections are really free, as our lawyers have directed and as our forefathers have promised and vowed that they should be? Let any man examine candidly, and he will see that no two things can be more diametrically opposed than the profession and the reality. The pretence is freedom of election—the reality wide-spread coercion and servitude. In profession, dependence of the voter is unknown; in practice, it prevails at all times and every where. Listen to the pa- negyric of Blackstone, and you will be beguiled into the belief that every man's vote is his own vote, the outward manifestation of a free and living conscience within him; descend into the committee-room, or accompany the canvassers in their progress at an election, and you will find that it is not modes of persuasion, but modes of compulsion or seduction, which they rack their ingenuity to discover. First, the method of acting upon an elector's fears; next, that of acting upon his hopes; last of all, that of acting on his heart and understanding. These, Sir, are the tactics of electioneering genius—they are the varieties of that which is commonly known by the plausible and deceitful name of influence. The wide extent of this unrighteous interference, and its encroachment on the freedom of the elective franchise, was so forcibly described in a speech delivered last year by the highest authority—the present Prime Minister of England—that I shall beg permission to borrow from that speech a few sentences of no ordinary moment. It is thus that Lord Melbourne expressed himself last year:—"The great disease of society, the great impediment to quiet government, the great evil of the day, the greatest prevailing abuse at present is, that every one thinks he has a right to employ his influence over another; each practises it, and each exclaims against its practice in a third person. The landlord enforces it on his tenant, the customer over his tradesman—they force conscience, and they drive persons against their will to the poll, to vote contrary to their own wishes. I say, then, that upon whatever side this influence is exercised, it is a cruel tyranny, and a gross injustice. I say that it is a great evil; it is one, too, prevailing in a greater degree in this than in any other country; and in no other country but this, where there is a popular form of Government does it prevail." Sir, these are memorable words, and I am enabled to cite not only the authority of Lord Melbourne to my present purpose, but also that of Lord Brougham; and 1 cite both these distinguished authorities with the greater confidence, in proof of the actual state of fact, because I know that both of them are unfavourable to the mode of remedy which I recommend. In an article in the Edinburgh Review for January, 1833, universally understood to have been written by that learned Lord, and written, I may add, in direct hostility to the Ballot. The extent of intimidation at elections described in language which it is impossible to surpass; the coercion which had been resorted to at the first election after the Reform Act, then just terminated, is depicted in the most revolting colours. Here are distinguished testimonies, such as can neither be denied nor eluded, respecting the actual state of the electoral world. Be it remarked, too, that they demonstrate this important fact—that intimidation of voters has become greater and more notorious since the passing of the Reform Act. But, Sir, I may dispense with the necessity of quoting individual testimonies in proof of such a conclusion, for the reports of Committees of this House afford materials sufficient for the most insatiable appetite. I pass over those Committees which you have named, for the purpose of investigating the proceedings of particular boroughs; though these are neither few in number, nor insignificant in their results. I confine myself to the Report of the Committee appointed generally on bribery and intimidation at elections; and I scruple not to affirm, that the evidence taken before that Committee fully bears out the worst statements that have ever been made respecting the extent of undue interference in elections, A large number of respectable witnesses from all parts of the kingdom were examined before that Committee, and the facts set forth by them, illustrate the working of evil influence over electors in all its shapes and varieties. Follow the series of evidences in this volume, Sir, and you will see that wherever any man possesses the means of inflicting injury upon another, or withholding benefits from him, the power is made subservient to electioneering purposes. It is thus that landlords deal with their tenants, customers with their tradesmen, employers of labour with their labourers, and in like manner every class of persons whose social position gives them a grain of ability to oblige or annoy their neighbours. Sometimes these influences are put forth more openly, sometimes more covertly, as the case may be; but, in substance, the intimation is always the same—"Vote as I desire, or it will be worse for you if you do not." In Ireland, from which country many of the witnesses examined before the Intimidation. Committee were taken, the distemper is the same in kind, but of exaggerated malignity; the coercion over electors is more terrific and undisguised; and the condition of the poorer class of electors under these circumstances is depicted in more than one instance, as little less than pitiable. You will not wonder, Sir, that in such a state of feeling, and with such an absence of protection, every species of fraud and wrong is committed on the aggregate result of elective franchise. It stands proved, that numbers of electors are constrained to vote in opposition to their real sentiments; and many others suffer loss and injury, because they will not submit to this means of escaping it. It is proved, moreover, that many electors are deterred from voting at all, while no inconsiderable portion of qualified persons consider their franchise as an inconvenience, and decline to put themselves on the register; and it is well worth your attention, Sir, that this is an evil not in course of diminution, but in course of increase—of marked and rapid increase. The threats of expulsion of tenants, realised in the awful sentence, hœc mea sunt, veteres migrate coloni—the resolutions of exclusive dealing—are more rife and more violent than ever. If we only advert to the recent election in the county of Longford, we shall find an extremity of terrorism and a fierceness of menace almost without parallel. As to exclusive dealing, the leading organs of Tory principles are found preaching it systematically and universally. In Blackwood's Magazine, and in the Quarterly Review, exclusive dealing has been insisted on as a matter of strict political obligation; the maxim which they appear to enforce is, without reserve, whoso will not vote as we bid shall be unto us as a stranger and sojourner. In some towns, so great has been the anxiety to secure the thoroughgoing operation of the principle of exclusive dealing, that lists of tradesmen voters on one side or on the other hare been printed and circulated for the use of intimidators—lists of tradesmen to be patronised or avoided. I hold in my hand, Sir, a printed list of this kind, printed by some zealous Conservatives of the town of Cambridge after the last election. It is entitled "An Alphabetical List of the Cambridge tradesmen who supported the Conservative Candidate at the last election, which took place on the 7th and 8th days of January, 1835, The persons whose names are preceded by an asterisk divided their votes in favour of one of the Radical Members." The list is most accurately classified and subdivided, according to the various trades of the voters; there are no less than seventy-six different trades enumerated, amongst which the voters named, being 441 in number, are distributed: and I shall only add, that I am informed the list has been but too rigidly and exclusively adhered to in apportioning the custom of members of the various colleges in the University. I am sorry that I am unable to mention the name of the printer by whom this list was put in type; but I do not find the name of the printer specified any where. At the close of the list I find the following paragraph:— When we observe the diabolical spirit with which the Church of our forefathers and the glorious constitution of our country is assailed, and see that our enemies are banded together to raze them to the dust, we think that the present list of the supporters of Church and State principles in the town of Cambridge is not altogether uncalled for. We believe that many whose names do not appear in this list have deserted the ranks of our opponents, and joined ours; but as their opinions are not upon record, we do not think ourselves justified in making them public at present, although, in a short time, we hope to have the pleasure of doing so; as the time cannot be far distant when the reckless imbeciles, who changed their theoretical motto of peace, retrenchment, and reform, to the practical one of place, pension, and plunder, who now goad with tyrannic cruelty our starving countrymen must yield to make way for better and more honest men. An election will then take place, and, our friends shall have a new, and, we doubt not, a much amended list of the Conservative tradesmen of this borough, as speedily as possible after the poll is taken; the result of which we fear not, as truth must triumph, justice must prevail. I make no remark, Sir, upon the style of this composition, emanating as it does from a soil so pre-eminently classical; I shall merely observe that it proclaims and instigates nothing less than a deliberate conspiracy against the freedom of the elective franchise, and I believe that the right hon. Gentleman who represents Cambridge has been told, as well as I have, of the use which has been made of the list in that town: at least, his supporters know it, and feel it to their cost. I cite it as one amongst many evidences to prove that the practice of exclusive dealing, as a means of perverting the suf- frages of voters, is working itself more and more into the habits of wealthy and powerful men, and tends to become more and more the established resource of those who can employ it with effect. Sir, I think it impossible that any man who will candidly weigh these evidences—I may say, any man who will take the trouble to recollect his own experience and observation—will rise and state that elections, as now conducted, are free and pure, or that they are at all likely to become so for the future. It cannot be superfluous, therefore, either to remind you of the magnitude of the evil, or to suggest new precautions for eradicating it. Now, Sir, the one and only precaution which my humble ingenuity can discover is the Ballot; and I declare with perfect sincerity, that I am ready to lay it aside if any other mode, equally effectual for attaining freedom and purity of election, can be pointed out to me. But I listen in vain for any such hint; out of the infinite number of Gentlemen who oppose the Ballot, not one can disprove the existence of the evil complained of, not one will condescend to start the idea of any alternative remedy. What then remains for me, except to cling to my own proposition with increased tenacity, and to enforce it again and again on the House, and on the public? Surely, Sir, the House will not so far abdicate the greatest of all functions, as to tolerate and connive at the continuance of those monstrous enormities in our electoral system, which have now become matters of such disgraceful notoriety. He who allows oppression shares the crime, and we shall indeed show that freedom of election has become vile and worthless in our eyes, if we reject every proposition calculated to rescue it from those iniquitous practices by which it is now subverted. The measure which I propose to you, will accomplish this end with perfect certainty; I say it confidently before you. Make the suffrage secret, and you at once make it free, beyond all possibility of disappointment. The snares by which electoral independence is beset, the menaces by which it is overborne and prostrated, will all be defeated by a system of secret suffrage. The Ballot will be an act of emancipation for all dependent voters; it will protect them against every variety of the many headed principle of intimidation, whether arising from a persecuting superior, from the artificial force of a combi- nation, for exclusive dealing, or from the violent hostility of an excited neighbourhood. My scheme of protection is equal and universal, for all classes in society, and for all shades of opinion in politics. I wish to guarantee free and unembarrassed voting to every elector, be his politics what they may; and I am very sure that there is no other way of accomplishing this except by means of the Ballot. To secure perfect freedom of election, by a method so simple, and an innovation so moderate, as that of Vote by Ballot, is surely an experiment well worth trying. And can there be any expedient more gentle and harmless in its working than that which I present to you? It trenches upon no man's rights; it alters no man's proper position; it creates no new privilege; it inflicts no disfranchisement or degradation. When the amount of existing evil is so great and so serious, it would be well worth your while to purchase an efficient remedy, even at the cost of strict prohibitions and severe penalties. But the remedy which I propose involves neither vexatious prohibitions, nor a single grain of penalty. I do not ask you to enact sharper laws against bribery and intimidation, but I shew you the means of preventing them. The Ballot affords the fullest measure of relief, by its own self-acting operation, without the uncertainties of legal process, and without the bitterness of punishment. You have made several valuable improvements of late in the mode of conducting the poll, in the time which it is allowed to last, and in the subdivision of polling districts, all tending to make the process of voting more convenient and less toilsome. This is very well, but is it not a far more pressing necessity that you should study the means of making the process of voting free and pure? If it be useful, as assuredly it is, to provide that the voter shall not be required to travel more than a certain number of miles to the poll, is it not much more essential that he should be emancipated from all constraint, and preserved from all intimidation when he arrives there? Unless this be done, you may carry the detail arrangements of voting to what degree of perfection you please, still the result will be untrue and unfaithful; you will not reach that which is the only ultimate purpose of every elective system—that which was the great promise and watchword of the Reform Act—the clear expression of the confidence of the people. There are some Gentlemen who tell us that they are averse to any theoretical or organic reforms, but that they burn with zeal for the removal of all proved abuses. Let such persons, Sir, peruse the Report of the Intimidation Committee, and I promise them that they will find therein an ample harvest of proved abuses —a harvest rank, and pining for the sickle. Are not the evils of open voting completely practical, and fearfully manifest? And shall the remedy against such evils be dismissed as an idle and irrelevant proposition, not bearing upon the actual state of society? Sir, I say, that we ought to be thankful if there be any improvement in the mode of voting within our reach, calculated to remove one-tenth part of these mighty mischiefs. I am prepared to prove, that the Ballot will go far to abate the whole of the mischiefs, and, therefore, that it is among the most practical of all practical measures. From whence is it that election abuses in all their grossness and variety, at least three parts out of four, take their origin? It is from some species of force or constraint put upon the will of the voter; from the struggles of extraneous tyranny to grasp his vote, without the smallest reference to his own consent or inward preference. Now, will any man tell me that such attempts at compulsion can possibly be continued, when you shall have adopted the Vote by Ballot? Will any man tell me, that the menaces and the violence now employed against the open voter, will still remain in fashion as a mode of attack against the secret voter? Sir, I do not hesitate to say, that the supposition is inconceivable. A man voting secretly is out of the reach of all assailants; he is master of his own conduct, let the intimidator bestir himself as he may; no individual consequence, good or bad, can be made to attach to the way in which his vote is given. Intimidation against electors will cease, because it will become entirely useless—because it will conduce to no man's profit or power. I need not remind the House that the surest mode of warfare against crime is to disappoint the criminal of his expected booty. Now, Sir, if Gentlemen will lay to heart the multiplied enormities detailed in the Report of the Intimidation Committee, and will recollect at the same time, that the large majority of them will be altogether banished by secret voting, I confi- dently affirm that they must agree with me in calling the Ballot a measure not only of extensive benefit, but even of urgent necessity. It is not upon any light prejudices—not upon any partial or fanciful objections—that they ought to turn away so healing a remedy from their lips. But what are those objections against he Ballot, which outweigh its direct and n-disputable benefits, and which induce Gentlemen rather to perpetuate the vast catalogue of evils which stare them in the face, than recur to the infallible corrective of secret voting? Some objectors seem to turn with horror from the task of reasoning on the subject; they talk as if the very mention of secrecy were an insupportable dishonour. It may be convenient to hold such language, when the object is to decry the Ballot; but I shall never believe that any one of the disclaimers against the Ballot, entertains a real belief that secrecy is dishonourable. Why? Because their actual proceedings prove the contrary. Is there a man living who feels dishonoured while voting by Ballot in his club, or in any private association of which he may be a member? On the contrary, the practice of secret voting is invariable among the most honourable men of the land—among men of all classes in society, and of all political parties—among noble Lords and Gentlemen in the fashionable clubs, as well as artisans in their unions, and labourers in their benefit societies. In every private association, without exception, the Ballot is adopted as the only sure method of sincere, independent, unembarrassed, expression of opinion. What better proof can you have, that there is nothing in the practice which conflicts with the moral feelings of any man? What better proof can you have that the effects of the Ballot are not only uniform and unerring; but also clearly understood and familiar to all classes of the population? I am fully justified, Sir, in asserting, on the authority of these extensive analogies, that the Ballot is an expedient known and proved by the fullest actual trial. That so far from being novel and un-English, as some persons have most preposterously alleged, it is notoriously conformable to English practice and English manners, and that, in advocating the extension of it to a new case, to which it has never yet been applied, I am only treading in the beaten path of sound and practical legislation. I am only demanding an ascertained remedy for the correction of ascertained evils. I know, Sir, that there are many objections made on various grounds to the Ballot; but is there any one of the objectors who disputes the fact, that the Ballot will infallibly bring about fair and free election? Well, then, if this be the indisputable truth, that the Ballot will procure freedom of election, I contend that my case is proved; for, in an inquiry relating simply to the best mode of taking votes, whatever best conduces to the main purpose of election is incontestably right to be chosen. No, Sir, the objectors against the Ballot do not think it worth their while to break ground upon this the material point of the case; they put aside freedom of election as if it were a light and worthless consideration, and they attack my proposition on the plea of certain collateral consequences, which, if they could even be shown to be just and probable, would yet be totally foreign to the essential merits of the case in hand. For example, there is no ground of reproach more forcibly insisted on against the Ballot, than its alleged tendency to multiply false promises and false declarations. We are told that the voter will promise to vote for one man, and then afterwards vote for another; we are told again, that after having given his vote under favour of secrecy, he will declare that he has voted in a way contrary to the real fact. Now, Sir, thus much is unquestionably true, that, while speech is free, false promises and false declarations may be uttered, if individuals choose it, and, that on a matter known only to himself, a man may speak falsely, without being detected. What, then? Is it intended that there shall be no matters whatever discussed privately and confidentially because false statements may be made respecting them, the falsehood remaining undiscovered? Are we to have no such thing as sealed correspondence by the post, because a man may state one thing in writing to one person, while he communicates the direct contrary by word of mouth to another? The secrecy of the post opens a door to falsehood, just in the same way as the secrecy of the Ballot; but if I were to name any one act of despotic governments which excites peculiar abhorrence, it is the breaking the seal of private letters, and the violation of confidential epistolatory intercourse be- tween man and man. And what, then, I pray you, would be thought of the impudence of any private individual who should claim the right to unseal his neighbour's correspondence, under pretence of taking security that no untrue assertions should be made to him about the contents of it? Such a claim, Sir, would be scouted as frantic impudence—but in what respect, let me ask, is the pretension less impudent when applied to voting at elections? When a man says, "I have a right to know how my neighbour votes, and if he is allowed to vote secretly he may deceive me; therefore, in order that I may not be deceived, you (the Legislature) must compel him to vote openly." Now, Sir, who shall deny that this is a claim monstrous and unjustifiable on the face of it? First prove to me, I say, that you have any right to know your neighbour's vote, before you claim to be invested with the power of looking over his elbow in order to discover it. I contend that you have no right to know it at all, against his will and consent—not the shadow or pretence of a right; he may disclose it to you if he pleases, but you must take your chance of his giving you false information, on a matter where he is fully entitled to withhold information altogether. You would have no right whatever to fish out your neighbour's vote against his wish, even if your motive were nothing worse than an innocent curiosity; how much less right have you to do so, when your motive is one of malignity and oppression? When you try to penetrate the secret of his vote, for the direct purpose of inflicting evil upon him, if he will not alter it at your bidding —when you are seeking to accomplish the double mischief of defrauding your country of an honest vote, and of turning the revelations of the voter to his own ruin? This, Sir, is the real purport of the complaints which you hear so loudly put forth against the mendacity of the Ballot—the outcry which is raised against it on the ground that it affords encouragement to lying. What are such complaints except the murmurs of disappointed tyranny, raised by those who are trying to extort confessions from a voter, with the express view of turning those confessions against him, and making them the evidence for visiting him with ejectment, or dismissal, or loss of custom? Persecutors, Sir, of every class, may well be angry with the Ballot, for it frustrates their mischeivous purposes; it enables the voter to do his duty to his country, without baring his bosom to the assault of private malice—and they find their account in denouncing the means of escape from wrongful persecution as if it were an encouragement to wrongful deceit. I do not stand here, Sir, as the defender of falsehood; but I will not shrink from saying, nevertheless, that if I am reduced to choose between the two evils—successful tyranny on the one side, and the success of falsehood, as a defence against tyranny, on the other—I will not shrink From saying, that the last is by far the least evil of the two. And is not this, Sir, the real alternative? Is it not the alternative to which mankind are always reduced, whenever the spirit of persecution, religious or political, has poisoned the hearts of the superior classes? The annals of past history present but too copious records of religious persecution, and what has been the uniform result? Some few resolute and heroic spirits have endured martyrdom rather than submit, even in appearance, to a creed which their conscience repudiated; but the greater number of the persecuted sect has evaded the tyranny of the oppressor, by rendering outward homage to the worship thrust upon them by force, while they reserved their own sincere and conscientious devotion to be offered in secret. Such has been the history of all persecuted sects—of the early Christians under the Pagan Emperors of Rome— of Protestants under Catholic persecution —as well as of Catholics under Protestant persecution—of Protestant Dissenters in England and Scotland, when the Church of England sought to put them down— of every religious sect, without exception, which has been proscribed by the abuse of sovereign authority. Now, Sir, is there any historian so bigoted as to revile these oppressed men for carrying on their own worship secretly, when they were prevented by violence from following it openly? Is it an unpardonable sin, when, under the pressure of penalties, they combine outward conformity with secret dissent? Sir, I venture to say, that there is no man of common generosity who will so treat it—there is no one whose wrath will not turn against the persecutor rather than against the man who is compelled to dissemble in order to escape persecution. Now, Sir, substitute the political for the religious conscience, and you have the precise case of the dependant elector voting by Ballot—you have the precise case of the tenant, who, to avoid ejectment and ruin, professes acquiescence in the unjust dictates of his landlord, while he avails himself of the Ballot to vote agreeably to his own real sentiments. Secrecy, Sir, is the refuge of the weak against the strong; and we are fortunate, indeed, when the injustice of the strong admits of being effectually defeated by secrecy, as it does in the case of voting. Deny to the menaced voter the refuge of secrecy, and what is the consequence? You secure the triumph of injustice—you strengthen the force of the political persecutor, for the worst of all purposes—you impart to him the hundred eyes of Argus, combined with the hundred arms of Briareus. No, Sir, this is neither genuine morality nor enlarged wisdom. Abolish persecution and injustice how and when you can; the sooner the better; but until you have, do not close up the only door by which the sufferer can escape them. Sir, when Gentlemen attack me on the ground that the Ballot has a tendency to cause false declarations or false promises, I might well rest my case in reply on the argument which I have just stated. I might well defend myself by saying, that such falsehood is the least of two evils, where there is only an alternative of evils to choose out of. But I shall not content myself with this reply. I can repel" the attack still more effectually. Gentlemen tell me that the Ballot makes hypocrites. I tell them that open voting makes hypocrites—hypocrites at least as many in number, and much worse in kind; for what is an elector who votes against his conscience except a hypocrite? And will any man who has read the report of the Intimidation Committee deny that such hypocrites are made by thousands under the present system of open voting? Take the matter at the worst, the same elector who would be a hypocrite under the Ballot, would also be a hypocrite under the plan of open voting. He now speaks truly, and votes dishonestly; under the Ballot he might speak falsely, but he would vote honestly; he now plays the hypocrite to his country, he would then cheat only the intimidator who had tried to suborn him. I repeat it again, Sir, no new hypocrisy is created under the Ballot—no additional falsehood whatever. The falsehood which it introduces is far more pardonable and less mischievous than that which it supplants. For if there be any one claim paramount and indisputable, it is the claim of the nation to require a sincere vote from every elector. Under open voting, the intimidator defeats this claim; under the Ballot he may indeed try to defeat it, but he fails; instead of causing a he to be told to his country, he only causes a he to be told to himself. Whatever may be the tone of morality current among those to whom free voting is bitter and distasteful, I shall not be afraid to declare, that an insincere speech made for the purpose of averting the unjust vengeance of an intimidator is, at least, a smaller evil than an insincere vote given by an elector to his country. But, Sir, I have taken the comparison most unfairly to my own case. I have taken the comparison as it would stand, if attempts to intimidate continued to be as prevalent after the introduction of the Ballot as they are now. It is time to ask, however, whether this would be the fact? Whether the attempts to intimidate would still remain when fashion had rendered them abortive, and destroyed all possibility of carrying them to a successful issue? I affirm that no such futile efforts will continue to be made; if common prudence be of any avail in governing the actions of men, none such will continue. For what man will be insane enough to waste his fire on a mark out of sight and out of reach? What man will commence the work of impotent intimidation, with the certainty not only of failure in his object, but of aggravated bitterness on the part of those whom he idly endeavours to overawe? It is not in nature, Sir, that such things should be. When the process of intimidation is forbidden to be consummated, it will no longer be begun —the trade will be at an end—a landlord will no more think of trying to coerce his tenant, than he now thinks of coercing any neighbouring gentleman, when the Ballot shall have rendered the vote of the one as independent as the vote of the other. Now, Sir, this is all that any man can desire; for let intimidation be discontinued on the part of the superior, and there will be no chance of insincerity on the part of the dependant. Sir, in endeavouring to make good my proposition of this evening, I have brought before you chiefly the evil of intimidation, the great and master evil by which the legitimate purpose of elections is now subverted, But there is also another mischief of considerable moment—the mischief of bribery How will the Ballot affect bribery? Sir. I am prepared to show that the Ballot is the most powerful antidote against bribery which it is in your power to administer To establish this conclusion, I should be quite content to take as my evidence the feelings of any mercenary elector. I do not believe that there is a single voter, accustomed to take bribes, who will not feel that his market is struck from under him when he is directed to vote in secret, His vote is at once redeemed from a certainty to a contingency—a contingency of which he can by no ingenuity convey any evidence; and this is but a sorry piece of merchandise when its value comes to be measured in money. Then, besides, the Ballot insures absolute ignorance of the state of the poll, from the beginning to the end of it. The candidate neither knows how many votes he has got, nor how many he will get; and he, consequently, has no means whatever of determining how many votes must be bought in order to procure a majority. How bribery is to be carried on at all, in the midst of such darkness and uncertainty, I know not; but sure I am that it cannot be carried on in the direct and easy manner that it is now; it cannot be transacted between individual and individual, a certain sum down without further condition, simply as payment for the single and separate vote. If bribery be continued at all under the Ballot, it must at least be done in a roundabout and uncertain manner, by promising a certain present to every voter who may apply for it, since friends will not be distinguishable from opponents, in the event of such or such a candidate being elected. Now, Sir, I confidently maintain that such collective bribery, in a constituency of tolerable magnitude is not within the range of possibility: and even in a constituency of limited extent, it is a practice fraught with danger and difficulty, presenting much less temptation to the voter who receives, and a great increase of hazard to the candidate who pays. It is not too much to say, Sir, that the Ballot would at least restrain bribery within the narrowest limits, if it did not abolish the practice altogether. And where does the fault lie, Sir, if some remnants of bribery should still remain alive even under a secret suffrage? Not in the inefficiency of the Ballot, but in the preposterous smallness of some of your constituencies. When Gentlemen tell me that the Ballot will still leave a door open for bribery in the smaller constituencies, what does their argument prove? It proves nothing at all against the Ballot, but it proves most forcibly, most conclusively, against constituencies of narrow extent. If you should find, after adopting the Ballot, that bribery still lingers among these narrow bodies, you can easily make your precautions complete by enlarging them. And I venture to promise that amongst a large constituency voting by Ballot, the effective employment of bribery will be nothing short of an impossibility. I know it is contended, Sir, by imposing authorities, that the voter holds his franchise as a trust, and that for the due exercise of that trust he must be held responsible to the public. Publicity of the suffrage, therefore, we are told, is indispensably necessary as a means for making him responsible. When Gentlemen speak of a due exercise of the franchise, I know not what else they can mean except the expression of a voter's sincere and conscientious opinion—the giving his vote freely and indifferently, sine spe vel pretio. To make him responsible to the public, therefore, for the due exercise of his franchise, is to make him responsible for voting in conformity with his own conscientious opinion, and not otherwise—it is to provide that he shall be perfectly secure and unharmed if he gives a conscientious vote, and shall incur the evil, whatever it be, consequent on responsibility, only in the event of giving an insincere vote. Impunity to the innocent voter—loss or sacrifice to the guilty voter, and to him only—these are the two ends which the publicity of suffrage must insure, if it is to make the voter responsible for a due exercise of his franchise. Now, Sir, let me ask, does publicity of suffrage insure these ends, both of them or either of them? Does it procure impunity for the innocent voter? Does it entail evil on the guilty voter, and on him only? It does neither the one nor the other: it is altogether impotent for the purpose of making the voter responsible for a due exercise of his franchise. Its real effect is to counteract the purpose of responsibility, and to create a factitious inducement against honest voting. It strews thorns in the path of the conscientious elector, and drives the man of feeble virtue into dishonesty against his will. Sir, I have shown you that publicity of suffrage does not in point of fact serve to make the voter responsible for a due exercise of his franchise. But I go farther, and I say that you cannot get any such responsibility, and you do not want it. The elective franchise includes at once a right and a duty—the right to express an opinion, coupled with the duty of expressing it sincerely and without reward. You may punish the voter for receiving or covenanting to receive any reward; but you cannot carry responsibility any further; you cannot make the elector responsible for voting ill. For where is the standard of voting ill? Among Tories to vote ill is to vote for a Whig or a Radical; among Whigs or Radicals, the reverse. Ask, where's the North? At York, 'tis on the Tweed; In Scotland, at the Orcades, and there At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where. The standard of good or bad voting is in an elector's own bosom. A right vote, to any man of any politics, is that which each of them thinks right; that which each delivers from his own unconstrained free will and sincere persuasion. Voting, Sir, is the business of the people directly and personally, not of agents delegated by the people; each individual elector forms one component unit amongst the mighty mass, and is required to deliver his own genuine opinion, in order that you may arrive at a correct total. How does this consist with the pretended necessity for responsibility? Why am I to be responsible to my neighbour any more than he is to be responsible to me? Am I bound to vote against my own conscience, because I may happen to differ with the majority around me? To acknowledge such a principle would be to annihilate the minority altogether, and to absorb them into the majority; it would be to frustrate the main object of the electoral process. I repeat it, Sir, that whether you look upon the franchise in its character of a right, or in its character of a duty—in both points of view the prime virtue of the elective system consists in collecting the opinions of electors with fidelity and independence; and looking to this end, responsibility in the elector to any extraneous authority, is a hindrance and not a help. I know, Sir, I shall be told that all this reasoning must be just, if every man in the community were a voter; but there are a vast multitude of persons who are not allowed to vote at all; and they (it is contended) would be deprived of all influence, and left without any security, if the qualified electors voted in secret. It is very true, Sir, that there are a large body among the population who are excluded from the franchise, and give me leave to ask how this happens? On what grounds is their exclusion defended? With what arguments should I be met, if instead of moving for the adoption of the Ballot, I were now introducing a measure for making the right of suffrage universal? Why, Sir, I should be told that the great body of the poor were debarred by indigence and excessive toil from all capacity of forming a just opinion on public affairs, or of discriminating between one Member and another. I should be told that a large proportion of them entertained sentiments hostile to the principle of property, and thirsted for the forcible equalization of possessions, I should be reminded, moreover, that the Reform Act had already enlarged the number of qualified voters to such an extent, as to make it certain that they could have no separate and sinister interest of their own, at variance with that of the entire community; and that these electors could not choose well for themselves without choosing well for their unrepresented brethren. Such, Sir, would be the case, points stated against me, if I were now advancing the proposition of universal suffrage. I do not at all mean to adopt them as my arguments. I pronounce no opinion on the subject, because it is not now under discussion; but I know that these are the grounds on which universal suffrage always is resisted, and, I will add, the only grounds upon which, on principle, it can be resisted. For if you once admit that the unrepresented classes are capable of that effort of judgment which is necessary for making a good choice of candidates, to exclude them from the elective franchise is a mere wanton insult. Now, Sir, assuming that upon those principles you are justified in disfranchising the non-electors, I affirm that all coercive interference on their part with the votes of electors can produce nothing but an unmixed evil. They cannot alter the choice of the electors for the better— if they interfere at all, they must alter it for the worse. Do you really believe that the persons who stand without your electoral circle are competent to control or amend the votes of those within it? Then, in common justice, admit them within it at once; for on that supposition, they are the superior party of the two. In short, Sir, by whatever line of argument you prove to me that the control of the non-electors over the voles of electors is good, by the same line of argument I engage to prove to you that universal suffrage is still better. You show no cause against the Ballot, but you show much in favour of universal suffrage. Do not let us commit the flagrant inconsistency of maintaining that the unrepresented many are at once capable and incapable— incapable of giving good votes themselves, but capable of causing good votes to be given by others—possessing no judgment of their own, but indispensably necessary for the purpose of dictating the votes of those who do possess judgment. Sir, I say, that to withhold the right of suffrage from non-electors, and yet to invite them to exercise coercive supervision over the votes of electors, is a proceeding as absurd and contradictory as it is mischievous. If the non-electors acted generally on your invitation, you would have practically the effects of universal suffrage, but brought about by the most violent and unwarrantable means. We have heard much, Sir, lately about the tyranny of the majority, and most preposterously indeed the expression has been applied. But if there be any case conceivable in which the intervention of the majority deserves the name of tyranny, it is the case now before you—where the non-electors assume to themselves a power of dictation or coercion over the freedom of individual suffrage. I recognize no right in any majority to overrule the free expression of individual conscience—hic murus aheneus esto—it is the principle of such compulsory interference which I am now combatting; let it proceed from what quarter it may— from a single person or from a multitude, it is nothing better than tyranny. And those who invoke and legalise the control of non-electors over the votes of electors, build upon a foundation alike unsound and unhallowed; they appeal from the righteous independence of individual choice to the collective violence of the majority. Sir, I am as anxious as any man to uphold both the social condition and the political guarantees of the unrepresented classes, and my own opinions (if this were a fit season for enforcing them) are favourable both to an extension of the suffrage to all householders, and to a better distribution of the constituencies. But I fearlessly contend, that the unrepresented classes have nothing to lose, and much to gain, by insuring that full protection and freedom which secrecy imparts to the elective franchise, even though they themselves are not allowed to exercise it. It concerns them much, that every qualified voter should be placed in circumstances the most favourable to an honest and conscientious use of his franchise; it concerns them much that the poorer voters should not be degraded into a state of subservience to the richer: it concerns them still more that the basis of the franchise should be kept at least as wide as it is at present, and the number of qualified voters at least as great—for it is upon this that the coincidence of interest between the voters and the people at large altogether depends. Now, Sir, it is one of the capital charges which I advance against the present system of open voting, that it practically contracts the right of suffrage in a prodigious degree —that it annihilates the independent will of a vast proportion of the voters on the register—that out of a catalogue of 800,000 ostensible voters, you find not above half that number exercising a real, effective, and untrammelled choice. Mischievous enough this is, Sir, in every respect; but, above all things, it is mischievous as it affects the comfort and security of the unrepresented classes. If the lawful extent of the suffrage, as it now stands, is not more than sufficient to assure the non-electors of perfect sympathy and identity of interest between the voters and the entire community, what does it become when the franchise is unlawfully contracted into still narrower limits? Adopt the Ballot, Sir, and you at least insure that the extent of suffrage which the law allows shall be a reality, and not a fiction;—you impart an independent power of choice to every voter in the catalogue;—you practically enlarge the franchise, compared with what it is at present, and you thus strengthen the union of feeling and interest between the electoral body and the people. Instead of depriving the non-electors of one fragment of security which they now enjoy, the Ballot will give them the maximum of security which your present elec- toral system admits of; Sir, it is not a little singular, that the same reasoners who affirm that publicity of suffrage is necessary for the protection of the unrepresented many, also contend that it is necessary for the purpose of attaching factitious dominion to the persons of the over-represented few. At one time you hear the Ballot assailed, because it will extinguish the influence of wealth; at another time, because it will entinguish the influence of disfranchised poverty. Now, Sir, how in the name of common consistency are these two reasons to be both maintained together? Admit the one, and you at once disallow the other. Do you insist that the elector shall be responsible to the people at large? Then, at least, you are bound to protect him against the tyranny of the great man in his neighbourhood. It is your opinion, on the other hand, that the vote of the tenant ought to be made over for the purpose of swelling; the consequence of his rich landlord? Then, refrain from teaching him that he is responsible to the people. The two arguments literally destroy one another. But, alas! Sir, this responsibility of the voter to the people is never intended for anything real and serious: it is nothing better than a solemn fiction, dressed up to colour and disguise an unequal conflict between contending modes of intimidation — an alternation from one sort of tyranny to another. Open voting does carry with it a certain measure of coercion, occasionally exercised by clubs, or combinations of the unrepresented many, over the votes of particular electors; and it is this which Gentlemen are pleased to defend and extol, because it serves as a pretence for upholding the greater and wilder coercion on the part of the wealthy few. You are desired, by all means, to admit occasional intimidation from the poor, because the same door serves to[introduce the systematic, the permanent, all pervading, intimidation of the rich. Let me beseech you, Sir, to look for one moment at the condition of the voter, and see what a business voting is thus reduced to. Coercion over the voter by the poor non-voters—coercion over him by the rich—coercion by every one who has the power to coerce him—all is right, all is justified, on the principles which are resorted to in opposing the Ballot. Coercion and counter-coercion are assumed to be the essential and tutelary forces which keep the electors in their proper orbit. And all this while the professed purpose of the law is, that electors shall deliver their suffrage freely and indifferently! While the law punishes both the giver and the receiver of a bribe, under pretence that the freedom of election is a sacred and solemn thing! Why, Sir, on the reasonings of those who oppose the Ballot, everything like freedom or indifference of election is denounced and set aside—it is not even tolerated as a contingent good—it is banished as a positive mischief. One portion of the electors are to be deprived of their freedom because it is necessary to maintain the coercive force of the unrepresented many. Another portion of them are to surrender their independent choice, because the influence of property is to be preserved at all price, and because every rich man is entitled to confine within the sphere of his own attraction, a troop of electoral satellites. And thus between them both, the real holder of the franchise is robbed of everything like righteous liberty of conscience—he is degraded into the mere passive instrument of "pressure from without." Nor is this all; for it happens often, that the pressure from two opposing quarters is so violent, that an elector knows not which he ought to obey, and, indeed, cannot steer clear of loss and inconvenience, let him obey which so ever he will. Sir, it seems to me, that on this theory the elective franchise is little less than a curse to those who possess it; they are forbidden to follow their own conscientious opinions, and they are left to enjoy neither the satisfaction of an independent judgment, nor the undisturbed submission of a slave. Sir, I have maintained before, and I now maintain again, that the Ballot will not deprive a rich man of one grain of influence which he has a fair title to enjoy. The Ballot will not lessen, in the remotest degree, the influence which he exercises, in so far as it consists with the free agency and spontaneous obedience of those who look up to him; and I cannot for an instant admit, that beyond this limit he is entitled to one particle of influence. I cannot for an instant admit, that we are called upon to provide him with the means of constraint and compulsion, or even to tolerate him in the employment of them, if by carelessness of the law, he has been allowed to get them into his hands. I confess, Sir, I think it is a valuable improvement, that the influence of property at elections should be made to depend less upon its positive amount, and more upon the means in which it is expended. And I know no method so likely to induce men of property to turn their leisure to generous and dignified purposes. I know no method so effectual to make them thirst for the esteem and respect of those around them, as by rendering that esteem the indispensable condition of their political influence. I have now, Sir, reviewed the principal objections usually urged against the Ballot; and when I consider how feeble and futile most of those objections are, I feel increased confidence in the justice of my cause—I feel increased assurance, that the measure which I advocate must continue to grow in the favour of the people. In enforcing my proposition, I have laid no stress on mere party arguments, for the cause does not need them. It is indeed my conviction, that the Ballot will work favourably to liberal politics, because I believe that the real opinion of the people is on that side; I believe that truth and justice is on that side—and sure I am, that whenever the opinion of the people is left to form and express itself without restraint, truth, and justice must in the long-run prevail. But whether the opinion of the people is for me or against me, I demand at least that it shall be fairly and freely taken—rejoicing when it proves to be in my favour—prepared to submit and to wait if it be otherwise. And I feel, that in advocating the Ballot, I am upholding nothing less than the sacred right of free judgment, and free utterance in political matters; I am treading in the steps of those illustrious men, who have rescued the individual conscience from its trammels, and vindicated its liberty and inviolability in matters of religion; I am striving to baffle the guilty efforts of that spirit of persecution which still harasses the political world, and still defiles the sincerity and solemnity of the elective franchise. If, Sir, you can break the sword of the persecutor, and assure freedom of election, without the aid of the Ballot, proceed to the task without delay, for never was there a case of more pressing necessity. But when it is notorious that this cannot be done, and when the alternative of the Ballot is ready within your reach, I beseech you to consider whether you can, with a safe conscience, licence and perpetuate the countless mischiefs of an un- protected suffrage. The hon. Gentleman concluded with moving for leave to bring in a Bill.

Mr. Hodges, in seconding the motion, observed, that the working of the Reform Bill, under the system of open voting, had not been of a nature to satisfy the legitimate wishes of the people; and that it might ere long, perhaps, be found impossible for hon. Members of that House to shut their ears to the cry of universal suffrage. It was, therefore, well worthy their consideration, whether to concede the Ballot at once might not be their most prudent course to adopt. It was a question as much of justice as of policy. In the exercise of the franchise the poor man could have no protection until this safeguard was extended to him. He would remind the House of the exertions which one of the most eminent English statesmen had repeatedly made to protect the rights of the poor from invasion. In 1794 an expensive system of taxation had been unavoidably introduced into this country, to the effect of which upon the poor, Mr. Pitt gave the most careful attention; and, determined to shield them from the unequal pressure of this burden, made application to Parliament at various periods, and carried several measures up to the close of the war, all having for their object the protection of the poor. He should be sorry to find, that the disposition of the House to legislate on behalf of the poor had since been lessened. The overwhelming influence of wealth was but too ready to encroach on their privileges, an instance of which might be seen in the New Poor-law Act., Those who were full of apprehension on the subject of democratic encroachment should reflect that, from the diffusion of education among the people, and the extension of newspaper reading, a thirst for the exercise of political privileges must of necessity be generated. So long as bribery, corruption, and open intimidation were publicly arrayed against the freedom of election, that portion of the community which, although unrepresented, was not imperfectly educated, could repose little or no confidence in the constituent bodies by which a large portion of the Members of that House was returned. Independently of all consideration of the intrinsic merits of the question, the concession of the Ballot would, in his estimation, do much to suppress the cry for universal suffrage. In very ancient times the vast majority of important cases were decided by large assemblies of the people; and, before the selection of constituencies out of the body of the people, by virtue of a system which was based on the rights of property, there existed an institution which he looked upon as that portion of the British constitution which bid fairest to endure to the end of time—he alluded to the trial by jury. To serve as jurors the people were, without restriction, eligible; and in the exercise of their functions as jurors they enjoyed complete protection. The consequence was, that those who conscientiously exercised the capacity of jurors were treated with the utmost respect. If the precaution suggested by his hon. Friend were adopted—if the House decided in accordance with his eloquent admonition to throw around the constituencies the protection of the Ballot, he felt assured that the universal people would soon be brought to entertain the same respect for the decisions of persons exercising the Parliamentary franchise as for those which were involved in the trial by jury. Of the individuals who were eligible to serve as jurors, a great number were also found in the lists of voters. Let the House mark the difference which characterised the exercise of those different functions. At the period of an election what a tribe of attornies, agents, stewards, and creditors was let loose upon the elector, all harassing him—all directing him to vote in a particular way. If he proceeded to the poll, he could not fail of going under almost any circumstances with reluctance. If he gave his vote in opposition to his real sentiments, he became a self-degraded man; if in opposition to the political sentiments which he was known to have previously professed, he was an object for the contempt, or, at best, for the pity of his neighbours. In a few days after, the same man might be summoned by the sheriff to take his place in the jury-box. There he would act in accordance with the dictates of reason and justice, for he was there unassailable, either by bribery or by intimidation. The concession of the Vote by Ballot would, he believed, satisfy the wishes of the people, and, in his opinion, the apprehensions of a general clamour for universal suffrage were greatly exaggerated. When had the people demanded to be indiscriminately introduced into the jury-box? They had never heard of such a thing, and they were not likely to hear of it, because the people were satisfied with the purity of the present system Free the electoral body from the unconstitutional control to which they were at present subjected—give them in the exercise of this privilege the protection of the Ballot, and they would be quite as much respected as when they exercised the functions of jurors. By conceding in the first instance to the people a perfect freedom in voting, the Legislature might afterwards with safety apply itself to the enlargement of the circle of the franchise —an enlargement which could not take place at present without increasing the power of coercive tyranny, and adding daily to the victims of oppression.

Mr. Poulter

believed, that there were few hon. Members of that House who had received so many cordial congratulations upon their success, from those who had been compelled to vote against him as he had received; he therefore could with confidence assert, that no man had a stronger personal interest in the establishment of the Ballot than he had. It was his strong conviction, however, that before Conceding the principle of secret voting, the House should previously exhaust all other means which were likely to secure to the voters of this country the free exercise of their political rights. The hon. Member for London had put forward statements which he considered quite untenable. The hon. Member had, for instance, drawn an analogy between vote by ballot, and sealed letters. But there was the greatest possible distinction between them; for while the voter would almost of necessity be obliged to declare for whom he voted, no man who had written a sealed letter could be called upon to state its contents, so long as he chose to keep them within his own bosom. He admitted that threats and intimidation had taken place at elections throughout the country, but he must tell the hon. Member for London, when he presented the report to which he had referred to the House, as containing nothing but what might be relied on, that he was going much farther than the case would warrant. The Committee from which that report emanated, had sat with all the form which a judicial inquiry demanded, but without the means of arriving at a judicial conclusion; and for this reason, that every particle of evidence was taken behind the backs of the parties concerned. Persons had stated facts involving twenty or thirty issues, and which statements, in the absence of the parties to whom they related, could not be considered as coming forth with the weight of judicial authority. He did not deny, that it contained a body of evidence, which raised in his mind a moral suspicion of the existence of a great deal of intimidation, in connexion with elections; but, at the same time, he could not conceal from himself the fact, that it contained matters in relation to which there was not the slightest pretence for saying, that both sides had been heard. Witnesses might have stated, that in such a county thirty or forty voters had been grossly intimidated; in which single assertion were involved thirty or forty issues; such might be the case, no doubt; but it should be remembered, when statements of that nature were made, that the landlords had not been called upon to disprove them—that they, in fact, being removed hundreds of miles from London, knew nothing of what was going on behind their backs. These statements, upon which the hon. Member for London relied with so much confidence, were nothing more than the dicta of men, whose veracity he did not mean to impugn, but who, it should be recollected, had not personal knowledge of the facts connected with these alleged cases of intimidation, and who had stated them merely from hearsay. That being the case, he thought the House could not receive that report, as containing incontrovertible evidence on the subject. The hon. Member for London had spoken of the use of the ballot in clubs, and had argued that there was a still greater necessity for it in the exercise of the political franchise; but he would say, in reference to that argument, that vote by ballot was not introduced into clubs for the purpose of protecting the members of those clubs against intimidation or violence, but to protect the feelings of society. He was also prepared to show, that vote by ballot would not put an end to the canvass of voters. In clubs, for instance, a canvass took place for admission, although it could not be known how any Member voted, unless he himself declared it. He was prepared to show, that canvassing previous to elections would be continued, not only to its present extent, but in some particular cases beyond it. He contended that canvassing must continue in this country so long as the moral obligation of a promise continued to affect the human mind, So long as a promise was worth anything, or so long as a feeling of honour and confidence remained in the country, so long would that promise be demanded, and that feeling be put to the test, by the candidates for political favour. It was also his persuasion, that however Englishmen might vote, whether secretly or openly, that oral declaration would render it useless. He thought it was impossible to avoid it; for any man who refused to make an oral declaration, at once destroyed his own case. Then came the question of falsehood, to which the ballot held out a direct inducement. The voter, in the first instance, would be compelled to make a promise, which, at the time of making it, he did not intend to keep. That necessarily led to what he (Mr. Poulter) would term the second stage of falsehood, namely, when the voter balloted contrary to his promise; and after that a third, in his declaration to his landlord, that he had voted for the candidate for whom he had promised his vote; while, in point of fact, he had voted against that candidate. He could conceive a case in which a voter called upon to decide which of two candidates he would support, the one likely to advocate such measures in that House, as would tend to promote the welfare and best interests of the country, the other a man upon whom the voter looked as his best friend, as one of the kindest landlords, and as a benefactor, in having showered down blessings on him and his family: he could conceive a man in such a state of mind, as to induce him to declare, under such circumstances, that he would vote for the candidate who, in his opinion, was the more likely of the two to benefit his country, and against his friend and benefactor. He could conceive such a case, but was it likely to occur, from the state of the human mind and general opinion in this country? He thought not, and so far, at least, he could not perceive the professed utility of the Ballot. He found both the common and statute law opposed to every thing like threats and intimidation; and if the law were found insufficient, it was the duty of the Legislature to strengthen it, or by some other means to provide against such evils, without agreeing to a measure which would give rise to evils of an equally objectionable cha- racter. He therefore professed himself an enemy to the Ballot, at least till they had tried everything else. He thought they should only resort to that measure when they found it otherwise impossible to protect the voters of the country.

Mr. Hall

had heard the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's speech with some degree of pleasure, inasmuch as he felt confident every other means of protecting the voters of the country than some such system as the Ballot would fail, and that they should have the hon. Member ranked amongst its strongest supporters. Other plans, however, had been tried for giving full protection to the voter, and failed, and to collect evidence on that point, the Intimidation Committee had been appointed. The hon. Member who had made the motion for that Committee had said, that he thought he should be able to advise a plan by which they could effectually get rid of the Ballot. He (Mr. Hall) observed that he was willing to meet him upon that subject, but no such plan had been advised, and he was quite sure that any man who looked through the evidence contained in the Report of that Committee would readily admit, that it afforded sufficient reason why his hon. Friend, the Member for London, should again come forward and propose a plan which nobody was particularly wedded to, if any other were proposed likely to afford a better or more substantial remedy. His hon. Friend, the Member for Shaftesbury, had stated, that the evidence given before the Committee was given upon hearsay, and without a personal knowledge of the facts. He could, however, state of his own personal knowledge instances of intimidation which had occurred in the boroughs he had the honour to represent. In canvassing one of these boroughs, voters had said to him, "How do you get on in your canvass? we cannot vote for you, but we hope you will beat us." If the supporters of this measure were again defeated on this occasion, he hoped his hon. Friend, the Member for London, would come forward Session after Session with the same question, convinced as he (Mr. Hall) was, that some such protection as the Ballot was absolutely necessary for the voter. He was certain that every supporter of the Ballot in that House would readily abandon it, if any other plan likely to produce the same effect, and to be equally satisfactory to the country, were proposed. Until then, he, for one, would persist in his advocacy of the measure.

Mr. Jephson

said, that he meant to support the motion of the hon. Member for London. The only security against great and overpowering influence which could be proposed was the Ballot. The fears respecting the effect of the Ballot were, that it would do away with aristocratic influence. If the Ballot was calculated to do away with the proper influence of character and talent he should not be an advocate of it; but if it only did away with the power of rank and wealth, then its effect would be most desirable. In his opinion the Ballot would put an end to the outcry for universal suffrage. From his experience he could say, that intimidation was often practised by the people against the landlords, and in such cases the Ballot would afford protection to the landlords and the electors in his interest against such a system of intimidation. Another effect of the Ballot would be, that it would give the voter an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the politics of the different candidates. That would be no mean advantage, because, as the system at present stood, the voter was carried away by popular feeling, or by some other influence in recording his vote. He supported the Ballot with all his heart, because he believed, if adopted, it would be the most valuable been which could be conferred on the voter.

Mr. Elphinstone

observed, that the real question for the House to determine on the present occasion was, by what method the elective franchise might be most safely, independently, and properly exercised by those upon whom the privilege had been conferred, and in what manner it could be best made available so as to secure the election of the candidate who possessed the real confidence and the wishes of the majority of the constituency whose suffrages were sought. Believing as he did that the adoption of the Vote by Ballot would deprive landlords of undue influence over their tenants, and prevent temptation on the one hand and intimidation on the other, he should certainly support the motion of the hon. Member for the City of London. He wished to see the vote of the poor man made equally independent as that of the rich man, and that object never could be attained except by giving the poor man the protection of the Ballot. The public looked with vast interest to the decision of to-night upon this, to them, important question, and he trusted, that those hon. Members who courted popularity would not leave the House or shrink from voting on this occasion. If they did, he could tell them their conduct would not be overlooked when they next appeared before their constituents.

Mr. Vernon Smith

said, that if the debate on this question had to-night taken the usual course, and that after an hon. Member had spoken on one side, and that he should have been followed by another hon. Member on the other side, he (Mr. V. Smith) would not have risen at present to address the House. The question of the Ballot had been carried about the country by its advocates and urged as the test of liberal principles, and under the notion that its adoption would lead to the extension of liberal opinions. In that proposition he (Mr. V. Smith) must beg to differ. He would admit to the hon. Member for the City of London, that when he gave his vote in favour of the Reform Bill, he did so most sincerely, wishing that the person upon whom the suffrage was bestowed should be a free, independent, and sincere voter, but he attached a very different meaning to an independent vote from that applied to it by the hon. Member who had brought forward the motion now before the House. He could not conceive any man would imagine but that the vote given in public, before the public, and for a public man, was infinitely more independent than the vote given in a private society. The existence of the system of the Ballot in the clubs and in private societies afforded no reason for its adoption on great public questions and occasions. Everybody knew that feelings, motives, and passions actuate a man in giving his vote in secret in a club, which he would be ashamed to own when called upon to record his vote upon a public matter. It had been urged that the Ballot would afford a protection, both from intimidation and against temptation, to the poorer classes of electors. He contended that under the Ballot system intimidation would be much greater than at present? He wanted to know from the hon. Member for the City of London, how a person entitled to the franchise was to form his opinions upon great questions— opinions which alone made his vote valuable—but by attending public meetings and discussions upon subjects interesting to the whole community; and did the hon. Member imagine that the active agents of the landlords of the district would not follow the tenants to such meetings, and watch every act of theirs, so that before they came to the ballot-box they knew perfectly well, from the previous actions and movements of the party, the bias and tenour of his political views, opinions, and sentiments? That being so, they would still be as much the objects for intimidation and temptation as at the present moment. So, also, the registration courts opened the same field for information —the votes of individuals were supported or opposed by agents representing both sides of politics, according to the views and sentiments of the voter opposed or supported. Here, again, were afforded the means of information upon which the landlords could either act by temptation or intimidation, as their interests demanded. In order to make the Ballot useful as a protection, the expression of public opinion must be wholly suffocated. Yielding to the hon. Mover of the present motion the whole machinery of his plan, he wished to secure the public against the malignity or bad passions of the voter, and therefore would not confer on any man the dark power which the ballotting-box would afford him. The reason why he should pause before he could consent to grant such powers was, that he thought public opinion was the safest check against all evil dealing in the course of human affairs —public opinion inflicted a severer punishment than even the decision and the judgment of a judge and jury. But he repeated, the Ballot would be the suffocation of public opinion. He would suppose a Member of this House to be elected under the silent system; and how would that hon. Member know by whom he was elected, how ascertain who were his constituents? and, therefore, he would be wholly unable to take their sentiments upon a question, such, for instance, as that of the Church-rates, which now stood over for the very purpose of ascertaining the sentiments of the people of the country upon the measure. He grounded his opposition to the Ballot for the reasons, that to be effective it must be carried further, and the expression of opinions must be prevented. This was not conformable to the feelings or usages of the nation. The Government were now endeavouring to render the institutions of the country more beneficial to its interests, and by what means? Why, by making public opinion more sound, by shedding a stronger light upon the intelligence of the country; and in stepped the hon. Member for the City of London, to exclude the light, and to make the subject still darker than before. Through the extension and diffusion of knowledge, liberal views had increased and were increasing; and he firmly believed that the Ballot would entirely check its further progress and advancement. He would not further trespass on the attention of the House upon a subject which had been so frequently and so fully debated, and upon which it was difficult to advance any thing of novelty. He must, however, advert to one other point, namely, that he did not think that the Ballot would afford equal protection to all classes of voters. Instead of being a protection to the poor, it would be only a protection to the rich, whose actions were secret, and whose motives were incapable of being ascertained, while on the other hand every action of the poor man could be seen, and would be known. On this ground also he objected to the present proposition. In times of peace and tranquillity the Ballot would lead to apathy and indifference on the part of the people, and in times of violence or convulsion it would afford a secret vent for bad feelings, and in these common ordinary times, in which every fair and moderate reform could be effected, the adoption of the Ballot would be a make weight against them, and would prevent the carrying into effect those measures of which the Government were the sincere supporters.

Mr. Bernal

having never given an opinion on the subject, was reluctant to let this motion go to a division, without stating his views. It appeared to him that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the question were equally disposed to place too much reliance upon the force and accuracy of their arguments and observations; and he was, therefore, anxious to see the subject handled in a practical point of view. He was sorry that his hon. Friend, whom he believed to be a man of steady and sincere opinions, had expressed himself to be satisfied that the ballot could not operate as a check upon that tyranny which was too often exercised by landlords over their tenants in the course of contested elections, and that, therefore, it need not be granted. Now, he was desirous, as a re- presentative of that House, to treat this subject practically, and in the first place he would observe, that as representatives of the people, they were bound to attend to the wants and wishes of, he would say, the majority of the lower orders of their constituents. He might say that with political sincerity, for he had never given a pledge on any question, and he never would give a pledge. He would never allow himself to be dictated to; he asked his constituents to trust to his political honesty, and he hoped they would find him never deceive them. He was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Shaftesbury express himself as he had done in reference to the report of the Intimidation Committee, declaring that it ought not to be trusted, because it contained the evidence of persons on one side of the question only. Was it possible for that hon. Member to disprove the fact that intimidation had prevailed to a considerable extent? He would appeal to that hon. Member's personal experience, as he could to his own also, as to the fact that means were taken to make persons vote contrary to their own feelings. He would ask was it fair and proper that there should exist what was called an assignable interest, and that gentlemen should go about to canvass, assisted by the female members of their own family or of other families? He would repeat the question, was it proper or decorous that shopkeepers who were dependent for their subsistence on their customers should be visited and threatened by them, be they male or female customers, with the loss of their trade, if they gave their votes in opposition to the solicitations of those who so called on them? That was not a practice consistent with either moral or political integrity. He might be told that the Ballot would be no remedy for that evil. Then he would reply— "Those who suffer the evil may be allowed to be the best judges." If he found a great portion of those who were intrusted with the suffrage complain of this hardship and demand the ballot, was he to presume, as a Member of that House, to stand up and say that they should not have it? That was the practical view of the case. He would enter into no essay on it. He could not stand up in that House, after having witnessed the evil he had alluded to, and say that those who appealed to that House to grant them the protection of the Ballot asked for anything that was either unreasonable or unjust. But suppose the Ballot was looked upon in the light of a mere experiment, still he thought they were bound to try the experiment for the sake and in compliance with the wishes of those who called for it. The hon. Member for Shaftesbury had contended that there was no analogy between the case of members of a club voting by Ballot and voters at an election doing the same. He differed from the hon. Gentleman, and thought that when a Member of a club put a white or black ball into the ballot-box, he adopted that mode of secret voting in order to conceal his sentiments, and to protect himself from intimidation or collision with parties to whom he was opposed. The voter desired the same sort of protection, and, therefore, there was a parity of reasoning between the two cases. The poor man wished to avoid giving offence, and to be saved from the tyranny of those who were more powerful than himself. After all the pamphlets that had been published, the essays that had been written, and the speeches that had been delivered on this subject, he must contend that the real question was. "Is the Ballot demanded?" Had petitions been presented to that House praying for the introduction of the Ballot? No man could deny that numerous petitions to that effect had been laid on the table of the House, and he might appeal to the experience of almost every hon. Member whether they had not met with frequent cases in which electors, when pressed for their votes for a particular candidate, had replied that it would be as much as their income was worth to vote as they wished. Never having spoken publicly in that House before on this subject, he would content himself, after the observations he had made, with declaring that he was, though rather unwillingly, a convert to the Ballot.

Mr. Borthwick

expressed his entire disapproval of the Bill proposed by the hon. Member for the City of London, chiefly on the ground that it would prove utterly ineffective towards the accomplishment of the objects which the advocates of the measure seemed to contemplate. It would not promote the purity of election. If the hon. Member for the City of London would take 100 Americans and 100 English voters, would he find the Americans purer than the Englishmen? The Ballot was established at Rome, and Livy had recorded the failure of the experiment. Those who were yet unconvinced of its evil could not do better than study that historian. As to the argument, that because a majority of the constituency demanded the Ballot, it ought to be granted, he must observe, that it did not always fallow, that majorities were the best judges of the propriety of granting a particular measure If, however, the argument must be held to be good by some hon. Gentlemen, he would state, that he had recently visited his constituents, and they had generally and unequivocally declared themselves to be opposed to the Ballot, and that they had desired him net to support it, but to uphold a system by which they could boldly come forth and do their duty in the face of God and man.

Dr. Lushington

was induced to address a few observations to the House in consequence of what had fallen from the hon. Member for Northampton, who had processed himself to be the strenuous advocate of liberal opinions, and yet he had opposed the Ballot, and that, too, on a ground which appeared most extraordinary to him—namely, that the Ballot was calculated to stop the progress of liberal opinions; His hon. Friend had professed his anxiety to conform to that which was the great object and purpose of the Reform Bill—namely, to confer on those to whom the elective franchise was given the free and independent right of exercising that franchise. But then, said the hon. Member for Northampton, that Bill was never intended to take away from the people the means of forming just political opinions. He was a little struck by that remark, and he was inclined to ponder in his mind what were those ways and means which were indispensably necessary to enable a man to give his vote with integrity. If he understood them rightly, they Were included in accurate information and the right of public discussion. But how had the hon. Gentleman arrived at the conclusion that the Ballot would deprive any man of those advantages? There were three ways of influencing a man to vote—by argument, by intimidation, or by bribery. If he were addressed by argument, the matter must be left to his own judgment; if intimidation were attempted, the man would be deprived of his power as a free agent; if bribery was resorted to, then the ballot gave him the means of defeating the object of the briber, and of securing his independence in both cases. The hon. Member hall contended that the best way to prevent intimidation and bribery was to have publicity and open voting Why, there had been open voting long enough, but did not every one know that bribery and intimidation had existed Under that System? But the hon. Member had said, how were Members of Parliament to have communication with their constituents and to ascertain their opinions if the Ballot were established? That was the most singular and absurd argument he had ever heard. Suppose his hon. Friend had no contest for his seat, how then was he to know the sentiments of his constituents under the present system? Then as to the voice of the majority of a constituency, he was of opinion that when he was elected as Member for any place, he was bound to represent the whole of it, and to the utmost of his power to respect the Opinions and interests of all. Any One of his constituents, whether High-Tory or Ultra-Whig, was equally under his care, and deserving of respect. But did not the poor require protection? Was not the tradesman dependent on the customer, and the workman on the master? Every individual voter was in a state of dependence on others, more or less, but the man of property. Therefore, he said, it was their bounden duty, with all due deference to the hon. Gentleman who opposed it, to grant the Ballot. He was convinced that the opinion of the public mind in favour of the Ballot was gaining strength daily, and if he was not much mistaken, the words of the noble Lord (the Home Secretary), in reference to the Devonshire county election, would prove to be verified — namely, that if such practices as those which then prevailed were continued, the country would be roused Still further to demand the ballot. Let them look to the lessons to be derived from the testimony of experience; let hon. Gentlemen consult with their constituents; let them not rest their opinions upon the state of things in this great metropolis, but let them go to the towns where the constituencies were not more than 1,200, or 1,500, or 2,000, and consisted mostly of trades people, and they would find that the Ballot was absolutely necessary for the protection of the electors. He could not but say that he was somewhat disgusted at the sqeamishness of those who seemed to feel such horror at the character of the English people becoming depreciated— that they wished to rescue them from the disgrace of telling a story, first to the landlord, and then before the hustings— while they exemplified no sort of feeling for the conscience of the voter who was compelled to vote for a candidate of whom he did not approve because he did not believe him to be a "fit and proper person." Believing, that under the present system, the votes of electors were frequently destroyed and vitiated, and made instrumental to prevent the return of those teal Representatives of the people which it was the object of the Reform Bill to secure, he felt himself bound to support the motion.

Viscount Howick

said, the whole of the arguments which had been used in support of the proposition of the hon. Member for London were designed to prove that a great deal of intimidation and improper influence on the minds of voters existed at the present moment, and took for granted that all who were anxious to correct those evils must necessarily be advocates for the Ballot. Now he begged leave entirely to dissent from this mode of putting the question. He freely acknowledged with the hon. Member for London, that the evils of which he complained did prevail to a very considerable degree, and he entirely and cordially concurred with him in the sincerest possible desire to put them down. The hon. Member for the City of London could not possibly be more anxious for the accomplishment of that desirable object than he was. But the real question which the House had to discuss and to determine was this,— would the means which the hon. Member proposed be effectual for that object, and in effecting that object would they not be attended with other disadvantageous consequences which would greatly outweigh any peculiar benefit they might confer? He did not deny that there might be some advantages attending the introduction of the Vote by Ballot; but they should endeavour to compare its advantages and disadvantages,—they should balance the two fairly together, and make up their minds on the result of the comparison. After having given the best and most careful consideration in his power to this important subject, he confessed, in his opinion, the disadvantages still preponderated; he did not say what might hereafter be his opinion, but for the present he was not convinced of the necessity of the measure proposed. In the first place, amongst the disadvantages which, in his opinion, would result from the adoption of this motion, was that to which he attached very considerable importance, but to which the hon. Member for the City of London, and those who followed him on the same side of the question, had not at all adverted, he meant the enormous power of abuse which it would place in the hands of returning officers for borough towns. As the law at present stood, if he were defeated by any improper practice, if there were not a majority of the real voters against him, he could appeal to a Committee of that House, and if on examination they were satisfied that the adverse majority was made up of merely colourable votes, or the exclusion of good votes, they had the power of striking off the bad from the poll which had been given against him, and adding the good votes which had been tendered in his favour, and awarding to him that seat which had unduly been given to his adversary. But how was this object to be accomplished under the new system? Take the case of an election keenly con tested, where half a dozen voters would turn the scale, and there were several such at the last general election — Halifax, Rochester, and others, — improper votes, through the successful personation of voters, and by other means, might be recorded, or there might be a partial rejection of good voters. Such cases did actually arise, and in what conceivable manner was redress to be afforded under the proposal of the hon. Member for the City of London? There might be the strongest possible conviction as to the fact of those votes being given; no reasonable person could, perhaps, entertain the smallest doubt; but in the absence of legal proof they could not go before a Committee and say, such and such voters had no right to the suffrage, and their names must therefore be struck off the poll. In reality, they might have voted for the very party making the objection. But, said the hon. Member, they should in such a case declare the election null and void. That was no redress whatever. It would lead to the most monstrous state of abuse. This was no imaginary state of things. At the last general election there were many complaints of gross partiality—he gave no opinion as to their being well founded or not—but complaints of gross partiality there were against the returning officers in several instances. The Ballot would place an enormous power, without appeal, in the hands of returning officers to increase this abuse far beyond what now existed. But what were the advantages to be gained by the plan of the hon. Member? He said, in the first place, it would throw great difficulties in the way of bribery, and go far to extirpate it altogether. On that point he begged, however, entirely to differ from the hon. Member for London. Under what circumstances did bribery take place at the present moment? When the strength of the two opposing parties was very nearly balanced, and when it depended on a comparatively small number of votes how the election would terminate. In such a case the Ballot, so far from throwing difficulties in the way of bribery, would, on the contrary, render it more safe and easy than ever. With respect to bribery, then, he did not think that the plan of the hon. Member would at all answer the object he professed to have in view; and as to intimidation, although he admitted its existence to be the most plausible ground of defence which the Ballot had, yet even in that point of view, the advantages likely to result from it had, in his opinion, been very greatly overrated. The proposal of the hon. Member appeared to him to take for granted that the vote of the individual was all they had to protect. He maintained that the people of this country had not only a right to give their votes, but to exercise that fair influence which belonged to them, by assisting in the canvass of the particular candidate to whom they were favourable, and advance those opinions to which they were attached by all the means in their power. And did not the hon. Member see that in protecting the vote merely he would in fact recognise in every other respect the power of the landlord and the customer? He would enable the landlord to say to his tenant, you shall not vote at all; you shall not canvass for that candidate; you shall take no means whatever of promoting his chance of success. Did the hon. Member for London ever canvass an agricultural district? He could assure the hon. Member that in canvassing a small country town he had found it comparatively un- important to have a particular individual's vote, compared with the moral influence which it exerted and the countenance it gave him. He had found a respectable private farmer coming forward openly and boldly to state his opinions of infinitely more importance than the individual vote he was able to record in his favour. He was not prepared to say, that they would ever be able to put an end completely and for ever to the practice of intimidation; he believed the hope that human institutions would ever attain absolute perfection was vain and nugatory; but he contended, that a greater amount of good might be gained by other means in this respect than by adopting the system of the hon. Member for the City of London. It was true, they could not proceed under the penal laws against those who attempted to intimidate an elector. He knew perfectly well the power which the landlord had to dismiss a tenant on the expiration of his lease, and to enforce the covenants by which he was bound with an unusual degree of strictness; he knew the power of the customer to choose his own shop, it might be difficult to trace the motives by which they had each been actuated in exercising their power; but at the bar of public opinion that was not the case. Though they could not go before a criminal tribunal—though they could not bring the strict law into play—the bar of public opinion was not bound down by such nice and close laws, and in matters of election, more especially, public opinion was almost omnipotent. There was no man who by any degree of improper influence in any county or town constituency in the kingdom could gain a number of votes sufficient to determine his election,—it was impossible that mere intimidation could carry any election; and if public opinion were once decidedly pronounced against such practices—if the really independent electors set their faces against them—if parties found that they lost more than they gained by resorting to such means as these, there would be a practical security against abuse which would go far to extirpate it altogether. But it had been said, that public opinion would never have this effect—that they always had open voting, and yet the system of intimidation had constantly prevailed. But a new era dated on this subject from the passing of the Reform Bill. He appealed to any one at all conversant with the manner in which contested elections had formerly been conducted, whether the right of the landlord was not all but recognised to the vote of the tenant, the landlord was not ashamed to avow that he expected his tenants to vote with him; but was that the case now? Was any landlord now found openly to avow his expectation that his tenants would vote with him? If so, he asked whether every speech of every candidate during a contested election and the columns of every newspaper in which the pretensions of rival candidates were supported, were not filled with charges and counter-charges of the exercise of this species of influence, and whether parties did not find it necessary to disclaim it on their own side? They had gained, then, a most important step, when they found all the parties denying the practice of themselves, while they charged it openly against their adversaries. The practice could not be carried on in a corner in secret—it could not be persevered in extensively, and all parties already found it necessary to disclaim it. The change in public opinion to which he looked for a cure to this evil was in progress; and as there had been only two general elections under the Reform Bill, trusting to the good sense of the electors of the country, he could not consent to the introduction of a measure to remedy the present state of things, which, in his opinion, it would not accomplish, apart from its being objectionable on other grounds. [Question.] He did not wonder, considering this was now the third or fourth time this subject was regularly debated, that hon. Members should cry "Question," but now that the subject occupied such a space in public opinion, it was necessary they should carefully consider what was to be said on both sides. But it was said, why trust to all these roundabout and ineffectual modes—why not adopt the direct, simple, and straightforward method, the ballot, which would clearly be efficacious? He, for one, Contended that the Ballot would not be effectual for the object proposed. The mere vote was not all they should protect. It was necessary they should endeavour to create and keep alive that independent spirit among the great mass of the people of this country, without which, all the forms of the constitution would be of little avail—that vivifying spirit which preserved alive the body politic, and without which no real freedom could exist. They might tell him of sacrifices which, according to the present practice, were imposed on conscientious voters. But was there no benefit to be derived even from them? In his opinion, there were great and decided advantages to be derived from those sacrifices, much as he lamented them, in the fostering of an independent spirit, and in the sympathy of others. He contended if the principle of the Ballot were admitted, it would be impossible for men fairly to discuss their opinions, and therefore, no sound and wholesome state of public opinion could ever exist in such a state of things. The hon. Member, in protecting the vote by the introduction of the Ballot, would discourage and prevent men from manfully standing up and avowing their opinions. The hon. Member for the city of London said, that one of the effects of the Ballot would be to soften the violation of election contests. Many moderate men would conceal their opinions in the ballot-box, without caring to avow them. Now, he believed that such would be the effect of the Ballot. But so far from being desirable, he thought that the worst possible state of things that could exist. He thought there was much more practicable wisdom in the principle laid down by art ancient lawgiver of one of the most famous republics the world ever saw, that that man's conduct should be considered penal who, in certain contests, remained neutral. By making moderate men hold aloof from declaring their opinions, they would discourage the open avowal of independent sentiment, and leave the whole dispute to be carried on by the most violent partisans. Those who had attentively read the history of the French revolution, exhibiting as it did the most cruel and grinding tyranny the world ever witnessed, established too, under the forms of a complete democracy—a tyranny which no one doubted was opposed to the real opinions of an enormous majority of the country wherein it prevailed—those; who had studied that history, must be aware that it arose in a great degree from the circumstance, that the people of France bowed down under the tyranny of many years, did not possess that sturdy independence of spirit which induced individuals, at whatever risk, to stand forward and maintain their real opinions. The tyranny was excited and maintained by a delusion, which a general prevalence of real independence of spirit would soon have displaced. This want of real independence of spirit, this moral cowardice in political matters, would, he contended, be encouraged and fostered by the Ballot. But he went further; some hon. Members were fond of looking at America. On this point, he could not do better than refer to the testimony, which was admitted on both sides of the House as authoritative, of M. de Tocqueville on democracy. It was his opinion, that there is no real freedom of voting in the United States, and that no one was bold enough to advance any opinion opposed to the ruling passions of the multitude. He believed that there really did exist a tyranny of the majority on which arguments used in that House were often founded. But he rejoiced to know that the people of this country were resolutely determined not to give up opinions formed after cool and deliberate reflection, to the prevailing passions of the moment. This feeling, which he maintained to form the best security for the institutions of the country, was fostered and strengthened in his opinion by the practice of open and unconcealed voting. He should be obliged to record his vote against the motion of the hon. Member, but in stating this, he thought it necessary to add, that he was convinced that the evil of which the hon. Member complained, and against which he wished to guard, could not go on unchecked. He did not scruple to express his entire acquiescence in the opinions of his noble Friend, Lord Melbourne, quoted at the commencement of the debate by the hon. Member for London. The abuse of influence, in which all parties equally indulged, was the crying evil of the present day. He hoped that this evil would be repressed by the good sense of the people, and by the resolution of all parties to abstain from using improper means of influence. He trusted that the Members of that House in their various residences, would set the example, and he was quite sure that in the contests between the political parties into which the nation was divided, the adoption of that general policy would not be regretted. If they steadily refused to employ such means themselves, and did not shrink from denouncing them when employed by their adversaries, they might effect much good. He had found this practically to be the case, and he knew that the electors sym- pathised with these sentiments. If, however, his hopes were deceived—if, in the violence of party strife, contending factions should raise to an intolerable height the evil complained of—if, after further experience, he should unhappily find himself disappointed in the result which he confidently anticipated—he did affirm that, however reluctantly, he might at length be driven to adopt the plan proposed by the hon. Member. He was perfectly prepared for the manner in which this declaration had been received; but he was not to be deterred from expressing his opinions by the condemnation of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He thought he had stated distinctly the grounds on which he dissented from the motion; but let those hon. Gentlemen who cheered, recollect that the cry for the Ballot was one of their own creation, and that its prevalence was owing to themselves. He did not mean wholly to acquit that party to which he himself belonged, of contributing to it; for in the violence of party warfare, improper practices would almost invariably be employed by both sides. Nor would he lay the whole blame on the other side; but he had no hesitation in declaring, as a caution to both sides, and one which they would do well seriously to reflect upon, that if the present state of things continued, to the Ballot they must, and to the Ballot they would come. Though the Ministers might not change their opinions, and though Gentlemen on the other side might continue their opposition to the Ballot, he felt certain that a power too strong for them would arise; to that power they must necessarily yield; and this unfortunate change in the law of elections must necessarily take place. He should deplore such an unhappy event: but he would not, after so short a trial of the effects of the Reform Bill, despair of the success of that great experiment. He still confidently believed that the result would be as he had ventured to predict, and that they would eventually, without the adoption of the dangerous remedy proposed, accomplish the object which he trusted they all had at heart.

Mr. Charles

Buller returned his sincere thanks to the hon. Gentlemen opposite for having honoured them with so full an attendance this evening, though it did not appear that their object was the discussion of the question, inasmuch as they had observed a magnanimous silence, and thus had saved the poor Radicals from being exposed to opposite fires. The only hon. Gentleman on that side of the House who had spoken on the question was the hon. Member for Evesham, and entertaining the respect he did for the hon. Gentleman opposite, he must say, that the hon. Member took a lofty and elevated tone, such as would scarcely be responded to by the great majority of those by whom he was surrounded. He bore ample evidence to the working of the Reform Act; he bore ample evidence, as well he might, to the working of a system of bribery and intimidation under the Reform Act. He said, he had seen the honest voter—the independent tenant of a tyrannous landlord—come forward at the sacrifice of his individual interest, that he might give a conscientious vote; and so far from the exhibition having that effect on him which such a sight might have on a weaker mind, compelling him to come forward and complain of it as an evil, his strong conception revelled in it, and he exulted in describing it as a sacrifice which ought to be frequently presented to the country. The opinion generally entertained was, that it was one of the advantages derived from good government —that it diminished the opportunities for the display of great heroism. In former times every gentleman and lady who desired to display their hardihood might do so by persisting in travelling over Hounslow heath. A good police had put an end to the danger to be encountered there; and he did not much deplore the heroic virtues which could no longer display themselves in that species of hazardous undertaking. In his humble judgment, the Government of this country had acted wisely in providing for the protection of life and property. Again he must thank the hon. Gentlemen opposite for favouring the House with their presence to vote against him and his Friends on the present occasion, because, in doing so, they had furnished another argument in favour of the Ballot. He looked on them as consistent opponents of Parliamentary Reform; they opposed the Bill when it was originally introduced; they had opposed it since; and their efforts were now directed to making the new system as like as they could to the old. They witnessed with deep regret the mutilation of schedules A and B, and they had done everything in their power—they had used their honest endeavours with the greatest zeal, and with no inconsiderable success, to turn the counties, and cities, and towns into as rotten places as the most rotten boroughs that ever disgraced the country. It was to the authority of the Reform Bill that they looked for arguments by which they might oppose the Ballot; and he must confess it appeared to him that they were not likely to be quite satisfied with the arguments the noble Lord had used. The noble Lord had said, that if he found that with the Reform Bill they failed in accomplishing their object—if he saw that no other means could be devised to prevent intimidation, then the supporters of the Ballot should have his support. Now, when he looked at the argument of the noble Lord, and encouraged also by his vigorous and candid mind, he could not help hoping that it would take a very short time indeed to bring him to that view. The noble Lord disapproved of the Ballot because it would deprive them of the benefit of scrutinies before Committees of this House; and the hon. Member for Northampton objected to it because he was afraid it might infringe on the beautiful system of registration. He thought it was a strong argument in favour of the Ballot, that the vote being secret it could not be questioned after it had been given. He would have votes disputed before the revising barristers prior to their being given, but never after it. In his opinion it was exceedingly desirable that the vote, if it were to be disputed at all, should be disputed before the individual had polled, and, therefore, before he had declared himself a partisan. But then it was said, that the doubt as to how the man would vote would leave parties in great uncertainty as to whether they should incur the expenses incidental to an election. He was of opinion, that if the Ballot did produce that degree of uncertainty, and he believed it would, the result would be beneficial, for the vote would then be disputed by those not so personally interested in the result, and who possessed the local knowledge which would enable them to say whether he was really entitled to a vote or not. The noble Lord said, they could not look for absolute protection to the votes under the Ballot; if this were so, at all events he would like to see the approximation to protection nearer. He did not suppose it would, in every single case, prevent bribery and intimidation, but he thought it would have that effect in the majority of the cases existing at present. He wished to state the case fairly to the supporters of the Reform Bill. He did not mean to depreciate the general effect of that measure. No doubt it had given great power to the people of England, whom it had enabled to send into this House more supporters than they ever had in it before; but he must also do the opponents of the measure the justice of admitting that they were right when, during the discussions on the Bill, they contended that, in extinguishing the nomination boroughs, they would increase corruption and intimidation. He believed there had been more scandalous corruption since the Reform Bill came into operation than there had ever been before. Then intimidation was almost the child of the Reform Act. Before that schedule A disfranchised so many boroughs there was little occasion for intimidation, inasmuch as the electors were the mere tools of the borough proprietors. Now, not only many of the boroughs but the counties were as close as possible; and those gentlemen who had been deprived of the power of nomination by the Reform Bill, had, in a great measure, succeeded in re-establishing the system by intimidation under that Bill. When Ministers said, they would destroy certain nomination boroughs, the people little thought they meant to say, that they would effect a mere transfer from one party to another. The noble Lord, seeming to think the Reform Bill had made a great improvement with respect to intimidation, asked, did any one now openly avow that he exercised an undue influence with his dependents? Men were not proud of such avowals; it was felt pretty generally that tenants ought not to be driven by their landlords up to the poll. To be sure there were exceptions, and he might instance that of an illustrious individual, whose name had cause to be considered a family motto; he alluded to him who inquired "might he not do as he liked with his own?" The noble Lord must excuse him if he did not follow him through all the details to which he had referred in connexion with the French revolution. He should have thought that the noble Lord would not have condescended to talk of the French government as a popular government, with the view to show the inefficiency of the Vote by Ballot. When he talked of the horrors of 1793, he might have remembered that there was one grand impediment to the working of that beautiful constitution, which was, that at the moment it was adopted it was suspended, and, having been long kept in suspense, it never was brought into operation. Let not the noble Lord, then, rely too much on the practical working of a constitution which never could have had any practical working at all. The noble Lord had referred to the influence of public opinion. Public opinion was assuredly a very good thing, but its operation was slow. Public opinion alone had not prevented the perpetration of gross acts of tyranny. Where it had been successful it was because it had the aid of certain subsidiary helps. The noble Lord said, they must trust to the vivifying spirit to keep the body politic warm, and he hoped they would not, in addition to the aid of the vivifying spirit, have recourse to a great-coat. He still trusted he should see the noble Lord with the additional comfort of the Ballot. He could not help thinking that the real grounds of the opposition to the Ballot were not stated, and that it proceeded rather from a fear that the Ballot would give strength to the democracy, and to certain dangerous opinions which would be circulated amongst, and influence, that class of the people which were not the best informed. There was an apprehension that the Ballot would destroy the influence of property, but he contended it was a mistake to suppose that the great mass of the people would select their leaders from any but the really intelligent, or that they would not pay that respect to rank and station which rank and station really merited. "The real ground of the opposition made to the question by moderate politicians is obviously," continued the hon. Member, "the fear that the introduction of the Ballot will too completely destroy the influence of men of property and intelligence, and give an impulse to the progress of certain dangerous doctrines which they conceive to be circulating amongst the less instructed and less prudent portion of the electoral body. I can add little on this point to the admirable reasoning by which my hon. Friend, the Member for London, and other supporters of the Ballot, have shown that it is neither the purpose nor the probable effect of the Ballot to diminish in aught the legitimate in- fluence of property: but that, by destroying the influence of corruption and intimidation, you will leave unwarped the natural tendency of our countrymen to follow the guidance of those whose superior intelligence they cheerfully acknowledge, and whose advantages of fortune and station they are apt to regard with perhaps too much veneration. I wish to see the influence of an enlightened and patriotic gentry confirmed rather than weakened; I wish to see the people invested with a full power of choosing their leaders, because I feel little doubt that it will exercise that choice in favour of the best of those whom fortune has endowed with leisure and independence. That such an aristocracy may long continue to hold power on a democratic tenure I feel little doubt. The Roman patrician, when deprived of his peculiar privileges, descended into the open arena of political emulation, and struggled on equal terms with his plebeian competitor. Nor did that noble strife fail to call forth his energies; and, from the days of the Fabii down to those of the Cæsars, Rome found in the families of her ancient nobles the worthiest candidates for the offices to which all might aspire. I see nothing that is to prevent the gentry of England from occupying a similar pre-eminence, and wielding a similar power—nothing save the mad attempt to substitute the brute force of property for the mild influence of station and character—nothing but the continuance of a system which brings every man of wealth and rank into unceasing collision with the independence and consciences of his countrymen. Of all the effects which the Ballot is likely to have when once fairly established, I have always attached peculiar importance to that which it would exercise in preventing excitement and giving influence to electors and candidates of moderate opinions. Now the present system seems as if it were expressly contrived to make constant excitement a necessity, and destroy the influence of moderate men. The wealthy canidate is supported not only by the influence of his own money, but by all that which his wealthy supporters can bring to bear upon their dependent tenants or customers, and that interest which a portion of his partisans feel in the maintenance of profitable abuses. In order to counteract these great advantages the candidate of opinions the most directly the reverse appeals to the passions of the mass, and excites them by the promised advantages of great political changes, humours their prejudices, and frequently by the force of that enthusiasm which marks the holders of extreme opinions, by the moral influence of the opinions of the mass, or by the direct intimidation of a mob, triumphs over the vast power against which he has to contend. Very often at the same time, I think I may say most generally, there exists a moderate party which is averse to both excesses; and the opinions of which, if freely expressed, would secure the triumph of the moderate candidate. But moderate men, whose judgment is peculiarly valuable on account of its calmness, are precisely those who always feel the least enthusiasm. Though they would vote wisely if they could vote safely, they are just the men whose convictions are not so decided as to induce them to sacrifice themselves and their families to their opinions. These are just the men who under the present system have no influence. They are always coerced by the one party or the other. A candidate finds it useless to rely upon their support; and he has always to earn, by the expression of extreme opinions, the support of one of the extreme parties. I believe the greater part of the coerced voters are among the most moderate; and it seems to me that it is a great objection to any system that it renders the exercise of an honest choice dependent on the voter's excitement, and gives every motive to the candidate to stimulate the passions of the constituency. In this, Sir, I have only been expressing in general terms, the results of the experience of the working of the Reform Act. It is worked entirely at the expense of moderate men—that is, at the expense, above all others, of the Whig party. The Tory has succeeded by dint of aristocratic influence; the Radicals in many instances have triumphed by dint of the enthusiasm which the mass of the voters have felt in behalf of the candidate for whom they have been ready to go all lengths, because he seemed ready to go all lengths with them. But the Whig has been excluded by both. The Tories were the great gainers by the last general election. The numbers of the whole Liberal party in this House were greatly diminished, yet the number of the Radicals is augmented. The Whigs have lost not only all that the Tories but all that the Radicals have gained; and every man conversant with these affairs with whom I have spoken, whatever may be his opinion as to the relative numbers of the two great divisions of this House, seems to think that the Whig party will again be losers. I do not mean to insult his Majesty's Ministers by directing this argument to their personal interests; I do not recommend the ballot to them as an instrument to serve their personal ambition, and prevent the diminution of those supporters who more constantly adhere to them. But if they are honest men, they must look on the prevalence of these opinions as a matter of great national concern. They may honestly regard it as a great defect in our present system that it threatens the destruction of the party to which they, from conviction, are attached. And I may with perfect propriety call on them to lend a favourable ear to a proposal which appears to me to offer the only guarantee for the prevalence of moderate opinions in the councils of the empire. For myself, Sir, I will own that much as these considerations weigh with me, this is, after all, with me very much a matter of feeling. I cannot look without strong feelings of indignation at that disgusting system of electoral corruption which is the shame of our country. I cannot listen to the tales of cruel oppression which mark the course of any contested election without feeling that humanity imperiously calls upon us to put an end to this barbarous and degrading system. Even to my own constituents, though they, perhaps, have suffered among the least, from these foul influences, I feel that my zealous support of this motion is due. I know enough of the cost at which they have asserted their independence to make me feel that the protection of their franchise is a requital which they have a right to claim from their Representatives. If, after exciting them to resist the powerful influences which opposed me, and seeing the misery which that resistance has entailed on many of them, I were to fail them on this question, I should feel as dishonoured as the demagogue of yore, who proved recreant to his comrades in the fight to which his counsels had impelled them.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

had a few observations to address to the House on the motion then before them. Before he offered those observations to their notice he would take the liberty of differing altogether from the statement that had been made by the hon. Member who had just sat down. He had heard that statement with regret, because he knew the use that would be made of such an admission, coming, as it did, from the advocate of liberal opinions—from (as his hon. Friend had been) a sincere supporter of the Reform Bill, not only as to the spirit with which the measure had been carried, but in all its remote consequences. His hon. Friend had stated that corruption had been more extended since the passing of the Reform Bill, and that intimidation was the child and the offspring of the Reform Bill. Now he took the liberty of respectfully differing from his hon. Friend in such an opinion. Were there, he would ask, no cases of corruption before the passing of the Reform Bill? Had they not heard of Aylesbury and Shoreham? Had they not known the most gross corruption practised at elections—acknowledged to have been so practised even by an unreformed Parliament? Did not these things exist; and after all this, was his hon. Friend to rise up and say—he who was a friend to Reform—he who was a consistent Reformer—was he to say, that corruption had been more extensive under the Reform Bill than it had been before that measure passed. He appealed to hon. Gentlemen—to those who were supporters of the motion then before the House, on the ground that it had a tendency to extinguish corruption—he asked them if they believed that corruption was the offspring of the Reform Bill. His hon. Friend had said that there was not much corruption in schedule A. To be sure there was not; but his hon. Friend's saying so was as great a perversion of an argument as that of the old philosopher who said there was not adultery in a particular country because the women were in common. There was no corruption. But was not the existence of the thing corruption in itself? He did not at all mean to contest the fact that corruption and intimidation prevailed; but what he contended against was the argument that would be used in opposition to the progress of liberal opinions, and which sought to connect corruption or intimidation with the Reform Bill. He had another word to say to the arguments used by his hon. and learned Friend. He denied that his hon. Friend heard correctly or represented justly the arguments used by his noble Friend, the Secretary at War, who sat beside him. His noble Friend did not say that French revolutionary principles would arise from the Ballot. His noble Friend had said no such thing. His argument was this: he said that the effect of the old government in France was to depress public opinion; that it was calculated to diminish the activity of the public mind; and his noble Friend's argument was, that the Ballot would produce the same consequences; and it was in that sense, and that sense only, he referred to French revolutionary principles. He came to the discussion of this measure with regret, because it was always with regret that he differed from Gentlemen who, in the main, agreed with him in political opinions. He discussed, he admitted, this question with the more difficulty after the clear and able manner in which the subject had been introduced to the notice of the House by his hon. Friend. But he discussed the question now upon the principle that he had always discussed it. He did not think that the Ballot would be effectual for the object proposed, and, even if they were enabled to preserve entire secrecy, it would introduce other evils which would more than compensate for the advantages to be derived from it. He did admit that the question deserved the serious consideration of the House. He admitted this, then, as he had admitted it on a former occasion. He had to state with respect to his own constituents, to whom he had the opportunity of stating his views on this matter, that he did not find more than from ten to twenty persons favourable to the Ballot. There had been presented from that constituency a petition signed by three hundred as intelligent and independent men as ever addressed that House; and they now sent forward a petition in favour of the Ballot. Such had been the progress of the measure: those who had been adverse to it were now found to petition in favour of it. Why was this? They had become converts in the interval of time he had referred to on account of the progress of a system of bribery; on account of the progress of a system of intimidation. They became converts from the necessity they felt for some protection for their votes; and it was on these grounds, and these grounds only, he took upon himself to assert that a petition from them had been presented to the House. It was, he repeated, the only reason for the alteration in the opinions of these men. His objection to the Ballot was not because he did not think with Gentlemen who supported the motion and advocated the Ballot, that they were under an imperative duty of checking in all quarters corruption and intimidation, but because he doubted (and in this he differed from them) that the Ballot was the remedy either fit or applicable for the evils of which they complained. He did not wish his opinions to be misconceived as to his differing from hon. Gentlemen upon this subject; it was because he doubted that the Ballot was the proper remedy to be found for corruption and intimidation. His hon. Friend (Mr. Grote) had presented a petition that night from Cambridge; he was too well acquainted with the Cambridge case, and he could be a witness to this fact, that no person in that House had a stronger interest in putting down intimidation than he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had. Therefore, let Gentlemen from whom he differed, remember that he had, in his opposition to them, no sinister object in view. He agreed with them in their object; he differed from them with respect to the means. He did not believe that it was in the power of any Act of Parliament to reach the evil; he did not believe they could arrive at moral results by mechanical means. He believed the only way to succeed was to let in public opinion upon the acts and conduct of those who sought to intimidate others; and also by that House acting when the facts were brought before them. He did not defend the system of open voting, because he claimed for property a direct control, but he claimed for landlords, for those attentive and kind-hearted individuals who were brought in immediate contact with subordinate classes—he claimed for them the opportunity of giving their advice and counsel. But when they went a point beyond that, then there arose an influence that was illegal, and that ought to be controlled. Now, suppose they had the Ballot, he would try to come by this test as to the influence of landlords. He had referred to cases such as had occurred—he did not mean to say they were true—but he would take the case of landlords in Ireland. Let him, then, suppose that they had the Ballot, and that they had complete secrecy. Let them observe then, what would be the result, Would not the landlord at once make such a selection of men as should be of such declared and avowed party opinions, that he was quite sure that those men, as his tenants, would vote with him under any circumstances? He respected the opinions of Gentlemen who differed from him; he was sure that similar respect would be paid to his opinions. He was then trying the case in reference to Ireland. Supposing then that he was a partisan, a high Orangeman, who wished to maintain his influence under the Ballot, what would he do when the system of open voting was put an end to?—Why, have on the land in his possession none but an Orange tenantry, men of declared political opinions, ready to vote with him. Would he not, in doing this, be not only creating a party constituency, but also introducing party into the management of his estates, and thus carrying on a war against the general population of the country? He was perfectly satisfied that this would be the case in Ireland. Fortunately for England, there were not the violent opinions found to prevail, which existed in that country. The Ballot would undoubtedly effect this, that no man would be punished by reason of his vote: but then, supposing he was a landlord, or a master manufacturer, and that he distrusted A, B, C, that he knew them to be violent Tories or Conservatives, or call them what they would, he might say that he would request of them to abstain from voting. Now, over such an influence as that, the Ballot had no power. They had, then, the power of corruption and intimidation to induce men to abstain from voting: that influence would still exist, and the Ballot could not affect it. He knew that much existed in the way of intimidation and of corruption, and this arose particularly from a want of a proper legislative enactment, and he only hesitated then from stating what he thought would meet the evil, because he was determined upon meeting the question fairly. He was bound to say, that when corruption was proved, both that and the other House of Parliament had shown too much tenderness to such cases. They had hesitated to disfranchise boroughs when the corruption was notorious. Let them look to the case of the Bribery Bill of last year. The hon. Member for Bradford was the father of that Bill, and a most unnatural father he had proved to be, for in the last fortnight of the Session, when the Bill was attacked, he left them on that side of the House to defend it. If they took up the subject in the way of improved and penal legislation, in a stronger and more determined manner than they had yet done, he believed that much of the corruption that now existed might be put an end to. It was on these grounds, and doubting that the results would follow from the means proposed to be employed, that he should firmly and steadily adhere to the opinions he had expressed on a former occasion.

Mr. Grote,

in reply, said, it was not his intention to abuse the patience of the House, having already drawn so largely upon it. He must, however, confess, when he followed the whole course of the debate, that he saw very much to congratulate the friends of the Ballot upon. He saw very little to regret, or very much to rejoice at. From the determined silence of the Gentlemen opposite, this question would go forth to the world, deprived of having that which was so valuable to it—their opposition. It was a subject of great rejoicing to him, when he recollected the altered tone of his Majesty's Ministers. It was a subject of great rejoicing to him when he took notice of the altered manner of the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a view to this subject. He did not mean to say they had changed their opinion, but their opposition to this important measure was on the ground of time, and not on the ground of principle. Their conclusions were the same, but their premises totally different. He was authorised in asserting from the speech he had made in the early part of the evening, that the main points of his argument remained untouched. No one who had addressed the House had ventured to deny that intimidation existed, not even the hon. Member for Evesham, the representative of the evening of the mighty party—the Tories. He had not even ventured to deny that intimidation existed, and had done so to a frightful extent under his own eyes. Where was the effective remedy for this? Why, in the Ballot, and that alone. He knew of no alternative that had been suggested, except the one put forth by the hon. Member for Shaftesbury, which was most completely demolished by the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, who showed that anything in the nature of a penal Act, could not be car- ried into execution. When these two points remained undisturbed, first the extent of the evil, and then the impossibility of finding any other remedy, the main strength of his argument remained untouched. He knew that his Majesty's Ministers indulged hopes respecting an alteration in the feelings that were abroad on the Subject of intimidation, they seemed to expect that the fire would go out of itself; they seemed to think that intimidation, by some miracle, was so to be worked upon, that though you left it uncontrolled power, it would abandon it. Intimidation was increasing from year to year, and were they not, he would ask, to have the Ballot, when it was shown clearly by that, and that alone, intimidation would be put an end to. He trusted that the time was not far distant when his Majesty's Ministers would become converts to the measure, and then they would stand in the situation which, of all others, he should wish to see them, making the whole of that side of the House on which he sat, in favour of the Ballot, opposed only by the formidable opposition of the right hon. Baronet, and his Colleagues.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer,

before the House divided, wished to say a few words in explanation. The hon. Member, in his reply, had said that he was happy to observe the altered tone of his Majesty's Ministry on the subject. If that observation was intended to apply to him, he begged to say, that his arguments against the present motion were founded on precisely the same grounds as his opposition of last year.

Viscount Howick

said, that the last time he had addressed the House upon the subject, in 1835, his arguments were precisely the same, together with the grounds of his opposition, as they were at present. His objections were founded then, as now, upon principle, and not upon time.

The House divided:—Ayes 153; Noes 265: Majority 112.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Beauclerk, Major
Ainsworth, P. Bentinck, Lord W.
Bagshaw, John Bernal, R.
Bainbridge, E. T. Bewes, T.
Baines, Edward Biddulph, Robert
Baldwin, Dr. Bish, Thomas
Ball, N. Blake, M. J.
Barnard, E. G. Blunt, Sir C. R.
Barry, G. S. Bodkin, J.
Bowes, John Mangles, J.
Brabazon, Sir W. Marjoribanks, S.
Brady, D. C. Marshall, W m.
Bridgman, H. Marsland, H.
Brocklehurst, J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Brodie, W. B. Morrison, J.
Brotherton, J. Mulling, F. W.
Browne, R. D. Musgrave, Sir Robert, Bart.
Buckingham, J. S.
Bulwer, H. L. Nagle, Sir R.
Bulwer, E. L. O'Connell, D.
Burdon, W. O'Connell, J.
Butler, hon. P. O'Connell, M. J.
Callaghan, D. O'Connell, Morgan
Chalmers, P. Ord, W. H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Oswald, James
Clay, W. Palmer, General
Codrington, Sir E. Parrott, Jasper
Collier, J. Pattison, J.
Conyngham, Lord A. Pease, J.
Cookes, T. H. Pendarves, E. W.
Crawford, W. S. Philips, Mark
Crawley, S. Phillipps, Charles M.
D'Eyncourt, rt. h. C. T. Ponsonby, J.
Divett, E. Potter, R.
Duncombe, T. Power, James
Dundas, hon. J. C. Pryme, George
Dundas, J. D. Ramsbottom, John
Elphinstone, H. Rippon, Cuthbert
Etwall, R. Roche, William
Evans, George Roebuck, J. A.
Ewart, W. Rundle, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. Russell, Lord
Ferguson, Robert Russell, Lord Charles
Fielden, J. Ruthven, E.
Finn, W. F. Sanford, E. A.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Scholefield, Joshua
Fitzsimon, C. Seale, Colonel
Fort, J. Simeon, Sir R.
Gaskell, Daniel Sinclair, Sir George
Gisborne, T. Smith, B.
Guest, J. J. Strickland, Sir G.
Gully, John Strutt, Edward
Hall, Benjamin Stuart, Lord J.
Hardy, J. Stuart, V.
Harvey, D. W. Tancred, H. W.
Hawes, B. Thompson, Colonel
Hawkins, J. H. Thornley, Thomas
Hector, C. J. Tooke, W.
Hindley, C. Trelawney, Sir W. L.
Hodges, T. L. Tulk, C. A.
Holland, E. Turner, W.
Hume, J. Tynte, C. J. K.
Humphery, John Vigors, N. A.
Hutt, Wm. Villiers, C. P.
James, William Wakley, T.
Jephson, C. D. O. Wallace, R.
King, Edward B. Warburton, H.
Lambton, Hedworth Ward, Hen. George
Langton, Wm. Gore Wason, R.
Leader, J. T. Wemyss, Captain
Lister, E. C. Whalley, Sir S.
Lushington, Dr. Wigney, Isaac N.
Lushington, Charles Wilde, Sergeant
Lynch, A. H. Wilks, John
Macnamara, Major Williams, W.
Maher, John Williams, W. A.
Wood, Alderman TELLERS.
Wyse, T. Grote, George
Buller, C.
List of the NOES.
Adam, Admiral Dalmeny, Lord
Alsager, Captain Damer, D.
Alston, Rowland Darlington, Earl of
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Denison, John
Archdall, M. Dick, Quintin
Ashley, Vise. Dillwyn, L. W.
Astley, Sir J. Dottin, Abel Rous
Attwood, M. Dugdale, W. S.
Bagot, hon. W. Dunbar, George
Baillie, H. D. Duncombe, W.
Balfour, T. Dundas, hon. T.
Barclay, David Dunlop, J.
Barclay, C. East, J. B.
Baring, Francis T. Eastnor, Viscount
Baring, H. Bingham Eaton, R. J.
Baring, W. B. Egerton, Lord Fran.
Baring, T. Elley, Sir J.
Barneby, John Estcourt, Thos. G. B.
Beaumont, Thos. W. Estcourt, Thos.
Beckett, Sir J. Fancourt, Major
Belfast, Earl of Farrand, R.
Bell, M. Fazakerley, J. N.
Benett, J. Fector, John Minet
Bentinck, Lord G. Feilden, W.
Beresford, Sir J. P. Ferguson, G.
Berkeley, hon. F. Finch, George
Blackburne, J. Fleming, John
Blackstone, W. S. Foley, Edw. Thos.
Bolling, Wm. Folkes, Sir W.
Bonham, R. Francis Follett, Sir W.
Borthwick, Peter Forester, hon. G.
Bowles, G. R. Forster, C. S.
Bradshaw, J. Fremantle, Sir T. W.
Bramston, T. W. Gaskell, James Milnes
Brownrigg, S. Geary, Sir W. R. P.
Bruce, C. L. C. Gladstone, T.
Bruen, Colonel Gladstone, Wm. E.
Bruen, F. Gordon, hon. W.
Buller, E. Goring, H. D.
Buller, Sir J. B. Yarde Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Burrell, Sir C. M., Bt. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Byng, George Greene, Thomas
Byng, G. S. Grimston, Viscount
Campbell, Sir H. Grimston, hon. E. H.
Canning, hon. C. Hale, R. B.
Canning, Sir S. Halford, H.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Halse, James
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hamilton, Geo. Alex.
Cayley, E. S. Hamilton, Lord
Chandos, Marq. of Harcourt, G. G.
Chaplin, Col. Harcourt, G. S.
Chapman, Aaron Hardinge, Sir H.
Chisholm, A. Harland, W. C.
Clerk, Sir G. Hawkes, T.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hayes, Sir E. S., Bt.
Colborne, N. W. R. Heathcote, Gilb.
Compton, H. C. Henniker, Lord
Conolly, E. M. Hillsborough, Earl of
Corry, hon. H. T. L. Hinde, J. H.
Crawford, W. Hobhouse, Sir J. C.
Crewe, Sir G., Bt. Hoskins, K.
Dalbiac, Sir C. Hotham, Lord
Houldsworth, T. Plumptre, J. P.
Houstoun, G. Polhill, Frederick
Howard, R. Pollock, Sir Fred.
Howard, P. H. Powell, Colonel
Howick, Viscount Price, S. G.
Hoy, J. B. Price, Sir Robert, Bt.
Hughes, Hughes Price, Richard
Inglis, Sir R. H., Bt. Pusey, P.
Irton, Samuel Rae, Sir Wm., Bt.
Jackson, Sergeant Reid, Sir J. R.
Jermyn, Earl Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Johnstone, Sir J. Richards, J.
Johnstone, J. J. H. Richards, R.
Jones, Wilson Rickford, W.
Jones, Theobald Robinson, G. R.
Kerrison, Sir Edw. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Kirk, P. Ross, Charles
Knight, H. G. Rushbrooke, Col.
Labouchere, H. Russell, C.
Law, hon. C. E. Sanderson, R.
Lawson, Andrew Sandon, Viscount
Lefroy, A. Scott, Sir E. D.
Lefroy, rt. hon. T. Scorn-field, W. H.
Lemon, Sir C. Seymour, Lord
Lennox, Lord G. Shaw, F.
Leveson, Lord Sheppard, T.
Lewis, David Shirley, E. J.
Lewis, Wyndham Sibthorp, Col.
Lincoln, Earl of Smith, J. A.
Loch, J. Smith, A.
Long, W. Smith, hon. R.
Longfield, R. Smyth, Sir H., Bt.
Lowther, Visc. Somerset, Lord G.
Lowther, J. H. Spry, Sir S.
Lucas, Edward Stanley, Edward
Mackenzie, S. Stanley, Lord
Mackinnon, W. A. Stanley, W. O.
M'Leod, R. Stormont, Visc.
M'Taggart, J. Strangways, hon. J.
Mahon, Viscount Stuart, Lord D.
Marsland, T. Sturt, Henry Chas.
Martin, J. Surrey, Earl of
Maule, hon. F. Talbot, C. R. M.
Maunsell, T. P. Tennent, J. E.
Maxwell, H. Thomas, Colonel
Meynell, Capt. Townley, R. G.
Miles, William Trevor, hon. A.
Miller, Wm. Henry Trevor, hon. G.
Milton, Viscount Twiss, H.
Mordaunt, Sir J., Bt. Vere, Sir C. B., Bt.
Moreton, A. Vernon, Granv. H.
Morpeth, Viscount Vesey, hon. T.
Neeld, John Vivian, John Ennis
Nicholl, Dr. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Norreys, Lord Wall, C. B.
North, F. Walpole, Lord
Ossulston, Lord Walter, John
Palmer, Robert Welby, G. E.
Palmer, George Westenra, hon. H. R.
Palmerston, Visc. Weyland, Major
Parker, M. Whitmore, Thos. C.
Patten, J. Wilson Wilbraham, G.
Pechell, Captain R. Wilbraham, B.
Peel, rt. Hon. Sir R. Williams, Robt.
Pelham, John C. Williamson, Sir H.
Pemberton, Thomas Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Pigot, Robert Wilson, H.
Wood, C. Young, J.
Worsley, Lord Young, Sir W:
Wrightson, W. Battie TELLERS.
Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. Poulter, J. S.
Young, G. F. Smith, Robert V.
Paired Off.
Mr. Speirs Sir H. Goodricke
Mr. Methuen Mr. Bannerman
Mr. W. Barron Colonel Wood
Mr. Walker Sir E. Knatchbull
Mr. A. Johnstone Mr. T. F. Buxton