HC Deb 02 August 1838 vol 44 cc871-925

Lord John Russell moved the Order of the Day for considering the Lords' Amendments on the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill.

Amendments read a first time,

Lord John Russell

said, that before he moved, that these amendments be read a second time, he would state generally the course which he proposed to adopt in respect to them. In proceeding to do so, he could not but express his satisfaction, that the Lords had not in this instance acted as they had done in 1836, in sending back to the House of Commons a proposal to abolish municipal corporations in Ireland, on the ground that the people of Ireland were not in a condition to enjoy the same liberties which were enjoyed with safety by the people of England and of Scotland. Such being the case, he should not now go over the grounds upon which he considered, that municipal corporations were desirable and useful institutions; nor should he quote the authorities of historians to show the advantages which had resulted from them in former times. In the present instance, the Lords had adopted the principle of allowing municipal corporations to a certain number of towns in Ireland; but at the same time they had made some alterations of a very extensive nature in the bill which had been sent up to them from that House. Therefore, when he said, that he felt satisfaction that the amendments of the Lords were not now on the principle of abolishing the corporations of Ireland, his satisfaction on the subject ended there. He must say, that the more he examined the bill, and the details of it, as it had been altered by the House of Lords, the less disposed was he to concur in the opinion that the bill, in its present state, could be accepted by this House. The alterations which had been made by the Lords in this bill were of a most extensive kind. Twenty-six of the clauses which it originally contained had been left out, and ninety-two new clauses had been added, whilst many of the other clauses framed by the House of Commons had been altered in such a manner as to give them an entirely different tendency from that with which they had been framed. It might very well be said, that the omission of so much of the original matter of the bill, and the introduction of so much new matter by the Lords would be a reason sufficient to justify a postponement of the consideration of this subject; but he must say that, besides the amount of alteration which had been made by the Lords, he could not but think that the House of Peers, in its great zeal for the object to which it was attached, and its reluctance to adopt the principle of municipal corporations for Ireland, had not paid sufficient attention to the alterations which they had made in this bill. In looking at their conduct with respect to the Irish Poor-law Bill, the amendments which they made upon it, and the time which they occupied in the discussion of them, were sufficient to show that great pains had been taken by the Lords with that subject. But, with regard to the present bill, he could not find, by any records in the votes of the House of Lords, nor by anything he had learned on the subject, that the vast addition of ninety-two new clauses in this bill, and the omission of twenty-six of its original clauses, besides the alteration of many others, had engaged their attention in discussion during the time which he should think the importance of the subject required. The bill had been more than a month away from that House; yet he doubted if, during that time, six hours in the whole had been devoted by the Lords to its consideration This he thought would be, in itself, a sufficient reason for the Commons to inform the House of Lords, that they disagreed with the clauses which the Lords had inserted, with the view to their receiving more deliberate consideration. He would now proceed to state the general nature of the alterations which had been effected in this bill by the House of Lords. In the first place he would refer to a clause not immediately belonging to the case of municipal corporations—he meant a clause respecting the right of freemen to vote for Members of Parliament. The clause agreed to by the House of Commons was framed with a view to preserve the rights of freemen on this point as they existed previously to the passing of this bill. The Irish Reform Act had preserved to all existing freemen, and to all who should hereafter become freemen, their right to vote for Members of Parliament, thus extending to the freemen of Ireland the same protection of privilege as had been conferred on the freemen of the cities and boroughs in England. It appeared, however, that a very anomalous right of voting now existed in the city of Dublin: it was a right hardly to be referred to rights by servitude, birth, or marriage, or to other right of voting, formerly existing in England, obtained by gift. It appeared, that certain freemen of Dublin claimed their right on account of birth, marriage, and servitude; yet these claims were not allowed until they had been admitted by the corporate body. It might naturally be said, that the right of voting was obtained in either of these two ways—by birth, marriage, and servitude, or by gift and purchase. But the right to which he alluded in the city of Dublin appeared to pertain to a little of both these characteristics, and did not seem, therefore, to be a right which it was intended by the Reform Act to preserve. The clause, therefore, as framed by the House of Commons, and intended to follow the principle of the Irish Reform Act, saved all rights obtained by birth, apprenticeship, and marriage. But the Lords by the introduction of the words "all rights to which they might become entitled." appeared to give a right to persons who might otherwise have not enjoyed that right. It had been objected on the other side of the House, that this bill should not be suffered to interfere in any way with the parliamentary franchise of freemen; but without pretending to set the exact legal construction upon this amendment of the Lords, he must say, as far as he could gather their Lordships meaning, that it seemed to involve some intention of carrying the rights of freemen beyond the extent of recognition contained in the Act of Reform, namely, birth, servitude, and marriage, [Mr. Shaw, "no."] The right hon. Gentleman said, no; and, therefore, he hoped, that the right hon. Gentleman would not object to frame the clause in words entirely consistent with the Irish Reform Act. With respect to questions more immediately affecting the affairs of municipal corporations, it appeared in the numerous clauses which the Lords had introduced, and in the amendments which they had made in the original clauses of the bill, to be their studied design to preserve to certain members of the present corporation advantages and powers which it was the object of the present bill to do away with, and transfer to other bodies. If it were desirable that the present corporations should be reformed, and other bodies instituted in their stead by virtue of election, it surely was desirable, that those powers should be taken from the ancient corporations, rather than that they should preserve their authority, and keep up, side by side, the improvement of the new system, and the abuses of the old. If this were to be done, either one of two things must happen. Either they must have two bodies acting in rivalry in the local Government of the place at the same time, or they must deprive the new bodies altogether of power, and confer it on those ancient bodies which had been already declared to be no longer worthy of exercising such authority. To refer particularly to the amendments of the Lords on this score, he would mention the clause respecting charitable trustees, wherein it was proposed by the Lords that such trusts should be preserved in the members of the present corporations, until Parliament should otherwise provide, which, owing to the difficulty which might be found in framing another Act of Parliament, would very probably be during their lives. In clause 88, also, a very singular power was preserved to certain trustees of the old corporation to cleanse, pave, and light the towns. So that in this case, likewise, the powers were to be left to the trustees under the local acts. Let him observe, with respect to those trustees generally, that in England, by the Act relating to corporations, where the corporate body were trustees, and sole trustees, not being joined with any other body, the new corporate body came into possession of the power which was formerly enjoyed. That power, as trustees, they now had; but that power, as trustees, was not to be given by the present bill in relation to Ireland. Now, there was another clause, the 97th, of a very ominous purport with respect to debts. There were certain clauses in the English bill to which he at first objected, but which, after a good deal of discussion, were agreed to in that House, exactly in the manner that they were proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Sir W. Follett.) That hon. and learned Member took great pains with those clauses, and, according to his own views after discussion—nobody denying that the hon. and learned Member was fully competent for the task—framed them in words by which, as he conceived, all the rights of property which ought to be preserved, were preserved to the then holders of that property; but these clauses were not sufficient for those who suggested the amendments made by the peers. They had thought fit to introduce, with respect to this part of the bill, another provision, by which the town council—the present corporations in fact—had the power, if any debts were contracted before the passing of this Act, to mortgage the corporate property, for the purpose of paying those debts. Now, he begged the House to observe—bearing in mind the words of the clause, "before the passing of this Act," and recollecting the notice given during the last six months by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that the corporations were not to expect that they should retain their power—what would be the effect of a clause by which the present corporations were enabled to part with the whole of their property on the ground of paying debts which they had incurred before this law should pass? He would ask, whether the probable consequence would not be, that these corporations would mortgage the whole of the property, and produce effectual deeds, signed before the passing of the Act, for debts incurred, which, up to the year 1838, no one had been aware of. He was speaking certainly with suspicion of these bodies. He thought he was fully entitled so to speak, not only by the votes of that House, but by the votes of the other House of Parliament; not by the votes of the present Session, but by the votes of the year 1836, by which the House of Lords first declared by address to the Crown, that they were ready to remove any abuses existing in Irish corporations, and then proposed, as the only fit and effectual remedy, to abolish these corporations altogether. He said, then, that if he expressed suspicion and distrust of the present members of the corporate bodies in Ireland, that was no individual fancy of his own—it was not even the sound and mature opinion of a majority of that House only, but the decided, deliberate, and mature opinion of Parliament. Amongst other clauses, there were clauses with respect to boroughs in schedule B (to which he should have to refer hereafter) that deprived these towns of corporations. By the amendments of the Lords, it was proposed, that in all the boroughs contained in schedule B, the offices of town-clerk, and of some others, were to be continued in the possession of the present holders. The 180th clause recited, That every person who shall have been elected or appointed by any body corporate named in the said schedule (B) to this Act annexed, which shall be dissolved by virtue of this Act, or by any member or members thereof, in his or their corporate capacity, to be a clerk of a market, or a weighmaster of all goods, wares, and merchandises, or a weigh-master of butter, or taster of butter, or assay- master and shall not be entitled to such office as a member of such body corporate in his corporate capacity, shall continue to hold such offices, and to execute all the duties heretofore belonging thereto, as if this Act had not passed. Provided always, that if such office shall be filled up upon any resignation or removal made after the passing of this Act, in such case the person appointed to such office may be removed at the pleasure of the Lord-lieutenant: and any person so removed, shall not be entitled to compensation under the provisions of this Act. Then the 181st went on to say, That every person who shall be a town-clerk, bailiff, treasurer, or chamberlain, or other ministerial or executive officer of any body corporate named in the said schedule (B) to this Act annexed, which shall be dissolved by virtue of this Act, and who shall be in such office at the time of such dissolution, shall continue to execute all the duties heretofore belonging to his office, so far as the same are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, in the same manner as he would have done if this Act had not passed, until he shall be removed from his office by the commissioners to be appointed in such borough by virtue of this Act, or, where there shall be no such commissioners, by the Lord-lieutenant. Now, it appeared to him, that the object of these clauses was to preserve persons in certain offices in corporations which should be dissolved; and he could feel little doubt that the persons being appointed to these offices, in fact by abuse, that these abuses would be preserved under this Act. But there was a very material question relating to the clause which he had just mentioned with respect to the old corporations and some other towns contained in the same schedule. There was a particular provision made for the watching of these towns, the clause inserted by the Commons being left out, and the commissioners of local acts being authorised to superintend this department instead of the town-council appointed by this Act. So that care was taken that the trustees appointed to execute the provisions of local acts should be the servants of local bodies, and not of the town-council appointed by this Act. Care was taken, that the watching of the towns should not be under the direction of persons appointed by this Act, and there were various clauses relating to property which would take away from the town-council the power of exercising those rights with regard to property which were exercised by the town-councils of the reformed corporations of this country. He could conceive, that those who framed those clauses, and who introduced them, as he had said, without giving the majority or minority of that House an opportunity of sufficiently considering them, had for their object to preserve as much power as possible in the present corporations, and to give as little power and as few functions as possible to the new corporations. That he could conceive to be the narrow-minded view—to be, perhaps, the interested view—to be, perhaps, the factious view, of those who were concerned in the old exclusive corporations of Ireland. He could conceive that they would be glad to impose on any one who consulted them provisions of this nature; but it was for the House of Commons—for Parliament in general—to consider, whether the peace and welfare of those towns, whether the general good and prosperity of Ireland, were likely to be consulted by these regulations. Even according to the view of the Gentlemen opposite, these amendments must be reprobated as at once making these municipal corporations places of political agitation and perpetual debate. The Gentlemen opposite had described that more than once as unsafe and unwise. But he submitted that the way to prevent that danger was to give the corporations local objects on which to employ themselves, to give the persons interested in the welfare of the towns the management of local concerns affecting the towns, and to make them busy themselves in those affairs which properly belonged to the welfare and prosperity of their native place or their chosen place of residence. He submitted to them likewise that with regard to the choice that might be made by the electors, the very best security they could take for having a proper discrimination as to the merits of candidates exercised would be that those who were to be members of the town-council should have essential functions to perform, because then the elector could say, "I care not whether this gentleman is a Protestant clergyman or not; I care not whether this is a Roman Catholic proprietor or not; or I care not whether this is a Presbyterian merchant or not; but I am fully convinced of his sense, integrity, and capacity for business, and I will choose him to represent me in the town-council." Such would be the effect of giving them real functions to perform; but if, on the contrary, the bill deprived them of proper municipal powers, and yet created corporations, why, then, they did give them a reason and an incitement for becoming political bodies; and they made them the representatives of political opinions, and nothing but political opinions. And, if that danger should follow from the course which they now took, it was a danger of their own seeking, and which they had themselves voluntarily incurred. With respect to other matters, the bill had been likewise very much altered by the House of Lords; but as to many of these alterations, he was not prepared to make the objections which he thought might well be made to them, but which did not seem to him to be of so strong a nature as to justify him in attempting to enforce them, contrary to the opinion of the other House of Parliament. One great change which the Peers had made—and a very important one, no doubt—was confining the municipal functions to not more than twelve principal towns, and leaving the other towns to be provided for in a different manner; that was to say, to give them for a certain time the power of applying for municipal corporations, and if they should not choose to do so that they should hereafter be governed in a manner to be pointed out by Parliament. He did not say, that he concurred in this proceeding; but as to that proposal for confining the municipal corporations to a small number of towns, and making other provision for the rest, especially the small towns, he was not then prepared to make any objection. There was likewise a very important series of clauses and provisions introduced into the schedule for regulating the boundaries of towns. Now, the chief objection which he had to this change was, that they had no other opportunity of considering the subject to which it referred than in the shape of an amendment to the present bill, whereas he thought that it ought to form, as proposed in that House, the ground work of another bill, which might go through its separate stages in that House. He should next go to the manner in which it was proposed, that the new corporations to schedule A should be preserved, and the manner in which the elections should be made. It was proposed, with respect to one point, relating to some of those boroughs, that the sheriff should not be nominated in the manner proposed by the House of Commons; but by the Crown, in the manner usually ob- served in the counties in Ireland. He knew not, that the sheriffs in Ireland were nominated by her Majesty, and he did not see, what exactly would be the operation of this clause in point of law. With respect to another subject to which he should now come,—namely, the franchise of the electors, a very great alteration had been made. In the first place, the 5l. rating franchise was changed to a 10l. rating, a question which had been much disputed in that House, and on which he should again touch, in stating what he had to propose; and in the second place, although a six months' residence was preserved in the bill, as introduced by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, yet twelve months occupancy, and rating seemed to be required. By the latter part of clause 13, twelve months were introduced, whereas, according to the bill as it went from the Commons, six months were all that was required. He could not but refer to this particular alteration in connection with a bill which had been introduced into that House, and which bore on the back the names of Sergeant Jackson, Sir W. Follett, and Mr. E. Tennent, and which affected the registration of voters in Ireland. He thought, when the House considered what had been introduced into that bill, they would see the obvious intention of those who framed the present alteration, which could hardly be conceived to proceed from those who protested so loudly against mixing in this act, questions of Parliamentary and municipal franchise. After stating in the preamble, that a residence of six calendar months would be sufficient to the qualification of an elector, the bill, which had been introduced by the hon. and learned Gentleman to whom he had referred, enacted in one of its clauses, that a residence of twelve calendar months would be required. Now, it was quite clear what the intention here was. There was an alteration introduced in the Municipal Bill for changing the time of occupation from six months to twelve; there was a similar alteration introduced into the bill, to which he had referred, and which had been brought forward by members of the same party as that which had changed the present bill. The intention was manifest—to restrict the right of voting, by making a longer residence necessary than was now required by the law. This certainly appeared to him, to accord with the general notions of those who had always evinced so extreme a willingness to yield to provisions by which the franchise might be restricted, and so strong and decided an opposition to those enactments, by which it might be in the smallest degree enlarged. Having now stated the general alterations which had been made in the bill, which, as it would be seen, were very large in amount, very extensive in nature, and very important in principle, he would state generally, before the House went to the consideration of particular clauses, the course he proposed to follow with regard to all the various amendments. In the first place, as regarded all those amendments which went to maintain in the present corporate bodies in Ireland certain powers, trusts, and authorities not maintained in the English Corporation Act, as regarded those clauses, be should propose to disagree with the Lords on those points altogether. While they were proposing to reform the Corporations in Ireland, it was, he thought, impossible to admit, that they ought to give large and extensive powers to the very persons whom they proposed to supersede. He thought, that such powers vested in such hands, would, if preserved, be more dangerous, and more liable to abuse than they were at the present moment. They stood at present, at all events, in a conspicuous position; they were members of the body corporate, they assumed the government of the town, they were known as the corporate body, and whatever they did, was subject to the criticism to which all public bodies were liable. But "if it were pretended to abolish these powers, and yet, at the same time, continue to these individuals under other names, by crafty provisions, by indiscreet regulations, the very powers which they had hitherto abused, they would for the future, exercise those powers more, not less, mischievously; they would exercise them with equal force, but with greater impunity.". He should propose, therefore, whenever they came to clauses of that kind, that the House of Commons should dissent from them. With regard to another class of amendments, those which gave corporations only to a small number of towns, and placed those of an inferior amount of population in a different schedule, he certainly should not propose, that the House of Commons should disagree from the Lords upon that part of the bill. He was prepared to admit, that the cities and towns contained in schedule A should alone be admitted to corporate rights by virtue of the bill, and, that the incorporation of the other towns should be made dependent upon their own application. It appeared to him, however, that the very great number of clauses—some forty, at least—by which it was provided, that in case of corporations not being applied for or granted to these towns, a commissioner should have the power there granted—it appeared to him, that these clauses introduced only a very cumbrous and needless machinery, and that it would be better at once to enact, that if within a certain limited time—say twelve months—they should not apply for corporations, then the provisions of 9th George 4th should be applied generally to those towns. There were provisions in the bill making a distinction between those who had 100l. a-year personal property and those who had not, into which he did not think it necessary at that moment to enter, but which might be discussed when they came to consider the clauses in detail. With respect to the clauses introducing the provisions of the boundary bill into the present measure, as those boundaries were not discussed when the bill was before the House, he thought it necessary to say, that there certainly was some convenience in passing in the same measure the requisite regulations with respect to boundaries; but as the Commons had not yet had the opportunity of discussing the proposed enactments which related to that part of the question, he might state, that he thought it would be necessary to introduce some provision giving a remedy in certain cases. The provision which he should propose to introduce would be this; that application should be made to the Lord-lieutenant in council, and that the Lord-lieutenant in council should have the power of including certain suburbs not now comprised within the boundaries, and of making a more equal division into wards. With respect to the clause relating to sheriffs, he should propose to restore that clause to the same shape as that in which it was sent up to the other House, thinking, that that clause as it originally stood would operate very beneficially, and that no reasonable objection could be made to it. He had now, he thought, stated all the principal points with respect both to the old corporations and the new, with the exception of that which related to the franchise. And, in approaching this part of the subject, he was happy to have the protection and support of what had been said in former discussions in that House, not of those who generally agreed with him in political opinions, but of those who most frequently coincided with the views of those who sat opposite. He was glad of this, because he was aware, that if he had stated, that he thought a lower franchise than a 10l. rating ought to be admitted, it might be said, that it was entirely owing to his desire to introduce a Roman Catholic democracy in Ireland, to whom he might be disposed to be more favourable than the Gentlemen opposite. But he was happy to be able to say, that if he should assert, that a franchise raised above 10l. (as he thought the present franchise would be) would be a higher franchise in Ireland than had been admitted either into England or Scotland, which was unadviseable, he should have the authority of the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Lascelles) for so saying; that if he should say, that the qualification in Ireland should be smaller in amount than it was in England, he should have the authority of the noble Lord the Member for Cornwall for making the assertion; and, that even if he should go further, and say, that he was not disposed to drive a hard bargain with the Irish people, although it might be right at the same time to support the House of Peers and the Established Church, he was happy to know, that even if he were to go that length he should be supported by the opinion of the hon. Member for Guildford, who usually voted with the opposite side of the House. But independent of the support of those three Gentlemen, he remembered, that another hon. Gentleman, well acquainted with this subject, the hon. Member for Somersetshire, stated in one of the discussions upon the bill, that he found from inquiries he had made, that in the West of England, where there was a poor population, the rating of tenements ranged from 15 to 22 per cent. under the real value. That was to say, that the real value being at a certain amount, the rating was 15 or 22 per cent. under that amount. This was important, because it showed, that there were many persons who had no political predilections in accordance with those of the Government, who did not agree in the proposition made by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) that the rating should be upon the real bonâ fide value. He did not object to taking in the qualification of rating; but when that qualification was to be insisted upon, it became necessary to inquire how far that qualification of rating, as applied to value, was the exact test which they ought to adopt when they were giving a qualification. The original purpose of the rating was for a totally different object. The original purpose of the rating was to obtain a fair test by which a person might be made to pay a certain amount to the State in proportion to the value of his property. In so doing the natural process was, to say "Let us compare this property with other properties—let us see what may be the value of this property to the owner, and let us, after ascertaining the value, put it on an equality with other property." In the Irish Poor-law act, Parliament had proceeded upon that principle, and had said very properly, "Take away that which is for repairs, take away that which is for insurance, take away that which is for taxes, take away that which is for rates and for other necessary expenses, and you will then get what is the real yearly value of the property; and it is by this means alone that you can place persons resident in towns upon the same footing as those who occupy land in the country." That was an exceedingly right and proper mode of proceeding as related to the imposition of a rate; but what was it that the Legislature wished to obtain when it was about to fix a qualification'. What it was then wished to obtain was merely, "what are the expenses incident to the house which the occupier of the house is obliged to pay" If one man paid 12l. a-year for his house, and the landlord to whom he paid it should agree with him to be at all the necessary expenses, to pay all taxes and to furnish all repairs, that man was, in fact, paying no more than a man who undertook to pay only 6l. a-year for his house, but who, by the expense of repairs, the amount of rates, and other necessary charges, was obliged to pay a further sum of 6l. a-year to enable him to occupy his house. He thought, therefore, that, taken by itself, the qualification of rating was altogether a bad test of the value of a house. It did not tell what a man was obliged to pay; it did not tell what was the amount of his necessary expenses; it did not tell at all what his general average of living was; it merely told that in comparison with other property his particular piece of property was rated at a certain amount. The Lords perceived that there was that error in the qualification proposed by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), and they had, therefore, rejected it, as well as the qualification proposed by the Government. The Lords said, "Let it be the rated value, but let us add to that rated value any amount paid for repairs or insurance by the landlord." That was to say, that they had added to the rated amount of value, whatever it might be, whether 7l., 8l., or 9l., for they did not adhere to the one fixed sum of 10l., but admitted houses of a lower rating, provided the value of 10l. were made up in the manner specified—they added to the rated amount of value some other sum for repairs and insurance. But he submitted that, even if he did not persist in the original proposition of the House of Commons, it would not be wise to adopt that of the House of Lords. It appeared to him, that in avoiding one error they had palpably fallen into another—that of making the franchise uncertain. This question of how much was to be paid for repairs, and how much was the proper sum to allow for insurance, might be a question discussed in every town, in every street, in every separate house; and if the Legislature had reason to be afraid of exaggerated value being placed upon houses, it might rest assured that those exaggerations might be made under the name of repairs and insurance more readily than under the name of value. He, therefore, should propose something different from this—something different from the amendment introduced by the Lords. "In the first place," continued the noble Lord, "I propose, in conformity with what I have stated, that you shall take a sum, which shall be in lieu not only of repairs and insurance, but in lieu also of all rates and taxes and charges of that description to which the house may be liable. But if I were to take the provisions of the Poor-law Bill—if I were to say, that it should be a sum which, together with repairs, rates, taxes, and other public charges, should make up 10l.—I should then fall into the very uncertainty which I condemn in the clause as proposed by the Lords. Wishing to avoid that error, and wishing also to find some franchise less objectionable than that which now stands in the bill, I shall propose to take the rated value, and I will add, in all cases in lieu of the charges for repairs, rates, taxes, &c., one-fourth of the amount of rated value, in order to make up the sum of 10l. It is quite obvious, that in this case if you choose 10l. value, with 8l. rating, you would add 2l., being one-fourth, and the 8l. rating with the sum so added would give the qualification to vote in municipal affairs. It appears to me, that by such a provision I should at least avoid the unfairness of the two other propositions. I avoid the proposition of the right hon. Baronet, which I think unfair, and which has been declared to be unfair by five Members of the House fully qualified to pronounce an opinion upon the subject, and who generally agree with the right hon. Baronet in his opinions; and I avoid also the uncertainty of the qualification proposed by the Lords, by saying, that the sum to be added to the rated value shall always be of a fixed amount. At the same time I think it is fair to say, that if it should be objected to this proposition as imposing too low a franchise, if the Lords or the Gentlemen opposite should still insist on making a higher qualification in Ireland than any that exists in England or Scotland, it will then be for the Members who represent Irish towns to say, "Give us either the English or the Scotch bill exactly as it is framed, and do not let us have any other provision for Ireland than that which you have yourselves thought fit to give to England and Scotland." But I have made this proposition in the hope that seeing how much difference of opinion has arisen upon this subject—to how great a length, and, indeed, for how many years, the discussions upon it have been continued—those who have hitherto been opposed to every proposition may at length open the way for a settlement of the question. I will not now enter further into the bill; but I cannot conceive, for my own part, that those who have given way upon what seemed the principal point in this measure should not be willing to allow with the great majority, not only of the Irish representatives but of the Irish people, that which would be only just and fair towards Ireland. It was open to you (the Opposition) to say, that you consider the Irish as incapable of exercising municipal power. I disagree entirely from that proposition, but you do not hold to it your- selves. It was open to you to say, that the Established Church was in such a position that you were afraid to use any measure of this description until it was made more secure. But we have withdrawn any ground of opposition that you might have had upon that subject; and all that you have yourselves demanded to make the property of the Church more secure has been already conceded to you by this House. That being the case, I must say, that to bold out with respect to a municipal bill, and, in order to preserve a little power or a little salary to a town-clerk, to dribble out the franchise in the Irish towns by little bits, is a course of proceeding at once illiberal and unwise. It is neither showing the confidence nor the generosity which ought to be shown to the people of Ireland, nor is it adopting a course of policy upon which a man of wise forecast could hope to build the future welfare of the empire. I hope, therefore, that I may succeed in the amendment I mean to propose, and that the House of Lords, when they shall come to consider the matter again, may see, that in the alterations made by them, evils and mischiefs had been introduced of which they were not aware, and that they will consent nobly and generously to establish the municipal franchise in Ireland upon the same principle as it is already established in England and Scotland."

Sir Robert Peel

would have been perfectly content to discuss the merits of each of the amendments proposed by the Lords upon the individual clauses which contained them; and he could not help thinking, that that course would have been infinitely better than the one taken by the noble Lord. The noble Lord, however, had adopted a line of proceeding which precluded him from taking the course which his own sense of expediency and justice would have dictated, and had enlarged in undue, unjustifiable, and, he thought, unwise sarcasms upon the authors of those amendmentsh—sarcasms which, however they might have been intended, were calculated, if possible, to throw obstructions in the way of the settlement of this important question. The noble Lord began his speech by a sarcasm upon the House of Lords for having changed their opinion with respect to Irish corporations. The noble Lord began by stating, that the Lords had heretofore withheld corporations from Ire- land because the people of Ireland were not fit to have them. The noble Lord put the ground of withholding corporations not upon the true ground, that the Lords, seeing the state of society in Ireland—seeing the conflicts of party there—did entertain an opinion that, while they were willing to relinquish the old corporations, they were not, upon the whole, willing to establish new ones. He thought, therefore, that the noble Lord, under any circumstances, should have spared his sarcasms upon those who had shown a desire to conciliate the national feeling of Ireland. When he recollected the changes of opinion which had taken place with respect to Irish measures—when he recollected the opinions formerly given with respect to the poor-laws by some gentlemen who were now the most strenuous opposers of them, and who thought the establishment of poor-laws in Ireland a sufficient justification for the repeal of the union—when he mentioned the discussions which had taken place with respect to the Irish Church, and the course—he thought the wise course—which the noble Lord had taken in receding from the opinions he had formerly maintained upon that subject—with all these things fresh in his recollection, he thought, that the noble Lord was the very last person from whom a sarcasm might have been expected upon those who, for the sake of peace, had been willing to make a sacrifice with respect to Ireland. He denied, that the noble Lord had given a just description of the bill which the Lords had sent down, and the noble Lord had misrepresented, not only the general purport of the bill, but almost every clause that the Lords had amended or added. In the first place, the noble Lord said, "The Lords have no longer persisted in their original opposition to the principle of corporations, but have sent down a bill allowing, that in some towns there may be corporations." He asked, whether those words gave a just description of the bill which the Lords had sent down? So far from "allowing" corporations to certain towns, the purport and effect of the bill was this, that in eleven of the principal towns of Ireland there should be no discretion whatever. It made it obligatory upon those eleven towns to have corporations. Did the noble Lord's remark hold good with respect to other towns? Did the "allowance" of the Lords extend only to certain particular towns? The bill as amended by the Lords allowed every town in Ireland which had 3,000 inhabitants, to apply for a charter of incorporation; and if in any of them, whether now possessed of corporate authority, or not, a majority of the 10l, householders should think it for the advantage of the town either that the old corporation should be continued, or that a new corporation should be constituted, in that case there was full authority given to the chief governor of Ireland to accede to the wishes of the inhabitants, and to continue the old corporation, or constitute a new one, founding the corporation, in either case, upon the self-same principles as those which were applicable to the eleven towns peremptorily incorporated by the bill. The noble Lord then proceeded to comment upon the changes which had been made in the bill since it was sent up to the Lords from the Commons, and he said, "No less than ninety-two new clauses have been inserted in the bill which is now sent down to us." In reply to that he must remark, that the Lords had incorporated in the present bill the whole of the Boundary Bill of the Government. And what were the authorities by which the boundaries, as adopted by the Lords, were defined? They were the commissioners appointed by the noble Lord himself. The noble Lord sent forth his commissioners, gave them their instructions, and they established these boundaries; and the Lords, content with the definitions of boundary contained in the report of the commissioners, consented to adopt them, but thought it would be better that they should be embodied in the bill relating to corporations rather than be made the subject of a separate measure. The noble Lord made that an objection; but, if he mistook not, the noble Lord at the bead of the Government distinctly and explicitly declared, that he thought this incorporation of the Boundary Bill with the present measure an improvement. This, therefore, accounted for the addition to the number of clauses. The House had, in fact, before it two bills instead of one; and he could not but think it expedient, when new corporations were established, that the boundaries of them should be defined in the measure which gave them their existence. In other respects the Lords had only introduced such clauses as were necessary to give effect to the general outline which some weeks since he (Sir R. Peel) had sketched as the basis upon which he thought it possible that the party with which he was connected might consent to the establishment of corporations in Ireland; and he must say, nowithstanding the altered tone which the noble Lord for some purpose or other assumed upon the present occasion, that when he first stated that scheme the noble Lord did not make the same objections to it; nor were those objections made by any one at that time. Then, perhaps, was felt, the extent of the sacrifice which Gentlemen on his side of the House were making—the number of conflicting opinions which he had to concilitate—the prejudices and feelings which he had to overcome; and then it was the impression of the noble Lord, and the general impression also of the ministerial side of the House that he had gone further than could have been expected for the purpose of coming to a settlement of the question. At any rate, so strong a difference of opinion was not then expressed by any Member of the Government. But the noble Lord's objections and complaints did not end with the introduction of the clauses which were absolutely necessary to carry out the scheme which he had opened. The noble Lord said, that considerable time was taken by the Lords in discussing the Poor-law Bill, but that no sufficient time was taken by them in discussing the provisions of the Municipal Corporation Bill. Whose fault was that? Whose fault was it that the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill was sent up to the Lords on the 26th of June? By whom was it that the day for the coronation of her Majesty was fixed for the 28th of June, being the very time when it must have been known beforehand that the attention of Parliament would be indispensably required to all the most pressing and all the most important business of the Session? Who did not know, with the invitations which had been given to every nation in Europe to send representatives to do honour to the Sovereign of England, and with the natural desire which men of all classes would naturally feel to do honour to those who came to do honour to the Queen—who did not know that, at such a time, it would be difficult or indeed impossible to direct the undivided attention of Parliament to the business of the Session? Therefore, those who fixed the coronation for the 28th of June, and sent up the Irish Corporation Bill to the House of Lords on the 26th of June, were the parties who were responsible if this bill had not received the mature and deliberate consideration which the noble Lord deemed necessary. But whose fault was it that the amendments were not more fully discussed in the House of Lords? Those who proposed amendments to a bill, naturally expected that the objections to those amendments would come from the persons who dissented from them. It was not usual for those who proposed and supported an amendment to object to it also, for the sake of raising a discussion. Certain noble Lords proposed amendments to give effect to a scheme to the general outline and principle of which they hoped there would be no insuperable objection. Why did not the noble Lord's colleagues in the House of Lords consider those amendments more fully? If they were defective in point of legal detail, where was the Lord Chancellor and the other high legal authorities? Why did they not consider the propositions which were made? Was not public notice given, that in Committee new clauses would be moved? Whose duty was it, then, to be ready to discuss every portion of the measure, to defend that which they believed to be good, and to resist to the utmost every innovation or every addition which they believed to be bad? If blame were to attach any where for not giving sufficient attention to the bill, upon whose head should it fall? But this was not all. If the objections to the amendments in the measure were really so strong as the noble Lord had stated them to be, why did the head of the Government move the third reading of the bill in the other House? Why did not the noble Premier refuse to move the third reading of the bill until the clauses were amended, and the measure moulded into the form in which he wished to see it? Upon these two points therefore—first, the number of additional clauses incorporated with the bill; and secondly, the want of sufficient attention to the details of the measure—upon each of those points the sarcasms of the noble Lord appeared to him to be perfectly unjustifiable. He now came to speak of a class of clauses in respect to which the noble Lord had founded a grave charge against the House of Lords. The noble Lord said, "I will now enumerate a long list of clauses, in the insertion of which I will endeavour to show you a lurking desire on the part of the Lords to vitiate the merits of the bill, by retaining for the present corporations all the powers which it was possible for them to maintain, and to throw disrespect and censure upon the new corporations by withholding from them the functions which properly belonged to corporate bodies." The noble Lord justly said, that he viewed this part of the bill with great suspicion. The comments which the noble Lord made upon these clauses convinced him that his mind must indeed be tainted with suspicion! He did not know who was the Iago who had been pouring this poison into the noble Lord's ear; but he certainly had never seen a gentleman in public life labouring more strongly than the noble Lord did under the pains and pangs of jealousy. To show the degree of that jealousy it would only be necessary for him to mention the construction which the noble Lord had put upon several of these clauses; he would take the fourth clause of the amended bill. By that clause the noble Lord charged the House of Lords with the intention of retaining to the freemen of certain towns in Ireland, and particularly to the freemen of Dublin, certain privileges beyond those to which they were entitled under the bill for the reform of the representation. Now it must be observed, that a great part of the objections which the noble Lord had taken to the amendments of the House of Lords, applied with equal force to his own bill; but he had been so blinded by suspicion and jealousy, that in attempting to put an injurious construction upon the amendments of the Lords, lie had involuntarily wounded himself, and exposed his own course of policy to exactly the same construction. He disclaimed altogether, on the part of the Lords, any intention whatever to reserve to the freemen of Dublin, or of any other city or town of Ireland, any privilege which they did not at present possess. It was admitted, that the rights of the freemen ought to be preserved, and, that they should not be made dependent upon the fact of whether there was a corporation or not. It, therefore, became absolutely necessary, according to the scheme of this bill, to provide, that in the towns incorporated, the rights of the freemen should be preserved. The noble Lord did not state the words of the clause upon which be relied as showing the animus of the Lords; and he (Sir R. Peel), on reading the clause carefully over, confessed he was at a loss to discover any words which substantially differed from those employed by the noble Lord himself.

Lord J. Russell

The words upon which I founded my remark were these—"or might hereafter have been entitled."

Sir R. Peel

begged the noble Lord to take care; for the words to which he objected, and upon which he now declared his remark had been founded, were in fact his own. [Lord J. Russell: No, no!.] These were the: words of the clause as proposed by the noble Lord, and as they stood when the bill was sent up to the House of Lords:— And be it enacted, that any person who now is or hereafter may be an inhabitant of any borough, and also any person who has been admitted, or who might hereafter have been admitted a freeman or burgess of any borough, if this act had not been passed, shall have and enjoy and be entitled to acquire and enjoy the same share and benefit of the lands, &c., of which any person in any body corporate may be seized or possessed for any charitable uses or trust, as fully and effectually as he or she, by any charter, statute, &c., in force at the passing of this act, might or could have enjoyed in case this act had not been passed. He was only showing the injustice of the noble Lord's observation with respect to covert and secret intentions on the part of the House of Lords. If there were any equivocal words introduced into the amendments of the House of Lords, he had no hesitation in disclaiming any intention of procuring for any freemen any privileges to which they were not entitled under the Reform Act if this bill should not be passed. He therefore did not despair of coming to an amicable arrangement with respect to the 4th Clause. He presumed it was impossible for the noble Lord to reinstate his own clause after having discarded it with contempt. Then with respect to the powers reserved to the old corporations. The noble Lord had said, that the old corporators were maintained in possession of important municipal functions. He did not find in the bill any municipal functions to which the old corporators would hereafter be entitled. He found a distinction made between charity trusts and municipal trusts; and there was a different provision made with respect to trustees of charities in case they should be corporators than that which was made with respect to ordinary municipal corporators. But here again the noble Lord, in his own bill, made the same distinction, for he did not propose to devolve the new charity trusteeships upon the new corporations. He established a distinction between municipal functions and charity trusts, and in his own bill the noble Lord provided in the case of a trust of a charitable nature, that the existing trustees, being old corporators, should be maintained for a certain time, at the expiration of which the Lord Chancellor should proceed to appoint new trustees. He admitted there was a difference between the amendment introduced by the Lords and the provision of the noble Lord. The House of Lords thought it highly important, that the whole question of charity trusts should be reserved for future consideration, and they therefore gave to the Lord Chancellor the power of filling up all vacancies that might occur; but they had not given him the power which the noble Lord contended he should have, namely, the power of absolutely appointing the whole of the trustees. He, for one, would readily consent to any arrangement which could prevent charity trusts being perverted to political purposes. But it was his duty to say—and he did not shrink from saying it—that Parliament having made a provision with respect to England, that the Lord Chancellor should have the power of appointment, he was not satisfied with that arrangement; that he did believe, that political feelings had, in some cases, influenced the appointment of trustees; and that, on that account he dissented from the proposal, that on a certain day the Lord Chancellor of Ireland—he being himself, of course, a partisan, and immediately connected with the Government—should have the power of appointment. Another arrangement would be more satisfactory to him, which should provide a greater security against the appointment of trustees being perverted to political purposes. He knew it had been said, that under the pretence of retaining the power over charity trusts to the old corporators for a certain time, they had gone much further, and had included trusts which were not of a charitable nature. He could only disclaim any intention of so doing. The noble Lord had referred to Clause 75. He was perfectly willing to admit that that clause as it stood at present was open to question. But the noble Lord did not permit them, in the House of Commons, to come fairly to the discussion of that clause; but fastened on certain words in order to create suspicion against the House of Lords. The beginning of the clause ran thus:—"That in every borough named in the said schedule (A) in which the body corporate solely, or together with any other body or bodies corporate, or person or persons is or are trustee or trustees for any purposes other than charitable uses or trusts." These words certainly appeared to imply, that the old corporators were reserved as trustees for all other trusts beside charity trusts. But he could only state that immediately the bill had passed the House of Lords the error was discovered; the clause having been copied from the bill of 1836. He held in his hand a copy of the bill given to him some days ago, having this note written in the margin opposite the first and second lines in page 50:—"These words should have been omitted. The clause was copied from the bill of 1836." If, therefore, the noble Lord had not stated the objection, he (Sir Robert Peel) was prepared with an amendment to clear up any doubt that might have existed on that point. The noble Lord had stated that the word "charity" bore a technical sense, and that under that word they would in point of fact include a public institution in Dublin which was called "The Pipe-water." He could only say, that there was no such "covert design" on the part of the House of Lords, and that those "crafty men" never considered that under the word "charity" they were confining the Pipe-water trust to the old corporation. If the word "charity" was a term which legally included other kinds of trusts than those really contemplated by the House of Lords when passing this clause, he would consent to any amendment which would exclude any institution which partook of the nature of a municipal rather than a charitable trust. The next point the noble Lord adverted to was this:—he said, that a great alteration had been made by the House of Lords in that clause which defined the purposes to which the property of the corporations should be applied. "In England," said the noble Lord, "you had confidence in the new corporations, and gave them the full control of the funds of the corporations; but in Ireland you adopt a different principle and limit and define the purposes to which the surplus revenue shall be applied." But what did the noble Lord do? He provided that in all boroughs the property should be held in trust for the payment of all municipal expenses which should be necessarily incurred for carrying into effect this Act, and that in case the borough fund should be more than sufficient for those purposes—of course the House would suppose that the noble Lord then provided that the new corporations (taking a comprehensive view of the public interests of the borough) should have the entire and exclusive control over the funds; but so far from making any such arrangement, the noble Lord expressly provided that in every case, except in the city of Dublin, the surplus property of the corporation should not be applied towards such purposes as the corporation should deem for the benefit of the town; but that in the first instance, it should be applied towards paving, cleansing, and lighting the streets of the said borough, and towards supplying the inhabitants with water. These were the suggestions of the noble Lord himself, thus prescribing the objects to which the surplus fund should be applied. Now, the House of Lords retained those words of the noble Lord, and the only alteration they had made was this, that the principle which the noble Lord thought good for every town and city in Ireland except Dublin, should be applied also to the city of Dublin itself; and that instead of the surplus funds of the corporation of Dublin being applied to political purposes they should be applied to municipal purposes. That was the only difference between them and the noble Lord, and that the only ground on which the noble Lord charged the House of Lords with the crafty and covert design of spoiling this bill. When he on a former occasion called upon the House to support him in requiring the surplus funds to be applied to public purposes, all he could say was that the principle at that time met with the unanimous assent of the House. He now came to clause 97, and in commenting on that clause the noble Lord lost all self possession. "Mark (said the noble Lord), the subtlety of the House of Lords! Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons have condemned the existing corporations, both have joined in enactments which imply suspicion of those corporations by tying them up in the disposal of their property to certain purposes; but still the Lords have introduced into this bill a clause which shall enable them during the interval that must elapse before the old corporations can be extinguished, to deal absolutely with this property and apply it to other than municipal purposes." He never was more surprised than when he heard the noble Lord make this remark. For what was the fact? The House of Lords intended this power to apply only to the new corporations, and not to the old. They never meant to give the old corporations any power over this property which they did not possess by the bill before the amendment was introduced. If, therefore, they had given it in words, he for one would consent to alter it. Finding among the amendments in the English Municipal Corporation Act one to this effect, that they might provide new securities for old debts, the House of Lords thought it desirable to apply that principle to the new corporations to be established. Whereas, in the new corporations in England, it was made lawful for the council to execute any deed in the name of the body corporate for securing the repayment of any debt contracted by the said body corporate before the passing of the act; therefore it was thought that a similar power should be given to the new corporations in Ireland; and the noble Lord had construed this into an intention to enable the old corporate body to part with the property. That he and those with whom he acted, should ever be parties to introduce a clause, or even support a clause, which should enable the corporations to do that which they all had consented, should not be done, was an imputation which he did not think it worth while to reply to. The next point to which the noble Lord adverted, was the 108th clause, and so imperfectly had the noble Lord read the clause, that he stated, the Lords had thereby given the town-clerks of the existing boroughs, a life-interest in their offices. They did no such thing. They did not retain any officer, where there would be a new corporation; all they did with respect to them was, as in the English act, to provide compensation. They gave the new corporations the power of appointing new officers. It was not right, therefore, to say, that the Lords had fastened the old officers on the new corporations. But they made this provision, that whereas there might be places in which the old corporations might be dissolved without any new corporations being formed, and in which certain duties might be required to be performed, in that case the House of Lords provided, that those duties should be continued to be performed by the present officers. Did that course deserve the character given to it by the noble Lord? The noble Lord next referred to the police. He certainly understood, that the proposal which he himself made was acquiesced in, and particularly by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin,—namely, that as there was a constabulary force under the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and as there was no distinction made between a night and day force, there was no reason for constituting a separate constabulary force for the night in the corporate towns under the name of police. The House of Lords had, therefore, merely omitted the clause which enabled the town-councils to appoint a separate force. But said the noble Lord, "You are depriving the municipal corporations of all their legitimate functions by preventing them from having a police." What was the noble Lord himself doing in Dublin. He was transferring the whole police of that city from the corporation to the Lord-lieutenant, and he was going to pursue precisely the same course in the city of London. The noble Lord contended, that it was desirable, that the police force, which was intrusted with the preservation of the lives and property of the inhabitants of the country, should be under one controlling power, not liable to be disturbed by party and political prejudices, and he was accordingly about to propose, that the police of the city of London should be transferred from the corporation to the general Government of the country. Then, again, he found fault with the House of Lords for including the Boundary Bill in this municipal bill. But the very instructions which the, noble Lord gave to the boundary Commissioners had been incorporated by the Lords, as the rule which should govern any future arrangement. How was it possible to go further with the Government on that head, he could not imagine. The House of Lords adopted the principle of the noble Lord himself, and yet his charge was, that like factious and crafty men, they had sought to deprive the bill of all recommendation. Next, with respect to the alteration relating to the appointment of sheriffs. The noble Lord also objected to this. He could only say, that he adhered to his own opinion, and thought it infinitely better that the lord-lieutenant should have the sole responsibility, and should be the sole judge who should be the sheriff, instead of that officer being appointed by the local authorities, whose appointment, after all, he might reject. The noble Lord had said, that the machinery of the bill was cumbrous, with respect to the Commissioners. No doubt, in the first instance, the provisions of the bill on this head might be open to that charge; but if the Lords had not provided for the exercise of the powers of the Commissioners, he was perfectly certain, that they would have been accused of haste in not making such a provision. He now came to the most important point, which he had reserved for his last remarks—he alluded to the franchise. If he understood the noble Lord correctly, he proposed to leave the bill as it now stood, with respect to those towns which were not to be incorporated by the bill, and that he should not object to give the majority of 10l. householders in those towns which either have had, or never have had corporations, the power to apply for charters of incorporation, nor should he object to the appointment of Commissioners, to be elected by the inhabitants for the management of the town, should they prefer it to a corporation. As the towns had the power already to apply for the benefit of the 9th of Geo. 4th, he thought it better to leave each town to determine whether they would apply for it or not, rather than to enforce it upon them. But the noble Lord had declared his intention of moving an amendment with respect to the franchise, and he (Sir Robert Peel) felt it in cumbent upon him to take a similar opportunity of declaring, that it was his intention to dissent from any amendment which the noble Lord might propose on that part of the measure. He was perfectly ready to defer the discussion of this question to the time when the noble Lord should make his proposition. He had the strongest confidence in the justice and force of reasoning by which he should be enabled to contend, that if they were to have a 10l. franchise at all, the suggestion made in the House of Commons, and adopted in the amendment of the House of Lords, was infinitely fairer, and more analogous to the practice in England, than that which the noble Lord proposed. He must complain of the comments which the noble Lord made on the course which he (Sir Robert Peel) took, when the bill was originally before the House of Commons. The noble Lord had said, that the Lords had rejected the franchise he had proposed. Now, surely the noble Lord must be aware, when it was said, that they were about to establish a different rule in Ireland than in England, and when by Mr. Poulett Scrope's Act, they were about to make an allowance for the repairs which ought to fall upon the landlord, and for the amount of the insurance—the noble Lord must surely recollect, that on that occasion, he declared, that the difference between him and the noble Lord was upon the question of landlord's repairs and insurance, and that he professed his entire readiness to remove that objection. It might be asked, why did he not propose it while the bill was before the House? Because he felt, that the proposal of such amendment at a time when there was so much angry discussion, would not have met with that calm dispassionate consideration which it deserved, and he feared, that it would have been rejected without any regard to its merits. But an indication to adopt an amendment of that description was thrown out, although he abstained from making any motion upon it. Was it not distinctly avowed by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter, (Sir W. Follett) and himself, that if they could find out a distinction between the franchise in England and the franchise in Ireland, they were ready to make such provisions as that distinction required? The noble Lord had laid down doctrines with respect to the franchise of a much more extensive nature than he now proposed to apply. On this point there was an irreconcileable difference between him and the noble Lord. If he understood the noble Lord, what he contended for was this—that the Parliamentary franchise meant the amount which the occupier paid in respect of the premises he occupied. Thus, for instance, if a man paid 8l. a-year for his house, and 4l. a-year for taxes and rates, that in that case he had a fair right to be considered a 12l. occupier. [Lord John Russell: Not for the Parliamentary franchised Very good. But what he contended for was this, that the Parliamentary franchise in England and Ireland meant this; the payment of at least 10l. a-year by a solvent tenant to his landlord, coupled with the payment by the tenant of all such rates and charges as properly belonged to the tenant to pay. The Irish Act, any more than the English Act, did not require the payment of 10l. altogether in respect to the premises which the tenant occupied, but it required the occupation of premises the value of which was 10l. or more than 10l., the tenant paying the rates and taxes which properly belonged to him. He proposed to introduce in the English Municipal Corporations Bill the Parliamentary Franchise of England as the test of the municipal franchise; and he also proposed to introduce the Parliamentary franchise of Ireland into this bill as a test of the corporate franchise there, with the rating, as a check against fraud. By the act of Mr. Poulett Scrope, in determining the net annual value for rating, they made an allowance by law which was not in practice made before, namely, that there should be added to the net annual value of the premises, in respect of which the rating took place, such a sum for landlords' repairs and for insurance, as upon an average of years should be required for the purpose of keeping the premises in a state of repair. They were told that they ought to give the Irish occupier the benefit of the deduction made by act of Mr. Poulett Scrope in the case of English occupiers. They were at that time aware that according to the practice in Ireland it was not the landlord who bore that expense. Yet he and his friends said, that they were perfectly willing to make to the Irish tenant an abatement from the 10l. franchise of the amount of the landlord's repairs and insurance. The amendment, therefore, which had been introduced by the Lords was one which was suggested by him and his friends when the bill was passing through the House of Commons. In practice, a certain per centage was not taken, but it was required in each ease that the amount of the landlord's repairs and insurance should be estimated; and this was more consonant to the English practice—the principle by which the noble Lord professed to be governed—than to take an average sum which would not be applicable in many cases. The noble Lord had made this proposition—that whereas the franchise might in some cases depend upon a house singly, and in other cases it might depend upon the possession of a house and land, he proposed that in the case of both these qualifications the amount of the reduction should be the same. Now, in England the reduction in respect to land was not more that 2½ per cent.; whereas, in respect to houses, the amount of the reduction differed materially. But the noble Lord said, he would make no difference between houses and land. This he contended would be unjust in its effects and he for one was resolved to stand upon the franchise as consented to in substance by this House, and which was included in the amendment of the Lords, there being no difference between the Lords' amendment, and what was suggested by him in point of principle. He would not enter further into details at present; but he had been forced into the consideration of those details by the speech of the noble Lord; not that he felt that he could not answer the noble Lord when he should come to deal with the details, but he had adverted to them now, because that the noble Lord had made a speech in a spirit which implied that the House of Lords had been actuated by a feeling of injustice and an unfair spirit in making these amendments, and that while professing to give effect to the principle as laid down by the bill, they had intended and contrived, by the abu e of the details, to deprive the bill of all its advantages in respect to the practical benefit of settling these Irish questions in a spirit of conciliation and compromise. My opinion (said the right hon. Baronet) is, that the Lords have acted in a perfectly fair and honest spirit, and that believing the general plan which I proposed did not meet with any insuperable objection on the part of the Government, the noble and learned Lord who proposed these amendments, intended to give effect to it and no more. The charges, then, of the noble Lord against the House of Lords, in respect to each of those amendments, are thoroughly and utterly without foundation. I know not what course the noble Lord intends to take? I know not whether he means to reject this bill altogether and prevent the settlement of the Irish questions, thus keeping alive one great source of discord in this House and in the country; I know not whether that may be the result of our proceedings; but this I know that at the expense of great misconception, at the expense of great personal abuse, at the expense of great sacrifice of private feeling, I have honestly and zealously laboured in conformity with the principles I have laid down, to bring these questions to a settlement, and I shall deeply regret if my attempt shall fail; but I shall not hold myself, or those with whom I am acting, responsible in the slightest degree for the consequences of that failure.

The motion that the amendments be read a second time was then agreed to.

On clause 4 (A of the Lords), which reserved the rights to the freemen being read,

Mr. Ball

moved, that all the words after the words "would have had a right to be admitted," in page 4, line 9, should be omitted, with the view of substituting others.

Clause, as amended, was agreed to.

On clause 6 (B) of the Lords), which related to the settlement of the boundaries of the various boroughs, being proposed,

Lord John Russell

, proposed the introduction of an enactment at the end of Clause B, to the following effect:— Provided, also, that it shall be lawful for the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, with the advice of the Privy Council of Ireland, at any time within twelve calendar months after this Act shall have come into operation, in any borough, to alter the boundaries of any such borough, for the purpose of including therein any part or suburb of the town (if any) which may not be included within the boundaries of any borough as defined under this Act, and also to alter the boundaries of the several wards thereof, in such manner as may become necessary, by reason of any such addition to the borough, or for the purpose of equalising, as far as (may be, the number of burgesses, in each ward, and every such alteration shall be published in the Dublin Gazette, and every provision in this Act, concerning the boundaries of any borough or ward, as defined under this Act, shall, after any such publication, be taken to apply to the boundaries so altered, as if such altered boundary had been inserted in this Act, instead of the boundary defined by this Act.

Sir Robert Peel

objected to the amendment, because he thought that it was right for Parliament to define the boundaries; they ought to have full discussion upon the subject, but they ought not to invest an executive officer with this power. This power might be exercised honestly, but there was a great temptation to the contrary. He (Sir R. Peel) for one, was quite content to adopt the boundaries as laid down by their (the Ministers') own commissioners.

Viscount Morpeth

agreed with the right hon. Baronet, that they ought to view this question with constitutional jealousy. But what alternative had they, except to adopt this amendment? It was true, that the Lords had adopted the report of the Commissioners, and that he (Viscount Morpeth) had introduced a bill founded upon it; but ever since he had introduced it, he had been assailed from all parts with a charge of having acted unfairly and unjustly, and he did not think that it was fair to hurry through Parliament, by a single vote, this important question, without giving an opportunity to the House to state their objections. One town, Limerick, had already petitioned the House against the boundary line proposed for that town, as being unjust, and Government had been charged with corruption in favouring my Lord This, and slighting Mr. That; and he, therefore, saw no alternative in the present state of their proceedings, except by giving this power to the Lord-lieutenant, to be exercised in cases in which it should be imperatively called for, or of postponing the whole question of the boundaries to a future year.

Lord Stanley

said, that hon. Gentlemen were invited to bring forward objections to the boundaries, and they would have the same opportunity of discussing the details of the boundaries of each separate borough in the schedule, as they would have had in Committee on the noble Lord's bill. There had been ample time to procure information. The report of the boundary commissioners had been for a considerable period, and the noble Lord's bill had been also for some time before them; and if they did not now settle this question, the Government would be open to the charge of favouritism, of assisting this person and slighting that, to which the noble Lord had alluded. The natural remedy for this complaint was, for Parliament to take the subject out of the hands of any party, and to settle the boundaries at once.

Mr. Lynch

thought, the question ought to be postponed, to give any Irish Members who were interested, an opportunity of taking the necessary measures for obtaining information upon it. He was not alluding to any objection against the boundaries upon the part of his own constituents, but in Cork and Limerick very strong objections had been made to the manner in which the commissioners had defined the boundaries. The atten- tion of the Irish people had not been drawn to the subject, until the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, had brought it forward, and they were not prepared to have it disposed of with such rapidity. He submitted to the House, that it would be productive of advantage, and would afford much satisfaction, if the bill were postponed.

Sir James Graham

could not concur with the hon. and learned Gentleman, with respect to the necessity or propriety of postponement. He was of opinion, that the effect of postponement, instead of doing good, would be more calculated to produce a contrary effect, for he had not forgotten the experience of the English bill. In that case, the question was postponed, and the greatest inconvenience had arisen from the postponement. If the question of boundaries required to be discussed, that was the period for its discussion, and he could not consent to its postponement. The hon. Members at that side of the House were only anxious to have the question settled, in order that the law might be applied without doubt or cavil, and there was sufficient information before the House to enable them to decide the question at once. The commissioners, who were to be supposed as best capable of judging, had made a most judicious examination of the several localities, and the House was in possession of the report which they had made, and the boundaries they had recommended. He thought this was the time to discuss the question, if it required any discussion, and to come to a conclusion upon it.

Mr. Sheil

supported the proposition for its postponement. There was a great deal of difficulty in finally determining this question, and that difficulty would certainly rather decrease than increase. The Commissioners had recommended in some cases new boundaries. The boundaries which they mentioned were not in all cases the same as the Parliamentary boundaries, and this was not a difference to be settled with precipitation by gentlemen unacquainted with the locality or geographical position of those towns referred to, or which would be affected. It required a good deal of information in order to be able to give a correct opinion upon such a subject as that. Were the Government not to interfere? Were they to be estopped by the commissioners? Was any decision of those gentlemen to be final and binding, and to be acted upon by the House without any reference to its probable effects? If the Parliamentary boundaries had been changed by the Commissioners, surely it was a subject that required the strictest investigation; it required that they should be afforded the advantage of much local knowledge, and this afforded strong grounds for postponement. They were not to be told that the decision of the Commissioners was final and irrevocable.

Mr. Goulburn

thought, that, if the hon. and learned Member exactly comprehended the question, he would see that there did not exist any obstacle to their discussing it then. The observations of the hon. and learned Member, with respect to the quantity of local and geographical knowledge, was very true and very correct, but he should recollect, that it was in order to obviate that objection the Government sent Commissioners to those towns. They had received the fullest instructions, and the House was now in possession of the result of their inquiries. This information was quite sufficient to enable the House to decide upon the question, and he did not see why they should postpone the settlement of those boundaries—a subject which so vitally affected the practical operation of the bill. It was impossible the House could be in possession of better information upon the question than that which had been afforded by their own commissioners, and he therefore did not at all concur in the feeling, that there existed the slightest necessity for postponing its consideration. He was of opinion that the decision of the Commissioners was deserving of the greatest attention, and that the boundaries which they had marked out ought to be adhered to.

Mr. O'Connell

thought it odd to hear the Government Commissioners so much praised by the hon. Gentlemen on the opposition side of the House. It augured a foregone conclusion. The Commissioners in some towns changed the boundaries materially. In Cork, for instance, by the new boundary, many persons paying all the city rates would be left out, and thus, whilst they were liable to all the charges of the corporation, they were to enjoy none of the benefits arising from it. This was not a very fair result of the proceedings of the Commissioners. Ought not every man who paid the Municipal rates be entitled to all the advantages of a Municipal Corporation? It would be no more than just, so far as Cork was concerned, that the Members for that city should be afforded an opportunity of expressing their opposition to the adoption of the boundary which had been marked out by the Commissioners. He trusted the House would not come to a decision upon it so speedily, for he strongly felt the necessity for its postponement. If it were postponed even till next Session the pressure would become so strong that they might be forced to adopt the bill even with those objectionable boundaries. In that case they might take a bad bill in order to avoid a worse one; but in this case they were asked to take a bad one at once, without making an attempt to improve it. He was sorry to see the House of Lords, instead of amending the bill, had added another bill to it. He regretted that they had thought proper to pursue so inconvenient a course. The discussion upon this bill had been postponed before, and immediately after the committee, and now they were called upon suddenly to adopt it, with a new bill engrafted upon it by the House of Lords.

Lord J. Russell

thought, that the proposal made by the Government was hardly understood. He knew that the Commissioners might have performed their duties very ably, but he knew also that persons were sometimes apt to make too narrow boundaries with respect to certain towns. His object, therefore, was to give to the Lord-lieutenant the power, not of excluding any part of a town, but of including any liberties or suburbs, which should form a part of the town. He thought that the House of Lords, having followed a very inconvenient course in bringing this question of boundaries within the provisions of this bill now before the House, there would be no hesitation in adopting this, the only remedy which could be prescribed.

The House divided on Lord John Russell's amendment. Ayes 111; Noes 103;—Majority 8.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral Bellew, R. M.
Aglionby, H. A. Benett, J.
Alston, R. Berkeley, rt. hon. H.
Archbold, R. Bernal, R.
Baines, E. Blake, W. J.
Ball, rt. hon. N. Bridgeman, H.
Bannerman, A. Briscoe, J. I.
Baring, F. T. Brotherton, J.
Barnard, E. G. Bryan, G.
Byng, G. O'Connell, D.
Campbell, Sir J. O'Connell, J.
Cayley, E. S. O'Connell, M. J.
Chalmers, P. O'Ferrall, R. M.,
Collins, W. Palmer, C. F.
Conygham, Lord A. Parker, J.
Curry, W. Parnell, Sir H.
Dalmeney, Lord Pattison, J.
Dashwood, G. H. Pendarves, E. W.
Duke, Sir J. Phillpotts, J.
Dundas, F. Power, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Price, Sir R.
Easthope, J. Protheroe, E.
Ebrington, Lord Rich, H.
Evans, Sir De L. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Evans, G. Russell, Lord J.
Ferguson, Sir R. Russell, Lord C.
Finch, F. Salwey, Colonel
Fitzroy, Lord C. Scrope, G. P.
Gordon, R. Smith, B.
Grattan, J. Smith, hon. R.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Hastie, A. Stanley, E. J.
Hayter, W. G. Stewart, J.
Heathcote, J. Stock, Dr.
Hector, C. Stuart, Lord J.
Hill, Lord A. M. Strangways, hon. J.
Hobhouse, Sir J. Thornley, T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hodges, T. L. Turner, E.
Hoskins, K. Vigors, N. A.
Howick, Lord Villiers, C. P.
Hume, J. Vivian, Sir R.
Hutt, W. Wallace, R.
Hutton, R. Warburton, H.
James, W. Ward, H. G.
Jervis, S. Westenra, J. C.
Kinnaird, A. F. Williams, W. A.
Lefevre, C. S. Wilshere, W.
Lushington, Dr. Winnington, H.
Lynch, A. H. Wood, C.
Macleod, R. Wood, Sir M.
Martin, J. Wood, G. W.
Morpeth, Lord Wyse, T.
Morris, D. Yates, J. A.
Murray, J. A. TELLERS.
Muskett, G. A. Maule, hon. F.
O'Brien, W. S Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cordrington, C.
Acland, T. D. Coote, Sir C. H.
Alsager, Captain Corry, hon. H.
Arbuthnot, H. Dalrymple, Sir A.
Ashley, Lord Darby, G.
Attwood, M. Dottin, A. R.
Bagge, W. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Baker, E. Dowdeswell, W.
Blackstone, W. S. Dunbar, G.
Blennerhassett, A. Duncombe, W.
Bramston, T. W. East, J. B,
Broadwood, H. Eaton, R. J.
Brownrigg, S. Egerton, W.
Bruce, Lord Eliot, Lord
Buller, Sir J. Y. Ellis, J.
Canning, Sir S. Estcourt, T.
Chapman, A. Farnham, E. B.
Fector, J. M. Moneypenny, T. G.
Filmer, Sir E. Neeld, J.
Freshfield, J. W. Ossulston, Lord
Goulburn, H. Parker, M.
Graham, Sir J. Peel, Sir R.
Granby, Marq. Perceval, Col.
Grant, F. W. Pigot, R.
Grimston, Lord Polhill, F.
Grimston, E. H. Pollock, Sir F.
Hale, R. B. Praed, W. M.
Hardinge, Sir H. Praed, W. T.
Hayes, Sir E. Pusey, P.
Heathcote, Sir W. Reid, Sir J. R.
Herries, J. C. Rickford, W.
Hodgson, F. Round, J.
Hodgson, R. Sandon, Lord
Hogg, J. W. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Hope, hon. C. Smith, A.
Hope, G. W. Stanley, Lord
Hotham, Lord Sugden, Sir E.
James, Sir W. C. Teignmouth, Lord
Jermyn, Earl Thompson, Alderman
Jones, T. Thornhill, G.
Kemble, H. Tollemache, F. J.
Knatchbull, Sir E. Vere, Sir C. B.
Knight, H. G. Vernon, G. H.
Knightley, Sir C. Vivian, J. E.
Lascelles, hon. W. Waddington, H.
Lockhart A. M. Wall, C. B.
Lowther, Col. Walsh, Sir J.
Lowther, Lord Wood, T.
Lucas, E. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Lygon, hon. General Young, J.
Manners, Lord C. TELLERS.
Meynell, Capt. Fremantle, Sir T.
Miller, W. H. Inglis, Sir R. H.

Clause as amended agreed to.

Lord J. Russell

proposed an amendment to the clause settling the franchise. After the words "shall be" he proposed to introduce the words "rated to the relief of the poor under an act passed in the present Session of Parliament, entitled," &c., at any sum which, on the addition of one quarter part thereof, made in consideration of the annual average cost of the rates, taxes, and public charges, and the probable average cost of the repairs, insurance, and other expenses necessary to maintain the said premises, shall be not less than 10l." It was evident that the effect of these words would be to reduce the rated value to 8l. He had no doubt it would be 10l. and, probably, more, but the amendment would secure certainty, where, at present, uncertainty existed.

Sir Robert Peel

begged to observe to hon. Gentlemen that the noble Lord had introduced an entirely new principle into his amendment. He did not propose that the principle adopted in England, that the landlord's repairs, and insurance, and other charges necessary to support the premises in their existing state of repair, should alone he added, but he expressly included rates and taxes. The noble Lord now contended, not merely that these charges of the landlord to keep the premises in repair should be included in the account, but that those charges which fall upon the tenant also should be added. He thought that was a point on which a discussion had before arisen, and that hon. Members on the opposite side of the House were content that the rule in England with respect to the Parliamentary franchise should be applied to Ireland. It was contended, however, that in England, by Mr. Poulett Scrope's Act, allowance was made in the account for the landlord's repairs and insurance, and that it was but just, therefore, to give to Ireland the same franchise. The proposition of the noble Lord, however, was on a completely different principle. He not only made an allowance for insurance, but also a provision for the tenant's rates and taxes taken into it. He relied, therefore, on the support of those who wished bona fide for the introduction of the English franchise as the rule on which Ireland should be governed; and he contended, that while they provided that the rateable amount should be 10l. they should make a deduction from that on account of repairs and insurance, which fell on the landlord—that that was the just principle to proceed upon, and that it was not just to take one uniform rate of deduction, say twenty or twenty-five per cent., and apply that only. Above all, however, he should contend that it was not just to make an abatement for the tenant's rates and taxes, because the English Parliamentary franchise was the net annual value for which the house would let after the payment of all charges which properly fell on the tenant, His grounds of objection to the plan of the noble Lord, therefore, were, first, that the tenant's rates and taxes should not be taken into account at all, and, secondly, that it was not just to apply one uniform allowance to franchises of all descriptions. He dismissed the first point, because those who agreed with him, that the English Parliamentary franchise should be the rule to proceed upon, would at once come to the conclusion to which he had referred, and he would apply himself to the second point, whether it was more just that an abatement for the landlord's repairs and insurance should be made according to the circumstances of each franchise, which was the proposition which he had made, or whether an addition of twenty-five per cent. should be made on account of these charges, which was the plan of the noble Lord opposite. First of all they were about to have in each individual case an estimate of the landlord's repairs and taxes. They were to go to the trouble of finding that because it had been expressly so provided by the clauses of a bill which had already passed this House, and it was not a question, therefore, whether they should go through the labour of determining it. Having obtained this, then they were to apply the rough average estimate to all cases. Now, he said, that was unjust, and that old and new houses should be considered according to different rules, and in the case of an old house all the difference should be made, and that in a case where a person rented part land and the rest house, it must be less than where it was a house exclusively. Supposing a house to be rented for 3l., and land to be rented to the amount of 7l., would that entitle the tenant to the franchise? The noble Lord proposed that he should have an abatement of twenty-five per cent., and that in a case of a house, the same rule should be adopted, and he (Sir R. Peel) said, that that was unjust. What was good for the house was not good for the case which he had suggested; and so far from making an allowance of twenty-five per cent. in case of land being rented, the amount of repairs would only sanction 2½ per cent. There should, besides, be a different rule for large and small houses. The noble Lord proposed to make an allowance of twenty-five per cent. in all cases; now, what was the case in England? The bill here had fixed one invariable rule. A great diversity of practice had existed, and an Act was passed requiring a uniformity of practice. They provided that no rate should be good which was not made on an estimate of the net annual value of the premises rented; and he now proposed that the franchise in Ireland should be the net annual value estimated in the same way, making the same deductions in each case for the landlord's repairs and insurance. That was the plan applied in England and without complaint, except on account of the great difficulty which existed in ascertaining the value, but that complaint had here been remedied by the Act to which he had already referred. He would now beg the attention of the House to some returns of the rate of allowances for landlords' repairs, insurance, &c., made in some large towns in England. In Bristol, the allowance varied, in small parishes, from 7½ per cent, to 14½, and even 16 per cent. In the old city itself, the deduction on the whole gross estimated rental was nearly 13½ per cent. In Worcester, the deduction averaged 12½ per cent.; in Bridgewater, it was about 10 per cent., and in Gloucester 9 per cent. If the noble Lord meant to abide by the English franchise, the proposition of the noble Lord was incompatible with that object. If, on the other hand, the noble Lord thought he had fixed the franchise too high, let him propose to reduce it; but, if it was proposed to adopt the parliamentary franchise of England, then he said, that the rule he (Sir Robert Peel) had proposed, would establish a franchise in exact conformity with it. He should, therefore, give his vote for the clause as it was now before them, and dissent from the proposition of the noble Lord.

Viscount Morpeth

said, that the proposition of Government was founded upon the opinion that an indiscriminate mode of fixing the franchise was much less liable to misconception and confusion than one which varied with circumstances. From the right hon. Baronet's statement, it appeared that a great difference existed in England in the accounts of allowance in the rating; and he (Viscount Morpeth) thought it would be found, that in the gross there would be no great disproportion between the proposal of the right hon. Baronet and that of her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Baronet said, he wished to follow the course followed in England. Now, he and his friends had often said, that they were ready to take the English municipal franchise. But, as they were to take a franchise depending on rating, at any rate it should not be according to a rule which would make the franchise much higher than that of England.

Mr. Hume

regretted extremely, that the noble Lord had consented to raise the franchise at all; but, when he found that his very reasonable offer of a compromise was not accepted, he ought, at once, to have adopted the course of taking the English franchise altogether. He, for one, should be very happy to have an opportunity to vote against both the propositions now before them, and to revert to the 5l. franchise. He thought that in Ireland, as in England, every rate-payer should have a vote.

Lord Stanley

rose but to advert to one statement made by his noble Friend opposite and reiterated by the hon. Member for Kilkenny. It was with respect to the non-adoption of the English municipal franchise in the Irish bill for the settlement of corporations. Whether it were right or wrong, the principle adopted by the side of the House on which he sat, in regard to this measure, was to fix the amount of the municipal franchise in Ireland as nearly as possible the same as the parliamentary franchise in England, and the municipal franchise in Scotland. The parliamentary franchise in England consisted in a house of the clear yearly value of 10l.—the municipal franchise in Scotland was derived from that of a residence of six months, or an occupation of twelve. To combine both in the Irish Municipal Bill was their object; and he hoped that they had now succeeded in compassing it by means of the Lords' amendments. He could not, under these circumstances, believe that hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House would bring themselves to reject a proposal like this, founded as it was on the principles of immutable and substantial justice. The noble Lord and the hon. Member had asked the side of the House on which he (Lord Stanley) sat, why did they not adopt the English municipal franchise in the Irish Municipal Bill. Because, it was quite impossible to do so, was his reply; and they would come to the same conclusion when they considered the real state of the question. By the English Municipal Act, a residence of three years, and rating for that period to the poor-rate, were required to confer the municipal franchise. How was that to be carried into effect in Ireland, where no poor-law as yet existed, and where, consequently, no rating could have taken place under its provisions. The continuous payment of poor-rates for the period of three years was fixed in the Act for the avowed purpose of making the franchise analogous to a 10l. holding. In most of the large towns of England there existed extremely little difference in point of numbers between those qualified to vote for Members to Parliament under a 10l. franchise and those qualified under a municipal franchise. It was, because those he acted with were desirous to avoid everything which had the appearance of injustice or inequality that the amendments in question were introduced elsewhere in the bill then before the House, and believing that those amendments would have the effect intended, he should decidedly vote against the noble Lord's proposition.

Mr. O'Connell

said, if the noble Lord were desirous of doing justice to Ireland, he had, undoubtedly, a curious way of exhibiting that desire. The only justice that should and ought to be done was to give the municipal franchise of England to Ireland. In England every man rated to the poor's rate had the municipal franchise.—[Lord Stanley: Only when rated three years.]—Oh, that's the crotchet, and if you had not that, you'd easily find another. It is never difficult to discover an excuse when we intend to do an act of wrong. But there could be no difficulty in applying the principle of the English franchise at once, if it were really desired to do so. Let a three years' residence in such a house as would be so rated as the English act required be considered equivalent to a three years' payment of the rate. The houses, would all be rated before this act would come into operation, so there could be no pretence for a difficulty on that score. Let them but adopt this plan, and they would have the English franchise established complete in Ireland, and nothing but a disposition not to do justice to Ireland could prevent the noble Lord opposite and his friends from acceding to so reasonable a proposal. This bill, as it came clown from the House of Lords, was a mere mockery. Three years ago the Lords wanted to destroy the municipal corporations of Ireland altogether, and the members of those corporations helped them to break them down. But this was found too gross an insult to Ireland to bear being repeated, and now, therefore, the House of Lords substituted delusion for open insult. It was with reluctance, therefore, that he should support the motion of the noble Lord.

Sir E. Sugden

did not think it necessary to deny the hon. and learned Gentleman's charge, that the English franchise was denied because it was the determination of the side of the House on which he sat to do no justice to Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stigmatised the argument of the noble Lord (Stanley) respecting a three years' rating to the poors' rate, as a crotchet; but that rating was fixed as a test of the stability of the individual and his competence to exercise the municipal franchise in this country. Now, as there was no poor law in Ireland at present, and as the adaptation of the English municipal system to the corporations of that kingdom was, therefore, clearly impossible, what was proposed to be done was, to give it the same form as existed at this day in Scotland. That was all that had been done, and he would pledge his life, that the Lords' amendments amounted to no more. It was, thererefore, evident that the Scotch system which the hon. and learned Gentleman had asked for had been given: the English it was impossible to give, for the reasons stated. It would be but a delusion, and a mockery to change the clause as amended in the Lords, and, therefore, he should vote against the proposition of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department.

Mr. Sheil

did not see how the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) could get over the statement which had just been made by his hon. and learned Friend, which was derived from indisputable returns, and which had been already stated in another place, and had not been denied. With respect to Liverpool, the reason of the equal relation of the municipal and Parliamentary voters might be, that the freemen were Parliamentary voters. Now, with respect to the noble Lord's difficulty in applying the English franchise on account of the three years' rating, he would ask the noble Lord this question—would he consent, that in 1841, taking a ten-pound rate, the English system should come into operation, and that in the mean time the Scotch plan should be resorted to? Did the noble Lord think, that the English system was one which could ever be applicable to Ireland? and if not, let the noble Lord tell the reason why it was not. Suppose a case. He let a house to a man at 8l., paying 2l. for insurance and repairs. In that case the tenant would be entitled to vote. Let the tenant agree to pay the taxes and insurance, and what was the result? He would only pay 6l. a-year, and he would no longer be entitled to the elective franchise. Put the repairs and insurance upon the landlord, and the tenant would be entitled to vote; but put them on the tenant, and he will be no longer entitled to vote. He would advert to the argument that had been urged by the other side, and especially by the right hon. Gentleman the member for Tamworth. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the objection to the uncertainty of the repairs and of the amount of the insurance were unfounded, because the amount of the insurance and the repairs would be ascertained by another bill. But would there not be the same uncertainty in ascertaining the amount of insurance and repairs under the Poor-law Bill as there would be with respect to the Municipal Bill? What would be the state of things? Under the Poor-law Bill an individual coming to be rated would remember that under the Municipal Biil he would derive a certain franchise provided his repairs and insurance amounted to a certain sum. He would be interested, therefore, most materially, in swelling them to the highest possible amount; and would there not follow all the uncertainty, and ambiguity, and loose swearing which were inveighed against when the proposition was originally made that the rate should be employed? The great objection of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter (Sir W. Follett) to the 10l. franchise without a rating was, that without it great uncertainty would prevail. What was the course taken in the House of Lords? The repairs and the amount of insurance paid by the landlord were to be added to the amount of the rate. Would this not open a door to uncertainty? How were they to ascertain the insurance? The amount would depend upon every diversity of local risk, and it was manifest that the amount of repairs would depend on the extent of dilapidation. Thus all the evils against which hon. Gentlemen opposite so strongly remonstrated, were let in by their own bill. With respect to the course which Government had taken, it struck him that it must have cost some sacrifice of pride and feeling on the part of the Irish Members to accede to it. If he were to obey the first impulses with which he perused the present bill, he should have been for rejecting it. Leave them to the old and unfortunately the odious features of the system by which the redress of the grievances of the country had been so long obstructed. But he felt that it was incumbent upon them to have recourse to every honourable effort to settle this question. The Government had descended from the high ground which they had at first taken up. They offered to meet midway the proposition of the other side. They had a large majority of thirty-five in favour of the 5l. qualification. The House of Lords raised the franchise to 10l., and, under these circumstances, when the House of Commons and the other House disagree, was not some sacrifice to be made on both sides? The right hon. Baronet the member for Tamworth spoke of the difficulties in which he was placed. He perfectly well understood them, and he for one was desirous that the right hon. Baronet had perfect freedom of action but he put it to the right hon. Baronet whether, when the representatives of the people came forward and tendered to the House of Parliament a measure of this sort, and when, with a feeling that collision was to be deprecated, the Government came forward supported by their party, and made an offer of a sacrifice, the reason should not be very strong that would induce the right hon. Baronet to reject the compromise. This was a sacrifice made on that (the Ministerial) side. Was there to be no sacrifice on the other? What was the way in which they had treated Ireland? Two years ago they proposed to destroy corporations in Ireland altogether. They were foiled in that attempt at Conservative demolition. When they were driven by the feeling of the people of England to grant them British institutions, they sought to invest them with one in English character. In the House of Lords they were in the enjoyment of a majority, and they insisted upon a 10l. rate. They were possessed of power in the other, but they were not possessed of power in that House, and they must make some sacrifice if they were really solicitous to put an end to those most painful and embittered contests. What motive had they for not doing so? They had given to Ireland the same system of sheriffs as in England; but in England by their Corporation Bill they reserved to Bristol, Norwich, and other towns, the right to elect their own sheriffs, whilst they deprived Ireland of that right. They had deprived the city of Dublin of the privilege which they had continued to the city of London. Would they have dared to take from the citizens of London the appointment of their own sheriffs? They did not venture to take this right, from the English corporation, and the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department pressed this point in his speech. The right hon. Baronet answered the noble Lord in most of his points, but he had not attempted to say that the system in England and Ireland ought not to be the same. The wanted the English system, o something like it, and why were they d prived of it? What was the reason for taking this course, and that, too, by the men who granted Catholic emancipation? He did not refer to this in any unkindly spirit, but he begged to remind the right hon. Baronet, that when he brought forward the Catholic question, which allowed the Catholics of Ireland to be invested with municipal privileges, he introduced a clause into his bill which provided that Roman Catholics should be admitted to corporations. From that day to this not a single Roman Catholic had been admitted into the chief corporation of Ireland. He did not blame the right hon. Baronet for this, but when the right hon. Baronet considered that the object of this very measure was to carry into effect the Catholic Emancipation Act, surely he ought not to endeavour to suppress corporations, or to raise the qualification far higher than in justice it ought to be. The right hon. Gentleman said, that it was not because they were Catholics. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for telling them so, and he felt bound to believe him, but what was the course taken by others? From the very outset the suppression of corporations, and the raising of the franchise put upon the ground, that there were six millions of Roman Catholics in Ireland. When they gave them emancipation, they ought to have put no limits to their confidence. The Catholic Emancipation Act might, in the opinion of some, have failed, but in his judgment it had not failed, because it raised the warm and heartfelt sentiments of a generous allegiance. They were wrong in not following it up, and they were wrong in adopting a policy, the consequences of which they had themselves foreseen and prophesied; they were wrong in creating hostility to one class of their fellow-subjects, and, above all, they were wrong in disregarding the advances of the millions in Ireland, and in omitting to recollect that the time might arrive when this country would stand in need of the aid of a powerful, united, and concentrated people.

Sir R. Inglis

said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman called upon the Members of that House to make some sacrifice. Had they made no sacrifice in offering to surrender those corporations which were the strongholds of Protestantism in Ireland? He had always objected to this course. He grieved at it. He knew that the law of the land, if vindicated, was sufficient to punish misconduct in corporation elections, and that the Court of Chancery could correct mismanagement of corporation funds. He never, therefore, admitted the necessity of destroying corporations in Ireland, but Parliament had destroyed them, and the question now was, what they should raise upon the ruins? They on that side of the House had made a sacrifice in going to the length to which they had gone. As to the case put by the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, a child in arithmetic must see its fallacy. In the one case they had 10l. paid by two persons, in the other, they had 8l. paid in the same way. He would not enter into the question of Roman Catholic emancipation, all he would say was, that the hon. and learned Member ought to be the last man to taunt those who had introduced that measure.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose amidst loud cries of "divide!" He said, that the hon. Baronet who had just sat down must either condemn or acquit corporations. If he condemned them, there was no sacrifice in destroying them, and if he acquitted them, surely nothing ought to have induced him to consent to make a sacrifice of them. But the truth was, that the Gentlemen opposite condemned the corporations of Ireland, they saw that they were indefensible, and that the time was come when no Gentleman in that House could rise and refer to facts and statements in defence of the present corporations of Ireland. That was the real key to the sacrifice. But to come to the real point before the House, which was, in fact, the most essential part of the bill, and let Gentlemen before they divided upon this clause, consider well what it contained, and the manner in which it came before the House. In the first place, he would admit that an extension of the franchise might not always be good in itself, and he was further willing to admit, that under the clause as proposed by the other House, they might practically get a larger number of voters, but by con- necting the Municipal Bill, and the Poor-law Bill, and the rating clause, wherever there was a disposition, and certainly such had been expressed very generally on the other side, to acquire political rights, and to extend the franchise, this clause, as sent down from the other House, would give an opportunity to extend it fraudulently upon the oath of the party himself. This he called extending the franchise in a bad sense, and certainly the clause in that sense would extend it farther than was proposed by his noble Friend's clause. The amendment made by the House of Lords would give rise to great uncertainty, whereas certainty was the foundation of all the right hon. Baronet's argument. How were they to know the amount of repairs, or how were they to calculate the question of insurances? They referred them to another bill. That bill would work very well for its own purpose; but if they applied its provisions as a stimulus to political excitement, it would prove a bill for the purpose of fraudulently extending the franchise, and creating universal political distrust. He had referred on a former occasion to the state of the city of Limerick to show, that a rating clause with a rating value really differed from the actual value of a house to the amount of twenty-five per cent. Since that he had followed up the valuation in Belfast, and the result was exactly the same. The gentlemen on the other side refused to give the municipal franchise of Scotland to Ireland. [No, no!] Would they give it in the same words and letters? They would not do so. He had heard from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) an admission which he should treasure up with the greatest possible delight. That noble Lord stated, that his objection to the introduction of the English franchise was the impossibility of introducing it in the first instance. But it would not be impossible three years after the rating took place, and, therefore, if they passed the bill in its present shape, the people of Ireland would be entitled to come to Parliament three years hence when there had been three years' rating, and to claim from the noble Lord all the weight of his authority and the support of his vote in giving to Ireland when it was no longer impossible to do so the full benefit of the English franchise. There was one point to which he wished to advert. There was a disposition on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to connect the municipal franchise with the Parliamentary franchise, and to impose upon the franchise a certain condition, from which he augured, that when an opportunity arose, if they could raise the municipal franchise by this bill, they would seek to apply the analogy to the Parliamentary franchise. He could not account for the course taken now with reference to Ireland, as distinguished from the course taken with reference to England, upon any other hypothesis. It was said, that Government was making no sacrifice, no concession. Why, the arguments of those who sat behind them, and who had taunted them for what they had done, was a sufficient reply. They had tendered a rating, they had abandoned the 5l. clause, and they gave what was tantamount to the original proposition of 10l. value, adding the rating. He was as anxious as any individual to see this question and others settled; and he must say, that the offer now made to the House was a fair and a just offer on the part of Ireland, which the House would long regret if they did not avail themselves of that opportunity of accepting.

Mr. E. Turner

rose to remark on two very important points arising out of this night's debate. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had stated, that in the borough of Leeds there were no more than 6,000 Parliamentary electors, although there were 25,000 municipal electors. That learned Gentleman had also stated, that in the borough of Stockport there were 3,000 Parliamentary electors, and 9,000 who voted for municipal officers. In the early part of this debate the noble Lord opposite (Stanley) stated, that he considered the municipal electors, who, of necessity were required to occupy the same premises three successive years, and pay all the rates and taxes charged thereon before they could exercise their municipal franchise, were nearly approximate to the persons who occupied a ten-pound house, and who voted for Members of Parliament, and this sentiment was immediately after responded to by the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon. Now, he wished this House and the country to know, that hon. Members on the other side admitted that there were, in the boroughs of Leeds and Stockport 25,000 persons eligible to choose their own representatives who did not now enjoy that privilege; and, doubtless, that was about the proportion in all other places having the elective franchise. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might depend on one thing, that another Session of Parliament would try the sincerity of their professions.

The House divided on the question that the Lords' amendment stand part of the clause: Ayes 154; Noes 169: Majority 15.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Freshfield, J. W.
Acland, T. D. Gibson, T.
A'Court, Captain Gladstone, W. E.
Alsager, Capt. Gordon, Captain
Arbuthnot, H. Goulburn, H.
Ashley, Lord Graham, Sir J.
Ashley, hon. H. Granby, Marquess
Attwood, M. Grant, F. W.
Bagge, W. Grimston, Lord
Baker, E, Grimston, E. H.
Barrington, Lord Hale, R. B.
Blackburne, J. Hardinge, Sir H.
Blackstone, W. S. Hayes, Sir E.
Blair, J. Heathcote, Sir W.
Blennerhassett, A. Heneage, G. W.
Boldero, H. G. Henniker, Lord
Bramston, T. Herbert, hon. S.
Broadley, H. Herries, J. C.
Broadwood, H. Hillsborough, Earl of
Brownrigg, S. Hodgson, F.
Bruce, Lord E. Hodgson, R.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hogg, J. W.
Burrell, Sir C. Hope, hon. C.
Canning, Sir S. Hope, H. T.
Castlereagh, Lord Hope, G. W.
Chandos, Marquess Hotham, Lord
Chapman, A. Ingestrie, Lord
Chute, W. L. W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Codrington, C. W. Irvine, J.
Compton, H. C. James, Sir W. C.
Corry, hon. H. Jermyn, Earl
Dalrymple, Sir A. Jones, J.
Darby, George Kemble, H.
De Horsey, S. H. Kerrison, Sir E.
D'Israeli, B. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Dottin, A. R. Knight, H. G.
Douglas, Sir C. Knightley, Sir C.
Douro, Marquess Lincoln, Earl of
Dowdeswell, W. Lockhart, A. M.
Dunbar, G. Lowther, Col.
Duncombe, W. Lowther, Lord
East, J. B. Lowther, J. H.
Eaton, R. J. Lucas, E.
Egerton, W. T. Lygon, hon. General
Ellis, J. Mackinnon, W.
Estcourt, T. Mahon, Lord
Estcourt, T. Manners, Lord
Farnham, E. B. Meynell, Captain
Farrand, R. Miller, W. H.
Fector, J. M. Milnes, R. M.
Filmer, Sir E. Monypenny, T.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Neeld, J.
Fleming, J. Neeld, J.
Forrester, hon. G. Norreys, Lord
Ossulston, Lord Spry, Sir S. T.
Pakington, J. S. Stanley, Lord
Parker, M. Sturt, H. C.
Parker, R. T. Sugden, Sir E.
Peel, Sir R. Teignmouth, Lord
Perceval, hon G. Thomas, Col. H.
Perceval, Colonel Thompson, Alder.
Pigot, R. Thornhill, G.
Polhill, F. Tollemache, F.
Pollock, Sir F. Trench, Sir F.
Praed, W. M. Tyrell, Sir J.
Praed, W. T. Vere, Sir C. B.
Pusey, P. Verner, Col.
Reid, Sir J. R. Vernon, G. H.
Richards, R. Vivian, J. E.
Rickford, W. Waddington, H.
Rose, Sir G. Walsh, Sir J.
Round, J. Whitmore, T.
Rushbrooke, R. Wood, T.
Rushout, G. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Sandon, Lord Young, J.
Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Sibthorp, Col. TELLERS.
Smith, A. Holmes, W. A. C.
Somerset, Lord G. Freemantle, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Adam, Admiral Dalmeny, Lord
Aglionby, H. A. Dashwood, G. H.
Alston, R. Divett, E.
Archbold, R. Duckworth, S.
Baines, E. Duke, Sir J.
Ball, rt. hon. N. Dundas, F.
Bannerman, A. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Baring, F. T. Easthope, J.
Barnard, E. G. Ebrington, Lord
Bellew, R. M. Eliot, Lord
Benett, J. Ellice, Capt. A.
Bentinck, Lord W. Evans, Sir De L.
Berkeley, hon. H. Evans, G.
Berkeley, hon. C. Fielden, J.
Bernal, R. Ferguson, Sir R.
Blake, W. J. Finch, F.
Bowes, J. Fitzgibbon, Col.
Brabazon, Lord Fitzroy, Lord C.
Bridgeman, H. Fleetwood, Sir P.
Briscoe, J. I. Gordon, R.
Brotherton, J. Goring, H. D.
Bryan, G. Grattan, J.
Byng, G. Grey, Sir G.
Campbell, Sir J. Grosvenor, Lord
Cave, R. O. Grote, G.
Cavendish, C. Hallyburton, Lord
Cayley, E. S. Hastie, A.
Chalmers, P. Hawes, B.
Childers, J. W. Hawkins, J. H.
Clay, W. Hayter, W. G.
Clayton, Sir W. Heathcoat, J.
Clements, Lord Hector, C. J.
Codrington, Admiral Hill, Lord A. M.
Collins, W. Hindley, C.
Conyngham, Lord Hobhouse, Sir J.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hobhouse, T. B.
Cowper, hon. W. Hodges, T. L.
Craig, W. G. Hollond, R.
Crompton, Sir S. Horsman, E.
Currie, R. Hoskins, K.
Curry, W. Howard, P. H.
Howard, Sir R. Rice, T. S.
Howick, Lord Rich, H.
Hume, J. Rolfe, Sir R M.
Hutt, W. Rumbold, C. E.
Hutton, R. Russell, Lord J.
James, W. Russell, Lord
Johnson, General Russell, Lord C.
Kinnaird, A. F. Salwey, Colonel
Labouchere, H. Scrope, G. P.
Lefevre, C. S. Seymour, Lord
Lemon, Sir C. Sheil, R. L.
Lushington, Dr. Smith, J. A.
Lushington, C. Smith, B.
Lynch, A. H. Smith, hon. R.
Macleod, R. Smith, R. V.
Marshall, W. Somerville, Sir W.
Martin, J. Stanley, E. J.
Martin, T. B. Stewart, J.
Manle, hon. F. Stock, Dr.
Mildmay, P. St. J. Stuart, Lord J.
Morpeth, Lord Vise. Strangways, J.
Morris, D. Style, Sir C.
Murray, J. A. Surrey, Earl of
Muskett, G. A. Thomson, C. P.
O'Brien, W. S. Thornely, T.
O'Connell, D. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Connell, J. Turner, E.
O'Connell, M. J. Vigors, N. A.
O'Connell, M. Villiers, C. P.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Vivian, Sir R.
Paget, Lord A. Wall, C. B.
Palmer, C. F. Wallace, H.
Palmerston, Lord Warburton, H.
Parker, J. Ward, H. G.
Parnell, Sir H. Westenra, J. C.
Pattison, J. Williams, W. A.
Pechell, Capt. Wilshere, W.
Pendarves, E. W. Winnington, H.
Philpotts, J. Wood, Sir M.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Wood, G. W.
Power, J. Wyse, T.
Price, Sir R. Yates, J. A.
Protheroe, E. TELLERS.
Pryme, G. Wood, C.
Redington, T. N Steuart, R.
Mr. Ball

proposed to leave out "words introduced by the Lords," which went to limit the rating to the relief of the poor and to substitute words which included all cesses and rates.

Mr. Shaw

insisted that the words ought to be retained.

Mr. O' Connell

observed, that the words were in the clause as to the payment of local rates and taxes, and therefore he did not think the words objected to ought to be retained.

The House divided on the question that the Lords' amendment be retained: Ayes 144; Noes 162: Majority 18.

Words rejected.

Clause 14: By this clause it was enacted, that the collectors of cesses, rates, and taxes, the payment whereof is required for the purpose of entitling any person to be enrolled as a burgess, should open accounts with the Bank of Ireland or the Provincial Bank of Ireland, and that it should be lawful for every person liable to pay any such cess to pay the same into the Bank, and such payments should be deemed to have been made to the collector to whose credit it was paid.

The Lords having struck out this clause,

Mr. Ball

moved, that the Lords' amendment be rejected, and the clause restored.

Sir E. Sugden

opposed the motion.

Mr. O'Connell

supported it, and said, it often happened, that persons were disfranchised by reason of the collectors purposely keeping out of the way, in order to avoid receiving the payment of the rates and taxes.

The House divided on the question to disagree with the Lords: Ayes 157; Noes 137: Majority 20.

Clause reinstated in the bill.


[The division on the question of the franchise, being the principal one, and nearly the same persons dividing on the two other questions, it seemed unnecessary to print the lists of more than those of the division on the franchise.]

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