HC Deb 28 February 1839 vol 45 cc990-1013
Mr. O'Connell

had given notice that he would, that evening, move that a certain petition from Dublin should be taken into consideration, and that he would also move for leave to bring in a bill. The petition to which he wished to call their attention, was in favour of that bill. He did not mean to trouble the House with any observations on that petition, but would proceed forthwith to move for leave to bring in a bill to assimilate the franchises of Parliamentary electors in England, Wales, and Ireland, and to render the same more extensive. That was the object of his present motion. It was one, perhaps, of little importance to the House, but it was one of the greatest and most paramount importance to the people of Ireland. He had been given to understand, that it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to oppose his motion for leave to bring in such a bill; and he would therefore state, as briefly as possible, the reasons why he conceived that the House ought not to concur in that opposition. The principle on which he asked for leave to bring in this bill, was the legislative union now existing between Great Britain and Ireland. If that union had any principle to support it, it was the identity of interests between the two countries. If there was not that identity between them, then it was the union of master and slave, and not the community of free citizens belonging to the same state. Having taken that principle as the basis which was to enable him to ask for leave to bring in his bill, he felt great regret at finding that the Government was determined to oppose its introduction. It seemed to him to be an authoritative declaration, that Ireland was not to have the benefit of the union, for that was stated at the time of forming it, to be a complete participation of privileges and franchises with Great Britain. He was standing there at present as a repealer; though it was his fixed opinion, that if his motion was refused, nothing but a repeal of the union would satisfy the expectations, and he might even say the longings, of his fellow-countrymen. It could not be but that they would think that repeal necessary, unless Ireland had the full advantage of the union. That was so obvious, that he should weary the House if he entered into any proofs of it. He would therefore proceed at once to show, that in the elective franchise, the difference between England and Ireland was absolutely enormous; that the number of electors in England was infinitely beyond that of electors in Ireland; and that in Ireland, it was positively so small as to render it a matter of surprise, that any resistance could be given to the aristocracy of that country, or that the popular voice could be heard there at all. What he insisted on was, that the people of Ireland were to have the same proportion of franchise which the people of England enjoyed; and that there should not be a limited constituency in one country, and a large one in the other. The great complaint even in England was, that its constituency was too narrow. He believed the complaint to be true. He believed that the constituency of England would have been larger, if the cause of reform had not fallen into hands who were more anxious to retard than to accelerate its progress. He believed, that the cry for an enlarged constituency would, when those persons had sufficiently shown their weakness and their wickedness, be renewed not only in England, but also in that House. He would not, however, enter into that question at present; all he wanted to show was, the difference of the two countries in respect to the elective franchise, and to prove, that though the constituency was narrow in England, it was still narrower in Ireland. He had examined a great mass of Parliamentary documents, but he had taken the amount of the number of electors in Ireland from the returns which were made to the House on the first registration after the Reform Bill. That was the most favourable view which he could take of the state of the franchise in Ireland, so far as regarded the point of numbers, for a greater number of persons had been registered at that time than had ever been registered since. It was impossible to ascertain how many persons had been added to that registry since, or how many persons ought to be deducted from it, for there were many persons on the registry now, though they were dead, or had lost their franchise, or had otherwise become disqualified to vote. He had endeavoured, as far as he could, to check these returns by the polls taken at contested elections, and he found that in every case the number of electors who were registered at first was much larger than the number ever polled at any election since. Intending, then, to confine himself to these documents, he would proceed to call the attention of the House to the various contrasts which they presented to the state of things in England, contrasts which displayed in every instance the immense superiority of the latter country in the enjoyment of the franchise. He would, in the first instance, take the principality of Wales; and from that he would show in what minority Ireland stood. Wales had 806,183 inhabitants; the number of its electors was 37,124. They were divided thus: the population of the Welsh counties, exclusive of the towns returning members, was 609,871; the number of electors was 25,815. Now, he would contrast the number of electors in the county of Cork with the number in all the different counties in Wales. The rural population of the county of Cork, not including the population of the cities and towns returning Members to Parliament, was 720,000. Wales, for 609,000 inhabitants, had 25,815 electors. The county of Cork, for 720,000 inhabitants, had only 3,835, that was less than 4,000. Was it possible, that the people of Ireland could ever deem themselves connected with England by an identity of privilege and franchise, when they found that among 700,000 inhabitants of Ireland only 3,835 were electors, whilst among 600,000 inhabitants of Wales, there were 25,815 electors? He would next take an English county, and would contrast the state of the franchise within it with the state of the franchise in several of the counties. He would take the smallest county in England, for instance, Rutlandshire. The population of Rutlandshire was 19,385; the number of its electors was 1,391. Now, this he would show, was more than the number of electors in each of seven counties in Ireland, which he would immediately mention. His object in making this contrast, was to appeal to the common sense of the people of England, in order that they might consider whether it was possible that the people of Ireland could be content with an union presenting such striking contrasts. He would now lay before the House the number of the population in the counties of Carlow, Louth, Kildare, Leitrim, Sligo Kerry, and Mayo, and the number of electors in each:—

Population. Electors.
Carlow 73,958 1,248
Louth 93,225 1,025
Kildare 108,424 1,244
Leitrim 141,524 1,388
Sligo 162,482 941
Kerry 255,579 1,243
Mayo 306,228 1,350
It thus appeared, that Rutland, with less than 20,000 inhabitants, had more electors than two Irish counties, ranging between 70,000 and 100,000, than two more ranging between 100,000 and 140,000, than one more with upwards of 150,000, than one more with more than 250,000, and lastly, than another with more than 300,000. But this contrast would appear still more striking, if it were formed with some other counties in England and Wales—for instance, with Radnorshire. The population of Radnorshire was 16,241; the number of electors in it was 1,857, which was greater than the number in any one of the counties which he had yet enumerated. He would, however, contrast it with some other Irish counties. The hon. and learned Member read the following table:—
Population. Electors.
Longford 112,558 1,465
Wicklow 121,557 1,740
Westmeath 136,872 1,395
Waterford 142,714 1,494
King's County 144,225 1,526
Fermanagh 147,364 1,640
Meath 176,012 1,850
Roscommon 249,613 1,776
Donegal 289,149 1,448
He had often heard taunts uttered in that House against the restricted nature of the franchise in France. He had now shown that a quarter of a million of inhabitants in Ireland contained among them a less number of electors than were to be found in the small county of Radnor. Could the rights, he would ask, of the people of Ireland be as well protected as those of the people of England under such a system? He would take another English county, and that, too, a small one— he meant Westmoreland. The population of that county was 42,464; the number of its electors was 4,392. That county had a greater number of electors than any county you could select in Ireland. For instance, in Londonderry county, the population was 207,848, and the electors 2,172. Let the House, then, consider the comparative population of the two:—
Londonderry 207,848
Westmoreland 42,464
Excess in Londonderry 165,384
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 4,392 electors.
Londonderry 2,172
Excess in Westmoreland 2,220
Again, in Downshire, the population was 337,876, and the electors 3,130.
Comparative population—
Downshire 337,876
Westmoreland 42,464—or 6 to 1.
Excess in Downshire 295,492
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 4,392 electors.
Downshire 3,130
Excess in Westmoreland 1,262
In Mayo, too, the population was 366,228, and the electors 1,350.
Comparative population—
Mayo 366,228
Westmoreland 42,464—or more than 8 to 1
Excess in Mayo 323,764
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 4,392
Mayo 1,350
Excess in Westmoreland 3,042
In Tipperary, the population was 380,435, and the electors 2,369.
Comparative population—
Tipperary 380,435
Westmoreland 42,464—about 8 to 1.
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 4,392
Tipperary 2,369—nearly 2 to 1.
Excess in Westmoreland 2,023
So, too, in Galway, the county population was 381,564. and the electors 3,061.
Comparative population—
Galway 381,564
Westmoreland 42,464—more than. 9 to 1
Excess in Galway 339,100
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 4,392
Galway 3,061—near ⅓ less in Galway.
Excess in Westmoreland 1,331
Again, in Cork county, the population was 720,000, and the electors 3,835.
Comparative population—
Cork 720,000
Westmoreland 42,464—about 14 to 1.
Excess in Cork 677,536
Comparative franchise—
Westmoreland 3,392 electors.
Cork 2,835—about ⅛ less.
Excess in Westmoreland 557
There was, in one instance, a singular coincidence—
Tyrone had a population of 301,325
The electors were 2,151
Flintshire had a population of 29,329
The electors were 2,151
Thus the population of Tyrone exceeded that of Flintshire more than ten times told; yet the number of electors was precisely the same. One Welchman was, therefore equivalent to ten men inhabiting Tyrone. He had stated these facts upon documents which he believed to be authentic—namely, Parliamentary returns: but he must now add, that if those documents were not authentic, the other documents which he had to refer to would make out for him a still stronger case. If he were to refer to the number of electors who had voted in those counties where the representation had been contested, it would be found that in every instance the numbers were less than those which he had stated. At the last election there voted in Longford, which was violently contested, and when every vote that could be brought to the poll was taken there, 1,172; the return of electors registered was 1,465; the numbers who voted were 1,172—less by 203. In Westmeath there were returned as registered, 1,395; there voted, 1,138—less by 257. In Wicklow there were registered, 1,740; there voted, 1,325—less by 415. In Dublin city there were registered, 11,706; there voted, 7,023 (though about 1,000 freemen had been added); less by 4,683. In Cork county there were registered, 3,835; there voted, 2,504—less by 1,331. He thought that be had now sufficiently demonstrated the extraordinary contrast which existed between the state of the franchise in England and in Ireland. He thought that he had sufficiently demonstrated that in Ireland it was limited to the smallest possible number, whilst in England, though it was not so large as it ought to be, it was still sufficiently extensive to manifest to every Irishman the extreme injustice which was done to his country. He asked was it possible that any man could imagine that the people of Ireland would continue to call this connexion an union? Such contrasts as those of Cork and Westmoreland were what convinced the people of Ireland that that House was not disposed to do them justice. He would not go into an historical detail of the manner in which Ireland had been treated since the union; he would confine himself to the data before him, sums of vulgar arithmetic, leading to conclusions which it was impossible to resist. Gentlemen might say there were too many electors in Ireland, and that they wished to diminish the number. He was prepared for that sentiment; he believed it might exist on both sides; he saw a Gentleman who smiled in assent; but could any rational man suppose, that the people of Ireland would endure this? Why, it was oppressive, it was unjust, it was insulting to them. The people of Ireland deserved the confidence of the constituted authorities as much as the people of England; they had the same natural rights; they bore like burdens; they shared in the same dangers against a common enemy. Why, then, should any man dare to insult them by assisting in perpetuating this contrast between them and the people of England? Government might boast that they had received the thanks of the Irish people for the manner in which they had ruled that country. It was true they had, for this was the first Government that had attempted to act impartially towards Ireland; but if they came forward to shield this enormity, they would make it their own, and would show that, whatever motives they might have for acting with administrative justice towards Ireland, they had no real or consistent regard for the spirit of justice. The franchises of which Ireland had been deprived were still enjoyed by England. There was a 40s. franchise without occupation, and a 10l. franchise without occupation. The franchise in Ireland was much higher in relative value and it was made higher still by the term of occupation that was demanded. England was the richer country, yet it had a lower franchise; Ireland was a far poorer country, and the amount of qualification was made infinitely higher. There was a maxim familiar in the higher courts, that equality was equity. Equality in this respect was the only equity. It was not in pounds, shillings, and pence, that it should be made equal, but the real value should be equalized by taking into account the different states of society in the two countries. He had pointed out the results which the present gross inequality occasioned. He did hope it was the first time the present Government had been made aware of the horrifying contrast, since they had hitherto made no attempt to redress the grievance; and, although his bill might be resisted to-night, he trusted they would apply some remedy. He knew it might be thrown out that 40s. freeholders were sacrificed by a class of the advocates of Catholic Emancipation at the time the Emancipation Bill passed. He denied it: there never was a grosser falsehood. He had documents to prove the groundlessness of the assertion. The last resolution passed by the Catholic Association, when it dissolved itself, was one calling on Parliament not to emancipate the Catholics at the expense of the 40s. freeholders. Forty-five delegates came over to watch the progress of the Emancipation Bill, and they presented an unanimous petition to the House to stay the progress of the bill rather than sacrifice the 40s. freeholders. The reading of the petition was prevented by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer: it was signed by all the popular representatives of Ireland. Even a proposal for the partial abolition of the 40s. franchise was rejected by the emancipators, and from 1825 to 1829 the 40s. freeholders vindicated their rights with the countenance and support of the Catholic delegates. Could the House suppose that Irishmen would patiently endure the inequality that now degraded them? If Englishmen were placed in the same position—if they saw a small Irish county with a larger number of electors than the great county of York, they would not endure it for a day; they would not pass a night in bed before they had set on foot measures to remedy such an abuse. If they saw a county like Carlow with a population of 73,000—and a greater constituency than Yorkshire with 800,000 inhabitants, the law would not remain unaltered a week. The rules and orders of the House would be suspended, they would not go to bed without having passed a bill to make the change, it would be in the House of Lords to-morrow, and he did not think that House would reject such a bill. He had been sneered at often for his predictions, although they sometimes turned out to be true; they might be disposed to laugh at them on this occasion, but he would tell them that if this was the first time they had heard of the question, they would hear of it often enough in future. He told them the people of Ireland would not submit to the abuse of which they complained; they were able enough to have their wrongs redressed, and they would have them redressed; they would have the union perfect, or no union at all. They might mock him here, but what he said was listened to with some attention elsewhere, and when he had such facts as he had detailed, with such arguments as inevitably arose from them, and when he told his countrymen that he had met with no sympathy here, that the mere ceremony of bringing in a bill was refused, and that he was told in limine that there was something so final in the Reform Bill, that Ireland was not to have a lower franchise, the voice of the people of Ireland would be raised in indignation, and it must be listened to by that House. Injustice had been done to them. During the struggle for reform they aided the English reformers; it was the Irish Members that gave the English their first majority on that question; they stuck by them for good and evil, but they had been punished for it. Their first boon from a reformed Parliament was the Coercion Bill, and now they would be refused the correction of the injustice he was representing. What did he care for the professions that Government made of their willingness to do his country justice, when he found their actions in direct contrast to their declarations? What an excellent disposition they professed to cherish! He would bring it to the test. Was there ever a grosser injustice than that which was created by the difference of the franchise in England and Ireland? If such a contrast existed between the southern counties of England and the northern—if the difference was as great between Westmoreland and Kent as it was between Westmoreland and Kerry, would it be tolerated for a day? Oh! but the two countries were united. Were they? He produced his calculation, he showed that the political rights of the inhabitants were not the same. When they talked of a union, there was no union at all; it was the subjugation of a province, if they would but avow it fully and manfully, and let loose their faction again upon it. But the people of Ireland were getting too strong for this; they could not be governed by a faction; seven or eight administrations had been ruined by trying to govern Ireland on this system; let them do this, and supply the only thing wanted to show their aversion to the Irish people, and their determination not to do them justice. Nothing could be more obnoxious to the Irish people than the present tenures of land; the evils of Ireland arose from agrarian misery, and resulted in agrarian outrages; yet the present system, and the abuses that sprung from it, were to be continued, and all prospect of improvement cut off. Attempts had been made also to introduce Protestant tenants in the room of Catholics, but the landlords soon got weary of religious fervour that lessened their annual income. Some of the Protestant colonies had already disappeared; but what a frightful thing was the religious animosity that resulted from expelling the one set of tenants, and bringing in the other, and giving them a beneficial interest. Why, it was the worst shape in which the fiend of religious discord could present himself in Ireland. By refusing to accede to his motion, Government would declare themselves the promoters and patrons of injustice. He might be told, that the English franchise was unjust as well as that of Ireland, and should be extended. Be it so; give the people of Ireland an extended franchise, and he would join them in regulating the English franchise. He had once thought of altering the present form of his motion, which included both the assimilation and extension of the franchise in the two countries, but he considered it better to take the sense of the House on it in the terms in which it now stood on the paper, as he should most assuredly once every fortnight or three weeks while the Session lasted take the sense of the House on a motion somewhat similar. He might be called on to declare what extension of the franchise he proposed. The 10l. franchise now existing in Ireland was equivalent to a 20l. franchise in this country, and he would be glad if the House would lower it to the level of the English; but he proposed further to diminish the qualification in both countries to 5l. He now called on the House to decide this question. He had explained the extraordinary contrast that existed between the two countries. He could say, with firmness, that he was authorized by the people of Ireland, who had placed confidence in him long and unremittingly, to declare positively to the House that they would be contented with no union but one of reality. The hon. and learned Member moved, in conclusion, for leave to bring in a bill to assimilate the franchises of Parliamentary electors in England, Wales, and Ireland, and to render the same more extensive.

Viscount Morpeth

said, that notwithstanding the repudiation by his hon. and learned friend of all professions, and what he termed lip-service, he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that he should have risen with far more alacrity and pleasure than he now did, had it been his task to signify to the House his compliance with the hon. and learned Gentleman's motion. In so doing, he certainly should have acted more in conformity, apparently at least, with the views which he had ever entertained, and which when an opportunity occurred, he had ever endeavoured to act upon, in reference to the mode in which it behoved the Legislature to deal generally with questions of Irish policy. The propositions of the hon. and learned Gentleman were in many instances founded in truth. With such impressions and such feelings as these, he might, reasonably enough, be asked how it was that he was not prepared to assent to the introduction of the measure. He felt that this motion, both as taken in itself, and in connection with several other correlative questions, was of a nature which rendered it the imperative duty of Government not to leave any room for misapprehension or uncertainty about it. He deemed it would be most unwise and improper to raise unfounded expectations, by assenting to the introduction of a measure, which he hereafter might find himself under the harsh necessity of refusing. Supposing that Government had quite made up its mind on the subject, it would be most undesirable to have the time of the House taken up by fruitless discussion without any practical result being attained. He was far from wishing to assert in favour of any Act of Parliament a claim which it would be utterly impossible to make in favour of anything human that he was aware of, that of being considered a finished and perfect work, an eternal and immutable contract. Still less was he prepared to contend that the day might not come when it might be permitted to the Legislature to sweep away every remaining vestige of inequality from the statute-book of both countries. He, and those who acted with him, were already engaged in that endeavour, on a field where the difficulties in their way seemed to them less invincible. These difficulties, however, would be, he feared, so greatly increased by any course of proceeding which should multiply the objects in view, as to involve them in the risk of destroying and defeating their own endeavours. As to the point of identity, he could not, consistently with a due regard to the force of figures and the truth of calculations, deny that there was a great disproportion between the, franchise in England and that in Ireland, considering the respective population, neither was there a perfect identity between England and Scotland, but at the same time the disproportion in the case of England and Ireland was not so great as the hon. and learned Gentleman imagined. While, however, he repudiated the notion of attributing what was called finality to any legislative measure, and while he professed himself ready, when a proper opportunity occurred, and not merely ready, but anxious, finally and completely to remove all the remaining inequalities between the two countries, yet he could not exclude from his consideration of this case, that the motion of his hon. and learned Friend, if assented to, would be in direct contravention both of the settlement which accompanied the Emancipation Act of 1829, and of the settlement made by the Reform Act of 1832. At the time this latter measure was in progress through the House of Commons, his hon. and learned Friend brought this identical proposition before the then House of Commons, and it was debated at great length and negatived by the Parliament which enacted the Irish Reform Bill. Was it to be said that the Irish Reform Bill had failed. This, at least, could not be said with any grace by the hon. and learned Gentleman, when he looked around on those who surrounded him, and saw the benches on all sides of him filled with such a large majority of Gentleman from Ireland, who professed the same opinions as his own. When the hon. and learned Gentleman brought forward this proposition ou the occasion referred to, he stated that the Irish Reform Bill would only serve to extend and increase the power of the oligarchy in Ireland; that it would hand aver the whole representation of Ireland into the absolute possession of the absentee landlords of that country; and that if the object were to place all Ireland under the uncontrolled domination of the Tory Aristocracy, no better mode could be adopted than the bill called the Irish Reform Bill. Yet how had matters turned out? Precisely in such a way as to prove that it could not be on the credit of a fulfilled prophecy that the hon. and learned Gentleman could found his present motion. If, indeed, it were true, as the hon. and learned Gentleman at that time prophesied, that the Irish Reform Bill threw the franchise into the hands of the oligarchy of Ireland, he could only express his pride and gratification that the policy of the present Government had been so satisfactory to the oligarchy in question, that they had permitted so large a proportion of the representation of that country to fall into the hands of gentlemen who gave their support to that government. Again, with reference to what took place at the passing of the Emancipation Act. He did not pronounce that measure, more than any other, an indissoluble, inviolable compact, or that all those who supported it were parties to any such understanding, still it was well known that the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders was made an inseparable condition of the adoption of that measure, by those who brought it forward, and who at that time had alone the power of carrying it. With reference to what had happened since the passing of that measure, considering what had occurred on the tithe question and the question of the Irish Church—questions, the merits of which he should not, of course, drag into the present discussion—it could not be asserted that all that had taken place since the passing of the Emancipation Act had so far reassured and quieted the minds of those who viewed with great jealousy and distrust the tendency and consequences of that measure, as to bring it within the verge of possibility that Parliament would give its sanction to the motion of his hon. and learned Friend. He had only to add, that to any feasible and practicable proposition for confirming and extending the rights and good government of the people of Ireland, he should be most willing and anxious to accede, and in declining to give his consent to the pre- sent motion he had the consolation of reflecting that in so doing he was not meting out a different measure to the three countries which formed the empire, for while the Government was ready to accede to any judicious proposition for carrying out the intention and improving the machinery of the respective Reform Acts, they refused, in the case alike of England, Ireland, and Scotland, to change and alter the natnre and extent of the franchise which the imperial Legislature had thought it proper to adopt. For the reasons then, which he had thus briefly stated, admitting at the same time that his hon. and learned Friend had shown, that great disproportion did in many cases exist in the franchise; yet, thinking that the Legislature ought not thus lightly to disturb the arrangements which had accompanied statutes of such vast importance, and of so recent a date; and believing that encouraging any endeavour to do so would only lead to protracted and resultless debates, he must give his decided, though reluctant, negative to the motion.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

would not occupy the attention of the House for many minutes. He had two observations to make, one of which applied to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, the other to the noble Lord who had just sat down. But before he proceeded to these he must express his admiration of the manner in which the former had abandoned the petition. [No, no.] He was certainly right. He understood the hon. and learned Member to say that he would not call the attention of the House to the petition, but would proceed with his motion for leave to bring in the bill. This, therefore, was giving the go-by to the petition. He congratulated the noble Lord and her Majesty's Government that in this instance there was no intention to second the wishes of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. But he should have been better pleased, he should have been much warmer in his congratulations, if the noble Lord had adopted bolder and sounder grounds for opposing the motion. Those assumed by the noble Lord had no proper basis—they were fallacious and full of sophistry. For the noble Lord had conceded the propriety of the hon. and learned Member's comparison of the extent of the constituencies, in proportion to the population, as between Ireland and England. He would ask the noble Lord whether or not the provisions of the Reform Bill had not been determined by the principle, not of population, but property? Was not the very basis one of property? He was astonished at the noble Lord's admission of the principle laid down now by the hon. and learned Member; and adding to that right the consolation that the day was not Far distant in which his views might be carried out. Yes, the noble Lord had held out the hope and expectation that on a very near day the hon. and learned Member might be able to achieve his object. If the noble Lord and his learned Friend would coin pare the English with the Irish Reform Bill, they would find that the privilege of votes was in many cases more extensive in the latter than in the former. There were various franchises in Ireland unknown to an English constituency. He would tell the noble lord and the learned Gentleman what these were. But he would first say that it was not the Reform Bill that disfranchised the 40s. freeholders; it was a previous measure, that of Catholic Emancipation, and those who spoke loudest now of the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders, should be asked, who called loudest then for their abolition? He asked the hon. and learned Gentleman how he came to do aught in the matter—how it was he threw the 40s. freeholders away? He perhaps might now say, as he had on some other occasion, "Oh, we were supplicants then, we were humbly petitioning to be emancipated." Or, "We made promises in our thraldom we should not be asked to redeem now we are free." But this would be no answer to the House. The hon. and learned Member must be content to be judged out of his own mouth; and this would be best done by referring to the evidence of the hon. and learned Member before the Committee of the House of Lords in 1825. What he would read to the House was an extract made from that evidence—the questions put to the hon. Member, and his replies, word for word. Do you think raising the qualification to 10l. would be productive of good to Ireland?—I think it would be productive of benefit. It is in my humble judgment no small benefit to get rid of any portion of perjury; and it is the commencement of what we want so much in Ireland—a substantial yeomanry. The population is too much divided between the highest and the lowest class. Would the qualification of 10l. be sufficient for that purpose?—I think it would for this reason—there must he a clear profit of 10l. per annum and a freehold tenure. Many would be ready to make a sacrifice of 10l. per annum who would hesitate before they would sacrifice 20l. per annum, because at the commencement of the lease it must be so, in order to satisfy the purpose as well as during its progress. What do you mean of sacrifice:—The sacrifice by so much income; the landed proprietor, when he makes the lease, makes it at a rack-rent in 99 cases out of 100. You stated that many persons would be willing to make a sacrifice; who are the persons who have the sacrifice to make?—The land proprietors. The landlord making the lease would have to make the sacrifice, if he constituted the freeholder of 10l. per annum. When he could get for his land 20l. per annum if he did not make him a voter, he would get but 10l. if he wished the man to have a vote, for the income must come out of the landlord's rent, and therefore it is a sacrifice. In creating a right to vote by a lease for life, it must be upon an interest, whatever the qualification may be by which the person acquiring the vote has a clear yearly profit to the amount. He should have a clear profit, at which he should be able to let to a third person next day after his own lease, and which profit the landlord might himself have got in the letting of it. He would pray the House to pay attention to the last answer particularly. The hon. and learned Member was so precise in his declaration that he would have the lease so claused as to have a clear yearly profit of 10l. at which the assessor would be able to sell it to a third party—an undoubted marketable value of 10l. per annum. There was the construction of the hon. and learned Gentleman of what ought to be the proper qualification, and yet he had the front day after day to arraign the judges of the land on account of their construction of what ought to be a 10l. qualification. After such a solemn and deliberate record of his opinion on the subject, the hon. and learned Gentleman now came to the House and endeavoured by argument, or persuasion, or threats, to restore the forty shilling franchise he had done so much himself to destroy. He would now state to the House what were the peculiar elective privileges enjoyed by Ireland, the poorer country, and on the principle laid down in passing the Reform bill, the less requisite of the two for anything like an extension of franchise over England. It was true, that Ireland had not the forty shilling freehold franchise, for reasons sufficiently shown in the evidence of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, but her counties possessed two de- scriptions of franchise which England did not. These were lessees for twenty years with an annual profit of 10l., and sublessees for twenty years, with a profit of 10l. per annum. And in counties of cities there were no less than six extensions of the franchise. They were lessee or assignee for a term of sixty years, with a profit of 10l.; lessee or assignee for fourteen years, with 20l. profit; sub-lessee for sixty years, with a profit of 10l.; sublessee for fourteen years, with 20l. profit; lessee of twenty years, with a profit of 10l.; and sub-lessee for twenty years, with a profit of 10l. So that, with the exception of the 40s. freesholds, abolished before 1829 as far as Ireland was concerned, and the vote of a 50l. tenant at will, Ireland had every other franchise that England had, and the eight others that he had enumerated to the House. He would, therefore, say, that the proposed additions to the franchise in Ireland were unfair, and the claims on which they were sought to be obtained were unfounded, Was the House to be thus pressed on from Session to Session with complaints of this nature, and with assertions and admissions that in the Reform Bill there was no finality? Or was the House to sanction the disposition of the hon. and learned Member to drive the noble Lord and his colleagues still deeper and deeper into agitation and disorder—and the noble Lord, almost unresisting, if not inviting, a further a nearer and final descent? If not, let the House treat the motion as the hon. and learned Member had the petition. Thanking the House for the patience with which he had been heard, he would conclude his observations by declaring that he would oppose the motion.

Mr. Redington

said, the hon. and learned Sergeant had made no reply to the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. The hon. and learned Member was wrong, said the hon. and learned Sergeant, in arguing as if population had been made the basis of the Reform Act; but how far was the hon. and learned Sergeant himself correct in his statement of the principle of the Reform Act? Why, that the basis of the Reform Act was property, But in reality, every one knew, that the basis of reform was the compound one of property and population combined; and therefore the learned Sergeant erred quite as much, when he made this statement, as the hon. and learned Member for Dublin would have done, had he placed reform on the basis of population alone. Would the hon. and learned Sergeant tell the House, that the compound basis of property and population would not give to Cork a greater body of electors than she now possessed? With respect to what the hon. and learned Sergeant had said about arraigning the judges for their construction of the law respecting qualifications, the hon. and learned Gentleman might perhaps have remembered who it was arraigned the judges of the land on the question of the registration of freemen in the city of Dublin, which they declared had been carried on for many years on a wrong system; and when the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of the eminent Statesmen who had acted in 1829, on the evidence of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, given in 1825, he might find perhaps, that an eminent Statesman sat near him who would be able to tell him, that there was some difference in the situation of the Members of the Cabinet in 1825 and in 1829. There was no force in the charge made against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin respecting his having b arraigned the judges; for did not the hon. and learned Member, immediately upon the decision of the judges as to beneficial interest being necessary to a qualification, come forward to say, that this was not the franchise which he had looked forward to giving the people of Ireland, not the franchise which it was intended by the Legislature to adopt. With respect to the speech of the noble Lord he had heard part of it with great pleasure, and he especially coincided with the noble Lord in his remarks with regard to the finality of legislative measures. As long as they could not pretend to be infallible in judgment, so long they could not pretend that laws were never to be altered. But the noble Lord asked how, in the present state of parties and the present circumstances of the two Houses of Parliament, this bill could possibly be expected to succeed? But the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, had adopted a more vigorous and more manly course when he had carried reform in spite of the difficulties and opposition which beset it; and he could not think, that they ought to delay bringing forward measures until they could be sure of carrying them. This was the worst argument, he thought, that could be brought forward. However, he felt assured, that justice was on the side of the Irish people, and that success must ultimately crown their efforts; and he would tell the House, that they would regret for years to come, the consequences of refusing them the satisfaction of laying on the table their case, without saying a word in refutation of the facts on which it was founded.

Colonel Conolly,

though pleased that the noble Lord objected to the motion, yet could not help regretting, for the sake of Ireland, that the noble Lord should have held out hopes, that the time would come when such a motion would succeed; when, in fact, the noble Lord would be content again to play second fiddle to the hon. and learned Member. As the noble Lord had not had firmness enough to resist his learned Friend, it became his duty to state the evil consequences that would arise from the timidity of the noble Lord, and his want of firmness in resisting a thing that was so fraught with evil to Ireland. He had said, over and over again in that House, and would repeat it, that of all the curses that ever was inflicted on Ireland, the 40s. franchise was the greatest. He knew no greater source of misery, of criminality and corruption, than that scourge that was inflicted on that country; and if anything could have induced him to acquiesce in Catholic emancipation, it was the doing away with that measure. Any person travelling through that country must have seen, that it was the parent of a good deal of the pauperism, the source of a great deal of the crime, and the fountain of the corruption which existed. The land was cut up into small portions to create franchises, and men swore to what they did not possess for that purpose, and the people were driven like a flock of sheep to vote for what they did not comprehend, for measures in which they had no part. He would go as far as any Member of that House with the franchise, so long as it could be extended with security to the state and independence to the individual; but beyond that point he would not consent to go. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had taken occasion to say, that landlords did not give leases in consequence of the franchises arising out of them. They did not give leases, because of the agitation which they created amongst their tenantry, and from the state of riot which was incident to them. He would say, before the British Parliament, that the hon. Member for Dublin had done more injury to Ireland, so far as withholding leases was concerned, by preventing landlords giving them, because they could not give them with good faith; he had induced a power which made the landlord stand on his own strength, and not give to his tenantry that which would be abused by the advocates of agitation. It was perfectly true, that the landlords had been driven to this measure—that they were called to act upon it to the very fullest extent, that they possibly could, to save their tenantry from the agitation—from the means of intimidation which had so grossly injured that class of people and so awfully degraded their country. He would take the liberty to trespass upon the House a little, and describe what he conceived to be the converse of the proposition; and he would state, that already in Ireland to a very great extent had the 10l. franchise acted in a way which his learned Friend below him (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) had described; and owing to it, the great body of the tenantry were a tenantry that would not be intimidated by having crossbones placed over their doors; a tenantry that were attached to and valued by their landlords. Already was the 10l. franchise doing away with the evil. He was sorry to say, that in some instances it was accompanied with painful consequences. Already, however, the 10l. franchise was very extensively calling into action a better kind of tenantry, and creating an independent body of yeomanry, which was so much wanted in Ireland. He would not trespass further on their attention, but would entreat them to cherish the franchise which had carried every moral good along with it, and which he trusted would, before long, set agitation at nought, and intimidation at defiance.

Mr. V. Stuart

said, it was his intention to vote for the motion. He was of the same opinion as the Member who had just sat down with regard to the 40s. freeholders. He did not think it was necessary to go so low as 40s., but he deprecated that state of things which now existed, and should therefore vote for the hon. Member.

Mr. William Roche

said, that reluctant as he felt to disturb our existing connection, provided it could and would be maintained with honour, justice, and reciprocity towards Ireland, he could not hesitate supporting every measure calcu- lated to attain those desirable impressions and results. The measures proposed by his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Dublin, whether they may require modification in detail or not, afforded a substantial basis for raising them upon a useful superstructure of improvement; and he therefore hoped his hon. Friend might be permitted to bring in his Bill, subject, of course, as its details would be, to distinct and separate consideration, and discussion. Every thing should be done to meet the wants, to satisfy the just expectations, and soothe the feelings, of Ireland, deprived as she was in a manner so flagitious of her rational individuality, and therefore entitled to even the leaning of the beam in everything tending to her prosperity and contentment; but to any thing short of perfect justice and reciprocity, she would not submit. On a former occasion he voted for a revision of the terms and circumstances of the Union, with a view to the removal of those complaints and anomalies, which it was the object of his hon. Friend's endeavours to accomplish, and he (Mr. Roche) considered, that in advocating measures tending to abate those disparities and inequalities, he was acting a part truly, and alone conducing to a union of hearts as well as of law. He therefore hoped, that those reluctant to disturb the subsisting connexions, if based on justice and equality, may not be compelled by the refusal of that justice, to the entertaining and acting upon different sentiments.

Mr. O'Connell

said, he would not detain the House long. The hon. and gallant colonel opposite seemed perfectly satisfied with himself, and he would he sorry to disturb his complacency. He would face him readily. He did think that the noble Lord had held out something like a word of promise to the ear, but he was disappointed, for he had completely broken it to the sense. He had talked against finality, and then had substituted another word for it. His hon. Friend, the member for Dundalk had well described the trivial importance of using the word settlement, instead of finality. The learned sergeant, however, was worthy of a moment's attention. He had read a passage to show his (Mr. O'Connell's) explanation of an Act of Parliament passed in 1832—the Irish Reform Bill, and had said that he had arraigned the judges for their misconstruction of that Act. In order to show the meaning which he had put upon the Act of 1832, the learned sergeant had read the evidence which he gave in 1825. The learned sergeant had given the terms of his evidence as to the standard of value, but the franchise, in reference to which that opinion was given, was created by an act which accompanied the Emancipation Act, whereas the present franchise on which so much dispute had arisen was created by the Reform Bill into which the beneficial interest clause was introduced. So much for the learned sergeant's quotations, in which there certainly seemed a strange want of candour. The hon. and learned sergeant had told them, that, in the towns in Ireland, there were an immense number of franchises which did not exist in England. That was his argument for limiting the franchises in Ireland. What would the learned sergeant think, if they would be glad to get rid of these extra advantages from the towns of Ireland? But what was the real fact as to the comparative extent of town franchises? Let theta hear a few instances. There was Chester, with a population of 21,363, in which the number of electors was 2,231; while in Belfast, one of the wealthiest and most commercial cities in Ireland, with a population of 53,000, there were only 1,926 voters. But was that all? He would take a case which must come home to the hon. and learned sergeant. In Wallingford, with a population of 2,467, the constituency was 354; while Bandon, which contained 12,000 inhabitants, had but 251 voters. And yet the representative of Bandon told them, that there were more town franchises in Ireland than in England, and he was cheered to the skies for the statement. But on whose side was the real fallacy? There were no less than three different franchises in towns in England, which did not exist in Ireland. There was the 40s. franchise, arising from a lease for a life or lives, which required occupation—there was the 40s. franchise arising from a fee-simple estate, which did not require occupation; and there was the 10l. franchise from a lease for a life or lives, not requiring occupation—all existing in England, and not in Ireland. There were, then, three franchises in England which did not exist in Ireland; and yet the hon. and learned Sergeant had come down with his statement that the town franchises were more numerous in Ireland than in England, and with his specimen of forensic eloquence, founded on extracts which did not apply, and the omission of others which would have explained them. The learned sergeant could overlook the fact, that Wallingford, with one-sixth the population of Bandon, had a constituency equal to one-third, while he was receiving the ready and practised cheers of the gentlemen around them. He did not envy the learned Sergeant these cheers, nor the mode in which he obtained them. He had proved, that Ireland was miserably defective in this respect. He did admit that he thought the Reform Bill would work worse than it had worked. One of the present judges had called it a Conservative measure; and its natural operations would have been such, and it would have worked that way, had it not become necessary to counteract this tendency by agitation. They had created that agitation by continued injustice, and they continued the agitation. What cared he for the censure of creatures whose intellect he despised, and whose political principles were to him contemptible. He received those cries with most perfect good humour. Hon. Members were greatly mistaken if they supposed he did not. To return to his proposition, he had shown them, that an English county, which contained 42,000 inhabitants, had more voters than any county in Ireland whatsoever, though there were in Ireland counties containing 700,000 inhabitants. He had shown them, that a county, which contained 16,000 inhabitants, had more voters than nine counties in Ireland. He had shown them, that even in the towns there was the same disproportion; and then, forsooth, he was asked if he had not made a settlement—an arrangement; it was a last settlement in words, but not so in reality. Settlement! when they were no parties to that settlement. They demanded their rights. A question was put to him, "What will you give me if I will give you your own?" The answer was, "Nothing." They (the Irish people) would get their own. What, because they in England had the legislative machine in their own hands, they talked of settlement! Settlement! disseverance. Settlement! disturbance. It had no principle of justice in it. For twenty-nine years after what was called the Union, they had kept the people of Ireland out of their liberties. For twenty-nine years they had refused justice to Ireland, and had then enforced another injustice, which he was told was to be a settlement by the learned Sergeant. He was told that the Reform Bill created franchises. Its business was not to create them; not to destroy them, it ought to renew them. He had divided the House then, and he should divide the House that night. He divided it in vain, to be sure he did; but that did not either terrify or annoy him. He had performed his other duties, and would perform that; and he would agitate again and again. He heard many a cheer pleasing to his ear on the other side; they might laugh the Irish people to scorn; they might despise them; there were at least 7,000,000,whom they could not seduce or intimidate, although they brought the piety of their landlords, with their practical persecution, to their aid. "Ah!" continued the learned Member, "ah, shame to your religion! I do believe ye belong to the most persecuting church on the face of the earth. But when I hear that system of landlord's persecution cheered in the House, have I not a right to meet it as I have?" He should divide the House, and give the people of Ireland this proof, that the House of Parliament was not disposed, for many a day, to give them justice. All he wanted was equality; he would never be satisfied with less, and he would obtain it through that House, and by that House.

Mr. Blackstone

said, the hon. and learned Member had stated the number of constituents for the old borough of Wallingford before the passing of the Reform Bill; but since then a large district had been added, and the population was now between 7,000 and 8,000. The hon. and learned Member had very correctly stated the number of constituents to be between 300 and 400, but the population was very much greater than he had stated.

Mr. O'Connell

said, his calculation was on the constituency of the old borough, and on the population of the old borough.

The House divided:—Ayes 92; Noes 155: Majority 63.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Blake, M. J.
Aglionby, Major Bodkin, J. J.
Archibold, R. Bridgeman, H.
Baines, E. Brotherton, J.
Barry, G. S. Browne, R. D.
Beamish, F. B. Bryan, G.
Bellew, R. M. Butler, hon. Colonel
Berkeley, hon. H. Cayley, E. S.
Bewes, T. Chalmers, P.
Chichester, J. P. B. Marsland, H.
Codrington, Admiral Martin, J.
Collier, J. Muskett, G. A.
Collins, W. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Currie, R. O'Brien, C.
Curry, W. O'Brien, W. S.
Denison, W. J. O'Connell, M. J.
Dennistoun, J. O'Connell, M.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. O'Connell, M.
Duff, J. Paget, F.
Duke, Sir J. Pattison, J.
Duncombe, T. Protheroe, E.
Dundas, C. W. D. Pryme, G.
Easthope, J. Roche, E. B.
Evans, Sir De L. Roche, W.
Evans, G. Roche, Sir D.
Fielden, J. Salwey, Colonel
Finch, F. Scholefield, J.
Fort, J. Stanley, W. O.
Grattan, H. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Grote, G. Stock, Dr.
Handley, H. Stuart, V.
Hawes, B. Style, Sir C.
Heathcoat, J. Tancred, H. W.
Hill, Lord A. M. C. Thornely, T.
Hindley, C. Vigors, N. A.
Howard, Sir R. Villiers, C. P.
Hume, J. Wakley, T.
Hutt, W. Wallace, R.
Hutton, R. Warburton, H.
Jervis, S. Ward, H. G.
Johnson, General White, A.
Langdale, hon. C. White, H.
Leader, J. T. Williams, W.
Lister, E. C. Williams, W. A.
Lushington, C, Yates, J. A.
Lushington, rt. hn. S.
Lynch, A. H. TELLERS.
Macleod, R. O'Connell, D.
M'Taggart, J. Redington, T. N.
List of the NOES.
Abercromby, hn. G. R. Busfeild, W.
Acland, Sir T. D. Byng, rt. hon. G. S.
A'Court, Captain Campbell, Sir J.
Alsager, Captain Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Cavendish, hn. G. H.
Archdall, M. Chapman, A.
Attwood, M. Clay, W.
Bailey, J., jun. Conolly, E.
Baillie, Colonel Courtenay, P.
Bainbridge, E. T. Crawley, S.
Barnard, E. G. Creswell, C.
Barrington, Viscount Cripps, J.
Bateson, Sir R. Dalmeny, Lord
Blackston, W. S. Darby, G.
Blair, J. Davies, Colonel
Blake, W. J. Donkin, Sir R.
Blandford, Marquess Douglas, Sir C.
Blennerhasset, A. Dunbar, G.
Bradshaw, J. Duncombe, hon. W.
Bramston, T. W. Dungannon, Viscount
Broadley, H. Eaton, R. J.
Broadwood, H. Eliot, Lord
Bruce, Lord E. Evans, W.
Bruges, W. H. Ferrand, R.
Burr, H. Fector, J. M.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. O'Neil, hon. J. B. R.
Filmer, Sir E. Paget, Lord A.
Fitzalan, Lord Pakington, J. S.
Fremantle, Sir T. Palmer, C. F.
Freshfield, J. W. Palmerston, Viscount
Gaskell, J. M. Parker, J.
Glynn, Sir S. R. Parker, R. T.
Gordon, R. Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.
Gordon, hon. Captain Parrott, J.
Gore, O. W. Pechell, Captain
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Grant, hon. Colonel Perceval, Colonel
Grant, F. W. Planta, right hon. J.
Grey, Sir G. Plumptre, J. P.
Grimston, Viscount Pollock, Sir F.
Hawkins, J. H. Praed, W. T.
Hayter, W. G. Pusey, P.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Rice, E. R.
Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. Rice, right hon. T. S.
Richards, R.
Hobhouse, T. B. Rickford, W.
Hodgson, F. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Hodgson, R. Rolleston, L.
Holmes, W. Round, C. G.
Hope, G. W. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Houstoun, G. Rushout, G.
Howard, P. H. Russell, Lord J.
Howick, Lord Sanderson, R.
Hughes, W. B. Sandon, Viscount
Hurt, F. Sanford, E. A.
Ingestrie, Lord Sibthorp, Colonel
Inglis, Sir R. H. Sinclair, Sir G.
Jackson, Sergeant Smith, A.
Johnstone, H. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Jones, T. Somerset, Lord G.
Kelly F. Spry, Sir S. T.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Stanley, E. J.
Lefroy, right hon. T. Stanley, Lord
Lemon, Sir C. Strangways, hon. J.
Lennox, Lord A. Strutt, E.
Lockhart, A. M. Surrey, Earl of
Lucas, E. Teignmouth, Lord
Mackenzie, T. Tennent, J. E.
Mackenzie, W. F. Thompson, Alderman
Mackinnon, W. A. Trench, Sir F.
Mahon, Viscount Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Marshall, W. Vivian, J. E.
Marsland, T. Wilshere, W.
Marton, G. Wood, C.
Mildmay, P. St. J. Wood, Colonel T.
Morpeth, Viscount Wood, T.
Morris, D. TELLERS.
Nicholl, J. Maule, F.
Noel, W. M. Stuart, R.
Paired off.
Hall, Sir B. Nicholl, J.