HC Deb 04 June 1839 vol 47 cc1342-74
Sir H. Fleet-wood

said, the question e was about to bring before the House was one of the most important of those which could possibly affect the elective franchise in this country, and he should confine himself as much as possible to the general reasons which led him to move for leave to bring in the bill which he now was about to describe. If, when he gave notice of the present motion for leave to bring in the bill he proposed, he was satisfied that the representation of counties was not sufficient, he was much more so then, for he had received every day further corroboration of the necessity and the justice of extending the franchise as he proposed. It was a measure based upon sound constitutional principles, and it contained nothing to affect in the slightest degree the most timid who dreaded change in the institutions of the country. He had given notice of his motion on the subject long before the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, had pub- lished his address to his constituents, and it was gratifying to him to find that the sentiments in that pamphlet were in accordance with the views he was now advocating, and echoed them to a great extent on this question. Being accustomed to regard the noble Lord as the leader of the reform party in that House, it was gratifying to him to find that on this point he agreed with the noble Lord, and that the noble Lord by adopting his proposition could extend the franchise to an immense number of persons without militating against the present constitution of the Reform Bill. He held that the question could be entertained without at all affecting the principles of that measure as it was at present constituted. It did not extend the principle of representation, it merely went to confer upon parties, possessing the same qualification and amount of property, the franchise at present enjoyed by others possessing less property to whom it had been given by the Reform Act. His bill extended the right of voting for Members to Parliament to a class of persons in the rural districts superior in intelligence and superior in property to those now enjoying the elective franchise in boroughs. Holding that the Reform Act extended the elective franchise to individuals possessed of a certain qualification in right of property; if the individuals to whom he proposed to extend still further the right of voting, were of a rank above these persons, possessed of a greater amount of property, and of a higher standing in society, he could not be charged with extending the principle of that bill unduly; he only sought to extend its influence to a quarter which had been wholly forgotten. It had been urged that, although the 10l. householder might be a fit voter for a town, he had not the proper qualification for a voter for a county constituency. But those to whom he was about to extend the franchise were not persons within the Parliamentary boroughs, but among the remote districts, and in the small towns and villages in which there was no borough representation existing. Looking back at the debates on the Corn-laws, he invariably found that all those persons— all this class to whom he wished to extend the elective franchise—were on every occasion added to the landed interest by the advocates of the Corn-laws in that House, therefore he hoped for the concurrence of those hon. Members in his view of the case, as it was an extension not alone of a benefit to their supporters, but also of a great advantage to themselves. Another objection which would be urged against the measure he proposed was, that it would be apprehended that in large manufacturing districts a great danger might arise that the natural constituency of the country would be entirely swamped by the artificial and factitious constituency created by the great mill-owners. But the vote according to the bill was to be given to the occupant of a house of the clear annual value of 10l. alone; which, in itself, would be a sufficient guarantee for its efficacy. If, however, that was deemed a danger, did not the same danger daily occur in small borough towns under the Reform Act, as it stood at present? And yet in some of those towns—in Lancaster, for instance, and others of the towns in that county where manufactures were most numerous, the Members returned to serve in Parliament were Conservatives. In fact it required such expense to create a factitious household franchise, that it would be quite impossible to swamp the natural constituency of any county. A curious fact, as connected with the operation of the Reform Bill in respect to votes for counties, was of daily occurrence in the town which he had the honour to represent. In Preston, the place alluded to, where the population voted on the principle of inhabitancy, and where the low freehold franchise was preserved by the Reform Bill, it was found that persons with small properties, who had a vote for the county from one of these freeholds, had also a vote for the town; while the 10l. householders, who were for beyond them in point of property and respectability, had no vote at all, and were wholly unable to exercise the franchise in the county. Yet, notwithstanding this, it might be said, that it would not be fair or right to have a vote for the borough and the county. To this the answer was prompt: the 50l. tenant-at-will clause in the Reform Bill conferred a similar power upon persons holding under its provisions. One great difficulty in the case, he admitted, was, that hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House might think that the constituencies of counties, as at present existing, were perfect for these purposes, and that then hon. Gentlemen might be very unwilling, consequently, to support any measure which would have for its effect the slightest alteration of their construction. But the support which the right hon. Baronet on the other side of the House enjoyed at present, was chiefly derived from Gentlemen who upheld the Corn-laws, and he believed that, if the right hon. Gentleman were in office, and the Corn-laws were made an open question, it would have a most serious effect on his power by reason of the effect which it would have on the return of his supporters in counties. The qualification which he now proposed would, therefore, be of the greatest advantage to the right hon. Baronet and the hon. Gentlemen opposite, as well as to the counties. There were very few places in the rural districts of this country where the rent of a gentleman's house ranged beyond 40l. a-year. Therefore the measure was in itself Conservative—of the best character of Conservatism— conservative of intellect, and property, and station in society—and having thereby a direct tendency to the consolidation of the power of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, he did not well perceive how the right hon. Gentleman could refuse it his support. Its effect would be to disperse voters as property and intelligence were dispersed throughout the country, and it would in no wise have the effect of altering or disturbing in any way the provisions of the Reform Bill. He (Sir H. Fleetwood) had endeavoured to confine himself to the points of his case, and, as he stated in the outset of his observations, to limit himself to the general reasons in favour of his proposition. He had endeavoured to point out to the House that, in supporting it, they would not be extending the principle of the Reform Act, or opening a new franchise, but only granting the right of voting to persons who should have had it, and would, but for some oversight in that measure. Hon. Gentlemen opposite ranked the constituency which he proposed to create as among the best defenders and supporters of the soil. No opposition could, therefore, fairly come from that quarter to it. It was argued on his side of the House, by many hon. Members, that the 10l. franchise was too high in boroughs; if that argument held good, and he did not mean to controvert it, how much more forcibly would it apply to counties; and, therefore, again, he calculated upon the support of the other side of the House, because the principal effect of his proposition, if acceded to, would be to include in the class of voters clergymen (thus embracing the Church), medical men, and merchants, having villas, or seats, or houses, without the limits of Parliamentary boroughs. If the franchise were extended to those individuals, the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) near him, nor hon. Gentlemen who sat at the same side of the House, could not say that it was extended beyond the limits of the Reform Act; or that it gave the right of voting to any classes not rightfully comprehended, though, perhaps, as he had already stated, forgotten in that measure. He looked, therefore, for the support of the noble Lord and of those bon. Gentlemen, and he hoped, likewise, to be able to draw from him some indication of the course which he intended to pursue in the future as regarded the Reform Act. He would also beg to call the attention of the noble Lord to the expectation of all Reformers, and Liberals of all classes, of some improvement in the constituencies of counties, the quiescence with which they waited for it, and the ardour with which they wished it; the desire, in short, which was universally felt of extending the benefits of the Reform Bill more widely over the whole country. He was anxious to hear what the noble Lord would say in reference to that subject, as well as in reference to the question before the House. The Reformers of this country were most anxious to carry out the principles of the Reform Act. The horn Baronet concluded by moving for leave to bring in a bill for extending the qualification of voters for Members of Parliament representing English and Welch counties to the occupier of a house of the clear annual value of 10l., the same as in boroughs.

Lord John Russell

The hon. Baronet who has brought forward this motion has stated the reason upon which he founds his motion in a most temperate and judicious manner. He has stated the grounds upon which he thinks the House ought to accede to the motion, both as being consistent with the Reform Bill, and as being an improvement of the present state of the franchise in the counties. There is a part of his argument in which I agree with him, and in which my agreement is well known to the world. I certainly consider that the introduction of the 50l. tenant at will clause, carried to the extent of giving the right of voting to the occupant of property in counties, and thereby destroying the ancient tenure of freehold, with the additional disadvantage of placing the limit of the value of the property to 50l. was a most injurious and dangerous change in the Reform Bill, and it was one which the Government of that day felt it- self bound to oppose. The ground upon which it was argued by a noble Lord, now a Member of the other House of Parliament, both in this House and in the country was, that if it was right to give to a 10l. householder the right of voting in towns, then it was very unjust to deprive the 50l. occupier in counties of the same right of voting, that it was an obvious partiality in favour of the residents in towns, and an injustice and injury to the agricultural population of the kingdom. If that argument was a good one—I do not think it was—but if it was a good one, undoubtedly it would go to the extent of giving to voters in counties the same right of voting which was held in towns, because in point of character and in point of property and of respectability no one could deny, that the occupier out of the limits of a borough was as fit to exercise the franchise as those living within it. Therefore in bringing down the limit of tenure which those who proposed the Reform Bill intended to keep up, I thought a change was made which would lead, in point of reason, in point of fairness, and perhaps in point of effect, to further changes. However, the Government on that occasion, through Lord Althorp, stated the reasons for objecting to the proposition. Those reasons were not satisfactory to the House, and we were defeated by a considerable majority. The opinion of the Marquess of Chandos prevailed in this House, and was even countenanced and deemed acceptable in the House of Lords. That was a sufficient reason in the opinion of the Government, why the 50l. franchise then proposed should be introduced into the Reform Bill. I therefore agree so far with the bon, Baronet, that in point of fairness and of justice if am asked whether a 10l. resident out of the limits of the borough is not as fit to vote as a resident within the limits, I must say decidedly and at once that I think he is. I think it is unfortunate that the 50l. tenants were ever introduced into the Reform Bill. I do think so. I certainly do not now wish to deprive them or any of those who enjoy rights under the Reform Bill of the exercise of those rights, but I think it leads very naturally to the motion of the hon. Baronet this night. But now I come to the objections to be made to that motion, The hon. Baronet has himself admitted that the question is of such great importance, that the proposition is so large and so extensive a one—that of introducing a new class of voters—that it cannot be expected that either the Government or the House should entertain it at this time of the Session. But putting aside that objection, which seems to me a sufficient one against the immediate adoption of so great a change, I think likewise that there are very serious and substantial objections to the proposition at whatever period it might be brought forward. The hon. Baronet in the course of his speech, has alluded to some of those objections. He has stated what he thinks to be the inequality which now occurs with respect to voters in boroughs returning Members to Parliament. It would be necessary to revise the distinction made in the Reform Bill, which was intended to provide, that persons holding property in the borough should not, by virtue of the same property, be enabled to vote in the county. That distinction, whether good or bad, wise or unwise, was made in the Reform Bill, and it would be necessary to enter into the whole question on that point. There is likewise a very important question as to what would be the practical effect of such a change with respect to the elections in counties. That is a question with regard to which I am not now able to pronounce an opinion. The inclination of my opinion is, that the electoral body would rather be improved than otherwise by such an addition. But I have not sufficient information to enable me to pronounce a decided opinion upon that point. There is another objection which it is obvious will be taken by persons of various parties who have considered the Reform Bill, and who would look upon this change not merely as an extension of the right of voting—not as an extension directly in conformity with the principles of the Reform Bill, but as an extension going beyond the bill, and as being a new right of voting, not conferred by that act. These are objections that would be made, and are of a sufficiently serious character to induce any government not merely to decline agreeing with the proposition of the hon. Baronet as to voting for his motion now, but to decline giving him any reason to suppose that if brought forward on another day it would meet with their concurrence. The hon. Baronet has said, that he wished to have some explanations from me with regard not merely to his own proposition, but with regard to any proposition of a similar nature. In accordance with his wish, and I think in accordance with the wish of many who have asked me my opinion with respect to certain points, I will first state generally that I think there are three different parties. I do not speak now merely of the common division of political parties, but that there are three different modes of viewing the Reform Act, There are a considerable number, I am sorry to say, who, while adhering to the letter of the Reform Act, and being quite willing in their adherence to every word and syllable of that Act, yet wish to pervert and abuse the spirit of that Act—who wish to prevent persons from having the franchise which is given to them by that Act, and who vexatiously oppose their maintaining that franchise, and who like wise are very forward by means of intimidation and corruption, to prevent them from freely exercising that franchise. With those who thus act I need not say I entirely differ. There are many others who view the Reform Act in another light. I may refer to a letter in the newspapers of this day, written by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who takes this view of that measure, and great numbers agree with him; he considers that the Reform Act has been a total failure, and that it is necessary to have a new law, giving the franchise a far more extensive range, and providing for a duration of Parliament extremely short, at the same time, depriving the Crown of the prerogative of dissolution, and adopting also a secret mode of voting, which he and his supporters think would be a protection to the voter. That is a proposal for an entire abandonment of the Reform Act as it at present exists; it is, in short, a proposal for an entirely new system of legislation upon the subject. I need not now discuss the reasons upon which that proposal is founded. The propositions, many of them, I admit, extremely plausible ones—which are put forward by those who advocate that system of legislation, I can only say, are such as I cannot agree with. There is a third system, which consists in taking the Reform Act as a basis, and in saying, that you will introduce into the Reform Act and found upon it, any corrections and improvements which, as a legislative measure, it must necessarily from time to time require. That is the general opinion I entertain with respect to the Reform Act. I cannot deny, that wherever that Act in its provisions is defective, or where by means, not perceived at the time, it has become abused and perverted from the spirit in which it was proposed by Earl Grey, it is expedient and just, and even necessary, to consider what amendments may properly be introduced. Without going into all the questions which may arise upon this subject, I will mention one upon which a bill was introduced by my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-general several years ago, which has been renewed during several years, and which is now again before the House. With respect to that measure, relating to the registration of voters, it appears to me more and more, year after year, that the vexations incident to the preservation of the franchise are much greater and more extensive, than I could ever have supposed they could have been. I do think, when you have seventy-five barristers going to the differ cut parts of the country, and those very barristers not going to the same counties in different years, but changing their cir-cults, to decide upon various questions respecting the rights of voters, and when you have a number of persons ready to go to any expense for the purpose of questioning the rights of voters, that it does become a hardship and an injury to the holders of the franchise, which imperatively calls for amendment. I frequently receive letters upon this subject from persons who represent, not their own grievances, but the grievances of others, stating, that it frequently occurs to persons to be obliged to travel many miles, year after year, in order to defend their votes, and that they find, on coming into the registration courts, that there is neither any objection or objector for them to meet. This is a matter not affecting one party only, or the other. It affects all. But if you really mean, that persons having a bonâ fide franchise should retain it, you ought to endeavour to do away with this vexatious proceeding, We proposed, two years ago, a plan which, I think, would have been found a very great improvement—that of diminishing the number of revising barristers, and determining that, instead of a fluctuating court, with seventy-five learned gentlemen, there should be only ten or eleven barristers, forming a permanent court, to decide on questions relating to the elective franchise. That bill was rejected by the House of Lords. We proposed another bill, last year, which had not the same efficacy, but which would still have diminished, in some degree, the number of vexatious objections—I mean the proposal to impose costs on the party making such objection. But even that bill was not acceptable to the House of Lords. It was thought necessary by their Lordships to add to it that which we had carefully kept out of view—by the introduction of a clause decidedly in favour of one party on a disputed right of voting. The effect of all this, and of the many observations which have been made to me upon the Registration Bill introduced this year, on my mind has been this:—that although I am certainly not, after several discussions upon the subject with my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-general, and with my colleagues, prepared to say exactly what should be the details of the remedy, yet I am prepared to say, that we ought altogether to revise the whole system of registration. I am sure it will be necessary both to have a permanent court and a smaller number of revising barristers; and I think it will be necessary to provide, by some means or other—perhaps by giving a longer period for the register to run—that the voter should not be called upon so constantly and perpetually to defend his right, and be subjected so frequently to an expensive and vexatious contest in the court of the revising barrister. In saying I think it a question entirely separate from that which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) discusses in his bill respecting election petitions, I shall be disposed, certainly, not to concur in any motion at present which would place in his bill clauses with respect to any change in the constitution of the courts of the revising barristers. But I think, that Parliament, in another Session, should reconsider the whole subject, and endeavour to form a court with which this House and the country in general might be satisfied. There are other questions which relate not to the mode of registration, but to the mode in which a person obtains a right to have his name placed in the list of voters. We took very great care in the Reform Bill that the voter should not merely have the property which we declared was necessary to give him a vote, but that he should pay sufficient rates and taxes to show that he was a bonâ fide holder of the property, to which the Parliament intended to give the franchise. My argument, I confess was, when discussing this measure and imposing these restrictions, that if we impose too severe terms, it would be far more easy to relax that severity, than if we gave the franchise to a class of voters who were not entitled to it, to take away that franchise which had once been given. Experience has convinced me that, with regard to these restrictions, we have gone farther than is at all necessary to insure the respectability of the voter. I think the general principle is the right one; and that the ancient principle of paying scot and lot is a principle to which we ought to adhere; but I do think that you can ascertain the respectability of a person who merely pays rates— which is the interpretation given to the expression of "paying scot and lot," without putting any further restrictions upon him, which only have the effect of depriving many men of the franchise who are clearly entitled to it. It was with that view that I last year introduced a bill, and which was carried through this House, by which the time for paying the rates was changed, and instead of the voter being disfranchised unless he had paid in June or July what was due in April, he should only be liable to disfranchisement if he had not paid in July what was due in the previous October. I think the principle of that bill was a correct one, and I think, moreover, that if you take care that there has been a payment of the poor rates for any number of months, or for a year, you ought not likewise to insist upon the payment of the assessed taxes. That I consider a needless and vexatious system. I find from all I have heard that instead of the right of voting being granted, as was apprehended it might be by those who proposed the Reform Bill, to persons not entitled to it; on the contrary, hundreds of persons who are fully entitled to it do not enjoy it, owing to the manner in which these clauses of the bill are framed. That, therefore, is a matter upon which, I think, we may fairly propose an amendment; and in doing so shall be acting not contrary to the spirit, but in the very spirit in which the Reform Act was made. With respect to other matters of the same kind, as they are not immediately now in question, I do not see that there is any reason to detain the House upon them. I have already stated the general principle upon which I am disposed to go. That general principle is to adopt any amendment in the franchise which is in conformity with the principles of the Reform Act, and in analogy to the general provisions of it; but not to adopt altogether any new scheme of representation. With regard to my general views, it is unnecessary for me to state them now, because I have on several occasions stated them, and have even, perhaps, with some degree of rashness ventured to state my general opinions upon the subject. All I wish now to state is, that not complying with the hon. Baronet's present motion, not giving to that Gentleman any promise that I will at a future period concur in it, at the same time I think he is fairly entitled to ask the consideration of the House upon a question of this kind. It does appear to me a question fairly brought forward, and if you adopt his proposition you will not be introducing any very dangerous innovation; but, at the same time, it is not one to which I, on the part of the Government, can give any concurrence. I do not know that it is necessary for me to enter further into this subject, or to state any thing with regard to my general principles, those being already known to the House and the country.

Mr. Warburton

thought it might be fairly collected that a very large majority of the people of England, and of the Members sitting on the liberal side of the House, were not satisfied with the representation of the United Kingdom as it now stood. This being the feeling of a large majority of the people, the question was whether the Members sitting on the liberal side of the House, would be satisfied unless the Government were prepared to take the amendment of the Reform Act in hand. If they were convinced that the Government would act upon that feeling, that they would be for measures of progressive Reform, and that as fast as evils and defects were found in the system of representation they would be prepared to propose amendments, he believed that the people and the liberal Members of the House would be willing to leave the amendment with the Government. If they were told that the Government would take the matter into their own hands—though really in what manner he was precisely to interpret the declarations of the noble Lord he felt considerable difficulty to understand; but if the liberal Members were informed that the Government would take the matter in hand, he was persuaded that on his side of the House there was every disposition to forbearance, and to wait for the measures which the Government might think proper to present to them. He did not think the Liberals were at all impatient. They did not wish to press upon the Government in the present state of the Session to produce a measure for all those amendments they considered necessary. Let the Government declare their willingness to correct the defects of the Reform Bill, and without pressing them to produce any measure this session, all that the liberals would ask was that they would throw open their doors to receive suggestions from the Liberal party in the same manner as they did previous to the introduction of the Reform Bill. What he contended against was, that of there being so many separate and unconnected changes proposed at once; whereas, if any Gentleman would examine into the nature of the case, he would find in how close a manner all those different measures hung together. There was the measure of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tam-worth, who proposed to make a perfectly impartial tribunal for settling all those questions which now came before election committees. That Was no doubt a legitimate object; but what he and his Friends complained of was, that it was a detached measure, and did not cure any present defect that arose out of the existing system of trial before election committees. The real question was, how could gentlemen of moderate fortune be induced to become Members of that House? At present it was only necessary for any opponent to present a petition in order to deter persons of moderate income from attempting to obtain seats in Parliament. Now, one mode for correcting this evil would be that of making the registration of voters final. In that case, the greater number of questions which now came before an election committee would be taken out of the record. But if they made the registration of the electors final, was it not necessary they should amend the constitution of the registration court? Was it not necessary, that instead of having, not those seventy-five barristers, as the noble Lord had stated, but those 150 revising barristers which they had at present—to have a limited number of gentlemen with competent salaries, fit to try cases, and upon whose decision the public would place confidence? He took these measures as an example, with a view to show how they were all necessarily connected together, and how impossible it was, if they took them separately, to deal justly with the laws relating to the constitution of the representative system. Therefore it was that he said, with the present state of dissatisfaction among the people, that if the Government were really at the head of the Liberal party, they were bound to do that which the Liberal party called upon them to do—that was, give notice of their intention to propose a bill for amending the Reform Act, which bill should embrace all the objects which he had alluded to, and others to which he had not alluded. If they would do that, instead of the liberal party of the country being depressed and discouraged in spirit, which they now were, the Government would raise their spirits and give courage to the Reform party throughout the United Kingdom, and instead of their being almost afraid to meet a general election, and anticipating discomfiture from so meeting the constituency of the country as it now stood, they would, if spirit and courage were given to them by such an announcement, be the foremost, and as ready as—nay, more ready than the hon. Gentlemen opposite, to meet a general election. But if the matter remained as it now was—if the constituency were left in its present state, then he would say, that he anticipated discomfiture for the liberal party at the next general election; and not only that, but he did believe that at every future general election the Liberal party might expect that their situation would be worse than it now was. "I like (said the hon. Member) to state what my real opinion is. Now, I tell the hon. Gentlemen opposite that the liberal party feel satisfied—and all impartial men will admit they are right—that they are the most numerous. I say, that in the aggregate, they are the most powerful, have the most property, and are the most influential body in the State, and they will not submit permanently to be left in such a position that whenever a general election is to be met they find their situation worse and worse. Therefore, I say, that if the Government whom the liberal party consent to place at their head will not take upon itself to place the liberal party in that position which they contend, from their numbers, their wealth, and their influence, they have a right to hold, then the liberal party, independently of the Government, must act for themselves. The division on the Ballot will show what their strength is. They must, I say, act for themselves, and throw themselves upon the country for support, and take those measures which they think necessary by means without and means within the House for giving supremacy to their opinions." He would then say, that if there was the smallest encouragement on the part of the Government to lead them to believe, that they would take the amendment of the Reform Act under their patronage, there would be the greatest forbearance by the liberal party, both in the House and out of it. The liberal party in the House would be glad to leave the subject in the hands of the Government, if the Government would take it into their hands—if measures like that proposed by the hon. Baronet in the motion then before the House—if measures which the noble Lord admitted to be of a moderate character, like this, were to be fairly considered by the Government—for he (Mr. Warburton) would be satisfied with that. He, for one, fully admitted the force of the argument of the noble Lord, that he had not fully considered the bearings of the measure—that he must have recourse to the statistics of representation to see the effects of the measure; and he thought, that this was a fair argument for the Government taking the suggestions into consideration, and on which to deliberate whether it was fit that they should introduce a bill for the amendment of the Reform Act, and it might be an argument why the hon. Baronet should not press the present motion to a division. If he interpreted the words of the noble Lord right, he individually approved of the present motion, but that the Government could not consent to it. He was glad that so far as his statement went, the noble Lord considered this to be a reasonable proposition to be made. What course the hon. Baronet would take upon this occasion he did not know; but he thought, that it was a very fit occasion for the Members of the liberal party to give vent to their opinions; and after be had heard them, the hon. Baronet would be prepared to state, what course he meant to take with respect to this measure—whether he would divide the House upon it, or whether he would leave it for the consideration of her Majesty's Government, For his own part, he did not ask for any determination on the part of the Government, or for any immediate decision, either upon this or upon any other question, as to the representation of the people; but if they would agree to take into their consideration the amendment of the Reform Act in such parts as they should think it required amendment, he would recommend his hon. Friend to forbear from pressing a measure of this kind in the present Session, but await the production of a bill which he would be glad to hear announced by her Majesty's Government.

Sir R. Peel

could not concur with the hon. Member for Bridport, that the noble Lord had been ao obscure and so equivocal as the hon. Gentleman had represented. He did understand the noble Lord to say, that in certain respects he was prepared to admit, that alterations in the Reform Bill might advantageously be made. The noble Lord had not left the House or the country in doubt as to the intentions of the Government on this important question. The noble Lord had said, that registration was defective, and that measures ought to be taken to improve the present system; he had said, that instead of having seventy-five barristers, they ought to have a more limited number, that they ought to be more permanent, and that there ought to be a power of appeal. He had understood the noble Lord to make that statement, and how then could the hon Member for Bridport charge him with vagueness and obscurity? Then with respect to the main provisions of the Reform Bill, the noble Lord had said, that he was willing that some relief should be given, that some alteration should be made in the rate-paying clauses, and he had also stated, that if there was a satisfactory payment of poor-rates, there might then be some relief afforded as to the payment of taxes. Such was the construction which he had put upon the statement of the noble Lord, and if he were right in his conclusions, then the hon. Member for Bridport was too late in calling for a declaration on the subject of reform from the Government, and it was unfair to charge the noble Lord with obscurity or vagueness. He had taken down the words of the noble Lord. The noble Lord had stated, that the hon. Baronet was very fairly entitled to bring this subject under the consideration of the House; but the noble Lord had added, that the proposition of the hon. Baronet was one on which, neither on his own part, nor on the part of the Government could he give a pledge, that it would be supported by her Majesty's Ministers. The noble Lord had said, that he could not now promise the support of the Government to the proposition of the hon. Baronet, and that he could not hold out any expectation of support for that proposition either now or at a future period. Was it possible, then, that the hon. Member for Bridport could charge the noble Lord with being vague and obscure? For himself, he could not doubt, that the noble Lord had made up his mind to resist the proposition of the hon. Baronet— he could not doubt, that he should that night have the satisfaction of voting with the noble Lord in opposition to this attempt to break in upon the principle of the Reform Bill. But, whatever the noble Lord might do, it was his intention to resist the proposition of the hon. Baronet, and to offer it every opposition in his power. In forming that resolution he was confirmed in the course he intended to follow by the arguments which had been advanced by the hon. Baronet who had brought forward the motion. The hon. Baronet had said, that the 10l. householders out of boroughs were as respectable and as well entitled to a vote as the 10l. householders within boroughs. All he could say was, that such was not the principle of the Reform Bill; and he therefore felt, that to admit the proposition of the hon. Baronet would be a departure from the principle of that bill, and in direct opposition to the finality of that great constitutional settlement of the representation. If it were a fair principle that the 10l. householders out of boroughs were as well entitled to votes as the 10l. householders within boroughs, then it followed that the 40s. freeholders in boroughs were as well entitled to a vote for boroughs as the present constituency. The one argument was as good as the other, and the consequence of pushing such a principle to extremity would be to abolish all distinction, to give every one votes, to place every one upon the same footing as regarded respectability, and to hold all equally capable of exercising the franchise. It was true the noble Lord had said, that the introduction of the 50l. tenants in counties had made a difference in this respect, but he could not concur with the noble Lord in that opinion, for he could see no difference. But if the introduction of the 50l. tenants had made a difference, that difference ought to have been stated when the Reform Bill was under consideration, and arrangements ought in consequence to have been made for the future. They were told at the time the Reform Bill was considered, that it was a most extensive measure, and it was admitted, that in a country like this, with such complicated interests, such an experiment could not be made without danger, and it was distinctly declared that it was made extensive in order that it might he considered as a final settlement. He held that measure as a final settlement, and it was upon the ground that it was final that he would now resist the motion of the hon. Baronet, The noble Lord had divided the politicians of the country into three classes. The first class, according to the noble Lord, consisted of those who advocated the Reform Bill, but who were favourable to improvement. The second class was composed of those who were entirely dissatisfied with the Reform Bill, and who were anxious to push reform to extremes; while the third class, according to the noble Lord, was made up of those who, adhering to the strict letter of the Reform Bill, wished to deprive the people of the rights which they had obtained by corruption and intimidation. Now, he must disclaim belonging to any of these classes. He was for maintaining the spirit of the Reform Bill. He looked upon that measure as a great constitutional settlement, upon the principle of which he would resist every attempt at innovation; but he was not disposed to deprive the people of the rights which that measure secured for them, and he abominated intimidation and corruption by whomsoever they might be practised. He belonged, therefore, to neither of the classes mentioned by the noble Lord. There was a fourth class, then, and it was composed of those who adopted the Reform Bill as a constitutional settlement, who looked upon it as a final measure, as final as any such settlement could ever be. He was willing to accept the Reform Bill in the spirit in which it had been advocated by Lord Grey and by Lord Althorp, and with every wish to see it carried fairly and honestly into operation, and he detested the system as much as any one could, which attempted to deter the constituency from exercising the franchise by the abominable means of intimidation and corruption. He was anxious to see the Reform Bill and its provisions respected by all parties—to see the constituency which it created fairly exercising the rights they had acquired, and it was because he felt that anxiety, and because he looked on the Reform Bill as a settlement of a great constitutional question, that he was disposed to resist every attempt to break in upon its principle. The hon. Member for Bridport had asked the noble Lord to give the liberals some vague assurance of his intentions in regard to the Reform Bill, and had charged the noble Lord with obscurity. He, on the contrary, considered that the noble Lord had been perfectly explicit, and he would add that the advice of the hon. Member for Bridport ought to be rejected by a constitutional minister, whose duty it was to hold out no vague promises to the country which could never be productive of any good, and which were only calculated to mislead and to bewilder the public, And what was the motive for the advice which the hon. Member had tendered to the noble Lord? Did he ask for a vague declaration with a view to improvement? No; such was not the object of the hon. Gentleman. He sought for that declaration from no more exalted motive than to enable the liberal party to regain the influence which they had lost. If the hon. Member for Bridport was the representative of the liberal party, he was not at no loss to comprehend the cause why they had lost the support of the people. If such were the principles of the hon. Gentleman, if such was the advice he gave on a great constitutional question, those were sufficient reasons why the liberal party had lost the confidence of the people, those were the reasons why they were afraid to face their constituents upon the hustings. The noble Lord ought to make no vague declarations. It was the duty of a Government to be explicit, and if that Government considered alterations necessary, then the changes ought to be immediate, and not put off by obscure and unsatisfactory declarations, to be acted upon at some future and uncertain period. He protested against the system of transacting business which he saw a growing inclination to adopt, by making vague declarations of intentions to be carried into operation at some future time. It was the duty of a Government to mature its measures before making any declaration in regard to them, and when they were prepared, to bring them forward and submit them to the consideration of the Legislature. In the first instance, the executive ought to hold itself responsible for public measures, and until such time as the opinion of Parliament was pronounced upon them; but the plan adopted of asking for a decision by the Legislature upon vague generalities, which were afterwards to be acted upon, or perhaps abandoned, had the effect of making Parliament share the responsibility which ought to be borne by the Government alone. Such a system was calculated only to generate expectations which could never, perhaps, be realized and to produce dissatisfaction and discontent, while nothing could tend more than such a course to lower the character of that House in the estimation of the country. Such was the inevitable effect of asking Parliament to share the responsibility which ought to be borne alone by the Government. It rendered perplexed and confused the relations in which Government and the Legislature stood towards each other. The hon. Mem- ber for Bridport wished to ask the Houses of Parliament to give a vague pledge as to what they might do in some future Session. Let him ask that hon. Member if he would be contented with a vague pledge if it was not to be acted upon till 1842? Would that satisfy him? If it did, any Gentleman more easily satisfied he could not imagine. The hon. Member asked not for reform, not for legislation, but for a vague declaration which would enable him and his party to face the hustings. If the liberals had lost the confidence of the people, such was not the way to regain it. If they had lost the confidence of the people, he would say let them seek to regain it by a manly and straightforward course of proceeding, and not by asking for vague declarations, calculated only to bewilder and mislead. They could give no satisfaction by such measures as that which was proposed by the hon. Baronet. The extension of 10l. qualifications to tenants out of boroughs would not be more final than the qualification of the Reform Bill. Then, if they were persuaded that such would be the case, why did not hon. Gentlemen avow their conviction in an open and manly manner? While Gentlemen opposite invited the Government to give a vague declaration on the proposition which had been made, they were obliged to admit by their cheers that a 10l. qualification to tenants out of boroughs was but a stepping-stone to something more. If that were granted, he well knew that the unrepresented classes in the large cities would then be enabled to press their claims with tenfold force. The shopocracy, as the tradesmen had been termed, with the medical profession and lawyers would be ill able to oppose those who were unrepresented, if it was once admitted that a new qualification was to be allowed. He had the admission of hon. Gentlemen opposite that the proposition of the hon. Baronet was of no value, but as a foundation for something else, and for that reason he would oppose it; for, if change were once admitted, he could see no end of change. But the hon. Gentleman said that if the Government did not yield, they would appeal to the country. But had they formerly forborne to press their own views upon the Government? No; they had on every occasion, on every opportunity, opposed the Government, and advocated their own peculiar views. But what was the meaning of the hon. Gentleman? He said that if the Government yielded to his wishes, the liberal party would forbear pressing their own views. He had given that party credit for more manliness than the declaration of the hon. Gentleman manifested, ["No, no"], and if the hon. Gentleman was the representative of that party, he could not wonder that they had lost the confidence of the people. Well, then, the hon. Member disclaimed being the representative of the liberal party, and that dissent had been confirmed by the hon. Gentleman's Friends. As the hon. Gentleman had acknowledged that he sought for Reform only in order to enable the Liberal party to face their constituents upon the hustings, that he was favourable to the proposition of the hon. Baronet, merely because he looked upon such inroads upon the Reform Act as a means of regaining the confidence of the people, and as it had been allowed that the measure under consideration would not be productive of satisfaction, but would, on the contrary, be viewed as a stepping-stone to something else, as an imperfect concession, and as an inducement to demand more and greater innovations on the great constitutional settlement of the representative system, he thought it was unnecessary to say more to induce the House to reject a proposition calculated to lead to such consequences. He was inclined in a fair spirit to adhere to the Reform Bill. He wished to see that measure carried out in a fair spirit. He wished to see a distinction made between the registration and the rate-paying clauses, and the former improved. He was convinced that by such improvements they would advance the interests of the country. He was convinced if, instead of seeking for a new system of representation, they made improvements where they were necessary, and attempted in a fair and candid spirit to carry out the Reform Bill, and thus show that they were qualified to discharge their duties as the representatives of the people, they would more surely obtain the confidence and respect of the country than by the adoption of vague and visionary schemes.

Mr. Harvey

said, that in the suggestion of the hon. Member for Bridport—that it was desirable upon the pre., sent occasion that those hon. Members who took a large and deep interest in the cause of Parliamentary Reform, should embrace the present opportunity of expressing their candid and unrestrained sentiments—he fully agreed. It was not only due to themselves, to their constituents, and to the country, but also to the Government. He confessed that he did not enter into those feelings of surprise or of disappointment intimated by his hon. Friend the Member for Bridport, at a speech containing declarations so clearly and so unequivocally made as were those of the noble Lord. They entirely coincided with his expectations. It was true that during the last month he could scarcely meet a person who either was or wished to be a politician, who had not some, secret and undefined expectation that the Government would be prepared to outstrip the most liberal anticipations of their supporters, and who had misapprehended any doubts which were expressed that the Government was not prepared to make any considerable advances in the cause of what was called Parliamentary Reform. But however strong those expectations might have been, and on whatever basis they had been raised, he had never expected any other declaration than that which had been so clearly, so unequivocally, and he would add, so manfully and so openly made by the noble Lord. He was still eager for further and great reforms, and he would remain consistent to the last as the advocate of them. He was pleased, therefore, to find that the noble Lord went to no inconsiderable extent in his wishes to carry out further the principles of the Reform Act, but he would have regretted, after the noble Lord's reiterated opinion delivered in that House and recorded in his address to the electors of Stroud, if for any party purpose he had bent his opinions, or had endeavoured to countenance an idea that to purchase a truce from hostility he would make a partial change in his opinions. If, therefore, he voted for the motion of the hon. Baronet, it would only be for the purpose of showing that he was one of those who was anxious for further progress in the path of reform, however slow that progress might be. For himself, he thought it was undesirable to be constantly dabbling in these constitutional suggestions, in this little ware of reform; he would be glad to see the Government giving a title to a bill, and to call it a bill "to reform the Reform Act," he would be glad to see such a title with the objects distinctly stated, and the details so considered that it might be, as far as it could, both ample and final. But till this was done he thought it better that the time of the House should not be wasted, and that expectations should not be held out, to the real postponement of valuable measures of legislation, unless the Government were prepared to introduce a measure such as that to which he had alluded. His hon. Friend would allow him to say that they would not excite the feeling of the country upon this, and he assured him that a restricted measure like the present would riot be satisfactory to the country. Those who advocate reforms in the towns would not respect this suggestion. He thought that there should be a large extension of the suffrage, that there should also be a limitation of the duration of Parliament, and that some provision should be made, whether by the ballot or by the imposition of penalties, against intimidation and corruption. And here let him observe, that he had hoped that the right hon. Baronet would not have been contented with stating in such clear language, his hostility to all intimidation or corruption, but that he would also have stated his promptness and his readiness to apply a remedy to the great and growing evils which he had condemned. If the right hon. Baronet had said that, he would have said he was the representative of a better government, and a better Reformer than he now found on the Treasury benches, and he had hoped to have gathered from the hon. Baronet's hostility to intimidation which now existed, and to the corruption that now prevailed to so large an extent, that he would have been prepared to adopt the ballot if no other or better remedy could be suggested, and that he would not have been contented with the vague deduction which was intended to produce the opinion that he was in favour of a reformation of the corruption which was so rife, and of the intimidation which was so awful on a recent occasion. There was another point on which he was anxious to express an opinion. He was not one of those who considered that without reform they were incapable of proceeding with objects of useful legislation—quite otherwise; for though he was a decided advocate for such objects, yet he believed that the House did contain within itself the elements of sound legislation. He did not conceal his decided conviction, there or elsewhere, that the people themselves—that is, the constituent body—had much to do before they might or could be highly improved in their notions of their political obligations; because, though he was aware that there were some small places which ought not to send Members to that House, and that there were temptations which made the voters often strike a balance between their personal and their political interests—temptations so powerful that it was an appeal to the moral sense too strong for their resistance, yet he did maintain, that in all towns the constituency of which amounted to 1,000 there was in that body an ample power, a numerical strength, sufficient to protect its own virtue, provided there was a disposition. He could run over many constituencies in his memory, but he would refer to one town which he had had the honour to represent for many years. There were 1,200 electors and upwards in the town of Colchester. Why was it that those electors, many of them opulent men, and all, perhaps, well to do, could not send Reformers to that House? Because those 1,200 were not friends to Reform, but to Conservatism. He would not let constituencies run away with the idea that they had nothing to do because that House, or rather some persons in that House, entertained large speculative views of Reform; for those speculations led to no practical result, and nothing was done beyond the delivery of some needless speeches. But it was desirable and essentially necessary that some steps should be taken by which a Government should be formed which should conciliate and secure such a majority in that House as would carry out useful measures. He saw but little difference between those who occupied the Opposition benches and those on the Ministerial benches, for he found that nearly on all great questions, whatever difference there was between them, it was rather in the mode of expressing their opinions than in anything else, and that they pretty nearly came to the same conclusions; therefore he hoped that some experiment would be made by those country Gentlemen who were in the habit in past times of taking part in such grave matters, and that they would take means to address her Majesty, praying her Majesty to appoint such Ministers as should have the confidence of that House. In his judgment he conceived that such a Ministry might be formed, for the two parties had nothing else to do than to weed their respective forces of what might be called the dead timber—that on the one side they should cut off those who were so extreme in their opinions, and on the other side they should get rid of those who were so unmanageable, and then he thought a Government might be formed which would be capable of carrying out many useful measures. He did not say this because his attachment to Reform, or his conviction of its desirableness, was impaired, but he thought it far better to leave the principles of Reform to work their own way, until some important and definite expression of the public mind should be obtained for their guidance, than to waste the public time in descanting upon minor points and suggestions, which could only irritate the public mind, without doing any essential service to the cause of good legislation.

Mr. Hume

quite concurred with the right hon. Baronet that there was no mistake this time. The noble Lord had spoken out manfully, and stated opinions which were very unpalatable to many who formerly supported him. He had distinctly told the House that whatever might be clone in the way of Reform nothing was to be expected from him—for the present at least. He deeply regretted the announcement of the noble Lord, and could not place much dependence on his assurance of what might perhaps be dune in some future Session, but when that Session, as the right hon. Baronet had observed, in reference to another question, would arrive, they did not know? What he had wished to hear, and what he had expected, was an expression not of the noble Lord's opinion merely, but of the whole of his colleagues, and their declaration whether they meant to do anything, or what they meant to do, not prospectively, but immediately. They had been told elsewhere that progressive Reform was the principle on which the present Government were to proceed; and he had expected that by this time they would have been prepared to state the extent and degree of that progressive Reform which they had promised the country they would carry out. The right hon. Baronet had very truly declared, that the speech of the noble Lord had fixed the finality of the Reform Bill as strongly as anything that could fall from his lips. He concurred with that view of the noble Lord's speech, but be could not bring his mind to the belief that a coalition would take place; he had a better opinion of both parties in that House. They had hitherto acted honestly in the maintenance of their peculiar opinions, and he believed they would act so still. The time was not come when hon. Gentlemen opposite would join the noble Lord in carrying out their own party purposes, regardless of their former pledges. But he would pass over that, and ask his hon. Friend if he really thought he was correct in stating that a majority of the electors was against Reform? If it were the case, that would be one of the strongest inducements to the Government to increase and extend the franchise. It would be so, because if the Government wished to carry good measures it must be supported, and could only be supported, by the popular voice. At the present moment there was not one male of full age in five, who had a vote, or not one in seven, and was it wonderful then to find that the working classes and others who were excluded from the franchise should be anxious to send men into the House who would better represent their feelings, and endeavour to procure an amelioration of their condition? The addresses that had been recently presented to the Queen showed that the people were of opinion that no men should remain in office but men who were prepared to carry out progressive measures of Reform. He was one who thought that the people were generally dissatisfied with their representatives in that House, and that they were anxious to see, not rapid, hasty, or extensive reformsadopted at once, but that they wished and expected that her Majesty's Government, wherever they found faults and abuses existing, would proceed to remove them, and not put off the necessary reforms from session to session. But when the noble Lord or any Minister admitted such grievances to exist under the Reform Bill as he had admitted, was it fair to expect that the people would be satisfied to see him contentedly and quietly putting the matter by, and unwilling to apply the remedy which he himself thought ought to be applied? He thought the time was come when it should be clearly understood what it was the Reformers wanted and the people required. It would be his duty, and that of his hon. Friends around him, at all times to express their opinions openly and distinctly, and he had no hesitation in saying, that it was the duty of her Majesty's Ministers to give a fair scope for the discussion of the whole question of reform to every Member of that House, and every man in the country. Her Majesty's Ministers ought not to interfere to prevent the question of the Ballot being freely discussed; official connexion with the Government ought not to prevent men in that House from having an opportunity for expressing their opinions on that subject; neither should this be the case with regard to the extension of the suffrage, triennial Parliaments, or any other measures of the like kind. He did not believe, that the right hon. Baronet would be able long to resist those questions. He could only say, that the country would be as much grieved as he had been at the declaration of her Majesty's Ministers, and he was certain, that they would find it very difficult to maintain the position they had assumed. Yet it was better, that they should thus speak, than that the country should be any longer deluded. He hoped, that the question before the House would come to a vote, for the purpose of showing the people who were disposed to support further reforms and who were not.

Mr. Ward

said, that he thought, that the declaration of the noble Lord was fully justified by many events. The noble Lord said, that his opinions had been frequently misunderstood by some, and misrepresented by other persons; but all doubts were now cleared up by the speech of the right hon. Baronet opposite. He deeply regretted the determination to which the noble Lord had come; but he would fully admit the honesty and candour which he had exhibited, and the perfect right which he had to announce the opinions in that House which he professed; but all that he denied was, the possibility of holding together a party composed of men, two-thirds of whom passed far beyond the line which had been laid down for them by the declaration of that opinion. He thought, that this was a question which was to decide the fate of the struggle between the two parties, and he believed, that hon. Members must be ready to go to the country prepared with a full explanation of their own views, and without the least reference to those who held the reins of Government. He begged to express his intention to vote for the motion of the hon. Baronet, because he believed it to be unexceptionable in itself, and that no good objection could be made by the Ministers to extending the franchise to a most deserving class of people, who were perfectly qualified to receive it. He gave his vote upon the merits of the question, and he begged to make this profession of his political creed, that it was his determination to extend the franchise, whether that policy might suit or not those who happened to be at the head of the Government. He knew how impatient the House would be, and he would not detain them by any further observations; but he could not help remarking, that if the decision of this question should ultimately lead to the fusion of parties not accustomed to act together, as had been suggested by the hon. Member for Southwark, the matter would in his opinion in reality resolve itself into a mere question of speaking on one side of the House or on the other. If the Reform Act was to be a final measure, with the exception of the amendments in detail which had been alluded to, and was to be the basis of the new Conservative party, he could not see objection to its formation on the score only of the parties who were to form it having hitherto acted in opposition to one another. The motion involved a principle and an effect more important than he had at first believed to belong to it, and he sincerely trusted, that the hon. Baronet would not shrink from a decision being arrived at upon it.

Mr. Wakley

would only detain the House a very short time, but he thought he should not do justice to his own feelings if he remained entirely silent after what had passed. First of all, he was induced to ask for what purpose the noble Lord and his colleagues had taken office again? He should like very much to have that question answered frankly and distinctly, but he feared, that unless he applied to two great ladies, not very far distant from that place, he should have no frank, candid answer, not one at least that would satisfy his mind. In adopting the course which they had taken, however, he had no hesitation in saying, that they were trifling with the feelings of the people of this empire, and were pursuing a course unprecedented in the history of this country; and the question which he should ask he was the more provoked to put, not on account of the speech of the noble Lord here only, but in consequence of the speech of a noble Lord elsewhere on Friday night last. It was a good Tory speech, fit for the old times of Toryism; and in fact, if he had read such a speech as having been made by Lord Eldon in 1818, he should not have looked twice to see whether he had mistaken the name of the person by whom it was delivered. The noble Lord had said, that he hoped that the constitution, as it now stood, would work well in times of trouble and danger; and he said, that the opinion of some of the most experienced politicians of Europe was, that it might not, and that if it worked well in fair weather, when breakers appeared and a storm was bursting over the ship, it might fail, the pilot might lose the helm, and the vessel might become a wreck. If, then, this was the opinion of the Prime Minister, and that there might be danger in going forward with the principles of reform, why was he again at the helm, why had he again entered the vessel of the state? Why had he again taken that post when he had before declared, that he could not hold it with the approbation of his shipmates. Was it possible that the Ministers could continue in office, if their only means of retaining it was the pursuit of the same course which they before adopted? He was not one of those who would desire that the noble Lord should attempt to obtain support by making promises which he intended never to fulfil. He gave him credit for the candour of his declaration; but he had expected that after the speech of the right hon. Baronet, some hon. Member on the Treasury Bench would have risen in his place, and have said, that the right hon. Baronet had gone too far in binding the noble Lord down so closely. He had expected to hear the noble Lord say, "get up, for I did not say so—he is binding me down too fast." The right hon. Baronet, however, knew the opportunity which he had for displaying his powers: he spoke with glee and delight, and he said to himself that he had got the noble Lord into a net, and he dragged him backwards and forwards through the water until he almost drowned him—until, indeed, he was almost ready for an inquest to be held. There was not a single Member of the Government, however, to rise in his place, and say that the right hon. Baronet in any respect misinterpreted a single word of what fell from the noble Lord. Then what had they to expect from the noble Lord? Nothing. That was all; and he was not disappointed. He had got what he expected, and no more. With reference to a recent transaction which had taken place at the palace, he begged to say that he approved of the conduct of Ministers in taking office, and he thought that they would have been wanting in their duty to the Crown and to the people if they had neglected to make themselves responsible for the act of her Majesty. The speech of that evening necessarily carried him back to that event. He regretted that an occasion of such a momentous character had been allowed to pass off in mere empty words and speeches in the House, and he regretted most deeply that it had not been recorded in the journals of the House. It was a maxim of the Tory party, and of the constitutional authorities of that party, that the Crown could do no wrong. If so, the right hon. Baronet could not deny that he was in the wrong. He thought that it was fair to put such an interpretation on his conduct, and on his own opinion in reference to the matter. But should the Ministers when they took office have ended there? They should have gone on and said—"We know why we lost office, and we will have a vote of this House on the subject, and we will present that vote to the Crown." Was anything of that sort done then? There was not. He was an advocate for the monarchy and for monarchial institutions, and desired to see them maintained and upheld, and he rejoiced in what had been done by her Majesty, and in what had occurred with respect to the right hon. Baronet, because it showed them what were the peculiar qualifications of Toryism in these days. The Tories had, in fact, lost none of their grasping powers. The right hon. Baronet said in his own mind (he knew this was the kind of soliloquy which he held)—"Now, these foolish Whigs have thrown the bell into my hands, and I will use it to some purpose; and if I only act cautiously, I know that the Civil-list and all the powers of the Crown will be at my disposal." That was the common sense of what he thought. Her Majesty, however, was courageous and prudent, and acted in a manner which every Englishman must admire and esteem. She said, I know my duty to the country, and I know that it requires me to give you full powers with respect to the construction of a Ministry. I am bound to obey the House of Commons, seeing that the constitution tells me that it is the re- presentation of the people," but when the right hon. Baronet demanded of her her Friends—["Question!"] It was unpleasant to hear this, and if they would only be patient, they would not hear much more. The right hon. Baronet, however, having demanded that he should have the power of dismissing the females of her Majesty's establishment, she said, "No, I have personal rights which are consistent with the maintenance of the prerogative of the Crown, and not one of them will I part with." The right hon. Baronet, upon his principle, must approve of the decision to which her Majesty came; and if the Queen had reason now to rejoice at her Ministers having gone into office again, he asked how long her pleasurable sensations were likely to continue. From what they had heard to-night, it might be supposed that her friends had forsaken her, and that she was about to become the royal captive of the Tory party. It was with shame, vexation, and sorrow, that he saw the course of the Ministry. He told them that their fate was now sealed, and it was evident to him that in case of a general election the Tory party would gain a majority of sixty or seventy Members. He believed that the fact would prove the truth of what he asserted. He did not entertain a doubt on the subject, and it would be solely attributable to the stupid course pursued by Government. It was most unfortunate that that course should have been pursued, because he thought that nothing would be more likely to secure the interests of the country than the faithful representation of the people. The right hon. Baronet said, that he hated bribery and corruption in any shape; but was there any mart in the kingdom who lived out of a lunatic asylum, who could believe that the Tory party generally disliked intimidation and corruption ["Oh, oh!]" They groaned at him; he was glad to hear it. It showed the workings of a troubled conscience. If they were not afraid of the honest maintenance of public opinion, if they were not opposed to the candid opinions of every voter being declared, why not give the electors the only mode of manifesting those opinions, why not give them the ballot? He wished, however, that the motion of the hon. Baronet might be carried first, with others of the same kind. Let there be constitutional modes of voting established, and he would not object to their having the bal- lot; but he knew that in small boroughs, which belonged to the two great parties, the ballot would be as decided a shield to bribery as it would be for fair voting in general. Whatever might be the end of this motion, however, he was satisfied that at no distant period the country would demand that her interests should be attended to, and her rights granted; and whatever the powers of the House might be, they would be unable to resist the demands of the people of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Slaney

said, he had heard with great satisfaction the declaration of the noble Lord. From the earliest period he (Mr. Slaney) had voted for reform, and in his honest opinion, he believed the noble Lord had done himself honour by the way in which he had spoken on this question. After having voted with the noble Lord for along time, it would have been with deep regret had he been obliged conscientiously to vote against him. After a final settlement had been made of the great question of reform, when concessions had been made by public men, he regretted to see endeavours made to unsettle the Reform Act. He was glad to see, that the present Ministry were not forgetful of the best interests of the country, and were not disposed to break down this great measure for the sake of retaining office. He believed, that the great majority of the country was satisfied with the system of reform as it now stood, with those alterations and changes which the noble Lord would not be unwilling to grant. He looked for nothing personal from any government, but he declared honestly in his place, that he thought the noble Lord had done himself the greatest credit by the manly and straightforward declaration he had made, in spite of the censure to which it would expose him.

Mr. Phillip Howard

said, if this concession were made to the county voters, without likewise extending a concession to the voters in towns, no permanent satisfaction would be derived. During the long progress of the Reform Bill he had voted with the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), and he then heard, that "the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill" was acceptable to the country. If there were no other reason for inducing him to stand by the noble Lord on this occasion, he should find it in' this, that he coveted not the ignominy of deserting his Friends.

Sir H. Fleetwood

said, it would have been his wish if he had it in his power, seeing the feeling of the House, to withdraw his motion; but he felt when a Member had given notice of a motion, it was his duty to come to a discussion of it. He was anxious to withdraw the motion. If, however, they went to a division, he thought it but fair and right to put a statement right which had been misinterpreted on the part of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell). He certainly understood the noble Lord to say, that the noble Lord's opinions coincided with his own on the present motion, but that in the present Session he could give it no support, and could not promise to give any support to the motion at any future Session; but he was satisfied he was not led to consider, that the noble Lord would pledge himself to oppose it on any future occasion.

The House divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 207: Majority 126.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Hawkins, J. H.
Aglionby, Major Hector, C. J.
Archbold, R. Horsman, E.
Baines, E. Hume, J.
Barnard, E. G. James, W.
Barry, G. S. Jervis, J.
Bellew, R. M. Johnson, General
Bewes, T. Lambton, H.
Blake, M. J. Langdale, hon. C.
Blake, W. J. Leader, J. T.
Bridgeman, H. Lushington, C.
Brotherton, J. Lushington, Sir S.
Buller, C. Marsland, H.
Bulwer, Sir L. Molesworth, W.
Butler, hon. Colonel Norreys, Sir D. J.
Callaghan, D. O'Connell, D.
Chalmers, P. Ord, W.
Chapman, Sir M. L. Parrott, J.
Clay, W. Philips, M.
Collier, J. Protheroe, E.
Currie, R. Ramsbottom, J.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Roche, W.
D'Eyncourt, C. T. Rundle, J.
Duke, Sir J. Scholefield, J.
Ellice, E. Sheil, R. L.
Etwall, R. Steuart, Lord J.
Evans, Sir De L. Stock, Dr.
Evans, G. Strickland, Sir G.
Evans, W. Strutt, E.
Ewart, W. Style, Sir C.
Finch, F. Thornely,
Gillon, W. D. Turner, E.
Grattan, H. Vigors, N. A.
Grote, G. Wakley, T.
Hall, Sir B. Walker, R.
Harvey, D. W. Wallace, R.
Hastie, A. Warburton, H.
Hawes, B. Ward, H. G.
White, A. Winnington, H. J.
White, S. TELLERS.
Wilbraham, G. Fleetwood, Sir H.
Williams, W. Duncombe, T.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Erle, W.
Acland, T. D. Estcourt, T.
A'Court, Captain Farnham, E. B.
Alston, R. Feilden, W.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Fellowes, E.
Ashley, Lord Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bagot, hon. W. Filmer, Sir E.
Bailey, J. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bailey, J. jun. Fleming, J.
Baillie, Colonel Forester, hon. G.
Baker, E. Fremantle, Sir T.
Baring, F. T. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Baring, H. B. Gladstone, W. E.
Baring, hon. W. B. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Barneby, J. Godson, R.
Barrington, Visct. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Bateson, Sir R. Gore, O. J. R.
Bell, M. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Blakemore, R. Grant, F. W.
Blennerhassett, A. Greene, T.
Bowes, J. Grey, Sir C.
Bramston, T. W. Hale, R. B.
Briscoe, J. I. Halford, H.
Broadley, H. Harcourt, G. G.
Brownrigg, S. Hardinge, Sir H.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Harland, W. C.
Burroughes, H. N. Hayes, Sir E.
Busfeild, W. Heathcote, Sir W.
Calcraft, J. H. Heathcote, G. J.
Castlereagh, Visct. Heneage, G. W.
Cavendish, hon. C. Henniker, Lord
Cavendish, hon. G. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Cayley, E. S. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Chetwynd, Major Hillsborough, Earl of
Christopher, R. A. Hinde, J. H.
Clerk, Sir C. Hobhouse, Sir J. C.
Codrington, C. W Hodgson, R.
Colquhoun, J. C. Hogg, J. W.
Compton, H. C. Hope, hon. C.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hope, H. T.
Corry, hon. H. Hope, G. W.
Courtenay, P. Hotham, Lord
Crawley, S. Houstoun, G.
Cripps, J. Howick, Visct.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Hurt, F.
Darby, G. Ingham, R.
Darlington, Earl of Irton, S.
De Horsey, S. H. Irving, J.
D'Israeli, B. Jermyn, Earl
Douglas, Sir C. E. Johnstone, H.
Dowdeswell, W. Jones, J.
Duffield, T. Jones, Capt,
Dugdale, W. S. Kelly, F.
Dunbar, G. Kemble, H.
Duncombe, hon. W. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Dungannon, Visc. Knightley, Sir C.
Du Pre, G. Labouchere, H.
Eastnor, Visc. Lascelles, W. S.
Egerton, W. T. Law, hon. C. E.
Ellis, J. Lemon, Sir C.
Lennox, Lord A. Round, C. G
Liddell, hon. H. T. Round, J.
Lincoln, Earl of Rumbold, C. E.
Litton, E. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Lowther, hon. H. Russell, Lord J.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Rutherford, A.
Mackenzie, T. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Marsland, T. Sheppard, T.
Marton, G. Shirley, E. J.
Master, T. W. C. Sibthorpe, Colonel
Mathew, G. B. Sinclair, Sir G.
Maunsell, T. P. Smith, B.
Miller, W. H. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Moreton, hon. A. Stanley, E.
Morgan, C. M. R. Stansfield, W. R.
Morpeth, Viscount Stewart, J.
Neeld, J. Stuart, V.
Neeld, J. Stormont, Visc.
Noel, hon. W. M. Sturt, H. C.
Norreys, Lord Tancred, H. W.
Pakington, J. S. Troubridge, Sir E.
Palmer, G. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Parker, M. E. N. Vere, Sir C. B.
Parker, R. T. Verney, Sir H.
Parker, T. A. W. Villiers, Visct.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Vivian, J. E.
Peel, J. Vivian, Sir R. H.
Pemberton, T. Waddington, H.
Pendarves, E. W. Wall, C. B.
Perceval, Colonel Walsh, Sir J.
Perceval, hon. G. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Pigot, D. R. Winnington, T.
Pigot, R. Wodehouse, E.
Plumptre, J. P. Wood, C.
Polhill, F. Wood, Colonel
Powerscourt, Visct. Wood, T.
Praed, W. M. Worsley, Lord
Price, R. Wyndham, W.
Pringle, A. Wynn, rt. hon. C.
Pusey, P. Young, J.
Richards, R.
Rickford, W. TELLERS.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Howard, P.
Rolleston, L. Slaney, R. A.
Paired off.
Power, J. Lowther, J.
Hayter, W. G. Broadwood, H.
Fenton, J. St. Paul, H.
Cave, R. O. Manners, Lord C.
Easthope, J. Packe, C. W.
Hoskins, K. Ossulston, Lord
James, Sir W. Seale, Colonel
Hill, Lord M. Planta, J.
Dundas, J. C. Lockhart, J.
Dundas, Sir R. Trench, Sir F.
Dundas, C. Foley, E.
Morris, D. Hawkes, T.
Barron, H. W. Adare, Visc.
Roche, Sir D. Bradshaw, J.
Redington,T. N.. Cartwright, W. R.
Rice, E. Young, Sir W. L.
Villiers, hon. C. P. Grimston, Visc.
O'Connell, M. Powell, Colonel
O'Connell, M J. Knight, G.
Lister, E. C. Duncombe, hon. A.