HC Deb 18 June 1839 vol 48 cc442-504
Mr. Grote

, after presenting petitions in favour of the ballot, said: I rise, Sir, to renew the motion which I have before made in several pre- ceding sessions, for leave to bring in a bill providing that the votes at Parliamentary elections shall be taken by way of ballot. The many discussions which this subject has already undergone, forbid the hope that I can advance much of new argument, or invoke many fresh testimonies in its favour. But I am not deterred by this consideration from again entreating a moderate portion of the time and attention of the House: and while I shall carefully avoid all needless amplification, I shall not think myself obliged to throw aside any relevant or forcible arguments, simply because they have been employed before on the same discussion, and because it is no longer possible to clothe them with freshness or originality. For all historical experience testifies, that it is not by the discovery of new positive arguments and of untrodden ways of demonstration that political conclusions come to be disseminated, and ultimately acted on. It is by frequent meditation on the same reasonings, by renewed discussions of the same topic, at proper and seasonable intervals, and, above all, by the continued and painful sense of the same unremedied evils. It was not by fruitfulness of invention in the field of argument, that the advocates of Catholic emancipation won their way to victory; it was by an earnest repetition, often and often enforced, of a case of intrinsic and irresistible justice, but in which every novelty in the way of pleading had been exhausted many years before the final triumph. Such is the gradual method by which alone political progress is ever accomplished; and such are the grounds, coupled with my unshaken belief in the goodness of the cause which I am advocating, which induce me again to press upon the House the consideration of the vote by ballot. In one respect, Sir, I approach the subject with an advantage which I have not before enjoyed. It is a satisfaction to me to anticipate, that the question of the ballot will no longer be made a subject of formal opposition by the collective cabinet, and that the opinions which Members of the Government may still express against the ballot will be the result of their own individual convictions, not of any express resolution to identify the cabinet of Lord Melbourne with the maintenance of open voting. If I am asked, Sir, whether the measure which I propose is one calculated to correct all that is amiss, and to supply all that is defective in our present representative system, I answer without hesitation, that I do not believe it is so. I do not present the ballot as a measure of any such comprehensive or all-sufficient character. I agree with those who think, that our present electoral franchise is too narrow and too unequally distributed, and I shall lend my best support to any proposition for rectifying these evils by a large extension of the franchise, coupled with a more just and equal apportionment of the constituencies. But though I am far from pretending that the ballot is a full remedy against all the defects of our representative system, yet I do affirm, and confidently affirm, that it is a remedy for one of the grossest, and most grievous of those defects. I mean the intimidation and corruption now practised on the legitimate exercise of the franchise. And, with regard to intimidation and corruption, there is this to be remarked, that many persons who deny the existence of any other evils in the representation as it now stands—many persons who treat the Reform Act as perfect and unalterable in respect to the extension and distribution of the franchise, are yet ready to lament the prevalence of corruption and intimidation, and to admit the necessity of devising some method of combating them. When I hear the emphatic declarations, pronounced by the most powerful and commanding persons in this country against bribery and coercion at elections—when I recollect that a few evenings ago, both the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Tamworth, vied with each other in the earnestness with which they denounced these unlawful practices — I certainly might almost have supposed that the object which I seek to attain by my present motion would have procured for me some crumbs of support from both those distinguished persons, instead of receiving a vigorous and unrelaxing opposition. Sir, I address myself to those who adopt the language of the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet, and who treat the Reform Act as a final measure—as the permanent settlement of a great constitutional question, or any one of the thousand equivalent phrases by which all idea of farther progress and improvement may be most directly and pointedly negatived—I address myself to those Gentlemen, and I say to them, You tell me that the Reform Act is a final measure; do you mean the intimidation and corruption which now disgrace the operation of it shall be final also? Do you mean to preserve and embalm all these gross deformities, and to make them partakers in that glorious immortality which you promise to the Reform Act as a whole? Was it an understanding between the proposers and supporters of the Reform Bill, and did it form part of those Tusculan conversations in 1832 between the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, and Lord Althorp, to which allusion has been made in the noble Lord's recent pamphlet when they predicted the future restoration of empire to the Tory party, that intimidation and corruption were to be studiously kept alive for the purpose of neutralising the supposed exorbitance of democratical principle in the Reform Act? I do not expect, Sir, to hear it asserted, that any such understanding either did exist or could have existed at the period when the Reform Act was first proposed, or that persons who supported that measure were bound by any pledge to discountenance all future remedies against intimidation and corruption. I do not expect, I say, to hear an assertion of this kind formally advanced, though arguments are not unfrequently used which seem tacitly to imply it. Sir, I entertain no faith in that doctrine which proclaims the Reform Act a final measure. I reject altogether the possibility that a franchise so restricted, and so ill-distributed as the present, can be considered as the permanent settlement of a great constitutional question. But yet I will not scruple to contend, that Gentlemen who differ with me upon this point, may, with perfect consistency, agree with me in supporting the ballot, unless they consider themselves pledged, not only to the finality of the Reform Act, but also to the finality of intimidation and corruption. Whether you insist upon maintaining the present number of electors, or whether you seek to enlarge it—in either case, protection in the exercise of the franchise is indispensably necessary. I have maintained before, and I now maintain again, that the ballot is in no sense an enlargement or disturbance of any boundary which has been fixed by the Reform Act; and this is often taken by radical journals as a ground of exception against it, as if it were something petty and insignificant. In my mind, Sir, this perfect consistency of the ballot, with the limits and principles of the Reform Act is neither a ground for preference, nor a ground for disparagement. I advocate the ballot on its own merits, as the only corrective of grievous electoral abuses, and I insist upon its congruity with the principles of the Reform Act, because such is the real and literal state of the case. Indeed, it is now matter of history, and has been often before mentioned, that in the first speech of the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, when he introduced the Reform Bill, in 1881, the questions as to the best mode of taking votes, and as to the proper time for the duration of Parliaments, were both expressly set aside, and reserved for future consideration. Well then, Sir, I shall assume, that Gentlemen do really wish to suppress intimidation and corruption—that they do not regard these practices as profitable vices, at once to be denounced and to be upheld—"quod et vetabitur semper et retinebitur"—that they regard them as a real taint and leprosy in our political system, calling for our utmost diligence to heal or to abate; assuming this, I say, where are we to look for a remedy? Has any person ever proposed any other remedy except the ballot? I should have thought, that among those persons who inveigh against coercion of voters, and who, at the same time, reject the ballot, there would have been found some, at least, who would have applied their minds to the discovery of some other remedy; and that, by this time, some efficacious scheme would have been devised, adequate to the urgency of the case, and free from the objections advanced against the ballot. Considering how many times the ballot has been discussed, and how vehemently it has been opposed, I think that, before this time, some substitute remedy might reasonably be expected to have been proposed; and I declare, with perfect sincerity, that if any man will teach me any effectual way of banishing corruption and intimidation, and insuring perfect freedom of suffrage under the system of open voting, I am perfectly ready to abandon the ballot at once. But I persevere in my own proposition, and I shall persevere in it, because no one will provide me with any other remedy, in the slightest degree fitted for the exigency of the case. Let me impress upon the House this view of the subject again and again; for it really is the literal truth—that they have only the option between adopting the ballot, and sanctioning the continuance of the present system, with all its unlawful and coercive practices. There is no third course possible: you must take your choice between the evil and this remedy, for only one remedy has been proposed or conceived; to reject the remedy is tantamount to an acquiescence in the evil. Those who repudiate the ballot are, in effect, consenting parties to the con- tinuance of intimidation and corruption, without let or hindrance, in all their disastrous abundance, and with all their deplorable consequences, private as well as public. Surely, Sir, no man of any pretensions to sound and serious reflection— no man, especially who enjoys a seat in this House, can allege that interference with the freedom of election is a slight evil, or that the triumph over it is a matter of small importance. And how, Sir, is this triumph to be accomplished? Voters are now intimidated and corrupted—that is, they vote under fear of injury, or under hope of gain, threatened or promised by third parties. Now, I have asserted before, and I have heard nothing to shake my conviction, that secret voting is an effectual way of neutralising this mischievous interference. So long as the vote is known, you cannot prevent third parties from making it the condition of reward, and punishment; but I defy human ingenuity either to reward or punish an unknown and invisible act. The man who votes in secret can neither fear anything, nor hope anything in consequence of his vote neither intimidation nor corruption can be brought to bear upon him, to pervert him from his real inclination and belief, whatever they may be. And, Sir, when I hear so many Gentlemen denouncing the ballot as a democratical innovation, I am well convinced that they do not, in their hearts, differ with me as to its real effects, however they may chicane as to the steps by which those effects are brought about. In what sense can it be true, that the ballot is a democratical innovation? Those who believe that it is so, must imagine that there is a considerable proportion of the existing electors who are inclined to vote democratically, but who dare not do so at present, in consequence of their votes being known to third parties. The ballot can have no other results, except that of liberating these electors from constraint, and enabling them to vote as their own consciences dictate; and this is the reason why it is termed a democratical innovation. Now, Sir, I say, that this argument admits, in the fullest extent, the real effects and the remedial tendency of the ballot, such as I have described them. It is, in fact, an objection against the ballot, not because it will be ineffectual in preventing intimidation and corruption, but because it will be too effectual in preventing them. It is neither more nor less than a defence, and even an eulogy of these abuses, as a bulwark against the democrat- ical inclinations and opinions of the present electoral body. I am, therefore, warranted in affirming, that even a large proportion of the arguments urged against the ballot admit its efficacy as a defence of the freedom of election, and that is quite sufficient to make out my case. I desire no better ground for continuing to be its advocate. Let Gentlemen just ask themselves what can be the value of a representative system, if we are to provide no guarantee for freedom and sincerity in voting, and no barrier against the aggressive manœuvres of the corruptor and intimidator? What is the advantage of discussing laboriously the qualification of an elector, and determining who is, and who is not, fit for the franchise, if, after all, you do not obtain the elector's free and real opinion, but the judgment of some one else expressed through his organs? Under any and every arrangement of the franchise—whether it be maintained as it is now, or enlarged to household or universal suffrage, or determined by an educational qualification—protection in the exercise of it is absolutely indispensable; and if such protection be left out, the whole business of election becomes nothing better than illusion and mockery, You have given the franchise to a certain description of voters; I now call upon you to complete and seal the gift, by the addition of that protective enactment, without which their franchise is treacherous and useless to the country, and often even a misfortune and a curse to themselves. For it is but too notorious, under present circumstances, how little an elector is master of his own conduct on the day of election; it is but too publicly proclaimed, and too painfully felt, how sharp is the pressure of dictation and compulsion from without, and how vigorously every engine of control, as well as of corruption, is set at work during the shock of a contested election. I forbear to cite facts in proof of this assertion, because the general prevalence of the evil has been attested by too many witnesses to leave it a matter of doubt. Nor will I repeat to the House the multiplied narratives which have come even within my own personal knowledge, respecting the treatment of tenants and tradesmen, and other electors in dependent circumstances, when the fatal moment arrives that their franchise can be made to serve the purpose of ambitious superiors. If you are to have any representative government at all in England, you must have multitudes of electors in dependent circum- stances; the distribution of property in England forbids any other supposition. To expect from these men, unprotected as they are by the Legislature, the constant sacrifice of their worldly interest to the preservation of a political conscience—to expect that you will find generally in their bosoms— That strong divinity of soul Which conquers chance and fate, such as richer and more accomplished men do not exhibit in their own persons, would be little better than an idle dream. I envy not the feelings of any man who can have engaged in the details of electoral struggle without a profound sense of the miseries of an unsheltered franchise, and a sincere desire to apply to them an efficacious remedy. Much talk has recently been current, Sir, respecting an impending dissolution of Parliament within no very long period of time. How far such anticipations are likely to be realised, of course I cannot pretend to say; though, certainly, in the condition of something like stalemate to which parties have been brought in this present House, no one can affirm that the event is improbable. But, I will confess, that the possibility of a general election at no distant date increases my anxiety again to submit this question to the judgment of the House. This is not merely because the subject of the ballot is one which is regarded with warm interest among a large proportion of the constituencies, and because it is therefore fit that the sentiments of Gentlemen in this House should be tested and proclaimed, either for or against its adoption. It is still more for another reason—that the proposition of the ballot has an express and peculiar bearing on the business of election, and that the supposed eve of a general election is a fit season for renewing my protest against those mischiefs and enormities which are inseparable from open voting. Recollecting as I do the phenomena of the two last general elections, I cannot permit the repetition of the same intolerable abuses, without again tendering the only remedial proposition which is calculated effectually to subdue or abate them. It is fit that those who acutely feel the dishonour which is thrown upon our public institutions, and the mischiefs which are entailed upon individuals, by the prevalence of corruption and intimidation—and I believe the number of persons to be great and increasing— it is fit that they should be reminded that, if these disorders continue, it is only because the Legislature declines to avail itself of the proper tutelary provisions within its reach. Sir, I do believe that freedom of election, though in practice it is foully trampled upon, is yet a sacred idea, and an object of sincere inward attachment among the general public. However powerful men may assert the monstrous privilege of dictating votes to those who are poorer than themselves—however election agents may pride themselves on their skill in hunting down irresolute or reluctant voters—however much the practical working of contested elections may exhibit compulsory disunion between the vote and the conscience—still I am persuaded that the right of the country to a free and conscientious expression of opinion from every qualified elector, poor as well as rich, and the right of the elector himself to express such opinion at the poll, without hindrance or injury, is among the most deeply-rooted of all our national convictions. To convert this right from a cherished fiction into an useful reality, is the charm and the virtue of the ballot. If you refuse the ballot, you virtually discountenance free and public-minded voting; you decree the continued reign of corruption and intimidation; you nourish and keep alive the poisonous taint which infects the life-blood of our representative system. Against this poison the ballot is the only antidote; and, as such, I commend it to your favourable decision. I know not whether you will reject it now; but I feel well assured that you will not reject it long. The hon. Member concluded by moving for leave to bring in a bill to provide for taking the vote at elections by ballot.

Lord Worsley

, in rising to second the motion, said, that he differed in one point from the hon. Member who had just sat down—namely, with regard to the extension of the franchise; but was decidedly of opinion that it was necessary that they should in some way protect the voters to whom they had given the franchise by the Reform Act. If they did not so protect them the House would not long retain the confidence of the people. His impression, was very strong that if they did much longer refuse to give electors the power of voting in the way which their conscientious opinions dictated, they would find the same discontent in the public mind with their proceedings which existed when he first came into Parliament before the Reform Bill was carried. He believed that the parties asking for the Ballot, that they might be enabled to vote honestly, and who considered that they had not at present the power of giving their suffrages to the candidate whom they thought most fit to represent them, would, if that reasonable request were denied, consider that the Reform Act had not given them real representation. The first time that he had the honour of addressing the House, was, he believed when the Reform Bill was under discussion. He then represented a constituency which he had never seen, containing, he believed, some seven and twenty voters. He thought it necessary that such places should cease to send Members. He thought it necessary that the representatives of the country should be returned by such voters as would give confidence to those who had no votes; and therefore he thought it necessary to extend the suffrage then, for the purpose of giving that confidence. He could not help thinking that if that had failed in preventing intimidation and corruption, they had not much bettered the condition of the country. It was no improvement if the Members of that House had come, in a different way, to misrepresent the real opinion of the people. He had heard it said that there were some who supposed that he had been requested to second this motion by some member of the Government. He had not been so requested. He had not been requested either by the Government or by his constituents for he must honestly say —as he did not wish in that House to misrepresent in the slightest degree the wishes of his constituents — that if an election were now to take place in his own county by the present mode of open voting, he did not believe their decision would be in favour of the ballot. But he thought it necessary that some protection should be given to the voter, because, as the hon. Member for London said, the evils were admitted in all the discussions upon the subject, but no remedy for them except the ballot had been proposed. Precisely the same objections were made to the ballot that were made to the Reform Bill. It was denied that the Reform Bill would remedy abuses. It was acknowledged that there were abuses. But it was said that the Reform Bill was revolutionary, and its opponents prognosticated all sorts of evil from its adoption. The other day a gentleman who was in the House when the Reform Bill was brought forward, told him that he had then believed that it would be inevitably followed by a repeal of the law of primogeniture. It was said that the cases of intimidation adduced as grounds for the ballot were very much exaggerated; that persons were very often turned out of farms for bad farming who represented themselves as having been dispossessed for voting independently. He admitted that that might sometimes be the case. But those persons would not make such an excuse, nor would they have the sympathies of the public with them, if the notoriety of the practice did not give this story some colour of plausibility. It was said also that there was great exaggeration with regard to the losses which tradesmen suffered—that where they lost Tory customers, they gained Whig ones. That might happen occasionally. It was added, too, that a tradesman who quietly gave his vote, and did not meddle in politics farther, did not suffer. But was it to be said that a person because he was a tradesman was not to take part in politics? Assuredly he had as much right as any other man to do so? With regard to intimidation in the counties, his impression was, that the ballot would prevent it, inasmuch as when it was not known how a person intended to vote, or how he had voted (and no one denied that the ballot would secure secrecy in the act of voting), it was impossible to know when to visit him with punishment. But he was aware that the objection which weighed with many persons, particularly in his own county, against the ballot was, that it would lead to universal suffrage, and ultimately to the repeal of the Corn-laws. That was the objection in his county. But if he thought it would lead to such results, he certainly would not support the vote by ballot. There was a case, which he had never heard mentioned, but which he knew had a very great influence at elections— probably the hon. Member for London did not like to mention it— he meant the case where bankers in the country prevented persons exercising their votes who were under obligation to their banks. He merely mentioned the case of bankers to show that intimidation was practised by more classes than one. It was rather curious, in looking at the different divisions which had taken place on the ballot, to observe how the numbers in its favour had increased. In 1830, when the present Member for Dublin (then Member for Clare) moved that votes be taken by way of ballot at East Retford, he found only twenty-one Members to support him. In 1833, when the Member for London made his motion for the ballot, the minority in its favour was 106. In 1834, upon the motion that votes be taken by way of ballot at Hertford, the minority was eighty-two. In 1835, the same motion that was now made was supported by 144. In 1836, when the division took place unexpectedly at an early hour, the minority was 88. In 1837, it was 153; and in 1838, 198. After what he had stated to be the opinion of his constituents, it might be said, that he was not justified in seconding the motion. It had so happened, that he had voted before the last election against the ballot, and seeing reason for changing his opinions, he thought it to be his duty before the election to go through his county; and though he did not, at the time, see any likelihood of any opposition to his return, still he thought it right to inform the electors that he, who hitherto had been opposed to the ballot, intended for the future to support it. He did that six weeks before the election, so that it was not to be supposed that he changed his opinions without the knowledge of his constituents; he was aware this statement would be of advantage to the hon. Gentle-men opposite, at the same time he did not wish to make the House believe, that he had taken so decided a part in the debate, because he was the Representative of a large constituency. He had, indeed, hoped that the system of intimidation would not be persisted in; but this hope had been in vain. It was acknowledged by every Member who had spoken in the debate of last year, that intimidation was still practised. Under these circumstances, then, he hoped that the House would be prepared to act when a remedy was proposed for this evil. The noble Lord, the Secretary of State, had offered to do something, but a change in the mode of registration would not alone remedy the evil. He was satisfied, if they had not a remedy in the shape of the ballot, that there were men who now had votes who would be most anxious to have their votes taken from them. But then, it may be said, why are these men registered? If a man were registered, and not opposed, he continued on the registry - a man could not help being put on by the landlord, and it would often be quite as dangerous for the tenant to have his name taken off the registry, as for him to refuse his vote at the election. He admitted, that there were many acts done in the name of the landlord of which he had not any knowledge. Possibly this did not make the case any better; but such he believed to be the fact. He knew, for instance, this case—the steward of a near connexion of his own. He asked this steward, how the tenants of a certain landlord who was abroad would vote?—to which the man replied, that they would of course all vote with their Tory landlord. He asked the steward how was that, when the landlord was not in the country at the time, and why they should not be allowed to vote as they pleased? To this the steward replied, that on canvassing the tenants he would not think of claiming their votes from the 40s. freeholders; that they might give their votes as they pleased; but that he did claim the votes of the 50l. tenants-at-will, and that he could not think he did his duty to the landlord, if he permitted those who claimed a vote by reason of their renting land from the landlord not to give to the same landlord their vote. The steward who said this, he must add, was an excellent and a very conscientious man, and he believed really thought it was his duty to act in the manner he had just described. He was not one of those who thought that vote by ballot would take away the legitimate influence of property. He was not in the habit of addressing the House; but he thought it right now to read for them an extract from a speech of a noble Lord, to whom they all used to listen in that House with great attention. That noble Lord (Lord Althorp) had stated, upon a discussion of the same kind as this, what he believed with respect to the ballot and its affecting a due influence of property. Upon that occasion, Lord Althorp said, There is no man in the House more sorry than I should be to see the legitimate power of the aristocracy put an end to. For what is that power? The influence of affection and of kindness. The power of property is always legitimate, when it is solely a power over the affections of those around us; but there is sometimes another influence arising from it, namely, that of intimidation, and of preventing persons from voting by reason of their fears. I do not see how election by ballot can diminish the legitimate influence of the aristocracy; but, at the same time, I do not see how it would allow the exercise of the illegitimate influence of fear. This, too, was his opinion; and if it were not so, it was not at all likely that he should be so anxious for its success. He firmly believed, that if an effectual remedy were not proposed for those abuses, it would be believed that those who had voted for the Reform Bill were not sincere in their wishes for a fair representation of the people; while it would be said that, those who had originally opposed the Reform Bill, and now proclaimed their intention to abide by its provisions, only meant to avail themselves of its abuses, and the sincerity of their declarations would not, therefore, be believed by the country.

Mr. Milnes Gaskell

was prepared to admit, with his noble Friend, the Member for Lincolnshire (Lord Worsley), and with the hon. Gentleman who had preceded him (Mr. Grote), that upon no former occasion when this question had been debated had it excited greater interest or attention. He only trusted, that no hon. Member who had been unconvinced by the arguments which had been addressed to him, would suffer himself to be deterred by any indications of an altered course on the part of her Majesty's Ministers upon this occasion, or by any inflammatory appeals that might have been made upon this subject out of doors, from the honest discharge of his public duty. Now, there were three opinions that were held upon this question. The first was that which was so ably and so consistently maintained by the hon. Gentleman himself (Mr. Grote). The second was an opinion which he (Mr. Gaskell) believed to be entertained by a considerable portion of the Gentlemen opposite, and among the rest by his noble Friend who had just sat down, viz.—that this question was one of secondary importance, and that its probable effects, whether for good or evil, had been greatly over-rated. There was also, let him tell the hon. Gentleman, a third opinion, which be felt convinced, was entertained by the great majority of the people of England, and which, he hoped, was entertained by the great majority of their representatives, namely, that this secret system was utterly repugnant to their habits and feelings, utterly inconsistent with the whole framework of their institutions and that, if adopted by the Legislature, it would strike a deadly blow at the stability of the Government and at the character of the people. This opinion was not founded upon any doubt as to the efficacy of the Ballot to promote the purpose of concealment; it assumed, that the hon. Gentleman's machinery would be successful, and that he would be able to obtain the secrecy which he desired. He knew, that the hon. Gentleman entertained a widely different opinion, and that he was perfectly sincere in its expression and its maintenance. He honoured the ability and the single-mindedness with which that hon. Gentleman had invariably advocated this question, but he believed, that with a large proportion of those who most loudly clamoured for the Ballot, protection was a mere pretext, and ascendancy the aim. "Speciosa verbis, re inania aut subdola, quantoque majore libertatis imagine teguntur tanto eruptura ad servitium." Undoubtedly, if the elective franchise were an inherent and inalienable right, of which you could never deprive men without injustice, and which was not revocable by the Legislature that had conferred it, he could understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman; but at least the supporters of the Reform Bill could hold no such doctrine. Gentlemen who had been parties to the wholesale disfranchisement of boroughs, not because the voter that was disfranchised had violated his trust, but because others had been held by the Legislature to be fitter depositaries of political power—could hold no such doctrine. He had a Tight, therefore, to assume, that Parliament had conferred this privilege on the 10l. householder, not for his single benefit, but for the general advantage of the state; and if this was the fact—if the elective franchise was a trust which you imposed upon a certain portion of the people for the benefit of all, then he (Mr. Gaskell) had yet to learn upon what possible principle of justice you could debar the community at large from every opportunity of watching and of marking its exercise. He had listened with great attention to the speech of the hon. Gentleman, and it appeared to him, that his whole case rested upon the assumption, that the blind and unthinking will of a mere numerical majority of electors ought to govern this country, and that when you had devised some mode for the expression of that will, you had ensured good government. Now he (Mr. Gaskell) dissented entirely from that doctrine—he was unable to advance one step with the hon. Gentleman—he differed with him as to the end as well as to the means of good government; he could conceive nothing less desirable—he could conceive nothing more destructive to the first principles of constitutional freedom, than that any set of men, upon any pretext, should be invested with irresponsible power, He believed, that this bill directly tended to confer that power, and he, for one, would not consent to the establishment of a democratic tyranny in this country. It also appeared to him, that the institution of the vote by Ballot would place the Members of that House in a most degrading and invidious position. It would debar them from all means of intercourse with their constituents—it would sever the ties which had hitherto bound them to their friends and tenants, and it would withhold from them the protection which it gave to others. He (Mr. Gaskell) did not complain of this exemption; on the contrary, he rejoiced at it; he had no wish to conceal his vote, and he never would conceal it, whether it was given in the House of Commons, or in a polling booth—but he did contend, that every argument which was good for secret voting at elections was equally good for secret voting in that House. They were engaged in the performance of a public trust as well as the constituencies they represented, and might claim a right to protection against the undue influence of popular control, and the fluctuations of popular caprice. For himself, he repeated, that he preferred no such claim—he was only adducing it to point out what would be the natural and legitimate consequence of the adoption of this bill, and to shew, that a project like the present, which went to effect a total change in the form as well as the spirit of our institutions, should be sanctioned upon no light grounds, and recommended by very powerful arguments. What, then, let him ask, were the motives that were to be held sufficient to induce that House to consent to a total departure from every acknowledged principle of the Constitution? What were the evils of sufficient magnitude to warrant the application of such a remedy, and what the amount of practical grievance of which Gentlemen complained? Why, they were told, that bribery and intimidation prevailed throughout the country to an enormous extent— that the large landed proprietors coerced their tenants and their tradesmen—that the elections had become their nomination, and not the free choice of the electors— and that for all these evils the adoption of the Ballot was the only cure. Now, the proposition, that secret voting would have the effect of suppressing bribery at elections appeared to him to be so extraordinary a one, that he could scarcely be- lieve Gentlemen to be serious when they made it. If they had contented themselves with the assertion, that it would prevent an open sale and purchase of votes, he could have understood them, but his firm conviction was, that it would be followed by a wholesale and an irresponsible bribery, which it would be impossible to punish or detect. The Ballot, however, had been tried for this purpose before now, and wherever it had been tried it had failed utterly—[Cries of "Name where!" from the Ministerial benches.] —Yes, if Gentlemen wished it, he would name where. It had been tried at Rome, where it had remained in force during a period of eighty-five years, and it had failed there. It had been tried in the Italian republics and it had failed there. It had been tried in the United States, and what said the professed friends and patrons of republican institutions as to its effect in checking corruption in America? Why, they were told by an authority, to which the Gentlemen opposite would feel disposed to attach at least as much weight as he was, "that power was used in that country for selfish purposes — that the constituencies were corrupted—that any reason for a man's vote was taken up rather than that of his voting according to the decision of his conscience—and that men should be ashamed to accept the privileges of citizenship, if they were unable to discharge its duties." He (Mr. Gaskell), however, was not imputing the prevalence of corruption either in that or in any other country to the introduction of the Ballot, though he thought its inevitable tendency was to increase and to perpetuate it. His belief was, that no legislative enactments you could devise would enable you to suppress it: that while ambitious men were rich, and avaricious men were poor, the principle would remain in active operation—that where the parties who evaded the law were both benefited by concealment, some mode would be invented to escape its penalties. He now came to the argument that was derived from intimidation, and on which he was aware that the advocates of the Ballot laid the greatest stress. It was far from his intention to deny, that the power of landlords might, in some cases, be harshly exercised, and whenever it was so exercised he joined with the hon. Gentleman in lamenting it; but, while he was ready to admit, that some cases of undeniable hardship did occur, he denied that they constituted the rule. He believed, that in nine cases out of ten, the connexion between landlord and tenant was one of mutual good-will, and that the tenant would be the first to repudiate and disown the boon that was held out to him. He confessed, that he should be sorry to see men released from all external influence, when they were engaged in the performance of social acts—he should be sorry to take away the means of conferring benefits from one party, and the means of requiting kindness from the other—he should be sorry to sow the seeds of distrust and discord under the colour of providing for independence. He believed, that it was by the very means which Gentlemen deplored, by the influence of property which they sought to subvert, and of example which they wished to remove, that the form of our mixed Government was preserved. He knew, that they could not rouse the people except at periods of great popular excitement; he knew, that in ordinary times men would not run counter to the feelings of their friends and landlords, but, so far from regarding this as any matter for regret or censure, he regarded it as the best and highest tribute which could be paid to the practical working of the Constitution. It might be just and reasonable, that at a great crisis popular opinion should exercise a pervading influence, but that mirror would be dimmed which was too closely breathed upon, and the Constitution of this country would cease to be a mixed one, if the House of Commons became the delegate, the mere functionary of the people. He (Mr. Gaskell) was also prepared to avow at once, that he had no wish to see property deprived of its fair and legitimate influence in the return of Members to Parliament. He wished to see it sufficiently powerful to ensure a feeling of sober and permanent attachment to the institutions of the land. They were told by Mr. Burke in that manual of political wisdom, his Reflections on the French Revolution, "that property being an inert and sluggish principle, must be predominant in the representation, and must be represented, in great masses of accumulation, or was not rightly protected, and that let the large landed proprietors be what they would, and they had their chance of being among the best, they were at the very worst the ballast in the vessel of the commonwealth," No longer ago than in the year 1831, the Whigs had held the same doctrine. He (Mr. Gaskell) had not then had the honour of a seat in that House, but he well remembered the answer which had been given by the Lord Advocate of Scotland to the argument, that the influence of property would be destroyed by the Reform Bill. It had been said by that learned Lord, "that in no quarter was there a doubt, that property ought to have a large influence in the election of Members to Parliament, and one of his great objections to the old system was, that a large proportion of boroughs was withdrawn from the natural and benignant influence of the property that surrounded them." He (Mr. Gaskell) trusted that the same opinions which had been entertained by the Government of Lord Grey were entertained by the Cabinet of Lord Melbourne. He had rejoiced to see the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, hoist the constitutional colours he had lately displayed, and proclaim to a large, and somewhat troublesome, section of his supporters, that if they desired any further changes in the Constitution of the country, they must not look to him for co-operation or support. He (Mr. Gaskell) trusted, that when the noble Lord had made that manly and satisfactory declaration, he had been giving expression to the opinion of a united Cabinet; and that his noble Friend, the Secretary for Ireland, and the Members for Nottingham and Manchester, were prepared to vote with the noble Lord against the motion before the House. He trusted, that the noble Lord would falsify the expectations of his friends, and not consent to peril his reputation in that House and in the country by condescending to remain the leader of an Administration in which the question of the Ballot had been made an open question. If the noble Lord should unhappily be induced to take another course, and if those expectations should be realised, then they would have occasion to say, as the noble Lord had said in 1835 to a right hon. Baronet who sat near him (Sir E. Knatchbull) "Nusquam tuta fides?" He (Mr. Gaskell), however, had no such apprehensions; he entertained a perfect confidence, that the noble Lord would adhere to the opinions he had formerly expressed. He trusted they would not be told, that they were inviting unpopularity by their rejection of this bill, or that petitions from Westbury and from Leominster were to be regarded as an indication of the real feelings of the people, "They were not to imagine," said Mr. Burke, "because a dozen grasshoppers under a fern made the field ring with their importunate chink, while thousands of great cattle were reposing beneath the shadow of the British Oak, that those who made the noise were the only inhabitants of the field." In his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, there was no danger to be apprehended out of that House, if they discharged their duty within it; but if the House of Commons should unhappily be induced, upon that or upon any subsequent occasion, to concede this question from a morbid desire for innovation and for change, then in his conscience he believed, that a fatal and irreparable blow would be struck at the civil liberties and at the moral character of the people.

Mr. Macaulay

said, that having been long absent from that House, he wished it had been in his power to be, at least for some weeks, a silent listener to their debates; but the deep interest which he took in this question, and his sense of what he owed to a large and respectable portion of his constituents, whose views on this subject concurred with his own, impelled him to trust to that indulgence which it was customary in that House to bestow. But before he made any remarks upon the question immediately before the House, he wished to advert, for a short time, to one topic which had excited the greatest interest throughout the country, and to which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had made some very sarcastic, and not, he thought, exceedingly well-judged allusions. It was generally understood that her Majesty's Ministers had determined that the question of the ballot should be an open question—that all the members of the Government should be free to speak and Tote on that question according to their individual opinions. It was natural that this determination should excite censure on the one side of the House, and applause on the other. For his own part, he must say, that, without any reference whatever to his opinion on this particular question, he was inclined, on higher and more general grounds, to approve of the determination of the Government. He rejoiced to see the number of open questions increasing; he rejoiced to see that they were returning to the wise, the honest, the moderate maxims which, prevailed in that House in the time of their fathers and grandfathers. He said, that the practice of the House, in that respect, had undergone, in very recent times, a great change; he believed that another change was now taking place, and that they were reverting to a more prudent and rational system. To what precise extent it was desirable that the Ministers of the Crown should act in strict concert together in Parliament on the various legislative questions that came under consideration, was an exceedingly nice question, a question to which, so far as he was aware, no rigid and strictly drawn rule could be applied. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side, no doubt, possessed a great advantage over him; they were probably aware of much that might have passed during the last four or five years on this subject, with which he was unacquainted. But he Was not aware that any speculative or practical statesman had ever been found, either in writing or speaking, to take any distinct line on this subject, and to trace out a definite line of action, for the guide of political prudence, in all cases, was, he believed, difficult, and perhaps impossible. It was perfectly plain, however, that there were but three courses possible with respect to the conduct of Ministers in dealing with legislative questions—either that they must agree on all questions whatever, or that they must pretend to agree where there was a real difference, or that they must leave each individual member of their body to take the course which his own opinion and inclination dictated. Now, that there should be a perfect agreement between Ministers on all questions, they knew to be impossible. That was not his expression, it was the expression of one who had long been the brightest ornament of that House—Lord Chatham. That great man said, "Talk of divided houses! Why, there never was an instance of an united Cabinet! When were the minds of twelve men ever cast in one and the same mould?' They knew that even if two men were brought up together from their childhood— if they followed the same course of study, mixed in the same society, communicated their sentiments to each other on all topics with perfect freedom, and exercised a mutual influence in forming each other's minds, a perfect agreement between them on political subjects could never be expected. How then was it possible that this agreement could subsist between a cabinet of of several persons imperfectly acquainted with each, other? Every Government—he spoke neither of the present Government, nor of the late Government, nor of the Government which seemed about to be formed the other day—was constructed in such a manner that forty or fifty gentlemen, some of whom had never seen each other's faces till they were united officially, or had been in hot opposition to each other all the rest of their lives, were brought into intimate connexion. He meant to cast no reflection whatever on either side of the House, but such was the general character of all Governments, and complete unanimity in any was out of the question. It would, in truth, be an absolute miracle. Only two courses, therefore, remained. Either there might be a semblance of unanimity, where unanimity really was not, or each person might be left to act on his own opinions. He did not profess any extraordinary degree of prudery on matters of political morality. He was perfectly aware that in Parliament it was impossible any thing great could be done without co-operation, and he was aware that there could be no co-operation without mutual compromise. He admitted, therefore, that men were justified, when united into a party, either in office or in opposition, in making mutual concessions, in opposing measures which they might, as individuals, think desirable, in assenting to those which they might consider objectionable, and giving their votes, not with reference to the mere terms of the question put from the chair, but with reference to the general state of political parties. All this he admitted. If there were any person who thought it wrong, he respected the tenderness of his conscience, but that person's vocation was not for a public life. That person should select a quieter path for his passage through life, one in which he might play a useful and respectable part, but he was as completely unfitted for the turmoils of political strife as a Quaker, by his religious principles, was prevented from undertaking the command of a regiment of horse. Thus far he admitted the principle of party combinations, but he admitted that they might be carried too far—that they had been carried too far. That a Member of the House should say "No," to a proposition which he believed to be essentially just and necessary—that he should steadily vote through all its stages in favour of a bill that he believed would have pernicious consequences, was conduct which he (Mr. Macaulay) should think was not to be defended. Such a course of action was not reconcileable to a plain man, whose notions of morality were not drawn from the casuists. He only defended the principle of mutual action among political partisans as being a peculiar exception from the great general rules of political morality, and it was clear, that an exception from the great rules of political morality should be most strictly construed, that it should not be needlessly extended, and, above all, that it should not be converted into the rule. Therefore, he said, that in the members of a Government, any concession of opinion which was not necessary to the efficient conduct of affairs, to cordial co-operation, was to be looked upon as unjustifiable. In saying this, he was not pleading for any innovation, he was attacking a modern, basis of action, and recommending a return to the sounder and better maxims of the last generation. Nothing was more common than to hear it said, that the first time a great question was left open was when Lord Liverpool's Administration left the Catholic question open. Now, there could not be a grosser error. Within the memory of many persons living, the general rule was this, that all questions whatever were open questions in a cabinet, except those which came under two classes—namely, first, measures brought forward by the Government as a Government, which all the members of it were, of course, expected to support; and, second, motions brought forward with the purpose of casting a censure, express or implied, on the Government, or any department of it, which all its members were, of course, expected to oppose. He believed that he laid down a rule to which it would be impossible to find an exception, he was sure he laid down a general rule, when he said that fifty years ago all questions not falling under these heads were considered open. Let Gentlemen run their minds over the history of Mr. Pitt's administration. Mr. Pitt, of course, expected that every Gentleman connected with him by the ties of office should support him on the leading questions of his Government—the India Bill, the resolutions respecting the commerce of Ireland, the French commercial treaty. Of course, also, he expected, that no Gentleman should remain in the Government who had voted for Mr. Bastard's motion, of censure on the naval administration of Earl Howe, or for Mr. Whit-bread's motion on the Spanish armament; but, excepting on such motions, brought forward as attacks on Government, perfect liberty was allowed to his colleagues, and that not merely on trifles, but on constitutional questions of vital importance. The question of Parliamentary reform was left open; Mr. Pitt and Mr. Dundas were in favour of it, Lord Mulgrave and Lord Grenville against it. On the impeachment of Warren Hastings, likewise, the different Members of Government were left to pursue their own course; that governor was attacked by Mr. Pitt, and defended by Lord Mulgrave. In 1790 the question, whether the impeachment should be considered as having dropped, in consequence of the termination of the Parliament, in which the proceedings were commenced, was left an open question; Mr. Pitt took one side, and was answered by his own Solicitor-general, Sir J. Scott, afterwards Lord Eldon. The important question respecting the powers of juries in cases of libel was left open; Mr. Pitt took a view favourable to granting them extensive powers, Lord Grenville and Lord Thurlow opposed him. The abolition of the slave trade was also an open question. Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville were favourable to it; Mr. Dundas and Lord Thurlow were among the most conspicuous defenders of the slave trade. All these instances had occurred in the space of about five years. Were they not sufficient to prove how absurdly and ignorantly those persons spoke who told us, that the practice of open questions was a mere innovation of our own time? There were men now living—great men, held in honour and reverence—Lord Grey, Lord Wellesley, Lord Holland, and others, who well remembered, that at an early period of their public life, the law of libel, the slave trade, Parliamentary reform, were all open questions, supported by one section of the Cabinet, and opposed by another. Was this the effect of any extraordinary weakness or timidity on the part of the statesman then Prime Minister? No; Mr. Pitt was a man, whom even his enemies and detractors always acknowledged, possessed a manly, brave, and commanding spirit. And was the effect of his policy to enfeeble his Administration, to daunt its adherents, to render them unable to withstand the attacks of the Opposition? On the contrary, never did a ministry present a firmer or more serried front to Opposition, nor had he the slightest doubt but that their strength was increased in consequence of giving each Member more individual liberty. Where there were no open questions, opinions might be restrained for 9, time, but sooner or later they would show themselves, and when they did, what would be the consequence? Not, as in Mr. Pitt's time, when one Minister would speak against a measure and another for it —when one would divide with the ayes, and another with the noes, and as Mr. Pitt and Mr. Dundas did, all in perfect good humour, lest the Government should be dissolved. Now, as soon as one cabinet Minister got up and declared that he could not support the view taken by another upon any question, what was the result? The result had been seen. They all remembered the manner in which the Government of the Duke of Wellington, in 1828, dispensed with the services of some members of the cabinet, in consequence of a difference of opinion upon a subject which not one of Mr. Pitt's colleagues would have asked permission to vote against him. He did not pretend to draw the line precisely, but he was satisfied that of late the line had been drawn in an improper and inconsiderate manner. It was time they should return to better maxims, maxims which had been shown by experience to be sound and good. He was perfectly satisfied that the present Government would find, by taking this course on the present occasion, that they had increased their strength and raised their character. Now, to come to the particular question before the House, he should vote for the motion of the hon. Member for the city of London. He wished to explain that, in doing this, he was merely to be understood as giving a declaration in favour of the principle of secret voting. He desired to be understood as reserving to himself the right of withholding his support from any bill which, when he examined its details, did not appear to contain such provisions as would effect the object he had in view. He must reserve to himself, also, the right of considering how far he could, with propriety, give his support to any bill which should not be accompanied or preceded by some measure for improving the mode of revising the registration. He should think it most disingenuous to give a popular vote, saddling it with a condition which he thought either impossible or exceedingly difficult of fulfilment. Such was not his opinion. He had no doubt that it was possible to provide machinery which should give, both to the voter and to the country all the security which the transactions of human life admitted, and he had as little doubt that it was possible to devise a tribunal, whose decision on a rote before the election would command as much public confidence as the decisions of committees of that House after elections. Subject to these two conditions, he would give his support to the vote by ballot. He could not say that he did so upon the grounds on which many of the supporters of the ballot rested their case, because he by no means conceived, like many of them, that this was a case in which all the arguments lay on one side. He admitted that, in his opinion, the advantages that would be derived from this measure would be very great; but, admitting and feeling this, still he was not surprised that very wise and very virtuous men hesitated on this subject, and that such men came, on this subject, to a conclusion different from his. They must in this, as in almost every other question of human affairs, balance the good with the good, and the evil with the evil. He fully admitted that the ballot would withdraw the voter from the influence of something that was good as well as from the influence of something that was bad. He admitted that, it took away the salutary check of public opinion, as well as the pernicious effect of intimidation. He was compelled to strike a balance, and take refuge in the ballot, as the lesser of two evils. He did not, he must say, altogether agree with the Member for the city of London, if he perfectly understood him, in thinking that the ballot would secure that entire prevention of the bribery of voters which, on this subject, the hon. Member seemed inclined to hope. In small constituencies, he did think that bribery would continue, although, at the same time, it might not be so extensively entered into. He considered that the ballot was a remedy, a specific remedy, and the only remedy for the evils of intimidation; and, upon this ground, he gave it his support. There was a time when he, like the noble Lord who seconded the motion of the hon. Member for London, was inclined to hope that those evils, like many other evils which had yielded to the force of public opinion and the progress of intelligence, would die a natural death. That hope he had been compelled to relinquish. He believed the evil to be a growing evil, and he was satisfied that it had made progress within the last seven, years. He believed it had made progress within the last three years. He could not disguise from himself that the growth of this evil was, in some measure, to be imputed to the Reform Act; and, in saying this, he only said it in common of the Reform Act, and of almost every great measure. The Reformation of the Church, they all knew, produced classes of society and moral evils that were unknown in the time of the Plantagenets. The Revolution produced a description of abuses that were unknown in the time of the Stuarts; and the Reform Act, although he believed no measure was more generally pleasing to the country, like the Reformation of the Church, and the Revolution, produced some new, and aggravated some old, evils it swept away many abuses, but it seemed to him to have given a deeper and more malignant energy to the abuses which it spared. It swept away many of the old channels of corrupt influence, but, in those channels which it had not swept away, the corrupt current not only still ran on, but it ran on deeper, and stronger, and fouler than ever. It destroyed, or, if it did not destroy, it restricted within narrow limits, the old practice of direct nomination; but, in doing so, he believed it gave a new impulse to the practice of intimidation, and this at the very moment when it conferred the franchise on thousands of electors, and thus placed them in a situation in which they were most open to influence and intimidation. It was impossible to close their eyes to the evidence that was offered to them on every side. If he believed the outcry raised, not by one party, or from one corner of the kingdom, but by Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, he must believe that there were, sitting in that House, Gentlemen who owed their seats to rotes extorted by fear. And he said, that if there was any Gentleman in that House who owed his seat to such means, it were infinitely better that he sat there for Old Sarum; for, by silting there for Old Sarum, he would be no Representative of the people, nor was he a Representative of the people now. At Old Sarum there were no threats of ejectments because a voter had more regard to his public duty than to his private interest. At Old Sarum the voter was never put to the alternative whether he would abandon his principles, or reduce his family to distress. All tyranny was bad; but the worst was that which worked with the machinery of freedom. Under an undisguised oligarchy, the people suffered only the evil of being governed by those whom they had not chosen; but, to whatever extent intimidation mixed itself up with the system of popular election, to that extent the people suffered both the evil of being governed by those whom they had not chosen, and the evil of being coerced into a professed choice. A great number of human beings were thus mere machines through whom, the great proprietors expressed their pleasure, and the greater their number, the greater the extent of misery and degradation. The noble Lord who had seconded the motion said, and most justly said, that he did not wish, in supporting this motion, to deprive wealth of its legitimate influence. Wealth, under any system, must always retain its legitimate influence. Wealth was power, and power justly and kindly used necessarily inspired affection. Wealth, or that which was so, compared with what was possessed by the great mass of electors, was closely connected with intellectual superiority. It enabled its possessor to select and prosecute any study to which he might be inclined; to continue it when those who commenced life with him, under less favourable circumstances, were forced to drudge for their daily bread; to enlarge his mind by foreign travel: to acquire an intimacy with the history of nations, and with the arts and sciences. These were advantages to which it was impossible that constituencies could be blind; nay, going much below those who formed the present body of electors, and descending to the very lowest of the populace, it never was found that, even in their wildest aberrations, they chose a leader destitute of these recommendations. This was the natural, the indestructible, the legitimate, the salutary influence of wealth. Whatever was more than this was corruption; and if it were thought necessary, as it appeared from the speech of the hon. Member who had last spoken, that some persons in that House did think it necessary to maintain the influence of bribery in our elective system, then he said, that incomparably the best and least objectionable method was that of open bribery. But against bribery they enacted laws; against bribery they passed resolutions; for bribery, boroughs were disfranchised; for bribery, Members were unseated; for bribery, indictments and informations were preferred; for bribery, the penalties extended both to the elector and the elected; one man was disqualified, another man fined. On what principle did they inflict penalties on the elector— on what principle but this, that, from having dealt in pecuniary corruption, the elector was no longer fit to exercise the right of voting? But what was the operation of intimidation? It was this—" Vote with me, or give up my custom. Vote with me, or you give up your farm." Or it was thus—" Vote with me, and I will give you 20l. for a pair of boots. Why, surely it was notorious that this was one of the constant forms of corruption. "Vote with me, and I will give you 20l. for a pair of boots," was a common and constant form of corruption, though less so, perhaps, because less easy, than "Vote for me, or I will carry my custom to the boot-maker's in the next street." On what possible pretext could any man defend such an exercise of the power of wealth as this? and here he must say, that he almost dissented from the form of expression used by the hon. Member for London in his eloquent and excellent speech; he objected to the hon. Member making an antithesis between intimidation and corruption. He said, that intimidation was corruption in its worst and most loathsome form, stripped of every seduction, of every blandishment, of everything that had the appearance of liberality and good humour; a hard, strict, cruel corruption, seeking by means most foul, a most loathsome end. It was corruption working by barbarity; and this sort of corruption, this general sort of corruption, was, most unhappily, the easiest and cheapest of all. Corruption by gifts cost something, but corruption by threats cost nothing but the crime. It was only of a superfluity out of what was left after expending all that was necessary for the support of a family, that corruption by giving commenced: but how much worse was the corruption of taking away? The man who practised intimidation was under no necessity of mortgaging his estate to prepare for an election: nay, at the same time that he improved perhaps his lands, by the very mode of administering the economy of his family, he was able to effect by intimidation all the purposes of corruption to a greater extent, and with more complete demoralization than had ever been seen in Grampound or East Retford. But not only was intimidation worked easily and cheaply, but it was also most trying to the virtue of the persons that were subjected to it, inasmuch as it was much more easy to refuse that which a man never had, than to submit to be pillaged of that which, he was accustomed to have. Many men who would not hesitate to throw down a purse if it were offered to him to vote for a particular candidate, would nevertheless vote against his conscience for fear of an ejectment. And he found, that this corruption which was the greatest, the easiest the cheapest, and the most trying to the party, was also the safest of all. It was also that sort of corruption which they allowed and must allow with perfect impunity. They could punish to a certain extent that good humoured corruption which corrupted by making men happy, but they could not punish that malignant corruption that corrupted by making men miserable. They could not set up an inquisitorial tribunal that would be entitled to ask these questions: — Why did you not continue such a lease—what fault did you find—did not the tenant do justice to the land—did he not pay his rent — was he disrespectful—and if not for his vote, why did you turn him out?" Or, to take the instance of a tailor after the Westminster election, could you put such questions as these: — "Why have you left him—had he not suited you—did he not fit you well—were his charges too high—and if not for his vote, why did you leave him?" Such a remedy would be worse than the disease. Property ceased to be property, if they called upon the proprietor for any reasons other than mere will and caprice, to state why he discharged his tailor or other tradesman. In what position, then, did they stand? Here was, as it seemed to him, a great evil—a growing evil—an evil much more fearful than many which had undergone the direct censure of the law. But it was so intertwined with the institution of property, that if they attempted to strike at it by means of an enacting bill, they would inflict necessarily a wound upon the institution of property. It seemed to him, then, considering punishment out of the question, that they could only try means of prevention. What were the means of prevention suggested? Absolutely none, except the ballot. Here, then, or nowhere we can find means of reconciling the rights of property with the rights of suffrage. In this way, only, could they enable each party really to do what he liked with his own. The estate was the landlord's the vote was the tenant's." "So use your own rights," was the language of all civil as well as moral law, "as not to interfere with the rights of others." But here, it should be remarked, they could not give the one right without infringing or rather destroying the other. Through a system of open voting, they could not give the landlord that dominion over his estate which he ought to have, without throwing in the dominion over his tenant's votes which he ought not to have, and under the same system of open voting they could not protect the tenant's votes without interfering with the landlord's property. Under a system of open voting, with rights opposed to each other, it was impossible to reconcile the differences between these two great principles on which depended the whole national prosperity, liberty and property. If, then, there was any mode of reconciling these principles, ought they not eagerly to embrace it, and most seriously to consider whether they would not find in the ballot the mode of reconciling them. Whether the ballot would not give equal and perfect protection to both. Whether it would not give to each just what they ought to have and nothing more than each ought to have? If this were, as he really believed it would be, the effect of the ballot, if here, and here only, they could find a solution of those difficulties, surely no slight objections ought to deter them from adopting it. The objection to the ballot, though by no means the only one raised in discussion, which appeared to throw any real difficulty in the way of carrying it was, as had been said, by an eloquent, ingenious, and lively speaker, that in the minds of the people there was a moral objection to it, otherwise nothing could prevent for a single session the carrying of the principle of vote by ballot. He must own that this objection, highly respectable as many of those who entertain it were, did not seem to him sound or well considered, because he hardly thought that it could be entertained by any respectable and sensible person, who considered, for a moment what was the amount of the evil effected by the present system. Surely if it were immoral to tell an untruth, at least it was equally immoral, having received a great public trust for the public good, to employ that trust to an evil purpose. If it were un-English not to dare to own the vote that was given, surely it was more un-English, not to dare to vote as he thought right. When the word un-English was used, they were compelled to contrast their idea of that bold and sturdy independence which had been their great pride as a national characteristic, with the situation of a man who, holding his farm from year to year, is compelled by fear of pecuniary loss and ruin to poll against him whom he wished to see chaired, and to vote for the candidate whom, with all his heart, he would see well ducked. At present they knew that many dishonest votes were given, but let a system of secrecy in voting be introduced and they would have honest votes, although the parties might afterwards deny that they had given them. Which was the greater evil of the two? God forbid that he should say anything that should seem to extenuate the guilt of falsehood, but God forbid also, that he should not make some allowance for the poor as well as for the rich. God forbid that he should see more distinctly the mote in the eye of the 10l householder, than the beam in the eye of a baron or a bishop. If morality were anything more than capricious favour or mere pretext, they would have ample opportunities of exercising it, without waiting till the ballot became the law of the land, or without even descending below their own rank in life. If it were criminal in a man to utter an untruth for the purpose of guarding a secret against private curiosity, then he would say, that they would find many criminals of a far higher station, and of a far more cultivated intellect, than the bakers and butchers about whose veracity they were so anxious. He would take a single illustration from the case of anonymous writers. It was perfectly notorious that men of high consideration, men of the first distinction, had written books and published them without their names, and on being questioned, had denied that they were the authors of the works they had written; and yet this denial did not prevent them from being generally considered with respect and kindness in society. They had also seen casuists of great repute defend those parties. One illustrious name he would instance, which would no doubt suggest itself to all who heard him, the name of a first-rate man of genius, of excellent principles, and a noble spirit— he need hardly add the name of Sir Walter Scott. Sir Walter Scott published without his name that eminent and popular series of novels which had endeared him to all his countrymen, nay, almost to all the world, and which he for one could not think upon without feelings of the deepest admiration and gratitude. Sir Walter Scott published this series of novels anonymously, and to all questions put to him on the subject, persisted in denying the authorship of them, till at length he consented to drop the veil of concealment, and acknowledge them to be the productions of his pen. Now he would ask—and he appealed to many who were personally acquainted with that great man—he would appeal to them and ask, did this concealment and subsequent avowal of his name reflect any shame on the character of Sir W. Scott? — did any one of the large circle of his friends and admirers consider that Sir W. Scott had dishonoured himself by this proceeding All that he demanded was this, that we should, in the purity of our own moral feelings, think of the moral feelings of other classes, as well as of those belonging to that class to which we ourselves belonged; that we should have one weight and one measure; and that we should extend to those untruths by means of which the poor man seeks to protect himself from the encroachments of the gentleman, that pardon which we extend to the untruths by which one gentleman defends himself from the impertinent curiosity of another. He did not pretend to be a casuist, nor to be accustomed to weigh questions of this nature in a very nice balance, but he should hesitate, he almost thought, to advise an elector now-a-days to tell the truth and take the consequences. They had no right to expect sacrifices of that kind from everybody, or count on the moral courage to make them. As for the honest electors, that class of men—village Hampdens, Gray would have called them—they would be honest still if this measure were adopted. The man who would utter untruths when he had the ballot, was the man who would now be ready to give a corrupt vote. In fact, there was the same breach of faith in the one course as in the other. He was for neither. Of the two alternatives—of the two chances of evil—he thought the latter was to be preferred. In short, if the voters could not at once keep faith with their country, and with their corruptors, he was one who wished that we should have a system by which their faith might be kept to their country, and broken to their corruptors. If there were one system under which, more than another, it were easy for the elector to break his faith to the country, while he kept it with his corruptor, that system was the present. Another objection, which was sometimes put forward, was contained in this question, "Will you disturb that settlement which was made by the Reform Bill, and which we were then told was to be final." On this point he fully agreed with the hon. Member for the city of London. He thought that this question had been expressly reserved at the time of carrying the Reform Bill; nor was he aware that a single person considered himself, by supporting the Reform Bill, to be pledged to do without the ballot. Now, with regard to the finality of the Reform Bill; he had always regarded that great measure with reverence, —but a rational, not a superstitious reverence; and he conceived that the question, whether it should be amended or not, should be considered upon no other principles, but the ordinary principles of public good. He saw many and strong arguments against frequent and violent changes in our constitutional system. He could not conceal from himself that the great revolution of 1832—for revolution it was, and a most fearful and sanguinary revolution it would have been in any other nation than this. That revolution was effected here without civil disorder, and without the effusion of blood; but unquestionably the passing of the bill was attended with much excitement and danger. That excitement and that danger he was not desirous to renew. He would bear with many inconveniences rather than open a similar scene; nay, he would bear with many grievances rather than agree to re-open the whole representative system which was established by the Reform Act. But if any man argued that the Reform Act ought to be final, he must, at the same time, admit, that it ought to be effectual, otherwise they would have cut off one form of misrepresentation merely to have it replaced by another. They must not allow that which they meant as a franchise to be turned into a species of villein service, more degrading by far than any that belonged to the dark era of the 14th century. It was not that threats should be substituted in the place of bribery—it was not for that result that the aristocracy had been conquered in their own strongholds; but it was for the establishment of a genuine suffrage, and of real, not pernicious, rights, that the Church, the aristocracy, and the Court together had been made to give way before the determined voice of a united people. The object of that mighty movement was not that old abuses should be brought back under new denominations, that the place of Old Sarum, the rotten borough, should be supplied by other Old Sarums, under the respectable names of counties and divisions of counties. No, nor was the time far remote, when this nation, with a voice as imperative as that with which she demanded the Reform Bill, would demand that the Reform Bill be carried out in the truth of its noble principle, and when that just and reasonable demand was conceded, as conceded it would be, and the franchise of every voter should be made a franchise indeed, they would find, that instead of having led the way, by this step, to reckless spoliation and confusion, in truth they had strengthened the law, secured to property its just rights, drawn closer the ties which united the two great orders of society to each other, and attached both of them all the more to the law, the Parliament, and the Crown.

Mr. Milne

spoke as follows:*—Mr. Speaker, I would most humbly deprecate the charge of presumption in attempting to address the House, after the eloquence and the argumentation with which we have been instructed and delighted; but I am certainly anxious to record my opinion on this important subject, before that time arrives to which my hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Edinburgh, seems to look forward with hope and exultation, when the word ballot shall take the place of the word reform, in arousing the passions, and flattering the desires of the people. I wish to speak while the poor man is still undeluded by the belief that vote by ballot shall give rest to his weary limbs, and food to his pining family, and while it is yet possible to regard the question as something more and better than the watchword of a party, anxious and resolute to depose one Ministry or to establish another. At the same time, I would congratulate the House on the practical tone of the present debate. For as long as a subject admits of purely speculative treatment—as long as a man may look at it through the spectacles of his own political philosophy, I do not see how the discussion can lead to any satisfactory result; not only because such discussions have in themselves a tendency to infinity, but because I believe it only to require a certain agility of rhetorical fence to ward off the most substantive philosophical argument. The question has now assumed the distinct and simple form of a recognised evil, and a proposed remedy. I readily take the admission of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, that against corruption the ballot can do little, and that it is with it, as a defence against intimidation, that we have primarily to deal. Now the landlord intimidates the tenant, and the customer the shopkeeper, because he believes him to be about to exercise or to have exercised his electoral * From a corrected report. privilege in a sense of which he, the landlord or customer, does not approve. It is this conviction which calls into action the will of the violent and tyrannical man, and excites him to assert that will by unjust and unconstitutional means. It is admitted, on all sides, to be most difficult— nay, almost impossible, in a country of free institutions, to control the exercise of this will, and recourse is therefore had to some means which may prevent or restrain the entertainment of the conviction. Will the vote by ballot working, as from consideration of national character and political circumstances, we are justified in believing that it will work, effect this object? I believe not. Much confusion has arisen from the supposed identity of vote by ballot and secret suffrage, and nowhere more so than in the historical analogies which have been brought to bear upon the present discussion. The example of Athens has been frequently appealed to; while it has been entirely overlooked, that the suffrage only became habitually secret in the latter and lower clays of the republic—the days of the dishonest Nicomachus and of the death of Socrates; and that even then it was only in judicial proceedings, and never in the election of political functionaries, that the votes were secretly taken. The instance of America has too frequently been a staple of these debates; while secrecy there is neither attempted nor attained, and the name of a candidate or a symbol of the cause he advocates, is frequently imprinted on the voting-ticket. But, although vote by ballot is, perhaps, the mode which unites the greatest rapidity in voting with the greatest numerical precision, it has not, I believe, occurred to any one, that it would be advisable to substitute it for the present method in our comparatively limited electoral body, except as connected with the circumstance of secrecy. Would, then, vote by ballot in England be secret suffrage; or, at any rate, sufficiently secret to prevent the intimidator from asserting his criminal authority? I believe, Sir, that almost, if not quite all the cases of oppression which have most justly shocked the feelings, not only of the advocates of the ballot, but of all honest politicians, have occurred during the excitements of contested elections. They are not the fruits of hoarded vengeance, and animosity delayed; they are no projected encroachments on popular rights, no organized conspiracies of insolent ambition; they are the creatures of the thoughtless and uncalcu- lating petulance of the time, and thus are frequently in the ranks of one political party as of another. Let me, then, ask the hon. Member for London whether his deep philosophical research, his long and accurate historical investigation, his knowledge of mankind, in this and other periods of the world, would lead him to the conclusion that men in this temper would stop short of the gratification of their will, when you have only substituted strong suspicion for open confirmation? Is injustice so scrupulous in the adjustment of its wrongs? is tyranny so careful of the direction of its violence? is jealousy so exigent of full and perfect proof before it falls upon its victim? is passion so precise, and anger so accurate, as to warrant you in believing that you will have forefended the voter against the oppression of the powerful, because you may have diminished the chances of positive evidence and limited his conviction to a moral certainty? It has not been distinctly stated by any of the advocates of this measure, whether it is their intention that the secret suffrage should be compulsory on all voters. There is many a rank weed in the garden of popular freedom; but though I might doubt whether, in this Parliament, such a law could be enacted, I have no doubt whatever as to whether, in this country, such a law would be obeyed. The refusal, then, to vote openly would be regarded by the intimidator as tantamount to a defiance of his will, and the issue would be just the same as it is now. But suppose the voter could conceal his vote, how is he to conceal his opinions? He may do it by two methods, and none other,— by systematised falsehood, or by total political apathy;—a fair choice for a free man! He must take in no newspaper, he must belong to no club, he must forego all those means of the reciprocation of intelligence, of which hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House are so urgent, for all these run in some political course or other; he must be silent on all those matters, which those hon. Gentlemen suppose to be working in his heart, before his wife,—she may be a gossip before his children—they may be tell-tales before his friend, I do not say —he will have none. Suppose this man to have been the victim of intimidation, and to be now resolved to foil it by the use of the ballot and the means I have described; surely, surely, the second state of this man is worse than the first. If the evil of intimidation be, as is asserted, so deeply engrained in our political system, then must the remedy be deeply and severely applied. No more political demonstrations from the middle classes, no public meetings, no public requisitions to candidates, no more open conflict of public opinion—nothing but mine and countermine ! Nor is this a vague fear, an uncertain possibility: it is, by the partisans of secret suffrage, unreluctantly anticipated. They see no injury to public feeling, in assimilating the election of a legislator to the choice of a companion at a club; no loss to political morality, in reducing the high and responsible duty of a citizen, to the exercise of the small conventionalities of polite life: they would readily establish the victory of the ballot on the ruins of the public spirit of the people of England. But, Sir, my fears cannot keep pace with their hopes, even if, through the instrumentality of delusive agitation, vote by ballot, does at length become part of the law of the land. Ours is not a written charter—our political system is the offspring of time, and the disciple of necessity; and the nationality of ages, and the habits of generations, are not to be merged in the most ingenious ballot-box, of which philosopher or mechanician ever dreamed. It is no common-place cant to call the ballot un-English; it is "un-English," not with reference to any fanciful analysis of national character, not as inconsistent with a traditionary ideal of what Englishmen ought to be, rather than what they are, but un-English so far forth (and this is all that we have to do with) as to prevent the process of it from working harmoniously and co-ordinately with the other parts of our social and political organisation; sufficiently un-English to render the practice of it impracticable in the sense in which it is taken by its supporters, and offered to this House and to the country. If, then, the ballot ever rises into a popular cry, it is in this spirit that it is to be met and conquered. Let every Member of this House, when he comes face to face with his constituents, no matter of what class or condition these are, let him simply and boldly ask, "How many of them are unwilling to declare their votes in the public presence of their fellow-citizens? How many are desirous of protection,—in plain English, are afraid; how many are anxious for concealment,—in plain English are ashamed of openly recording their political feelings? How many would care a straw for the privilege of the franchise, if their votes were to be given under this dull covert of secrecy, if there were to be no open communication, no free sympathy of political opinions? Let him call upon all such that are present to hold up their hands, and if, in any constituency of England, they are the fair majority, I will own myself to have been grievously mistaken. Tell me not that this is an appeal to the prejudices, rather than to the reason of men; call it prejudice, call it instinct, call it what you please, it is still a fact in the nature of mankind, and a fact strong enough to trample under foot the most careful calculation and the most accurate syllogism. There is, Sir, another point of view in which I should have been unwilling to regard this question, as it seems to assume that general secrecy which, in this country, I believe to be unattainable; but when I remember, that this night is, as it were, an interlude between two acts of the great debate on national education, I cannot help parenthetically suggesting to hon. Gentlemen opposite, that if it be totally unimportant, or even unjust, to discriminate between the more or less respectable, the better or worse educated parts of the constituency, if it be indifferent what proportion of the intelligence of the electors a Member represents, it follows that the ignorant are just as valid political judges as the best informed, and that all the anxiety of those hon. Gentlemen to raise the political tone of the people by means of education, all their pressure on the Government to spare no expense or labour in educating the masses (now declared to be so debased by ignorance) is inconsistent and absurd. I know, Sir, that all my representation of the inefficacy of the remedy proposed may be interrupted by the expostulation, "only to try it: you admit the evil; we only ask you to try our remedy can anything be more reasonable? "Sir, I would answer to this, that I know of no such thing in political science as a pure and simple experiment. I know, that if the experiment fail, there is no going back with safety; no retracing the steps you may discover to have been erroneous no placing yourselves where you were when the experiment was undertaken. Every act of legislation goes far beyond what is apparent at the time of its enactment; every least measure has its consequences, and those consequences, in some form or other, are infinite and eternal. The ballot will fail; it will deceive the excited hopes of the people, as the Reform Bill has deceived them; and the same demand will then be made as to the ballot, which is now made as to the Reform Bill: "We care nothing for the mere legislative form: that, you see, brings us no advantage—carry out the spirit of your ballot Act; give it a fair, free field to work in; extend your suffrage; shorten your Parliaments!" And if, after all this, the people are not contented, then —what then? Thus shall we go on, from change to change, from disease to remedy, and from remedy to disease, until all that is vigorous and stable in our social system be exhausted; until all natural influences and healthful rights be distorted or destroyed, and nothing be left us but that unmitigated discontent, which is at once the child and the parent of revolution. To those to whom the enactment of vote by ballot is but an antechamber to the wide and open halls of democracy, there is nothing in all this unwelcome or unwise; but I would call on those who trust not only in the finality of the Reform Bill, but in the permanence of our institutions; not only in the perfection of an edifice which is the work of their own hands, but in the truth and soundness of the foundations of national character on which our constitution has stood so long and so well to resist with untiring energy the continuous assaults of the hon. Member for London. "And is then," I may be asked, "this evil of intimidation a necessary component part of this your constitution? Do you recognize this, too, as established?" No such thing. My remedy is, the public spirit of the people of England. My cure is, the power of the democracy of England. Can any one for a moment contemplate what that power now is, and not feel that any systematised attempt at intimidation or coercion on the part of the privileged classes, is as the menace of the rush to the whirlwind? If I wanted to make a man's fortune in these days, I would hold him up as a political martyr. Do not believe, that the aristocracy of this country can continue habitually to play a game where the evil they inflict must, in the perception of the very blindest, ultimately recoil with ten-fold violence on the heads of the inflictors. The most passionate leveller of the ranks of orders of society could only desire that the upper classes should abundantly use these weapons of self-destruction; but I trust in the lessons they have learnt from recent experience, in their juster estimation of the relative positions of society, in their better discrimination between the assumption and the possession of power. Year by year examples of this undue influence will become less flagrant and more rare, and the people will soon feel, that it is not these and their authors, but themselves and their own irresponsiblity, that they have rightly to fear.

Sir G. Staunton

, rose only to withdraw an amendment of which he had given notice and placed on the books to the following effect:— That in order to ascertain by experiment the efficacy of the ballot, as a remedy for existing abuses at the election of Members of Parliament, it is expedient that in the first ten counties, cities, or boroughs, of which one-half or more of the registered electors shall petition for the same, the votes at the next ensuing elections for such places shall betaken by ballot.

Lord J. Russell

said, in rising to address the House on this subject I feel I have no such excuse as that given by my hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Edinburgh, (whose speech stood in need of no recommendation but its ability and eloquence), who said that he was not used for some time to address this House, when I ask the attention of the House for some few minutes; for, Sir, I know—I am perfectly aware that there is nothing I can now address to the House, that has not been addressed to it frequently before, and the arguments I myself have used on frequent occasions I shall be obliged to repeat, meaning as I do to conclude, as I have always done, by declaring my intention of voting against the motion of the hon. Member for London. Sir, I own I could have wished that my hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Edinburgh, had taken a longer time to pause on this important question before he decided on sanctioning this change in the practice of election. I could have wished that he had longer trusted to what he said when Member for Leeds — "the growing and predominant influence of public opinion," before he finally determined to give the sanction of his vote, and what is more, the weight of his ability and argument in favour of this change. Sir, I was the more induced to regret his decision when I saw how little disposed he was to weigh duly what I think some of the strongest objections to this measure. My hon. and learned Friend has said, that no slight objections ought to stand in the way of the adopion of the ballot. But did those objections which he himself has admitted seem to the House of so very slight and in- considerable a nature? Why, Sir, one of those effects he acknowleges will be to do away with the influence of public opinion. I own I should not have expected from my hon. and learned Friend, knowing what weight he attaches to public opinion, what influence, no doubt, he attributes to it, and would gladly see it produce in all our institutions and in all our public transactions— that in this act alone, and that a most important one, by which the representatives of the people are chosen, he should be content to have public opinion forego its influence, and that he should consider this one of the slightest objections which may be urged against the ballot. Sir, I have always considered (I am obliged, as I said, to recur to my former objections), that it was an evil that should make us pause and feel a repugnancy to this change, that we were thereby putting the electors of the United Kingdom in a totally different position from that of every other individual of every body, and of every authority, even the highest amongst us. The judges of the land, in pronouncing their judgments— the Houses of Parliament, in their proceedings and debates—even the conduct of the Sovereign, as we have on a late occasion seen, when on these rare opportunities an exercise of authority is called for apart from the advice of responsible Ministers of the Crown—even the conduct of the Sovereign, I say, has been made the subject of political discussion, has been openly canvassed and exposed to the influence of respectful yet free public opinion. And by that public opinion, or by the results of that public opinion, every one of us, the judges of the land, the Houses of Parliament, the Sovereign herself, is content and will be content to abide. And then we are to be told that there is to be one class of persons not comprehending the whole nation, but a chosen class amounting, as the hon. Member for Middlesex said, on a former night, to some fraction of the adult male population, to one-fifth or one-seventh, and that these persons are to be totally free and exempt from all the influence of public opinion, and in choosing their representatives uncontrolled by any responsibility—whether under the influence of the hatred of a person whom they pretend to love—whether under the influence of malice against a person whom they pretend to respect—whether under the influence of corruption, with the pretence of purity—under whatever influence they may act, however tad, however anxious, however incapable of being avowed —under such an influence and such a motive will these electors shield and shroud their conduct in the solemn act of selecting their representatives. I do hope then, Sir, that my hon. and learned Friend, although he may not change his opinion on the ballot, yet will consider that in adopting it he is foregoing a very great public advantage; and, that if he does feel himself driven to the necessity of doing so, he will feel that no slight or small objections stand in the way of him who assumes the responsibility of adopting a change which is incompatible with the practice of the Constitution, and may be found inconsistent with the future welfare of the people. I must ask, when it is proposed to me to adopt the ballot, in the first place, whether it will be a specific for the particular evils of which you complain; and in the second place, whether, supposing it may prove such a specific, and that those evils prevail to a great extent, it will not induce other evils unknown under the present system? Now, with regard to that first question, I have heard much from my hon. and learned Friend, most eloquently expressed, as to intimidation and corruption. I have heard much, too, from the hon. Member for the City of London with respect to the evils of intimidation. I allow the truth of every word which fell from both of them on this subject. I allow that the evils of intimidation are great, although I certainly modify that opinion so far as not to agree with them, that these evils are not probably carried to the very great extent which they assert. But allowing, that this intimidation is a very great evil, and that we ought to endeavour to remedy it, I think my hon. and learned Friend, and the hon. Member for London, though they arrived at that point, fell far short of proving, that the ballot was what we required. I have heard nothing either from the mover or seconder of the motion, which shows, that the proposition of the ballot will remove the evil of which they complain. Now, take the instance referred to by my noble Friend the seconder of the motion. A tenant is called on by the steward of his landlord to say, whether he voted in favour of a particular candidate. I do not believe, that for a long time at least, the ballot will prevent that intimidation. I do not believe, that the farmers and yeomen of England will practice that dissimulation which has been suggested, however wise it may be, or however it may receive the palliation, though not the justification, of my noble Friend. I be- lieve that a very few months would decide the question, and that on the steward going to John Smith, and saying to him, "Were you up and voted? Whom did you vote for? [No answer.] Now, tell me fairly, did you not vote for the Whig candidate?" I venture to say that his reply would be, "I tell you fairly that I did vote for the Whig candidate." As matters are constituted at present, however, you may tell him, that he Would be justified in saying, that he voted for the Tory when he actually voted for the Whig. However you may endeavour to prove to him by all kinds of refined and; specious arguments that this pretext was a fair one, which he was entitled to use, I think his plain honest nature would prompt him to own what he had done. Well, then, if the landlord be determined to put in practice the "crime," as my hon. and; learned Friend truly called it, of intimidation, as the consequence of this confession of the farmer, how do you expect it will operate? If these instances of persecution continue, they may operate in such a way as to induce the voter no longer to obey the plain dictate of his honest nature, no longer to avow frankly his politics, as he has hitherto done, no longer to admit the fact, that he voted as he really had done, but that he will gain something of that habit of deception which we are told he ought to assume. Then consider, that when we have in some degree cured the political evil of intimidation, we shall have introduced the social and moral evil of deception, of loss of truth, and loss of character; and I for one am not prepared for such an exchange. Now, Sir, it may be said, and it has been said, that although it is wrong that a person should declare, that he has voted for one whom he has not voted for, there is a falsehood in the present manner in which he gives his vote, and that, in fact, by the ballot we are only telling one falsehood for another. This answer only shows how very much at a loss the advocates of the ballot are to answer the objection that it would introduce want of truth into our election proceedings. I own, that it is a very degrading thing for a man who has a vote—who has that high trust confided to him—to go to the hustings and say, as he does say, "I have voted for Mr. so and go, but I must own I would much rather have voted the other way." That is a very degrading position. At the same time, I can't say, that it is exactly the same position as that which a man is placed in, who states after the election that he voted for the person whom he did not vote for; though one is a political offence—a degradation and a betrayal of the trust reposed in him, it does not cast the same reproach on his moral character as the other false assurance roust necessarily inflict. Then with respect to bribery, all my hon. and learned Friend could say, as other less able and less candid advocates have admitted, was, that it would not greatly aggravate bribery. So that when you have got your machinery perfect-when you have sent the ballot box (which my learned Friend also doubts the expediency of adopting) down into every county, city, and borough—your intimidation, as it appears to me, does not cease, and the only consolation you can give, is that bribery will not thereby be greatly aggravated. Well, Sir, if it is not a specific, as I believe it not to be, for the existing evils, let me consider, whether, besides those I have already mentioned, there will not be new evils attendant on the change. I have often said, and nothing that I have heard has convinced me that I am not right, that the ballot would very much increase the dissatisfaction of those who have no votes. By the Reform Act, power was extended to thousands who never enjoyed it before, and at the same time on the one hand has arisen a much greater degree of knowledge, more independence, and a stronger interest in public affairs. On the other hand are the powers of property— powers exercised by some fairly, by many indifferently well, by others very tyranically. Here is an immediate collision between the two; the great number of electors exercising their franchise freely, and not wishing to employ it merely in accordance with the desire of their landlords; the landlords on the other hand, desiring to exert their power as in former times, and to compel their tenantry to vote in the same manner as themselves. Between these two there is a great Collision. You say, that for this evil the only remedy is the ballot. I have already acquainted the House with my objections to that remedy but my opinion is, that if you do not adopt that remedy you will come, before any very long period has elapsed, to a better state of things, in which these powers of property will be exercised with a greater regard to the rights of the electors—when the landlord will not pretend to say, "Here is a man with a vote—he is a tenant of mine, therefore his vote belongs to me, and I have a right to command the exercise of it." I think, that the free and independent feeling of the people of the United Kingdom is strong enough to carry this change into effect without the interposition of the ballot. I believe in their virtue—I trust in their public spirit— I rely upon their intelligence—I believe that you will diminish all the evils now complained of without the aid of the ballot —and therefore it is that in this time of crisis, great as the complaints are, I think it is far better to let this matter work itself out rather than adopt so dangerous an expedient as that suggested by the hon. Member for London. After what my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Macaulay) has said—and in his manner of discussing this subject, I must give him my thanks, as I have done upon many former occasions— after what he has said with respect to open questions, I do not mean to enter into any defence of the course which Government has taken in making this what is called an open question. If that is a fault, my hon. and learned Friend has shown that it has been a fault of former Governments. I took occasion, in the discussion upon the subject of the corn-laws, to show that over and again the practice of the Governments of this country, and of some of the strongest governments of the country, had been to allow many matters of great and important interest to the country, but upon which public opinion was much divided, to be discussed as open questions. When this question came on for discussion last year, I fairly and freely confessed that I had exerted all my influence, not only with the members of the Government with whom I was associated, but with many others with whom I was connected by the ties of friendship, to induce them not to vote in favour of the ballot. The only consequence was, that we had a division in which 200 Members, forming the greater part of those who sit on this side of the House, voted in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for London (Mr. Grote). I do not think that in consequence of the opinion so expressed by so large a number of Members sitting on this side of the House, that I am in the least obliged to abandon my opinion, or to vote otherwise than I did upon that occasion; but at the same time I must observe, that if I had continued to press my opinions upon my Friends in the same manner as before, I think I should be acting most unjustly to those with whom I have been long acting in political affairs, whose opinions I respect, and whose conduct I deeply esteem.

Mr. Sheil

believed it was the universal sense of the House that there ought to be a division upon the question that night. He should obey the wish of the House, and be as brief as possible. His observations would be very short indeed. He rose solely for the purpose of adverting to what he considered to be important facts —facts upon which he should scarcely make a comment. In the year 1833, at a dinner given at Gateshead, the Earl of Durham made an important disclosure— a disclosure in which many members of the Government, and several Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House were concerned. The Earl of Durham, upon that occasion, said, that it had been referred to him—to him, the Earl of Durham, to Lord Duncannon, to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), now the Member for Stroud, but then the Member for Devonshire, and to the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham), at that time the Member for Cumberland, but now the Member for Pembroke—to arrange the programme of a Reform Bill. It was not stated by Lord Durham at that time what took place at that important conclave of intrepid innovators. A year afterwards a dinner took place at Edinburgh, at which Lord Grey, Lord Durham, and Lord Brougham were present. Upon that occasion references were made — obscure, but quite sufficient to excite further curiosity as to what took place on the important occasion to which he (Mr. Shiel) had previously referred. An article appeared in the Edinburgh Review, in 1834, the writer of which it was less difficult to detect than the giver of a vote dropped into the ballot box. In consequence of that article, Lord Durham wrote a letter in the month of October, 1834, to the distinguished editor of the Edinburgh Review. The matter rested there. The late King died; and a dinner took place at Stroud in July, 1837. Upon that occasion a speech was made by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell). He had in his hand a copy of that speech corrected by the noble Lord, from which he begged to be permitted to read one passage. It was very short; but it was most important. The noble Lord said, I am not about to address you with respect to the vote by ballot, and the duration of Parliaments, having declared my opinions upon these subjects the other day. I will only repeat now that, when I was a member of the committee which framed the great outlines of the Reform Bill, I was selected to propose a plan of which the chief heads were adopted by the committee. That plan began by proposing the total disfranchisement of fifty small boroughs, and the partial disfranchisement of fifty more; it then went on to propose the enfranchisement of all the great manufacturing towns. The plan originally contained no proposition with respect either to the ballot or the duration of Parliaments; but in the course of the discussions which took place in the committee, proposals were made upon those subjects which, after some consideration, were adopted; and in the plan which was ultimately submitted to Lord Grey's Cabinet, it was suggested that the vote by ballot should be adopted, and that the duration of Parliament should be five years. I am mentioning this fact because I know that several statements have been made upon this subject; and, at the time that these statements were made, I had the permission of his late Majesty to state any facts upon this subject which I thought necessary in the way of explanation. I have done so. I should, however, state, that at the same time that the ballot was proposed by the committee, it was suggested that the franchise should be raised to 20l. But the decision of Lord Grey's Government, upon the whole, was not to propose anything to the Legislature with respect to the duration of Parliament and the ballot, and ultimately the amount of the qualification for the franchise was fixed at 10l. He (Mr. Sheil) would not venture to ask the question whether the programme, signed by the names of every one of the members of the committee, with the exception of Lord Duncannon was forthcoming; but he did suggest this to those who had since changed their minds upon the ballot, "Are not the arguments upon the moral part of the case stronger now than they were then?" In what respect was the question changed in a moral sense?—for it was upon the moral part of the case that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) exclusively, or at all events most strenuously relied. He (Mr. Shiel) had said, that he would rely upon facts: he would redeem his pledge: he would not be led into argument. When the Reform Bill was brought into the House of Commons, it was stated by the noble Lord that the question of the ballot was reserved. The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Hume) immediately got up in his place, and said, "I am glad that that question is reserved am glad that it is postponed till we see how the Reform Bill works." Mr. Calcraft, upon the same occasion, said, "How can the noble Lord call this a final measure, when the ballot, a matter of paramount importance, is distinctly reserved." And when the Marquess of Chandos brought in his clause, what took place? Lord Althorp objected to it—upon what ground?—Why, that it would inevitably lead to the ballot. The Commons, however, adopted that clause, and when Lord Grey brought the bill into the House of Lords, he said, "The Bill does not now stand in the shape in which it was originally proposed—it has in several respects been mutilated and impaired by its opponents;" and then, particularly referring to the 50l. tenant-at-will clause, he added: This last regulation is one which I certainly should not have proposed myself. It has been projected and carried by persons not connected with the Government, and the Government are not answerable for it. I hope it will be found to act well; but then it is liable, again, to this objection—that if the same influence be exercised over tenants in counties that has been exercised in other places, which it is not necessary for me now to name, it will be likely to generate a very strong feeling in favour of a regulation to which I am myself opposed — I mean the adoption of the vote by ballot. Did any man at that time say a word about the finality of the Reform Bill? Was a word said on either side of the House upon the point? Ay, there was; but it was not stated that the Reform Bill was final upon the subject of the ballot. No the reverse was stated— the very reverse was asserted by friend and foe. By whom was it asserted? By the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, by Lord Grey, by Mr. Calcraft, by Lord Wharncliffe? He hoped the House would permit him to read five sentences from the speech of Lord Wharncliffe upon the second reading of the Reform Bill in the House of Lords. Lord Wharncliffe said,— He was ready to admit, that the increase to the country constituency on this last head (the tenant-at-will) did not proceed from his Majesty's ministers; but that it was imposed upon them by a noble Lord, a friend of his, in another place. In his opinion, the addition to the county constituency from this source was any thing but an improvement. Prima facie, it gave an appearance of weight to the landed proprietary; but the working of this clause would be this—that if any landlord ever exercised the power given to him by it, he would be placed in the same disagreeable and obnoxious situation in which many high minded individuals, who wished to get rid of refractory tenants were placed, under the present system. This clause, connected with the 10l. qualification clause, would place a great number of the new-made voters entirely at the mercy of their landlords; but their Lordships would deceive themselves egregiously if they imagined that the exercise of such a power on the part of the landlords would not lead almost instantly to the vote by ballot. If you make every election throughout the country a popular election, the only way in which a quiet man, unused to public speaking, and to the crowding, and jostling, and sarcasm of the hustings, can be protected, will be by means of the ballot; and that mode of election would certainly end in the introduction of the vote by ballot. Then came another ground put forth by the Government; he meant that this Bill would be a final settlement of the Reform question. It was impossible that it should be so. He had already warned their Lordships on this subject. He had warned them that the persons who were now most clamorous for reform had plainly declared to the country that they would not stop here. All of their Lordships who had read the public journals lately would want no other proof to convince them of the correctness of that assertion. In the other House of Parliament the matter had been clearly given up; for there the noble Lord who had introduced the Bill had fairly admitted that the Bill could not be final. That noble Lord had said, that the question now was, "Will the people be satisfied with the Bill?" for if they were not, Parliament must needs go further. He (Lord Wharncliffe) fully agreed in that opinion. Ministers had already opened a door to the demands of the people—they had told the people that they were entitled to a full, fair, and free representation in Parliament; and the people would insist on having that representation in perfect conformity with the ideas which they entertained of a full, fair, and free representation. Let no man, after hearing that citation, which was a part of history (and to which every one had access), say, that the Reform Bill, upon the subject of the ballot, was final and conclusive. Were not the evils of the existing system admitted on both sides of the House? The noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, had talked, he would not say lightly, but had that night talked of intimidation, as if it did not exist to an extent at all to warrant the eloquent expatiations of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh; but did the noble Lord remember, that in 1835, when the hon. Member for London brought forward the question of the ballot, the noble Lord stated that the election had been carried against him in Devonshire by intimidation, and that some of the members who had formerly acted upon his committee, had been compelled, as they assured him, to vote against him? And did not the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth himself, upon the same occasion, admit, that under the existing system a great deal of intimidation was constantly practised—a practice, added he, "which I detest." Was it even so? Did the light hon. Baronet say, that he detested the practice? Then, no doubt, the practice existed, for it was well known that the right hon. Baronet was not wont to waste his factitious detestation upon fictitious grievances? He did not say this in mockery of the right hon. Baronet. He believed that the right hon. Baronet's detestation of intimidation was sincere. But when the evil was admitted on all hands by the chief Members of the Government, and the chief opponents of the Government, he wished to see something done. What did the noble Lord propose? What did the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, propose? If he might be pardoned for resorting to so homely a mode of expression, he thought that the position of both these important personages, with reference to this question, might be aptly enough described according to the jest common amongst his humbler and poorer countrymen, "What are you doing, Lord John?"— "Nothing," says he. "What are you doing, Sir Robert?" "Oh ! I am helping Lord John" This was a state of things which could not continue.

Sir J. Graham

said, he should not have risen at that hour, and especially after the speech of the noble Lord, to take a share in this discussion, if it had not been for some observations which had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. On the general merits of the question he proposed to rest the vote he should give to-night, on the general arguments which had been adduced by the noble Lord, and by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh. But the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had referred to some facts which he termed historical, which that hon. Gentleman thought changed the complexion of the case, and he (Sir J. Graham) should frankly state to the House what he trusted would be a sufficient answer to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman. He was far from denying the share which had been allotted to him in the original draught of the measure to be submitted to the Cabinet of his late Majesty, with whom rested the preparation of the Reform Bill. He did not deny that he was associated in that charge with the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), Lord Durham, and Lord Dun-cannon. The noble Lord, it appeared, from the passage cited from his speech by the hon. and learned Member, had received from his late Majesty a permission to make such statements on the subject as he might think necessary for his own defence. The noble Lord exercised that power and discretion in the passage cited by the hon. and learned Gentleman in a manner of which he could not complain. But he must observe, that these disclosures of what had taken place amongst colleagues under the seal of secrecy, did not appear to contribute to that implicit confidence which ought to exist between colleagues, and could not certainly promote a freedom of discussion amongst confidential servants of the Crown. With these observations he should proceed to the disclosures of the noble Lord on the hustings at a general election. He must observe, that on the subect of the ballot it did appear that the noble Lord did not explain very clearly what his opinions were; but he saw a Gentleman behind the noble Lord who could bear witness that he (Sir J. Graham) in the election for Cumberland, had been perfectly explicit; he had said, that nothing whatever should induce him to support the ballot, and he lost his election. But with regard to the disclosures, he (Sir J. Graham) did not receive the permission of his late Majesty to make any disclosures on the subject of the original plan of the Reform Bill submitted to the Cabinet; he, therefore, could explain nothing—he could admit nothing— he could deny nothing. The hon. Member for the City of London and he were politically opposed, but he appealed to him, whether he was not bound by his oath of a Privy Councillor—he appealed to every Gentleman in the House, whether he could consider himself at liberty to disclose what had taken place under that seal of secresy? But the noble Lord might, if he pleased, carry his disclosures further. He should not object to the noble Lord stating at whose suggestion the ballot was inserted in the draught; still less should he object to his stating by whose votes the ballot was rejected. It was known that at that time there was in the Cabinet a keeper of the King's conscience, whose boast it was, that he had an argument which amounted to a mathematical demonstration that the ballot was impracticable. Whatever might be said by the noble Lord as to the introduction of the bill, he denied that during the progress of the discussion on the bill, the members of Lord Grey's Cabinet, as far as they themselves were concerned, ever understood that it was open to them to support the ballot or a further extension of the franchise; and he had the strongest possible reason for saying so: he supposed it would not be denied that Lord Althorp spoke the opinion of the Cabinet. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Edinburgh, had said, that with regard to a legislature and a people there must be changes, and he (Sir J. Graham) admitted that, with regard to a great nation, finality did not exist. But, with regard to individuals, he did contend, that in considering their solemn obligations and pledges as members of a Cabinet, he said that finality did exist; and though finality might not be binding on any of the noble Lord's colleagues who were not of Lord Grey's Cabinet, he did contend, that the pledge of finality was binding on them one and all. Was there any question as to the fact of Lord Althorp's pledge regarding the finality of the Reform Bill? These Gentlemen might have some doubt of this fact who had merely read certain pamphlets. The hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted from a speech in 1831. He (Sir J. Graham) should cite a passage bearing directly on the subject of the bill, from a speech of Lord Althorp's in 1833. Did hon. Members deny that it was apposite? The speech was in reply to the hon. Member for London, who in 1833 brought forward a motion for the ballot, which was directed against the finality of the Reform Bill. He entreated the House to listen:— It had been stated by the hon. Member who brought forward this motion, that when his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) introduced the Reform Bill, he said, that this was a question not immediately connected with that measure. But he (Lord Althorp) appealed to every Gentleman who was in the last Parliament, and who knew the whole proceedings, whilst the question of reform was going on, whether the promoters of that measure did not contend, that, as far as representation was concerned, it was to be considered, and was proposed as a final measure. Now, here was the origin of the very expression. It might be said, that there was a difference between the representation of the people and the vote by ballot. But what was the application of Lord Althorp of the pledge? He applied it to the motion of the hon. Member for London. He (Lord Althorp) had stated that frequently to the House. It might be said, undoubtedly, that the vote he should give tonight would be inconsistent with that which he had given on the motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman(Mr. O'Connell. Lord Althorp differed from him in this respect, that he had supported, on a former occasion, a motion for the ballot by the hon. Member for Dublin; now, he never advocated the ballot at any time; he had always refused his assent to it; he had more than once risked his election by opposing the ballot, and on the last occasion he lost his seat. But," said the noble Lord, "if he were now to vote with the hon. Member for the city of London, he should be acting more inconsistently with everything he had stated during the whole progress of the measure of reform. At the close of his speech, he said,— He was conscious that he was liable to attack for the vote he should give; but if he gave his vote any other way, he should be liable to a still more merited attack. And he (Sir J. Graham) could add his personal testimony, from his own knowledge, that when the hon. Member for London made his motion, Lord Althorp declared to him that he was not at liberty, whatever might be his private opinion, to support the ballot, as he was pledged to the finality of the Reform Act. He (Sir James Graham) had endeavoured to make his quotation bear upon the question. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to a speech made during the progress of the discussion; he (Sir James Graham) had adduced the opinion of Lord Althorp after the close and settlement of the question, and Lord Althorp had then, in terms as explicit as he could possibly have used, declared that, as a Member of Lord Grey's Government, he was not at liberty to support the ballot, though he had supported that question on a previous occasion. He was ready to leave the general question to rest on the speech of the noble Lord. He was, however, struck with something singular that ran through the whole texture of the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh. He was glad to see that hon. Gentleman amongst them again, and considered his superior talents an ornament to the House; but he was struck by some of the topics on which he dwelt. What were the prominent topics? In the first place, he thought, in the abstract, that the practice of open questions was the greatest good that could exist in any country with a free constitution, and he cited the example of Mr. Pitt in respect to the reform question as a Minister, and to the slave trade as a Minister, and cited Lord Grey as a witness to the expediency of that course. Now, he had always understood, that if there was any transaction which afforded a ground of suspicion as to the sincerity of Mr. Pitt's conduct, it was his making the questions of reform and the abolition of the slave trade open questions, and had not carried them as a Minister of the Crown; and as to Lord Grey, it had been the great shibboleth of the Whig party to decry open questions; that to make a great measure an open question had been characterised by Lord Grey as a shabby escape from a difficulty. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that there was an alternative of three branches—you might meet the difference, or avow it, or make a compromise. But there was a fourth mode, which the hon. and learned Member had not noticed; and that was, when you cannot agree with your colleagues on a question of primary importance, if you find your colleagues conscientiously disapprove of your views, to resign office. What was the opinion of the noble Lord on the subject? He said, that you should not attempt to raise the anchor when the storm was louring and dark, and that it would be impossible to adopt the ballot, without a great extension of the suffrage, and that that would be dangerous. It was impossible, therefore, that the noble Lord could regard this as an indifferent question. It was necessary or unnecessary—it was safe or unsafe, and dangerous. If it was dangerous they ought not to risk its adoption; if it was safe and necessary, for Heaven's sake, adopt it, and bring the whole force of the country to support it. The safety of the country would release them from the pledge; let there be a fair field, and let the Government divide in favour of the ballot. That which he thought dangerous above all description, was a hollow specious resistance. It was as if a citadel were beleaguered, and the commandant opened the gates of the town, and told all the troops who were weary of the defence, to go forth and take part with the besiegers. He believed that it would be safer for this country, entertaining the opinion which he did of this measure, to have the Government branded with the revolutionary mark of the ballot upon them than to allow Members of the Government of great influence and great ability, to take their part on the popular side, whilst those who honestly, but still forcibly, resisted it, were dragging out an imperfect resistance, which sooner or later was sure of ending in defeat. Those Members of the Cabinet who supported the popular side would have an undue advantage over those who opposed it, and at last the Cabinet would be broken up when it was most dangerous to give way to popular impulse. He felt confident, that the inevitable consequence of that proceeding was, that those who took the popular side, although they might be inferior in talent or power to those who took a contrary view, would, ere long, supplant them. He certainly rejoiced at the gallantry with which the noble Lord opposite had fought the ballot question that night; but if the noble Lord consented to remain a Member of the Government, by whom it was considered an open question, he was persuaded that his signal defeat was not far distant, and that which the noble Lord declared was most dangerous to the country would ultimately succeed; whilst partaking of the views of the noble Lord as he did, as to the danger of this measure, he, in a most unhesitating manner, and with a clear conscience, was quite resolved to oppose the motion of the hon. Member for London, and by that decision to stand or fall.

Viscount Howick

having on more than one occasion expressed his opinions on this subject to the House, certainly did not intend to enter into a repetition of those opinions; but there were some remarks of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, from which he so entirely dissented, that he could not allow the debate to close without expressing what his dissent was, and the reasons on which it was founded. The right hon. Baronet had told the House, that the Reform Bill was not a final measure in the sense of binding the Legislature of this country, not to adopt further changes, and had in deed admitted that no measure could in this sense be final; but he said, that it ought to be final and binding in the consciences of those who belonged to the Cabinet, by whom that measure was brought in, and they ought not to become party to any further change in the representation of the country. He was one of those who were most anxious to avoid, any disturbance of that great settlement effected by the Reform Bill in 1832; but he could never sit in that House and allow it to be said, without expressing his dissent, that any Member of Parliament whether in the Government or out of it had a right, consistently with his duty to his country or his constituents, to bind himself as to what his future conduct should be under circumstances which he could not foresee, and in a state of things of which he was not aware. He would say, that Parliament could not bind its successors, and for the same reason each individual Member of Parliament was bound, to preserve his own freedom, to act according as future circumstances might render desirable for the interests of the country. Did not every hon. Member recollect what was the cass in dispute that occasioned the relinquishment of the Government in 1807? Was it not because they refused to pledge themselves as to the advice they might in future time offer to the Sovereign? And could any hon. Member maintain, that any person should be bound, under no circumstances, to propose measures of change which he might think best for the country? What the Government, by the Reform Bill, bound themselves to was this, and only this, that in proposing that measure they did so honestly with a view of abiding by it, and not keeping out of sight any further changes which they had then the inetntion of proposing. He thought that this manner of understanding their expressions, would account for the language of Lord Althorp in 1833. But was the House, on that ground, to say that under totally different circumstances, they were not at liberty to consider what might be desirable under those changes? He would resist any further change from the Reform Bill, on the plain and reasonable principle which had been so ably and eloquently stated by the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh. He believed, that a series of political changes was the greatest evil that could afflict any country. The great object was, that having got an improved legislature, they should apply it to those practical measures which directly bore On the welfare of the nation, and not to foster vague hopes of continual changes. He said, therefore, that as long as he saw practical advantage to the country under existing arrangements, to those arrangements he would adhere; and would be no. party to petty or trifling reforms; to be forced through Parliament with all that agitation and difficulty which necessarily attended Constitutional changes, to which powerful interests opposed. But, show him any such grievance, as existed in 1831, convince him of the actual state of the representation being disadvantageous to the country, and he was ready, as in 1831, to reconsider those arrangements. He had already trespassed too long on the attention of the House; but he must say, one word as to the subject of open questions, since the right hon. Baronet opposite had referred to it. On the general expediency of open questions, he must confess he agreed more with the right hon. Baronet than with his hon. Friend behind him. They were evils, certainly, but nevertheless were evils which, to a greater or less extent, the Government of this country had for a long series of years been compelled to adhere to. The right hon. Baronet had quoted speeches of certain Members of the party to which he (Lord Howick) belonged, on this subject of open questions; but the right hon. Baronet must remember, that they applied to one particular question, and that was the Catholic question. With respect to that particular subject, he had always thought that treating it as an open question was peculiarly open to objection, because it was not a mere legal question, but one which affected the daily proceedings of the executive Government. The administration of Ireland was necessarily and practically affected by the individual opinions of the Ministers of that day, and he thought he could trace many of the evils which Ireland had felt to that fatal system of balancing a Catholic Secretary by an anti-Catholic Lord-Lieutenant, and that the effect of it was felt at the present day. But did any one tell him that the ballot was a question of that kind? He must say, when the right hon. Baronet told him that his hon. Friend having expressed a strong opinion against the ballot, he was in effect giving indirect support to the measure by continuing to belong to a Government by some of the Members of which it was taken up, that he was of a directly opposite opinion. In the present state of opinion in the country, both upon ballot and upon general politics, his firm conviction was that if it were generally understood by the country that a liberal system of policy —he did not mean to use the word liberal in any offensive sense, but as the shortest way of describing a system of policy which was opposed to hon. Gentleman opposite, if it were understood that a liberal system of policy could only be obtained by means of a Government which was united in favour of the ballot, in his belief was, that in a few years we should have a Government so supporting the ballot, and that they would carry the question. He, therefore thought, that instead of promoting that measure, the Government were, on the contrary, giving the best chance of resisting it by considering it an open question. He had told the hon. Member for London, that he most decidedly differed from him on the subject of the ballot. He was a decided opponent to the ballot; and if he believed, that by continuing a Member of a Government divided on that subject, he was advancing the period when it would be carried, he would tell the House, that to-morrow he would cease to be a Member of that Government.

Sir R. Peel

said, that on the last occasion on which the question of the ballot was discussed, he entered so fully into the subject, that he was unwilling now to trouble the House with a repetition of his observations. All he would now say on that subject was, that his opinions remained unchanged, and he did not know that he should have risen at all, but for the doctrine laid down by the hon. and learned Member opposite, as to the policy of open questions. He must say, he participated with his right hon. Friend in rejoicing at the return of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Macauley), for however formidable an opponent he might be, and however powerful he (Sir R. Peel) might feel that opposition to be, yet he must say, he felt so great an interest in the general character and reputation of Parliament, that he could not regret the return of so distinguished and able a Member. If he had wanted an exemplification of the inconvenience and danger of open questions, he should have found it in the speech just made by the noble Lord, the Secretary for War. That noble Lord said, that the consequence of making the ballot an open question, would be to retard the carrying of the ballot. That might be a good reason for the noble Lord to vote against it; but what must be the situation of his hon. Friends, who were friendly to the ballot, when they were told by their colleague, the position in which they stood was most fatal to the measure. What a tendency must it have to destroy the force of party, to destroy the reciprocal force of Members of the Government, when they vote in different ways. He well remembered the Catholic Question, and all the inconveniences that arose from it; but why wag the ballot different from that? According to the opinions of some of the colleagues of the noble Lord, they were not to consider the abstract merits of the ballot, but to look to the consequences of it, one of which consequences would be, to make extensive changes in the representation of the country. But what was more important than that the ballot should be coupled with the consequences of it to this country? He would take the letter of the noble Lord to his electors. The noble Lord there said, I told you, at my election, not to expect that I should vote in favour of ballot. I have expressed in Parliament the opinion, that ballot alone would not satisfy the people at large. Some rebuked me for mixing two questions altogether distinct, and some among my friends voted for ballot, determined not to consent to an extension of the suffrage. It was with some satisfaction, therefore, that I saw in the Morning Chronicle of March the 25th of the present year, this manifesto. Now, he recollected, when the noble Lord, the Member for Dorsetshire, referred to the Morning Chronicle, it being said by certain hon. Members opposite— We have no communication with the Morning Chronicle, and it is not to be referred to in this House. But when the noble Lord wishes to make use of the Morning Chronicle, he could do so, not merely quoting from it, but dignifying it by introducing extracts from it into his letter. The manifesto was this:— Our first point of union is the ballot. But the ballot, combined with the presented limited franchise, and in the present, which is likely to be the permanent, temper of the disfranchised, would be an unendurable anomaly. It would aggravate the existing breach between the middle and working classes. The noble Lord was here quoting from the Morning Chronicle, and continued, "I entirely agree in this opinion." They talked of practical results following the ballot, and what were they? To aggravate the breach between the middle and working classes. Why, in the present state of this country, could there be a greater evil than an increase of disunion between these classes? The noble Lord bad said, he believed if the ballot conld be made effectual, those who had no votes, would be more discontented than now. The words of the noble Lord were, I believe, if ballot could be made effectual, those who have no votes would be far more discontented than they now are. Ballot is suited to an absolute government of the few, or a free government where the suffrage is universal. The absolute aristocracy of Venice used in its perfection; the people of the United States use it; it accords with their principle, 'that the majority is to govern.' The will of the people of the United States is supreme; it has no check, and every one shares in the sovereignty. But for the middle classes of this country to pretend to an irresponsible and secret power over the destinies of the country would be, as the Morning Chronicle says, ' an unendurable anomaly.' That was the consequence of the ballot; an unendurable anomaly. The noble Lord (Lord Howick) had admitted the practical inconvenience of open questions, and said, that he only agreed to this one being such, from the hope of defeating the ballot. The hon. and learned Member opposite said, the practice of open question should prevail more than it has hitherto done, but that there were two exceptions. [Mr. Macauley—I said, historically so.] One exception was, when an attack was made on the Government, and the other when the Government brought forward public measures. But the hon. Member must see that the tendency of making open questions was, to prevent public measures being brought forward by the Government; that they would become neutral in public affairs, and that they would always avoid to determine the dilemma they might be placed in by not bringing forward any measures at all. That was the stale to which they were reduced on the Catholic question. It was the same on the Corn-laws at the present time; it was the same on the ballot. Had it not convinced them that there was no other way of satisfactorily settling that question, or extinguishing it, than by the Government being united in it? By not doing so they were holding out an inducement to every Government to shrink from its proper duties, and leaving every Member of it to act as he pleased. He deprecated exceedingly the principle of making questions of vital importance open questions. It appeared to him to destroy altogether the purposes of party collection. If that principle were admitted, there was no reason why men of the most opposite views might not unite in the Government, having come to the understanding between themselves that they would cautiously abstain from touching on questions about which they differed. It would sow the seeds of disunion in a Government; and how, too, would they dispose of their patronage? On these grounds he could not concur in the doctrine of the hon. and learned Gentleman. As his right hon. Friend had said respecting the imputation thrown on Mr. Pitt as to the Catholic question, the slave trade, and reform, it appeared that he was constantly defeated on them, thereby showing the inconvenience of this system. He begged to remind the hon. Gentleman of the speech of Mr. Burke on the divided state of Government from open questions. The hon. Gentleman must recollect the speech, but as he (Sir R. Peel) had the book in his hand, he would read the extract. It was on the formation of Mr. Pitt's second Ministry. The right hon. Baronet then read the extract, in which Mr. Burke spoke of the Cabinet as being "like a tessalated pavement, here a bit of black stone and there a bit of white; that it was most curious to look upon, and most dangerous to handle. It was of exquisite workmanship and curiously dovetailed, but was so delicate that it could not stand." With respect to the Catholic question and the Administration of Lord Liverpool, he recollected that Mr. Tierney, in his attack on the Government for having open questions, having the passage of Mr. Burke in his mind, had not compared them to a piece of tessalated pavement, but to the black and white keys on a piano forte. If the principle of the hon. and learned Gentleman were correct, there was no reason why he and his hon. Friends should not go over to the other side of the House, having an understanding between themselves as to open questions, by not bringing forward questions on which there was any difference of opinion amongst them, and by preventing, as far as possible others from doing so too.

Mr. Grote

rose amidst loud cries of "Divide" and "Question," and said, that, at that late hour, he would not trouble the House with many observations. He had endeavoured to provide a remedy for a great and flagrant evil; an evil admitted by all, denied by none. The remedy he had proposed was the ballot, and he must suppose it to be the only one, as no hon. Member had suggested any other. It was now avowed to the House by the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, that the Cabi- net had made the ballot an open question solely for the purpose of retarding. The noble Lord might be sure that the House and the country would mark that declaration.

Viscount Howick

explained. The hon. Member for London had attached more importance to his words than they deserved. What he expressed was his own individual opinion; and his hon. Friends near him, who took a different course as to the vote by ballot, would take a different view of the effect of making this an open question.

The House divided:—Ayes 216; Noes 333—Majority 117.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, G. R. Conyngham, Lord A.
Aglionby, H. A. Craig, W. G.
Aglionby, F. Crawford, W.
Alcock, T. Currie R.
Anson, Colonel Dashwood, G. H.
Anson, Sir G. Davies, T. H.
Archbold, R. Denison, W. J.
Attwood, T. Denistoun, J.
Bainbridge, E. T. D'Eyncourt, C. T.
Baines, E. Divett, E.
Barnard, E. G. Duke, Sir. J.
Barron, H. Duncombe, T.
Barry, G. S. Dundas, C. W. D.
Beamish, F. B. Dundas, F.
Bellew, R. M. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Berkeley, hon. H. Easthope, J.
Bernal, R. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bewes, T. Ellice, Capt. A.
Blake, M. J. Ellice, E.
Blake, W. J. Ellis, W.
Blewitt, R. J. Erle, W.
Blunt, Sir C. Euston, Earl of
Bodkin, J. Evans, Sir De L.
Bowes, J. Evans, G.
Brabazon, Sir W. Ewart, W.
Bridgeman, H. Fielden, J.
Brodie, W. B. Fenton, J.
Brotherton, J. Ferguson, Sir R.
Browne, R. D. Ferguson, R.
Bryan, G. Finch, F.
Buller, C. Fitzgibbon, hon. R.
Bulwer, Sir E. L. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Busfield, W. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Butler, hon. Colonel Fort, J.
Byng, G. S. Gillon, W. D.
Callaghan, D. Gordon, R.
Campbell, Sir J. Grattan, H.
Cave, R. O. Grey, Sir G.
Chalmers, P. Guest, Sir J.
Chapman, Sir M. L. Hall, Sir B.
Chester, H. Hallyburton, Lord
Chichester, J. P. B. Harvey, D. W.
Clay, W. Hastie, A.
Clive, E. B. Hawes, B.
Codrington, Sir E. Hawkins, J. H.
Collier, J. Hayter, W. G.
Collins, W. Heathcoat, J.
Hector, C. J. Rich, H.
Hindley, C. Rippon, C.
Hobhouse, T. B. Roche, E. B.
Hodges, T. L. Roche, W.
Hollond, R. Roche, Sir D.
Horsman, E. Rundle, J.
Howard, F. J. Russell, Lord
Hume, J. Russell, Lord C.
Humphery, J. Salwey, Colonel
Hutt, W. Sanford, E. A.
Hutton, R. Scholefield, J.
James, W. Scrope, G. P.
Jervis, J. Seale, Colonel
Jervis, S. Sharpe, General
Johnson, General Sheil, R. L.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Shelbourne, Earl
Lambton, H. Sinclair, Sir G.
Langdale, hon. C Smith, B.
Langton, W. G. Somers, J. P.
Leader, J. T. Somerville, Sir W.
Lister, E. C. Speirs, A.
Lushington, C. Standish, C.
Lushington, Dr. S. Stanley, E. J.
Lynch, A. H. Stanley, M.
Macauley, T. B. Stanley, W. O.
M'Leod, R. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Macnamara, Major Stewart, R.
M'Taggart, J. Stewart, J.
Marshall, W. Stuart, Lord, J.
Marsland, H. Stuart, V.
Maule, hon. F. Strickland, Sir G.
Molesworth, Sir W. Strutt, E.
Murray, A. Style, Sir C.
Muskett, G. A. Talfourd, Sergeant
Norreys, Sir D. J. Tancred, H. W.
O'Callaghan, C. Thomson, rt hn. C. P.
O'Connell, D. Thornely, T.
O'Connell, J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Connell, M. J. Turner, W.
O'Connell, Morgan Verney, Sir H. Bart.
O'Connell, Maurice Vigors, N. A.
O'Connor, Don Villiers, hon. C. P.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Vivian, Major
Ord, W. H. Vivian, J. H.
Paget, Lord A. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R.H.
Paget, F. Wakley, T.
Palmer, C. F. Walker, R.
Parker, J. Wallace, R.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Warburton, H.
Parrott, J. Ward, H. G.
Pattison, J. White, A.
Pechell, Captain R. White, H.
Pendarves, E. W. W. White, S.
Philips, M. Wilde, Sergeant
Phillpots, J. Williams, W.
Pigot, D. R. Williams, W. A.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Wood, Sir M.
Power, J. Wyse, T.
Pryme, G. Yates, J. A.
Ramsbottom, J. TELLERS.
Redington, T. N. Grote, G.
Rice, E. R. Worsley, Lord
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. Adare, Viscount
Acland, T. D. Alford Lord
A'Court, Captain Alsager, Captain
Alston, Rowland Copeland, W. T.
Andover, Lord Corry, hon. H.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Courtenay, P.
Archdall, M. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Ashley, Lord Cresswell, C.
Ashley, hon. H. Dalrymple, Sir A.
Attwood, M. Damer, hon. D.
Bagge, W. Darby, G.
Bagot, hon. W. Darlington, Earl of
Bailey, J. De Horsey, S. H.
Bailey, J., jun. Dick, Q.
Baillie, H. D. D'Israeli, B.
Baker, E. Donkin, Sir R. S.
Baring, F. T. Douglas, Sir C. B.
Baring, F. Dowdeswell, W.
Baring, H. B. Duffield, T.
Baring, hon. W. B. Dugdale, W. S.
Barneby, J. Dunbar, G.
Harrington, Viscount Duncombe, hon. W.
Bateson, Sir R. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bell, M. Dungannon, Lord
Benett, J. Du Pre, G.
Bentinck, Lord G. East, J. B.
Bethell, R. Eastnor, Lord
Blackstone, W. S. Eaton, R. J.
Blair, J. Egerton, W. T.
Blakemore, R. Egerton, Sir P.
Blandford, Marq. of Egerton, Lord F.
Blennerhasset, A. Eliot, Lord
Boldero, H. G. Ellis, J.
Bolling, W. Estcourt, T.
Bradshaw, J. Estcourt, T.
Bramston, T. W. Farnham, E. B.
Broadley, H. Farrand, R.
Brownrigg, S. Fazakerly, J. N.
Bruce, Lord E. Feilden, W.
Bruges, W. H. L. Fector, J. M.
Buck, L. W. Fellowes, E.
Buller, E. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Filmer, Sir E.
Burdett, Sir F. Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Burrell, Sir C. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Burroughes, H. N. Fleming, J.
Byng, G. Foley, E. T.
Calcraft, J. H. Forester, hon. G.
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Fremantle, Sir T. W.
Cantilupe, Viscount French, F.
Cartwright, W. R. Freshfield, J. W.
Castlereagh, Viscount Gaskell, J. Milnes
Cavendish, hon. C. Gladstone, W. E.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Glynn, Sir S. R.
Cayley, E. S. Goddard, A.
Chapman, A. Godson, R.
Chetwynd, Major Gordon, hon. Captain
Childers, J. W. Gore, Ormsby, J. R.
Christopher, R. A. Gore, Ormsby, W.
Chute, W. L. W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Clayton, Sir W. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clive, hon. R. H. Grant, F. W.
Codrington, C. W. Greene, T.
Cole, hon. A. H. Grimsditch, T.
Cole, Viscount Grimston, Viscount
Colquhoun, J. C. Grimston, hon. E. H.
Compton, H. C. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Conolly, E. M. Hale, R. B.
Cooper, E. Halford, H.
Coote, Sir C. Handley, H.
Harcourt, G. G. Lygon, hon. General
Harcourt, G. S. Mackenzie, T.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Mackenzie, W. F.
Harland, W. C. Mackinnon, W. A.
Hawkes, T. Maclean, D.
Hayes, Sir E. S. Mahon, Viscount
Heathcote, Sir G. Maidstone, Lord
Heathcote, Sir W. Manners, Lord C. S.
Heathcote, G. J. Marsland, T.
Heneage, E. Marton, G.
Heneage, G. W. Master, T. W. C.
Henniker, Lord Mathew, G. B.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Maunsell, T. P.
Herbert, hon. S. Meynell, Captain
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Mildmay, P. St. John
Hill, Sir R. Miles, W.
Hillsborough, Earl Miles, P. W. S.
Hinde, J. H. Miller, W. H.
Hodgson, F. Milnes, R. M.
Hodgson, R. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Hogg, J. W. Moreton, A. H.
Holmes, hn. W. A'C. Morgan, C. M. R.
Holmes, W. Neeld, J.
Hope, hon. C. Neeld, J.
Hope, H. T. Nicholl. J.
Hope, G. W. Noel, W. M.
Hotham, Lord Norreys, Lord
Houldsworth, T. Ossulston, Lord
Houstoun, G. Owen, Sir J.
Howard P. H. Pack, C. W.
Howick, Visct. Pakington, J. S.
Hughes, W. B. Palmer, R.
Hurt, F. Palmerston, Visct.
Ingestrie, Lord Parker, M.
Ingham, R. Parker, R. T.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Parker, T. A.
Irton, S. Patten, J. W.
Irving, J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Jackson, Mr. Sergeant Peel, Col. J.
James, Sir W. C. Pemberton, T.
Jenkins, Sir R. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Jermytt, Earl of Phillips, Sir R.
Johnstone, H. Pigot, R.
Jones, J. Planta, right hon. J.
Jones, T. Plumptre, J. P.
Kelly, F. Polhill, F.
Kemble, H Pollen, Sir J. W.
Kelburne, Viscount Pollock, Sir F.
Knatchbull, right hon. Sir E. Powell, Colonel
Powerscourt, Visct.
Knight, H. G. Praed, W. T.
Knightley, Sir C. Price, Sir R.
Knox, hon. T. Price, R.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Pringle, A.
Law, hon. C. E. Pusey, P.
Lefroy, right hon. T. Rae, rt. hon. Sir W.
Lemon, Sir C. Reid, Sir John Rae
Lennox, Lord A. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Leveson, Lord Richards, R.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Rickford, W.
Lincoln, Earl of Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Litton, E. Rolleston, L.
Lockhart, A, M. Round, C. G.
Long, W. Round, J.
Lowther, hon. Colonel Rumbold, C. E.
Lowther, Lord Rushbrooke, Colonel
Lowther, J. H. Rushout, George
Russell, Lord J. Turner, E.
Sanderson, R. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Sandon, Viscount Vere, Sir C. B.
Scarlett, hon. J. Y. Verner, Col.
Seymour, Lord Vernon, G. H.
Shaw, right hon. F. Villiers, Lord
Sheppard, T. Vivian, J. E.
Shirley, E. J. Waddington, H. S.
Sibthorp, Colonel Wall, C. B.
Slaney, R. A. Walsh, Sir J.
Smith, A. Welby, G. E.
Smith, G. R. Whitmore, T. C.
Smyth, Sir G. H. Wilbraham, G.
Somerset, Lord G. Williams, R.
Spencer, hon. F. Williams, T. P.
Spry, Sir S. T. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Stanley, E. Wilshere, W.
Stanley, Lord Winnington, T. E.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Wodehouse, E.
Stewart, John Wood, C.
Stock, Dr. Wood, Col. T.
Stormont, Lord Wood T.
Sturt, H. C. Wrightson, W.
Sugden, Sir E. Wyndham, W.
Surrey, Lord Wynn, rt. hon. C.
Talbot, C. R. M. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Teignmouth, Lord Young, J.
Tennant, J. E. Young, Sir W.
Thomas, Col. H.
Thornhill, G. TELLERS.
Townley, R. G. Clerk, Sir G.
Trench, Sir F. Smith, R. V.
Paired off.
Lord M. Hill Colonel Percival
Mr. J. Martin Mr. F. Tollemache