HC Deb 19 June 1840 vol 54 cc1306-65
Lord Stanley

then moved the Order of the Day for a Committee on the Registration of Voters (Ireland) Bill, No." 1.

House in Committee.

On the first clause,

Lord Stanley

said, that it would be necessary, in consequence of the late period of the Session at which they had arrived, to make some alteration in the dates with which he had proposed filling up the blanks in this clause. The duties which would be devolved upon the clerk of the peace by virtue of this Act would be very laborious, and required a very considerable time to execute. By the wording of the bill, as it had originally been framed, it would have been required of the clerk of the peace to complete those duties by the 25th of July. But looking at the period of the Session at which they had arrived, and the degree of progress which they had made in this bill, and which, looking at all circumstances, he thought they were likely to make in it, he thought it would be quite impossible, if the bill should pass into a law in the present Session, that the clerk of the peace could perform the duties allotted to him by the 25th of July. He should, therefore, propose to postpone the operation of the Act for one year, after its passing into a law, and to fill up the blank in the clause with the date "First day of November."

Viscount Morpeth

said, he had an amendment to propose, which occurred previous to the date; namely, at the 7th line, after the word "that." He admitted that it was very early in the business of the Committee to attempt an amendment, but with his own views of the principles of this measure, and the time and circumstances under which it was introduced, and feeling the excitements which prevailed amongst the great bulk of the Irish on this subject, and the effects which he could not but apprehend would result from the enactment of this bill, he owned that he was not sorry to bring whatever appeared to him exceptionable in the details or the principles of the measure under the consideration of the Committee at as early a period as possible, in order to bring the main points concerned to a speedy issue. The very first clause, he might, indeed, say the first line, appeared to him to give the fairest possible opportunity for such a course, an opportunity which his sense of the effect and the character of the bill rendered it imperative on him to avail himself of. It seemed to him, that the first clause in its practical and virtual effect, he would not say in the intention of the noble Mover, exposed to disfranchisement all the existing constituencies of Ireland. The first clause enacted, that Notwithstanding any law now in force in Ireland, no person whatsoever shall, on or after the first day of November in the present year, be entitled or permitted to vote at any election of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament for any county, city, town, or borough in Ireland (the University of Dublin only excepted), unless such person shall have been duly registered according to the provisions of this Act. It seemed to him that the propriety of subjecting all the existing rights of voters in Ireland to the forms of registration enjoined by the bill should depend on the sense which the House might entertain of the propriety of its subsequent provisions; and that if those provisions were only fair, temperate, just, and reasonable—if they were only calculated to maintain the purity and the integrity of registration in Ireland, without needlessly limiting or interfering with the elective franchise, it seemed to him that it would not be a valid objection to attempt to supersede with respect to existing voters the present form of registration. But if, on the other hand, the subsequent provisions of the measure contained much that was restrictive, annoying, and oppressive—if they had a tendency needlessly and wantonly to limit the rights of voters, and to harass and worry legitimate claimants, he thought that Parliament would do well to pause before it subjected the rights of voters to such an ordeal, and put every person, however duly admitted to exercise the franchise, under the yoke of those novel provisions. The votes which he had already given during the progress of this bill, and the observations with which he had thought fit to accompany those votes, would sufficiently prove, that he had taken the latter unfavourable view of the character and scope and probable effect of the measure. Indeed, the objections made to its details and provisions had been already specifically admitted, even by some of those who had given their vote for going into Committee; and, therefore, he did not think that they, any more than himself, could, consistently with their scruples, object to exempt from the operations of the bill those who had already a vested right of voting for a certain period, guaranteed by the existing law, unless it could be shown that the circumstances had varied under which that right was originally granted, or that other circumstances had occurred which gave a different complexion to the tenure which they now possessed. If the clause merely proposed that when any voter, now on the register, had lost his qualification since his being registered, or had become purely disqualified, or had died, or that when the original registration had been effected by means of fraudulent personation, the name of such person should be erased, every one would admit that such a proposal would be quite fair. And the bill which his hon. and learned Friend, the Solicitor- general for Ireland, had introduced on this subject contained, in fact, a clause of this nature. But what he was now contending for was, the right of those persons to be retained on the register who had not forfeited their franchise by any subsequent act or default. He knew he might be told, that the bill which her Majesty's Government had formerly introduced, contained a clause similar to the first clause in the bill of the noble Lord. He did not deny that similarity; but what he would insist on was the great dissimilarity of the other clauses. The noble Lord then read from a paper a statement of some distinctive points between the two measures, the substance of which was as follows:- The bill of his hon. and learned Friend, Sir M. O'Loghlen, provided for an annual revision, as did that of the noble Lord, but strictly confined that revision to matters which had arisen subsequently to the name being put upon the register; whilst the noble Lord would extend the investigation to all matters, whether subsequent or anterior to the registration. Sir M. Loghlen's bill gave an appeal, but confined it strictly to the matters investigated at the annual revision; the noble Lord's bill extended the appeal generally. The bill of the Government gave a simple and easily comprehended form of notice—that of the noble Lord was of the most complex character, and was one which would require the aid of a lawyer to be properly filled up. The bill of the Government gave costs against an objector, under certain circumstances, and not against an applicant for registration; the noble Lord's bill gave costs also against the latter. The bill of the Government undoubtedly intended that the claim of any registered elector should not be re-investigated, except for some matters which had arisen subsequent to the registration; the bill of his right hon. Friend, Sir Michael O'Loghlen, of 1835, and that of the Chief Justice of Ireland, of 1838, gave an appeal against the franchise to the judges of assize, but that was intended to correct the original lists made in 1832, not by the regular assistant-barristers, but by certain barristers specially appointed for the purpose, who acted without concert, and in a hurried way, and without being checked and watched by parties interested on the opposite side, so that it was notorious that various abuses had crept in. But that list would be exhausted in October in the present year, the eight years having expired; and the lists now in existence had been made by those authorities against whom there was no charge or ground of complaint—the very assistant-barristers to whom even the noble Lord intended to entrust the working of his own bill. Let the House now contrast the two forms of notice proposed by the noble Lord to be given by the applicants for registration and the objectors to claims respectively. The 6th clause provided that The clerk of the peace in each county shall, on or before the twentieth day of July in the present year, make out in the form given in schedule (A.) Number 1, to this Act annexed, or as near thereto as may be, a correct parochial alphabetical list of the names of all persons in each barony and half barony within each division of his county who shall then have been registered within the eight years next previous as persons entitled to vote in the election of a knight or knights of the shire. The 11th clause provided:— That any person who shall be upon the register of voters for the time being for any county or town may object to any other person whose name may appear in the same register, or in the list of voters for such county or town, so to be made out by the clerk of the peace in the present and every subsequent year, as not having been entitled on the said twentieth day of July then next preceding to have his name retained on the register of voters then next to be made and completed; and every person so objecting (except in the case of non-payment of cesses, rates, or taxes hereinafter provided for, in which case such notice next hereinafter mentioned may or may not be given) shall, on or before the tenth day of August in the present and every succeeding year, give or cause to be given, according to the form schedule (C.) Number 1, to this act annexed, a notice in writing, signed by himself. The notice of the objector offered a striking contrast to that required of an unfortunate applicant for registration. The notice of the claimant, as it appeared in Schedule B, included no less than eleven heads, comprising all the following details:— Christian name and surname in full; description or calling; townland, parish, and barony, where resident, if in a county—and if in a town, the street and parish; description of the property or premises; where situate, stating townland, parish, and barony, if in a county—and if in a town, the street and parish, and name of property, if any; in what right claiming; tenant in occupation; yearly value; if freehold tenure, state particulars of lease, if any, and the names of lives, if any, and which are dead; if leasehold tenure, state particulars of lease—and if determinate on lives, also the names of the lives, and if any and which are dead; day and time whereon claimant first became entitled, if within twelve months before the twentieth day of July. Every one of these heads, many of which none but a lawyer could understand, must be filled up without flaw by the claimant, under pain of having costs awarded against him: that was the manner in which the noble Lord dealt with the claimants of the franchise. How different was the course prescribed when the object was to strike off a voter, and so curtail the franchise! The notice to be given by an objector was merely this:— To the clerk of the peace for the county or town of. Take notice, that I object to the name of being retained on the list and register of voters for the county and town of (as the case may be). The objector was not called upon to give any notice of the ground upon which he objected to the elector's name. There was a most striking contrast between the course to be pursued when the object to be attained was to obtain or to cancel a right of voting, to enlarge or curtail the franchise. After having given this power of objecting to any one on the register, the bill proceeded to enforce not only on the judges of assize, but on the assistant-barristers—not once for all, but at every recurring revision—that was every half-year—the duty of re-opening the investigation of the whole case, no matter how strictly it had been sifted, or how lawfully had been already constituted the vested right of the individual. Again, in every town, county, and borough in Ireland, the collectors of taxes were required to make a return of all persons, every half-year, who were liable to taxes, or were in arrear of taxes; and the assistant-banisters were required to expunge the names of every defaulter, whether such defaulter was objected to or not. Now, he called upon the committee to reject that clause. It might be a very good joke to gentlemen opposite to play fast and loose with the franchise of the people of Ireland, and he must say he was glad to see the supporters of this bill manifest in this way on every occasion the spirit and animus by which they were actuated. He now repeated that he called upon the Committee to attend to the result of this provision. The Reform Act required that the voter should have paid all his municipal rates and taxes within the period of six months before the time of voting; but the noble Lord's bill, not content with requiring that they should be paid up to a period of six months before the time of voting, went on to provide, that if in the whole subsequent course of eight years one default in payment should have been made, the name should be expunged from the list of voters. Now, he thought, as far as the admitted voter was concerned, these clauses had been drawn up in a spirit of confiscation, penalty, and disfranchisement. He called, therefore, on the Committee, unless it were for circumstances which had occurred subsequently to the registration, not to affect or alter the right which the voter had established to be on the register. He thought he had established a clear case for the interference of the House. There was nothing analogous in this country to the investigation which the voter in Ireland had to pass through before he could be put on the register. Every man who was placed on the registry, and had his right guaranteed to him for eight years, had gone through this process:—He came before the assistant barrister, and, in open court, stated the nature of the claim by virtue of which he asserted a right to be registered, and produced the lease, or other instrument, to substantiate his claim, or satisfactorily account for its loss, and otherwise establish his right to be registered; and then the act went on to provide, that— The assistant-barrister, or chairman, shall inspect and examine every deed, lease, or instrument so produced, and shall investigate the claim made there under or otherwise to be registered, and shall determine upon the validity or invalidity of such claim, and shall and may examine and enquire, as well by the oaths of the claimants as by any other evidence offered in support of, or in opposition to, such claim, whether such claimant is or is not to be registered as a voter for the county, city, town, or borough, to which his claim shall relate, and in case of any claim in respect of the freehold, leasehold, or household property, whether the same be of the value and nature respectively hereby prescribed and required, and shall also inquire, by any of the means aforesaid, as he shall think fit, into the truth of the several particulars required by the provisions of this act. Now, it was by going through the whole of this process, this strict and deliberate scrutiny, that a man obtained a right to be registered—a right which was guaranteed to him for eight years. What, therefore, he called on the committee to do was this—that when a right to be on the registry for eight years had been established, unless there were some change of circumstances, or in the nature of the property which would have affected the right of the voter, if it had taken place at the time of the original application, the voter should not be subjected to those vexations and annoyances, those snares and pitfalls, to which he would unhappily be exposed if the noble Lord's bill should be adopted. The question was one which affected the interests of the whole people of the three kingdoms. The question was this—whether, when a man had established his right to vote, he should be liable during the period of his tenure to have his vote constantly disturbed and investigated, or whether it should remain undisturbed and inviolate? He must say, that justice to Ireland did not consist in the extension of the inconveniences and absurdities of English legislation, and the denial of all its blessings, just as the woman treated her husband in giving him nothing but the drumsticks of the roast. He maintained, that the right of the people of Ireland, of England, and Scotland, depended on the issue of this bill. You have had, continued the noble Lord, addressing the Opposition, you have had some party triumphs. You seem to be amazingly flushed with your victories, and anxious to push them further. I am afraid, however, that hon. Gentlemen opposite little know for what stakes they have been playing. I am, I confess, surprised that the noble Lord, with all his high attainments and great qualities, notwithstanding his experience in former defeats, should have dashed into this venture, and hallooed on his whole party after him, and it seems to me that the noble Lord is fated to embarrass and obstruct the party which he has adopted, and which he must adorn. I have stated the objections which I entertain to the clause in its present shape. I object to the annually subjecting persons who are now on the register to have their lights re-opened and re-investigated. I look upon the bill as one of pain, penalty, disfranchisement. I call upon the House, as such, to resist it, and to substitute for it the amendment with which I shall conclude, which will provide that there shall be no re-investigation or disturbance of existing rights, unless there be some fresh or disturbing clauses to invalidate them. The noble Lord concluded by moving, that, in the 7th line of the first clause, words to the following effect, be added, That in making the register of voters for any county, city, town, or borough, the name of every voter who shall at the time when such register shall be made be on the register now in force, shall be placed and retained on such register, so long as his right to remain there would have continued under the present law, unless the said voter shall have lost his qualification since the registration, or unless he shall be personally disqualified, or shall have died, or unless his registration shall have been effected by fraudulent personation, until and from and after the completion of such register of voters.

Lord Stanley

really had hoped, after the many discussions which had taken place upon the provisions of this bill, that the time had at last come when, by the consent of the Government themselves, and he might add, by the recorded consent of the House, repeatedly given, they were to enter upon the discussion of the bill, according to the ordinary and invariable practice of Parliament, and that he might now discuss, as he was most ready to discuss, and had always expressed himself ready, the various objections which might be raised against the several clauses of the bill by hon. Gentlemen opposite, or on his side of the House, as they should be brought under the notice of the committee, agreeably with Parliamentary usage. Without meaning to accuse the noble Lord of any want of good taste, he must say, that when the Government had pledged itself to allow the bill to proceed, at least without offering any further opposition to its going into committee, he did not anticipate, that upon the first clause, which, according to the noble Lord's statement, was harmless in itself. [Viscount Morpeth, no, no] Very well, then, a clause not harmless in itself—he did not expect, that upon the very first clause—a clause not harmless in itself, as the noble Lord now-stated, but which ten minutes before he described to be harmless in itself—a clause which was unconnected with the subsequent provisions of the bill, and one which, whether harmless, or not, the noble Lord had introduced into two former bills, he did not, he said, anticipate, that upon that clause being proposed the committee were to be called upon to discuss every other clause of the bill from its commencement to its conclusion. In fact, were he to follow the noble Lord in the course he bad adopted, be should be lending himself to the seduction of the House into one of those snares into which the noble. Lord told the House he was driving them, but against which he begged hon. Members to be on their guard—he should be lending himself to brine; the House again into discussions in committee which had already been carried on ad nauseam on the principle of this bill. When the principle of the bill was under discussion on those occasions they were told to consider its details, and now that the proper time had arrived for entering upon the consideration of its details, the noble Lord invited them to a discussion upon the whole principle of the bill; and at the same time he told the House that this first clause involved the whole principle of the bill, and that it was not harmless in itself. But what was the fact? This first clause verbatim et literatim had been copied from a clause introduced in 1835, and again in 1836 by the noble Lord himself. It was assented to by the House in 1835, and that without the objection of any human being on either side of the House, and under the noble Lord's sanction was actually sent to the other House of Parliament. In 1838 a similar clause was introduced by the noble Lord's then Attorney-General, Mr. Woulffe, and he now told the noble Lord, if it would afford him the slightest satisfaction, that he was ready to support the clause of the last Attorney-General against that of the former; in fact, be was as ready to adopt the clause of Mr. Woulfe, as that of Mr. Perrin. Therefore there was nothing in the words of the clause to which the noble Lord could object; the words were his own. They were the very words of 1838; and if they would please the noble Lord better than those of 1835 or 1836, he would not call upon him to eat his words, but he was quite willing to adopt those of 1838. But what was the meaning of this clause, which the House had been told was a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of Ireland? It was no more a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of Ireland, or of any human being in Ire- land, than that clause in the English Reform Act, which required that the voter who was on the register for the year 1839, for instance, should not be permitted to vote in 1841, unless his name should appear on the register of 1841, was a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of England. It never entered into the brain of any person to say, that because the act required that a person should appear on the last register as a proof of his right to vote, that therefore it was a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of England. But he should be able to prove, that this was not at all a disfranchising clause. He could prove that it was less a disfranchising clause against the people of Ireland, or any part of the people of Ireland, than the corresponding clause of the English Reform Act was against the English people. But, whatever the effect of the clause might be, it was essential to consider what was the nature of a registry of votes, and what was the meaning which the term "a register of voters" involved. Was it not the object and intention and meaning of such register to define, determine, and regulate the right of any particular individual to vote? If that was not the meaning of a register of voters, there was no use at all in the register: it meant nothing at all if it did not mean an authorized list of persons entitled to vote under the register. What said the clause? That from and after a particular day, no person should have a right to vote unless previously registered according to the act. That was to be the test—that was to be the criterion—that was to be the point upon which proof was to be received at the polling of every elector. Former Governments had never shrunk avowing that principle most distinctly, or from placing such a clause in the front of their bills. Mr. Woulfe and Mr. Perrin both did so, and yet no objection was taken to the proposition when they made it, that it was a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of Ireland. Accordingly, they acted in perfect good faith in this matter in placing in the front of their bills the very clause, or some similar clause, which he had placed in the front of this bill. The hon. Member for Limerick did the same with his bill. Did any one rise on those occasions, and venture to declare that such a proposition was a wholesale disfranchisement of the people of Ireland? If such a clamour had been raised by any person, he would have been cried down by the good sense of the whole people of England and Ireland. But, although the Solicitor-general did not place this clause in front of the bill he had very recently introduced, the hon. and learned Gentleman had adopted one which was precisely the same. It had been thought convenient by the learned Gentleman to postpone that principle until the forty-third clause of the bill, but at that place he bad introduced a provision in its character and nature identical with this. What, at the present moment, was the test of the right of persons to vote? A certificate produced at the poll. There were no register in Ireland; but at the present moment the test by which the returning officer was to be guided when the party came to the poll, was a certificate of his being the person entitled to vote. What said the forty-third clause of the bill of the Solicitor-general, who disfranchised nobody in Ireland? The certificate was the only test now, and the Solicitor-general in his bill proposed by the forty-third clause,— And be it enacted that from and after the completion of the first revision of the register of voters for any county or borough under this act. He had proposed a date for the completion of the register—namely, from and after the 1st day of November, 1841, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman preferred his own words, "from and after the completion of the first revision of the register of voters under this act," he had no objection to adopt them. He would take the hon. and learned Gentleman's words instead of the date; he would not quarrel with him for terms. But what he proposed was, that from and after the time of the completion of the first register, no person should be entitled to vote except his name was to be found on the register. And what said the Solicitor-general?— From and after the completion of the first revision of the register of voters for any county or borough under this act, no separate certificate on parchment heretofore granted shall be called for, or have any effect, to entitle the person named therein to poll before the deputy of the returning-officer in the manner now by law allowed. And so much of the said recited acts as relates to the granting of such certificate, and as enacts that such certificate shall be conclusive of the right of voting of the person named therein, shall after the com- pletion of the first register under the provisions of this act be repealed. The moment the new register under the Solicitor-general's bill came into operation, that register alone was to be the test and conclusive criterion of a man's right to vote. That test and criterion which the law now prescribed to the voter he was to be deprived of by the Solicitor-general, who was raising the clamour of "wholesale disfranchisement" against him. He should be very glad to hear the noble Lord answer this argument. He should be glad to hear the noble Lord attempt to disprove that by the 43d clause of the Solicitor-general's bill, the proof which a voter was now authorised to give of his right to vote should no longer entitle his vote to he received at an election, and that the only proof that he has a right to vote should be his name being recorded on the register. That was what the Solicitor-general proposed in the 43d clause of his bill, and what he proposed in the first clause of this bill. That was admitted, for he perceived, that the Solicitor-general nodded assent. He wanted to know, apart from the other provisions of the bill, what was to become of that clamour of "whole sale disfranchisement," which had been raised against him This clause was the same clause which had been introduced on two former occasions by the Government itself, and it was part of a bill introduced by the Government on a third occasion. He would take that clause instead of his own, if they wished it—that clause which was admitted by the Solicitor-general to be of the same effect as that against which the clamour of disfranchisement was now raised. The noble Lord said, that this clause must be taken in combination with the other clauses of the bill, and unless that were done there would be no use in going into committee at all. But the business of a committee was to discuss the clauses of a bill seriatim—to take the whole of the details in their proper order. It was, therefore, trifling with the House and with the public, after all the preliminary steps had been gone through with so much debate and so much attention, not to proceed in the usual way to deal with the details of the bill. He was prepared to enter upon those details, and ready to canvass the arguments arising out of them. It was trifling with the House, at that stage of the bill, and without giving a proper opportunity for the discussion of its several provisions according to the ordinary usage of Parliament for those who did not approve of every provision of the bill for framing the register to proceed in this way at the very opening of the bill; and, however some might be disposed to break the word of promise to the hope, he called upon those hon. Gentlemen who had really desired to go into committee for the purpose of having a fair discussion on the details of the bill, not to permit the Government to shrink from that discussion. The first clause would bind them to no particular provision as to the mode of registration, that was to be a matter for discussion afterwards; and he called upon the Government to release themselves of the pledge they gave, that there should be a bona fide discussion on the details of the bill in committee according to the practice of Parliament. He did not shrink from discussion, and he must say, that he thought it unreasonable to raise a clamour against the measure he had introduced, and then to attempt to evade a fair and close discussion upon its merits. It was said, that he intended by this bill to disfranchise every person in Ireland. It was provided, that no person was at present entitled to vote, unless his name was upon the last register; but that was a matter of consideration for the committee. The whole meaning of the first clause depended on the alterations and amendments which hon. Gentlemen on either side of the House might think proper to make. But the noble Lord had thought it a convenient course to go through the whole series of difficulties by which voters were surrounded upon offering their claim to be put on the register. He had watched the noble Lord, and observed, that he carefully abstained from telling the House, although he left it to be understood, that a voter, when claiming to be put on the register, would be exposed to none of those evils, though the noble Lord knew very well, from the provisions of the bill, a portion of which the noble Lord stated, part of which he also, as it suited his purpose, abstained from stating, that the voter entitled to vote was sedulously and carefully relieved by the bill from any one of those annoyances and difficulties to which he had alluded. This bill was not so much a disfranchising bill as the English Reform Act itself. It was true, that with- out any exertion on the part of the voter himself, he was transferred from the register of one year to that of another; that was to say, if he was not objected to in that simple form prescribed by the Reform Act. But, however often the objection was answered, the voter might be brought again before the revising barrister in England, and, although the objection might not be new, the objector was not called upon to prove his negative; but the party claiming must give satisfactory proof of his qualification. ["Cheers."] Did he (Lord Stanley) propose anything of that kind for Ireland? Would the noble Lord cheer that? If the noble Lord would turn to the 6th clause, he would find that every person entitled to vote, without any exertion of his own, without taking a single step, would be able to secure his vote, for the clerk of the peace was bound to put on the list the name of every person registered within the eight years next previous to the 20th of July in the present year, and in succeeding years of every person whose name should be on the register for the time being. The 6th clause entirely relieved the voter from undergoing any vexatious inquiry, after being once put on the register, and the clerk of the peace, at the same time that he made a list, was called upon to publish a notice warning all persons whose names were on the register, that it would be unnecessary for them to send in any claim whatever. The objections to voters were under limitations of which he thought, that neither the Solicitor-general nor the noble Lord could disapprove. But the noble Lord would allow objections to be made and the voter to be brought before the registration courts to defend his right, although his name was already on the register. By the 19th clause of this bill, the clerk of the peace was required to make out three lists—one of persons originally entitled to vote, a list of claimants, and a list of voters, those objections being put forth in the same manner, and with the same notices as in this country. The 20th clause was as follows:— And be it enacted, that the assistant barrister at every such sessions shall revise and go through the several lists of voters, claims, and objections in the alphabetical order of the parishes in each barony, half-barony, or portion of a barony in each county, and in the alphabetical order of the parishes in each town, commencing in each parish with the list of persons whose names are upon the register for the time being, and the list of the persons objected to; and shall call over the names in the respective lists of objections and claims three times at least, and he shall retain on the list of voters for each town and county respectively (except us hereinafter provided) the names of all persons who shall not have been objected to in manner hereinbefore mentioned; and he shall also retain on the list of voters for each town and county respectively (except as hereinafter provided) the name of every person who shall have been objected to in manner hereinbefore mentioned, unless the party so objecting shall appear by himself or by some one on his behalf in support of such objection: every assistant-barrister shall examine into such objection in the alphabetical order of the names of the persons objected to, and shall require it to be proved, that the person so objected to was, on the 20th day of July then next proceeding no longer entitled in respect of the qualification described in the lists of the clerk of the peace and register for the time being, to have his name retained on the register of voters for such county or town respectively then next to be completed, and the fact of the name and qualification of the person objected to being upon such list or the register of voters for time being shall always be prima facie proof of such person being entitled to have his name retained on the said lists and on the register then next to be completed. Now, he was sure that the committee must agree with him when he said, that the effect of that clause was most favourable in every respect to the rights of the voter. If the voter were objected to, did the bill throw him upon his defence? No. Should there be a prima facie objection against him, was he then put upon the defence of his claim; No, The whole burthen of proof was cast upon the objector. Was it necessary for him to offer the committee any better or stronger evidence to show that that the bill did not, go to curtail or to diminish the rights of the voter? Was it possible for any Legislature to take more pains than had been taken in the framing of the bill then before them to favour the rights and privileges of those now entitled by law to the exercise of the elective franchise? Guarding the rights of the voter from hostility of a frivolous or vexatious kind, and protecting him from the payment of costs, even though he should have imposed upon every voter the necessity of establishing his own claim and defending it against all exceptions, he still should say, that the preponderance of argument would be in favour of such a plan, and against the position contended for by the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland; but he entreated the House to recollect, that he did nothing of the sort. But these were matters really foreign to that question, which ought then legitimately to come before the committee. He doubted whether he was justified in proceeding further with this line of argument. The present discussion belonged to the consideration of another part of the bill, he would rather propose to deal with the objections of the noble Lord opposite, at another stage of the proceedings; but the noble Lord would not allow him to take that course; it did not suit the noble Lord that the matters in dispute should be taken separately. The noble Lord preferred to club all his objections in the hope of catching a few of the stray votes in that House, which, but for the adoption of such a course would be decided against him. It was hoped, that many hon. Members would fall into the trap, and by those means, the Chief Secretary for Ireland and his supporters, reckoned upon being able to throw out the whole bill, without coming to any fair discussion, or in fact, any discussion whatever of particular points. The House, he was sure, could not have forgotten the important admission made by the noble Lord, with reference to the registration which took place immediately after the passing of the Reform Act. In the year 1832, there was considerable difficulty in finding barristers to undertake the duty of revising the lists, or rather the difficulty lay in having that duty well and effectively performed. The noble Lord admitted, most truly, that there was then much haste and confusion at that period, and it was well known, indeed the noble Lord did not disguise the fact, that many, very many, names of persons were placed upon the register, who had no right to be there; and did not the noble Lord know that many assistant-barristers had laid it down since 1832, and even so recently as 1838, that those voters who produced the certificate of 1832, were entitled to re-register; and was not the inference obvious that such a state of the law must lead to frauds innumerable? Yet, the noble Lord would not permit any investigation of claims which various circumstances during the past eight years might havvitiated. There might have been false, hood, there might have been perjury, there might have been fraud, there might have been personation,—there might have been every variety of bad evidence, but the noble Lord would not permit any enquiry into matters which had passed during the last eight years. The noble Lord would continue to every man during the term of his natural life the franchise, no matter in what manner acquired, during the time that had elapsed from the year 1832 to this hour—no matter by what species of fraud the right was obtained, it must continue to the voter so long as he lived. The noble Lord said, it would be hard to call upon the voter a second time to establish his claim; but he said it was necessary. The noble Lord, it was true, acknowledged that he should readily admit the principle for which he (Lord Stanley) contended where any new circumstances had arisen. Now, he should take the liberty of troubling the House with the mention of a case in the county of the city of Cork, which would show, that without any new circumstances arising, there was a necessity for his bill. Some years ago the names of parties had been placed upon the register in Cork. They then stated the value of their holdings to be 10l. Subsequently to that period, a rate had been imposed, in conquence of which they thought it would be more conducive to their interests to fix the value of their holdings at a sum more nearly approaching to their real worth, and accordingly, they declared them to be of the value of 5l. Thus, for election purposes, they were to be called 10l. holdings, while, in reference to the payment of taxes, they were to be but 5l. tenements. The holders objected to the 10l. rating, and swore and proved them to be only of the value of 5l. By the principle, then, which the noble Lord wished to introduce, these persons would be placed for life in such a position as at once to invest them with the franchise, and to exempt them from the payment of taxes; and they were to be placed upon the register on the ground of the value of their tenements, though those holdings had been declared by themselves over and over again, to be worth less than 5l. If it were proposed to extend the immunity to all those who were now on the register of voters, he should be glad to learn how they proposed to deal with that case in Cork. He did not impute wilful misrepresentation in all the cases which the bill was intended to include; he assumed the parties in many instances to have proceeded in perfect ignorance of the case; but he begged the noble Lord and the House to reflect upon the circumstances to which he should now call their attention. Suppose a man holding under a lease for lives—suppose that at the time of registering, all the lives had ceased, though he believed one of the lives to be in existence—suppose that he continued in possession of the same holding, and under the same landlord, he would then be a tenant at will, though without any knowledge of his precise legal position; at the time of placing his name on the register, no one was aware of his being a tenant at will, and yet would the House sanction any thing so monstrous as that he should, during the remainder of his natural life, remain amongst the electors of the kingdom, when at the time of his registration, he was only a tenant at will—when there did not exist a shadow of doubt as to the death of the party, upon the assumption of whose continued existence his tenure depended: would the House invest him with a right arising out of such tenure? If the doctrines of the noble Lord were to pass current with the House, the voter might be enabled to say, "You could not have objected to me at the time of the registration, for then you and all the other parties concerned, supposed my title to be undoubted; and you cannot do it now, for I had my vote in 1840, and it must, therefore, continue to me for life. I must be retained on the register, and you can never question my claim." He stated that which might arise—nay, that which had arisen. In addition to this, the House should recollect that in counties not very keenly contested, many names were often allowed to remain on the register, in the full confidence that when a necessity arose, they might be removed. Let the House affirm the principle of the noble Lord, and they would sanction a measure which would keep all the counties of the United Kingdom in a state of perpetual ferment and agitation. The noble Lord appeared to think that he answered, this objection when he called the attention of the House to the strictness with which the right of voting was usually investigated in Ireland. It was not to be denied, that there prevailed more close investigation of the right of voting in Ireland than in this part of the United Kingdom. He had no wish but to argue the question fairly; and, under the influence of an earnest desire that it should be argued fairly, he requested the House to bear in mind, that there was very little force in the argument, founded upon the principle that a man's vote was not to be questioned after he had once been successful in defending it against objections. There was a wide difference between defending it against a bonâ fide objection, and one brought forward, merely for the purpose of establishing his claim and placing it for ever beyond the reach of cavil or objection. A friendly objector, knowing that his objections could not for a moment stand, urges it solely for the purpose of guaranteeing his friend's vote from future objection. Thus, either bad votes would be placed upon the register in a time of apathy and indifference, or the peace of counties would be incessantly disturbed: every vote must be watched and sifted, and anger and ill blood be the consequence, or all the varieties of fraud must be practised. Did not the noble Lord recollect, that in the year 1837, the personations of voters at the Queen's county election, existed to an extent before unparalleled even in the annals of Irish elections? And he should almost say, that if there had been no other cases of a similar character, that one would have been sufficient to justify interference. The present state of the law, or rather that for which the noble Lord contended, would operate as a premium upon the success of perjury, villany, and fraud. Let the House not forget that the noble Lord did not pretend to provide a remedy for such a state of things as were admitted to exist. He repealed, that the present discussion did not belong properly to the clause under consideration; but he saw the effect of this mode of proceeding, and he hoped, that the House would not overlook it. He hoped that they would see the unfairness of not proceeding with the discussion according to the uniform practice of Parliament; he hoped that they would not allow the bill to be thrown out by any indirect attempt of this description, but that they would proceed, according to all Parliamentary practice, to discuss the measure paragraph by paragraph, and clause by clause.

Mr. Sheil

The argument of the noble Lord is at variance with the statement with which he commenced his speech. He began by stating, that the first clause in his bill would not operate as a disfran- chisement of voters already registered, but he afterwards proceeded to advocate the principle of disfranchisement, from the consciousness that the first clause was founded upon it. He insisted, that a multitude of claimants had found their way by illegitimate means upon the registry, and that by a process of re-investigation, introduced into this bill, those claimants ought to be deprived of the privilege which the registry had conferred. This is disfranchisement to all intents and purposes. The clause proposed by my noble Friend, the Secretary for Ireland, is, I admit, at utter variance with the clause so strenuously supported by the noble Lord, and which, indeed, constitutes the essence of his bill. The noble Lord disfranchises upon grounds antecedent to the registry, while the Secretary for Ireland confines the revision to matter which has arisen subsequent to the registry. For the imperfections incidental to the Irish system of registration—and to what system of registration are not imperfections incidental? the amendment proposed by the Secretary for Ireland affords a commensurate remedy. Vested rights—rights obtained through the means provided by the law for their acquisition, and which are therefore vested, are secured by the amendment, while at the same time care is taken, that where those rights in point of fact have ceased to exist, the loss of the qualification shall operate as a defeasance, and of the mere form of registry no fraudulent use shall be made. The names of those who have died or become insolvent, or who have parted with their interest, are to be struck off the registry, and as outstanding certificates may be employed as the means of personation, the whole system of certificates is to be abolished. The noble Lord calls, by way of retort, the abolition of the certificates a disfranchisement. Certificates arc but the evidence of the title to vote. The title itself is not affected by the change of the evidence, and the Solicitor-general's proposition does no more than substitute a different proof less liable to exception, by which, however, the right to be proved is not in the slightest degree affected. This misrepresentation upon the part of the noble Lord is very inconsistent with those professions of fairness in which the noble Lord so frequently and so strenuously indulges, from a consciousness, I fear, that those professions are not wholly uncalled for upon the part of the noble Lord. The clearance of the registry of all those who have forfeited their title since the registry by means of an annual revision, ought to satisfy those who do not look for anything beyond the correction of the abuses which we ought to be solicitous to remove. But it is urged by the noble Lord, that crowds, who never possessed the qualification have found admission to the registry. If this were true—if their allegations were well founded who to the abuses of the Irish registry are so sensitively alive, but who to the fabrication of fictitious votes, who to the profligacy, the corruption, the bribery, the debauch, the perjury, and its more infamous subornation which prevail at your own elections, are philosophically insensible, and give to Ireland the exclusive advantage of their virtuous, but not wholly disinterested indignation—if, I say, their allegations were well founded, and practices so corrupt had been employed for the purpose of giving an undue preponderance to the popular party, it is obvious that the constituency would be enormous. The country would swarm with spurious voters, and herds of wretched serfs would be driven at every election to the hustings under the terror of what the noble Lord, with his usual happiness of conciliatory phrase, was pleased to designate as "excommunication." But what it the state of the constituency of Ireland, and how do the statistical returns laid upon the table of this House sustain the statements of the noble Lord, who, not contented with revision, insists upon re-investigation, insists upon an appeal to the judge of assize, and all those complicated impediments to the extension of the elective franchise, which in the spirit of consistent "obstruction," the noble Lord, with an ingenuity so perverse, has so elaborately devised? The noble Lord is a proprietor in the county of Tipperary. He corresponds with the agents of Conservative clubs in that county, and he has been entrusted with several petitions, not indeed very numerously signed, from the county which I have the honour to represent, in which it was stated, that "thousands" had been improperly admitted upon the registry. What then is the constituency of the county of Tipperary? That county is of great extent, remarkable for its fertility; it is studded with large and thriving towns, and its population exceeds 400,000. You will say, you will of course conjecture, that under such circumstances the constituency of the county Tipperary must amount to 10,000. No. Well, to 8,000? No. To 6,000? No. To 5,000? Not 5,000? To 4,000? No to 4,000. Well then, to 3,000. With the aid of sacerdotal anathemas, and secular imprecation, we must needs have, at all events, raised our practical voting constituency. At the last general election, the contest lasted for five days in the county of Tipperary. The county was polled out, and the numbers who voted did not amount to 2,400. And here let me advert to a letter stated by the noble Lord to have been written to him by the agent of the Tipperary Conservative Association, containing a narrative respecting two tenants of Mr. Faucett. The noble Lord does not know Mr. Kernan, his correspondent—never saw him in his life—never heard of him before, and yet he produces a letter written by that gentleman, as a ground for disfranchising the constituency of Ireland. This is indeed a strong proceeding. He would sentence Ireland to a deprivation of her rights on the evidence of a mere letter which would not be received upon the trial of the meanest case in the meanest court of judicature in the kingdom. I have received a letter from a very respectable gentleman, Mr. Michael Meagher, distinctly contradicting the statements of Mr. Kernan. Mr. Meagher says:— About a fortnight back, my attention was called to a report of a speech purporting to have been delivered by Lord Stanley in his place in the House of Commons, on the 18lh ult., relative to his bill on the Irish elective franchise. In a portion of that speech he is reported to have stated, that he received a letter from a Mr. Kernan, registry agent for the Conservatives of North Tipperary, wherein, amongst other things, it was alleged that 'a tenant of Mr. Faucett, over eighty years of age, held a farm, out of which he registered in 1832—that in 1834 he gave up the farm to Mr. Faucett from his inability to hold the same—that Mr. Faucett gave him an acre of land free to live on—that at the election of 1837, this old man of eighty years of age was dragged to the hustings at Clonmel, and there made to vote for Sheil and Cave, notwithstanding his being warned by his landlord not to do so, as he knew his title was extinct.' Further, he (Lord Stanley) is reported to have stated, from the same information, that 'another tenant of Mr. Faucett, named Roger Meara, registered in 1832—was murdered in 1837—was placed on the list of applicants for registry in January, 1840, and that the agent produced his (Meara's) former certificate of 1832—swore that he received it from said Meara for the purpose of having him re-registered, and actually got him registered on that occasion before Mr. Howly, assistant barrister.' The first statement is false, inasmuch as Mr. Faucett has but four freeholders on his entire estate, and those held a lease before he (Mr. Faucett) purchased the property, which lease is still in existence—the same freeholders still hold the same farm and franchise—none of them are cither eighty, seventy, sixty, or fifty years of age—no tenant has surrendered his farm to Mr. Faucett; for to do that gentleman justice, he does not render any tenant unable to pay rent. As I was one of the persons who conducted the freeholders from this county to Clonmel at the aforesaid election, I solemnly declare that there was no tenant of Mr. Faucett's of that age, who went to the hustings; the only tenants of his that went were the four herein-mentioned, and they had, and still have, a bonâ fide interest in their farms to entitle them to the franchise. With regard to Roger Meara, it is true he registered in 1832; it is true he was murdered in 1837; it is also equally true that his name was on the list of applicants for registry in January, 1840, for this reason—the person who is registry agent for the Liberals in North Tipperary, being unable to ascertain all the persons who were either dead or disentitled to re-register, served notice for all persons on the former registry list in this division; thereby giving an opportunity to every person legally entitled to come forward and re-register. Roger Meara's name, through that means, appeared on the list of applicants in January, 1840; but as to the agent producing his (Meara's) certificate, that I distinctly deny. I was the only person who held the certificates of the persons from the division where Meara did live. It is untrue that Meara was either registered in 1840, as stated by him, or attempted to be registered either by me or any other person. I will put the matter at rest by challenging Mr. Kernan to show Roger Meara's name on the new list of registered persons for 1840, or any list but that of 1832. Here, then, is a direct contradiction of the assertions—the unsupported assertions—of a man whom the noble Lord never saw in all his life, of whom he knows nothing but that he is the agent to a Conservative association in the county of Tipperary. It requires some intrepidity to rest such a bill upon testimony of this kind. But since great importance is attached to the letters of Conservative functionaries, what will the noble Lord say to the circular issued by the agent to the Conservative Club, in the county of Cork, which has been read, and of which the authenticity has not been disputed, in this House? Thai, letter enjoins the importance of stripping the tenantry of lay landlords of the elective franchise. But since I am speaking of the county of Cork, what, let me ask, is the constituency of that great county? The population exceeds 700,000; the constituency does not amount to 4,000. The same disproportion between the constituency and the representation prevails in every other district in Ireland. Let statistics be compared with the statements of the noble Lord; let statistics, in which there is no faction, no baffled ambition, no spirit of rancorous conversion, be compared with the evidence with which the noble Lord endeavours to sustain his case. If his assertions be well founded—if the noble Lord do not labour under the most egregious misconceptions—the registry of Ireland would present an enormous constituency; but the direct reverse is the fact. The constituency is miserably small; but small as it is, it has been too large for your purposes, small as it is, your projects have been defeated, your aspirations have been thwarted, and the country has been saved by it from your dominion. It must be reduced to dimensions more in conformity with your views, and accordingly by the very first clause in your bill, one-half of the registered constituency is to be disfranchised by the operation of that clause thus:—A farmer, call him for the sake of distinctness, John Morissy, lives forty miles from Cork: on the 1st of October, 1836, John Morissy served notice to register; he attended at the sessions on the 20th; his lease was produced, he underwent a strict scrutiny, and after a full investigation was duly registered: his right is vested, and he voted at the last general election in the exercise of that right. The bill of the noble Lord with the clause in debate passes. John Morissy's landlord objects to his retention on the registry. He is compelled to go through the same vexatious process as before, and is registered again. His landlord appeals against the registry; for three months no decision can be had, and, in the interval, to the relation of landlord and tenant, that of appellant and respondent is superadded. At length the judges of assize arrive, and John Morissy leaves his fields, his plough, his harrow, and sets off for Cork. He reaches the court-house, after a journey of forty miles, and has the advantage of witnessing the trials of some ejectments for non-payment of rent, from which valuable intimations are derived by him. At length his appeal is called on, counsel are employed against him by Mr. Nettles, the agent to the Conservative Club, and the case is powerfully stated by some learned sergeant with a minacious aspect, and ultra-forensic faculties of intimidation. His own landlord is produced as a witness against him, and after a fierce political struggle, the learned judge strikes him off the registry; and availing himself of the power with which he is specially invested by the noble Lord, mulcts him in costs, and sends him home without a shilling in his pocket as an example to all refractory tenants, and an exemplification of the advantages which the noble Lord, our very peculiar benefactor, is determined to inflict upon the Irish people. It is fortunate, I think, that in the first clause of this bill so much of its worst matter is condensed, for an opportunity is given at the outset to those who voted for going into a committee to repair any mistake into which, under a conscientious, but recent sense of duty, they may have been unwittingly betrayed. In the assault committed upon the existing registry they will hardly concur. It was a strong measure to disfranchise the forty-shilling freeholders—to the last it was resisted by Lord Grey; not even for the sake of emancipation would he sacrifice the rights of those by whom the most imperative argument for emancipation had been supplied. But for what purpose is this new infringement upon principle to be perpetrated? For a purpose in reference to which he must indeed be a sceptic, by whom the slightest doubt is entertained. Protestations, indeed, in sufficient abundance are made by the promoters of this measure; that they look to nothing more than the suppression of the abuses at which their moral sense revolts. At abuses their moral sense does not always so readily take alarm; witness the Irish corporations, for whose peculations and whose frauds, by so many shifts and expedients, a discreditable impunity has been so long procured. But it is sufficient to look across that table to estimate the value of the clause which the noble Lord has placed in the outset of his bill. If the motives by which this project is dictated were ostensibly the most pure and the most disinterested, by the general policy of the noble Lord the specific proposition should still be fairly tried. To the gift, however specious, an apprehension of the donor should be extended; but in this instance, the object of the noble Lord is not only undisguised, but a veil of the flimsiest texture is scarce cast upon it. Who, that looks back to the incidents fresh in the recollection of every one of us, can entertain the least question relative to the purposes of this measure? In 1835, it was avowed that the Tory party looked to the divisions that prevailed between the Whigs and the Irish Members as a means of carrying on what was termed by a great misnomer a Conservative government. Had those divisions still subsisted I do not think that so lynx-eyed a vigilance would have been displayed in detecting the abuses of the Irish registry. In 1837, on the accession of her Majesty to the throne, a general election took place, and eight additional Members were returned by the Irish popular party. It became indispensable for the purposes of Toryism that the phalanx by which the Ministers were supported should be broken up. There existed at that time a tribunal for the trial of election petitions, whose proceedings were of the most censurable character. It did great credit to the Member for Tamworth that he contributed to the abolition of that tribunal in 1839; but of that which he contributed to abolish in 1839, the Tory party availed themselves in 1837. The Spottiswoode conspiracy was formed, and large sums were levied, in order, through the instrumentality of that profligate tribunal, that the representatives of the people of Ireland should be expelled from the House of Commons. That proceeding, bad as it was, found its most strenuous advocates among the champions of this measure. The men who expatiated so pathetically upon the abuses of the Irish registry, turned that scandalous system of adjudication to account. Who that looks back to that transaction can doubt that the blow which was aimed at the representation, is now directed against the constituency? During the last recess the labours of the Conservative press were devoted to the impeachment of the 10l. constituency. On the 19th of December last it was officially announced in the great Conservative journal that this measure would be brought forward. The Session commences—the hon. Baronet, the Member for Devonshire, moves his celebrated resolution. In the debate that ensued, the most offensive distinctions were taken between the English and the Irish Members—the spirit, the animus of this project was made manifest. That the men by whom, or on whose behalf such sentiments were uttered, should support a measure of disfranchisement like this, is natural and consistent; but it is most unnatural and most inconsistent that any man calling himself a Reformer should co-operate in such an enterprise, and should become the auxiliary of a man who upon every Irish question is utterly destitute of the slightest claim upon the confidence of Parliament, who was told by Lord Althorp to his face, in the face of the House and of the country, that his administration of Ireland had been a lamentable failure—who has since that time, by the extent of his political transitions, acquired a new title to the disrelish of one country, and to the distrust of both—who deals for ever in extremes—was ready to swamp the Lords when he was a Whig, and is ready to swamp the people when he has turned Torv—lauded the Irish Members to the skies in 1832, when it suited his purpose, and would now slap the door of the House of Commons in their faces; and of all the traits in the political character of the noble Lord, of all the incidents to his political conduct the most to be lamented—who, after having denounced "an expiring faction," and held them up to public scorn, now leagues himself with that bad Irish party which he represented as miserable, and which is not the less deserving of the designation which he thought it not unmeet to employ in their regard, because he has combined with them for the achievement of their pernicious projects, and has so far forgotten the principles which ought to have descended to him as an inheritance, as to prostitute his talents for the attainment of purposes to which every beating of his heart must at this moment tell him that they ought never to have been applied; and is this the man—is it to such a man that the delicate and difficult, and almost perilous task of legislating for Ireland ought to be confided—is this the man to whom we are to surrender the franchise of the country, upon which he inflicted calamities so fearful, and which was driven almost to insurrection by his misrule? See what in the course of a few weeks he has accomplished. The country was at rest—po- litical excitement had subsided—that wise policy to which last year this House bore an attestation so signal, had produced the most salutary fruits. No public meetings were held, the tithe question had been adjusted, and the very name of a measure to Englishmen of all others the most obnoxious was scarcely uttered. A general calm prevailed. Suddenly the noble Lord bursts like a hurricane upon us. The elements of confusion are at once let loose, and the country is swept back into that tempestuous agitation from which we deemed ourselves secure. Stop, while there is yet time—stop the noble Lord in his career of mischief, or the consequences may be irretrievable. You may gain a temporary triumph; you may rob us of the fruits of that emancipation which the itinerant incendiaries invite you openly and directly to rescind; but your victories will be dearly purchased. Of Ireland—of organised, confederated, discontented Ireland beware; beware of that country which you ought to have been instructed by experience, fearful, if not humiliating, not to hold in disregard. Twelve months have sarcely passed since the Member for Tamworth declared that Ireland presented to him his greatest difficulty. Will that difficulty be diminished by the sinister cooperation of his noble and exceedingly formidable Friend? Persevere in that policy by which this measure had been prompted, and Ireland will soon be in a condition more fearful than that which preceded emancipation. You will enter again into an encounter with that gigantic agitation by which you were before discomfited, and by which (for its power is treble) you will be again overthrown; for all the consequences that will ensue from the excitement which you will have wontonly engendered, you will be responsible; you will be responsible for the calamities which will gush in, in abundance so disastrous, from the sources of bitterness which you will have unsealed. If Ireland shall be arrested in the march, of improvement in which Ireland has been under a Whig Government rapidly advancing—if Ireland shall be thrown back fifty years—if the value of property shall be impaired—if the security of property shall be shaken—if political animosities shall be embittered—if religious detestations shall become more rabid and more envenomed—if the mind of Ireland shall become one heated mass, ready to catch fire at a single spark; for all this you will be responsible. And do not think that it is to Ireland that the evil effects of your impolicy will be confined. If in this country the fell spirit of democracy which lately appeared amongst you shall be resuscitated, I do not think that to your Irish garrison (for what will your army be but a garrison?) you can with confidence look for succour. There is reason, too, to apprehend that the state of Ireland may affect you in your foreign relations—that England will not maintain the post and dignity that become her—that foreign cabinets may take advantage of our intestine dissensions to exact from us humiliating conditions—and that thus, to the maintenance of Protestant ascendancy in a distracted province, you will sacrifice the ascendancy of England through the world. It is of that ascendancy, that better, nobler, and more exalted ascendancy that I am the advocate; and it is because I am so, because I am as devoted to the maintenance of the glory, the honour, and the power of this great country, as if I were born among yourselves, and from my birth had breathed no other air than you have—it is for this that I am solicitious that you should not relinquish one of the noblest means of its sustainment, and that I warn you not to hazard the affections, the warm, devoted, enthusiastic affections of millions of high-minded and high-hearted men; but to preserve, in a spirit of wise conservation, the great moral bulwark which you find in those affections—which does not form an item in your estimates, which is so cheap that it costs nothing but justice, and which, as long as you shall retain, so long, against every evil that may befal you, your empire will be impregnably secure.

Mr. D'Israeli

said, those who voted against the present bill voted for the dismemberment of the empire. He was induced to make this remark from hearing the speech which had just been delivered. The House had heard the cry of equal justice and equal rights to Ireland, but he begged to call their attention to this circumstance. If an Englishman talked sedition in England he was prosecuted; but if sedition was talked on the other side of the channel was the individual punished? Was this equal justice r He asked English Gentlemen how they could give their support to a Government who punished in England what they allowed to pass with impunity in Ireland? Englishmen were sent to the penal colonies for a feeble imitation of conduct which made men here Ministers of State, and which made men on the other side of the channel the rulers of those Ministers. This was not a Government, but a yoke, intolerable and ignominious. On a question which required deliberation, he asked, were they to be met with a tone of menace from one gorged with the plunder of a cheated country?—whose combination and connexion with the Government were now brought into question. The House now knew, after the speeches that had been made in that House, in other places, and in another country, in what spirit this movement was viewed, and they knew the consequences of it—the support of British interests and the continuance of imperial connexion. The noble Lord opposite (J. Russell), at one time, had not been unfavourable to the measure, but when his Government was denounced by the hon. Member for Dublin, he changed his opinion. He did not view this bill in its relation to the registration only, for hon. Members on the other side had imputed other objects to the framers of the bill than the purification of the Irish registry. He denied that any other spirit had actuated the noble Lord who moved the introduction of the bill than a desire to improve and benefit Ireland. He, on his own part, denied entertaining any feeling of hostility to an Irishman's country or to his creed. He denied that either himself or those on his side of the House were influenced by any such feelings. He was sure the noble Lord was not actuated by bigotry towards the creed, or any personal hostility towards Ireland—as had been asserted either in direct or flowery language as suited the genius loci—whether in or out of the House of Commons, or at the Corn Exchange. He had never given a vote hostile to the true interests of the people of Ireland. He trusted the bill would be allowed to pass—and the only result which would occur was, that at the next election Ireland would at length be represented as a free country ought to be.

Dr. Stock

said, that the hon. Gentleman had given point to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Tipperary, in what he had said, for it was the embodiment of the spirit of faction. The measure before the House was not conceived in a fair and honest intention, but was penal in its character, and disfranchising in its effect. Whereas the noble Lord opposite had said, that the first clause of this bill was similar in character to the same clause of former bills introduced by the Government, they must try that, not by a reference to particular words, but by a general contrast of the principles of the measures. It was for that reason that the noble Lord below him had introduced this amendment. He contended that the Irish voter had a franchise which that House could not take away by a piece of summary legislation like this bill, nor could the present law be altered without an unheard-of violation of personal right. His hon. and learned Friend the Vice-President of the Board of Trade had named a case wherein this House would be taking away a certain right to exercise the franchise, and he was sure that the House could not fail to be struck by the circumstances by which that case was characterised. The noble Lord had attempted in the 20th clause of the bill to draw a nice distinction as to cases in which the right to vote ought to be exercised; but any man might, by this bill, be called upon to submit to a revision of his former title to the franchise, either with respect to matters subsequent to his registration or previous to it. Could there, then, he asked, possibly be any principle of justice or equity in such a proposition as this? He felt that, after the convincing arguments contained in the speech of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Tipperary, it was not necessary that he should longer occupy the time of the House, and he would conclude by observing that this bill was a clear violation of the Irish Reform Bill.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

asked whether any clause of a bill had ever been discussed before in this manner? He asked whether, amidst all the warm and impassioned declamation of the lion, and learned Member for Tipperary, the hon. Member had encountered one of the arguments of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, or had used a single argument as to the effect of the clause under discussion? The hon. and learned Member had only read the marginal note, and from that note had called the clause a disfranchising clause. Now, the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, had shown that the clause was precisely the same as the clauses in the Government bills of 1835 and 1836. He certainly thought that the hon. and learned Member meant to show that the marginal notes differed, but it happened that even the marginal note of tins clause was the same as that in Sir Michael O'Loghlen's bill of 1835. The right hon. Gentleman had also read a letter from a Mr. Meagher with due emphasis and discretion; but he had not told the House who Mr. Meagher was, but only impeached the confirmed testimony of Mr. Kearnan, the agent of the Conservative party, and against whom he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) had never heard anything to justify any impeachment of his word or character. It was, then, now a mere question of credit between those two parties, and it was quite right that the House should know what was the character of the letter which had been read by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He would cot, however, say a word against the writer himself of that letter, as he had never seen him; but this he would confidently ask, had the writer of it committed himself to a single statement against the arguments which had been used by his noble Friend? The hon. and learned Sergeant read a counter statement to that contained in the letter of Mr. Meagher, and argued that the terms of that letter were not a contradiction of, but in fact amounted to an admission, to a great extent, of the soundness of the arguments of the noble Lord. Now, with respect to the necessity for this bill, it was a notorious fact, that in Cork there were 6,700 names on the registry, whilst there were only 4,400 entitled to vote—the 2,300 remaining being the balance of the votes which, if offered to be again registered, would be opposed. There were forty-nine persons who came forward at the last election, and were rejected, for various reasons, but these persons were all on the registry, and there was not one of them that would not come forward to vote on a future occasion. Out of these forty-nine persons, thirty-three were adjudicated against by the assistant barrister, as not having had property to qualify them to be placed on the registry in 1832. With respect to the registry of the city of Cork, where nearly 700 notices were served with reference to the last registry, there was no parochial list of claimants to be registered, but the list was made out alphabetically. Now the House was not, perhaps, aware how unequal a distribution was caused by means of the names being alphabetically arranged. Under the letter C there were 1,000, and under the letter M 1,100 names of claimants for the franchise in the city of Cork; and how was it possible that all the claims on such a registry as this could be disposed of and settled in the space of ten days? He held in his hand a petition relating to the registration of the city of Cork, which had been presented to that House, and which stated that great numbers of persons, not entitled to vote, continued to have their names registered for that city in 1832, and had sworn, before the assistant-barrister, that their houses were of the annual value of 10l., when they in reality did not amount to the value of 5l. He had the honour of being on the fictitious votes committee for Ireland, the object of which was, to inquire as to how far the Reform Dill for that country had been violated, and not a mere inquiry as to personation, but personation, in several instances, was proved before that committee, and to quite a sufficient extent to prove that it existed to a great degree. But this, however, was only by the way. He held in his hand a return, made from the city of Cork to the fictitious votes committee, of those who voted in 1835, 1836, and 1837, for that place; and by that return it appeared, that great numbers had voted, whose tenements were not of the annual value of 5l,, and many whose tenements were valued at between 5l. and 8l, The hon. and learned Sergeant also referred to the evidence given by Mr. Lane before that committee, as so unfavourable to the existing system, that Mr. Justice Ball, who was on that committee at the time, considered that he must be a decided Tory; but when asked what were his politics, his answer was, that he was what was called a "Liberal," and that he had voted for the Liberal candidates for that city. He was glad to see several noble Lords and hon. Members then in the House, who were also on the fictitious votes committee, and who could bear him out when he stated, that there was a total of 530 individuals in the city of Cork who claimed the franchise, and whose tenements were not worth 5l. a year. These individuals were all on the register -and it appeared from the evidence of both Mr. Lane and Mr. Bernard, that they distinctly swore that their premises were not worth 51. Was it not, then, monstrous to say that such a sys- tem should continue, or that the right of such parties should not be subject to investigation? In erecting a new building it was necessary to clear away the rubbish, and what the noble Lord wanted was, to get rid of the evils of the present before he introduced a new system. In order to show the House the character of the votes now on the register, he would mention the case of John Macnamara, in Clare, against whom an action was brought for tithes, and whose name stood on the register as the owner of the land in question. On the trial, Mr. O'Connell, the Crown prosecutor, abandoned the case, the man stating that he had no interest whatever in the land, although he was a registered freeholder; that he was a mere tenant, and not liable to tithe. He stated this on the testimony of a professional gentleman who was present. Then another practice was, to go to distant places and register there. This practice had been admitted in the debate on Mr. O'Loghlen's bill in 1835. The system of certificates was a dangerous one, and greatly abused in the multiplication of fictitious votes in Ireland. A person had been produced in 1839 for another who had died in 1836, but he had been admitted. Some barristers admitted names upon certificates without requiring the personal appearance of the parties. At the sessions of April, 1839, a number of persons had applied to be registered who had been refused by the barrister; but the next year another barrister, Mr. Baldwin, had laid down a different rule, and they had been admitted. He should mention only one case more. He was sorry to trepass upon the House, but this was an important matter, and general assertions and statements were met with wholesale denials, and he had thought it incumbent upon him to bring these facts before the House, which he was prepared to substantiate in any way the House thought fit. The case to which he alluded was one in which Mr. Baldwin had declared that the certificate was conclusive; that he could not go beyond the certificate, and admitted a person who had been rejected by his predecessor. He trusted the House would think it only just and right to proceed to the consideration of this bill, and if any objections could be pointed out, the noble Lord, he knew, would be ready to hear the objections, and to admit them if they were reasonable.

Mr. E. B. Roche

said, that the learned Sergeant had made a grave charge against the constituency which he had the honour to represent. The hon. Member had said, that the names on the registry for the county of Cork, amounted to 8,000, while only 4,000 of these were entitled to vote. But what was the fact? The names on the register were only 4,338; and this in a county that contained 800,000 inhabitants. During the late registries, the Conservative Association in that county had brought forward two or three paid valuators, who went round the district for the express purpose of diminishing the constituency by undervaluing the property of the voters. These men came forward and succeeded in swearing down a great number of the constituency. The present bill would still further diminish the number of voters. It was aimed at the rights and interests of the people of Ireland, and he felt that he should not be doing his duty if he did not oppose it. If they gave Ireland all the defects of the English bill, they ought not to withhold from her its benefits. His constituency were looking with the greatest anxiety to the decision of the House, and were determined never to submit to such a measure as the present.

Lord Powerscourt

said, that the hon. Member for the county of Wicklow, had made a most inaccurate statement to the House, without giving him notice, and calculated to throw discredit on some facts that he (Lord Powerscourt) had stated. He had since received some information regarding the cases which he had mentioned. The hon. Member had said, that there were no fictitious votes in the county of Wicklow. Now he had obtained the knowledge of two most gross cases of personation. He did not wish to detain the committee, but desired only to call the attention of hon. Members to a case of fictitious votes, which was of no inconsiderable importance in legislating upon a subject such as that involved in the measure under consideration. Upwards of forty-six persons, who had obtained certificates of their right to vote for the county of Wicklow in 1832, had, within the last year, claimed to be reregistered for the same premises, and that they had been rejected; thus showing how imperfectly the registration of 1832 was effected.

Mr. James Grattan

complained that the noble Lord had not given notice of his intention to bring so grave a charge against so many electors of the county, which he (Mr. James Grattan) had the honour to represent. It was one quite of a new character as connected with the county of Wicklow, and consequently he was unable at the present moment to meet the charge specifically. He could only say, that he had received assurances from the barristers who revised the lists in the county, and also from the gentlemen who had conducted his election, to the effect that there was not a single fictitious vote on the register.

Mr. D. R. Pigot

said, that there were some points on which it was his duty to offer a few observations before the committee should proceed to a division. To much of what had fallen from his learned Friend, he would give no answer, as it appeared to him to be irrelevant to the subject then before the House. They were not debating whether certificates were to be abolished; they were not discussing whether unqualified persons who were now on the registers were to be removed; but the question raised by the amendment of his noble Friend was, whether the House, when called upon, should affirm the great principle to be applied to this measure, and to every measure of a similar character. It had been said, that his noble Friend was objecting to the clause because of its phraseology; and it was argued that similar clauses had been passed in other bills, and that, in any measure of this kind, it was necessary to introduce such a clause. The question, however, was not whether the House had given its concurrence to like clauses—not whether the phraseology was objectionable—not simply whether the one clause should stand—but whether in this clause, coupled as it was with the other provisions of this bill, they should express a favourable opinion of the system of re-investigation that was sought to be established, or whether it would proceed on the grounds of the amendment that had been proposed. The Government had said, that in forming a register they ought to affirm the principles on which it should be founded, and they called upon the House to say aye or no, whether the principles which they suggested were just? What had been done with the very registries of freeholds which were created under the act of 1829, when the Reform Act was passed? There was a clause in the act of 1832 which said, that those who had been registered, as duly entitled under the act of 1829, should be registered, as of course, under the Reform Act. In 1832 they found on the registry in Ireland 20,000 ten-pound freeholders, registered between 1829 and 1832. Did the Legislature disfranchise them? Did it give any right to re-investigate those registries? Did it give any of the power of investigation which was prescribed by this bill? No. Those who had been registered under the former act were allowed the privilege of bringing forward their certificates as evidence of their right, and, under the act of 1832, they stood on the registers for eight years. Now, however, they were called upon to pass an ex post facto law. They were asked to disturb the right of persons who held under the Reform Act. They were called upon to establish a system of annual re-investigation, first before the assistant-barrister, and then before a judge; to compel a party to appear at one time before the barrister, and at another at the assizes; and, moreover, to produce at the assizes the deed under which he held. What description of property could be held safely with such a condition? What was there in the nature of the franchise that would justify the introduction of a principle of that kind? What was the proper course of legislation with respect to the franchise? Having resolved that there should be a property qualification, and having said that the amount should be 10l. to confer the franchise, did they mean to say that the possession of such an amount alone should be the evidence of the moral fitness for a vote? Did they mean to say that there was less moral worth in a party possessed of property worth 9l. 19s.? They did no such thing; they drew a line at one point as being a test of fitness. What, then, was their duty in dealing with that qualification? It was to provide such legislation, that whilst they guarded, on the one hand, against the intrusion of those whose property was decidedly below the required amount, they did not exclude the many hundreds whose property was virtually above it. For the decision of the questions arising out of this qualification, they were bound to find the best tribunal that the wisdom of the Legislature or the wealth of the State could produce. Having done that, he contended that it was the duty of the State not to doubt its own tribunal by any reference to any other tribunal—to cure its defects by a process of re-investigation. When the Court of Chancery decided a case of appeal, there was no re-investigation. When there was an appeal to the House of Lords from the Scotch courts, the parties could not go into fresh evidence. Where, then, was the foundation for a principle such as was discovered in this bill? By allowing repeated investigations they tempted to perjury, and they not only rendered insecure the subject-matter of investigation, but they left the very mischiefs and inequalities so much complained of by Gentlemen on the other side of the House. So well aware of this evil was the House, that in committees on elections, the lists of objections were delivered to the opposite parties simultaneously, so that the cases of one party were not known to the other, and there were no means of re-investigation. What course, too, did the committee which sat to investigate the subject of fictitious votes in Scotland recommend? Their report affirmed the principle which was the basis of his noble Friend's amendment, that when the right was once established, the fact proved ought to remain, and ought not to be re-investigated again and again. The object of the amendment was precisely similar; it was intended to leave the franchise in repose, because it was known that when witnesses were examined again and again on the same points, they came not to give like evidence from time to time, but to vary their testimony so as to meet the necessities of the case. He said, also, that they ought not, whilst guarding against the introduction of a few voters below the required value, to disfranchise hundreds of the bonâ fide constituency. The amendment avoided this; it went on the principle of guarding against fraud, of purging the register of all that was wrong, of relieving it from those errors which time and circumstances might introduce; but while effecting these objects by investigation most stringent, it afterwards left the franchise in repose. With respect to the present constituencies, it was right that he should state what the amount of the disfranchisement must be. Reference had been already made to the number of the constituency in Ireland. In 1829, the Act was passed to raise the franchise from 40s. to 10l. Under the Act of 1829, there were 20,000 10l. freeholders registered. Under the Reform Act, leaseholders as well as freeholders were registered, and there were enrolled 60,000 out of a population of 7,000,000, and these had voted at two elections before the Reform Act, and at three elections since—in five successive elections; and those persons who had so voted, they were now called upon to deprive of a vested right which they had enjoyed for a period of eleven years. Was this just? Was it consistent with the principle adopted in the Reform Act and in other Acts? What did they do with respect to freemen? A man might become a freeman by fraud; his right to the franchise might be fabricated; yet, by a law of old date, the freeman—no matter how the freedom had been acquired—obtained an indefeasible right to the franchise. Yet here were persons who had been registered for eleven years, proposed to be exposed to a system of investigation which the law never contemplated. The noble Lord said, that the fact of registry was primâ facie evidence of the voter's right. But what did this assertion mean? Why, that anybody who brought forward one scintilla of evidence against the franchise must necessarily prevail, because the tribunal must decide on the evidence alone. What, then, was the value of the primâ facie right given by the noble Lord? What was to become of the gentlemen who were going about the country receiving annuities and valuing the property? Were their services to be dispensed with? The man would come, he would pass over the property a cursory glance, he would come forward in court, and he would state, that in his opinion the farm of no one of the parties objected to was worth 10l. What would become, in those circumstances, of the primâ facie right they had seen by the evidence taken before the fictitious votes committee. The evidence was unsworn, but they found one set of witnesses asserting that certain tenements, and specifying the persons who occupied them, were not worth more than 7l. or 8l., whilst others said, that the very same tenements were decidedly worth upwards of 10l. Indeed, on this vexatious question of value there was the greatest temptation for exaggerated testimony, some swearing it up beyond the value, whilst others swore it down, and thus left no benefit for the voter in the proposition of the noble Lord to make the fact of registering primâ facie evidence of the right to vote. What then did all this come to? There must be the presence of the voter before the barrister, there must be the continued attendance at the assizes, and then would occur that scene which his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Tipperary, had so graphically described. In 1829, there had been 20,000 electors registered, who had many times exercised their right, and to the 60,000 registered under the Reform Act, they might add another 20,000, and the noble Lord was seeking to confer on the opulent a power never before possessed by any one, to require an investigation into the right of every one of these registered voters. He asked any man who knew what it was to bring a farmer forward against the frowns of his landlord and the lash of his agent, how many this re-investigation would exclude from the register? They must decide between the extent of the mischief against which they had to guard, and what would be the amount of the injury that they would inflict by the remedy? If the greater evil was in the latter, they ought to reject it. If there was not sufficient capacity in the revising barristers, they might mend the tribunal; but they ought not to leave any power of repeated investigation from court to court.

Sir E. Sugden

observed, that he had not yet expressed any opinion upon this question, and he would, therefore, preface his observations by saying, that he supported this bill in the full belief that no injury would be inflicted upon Ireland by its operation, and he had formed that belief upon as careful a consideration of its details as it was possible to give to the subject. He was content to be bound by this test—that he would offer nothing to Ireland which, similar circumstances existing, he was not prepared to accept for England. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had for the first time admitted, what it was impossible to deny, that the clause upon which the House was called upon to divide, was a clause which in some way or other must find its way into every bill of this nature. In the very bill brought in by the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, there was a clause precisely the same in effect as the clause of his noble Friend. It was impossible, therefore, for him to persuade the Committee that his noble Friend's clause was an unusual clause, or that it would disfranchise any person who ought not to be disfranchised. The clause only related to what was hereafter contained in the bill, and those provisions might be altered or omitted at the pleasure of the House. Both the hon. and learned Member and his noble Friend agreed that there must be a new register. The hon. and learned Member wished to place on the new registry all persons who were on the present. His noble Friend did the same. The provisions of the bill of his noble Friend, and of that of the hon. and learned Member, were in this respect identical, and the only difference between them was one of form, which was seized upon in order to embarrass and obstruct the noble Lord, and to hinder the consideration of the details of the bill. If his noble Friend's bill had been prepared with as much care and anxiety as that of the Government, the noble Lord opposite would have lost the opportunity of dividing on this clause, and some progress might have been made in considering the details of the bill in Committee. Now, what would the Committee say, when he told them that the bill of the Solicitor-general for Ireland was not half so favourable to the voters of Ireland as the bill of his noble Friend? According to the bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, every one who claimed to be a voter must prove his own title before he could be placed on the new register. But the provisions of his noble Friend's bill required that the existing voter should not be called upon to support his claim until a primâ facie case had been made out by the person objecting to the vote. It had been erroneously urged by the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Solicitor-general for Ireland, that according to the noble Lord's bill, a primâ facie objection was sufficient to put the voter upon the proof of his claim. No; the objector, according to the noble Lord's bill, must prove his objection, and primâ facie proof was not sufficient. This was distinctly specified in the 20th section. According to the bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, there would never be a moment's peace in Ireland, because he proposed a registration every three months, whereas the noble Lord required only an annual revision. Ministers, in their bill, had not only the annual revision, but also the quarterly registration. The only serious point of difference between the bills of the noble Lord and the hon. and learned Gen- tleman opposite was, that the noble Lord proposed that the original foundation of title should be examined into, whilst her Majesty's Government said, that they would inquire into everything else except the original title. Let them look to the evidence which had been adduced with regard to Cork. In hundreds of cases, the full 10l. value had been sworn to in one month; and four months after the value was sworn to be less than 51.; in some cases, the tenements were declared to be of no value at all. This was surely a matter to which the attention of the Committee should be drawn, seeing that a similar depreciation might occur in all the other constituencies. Was it not by notorious fraud that such persons were retained on the registry? Could they consent to have upon the registry votes acquired by so fraudulent a system? Why, according to the Ministerial bill, when a man was once fraudulently placed upon the registry, there was not the slightest power to remove him; and it was an absolute fact that his want of title would constitute a secure defence for all time to come. Nobody could deny that. He positively asserted it, and defied contradiction, that the very want of title would constitute the man's right to vote for life, without the possibility of appeal. The noble Lord opposite had thrown overboard the safe principle which he had introduced into former bills. He (Sir E. Sugden) did not treat any measure of he Majesty's Government with one-thousandth part the contempt which the noble Lord himself exhibited. The noble Lord had constantly "new impressions." Upon former occasions, the noble Lord had agreed with his noble Friend, but the noble Lord was forced to discover some difference, and give vent to these novel impressions. The very last bill which had emanated from the noble Lord upon this subject provided that objections might be taken to the vote, "founded upon some matter existing at the time at which such voter was registered." Now, here was the only point in discussion at the present moment, the single subject upon which the noble Lords at opposite sides differed. The clause went on to enact, that "such objection shall be disposed of as if such original registry was had under the provisions of this Act." What his noble Friend then now proposed to do, and what had been objected to with so much warmth and unnecessary declamation, was to be found identically, in all respects, in the very last bill which had been introduced by the then Attorney-general for Ireland, now Chief Baron Woulfe, and the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, as a fit and proper bill. But that bill had not the merit of his noble Friend's bill, because it did not provide that the proof should be thrown on the party objecting, and not on the party defending the franchise. With that exception, there was nothing in the bill of his noble Friend which was not also to be found in the various bills which had, at different times, been introduced by the Government. Before he sat down, he wished to correct a mistake into which the hon. and learned Solicitor-general had fallen respecting the observations of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bandon. His hon. and learned Friend had never intended to compare the electors of Ireland to rubbish. What he said was, that when about to erect a new building the first process was always to clear away the rubbish; and that so, on reconstituting the Irish registry, their first object should be to clear away all the rubbish of bad votes with which it was now encumbered. The right hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by expressing his intention of resisting the amendment of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland.

Mr. Macauley

said, he entertained so great a respect for the eminent talents and legal acuteness of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that it was with great diffidence he ventured to oppose his opinion to that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the construction of a single clause. But when the right hon. and learned Gentleman had emphatically, distinctly, and repeatedly assured the Committee that the question on which they were to divide was, whether a person now on the register was to remain on it all his life, he (Mr. Macaulay) could not but say that it appeared to him that the words of his noble Friend's amendment by no means bore out such a statement. His reading of the words was, that the voter should be continued on the register so long as his right of voting and the registry were to remain in force, which under the present law were not for the term of his life, but for the period of eight years. If he was correct in conceiving that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had thus from reading it but cursorily mistaken his noble Friend's amendment, he might well suppose that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had not been altogether correct in his other remarks. He utterly denied, that the smallest imputation of unfairness, of violation of Parliamentary rule, or of want of perfect candour, could be brought against his noble Friend. The question which his noble Friend had brought forward was one of the gravest importance; it was the question of re-investigation or no re-investigation, and was one which the Committee would repeatedly have to decide on during the progress of the bill. It was a question which it was possible for any Member of that House, without the slightest infringement of Parliamentary rule, to bring forward on the discussion of any clause in which it could with propriety be inserted. Considering the history of the noble Lord's bill—considering that on the question of going into Committee the noble Lord had a majority of but three, and that of that majority two hon. Members declared themselves unfavourable to the principle of re-investigation, two used language such as gave the House to understand that should the bill come to a third reading, still containing that principle, they would vote against it—he thought his noble Friend was justified on the first occasion which presented itself in taking the opinion of the Committee on the great question of whether re-investigation was to remain the prominent defect of the bill? Although it was the intention of Government to go fully and fairly into the Committee on the bill, he entained no expectation of any good result. He did not hope that any good measure could be made out of one so laboriously, so elaborately, bad as that of the noble Lord; but if any effectual alteration could be made, it must be made by a series of amendments like the present. By such alterations the bill might, perhaps, leave the Committee what it purported to be, a bill to amend the Registration. At present he could designate it by no other name than a bill to take away the right of voting under the pretence of ascertaining it. He need hardly say, that it was to no purpose that the bill did not directly affect the right of voting, because there was no right which could not be annulled by indirect as well as by direct means, or by providing a tedious, troublesome, and costly mode of obtaining it. That was seen in all questions relating to the rights of property. It was to no purpose, by the substantive law of the land, particular estates or sums of money belonged to a certain person, if that law were so expensive as only to obtain his right at a greater expense than the object was worth. There was not an hon. Member in that House who had not at some time or other submitted to an unjust demand rather than run the risk of vexatious proceedings. If a law were brought into that House for the purpose of making justice expensive, he should be justified in calling it a law of spoliation, and so he thought he was justified in designating a bill the object of which was disfranchisement under the name of registration. At the same time he had not the smallest doubt but that the bill of the noble Lord would remove some persons from the register who had not the smallest right to be there, in the same way as if they made a law making the Court of Requests as expensive as the House of Lords. Many a groundless action would be driven out of it, but the question was, whether they would not be throwing difficulties in the way of the just as well as of the unjust claimant. Let the noble Lord satisfy him that the impediments provided by his bill would he only in the way of fraudulent claimants and he would give him his support. But he saw no provision to that effect in the bill. He saw that it went to make registration costly and difficult both for the fraudulent and the just claimant, and it was on the distinction between the two that the sense of the Committee would be taken. It provided repeated hearings of the same question—first before a subordinate, and then before an appellate tribunal. He would beg of the Committee to consider to what extent that abuse might be carried under the bill. Even the legal knowledge of the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not enable him to find a parallel in any law, British or foreign, ancient or modern. It would not be necessary to select as matter of objection some point which had not been investigated before, for one and the same objection might be raised every time a new assistant barrister came to the country, or as often as a new judge went the circuit. If he rightly understood the noble Lord's bill, an objection might be made in 1840 before the assistant barrister, from that there might be an appeal to the Court of Queen's Bench; in 1841 it might be again brought before the assistant-barrister, and from him to the Court of Common Pleas; in 1842 it might again come before the assistant-barrister, and then there was an appeal to the Court of Exchequer. Nay, further, should there be a new Chief Justice, it might be tried another year in the Court of Common Pleas, Now, he would venture to ask if the whole jurisprudence of the world contained anything which afforded a parallel to such a system of legislation? He would venture to assert that there was no parallel, because, although there was something like it in the English system—and it was the vice of the system—yet there was only one trial, but in any other respect he defied the noble Lord to find a parallel in any country that ever called itself civilized. The noble Lord said, if that power of objection was not given, persons would get upon the registry who had no legal right to be there. Did the noble Lord imagine that there were no persons in possession of property in this country the judgments in whose favour were by no means justified? Did the noble Lord imagine that all the damages awarded to plaintiffs by juries, and that all the large sums which had been paid by the Courts of Law, were sanctioned by truth and justice? Did he not believe that there were many estates which were in the possession of wrong owners? But the Courts of Law could not and ought not to set these matters right by eternal re-investigation. Suppose an injured man had come and said that the judgment obtained against him was erroneous—that he had procured the evidence—that he had found in the bottom of a chest an old paper which would establish his claim—that he had been taken by surprise; the court might naturally say, that they regretted the hardship of the case, but it would be impossible for them to go on hearing and re-hearing the case twenty or thirty or fifty times; that the noble Lord's bill admitted, and it required no great, stretch of imagination to suppose a case in which the voter might be objected to 120 or 130 times in the course of his life. He had not the smallest doubt that if they went on hearing criminal cases over and over again, they would at length hang some great ruffians. He had no doubt that if a man brought an action over again for the same cause, some eases of importance might be set right; but it had been ruled over and over again that it was better occasionally that some wrong should be endured than that the rights of society should be constantly interfered with; and why should they depart from that principle in the single case of the franchise? No doubt the bill would exclude many dishonest voters, but the question was, what would be its effect on the honest voter? All the objections in the bill were common to the rightful and the wrongful claimant. The vexation and expense of travelling, of appearing before the judge, of severe cross-examinations, of brow-beatings, and reflections upon his integrity, were all common to the rightful as well as the wrongful claimant. But did the noble Lord believe that a case never broke down unless when (a man went with a fraudulent intention? Did he not know that the accidental absence of a witness, or direct perjury—(for if the noble Lord imputed so much on the side of the claimant, surely he might allow a little on the side of the objectors)—would break down the claim? Was he not aware that men, who thought they had a good right, were frequently withheld from pressing it in a court of law, because they were in doubt whether they could establish it satisfactorily; or had the noble Lord never heard of the uncertainly of the law? If out of 100 honest claimants only four or five were defeated, or saddled with costs, could any one doubt that that would act to the injury of the honest claimant? Almost every clause of the noble Lord's bill for keeping out the wrongful, acted just as effectually against the rightful claimant. The noble Lord had drawn a pretty picture of an unfortunate claimant being opposed by a pauper; but the noble Lord should recollect that property was the best of qualifications—that the claim of the rich man must be a valid one, and that it was much more likely that the case might be reversed. He would suppose another case, the case of a man of great wealth, and of imperious, obstinate, and arbitrary temper—one of those men who, as had been said by his lamented and valued friend, in words which should be engraven on his tomb, thought much of the rights of property, and little of its duties. He would suppose that man willing to spend six or 7,000l. a year in securing the command of a county, that, every man knew, would not be impossible even in England. He would not mention any recent transaction; he did not wish to mix up personalities with that serious debate; but they all knew that a certain man now dead, provoked by the opposition he received in a certain town, vowed that he would make the grass grow in its streets, and he kept his vow. Another ejected 400 voters in one county, and entered 15 criminal and 225 civil actions. Such a man could easily command an Irish county- It would only be a picture less in his gallery, or an antique gem, the less in his collection. The cost would be but as dust under his feet, compared with the pleasure of domination. He had no hesitation in saying that every clause in the noble Lord's bill tended to harass and obstruct the voter in obtaining his just rights. The effect, in short, would be, that a great many would abandon the claim altogether. The franchise was a sacred public trust, which should be used for the benefit of the public, and yet when honestly seeking that, their pecuniary interests were to be seriously affected. They should also take into consideration that men did not go to the registry with the same spirit with which they went to the poll. There had been few registrations since 1826, at which a general election was expected; and men who, when the candidates were declared, and when perhaps the fate of a ministry was to be sealed, would pay 50l. or run any trouble to record their votes in a hard-fought election, would hardly go across the street to register. Therefore, you ought rather to encourage than discourage registration. Yet, supposing a Parliament to last seven years, the noble Lord's bill would expose the voter to fourteen law-suits, against which what human fortitude or human patriotism could stand out?—and this was the principle which the House was now called upon to assert or reject. Sir (continued the right hon. Gentleman), there is another consideration which applies specially to Ireland, that is the state of the franchise. It is impossible to separate that from the subject of registration—it is impossible to have a perfect law of registration, that is, one which shall throw the greatest difficulties in the way of the wrongful, and every facility in the way of the rightful claimant: but it is still open for you to distinguish as clearly as possible which are the rightful and which are the wrongful claimants, and how can I decide upon a question like this without looking at the state of the franchise? It is impossible not to feel how much more the Irish franchise is restricted, as compared with the English, even by the Reform Bill—how much it is restricted even below what Pitt and Castlereagh, and Grenville, and Wyndham, considered to be just. Looking at statistics, I find that Westmoreland, with little more than 50,000 inhabitants, and covered by naked hills and barren moors, has more voters than any Irish county—than Tipperary with 400,000 inhabitants, or Cork with 800,000. Sir, I cannot think that even the superiority of England in point of property can explain so enormous a disparity; and, whatever way I look at the question, I think that the Irish franchise ought to be rather extended than restricted—if it is to be altered at all—and I do not pledge myself to support any proposition for its extension; but if I hesitate to interpose to make it better, I will not lay violent hands upon it to make it worse—and strong as is my regard for the great settlement of 1832, I will never consent to make it final as against the people alone; and if not restoring what it took away, I will not consent to withdraw the smallest portion of what it gave. But, Sir, this is not an Irish merely, it is an imperial question. I hope and trust that if the bill is to pass at all, it will pass modified by the amendment proposed tonight, and by others conceived in the same spirit. But if not, I shall regard it as the first step in a great retrograde movement—as the beginning of a scheme of which the object is to undo what was done by the Reform Bill. I do not believe the Reform Bill would be directly attacked. Much as hon. Gentlemen have talked of re-action, they well know that there has been no re-action here—they well know that it would not be safe to attempt to despoil our great cities and towns of political power, and confer it again on old walls and mouldering towers, But what cannot be done directly may be done indirectly—it matters not what franchise is conferred if the means of acquiring it are restricted. It matters not how well the law of rights is framed, if not accompanied by as efficient a law of remedies—power that can be obtained only by wealth or time, though nominally given to the many, is really given only to the few. Let us have the most democratic Reform Bill, and let the noble Lord frame our registra- tion, and political power may yet be in the hands of the aristocracy and its tools. The Opposition begin with Ireland, and they are wise. Distance, difference of religious belief—perhaps that unfriendly feeling, the natural effect of much wrong inflicted, and much wrong endured—may have deterred the people of this country from resenting the insult offered to the Irish nation as they would have resented the same insult to themselves. But, Sir, I grieve for the short-sightedness of my countrymen; Ireland is the first field—it will not be the last. I believe this struggle is just as much for Yorkshire and Kent as for Cork and Kerry. And the day, when the constituencies, worked upon by this bill, shall send up to this House representatives regarded by the Irish people as enemies, will be dark and dreary for the liberties of England. But it is not necessary that I should resort to topics like these. The derisive expressions of Gentlemen opposite, I suppose intimate, that they would be unjust to Ireland alone. Well, whether they mean this injustice to be confined to Ireland or to extend to England, I hardly know how to express my reprobation of so odious and disgusting a measure. The people of Ireland have been already hardly enough used. When we granted them religious emancipation, we took away their franchise. By the Reform Bill, a very small portion of what was before taken away was restored; and now the noble Lord by this bill would take away the little which the Reform Bill bestowed. There is only one bill on the table relative to the registration in England, a bill laid on the table by the same hand that laid the Reform Bill there, and one worthy of that hand. But as regards Ireland, we are now discussing a bill made up of the very worst features of all the bills that have been of late years introduced on the subject of registration—of the English system, of the system at present existing in Ireland, and of the ill-considered plan of Sir Michael O'Loghlen. Yes! the ill-considered plan of Sir Michael O'Loghlen. Each and all of these systems have been made to contribute their evil, but not one of their redeeming qualities, and the noble Lord, out of those evil qualities has framed his bill. What must be the feelings of the people of Ireland when they compare that bill with the bill laid on the table by my noble Friend, for the settlement of the registration system in England, to perpetuate differences and to excite discord seems to be the object of the noble Lord? Not such was the spirit in which the great minister who carried the act of Union treated the people of Ireland. The words which he quoted seem to have been forgotten by the noble Lord. Paribus se legibus ambæ Invictæ gentes æterna in fœdera mittant. These were the sentiments of the promoter of the act of Union. I venerate that great measure. I am ready to defend it against the open enmity of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, as against the still more dangerous friendship of the noble Lord. I am satisfied that for every repealer made by the eloquence of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, ten would be produced by the bill of the noble Lord if it passed in its present shape, and unmitigated. Should an universal cry for repeal of the Union arise in Ireland on the passing of the bill should not regard it in any other light than as the natural succession of effect and cause. It would be puerile, nay, it would be hypocritical, to go on misgoverning, and to pretend to hope that the results of good government would follow—to assume that those whom we treat as aliens, ought to feel towards us as brothers—to oppose agitation and multiply the grievances by which agitation is alone supported, and by which it was originated—to raise the cry of civil war whereon the people of Ireland called for a repeal of the legislative Union, and at the very time when you are taking steps to annul all those rights and privileges, without which the legislative union would be but an empty name.

The House divided on the question that the words proposed by Viscount Morpeth be added—A yes 296; Noes 289; Majority 7.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, hn. G. R. Bannerman, A.
Acheson, Viscount Baring, rt. hon. F. T.
Adam, Admiral Barnard, E. G.
Aglionby, H. A. Barren, H. W.
Aglionby, Major Barry, G. S.
Ainsworth, P. Beamish, F. B.
Alston, R. Bellew, R. M.
Andover, Viscount Berkeley, hon. G.
Anson, hon. Colonel Berkeley, hon. C.
Archbold, R. Berkeley, hon. H,
Bainbridge, E. T. Bernal, R.
Baines, E, Bewes, T.
Blackett, C. Evans, G.
Blake, M. J. Evans, W.
Blake, W. J. Ewart, W.
Blewitt, R. J. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bodkin, J. J. Ferguson, R.
Bowes, J. Finch, F.
Brabazon, Lord Fitzalan, Lord
Brabazon, Sir W. Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Bridgeman, H. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Briscoe, J, I. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Brocklehurst, J. Fort, J.
Brodie, W. B. French, F.
Brotherton, J. Gillon, W. D.
Browne, R. D. Gordon, R.
Bryan, G. Grattan, J.
Buller, C. Grattan, H.
Buller, E. Greenaway, C.
Bulwer, Sir L. Greg, R. H.
Busfeild, W. Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.
Butler, hon. Colonel Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Byng, G. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Guest, Sir J.
Callaghan, D. Hall, Sir B.
Campbell, Sir J. Hallyburton, Lord D. G.
Cave, R. O.
Cavendish, hon. C. Handley, H.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. Harland, W. C.
Chalmers, P. Hastie, A.
Chapman, Sir M. L. C. Hawes, B.
Chetwynd, Major Hawkins, J. H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Hayter, W. G.
Childers, J. W. Heathcoat, J.
Clay, W. Hector, C. J.
Clements, Viscount Heneage, E.
Clive, hon. E. B. Heron, Sir R.
Collier, J. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Collins, W. Hindley, C.
Colquhoun, Sir J. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Corbally, M. E. Hobhouse, T. B.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hodges, T. L.
Craig, W. G. Horsman, E.
Crompton, Sir S. Hoskins, K.
Currie, R. Howard, hon. E.G.G.
Dalmeny, Lord Howard, F. J.
Dashwood, G. H. Howard, P. H.
Denison, W. J. Howard, Sir R,
Dennistoun, J. Howick, Viscount
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Hume, J.
Humphery, J.
Divett, E. Hurst, R. H.
Duke, Sir J. Hutchins, E. J.
Duncan, Viscount Hutt, W.
Duncombe, T. Hutton, R.
Dundas, C. W. D. James, W.
Dundas, F. Jervis, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Jervis, S.
Dundas, Sir R. Johnson, General
Dundas, D. Labouchere, right hon. H.
Easthope, J.
Edwards, Sir J, Lambton, H.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Langdale, hon. C.
Ellice, Captain A. Langton, W, G.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Leader, J. T.
Ellis, W. Lemon, Sir C.
Erie, W. Lennox, Lord G.
Etwall, R. Lister, E. C.
Euston. Earl of Loch, J,
Lushington, C. Rundle, J.
Lushington, Sir S. Russell, Lord J.
Lynch, A. H. Russell, Lord C.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Rutherford, rt. hn. A.
Macnamara, Major Salwey, Colonel
M'Taggart, J. Sanford, E. A.
Maher, J. Scholefield, J.
Marshall, W. Scrope, G. P.
Marsland, H. Seale, Sir J. H.
Martin, J. Seymour, Lord
Martin, T. B. Sharpe, General
Maule, hon. F. Sheil, right hon. R.L.
Melgund, Viscount Shelburne, Earl of
Mildmay, P. St. John Slaney, R. A.
Milton, Viscount Smith, J. A.
Molesworth, Sir W. Smith, B.
Moreton, hon. A. H. Smith, G. R.
Morpeth, Viscount Smith, R. V.
Morris, D. Somers, J. P.
Morrison, J. Somerville, Sir M. W.
Murray, A. Standish, C.
Muskett, G. A. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Nagle, Sir R. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Noel, hon. C. G. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Steuart, R.
O'Brien, C. Stewart, J.
O'Brien, W. S. Stuart, Lord' J.
O'Callaghan, hon. C. Stuart, W. V.
O'Connell, D. Stock, Dr.
O'Connell, J. Strangways, hon. J.
O'Connell, M. J. Strickland, Sir G.
O'Connell, M. Strutt, E.
O'Connor, Don Style, Sir C.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Surrey, Earl of
Ord, W. Talbot, C. R. M.
Oswald, J. Talbot, J. H.
Pa get, Lord A. Talford, Sergeant
Paget, F. Tancred, H. W.
Palmerston, Viscount Tavistock, Marq. of
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Thornely, T.
Pattison, J. Townley, R. G.
Pease, J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Pechell, Captain Tufnell, H.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Turner, E.
Phillips, Sir R. Turner, W.
Phillips, M. Verney, Sir H.
Philips, G. R. Vigors, N. A.
Phillpotts, J. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Pigot, D. R. Vivian, Major C.
Pinney, W. Vivian, J. H.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Vivian, rt. hn Sir R. H.
Power, J. Wakley, T.
Power, J. Walker, R.
Price, Sir R. Wall, C. B.
Protheroe, E. Wallace, R.
Pryme, G. Warburton, H.
Pryse, P. Ward, H. G.
Ramsbottom, J. Westenra, hn. H. R.
Rawdon, Col. J. D. Westenra, hon. J. C.
Redington, hon. T.N. White, A.
Rice, E. R. White, H.
Rich, H. Williams, W.
Rippon, C. Williams, W. A.
Roche, E. B. Wilshere, W.
Roche, W. Wilmington, Sir T. E
Roche, Sir D. Winnington, H. J.
Rumbold, C. E. Wood, C.
Wood, Sir M. Wyse, T.
Wood, G. W. Yates, J. A.
Worsley, Lord Stanley, hon. E. J.
Wrightson, W. B. Parker, J.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cochrane, Sir T. J.
Acland, T. D. Codrington, C. W.
A'Court, Captain Cole, hon. A. H.
Adare, Viscount Compton, H. C.
Alford, Viscount Conolly, E.
Alsager, Captain Corry, hon. H.
Arbuthnot, hon. H, Courtenay, P.
Archdall, M. Cresswell, C.
Ashley, Lord Cripps, J.
Attwood, W. 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, Colonel D?Israeli, B.
Baillie, H. J. Dottin, A. R.
Baker, E. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Baldwin, C. B. Douro, Marquess of
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Dowdeswell, W.
Baring, hon. W. B. Drummond, H.
Barneby, J. Duffield, T.
Barrington, Viscount Dugdale, W. S.
Bateson, Sir R. Dunbar, G.
Bell, M. Duncombe, hon. A.
Benett, J. Duncombe, hon. W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Du Pre, G.
Bethell, R. East, J. B.
Blackburn, I. Eastnor, Viscount
Blackstone, W. S. Eaton, R. J.
Blair, J. Egerton, W. T.
Blakemore, R. Egerton, Sir P.
Blennerhasset, A. Eliot, Lord
Boldero, H, G. Ellis, J.
Bolling, W. Estcourt, T.
Botfield, B. Farnham, E. B.
Bradshaw, J. Farrand, R.
Bramston, T. W. Fielden, W.
Broadley, H. Fellowes, E.
Broadwood, H. Filmer, Sir E.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Brownrigg, S. Fleming, J.
Bruce, Lord E. Foley, E. T.
Bruce, C. L. C. Follett, Sir W.
Bruges, W. H. L. Forrester, hon. G.
Buck, L. W. Fox, S. L.
Buller, Sir J.Y. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Burr, H. Gladstone, W. E.
Burrell, Sir C. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Burroughes, H. N. Goddard, A.
Calcraft, J. H. Godson, R.
Campbell, Sir H. Gordon, hon. Captain
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Gore, O. J. R.
Cantalupe, Viscount Gore, O. W.
Cartwright, W. R. Goring, H. D.
Castlereagh, Viscount Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Chapman, A. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J,
Christopher, R. A. Granby, Marquess of
Chute, W.L.W. Grant, Sir A. C.
Clerk, Sir G. Greene, T,
Grimsditch, T. Mahon, Viscount
Grimston, Viscount Maidstone, Viscount
Hale, R. B. Manners, Lord C. S.
Halford, H. Marsland, T.
Hamilton, Lord C. Marton, G.
Harcourt, G. G. Mathew, G.
Harcourt, G. S. Maunsell, T. P.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Meynell, Captain
Hawkes, T. Miles, W.
Hayes, Sir E. Miles. P. W. S.
Heathcote, Sir W. Miller, W. H.
Heneage, G. W. Milnes, R. M.
Henniker, Lord Monypenny, T. G.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Mordaunt, Sir J.
Herbert, hon. S. Neeld, J.
Herries, rt. hn. J. C. Neeld, J.
Hillsborough, Earl of Nicholl, J.
Hinde, J. H. Norreys, Lord
Hodgson, F. Northland, Lord
Hodgson, R. O'Neill, hon. J. B. R.
Hogg, J. W. Ossulston, Lord
Holmes, hon. W. A. Owen, Sir J.
Holmes, W. Packe, C. W.
Hope, hon. C. Pakington, J. S.
Hope, H. T. Palmer, R.
Hope, G. W. Palmer, G.
Hotham, Lord Parker, M.
Houldsworth, T. Parker, R. T.
Houstoun, G. Patten, J. W.
Hughes, W. B. Peel, right hon. Sir R.
Hurt, F. Pemberton, T.
Ingestrie, Viscount Perceval, Colonel
Ingham, R. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Pigot, R.
Irton, S. Planta, right hon. J.
Irving, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Jackson, Sergeant Polhill, F.
James, Sir W. C. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Jenkins, Sir R. Pollock, Sir F.
Jermyn, Earl of Powell, Colonel
Johnston, H. Powerscourt, Viscount
Jones, J. Praed, W.T.
Jones, Captain Pringle, A.
Kelly, F. Pusey, P.
Kemble, H. Rae, right hon. Sir W.
Kerrison, Sir E. Reid, Sir J. R.
Kelburne, Viscount Richards, R.
Knatchbull, Sir E. Rickford, W.
Knight, H. G. Rolleston, L.
Knightley, Sir C. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Lascelles, hon, W. S. Round, C. G.
Lefroy, right hon. T. Round, J.
Lennox, Lord A. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Liddell, hon. H. T. Rushout, G.
Lincoln, Earl of Sanderson, R.
Litton, E. Sandon, Viscount
Lockhart, A. M. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Long, W. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Lowther, hon. Col. Sheppard. T.
Lowther, Viscount Shirely, E. J.
Lowther, J. H. Sibthorpe, Col.
Lucas, E. Smith, J. A.
Lygon, hon. General Smyth, Sir G. H.
Mackenzie, T. Somerset, Lord G.
Mackenzie, W. F. Sotheron, T. E.
Mackinnon, W. A. Spry, Sir S. T.
Maclean, D. Stanley, E.
Stanley, Lord Villiers, Viscount
Stewart, J. Vivian, J. E.
Sturt, H. C. Waddington, H. S.
St. Paul, H. Welby, G. E.
Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E. Wilbraham, hon. B.
Teignmouth, Lord Williams, R.
Tennent, J. E. Williams, T. P.
Thesiger, F. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Thomas, Colonel H. Wodehouse, E.
Thompson, Alderman Wood, Colonel
Thornhill, G. Wood, Colonel T.
Tollemache, F. J. Wyndham, W.
Tomline, G. Wynn, rt hon. C. W.
Trench, Sir F. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Trevor, hon. G. R. Young, J.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Young, Sir W.
Vere, Sir C. B. TELLERS.
Verner, Colonel Baring, H.
Vernon, G. H. Fremantle, Sir T.
Lord Stanley

said, that after the decision to which the House had come, he should offer no further opposition to the amendment of the remainder of the clauses. He presumed that, after the other side of the House had amended the clause as the noble Lord proposed, there would then be no objection to their reporting progress and asking leave to sit again.

Viscount Morpeth

assented, and the necessary verbal alterations were agreed to accordingly.

Lord Stanley

then said, that it only remained for him to say, that much as he regretted the decision at which the House had arrived, it should not have the effect of inducing him to withdraw from the further prosecution of the object which he had in view. Bowing to the decision of the House, he should now endeavour to make the measure as perfect as he possibly could, and to carry it through, the Committee in such a form as to secure its favourable reception on bringing up the report. As to the period at which they were to proceed with these bills, the House would recollect that they had determined to proceed with the two registration bills on Monday. He concluded that they would adhere to their former decision of giving to the Irish Registration Bill then before them precedence over the English bill, and over the other measure which had been introduced upon the same subject. He distinctly understood that the question of Irish Registration was to take precedence, and under that impression he should fix Monday for proceeding with it.

Lord J. Russell

said, he should state at once the course which the House he thought ought to take. The House had resolved to proceed with the Committee on the Irish Registration Bill in preference to the English bill, leaving the notice of his hon. Friend, the Member for Halifax, to apply to either measure. But that course would not impede the second reading of either of those bills, nor would it form the least objection to proceeding with the Committee upon the bill of his hon. and learned Friend, the Solicitor-general for Ireland. When, therefore, the noble Lord opposite proposed to the House to take the Committee on this bill in preference to the Government orders, he should oppose that motion, and move as an amendment, that it be taken on some other day.

Lord Stanley

said, that he never had proposed to proceed with this bill in preference to the Government orders. The noble Lord had proposed that the third reading of two bills should be taken on Monday. He did not mean to interfere with that proposition. On the subject of Irish Registration there were two rival bills before the House. It would be idle to proceed with them concurrently, setting a clause in one against a clause in the other. It would tend much more to the despatch of the public business if they took one or other of the proposed measures as the basis of their proceedings. Whichever course they thought proper to adopt, he would bow to their decision.

House resumed, and the Chairman reported progress, and asked leave to sit again on Monday,

Lord J. Russell moved as an amendment, that the Registration Bill proposed by his hon. and learned Friend, the Solicitor-general for Ireland, should be taken in preference. He should propose that a day be fixed for that purpose, but not on Monday. If the House adopted the general principles of the bill of his hon. and learned Friend, then he should propose to proceed with the Committee on Thursday.

Sir R. Peel

wished to know from the noble Lord opposite whether he intended to take the sense of the House upon that point. [Lord John Russell: Yes.] Such a proceeding was certainly without a precedent. He did not recollect a single instance in which any thing of the sort had ever been attempted. His noble Friend did not propose to give his bill precedence over the measures of her Ma- jesty's Government. All that his noble Friend asked was, that if they went into the Registration question, they would give precedence to his bill. Surely then they might leave it to him to fix the day upon which he was to proceed with his own measure. It had been said, that they would go fairly and fully into the question of Irish Registration; that understanding had been acted upon nominally, and after they had made almost no progress, objections were thrown out, and those objections were raised not so much against the measure as against the man. On the first clause the amendment of the other side was adopted, and now they refused to allow the noble Lord to alter his bill in accordance with that amendment; but, on the contrary, noble Lords opposite appeared determined to take a course wholly at variance with the uniform usage of the House.

Viscount Howick

said, that before the House divided, he could not help appealing to his noble Friend to save them from the extreme inconvenience of the course he now proposed. If they were to have a division upon the order of their proceedings, he thought it would conduce to the convenience of the House, as well as to the regularity of their proceedings generally, if that division were to take place not then, but on Monday, the day for which the noble Lord who had the conduct of this bill proposed to fix it, upon the understanding that he would not allow it to interfere with the Government orders, which his noble Friend intended proceeding with. He did not think it at all desirable or expedient, after all that had passed, to go to a division upon the mere form of fixing the bill for Monday, or upon the question whether the bill of the Solicitor-general or that of the noble Lord opposite should be first proceeded with. Divisions of this kind could not possibly lead to any useful result. They only created a further waste of time, and would besides increase the excitement and acrimony which this subject had already given rise to. The far more regular course would be—having proceeded thus far with an Irish Registration bill—to continue the discussion of that bill before they proceeded with any other on the same subject. He had that night voted in favour of his noble Friend's amendment; but he had not done so, he confessed, without some reluctance. Although he did Concur in the substance of his noble Friend's amendment, and in the objection to the re-investigation of claims that had been already fairly considered, yet he did feel that the mode in which that amendment had been brought under consideration was greatly calculated to delay the proceedings of the House. Although he had gone this length, from an anxious desire as far as possible to support his noble Friend, yet, undoubtedly, if his noble Friend took a division then upon an objection which he agreed with the right hon. Baronet opposite in thinking unprecedented, namely. an objection to allow the noble Lord who had the conduct of this bill to fix it for the day upon which he thought it best it should stand, it would be utterly impossible for him to vote with his noble Friend. He, therefore, hoped that his noble Friend would not put the House to the inconvenience of such a division, and that if it were to take place it should be at a time when the noble Lord was actually about to proceed with the bill.

Lord J. Russell

said, it appeared to him that if this question were to be decided, it might as well be decided then as at any other time. As his noble Friend, however, objected to that course, he would not press it, as it was just the same to him to take the division on Monday. He was happy to have his noble Friend's support upon the present occasion; but he owned it did appear to him—and he would be ready to argue the point on Monday—that the Government having brought forward a bill upon this subject, were entitled to propose the second reading of it upon a Government day, and before any other business.

Committee to sit again on Monday.