HC Deb 06 July 1848 vol 100 cc156-226

Order of the Day read for resuming Debate adjourned from June 20.


* The hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. Stafford) who last addressed the House, has not only favoured us with a series of dramatic readings, selected from the not very lively pages of a blue book, but has also recommended the exercise of perseverance as a cardinal virtue in the composition of a Member of Parliament. If I might be permitted to offer any commentary on that advice, I should say there was a twin quality of equal value worthy to be cultivated by the House, viz., the exercise of patience—a quality which I trust will be displayed in my favour in the course of the observations I feel called upon to make.

Amongst many arguments which have been made use of in the course of this debate, it has been asserted that the resolutions of the Member for Montrose are not sanctioned or favoured by the great body of the people; that his propositions are not only erroneous, but not popular. I have no means of estimating the popular feeling *From a published Report. except by the petitions which have been presented, and I cannot help remarking, that however these petitions may differ in degree, all unite in praying for an amendment of the present system of representation; but, even granting that there is no great enthusiasm for the present plan out of this House, I should not the less have supported the general principles of the resolution, from a deep conviction that it is not only a measure of expediency, but of wisdom and justice, to amend the national representation of this country.

And, whatever objections may have been urged against this particular plan, it must be satisfactory to the proposer to find that the distinguished men who have as yet spoken against the resolutions, have rather ridiculed the details than condemned the principles of his measure.

First comes the hon. Member for West Surrey in an ingenious speech, which has left it quite an open question which way his vote will be given, for though he hates the name of a Reform Bill, he reminded us that so far back as 1829 he bad written in its favour, and that during the present Session he gave notice that he should himself submit another Reform Bill for our acceptance; he, therefore, is a disciple of progress. Then the noble Lord the Member for the City of London has seized this opportunity to dispel the unmerited calumny that he was hostile to further reforms. It now appears, that ever since 1839 he has seen the defects of his favourite measure, though hitherto he made no sign; but now, with a coyness not unbecoming in the head of an Administration, he hints, that if he be sufficiently squeezed and made a little more uncomfortable, be will, though without fixing the time, amend his great measure of 1832!

Lastly, the Member for Bucks, who, by sheer force of intellect and untiring energy has almost succeeded in communicating a galvanic life to the dead principles of Toryism, has expressly said, he is not to be considered as an advocate of finality; and though he will have nothing to do with your vulgar reforms instigated by the Wilsons and Thompsons, at New all's Buildings, Manchester, he has no objection to participate in any agitation, promoted by a small party of gentlemanly men, headed by the "Stanleys and Richmonds," or to uphold "traditionary influences and large properties" from the rival Society of 17, old Bond-street. Li fact, finality doctrines, like the old stage coaches, have disappeared—all are for progress now-a-days; the only question appears to be, what is to he the pace, and who the drivers of the new vehicle?

The noble Lord objects in the outset to the form of this Motion—he says it is "vague" and "indefinite." Now, whilst I am of opinion, it would have been more politic, as a mere House of Commons question, not to have lumped all these measures together, and that a larger number of votes might have been obtained in favour of more general and less defined propositions, it is hardly consistent for the real advocates of further reforms to pick holes in a preliminary resolution; in fact, the hon. Member for Montrose is very much in the situation of the well-meaning num in the fable, who had the misfortune to possess two wives and a head of hair obnoxious to both ladies, the one objecting to his black, the other to his white locks, the result being that he was finally left without a hair. So, Sir, in the present instance, one supporter objects to the Motion because it includes ballot, another does not like household suffrage, and a third is averse to a more equal apportionment of members to population—each, like Mrs. Malaprop, has his "favourite aversion;" and if the hon. Member for Montrose complies with each, he will be left without any definite proposition.

The perspective ideas of reform which have been so dimly foreshadowed by the noble Lord, the allusions to a franchise founded on deposits in savings' banks, and educational tests, more properly come under the head of "vague and indefinite" promises. But the noble Lord has taken another exception—as to the period. He says, "This is not the proper time;" and let me remind the House that, whenever a Motion of this sort has been brought forward, no matter at what period, this answer of not being the "proper time" appears always to have been handed down as an heir-loom to the Treasury benches. In 1785, when Mr. Pitt first introduced his plan of reform, it was objected by Lord North that it was not the "proper time." In 1790, when Mr. Flood proposed his measure, Mr. Pitt, who had in the interim got on the Treasury benches, said it was not "the proper time;" and one Gentleman suggested that it should be "postponed for a century." The same objections as to "the proper time" were made to Mr. Grey in 1797, and to the noble Lord's own measures in 1822, 1828, and 1831. I cannot help thinking that, if there he one time more proper than another to amend and thereby strengthen your institutions, it is when the lowering horizon warns you of the coming tempest. This House has passed during the present Session measures of severity for "the better security of the Crown and Government;" it is therefore bound to show that we have other and more healing remedies, and that we do not rely alone on measures of coercion for the security of this kingdom. If, indeed, taxation were light, and the exchequer full, then we might point with satisfaction to the state of our constitution; but, with a heavily burdened people, an empty exchequer, and a Parliament apt to be careless of expense (for, be it remembered, this has already been the complaint of Ministers), it is high and proper time to amend our defective system.

The country complains that this House has become a mere taxing machine, and that the taxpayers have not sufficient voice in adjusting that taxation. The hon. Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) has attempted to prove that this is entirely a mistake, proceeding from an "ignorant impatience of taxation;" that taxation has not increased, therefore there is no reason for complaint on that score, and he tells us all this in the face of an acknowledged deficiency of 3,000,000l., and a distracted Chancellor of the Exchequer, baffled of his prey, and continually seeking whom he may devour! The hon. Member, speaking from memory, told the House that the total ordinary revenue of the financial year ending 5th January, 1828, amounted to 49,500,000l.; now, the total revenue of that year, according to the financial accounts, was 54,850,000l.! a slight mistake in the hon. Gentleman's statement of 5,380,000l. But, Sir, I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should have selected the year 1828 as his beau ideal of taxation; let me draw his attention to the years 1835 and 1836, after the passing of the Reform Bill—what were the supplies then voted for the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Miscellaneous Estimates? 14,123,000l.! whilst in 1848 they have been increased to 23,315,852l.! an increase since 1836 of upwards of 9,000,000l. in these estimates; alone. But look at the comparative taxation of other countries:—in the United States taxation amounts to 9s. 7d. per head; in Russia to 9s. 9d. per head; in Austria to 11s. 6d. per head; in Prussia to 12s. 4d. per head; in Trance to 24s.; and in England to 2l. 12s. 6d. per head, exclusive of poor-rates, borough rates, and other charges of that nature. When the hon. Member stated that the working classes had no reason to complain, did he bear in mind what the working man pays in indirect taxation? For every 20s. worth of tea purchased he pays 10s. tax; of coffee 8s. tax; of sugar 6s. tax; of soap 5s. tax; of tobacco 16s. tax; and of spirits 14s. tax; and yet the hon. Member said the people were well off, and that taxation had not increased since 1828! In this country there is now raised, with the sanction of Parliament, more than any despotic monarch of any nation ever wrung from his subjects. When the hon. Member alluded to the reduction of taxation which had been made, he had not been quite fair upon the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth. So long as I have a seat in this House I shall always be ready to pay the tribute of my gratitude to that right hon. Baronet for his statesmanlike conduct, and I am bold to say that the country looks upon him as the real and only administrator in this House. It is all very well to say that the cry for reform has been raised by paid agitators and hired lecturers (such a remark was well calculated to create a laugh in the House), but the hon. Member has confounded cause and effect; the paid agitators and hired lecturers are the effects and not the causes of public discontent.

The first point to be considered is—how far it may be expedient to enlarge the suffrage? and in arguing this I will not enter into any discussion as to the abstract right of voting. I take it that the object of all representation is that it should be a reflection of the intelligence, probity, industry, and wealth of the community; for this purpose some external test must be adopted; we cannot enforce the abstract claims of right which are abrogated by the first institution of society. I am of opinion, that by founding the qualification to vote on household or residential suffrage, you will admit a large body of men who are in every way qualified for the exercise of the franchise. I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. H. Drummond) affirm "that the great body of mechanics cared little and knew nothing of theories of government:" let him only look at the books which are published, the institutes which are built, and I feel persuaded I do not err in saying, that whilst the education of the upper classes has stood still, that of the mechanics and humbler classes has advanced; nay, that nine out of ten could give a hotter reason for their votes than many Members of this House. In 1822 the noble Lord based his measure for reform on the increasing intelligence and education of the humbler classes: will he affirm that in 1848 intelligence and education have not made enormous progress? But, Sir, it is not difficult to show, for those who are "guided by tradition," that the original right to vote was vested in all householders, not merely ten-pounders. (See Committee of 1623 and 1624), A Committee which had been described by Lord Brougham and by Mr. Hallam, the historian, as the most learned Committee that ever sat, consisting of Serjeant Glanville, Lord Coke, Mr. Selden, and Noy, afterwards Attorney General to Charles L, and other eminent men, generally known as Serjeant Glanville's Committee, declared in their first resolution that "all men who were inhabitant householders, resident within the borough, were entitled to a vote as well as freemen." Be it observed, all inhabitant householders, not 10l. householders alone. This household suffrage was advocated by Mr. Pitt in 1795, and by Lord Grey in 1817. In 1830 a Bill was brought into this House by Lord Blandford, and a very sweeping measure too, not only for the payment of Members, but for the admission of the clergy to Parliament, for electoral districts, and for household suffrage; and the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) and some of his Colleagues voted for the introduction of that Bill. But a Cabinet Minister had given a very strong opinion on the point of household suffrage. In 1830 Sir J. C. Hobhouse moved this resolution:— That no House of Commons will deserve the confidence of the people until the right of suffrage be extended to all householders paying taxes and parochial rates—until each Member is chosen by a proportionate number of electors—until the duration of Parliament is materially shortened—and until each elector, without hope or fear of private 10s or gain, is allowed to vote by ballot. Sir J. Hobhouse went on to say that— The opinion of the wisest man in the world, Jeremy Bentham, was in favour of this proposition. But, alas! since that period the hon. Baronet had followed the example of another "Jeremy," better known for his versatility than his wisdom.

But what peculiar virtue does the noble Lord and his Colleagues find in the 10l. suffrage? In the course of the present Session the noble Lord introduced a Bill, giving 8l. tenants-at-will a right to vote in Ireland; whereas, in this country, the 50l. tenant-at-will only has a right to vote. If he applied that principle to Ireland, for what possible reason was the 10l. vote preferred in England? I hope some Member of the Government will be able to give a distinct and definite reason for this difference. The hon. Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) had gone very fully into this question, and had said he looked upon the suffrage not as a trust, or a right, but as a privilege. The truth is, the electors in one-half of the small boroughs look upon it neither as a trust, a right, nor a privilege, but as a perquisite! The now reading given by the hon. Member for Northamptonshire affords the House an insight into the motives and views with which these people regard the suffrage. There is a great deal of mock modesty among hon. Members with regard to bribery; I do not believe that half of them are sincere in their abhorrence of it. Is it not notorious that there are not twenty Gentlemen in the House who did not pay pretty smartly, and draw large cheques on their bankers, for the expenses of their seats in Parliament? Instead of taking some poor unfortunate wretch, who had taken a bribe for his vote, and thrusting him into Newgate, if the Government were sincere they would strike at the fountain-head. The origin of bribery had been ascribed to the Whig party, "as an expedient for counteracting the power of the landed interest;" and it is certain that the Tory party brought in the first Bill against bribery in 1729. The first charge of bribery on record occurred in 1571, in the borough of Westbury. Though the practice might have originated with the Whigs, it is now equally shared in by all parties in the State. A celebrated satirist had said— Those who would gain the votes of British tribes, Must add to force of merit force of bribes. This was written in the last century, and is equally applicable at the present day, if not more so. If hon. Members were sin-core in all their fine speeches, and in the horror which they expressed of bribery, they had nothing to do but to extend the area of voting. I wish to guard myself against being misunderstood; for I think my hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) has been completely misunderstood, and probably a great many people are too anxious to misunderstand him, on the subject of electoral districts. All he proposes is to increase the area of voting. I, for one, will never be a party to swamping those local landmarks of my country—municipal institutions; but it is a monstrous and glaring iniquity that boroughs like Harwich and St. Albans should each send two Members to Parliament, and thus be placed on a par with such towns as Liverpool and Birmingham. Hon. Gentlemen are really not aware of the monstrous inequality of the present system. The Kensington district of the metropolis, comprising Kensington, Chelsea, Brompton. Hammersmith, Fulham, and Chiswick, contains an area of 8,440 acres, or 14 square miles; its rateable value is 484,000l.; its population 110,000; and it has a voting population of 18,345. It sends no Member to this House; while the little boroughs of Calne, Dartmouth, and Midhurst, with very small populations, each send one Member; and Harwich and Thetford, with very small populations, send four.

The House is bound, if it means to carry out its authority in respect to bribery, and is sincere in its horror of the practice, to take immediate steps for increasing the area of voting. The hon. Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli) had expressed great dread of Glasgow sending seven Members, and had dwelt on the superiority of the county he represented. I know something of that county. Mr. Pitt never sat for any place in that county as has been said by the hon. Member. Mr. Burke had been returned for a borough in Bucks by Lord Verney, who afterwards quarrelled with him and turned him adrift. I once had the honour of sitting for a place in that county (Wycombe), and will tell the hon. Gentleman who now represents that borough, that, had the voters had the protection of the ballot, he would not have been elected. There is only that one borough out of four in Bucks which is not open to undue influence, and it is sliding from its virtue—it has been wooed by "a gay seducer," remarkable for the beauty of his notes! The annual rateable value of Bucks is 674,000l., and it sends eleven Members to Parliament. The annual value of Middlesex is 7,293,000l., and it sends fourteen Members to Parliament. I might also instance Sussex and Lancashire; but the proportions are so ridiculous that the system defeats its own object, and fails to represent even the property of the country, for population and property are very nearly connected, and it is only in exceptional cases that they do not go together. Again, if this House wishes to put an end to bribery and intimidation (those Gemini! which were commonly born at the time of a general election), Members would consider the expediency of giving their constituents the protection of the ballot. All the arguments yet used in opposition to the ballot are founded more on sentiment than on reason. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had referred to America, and said that "every man's vote was known there though they had the ballot." This is a proof that the ballot did away with intimidation and bribery, and hence a man was careless whether his vote was known or not. The noble Lord had also referred to the election of the National Assembly in France, where the ballot was resorted to, and this he seemed to think a clinching argument, which was to "fright the isle from its propriety." But under the former dynasty in France, out of a population of 34,000,000 not 200,000 men had voted for the election of deputies; and it was owing to the ballot alone that any independent men found their way into the Chamber. The superiority of the ballot has been proved in the recent elections in that country, for it was only by its protection that any men of Conservative principles could have been returned. The usual argument against the ballot is a sort of hustings declamation—that it is "un-English;" but is it not more un-English to traffic in votes, and make a poor trader vote against his conscience? Probably many Members are aware that the Committee of four who sat on the Reform Bill in 1831, consisting of Lord Grey, Lord John Russell, Lord Duncannon, and Lord Durham, recommended that the ballot should be introduced, and that the duration of Parliaments should be shortened. This cannot be denied. And when the Chandos clause was introduced in this House, Lord Althorp declared that it would he a great step towards rendering the ballot necessary; and Lord Grey used the same argument in the other House. I will ask those twenty Gentlemen who voted for the ballot in 1842, some of whom used very hard language towards the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whether any of them would be swayed for an instant by the arguments with which the noble Lord had opposed the ballot in 1848? Twenty supporters of the Government and two Cabinet Ministers voted for the ballot then. I hope they will be true to their convictions in 1842, and vote for it now.

The qualification of Members has not been touched on by the hon. Member for Montrose. This is by no means part of "our ancient institutions;" it is quite a recent innovation. In 1703, a Parliament, which was very jealous of the commercial classes, and desirous that all the power of the country should be vested in the landed gentry, passed an Act by which no man who had less than 300l. a year in land could sit in Parliament. This has been since altered by Mr. Warburton's Act. Mr. Macaulay, whether he were in the Cabinet or not nobody knew, had said— It is no part of the constitution of the kingdom that a qualification shall he required; nor is it a part of the consequences of the Revolution. It was introduced by a bad Parliament, now held in no great esteem, for the purpose of defeating the Revolution and excluding the Protestant succession to the Crown. What did the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) think of that?

Another question is as to the duration of Parliaments. If ever there was a monstrous infraction of the constitution, it was in passing the Septennial Bill; it was one of the Whig jobs of the day. In 1715, the Whig faction of that time were very much afraid that the people were in favour of the Pretender; and they passed a Bill, which was not first introduced here, but in the other House, by the Duke of Devonshire, enacting that the then Parliament should last seven years. The Bill was opposed by the Tory party, but for no very good reasons. One of them, Sir John Barnard, opposed it because "he thought that country Gentlemen should always he returned to that House, and nobody else." But the House passed the Septennial Bill, a permanent remedy for a temporary occasion. They did more; they even proposed to continue that Parliament for seven years longer. If the noble Lord at the head of the Government looks through the records of the duration of Parliaments, he will find, that since the reign of George IL, they have averaged five years and a half. The Septennial Act was a fraud from the commencement, and you who wish stare super antiquas vias, are bound to repeal it. I; should have stopped here had not the noble Lord thrown out a challenge and denied that the Government of this country was carried on for the benefit of the aristocracy; and he quoted Tacitus! The hon. Member for Surrey (Mr. IL Drummond) also quoted Dodd's Parliamentary Com-, panion to show how many vulgar fellows without grandfathers were Members of Parliament. Well, I have consulted Dodd, and here are the results: I find, according to Dodd, that there are forty-two boroughs still subject to local influence; thirty-three are under the direct influence of Peers. Eighteen Members in this House represent eleven Whig Peers, and thirty-threere present twenty-two Tory Peers. And these forty-two boroughs have as much influence in the House as the cities of London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Glasgow. But when the noble Lord says that Government "is not carried on for the benefit of the aristocracy," here is my answer, again according to Dodd. There are 6 Marquesses in this House! 8 Earls! 25 Viscounts! 36 Lords! 61 Baronets! and 12 Honourable Misters! There are altogether 274 persons connected with Peers and the aristocracy in the House, besides 44 officers of the Army, 8 of the Navy, exclusive of those who are officially connected with the Government, making, in the whole, 334 Members who are under the direct influence of the aristocracy. Let it not be supposed that I am attacking the individuals: I am attacking the system, not the men; and I say that the power of the aristocracy has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. We have heard somewhat of family petitions in this House. Why, what is the whole foundation of the present Government in this country? Its foundation rests upon family arrangements. Nearly the whole Cabinet are related to each other by ties of birth or marriage. They form a snug family party! And they so far differ from another exhibition called the "Happy Family," that, whereas in the one case all the animals are distinct in species, in the other, whilst admitting the great knowledge and talents in individuals, you can only account for their ricketty offspring in legislation by knowing that the parents are all related.

So much for the constitution of the Cabinet. The same aristocratic element is visible in the subordinate officers; look at the Treasury bench in this House—it is occupied by either the scions or attachés of the great Whig families, chequered here and there with some statistical man of the people, just to give a popular tone to the composition; and if you find the representative of a large liberal constituency in in such company, you may be sure that his former principles have become sickly, and that his present associates have treated him as gipsies are reported to treat stolen children—" disfigured him to make him pass for their own." In short, turn where you will, whether in colonial management or diplomacy, it will be found that for the most part Government "has been carried on for the benefit of the aristocracy;" but the noble Lord says, the "Howards and the Stanleys are not to be precluded from holding situations;" allow me to suggest that the "Howards and the Stanleys" have as good a right (and no more) as others to hold places, and it is somewhat singular that few of the Howards or of the Stanleys are in public places. There are others there who have not such good claims, and who make a good thing of them. We do not complain that men of the name of Howard and Stanley have places, but we complain that "Lord Tomnoddies" are pushed into office, while other men of equal and perhaps better pretensions, but not of such high birth, are excluded. The present Government is a government of great families merely. Are the Members of that Government remarkable for any great or overpowering talents? Is the Colonial Office so well administered? Is the Financial Department so well attended to? Are you keeping your promises when out of office to Ireland? Are these the reasons why you are retaining your places? No; you are keeping them because none of the great families are prepared to take your places. Yon are keeping the Government because the people cannot make Lords of the Bedchamber, or get Lords in the other House to thump the red box! The people of this country only want a Government of practical men; and my conscientious belief is, that the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson) and others, who can manage railway boards equally well, are as well qualified to conduct the Government as the noble Lords who now form such a select family compact. The noble Lord, at the close of his speech the other night, quoted an American gentleman, who said that the British constitution was "so long and so strong." The noble Lord was caught by the rhyme. But in 1831 the noble Lord said that the constitution of this country had never been "settled for fifty years." Why was the constitution "so long and so strong?" Because it went with the spirit of the times:— The constitution of this House, instead of being settled, inviolable, and invariable, was a constitution that never for fifty years together-during a long period was at all settled."* Before resuming my seat I cannot refrain from adverting to some remarks, which fell from the hon. Member for Bucks (Mr. Disraeli). Towards the conclusion of his speech, he told us that he-objected to any amendment of the representation, because it was promoted and favoured by the middle classes; and he went on to say, that the only possible Government in England, was one which relied on the use of "traditionary influences," and "the great properties round which men might rally." I beg leave to remind the hon. Member, who now talks so slightingly of the middle classes, that on a recent occasion when the peace and safety of this metropolis were threatened, the cool heads and strong arms of the middle classes stood between the "great properties" and revolution; it was to their existence you owe your present safety; that class, which, uniting the ornamental and polished superstructure to the more rude and solid foundation, is in fact the cement, which ensures the stability of the glorious fabric; let the hon. Gentleman hear the eulogium of Lord Brougham on those middle classes:— He spoke of the middle classes—of the thousands and tens of thousands of the middle orders of the State, the most numerous, and by far the most wealthy class in the country; for all their Lordships' castles, manors, funds, and acres, if brought to the hammer, and sold at fifty years' purchase, would kick the beam, when counterpoised by the wealth of the middle classes, who were the depositaries of sober, rational, intelligent, and honest English feeling; they were not to be browbeaten by classic quotations, and, as for an epigram, they cared for it as little as a cannon-ball; they were grave, intelligent, and rational people, who long considered a subject before they made up their minds upon it: he did not believe any thinking man could dream of the possibility of carrying on any Government in spite of those middle classes. Then, Sir, as to those "traditionary influences" we are told of. What does the hon. Member mean by using this political Puseyism of tradition? I deny that the nobility ever exercised any "traditionary influence" in this House; true, there are certain traditions to be found in the musty rolls of the Parliamentary register—we read of a county Member having been superseded in his election because the Garter King-at-Arms could not discover the Member's coat-of-arms in the Heralds' Office! * See Lord John Russell, June 24th, 1831, on Reform Bill. and that your predecessors, Sir, in that chair formerly sat in cocked hats! but when will you find that the aristocracy exercised a "traditionary influence? "The hon. Member well knows that the ancient nobles of this kingdom were killed off in the wars of the Roses—he well knows Henry VII. with difficulty collected twenty-eight Peers to sit in his first Parliament, and that even the most ancient of your modern Peers can only date their patents of preferment from men who were the panders and parasites of Henry VIII.!

Surely the hon. Member does not wish us to recur to the real "traditionary influence" which the Crown formerly exercised in returning Members to Parliament—when boroughs were created and corporations cashiered as it suited the designs or caprices of an arbitrary despot. Why, in the reign of the third Edward, Lancashire sent but one Member to this House; in that of Henry VII. the county of York had only two representatives namely, for York and Scarborough. The county and city of Durham returned no Members till 1673; and the Members for Newark owed their seats to the last profligate Act of Charles II. This, Sir, was the "traditionary influence," as exercised by the Crown, and the effects would be the same as sought to be exercised by an ambitious oligarchy. Then as to the watchword of "rallying round the large properties"—the same cry was raised in the days of Cromwell. It is recorded by an historian of whom the country may well be proud--I allude to the lamented father of the hon. Member for Bucks—" that one troop of Charles's guards who fought at Edgehill in the great rebellion, boasted that their revenues were equal to all the Members who voted against them in the Commons' House of Parliament;" but we do not find that the "large Properties" of that day were able to contend against the power of public opinion! And when the hon. Gentleman tries to "conjure spirits from the vasty deep," and points to the Tories of the days of Bolingbroke as examples to his own followers, he forgets that the Newdegates and Sibthorps of to-day have nothing in common with the Wyndhams and Shippens of the last century; he forgets that the old country party were linked together for the restoration of the Stuarts, and that with that ill-starred race their principles expired— The knights are dust, Their good swords rust, And their souls are with the saints we trust. But the hon. Member makes a last appeal to the gentlemen of England, as being "the proper leaders of the people." Sir, as a class, I respect the gentlemen of England; I reverence their sterling honesty, generous courage, and flowing charity, but I dispute that they have ever put themselves forward as the leaders of popular opinions. You may point to Hampden, but he was disowned by the gentry of his day; and to come down to more modern events, let me ask, who precipitated the American war? who resisted the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts? who delayed Catholic Emancipation, and struggled, but in vain, against Reform? Why, Sir, the country party invoked by the Member for Bucks! and even during this present Session how have they been employed? Why, they have brought in a Rill which allows their tenants to shoot hares, and they have thrown out a great measure of emancipation which had for its object to strike off the last rusty links of persecution from a people who have groaned for centuries under the "traditionary influences" of bigotry and superstition! Sir, I, for one, deprecate the arraying of class against class: the best friends of civilisation are those who seek to unite all classes in a common bond; and as I believe, to use the words of a great historian and philosopher, that "it is the participation of numbers in the Government, and not in the name of republic as opposed to monarchy that constitutes liberty—and that true freedom is only consistent with the removal of all shackles on thought, education, and religion," I shall, in concurrence with these sentiments, give my humble support to the resolutions of the hon. Member for Montrose.


said, though he was reluctant to intrude upon the attention of the House on subjects so momentous as those which the question brought before them, yet there were some circumstances attending his connexion with those by whom the measure was brought forward which made him still more reluctant to give a silent vote. At an early period of his life he felt an ardent sympathy with political reform—he sympathised with any and with every success in those measures for which the hon. Member for Montrose was so honourably distinguished—and therefore he could not offer, as he must do, an earnest and decided opposition to the resolution which that hon. Gentleman had placed before the House—he could not repudiate that picture in little of a revolution which it presented to his apprehension, without at the same time asserting the consistency of the course which he was about to take in declining to go farther in the path to which the hon. Member invited them. If he felt any real impropriety in the course he had hitherto pursued—if experience, and years, and the reality of events, had wrought any change in his opinions—he hoped he should avow that change without apprehension and without hesitation. But, believing that the course he was now about to take was consistent with the course which he had hitherto taken, he felt that it was right for one who had little to boast of beyond the moral harmony and consistency of his past and present views to explain them. In looking back for thirty years, he was enabled to embrace a comprehensive glance of the achievements that had been won to the popular cause, and of the additions that had been made to the popular strengh—he called to mind the period when the nomination boroughs, even then more a scandal than a mischief, were defended by the most brilliant statesmen in that House as integral parts of the constitution of the country—when the municipal corporations were little better than a local aristocracy, where, from age to age, a self-elected body maintained possession of power—when he recollected that the statutes of a paper currency were maintained by the bloody execution of sanguinary laws—and when he recalled to mind that every attempt of the press to advocate the power of the people was repressed by frequent prosecutions and with severe sentences—cruelty awakened by fear—as if it were necessary to prevent a breath or movement from dispelling that dismal enchantment in which the rotten system stood spellbound; and when he considered the great alterations that had been made since then—when he thought of the power that was wrested from the aristocracy in 1832, and given to the people—when he considered that into the municipal corporations the popular element had been admitted—that the reform of the criminal law had been so extensive, that even the scent of blood scarcely tinges it now—when he considered that the press was not only free from prosecution, but even from annoyance—when he considered all this, he did not think it would be inconsistent to decline going further on in the same course, but in holding that it would be better to concentrate the power they had gained, and to use it for obtaining administrative reforms; above all, he thought they should use it for imparting knowledge, and that piety, without which knowledge was either a trouble or a curse to the mass of the people, which would prepare them for the exercise of their political rights in future times. He believed the first impression which the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose would make was, that it was of a very miscellaneous character. There were four distinct reforms embraced in one resolution; and his first feeling in looking to the resolution was, a sense of the injustice that was done to those who might be prepared to sympathise with one or other of those changes, and who were compelled by this resolution to vote either for or against them all. But there was another circumstance that presented itself to his mind. He could not help perceiving that this was an attempt to emulate another, a larger, and, he must say, a nobler scheme. There were six points in the People's Charter, dealing more or less with these subjects; and this resolution seemed to have been formed on the same model, but in such a diluted shape as to induce the milder or more timid reformers to adopt it. The first point in this lesser People's Charter to which he would advert was the ballot; and he must confess he was struck with an admission in the opening speech of the mover of this resolution, that a large portion of the constituency, even as it at present stood, were so poor, so dependent, so open to the influences of money and power, as to require this artificial protection; and yet at the same moment that this confession was made, the hon. Member proposed to extend the suffrage still farther to this class, which he had described as so poor, so helpless, and so dependent. For himself, he must say, that looking to the ballot singly, and believing that defect in the position of the present constituency which the hon. Member had described to be true—believing that a portion of them were subject to those bad influences for which the ballot proposed a remedy, he, for one, would have supported that proposition. He believed, however, that the importance of the ballot had been exaggerated, both by its supporters and its opponents. He entirely disbelieved in the efficacy of its working—he disbelieved in the power of any mechanical contrivance to keep secret the most important act of the poor man's political life; but, as the social evil was so great, so unmitigated, so uncompensated, he would rather, believing this to be so, and looking upon the ballot to be no organic change, but a mere matter of detail—he would rather have supported the measure, though with little hope that it would effectually check the evil. But the hon. Member for Montrose told them, and his reason, if true, was the most effectual condemnation of his Motion, that if his new constituency did not receive this protection, the franchise to them would he prejudicial instead of a boon; and, he must add, if it were prejudicial to them it would be an enormous curse to the country, because it would consolidate that worst of all powers, the power of the purse, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of consciences, which would be deliberately submitted to its influence. Was it true that the constituency which it was now proposed to create, were really in that unhappy condition, that nothing but the protection of the ballot-box could prevent this new Reform Bill from becoming a curse instead of a blessing? and were they prepared to unsettle all the ancient institutions of the country, in the face of this admission that there was only the ballot-box standing between the chance of its proving a blessing or a curse to the country?—that the ballot-box, in fact, was to he the ark in which the new-born liberties of England were to drift through the storms and whirlwinds that encompassed them? He required no other admission than this to put the question to any man whether he was prepared to pass a measure which could only be efficient by the admission of its author, if the ballot-box was held up to prevent its being a curse instead of a blessing. His hon. Friend next proposed that there should be triennial Parliaments. Now, really this was so little of a practical change, and would have so little effect, that he believed every new Member would be happy to take his seat, for better or worse, on the condition that it was ensured to him for three years. But he confessed that hero too he suspected his hon. Friend was emulating the greater Charter, which proposed annual Parliaments. Whether the shortening of Parliaments would be a good or an evil—whether like, the fabled giant, who acquired new strength every time he touched his mother earth—whether the House would derive new strength from a triennial visitation to their constituents, he was not concerned to discuss; what he was concerned with was, the evident marks of emulation which this plan bore to the greater scheme of the People's Charter, which it was proposed to supplant for a time—and, he feared, it would only be for a time. Then he came to the substantial parts of the resolution, which involved an increase of the franchise, and a new distribution of the electoral constituencies. Here he must admit that, if the scheme of his hon. Friend was at all to be like that which the family petitioners of his hon. Friend understood it to be, then there would be a terrible consistency between his scheme for extending the franchise to the mass of want and wretchedness that existed at the present time, and the tearing up of all ties that hound local constituencies together—all those feelings of affection and kindness that existed between the representative and the represented—all that gave a local character to local districts. But the hon. Member told his petitioners—for it was to be remembered that he had evoked a cloud of family petitions in favour of electoral districts—he told them, "I do not desire—God forbid that I should desire—to cut up the country into parallelograms." But the petitioners, by whose wisdom the hon. Member would have the House to be guided, understood the hon. Member as wishing to cut up the country into parallelograms. But now it turned out that his hon. Friend was conservative on this point—for every man was conservative on some point—and he told them that he did not intend to do any such thing; but that he had a scheme of his own, which should be theirs so soon as he was permitted to lay his Bill upon the table of the House; and, as the hon. Member could not expect his Bill to be introduced this Session, whatever its ultimate success might he, he dared to say the Bill was safe from criticism for this season at least. But what were they to think of a proposition which had been so loosely worded—he would not say so studiedly disguised—that its own supporters did not understand it? Then came the next and the last proposition. The resolution, as it was sent into the world, was so framed as to include all householders. He presumed there was no intention of practising a delusion with this word—but the word "include" was meant to indicate the drawing of a line of demarcation from those who were not householders; and accordingly in that sense it was understood by the petitioners. It was for household suffrage they prayed. That was the cry that was linked with the name of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume); and household suffrage was the cry which had been got up through the country. If there had been a dinner—though he was far from insinuating that there was one—he would venture to say, that Hume and household suffrage was the toast of the evening. The babbling gossip of the air echoed the cry of Hume and household suffrage. But, in expounding the plan which he had introduced, the hon. Member had favoured them with an interpretation clause; and, certainly, strange as were the interpretation clauses which he had seen in Acts of Parliament, he had never seen any interpretation so singular as that which his hon. Friend had fixed to this plain old-fashioned English word. The hon. Member said— By household suffrage I do not mean any man who holds a house, but any body that a house holds. Household suffrage was evidently an endearing term to the parties who had sent up these petitions in separate coveys; but the hon. Member meant by the word everybody that had slept in a house, and excepted from his franchise only those who slept in gipsy tents; and why the hon. Member should except these he did not know, for they would add to the variegated grace of the scene, and they would not be the least independent of the constituency. But the reason which the hon. Gentleman gave for this interpretation clause was still more edifying than the interpretation itself—he had used the term household suffrage, he said, because the Gentlemen of the Committee, at whoso suggestion he brought forward this resolution, agreed to use the term household suffrage, though they could not agree as to the meaning. And this was from the central wisdom of that body who had been agitating the country for weeks past upon a question regarding which they could not themselves agree, but which they wrapped up in language that was susceptible of any meaning that any one might think fit to put upon it. He did not consider, however, that his hon. Friend had shrunk from proposing household suffrage, because whatever it might have been in the time of the Edwards and Henrys, when the Crown, as his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex remarked, nominated and governed this House, he would venture to say that household suffrage, though the sound was agreeable to their ears, was of all notions the most fallacious and absurd. That they should give to every man who was the father of children that he could not maintain, who occupied a roof in some squalid part of a crowded city, or who by the favour of the lord of the manor threw up a mud hut on a heath, which after the lapse of twenty years he perhaps would claim for his own—to give to such a father of a family, steeped in poverty to the very lips, and all the more abject and dependent because of the incumbrances of his family—to give him the franchise, and to exclude persons who with prudent forethought had postponed the enjoyment of the greatest blessings that can sweeten life until they were in a position to maintain a family—to exclude young men and clerks in the highest state of respectability, and to give it to squalid want, wretchedness, and misery, was certainly the most unreasonable of all schemes that could have been suggested. Those, then, were the schemes that were before them. There was one question which had not yet been answered, and which he should like to know. Supposing that this Bill was passed, did they intend it as a final settlement of the question, or was it only to be an instalment? If they intended it as a settlement, they knew that they were presenting to the House what would prove to be a mere illusion—they knew that it would not stand for a single year—they knew that the farther they extended the suffrage, the more bitter became the feelings of those who were excluded. Nay, more, they knew that the more they destroyed the anomalies that existed, the more bitter would they make the sense of exclusion. So long as the different variations of the franchise existed, the man who did not possess it felt no indignation. But if they made one definite line of demarcation, then the clamour would become tremendous: they would be able to tamper with the feelings of want and poverty no longer; there would be a new agitation commenced, and the country would have to go through another series of conflicts which no well-organised State could suffer or sustain. Therefore, to offer this measure to the Chartists as an instalment might be right; but to present it to the middle classes, who did not want the Charter as a final settlement of the question, showed, he would not say a want of honesty, but it showed a singular want of common sense. Not that he contended, as an everlasting rule for all time to come, for property as the only ground on which political power was to be exercised. He knew well that there was a nobler wealth than that of acres or of money—that there might be a deep attachment to the country—a humble but earnest love of her institutions—a pride in her ancestral glories—and a fine sense of her antiquities, existing in the bosoms of the humblest of her children. He knew that virtue and excellence connected the humblest dwelling with the skies. But it remained to him to consider whether they ought to grant the franchise to men without property, when the subject of legislation so often related to property; or whether they did not require the voter to be of nobler virtue—of a severer order of self-sacrifice—of the power to prevent the wish from becoming the father to the thought, than the mass of the people now exhibited, before they allowed them to legislate in a country where property was collected in immense masses, and where a large proportion of property consisted of an enormous mortgage to be sustained by the national industry. Far be it from him to say that these virtues were never to he found among the humbler classes. He believed that the patient endurance of suffering, the earnest desire for good, in which they themselves had little expectation to share, and which when detected, as it often was, beneath the lowly roof, made his heart to swell with pride at the thought that he belonged to the same nation with these heroic men—he believed that these virtues had often been shown. But if he were asked whether these virtues abounded at the present time, he must answer in the negative. The education returns answered "No." The annals of crime, which were fearfully increasing from year to year, answered "No;" and the history of recent outbreaks which transformed honest men into robbers and plunderers, confirmed the melancholy tale livery conscientious statesman must feel how little education had been helped on—the education which was available, not for this world alone, but for that which was to come. If be could perceive any corresponding increase of the intelligence with the increase of power in the people since 1812, he would gladly support—not this Motion, not a Motion to give the franchise to man as householder or tenant, ratepayer or lodger, but to man as man—man impressed with the glory of his origin, the responsibility of his duties, and the grandeur of his destiny. The hon. Member for Oldham had attempted to present indications of that elevation in the humblest classes; and, although his hon. Friend had dilated on that great topic of his speech with congenial eloquence, he must say that to him it appeared wholly beside the question. The great instances to which his hon. Friend had referred, indicated nothing with respect to the masses of the people from whom they were selected. He had always thought that the seeds of genius were scattered by the great Author and inspirer of humanity with an equal hand amongst the humblest as well as the highest classes; every soil was congenial to them; they were developed as much on the mountain side as on the mountain top or in the lowly valley; and the most brilliant lights of genius belonged to the darkest ages and the lowest periods of civilisation. Was that to be supposed the most palmy state of Greece, because shortly after the Trojan war there arose a wandering minstrel, from whose harmonious numbers the greatest critics had drawn their rules, and after whose model the greatest poets had moulded their works? But the hon. Member for Oldham had referred to him (Mr. Serjeant Talfourd) in terms of the highest compliment, and had mentioned, as an instance, known to him, the name of Mr. Thomas Cooper, the author of the Purgatory of Suicides. Now, he did not withdraw one word of the praise which he had, on a former occasion, bestowed on Mr. Cooper; and he was glad to find that his poem had since attracted the attention of one of the most brilliant ornaments of literature in the present day—he meant the hon. Member for Bucks; but the hon. Member for Oldham bad referred to this instance as a proof of the fitness of the class to which Mr. Cooper belonged for the elective franchise; and, surely, never was there au instance so destructive of an argument. He hoped and believed that a spirit more gentle and more wise now animated the philosophy of Mr. Cooper; but if he was called as a witness, he was bound to tell the truth, and the whole truth, and that truth was utterly destructive of the argument in support of which the example was quoted—for this was the Thomas Cooper who went into the Potteries of Staffordshire at a time when unhappy differences existed between the masters and the workmen, and presented to the workmen harangue after harangue, at a time when words became things, and when inflammatory words were answered, not by words of fire, but by deeds—by lighted torches and the destruction of property; and the fact was that those men rushed from the very scene where he had addressed them to the work of desolation and plunder. He threw the whole district for two days into a state of rebellion and lawless violence, until one of his victims—for he could call them by no other name—they thought themselves his proselytes—they were his victims—until one of his victims had been shot dead by the intrepidity of one of the soldiers who were called in. Then they paused and began to reflect; but the crimes of those two days occupied the Judges on a special commission for three weeks—and then this was the man who was represented as fit to be a moral teacher of this class, and these, his victims, as the fit recipients of the political franchise! He was obliged to confess that the history of the world showed that the great blessings to mankind were not gained by the masses, but by the wisdom and the virtue of the heroic few, too often enervated, and obstructed, and trampled on by the folly and corruption of the many. Did he, therefore, say that that must always he the case? Far from it. He believed that the time would come when the masses of the people might govern; but, in his opinion, the seeds of conservative progress would be best fostered by the preservation of our institutions in peace. Much they heard of the supreme power of the people; but was it not the power of the Cyclop, groping about in his cave, gigantic, but in darkness—a darkness not to be dispelled by the light of science, or the light of learning, but only by light from above. He would remind the House of some lines, in which the thoughts of Schiller were conveyed in the words of Coleridge:— The way of ancient ordinance, though it winds, Is yet no devious way. Straightforward goes The lightning's path, and straight the fearful path Of the cannon ball. Direct it flies and rapid, Shattering that it may reach, and shattering what it reaches. My son! the road the human being travels. That on which blessing comes and goes, doth follow The river's course, the valley's playful windings, Curves round the cornfield and the hill of vines, Honouring the holy bounds of property! And thus secure, tho' late, leads to its end. Before he sat down he wished to say a word or two on the subject of the petitions which had been presented to the House. He did not deny that there were a great number of petitions coming from very respectable sources, and signed by very respectable names; some of them had been signed by old reformers from habit and recollections of abuses of former days—others by those who thought that there were abuses to be remedied; many, no doubt, there were who felt great respect for the name of the hon. Member for Montrose, but very few who had any definite notion of what he proposed. He denied, however, that any true enthusiasm had been kindled throughout the country—except when a question had arisen between the Reformers and the Chartists—and he should have wondered if it had been. The thinking and prudent people of this country did not consider that at this time it was fitting to unsettle the institutions of the country. That there might be imperfections and anomalies in these institutions no man doubted; but at this time the mass of the people were averse to change. Even the number of petitions which had been presented would not have appeared if the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose had come on at the time for which it was originally fixed; and those that had been since presented were nothing more than an answer to a speech which was never spoken. It had been supposed that the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had said that the people of England did not wish for reform; and then the petitioners came to say that they did wish for reform, at least they said, "Here is Mr. Hume's nostrum"—and some of the petitioners, be believed, prayed for whatever Mr. Hume wanted, and some for the resolution which had been moved; but it was quite clear that at this moment there was not any considerable number of English hearts who desired to enlist in this struggle. The general feeling of the people of England at the present time was one of humble gratitude for the institutions with which they were blessed, and of honest pride for the security of those institutions. At least, they felt that there was something in the word "stable"—something time-honoured—something which was worth living for, and, if need be, worth dying for—something which could not be conveyed in a resolution, but which was embodied in those institutions for which the prayers of thousands of Christian hearts rose daily to the throne of mercy. These were the institutions which not only afforded an asylum to the victims of democratic tyranny which was raging abroad, but which would remain as the models to which they must look when they desired to lay again the foundations of a renovated empire; and were they then, were the people of England, thus situated in the very Thermopylæ of the world—were they at such a moment to spend their time in that miserable tampering with institutions which had stood a thousand storms; and beneath which that very genius and cheap literature of which the hon. Member for Oldham had spoken had flourished and grown up? He should be sorry to live to extreme age to witness the dreary, vapid, and unmeaning changes to which this would lead. He abated no jot of hope for the progress of social and political improvement; he rejoiced in the anticipation of the time when the only condition of the franchise should be wisely to understand and rightly to enjoy it; but—he said it with shame and sorrow—he believed that at the present time the people of this country were utterly unfit to receive such a boon. Against this resolution of the hon. Gentleman, founded upon no principle, presenting no settlement, tending to succession of unmeaning changes, he entered his humble but solemn protest; and he gave his voice against it with his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole strength.


said: I rise under great disadvantages to address the House after the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down; and the difficulty of my position would be very much increased if I were called upon to address myself to this question in the manner, and with the eloquence and fancy, by which his speech has been distinguished; but I make no pretence to follow in such a track. I cannot help observing that the hon. and learned Gentleman has not given us any facts as the groundwork of his reasoning. There is one statement, however, made by the hon. and learned Gentleman on which the opponents of ray hon. Friend the Member for Montrose seem very much to rely. The statement to which I allude is to this effect—that the wishes of the country are not in favour of the change which my hon. Friend proposes. That assertion, as we all know, was made by the noble Lord the Member for London. Now, it must be generally felt that this statement is of more importance than any other that has been uttered upon this subject. I am ready to admit that there is a diversity of opinion amongst the unenfranchised classes as to the nature and extent of the reform which they demand; but I will put it both to the noble Lord, and to the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether they mean deliberately to tell this House that the great masses of the people do not desire to possess any political power? Will they venture to utter any such libel on the people, as to assert that those who are excluded from all share in political power are so abject as not to desire to possess any portion of it? I should be sorry to believe such an assertion, and I must say I do not believe it—I should have a very poor opinion of my fellow-countrymen if I did. But there is this very important element in the question. If you admit that the people of this country do desire to participate in the franchise, then there are six-sevenths of the whole of the adult male population by whom this franchise is desired; and if, in addition to this, you are clearly shown that a large portion of the middle classes are in favour of bestowing this franchise on those six-sevenths of the adult male population, then I am entitled to say this is a most important clement in the whole question. Now I call on the hon. and learned Member to analyse carefully the division list after this debate shall have been brought to a conclusion; and he will find that in proportion as the Members of this House represent the middle classes and the independent 10l. householders, so he will find their names recorded in favour of the Motion of my hon. Friend. I refer to this test in order to show that it is not true, as has been asserted, that there exists a hostile spirit on the part of the middle classes to grant any extension of political power to the masses of the people. I believe that a contrary spirit exists amongst the middle classes. Those facts, for such they arc, being admitted, what is the other assertion of the hon. and learned Member with which I have to deal? He stated that there had been no general petitioning nor any great meetings held amongst the people at large in favour of the resolutions of my hon. Friend. I have long been accustomed to watch the progress of opinion out of doors, and am perhaps from that circumstance better qualified than the hon. and learned Member to test the extent of public feeling on such questions as the present. I venture to tell the hon. and learned Member that there is a greater movement in behalf of these resolutions, and a movement more entirely divested of organisation, than has been manifested of late years amongst the people. I have counted the number of meetings whore resolutions have been passed in favour of these resolutions, as I find them recorded in the Daily News, and I find their number amounts to no less than 130. I challenge the hon. and learned Member to deny the fact that the movement has been more spontaneous in favour of these resolutions than ever was manifested during the five years that the corn-Jaw movement was going on; for I am ready to admit that the corn-law movement was galvanised as from a centre, and that the meetings on that question were held at the instigation and by the instrumentality of the men who were engaged in that movement; whereas the meetings held in behalf of my hon. Friend's resolutions have been spontaneous, and wholly divested of such extraneous stimulus. I do not say that all men are agreed upon this subject—that there are no diversities of opinion; but there is much less of this than those who resist my hon. Friend's Motion like to see. We have had petitions from those who favour the Charter, and from those who desire universal suffrage; and very many in favour of the particular plan upon which we are now speedily to divide. I have not anything to say against these petitions in favour of the Charter, or in favour of universal suffrage. I am not contending against the right of a man as a man to the franchise—I mean the right that a man ought to enjoy apart from the possession of property; but I feel I should not be justified in taking the line of argument adopted by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and by the noble Lord the First Minister of State, who addressed himself to the advocates of universal suffrage, and seemed to argue that they were more right than the advocates of household suffrage. If he intends to vote for universal suffrage, I can understand the force of that argument; but as I am not going to oppose universal suffrage, and as I do not stand here to support it, I leave him in the hands of the advocates of universal suffrage; and, judging by what has been done, they seem disposed to make the most of the argument which has been put into their hands. I will not occupy the time of the House in discussing this point further; but the hon. and learned Gentleman did not display his usual legal skill and knowledge in dealing with the question of household suffrage; for it certainly is not surrounded with the difficulties which the hon. and learned Gentleman has imagined. To judge from his speech, it would seem to be the law that no one except the landlord and occupier of a house enjoyed a vote in right of that house. Surely the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to have known that the Court of Common Pleas has decided that lodgers paying more than 10l. annually, and rated to the poor-rates, are entitled to be placed on the list of voters—that is to say, in cases where the landlord does not live on the premises; that is the state of the law as established by the Reform Act; and my hon. Friend seeks only a little to extend that privilege; it therefore can scarcely be considered a matter difficult of arrangement; the mere extension of the existing rule gets rid of all difficulty, and gives the franchise to prudent young men—too prudent to marry and take houses with insufficient means; to them, being lodgers, the plan of my hon. Friend gives the franchise. The law of the land already goes very near to do this. The allusion which the hon. and learned Gentleman made to the case of Cooper must be fresh in the recollection of the House. I am sorry he alluded to that part of Cooper's career, who, I believe, greatly regrets those events, and would be glad to forget the part that he took in the affair at the Staffordshire Potteries. I am sorry that the subject was introduced here; for we wanted no additional examples to prove to us that a good poet may be a very bad politician. Now, the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose is, that he may obtain leave to bring in a Bill giving votes to householders, that is to say, to persons who are not only contributing to the taxation of the country, but to the rates for the support of the poor. He asks that they should have votes in the election of Members of this House. Now, the first difficulty that meets you in opposing such a scheme is, that we are acting on the theory that such is already the franchise of this country. The old constitutional theory is, that the Parliament of the country should be elected by the householders who are payers of taxes and poor-rates; and we ask, is that doctrine to be a sham or a reality? The people do not like shams; they will not have them any longer; they want realities. If this were a Government such as the hon. and learned Gentleman has shadowed forth—a sort of paternal despotism, which would first educate the people, and then give them the franchise—I could understand his argument; but the theory is, that the people have political power already, and that nobody is responsible, as the hon. and learned Gentleman in his poetic flights may imagine, for the task of preparing them to exercise the franchise. If there had been such a responsible party, I think it would have been done long ago. I ask what danger can there be in giving the franchise to householders? They are the fathers of families—the persons who fill your churches and your workshops—in fact, the people of the country. Where is the danger, then, of entrusting them with the franchise? Our institutions! you cry. Why, I have always heard that our institutions live in the affections of the country. Are you afraid of the people being adverse to monarchical institutions? We constantly hoar that the Queen sits enthroned in the hearts of her subjects. I have no such fears. I will tell you what I think the extension of the franchise will do. I seek no change in our present form of government. I say, once for all, God forbid that any change should take place in our form of government! If it should be changed from the monarchical form, I hope it may happen when I am not here to witness it, because if any advantage should be derived from the change, I am sure that the generation which will benefit by it will not be the generation which achieves it. I do not believe that the people of this country have any desire to change the form of their government, nor do I join with those who think that the Wide extension of the suffrage of which we now speak would either altogether or generally effect a change in the class of persons chosen as representatives. I do not think that there would be any great change in that respect. The people would continue, as at present, to choose their representatives from the easy class, among the men of fortune; but I believe this extension of the suffrage would tend to bring not only the legislation of this House, but the proceedings of the Executive Government, more in harmony with the wants, wishes, and interests of the people. I believe that the householders, to whom the present proposition would give votes, would advocate a severe economy in the Government. I do not mean to say that a wide extension of the suffrage might not be accompanied by mistakes on some matters in the case of some of the voters; such mistakes would always occur; but I have a firm conviction that they would make no mistake in the matter of economy and retrenchment. I have a firm conviction that, if political power were given to the people, the taxation necessary for the expenditure of the State would be more equitably levied. What are the two things most wanted? What would the wisest political economists or the gravest philosophers, if they sat down to consider the circumstances of this country, describe as the two most pressing necessities of our condition? What, but greater economy, and a more equitable apportionment of the taxation of the country? I mean that you should have taxation largely removed from the indirect sources from which it is at present levied, and more largely imposed on realised property. This retrenchment and due apportionment of taxation constitute the thing most wanted at present for the safety of the country; and this the people, if they had the franchise now proposed, would, from the very instinct of selfishness, enable you to accomplish. Let me not be mistaken. I do not wish to lay all the taxation on property. I would not do injustice to any one class for the advantage of another; but I wish to see reduced, in respect to consumable articles, those obstructions which are offered by the customs and excise duties. You ought to diminish the duties on tea and wine, and other articles, and you ought to remove every exciseman from the land, if you can; and I believe that the selfish instinct—to call it by no higher name—of the great body of the people, if they had the power to bring their will to bear on this House, would accomplish these objects, so desirable to be effected in this country. Then, where is the danger of giving the people practically then theoretical share of political power? We shall be told that we cannot settle the question by household suffrage; and I admit that by no legislation in this House in 1848 can you settle any question. You cannot tell what another generation or Parliament may do. But if you enfranchise the householders in this country, making the number of voters 3,000,000 or 4,000,000, whereas at present they are only about 800,000, will any one deny that by so doing you would conciliate the great mass of the people to the institutions of the country, and that, whatever disaffection might arise from any remaining exclusion—and I differ from the hon. and learned Gentleman who thought that more disaffection would thereby be created—your institutions would be rendered stronger by being garrisoned by 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 of voters in place of 800,000? The hon. and learned Gentleman has expended a great deal of his eloquence on the question of electoral districts. Now, when you approach a subject like this with a disposition to treat it in the cavilling spirit of a special pleader, dealing with chance expressions of your opponents, rather than looking at the matter in a broad point of view, it is easy to raise an outcry and a prejudice on a political question. But, as I understand the object of the hon. Member for Montrose, it is this: he wishes for a fairer apportionment of the representation of the people. He said that he did not want the country marked out into parallelograms or squares, or to separate unnecessarily the people from their neighbours; and I quite agree with the hon. Member for Montrose, that his object can be attained without the disruption of such ties. The hon. and learned Gentleman dealt with this question as if we were going to cut up some of the ancient landmarks of the country, as the Reform Act cut up some counties in two, and laid out new boundaries. But I will undertake to do all that the hon. Member for Montrose proposes to do without removing the boundary of a single county or parish; and if I do not divide parishes or split counties, you will admit that I am preserving sufficiently the old ties. I must say that I consider this question of the reapportionment of Members to be one of very great importance. When you talk to me of the franchise, and ask me whether I will allow a man to vote who is 21 years old, and has been resident for six or twelve months, whether a householder or lodger, there is no principle I can fall back upon in order to be sure that I am right in any one of those matters. I concur with those who say that they do not stand on any natural right all. I know no natural right to elect a Member of this House. I have a legal right enabling me to do so, while six-sevenths of my fellow-countrymen want it. I do not see why they should not have the same right as myself; but I claim no natural right; and, if I wished to cavil with the advocates for universal suffrage, I should deal with them as I once good-humouredly dealt with a gentleman who told me he was one of three persons who had been engaged in drawing up the Charter. He asked me to support universal suffrage on the ground of principle; and I said, "If it is principle that a man should have a vote because he pays taxes, why should not, also, a widow who pays taxes, and is liable to serve as churchwarden and overseer, have a vote for Members of Parliament?" The gentleman replied that he agreed with me, and that on this point, in drawing up the Charter, he had been out-voted; and I observed that he then acted as I did—he gave up the question of principle, and adopted expediency. I say that, with respect to the franchise, I do not understand natural right, but with respect to the apportionment of Members, there is a principle, and the representation ought to be fairly apportioned according to some principle. What is the principle you select? I will not take the principle of population, because I do not advocate universal suffrage, but I take the ground of property. How have you apportioned the representation according to property? The thing is monstrous. When you look into the affair you will see how property is misrepresented in this House; and I defy any one to stand up and say a word in defence of the present system. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire alluded the other night to the representation of Manchester and Buckinghamshire, and made a mockery of the idea of Manchester having seven representatives. Now, judging from the quality of the Members already sent to this House by Manchester, I should wish to have not only seven such Members, but seven times seven such. Now, I will take the hon. Member's own favourite county of Buckingham, for the sake of illustration, and compare it with Manchester. The borough of Manchester is assessed to the poor on an annual rental of 1,200,000l., while Buckinghamshire is assessed on an annual rental only of 760,000l. The population of Buckinghamshire is 170,000, and of Manchester 240,000; and yet Buckinghamshire has eleven Members, and Manchester only two. The property I have mentioned in respect to Manchester does not include the value of the machinery; and though I will grant that the annual value of land will represent a larger real value of capital than the annual value of houses, yet, when you bear in mind that the machinery in Manchester, and an enormous amount of accumulated personal property, which goes to sustain the commerce of the country, is not included in the valuation I have given, I think I am not wrong in stating that Manchester, with double the value of real property, has only two Members, while Buckinghamshire has eleven. At the same time the labourers in Buckinghamshire receive only 9s. or 10s. a week, while the skilled operatives of Manchester are getting double the sum, and are consequently enabled to expend more towards the taxation of the country. If this were merely a question between the people of Buckinghamshire and Manchester—if it were merely a question whether the former should have more political power than the latter—the evil would in some degree be mitigated, if the power really resided with the middle and industrious classes; but on looking into the state of the representation of the darling county of the hon. Member, I find that the Members are not the representatives of the middle and industrious classes, for I find that eight borough Members are so distributed as, by au ingenious contrivance, to give power to certain landowners to send Members to Parliament. I will undertake to show that there is not more than one Member in Buckinghamshire returned by popular election, and also that three individuals in Buckinghamshire nominate a majority of the Members. If called on I can name them. What justice is there in, not Buckinghamshire, but two or three landowners there, having the power to send Members to this House to tax the people of Manchester? When this matter was alluded to on a former occasion, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire treated the subject lightly and jocosely as regarded the right of Manchester to send its fair proportion of Members to this House; and that jocularity was cheered with something like frantic delight in this House; but I think this is the last time such an argument will be so received. I maintain that Manchester has a right to its fair proportion of representatives, and I ask for no more; and every word I have said about Manchester applies equally to Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and all our large cities. I will now refer to the case of the West Riding of Yorkshire. That contains a population of 1,154,000; and Wilts containos a population of 260,000. The West Riding is rated to the poor on an annual rental of 3,576,000l., and Wilts on an annual rental of 1,242,000l.; yet each returns eighteen Members; and when I refer to Wilts I find six of its boroughs down in Dodd's Parliamentary Companion as openly, avowedly, and notoriously under the influence of certain patrons, who nominate the Members. I hold in my hand a list of ten boroughs each returning two Members to Parliament, making in all twenty Members; and I have also a list of ten towns in the West Riding of Yorkshire which do not return any Member; yet the smallest place in the latter list is larger than the largest of the ten boroughs having two Members each. Is there any right or reason in that? According to a plan which I have seen made out, if the representation were fairly apportioned, the West Riding of Yorkshire should have thirty Members, whereas it now has eighteen only. We do not wish to disfranchise any body of the people, we want to enfranchise largely; but what we would give the people should be a reality; and they should not be mocked by such boroughs as Great Mar-low, where an hon. Gentleman returns himself and his cousin; as High Wycombe, Buckingham, and Aylesbury; but there should be a free constituency protected by the ballot. With respect to Middlesex, the assessment to the poor is on an annual rental of 7,584,000l., and the assessment of Dorsetshire is on an annual rental of 799,000l. Yet they both have fourteen Members, while the amount of the money levied for the poor in one year in Middlesex is as largo within 6l. as the whole amount of the property assessed to the poor in Dorsetshire. The assessment to the poor in Marylebone is on an annual rental of 1,660,000l., being more than the annual rental of two counties returning thirty Members. Why should not the metropolis have a fair representation according to its property? I believe that the noble Lord at the head of the Government did intimate suspicion of the danger of giving so large a number of Members to the metropolis as would be the result of a proportional arrangement. I am surprised at the noble Lord holding such an opinion, as he is himself an eminent example and proof that the people of the metropolis might be intrusted safely with such a power. I observed, that in the plan for the representation in Austria, It was proposed to give Vienna a larger than a mere proportional share in the representation, because it was assumed that the metropolis was more enlightened than the other parts of the country. Now, notwithstanding all that may be said to the contrary, I maintain that the inhabitants of your large cities—and of a metropolis especially—are better qualified to exercise the right of voting than the people of any other part of the empire; for they are generally the most intelligent, the most wealthy, and the most industrious. I believe that the people of this metropolis are the hardest working people in England. But where is the difficulty? An hon. Gentleman has objected to large constituencies on the ground that Members would then be returned by great mobs. Now, my idea is, that you make a mob at a London election by having too large a constituency. Some of your constituencies are too large, while others are too small. Take Marylebone, or Finsbury, with a population of between 200,000 and 300,000; the people there cannot confer with their neighbours as to the election of representatives. But you may give a fair proportion of representatives to the metropolis; and you may lay out the metropolis in wards, as you do for the purposes of civic elections. I do not undertake to say what number of electors should be apportioned to each ward; that is a matter of detail; but if the subject were approached honestly, it would not be difficult to come to a satisfactory conclusion. I believe that if the metropolis were laid out in districts for the election of Members of Parliament, the people would make a better choice of representatives than any other part of the kingdom. Do not be alarmed by supposing that they would send violent Radicals to Parliament. You would have some of your rich squares, and of your wealthy districts, sending aristocrats, while other parts of the metropolis would return more democratic Members. It is a chimera to suppose that the character of the representation would be materially changed; the matter only requires to be looked into to satisfy any one that it is a chimera. I do not say that you should have an increased number of representatives. I think we have quite as many representatives in this House as we ought to have; but if you continue the present number of representatives, you must give a larger proportion to those communities which possess the largest amount of property, and diminish the number of Members for those parts of the country which have now an undue number of representatives. You cannot deal with the subject in any other way; and you cannot prevent the growing conviction in the public mind, that whatever franchise you may adopt—whether a household or a 10l. franchise—you must have a more fair apportionment of Members of this House. Do not suppose that this is a mere question of mathematical nicety. No, where the power is, to that power the Government will gravitate. The power is now in the hands of persons who nominate the Members of this House—of large proprietors, and of individuals who come here representing small constituencies. It is they who rule the country; to them the Government are bound to bow. But let the great mass of the householders, let the intelligence of the people, be heard in this House, and the Prime Minister may carry on his Government with more security to himself, and with more security to the country, than he can do with the factitious power which he now possesses. Upon the ballot I will say but a few words, and for this reason—because it stands at the head of those questions which are likely to be carried in this House. I mean that it has the most strength in this House and in the country, among the middle classes, and particularly among the farmers, and among persons living in the counties. ["Oh!"] Some hon. Gentlemen say "Oh!" They are not farmers who say "Oh, oh!" they are landlords. The farmers are in favour of the ballot. I will take the highest farming county—Lincolnshire. Will any one tell me that the farmers of Lincolnshire are not in favour of the ballot? I say this question stands first; it will be carried. Why, no argument is attempted to be urged against it, except the most ridiculous of all arguments, that it is un-English. I maintain that, so far from the ballot being un-English, there is more voting by ballot in England than in all the countries in Europe. And why? Because you are a country of associations and clubs—of literary, scientific, and charitable societies—of infirmaries and hospitals—of great joint-stock companies—of popularly governed intitutions; and you are always voting by ballot in these institutions. Will any hon. Member come down fresh from the Carlton Club, where the ballot-box is ringing every week, to say that the ballot is un-English? Will Gentlemen who resort to the ballot to shield themselves from the passing frown of a neighbour, whom they meet every day, use this sophistical argument, and deny the tenant the ballot, that he may protect himself not only against the frowns but against the vengeance of his landlord? As to triennial Parliaments, I need not say much on that subject. This, also, will be carried. We do not appoint people to be our stewards in private life for seven years; we do not give people seven years' control over our property. Let me remind the House, that railway directors are elected every year. Something has been said by the Prime Minister as to the preference of annual to triennial Parliaments. I think I can suggest a mode of avoiding difficulty on this point. Might it not be possible to adopt the system pursued at municipal elections—that all should be elected for three years, but one-third of the members should go out every year? I mention this only as a plan for which we have a precedent. If one-third of the Members of this House went out every year, you would have an opportunity of testing the opinion of the country, and of avoiding the shocks and convulsions so much dreaded by some hon. Gentlemen. I will only say one word, in conclusion, as to a subject which has been referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Reading (Mr. Serjeant Talfourd) and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli). They complain that leagues and associations were formed out of doors, and yet in the same breath they claim credit for the country that it has made great advances and reforms. You glorify yourselves that you have abolished the slave trade and slavery. The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred, with the warmth and glow of humanity by which he is so distinguished, to the exertions which have been made to abolish the punishment of death. Those reforms were all carried by agitation out of doors. What-ever you have done to break down any abomination or barbarism in this country, has been done by associations and leagues out of this House—and why? Because, since Manchester cannot have its fair representation in this House, it was obliged to organise a league, that it might raise an agitation through the length and breadth of the land, and in this indirect manner might make itself felt in this House. Well, do you want to get rid of this system of agitation? Do you want to prevent these leagues and associations out of doors? Then you must bring this House into harmony with the opinions of the people, Give the means to the people of making themselves felt in this House. Are you afraid of losing anything by it? Why, the very triumphs you have spoken of—the triumphs achieved out of doors—by reformers, have been the salvation of this country. They are your glory and exultation at the present moment; and all I ask is, that such reforms may be carried by a direct action of public opinion upon this House, rather than by agitation out of doors. But is this not a most clumsy machine?—a House of Commons, by a fiction said to be the representatives of the people, meeting here and professing to do the people's work, while the people out of doors are obliged to organise themselves in leagues and associations to compel you to do that work? Now, take the most absurd illustration of this which is occurring at the present moment. There is a confederation, a league, an association, or a society—I declare I don't know by what fresh name it may have been christened—formed in Liverpool, at the head of which I believe is the brother of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone)—a gentleman certainly of sufficiently conservative habits not to rush into any thing of this kind if he did not think it necessary. And what is the object of this association? To effect a reform of our financial system, and to accomplish a reduction of the national expenditure. Why, these are the very things for which this House assembles. This House is, par excellence, the guardian of the people's purse; it is their duty to levy taxes justly, and to administer the revenue frugally; but they discharge this duty so negligently that there is an assembly in Liverpool associated in order to compel them to perform it, and that assembly is headed by a Conservative, was there ever such a satire upon a representative government! It is not with a view of overturning our institutions that I advocate these reforms in our representative system. It is because I believe that we may carry out these reforms from time to time, by discussions in this House, that I take my part in advocating them in this legitimate manner. They must be effected in this mode, or as has been the case on the Continent, by bayonets, by muskets, and in the streets. Now, I am no advocate for such proceedings. I conceive that men of political standing in this country—any Members of this House for instance—who join in advocating the extension of the suffrage at this moment, are the real conservators of peace. So long as the great mass of the people of this country sec that there are men in earnest who are advocating a great reform like this, they will wait, and wait patiently. They may want more; but so long as they believe that men are honestly and resolutely striving for reform, and will not be satisfied until they get it, the peace and safety of this country—which I value as much as any guaranteed. My object in supporting this Motion is, that I may bring to bear upon the legislation of this House those virtues and that talent which have characterised the middle and industrious classes of this country. If you talk of your aristocracy and your traditions, and compel me to talk of the middle and industrious classes, I say it is to them that the glory of this country is owing. You have had your government of aristocracy and tradition; and the worst thing in this country has been its government for the last century and a half. All that has been done to elevate the country has been the work of the middle and industrious classes. Whether in literature, in arts, in science, in commerce, or in enterprise—all has been done by the middle and industrious classes; and it is because I wish to bring their virtue, intelligence, industry, and frugality, to bear upon the proceedings of this House, that I support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose.


The question of Reform comes before the House in 1848 in a different shape from that in which it came before it in 1830. It was then a speculative question; we had no results to guide us; we had merely evils pressing upon us for which we sought a remedy. Amongst the remedies proposed, one was selected as the best; but at best it was an experiment. The question now comes before us with the addition of practice and experience, and rather in the shape of a failure of the remedy than in that of a cure for the disease. Unless the remedy had failed there would be no case at all. We have had sixteen years of a Reformed Parliament: the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose is its condemnation. It has produced no fruits. We have therefore mistaken our way: the failure of a measure from which such enormous results were expected or apprehended, is the greatest lesson that has probably ever been read to a people. It has been read to us in vain. I will not follow the speakers who have preceded me into any abstract question of right—into any theory of representation—any calculation of property or population. I will look to practical results, and in those I will content myself with taking the case as stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex who opened the debate this evening. Replying to the arguments of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, he has shown that, instead of alleviating the burdens of the people, the Reformed Parliament has increased them; he has said, that "in a financial point of view, the present House of Commons is utterly useless. "This is his argument for a new Reform. Could more sweeping condemnation be pronounced? That is what I came here prepared to prove. My hon. Friend has relieved me from the necessity of arguing my case. He has proved it for me, and then uses it as an argument for repeating the very experiment of which he proclaims the signal failure. On the first night of this debate, I was amused to hear it urged that Reform was now necessary only because the former Bill was by no means what it ought to have been. ["Hear, hear!"] The hon. Members for Birmingham and Montrose cheer the sentiment. They have, then, forgotten that they were foremost to raise a certain memorable cry, which was "the Bill:" but it went further—there was in the Bill nothing which they did not desire and adopt—they exclaimed "the whole Bill." But this was not enough. They excluded every other plan, project, purpose—they would have the Bill—they would have "nothing but the Bill." It was complete—it was all-sufficient. It was the measure of their political sagacity. It is useless to deny the fact. It is impossible to evade the conclusion. What is the first, the chief duty of this House? Is it not the holding the purse-strings of the nation? What is the source of all disorder in governments and in nations, if not irresponsibility in matters of account? Has it not been said, and truly said, that the battle of the constitution has ever to be fought around the Exchequer? Why was the Reform desirable in 1830? What were the very grounds put forward by the Reform Ministry? What was the flag which they used—what the motto they inscribed upon it? Reform—Non-interference—and Retrenchment. Reform was an abstract question; but non-interference and retrenchment were practical ones, and the abstract question was brought in to facilitate the advancement of the practical ones. The end in view was, that they should not abroad engage in that which was unlawful; that they should not at home do that which was extravagant. If the country was roused to a great effort to attain these ends, it could only be that they held the then Government and the House of Commons as engaged in a heedless, a ruinous, and a profligate course. What then shall we say, if, having made a great effort to correct these abuses—having succeeded in carrying the measure by which they judged that these abuses were to be corrected—having turned out one set of men and brought in another—they found that the condition of the country was worse than it was before, and that there was a contrast the most signal between the economy of the system which was put down because it was extravagant, and the extravagance of the new system which has been introduced because it was to be economical? What can this be called if not a deceit and a delusion? The cause is very simple. The people of this country having turned their attention seriously to the reduction of expenditure, were proceeding to effect great and beneficial changes, when they were diverted therefrom by misguided theorists or calculating demagogues; and that cry was raised for change of institutions which ever marks the powerless-ness of a people to help or save itself: their attention being thereby diverted from their true business, they lost the benefit of their own asserted power. So it has been at all times, among every people, in whatever condition of civilisation, or of barbarism, whenever organic changes become the end. The real object of institutions is virtually abandoned, and the more the power of such a people, the worse is its condition. Either the excitement which is necessary to obtain the change disturbs their judgment, or the security which attends success lays prostrate their vigilance. Then arises a conflict of mere faction—of mere political partisanship—and an opportunity is afforded for designing men to seek their own advantage in the public loss. The hon. and learned Member for Reading has opposed this Motion upon the ground that it could not confer real benefit. I oppose it on the ground that it will bring positive injury. I appeal to experience. My hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Hume) is himself the impersonation of the old adage, Tempora mutantur. Compare his words and speeches in the reformed and in the unreformed Parliament: they do not seem to belong to the same man; unless we knew to the contrary, we might suppose the epithets interchanged Reform has, I assort, corrupted this House, and changed its Members. It has given to the people a stone in lieu of bread, and taught them to be content with it. It has not done what was most easy and most desirable: it has done what was not desirable, and appeared most difficult. It has not accelerated the ebb of retrenchment, but arrested it and turned it to flood. It has transformed my hon. Friend from a staunch economist into the most vehement supporter, if not of extravagance, at least of the men who have been the most extravagant, and I may say the most profligate, in expenditure. My hon. Friend said in February 1828— We are bound then, in the circumstances of the country, to reduce our expenditure, not by 17,000,000l. or 16,000,000l., but to reduce it to that scale which would leave us such a surplus as would be efficient for the gradual reduction of our debt. If the House do not adopt this course, they cannot be said to know what they are about. Again, he said— A country must be mad which in a state of peace should go on from year to year consuming its income; and that it was the duty of the Legislature to look forward in time of peace to a possible state of war, and so to reduce the expenditure as to leave a considerable surplus for the reduction of the public debt. At that time there was a certain fixed scale and standard to which all practical men looked, and that was the report of the Finance Committee of 1817, which had laid it down as a maxim that "it was impossible for the country to maintain its honour and integrity, save by a great reduction in the establishments." Another maxim of that unreformed time was, that the defence of the country was economy, and that the repayment in ordinary periods of "debts incurred under extraordinary circumstances, was as essential "—to use the words of the right hon. Member for Tamworth, in his speech on the Finance Committee of 1828—" to the honour and prosperity of a nation, as of an individual." The Finance Committee of 1817 reports— As the duration and magnitude of the astonishing exertions made by this kingdom during the late war must mainly be attributed to the pecuniary resources then brought into operation, which could never be more justly deemed the sinews of war than during the whole course of that eventful contest; so these can be renovated and strengthened in no other way than by retrenchment and economy during the opportunity afforded byaveturn of peace, Then followed in June, 1819, the resolutions of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) That to provide for the exigencies of the public service, to make such progressive diminution of the national debt as may adequately support public credit, and to afford to the country a prospect of future relief from a part of its present burdens, it is absolutely necessary that there should be a clear surplus of the income of the country beyond the expenditure of not less than 5,000,000l., and that with a view to the attainment of this important object, it is expedient now to increase the income of the country by the imposition of taxes to the amount of 3,000,000l. per annum, Within a month, Sir H. Parnell moved his resolutions for retrenchment. At this time it was Parliament, the unreformed Parliament, that raised the question of reduction, forced it on the Government, and rendered it popular with the nation. Mr. Canning was not a reformer, in the vulgar and political sense of the word; but he was a reformer in the true and financial sense. In 1827, he declared that neither the appointment of a Committee nor the prorogation of Parliament should interfere with the determination of the Government to institute a searching inquiry into every branch, with a view to reduction; this preceded the great effort of 1828, and it is to be remarked, that from the Peace, the year 1828 was most filled with embarrassments and called for the largest amount of force. The Turkish war following on the Battle of Navarino; the Triple Alliance for the Levant; the Persian war, the Burmese war, and the events in the West Indies and in Portugal. Yet, then, was undertaken that system of rigid economy by which, in five years, a saving of nearly 5,000,000l. yearly outlay was effected, and the establishments reduced from 16,200,000l. to 11,000,000l. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) then entertained the following sentiments:— With respect to the Army Estimates, I have to inform the House that Government have under present consideration the propriety and practicability of effecting a considerable reduction in that branch of the public service; in fact, they propose to reduce gradually the Army, so much as to have no more than 50,000 troops in pay. Mr. Huskisson spoke of the necessity of sacrifices—"to assert the proud preeminence of Great Britain, and to maintain the balance and independence of smaller Powers"—and for that he required the application of the surplus, not to multiply defences, but to diminish debt. He required the minimum to be three millions, "to show"—these are his remarkable words—"not only an ability to make engagements in time of war, but also an ability to fulfil them in time of peace." What would he have said of deficiency with increase of expenditure and no thought of repayment, and a Government taking credit to itself in peace for not proposing a loan? Had his hon. Friend in the Reformed Parliament ever spoken of paying off debts? Had his hon. Friend in the Reformed Parliament ever spoken of the standard of 1792, for military establishments? Had he ever referred to the recommendations of the Committee of 1817? No. The utmost that he had done had been to propose as a standard an expenditure of double the amount, forgetting altogether the discharge of debt. Reduction proceeded for some time after the Reform Bill was carried; but that was in obedience to the impulse of the nation, and to the character of the statesmen who then lived, and of those still living who had not yet changed; and if in 1835 the tide changed—if, to use the expression of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford, the ebb then turned to flood—it is only because the public care was no longer given to practical measures, because engaged in speculative ones. What cause can be assigned for this lamentable change, if not this very Reform, which was to give us the very opposite fruits? The power of the nation has been signally instanced on two occasions—Reform, and the repeal of the corn laws. It is, therefore, a matter which admits of not the slightest doubt that this nation has power to carry any measure upon which it has fixed its heart; and if a corrupt faction wished to preserve abuses, it would adopt exactly that process which has succeeded so well in placing noble and right hon. Gentlemen on the bench opposite, as well as in saddling an additional yearly expenditure on the country. I have lived a great portion of my life in countries called despotic, where the people have no visible power. I know from that experience that, under whatever form of government, the sense of the people must prevail—and that a Government can do wrong only when the people is in error. We, then, who wish to reform the State, must seek to fix the attention of the people upon practical matters; and we can do so only by showing them the hollowness of the empiricism which induced them to disregard what it was their bounden duty and first business to attend to, on the plea of getting for them more power. It is for the nation to work its institutions, not to rely upon them; and to subject them to the continual fact or fear of change is the way to make them worthless. Since the ebb, that is, the year 1835, the annual expenditure has increased by no less than ten millions yearly; and upon the whole a sum of forty-two millions has been lost by departing from that scale of 1835. If, however, the Reform Bill had not intervened—if they had gone on in the course in which they were engaged down to 1835, and had reduced their expenditure to the scale recommended by the Commit- tee of 1817—there would have been an additional saving from that period up to the present of no less than forty millions; so that, on the one hand, by the arresting of the process of reduction, and, on the other, by the turning of the tide towards expenditure, we are subject to the loss, up to the present time, of eighty millions sterling; that is to say, to a sum equal to all we have expended upon the fruitless agitation to put down slavery. Formerly there was an ignorant impatience of taxation: these absurdities are now reformed, and we have become, as Clarendon remarks of the times of James I., "more dutiful to supply the exigencies of the Exchequer, than curious to inquire into the causes of deficiency." We have tamely submitted to what was considered peculiarly a war tax; we disputed about the mode of imposing it, indeed, but we had no curiosity respecting the causes of the deficiency. The right hon. Member for Dungarvon, speaking of the income-tax of 1842, says— It will be strange indeed, if in a reformed Parliament—in a Parliament whose reform he to the last opposed—the Member for Tamworth should achieve that which in an unreformed Parliament with all his influence and all his plausibility Lord Castlereagh was not able to accomplish. This may appear strange to the right hon. Gentleman; to me it appears exceedingly natural. The progress has latterly been in an accelerated ratio. Let us take the last three years of the Administration who came in by charging their antagonists with doing that which they had not done, but which they themselves have done, and compare these three years with the preceding three years of the administration of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), and a contrast will be found fit to fill one with astonishment or despair. In the throe years from 1843 to 1845, the public money received was 152,000,990l. From 1846 to 1848 it was 156,000,151l., the difference being 3,161,000l. Upon the account with China, in the former three years, there was more expended by 2,359,000l., and less received in the latter three years by 297,000l., making a difference of 2,612,006l. Upon the account of the public debt, and Exchequer-bills the three latter as compared with the three former years exhibits a gain of 1,695,000l. In all, there has been a larger sum in hand for the latter as compared with the former three years of 6,947,822l. Now, let us look at the de- ficiency. [Mr. J. B. SMITH: Question!] The question we were examining is the consequences of the Reform Bill, and part of those consequences we have in hand—the financial one; and the hon. Gentleman calls "Question!" I believe it is for the hon. Gentleman and his Friends a very annoying question which I am raising, and more easy to dispose of by a cry, than to answer by an argument. I was upon the point of mentioning that the faction—the Whig economical and reforming faction—of the hon. Gentleman found on their accession to power a balance in hand of 6,342,436l., and that they had presented at the beginning of this Session a deficiency for the estimated year of 3,092,285l. There was, therefore, with the balance in hand a deficiency to be put to their account for those three years of 9,434,721l.; and deducting the extra expenditure of the Caffre war, and Irish distress, which amounted to 2,757,000l., there remained a difference of expenditure in excess between the years 1846, 1847, and 1848, as contrasted with 1843, 1844, and 1845, of no less than 13,625,543l. A more lamentable failure the world had never seen; and if, in the words of the hon. Member for Montrose, the nation must be mad—and he was speaking of 1828, of the virtuous and reforming period of 1828—if the nation must be mad that does not provide in peace for the redemption of engagements which it had incurred during war—what must be said of the sanity of a people that plunges in peace at once into perfect forgetful-ness of its war engagements, and into the most lavish and profligate expenditure, on the very plea of economy and reform? Now, those who supported this measure spoke as if to them belonged the advocacy of popular rights. There is no man in this House who goes to the extent to which I go, in advocating popular rights. I wholly and entirely deny that those are advocates of popular rights who seek to enlarge the representation of this House. A Member of the present Administration, on a former occasion, has said that he attributed all the evils of England to the House of Commons; but he qualified the expression by the word "unreformed." I believe that no unreformed House of Commons has gone to the same length in producing evils in this country as the reformed House has gone. If, indeed, the power of this House signified the rights of the people—if, indeed, the measures of this House could be designated law, justice, and wisdom, then should I look to extending the basis of its authority by multiplying the number of constituents, as a great and beneficial measure; but as I hold it to be exactly the reverse—as I hold this House, whether reformed or unreformed, to be the source of the evils of the State—as I know no injury from which England can suffer except statutes of Parliament—as I am strengthened in that conviction by the authority of some of the greatest men who have ever lived, who have declared that England could never fall but by her Parliament—then must I look to restrict, in as far as I am able, the basis of this usurped authority. The hon. Member who opened the debate has referred to the subserviency of this House in former ages: the subserviency of this House then could not sacrifice the liberties of England, and for this simple reason, that each community had to decide and act for itself, and had the thought and power of doing so, and, therefore, was it that they had seen during the course of a thousand years a continuous system preserving itself in power, and the people in well-being—during a thousand years no victorious army had established a despotism, and no subservient Parliament imposed a debt. So far from desiring then to have a seat or to have a representation in this House, the service of this House was looked upon as an onerous duty—it had neither become the source of influence, not corruption as it was to to-day. These are my views of supporting and extending popular rights, in direct opposition to those advocated on the other side. It is not that a few more should have a voice in electing or should have purchase-money for their votes—that, in my estimation, is the extension of popular rights. Those rights could be extended only by being restored. We have usurped them. If you are honest, surrender and give back on the one side to the Crown the executive power—on the other to the people the decision and the control in every measure which the Crown submits. Popular right in your sense is acquisition of popularity; in my sense it is justice and abnegation. It is then argued that it is unfair to withhold from the people what they desire. The peo- ple of England desire good and economical government, and failing to get that they unhappily are diverted by agitators to seek it by indirect means. The desire of the people to be represented in this House is an argument against their conduct—and a condemnation of the present proposition. Is there a population more loyal than the inhabitants of the Channel Islands? Are they ambitious of sending Members to this House? Is it not, on the contrary, their pride and their privilege to be freed from such "perquisites"—they protest whenever a law manufactured in this Assembly is sent over to them. But I deny that it is called for: the present is a bastard reform movement; and the people of England must have sunk even much lower than I imagine they have if they are a second time to be taken in by a stale contrivance such as this. Then it is said that representation should go hand in hand with taxation. In this I entirely concur; but I look to the curtailing of taxes by economy, not justifying them by representation. To remedy the evils from which the country suffers we have but one course, and that is to look back to past practice. The stare super vias antiquas was the remedy—the controlling of every penny of public expenditure was the means. That duty had been literally enforced, at least comparatively so, until the reform agitation began; and therefore, as pointing at once to the source of our recent failure, and to the real remedy which the nation has to seek, I move as an Amendment— That experience has shown that change in the constitution of Parliament has failed to obtain the ends for which it was desired, and with which it was originally conjoined—non-interference and retrenchment.


would second the Amendment as explained by his hon. Friend, though there was a mistake in its wording, which would be rectified by substituting "desirable" for "desired." He could have wished to see the hon. Member for Montrose follow out the views indicated by the Bill for the better administration of rates and taxes, which the hen. Member some years ago proposed. It was a remarkable fact that a measure of reform much more extended in its character than that which was finally adopted, was brought before the Grey Cabinet at the instance of the late King; but it was cut down by the noble Lord. It was with great delight that he had heard from the heir-apparent to the leadership of the Reform party, the deputy-chairman of the Member for Montrose, a statement of the circumstances which led him to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, though he looked with suspicion on everything proceeding from that school, and feared the hon. Gentleman et dona ferentem. But in one of his most belauded addresses the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden) thus expressed himself when he first adverted to that great and general measure which, as a supporter of the Chairman of the Reform party, he had come here to advocate:— The examples held forth to us by the Americans of strict economy, &c., and of other public improvements, may, and indeed must, he emulated by the Government of this country, if the people are to he allowed even the chance of surviving a competition with that republican community. If it he objceted that an economical Government is inconsistent with the maintenance of the monarchical and aristocratic institutions of this land, then, we answer, let an unflinehing; economy and retrenchment he enforced—ruat cœlum. Why tell the people at one time that they reckoned the maintenance of monarchy and aristocracy an essential point, and at another tell them that the real object was to accomplish something else, in comparison with which the maintenance of monarchy and aristocracy was but a secondary consideration? Measures had been passed in derogation of the rights of the people which he would readily join in abolishing. Hut he would proceed inversely—go back from the last to the first—and if the hon. Member would bring in a Bill for the repeal of the Reform Act he would cordially second the Motion.


, as a new Member, begged, for a few moments, the indulgence of the House he would not take up the time of the House by replying in any way to the hon. Members the mover and seconder of the Amendment; he would only say, that there appeared to be a general feeling that that Amendment was ill-timed. He thought that the hon. and learned Member for Reading (Mr. Serjeant Talfourd), in the course of his remarkable and eloquent speech, had entirely forgotten on what principle the Reform Bill was supported and passed. He had always understood it to he this—that as great complaint existed that great masses of the people, who contributed largely to the exigencies of the State by the payment of taxes, and by the consumption of articles that were heavily taxed, had no voice whatever in the election of Members to serve in Parliament, the old principle of the law of England that no man should be taxed without his consent was then to a considerable extent recognised. Well, he believed, that the grievance and complaint which existed in 1832, existed now, perhaps, to as great an extent as then. He felt certain that population, wealth, and intelligence, among the classes that still remained unrepresented, had increased in a most wonderful manner. Trade, shipping, steamboats, to say nothing of railway enterprise, had created sources of wealth and intelligence in those districts where poverty and ignorance existed before. In the great centres of our manufacturing industry there was a numerous and intelligent class deeply anxious for political rights, in common with their fellow-countrymen. He, for his own part, rejoiced in that anxiety. He entertained no fear that those who were thus anxious to obtain the rights of free men might not as safely be trusted with the power they wished for as the influential classes who had already obtained them, and that the interest and welfare of the constitution would not be promoted by admitting them within its pale. By this means he thought the House would more effectually promote the welfare and interest of the Crown, than by passing such Bilks as that which was known by the name of "the Gagging Bill," which, after all, he could not bring himself to believe was not Intended by Government as a mere temporary measure for Ireland until other measures of a conciliatory nature were prepared for that unhappy country. What had saved this country from the revolutions which had affected and were still daily affecting other parts of Europe? It was the Reform Bill, which had, to some extent, palliated the evils that existed. We had profited by the French Revolution of 1830, for through it we had obtained the Reform Bill, and a vast number of other highly beneficial measures. France, on the other hand, made a far greater nominal change than we had, for she deposed the king, and placed upon the throne what she called a "Citizen King." She also bad what she termed her "three glorious days;" and what had been the result? While we had made progress, France had found that from 1830 until February, 1848, she had remained in the same state. Imperfect as the Reform Bill was, it admitted a great principle—a principle which he hoped to see fully carried out—he meant the disfranchisement of small boroughs, for whether corrupt or not, he maintained that they did not represent the opinions of the people of this country. Look at boroughs with a population of 5,000, with a constituency not exceeding 200, or even 150 electors, returning one or perhaps two Members to serve in that House. Comparisons, he knew, were odious; but he could not help referring to Harwich, with the same number of Members as Liverpool; and to Thetford, with the same number as Manchester. Details of that kind were monstrous. They were opposed to common sense, and, above all, to natural justice; and he felt sure that ore long these small boroughs would be compelled to join their elder brethren of Schedule A in the Reform Bill, and to sink into the insignificance they so well merited. They would perhaps be rejoiced and grateful to the Legislature for it when they ceased to be the disgrace and the laughing-stock of this mighty empire. It had been said, that through the system of small boroughs men of talent had found their way into that House; but he would ask, were there no instances of popular constituencies sending practical and useful men into that House? He might say at all events that if through small boroughs men of talent had found their way into that House, it was just possible that through the very same channel selfishness and corruption had found their way there also. The reports of Election Committees, and the mere fact of that ill-fated Bill which was now before Parliament for facilitating the means of inquiry into the corrupt practices at elections, proved to his mind that wealthy men who, to serve their own purposes, buy the electors to-day, would be equally prepared when it suited their purposes to sell them to-morrow. The numerous instances of corruption, and the small extent of the franchise, called loudly, in his opinion, for an extension of the suffrage; and he hoped he might he pardoned also for observing that, in the acts and votes of that House, he thought he could see a disregard of the interests of the people; and particularly when he looked at the enormous annual expenditure. With reference to the Motion before the House, he begged to say that it would have been better in his poor judgment if the hon. Member for Montrose had confined it to the extension of the suffrage, and the other points would have followed in their natural course; but as the Motion had been submitted in that form, he had no hesitation in voting for it,


Having been connected for many years with the larger question which had been incidentally brought into the discussion of the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, he thought he might claim the indulgence of the House while he gave his opinion on the question before them. He might have risen under greater difficulty than he now experienced, if it had not been for the admission of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), in expressing his determination to resist the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose. It was an admitted fact, that every new political party, every new political question, had to go through a certain ordeal. The promoters of every new political question were first laughed at and scoffed at, then they were reviled and persecuted, then the principle was considered, then it was deliberated upon and discussed, and then it was legislated upon. Now, he confessed he felt greatly relieved from embarrassment when he found the noble Lord declaring in the speech he had delivered on this subject, that he preferred the odious principles of Chartism to the minor principles of the resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose. It gave him and those who had laboured with him a guarantee that he had not laboured in vain. He felt that the speech of the noble Lord, although made on the Ministerial side of the House, was intended for a book of reference when he should change to the other side. The hon. and learned Member for Reading (Serjeant Talfourd) had delivered a speech on this subject which had been called an able, a poetical, an astounding, an astonishing speech. For himself, he had been most struck with the ignorance which had been displayed by the hon. and learned Member. The hon. and learned Gentleman had rested upon three points. He had referred to the case of the artisan in his attic or cellar, incapable of supporting his family, and had asked—would you trust that man with a vote? In answer to that he would say that if the want of that vote disabled that artisan from supporting his family, or if in his opinion it placed him in that situation, he was the very man whom he would enfranchise. The hon. and learned Member had also asked them—would you enfranchise the ignorant people of the country? That was precisely the argument which was used in 1780, when Charles James Fox and the Duke of Richmond propounded views exactly the same as the People's Charter now; and with respect to this charge of ignorance, he would ask—who were to blame for it, the people who had been left to grow up in ignorance, or the Government, whoso duty it was to educate them? He contended that an extension of political rights ought to precede national education. Place a man in the position of political resonsibility, and ignorance became a crime. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also referred to some neighbouring countries as instances of the disadvantage of adopting reform he would answer, that they had had instances of the folly and disadvantage of postponing these principles until it became necessary to establish them by physical force instead of moral power. The hon. Member for Montrose had said that the measure which he proposed had been adopted by the working classes. He should hold himself unworthy of a seat in that House—unworthy of the position he held with the working classes, if he did not give that assertion the fullest and the most positive contradiction. Although he meant to vote for the resolution of the hon. Member, he begged to caution the hon. Member as well as the noble Lord not to postpone the larger and more extended measure till the wrong moment. The hon. Members Motion had been analysed in the course of the discussion; and some hon. Members had stated their preference fur one point and some for another. Well, he would tell the House the point to which he attached the most importance, and that was annual Parliaments. He confessed that, after what he had seen in that House, he would prefer annual Parliaments with the present constituencies to universal suffrage with septennial Parliaments. He begged to observe that, with the exception of vote by ballot, every singled point of the Charter had at one time formed part of the constitution. Annual Parliaments were at one time the practice in this country. The principle of "No Property Qualification" was also an old one. Formerly, also, there was universal suffrage; and the reason for abolishing that was stated in the preamble of the Act to be the feuds and quarrels which had sprung up among the aristocracy. Formerly there existed electoral districts; and it was well known that Members of the House were paid by their constituents; so that five out of the six points of the Charter were, once the law of the land. The noble Lord said that all that the people wanted was the best description of government; but how were they to get it? How were they to accomplish that object, if they were not represented in that House? When the hon. and learned Member for Reading spoke of the want of education among the people, be should have borne in mind that it was not necessary that whole classes should be educated, but that it was sufficient if a system of instruction was partly infused among them; and if they could distinguish between a proper and improper representative, they were sufficiently educated for the franchise. The people of this country had shown for many years that they desired reform. They had been told by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Harwich (Sir J. Hobhouse), and by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty, that taxation without representation was unjust, and that the people were the sources of all legitimate power. But the noble Lord now said that they were satisfied with the present form of government. When the Reform Bill, however, was carried, they were promised peace, retrenchment, and reform, and they expected a participation in the social advantages which were held out as the consequences of that measure. In that they had been deceived. All those promises of high wages, cheap broad, and plenty to do, roast beef and plum pudding, had turned out to be fallacious, and now the people would take the matter into their own hands. The aristocracy on one side of the House had deceived the people once, and the middle classes on the other side had deceived them twice. They had not shared in the promised benefits of free trade; and unless the Government were prepared to carry out the principles of free trade, and consult, not; the interests of those who made profit out of the diminution of wages, but made profit by legitimate trade, they would find themselves some fine morning in the situation of the French Government. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-with had laid the foundation of free trade, but his principles had not been carried out. A strong case was made out for some reform at least by the unseating of so many Members for bribery, and by the fact that out of the agricultural constituency there were 108,000 tenants at will, who were as much bound to vote for their land-lord as if they had been slaves purchased ill the market. But, as he was saying, free trade had not yet been carried out; and the working classes inquired where their share of free trade was. For the last six years they had been very peaceable, though reduced to a state of unparalleled distress; and why, then, should the House hesitate to enfranchise them? He found no disposition on their part to commit violence, but an anxious desire to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. He should vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose as a choice of evils, his proposition being good as far as it went, and certainly better than nothing at all, but he could not accept it as a final settlement of the question. He would not abate one jot of his energy or enthusiasm in the cause of the people; and if the hon. Member's Motion were carried to-night, he should advocate all the principles of the Charter to-morrow. Whilst under excitement he charged the hon. Member for Montrose with impropriety in having withdrawn his Motion; and the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding charged him with having made an attack on the hon. Gentleman. He begged to disclaim all intention of ferocity; but there was a determination evinced by the hon. Member for the West Riding to rally the middle classes around him on this question. He would not, however, enter further into the question, but would content himself with declaring that as hon. Gentlemen on the other (Ministerial) side of the House, maintained their principles of free trade and no surrender, and as hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side maintained their principles of protection and no surrender, he also—through persecution, through good report and evil report—would maintain his own principles, and no surrender.


would only detain the House for a few moments while he stated his reasons for not supporting the new Reform Bill, while at the same time he was not opposed to measures of general reform. He would not go into the question in detail; but he would say that his objection to the resolution was the fundamental one, that no ground had boon established to authorise the formation of a new reform league, or to sanction the agitation which it professed to create in the country. In discussing questions involving organic reform, they were bound to consider whether there was any grievous evil to be removed, and whether there existed any large popular demand for that removal. He did not think that the Motion was founded on a great practical evil, to warrant the means which the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding had spoken of. He would not go so far as to say that the constitution might not require that from time to time some extraordinary influence should be brought to bear upon Parliament, nor did he mean to say that the anti-corn-law agitation was either illegal or improperly conducted; but it did appear to him that there was an essential difference between an agitation for the removal of a specific grievance, and the proposal before the House. He did not go the length of saying that the demand of the people for organic changes in the constitution was not one which that House was bound to entertain; but he maintained that that demand should be made spontaneously by the people. Now, if it were really the people's wish for such a change, what need was there of this league of some thirty or forty Gentlemen to tell them of it, and to carry it out? Of one thing he was clearly convinced, that whatever the people of this country really wished for, they would obtain from that House, provided they only systematically and perseveringly urged that demand. With regard to the ballot, he still wished that the people of this country might be able to do without it, for he agreed with those who considered it thoroughly un-English; but, on the other hand, if it could be shown that any number of the electors were coerced—if such charges as those made in the Stamford case could be proved—then he was ready to admit that the ballot must be conceded as a protection to the people. The other great branch of the measure of the hon. Gentleman—that which he looked at as the real marrow of the question—was the proposal to reorganise the representation on the principle of what was termed electoral districts. This he considered to be tantamount to a proposition to transfer a great portion of the representation from the country to the towns, and therefore he looked on it as a great alteration in the constitution. He denied that they were, as the hon. Member for the West Riding seemed to infer, to look upon the country as a mere tabula rasa, and to begin anew on the principle of numbers. Indeed it did not seem that the hon. Member himself was prepared fully to carry out that principle. The towns had not now any right to complain of want of influence in the Legislature. Witness the Corn Law Repeal Bill, which was carried almost in the teeth of the Members from the country districts. If the country Gentlemen were to be, as it were, eliminated from the House, could it be supposed that they would submit without a murmur? Would there not remain a great sediment of discontent in the country? At present the House of Commons did ultimately represent the wishes of the people. He admitted that at present great preference was given to persons of aristocratic birth, but he also contended that this was in accordance with the genius of the English people. They really did "love a Lord." They loved aristocracy. See the habits of deference in that House to Members of the aristocracy. Was a Lord ever "put down" in that House? Upon the whole, he was not prepared to support this measure, for the reasons he had stated, but more especially because he saw that there was no great demand for it in the country, and because he believed that the people were generally of opinion that in the main the constitution of this country was as good as could be obtained in the present state of mankind.


would not, in the discussion of a question affecting the character of the House, and the competency of carrying on the public business, add to any charge that had been brought against it, by unnecessarily extending the speeches in its debates. His only object in speaking at all was to express his wish that his vote should be considered as distinct from the votes of those who were of opinion that the representation of this country was perfect, or that it was impossible to make any improvement in it. H was unnecessary for him to go at any length into the question, it having been already so ably argued, and by none more powerfully than by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. It was with great satisfaction that he heard the noble Lord give up the doctrine of finality. It was also with pleasure that he heard the noble Lord state that he did not approve of uniformity of suffrage. Now, the object, or rather the necessary accident, of all representation being to secure good government, it first became them to inquire how far the present system was calculated to carry on the business of the country; and whether or not, under the present system, the different classes of the people enjoyed a sufficient share of the representation. Believing that the representation was not sufficiently varied, he regretted that the different modes of franchise that existed before the Reform Bill had been abolished. He regretted very much that the franchise commonly known by the name of "potwallopers" should have been abolished. It gave the working classes a feeling that they were directly represented, and it diminished the tendeney, on the part of the people, to what was termed hero worship—the devotion to some demagogue who had hitherto been an object of admiration to the people, and who had spoken to them of the wonderful things he would effect when he should be sent to Parliament. By the admission of men to Parliament who were more upon a level with the working classes, it would induce the working classes themselves not to pay so much attention to the delusive promises that were held out to them. He thought the hon. and learned Member for Nottingham, who lately addressed the House, when he went to render an account of his stewardship, seeing that he would have been five years in immediate proximity to the Thames, would find more difficulty in explaining, to the satisfaction of his constituents, why he had not set it on fire, than if he had never been a Member of that House, and were for the first time announcing all he would do for them if sent to Parliament. But he wished to call the attention of the House for a moment to what had been stated by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, that England had hitherto been in the van of liberal institutions, but that now she was in the rear; and the hon. Gentleman added, that those who acted with him had for their object a reduction of the public establishments, and a rigid system of economy. This the hon. Gentleman contended was the legitimate object of a democratic Government; but he (Mr. S. Herbert) would ask, had that object been effected in France? On the contrary, they had increased the army to no less than 30 battalions, and, with the National Guards, they had an army of 320,000 men—a larger force than ever before existed in a time of peace. The hon. Member for Middlesex had spoken of a system of jobbing being carried on by the present mode in which the House of Commons was constituted, and urged this as an argument in favour of an extension of the suffrage. He also adverted to the corrupt practices which prevailed in Franco previous to the recent revolution; but be would ask whether those practices had ceased? So far from that, it was proved that the editor of the National, M. Marrast, the printer, and publisher, divided and held places amongst themselves amounting to 40,000l. per annum. Now, in England, the people would prefer that the money should be distributed among the persons to whom the hon. Member for Middlesex referred, rather than amongst those who had obtained it in France, who had previously disqualified themselves for becoming its recipients by the most extravagant professions of purity and patriotism. He might appeal to the hon. Gentleman whether he thought that personal liberty had been secured by the revolution in France? Was it necessary to remind him of the case of the director of the national ateliers, who, under pretence of being appointed to a lucrative office in the province, was clapped into a post-chaise, in company with two gens d'armes, and driven to a country town, and, from that day to this, had never been able to obtain the slightest explanation of the treatment to which he had been subjected. He would now call the attention of the House to the case of Prussia. There was no country in which education was so generally diffused—there was no country whose educational statistics had been so frequently referred to in that House; and yet the most curious accounts had reached us from Berlin respecting the conduct of their National Assembly. It was no part of the hon. Member's plan that Members should be paid for their services; but that had been adopted in Prussia, and great dissatisfaction was expressed because some of the representatives were saving money out of their pay, which amounted to 7s. 6d. per day. The good people of Berlin proposed to set their representatives to task-work, and be paid by the job instead of the day. The labouring classes of this country had, he believed, narrowly watched the solution of the labour question in France, and would be able to draw a useful lesson from it. All the causes which led to the revolution in France existed in this country in a much greater degree than in France. There were in this country larger masses of people suffering distress. [An Hon. MEMBER: We have a poor-law.] True, we had a poor-law, and there were also other redeeming points in our system which afforded solace to the unfortunate. But no one could say that there existed in Franco the strong contrasts which this country exhibited between vast wealth and extreme penury, for in France the subdivision of land was carried to an extreme point. Distress and suffering arising from vicissitudes of commerce which were the immediate cause of the recent French revolution, existed to a greater extent in this country. He had great hope of this country, but he did not derive it from a belief that any measure such as that now proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose would remove all discontent. Without denying that the representative system was susceptible of improvement, he thought, that if the House were sincerely determined to do its duty, there was nothing in its composition to prevent it from acquiring the respect and confidence of the people. It appeared to I him, that during the present Session the I House had pretty accurately reflected the feeling of the country upon the question of finance. Then, again, at the commencement of the Session, there existed something like a panic about the national defences; but as soon as the question began to press upon the pocket, the House, re-I fleeting public opinion, called for reduction, and that had been effected. It grieved him to state that, in some respects, the course pursued by the House was not calculated to conciliate public esteem. On the subject of the alleged corruption which had prevailed at elections, the conduct of the House had, at least, been inconsistent. Under those circumstances, he was pleased to hear the noble Lord announce that night he would bring the weight and authority of Government to bear upon the matter, and take it up as a question for the Administration. That ought to have been the noble Lord's first care. Then, again, the House might very much improve the opinion which the public entertained of its capability of doing business by ceasing to indulge in unnecessary discussion. Upon this head, however, the hon. Member for Salford the other night gave the people little cause of consolation in the event of the House being reformed upon the plan suggested by the hon. Member for Montrose; for the hon. Member for Salford said that the speeches of Members of necessity bore an exact proportion to the number of their constituents. Oratory was thus reduced to an arithmetical question—as a constituency of 800,000 is to one of 3,000,000 or 6,000,000, so will a speech of two hours expand in the reformed House to one of six or twelve hours. It was not, however, in quantity alone, but in quality that the speeches delivered in the House of Commons admitted of improvement. It was not his wish to revive bygone discussions; but he hoped he might be pardoned for saying that he had listened with great pain to the discussions with which the House had been occupied during the week before last, and which, he was sorry to see, had extended beyond the walls of that House. He referred to the altercation which had taken place between the noble Lord behind him (Lord G. Bentinck) with whom, prior to some recent political differences, he had been on terms of the warmest intimacy, and for whom he still entertained sentiments of the strongest regard, and the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), whose general conduct in the House had inspired him with feelings of respect. The interchange of imputations which took place upon the occasion to which he alluded, was calculated to have a bad effect upon the public mind. When the people observed the language used on that occasion, and the imputations which Members cast upon one another, they would be very apt to estimate each speaker according to the value set upon him by his opponent; and some persons might be inclined to believe that whatever change might take place in the composition of the House of Gommons, it was impossible that the tone of its debates could deteriorate. He wished it to be understood that, in voting against the Motion introduced by the hon. Member for Montrose, he was not giving an opinion in favour of the perfection of the system now existing. No man could have watched the working of the House of Commons since the passing of the Reform Bill without perceiving that there was much that was bad in the system, and that it would be possible for a wise and practical hand—with time and consideration—to effect great improvements, without risking the institutions which it was the desire of all wise men to maintain unimpaired.


expressed his gratification at finding that the doctrine of finality was repudiated by all parties. He thought the number of petitions presented to the House, and the number of public meetings held in favour of the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose, and the total absence of any demonstration against it, ought to satisfy the House of the great and general feeling existing out of doors for measures of reform. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) in his speech appeared to deny that a man had a right to the franchise. That might be a question; but the noble Lord would at least admit that the principle of the British constitution was to extend the basis of the representation as widely as possible, and only to place a limit where the safety of the State required it. The next question was, whether it was safe to extend the franchise? He could not but remember that the greatest possible evils, such as the downfall of the monarchy, the Church, and all our most valuable institutions, were prophesied as likely to result from passing the Reform Bill. Sixteen years had now elapsed since the Reform Bill had passed, and they had not found that any of these predictions of evil had been realised. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) the other night said, that hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House had opposed the Reform Bill, and got pelted for their pains. But the hon. Gentleman had himself shown that the Reform Bill had not been a failure, because he stated, that during the last twenty years there had been a much more equal distribution of the burdens of taxation. He was delighted to find, upon the admission of hon. Gentlemen who had opposed the Reform Bill, that it had done some good. Since, then, that measure had been, on the whole, beneficial in its operation, although he admitted it had not done so much good as he desired; lot them go on in the same course. He did not pre-tend that this measure would satisfy the people for all future time; but he, for one, was not for finality; he was for gradual progress. The constituency formerly consisted of 300,000 voters, it now amounted to 1,000,000. Let them go on increasing-the number, and then they might hope to go on effecting' a fair reduction of taxation, and obtaining those other measures which the state of the country required. The proposition of triennial Parliaments was, in his opinion, a very important one; and he was much astonished to hear the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) express his preference for annual over triennial Parliaments. The great objection, however, no doubt, was to a proposal of electoral districts. Now, it was true that there might be some difficulty in arranging a plan for equal electoral districts; but this resolution would not pledge the House to any such plan, but only to a more equal apportionment than at present of Members to population, He thought that no one could deny that a reform of that kind was needed. The country was quite tired of the present unjust and unequal system of Parliamentary representation. But, at the same time, he must say that the people of England were attached to the institutions of the country. He thought, then, that it was not fair that when any one came forward to demand on their behalf such a measure of improvement as this to tell him that he wished to pull down everything. The people had no such object. And those were not his (Lord D. Stuart's) words; he quoted the words of an eminent statesman. Lord Plunket, who said, that the people of England had no desire to subvert the institutions of the country; but if those institutions could not he sustained without refusing to redress the just complaints of the people, then he thought they were not worth preserving. He could not but think that it was important to put that House in harmony with the feelings of the country at large. He could not believe that things could go on well unless that were effected. And those were the opinions of the greatest statesmen that we had ever had. Fox, Lord Grey, Macintosh, Plunket, Pitt, all—all had advocated the principles of this measure of reform. Let them look back to history; and they would find that the brightest period of our English history was that in which the House of Commons had the most complete confidence in the Ministers, and the people of England the most complete confidence in the House of Commons. And surely, if ever there was a time when the complaints of the people of England ought to be attended to, it was the present. Whilst revolution raged throughout almost every other country in the world; whilst almost every other country was trembling on the verge of dissolution, and was agitated by anarchy and confusion, what did they see in this country? Did they not see the people of all classes coming forward in defence of the institutions of the country in such a manner as to hold out an example to the rest of the world, and to claim admiration of posterity? And would they, when that people came forward to ask them for some improvements, when they asked to he admitted to some share in the government of the country, when they asked to be admitted for their representatives, would they reward all their noble conduct in defence of order, morality, and the institutions of the country, by rejecting these their just claims? Let that House beware how they irritated the minds and alienated the attachment of the British people. Let them not turn a deaf ear to their petitions, or refuse their just demands, but pass such measures as would bring about that state of things which Mr. Pitt declared to be the best, namely, that in which the House of Commons had the most complete confidence in the Government, and the people had the most complete confidence in the House of Commons.


thought, that though several Gentlemen had spoken in the course of the evening, the subject had been very much shirked. The question really was, whether the House fully, fairly, and honestly represented the people; and, if not, whether the plan proposed would place the House in the position in which it ought to be? Hon. Members were certainly mistaken if they thought the people were of opinion that they were represented in that House. It had been said, indeed, that this was a nursed agitation, not spontaneous or natural, and that it ought to have come from the people, and not to have been sent to the people. Now, as far as he (Mr. Muntz) knew, it was spontaneous. He had made no communication to his constituents upon the subject; but the communication came, in the first instance, from them to him. Before he knew what the proposal of the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) was to be, they stated to him what their plan was, and it precisely agreed with the plan now proposed. [A laugh.] Hon. Members might laugh; let them, if they chose, say he was telling a falsehood—what he had said was the fact. His constituents gave their reason; and it was the conduct of the Government and the House on the property-tax and the "Gagging Bill" that was the cause of their dissatisfaction. They felt that they were not fairly and properly represented in that House. The various Election Committees that had been recently sitting, and before which such gross bribery and corruption were proved, made them altogether dissatisfied with the present system of legislation. And it had been proved that one side of the House was as guilty of bribery and corruption as the other. He did not believe that one-twentieth part of the Members of that House had been returned without the aid of corruption. He believed, that by far the greater majority of the Members of that House owed their seats to the influence of "pocket." With regard to the objection that had been raised to the point respecting the extension of the suffrage, and the reply of "these reforms must be made bit by bit," he believed that the people had no confidence in such holding-back policy. As he believed it to be a step in the right direction, he should give the suffrage start of the question his cordial support if it were carried, then that House would fairly represent got a party of, but the whole body of the people. It was urged as an objection that many householders, who were at present in possession of the franchise, did not exercise it. But that was no reason against the existence of the franchise; it only showed the urgent necessity of altering a state of things which compelled men to forego the privileges which the State conferred upon them. His own constituents numbered about 7,000; and he knew that at the last election at least one-seventh did not vote from fear of undue influence being exercised over them. As for the point about the electoral districts, he thought nothing could be more reasonable. It provided that the same number of voters should send the same number of men to represent their interests in Parliament. And as to this measure being the result of a regular system of agitation, did not the Reform Bill owe its birth to a similar system of agitation? In 1829, six men, of whom he was one, met together and decided upon agitating the country for Parliamentary Reform. He was ready to admit that that Bill had done come good, but he contended that it had not at all satisfied the requirements and just demands of the country. It had not fulfilled the large promises that had been made by its supporters. But the Reform Bill, as introduced by Lord Grey, was quite different from that which eventually passed the House of Commons. The Reform Bill, first introduced by Lord Grey, was very like this measure of the; hon. Member for Montrose. He would not detain the House any longer at so late an hour—he would therefore conclude by saying, that as he believed the proposition of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) was sound, just, and right in principle, he would give it his most cordial support.


was understood to deny the assertion of Mr. Osborne that the Agricultural Association had been agitating the country by the means of hired lecturers, and to retort upon the hon. Member for Middlesex the determined attempt made by the League two years since to disfranchise the county voters, when no less than 23,000 notices of objection had been served by that body, and when they boasted of having created 1,500 votes in the West Biding of Yorkshire in one year. The present movement was, in fact, nothing more than the League revived; and the hon. Member for the West Riding had put forward to-night the same doctrine that he bad propounded in Manchester, namely, that no Government should rule in this country that did not carry with it the support of the great towns and manufacturing districts in Yorkshire and Lancashire. The hon. Member concluded, amidst much impatience in the House, by some severe comments on the conduct of the League in regard to the franchise, which he declared was a wider system of corruption than had ever existed in the days of Gatton and Old Sarum.


said, that as he had only risen to say a few words on the question before the House, be would not at that hour of the night follow the hon. Member for Warwickshire into another question which be had proposed to him to consider; but as it was his intention to vote for the resolution of the hon. Member for Montrose, though he did not agree in all its terms, and still loss with all the reasons that had been assigned in its favour, he wished to explain the grounds of his vote. He was sure that the hon. Member for Montrose would forgive him for differing with him in this respect—since, he told the House that the Gentlemen who had met at a club to prepare his resolution for him, had all differed among themselves upon the most important part of it, namely, the qualification of the voter. [Mr. HUME: They agreed upon household suffrage.] Yes! They agreed upon household suffrage, but they all differed as to what household suffrage meant, and claimed the right upon that occasion, to put their own construction on the words. Now this was what he (Mr. Villiers) proposed to do by the resolution itself, and he should vote for it, less for the specific proposition it contained, than as a means of recognising by this House the policy of widening the basis of the representation, and protecting the voter in the exercise of his privilege. He believed that this was a policy that it would be desirable to adopt, and very unwise to resist: the suffraffe had been argued in this country by high authority, to be a right, and if so, be did not see, when it was earnestly and honestly demanded, on what principle it could he refused. He did not of course mean to advocate any violent change in our constitu- tion, or that the franchise should be suddenly and universally extended, without reference to the circumstances of the voter; but he thought that if the electoral system was rendered more comprehensive, it would increase the confidence of the people at large in the House, and add to the authority of the Legislature; and he believed this could be done without any danger to anything that was really valuable in our institutions. In saying this, however, he begged to steer clear of a notion that he believed prevailed among the supporters of this resolution, which was, that the legislation of this House would really he very different in consequence of an extension of the suffrage, or that it could have been different from what it had been since the passing of the Reform Bill, if the suffrage had been more extended then. He did not agree in that opinion; and he was ready to go farther, and say, without wishing to disparage in any way that great measure called the Reform Bill (which it was very wise to pass), that he did not believe that the legislation would have been very different had it not passed at all: he did not believe, in the first place, that those who had not the vote, were always wiser and better than those who had it, and would always, therefore, use it differently from the electors; but his views on this subject were chiefly grounded upon observing the manner in which opinion on public matters was formed in this country, and of the influence of public opinion upon the House. Now, political opinion in this country resulted very much from the entire freedom which was allowed in discussion. There was no country in the world where this liberty was practically more complete, and consequently where every public question was more fully or freely discussed; and the real truth is, that there are but very few questions of any great importance that are not decided out of the House, before they are seriously discussed within it; and this House very rarely remains for any time in collision with what may be termed the opinion of the community at large; and therefore, while the freedom of the press and the perfect freedom of discussion continued, he did not believe that there was any measure that was honestly, properly, and generally demanded, that would not be conceded by this House. No constituency was proof against the general opinion, and no representative could defy his constituents; but public opinion was not always right, and errors in legis- lation were as likely to be committed after as before an extension of the suffrage: but this was no reason for not removing the anomalies in the system, or extending the right of voting. There was, however, one great evil connected with the representation, which had long existed, which the Reform Bill had left untouched, but for which he now thought some remedy should be provided—he meant that very general system of bribery and intimidation which prevailed at elections. This evil had been often brought before the House; but it would be admitted that more flagrant instances had been the subject of investigation this year than for many years past. The system now prevailed in districts of every kind: there was bribery and treating in counties, and there was gross intimidation practised in the boroughs. Any thing that had as yet been devised or attempted to meet this evil, had utterly failed, as the last election showed. He was afraid that one great difficulty in the matter was the state of opinion generally on the subject. He feared that it was not yet deemed infamous to tempt the poor voters with a bribe, or to use the influence derived from prosperity and station to coerce a voter against his judgment. There were now persons in every class who, if they acquired prosperity or influence, considered that it was one of the rights incident to their fortune or position, to command the votes of those who were in any way dependent upon them. A tradesman who might be coerced himself by his customers, if he had tenants of cottages which belonged to him, and they had votes, he would desire and expect them to vote as he wished. The result, however, of the system was to degrade and demoralise the elector; for there was a constant struggle, on the occasion of an election, going on between custom and conscience, in which, too often, the latter was sacrificed. To extend the franchise, therefore, without protecting the voter in its free exercise, must tend rather to degrade than raise him. In many instances now, those who possess it regard it rather as a curse than a blessing; and every means is resorted to, in the towns especially, to escape being placed on the register. He had been told that, at the last election, nearly a quarter of a million of the voters now registered had not voted, and which, doubtless, was chiefly to escape the risk which was incurred by recording their vote. It was, then, one reason why he should vote for the resolution of his hon. Friend, that, while he proposed to extend the franchise, he attempted to meet the evils of coercion and corruption by giving the voter the protection of the ballot. He did not disguise from himself that the ballot was not free from evil, and that it might fail to accomplish all that was intended by it; still, it was more likely to check the sinister influences used against electors than any other method that had ever been proposed; and, in his opinion, there would be no more generous concession on the part of wealthy and influential people to their poorer brethren, than this measure of voting by ballot. Unfortunately, however, there was nothing that rich people in this country were more tenacious of than this power which wealth gave them over the voters; and they always viewed the ballot with peculiar suspicion. He wished that his hon. Friend bad proposed this reform of the representation by itself. He would have had more to support him this evening; and the grounds on which it would be recommended were so tangible and rational that a majority in its favour ultimately might much sooner be attained than for the other things with which he had mixed it up, which many would think that, if carried without this, the most important improvement in our system, would of themselves be of doubtful advantage. He would not at that hour of the night longer detain the House.


, in reply, could assure his hon. Friend who had just sat down, he was altogether mistaken in supposing that there had been a difference of opinion as to the point to which he referred. A difference of opinion had existed as to the extent to which the suffrage should go. His hon. Friend was also under a mistake in supposing that the ballot would be a remedy in the present state of the representation. He (Mr. Hume) had stated that he considered the extension of the suffrage the principal point, but that it must not be separated from the ballot; he considered all to he necessary in order to insure to the people an efficient reform. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilts had told him to consider what was passing in France. Why, he proposed this measure because he was anxious to prevent matters from coming to the same point as in France. Deny the people this measure, you injured them; injure them, and you cause discontent, and when discontent was excited, the Government was not safe. Was it not a scandal to a free people to see half of the population excluded from a share in the representation of the country? As a matter of right, of justice, and of policy, the House ought to grant this measure; and upon these grounds be asked the House to agree to his Motion, and let the country judge if it was refused.

The House divided:—Ayes 84; Noes 351: Majority 267.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Lushington, C.
Aglionby, H. A. M'Gregor, J.
Alcock, T. Meagher, T.
Anderson, A. Marshall, J. G.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Marshall, W.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Molesworth, Sir W.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Mowatt, F.
Blake, M. J. Muntz, G. F.
Blewitt, R. J. Nugent, Lord
Bouverie, hon. E. P. O'Connor, F.
Bowring, Dr. Osborne, R.
Bright, J. Pearson, C.
Brotherton, J. Pechell, Capt.
Caulfield, J. M. Peto, S. M.
Caly, J. Pilkington, J.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Raphael, A.
Collins, W. Reynolds, J.
Cowan, C. Ricardo, J. L.
Crawford, W. S. Roche, E. B.
Currie, R. Salwey, Col.
Dashwood, G. H. Scholefield, W.
Devereux, J. T. Scully, F.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Smith, J. B.
Duke, Sir J. Smythe, hon. G.
Duncan, G. Strickland, Sir G.
Evans, Sir De L. Stuart, Lord D.
Evans, J. Sullivan, M.
Ewart, W. Talbot, J. H.
Fagan, W. Tancred, H. W.
Fox, W. J. Thompson, Col.
Freestun, Col. Thompson, G.
Gibson, lt. hon. T. M. Thornely, T.
Granger, T. C. Trelawny, J. S.
Greene, J. Turner, E.
Hall, Sir B. Villiers, hon. C.
Hastie, A. Wakley, T.
Headlam, T. E. Wawn, J. T.
Henry, A. Willcox, B. M.
Hindley, C. Williams, J.
Hodges, T. T. Wilson, M.
Humphery, Ald.
Jackson, W. TELLERS.
Kershaw, J. Hume, J.
King, hon. P. J. L. Cobden, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bagot, hon. W.
Adair, R. A. S. Bailey, J.
Adderley, C. B. Bailey, J. jun.
Alford, Visct. Baillie, H. J.
Anson, hon. Col. Baines, M. T.
Anson, Visct. Baldock, E. H.
Anstey, T. C. Baldwin, C. B.
Archdall, Capt. Bankes, G.
Arkwright, G. Baring, H. B.
Ashley, Lord Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.
Bagge, W. Baring, T.
Barnard, E. G. Denison, W. J.
Barrington, Visct. Denison, J. E.
Bateson, T. Dick, Q.
Bellew, R. M. Disraeli, B.
Benbow, J. Dod, J. W.
Bennet, P. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Bentinck, Lord G. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Beresford, W. Drummond, H. H.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Birch, Sir T. B. Duff, G. S.
Blakemore, R. Duncombe, hon. O.
Blandford, Marq. of Duncuft, J.
Boldero, H. G. Dundas, Adm.
Bolling, w. Dundas, Sir D.
Bourke, R. S. Dundas, G.
Bowles, Adm. Dunne, F. P.
Boyd, J. Du pre, C. G.
Boyle, hon. Col. East, Sir J. B.
Brackley, Visct. Ebrington, Visct.
Bramston, T. W. Edwards, H.
Brand, T. Egerton, Sir P.
Bremridge, R. Egerton, W. T.
Brisco, M. Ellice, E.
Broadley, H. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Brockman, E. D. Emlyn, Visct.
Brooke, Lord Estcourt, J. B. B.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Euston, Earl of
Bruce, Lord E. Evans, W.
Bruce, C. L. C. Farnham, E. B.
Buck, L. W. Farrer, J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Fergus, J.
Buller, C. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bunbury, E. H. Filmer, Sir E.
Burghley, Lord Fitzgerald, W. R. S.
Burrell Sir C. M. FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Cabbell, B. B. Foley, J. H. H.
Cardwell, E. Forbes, W.
Carew, W. H. P. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Carter, J. B. Forster, M.
Castlereagh, Visct. Fortescue, C.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Fox, S. W. L.
Cayendish, hon. G. H. Frewen, C. H.
Cavendish, W. G. Fuller, A. E.
Cayley, E. S. Galway, visct.
Chaplin, W. J. Gaskell, J. M.
Charteris, hon. F. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Goddard, A. L.
Childers, J. W. Godson, R.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Gooch, E. S.
Christopher, R. A. Gordon, Adm.
Christy, S. Goring, C.
Clements, hon. C. S. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Granby, Marq. of
Clifford, H. M. Greene, T.
Clive, hon. R. H. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Clive, H. B. Grey, R. W.
Cocks, T. S. Grogan, E.
Coke, hon. E. K. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Guest, Sir J.
Coles, H. B. Haggitt, F. R.
Compton, H. C. Hale, R. B.
Conolly, Col. Halford, Sir H.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hall, Col.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G.
Courtenay, Lord Hamilton, G. A.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hamilton, Lord C.
Currie, H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Dalrymple, Capt. Harcourt, G. G.
Damer, hon. Col. Harris, hon. Capt.
Davies, D. A. S. Hastie, A.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hawes, B.
Deedes, W. Hay, Lord J.
Hayes, Sir E. Milnes, R. M.
Hayter, W. G. Monsell, W.
Heald, J. Morgan, O.
Heathcoat, J. Morpeth, Visct.
Heathcote, G. J. Morison, Sir W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Heneage, G. H. W. Mulgrave, Earl of
Heneage, E. Mullings, J. R.
Henley, J. W. Mure, Col.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Napier, J.
Hervey, Lord A. Neeld, J.
Hildyard, R. C. Neeld, J.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Nowdegate, C. N.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Newport, Visct.
Hobhouse, T. B. Norroys, Lord
Hodges, T. L. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Hodgson, W. N. Nugent, Sir P.
Hogg, Sir J. W. O'Brien, Sir L.
Hollond, R. Ogle, S. C. H.
Hood, Sir A. Ord, W.
Hornby, J. Owen, Sir J.
Hotham, Lord Packe, C. W.
Houldsworth, T. Paget, Lord A.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Paget, Lord C.
Howard, hon. E. G. G. Pakington, Sir J.
Howard, P. H. Palmer, R.
Hughes, W. B. Palmer, R.
Ingestre, Visct. Palmerston, Visct.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Parker, J.
Jervis, Sir J. Patten, J. W.
Jocelyn, Visct. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Johnstone, Sir J. Peel, Col.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Pennant, hon. Col.
Keogh, W. Philips, Sir G. R.
Ker, R. Plowden, W. H. C.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Powlett, Lord W.
Lacy, H. C. Price, Sir R.
Langsten, J. H. Pugh, D.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Pusey, P.
Legh, G. C. Repton, G. W. J.
Lemon, Sir C. Rice, E. R.
Lennard, T. B. Rich, H.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Richards, R.
Leslie, C. P. Robartes, T. J. A.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Rolleston, Col.
Lewis, G. C. Romilly, Sir J.
Lincoln, Earl of Rufford, F.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Russell, Lord J.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Sandars, G.
Locke, J. Seymer, H. K.
Lockhart, A. E. Seymour, Lord
Lockhart, W. Shell, rt. hon. R. L.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Shelburne, Earl of
Mackenzie, W. F. Sheridan, R. B.
Maenaghten, Sir E. Sibthorp, Col.
Macnamara, Maj. Sidney, Ald.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Simeon, J.
Mahon, Visct. Slaney, R. A.
Mangles, R. D. Smith, M. T.
Manners, Lord C. S. Smyth, J. G.
Manners, Lord G. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Masterman, J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Matheson, A. Spearman, H. J.
Mathoson, J. Spooner, R.
Matheson, Col. Stafford, A.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Maunsell, T. P. Stanton, W. H.
Maxwell, hon. J. P. Stuart, H.
Melgund, Visct. Stuart, J.
Meux, Sir H. Sturt, H. G.
Miles, P. W. S. Talbot, C. R. M.
Miles, W. Talfourd, Serj.
Milner, W. M. E. Taylor, T. E.
Thornhill, G. Walter, J.
Tollemache, J. Ward, H. G.
Towneley, J. Watkins, Col.
Townshend, Capt. Welby, G. E.
Trevor, hon. G. R. Wellesley, Lord C.
Trollope, Sir J. West, F. R.
Turner, G. J. Westhead, J. P.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Williamson, Sir H.
Urquhart, D. Willoughby, Sir H.
Vane, Lord H. Wilson, J.
Verner, Sir W. Wodehouse, E.
Verney, Sir H. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Vesey, hon. T. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Villiers, Visct. Wrightson, W. B.
Villiers, hon. F. W. C Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. W.
Vivian, J. E. Wyvill, M.
Vivian, J. H. Young, Sir J.
Waddington, H. S. TELLERS.
Walpole, S. H. Tufnell, H.
Walsh, Sir J. B. Craig, W. G.

House adjourned at One o'clock.