HC Deb 25 February 1850 vol 108 cc1335-88

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, he did not rise to make any observations on the Bill itself, but to express his regret that they had not had that Parliamentary and distinct acquaintance with it which was necessary before they went into Committee. Generally speaking, he should be unwilling to deal with any subject of a material or political interest to Ireland but in a large and liberal spirit. He did not wish, however, to extend any favour to a measure which merely went to create an artificial suffrage, and he pressed on the Government strongly the necessity of postponing the Committee. There were five Bills relating to Ireland on the paper, which certainly was not a very felicitous arrangement, considering the Irish assizes commenced to-morrow, and that their recent legislation rendered it much more important now than at any previous time that Irish Gentlemen should attend the county assizes. The Bill was read a second time last Friday in a small and languid House, and they were prepared for a discussion on a very different subject that evening. Ministers might probably say the Bill was the same as that introduced last year; but it was impossible to suppose hon. Members had seriously studied an enactment which at the time the Government did not convey any urgent intention of pressing, and which probably might never have come before them again. It certainly seemed preposterous for the Government to propose to go into Committee on an Irish Bill at a time when nearly every Irish Member was absent. He hoped they would postpone the Committee till the Irish assizes were over.


considered the business of Parliament of such paramount importance that it ought not to be stopped because of the absence of any Members. Many hon. Gentlemen attended from all parts of the country to perform their Parliamentary duties, often at great personal inconvenience. He admitted that the measure in question was an important one, and that full time should be given for its consideration; but, beyond that, the convenience of individual Members should not be taken into account.


begged to call the attention of the House to the fact that it was not unusual to postpone Bills in which English Members were interested, when they had to leave town to attend quarter-sessions. Many Irish Members were deeply interested in the Bill, and yet Government called on the House to pass it through Committee in their absence.


said, the Bill was precisely the same as the one of last year; and, considering the rapidity with which the Habeas Corpus Suspension Bill, which suspended the entire constitution of Ireland, was passed, he thought the House ought not to delay this Bill, which Ireland had been waiting for at least nine years.


was in favour of postponement, upon the ground that there were considerable alterations introduced into the Bill now before the House, which tended to make it different, in some respects, from the Bills of former years—that it contained 122 clauses, with seven pages of arrangement clauses—and that it was only delivered wet from the printers on Wednesday last. He represented a large county in the north of Ireland, and had been precluded, by the haste now adopted, from obtaining the opinions of his constituents with reference to the measure.


said, he was happy to hear, from the lips of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that he was disposed to look at any proposition affecting the Irish franchise in a favourable light. But that hon. Gentleman had used a phrase—namely, "artificial franchise"—the meaning of which he (Mr. Reynolds) should like to understand. He presumed, however, that it had not been introduced as an artifice to mystify words. The hon. Member, and also the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone, had asked the House to postpone the Bill until the Irish assizes had terminated. It was matter of wonder that they had not asked Mr. Speaker to adjourn the House for the accommodation of those who had to attend the assizes. It seemed to have been forgotten that, in the recent divisions, with which the name of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was connected, 70 Irish Members recorded their votes. 70 from 105, and 35 remained. Now, he should be glad to know at what period of their Parliamentary existence—unless some large job had to be carried—there was a larger attendance of Irish Members than on that occasion. The convenience of those who were present seemed to be overlooked, and the House was asked in the extreme of indulgence to postpone this proposed charter until certain Irish Gentlemen had time—he should not say so—to perpetrate jobs in their respective counties. ["Oh, oh!"] He had not said that grand juries jobbed; Irish grand juries had never jobbed—they were as pure as unsunned snow. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone seemed to have forgotten that Lord Stanley had drawn up an Irish Franchise Bill, which was protested for non-acceptance, and remained unpaid to the present hour. Lord Eliot, when Secretary for Ireland, had prepared another and a much more liberal Franchise Bill than the present, taking the circumstances of the sister country at that time and now into consideration. For the last ten years Parliament had been called upon to pass an Irish Franchise Bill; and the measure now introduced, or something like it, had been three years before hon. Members. He, therefore, hoped that the right hon. Secretary for Ireland would not agree to any postponement.


said, he should be very sorry to do anything to inconvenience hon. Members, but thought the Bill before them stood in a very different position from other measures that had been introduced this Session. The present Bill had been before the House for three years, and he certainly had explained some of its provisions, particularly those relating to the amount of the franchise, and that there were no alteration in its most important features. No persons interfered with the progress of business so much as Irish Members themselves. Which portion of them was he to consult? Was he to consider the hon. Member for Cork, where the assizes would not take place for three weeks, or the noble Member for Down? As to any cause of surprise, he could only say he had never heard the details of a Bill more thoroughly discussed than had been those of the present measure on Friday evening, when not a dissentient voice was raised against the principle by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, or by the Irish Members who had spoken. He must persist in pressing his Motion for the House to go into Committee.


asked whether it was right, reasonable, or even decent, to persevere with the Bill under the circumstances already set forth? On Friday last, the House was led to believe that the Australian Bill would come on to-day; but that had been postponed, and an Irish Bill substituted. This, however, was not in reality an Irish Bill, but a Bill affecting the interests of the empire at large; and certainly those best able to advise the House respecting details concerning Ireland, ought to be in their places when it was discussed. The Habeas Corpus Act had been alluded to, but that had been passed at a time of great emergency. He thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government would be ill-advised if he pressed the Bill upon a House which was evidently unprepared to enter upon its discussion.


said, that upon the last night the opinion of many Irish Members upon the Bill was expressed, and that the majority of them were in favour of proceeding with the measure without delay. Not a dissentient voice had then been raised with reference to its principle, nor had any hon. Gentleman complained of being unacquainted with its details. Bills had undoubtedly been postponed for the convenience of Gentlemen attending quarter-sessions; but there was a wide distinction between sessions and assizes, for, in Ireland, the assizes spread over a period of six weeks, because they were not held simultaneously. The consequence of postponement would therefore be, that the Bill would be put off to so late a period of the Session, that the House of Lords could not devote to it such attention as it was desirable it should obtain from the Members of the upper branch of the Legislature.


said, there were two points in the Bill, one directing the registration, the other the qualification, and as the latter part might greatly affect the seats of Members, he should have felt it to be his duty to have moved a postponement of the debate if no other Member did. This Bill was certainly proposed during the last Session; but believing that the Government had no serious intention of then passing it, few Members considered its details; and he did think it strange that a Bill which was only read a second time on Friday should go through Committee tonight, and thus preclude any Member giving notice of Amendments which he might have thought necessary. If they went into Committee, he should feel it his duty to propose Amendments to nearly every clause, but he had had no opportunity of giving the necessary notices. He trusted, as it mattered not whether the Bill passed now or a month hence, that the Government would consent to postpone it.


declared that the majority of Irish Members were anxious that the Bill should be passed without delay, and the vast majority of the people were anxious that not a day's postponement should take place. It was more important not to leave Ireland without a constituency than that Irish Members should attend the assizes. At present there were only 400 voters in Tipperary, most of whom were 20l. rent-charges and clergymen. The people were much grieved by the threat of a general election, and, if an attempt were made at present, it would be accompanied by scenes of violence and riot, because they felt the constitution was virtually suspended, and that the franchise was a farce.


asked if the convenience of Australia was to interfere with the convenience of the House? The hon. Member for Montrose put forward an incontrovertible argument for the postponement, when he said it was right to test public opinion respecting every important measure. He should move the postponement of the Committee to that day three weeks.

Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon Monday the 18th day of March next, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.


said, that all the workhouses had been searched for the purpose of finding persons who possessed 5l., 8l., or 10l. qualifications. The measure was not a new one, inasmuch as its principle had been brought forward by the Earl of Carlisle, when Lord Morpeth, and that great dissatisfaction would be excited in Ireland if it were postponed until after Easter.


approved of affixing the franchise to the rating; but he could not help observing that the constituencies of the boroughs would by its provisions be reduced almost to nothing. He should be sorry not to see this Bill proceeded with, though he thought that no measure of such importance to Ireland ought to be disposed of in the absence of the Irish Members.


said, for the last few years since he had been in Parliament, Irish Bills had always been treated contemptuously, and were ever put off to the last moment; and now when the Government came forward with a Bill for Ireland, he was sorry to see his hon. and gallant Friend led away in this manner. He had heard no argument for postponing this Bill, but just the very reverse. They were told that this was an imperial measure, and a question for English Members to consider; and were there not plenty of Members there ready and willing to discuss it? As an Irish Member he felt it his duty to attend the discussion of imperial measures. Grand juries could discharge their duties without the presence of the Irish Members, but the legislation of the country could not go on without the Irish Members. He said it was their duty to be there. He said this—that it depended on their own conduct and the length of their speeches, if they were to go into Committee. They had already lost half an hour by this discussion, and he hoped no further would be wasted. An hon. and learned Irish Member on Friday said, that this measure should go through the House of Commons speedily, and agreed to the second reading to allow it to go without delay into Committee. He (Mr. Scully) said this was a strong argument in favour of the Government proceeding at once with the Bill, and he hoped it would not yield to the wishes now expressed for a postponement.


wished to explain, and trusted that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would do him the justice to admit that he had pressed him on Friday last to postpone the measure to allow a proper opportunity for its consideration.


said, the way in which it was wished to hurry forward this measure looked very much like a snake in the grass. Here was a long list of Bills for hon. Members to consider that night as far as Ireland was concerned. First, there was the Bill now before them; then there was the Chancery Bill; then came the Bill on the Law of Process, then the Judgments in Ireland Bill; then the Registry (Ireland) Bill; then the Life Insurance (Ireland) Bill; then the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Bill; and then, more difficult than all, came the Fiscal Bill. He never saw such a catalogue of Irish Bills. He was glad that the Bill for the Payment of Wages in the Current Coin of the Realm (Ireland) was introduced; but if it should pass, how they could secure payment in the current coin of the realm in Ireland he did not know. Lord Morpeth introduced a Bill for this purpose in 1841, and it had been all this time under discussion; so that there was no probability of a speedy conclusion. He considered it highly objectionable to run so hastily forward with important measures like these.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 185; Noes 115: Majority 70.

List of the AYES.
Anion, hon. Col. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Armstrong, Sir A. Devereux, J. T.
Armstrong, R. B. Divett, E.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Douglas, Sir C. E.
Duff, G. S.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Duke, Sir J.
Baring, H. B. Duncan, G.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Dundas, Adm.
Bellew, R. M. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Berkeley, Adm. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Ellice, E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bernal, R. Enfield, Visct.
Birch, Sir T. B. Evans, Sir De L.
Blair, S. Evans, J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Fagan, W.
Bright, J. Fergus, J.
Brotherton, J. FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.
Brown-Westhead, J. P. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Brown, W. Foley, J. H. H.
Busfeild, W. Fordyce, A. D.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Forster, M.
Cardwell, E. Fox, R. M.
Carter, J. B. Fox, W. J.
Caulfeild, J. M. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Clay, Sir W. Glyn, G. C.
Clifford, H. M. Grace, O. D. J.
Cobden, R. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Granger, T. C.
Cowan, C. Grattan, H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Greene, J.
Craig, W. G. Greene, T.
Currie, R. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Hall, Sir B. Perfect, R.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Pilkington, J.
Hanmer, Sir J. Pinney, W.
Harris, R. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hastie, A. Power, Dr.
Hastie, A. Power, N.
Hatchell, J. Price, Sir R.
Hawes, B. Pugh, D.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Rawdon, Col.
Headlam, T. E. Reynolds, J.
Heywood, J. Ricardo, J. L.
Heyworth, L. Ricardo, O.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Romilly, Sir J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Russell, Lord J.
Hodges, T. L. Russell, F. C. H.
Horsman, E. Sadleir, J.
Hume, J. Sandars, J.
Jackson, W. Scully, F.
Jervis, Sir J. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Shelburne, Earl of
Kershaw, J. Sheridan, R. B.
Kildare, Marq. of Simeon, J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Slaney, R. A.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lemon, Sir C. Smith, J. B.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Somers, J. P.
Lewis, G. C. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Loch, J. Stanton, W. H.
Lushington, C. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Mackinnon, W. A. Stuart, Lord D.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Stuart, Lord J.
M'Gregor, J. Sullivan, M.
Meagher, T. Tennent, R. J.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Thicknesse, R. A.
Martin, J. Thompson, Col.
Matheson, A. Thornely, T.
Matheson, Col. Towneley, J.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Townley, R. G.
Melgund, Visct. Townshend, Capt.
Milnes, R. M. Tufnell, H.
Mitchell, T. A. Vane, Lord H.
Moffatt, G. Villiers, hon. C.
Molesworth, Sir W. Wall, C. B.
Monsell, W. Walmsley, Sir J.
Morris, D. Watkins, Col. L.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wawn, J. T.
Mulgrave, Earl of Wellesley, Lord C.
Norreys, Lord West, F. R.
Nugent, Lord Williams, J.
O'Brien, Sir T. Williamson, Sir H.
G'Connell, M. J. Wilson, J.
O'Connor, F. Wilson, M.
O'Flaherty, A. Wood, W. P.
Ogle, S. C. H. Wrightson, W. B.
Osborne, R. Wyld, J.
Palmerston, Visct. Wyvill, M.
Parker, J.
Patten, J. W. TELLERS.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Hill, Lord M.
Peel, F. Grey, R. W.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Barrington, Visct.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bateson, T.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bennet, P.
Arkwright, G. Blandford, Marq. of
Bagge, W. Boldero, H. G.
Bailey, J. Bowles, Adm.
Baillie, H. J. Bramston, T. W.
Bankes, G. Bremridge, R.
Baring, hon. F. Broadley, H.
Brooke, Lord Law, hon. C. E.
Bruce, C. L. C. Legh, G. C.
Bunbury, W. M. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Carew, W. H. P. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Castlereagh, Visct. Lockhart, W.
Chatterton, Col. Long, W.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Lopes, Sir R.
Christy, S. Lowther, H.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Cole, hon. H. A. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Coles, H. B. Mahon, Visct.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Mandeville, Visct.
Cubitt, W. Manners, Lord G.
Currie, H. Manners, Lord J.
Dick, Q. Meux, Sir H.
Dickson, S. Miles, P. W. S.
Disraeli, B. Miles, W.
Dodd, G. Moody, C. A.
Drummond, H. H. Morgan, O.
Duncombe, hon. A. Mullings, J. R.
Du Pre, C. G. Naas, Lord
Egerton, W. T. Napier, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Newdegate, C. N.
Forbes, W. Packe, C. W.
Fox, S. W. L. Palmer, R.
Fuller, A. E. Plumptre, J. P.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Repton, G. W. J.
Gooch, E. S. Richards, R.
Gordon, Adm. Sandars, G.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Seymer, H. K.
Grogan, E. Sibthorp, Col.
Gwyn, H. Sidney, Ald.
Halford, Sir H. Smyth, J. G.
Halsey, T. P. Smollett, A.
Hamilton, G. A. Stafford, A.
Hamilton, J. H. Stanford, J. F.
Hamilton, Lord C. Stanley, E.
Haris, hon. Capt. Stuart, J.
Henley, J. W. Sturt, H. G.
Herbert, H. A. Taylor, T. E.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Thesiger, Sir F.
Hildyard, R. C. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hood, Sir A. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hope, H. T. Waddington, D.
Hornby, J. Walpole, S. H.
Hudson, G. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Wodehouse, E.
Jones, Capt. TELLERS.
Knight, F. W. Beresford, W.
Knox, Col. Mackenzie, W. F.

said, it was some time since it had become necessary in that House to resist a tyrant majority; but, remembering the numbers who had voted in the minority, and looking at the nature of the division which had just taken place, he felt himself fully justified in the course which he had resolved to adopt. He hoped that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would yet consider the propriety of the suggestions which had proceeded from his (Mr. Disraeli's) side of the House, and not persevere in pressing forward a measure for the postponement of which there existed so strong a desire. He entertained this hope the more confidently as not one word had been said by the supporters of the Bill which in any respect met the objections that had been urged from his side of the House against bringing forward a measure of such great importance in the absence he might say of the Irish Members. At the present moment a great number of the Irish Members were necessarily absent. ["No, no!"] If they were not necessarily absent, they were then not so anxious as he supposed to do their duty, and he might be giving them credit for more zeal than really influenced them. Bight and forty hours since, neither he nor they knew anything of what was to be done that evening in the House. They had all been taken by surprise, and no doubt some of the Irish Members would be absent, for no one had the least idea that the Government would have taken this course, inasmuch as attention had been ostentatiously solicited to another subject—a question of colonial government—a question to which attention had not only been solicited, but one on which the public mind had been agitated. It was that subject which they had reason to expect would have occupied the time of the House during the present evening. He further felt himself justified in the course which he was about to adopt by the House having been taken by surprise. The proceedings of Ministers on this subject were such as would not bear examination: a remarkable instance of this occurred on Friday night last; the debate excited so little attention or interest, and was so languid, that, though the time was before ten o'clock, and though the noble Lord at the head of the Government had come down for the purpose of delivering an elaborate statement on an important branch of one administration, which was suspected of great misgovernment, yet the House, instead of receiving the statement and explanation which they expected from the noble Lord, were put off with a few desultory observations, and sent about their business. On that evening he left the House with an impression that the present Bill was not to be proceeded with till after the assizes. [Lord J. RUSSELL said, that he had on that occasion informed the House that it was intended to proceed with the Parliamentary Voters (Ireland) Bill this day.] He was not denying that the noble Lord might have given such an intimation, but it was in a House of not much more than thirty Members, of whom twenty-five were asleep; the noble Lord was endeavouring to carry his Bill by a coup de main, but, considering the minority which had voted against going into Committee, he (Mr. Disraeli) repeated that he was not only justified in the course which he intended to pursue, but it was his duty to persist in delaying the progress of the measure then before the House. The noble Lord could not deny that at the commencement of the Irish assizes he had prepared a long bill of fare of Irish measures: remembering then the number and importance of those measures, and bearing in mind the character of the present Bill, though not desiring unfairly to offer any opposition to the Government, he felt it his duty to resist the Motion that Mr. Speaker do then leave the chair.


Sir, I could hardly believe that the hon. Gentlemen who proposed that we should not go into Committee were serious, the main ground put forward—and a most insufficient ground for postponing any considerable Parliamentary measure—being, that the assizes are going on in Ireland. The noble Lord the Member for Colchester moved that the Bill be postponed for three weeks, but that would be just the time for the commencement of the Cork assize; and that being the case, I thought that the excuse of the assizes was merely meant to postpone this Bill for a very considerable time; and if it were postponed for a considerable time, and if we should then go into Committee, it would be interfered with by other measures, and it would be very difficult to dispose of it. The Bill has been before the House two Sessions, and the Irish people had a full opportunity of considering the principal provisions of that Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin stated, that we were supposed not to be in earnest with this Bill, because it was not pressed forward last year; and, therefore, that no great consideration was given to the provisions of it in Ireland; but if we now postponed the Bill until after Easter, and if it were then interfered with by other measures, the hon. and learned Gentleman could say so still more truly, that there was not sufficient attention paid to the provisions of the Bill, and that we were not in earnest. It appears to me that a Bill of this nature, of which the main provisions have been for a long time before the House, and have been considered in Ireland, may be considered now in Committee. I don't know the use of bringing forward a Bill in one Session, and postponing it to another, unless it be that you obtain this advantage, that when you bring it on again you are not bound to treat it as an entirely new measure, or give further time for its consideration before going into Committee. I am sorry the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire means to prevent us from going into Committee. He has been told elsewhere, that it is his duty to obstruct. ["Hear, hear!"] That is the word I well remember as used, as descriptive of part of the duty of Members of Parliament not in office; and I suppose the hon. Gentleman, being taught that lesson, will do his utmost to obstruct this Bill, which is intended to extend the franchises and give further rights to the people of Ireland. Whatever that obstruction may be, I shall think it my duty to insist upon going into Committee.


thought it his duty, as one of the Members present on Friday night, to say that he understood from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, that he did not intend offering any opposition to this Bill going into Committee. He (Mr. Reynolds) could assure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, that he was very much mistaken, indeed, if he thought that on Friday night twenty-five of the Irish Members were asleep. He (Mr. Reynolds) rather thought that the hon. Gentleman himself must have been asleep.


, having ascertained the sense of the House with regard to this question, and they, the Irish Members, having appealed, and appealed in vain, for a postponement, thought it was no use for those entertaining a different opinion from the noble Lord to offer any further obstruction.


, as one of those who voted in the minority, must entirely protest against having voted for the purpose of obstruction; but the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone having stated that be wished to communicate with his constituents on the Bill introduced on Friday night, he (Mr. Goulburn) thought it but right to give him, and others similarly situated, an opportunity of doing so.


My observations did not apply to the course taken with respect to the last Motion, but to the declaration that is now made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire.

Main Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 193; Noes 93: Majority 100.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Armstrong, Sir A.
Anson, hon. Col. Armstrong, R. B.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Harris, R.
Hastie, A.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Hastie, A.
Baring, H. B. Hatchell, J.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Hawes, B.
Bellew, R. M. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Berkeley, Adm. Headlam, T. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Hervey, Lord A.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Heyworth, L.
Bernal, R. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Birch, Sir T. B. Hobhouse, T. B.
Blair, S. Hodges, T. L.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Horsman, E.
Bright, J. Hume, J.
Brockman, E. D. Jackson, W.
Brotherton, J. Jervis, Sir J.
Brown-Westhead, J. P. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Brown, W. Kershaw, J.
Busfeild, W. Kildare, Marq. of
Buxton, Sir E. N. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cardwell, E. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Carter, J. B. Lemon, Sir C.
Caulfeild, J. M. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.
Childers, J. W. Lewis, G. C.
Clay, Sir W. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Clifford, H. M. Lushington, C.
Cobden, R. Mackinnon, W. A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Cowper, hon. W. F. M'Gregor, J.
Craig, W. G. Meagher, T.
Crowder, R. B. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Currie, R. Mahon, Visct.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Martin, J.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Matheson, A.
Devereux, J. T. Matheson, Col.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Divett, E. Melgund, Visct.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Milner, W. M. E.
Drummond, H. Milnes, R. M.
Duff, G. S. Mitchell, T. A.
Duke, Sir J. Moffatt, G.
Duncan, G. Molesworth, Sir W.
Dundas, Adm. Monsell, W.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Morris, D.
Dunne, Col. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Mulgrave, Earl of
Ellice, E. Norreys, Lord
Elliot, hon. J. E. Nugent, Lord
Evans, Sir De L. O'Brien, Sir T.
Evans, J. O'Connell, M. J.
Fagan, W. O'Connor, F.
Fergus, J. O'Flaherty, A.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Ogle, S. C. H.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Osborne, R.
Foley, J. H. H. Paget, Lord G.
Fordyce, A. D. Palmerston, Visct.
Forster, M. Parker, J.
Fox, R. M. Patten, J. W.
Fox, W. J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Peel, F.
Glyn, G. C. Perfect, R.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Pilkington, J.
Grace, O. D. J. Pinney, W.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Granger, T. C. Power, Dr.
Grattan, H. Power, N.
Greene, J. Price, Sir R.
Greene, T. Rawdon, Col.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Reynolds, J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Ricardo, J. L.
Hall, Sir B. Ricardo, O.
Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G. Romilly, Sir J.
Hanmer, Sir J. Russell, Lord J.
Russell, F. C. H. Towneley, J.
Rutherfurd, A. Townley, R. G.
Sadleir, J. Townshend, Capt.
Sandars, J. Tufnell, H.
Scully, F. Vane, Lord H.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Villiers, hon. C.
Shelburne, Earl of Vivian, J. H.
Sheridan, R. B. Wall, C. B.
Simeon, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Slaney, R. A. Watkins, Col. L.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Wawn, J. T.
Smith, J. A. Wellesley, Lord C.
Smith, J. B. Williams, J.
Somers, J. P. Williamson, Sir H.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Wilson, J.
Stansfield, W. R. C. Wilson, M.
Stanton, W. H. Wood, W. P.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Wrightson, W. B.
Stuart, Lord J. Wyld, J.
Tennent, R. J. Wyvill, M.
Thesiger, Sir F.
Thicknesse, R. A. TELLERS.
Thompson, Col. Grey, R. W.
Thornely, T. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Hope, H. T.
Archdall, Capt. M. Hornby, J.
Arkwright, G. Hudson, G.
Bagge, W. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Baillie, H. J. Jones, Capt.
Bankes, G. Knight, F. W.
Baring, T. Knox, Col.
Baring, hon. F. Law, hon. C. E.
Barrington, Visct. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Bateson, T. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Bennet, P. Lockhart, W.
Boldero, H. G. Long, W.
Bramston, T. W. Lowther, H.
Bremridge, R. Mandeville, Visct.
Broadley, H. Manners, Lord G.
Brooke, Lord Manners, Lord J.
Bruce, C. L. C. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Buck, L. W. Meux, Sir H.
Bunbury, W. M. Miles, P. W. S.
Carew, W. H. P. Miles, W.
Chatterton, Col. Moody, C. A.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Morgan, O.
Cole, hon. H. A. Mullings, J. R.
Coles, H. B. Naas, Lord
Currie, H. Napier, J.
Dickson, S. Newdegate, C. N.
Disraeli, B. Packe, C. W.
Dodd, G. Plumptre, J. P.
Duncombe, hon. A. Repton, G. W. J.
Du Pre, C. G. Richards, R.
Forbes, W. Sandars, G.
Fuller, A. E. Seymer, H. K.
Gooch, E. S. Sibthorp, Col.
Grogan, E. Smyth, J. G.
Guernsey, Lord Stafford, A.
Gwyn, H. Stanford, J. F.
Halford, Sir H. Stanley, E.
Halsey, T. P. Stuart, J.
Hamilton, G. A. Sturt, H. G.
Hamilton, J. H. Taylor, T. E.
Hamilton, Lord C. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Harris, hon. Capt. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Henley, J. W. Waddington, D.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Walpole, S. H.
Hildyard, R. C. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Hood, Sir A. Wodehouse, E.
Beresford, W. Mackenzie, W. F.

Bill considered in Committee.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time."


said: Sir, the noble Lord complains of the course we have taken, and accuses us of obstructing public business. The noble Lord has referred to a passage still recollected in this House, in which the words he uses are to be found, but he did not finish the sentence. The individual by whom those words were used said, that "he was ready, and that he ought to be ready, to obstruct all measures injurious to the constitution and to the country." Sir, in my opinion that was a very legitimate description of the duty of Members of this House. But what is it that we have presumed to suggest? The noble Lord and his colleagues tell us that this is a Bill that was brought in last year; that, therefore, we must be presumed to be fully acquainted with it; and that one reason why the present Government introduces measures without the intention of carrying them, is to give hon. Gentlemen an opportunity next year of being masters of the subject. Now, that shows a confidence in the duration of Cabinets which a Whig Ministry could alone entertain. The noble Lord has also said that I have received my instructions elsewhere. Now, that is not a very constitutional nor a very courteous remark of the noble Lord. I understand that the noble Lord in his time has received instructions how to conduct himself in Parliament from many persons and from many places. But he cannot say, and he does not say, that we have received our instructions how to conduct ourselves from seditious clubs. The noble Lord, in a mode quite unworthy of him, has charged us with obstructing the business of this House in an unwarrantable manner, and has insinuated that we are guilty of factious proceedings. Now, the noble Lord is the last person in this House who ought to have made such a charge. I own I was surprised to hear this charge from the noble Lord when I remember that he was the person who brought forward a proposition in this House in which the fate of an Administration was involved—I mean the Appropriation Clause—and that when he had upset the Administration upon that clause, and when he took office upon it, the noble Lord had neither the conscience nor the courage to carry his policy into effect. Although I listen with every respect to any suggestion from the noble Lord, or any person in his position, I will not be deterred from the course which I think it my duty to take by the speech he has made. This is a question of immense importance, and, if so, it ought not to be shuffled through this House. The Government ought not to rely upon the fact that this measure, or a Bill not exactly similar, was brought forward last year, not with the intention of carrying it. I believe there never was a more constitutional course than that we are now taking. It has, however, been met in a spirit of haughty insolence; and, for my part, I shall avail myself of every means that the forms of the House will permit to oppose this Bill. And, therefore, Sir, I move that you report progress, and ask leave to sit again.

Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 191: Majority 110.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Harris, hon. Capt.
Archdall, Capt. M. Henley, J. W.
Arkwright, G. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Bagge, W. Hildyard, R. C.
Bankes, G. Hood, Sir A.
Baring, hon. F. Hornby, J.
Baring, T. Hudson, G.
Barrington, Visct. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Bateson, T. Knight, F. W.
Bennet, P. Knox, Col.
Boldero, H. G. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Bremridge, R. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Broadley, H. Long, W.
Brooke, Lord Lowther, H.
Bruce, C. L. C. Mandeville, Visct.
Buck, L. W. Manners, Lord G.
Bunbury, W. M. Manners, Lord J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Chatterton, Col. Miles, P. W. S.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Miles, W.
Cole, hon. H. A. Morgan, O.
Coles, H. B. Mullings, J. R.
Cubitt, W. Naas, Lord
Dodd, G. Newdegate, C. N.
Duncombe, hon. A. Ossulston, Lord
Du Pre, C. G. Packe, C. W.
Egerton, Sir P. Plumptre, J. P.
Forbes, W. Repton, G. W. J.
Fuller, A. E. Richards, R.
Gaskell, J. M. Sibthorp, Col.
Grogan, E. Stafford, A.
Guernsey, Lord Stanford, J. F.
Gwyn, H. Stanley, E.
Halford, Sir H. Stuart, J.
Hall, Col. Sturt, H. G.
Halsey, T. P. Taylor, T. E.
Hamilton, G. A. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hamilton, J. H. Verner, Sir W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Waddington, D. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Beresford, W. Mackenzie, W. F.

said, he should feel it his duty to move that the Chairman do now leave the chair. The Bill had only been introduced on Tuesday last, and was not read a second time till Friday, between which day and the present it could not be supposed there had been sufficient time for the consideration of the Bill; nor had the Government given notice of their intention to press it forward so hastily. There were not many important subjects before the House; and surely time might have been allowed for the consideration of this one. At a time when the agricultural interest was waging a struggle against the rest of the world with one hand tied, it was impossible that such a measure as this could be beneficial to Ireland. He should not act consistently with his duty did he not denounce the tyrannical course the Government was now pursuing, and persist in moving that the Chairman do leave the chair.


protested against the indecent haste with which the Government were about to smuggle the Bill through the House. He would not now allude to the merits or demerits of the Bill. It might be the best Bill that ever emanated from the fertile brain of an Irish Secretary; but, to his mind, the arguments advanced in favour of postponing the further stages were unanswerable. He could only account for this haste by referring to the division of Thursday night. That division perhaps alarmed the Government so much that they thought the safety of their darling idol, free trade, was jeopardised. If this were a Bill to feed the hungry or to clothe the naked, he could account for the fevered haste with which its stages were pressed forward; but such were not its objects. As a supporter of the union between the two countries, he must say that the conduct of the Government that night furnished an eloquent argument for the repeal of the Union.


thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government would not be able to adduce any one instance that would at all answer what, in his (Mr. Henley's) opinion, were the unanswerable arguments which had been put forward by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin. He (Mr. Henley) thought he might safely defy the noble Lord to produce any one instance where a Bill of this importance and this length had been pressed forward from a Friday to a Monday, without notice beforehand, when the House had been led to suppose it would have to discuss a measure of a perfectly distinct and different character, and when that hon. and learned Member, more qualified than almost any other Member of the House to suggest Amendments on every clause of the Bill, had declared publicly in his place in Parliament that he was deprived by the course of the Government of an opportunity of putting as a Motion to the House certain Amendments which he should consider it his duty to propose. Those were the reasons which had induced him (Mr. Henley) to vote as he had done on the Motions which had been proposed; and until he had an answer from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when he (Mr. Henley) asked him to show a precedent for such a course as that taken with respect to this Bill, he should feel it his duty to vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Stirlingshire.


thought it right that the country should know what this measure was with regard to which so singular a course had been adopted. This was a measure which, having been before Parliament for the last three years—[An Hon. MEMBER: For the last fifteen years.] Yes, for fifteen years, but more especially during the last three years; and its object was to give to Ireland, the constituency which, owing partly to bad legislation and partly to unforeseen misfortune, had been reduced to 40,000 voters in a country of 8,000,000 persons. Such an extension of the franchise was certainly required as should make the number of electors amount to about 250,000. A good deal of machinery had to be put in Motion before the Bill could operate, and unless the first stop were taken before the 1st of June, there could not be any additional voters until November. He understood that the Irish assizes would not terminate until the 10th of April; and if the further stages of the Bill were delayed until that time, or until the middle of May, the effect would be to deprive the Irish people of the franchise for another year. He thought it unreasonable to ask for any postponement of the measure on the ground that Irish Members could not be present, when 75 of those Members out of 105 were now in London. If the postponement which hon. Members opposite asked for were conceded, it was perfectly clear that the Bill would have to be put off—not till the next Irish assizes—but for another year. It was quite consistent with the views of hon. Members opposite to postpone every enlargement of the franchise; but he hoped Her Majesty's Government would, on the present occasion, frustrate their attempts.


said, that if that (the Opposition) side of the House were, as the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford asserted, opposed to all extension of the franchise in Ireland, they would not have permitted the Bill to pass a second reading. By doing so, they admitted that the franchise of Ireland did not stand as it ought to do. The hon. Member ought to recollect that the ground on which the very first Amendment was moved to-night was, that the measure should be postponed for three weeks, so that the Irish constituencies should have thoroughly before them the amended Bill on which the assent of the House was asked. He (Mr. Miles) could not conceive that the noble Lord at the head of the Government could be more justified in acceding to a request to delay a Bill than in the present case; and the noble Lord must have seen from the minority in the first instance that the delay was necessary consistently with a fair discussion of the principles of the Bill. If the noble Lord did not assent to a postponement in this case, so as to give the Irish constituencies the opportunity of giving their opinion upon the measure, he (Mr. Miles) hoped and trusted the House would go on using those means which a minority had at its command to show the noble Lord that in this happy country a minority could not be bound hand and foot by a majority.


said, there was no instance of any party having resorted to those means with either credit or success. As an Irish Member, he did not think it his first duty to attend the Irish assizes; he had given the Bill his best consideration since Friday, and was prepared to go into Committee. The Amendments were principally as to the amount of the county franchise, which applied to the second part of the Bill; and there was time enough before Friday to put such Amendments on the paper. And if the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin wished the postponement of any particular clause, the Government, or the sense of justice of the House, would, doubtless, grant it. Already two hours had been lost in which a portion of the Bill might have been discussed, before the Irish Members had left to attend the assizes. This was evidently a new movement, the first fruits of "a compact alliance," formed, not at Lichfield House, but not very far from it. The noble Lord the Member for the county of Tyrone wished to have an opportunity of consulting his constituents in nubibus or elsewhere, respecting the Bill. He trusted the Government would persevere.


said, it was natural he should wish to have an opportunity of consulting his constituents on so important a Bill. Hon. Gentlemen might sneer, and talk of his constituents in nubibus, but if they represented a large and independent constituency, as he did, they would know what it was to consult them. Every one had been preparing speeches for Australia, instead of supposing that the present Bill would be taken to-night. He appealed to the noble Lord at the head of the Government to show any example of a Bill of this magnitude and importance, containing, as it did, 82 pages and 121 clauses, being pressed forward in this manner. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had attempted to show that they were opposed to an increase of the constituency of Ireland. That he denied. There was much in the Bill which he approved of; but he had yet to learn that because a measure had been before them for three or four years Her Majesty's Government were entitled to come down at the last, and with indecent precipitancy force the Bill through the House. He greatly desired to see some extension of the constituency in Ireland, but a measure so important ought to have the mature and deliberate consideration of the House. He asked why the Government did not, on the first day of the Session, or on the first day of the introduction of the Bill, put it into the hands of the printer? As to his not having consulted his constituents on this question before, he begged to say that he was not in the habit of consulting his constituents with regard to the measures that he was told were not to be carried—measures which were doomed to be included in the massacre of innocents at the close of a Session, and therefore he had not taken the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had pointed out as a judicious course to follow. He did not consult his constituents last year upon the Bill, because he knew it was not to be proceeded with, and that another Bill, probably new in many of its provisions, would be submitted to the House in the course of the present Session. He asked the noble Lord to point out any precedent for such a course as that now insisted on, and to explain why the House was not informed till Wednesday last what the new Reform Bill for Ireland was to be? He could assure the House that it was of the utmost importance for Irish Gentlemen to be present at the assizes, and at the meetings of the grand juries, in order to consider the various pecuniary charges which were to be met by the counties; and moreover, an excellent opportunity was then afforded of ascertaining the views of all classes of the people relative to measures like the present. He had never said, however, that the duty of attending grand juries was paramount to the duty of attending in that House. If there were defects in the measure, who so able to discover them as the professional gentlemen who would assemble at the assizes? He had always thought this House instituted for the free and full discussion of measures, and had yet to learn that it was a constitutional course thus to press forward a measure, before hon. Members had had an opportunity of consulting their constituents. From the animated cheers which had resounded in the House, he was confident they were not now in a sufficiently calm state of mind to go into Committee on the Bill.


had been asked by the noble Lord who had just spoken, to show a precedent for bringing in a Bill, having it read a second time, and going into Committee upon it in the following week. He would only say that such precedents were to be found in every journal of the House. But this Bill, as he had already stated, the main propositions of which the noble Lord was so anxious to have an opportunity of considering, was introduced on the 1st of May, 1848, and the main question contained in it was known to be whether the franchise, instead of remaining what it was at present, should be based upon an 8l. rating to the poor. That was a most important question, and it attracted a good deal of attention in Ireland. It was much discussed in all the newspapers in that country. Political parties and societies expressed their various opinions upon it: they not only considered the main propositions in the Bill, but the Bill itself in its various clauses underwent great discussion. It was introduced again in 1849; and certainly he was surprised that the noble Lord—having been in Ireland both in 1848 and 1849, and this measure of the franchise being then a subject of discussion, many persons thinking that the franchise was in so restricted a state that the Government ought to carry through the Bill without loss of time—he was surprised that the noble Lord, who kept such a discreet silence as never to have asked one word about it, should now, when his right hon. Friend again brought the Bill in, suddenly start up and say, "This is indeed a very important question; I never thought of it before, and I must ask what is the opinion of my constituents in Tyrone upon this Bill." He had certainly heard many reasons given from time to time for delaying measures in that House; but the reason to be deduced from the particular character of the noble Lord's proposal centred on the single ground that Parliament should stop proceedings—that they should say, "Let us all go home to bed to-night, and wait till the noble Lord has got letters from Tyrone, and then he will be able to tell us whether his constituents think the franchise should be more extended than it now is, as the Government proposes, or whether it should continue restricted as at present." Another complaint of the noble Lord was, that the Government did not bring in the Bill in a printed form. This was certainly a most extraordinary accusation. Sometimes, when he (Lord J. Russell) was a young Member of that House, he had committed errors of this sort; and on one occasion he had brought in a Bill printed, but was informed by the Speaker that it was contrary to the forms of the House; and when he had been a few years in Parliament he was able to let other young Members know that Bills were brought in in a written shape, and ordered to be printed after they were read a first time. It was not, therefore, possible to bring in a Bill printed, as the noble Lord seemed to suppose. As the main propositions of the Bill had been long before the people of Ireland, and had been familiar to the Irish Members of that House, he thought they ought now to proceed to consider the details of the measure. Those who thought there ought to be some change, and those who believed there should not; all those who thought that the rate of franchise now proposed was either too high or too low, had made up their minds upon the subject; and he must say, he did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, who discussed the Bill at great length on the second reading, could be at a loss to discuss any amendments he or any other Gentleman might wish to propose. As to hon. Members not having had time to consider the true bearing of the new clauses which his right hon. Friend had introduced, any such clauses and details that required explanation he should be ready to postpone till Friday, instead of taking them up that night. But with regard to the main propositions of a Bill introduced in 1848, known in Ireland, and known in the House from that day to this; surely it was not an unreasonable proposition, not a tyrannical proposition, nor a precipitate proposition, to ask the House now to come to a decision upon it.


said, that the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone had told the House that he and other hon. Friends had come down to the House with prepared speeches on the Australian colonies; he would therefore suggest to those hon. Members who had taken an early hour for dinner, for the purpose of opposing this Bill, that it would be as well to introduce some new matter in the present debate, and to make those speeches which they intended for the Australian colonies in this debate; for he was sure that, as the only object of the opposition was to delay and obstruct the measure, a few speeches on the Australian colonies would be quite as apposite as the remarks which had already proceeded from that (the protectionist) side of the House. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone said that he had had communication with his constituents on the subject of this Bill. Now he (Mr. Osborne), although he had had no communication with the constituents of the noble Lord, still knew that his constituents amounted to just 1,360 out of the enormous population which he represented, and of these perhaps not 800 were entitled to vote, and that this Bill, if carried into effect, would place upon the register of the county for Tyrone at least 14,600 voters. He was one of those who rejoiced at the delay which hon. Members opposite had given to the progress of this Bill, as it would show to the people of Ireland the real character of the opposition. There had been great apathy prevailing in Ireland from various causes, and he was much mistaken if these proceedings did not open the eyes of the people of Ireland as to who were their real friends. It was the cloven foot of protection that was seen peeping through this factious opposition. It was not by throwing out bribes or lures of high prices to the farmers that they would be able to gain any support for that party which began the Session with better prospects than they now had. The noble Lord who was the leader of this opposition was at the head of an organised hypocrisy—["Oh, oh!"]—he was at this moment at the head, and he (Mr. Osborne) stated it before the country and to his face—of an organised hypocrisy, when he pretended that he was anxious to delay the Bill in order to obtain the opinion of his constituents on the subject. Every person knew that hon. Members opposite were perfectly satisfied with the constituencies of Ireland as they then stood; and he should have thought that a Member for the University of Dublin was the very last person who would vote for enlarging the constituency and widening the franchise of the people of Ireland. He should have thought that any Member for that place would be the most likely person to defer any extension of the suffrage to the Greek Kalends. He hoped the noble Lord at the head of the Government would go on as well as he had commenced; he (Mr. Osborne) would be perfectly ready to give him his support, and would sit there to any hour in the morning to support him against the plans of the party opposite. By persevering in his course, the noble Lord would show the people of Ireland who was their true friend, and that he was not prepared to hand over the government of that country to the tender mercies of a haughty, and he would say insolent, faction.


would remind the hon. Member for Middlesex, when he taunted the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone with his constituency, that he (Mr. Osborne) had joined a party who had promised him a new constituency in the room of that of Middlesex, when another election took place. The Health of Towns Bill, which had been originally introduced into that House, had been withdrawn before a similar opposition to the present, and an amended and improved measure adopted in its stead. The conduct of Government on this question would raise a suspicion that they were anxious to divert the attention of the country from those great questions with which it was now agitated. Government was endeavouring to get them into a false position before the country by inducing the belief that Gentlemen on his side were opposed to a liberal extension of the suffrage. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said certain clauses might be postponed till Friday, but it was evident that the object of the noble Lord was to prevent the consideration of any amendment that might be proposed. The object of Her Majesty's Ministers was to divert the attention of the country from other questions, and, if possible, by a trick in Parliament to misrepresent the opinions of Gentlemen on that side of the House, who were as anxious to extend the constituency as any other Gentlemen in that House could be. The best proof of that was that they offered no opposition to the second reading.


said, he was not one of those who was disposed to complain of a fair and legitimate exercise of the forms of the House. He had no objection to that which the majority sometimes considered a factious opposition. He had been in minorities which had divided several times when those who were opposed to him accused him of high crimes and misdemeanors. But it appeared to him that a minority should at least have something like a fair case. He had listened with attention to the arguments in favour of the course which hon. Gentlemen opposite pursued. That which had just been put forward by the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone had been most completely disposed of by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. It was the first time he had ever heard that the whole proceedings of that House were to be put in abeyance because some hon. Gentleman had not taken care to consult his constituents. Another argument was, that hon. Gentlemen wished to attend the assizes. But what could be more fanciful and absurd than to suppose either that it was absolutely necessary for the Irish Members to go to the assizes, or, if they should go to the assizes, that it was absolutely necessary for that House to postpone this important business on their account? The business of that House should be paramount to all other business; and neither lawyers going on circuit, nor Gentlemen going to attend the assizes or quarter-sessions, had any right, or pretence of right, to ask that House to put aside any important public business for their convenience. Then, with regard to the argument founded on their ignorance of the Bill, it was as groundless as the other was untenable. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone argued at great length on the short time the Bill had been in Members' hands. But it must be borne in mind that it had been agreed, ever since the Bill made its appearance, that no opposition should be made to the principle on which it was founded. Everybody knew that on Friday night, because it was known that the principle of the Bill had been admitted, from conviction on this side of the House, and from necessity on that. They were aware, therefore, that they must look for the discussion in Committee, and not on the second reading. There was, then, no weight whatever in the argument derived from the delay between the second reading and the committal of the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin said that he had many serious amendments to urge upon almost every clause of the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman had left the House—["No, no!"] He (Mr. Bright) had thought he bad done so, and regretted it was not the case, because he could not now say what he was going to observe—that he had left the House rather than be a party to the present opposition. It had been reported that hon. Gentlemen opposite had a meeting to-day on this question, and it was rumoured on his side of the House, that besides coming to a resolution to oppose the measure, they had resolved also to dine before they came to the House, thus gaining advantage over them, who had no knowledge of the opposition which was about to take place. [Laughter.] From what he knew, confirmed as it was by the discussion which had taken place, the conclusion to which he came was this, that hon. Gentlemen opposite believed there was something in this Bill very much adverse to the policy which they endeavoured to persuade Parliament to adopt with regard to Ireland—that they were afraid to give to any portion of the inhabitants of that country that political influence to which, by the Union, by the constitution so much boasted of by hon. Gentlemen opposite, by every right which any subject of this realm could claim, they were fairly entitled. His conviction, therefore, was, that the proceedings of that evening were not dictated by any other reason than the desire of keeping the people of Ireland in the power of the minority, and ruling her, as heretofore, through the "paltry remnant of an expiring faction," as Lord Stanley once called you. Therefore it was that they opposed this measure with so much pertinacity. A noble Duke in another place had threatened the country with a dissolution of Parliament; and their tactics that evening showed that they looked to such an event. But he believed no person had less reason to fear a dissolution of Parliament than the hon. Gentlemen who sat on his side of the House. But if they were to have a dissolution of Parliament, his only objection was, that it should take place with one-third of the united kingdom in its present state, with its constituency gone to the United States, to the colonies, to the workhouse, or to the grave. If the constituency of Ireland is ever to be increased, let it be done speedily. Let them not suppose that they would gain strength in Great Britain by a policy, which, by driving them to a dissolution, in the hope that a larger number of Irishmen pledged to protection would be returned to that House, would deprive the people of Ireland of a real representation in that House. He was delighted that the noble Lord at the head of the Government was convinced of the object of the opposition that evening, which was no other than that the minority should henceforth, as they had done heretofore, rule in Ireland, and force the Imperial Parliament to uphold the supremacy they had so long enjoyed. Throughout Great Britain such a course of policy would receive no sanction, and he believed the noble Lord could do nothing more likely to strengthen his position throughout the three kingdoms than by a manful determination that, whatever became of the duration of Parliament, and even of his Cabinet, this measure, which he admitted did not go far enough for him, should pass through Parliament in the present Session. He therefore hoped the noble Lord would stand by his measure, which was one of great importance to the country and to the character of the Administration over which he presided.


said, the hon. Member who had just resumed his seat had laid down a general proposition from which he was not disposed to dissent, namely, that the business of the House and of the country should not be postponed to suit the convenience of individual Members. And to that proposition he (Lord J. Manners) would add, that neither ought the convenience of Government to be consulted when important measures were before the House. According to an arrangement which had been made some days ago, a most important debate respecting the administration of the affairs of the colonies was fixed for that night; but it appeared that the Government, for some reason best known to themselves, contrived, at a late hour on Friday night, to substitute the present Bill on the Order book, thus endeavouring to pass a most important measure through the House by surprise. He was sure that every hon. Gentleman on that (the Opposition) side of the House had every disposition to meet the noble Lord frankly on the colonial question; but the noble Lord had not observed the ordinary courtesies of the House. For his (Lord J. Manners') own part, he entirely repudiated the accusation of the hon. Member for Middlesex, that the Opposition was not acting with bonâ fides on that occasion. The second reading of this Bill was allowed to pass almost sub silentio on Friday, and because they asked for fair and ordinary time to discuss the details of the measure, the noble Lord and hon. Gentlemen who supported the Government turned round and taunted them with being parties to all sorts of underhand proceedings, disgraceful combinations, and he knew not what besides. He repudiated with the utmost scorn and contempt every accusation of that sort; and he would say for himself, and those hon. Gentlemen who had taken a similar course to himself, that they intended to persevere in that course, and they would thus teach the noble Lord a lesson which he hoped he would not soon forget. Hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House were prepared to discuss this Bill in a spirit of the utmost fairness and liberality; but they would not be forced into a premature discussion of it simply because Her Majesty's Government bad, for reasons best known to the noble Lord, taken this Bill out of its ordinary course, and thus given the go-by to a discussion of the greatest importance on the administration of colonial affairs. If the noble Lord was not satisfied with the opposition which had been already given, he could assure him that he should have plenty more of it.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time." Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now leave the chair."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 146: Majority 76.


said, the Gentlemen on his side of the House required more time to deliberate on the important measure then under discussion than from Friday night to the following Monday night. There were portions of the Bill which were most unobjectionable, and other portions, particularly the franchise portion, about which considerable doubt and difficulty prevailed. It had been said by hon. Members who were anxious to pass the measure, that "great excitement existed in many counties and districts of Ireland in reference to the Bill." Now he denied that altogether. ["Oh, oh!"] Let hon. Members point to a single petition introduced from Ireland on the question. But he did not want to waste the time of the House. However, having entered on the course which hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House thought fit to adopt, he would persevere, and move that the Chairman do now report progress.


said, before the House divided he wished to make a few observations, which might have the effect of saving much valuable time. As far as he (Mr. Napier) was concerned, it would be much more convenient, and consequently preferable, to go on with the Bill that night than ten days or a fortnight hence, because, professionally, he was acquainted with all the provisions of the Bill. But he certainly thought that in the case of Irish county Members, who declared the measure came on them by surprise, and that they consequently required time to make themselves acquainted with its details, a postponement might be acceded to. ["No, no!"] He assured the House he was far from offering the present Bill anything like a factious opposition; yet he thought he would be acting an unworthy part did he express his disapproval of the means adopted by these hon. Gentlemen—means which the forms of the House sanctioned—in order to secure time for deliberation. He suggested that parts of the Bill might be gone into that evening in reference to which there was no division of opinion; and that the other parts, on which hon. Members for Irish counties might wish to confer with their constituents, should be postponed to a future night. The matter was one of serious, of vital importance; and, therefore, he entreated the noble Lord at the head of the Government to adopt his suggestion, and that the House would discuss with temper and patience the various details of the Bill.


said, the suggestion of the hon. and learned Member had been made in so temperate a tone that it deserved some reply on his part, and he entirely concurred with the hon. and learned Gentleman, that a question of this importance should be discussed fairly upon its merits. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said that some parts of the Bill might be discussed now, while other parts, which county Members from Ireland required more time to consider, might be postponed. That, upon the face of it, appeared a very fair proposition; but there were some parts of the Bill, which it appeared to him ought to be taken into consideration now, which those county Members might wish to be postponed; he alluded particularly to that portion of the Bill which fixed the county franchise. He did not consider that to require postponement; as it was a point upon which every hon. Gentleman must have already made up his mind. That question had been two years before the public, and during that period it was well known what the plan of the Government upon it was. One hon. Gentleman who spoke on Friday night took a very mistaken view of it. He said that there ought to be a 25l. franchise, which would then only be half the franchise for counties in England; but he must have forgotten that the 40s. franchise had been abolished in Ireland. If hon. Gentlemen wished for a 20l. or a 25l. franchise, let them make that proposition as an Amendment to the Bill, or let them move that there should be a tenure for life, or for a certain number of years, joined with the 8l. franchise. He should abide by the Bill as it stood; and if any hon. Member was in favour of raising the amount beyond the 8l., or of attaching any tenure to it, that was a question which he was prepared to discuss. If the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University meant that the House could then proceed with that question, and that there were other matters on which he had amendments to offer of an intricate nature, and which required consideration, he (Lord J. Russell) was certainly prepared to enter into the spirit of the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition. But if he merely intended that the House should consider only the registration clauses, and agree to all those parts of the Bill which conformed with the measure that was introduced by Lord Stanley on that subject, and postpone altogether the clauses relating to the franchise, he begged to say that that was a course to which he could not consent. The county franchise in Ireland was now enjoyed by little more than 30,000 persons, and the object of this Bill was to extend that franchise, so that about 200,000 persons should have a vote. It was, in fact, a question of principle, and one therefore which the House was now quite prepared to discuss.


concurred in all the reasons for postponement which had been urged by every Gentleman who had spoken on his side of the House. But he thought the Committee must now he aware that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in answer to the very temperate speech made by the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, had made no concession on this point. In the course of his Parliamentary experience he had seen a great many contests of this description, and he differed from the hon. Member for Kerry, who said that he never knew an opposition of the kind which had been attended with success, whereas he (Mr. Mackenzie) did not recollect one which was not successful. He recollected the time when the former hon. and learned Member for Dublin, with only ten Members at his back, defeated the Government on a Motion for an adjournment. He recollected when the late hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Warburton) succeeded in adjourning the discussion on the Copyright Bill, not on the ground that any of his friends were going to the assizes, but because they had gone to a Radical dinner. Though the conduct of the Government was unprecedented, the course taken by the Opposition was certainly not without precedent.


did not rise to prolong the discussion, but for the purpose of stating a fact of importance to the Irish people. He wished to state that in the Bill which they were then considering there were only two new clauses, which were separate and distinct from the Bill which had been before the House in 1849 and 1848. Therefore, there was not the slightest ground for complaint by Irish Members that they were taken by surprise; because these clauses did not in the least affect the principle of the Bill, the sense of which was contained in the first three clauses.


said: Even if I were disposed to agree in every clause of the Bill now under discussion, I should feel it my duty, as a Member of this House, to protest against and oppose its introduction, from the very indecent and unconstitutional manner Her Majesty's Ministers now attempt to force it upon the country. No person, Sir, is more aware than I am of the necessity of the increase of the franchise in the counties in Ireland—no person more disposed than I to grant them every legislative privilege; but I cannot consent to have this measure, now brought forward with such indecorous haste, without more time being given for its proper and unbiassed discussion. I feel myself exactly in the same predicament with my noble Friend the Member for Tyrone. I was most anxious to consult my constituents upon this important measure, as I think it the duty of every Member so to do; but I was prevented by this precipitancy. The Bill was printed on Wednesday, and I immediately forwarded several copies to my constituents for their perusal and advice. No reply could as yet be received, and for this reason alone I would feel it my duty to take no active part in the discussion until I heard their opinions, which I should ever be desirous to consult. My opinion, Sir, is, that this Bill as deeply concerns England as Ireland; for I consider it to be but the forerunner of another Reform Bill for England. This is another reason for mature deliberation. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for the county of Dublin has alluded in flattering terms to my return for Cork on protectionist principles. This reminds me, Sir, of an assertion made a few evenings since by my hon. Colleague—that I did not represent the constituency of Cork, and, therefore, did not possess their confidence. Now, Sir, I appeal to the House, if it is within the reach of either possibility or probability, that a body of men, nearly 800, some of the highest respectability, would so far stultify themselves with the world and with this House as to use such exertions for me as have procured for me the high honour of a seat in this House, if I did not possess their full confidence? There was no taking by surprise—no want of choice: it was quite an embarrass de richesse; for ten candidates were in the field soliciting the favour of "the beautiful city." My hon. Colleague has also asserted that the chairman of my committee was a free-trader, and that protection had no influence whatever in my return. Now, Sir, to both these assertions I give the most unqualified denial. The chairman of my committee was not a free-trader, and I lately received a letter from my friend entreating I would remove that slur from his character. Now, as to protection having nothing to do with my return, I shall merely assure the House that many of my constituents who upon the occasion of my three former contested elections used every means, both personal and political, to prevent my return, upon this last contest voluntarily came forward and gave me their support, upon the sole condition that I would advocate protection in this House. No doubt, strange things are done in the sister kingdom; but that extraordinary election anomaly, of free-traders supporting an avowed protectionist, and electors returning a person who did not possess their confidence, is yet to be perpetrated.


thought that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down had not paid a very handsome tribute to his constituents when he said that not one of them understood the Bill under discussion, which was so exceedingly intelligible. He appealed to hon. Gentlemen not to wear the appearance, as they repudiated the intention, of a factious opposition. They were all agreed upon the principle of the Bill, and why not accept the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, which was so exceedingly reasonable? The Bill was not a new one, but was before the House last year. If a measure was to be postponed until constituencies could deliver their opinions upon it, the House would set a very dangerous precedent. The Bill in itself was intrinsically good, and therefore could not be open to the appellation of revolutionary.


thought, from the silence of the hon. Members on the other—the Ministerial—side, that they were gradually coming to a conviction that the conduct of the Government was unjustifiable. Those hon. Members had attributed to hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House motives and feelings for which there was no authority. They pretended to be acquainted with even the state of their stomachs—whether they had dined or not. Why, he took up the Times of that morning, and saw a letter from the hon. Member for Glasgow, in which he spoke of the Motion last week of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire as a Satanic temptation. If it was said that hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House wished to maintain the present franchise in Ireland, he would remind the House that every hon. Member that had risen on that side of the House had positively denied it. He was one of twenty-five Members in that House on Friday night, who had been accused of being sleepy; and well they might be after a two o'clock division the same morning, yet, with this scant attendance, the noble Lord hurried the Bill through the second reading and into Committee with most indecent haste the following Monday. This was nothing less than a new Reform Bill for Ireland; and he would ask the noble Lord whether, if it were for England, he would have taken the same course? Members representing English counties would have opposed the progress of the Bill, and he had no doubt that the noble Lord would have given way. This Bill was brought in in 1841; the registration part of it by Lord Stanley, in 1840. In 1841, the 5l. rating clause was brought in, but the Government gave way, and the 8l. clause was substituted. Afterwards, Earl Grey, then Lord Howick, suggested something over and above 8l., and this measure was discussed at that period; but was that a reason why a Bill, with many clauses of a totally different character, introduced at an early period of the Session, before the month of February was out, should be forced on with so much haste? It was his conviction that this was but the forerunner of further English reform. It was to be a test of the feelings of the country. It bore that character, and some of the clauses might be proposed for the most radical constituency. He believed, however, that if this Bill passed, the noble Lord would bring on his right flank such a body that he would bitterly regret it.


denied that he had ever stated that his hon. and gallant Colleague had not the confidence of his constituents; but since it had been alluded to, he had now no hesitation in saying, that the hon. and gallant Member had not politically the confidence of the citizens of Cork. He admitted that he had been mistaken in saying that the chairman of the hon. and gallant Member's committee was a free-trader; but the gentleman who proposed him was a free-trader, and so was the hon. gentleman who subscribed the largest sum for his return. Would the House allow him to analyse the list of voters who gave their suffrages to the hon. and gallant Member? 400 of those voters were not protectionists. He thought, then, he was right in saying that protection had had nothing to do with the hon. and gallant Member's election; and, if a new election took place in the next two months, he ventured to assert that protection would get no favour in Cork.


said, that not being in the confidence of the Government—not having, like hon. Members opposite, constant communication with the Government, hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side were not aware that the Government brought forward, last year, a Bill for the sole purpose of withdrawing it, and bringing it in again this year. The hon. Member for Carlow had spoken of this being the same Bill as the Bill brought in last year, except as to two clauses; but the hon. Gentleman was in error in supposing that merely introducing a Bill and then withdrawing it was the same thing as taking the sense of the House upon it. That was a new theory of constitutional legislation. This Bill had never been sanctioned by the House.


would be exceedingly glad if some hon. Gentleman would explain the reasons why the Roman Catholic clergy, who had been such determined free-traders, had suddenly become protectionists.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time." Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

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


felt if the course which was pursued on that occasion by the Opposition was unconstitutional, he, for one, would not persist in it; but, on the contrary, he felt that the Government was not proceeding in a constitutional manner. The Government had jumbled the Bills they had introduced in such a manner that they hardly knew themselves what business would come on, and it was utterly impossible for independent Members to tell. Notice had been given that the Bill for giving a constitution to the free Australian colonies would be brought forward to-night; but this arrangement was changed the last thing on Friday, and it was announced that Her Majesty's Ministers intended to proceed with the Irish Reform Bill. That they should thus suddenly shift their ground, by passing from one important measure to another, was too much for the House patiently to submit to. What he complained of was, that the great subject of conferring constitutions on some of our most valuable colonies, and which was ripe for discussion, and upon parts of which it was of great importance to obtain the decision of the House, had been suddenly shifted over, and they were called upon to proceed with another important measure which had only been four days in the hands of Members. Her Majesty's Ministers evidently believed that some of the divisions in the Committee on the Australian Colonies Government Bill would be adverse to them. They, therefore, were afraid to proceed with it. The noble Lord at the head of the Government stated that the object in this postponement was to enable him to lay some papers on the table, illustrative of the subject; but surely this might have previously been done. If large measures like these, for giving constitutions to our colonies, and for the reform of the Irish constituencies, were to be shifted about in this manner, it would be better for independent Members to give up their attendance, and allow Government to proceed as they pleased. No one who was called upon to vote on the measure before the Committee had had time to give a proper consideration to its details. He knew that hon. Gentlemen opposite wished this Bill to pass without a division or debate; but it was a matter that required much consideration. The hon. Member for Manchester would pass any Bill which would extend the franchise; and this was the case with other hon. Gentlemen who believed that the extension of the franchise would prove the panacea of Ireland. It was the opinion of his hon. friends, as well as his own, that the Bill should be maturely considered before it was passed, if it was intended to do good to Ireland. Under these circumstances, he should move that the Chairman now leave the chair.


felt it to be his imperative duty to persevere in opposing Ministers, whose only object in introducing the Bill was to keep their seats on the Treasury bench. The manner in which they attempted to smuggle this important measure through Parliament was disgraceful. They claimed a majority on the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire; but if the paid occupants of the seats on the right of the Speaker's chair had not voted they would have been in a minority. Hon. Gentlemen might accuse him of being factious; but what they called factious he considered constitutional and proper; and the Opposition was bound to avail itself of all the forms of the House to teach the Government their duty, since nothing else would teach them. Ministers were, after all, but the servants of the people; and there was nothing more unbecoming than that those who were clothed, fed, and pampered by the people should be the last to consult their wishes or their interests.


The House was now about to go to the sixth division since Mr. Bemal had taken the chair. He supposed hon. Gentlemen over the way would not allow him to call their hostility to the Bill factious, unless he put the addendum of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, that it was a factious proceeding for a constitutional object. He could not conceal his surprise at the conduct of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire, who seemed so desirous of conferring elective chambers and constitutional privileges upon the inhabitants of a distant colony, but would withhold them from his fellow-subjects at home. [Mr. OSBORNE: "Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."] He thanked his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex for reminding him of the line he had just quoted. He thought, from the zeal of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Staffordshire in asserting the privileges of the people of another hemisphere, that he might have claimed him as a Repealer. Alas! Irishmen were not to claim his paternal solicitude. His sensibility and tenderness were for the Australians, not for the Irish. He would not say that hon. Gentlemen opposite were playing "fantastic tricks before high Heaven," but they certainly were proceeding in a manner likely to provoke unpleasant inquiry out of doors. He entertained no feeling of ill-will towards hon. Gentlemen opposite; but if he did so, he could be gratified to his heart's content, for they were following the example of a certain animal that would be nameless, who swam until he cut his throat. They were working out that principle. Some Irishmen believed that hon. Gentlemen opposite—the protectionists and their leaders—meant kindly to Ireland. This night's proceedings would effectually dispel that delusion. Hon. Gentlemen opposite placed themselves in a wrong position. For his own part, he sometimes supported and sometimes opposed the Government, but had of late regretted to see they were fast become politically insolvent—they were losing their political capital daily, and the Gazette seemed inevitable, when hon. Gentlemen opposite set them up again. Why what would be said in Dublin? Oh, they would say, we thought the Government were quite indifferent to our welfare; but there is Lord John Russell fighting like a game cock for the Irish franchise. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire at one time seemed to have taken Ireland under his especial care and protection. That species of protection the Irish people would now know how to estimate. During the discussion of the Irish Coercion Bill, the hon. Gentleman spoke of a class of persons whose name he could only whisper in that House—whose loyalty was regarded as a crime, and their religion a reproach—he alluded to the Protestants of Ulster; but he begged leave to remind the hon. Gentleman that this House had a whispering gallery, and that its echo was heard upon the Irish side of St. George's Channel. He cautioned hon. Gentlemen against proceeding in this angry manner when an attempt was made to confer constitutional rights on the people of Ireland, for it might confirm them in the belief that nothing but a repeal of the Union could do them justice, seeing that every reasonable endeavour to benefit them was met by a factious opposition.


hoped that the Irish people would become acquainted with what was taking place in that House upon this occasion, and then they would know that the Government were attempting to deal with an important measure affecting the constituency of Ireland in a way in which they would not venture to act with respect to an English turnpike Act. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had not replied to the question whether any Bill of the same description had ever been brought forward in the same manner. Ireland was entitled to see measures affecting her interests receive the calm deliberation accorded to measures affecting other portions of the empire. She ought not to be treated as Ceylon had been treated—like a hostile community. But the discussion of this measure had been made to depend on the contingency of another Bill not being brought forward. No such uniform rating existed as the machinery of the Bill required, and the only evidence produced in support of it was a document which had, in all probability, lost its value as an authority in consequence of the changes now going on in the state of property. This Bill was only printed on Wednesday, and they had been told its object was to increase the constituency in Ireland from 60,000 to 200,000 voters, and the House was called upon to sanction its details without any interval for consideration. It was contrary to the usual proceedings of Parliament that a Bill to make such important alterations should be urged forward in such a manner. He maintained, in legislating for Ireland, that that country was entitled to the same respect and attention as was shown with regard to English measures. He hoped all Ireland would know what had occurred in the House that night.


said, that if he and his friends had lost the confidence and affections of the Irish people, by making this effort to secure in the transaction of Irish business the same courtesy and decorum which were observed in the transaction of English business, they must endeavour to bear that consequence as they could. Hon. Members opposite thought an increased franchise a universal panacea. His own opinion, if he were to give one on this Bill, was, that, large and liberal as the measure might be, if it were large and liberal, it was probably those who brought it in that would burn their fingers with their own invention. The more the franchise was enlarged the more were those turned out who were most eulogistic of extension of the franchise; and, whether in England or in Ireland, whatever experiments might be tried in either, many of those who were most loud-mouthed in the advocacy of such a measure as the present, might, when the newly-constructed Parliament was called together, most probably not be found among its Members. There was only one point now really of importance. Had Her Majesty's Government acted ingenuously towards the House in the conduct of this business? There were, he thought, ample facts before the House to enable them to form a candid and impartial opinion; and whether those who desired a postponement of the measure were beaten by numbers or not, there could be no doubt that, eventually, the judgment of the House and the country on the course which had been taken would settle down to a fair conception of the merits of the case. No one denied that the measure was one of great importance; if it were not so, it ought not to have been introduced at all. All the arguments, which had been repeated ad nauseam, in favour of the course taken by Her Majesty's Government, were, that the Bill, though important, was not novel. [Laughter from the Ministerial benches.] One of the arguments used by the Gentleman who had just indulged an unmeaning laugh was, that the Bill was fifteen years old, and had been introduced by Lord Morpeth. None could have greater respect for that noble Lord than he (Mr. Disraeli) had; but, at the same time, he did not know it was understood in the House of Commons, that, if a measure had been introduced fifteen years ago by Lord Morpeth, that was a sufficient reason why it should receive the sanction of Parliament. Lord Morpeth proposed a grant of 5,000,000l. for Irish railways. If he (Mr. Disraeli) repeated that proposition to-morrow, would hon. Gentlemen support him? The argument based on the statement that this was not a novel measure, had no strength whatever. The Bill might have been introduced last year, but who read it last year? Who would study a Bill which the Government said they were not prepared to carry into effect? But even if the Bill had been introduced last year—even if the noble Lord, in doing so, had made one of those explanatory statements in which he so much excelled, and which was calculated to be retained in the recollection of the House—even if the matter had gone to a discussion—if the measure had gone through the wise constitutional stages their predecessors had devised, in order that public opinion might not be taken by surprise, and the House of Gommons not be betrayed into immature and factious legislation, was that any reason why in this Session the same decorum should not be observed—why the same candid treatment should not be shown, which, whoever might be Minister, he hoped would always be accorded to the House of Commons? The Committee would judge whether he was indulging in imaginary assumptions, and whether he was not founding his argument on details the authenticity of which none could question. He looked at a most authentic document on the table—the Speech of Her Majeaty on the first day of the Session. In that speech they were told that "some of the measures which were postponed at the end of the last Session, for want of time for their consideration, will be again laid before you." ["Hear, hear!" from the Ministerial benches.] "Hear, hear!" he waited for that cry; he expected it. That cheer was meant to signify that the expression applied to the present Bill. No such thing. The Speech proceeded, "Among the most important of these is one for the better government of the Australian colonies." So far as regarded the announcements in Her Majesty's Speech, and the subsequent declarations of the Minister, the House was to be prepared for a Bill for the better government of the Australian colonies. But did the Speech proceed to speak of the present Bill in similar terms? "Her Majesty has directed various measures to be prepared for the improvement of the condition of Ireland." These were of a new character. This was a catalogue of new measures to be prepared, not of ancient Bills which could not be passed last Session for want of time. What was the list of new measures prepared "for the improvement of the condition of Ireland?" The mischiefs arising from party processions, the defects of the laws regulating the relation of landlord and tenant, the imperfect state of the grand-jury Acts, and the diminished number of electors for Members to serve in Parliament, would, together with other matters of serious consequence, form the "subjects" of these new "measures." The measure for the government of the Australian colonies was put in a more ostentatious position, among the measures which could not be passed last Session, that being a measure which had been matured, and which the noble Lord had snatched, as it were, from the Under Secretary for the Colonics, as if he were himself alone capable of undertaking the perilous duty of dealing with such important questions of colonial policy. After such an exposition of the intentions of Government with reference to their colonial policy, was it fair that all these announcements should assume the character of a mere attempt to play with the House and beguile their senses—should appear not to have been made for the purposes of sound substantial legislation, and that at the last languid hour of last week's business the card should be suddenly changed, and another measure, which Her Majesty's Speech proved to be a new measure, thrust on the attention of the House of Commons? There was other evidence that on the part of the Government there was no intention previously of forcing the measure forward. Not only in the Speech from the Throne was it placed in a subordinate position, as contrasted with old tried seasoned measures which could not be passed for want of time last year, but the confidential agent of the Treasury bench, who arranged the business in the red book, had so disposed it that on turning to February 25th, the order intended would be found to be Process and Practice (Ireland) Bill; Australian Colonies Bill; Pirates Head-money Bill; Registration of Deeds (Ireland) Bill; Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Bill; and then followed the Parliamentary Voters and Elections (Ireland) Bills. The precedence given to five or six measures of great importance proved that it was not the intention to press the Bill to-night. There had not been that candid ingenuous conduct on the part of Government which was due to the House, and especially to the minority. The noble Lord at the head of the Government might not think the point of great importance, or condescend to vindicate himself. But in the disposal of business in a great popular assembly, that business could not be carried on pleasantly and profitably without an understanding such as is usual, that the leader of the House of Commons, whoever he might be, should take care that his conduct for fairness on such matters should be beyond impeachment. In the present case the conduct of the Government was not beyond impeachment in that respect. In the matter of a Bill for reconstructing and enlarging the franchise in Ireland, which had been read a second time only on Friday, it was the duty of the noble Lord to see that when the measure was to be brought before the Committee it should be well heralded; that due notice should be given, so as to enable Members on either side of the House to propose their Amendments for the deliberation of the House. In these respects had the conduct of the Government been clear and faultless? If not, that was the vindication of the course which those had taken with great unwillingness who had urged postponement. It was a course which they had taken as a matter of duty; and none of the petty taunts he had heard to-night would deter them from following that course, or make him believe that, in the long run, impartial men, men of common sense, and men of business—he was not speaking of trading agitators—would fail to be of opinion that they had acted with good temper and sound discretion.


wished to make but one remark, but it was an important one. It would be more advantageous to the business of the House if, when the Government had recently laid down a line of legislation, they would keep to that line. Another reason for the measures alluded to in the Royal Speech as old measures dropped last year being brought forward first was, that by the extraordinary haste in legislation which the Government had shown on this occasion, one measure was always on the heels of another, which was put aside and left in an imperfect state. Was the noble Lord aware that the Australian Bill had been left in so imperfect a condition that there was no sanction for the Government of Western Australia?


thought the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Staffordshire had certainly profited by the kindly suggestion of the hon. Member for Middlesex, that, as there was a disposition to discuss the affairs of Australia, hon. Members should make all the speeches they had prepared on that subject. To propose a question on Australia, and call on the Under Secretary for the Colonies to answer, seemed to the hon. Gentleman a good course to follow, but it was one to which he (Lord J. Russell) must decline acceding. When the affairs of Australia came before the House, he should describe what was the state of the law with respect to Western Australia. But the question now before the House was whether they should or should not go on with the consideration of the Bill relating to the elective franchise in Ireland. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had given an historical account, which was very amusing as an historical account, but which was open to criticism as to the facts. The noble Lord the Member for Tyrone told the House that the Bill was introduced last year by the Government for the purpose of withdrawing it, and therefore, as it was introduced only to be withdrawn, nobody thought it worth while to look at it. The fact was, it was introduced with the intention of being proceeded with, and carried through, if possible; but that was prevented by the discussion of other business. There was no reason why those who wished to pay attention to the subject should not have done so last year, or why the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire should have thought it unnecessary to look into the merits of the Bill. He (Lord J. Russell) did not see how the Government were to be answerable for the attention or inattention of hon. Gentlemen to Bills brought in, as the present Bill had been, last Session. It was surely fair to ask that those Bills should receive attention. Then the hon. Gentleman read the Speech of Her Majesty cum notis variorum, which were not exactly conformable to the Speech; because the hon. Gentleman said Her Majesty had been advised to say— The mischiefs arising from party processions, the defects of the laws regulating the relations of landlord and tenant, the imperfect state of the Grand Jury Acts, and the diminished number of electors for Members to serve in Parliament, together with other matters of serious consequence, would"— The hon. Gentleman represented the Speech as announcing—" form the subject of new measures;" whereas the words of the Speech were, "form the subject of measures to be submitted to your consideration." As in the former part of the Speech it was stated that some measures proposed last Session would again be laid before Parliament, and as the Bill had been described as being very nearly the same as that of last Session, a key was afforded to the nature of the measure. He could not help thinking that it was not solely on account of their having had notice at six or seven o'clock only on Friday night that hon. Members were pursuing their present course; because it seemed to him that if they had really no aversion, as they said, to discuss the question of the Irish franchise—if particularly they were anxious to sec an extension of the franchise—although some complaint might be made that the measure had been brought on sooner than was expected—yet, when the sense of the Committee was made apparent, and it was clearly seen that the majority were anxious to enter into a consideration of the Bill, they would have consented to that course. He did think, however, that hon. Gentlemen opposite must have a great reluctance to alter the present state of the franchise in Ireland; that there was at the bottom of these frequent divisions a real aversion, amounting almost to an antipathy, to its extension to the numbers proposed by the present Bill, together with a fear that the House might by a large majority confirm that extension, which led hon. Gentlemen so pertinaciously to oppose its progress. By one hon. Gentleman after another taking upon himself the unpleasant and rather unusual task of repeatedly moving, that "the Chairman do now leave the chair," it might be possible to delay the Bill for a time; but he was afraid that the opponents of the measure would receive no further consolation. He had the most perfect confidence that the House would extend the franchise in Ireland; that they would enable the people of Ireland at the next general election to come forward in much greater numbers than hitherto to vote for Members of Parliament; and he thought if such were shown to be the opinion of the House by such majorities as he expected would declare it, that it was likely that such would form the subject of an Act of Parliament. Then, if that were the case, would it not be better not to shrink from the subject, but at once fairly to go into it—for hon. Members to prepare their Amendments, and to decide upon them in the usual manner? It would, he thought, be much better taken, both in this country and in Ireland, if that course were pursued. People would say, "There was a fair difference of opinion—Gentlemen on one side thought the proposed extension of the franchise was not too great, whilst Gentlemen on the other side thought it so extensive as to be dangerous; the matter has been fairly decided; we find no fault with Gentlemen on either side for their opinion—it is for experience to decide which is right; but both sides have behaved in a fair and straightforward manner." He thought that such conduct, if he might be allowed to say it, would add more to their reputation with the country than pursuing a different course.


said, it was generally admitted that an extension of the franchise was necessary, but he could not conceive that, when a moderate delay was asked, not for the purpose of frivolous and vexatious opposition, but of necessary inquiry, a Minister could refuse his assent to the appeal of the minority. He thought that when Western Australia was left without a constitution, the first duty of the Ministers would have been to have brought on the Bill for remodelling the Australian colonies; but they refused to go on with that Bill, because they perceived it would meet with great opposition in Committee, and because they thought that, backed by a large majority, they would carry without consideration their Bill for extending the franchise in Ireland. He thought that an opportunity for full and fair discussion should have been afforded to the Irish Members, who would be happy and willing to enter on the question if the noble Lord would give them time; and he could not but feel that in taking his present course the noble Lord treated them unfairly.


expressed his regret that the question had been treated as a party question. The Bill had been sufficiently long before the House, and the people of Ireland could not forget that they had but 30,000 electors out of a population of 8,000,000, while there were in this country 1,200,000 electors. He regretted as a friend to good understanding all that had occurred that night.


retorted, that Gentlemen on the other (the Ministerial) side of the House wanted to make this a party question, and did not treat their antagonists fairly, for if the latter had wished to make it a party contest, it would have been easy for them, instead of letting the Bill pass its second reading on Friday, with merely a few passing remarks, to have made it the subject of five or six nights' debate, and to have got up fifty Irish discussions on the one subject. They had not taken that course, yet the noble Lord accused them of wishing to prevent the extension of the franchise in Ireland. On Friday night Gentlemen on the different sides took various views of what the franchise ought to be. The very first clause of the Bill contained the pith of the question, and the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown know that only one division could take place on the question, whether the word eight should stand part of the Bill. Surely it was but reasonable to give time to hon. Gentlemen who held different opinions on that point. It was hard in the noble Lord to say, because this course had been adopted to secure a fair discussion, that therefore hon. Members were averse to the extension of the franchise in Ireland. He regretted the noble Lord had assumed that tone, for it was not an inducement to the Opposition to refrain as they had, from delaying, by much discussion, the progress of future measures.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time." Whereupon Motion made and Question put, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 184: Majority 114.


repudiated the idea that hon. Members at his side of the House were actuated by factious motives in the course they had been pursuing. An appeal had been made to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland to give some little time for the consideration of that measure; and, from the very courteous manner of the right hon. Gentleman, they thought it would have been given, and some Irish Members had actually left for Ireland upon that supposition. Motives had been ascribed to his side of the House which had been satisfactorily answered; but he did not think that any valid answer had been given by the Ministerial side of the House for having measures shuffled and the order changed. Could it have been for the unusual circumstance of forty-three Irish Members having voted against the Government that they brought forward this measure, knowing as they did that there were upwards of twenty Irish Members absent, who could not have done otherwise than voted for the Motion of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire? He would put it to the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government whether it would not be well, after the many divisions that had taken place, to give way. He would move that the Chairman report progress and ask leave to sit again.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time." Whereupon Motion made and Question put, "That the Chairman do now report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 70; Noes 185: Majority 115.


said, hon. Gentlemen opposite must have been perfectly aware that when they of the Opposition side had adopted that course, they had done so from a sense of duty, and had felt a strong justification for the policy they were pursuing, when, as a minority, they had recourse to those powers of delaying the proceedings of that House which its forms imposed. They had calculated on an ultimate and speedy appeal to public opinion, and had strong grounds for the course they had pursued when they ventured to disturb the proceedings of the House that evening. He ventured to address the House because he had been one of the few Members present on Friday, and he must say, from his experience of the proceedings of that House, that he never had been present on an occasion when the minority had been disposed to enter in a fairer spirit upon the discussion of the merits of that Bill. If their design had been to obstruct the proceedings of the House by a factious course, it would have been upon that discussion, when, he should say, a more temperate exposition of the merits and defects of the Bill was never addressed to Parliament than by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin. It was idle to suppose that the hon. and learned Gentleman, or any other hon. Gentleman then present, had been contemplating an obstruction of the regular course of business of that House, which would be an obstruction without sense, without reason, without foundation, but for the legitimate object they had in view, namely, the vindicating the rights of a minority, and claiming for that House the right of having a full and fair opportunity of deliberating upon the measures brought before it. That side of the House had been accused of antipathy to the measure; there were no grounds for such an imputation in the speeches delivered that night or on Friday. It was fully admitted on all sides that circumstances, brought about by the disastrous state of things in Ireland, had produced almost an annihilation of the franchise in that country, and that some remedy should be applied to such a state of things. But as to the charge of antipathy thrown out by the noble Lord at the head of the Government he (Sir J. Walsh) should say nothing could be more destitute of foundation. He thought it absolutely necessary that on a question of such vast importance as to its details that time should be given to hon. Members to discuss its merits, and place their amendments on the Notice-book of that House. He thought that Parliament, being a tribunal which had an ultimate resort to public opinion, it was absolutely necessary that the proceedings on a measure of such importance as this Bill should have time to deliberate upon these changes. It was upon that ground he considered it his duty to appeal to the noble Lord whether he could show any precedent for hastening a Bill of such vast importance—and the noble Lord did not deny its importance—and pressing it forward in a manner so as to preclude hon. Members from giving notices of the amendments they may deem necessary. It might have been a justification if there had been an earnest, deliberate, discussion upon the second reading, and the whole hearing of the subject investigated, for then the opinions of Members would have been fully elicited upon it. The disposition his side of the House had manifested to discuss the Bill in a calm, temperate spirit, should be an additional ground why the noble Lord should treat with indulgence their anxious desire to have some convenient time given for the further consideration of the measure. He had left the House on Friday evening with a full impression that Government would not press the subject to a speedy decision, and he was never more astonished than when he found they had determined to bring it on. England, Scotland, and Ireland ought to be allowed time to consider the effect of such a measure; whereas, by the present haste employed, the people would be taken by surprise. To think that at your breakfast to-morrow morning you should read that the whole constitution of Ireland had been changed in a single evening! The noble Lord had not attempted to offer a precedent for this haste, but had precipitated a measure which there had been every reason to believe would have been delayed. He (Sir J. Walsh) therefore moved that the Chairman report progress.


said, that the speech of the hon. Baronet who had just set down was not the only intimation they had that evening, that hon. Gentlemen opposite had some misgivings that the course they were pursuing was not well calculated to raise them in the estimation of the country. The hon. Baronet had complained that they were misunderstood. That was one of the evils of pursuing such a course. But the hon. Baronet, in disclaiming antipathy to the Bill, conld not surely have forgotten his own observations on Friday evening, which intimated tolerably plainly the course which he was inclined to follow with respect to it. In every division a fresh case of delay had been assigned by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Had the Bill been forwarded a stage that evening, as it very well might have been, by the time it reached its more important provisions hon. Members might have returned from the assizes.


said, the first clause of the Bill was the most important of all; and after that had passed, it would be too late then to repair the mischief when the absent Members returned from Ireland.


would ask, if it was not a perfectly valid objection that all the Irish county Members were absent when it was sought to proceed with a measure involving a total change in the representation of Ireland? He could not conceive anything more outrageous to the feelings of Irish Members than the hon. Member for Dundalk getting up to defend such a course of policy on the part of the Government. It seemed' to be forgotten that the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland, when asked to postpone the Irish Bill affecting tenant-right till after the assizes, gave way, thinking it preposterous to go on with the measure while the Irish Members were away to the assizes. In the case of the present measure they had an equally fair and just claim to a similar indulgence; and he was glad that the hon. Member for Dublin had said that this matter would go forth to the country, as he was sure that the decision of the country would justify the conduct of hon. Gentlemen on this (the Opposition) side of the House that night. He, therefore, trusted they would persevere in the course they had taken, for he felt that unfairness and trickery had been attempted to be played upon them.


thought the hon. and gallant Gentleman who last addressed them, could not have been present when he (Sir W. Somerville) had answered the remarks of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. He had then drawn a very wide distinction between the present Bill and the Bill affecting tenant-right. The latter Bill was quite a now Bill; it had been just printed, and had never been considered; and nothing could, therefore, be fairer than that time should be given to distribute it and allow it to be considered. But with this Bill now before the House, the case was very different, the Bill having been before the House on previous occasions. Why, in 1848 this Bill was read a second time, and stood for Committee. It contained this very first clause, the most important of all, as the noble Lord the Member for Colchester had stated.


reminded the right hon. Baronet that the measure respecting tenant-right, which had been allowed to be postponed, was not a new measure. The former Bills on the same subject, and of a very similar character to the Bill of this Session, had been almost numberless. Therefore, there was no plea for refusing the opportunity to consider the measure in one case, and granting it in another.


had heard with sincere pain and regret an hon. Gentleman on the Ministerial side term the opposition—the constitutional opposition—now offered by the large and powerful party on this side of the House, "an organised system of hypocrisy." He did not think it calculated to enhance the dignity of that House to bandy about such accusations. He had not learned Parliamentary tactics—God forbid that he ever should! he only acted according to the dictates of common sense and plain reason: but he must say he thought it would only he becoming if the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown would bow to the decision of so large a number of the Members of that House, and give time for the due consideration of this measure. The noble Lord had talked of the "insincerity" of those offering this opposition; but when he remembered that the noble Lord had done nothing for Ireland but produce rebellion by misgoverning her, and then tried by stratagems to draw off the people's attention from practical measures to barren measures of mere political change, he must say he thought there was ample justification for any one to retort the charge of organised hypocrisy and insincerity upon the noble Lord himself.


thought the noble Lord had acted in a manner unfair to the House, unfair to the colonies (respecting which an important measure stood on the Notice-paper for to-night), and unfair to the Irish Members. When a measure affecting Scotland was brought forward, it was never an answer to the Scotch Members, although only fifty-three in number, to tell them they should have no time allowed for its consideration, because it had been introduced in previous years; but the learned Lord opposite, the Lord Advocate, if they brought forward measures affecting Scotland which the Scotch Members believed to be ill-judged and ill-considered, was obliged to withdraw them again and again, that time might be given for their consideration by the people of Scotland; and if in legislating for Scotland; and for the colonies, they waited to hear the opinions of the people most immediately concerned, he considered that they were bound, on the principle of "justice to Ireland," to postpone this measure until full and distinct information was in the hands of the Irish Members as to the feelings of their constituents. The noble Lord said the people of Scotland held county meetings on a particular day, to discuss legislative questions affecting their interests; but in Ireland no such custom prevailed. Well, he (Mr. Scott) considered this all the stronger reason why the Irish Members should be allowed an opportunity of collecting the sentiments of the people by the most available and legitimate means. Again, he understood that, in the course of a few days, the hon. Member for Montrose was to bring forward a measure to extend the suffrage in England, and surely this Bill for Ireland ought to be postponed till they could compare it with the measure of the hon. Gentleman for England.


thought it would be much better if hon. Gentlemen opposite would proceed to discuss the details of this Bill, instead of wasting time on matters totally irrelevant to it. He trusted that the anomaly of having a constituency of only 30,000 voters out of a population of 8,000,000, would not be allowed to continue any longer.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be read a First Time."

Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now leave the Chair."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 194: Majority 119.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Arkwright, G. Hildyard, R. C.
Bankcs, G. Hood, Sir A.
Barrington, Visct. Hornby, J.
Bateson, T. Hudson, G.
Bennet, P. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Boldero, H. G. Knight, F. W.
Bremridge, R. Knox, Col.
Brooke, Lord Lennox, Lord A. G.
Brace, C. L. C. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Bunbury, W. M. Lowther, H.
Chatterton, Col. Mandeville, Visct.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Manners, Lord J.
Cocks, T. S. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Cole, hon. H. A. Miles, P. W. S.
Coles, H. B. Miles, W.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Mullings, J. R.
Disraeli, B. Naas, Lord
Dodd, G. Nowdegate, C. N.
Buncombe, hon. A. Ossulston, Lord
Du Pre, C. G. Packe, C. W.
Egerton, Sir P. Plumptre, J. P.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Repton, G. W. J.
Kilmer, Sir E. Scott, hon. F.
Forbes, W. Sibthorp, Col.
Fuller, A. E. Stafford, A.
Gaskell, J. M. Stanford, J. F.
Gooch, E. S. Stanley, E.
Gore, W. R. O. Stuart, J.
Grogan, E. Taylor, T. E.
Guernsey, Lord Trevor, hon. G. R.
Gwyn, H. Verner, Sir W.
Halford, Sir H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Hall, Col. Waddington, D.
Halsey, T. P. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Hamilton, J. H. Wodehouse, E.
Hamilton, Lord C. TELLERS.
Harris, hon. Capt. Beresford, W.
Henley, J. W. Mackenzie, W. F.

then moved that the Chairman do now leave the chair and report progress. The hour was now too late (half-past eleven o'clock) to proceed with the discussion of the Bill. He proposed to take the Committee as the first order on Friday next.


hoped the noble Lord would not press it until further time had been given to consider it. Nothing but a sense of duty would have induced him to make the appeal to the noble Lord, If the noble Lord would not find it utterly inconsistent with the business arrangements for the next week, he trusted that it would be postponed until then.


requested that the noble Lord would give time to hon. Members to consider the Amendments they might wish to make.


would not then discuss the question with respect to the motives that had actuated the opposition that night; but he really thought if hon. Gentlemen had any amendments to propose, that they should agree upon them, and give notice in due form. Of course he did not mean that they should state their views as to each particular clause. As to the postponement, he did not think it consistent with his duty to postpone the Committee longer than Friday next.

Committee report progress; to sit again on Friday.

The House adjourned at Twelve o'clock.