HC Deb 28 February 1850 vol 109 cc137-218

, on rising to submit his Motion in favour of Parliamentary reform, said, that, often as he had addressed the House on this subject, he was not aware that on any occasion he had ever considered it of so much importance as he did at present. It was of great importance as regarded the future peace of this country; it was also important as concerned its financial situation and the means by which we might be able to reduce that taxation which was now excessive, and which had grown up for the want of that proper check and control which ought to exist in the House. He was quite aware that a large majority of hon. Members were very unwilling to listen to any subject of reform, believing as they did that the House was perfect in itself. Differing entirely from the majority in that respect, and knowing that we had continued too obstinately to refuse the demands of millions of our fellow-subjects, he thought it essential that he should state, as briefly as possible, the view he took of the question. The Motion he had to submit was a verbatim copy of the one he had brought forward on two successive years in the House. He was perfectly well aware of the fate of his former Motions. At the same time, he was not deterred from introducing it once again, though he greatly regretted that the attention he was obliged to pay to a variety of other subjects would prevent him from doing that justice to the present one which it required, and ought to receive. The demonstrations made by public meetings in favour of reform during the past twelve months encouraged him, notwithstanding the adverse result of the divisions of the last two Sessions, to press the subject once more upon the attention of the House, in the hope that, after mature consideration, they would be induced to lend to it a favourable ear. The Motion was for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the national representation. He moved this because he believed the representation required emendation. None would differ on that point; but then the difficulty was the extent of that emendation, and how it was to be carried out. He wanted not to make any innovation. His object was to restore the constitution of the House to what it was in principle, and what it was avowed by its supporters to be; and, after due consideration, he had come to the conclusion that he could not improve the constitution of the House, or bring it back to its original principle, without extending the elective franchise to a large extent. Universal suffrage was demanded by the people. He thought every man who paid taxes ought to be represented—that taxation and representation formed the contract of Englishmen—and that he who withheld that deprived Englishmen of their rights. This was his broad assertion; this was the point to which he went. Then came the consideration, how to carry out and obtain this change from an unwilling power—a power that could grant, but was unwilling to concede, the people's rights. He was obliged to lay down some rule in order to draw a line of distinction. Our present Acts of Parliament drew a line of distinction. They had pointed out who should possess the franchise, and of what the qualification should consist. It would be somewhat curious if he were to show that the principle on which our present representation rested was very different from that which he held the constitution of this country meant. Looking at the principle on which that House was constituted, and on which popular representation rested, he asked whether the present reformed Parliament had not been based on principles altogether at variance with that great, general, and admirable one of taxation and representation being co-existent? He held in his hand a letter written by Lord Melbourne to Mr. Drummond in 1832, stating the grounds on which the Government of that day intended to carry out the Reform Bill. His Lordship said— In the former Bill boroughs were regarded in proportion to their population, but in the present case the elements upon which the boroughs are to be estimated are by the number of the houses and the amount of the assessed taxes. Now, here was the principle on which the Reform Bill of 1832 had been effected. He (Mr. Hume) had agreed to that Reform Bill, and had supported it throughout, because he expected it would have given that degree of control to the people over the Members of that House which would enable good and cheap government to be achieved. He now came publicly forward and said that in that respect he had been much disappointed; and, therefore he asked the House to reconsider the basis on which that reform had been granted, and to extend, if possible, the numbers of the electors who were to have a voice in the election of Members of the Legislature. He had already stated that "universal" suffrage was demanded. This was a word not much liked, and very often not well understood; but he did not repudiate it, because if there was any particular mode by which he could obtain the voice of every man in the election of Members of Parliament he should only be carrying out the principle of the constitution of this country, as he could show by quoting the opinions of some of the ablest men of past times. He wished to state at the outset, that, not being able to effect universal suffrage, as he should wish to do, he adopted the next best course. He took that which was tangible, easy to be carried out, and of which no man need be afraid. He, therefore, begged not to be understood by any hon. Member as proposing that which was ideal, or fanciful, or difficult of accomplishment. He merely asked of them to agree to his Motion on this distinct ground—that taxation and representation should be carried as far as possible consistent with registration and a proper check against abuse. He might be told that every man in the country paid taxes whether he was rated or not, and he admitted that, by our present system of indirect taxation, this was true; but he held it to be almost impossible to have the principle adopted that every man who smoked tobacco or drank gin should have a vote. He had, therefore, adopted another principle—one which had not been deemed unworthy the attention of Her Majesty's Government in the case of Ireland—that of taxation and enrolment to the poor-law rating. If he could obtain any more certain data than the poor-law, he would adopt it. He thought that in proposing his plan to the House, he was bound to point out the facility with which that plan could be carried out; and if, in adopting the criterion of the poor-rate as the rate to give the franchise, he could show that there was a register kept of all he required, that no expense would be occasioned beyond that already incurred, and that every man assessed to the poor-rate should have the opportunity of voting for the election of a Member of Parliament, and that all this could be done without delay, he should do a great deal towards disarming and removing opposition. He should go further; he thought it of importance that every plan of reform and change should be cautiously made, well considered, and not hastily adopted. Anxious as he was for reform, he confessed that he had lived long enough to see many reforms carried that were not improvements; and he would not ask the House to adopt anything which he believed was not salutary, easy of accomplishment, and likely to be advantageous to the community. His Motion would give contentment and peace to the country, by bringing within the pale of the constitution a large number of individuals who were now excluded—of worthy men, equally capable, if not more capable, of exercising the franchise than those who now enjoyed it. He was called on to answer to what extent his reform would go. He would not disturb the feelings of any man by wishing improper persons to obtain the franchise. He would have a test, and that test should be a mere residence. He proposed a registrar to the tax for twelve months, and that every man paying it should come within "the scot and lot" principle. As was the case in the Irish Bill of the Government, although that Bill contemplated a more brief space of time, he should propose that a registered residence of twelve months—six months, if possible—and rating, not paying to the poor—[Lord J. RUSSELL: Hear, hear!]—should entitle a man to a vote. The noble Lord cheered; but he should remember that there was one Act for rating and another for enforcing payment, and that great difficulties had arisen in consequence. The being rated was all he asked, and what he wanted was, to have a test of the respectability of the man. Every man, therefore, who was rated to the poor, and who should be rated and resident for twelve months in a locality, should be de facto entitled to vote; and it should be the duty of the officer to send in the name of each voter without trouble, expense, or delay. The next question he would be asked was, to what extent would this increase the suffrage? Many had been alarmed at numbers. He was not. He believed that the more the House depended on the people, the more trustworthy would be the service the people rendered. He also believed that the man who bad not a voice given him by the constitution in the election of those who were to pass laws affecting life and property was no free man—he was in the situation of a bondsman and a slave. And, upon this subject he wished to state that he did not want anything for England which he did not also demand for Scotland and Ireland. In reply, then, to the question as to what extent of suffrage the plan would lead, he begged to observe that he had only been able to obtain correct information as regarded England. That information amounted to this, that in 1841 the population was 15,911,000, or, in round numbers, 16,000,000. Now, what proportion of electors would this give? Taking every ratepayer registered to the rate, taking a copy of the rate-books for his data, and striking off the double, treble, and quadruple votes, he believed the number of men entitled to vote in the united kingdom amounted, at the present moment, to 780,000 or 800,000. This was the outside. Taking the register as it was in the year 1841, he wished the House to understand that he would give by his plan 3,232,762 voters for England and Wales alone. Scotland and Ireland would each produce its proportion; and this was the extent to which he was prepared to ask the House to enlarge the franchise. The question might be asked—would not the plan exclude many individuals? It would. If he were to take those only who were assessed to the rate, registered as at present, he left out, perhaps, one million more. Artisans and lodgers were equally respectable, and equally, if not better, fitted for the franchise than those who now possessed it; and he would propose that every lodger might register, or be registered to the poor-rate for the house in which he lived; and that if he should be so registered for one year, he should be equally competent and entitled to exercise the franchise as if he were the entire possessor of the House. This was the extent to which he carried his plan of registration; and now what was the danger arising from this extension? Was it not proved to every man who had attended to the history of neighbouring States that when power was confined to narrow places, and the masses of the people were treated not as freemen but as serfs, danger arose from such a state of things, and anarchy and confusion followed? Had we not seen in this country the advantages of having some kind of representation, limited and imperfect as that was? What, then, had they to fear from the people? The laws ought to be made for the benefit of all. The Government of the country was made for the community at large, and the Sovereign was neither more nor less than the first magistrate of the land—whose duty it was to carry out the laws when they had received the sanction of the two legislative chambers. Were they not more likely to decrease our danger by enlarging the basis of our constitution, and so increasing the number of our popular supporters? Was there not intelligence abroad? Was not every man canvassing his rights and position in society? Were we not doing all we could to enlighten the people? Why, then, not bring the people so instructed within the pale of the constitution, and thus make our constitution and government as perfect as it was possible under present circumstances to render it? What possible danger could attend such a change? Was it not well known to every man who paid the least attention to what had recently been passing in neighbouring countries, that the real danger lay in resting power upon too narrow a basis? and, even though the people of this country were but imperfectly represented in the present House of Commons, yet, even that, such as it was, had saved this country from evils under which less fortunate nations on the Continent had severely suffered. They should remember that government was not for the use of the nobles alone, but for the people at large. The nobles formed a check upon extreme popular rule, while the sovereign was only the highest executive officer—the first magistrate in a free country. He, therefore, maintained that we should, in future, have at least three electors where at present there was only one. He knew that this was not a popular subject, and that there were a great many hon. Members now present in the House who had better be elsewhere. What would hon. Members say, if they were in the situation of the millions who were now excluded from all political rights and privileges? What would any of them say or do were they in the situation of millions of artisans, on whose industry some of the finest manufactures depended, receiving 1l., 2l., or 3l. a week, and who would be called upon to assist in keeping the Queen's peace should a disturbance break out whilst they were walking the streets! Were not those artisans entitled to say, "You call on us to execute the laws, but do you give us any share or interest in making those laws? You treat us as serfs, and drive us like cattle, and yet you call upon us to support the law. How are we interested in the law? You take money from us in every form, on everything we eat or drink. You take from us our earnings. The one-third or one-fourth of our industry you take, and you pass laws to grind us down. How are we interested in the law?" Whilst men of large incomes were taxed a thousandth part, a hundredth part, or a twentieth part of their earnings, the artisan was taxed one-fourth of his whole wages on his consumption of the ordinary articles of subsistence. Others, not more worthy than the English artisans, living in Belgium, the United States, and France, could not be taxed without their consent; and why should not the artisan class of England be placed on a similar footing? The present system necessarily placed large masses of the people in a condition which excited discontent. Was it not evident that the time must come when these masses would judge of their unjust treatment; and what dependence in times of danger could be reposed on such men, particularly if they formed, as they did, a considerable portion of the ablebodied population? If he asked anything unreasonable, let him be reproached therewith; but he contended that his request was a just one, and that this was an opportune time for taking up the question and dealing with it properly. We were freed at present from all alarm. We had peace at home and abroad. We had general employment for the people, and the working classes were in a state of comparative comfort. We were reducing our military and naval establishments; and therefore the occasion was opportune for settling the question. The deliberate judgment of Her Majesty's Ministers had put him in possession of what was of the utmost importance in dealing with this matter. He called upon hon. Members to look at the papers on the table purporting to be the correspondence on the affairs of the Cape of Good Hope. He highly approved of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government as respected their decision on the 30th of January last. The paper he held in his hand bore the date of the 30th of January, and it consisted of a minute of Her Majesty in Council, and was the Charter of the Bill of Rights to the colony of the Cape of Good Hope. It purported to give to every Englishman, wherever he should settle, all the privileges of the free institutions of this country. Let the House not be alarmed, then, at reposing confidence in Englishmen at home, when Her Majesty's Ministers had already placed confidence in the mixed population of the Cape of Good Hope. He thought a fact like this ought to disabuse the minds of hon. Gentlemen who might be afraid of increasing the number of electors at home, and that when he found the present Government placing confidence in mixed populations abroad, he had a right to demand the extension of reform and the granting of the privileges of England to the people of this country at home. Was an Englishman to be denied here that which he might enjoy at the Cape of Good Hope? Were the English less intelligent, less diligent, less moral, less worthy of the right of enjoying legislative powers than the inhabitants of any of the colonies? And if not, why was not the privilege conceded? In a despatch written by Lord Stanley, dated April 15, 1842, his Lordship said— It is highly important to assign to the people collectively a share in the management of their own local affairs; it is to the want of this participation, and to the ignorance thence resulting, that popular discontent is chiefly to be ascribed. Great benefits are to be anticipated from the free and open discussion of public interests. There is no other method of dispelling the apathy and self-distrust which induce the mass of society to lean on the Government for aid and guidance in many cases where they would much more effectually assist themselves by the use of their own resources. Here the principle of extended power was recognised. The principle of putting that power into the hands of every man was broadly asserted as applicable to the affairs of nations; and, consequently, he (Mr. Hume) had Lord Stanley's decided, deliberate opinion in favour of his view. But, he might be told, that he might trust some classes of the people, and that he could not trust other classes. Now, Lord Stanley, at page 91 of the same despatch, said— I have no means of stating with entire precision the relative numbers or the comparative wealth of the different classes which combine to form the collective population of the colony. But I apprehend that the colonists of the English race are at once the least numerous and the most wealthy, active, and intelligent class. To these succeed the old Dutch settlers, or other descendants, between whom and the English there probably subsist many mutual jealousies, and but few domestic or even commercial connexions. The free aborigines of the colony from a third body, who are manifestly much depressed in the general scale of society. To them are to be added a large number of Fingoes and of other tribes, whom the events of the late Kaffir war have added to the permanent inhabitants of the Eastern districts. Finally, there is a body of many thousand emancipated negroes. This, then, was the mixed population of the Cape of Good Hope; and what did Her Majesty's Government now propose to give to that population? They proposed to give suffrage to all—universal suffrage was the meaning he gave to it. They proposed to give the suffrage to every man at the Cape, whatever his nation or origin might be, to every one who was registered to the road tax. This was what he (Mr. Hume) asked for the people of England, except that he substituted registry to the poor-rate for registry to the road tax; and thus by parity of reasoning he supported his case. Every person entitled to the municipal franchise at the Cape was to have a vote for members of the Legislative Assembly; and was he to be told that after Her Majesty's Government had reposed confidence such as that in a mixed population abroad, Englishmen were not entitled to the exercise of the same privileges at home? Another part of his Motion required a more equal distribution of the population according to numbers. The Government had agreed to grant electoral districts to the Cape, and those electoral districts were to return the Members of Parliament. He did not ask them to form electoral districts; but if they formed a group of two, three, four, or five boroughs, they would make the representation more proportionate. It was quite easy to do this. There was no difficulty in forming the poor-law unions, most of them consisting of several parishes, and which varied in extent according to the population, and they might as easily form such electoral districts as he had referred to. At the Cape and at other places there were to be electoral districts. Her Majesty's Ministers proposed that there should be three estates in each colony—the Governor, the Legislative Council, and the Representative Assembly. He supported the same principle in this country: he wished to have the Queen, the Lords, and the Commons; but he wished that such power should be separate and distinct. He wished not to destroy the constitution; he wished to make it more popular, and that that which purported to be the House of Commons should be so in reality, and that the Members of it should not be, as in too many cases they were, mere nominees of Peers—not of Peers only, but of the aristocratic class. Previous to the Reform Bill, seats in that House were sold like fish in the market. He wished he could say that was not so now. He had before him strong proof—he did not like to charge any individual—but his belief was, that at that moment there were many in that House who owed their seats to money paid to in- dividuals to secure their election, and that was as much boroughmongering as the old system was. It was to put an end to this system that he sought to introduce this Bill. And then with regard to the duration of Parliaments, he thought that three years was long enough. He did not think that one year would afford a sufficient acquaintance with business. At one time he was of opinion that frequent Parliaments were better, and he agreed with Major Cartwright, who was for annual Parliaments; but on mature consideration he should be satisfied with triennial Parliaments. There was another point, as to the payment of Members. After long consideration he had come to the opinion that they got little disinterested service, and that was the reason why he had often objected to any responsible office being put upon any one without pay. He was, therefore, perfectly consistent in saying that any person who undertook any duty, if he did that duty honestly and fairly, ought to be paid for it. He should be satisfied if what was to be accorded to the colonies as to the duration of the assembly, the constitution of the assembly, and the payment of Members, should be accorded to England, except that he did not agree as to the duration of the assembly, as it was to be in some cases five years or ten years. Here they had precedents; they had Ireland and the colonies. To those branches of the empire that justice was about to be extended which he asked for England and Scotland. Why not put all on the same footing? He would refer to the speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, on the 8th inst., in introducing the Colonial Government Bill—a speech which, he said, he had listened to with more pleasure than any speech delivered by the noble Lord since that in which he introduced the Reform Bill; for in it the noble Lord expressed those sentiments which he (Mr. Hume) knew he entertained, and which came out now and then in spite of himself, though at long intervals. In that speech the noble Lord said— But there was another and a most remarkable characteristic attending these colonies, and this was, that wherever Englishmen have been sent or have chosen to settle, they have carried with them the freedom and the institutions of the mother country. I will take the liberty of reading some extracts from a patent given to the Earl of Carlisle when he went out to be governor, and I think proprietor, of Barbadoes, in 1627, that is to say, in the reign of Charles I.:— 'Further know ye, that we, for us, our heirs and successors, have authorised and appointed the said James Earl of Carlisle, and his heirs (of whose fidelity, prudence, justice, and wisdom we have great confidence) for the good and happy government of the said province, whether for the public security of the said province or the private utility of every man, to make, erect, and set forth, and under his or their signet to publish, such laws as he, the said Earl of Carlisle, or his heirs, with the consent, assent, and approbation of the free inhatants of the said province, or the greater part of them, thereunto to be called, and in such form as he or they in his or their discretion shall think fit and best. Here was no limitation. He (Mr. Hume) asked them now to give to Englishmen that suffrage which was given in 1627 to those who went out to Barbadoes. This document went on to state— We will also, of our princely grace, for us, our heirs, and successors, straightly charge, make, and ordain, that the said province be of our allegiance, and that all and every subject and liege people of us, our heirs, and successors, brought or to be brought, and their children, whether there born, or afterwards to be born, become natives and subjects of us, our heirs and successors, and be as free as they that were born in England."—Hansard, vol. cviii., page 538. And what were the free institutions which they conveyed to the colonies? The noble Lord meant that they carried out with them what they were entitled to. They could enjoy them in the colonies—they could not enjoy them here. He (Mr. Hume) said, therefore, that the Reform Bill of 1832 had not fulfilled its objects. The noble Lord, in introducing that Bill, said— It will not be necessary on this occasion that I should go over the ground which has frequently before been gone over for arguments in favour of a change in the state of the representation; but it is due to the House that I should state shortly the points on which the reformers rest their case. In the first place, then, the ancient constitution of our country declares that no man should be taxed for the support of the State who has not consented by himself or his representative to the imposition of the taxes. The well-known statute, 'De tallagio non concedendo,' repeats the same language; and, although some historical doubts have been thrown upon it, its legal meaning has never been disputed. It includes 'all the freemen of the land,' and provides that each county should send to the Commons of the realm two knights, each city two citizens, and each borough two burgesses. I ought to notice certain points which are looked to with great interest by the most zealous advocates for reform, but which are not included in the proposed measure. In the first place, then, I have to state that there is no provision in this Bill for shortening the duration of Parliament. That is a subject which has been much considered; but, upon the whole, without stating the opinion of His Majesty's Ministers on it, I may observe, that it was thought better to leave that matter to be brought forward as a separate question, than to bring it at the end of a Bill affecting franchises and matters of local reference, separate and essentially different from any question concerning the duration of Parliament. Without saying to what opinion His Majesty's Ministers incline on this point, I may say, that they consider it of the utmost importance not to burden this measure with any other, but to reserve it by itself, leaving it to any other Member, at any time that may be considered fitting, to introduce the question and to make it the subject of future consideration. There is another question likewise, which has excited a vast deal of interest in the country; and of which no mention is made in this Bill, I mean the vote by ballot. I have no doubt the ballot has much to recommend it as a mode of election. More ingenious arguments never fell under my eye, on any subject, than I have seen in favour of the ballot; but at the same time, I am bound to say that I hope this House will pause before it sanctions the Motion which the hon. Member for Bridport is to make, and adopts the mode of voting by ballot. He (Mr. Hume) thought he had now shown them what the opinions of the noble Lord were as to the rights of Englishmen. It might be said to him, "You had the Reform Bill, did it answer its purpose?" He said no; it had not. He said at the time that they wanted more, but they would wait. The noble Lord should speak for himself; because, if he could reply to his own proposal, he (Mr. Hume) gave up the point. On the 24th of June, 1831, the noble Lord made use of these expressions:— When I propose a reform of Parliament, I propose that the people should send into this House their real representatives, to deliberate on their wants, and to consult for their interests, to consider their grievances, and attend to their desires. I propose that they should possess, in fact, that which they have hitherto had only in theory—the vast power of holding the purse-strings of the monarch. Let that be carried out, and he would be perfectly satisfied. He wanted the noble Lord to come up to the mark; but the noble Lord should speak for himself. The noble Lord proceeded to say— I feel convinced that I am laying a foundation for the most salutary changes in the comfort and well-being of the people. Laws will no longer be passed in such an assembly for the benefit of Government, or classes, or individuals; they will be no longer passed by men roused at twelve o'clock at night to vote for what they know not, or against that of which they have not heard a single syllable, merely because the leader of their party tells them so to vote. Laws in a reformed Parliament will be cautiously proposed, and seriously and deliberately considered. I say, then, that if we identify this House with the people of the three kingdoms, we may hope, however slowly it may be accomplished, or however impatience or faction may complain of us for not hurrying our steps, we may hope, I say, that by extending to a great and powerful and enlightened people the right of having their legitimate representatives assembled within the walls of Parliament. Now, he asked the noble Lord if the result had been what he expected? Was there that contentment? Did all the people join in electing the representatives? He would show that they did not. When in 1839 he told the noble Lord that the Bill had not answered his expectation, the noble Lord said— With respect to the original intention of the Reform Bill, he was speaking then in the presence of many before whom he had introduced that Bill, and who were present at its formation, and he thought he should be corroborated by them when he said 'that his intention was to give a fair representation to all parts of the country. He wished to give a preponderance to no part over the other, and he had more than once stated that they had taken a certain number of counties, and an equal number of manufacturing towns, to share in the representation.' He would now quote the opinion of another noble Lord, Lord Camden, in reference to the separation of the American colonies from the mother country. They all knew that those colonies were lost to this country by a series of blunders. On the 22nd of February, 1766, a Motion was made for repealing the Stamp Act, and Lord Camden said— My position is this—I repeat, and will maintain it to my last hour, taxation and representation are inseparable. This position is founded upon the laws of nature. It is more; it is itself an eternal law of nature, for, whatever is a man's own is absolutely his own. No one has a right to take it from him without his consent. Whoever attempts to do it, commits an injury; whoever does it, commits a robbery. He repeated the noble Lord's words, that a man who was taxed without his consent was robbed of a certain portion of his goods. Then, in order to show still farther what was the object of the Reform Bill, he could not refrain from quoting what Earl Grey stated in the House of Lords on the 3rd of October, 1831:— I believe the present to be a measure of peace and conciliation; I believe that on its acceptance or rejection depends, on the one hand, tranquillity, prosperity, and concord—on the other, the continuance of a state of political discontentment, from which these feelings must arise, naturally generated by such a condition of the public mind ……. On one or two different occasions I have originated Motions on the subject, believing, as I do, that a change is necessary to infuse new vigour into the constitution, to unite the estates of the realm in the bonds of a sacred and happy union, and to make the House of Commons that which it was intended to be, and professed to be, and ought to be—the full, vigorous, and efficient representative of the people of England. And on the 9th of April, the noble Lord quoted a passage from a book of great authority, Whitelock's Book on Government, in order to show the nature and extent of the ancient right of voting. Mr. Whitelock said— Whenever any question about elections was brought before the House, the inclination of the House of Commons always was to favour popular elections, observing that the more free they were, the more they were for the interests of the community. At this day, in many boroughs, the election still remains popular, being exercised by all the inhabitants, scot and lot. That was the evidence that Earl Grey brought as to the advantages of his measure, and as to the rights of Englishmen. And then Mr. Serjeant Granville said— In a Committee upon the Cirencester election petition in 1792, quoted in 2 Fraser's Election Cases, p. 449,451, it became necessary for the Committee to define what was the right of election, and they gave a general definition for purposes of enactment as to the right of voting in the following terms, which stated it thus: 'Every male person of full age, and not subject to any legal incapacity, who shall occupy any house or dwelling, the same being bonâ fide fitted for and applied to purposes of residence, shall, if duly registered, be entitled to vote in the election of Members to serve in Parliament.' Here was the suffrage that he asked. Then there was another decision of that House as to the Pontefract election, in which the same doctrine was held, and that a six months' residence only, keeping a house, was required to entitle a man to vote. And he had the opinion of Sir Thomas Smith, given in the time of Elizabeth, confirming these views. Sir Thomas Smith said— Every Englishman is intended to be present in Parliament, either in person, or by procuration and attorney, of what pre-eminence, state, dignity, or quality soever he be, from the prince to the lowest person of England. And the consent of the Parliament is taken to be every man's consent. But, if he had any opinion which he was more anxious to bring before the House than another, it was the opinion of an hon. Gentleman now in that House, the hon. and learned Member for Banbury, who in 1831 published a Legal Review of the Origin of the System of Representation in England, in which he says— Every person of full age, who was not subject to any legal incapacity, and who should occupy, within any city or borough, any dwelling-house, &c, should be entitled to vote in the election of a Member of Parliament, provided that such person should be rated in respect of his premises. It is very clear that when, in the reign of Henry IV., the attention of the Legislature was first called to these elections for the purpose of regulation, the franchise of voting for the Members of the shires was of a very popular nature: indeed, there seems good reason to assert that the right of voting, recognised by the statute, extended to what at that time amounted to universal suffrage of all men of free condition. At all events this appears certain, that if any qualification of property were required in the earliest Parliaments, only the tenure of the property was regarded, and no limitation of value was imposed, but that every freeholder, as suitor of the county court, was entitled to vote, however small might he the estate. Now, he said he had made out his case, that every man who was rated to the poor-rate was, agreeable to the principles on which our constitution was established, entitled to vote. And then as to the qualification, he was sorry to say that he held in his hand a list of eighty-five different modes of qualification of voters in counties, cities, and boroughs. Was it to be wondered at then, that they required a large establishment of lawyers to go round and register the voters? Figure to themselves that instead of eighty-five qualifications they had only one, the being rated to the relief of the poor. Having sat in this House many years, he had heard how various were the opinions as to what the qualification of a voter ought to be. He had heard it maintained that property ought to be the basis of representation; by others that intelligence should be represented; by some that education ought to qualify; and by others that the qualification ought to be personal virtue. He would put an end to them all, and have one single qualification, the being rated to the relief of the poor. And now as to the intelligence of the people. The common observation had been, "educate the people first;" but he said, the best mode of teaching the people was by giving them something worth living for. A gentleman in Scotland, Mr. Henderson, advertised that he would give premiums for the three best essays on the observance of the Sabbath, to be written by some of the working classes. In less than three months he received no fewer than 1,045 essays. Three of them Mr. Parkes had published. He had read them, and they showed great talent. One of them was by a journeyman printer, another by a journeyman shoemaker, and the other by a journeyman machinist. These were samples of the intelligence of the working classes. With such proofs of intelligence, could it be borne that men capable of writing such essays were to be denied the franchise? Were bricks to be preferred to brains? As Franklin said, was a man to have a vote as long as his jackass was alive, and, as soon as his jackass was dead, was he to lose his vote? At present, if a man occupied a house of certain value he had a vote; but, if he left the house, he lost his vote. What an absurd state of things! He now came to the inequality of the representation. The hon. Member for Marylebone moved for a return last year, and he took that as his new data. He found from it that the case was stronger than he had formerly represented it to be. He found from that return, which was No. 16 of the Parliamentary Papers, 1849, that Calne returned one Member with 165 electors, Reigate returned one Member with 198 electors. Five other boroughs had each less than 250 electors. Three of these returned two Members each, and two returned one Member each. He found that London, the Tower Ham-lets, Liverpool, Marylebone, and Finsbury had conjointly 89,786 electors, and sent 24 Members; while Andover, Knaresborough, Thetford, Harwich, Marlborough, Richmond, Chippenham, Cockermouth, Lymington, Tavistock, Wycombe, Chipping, and Evesham had altogether only 3,509 electors, and also sent conjointly twenty-four Members. So that there were twenty-four Members in that House sent by 3,509 electors, who had the same power as twenty-four other Members sent by 89,786 electors. He would now state the proportion which the registered electors bore to the number of houses and the population, in England, Wales, and Scotland. It was as follows:—

England. Wales. Scotland.
Electors on register 363,670 11,599 42,318
Houses 1,139,113 43,553 164,178
Population 5,873,772 231,456 964,958
Proportion of electors to houses as 1 to 3¼ as 1 to 4 as 1 to 4
Proportion of electors to population as 1 to 16 as 1 to 21 as 1 to 23
He would ask did that bring us within the category which the noble Lord and other authorities had stated? The dependence of small boroughs on the will of individuals was significantly pointed out by the uncontested elections. It was well known there were means of carrying elections without contests; and he was sorry to say money was too often used for that purpose. At the last general election the two smallest boroughs, Calne and Reigate, were both uncontested. Of the
5 boroughs under 250 electors, 3 uncontested.
6 boroughs under 300 electors, 5 uncontested.
15 boroughs under 350 electors, 8 uncontested.
20 boroughs under 400 electors, 14 uncontested.
9 boroughs under 450 electors, 7 uncontested.
Making a total of 55 boroughs, of which 37 were uncontested. There were 89 uncontested elections in all—of which more than three quarters, namely 70, were at places having less than a thousand electors. Hence it was evident that it was only the large constituencies in which popular opinion was allowed to operate. The proportion of electors to the population was as follows:—In England there is one elector for 18 persons; Wales, 1 for 19; Scotland, 1 for 34; Ireland, 1 for 58. One half of the borough population of England returns 33 Members; the other half returns 290 Members. One-ninth of the population of the united kingdom elect a majority of Members in the House. What a state of things was this! Could the Government defend such a state of things? It was impossible but that discontent should arise; and the Legislature was doing all in its power to foster it. With one hand they were paying money to establish new schools, new churches, and new teachers; while with the other they were refusing the people their rights; and it was impossible that the people, with the educational means now afforded them, should not soon discover the injustice. He had received yesterday from Newcastle, a statement showing that 23 Members were elected by 5,333 electors, while other 23 represented upwards of 200,000 electors. Newcastle, with a constituency of 5,324—within nine of the number returning 23 Members—yet returned only two. From these facts, he was confident he had laid a foundation for his Motion. He claimed it as a right; he asked no favour; he claimed it on behalf of the community at large, on behalf of those who were anxious to reduce the expenses of the country. He was anxious for financial reform, and saw that it could only be obtained by this means. He wanted a House responsible to the people; he wished the people to have what the noble Lord had promised them from the Reform Bill—a hold on the purse-strings of the country. With this partial, unequal distribution of the franchise, they had no such hold; and he asked, at this moment above all others, that the right should be conceded them. Let them look at the consequences of the refusal of rights by former Governments. He recollected the disturbances of 1792 in Edinburgh; and witnessed with regret the persecutions that took place to put down popular rights. France, a few years before, goaded by oppression, had effected her revolution. Mr. Fox, Earl Grey, and other liberal men in this country, met to congratulate the French people on their freedom from subjection. [Mr. DRUMMOND: Hear, hear!] His hon. Friend the Member for West Surrey might also recollect it, and on that ground he (Mr. Hume) should claim his vote. He was not sure that Mr. Fox did not go over himself with the address, but certainly he and other liberal men of that day attended the meeting. At that time the Whigs were distinguished from the Tories as the friends of popular rights, the latter being opposed to them; now, unfortunately, that distinction was lost, for they rowed in the same boat. At that time, at every public meeting, and at the Fox Club, the first toast given was always, "The people, the source of all power." On the people depended all civil government. [An Hon. MEMBER: No!] An hon. Member said "No;" what would he do without the people? The liberal opinions which prevailed abroad were welcomed in England—the Duke of Richmond taking the lead; and Mr. Pitt was brought in on the shoulders of the people as a reformer; but, when he found the Crown averse to those opinions, he turned round and became their persecutor. Reform opinions gained ground in London, in England, and Scotland; associations were formed to support them, and to put down the popular demands; the prosecutions in Scotland took place, which were a disgrace to the Government, and were contrary to all law and justice. The war with France had been embarked in to keep down popular opinions; and what had been the result to this country? A debt of six hundred millions. A like liability might be again incurred by the refusal of just demands. The advocates of popular rights were then commonly told, "If you don't like the country, leave it." This was said principally by the landed aristocracy. They had incurred this debt; and if they refused justice much longer, let them beware lest the land should be called on to pay that debt. This might he called a threat; but it was a caution suggested by past experience. We had incurred 600,000,000l. of debt to put down a commonwealth in France; and a republic and universal suffrage now existed there. Let those who were unwilling to do justice to the mass of the people take a lesson from what had occurred there. But he would go further. What created discontent in this country? It was said distress was the cause; and when the people were distressed, their attention was naturally directed to their grievances. In 1842 and 1843, when wages were low, the labouring men, knowing they could not compel their masters to raise them, turned their attention to the state of the franchise, and the Chartists arose. [Mr. F. O'CONNOR: Hear, hear!] He must repeat, what he had often said, that there had been no greater enemy to electoral reform than his hon. Friend opposite. He (Mr. Hume) had assisted in drawing up the Charter, and was an advocate for the rights of the people; but he wished not to see any attempt at attaining those rights by force. [Mr. O'CONNOR: Nor I.] He would show the people what were their rights, and would enforce them by the spread of conviction. He had always found it the best course to convince people of the justice of a claim, of the benefits which would arise from granting, and the evils which would result from refusing it. But the course taken by the Chartists—his Friend would excuse him saying so—had rendered the principles of reform odious from the name of Chartism. [Mr. O'CONNOR: No, no!] For, coupled with their advocacy of reform had been acts of violence and insubordination which he (Mr. Hume) had never contemplated. Whilst, therefore, he rejected the means employed by the Chartists, he approved the spirit and principles of the Charter. Earl Grey had introduced the question of reform in 1832 as a means of promoting peace; and this Motion might be recommended on the same ground. The demand for reform in 1842 and 1843 had been met by increased estimates, an augmentation of the army and police, and a doubling of the expenditure. He had treated as unworthy of attention the alarm caused by the Chartists in 1848, knowing that they did not want to kill anybody, or to interfere with property, but merely sought to have their rights. Had the Government then conceded those rights, no necessity would have arisen for placing 7,000 or 8,000 additional police on duty, and covering the country with bayonets, to keep the people down. Let the House mark his words. If ever such a time as 1842 should again occur—he hoped it would not, for he should not like to see it—with the increased intelligence of the people, and with every State in Europe enjoying representation—should anything occur to reduce the employment of our artisans—was it possible that they should consent to suffer such injustice, especially when everything they ate, drank, or touched was taxed? These were things against which a foreseeing statesman should provide; and now was the time for serious attention to the question. He did not wish the Government to go beyond what was demanded by the general conviction and concurrence of the great mass of the people; but, could the question be put to the ballot to-morrow, he had no doubt the great majority would be in favour of the reforms he now proposed. It behoved those who had property to treat justly the men who made that property valuable, and not to use the power which they had usurped for keeping their rights from the people. Those who wished to preserve their property to themselves and their families would best do so by acting justly, by doing to others as they would be done by, and not by grasping at that which they knew it was unjust to withhold. Those who were supported by the taxes, or had ample means of their own, ought not to put their hands into the pockets of the people. He would conclude by quoting the words of the noble Lord at the head of the Government in introducing the Reform Bill:— But what is the case at this moment? The whole people called loudly for reform. That confidence, whatever it was, which formerly existed in the constitution of this House, exists no longer—it is completely at an end. Whatever may be thought of particular acts of this House, I repeat that the confidence of the country in the construction and constitution of the House of Commons is gone, and gone for ever. I will say more. I will say that it would be easier to transfer the flourishing manufactures of Leeds and Manchester to Gatton and Old Sarum, than to re-establish confidence and sympathy between this House and those whom it calls its constituents. I end this argument, therefore, by saying, that if the question be one of right, right is in favour of reform—if it be a question of reason, reason is in favour of reform—if it be a question of policy and expediency, policy and expediency are in favour of reform. He therefore felt that he was fully justified in submitting to the House the Motion of which he had given notice, to which he wished to add a clause taking away the property qualification of Members, conceiving Government could not object, as they had adopted the principle in reference to three-fourths of the colonies.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the National Representation, by extending the Elective Franchise, so that every man of full age, and not subject to any mental or legal disability, who shall have been the resident occupier of a house, or part of a house as a lodger, for twelve months, and shall have been duly rated to the Poor of that parish for that time, shall be registered as an Elector, and be entitled to vote for a Representative in Parliament; also, by enacting that Votes shall be taken by Ballot; that the duration of Parliaments shall not exceed three years; and that the proportion of Representatives be made more consistent with the amount of Population and Property.


In rising to second the Motion proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, I am fully sensible of the great importance of the question about to be submitted to the decision of this House. I am equally sensible of my own inadequacy for the fulfilment of the duty I have undertaken; but I feel assured that whatever my deficiencies, and however wide may be the difference of opinion between myself and the hon. Gentlemen around me, I shall receive the indulgence of this assembly while I endeavour to discharge as well as I am able the task I have assumed. I can assure the House that in taking a part in the present discussion, and supporting the measure of my hon. Friend, I am influenced by an anxious desire for the safety and prosperity of the country, and the character and just influence of this branch of the Legislature, and only seek a remedy for those evils which were sought to be extirpated by the Reform Bill of 1832, but which I think the House will admit to exist at the present time to nearly as great an extent as when that measure was introduced. But should opinions vary in regard to the nature or extent of particular evils, one fact is undeniable, and it is a fact of the utmost importance—that although it is our happiness to live in a land unsurpassed for the loyalty, intelligence, and industry of its inhabitants, the franchise is exercised within the narrow circle of some 800,000 of Her Majesty's subjects, and so distributed as to render election of Members of Parliament to this House almost nugatory as the expression of the popular mind and will. It will be for hon. Gentlemen who intend to vote against the present Motion to prove, that of all who contribute to the support of the State, there should be less than one million who are worthy to possess the elective franchise, or are capable of using it with benefit to themselves and to the interests of the country. Until the proof is before me, I must assert, that, as a general rule, the unenfranchised masses of this country are worthy of the political rights which they claim, and are prepared to exercise them in a manner compatible with the interests we all desire to guard. I must be permitted to go one step further, and to say, that whatever may be the result of this debate, it will not he safe much longer to delay the act of justice which is now sought; and could we be assured of safety, the time is fast approaching when the very intelligence of the millions of this country will make legislation on this question absolutely imperative. When the noble Lord the Member for the city of London had charge of the Reform Bill, he referred constantly to the numerous evils and abuses of the then state of the representation. I have yet to learn that any one of those evils and abuses, then so powerfully depicted, is absent from our present representative system. Did the noble Lord inveigh against nomination boroughs? We point him to a list of boroughs, sending Members to this House, all of them notoriously under the influence of parties who claim, and do not fail to use, the power of saying who those Members shall be. Did the noble Lord support his measures of reform by appealing to the practice of bribery and corruption at elections? We point him to the blue books accumulated at the commencement of every Parliament from that time to the present. On the other hand, did the noble Lord argue the propriety and justice of giving the franchise to populous towns and districts? I will venture to ask him whether the results have not justified his arguments, and whether the fact of so few petitions having been presented from those enfranchised constituencies is not a good reason in support of a further extension of the electoral power, and the enlargement of the constituencies throughout the united kingdom. I will ask the noble Lord, too, whether the constituencies created by his Bill of 1832 have not made some valuable contributions to this House? Possibly hon. Gentleman opposite may be disposed to question this; but I think those who occupy seats on these benches will allow that the deliberations in this House upon the most important measures which have been passed during the last eighteen years have been greatly aided by the experience, the judgment, and the principles of those who owe their Parliamentary existence to the Bill of the noble Lord. Is it then unreasonable to suppose that a new measure of reform, as generally demanded now as was that to which I have referred, would not lead to similar results, and, consequently to important improvements in the constitution of this House? The people of this great country are growingly alive to the imperious necessity of remodelling our system of representation. Vast numbers are deeply impressed with a sense of the wrong that is done to them by the denial of any voice in the election of those to whose laws they must yield obedience, and whose taxation, however excessive, they are compelled to bear. This sense of injury will be deepened by delay; and it would therefore be but following the dictates of prudence to make timely concessions. Of those who possess the franchise there are many who deeply sympathise with their unprivileged fellow subjects, and are content no longer to enjoy a political distinction of which others are as capable and as deserving as themselves. I admit there are others who would be content with the system as it is, if they could see those practical results which they deem themselves entitled to expect in the legislation of this House. But the votes of this House upon questions in which these classes take a deep interest, are generally so much at variance with what the condition, the wants, and the destinies of this country demand, that they are fast becoming favourable to the throwing open the portals of the constitution to the people at large, as the only moans to the attainment of that proper administration of affairs which they desire to see realised. For myself I think it is not only expedient, but just, that Her Majesty's intelligent and attached subjects should possess something more than the privilege of paying the taxes which it pleases this House to impose. I ask, therefore, for the extension of the suffrage as a debt due to those valuable portions of our population, and agree with those who seek the extension of the suffrage as a means to amend. The proceedings of the last two Sessions have convinced the people, the electors not less than the non-electors, that no material alleviation of the national burdens can be expected from this House as at present constituted. It is undeniable that there has been an all but universal demand for a revision of our taxation, and a large diminution of our public expenditure. To the present hour, however, no prospect has been held out of the relief so necessary to the welfare of all classes. Hence, those whose efforts might have been confined to measures of finance, are now convinced that it is only by a reform of this House that the taxation of the country can be so lessened as to diminish the pressure upon the industry of the people. I may be told of the measures which have passed the Legislature during the existence of the present system, and of the possibility, therefore, of obtaining measures of a similar character without resort to the reconstruction of this House. But the people are no longer willing to seek solitary instalments of justice by a large expenditure of time and money and labour during a protracted agitation of particular questions out of doors. They look for, and have a right to expect, in a representative body, a predisposition to take up all great public questions on their merits, and to discuss and to decide them with a single eye to the welfare, the interests, and the rights of the community. Were such the case, legislation would be far more easy and far more satisfactory; and a patriotic Minister would be much better able to carry his wishes into accomplishment. Perhaps it would be impossible to adduce a more striking instance of the fact, that this House does not represent the people, than the circumstance that the present Chief Minister of the Crown should consider himself incompetent to carry through this House any measure tending to enlarge the liberties of any portion of the population; for I will not do the noble Lord the injustice to suppose that he is not as much convinced as any Member of this House of the necessity of extending more or less the elective franchise. It is more than probable that reference will be made during the course of this debate to the danger of extending the basis of representation. On no point is my own mind more at rest than on this. So far from thinking that the safety or security of any thing really valuable would be perilled by the admission to the franchise of those who are at present without it, I am thoroughly persuaded that you have yet to bring within the pale of the constitution the most virtuous, loyal, and independent portion of the population of these realms. Shall it be said that in this country alone, Englishmen are unworthy of the rights of citizenship? Wher- ever we track them, as emigrants to distant regions, we find them fully capable of discharging not only the social, but all the political duties. In the United States, they are at once admitted without question, and almost without probation, to the immunities and functions of citizens. Who are those who have carried our civilisation, our arts, and our commerce to foreign lands? Who are those who have peopled the wilderness—have tilled the soil, and raised towns and cities in the remote dependencies of the British Crown, and are now asking and obtaining representative and responsible government? Are they not, the majority of them, men who in their native land and at the seat of empire were treated as unworthy to have a vote for the return of Members to this House? Shall it be said to the honest artisans of this country, that while here they shall be excluded from the franchise; but that if they will quit these shores they shall find it in New Zealand, at the Cape, in the Canadas, or in Australia? When we find the thousands of our colonial brethren extorting self-government from the hands of the British Legislature, shall it be said it is denied to the millions at home? The noble Lord has announced emphatically, that it is not the intention of the Government to bring forward any measure for an extension of the franchise during the present Session. I am glad the noble Lord has been discreet enough to say only this Session, for I tell him that which he already knows, that it is but a question of time. He may be sceptical as to the public feeling upon this matter; but the result of a somewhat extended observation has led me to the conclusion that there is as large an amount of unanimity upon this question as was ever known to be manifested upon any other. If the noble Lord require additional evidence of the desire of the people for Parliamentary Reform, I think I may promise him that he will have it—I think I may promise the noble Lord more, that whenever he shall feel disposed to venture upon a proposal to admit those to the possession of the franchise who are worthy of the boon, whatever may be the scantiness of the support given to him by the Members of this House, he will be sustained by the great body of the people, and by them be enabled to retain that high position which, as the author of such a measure, he would deserve to fill. But, whatever maybe the inclinations of Her Majesty's Government, or the feelings of this House, I am satisfied the time is not distant when the people will speak with a voice which no Minister, and no Parliament, will be able to disregard. It will be an omnipotent voice, because it will be the voice of justice and of reason uttered in the spirit of loyalty and truth. It will be the voice of a people whose intelligence, whose industry, and whose skill are the glory at once of this parent country and of every region over which the sceptre of Her Majesty is swayed. It will be the voice of a people who have reared imperishable monuments of their piety, their virtue, and their patriotism; and when that voice shall have been heard, answered, and obeyed, I believe the time will have arrived for a new and a bettor state of things—a time when there will be a considerate attention to the just interests of all classes, without partiality and without distinction. Thanking the House for their kind indulgence, I leave this great question to their judgment, and that of an enlightened country. But, before sitting down, I would wish to notice one or two points which have been passed over by my hon. Friend. My hon. Friend the Member for Montrose has referred to the discrepancies and anomalies in our present representative system, especially as regards the smaller boroughs. There are 30 boroughs with less than 300 electors; 63 with less than 400; and 81 with less than 500, while large and populous districts remain totally unrepresented. There are upwards of sixty of those boroughs notoriously under local influence. But these inequalities and anomalies are not confined to population; property being almost as unfairly represented. According to a statement in Mr. Mackay's admirable pamphlet, one half of the annual value of property in England and Wales is represented by 9 counties and 161 Members; the other half by 31 counties and 310 Members. One moiety of the Members of this House represent property of the value of 6,200,000l.; the other half of 78,000,000l. yearly. If we compare the large boroughs with the counties as respects both property and population, the same injustice prevails. I would take, for example, a borough with which I am more immediately familiar, namely, Liverpool, containing from 300,000 to 400,000 inhabitants, which is assessed to the poor-rate to the amount of a million and a half annually, but which returns only two Members to the House of Commons; while the county of Buckingham, with half that population, and a moiety of its assessment, sends eleven Members to tills House. We may look at the metropolis, with a population of upwards of two millions—it sends sixteen Members to Parliament; eight small boroughs, with a population of not more than forty thousand—Richmond, Lymington, Thetford, Bridgenorth, Harwich, Stafford, Totnes, and Honiton—elect the same number of representatives. In nothing can there be greater disproportion. Thetford, with 214 electors, returns the same number of Members as the Tower Hamlets, with 19,361; Knaresborough, with 228 electors, returns two Members; and Finsbury, with nearly 16,000, only returns the same number. Westminster is in the same way neutralised by an equal number of Members being returned by Harwich. The injustice of this appears the greater the more it is examined. The great seats of population are the seats of intelligence as well as industry and property. From them have sprung up the institutions which are now vying with each other to instruct and improve the condition of the people. What do we find? Why, that twenty-five small boroughs, with 9,153 electors, return fifty Members, and have an equal voice in this House with twenty-five of the largest boroughs in the empire, having altogether 229,365 electors, and which only return the same number of Members. It is impossible that such anomalies can continue, when the attention of the people has been thoroughly aroused to them. I will not, however, weary the House with further details; they are, I am persuaded, patent to every Member present. I have now to apologise to the House for having occupied so much of its time, but the position I have taken out of doors upon this great question seemed to me to require that I should do so. I have taken up this question upon principle, and I am resolved to carry it out to the best of my ability, being determined never to rest satisfied until the people of this country are freely, fairly, and fully represented. No individual is better able to appreciate the greatness of this question than the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown. To him, more than to any man, is this nation indebted, in times past, for eloquent and masterly expositions of the constitutional rights of the people; and no man would rejoice more than myself to see the noble Lord, after the lapse of nearly twenty years, coming forward to consummate the work he so judiciously commenced. I would remind the noble Lord of the lan- guage which he then used—language as applicable, in my judgment, to the question now before the House, as to the measure it was intended to support. The words have been already referred to by my hon. Friend, but he did not state whose they were. "If," said the noble Lord, "representation be a question of right, then is right in favour of reform. If it be a question of reason, then is reason in favour of reform. If it be a question of policy and expediency, then do policy and expediency both loudly call for the extension of reform."


said, the hon. Member for Montrose was at least entitled to the credit of consistency in pressing this question upon the attention of the House; and he also gave the hon. Member, as well as the hon. Gentleman who had very ably seconded the Motion, credit for being actuated by a sincere desire to promote what they believed to be the best interests of the country. He, however, differed from the hon. Members as to the results which would follow from the adoption of the scheme which they had rather shadowed out than distinctly described, and therefore he would call upon the House, as he did last Session, to meet the Motion with a direct negative. The Motion was identical with that which the hon. Member for Montrose brought forward last year, and the question which the House would have to determine was not, as might be inferred from some of the arguments of the hon. Member for Bolton, whether the details of the Reform Bill should be irrevocably adhered to, or whether the terms and conditions which were now attached to the right of voting-might not be reconsidered, with a view to an enlargement of the franchise. With respect to that question he would express no opinion, because it was not raised on the present occasion; and he made these observations only because it might perhaps be inferred, from something which had fallen from the hon. Member for Bolton, that in resisting the Motion he was opposing now and for the future any extension of the suffrage which could be made consistently with the principles on which the constitutional question was settled by the Reform Act. The question for the House now to determine was, whether they would permit the hon. Member for Montrose to introduce a Reform Bill of a more sweeping character than that which, after a severe struggle in Parliament and the country, was passed in 1832. The hon. Member wished to remodel the constitution of the House of Commons; but he (Sir G. Grey), for one, was not prepared to assent to that. He would not say that it was impossible to effect any improvement in the constitution of the House, or that under no circumstances would it be advantageous to reconsider the details of the Reform Act; but he was not prepared to open the question now, nor was he prepared to depart from the main principles which had guided Parliament, from the origin of the constitution to the present time. His hon. Friend told them fairly that he was an advocate for universal suffrage; that he laid it down as the basis of his proposition, that all persons who paid taxes should exercise the franchise; but his hon. Friend afterwards felt bound to qualify that by saying that taxation and representation should go together as far as was consistent with a proper check against abuses. Perhaps, so qualified, he (Sir G. Grey) might concur in the hon. Gentleman's proposition; that was, indeed, the basis on which our representative system rested; but his hon. Friend now asked them to depart from it, and to adopt such a large and indefinite extension of the suffrage as would be inconsistent with any effectual check. Upon that ground, if there were no other, he would ask the House not to assent to this Motion. He did not know what check his hon. Friend would suggest against abuse. [Mr. HUME: I propose registration for twelvemonths as a check.] His hon. Friend said, registration; but with that principle of registration he would admit every male person in the country to exercise the franchise; and when his hon. Friend said that taxation and representation ought to go together, let the House mark his practical admission of the necessity of imposing some limitation on that principle, for, according to his hon. Friend's own showing, it would still leave a million and a half, if not two millions, in the condition which he had described as of serfs and bondsmen, not in a situation to exercise the franchise, and therefore subject to the same discontent which he now conceived to prevail amongst a large portion of the taxpaying people of this country. His hon. Friend said, that if the principle of indirect taxation were admitted, universal suffrage would follow. No doubt it would do so according to his hon. Friend's principle, for everybody in some degree or other contributed to the indirect taxation of the country; but his hon. Friend admitted that that would be dangerous, and would lead to results for which he was not prepared, and therefore be proposed that it should be limited to every man of full age, and not subject to any mental or legal disability, who shall have been the resident occupier of a house or part of a house as a lodger for twelve months, and shall have been duly rated to the poor of that parish for that time, shall be registered as an elector, and be entitled to vote for a representative in Parliament. Even with that qualification the proposition of his hon. Friend departed from what had hitherto been the invariable condition for the exercise of the elective franchise, namely, the possession of some property. The test which his hon. Friend proposed did not necessarily involve the possession of any property. His hon. Friend proposed to alter the law of rating, and not to leave it limited, as at present, to householders, but to extend it to lodgers occupying a part of a house—not in the way in which the law now allowed a lodger to be rated as an occupier, but to give a claim to the franchise to all persons under the roof of a house. [Mr. HUME: I propose that the party should at the least have a room.] He would not enter into the question whether a person having a separate room could or could not now berated; but his hon. Friend proposed that such a person should be entitled to claim to pay rates, and distinctly said that if a person who was a lodger were placed on the rates, he should be allowed to exercise the franchise without any inquiry whether he had paid his rates or not. But such a person might not be a bonâ fide ratepayer; there might be a collusive occupation; the landlord might let the house to any number of lodgers, without any description of property, and yet they would be entitled to the exercise of the franchise. He did not know whether his hon. Friend proposed any qualification to that; but, if not, why did he not go with the hon. Member for Nottingham the whole length of universal suffrage? His hon. Friend said, that all he proposed had been the recognised right of voting in many of the ancient boroughs of the country; but the scot-and-lot right of voting was on the condition of payment of rates, which was taken to be evidence of ability to pay, and, therefore, of the possession of some property. But to proceed to the consideration of the proposed plan. The population of this country was about 17,000,000; and his hon. Friend said the number of the electors for the united kingdom was only 800,000. [Mr. HUME: Striking off the double votes.] But he (Sir G. Grey) believed that by the last return laid before Parliament the number of the electors of Great Britain, exclusive of Ireland, was 944,000 out of an adult male population of about 4,500,000. He thought, therefore, his hon. Friend's statement was much below the number entitled to claim the franchise; but his hon. Friend took the number of houses in England, and said that each of those houses should give a vote. That would give a number of 3,500,000. Perhaps his hon. Friend would still further extend the franchise? [Mr. HUME: Yes, to females. They exercise it now at Greenwich.] He must doubt that last observation of the hon. Member's. His hon. Friend had gone on adding to his Motion. He began by placing on the paper a notice including four points of the Charter, with some qualification as to universal suffrage. In the course of his speech he spoke of the payment of Members of Parliament, and said he highly approved of it. Then, with regard to the qualification of Members, he said that, although he had not placed it on the paper, he wished it to be considered as part of his Motion, thus adopting the six points of the Charter; and now he proposed to extend the right to the franchise, which he said the ladies exercised at Greenwich, to women who contributed directly or indirectly to the taxation of the country. His hon. Friend said he was quite prepared to concede to them that right; and certainly, how he could, consistently with the principle he advocated, object to it, he (Sir G. Grey) could not understand. His hon. Friend spoke of the Reform Bill as a failure; but upon that point his hon. Friend differed from the hon. Member for Bolton, who rather appealed to the satisfactory results which had followed from it in the increase of the number of electors. And when his hon. Friend asked them to adopt a totally different basis as to the franchise, he would call his hon. Friend's attention to the increase in the number of electors in some of the most popular places since the Reform Bill passed. The statement was taken from a Parliamentary return. He found that in Lancashire the county constituency for both divisions was, in 1833, 16,632; in 1837 it was 27,445, and in 1846, when the last return was made, it was 35,476, showing a rapid increase in those few years. In the West Riding of Yorkshire the constituency was, in 1833, 18,056; in 1837, 29,076; and, in 1846, 36,165. In Liverpool, in 1833, it was 11,281; in 1837, 23,819; and, in 1846, 27,404. In Manchester it was, in 1833, 6,726; in 1837, 11,185; and, in 1846, 14,841. That showed, at all events, that those excluded classes of which his hon. Friend had spoken, had the power, by their industry and exertions, to rise in the scale of society, and acquire those rights which were not placed beyond their reach, but which were a stimulus to their exertions, at the same time that they furnished them with their reward. His hon. Friend had also spoken of some of those who did not possess the elective franchise, in a manner which gave him (Sir G. Grey) great surprise. He was sure his hon. Friend's object was not to excite discontent in the country; and there was no evidence of that discontent in the districts to which his hon. Friend had referred. His hon. Friend spoke of those who did not possess the franchise as being slaves and bondmen; he told them of artisans who were earning from 1l. to 2l. a week giving their active assistance in maintaining the law in the country, but saying, "We have no share in the benefits of these laws. We are out of the pale of the constitution. All we have to do is to pay taxes." He (Sir G. Grey) would ask whether that was a fair or correct description of the great body of the people who even under the present system did not possess the elective franchise? Did not the artisan who had not the elective franchise enjoy the same protection for his life, his liberty, and his property, which the possessor of the franchise enjoyed? He did not say that that was a reason why he should be excluded from the elective franchise; but the inestimable benefits of onr constitution were conferred on all classes of the community, and, whether they had the elective franchise or not, they were not in the condition which his hon. Friend spoke of as applicable to them. His hon. Friend said, his great argument at the present moment was, that the constitution which the Government had proposed should be granted to the colony of the Cape of Good Hope. He would ask whether there was any analogy between this country and that colony upon which to found any reasonable argument to induce them to adopt the hon. Gentleman's proposition? The constitution for the Cape of Good Hope provided for a second chamber based on election. Would his hon. Friend adopt that in this country? If his hon. Friend's argument were good for anything, was it not good for that? Would his hon. Friend follow out the analogy and make the hereditary House of Lords give way to an elective body? [Mr. HUME: I should not object to it.] His hon. Friend was perfectly fair and candid, and if the House adopted his proposition they would do so with the knowledge that his hon. Friend had no objection to household suffrage, to the ballot, to triennial Parliaments, to the payment of Members; that he had no objection to extend the franchise to women; that he had no objection to all the six points of the Charter; and that he did not object to an elective House of Lords. He did not think that his hon. Friend would be a safe guide for that House to follow when they came to remodel our constitution. With regard to the other parts of his hon. Friend's Motion, with the exception of one, to which he would presently advert, it was unnecessary for him to occupy the House; but he would remind them, as to triennial Parliaments, of the decision which the House came to last year on the second reading of a Bill upon that subject, when the House, having the opportunity of reconsidering that question. by a large majority expressed its opinion that it would not be conducive to the progress of useful legislation and to those interests which they were sent there to promote, if elections were so frequent as every third year. Both upon that subject and the ballot, the House had last Session expressed their opinion; and when they were again brought forward, he should be prepared to meet them; but as they had not been prominently brought forward on this occasion, he did not consider it necessary to go further into that part of the present Motion; but there was one part of the Motion to which his hon. Friend in the course of his speech had frequently adverted—he meant the latter part of his resolution, by which he proposed "that the proportion of representatives be made more consistent with the amount of population and property." His hon. Friend, in one part of his speech, disclaimed the notion of electoral districts; but his argument, and still more so that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bolton, seemed to him (Sir G. Grey) to point to such a scheme. With reference to the suggestion of a combination of electoral boroughs—such as existed in Scotland—he would not now express an opinion; but he believed that any system by which the country would be divided into electoral districts, and by which an equal number of electors would return an equal number of representatives, would deprive them of the advantages they now derived, from the variety of modes in which Members were elected, and the security thus afforded that various interests of the country were represented, and which he believed it would be impossible to obtain under any system of electoral districts. He did not say that there might not arise a case in which alteration might be requisite as to the number of Members returned from any part of the country; but if the basis of his hon. Friend's proposition of last year were taken as that upon which he would change our representative system, they must either increase the number of Members to an extent that would be inconvenient, and make it impossible for them to discharge the functions of a legislative body, or deprive a portion of the constituency of their due share in the representation of the country. If the hon. Gentleman gave to the metropolis, and to other large cities and towns of this country, that proportion of Members of which he had spoken, he must either greatly increase the present number of which the House consisted, or he must diminish the number of representatives deputed by other parts of the country, and so very greatly alter the balance of interests which were now represented in that House. [Mr. BRIGHT: Hear, hear!] Of course the hon. Gentleman meant by his cheer that the interests of the country were not fairly balanced under the present system; and he (Sir G. Grey) would not now say whether this was so or not; but looking at the results of the Reform Bill, he was fully justified in saying that it gave large influence to popular places. It had introduced into that House many representatives of large constituencies, which before that Act had no right to return Members to Parliament, whose presence in that House had been of great benefit to their deliberations. But he was not prepared to say, that they ought to form the greater part of the representatives of the country, and to have their number increased to the exclusion of others who had an equal stake in the country, and who equally contributed to its general interests in the share they took as representatives of important interests in the deliberations of that House. He must say, however, that he heard with some surprise, from the hon. Member for Bolton, that such was the present condition of this country that his noble friend, to whom he paid a just tribute for the sagacity he had shown in his former measure of reform, was unable to propose any measure with any chance of success for improving the representation of any part of the country, however glaring the defects might be. Did the hon. Gentleman forget that there was then before the House a Bill for extending the franchise in Ireland? and one reason why he (Sir G. Grey) objected to the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, even if there were not those other reasons to which he had alluded, was, that if this Bill were brought in, that practical measure of useful and salutary reform for Ireland which was now before the House, and to which the attention of Parliament ought to be directed, as well as the long list of measures which the hon. Member for Meath had referred to the other evening as tending to benefit that part of the united kingdom, must be indefinitely postponed, and their time would be wasted in a profitless discussion of universal suffrage and the other points of the Charter. He therefore hoped the House would refuse to allow his hon. Friend to introduce his Bill, which he believed would tend to make that branch of the Legislature too purely democratic, and lead to its exercising more than its due share in the constitution of the country. He believed that if the Bill were passed, a democratic principle would be established that would be inconsistent with the harmonious working of the constitution; and, heartily concurring with his hon. Friend that they had reason to be thankful that they lived under a constitution of Queen, Lords, and Commons, and believing that this Motion would endanger that constitution, he asked the House to place its negative upon it.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman, like all Members of Governments, admitted the justice of the Motion, but said that the time was not yet come for granting the demands which it put forth. He (Mr. O'Connor) defied that House to continue as it was then constituted. Here on the bench which he then occupied sat the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, surrounded by the members of his party, and the party who represented the landlords. At the opposite side sat the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, supported by his retainers; whilst the bench to the rear was occupied by Irish Gentlemen, who, when- ever their services were required, or when the Ministry was in danger, rushed in to the rescue, heedless of the consequences to their country, provided they secured to themselves or friends places or patronage. That was the present constitution of the House; and he told those hon. Gentlemen who referred to the period of 1832, and the passing of the Reform Bill, that there had taken place a greater progress in the mind of the country within that period and the present than there had been in the previous century. He asserted that there prevailed more knowledge amongst the working classes of England than amongst the operatives of any other country. When the hon. Member for Monmouth insinuated that he (Mr. O'Connor) in his advocacy of the People's Charter had urged it too far, and excited the people to violence, he defied him to point to a word said or a line written by him (Mr. O'Connor) that encouraged the people to violence or insubordination. On the contrary, the greatest difficulty he had to encounter was to oppose those advocates who countenanced violence and revolution. He had ever supported the People's Charter, and ever would continue to support it, whether the measure of the hon. Member for Montrose should be successful or otherwise. But though he (Mr. O'Connor) was the reviled of all revilers, and though persons generally formed their opinions of his character from the writings in the public press, he would nevertheless defend that character, and stand by the principles of democracy to the last. The year 1842 had also been referred to; but it should be recollected that though he (Mr. O'Connor) had been made the scapegoat, it was the manufacturers that turned out their hands in that year, to carry by coercion the measure of free trade. He could not easily forget it, because he had been put on trial before a special jury for eight days, for having resisted an appeal to violence—at the end of which time he was acquitted; and three of the gentlemen who sat on his jury, magistrates, after his acquittal invited him to dine, and declared that though they went into the jury box prejudiced against him, every single prejudice entertained by them previously had been dissipated. He considered the Reform Bill as nothing; it was merely a "mockery, a delusion, and a snare." What he wished to see was, that House constituted, as it ought to be, by the free will and choice of the great labouring and toiling people. However con- tent hon. Gentlemen may be to see the House constituted as at present, yet, they might believe him, the clay would come when the people would appeal with something more formidable than a petition. If they looked at the manufacturing districts, they would find the people possessing more knowledge, and a keener sensitiveness of the inequality they were made to feel, than in any of the continental towns, where unfortunately the people were never as well prepared for the reception of the changes which they sought as were the people of England. Much as had been laid to the charge of him, it could not be said of him—as could of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, and also of his party—that he it was who inverted the portrait of the Sovereign, with the executioner following armed with an axe, to terrify Majesty into a compliance with the demands of the people. Neither was it he who recommended the burning of Nottingham or Bristol; but it was easy to justify violence and crime when they were committed to uphold a powerful and influential class. It was not his intention to have spoken a single word, but to have voted on the question. He thanked the hon. Member for Montrose for having introduced the measure; and, however that hon. Member might revile him, or abuse him and his party in that House, he would ever continue to vote for his Motion, stand by the Charter, the whole Charter, and no surrender.


said, that the right hon. Baronet who had answered the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose had been singularly dexterous in the answer which he had given. The right hon. Baronet appeared to have been extremely disappointed that he could not deliver the same speech on the present occasion as he had delivered last Session upon the same subject, and caught with some ability at an expression which fell from the hon. Member for Montrose at the close of his speech, to the effect that he had no objection to doing away with the property qualification; and the right hon. Baronet was very desirous that the addition to that effect should be made to the Motion, as it would bring it one point nearer to the Charter. Not succeeding in that course, he proceeded to cross-examine the hon. Member in an extremely felicitous manner, and extracted from him sentiments in which he (Mr. P. Wood) confessed he not only did riot concur, but to which he was diametrically opposed, but which facilitated remarkably the endeavour of the right hon. Baronet to make this Motion assimilate in some degree to the People's Charter. The right hon. Baronet was also fortunate in being followed in his address by the hon. Member for Nottingham, who was the advocate of the Charter, and who endeavoured, upon his part, to assimilate the measures of the hon. Member for Montrose with his own. [Mr. O'CONNOR: Not at all.] He (Mr. Wood) fully expected that this would be the course taken by the opponents of this measure, and bad therefore come prepared with the proposition of the hon. Member for Nottingham as made in the House last year. The Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose was simply— That every man of full age, and not subject to any mental or legal disability, who shall have been the resident occupier of a house, or part of a house as a lodger, for twelve months, and shall have been duly rated to the poor of that parish for that time, shall be registered as an elector, and be entitled to vote for a representative in Parliament— that votes should be taken by ballot—that the duration of Parliament should not exceed three years—and that the proportion of representatives should be made more consistent with the amount of population and property. Now, the Motion of the hon. Member for Nottingham was this:— That this House, recognising the great principle that labour is the source of wealth, and that the people are the only legitimate source of all power; that the labourer should be the first partaker of the fruits of his own industry, and that taxation without representation is tyranny, and should be resisted; and believing that the resources of this country would be best developed by laws made by representatives chosen by the labouring classes, in conjunction with those who live by other industrial pursuits—that, in recognition of the above great truths, the House adopts the principle embodied in the document called 'the People's Charter—namely, annual Parliaments, universal suffrage, vote by ballot, equal electoral districts, no property qualification, and payment of Members. That was the Motion which they were now told was precisely similar to that of the hon. Member for Montrose. Nothing could be more dissimilar than the two. The Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose proposed to base the right of voting on the old qualification of "paying scot and bearing lot," while the other proposed the abolition of all property qualification; the one was in favour of triennial, the other of annual, Parliaments; one proposed to make the representation more proportionate to the amount of population and property; while the other proposed, cut and dry, equal electoral districts. There was, therefore, irrespective of the sentiments elicited by the cross-examination of the hon. Member for Montrose, this very broad and marked distinction between the two Motions—that that of the hon. Member for Montrose was founded, not upon abstract rights, or the assertion of abstract principles, but upon what already existed in this country—upon existing institutions and the amelioration of them by measures of reform. He thought that it would be infinitely more for the satisfaction of the House, if, instead of Her Majesty's Government so frequently stating what it was they did not like in the way of reform, they would be kind enough to state what it was they did like. He and other hon. Members would be extremely delighted if Her Majesty's Government would bring forward some measure of reform, and he had no doubt that it would be thankfully accepted, even if it did not go to the full extent of the Motion now before the House. But why they were to be told, as they had been by the right hon. Baronet, that because there was a Bill before the House for the reform of the electoral system in Ireland, they were not to have one for England, was a species of Parliamentary logic which he confessed himself unable to understand. That which was good for Ireland must surely be good for England also; but it seemed that as with Chancery reform, so with political reform, the experiment must first be tried in Ireland. When hon. Members came to look at the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, they would see at once that the observations of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department had not the slightest application to the Motion. The whole of his observations were made with respect to the Charter, and that only. He (Mr. Wood) was quite ready to admit that they were bound in some respects not to confine themselves always to the mere literal words of a Motion. He confessed that he had not that prodigious power of abstraction which he had seen exercised by a learned and right hon. Gentleman in that House, by which he could wholly abstract the resolution from the Mover, from the large party cheering him on in the House, and the large expectant power without, and having as it were refined away the whole essence and spirit of the Motion, and brought it down to something like a caput mortuum, then proceeded by some subtle alchemy to evolve from it the pure gold of charity or of justice. Still he thought that the line of demarcation between following a Motion abstractedly, and imputing to such Motion all the opinions and views of the Mover, was very plain. When a Motion was brought forward and supported by some large party who were actually bound together by some great political principle, advocating by their leader one single fixed point and principle, he thought it would require great powers of abstraction to separate the particular resolution from the party who held the opinions embodied in that resolution. Looking, then, at the result of the two Motions of the hon. Members for Montrose and Nottingham in the last Session, he found that there were 82 Members who voted for one, and only 13 who supported the other. If, therefore, out of the 82 who supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, there were only 13 who were in favour of the People's Charter, it was not fair to impute to the 82 Members, who, with the exception of the 13, had voted against it, the principles embodied in the People's Charter. But now was it safe to go on thus year by year with the Government contenting itself by opposing measures of reform, and bringing forward no plan of their own to obviate the difficulties which they constantly admitted to exist. During the vacation, there were some pleasing rumours that something serious was in agitation on this subject among the Members of Her Majesty's Government, and that the hopes of the country would no longer be disappointed with respect to their having a voice in the legislation of this country. These hopes, however, all evaporated when Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne simply announced a redress of grievances in Ireland. He rejoiced to see such an extension of the franchise as that proposed for Ireland; but if that was granted, could the Government resist much longer a similar extension in England? He implored the Government to consider the feeble line of policy which they had adopted. They were told that agitation was a curse, and it ought not to be persisted in. He had held himself aloof, perhaps with too great a coyness, from every species of agitation, and attendance at meetings for that purpose; but how could he much longer keep quiet when such a boon and premium was held out to agitation? It was a saying of Fox when proposing the Triennial Bill, that this country would never carry into effect any improvement for the people until they had arms in their hands. Sir J. Macintosh also expressed similar opinions. It was said, also, by an individual who perhaps feared war as little as any person—the Duke of Wellington—that the Catholic Emancipation was granted in order to avoid civil war. The revolution in Paris of 1830, produced the Reform Act of this country, which was not carried till we were upon the very verge of revolution. The repeal of the corn laws, which was advocated first of all—not by cotton spinners and manufacturers, to whom the hon. Member for West Surrey always alluded in his speeches, when speaking of free trade, but—by a Gentleman connected with the aristocracy of the country, the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, who for several years brought forward the subject, but was seldom listened to with any effect in the House; a course of agitation then took place, but those who had influence upon both sides of the House could not be brought to concur in a measure for the total repeal of the corn laws until they were driven to it by a famine. Thus, it has always been—political convulsions, excitement, revolutions, civil wars, and famine occur, and then the measure is conceded. This was not wise nor prudent, nor was it pleasant to consider that they were always to be left till they got to the very edge of the volcano before some safety-valve should allow of the outbreak taking place, but happily, perhaps, not in our direction. He knew it might be said that there were no petitions before the House in favour of this Motion; but they surely could not infer from that circumstance that the people of England were indifferent to this great question. His great fear, he confessed, was, lest the people should be driven into the arms of the hon. Member for Nottingham, who, he was perfectly willing to believe, was not actuated by any improper motives, although he certainly conceived that he had most grossly deluded the people; and the House would have inflicted an equally gross delusion upon them, if they had agreed to the abstract preamble of the Motion of that hon. Member to which he had already alluded, one portion of which was, that taxation without representation was tyranny, and ought to be resisted, leaving it to the people to ascertain what kind of resistance was to be used. The Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose was perfectly consistent with the principles of the con- stitution, and was the natural growth of it—a part of that living principle of the constitution which adapted itself to the habits of the people, to the laws under which they had lived, and the course of education under which their minds had been trained. Our neighbours on the Continent seemed never to be able to arrive at that truth; and that was the reason why all sorts of abstract nonsense was given forth in the Chambers of Paris and of Prussia, without any reflection as to what the antecedents wore, what the people had been, or what they had grown to. It was impossible to form cut-and-dried constitutions. The wisest of all lawgivers, perhaps—Solon—was asked the question whether he had given the Athenians the best constitution? His answer to the question was, that he had given the best for them. Plato, Bacon, and Sir Thomas More, had all formed model constitutions; but they had all been most egregious failures. Jeremy Bentham, too, had the same monomania, and fancied he could ship out a constitution to the Brazils as easily as he could a cargo of merchandise. The same attempt had been made at New Zealand, which had also failed. [Mr. HUME: Oh, not by Bentham.] No, certainly not. Cut-and-dried constitutions were like cut-and-dried flowers, which might be stuck in the ground, but would not grow, as they had nothing which went before them, and would have nothing which would come after them. There were countries which were suited for republican forms, and others which would do with nothing but King, Lords, and Commons. What else could the United States have but a republican form of government when it was separated from the mother country? and Washington was wise in refusing to attempt to establish any other form of government in that country. So long as we had such a Sovereign upon the Throne as the present one—so long as we had an aristocracy which wisely knew when to make concessions, even against what they might consider right and just, but what others might believe to be their prejudices—so long as the Commons were animated by good sense and sound judgment in remedying any of the manifold defects which existed—so long would they continue to be safe under a Government of Queen, Lords, and Commons. Then came the question, when was it safe to trust a much larger number of the people with a voice in the representation? The proposition of his hon. Friend did not amount to universal suffrage, but was that every man of full age, not under a disability, and with the qualification of residence and rating, should be entitled to the franchise. [Sir G. GREY: I thought payment of rates was expressly excluded.] Rating was included; and if a man were rated he was liable to pay. The proposition was none other than that laid down by the great lawyer, Blackstone, who started by saying that every man of full age and without any disability, had, primâ facie, a right to vote, and then went on to make out his qualifications, and said, that in order to ensure their intelligence it was necessary to have some criterion, and property was decided upon as that criterion. The principle was therefore precisely the same as that of the hon. Member for Montrose, although the amount of qualification might not be the same in both cases. But could the present state of things continue much longer—a state in which there were 4,500,000 of grown-up men, of whom 900,000 only were entitled to vote, and that number including the double votes? Could it be supposed that out of the remaining 3,500,000, there were not men fitted to have the suffrage? And if fitted to exercise the suffrage, could it be supposed that they would remain long tranquil under the exclusion? It was impossible. The development which had taken place with respect to intelligence and instruction in this country since the passing of the Reform Bill, rendered it impossible. During this period not less than 1,500 new churches had been erected, and he should be ashamed of the result of erecting these edifices if they had not done something towards improving the habits of the great masses of the people. Great efforts had also been made both by the Church and the various bodies of Dissenters towards improving the education of the people, the National Society alone not having less than a million of children receiving education in schools connected with their society. The 10th of April had been referred to by the other side of the House ad nauseam, and he thought that they had now a right to refer to that day as proving, in some degree, the fitness of the great body of the people to be entrusted with the franchise. We ought to be thankful that we lived in a country where there were not only country gentlemen and manufacturers, but industrious mechanics and hardworking labourers, among whom were men of the highest intelligence, and whom he should wish to see, not regarding themselves as an excluded order, and banding themselves together to force from the excluding classes a recognition of their just rights. The proposition of his hon. Friend strongly recognised the principle of locality and a communion of interests by the twelve months' residence; and, on the whole, he believed that the measure was one which would aid the fair and true working out of the constitution. It had worked itself out from the beginning. We had gone on, by a series of steps, working it out. There was that old sturdy Saxon element of freedom always at the bottom, remaining with us, and characterising alike our institutions and their nomenclature. Our aldermen in the municipal corporations, our sheriffs in the counties, were alike of Saxon origin. The barons' wars had reduced the monarchical element, and the wars of the Roses the aristocratical element. The civil wars in the time of Charles the 1st brought forth the energy of the English country gentlemen; and he (Mr. Wood) could admire that character, whether in a Falkland or a Hampden. It had been a long struggle, but the end was being gradually attained, and it was his firm belief that the measure before the House would tend to consolidate the interests of all classes, and to encourage a friendly feeling between the landlord and the tenant, the employer and the employed. The principle of locality was strongly marked in the constitution of this country; and in the course of the cross-examination to which he was subjected, his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose said that if he were to mark out a district, he should prefer the district over which the poor-law union extended. He (Mr. Wood) was much inclined to look with favour on such a proposal. The political unit of the English constitution was the parish and the vestry, which exhibited the first example of political government. He believed that the measure before the House would be a fair and true working out of the constitution of this country. It was his opinion that the Motion would tend to conciliate all those interests which depended upon the relation between the employer and the employed. There would be another opportunity for discussing the question of the ballot; but still he must say that he considered the success of this part of the Motion to be important, because the ballot would be sure to increase the friendly feelings of parties. Before he sat down, he wished to ask the House if it thought that we were in a safe position with reference to the basis of the property in the representation of the country? It was said on the other side of the House that the Motion gave everything to numbers, and nothing to property. But as matters stood at present, 6,000,000l. of property was represented by one-half of the Members who sat in that House, and 78,000,000l. by the other half. To talk of the representation being based on property was therefore a delusion, and the people of this country would never be satisfied with it. The friends of the Motion, however, were not bigotedly attached to this particular measure. It was, he believed, the wish of the considerable minority who had supported the Motion made last year, to impress upon the Government the necessity of carrying into effect a reform in our system of representation. They had no wish to force a party into power, but to enforce their principles upon the Government. It had not been the lot of the late Sir Samuel Romilly and Sir James Macintosh to live to see their great reforms carried into effect. We had, however, in our day, seen large measures of reform conducted to a triumphant conclusion, and he firmly believed that that same principle of justice which declared that it was impossible with safety to exclude such numbers of the community, and such an amount of property, from their fair share in the representation of the country, would ultimately prevail, and occasion those measures to be effected which he heartily wished the Government would take upon themselves forthwith and immediately to carry out.


said, he could not concur in the sentiments expressed in the able speech which they had just heard from his hon. and learned Friend, in which he said that he entertained an equal admiration of talent wherever it might be employed. He (Mr. Drummond) felt a thorough contempt for talent, as for any other great quality, except with reference to the way in which it was employed. And when his hon. and learned Friend said—in reference to observations made the other night—that he was sorry to hear that class was set against class, his answer was, that classes had been so set against one another by professional agitators, who went about the country disseminating ill feeling by falsely declaring that the landed aristocracy in Parliament, who had possessed power for centuries, had used that power to enhance their own fortunes. With respect to the question before the House, he felt sorry that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had not fulfilled expectations, and conferred upon England a similar boon to that which he was about to confer upon Ireland. He regretted the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion had not confined his Motion to an extension of the franchise, for if so he would have given him his support. He felt sorry to believe that, not only would this Motion be in time carried, but much worse Motions. It might be true that upon the present occasion the Motion would be lost, and that upon succeeding Motions of this kind there might be, from a variety of motives, a preponderance of "Noes" over "Yeas," but, sooner or later, every word of that Motion would be carried. They had now come to the reaping time of the seed long since sown. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose had reminded them that for 150 years the Whigs had toasted the health of the people as the source of all legitimate power. The true Whig meant this sentiment with a reservation—by the grace of Brookes's Club—and was exceedingly indignant when the same sentiment was propounded either in the Reform Club or in the Manchester School. But he hated both sections—the real and the pretended—of democrats as cordially as he detested their sentiment. The truth was, the Whigs originated and kept up agitation as long as it suited their purpose—that was to say, until they got into power—but not an hour longer, when they became good Tories. So soon as the Whigs got into place, they turned round and decried agitation. He was not going to vindicate the Tory party, for it was not necessary to do so, since the most perfect triumph of Toryism was seen in that the Whigs had been obliged to adopt the very measures which they had abused when out of office. Did the memory of the hon. Gentleman who spoke early in the debate fail him when he spoke of the Whigs? Had he forgotten that they defended the murderers of a King and Queen—that they uphold the mutiny of the Nore; and was not Parker as bad as Smith O'Brien? There was not one enemy of the public peace throughout Europe that was not defended by the hon. Gentlemen now. If the Whigs were out of office again, they would probably adopt the same principle. The difference was only in de- gree. Through means of the Reform Bill, they wreaked their vengeance on the party which they had displaced, and in order to do this effectually they did not hesitate to violate the constitution—they turned the Throne into a President's chair, and that was all Queen Victoria sat in. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, hon. Gentlemen might say "Oh;" but, in point of fact, the Queen of these realms possessed less power than the President of the United States or of the French Republic. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, but he should like to see the faces of those hon. Gentlemen who cried "Oh," after the Queen had put her veto on a Bill they had sent up. The Reform Bill, said those Gentlemen, is a failure. Very probably. But why? Because the people expected from the Reform Bill more than any Act of Parliament could give, and because they had taught them to expect something new and extraordinary. Give another Reform Bill now, and the people would, after a little time, be just as discontented. They were going upon a wrong tack altogether. A year or two ago they were angry with the Chartists, and even hon. Gentlemen opposite were not so much in love with them as heretofore, when the head of the Reform League perambulated the country hand in hand with the Gentleman whom not long since they repudiated. ["No, no!"] Why, but you appeared with him at Aberdeen and in other places, and once more they were hand and glove with him again. Formerly, when hon. Gentlemen were rebuked for their seditious and exciting speeches, they indignantly scouted the remonstrance, and asked if they were not as loyal as their opponents; but now one of the most powerful and able supporters of this measure had said that the constitution of Queen, Lords, and Commons, was one of the grossest humbugs that ever existed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester looked quite astonished, and with great naïveté opened his eyes, as if he had never heard such a thing from his Colleague. But it was quite clear that the object of hon. Gentlemen opposite was the establishment of a pure democracy—[Mr. O'CONNOR: Hear, hear!]—and it was not disavowed by one "honest man at least." It was quite clear what they were driving at. The question before the House was not the carrying of this Bill, or a portion of its provisions, but the question really before the House was the establishment of a pure democracy. [Cries of "No, no!"] Some hon. Gentlemen opposite might affect dissent, but he observed that there was at least one honest man who did not disavow it. He only wished others were equally candid. That hon. Gentleman, in the course of the debate upon this subject last year, held up France as the object of our imitation. [Mr. HUME: Only as to the suffrage.] As you please. And what is the grand effect of the suffrage in France? Why, that the peace is preserved, and preserved only by 600,000 bayonets. The public peace of France would be preserved only as long as Socialist principles were kept out of the way. When the French army become as inoculated with those doctrines as the mass of the people, there would follow a scene of universal carnage. Hon. Gentlemen opposite did not wish such disaster. Very likely not. But what signified their wish? If they had not sense enough to see an inch before their nose, they must abide the consequences of their short-sightedness or wilful blindness. Did they suppose that, having sown the seeds of popular ambition, they could prevent their growth—did they suppose that, after zealously preaching those democratic doctrines, they could stave off their operation? He believed there was no Gentleman opposite who would not do his utmost to prevent the results he had mentioned. He did not believe there was one among them who had not as great a dislike to confusion, bloodshed, and violence, as he had. He was only speaking of the necessary consequences of their measures. They wished to establish a system of universal equality. Where would they find it? Did not all nature tell them that no such thing existed? Would they not learn from the vegetable or the animal kingdom—the lowest order of plants, or the highest order of animals—in the celestial spheres, as in the terrestrial globe, was there not order, superiority, subordination—was the ant no wiser than the grasshoper, nor the beaver than the sloth? No, their system of equality would not do. It existed nowhere—it never did, it never would, it never could exist, until they had consigned to chaos, not only all the institutions of this, but of every other country. He must again express his regret at the conduct of the Government in this matter; he was sorry they had not taken the question into their own hands, and for this reason—because he was sure that, left to other guidance, the question would be conducted and carried with more violence. The noble Lord at the head of the Govern- ment had, by his speech of last year, whetted the political appetites of the people, and excited their desires—ho increased the danger without providing against it.


said, the House was indebted to the hon. Member for Montrose for bringing forward this question at the present time. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford had truly stated that we were in a state of perfect calm and quiet, and comparative comfort. The question was brought before the House unassisted by excitement out of doors, and he had hoped it would have been unopposed by prejudices within; but, although the world out of doors was calm, he could not say that the House, as represented by the right hon. Gentleman, had dealt fairly with his hon. Friend. The question, as stated by his hon. Friend, was simply this:—He said that they had, from time to time, altered the mode of representation in this country; they had, from time to time, increased the number of persons electing Members of Parliament, and he proposed that that number should now be increased still more. How was that mot by the right hon. Gentleman? The right hon. Gentleman dealt with the proposition of his hon. Friend very much like a nisi prius lawyer. He went round about it, and carped at it, and cavilled at it, but never met it fairly in front. He said that the proposition was opposed to the principles of the British constitution. Now, it had been his (Mr. Roebuck's) fate to search after that constitution, and he had never yet been able to find it. But he remembered a very remarkable instance of a direct change which was made in the principle of representation in this country—the author of which was the noble Lord now at the head of Her Majesty's Government—and in regard to which it was alleged at the time, and not contradicted, that it was wholly unknown to the constitution, and was then, for the first time, proposed to the House of Commons. What did his hon. Friend propose now? Did it in any way controvert the principles of the English constitution? The House of Commons in theory, though not in practice, was held to represent the whole people of England. He sincerely believed that the House of Commons, as at present constituted, did really represent, most faithfully, the passions, the feelings, the prejudices, the ignorance, and the good qualities of the people of England. He did not support this change because of any defect of that kind. He did not support the Reform Bill of the noble Lord for any such reason. Neither could he understand the curious fancy of his hon. Friend—borrowed, he believed, from the noble Lord—that taxation and representation should go together. They never had gone together, and never would. These were not his grounds at all. He supported the proposed change because a large body of their fellow-countrymen fancied themselves aggrieved in consequence of not being represented in that House; and in 1830, when the noble Lord brought forward his measure, the classes who fancied themselves aggrieved were larger and more powerful than now. After the change effected by the noble Lord, the House was in justice bound to listen to the feelings of the unrepresented classes, whose generous aid bad won for the middling class the power it now possessed in Parliament, on the distinct faith that the aid they had given would be remembered, and that the franchise would be given them by the reformed Parliament which had been refused them by the unreformed Parliament. He did not himself admit that the working classes, as the phrase was generally understood, had that interest in taxation, in the burdens, as they were called, of the country, which the hon. Gentleman imagined. As to the burdens of the country, they were not at all remarkable—they were much lighter than in very many other countries—the actual burdens of the people of England, in the shape of taxation, were practically much less than those borne by the people of the United States, and certainly much less than those borne by several nations on the Continent. But this was not the matter in hand. What he desired was, that there should not exist in the general population that feeling of discontent which now did exist; for, so soon as any calamity happened by which that general population should be raised up in anger against the rest of the community, the rest of the community would feel the whole strength of that discontent. If the general population did not soon learn that they were to be dealt with in an honest, fair spirit, they would not only listen to bad counsel, but they would act upon it. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was quite right in saying that there was peace, that there was security, that there was, in a great measure, good government in this country, so that a man could walk from John O'Groat's to the Land's End defended by the law. To say that the labouring man derived no benefit from this good government was an entire mistake; but it was to be kept in mind that this good government resulted not from the constitution, not from the Legislature, but from the good sound common sense of the great body of the people. It was not that House that governed England; not at all. The people governed themselves by their own good sense and intelligence. Place the same forms of government in any country where the same national attributes did not exist, and the forms would be of no effect whatever towards producing the same result. What was wanted was, that the people should not continue to feel themselves in a state of degradation—of serfdom, as the hon. Gentleman expressed it—lest, feeling the discontent natural under such circumstances, feeling themselves degraded, serfs, robbed of their rights, they should proceed to act upon that feeling. He had not, like the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, any fear of the people of England. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had on former occasions urged the theory of a preponderance in that House of the landed aristocracy. [Lord J. RUSSELL: NO, no! I never said that.] He spoke only from the published reports, and was sorry if he had misrepresented the noble Lord; but he thought he should be able, if he stepped into the library, to produce something like these very words. He would ask the noble Lord whether such was not the object of the Reform Bill he had proposed? The noble Lord at that time saw, of course, that the great commercial interests which had been making such way out of the House, must make their way also into the House. The hon. Member for West Surrey, who called a spade a spade, said the noble Lord and his party, having been so long out of power, determined when they got into office to wreak their vengeance on their opponents. The Whigs on coming into power in a time of great excitement wreaked their vengeance on the Tory party, and gave a preponderance to the landed interest. [An Hon. GENTLEMAN: No, no; to the mercantile and manufacturing interest.] The hon. and learned Member observed not at all. It was directly the contrary. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary said that there was in that House a combination of interests, which, if destroyed, would over- turn the constitution. [Sir G. GREY said, that he had stated that the House represented the varied interests of the country.] He acknowledged, with the right hon. Gentleman, that in one sense the House represented the people. The people might nominally be represented in that House, but the thing wanted was, that they should be allowed a direct representation, by giving the 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 enlightened Englishmen now without a vote, the right to vote, if they so liked, for A. or for B. Did the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary doubt the intelligence of the people of England? Not a bit of it. The right hon. Gentleman would be the first to lead a chorus of commendation on the enlightened character of the public mind. The right hon. Gentleman was ever ready to praise the people most eulogistically, but the moment it was suggested to give them the power for which by his eulogium he admitted them to be fitted, he got frightened. He (Mr. Roebuck) was not at all frightened about the matter. He was not at all afraid of his countrymen. He believed them to be a thoroughly superior, well-judging, calmly considering race. They were not of the kind we saw over the water; they were not to be influenced by any such influences as availed there; they knew how to govern themselves; they had what no other people except the Belgians had—a respect for the decision of the majority, and yielded to that decision, fairly and properly pronounced, without rushing to arms, because they found themselves in the minority. The right hon. Home Secretary could not make out a distinction between the hon. Member's proposition and universal suffrage; he (Mr. Roebuck) had, so far, no apprehension about universal suffrage, but there was the clearest distinction between universal suffrage and the franchise advocated by the hon. Member for Montrose. First, the proposed voters must be men free from the conviction of crime; more than this, they must be dwellers in a house, either as lodgers or as occupiers; more than this, they must establish their particular identity, so that Tom Smith might not be confounded with John Smith, an identification to be effected by registration; more than this, vagabonds, wanderers from place to place, without settled habitation, were guarded against by the requirement that each voter should be rated to the poor relief—a requirement modified with proper reference to the hon. Member's experience of the long contest about the ratepaying clauses, but in no degree open to the utterly disingenuous interpretation of the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet must know that it was not designed for the hon. Member for Montrose, as he suggested, that twenty men should vote for one person rated and paying rates. The right hon. Gentleman wanted to make out, that because the hon. Member for Montrose proposed that all men above 21, subject to his various qualifications, should vote, that this was universal suffrage; the right hon. Baronet took no heed, in his notion of universal suffrage, of more than half the population—women—of the large number of males under 21, of the large number of other males disqualified under the hon. Member's own proposition; but raising the cry "universal suffrage," at once concluded that what were called the labouring classes would forthwith become preponderant in the House of Commons; and, because preponderant, would very soon do away with the House of Lords and Queen—a picture of course most alarming to every loyal mind. What was meant by the labouring classes? When did a man come within the category? Where was the line of demarcation between the labouring population and the non-labouring? Would the hon. Member for Nottingham favour the House with a discriminative definition? Was the little shopkeeper, who got up at six o'clock in the morning, and shut up late at night, and charged 100 per cent on his goods for his amazing labour in running up and down behind the counter—was he, with his vote, as a 10l. householder, within or without the category? Or was the hon. and learned Member for Oxford, rising early, and working all day, and half the night—was he a labouring man or no? Or, rather, was not the whole character of the entire country as one piece of paper, shaded all over with the shade of labour, darker here, and lighter there, it was true, but still all shaded, except, perhaps, where the House of Lords occupied one small spot of light. Where, he would ask, on this dark page of work, all occupied with labour, from the lowest operative labour to the highest intellectual labour, even up to that of the noble Lord opposite, where were you to begin to mark out the labouring class? The mischief arose, in great degree, from putting under one name classes wholly various in position, interests, everything. It was an idle bugbear, this alarm about the labouring classes, and the sooner we got rid of it the better. Never was there a truer observation than that made by the hon. Member for West Surrey, that this Motion must come to pass. He had found fault, however, with all parties for not arresting the danger which he apprehended. The hon. Gentleman said the Whigs for a century and a half were preaching revolution, and the hon. Member for Montrose was now preaching revolution, and added, that the Whigs supported Parker when he was at the head of the mutiny in the fleet; but he did not say that any one had supported Smith O'Brien. He (Mr. Roebuck) said, with the hon. Gentleman, that the change must come; but he wished that it should not come with the whirlwind, the storm, and confusion, but he called upon the House to accept it, not as a painful necessity in a time of trial and difficulty, but as one of those alterations which afforded a specimen of the living vitality of the British constitution. It would be one of the noblest examples in the full page of our annals that our people should thus rise, not in the terrific majesty of mad, armed violence, but in the simple, plain, benignant majesty of improvement and intelligence. They should teach the people of England by deeds that they were their friends, not only to make them happy in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call them, but to lift them up to a level with themselves, and not to fancy that they were raising themselves by keeping down the people. He did not mean equal in the sense of the hon. Member for West Surrey. He had no desire on the part of the people to invade the peculiar domain of gentility—or whatever higher ground the hon. Gentleman fancied—asserted by the hon. Member. The people could get on very well without it. All they wanted was to be practically equal before the law. They wanted that not 1,000,000 out of 4,500,000, but that the 4,500,000 should have the right to vote for their representatives in Parliament. Not that he himself considered their not having a vote in itself a degradation; he had, he believed, a vote somewhere or other, but he had never voted for anybody in all his life, and he thoroughly believed that, give these other millions a vote tomorrow, the chances were they would not use it; but, even were it so, this would be no answer to him. The point was, that they were discontented because they had not got it, and that it was eminently desirable and expedient, and proper, to re- move that ground of discontent. There would be no danger in the change, even were universal suffrage introduced: the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary might derive infinite comfort from the example of the French National Assembly. That Assembly was elected by universal suffrage, and where would you find so conservative a body? The right hon. President of the Board of Trade shook his head; he meant to convey, no doubt, that there was a difference between universal suffrage in France, and universal suffrage in England, by reason that in France the land was divided among an infinite number of proprietors. He had no wish to force his opinions upon any one; but he desired that the middle classes should thoroughly understand that there was no danger in the proposition now brought forward, for endowing a large section of the labouring population with the power which they themselves possessed. He thought, if they recollected all the antecedents by which that House had been brought together, they ought to be anxious to confer this power upon the labouring classes, because those classes had enabled them to force upon the aristocracy the Reform Bill which was proposed by the noble Lord the Member for the city of London. The noble Lord knew as well as he did, that they forced that Bill upon the House of Commons and upon the House of Lords. It was idle to deny that measure was a revolution. It was a revolution, and a very beneficial revolution. An hon. Gentleman shook his head. It was curious that a large portion of the opinions of the hon. Gentleman were quite in accordance with those of that very class who were so much represented on the opposite (the Ministerial) benches. But the hon. Gentleman, who contradicted everybody, contradicted himself. The Reform Act was a revolution. It was brought about by a feeling which was kept up, maintained, and cherished by the noble Lord and his colleagues, and those who supported them. The time was past for any hiding of that matter. If ever there was a revolution, that was one—a quiet and calm revolution, as it happened, but one which he never wished to see repeated in this country. He never wished to bring the vessel so near the rocks again. A few hours, and they might have been in a violent revolution, instead of a peaceful one; and he entreated the noble Lord opposite and his colleagues, as well as hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House, to be careful how they again resisted so long as they resisted on the occasion to which he referred the fair, and honest, and just desires of the people, and to beware that they did not lead them into a daily revolution.


Mr. Speaker, before I address myself to the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, it will be necessary for me to say a few words respecting the motives and conduct of those who brought forward the Reform Bill. The hon. Member for West Surrey has chosen to say—but it is not an original observation on his part, though he certainly is not wanting in originality—that the Whigs when in power have immediately become Tories, and have acted upon the principles, which he considers right principles, by which Tory Governments have been guided. But it was somewhat difficult for the hon. Gentleman to make the bringing forward of the Reform Bill tally with his notions either of Tory government or of right principles; and, therefore, he fixed upon the ingenious device of inventing a motive by which he asserts we were actuated, and he alleges that we brought forward the Reform Bill in order to take vengeance on our opponents. Now, a more unjust remark never fell from any Member of this House. The hon. and learned Gentleman who last spoke has begged me, and those who act with me, not to repeat the resistance we made for a series of years to a reform in the representation. The plain truth is known to many who recollect, and to anybody who will read it, that for a series of years we brought forward and supported Motions for reform in the representation. I myself, from 1821 to 1830, made repeated Motions asking this House to grant a reform in the representation. But, if I feel it somewhat necessary to vindicate myself, I cannot refrain—though it is certainly unnecessary—from saying a few words in defence of the chief under whom I had the honour to serve, and under whose auspices the Reform Rill was proposed and carried. My Lord Grey, throughout his political life, had brought forward and supported Motions for a reform of the representation. In 1810, Earl Grey, then a Member of the House of Lords, at a time when reform was not a very palatable or favourite topic, declared that, though his original plans of reform had been modified—though his ardour had been abated by age and experience—yet, even in those days, when reformers were few in number, and were generally calumniated and held in low estimation, that he still held to the main doctrine with respect to a reform of Parliament. Then are we to be told that Earl Grey, who for years together asked this House to consent to a reform of the representation, and who, when he came into power, immediately set to work to frame such a plan as he thought might be carried, and might be of great benefit to the country; are we to be told that he and his Colleagues took that course merely to wreak their vengeance upon their opponents, and that they were actuated merely by party motives? That may be a very ingenious suggestion of the hon. Gentleman; it may do great credit to his invention: but anything further from the real fact could not well be stated or imagined, I come now to the question which the hon. Member for Montrose has brought before the House; and I must say I think my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has been somewhat ill-treated by those who have accused him of misrepresenting or misconstruing the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Montrose has stated that he is himself in favour of the principles of what is called "the People's Charter," that he thinks every man ought to have a vote, and that he considers that those who have no vote are absolutely slaves. He proposes, accordingly, not only that every occupier of a house shall be admitted to a vote, but that every lodger may be rated upon application; and on being rated—but without the payment of rates, which the hon. Gentleman expressly excluded—shall be entitled to vote in the election of Members of Parliament. My right hon. Friend says, that that is evidently a franchise disjoined from property; that the constitution of England has hitherto united, not in every case certainly, but as a general rule, property with the right of voting; and that this would be a great change and innovation upon that principle. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford turns round and says, "You have completely misconceived or misrepresented the Motion. It does not propose to admit every man who is a mere lodger, or the occupier of a room in a house, to the right of voting. We require twelve months' residence, and that the voter shall be rated according to law." But, if that is the meaning of the hon. Member for Montrose, what becomes of his assertion that every man who has not a vote is a slave? Either the hon. Gentleman proposes a Motion so extensive that, if it is adopted, there can be but a very small class of the people who could be regarded, as he terms it, in a state of slavery; or it is a Motion giving only a restricted suffrage, and in that case he leaves a great number of the people in this state of slavery. I do not see, vaguely as he has framed his Motion in past years, and vaguely as he has stated it to-night, how he can avoid one consequence or the other. I understood him to say, that if his Motion were adopted, out of 4,000,000 of the adult males in Great Britain, 3,000,000 would have votes; but if there is to be a restricted franchise, be loses altogether the benefit of delivering from slavery the great body of the people. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield says, "I do not find fault with the present representation as not being a representation of the wishes, the interests, the passions, and the feelings of the people; but there are great numbers of people who are excluded from the franchise, and it is in order to content them that I shall vote for the Motion." Well, if that is the ground upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman gives his vote, I say that, unless he gives the franchise fully and completely at least to adult males, he must totally fail in his object; for, however unpalatable it may be to a man to find that he is excluded from the franchise, because only one in every four adult males have the right to vote, it would, I think, be still more painful to him to see that the three others bad the right of voting, because he, the fourth bad not, the exclusion in that case being the more apparent. With regard to the question of taxation and representation, referred to by the hon. Member for Montrose, I do not think we are cither of us in error as to the general theory of the constitution, though I differ from him as to what has been the practice. I imagine the meaning of the declaration so repeatedly made, that taxation and representation should go together, is, that the King did not in ancient times, since the commencement of our representative constitution, levy taxes by his own authority as sovereign, but that be called the representatives of counties and boroughs together; that he took their assent as the assent of the people at large; and that from the beginning of our representative history—with exceptions which were denounced in the Petition of Right—the prin- ciple has been that all taxes were levied with the assent of the representatives of the people in Parliament. It is, however, quite another question whether that general maxim means that every one who is subject to any tax should have directly a vote for a representative; and in that sense the maxim never has been carried into effect. Whether you had the county franchise of all the tenants who held immediately from the Crown; whether you had the freehold franchise, or the suffrage by freemen, in certain cities and boroughs, it is quite evident that at all times of our constitution there were numbers of people subject to taxes, and affected by taxation, who had no direct votes for representatives in this House. When Lord Camden declared that taxation without representation was tyranny, he did not deny the right of this House to tax the people of England and Scotland, though many of the people had no votes for Members of Parliament; but he declared that imposing a tax upon America when America had no right whatever to send representatives to the British Parliament, and did not send them, was plainly and obviously tyranny, as it violated the great principle of our constitution, that taxation and representation should go together. I deny, then, that that maxim was meant to be literally carried into effect with regard to every person subject to taxation; but it meant only that the House of Commons constituted legally and virtually the representatives of the people, and that in the name of the people they granted taxes and subsidies to the Crown. If I am right in these general maxims, I think I shall not be wrong in asserting that on this point we did not deviate from the principle of the constitution in the proposition we made in the Reform Bill. Believing that the time had come when men would not consider themselves fairly represented, when a park in one place, a green mound in another, or a town that had been destroyed by the sea some centuries ago, sent Members to Parliament, while the great seats of manufactures, such as Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield, had no representatives in this House—believing the time had come when that unreal representation would no longer be tolerated, we proposed that there should be a change which would bring the representatives of the people more directly to represent the people, and to reflect their opinions and interests in Parliament. But we did not pretend to destroy all that existed. We respected the prescription which gave to certain boroughs the right of sending Members to Parliament, when a body of electors, though small, could be found to send such representatives. We did not attempt to say that we should make such an exact plan of a constitution as the hon. and learned Member for Oxford has very properly reprobated. We believed, as it was well stated by Lord Holland, in a letter, I think, with respect to a constitution for Naples, that to attempt to frame a constitution for a nation, and to expect that that nation would at once be fitted for it, was as absurd as to attempt to build a tree, or to manufacture an animal. We did not, therefore, attempt to alter the great outline of the representation; but that which was utterly defective—the mere nomination instead of representation—we put away, and the great seats of manufacture, which before had no representatives, were admitted to send Members to Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that in doing so we endeavoured to create a preponderance of the landed aristocracy in this House; and he represents me as having asserted that I actually had that object in view. Now it certainly was our object, in that great destruction of small boroughs, not to make any unfair distribution of the new representation; and while we proposed that many towns not hitherto sending Members should return representatives to Parliament, we likewise proposed that many counties should send additional Members to this House. In so doing we distributed the representation fairly. I was asked, during the discussion on the Bill, whether it was not true that we had utterly destroyed the landed interest, or some phrase of that kind—whether, as Lord Ashburton once termed it, we had not taken the representation from the barley-field, and given it to the coal-field. I said, so far from that being the case, that it would be found, when Parliament assembled, that the landed interest would have a preponderance. I did not mean to say—nor did I say—that it was our object to give that interest a preponderance; but I believed that, distributing a new representation fairly between the commercial and manufacturing towns and counties, the landed interest was at that time so strong in the country that a fair representation of the people at large would give a preponderance to that interest. I am sorry to be obliged to allude to these matters; but there are so many misconceptions, and so many misstatements, with regard to the Reform Bill and its objects, that I am obliged, from time to time, to explain what really happened, and what were the real views of the Government. I should have thought it very unjust if we had proposed merely to extend the representation to a considerable number of manufacturing towns, without taking into consideration the growth of wealth and population in the counties. The hon. Member for Montrose begins by proposing that every man of full age, who is the occupier of, or a lodger in, a house, although he may not pay any rates or taxes, shall have the right of voting for representatives in Parliament. Now, it appears to me, that if the hon. Gentleman were to succeed in carrying out that object by Act of Parliament, the plan would be open to innumerable frauds. I cannot conceive how means could be taken to prevent any number of persons from being placed upon the register as rated householders, though, according to the present law, they had no claim or right to be so placed. Take the case of a house in which there are six or seven lodgers, but the owner or occupier is rated for the house and pays the rates. The lodgers are not rated; they have nothing to do with the payment of the rate; but according to the proposal of the hon. Member for Montrose they might all be placed upon the rate-books on their own demand, while the obligation of paying the rates would still devolve upon the occupier, who would remain in the position in which he at present stands. This certainly is as near to universal suffrage as any species of franchise can well be that does not openly profess to rest on that basis. But then we have the hon. Member for Montrose avowing that he is in favour of the People's Charter; we have him declaring that he holds those doctrines respecting Parliamentary representation which the partisans of that Charter proclaim at all public meetings as theirs; and thus he appears before this House professing to pursue the same objects and working for the same ends. Then how am I to distinguish the one from the other? How am I to separate his plan of Parliamentary reform from the plan of those who insist upon the adoption of the People's Charter? The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield has complained of us as having no confidence in the people. He has asked us why we should distrust the people—why not ad- mit them to the privilege of voting for Members of this House? Now it would seem very ungenerous in me if I were to say that I had not full confidence in all classes of the community. I do feel in them a great deal of confidence. But in noticing this part of the subject, I cannot avoid recalling the attention of the House to the observation with regard to the people which we have just heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman. He told us that when anything was said on one side in praise of the working classes, it was immediately echoed from the other side in the warmest manner. I beg to say that I believe that is done with perfect sincerity. My deliberate opinion is—and I have always expressed it—that in all the relations of life the working classes of this country are, as to their general conduct, worthy of the highest commendation. But does it from that fairly follow that if the suffrage were rendered universal—that if every adult male in the country possessed the power of voting for the Members returned to this House, their choice would always be the wisest? Does it follow that, because they desire, and perhaps in a certain sense deserve, to enjoy the privilege of sending Members to this House, they must, therefore, be competent to form sound opinions on all the great questions which come before us relating to the empire, to the preservation of the constitution, the important subjects relating to colonies and commerce, and the various other difficult matters which come before this House? So far from thinking them competent to such a task, I do believe that many of them would be misled—that most of them would be deceived by the people who would tell them that they were unjustly paying interest to the amount of 20,000,000l. or 30,000,000l. per annum upon a debt that was in no respect national. They might be told that it was a debt which they were not obliged to pay; that if they repudiated it they might get rid of 20,000,000l. of taxes; and men who in such language addressed the working classes might obtain seats in this House on undertaking to urge such opinions. Then there are those who would tell the people that they ought to go for a repeal of the new poor-law, and, having accomplished that object, that they ought to have recourse to the old poor-law. Probably no one who knows the working classes entertains any doubt that such doctrines as those would have great weight and influence among them; and if such is my opinion, it must be obvious to every one that I cannot agree to the propositions this night made by the hon. Member for Montrose. But hon. Gentlemen on the other side reproach us with measures that we have ourselves proposed, and tell us that we are guilty of inconsistency in not assenting to the propositions at preent before the House—that the Irish Franchise Bill and the Cape Colony Bill are both founded upon principles not materially different from those which the hon. Member for Montrose has laid down. In the first place, as to Ireland, our measure proposes to give to 2,000,000 of adult population in that country a body of electors amounting to only 250,000, which regulates the proportion between the adults and the electors nearly according to the standard of England and Wales, and it is rather in favour of the Irish than in favour of this country; therefore that Bill can at all events form no precedent for the measure which the hon. Member for Montrose wishes to introduce. Then with respect to the Cape, that case appears to me to be equally unfortunate, for I think no one will succeed in maintaining that the qualifications of and the conditions under which a body of representatives in a colony are to be elected when they are chosen chiefly, if not altogether, for merely local purposes, are not widely different from those under which the Members of this House ought to be sent to Parliament. The local representatives of a colony like the Cape have no great questions to decide. They are not called upon to deal with such great imperial questions as come before the House of Commons; a different set of objects engage the attention, and a different class of representatives suit such a colony. The next complaint against us is that we do not carry out our own principles far enough—that we have given the right of voting to nearly all the householders in the kingdom—and that we ought to complete our own work. It has been well said by Mr. Justice Talfourd that the suffrage is enjoyed not so much by every householder as by every man whom a house holds. But I am at a loss to say how we can be fairly taunted with not acting up to our principles when our opponents do not bring forward a definite plan; for example, what does the hon. Member for Montrose intend to do with the cities and boroughs that at present send Members to this House? I confess that upon this, as upon other occasions, I have found the explanation of the hon. Member by no means satisfactory. I can very well understand the plan of the hon. Member for Nottingham—I can understand the points of the Charter—that Charter which the hon. Member for Montrose has signed, and which it is understood that he was concerned in drawing up—I can understand all that the Charter demands about equal electoral districts, with populations of from 40,000 to 50,000—every inhabitant being entitled to a vote—a plan which is sufficiently intelligible; but I confess I do not fully understand the scheme of the hon. Member for Montrose. In the Charter, though very unlike our present system, there is still an apparent fairness and justice. But when the hon. Member for Montrose told us that there was a borough with 3,500 inhabitants, and here there was another with 200,000 with an equal number of representatives, he did not tell us how he proposed to remedy the inequality. The hon. Gentleman might, with the greatest ease, prove arithmetically that this was a very glaring abuse, and that it should be corrected, but he never told the House how the grievance was to be redressed; he never told us, as he might have done, that such evils did not constitute the sole inequalities of representation. We, in making the Reform Bill, did not flatter ourselves with the belief that we could, even if it were desirable, prevent all inequalities, and give exactly to every city and borough and division of a county the precise number of representatives to which its population might seem to entitle it. We may have left a borough with 100,000 population two Members, while we left an agricultural county with a population of 200,000 with only two Members also; though, if the strict rule of population were carried out, the county, with its 200,000 souls, ought to have four Members. Here we have Nottingham, with a population of 53,091, with two Members, and North Devonshire, possessing a population of 170,770, having also only two representatives. I hold in my hand a list which I will read of eleven towns, each with two representatives in this House, excepting Walsall and Kidderminster. They are as follows:—Nottingham 53,091, Preston 50,131, Leicester 50,733, Oldham 42,595, Wolverhampton 36,382, Bradford 34,560, Derby 32,741, Coventry 30,743, Stockport 28,431, Walsall 20,852, Kidderminster 14,399. The inequality in these cases is obvious enough; but no one has yet told us how it could have been avoided. The aggregate population of those towns is 198,108, and they send twenty-four Members to this House—an arrangement respecting which I have not yet heard any complaint. Here we have Oldham with a population of 42,595, and Dorsetshire with one of 125,758, both returning to this House an equal number of representatives; Wolverhampton with 36,382, and Lincolnshire South with 135,978, returning each two Members; and now I will read the names and population of six agricultural counties, for the purpose of contrasting them with the towns to which I have just called the attention of the House, the population of all the boroughs within those counties returning Members to Parliament being excluded:—Devonshire, North, 170,770; South 207,541; Buckinghamshire, 78,524; Dorsetshire, 125,758; Lincolnshire, North, 175,841; South, 135,978; Norfolk, East, 115,545; West, 188,939; Essex, North, 154,828; South, 163,937. Every one will remember that the question of equality has often been warmly discussed; but I do not recollect any case in which there was a proposition for increasing the number of representatives possessed by the counties, and why not those as well as the towns, if the mere question of population were to be considered, and that alone? The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that was not the question. He took the great towns and boroughs, and appeared to think that they could not have too many representatives, but he provided no remedy for the case of the counties. Upon other occasions he had stated to the House why those by whom the Reform Act had been prepared, had given to certain great towns and to divisions of counties the number of representatives that they respectively possessed, and in referring to that I cannot help saying that if the doctrines of the hon. Member for Montrose, as far as I understand them, were carried out, they could be attended with no other result than this, that they would have the effect of increasing the divisions—I fear I ought to call them collisions—between the agricultural and the manufacturing interests. We thought, in framing the Reform Act, that by preserving in this House representatives of smaller boroughs which were surrounded by agricultural districts, we should soothe irritation, reconcile opposing prejudices, and, by such a plan, obtain the nearest possible approach to fair and equal representation. I have said already, and I now repeat, that I do not understand the plan which the hon. Member for Montrose has three several times brought before the House: we have not yet been able quite to comprehend its scope and tendency; let it be explained to us, and then we shall be able to form something like a judgment. It was not in this way that I brought forward the Reform Bill—I named plainly and frankly every borough, city, and county in the representation of which I proposed to make any change. I laid before the House the whole basis of the Bill; but it was not without some difficulty that anything could be collected from the hon. Member for Montrose respecting his plan; and there was some reason to believe that he did not mean to deal fairly with the whole population as regarded representation; that he intended nothing like equality as regarded the agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing classes; while the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield spoke of the labouring population as a distinct class, to be dealt with differently from any other. Upon that point I do not by any means agree with the hon. and learned Member, and still less do I agree with the hon. Member for Montrose when he called the working people of this country mere slaves, serfs, and bondmen; so far from being slaves, they enjoy perfect security of person and property. If accused of any offence, they are fully entitled to trial by jury, and to the same protection as the highest personages in the land: they live under a free constitution in the full enjoyment of liberty. I ask, is not that the general feeling prevalent among themselves, and is it not a great mistake to describe that as a condition of slavery? There is no republic in the world which opens a wider or a fairer field for the exercise of ability, or the display of merit, than this monarchy. The highest honours, the greatest powers, the most eminent Ministerial offices, are open to men of the lowest and humblest origin; they may become the advisers of the Sovereign; they may influence political proceedings and measures; they may rise to the highest dignities in the church and the law; they may become Archbishops of Canterbury, they may be raised to the office of the Lord Chancellor, and take rank before the Duke of Norfolk; a people then in possession of every protection for person, of every privilege of property, with a fair field for enterprise open before them, ought not to be described as a nation of slaves merely because all of them do not possess the right of voting for Members of Parliament. I trust that, on the present occasion at least, I need not enter upon any discussion of the ballot, or the duration of Parliaments; and although I am opposed to the Motion now before the House, though I am bound to give it a distinct negative, yet I am hound also to say that I do not hold, in all cases, to the 10l. qualification. I do not think it absolutely necessary that that limit should be retained. Having stated similar opinions on former occasions, I have been asked why, if I entertain these sentiments, the Government does not come forward with some proposition for the purpose of carrying them into effect—why not come forward with some substantial reform, as I admit these to be the opinions of my colleagues and myself? I have communicated with them upon this subject; and we have not thought it advisable in the present Session of Parliament to set aside other great questions for the purpose of fully discussing this, or raising any question whatever on the franchise, being anxious to avoid protracted debates, which might lead to angry results. Of late years many changes have been made, which are still matters of grave discussion both in the House and in the country. My opinion is, and I believe it is the general sentiment of the country, that these matters ought to be settled previous to placing before the country another question like this, which could hardly be brought to a satisfactory conclusion without many party divisions that had much better be avoided. If I add to this another consideration, which is too obvious to have escaped attention, I mean the state of the laws relating to commerce, and if I add to these other questions of great moment, I am sure the House will agree with me that we should inflict serious injury on the public interest if we sought to carry a change in the representation of the people at a time like the present. I am quite aware that the present Parliament is fully equal to the discussion and settlement of the great questions to which I have referred, and quite competent to pass laws arising out of them for the benefit of the country; and I think it is greatly for the public interest that the representatives of the people assembled in this House should continue to give their attention to the subjects which are already before us. There are other considerations which ought to induce us to avoid engaging with the question of Parliamentary reform till we have been able to collect fur- ther information respecting it. Before we bring the question of suffrage before the House, we should remember that great changes have taken place amongst the nations of the continent of Europe—that those changes are not without a lesson, and the first lesson which we are told they teach us is that Governments ought much sooner to have attended to the institutions of their respective countries—that the people of the Continent had become enlightened—that the press had created a barrier which absolute power could not pass—and that ancient dynasties had been overwhelmed in the tide of popular fury; but we have learnt another lesson; we have seen three countries which engaged in revolution in the name of liberty and in the cause of good government disappointed in their hopes. In Italy we have seen a venerable Pontiff, with the best intentions and the utmost benevolence, obliged to fly from his capital, which was stained with the blood of his Minister, who had been assassinated under circumstances of extreme aggravation. We have seen there the wild establishment of a republic, and we have seen the capital of that country exposed to foreign bombardment and foreign occupation. In Germany also various changes have taken place, from the extreme of despotism to the extreme of democracy. In some countries universal suffrage has been given and withdrawn for the purpose of substituting an invention from ancient Rome, according to which 100 wealthy persons would possess a degree of influence equal to 1,000 of the poor. We have seen that as a substitute for universal suffrage-We have seen in France the demand for an extension of the suffrage, where only a few hundred thousand persons possessed it, and then, to the astonishment of 99 persons out of every 100, universal suffrage. acted upon, suppressed, and then revived by the ablest and the wisest as well as the poorest of the people. We have seen men endeavouring to remove the evils brought upon them, to their surprise and without their knowledge, by a suffrage somewhat similar to that which the hon. Member for Montrose now proposes. I have been told, and I suppose many more have been told, the probability is that the opinions of the great mass of the people of France will ultimately settle in the judgment that their present constitution is not suited to their national habits and character, and that this constitution will be replaced by one of a different kind. Now, I admit that it is no business of ours to interfere with any kind of government that the French nation may give to themselves; but it is our privilege—and we should be foolish if we did not exercise it—to avail ourselves of the opportunity of observing what is going on in Europe, and of taking some counsel from those events. I say, then, that if the result of the first lesson of 1848 was, "It is too late!" that the result of the second lesson is, "Do not do too much, and do not go too far without full deliberation." I say that we are in the happy position that we have not a constitution to seek. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield says that he is always looking for this constitution, and that he is not able to find it. Why that, in fact, is our happiness and our advantage. It is our happiness and our advantage that we have no written constitution, but that every Englishman —"knows his rights, And knowing dare maintain"— and that no person would venture to deprive any Englishman of that liberty which—notwithstanding what the hon. Member for Montrose says—he knows he has, and which he highly prizes. Well then, Sir, if the people of this country are in the enjoyment of so much liberty—if the people of this country during the years 1848 and 1849 have shown so much temper—and if, as the hon. Member for Montrose says, they are now in state of quiet and contentment, I say that I do not think that it would be unwise in us to pause and to deliberate, and not to take the next step without a consideration of what that step shall be. That there is no very prevailing wish for these changes—that the middle classes, as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield said, were rather opposed to them, are certainly not conclusive reasons against these changes. It is unadvisable to wait for a storm before you put to sea; but if you lift your anchor in a perfect calm you may be drifted against the rocks. I do not think, therefore, that in the present temper of the people of this country it would be advisable for the Government of this country to propose a great plan for the extension of the suffrage. Whenever they do propose a plan, I think it ought not to be a substitute for the Reform Bill, but a supplement to that Act. My opinion is that the Reform Act was adapted to the institutions of this country. I think it was adapted to the wishes of the people of this Country. I believe, with the hon. Gentle- man the Member for Montrose, that the people of this country have since the Reform Bill made great advances in knowledge and information of every kind. I rejoice to know and to acknowledge these advances. I think it is partly in consequence of these advances that they do not, as far as I can perceive, show any impatience for a great political change—that they know the conflicts and even the danger that accompany such changes—and that they are content to wait until the wisdom of this House shall decide that it is necessary to make a further extension of the suffrage, and that the 10l. value shall be no longer the limit of the right of voting. I think that if you decide against the Motion of the hon. Member, you will decide against a Motion that is inconsistent with any right of suffrage that has hitherto existed in this country—that you will introduce to the representation a body of electors with whom you might find that it would be impossible to make the other institutions of the country harmonise. I am supported in this view by the language used by parties at meetings professedly held to support this Motion. I observe that at one of those meetings the hon. Member for Nottingham rejoiced in the union that had taken place, and observed, amid the applause and laughter of the audience, that it was not enough to destroy protection, but that it would also be necessary to destroy the Established Church, and to get rid of the black slugs, by which he designated the clergy of that Church. [Mr. P. O'CONNOR: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member cheers that statement. Well, but has he agreed upon this point with those who are proposing this plan to-night? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Oxford, I know means nothing of the kind. His wish is to preserve the monarchy and the institutions of the country. I have do doubt of that. But when the Members come to be elected under the plan of the hon. Member for Montrose, if it were sanctioned this evening, I rather believe and incline to think that the hon. Member for Nottingham would be rather more likely to carry the majority with him in his plan than the hon. Member for Oxford. Be that as it may, this is a matter of conjecture and uncertainty. My advice to the House is to prefer to that conjecture and uncertainty the institutions that we now have, being prepared to amend them with regard to any of their defects—refusing to ally ourselves to any obstinate rejections of what may be for the public benefit—but not adopting a course full of danger, full of doubt, and full of peril to our best interests.


observed, that the Ministerial replies to the Motion before the House were most unsatisfactory to a large portion of the supporters of the Government. He could not but remark that the whole of the opposition had come from the Treasury bench with one exception, and that exception a gentleman of very amphibious politics, he meant the hon. Member for West Surrey. No Member on the other side had addressed the House on the subject. He (Mr. Osborne) was one of those who previous to the commencement of the Session had indulged in the pleasing dream that the noble Lord at the head of the Government would have deprived his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose of the necessity of again bringing forward this question. For in July, 1848, he remembered not only did that noble Lord disclaim the doctrine of finality, but expressed himself totally dissatisfied with the then state of the elective franchise; and though the noble Lord's language was vague and indefinite, yet at that time, when the events on the Continent disturbed all minds, it was thought by some that he was justified in his reserve; few thought he intended to put off the popular claim to that indefinite period he had hinted at to-night. He told them to-night that he would not put to sea in a storm nor in a calm. Then, was the noble Lord really waiting for a breeze? Was he waiting for the excitement of the approach of a general election, then to lay on the table a Bill to extend the elective franchise? That was not, he thought, a course calculated to place the noble Lord and his Government in a very high position in the opinions of the people, he (Mr. Osborne) supported the present Motion with some feelings of disappointment, he confessed; for he believed until the broad arrow of Government support was stamped upon it, there was very little hope of its success. But he would appeal to the class who were always saying it was not the proper time to concede popular rights—those who were always ready to say, when there was agitation, "we must not yield to popular clamour;" and when there was apathy, to say, "the people feel no anxiety on the subject"—he would appeal to them, and ask whether there had ever been a time when a Minister might come forward with a whole and complete measure of re- form? Was it not by urging that it was not the proper time for popular concession that the King of France plunged that country into revolution? Was it not the adherence to a system by which out of 36,000,000 of people, 250,000 only had votes, that France was cajoled into a revolution, which he admitted had brought discredit on the popular party, and retarded popular progress in the country? There was another lesson taught us by France in the revolution of 1830, and he thought the noble Lord would do well to profit by those lessons, and seize the proper time in 1850. The consequence of the noble Lord's refusal to concede the just demands of the people for political rights was, that a cry had arisen out of doors, which, though low at present, would swell after the speech of the noble Lord that night, and become irresistible. The noble Lord would not have to wait for the storm or the calm long, but be forced by the power of the popular voice to take that step which he now refused to enter upon. He (Mr. Osborne) was not one of those who approved of systematic agitation; but who would be to blame for it? A supine House of Commons and a procrastinating Cabinet. It was not the hon. Member for Bolton, or the deposed monarch the Member for Nottingham—it was the noble Lord himself, who was the President of the Financial Reform Association; and he (Mr. Osborne) was greatly mistaken if he did not find himself obliged to carry out much more than the members of that association now asked for. The noble Lord had given the House but few reasons for his dilatory conduct. He denied that the principles of conservatism and whiggism were identical with this "stand at ease" policy which Ministers were pursuing—a policy of neither resistance nor concession, but added fuel to the flames. Such was not the principle which Fox bad laid down, when it was the duty of the Government to take the lead. Neither was it the policy of Earl Grey. And Mr. Pitt, the great conservative authority, asserted that— It was the theory, as it had been the practice in all times, to adapt the representation to the state of the country. There could be no doubt but that it had always been the principle of representation that it should change with the changes which the country might endure, and that it should not be governed by local considerations. And the successor of Mr. Pitt, the present great leader of this great country, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire—what did he say? What was the doctrine laid down in 1844? Speaking on the subject of agitation in February, 1844, that hon. Gentleman said— They heard a great deal of reform associations, of anti-corn-law leagues, and other combinations of that kind—those things were merely the con-sequence of the people taking the government of the country into their own hands, because Government would not administer matters themselves. Opinions were afloat, the public mind was agitated, and no one who was in authority came forward to lead the people. As the natural consequence of such neglect, they coalesced together; because nothing was clearer than this, that if the Government did not lead the people, the people would drive the Government."—Hansard, lxxii. 1015. Now, the noble Lord was bringing things to that position; he was refusing to lead the people, and the agitators, of whom the noble Lord was the godfather, must get up and make him lead. But the noble Lord had said that he must take time to consider. Was the House aware that three years after the passing of the Reform Bill the noble Lord expressed his dissatisfaction with the franchise just previously granted? In his letter to the electors of Stroud he said— It might have been difficult, but it was not impossible, to have made the freemen the proper representatives of one of the most valuable classes of the community—that of the industrious, intelligent, and able mechanics who abound in our great manufacturing and commercial towns, and some of whom only are now admitted to the right of voting. Such a change in the character of freemen would do much to purify our elections, and to strengthen the House of Commons. This was in 1835. Was the House purified since? Did not a greater amount of bribery now exist than ever bad existed in the boasted times of the boroughmongers? There had been a Committee appointed three years after the passing of the Reform Bill to inquire into cases of bribery, and such passages of depravity as they had published it was almost impossible for the mind of man to imagine. This also was in 1835. But he came now to a more recent period, the year 1841, when his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield brought forward the subject of the "disgraceful compromises," and when a Committee was appointed to inquire into those compromises. He had looked through that evidence, and found that in Harwich, 94 Tory votes cost 6,300l.; 84 Whig votes cost 2,000l. Nottingham, 529 Whig votes cost 12,000l.; 144 Tory votes cost 5,000l. Lewes, 411 Whig votes cost 5,000l.; 407 Tory votes cost 2,000l. Reading, 570 Tory votes cost 6,000l.; 410 Whig votes cost 1,600l. Bridport, 304 Whig votes cost 5,466l.; 244 Tory votes, no return made. Penryn and Falmouth, 462 Whig votes cost 4,000l.; 381 Tory votes cost 4,000l. In these six boroughs alone, 3,796 votes had cost upwards of 53,366l. This was in 1841; and now they were talking of the present pure Parliament. He found, in 1847, that there was another Committee appointed. Hon. Gentlemen were at that time shocked at the idea of its appointment, and particularly so when it was moved that a Commission should go down to the boroughs to inquire into the corrupt practices. The next Session the hon. Member for Droitwich proposed that his brother Members should take their oaths that they would not bribe by themselves or agents in future. Long speeches were delivered, and most sententious maxims were heard from all sides, but, at length, the Bill was abandoned, and had never been heard of since. Was it not evident to the country, under such circumstances, that they were so many hypocrites in that House?—that they were contented with making long speeches about the House being the honour and envy of surrounding nations, and with doing nothing? If they were sincere in wishing to prove that they had a horror of bribery, what better step could they adopt than to increase the franchise? It was in vain otherwise to have these Committees; but it would not be vain to have them if the noble Lord at the head of the Government would lay on the table a Bill for the extension of the franchise. When they heard that the Reform Bill had done so much for this country, it was well to look at what it had really done. He owned that it had done much. He gave every credit to the noble Lord for having passed it in good faith; and, in reply to the hon. Member for West Surrey, he would say that he believed the noble Lord to be in-capable of anything which was not regulated by high and honourable feeling. It was not the noble Lord who wanted to produce a great revolution at that time; it was the ancestors of the hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. No fault was found with the noble Lord for not being a reformer then: the fault was found with him for not being a reformer now. But, after all, what had the Reform Bill done for the country? He would take four years, selected at different epochs of our modern history—he would contrast the Government expenses of 1790, the year before the revolutionary war—of 1830, the year before the Tory Government went out—of 1835, a year of a Reformed Parliament—and of 1849, the year just passed. He found that in 1790 the cost of Government was 16,709,000l.—in 1830 it had risen to 52,018,000l.—in 1835 it was 48,787,000l.—and in 1849 it had swollen to 57,581,000l. The fact was, that in eleven years after the Reform Bill, the national debt had been increased by 41,000,000l. Such had been the state of matters since that famous measure. Unless some means or other were taken to lessen the cost of this Government, whether the noble Lord would or no, there would be an agitation in this country, if there came such another year as 1842, as neither the noble Lord at the head of the Government, nor he (Mr. Osborne) should desire to see. In 1830, the 4 per cents were reduced to 3½; and, in 1844, the 3½ per cents were reduced to 3¼. The fund-holders had thus been mulcted to the amount of 1,452,000l. a year, otherwise the interest on the debt would have been 823,000l. more in 1850 than it was in 1830. This, then, was the cost of Government since and under the Reform Bill. He did not mean to say that great improvements had not resulted; but when the hon. Member for West Surrey said the Crown had no power in this country, he (Mr. Osborne) agreed with him. The famous resolution of 1780, that the influence of the Crown had increased, was increasing, and ought to decrease, could not be moved now. There had been a shuffle of the cards since. The interest of the aristocracy had increased, was increasing, and ought to be decreased. Aristocratic power preponderated in this country, and was daily eating into the House of Commons. Far be it from him to wish to see that House completely tenanted and peopled by one class. He was glad to see the house of Rutland represented there by the refined noble Lord the Member for Colchester. He was also glad to see the House of Bedford represented there by the noble Lord. But what he objected to was, that these hon. Gentlemen and noble Lords of the aristocracy had not been returned by popular constituencies. There were thirty-three Peers who sent fifty-two Members to that House; and yet they called themselves the Commons' House of Parliament, although they were playing this sort of High Life below Stairs all the while. Members so returned were My Lord Duke's Men, and he had no doubt but that there would also be found a Lady Bab's representative into the bargain. Exceptions had been taken to the admission of lodgers to the franchise. He found that an ancient colleague of the noble Lord had expressed himself in favour of extending the suffrage to lodgers—he meant Lord Brougham. Anything proceeding from the pen of Lord Brougham—he (Mr. Osborne) drew a distinction between his Lordship's speeches and his pen—ought to be attended to with some degree of respect. What had Lord Brougham said on household suffrage? He said, in a work entitled Political PhilosophyIf there were no small places entitled to return Members, if no place or district under 5,000 voters were allowed representatives, there would be no such thing as bribery known. The exclusion which our 10l. test effects of some most meritorious and valuable members of society, is a grievous evil. All lodgers and boarders are excluded, the most ingenious artisans, the men whose expertness and industry are the props of our commercial greatness; most of our literary and scientific men, whose unwearied labours illustrate their country and adorn their age—all are disfranchised by a law formed for the purpose of drawing the line between ignorance and intelligence. No doubt it does draw the line, and leaves information excluded. When he (Mr. Osborne) referred to bribery as a national leprosy attaching to our constitution, he wished to ask, how were majorities in that House made? Was there no other form of corruption besides money? It was generally supposed in the country that the emblem of a Secretary of the Treasury was a whip, but hon. Members of that House knew that it was a fishing rod. The Secretary was indeed an expert fisher of men—a Parliamentary Izaac Walton—who knew how to bob for eels and to angle very skilfully for country Gentlemen. Some nibbled at colonial baits, others at empty honours, ribbons and garters, but that House seemed to have a peculiar fancy for the honours of the "bloody hand." Look at the Peers made by Pitt; and, when the Melbourne Ministry were in difficulty, who did not remember the "miraculous draught" of Baronets that appeared all alive in the Gazette one morning? He lamented that the days of chivalry were gone, but certainly it was much easier for a belted knight to win his way by succouring a Minister in his difficulties, than by breaking lances for a damsel in distress. He had been much amused the other day at the apology given by the Morning Herald for the smallness of the division on the Address of hon. Gen- tlemen opposite, and at the reasons assigned for their absence. The reasons were these:— The hon. Member wishes to be invited to the Duke of Devonshire's ball—that other wishes to have his lady and daughters commended to Her Majesty's next concert; a third has a son who wants promotion in the Navy; a fourth desires to have his boy named an attaché at Paris or Vienna; a fifth looks to obtain a plot of ground oil easy terms from the Woods and Forests; a sixth wants a deputy-lieutenancy for his second cousin; a seventh a place for his butler in the Post Office; an eighth a commission in the Rifles; a ninth desiderates that his reverend brother shall be named one of Her Majesty's chaplains; and a tenth requires only a grant of 3,000 acres in Now Zealand for a son who has been some years on half-pay, and who can do no good. Thus it is that men, without bargain and sale—without barter or traffic, surrender their independence, and suffer themselves to be talked over. He said, then, that the Members of this House of Commons, which wanted no reform, were bribed, though the money was not paid in cash. There were baits by the Secretary of the Treasury; there were inducements on the other side, and they had no business to call themselves a pure and a reformed House of Commons. He was surprised that the noble Lord at the head of the Government said nothing on the subject of the ballot. He (Mr. Osborne) did not wish to take up the time of the House on the ballot, because he had very strong opinions that both the evils and the advantages of that system were very much exaggerated. But he thought if the people wished for the ballot, if they thought it was a protection from intimidation, they were entitled to have the ballot. He thought that the events which had happened in France, said something in favour of the ballot. Could any Gentleman suppose, in the dreadful state of things which had occurred in France, that if it was not for the protection of the ballot, they would have, at this moment, a Conservative Assembly in France? He advocated the ballot as a protection from an unenlightened democracy, and he advocated it as a protection for the many against the prejudices of the few. In reference to electoral districts, the noble Lord said Nottingham, with 58,091 inhabitants, sent two Members to Parliament; while South Devon, with 207,541, sent only two. The noble Lord made an important omission. He ought to state that there were eight boroughs in South Devon, each of which sent two Members to Parliament; and the Members for these little boroughs were chiefly returned by gentlemen who lived near, and who were supposed to be the great guardians and representatives of our territorial constitution. Now he (Mr. Osborne) contended that this household suffrage, as was ably shown by his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, was nothing more than a recurrence to the ancient practice. Hon. Gentlemen might turn, if they thought proper, to the report of Serjeant Glanville's Committee, said to be the most learned Committee which ever emanated from that House, which sat in 1623 and 1624, and they would see that this household suffrage was nothing more or less than what that Committee recommended. But if household suffrage were a recurrence to the ancient system, what were they to say to triennial Parliaments? The right hon. the Secretary for the Home Department told them in a speech which, he regretted to say, was made to a thin House, for it was the most admirable system of special pleading he ever heard, that it was not in accordance with the ancient ways of the constitution. Why, what was the ancient way of the constitution? Surely triennial Parliaments. He need not tell the old history of the Triennial Act. It was discreditable to the House of Commons that they should, for their own objects, prolong their own existence. Nay, more, they gathered from Cox's Life of Walpole, that there was a proposition to extend it to a still longer period. And when hon. Gentlemen connected revolutionary sentiments with triennial Parliaments, let him ask them if it was a triennial Parliament that destroyed the monarchy. On the contrary, look at their Acts from 1694 to 1716. He must say it was a triennial Parliament which passed, in 1703, one of the worst Acts ever passed, which put on the qualification of Members of Parliament. That ought to be a recommendation with Gentlemen on the other side; it was none with him. What were the sentiments of Bolingbroke and Wyndham? They harangued for triennial Parliaments; and down to the year 1745, so far from triennial Parliaments being what would now be called a Chartist movement, there was a Motion in 1745, which was only rejected by a majority of forty-two, for annual Parliaments. He agreed with Junius, that septennial Parliaments gave six years to sin in, and one to repent in. But the noble Lord himself was not satisfied with septennial Parliaments. Now, with reference to the subject of electoral districts, there were great difficulties attaching to it, and he did not mean to say that he exactly understood what the hon. Member for Montrose proposed. But, in voting for this Bill, he begged to say he did not pledge himself to all these measures. He voted for bringing in this Bill because he saw no other leader. The noble Lord refused to bring in any Bill, and he (Mr. Osborne) felt confident they could not go on as they were. And he was obliged to take this proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, because it came nearest his sentiments. But about this question of electoral districts, why, historians seemed to say there was a doubt whether the present inequality of our representation did not arise from the ignorance of our ancestors as to the amount of population. And it was no new step. He found that two Chancellors had agitated for it. The noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown stated, in the course of his historical work, that the first person who agitated this was the great Lord Shaftesbury. And that was followed up by another Chancellor, whom he had just quoted. He found Lord Brougham was favourable to electoral districts, and he had put the thing so well that he (Mr. Osborne) might be pardoned for bringing it before the House:— The only real remedy is greatly extending the number of voters; or, if that is impossible, greatly increasing the size of electoral districts. If we retain a superstitious veneration for the name of these districts, if our old local associations are too powerful, it is all very well, and we gratify our romantic feelings; but what is the price for this sentimental indulgence? It is the perpetuation of the most corrupt practices by which a free people can be debased and degraded, and the spreading of universal immorality. Why, he maintained it was very unfair that they should see a parcel of little boroughs, without property and intelligence, sending Members to Parliament and swamping people who came representing property and intelligence. He did not wish to divide the country into districts; but he should like to see the Scotch system of consolidating towns. He believed that the Scotch elections were more pure than the English ones were. Take the borough of Lyme Regis. There was never a Parliament but they had a Committee of that House sitting two or three weeks respecting the election for Lyme Regis. He did not know who the Member was; he believed he was generally a learned gentleman. Why not incorporate Lyme Regis with Sidmouth, or any other little town? He threw that out to the noble Lord. The noble Lord said he wanted suggestions; he threw out that suggestion. Why, if he objected to electoral districts, did he not consolidate these small places after the Scotch system? They would not then have an Attorney General going down to a borough, and being subject to the horrible imputation of having put his hand in his pocket to bribe people. He threw out the suggestion; he thought the noble Lord might adopt it with great effect in Ireland. And he believed the noble Lord would give great satisfaction if he would make the electoral districts larger, and the number of Members smaller, for they were too numerous for business. Half the Members did not come to do business. Why, the most important business was transacted in a House of 45 Members, and at a certain hour they saw Gentlemen coming in in that dress which had become as classical as the toga, and if they had had a good dinner they listened to the speeches, but if they had not they would not listen. There was one matter he should allude to—the Motion that had recently been brought on by the hon. Member for Glasgow, in an able speech, he dared say, but it was not reported, for no doubt it was inaudible in the gallery. The hon Member for Glasgow brought forward a proposition to enfranchise Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea. He was not present, but it seemed to him the Motion was met with the most extraordinary disrespect. Here were four parishes containing people of the greatest respectability, a great number of them being retired literary men; the population was upwards of 100,000, and they were rated to the poor in an assessment of upwards of half a million. There were 50 boroughs returning 52 Members, which had not near so large a population, and were not rated to half so much. How was his hon. Friend met? The right hon. the Secretary for the Home Department said very little; he too, probably, was also inaudible in the gallery; but there was a Gentleman who gave the most extraordinary reasons that ever were given for opposing a Motion. He read those reasons with great regret, because that Gentleman was the son of one of the greatest men of this country, and who made the proud boast that he would sooner be plain John Campbell than the greatest Peer in England. It was with some pain he came to the conclusion, that the hon. Gentleman was fitter for a dan- cing master than a Member of the House of Commons. That hon. Gentleman thought it necessary to tell the House that he had attended at a dinner, and at a parochial meeting at Chelsea, and that they were low people not fit for the franchise. Low people! Could the hon. Gentleman have been joking? What was the real reason? These low people had heard of what was said of them, and he had been informed that the hon. Gentleman did attend a meeting, and made a speech. He had heard him make a speech in that House full of long quotations from Aristotle, and perhaps this was of the same kind. However, they did not listen to him, and he came away and said they were low people, and were not fit for the franchise. Why was a body of respectable men to be stigmatised and told they were low people, and not fit for the franchise? He should like to ask the hon. Gentlemen who in the town of Cambridge were the voters that supported him from Barnwell—where he understood he had considerable support. He trusted the hon. Member would take the earliest opportunity of attending another parochial meeting in that district, and make the amende honorable. But there was another hon. Gentleman who he found had been expressing a most extraordinary sentiment, that neither the hon Member for the West Riding nor any other man who had not been educated at Oxford and Cambridge, should attempt to lead. Did the hon. Gentleman know who his own leader was—that his own leader was not educated at an university? Did he remember that the noble Lord the Chief Minister of the Crown, whose name would go down to posterity, had not the benefit of being educated at either of these universities? That House was not made for members of the universities. He supported the Motion because he looked on it as a true conservative Motion, and because in his conscience he believed it would add to the security of the constitution: and he supported it for the best of all reasons, because he believed it would make that House in reality what it purported to be—the House of the Commons of England.


congratulated the House that the right hon. the Home Secretary had promised to meet at least one part of his hon. Friend's Motion on a future occasion. In former discussions on the ballot it would be recollected that the great difficulty was to get a Minister on his legs; but now they had a distinct promise from the Home Secretary that he would meet that question on an early day. He (Mr. Berkeley) would defer any observations he had to make until he had heard what the right hon. Gentleman had to say on the subject.


moved the adjournment of the debate, but eventually the hon. Member withdrew his Motion.

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 96; Noes 242: Majority 146.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. King, hon. P. J. L.
Adair, R. A. S. Lushington, C.
Aglionby, H. A. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Alcock, T. M'Gregor, J.
Anderson, A. Meagher, T.
Armstrong, R. B. Marshall, J. G.
Bass, M. T. Milner, W. M. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Moffatt, G.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Molesworth, Sir W.
Blewitt, R. J. Mowatt, F.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Nugent, Lord
Bright, J. O'Brien, Sir T.
Brotherton, J. O'Connell, M.
Brown-Westhead, J. P. O'Connell, M. J.
Caulfield, J. M. O'Connor, F.
Clay, J. O'Flaherty, A.
Clay, Sir W. Osborne, R.
Clifford, H. M. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Cobden, R. Peto, S. M.
Collins, W. Pilkington, J.
Cowan, C. Power, Dr.
Currie, R. Reynolds, J.
Dovereux, J. T. Ricardo, J. L.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Roebuck, J. A.
Duke, Sir J. Sadleir, J.
Duncan, G. Salwey, Col.
Duncombe, T. Scholefield, W.
Ellis, J. Scully, F.
Evans, Sir De L. Smith, J. B.
Evans, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Ewart, W. Stuart, Lord D.
Fagan, W. Sullivan, M.
Fox, W. J. Talbot, J. H.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Tancred, H. W.
Grattan, H. Tenison, E. K.
Greene, J. Tennent, R. J.
Grenfell, C. P. Thompson, Col.
Hall, Sir B. Thompson, G.
Hardcastle, J. A. Thornely, T.
Harris, R. Villiers, hon. C.
Hastie, A. Wakley, T.
Hastie, A. Wawn, J. T.
Headlam, T. E. Willcox, B. M.
Henry, A. Williams, J.
Heyworth, L. Wilson, M.
Horsman, E. Wood, W. P.
Humphery, Ald.
Jackson, W. TELLERS.
Keating, R. Hume, J.
Kershaw, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Arundel and Surrey, Earl of
Acland, Sir T. D.
Adderley, C. B. Ashley, Lord
Anson, hon. Col. Bagge, W.
Bailey, J. Fox, S. W. L.
Bailey, J., jun. Gaskell, J. M.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Baldwin, C. B. Gooch, E. S.
Bankes, G. Gordon, Adm.
Baring, H. B. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Baring, T. Grace, O. D. J.
Barnard, E. G. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Barrington, Visct. Greenall, G.
Bateson, T. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bellew, R. M. Grogan, E.
Bennet, P. Grosvenor, Earl
Beresford, W. Gwyn, H.
Berkeley, Adm. Halford, Sir H.
Best, J. Halsey, T. P.
Blair, S. Hamilton, G. A.
Blandford, Marq. of Hamilton, J. H.
Bowles, Adm. Hamilton, Lord C.
Boyle, hon. Col. Hanmer, Sir J.
Bramston, T. W. Harcourt, G. G.
Bremridge, R. Harris, hon. Capt.
Brisco, M. Hatchell, J.
Broadley, H. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Brockman, E. D. Heald, J.
Brown, W. Heathcote, G. J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Heneage, G. H. W.
Bunbury, W. M. Henley, J. W.
Bunbury, E. H. Herbert, H. A.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Hervey, Lord A.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cardwell, E. Hobhouse, T. B.
Carew, W. H. P. Hood, Sir A.
Carter, J. B. Hope, A.
Castlereagh, Visct. Hornby, J.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hotham, Lord
Cayley, E. S. Howard, Lord E.
Chaplin, W. J. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Charteris, hon. F. Howard, Sir R.
Childers, J. W. Hutt, W.
Christy, S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Jermyn, Earl
Cobbold, J. C. Jervis, Sir J.
Cocks, T. S. Jones, Capt.
Cole, hon. H. A. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Coles, H. B. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Colvile, C. R. Langston, J. H.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Legh, G. C.
Craig, W. G. Lemon, Sir C.
Cubitt, W. Lennard, T. B.
Currie, H. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Douro, Marq. of Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F.
Drummond, H. Lewis, G. C.
Drummond, H. H. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Duff, G. S. Locke, J.
Duncombe, hon. O. Lockhart, W.
Dundas, Adm. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Mackenzie, W. F.
Du Pre, C. G. Mackinnon, W. A.
East, Sir J. B. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Ebrington, Visct. Mahon, Visct.
Egerton, Sir P. Mandeville, Visct.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Manners, Lord G.
Enfield, Visct. Manners, Lord J.
Evans, W. Martin, C. W.
Fergus, J. Masterman, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Matheson, A.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. W. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Foley, J. H. H. Melgund, Visct.
Forbes, W. Meux, Sir H.
Fordyce, A. D. Miles, P. W. S.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Miles, W.
Monsell, W. Sibthorp, Col.
Moody, C. A. Simeon, J.
Morgan, O. Slaney, R. A.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Smith, rt. hon. R.
Mulgrave, Earl of Smith, J. A.
Mullings, J. R. Smollett, A.
Mundy, W. Somerville, rt. hn. S.
Mure, Col. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Naas, Lord Spooner, R.
Newdegate, C. N. Stafford, A.
Norreys, Lord Stanford, J. F.
Ogle, S. C. H. Stanley, E.
Packe, C. W. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Paget, Lord C. Stanton, W. H.
Paget, Lord G. Stuart, H.
Palmer, R. Sturt, H. G.
Palmer, R. Thesiger, Sir F.
Palmerston, Visct. Thicknesse, R. A.
Parker, J. Thompson, Ald.
Patten, J. W. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Tollemache, J.
Peel, F. Towneley, J.
Pinney, W. Townley, R. G.
Plowden, W. H. C. Townshend, Capt.
Plumptre, J. P. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Power, N. Tufnell, H.
Powlett, Lord W. Turner, G. J.
Price, Sir R. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Pusey, P. Vane, Lord H.
Reid, Col. Verner, Sir W.
Rendlesham, Lord Villiers, Visct.
Repton, G. W. J. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Rich, H. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Richards, R. Waddington, H. S.
Romilly, Sir J. Walpole, S. H.
Rumbold, C. E. Watkins, Col. L.
Russell, Lord J. Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Russell, hon. E. S. Wellesley, Lord C.
Rutherfurd, A. Williamson, Sir H.
Sandars, G. Wilson, J.
Sandars, J. Wodehouse, E.
Scrope, G. P. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Seymer, H. K. Wyvill, M.
Shafto, R. D. TELLERS.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Hill, Lord M.
Shelburne, Earl of Grey, R. W.