HC Deb 24 July 1850 vol 113 cc188-91

Order for Second Reading, read.


, in moving the Second Reading of the Compound Householders' Bill, said that the Reform Bill conferred the franchise on those who occupied houses of 10l. annual value, provided they resided a certain period and had paid their rates. One of the conditions essential to the franchise was that the names of the parties should be on the rate-book. Now, there existed a class in London, and, he believed, in almost every large town in the country, who, though inhabiting houses of the value of 10l. and upwards—often as high as 18l. had not their names on the rate-book, and for this reason, that in many parishes the local Acts enabled the owners of houses to compound the rates of the tenants. The owners gained a small profit by compounding, and relieved the parishes of the difficulty of collecting the rates from many parties; but the effect was this—that the only name on the rate-book being the name of the owners of the houses—often to the extent of 20, 30, or 40 houses—the overseers had no power to return the names of the occupants to the returning officer, and thus numbers of properly qualified persons were disfranchised. This was considered for years after the passing of the Reform Bill an insuperable objection; but, according to the 30th clause of that Bill, it was held that a person might claim to be among the list of voters although his name might not be upon the rate-book. That applied only to the then existing rate, so that it was necessary that the person must renew his claim and tender for every rate; and virtually this condition had the effect of dis- franchising large numbers of tenants. The object of the present measure was to put an end to the necessity of their making these incessant claims, and to provide that, having made these claims and complied with the provisions of the Reform Act, they should be on the register. Their vote could still be challenged for want of residence or nonpayment of rates; and the Bill would confer the franchise on very many deserving and properly qualified persons. The Bill, unimportant as it might appear, would affect many thousand voters throughout the country, who fulfilled, in point of fact, #11 the provisions of the Reform Act.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill bo now read a Second Time."


said, this Bill was identically the same Bill which hail been introduced last year, and that it stood for a second reading on the 27th of July. This year its second reading was moved on the 24th of July, and therefore a gain of three days was obtained on the present occasion as compared with last Session. The House, having heretofore considered the proposition, came to the conclusion that the machinery of the Bill was imperfect, and that it would be improper to proceed with the measure. Yet now the hon. Baronet at the fag end of the Session, called upon the House to affirm what they had refused to do at the fag end of last Session. He believed the Bill would open a door for enormous frauds, and that it would cause numbers of faggot votes to be manufactured. Lord Denman had given it as his judicial opinion that its principle, if acted upon, would foster bribery. He believed that while county voters were on the decrease, borough voters were on the increase—to the extent of 30,000 in 1840 as compared with 1848. He moved as an Amendment that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."


said, he had no difficulty in stating that he should vote for the second reading of the Bill; and he must remind the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire that it was not the identical Bill which had been introduced last year. The Bill of last Session wholly dispensed with the necessity for perpetually recurring claims, but it did not make the liability to pay the rate coexten sive with the right of being upon the register. The present measure, however, contained a clause requiring the payment of rates; and he must add, that it came entirely within the spirit of the Reform Act. It proposed that if the landlord paid the rates, the occupier, being liable to the landlord, and the rate being paid, should acquire the right of voting. This was a reasonable proposal; and, under those circumstances, he should support it.


had no hesitation in giving his vote in favour of the Bill, because he knew that in many districts of the metropolis, as well as elsewhere, there were many thousands of persons disfranchised under the existing system who otherwise had a perfectly good right to vote. The machinery of the Bill he did not entirely approve of; but that was a question of detail. The Bill, however, would be a great benefit to a large number of persons.


opposed the Bill, and contended that at this late period of the Session there was not, sufficient time for the consideration of a question of so much importance. To press the Bill at this period of the Session was merely to take up the time of the House in vain. He regarded the measure as dangerous, if it were not impracticable, and as likely to open a wide door to fraud. It was only a waste of time to continue the discussion of its objectionable principle.


supported the Bill, and said, that if the Government did not go on and extend the suffrage, they might depend upon it they would not be allowed much longer to rule the country.


objected to a continuous claim, provided the tender were once made. He thought also that, under the provisions of the Bill, a number of parties might get on the register who had no right to be placed there.


approved of the principle of the Bill, and expressed a hope that its second reading would be carried.


explained, His objection to the Bill was mainly grounded on the fact, that he believed it would open a door to great frauds. The Bill of last year was not rejected by the House. It was withdrawn by the hon. Baronet, With respect to the late period of the Session at which the hon. Baronet now asked them to read the present Bill a second time, he (Mr. Newdegate) begged to say that had arisen from no fault of his.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 80; Noes 24: Majority 56.

List of the AYES.
Adair, R. A. S. Hill, Lord M.
Aglionby, H. A. Hobhouse, T. B.
Alcock, T. Hodges, T. L.
Anstey, T. C. Howard, Lord E.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Jermyn, Earl
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Kershaw, J.
Barrington, Visct. Labouchere, rt. hon. H
Bellew, R. M. Lacy, J. C.
Bernal, R. Langston, J. H.
Blair, S. Lewis, G. C.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Brown, W. O'Connor, F.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Pearson, C.
Carter, J. B. Pechell, Sir G. P.
Clay, J. Perfect, R.
Clements, hon. C. S. Pilkington, J.
Cobden, R. Pugh, D.
Craig, Sir W. G. Ricardo, O.
Crawford, W. S. Sadleir, J.
Denison, E. Salwey, Col.
Duncan, Visct. Sidney, Ald.
Duncan, G. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Duncuft, J. Smith, J. A.
Dundas, Adm. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Stuart, H.
Dunne, Col. Tenison, E. K.
Ellis, J. Thompson, Col.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Thompson, G.
Fergus, J. Thornely, T.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Trelawny, J. S.
Forster, M. Verney, Sir H.
Grace, O. D. T. Wall, C. B.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Watkins, Col. L.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Williams, J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Willoughby, Sir H.
Hall, Sir B. Wilson, M.
Harris, R. Wodehouse, E.
Hatchell, J. Wrightson, W. B.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Henry, A. TELLERS.
Hervey, Lord A. Clay, Sir W.
Heyworth, L. Buxton, Sir E. N.
List of the NOES.
Arkwright, G. Halsey, T. P.
Booth, Sir R. G. Hamilton, G. A.
Bramston, T. W. Herbert, H. A.
Bremridge, H. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. II.
Broadley, H. Lewisham, Visct.
Buck, L. W. Lygon,hon. G.
Chatterton, Col. Manners, Lord C. S.
Dickson, S. Mundy, W.
Frewen, C. H. Taylor, T. E.
Fuller, A. E. Thornhill, G.
Goddard, A. L.
Gore, W. R. O. TELLERS.
Grogan, E. Spooner, R.
Gwyn, H. Newdegate, C. N.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2° committed for To-morrow.