§ Order for the consideration of the Lords' Amendments read.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, he thought it better, before they came to any vote upon this question, or before they discussed minutely the 8l. or the 12l. qualification, that he should state generally the view which he took of the Amendments made by the House of Lords in the Bill then before them, and call their attention to the Bill as it stood now, and as it had been at the time when it was sent up from the Commons to the other House. Hon. Members were, no doubt, aware of the extreme case upon which the Bill now under consideration was founded, which case was this: that whereas in this country there were registered electors, from tables of which it appeared that the percentage of electors of the adult male population was 28, in Wales the percentage of the adult male population was 32, in Scotland 25, and in Great Britain generally 28 per 534 cent of the male adult population had votes, while in Ireland the percentage was less than 2. That was the case upon which the Bill in part was founded; and he might here observe that a striking example had recently been exhibited in Ireland of the paucity of electors. In the county of Mayo, a large county, only 250 electors voted for the two candidates at the last election. It was to such a state of things that they proposed to apply a remedy, and it was chiefly as to the number of electors that they intended to apply that remedy. By the Bill, they had proposed not only that the right of voting should be derived from tenure but also from occupation; and upon this point he must say it appeared to him that hon. Gentlemen who discussed the question in a spirit adverse to the Bill, lost sight of the fact that the 40s. qualification was the prevalent qualification in England, and that the 50l. tenant-at-will qualification gave votes to a much smaller number of persons than did the freehold qualification. For the purpose of enabling the House to form a judgment on this point, he should trouble them with a brief statement of the number of freeholders and 50l. tenants in five of the English counties. In Bedfordshire there were 3,274 freeholders, and 853 50l. tenants, being in the proportion of one-fourth. In Herefordshire the freeholders were, 5,280, the 50l. tenants 1,639, being one-third. In Lancashire the freeholders were 16,064, the 50l. tenants 3,467, being one-fifth. In Middlesex, the county in which they then were, the freeholders were 10,408, the 50l. tenants 1,307, being one-seventh; and in Sussex the freeholders were 3,769, the 50l. tenants were 1,059, being one-third; that was the state of the constituency in the month of July, 1847. It was clear, then, that the great bulk of the constituency of Great Britain was composed of the freeholders; but the House was to remember that in Ireland the 40s. freeholders had been abolished, and that species of franchise having been wholly extinguished, it was proposed by the Bill, as it stood, that the great bulk of the electors should be occupiers rated to the poor. Now, from the Bill at present on the table, it appeared that one of the most prominent alterations made in that measure by the Lords, was the substitution of a 15l. qualification, or rating to the poor, for an 8l. rating. The effect of that would be to give the power of voting to 180,328, instead of 330,224; 535 and if they took off one-fifth for double occupation, and for female occupants, they would find the numbers stand thus:—264,180 under the 8l. rating, and 144,263 under the 15l. rating. Taking, in the whole, the clauses which the Lords had struck out, they would find that the effect of their Lordships' Amendments would be to give Ireland a constituency of only 120,000, instead of 264,000 as was proposed by the Bill. Again, the Bill, as originally framed, would have constituted a body of electors forming 15 per cent of the male adult population; while, under the Amendments made by the Lords, the electors in Ireland would not form more than 8 per cent of the male adult population. The remedy for this, which he proposed, was to raise the qualification from 8l. to 12l., or rather to lower it from 15l., which the Lords made it, to 12l. The effect of that change would be to comprehend as many as 227,590 tenements, and deducting one-fifth for double occupation and women, leaving a clear result of 172,072, instead of 144,263, or 10 per cent of the adult male population, instead of 8. If, on the other hand, they were to establish a 10l. they would have 271,726, and, deducting one-fifth, as before, for double and for female occupation, the net quantity would be 217,381, or 12 per cent upon the whole male adult population, which was 1,683,381. Now, he did not propose to go back to the 8l. qualification, but, on the contrary, he was content that it should be a 12l. qualification or rating. He proposed to meet the Amendment made by the House of Lords, and as it were to divide the difference with them. There was another alteration made by the Lords that he could not call an amendment. It was an alteration which related to a matter of greater importance than that which he had now been considering. It appeared to him to involve the whole principle of the Bill, and to be of far greater importance than any arrangement of the qualification at 10l., 12l., or 15l. The Lords, instead of allowing that clause to stand, which would supply the means of registration from the rate-book, and so create a self-acting registry, had expunged it, and by the change which they had introduced rendered it necessary for every elector to see for himself that his name was placed upon the registry. The Bill, as originally framed, would have secured to any occupier rated to 8l. the right of voting with- 536 out any interference on the part of his landlord or himself; the only question to he raised on the subject would be at the period of the election; and thus a great variety of complicated matters might be avoided, and a valuable principle carried into effect. He proposed, then, to the House to disagree to the Amendments which the Lords had introduced into that part of the Bill. It seemed to him, as he had already stated, that the 8l. or the 12l. qualification did not, by any means, so materially affect the principle of the measure as did that change by which the other House defeated the design of a self-acting registry. With respect to some other alterations, however, which the other House had made, he did not propose to insist upon the provisions of the Bill as originally passed. In the case of the first Amendment, he proposed that they should in that agree with the Lords; he meant the Amendment that had reference to the insertion of the words "owner" or "tenant." Then there was another question, that with regard to joint occupancy in counties; as to that there was a great deal of doubt: the clause of the Bill relating to that subject had been struck out; and though it was somewhat doubtful, he did not desire to disagree to the alteration which had been made. Further, there was the clause which constituted a 5l. interest in fee-tail, or for life, or possession, which would give the owner a vote. This would in some degree cause the franchise in Ireland to be conformable to what it was in England; and considering, in consequence of the late sales in Ireland, that property was now much subdivided, he thought tins desirable. As to giving to occupiers in towns the right for voting for counties at large, there were some words in the original Bill which had been altered; but on that point he did not think it worth while to declare any difference of opinion. In the schedule also there where several amendments, consequent upon dates, to which he did not propose to take any exception, such as this, that the first registration should take place on the 1st of June, 1850. That date could, of course, no longer be maintained. It would now be necessary to alter the 1st of June to the 9th of September; the registry would then be complete on the 15th of March, 1851. It would thenceforward commence on the 1st of June, and the first of the registries so commencing would be brought down to the 31st of December, 1852. He should now 537 conclude by moving that a 12l. rating be substituted for the Lords' Amendment of a 151. rating.
§ Amendment, page 2, line 8, to leave out "eight," and insert "fifteen," read.
§ Amendment proposed to be made thereunto, by leaving out "fifteen," and inserting "twelve," instead thereof.
§ MR. MILNES GASKELL
said, the Motion which had just been made by the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, was one that not only affected the constituency of Ireland, and the character of our Parliamentary constitution, but that also concerned rights and privileges inherent in another branch of the Legislature: it was, therefore, in his (Mr. Gaskell's) view, one of peculiar interest and importance. He deeply regretted that the noble Lord had not felt it to be consistent with his public duty to acquiesce in the Amendments which the House of Lords had made; he hoped, however, that before they consented to adopt a course which in all probability would be followed by the rejection of the Bill, they would at least calmly and carefully consider whether valid and sufficient grounds had been adduced to justify it. Now he believed it was not disputed by any Gentleman who heard him, that the practical effect of this Bill, as sent hack to them by the other House of Parliament, would be a very large increase in the constituency of Ireland; and in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, it would be time enough to discuss the question of a still further extension of the franchise, when they had tested the operation of this measure, and had some means of judging whether the apprehensions of those who viewed even the amended Bill with feelings of distrust and of alarm, were likely to be realised. It was easy to say that the basis of representation should be wide and popular; that an undue limitation of the constituent body was not consonant to the spirit of free institutions, and that a representative system resting upon such a basis was insecure and dangerous. He (Mr. Gaskell) would take leave to say that there was another form of government still less secure, against which it was equally the duty of that House to guard, and of which they were far more likely to experience the effects, namely, a mixed form of government like their own, with a larger infusion of democracy in its composition than was compatible with the maintenance of the Monarchy. The real question before the House was, what proportion of the rate- 538 payers in Ireland were qualified for the exercise of the franchise, and sufficiently independent of external influence to be fit recipient of such a privilege. He could not subscribe to the opinion that because a constituency was small, it ought therefore to be increased; or that it was the duty of that House to pass measures for the extension of the franchise without reference to the fitness of the parties who were to receive it. Undoubtedly to those who were of opinion that the elective franchise was a right inherent in the individual, and not a trust conferred for the public benefit, to those whose object was to make that House a direct index to the national will, such an argument might reasonably be addressed; but to those who entertained a wholly different opinion, who held that they were not sent to Parliament to minister to the popular will, but to consult for the public good, and who agreed with Mr. Windham, that of the three different majorities, these of reason, of numbers, and of force, the two latter were the last in which any wise man would seek to vest the government of an empire, it could not be a matter of indifference what sort of constituency it was proposed to form. It was not because he anticipated that under a more democratic system the choice of the electoral body would fall on men we held political opinions at variance with his own—it was for no such narrow and unworthy reason that he dissented from the proposition of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell). He (Mr. Gaskell) cared not what might be the opinions of those who were returned to that House by the constituencies of Ireland, provided that those opinions were within the pale of the mixed form of government under which they lived; but he believed that a large extension of the franchise, under the present circumstances of that country, would throw power into the hands of men we sought the disruption of social tics, the spoliation of property, and the dismemberment of the empire; and he, for one, felt that it was the bounden duty of that House to resist to the uttermost any legislative measure tending to such results. He begged Gentlemen to recollect that this Bill, as amended by the House of Lords, would increase in no inconsiderable degree the constituency of Ireland, and he saw no sufficient ground to justify them in rejecting it, because the other House of Parliament had refused its assent to more extensive changes. Still less could he understand the ground on 539 which the noble Lord was of opinion that the second alteration which the House of Lords had made, was so important in point of principle, as to be necessarily fatal to the Bill. If the voter was desirous of the franchise, he (Mr. Gaskell) saw no great hardship in requiring that he should say so; but if he was not so desirous, then he did see the hardship of compelling him to register, and exposing him to those un avoidable and pernicious influences which he might be anxious to avoid. He owned he saw no justice in forcing upon him the acceptance of a privilege of which he was unwilling to assume the responsibility, and unable to perform the duties. For these reasons he must refuse his assent to the proposition of the noble Lord. The regret which he felt at differing from him, though increased by the temper and moderation with which the noble Lord had spoken, was diminished by the reflection that he (Mr. Gaskell) was doing all that lay in his power to support a co-ordinate branch of the Legislature in the unfettered exercise of its judgment. Gentlemen opposite might depend upon it, they were greatly mistaken if they imagined that the people of this country were disposed to view the House of Peers as less entitled to exercise its constitutional functions than that House. His firm belief was that the independence of the other House of Parliament was as deeply cherished by the great body of the people as any institution or any liberty which they enjoyed. His belief was that those who sought to overrule or to over awe the decisions to which it came, represented the wishes and opinions of a very small section of the people. He believed that the Amendments in this Bill to which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had called upon them to disagree, were justified by the circumstances of Ireland, and demand ed by considerations of public policy: and he trusted that the majority of that House would rather be guided, in the vote to which they were about to come, by that "early and provident fear" which Mr. Burke said was the mother of safety, than act upon the bolder, but, as he (Mr. Gaskell) thought, the less judicious counsel of those who called upon them to reject this Bill.
§ MR. FRENCH
could not concur in thinking with the hon. Member for Wenlock, who had just spoken, that the present Bill, either in its tendencies or results, would extend the democratic principle. He feared its consequences would be to 540 render less expressive still all manifestation of popular opinion in Ireland. Many of them in Ireland maintained that that was a disfranchising Bill. It was not very well to take 94,000 voters off the number of those who were originally proposed to have the franchise. It also dealt unjustly with existing rights. In all other Bills of a similar character, the rights of existing voters were respected. He thought the exemption of the 50l. and 20l. vote showed more strongly the injustice done to the smaller class of voters, such as the 10l. one. He would ask by what right they proposed to deprive the electors of Ireland of the rights to which they had been hitherto entitled? The only precedent for the measure was the abolition of the 40s. freeholders, who had returned Mr. O'Connell to Parliament, and who had been disfranchised on account of the victory they had achieved on that occasion. Property had fallen so low in Ireland, that a 15l. rating would leave but a small number of voters. He would ask the House to consider what was the state of the constituency in the counties of the west and south of Ireland. He would much prefer to have the franchise as it was in England, to accepting the present Bill, and therefore he could not give his support to the noble Lord's proposition.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
thought it rather hard in his hon. Friend to allude to topics which had long since been discussed in the House, and upon which the House had long since come to a decision. He maintained that they did not properly arise upon the consideration of their Lordships' Amendments to this Bill. He felt disappointed that his hon. Friend opposite, the hon. Member for Wenlock, had not met the proposition of the noble Lord in a different tone than that which he had exhibited on the present occasion. He did not think the House was yet aware of the state of things which they had to remedy in Ireland. His noble Friend, in referring to a recent election at Mayo, deduced that as an example of the reduced state of the Irish constituency; but this Bill had been framed upon the calculations of the constituency, exhibited in the returns which were in the hands of hon. Members. Referring to this return, let him call their attention to this very county of Mayo. The county of Mayo, by the earliest returns, was represented as possessing a constituency of 591; and we knew that those 591 really and truly amounted to no more 541 than 230; and therefore the calculations made with reference to those returns were not to be depended upon; and then his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon said, See what returns you are making of these 10l. constituents. There was not one of these 10l. constituents who would exist he believed one hour longer than his lease; and it was only a question of time whether there should be 10l. freeholders or not. Put the franchise at 3l. or 4l. capital, and with a tenure, and they would not be able to create a constituency. The hon. Member for Wenlock had talked a great deal of the privileges of the House of Lords. He hoped that he would not forget that one of the duties of this House was to uphold the privileges of the other House. Compare the constituency of Ireland with the constituency of Scotland, and England and Wales, and he thought the most that could be said of the constituency was that they proposed a reasonable constituency, and that they had made great advances to meet the objections of the other House of Parliament, he hoped it would not be forgotten that the 15l. franchise, as proposed by the House of Lords, would create a great distinction between the numbers enjoying the franchise in the other parts of the kingdom, and he trusted that the proposition of his noble Friend would not be lost sight of, and that the House would consent to substitute 12l. for 15l.
§ VISCOUNT JOCELYN
begged to repeat what he had stated when the Bill was formerly under discussion, that he regarded the adoption of the poor-rate as the basis of the franchise as exceedingly objectionable. He thought that that basis would operate most injuriously on the working of the poor-law itself, and would furnish no criterion by which to judge of the qualifications of the ratepayer. If the different parts of Ireland were looked at it would be found that a man rated at 8l. in one union, was a very different person from a man rated at 8l. in another union. It was known, however, that a new and much more accurate valuation was in progress, and he wished to know if that valuation, when completed, would become available for the purposes of the franchise. He should prefer a 12l. franchise, provided the new valuation was adopted; and should he receive an assurance to that effect, he should support the proposition of the noble Lord.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, that by 542 the law as it now stood, when the valuation was completed, the valuation must necessarily be formed upon the poor-law valuation. He quite admitted the importance of this question, and it should receive the consideration of the Government. According to this Bill, the franchise would be formed on the poor-law valuation.
§ VISCOUNT JOCELYN
asked if there would be any objection to act upon the new valuation in districts where it was completed?
§ MR. MOORE
said, that the unusual attendance of hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite, and indeed in all parts of the House, announced very significantly that this was no longer a mere Irish question. Ireland was indeed the battlefield of party warfare, the Irish franchise was the first picket to he driven in; but as for the rights of the Irish people in the matter—the justice or injustice of this measure to Irish constituencies—he believed that such considerations occupied about as small a space in the minds of cither party, as the rights of the aboriginal inhabitants of America in the settlement of the Oregon territory. First, with regard to this side of the House, tin; noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government had, during the present Session, been impressed, as it seemed, with a very deep and a very indignant sense of the disgraceful state of the Irish Franchise. But the state of the Irish franchise was not a thing of to-day, or of yesterday, nor of this Session or the last. He might be allowed to remind the House that the county which he had the honour to represent, containing upwards of 300,000 inhabitants, had been three times contested within the last half-a-dozen years, and that the numbers polled on these occasions varied from 800 to 900 men. At anytime during these six years, up to the present Session, the noble Lord might have passed, almost without opposition, any reasonable measure for the reform of the Irish franchise. Not a soul on either side of the House eared a farthing whether Mayo contained 1,000 or 10,000 voters. There was no party object to be served by the change, and the consequence was, that this Bill had hung up for daws to pick at for successive Sessions. And how was it, and why was it, then, that the Whigs, who had been playing at Tories for the last few years, were now in arms for reform? How was it that Saul was again 543 among the prophets, and the Conservative Minister of the Whigs in power was a Liberal even out of opposition? Really, when he saw this unwonted stir, this almost spirited behaviour in the Whig camp, "he could not but surmise," with Sir Christopher in the Critic, that "the State some danger apprehended;" and it was their own danger that bestirred them in the cause of Ireland; it was because the trumpet of protection had sounded across the Irish Channel, that the Irish franchise was to be recruited to meet the onset; it was because the cruiser was in sight that the slaves were to he armed in defence of their masters. As long as Irish counties had returned Whig Members or Whig stipendiaries, the more limited the constituencies the better. Perhaps a more extended franchise might have produced Members too dangerously liberal. But times had now changed, and the good old cause required a different franchise to maintain its interests. If he were unjust in the suspicions which he entertained—[Lord J. RUSSELL: Hear, hear!] Well, he would join issue with the noble Lord on the cheer or jeer with which he had just greeted him. Let him pledge himself to the Liberal Representatives of Ireland, that he would, at the commencement of the ensuing Session, introduce a now Bill for the reform of the Irish franchise, at least as liberal as that which had been mutilated by the Lords—that he would exert himself zealously and bonâ fide to pass that Bill into a law, and he might command his vote and voice in favour not only of his present Motion, but of his general policy; but if he hesitated upon this point—if he showed a tendency to "settle" this question either by submission or by compromise, he would lend no hand to fight his paltry party battle—he would leave him to settle the matter with the other side of the House as he best might, and should feel confirmed in the opinion which he had long entertained, that until Ireland had broken at least two Ministries—and she had the power to break this and that which might succeed it—she had no hope of respect or justice. Now, with regard to hon. Gentlemen opposite, they had again most wantonly renewed the old feud between them and the Irish people, which time and circumstances had begun to allay. It was again to be war between them as of yore—war "between your seed and our seed—you may smite our head, but we will bruise your heel." 544 And he felt convinced that a more impolitic as well as a more unscrupulous course never had been pursued by any party in its aspirations for power. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, in the course of previous discussion upon this Bill, had warned hon. Gentlemen who were the most clamorous for a large extension of the franchise, that the results of that extension might be very different from those which those hon. Gentlemen anticipated or desired; but if there were any truth—and he thought there was great truth—in this remark, the inverse of the proposition must have been true also. If a more extended franchise would not produce the results which hon. Members behind him anticipated and desired, its results would not be those which the hon. Gentleman's friends feared and deprecated; and he would submit to them, therefore, whether they were not committing a blunder as well as a crime in the war they were now waging against the rights of their fellow subjects who, when they obtained the boon they seek—as most assuredly they would eventually obtain it—would carry with them, in its exercise, angry recollections of that party by whom their rights had been so long resisted. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire in his anticipations as to the probable results of a large extension of the franchise; and be thought he should be able to show to the House, that while it would not diminish the legitimate influence of property, it would greatly diminish the illegitimate influence of the mob. He spoke with some confidence, and on information derived from some experience on this subject, having within the last three years stood two contested elections for an Irish county, in one of them, he believed, almost the fiercest that had ever taken place even in that country, and in which all the prejudices and all the passions of the population had been brought to bear against him; and he could confidently state that there was nothing that subjected the event of an election for an Irish county to the influence of the mob so much as the smallness of the constituencies. And the reason of this was, that a large constituency would be strong enough in numbers to exercise its rights and maintain its independence against mob law: a small one was, in Ireland at least, almost entirely subjected to its tyrannical control. Let the House imagine the helpless position of half-a-dozen 10l. freeholders in a 545 large and remote village; they might conduct them to the hustings under an escort of dragoons—they might convey them to their dwellings under the same protection; but their power then ceased, and in some cases they might as well leave them in the midst of a pack of wolves, as among the infuriated population by which they were surrounded. He might mention, as a horrible instance of this, that after the election to which he had already referred, two freeholders who had ventured to vote in his favour, and lived in a remote mountain village, had been assaulted at night by a gang of savages, who surrounded and broke open their houses, and absolutely cut off a portion of their ears, as a punishment for having voted in opposition to the wishes of the surrounding populace. Now, he knew the locality where this occurred well; and it was his firm impression that if the whole of the inhabitants had had votes, a considerable majority would have voted the same way as those freeholders had voted, and in direct opposition to that cry which, as a mob they had contributed to swell. At all events, if the freeholders had been numerous enough to defend their own rights and their own persons against a system of terror so hideous and revolting, they would have exercised their franchise free from a control the most objectionable that it was possible to contemplate; and he firmly believed that with rights conferred, and responsibility established, a higher moral sense would be created within them, and that the masses of the population, thus raised and enfranchised, might yet take their stand in support of the laws which they contributed to form, and the institutions under which it was their privilege to live. An hon. Gentleman, by way of illustration of the evils that were likely to arise if more than a certain number of his countrymen were invested with the rights of freemen, had alluded to the degradation and ignominy of the old 40s. freeholders; and had alleged this fact as a reason for his opposition to the enfranchisement of the same classes. But he greatly suspected that it was not because the hon. Gentleman anticipated a return to that state of serfdom, but because he feared a reverse of the picture, that he regarded the present measure with such alarm and distrust; and he was inclined to think that the history of the 40s. freeholders if read aright, would lead to the conviction, that the conduct of the hon. Gentleman, and the conduct of his party, 546 was founded now and then on a deliberate determination to regulate the franchise in Ireland, not according to the exigencies of the country, but according to their own interests and their own ambition. As long as the 40s. freeholder was driven like a beast to market, exposed for sale, not in person, but in mind—not in body, but in soul—a perjured and dishonoured slave, at the will of his venal master—as long as men's consciences were matter of property and traffic, and an Irish landlord registered his freeholders as a Russian noble numbers his serfs, we heard no virtuous murmurs from the Tory benches at the perjury of the 40s. freeholders—no indignant outcries against the infamy of the prostituted franchise. As long as the 40s. freeholder was a recreant and a slave without honour, courage, or conscience, he was left in the undisturbed possession of his disgraced prerogative. But the time at last arrived when a free soul stirred within the breast of the hereditary bondsman, and the degraded peasant at last awoke to a consciousness of the trust and the power which the Legislature had confided to him—in an hour fatal to his long-neglected franchise, but immortal in the history of his country. At the memorable election for the county of Clare, the Irish freeholder, for the first time, dared to act like a free man—for the first time he proved himself worthy of the confidence of the constitution. Prom that hour his fate was sealed. Few will now deny that that election was a great and constitutional effort, worthy in its aim and object, stainless in its execution, and most important to the cause of freedom in its wonderful results. Few will now deny that the 40s. freeholder on that occasion voted I more honestly and independently—more according to the dictates of his conscience and the spirit of his constitutional rights, than he had ever done before; yet it was by so doing that he lost his franchise—he was stripped of his rights because he had 'shown that he was worthy to exercise them—he was deprived of his franchise because he had proved that he was worthy to be free. Catholic emancipation followed; but by way of a guard against its possible results, they who wrung their rights from your reluctant justice were deprived of the privileges they had previously possessed. The people of Ireland would no longer allow their own arms to be made the instruments of their own oppression; there was nothing left for their enemies but to disarm the people. Well, they had disfran- 547 chised the 40s. freeholders, and what had been the result? Why, that the power they would have paralysed, and the progress they would have stayed, was only reinforced and invigorated by the operation. O'Connell offered but a faint opposition to the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders, and had never afterwards made an effort worth mentioning to restore them. His astute and sagacious mind had already weighed and measured, and sounded to its depths, the results of their paltry vengeance: by endeavouring to disarm his forces, they had only simplified his mode of operation; and the 10l. franchise, as more easily worked, and brought into the field at less expense, became a far more formidable weapon in his hands than that of which he had been deprived. And yet, with the history of their own blunders and their own defeats before their eyes—untaught by experience, unchastised by disappointment, hon. Gentlemen opposite still persisted in the same blind course of impolicy and folly. But the course they wore pursuing had consequences more immediate, and bearing more directly upon the interests of party, than any such general possibilities as those he had just indicated; and he took the liberty of warning them in no hostile spirit against the impolicy of the course they were pursuing. If those hon. Gentlemen had any political station whatever, if they had any common political object, that station and that object were founded upon a question in which every peasant that they now sought to disfranchise, had an interest and a sympathy as vital and as sincere as themselves; and did hon. Gentlemen think that the course they were now pursuing was likely to conciliate the Irish farmers, or swell the ranks of their independent allies? The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, in one of the discussions which had taken place on the preceding progress of this Bill, had alluded to a certain strange defection which, suddenly and at a particular moment, had taken place in the ranks of the Irish Roman Catholic clergy, on the subject of agricultural protection, and had professed himself unable to account for the phenomenon. But if the hon. Gentleman had been unable to explain, he had, at all events, done his utmost to justify, the course they took, and to prove to the world the shrewdness and sagacity of that body. Measures, not men, might be sound abstract doctrine; but people were very apt to judge of measures put 548 forward by men of boasted consistency, with some relation to those principles to which they had remained the most invariably consistent; and it may have just struck the Roman Catholic clergy and the people of Ireland generally that while on the one hand free trade was still upon its trial, and a return to a system of protection exceedingly problematical—there was nothing on the other hand either questionable or uncertain in the political principles of those whom the successful agitation of protective measures would place in power. And they were not without grounds for formidable misgivings upon this subject. Hon. Gentlemen might, perhaps, require to be reminded of two memorials which were in circulation in Ireland at the same moment, and at the time to which the hon. Member for Warwickshire had referred: one convening a meeting, or preparatory to a meeting, at the Rotunda in Dublin, to consider the question of protection to Irish agriculture; and another complimenting a noble Lord who had recently been dismissed the magistracy, on his conduct in reference to a circumstance which he had the supreme authority of the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland for declaring was one of the most outrageous transactions which had ever disgraced the country. Now, it might have been an accidental coincidence, but not on that account the less remarkable, that these two documents had been signed, for the greater part, by the same names. He said, for the greater part: there had been, no doubt, some of Lord Roden's admirers who refused to sign Lord Glengall's manifesto, because it contained some dim and misty allusion to civil and religious liberty; there had been some also of Lord Glengall's subscribers who had found the testimonial to Lord Roden rather too strong for their stomachs; but, for the greater part, the coincidence between the two lists of names was very striking; and the subsequent meeting at the Rotunda, composed exclusively of Lord Glengall's friends placed all doubts upon the subject at rest, by greeting the hero of Dolly's Brae by those rounds of applause; and saluting another noble Lord, on his rising to propose the question of protection with continual vollies of Kentish fire. It was not, therefore, wonderful that the people of Ireland, when they saw the arms of protection and intolerance quartered on the same escutcheon, should turn away from the hideous association with alarm, with anger, and disgust; and he 549 would venture to tell the hon. Gentlemen of the Opposition, that they had done nothing to dissipate, but on the contrary everything to confirm, the impression that their imbecile partisans on the other side of the Channel had created; and that whatever might be the views of the people of Ireland with regard to that question which formed the most salient point of their policy, there was one condition upon which that people would not accept any boon that it was in the power of the empire to bestow. They had been tried with famine and scourged by pestilence for successive years; but with more horror than to pestilence or famine did they look back to that class legislation and that religious domination from which they had only half escaped, and which they believed it was the wish, if not the intention, of hon. Gentlemen opposite to restore. And he felt quite sure, that as long as their party, and the objects of their party, were associated in the minds of the majority of Irishmen, with all that majority held as most disastrous and abhorred; so long would they hesitate—no matter what might be their views of financial advantage—so long would they refuse to place in power, and arm with the means of mischief, a body of men who seemed bent every day on proving that they had forgotten nothing and learnt nothing, and that they still continued, what they had ever been, the hereditary and incorrigible foes of the civil as well as the religious liberties of the Irish people.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
intended to vote for the 12l. proposal of the noble Lord. He found from a return that, in 1837, the number of electors was 124,284. If the franchise was to be made 15l., the addition would not exceed 20,000; if made 12l., the increase would be 50,000, which he yet thought would leave the constituency much too small. With respect to the joint occupancy, he felt assured that the House would have no difficulty in agreeing to the Lords' Amendment upon that point. On the subject of the self-acting registration system he should observe that, in his opinion, that portion of the Bill was imperfectly framed, as it would leave the door open to fraudulent claims; and he did not think that the Amendment in the Lords would remedy that defect. He wished to take that opportunity of correcting an erroneous statement which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo. His hon. Friend had said that a liberal nobleman had been 550 received with rounds of the "Kentish fire" at a protectionist meeting in Dublin. [Mr. MOORE; Yes, Lord Clements.] Now he (Colonel Dunne) had been present at that meeting, and he could undertake to say that that was a very inaccurate statement. It was true that a few young men had received the noble Lord in question with some marks of disapprobation: but they had been immediately checked by the chairman, and no indication of a political bias had been given by the great body of the persons who had assisted at that meeting. [Cries for a division.]
§ COLONEL RAWDON
said, that the cry for the division came from the benches, which were well filled, on the other side of the House, and perhaps was stimulated by the fact that those on his (the Ministerial) side were not so full as they ought to be. This Bill had been sent up to the other House without any pressure from without, and with a considerable majority in favour of an 8l. franchise; but it had been returned to them with a provision which amounted to scarcely any franchise at all. Though he was not himself in favour of some portions of the measure as sent up to the other House, yet he had been anxious that all Irish Members in that House (the House of Commons) should unite to support the Government in the proposal they had made in this measure. It was, however, in vain that they came there to endeavour to carry any measure for the benefit of Ireland, seeing the spirit that prevailed in another place. Under the circumstances of the case, he should give his support to the present proposal of Her Majesty's Government.
§ MR. CLEMENTS
said, that every Member who had spoken against the proposal of the noble Lord to alter the 15l. to 12l. was an English Member, whilst every Irish Member that had addressed the House was, under the circumstances of the case, in favour of a 12l. franchise as a middle term between the amount in the original Bill, and the alteration that had been made elsewhere. He was himself anxious that the present proposal of 12l. should be adopted; and, with reference to the objection of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn to the 12l. franchise, namely, the objection arising out of the present state of the poor-law valuation, he (Mr. Clements) might observe that be had some experience on that subject, and knew that the valuations under the poor-law, as far as they had gone in Ireland, were more 551 correct than those in England generally were.
§ MR. ANSTEY
said, although he should certainly give his vote in favour of the Motion of the noble Lord, yet it would he with considerable reluctance that he did so. And if he agreed to the proposed compromise, it was with the determination not to regard it as a final settlement of the question of the Irish franchise, but with a reservation of a right to avail himself of the earliest opportunity, in conjunction with his friends, to propose an enlargement of the franchise, not only of the people of Ireland, but of the people of England and of Scotland also. He considered the conduct of Her Majesty's Government had been weak and truckling on this occasion; more especially so in another place. The second clause of the Bill, relating to joint occupiers in counties, was given up by the Marquess of Lansdowne before any objection whatever was made to it.
§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
said, that when he considered the present state of the Irish franchise, and the utter helplessness of the Irish people, he felt himself compelled to take the best measure that he could get; but in concurring in the present proposition of the Government, he wished it to be understood that he did not consider it as a permanent arrangement of the franchise in Ireland.
§ MR. SCULLY
felt, that as he had voted for the 8l. franchise, and as it was now proposed by the Government to raise the franchise to 12l., he ought not to vote at all upon the question, but leave it entirely in the hands of the Government. There were, however, many peculiar circumstances connected with the condition of the people of Ireland, which made it a duty on his part to secure to them the greatest possible facility for possessing the franchise in any shape; it appeared, therefore, to be his duty, since he cod not obtain an 8l. franchise, to support a 12l. in preference to a 15l. franchise. He wished it, however, to be understood that he did not look upon this as a. compromise, but merely as an instalment of that justice which was due to the Irish people. With regard to what was called the self-acting clause, he considered it to be so important, that without it he thought the franchise would be deprived of much of its force and efficacy.
§ MR. BRIGHT
said: I am anxious to make an observation or two on this Bill before we decide on accepting the proposition of the noble Lord. I do it with reference not only to the question itself, but 552 to other and more important questions, on which the course we are now taking may have some bearing. This Bill, as it appears to me, is the measure of the Session. We are about to separate without any measure of public importance being passed besides this measure; and it must be admitted that the Government have a very sorry account to render to the country for the time which has been taken up by Parliament during the past six months. No man, I presume, is of opinion that the Government grappled with the question of the Irish representation before it was absolutely necessary to do so. They found the representation of Ireland virtually extinguished. They found eight millions of people living under a constitution of which nobody in this House or in the country boasts so much as the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and yet having literally no representation whatever. We have had an illustration of the condition of affairs in Ireland within the last week. A gentleman, said to have marvellous talents, and whose principles are on the other side of the House acknowledged to be very sound, went down to a great county in the west of Ireland—a county which at the time of the last census had a population not far, if at all, short of 400,000 persons. After all the landlords of every party had clubbed together to help him, he managed to poll ninety-two votes, while the gentleman who was opposed to him on the popular side, having all the priests in his favour—which is not a small thing, I take it, at an election for an Irish county—and we have to thank you [addressing the Opposition] for that, if there be anything wrong in it—this gentleman, I say, who was cheered and shouted for by almost the whole population of the county, polled about 140 votes. If we heard of any representation of that kind in Austria or in Prussia, or in any country in the world but this, is there a man in England who would not say that it was a farce and a sham, and that the people by whom it was possessed were living under a government which was an absolute despotism, or something even worse? Now, the noble Lord, finding Ireland in this state, came down to the House with a proposition at the commencement of the Session; not, indeed, then for the first time, for there have been propositions of the same kind for three or four Sessions. I thought when the noble Lord had got on this side of the table, that he was about to do something handsome in 553 fulfilment of the promises which he had made on the other side. He brought in a measure by which 264,000 votes were nominally to he given to the counties of Ireland; 264,000 was, however, very much more than the real number. That would be the number if every occupier were placed on the register; but there are the cases of widows, and many other cases in which the parties occupying could not appear on the register. The number would probably be brought down, speaking within the mark, more than 10, perhaps 20 per cent. [Lord J. RUSSELL: That was not the fact.] Perhaps the noble Lord may have made the necessary allowances; but be this as it may, a difference of ten or twenty thousand is of no great importance to my argument. The noble Lord's proposition was, that 264,000 persons should he enfranchised in the counties of Ireland. [Mr. TORRENS M'CULLAGH: That was for the whole of Ireland.] I am sorry that I should be supposed to have exaggerated the good which would have been effected by the Bill. Take it which way you will, I think the argument is the same. The noble Lord defended the proposal of an 8l. franchise in this House in a manner which to me was perfectly satisfactory. I objected, as did many other hon. Members, to the having an 8l. franchise for boroughs. But what was said on these benches? I am not apt to be deluded by statements made from the bench below; but it was said that an 8l. franchise for the counties would be a capital thing; and that, although the proposal of such a franchise for the boroughs might be a mistake, it would be avoided if the thing had to be done over again; yet we must not grumble, because we did not get everything in one Session; and an expectation was held out that by and by, when the suffrage came to be extended in England, there would he no difficulty in reducing the 8l. borough franchise to 5l., should it then be thought desirable to do so. Well, now, with all those statements, we felt somewhat satisfied that the noble Lord at least meant to stand by and to carry through Parliament what he had proposed. How, then, has he acted? The noble Lord, be it remembered, is at the head of the Government, and it would not do for him to say that he has not voted as the Marquess of Lansdowne has in the other House. He must take upon himself the responsibility of what has been done by the Cabinet Ministers in the House of Lords. Although I have not the exact 554 words before me, I believe I shall be supported by the recollection of hon. Members, when I say that the conduct of the Government in the other House has not only been directly contrary to its conduct in this House, but affords the greatest reason for believing that when the noble Lord and his Colleagues proposed the 8l. franchise in this House, it was not intended that that franchise should be passed, but that it should be raised to some other amount. It may be that I am more suspicious than many; but I cannot but believe that if the noble Lord had intended that this franchise should be established, and if the great influence which the Government possesses in both Houses had been exercised as it is on some occasions, there might have been secured to the people of Ireland the franchise which they expected when the Bill left this House. But now what is it that the House of Lords have done? They have cut down the 264,000 electors to something like 140,000, imitating the Government of Paris in the act of reducing by one-half the franchise of the people of France. The noble Lord will not accept a 15l. franchise, but he proposes a half-way house between 8l. and 15l., giving to the other House an advantage in the division; he proposes 12l., which will leave, if I understand him rightly, about 170,000 electors. The noble Lord himself proposes to sweep away one-third of the numbers he advocated a few months ago. Now, I want to call the attention of the House to the divisions by which this 8l. franchise was passed. In the Committee of this House there were 213 votes for the 8l. franchise, and 144 for the 15l. franchise; the majority 69 in favour of the first. On the third reading there were 254 votes for the Bill, and 186 against it; the majority being 68. Now, what was the majority in the other House? There were 50 votes against, and 72 for the 15l. franchise; so that it was carried there by a majority of 22 votes. If you add together the majorities of both Houses of Parliament, and if you also add the minorities in both, you will find that there was, on the whole, a majority of 47 votes in favour of the lower franchise. I know very well that that is a kind of arithmetic which is not generally practised in the House of Commons. I am not asking the House, therefore, to adopt it; I am only stating to them a fact; and I may state further, that a Bill which passed this House by a majority of 254 555 votes against 186, has been neutralised and almost destroyed in the other House by a vote of 72 against 50. I have no doubt that there are persons who believe that one vote in the other House of Parliament is worth three votes in this House; but on a question of the suffrage and of popular rights, I am disposed to think that if the constitution, taking the word in the sense in which it is used by the noble Lord, is to give any particular weight to either House of Parliament, this House ought to be considered of more importance than the House of Lords. Bear in mind that the Crown was in favour of the 8l. franchise, and that another branch of the Legislature signified its assent by large and constantly sustained majorities. Now, if both the Crown and the House of Commons be in favour of this comparatively wide extension of the suffrage, the noble Lord ought to be cautious how he allows a small majority of a small House sitting in another place to over-ride the opinion of the Crown, and the Ministry, and the House of Commons, with regard to this important question. Well, now, there is another way of looking at the course which the House of Lords have taken on this question. That House is against all franchises. The question with them is not whether or not a particular franchise is the best for the country; they would raise the franchise to even a higher rate than 15l. if they dared. It is notorious that from the time when the Reform Bill was first introduced in the House of Commons, the limits of the franchise in the three kingdoms have been too widely extended for the tastes and the objects of the House of Lords. The noble Lord takes their opinion as to a particular franchise under this Bill, although he knows perfectly well that they are of opinion that the 15l. franchise is too high. I say that he ought to have consulted the opinion of the House of Commons and his own opinion, as to the wants of Ireland, and to have stood manfully by the Bill, if he was satisfied as to its necessity at the time of introducing it. The noble Lord is a great man for constitutions. I recollect that last year, when speaking with regard to a reform in Parliament, after I had sat down, he addressed the House in not the most amiable mood. He said that certain hon. Gentlemen were well worth attending to when they spoke on matters relating to trade—that when they spoke on questions connected with the commerce of the country, they handled 556 them with great ability, but he was amazed at their narrow-mindedness, and their small views when they came to discuss great constitutional questions—questions which the noble Lord himself has discussed all his life, and after discussing which he finds that he cannot make his great constitution work. Now, the noble Lord's object is to work this House in harmony with the other House of Parliament. Never did any man in this world undertake a more impossible object; and the noble Lord is, I trust, gradually finding that out. We have had a question to-day, which affords another specimen of the dead lock into which the two Houses of Parliament are working themselves. Year after year the noble Lord has brought forward a measure to emancipate, as it is termed, a certain class of persons in this country; and year after year the measure has been passed in this House. But when it goes to the House of Lords this measure is scarcely discussed: there not only the House of Commons but the Ministry is treated with contempt, and the Bill is kicked out as a thing too ridiculous for calm consideration. Perhaps the noble Lord proceeds on the principle of ripening the pear—as it was formerly termed—in thus bombarding the House of Lords with good measures; but the result is, that he allows every good measure to be pared down until it will pass through the minute gauge which suits the other House. Well, now, how long-is this to go on? It is quite clear that the noble Lord's constitution will not work. It does not work even now to his own satisfaction. It does not work even to keep himself in office; for as the two Houses are going on, and, as the Government is situated between them, it is quite clear that his government cannot last long. What does the noble Lord intend to do? It is rumoured that he intends to add to the democratic element in the House of Commons. Well, but if that element is now too much for the House of Lords, how can he expect to get on more comfortably when he shall have added fifty more Members, who will vote against him when he does not go far enough in proposing measures of reform? The effect of any extension of the democratic element in this House, will be to increase discord and difficulty between the two Houses, or the noble Lord's constitution must be extinguished, because the Lords will have to succumb. These are serious considerations. None of us can shut our eyes to the fact that 557 here is a vast empire, here are three kingdoms, from almost every part of which there are complaints of various kinds, and I especially with regard to the representation. This House is willing to go to a certain extent, to a very small extent I admit, to pass remedial measures; but when it sends such measures up to the other House of Parliament, they are there unceremoniously rejected. The course which the noble Lord should take, is, in my opinion, this. When he meets Parliament at the beginning of the Session, he should bring in two or three good measures, perhaps fewer would be better; for I would ask no Government to pass more than one great measure in the course of a Session; in laying those measures on the table he should let the country and this House and the other House know that the Government intend that they should pass, and that they will not retain the responsibility of carrying on the administration of affairs if they are rejected by either House of Parliament. The course which is pursued now is one that is both humiliating to the House, and destructive to the noble Lord's Government. Nearly every time he sends a measure up to the House of Lords, it is rejected; and in this manner difficulties arise between the two Houses of Parliament, and the character of the noble Lord's Government is depreciated. Whatever may be his majorities in this House, his position is becoming more and more humiliating; and I confess that I do regret most deeply that, after all the services which the noble Lord has performed in years past, by carrying measures which, if they have not gone so far as I could have wished, have perhaps, gone as far as circumstances would permit—I do regret that he should not he able to carry out the principles which he has professed. With regard to this Bill, I believe the greatest and safest policy towards Ireland is the most generous policy. You have tried the other policy for centuries, and there is not a spectacle in the world so humiliating to a Government as the spectacle of Ireland is to our own. You have tried to govern through the landlords of Ireland, through what you call the territorial system. Your government has lamentably failed; it has made that island a scene of anarchy. Your proprietors are for the most part ruined; your people have been starved off, and have emigrated by hundreds of thousands. I learn from a paper which has been read before the Statistical Society of Dublin, that the 558 writer states his belief that at the next census the population of Ireland will not be found greater than it was in 1831. If it be to this that your system has brought Ireland, I ask you whether it he not time to change? Irishmen are like other men; they may be controlled, and guided, and governed by kindness, generosity, and justice. Do you still wish that the representatives of Ireland should be the representatives of its territorial proprietors only, and are you afraid to have in your House one hundred gentlemen who represent the great mass of the occupying tenantry? If you had a hundred representatives of this kind, even if we did not legislate in all things as they might desire, still they would feel that their voice was hoard in the Imperial Parliament; and, comparing their position with that of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Devonshire, they would feel that their countrymen were treated by the Imperial Legislature with the same justice as the great mass of the population of England and Scotland. If the noble Lord had dealt with this question manfully, and wisely, and generously, he would have done much to assuage the feeling of hostility in Ireland towards this country, and would have obtained ample leisure to adjust in the next and in succeeding Sessions of Parliament those questions of a social, as well as those of an ecclesiastical, character which must come on for settlement ere long, either under the government of the noble Lord, or under that of those who shall succeed him. I regret that the noble Lord has not shown the decision which was required with regard to this matter of the franchise. If he will tell us now that he does not himself accept what is before us as a compromise, in other words, as an arrangement or bargain by which he will hereafter stand; if he will tell us that he merely asks for a 12l. franchise as a gain in the present state of things in Ireland—why then we must do the best we can under the dilemma in which we are placed, and support his proposition; but if he says, "I take this 12l. as I before intended to take the 8l. franchise, as a final settlement," then I believe he will find in the course of a Session or two, that vast numbers on this side of the House are prepared to go further, and he will be more and more at variance with large numbers of his supporters. I repeat my conviction, that the true policy for Ireland is a liberal and generous policy; and, let me add, that if you wish to withdraw the people from the in- 559 fluence of those who mislead them, if such there be, you should endeavour, by adopting such a policy, to create in them faith, hope, and trust in the impartiality of the Imperial Parliament.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I am sorry to detain the House, but I think the hon. Member for Manchester has raised questions, the discussion of which I cannot altogether avoid; because the hon. Gentleman has not confined himself to this Bill, but has thought fit to lay down propositions which, as I conceive, tend to disparage the present constitution of the country, and might lead to the establishment of some other. The hon. Gentleman found fault with me for having proposed upon this as upon some other occasions, to agree to something different from that which I had originally proposed, and to yield in some degree to the expressed opinion of the other House of Parliament. Now, I consider it is nothing with regard to this question to consider the two Houses of Parliament together, and to say that a majority of sixty-eight in the one House, is to be balanced against a small majority of twenty-two in the other, and that we ought to have measures carried by a majority of the two Houses together. It is evident that, if the two Houses are placed together, in one assembly, that will be the consequence; but as long as we have the two Houses of Parliament, if Amendments are made by the other House, and sent down to the House of Commons, the House of Commons must deal with them as the decisions of the other House of Parliament. Now, the hon. Member seeing that take place, proposes what I understand to be, with regard to any measure of this kind, that I should declare at the beginning of the Session that the Government desire to bring in certain measures—that as to this 8l. franchise the Government should have declared at once that that was to be the rate of the franchise in Ireland, and that they would listen to no change or discussion on the subject. If that wore to be so, there would at once be an end to the balance of the constitution of this country. It might be desired that that constitution should be at an end, but we ought not to deceive ourselves that such is the proposition of the hon. Member for Manchester. Let us suppose the hon. Gentleman to have his will with respect to the reform of the present House of Parliament; that he gives what is called, I believe, the household suffrage, which, in fact, more nearly approaches 560 what is called universal suffrage, for it goes far beyond what was understood as household suffrage in former days—and that the hon. Member had an elective assembly elected under the law; and suppose the Minister were to say at the beginning of the Session to that popular assembly, "Here is a great measure I propose to you—it must be carried in its integrity—from it you must not depart;" and suppose, according to the existing state of things, that the House of Lords were not to modify that measure, but to reject it altogether, the hon. Gentleman must have something in reserve—he must have some resource, and it is evident he means that the will of that popular assembly is to prevail, and that there is to be no discussion, no modification, no tampering of moderate views, no elaborate or learned discussion, no reference to history, no regard for precedent, which may in any way alter the views of that imaginary Minister who is to come down to this House and say, "Such is my will, and it must not be changed." Without discussing the merits of our constitution, or any other, at the present moment, it is quite plain that what the hon. Member really proposes is an absolute democratic assembly, which shall have no barrier to its will—which shall meet with no opposition to its decrees, and before which all the estates and constituted powers of the country must bow. It may be that such a change is desirable; all I can say is, that I am not one of the persons who desire it. All I can say is, that I think, with all its inconveniences—with its very long delays—with frequent rejection of measures that after some years every one admits to be useful—with lengthened discussions—with the many impediments to legislation which arise in this country—with all these counteracting influences, yet the sum of good obtained under our constitution is so great, our institutions are in themselves so valuable, and their fruits so precious, compared with those which (with perhaps one or two exceptions) history, either ancient or modern, shows to have been produced by any other form of government—by any other constitution devised by the wisdom of man—that for my own part I am not willing to change the constitution of this country for any other that the hon. Member may recommend. It has happened to me—if I may be pardoned for speaking of myself—to carry measures of change through this House, and, eventually, through Parlia- 561 ment, which I thought measures of improvement, but which, in the first instance, met with great opposition and powerful resistance. I thought that the constitution might from time to time be improved—that laws might be changed much to the advantage of the people; but I acted under the conditions which I saw imposed on me by the state of the Government of this country, and by a constitution which I did not frame, but under which I was born, and which I have no wish to overturn. I proposed a great many years ago a change of a most important kind in the character and construction of this House. I did not feel dispirited by the reverses which I met with in the prosecution of that object. Not only was I overthrown in repeated divisions, but I was opposed by the splendid, the almost overpowering eloquence of Canning. Still I went on my course, and after ten years of discussion and deliberation I had the satisfaction of seeing a great reform of Parliament effected. When I was defeated in my first endeavours I did not say, "I discard all respect for the constitution because my plan is not carried at once." On another occasion I proposed the repeal of an Act which had long existed, and on which, though not in active operation, many persons believed the safety of the Church to depend—I mean the Test Act. The first time I proposed the repeal of the Act, I succeeded. I had reason to believe, however, that my success would be limited to the House of Commons, and that the other House of Parliament would reject the change proposed unless I would agree to a compromise, and allow of the substitution of a declaration for the unjust and offensive test. I persuaded those whom I then looked upon as my clients, and with whom I had frequent conferences—the Protestant Dissenters—to listen to the compromise, and, as the wisest course, to agree to it; and the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts was carried only by accepting the compromise, and thus obtaining the assistance of the Government in the other House of Parliament. I may refer to another subject. I proposed a great change—one of the most important, I think, that ever took place in this country—which was carried without great discussion because it happened never to be an object of great popular alarm or excitement—I mean the commutation of tithes. The measure, as I proposed it, did not meet with general assent. You, Sir, and other Members of 562 this House, pointed out to me that the Bill which I had introduced would not be accepted by those who were most interested on the part of the laity, and suggested changes which it was necessary to make in order to render it acceptable. I considered the changes which were proposed to me, and, after some delay, adopted them, and by that moans succeeded in carrying a great and useful measure. I am sorry to be obliged to enter into these matters; but I refer to them as instances of great good which has been effected, not by taking the course which the hon. Member proposes—not by throwing a Bill on the table and saying to the House, "Here is my measure—I will not change a word of it—you shall take it as it is, or run the risk of a collision between the two Houses, or between the people of England and the House of Commons." I have shown that I have been able to effect great good by pursuing a totally different course, and instead of clinging pertinaciously, from motives of pride or vanity, to my own measures, submitting them to alterations, sometimes for the worse, sometimes far the better, and endeavouring to attain practical benefit by means of compromise. The hon. Member has alluded to the terms in which on a former occasion I spoke of the manner in which he and other Members had addressed the House relative to the working of part of our institutions. It seems I allowed a phrase to escape me with reference to the narrow-minded view which those hon. Members took of the subject. Speaking generally, I do not concur in the view which they take of the aristocracy of this country. The hon. Member on that occasion, as he has done on many others, represented the aristocracy of England as a class forming a sort of great council, like that of Venice, entirely separated from the great body of the people, as if its ranks were not continually recruited from the mass of the people. I cannot admit that, and I said it was a narrow-minded view of the subject.
§ MR. BRIGHT
would save the noble Lord the trouble of proceeding. On the occasion referred to, the discussion was on the Motion of Mr. Hume with regard to Parliamentary reform, and what was referred to was the fact of the representation of Manchester being balanced by that of many small places.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
My recollection differs from that of the hon. Member, and I think on the occasion in question I point- 563 ed out that members of families which, a hundred years ago, were amongst the humblest and poorest of the subjects of the Crown in this country, had, by dint of talent—by dint of learning, whether in the profession of the law or the Church—by their services in the Navy or Army, or by other distinguished merits, won their way to the highest honours of the peerage, and formed as proud a portion of the aristocracy as any of their Peers. If I mistook the hon. Member, I regret it; but I still think that his remarks always have a tendency to represent the aristocracy as something distinct and separate from the bulk of the people. I not only hold that this supposed distinction is unfounded in fact—not only that it is contrary to all we know of the history of past ages, and of what we see day by day, as will appear from an examination of any list of the Peers of England—but I also contend that a belief in its existence would have a mischievous effect, and instead of strengthening that union of classes in this country, which induces the aristocracy to believe that their fate and welfare are bound up with the welfare of the people, and the people to look upon the aristocracy as the defenders of their rights and privileges, would lead to a war of classes and ranks, that would cause the subversion of the Government, of the constitution, and of the existing state of society. The aristocracy of the country, instead of being desirous to separate themselves from the people, feel that their strength and permanent existence depend on continually receiving fresh accessions from those who by the highest qualities of the mind are able to place themselves on an equality with them. The hon. Member wishes that the 8l. franchise had been carried. I wish the same thing. I proposed it on sufficient grounds, and I think it ought to have been adopted. I have already explained why the measure was not brought forward at an earlier period—namely, because in the deplorable state to which Ireland was reduced by famine, the Government thought it right to postpone the consideration of political privileges to the amelioration of the social condition of the people of that country. I take no blame to myself for that. The Bill was introduced this Session and sent to the other House, where I think it has been impaired by the changes to which it has been subjected. But if the measure be carried in the form which I now propose it shall assume, it will add 170,000 to the 564 constituency of Ireland. That would be a great practical boon, and it is worth our while to effect it. As to the future, I must decline to enter into any engagement either with Members on this side of the House, or with those on the other. I say, "Here is a practical good; will you adopt it?" If, subsequently, we find the people of Ireland exercise the franchise given by this Bill, and think it sufficient, no one, perhaps, would ask for a change. If, on the contrary, it should appear desirable to extend the franchise further, our assenting to the present measure will not prevent us from proposing such further extension as may be required. Such is the spirit in which I propose this Bill. Such is the spirit in which, both in and out of office, I have proposed other changes for improving the institutions of the country, for altering laws which were vicious or defective, and for conferring a greater degree of freedom and happiness on the people. With all these changes and improvements it has been my endeavour to combine the maintenance of the tranquillity of the country, and the permanence of our institutions.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, it was not his intention to detain the House at any length, but simply to confine himself to the two propositions which had been placed before them. The hon. Member for Wenlock, who had spoken first in the debate, and his friends, wished to retain the Bill as it had come down from the House of Lords; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government had invited them to adopt a 12l. franchise. To the first proposition he could not assent, because as the Bill originally left the House it only gave an adequate redress for a known and acknowledged grievance; and if they were right in the decisions at which they had then arrived, by large majorities, he could not see that there was any reason at present for departing from the principle of the Bill. Its acknowledged principle was, that something like an equality should be given the people of Ireland as compared with the people of the rest of the empire. It was then contended that nothing higher than an 8l. rating would establish anything like that equality. The noble Lord, on the present occasion, did not deny that the consequence of accepting a 12l. rating now, unless a great pressure arose on the other side of the Channel, might constitute a permanent settlement. To such a settlement he, for one, 565 could not agree. He held the reunited party opposite responsible for having led and lured the House of Lords into the perpetration of an insult towards the people of Ireland, because that party, however otherwise they might have been divided, had reunited their talents and endeavours in order to destroy the principle of the measure. He asked whether it was right that upon a question of this kind the people of Ireland, when asking constitutionally for an approach to equal liberties with the rest of their fellow-subjects, should be spurned, and have abuse and vituperation cast upon their creed and their condition? He was asked what was the abuse? Why, it had been said that if they were to confer the proposed original privilege, it would enfranchise the rubbish of the community, and lead to the influence of the priesthood over "a pauper" constituency. Was this a time, after three years of affliction and misery, to stigmatise a whole people with their poverty? He did not believe that the proposed rating would increase the constituency to the extent which had been stated. The 8l. rating, it was said, would give the counties a constituency of 200,000. Upon the same rule the 15l. rating would give 110,000, and the 12l. would give 136,000; so that the difference between a 12l. and a 15l. rating was only 26,000. The 15l. test would give about 9,000 voters to the five counties which constitute the whole province of Connaught; and the other would give them 11,740 voters—not quite so many as one of many agricultural counties possessed in England. He would not mention manufacturing counties in England, which it might be argued resembled in wealth and density the population of towns. But it would be found that Durham, Derbyshire, Norfolk, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Kent, Devonshire, Lincoln, and Somersetshire, have each a greater number of electors than the whole province of Connaught will possess under the 12l. franchise. He should decline to voting for either of the propositions before the House. His conviction was, that after what had been experienced, there was no security for the people of Ireland, except in making common cause with the people of England, asking to be put on the same level with the latter, and to have verbatim et literatim the same rights and privileges; and he hoped the day was not far distant when the people of both countries would struggle, without any national jealousies, to es- 566 tablish the same freedom for all portions of the empire.
MR. M. O'CONNELL
, in voting for the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, reserved to himself the right of resorting to every constitutional means of obtaining a fuller and fairer franchise. Some allusion had been made by an hon. Member to his deceased father, whose motives had been misunderstood, and, who, Session after Session, had been prepared to extend the franchise, but that object he was prevented from accomplishing in consequence of the opposition he encountered, which was finally successful.
§ MR. SHEIL
Such attention, Sir, as I may have the good fortune to obtain, I shall reward with brevity. My hon. Friend the Member for Dundalk has spoken as if it depended on the noble Lord at the head of the Government, by some, process of gentle violence, to prevail on the House of Lords to accept the Bill in its original form. But that expectation would be hopeless indeed, and it remains for the noble Lord, by a compromise—at some sacrifice of pride, perhaps, but not of honour—to use his utmost endeavours, in the present state of the Irish registry, to induce the House of Lords to mitigate the injustice into which they have been betrayed. I entertain a hope that they may be induced to retrace their steps. A little reflection ought to convince them that they have done Ireland great mischief and great wrong. What can be more preposterous, for example, than the course which they have followed with respect to the self-acting registry? They have retained it in cities and boroughs, and substituted a notice to be served by claimants in writing in the counties of Ireland. If a man ought not to be registered in a county against his will, why should he be so registered if be resides in the city of Cork, or the borough of Clonmel? By rejecting the self-acting registry, the Lords will get up a perpetual canvass in every county of Ireland. Not contented with the fury of an election, they will insure the preliminary animosities of a registration. The sacerdotal and territorial influences will be engaged in a perpetual wrestle—the injunction of the priest will be encountered by the inhibition of the landlord, and the notice to register will be followed by the notice to quit from his consecrated rostrum, whose eloquence, unfashioned perhaps, yet fervid and impressive, reaches to the heart of the peasant, whether he be rated at 8l, or 15l. 567 Father O'Shaughnessy exclaims from his pulpit, "I expect that before I meet you again every man in this parish rated at 15l.will serve notice to register, that he may vote for God and his country at the next election for the county of Mayo." Patrick Murphy, touched by this invocation, sends the fatal notice. He meets the lineal descendant of some prosperous soldier of the Commonwealth—one of the great Cromwellian deposits left by the Lord Protector in Ireland:—"How is this, Murphy? Have you served a notice to register, against the express orders which I have given to every tenant on my estate?"—"Please your honour," cries Patrick Murphy, in an attitude of more than Celtic humiliation, touching the earth with his hat with one hand and his gray hairs with the other, "Father O'Shaughnessy!" "Does Father O'Shaughnessy know that you have no lease?" These are the amiable interpellations—the constitutional interrogatories to which the rejection of the self-acting registry will, beyond doubt, give rise. By raising the qualification from 8l. to 15l., the Lords have almost annihilated the household constituency, and made the sole depositors of the franchise a mass of serfs, who will vote under the eye of their landlords, or the terrible fascination of some basilisk of the law. It may occur to the Lords, that a system of servitude may result from this state of things, which will afford the most powerful arguments for the ballot, for it will be felt, even by those who are most strongly opposed to clandestine voting, that secrecy is better than servility, and that disengenuousness is not more immoral than fear. It may also occur to the House of Lords that they have unconsciously supplied the strongest incentives to agitation. They have furnished men by whom England is hated with a pretence for saying that justice cannot be obtained from the Imperial Parliament, and have put torches into the hands of those who have most interest in setting the country on fire. These considerations may not be without influence on the House of Lords. I do not despair of them—nay, of Lord Stanley's discretion—though I may be deemed sanguine indeed in saying so. I do not wholly despair. Although the noble Lord at the commencement of the Session intertwined with his cereal garland a wreath of lilies gathered at Dolly's Brae, and he has recently done his utmost to deliver Ireland over to that party which he once 568 designated in terms so contumelious that I care not to repeat them, yet I entertain the hope that he may still revert to that better, happier time, when, during the passage of the great measure of emancipation, he objected to the franchise proposed by Sir Robert Peel as too high, when he afterwards, by changing the terms in the Irish Reform Bill, in the opinion of the best lawyers, lowered the 10l. franchise; and, above all, when he gave to the Irish people the best of all intellectual qualification for the right enjoyment of political privilege, by founding that admirable system of national instruction which stands as a monument of wisdom not the less conspicuous because it stands alone. I should be loth to say that Lord Stanley was insensible to his duty; I trust that he is not regardless of his interests, and surely he can scarce fail to feel that it is the consummation of imprudence on his part to put himself into antagonism with Ireland—to condense and concentrate the national disrelish in his name, and fill the hearts of millions with the persuasion that his advent to office would be followed by the restoration of ascendancy in its most odious form—that a deep-dyed flag would be again unfurled from the Castle, and that the rights and the feelings of the Irish people would be trodden under the foot of a fierce and truculent domination.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I think, Sir, the experience Lord Stanley gained in the administration of Ireland, and the acquaintance he has with its social condition, offer primâ facie evidence that any opinion the noble Lord has expressed with reference to that country is the result of personal knowledge and reflection. Because the other branch of the Legislature has confessedly exercised its constitutional privileges—nay, more, has performed its constitutional duties, I am surprised to hear it intimated, now the result of their labours has come before this House, that a collision has taken place between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. One hon. Member after another has risen to express astonishment that the House of Lords should have presumed to exercise the power with which it is constitutionally invested, and to say that a collision has taken place. No collision whatever has taken place. Even though the House of Commons should not agree to the Amendments, there is yet a constitutional machinery prepared, by which communication can still take place between both Houses, and until communications so 569 conducted shall have failed, it is clearly at least premature for hon. Members to talk about collision. I think this House has a right to complain of the use the hon. Member for Manchester made of the name of the Sovereign in the course of this debate. He said that the Bill had been brought forward with the consent of the Sovereign. It is clearly against the rules of this House that the name of the Sovereign should be introduced to influence a debate. But the position taken up by the hon. Member for Manchester is not only unconstitutional, it is quite untrue. It is well known and universally understood that the consent of the Sovereign to the introduction of a Bill is only given in a provisional sense, and does not in any degree control the final and absolute decision of the Crown as a branch of the Legislature. This is so well known, and so necessary for the maintenance of public liberty and the freedom of discussion, that I should not have referred to it had not dangerous reference been made to the name of the Sovereign. Sir, after the extraordinary tone which has been introduced into the debate, and after an hon. Member has announced a collision between the two Houses, and introduced to our notice a new form of constitution, I must recall the attention of the House to the somewhat ordinary matter of fact subject upon which we are called upon to decide. The House of Lords has presumed, in the exercise of its constitutional functions, to make some alterations in a Bill. Now, Sir, I call upon the House to consider the nature of those alterations, and to say whether they are alterations which can justify the observations of those hon. Members who call out that there has been a collision between the two Houses. Let us see what those alterations are. There are, it appears, three points with regard to which the House of Lords is at issue with the House of Commons. The first is, the second clause; but that, let me remind hon. Gentlemen, was sent up a corpse—a dead body—to the House of Lords; condemned by the First Minister and by an influential Member of this House, who, by some miracle or another, failed in his division against it. The House of Lords had the presumption, and I will add the discretion, to throw out that clause. The next alteration appears to be this. The noble Lord put before the House this question—"I have proposed an 8l. qualification, but the Bill is brought to us from the Lords with a 15l. qualification. Now, as a matter of 570 conciliation, I propose to meet the matter by passing a 12l. qualification." This would lead the House and the world to infer that the contest in the House of Lords was a contest between an 8l. and 15l. franchise, and that the House of Lords, with an insulting exercise of authority, struck out the proposed qualification, and inserted another nearly double in amount. The facts of the case, however, were these: that, after much discussion in this House, the 8l. qualification was sent to the House of Lords, but that the very Minister who had charge of the Bill stabbed this clause as it were in the hack, and himself virtually proposed a higher qualification. I appeal to the candour of hon. Gentlemen to bear me out when I say that the question at issue in the House of Lords was between a 12l. and a 15l. qualification. Well, if, after mature deliberation, this branch of the Legislature arrives at the conclusion that the franchise should be a 15l. instead of a 12l., is it to be contended that their so doing is an enormous violation of the constitution? Surely, if the question is to be decided by the House of Lords at all, this was a sedate, serious, and constitutional exercise of its authority. With respect to the third alteration—that which has reference to the self-acting register—is it possible to imagine a more moot point than such a question. I say emphatically that the provision of the Bill thus impugned is a compulsory one, and consequently alien to the policy of a free Government. If you have a free Government—a Government of free discussion—which is a form of government which the hon. Member for Manchester does not admire—no question can be more fairly debated than whether the registration shall be free or compulsory. This, I apprehend, is a point upon which the opinion of either branch of the Legislature ought to be listened to with respect; for, if ever there was a question upon which the opinion of a double chamber ought to be taken, it is this. These are the three great points upon which the House of Lords has presumed to differ from the House of Commons, and upon which we are told there is a collision between the two branches of the Legislature. With respect to the first point, the noble Lord has told us that he does not intend to disagree with the House of Lords; and, with regard to the second alteration, the noble Lord says, that instead of writing 8l. he would write 12l. as the 571 qualification, being the amount which his own Minister virtually proposed. It appears, by the Parliamentary returns which are in the hands of every hon. Gentleman, that the estimated number of votes which will be created by the 15l. franchise, is 180,000. It is not, however, an extravagant estimate, allowing for joint occupiers and old qualified voters, to say that the constituency, under the 15l. qualification, will number 200,000 voters. ["No, no!"] Let us, however, look at our general position with reference to this Bill. We had a Reform Bill for Ireland, which failed, and you found yourselves in this position, that you had a country without a constituency. It would, I admit, be extremely desirable that we should have in Ireland a constituency similar to that which exists in England. Circumstances, however, have occurred to prevent that state of affairs in Ireland. We all agree in this, that although this Bill, whether as proposed by the Government, or as amended by the House of Lords, is still a factitious effort to produce a constituency. This being the case, we must of course draw a limit as to how far it may be safe to carry the experiment. I am not anxious to fight about the probable strength of the constituency which will be created by this Bill; but what I protest against is, that the subject of the Irish constituency should be always made a capital for party trading, and that any party in the State should think that they have the monopoly of arranging the political franchise in Ireland. Sir, I deny that this question was first taken up by the present Government. I deny the right or the fact, that by their entering on this subject the present Government can say they are the sole friends of Ireland in this respect. There was an attempt to settle the question some years ago by the Minister you are all now eulogising as the most liberal Minister the country ever saw. Every hon. Gentleman at this side of the House voted for the proposition of this Minister after your own hearts; and what was the qualification which he proposed? [Mr. TORRENS M'CULLAGH: Sir Robert Peel proposed a 30l. qualification.] Just so; and does not that large amount show the difference of opinion which prevails among the most eminent men in the country, and is it not an argument in favour of the decision of the House of Lords? Does it not show that the arbitrary numbers of 8l. or 12l. have no essential merit in them? This attempt, 572 at a moment's notice, to create a constituency where none previously existed, is an experiment, and must be dealt with as an experiment. Your own returns say that it will increase the county franchise to 200,000; and this is not, I think, a scanty measure of reform. Sir, upon the whole, considering all the circumstances of the case—deeming that a franchise of 15l. will give an ample constituency—considering that the Government, by its conduct in the other House, has admitted that the qualification was not well considered in the first instance, and bearing in mind the vote of the House of Lords—we deem it to be our duty to support the Amendments which have been sent to us by that House.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, the debate had now lasted nearly five hours, and during its progress he was surprised at the silence of the hon. Gentlemen on the other side. He was glad the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had at last spoken out on behalf of the House of Lords. He informed them that the House of Lords, in increasing the franchise to 15l., had exercised their undoubted privilege. The hon. Gentleman would seem to infer that while he was reading history, all the rest of the House was idle. His speech had convinced him (Mr. Reynolds) that the hon. Gentleman might make a speech and yet say very little. In fact, without meaning any personal offence, the speech reminded him of an inscription he had read that day in the neighbourhood of the House—"Rubbish may be shot here." It had been said that the 15l. franchise would be much lower than the 50l. rental to which a county vote was given in England under the Chandos Clause. That was true; but the House must remember that the great majority of voters in Eng- were not the 50l. tenants, but the 40s. freeholders. There were not, however, any voters of that kind in Ireland, as they had been swept away as the price of Catholic emancipation. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Mayo had told them that the Irish people had more than once decided who should be the Minister of the day; and he reminded the noble Lord that they might have to decide that question again. He warned the noble Lord, if he was anxious to hold the helm of the State, and he also warned the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, if he should aspire to that honour, that, if a fair and liberal policy were not extended to Ireland, the Liberal Members belonging to the Irish party 573 would again decide who should he the Minister. Let them look at the disparity between the Irish and English constituencies. The population in the English counties amounted to 8,336,000, and the number of electors was 344,564, whilst in Ireland the population in the counties amounted to 7,445,100, and there were only 27,000 electors. He regretted the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had not acted independently, instead of being straitlaced and tied up with his party. He would have made a much more efficient representative if he had not been compelled to speak down to the intellects of the country Gentlemen. Although he was thankful to the noble Lord and his Colleagues for their successful efforts to promote civil and religious liberty, he was one of those who regretted that they did not take higher ground on the introduction of this Bill. He believed it a bad Bill, even in its infancy; but the House of Lords had made it considerably worse. He wished to ask, what was the meaning of the noble Premier proposing, in the first instance, that the franchise should be 8l., and the noble Marquess the President of the Council, in the other House, suggesting that such a franchise might be too low, and proposing that it should be a 12l. franchise? The House of Lords, as it had ever been, was opposed to every popular movement in the country. It was opposed to any measure of tenant-right—a question which the people of Ireland had set their hearts upon. Although this opposition might be carried to a great extent, his belief was that the people would ultimately triumph. He had at first made up his mind not to vote at all upon this question; but he had changed his mind, and would vote for the proposition that was now before the House, as he did not blame the noble Lord for what had taken place.
§ SIR G. GREY
felt it necessary to say a few words, in consequence of the misrepresentation into which both the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire and the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin had fallen with respect to what had occurred in another place. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had said that the noble Marquess the President of the Council, who had charge of the Bill elsewhere, gave the Bill a stab in the back, and instead of proposing an 8l. he proposed a 12l. franchise to the House. The right hon. Gentleman who had last 574 addressed the House had gone further, and said that the Marquess of Lansdowne had taken the lead in proposing a 12l. franchise, and that if he had not done so, an 8l. franchise would have been adopted by the House of Lords—
§ MR. REYNOLDS
begged to state, that what he did say was, that if the noble Marquess the President of the Council had not proposed a 12l. franchise, the House of Lords would not have proposed a 15l. qualification.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, that the Government did propose through the Marquess of Lansdowne an 8l. franchise; but another noble Lord (the Earl of St. Germans) having given notice of an Amendment that the House should adopt 12l., and another noble Lord (Lord Stanley) having given notice that he would move the adoption of 15l., the Marquess of Lansdowne, who had proposed 8l., seeing the feeling of the House, and conceiving that he would gain more for Ireland—that he would have a better chance of securing a substantial franchise for that country if he took the issue upon 12l. rather than 8l.—did in the course of the discussion suggest that, in case 15l. was rejected, he would propose 12l. The fact was, however, that the opportunity for proposing 12l. never arose at all.
§ Question put, "That 'fifteen' stand part of the Amendment."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 91; Noes 213: Majority 122.
|List of the AYES.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Colvile, C. R.|
|Arkwright, G.||Cotton, hon. W. H. S.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Davies, D. A. S.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Dick, Q.|
|Bateson, T.||Dickson, S.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Disraeli, B.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Brisco, M.||East, Sir J. B.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Fellowes, E.|
|Burghley, Lord||Floyer, J.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Chandos, Marq. of||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Christy, S.||Granby, Marq. of.|
|Clive, H. B.||Grogan, E.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Guernsey, Lord|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Gwyn, H.|
|Coles, H. B.||Hale, R. B.|
|Halford, Sir H.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Spooner, R.|
|Harris, hon. Capt.||Stafford, A.|
|Herries, rt. hon. J. C.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Hill, Lord E.||Stuart, H.|
|Hornby, J.||Stuart, J.|
|Hotham, Lord||Taylor, T. E.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Jones, Capt.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Maunsell, T. P.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Naas, Lord||Vivian, J. E.|
|Napier, J.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Neeld, J.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Neeld, J.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Williams, T. P.|
|Packe, C. W.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Pigot, Sir R.||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Prime, R.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Richards, R.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Rufford, F.||Beresford, W.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Abdy, Sir T. N.||Corbally, M. E.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Corry, rt. hon. H. L.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Cowper, hon. W. F.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Craig, Sir W. G.|
|Alcock, T.||Crawford, W. S.|
|Anderson, A.||Crowder, R. B.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Cubitt, W.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Dashwood, Sir G. H.|
|Arundel and Surrey Earl of||Dawson, hon. T. V.|
|Devereux, J. T.|
|Bagshaw, J.||D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C.T.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Douro, Marq. of|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.||Duke, Sir J.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Duncan, G.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||Duncombe, T.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Berkeley, Adm.||Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Dunne, Col.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Blackall, S. W.||Ellis, J.|
|Blair, S.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Emlyn, Visct.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Estcourt, J. B. B.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Evans, Sir De L.|
|Bright, J.||Fagan, W.|
|Brocklehust, J.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Brockman, E. D.||FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Brown, W.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Forster, M.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Fortescue, C.|
|Cardwell, E.||Fox, R. M.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Fox, W. J.|
|Carter, J. B.||Freestun, Col.|
|Caulfeild, J. M.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Grace, O. D. J.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Childers, J. W.||Greene, J.|
|Clay, J.||Greene, T.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Grey, R. W.|
|Cobden, R.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Hallyburton, Lord J. F.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Collins, W.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Harris, R.||Parker, J.|
|Hastie, A.||Patten, J. W.|
|Hatchell, J.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Hawes, B.||Perfect, R.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Pilkington, J.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Pinney, W.|
|Heald, J.||Powlett, Lord W.|
|Heneage, G. H. W.||Price, Sir R.|
|Henry, A.||Pusey, P.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Raphael, A.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Heywood, J.||Reynolds, J.|
|Heyworth, L.||Rich, H.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.||Robartes, T. J. A.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Romilly, Col.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Hogg, Sir J. W.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hollond, R.||Sadleir, J.|
|Howard, Lord E.||Salwey, Col.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Scholefield, W.|
|Howard, Sir R.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Hume, J.||Scully, F.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Seymour, Lord|
|Jackson, W.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Simeon, J.|
|Keating, R.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Kershaw, J.||Somers, J. P.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Langston, J. H.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Locke, J.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Lushington, C.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Magan, W. H.||Thornely, T.|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||Townley, R. G.|
|Martin, J.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Matheson, Col.||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Melgund, Visct.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Moffatt, G.||Wakley, T.|
|Morison, Sir W.||Wall, C. B.|
|Morris, D.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Mowatt, F.||Wawn, J.T.|
|Newry & Morne, Visct.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Norreys, Lord||Willcox, B. M.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Williams, J.|
|Nugent, Sir P.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Wilson, J.|
|O'Brien, Sir T.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|O'Connell, M.||Wood, W. P.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|O'Connor, F.||Wyld, J.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Wyvill, M.|
|Owen, Sir J.||TELLERS.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ Motion made, and Question, "That 'twelve' stand part of the Clause," put, and agreed to.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, he would not discuss the matter of the registry further, but simply move that the Lords' Amendment, omitting Clauses 18, 19, and 21, be disagreed with.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 179; No 109: Majority 70.
§ Other Amendments agreed to.
§ Committee appointed, "To draw I Reasons to be offered to the Lords at Conference."