§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. G. DUNDAS moved that the Bill should be committed that day six months.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day six months, resolve itself into the said Committee" instead thereof.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
appealed to Liberal Members to support a measure the object of which was to carry out the Reform Act. The law was now in a very uncertain state, and it was quite impossible to ascertain what was the actual condition of the registration rolls. By this measure, it was proposed to use the valuation roll as the basis of the roll of county voters. In boroughs this system had been in operation for two years, and had worked most beneficially.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
did not wish to adopt any course adverse to the hon. Members opposite, but he must appeal to them whether, at this late hour of the day, they could hope to make any advance with the Bill, especially as there were many principles involved in it which would undoubtedly lead to a good deal of discussion. Besides, there were also many Amendments intended to be proposed, which had not yet been put upon the paper. He would put it to hon. Gentlemen whether the best course was not to go into Committee pro formâ, and then let the matter stand over until a future day, to give time for the intended Amendments to be put on the paper; and if that were done, he confidently hoped that some important Amendments would be put in such a shape that they would meet the approbation of hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
did not think that there need be any lengthened discussion on this Bill, and for this reason, that it was identical with that which had been in force for sonic time with regard to boroughs. He did not see the slightest difficulty in going on, if hon. Gentlemen would only enter upon the subject in a fair spirit. If, however, there was a desire for delay, he had no objection in assenting, but he thought that he ought to have an assurance that he should not be put in a 2191 worse position than he occupied at present. He had some time ago understood that the Government would not take Thursdays for themselves for a month, and his Bill had been put down for a Thursday; but then the Government took Thursdays earlier than was expected. If he gave up his chance now he did not know when he could get the Bill on again. He was willing to take it at a morning sitting, but unless he could be assured of bringing it on on a future day he must press it now.
MR. CUMMMING BRUCE
thought it desirable to have the Amendments put upon the paper that they might be considered, and he would advise the hon. Baronet to accept the proposition of the Lord Advocate.
§ SIR GRAHAM MONTGOMERY
was understood also to think it desirable that there should be some little delay.
§ MR. STEUART
said, an objection to the measure was the expense which it would entail; but there were other and more serious objections. One was that the measure would give the government officers, through the medium of the local assessment, a control over the registers. He thought that the principle of the Bill required more discussion than it had yet received.
MR. HOPE JOHNSTONE
thought it desirable to have an opportunity of seeing what the Amendments were. He hoped the hon. Baronet would postpone the measure for a short time; but if he went to a division, he would support him, because he approved of the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes 96; Noes 108: Majority 12.
§ Words added.
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
§ Bill put off for six months.