HC Deb 07 June 1866 vol 183 cc2042-134

County and Borough Franchises.

Clause 4 (Occupation Franchise for Voters in Counties).


The fourth clause of the Bill, which relates to the county franchise, and which is one of the main members of the measure—one of its leading provisions—it has occurred that an additional importance has been attached to it, from the amount of notice which the subject of it has received during the discussions on the Bill, and from the important Amendment of which notice has been given by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). I will endeavour to state clearly the view the Government take of this clause, considered on its merits and then I will advert to the terms of my right hon. Friend's Amendment. Were we now discussing the matter in the House, where there is only power to any Gentleman to speak once, I would reserve any comment on the clause; but as we are speaking here with an indefinite liberty of speech, I think it will be more convenient to those who are to come after me if I now state, as far as I can, all that it may be necessary for me to say on the subject of this clause. As I have already said, this clause is one of the leading and capital provisions of the Bill. But there are two points in connection with it to which I ought to advert; because, if I did not, it might tend to some extent to fetter the discussion on the clause. The first of them is that I should refer to that provision of the Bill which allows leaseholders, within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs, to vote in the quality of leaseholders in the county within which the borough is situated, provided the leasehold is not one conferring a borough qualification. Now we intimated, at a very early period of the debate, that this provision was a matter open for re-consideration. I think, however, it is due to the Committee to state by what process it was we were led to insert such a provision in the Bill. Now, Sir, in our view a different account should be given of the relative nature of the county representation and borough representation from that which I am aware is in vogue on the other side of the House, We do not admit that the county and borough representations were different originally, by either the letter or the spirit of the Constitution, as is now sometimes supposed, with reference either to the interests of parties or the separation of what are called the urban and the rural interests and a certain equipoise of those two representations. We read the meaning of the arrangement in the provision in which we find that while the franchise was given for counties in respect of property that franchise ran evenly and regularly through the entire of the counties, there being no exception save those of cities which were counties in themselves. At the same time it was the practice of the Constitution, wherever from a variety of circumstances a community were aggregated together, to invest that community with a right of representation, and that representation forms the whole body of the city and borough constituency; but, according to the practice of the Constitution, this was without the slightest prejudice to the right of the inhabitants of those boroughs to be represented in Parliament in respect of their property. In this state of things the Reform Act introduced two innovations. The first of these was one which took away from the county freeholder his right to vote by reason of his freehold in cases where that freehold conferred a borough franchise. That, I believe, was an original part of the Reform Act. At all events, it is one of its provisions. Another innovation introduced in the Reform Bill—introduced undoubtedly in a very great degree to give effect to those ideas of difference between the urban and rural representations to which I have alluded—was the £50 occupation clause. But while that proposal was made from the opposite side of the House, it received a large amount of support from those who usually voted with the Government of Earl Grey, as being a measure of additional enfranchisement, and an enfranchisement of a class to whose intelligence and position no just exception could be taken. I am not now speaking in censure of the clause; but it is to those recent innovations alone that can be traced, as I apprehend, the doctrine which is now so much in favour with so many Members of this House. In proceeding to consider the state of the representation of the people it was quite obvious to us—as it has been obvious to all who have dealt with the subject for the last fifteen years—that an essential provision of any measure of Reform which could be expected to receive, and ought to receive, any support in Parliament, must be in counties a considerable reduction of the occupation franchise. But in thus reducing the occupation franchise, which we thought it quite necessary to do, we felt it only right and fair to see whether there was any considerable class of interests strictly proprietary, which, according to the ancient spirit and practice of the Constitution, ought to be represented in counties, and which we might introduce with the new and considerable mass of occupiers which we were about to create by a reduction of the franchise, with a view to maintain in the county representation, as far as possible, that strength and permanence of proprietary interest which was the original—and perhaps I am not going too far in saying the exclusive—basis of the county franchise. Therefore, in looking back into the Reform Act, it was obvious that an anomaly was introduced by it. The leasehold franchise for counties was then introduced for the first time, and according to the ancient practice of the Constitution that might be acquired in towns—that is, a town leasehold not conferring the franchise in the town would be introduced as a county qualification. It seems to have been thought by hon. Gentlemen opposite that this provision was one eminently opposed to their interests. That is not at all the view which we have taken. This is not only a proprietary interest, but a proprietary interest in the hands of persons who, for the most part, are holders of leaseholds in plurality—in many cases of a very considerable number. A man who holds one leasehold ordinarily resides on it, and so residing he would not have a vote under this clause. But men holding this description of leasehold generally do not reside on it. They generally belong to the class possessing property, and, with regard to the votes of this class, I think Gentlemen opposite have no reason to be dissatisfied with the share of them, which on all occasions they obtain. But the clause has evidently proved one extremely objectionable to hon. Gentlemen on the other side the House, and in fairness I am compelled to admit to the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) that with the necessarily imperfect information we could obtain as to the operation of the clause, we were not aware there would be cases—although I believe the instances would be extremely few in which an influence would be exercised by that class in the constituency of particular counties or divisions of counties, certainly out of proportion to what we think ought to be brought to bear in any case. That being so, we have also taken in view the imperfect representation of property in those counties as a theoretical imperfection—because for all practical purposes property is amply and fully represented—and though we should be glad to qualify the admission of a large number of occupiers into the county constituency, by making an addition to the votes by tenure, either in this form, or in any other form that might be suggested, in such constituencies, yet, under the circumstances of the case, and seeing no object connected with the clause besides that which I have stated—admitting the occasional and incidental objection which in particular cases may tell against it, and being anxious to avoid as far as possible matters of controversy—we are willing to withdraw that proposal from the arena, and when we come to that part of the Bill I will ask leave to do so. There is another subject connected with this matter on which I should be glad to say a word—that is, the consideration of expense, which may be said—particularly in the case of counties—to have a tendency to grow with the growing number of the constituency. We are very sensible of the evils attendant on a great expenditure at elections. These are of an intense and, so to say, fatal character where connected with corrupt practices; but even where they are not it is a great public mischief that the road to this House should be barred by the necessity of an expenditure of large sums of money. I am not now going into the opinions which may be held as to the particular methods by which such expenditure may be restrained—I am not going to give an opinion now even in favour of attempting to gain that end by clauses in the present Bill. That is a matter which I think may justly be held over, as it is a matter for consideration whether the subject can be best dealt with in a Bill of this kind, where it would be mixed up with much contentious matter, or whether it can best be dealt with in a Bill devoted to that object alone, as being an object in which all persons have a common interest, and the consideration of which ought to be approached without any disturbing bias. Undoubtedly, however, it is our opinion, and I wish it to be strongly expressed, that it is the duty of Parliament to consider how it can adopt measures of vigour and efficacy for the purpose of restraining the very large, mischievous, and injurious amount of what may be called the necessary expenditure, more particularly at county elections. I do not say that such a measure should not extend to boroughs, because they are not exempt from evils of the same description; but a large portion of the evils of large expenditure, not connected with corrupt practices, are particularly felt in the counties.

And now, Sir, the House may justly ex- pect me to say why it is that, when a proposal is made by a Gentleman in the conciliatory spirit of my right hon. Friend opposite, to raise the standard of the occupation franchise in the counties—I am not sure whether he meant to £20 annual value or £20 rating, but that is immaterial as regards my present purpose—why, when such a proposal is made, we adhere to the proposal of a clear annual value of £14 as the basis of the occupation franchise in counties. Well, Sir, the first reason which I think it necessary to give—and it is one of which I can hardly describe the weight on my own mind—is this. We have thought it our duty, in approaching this question, to present to Parliament such a measure as might, in our hope and best judgment, amount to what is-called a settlement of the question. Now, what had we to take into consideration? We had to take into consideration that repeatedly, on the proposal of a private Member, this House had by considerable majorities affirmed the principle of a £10 occupation franchise in counties. We had to take into consideration that in 1854 that proposal had been adopted by the Government—a Liberal Government undoubtedly, but still a Government under the direction of a nobleman whose name was in those days, I will not say universally, nor even generally, but, at all events, to some extent, accepted as a guarantee for the moderation of his political proposals by many Gentlemen who sit on the other side of the House—I mean Lord Aberdeen, Then we had to bear in mind that in 1859 there appeared in this House a Bill in which a £10 occupation franchise was proposed—advisedly and deliberately proposed—to Parliament by the Government of Lord Derby; and of all the £10 franchises which have been proposed theirs was the largest. It would have included the greatest number of voters, because it was a franchise which was dependent solely on an occupation of lands and tenements, irrespective of rating, irrespective of residence, and irrespective, if I remember right, of even any building being on the ground. I do not say now whether that were a good extension of the £10 franchise—I myself think it was far otherwise—but I speak of it as the most extended form in which the £10 franchise was ever proposed. This question of the £10 occupation franchise was made the subject of much discussion in this House, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, as the responsible Minister of the Crown, is reported to have used, on the 28th of February, 1859, these words in reference to it— With reference to the change of the county constituency from £50 to £20, I would venture to observe that, having given to this subject very considerable pains, so far as I can form an opinion, there is nothing which would make me trust the loyalty and respectability of one who lived in a £20 house in a county in preference to one who lived in a £10 house."—[3 Hansard, clii. 994.] That was the opinion advisedly given by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not quote it for the purpose of endeavouring to bind him to that opinion, but I quote it because declarations and proceedings of this kind emanating from a responsible Minister of the Crown, become part of the history of Parliament and of the country—part of the material which it is necessary for us to take under our view when we consider our relations to the people, what their just expectations may be, and how far we are bound in prudence, if not in honour, to go towards their fulfilment. That was the proposal contained in the Bill of 1859; and I need not remind the House that, minus only that portion of it which extended a £10 occupation franchise to cases where there were no buildings on the land, it was embodied in the Bill of 1860. When, therefore, we are told that we ought to settle this question on the principle of meeting half way those who differ from us, and of endeavouring to allay jealousy by aiming at union of sentiment, or, at all events, at union of decision—the House, I hope, will perceive that that is precisely what we have' already done. We have gone back from the votes of this House, from our own proposals, and from the proposal of the Government of Lord Derby, in order to bring about that union of opinion and sentiment. I think, indeed, we have been somewhat trying the feelings and the temper of those who form the Reform party in this House and in the country by proposing the £14 clause. We ourselves had been parties to a £10 clause, and so had the party opposite been; and I think we made some draught on the liberality, or, at all events, on the prudence and temper of the Reform party in the country when we declined to adopt a £10 and adopted a £14 occupation clause. It may possibly be said that the £10 occupation clause of Lord Derby was accompanied by a provision for the extinction forthwith of the voters within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs. That was a great and a serious innovation on the Constitution, though I do not wish to comment on it from that point of view. It was pointed out that, independently of political inexpediency, there was gross injustice in that disfranchisement, and during the short existence of that Bill the Government who were responsible for it admitted, by the mouth of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, that it was not expedient to apply the clause to the existing generation of freeholders. They were prepared, therefore, to go on with the existing generation of freeholders within boroughs retaining their votes for the county and to give at the same time a £10 occupation franchise in the sense I have described outside of the Parliamentary boroughs. Now, will any man tell me that if the £10 voters within the limits of boroughs were so very dangerous to what are called the interests of land, and so destructive to the Constitution, or if they gave such an overwhelming weight to any one of the parties represented in this House, that it was a satisfactory mode of dealing with the question to leave them where they were, to vote during the term of their natural lives? It is impossible that the Government of Lord Derby could have believed that there was political insecurity in a £10 occupation franchise in counties without excluding voters within the limits of Parliamentary boroughs, for otherwise they never could have made the concession that the rights of the existing generation should be saved. Under all these circumstances, what we feel with regard to the most important point—the settlement of the question—is this. We may say, that as matters now stand, the £14 and £7 franchise have been so frankly accepted by what may be called the Reform party in the country, and by the whole of that portion of the House which is more immediately connected with that Reform party, that if this Bill is passed here and is assented to by the House of Lords, we can advise the assent of the Crown to it with a confident feeling that for a length of time this important question of the franchise is laid to sleep, and that Parliament may betake itself in peace to the discharge of its other duties. Now, the whole of that immense advantage will be lost by the proposed alteration of the £14 franchise, and I trust that those who speak so much, and also, I doubt not, feel so much, about the necessity of settling this question, and about putting an end to the pos- sibility, the likelihood, and the temptation of making it a subject of discussion from year to year, will be governed by this consideration—which I venture to say is all important—in regard to the vote they give on the clause now before the Committee. If that clause be altered in the way proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, I feel that virtually the engagement with those who may be called the Reform party will be at an end, and the prospect of a long tranquillity with regard to the subject of the franchise will naturally assume a different character in consequence of the ending of that virtual engagement. But there is another consideration which I venture to urge, and to urge strongly, upon the Committee. It has been the fashion in these discussions, in the criticisms made of the persons proposed to be admitted to the franchise, to draw, as I think, a very invidious distinction between the lower order or labouring class, and the middle class of the community. My right hon. Friend the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) is unbounded in his worship of the middle class. He quotes Aristotle to induce us to strengthen the Constitution in its middle—that is, to enfranchise the middle class. He says that the £10 franchise is excellent. He thinks, however, that there are Borne vicious elements, some dregs which settle at the bottom—that at £10 and a little way above it there are little impurities he does not like, but some small distance beyond that the constituencies become what may be called, generally speaking, immaculate constituencies. I quote that, as the extremest of extreme views, because that is the position which my right hon. Friend has appeared to take throughout this discussion. The enfranchisement, therefore, of the middle class is admitted on all hands to be a good and salutary enfranchisement; and what we propose by this clause is neither more nor less than to complete the enfranchisement of the middle class. In the towns, with some exceptions, which we propose to remedy, it is complete already. In the counties it is admitted not to be complete; and we seek to complete it by this clause. Exception may be taken, perhaps, to the words I used when I stated that this was neither more nor less than the completion of the enfranchisement of the middle class. I admit that in one respect—that is, as respects one class of voters—it does more; I refer to the small agricultural tenants paying rents between £14 and £10, who do not belong to the middle classes which it will affect. For instance, a blacksmith with a smithy and three or six acres of land—such a man would pay more than £14, but he could hardly be said to belong to the middle class, and I admit that there must be a portion of the tenantry of that character in the distinctive sense of the word, and who hardly do belong to the middle class. With such exceptions as these, I contend that the mass of the people proposed to be admitted at £14 are people who belong to the middle class of the community—of the lower portion of the middle class if you like, but still of the middle class as distinguished from the lower class of the people.

In passing, let me say a word as to the reasons why we have not called for any information in regard to the numbers of the labouring classes in the counties. It is that we are not proposing to increase the weight of the labouring classes in the representation of the counties. On the contrary, we are proposing to diminish the weight of the labouring classes in the representation of the counties—that fact is perfectly undeniable. In the county representation the labouring class is chiefly among the 40s. freeholders, and we are going to diminish the proportion of the 40s. freeholders in the aggregate mass of the county constituency; we are going, therefore, to diminish the power they will possess through the county vote. The consideration, which I hope will be recollected when hon. Gentlemen come to deal with us on the question of the borough vote, is, that this clause aims at completing the representation of the middle class in counties. When you come to add to £14 of annual value what is necessary for repairs, insurance, and furniture, and the amount of rates and taxes, you will arrive at the conclusion that the man who lives in a £14 house spends £25 a year upon his residence; and a man who spends £25 a year upon his residence will have not less than £150 of annual income, excluding, of course, exceptional cases. I am not stating this as an indisputable proposition, but as a matter of estimate, admitting of argument. If you can overturn the argument, well and good; but my proposition is this—I say that a man's income is six times as much as he spends upon his house—and that that is, upon the whole, a moderate estimate. It is said that a vast number of £14 votes will be made in the suburbs of towns by buying an acre or two of land. I can conceive of nothing more improbable, because land in the suburbs of great towns is used for other purposes, and is not to be easily cut up into small patches for political ends, as no doubt rural land frequently has been, and much more easily may be. The great bulk of the £14 voters added to the constituencies will be householders, and the proportion of them who eke out the £14 to any considerable extent by land or property will be small. Even if you take the sum of their incomes to be on an average £100 and upwards, still they must be regarded as persons belonging to the middle classes, and, therefore, as persons, whom I would say, with the universal consent of this House, it is desirable to enfranchise. I will now notice an objection which has been put forward in very sweeping terms with regard to the swamping of the counties by persons who are to come from the suburbs of large towns that have outgrown their former dimensions. Let us see how this matter stands. My leading proposition is this—if the towns are too much extended into the counties the proper way of dealing with these towns is not by restricting the county franchise, but by adjusting the boundaries of the towns. A notion seems to prevail—it has been urged by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, and it has been stated by others—that there is a general or universal disinclination on the part of those who are now outside the municipal boundaries of a town to be brought within because of increased rates and taxes. I do not believe that to be universal or general. There are very strong reasons tending to make the inhabitants of those suburbs which substantially form part of towns, desire to be placed within the municipal boundary. The county police is totally unfitted for the management of the suburbs of a great town, and, speaking generally, it would be inconvenient that the county police should be other than rural police. It must be borne in mind that the state of the law with regard to these municipal boundaries is admitted to be defective. We believe that by far the best method of proceeding is to make a good law for the extension of municipal boundaries, and then to provide that wherever the' municipal boundary shall be enlarged the Parliamentary boundary shall follow. We do not attempt to dictate to the House upon this matter, which is not a vital one, but one for consideration, admitting of much to be said on both sides. No doubt many towns now extend into the counties, and not doubtful but indubitable portions of the towns, and in such a manner that the towns cannot be distinguished from county except by legal liabilities. There are possibly cases in which the town forms part of the county. There can be no doubt at all that in cases of that kind, if not by a direct provision, which, as at present advised, we think the least advantageous method of proceeding, at all events, by effectual provisions for the extension of the municipal boundaries, this town population properly so called should be brought within the municipal limits and also within the Parliamentary boundaries. But it should be borne in mind that this is a matter which it is exceedingly difficult to settle by a mere definition in a Bill. Although I am not prepared to say what would be better than the definition given in the Bill of 1859, which spoke of the population properly and substantially belonging to the town, it is totally insufficient. I have heard the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire say that a man holding property in a county should be considered disqualified for possessing a town vote, and that every man who pursued an occupation in a town was to be considered as being disqualified from being a county voter, and, at any rate, that every place in which any number of persons pursuing their occupation in a town were aggregated should be excluded from the county constituency. I should like to know how he would deal with the northern suburbs of Liverpool. The bank of the Mersey, which offers a river and sea view for six or seven miles, is occupied for that length by little more than a couple of rows of houses, inhabited entirely by persons pursuing their occupations in the town, or by persons dependent upon and auxiliary to them. It is what, without any great license of language, may be called a suburb six or seven miles long, yet no one would say that the town of Liverpool ought to be extended six or seven miles in that direction so as to include those houses running alongside the river and the sea. If I were to endeavour to solve the question by giving a definition, I should say that wherever a town is continuously and integrally extended—wherever it is extended in its shops, in its manufactures, in its avocation of its labouring class, and in its habitations for all classes of its people—wherever, in fact, it is one continuous mass—it ought to be considered part of the town, and be included in its boundary. But I question whether you should include narrow strips and rows of houses, the very object of which is to allow their occupants to enjoy the pleasures of the country, together with residence and employment in the town. This is a matter extremely difficult to settle by definitions adopted for political reasons in this House, where we are all too liable to be influenced by the consideration how any definition would operate in a particular place; and what I would press upon the House is that it is a matter which ought not to influence the vote upon this Bill. As far as we are concerned, we have only the desire to adopt with respect to boundaries a just and fair arrangement. We foresee great difficulties in coming to an arrangement upon that subject if we proceed upon any other basis than that of a good law for the extension of the municipalities along with the growth of the towns. But we have no foregone conclusion upon the subject; we are ready to consider the best provisions for fixing the boundaries of towns; and therefore I say there is no ground—not a shadow of ground—for allowing these questions to influence the vote to be given upon the occupation franchise in counties or towns. I will mention another topic on which great stress has been laid. The case of particular counties has been treated. It has been shown that in South Lancashire there will be an enormous addition to the constituency by the adoption of a £14 franchise. Undoubtedly that is so. Even a £20 franchise would in South Lancashire make some very considerable addition to the constituency. In South Lancashire and in North Lancashire, in the Metropolitan counties, and in what, I think, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) described as South-Eastern and North-Western quarters of the country, the addition generally would be large. But look at all the other counties. We must not consider alone those I have mentioned. In the bulk of the counties the addition may be justly described by these two epithets:—In the first place, it will be moderate; and secondly, it will be, on the whole, wonderfully equal. Taking an alphabetical list of the agricultural counties, I find that the £14 franchise will give in Bedfordshire an addition of 1,277 upon a constituency of 4,845, being one-fourth; in Berkshire an addition of 1,476 to a constituency of 5,066, being an increase of under one-third or two-sevenths; in Buckinghamshire an addition of 1,501 to a constituency of 6,126, being an increase of somewhere about one-fourth; in Cambridgeshire an addition of 1,317 to a constituency of 7,060, being an increase of under one-fifth but more than one-sixth. Now, it may be perfectly true that if we were really to examine every case and to be governed with regard to this proposition of enfranchisement—which I entirely deny—by its party bearing, we should find that in cases like South Lancashire an advantage may arise to the Liberal party from a £14 franchise. But do you suppose that that is the case in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, and Cambridgeshire? Quite otherwise. In all such counties the small tenantry and persons immediately connected with those who depend upon the land would form the bulk of the addition made; and I have not a doubt that there are cases in which this addition would be eminently unfavourable to the political party occupying the Benches on this side of the House. Sir, I protest against the imputation of such odious motives to the framers of the Bill; I protest against the justice of making any such considerations the basis of our vote; and I wish to point out that hon. Gentlemen are entirely mistaken in attributing a party complexion to this question. Another reason for the franchise we propose is that it is in substance the franchise which has been adopted and which has worked well in Ireland. The county franchise in Ireland is a £12 rating. Within the merest fraction that franchise compares with the £14 occupation franchise in England. The difference between our £14 occupation franchise and the Irish £12 rating franchise is not a difference of principle at all; it is a mere question of practical convenience. It is on the ground of practical convenience that we adhere to a franchise of clear annual value. But comparing it with a franchise now in force for full fifteen years in Ireland, we say that there can be no reason why you should not in England give a county occupation franchise as extended as that which prevails in the sister country.

Now I come to the Amendment of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole). [An hon. MEMBER: It is not moved yet.] It is not yet moved, but it is closely connected with this subject. I am going to show that in our opinion it is utterly vain to search for anything in the nature of a principle by any such means; while, in point of fact, it is a mere restriction of that middle-class representation and enfran- chisement which we propose to render complete. In the first place, this £20 franchise, as we know very well, is generally recommended because it is said to be the jury franchise. Now, is it so clear that no man is fit to give a vote—that no man of all those taxpayers whom you call upon to contribute largely according to their means for purposes of State is to be allowed to give a vote—unless he is competent to deal with questions of evidence and give a verdict which may decide the life of a fellow-creature? That proposition is very far from self-evident. But there is a much wider objection to the proposal. £20 is not the universal jury franchise. As I understand the law—and I shall be corrected if I am wrong—in boroughs which have sessions of their own the jury franchise is a household franchise. Then are you prepared to take that standard for the county because it is a jury franchise and apply the same principle in the boroughs? If you urge that the juryman's qualification shall make the voter, you bind yourself when you come to boroughs to the virtual adoption of household suffrage. In point of fact, do what you will, there is no resemblance at all between the voting franchise and the jury franchise. Even the county jury franchise is a varied one. It does not depend on occupation; it requires that a man should be a householder. But if we alter the franchise from £14 to £20, we do not require the voter to be a householder; nobody proposes that. Again, the jury franchise requires that a man should be rated to the poor rate. But your £50 occupying tenant is not so rated. I grant that there is a certain advantage in fixing your political franchise upon some basis already known to the Constitution; but even that advantage, secondary as it would be, does not exist in the present instance. I will not enter into the question of clear annual value and rateable value at this moment, because I will not anticipate the details of the proposal of my right hon. Friend. But I think I have given good reasons why it would be vain to fix the franchise at £20, under the notion that in fixing the political qualification we were adopting the jury franchise, because your first necessity, if you so fixed it in counties, would be to adopt the same principle in boroughs.

I will now ask the Committee to consider the numerical effect of the £14 franchise. The county enfranchisement thereby effected would be 171,000 persons—accord- ing to the best estimate we can make—whose fitness, I think, we clearly show by reference to their resources and their general position in life. Excluding that portion of them who are agricultural tenants, and to whom I do not apprehend objection is likely to come from the other side, it will be admitted that they are persons generally—I should perhaps say uniformly—above the labouring classes. The proposal to raise this to a clear annual value franchise of £20, irrespective of any reference to rating, would cut down the 171,000 persons to 115,000, being a reduction of 56 per cent on the franchise we propose, or one-third part of the whole number whom we intended to admit. Such a reduction would, in my opinion, be deeply to be deplored. I do not hesitate to say it would maim a capital clause in the Bill; it would indicate jealousy where no jealousy ought to be felt; it would be inconsistent in the highest degree with all that has been said, and justly said, in praise of middle-class constituencies; and upon these grounds, and upon every other ground, it will meet with determined resistance from Her Majesty's Government.


Sir, I do not rise to reply to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, nor is it my intention to discuss the Amendment of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), that Amendment not having been yet moved. I regret to interfere with the ordinary course of proceeding; but I know that I am representing the feelings of a very large number of Members on this side of the House, and I believe of not a few upon the other side, when I venture to offer to the Government and to the Committee a suggestion as to an alteration of the course of our proceedings upon these Bills. In order that that suggestion may be discussed, I shall conclude by moving the postponement of this clause. The proposition I submit for the consideration of the House is not one that will cause any delay, for if you are to go through the whole question it matters nothing, so far as the saving of time is concerned, at which end you begin. The suggestion I have to offer is that that portion of the joint Bill which relates to the re-distribution of seats shall be taken first. I cannot expect that that proposal should meet with universal acceptation, but I must nevertheless submit it to the serious consideration of the House; and I will state as briefly as I can the reason why it seems to me expedient that we should adopt it. I have a right, I think, to take it for granted, from what occurred in former debates, that the House desires and expects some effectual guarantee that the whole of this question shall be not only discussed but disposed of in one and the same Session. This is not the first time that an effort to secure that result has been made, and its justice has been admitted not only by the House but by the Government themselves, inasmuch as they ultimately consented, in deference to the general wish of the House, to embody in a single Bill their two original schemes. Now the case as it stands at present is this:—The franchise question, although exceedingly important, is one comparatively simple and lying within narrow limits. It is a question which may probably be disposed of in two or three nights. I do not think, therefore, that there is any reason to anticipate that those clauses of the Bill which deal with the franchise will have to be dropped from mere want of time. But, on the other hand, I cannot forget that there is a very considerable probability that if the clauses relating to the franchise were once disposed of, so far as this House is concerned, and if business pressed, and time grew scarce, and Members became impatient, Ministers would have an opportunity of doing what the rules of the House would undoubtedly allow them to do, and which, looking at the subject from their point of view, I could hardly blame them for doing—contenting themselves with the passing of that portion of the Bill which disposes of the franchise question, and dropping the rest of the measure, and thus reverting to their own original proposal. I repeat that I should not complain if the Government, looking at the matter from their point of view, were to adopt that course, because that was their own first intention, which they only altered out of deference to the general wish of the House. But that is a solution of the question which, as far as I can judge, would he regarded by a great majority of the House as eminently unsatisfactory. It is a course which would replace us in precisely the same position which we occupied two months ago, before the debate on the Amendment of my noble Friend the Member for Chester, and from which we were only extricated after a discussion that extended over the greater part of three weeks. I am not going now to repeat the arguments then used in favour of a comprehensive and general measure, partly because they must be already familiar to the House, and partly because they have, whether willingly or unwillingly, been for all practical purposes acquiesced in by the Government. It may be said, however, the object of this proposal is delay, and nothing else. Your object is to throw over the whole Bill for another year. Now, upon that point I must observe that I have no desire for delay, and that if you are to pass this Bill, or any Bill of the same description, it seems to me a very small matter whether you pass it this year or next year. What I think important is that you should pass the whole, or, failing that, that you should postpone the whole of this scheme. But the only way to ensure that object, as it appears to me, is to deal now, while we have time, and while we can bring comparatively unexhausted energies to the work—to deal now with the more delicate and difficult portions of the question, and to reserve its less difficult portions for that period when we shall necessarily have to meet them under less advantageous conditions. But I will put the matter upon a broader ground, and deal with it apart from any question of the possible abandonment of the Bill, or of any portion of it, by the Government. I say that you cannot deal conveniently or satisfactorily with the question of the extension of the franchise in boroughs and in counties—but more especially with the question of the franchise in counties—unless you know what is to be the nature and what is to be the extent of the constituencies you are about to create. I have no hesitation in saying—I believe it is the opinion of the House generally, including many Gentlemen sitting upon this side—that it is desirable to effect a considerable reduction in the county franchise, although the amount of that reduction may be a fair subject of discussion. But the real difficulty of any large reduction of the county franchise is that to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer just now adverted for a different purpose. It is that even now the county constituencies are so large that the expenses of county elections—I am not now speaking of bribery, but of the legitimate expenses of county elections—these expenses have become so enormous that men of small or even of moderate means are, in the majority of cases, practically excluded from the county representation, Nobody will deny that that is an inconvenience, and that it is an inconvenience which, apart from any proposed change in the franchise, is not diminishing, but is constantly increasing. That increase is the result of that growth in our population and in our wealth which must necessarily contribute to enlarge the number of our electors. That inconvenience you are going to increase by throwing into the county constituencies all occupiers between £50 and £14, and you will increase it, though in a lesser degree, by admitting all occupiers between £50 and £20, as proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). I am not finding fault with such a proposal; but if you are increasing an admitted evil, you are bound at the same time to provide a remedy. If a £14 franchise is to be adopted, and if no division of the counties is to take place simultaneously with that measure, you will create a state of things under which no person will have a chance of being returned for a county except a millionaire, or some one who is supported by great landed influence. Now, by the Government Bill, nothing is done to remedy that evil. I am not going to enter now into the general question—it is not the time; I only want to indicate how it bears upon the particular point to which I am at present adverting. I believe the view of the great majority of the House coincides with mine as to the expediency of reducing the county franchise, and I believe the extent of that reduction must depend very much upon the extent into which the various electoral districts you are about to create may be divided. If the counties are to be subdivided, and the electoral districts made of a moderate size, you may offer a lower franchise; but if they are to remain undivided, then it would become a serious question even for those who think that upon the general merits of the case it would be desirable to reduce the county franchise to £14, whether the advantage to be thus gained would not be more than counterbalanced by the inconvenience of the enormous and unwieldy constituencies you would call into existence. That argument applies, although in a minor degree, to the great towns as well as to the counties; and it extends also to another question of immense importance—to the question of the unrepresented towns. Are you to have these towns in the counties or not? If you take them out to that extent you reduce the constituencies and the expenses of election. If you leave them in, the objection which I take to the absence of any provision for the division of the counties would be further increased. But that question of leaving the unrepresented towns in the counties involves the whole subject of an extension of the franchise, and the whole subject of a re-distribution of seats. No one knows, however, what will be the ultimate decision of the House upon that question. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us the other day that it was a matter of detail, and we have not the slightest means of ascertaining how it will stand when the Bill comes out of Committee. I could say much more upon this subject, but I really have no wish to occupy time. What I contend for is simply this—that we ought to know what the constituencies are to be as regards their nature and extent before we settle the question of who is to vote in these constituencies. I contend that we ought to settle the outlines before we proceed to fill in the details. That seems to me to be the rational, the logical, the natural mode of proceeding. We can, I believe, adopt the course which I recommend without incurring any loss of time; but if we act upon the proposal of the Government, we shall from first to last be working in the dark. I believe that we ought to take the question of the re-distribution of seats before we take the question of an extension of the franchise; and, entertaining that belief, I now move that Clause 4 be postponed.


I rise to second the Amendment, and I am sure the House will agree with me that in doing so it will require but very few remarks on my part to recommend the proposal to the careful consideration of the House after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn. If I may be permitted to make a personal remark, I will frankly say that I support the Amendment with no hostility to the cause of Reform. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may laugh; but we are entitled on this side of the House to hold our own opinions, and to give to them the fullest expression. I am one of those who are willing and anxious to effect a settlement of this great question, and I am not alone on this side of the House in desiring that. But I wish to have that settlement made upon a proper footing—upon a footing which has reference not to mere numbers, but to the property, the intelligence, and the growing wants of the country. Let not hon. Gen- tlemen opposite, therefore, when my noble Friend and myself make what I conceive to be a most desirable proposal, throw it in our teeth that we are enemies of Reform. I say that when you have to consider the question of the electoral qualification you should in the first place consider who are the persons to whom you are to extend it. Let the House consider the peculiar position in which we are placed with regard to this question. I am not going to address any taunts to the Chancellor of the Exchequer My high regard for his personal character, and the admiration which I feel for his great talents, would prevent me from saying anything offensive to him; but this I cannot help stating—that the conduct of this great question, from the time it was launched on the 12th of March, has not been such as to give it a fair chance of finding favour with the House. There has been too much menace. There has been too little consideration for the feelings and the expressed wishes of the House. For whatever consideration has been shown to us we are indebted to the noble Lord the Member for Chester (Earl Grosvenor). I believe the course pursued by the noble Lord does him the highest honour, because he had the courage to separate himself for a time from his personal and political friends in advocating what he thought to be just and right. But what did the Government do? They proposed, in the first instance, to bring in a Franchise Bill only; and what security have we now, on the 7th of June, that if we pass the clauses relating to that subject the proposal for a re-distribution of seats will not disappear when the dog-days shall have arrived? That re-distribution scheme, as it has been presented to us, is, I believe, one of the scantiest and most inefficient measures ever submitted to the House of Commons; and if the Government wished to settle this great question, why, I would ask, have they not brought forward a re-distribution proposal commensurate with the importance of the object they have in view? Why have they left out of their Bill all the great towns? Why is every great town in the North of England to be still unrepresented, so that it may form a perpetual nucleus for fresh agitation? We all profess a desire to settle the question; but how can we settle it if the great anomalies are to remain untouched, and great towns forming the growing centres of large districts are to remain unrepresented? Is it right that such towns as Leamington in Warwickshire, and Torquay in Devonshire, and other great communities, should continue to send no Members to this House? I confess I am surprised to find hon. Gentlemen who arrogate to themselves exclusively the title of Reformers, contentedly accepting that blot in our representative system. But I do not mean to enter at any length into the merits of the case. My noble Friend (Lord Stanley) has admirably argued the question; and I hope I may be allowed to take this opportunity of also reminding the House of the admirable speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire on the second reading of the Re-distribution of Seats Bill—a speech which in my humble judgment was one of the most statesmanlike ever heard in this House—a speech which will endure as long as the records of this Assembly, and which will be read as a textbook by all persons who are anxious to study the question of Constitutional Reform. I believe that in that speech you will find the germs of any Reform Bill which is likely to pass through Parliament; but I cannot believe that the good sense of this House and of the country will consent to accept such a Re-distribution of Seats Bill as that proposed by Her Majesty's Government. As to the Amendment that has now been moved, in seconding it I commend it first to the consideration of the Government, and, if they fail to attach a proper weight to it, then I commend it to the consideration of those independent Members who sit behind the Government; and I trust they will prove that they are equal to the occasion, and that they are not disposed to hazard jeopardizing the Constitution by deciding as to what shall be the franchise qualifications before we have settled what the constituencies shall be.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be postponed."—(Lord Stanley.)


Sir, I have been a little surprised at some of the observations of the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. E. C. Egerton). He blames the Chancellor of the Exchequer for bringing in what he calls a very scanty measure of re-distribution. Now, I understand that the Bill disturbs and re-arranges forty-nine seats. The Bill of Lord Derby disturbed and rearranged fifteen seats. The hon. Member says he is very much surprised that this great blot of the great unrepresented towns is not dealt with. But that question was not dealt with by the Bill of Lord Derby. The Bill of the Government deals with just about as many—I am not sure whether it is exactly the same number—new boroughs as the Bill of Lord Derby dealt with. I presume that the hon. Member has forgotten the Bill of his leader. [Mr. E. C. EGERTON: We are not discussing Lord Derby's measure.] I think the hon. Member, who is a great supporter of Lord Derby, has hardly acted fairly in making the subject of a general attack upon the Bill of the present Government certain things which were to be found fault with—if they are faults—in Lord Derby's Bill. But he says further that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has shown no consideration to the House, and especially none to the feelings of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Well, I might say, in reply, that they do not show very much consideration for the feelings of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. But surely no Member of the House can be unaware of this fact, that from the beginning of these discussions the Chancellor of the Exchequer has, in many matters not affecting the essential principle of the Bill, made several important concessions to the feelings of Gentlemen opposite. ["No!"] Why, the fact that he made one great concession is the cause of the dilemma in which the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn finds himself. He says exactly what I said in the first speech I made on the Franchise Bill, that the Franchise Bill, as a measure, was a simple measure, easy to be understood, and comparatively easy to be disposed of. I quote the words which the noble Lord has used to-night. And he said further, that two or three night's debate would be sufficient to pass the franchise clauses through this House. If that be so, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite will follow the moderate lead of the noble Lord in respect of the franchise clauses, and let us get through them in the course of next week, there can be no kind of difficulty in proceeding with the clauses relating to the distribution of seats. It seems to me that the answer which the noble Lord gave to his own proposition is complete, and does not require that I should add anything to it. But he says there is great danger of reverting to the original proposition of endeavouring to pass a Franchise Bill without a Re-distribution of Seats Bill. The noble Lord, I think, begins to have some doubt of the wisdom of the course which he took, and which his party followed him in taking, at the commencement of these discussions. In my opinion I should say that the argument which the noble Lord has now used, if it be worth anything, is an argument conclusive on behalf of the course which the Government proposed to take at the beginning of the Session. The noble Lord's theory and that of hon. Gentlemen opposite is, that they should try to get six, or it may be ten omnibuses abreast through Temple Bar. That was the object at the beginning of the Session, with the intention that we should all remain sitting in Fleet Street if we happened to be at the east side of that monumental archway—and should never reach the Strand. Well, we who wanted really to get on, proposed a mode of getting on which the noble Lord in his speech tonight has proved that he himself—I will not say felt then, though I believe he felt then—but feels now was the true and honest course for the Government to take if the Government intended to pass any measure at all during the present Session But the noble Lord has offered a reason of a very extraordinary character for interfering with the Amendment given notice of by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). He is afraid that the Seats Bill will be dropped by the House after the franchise clauses have been passed, and that consequently we shall revert to the original proposal of the Government; and one of the reasons which he gave for his alarm on this head—one which I could scarcely comprehend—was that the Bill, if it should pass with a £14 franchise in it, would raise the county constituencies, which are now, he says, cumbrous and inconveniently large, to constituencies of such an extraordinary size, and the expenses of the elections would consequently be so enormously increased, that none but very rich men, or men having very rich friends to support them, could venture to contest a county election. Well, but does the noble Lord propose that the great body of the people, now excluded from the franchise in the counties—because, mind you, his argument would be the same in reality for the £20 as it is for the £14—does he propose that all persons between £50 and £20—I shall assume that figure for the sake of my argument—are to be excluded from the franchise until you have devised some mode of conducting county elections in an inexpensive manner? Why, we know perfectly well that county elections, as well as borough elections, are more or less expensive, according to the wisdom of their management, and according, it may be, to the violence in some degree of the party strife which arises. The noble Lord said a question for consideration was whether it would not be wise to divide the counties still further. I have never expressed any opinion in opposition to such division. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have conceded by all the arguments they have used in this House the plan of electoral districts—and although I have never argued for electoral districts—of course all our districts are electoral, but I mean for any mathematical exactness with regard to them I find myself driven constantly through these discussions towards that conclusion by the arguments and the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Now, I can point to a Member of this House—I do not know what his Colleague on the other side of the House might say—representing a county where I never heard of any manufacturing population or any great town, it being a strictly agricultural population, in which every vote polled at the election cost the candidate £4. I think 2,000 votes were polled—I am speaking from memory—and consequently the election cost the candidate, or his friends, £8,000. For anything I know, about the same number, polled by some Gentleman—I do not know his name—on the other side of the House, may have cost him the same amount. But down in South Lancashire, where the number of electors is 20,000 or more, the cost bears no proportion to that of the county I have described; and if there be boroughs in which the cost runs up to several thousand pounds at almost every election, there are other boroughs of equal population and number of electors where the contest costs not more than one-fourth of the sum I have named. I maintain that the cost of elections does depend, and after all your legislation it will depend, to a large extent on the good sense of those powerful persons, whether in a borough or a county, by whom the elections are generally controlled—I mean in the selection of candidates and the working of contests, and on their determination to do nothing that law or morals can in any degree find fault with. I should like to ask any Gentleman who may rise after me to advocate the view of the noble Lord, whether it is not the fact that under the present law county magistrates can open as many polling- places as they like throughout the county? The adoption of such a course would at least do away to a large extent with the great expense which is entailed by the conveyance of voters. I have had several letters from farmers in the county of Warwick, asking that Parliament, in this Bill, or in some other Bill, should insist upon having a much larger number of polling-places. Now, Sir, the simple question is this—the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, after having asked the Government to bring forward their Seats Bill on grounds which I thought wholly insufficient, and I must say unfair and ungenerous, and which I did not expect from him, because they were grounds of suspicion against the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his colleagues—a suspicion which I never felt—with regard to the noble Lord or his colleagues when they were on this (the Ministerial) Bench—having prevailed, I say, upon a large section of the House to urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to that course, then having seen the Bill, and knowing that the Government only propose to deal with forty-nine seats, knowing the worst that the Government can do, either this Session or next, with the matter of forty-nine seats, the noble Lord turns round upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer and says, "Do not go on with your own Bill, the Franchise Bill, but go on with the Bill which I forced you to introduce this Session. Let us have a Bill that is ten times more difficult to carry"—for that is his argument—"and let us throw aside for the time the Bill which can be got through in two or three nights' debate." Well, I shall describe this matter no further. I will leave it in the hands of all those in the House who have any honest feeling in favour of doing anything whatever on this question this Session. I am perfectly satisfied that there is no Member of the House who really wishes that all or any portion of this Bill should pass this Session can applaud the Motion which the noble Lord has made. I believe that as for that great portion of the public outside this House who are looking to some progress being made, they will add this to those other propositions that are intended only for delay—and they will come to the conclusion, which I have come to long since, that, notwithstanding fair and plausible words, you are determined, if it be possible, that no measure of Reform whatever shall pass this Session.


said, the question to be decided was, which was the real Reform—a mere reduction of the franchise, or a re-distribution of seats? He came to the conclusion, judging from the precedent of 1832, that real Reform consisted in the re-distribution of seats. It had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) that this was by far the gravest question, because it decided the allocation of political power, and he quite concurred in that opinion. The hon. Member for Birmingham had said, in referring to the Bill introduced by Lord Derby's Government, that it proposed the re-distribution of only fifteen seats. Now he (Mr. Newdegate) voted for the second reading of that Bill with the greatest difficulty, because it proposed to deal with fifteen seats only. But then the hon. Member for Birmingham had himself proposed a Reform Bill, when he was addressing a meeting in the country, and in the sketch of that Bill the hon. Gentleman proposed to give only eighteen seats to the counties. He was in favour of the re-distribution of seats to the extent proposed by the Government. He thought the present Bill inferior to the Bill of 1854, because it did not contemplate so extensive a re-distribution as that measure did. But, having from first to last, with respect to this great question of Reform, had in his eye the great Bill of 1832, and holding that the allocation of political power was the greatest and most important question, and believing that the House was nearer to its solution now than he had ever known it to be, he should support the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn.


Sir, whatever may be said about fighting in open day upon an open field, I cannot but congratulate hon. Gentlemen opposite upon their perfect mastery of the arts of ambush. Ten days have elapsed since the Motion for going into Committee on this Bill has been under discussion, and not till the moment when the noble Lord rose was the gallant party opposite able to make up its mind as to the next step it should take. Sir, I do not complain of the step. If it is thought by the noble Lord and by my hon. Friend that this is the manner in which the battle of Reform should be fought, by all means let them persevere. Sir, this question requires no lengthened argument, no detailed discussion; the purport of the Motion—if not its purpose—is perfectly plain. At last, with many efforts, having got nearer the time when something like decisive issues are to he taken, this new strategy comes in, having been kept locked up in the breasts of those who concealed it lest it should suffer from exposure to the open air—being a tender hothouse plant, not fit for the rude climate of Great Britain, imported from elsewhere. Sir, my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. E. C. Egerton) has said that no one has a right to charge him with motives hostile to Reform. Whatever my hon. Friend states with regard to motives at ail times commands my implicit belief:—it is no part of my duty, it is no part of my right, to investigate the motives of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but there is a supposition which we may in some degree reconcile with the claims of courtesy. My hon. Friend may not be hostile to Reform, but he is very hostile to our Reform. I almost forget the strong epithet he used; he said nothing-would have induced him" to sanction the fatal policy which put the Constitution in jeopardy, like that of proceeding to the extension of the franchise before we have determined the clauses as to the Re-distribution of seats." "That," said my hon. Friend, "is the fatal policy." But that was the principle, and that was the arrangement of the Bill of 1859, brought in by the Government of Lord Derby, which received my hon. Friend's contented support. And my hon. Friend was then as he is now a friend to Reform, and being a friend to Reform, he was not particular as to the arrangement of the clauses or even as to the adoption of the principle which he now declares place the Constitution in jeopardy. But without any imputation on my hon. Friend of hostility to Reform—which God forbid I should indulge in—I do not doubt that my hon. Friend is fanatical about Reform, though he is exceedingly opposed to our Reform—I do not think it uncharitable to say that by every means in his power he is endeavouring to delay it. And he has taken means perfectly effective for his purpose. I think we understand both the Motion itself and the reasons of its concealment, and we know that they will be perfectly well understood elsewhere. There was a great deal in the speech of the noble Lord of that everlasting arguing in a circle—"Do not draw your outline until you fill in your details." But the outline is geographical, and the details are human beings; and it certainly is as judicious to say, "Before you fix the dimensions of counties let me know what your franchise is to be," as to say, "Before you fix what your franchise is to be let me know the dimensions of the counties." No doubt if we have these narrow party objects in view—if we are endeavouring to neutralize to-morrow the effects of concessions to-day by underhand or oblique arrangements, why then, no doubt, this question of limitation assumes an enormous, a transcendent importance. But we say—trust the nation, go forward to enfranchise those of the people whom you deem worthy of enfranchisement; having done that, all your questions of re-distribution will easily adjust themselves. This is not a case without a precedent. In 1832, the very same proceeding took place. It was not so successful as might have been desired; but hon. Gentlemen appear to me to have a love which I should have thought unwise with reference to their objects, their power, their position, and their prospects—a love which is to me inexplicable—of going back on the re-trial of experiments that in other times have conspicuously failed. In the House of Lords on the 7th of May, 1832, Lord Lyndhurst made a Motion of equally innocent aspect. When the Motion was put from the Chair that the preamble be postponed, Lord Lyndhurst said—"I will not only support your Motion, but I will go a great deal further, and move to postpone all the first clauses relating to disfranchisement, and deal with clauses relating to enfranchisement." [See 3 Hansard, xii. 677.] Of the words of Lord Grey I need quote but very few—"He hoped noble Lords present would not deceive themselves, for he must say that if the Motion were successful it would be fatal to the whole Bill." [3 Hansard, xii. 714.] As regards the direct merits and object of the Motion I will say nothing, but its effect is to escape, to evade, and to pass by a decision of the great issues which now have been raised, and to lose the debate on the main question in the interminable labyrinths of the distribution of seats. But, Sir, there are other things than the effect to he viewed. My hon. Friend says, what pledge do the Government give us that they will not fall back on their original method of proceeding? I suppose my hon. Friend does not think our word any pledge at all. Our word has been given that we will abide the judgment and pleasure of the House. That pledge has been given, as is well known, to the House. But the Government, be its terms what it may, will not consent to any Mo- tion for taking the conduct of the Bill out of their hands. They have been charged with many offences. Many hard words, naturally enough, necessarily, perhaps, in crises like these, have been used from time to time; but there are no words that would be hard enough to describe their degradation, were they willing to sit here from day to day and leave their Reform to be manipulated helplessly by the hands of a hostile Opposition, that from the first hour till now does not venture to avow its purposes. We intend, as far as depends upon us, to obtain the judgment of this House on the important propositions we have made with regard to the popular franchise in this country. That is the end that we have set before us, towards that end we will walk steadily as long as we are supported by the House, and to the judgment of the House we will cheerfully bow. I thank the noble Lord for raising the issue in a decisive form. He will not find us unwilling to accept the indication which will be given us by an adverse vote.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause be postponed."—(Lord Stanley.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes 260; Noes 287: Majority 27.

Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Buckley, E.
Annesley, hn. Colonel H. Burghley, Lord
Anson, hon. Major Burrell, Sir P.
Archdall, Captain M. Butler-Johnstone, H. A.
Arkwright, R. Cairns, Sir H. M'C.
Bagge, W. Campbell, A. H.
Bagnall, C. Capper, C.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Cartwright, Colonel
Baillie, H. J. Cave, S.
Baring, H. B. Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Baring, T. Cholmeley, Sir M. J.
Barnett, H. Clinton, Lord A. P.
Barrow, W. H. Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.
Barttelot, Colonel Cobbold, J. C.
Bateson, Sir T. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Bathurst, A. A. Cole, hon. H.
Beach, Sir M. Hicks- Cole, hon. J. L.
Beach, W. W. B. Conolly, T.
Bective, Earl of Courtenay, Lord
Beecroft, G. S. Cooper, E. H.
Bentinck, G. C. Cranbourne, Viscount
Benyon, R. Cubitt, G.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. P. Curzon, Viscount
Bingham, Lord Dalkeith, Earl of
Booth, Sir R. G. Dawson, R. P.
Bourne, Colonel Dick, F.
Bovill, W. Dickson, Major A. G.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Bromley, W. D. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Brooks, R. Du Cane, C.
Bruce, Major C. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Dunne, General
Bruen, H. Du Pre, C. G.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Kekewich, S. T.
Dyke, W. H. Kelk, J.
Dyott, Colonel R. Kelly, Sir F.
Earle, R. A. Kendall, N.
Eaton, H. W. Kennard, R. W.
Eckersley, N. King, J. K.
Edwards, Colonel King, J. G.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Knightley, Sir R.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Knox, Colonel
Egerton, hon. W. Knox, hon. Major S.
Elcho, Lord Lacon, Sir E.
Fane, Lt.-Colonel H. H. Laird, J.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Langton, W. G.
Feilden, J. Lascelles, hon. E. W.
Fellowes, E. Leader, N. P.
Fergusson, Sir J. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W. Legh, Major C.
Floyer, J. Lefroy, A.
Forde, Colonel Lennox, Lord G. G.
Freshfield, C. K. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Leslie, C. P.
Galway, Viscount Liddell, hon. H. G.
Gaskell, J. M. Lindsay, hn. Colonel C.
George, J. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Getty, S. G. Lopes, Sir M.
Gilpin, Colonel Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Goddard, A. L. Lowther, Captain
Goldney, G. Lowther, J.
Gooch, D. Lytton, rt. hn. Sir E. L. B.
Goodson, J. Malcolm, J. W.
Gore, J. R. O. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Gore, W. R. O. Manners, Lord G. J.
Graves, S. R. Meller, W.
Greenall, G. Miller, S. B.
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Miller, T. J.
Grey, hon. T. de Mitford, W. T.
Griffith, C. D. Montagu, Lord R.
Grosvenor, Earl Montgomery, Sir G.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Guinness, B. L. Morgan, O.
Gurney, R. Morgan, hon. Major
Hamilton, Lord C. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Naas, Lord
Hamilton, I. T. Newdegate, C. N.
Hamilton, Viscount Noel, hon. G.J.
Hardy, G. North, Colonel
Hardy, J. Northcote, Sir S. H.
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Hay, Sir J. C. D. Packe, C. W.
Heathcote, hon. G. H. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Heathcote, Sir W. Parker, Major W.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Patten, Colonel W.
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Herbert, hon. P. E. Peel, rt. hon. General
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Hesketh, Sir T. G. Percy, Maj.-Gen. Lord H.
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Hope, A. J. B. B. Robertson, P. F.
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Sullivan, E.

rose to propose the Amendment of which he had given notice, the effect of which would be to raise the occupation franchise in counties from £14 as proposed in the clause to £20, and said: Although my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on moving this clause of the Bill, took the unusual and somewhat irregular course of going into the general character of the measure, and of alluding to an Amendment which was not before the Committee, yet, with all his skill and all his ingenuity, his speech showed me how difficult a matter it is to deal with an ancient and complicated Constitution like ours, without reference to past debates and without regard to the principles on which that Constitution is founded. The right hon. Gentleman seems to me like a person who has pulled a most complicated and useful machine to pieces, with the object of repairing and amending it, and who attempts to put it together again, not according to the well-known and acknowledged principles which made it work so advantageously before, but according to some new plan by which he thinks it will work better in future. I think, however, that there are certain rules which we ought to adopt for our guidance in settling what the right hon. Gentleman calls the great question at issue in that part of the Bill which seeks to extend the franchise. We ought to observe certain rules laid down by eminent Members of this House, including my right hon. Friend himself. It is acting on those rules I shall venture to propose confidently the Amendment of which I have given notice. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) told us a few days ago that what he desired to do in legislating on Parliamentary Reform was to draw that Reform upon the old and historic lines of the Constitution—a statement of which I entirely approve, and in which I entirely concur. My right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. Cardwell) told us the Government had framed their measure according to the principle recognized in the Reform Act of 1832. And the Chancellor of the Exchequer—echoing what I believe to be the common sentiment of both sides of the House—has said to-night that what we ought principally to aim at was the settlement of this question—by which he meant, I presume, a wise and effectual settlement, for, of course, no other kind of settlement will be of any use. Now, bearing all this in mind, I will venture to say that I think I can show that the Amendment of which I have given notice deserves every possible consideration at the bands of the Committee. This Amendment applies to county constituencies alone, and I am not going to follow my right hon. Friend into an irregular discussion, but shall rest my argument solely upon that franchise. Now, I doubt whether any Gentleman in this House can deny that the county franchise has always rested upon property, in distinction from the borough franchise, which has always rested upon occupation. According to the old lines of the Constitution, to which the hon. Member for Birmingham has so confidently appealed, there was no other principle recognized or known with regard to the county franchise, except the principle of property, the freeholders being almost the only persons who had votes for the counties. At the time of the Reform Act, however, other kinds of property had grown up with the growth of the wealth of the country, which were of little account in former times. These consisted chiefly of leaseholds and copyholds. Accordingly, therefore, the Reform Act, endeavouring to act upon the old lines of the Constitution with reference to the basis of the county franchise, added leaseholders and copyholders to the county constituencies. Another addition made by that Act has been called by my right hon. Friend an innovation. The £50 occupation franchise was added; but, in reality, this was not a departure from the old Constitution in respect of the basis of the county franchise being property, because the possession of the £50 occupation franchise implied the possession of capital and property. Nor was this all. The £50 occupier was a person intimately connected with the county and all its concerns. He was, as we all know, associated with the land of the county, acquainted with all the county affairs, and a contributor to the county rates. Therefore, his admission to the franchise at the time of the Reform Act was not a departure from the old lines of the Constitution, nor did Parliament thereby recede from the distinctive principle under which the line is drawn between the borough and county franchises. Let me tell my right hon. Friend that there was a good reason for this distinction, and it was this:—The two constituencies were not only distinct, but they were distinct because the characters of the constituents were distinct. The character of the rural population was much less active, much less stirring, and they were far less easily combined together for agitating purposes than the population of towns, being entirely devoted to their own business—the cultivation of the soil. The town population was the reverse of all this. They were more active and stirring, and could more easily be brought together by combinations, by means of which they could make their voices more fully heard, and their opinions more distinctly understood and appreciated. The reason, therefore, for keeping the two constituencies distinct is as clear, to my mind, as the fact that they were distinct. And I do not rely upon my own opinion solely, but I wish to call the attention of the House to the remarkable words of the most philosophical and of the most practical of our great statesmen in reference to this subject—Mr. Burke and the late Sir Robert Peel. The passage from Mr. Burke, which I wish to impress on the mind of my light hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is this— Nothing is a due and adequate representation of a State that does not represent its ability as well as its property. But, as ability is a vigorous and active principle, and as property is sluggish, inert, and timid, it never can be safe from the invasions of ability, unless it be out of all proportion predominant in the representation. It must he represented, too, in great masses of accumulation, or it is not rightly represented. The words of Sir Robert Peel are even more forcible. He made this remark with reference to the borough and county constituencies— The influence of the press, whether it is for good or evil, tells more rapidly and contagiously on the aggregate societies of towns than on the inhabitants of country districts. Political unions and all the devices which by means of combination give to men acting in concert a moral force greater than their actual numbers tend to increase the influence of a manufacturing as compared with an agricultural population. Every consideration, then, derived from the nature of landed property, from its liability to the envy and rapacity of the many, from the position, habits, and characters of those who occupy it, enforce the policy and necessity of providing carefully for its protection. I quote these two remarkable passages to show that whatever we do in regard to the county franchise we ought not to reduce the occupation franchise, which has more or less the character of the borough franchise, so low as to give it a predominating influence over the property franchise, which is the real franchise to be aimed at in the counties. Now, what does the present Bill do? Does the proposed clause add a greater proportion of occupation constituents than ought to be added to the counties? It is a very difficult thing to ascertain exactly what number of voters would be introduced into the counties by this clause. We know what they were by the Returns which have been placed on the table. By those Returns it appears that of the 545,000 electors on the register 115,000 voted in respect of the occupation franchise—so that the proportion of the occupation franchise, as compared with what I may call the property franchise—namely, that derived from copyholds, leaseholds, and freeholds—is about one-fifth, or perhaps a little more. The electoral statistics furnished by the Government enable us to ascertain how many occupation voters will be added by the measure now under discussion. The number of electors on the register for 1864–5 as occupying tenants was 116,860, the total number of electors being 542,633. The occupying tenants, therefore, formed between one-fourth and one-fifth of the whole number. But you are now adding 186,392 to the occupying franchise, or nearly 70,000 more than are on the register at this moment by reason of that qualification. The total number of these voters would be 303,252, which, compared with what would be the total number of county electors—namely, 729,425, would give to the former a proportion of more than one-third, though somewhat less than one-half. Whatever, therefore, may be your object in bringing forward this Bill, the consequence of it will be to entirely disarrange the proportion between those voters for counties who derive their suffrages from property qualifications and the voters who derive their's from the occupation franchise only. The consequence of this change, or I believe I may say of this total revolution in the county franchise, can hardly now be appreciated. Had it not been for the change which my right hon. Friend has intimated his intention of making in his own Bill by withdrawing the clauses relating to leaseholders, that proportion would have been still more aggravated, and, in point of fact, the county representation would have been handed over to a constituency the predominating number of which would have been of the class of a borough instead of the class of a county constituency. These are most important considerations and reasons why, if we proceed according to the old-established lines of the Constitution, we should pause before we make such a great alteration in what has always been the character of the county franchise in England. It is a misfortune that we have not more Returns than we have with reference to the counties, for the Returns we have contemplate almost every kind of occupation value, except that which my right hon. Friend has submitted to us as the basis of the county franchise. He has given us the numbers between £10 and £12, the increase between £12 and £15, the increase between £15 and £20, and the increase between £20 and £50; but he has not given us—except so far as we can make out by calculation—the number of the £14 occupiers. My first proposition is that you are entirely altering the character of the county constituency by the numbers you are bringing upon the register who do not represent property so much as they represent occupation, and who are therefore not of the class which has hitherto been the foundation of the county constituency. With respect to my right hon. Friend's main reason for proposing a £14 occupation franchise—namely, that he desired to settle the question—I put it to him and to the House whether it is possible to settle any question permanently, except upon a clear and intelligible basis. No arbitrary line could settle the question. One man will think £14 better than £15; another will think £15 better than £18; and a third will think neither so good as £10. As long as you are made to rest upon arbitrary lines you cannot avoid the difficulty in which my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General found himself placed the other evening. Having to deal with the £10 franchise and finding no intelligible resting-place, my hon. and learned Friend saw no other recourse but to go on to household suffrage. That observation, coming from such a man, convinces me that to talk of settling the question, unless you can settle it upon some intelligible principle, is to talk—I say it with all respect—very idly, and to leave the whole matter open to future agitation. You will say, What is to be done? You have only one of two courses open for you. Speaking only of the county franchise, I assert, either you must say—as some contend you ought, with regard to the borough franchise of £10—that the number of years that have passed since the time of the Reform Bill have given a sort of prescriptive right to the occupation franchise of £50—or you must try to find some resting-place founded upon an intelligible principle. Can you not find that? Has not the Legislature given you the means of finding such a resting-place? There may be a difference between certain towns and the counties generally, but has not the Legislature prescribed that one of the duties devolving upon persons who occupy houses in towns, as distinguished from freeholders, leaseholders, and copyholders, is that they should be appointed to serve upon juries, and that their names should be placed upon the jury lists? That is the reason why I have proposed the Amendment in the form I have. Being bound to serve upon juries, being placed upon the jury list, householders would, in fact, bear a portion of the civil duties and obligations of the county, and that would be something like an intelligible ground on which to base your occupation franchise. My hon. Friend says, "If you do this—if you take the jury list as the basis of your county constituency, what will you do in the towns? Will you take the jury qualification, which is the household qualification, as the basis for the town franchise?" Let him answer me this question—will he take down the obligation of paying the house tax to all houses, and then say that the franchise shall go with the tax as well as with the jury qualification? Only in that case would the towns and the counties be upon a parallel. There is this additional advantage in the proposition I submit—that not only am I taking the jurors' qualification as a reasonable ground for reducing the occupation franchise, but I am taking the qualification which constitutes at the same time, as regards the house, the very basis upon which your taxation of householders proceeds. My proposition, therefore, is made upon two distinct and important principles—first, the connection of the county qualification with the civil duties and obligations which attach to the inhabitants of counties; and second, the connection of the county qualification with the taxation which the inhabitants of the counties are bound to pay. These two arguments seem to me to be amazingly strong for furnishing something like a permanent resting-place upon which you can stand without interfering with the great principle upon which the county franchise should always rest—namely, the giving of a predominating influence to property over the influence given to mere occupation. Long after Sir Robert Peel had consolidated the laws relating to juries, and with reference to a question similar to that now under consideration, he said— It was with this object that, in framing the Jury Bill, I purposely called this class into increased action, and sought to familiarize them with the performance of civil duties, and to multiply their point of contact with the more intelligent inhabitants of towns. Granted that they are indisposed to innovation, that their disposition is to maintain things as they are, that they are governed by local ties and by personal attachments rather than by considerations of general politics, it is on that very account that I conjure you to extend their influence; they constitute the ballast of the vessel of the State. Beware how you heave it overboard under the impression that it is a useless incumbrance, occupying space that might be more profitably employed. It may at times retard the velocity of your movements; it may make you less obedient to the sudden impulse of shifting gales; but this, and this alone, it is that enables you to extend your canvas, and insures the steadiness of your course and the security of your navigation. I submit that this passage shows, in a very strong and practical way, the immense importance of keeping up the distinction between borough and county constituencies, which you do not keep up if you pass this clause as it is. It is of immense importance, not only with reference to the constituencies, but also with reference to the representatives who are sent to Parliament. The character of Parliament depends upon the variety of classes and interests that are represented here—the character of the one class of representatives is somewhat different from that of the other; both are good in their way; and to make one unduly prominent over the other would be a positive detriment to a representative assembly like this. My fear is that if you go too far you will alter the character of the representation by giving to one class of representatives such an undue influence that all interests and classes will not be represented in this House. It is for that reason I venture to submit to the House the proposition which stands in my name on the paper. I cannot omit to notice one observation which fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He said that one reason why he proposed a £14 occupation franchise was that he was under a virtual engagement with the Reform party to submit such a franchise, and that if he gave it up that engagement would be violated. I ask my right hon. Friend and the Government what is this compact that has been entered into between them and this party? With whom has that engagement been made? Nay, more; how will the Government secure the continuance of that engagement when new agitations are entered upon by the very parties who are now said to have entered into that engagement? That statement by my right hon. Friend astonished me more than anything I had heard for a long time. There was another argument which I heard with equal astonishment—for in his zeal to introduce upon the county register middle-class voters, whom we all wish to see possessing a proper and large influence in the affairs of this country, he sought to recommend the measure of the Government by telling us that it would diminish the influence of the working classes of the country. If my right hon. Friend is so earnest and sincere in his desire to place upon the register a larger number of the working classes, why does he confine that desire to boroughs and proclaim the advantage of not accomplishing the same result in counties? Does he intend to deprive the quiet and orderly class of working men connected with the land of that influence the extension of which in boroughs is, he says, the main object of his Bill? Sir, I hope that the reasons which I have ventured to offer will recommend my proposal to the favourable consideration of the House. My argument, put into a short compass, is this:—First of all, I say that according to the old lines of the Constitution, and according to the principles of the Reform Act, property ought to have a predominating influence in the county franchise. Secondly, I say that you should endeavour to get a resting-place when you introduce a new occupation franchise, in place of resting upon an arbitrary line, and I find that resting place in the jury franchise. Thirdly, I say that the jury franchise is identical with the point at which the house tax commences; and if taxation and representation are still to go together, I can conceive no better resting-place than this as a permanent settlement of the county franchise question. For the very reasons, then, which my right hon. Friend has urged in favour of his own views, I think we ought to adopt my proposition. I beg him to reflect whether we have not gone as far as we ought to go in separating representation from taxation. At the time of the Reform Act there was not a £10 householder who was not bound to contribute to the rates. You have now removed that obligation from all those who compose the main body of the borough constituency, and you have also diminished the connection between taxation and representation by doing that which the present Bill will aggravate, though it does not apply to the county franchise—namely, by putting tenants whose landlords compound for their rates on the same level as those who pay rates. What you have to look to is the amount to which the occupation franchise should be reduced. I reduce it to a point at which civil duties are connected with the franchise, and where Imperial taxation must be borne by the person who possesses the franchise. Upon all these grounds, I beg to propose the substitution of the word £20 for £14. The question of rating will come on subsequently, because I thought it would be more convenient to the House to take the question on the value simply and then discuss the rating qualification afterwards.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 39, to leave out the word "fourteen," in order to insert the word "twenty."—(Mr. Walpole.)


Sir, as far as I have understood the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University (Mr. Walpole), he proposes the substitution of a £20 instead of a £14 franchise, because he is unwilling to depart from the ancient lines of the Constitution, and is very anxious to rest the franchise upon an intelligible basis. Now, I have listened with the utmost interest and attention to hear how it is he objects to a scheme which will not depart from the ancient lines of the Constitution. He has laid down a principle which I have no doubt is to be found in the books—the old principle that property should be represented in counties while numbers and residents should be represented in boroughs. But it is curious that the right hon. Gentleman should not have told the House of the extraordinary departure from that principle in the Bill in 1832. Surely, if he had been thinking of those times he would have remembered the argument used when the Marquess of Chandos proposed the violation of this old principle of the Constitution, and would not have forgotten that this proposal was supported by some of the most advanced Reformers then in the House. The reason which Mr. Hume gave for supporting it was because the Chandos clause creating a £50 occupation franchise was a recognition of the claim to vote in counties for other than real property; and secondly, on the express ground that when the principle was once adopted it could not be allowed to rest there. Ever since that time there have been constant Motions founded upon that departure from the old constitutional principle, and pointing out that the limit there fixed was extravagantly high, and that there must be as many men qualified for the franchise below £50 as above that figure. My right hon. Friend says that that limit has been found to work well, and he is of opinion that as long as it exists you adhere to the old line of the Constitution. Why, then, does he not adhere to it? He reduces the limit from £50 to £20, and thinks that the Constitution is still safe; but carry it from £20 down to £14, and that is the departure from principle! that is danger! Well, we have heard what is the operation of the £50 tenant clause, because this has been declared by an authority to which the right hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, pay great deference. Lord Derby says the county representation is really determined by a few families who meet beforehand and decide which of their connections shall sit for the county. This, then, was the effect of the Chandos clause; and the power thus virtually monopolized by the great landed proprietors made people wish to reduce that amount. Sundry Motions were made to that effect; the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Locke King) proposed that the £10 occupier should have a vote; and since that time even the other side of the House have admitted the fairness of reducing the value of the county franchise. It is true that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), with the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), dissented from Lord Derby's Bill, but it was not on account of the reduction of the county franchise to £10—it was because an identity was introduced between the county and the borough qualification. [Mr. WALPOLE: No—to prevent the identity.] Then it was simply because the right hon. Gentleman had confidence in a lower franchise than one of £10 in boroughs. The £10 county franchise was a remarkable feature in Lord Derby's Bill, and recommended it very strongly for adoption. Referring to authority once again, the right hon. Gentleman must remember the statement made by his leader in this House—that many persons thought they ought not to reduce the franchise below £20, but that, having inquired into the matter very deliberately, he was bound to say that he had no reason to question the fitness of men with qualifications between £10 and £20, or to restrict the franchise to £20. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) was attached to the Constitution, and would rest the franchise on a £10 qualification as a safe and intelligible basis. I confess that I do not understand how the limit of £20 is a more intelligible one. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University says that jurymen are chosen from among persons possessing that qualification; but it seems to me that that is not a good basis. It was taken in the time of George III., but has very much altered in its value since then, and so also has the intelligence of people who occupy property of that amount. If now that qualification had to be created, you would fix it at a much lower standard. There is no particular virtue in a limit of £20. The right hon. Gentleman said if a man was fit to be a juryman, he was fit to be a voter for the country. Well, but where quarter sessions are held in boroughs householders are fitted to be jurymen, and therefore there ought to be household suffrage in those boroughs. If there was any difficulty in getting jurymen, no doubt, people would say that a £10 qualification would be an intelligible one. The right hon. Gentleman is anxious to connect the right of voting in counties with the performance of some civil service. But the duties of a juryman are not the only civil service which a candidate for the county franchise may perform. There are other services which have been supposed by some to entitle to the franchise. I am sorry to deprive the right hon. Gentleman of the credit for originality. Mr. Windham proposed that every man who was public spirited enough to serve in the militia was entitled to vote. I think the right hon. Gentleman's standard is a little too high. He connects the service of a juryman with the liability to pay inhabited house duty. In short, he wants to restrict the franchise as much as possible. The inhabited house duty has been changed in our day several times, and as soon as it changes again the man would cease to he a voter. This condition seems objectionable, because it is so variable. A person having a £20 house is to be rated on that value. That is rather new for occupation in the county. The £50 occupier was not to be rated, but the £20 occupier was to be rated on that amount. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, proposes a great restriction in that respect. I do not wish to go further into the matter; I only repeat that the right hon. Gentleman appears to have adopted the figure £20, because he believes it will limit the number of voters in counties in comparison with the figure £14. The £14 qualification will admit so many, and the £20 qualification will admit so many less. Has the right hon. Gentleman ever considered this matter in detail? Has he ever looked into any figures on the subject? I would earnestly recommend him to do so. If he succeeds in his present Amendment, he will exclude, I am told, precisely the class whose interests are identified with the agricultural body—namely, the tradesmen and shopkeepers with whom the squire, the clergyman, and the farmers deal, and whom they are most likely to influence. The proposed reduction of the county franchise would probably admit upwards of 100,000 voters, and the reduction from £20 to £14 would precisely be strengthening the agricultural interest in this House; indeed, the lower you go the more that is the case. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has stated any valid objection to a £14 county qualification; he has given no intelligible reason for preferring the £20 to the £14 qualification—especially when we remember that the right hon. Gentleman himself voted for a £10 qualification in counties. [Mr. WALPLE: No, I never did so.] Well, at least the right hon. Gentleman was connected with those who did. As regarded the Constitution, the inroad was made in 1832, for it was then the old principle was departed from, and with reference to the so-called intelligible basis of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, it remains for him to show how it would not be much more intelligible to rest the franchise on the basis of the Irish qualification in counties, which has worked well, and which, so far as the franchise is concerned, will identify the two countries.


thought the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Villiers), as well as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had wholly failed to show why the Government had fixed on £14 as the county qualification. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had departed from the usual course of proceedings when discussing the clauses of a Bill in Committee. On the question of the franchise, the right hon. Gentleman had ranged over the whole Bill before the House, and had discussed besides the question of boundaries and the expenses at elections, and he must say that had he taken that liberty he should have been called to order by some Member of the Government. He had not thought fit to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, hoping he would in the end tell them why £14 had been fixed on as the basis of the county qualification. He could understand why £7 had been fixed on as giving the qualification in boroughs, because he believed there was one party in the Cabinet for £6 and another for £8, so they agreed to split the difference; but he never heard an intelligible reason for fixing on £14 as the county qualification. In some cases it was said, where juries had to assess damages, each juror put on paper what he thought the right amount to be given, the best arithmetician among them then added the various sums, dividing the amount by the number twelve, and the result represented the damages to be awarded. So in this case, he thought, each Member of the Cabinet had put down the figure he considered best as the county qualification; the different figures were added up, and the result being divided by the number of Cabinet Ministers present gave £14. No better reason, he believed, could be given for fixing on that number. The only shadow of a reason which had been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the proposal of the Government would assimilate the county franchise in England to that which prevailed in Ireland. Now, he denied that there was assimilation; but if there was, there was no reason for assimilation. He said there was no assimilation, because in the one case they had adopted a rating qualification, while in the other it was to be rental. The rating franchise, therefore, which the right hon. Gentleman condemned in England he had adopted in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Villiers) would say that a £12 rating was the same as a £14 rental. It was not the same thing, however, because the right hon. Gentleman would exclude the most important principle of rating. But did the Government always exclude that principle? He had a tell-tale book in his hand called "Electoral Returns." The information it gave with regard to counties was very scanty, but it showed that the Government had required returns to be made of all persons assessed at the "rateable" values of £10 and under £12, £12 and under £15, £15 and under £20, £20 and under £50. Now, if the Government were not going on the principle of rating, why did they require returns according to the rateable value? The conclusion which he came to was this—that the Government intended at first to have a rating franchise, but some change came o'er the spirit of their dream, they threw over the rating franchise, adopted rental, and so got statistics not applicable to their Bill. Some months ago the information which was wanted had been moved for by some hon. Friends of his. At first they were told it could not be had, because the persons who should furnish it would require remuneration. But that difficulty had now been got over, and they were told that in a few days they would have the Returns. He regretted that the Motion of his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) had not been carried; for, if the House had discussed the question of re-distribution of seats, first, they would have had time to receive the Returns, and would be in a better position to discuss the county franchise. The Chancellor of the Exchequer could not tell the House how many persons would be added to the county constituencies by the £14 franchise, or what proportion of that addition would be residents in towns or in the county. That was a question which deeply affected the decision which they ought to arrive at not only with regard to the franchise, but the re-distribution of seats. Now, it was quite clear from the structure of the Government Bill that the object was not so much to increase the county constituencies, to which he had no objection, as to increase them in a particular manner. It appeared that no one would be entitled to register as a county elector unless his house was of the value of £6 or upwards, and it was also required that the land or premises he occupied to make up the required value should not be held under two different landlords. He was aware that a similar provision existed now, but he considered it a great hardship. If a man held land to the annual value of £25 from one landlord and of £25 from another, why should he not be entitled to vote? If such a case had been overlooked in the Bill of 1832, why should it be overlooked now? By making it necessary, as this Bill did, that the house must be of a certain value, and that the premises must be held from the same landlord, they were only putting restrictions on the exercise of the franchise in the counties which they would not do in the case of the towns. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Villiers) taunted his right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University with having voted for the £10 county franchise of Lord Derby, and when that was denied, he said, "Well, if you did not do it, some of your colleagues did." But did not the right hon. Gentleman know that his right hon. Friend left his colleagues because he did not agree with them? The right hon. Gentleman might, perhaps, say that he (Mr. Hunt) also voted for the £10 county franchise. But he could state that he never did, and, as at present advised, he was not likely to do so. It was true, he voted against a certain insidious Resolution of Lord John Russell; but if the Bill of Lord Derby had arrived at the stage at which that of the Government had, he should have voted against the £10 county franchise. And he stated at the hustings, at the following election, his reasons. It was not that he thought a man in a county occupying £10 premises was less worthy of the franchise than one in a town; but he did not wish to see one and the same kind of franchise established both in town and country. And if it were objected that this would perpetuate an anomaly, his reply would be, "You must submit to such an anomaly, for it is good that we should have representation of different classes and different interests." Now, what would be the effect of this £14 franchise? Take, for example, the question of fire insurance, which had given the Chancellor of the Exchequer so much annoyance. At present the agricultural classes were not very much interested, because farm produce was exempted from the duty, and, therefore, on that question the Chancellor of the Exchequer got a good deal of support from that (the Opposition) side of the House. But suppose they were to have the "brick and mortar" qualification proposed by the Bill, would the right hon. Gentleman be able to impose or vary taxes in the same way as he did now if those taxes pressed upon all constituencies alike? He quite admitted he could give no good reason against reducing the county franchise to £14 on the ground of fitness; but he would ask, why did the Government stop at £14? If it were a question of fitness, he would answer for it that the man who lived in a £7 house in the country was superior to the man living in a £7 house in a town. Labourers in his parish paid mostly £2 a year for their houses, and a £7 house there was a very good house indeed. It was stated that the proposed £14 county franchise was very similar to the existing Irish county franchise; but the reason why a lower franchise had been established in Ireland than had been adopted in England was because the tillers of the soil would not have been reached, in consequence of these holdings in Ireland being very small, unless a lower franchise had been adopted there than in England. The holdings were so very small in Ireland that at the English figure there would scarcely be a county constituency. The argument of his right hon. Friend who moved the Amendment was that the county representation was a representation of property, and that principle was to a certain extent retained by the Amendment, as people paid direct taxation for houses of the annual value of £20. In the absence of statistics, it could not be known what addition a £20 county franchise would make to the constituency, but he should not care if it were to add four or five times the amount which it really would, so long as a distinction was maintained between borough voters and county voters in regard to the interests they represented. He did however object to the proposal of the Government, the effect of which would be to give advantage to the town residents, by granting them facilities at the same time that obstacles were thrown in the way of the rural occupants.


said, that as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) had moved an Amendment, fixing the county franchise at £20 instead of £14, he took it for granted that the right hon. Gentleman was in favour of a £20 franchise for counties; but if that were so he should like to ask him how he reconciled that view with what he regarded as the extreme importance of maintaining separate, under all circumstances, the urban and rural population; for in voting for a £20 franchise he must be aware that he was supporting a proposal which would have the effect of introducing into the county representation no inconsiderable number of the inhabitants of market towns. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) had made a speech, the tenor of which was in favour of a lower franchise than that of the Government, and yet he was going to vote for the Amendment.


said, he had not stated that he was in favour of a lower franchise than £14, but that he could not understand why the Government, entertaining the views which they did, did not propose a lower amount.


Hon. Members had heard a great deal about the principle of the representation of the land; but the English Constitution, he maintained, was originally based no more upon the principle of representing the land than it was upon an educational test. What was sought for and what was found by those who established it was independence as exemplified in a man with a free tenure, at liberty to give his vote in accordance with his political opinions. Entertaining those views, Parliament would not be departing widely, as was said, from the line of the Constitution by the adoption of either a £14 or a £20 franchise. For his own part he looked upon the former proposal as the more Conservative of the two, inasmuch as while the great majority of the houses in towns above £20 were inhabited by those who kept shops, the greater number of the £14 houses would, he thought, be found to be tenanted by small farmers, who would be more under the influence of the landlords. In expressing that opinion he would be understood as speaking not otherwise than with the greatest respect of the tenant farmers of this country, whom he regarded as men of high intelligence; but then if he were asked whether they were specially remarkable for that peculiarity which most entitled men to the franchise he must answer in the negative. He quite concurred in all that had fallen from the Chancellor of the Exchequer early in the evening, as to the effect of the Government proposition as a lowering of the franchise. The lowest franchise in counties was the 40s. freehold. Now, the 40s. freeholder was for the most part a man who lived very hard, who was much attached to his little freehold, and was exposed to great privations, and must be deemed, in his opinion, to occupy a lower position than those men who would be brought into our electoral system by a £14 franchise. And who were, he would ask, those tradesmen whom the proposal would include? They were neither a venal nor a drunken class; indeed, although he did not mean to speak of them as perfect, he must say he knew of no more moral class of persons than were, as a general rule, the country shopkeepers; they were most of them intelligent men, not open to corrupt influences, and not likely to accept bribes. It was only in close and compact boroughs, with small constituencies, that corruption most prevailed. The parties to whom he referred could not afford to be unprincipled; vice was too dear and character was too important; and they were as intelligent, honest, trustworthy, and safe a class as any other portion of the constituency. Any person who had canvassed a rural constituency must observe the difference between them and an urban constituency. In a rural district hardly a question was put to them, although, perhaps, some interest was expressed about the malt tax; but when he came to a town district the candidate found that the voters did not trouble him about matters in which their respective towns had separate interests, but about matters in which they had a common interest. They asked him what were his opinions upon finance, upon church rates, upon domestic or colonial policy. It was quite refreshing, after having canvassed a quiet, rural constituency, to find an urban constituency that showed so much intelligence in respect to public affairs. No class of men were more anxious for the preservation of public order than the country tradesmen, because they knew that if any outbreak took place, their shops would be the first objects of plunder. They also knew exactly how the population around them was thriving, and had, as it were, the pulse of the neighbourhood in their hands. He was sure they would bring with them a considerable degree of intelligence and independence to the county constituency. With regard to the apprehensions entertained of the enfranchisement of persons of that class, he wished to refer to the speech of the late Sir Robert Peel on the second reading of the Reform Act. That great man said he feared the result of the £10 franchise would be to throw the power of election almost entirely into the hands of that class which must necessarily be the least competent to form a sound opinion on political questions. Then Sir Robert Peel proceeded to enumerate some of the measures that were then popular with that class among which were the immediate abolition of taxes on industry and on the necessaries of life, the breaking up of the East India Company's monopoly, and the repeal of the Corn Laws, Since that period all these measures had been carried, Sir Robert Peel himself, to his immortal honour, having had a principal hand in passing them. But that distinguished statesman, in the same speech, said that triennial Parliaments and vote by ballot would also be among the changes demanded by the £10 voters. Now, he was happy to say that the good sense of that class had led them not to persist in demanding the adoption of triennial Parliaments. The last thing which Sir Robert Peel said they would require was the abolition of the traffic in the flesh and blood of the negro. These were the revolutionary measures which had been dreaded. They had since been carried, and the result was the peace and prosperity which they now saw in the country. Sir Robert Peel, on the same occasion, expressed a fear that some popularity-seeking Chancellor of the Exchequer might be forced by a democratic assembly to propose the repeal of taxes, the ultimate effect of which would be to shake confidence in the credit of the country, to paralyze commerce, derange industry, and imperil the high position which England held among the nations. He would not point out how these predictions had been falsified, or attempt to describe the beneficial effects of the financial policy of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, instead of being anxious to sacrifice taxes to risk the credit of the country, was asking them to make large sacrifices for the reduction of the public debt, so as to relieve posterity. He would only say that if Sir Robert Peel was not to be trusted as a prophet, they should hesitate before they put faith in the minor prophets of the present day. The past was an encouragement for the future. Reserving to himself the right of suggesting Amendments in the Bill before them, he should support this clause and the measure generally, in the full conviction that by doing so they would contribute to the strength and stability of their institutions, and to the safety and welfare of the country.


said, that as one of the constituents of his hon. Friend who had just sat down, he must humbly confess that he could not quite follow his discourse. His hon. Friend began by stating that the original county constituency of England—namely, the 40s. freeholders, seemed to have been created with the view of securing a totally independent body of voters who cared neither for the squire nor the parson, but who only voted according to their own opinions. No doubt, the 40s. freeholders in early times were a very respectable and independent constituency; but, starting from that point, his hon. Friend went on to defend the proposition of the Government by an argument which, as far as he could follow it, would lead to the conclusion that the £20 a year farmers might be independent, but would belong to that portion of the political organization of the day which the hon. Member for "Westminster said gave such power to the side that was happy enough to enlist them. On the other hand, his hon. Friend maintained, as far as he could gather the effect of his reasoning, that the £14 tradesman was very moral, because, although he might sand his sugar and water his vinegar, he very rarely made his appearance before Sir James Wilde; that he was very civil as well as very moral; that he did not support the great lord who lived forty miles off, but supported the small squire close by, who dealt with him, found his 5s. for the blanket club, and his 2s. 6d. for the Odd Fellows. Thus, arguing in a circle, his hon. Friend came round to the conviction that because by the old Constitution of England the county constituency was organized on the principle of rough independence it should now be organized on the principle of civil subserviency. So he said he was for a £14 franchise. But it was to be hoped the hon. Gentleman did not think hon. Members hypocritical on that side of the House, or fighting in ambush, if they preferred a franchise of £20 for farmers and tenants who had something more to fall back upon than the fourteen-pounder. The hon. Gentleman had quoted Sir Robert Peel, and left the impression that, because thirty-five years ago there were many things to be set right and a Reform Bill was necessary for that purpose, it was necessary now to have another Reform Bill to set things wrong again. The hon. Gentleman reminded him of an old lady who required a course of medicine. The doctor, a friend of his, presented some pills, hut with no great results. On further inquiry, it appeared that the lady, wanting a "comprehensive measure," reserved the pills, and then took them all at once. His hon. Friend wanted to follow the plan of the old lady and swallow the present and as many more nostrums as might he proposed. For himself, he wished to see the borough constituency strong and respected, and desired the working men of England should have their position in the county franchise also, as the owners of small freeholds. The Chancellor of the Exchequer argued with his usual vigour and amplitude of phrase that the proposal of the Reform Bill of six years ago, of reserving to borough freeholders the right to vote for their freeholds, was an innovation on the Constitution. Whether that was a wise or unwise proposal he would not then inquire, but as a matter of principle he would assert that such a measure was a return to the old lines of the Constitution. In the middle ages the constitutional changes which were now the concern of Parliament were effected by privilegium—namely, by means of royal charters, and not by enactments. No doubt this would now seem strange, still there was no shutting our eyes to the fact that such was then the Constitution of England; and that those who desired to grasp the growth of our institutions must master the details of the changes produced in the middle ages, and down, indeed, to 1688 by Royal grant. He had himself tested the question by moving for a Return which had recently been printed, and which showed that there are existing no less than twenty counties of cities and counties of towns in which the freeholders as such still vote for the city or the borough. Our ancestors, when they found cities like Norwich growing to be manufacturing centres, or cities like Bristol or Exeter growing to be seaports, invested them with high civic privileges, made each of these places a county and constituency of itself, and gave the freeholders the whole privilege of the franchise. This method of enfranchisement might have been a less complete Constitution than our present one whereby changes must be initiated in Parliament itself, but still it was the Constitution, and this old Constitution laid down the principle that the civic freeholder ought to have a vote in the town where his freehold was, and not in the county—the very principle which the Chancellor of the Exchequer denounced. He did not say that this principle could now be pushed through the dense mass of flesh and blood arrayed against it, but those who taunted the late Government for having made an unconstitutional proposal could not themselves have studied the old Constitution of England in a discriminating and philosophic spirit.


said, he could assure the hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) that the surprise on the Ministerial side of the House was very great when the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced so high a franchise for counties as £14, because all the Reform Bills since 1852, including that of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), proposed a county franchise of £10 instead of £14. He was also surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole), who had been a Member of Lord Derby's Government, should think that £20 rating, which meant a £25 rental, could be satisfactory. It was generally understood that in 1859 the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleague the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) had withdrawn from Lord Derby's Government, because they objected to the uniformity of the franchise for counties and boroughs, and that they were in favour of a lower franchise in boroughs than was proposed by the Reform Bill of 1859. It was no doubt desirable to settle this question; but he appealed to hon. Members opposite whether a £20 rating franchise could at all settle it after a £10 county franchise had been proposed over and over again. [An hon. MEMBER: Would a £14 franchise settle it?] He thought it would. It had been asked why the clause was clogged with so many provisoes? and the answer was that in the neighbourhood of many towns where the land was not built upon and was occupied as milk-farms, &c, it was divided into as many £10 occupations as possible, and persons were placed on the register and claimed the right to vote who paid the rates and taxes, indeed, but had the money returned to them, and had no more to do with the tenancy than if they lived 100 miles off. He would remind the House that for six years he had represented the whole of the West Riding of Yorkshire, the largest county constitu- ency in the kingdom, and that since it had been divided he had represented its Northern Division, which was now one of the largest county constituencies, and he thought that under those circumstances he should be credited with some knowledge of the feelings of the people of that part of the country. At the risk, then, of receiving another reprimand from the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory) who had said he never rose but he lectured the House, he would assert that, in his opinion, the electors of the West Riding, both Conservative and Liberal, were not at all afraid of a £14 county franchise. On the contrary, many who were afraid of a £7 borough franchise looked to the £14 county franchise as a corrective, because it Would be a "lateral extension" that would admit, not working men, but a large number of the middle classes, and would act as a counterpoise to the extension in boroughs. For his part, having regard to the fact that £10 had always been proposed as the sum to which the county franchise should be reduced, he viewed the proposal to fix it at £14 with favour because it was a reasonable compromise. He hoped the House would not accept the Amendment before them.


said, he had looked for stronger reasons in support of the assertion that a £14 county franchise would put a term to agitation upon the subject than had been offered by the hon. Baronet (Sir Francis Crossley.) His only argument appeared to be that £14 was a compromise. He presumed, therefore, that some such compromise had been made between the Government and their supporters. If he could think that a £14 franchise would introduce for the most part the residents in small towns he might, perhaps, consider it more favourably than he did; but, knowing something of large and populous counties, his objection to it was that it would throw the county representation into the hands of the residents of large towns, which were already adequately represented, and which already possessed county influence to the extent of a third of the whole county representation. Surely that was a fair share of county influence for the large towns to possess. At all events, he was not prepared to add to it to the extent proposed by the Government. A £20 franchise, however, would not entirely swamp what had been called the rural element. Much had been said upon the subject of anomalies, and he wag bound to confess that one had perplexed him greatly. He very much desired to hear what reasons could be advanced in support of the enormous preponderance of political power possessed by the boroughs. That was a great anomaly in our Constitution whatever test might be applied; whether they tested by population, by wealth, or by the growth of wealth; the counties would be found to have superior claims for representation, and yet they only possessed 32½ per cent of the representation of the country, while the boroughs had 67½ per cent. He supposed this proposed addition of 25 Members and 200,000 constituents to the counties would be regarded as a sort of remedy; but his reply was that the proposal was simply to create new borough constituencies, in order to add them to the representation of the counties. The twenty-five new seats which were to be given to the counties were to be conferred upon counties which were an agregate of borough influence, and nothing more or less. In the twenty-five divisions of counties upon which the Bill proposed to confer an additional Member each, the present number of electors was 246,000. Of that number the borough freeholders numbered 43,593. Under the present Bill the £14 county voters proposed would add 126,000 to the county constituencies, which were five-eighths of the whole new county constituency which would be resident in those five divisions of counties. Now, he contended that that state of things actually demanded the increase of the county representation beyond what was proposed under this Bill; otherwise, they would not be doing anything to redress the anomaly which they had been complaining of hitherto—namely, the inadequacy of the county representation as compared with the borough representation. His great objection to this Bill was that it proposed to continue and rather to increase that great anomaly in the preponderance of the town interest over the county interest. And in that view he was confirmed by the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early part of that evening, when he told them that the great bulk of the new £14 voters would be householders resident in the immediate neighbourhoods of large towns. If he wanted another argument in favour of the £20 qualification over the £14 proposed, he should find it in the language of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he said: "We are diminishing the influence of the labouring classes in counties." Now, con- sidering how eloquently the right hon. Gentleman urged the claims of the working classes to increased representation, he (Mr. Liddell) confessed he was amazed at hearing such words from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Let them consider who those borough freeholders were whose influence, according to the right hon. Gentleman, would be thus diminished. They were men who, by their provident habits and industry, had been enabled by means of building societies to purchase their freehold houses. Now he (Mr. Liddell) objected to any measure tending to diminish the influence of such men. There was no class he should be more glad to welcome within the pale of the Constitution than that one, and he objected to their influence being swamped by the £14 voters which this Bill proposed to create. The hon. Baronet the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Edward Buller) had talked about the dependence of tenant farmers, and asserted that they were generally driven to the poll by the influence of their landlords. Now there never was a greater misrepresentation of facts than such a statement. He had lived amongst that class during a great portion of his life, and had learned to respect them highly for their probity and independence, and he would tell the hon. Baronet that any one who thought that he could dictate to the tenant farmer of England what course he should pursue, either in respect to husbandry or politics, would find himself remarkably mistaken. He did not know a more independent class. It was true that they generally supported the views of their landlords—but why? Simply because their interests as well as politics were identical, and each party knew that they must stand or fall together. He would ask the hon. Gentleman opposite whether the interests of the factory operatives were identical with those of their employers? "Well, he hoped that they were, but he did not think they were. The manufacturing classes had not been able to conciliate their workmen so as to make them feel that their interests were identical. ["No, no!"] Masters and men lived unhappily, he thought, in an atmosphere of antagonism and disunion. ["No, no!"] At any rate, he thought they would act wisely if they were to teach those whom they employed that their interests were identical with those of their employers. The constituency he represented was not open to the reproach of being homogeneous and con- sisting of nobody but wealthy landlords and tenant farmers, for there was hardly an interest in the country which was not to be found in it. Yet they felt that their interests were identical with their employers, and they concurred generally in their political views. The county constituencies generally were rapidly developing into this condition. On their behalf he asked the Government not to destroy their independence by giving a preponderance of power into the hands of a single class who were connected by interest, position, and residence with the great towns of this country.


said, that as the representative of a thoroughly county constituency, comprising between 7,000 and 8,000 voters, and a population numbering some 200,000, without a single borough in that division of the county (South Durham), and as a new Member, he hoped he might claim the indulgence of the Committee. The simple question under consideration appeared to be this—were they to have a £14 or a £20 occupancy qualification for counties? There appeared to be a great diversity of opinion among hon. Gentlemen opposite; but having studied the question attentively, he had come to the conclusion that, as far as the balance of parties was concerned, the Government proposition would have little effect in the return of Members to that House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, in introducing his measure of 1859 to the House, stated that he considered the difference between a £10 and a £20 occupancy qualification would only amount to 100,000 electors. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that his £14 qualification would add 64,000 county electors in the whole of the kingdom, and that that addition would not come from the working classes. Now he (Mr. Pease) joined issue with the right hon. Gentleman on that point. It would introduce, as far as his district was concerned, what he might call the upper crust of the working classes—namely, those who were receiving incomes of from £150 to £200 a year. He knew no reason why such a class should be kept out of the privilege of voting. Why should they be kept out of the franchise for another thirty years, or until another sweeping Reform Bill should be pressed upon the Legislature? If £20 were to be substituted for £14 he contended that a great injustice would be done to a great number of these men. He had ever been living amid the working men, and was able to speak of their character and habits. He had seen them eagerly avail themselves of the education which Parliament had offered them—of that which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had laid before them—as well as the instruction presented to them by the Dissenting bodies and the Roman Catholics. The results were a very general improvement in the working classes. He could point to many villages in the North of England where, but a few years ago, it was necessary to send into them some extra policemen every Saturday evening. He had now been informed by the inspectors of police, that for the last two years they had had no occasion to send into those villages an extra policeman, and in some of them they had not had a drunken man to lock up for several months together. He himself knew a town where the public-houses had been recently reduced from the number of sixteen to nine—not through any exertion of the philanthropists, but from the mere falling off of the demand. At his own election he had seen the working man giving him his services without the hope of fee or reward. Knowing those facts he confessed himself at a loss to understand the charges of venality, corruption, and violence which a right hon. Gentleman in that House stated to be the attributes of the working men of this country. He denied the charge in toto. Knowing their character from personal observation he had the highest respect for them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire stated in 1859 that there was quite as much loyalty to be found amongst the £10 as the £20 occupiers. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) concurred in the same opinion. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside) on the same occasion said that the principle of a £10 franchise had been twice affirmed by that House, and he doubted whether any measure that did not assert that principle would have a chance of the assent of Parliament. He (Mr. Pease) was not a strong party man, but when he found so moderate a measure as the present opposed by an advocate of a £20 qualification he was quite at a loss to understand either the argument or the consistency of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The present proposition was a moderate one, and though he (Mr. Pease) was too young to turn prophet, nevertheless, he was as convinced as he was of his presence in that House, that if it were rejected the next would be a £10 qualification in counties and household suffrage in boroughs. He confessed that he had listened with some surprise to the denunciations and gloomy anticipations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), and he was led to ask himself whether in the case of the right hon. Gentleman The sunset of life lent him mystical lore, And coming events cast their shadows before. But when he noticed the vigour of the right hon. Gentleman's language and the brilliancy of his wit, he came to the conclusion that the right hon. Gentleman could hardly have arrived at that time of life when he could have acquired the prophetic vision; and he (Mr. Pease) came back to his own former conviction that the more they enlarged the basis from which that House was returned, as long as the elective franchise was confined to the intelligence of the country, the greater stability would they give to the power of the Throne and of the law, and the greater respect and permanence would they ensure to the decrees of the Imperial Parliament.


said, the point upon which the House was invited to express an opinion had been somewhat misunderstood. The question really to be decided was, whether they would fix on £14 as the proper county franchise for the future—he ought really to say for the present, since the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave them clearly to understand that the arrangement was only of a temporary character. For himself, he was for striking out that figure and replacing it by a higher one. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Pease) said that there were many £14 occupiers fit for the franchise; that was also the argument of his hon. Colleague (Sir Edward Buller) in the representation of North Staffordshire. Now he (Mr. Adderley) did not dispute that point in the abstract. But the point to be considered was not whether a £14 franchise was good in itself, but whether they should adopt it without restoring the distinction which had originally existed between the borough constituencies and the county constituencies, and whether an enormous mass of £14 occupiers in the towns should be introduced to overbear the freeholders in the counties. He (Mr. Adderley) was prepared to support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, although not for exactly the same reasons which had been advanced by the right hon. Gentleman in its favour. He confessed that he had not been able quite to appreciate the force of the antiquarian distinction contended for by the right hon. Gentleman, who seemed to think that the occupiers represented the element of change, whereas the freeholders represented the element of permanence. He asserted, as between occupiers and freeholders, a distinction rather existing between town and country. He (Mr. Adderley), on the contrary, believed that the £14 occupiers consisted substantially of the same class as the 40s., and, indeed, in many cases they were the same individuals. He would go further, and say that the 40s. freeholder often belonged to a lower class than the £14 occupiers, and included a large number of working men. These were the men whose existence was unknown to the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time he draughted his Bill, though they had since turned out to number a full quarter of the constituency. [The CHANCEILLOR of the EXCHEQUER: 20 per cent.] He had already given the right hon. Gentleman some statistics which had proved perfectly accurate, and he was ready to furnish additional figures in support of them if required. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, he thought, would find it hard to maintain by historical arguments the position which he had laid down in the earlier part of the evening about the freehold qualification running through the counties, towns, and all. He asserted it to have been the rule of our representation that all freeholders, wherever residing, should be represented by county Members, and all occupiers by borough Members. The fact was, that areas had always been represented, and their representatives chosen by persons living within these areas; and no justification consequently existed for freeholders living in boroughs taking part in county elections. The objections raised under that head to the Bill of 1859 had been extremely weak, and were ten times more so now that the Government had proposed and abandoned the copyhold and leasehold franchise. The plea was no longer historical but arbitrary. But the right hon. Member for Cambridge University set up a good argument as between town and country. Not merely in this country, but in every country in the world, there was an antagonism between the interests of town and country—one favoured the principle of change, the other the principle of permanence, and it was upon the counteraction of these conflicting interests, and not by allowing either to neutralize the other, that the safety and stability of the country mainly depended. The pro-position of a £14 franchise for the counties, without restricting the towns to their own elections, would simply result in making the constituencies in most of the Midland counties consist to the extent of two-thirds of town voters, and giving up to the towns the choice of the representatives of all. It was on this account that such anxiety had been exhibited by hon. Members to ascertain beforehand the character of the second portion of the Government scheme. He threw back in the teeth of the hon. Member for Birmingham and the Chancellor of the Exchequer the taunt that they were endeavouring to obstruct the Bill; the plan proposed in the early part of that evening by the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, so far from impeding, would have greatly assisted the progress of the measure, for had it been adopted they would have known the real nature of the case with which they had to deal. But as the Bill stood the first part had no definite meaning without the second, and portions of the scheme were put in the front of the discussion, so as to screen that on which the meaning of the whole depended. And he now offered to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—who taunted them with having in 1859 proposed a £10 county franchise—that he would himself propose that same limit of £10, provided that the right hon. Gentleman would promise to adopt as the second portion of his Bill the provisions of the Government measure of 1859. It altogether depended on the second part of the Bill whether the £10 county franchise was a retrograde step or a step in advance. The effect of any proposal on that subject must depend upon three points—whether a large portion of these voters were to be the inhabitants of unrepresented towns; whether they were to be, in a great proportion, residents in the suburbs of large represented towns, such as Birmingham, where the un-Parliamentary suburb constituted half the population; and whether the constituencies were to be reduced as to areas, or enlarged to such an extent that no moderately rich candidate could deal with them, and heaped with additional representatives in proportion to their population. Till these points were settled it was impossible to discuss the question of the franchise abstractedly, and he was obliged to assume—perhaps in opposition to what might eventually happen to be the case—either that the Bill would not pass at all or else would pass totidem verbis, as now proposed. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had plainly threatened the House with this result, that the first half of the Bill might be passed and sent to the other House, and the second half dropped altogether. ["No, no!"] Such certainly had been the impression as to his hopes and opinions created by his language. The hon. Member had entirely misrepresented his noble Friend the Member for King's Lynn, when he spoke of him as saying that the enfranchising clauses would be easily dealt with and easily understood. What he (Lord Stanley) said was that they would be easily dealt with if they were made to be easily understood, but that not being capable of being understood by themselves, it was impossible to deal with them properly in the first instance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer absolutely admitted the whole point of the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn in one sentence which fell from him, for he said— I am willing to allow that it is very possible my plan for revising the boundaries of boroughs may not be the best; I may be able to offer you a better and more effectual mode of dealing with the boundaries. If he saw that better and more effectual mode it was quite possible he might support the £14 franchise, but he could not think for one moment of taking any such proposition in the dark, and trust to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's possible subsequent discovery. While it was not known what the right hon. Gentleman was going to do, it was impossible, on the faith of his going to do something (though what that something was he did not himself yet know) to vote for his £14 franchise upon trust. The hon. Member for Birmingham had made a similar admission; for he had admitted that the very large existing areas ought to be reduced.


said, that his statement was that he had never been against a further division of the counties.


said, that the natural conclusion was that if the hon. Member for Birmingham was not opposed to a further division of counties he would support a proposition which would have the effect of making such a division. If the hon. Member would guarantee that such a clause should be introduced in the second part of the Bill he (Mr. Adderley) Should take a different view of the £14 franchise; but as long as Members were kept in the dark as to what the second part of the Bill was to be, as to bringing suburbs within towns, dividing areas, and giving unrepresented towns separate representation, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must excuse him from saying that by resisting the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn the right hon. Gentleman had taken the most effectual mode possible of obstructing the progress of his own measure, because it was really necessary to know what the second part would be, before they could give any rational judgment upon the first part. For his part he was not ready to allow a £14 franchise upon the terms of the second part of the Bill being postponed, and therefore he should vote for the omission of the figure £14 without committing himself as to the precise figure which it would be best to substitute for it.


explained that what he had said was that the tenant farmers were an intelligent race of men, but that it would be a courageous assertion in any one to maintain that they were an independent race.


said, that Members were placed in a peculiar position that evening, because they learnt that the second portion of the Bill was not to be passed in the form in which it was introduced. All they could see was what the Bill was not to be—they had no idea of what it was to be—nor even whether there was to be a distribution Bill at all. Then with regard to the portion of the Bill which related to the franchise they were also in a great difficulty, arising from the fact that they possessed no information whatever which they could confidently take as a basis for legislation. He had ventured some months ago to point out to the House that, as far as he had seen the Returns, no information was given upon which they could form a satisfactory opinion or give a conscientious vote. The result was the spectacle of the blind leading the blind. Before altering the franchise it was, at all events, advisable that they should know what the component parts of the existing franchise were; but, in referring to the Electoral Returns, he had lately discovered that there was an enormous gap which it was impossible for him to supply. There were at present 542,000 persons on the county register, but there was no document which showed what were the component parts of this body—on the contrary, by examining the Returns it would be found that there was an enormous gap which could not be filled up in any way. Of these 542,000 voters, 116,000 were owners and occupiers between £20 and £50, and 155,000 were occupiers above £50, giving a total of 372,000, and leaving a balance of 170,000 totally unaccounted for. It was clear, however, from the Returns that they were not owners and occupiers above £50, nor between £10 and £50, and therefore they must be either owners and occupiers below £10, or owners and occupiers who lived in boroughs, and who were not mentioned in the Returns. Assuming these 170,000 to be owners and occupiers below £10, what then became of the fly in the pot of jam—or something of that sort. If these 170,000 were freeholders renting houses below £10, he would ask the hon. Member for Birmingham whether the working men of the country were not to a great degree represented in the counties. But supposing, on the other hand, that by some mysterious combination of circumstances these 170,000 lived in boroughs, in what position would they be with the proposed enormous increase resulting from the adoption of the £14 franchise? With these figures unexplained, and the new addition to the franchise being totally inexplicable, and without knowing precisely what the Re-distribution of Seats Bill was to be, he could not consent to vote for this £14 franchise. Obviously the original intention of the Government was to have a rating franchise for the counties, for all their Returns were based on that principle, they had Returns of a £10 rating, a £12 rating, a £15 rating, and a £20 rating. By a £12 rating they learnt that 240,000 new voters would be admitted, but they were not informed where these 240,000 came from, or to what class they belonged. It the 170,000 possible freeholders in boroughs combined with the majority of the 240,000 new voters the result would be the swamping of all the freeholders and occupiers above £50, and such a combination would also have the effect of swamping all between £20 and £50. And yet the men whose opinions were to be thus overruled were inferior in intelligence and property to no class in Her Majesty's dominions. If they took the 240,000 wh would be admitted to the county franchise on the £12 rating, and add those to the 170,000, they would find that the two together would totally swamp all the freeholders between £50 and £60, and between £20 and £50. He regretted very much that the President of the Poor Law Board had not put on more steam, and produced the Returns which had been asked for by himself and his hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire (Sir Rainald Knightley). It would be very desirable to know how much of the property in counties the £12 rating occupiers possessed; how much the £15 occupiers, and so on. It was acknowledged that the second part of the Bill would not pass in its present shape. How could the Government suppose that their scheme could effect a settlement for even a short time when so many towns with large populations would be left unrepresented? It was a point of the utmost interest and importance that they should clearly ascertain what effect upon the present constituency would be produced by the new constituency to be created under that Bill; but this was not yet known. Another difficulty, with which the Bill did not deal, was the case of the population of the many large and flourishing towns, which, if this measure passed, would be left very much in the same position that they were in before. Some of these towns had 10,000, 20,000, or 30,000 inhabitants, and it was difficult to understand how Gentlemen who professed the utmost anxiety to admit to the franchise all who were entitled to it, should yet consent to the continued exclusion of those deserving inhabitants of large unrepresented towns, whose claims were unquestionable and unquestioned. What would be the position of the inhabitants of places like Doncaster and West Bromwich, and many others of equal size and importance which he could name? Their right to the possession of the franchise was clear, and so was the injustice of excluding them from it under a Bill brought in for the purpose that Bill had been brought in for. Could any one suppose that the question would be settled, again, while such enormous outlying populations as those that were clustered beyond the boundaries of Rochdale, for instance, or the Tower Hamlets or Lambeth, were taken no account of under the Bill? Those persons had no borough votes, nor could they possibly have county ones conferred upon them, except they were prepared to swamp the county constituency. He had been amused at the description given by the hon. Member for Birmingham some time ago of the successful working of a co-operative society at Rochdale; but he was rather astonished to find that the secretary and other leading men in that society had no votes in the borough. The House must assume that persons who had saved so much money could live in £10 houses; but in the Electoral Returns he perceived that the number of the working classes on the register in Rochdale was sixty-eight; and at the foot of the page on which that information was given there was this note— With reference to the number of working classes on the register, it is stated that the borough is so circumscribed that many of the better class of artizans reside outside the boundary. Many of the houses in the borough are built with small rooms and can be let at low rentals, affording separate apartments for the occnpiers, while a similar house with larger rooms would command such a rental as would confer the franchise. Now, in what position were they going to place those artizans who lived outside the borough of Rochdale? Suppose they resided in £14 houses, or in £10 houses—which would soon go up to £14—they would get votes for the counties. But what was to be done with those who resided outside the boundary in houses of from £7 to £14? The men who were content to live in the bad houses within the boundary would have votes if they paid £7, or any rent above £7; while the better class of artizans who were not content to live in bad houses, but who could not afford to pay £14, would have no vote at all. Thus under this Bill, the well-conducted, deserving, and superior artizans, were placed in a worse position, as regarded the franchise, than the inferior artizans who occupied the £7 houses within the borough. Was this a satisfactory arrangement, or was it likely to be a permanent one? By the way the Government had acted in respect of Parliamentary Reform they had lost the confidence of his side of the House, and they had not got the confidence even of their own political supporters." What was the talk of hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side, when they went outside that House? How many of his friends who sat on the Ministerial side said," But it is settled that the Bill cannot go on; it is clear that the Bill cannot be proceeded with."["Oh, oh!"and "No, no!"] He had many friends among the Whig Members of that House, and did the Gentlemen who now cried "No, no!" mean to tell him that they had never heard the sayings which he had just repeated? Why they must know that it was quite an ordinary occurrence to hear Whig Members expressing themselves in that way. ["No, no!"and "Hear, hear!"] If the system of grouping which the Government had proposed was to be given up, as it must be, on what system of grouping was the House to proceed? They were not told that. The Government were very much to blame. They had behaved in a wrong manner to the House and to the country by endeavouring to force the House to give an opinion on the Franchise Bill, before their whole scheme of Reform was before Parliament; they had behaved mischievously in endeavouring to compel the House to pronounce an opinion on the merits of a proposal which entirely depended on the other portions of the Bill, which they were not now going on with, and which every one knew could not pass. He would not consent to the £14 proposal, but he should not at present give an opinion as to what the county franchise ought to be, nor bind himself to any vote which he might give after the re-distribution scheme was really before them, because by the latter measure the working of the franchise might be very materially altered.


I agree with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Banks Stanhope) that the House is placed in an extraordinary position with regard to this measure. The Franchise Bill has been before the House for the last three months, and the Bill for the Re-distribution of Seats has been before them for some weeks; but up to this time it has been found impossible to get a vote on the principle of either of these Bills. The whole of the discussions which have taken place have been raised on Motions of a dilatory and evasive character. They avoid what they believe to be the disagreeable necessity of saying "Aye" or "No" either upon the principle of the Bills or upon any one of the proposals which have been put before the House in the form of Amendments upon those Bills. After the scene I have witnessed to-night—after the manner in which the attempt to obstruct the progress of the Bill was defeated by a decisive majority—I should have thought that there Would not have been so soon another attempt at delay, and that the time had arrived when some definite issue might have been taken. Nothing could be fairer than the issue between the Government and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge. The right hon. Gentleman made the reasonable proposal that, instead of reducing the county franchise to £14, it should not be reduced lower than £20. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) and the hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House endeavour to wriggle out of that issue. They say they will vote against the reduction of the county franchise to £14, but that they are not prepared themselves to substitute, instead of the £14, any definite sum, such as £20, £30, or even £40; nay, hon. Gentlemen who may vote with them to omit the words £14 from the Bill will have no security at all that they will assent to any reduction whatever in the county franchise. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Staffordshire stated most distinctly that he refused to pledge himself to vote for the £20 franchise proposed by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge as a substitute for the £14 franchise proposed in the Bill. Another peculiarity I have noticed in this debate is that no hon. Member has ventured to state that the persons who occupy a House and land in the counties to the value of £14 are unfit to be intrusted with the county franchise. They do not venture to deny that persons occupying property of that description belong to the middle classes, or, as the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Pease) stated to-night, to "the upper stratum" of the working classes. But it is said that the number of persons occupying property of that value is so great, although the precise number has not been ascertained, that the existing constituencies would be entirely swamped by the urban population of large manufacturing towns. I wish we could have obtained some accurate information as to the precise number of the urban population in the county of Lincoln who have an occupation rental of £14 and a rating rental of £12, as I am at a loss to know whence the numbers are to come who, in the event of the Bill passing, are to disturb the seat of the hon. Member for North Lincolnshire (Mr. Banks Stanhope.) It is probable that a large number of that class have votes already under other qualifications. It was not easy to calculate as to those whose rating was £12 and whose occupation was £14; but as far as we can form an opinion, we take the number of persons of the class in all the counties of England to be about 160,000 or 170,000. Of course, in counties like that of South Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire, where there is a mixed population, it is almost impossible to draw a sharp line of demarcation between the urban and the rural populations, and to say what proportion of the urban population would, in the event of the reduction of the franchise to a £14 franchise, have a vote for the counties. I think hon. Gentlemen opposite need not be greatly alarmed at the admission of the urban population having a £14 occupation franchise under the Bill. The new voters would be unequally distributed; in some cases there would be a large increase of voters and in others comparatively few; in many cases the addition would consist of shopkeepers and others dependent on the agricultural interest, and I believe that the extension of the franchise would in very many cases throw additional power into the hands of the landlords and the agricultural interest. I now come to the principles upon which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge has founded his Motion. He desires in the first place that voters in counties should have the same qualification as must be possessed by jurors. But let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that he does not carry out his argument legitimately to its proper conclusion, because the qualification for jurors is not exactly that which he stated it to be. For instance, the qualification for jurors in Middlesex is a £30 rating rental, while in every other county it is a £20 rating rental, which is equivalent to a £25 occupation rental. Therefore, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of principle, falls to the ground. The right hon. Gentleman, again, urges as an objection to the Government Bill an argument which was formerly used with great effect by Lord Russell in this House, that there is an essential difference between the borough and the county qualifications, the former being founded on occupation, the latter on property—he urges against this Bill that it proposes to make the county qualification too much of an occupation instead of a property qualification. But who was the first to disturb that principle? The change from property to occupation franchise in counties did not originate with hon. Members on this side of the House. It was originated in the year 1832 by the Chandos Clause, under which a large number of people were admitted to vote for counties by virtue of an occupation franchise. The Bill introduced by Lord Derby carried the change still further. The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Egerton) said we had no right to refer to that Bill, because it was not now before the House; but surely we are at liberty to tell hon. Gentlemen opposite that every argument brought forward by their leaders against the Bill introduced by Her Majesty's Government tells with still greater force against the Bill introduced by Lord Derby, and supported by hon. Gentlemen opposite. Lord Derby's Bill began by striking out of the franchise 100,000 of the 500,000 who possessed a freehold franchise for the counties, and then it proceeded to add to the county constituency all those who had not a £14 but a £10 occupation rental. By this means the freeholders in counties would have been entirely swamped. I do not mean to say that the right hon. Gentleman is responsible for this, because I know that the right hon. Gentleman left the Government of Lord Derby on the question; but the Bill brought forward by the Government of the noble Earl assimilated the borough and the county franchise. The right hon. Gentleman says that it is desirable to preserve a distinction between the characters of the county and the borough Members. But what did Lord Derby's Bill propose on this subject? Why, it proposed to make the county and the borough Members absolutely identical in point of character and constituency. ["No!"] It may be disagreeable to hon. Gentlemen opposite to be reminded of these things, but I feel bound to recall these circumstances when we are accused of disregarding the interests and endangering the institutions of the country. Let me remind hon. Members opposite that their own leaders, and that they themselves as a party, not only proposed to do what we are about to do, but that they went a great deal further in the same direction. But the right hon. Gentleman said it was not necessary that in every case that process should be adopted, but that if it were shown that any particular borough had largely outgrown its Parliamentary limits, it might be possible to include outlying districts within the Parliamentary borough. Wherever it is practicable we think that the best limit for the Parliamentary borough would be the municipal boundaries; but it is impossible in all cases to draw a sharp line between the rural population and the town population. As to the suggestion that every town of about 5,000 inhabitants should be included in some Parliamentary borough, it could not possibly be carried into effect, but still, when we get to that part of the Bill, there is no reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite should not make the proposal. When we get to that part of the Bill such a proposition may be fairly entertained; but the immediate question is now is there any real objection to persons having an occupation of £14 being admitted to the county franchise? And here let me say one word as to the charge made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge against my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman supposed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he had entered into a compact or engagement with that portion of the Liberal party who were strenuous for Reform to the effect that there should be a £14 franchise for counties and a £7 franchise for boroughs; and that if the House rejected those figures that compact or engagement would be at an end, and that they would be at liberty to propose any other figures.


The words, which I took down at the time, were, "The virtual engagement between the Government and the Reforming party will be at an end."


rose to explain, but there being loud cries of "Order!" resumed his seat.


I am quite sure that those words were not used by my right hon. Friend. At all events, I was sitting by his side, and I did not hear him utter them. What I understood him to state, and which is the fact, was that we had proposed, on our own responsibility, and without any previous concert or private engagement or compact with any party, what we thought it was our duty to propose, and that the party who are designated as "advanced Reformers" had, when the Bill was proposed, without any previous knowledge or understanding, thought it was an honest attempt to settle the question, and had given in their adhesion to the Bill as it stood, and without any secret compact or engagement declared their determination to support it. Such being the case, my right hon. Friend said that engagement on their part might be at an end if the proposed county and borough franchise were departed from, and that it would be then open to them to propose any other arrangement for the settlement of this question. My right hon. friend stated that this question ought to be settled, if possible, on a basis which would give satisfaction to those interested in it. We think that by the proposal we have made a fair and reasonable prospect is afforded of obtaining a satisfactory settlement; and, as the conduct of those who advocated a larger measure of Reform confirms us in that opinion, we deprecate any attempt to put off the question to a future time.


I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, whose friends would not permit me to speak ["Oh, oh!" from the Opposition], what were the words which the right hon. Gentleman took down.


The words I have are these:—"The virtual engagement with the Reforming party will be at an end."


My right hon. Friend will perceive that he is wrong in his construction of the words he has quoted—those words contain no mention whatever of an engagement or contract on the part of the Government. There was no compact with the Government. What I spoke of was the virtual compact and engagement with Parliament and the public.


It is not desirable that so very important a question as this should be decided by chance expressions made by Gentlemen on either side of the House. Our business is to do that which is best for the country, and not to engage in personal controversies about comparatively small points. With regard to what I have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State, I may remark that it is really no answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge to throw at his head Lord Derby's Reform Bill. He was not answer able for that. Again, on the other hand, it is no answer to us to throw at our: heads the views and opinions of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge. We are not answerable for them. But the Secretary of State has endeavoured to answer the great body of Gentlemen on this side of the House by quoting the views of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge, and confuting those views by quoting against him the provisions of Lord Derby's Bill. It must have been obvious that the ingenious remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State really had nothing whatever to do with this question. And although I am perfectly willing, if the subject were interesting to the House, to vindicate the policy and provisions of the Bill which I brought forward in Lord Derby's Government, what we now have to do is to decide on the policy best suited to the wants and exigencies of the present time. We have to decide what is necessary now, and we ought not to enter into all these recriminations. There were unsuccessful Reform Bills before that of Lord Derby, and we might as well bring forward them and show that the propositions of the present measure are not perfectly consistent with those Bills. But this I will say, that the proposition made on the part of the Government of Lord Derby with regard to the county franchise was not made on the sole condition which has been referred to in this discussion—namely, that the freeholders in boroughs should vote for the borough in which their property qualification was situated. The House was told over and over again that the propositions we made must be taken as a whole and as one; and avowedly the chief condition of our proposing that the qualification for the counties should be £10 was that there should be no lower franchise for the boroughs. Whether our view was right or wrong, that was distinctly stated, and it was understood that if the question of the county franchise were entered into, it must be entered into with reference to the other qualifications. But I must refer to the actual Bill before us. What we want, or at least what I want—and I believe I express the views of all the sensible men in the House—is a bonâ fide franchise for counties. The moment we say that those who live in a county should exercise the franchise with regard to their property and interests in that county, and should not be interfered with by persons who have no interest in the county, but who possess qualifications for exercising votes for other places—the moment we say this we are told that we want to expel from the counties the whole of their urban character and to confine the county constituencies to farmers and labourers. There is no ground for these absurd and monstrous accusations of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has to-night repeated the charge—What I want to impress on the Committee is that before settling what franchise is proper for the counties we should clearly understand what the counties are. The Secretary of State said something about a proposal having been made to give a Member to every town that has 5,000 inhabitants. Why, no human being ever made such a proposition. But what I want to impress upon the Committee is this, that before they settle what is the proper franchise for counties they should clearly understand what the counties mean; because it is quite clear to me, not only from the speeches that we have heard during the last three months from the Treasury Bench, but from the speech which has just been delivered by the Secretary of State, that the Government have not an idea at this moment what the population of the counties is. For I must remind the Committee that if you entirely throw out all the population of the unrepresented towns up to 5,000, to which the Secretary of State has just been referring, you still have in the counties 500 unrepresented towns with a population under 5,000; and irespective of those 500 towns you have in the counties a scattered, or, as it is styled in the scientific language of statistics, a village population which is equal in amount to all the population of the represented towns. We hear a great deal of the immense population of the great cities, of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, and other places; but it should be borne in mind that the population of all those great cities, and of all the represented towns together, does not exceed the village population of England, that is the population irrespective of the unrepresented towns with 5,000 inhabitants and the 500 other towns having less than 5,000 inhabitants. What, therefore, is more absurd than those statements by the Secretary of State to which we have just listened, that if any arrangement such as he intimated about restricting the exercise of the franchise by freeholders in towns, and other points of that kind, which are, comparatively speaking, small matters, were adopted, we should really have a county constituency consisting almost solely of an agricultural population, without any urban element whatever in it? It is not the fact. Those who attempt to settle this question with general notions of that kind are acting perfectly in the dark, and are attempting to arrange matters with which it is quite impossible that they can cope satisfactorily, because they are not sufficiently acquainted with the circumstances with which they are presuming to deal. Well, Sir, I contend that in dealing with the population of counties you have, first of all, to obtain a tolerably accurate idea of what the general character of that county population is; and I say that that being the case you will find that half the population of the nation is in the counties of England, and that moiety of the population ought surely to be secured a fair and legitimate enjoyment of the franchise if you invest them with that great privilege We go on night after night, and are told that we are the representatives of farmers and farm labourers. Grave—very grave—Secretaries of State tell us this. But what is the fact? I will give my own instance—for perhaps in Committee one may mention so familiar an instance as one's own experience. I have the honour of being the representative of a constituency which can be fairly described as a completely rural constituency, because in the county of Buckingham every town is represented. Well, now, what are the facts of the case? Why, in a constituency exceeding 6,000 the number of voters on the register under the £50 qualification are only 1,200—that is to say, they are only a fifth in a perfectly rural constituency. Who are the other four-fifths? The freeholders. And where do these freeholders live? Why, they constitute a part of this great village population and of those small towns with a population under 5,000, which are never even taken into consideration by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. They are scattered among what composes half the English nation, and we are certainly not unreasonable in asking for the population of the counties, that if they are invested with the franchise they shall have the privilege of exercising that franchise in defence of their own property, their own industry, and their own interests, and that they shall not be interfered with by compara- tive strangers who have no sympathy with that property and that industry. That is a point, I say, upon which we ought to have a most distinct understanding, and it is no answer to tell us that in Lord Derby's Bill this was not done, or was done very imperfectly. What we have to do now is, that we shall settle the question completely and satisfactorily. The question of the boundaries of towns ought to be fairly and completely settled by any Ministry that attempts to conclude this question. Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer night after night has made admissions of the justice of our claims; but he couples those admissions with an elaborate description of the difficulty of satisfying them. But that, Sir, is no answer. No doubt it is difficult; but it is one of those questions which a Government that presumes to deal with a question of this important character—namely, the distribution of political power in the State—ought to and must encounter. We have a right to expect that the question of boundaries shall be completely and satisfactorily settled.

Well, then, I may be told that the Government of Lord Derby did not at all encounter in as large a spirit as they might have done the question of the unrepresented towns. But, then, it is some years since the Government of Lord Derby existed. Hon. Gentlemen must not forget that the Census of 1861 has been since taken, and that we know a great deal more than we did before of the condition of the country—we know much more about the amount of population, and the manner in which that population is employed, than we did or could know in the years 1858 and 1859. And are we not to profit by that increased information which we have now at our disposal! We know that there are a number of very considerable towns which have sprung up in England—towns with a much larger population than is given in the Census of 1861—and therefore it is absolutely necessary at a moment like the present, when we are attempting to settle the amount and character of the county franchise, we should have a clear conception how, generally speaking, political power is to be distributed in this country. The Government, I admit, when they brought forward their Bill for the Re-distribution of Seats, did offer to the House a clear and distinct programme of the mode in which they thought the claims of the counties in that respect ought to be met. It was most unsatisfactory—nothing could be more unsatisfactory—still it was clear and definite. But the Government, night after night, have given up every part of that programme, and, if I could infer anything clearly from the speech of the Secretary of State in the matter, the whole affair is now in nubibus. There is not a question respecting the direct representation of large bodies of the people not now represented that is not completely unsettled and thrown upon the table for discussion. We have no plan on the part of the Government to guide us; we have no means by which we can arrive in the least degree at what the views of the Government are; and until we have some idea of that I confess myself totally incapable of entering into the question, as to whether the franchise for counties should be £50 or £30, or £14 or £10. I am perfectly ready to support a £10 qualification for counties, if it is a bonâ fide qualification. If the inhabitants of the counties, what-ever may be their pursuits and calling—-if that moiety of the English nation which is described by the Secretary of State as a collection of farmers and farm labourers—if that moiety of the English nation are to be permitted to enjoy their franchises without interference from strange elements, and from bodies which really have distinct interests of their own, often directly represented in these towns—if all that were fairly arranged I should be the last person in the world who would shrink from a large and liberal settlement of the question. But if the boundaries of the represented towns are not in any way to be settled, if the great industrial communities which have arisen in this country since the last Reform Bill are not to be directly represented in this House, you may decide upon a county franchise, I do not care whether it is £10 or £14, or £20, which may end in giving a representation of that half of the English nation which will not be a fair and just representation of its property, its feelings, its industry or its interests—for that is the question before us; and I think the speech of the, Secretary of State was a very strong argument in favour of the Amendment which my noble Friend the Member for King's Lynn moved this evening. I think that it is utterly impossible to deal with this question, except in a factious, hurried way, until we know what the Government are going to do, particularly with regard to the question of boundaries. I say it is impossible to deal with it except in a factious and hurried way, unless some plan is before us. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite sneer at these observations, but those who sneer will find out in a year's time that they are perfectly true. I maintain that you cannot satisfactorily settle the amount of the county franchise until you know what the Government are going to do with the large unrepresented towns. As far as the speech of the Secretary of State goes we have a right to assume that the Government are going to do nothing. We have no proposition before us. The only allusion made to this subject by the Secretary of State is absolutely absurd. He has assumed that persons in this House wish to enfranchise every unrepresented town that has a population of 5,000. I never neard of such a proposal; on the contrary, there are many towns with 5,000 inhabitants and more that have naturally grown up out of the industry and the interests of the counties in which they are placed, and they are naturally and properly represented by county Members. But there are large towns and considerable communities which, as I believe, ought to have distinct representation, and, if they have not, they necessarily prevent a legitimate representation of the county populations. There are places, for instance, with flourishing manufactures; and what we object to is that, in addition to these prosperous manufactures, they should be also manufactories of county votes. That is what we object to, and we wish to see the counties fairly represented. The population of the counties does not, as has been assumed, consist merely of farmers and of farm labourers. I showed recently that the farmers and farm labourers numbered about 2,000,000; and if you leave out of the account the unrepresented towns with 5,000 population and the 500 small towns under 5,000, you still have in the counties a population equal to that of all the great represented towns. I say that, under these circumstances, the county constituencies have a right to have the franchise with which they are invested for the defence of their own property and their own industry-free from such interference as I have already noticed. Half a northern town, as much connected with the other moiety as Westminster is with London, when the day for electing a Knight of the Shire arrives, can march into the county and vote for the Members for the county, al- though in every possible point of view—in the investment of their capital, in their industry, in their political opinions, and in their municipal sentiments—they are entirely in accordance with the rest of the town, which itself has the privilege of sending Members to Parliament. In many cases a borough is directly represented here by two Members, and yet half of its population, because it is not within the Parliamentary borough, will ask for the power of influencing at the same time the return of county Members. That is unjust; that is not political justice; and, not being so, it must end in political disaster. That is all we say. If the Government would come forward with a distinct proposal to secure to the population of the counties the fair exercise of their suffrage, I have no doubt that any proposition which they made for reducing the franchise would be listened to with the utmost consideration, bat they have made no effort of this kind. If under existing circumstances you reduce the franchise in counties, leave unrepresented all these large towns, with distinctive interests of their own which ought to be represented, and do not in a complete manner deal with the Parliamentary boundaries of represented towns, whatever figure you may fix upon for the county franchise the change will end only in disappointment and disaster.


said: Having already addressed the Committee at considerable length in the earlier part of the evening, I shall only detain it a short time now. We are approaching a division of very great importance, and one to the issue of which I do not conceal that we look with great anxiety. The character of this measure, which in our judgment is capable of forming a satisfactory settlement of a great constitutional question, is to a very considerable degree involved in this decision. I, therefore, take the liberty of noticing one or two things with respect to the course of this debate. As far as I have followed the debate, I have not heard any one deny that the persons whom it is proposed to enfranchise in virtue of a £14 occupation in counties are, taken as a body, fit for the exercise of the franchise. I beg to observe that that is a fact of the most vital importance. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, much to his credit, has upon former occasions deprecated the nicely calculated less or more of this or that particular number, and has said distinctly, "I look at the fitness of those whom you propose to enfranchise." I beg the Committee to observe the acceptance and promulgation of that principle from a source of high authority, and to notice the fact which I venture to state, subject to correction, that no one has denied in debate this evening the fitness of the persons whom we propose to enfranchise. Observe, the objections taken are two, and those who take them appear to move on entirely distinct lines of action. There is the objection which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire has repeated—I do not mean in terms, but substantially—in concurrence with most of those who had preceded him on his own side of the House, including the Members for Staffordshire and Lincolnshire. He said, "Before you settle the franchise for counties you must clearly understand what the counties mean:" and again, he said, "We must know what the Government intend to do with reference to the large unrepresented towns," I would observe that if we do this we are in danger of arguing in a circle. The demand of the right hon. Gentleman would be a perfectly fair one, provided the business of the re-distribution of seats were one the Crown was to settle by its prerogative. He would then be entitled to require of us that we should state in the minutest manner our intentions. But the question is not what we are going to do; it is what the House of Commons is going to do after considering our proposals and those of others, and using its best endeavours to arrive at a right general result. I confess I was surprised at the argument of the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), who said it was totally impossible for him to say aught about the county franchise until the questions of the boundaries of boroughs and of unrepresented towns were settled—forgetting that in 1859 he supported a Bill that dealt with the county franchise in a clause anterior to any clause dealing with the question of boundaries. That which he now finds is a mountain was then a molehill; he made no difficulty then in swallowing a camel where he cannot now swallow a gnat. The House cannot legislate upon all the parts of this measure at one and the same moment. If everybody is to make the objection upon each proposal that the other proposals have not yet been settled, no progress can be made. What is the meaning of the various op- portunities given to us by stages upon Bills except that, as we must necessarily deal with some things in detail, and yet must judge them in the whole, we may settle them as we best can in Committee, and then that on the report and on the third reading Members may move Amendments or the rejection of that with which they are not content? I would point out that upon this question of the county representation the right hon. Gentleman entirely departs from all the old lines of the Constitution, and sets up a distinction between urban and rural interests—a purely modern invention. The question divides itself into two particulars. He says we have done nothing that is satisfactory—I think we have sacrificed a constitutional principle—that is, we have sacrificed the principle of extending to leaseholds the right of voting for counties in respect of freeholds in boroughs. The question of the unrepresented towns appears to me, after all, as one of no great magnitude. I have already intimated my opinion that it may be well to proceed somewhat further in the direction of increasing the number of towns to be enfranchised; but it would be absurd to say that any of those wholesale operations in counties which the right hon. Gentleman seems to contemplate could in that way be effected. It is quite impossible for us to give countenance to his idea of massing 80,000 or 90,000 people in several places and giving them a Member; but we are prepared to consider in a fair spirit the increase in the number of represented towns; and if we did not the House would call us to account. With regard to the question of boundaries, do not let it be supposed we have abandoned the plan which we have suggested. We are firmly convinced that a good arrangement for the extension of the municipal boundary from time to time to the natural and just limits of a town is the best basis of a Parliamentary boundary. At the same time we admit that, if you cannot provide for a sufficiently rapid extension of the municipal boundary, you have a fair claim to ask for extension of the Parliamentary boundary. That, again, is a matter we may deal with at the proper time; but it would be most unjust to those classes of the community who are fit for enfranchisement if, on account of difficulties of this kind, which are, after all, party difficulties, we were to say to a large portion of our fellow-countrymen, "We admit your fitness for the franchise, but we deny you the exercise of it." I have not the least intention of imputing to the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge any inaccuracy in the reporting of my words, yet I feel that they were as I stated—that they could not convey the meaning that there had been any compact between the Government and any body of Gentlemen in this House. [Mr. WHITESIDE: The Reform party.] The Reform party or any other party. There has been no compact, understanding, engagement, or anything else between anybody and the Government; and I spoke simply of those engagements which the Government are understood to make when in the face of Parliament and of the public, at an important juncture, they announce their intention to pursue a certain course. The right hon. Gentleman's plan is simply this—I cannot see anything in the nature of a stopping-place in the proposal of the Government, anything which can secure us against the perpetual reproduction of projects for the lowering of the franchise. Now, my answer is first. The £20 figure will be no more a stopping-place than the £14 figure; if anything, it will be less so. Then, again, my right hon. Friend does not give us the jury franchise—not even the county jury franchise. The county jury franchise, as in practice distinctly understood and acted upon, is a rated franchise of £20 and £30 respectively. He does not propose that—he proposes a clear annual value franchise.


The second part of my Amendment is in these words, "on which he has been rated."


Does my right hon. Friend then really mean to propose a rated franchise—that is, a franchise the test of which is to be the number of pounds on which his rates are charged?


I say that the rating shall be as contained in the Jury Act. The words are "on which he has been rated or assessed to the poor rate, or to the inhabited house duty."


My right hon. Friend is doubtless aware that he does not fully copy the exact words of the Jury Act; but I now understand him distinctly to say that in that respect he does give the jury franchise—a rated franchise. But, then, it should be understood that this is a proposition to raise the occupation franchise from £14 to £23 or £24. ["No!" "Hear!"] Well, I really am most anxious that we should not unnecessarily complicate this matter by questions of words. My right hon. Friend states it to be a rated franchise—if not, it is not the jury franchise. I do not know a worse basis for the franchise than a rating to the inhabited house duty—it is both casual and unsatisfactory. I, for one, and my Colleagues, entirely decline to recognize the analogy of the jury franchise; because, if we recognize it for counties we shall be drawn into it for the towns. The effect, therefore, of recognizing that principle will be to land us in household suffrage—upon this principle, that the household qualification is the qualification for jurymen in all those boroughs which have Quarter Sessions. I have very few more words to say. We have proposed a plan for the reconstruction of the franchise with the earnest intention of making it a complete plan. I think that there is a reason why the £14 franchise affords a stopping-place—I agree in the desire to find one—and it is this, that as nearly as possible it describes the point at which generally speaking we may be said to have completed the enfranchisement of the middle class. The enfranchisement of the lower class, except in narrow limits, now exists through the 40s. freeholders: no one proposes to raise that; and it seems to me there is no better ground we could take than the selection of a figure, irrespective of the fact that it is confirmed by its well-working in Ireland, which presents the prospect of permanence because it completes what may fairly be said to be the enfranchisement of the middle class in counties. The county representation, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire has said, is one great member of the free constitutional system of England. The clause in which we propose to deal with it is consequently one great capital member of the Bill. The proposal of my right hon. Friend essentially mars and maims that clause, and on that ground I earnestly entreat the House to decline to entertain the proposal.


I will not occupy the House long, but I hope I may be allowed to say a few words on this proposal. I have listened with the greatest attention to all that has been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; for he, and he alone, has attempted to give anything like reason in favour of the £14 franchise for counties. It would seem for the moment we all, even the most advanced Reformers, agree in one thing—that what is done now should afford a reasonable prospect of settlement. Well, then, the right hon. Gentleman stated as the first ground for the £14 franchise that the House had assented to the £10 franchise. That seemed to me a very odd ground to begin with, for I do not agree with him that the House ever did assent to a £10 franchise. The fact, I think, was, that a Bill was read a second time in which the £10 figure was contained; but, if I do not forget, many most influential Members of the House said at that time that they only voted for the Bill on the principle of reducing the county franchise from £50. What, then, is the security we are likely to have on this ground? The right hon. Gentleman seemed to have an opinion that what were called the advanced Reformers would accept the £14 as a settlement. He stated most distinctly that he had no agreement, no compact, and no means of knowing anything beyond what was patent to all mankind. But what is patent to all mankind has been this that at every public meeting held in favour of Reform by the advanced Liberals the Resolutions invariably were to accept the Government Bill, not as a -settlement, but as a step in the right direction, and as an instalment. Every Member from that section of the House except one of the Members for the county of York -re-echoed very much the same sentiment, and spoke of £6 and £10 as more fitting figures if they could' be obtained. The only other ground laid down by the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the £14 would; be equivalent to the £12 rating franchise in Ireland, and as that had worked so well we might consider it would be a settlement of the question. But, then, they may alter the franchise in Ireland—it is proposed to alter it."["No!"] Surely money's worth in Ireland is not precisely similar to what it is in this country. I very much question whether a £14 rental in Ireland represents the same sum or the same person as in England. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that no one had asserted that a £14 occupier is unfit for the franchise. But that is not the question. The question is whether this particular amount will bring in such a certain large number of occupiers having the franchise as will outnumber the property qualification in the counties. The right hon. Gentleman quoted what had formerly been said' by some one, that the ten-pounder was a loyal man; but the poorest man is often more loyal than a great many who have many pounds. I do not put much weight on that. But some figures have been quoted to-night by my right hon. Friend which show that the occupation franchise, even according to the imperfect figures before us, will embrace three-sevenths of the whole county voters, and therefore it becomes a very serious question whether it will not overweigh the property qualification in counties. I am inclined to think it will. I will now say a few words on the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge. As I understand the proposal of my right hon. Friend it is this:—He thinks it is well to attach taxation in some way or other to the franchise. The Government are getting rid of that principle. They are cutting the cable almost completely. They are separating rating from the suffrage, though rating used to be the old foundation for household suffrage—the old scot-and-lot voter who had the franchise in respect of taxes or rates paid for a house, and before that the potwallopper in respect of hearth tax. My right hon. Friend proposes two things. He says a man assessed to the house tax, which now commences at £20, ought to have a vote. I agree with him. The next thing is the jury franchise, which need not be composed of a house alone, but may be composed of a house and land, and an occupying franchise rated to the poor to the amount of £20. That brings together two persons who ought to have votes for the county. Whether the jury franchise is taken at the gross estimated rental or rateable value I cannot offhand pretend to say, but it is an occupying franchise; a man must occupy, and reside, and be rated to the amount of £20 And if he is assessed in the shape of Imperial taxation to the amount of £20, that is an alternative description of franchise. That will limit the number, and will introduce some 30,000 or 40,000 persons less than those who would be admitted under the £14 franchise. I believe that will preserve a fairer proportion between the occupying and the property franchise and the, plan of Government, and therefore I shall cordially support the proposition of my right hon. Friend.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 297; Noes 283: Majority 14.

Acland, T. D. Dalglish, R.
Adair, H. E. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Akroyd, E. Dawson, hon. Capt. V.
Allen, W. S. Denman, hon. G.
Amberley, Viscount Dering, Sir E. C.
Anstruther, Sir R. Devereux, R. J.
Antrobus, E. Dilke, Sir W.
Armstrong, R. Dillon, J. B.
Ayrton, A. S. Dillwyn, L. L.
Aytoun, R. S. Doulton, F.
Bagwell, J. Duff, M. E. G.
Baines, E. Dundas, F.
Barclay, A. C. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Baring, hon. T. G. Dunlop, A. M.
Barnes, T. Edwards, C.
Barron, Sir H. W. Eliot, Lord
Barry, C. R. Ellice, E.
Barry, G. R. Enfield, Viscount
Bass, A. Erskine, Vice-Adm. J. E
Bass, M. T. Evans, T. W.
Baxter, W. E. Ewart, W.
Bazley, T. Ewing, H. E. Crum-
Beaumont, H. F. Eykyn, R.
Beaumont, W. B. Fawcett, H.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fildes, J.
Blake, J. A. Finlay, A. S.
Bonham-Carter, J. FitzGerald, Lord O. A.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. W.
Bowyer, Sir G. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Brady, J. Fordyce, W. D.
Brecknock, Earl of Forster, C.
Bright, Sir C. T. Forster, W. E.
Bright, J. Fortescue, rt. hon. C. P.
Briscoe, J. I. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Bruce, Lord C. Gaselee, Serjeant S.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Gavin, Major
Bryan, G. L. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Buller, Sir E. M. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Butler, C. S. Gladstone, W. H.
Buxton, C. Glyn, G. G.
Buxton, Sir T. F. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Goldsmid, J.
Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G. Gower, hon. F. L.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Campbell, R. Graham, W.
Candlish, J. Greenall, G.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Grenfell, H. R.
Carnegie, hon. C. Greville, A. W. F.
Castlerosse, Viscount Greville, Colonel F.
Cavendish, Lord E. Gray, Sir J.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Cavendish, Lord G. Gridley, Captain H. G.
Chambers, M. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Chambers, T. Grove, T. F.
Cheetham, J. Gurney, S.
Childers, H. C. E. Hadfield, G.
Clay, J. Hamilton, E. W. T.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Hanbury, R. C.
Cogan, W. H. F. Hankey, T.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hanmer, Sir J.
Coleridge, J. D. Hardcastle, J. A.
Collier, Sir R. P. Harris, J. D.
Colthurst, Sir. G. C. Hartington, Marquess of
Colvile, C. R. Hay, Lord J.
Corbally, M. E. Hay, Lord W. M.
Cowen, J. Hayter, Captain A. D.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Henderson, J.
Crawford, R. W. Heneage, E.
Crosland, Colonel T. P. Herbert, H. A.
Crossley, Sir F. Hibbert, J. T.
Hodgkinson, G. Otway, A. J.
Hodgson, K. D. Owen, Sir H. O.
Holden, I. Padmore, R.
Holland, E. Palmer, Sir R.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Pease, J. W.
Howard, Lord E. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hughes, T. Peel, A. W.
Hughes, W. B. Peel, J.
Hurst, R. H. Pelham, Lord
Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W. Peto, Sir S. M.
Ingham, R. Philips, R. N.
James, E. Pim, J.
Jardine, R. Platt, J.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Kearsley, Captain R. Potter, E.
Kennedy, T. Potter, T. B.
King, hon. P.J. L. Power, Sir J.
Kinglake, A. W. Price, R. G.
Kinglake, J. A. Price, W. P.
Kingscote, Colonel Pryse, E. L.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Pritchard, J.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, E Proby, Lord
Laing, S. Rawlinson, Sir H.
Layard, A. H. Rebow, J. G.
Lamont, J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Lawrence, W. Robertson, D.
Lawson, rt. hon. J. A. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Leatham, W. H. Rothschild, N. M. de
Lee, W. Russell, A.
Legh, Major C. Russell, H.
Leeman, G. Russell, F. W.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Russell, Sir W.
Lewis, H. St. Aubyn, J.
Locke, J. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Lusk, A. Samuda, J. D'A.
MacEvoy, E. Samuelson, B.
Mackinnon, Capt. L. B. Scholefield, W.
Mackinnon, W. A. Scott, Sir W.
M'Laren, D. Scrope, G. P.
Maguire, J. F. Seely, C.
Mainwaring, T. Seymour, H. D.
Marjoribanks, D. C. Shafto, R. D.
Marshall, W. Sheridan, H. B.
Martin, C. W. Sheridan, R. B.
Martin, P. W. Sherriff, A. C.
Matheson, A. Simeon, Sir J.
Matheson, Sir J. Smith, J. A.
Milbank, F. A. Smith, J. B.
Mill, J. S. Speirs, A. A.
Miller, W. Stacpoole, W.
Mills, J. R. Staniland, M.
Milton, Viscount Stanley, hon. W. O.
Mitchell, A. Stansfeld, J.
Mitchell, T. A. Steel, J.
Moffatt, G. Stone, W. H.
Moncrieff, rt. hon. J. Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Monk, C. J. Sullivan, E.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Synan, E. J.
Moore, C. Talbot, C. R. M.
More, R. J. Taylor, P. A.
Morris, W. Tite, W.
Morrison, W. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Murphy, N. D. Trevelyan, G. O.
Neate, C. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Nicol, J. D. Vivian, H. H.
Norwood, C. M. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.
O'Brien, Sir P. Waldegrave-Leslie, hn. G
O'Donoghue, The Warner, E.
Ogilvy, Sir J. Watkin, E. W.
Oliphant, L. Weguelin, T. M.
O'Loghlen, Sir C. M. Western, Sir T. B.
Onslow, G. Whalley, G. H.
O'Reilly, M. W. Whatman, J.
Whitbread, S. Wyld, J.
White, J. Wyvill, M.
Whitworth, B. Young, R.
Wickham, H. W.
Williamson, Sir H. TELLERS.
Winnington, Sir T. E. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Woods, H. Adam, W. P.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Cubitt, G.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Curzon, Viscount
Anson, hon. Major Cust, hon. C. H.
Archdall, Captain M. Dalkeith, Earl of
Arkwright, R. Dawson, R. P.
Baggallay, R. Dick, F.
Bagge, W. Dickson, Major A. G.
Bagnall, C. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Baillie, H. J. Du Cane, C.
Baring, H. B. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Baring, T. Dunkellin, Lord
Barnett, H. Dunne, General
Barrow, W. H. Du Pre, C. G.
Barttelot, Colonel Dutton, hon. R. H.
Bateson, Sir T. Dyke, W. H.
Bathurst, A. A. Dyott, Colonel R.
Beach, Sir M. H. Earle, R. A.
Beach, W. W. B. Eaton, H. W.
Bective, Earl of Eckersley, N.
Beecroft, G. S. Edwards, Colonel
Bentinck, G. C. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Benyon, R. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. P. Egerton, E. C.
Bernard, hon. Col. H. B. Egerton, hon. W.
Biddulph, Col. R. M. Elcho, Lord
Biddulph, M. Fane, Lieut.-Col. H. H.
Bingham, Lord Fane, Colonel J. W.
Booth, Sir. R. G. Feilden, J.
Bourne, Colonel Fellowes, E.
Bovill, W. Fergusson, Sir J.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Bromley, W. D. Floyer, J.
Brooks, R. Forde, Colonel
Browne, Lord J. T. Fort, R.
Bruce, Lord E. Freshfield, C. K.
Bruce, Major C. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Galway, Viscount
Bruen, H. Gaskell, J. M.
Buckley, E. George, J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. Getty, S. G.
Burghley, Lord Gilpin, Colonel
Burrell, Sir P. Goddard, A. L.
Butler-Johnstone, H. A. Goldney, G.
Cairns, Sir H. M'C. Gooch, D.
Campbell, A. H. Gore, J. R. O.
Capper, C. Gore, W. R. O.
Carington, hon. C. R. Gorst, J. E.
Cartwright, Colonel Grant, A.
Cave, S. Graves, S. R.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Greene, E.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Gregory, W. H.
Clinton, Lord A. P. Gray, Lieut.-Colonel
Clive, G. Grey, hon. T. de
Clive, Capt. hon. G. W. Griffith, C. D.
Cobbold, J. C. Grosvenor, Earl
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Cole, hon. J. L. Gurney, R.
Conolly, T. Hamilton, Lord C.
Courtenay, Lord Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Cooper, E. H. Hamilton, I. T.
Cox, W. T. Hamilton, Viscount
Cranbourne, Viscount Hardy, G.
Hardy, J. Neeld, Sir J.
Hartopp, E. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Hay, Sir J. C. D. Noel, hon. G. J.
Heathcote, hon. G. H. North, Colonel
Heathcote, Sir W. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. O'Neill, E.
Henniker, Lord Packe, C. W.
Herbert, hon. P. E. Packe, Colonel
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Palk, Sir L.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Parker, Major W.
Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M. Patten, Colonel W.
Holford, R. S. Paull, H.
Holmesdale, Viscount Peel, rt. hon. General
Hood, Sir A. A. Pennant, hon. Colonel
Hope, A. J. B. B. Percy, Mjr-Gen. Lord H.
Hornby, W. H. Philips, G. L.
Horsfall, T. B. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Hotham, Lord Powell, F. S.
Howes, E. Read, C. S.
Hubbard, J. G. Repton, G. W. J.
Huddleston, J. W. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Humphery, W. H. Robertson, P. F.
Hunt, G. W. Rolt, J.
Inncs, A. C. Royston, Viscount
Jervis, Captain Russell, Sir C.
Jolliffe, rt. hn. Sir W. G. H. Sandford, G. M. W.
Jolliffe, H. Saunderson, E.
Jones, D. Schreiber, C.
Kekewich, S. T. Sclater-Booth, G.
Kelk, J. Scott, Lord H.
Kelly, Sir F. Scourfield, J. H.
Kendall, N. Selwin, H. J.
Kennard, R. W. Selwyn, C. J.
Ker, D. S. Severne, J. E.
King, J. K. Seymour, G. H.
King, J. G. Simonds, W. B.
Knight, F. W. Smith, S. G.
Knightley, Sir R. Smollett, P. B.
Knox, Colonel Somerset, Colonel
Knox, hon. Major S. Stanhope, J. B.
Lacon, Sir B. Stanley, Lord
Laird, J. Stanley, hon. F.
Langton, W. G. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.
Lascelles, hon. E. W. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Leader, N. P. Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H. Stucley, Sir G. S.
Lefroy, A. Sturt, H. G.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Surtees, F.
Leslie, C. P. Surtees, H. E.
Liddell, hon. H. G. Sykes, C.
Lindsay, hon. Colonel C. Thorold, Sir J. H.
Lindsay, Colonel R. L. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Lopes, Sir M. Tollemache, J.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Tomline, G.
Lowther, Captain Torrens, R.
Lowther, J. Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C. G.
Lytton, rt. hn. Sir E. L. B. Treeby, J. W.
Malcolm, J. W. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Manner, rt. hn. Lord J. Turner, C.
Manners, Lord G. J. Tyrone, Earl of
Marsh, M. H. Vandeleur, Colonel
Meller, W. Verner, E. W.
Miller, S.B. Vernon, H. F.
Miller, T. J. Walcott, Admiral
Montagu, Lord R. Walker, Major G. G.
Montgomery, Sir G. Walrond, J. W.
Mordaunt, Sir C. Walsh, A.
Morgan, O. Walsh, Sir J.
Morgan, hon. Major Waterhouse, S.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R Welby, W. E.
Naas, Lord Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Whitmore, H. Wynn, C. W. W.
Williams, Colonel Wynne, W. R. M.
Williams, F. M. Yorke, J. R.
Wise, H. C.
Woodd, B. T. TELLERS.
Wyndham, hon. H. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Wyndham, hon. P. Taylor, Colonel
Wynn, Sir W. W.

I move that the Chairman do report Progress.


As there is other matter of importance in this clause, and at this hour of night (nearly half past twelve), we offer no resistance to the Motion. [Cries of "When, when?"]


This day. [Cries of "Monday, Monday!" from the Opposition, and "This day! this day!" from the Ministerial Benches.]


The Motion now before the Committee is that I do report Progress. It is for the House to settle on what day the Committee will be resumed.

Motion agreed to.

House resumed.


inquired on what day-it was the pleasure of the House that the Committee should sit again.


This day. [Renewed cries of "Monday!" from the Opposition.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House will this day [Friday] again resolve itself into the said Committee."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

VISCOUNT ROYSTON moved that the Committee sit again on Monday.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "this day," in order to insert the words "upon Monday next,"—(Viscount Royston,)—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words 'this day' stand part of the Question."


said, that he had, though he hoped not unduly, 'pressed private and independent Members to give way on one or two occasions, but it would not be necessary to do so now. The Government were responsible for the conduct of business on Fridays, subject to certain rules of the House. Independent Members, as it was perfectly well known, had a right to make their own Motions upon the Order of the Day for going into Committee of Supply. After the Committee of Supply was over the Government were responsible for the business of the night; and on referring to the paper of business for to-morrow he perceived that the Notices of Motion on going into Committee of Supply wore not of a character to occupy any great length of time, and, that being so, the Government, as far as depended on them, would employ the remaining time in making progress with the Reform Bill.


said, that the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not interfere with the privileges of private Members on the Friday night. The Motion for going into Committee of Supply would be made, and then hon. Gentlemen could bring forward their Motions; and afterwards, it would be unreasonable to interfere with the fair privilege of the Government. He was quite certain that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not propose to proceed with the Reform Bill at any very late hour.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

Main Question put, and agreed to

Committee to sit again To-morrow