HC Deb 05 July 1867 vol 188 cc1068-124

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

New Clause— (Power to distribute votes.) At any contested Election for a County or Borough represented by more than two Members, and having more than one seat vacant, every voter shall be entitled to a number of votes equal to the number of vacant seats, and may give all such votes to one candidate, or may distribute them among the candidates as he think fit.—(Mr. Lowe.)

Question again proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."


said, he felt some hesitation in prolonging the debates on this Bill by stating his objections to the clause of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), but those objections were of such a nature, that much as he wished the Bill to be carried, he should pause before accepting it if encumbered with this clause. He quite allowed that when we were about to make an advance towards democracy far beyond what any Member thought possible last year, it was worth while to consider whether by adopting any such plan as this we could remedy some of the supposed defects of democracy. Let us not, however, through fear of the unknown, adopt a principle which he believed to be a vicious one, and opposed to the well-working of representative Government. Now, the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman must not be discussed only with reference to the limited application which it would have under this Bill. If the principle were a sound one, by all means let the Committee adopt it, but let them adopt it universally; because if the minorities in Manchester and Birmingham ought to be protected and represented, minorities ought also to be protected elsewhere in the 300 other constituencies to which this clause would not apply. If, on the other hand, the principle when considered with reference to the whole country was unsound, let them not introduce the thin end of the wedge, and, at a time when they were chiefly engaged in getting rid of anomalies, introduce a new one. Now, the right hon. Gentleman disclaimed, as he understood, the protection of minorities, and placed his argument on the ground of abstract justice. He seemed to forget all that he told the House last year about the danger of arguing such questions on abstract rights and à priori considerations. For his part, he preferred to look at results, and if the scheme were adopted universally in the two-Membered constituencies, she result would be that, almost with certainty, the minority would be placed on an equal footing with the majority, and we should have a House returned giving an equality of Members to the two parties. He could not see the abstract justice of this or its expediency, and the short answer which he would give to the abstract justice argument of the right hon. Gentleman was, that if a voter found only one candidate to whom he could give his vote, it was because the convenience of the party suggested to them that the best mode of returning one Member was by starting one candidate only. It by no means followed that the voter's other two votes were lost; he would probably endeavour to split them, and to get other votes in return for his favourite. The real question remained, whether it was desirable by artificial means of this kind to secure a representation of minorities? Now, the main arguments on which this was contended for were two—first, the necessity of protecting a minority from the tyranny of the majority; and secondly, the expediency of securing the representation of intelligence and wealth in those cases where the upper classes were likely to be in a minority. Now, as regarded the first point, he believed that it was neither possible nor necessary to protect a minority. It was not possible, because, if the majority were really desirous of tyrannizing over a minority, no artificial scheme of this kind would prevent it. It would always find the means of securing its end, and it would probably turn any scheme that might be proposed to its own advantage. Party organization would avail itself of these arrangements, and with a certain majority of two-thirds, unfettered by considerations towards the other third, argument would be unavailing. In whatever way they might shuffle the pack the cards would remain the same. The game depended on that side which had the greatest number of trumps. Moreover, the scheme was not necessary. Experience, he ventured to say, of representative institutions worked out to their fullest extent did not show the necessity. It did not present cases where the majority tyrannized over the minority, or where the minority had not influence. If the minority were a considerable one, even if it was not successful in the election, its influence was by no means lost. Electors were not divided into two distinct parties by a sharp line, but there was every grade of opinion, from one extreme to the other, and experience showed, that if the Representative went too far in one direction, the moderate men in his constituency at once joined the other side and jeopardized his seat. It was the knowledge of this which insured moderation in many a Member; it was the certainty of this which made any great advance to a party impossible. He could quote numerous examples of the working of this in our own Constitution, and in the present Parliament there really seemed to be something of irony in advocating the claims of a minority. He could also quote instances from the working of the American Constitution. The right hon. Gentleman stated in his speech last night that in that country the minority of thousands might as well not exist, it being entirely ignored; I but this he ventured to deny. There was no country where the position and numbers of a minority were so closely studied, and where, even when unrepresented in Congress, it carried more weight in proportion to its numbers. There was never an election without a contest, and politicians watched with the greatest care the growth or decadence of a minority. When he was in that country last autumn the most violent political contest was being fought. The action of the President had excited great indignation in the Republican party, and in the elections for Congress the utmost exertions were made by both parties. The Republican party carried all before them; they returned seven-eighths of the representatives, although, when the aggregate vote was counted, it proved that the Democratic party had obtained two-thirds of the whole number of votes. What was the result? The Republican party, elated by their success, endeavoured to carry out extreme measures in Congress; they threatened impeachment of the President, and they brought in an almost prohibitive tariff. In doing so, however, they frightened the moderate men of their party both in and out of Congress, and they failed in both objects; but the strength of their party enabled them to carry a moderate scheme for the temporary government of the South which had met with the approval of the country, and there had resulted a political lull. Now, in the American Constitution there were, as he thought, defects which made it much less likely that a minority would be represented in proportion to its numbers than in our House of Commons. The number of members for Congress was so small that the chances of variety and of the minority being there were much reduced, whereas here the number of our representatives was so great that it was almost a certainty that the minority would be represented in proportion to its real Strength; and our system of double representatives increased those chances, while, at the same time, it left each Member responsible to his own constituency. For instance, there were 8 counties returning 3 Members each, and of these the minority succeeded in returning 5 Members—the numbers being 19 to 5. Again, there were 58 counties returning 2 Members each; in 16 of them 1 Member of each party was returned; in 32, 2 Conservatives were returned; and in 10, 2 Liberals; making a proportion of 80 to 36 — as nearly as possible that which would result from the adoption of three-Membered constituencies and cumulative voting. So, again, in the boroughs. There were 91 boroughs, with a population exceeding 10,000, returning 2 Members each; 34 of these returned 1 Member of each party, 44 returned 2 Liberals, and 13, 2 Conservatives, making a total of 124 Liberals to 60 Conservatives — the same proportion as if the constituencies had 3 Members, and the voters cumulative votes, On the other hand, if we looked at the Scotch boroughs, each of which returned 1 Member only, we found them all of the same hue. He contended, therefore, that our present system favoured the representation of minorities, while it retained the responsibility of each Member to the whole of his constituency; and he saw no reason why there should be any difference under the new franchise, though, of course, the two parties might be somewhat differently constituted, and their dividing line somewhat lower down. But then it was said, "By securing the minority its representation we shall get more moderate and more highly educated men. The upper classes, the property and intelligence of a constituency, will combine and return their own Member, and thus make head against democracy." Why, however, should the upper classes be the only minority thus to band together for its special purposes? Should we not have other minorities doing the same, and returning Members, not for the general good, but for their own special advantage? It had been our boast hitherto that Members represented their whole constituencies — that, when elected, they were to look to the benefit of all; but, if this clause were passed, they would look to the views and interests of sections only, and we should have far more decided partisans returned on both sides. The majority, relieved from fear or influence of the minority, would return more decided men; the minority, secure in returning one Member, would demand that that one should be more devoted to their views. Take the case of the three-Membered counties now existing, and suppose this clause adopted, would the minority of Liberals be satisfied with the Liberal county Members they now returned; would they not insist upon having a more decided Radical than the third Liberal county Member at present in general was? So also would it be in the great cities. If the upper classes combined to return a Member, it would be a man thinking only of class interests, a man bigoted and selfish, and probably hateful to the other classes in the town. These, on their part, relieved from the influence of the wealthy and the intellectual, would themselves return more violent partisans, persons having in view only class interests. He objected to this scheme, because it was based upon a theory of classes which was as yet unknown to our Constitution. It appeared to him to be of great importance that the wealthy and the intellectual should be compelled to descend from their eminence and to mix with the common people, and to maintain their influence by active interference of a legitimate kind. By adopting this clause we should prevent that circulation of interests and classes which was the very life of representative government, and withdraw the influence of the wealthy and the wise from directing, advising, and moderating the masses—by which process alone could we hope for the state so well described by the poet— Where jarring interests themselves create The according music of a well-mixed State.


said, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman who proposed this clause, that no very striking results were to be expected from its adoption. He did not suppose it would materially increase or diminish the Conservative majority which the Chancellor of the Exchequer expected to secure in a Reformed Parliament, and to this fact he attributed the indifference of the two great party leaders to it. Those right hon. Gentlemen, indeed, had not much interest in the remote future effects of this Bill. They would not lose their seats; but would continue to occupy their present distinguished positions, and this consideration, it seemed to him, had seriously interfered with the proper discussion of this great revolutionary measure. The matter, however, presented a very different aspect to the younger Members of the House. The younger men were interested, not in what might happen in Parliament after a Dissolution, but in what would be the state of this country twenty or forty years hence. It was for this reason that he ventured to intrude himself upon the Committee, and state why he supported the clause. The young men were vitally interested in this Reform question. Many of them would lose their seats altogether, and would thus be cut off from that public career in life upon which they were just entering. The worst effect of the Government measure would be its demoralizing effect upon men who would be compelled to make themselves popular. He did not suppose that the opinions of a constituency would weigh unduly with men like the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, because their political opinions had long been formed, and settled; but he dreaded their influence upon young men whose political character was not formed, and who would have to stoop to make themselves popular. If he had no other reason to offer but that alone, he would feel himself justified in supporting the clause, because it would give them some hope, and point out a way in which hereafter it might be possible for people who were unable to make themselves popular with the masses to find their way into Parliament. He did not believe the re-distribution scheme of the Government would stop where it was. [Mr. BERESFORD HOPE: "Hear, hear!"] He, for one, did not doubt that in a very few years they would have a scheme of distribution somewhat commensurate with the extensive reduction of the franchise which had been made. More three-corned constituencies would be created; and if the proposition contained in the clause were affirmed, they would have a principle established that would prove very beneficial, and there would be a chance for the representation of minorities. The hon. Member for Reading said that it was not desirable to represent minorities. That might, perhaps, be the case just now; but the time would come when it would not only be desirable, but necessary. It was the boast of that House that it at present represented all classes, and could not afford to be indifferent to the opinions of any class of their constituents, but after this Bill passed they would represent only one class, and that, generally, the lowest; so that the opinions of richer voters would be of no value when weighed in the same scale with a more numerous section. Looking to the future of this country, it seemed to him eminently desirable that there should be a chance hereafter of representing minorities He had not intruded himself upon the House during these Reform discussions, yet, night after night, he had been much distressed and grieved at the expressions made use of against the Conservative party. There was considerable justice in the remarks made towards them. It seemed to him they were in great danger of getting rid of the best part of their Conservative principles — to act contrary to all their previous opinions, and yet retaining the worst part of Conservatism. They were giving the country an extreme democratic measure, and at the same time they shrank from all those checks and precautions that hon. Members opposite had themselves suggested.


said, he was glad the Committee had at length the opportunity of considering the principle involved in the Amendment. He feared that the advocates of this principle were in a minority in that House, and in the country. Yet in time they might hope to convert the minority into a majority, and especially to obtain converts among the younger men. The principle sought to be established by the right hon. Member for Calne was by no means new, nor was it without able and eminent advocates from the days of Burke to those of Guizot, Mill, Hare, &c. It was in the speech of a Conservative statesman, Mr. Praed, that the first notice of this proposal was to be found. Mr. Praed, during the debate on the Reform Bill in 1831, proposed that in the unicorn counties enfranchised by the Bill each elector should only have two votes. Mr. Praed said:— If we desire that the representatives of a numerous constituency should come hither merely as witnesses of the fact that certain opinions are entertained by the majority of that constituency, our present system of election is certainly rational; and Members are right in their reprobation of a compromise, because it would diminish the strength of the evidence to a fact we wish to ascertain. But if we intend, as surely we do intend, that not the majority only, but the aggregate mass of every numerous constituency, should, so far as it is possible, be seen in the persons, and heard in the voices, of their representatives—should be, in short, in the obvious literal sense of the words, 'represented' in this House—then, Sir, our present rule of election is in theory wrong and absurd, and in practice is but partially corrected by the admission of that compromise on which so much virtuous indignation has been wasted."—[S Hansard, v. 1362.] Lord Althorp replied, and made a prophecy as to the future, which, if the subsequent elections for unicorn counties were examined, would be found to be completely verified. The present Earl Grey made a proposal of a somewhat similar kind in the debate on the English Municipal Bill; and on the Irish Municipal Bill he proposed that when there were eight candidates to be elected, the elector should only have five votes. The noble Earl also proposed that the same principle should be introduced into the constitution of the Cape of Good Hope. Earl Russell likewise, in introducing his Reform Bill of 1854, proposed that each elector of a unicorn constituency should only vote for two candidates. The noble Earl said:— Now, it appears to us that many advantages would attend the enabling the minority to have a part in these returns. In the first place, there is apt to be a feeling of great soreness when a very considerable number of electors, such as I have mentioned, are completely shut out from a share in the representation of one place. …. But in the next place, I think that the more you have your representation confined to large populations, the more ought you to take care that there should be some kind of balance, and that the large places sending Members to this House should send those who represent the community at large. But when there is a very large body excluded it cannot be said that the community at large is fairly represented."—[3 Hansard, cxxx. 498.] In bringing forward his next Reform Bill in 1860, Earl Russell again gave his adhesion to the principle. He said:— The House may remember that, upon a former occasion, I made a proposition which was not very palatable to the House, and which was certainly not popular in the country—namely, that there should be a division of votes; in other words, that where there were three Members each elector should have only two votes. As that proposition was not very popular, although I think it was a fair and just one, I shall not attempt to renew it upon the present occasion."—[3 Hansard, clvi. 2062.] In 1865, in re-publishing his Essay on the English Constitution, Earl Russell wrote as follows:— If there were to be any deviation from our customary habits and rooted ideas on the subject of representation, I should like to see such a change as I once proposed in order to obtain representatives of the minority in large and populous counties and towns. If when three Members are to be elected each elector were allowed to give two votes, we might have a Liberal country gentleman sitting for Buckinghamshire, and a Conservative manufacturer for Manchester. The local majority would have two to one in the House of Commons, and the minority would not feel itself disfranchised and degraded. He held it to be a fixed axiom in modern politics that the opinion of the majority must rule; but it was most important for the well-being of the State that the minority should have a hearing; and that was necessary even in the interest of the majority themselves, who seldom knew what was most for their own real benefit and the benefit of the country, and could only arrive at that knowledge by means of a wholesome collision of arguments and opinions. Too much could not be done to inculcate on the community that this was an united nation, and that the interest of every one was bound up with the interest of all. That was a fundamental law in political economy; and yet how rarely was it accepted as a vital principle even by educated minds! The present proposal would secure to a minority in every place, forming one-fourth of the electors the certainty of having one representative. The minority would generally be better disciplined and actuated by higher motives than the majority, for a large number of persons always went with the winning side; whereas the greatest reforms ever achieved were always initiated by a small but noble band, who were at first in conflict with the majority. The minority, under that proposal, would have the greatest possible motive for selecting as their candidate the best and ablest man they could find, partly with a view of having their opinions well ex-pressed, and partly also in order to win to their side the new voters who would come from time to time upon the register. Anotber result of the plan would be to get rid of a large part of the expenditure at elections, and it would likewise in many cases, put an end to bribery. Of course, he did not bring any special charge against the four or five cities and boroughs, or the seven or eight counties, which would be affected by that proposal; as, if it were adopted by the Committee, he looked forward to the time when after a trial of the experiment on so limited a scale, the House would see reason to enlarge the sphere of its operations. He concurred with the hon. Member for Lambeth in thinking that such a plan would have the effect of interesting an increased number of persons in polities. A large part of the population in many constituencies was now practically disfranchised. They took no interest in the elections, which was a grave evil; and there he joined issue with the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Lefevre), who objected to the proposal because under it the wealthier and upper classes would no longer take an interest in politics. Its effect, he thought, would be directly the reverse of that. One serious objection that had been raised was that it would put the candidates of the majority in a disadvantageous position towards each other as regarded the splitting of votes between the popular candidates; and that was with him a reason for preferring the plan of Lord Russell to the clause of his right hon. Friend. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said the result of such a proposal would be to weaken the Executive. They all knew the weakness of the Executive now, and all deplored it; but he thought the result would be exactly the contrary, inasmuch as the Executive would no longer have to fear sudden and capricious changes of opinion. The changes of opinion in that House would then be more gradual and more in accordance with the real public opinion of the time, which would enable the Executive to assume a bolder attitude, as it would not then, as was the case at present, so much fear to run counter to the feeling of any small body of persons. As a mere party question he believed that the effects of the proposal would be absolutely null and void. For himself he should scorn to allow his opinion on it to be influenced by such considerations; but as to the three cornered constituencies contemplated by the Bill, while it was true that the Liberal party might obtain a seat in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, on the other hand, the Conservatives would gain a seat in Birmingham, Manchester, and the City of London. In conclusion, he was very glad to be able to stand there and give his adhesion to the principle contained in the clause, because he knew it was unpopular at present among the constituencies, and, although he was aware that the knowledge of the circumstances deterred many hon. Gentlemen from giving the proposal their support, he was yet convinced that the surest way to gain strength for it in the mind of the country was to show that a large number of Members of the House of Commons of every shade of political opinion had seriously considered it and had given it their adhesion.


said, he was glad that so important a proposal as the present was likely to receive a full and fair discussion. The extreme difficulty, however, of carrying it out was exemplified by the fact that two of its chief advocates in that House sought to effect their object by different methods. The plan of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) seemed open to this objection, that it would place a rather insignificant minority in a superior position to that of the majority in a constituency. The proposition of the hon. Member for Plymouth was for a direct representation of minorities. If that principle were to be adopted at all it ought to be carried further. They could not adopt it simply where the electors returned three Members, but must also do so in constituencies which returned two; because an elector living in a constituency with three Members, and who had one candidate in whom he was especially interested, would have the power under that proposition of giving him three votes, whereas another elector, living perhaps in a neighbouring constituency, would be able to give the candidate in whom he might be especially interested one vote only. It was said that the representatives should be the reflection of the represented, and it was clear that the more electors were induced to take a direct interest in the affairs of the legislature the more would they take in the affairs of the country. An additional reason for the adoption of some plan of this kind was to be found in the present tendency to give increased representation to large and populous places. If in those places there were no cumulative vote or no representation of the minority the majority would have the power of returning a certain number of representatives in direct accordance with their own peculiar political views, and those Members, from representing the majority continually, would become rather delegates, compelled to carry out the popular will, than representatives as they should be, of the whole country. He would at once admit that no representative should be dead to the influence of public opinion, which at the present day exercised so much power; but he was at the same time of opinion that a representative should, on the great questions of the day, be left free to exercise his own independent judgment. His hon Friend the Member for Reading had in the course of his speech entered into some details with respect to the state of things which prevailed in America, and he, too, had had as well as his hon. Friend the pleasure of travelling in that country. He there learnt from several person whom he met that several of the most influential citizens of the United States shrank from taking part in public affairs because they were so greatly outnumbered by the lower order of the community. Now that was not a desirable state of things and it would, he hoped, be long before a similar state of things came to exist in England. It seemed also most probable that, if our representatives should become the mere delegates of the popular will, we should very soon have to resort to the payment of the Members returned to the House of Commons. Of the results which such a system led to in America he might be allowed to give a single instance. He once saw it stated in a paper that in one of the Western States of that country the people had a great objection to make any payment which was not absolutely necessary. Their taxes were not very great, and there was only one pauper in the whole place. Having to pay a representative, they hit on the expedient of sending the pauper as their Member to the Legislative Assembly, and thus made the one expense suffice. He had simply, in conclusion, to express a hope that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, or some proposal similar to it, would be adopted. If that were done, there would be a good chance that all classes of the English people would be fully and fairly represented in the future House of Commons.


said, it appeared to him that the hon. Member for Cambridge had put the question under discussion on the right footing when he very frankly stated that there was at present no necessity for the proposed change; but that he was favourable to it in consequence of the alteration which the Bill would make in the future constituency of the country. His right hon. Friend the Member for Calne had expressed a similar opinion, for he had a profound distrust of the new constituencies. In that view his right hon. Friend had been perfectly consistent, and amid all the changes of opinion which had taken place on the question of Reform he alone remained unchanged,— Nec civium ardor prava jubentium, Nec vultus instantis tyranni, Mente quatit solidâ. But what, he would ask, was the foundation of the argument on which the proposal of his right hon. Friend was based? It proceeded on the belief that the minority in the new constituency was more likely to be right than the majority, or that the majority were not in the future so likely to be right as they were at present. Now, that might be a very good argument against the third reading of the Bill or any extension of the franchise at all; but it seemed to him to be of very little force as addressed to those who were of opinion that the franchise was being properly extended, and that the new class of voters would be as good as, if not better than, the old. His hon. Friend who had just spoken had pointed out very clearly that which was the logical conclusion to which the arguments in favour of cumulative voting led—namely, to the establishmnet of the system in constituencies which returned only two Members. And what, he would ask, would be the effect of the adoption of such a system in those constituencies? Why, that in every one of them a minority of one-third plus one would be equal to the majority. In almost every such case two Members opposed in political opinion would be returned, and, inasmuch as their votes would neutralize one another, the practical result would be that all the great questions of the day would be decided by the constituencies which returned only one Member. He was quite ready to admit that, in the case of constituencies returning three Members, the arguments against the proposal before the Committee were by no means so strong; they were, he at the same time thought, of great weight. What, for instance, was the theory of our representative system? One Member was given to a comparatively small community, while two were given to a larger, in order that they might be more effectually represented, not merely in debate, but by votes recorded in the lobby; a constituency with two Members having twice the power on a division than that by which only one was returned. Applying the same rule to constituencies returning three Members, was it not intended that they should have still more power in that respect than those the number of whose representatives was smaller? If the present Motion were agreed to, the consequences would be that a great Liberal or Conservative constituency—it mattered not which, because the question was not one of a party character—would in reality be represented in the lobby on all important occasions by only one vote. In the case of Manchester, for example, and all the other great towns having three Members, the Member of the minority would neutralize one of the votes of the two Members for the majority, so that those great towns would practically not have a greater number of votes than a small borough like Totnes. His hon. Friend who spoke last had dwelt on two incidental advantages which, he said, would be likely to attend the adoption of cumulative voting—the prevention of bribery and of contested elections. He could not, however, help thinking that if it did operate to prevent contests it would do so only at the expense of something more valuable than their absence. A minority of one-fourth would, under the operation of the clause proposed by his right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, and still more if the Amendment of his hon. Colleague were adopted, be sure of returning their Member. The majority, too, would be sure of returning theirs. Indifference as to the candidates returned would be the result, and a political stagnation which might prove to be worse even than political excitement. But there was an inevitable difficulty attending the working of this principle. Let them suppose that the Member of the minority of one-fourth was named to a Government office, would it not be idle to expect that he would be reelected by the majority? If that were so the Member of the minority would be rendered practically ineligible for the holding of office, and would thus be placed in a position of inferiority as compared with other Members. Besides, he could not help thinking that the novelty of having Members whose opinions were diametrically opposed to those of the majority of their constituency was calculated to place those Members in a false position in that House. He was not one of these who attached any great reliance on the argument of prescription. He was not opposed to all change, simply because it was change, nor did he adhere to an existing system merely because it happened to be established. Those who followed the right hon. Member for Calne, however, in the present instance, were advocating a system of voting which was wholly unknown to the Constitution of this country. The burden of proof, therefore, as to its expediency, he maintained rested with them, and in his opinion they had failed to make out any such case as should induce the Committee to assent to a proposition, which, as far as he could see, was due solely to a distrust of the new constituencies, and he should, therefore, certainly feel bound to oppose the Motion.


said, he was unable to concur in the view that the cumulative vote was an essential part of the new system of representation which they were about to adopt. He considered that the representation of communities was the principle of representation in that House; and hitherto he had always understood that the object of the process of election was to ascertain what were the prevalent wish and feeling of a community which chose men to represent them in that House, not merely in reference to one single question on which the election might have turned, but to think, consult, and deliberate for them as to what might be best for Imperial interests in general. They were told that the influx of democracy would be so great that they must abandon the old plan of ascertaining what was the prevalent wish of every community, and must arrive at some plan for enabling every individual, or, at least, every class of the constituency, to have a direct voice in that assembly. That was an entirely new principle. Hon. Gentlemen opposite told them that they had adopted so democratic a suffrage, they must endeavour to cure the evil by facilitating a process of combination against it. The principle of this new scheme of representation had been enunciated in the hon. Member for Westminster's work by the words "that the whole people should be represented by the whole people;" but the question was whether that principle would be better carried out by the majority and minority of different places sending antagonists to Parliament to represent them on opposite views, or by the collective community electing Members who on all questions could think and act for the integral constituencies by which they are returned. The present mode of ascertaining by the voice of the majority the prevalent will of a constituency was, according to the proposed plan, no longer to be the rule; and the locality returning a Member was no longer to be considered as an organized community, but every individual in it was to be severally or in groups represented. Every community in order to be represented in that House had hitherto acted as an unit, and, just as an individual arrived at a conclusion, after balancing conflicting reasons, so a community, after balancing one set of opinions against the other, expressed its decision in a contested election through the majority, and the Members elected were intended to represent freely, and in their own Judgment, the aggregate will of the place. There were some Gentlemen there who might see only one side of a question, who did not trouble themselves to balance reasons; they were analogous to rotten boroughs, or places never contested: but, happily, they were vastly outnumbered by those who brought the effect of balanced judgment to bear upon their decisions, and such alone are worthy members of a deliberative assembly. It seemed to him that a representative was not to be taken to indicate the opinion of every individual he represented, but to exercise a judgment which was in general accordance with the opinion of his constituents. Was it to be supposed that hon. Members represented the stereotyped opinion of their constituencies on one point merely? Did any hon. Member suppose that he merely represented in that House his constituents in some one particular view, or on one question, such as Free Trade or Reform? If he did, he was not fit to represent any constituency in that House. The hon. Member for Lambeth has said that he had never felt comfortable in that House because he knew that he did not represent the minority in his constituency. It was, however, the hon. Member's business to represent the minority, and the minority would consider the hon. Member wanting in his duty if he did not represent them on every question which came before Parliament. Not only ought he to do so, but he could not help doing so; and the hon. Member acknowledged the influence of that minority in his arguments and in his conduct in that House. It was taken for granted in all these arguments that the minority and the majority were two bodies which must be in stereotyped antagonism on all subjects, and that the one had no sympathy with the other. The minority were supposed to represent the intelligence of a constituency, and the majority were taken to represent numbers or brute force. Was that so in every case? It was not, because the intelligence of a place, if it were worth anything, always divided the numbers. If the educated class chose to withdraw from political contests on acount of fear, sloth, or luxury, it did not deserve to possess political influence, and he would make no alteration in the old principle of election in order to meet such a case. He could not help thinking that in all these arguments each man had his mind fixed on a particular case, and that they were losing sight of the great principle which had always guided the representation of conflicting opinions in that House. The hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Hughes) had said that if the principle he advocated were adopted, the interest of the different classes of the people would all be enlisted in the conduct of the affairs of the Empire, and that thereby men of leisure and fortune would be withdrawn from the pursuits of the turf, men of the middle class from the pursuit of money-making, and the poorer class from their addiction to gin. Now, to induce the rich to take a part in politics as a class of themselves, separate from the poor, was not a good mode of proceeding; and it would be better to make the rich feel a common cause with the poorer classes. As for the poor, they formed no opinions on most political questions, but generally followed leaders; and those were the very men whom it was proposed to separate as a minority distinctly by themselves, and who ought to be the very persons to influence the poorer classes to give them their votes. The right hon. Member for Calne had stated that he did not want to give minorities protection, but equality; and when the right hon. Gentleman was able to square the circle he would be able to give equal value to majorities and minorities at elections in a free country.


said, that those who intended to support the proposition of the right hon. Member for Calne might feel somewhat inspirited by the speech they had just heard; for if they judged from past events, they might fairly conclude that the opposition of the right hon. Gentleman simply indicated that at the conclusion of the debate the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give the proposition his warm and cordial support. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) seemed greatly distressed because the proposition was new. Of course, the supporters of the clause felt sorry to trouble those who were harrassed by the cares of political life with new propositions; but they could not help feeling that many things which were very new were very true, important, and well worthy of consideration. The right hon. Gentleman said it had been a constitutional principle that communities should be represented, and he (Mr. Fawcett) supported the proposition of the Member for Calne, because he wished to see communities as far as possible represented, and he could not see how it could be maintained that they were represented at present. Take the case of a large constituency of 20,000 electors, returning three Members; and because there happened to be 11,000 Liberals and 9,000 Conservatives, or, vice versâ, the majority was represented by three Members, while the rest of the constituency had no voice or power whatever. Then it was said by the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth that those who supported the proposition assumed that the minorities to whom they sought to give some power were superior in intelligence to the majorities. The hon. and learned Member had no right to say that they had made such a proposition. He would admit that every elector had exactly the same amount of intelligence, and gave an equal vote; and if they started with that supposition it strengthened their proposition that the majority should not overwhelm the minority. Those who were endeavouring to improve the representative system must base their efforts upon the principle that a representative body ought as far as possible to represent all sections and all classes in the country by the ablest and most independent men. It was because he cherished that principle that he had supported and should continue to support every proposition which was calculated to reduce election expenses; for unless something was done to reduce those expenses they could not have communities so represented, but they must have another qualification; they must have men who were also rich, as no poor man would then be able to obtain a seat in that House. It was sometimes very erroneously supposed that it was their wish to give a minority as much power as a majority. That he altogether denied. He would never support a proposition which by any dodge or artifice should seek either openly or covertly to give the minority as much power as the majority. He had never concealed that he was a friend of democracy; but when he said that he favoured democracy, what did he mean? He looked upon a pure democracy as one in which everyone had an equal opportunity of exercising political influence and political power, and he did not look upon a society as being a true democracy, but, on the other hand, as an unfortunate oligarchy, if the majority had the power of exercising its will by trampling upon the minority, and of exercising its power unchecked, unrestrained, and unchallenged by the opinions or votes of the minority. It was sometimes said that if the minority was stifled in one constituency it was represented in another; that if, for instance, the Conservatives were outnumbered in Marylebone, that was compensated for by the Radicals being outnumbered in Suffolk. But that was no compensation whatever. What those who had advocated an extension of the franchise wished was to interest the greatest number possible in the political life of the nation. The State was harmed, and individuals were injured, if, from any circumstance whatever, persons were forced out from active interest in political life; and it was a great misfortune that from Conservatives being outnumbered in one constituency, ane Radicals in another, those minorities should think it was of no use to exert themselves in political contests, and therefore gave up political life as altogether hopeless. It was said that they ought to extend this principle to constituencies returning two Members; but that conclusion would not be logical, because by so applying the principle of cumulative voting they would give to the minority in those constituencies as much power as the majority. When, however, they confined the proposition to constituencies which returned three Members, they by no means gave the minority as much power as the majority. The proposition did not represent minorities so far as he should like to see them represented; but a man was not a practical politician, but a visionary and enthusiast, if he refused something which he looked upon as very good because it did not do all that he would like to see accomplished. The proposition of the right hon. Member for Calne, so far as it went, would operate entirely for good, and therefore it met with his cordial support. In a practical nation like this they could only get a new and great idea accepted gradually, and after, by very careful experiment, its advantages had been proved. When the principle of representing minorities had been tried upon the small scale now advocated, the nation would gradually learn a valuable lesson, would step by step get hold of the advantages of this great principle, and would be prepared at last, perhaps twenty or fifty years hence, to give its sanction to some great philosophic scheme which would enable a pure democracy—and they were coming to a democracy—to work with all its advantages and counteract all its disadvantages. No one could doubt that some Liberals in that House were beginning to tremble at the extension of the suffrage which had been sanctioned, because, for what reasons he knew not, they were beginning to get into their heads that at the first General Election the Conservative party might be somewhat strengthened. Such considerations did not trouble him in the least. He could honestly say that whenever any proposition had been brought forward during these Reform discussions he had never been in the slightest degree influenced by the immediate effect it might have upon party prospects. He knew that those effects were temporary and evanescent. He knew that the suffrage would act as a great agency of education; and that if they could educate the people more they would be much more likely to support those political principles which were true. He believed that his principles were true, and that therefore they would ultimately get more and more support, but if on the contrary they proved to be false, he was confident that the improved education of the people would detect their errors. He longed to see that House, as far as possible, the mirror and image of the political opinions of the country. He was certain that if they had a fair representation of minorities they might then have with safety a much wider extension of the suffrage, because if minorities were represented every opinion would then be fairly discussed, every side of a question would be advocated by able men, truth would then be victorious, and the will of the majority would predominate, not by trampling upon and despising the minority, but by giving to every class of opinion its fair, its just, and its proportionate interest.


said, that both he and the hon. Member for Birmingham in one sense represented the same constituency, though entertaining widely different opinions on several subjects; and, although as a Member for the county in which Birmingham is situate, he did not claim to represent Birmingham as fully as the hon. Gentleman, his partly doing so might be taken as an example of the manner in which the Constitution had carefully provided for the representation of minorities already. The circumstance which gave extra importance to this motion was the fact that they were preparing to diminish not only the number but the representation of small boroughs. He voted for the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee), and he joined in the opinion that they would see the representation of small constituencies gradually extinguished or very much diminished. It was, then, in consequence of the decision to which the House had come, of extreme importance that they should secure an equipoise in the constitution they had framed for the majority of the constituencies of England and Wales. Upon the bearings of democracy no man had written more intelligently than M. de Tocqueville. He would show how clearly de Tocqueville saw danger from the want of some such counterpoise in the Constitution of the United States which he so much admired, and how he foresaw, also, the danger which England would have to guard against. He hoped the Committee would forgive him for quoting the following passages from the Memoirs, Letters, and Remains of Alexis de Tocqueville. In one of his letters upon the Government of the United States, de Tocqueville said— Democracy, in short, seems to me to be a fact which the Government may hope in future to regulate, but not to reverse. I assure you that it was not without difficulty that I resigned myself to this idea. My view of this country does not prove to me that, even under the most favourable circumstances, and they exist here, the Government of the people is a desirable event. All are pretty well agreed that in the early days of the Republic the statesmen and members of Congress were much more distinguished men than they now are. They nearly all belonged to the class of country gentlemen—a race which diminishes every day. The country no longer selects so well. It chooses in general those who flatter its passions and descend to its level. This effect of democracy, joined to the extreme instability, the entire absence of coherence or permanence that one sees here, convinces me every day more and more that the best government is not that in which all have a share, but that which is directed by the class of the highest moral principle and intellectual cultivation. Then what did he say about England? He would read an extract from Mr. Senior's Journal, and under the date Feb. 24, 1854, M. de Tocqueville said— I am alarmed by your Reform Bill. Your new £6 franchise must, I suppose, double the constituencies. It is a further step to universal suffrage—the least remediable of institutions. While you preserve your aristocracy you will preserve your freedom. If that goes, you are in danger of falling into the worst of tyrannies—that of a despot appointed and controlled, if controlled at all, by a mob. He had read those two passages to show that, in giving the vote he had done, his eyes had been open to the possible consequences. He was, however, induced to hope that the Committtee would entertain and accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, because, if they adopted it, the experiment of cumulative voting might be tried on a limited scale in the same manner that three-cornered constituencies were tried by the Act of 1832. The hon Member for Plymouth said, that the principle of representation in this country always had been that communities should be represented, and based his argument upon that principle, contending that, no matter how large the constituency nor how many the representatives, the majority—that was to say, a section only—of the community should be heard in that House. In his opinion that was not a sufficient representation of a large community, but only of a section of the community; and in proof of that he reminded the Committee that, it was only by means of notorious corruption, or by their Members being frequently returned, avowedly as the nominees of great landowners, that the minorities had up to this time preserved some share of representation in the country. Now, however, in consequence of the progress of events, the change of circumstances, and the spread of education, the country revolted from the coarse means of bribery, corruption, and nomination to which the minorities had been driven in order to obtain a share in the representation by means of these small boroughs. These small constituencies were gradually vanishing, and with them was vanishing one of the elements of the representation of minorities. Seeing that such a result was inevitable, and adopting the opinion of de Tocqueville that democracy might be regulated, but not reversed, he tendered his thanks to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne, who, having defended the small boroughs with an ability which all had acknowledged and with a courage which all had admired, now tendered this scheme for the preservation of their action upon the representation of the country, which had formerly been beneficial. It had been objected that, applying the principle of cumulative voting to the three-cornered constituency of Birmingham, the vote of one of the two Members returned by the majority would be neutralized by the vote of the one Member returned by the minority. He thought that the majority in Birmingham should be satisfied by being represented by two to one. He believed that the argument of the hon. Member for Lambeth was well founded, and that the minorities in the large constituencies were too important to be overlooked. Seeing that so many hon. Gentlemen were anxious to address the Committee he would say no more than that he would accept the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, which seemed an improvement upon that which was made by the Government of Lord Aberdeen, and which had the sanction of Earl Russell, Lord Palmerston, and Sir James Graham; and he hoped that the Committee would adopt it as a further experiment in the direction of that which created the three-cornered constituencies by the Act of 1832.


I think it is an unfortunate thing for the right hon. Gentleman who brings this proposition forward that all those who are in its favour do not appear to exactly approve it. Neither the hon. Member for Plymouth who spoke from the seat below me, nor the hon. Member for Brighton appear to regard the question in the same light as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne does; and they utterly repudiate his frank admission that the principle of his proposition is applicable to a further and a wider field than the few constituencies which will return three Members to this House. It is also a thing to be observed and noticed particularly that this proposition is introduced to the House by a Member whose course during the last and the present Session on the question of the extention of the suffrage has been very marked and very consistent. He has, in language of a most agonizing entreaty, urged the House to avoid the abyss of ruin into which Lord Derby and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have been inviting their supporters to follow them. The right hon. Gentleman is quite consistent, he has the greatest right to hold the opinions he does, and I am not saying a word to depreciate him in this matter. I think the course he has taken is the one which he might have been expected to take. I think it might also have been expected that hon. Members opposite, who are supposed to coincide in opinion with the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, should follow the lead and support the proposition of the right hon. Member for Calne. I am, however, very much surprised that any Gentleman on this side of the House—more especially the hon. Member for Brighton, who utters declarations in favour of democracy from which I should shrink—should get up in his place to support a proposition which I will venture to say is the most violent attack upon the principle of representation in this country that has ever been made in this House. I find that there is a great disposition in favour of new-fangled propositions in some minds. For my own part I have no sympathy with them, and I never had. I have always invited the House, in dealing with this Question, to march along the ancient paths of the Constitution, and I believe that in the proposition to which this House has now mainly agreed, as far as the suffrage is concerned, the Government and the House have hitherto marched along those paths. Let us recollect what the right hon. Gentleman said last night, and I beg hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House to bear it in mind. The right hon. Gentleman told us what a terrific state of things we were approaching, and he begged the House, as its last and only chance—he spoke of this proposition as being the last arrow in the quiver—to avoid the ruin towards which we were rushing, and then what does he do? He proposes a scheme which will only apply to eight or ten constituencies, in the majority of which the hon. Member for Plymouth says the desired result is already attained. He hopes that the House will accept this mode of arresting the danger; first of all assuming that the danger is so great, and then assuming that his remedy will avail. Why, if a man abstracted a snowball from an avalanche, would that prevent the danger or destruction that was impending? Bearing in mind the probable effects of this Bill, assuming, if you like to assume it, that the fears of the right hon. Gentleman as to the Bill have any real foundation—the proposition itself, I say, is one of the most puerile and insignificant, and utterly worthless for the object in view. If the House is mistaken in the step which it has taken with regard to the borough franchise or to the county franchise, for this proposal, I take it, is to affect counties as well as boroughs, let the House review its course and amend it. For my part, I believe the longer the House of Commons is in existence the more will it be confirmed in its opinion that the course it has taken with regard to the franchise has been a wise one; and probably, under the circumstances in which we were placed, it was a course which could not be avoided. Hon. Gentlemen speak as if, hitherto and in future, minorities had and will have no chance. Now, let every Member of the House ask himself whether it is not the fact that hitherto the minority in this country has had far more than its fair share of representation? Is it not true, also, that under this Bill, taking your whole system together, large boroughs, small boroughs, and counties, the minority in the country, even after this Bill passes, will have its full share of representation? It has been one of the general complaints of the country that the minority has ruled, through an unfair and improper representation in Parliament. I will undertake to say that there is no country where a representative system exists, that is free in its action—I mean free from the control of the Government—in which the minority is not sufficiently represented. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire, who claims to be in part a representative of Birmingham—and he is, of those Conservative electors of Birmingham who vote in the county which he represents—being, in fact, the representative of the very minority for for which he now seeks another representative—has quoted an opinion from a very eminent, writer on the subject of the United States; but there is not a point more conclusive against his argument that the present condition of the United States. There never has been a time in the history of that country when the minority in the House of Representatives has not been equally proportioned at least to the minority out of doors. And as to what the hon. Member for Plymouth, who ought to know something about America, has said of this mode of election giving strength to the Executive Government, I venture to say that if the system of representing minorities according to the proposition now before the House had been established, and had been in existence during the late war, the United States Government never could have been borne up, as they were, by the entire people, and never would have possessed power sufficient to suppress the desperate rebellion in the Southern States. Every American knows that well, and every Englishman ought to know that anything which enfeebles the representative power, and lessens the vitality of the electoral system—which puts in the nominees of little cliques here representing a majority, and there a minority, but having no real influence among the people—every system like that weakens and must ultimately destroy the power and the force of your Executive Government. I do not deny that this proposal may be worth discussing; but as I heard the right hon. Member for Calne last night, I thought it exactly that sort of subject that one would hear discussed at University College Debating Society, or which would probably be discussed in the debating clubs of Oxford and Cambridge, but which has not sufficient claim to much consideration in Parliament. Now, what is it that the gentleman who propose this system admit? They admit that in all large boroughs to which you give three Members it would make the return absolutely certain before you went to the election at all. The hon. Member says it would be no grievance to the constituency of Birmingham that it should have two Members on one side of the House and one upon the other. [Mr. NEWDEGATE: I said there was a possibility of it.] Well, I will not speak of Birmingham but of other towns; and in which, as I collect from the statements of hon. Members favourable to this system, the result I have contemplated is inevitable. It is said that it will be no great grievance, because there will be two Members on one side and one on the other; but they will not be returned by fair election. If they were no one would complain. Nobody complains that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire was elected to sit on this side of the House, and that the two gentlemen who are his Colleagues sit opposite to him. But suppose that, without a contest, he were returned, and continued to be returned on all occasions by a minority, to neutralize by his vote one of the other representatives, leaving that great division of the county to be represented practically and insufficiently in the lobby by one of its Members. I think that would be one of the most ridiculous propositions that ever was offered to Parliament. If that system be established, it is quite plain that contests will be at an end. In South Lancashire, at the last election, the Conservatives proposed three candidates; and on our side we proposed three. There was a very active canvass, great debate and discussion of all public questions, and the discussion did much to teach all parties something of the state of the country. The result was that two gentlemen came to your side of the House and one to this. But suppose the system now proposed had then been in operation. Everything would have been known beforehand; we should have known perfectly well that we could not have returned more than one Member; your friends would have known that they could not carry more than two, and the result would have been that the two committees would have met and decided upon their respective candidates; these would have been proposed at Newton-on-the-Willows and elected, and the population of the county would have known almost nothing about it. I must say that a principle can hardly be devised more calculated to destroy the vitality of our elective system, and to produce stagnation, not only of the most complete, but of the most fatal character, affecting our public affairs. The right hon. Member for Calne, whom we cannot but admire, because he is not afraid of his position or principles, says that the system would act equally well in places where there are only two Members. It has been admitted by the Members for Plymouth and for Brighton that the system would end in one Member being returned by the majority and one by the minority. Why not put a clause into our Acts of Parliament, enacting that the Liberals shall return one Member and the Tories another? Then the Tories could meet and return their Member, and the Liberals could meet and return their Member. Then this House would meet with an equal proportion of Members on either side, and I suppose we should always appeal to Mr. Speaker to decide what the House intended to do. There is only one mode of excluding the minority from its rightful power, assuming that you give the suffrage pretty widely through the country, and that would be if your whole constituency was one constituency. If in this country, for instance, all the electors of the kingdom were upon one list of electors, and all the 658 Members were to be elected by them, then you would have one great ticket as they have in America, only fifty times as long; a list proposed upon one side, and a list proposed upon the other, and the majority would of course sweep away the 658 put forward by their opponents. In that event clearly the minority would be altogether unrepresented. But that is not the case here, it is not the case in the United States, it is not the case in Switzerland, nor anywhere else where the representative system exists. At present the minority of one set of politics in a particular borough are generally represented by the Members returned by the majority in an adjacent borough. I will take Liverpool and Manchester. The Members for Liverpool are Conservatives; the representatives of Manchester have been Liberals generally; though at this moment the return is rather equivocal. But the minority in Manchester has always had its case fairly stated by the representatives of the majority in Liverpool. If you look over the list of all our constituencies from the time of the Reform Bill, with the exception of those dead boroughs to which the hon. Member for Warwickshire objects—it would seem equally with myself—and of counties which are not free, I think it will be found that constant changes have taken place, of a healthy character, and tending to the instruction of our people in all our national affairs. The right hon. Member for Calne, I think, should have given us more figures, and shown us how his plan would work. I will take the case of the City of London. It returns four Members, and I will assume that it has 20,000 electors; I do not know the proportions; but assume that it has 12,000 Liberal and 8,000 Tory electors, and that all these voted in straight lines for their own candidates; it is not usual, I know, but I will assume it for the sake of argument. These 12,000 Liberal votes would enable that party to give 48,000 votes, divided among their four candidates. The Tory party, on the other hand, knowing their numerical inferiority, would probably put up but one candidate, and for this one representative they would be able to poll 32,000 votes, and the man who represented the minority would be a very long way a-head on the poll. Some time ago, I was illustrating this matter for my constituents in Birmingham, and I said the plan looked to me like that species of entertainment, a donkey race, where the last is destined to win. But suppose the Liberals in the City of London only brought forward three candidates, and the Tories ventured on putting up two; each side would then have 16,000 votes, if they were all equally divided according to the respective parties, and if only one more vote were lost to the Liberal side through splitting than was lost to their opponents, the Tory minority would be enabled to return two Members. For a man like the right hon. Member for Calne, who has a natural, and acquired, and confirmed horror of anything revolutionary, to make a proposition like this does appear to me extraordinary and somewhat inconsistent. He thinks probably that his scheme would protect constituencies from the sudden changes of opinion of which he is apprehensive. But looking to the past, can anything be more gradual than the changes which have taken place? How long did it take the Tory party to win over the majority in South Lancashire which we obtained in the Free Trade struggle? How long will it take us—or how long would it have taken us but for this Bill—to recover the ground we have lost? Why, all these changes take place commonly in the most gradual manner, and nobody can ever see that there is any great and sudden change in this House arising from a great and sudden change in the constituencies. Great changes no doubt happen from other causes, and indeed we are witnesses of one this Session. There is the right hon. Member for Calne, who with his jealousy for the Constitution offered the most obstinate opposition to the proposals of last Session, and who nevertheless has been, as we all know, one of the most potent influences in producing this great change. But great as that change is, and much as he may deplore it, in all probability we may find it has been of very great advantage to the country, and of singular advantage to hon. Gentlemen opposite, as they will, I am sure, if they live, have reason to know. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has already stated in very distinct terms his views of these new-fangled propositions. They are the propositions of men who either, like the right hon. Member for Calne, feel great alarm as to the Bill to which we have agreed, or who propose to go to some unknown length with the hon. Member for Brighton. Now I object to offer my children or grandchildren, be they electors or Members of the House, inducements to go into schemes of that kind. I think we had better do what is the duty of our day with regard to the matter before us, and leave those great changes to which the hon. Gentleman has pointed to be made—if they are necessary—by those who may come after us, and who may have seen the failure—if it be a failure—of the measures which we are now engaged in passing. I believe that as regards the object of the right hon. Member for Calne this proposition is not worth a straw—it is not worth considering in that light, and I hope no Member will so consider it; but it would have the effect of destroying all that is living and energetic in the constituencies wherever it was applied, and it would, I believe from that cause be fatal to your principle of representation. Now if there be one thing in this country which, more than another, has been of service to our ancestors and of service to us, notwithstanding sometimes the brutality, often the venality, occasionally I am afraid too generally, the compulsion which is exercised upon electors—surely it is the freedom of our elections. Let us have laid down, as in a chart, everything that is bad concerning elections in this country, and still, after all that, I say there is an enormous balance of good to the people in the freedom and the life of our Parliamentary elections. Starting with that opinion, let us in a new Bill, establishing a broader system, at least find out that that system has these evils which are pointed to before we adopt a principle, which if you adopt it clearly cannot correct those evils, from the very small extent to which it is applied, but which may do much to destroy the life of our representation to which I have adverted; and which is of a thousand times more value than any of those peculiar crotchets and dreamy propositions which the right hon. Gentleman on my right, and the hon. and learned Gentleman on my left, have so strongly urged upon the Committee.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has appeared in a character which he has recently affected as a defender of the old ways, and a reverencer of our ancient Constitution. From his point of view I have no donbt he is right; but I believe no more dangerous error can be entertained by the House of Commons than to believe that you can withdraw one-half, and more than one-half, of the elements which contituted our ancient Constitution, and that then you can, on the plea of Conservatism, adhere to the rest and believe that they will bear the fruit which they bore in old times. Our Constitution was monarchical; it was aristocratic; it had, also, a large tinge of democracy; but speaking practically, the monarchical principle has died. The aristocratic principle you are now sentencing to death; the democratic principle you propose to leave alone, unchecked by the elements which existed before; and then, in urging us to retain it unchanged, you claim for it the sanction which descends from the experience and wisdom of our ancestors. You must make up your minds, if you will have one thing new, to have many things new—new things to correct the innovations you have introduced. We want a new principle which shall be strong enough to counteract the overwhelming weight you have given in contradiction to all the old traditions of the community to one particular class in it. I claim the hon. Gentleman's own testimony to this point. The experiment on which we have been invited to enter, with very little deliberation and preparation, but apparently on the simple principle that it is the business of those who are in office to outbid what they resisted in Opposition—the change proposed is absolutely new. Do not appeal to the United States or to Switzerland. The hon. Member for Birmingham, in more genial moments, in another place, admitted that the United States furnished no precedent whatever for the gigantic change which you are now proposing to introduce. Deeply as the views of the hon. Member impressed me, I cannot quote him accurately from memory; but I believe that I am right in saying that the franchise in England, which this Bill proposes to introduce, is, by the admission of the hon. Gentleman, for all practical purposes, lower than the franchise which exists in the United States. The experiment, then, is absolutely new. Where will you look for its like? Do you look to the States of antiquity? The existence of slavery made the difference absolutely vital, because it withdrew from the rights of citizenship a large mass of the labouring class. There is no State in Europe, in the present or in the past, which has tried the experiment on which you are entering now. It may be all prosperity before you; it may be that you are opening a new road to power; it may be that it is a mine of wealth, and honour, and strength, which you have suddenly discovered; but do not deceive yourselves as to its being new. There is nothing in old time or in the present that is in the least degree like to it; and you will be acting the part of madmen if you refuse merely on the ground of novelty to entertain propositions that are calculated to neutralize some of the evils that may be apprehended from the experiment on which you have entered. The hon. Member for Birmingham found it convenient for the purposes of his argument to refute what it is not proposed to adopt. He went mainly upon the question of what would happen in two-Membered constituencies. Mr. Bright said this was only part of his argument. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman does not remember the effect his eloquence has produced, but he went upon the question what would happen if you applied this principle to double constituencies. I do not look at it in the least in that light. I acknowledge that the immediate effect of the adoption of the principle would be comparatively trifling; but now that you are engrafting upon the Constitution what is, to all intents and purposes, anew principle in the democratic sense, I wish you to engraft a new and protecting principle in a sense Conservative of your old Institutions. It is perfectly true that its immediate operation would be small, but remember that you are in the presence of two great changes of different characters. We have passed this Session—to all appearance it is likely we shall adhere to it—an enormous reduction of the suffrage. At the same time, by a sort of compromise between certain hon. Gentlemen opposite and the Gentlemen on these benches, we are adhering to a system of distribution of electoral power, which is as much out of harmony with the suffrage you have introduced as it is possible for anything to be. Well, I do not for a moment believe that the keen and prescient mind of the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks that that compromise will last; but it does very well for that purpose which so many of his propositions have served—it serves for a time to draw into the lobby the somewhat—credulous shall I say?—Members who have hitherto supported him. They believe that for the excess, as they think and as I think, of the alteration in the suffrage they are receiving a compensation in the limitations imposed upon the change of seats. Now, I utterly disbelieve in that security. I know that when you have once introduced household suffrage, when you have once applied to these small boroughs, a qualification which will admit to the franchise the very least cultivated and most dependent of the community, no future Parliament can sustain the small seats which you are now sedulously preserving. I ask you to look to the future. Let not the House be deceived by the glamour which the Chancellor of the Exchequer throws over his own party. We know that these things will be changed, and I want to look forward and ask what is to happen then? We shall be asked, as we have been asked with justice, to increase the number of Members given to large constituencies; and the point you have now to decide by your votes upon this proposal is, whether these seats shall go to increase the already overgrown and exaggerated strength of the numerical majority, or whether they shall serve as instruments to ensure that which all representative systems should aim at—a perfect representation of all classes of the community? The wealth, the intelligence, the energy of the community, all that has given you that power which makes you so proud of your nation, and which makes the deliberations of this House so important, will be numerically, under this new constituency, absolutely overmatched. It may not be at first that that result will be felt. Time will be wanted to enable the new electors to organize themselves; but sooner or later you may depend upon it, there will arise questions upon which the interests of employers and employed are in hostility and will clash. There are questions which cannot be decided by arbitration, which cannot be adjusted by any appeals to equity or to any argumentative principles. There are questions which must be decided by nothing else but political force; and in that conflict of political force you are pitting an overwhelming number of employed against a hopeless minority of employers. That is the future which you are preparing for your country. I entreat you not to look to your immediate interest, not to think of a Dissolution which may be imminent, not to ask yourselves what this or that election agent may say, but, taking a wide view of the position of this community, ask yourselves what is the attitude in which the social facts, as they exist, are likely to place the opposing parties in the State? I ask you to decide now whether you think such a state of things, in which the employed shall be in such a superiority that the employers shall not even have a hearing, will in your opinion be to the interest of the community? It seems to me that if we are accused of asking for the undue representation of minorities, the nature of our demand is entirely misunderstood. We are merely asking you to efface that unreasonable disadvantage of minorities which your peculiar institutions impose upon us. You divide the whole minorities of the country, but if you put them together they are numerous enough to demand at least a very considerable representation in this House, if representation is to be the true image of the represented. But taking these minorities one by one, pitting 500 here against 600 there, and 5,000 here against 6,000 there, you obtain a result, in which the House of Commons, so far from representing truly the community at large, will only represent the overwhelming power of those who may be in the majority. It is said sometimes that it is the natural right of the majority to rule. It is the natural right of an overwhelming majority to rule; but you must remember that every minority has resources and natural rights of its own—it has immunities of position, and circumstances of opportunity, and leadership, which give it advantages in the struggle of which it is utterly deprived when you take it to the polling booth. It is to prevent that great evil—that those who form a considerable part of the constituency should yet, by reason of being a minority in each, be unable to obtain an adequate hearing in the House of Commons—that we entreat you to entertain the principle which the right hon. Member for Calne proposes—a principle which, although small in its immediate effect, is great in its ultimate results. We are accused on this side of struggling for privilege and prerogative. The time for that is long gone by, and the asssertion is a mockery. We are pleading for simple freedom, and are only asking that, in the unknown future to which you are hurrying, this absolute subjection to a class never yet intrusted with political powers, this entire absorption of the destinies of the country in the will of those who have been little instructed and directed—of those who have little of that political practice which should induce them to direct it upon right motives—we ask you that we should not be utterly effaced, that we should still have, at least, the power of pleading our own cause in the face of those who will be our masters; and that you should not, because you have chosen to introduce this large and excessive measure of enfranchisement of the lowest class of the community, absolutely disfranchise and reduce to political insignificance and extinction the classes who have hitherto contributed so much to the greatness and prosperity of their country.


I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham will forgive me if the highly Conservative speech which he has delivered, almost the first which I ever heard him deliver with which I could not sympathize, has not converted me from the eminently democratic opinions which I have held for a great number of years. I am very glad that my hon. Friend stated so candidly the extremely Conservative vein of thought and tone of feeling which is the foundation of his political feelings. It is true that it is almost as opposite a frame of mind from my own as it is possible to conceive; but, fortunately, in the case of most of the practical questions that we have to decide we draw nearly the same conclusions from our so different premises. Nevertheless, I am extremely glad that my hon. Friend has shown that it is upon the principle of standing by old things, and resisting newfangled notions, that his antipathy to the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, which I most strongly support, has been derived. It is the less necessary that I should address the House at any length upon this question, because on a previous occasion I expressed myself strongly in favour of the principles upon some of which this Motion rests, and expressed my strong sense of the necessity for a change in our mode of election, directed in some degree to the same ends as those pointed out by this almost insignificant makeshift—a makeshift not, however, without considerable real efficacy, and resting in part upon the same principles upon which Mr. Hare's system of personal representation is founded. There are two principles which we must mainly regard. In the first place, it appears to me that any body of persons who are united by any ties, either of interest or of opinion, should have, or should be able to have, if they desire it, influence and power in this House proportionate to that which they exercise out of it. This, of course, excludes the idea of applying such a system as this to constituencies having only two Members, because in that case its application would render a minority of one-third equal to a majority. The other principle upon which I support the representation of minorities is because I wish—although this may surprise some hon. Members—that the majority should govern. We heard a great deal formerly about the tyranny of the majority, but it appears to me that many hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House are now reconciled to that tyranny, and are disposed to defend and maintain it against us democrats. My own opinion is, that any plan for the representation of minorities must operate in a very great degree to diminish and counteract the tyranny of majorities. I wish to maintain the just ascendancy of majorities, but this cannot be done unless minorities are represented. The majority in this House is got at by the elimination of two minorities. You first eliminate at the election the minority out of the House, and then upon a division you eliminate the minority in the House. Now, it may very well happen that those combined minorities would greatly out-number the majority which prevails in this House, and consequently that the majority does not now govern. The true majority can only be maintained if all minorities are counted; if they are counted there is only one process of elimination, and only one minority left out. Perhaps I may be allowed to answer one or two objections which have been made to the proposal of my right hon. Friend, The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies urged that, according to our constitution, representation should be by communities, and upon that subject he said several things with which it is impossible not to agree. But it seems to me that this is one of many remarkable proofs now offering themselves, that hon. Gentlemen opposite, not content with coming to our opinions, are now adopting our arguments. For instance, the right hon. Gentleman insisted upon the greatness of the mistake of supposing that the country was divided into a majority and a minority, instead of into majorities and minorities. I have said that myself I should think at least 500 times. The right hon. Gentleman said one thing that perfectly amazed me. He said, as we all admit, that it was wrong that the representative of any community should represent it only in a single aspect, should represent only one interest—only its Tory or its Liberal opinions; and he added that, at present, this was not the case, but that such a state of things would be produced by the adoption of this proposal. I apprehend that then, even more than now, each party would desire to be represented, and would feel the importance of getting itself represented by those men who would be most acceptable to the general body of the constituency; and therefore on all other points, except that of being Liberals or Tories, those Members would represent the constituencies fully as much, if not more, than they do now. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that the local communities ought to be represented as units, but that is not my opinion. For example, the right hon. Gentleman would contend that if a Member were elected by two-thirds of a constituency he ought to sit in that House as representing the whole. If that were the case they would evidently pass for what they are not. I have no idea of Members sitting in this House as the representatives of mere names of places, or bricks and mortar, or some particular part of the terrestrial globe, in different localities. What we want is the representation of the inhabitants of those places. If there should be a place in which two-thirds of the constituency are Conservative, and one-third Liberal, it is a falsehood to contend that the Conservative Member represents the Liberals of that place. On the other hand, if there were three Members for such a place, two of whom represented the majority, and the third the minority, there would be a full representation of the constituency, and certainly a far more accurate representation than if a man returned by a simple majority assumed to represent the whole constituency. Another objection made and insisted upon by my hon. Friend below me, in one of the most eloquent parts of his speech, and in the spirit of which I quite agree, is that the effect of this system will be to put an end to contests at elections, and to all the instruction they afford, and all the public spirit and interest in public affairs which they excite. This appears to me to be an opinion, which only the extreme dislike that my hon. Friend professes for everything new in politics prevents him from seeing to be an entire mistake. The fault which my hon. Friend and others find with the proposed mode of election is one that is in an eminent degree attributable to the existing system; because under that system wherever it is known from the state of the registration that one side is able to return all the Members, the other side now take little or no interest in the election, and therefore it will be evident that if those persons who cannot be represented in their own locality cannot obtain a representation elsewhere, representation, so far as they are concerned, will be a perfectly effete institution. What is it that induces people when they are once beaten at an election to try again? Is it not the belief that possibly a change has taken place in the opinions of at least some of the electors, or that, at all events, there has been such a change in the general feeling of the constituency that there is some chance of their being returned, and therefore there is a sufficient motive to induce them to try again? But that motive never can exist under the present system where there is so great a discrepancy between the parties as two-thirds and one-third, because in no case can one-third of the constituency ever hope to convert itself into a majority. What motive, then, is there for trying? But under the new system, suppose the minority obtains one Member out of three, the minority can always try for the second seat, and precisely the same motive will exist if the parties should be nearly equal. Indeed, in such a case, the motive would be all the stronger, because then the majority will try to get all the members. What will be the case where there are three Members to be returned? The majority of two-thirds will only have two of the Members, and if any change in opinion takes place favourable to the minority they will always be in a position to bid for the third seat; so that I apprehend the healthy excitement of contest in an election, which follows from the existence of the motives which will induce persons to embark in the struggle, will be more certainly guaranteed by the more perfect represention of the constituency. It has been argued by my hon. Friend below me, and it has been several times insisted on by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the Executive will be rendered very weak by the adoption of this principle, and I must own that there is some truth and justice in that argument. But the House cannot fail to perceive that so long as you give to the minority the same power as is possessed by the majority, it is perfectly clear that there may be a large majority of the constituency in favour of the Government, while there may be no majority in the House. At the present moment we do not care what majority the Government may have in the country; all that we want is to prevent it having a large majority in the House. No one is more opposed to such a state of things than I am; but the practical application is, that we wish to prevent the Government having a large majority in the House, with a small majority in the country. That is the case in Australia, as was very strongly exemplified on the question of Free Trade and protection, and also in the United States, where there is a moderate difference in the constituencies between one party, and the other, but a very much greater difference in the House of Representatives. When the right hon. Gentleman says that this system will make a weak Government, my answer is that it is not desirable that a Government should be a strong one, if it rests on a small majority of the constituencies; nor is it desirable that a Government should be lured on and deceived by a great majority in the House; because a very small change in the constituencies would be sufficient to deprive them of that majority, and it is not desirable that the policy of the Government should be tumbled about from one extreme to the other when the opinion of the constituency is almost equally divided between the two parties. I quite agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, that in revolutionary times it is necessary that a party should be as strong as possible while the fight lasts, since the sooner the fighting is over the better. But although in such a case there should be a decisive predominance, such times are exceptional, and circumstances do not apply which apply in ordinary and peaceful times. They are times for which we cannot legislate or adapt our ordinary institutions. Under such circumstances men may be obliged to dispense with all law, and, if necessary, to have a dictatorship in the hands of one man, but that is altogether an exceptional case, I am extremely anxious that the feeling should not get abroad, from the circumstance of the right hon. Member for Calne having brought forward this proposal, and from its being so largely supported by Gentlemen on the other side of the House, that this is essentially a Conservative "move," and is intended solely for the purpose of doing away, as far as possible with the effect of the Reform Bill now before us. I have always entertained these opinions, long before the introduction of this Reform Bill, and although I never supposed that I should see such a Reform as this adopted in my life, I have protested and reprobated oppression of this kind, on whichever side it has been practised. The only reason why it can be said that it is brought forward as a Conservative measure, and in aid of Conservatives, is that it really operates in favour of those who are likely to be weakest; it is those who are in danger of being outnumbered and subjected to the tyranny of a majority who are protected. I have always been afraid that the Conservative party would not see the necessity of these things until they actually saw that it is their interest, and that they would not see it until the power has passed away to the other side. Had they taken up the question four or five years ago they might by this time have made it the general opinion of the country, and have lead the masses of the people to be more just when their time came than they have been to them. Their eyes are not so soon opened to those things which appear to be against them as they are to those that are in their favour; but there are minds on the other side of the House quite capable of seeing the value and importance of the principle, and of representing it with such effect that ultimately the principle of the representation of minorities will be generally adopted.


said, that having represented what was called a unicorn county for many years, and having been actively engaged in election matters connected with it, his attention had been directed not a little to the subject under discussion. He hoped therefore that the Committee would excuse him if he made a few remarks on the proposal of the right hon. Member for Calne. That right hon. Gentleman asked the Committee to support the proposal—first, on account of its justice; next, to consider it generally in point of political expediency; and thirdly, specially as regarded the present aspect of affairs; and that, he admitted, was not an unfair way of putting the case. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to have laid down very curious grounds of justice. He said that a man who had three candidates to vote for should have three votes, and the man who had one candidate should have only one vote. That appeared to be the oddest way possible of arriving at the justice or the injustice of the case; because the minority had only to put up two or three candidates, when the injustice would be immediately repaired, and he would have his three votes as well as the former who had three candidates to vote for. If there were better grounds for basing it on justice or injustice the right hon. Gentleman would not have failed to have stated them. It was said that if the new principle was worth anything, it ought logically to be established universally; but the learned Professor the hon. Member for Brighton had very clearly pointed out that it was impossible it could work in constituencies which returned only two representatives. If that were so, to what narrow ground was not the proposal reduced. The right hon. Member for Calne, indeed, and his noble Friend below him, had argued in favour of it, because, in their opinion, it would tend to redress the evils—the right hon. Gentleman spoke-even of ruin—which they apprehended as likely to arise from the vast influx of democratic power by acting somewhat as a balance; but let the Committee examine for a moment what it was that was going to produce such a marvellous result. Why, the proposal would not apply, he believed, to above a dozen constituencies in the whole country, and how would it operate even with regard to them? Four or five of them were boroughs which did not at present return Members who were all of one way of thinking; and in the counties, to which the proposal would, for the most part, apply, and which, in the majority of instances, now returned Conservative Members, the probability was that the minority would be strengthened by the influx of Liberal voters under the new state of things. That, therefore, which might be gained in the boroughs would be lost in the counties, and he could not see how practically the proposal could have any appreciable effect on the result of elections. He was, consequently, unable to realize the great effects which the right hon. Gentleman and the noble Lord (Viscount Cranborne) appeared to anticipate. As to the matter of justice, assuming there was a difference of opinion in the constituencies so great as that one-fourth were in the minority, the effect of it would be that that minority would command a Member. In a constituency consisting of 20,000 electors, in which the majority might be 11,000 and the minority 9,000, it was not an improbable thing to happen that the majority might be unwise enough to put up three candidates and the minority only two, and then the result would be, under the system of cumulative voting, the minority wonld return two out of the three Members. Now, he asked, was it just that one-fourth of a constituency should possess one-third of the representation? He did not object to the proposed system because it was new, but those who proposed ought to show it would be beneficial some way or other. He did not believe that it would have the slightest beneficial effect in checking that influx of democratic principles which it was proposed to remedy; and that being so, why should he sanction a principle which those who had introduced it said could nut be generally applied? He thought it would be unwise in them to adopt hastily a system of which they had no experience, for he believed there was no place in the world where it had been tried. On these grounds he should vote against the proposition.


said, he had no want of confidence in the future constituencies, such as had been stated on all occasions by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne. He considered, however, that although the principle of cumulative voting might mate no difference in the balance of parties in the House, it would, on the other hand, effect a considerable difference, and a beneficial one, in the composition of parties out of the Mouse.


I am surprised that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge should complain that I have not taken part in the debate. Considering that my hon. Friend rose at the commencement of the sitting to-day, and that the debate only commenced late last night, I think my hon. Friend was rather unjust in his comments. It is not usual that those who occupy the position which I at present hold should rise immediately after the commencement of a debate; but it is in fact, one of our duties to await the expression of opinion, and though this is a subject on which I was anxious to hear the opinions of hon. Members, my own has been already declared. It was therefore in every way unnecessary that I should offer to address the House early in the debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge seems to think that I ought to take a line on this subject which would be favourable to his retaining his seat in the next Parliament. Now, my opinion of him is so high that I have no doubt, whatever line I may take on this question, and whatever may be the result of this debate, my hon. Friend will find his way into this House again. I must, however, protest against the doctrine that for the reason he has brought forward, and on account of his alleged extreme youth, of which he seems extremely proud, I am to shape the remainder of my career, whatever it may be, in order to insure to him a brilliant future. The Motion of the right hon. Member for Calne, if we look to its application, is really of no great importance. Nothing could offer a greater contrast than the largeness of its principles and the smallness of its application, but I will state at once that I am not favourable to the adoption of a principle which involves so vast a change in our electoral system, though it is applied in a manner which may produce such slight consequences. Why run the risk of great changes if slight consequences only are to be produced? Why incur great danger for small results? There is no doubt, however, that the natural inference of every one would be, that if the principle, described to be so advantageous, is adopted, it must be applied in a greater degree than the right hon. Member for Calne proposes to our representative system, and, of course, to constituencies represented by two Members,—that is to say, not only to the majority, but to the vast majority of cases in our representative system. What argument have we heard against such a just and necessary application of the principle? One hon. Gentleman tells us that it would not be convenient; but the question is whether, if you adopt the principle, the argument in favour of its application in that way would not be irresistible. The hon. Member for Brighton is not favourable to the application of the principle to places represented by two Members, because he does not think that the minority in those cases ought to be represented. [Mr. FAWCETT: I said it ought not to be represented so much as the majority.] The object of the Amendment is that the minority should be represented; but if we are to be called on to decide how much of the minority is to be represented, the question becomes more complicated and difficult. If you adopt the principle of the cumulative vote—that is that a man should do what he likes with all his votes—you cannot confine the application of that principle to places represented by three Members. It is a good principle or a bad principle. If good, you must apply it to all constituencies; if bad, why apply it to any? That appears to me to be an argument unanswerable. And what would be the consequences of applying this principle generally as you would hive to do either immediately or eventually? The result must be that you would effectually neutralize the great bulk of the representative system. By far the greater number of places in the country are represented by two Members; and, if you, adopt this principle, the consequence is that opinion is neutralized in all those places. But what would be the further consequence? If all the constituencies represented by two Members are thus neutralized, it appears to me that the Government of the country would be thrown into the hands of those constituencies which are represented by only one Member each. In fact, the United Kingdom would be governed by Scotland. I am anxious to do justice to Scotland, and have brought in a measure founded on sound principles increasing the representation of that country; but if the clause of the right hon. Member for Calne should be adopted, I must beg to recall the engagement I have made with respect to the second reading of the Scotch Reform Bill this Session, because the House would have to consider the whole Scotch electoral system, in case the absolute control of the destinies of the United Kingdom is to be exercised by Scotland, with, perhaps, some assistance from Wales. In fact, the whole power of the Kingdom must, under the proposed scheme, devolve on constituencies each having only one Member and represented by Members with distinct opinions. All the other towns and counties of the country which have hitherto exercised some influence on public affairs would be perfectly neutralized and emasculated, and the sovereign Power of Parliament would be exercised by constituencies electing one Member, and would consequently devolve on Scotland and Wales. It may be said that if the principle be good, you must submit to all inconveniences and be prepared to act accordingly—that is to say, you must reconstruct the whole of your representative system. Now, I am not prepared on the 5th of July to ask the House of Commons to enter upon a campaign to carry out a system which is, as far as I understand it, alien to the customs, manners, and traditions of the people of this country. The proposal is opposed to every sound principle, and its direct effect would be, I believe, to create a stagnant representation, and a stagnant representation would bring about a feeble Executive. If the scheme should be applied to the vast majority of constituencies, almost all the representatives for the United Kingdom would be reduced to the position of nominees. They would not be elected by a free people in the light of Heaven, but would be nominated as much as were the Members for all those boroughs extinguished in 1832; and at a General Election you would be able to calculate with exact precision and painful accuracy on the return of Members elected by thousands of persons, just the same as you could formerly calculate on the return of the Members for Old Sarum and other similar boroughs. I think that this is not a course of policy which this House or the country will adopt. I cannot bring myself to believe that the country will adopt it; for it appears to me to be adverse to all the principal sentiments which animate a country like England. I have always been of opinion with respect to this cumulative voting and other schemes having for their object to represent minorities, that they are admirable schemes for bringing crotchetty men into this House—an inconvenience which we have hitherto avoided, though it appears that we have now some few exceptions to the general state of things; but I do not think that we ought to legislate to increase the number of specimens. The scheme of the right hon. Member for Calne is in harmony with all the opinions he has expressed for the last two or three years with much variety and vehemence. I can easily understand that he wishes to introduce a principle which, in his opinion, would bring about consequences different from those he deprecates. But let the Committee fairly understand the question which is before them. If they agree in the general opinions of the right hon. Gentleman on the subject of the representation of this country, then they may join in the campaign with him. If on the other hand hon. Members believe that the extension of the franchise which has been proposed is a wise and safe measure, they cannot, I think, support a proposition which, if followed out, will neutralize its good effects, and land this House in inextricable difficulties, and which I am sure will give no satisfaction to the public. These, Sir, are the schemes of coteries, not the politics of nations, and if adopted they will only end in discomfiture and confusion. My noble Friend the Member for Stamford (Viscount Cranborne) commenced his speech by drawing a very terrific picture of our present political position. He said, "Monarchy is dead, aristocracy is doomed, and democracy is triumphant." Sir, I doubt the accuracy of these statements. I do not think that "monarchy is dead." The noble Lord has been a Minister of the Crown—a most able Minister of the Crown. He has been, from his high position, in very near relations with his Sovereign. I think his experience must certainly have differed from that of all his Colleagues if he found that during the time he was in office that "monarchy was dead." On the contrary, the Sovereign power has exercised that constitutional criticism in all departments of the State which I believe to be most salutary; and I am sure the noble Lord must have felt in all the questions submitted to him and his Colleagues there was no reason to believe that "monarchy was dead." Then, again, I do not think that "the aristocracy is doomed;" and so long as it produces men like my noble Friend it will be difficult for aristocracy to be doomed. And if it does not produce such men as my noble Friend, it will fall from no external assault, but from internal decrepitude. But, in my opinion, there never was a period in England when monarchy was more powerful, when the aristocracy possessed more considerable influence, and were in a position where they might more certainly increase that influence if they fulfilled their public duties. Then, is "democracy triumphant?" Democracy is not triumphant until this Bill is passed, even according to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne. He has described our present political state as one of infinite beatitude. We all remember the description he gave of it. Therefore, democracy is not at present triumphant. But democracy is to be triumphant—and why? In what way is democracy to be triumphant, even if the measure before us passes? I wish, Sir, that some of these great lights would condescend to tell us what they mean by this terrible word democracy which they now introduce with such facility into our debates. Is it household suffrage? I suppose it is household suffrage. That is democracy. Well, there are 4,500,000 inhabited houses in England. I do not pretend to speak with severe statistical accuracy, but I think I do not make much of a mistake. Not more than a moiety of these, even if this Bill passes, will be inhabited by persons qualified to exercise the franchise. Then, if household suffrage be democracy, what is this all about? Why, in one portion of your constituency, in the boroughs of England, which altogether are represented by 334 Members, in the unjust manner I have often called attention to, there are altogether only 1,500,000 houses; and you are, in fact, extending that household suffrage, which has existed in this country since 1832, to a class which will probably increase your constituency by about 300,000 persons. ["No, no!"] No, no! I must express my opinion; I do not ask any one to adopt it if they do not believe it. It is my opinion that the increase of the constituency by the measure which has been brought forward and which being founded on this general principle, will give satisfaction, because every man will feel that if he deserves it he may obtain a vote, I say, practically, the increase will not be more than 350,000. [Mr. BRIGHT: In the boroughs]. Well, but last year, and the year before that, and five years before that, and three years before those five years—for fifteen or sixteen years, you have been blundering about this business, and making propositions in no one of which I believe you ever proposed less than the addition to the borough constituency of 200,000; yet, when you praised, if you did not vote for those propositions, you never believed that democracy was going to be triumphant in this country; but, now, because a measure is brought forward which is founded on some principle which does not say that a man shall not be a voter because he pays a few shillings more or less in the year, but founds the franchise on a principle in which there is certainty and safety; because it may probably increase that contemplated number by 100,000 or 150,000, we are told that "democracy is triumphant," and we are about to change the Constitution of England and all those principles on which our predecessors have exercised the noble franchises which have been bestowed by Parliament. I think that a most extraordinary statement to be made with reference to the present situation of affairs. And who are these people to whom you are offering the franchise — this limited number which is confined only to the boroughs of England; this principle not being applied to the greater portion of the country? They are Englishmen, who have been born and bred under the influence of the laws, the manners and customs and traditions of the country. [A cry of "Our own flesh and blood."] Far beyond "flesh and blood," Laws, customs, and traditions are far more effective. How then are we to believe these separate stories which are told about democracy being triumphant? I do not grudge the noble Lord, the right hon. Gentleman, or anybody else entertaining these sentiments, as I think it is not disadvantageous that they should be discussed, and in some instances no doubt their promulgation gratifies private self-complacency. When these monstrous and unfounded propositions are brought forward in debate we can controvert them, and when they are circulated in private society we can enlighten the irritated feelings they are meant to provoke. But what I now wish to impress on the Committee is the great importance of not permitting such bugbears to be the foundation of new legislation which is to change the character and the constitution of the country.


I wish to say a few words bearing directly on the subject submitted to our decision. We have before us two propositions, both seeking to attain the same object, but by very different means. We have the proposition of my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, and that is the only proposal which has been seriously discussed during the whole of this long debate. On the other hand, we have the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, which is essentially different in character, though both have the same object—namely, the representation of minorities. I think there is great objection to the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne. I think if you allow electors to cumulate all their votes on one candidate, you would give too great power to the minority; and there is great force in the objection that, if you apply this rule to places returning three Members, it would be extremely difficult not to apply it to places returning two. But the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth is free from this objection—it avoids the difficulties that would arise from the adoption of my right hon. Friend's clause. His scheme is, that where three Members are returned by a constituency an elector should give only two votes—not accumulating them on one candidate, but voting for only two out of the candidates, which gives no undue power to a minority. I am prepared to agree to the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, and with regard to the division which is about to take place, I wish to call the attention of the Committee to the position in which we stand. If this was a Resolution proposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, and an Amendment had been proposed to it, the Amendment would be disposed of before we came to vote on the main question; but we are in this position — if we are in favour of the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, as distinct from that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Calne, we must vote for the second reading of the clause, because, until it is read a second time, we cannot propose the Amendment. I therefore, in voting for the second reading of my right hon. Friend's clause, do so only to enable me afterwards to support the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth.


The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has truly observed that by reading the clause a second time the Committe would not fetter themselves as to the way in which its principle is to be applied. I will not now proceed to argue the merits of the three propositions which have been laid before the Committee, but I may be allowed to reply to observations which have been made by hon. Gentlemen during the course of the lengthened discussion that has ensued upon this subject. It is excessively kind of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to lay before the Committee for their instruction a great many arguments, which, however, I am sure, can have no possible weight with himself. He has been so kind as to attempt to prove to us in a most elaborate manner that this measure has no democratic tendency whatever. It is very good of him to do that, because we know from an exposition of his own political faith which he recently gave elsewhere that these things are to him matters of perfect indifference. In that speech he was more candid than he has been to us, and he made an exposition of his political creed which did not in the least surprise me or any one else who has watched his career. I can only describe it as political nihilism; as meaning, in other words, "that everything is just as good as everything else, and nothing matters in particular." The right hon. Gentleman said it was nonsense to talk about democracy in England; that you might talk of reforms in the Government and political changes, but democracy was impossible in England; that the elements of democracy did not exist in this country; that England is an aristocratic and monarchical country, and must remain an aristocratic and monarchical country, make what changes you will. That was the language held by the right hon. Gentleman, and which was greeted with applause by a Conservative audience. But if this be the true doctrine, of what use is the Conservative party? If you are just as safe under a democracy as under an aristocracy, why is it worth while to conserve anything? The right hon. Gentleman has found fault with the principle of the proposal for being so large while its application is so small. Nominally, the right hon. Gentleman is still the Leader of the Conservative party, and would he and those who follow him have thought the better of this proposal, if, being a very large principle, I had proposed at once without trial to give it a large application? Is not a proposal one of wisdom and moderation, if when a Member sees a principle which may be of benefit to the public, he submits it to them, giving them his reasons for it, and asking them to give it a small and limited application—a principle which, if it works well, is capable of great expansion—instead of asking them at once to expand it? We cannot help the principle being a large one, but we can help the principle being largely applied until we have tested its effects. The wise and the right way to act until we are in the necessity of the case driven to a large application is to give a principle a moderate application, with a view to ascertain what may be its results. It has also been said that this measure would produce political stagnation. This argument comes with good grace from the hon. Member for Birmiugham, because we know that the hon. Member does not object to a little conflict; but this is the first time I ever heard that the avoiding of a contested election was in itself an evil. A contested election in the opinion of the Leader of the Conservative party and the hon. Member for Birmingham is in itself a great good. Nothing can be stronger than the way in which the hon. Member for Birmingham has put the case. He said that South Lancashire returned two Members of one way of thinking, and one of another way of thinking, and this was done after a contest which effected an enormous amount of good. But, supposing you had adopted the new-fangled idea, and there had been no row, no public house expenditure, and no broken heads, what would have been the result? Probably, Gentlemen would not have worked themselves up to that pitch of frenzy and excitement as to induce them to go about the country propagating doctrines which, when brought home to them, they shrink from in dismay. I protest against any arguments being drawn from the existing state of things to be applied to the state of things which is to be. Hon. Gentlemen have pressed on me very strongly that we have not those see-saws and changes I have alluded to—that our past history does not show them. No, Sir, it does not; but is this any argument that our future history will not show them? Because we have been able to avoid these things by the moderation of our institutions, by the manner in which we have provided for the representation of all classes of the community in respect of the exercise of political power, shall we, therefore, go on less moderately and safely now that we are going to entrust supreme power to almost the lowest class of all? Hon. Gentlemen say that in America it would have been a great evil if the system which I advocate had been introduced at the time of the civil war—that it would probably have prevented that energy which was put forth in the suppression of the revolt on the part of the South. But hon. Gentlemen forget what was the state of things in America. They forget that there were two great parties in America; the Republican party and the Democratic party. The Democratic party mainly belonged to the Southern States, and when the latter were withdrawn by their own act from the Confederacy, the small Democratic minority was left face to face with the Republican majority, and, consequently, they were quite at its mercy. My hon. Friend the Member for Reading has said that a majority in America has never been known to abuse its power. I will take one instance which is as good as a thousand. Certain things became necessary for the Republican party, which could not be carried without a majority of two-thirds of the Congress. Everybody knows that Members who were innocent men were expelled from the Legislature in order to obtain the necessary Republican majority. Then it is said that we are separating the upper classes from the rest of the community, giving them a sort of isolated existence and breaking them up into sections. I reply to that argument that the thing has been done already. We know from experience it is a law of the human mind that when we lower the franchise beyond a certain limit, the upper classes cannot be brought to take a part in elections. The choice presented to you now is this. Will you have your upper classes absolutely withdrawn from politics, or will you cut out of your constituencies a field on which they may yet feel they can with advantage take an interest in politics, and become re-attached to the Constitution from which the violent measures of the Government is about completely and utterly to sever them? Whatever the merits of this Bill may be it is certainly most inimical to persons in moderate circumstances. It will be hardly possible for any person without an enormous command of money to obtain a seat in this House in future; but if you pass this clause you will enable a certain number of persons to form a constituency which will be certain of returning a Member, and if they please without the slightest expense to themselves. You will be able by that means to have what you must have if this House is to continue to carry on the business of the country—namely—persons of moderate means who will devote themselves to it as a sort of profession. But if you do not pass this clause, or something similar to it, you will have nothing to look forward to but the almost absolute and immediate separation of the Executive Government from the House of Commons. You will have a House of Commons consisting of rich men returned by a mob; and you will find that a House so constituted will not be able to carry on the Executive Government in the manner in which it has hitherto been done. The result will be that you must do that which has been done under similar circumstances in other countries. You must have an Executive appointed by some other persons, who will be in their turn selected by the people and so be independent of this House. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth spoke of an anomaly that would occur if my proposition were adopted by which he was shocked. He put it that one-third of the constituency of a borough plus one would equal one half of the representation. He is not however shocked by the anomaly that now exists—that one half of the constituency plus one is equal to the whole. The hon. Member for Birmingham is also horrified. He says that 12,000 votes may be given for one Member and 8,000 for another, and that thus under this system, a constituency returning four Members may be represented by two and two. That is exactly the same thing. The hon. Member is horrified at thinking that one-third could ever be equal to one half, but he is not the least horrified at thinking that one half plus one should equal the whole. The right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, being in search of an illustration, looked about for one, and could find no other than himself. He said, "If you want to understand how a majority works just look at an individual." I thought an individual meant something which could not be divided, but he has for the benefit of the House been good enough to cut himself into several pieces and to make himself a composite party for the purpose of illustrating his argument. Now, I suppose he is a majority. I wonder how his conscience voted on both sides last year and this, in voting then for a lateral extension of the franchise, and now for a vertical descent, and how the majority is arranged between them. Well, Sir, I am taunted with the little good I can hope to achieve by this clause; I think I have been a little misrepresented on that point, for I said distinctly that it was quite ridiculous to suppose that a mere change like this could counteract the enormous revolution into which we are plunging. The hon. Member for Birmingham says it is only taking a handful of snow out of an avalanche. That is quite true, and no one feels more than I do, or chafes more at my impotence to arrest the fearful change which is about to take place. I never attempted to represent to the Committee that a measure like this or a measure of ten times its influence would prevent the change we are about to undergo. You cannot do wrong and undo it in the same degree in this tremendous and irremediable measure. But is that any reason why we should not do what we can? The Chancellor of the Exchequer says we want to introduce crochetty men into the House. I do not exactly know what he means, but I suppose that he means men who are of the same opinions this year and last. If so, I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon not being a crotchetty man, and on never being likely to require the aid of one of these constituencies.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 173; Noes 314: Majority 141.

Adair, H. E. Archdall, Captain M.
Amberley, Viscount Aytoun, R. S.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Baillie, rt. hon. H. J.
Baring, hon. A. H. Grosvenor, Earl
Baring, H. B. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Barry, A. H. S. Guinness, Sir B. L.
Bass, A. Gurney, rt. hon. R.
Bathurst, A. A. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Beach, Sir M. H. Hamilton, Viscount
Beach, W. W. B. Hardy, J.
Beaumont, W. B. Hay, Lord J.
Bentinck, G. C. Hayter, A. D.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. Pack- Heathcote, Sir W.
Herbert, H. A.
Biddulph, M. Holford, R. S.
Blennerhasset, Sir R. Holland, E.
Bonham-Carter, J. Hood, Sir A. A.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Hope, A. J. B. B.
Bowen, J. B. Hotham, Lord
Bowyer, Sir G. Howes, E.
Brooks, R. Hubbard, J. G.
Bruce, Lord C. Hughes, T.
Bruce, C. Hutt, rt. hn. Sir W.
Butler-Johnstone, H. A. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Buxton, Sir T. F. Johnstone, Sir J.
Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G. Kavanagh, A.
Campbell, A. H. Knightley, Sir R.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Knox, Colonel
Cavendish, Lord E. Laing, S.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Lamont, J.
Cavendish, Lord G. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Leslie, C. P.
Childers, H. C. E. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Clive, G. Lowther, hon. Col.
Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F. Lowther, J.
Cole, hon. H. Mainwaring, T.
Cole, hon. J. L. Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Marsh, M. H.
Coleridge, J. D. Meller, Colonel
Cowper, hon. H. F. Morrison, W.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Neeld, Sir J.
Cranborne, Viscount Newdegate, C. N.
Dent, J. D. Nicholson, W.
Dering, Sir E. C. O'Conor Don, The
Dillwyn, L. L. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Dimsdale, R. Oliphant, L.
Duff, R. W. O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.
Duncombe, hon. Adm. Paget, R. H.
Duncombe, hn. Colonel Peel, rt. hon. Gen.
Dyott, Colonel R. Peel, A. W.
Earle, R. A. Pelham, Lord
Edwards, H. Pim, J.
Ellice, E. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Enfield, Viscount Portman, hn. W. H. B.
Evans, T. W. Proby, Lord
Eykyn, R. Rawlinson, Sir H.
Fawcett, H. Rebow, J. G.
Finlay, A. S. Repton, G. W. J.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Robartes, T. J. A.
Foley, H. W. Robertson, P. F.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Russell, A.
Fordyce, W. D. Russell, F. W.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Russell, Sir W.
Fortescue, rt. hon. C. S. Sandford, G. M. W.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Schreiber, C.
Gaskell, J. M. Scourfield, J. H.
Gilpin, Colonel Scrope, G. P.
Goldney, G. Seymour, A.
Goldsmid, J. Seymour, H. D.
Gorst, J. E. Smith, A.
Greenall, G. Smith, J. A.
Gregory, W. H. Speirs, A. A.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stanhope, J. B.
Grey, hon. T. de Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Griffith, C. D. Sturt, Lt.-Col. N.
Surtees, H. E. Whatman, J.
Thorold, Sir J. H. White, hon. Captain C.
Thynne, Lord H. F. Whitworth, B.
Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury- Williamson, Sir H.
Winnington, Sir T. E.
Vance, J. Woods, H.
Verner, E. W. Wynn, C. W. W.
Walker, Major G. G. Wynne, W. R. M.
Walrond, J. W. Wyvill, M.
Waring, C. Yorke, J. R.
Warner, E. TELLERS.
Waterhouse, S. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E.
Western, Sir T. B. Mill, J. S.
Acland, T. D. Cooper, E. H.
Adam, W. P. Corbally, M. E.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Courtenay, Lord
Agnew, Sir A. Cowen, J.
Akroyd, E. Cox, W. T.
Allen, W. S. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Antrobus, E. Crawford, R. W.
Arkwright, R. Cremorne, Lord
Ayrton, A. S. Cubitt, G.
Baggallay, R. Curzon, Viscount
Bagge, Sir W. Dalglish, R.
Bagwell, J. Dalkeith, Earl of
Baines, E. Davey, R.
Barclay, A. C. Dawson, R. P.
Barnes, T. Denman, hon. G.
Barnett, H. Dick, F.
Barrington, Viscount Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Barron, Sir H. W. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Bass, M. T. Du Cane, C.
Bateson, Sir T. Duff, M. E. G.
Baxter, W. E. Dundas, F.
Beaumont, H. F. Dunkellin, Lord
Bective, Earl of Dunne, General
Beecroft, G. S. Du Pre, C. G.
Benyon, R. Dyke, W. H.
Biddulph Colonel R. M. Eckersley, N.
Bingham, Lord Edwards, Sir H.
Booth, Sir R. G. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bourne, Colonel Egerton, E. C.
Brady, J. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Brett, W. B. Egerton, hon. W.
Bright, Sir C. T. Eliot, Lord
Bright, J. Erskine, Vice-Adm. J. E.
Bruce, Lord E. Esmonde, J.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Ewart, W.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Fane, Colonel J. W.
Bruen, H. Feilden, J.
Buckley, E. Fergusson, Sir J.
Buller, Sir A. W. Floyer, J.
Buller, Sir E. M. Forde, Colonel
Burrell, Sir P. Forster, C.
Butler, C. S. Forster, W. E.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Candlish, J. Foster, W. O.
Capper, C. French, rt. hon. Col.
Carington, hon. C. R. Galway, Viscount
Carnegie, hon. C. Gaselee, Serjeant S.
Cartwright, Colonel Gavin, Major
Cave, rt. hon. S. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Chambers, T. Gilpin, C.
Chatterton, rt. hn. H. E. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Cheetham, J. Gladstone, W. H.
Clay, J. Glyn, G. C.
Clive, Capt. hon. G. W. Glyn, G. G.
Collier, Sir R. P. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Colvile, C. R. Gooch, Sir D.
Goodson, J. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Gore, J. R. O. Lewis, H.
Goschen, rt. hon. G. J. Lindsay, hon. Col. C.
Gower, hon. F. L. Locke, J.
Gower, Lord R. Lopes, Sir M.
Graham, W. Lusk, A.
Grant, A. MacEvoy, E.
Graves, S. R. M'Kenna, J. N.
Gray, Lt.-Colonel Mackie, J.
Grove, T. F. Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.
Gurney, S. Mackinnon, W. A.
Gwyn, H. M'Lagan, P.
Hadfield, G. M'Laren, D.
Hamilton, Lord C. Maguire, J. F.
Hamilton, I. T. Malcolm, J. W.
Hankey, T. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Hanmer, Sir J. Martin, C. W.
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Martin, P. W.
Harris, J. D. Matheson, Sir J.
Hartington, Marquess of Milbank, F. A.
Hartley, J. Miller, W.
Hartopp, E. B. Mitchell, A.
Harvey, R. B. Mitchell, T. A.
Hay, Sir J. C. D. Moffatt, G.
Headlam, rt. hn. T. E. Monk, C. J.
Heathcote, hon. G. H. Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.
Henderson, J. Montgomery, Sir G.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Henley, Lord More, R. J.
Henniker-Major, hon. J. M. Morgan, hon. Major
Morgan, O.
Herbert, hon. Col. P. Morris, W.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Murphy, N. D.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Naas, Lord
Hildyard, T. B. T. Neate, C.
Hogg, Lieut.-Col. J. M. Neville-Grenville, R.
Holden, I. Newport, Viscount
Holmesdale, Viscount Nicol, J. D.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Noel, hon. G. J.
Huddleston, J. W. North, Colonel
Hughes, W. B. Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.
Hunt, G. W. Norwood, C. M.
Jackson, W. O'Donoghue, The
James, E. Owen, Sir H. O.
Jardine, R. Packe, C. W.
Jolliffe, hon. H. H. Padmore, R.
Jones, D. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Karslake, Sir J. B. Palmer, Sir R.
Kekewich, S. T. Parry, T.
Kelk, J. Patten, rt. hon. Col. W.
Kendall, N. Paull, H.
Kennard, R. W. Pease, J. W.
Kennedy, T. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
King, J. G. Percy, Mjr.-Gen. Ld. H.
King, J. K. Philips, R. N.
King, hon. P. J. L. Potter, E.
Kinglake, A. W. Potter, T. B.
Kinglake, J. A. Powell, F. S.
Kingscote, Colonel Pritchard, J.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Rearden, D. J.
Knight, F. W. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Knox, hon. Colonel S. Robertson, D.
Labouchere, H. Roebuck, J. A.
Langton, W. G. Rolt, Sir J.
Lanyon, C. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Lascelles, hon. E. W. Rothschild, N. M. de
Leader, N. P. Royston, Viscount
Leatham, W. H. Russell, Sir C.
Leeman, G. St. Aubyn, J.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Salomons, Alderman
Lefroy, A. Samuda, J. D'A.
Legh, Major C. Sclater-Booth, G.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Scott, Lord H.
Scott, Sir W. Tollemache, J.
Seely, C. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Selwyn, C. J. Treeby, J. W.
Severne, J. E. Trevelyan, G. O.
Seymour, G. H. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Shafto, R. D. Trollope, rt. hn. Sir J.
Sheridan, H. B. Turner, C.
Sherriff, A. C. Vandeleur, Colonel
Simonds, W. B. Vanderbyl, P.
Smith, J. Vernon, H. F.
Smith, J. B. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Smith, S. G. Vivian, H. H.
Smollett, P. B. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.
Stacpoole, W. Walcott, Admiral
Stanley, Lord Waldegrave-Leslie, hn G.
Stanley, hon. F. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Stansfeld, J. Weguelin, T. M.
Stone, W. H. Whalley, G. H.
Stopford, S. G. White, J.
Stronge, Sir J. M. Wickham, H. W.
Sturt, H. G. Wise, H. C.
Surtees, C. F. Woodd, B. T.
Sykes, C. Wyld, J.
Sykes, Col. W. H. Wyndham, hon. H.
Synan, E. J. Young, R.
Talbot, C. R. M. TELLERS.
Taylor, P. A. Taylor, Colonel T. E.
Tite, W. Whitmore, H.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.