§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 10 (New Boroughs to return One Member each).
§ MR. LAING
said, he rose for the purpose of moving an Amendment in the clause, with the view of assigning a third Member to boroughs having a population of 150,000 or upwards. On a former occasion he had an opportunity of explaining fully his views on the subject. What he proposed was to assert the principle that a larger representation should be given to those towns and cities which, from their wealth and population, were quite out of the ordinary run of boroughs returning Members to Parliament. There were in England six such places—namely, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield. Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin were in the same category, but to Glasgow the Scotch Reform Bill had already proposed to give a third Member. If his Amendment were carried the principle would obviously have to be extended to Edinburgh and Dublin. The question, therefore, was whether eight seats should be given to the eight largest cities of the United Kingdom. His Amendment dealt with the six cities situate in England. It did not raise the question of the cumulative vote, which was the subject of another Amendment of which his hon. Friend (Mr. T. Hughes) had given notice. Though his own opinion was in favour of that mode of voting in constituencies having three Members, he could quite understand that many Members might prefer the plan suggested by the late Mr. Cobden of dividing large constituencies. The adoption of his Amendment would leave it an open question whether either of those plans should be accepted at a subsequent stage. He wished to be explicit as to the way in which he thought these six seats should be obtained. He did not wish, if it could be avoided, to take them from the additional county representation. He thought twenty-five seats were no more than the counties were fairly entitled to in a scheme of re-distribution dealing with fifty or fifty-one seats, in which boroughs 1943 with an insignificant population remained untouched. Nor did he wish to prejudge the way in which the additional county representation should be applied. Though his personal predilection was in favour of the cumulative vote, it was rather a matter for county Members to consider whether they preferred to take the twenty-five Members in one mode or in another. The way in which he looked forward to the six seats being provided if his Amendment were carried was by grouping the very small boroughs. This, after the decision of the Committee on the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Portsmouth (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) negativing the principle of total disfranchisement, was the only alternative. He would state briefly the principle on which his proposal was based. The Chancellor of the Exchequer objected to his plan on a former occasion as being based on the redress of anomalies, and argued that as in an old-established country like this we could not possibly get rid of all anomalies we might as well retain the whole. Now, had the right hon. Gentleman said that his principle was that of redressing glaring anomalies, he should have been inclined to accept the definition. In an old-established country like ours no sensible man would thing of introducing an absolutely arithmetical equality of representation. But when, once in thirty or forty years, we were re-opening a great Constitutional question and revising our system of representation, we ought to redress those more glaring anomalies with regard to the distribution of seats which offend the common sense of the country. The most striking anomalies in our present system were the over-representation of extremely small places, and the under-representation of extremely large places. He had heard it said that the Reform Bill of 1832 might have been prevented or delayed had the seats for East Retford been transferred to Manchester. That such a thing should be said—and there was probably some truth in it—showed how strongly the popular instinct demanded that the great centres of population, wealth, and intelligence should have a proportionate share in the representation. The six cities to which he proposed to give additional Members contained an aggregate population, by the Census of 1861, of 1,681,000. The Income Tax Returns showed the aggregate income of the inhabitants to exceed £35,000,000 a year. Comparing that amount of population and 1944 of taxable wealth with the six smallest boroughs retaining a single Member each, it must be admitted that there was not merely an anomaly, but a glaring anomaly. The six smallest boroughs were Arundel, Ashburton, Lyme Regis, Honiton, Thetford, and Dartmouth; they contained an aggregate population of 20,728 persons. On analyzing the nature of that population, we found many of them were what the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the debate on the disfranchisement of the corrupt boroughs, happily characterized as "mere impostures." Many places which mode a very respectable show in the Census Returns were for all purposes of representation mere impostures. Cricklade, which appeared to have 36,000 inhabitants, had a town population of 1,820. Woodstock and Midhurst were in much the same position. Their actual town population was under 2,000. These constituencies were really rural districts, small sections of counties. We were leaving places of this kind with no urban population worth mentioning—scarcely more than good sized villages—with two Members, and giving important centres of population no increase of representation. It could not be maintained that anything in either the principle or the practice of our Constitution restricted us to the magical number two as sufficient in all cases to represent great centres of population. We found the metropolis had already an aggregate representation of sixteen; Members, to which it was proposed to add four. Neither could such an allegation be maintained with regard to commercial interests, for the City of London had long returned four Members, on account of its great wealth and commercial eminence. That argument applied in a comparative degree to Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham. How could it be held that such cities should remain with only two Members, when London had four, and when small boroughs with just above 10,000 inhabitants or rural districts having no town population, except some village with 1,200 or 1,500 people, had two? The argument was conclusive. How such an argument could be contravened by a Government that proposed to do the very same thing in the case of Glasgow he could not imagine. It was impossible for them to object on principle to give a third Member to Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, when they themselves proposed to give a third Member to Glasgow. Why did the Government select certain counties 1945 for additional Members, except that they were the largest, most populous, most wealthy, and most industrious seats of population? He did not grudge South Lancashire its six Members; but on what principle was it to have an increase in its Members, and Lancashire and Yorkshire to receive a large increase in the number of their representatives, while Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and other large centres were to have no increase at all? The opposition to his Motion seemed to be quite indefensible in principle. It must therefore be based upon policy and expediency. If this were a question of expediency, could anything be more evident than that when they attempted to settle this question they should make a satisfactory settlement, and one likely to last for a long series of years? He would ask whether, after all the sacrifices made by that House, and especially by hon. Members opposite, it was worth while for the sake of six seats more or less to leave a glaring blot on the settlement of the Reform question, one which would, no doubt, he the signal for renewed agitation on the meeting of the new Parliament. He hoped the House would discuss this question fairly, undeterred by the threats of those tremendous consequences which had been thrown out. The House was invited at the beginning of the Session to enter into partnership, as it were, with the Government, to throw aside party considerations. It was assured that upon all questions not vital the Government would be prepared to abide by the opinion and wishes of the House. That invitation had been fairly responded to by the House. Party spirit had, for the most part, been laid aside in the course of their debates. It would be a great pity, now they were within sight of port, if upon a question of six seats these feelings of party spirit were revived; if the jealousies between town and country were re-opened, which they had all hoped had been settled and got rid of. That, however, would be the case if the House refused to extend an additional share of representation to the large cities. Was it right, when they were taking forty-five seats from the borough representation, to give twenty-five seats to counties, the united populations of which was not so great as the population of the six large towns to which he now asked the House to give an additional Member? He repeated that he did not grudge the counties that representation, but he also wished that 1946 they should get it in a way which would not raise invidious comparisons, but be based on some intelligible principles of population, wealth, and taxation. He had endeavoured in the scheme he had brought forward to remove those objections by basing the representation of counties upon the same principle as that on which he proposed to give a third Member to boroughs of upwards of 150,000 population. That was a fair and intelligible principle to which no one could object, and which would be accepted as satisfactory. If, however, counties with a less population than 150,000 were to get an increase of representatives by the proposal of the Government—if seven counties containing less than 2,000,000 population were to get an increase of fourteen Members, while seven large cities containing a population of more than 1,500,000 were to get no increase at all, he did not think there was the slightest chance of such an arrangement being accepted as a satisfactory settlement of the question. The arguments in favour of the proposal were so obvious that it would be unnecessary to dilate at any length upon them. He might therefore now leave his Amendment in the hands of the Committee. He might appeal in its favour both to the Liberal and Conservative sides of the House. As regarded the Liberal side there was a tradition of a Liberal majority of between 60 and 70. What had become of that majority it was not very easy to say. Whether, to use the language of his right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), it had "gone up a tree," he did not know; but, although it had disappeared for the purpose of settling this question of Reform, when a broad and intelligible principle of Reform was raised he believed the Liberal party would be still found to exist. If it did, he felt certain that very few Liberal Members would object to a proposal that the great cities, the centres of national wealth, industry, and intelligence, should have an additional share in the representation of the country. He would next appeal to the Conservative party whether he had ever been a strong party man, or adverse to the fair claims of the Conservative party and the country interest? He believed they would be making the greatest mistake unless on the present occasion they assented to a settlement of the Reform question likely to abide for a considerable term of years. Looking to the result of the extensive measure of 1947 enfranchisement proposed by the Government and the tendency of society, when these democratic principles were once admitted, to proceed still further in the same direction, he wished hon. Members to look ahead, and agree upon a settlement around which moderate men might rally against future agitation. Looking to the future Parliament, was it wise or expedient to leave this question in a form in which moderate Liberals would feel bound to make common cause with extreme Reformers in the redress of grievances that could not be defended. Was it not better now to take the opportunity of constructing a platform upon which moderate men, without distinction of sect or party, might unite for the next twenty or thirty years to come, upon the principle that a satisfactory settlement was arrived at in 1867, and so prevent the question from being re-opened? He believed that the question whether the present settlement of the Reform question was one that would be accepted by moderate men out of doors hinged upon the decision of the House to-night. Would they stop short at the last moment or meet the moderate claims of six or seven of the largest cities to have an extra representative taken from small and insignificant boroughs?
In page 4, line 30, after the word "the," to insert the words "Cities or Boroughs named in the Third Schedule to this Act annexed, shall return three Members instead of two."—(Mr. Laing.)
§ MR. BAINES
said, he fully shared the views expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for Wick. For many years past attempts had been made to alter the distribution of seats in a manner resembling that proposed by his hon. Friend. He trusted they would at length be prepared to abolish the more glaring anomalies of the existing system. His hon. Friend had accurately stated the extraordinary contrast that existed between the small boroughs which the House declined to disfranchise and the six large boroughs to which he proposed to give one additional Member. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must be prepared to hear the figures upon every hustings in the country if the Act were passed with this flagrant wrong unredressed. They had ten boroughs returning ten Members, while their aggregate population was only 39,000, whilst they had six large boroughs returning twelve 1948 Members, with an aggregate population of 1,644,423. For the six large boroughs there was one Member to each 137,000 of the population, whilst the ten small boroughs had one Member to every 3,970 of the population. That showed a disproportion of thirty-four to one between the large and the small boroughs. He put it to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was possible to maintain a system containing such anomalies. The gross estimated rental of the six large boroughs was £7,617,000, as contrasted with £168,000 in the case of the ten small boroughs. The average in the large boroughs was £1,269,000 for each; in the small boroughs it was £16,000 for each. If the large boroughs had the same proportion of Members as the small they would have thirty-four Members instead of three, as was proposed by his hon. Friend. This state of things was so unjust and inconsistent that it would be impossible to maintain it. If they wished to make a settlement of this long vexed question which would last, it would be wise to concede what the hon. Member for Wick demanded. It had been mentioned that if Lord John Russell's Motion forgiving additional Members to Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds had been carried, the Reform Act might have been staved off for years. No doubt there was much truth in the observation. That showed the desirableness of dealing fairly with those places now. If three Members were given to the boroughs named, there would still only be one Member to every 99,000 of the population. Further, he might observe that in the small boroughs there did not exist that variety of interests, commercial and manufacturing, which was to be found in the large towns. In his own borough (Leeds) there were no fewer than eleven large and perfectly distinct branches of manufacturing industry carried on—namely, the woollen, linen, iron, machinery, leather, felt, paper, glass, earthenware, tobacco, and chymical manufactures, each of them employing hundreds and even thousands of men. It was absolutely impossible for any two Members adequately to represent interests so large and diverse as these. Moreover, they ought to have some regard in that matter to the extended constituencies which that Bill would create. In the large towns the present constituencies were to be increased three or fourfold. His own constituency was now 7,200; and that measure would 1949 give him one nearly approaching to 30,000. If the Government rejected that Amendment, they ought to provide one or two secretaries at the public expense for the Members of those large boroughs. Unless the proposal of the hon. Member for Wick was adopted, his firm belief was that it would be impossible to look upon the Reform question as settled.
As it appears the Committee are not going to debate this question longer, I will explain what my constituents wish. I was not in order in attempting to present their petition at the time the Speaker was about to leave the Chair; but I am sure the Committee will now allow me to explain the views of the electors of Birmingham. They wish me to state that in the year 1832 the borough of Birmingham had a population—computed by the Census of 1831—of 143,000 persons; since then the population has increased to more than 345,000 persons. The population has therefore much more than doubled in that time, and the property upon which the local rates are assessed amounts to more than –1,020,000. They therefore consider, I think, very reasonably, that it would be desirable, in re-adjusting in any degree the representation of the people, that the borough of Birmingham should have more Members than it has at present. Considering how much the policy it has advocated through its Members has been adopted by the House, it may not be considered immodest in them to urge the adoption of the proposal which has been submitted to the House. The hon. Member said very little of his proposal—considering the magnitude of the principle involved — on the ground that the case was so strong and obvious that he did not apprehend any person would meet his case by an attempt at argument. The Chancellor of the Exchequer did what I have known a good many other Members in this House do—when argument failed he had recourse to something else. To-night, at the end of his observations, he used hints that would he, I daresay, effectual with some hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House; but when he considers how simple is this proposal, and how calculated it is to do a great good in the settlement of this question, it is scarcely possible to believe that the right hon. Gentleman will pertinaciously object to the proposal, or, if he does, that he will be supported by a majority of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman has more interest than 1950 anyone in the acceptance of the proposal, and in making the Bill as broad and satisfactory as possible. He has all the reasons of other Members for wishing to do so, and this additional reason—that he is the author of the Bill, has conducted it as a Minister through the House, and his name will be inseparably connected with it. He should wish—I believe he does wish—that the Bill shall be satisfactory to the great body of the people, at whose solicitation he has entered into the consideration of the question. I add my mite to the argument—which really wants nothing added to it—regarding the borough I represent. I shall be glad if the House will adopt the proposal of the hon. Member for Wick. I wish to refer to a statement which the right hon. Member for South Lancashire made the other night. He said he had seen two gentlemen from Birmingham who were rather disposed to recommend the division of that borough if additional Members were given to it. I merely wish to say that these gentlemen had no authority to state the opinions of anyone but themselves. I rather think that through a desire to enlist the aid of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, they a little too easily accepted the suggestion that it might be desirable to divide the borough of Birmingham. I believe the people of Birmingham would rather have the division with additional Members than not get additional Members; but they would rather continue one considerable community, returning the increased number of Members. If you divide a borough like Birmingham you must have two sets of hustings, and two nominations, which will enormously increase the election expenses of the whole borough. I hope the time will come when the House of Commons will abolish hustings and public nominations as a relic of a barbarous time, wholly unfitted for the common sense or civilization of the present day. But as long as it remains, the dividing of Birmingham, or Liverpool, or Manchester, will cause additional expenditure, and be attended with no real advantage. It is quite a delusion to suppose that you will get from one end of the town of Birmingham a Member of different opinions from the one you will get at the other. The people are generally of the like politics over the whole of the area, and as long as you do not go further than three Members, it is better to leave the borough entire as it is, and not to divide it. My vote will be given most heartily 1951 in favour of the proposal of the hon. Member for Wick.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he wished to make a few observations upon what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. There was a difference of opinion in Birmingham upon the question of the division of their borough. Many of the inhabitants held opinions opposed to those now expressed. He did not dispute the authority upon which the hon. Member for Birmingham spoke, as it was probably the authority of the majority of his constituents. But he (Mr. Newdegate) had felt it his duty to go to Birmingham in order properly to ascertain what the opinion there was upon this subject. He was told by many men of intelligence and moderate opinions that they thought it would be an advantage to divide the borough. These gentlemen felt that the constituency would be so largely increased by the new franchise that Birmingham would suffer from the same inconvenience which was pleaded in the case of the Tower Hamlets, and which induced the Government, very wisely, to divide that borough. These Birmingham gentlemen had cited the case of the Tower Hamlets as an analogous one to their own. The hon. Member for "Birmingham seemed to differ from the opinions of the late Mr. Cobden on this matter. [Mr. BRIGHT: No, no!] Mr. Cobden proposed either to give only one vote to each elector or to divide the constituency. The hon. Member for Birmingham might therefore respect the opinions of the gentlemen who stated their views to the right hon. Member for South Lancashire, though he might differ from them. He (Mr. Newdegate) would support the proposal of the hon. Member for Wick. It approved itself to his mind because he thought there was a difference of opinion in Birmingham upon this matter, and because it would be very unwise on the part of the House to inflict upon any large community what had been recognised as the evils of democracy. He might, perhaps, be thought to have used too severe an expression in employing the words "evils of democracy;" but he would upon this point quote the opinion of Lord Brougham. This opinion would not be suspected of being tinctured with any undue Conservatism or Conservative prejudice. It was expressed by the noble Lord in his work on Political Philosophy, published in 1846. He said—When the predominance of one party in a democracy has once been fairly established, there is 1952 no safety for those who differ with it by ever so slight a shade. The majority being overwhelming, all opposition is stifled. No man dares breathe a whisper against the prevailing sentiments, for the popular voice will bear no contradiction. Hence the suppression of wholesome advice, the concealment of useful truths. It becomes dangerous to declare any opinion, however sound, which is unpalatable to the multitude. Truth must no more be told to the tyrant of many heads than to him of one; nay, mere flattery becomes the food generally offered up, and he, who goes before others in the extravagance of his doctrines or the violence of his language, outbids his competitors for public favour.He (Mr. Newdegate) did not think that democracy was the only influence that was evil, and which operated in an evil direction in a constitutional country. There were other faults equally dangerous, and which equally required to be guarded against. There were undue influences arising from corruption, from wealth, and from fanaticism, which required to be checked, with the view of relieving the large towns from these evils, as well as from the evils of democracy. He should vote that their representation should be increased to three Members; but his vote was prospective, and would be given with the hone that cumulative voting, or some such system as that advocated by Mr. Cobden, would be adopted—namely, to give each elector only one vote, or to divide the constituencies as was to be done in the case of the Tower Hamlets. He wished again to remind the House that there was a very intelligent and influential section of the people of Birmingham who agreed with these views of Mr. Cobden, and who looked forward to the realization of these opinions as the means by which they would be relieved from the apprehension which many of them now felt, that there was a danger of their suffering from the evils of democracy.
I wish to explain. I do not object to the division of boroughs if you give them a fair share of representation. Before my late lamented friend Mr. Cobden had made his proposal that any person should vote only for one Member, in my Bill of 1859, which hon. Gentlemen opposite have to a large extent adopted, I proposed that these large borouahs—some of the very largest, at all events—should have six Members each. The time will come when you will think that very reasonable. I proposed that they should be divided into three wards or boroughs, and Members elected for each. Therefore, I have no objection to the division of boroughs if you give them Members according to 1953 their population, property, and influence, and divide them accordingly. But I think I speak the sentiments of a large number of the inhabitants of Birmingham when I say that it would not be desirable for the sake of three Members to divide that borough. You will only be increasing the expenses for an end which is not worth it. If, however, you give them six Members, I shall be glad to unite with the Government to divide them.
§ MR. THOMAS HUGHES
said, he rose for the purpose of moving as an addition to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wick (Mr. Laing), that in the boroughs in question each elector should be entitled to give his three voles to one candidate, or to distribute them among any two or more candidates, in such proportions as he might think fit. He thought the speech of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) clearly pointed out the necessity of a decision being pronounced on his proposal for allowing cumulative voting before that of the hon. Member for Wick was agreed to. [Order!"]
said, the Amendment of which the hon. Gentleman had given notice was not really in the nature of an Amendment to the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Laing). It was, in fact, a separate and distinct proposal, which would follow in natural order after the proposal of the hon. Member for Wick, in the event of that proposal being adopted by the Committee.
§ After some discussion on the point of form.
§ MR. JAMES
said, that as a representative of one of the places (Manchester) on which the hon. Member for Wick desired to confer a benefit, he was not, like the hon. Member for Birmingham, in a position to state the desire of his constituents to have an additional Member. The House was about to alter the representation of the country in consequence of considerable agitation which had taken place, and in consequence of the expressed desire of the public for Reform. But he was not aware that any petition had emanated from Manchester intimating a desire to have an additional Member. He was not aware that there was the slightest desire on the part of the inhabitants of Manchester to have such a benefit conferred on them as was now suggested. When it was seen that different places throughout the country 1954 desiring to have a share in the representation of the country sent petitions to the House urging the importance of allowing them to retain their Members, he should naturally have expected that Manchester and other great towns, if they were discontented with the number of the representatives allotted to them, would press on the representatives they now possessed the importance of advocating an increase in the amount of their representation. No such intimation had been given to him. Therefore he felt at liberty to follow the bent of his own views, and to vote against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Wick. He did not agree with many of the arguments used as to the fixity and settlement of a question of this kind. He apprehended that Reform should be progressive. Though one would not wish to have agitation and alterations in the Constitution year after year, yet in the course of a few years — he did not pretend to say how many—it would be desirable to adjust from time to time the number of representatives in conformity with the population, wealth, and intelligence of the different districts.
§ MR. BAZLEY
said, that his hon. Colleague in the representation of Manchester (Mr. James) had placed him in a painful position. His hon. Colleague had said with truth that no petition had emanated from Manchester in support of an additional Member or additional Members for that important place. But he had received remonstrances from Manchester for not having proposed six additional Members for it. He regretted that he had not given notice of moving that two additional Members instead of one additional Member should be given to that place. He was, however, induced to conform to the judicious Motion of the hon. Member for Wick that one additional Member should be given to that important mart. There were five counties, sending ten Members to that House, which did not contain as many electors or inhabitants as Manchester. That was a strong reason why Manchester should have an addition to its representation. The day was coming when with an irresistible voice an increased number of Members would be demanded for all large constituencies. With a degree of moderation which he had hoped would have commended itself to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was suggested that one additional Member should be given to the borough of Manchester. He trusted that to that proposal 1955 a favourable consideration would be given, when it was borne in mind that Manchester was a borough carrying on business of great importance, and that its voice, when divided, could only be feebly heard in that House.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The hon. Member for Wick (Mr. Laing) has asked why should additional Members be given to large counties and not to large towns, and seemed to think that there would be difficulty in answering the question. I think that if the Committee reflect a little it will find no difficulty in the matter. Without building our whole system on population, we must consider population as one of the important elements entering into the case. We must also look to property and intelligence. It is very well known that though the population of the counties exceed the population of the boroughs, the former have only one-half the number of the Members assigned to the latter. A general opinion has been prevalent on both sides of the House that the balance should be redressed. We have before us provisions for the enfranchisement of a considerable number of new boroughs. But if we deduct the amount of their population from the county population, the county population will still exceed by 1,000,000 the whole of the borough population. How can we redress this inequality in the representation except as proposed in the schedules on the table? It is for this reason that it would be reasonable to increase the representation of large counties without increasing the representation of large towns. We must take a broad and a general view. We cannot decide the question by comparing one large town, such as Leeds or Birmingham, with some small borough. I might just as well compare the population of some large county with that of some small county. South Lancashire, when divided, may have in one of its divisions a population of 400,000. It might be described as a flagrant anomaly that it should have only two Members; the same number that some small county, with a population of 30,000 or 40,000, possesses. In dealing with an ancient plan of representation like ours we cannot produce any exactly symmetrical system. If we attempt to do so we shall probably render our representation less useful. It is only by degrees and periodically that we can adapt the representation of the country to its wants. All we can do is to take a general view, and 1956 see if, on the whole, we can adapt the representation to the interests of the country. In respect to the county representation, declarations have been made as if we were doing something monstrous in attempting to give more adequate representation to the 11,000,000 of population in the counties. I am sorry to refer to figures with which the House is familiar, but, as I mentioned last year, after very accurate investigation, it appears that out of the 334 borough seats now existing eighty-four might fairly be considered as indirectly representing various county influences. But, among the forty-five borough Members now proposed to be taken away, thirty-four may be considered as included in the eighty-four representing county influences. We take forty-five seats from the 334 forming the existing borough constituency, which leaves 289 seats representing boroughs, to which number must be added the nineteen new borough seats we propose to create, making altogether 308 borough seats. But from this number must be deducted fifty seats, which are the remainder of the eighty-four small borough seats which are supposed indirectly to represent the county population. Thus we have 258 seats representing the boroughs under the scheme we have laid before the Committee. On the other hand, we propose to add twenty-five new seats to the 162 forming the existing county representation, making together 187. To this number must be added the fifty small borough seats representing county interests which I have just deducted from the borough representation, and so we shall have a county representation of 237 against a borough representation of 258. This is, upon the whole, a fair adjustment of the representation, because although this proposal is not so favourable to the counties as the present system in a numerical point of view, still the vigour of the county representation will be greatly increased by that representation being direct instead of indirect. That is the proposal we have laid before the Committee. If the House is sincere—and I cannot doubt the sincerity of the House after the discussions that have taken place upon this subject—that in the distribution of seats there shall be a bonâ fide attempt to put the counties in a more satisfactory position in the representation than they have hitherto occupied, I cannot doubt that the Committee will come to the conclusion that this proposal is a just, moderate, 1957 and well considered one. Numerically, I repeat, the county interest—I am not speaking exclusively of the agricultural interest, but of the great county interests in the various points—will not be so largely represented as under the present system, because now there are 220 county Members as against 246 borough Members, whereas under the new proposal there will be 258 borough Members as against 237 county Members. I think, therefore, that I have answered the hon. Member on the point he raised with regard to the county representation. I think I have shown that we should increase the representation of the great counties rather than that of the great towns and boroughs, because we cannot in any other way give representation to the 11,000,000 forming the county population, and to the great interests and industries which have been for so long so inadequately and imperfectly represented. The hon. Member for Wick says, "You are taking the forty-five seats from boroughs only." I put it to the Committee, is that a just, candid, and fair view of the matter? Have we taken forty-five seats from boroughs which really represented the urban interests? We only need have listened to the speech of the hon. Member to find how completely he refuted his own argument. Did not the hon. Member, in referring to the borough of Cricklade, and to several other boroughs which are to lose a Member by the measure now before the House, contend that the assumed representation by those boroughs of urban interests was a farce? If that be so, can it be justly said that in taking away a Member from those boroughs we are taking a seat from the borough and urban representation? Instead of taking the whole forty-five Members from places which represent urban interests, we are, in fact, taking thirty-four Members from places which represent county interests under the existing system. It therefore seems that the hon. Member has utterly failed in making out any case for the consideration of the Committee. It is all very well for the hon. Member to say that he has no objection to our giving the counties twenty-five new seats provided we extend our plan and take seats from other small boroughs and give them to the larger boroughs. But in taking Members from a large number of small boroughs we should probably be still further depriving the county interest of its representation for the purpose of handing it over to the borough interest. If we were to adopt such a proposal 1958 we should have to recommend a further increase of the county representation. The arguments of the hon. Member upon this head, therefore, are utterly illusory and futile. Having considered the effect the hon. Member's plan would have upon the counties, let us see what effect it would I have upon the rising urban population of the country. Assuming as a fact that which I have been endeavouring to uphold as a sound principle of policy, and which has been supported by the view of the hon. Member himself—namely, that we ought to give twenty-five seats to the counties—and recollecting that the number of seats for distribution is limited to nineteen or twenty, how are we to provide for the representation of the rising urban populations if we accumulate the representation among the large boroughs already represented? It is no argument to contrast Birmingham, with its two Members, with some small town which has also two Members. You might as well contrast some great county with its two Members with one of its small boroughs having a like representation. You; might as well take North Durham, with its great industrial population, which is represented by two Members, and compare it with the four boroughs it contains whose aggregate populations, not exceeding one-half that of the county, return eight Members to Parliament. There is a flagrant anomaly according to such superficial reasoning. Would you disturb that arrangement, would you propose to increase the county representation because the four boroughs have thriving constituencies? — and it is fortunate for them and for the country that they are adequately represented. What I say is that, first, as regards the counties, the only course you can take is to increase their representation, especially when you see that the great majority of the population is to be found among them. As regards the towns, our principle should be to grant enfranchisement to those which represent rising industries. Therefore, I cannot conceive that the policy recommended by the hon. Gentleman will be adopted by the Committee. The hon. Member has very candidly informed us of the views that have induced him to bring forward his proposal, although he has not formally recommended the Committee to adopt them. He tells us that he has brought in this scheme to prepare the way for the adoption of cumulative voting. If the House is in favour of cumulative voting, or in favour of any of 1959 the schemes for securing the representation of minorities winch have been brought forward of late, they can, of course, deliberate upon the propriety of adopting the proposal of the hon. Member. Her Majesty's Government, however, are opposed to cumulative voting, and to those other fantastic schemes that do not come under our notice in this discussion. Her Majesty's Government do not shrink from such questions, and they will be prepared to give their reasons for objecting to such proposals when the proper time comes. I must say a word or two upon another point. When I ventured to inform the House to-night that the issue before us was one of the greatest importance and gravity, I did not wish it to be understood that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to treat this question differently from other questions connected with the settlement of this measure on which they have received from the House of Commons so cordial and so kind a support. There are, however, occasions when it becomes the duty of the Government to impress upon the House the importance and the gravity of the question at issue. Thus, for instance, it is easy for any hon. Gentleman to propose that there shall be an increase to the representation of large cities by plausibly contrasting them with smaller boroughs which have an equal representation, and to enlarge upon the injustice and flagrant anomaly of the present system — to say that agitation will re-commence, as if agitation were the real normal condition of the country. But the issue so raised is one of great importance—everything depends upon it. Before the House comes to the determination to entirely change the principles upon which the opinions of the people of England have been hitherto represented in Parliament they ought to be warned by those who hold office of the importance and the gravity of the question before them. We have been told tonight that it is absolutely necessary that the representation of the large cities should be enlarged, because the duties of the representatives of those cities have been so much increased. We are required upon these grounds to give six Members to Manchester. I do not believe in that theory at all. I believe that two Members for Manchester will do their business much better than a larger number. The probability is that too many artists would not improve the broth. The hon. and learned 1960 Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Ayrton) represents interests equally diversified with those of Manchester, but I never heard him complain that he has too much work; I never heard that his constituents complained that he neglected their interests, although they are quite as varied in character as those of the inhabitants of the towns in Warwickshire and Lancashire. A population of a town which is aggregated is much more likely to be fairly represented than where the constituency is scattered, as is the case in every large county. I cannot believe that by having this multiplicity of Members you really provide for the more effectual representation of large towns. I believe that the tendency of our modern civilization is rather to reduce than to increase the number of representatives of large towns. The conditions are not the same in large counties of perhaps sixty or seventy miles in length. The character of the population at one end may vary from that of the population at its other end. At one end you may have a population living entirely in the plains: at the other end among the hills. There are different circumstances and different industries to be considered, so that one Member is not sufficient. They must represent different parts. It is not so in towns. Even in counties, I shrink from increasing in this manner the representation of localities, and we hope to have the satisfaction of terminating, at all events, one of the three-cornered counties. I am of opinion that this plan is not founded upon sound policy, upon the policy which is recognized by the universal feeling of the House: that is, that we ought to create an adequate representation of counties, and that the rest of the representation should be distributed among those rising urban communities which have proved by their successful progress, by their industry, and by their energy, that they are entitled to representation in this House.
I shall not attempt to reply to that portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman which refers to the cumulative vote, or to that portion which refers to the undivided representation of great towns. The question as to whether the great towns ought to be divided—I will not say whether I think my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham right or wrong—is a question totally distinct from the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Wick, just as the question of cumulative votes would still 1961 remain a distinct and ulterior issue if we decided that the great towns ought not to be divided. If these questions are to be justly treated at our ands, we must keep them separate, and have them fully discussed. I do not consider in voting for my hon. Friend the Member for Wick that I am pledging myself in any way with regard to these ulterior motions. On one point I have heard the statement of the right hon. Gentleman with satisfaction, because it relieves me from the apprehension I felt at the words which dropped from him at an earlier portion of the evening. It now appeal's that it was not to the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Wick per se, and apart from any other Motion, that the right hon. Gentleman objected so strongly as to say so vehemently that its adoption would compel the Government to re-consider their position with regard to the Bill. ["No, no!"] I am glad to understand that that objection was not—["No, no!"] Then, am I to understand that the position of the Government with regard to this Bill will have to be re-considered in case we should vote in favour of recognising the claims of the largest towns in this country to additional representation. If that be so, I must, of course, retract the expression of satisfaction I just made. In the first place, I must say, with regard to the Bill itself, that it is the property not of Her Majesty's Government, but of the House. In the second place, if Her Majesty's Government conceive that their position as an Administration is brought into peril and jeopardy by our determining that the large populous communities are entitled to a fair amount of representation, I must say such a view, after all that has passed, would be the most egregious instance on record of straining at a gnat after swallowing the camel, Seriously, Sir, I must claim for the House full liberty of entering freely upon the discussion raised by my hon. Friend. The proposal made is one not novel in itself, one of no very wide scope, and in no way aiming at the overthrow of the views of Her Majesty's Government as to re-distribution, a proposal with regard to which—if upon any point connected with the Bill—the House of Commons is entitled to exercise its judgment unbiassed by any fear of political consequences. When I recollect the letter of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the two years' residence, and his subsequent explanation—far more wise, I think, and advisable 1962 than the letter itself—I trust the like lenient view will be taken, and that should the deliberate judgment of the House be in favour of the proposal of my hon. Friend, the right hon. Gentleman will receive the result philosophically, and see whether such a proposal cannot without any disturbance be incorporated in the plan of Her Majesty's Government. I am desirous that we should know precisely upon what we are going to vote. In one point, and one point alone, of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Wick I could not concur. That point appeared to me to be unfavourable to his own proposal. I understood him to say that if we adopted his Motion we should virtually determine that the seats required for the additional representation of the large towns should be obtained by the adoption of a system of grouping in small boroughs. I cannot think that my hon. Friend did himself justice on that point. I protest against the doctrine that by acceding to the Motion of my hon. Friend we bind ourselves to any method of supplying the seats. It is perfectly open to the Committee to reconsider the question of the smaller boroughs at a future stage. It is most important it should be understood that we express no opinion whatever upon the mode in which the seats which we are to give to the large towns are to be obtained. In this opinion I shelter myself under the high authority of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman laid down the other evening, with perfect truth and justice, the proper course to pursue on this subject. The right hon. Gentleman said our first duty is to consider the claims of the various places and communities to representation, and when we have ascertained the justice and extent of those claims, to find seats in sufficient numbers to settle them from those portions of the country where weaker claims exist and where the representation possessed is out of character with the importance of the communities. We have to consider whether these large towns have or have not a fair claim to increased representation. Here it is impossible not to notice the way in which the right hon. Gentleman places the interests of the counties in opposition to those of the towns. I am of opinion that there is no great, no irrefragable claim of policy or principle, that mere numbers should be adopted as the basis of representation in counties. I protest against the fancied 1963 opposition between county and town which placed the right hon. Gentleman under the necessity of entering into such an elaborate calculation. I do not intend to give any pledge as to the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to counties, but I think there is nothing unreasonable in the idea that some such number as he proposes should be added to county representation. About the details there may be much to say, but I do not in any way wish to convey the impression that in adopting the Motion of my hon. Friend we do anything to interfere with that scale. But it seems to me that this claim is irrefragable both on grounds of policy and principle; and here I feel the importance of the Motion of my hon. Friend. You cannot settle the question of Reform upon a basis of re-distribution so limited and narrow as that upon which we now stand. I deeply regret the rejection of the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Portsmouth, for had that Motion been carried the number of seats placed at the disposal of the Committee might possibly have led to its acceptance as a settlement. I am confident that no plan so narrow as that now before us, and more especially so narrow as to exclude the great towns from increased representation, even if it were for a moment to receive the sanction of the House, could endure the time which we desire this measure to last. I say "if it receive the sanction of the House," for, undoubtedly, it is possible that the Motion of my hon. Friend may be rejected by votes like that of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. James), who confesses distinctly—and I am glad that he has so plainly avowed his reasons — that he will vote against the Amendment because he believes it is not good to settle the question of Reform. My hon. Friend is not to be deterred by any fear of prolonged agitation for increased representation of these boroughs. He appears to think that the House of Commons would have nothing to do after this Reform Bill has passed, and that it is advisable some constant employment should be found for us. I proceed exactly upon the opposite principle. I cordially concur with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the opinion that agitation is not the normal state of this country, and that it ought not to be the normal occupation of its people. It is because I feel deeply convinced of the importance of that proposition that I shall end as I have begun 1964 in the Reform discussion, by endeavouring in all things to arrive at some settlement that has a prospect of permanence. I think, therefore, that in policy we are bound to adopt a Motion like that of my hon. Friend. Some such Motion is necessary to secure a satisfactory and durable settlement. Can there be a greater paradox than to say, that communities varying infinitely in importance are to have equal representation, and that it is to be limited in every case to the number of two? We have been compelled to depart from that principle in the case of the Metropolis, and we go still further as regards the Metropolis by this Bill. Why, then, are we to adopt a limitation with reference to Manchester and Liverpool? The speech of the right hon. Gentleman is good not only for this, but also for future years. He contends in principle that it is wrong to increase the representation of great communities. Such a declaration is contrary to the reason of the case. Are not the numbers of the people, their property, their intelligence determining qualities, which ought to serve in some degree—in a principal degree—of the measure of influence and weight they are to possess in the councils of this House. If so, how must we look at the cases of Manchester and Liverpool? I speak in the face of one of the representatives of Manchester, and, though I have not the honour of representing that city, my acquaintance with it is quite as long as that of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. James), and possibly it may continue as long as his. It seems impossible to look at the cases of Manchester and Liverpool, and to suppose that they will acquiesce in a system which will reduce almost to insignificance, numerically, the weight of their representation. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer answers this by making comparisons between counties and towns, and by resorting to his old fallacy of comparing the population of the two. If the right hon. Gentleman will make the comparison on the basis of population, he must give the counties the same extended franchise as the towns. It is unjust, in speaking of the representation of the counties, to insist upon population as a measure of representation in the same way as, under the old constitution of the United States, the population of the Southern States was taken for the measure of the representation, while the great bulk of the population was excluded from the franchise. It is on 1965 the ground of the general importance of the counties, and not on that of any fancied opposition between their interest and that of the towns, that they are entitled to an increase of representation; and on the ground of that general importance Liverpool, Manchester, and other places are likewise entitled to it. But you cannot couple their representation with that of other towns. What does Liverpool care for the representation of Clitheroe? The interests of Liverpool are not identified with those of Clitheroe. It is not fair to throw the small towns into the balance as make weight, when you can otherwise meet the claims of Liverpool to increased representation. Compare the case of Liverpool with that of the county. While Liverpool, with a population of 440,000 in 1861, is to be restricted to two Members, South Lancashire is to be divided, and a population of 300,000 is to be invested with exactly the same amount of representation as Liverpool. Upon what intelligible principle, other than that of fancied rivalry, are you to divide Somerset, with 300,000 or 350,000 in population, and increase its four Members to six, while you leave Liverpool with two! You could only act thus upon a fancied rivalry between towns and counties, which I think is a disorganizing political principle. This would be to provoke agitation in the country, and to keep up that festering sense of injustice which becomes inconvenient at times, and which is sure to find, sooner or later, and the sooner the better, a remedy for itself in a country that exists under free institutions. But if we want argument to refute the right hon. Gentleman, what reply does he attempt to make to the precedent he has given in the case of Glasgow? In the case of Glasgow the right hon. Gentleman has proposed to increase the number of representatives from two to three. Yet he lays it down as a principle for Manchester and Liverpool that the number of two is to be stereotyped, and that no increase is to be made under any circumstances. The real anomaly is much greater than the apparent one. Since 1861 the population of Liverpool has increased, until it is now past 500,000. It will continue to increase at the rate of from 20,000 to 40,000 a year; thus necessitating a change in the representation at an early date, unless we now make some moderate acknowledgment of its claims. The inequality in the case of Liverpool will be aggravated by the enlargement of its boundaries. 1966 Therefore, unless we adopt the Motion of my hon. Friend, we shall not only pass by, but increase on injustice. I am reluctant to enter upon topics the discussion of which may seem to reflect upon a part of the House, or upon the House itself. It is fair to consider all that has been done in the past as resting upon the responsibility of the House. But I will venture to say this, do not let us deal with the question of representation as we dealt with that of the franchise. Moderate demands were made in the first instance, were declined and refused. These were followed by sweeping demands which, under some apparent sense of necessity, were conceded. If we propose a plan of re-distribution wholly inadequate to the necessities of the case, let us beware lest by adhering to the undue narrowness of our present schemes and conceptions we bring about, just as we did in the case of the franchise, a necessity for a greatly extended change; and are some day surprised by the announcement that nothing remains but to launch at once into electoral districts. I do not argue for an unnecessary extension of this scheme. But let me remind the Committee that by the Bill of last year, which no one charged with too extensive disfranchisement, we diminished by 49 or 50 seats the representation of the small boroughs, while in the Bill of the present year it is proposed to be diminished by only 38. Yet we have adopted this year a franchise much larger than that which was proposed last year. A fair inference would be that there should be a corresponding change in the scheme of re-distribution in order to give to the work that proportion and solidity without which we cannot hope it will last. These considerations are conclusive in favour of the Motion of my hon. Friend. I regard it as an advantage and a recommendation that it will have the effect of fairly introducing the discussion of the plan proposed by the hon. Member for Lambeth, with regard to which I will say, without in the slightest degree expressing an opinion upon it, which it would be premature to do, that it is one that we must all feel well deserves careful and impartial consideration.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The approaching division is important, and I may be excused if I occupy a minute or two in stating the reasons for the vote I am about to give. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down is, in my opinion, in error in saving that this vote does not bind 1967 us to one opinion or another on the question of cumulative voting, which I strongly favour, for the rejection of this Motion will preclude us in the most absolute manner from earning out the plan of cumulative voting. The object of cumulative voting is to secure the representation of a minority, where there is a large one; and it would be wholly unjust and inconsistent with the practice of the House to apply such a measure to the counties and not to the towns. Suppose you reject the Motion of the hon. Member for Wick and adopt that of the hon. Member for Lambeth, you will be in this position—the provision for the representation of minorities will apply to the counties where Liberals are in the minority, and it will not apply to the towns where the Conservatives are in a minority. I am not prepared to give my sanction to a proposal which operates so unjustly as that. I do not ground my vote merely upon the adoption of the Motion of the hon. Member for Lambeth. I am very much in favour of representing minorities directly. If I cannot do that I would then adopt the scheme attributed to Mr. Cobden of obtaining the representation of these minorities by geographical divisions. I would rather give three Members to large constituencies, because the experience of a number of years has shown that the natural justice and spirit of compromise inherent in the English people has always given the third Member to a considerable minority. There are now in England eight three-cornered comities. In five the minority is represented. In the others it was represented at the beginning of the last Parliament. With such facts before us it is impossible to doubt that three-cornered constituencies secure the representation of minorities. I confess I do not see the force of the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the scheme of the hon. Member leaves the counties on one side. The choice you have to make is between the representation of the minutest boroughs, and the representation of the minorities of the largest boroughs. I confess that what has taken place with regard to the franchise does affect in a material degree our position with respect to the representation of the smallest constituencies. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Thursday last, in introducing his new scheme, spoke of the vote of the House in very peculiar terms, to which, if I may be allowed, I should like to draw attention for a moment, because they somewhat 1968 affect me personally. The right hon. Gentleman said—The Committee is aware that the result of the division which took place on the Motion of the hon. Member for Wick was to make a considerable addition to the number of seats which the Government originally contemplated having at their disposal for re-distribution; for the Committee agreed to a Resolution that every existing Parliamentary borough which does not exceed 10,000 in population should be represented by only one Member—a principle which Her Majesty's Government entirely approved, although they did not think it possible to extend its application so far without the assistance of the Committee."—[3 Hansard, clxxxvii. 1776.]
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
It was the principle of having one Member only which we approved—not the 10,000 line.
§ VISCOUNT CRANBORNE
The right hon. Gentleman did not explain himself with his usual clearness, as I certainly understood him to mean that the Government had approved the 10,000 line. I refer to that subject for the purpose of saying that, though I value the small boroughs as they exist, and consider them a most important part of the representation of this country, and though I do not say that that character is now entirely destroyed, yet I think that the enormous addition you have made to the suffrage in those boroughs, by recognizing the claims of the very lowest classes in those boroughs, has materially affected their value in the representation. To say that the vices which affect the upper and middle classes of the community are ever found among the lower is to be absolutely proscribed. But assuming that to be for a moment possible, I fear you will find that there is less intelligence, less acquaintance with public affairs, and perhaps a greater disposition to appreciate commercial rather than political privileges among those whose life is a daily struggle for mere existence than among those in a higher position. To these classes practically, in the smallest boroughs, you have given the franchise. When, then, I have before me a scheme for enfranchising a minority in the greatest, the most intelligent, the most populous, and the most progressive boroughs, it seems to me that every Conservative principle should lead me rather to prefer those who are competent, and who are likely to exercise the franchise well, than those with regard to whose competence and probable course I am in the most absolute and complete darkness. I feel that the decision in this case will depend a good deal on the 1969 view which hon. Gentlemen have formed of that prospect of government by the residuum which seems to be popular with a considerable portion of this House. I confess that I look to the prospect of government by "men in the moon" as the most frightful political danger which can befall us. I consider it a most serious danger to set against each other the squires in the counties and those who lead the large mobs in the towns, without any class between them to break the shock. By this Bill you are about to disfranchise absolutely the more intelligent classes in the towns. I do not entertain the same hostility to them that you do, but desire to preserve by this Bill, if I can, a door, however narrow and small, by which they can be admitted to an influence over the destinies of the country.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 239; Noes 247: Majority 8.1972
|Acland, T. D.||Chambers, M.|
|Adair, H. E.||Cheetham, J.|
|Adam, W. P.||Clinton, Lord E. P.|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F.||Clive, G.|
|Allen, W. S.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Amberley, Viscount||Coleridge, J. D.|
|Antrobus, E.||Collier, Sir R. P.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Colthurst, Sir G. C.|
|Bagwell. J.||Colvile, C. R.|
|Baines, E.||Cowen, J.|
|Barnes, T.||Cowper, hon. H. F.|
|Barron, Sir H. W.||Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Crawford, R. W.|
|Bazley, T.||Cremorne, Lord|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Crossley, Sir F.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Dalglish, R.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||Davey, R.|
|Biddulph, Col. R. M.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Blake, J. A.||Denman, hon. G.|
|Blennerhasset, Sir R.||Dent, J. D.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Dering, Sir E. C.|
|Brady, J.||Dilke, Sir W.|
|Bright, J.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Bruce, Lord C.||Duff, M. E. G.|
|Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.||Dundas, F.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R.||Earle, R. A.|
|Buller, Sir A. W.||Edwards, C.|
|Buller, Sir E. M.||Edwards, H.|
|Butler, C. S.||Enfield, Viscount|
|Buxton, Sir T. F.||Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.|
|Calcraft, J. H. M.||Ewart, W.|
|Calthorpe, hn. F.H.W.G.||Ewing, H. E. Crum-|
|Candlish, J.||Fildes, J.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||FitzGerald, rt. hon. Lord O. A.|
|Carnegie, hon. C.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Foljambe, F.J. S.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Forster, C.|
|Cavendish. Lord G.||Forster, W. E.|
|Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.||Fortescue, rt. hon. C.S.|
|Fortescue, hon. D. F.||Mitchell, A.|
|Foster, W. O.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Moffatt, G.|
|Gilpin, C.||Monk, C.J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W.E.||Monsell, rt. hon. W.|
|Gladstone, W. H.||More, R. J.|
|Glyn, G. G.||Morrison, W.|
|Goldsmid, Sir F. H.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.||Nicol, J. D.|
|Gower, hon. F. L.||Norwood, C. M.|
|Gower, Lord R.||O'Brien, Sir P.|
|Graham, W.||O'Conor Don, The|
|Graves, S. R.||Ogilvy, Sir J.|
|Grenfell, H. R.||Oliphant, L.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Onslow, G.|
|Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.||Osborne, R. B.|
|Grove, T. F.||Otway, A. J.|
|Gurney, S.||Padmore, R.|
|Hadfield, G.||Palmer, Sir R.|
|Hamilton, E. W. T.||Pease, J. W.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Peel, A. W.|
|Harris, J. D.||Peel, J.|
|Hartington, Marquess||Pelham, Lord|
|Hay, Lord J.||Philips, R. N.|
|Hay, Lord W. M.||Portman, hn. W. H. B.|
|Heathcote, Sir W.||Potter, E.|
|Henderson, J.||Potter, T. B.|
|Henley, Lord||Price, R. G.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Price, W. P.|
|Hibbert, J. T.||Rawlinson, Sir H.|
|Hodgkinson, G.||Rebow, J. G.|
|Holden, I.||Robertson, D.|
|Holland, E.||Rothschild, Baron L. de|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Rothschild, Baron M. de|
|Horsfall, T. B.||Rothschild, N. M. de|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Russell, A.|
|Hughes, T.||Russell, F. W.|
|Hurst, R. H.||Russell, Sir W.|
|Ingham, R.||St. Aubyn, J.|
|Jackson, W.||Salomons, Alderman|
|Jardine, R.||Samuda, J. D'A.|
|Jervoise, Sir J. C.||Samuelson, B.|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Sandford, G. M. W.|
|Kearsley, Captain R.||Scholefield, W.|
|Kennedy, T.||Schreiber, C.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Scott, Sir W.|
|Kinglake, A. W.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Seymour, A.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen E||Shafto, R. D.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Sherriff, A. C.|
|Laird, J.||Simeon, Sir J.|
|Lamont, J.||Smith, J.|
|Lawrence, W.||Smith, J. A.|
|Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.||Speirs, A. A.|
|Layard, A. H.||Stacpoole, W.|
|Leatham, W. H.||Stansfeld, J.|
|Lee, W.||Stone, W. H.|
|Leeman, G.||Stuart, Col. Crichton.|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Sykes, Colonel W. H.|
|Lloyd, Sir T. D.||Synan, E. J.|
|Locke, J.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Lowe, rt. hon. R.||Thynne, Lord H. F.|
|Lusk, A.||Tomline, G.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-|
|Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.||Trevelyan, G. O.|
|Matheson, A.||Vanderbyl, P.|
|Merry, J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Milbank, F. A.||Vernon, H. F.|
|Mill, J. S.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Miller, W.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Mills, J. R.||Vivian, Capt. hn. J.C.W.|
|Waring, C.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Warner, E.||Woods, H.|
|Weguelin, T. M.||Yorke, J. R.|
|Western, Sir T. B.||Young, R.|
|White, hon. Capt. C.||TELLERS.|
|White, J.||Laing, S.|
|Wickham, H. W.||Hayter, Capt. A. D.|
|Williamson, Sir H.|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Doulton, F.|
|Akroyd, E.||Dowdeswell, W. E.|
|Annesley, hon. Col. H.||Du Cane, C.|
|Anson, hon. Major||Duncombe, hon. Adm.|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Duncombe, hn. Colonel|
|Arkwright, R.||Dunkellin, Lord|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Dunne, General|
|Baggallay, R.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Dutton, hon. R. H.|
|Bagnall, C.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Baillie, rt. hon. H. J.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Baring, H. B.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Barnett, H.||Eckersley, N.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Edwards, Sir H.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Bass, A.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Egerton, E. C.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Beach, Sir M. H.||Elcho, Lord|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H.|
|Bective, Earl of||Fane, Colonel J. W.|
|Beecroft, G. S.||Feilden, J.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Fellowes, E.|
|Benyon, R.||Fergusson, Sir J.|
|Beresford, Capt. D.W. Pack-||Floyer, J.|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Bernard, hn. Col. H. B.||Freshfield, C. K.|
|Bingham, Lord||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Galway, Viscount|
|Bourne, Colonel||Garth, R.|
|Bowyer, Sir G.||Gilpin, Colonel|
|Brooks, R.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Browne, Lord J. T.||Goldney, G.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Bruen, H.||Gorst, J. E.|
|Buckley, E.||Greenall, G.|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Greene, E.|
|Butler-Johnstone, H. A.||Grey, hon. T. de|
|Campbell, A. H.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Capper, C.||Gurney, rt. hon. R.|
|Cartwright, Colonel||Gwyn, H.|
|Cave, rt. hon. S.||Hamilton, rt. hn. Lord C.|
|Cobbold, J. C.|
|Cochrane, A.D.R.W.B.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Cole, hon. H.||Hamilton, I. T.|
|Cole, hon. J. L.||Hardy, rt. hon. G.|
|Conolly, T.||Hardy, J.|
|Cooper, E. H.||Hartley, J.|
|Corrance, F. S.||Hartopp, E. B.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Harvey, R. B.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Hervey, Lord A. H. C.|
|Cox, W. T.||Hay, Sir J.C.D.|
|Cubitt, G.||Heathcote, hon. G. H.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Heneage, E.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Dawson, R. P.||Henniker-Major, hon. J. M.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Herbert, hon. Col. P.|
|Dimsdale, R.||Hesketh. Sir T. G.|
|Heygate, Sir F. W.||Peel, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Percy, Mjr.-Gen. Ld. H.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Powell, F. S.|
|Holford, R. S.||Pritchard, J.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Pugh, D.|
|Hornby, W. H.||Read, C. S.|
|Hotham, Lord||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Howes, E.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Hubbard, J. G.||Robertson, P. F.|
|Hunt, G. W.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Innes, A. C.||Rolt, Sir J.|
|James, E.||Royston, Viscount|
|Jolliffe, hon. H. H.||Russell, Sir C.|
|Jones, D.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Karslake, Sir J. B.||Scott, Lord H.|
|Kavanagh, A.||Selwin, H. J.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Selwyn, C. J.|
|Kelk, J.||Severne, J. E.|
|Kendall, N.||Seymour, G. H.|
|King, J. K.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Knight, F. W.||Smith, A.|
|Knox, Colonel||Smith, S. G.|
|Knox, hon. Colonel S.||Smollett, P. B.|
|Langton, W. G.||Stanhope, J. B.|
|Lascelles, hon. E. W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Legh, Major C.||Stanley, hon. F.|
|Lefroy, A.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.|
|Lennox, Lord G. G.||Stopford, S. G.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Stronge, Sir J. M.|
|Liddell, hon. H. G.||Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col. C.||Stucley, Sir G. S.|
|Lindsay, Colonel R. L.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Sturt, Lt.-Col. N.|
|Lowther, Captain||Surtees, C. F.|
|Lowther, J.||Surtees, H. E.|
|M'Kenna, J. N.||Sykes, C.|
|Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Torrens, R.|
|Malcolm, J. W.||Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C.G.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Treeby, J. W.|
|Manners, Lord G. J.||Trollope, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Marsh, M. H.||Turner, C.|
|Mitford, W. T.||Vance, J.|
|Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.||Verner, E. W.|
|Montgomery, Sir G.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Mordaunt, Sir C.||Walcott, Admiral|
|Morgan, O.||Walker, Major G. G.|
|Morgan, hon. Major||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Morris, G.||Walrond, J. W.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.||Walsh, A.|
|Naas, Lord||Walsh, Sir J.|
|Neeld, Sir J.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Neville-Grenville, R.||Welby, W. E.|
|Newport, Viscount||Whitmore, H.|
|North, Colonel||Wise, H. C.|
|Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S.H.||Woodd, B. T.|
|O'Neill, E.||Wyld, J.|
|Packe, C. W.||Wyndham, hon. H.|
|Packe, Colonel||Wyndham, hon. P.|
|Paget, R. H.||Wynn, C. W. W.|
|Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.||Wynne, W. R. M.|
|Palk, Sir L.||Wyvil, M.|
|Parker, Major W.|
|Patten, Colonel W.||Taylor, Colonel T. E.|
|Paull, H.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
§ MR. LAING
said, that the next Amendment of which he had given notice proposed to give a second Member to boroughs containing more than 50,000 inhabitants, which now had but one Member. As there 1973 were only four boroughs in that category, and as two of them had been adopted in the scheme of the Government, he did not think, after the division which had just taken place, that it would be right to press his proposal. He could not believe, however, that those large and important populations whose cause he advocated would ultimately, or even during the present Session, remain without adequate representation, particularly when it was considered that his proposal had been defeated by so narrow a majority. He would not trouble the Committee by moving the next Amendment which stood in his name.
§ MR. A. MITCHELL
said, he rose to move to add at the end of the clause the following words:—And every borough which returns, or shall return, two or more Members to Parliament shall be divided into the same number of districts as it does or shall return Members to Parliament, and each of such districts shall only return one Member to Parliament, independently of the other districts, the electors of each district being placed on a separate register and forming a separate constituency.Two-seated constituencies encouraged useless contests, and, as proved by the decisions of Election Committees, led to more cases of corruption than occurred in constituencies having a single Member. The instances in which Members had been unseated were as nearly as possible equally divided between the two parties. The fact of there being two Members for a constituency detracted from the independence of those Members. Statistics showed that corruption attached in a greater degree to boroughs with a population exceeding 20,000 than to smaller places. Recent decisions of the Committee had considerably increased the number of one-seated constituencies. His scheme would diminish bribery, and would make its detection easier. It would make contests, where they occurred, fairer and more straightforward, and it would give minorities a more effective representation than the plan of cumulative voting. The late Mr. Cobden was in its favour.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, that though he was an ultra-Liberal in some points he was a Conservative in others. He should certainly not vote for change for the sake of change. The proposal appeared to him to be a most useless and idle one. He objected to the proposal as an innovation which had nothing to recommend it. It was only calculated to benefit Members of the House, and not 1974 the people at large. The hon. Member had deprecated useless contests, and would, no doubt, like to make his own seat a freehold. It was absurd, however, to talk of seats being obtained without money. Most seats were put up to auction and knocked down to the highest bidder. As to election committees, whose decisions the hon. Gentleman had quoted, he thought them worse than a farce, and had not the slightest confidence in them. As an illustration of how they were popularly regarded he would mention a conversation which took place last year in the lobby relative to a disputed return. One voter asked another how things were going, and the other replied, "Twenty to one for us; we have a Tory Chairman." The Chairman was a very honourable man. Still the result was, that the Members of that borough, though it had since been disfranchised for the grossest bribery, retained their seats. He understood the gist of the hon. Member's argument to be, that where there was only one Member there were fewer petitions, and, consequently, fewer Members unseated for bribery. No doubt what he had stated was true. But everybody must be aware that where there were two Members petitions were more frequent, because they were often presented in the hope that one of the Members would give way. Where a borough had two representatives they should be returned by the majority of the whole number of electors. He protested against the representation of minorities, and could see no merit in the various philosophic schemes which had been brought forward on this subject. He was in favour of the old constitutional principle of election by majorities, and he hoped he should long live to see it continued. There was nothing worth having in those novel philosophical schemes for representing minorities. It was trifling with the Committee to discuss them. These schemes were all very well in theory, but as a plain practical man he approved of their continuing what had hitherto worked well. He hoped the House would reject the Amendment by an overwhelming majority.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, that with the purport of the Amendment he cordially agreed. Its object was to divide boroughs with two Members into wards, in order to insure equalization in the representation of the people. He had himself given notice of Amendments with the view of attaining that object.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he was 1975 by no means prepared to say that the proposal was not worthy the consideration of the Committee. Still less to say any proposal should be rejected on the score of novelty. But the proposal was inconsistent with the spirit of the Bill, and therefore the Government must oppose it. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would not press it to a division.
§ MR. AYTOUN
said, the hon. and learned Serjeant had formed an erroneous opinion on the object of the Amendment, when he said it would only cheapen elections without benefiting the country. Anything that would open the doors of Parliament to men of moderate fortunes would be beneficial to the country generally. The great evil was the expense candidates had to incur in becoming Members of that House. At present those who could best afford to bear that expense were chiefly men of large fortunes, and members of the legal profession who wished to promote their professional interests. No doubt, a seat in the House improved the position of distinguished Members of the legal profession, but he did not think their desire to enter the House was inconsistent with the honour and integrity of their character. With regard to the Amendment, in his opinion it would be a great advantage if a due proportion between the two parties in the country were kept up in the House. Minorities ought to have a fair share in the representation, and he was in favour of some scheme of cumulative voting and of dividing boroughs into wards and counties into districts. He should support the hon. Member if he went to a division.
§ MR. WARNER
said, he thought the proposed plan ought to be supported, neither on the ground that it gave a representation to minorities, nor that it saved the expense of elections; but because it provided for the most varied representation of all parties in the country. It also doubled the number of constituencies without increasing the number of seats, which was supposed to be large enough. If there was one reason more than another why the Amendment should not be withdrawn, it was the way in which it had been met by the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington), who did not argue the question, but merely said the proposal was inconsistent with the spirit of the Bill.
§ MR. J. GOLDSMID
said, he supported the Amendment on the principle that one man ought only to have a share in returning one Member.
§ MR. MONTAGU CHAMBERS
said, the time had not yet arrived when they could hope to carry this Amendment. The good sense of the country, however, would ultimately demand it. The present system of split votes was most objectionable. The second vote was not directed by choice, but was often a sort of compromise, and the representative who was elected by split votes was a kind of half and half Member. One of the greatest annoyances to a candidate for a borough returning two Members was, that if he was not the local popular man he had to moderate or extend his views in order to obtain the second vote. The Amendment would not diminish the expense at elections, because each candidate would have to pay his own, instead of as now dividing it with his colleague. With regard to bribery in boroughs returning only one Member, it was well known that compromises often took place to prevent the exposure of bribery and corrupt practices, because one party was as bad as the other. On the broad principle of having the community properly represented he was much in favour of the Amendment, but he did not think that circumstances were quite ripe for its adoption. Though they might carry a very excellent Reform Bill this year, there would be many points to discuss in connection with a complete Reform in Parliament in future Sessions.
§ MR. A. MITCHELL
said, he did not state that his scheme, if adopted, would save expense, but that where one seat was contested in a two-scaled borough it would prevent the other candidate who was not opposed from being put to expense as the particular candidate who was opposed. Sixty-three Members had been put to additional expense in that way during the last nine elections. He did not say there was no bribery in one seated boroughs, but that by comparison there was one-third more bribery in two-seated boroughs than in one-seated boroughs. Not wishing to impede the passing of the Bill, he should adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) and withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
moved to add the words—The parishes of Chelsea, Kensington, and Hammersmith shall, for the purposes of this Act, together form a Parliamentary borough, called the borough of Chelsea, and the said borough 1977 shall, in all future Parliaments, return two Members to serve in Parliament.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact, that the adjoining parish of Fulham was within the limits of the Metropolis, and subject to the administration of a local Board, under the Metropolitan Board of Works. The population was only 15,500, and it would be a pity that this small piece of the metropolis should be disconnected from the borough representation.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had been under an impression, which he had since found to be erroneous, that Fulham was not under the Metropolitan Act. Fulham would not add too much to the population of 158,000 forming the new borough. He should, therefore, propose to include Fulham.
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have given the House some explanation of the reasons that had induced him to create this new metropolitan borough. The metropolis was sufficiently represented. The City of London was neither from population nor any other cause entitled to have four Members. Either Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, or Bristol was more worthy of an increase of representatives than the metropolitan districts.
§ MR. CRAWFORD
said, that the hon. Member probably came to the conclusion he had expressed with regard to the City from the population returns taken from the last twelve months. If the hon. Baronet would only come into the City in the daytime he would see a concourse of population far exceeding that of any other borough constituency in the kingdom. The average number of persons who came into the City for the purpose of business during the day was 750,000, while the return of the resident population was only 130,000. If the hon. Gentleman (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had taken the pains to inquire into the taxes and various other contributions of the metropolis, he would have found that no other constituency in the kingdom had so large a claim to increased representation. The claims of the City to four Members had always been recognised. The associations existing between the Government and the great City Companies, such as Merchant Tailors, should recommend the claims of the City to their protection.
§ MR. POWELL
said, the Government had acted wisely in giving an urban representation to portions of Middlesex that were purely urban. He should regret to see the arithmetical principle adopted, and Finsbury and other Metropolitan localities receive additional Members in proportion to their numbers. Although in such a country as England they could not confine the town population within the boroughs, or the country population within the counties, still they should approximate, as far as might be possible, to that result. It was very much wiser to treat these outlying districts of London as towns than as portions of a county with which as a county they had but few relations. He saw no reason why London should have four Members because a large number of persons entered it for business purposes in the daytime. Epsom and Ascot might as well claim to return a Member because a great many people were there in the middle of the day.
§ MR. NEATE
said, he should support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman. It would be convenient to allow the City to retain its four representatives, in order that it might act as a preserve of two Members, upon which the House might draw if any new boroughs should should require representation. It had no claim on its own merits to four Members. If the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Crawford) founded a claim to four Members upon the fact that a large number of persons went to the Stock Exchange in the daytime, a similar claim might be established for Chelsea, on the ground that a large number went to Cremorne at night.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he protested against the notion that the City of London had a preserve of two Members who might be taken to supply the wants of any new boroughs. If a notion existed that the City was over-represented, its Members could not have done their duty. The subjects which claimed their attention were so numerous, varied, and complicated, that there might well be four Members to do justice to them as they arose. A similar argument might be used on behalf of the great cities whose claims to a third Member had been discussed that night. It was impossible for one or two Members to deal satisfactorily with all the questions that might arise in those communities. The Members for the City were expected to deal with railways, the currency, and all other great commercial 1979 questions. They represented not only the people who slept in the City at night, but also those great commercial interests which attracted so large a concourse to the City in the daytime.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that was not the first occasion on which it had been proposed to unite Chelsea and Kensington into a Parliamentary Borough. Such a proposal was made in 1861. Sir James Graham had remarked, that if population, property, and contribution to taxation and revenue would qualify a locality for separate representation, Kensington and Chelsea were fairly qualified. The noble Lord the Member for Middlesex had also given a most powerful description of their claims. But he put this question. Was it consistent with the general feeling of the House and of the public further to extend the principle of household suffrage — which undoubtedly was a democratic principle—into new boroughs in preference to increasing the representation of existing boroughs, or the representation of counties, which rested on a £12 rating franchise? Household suffrage certainly was an ancient principle, but except to a very limited extent it had been abandoned for centuries. He was, perhaps, of all Conservatives the least afraid of it. But he thought this proposal was scarcely consistent with Conservative principles. He wished to know, whether the two Members, which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to give to Chelsea and Kensington, would in his estimation form part of the eighty-four borough Members who the right hon. Gentleman said represented counties. He did not agree with those who wished to curtail the representation of the City of London. He was himself a freeman of the City, and he did not think that four Members were at all too many for the varied and complicated interests embraced in the City. But he could not understand on what principle the Government had determined to create the new borough of Chelsea and Kensington, instead of adhering to their previous Resolution of dividing Middlesex. It would, in his opinion, be much better to divide the county of Middlesex, as was proposed to be done in the year 1861. It was now sought to give a peculiar privilege to the householders of two parishes, instead of granting two more Members to the general constituency of Middlesex. It mattered not where the freeholder, the copyholder, or 1980 the leaseholder lived. If his qualification was of the requisite value he voted for the county in which his property was situated, though he might reside in any part of the country. The county representation was, therefore, not a local but a national representation, and it was the only representation which was national. He regretted that the Government proposed to create new boroughs within the counties instead of adding to the county representation. He could not understand how the Chancellor of the Exchequer had convinced himself that the Members for eighty-four of the boroughs of England were representatives of county constituencies, though the county Members, being returned by the freeholders within the boroughs, represented the inhabitants of the boroughs, there was no such relation between the inhabitants of the counties and the borough Members. He was a county Member, but he had 2,000 constituents in Birmingham, 800 in Coventry; and 1,400 freeholders and leaseholders resident in London voted for the county Members of Middlesex. County Members represented constituents in all parts of the kingdom, and were the only Members who represented the whole community. The position in this respect of the county Members went far towards realizing the scheme of general representation which the hon. Member for Westminster had proposed, based on the plan of Mr. Hare. He, therefore, regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had determined upon creating a new borough instead of adding the Members to the county representation.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, he would remind the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, that if county Members represented people who were scattered all over the country, the Members for naval boroughs represented people who were scattered all over the world. He rejoiced that the most pernicious Motion of the hon. Member for Wick had been negatived that night. It was quite absurd under the present system to give more than two Members to any borough. The City of London had double its proper number of seats. If the hon. Member for Oxford would move that two Members should be taken away from the City of London he would second the proposal. Not only had that city its own four Members, but the Recorder of London and the Common Serjeant both had seats in Parliament. So that the City of London, with a population 1981 at 120,000, had practically six representatives, while Marylebone with 500,000 had only two. It was quite a farce to allow that city, which had little to recommend it except its influence, to retain such a disproportionate share of the representation. Being himself one of those who were unfortunately obliged to go into the City four times a year, he should be quite content to be represented by two Members instead of four.
said, he was glad to perceive that justice was about to be done to Hammersmith, Kensington, and Chelsea. They had for a long time urged their claim to be represented in Parliament, and were entitled by the wealth and intelligence of the inhabitants to have that claim granted. He should be sorry, however, that a proposal to enfranchise those districts at the expense of the City of London should find favour with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Besides a resident population of 112,000 there was in the City a population of 250,000, by whom its business was conducted. Seeing that it was the commercial and monetary Emporium of the world there could be no valid objection to its retaining its four Members.
§ MR. J. HARDY
said, he could not see on what ground the City of London could lay claim to the services of so many Members as it now possessed. He was unable to understand why it should have four Members any more than why four horses should be put to one plough when two would do the work just as well. Again, why was one man so much better than another that he should have three or four votes, while an elector in another borough had only one? If there were to be cumulative voting, or if every elector were to give only one vote, he could understand it; otherwise he could not.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) says he is at a loss to know the reason why we propose to create this new Metropolitan borough. He has perhaps forgotten that according to the original plan of the Government we intended to divide the county of Middlesex. When, however, after the success of the first Motion of the hon. Member for Wick, we had to re-consider our scheme of re-distribution, it struck us forcibly — the point, indeed, was pressed upon our attention by many persons interested in the locality—that the character of the population of Kensington, Chelsea, 1982 and the parts adjacent were strictly urban and that in dividing the county of Middlesex we should be accused of making an arrangement favourable to what is called the rural interest. That was not the intention of the Government. Our original plan recommended itself to us on the ground that increased representation ought to be given to those wealthy and populous districts, and that that object could best be secured in the manner we suggested. Having to re-consider the subject of redistribution under different circumstances, with a larger number of seats to dispose of, I had the honour of submitting to the Committee a scheme I believed to be strictly just, a scheme not influenced by considerations of party interest, and one which, when fully discussed, will be found to be superior to any other propounded. Would it have been politic on our part that we should pretend—when from a sense of duty and the necessity of the case we were proposing a considerable addition to the number of county Members—to add to that number by conferring additional Members on that portion of the county of Middlesex which had been represented to us as strictly urban? Instead of having twenty-five seats to give to counties we should, if we had adopted that course, have had to increase the number to twenty-seven, while that increase would in reality have the effect of adding to the borough representation. We deemed it, under all the circumstances of the case, therefore, better to complete the inadequate representation of the metropolis by means of a distinct interest—an interest perfectly distinct, for instance, from the borough of Hackney—and I cannot help thinking that we came to a wise resolution. That is the answer which I have to give to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, who seems to be unaware that we originally proposed to divide the county of Middlesex, and that we now propose to take away the large urban element, leaving what may fairly be described as that portion of the county which is strictly rural, and which may even be said, though so near London, to be distinguished by habits of almost primeval simplicity. As to the City of London, I see no good reason why it should not have four Members. With due respect for its present Members, who on this as upon all other occasions are ready to defend its interests, I think they might have taken better ground than they have done — namely, the ground of prescription which 1983 ought to have great weight with my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire. The City of London has for centuries been represented by four Members. In the adjustment of the representation of a country like England prescription must in many cases greatly influence those who happen to be responsible for arrangements which might otherwise be challenged. One of the Members for the City (Mr. Crawford), alluded to the powerful companies which exist within its limits, and mentioned among others the Merchant Tailors as being one of the greatest importance. I have a great respect for the Merchant Tailors' Company. I had lately the pleasure of meeting them. I had on the same occasion the satisfaction of meeting the hon. Gentleman who made the observations to which I am referring. He therefore, I have no doubt, spoke with great sincerity in all he said in favour of that ancient company. I may now observe that my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) seems to me to have adopted a peculiar line of argument on this subject. He is in favour of our looking on the urban population of Kensington and the other adjacent parts as perfectly rural, because by such an arrangement, he says, we should insure a Constitutional democracy. That word "democracy" is an awful word. I despair of getting a definition of it even from hon. Gentlemen opposite, as much as I do of obtaining a definition of the word "dwelling-house." My hon. Friend regards the extension of the franchise which we ask The Committee to adopt as a great evil. If I could agree with him in that respect I should be prepared to admit that it might be very wise to make an arrangement by which not only Chelsea and Kensington, but even the City of London might have a county qualification. We, however, are of opinion that the borough qualification we propose is one which will work advantageously. We are of opinion that it is far from being a democratic qualification, if by that he means that the populace is to be the ruler of all things. We do not think that it will act in the manner which has been suggested on the settlement of property and on those institutions the excellence of which is that they are national, and founded in the hearts, the sympathies, and the interests of the community. Believing that to be the case, I cannot concur with my hon. Friend that we should propose a scheme which could not last. No 1984 one can deny that Kensington is part of the metropolis of the Empire. In endeavouring to persuade ourselves that it is a county we should be really sanctioning an arrangement which would be unnecessary, deceptive, and delusive. I deem it much better to stand by the arrangement we have made, to create a borough of importance in the county of Middlesex, than to allow that county in the rural interest to return additional knights of the shire to the House of Commons.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that he did not speak of the Kensington district as rural. It was exactly as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had described, but would be still not improperly included in a county representation.
§ MR. LAING
said, he had reason to complain of his adverse fate, which had postponed the present discussion until after the division had taken place upon his Motion. If the two debates had been reversed the minority might have been converted into a majority. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, being hard pressed, had—as he often did—invented a principle to meet the emergency drawn from the ancient stores of Greek learning. The right hon. Gentleman had gone to Pythagoras, who insisted on the mystical properties of numbers. The number which the right hon. Gentleman applauded was "2." But he must during the last discussion have felt like Frankenstein, who had created a monster he could not control, when he found hon. Gentlemen rising and insisting upon reducing the representation of the City to the level of 2. Considering the world-wide interests of the City, the proposal was a reductio ad absurdum of the principle of the equality of representation. Though he lived in Marylebone, he would far rather have the great interests of the City adequately represented than those of the borough in which he resided. It was an exhibition of the sound wisdom of our ancestors that they had conferred upon so important a centre the privilege of returning four Members. One thing, however, was needed to perfect the system, and that was some such practice as cumulative voting, in order that minorities might be represented. With regard to the immediate question before the House, it would be far better to give two Members to Chelsea and Kensington than to divide the county of Middlesex.
§ MR. HENRY BAILLIE
said, that whatever the prescriptive right of the City 1985 of London, he saw no reason why it should have four Members, and why each elector should have four votes. He could not see why the longshore men who were generally reported to be in the habit of taking money for their votes, should have more votes to dispose of than other electors.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Member for Wick (Mr. Laing) should rather congratulate himself that the present discussion had not preceded the division on his Motion, because if it had a pointed question would have been put to him. He had talked of flagrant anomalies, and began by instancing places in the country; but the most flagrant anomaly in existence was to be found in the borough of Marylebone, which was very much larger than any borough to which the hon. Member for Wick proposed to give a Member. Why, then, did not the hon. Member begin with Marylebone? If he had, perhaps he would have succeeded in his object. As he did not, the hon. Member failed and he was glad of it.
MR. BERESPORD HOPE
said, that Marylebone did not come in the same category as Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, and similar towns, because it had not a corporate existence.
§ Amendment, with the addition of the word "Fulham," agreed to.
§ On Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill,"
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he acknowledged the extreme fairness of the Government in proposing the clause in the amended form. But he regretted that, in considering the clause, the Committee had had to discuss questions not properly arising out of it, and brought under their notice in a most unfortunate manner. He hoped that the House would not be thought to have expressed any definite opinion on the proper mode of dealing with the representation of large towns. He had felt it his duty to vote against the Amendment relating to that subject in consequence of the peculiar manner in which it was brought forward. It was impossible that questions affecting large interests could be allowed to be in the hands of a private Member who did not treat them with fairness and liberality. He never recollected so important a question being submitted to the House in so narrow and restricted a spirit as the question brought forward by the hon. Member for Wick. That hon. Member had selected certain boroughs and taken them under his 1986 peculiar patronage, while he had indulged in language which could not but be regarded as offensive to other constituencies. They could never deal with any question of enfranchisement without exactly knowing where the seats were to come from. There was no dealing in a dark and doubtful manner on a subject of that kind. When an hon. Member proposed to enfranchise any particular places, he should be prepared to state from what source the seats were to come; but for any one to say that he would enfranchise this or that town, and at the same time to shrink from the responsibility of telling the Committee what were his other arrangements was a mode of proceeding which should be discouraged. He therefore hoped that if any proposals proceeded from a private Member, they would be made in a frank and liberal spirit, and deal with the interests involved in no partial spirit.
§ MR. LAING
said, he thought he must have been born under a very unlucky star in reference to this matter of re-distribution, for he had incurred the anger of two hon. and learned Members. He was quite ignorant what offence he had given to the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets. That hon. and learned Member said that no one should propose to create new seats without showing where they were to be derived from. At all events that observation did not apply to him, for his Amendments had been on the Paper of the House for the last month, showing how the seats were to be obtained. As for the presumption of which a private Member was guilty in bringing forward the question on this subject of Reform the House had been in a peculiar position. In the early part of the Session he had never shown any disposition to make Motions on his own account so long as the organization of party was kept up, and so long as the Leaders on both sides of the House conducted the battle; but when that party organization fell to pieces, and questions arose on the Motions of other private Members—and he thought that the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Ham lets had taken on himself those functions which he was now so indignant that a private Member should assume—he had hoped that he should not be accused of presumption in having brought forward to the host of his ability a scheme of re distribution. One portion of it was carried by a vast majority. The next portion was supported by such speeches as had been 1987 delivered by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire and the noble Lord the Member for Stamford, and the result of the division showed that the numbers were almost balanced. If any Liberal Member thought to justify his vote on account of his (Mr. Laing's) presumption, he left that Liberal Member to his own reflections and his own constituents.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that the hon. Member had ascribed to him remarks he had never made. He never objected to a private Member making a Motion. What he objected to was a Motion made in a narrow and illiberal spirit. If it had been moved in a spirit of justice, he should have been as ready to support it as any one.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he hoped it would be understood that in assenting to the present clause for enfranchising certain boroughs the Committee was not bound to the re-distribution scheme of the Government.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 11 (Registers of Voters to be formed for new Boroughs,) agreed to.
§ Clause 12 (Division of the Tower Hamlets).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
moved that Merthyr Tydvil and Salford should at and after the next election each return two Members instead of one.
§ MR. CHEETHAM
said, he thanked the right hon. Gentleman for having done justice to the borough which he had the honour to represent.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he could not echo the words just spoken by his hon. Friend. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have included in this Amendment the borough of Swansea. He was afraid there was now no chance of inducing the right hon. Gentleman to alter his scheme.
§ MR. POWELL
said, he regretted that the boroughs of Swansea and Birkenhead were not included in this Amendment. But as he had experience of Birkenhead and none of Swansea, he would leave the hon. Member for the latter borough to speak in its behalf. With regard to Birkenhead, it was related to Liverpool in pretty much the same way as Salford was related to Manchester, the difference being that the river dividing the two was narrower in one case than in the other. With reference to population, that of Liverpool and Birkenhead was greater by 30,000 than that of Manchester and Salford. He 1988 saw no valid reason why Manchester and Salford should have an additional Member, and Liverpool and Birkenhead should remain as they were. Liverpool and Birkenhead would not long remain satisfied with that incongruity and injustice. The active spirit of their countrymen must become very inert if they allowed Arundel with 2,498 inhabitants, Honiton with a population of 3,681, and other boroughs similarly circumstanced to continue to be represented in Parliament.
said, he must express his acknowledgments to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for having given Merthyr Tydvil a second Member. His constituents were an intelligent and industrious community, and he felt quite sure they would do no discredit to the House. At the time of the Reform Bill, when it was proposed to give the borough a second Member, the population was 27,000; it had now risen to 96,000. In 1850 the gross estimated rental was £180,000, and in the course of ten years it had grown to £371,000. Within the last twenty years Glamorganshire had grown rapidly in population and wealth, and it seemed only fair that the most flourishing town of that most flourishing county should have been selected for this distinction.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. DILLWYN
said, he thought it a great anomaly in our present electoral system that, whereas electors in a borough returning only one Member had but one vote, the electors in a contiguous borough might have two votes and two representatives. He therefore proposed to raise the question in a distinct form that each elector should give only one vote. He did not suppose he had much chance of carrying it; but he should not be doing his duty if he did not bring forward the question in the form of a separate clause. He thought that boroughs returning two Members should be divided into two wards, so that the lowest class of voters to whom the franchise was now being given should not be over-represented. They were transferring power from the middle to the working class. His Amendment would prevent the latter from domineering over the former. This proviso was necessary now that they were going down to manhood suffrage, or something very near it. It was household suffrage nominally they were giving; but it was something far beyond household suffrage. By-and- 1989 by it would come to registered and residential manhood suffrage and the ballot, if not to universal suffrage. He felt that the safety of the Constitution demanded such an Amendment as he had put on the Paper. He begged to move that after the word "Parliament" the following words should be inserted:—"That each elector shall be only entitled to give one vote to one Member."
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 13 agreed to.
§ Clause 14 (Divisions of certain Counties).
§ Amendments made.
§ On Question, "That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill,"
§ SIR EDWARD DERING
said, he wished to ask whether it would be in the power of the Boundary Commissioners to make any changes in the divisions of the counties, and whether, instead of making two divisions of West Kent, each to return two Members, they could make three divisions of the county without changing the number of Members?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the powers of the Boundary Commission would be described in a clause which he hoped would be in the hands of Members before they commenced their labours to-morrow, and which would also give the names of the Members of the Commission. The Commission would have unlimited power to the extent of dealing with the arrangements in those divisions upon which the Committee had decided. But it would not have power to divide a county, or to make a division which the Committee had not decided upon. In respect of boundaries and the mode in which counties and divisions were to be divided, the Commissioners would have full power.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, a question had been asked by his hon. Friend (Sir Edward Dering) with regard to Kent; but the question before the Committee was not whether it should be divided into two or three districts. That would remain for decision when they came to the Schedule.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that according to the clause before the Committee, 1990 the hon. Member would not be at liberty to move that the Riding should be divided into two divisions with three Members each, because the clause said distinctly that it should be in three divisions with two Members each.
said, be thought they might meet the case by moving to strike any particular county out of the Schedule. That was the course he intended to pursue with regard to South Lancashire, in relation to which be intended to move that it be divided into two divisions with three Members each.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, it was clear that the Committee would not be pledged to include any place whatever in the Schedule, and that it might adopt with regard to the counties two divisions with three Members each instead of the plan proposed.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that might be done by excluding them from the Schedule, but the clause only gave two Members to each division of a county.
§ MR. LAING
If, Sir, there be a clear understanding that certain counties are to be divided into two, each returning three Members, or into three divisions, each returning two—if it be understood that this is a question which can be raised at a subsequent stage of the Bill, I have no wish to interpose any obstacle; otherwise, I shall feel it to be my duty to move that you report Progress. This is a most important Motion, and it is not for me, as a Scotch Member, to interfere with the distribution of the representatives of the English counties. But a great many Members on both sides of the House hold strong opinions with regard to the representation of English counties, and I do not think it right that they should lose the opportunity of giving expression to that opinion. It is all very well to talk about neglect of duty; but we all know that if a Motion in the House does not approve itself to an hon. Member, it is a common course for him to walk out of the House, and thus avoid the division. Is it competent for me to move that you report Progress?
Any hon. Member can move that I report Progress. The 1991 Question is that Clause 14, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that he would not advance his view by reporting Progress, because when the Committee met again precisely the same Question would be put from the Chair. The hon. Member would no doubt find other opportunities of advancing his views, but it would be inconvenient for the Committee to enter into any arrangement with him as to what he should be at liberty to do hereafter.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the Committee desired to know in what position they would stand if this clause should be adopted, and he would be glad to have an explanation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Would they be at liberty to decide hereafter whether certain counties or divisions of counties should be divided into two divisions with three Members each, instead of three divisions with two Members each? If they could not do that it would be unfair to press them to come to a division that night. He felt it was impossible for him to decide whether the West Riding ought to be divided into two divisions with three Members each, or three divisions with two Members each, because he had had no opportunity for consultation with gentlemen in the West Riding.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he thought that any hon. Member would have power to propose an alteration in the schedules which would be brought under consideration.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he wished to ask whether it would not be more convenient to discuss the principle involved in this question generally as it was presented in the Motion of the hon. Member (Mr. Laing), rather than discuss each case separately when they came to the schedules?
§ SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID
said, that this object might, be attained by a new clause moved at the end of the Bill, and before they arrived at the schedules.
§ Motion negatived.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, he wished to ask whether, accepting the clause as it now stood, with the provision that "in all future Parliaments there shall be two Members to serve for each of the divisions," the Committee would be precluded from making two divisions of counties, each with three Members?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that the acceptance of the clause would be the decision of the Committee as far as it went. If the Committee, by a subsequent decision, should arrive at a conclusion different from that which they had previously come, they would so far shake the result of their previous labours.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, that this new proposal of the Government had been in the hands of hon. Members only since Saturday. It would be quite competent for hon. Gentlemen who disapprove the scheme of the Government to bring up a new clause at a subsequent period and alter the schedules.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 15 (To give a Representative to the University of London).
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he moved in line 1 to omit the word "University," in order to insert the word "Universities," with the view of forming one constituency out of the two Universities of London and Durham combined.
In page 6, line 1, after the word "the," to leave out the word "University," in order to insert the word "Universities,"—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer,)
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that as a member of the Senate of the London University, he wished to make an appeal which he hoped would commend itself as fair to the approval of the Committee. From the commencement of the present Session the University of London had the hope held out to it that it would form a constituency in itself. It was only on Thursday last that they were informed that it was proposed to diminish that promise by combining another University with the University of London. The Committee had not received to-night, nor did they receive on Thursday last, a syllable in explanation of the change that had been made. For a change of so much gravity there must be reasons which could be alleged. It was only fair that the Convocation of the University of London should have an opportunity of expressing by petition to the House the opinion they had formed. It would be only reasonable, therefore, to ask that the clause be postponed.
§ MR. J. GOLDSMID
said, he had given notice earlier in the evening that when this Amendment came on for discussion he would move its rejection. He would now ask the right hon. Gentleman to pause before pressing on the Committee the proposal to group the University of London with that of Durham. Last Session there had been all kinds of discussions with respect to the principle of grouping, but no principle could be discovered on which this proposed grouping could be justified. In this case, at least, the argument founded on contiguity failed, for he need hardly ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he knew the distance between the two Universities. If the right hon. Gentleman understood how disagreeable this proposal was, not only to the Liberal graduates, of whom he (Mr. Goldsmid) was one, but also to the Conservative graduates of the University of London, he would surely not feel justified in asking the Committee to adopt it. But there were far graver objections. For the very object and scope of the two Universities were entirely different, nay they were opposed to each other. In Durham there were only about 300 graduates who had passed the necessary examinations, obtained their degrees, and were now members of Convocation. There were about 100 more who might possibly come in under certain conditions. Then there were about 100 who had passed a theological examination of a totally different kind to any by which a degree was elsewhere obtained; and, lastly, there were some 200 ad eundem graduates who were excluded by the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Into the history of the University of Durham he would not enter; but he could assure the House that the slightest investigation of the subject would show how utterly unsuited would be the combination of institutions so radically stranger to each other. The right hon. Gentleman therefore proposed to add these 400 or 500 graduates of a University, founded on an entirely distinct principle, to those of the University of London, numbering above 2,000, many of whom were highly distinguished members of the learned professions. Nay, the members of the medical profession belonging to the University of London occupied the first position in the world as medical men. To them, then, it would be hardly fair to add gentlemen, who might be highly respectable in their way, but could not for a moment be compared with those graduates of the London Uni- 1994 versity whom he had described. Moreover, the University of London was growing every day, while that of Durham had for years been stationary. And, in the last place, he would say that if the conjunction now proposed should be carried out, the distinct understanding which had been come to with the University of London by so many Governments by the admission of its claims in three successive Reform Bills would be broken, and broken in a most discreditable manner.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, it had been asked on what principle it was proposed to associate the Universities of London and Durham. He would answer, upon the principle upon which the Government of last year acted when they proposed to associate the various Scotch Universities. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone) shook his head; but it was undoubtedly proposed last year to associate Glasgow and Aberdeen, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. His right hon. Friend the Member for the city of Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) must be perfectly aware that the University of Durham possessed the same privileges as the University of London. It was incorporated by Royal Charter, and was in some measure conferring the same benefits upon the population of the North of England as the University of London was conferring on the South. His hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Goldsmid)had made some most extraordinary objections to the proposal, and talked of the distance between the Universities. This objection on behalf of the University of London was very singular, seeing that by its own statement it had affiliated to itself no less than fifty colleges in various parts not only of the United Kingdom, but of the British Empire. Not only every College in England, but every University was affiliated with it. ["No!"] The right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) said "No;" but the University Calendar itself said that "Whereas the University of London, by letters patent, is in connection with the following Universities, that is, the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge," &c. [Mr. LOWE: Not affiliated.]. The University of London had Colleges affiliated to it in various parts, not only of Great Britain and Ireland, but of the colonies—as at Sydney and Toronto. Ushaw College, too, five miles from Durham, was affiliated to London University, students educated at that College being sent to graduate there. 1995 How, then, could any objection be taken to this proposal on the ground of distance or any other kind of incongruity? The hon. Gentleman had objected to Durham University because it was an institution in connection with the Church of England; but with what shade of belief or non-belief was not the University of London already in connection? It was connected with the Latitudinarian establishment in Gower Street, with five or six Roman Catholic Colleges in different parts of the kingdom, with Baptist, Wesleyan, and other denominations, and with the London Working Men's College. An institution so comprehensive that he had always thought it ready to embrace every opinion and creed, was the last that should object to being associated with another University. The hon. Gentleman had said that the proposal was disagreeable to the Liberal graduates; but if there was such harmony among Roman Catholic and Dissenting graduates, why should not a Conservative element be introduced? he had described Durham as an effete University compared with the growing prosperity of London University. There had been times when Durham University did not make so much progress as could have been desired, but in the course of the last few years great changes had been made. Every prize, every fellowship and scholarship, was open to merit without distinction of creed. All its degrees, except theological ones, could be taken without any religious test. Its numbers had been increasing during the last few years, and were likely to increase. He believed that Durham University would in the future do its duty in educating the young men of the North of England. As for the small number of its graduates, the smaller the number the less fear there was of their overpowering those of London. [Mr. J. GOLDSMID: What is the number?] The number was about 500, of whom about 300 had received their education there, and, having taken the degrees of D.D., LL.D., M.D., or M.A., were entitled to be members of Convocation. There were many men in an inchoate state, most of them being B.A.'s of sufficient standing to proceed at once to a higher degree. There were about 300 who, educated at other Universities, had been admitted ad eundem. The clause provided that persons admitted ad eundem should not be entitled to vote. If the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) objected to persons admitted ad eundem, he should remember that hardly one of the 1996 distinguished men forming the Senate of London University had been educated there. With a young institution this must necessarily be the case, and it was no valid objection either to Durham or London that it included persons educated at other Universities, He could see no valid ground of objection to the proposal, and hoped therefore the Committee would assent to it.
§ MR. J. GOLDSMID
said, that he had not objected to Durham University on the ground of its Church of England character.
§ MR. LOWE
Having the honour to be a member of the Senate of the University of London, and having also been one of the Commissioners appointed some years ago to inquire into the state of Durham University, I am sorry that this proposal has come before us so suddenly, as I should otherwise have been able to furnish the Committee with fuller and more accurate information than I can now do. The Government have not thought fit to lay any reason for it before us, and it has come upon us without any time for preparation. I think, however, I can state enough to show why this ill-omened union should not be carried into effect. As to the University of London, it does not give instruction at all. It simply matriculates students and lays down a certain curriculum, and when they have accomplished that it examines them and gives degrees according to merit. It has hardly any endowments. Its whole merit consists in the reputation its degrees may obtain, that reputation depending, of course, on the impartiality and fairness with which its examinations are conducted, and the high standard which they maintain. It is comparatively a new institution, not having, I think, existed in its present state much above twenty-five years. As the right hon. Gentleman has stated, persons in all parts of the world are affiliated to it, but it has not affiliated itself to any institution. That would be a contradiction in terms to its scope and objects. That, Sir, is the history of the University of London. In the course of the time its operations have been carried on, it has conferred degrees upon nearly 2,000 graduates, gentlemen distinguished in every branch of science on which the University examines, more especially in the medical profession. So excellent, indeed, are its examinations, and so highly are its degrees esteemed in the medical profession, that gentlemen who have studied in other Universities, and 1997 who are entitled to graduate there, will come up to the University of London to take degrees on account of the honour which attaches to such degrees. I have said enough to show the Government were not wrong in originally proposing to give London University a Member. What is the case with the University of Durham? I hardly know what arguments to meet, for I have really heard none why it should be linked with the London University. In the first place, the two institutions are totally different. The University of Durham was founded—I do not make it a matter of reproach—under the auspices and in a great measure out of the funds of the Dean and Chapter, and it is under their control. It is an institution for the purposes of the Church of England, and it comprehends Colleges and Halls after the pattern of the Colleges and Halls in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. No two institutions can be more different in their origin and objects, and in every other respect, than the two in question. So also has their destiny been different. The University of London has cost the country very little money, and has accomplished enormous results not merely in England but all over the world. It is, I believe, only in the infancy of a career which promises to be as brilliant as that of any other educational institution on record. As for the University of Durham, it has been in operation about the same length of time, and it has large endowments from the Dean and Chapter. But while London, with no endowments, has something like 2,000 graduates, Durham, with all its endowments, has 300. We examined into the state of the University of Durham, and a more painful state of things was never disclosed. It was better fitted for the Insolvent Court than for representation in this House. A property qualification was the last thing that could have been demanded of it. We found that it could not pay its way. With all its endowments and all the money lavished upon it, it was in the most melancholy and deplorable state. It had then about thirty students, hardly enough to fill the scholarships and fellowships. The cause of all this was the extreme badness of its management, and its violation of sound principles in every respect. Nothing was open to competition, everything was jobbed in some way or other. Someone had the gift of one fellowship and someone else of another, and others were limited to certain parishes or 1998 counties. Everything that the House and the country have pronounced unsound and erroneous in education found a home and a nest, and was cherished there. The whole thing was carried on upon rotten and on sound principles from beginning to end, and it met the failure and ruin which those principles deservedly brought upon it. That is the state of things in which we found it three or four years ago. The Dean and Chapter, by taking a legal objection to our powers, prevented us from carrying out the changes we suggested, but I believe they have since adopted many of them. I suppose they did not like us to have the credit of them, but if they have carried them out am glad of it. We now hear that it has improved, but to what extent I know not. I protest, however, against such an insult being offered to the University of London as that of being united with the University of Durham. No reason whatever has been given for it. Its numbers are trifling in; comparison, and the two institutions are entirely different in their management and in their results. I hope that considering the number of persons on behalf of whom I speak—the highly intelligent and admirable class of men to whom the University of London has been the means of giving degrees—the Government will see fit to withdraw this proposal, which I think must have been made rather to satisfy some importunate claimants than with any expectation of its adoption by the Committee. It has been made a matter of reproach to the University of London that certain Members of this House are on the Senate. I think, however, it is no reproach at all that it numbers among its constituency the gentlemen of the Senate. The success of our operations is the best proof that we are not undeserving of the honour of having votes. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is well aware that I speak the sentiments of a large and influential body. Imperfect as my statement has been, I trust it will be sufficient to induce him to withdraw his Motion, and leave the University of London in sole possession of one Member.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he also had had the honour of sitting on the Commission which inquired into the state of the University of Durham. The right hon. Gentleman had taken a very unfair advantage of the position which he occupied as a Member of that Commission in describing the University of Durham in the terms he had just made use of.
§ MR. LIDDELL
admitted that was so, and he was willing to leave it to the public sense of fairness to judge on the Report which was issued, and on the improvements since made, whether the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was, or was not, over-coloured. He admitted that at the time it sat the Commission found the financial position and the general condition of the University of Durham to be unsatisfactory. But the point at issue was not what was the position of the University of Durham then, but what it was at the present time. The authorities had followed the advice given by the Commission, and had carried out almost to the letter its recommendations. The consequence was that the condition of the University had materially improved. It was on that ground that the University now asked, not any great favour, but simply to be affiliated with another University for the purpose of having a share in returning a Member to that House. He was not going to enter into the question whether Durham had any superior claim; but he did not know why Durham should be the only University in the United Kingdom left unrepresented. Since the recent improvements the constitution of that University was as liberal as — if not more so than — that of any University in the kingdom. It was a small University, and perhaps had not the same means of extending its advantages as some of the other Universities. But it was situated in a part of the country which stood in great need of academical education, and was admirably adapted to supply a great public want. It was rapidly extending its benefits in the North of England. It was therefore only fair that its progress should not be wholly ignored by that House. As a Member of the Commission, and a North country representative, he felt bound to say that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman were not justly applicable to the position of the University of Durham at the present time.
said, that he had received a great many communications on this subject from the North of England. He could assure the House that there were a considerable number of persons connected with the University of Durham who would feel that they were unfairly treated if the claims of that University were disregarded on the present occasion. Rightly or 2000 wrongly, they thought they had a reasonable claim to participate in the franchise. He believed it was true that when the Commission sat the University was in a bad state and much reduced in numbers. But within his own knowledge great activity had been displayed by the authorities during the last two or three years, and great improvements had been effected. At Newcastle there was an excellent medicla school in connection with the University. He knew no reason why this institution should not be represented equally with the University of London. He should leave the case of this University to the candid consideration of the House; but he must express his belief that at the present time very strenuous efforts were being made to make it a seat of learning worthy of the North of England.
§ MR. INGHAM
said, that while admitting that at the time of the Commission on which he served the University of Durham had fallen into a state approaching to decay, he must point out that since then the main improvements recommended by the Commission had been carried out. The authorities had so arranged the finances as to lessen the expense of education. They had thrown open the scholarships to competitive examination. They did not require religious tests, except in the case of theological students. Very valuable classes had been established for instruction in engineering. At the present time it was full of promise, and fairly entitled to have a share in Parliamentary representation. The 300 graduates of Durham, even if, as was most improbable, they should be unanimous, would not be able to override the graduates of the University of London. Most likely they would agree in fixing their choice on the same person. If the two Universities were allowed to return a Member in conjunction with each other, it would be a fitting recognition of Durham University, and would in no degree affect the claims of the University of London.
MR. GRANT DUFF
objected to the union between London and Durham Universities, because it was absurd to join two things which had not the remotest affinity for each other. They were both called Universities, but that was all. They were totally different in their character. You might as well talk of joining Tattersall's and the Inns of Court. If Durham really stood in urgent need of representation, it would be far less unreasonable to 2001 join it to one or other of the two ancient Universities.
§ Question put, "That the word 'University,' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 169; Noes 183: Majority 14.
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'Universities' be there inserted."
§ MR. LOWE
This matter has come upon us all totally unprepared. There is a great deal more to be said about the matter. The Government have not thought it worth while to state any reason for this proposal. We went to a division without hearing a word from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No Member of the Cabinet has said a word on the subject. We have heard no one on the point except the local Members. The University of London has been led to hope up to Thursday last that it would have the privilege of returning a Member. It is now proposed to be taken from them before they have time to make their case known. No Gentleman when he entered the House had the least idea that we should reach this clause to-night. We have made double the progress made on any other night. Under these circumstances, considering the magnitude of the interests at stake—["Oh!"] It does not matter to hon. Gentlemen, perhaps, nor to me, but to the University of London it is a most serious matter. The House is dealing with a large and intelligent body. It is therefore only a matter of decency to allow them some delay. As we cannot extract a word from Her Majesty's Government—as we are only allowed to argue and say what we will, and then go to a division, I move, Sir, that you report Progress, in order that the University of London may have time to make its case heard, and the House may have time to obtain information.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The right hon. Gentleman complains that no Member of the Cabinet has spoken in defence of this Amendment; but several Gentlemen have made speeches in the course of this discussion. Seven hon. Members have spoken, five of whom were in favour of the Amendment, and some of these addressed the Committee from the Benches opposite. Under those circumstances, as there was a full Committee, and as two-thirds of those who took part in the debate were in favour of the Amendment of the Government, it seemed to be 2002 surplusage on our part to rise in defence of a proposal which was not attacked. The right hon. Gentleman was very fervid, but his speech applied to a state of circumstances which does not exist. It was a specimen of eloquent prejudice. I am perfectly prepared to support this proposal if necessary; but what the right hon. Gentleman wants now is that we should stop all the proceedings of the Committee until the London University has prepared its case. The London University ought to have done that before. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the London University is treated very ill because it has been led to believe that it was going to have a Member all to itself and has lost it. But that has happened to the London University for years. In 1859 I brought in a Bill myself in which it was proposed to give a Member to London University. What happened? The right hon. Gentleman voted against my Bill, and prevented the London University from that time to the present from having a Member. He says it is a very strange proposal, but it is in harmony with the customs of the country. This connection between Universities has existed before. The London University is not covered with the reverent dust of antiquity, and new institutions are more susceptible than ancient ones. Yet the London University would, I think, have shown more generosity if it had welcomed its younger brother. [An hon. MEMBER: Durham is the older University.] Then it is another instance of the hatred of the younger brother towards the elder. The University of Durham has purified itself from those matters of complaint that have been dwelt upon. Considering the circumstances of the visit of the right hon. Gentleman, it is rather ungrateful on his part not to show himself more sensible of the value of his labours and the manner in which they were received. The University of Durham admits its graduates without religious tests, and the abuses in its ad ministration have been removed. What harm therefore can occur from a body of graduates in the North of England, belonging to a University, having a Royal Charter, being connected with the London University in the privilege of being represented in the House of Commons. The feeling of the Committee in favour of the proposal of the Government has been shown in a signal manner, while the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman seems to be intended to lead to indefinite delay. I want to know 2003 if it is agreed to what will happen when we meet at two o'clock to-morrow. Will the London University be prepared to meet this question by counsel? When so distinguished a man as the right hon. Gentleman, a member of the Senate of the London University, who knows their case by heart, attempts to make us believe that we are called upon this evening, without-due notice, to discuss an Amendment which has been a long time on the Paper, do the Committee think that a better case can be made out for the London University? If not, why should we delay proceeding with our labours when the plea for delay is of so indefinite a character as that put forth by the right hon. Gentleman? For these reasons I must oppose the Motion to report Progress.
§ MR. J. GOLDSMID
said, that the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the University of London ought to have been prepared with a case was answered by the fact that no such ill-omened conjunction as that now proposed had ever been thought of until Thursday last, and that the House never saw it in schedule until Saturday.
said, he thought that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Lowe) had a strong claim upon the Government to agree to his Motion, and that they would lose nothing by reporting Progress. This would give the University of London time to consider the course they should adopt.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I gave public notice of our intention to unite the University of London with that of Durham on Thursday last.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Lowe.)
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes 114; Noes 196: Majority 82.
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'Universities' be there inserted."
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, that he was extremely sorry to be obstructive, but that his duty to the London University compelled him to move that the Chairman do leave the Chair.
§ Motion negatived.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, it was not an edifying sight to see Liberal Members and 2004 right hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House endeavouring to stop the progress of the Bill.
said, that the noble Lord had taken upon himself to deliver a lecture to the Liberal Members, and to pronounce who were Liberals and who were not. If the question was put in that way he could not consent to give way, though until the noble Lord interfered he had been inclined to give way to the natural desire of the Government to carry their Bill. He thought it very natural that the right hon. Gentleman should wish to make progress with the Bill, and he had offered no obstruction to the wishes of the Government. He had therefore abstained from addressing the Committee on the proposal now before it. Still, this was a subject on which he entertained a very strong opinion, and he could not help saying that the course proposed—of coupling two Universities so opposed in their character—was one of a most ridiculous nature. The University of Durham was a little wretched, miserable University, and in his opinion, not worthy to be associated with the University of London. He put it to the common sense of the House whether it was right to tie two Universities together, and throw them into the Tiber in this way. It was turning a boon into an insult. The University of London ought, he thought, to have time to pronounce an opinion whether it would not rather bide its time until Parliament came to its senses than have the University of Durham thus tied round its neck. As a Liberal Member, he could not allow to pass unchallenged the remark of the noble Lord who, though sitting on that side of the House, was in the habit of walking over on all occasions to support the Government.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. and learned Member who last addressed the Committee appeared to speak with authority on behalf of the London University, and he understood from him that that Institution withdrew its claim to Parliamentary representation. If time was required to ascertain whether the London University withdrew its claim or not, he should certainly not resist the Motion to report Progress. There were many competitors for the privilege which the hon. and learned Member, speaking for that Institution, did not seem much to appreciate. Therefore, he would at once assent to that Motion for the convenience of hon. Members on both sides. If the 2005 manners of the London University were to be judged of by the specimens of courtesy they had had from hon. Gentlemen opposite, the union of that Institution with the University of Durham might possibly effect some amelioration in that respect.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, that he had no authority whatever to speak for the University of London, nor any connection with it, nor had he said anything to that effect.
§ SIR MATTHEW RIDLEY
said, he must complain of the language used by the hon. and learned Member in reference to Durham University. He should have prepared his case better before he stigmatized Durham University as a wretched, miserable little body.
§ MR. J. GOLDSMID
said, he protested against the manner in which the Leader of the House had stigmatized hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side, and especially some young Members. He also thought it unfair on the part of the noble Lord, who on every occasion voted against the Liberal party [Lord ELCHO: When they try to prevent the passing of this Bill], to speak of that party in the positive terms he had done. He trusted that the Committee would return to its better sense tomorrow, and not treat unjustly a constituency which he believed would do the House great honour.
§ SIR HEDWORTH WILLIAMSON
said, he did not know what Liberalism had to do with the matter; but if Durham University was what it had been described to be, the best course that could be taken would be to associate it with so enlightened a body as the University of London.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow at Two of the clock.