HC Deb 02 May 1867 vol 186 cc1879-912

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 3 (Occupation Franchise for Voters in Broughs).


Sir, there is an Amendment upon this clause which stands in my name to move to insert the words— Is on the last day of July then last past, and has during the whole of the two years immediately preceding, been the occupier as owner or tenant of any house, warehouse, counting house, shop, or other building being either separately or jointly with any land within such borough of a rateable value of or exceeding five pounds. As I wish to explain to the House the position of my Amendment in reference to the measure, to put myself in a position to do so, I will move to insert the words "then last past," which would be a merely verbal Amendment. I wish to make this statement in reference to the feelings of those hon. Members who are in favour of a £5 rating franchise; and to show why it is that I have withdrawn the Amendment on the Paper so far as I am concerned. Perhaps I may be allowed to give an explanation of that Amendment, and of the Amendments which follow it. I believe that a £5 rating franchise would have received very considerable support on both sides of the House if it had been proposed at an earlier period of the discussion upon this measure. But peculiar circumstances have occurred since I gave notice of it. A division has taken place, and the Government obtained a considerable majority. I have consulted hon. Members upon both sides of the House who would have supported the Amendment, and they have assured me, and I feel convinced myself of the fact, that it would now be useless to take up the time of the Committee in bringing it on. The second Amendment that stands in my name refers to the occupiers under the Small Tenements Act. With reference to that I reserve to myself the liberty to proceed with it, if it should be necessary, at a later period of the discussion. The object is to alter the Small Tenements Act and to bring down the figure from £6 where it now stands, to a £5 rating, and at and below that figure to make it compulsory upon the owners of property, the landlords to pay the rate instead of the occupiers. I will say no more with respect to this matter now, except to observe that my reason for proposing a £5 rating franchise was that, although it to a certain extent disfranchised occupiers of houses rated below £5, yet it seemed to me to be a Liberal enfranchisement, and, at the same time, Conservative in character, and calculated to lead to a more satisfactory settlement of the question than the Bill of the Government. I hope I may be allowed to say one word with regard to myself, and mention the answer I have to give to the hon. Member (Mr. Osborne), who said, in a speech made before the recess, that no man in the House had done more than I had to cut off all idea of Reform. I think the best answer I can give to that is, that if I had wished to do that and had been consistent, I should have voted with the hon. Member, and with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), against the Government; because if the result of that division had been the success of the Amendment of the right Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), it would have defeated the Government and thrown out the Reform Bill for at least this year. I not only objected to the Amendment, but I was most anxious that the Government should not be defeated, hoping that in Committee upon the Bill I and others might have an opportunity of moving Amendments that stand in our names, and thus materially improve the Bill. Whether it is an accusation or not I do not know—but in the course of the recess the hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) stated, either in a speech to his constituents, or in an address at Leeds, that there had been some collusion between the Government and myself as to the Amendments which stand in my name. I do not know whence the hon. Member derives his information; but it is information of which I was not possessed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the short speech which he made in reference to the statement of the hon. Member (Mr. Osborne), stated distinctly that there had been no collusion between the Government and any Member on this side of the House. The following night there was a long discussion as to communications which had passed between the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) and other hon. Members. I only make the present statement to acquit myself of knowledge of any collusion. I do not know exactly what in such a case as the present is implied by the word "collusion;" but if it means an underhand communication, or any proceeding that should not exist between Members on this side of the House and the other, I say distinctly that there was no collusion between me and any Member of the Government. My great object was to pass a Bill that would be satisfactory to the House and to the country; but I beg to state distinctly, in confirmation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that there was no collusion whatever. There may be a difference of opinion in reference to the £5 rating; but my reason for bringing it forward was this:—It is my opinion that while it would have given a Liberal enfranchisement, and would have formed the basis of a Liberal Reform Bill, the proposal would also have been very Conservative, and would have offered a more satisfactory settlement of the question than the Bill of the Government does. Lest I and those who have acted with me in the course I have pursued with reference to Reform should be thought inconsistent, I wish to add a word in explanation of my having placed these Amendments on the Paper. We objected to the Bill of last year because we conceived that it would lead to no settlement of the question, inasmuch as it was founded upon no principle—a figure is in itself no principle—but to alter the Small Tenements Act so that personal rating and voting may go together is a principle of very definite character. My Amendment would insure that the lower class of householders would not be allowed to vote if it were thought expedient to make the owners of their houses, and not themselves, liable for their rates. In bringing forward this £5 rating franchise on this occasion I relied very much upon succeeding in altering the Small Tenements Act, and we thought then that the £5 would be a very good line, fair to all parties, and one which would offer the fairest prospect of a settlement of the question. I thought that it would be right to see whether the impression of the House was in favour of the £5 rating. Seeing that the feeling of the House is against me, it is not worth while that I should occupy its time in discussing a question that I cannot possibly carry. It is for this reason that I have made this statement. It is quite within our power, should the Bill pass through Committee, and not be considered satisfactory, to reject it upon the third reading. At the same time, I sincerely hope that such Amendments as are necessary may be carried, and that the Bill, when passed, may be a satisfactory one.

Amendment put, and negatived.


said, that he had an Amendment to propose, and that was to leave out the words "two years," and insert the words "twelve months," as the period of residence for compound-householders. In proposing this Amendment for the consideration of the Committee, he thought it right to explain that he moved it in no spirit of hostility to the course which had been taken by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) who had given notice of, but withdrawn a similar Motion. On the contrary, if he were called upon to express any opinion of it, he should express his entire satisfaction with the whole course that the right hon. Gentleman had pursued in reference to the matter. Nor did he desire to revive any of the questions which were so fully discussed before the recess, or to invoke any of those differences of opinion that had occurred between himself and others on the same side of the House. He thought that his Amendment was one of that purely practical character that did not render it necessary to re-open any of the questions that had been previously discussed. Still less did he desire to express any censure upon the views of hon. Gentlemen who sat near him, and who had thought it necessary upon former occasions to take a course different to that which he himself had adopted. He had no doubt that those hon. Gentlemen were actuated by the conviction that they were pursuing the course which would be most advantageous to the public interests. In the question they were now about to discuss there could be no difference of opinion on either side of the House with regard to the principles which should guide them in coming to a decision; the only question was as to the best practical mode of carrying out by legislation principles upon which they were all agreed. He never entertained for a moment the idea that it was expedient to admit every person to the enjoyment of the franchise because he happened to be a man. He had always thought that there should be a line drawn between those who were entitled to exercise the franchise and those who were not so entitled. And he thought that that line could be best drawn by separating those who had a fixed position in the country from those who might be regarded as a mere fleeting and unsettled population. That, he thought, was the view at which Her Majesty's Government had arrived. He understood that the noble Earl at the head of the Government had, in effect, stated that the object of the Bill was to exclude from the possession of the franchise those classes who might be described as being too migratory and unsettled in their habits to be intrusted with such important functions. But in order that there might be no misunderstanding as to the views of the Government upon the point, he thought it right to call attention to the sentiments recently expressed upon the subject by the Prime Minister. The noble Earl said— What are the terms upon which we desire to qualify a man to vote? Temperance, frugality, permanence of tenure, steadiness of conduct, and a continuous period of residence. The noble Earl went on to explain how some of those moral attributes were to be inferred on the part of the voter by his payment of rates, and said the reason why he asked for the test of residence was— Because there is in large towns a vast amount of migratory population who are the least respectable and the least valuable portion of the community, who are the least known to their neighbours, and upon whom we think it advisable not to lavish the franchise. No one had ever accused the Government of lavishing the franchise upon anybody, but the noble Earl went on to say— Therefore we claim a certain period, be it one year, a year and a half, or two years—for that is a matter for future discussion—so that the franchise may include all those who are permanent householders, and exclude that migratory population who have no permanent connection with the towns. That was the proposal which the Government in the latest exposition of their views had invited the House to solve. He was content to accept the general principle that the Government were prepared to confer the franchise upon all the inhabitants of a town except those who were so migratory in their character that they could hardly be said to form part of the community among which they dwelt. The question, therefore, was what was a reasonable definition of a permanent inhabitant? Her Majesty's Government, in framing their Bill, seem to have been led to their proposal by directing their attention to the Act which regulated Municipal Elections. No doubt it had been a floating idea in the minds of many men that it would be a convenient and Conservative—he did not mean to use the word in a party sense—mode of treating the franchise to enact that the municipal elector should be also a Parliamentary elector. But in practice there were many insurmountable objections to that course. In the first place, the Parliamentary and municipal boroughs were not identical; in some it would be impossible to alter the boundaries so as to make them identical, and in very many cases they would find themselves involved in questions not easy to be solved. To carry out the theory to the fullest extent would be impracticable, and therefore it could not safely be made a basis for the law of the land to rest upon. Still the Government, though they could not act upon the idea as a whole, had evidently entertained it to some extent, for they regarded the two years' occupation, which was a condition of the municipal franchise, as a qualification that might conveniently be introduced into the Parliamentary franchise. In adopting this view, however, they had not, he thought, sufficiently considered the important distinctions between the municipal and Parliamentary franchise; and the moment these were pointed out the House and the Government, he thought, would have no difficulty in abandoning the two years' limit, and adopting the one year's limit which it was the object of his Amendment to introduce. The municipal franchise was acquired by a two years' occupation undoubtedly; but then at the end of two years the roll of electors was immediately prepared, and at the end of two months further came into operation on a particular day, the election always taking place at the expiration of two years and two months from the period of the commencement the qualification. Under the municipal system, therefore, from the commencement of the right till its ultimate enjoyment, there never could be a greater period than two years and two months. But in the case of Parliamentary elections the system was entirely different. The right to vote for a Member of that House commenced under the existing system at a period of one year from the making up of the first electoral roll, but super-added to that was a period of four months, which was required to make the roll complete. When, then, the voter was entitled to vote at the expiration of one year and four months, it was only a barren right inasmuch as he might not be called upon to exercise it for many months or even years afterwards. If they reduced this question to an arithmetical computation of averages, inasmuch as Parliament cold be continued for a period of seven years, it might be assumed that three years and a half would expire before the elector could exercise the right to vote, after the one year's occupation and the four months for the making up of the roll had passed by. In ordinary circumstances, without considering the averages, it was clear that no man was called upon to exercise his right to vote until some time had elapsed after the making up of the roll in December. If therefore they compared the rights of municipal and Parliamentary elector, adopting the views shadowed out by the Government measure, they would find that there was no analogy between the two cases. They must take into account all the circumstances connected with the enjoyment of the right. Even if they reduced the period of residence to one year, a much longer interval must elapse between the exercise of the one right and that of the other. Treating this, then, as a purely practical question, upon the basis on which the Government had placed it, they were bound to reduce the term to the period which he suggested. They were not legislating for an abstract right, but with a view to a practical enactment. The whole question, then, was between the commencement of the right and the practical enjoyment of it. Tested by that standard, he did not see any ground for the proposal of the Government. He suggested, after having had communications with deputations of the people, that the period should be twelve months. He was bound, how- ever, to say that, according to his own individual opinion, he thought that period was too long; and he would be rather disposed to suggest six months as the utmost length. He confessed, however, that he would make such a suggestion with great doubt and distrust. He knew that some of the most intelligent of the working classes, who were prepared to adopt the language of Earl Derby as their rule and guidance, and who were just as anxious, and had really greater interest in excluding the migratory or unsettled portion of the population from the franchise, were themselves convinced that with the view to the success of their own objects—having regard to the circumstances under which the right would be acquired, and to the length of time that must elapse before it could be exercised—the period of occupation for the inception of the right to vote ought not to exceed three months. He had no doubt the working classes were best able to judge what was best for themselves; but he considered six months were sufficient; and his reason for proposing twelve months was, he frankly owned, to arrive at a compromise. It was a period that might be accepted by those who generally differed from him. It was not to be expected that they could get a Bill passed which would meet his and every other person's views, and therefore he hoped that the Government would adopt this reasonable middle course. The Government had asserted, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had repeated the assertion, and the Committee might be said to have to some extent sanctioned it, that this was a franchise to be considered entirely independent of those which now existed. But he would ask, was it wise and expedient, gratuitously and unnecessarily, to make distinctions between that which existed, and that which it was proposed to create? To make the change—in a sense—adverse and offensive to the people, unless they were impelled by some irresistible necessity to do so? Twelve calendar months were the term of occupancy required under the existing law before the occupant could be put on the electoral roll. That was a reason why the same term should be adopted in this Bill. Another reason why the Government should lean to a shorter rather than a longer period of residence was that the present was not a mere household franchise, not coupled with personal residence. The Reform Act of 1832 provided that a voter need only reside within seven miles of the borough for six months before the registration, thereby giving him a very great personal advantage. It was not a personal qualification, for a man might occupy a tenement under that Act with a cow, horse, or goods until six months before the list was made up. The proposed qualification was of a very different character. When they came to speak of the occupation of a dwelling-house, it was quite clear they would in effect make occupation and residence one and the same thing. They would therefore not give to the occupier of a dwelling-house the advantage which was possessed by the occupier of other kinds of tenement. The period of residence proposed by the Government Bill would have the effect in many instances of practically excluding respectable householders from the franchise in consequence of the attendant conditions. Therefore the qualification would be much more stringent under this Bill than it was under the present system. In considering what would be the practical application of this clause, as it then stood, let them imagine the model working man Earl Derby had depicted who was entitled to vote. Suppose that Christmas having arrived he had elevated his condition to that of a householder, and that he resided where he was employed. In July following he would go to church—or rather he would do so if hon. Gentlemen opposite did not make such mistakes as they did in church matters—thinking that he had risen to the standard of a virtuous man, and to find his name on the list; but he would be mistaken. Upon inquiring the reason why his name was not on the list he would be told that he had not been virtuous sufficiently long. A year passed away, and he again went to look at the list at the church door, and again found his, name omitted. Another year would come and pass away, and at last he would find, if he could get through the contentions of the agents of rival candidates, his name on the list. Years might pass by without an election, and whilst all those years were rolling on misfortunes might happen. He might not have sufficient money in his till with which to pay his rates—for tax-collectors never call twice. They would be paid by the landlord, and at the end of four or five years he would find that all his efforts to obtain the franchise had resulted in disappointment. He would have to begin again and repeat the same career of endeavours, be buoyed up with the same hopes, and Heaven only knew when he would have an opportunity of exercising the franchise. Was it therefore desirable to proclaim to the people that they were going to obtain hosehold suffrage, but surrounded with such conditions that in all probability a man would hardly ever enjoy the right they gave him, owing to his being from some crotchet divested of it? They would surround this right with such hard and oppressive conditions that the result would be that instead of having contented Conservative voters upon the list, they would have exasperated Republicans, who would curse the institutions which had given them such a mockery of political rights. There could be no more injurious course pursued than to hold out political rights which could not be attained by reasonable exertions, and enjoyed when opportunity occurred. He hoped the Committee would follow the advice which had been given to it by the Prime Minister and see the necessity of taking heed to the counsel that had been given them. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to agree to his Amendment, and not force the Committee to insist on it, but rather by a conciliatory course adopt it.

Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 5, to leave out the words "two years," in order to insert the words "twelve calendar months."—(Mr. Ayrton.)


Sir, I quite concur with the hon. and learned Gentleman that this is a practical question, and I also concur with him that it is not a question of principle. I assure him that I wish I could at once feel it my duty to accede to his Amendment. I wish most sincerely that Her Majesty's Government could have commenced the proceedings of this evening by making a voluntary concession to the extent asked for. I believe it to be the earnest desire of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and of the public out of doors, that the long-vexed question of Parliamentary Reform should be disposed of as soon as possible in a manner satisfactory to the country. I willingly admit that by a large portion of the other side of the House we have been fairly met up to this moment in the conduct of the Bill. Indeed, I do not remember any great measure in respect of which less of party feeling has been shown than has been displayed by the majority of the House with regard to this measure. I therefore admit that it is the duty of the Government, as far as they can consistently do so, to meet hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side in a fair spirit. Consequently, it is with great reluctance I feel obliged to say that Her Majesty's Government cannot consent to adopt the Amendment. The object which the Government and, no doubt, the House have, is that we should not confer the franchise on a migratory and not reputable portion of the population, but extend it only to those whose station in life is some guarantee that they will exercise it honestly and usefully. I think hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House will be of opinion that the Government are making large concessions. They will allow that we are endeavouring to pass a Bill by which every householder in the country, on giving certain proofs of respectability and of competency, will be able to exercise the franchise. It cannot be denied that in introducing a Bill of this character we are making large and liberal concessions. I am sorry to observe that in a speech made recently at Birmingham by the hon. Member for that town (Mr. Bright) he alluded to this part of the Bill in terms which I think were hardly consistent with accuracy as to the facts, or fairness as to the argument. If the hon. Gentleman is reported correctly, he said— In addition to this, there is that monstrous proposition of a two years' residence instead of a twelvemonths', as now. As Mr. Scholefield said, twelve months is a great deal too long; for if a man comes into a house on the 1st of August he cannot vote for two years and four months if the Bill passes; and if a man comes to Birmingham from London or Manchester, and takes a shop in your best street—a shop does not give a vote without a residence after the 31st of July, 1867—he cannot have a vote until the 1st of December, 1870. These are the mean and contemptible methods by which these persons I presume that by "these persons" the hon. Member means Her Majesty's Government— while pretending to give, seek in every little, dirty way to exclude you from the franchise. I think I might ask a question including some of those expressions with regard to the manner in which, in some quarters, this Bill has been opposed; but I shall not resort to any such means. I would much rather turn from this language to what bears immediately on the question at issue—and it has been already referred to by the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Ayrton)—I mean the Act of Parliament which regulates the municipal franchise. That Bill was passed by a Liberal Administration, and I wish to ask whether the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) accuses them of "mean and contemptible methods," or of having resorted to "little, dirty ways" when they brought in their Bill for the purpose of regulating the present franchise under the Municipal Act? What was the object of that Act of Parliament? Was it not analogous, and, indeed, almost identical, with the object of the measure which is now under the consideration of the House? Its object was to enable, as far as the municipal affairs of our towns were concerned, every householder who could give certain proofs of respectability and permanence to exercise the municipal franchise. And what were the proofs of respectability and permanence which the Municipal Act required? The proofs required were length of residence and payment of rates. And here let me call the attention of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Ayrton) to the fact that he made a serious error in his statement as to the period of residence which is required by the Municipal Act. The hon. and learned Gentleman told us that two years was the residence required, and that in two years and two months any ratepayer in a town would be able to exercise the municipal franchise. [Mr. AYRTON: I said two years and four months.] I understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say two years and two months; but, at all events, I have before me a copy of the 9th section of the Act, and it is in these words— And be it enacted that every male person of full age who on the last day of August in any year shall have occupied any house, warehouse, counting house, or shop within any borough during that year and the whole of each of the two preceding years, and also during the time of such occupation shall have been an inhabitant householder within the said borough or within seven miles of the said borough, shall, if duly enrolled in that year according to the provisions hereinafter contained, be a burgess of such borough and member of the body corporate of the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of such borough."—[5 & 6 Will. IV. c. 76.] There is besides a provision that no person shall be enrolled unless he has been rated to all rates and paid his rates. The House will thus see that the hon. and learned Gentleman has made a considerable misstatement as to the term of residence and rating required by the Municipal Act, for instead of two years and two months the term required is two years and eight months. It will be seen, therefore, that the period prescribed by the Municipal Act is considerably longer than that proposed by the present measure for voters for Members of Parliament. But I have another extract to which I will call the attention of the House. I have already reminded the House that the Municipal Act was passed by a Liberal Administration. It was passed by an Administration of which the present Earl Russell was a distinguished member, and during the discussion respecting it he made the following remarks:— While we think it is but proper to have the permanent ratepayers of the town as the persons to elect the Council, which is to have the government of the town, yet, at the same time, it seems to be as necessary to take some precaution that they are neither persons who are occasionally suffering under the pressure of distress, which obliges them to receive parochial relief, nor persons unable regularly and for a length of time to pay their rates. We think they ought to be the permanently settled and fixed inhabitants of the town alone, and those who regularly contribute to its rates; and we propose, as a test of this, that they should be persons who shall have been rated to the relief of the poor for three years, and who shall have regularly paid their rates for that term."—[3 Hansard, xxviii. 548.] These were the views entertained, not by a Tory Administration, not by the opponents of Liberal measures. This was the language of Lord John Russell in urging, as a proof of fitness for the exercise of a public right, that the persons who were to exercise a great political right ought to give proof of their respectability, their permanence, and their fitness to discharge the duties imposed upon them. Then the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) complained of the long period during which a person may, under certain circumstances, be debarred from exercising the franchise, and I think the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets made use of the same argument. There is no doubt of the truth of that proposition, but I deny that it is an argument against requiring a longer period of residence as a proof of respectability. I deny that it can be fairly brought forward against the present clause, because it would be applicable to all cases—to the one year period of the hon. Member, and to the two years of the present Bill. Even if no length of residence was required, considerable delay would in numerous cases occur before a man could be registered, and thereby obtain a right to vote. With regard to municipal ratepayers there has been a very considerable relaxation of the original Act. That portion of the Act which required the payment of rates has been repealed, though no alteration has been made in the clauses relating to residence. The effect of that repeal, how ever, has been by no means favourable to the idea of abandoning such securities as are proposed in the present Bill. The question of the securities for the municipal franchise became the subject of inquiry before a Committee of the other House of Parliament; and that Committee reported that the character of our corporations had been by no means improved by the relaxation which had taken place in regard to requiring payment of rates. But there is another authority to which I may refer. I must remind the House that the Municipal Act is not the only measure introduced into this House by a Liberal Government—in which a long period of residence has been required as a test of respectability. In 1854 a Reform Bill was introduced by the Government of Lord Aberdeen, of which Earl Russell and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) were Members. That Bill did not propose to extend the franchise as far as the present measure. It proposed to limit the franchise to £6 rental; but what were the securities which Lord John Russell introduced into that Bill? The residence required by that Bill was longer than the residence required by the measure now before the House. It required a residence of no less than two years and six months; and it also provided that no person should be entitled to the franchise unless he had been rated and also paid his rates. So that here are two precedents at least, both introduced by a Liberal Administration, with precisely the same object that Her Majesty's Government now have in view—namely, to avail themselves of such proof as permanent residence gives of the respectability of persons, and of their fitness to be intrusted with the franchise. I would remind the House that if you restrict the residence to one year, it is possible cases may arise of persons being placed on the register without having paid any rates at all. In a town—I know one, and there may be others—where rates are paid only once a year—and it may be by instalments—it may happen that an occupier, on taking possession at a particular period, may not be called upon to pay rates until January, and then he might come on the register without having paid any rates at all. That is an additional reason why we should retain the security of a longer period of residence. There is one other consideration to which I would call the attention of the House. Some have objected to the proposal of the Government that it will have the effect of increasing corruption by enabling parties to put persons on the register by paying their rates. But the longer the term of residence you require, the less chance is there of their doing it. Therefore, the longer residence gives greater security against corruption—at least, to the extent of making it less probable that rates will be paid in this way. I hope the House will support the Government in maintaining this proposal. We feel that while we are making great concessions by this Bill—while we are offering a large extension of the franchise—we are bound to take such precautions and such securities as are fairly open to us, in order that the privileges conferred by the Bill may not be abused. In adopting this provision we are only acting upon the precedents set in the case of the municipal franchise, and in the case of the Liberal Reform Bill of 1854. We believe that the effect of this limitation will be to prevent the franchise being exercised by the migratory and shifting portion of our population, and to confine it to those persons whose steadiness and respectability afford a guarantee that it will be safe in their hands. Justified by these precedents, and convinced that we are only asking the House to consent to a fair and effectual security, I am obliged to say that the Government will be compelled to take the sense of the House by a division.


I heard with considerable satisfaction from the right hon. Gentleman that he and the Government do not regard this as a question of principle—that the difference between the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets and the proposal of the Government, in the opinion of the Government, does not involve a question of principle. That will be an assurance to the Committee that, if it should think it right to adopt the proposal of the hon. Member, they will not run any risk of encountering the alarming consequences which on other occasions have been referred to. We therefore may with impunity vote as we think upon this question; and, if I do not mistake, it is regarded as a question of principle on this side of the House. I deceive myself if I shall not be able to show that it is a question involving a principle of great importance. I listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in the hope that I should have heard something like argument in favour of this particular proposal of two years' residence as against the proposal of twelve months. The only arguments which I heard were two. First, there were two precedents. One of them, that of the Municipal Corporations Act, is completely inapplicable, as I will show. The other is Lord Aberdeen's Bill of 1854, which has been dead and buried for the last thirteen years. I think it could only have been dug up again when it was felt that there was exceedingly great difficulty in presenting anything like a plausible argument in favour of the proposal of the Government. A majority of the Committee will not be very much alarmed nor rendered very uneasy in their consciences if they vote against something which may have been proposed in Lord Aberdeen's Bill of 1854. The only other argument is—"We are making great concessions. We must have our price for them. This is our security. This is what we expect to limit the effect of these concessions by. Upon these terms we venture to recommend this proposal to the House." But if the proposal of the Government can be encountered by reasons founded on principle, and by evidence of practical inconvenience, such reasons as those which have been offered in its favour by the right hon. Gentleman must necessarily fail to satisfy a majority of the Committee. You have introduced a large measure, and you say that the great recommendation of it is, that it gets rid of the "hard and fast" line of a particular rating or rental franchise. That is the language of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Henley), adopted by the Government. I quite agree with it, and I said so last year. In my humble judgment it is a great benefit to depart from the hard and fast line of £10, or £6, or £5, or any other figure, and to get to the intelligible principle that an occupier who is entitled by a sufficient length of residence to be reckoned as a resident of a borough—and, if you please, if that be the opinion of the Committee, who is rated and is upon the rate book—I accept any decision of the Committee upon that or any other point—shall be a voter without reference to the pecuniary value of the house he occupies. I understand the House to have of decided practically in favour of that principle. I agree in the estimate of its value formed by my right hon. Friend. To that extent I agree with the Government. But, having got rid of the hard and fast line, they propose an odious and invidious distinction between the present £10 householders and those who come in under this Bill. I should have thought that not only the abilities and patriotism of the Government, but that the slightest application of the most ordinary principle of common sense to the subject, would have shown the Government that after they had got rid of a hard and fast line, they must give it up out and out for good and altogether. But you propose still to draw an odious hard and fast line, after you have come to household suffrage. You say that there shall be privileges distinguishing and separating the £10 householders from others, not only the individuals now upon the register, but for all time to come. You say that they shall be admitted to the franchise upon easier terms, that they shall be admitted after one year's residence, while all admitted under this Bill must have resided two years. You require that they must not only have claimed to be rated, but must have been rated for two years before. You require that they must satisfy all the obligations about rating by doing more than that which is required of the landlord when he is rated. You thus keep a privileged class divided from others only by the hard and fast line of a fixed numerical amount of pecuniary value, and utterly destroy all the benefit you would otherwise obtain from getting rid of an arbitrary line for the franchise. You are further unnecessarily throwing out the question for fresh agitation and losing the opportunity of settling it now once and for good. Here arises the question of principle. If the £10 householder in boroughs is let in after he has resided for one year, and if you are going to let in another class below £10, why not upon the same terms? If they are worthy to be admitted to the franchise, on claiming to be rated and paying rates, why should they not be enfranchised upon the same terms as the man who occupies a house worth £10 a year? Here is your first point of departure from principle. Yon say that a man whose house is worth £9 shall have resided two years, but that the man whose house is worth £10 shall have resided one year in the borough. If you think one year insufficient, why do not you propose to alter it in the case of the £10 householder? If two years is the proper time, why do not you apply it to all alike? Any plan of liberal enfranchisement which deserves the name of an attempt to settle the question must get rid of that line altogether, and must enrol new voters upon the same terms as those on which the existing voters have been enfranchised. If the terms upon which the old ones have been let in are wrong, alter them; but do not attempt to draw this invidious and this odious line between existing and new voters. Again, I wish to point out the utter inapplicability of the argument based upon the municipal franchise. It is exercised for a totally different purpose—namely, for carrying on local government. Not in regard to the affairs of the nation, but respecting the affairs of the place in which it is enjoyed. In the case of the municipal franchise you require the longer term of residence, and there may be valid reasons why the residence of local electors should be more completely established. But you do not adopt the municipal franchise as your basis. If you did the gain would be greater than the loss, for you would get rid of the necessity of paying rates in person and of being rated. You must look at the municipal franchise as it is now, and not as it has been at some remote period But you do not take it altogether. You take out of the municipal franchise one particular thing, which happens to be the most restrictive and unpopular thing in it, and adopt it for a totally different purpose, while you decline to adopt the more liberal provisions of the law of the municipal franchise. I wish also to point out to the Committee what will be the practical effect of the Bill, coupling the provision of two years' residence with what follows it. A person is to have a vote who "has during the time of such occupation been rated in respect of the premises so occupied by him within the borough." He must not only have been an occupier, but he must have been rated during the whole of the two preceding years. If he be a compound-householder, he must have made his claim to be put on the rate book two years before the time when he can have a vote. You require of him a providence and a foresight which would put him under the liability not merely to make the payments, but also to take the trouble to make his claim for two years before he can be put upon the register at all. I regard it as a valuable principle that the new occupation voters should be put on the same footing as the old ones, and that the compound-householder should not be called upon to make greater sacrifices and subjected to greater restrictions than the £10 householder. I hope the majority of the House will take the same view of the question.


As I have been called very hard names by hon. Friends near me—such as traitor, renegade, rebel, and what not—I hope the House will give me its indulgence while I make a brief reply to those remarks. With regard to the Amendment, I think it cannot be resisted on any just grounds. You may impose the same condition of a two years' residence on occupiers above £10, but you cannot properly create a distinction between them and occupiers below £10. As I said, however, in respect of the vote lately taken in this House, hard words have been used towards Gentlemen sitting below the gangway, and the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) has used particularly hard words. He has accused me of "treachery." He says that we would "take anything rather than go back to our constituents." That we are "renegades, assisting an anti-Reforming Government to pass a very bad measure." That "there is not much principle or patriotism among us, nor any love of Reform." The hon. Gentleman accuses us of "smallness" and "meanness," and insinuates dishonesty. ["Question!"] I am sure the House will be of opinion that when the honour of Members is impugned those Members should have an opportunity of defending themselves, and that no Member ought to be accused of acts which would render him unworthy of a seat here unless he has so conducted himself as to be really an object of reprobation. I think, then, that my hon. Friend misuses his great ability and his great power of speech when he attributes to those who claim to be honest men very dishonest motives. Suppose, for example, I were to impute to him that he was playing a part in this matter, and was looking for office? No man would be better pleased to see him in office than I should, and there is no office which he is not able to fill, I may say to adorn. But I believe in his honesty—I believe in the honesty of every gentleman until he is proved to be otherwise than honest; but I really think that men who have spent nearly twenty years in this House, and have followed the fortunes of the Liberal party in good repute and in bad repute twice as long, should be spared these unworthy reproaches. I was not in the tea-room, though I should not have been ashamed of being there. But another hon. Gentleman has been indulging in com- ments. The hon. Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen) says that I am most unjust and ungenerous because I thought that some Members of the late Government wanted to get back into office. Now, the hon. Member is aware, because he has seen it in print, that rather a strong remark was addressed to me immediately after the division, and that an hon. Gentleman who was in high office told me I had done something shameful. But are we not of "the same flesh and blood?" Are we to be kicked and cuffed, and then to lie down and be thankful for it? The hon. Member for Birmingham tells us that this is a very bad Bill. But the hon. Member for Bradford says there is a great deal of good in it, for it will open the franchise to 700,000 people. He says it is a better Bill than the Conservative party supposed it to be, and he gives the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer credit for much simplicity in bringing forward such a measure. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman takes it as a compliment, but I take it that he understands the Bill.


The hon. Gentleman is making a mistake, which, I am sure, he will be glad to correct. I did not make the extraordinary statement that the Bill would admit 700,000 to the franchise. I simply said that so far as the limit of the value of the house was concerned it took away the obstacle to 700,000 persons obtaining the franchise.


I used the phrase "open the franchise," and I rather think my hon. Friend has now drawn a distinction without a difference. The hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) also said there was a great deal of good in the Bill, and that it might be made a good Bill. Notwithstanding this, we are called "traitors to our party." I am sure no one who knows me will suspect me of any wish to disparage the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), who has led the Liberal party with such transcendent ability. But I have not deserted him. On the contrary, I have acted upon his monition and advice. What did he tell us at his own house the other day? [Laughter and "Question!"] I am upon my defence, and I beg to be beard. He said that we must have a Bill this Session; that we must have a Bill from the present Government, but that it must be a good Bill. Well, that is a term capable of many different constructions. Now, I am for getting the "great deal of good" which the hon. Member (Mr. Forster) found in the Bill. We were told from the other side of the House that the result of an adverse vote would be to throw out the Bill, and then we were threatened with a dissolution. What was to happen next? According to my hon. Friends near me the country would send to Parliament a set of men who would make all things right, and then we were to have a really good Bill. Now, having "something good" in this Bill, I preferred a bird in the hand to one in the bush, especially to a bird of such varied and doubtful plumage that you could neither make fish, flesh, nor good red herring of it. Now, just look. What is the position of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone)? Last year he threw up his Bill and left office because he would not accept a £6 rating franchise. This year he demands a £5 rating franchise, and my hon. Friend (Mr. Bright), who has always been for household suffrage, is content to take that franchise, though he says he would prefer a lower one. If I were to quote from the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend last year against a rating franchise, the Committee would be very much amused. I shall not take up the time of the Committee by doing so. They said everything they possibly could in condemnation of such a franchise, showing that it was an altogether untenable proposal, and my hon. Friend added that it was opposed to the Parliamentary institutions of this country. But bad as it is, he is glad to take up with it now. I say, then, that I have not deserted my party; the party has deserted me. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not think I am taking an improper liberty with him if I remind him that he, above all men in this House, has set us an example of independent voting where he did not altogether agree with his party or its leaders. I should like to know what Gentleman, honourable, right honourable, or noble, who has oftener left his party than he has—no doubt, for excellent reasons. And my hon. Friend (Mr. Bright), too, has been a rebel as often as anybody I know, for when he called himself a Member of the Liberal party he voted against that party in order to turn out Lord Palmerston. In fact, I do not know anything that was so deeply rooted in his heart as the desire to turn out Lord Palmerston. I voted to get a Reform Bill—a good Reform Bill, or, at all events, as good a one as I could get. I believe, in doing so, not only did I vote for the best interests of the country, but I am as firmly persuaded as I can be of anything, not actually proved, that it will yet appear to the country the very best course that could have been taken.


Sir, I am very sorry that anything which I have said anywhere should have given pain to my hon. Friend (Mr. Bass); but he seems to me in rather an unfortunate position, because the conduct which he has pursued is very much—I will not say what I have described it, but what he has described it—in the language he has used to-night. It is something beyond ordinary comprehension, seeing that he has had to write two long letters to the public; and those not being sufficient, he has now had to make what was for him an unusually long speech in this House in still further explanation, in order to set himself right with the public. I am sorry, too, that my hon. Friend felt that the observations which I made were so suitable a cap for him, and that he put it on. ["No!"] I made no reference—as the House knows, and as my hon. Friend knows—to him by name; and I confess that he was not in my thoughts at the time, and he certainly never could have been when I was saying anything unpleasant respecting any of my countrymen. But my hon. Friend ought to be a little more just himself if he is to be so critical of others, because in one of his letters he refers to what has taken place, I suppose with the hon. Member (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), after the late division. ["No!"] Well, I only supposed that from what he said just now. He referred to something that took place after that division, and he left the public to believe that he had formed the opinion that Gentlemen on this side of the House took the course which they did on that occasion because they did not like longer to be left out in the cold. That is not a very pleasant observation to make respecting one's political Friends. The hon. Gentleman ought not to be so thin-skinned when he puts into print, not in the heat of debate, but in that cool and healthy state produced by half a day spent in fishing on the Spey. In the cool of the evening my hon. Friend sits down and writes a letter in which he thus describes some of his nearest political Friends. One word now with regard to the point before the House. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) quoted some words of mine, and for aught I know, quoted them accurately. He thought I used language unfairly damaging, to or depreciatory of the Bill of the Government in this particular. I only beg leave to tell him that I believe I expressed most accurately the opinions of the 5,000 or 6,000 of my countrymen to whom I then spoke; and looking at the discussions which have taken place throughout the country, whether at public meetings or in the newspapers, that is the opinion which has beer formed of this particular clause of the Bill. I will now address what I have to say to hon. Gentlemen opposite. Some people say that you can never convince anybody in this House, but that I do not quite believe. You do not see men change votes but I think you do sometimes a little alter the sentiments of those to whom you speak. At the present moment, as I understand it, we have come generally to the conclusion that there should be a large extension of the borough franchise, and we are rather seeking for qualifications on which to admit the people than for restrictions on which to exclude them. I think that, according to the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government will admit this, that if they could pick out another 500,000 who were in their view qualified for the franchise, they would have no objection to admit them; for the House has at length got rid of that absurd terror of numbers by which it seemed in some degree actuated during former discussions of this question, and particularly during last year. This is a restriction which is not founded upon any proved, or even suspected, disqualification. It is simply a restriction of the sort which you employ when you wish to get rid of numbers, but it is not founded upon any assumption even that the numbers are not qualified for the franchise. It is all behind the purpose, and has nothing to do with the question, to tell us about what was done in year 1854. You have made some progress since even last year, and it would be absurd to suppose that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) and his Friends have made no progress since 1854. There were many bad things in those former Bills, some because the Government were not so thorough as they ought to have been, and some were because they were intended to conciliate your opposition. But nothing could be further from the real argument than to say that because Lord Aberdeen's Government did this thing or that thing, therefore we in this new world in which we are living—every- body being a Reformer—should go back to those old times and proposals. Nothing would be more absurd. Now, some persons imagine that this restriction is one which would leave out poor people, and those who are supposed to be less advantageous electors. But bear in mind that it will keep out the rich as well as the poor people. I accidentally met with a gentleman last night who came from Lancashire, and he was saying that, from some slight alteration, he had had to wait, I think, a year and a half before he could get himself upon the register of the borough in which he was living. He is a man of great property, and in all probability in the next Parliament will be returned as a Member of this House. If a Member of this House removed into any borough as a £10 occupier, he would be liable to the restriction of the one year; and if he is an occupier under £10, he would be liable to the restriction of the two years, and the seven months, and the four months, up to December, and he would not get his franchise until the election after the December. Therefore every man, from the £10 occupier down to the lowest householder, would be subjected to this restriction. It would not act upon the poorest or most dependent, nor upon any one class in particular, with a view to amend the general quality of the list of electors; but it would act upon them all, and it would act with great difference in different boroughs. I was told by a right hon. Gentleman that in some boroughs it would not make a difference of more than 5 per cent; but I will state what it will do in the borough of Rochdale, where I live. I have taken care to ascertain exactly what is the present number of electors in that borough, and I find that they are under 1,500. If there were no period of occupation, and if the twelve months' residence did not exist, and a man could come on the register without any reference to his time of occupation, then that number would be raised to 1,800, Therefore 300 are kept off by the present one year, and I take it for granted that by the two years' residence 300 more would be kept off. That is a very important matter. In all the towns in the North of England, where the growth of the place is so large as to bring in a constant succession of new occupiers; new houses, new streets, and new suburbs being created, almost continually, this clause of the Bill will act with great severity and, as I hold, with great injustice. What is the object of it? It is not that it can make any essential difference in the quality of constituencies. You are therefore only cutting off a number of persons who you admit are perfectly qualified, and you necessarily give them cause for great dissatisfaction. I was surprised that my hon. and learned Friend did not, in moving his Amendment, refer to the case of the metropolis; for I hold it to be an absurd, intolerable thing that, with respect to the metropolis, this clause should remain. It is, I admit, one great city, but it is composed of six great boroughs. I am not acquainted with the boundaries, but can suppose cases. If a man living on the west side of a certain street has not lived there time enough to get a vote, and removes to the east side of the same street—say from the borough of Marylebone into the borough of Finsbury—or if he went from the City of London, and crossing the river came into the borough of Southwark, he might go on this way for one, two, and three years—his life might wane away, and he would never come upon the electoral roll. And this man may be one of the very highest class of your artizans, who has been obliged to make these changes of residence in order that he might follow the employment that was offered to him, and thus procure sustenance for himself and his family. I am quite sure if the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to say a word upon this part of the question, he would not for a moment undertake to defend a proposal like that. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich, though he blamed something that I said—matters of opinion—did not contradict any of my facts. I say if a man came into his house on the 1st of August, 1867, he would not be placed on the register under this Bill until December, 1870. That is a period of three years and four months, and there may not be an election for some years after—in fact, it may be five years before he would have an opportunity of exercising the franchise. Now, hon. Gentlemen opposite have got rid of a good many prejudices; why not get rid of this? After all, in the general reformation of character which one sees in progress, I am sure, with a very little effort, it would be quite possible to accept the proposal of my hon. and learned Friend. The restriction is not for the purpose of maintaining the quality of the constitu- encies, but for lessening their number. Further, any lessening of the number is, after all, of no advantage whatever in the view of anything that you may consider Conservative in the sense in which the word has formerly been used. You will admit that, unless you have a good argument, unless you have a strong and overruling argument to the contrary, it must be an evil that all persons over £10 must come in under one arrangement, and all under £10 under another. It is clear that between those two classes there would be, I will not say ill-feeling, but there would be a general opinion as to the desirability of making them alike, and of altering this clause in the way proposed. I undertake to say, if this law should pass as it now is, that the first Parliament elected under the Bill would see introduced a Motion with a view to alter this clause, and that you will again bring on a series of discussions upon the question of Reform which will lead on, from year to year, to greater movements and to greater agitation, until, in all probability, you would come to a very great unsettlement of that partial and unsatisfactory settlement this measure will be if this clause be persisted in. Surely it is not for the good of the country, it is not statesmanlike on the part of this House, to pursue such a course when no argument of necessity or justice can be adduced in defence of it. In fact, I believe—and I speak with perfect frankness—that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is as much convinced as any man on this side can be, that the proposition is not tenable and cannot be defended by argument; and that he would really be much obliged if the hon. Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Wilson-Patten), than whom there is not, I believe, a more just judging man, and half-a-dozen other Gentlemen on that side of the House, would get up and express their opinion that the point is not worth much, and that it would be well to make a graceful concession. I do not think it is worth while to use one other argument which occurs to me, because the House has, in some degree, rejected my views on all matters connected with this question of Reform. It is desirable, if you find what has gone before to be satisfactory on the whole, to proceed in the same direction. Therefore I think it an unfortunate circumstance that the Government have proposed, in so many points, to disapprove of the principle of the Bill of 1832. The Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to have a great ambition for the novel and the original, but everything new and original is by no means good. The Reform Bill was good for its time, simple and clear with respect to the franchise. Now, after thirty-five years' experience, the people, the lawyers, the revising barristers, the courts, everybody understands what the Reform Bill means. If you proceed as much as you can on the same basis, adhering to the same simplicity, you will find a great deal to remove and to adopt in order to prevent conflicting decisions of revising barristers, and save the country a great amount of trouble and expense in references to Superior Courts. I have treated this question, I hope, as my hon. and learned Friend has—as a practical question. It is not a matter upon which, if a man was disposed, as I am not, he could introduce anything like heated controversy. It is a question whether you believe your countrymen—such as are qualified by position in life—should necessarily occupy their houses for three years in order to enjoy the franchise. It is simply a question whether you believe that every occupier of a house below £10 rental must necessarily occupy it three years, and it may be three years and four months before he can be placed upon the register. Though he should so long have sustained his family, should so long have pursued his daily vocation, should so long have paid his taxes, and have been perhaps one of the most distinguished and most honourable citizens of his town. Though he has been there one year you will not admit him—two years you will not admit him he must be there three years before you put his name on the register. Not one of those persons, therefore, can come in until he is twenty-four and twenty-five years of age. Now, what can be the object of a limitation like this? I think you will find throughout every part of the country—and I will not even except your own political party—that there will be general satisfaction if the Committee consent to accept the Amendment. Other points of the Bill will come on in their time; but a may freely state that, as far as I have heard, the general feeling of Members on both sides—certainly the unanimous feeling on this side is, that the Bill will be considerably improved if the Amendment be adopted.


I do not know how far the hon. Member is warranted in professing to speak for Gen- tlemen on this side of the House; but I cannot help thinking that this is a question which is open to fair discussion, and which cannot be decided on the absolute principles laid down by the hon. Member. A certain amount of restriction rests upon the present voters, and the question is whether or not it is right when you grant a considerable extension of the franchise, and go down to the occupiers of a house of the lowest rental, to impose upon those persons an increased test over and above that which is imposed by the Act of 1832. That Act requires an occupation of at least twelve months, as a condition of the franchise. It was not deemed sufficient that a man should have the suffrage simply because he occupied a house and was rated; but the restriction of a twelve months' occupation was imposed for the express purpose of determining his fitness for enjoying the franchise. It is now proposed that we should for the first time admit a large class to the enjoyment of the franchise, and there is nothing unreasonable in requiring that those persons should give some special proof of their fitness for that privilege. A certain amount of restraint must, under any circumstances, attach to the right, and the amount of that restraint is in every case a fair subject for the consideration of Parliament. It is true that by the Act of 1832 the required term of occupation is only twelve months; but that is no reason why we should confine ourselves to that period when enfranchising a large additional portion of the population, The hon. Member says it is very hard that a man who may have lived a certain time on one side of a street should lose his vote if he happens, by crossing the street, to remove into the adjoining parish. But that observation applies equally to the case of a twelve months' residence; and the argument, if good for anything, would abolish the test of residence altogether. It is true that we propose a longer term. The precedent for such a proposal, furnished by the Bill of 1854, was very summarily dismissed by the hon. Member, and also by my hon. and learned Friend (Sir Roundell Painter), who said that that Bill had been dead and buried thirteen years. Surely, however, it is well to pay some regard to previous attempts at legislation on this subject, and it must have been the result of some consideration that the framers of the Bill of 1854, in bringing forward a £6 franchise, proposed that the new class of voters should be subject to the restric- tion of two years' residence. My hon. and learned Friend contended that the municipal franchise had nothing to do with this question. But what was the object of Lord John Russell in proposing a three years' occupation with regard to the municipal franchise? The only object of that test of lengthened residence was to ascertain the fitness of the persons who vote at municipal elections. Is not that a precedent for what we propose? My hon. and learned Friend argued that the new voters should have the franchise on precisely the same terms as the present ones, or else that it should not be granted to them at all, and that there was something invidious in requiring a more lengthened residence. I cannot see why it should be viewed in such a light. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) says that the existing law is clearly defined and generally known, and thinks it a thousand pities to depart from the principles of the Act of 1832. He predicts no end of difficulties and disputes in interpreting this clause. I cannot, however, conceive any difficulty in understanding it. It simply enfranchises any person who on the last day of July in any year, and during the whole of the preceding two years, shall have been the occupier of a house. The framers of the Bill of 1854 were of opinion that when the franchise was lowered to a considerable extent it was necessary to have a further test to determine the fitness of the voter. The Committee of the other House, whose Report has already been referred to, held it most desirable with regard to the municipal franchise to maintain a test, and that a stringent one, so as to give the suffrage to those who were fit to exercise it, and at the same time exclude those who could not satisfy the test. At the present time you have a law which is applicable to £10 householders, who have a right to vote under a particular franchise. You are now proposing to enfranchise a large number of persons on totally different grounds. You say to that body, you take the franchise under the conditions now proposed, and you shall all exercise it on the same terms. There are certain restrictions, but they are not imposed for the purpose of disqualifying but for the purpose of testing whether these persons are fit and proper to exercise the franchise.


said, that he looked upon this as a most vital occasion in the course of the Reform Bill. He only wished to utter a few sentences in answer to the remarks of his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General. His argument he regarded as a plausible argument for "trying it on;" but it went no farther. He objected to the proposal before the Committee on two grounds. First, the electors proposed to be enfranchised by the present Bill were men of like passions with themselves, and would feel injustice quite as keenly. He ventured, secondly, to prophesy that if this Bill were passed, making it necessary for a £9 householder to reside three years before being entitled to a vote, when a £10 householder might get his vote by a residence of two years the Bill would not settle the question for a single month, but would lead to a fearful agitation on the subject. If the Government adhered to their proposal, it would be the best card that they could play for the Liberal party, but he hoped that on this point the Government would be defeated. If the Opposition were defeated the defeat would be fatal to Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench as persons undertaking to settle the question of Reform.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 197; Noes 278: Majority 81.

Question proposed, "That the words 'twelve calendar months' be there inserted."—(Mr. Ayrton.)

Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Cobbold, J. C.
Anson, hon. Major Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Archdall, Captain M. Cole, hon. H.
Arkwright, R. Cole, hon. J. L.
Bagge, Sir W. Conolly, T.
Bagnall, C. Cooper, E. H.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Corrance, F. S.
Baillie, rt. hon. H. J. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Barnett, H. Courtenay, Lord
Barrow, W. H. Dalkeith, Earl of
Bateson, Sir T. Dick, F.
Beach, Sir M. H. Dimsdale, R.
Beach, W. W. B. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Beecroft, G. S. Dowdeswell, W. E.
Bentinck, G. C. Du Cane, C.
Benyon, R. Duncombe, hon. Col.
Bingham, Lord Dunne, General
Booth, Sir R. G. Du Pre, C. G.
Bourne, Colonel Dyke, W. H.
Bowyer, Sir G. Dyott, Colonel R.
Brett, W. B. Eaton, H. W.
Brooks, R. Edwards, Sir H.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Burrell, Sir P. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Campbell, A. H. Egerton, E. C.
Capper, C. Egerton, hon. W.
Cave, rt. hon. S. Elcho, Lord
Clive, Capt. hon. G. W. Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Marsh, M. H
Feilden, J. Montagu, Lord R.
Fellowes, E. Montgomery, Sir G.
Fergusson, Sir J. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Floyer, J. Morgan, O.
Forde, Colonel Morris, G.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Freshfield, C. K. Naas, Lord
Galway, Viscount Neeld, Sir J.
Garth, R. Neville-Grenville, R.
Gilpin, Colonel Newdegate, C. N.
Goldney, G. North, Colonel
Goodson, J. Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.
Gorst, J. E. Packe, C. W.
Graves, S. R. Paget, R. H.
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Grey, hon. T. de Parker, Major W.
Grosvenor, Earl Patten, Colonel W.
Hamilton, rt. hon. Lord C. Paull, H.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. Peel, rt. hon. Gen.
Hamilton, I. T. Percy, Major-Gen. Lord H.
Hamilton, Viscount
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Repton, G. W. J.
Hardy, J. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Harvey, R. B. Robertson, P. F.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Rolt, Sir J.
Hay, Sir J. C. D. Royston, Viscount
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Russell, Sir C.
Henniker-Major, hon. J. M. Sandford, G. M. W.
Schreiber, C.
Herbert, hon. Col. P. Sclater-Booth, G.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Scourfield, J. H.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Selwyn, C. J.
Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M. Severne, J. E.
Holford, R. S. Seymour, G. H.
Hornby, W. H. Simonds, W. B.
Horsfall, T. B. Smith, A.
Hotham, Lord Smith, S. G.
Howes, E. Smollett, P. B.
Huddleston, J. W. Somerset, Colonel
Hunt, G. W. Stanhope, J. B.
Innes, A. C. Stanley, hon. F.
Jolliffe, hon. H. H. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.
Jones, D. Stopford, S. G.
Karslake, Sir J. B. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Karslake, E. K. Stuart, Lt.-Col. W.
Kavanagh, A. Sturt, H. G.
Kekewich, S. T. Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
Kendall, N. Surtees, C. F.
Kennard, R. W. Surtees, H. E.
Ker, D. S. Sykes, C.
King, J. K. Thorold, Sir J. H.
King, J. G. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Knight, F. W. Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C. G.
Knightley, Sir R. Treeby, J. W.
Knox, hon. Colonel S. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Langton, W. G. Turner, C.
Lanyon, C. Vance, J.
Lascelles, hon. E. W. Verner, E. W.
Leader, N. P. Verner, Sir W.
Lechmere, Sir E. A. H. Walcott, Admiral
Lefroy, A. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Walrond, J. W.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Walsh, A.
Leslie, C. P. Waterhouse, S.
Lindsay, hon. Col. C. Whitmore, H.
Lindsay, Colonel R. L. Williams, F. M.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Wise, H. C.
Lowther, J. Woodd, B. T.
Mainwaring, T. Wyndham, hon. H.
Malcolm, J. W. TELLERS.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Taylor, Colonel T. E.
Manners, Lord G. J. Noel, hon. G. J.
Acland, T. D. Cremorne, Lord
Adair, H. E. Crossley, Sir F.
Adam, W. P. Dalglish, R.
Agnew, Sir A. Davey, R.
Akroyd, E. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Allen, W. S. Denman, hon. G.
Amberley, Viscount Dent, J. D.
Andover, Viscount Dering, Sir E. C.
Anstruther, Sir R. Dilke, Sir W.
Antrobus, E. Dillwyn, L. L.
Armstrong, R. Doulton, F.
Aytoun, R. S. Duff, M. E. G.
Bagwell, J. Duff, R. W.
Baines, E. Dundas, F.
Baring, hon. A. H. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Barnes, T. Dunkellin, Lord
Barry, A. H. S. Eliot, Lord
Bass, A. Enfield, Viscount
Bass, M. T. Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.
Bathurst, A. A. Esmonde, J.
Bazley, T. Ewing, H. E. Crum-
Beaumont, H. F. Eykyn, R.
Beaumont, W. B. Fawcett, H.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fildes, J.
Biddulph, Col. R. M. Fitz Gerald, rt. hon. Lord O. A.
Biddulph, M.
Blake, J. A. Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W.
Blennerhasset, Sir R. Foley, H. W.
Bonham-Carter, J. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Bouverie, rt. hn. E. P. Fordyce, W. D.
Brand, rt. hon. H. Forster, C.
Bright, J. Forster, W. E.
Briscoe, J. I. Fort, R.
Brocklehurst, J. Fortescue, rt. hon. C. S.
Brown, J. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Bruce, Lord C. French, rt. hn. Colonel
Bruce, Lord E. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Gaselee, Serjeant S.
Bryan, G. L. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Butler, C. S. Gilpin, C.
Buxton, Sir T. F. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Gladstone, W. H.
Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G. Glyn, G. C.
Candlish, J. Glyn, G. G.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Carington, hon. C. R. Goldsmid, J.
Carnegie, hon. C. Gooch, Sir D.
Cave, T. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Cavendish, Lord E. Gower, hon. F. L.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Graham, W.
Cavendish, Lord G. Gray, Sir J.
Chambers, M. Greenall, G.
Chambers, T. Grenfell, H. R.
Cheetham, J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Childers, H. C. E. Gridley, Capt. H. G.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Clay, J. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Clement, W. J. Grove, T. F.
Clive, G. Gurney, S.
Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F Hadfield, G.
Colebrook, Sir T. E. Hamilton, E. W. T.
Coleridge, J. D. Hankey, T.
Collier, Sir R. P. Hardcastle, J. A.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. Harris, J. D.
Corbally, M. E. Hartington, Marquess of
Cowen, J. Hartley, J.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Hay, Lord J.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Hay, Lord W. M.
Cox, W. T. Hayter, Capt. A. D.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Crawford, R. W. Henderson, J.
Hibbert, J. T. Pelham, Lord
Hodgkinson, G. Peto, Sir S. M.
Hodgson, K. D. Philips, R. N.
Holden, I. Platt, J.
Holland, E. Portman, hn. W. H. B.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Potter, E.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Potter, T. B.
Hughes, T. Powell, F. S.
Hurst, R. H. Price, W. P.
Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W. Pryse, E. L.
Ingham, R. Pritchard, J.
Jackson, W. Rawlinson, Sir H.
James, E. Reardon, D. J.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Rebow, J. G.
Johnstone, Sir J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Kennedy, T. Robertson, D.
Kinglake, A. W. Roebuck, J. A.
Kinglake, J. A. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Kingscote, Colonel Rothschild, Baron M. de
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Russell, A.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, E Russell, H.
Labouchere, H. Russell, F. W.
Laing, S. Salomons, Alderman
Laird, J. Samuda, J. D'A.
Layard, A. H. Samuelson, B.
Lamont, J. Scholefield, W.
Lawrence, W. Scrope, G. P.
Leatham, W. H. Seely, C.
Lee, W. Seymour, A.
Leeman, G. Seymour, H. D.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Sherriff, A. C.
Lewis, H. Simeon, Sir J.
Liddell, hon. H. G. Smith, J.
Lloyd, Sir T. D. Smith, J. A,
Locke, J. Smith, J. B.
Lusk, A. Speirs, A. A.
MacEvoy, E. Stansfeld, J.
Mackinnon, Capt. L. B. Steel, J.
M'Laren, D. Stone, W. H.
Maguire, J. F. Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Marjoribanks, Sir D. C. Stucley, Sir G. S.
Marshall, W. Sykes, Col. W. H
Merry, J. Synan, E. J.
Milbank, F. A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Mill, J. S. Taylor, P. A.
Miller, W. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Mills, J. R. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Milton, Viscount
Mitchell, A. Vanderbyl, P.
Mitchell, T. A. Verney, Sir H.
Moffatt, G. Villiers, rt. hn. C. P.
Moncreiff, rt. hon. J. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.
Morrison, W. Waldegrave-Leslie, hon. G.
Murphy, N. D.
Neate, C. Waring, C.
Nicholson, W. Warner, E.
Nicol, J. D. Welby, W. E.
Norwood, C. M. Western, Sir T. B.
O'Brien, Sir P. Whalley, G. H.
O'Donoghue, The Whitbread, S.
Ogilvy, Sir J. White, hon. Capt. C.
Oliphant, L. White, J.
Osborne, R. B. Williamson, Sir H.
Otway, A. J. Woods, H.
Packe, Colonel Wyld, J.
Padmore, R. Wyndham, hon. P.
Palmer, Sir R. Wynn, C. W. W.
Parry, T. Young, R.
Pease, J. W. TELLERS.
Peel, A. W. Ayrton, A. S.
Peel, J. King, hon. P. J. L.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday next.


After the grave decision at which the Committee has arrived, it is not in my power, without consultation with my Colleagues, to proceed with the Bill. Therefore, I beg to move that the Chairman report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.


then put the Question for reporting Progress, when several loud cries of "No!" mingled with the "Ayes."


Sir, I noticed that there were several voices from this side of the House in the negative to the Motion. It appears to me that the right hon. Gentleman, having declared that he thinks the decision at which the Committee has arrived requires consideration on his part and on that of his Colleagues, it is impossible for us to go on. Therefore, I certainly should say "Aye" to the Motion.


again put the Question for reporting Progress, which was then agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.