HC Deb 09 May 1867 vol 187 cc266-361

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 3 (Occupation Franchise for Voters in Boroughs).

*Amendment again proposed, in page 2, line 8, after the word "rated," to insert the words "as an ordinary occupier."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said, he regretted that he was compelled to object to the words which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to insert in the clause. He objected not only to the words proposed, but also to similar words in paragraph 4. He objected to them as being entirely in antagonism with the Amendment of which he had given notice; and he thought this was the best opportunity of raising a discussion on that Amendment. In objecting to the words proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he had no hostile feeling towards the Government or their Bill. He had no desire to injure the Bill. His earnest wish was to improve it, so as to make it acceptable to the country. He hoped his Amendment would be dealt with in that spirit by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. The question of the Amendment he had proposed, though it might seem a small one, was a question of great importance. He quite allowed that the amended proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a decided improvement on his former proposal. The proposal which the right hon. Gentleman now made to the House had, to a large extent, taken away the arguments he should have used in order to show how this Bill would operate against compound-householders. He thought it only fair to say that the right hon. Gentleman had tried as far as possible to meet the wishes of the Opposition side of the House. But the course which the right hon. Gentleman had adopted would not be satisfactory to the country, and would not do away with the inconvenience to which the compound-householder would be subjected. The fine which would have fallen on the compound-householder was removed from that person in a great degree, and put on the shoulders of another person—the compound-landlord. But he should on the compound-householder. The question was a large one because it affected so large a number of compound-householders. There were in the country something like 500,000 compound-occupiers, which number was twofold that of the ordinary occupiers who would be admitted by the Bill. The total number of the compound- occupiers was 476,593. That was the number of persons who were seriously affected by this Bill. There were fifty-seven boroughs in which the Small Tenements Act was in force in this country, and that had operated with respect to 139,327 occupiers under £10. There were ninety-nine boroughs in which the Act was in partial operation, and in which there were also local Acts, and they contained 249,472 compound-occupiers below £10. There were fifteen boroughs in which local rating Acts were in force, and not the Small Tenements Act. They contained 87,442 compound-occupiers under £10, making a total of 476,593 compound-occupiers, who would be operated on by the Bill. There were twenty-nine boroughs in which there was no Small Tenements Act, and in which there were no local Acts for compounding, and the occupiers in those towns who would be admitted by the Bill were 245,910, or not more than half the number he mentioned as being included among the £10 compound-householders. Among the twenty-nine was the town which he represented. He was happy to think that the people of that town had not arrived at that degree of civilization spoken of by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They had no compounding Act. They bore their own burdens, and were rated to the poor. But though he might be satisfied with the clause as regarded his own town he was not satisfied with the unfair position in which it placed the 476,593 compound-householders. He should be very glad if the whole of those compounding Acts-were swept away. Though they were economically advantageous to the country—as causing the rates to be collected with little trouble—they were not advantageous in a political respect. By holding as compound-householders, occupiers lost their proper position. They did not vote for vestrymen, nor elect Poor Law guardians, nor perform other important duties which devolved upon ratepayers. They were, however, allowed to vote at municipal elections. While politically the compound-householder was not in as good a position as through his landlord the compounder was in as good a position as the non-compounder. How came the Small Tenements Act to be introduced? In the fifty-ninth year of the reign of George III., there having been a great difficulty in obtaining rates for small tenements, an Act of Parliament was passed allowing the owners to be assessed, it being provided that they should pay not less than half the full rates. That Act was introduced into a considerable number of towns. At a later period the Small Tenements Act was passed, and it had been applied much more extensively than the previous statute. The Small Tenements Act only affected tenements below the rateable value of £6, and it was introduced into a parish by the vestry. It should, however, be remembered that the vestries introduced the Small Tenements Act on the principle of plurality of votes, as laid down by Sturges Bourne's Act, and therefore the occupiers were not in a position to resist its application. Under the Small Tenements Act every owner was rated on property under £6 rateable value at three-fourths of the rateable value. If the landlord undertook to pay for the tenements, whether empty or full, he must, on notice being given to the overseer, be rated by him the following year at one-half the rateable value. The effect, then, of the Small Tenements Act being introduced into a parish was that the owners of tenements below £6 rateable value were rated to the poor, and that the compound-occupiers were not known. He wished to prove that the compound occupiers did pay the full amount of rate, and that the amount of rate collected from the compounding landlord was equal in amount to what would have been collected from the same number of houses if the Act had not been in operation. The occupier strictly ought not to have been called a compound-occupier, but rather the tenant of a compounding-landlord, for it was the landlord who compounded. He presumed, after the admission made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he might take it for granted that the compound-occupier did pay the full rate in his rent. Then, he would take by way of example twenty houses under the compounding system and a like number under the non-compounding system. Supposing the full rate on each non-compounding house to be 20s., the twenty houses would be liable to pay £20. But the landlord of the compounding houses would be entitled to a deduction of one-fourth, and consequently he would pay only £15 for his twenty houses. In the case of the twenty non-compounding houses, the overseer had to run the risk of all the tenants being in a position to pay the rates, and in the town which he represented it was not every occupier who could pay his rates. On the whole, he thought it might fairly be said that the amount obtained by the overseers from the twenty non-compounding houses would not exceed £15. He believed it was a perfectly fair argument to use that the difficulty of obtaining rates from tenants who were continually changing their residence, or who were obliged to have their rates excused, was such that the overseer would not receive a larger amount of rate from the non-compounding than from the compounding houses. Of course, the landlord having paid £15 to the overseer had received £20 from his tenants if it were allowed that the full rate was paid in the rent. But he took the additional £5 for the risk and trouble he ran in obtaining the money from good and bad tenants alike. Indeed, there could be no doubt that the allowance was made to the landlord on this ground. The Government proposed to allow the tenants to pay the full rate, or, in other words, instead of the landlord paying the 15s. for his tenants, the tenant was to pay 20s. to the overseer and deduct the full rate from the rent paid to the landlord. How would that act? No doubt it would be the better class of tenants who would be likely to apply to be put on the rate book. Indeed, that was in accordance with the principle supported by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. Suppose that one-half of the occupiers of the compounding houses applied to be put on the rate book. These ten tenants would immediately undertake to pay the full rate. Instead of the landlord paying 15s. for each of those tenants, they would themselves pay £1 each, and the total sum paid by them to the overseer would be £10. There would then remain ten houses which the landlord would be liable to compound for, and the amount of rate he would have to pay for them would be £7 10s. Previously to this the landlord had to pay £15. Now, taking into account the £10 which he has to repay to the tenants who claim to be rated, he has to pay rates amounting to £17 10s. The landlord would thus be mulcted in the sum of £2 10s. In reply to that it might be said that as the landlord had ceased to collect the money from a certain number of his tenants he ought no longer to receive any deduction on behalf of those persons. But the landlord made the composition on the basis of taking the good and the bad tenants alike. If ten of the good tenants were taken out of the number the landlord would be paying the composition rate for ten bad tenants, and would probably never get recouped at all. The landlord, not being recouped for the additional sum of money which he would have to pay, would be placed in a position very uncomfortable and inconvenient for him. Having been accustomed for a long series of years to receive the deduction, he would not easily or lightly submit to the change. What, then, would be the result? The landlord, feeling that he was called upon to pay money which he had not been accustomed to pay, would say to his tenant, "You came to me on certain terms. I have been quite willing to pay the composition rate on these, terms, but if you apply for a vote and make it necessary for me to pay this additional money you must leave the house." Or else the landlord would say to the tenant, "You have applied for a vote and have put me to this additional expense, and therefore I shall require you to pay me additional rent." In most instances one of these two results would be brought about. He did not say that that would take place in every instance; but they knew how grinding landlords were, and that, rather than lose their money, they would endeavour to recoup themselves some way or other. Therefore, the present proposal, though it was much better than the original proposal, would not work in a satisfactory manner. His wish was to make the Bill work in a manner which would give satisfaction to the country. In bestowing the franchise upon a large class it ought to be an object to do it in a manner which could not create a feeling of injustice among them. In Merthyr Tydvil there were 12,564 occupiers under £10 who compounded under the Small Tenements Act, and 399 non-compounders who would be admitted as ordinary occupiers under this Bill. In Bradford there were 13,094 compounders under local Acts and the Small Tenements Act, and 3,532 ordinary occupiers. In Hull there were 12,026 compounders, and 64 ordinary occupiers. In Leeds there were 25,613 compounders, and 9,365 ordinary occupiers. In Manchester there were 33,013 compounders and 2,862 ordinary occupiers. In Birmingham there was the largest number of compounders, 36,177, and there were 2,384 ordinary occupiers. In Birmingham compounding for rates was carried to a larger extent than it was, perhaps, in any other town in the country. If in these towns the tenants were obliged to deduct the full amount of the rate from the sum paid to the landlords, the landlords would feel the injustice keenly. To meet the difficulties of this question the Compound Householders Act was introduced and passed by Sir William Clay. When he passed it the number of compound-householders was smaller than the number which would be introduced by the Bill. But it was done with the idea of doing away with the difficulties and obstructions that existed with respect to compounders. It would have been wiser in the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have followed the existing law than to have proposed to repeal a portion of that Act. It would have been better to have let the new compounders come in on the same terms as the old ones. Not to do so would create a feeling of injustice. Let the right hon. Gentleman abolish the Local Tenements Act, and the other Compounding Acts, or put all compounders on the same footing. The feeling which had prompted past legislation seemed to favour such a proposal. In the Small Tenements Act there was a clause which allowed ratepayers under the Municipal Corporations Act to obtain the franchise though not rated to the poor. A Committee of the House of Lords which in 1859 considered this question objected very much to that clause. In their Report they said— The evils produced by the operation of the clause which enfranchises occupiers whose rates are paid by the landlord are so serious that the Committee recommend that it be repealed, and a provision substituted enabling the occupier of a tenement rated at less than £6 to claim to be rated on the same terms as the landlord, and being so rated, and having paid the rates, to be entitled to have his name placed on the burgess roll. This was exactly what he wished to effect by the application of Sir William Clay's Act. If it was good for the municipal franchise, it could not be bad for the Parliamentary franchise. Sir William Clay's Act had been in operation something like fifteen years, and it was calculated that 25,000 persons had been induced to register by it. In Birmingham 3,017 compound-householders under £10 were registered under the Act. In the metropolis, 17,492. In Manchester, 3,000, and so on in other towns. The fact that 25,000 out of 94,000 compound-householders had got on the register was not a matter to be afraid of. Therefore if they did not wish to have a large number of persons avail themselves of the right of voting, he thought they should continue the operation of Clay's Act. It was the only plan for satisfactorily carrying out the present Bill. He quite agreed with the principle of the Government Bill to the extent that every compound-occupier should be placed on the rate book, and that before he should have the privilege of voting be should claim to be rated. The great principle of the Bill was that no man should become a voter unless he was personally rated to the poor. Under Sir William Clay's Act no one could become a voter till he had claimed to be rated and had been rated. The only distinction between the Bill and Sir William Clay's Act was that in one case there was the trouble and annoyance that would be given to the overseers, and in the other everything went on in a smooth and simple manner, and did not injure the ratepayer or the landlord, or give trouble to the overseers. The Government Bill, however, created serious inconveniences and annoyances to landlords, tenants, and parishes, which would cause great dissatisfaction in the country. He asked hon. Gentlemen opposite to meet the question in a generous and liberal spirit. He need not appeal to their patriotism, because they had shown that by what they had done this year, in giving up, to a great extent, their long-cherished convictions. They did what they could to settle this question. He asked them to give a generous and kind treatment to the question. He believed they would not find themselves at all injured by accepting the Amendment he had proposed. On the contrary, it would strengthen their Bill. Knowing how they wished to adhere to the Constitution of the country, he would urge that if the Bill was improved as he had suggested, it would last much longer. He proposed the Amendment in the earnest wish to make the Bill satisfactory to the country.


said, that he would ask the indulgence of the House while he endeavoured to argue this complicated and difficult question. The question was not merely one of words between the two proposals then before the Committee—namely, whether those used, or the words which it was proposed to introduce into the clause, were best, but which was the better of two plans or methods of policy for dealing with the question of the compound-householders. The question must be enlarged to that extent; but, on the other hand, the discussion should also be restricted. It was not open to them to re-discuss or re-try the principle of the Bill, which was determined by the Committee on a former evening — namely, the necessity of the personal payment of rates. If therefore it was granted that it was not competent for them, either directly or indirectly, to re-discuss and re-open that question, he thought he should be able to show first that the plan of the hon. Member was contrary to the principle of the Bill, and next that the hon. Member had not given a sufficient reason why they should deal with the case of the compound-householders as an exceptional one. If he proved both these propositions, it seemed to him to follow that neither the Government nor that side of the House could accept the Amendment, and that the carrying of it must be fatal to the Bill. In order to determine the first proposition, it was necessary to consider the real meaning of the words in the Bill—"personal payment of rates." They were not called on to consider or defend the parochial interests. It would make no difference, so far as those words were concerned, whether the parish was paid every farthing of every rate imposed during the year or not. The question was, not whether the parish received the rate, but whether the occupier, the proposed voter, paid it? The House had determined that the occupier who desired a vote should be made liable to the payment of the rate, and should assume the responsibility of meeting that liability. This was the test of fitness which had been imposed, and which was not now open to dispute. The House did not mean that the occupier was to pay the rate with his own hands, but that he should be made liable to the payment of the rate, and that the rate should be paid by means substantially found or procured by him. If the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hibbert) meant that a payment to the landlord in rent was the payment of the rate, his plan was wholly inconsistent with this principle of the Bill. If he meant that there should be a personal provision by the occupier for the compounded rate his method would still be contrary to the principle of the Bill, because it did not require payment of the full rate, but only a part of that rate. Unless, therefore, the hon. Gentleman showed that this case of the compound-householder ought to be treated as an exceptional case they ought not to accept his plan. Was it an exceptional case? In order to solve this question it would be necessary to inquire what compound-householders were. They were of two kinds—those who occupied houses above and those who occupied houses below £6. The first class was the offspring of the local Acts copied from Sturges Bourne's Act of 1819. That Act had no application to Parliamentary voters. At the time that Act passed there were some boroughs in which the right to vote depended on the being rated. It was then thought that such legislation as was enacted in that Act should not be applied to such boroughs, and a clause was therefore introduced providing against its application in boroughs in which the right to vote depended on being rated. The result was that upon the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 Sturges Bourne's Act, by which householders rated at between £6 and £20 were allowed to compound, was prevented from applying to any Parliamentary borough. In many boroughs, however, there were local Acts, framed upon the model of Sturges Bourne's Act, in which that provision was omitted; and in such boroughs there were thus a certain number of householders occupying houses above £10 whose rates were compounded, and whose right to vote was thereby affected. When the rate was compounded for, the payment of the rates was enforced against the landlord; but it was a smaller sum than the rate that would have been demanded of the occupier had he, and not the landlord, been rated. In 1850 the Small Tenements Act was passed, and by that Act two different allowances were made to landlords, under two different sets of circumstances. Under that Act, in the case of all houses rated at less than £6, the landlord was to be compulsorily rated, instead of the occupier, if the parish chose to apply the Act, and in that case he was to receive an allowance of 25 per cent. But it was further provided that if the landlord was the owner of several tenements, and desired to run the same risk with regard to all, then the parish was required to make another arrangement with him, under which he was to pay another sum by way of composition, being not less than half the amount or the full rate. The difference between the two cases was that in the first it was an arrangement in which the landlord had no choice; in the second it was an optional composition. That being the legislation upon the subject there were two facts which must also be considered. The first was that these Acts had not been applied in all parishes. The second was that landlords, wherever this composition had taken place, had added to the rent, not the compounded rate, but the whole amount of the rate which would have been payable by the tenant if he had been the person rated and if no composition had been entered into. Such being the law and the facts, the Committee had to consider what would be the effect of the two plans—that of the Government and that suggested by the hon. Gentleman. Under the Government plan, if the occupier claimed to exercise the franchise he must submit to the test of fitness which the House had agreed was the proper test. He must first of all submit to be rated, and then undertake the responsibility and the burden of finding the means to pay the full rate. Unless there had been something more in the Bill he would have to pay the full rate to the parish, having by the hypothesis paid the full rate to the landlord in the shape of rent. But the Government plan relieved him from his burden, by saying that he should deduct the rates he had paid to the parish from his next payment of rent to his landlord. How, then, could it be said that there was a fine imposed on the tenant, or that there was any injustice done to him? According to an able writer in The Times of to-day, whose ability indeed was greater than either his accuracy or his candour, this was to be a payment by the tenant to the parish and a payment by him to the landlord, and a re-payment of the same sum by the landlord to him. But the occupier would not pay twice; he would only pay once. Supposing the rent to be £7, he would pay £6 to the landlord for rent and £1 to the parish for rates there was no second payment by him, and no re-payment to him by anybody. Under these circumstances was it not difficult to say that any fine was imposed upon the occupier, or any injustice done to him? In point of fact, the hon. Gentleman had not contended to-night that there was any such fine or injustice. Then was it a fine on the landlord? Looking at the statement he had made, which he believed to be accurate, and at the legislation under the Small Tenements Act, he submitted that the 25 per cent was a Parliamentary compensation to the landlord for putting upon him the compulsory obligation of being rated where he was not previously liable to be rated. The 25 per cent could not in any way be a payment to the landlord for his risk or trouble. Surely, the landlord had no more trouble in collecting the rate as a part of the rent than he would have had in collecting the rent alone, and he ran no more risk in respect of the rate than he did in respect of his rent, seeing that he could exercise the same power of distress for the recovery of both. The other composition—namely, that which might amount to 50 per cent, which was an optional one, applied not to any particular house, but to all the houses belonging to the same landlord. If the best of his tenants were taken away, by inducing them to get themselves placed upon the register, that might make a difference to the landlord. But if he were injuriously affected in consequence, the cure lay in his own hands, for the moment he found that too many of his good tenants had claimed to be put upon the register, he would no longer claim to pay the composition. The parish would not be affected in any way by the Government plan; because, although they would receive the gross rate from the tenant, 25 per cent of it must be regarded as an equivalent for the trouble and expense of collecting it. Thus, no injustice and no fine would be imposed upon any person or body by the Government plan. He would proceed to try the proposal of the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) by the same tests. If the scheme of the hon. Member were adopted the tenant would have to pay the compound rate to the parish, that is to say, he would have to pay 75 per cent of the whole rate to the parish; the remaining 25 per cent he would pay to his landlord in the form of rent. As far as the money result to the tenant was concerned, therefore, the two plans were equal. The test, however, of the responsibility of the tenant was very different under the two schemes; seeing that under that of the hon. Member the tenant was required to exercise his forbearance in providing for the rate. As far as the landlord was concerned, if the 25 per cent was only a Parliamentary compensation there was no fine by the Bill on the landlord. If they took away the Parliamentary obligation to be rated they could fairly and justly take away the compensation granted in respect of that obligation. But if the 25 per cent were really a compensation for the expense of collecting, inasmuch as they took away the landlord's trouble by obliging the tenant to pay the rate, the hon. Member's plan would put money into the landlord's pocket. According to the plan of the hon. Member they took away the risk, and yet left the compensation of 25 per cent. Another defect in the hon. Member's plan was that it made a distinction between compound landlords and tenants, and their equals who were ordinary landlords and tenants. Were he inclined to indulge in declamatory language he might characterize that distinction as invidious and odious. It had been said that if the 3rd section of Sir William Clay's Act of 1851 were allowed to stand, and the Amendment of the hon. Member were not adopted, a distinction would exist between the occupiers above and below £10. That statement he admitted to be true, and at the time when the hon. Gentleman had given notice of his Motion his Amendment was justifiable, seeing that at that time the Government had not introduced into their Bill the clause which enabled the occupier to deduct the whole rate when he had paid it from the rent. But now that clause had been introduced into the Government Bill, and it applied not only to houses under £6 under the Compound Tenements Act, but to compound-houses above £10 under the local Acts. The latter having advantages, be it observed, they did not possess before, because they could never before have deducted more than the compound rate they had to pay, whereas, under the Government Bill, they could deduct the whole rate. The state of things therefore which justified the hon. Member in giving notice of his Amendment had entirely changed. The question therefore was narrowed to one point. Was it right to repeal the 3rd clause of Sir William Clay's Act of 1851? Sir William Clay's Bill, as it originally stood, did not include the 3rd clause. The Bill was brought in for a totally different purpose. The Courts of Law had decided that a tenant claiming to be rated was obliged to renew his claim on the imposition of each succeeding rate. This was deemed a hardship. Sir William Clay's Bill was brought in for the purpose of removing that hardship. But while the Bill was in the House the 3rd clause was added, and he believed it arose from the seductive power which the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) brought to bear upon the then Home Secretary. That clause, even at the time it was passed, was a most mischievous one, and the Government therefore were right in their endeavour to repeal it now. It was wrong legislation, and there were not twenty Members of the House who would agree to such a clause if now put forward. If that clause were repealed, there could be no reason for the substitution of the plan of the hon. Member for that of the Government, which was much more just, wise, and expedient than that of the hon. Member. To sum up—this Amendment was inconsistent with the principle of the Bill. There was no reason for treating this case as an exceptional case. There was therefore no sufficient ground on which the House could be asked to accept the Amendment. But suppose he had failed in establishing the propositions with which he had started. Was there sufficient difference between the two schemes—was there such injustice and inexpediency in the Government plan that Gentlemen opposite should endeavour to force the Amendment and should by succeeding wreck the Bill? Could they justify themselves, they the assumed partisans of the working people, of whom they professed to take so much care, if they threw out the Bill — not because there was any injustice done to the occupiers, but because there was something in it which was unjust to the landlords? He did not, of course, ask those hon. Members who had satisfied their own minds that this was a bad Bill, not to press the Amendment. Hon. Members who entertained that opinion would, of course, press the Amendment simply with a view to destroy the Bill. His position in the House did not warrant him in making any strong comment on such conduct; but of those hon. Members on the opposite side of the House who were not anxious to see the Bill destroyed, who fully admitted that there was a great deal that was good in the Bill, and who adhered to the promise made at the commencement of the Session, that if hon. Gentlemen on one side would yield some of their opinions, hon. Gentlemen on the other would also yield in some degree, he thought they had a right to expect a different course. From those hon. Gentlemen, unless they believed that the Amendment was absolutely necessary, and the plan of the Government thoroughly unjust, they had, he thought, a right to expect as much yielding as they could fairly and reasonably consent to. This, perhaps, they had a greater right to expect, considering what they on the Ministerial side had yielded. The very introduction of such a Bill was a great point gained from the Conservative party. But in order to lead to a satisfactory settlement of this question, they had still further abandoned the dual vote, and the two years' residence, and had conceded the lodger franchise. Considering the state of the question in the country, there was nothing dishonourable to the Conservative party in having given up as many of their opinions as they in justice could in order to arrive at a settlement upon this question. If an objection might fairly be raised to the Bill, that objection might, in his opinion, more fairly come from Members of the Conservative party than from hon. Gentlemen opposite. Still, he must remind those Gentlemen among his own party, who were discontented, that they ought steadily to contemplate the alternative before them. If they threw out the Bill before the House, they would, considering the state of the mind of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) ["Oh!"]—he would assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that he had not the slightest intention of saying anything disrespectful to the right hon. Gentleman—all he meant to say was that considering the views of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to this question, they would have to submit to a Bill which would be brought in by the right hon. Gentleman, the effect of which would, he could not doubt, be the entire annihilation of the Conservative party in the House and in the country.


It must be admitted that the Government, by the last concession which they have made, have abated one of the most obvious objections to the most objectionable of all the provisions of the Bill. The compound-householders are not to be burdened with any fine. They are to pay it, but they will be allowed to deduct it from their rent, and will thus be subject to one disadvantage the less. So much has been said about this single disadvantage—so great stress has been laid on what is called the fine—that attention has not been sufficiently directed to the many other impediments which will remain. The hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) has called the Amendment a great improvement. He should rather have called it a real, but a small improvement. Not only will the voter have to keep money by him for a quarterly payment, instead of a weekly payment which gives no trouble, being confounded with his rent; not only will he have to lie out of his money until he has recovered it—perhaps by weekly instalments; but another most essential condition is requisite, on which the hon. Member has justly laid much stress—his landlord must consent. And who is his landlord? One of that powerful class, destined henceforward to be more powerful than ever—not a popular class either with this House or with the public—the owners of small tenements: every one of whom, if his solvent tenants take advantage of the Bill, will lose, to say the least, a profitable contract. Let hon. Gentlemen realize to themselves what an obstacle this is, and then say whether it is likely that in the face of it, the Bill will give more than a very limited amount of honest enfranchisement. But I might be better inclined to accept it as an instalment, if it did no worse; if it was satisfied with keeping almost every small householder out, and did not let anybody in by unfair means. But what will happen? If the Bill becomes law in its present shape, no sooner will it have passed than the scramble will begin for the 465,000 compound-householders. It is safe to say that whichever party can put the greatest number of these people on the register, and, what is of still greater consequence, can keep them there, will have a tolerably secure tenure of power for some time to come. Now, success in this will be principally a question of money. We need not necessarily suppose any direct bribery, any payment of rates, anything distinctly illegal. But there will have to be, and there will be, a perpetual organized canvass of the 465,000. Organizations will be formed for hunting up the small householders who are not rated, and inducing them to come on the rate book. The owners of small tenements must be canvassed too, that they may give their tenants leave to register. Every motive that can be brought to bear on either class will be plied to the utmost. Perpetual stimulus will be applied to the political feelings of those who have any, and to the personal interests of all. Both sides in politics will be prompted to this conduct by the strongest possible motive—by that which makes so many men, not wholly dishonourable or without a conscience, connive at bribery—the conviction that the other party will practise it, and that unless they do the same, their side, which is the right, will be at an unfair disad- vantage. Now, this annual, or rather perennial, rating and registering campaign among the small householders, will cost much money. I hope that hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, who, loving household suffrage not wisely but too well, have brought matters to this state, intend to come down handsomely to the registration societies in their own neighbourhoods; for the registration societies are destined henceforth to be one of the great institutions of the country. I wonder if any one, possessed of the necessary pecuniary statistics, has estimated how much will be added to the already enormous expenses of our electoral system when this Bill has passed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows perfectly well which side is likely to carry off the prize when it comes to a contest of purses; though, after the profound contempt which I was happy to hear that he entertains for all such considerations, it would be uncourteous to suppose that he is in any way influenced by them. But this serviceable piece of knowledge, though the right hon. Gentleman is indifferent to it, is one which I should like to impress upon the clever Gentlemen who are going to outwit the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and make his Bill bring forth pure and simple household suffrage, contrary to the intentions of everybody except themselves who will vote for it. Now, if the Conservatives do, what without doubt the right hon. Gentleman intends they should—namely, by dint of money, bring everybody on the register who is dependent on them, or who they think for any reason is likely to vote with them; what is it expected that the Radicals will do? Every creature must fight with its own natural weapons: hon. Gentlemen opposite carry theirs in their pockets: the natural weapon of the Radicals is political agitation. In mere self-defence they will be compelled to be greater agitators than ever, more vehement in their appeals to Radical feeling, more strenuous in counter-working the voter's personal interest by exalting to the highest pitch every political passion incident to his position in life. This is what will happen even if we make the chimerical assumption, that the money expended in making voters will all be expended in modes which are conventionally innocent—that there will be nothing scandalous, nothing absolutely illegal; not even that decent form of bribery, payment of rates. But is any one so simple as to be- lieve that this will be the case? Encouraged by the brilliant success of your bribery laws, you are going to make payment of rates for political purposes an offence against those laws: and your reward will be, that whereas you do now and then detect a case of bribery, it is questionable if there will ever be a single conviction for the other offence. You find it difficult enough to prove bribery, committed where all eyes are watching for it, amidst the heat and publicity of a contested election. Will it be an easy matter, think you, to prove judicially that the non-rated householder, who a month or two before the registration, goes quietly to the parochial officer and pays his full, not his composition rate, has had it put into his hands a few days previous, when no one but the registration agent was thinking about him? And if you could prove it, whom could you convict? Not the candidate; at the time of the registration there is no candidate. The offender is a society of gentlemen in the neighbourhood. If you can convict any one, it will be some needy agent, some man of straw, unauthorized by anybody, beyond general instructions to do the best he can for the Conservative or the Liberal interest. I just now called what would take place a scramble for the compound-householders. I might have culled it an auction. Except under the impulse of strong political excitement, we may expect that the small householders who will get on the register will generally get there at some other person's expense. And the work which begins in this way will not end with it. Once paid for his vote, the integrity of the elector is gone. Many a one will go further, and take payment in a grosser and more shameless form. This is the futurity which the Government Reform Bill provides for us. There was but one thing wanting to complete the picture, and that one thing has been vouchsafed to us. It is, that the Minister who is in this way sowing bribery broadcast with one hand, should hold a Bill for the better prevention of bribery in the other. That Bribery Bill completes the irony of the situation. Sir, the point on which we are now deliberating is, in the judgment of this side of the House, the most important of all the points which we shall have to decide. I sincerely hope, in spite of what was said by the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last, that it is not so in the eyes of the Government. No one now wants to throw out the Bill. If it is wrecked it will be by its authors; nobody can wreck it but themselves. The Bill, however, has now come out in its true colours, as a Bill which restricts the suffrage. Of course, I do not mean that it does nothing else. But if it passes, it will make the franchise more difficult of access to a considerable portion of those who are by the present law entitled to it. As regards the new electors, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has framed his measure very skilfully to effect the greatest apparent, and the smallest real, enfranchisement of independent voters, and the greatest, both apparent and real, enfranchisement of the bribeable and the dependent. Perhaps the Mouse thinks I mean this as a reproach to the right hon. Gentleman, as if there were something tricky and insincere in it. But I am bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman, from as long ago as I remember, has seemed to me remarkably constant to a certain political ideal, which may be defined, an ostensibly large and wide democracy, led and guided by the landed interest. He has always aimed at shaping our institutions after this type, whenever he has meddled with them, either as a theoretical or a practical politician; and there need be no doubt that he sincerely thinks it the best form of Government. But that is no reason why we should follow him, who like neither his end nor his means. I am afraid that this Bill, so far as it relates to compound-householders, will make ten electors with other people's money, for other people's purposes, for every one who will make himself an elector by the exercise of the social virtues: and will greatly increase, instead of diminishing, the influence of money in returning Members to Parliament. I believe that in consequence, instead of attaining the end to which so many hon. Members are willing to sacrifice everything, that of putting the question to sleep, and giving a long truce to agitation, this Bill, if it passes with its present provisions, will achieve the unrivalled feat of making a redoublement of agitation both inevitable and indispensable. Thinking these things, I must resist to the utmost these parts of the Bill; and must vote for any Amendment which tends to diminish, either in a great or in a small degree, the obstructions, removeable by money, which the Bill throws in the way of a small householder's acquisition of the suffrage.


said, my intention, Sir, was to have voted against the second reading of this Bill, and nothing but the general understanding which prevailed at the time that the acceptance of the principle of the measure was not involved in the consent of the House to allow the second reading to pass unchallenged, prevented my doing so. I expected at that time that the opportunity would have been given us of discussing the principle of the measure upon the Motion, Sir, for your leaving the Chair, or upon that for going into Committee, and I think that some attempt was made on the part of the hon. Member (Mr. Darby Griffith) to procure a hearing for this purpose. The Bill has, however, drifted into Committee with less discussion upon its principles than any Reform Bill ever had before, and with less than has fallen to the lot of many an insignificant measure. The House, therefore, will not be surprised if Members take advantage of any opportunity that offers of considering what the effect is likely to be of this great change in our borough franchise. Sir, I attach no importance whatever to the personal payment of rates as any security whatever against household suffrage pure and simple. The hon. Member (Mr. Bass), who voted for personal payment of rates, stated, in a letter which he wrote to The Times upon an article he had extracted from The Law Times, that the compound-householder would have better facilities for getting upon the register than the present £10 voter. Whether that be true or not, personal payment of rates may certainly be classed with those securities to which I alluded when I spoke before the Easter holydays of securities which, having nothing in themselves to recommend them, were no security whatever. The security to which I then particularly alluded was that of the dual vote. I did not think at the time that I should have had my assertion so soon endorsed by the House. The dual vote, however, was swept away before the Bill was read a second time. Now we are invited to endorse the assertion that he who personally pays his rates possesses every virtue under the sun. I do not believe it, and say that this security would never stand; because if it has the effect in large constituencies of preventing people, who would otherwise be entitled to the franchise, being placed on the register, it will be complained of as a grievance and infallibly be swept away. In the smaller constituencies, where the Bill would effect the changes of the greatest consequence, I would venture to say that every householder would find himself placed on the register and the rates paid for him by some active electioneering agent. You may flatter yourselves that the Bill you have introduced to prevent bribery will answer the purpose. I answer that there is not a clever electioneering agent, and there are some in every borough, who will not be able, as Mr. O'Connell used to say, to drive a coach and six through it. One great objection I have to this Bill is the similarity it introduces between the municipal and the Parliamentary franchise. It is at municipal elections that the great battle will be fought and bribery exercised. Every small borough will be in a continual state of agitation; every municipal election will be of the greatest importance. Do not flatter yourselves that those who vote at the municipal elections cannot be depended upon at the Parliamentary elections. Look at the elections before the last Reform Bill, in those cases where the municipal and the Parliamentary franchise was the same. Take the case of Norwich, with which I was personally acquainted. The side that obtained the majority of votes at the municipal election could feel secure when the Parliamentary election came on. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) said that if there is to be any objection started, it might more naturally be expected to come from the Conservative Benches. Well, I entertain a strong objection to the Bill. If I am asked how I reconcile this with the expression of my wish that this question should be finally settled, I say that I still wish to see a settlement, but I am not therefore bound to accept the worst settlement possible. A man may wish to see himself settled; but he does not, for the purpose of securing a settlement, throw himself into the river or cut his own throat, which is the settlement the Conservative party are, in my opinion, making for themselves by this Bill.


The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) made an appeal to the Committee which I should be sorry to pass by in silence. He claimed, on behalf of the Government, that great concessions had been made, and he laid down the principle—undoubtedly a just one—that when great concessions had been made on one side of the House there might be some fair expectation on the other that they would be reciprocated. But what are the great concessions made to this side of the House? First among them was paraded the dual vote. But the hon. and learned Gentleman forgets that on the night when the dual vote was discussed it was denounced in the most unqualified terms by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley); and that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he would not persevere with it he declared that upon his own side of the House the proposal had not met with a single adherent. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman says there was a great concession made in the acceptance of one year's instead of two years' residence. But what kind of concession is that with reference to which the world is informed by the highest authority that if the proposal is carried it will be fatal to the Bill. That extreme statement is not receded from, the matter is carried to the issue of a division and settled by an overwhelming majority, of which the hon. and learned Gentleman was not one. The ideas entertained by the hon. and learned Gentleman as to concessions are certainly strange. He even looked upon what has been done with respect to the lodger franchise as a concession. But he forgets that we have not yet the lodger franchise, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has steadily refused to indicate the form in which it is to be given, and that when asked to say only that the lodger franchise shall be framed with a view to a liberal admission of the artizan class, he declines to confirm the doctrine. So much for the concessions to which the hon. and learned Gentleman refers. But I wish to say one word on the subject of concessions of this character. There are certain subjects, and they are very numerous, on which the authority of Parliament is so high, and its credit with the country so unimpaired, that you may very safely say that whatever is agreed to on both sides of the House will be accepted by the country. That is not the case with respect to this subject of Parliamentary Reform. ["Hear!"] My belief is, that were the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman to prevail, and were the Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House to move in the direction indicated by the cheers of my noble Friend (Lord Elcho), and to leave the compound-householders of this country in the position proposed by the Bill, the only effect would be to produce out of doors a more violent re-action, and that no credit which any Gentleman—at any rate, which any Gentleman sitting at this side of the House, may possess with his constituency would in the slightest degree avail to recommend such a measure to the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that the object of the Motion is to wreck the Bill, and he naturally uses me—he parades me in the character, more commonly assigned to my hon. Friend (Mr. Bright)—as a bugbear to the country, in connection with the formidable results that may follow. I do not complain of the hon. and learned Gentleman on that account. I can assure him that I should have taken no offence if he had spoken of me in terms more free than the very considerate phrases which he used. I should be the last to weigh closely the words of any Gentleman in these debates. But we may be permitted to say two things. To say, with the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert), that our desire is not to reject but to improve this Bill; and at the same time to say, that there are matters on which, with a view to its improvement, we feel it necessary to insist. If there be one condition more than another to which, at any rate, many of those who sit near me are, with myself, irreversibly bound, it is this. It would be not only an offence against policy, but an offence against faith and honour, were we to acquiesce in the passing of a measure with respect to which we entertained less than a conscientious belief that it would avail for a durable settlement of this question. Consequently, I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will see that there are real barriers in our way which restrict very much the liberty of choice we must possess when we are here dealing with one of those questions of which this House is entirely master, and on which the country has formed a distinct and decided opinion. My hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert) sud—and very justly—that his object was to improve this Bill. It appears to me that my hon. Friend is perfectly justified in the occasion he has chosen for endeavouring to effect, at all events, the first step to that improvement—namely, by resisting the insertion of words which, as far as I can judge, are of a reactionary character, and will greatly deteriorate the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman appears to me to be under a total misapprehension both of the effect of this Motion and of the vote arrived at on the 12th of April, and likewise of the technical rules that bind the Committee on this Bill. There is no technical rule whatever that should bind this Committee from reversing a decision at any moment it may think fit — I mean practically reversing by the introduction or rejection of words—nay, from reversing and re-reversing any proposition contained in this Bill, or any decision given upon this Bill at any earlier stage. There is no such technicality. But the question is not about the reversal of the vote of the 12th of April. The vote of the minority on that occasion went the length of asserting in its whole breadth a political principle, which I believe to be sound and true—namely, that no artificial barrier should be set up by Parliament in the way of the obtaining of the franchise by those whom Parliament thinks to be fit to obtain it. The House declined to say, as I invited them to say, "We will have no distinction whatever between rated and non-rated, we will take no cognizance of the question whether personal rating obtains, or not." But, because the House declined at that early stage to affirm the broad rule which I laid down, the hon. and learned Gentleman thinks he has an affirmation of all the subsequent parts of the Government proposal as to rating. But nothing was decided by that vote of the 12th of April, except that there should be some cognizance of personal rating in the further stages of the Bill consistent with that vote. The hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) founds his Motion on such cognizance, and he does not propose to destroy the rule as to personal rating. I am not going to discuss in its fulness the proposal which my hon. Friend in due time will make. But what is the proposal on which we are called on to vote to night? Notwithstanding your present law, notwithstanding your present practice, notwithstanding that you have at this moment on your register tens of thousands of men—not so many tens of thousands as I could wish—but still some tens of thousands that are never personally rated at all, you are to be called on to insert words which will alter the course of legislation, and which will lay down in a new sense this restrictive principle, that no individual—at least, that no class of individuals, saving of course existing rights—shall hereafter come upon the register except in virtue of being personally rated. That is the question we are asked to determine to-night, but that is not the clause of my hon. Friend. It will be perfectly open to hon. Gentlemen opposite to allege what they like against the clause of my hon. Friend. But the question now is whether we should insert words which aim at introducing into our elective code restrictions that have been abolished ever since the passing of the Act of Sir William Clay. Permit me to say that, in the condition of the public mind, this is a very grave question. If this subject is not very clearly understood within these walls, I think it is largely understood beyond these walls, and I do not wish to be responsible—though the hon. and learned Gentleman may—for introducing at this time of day new restrictive proposals and principles into the electoral system of this country. Now I come to a point on which I confess I am unable to agree with my hon. Friend, who says that the present proposal of the Government is a great improvement on its former proposal. It appears to me that to push this controversy to any great length would be rather an invidious proceeding. It is like discussing a question between two persons of extremely ill-favoured countenance to determine to which of them nature had been the more or the less bountiful. It might require some time and some pains to explain exactly and in detail the curious variations of the three plans which the Government have successively laid before us for dealing with the compound-householder—that is, for dealing practically with three-fourths of the persons about whose enfranchisement we are now concerned. Without wearying the Committee with details, this, on the whole, will be a pretty fair description of the differences between these two plans, subject to one remarkable qualification. When the first of these proposals was submitted to us it was comprised in Clause 34 of the Bill. I contended at the time that the 34th clause of the Bill imposed a fine on the compound-householder under £10. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck), in the guarded and mild language which he says he has learnt to adopt in these days of his ripe experience, described my observations as "a series of pettifogging cavils." Another Gentleman, an hon. Friend of mine, whose lips have never been opened in this House except to utter words of mildness—I mean my hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Bass)—said, as to the fine that it was "all nonsense." My hon. Friend at that time was among what Sir Walter Scott calls "the children of the Mist," and I do not think, under those circumstances, he ought to be called too strictly to account with regard to the precision of his language. If we were to indulge in feelings of gratified egotism, my hon. and learned Friend (Sir Roundell Palmer) and myself might have enjoyed something like a mental banquet on the extraordinary fulness and breadth of the admissions which have been made that the pettifogging cavils and nonsense which we were supposed to have promulgated, expressed, in the view of the Government, a truth of political economy which is now to be adopted by them as the basis of their proposals. By the first proposals of the Government the compound-householder was to be subjected, as we thought and alleged, both to labour and trouble and likewise to the pecuniary burden which I ventured to call a fine. The present proposal is that the compound-householder is to be allowed to recoup from the landlord the entire sum he will pay in the name of rates. But then he is to cease to be a compound-householder. There is no reason why my hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert) and I should not have each our own opinion. My own belief and opinion that, although the imposition of a fine of some 3s. or 4s. must in some cases act as a burden and a grievance, a much greater grievance—a much more serious burden—would be imposed if this House should take on itself to interfere in all the relations of landlord and tenant, in all the arrangements which three-fourths of your borough population rated under £10 have entered into either in consequence of their means or for their own convenience, and that you should make that change in the tenure of their dwellings a condition of their access to the franchise. I do not ask what is the intention of the Government. That might be very well if we were here engaged in censuring what they have done. But we are not here for that purpose. We are here to consider what is for the good of the country. We are here to see what will be calculated to soothe the public mind, which is sensitive and irritated enough on this subject. I do not believe there could be a form of proposal savouring more of the worst spirit of class legislation than one by which you go to the mass of the householders and tell them that they must change the tenure of their dwellings in order to obtain admission to the franchise. But there is another difference of which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken cognizance, in the third plan of the Government as compared with the first. For the first time Her Majesty's Government proposes to go back on the condition of the old compound-householder. Is that a concession? Is that to be paraded as an evidence of conciliation on the part of the Government towards this side of the House which ought to be reciprocated? I cannot take that view of this retrogressive step. I can only suppose that in consequence of the enlargement of the franchise under this Bill by the adoption of one year instead of two years as the term of residence, it has been found necessary by the Government to make a corresponding concession to the opponents of that extension, and for that reason this blow has been struck at the position of the compound householder. And here I beg to allude to an answer given to me by the right hon. Gentleman in the earlier part of the evening. In that answer I think he was not literally accurate. He will correct me if I am wrong. He appeared to me to be under a misapprehension as to the existing law and as to the fact. I asked him whether the old compound-householder at and above £10 who, under his proposal, is to be allowed to come on the register is still to continue a compound-householder. The right hon. Gentleman said that my question was not clear. I am aware that my question was not framed in technical language. The words were not those which I should have used if I was desirous of legal precision; but they were words which I had hoped would convey my general meaning. The right hon. Gentleman said that a compound-householder was not to lose any privilege which he possessed under the Act of Sir William Clay. But that is just the privilege which he is to lose. The compound-householder who wishes to obtain the franchise is to cease to be a compound-householder. He is to apply to be rated, he is to be rated, he is to pay the rate; and the landlord is no longer to be responsible. Consequently, the compound-householder ceases to be a compound-householder. He becomes an ordinary ratepayer. Your equality, so far as you have established it, is between the old compound-householder and the new compound-householder. But I never wish to purchase equality by a backward movement. I wish to get it by going forward. I do not wish to obtain it by the destruction of privileges long enjoyed—privileges, as I shall show by-and-by, too much hampered—privileges acknowledged and never abused. I am unwilling to take equality purchased on such terms. What I want is not only equality of treatment as between compound-householders above £10, and compound-householders below £10, but equality of treatment for all descriptions of persons who are entitled to vote. The right hon. Gentleman does not perceive that while he advocates restrictions on the one hand he aggravates them on the other. That while he removes the inequality between the voters above and below £10, by his restraint upon the exercise of the privilege, he grievously aggravates the inequality between the ratepayers and the compound-householders who are both above £10. That is the question which is now raised. I do not say that the Amendment of my hon. Friend will do all that justice requires; but I do say he is perfectly right in protesting against the introduction of any new disabilities as against the existing compound-householder in his relation with the ordinary ratepayer. I now come to the liberal admissions in argument made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I wish the admissions in his Bill had been equally large. He is now convinced that the compound-householder pays in his rent the whole of the rate. That is a proposition which, as far as my memory serves me, I never ventured to assert. It is a question of political economy of a nice character. I quoted the dictum of a Court of Law to the effect that the compound-householder must be considered as paying the whole of the rate. That is a legal dictum. But I do not understand the learned Judge as having taken upon himself to solve the economical problem. I do not hesitate, however, to give this opinion, which is shared in by others of greater authority, who sit near me. If it is not true that the compound-householder pays the whole of the rate, he pays much more of it than the composition amounts to. I am not disposed to quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman as to the proportion of the rate paid by the compound householders. But I think that in some cases, such as Norwich, where the composition is not 25 or 50, but 75 per cent, it is difficult to believe that the occupier does not get some benefit. I am satisfied, therefore, to take the right hon. Gentleman's estimate, for I do not think it is far from the truth to say that the compound-occupier pays the whole, or nearly the whole, of the rate. The right hon. Gentleman gave us an analysis of the elements in this case. I may hereafter question its correctness. He said they were three. The rent proper, the composition rate, and the bonus to the owner. He added that, as a general rule, the composition and the bonus taken together amounted to the full rate, and that, consequently, the compound-householder paid the full rate. I want to know whether that was the indisputable principle on which it was announced that the borough franchise under this Bill was to be based. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck) in his clear manner made this matter the subject of a pointed question. It was stated, in terms most emphatic from the Treasury Bench, that the compound-householder did not make the same contribution to the State as the ordinary ratepayers, that he did not bear his full share of burden as a citizen, and that consequently you had a right to draw a line, and not admit him to the franchise till he did bear his full share by paying his rate in full. How do you stand now? It is now admitted that the compound-householder does pay the full rates—that he does discharge all the duties of a citizen—that his contributions to his parish are equal with those of his neighbour. [Mr. DISRAELI: No!] What! No—not pay the full rate! Is this a fourth edition? The right hon. Gentleman has heard me repeat the analysis that fell from his own lips. He does not correct me when I say he did distinctly stale that the compound-householder paid the full rate. So far as he is concerned, he paid the full rate. Whether all he paid reached the treasury of the parish is another matter. But he paid the full amount. I want to know this. If he pays the full rate, ought he to suffer if the parish does not get it all? Supposing such to be the case. The parish adopted this arrangement of compounding for its own convenience and comfort. An hon. Friend of mine, a great authority on the subject (Mr. Poulett Scrope), has stated that in the case of an inferior class of houses the effect of this arrangement is considered to be that the parish not only gets the full rate from some persons, but a much larger aggregate of rate than if there was no compounding. Where one man pays 20s., and another 30s., and they are in a nearly similar position. I want to know by what title it is that Parliament should be asked to interfere in order to give the franchise to one man and to refuse it to another. That is the reply to the argument made use of by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett). The compound-householder, it is admitted, pays as much as another man in a form convenient to himself; but it is required that, in order to obtain a vote, he should pay the money in a much less convenient form. And that is what you call the discharge of civil duties. I contend, as I have said before, that Parliament ought not to erect flimsy and artificial barriers between man and man, and then to dream that it has set up securities. Do not let us suppose that we possess the power of blinding the country on this subject. The country teems all over its surface with vigorous expressions of opinion. You may be aware of them or not; but the fact is that in nearly every great town as strong manifestations of public sentiment on this subject have been made as have been made upon any question that has been discussed in our time. There is not one among the scores of memorials transmitted to me personally during the last four weeks—including those from the town of Sheffield, where the liberal operation of the Bill might have been expected to produce a different result—there is not one of them in which these distinctions about the compound-householders are not energetically and indignantly denounced. Is this composition to be broken up? The hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) said, "Break it up," and there were cheers from the other side of the House. By all means, if you think it a bad system, break it up. Prepare your proposals, and bring in your Bill. Sweep away both the local Acts and the compounding Acts. That is a fair question for argument, though I am afraid that the fact of an Act having been during fifteen or twenty years accepted by the settled and voluntary action of 5,000 parishes goes far to prove to my mind that there must be some strong element of social convenience in it. My hon. Friend says he thinks it does produce much convenience; but that that is counterbalanced by certain disadvantages. This I must say — that the Compound Householders Acts have had the effect of getting rid of a class of people with whom it is exceedingly difficult to deal. My hon. Friend (Mr. Stuart Mill) has referred, in his usual lucid style, to the kind of voters who would be created, especially in small constituencies, under this Bill. I conclude, of course, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer must perceive that if the enfranchisement of those small householders, down to the very lowest, is to be permitted and adopted by Parliament, as it may be or may not, it is quite obvious that a very large measure must follow for a re-distribution of seats. It is wholly out of the question that bodies of 500 or 600 cottagers in the very lowest state of physical existence which is compatible with any decent amount of clothing and sustenance, should be invested with the exclusive control of Parliamentary elections. Do not let us mix up this question of the repeal of the compounding Acts with the question of the Parliamentary franchise. Nothing can be more admirable than the readiness with which hon. Gentlemen opposite have during all this year allowed themselves to be led into a snare. When my hon. Friend said, "Let ns repeal the compounding Acts and the Small Tenements Act," I heard a loud cheer from the other side of the House. [An hon. MEMBER: It came from your side also.] It was perfectly consistent if it came from our side. But if this Bill be passed with a clause abolishing the compounding Acts, what can be the result except that pure and simple household suffrage which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer declares he can never assent to? It seems to me that it is impossible to make the repeal of these Acts a practical part of our present deliberations. One thing which has influenced some Gentlemen on this side of the House voting with Gentlemen on the other side, has been a desire to obtain a settlement of this subject. But how, I would ask, is this subject to be settled? If the operation of the Acts under which 5,000 parishes and many millions of the population of this country—probably one-half of the population—regulate all the dealings between owners and occupiers and between occupiers and parishes—if, I say, the operation of these Acts is to be examined, and inquired into, and decided upon, how far is that compatible with the sanguine prospects entertained of a speedy settlement of this question? These Acts have been found to operate largely for the convenience of the parishes. In a great number of them it was found difficult to collect rates from small occupiers. They have also been a great convenience to the landlord, because the landlord has obtained a good contract. He has undertaken a profitable business—a business profitable to him without being injurious to others. Then these Acts have been beneficial to the occupiers, especially in one respect. Nothing can be more convenient than that a man who is dependent upon weekly wages should by a weekly payment be able to dispose of every charge upon him. Surely it is always desirable to spare time and labour if we can. The economy of labour is as good as the economy of money. Yet the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) thinks it is a positive recommendation of this Bill that, instead of enabling a man on weekly wages to pay the money in his weekly rent, it will require him to meet demands occurring at uncertain intervals, and when small fractions of money are in question to the disadvantage of himself and of everybody else. It is not easy for a man living on weekly wages to have the sums necessary for the payment of rates always ready at hand. It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen to stand up in this House and talk about people always having money ready to pay into the hands of the rate-collector; but language of that kind is not language which is interpreted out of doors by the classes to whom it is preached as being altogether so generous and amiable as they think they have a right to receive at our hands. Though the condition of the people, thanks to modern legislation, is a great deal better than it was, still very large portions of the population are a great deal too near the brink of want to warrant us in disregarding their practical convenience, under the plea of the doctrine that it is their duty to exercise self-denial, and always to keep money in hand to meet the demands of the rate-collector. I have stated that I should venture to criticize the analysis of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I will give my own view of the elements of the sum paid by the occupier of a compound house to his landlord. In the first place, I quite agree that he pays the rent less the rates. There is no doubt about that. Next, I agree that it contains the composition rate. There is no doubt about that. But then the right hon. Gentleman disposes of all the rest under the name of the bonus, as if all the rest were clear profit to the landlord. The calculation, however, will not hold for a moment. There is undoubtedly a payment to the landlord for collection — say of 10 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman may say that is a bonus to him. In one sense it is, and it is no burden to anybody else? It is 10 per cent saved by a good arrangement. It entails no charge upon the parish. The parish has a good bargain. And now what are you going to do? You are going to throw that 10 per cent into the sea. Then there is the question of the composition being made by the landlord for insolvent tenants. Now I should not say one word on this point after the statement of the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert), but there is one very important element which was not specifically mentioned by him, though it would have greatly strengthened his argument. It was that the first effect would be to fine the landlord, because by his composition he has not only to meet the cases of insolvents, but also the empty houses as well as the full ones. In the larger number of houses under composition the deduction rises from 33 per cent to 50, 60, or even 75 per cent. Because the empty houses are included it is a fine upon the landlord. Is that contested? The landlord compounds for a large bulk of houses. Some are full and some are empty. Some of the tenants may be insolvent. He takes from the solvent tenants of the full houses enough to enable him to pay the composition rates upon the houses that are empty or occupied by the insolvent tenants. Under the Bill the occupier is to deduct all that he pays from the rent payable to the landlord. I presume you will not contend that the occupier does more than pay the full rate to the landlord. I want a distinct and specific answer to this question. If the occupier of the compound house seeks enfranchisement, and upon seeking enfranchisement pays the full rate, and then withdraws the full rate from the rent paid to the landlord, how is the landlord to pay the rates of the insolvent tenants and of the empty houses? Out of his own pocket? In no other conceivable manner can he do so. That which he so pays is the fine you are going to impose upon the landlord. But what said the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett)? I was amused with that portion of his argument. He said, "Take care how you justify to artizans the vote you give against the provision of this Bill, because it inflicts injustice upon landlords." What is the hon. and learned Gentleman's moral estimate of his fellow citizens? That our English Member of Parliament should have occasion to tremble when he stands before a meeting of English artizans, because he pleads for justice to landlords as well as tenants. When the hon. and learned Gentleman has had more experience of his countrymen, and knows their true character, he will know that, with the rarest exceptions, their sense of justice is not selfishness and egotism. It is a real love of justice in its breadth, in its largeness, in its equality. It embraces alike every class within its reach, and the rights of the class of landlords are as sacred in the eyes of an artizan as the rights of his own class and himself. We are here, I apprehend, to do justice to all classes, and I am not in the least moved by the appeal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I am prepared to say to artizans or anybody else that we are to do justice to the landlord as much as to them. I have spoken of the first effect of the Bill. The next effect is a different matter. You may pass an enactment oppressive to the tenant. You will find it very difficult to oppress the landlord. He has resources. He has arms, which from the nature of his position you cannot take out of his hand. The injustice you aim at him, by the next step of the process, he will be compelled to rid himself of, by carrying it over to his tenant. The landlord, of course, will not pay the fine. He will break up the composition. He will regulate the rent as he pleases. You will take from him a profitable contract. By a device the most mischievous that ever entered the head of a public man, you will make landlords the enemies of popular enfranchisement. I cannot conceive anything more injurious. It would be bad enough if you only broke up the arrangement by which compounders are compounders. But to bring the two classes into conflict is an unexampled perverseness of ingenuity in mischief. Will not the landlord have something to say for himself? You have authorized him to contract with the parish upon terms favourable to himself without being generally unfavourable to others. You are going to change those terms because, you say, you want to enfranchise the occupier. What has he to do with that? Is he to be culled upon to make pecuniary sacrifices in order that his occupiers may be enfranchised? Certainly not. In vindication of his contract rights he will use legitimate means to discourage these people coming upon the register. You not only do an injustice to the landlord by threatening him with a fine, but you take from him the enjoyment of a valuable contract. Is it no injury to a man to be compelled by peddling legislation to go into the details of his affairs, and monthly or yearly to alter his arrangements with his tenants. Take the case of a cottage belonging to a compounding landlord. An artizan has a generous ardour to become a voter. He claims, and becomes one. The landlord has to break up his composition. He leaves or dies, and the cottage is taken by another, who does not claim, or by a female occupier. Then the cottage has to be put back under composition, and so the landlord has to shift backwards and forwards toties quoties, in order to satisfy these dreams and crotchets of the personal ratepaying. Thus you fine the landlord in time, in labour, in inconvenience, and end by fining him in money. You undo sound economical arrangements. At last, having adopted these tortuous methods of escaping the charge that you were fining the occupier, you arrive by a circuitous path at the same result by compelling the landlord to raise his rent. Great as are other objections, none are so great as the placing of landlords in the position of enemies to the enfranchisement of their tenants. It will cause soreness, anger, diminished attachment to law and order, and all the long train of evils which by a long course of laborious legislation we have been so many years endeavouring to diminish. But supposing the occupier perseveres. The man, notwithstanding the opposition of his landlord, goes to the money-order office, obtains a form of claim, has it sent backwards and forwards in due course, and at last finds himself on the register. But he finds likewise that his tenure must be changed, and that he will have to pay an increase in rent. There is a mischievous conception which in former times possessed the minds of many electors, and that still darkly broods among certain classes, and it is the idea that the franchise is a property. If you want to give fresh vitality to that most mischievous idea, is it possible you can adopt a process more certain to produce that result than to call upon a man, as the condition of the attainment of the franchise, to take trouble, to spend time, and perhaps money, and all to enable him to discharge a duty? He is entitled to say, "If it is a duty, why do you punish me for making the endeavour to discharge it?" A large portion of the Bill goes straight to the promotion of corruption. The landlord would not always be the enemy of enfranchisement. Oh no! many of them will be rather too good friends to it. The owner of 100 cottages can, if he pleases, without any trouble to the occupiers, pay their rates and make them his sure and subservient voters. The labour imposed upon the householder is no test of public virtue. Few, indeed, will go through it. But by the score, by the hundred, and, perhaps, by the thousand, owners of cottages on a large scale will avail themselves of these means of influencing opinion. They will perform the process wholesale, take out the money-order office claims, send round the steward or the bailiff to get the signatures, transact the whole business and convert men into ratepaying householders without their having taken any trouble in the matter. Thus, in the name of a Reform Bill you will revive the rotten boroughs of ancient times, and in such a form that when the mischief is once effected, it will be almost hopeless to think of applying a cure. My hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert) professes to take his stand on the Act of Sir William Clay. I must say—I said it on the first night of the debate—I am astonished at the superfluity of fear which possessed the designers of this Bill when they were not content to take their stand on the Act of Sir William Clay. What is that Act? In three or four towns, by the aid of registration agents and societies, the Act has led to the signing of some few thousand claims—4,000 or 5,000, it may be 10,000—and to the insertion of so many names in consequence upon the register. But that was not the object of Sir William Clay. His object was the same as that of the Government—to enable the occupiers of houses to obtain enfranchisement individually. He very wisely, therefore, reduced to a minimum the obstacles in the way of enfranchisement. And yet how sufficient these obstacles have been! I should like to know whether at this moment there are 500 voters upon the register in the whole country that have been enfranchised by an individual compliance with the Act of Sir William Clay. I do not believe there are 500. [An hon. MEMBER: Not 100.] I am taking an outside number, and I challenge contradiction. Why did you not trust the Act of Sir William Clay? Would not that have done for you? You say there are others upon the register. Certainly there are, and they are supposed to be enfranchised by the Act of Sir William Clay. In Brighton, I believe, and in the City of London they are so enfranchised. But the number of householders quoted by the hon. Member have not been enfranchised by the Act of Sir William Clay. I assert, though with some degree of indistinctness in my information as to proportions, that, as far as I can learn, of the number of householders who have come upon the register since the time of Sir William Clay's Act, by far the majority have been placed upon the register in utter disregard of the conditions of that Act. They never claim, they never pay, they never tender. They comply with no conditions at all. The parish officers, benevolent and philanthrophic it may be, or strong political partisans, as I am afraid is often the case, by a vigorous exercise of benevolence, shovel them by the thousand upon the register. That is the way in which enfranchisement takes place for the most part under the Act of Sir William Clay. But, even then, what does the Act do? This is a little bit of statistics, but they are rather interesting. I moved for a Return—and by the courtesy of the President of the Poor Law Board I have been furnished with it in order to show the exact operation of the present law; easy as it is supposed to be and as my hon. Friend wishes to make it, upon the compound-householder. The total number of male occupiers at and above £10 is 639,000. Of these male occupiers 95,000 are compound-householders, and therefore 544,000 are direct ratepaying-householders. The 544,000 ratepaying-householders yield 78 per cent of voters. The 95,000 compound-householders yield 27 per cent of voters. Is that too much? Why did you not take Sir William Clay's Act? Could you really desire more than this? To be able to trumpet to the country that you have enfranchised with unparalleled generosity 100 men, and yet enjoy the comfortable assurance that out out of that 100 seventy-two or seventy-three will never come upon the register? I do not think it was necessary to take all this trouble to devise additional securities. Your humane minds might have been spared the sympathy which I am sure you will feel for all the torture you are going to inflict upon these compound-householders. You might have accepted Sir William Clay's Act, and at the same time have attained both objects. The minor object of granting a vast nominal enfranchisement, and the more vital one, I am afraid, of granting a very narrow real enfran- chisement. Remember that the present state of the compound-householders is not the praise but the opprobrium of our electoral law. The compound-householders, being rated like other people, it is the opprobrium of our electoral law that only one has a vote out of three. That one only by accident, by lottery, by the particular inclination of the overseer of his parish, and not as the result of his own efforts, or of his political capacity. Sir, I feel so much respect for any vote of this Committee, and so much desire to attain a settlement which would meet the substantial claims of the country, that if it be necessary to maintain this fiction of personal rating, if it be considered necessary to maintain the principle of the Bill, by all means let the compound-householder send in his claim. But do not follow this up by the preposterous condition of requiring him to change the tenure of his dwelling. I may be wrong in saying that it would bear the character of the most odious class legislation. But that is my conscientious conviction. Nay, more, this seems to me almost an elementary principle. I want to know how Gentlemen sitting on either side of the House would receive an Act of Parliament which made their access to the franchise dependent on their changing the tenure of their houses. If they would reject it as an insult and an injury, let us be careful as to the estimate we form of the feelings of these people. It seems to me that we ought to avoid, above all things, the suspicion, which I am afraid we are likely to incur, of dealing falsely, of pretending to make a large enfranchisement, and at the same time, of taking care to give a small one. My belief is that you may do anything with the people of England if you will treat them honestly and above-board. But fraud ["Oh! oh!"], dissimulation, circuitous methods—legislative fraud, I mean, of course. Call it what you like, I am afraid you will find plenty of people to use that and stronger words. I did not use the word in any personal sense. I give those Gentlemen who make these proposals precisely the same credit, as those on this side of the House claim, with respect to motives, intentions, and other rules of personal action. Well, I withdraw the word altogether. I will not speak of fraud. But any adjustment of provisions in an Act of Parliament which will produce in the public mind—as these provisions are now widely producing—the impression and conviction that Parliament is paltering in a double sense with the people of England, and is professing to give that which it means in substance, as to the far greater part of it, to withhold—any such course as this, I say, instead of leading to the settlement of the question of Reform, will be a blow to the honour and the credit of the Legislature, and a serious injury to the institutions of the country.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman has told the Committee that the people of England might be induced to believe almost anything. But there is one thing of which they will never be convinced — namely, that this House, in the language of the right hon. Gentleman, is paltering with them in a double sense on this question. The right hon. Gentleman used expressions which he found it necessary afterwards to retract. He applied some of those expressions to the Government. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] Well, I defend the acts and the motives of the Government in connection with this Bill. However, I am defending the act of the House of Commons itself rather than that of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman would, if he could, persuade the House to retract the step it took on the 12th of April. Not being able to do so, he still endeavours to persuade the House to retrace its steps so far as would justify him in approving of the measure. I believe that the people of England would feel the greatest difficulty in finding out the right hon. Gentleman's real objections to the Bill. He said it would create angry feelings between the landlords and the tenants of small houses. At the same time he tells us that the landlords would enfranchise so largely and so freely, that it would be equivalent to bribery and corruption. I really do not know how the right hon. Gentleman can reconcile these two conflicting statements. Neither can I understand the argument of the liberal and philosophic Member (Mr. Stuart Mill) who is in favour of the largest possible extension of the suffrage, and at the same time tells us that the persons who would be enfranchised under this Bill would be bribed wholesale. The conclusion I should draw from the speech of the hon. Member is that the occupiers of the poorer class of houses in the towns, both great and small, are not fit persons to be intrusted with the elective franchise. When the Government propose in all sincerity and truth a measure which will give these persons the option of a vote, both the hon. Member and the right hon. Gentleman tell the House that it will lead to wholesale bribery and corruption. Is this what hon. Members—after all their panegyrics upon the working class and all their reproaches against those who reflected on even a portion of that class — really mean to say? I do not participate in any such fears. The right hon. Gentleman also denounces the Government for presuming to touch the 3rd section of Sir William Clay's Act, whilst in the next sentence he shows the House how useless and worthless that Act is. But the observations of the right hon. Gentleman on this part of the question may with more propriety be reserved for the Motion of which the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Hodgkinson) has given notice. The right hon. Gentleman admits that the difficulty respecting the fine has been removed, that equality in this respect has been restored. But he says that inequality has been introduced in other respects, and that we are adopting a backward instead of a forward measure of legislation. I confess I am at a loss to understand how if we place the householder above and the householder below £10 on the same footing, that can be called backward legislation. I think that the Government proposal must recommend itself to every fair and candid mind. The right hon. Gentleman tells us that he has received communications from all parts of the country denouncing the proposal of the Government. These must certainly be very privileged communications, as neither the Members of this House, either in their individual or collective capacity, know anything whatever about them. There have been no petitions on the subject, and I am inclined to disbelieve altogether the existence of any dissatisfaction with regard to this part of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt on the question of the fine until it has become almost ludicrous, and the compound-householder has degenerated into that worst of all things, a bore. The question of the fine on compound-householders is settled. Nevertheless, it is sought to persuade the country that we are going to inflict another kind of injustice upon him. Well, then, what is the inequality between the position of the compound-householder and the other electors which the right hon. Gentleman dwelt so much upon? The right hon. Gentleman has left us to guess what it is, nor did he give any definition of an inequality which is to exasperate the country to an extent which legislation will not be able to allay, and which will increase and stimulate an agitation which we all deplore. The inequality which the right hon. Gentleman complains of is precisely that which we have always admitted, and which it is the intention of this Bill to remove, but which will continue to exist if the right hon. Gentleman's views are permitted to prevail. The right hon. Gentleman admits, as he is compelled to admit by the stern, facts of the case, that he cannot ask the Committee to reverse its decision of the 12th of April, but that he will be content to retire from the battle if the Committee do not insist on the personal payment of rates. But what becomes of the argument of inequality between the classes of voters? It is we who propose to terminate it, and it is the right hon. Gentleman who quarrels with us for so doing, and who insists upon its continuance. The onus of proof is upon him to show why this inequality should be perpetuated. It is not for us to show, in going back to the old principle of the Parliamentary franchise, that our proposal requires any justification at all. I do not want to enter now into the merits, or demerits of that vexed question of compounding which the right hon. Gentleman regards as the acme of modern civilization; but which, according to my right hon. Friend (Mr. Henley), who knows much more of the practical value of such matters, was "a device of Old Nick." The right hon. Gentleman has spoken about the sanctity of an Act of Parliament fifteen years old. What I say is, do not let the House of Commons, in deliberating on one of the greatest alterations in the electoral system of the country that has ever been proposed, be scared, or frightened, or intimidated, or cajoled from acting on what it believes to be a sound, moral, and just principle in consequence of some alleged difficulty imposed by the partial operation of a permissive statute not twenty years old. The right hon. Gentleman, turning to the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck)—whose clear, terse, and vigorous exposition of this principle needs no reminder from the right hon. Gentleman to keep it fresh in the minds of the Committee and the country—asked, what has become now of your statement that the compound-householder should not be admitted to the franchise unless he pays the full amount of the rate, since it is ad- mitted that the compound-householder does pay the full amount of his rate in the rent he pays to the landlord? The whole gist and point of the hon. and learned Gentleman's position remains unassailed. It is not contended that because the compound-householder may be assumed to pay his rates in full to the landlord, that therefore he contributes his full quota to the public burdens. After the division of the 12th of April the position taken by the hon. and learned Gentleman remains unassailed, and it is that principle we are vindicating to-night. The right hon. Gentleman who is so impassioned an advocate for an unrestricted franchise, has yet something to learn from the great fathers of Reform on this question. There were days when men like Mr. Grey and Mr. Tierney had to fight a very up-hill game in this House on the question of Parliamentary Reform. One of those earliest battles which Mr. Grey conducted with such consummate ability, and after long years with almost unparalleled success, occurred in 1797. The circumstances of that great Parliamentary campaign are somewhat curious and instructive as to the principle laid down in this Bill. Mr. Grey and his Colleagues were sc disheartened at the result of their past efforts, that they deliberated amongst themselves whether they should not withdraw altogether from Parliament, and leave the field to their political opponents. At that crisis Sir Philip Francis addressed a remarkable letter to Mr. Grey, and from that letter, with the permission of the Committee, I will read two or three material extracts. The letter bore date May 22, 1797. It said— If you choose to proceed by the course of preliminary resolutions, you may lay your foundation in a general assertion that, first, it is the right, interest, and security of the Commons of Great Britain to be fully represented in Parliament by representatives chosen by themselves. Secondly, that it is the duty of the Legislature to secure to the Commons of Great Britain the free exercise and full enjoyment of that right. Thirdly, that the Commons of Great Britain are not fully represented in Parliament by representatives chosen freely by themselves. Fourthly, that leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend and regulate the election of members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament, by extending the right of voting to all householders paying parochial taxes. If you proceed in this way, the fourth resolution must be so constructed that it may not be barred by the rejection of the three preceding. I am not sure that it would not be the safest and easiest way to confine yourself to the last resolution, and to divide on that alone. That clearly shows what, in Sir Philip Francis' opinion, was the true principle of any scheme of Parliamentary Reform. Mr. Grey appears to have taken that advice, for in the Bill which he moved for leave to introduce in that year, after describing the provisions which related to the several constituencies and the redistribution of scats, he proceeded to explain his views on the franchise. The report in the Hansard of that day is very meagre, but Mr. Grey said— He should propose that the remaining 400 Members should be returned by one description of persons, which were householders."—[See Hansard, Parl. History, xxxiii. 649.] There is no doubt that the description given by Sir Philip Francis in the fourth resolution is the same which Mr. Grey afterwards proposed—that a householder paying parochial rates should enjoy the franchise. Persons who are now called compound-householders did not exist in those days. The proposal of Mr. Grey to confer the franchise on householders paying parochial rates is consequently the principle embodied in the Bill under discussion, which meets with such violent condemnation and opposition from the right hon. Gentleman. Therefore, when he appeals to Liberal Members and assumes to lead them in a great crusade against this particular proposal of our measure, I beg leave to remind him that our provision for the borough franchise is precisely the one which in old days the real fathers of Reform contended for, and is, as the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) said on a former occasion, a clear, definite, intelligible, and justifiable principle on which the extension of the franchise can really be justified and sustained. If the right hon. Gentleman is so convinced that the compound-householder should be permitted to vote, though he does not personally pay his rate, and does not pay his full rate, why has he never made any attempt to remove the restriction where it is felt most galling — namely, in the election of guardians of the poor and of local Boards? It cannot be denied that many of the poorer householders take more interest in the election of the guardians of the poor and of local Boards than of Members of Parliament, and yet the right hon. Gentleman has never before discovered that they have anything to complain of. A case of transcendent injustice is therefore endeavoured to be set up, but which the people do not see, though they are quite alive to the attempt of the right hon. Gentleman to magnify this agitation against the carrying of this measure. If we couple with the speech we have just heard the famous letter to the privileged Member for the City of London (Mr. Crawford), there can be no doubt the object of the right hon. Gentleman, in taking the line he has to-night, is to defeat this measure. To throw the whole question back into that state of confusion out of which by most patient endeavours—by most conciliatory conduct on both sides of the House, the House is gradually and with great difficulty, and without the least assistance from the right hon. Gentleman, anxiously, though slowly, emerging. Sure I am that if the House perseveres in its magnanimous resolve, if it continues to discuss these questions one by one as they arise with an anxious desire to yield on both sides on minor points of detail, but steadily keeping in view the cardinal principle which was ratified by the majority of the House on the 12th of April, we shall at no distant day find our labours rewarded by the passing not only of a large and liberal, but, in my conscience, I believe as safe a Constitutional measure of Reform as was ever submitted to the free Legislature of the freest country in the world. On the other hand, if it should happen that by the conflicting and antagonistic arguments and declamations of the right hon. Gentleman we permit ourselves to be dissuaded from the course of action which, happily, we have chalked out for ourselves—if we now reverse our policy, and instead of adhering to the safe Constitutional principle of the personal payment of rates by householders, say it shall not be the exclusive principle of this measure, but that it shall be broken in upon, impaired, and marred by the intrusion of those who do not personally pay the full rates, then the right hon. Gentleman will indeed have gained a triumph over his political opponents, and over the House of Commons. But although he may succeed in retarding the settlement of the question, in my conscience I believe the country will not ratify the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman, or that of the House, which will then have failed in its duty, and will not have sustained the calm, deliberate, and magnanimous course which on a former occasion it so wisely and beneficially adopted.


said, that a man with a small house was allowed to pay lower rates, by means of his landlord, partly on account of his poverty and partly because of the expense of collecting it. It was difficult enough for the landlord to get his rent, but when he had to pay the rate as well he was allowed a deduction. It would be most unjust on the parishes and overseers to make them collect the smaller rate and have all the trouble they had before the compounding system was introduced. The result would be parishes would get rid of compounding altogether. Then would follow household suffrage pure and simple. With the lodger franchise they might as well go to manhood suffrage at once. The only question was whether the compounder should pay the full or only the compound rate. He thought when the compound-householder got precisely the same privileges as other ratepayers, he should pay the full rates. If only half the rate had to be paid the worst class would be sure to get on the register. Pothouse politicians, trade unionists, and those who were subject to the electioneering agents, would place their names upon the register while quieter and more respectable persons would not. But it would be a different story when the full rate was required. By the other system towns, with 10,000 inhabitants might become little better than rotten boroughs. What was to prevent a man who looked to Parliamentary influence from buying up 200 or 300 cottages, which would yield him 10 per cent if he had only half rates to pay? It was the duty of the House to put every impediment in the way of such a transaction. Unless the whole rate were insisted upon there would be a great deal of that kind of thing going on.


said, that he had been challenged in a most extraordinary manner by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone). It was not usual for Members of that House to be called up for saying "Hear!" or "No!" He should not have responded to that call if it had come from any one of less considerable position than the right hon. Gentleman. But he was glad the right hon. Gentleman did call on him, for his answer just proved what they desired to establish, the necessity for the personal payment of full rates. Upon this question he stood as independently as any one in that House. On the question of two years' residence he had walked out of the House without voting because he did not agree with the Gevernment. They had before them a simple and plain question. He was in the habit of deal- ing with questions on their merits, therefore he looked to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) with considerable interest; but he confessed he became so mystified thereby, that all he could do was to walk out of the House and consider whether he stood upon his head or his heels. In that House he had been taught that black was not always black, or white always white, but that black might be white on one occasion, and white black on another. Had they waited for Reform till he proposed it, they never would have had it. But the House being pledged to Reform, and the country desiring it, he did not see why, the residuum of the working men, as the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) called it, being allowed to sink to the bottom, the intelligent working man should not be allowed to claim what hon. Gentlemen opposite said he had a right to. It was said they were insulting the working man by putting on him so much trouble in order to obtain the franchise. But if a man would not submit to so small a trouble in order to possess the elective franchise, he could not esteem it very highly. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not made this a vital point, he need no longer have looked to him for support. He would rather vote for household suffrage than for the establishment of an arbitrary line. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) talked of forbearance. But he had shown none in that House, and he was now making the greatest mistake he had ever committed. Personal payment of rates could be no hardship. Opposition to that principle could be regarded only as factious opposition, and it would be defeated to-night. He could not understand the policy of the Opposition in opposing the clause, but he was glad a division was to be taken upon it, because he believed the Government would win, not by one length but by two. Should the division go against the Government, he hoped the Government would make it a vital point and appeal to the country. If they did not he would not support them again on this subject. The common sense of the country would certainly support the Government if an appeal were made. The question was whether the Reform League was to govern England or whether the middle class were to have a voice in the Government or not. Hon. Members opposite talked a great deal about bribery, and he was willing to grant that they (the Opposition) knew more about this subject than did the Members of the Conservative party. It was well known that the opposition to this clause was a factious one—["No!"] — and he warned them to withdraw in time. If he was the leader of a party he would certainly not take them out to battle when he knew there was a certainty that they would run their heads against a brick wall. The hon. Member (Mr. Bright) had lost caste in the country, and he strongly urged him and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) to endeavour to retrieve their lost position by withdrawing their opposition in time. The hon. Member was very fond of giving advice. But if he advised the right hon. Gentleman to take his stand on this question, he never made a greater mistake in his life. He respected men who came to household suffrage fairly, and faced it boldly as the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) had done. But he could not understand men who advocated household suffrage out of doors and then made a stand for a £5 line in the House. Their reason, however, was plain. "If," said they, "the Conservatives carry this Bill, what will become of us?" It mattered little. The Opposition had had an admirable innings. Did it think that none but its chiefs were to govern the country? The Opposition had had, as it was, far too long a stay in office, and if it had stayed longer its Members would, like the brethren of old, have fallen out by the way. They might dispense with all further opposition, for he promised them that whether the division were taken to-night or to-morrow they would be handsomely defeated.


said, that the last speaker and those who preceded him had spoken of the opposition as factious and conceived with a view to reject the Bill; but he challenged them to point to a time in political history when an Opposition with a majority had exercised as much forbearance as the present Opposition had shown to the present Government. As the Bill was not the Opposition's, clauses could be withdrawn and concessions could be made only by the Government. Last year the case was the same, and concessions were then made by the Government of that time. If there were any hope of coming to a reasonable settlement the Opposition would now be willing to accept rating, although it would prefer no mention of rating in any Reform Bill. But there were points in which it would be impossible for them not to insist for the purpose of rendering that a satisfactory settlement of the Reform question. With reference to the compound householder, it had been admitted that he paid the full rate. If so, why should he not at once be admitted to the possession of the franchise? It was said that between the parties there was only a small matter of difference; and then it was asked, why not concede the point to the Ministerial side of the House? The answer was, "Why not concede it to the Opposition?" The Ministerialists admitted that the tenants paid the full rates. This was acceded to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They also said that it was not necessary for the tenant to pay the rate with his own hand. That he might pay through his wife, or child, or servant, or any other agent, provided only that the agent should not be his landlord Was this a point on which to divide? Suppose the Government clause were carried, the hon. Member argued that no injustice would accrue to any one. But take the case of a landlord who had twenty houses for which he now compounded. Assume that the full rate in each case was 20s., and that 25 per cent was struck off on composition. Suppose, then, that ten of the houses were inhabited by men who wished to come on the register. They would have to pay, not the 15s. paid by the landlord, but 20s., which sum they would recover from the landlord. Well, here was a difference of 50s., which he would defy the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say was not a fine somewhere. The 25 per cent reduction on the full rate was given to the compounding landlord as a bonus for his trouble and risk, and if the fine fell upon the landlord, he would surely get rid of it by putting it upon the shoulders of the tenant in the end. It was a pity the Amendments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not been before the country for a few weeks instead of a few days only. If the matter had not been made to assume its present shape with what he must call unseemly haste, the House would have heard of the woes of the landlord. Were the Government quite sure that if this clause were carried, and a large number of compound-tenants got upon the rate book, the compound system would not be invalidated? If they were for a crusade against the compound system let them unfurl their standard, and show what they meant, and not abolish the system by a side-wind. A good deal of money had been lent on security of the poor rates. The lenders might not like the security of payment by the tenants so well as payment by the landlords. If it was now admitted the compound-occupier paid the full rate, why not treat him as if he had paid the full rate? They knew why this was not done. It was intended to limit the number to be placed on the register. But should the effect be to limit the number, were the excluded tenants likely to approve of the exclusion? If they kept out the compounders now they would agitate for admission hereafter. He said to the Government, "Don't strain what you call the principle of your Bill too far." The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) told them last Session there was no principle in a £7 line. "Once," said he, "leave the £10 line and there is no halting place till you get to the bottom." Little did he think how soon the bottom would be reached. When the right hon. Gentleman announced that there was no principle in a £7 line, he set one of the best laid traps that was ever laid for the Conservative party, and advanced household suffrage thirty or forty years at least. Let the House remember what great advances the question of household suffrage had made since it was first mooted by the late Attorney General (Sir Roundell Palmer). A hard and fast line was objected to; yet a hard and fast line of £10 had served the purposes of the country for thirty-five years. Could an equal vitality be anticipated for the present scheme? Why was not £5 or £7 as good a line as £10? The present Bill came down to household suffrage, coupled with personal payment of rates. Depend upon it they would soon see household suffrage running alone. What would the people care about a principle which limited the admission to the franchise? The Government might think they had found a principle; but the people never asked for a principle. The people were content with the extension of the line so as to admit those who had been a little below it to join with those a little above them in the rank of householders. The safest plan of extending the suffrage was that of Earl Russell — a gradual lowering of the £10 line. There must be some provision for the metropolis in the shape of a lodger franchise. He (Mr. Whitbread) was prepared to extend the line to household suffrage; but he was not prepared to subject the incomers to terms less advantageous than those who now enjoyed the franchise. He asked the Government to consider the infinitesimal difference between the two sides of the House. He would like to see something tangible to show to their constituents. He wanted to settle the question. He did not wish merely to pass the Bill. Let the Government abandon the personal payment, prohibiting the landlord from acting as agent to the tenant in paying the rate. Then he saw nothing to wreck the Bill in future. At the recent meeting in Hyde Park the Government had been humbled. The people were first warned, then threatened, subsequently entreated. The meeting was held, and the danger passed. They had their warning. What he wanted them to do was not, like Pharaoh, to "harden their hearts lest a worse thing came upon them." Let them not suppose that household suffrage was "the worst that could come upon them." If, on being defeated on the present question, they abandoned the Bill, let them not think that the extremity was reached. It might be so far as household suffrage was concerned; but there was another part of the Bill, of which the House had hitherto heard almost nothing, but which was by no means the smallest half, considering it in reference to the existing political interests of the country.


said, the hon. Member who had just sat down, and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), talked much of their own concessions, and made light of any on the part of the Government. But what was the testimony on that point of one of the safest and most respectable Members of the House, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hibbert), who moved the Amendment? He said, that Government had yielded a great deal. That they had yielded a great deal more than he expected. That a little more yielding would make the Bill on this point perfect. Was it fair, then, to say that the Government had yielded nothing? The hon. Member (Mr. Greene) declared that things had been so mystified he hardly knew whether he stood on his head or his heels. He by no means admitted that he was himself in a similar frame of mind; but he greatly desired to bring back the attention of the House to the simple issue before it. Originally, Her Majesty's Government thought of making compound- householders pay their rates in full, getting what remedy they could from their landlords. This it was said would amount to a fine. Her Majesty's Government, on thinking the matter over, believed that such would be the case. Accordingly, what was done? They simply said, "Whatever the householder pays he shall be entitled to recover; and so the fine shall be done away with." But what was the next move of the Opposition? "Oh," they said, "that arrangement won't work at all; it simply shifts the fine upon the landlord." And so they set to work and made out a great case, actually alleging that money was borrowed on the faith of this system of compounding. Well, if capital were borrowed in that way, he could only say it was a speculation, and a poor one. There was no obligation on the man who owned a number of houses to compound. The wording of the local Acts was always permissive. The man who availed himself of the power given did so as a speculation. But now it was said, "If you interfere with the speculator, he will become a loser; he will have to pay 17s., perhaps, where before he only paid 15s." Why should he not? He speculated, and it was in his power to do what most men were unable to do, to terminate his speculation when he liked. In what manner were his gains acquired? He gained to the loss of his neighbour, who was obliged to pay part of his rates for him. There are some Gentlemen who never can be induced to look at plain facts. It may not be their fault. Perhaps they cannot help it. There are Gentlemen, for instance, on the other side of the House, who never can be induced to admit that two and two make four. They will beat about the bush, and say that two and two plus eight minus six was equal to four. He liked simplicity. Two and two made four, and there was no getting out of it. Where all this sympathy for compound house-holders and their landlords came from he was at a loss to conceive. Some eight or nine years ago inquiries were made into the value of house property of different kinds. It was found that the owners of small tenements made more interest upon their money by nearly double the amount more than those of any other species of house property. The ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) was wasted in creating sympathy for these persons. They did not need it, being well able to take care of themselves. He never trespassed long upon the attention of the House, bat he always tried to bring it back to common sense. The right hon. Gentleman had done his best to mystify the subject. He had done his best to un-mystify it. Having done that, and thanking hon. Members for their kindness in listening to one who was much more frequently a listener than a speaker, he would now sit down.


said, the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett), that opposition to the present Motion amounted to a direct attack on a vital principle of the Bill, could not be maintained, since the Government had conceded the principle of the lodger franchise. They must all admire the candour with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer confessed that he had been convinced by the arguments of the loaders of the Opposition that the compound-householder paid full rates. But that admission placed in a strong light the signal injustice of disfranchising a man because he paid his rates not to the parochial authorities, but to his landlord. In considering this subject, it seemed to him that there was a fundamental fallacy which vitiated the reasoning of many hon. Gentlemen opposite. They seemed to treat this compounding as if it provided the House with a principle of moral selection, which enabled them to sift the good voter from the bad, the intelligent from the unintelligent, and the provident from the improvident. If it did this he would be one of the first to say let no compounder have a vote. But, clearing the subject from all technicalities, and looking at it from a common-sense point of view, what was this compounding? It was an arrangement adopted not for the advantage or profit of any particular class, but simply for the convenience of a ratepaying people. A ratepaying community found it was expensive and difficult to collect rates upon a great number of the small tenements, and they said to the owners of these small houses, "If you will make yourself responsible for the rates and pay them to us in a lump sum, we shall be saved the expense and trouble of collecting them, and you, on the other hand, will derive some compensation, because you shall pay a reduced rate." This being so, how could they treat it almost as a crime, and say that if any community, for its own convenience and the advantage of the town, choose to adopt this system of compounding, all the tenants who were compounders should be liable to all kinds of vexatious trouble and great expense of time before they could exercise their rights as citizens? The strongest argument that could be advanced against the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was this:—He had himself admitted that if they compelled the compound-householder before he could get a vote to pay the whole of the full rate and deduct it from the landlord, a fine was imposed upon the landlord. But although this fine was, in the first instance, imposed upon the landlord, he (Mr. Fawcett) believed that it would be by him practically shifted upon the compound-householder. Suppose a landlord had two houses, for which he charged £12 each, the full rate being £8, and the composition £6. In each case he would receive a net rent of £9. But suppose one of his tenants, being an enthusiastic politician, chose to be personally rated. The landlord in that case would only receive £8 for the house. Consequently, the landlord would be fined to the extent of £1. But it was not to be supposed that he would consent to bear the fine. He would turn out the tenant who was anxious to exercise the right of voting, unless the tenant was also willing to make up the loss sustained by the landlord. The evil went beyond this, for there were boroughs in England, like Huddersfield, in which nearly the whole of the property was owned by one proprietor. If in such a case the landlord were sincerely anxious not to see the franchise extended, it would be in his power to refuse to have any tenant who would not remain a compounder. The hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) had said that he should like to see the system of compound-householders swept away entirely. If, however, the system was so bad, let it be dealt with in a straightforward manner, for nothing was more mischievous than to attack a bad system in a roundabout manner, and, because it was bad, to attach certain onerous restrictions to it. He did not feel so enthusiastic as to the results of the division as some appeared to do. If the Government carried their point on this head, he was convinced that before the expiration of a year there would be great agitation in the country on the subject. Though not fond of agitation, he would be ready to begin it. He was sincerely anxious to have the question of Reform settled, and, Radical as he was, he should be glad to see it settled by the present Government. He had given some proofs that this was his real and genuine feeling. Some weeks ago he did his best to prevent a Motion being brought forward, although supported by the Leader of the party he belonged to, which would have prevented the Bill from going into Committee. For this he had endured opposition, and been called a renegade. He hoped hon. Members would not be afraid of being charged with inconsistency on this question of Reform, for they must all by necessity be inconsistent in regard to it. He had always been in favour of pure and simple household suffrage. He had voted last Session, and also in the present, for something different, because he knew that he should impede the settlement of Reform if he perversely voted against every proposal which did not exactly coincide with his own individual opinions. In like manner, if the Government would propose a £10 county franchise, he would, though in favour of an £8 county franchise, be ready, for the purpose of getting the question settled, to vote for a £10 franchise. The fear of accusations of inconsistency needed not to haunt the right hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side if they could only succeed in settling this question of Reform on principles which would appear just and equitable to the country.


said, some very extraordinary arguments and speeches had been delivered. Some of the speeches they had heard seemed to be against Reform altogether. Others were strongly in favour of it. By some the tenants were said to be a most vicious, ill-behaved, desperate set of people. On the other hand, the landlords were declared to be a grasping race of men, intent on racking their tenants and on placing all sorts of obstacles in the way of their getting the franchise. Her Majesty's Government had frequently been asked upon what principle they proceeded in this measure; but the object of the Bill was simple enough—it was to give a residential rating franchise. The principle of the Bill was a residential franchise. The object of personal rating was to secure what he presumed all Members of that House desired to secure—namely, a distinction between good men and bad. The Government proposed that a man should show his fitness for the franchise by paying his rate. It showed the very great power which the landlord had over the compound-householder, that under the existing law, the man who claimed to vote must be rated. Under Sir William Clay's Act, it was sufficient if the landlord paid the rate for the rated occupier. But if the landlord thought it right for some reason or other not to pay the rate the occupier was deprived of his vote. The object of the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to render every occupier who wished to exercise the franchise independent of his landlord and of every one else. Hon. Gentlemen stood up in the House and asserted that if the compound-householder paid his rate direct the landlord would advance the rent. The principle of political economy was against that proposition. The law of demand and supply was against it. A house would not bring more rent than it was worth. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Roebuck) had put the case properly when he said that if a man was rated and paid his rate, the parish officers and his fellow-citizens generally would know it. He could not understand how those Gentlemen who for many years had been leading the working men and declaring that the working men were fitted to have the franchise, could now stand up and say that those same persons would not pay their rates in order to secure the franchise, and that the whole work of qualifying them would be done by electioneering agents. If that were so, such men were not of the class whom he should wish to see admitted to the franchise. But Gentlemen who argued in that way took too low an estimate of human nature. He did not think that House should proceed on the assumption that the working classes could be dealt with like serfs or like the wooden soldiers in a child's game. The principle embodied in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's proposal was clear and defined. It was this—"However small the rate charged on a man's house may be, let him show that he is prepared to pay it. No particular figure is required. All that Parliament wants is that a man should not only be willing to take his franchise but also to perform the other duties of citizenship." The compound-householder was not known at the time the Municipal Act was under discussion. The principle of that measure was that the franchise was to be enjoyed by the resident rated occupiers. In 1834 and 1835 Gentlemen who at present sat on the Opposition side were willing to trust their fellow-men. Now they declined to do so. The argument had been put forward that the Reform Act of 1832 ought to be altered, because it excluded a class who were now entitled to exercise the franchise. But the Gentlemen who put forward that argument at once proceeded to demolish it. Were they prepared to go to the country and say this Bill ought to be rejected, because they did not believe that those whom it sought to enfranchise were honest enough to pay their rates? Supposing a landlord had ten, twenty, thirty, or forty houses for which he compounded, how was the world to know that the particular tenant of any one of them paid his rate? The House could not go into the relations between landlord and tenant in this country, though they were attempting to do so in the case of Ireland. The principle of the Bill was to take the fact of any man having resided in a particular house for twelve months as primâ facie evidence of his right to vote. But in order to obtain evidence of his willingness to perform the duties of citizenship the duty was imposed upon him of seeing himself placed on the rate book, and of bearing in common with the other ratepayers his share of the burdens of his parish. Believing that this principle was a sound one, he should give it his support.


said, there was a great distinction between the compound ratepayer and the personal ratepayer, and he thought the principle of requiring personal payment a sound one. But even if this was not so under ordinary circumstances, in the present instance Parliament was about to confer the franchise on persons who had never enjoyed it before, and therefore it had a right to prescribe the terms on which that franchise was to be granted. The House had decided that all occupiers below £10 should enjoy the franchise on condition of their personal payment of rates. Then came the question of the compound-householders above £10. They were not a very numerous body. Of the 94,000 at which they were estimated, only 27,000 had claimed to be put on the register. It was for the sake of those 27,000 that all this noise was being made, and that the safety of the Bill was to be endangered. In illustration of the system of compounding he would take the case of Birmingham. Forty years ago a private local Act was passed which compelled landlords instead of tenants to be rated for all houses up to those for which the rating was £12. Upon all houses rated up to £5 the compound allowance made to the landlord was 66½ per cent. Upon houses from £5 to £8 it was 50 per cent. Upon houses from £8 to £12 it was 33 per cent. Now, that system appeared to him to be something like parish robbery. Those compound-householders who paid their rates through their landlords felt no interest in the municipal concerns of the borough. They had no municipal votes, In his borough (Stockport) there were no compound-householders. Every man paid the full rates, and there was nothing like the system of making every man pay his full rates. Every householder being obliged to pay his full rates was entitled to vote. The lowest class of householders under those circumstances constituted the best police against the spread of pauperism that could well be imagined. They were acquainted with those who were the idle and profligate in the town, and if they saw that such men were receiving parish relief they regarded them somewhat in the light of plunderers, living upon the industry of men who were no better able to pay rates than themselves. Every fortnight a list was published of those who were in the receipt of parish relief, and the consequence was that the paupers excused for non-payment of rates were reduced to so low a point that upwards of 90 per cent of the whole rates were collected. He had seen the clerk to the guardians a few days before, and he had told him that such had been the effect of the system during the last year in preventing pauperism that the rate levied for the relief of the poor of the borough amounted to only 1s. in the pound for the whole year. To insist that a man should pay his own rates was therefore superior to the system of compound rating. Every direct payer of rates had an interest in his parish, while compound ratepayers performed no civic duties. [An hon. MEMBER: What is the rating in Birmingham?] He could not exactly say; but he believed it was 4s. 6d. in the pound combined with other rates. A very interesting Return would, he thought, be a statement of the proportion of the rates raised in compound boroughs and those in which the occupiers of houses themselves paid the entire rate. He had no doubt that in Birmingham, at all events, 90 per cent of the rate was not recovered, so large was the premium paid to the compounders landlord there. It was contended by the hon. Members for Westminster and Brighton (Mr. Stuart Mill and Mr. Fawcett) that if the proposal of the Government were agreed to the landlords would be sure to raise the rent of the compound-householders whose position it would affect. His answer was, that with houses as with everything else, "the worth of a thing is what it will bring." The landlords could not get any rents they pleased. They could not get for their houses more than they were really worth. When the hon. Member for Westminster further argued that a new species of bribery would be introduced, in the shape of payment of the tenant's rates for him, it was fair to point out that a voter open to a bribe of this character would no doubt be open to a bribe of any other description. The argument, therefore, as against the proposal of the Government, fell to the ground. Since he had had the honour of a seat in that House he had seen no less than six Reform Bills introduced, and he was therefore one of that very numerous body who held that the time had arrived when the interests of the country required the settlement of the question. He knew very well that a large number of hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side had made great sacrifices of opinion for the sake of such a settlement, and he was bound to say that he did not think these sacrifices had been received in that generous spirit which they deserved. He looked upon the Bill of the Government as a fair measure, and he would be no party to any factious opposition to its passing into law. The best way of disposing of the question of compound rating would be, so far as he could see, to abolish it altogether, and the next best to adopt the plan which the Government proposed, and he was prepared to support either one or the other of these plans.


The borough franchise is but a part of this great question. We have been engaged for nearly three months on the discussion of little else. Yet tonight is the first occasion on which we have been able to look at it as a whole. The changes in the plan of the Government have been so numerous, so many schemes have been brought forward by them and withdrawn, that it is only now that their proposals assume anything like a permanent shape, or that we can deal with them with anything like certainty that we have them really before us. I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) that we are about practically to pronounce an opinion upon the propriety of the principle of personal rating. But I maintain that it is only at this stage of our proceedings that we have this principle traced out and developed so that we can arrive at a really sound decision upon it. It has been by a slow and tortuous process and step by step that the scheme of the Government has taken its present complete form. And what is that scheme? One would have supposed that nothing could be more self-evident than that in fixing on the particular attributes of individuals or a class that should entitle them to the franchise the Government would have fixed on something permanent, and altogether independent of the caprices of individual will, or the contingencies of fortune and circumstances—that when seeking to build up a fabric for all posterity they would at least take care to lay its foundations in the solid rock. So far, however, from the foundations of the present scheme being thus laid, they are not even worthy of the forethought of the fool who builds on the sand. It is like building on the sea, because that on which this measure is based fluctuates every month, and every week, nay, almost every hour. The franchise which we are asked to confer is one which it will depend on the caprice of the parochial officer either to give or take away; upon the disposition of individual owners of large masses of small kinds of property; upon the organization of local bodies; upon any thing, in fact, except the permanent and stable conditions of our society. Let us look at the measure closely. There are some things in it which it is impossible to explain logically, and I do not think any man can point out on what clear or definite principles the proposal of the Government proceeds. It is to be explained only historically, and if the Committee will lend me their attention for a few moments I will endeavour to give them that explanation. I believe the Government intended to introduce a very democratic measure so far as the lowering of the franchise is concerned—that is to say, they intended that every man who pays rates should have a vote. They originally, however, endeavoured to modify such a proposal by safeguards. They believed in that in which nobody but themselves believed—the dual vote, and in the residential clause, with regard to which it pleases them now to say that they were beaten, but which Lord Derby virtually gave up before the discussion on it was taken, which was apparently carried on to satisfy some weak consciences. [A laugh.] I am strengthened in my conviction on this point by the revelations with which we have been favoured as to what took place in the Cabinet which turned mainly on those safeguards and their efficiency. After what we have heard from the noble Lord (Viscount Cranbourne) and others, it appears to me to be clear that the object of the Government was originally to rest their Bill on a rating franchise. Being aware that such a proposal went very far, they sought to modify it by the two safeguards—duality and residence. They seemed in the first instance to fancy that they could include all householders who paid rates if they could have these safeguards on which they relied. Both having been abandoned, the rating franchise began to wear in their eyes a different aspect from that which it had previously assumed. They then found that the word "personal" in the scheme became of great importance, and it was not, I believe, until within a very few weeks that they had any idea of the part which the compound-householder was destined to play in the matter. We know how the measure was prepared. We know how the Government was formed, and that its Members took no trouble to agree on a common plan of action on the subject of Reform. Lord Derby and the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have some definite views with respect to it as early as October; but the rest of the Cabinet remained in ignorance of those views, and nothing was done until Parliament met. When Parliament did assemble in what an utter state of unconsciousness did the Chancellor of the Exchequer address the House on the question. The only definite statement he made, and that certainly was not true, was that the House had agreed to a rating franchise pure and simple. We know how a Bill was then adopted after a very few minutes' consideration by the Government, how it was withdrawn, and how another was introduced, until at last we find ourselves at the present stage. It is, under these circumstances, neither uncharitable nor unfair to say that the right hon. Gentleman framed this measure without attaching its due importance to the question of the compound-householder, and that the part he was likely to play in the matter came on the Government as a surprise—a surprise not altogether disagreeable, because they then saw that they might be able so to manipulate the Bill as to take away virtually by means of the compound-householder that which they appeared to concede as a rating household franchise. No candid man could conceive that a Ministry, knowing how the compound-householders were influenced by the parochial body, knowing that it was in the power of that body to establish or destroy them, could base a measure of Reform upon such a principle. I feel satisfied that those who support this measure are not supporting a really well-considered measure, all the consequences of which were foreseen. They are supporting one that is the result of a series of expedients and a succession of afterthoughts, landing us in anomalies so gross that they never would for one moment have been assented to if they could have been foreseen. What is the question we have to decide? The question we have to decide is really, what ought to be the principle on which this Bill is founded. ["No!"] That is the question which I beg to submit to the House. What is the principle of the Bill? We are told that its principle is that the people who bear public burdens should have the privilege of the franchise. That was the principle with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer launched his measure. He said, "We take the ratepayers because they are the bearers of public burdens." It soon appeared that that principle would not do for the purpose of the right hon. Gentleman, because there is no doubt that in some degree at least these compound-householders bear public burdens. So it became necessary to qualify and get rid of that principle and affirm its very contrary—namely, that people might bear these burdens and pay rates, and yet not have the franchise. That was the first upset, if I may so call it, to the principle of the right hon. Gentleman. It is admitted by the right hon. Gentleman now, and no one can seriously deny it, that these compound-householders do really pay the whole amount of the rates. The public do not receive it, but the compound-householders pay it. As the principle was that the payment was a proof of respectability, it seems to me that they come just as fairly within the scope of the Bill as anybody else. Taking the test of bearing public burdens they fairly satisfy it. What, then, should be the logical inference, according to his own principle, from the admission which the right hon. Gentleman made the other night? That we ought to invent some circuitous means by which these men might get put upon the register? No; the logical result is that they ought to be put upon the register at once, because they come under the principle of his Bill, they pay the rate, and they bear public burdens. I do not sec, then, upon his principle, what occasion there is for all this circuitousness in the matter. The truth is that finding it inconvenient to carry out the principle he had laid down, the right hon. Gentleman refined upon it. Instead of standing on the broad distinction of whether men pay rates or not, he fixed upon a mere adventitious circumstance. Not upon the question whether he does or does not pay the rate, but upon what manner and by what hand he pays it. That is the same as if you were to say that a man pays a debt when he goes to a shop himself and gives the tradesman the money, but that if he sends his servant with it it is no payment at all! I will say this for the franchise, that what ever it is founded upon, it should be upon something real and substantial. You should look at the essence and not at the form. If you fix upon the form and neglect the essence, you are merely trifling with the subject and laying the basis of future agitation. Look at your principle, again, in another aspect. You say that though the compound-householders pay just as much us other ratepayers, they are to be refused the franchise because they do not with their own hands, but by their landlords, pay the rates. The principle is so strict and unbending that it will not yield to that little extent. Yet the right hon. Gentleman tells us he is ready to admit the lodger, who pays no rate at all and bears no public burden whatever. Another inconsistency in which your principle lands you is that it is so rigid that it will not allow even a private agreement between persons for the payment of the rate. Yet it is so pliable that it admits lodgers who, I repeat, bear no public burdens of any sort or kind. But let us go a little further. We have to consider, in the next place, the practical result of this measure. Under it I think there cannot be a doubt that something must come out of the landlord's pocket, and for this simple reason. It is quite clear that the public gets something more if the rate is paid directly than if it is paid for the compound-householder by his landlord. The public gets either a quarter or a half more than it did before. But it does not come out of the pocket of the compound-householder who is put upon the register because he is to be recouped by his landlord. Then, out of whose pockets does it come? Out of the landlord's, of course. Thus, the effect of it is that you give the franchise or pretend to give it to a number of persons, and then make it the interest of the landlord, who has the power to do so, to withhold that franchise. That is the state of things which you create. You bestow a thing upon a certain class of men, and then you give to another class, who are armed with the power, a motive for taking it away from them. It may be right that these persons should not have the franchise. I do not enter into that dispute at all. But if you refuse it them, you ought to do it plainly and directly, and not profess to confer it on them while making it the interest of those who have power over them to take it away again. Surely that is not the way to settle anything, but only to increase vexation and annoyance. Instead of enabling us to take our farewell of this question—as we all hope to do for some time to come—it will only keep it alive in an irritating and most offensive form. Looking, then, at this matter, without reference to any pre-conceived opinion of my own, but as a piece of political mechanism, and assuming that it is desirable to give a wide extension of the suffrage, I ask whether this is the right way to do it? I say it cannot be right that it should depend on so many contingencies, and that it should be so various in different places, and under different circumstances. Moreover, it cannot be right, as will necessarily be the effect of this measure, to give the franchise in all those small towns where the Small Tenements Act is not in force to a very dependent and very poor class of persons, and to keep it in all the large towns where that Act is in operation from a more independent part of your population, which takes more interest in politics, and which is now urging its demand for this privilege. It cannot be right to turn every parish vestry into an arena of the bitterest strife, contention, and political intrigue, and instead of offering the franchise as a boon coming straight from the hand of the Legislature, making its possession to depend entirely upon the particular parish, or even upon the particular side of the street in which a man may happen to live. If hon. Gentlemen will look at the matter calmly and coolly—and I feel myself in a position to look at in that manner—I think they will see that this is not a foundation on which they can rest a change that will be satisfactory to any one. Hon. Gentlemen say, and I can well believe with truth, that they are making enormous sacrifices. Then let them make those sacrifices so as to secure that for which they are made. If we are to depart from our old principles and to give power to persons just in proportion, or nearly so, as they are poor and dependent, let us effect a settlement that will satisfy somebody. We must all, I suppose, wish to satisfy the classes whom we are going to enfranchise. Will this measure satisfy them? Is it possible that it will, hedged in as it is with such capricious conditions and contingencies? I feel how much I may have disqualified myself in the eyes of hon. Gentlemen by the frank expression of my opinions, from offering them advice, and that it may be vain for me to give them counsel which I know to be sincere, and which I believe to be for the best. But I beg hon. Gentlemen to think the matter over, and see if it is possible, as I believe it would be quite possible, to hit upon some scheme that will fairly carry out their aim, and be free from the objections which I have stated. There is the scheme suggested by the hon. Member (Mr. Poulett Scrope), which proposes to find an intermediate class, who though they do not receive parochial relief themselves, are often excused from paying towards it on the ground of poverty. You could thus fix on some limit of rating that you might think proper, and give the suffrage to all above and withhold it from all below it. You could give to that poorer class of householders that which in their position they would think more desirable than the franchise—namely, an immunity from the payment of any rates. The wish to obtain the franchise would be met by the wish to be exempted from an impost. The one wish would counteract the other. When you reached that point you would reach that which may naturally and without violence determine your limit for the franchise. That, however, is only a specimen of how you might proceed in attaining your object. But if you go on in the spirit in which you are now doing, if because of the mistakes that were made originally, and because you find that parts of the scheme on which you relied must be given up, you will try to build upon this fragile and worthless foundation, I see before us nothing but renewed discontent and agitation, and every evil from which you wish to escape.


Sir, I shall not entertain or weary the House with any blame or commendation of the Acts under which landlords compound for their rates. We have heard a good deal upon that subject, and my hon. Friend near me has been particularly strong upon it. I am willing to accept the fact that in 170 boroughs in England and Wales, the practice of compounding extends more or less throughout them. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) that it is something in favour of that system that under a permissive Act not fewer than 5,000 parishes in England and Wales have adopted that system. I am unwilling rudely, without knowing enough of it, to condemn it for the purpose of excusing a measure which, taken in connection with that system, I hold to be one of the most extraordinary, one of the most unequal, and one of the most unjust that ever was offered to an English House of Commons by any Ministry. [Laughter.] Gentlemen must remember, whether they sit on that side of the House or on this side, that this is a very serious question that we are discussing; and that, considering the mistakes you made last year, you may at least be a little modest, and at any rate fairly consider the arguments which may be offered against your present views. Will the House follow me just a little on this one point? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, in answer to questions from Scotch Members, that in the Scotch Bill the franchise will be so arranged that it will be practically household suffrage throughout the boroughs of Scotland. The only exception will be that the franchise will not be extended to persons under £4 rental and when the rates are not paid by the occupiers. I think the occupiers are not rated in any way below £4, but above £4 to every person who pays his rates the franchise will be given.


The hon. Gentleman will allow me to correct an error, because it may affect his argument. I do not otherwise care for it. I did not say anything of the kind.


I did not intend to say that the right hon. Gentleman said that. I only meant to say that he proposed to extend to Scotland what he calls the principles of this Bill. It was a mere explanatory fact of my own, that in Scotland the occupier is not rated below £4. Therefore, I take it for granted, on his own principle, that the franchise in Scot- land will begin at £4, and that it will be given to every occupier at and above that rent who pays his rate. We shall have by-and-by a Bill introduced for Ireland. There has been no promise given, I think, with regard to that as to the mode in which the franchise will be arranged. But Irish Members tell me that in Ireland to the point of £4 rating the rates are paid by the landlord, and that above £4, half the rate is paid by the landlord and half by the tenant as in Scotland. In England there are twenty-nine boroughs that will be practically in about the same position, and in which the franchise will be very largely extended. So we have the principle of this Bill applying, I presume—but of this I am not sure—to Ireland, but certainly to Scotland, and certainly to twenty-nine boroughs in England, without the enormous and most unfortunate limitations which this same Bill will apply to 170 other boroughs in England and Wales. I do not believe the right hon. Gentleman or his Government would have proposed this plan if they had known when it was first thought of that this result would be attained. I am inclined to agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) that this is a misfortune attending their Bill which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer probably wishes did not exist to so great an extent as it is now found to do. I have maintained from the beginning of these discussions that there is no real difficulty in accommodating this matter, and being equally just to all boroughs. It seems to me something like a pedantic perverseness by which the right hon. Gentleman, for he appears to be the Government, stands. I believe he would not have made this proposal if he had seen the Return which the Secretary to the Treasury obtained some time ago. He must know as well as any man in this House that it is utterly incapable of defence, and that it never can subsist for a single Parliament as it now is. Understand me. I am not now pleading for any particular point to which you should extend the suffrage; I am pleading only for equality and fairness in this matter. Notwithstanding what my hon. Friend said, Parliament has no right and cannot even exercise the power, without injury to itself and the country, of passing a Bill guilty of such enormous inequalities and injustice. ["Oh!"] If any hon. Gentleman says there is no inequality, let him stand up and show it. The remedy is simple and very easy. That remedy to a very large extent will be found in the Amendment of this clause which has been proposed by my hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert). The words which the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to introduce are objected to because they will prevent the subsequent adoption of that Amendment. We are really on those words discussing that Amendment as if it were before us now. There are twenty-nine boroughs in England and Wales which you treat under this Bill with great liberality. There are 170 boroughs which you treat with niggardliness and with an injustice which will be found to be intolerable. It is not statesmanlike or right on the part of the House so to treat them. If you adopt the proposal of the hon. Member, I will tell you what will follow. This would follow. If you took population for population in the twenty-nine boroughs and in the 170 boroughs, you would find that the number of electors that would ultimately come upon the roll in the 170 boroughs would not vary more than 3 per cent from the number that will come upon the roll by this Bill in the twenty-nine boroughs. If it can be shown that the proposal would so balance the whole case that the justice you are now dealing out to the twenty-nine boroughs would be equally dealt out with a variation of not more than 3 per cent to the 170 other boroughs, I ask the House whether it is not worth while, at this late hour of the discussion of this question, when you wish to settle a matter which has disturbed you for many years, to accede to the proposal, and to make the Bill what we all know it ought to be, but which we all know under the present plan it will not be—a just and final settlement of this question. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know that I have sometimes given them a little advice. Now, I shall not give them any advice to-night. Still, I may make one or two remarks to them which may not be without force. I think I have shown that reason demands some change in the proposal of the Government. Hon. Gentlemen have advanced so far that that terrible spectre household suffrage has no longer any terrors for them. Hon. Gentlemen from Scotland can regard it advancing upon that kingdom without fear, and English Members on that side of the House have now learned that after all it is not a thing greatly to be dreaded. The change that has come over you is more remarkable than any I have witnessed since I have had a seat in this House. I admire it—but you will forgive me if I wonder at it. But having made that change, what I want you to do is to carry it out into action, so that at least you may not have made the sacrifices of this Session for nothing. If I turn to the Bench below me, I presume that many of the Gentlemen who sit at this end of the House have changed somewhat also. They have advanced. I am told, and believe it, that Earl Russell has for many years had the belief that household suffrage was a wise foundation for the franchise. I believe that all those or nearly all those who have been accustomed in past times to follow his standard, are quite willing now to assist hon. Gentlemen opposite in establishing that basis in the boroughs. If the House is unanimous for household suffrage, why should we not act upon that conviction? If reason be for it, I think I can show the House that the laws of the country are no less for it. I mean for the change that is proposed by the hon. Gentleman behind met. I shall not say a word about fines, or about who pays the rates, nor shall I go into any of those details, which, however much they may be explained, will still leave something confused in the minds of many Members. The Reform Act of 1832 enacted that all householders of £10 and upwards should be enfranchised, but the mode with regard to the compound-householder was ineffective. He was required to claim, I believe, for every rate, certainly for every year, and he was required by the decisions of the revising barrister to pay the full rate. The result was this—that the compound-householder gained nothing from the passing of the Reform Act, and compound-householders from the time of passing that Act to the passing of Sir William Clay's Act have been no more enfranchised than if it had never passed. The Small Tenements Act, about which so much has been said, adopted a rational principle to secure the franchise to the compound-householders at municipal elections. But there is one thing which it did not do, and I call the particular attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Gentlemen who have discussed this matter in regard to these Acts to the circumstance. There is an Act of great importance which has not been mentioned during these discussions. The Small Tenements Act secured only the rights of the municipal voters, and left the freemen and scot and lot voters, whose franchises were reserved by the Reform Act, absolutely disfranchised. A Bill was introduced into this House for the purpose of restoring their rights. After the Reform Act the scot and lot voters had their franchises continued. But when the Small Tenements Act was passed it disfranchised virtually all those residing in houses under £6, and this Act was passed to restore their franchise. It is the 14 & 15 Vict. c. 39— An Act to exempt Burgesses and Freemen in certain Cases from the Operation of an Act for the better assessing and collecting the Poor Rates and Highway Rates in respect of Small Tenements. The sole purpose of this Act was to replace on the register the ancient voters whose votes were preserved by the Reform Act but virtually destroyed by the Small Tenements Act. It says that— Where any Person to whom a Right of voting was retained or reserved by the recited Provisions of the said Act of the Second and Third Years of King William the Fourth is or shall be the Occupier of any such Tenement as in the said Act of the last Session of Parliament mentioned, and the Owner of such Tenement has been or shall be rated to the Relief of the Poor instead of the Occupier thereof, and such Owner shall have paid all Money due on account of any Rate or Rates in respect of such Tenement, or such Occupier shall have tendered the Amount thereof in the Manner prescribed by such Act, such Occupier shall be entitled, not only to the Municipal Privileges and Franchises reserved to him by such Act, but also to all such Right of voting at Elections of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament for any City or Borough, and all other Rights and Privileges, as such Occupier would have been entitled to under the recited Provisions of the said Act of the Second and Third Years of King William the Fourth, and the other Provisions of such Act, and any Acts amending the same, relating to the Right of voting so retained or reserved, if such Occupier had been himself rated in respect of such Tenement, and had duly paid or tendered the Rate or Rates to which he was liable in consequence of such Rating. Therefore, in 1851 the House of Commons passed a Bill restoring the franchise to the voters whose rights were preserved by the Reform Act but destroyed by the Small Tenements Act. That is important to show the principle on which the House has acted on more than one occasion in reference to this matter. If we want further proof it will be found in the Act, the 3rd section of which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to repeal. In 1851 Sir William Clay's Act was passed—and I beg to call the attention of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) to the misstatement he has made. He was not in Parliament at that time, and unless he has looked into Parliamentary history he knows, I believe, nothing about it. Not a single thing said by him respecting it is correct. I was in the House at the time and concerned in passing the Bill. Sir William Page Wood—now Vice Chancellor Wood — at my request drew that very clause with the consent of Lord John Russell, and placed it in the Bill. So clear was the judgment of the House in regard to that matter that there was only one person in the House that made opposition to it. That opposition came from the late Mr. Spooner, the Member for North Warwickshire, and it passed without a division. It was in the respect I have mentioned an entire confirmation of the Reform Act, and showed the fixed resolution of the House with regard to this matter. The compound-householder is, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer told us, as good a man as the householder who has not compounded. The House acted upon that principle and decided that his franchise should be equally sacred and secure. Some persons speak of the Small Tenements Act as if it were passed to relieve the householders who compound. It was not passed with that view. The Small Tenements Act and Rating Act, by which compounding takes place, are Acts introduced into several parishes, not by the instrumentality of the poorest, but by the instrumentality of the richest persons in those parishes. If the compound-householder has any convenience and advantage out of them, he shares that convenience and advantage with all the rest of the ratepayers of the parish. The hon. Member (Mr. J. B. Smith) spoke of Birmingham and of Stockport. I know that Stockport twice in my time was on the verge of actual bankruptcy. Once owing to the results of the events in connection with the American War. Once in 1839 and 1840, when we had a very bad harvest and a very stringent Corn Law. But during all the time over which these two periods extend, no one can point to Birmingham as a place that was not above the average of well doing amongst all the industrial and manufacturing populations of the kingdom. The hon. Gentleman says that we ought to pay less poor rates. If we were discussing the question of the amount of the poor rate, and of the relief of the poor, the observation would be pertinent. But it is not pertinent in the discussion of this matter. The people of Birmingham have a right to claim the same just treatment that they are willing to give to the inhabitants of Stockport or Sheffield. If I were willing to follow Ministers in any proposal they may make, I should be ashamed of myself. I hope the hour, if it should ever come, when I may defend a measure like this, so unjust to the great majority of the towns of England and Wales, may be the last when I may stand before the Parliament of this country. Let me remind the House that if I speak of Birmingham with regard to this matter, it is because I am necessarily more familiar with the circumstances of that town. But the same argument might be used with the same effect almost throughout the 170 boroughs to which this Act applies. What is it they have done? The Birmingham Guardians Act was passed in 1828 by the rich people of the parish. It was passed for the objects and purposes of the parish. It was not an indulgence to the people. It was not a penalty inflicted upon them. But what are you about to do in supporting the measure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? You are about to inflict a penalty upon them. You are about to exclude them practically. I do not think any Gentleman who reflects a moment will contest what I say. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will not contest it. You are about to exclude practically 36,000 male occupiers in Birmingham, from the accident that they happen to live in a town where forty years ago their forefathers thought it desirable to establish a plan for the payment of rates which has been since sanctioned almost universally by Parliament, and which is now in practice in 5,000 parishes of England and Wales. Does any man deny that you are practically under this Bill excluding them? [Mr. J. HARDY: I deny it.] An hon. Member, who is the brother of a Cabinet Minister, denies it. If you are not practically excluding them, why do not you fairly admit them? Why do you object to the Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert). Do not you know that his Amendment to a large extent would admit them, and that by objecting to his Amendment you are to a large extent excluding them? The hon. Member evidently does not know where he is going. Hearing his interruption reminds me that the hon. Gentleman was down at Wakefield at a banquet. [An hon. MEMBER: At Derby.] At Derby, a place equally appropriate, and the hon. Gentleman was asked to speak to the toast of the House of Commons, and what did he say? He said he wished the managers of the feast had given him something he could understand—for example, the Army and Navy, or Bishops and Clergy of the Diocese. He said if he had to speak to these toasts, he would have known where he was; but having given him the toast of the House of Commons, he really did not know what he was doing or where he was going, for the House was upon a track which he did not understand. The hon. Gentleman must therefore be a little tolerant with me if I am trying to make him understand it. I must ask one more question of the House, and that will be in a sentence. I ask why, in inflicting this general disfranchisement upon the occupiers in the town of Birmingham and in 170 boroughs, because rating and compounding Acts exist in those boroughs, you inflict upon men the very penalty that you now inflict upon crime and upon bribery. I ask the House frankly, is it nothing in a free country to deny a man a rightful vote for a Member of Parliament? [An hon. MEMBER of the Opposition: It is not a right.] Then what are you doing sitting there?—and what are the pretences of this Bill? In the town of Sheffield—and the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) who represents that borough if I am wrong in what I am going to say will contradict me, because he is always ready to contradict any one—when he thinks they are wrong I ought to add—I say that in that intelligent town which that hon. and learned Gentleman represents along with his Colleague (Mr. Hadfield), there are 28,000 householders, not a bit wiser, not a bit richer, not a bit more schooled, not a bit more political, and not a bit more disposed to law and order than those of Birmingham, who are to be received by this Bill with open arms, while men in that and other towns are to be excluded. In spite of this hon. Gentlemen opposite say, in answer to me when I contend that there is great inequality and injustice in this, that there is nothing of the kind. I say that as regards Birmingham, which is as good as Sheffield—and I do not say, or pretend to say or think, that it is a bit better — this Bill is so arranged that it will not include 36,000 householders who live in that town. [Mr. ROEBUCK was understood to dissent.] The hon. and learned Gentleman makes an observation. [Mr. ROEBUCK: Indeed I did not.] I thought the hon. and learned Gentleman said—[Mr. ROEBUCK: I said nothing.] I thought an hon. Member said they might be included if they paid their rates. Perfectly true. But there are accidents in all these municipal, corporate, and national arrangements — arrangements which it may be advantageous to have in some places and not in others, and for which the persons living under them are not now responsible. But if the Government were a fair Government on this question—if it were determined to treat honestly and frankly the House, and what is still more important, honestly and frankly the great bulk of the people of this country who have asked for Reform, it would have attempted some arrangement by which the franchise they propose to give should be given as freely and as fully in the town of Birmingham as it is in the town of Sheffield and the twenty-nine other boroughs to which I have referred. If any one has an answer to that I should like to hear it. The hon. Member (Mr. J. B. Smith), in speaking of the Amendment, treated as of very small consequence the number of persons who had been enfranchised under Sir William Clays' Bill. I venture to tell the House that all the persons who have been enfranchised under that Act have been enfranchised by the 3rd clause, which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to repeal. It is not proveable that 1,000 men in the whole country—probably not 100—ever placed themselves on the electoral roll under the system of repeated claims. I am now speaking of boroughs or of the claim which is indicated by that Act. The way which men have come upon the roll of that Act is perfectly well known. When it passed I sat in the House as Member for Manchester. My friends there, understanding the Act, applied to the different overseers, and showed that it was their duty to place the names of all occupiers upon the rate book. Being upon the rate book the composition sum by the clause of that Act was made equal to the whole sum for the purposes of enfranchisement. 4,000 names passed regularly on the electoral roll, and thus they were enfranchised. My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. Fawcett) could explain how it was done there. The persons concerned went round and obtained the names of 1,000 persons who were off the list. They recommended and urged the overseers to put them on the rate book; they passed naturally on the list of electors, and have been there ever since. What has been the general effect according to the Returns of the Government? There are 94,000 compound-householders above the value of £10, and of those 25,000 have found their way on the register. The reason that more have not found their way is this. The overseers have neglected their duty. The existence of the law has not been well known, and therefore the law has not been fairly carried out. I have seen hon. Gentlemen opposite stickle to the very last for the smallest right of property or the smallest privilege. Is there any man in this House now who is willing, and will recommend, that that clause should be repealed, and that the register of 94,000 householders above £10 should, by one vote of this House this night, be effectually destroyed? The whole number of electors who, by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman, according to the speech of the President of the Poor Law Board, will immediately come on the register is only 118,000. Yet, by this clause of the Bill, he is going to destroy the present existing rights. ["No!"] If the hon. Member will listen, I will show him how it is. He will say that the householder is offered another mode by which he may enfranchise himself; but it is a mode he does not ask you to give him. He has a mode which is sufficient for him. You offer him a much more rugged and steep path by which, in all probability, he will never reach the franchise. The right hon. Gentleman, in the audacious proposal which he makes to repeal that clause, is striking at the electoral rights which Parliament has guaranteed to not less than 94,000 occupiers above the £10 value. ["No!"] This may be the last time hon. Gentlemen will have an opportunity of discussing this point, and although I am ashamed to be speaking at this hour of the night (twenty minutes past eleven), I think they will see the question is worth fairly considering. The right hon. Gentleman says he will save the existing rights of the 25,000 now on the register. But if any one of these changes his residence—if he goes from one borough to another—he must necessarily lose his franchise. The preservation of the right in the way he suggests is a matter absolutely impossible by this Bill. May I give the House one fact with regard to the way in which this question of the franchise is sometimes treated by overseers of the poor—and it affects the question closely? Within the last month, in the town of Birmingham, the 4,000 electors put on the register under Sir William Clay's Act, and who have been on the register fifteen years, have been omitted from that register and disfranchised solely by the action of the overseers. Surely that is a matter of some consequence. Any scheme which gives into the hands of parochial authorities, and takes out of the hands of Parliament the disposition of the franchise, must be a scheme fraught with every kind of evil. I have stated what appears to me to be the essential malady and evil of the Bill. Hon. Gentlemen opposite well know that ever since the time came when this Bill went into Committee, I have been most anxious that on this question of the borough franchise we should clear the Bill of this great inequality. I think if we did that we should bring this important and most difficult of all questions to a final and a satisfactory settlement. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are in a peculiar position with regard to this question. Some of them have said — even the Chancellor of the Exchequer said at the beginning of the Session — that the Government and its party were in a condition of some kind of humiliation. I will not regard it as humiliation. I will assume what I may fairly assume with regard probably to the great majority of you, that in the course which you have taken this Session you have been actuated by motives of the most honourable kind with regard to this Bill. If any man taunts you with a change from last year, and tells you you did it from unworthy motives, I hope hereafter you may be able to say that you were the means of passing a great and a just Bill. If there were temporarily any kind of humiliation attaching to it, at least you have a noble compensation in having done a great service to the country. Every one says, "Let us now, once for all, settle this difficult question." There are a million of voices out of doors who also ask you to settle this question. Now is the time. Last year you might have had a settlement of a more moderate character, and of a duration that would have lasted during the Parliamentary life of any Gentleman opposite. You refused it. I told you what would come if you refused it, and it has come. I now ask you to do that which you are professing to do, but which you refuse to do, and that is to make your Bill equal and just to all the boroughs of the country. If you refuse, what will happen? What will happen with this question of Reform in the 170 boroughs — aye, and in the twenty-nine boroughs, and in the Scotch boroughs?— for if any Members for those boroughs think little of the 170 who are left out, depend upon it that the voters of the boroughs which are let in will not forget their brethren in the boroughs which are excluded. Next year and the year after, and until this matter is adjusted, the whole question of the suffrage and of Parliamentary Reform will be discussed as it has been recently discussed, and all the questions which men do not now think of may come up in a continued discussion of a great question like this. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is afraid what you (the Ministerial side) would say if he were to make this measure equal and just. But he knows as well as I do that in taking the course he does that he is subjecting you to further agitation, and subjecting the great question of democratic representation to a constant movement throughout the country. This matter may be decided either for the Government or for my hon. Friend (Mr. Hibbert). Whichever way it is decided, however, if this Bill passes, the question of Parliamentary Reform, and particularly that of the extension of the borough franchise, will have received an impetus and attained a position from which it will not be dislodged. There is no doubt of that. But I am anxious now, once for all, that Parliament should act wisely, and equally, and justly. If this Bill had been brought in equal and just, you would, I believe, have supported it with that unanimity which distinguishes your present action. But you would have had the consolation of knowing that when you had voted it, and it had become an Act of the Imperial Legislature, that then we should have heard no more of this question for ever. There is a longing throughout the nation for the passing of a good and real Bill. There has not been during the Session one petition in favour of this Bill. There has not been one public meeting at which the provisions of this Bill have been received with approbation. I say you are mistaken in legislating in this manner. I have authority for speaking for a large number of those out of doors who ask for Reform. If I have not, no man has. I see and lament with a grief I cannot express, not that you are not making a more democratic; measure—though your measure is not so democratic as your Leader would agree to. I am probably more democratic in principle, but not so democratic in action as your Leader. But I am not complaining that you are not acting in a manner suffi- ciently democratic, but that you are not acting in the spirit of equality and fairness. Though anything I may say to you may be utterly useless on this occasion, as it has oftentimes been in the past, yet I venture at this late hour to appeal to the honourable and just feeling of the House that in dealing with millions of people on a subject which deeply touches their hearts, you should at least deal with them in a manner which they will feel to be equal and just.


I should not, Sir, at this late hour have ventured to address the Committee had I not been so pointedly referred to by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bright). Sir, I have often heard, and I believe the saying to be true, that professed tellers of stories often tell them so constantly and so vehemently that at last they believe in the figments of their own imagination. That is exactly the case with the hon. Member. Pointing to me, and expatiating on the vast difference between the town that he represents and that which I represent, he says, "In one town you are disfranchising 36,000 people, and in the other you are enfranchising 26,000," and he wants to know the reason for that difference. I will put a very plain and simple statement before the Committee, and will ask them as to the truth of that assertion. I will suppose a town, having a street on both sides of which are houses of exactly the same description. On one side I will suppose there are uncompounded houses, and on the other compounded ones. No. 1 in the uncompounded row is taken, say, by John Smith, at £5 a year, and he pays £1 rates. No. 1 on the opposite side of the street is take by John Brown at £5 a year. What will occur, he being a compounder? There are, if he pays the rates fully, 20s. to be paid. It is clear upon the principles of political economy that houses similarly situated, and of exactly the same description, will let for the same money. Very well, the compounded house is compounded for 15s. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) told me he had an answer to the argument I used before. His first answer was that the compounder paid the full rate in his rent. To-night he fled from that proposition. I pin him to it; he shall not escape from it. The 15s. is the compounded rate. The landlord pays that. Thus 5s. is taken from the whole rent and goes to the landlord for the risk and trouble he incurs. What do you think he will do? He turns round on the man and says, "John Smith has the house on the other side of the road, for which he pays in reality £6 a year. I do not see anything in your case to allow you to have a house paying only £5 15s. Therefore you must pay me £6 too." That is the natural state of things at present. What will occur if this Bill pass? John Brown sends in his statement by post to the proper officer, that he intends to be a voter. What next occurs? The landlord no longer pays the rate for the tenant—the tenant pays the 20s. for himself, and there the thing rests. I want to know how that can be got out of. Under these circumstances, it is true that you enfranchise 26,000 in Sheffield, and disfranchise 36,000 in Birmingham. The whole thing is a farce. It is a part of that stump oratory which anybody who goes about telling people that they are dealt unjustly with will always find people ready to listen to, more especially if he has the peculiar art which I always admire in the hon. Member (Mr. Bright), The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone)—I think I see him in his place fast asleep—argues that the most terrible effect is likely to follow if this Amendment is negatived. But he made a speech against the whole Bill. That, too, was done by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (General Peel), by the hon. Member (Mr. Stuart Mill), and by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe). All their speeches were against the whole Bill. Where, then, can be the great mischief of negativing this proposal? We shall but leave the Bill in that state of horrible mischief which it now occupies. There can be no doubt the whole country is sick and tired of this discussion. When the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) tells me there is great excitement out of doors, I deny it altogether. Sir, I recollect the discussions and the excitement of 1830 and 1831. Is there anything like that now? Have I received one word or one letter from Sheffield. Not one. They got up a meeting there, it is true; but not one respectable inhabitant of that town went to it. Go through society, and every man you meet says the same thing. "We are sick of it, Sir!" say the shopkeepers of London. "We are tired of these discussions and of these fantastic objections made for purposes we all understand, though under the poor pretence of serving the country." The thing is so palpable—so clear, that even the verbose declamation of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) cannot obscure it. The right hon. Gentleman twitted me with some change of opinion in Sheffield concerning myself. [Mr. GLADSTONE: When?] This evening. I was rather surprised at such an allusion coming from that quarter, with the example of Oxford fresh in our memories. Again, when the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) twitted me with the altered state of feeling in Sheffield, I should have thought that he would have recollected Manchester. Sir, I would ask both the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member whether they consider that the constituencies that differed from them on those occasions were in the right? If they do, I wish them joy of having found fault with me for differing, as they say I do, from my constituency.


said, that as the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) had alluded to him rather personally, as the brother of a Cabinet Minister, he thought he had a right to explain matters. He had merely interrupted the hon. Member by calling "No!" when the hon. Member said that they were going to disfranchise so many thousands of persons. This interruption he thought necessary, the fact being that under the Bill any householder, compound or not, who chose to enfranchise himself might do so. As to the speech he had made in the country, the hon. Member had merely quoted one passage from it without reference to the context. At that time no one could tell which way the Reform Bill was going. Not that he liked either way. He then paraphrased a saying of Sir George Lewis, that life would be very tolerable but for its pleasures, and said that the House of Commons would be a very tolerable place but for its politics, bad ones being in the ascendant. He must apologize for sometimes calling "No!" when the hon. Member spoke, but a person might perhaps be excused who so rarely troubled the House by addressing it. The hon. Gentleman seemed to remember what he had said. He in turn sometimes remembered the language of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member now favours household suffrage. In 1859 he was in the Birmingham Town Hall and heard the hon. Member begin a speech by saying, "Men of Birmingham—if I can call you men who have not the franchise." What did that mean if it did not point to universal suffrage? On that occasion, the respectable men of Birmingham could not be present. They would not attend, because the meeting would not hear one word said by any opponents. The hon. Member (Mr. T. D. Acland) was at that time a candidate against the hon. Member as an electro-plate Liberal. Few men could help saying "No" sometimes when the hon. Member (Mr. Bright) spoke. For example, the hon. Member said that Members on the Ministerial side of the House were afraid of the mob. He thought that those persons were afraid of the mob who were always flattering the mob. The hon. Member also said that Members on the Ministerial side of the House were afraid of saying things to his face which they said behind his back. On a previous occasion he had given the hon. Member good advice. He now repeated it. The hon. Member had a bad habit of leaving the House after he had spoken. He should stop and listen to what others had to say in reply, and then what would be said against him would be said to his face.


I feel it due to myself, to the constituency I represent, and to the Committee, that I should state clearly the grounds on which my vote will be given. The hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert), in a speech of great taste and delicacy, stated that this was not a party question. I wish I could consider it not as a party question. But whether it is so or not, my course is clear. I cannot, after the part I have taken in this matter, have any other alternative than to give my vote for Her Majesty's Government. I have been a Member of this House for no short period. I represent a constituency inferior to none, so far as the working classes are concerned. There is none which contains a larger proportion of what may be called the élite of the working classes. The language I have used for the extension of the suffrage has been uniform and consistent from the first. It has been this. That I would make no distinction between the rich and the poor, or as between the working classes and the other classes. That I would give a vote to every man who made himself truly, really, and substantially a citizen of the place in which he resided. That language has been uniformly accepted by my constituency. In addressing them last year I said— The rule I have laid down is, that I would give a vote to every man who has a true and substantial interest in the welfare of the town in which he lives. I agree with the late Lord Durham, and with the principles of the Municipal Bill of 1836, which made rating and residence a qualification for every man. To that extent I am prepared to go, and I should not have the slightest objection to confer a vote on every man who pays rates in respect of his residence. At the time I used this language I had not the slightest reason to know that the Government would have adopted this view, or would have brought in any measure of Reform whatever. When I now find that the responsible Ministers of the Crown come forward and make the very proposal which I had myself recommended, and make it even in the very language I used, I should be a craven and a coward if I were to shrink for one moment from avowing the sentiments I entertain. I should forfeit not only my own self-respect, but should hereafter have no right to expect others to place confidence in any opinion I expressed, or place reliance on any principle I laid down as a guide for my own conduct. It is necessarily painful to me to adopt the course I am about to take. But there are occasions in the life of every man when he has to choose between his clear duty and the ties of party. No man feels more strongly than I do the obligations of party; but, at the same time, my duty leads me to the course I take. And now, before I sit down, let me make one remark to my hon. Friend (Mr. Bright) who has just addressed the House. I cannot help thinking that his views on the subject of the borough franchise have been distorted by the very special and peculiar circumstances of the town of Birmingham. His theory is that every man who pays a rent of a certain amount—I believe about 2s. 6d. a week—for his house should be deemed a fit and proper man in all respects for the franchise, and should, without any effort on his part, or the fulfilment of any duty, be placed upon the Parliamentary register; but that every man whose rent should fall below that amount and pay only, say, 2s. 3d. a week, should be deemed one of the residuum of society and be not entitled to the franchise. Now, I have no hesitation in saying that this theory is totally opposed to the feelings of the working classes, and that, on the other hand, the theory of giving a vote to every man who resides in a borough for a certain time and pays his rates, is infinitely more acceptable and intelligible to them. I am quite aware that eloquent and ingenious men may make difficulties and objections to this latter theory of the franchise, or, indeed, to any other proposal; but my opinion is that it is rather our duty to seek to diminish than to exaggerate these difficulties, and it is because I think that the scheme of Her Majesty's Government is sound in principle that I, for one, shall give my vote in opposition to the Motion.


Sir, it will not appear unreasonable on my part, having proposed the insertion of the words upon which we are about to divide, to make a few remarks on some of the speeches of hon. Gentlemen who have preceded me. It was alleged not only by the hon. Member (Mr. W. E. Forster), but by other hon. Members, that there was some ambiguity in the language of the Bill, and especially in the clause relating to compound-householders, which would admit of a conclusion different from that professed by the Government. It appeared to me necessary, when so much controversy was taking place on the subject of compound-householders, and when so many Amendments were either proposed or suggested, that the question should be put before the House, before we came to a decision, in language which could not be mistaken, so that the House might not be at the trouble of discussing the question and arriving at a conclusion, and then find that we had come to a result which none of us contemplated. It was for this reason that I brought forward the amended clauses which dealt largely and completely with the question of compound-householders, and that I placed on the table the Amendment upon which we are now called to divide. That Amendment contains the expression "ordinary occupier." Our meaning in using that phrase was this:—We wished the House, in considering this question, to be under no misapprehension, but to understand clearly that the borough franchise should be conferred upon an individual rated to the relief of the poor and personally paying his rates. About the expression "ordinary occupier" we thought there could be no mistake. To insure that we placed on the table at the same time the enlarged clause respecting the compound-householder with which the Committee is now familiar. Sir, after having heard the prolonged discussion with which we have been favoured, we retain the opinion as strongly as ever that the right principle upon which the borough franchise should be founded is that of personal payment of rates, accompanied, of course, with adequate residence.

The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), who this evening made one of his usual attacks upon the Government, appears to have completely misunderstood the whole principle of the measure. He said, "You come forward, and in the most distinct manner you lay down this proposition, that the borough franchise should be conferred upon those who contribute to the public funds." I deny the correctness of that statement. No doubt, contributions to the public funds is an element, and an important element, in the construction of a Parliamentary franchise; but I deny that we ever laid down that it is the chief element. It is quite possible that the payment of public burdens might be coincident with a position in society which would not qualify a person for the exercise of the franchise. What I said was, that the principle of the Bill was this. That this public function should be conferred on those who fulfil public duties. It is not merely contributing to the public funds, but bearing public burdens which cannot be borne without the fulfilment of a public duty, and being placed in a position of life which admits of the performance of the duties of citizenship, which qualify for the exercise of this function. The whole argument therefore of the right hon. Gentleman, founded on the assumption that we are about to confer the franchise on those who merely contribute to the public burdens, has no foundation. And that is our answer to those who are pressing the claim of the compound-householder, who does not perform those duties which we consider necessary. It may be, however, that the compound-householder is placed in a position in which he is called upon to perform public duties. We believe that the performance of public duties and the bearing of public burdens, even in the humble position which he occupies, is an excellent preparation for the franchise.

But then, it is said that although we have proposed to establish a borough franchise upon this broad and popular principle, we at the same time have connected it with regulations, the object of which is to prevent many persons from enjoying it. I say, what do you propose in this respect? Are you prepared to admit the whole of the inhabitants of houses in those boroughs—the whole of those compound-householders upon whose grievances you so dilate? Are you prepared to admit them all to the enjoyment of that function. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) offered us an argument only this very night, founded on the assumption that all the persons not admitted under this Bill are corrupt. The House might well have been astonished by the argument of the right hon. Gentleman; but the argument of the right hon. Gentleman proving the corruption of the people in boroughs was not half so strong as that of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill.) The whole argument of the hon. Member—which, by the way, was not an argument for Committee at all, or an argument addressed to any clause of the Bill, but an argument against the second reading—was directed in an elaborate manner to prove that the great body of the people in the boroughs of England, especially that portion to whom we do not propose directly to extend the franchise, are corrupt, and that the good Government of the country would be imperilled by their admission. But besides the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member there is the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), who has taken the same line of argument. What does the hon. Gentleman mean by that "residuum" which he described in so picturesque a manner? He means that a very great number of persons ought not, in his opinion, to be intrusted with the franchise—a very sensible conclusion, no doubt. But if that be the view of the hon. Gentleman—and he cannot for a moment deny it, whatever he may say to the "men of Birmingham" in their hall—what becomes of his objection to our Bill? We have a plan by which we think we can obtain the best of those who do not at present possess the franchise. We propose that it should be directly given to those who by the performance of public duties prove that they may be intrusted with the possession of this privilege. We offer it also to another class should they really desire it. There are facile means by which such persons can obtain the suffrage. Ours is a plan by which those who are really desirous and, because so, probably worthy, of the franchise may obtain it. But the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Members all admit more largely than Her Majesty's Government that great numbers of these People are unfit for the franchise. We have heard a great deal about the corruption of the people of England. If I were to listen to the arguments and accept the conclusions of the great Liberal leaders, I should be ashamed of my countrymen. When yon consider the condition of an English constituency nothing can be more preposterous than the conclusions at which those Gentlemen, and especially the hon. Member (Mr. Stuart Mill), have arrived to-night. In one of our previous discussions I showed to the House that in those boroughs which were to a great extent under the influence of those rating Acts the average number of the constituency could not be less than from 2,300 to 2,500 in each. Conceive the expense which must be incurred in paying rates when you have to deal with a constituency to that amount on the average. What is intended by this statement of corrupting a constituency by paying the rates? I think it may be taken for granted that if a constituent had his rates paid for him he would not look upon it as such a great personal benefit that he would expect nothing more. If he did accept the payment of his rates as a public advantage, he would probably look for something more substantial for himself. It is absurd to suppose that electioneering agents will for years be paying rates to the amount of several thousand pounds in those enlarged constituencies, when, speaking practically, that payment of rates, even with the most corrupt motives, could not for a moment be supposed to secure the allegiance of any of those people. This payment of rates can never be perverted to any great extent as a means of corruption. It can only be made a part of a very large scheme of corruption, and, generally speaking, we know even from our experience in this present Parliament, that any of these long and expensively organized schemes of corruption in boroughs seldom succeed. I cannot believe that these allegations against the purity of our fellow-citizens, and these assumptions of general corruption on the part of those whom we have always been told are so worthy of possessing the franchise, have any substantial foundation.

I wish to say one word upon the position of the compound-householder—if the Committee will hear any further discussion upon that subject. I may be permitted to say, for the observation has not yet been made, that after all the criticism that Her Majesty's Government have been exposed to for the manner in which they have dealt with the rights of the compound-householder, it will be found that the compound-householder will possess generally a great privilege which he did not before possess. He will be able to deduct from his rent the amount of the rates that he will be called upon to pay in order to enjoy the suffrage. I come to the statute of 14 & 15 Vict., Sir William Clay's Act. I have already expressed my opinion upon that Act, and the more I have observed its action and considered its character the more I am satisfied that the opinion I have formed of it is not ill-grounded. I must inform the hon. Member Mr. Bright, who to-night interrupted my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Brett)—whose experience in this House is of course not so considerable as that of the hon. Member or my own—that my hon. and learned Friend was perfectly right in the statement that he made, and that the hon. Member—who, by the way, I am glad to see in his place—was not at all justified in the observations he made. I will not set up my memory upon the subject against that of the hon. Member, although we were both in the House at the time the occurrence took place. My own impression, however, is that the 3rd clause in Sir William Clay's Act was interpolated in a manner that was highly disapproved by all persons of authority then in this House. If the hon. Member, who conjured up the phantom of Mr. Spooner, who, he alleges, was the only person who protested against the insertion of that clause, will allow me, I will recall the words which both of us must have heard at the time they were uttered. I have the speech of Lord John Russell upon that occasion in my hands, and I will proceed to read what he then said upon this subject. [Mr. BRIGHT: What is the date?] The speech was made in 1851. I know the hon. Member anticipated that I should forget to bring down this speech, but I was prepared for him. Lord John Russell approved of saving the compound-householder from continuously tendering or paying the rate on every fresh rate being made. But on the 3rd clause, which is now a subject of so much consequence and of so much comment, what is his language? Lord John Russell has always been considered a very great authority upon this subject. His authority was once questioned by the hon. Member for Birmingham; but I congratulate Earl Russell upon the deference which that hon. Member has shown for his authority to-night. Lord John Russell, in speaking of the 3rd clause, says— I think this is a proposition which goes entirely beyond the Reform Act, and one which would give to the person claiming to vote an advantage greater than that possessed by the person who paid the full amount of the rates. The proposition before the Committee was designed to put the compound-householder in as good a situation, but not in a better situation, than the person who paid the full amount of rates. I do not think that the Committee ought now to introduce into the Bill a new principle not contemplated when the measure was introduced; and I hope the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Tower Hamlets will not persevere with his Amendment."—[3 Hansard, cxv. 904.] After that, will the hon. Member say that it was only Mr. Spooner who objected to the clause? Sir, perhaps I ought not to be surprised at the language in which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) spoke of Sir William Clay's Act to-night, although he expressed himself with that fervid violence of which he is so thoroughly a master. The right hon. Gentleman said that Sir William Clay's Act was the opprobrium of our electoral law. [Mr. GLADSTONE: I did not say so.] Here is the litera scripta handed to me. My memorandum not only says "opprobrium," but that the right hon. Gentleman repeated it. This must have been written by one of my hon. Friends who, in a dream, perhaps, after dinner, may have heard the right hon. Gentleman inaccurately. No one, however, will believe that the right hon. Gentleman spoke in a complimentary manner of Sir William Clay's Act. Yet it is this Act which only three hours ago the right hon. Gentleman was describing thus which he complains we are about to touch in our Bill to amend the representation of the people. I am willing to believe that the Act of Sir William Clay was not annihilated by the language of the right hon. Gentleman, and I only hope that the account that reached me of his having charged those who are sitting on this Bench, and who have the conduct of this Bill with "fraud and dissimulalation" is equally inaccurate. I think that that was language we should hardly have expected from any Member of this House. It is severe language for those who are responsible for the conduct of affairs to hear from the lips of a Gentleman who has taken so leading a part in public affairs, and who therefore well knows what the responsibility of conducting those affairs really is. I am bound to say that I understand that the right hon. Gentleman withdrew the words he had used. If the right hon. Gentleman had simply withdrawn the words, they would not have been heard of again from me. But the words were withdrawn in this way. There was a cry of indignation: whereupon the right hon. Gentleman said, "I withdraw the words, but there has been an adjustment of provisions framed with the appearance of giving an extended franchise, while care has been at the same time taken that the apparent extension shall not be realized." I must say, that I prefer the original invective of the right hon. Gentleman. I prefer the invective of Torquemada to the insinuation of Loyola. I prefer to meet the direct charge of "fraud and dissimulation" to being told in language like that which I have just read to the House that we have been guilty of conduct unworthy, in my opinion, of all public men. But forgetting for a moment expressions which I regret have been used, I wish the House would candidly and dispassionately consider the state of parties upon this subject. The right hon. Gentleman last year brought in his Bill to improve the representation of the people. A considerable period was employed in the discussion of that measure, and after a time it was withdrawn. This year we have endeavoured—under circumstances to which I need not refer, and impelled by reasons to which at this period of the Session it is unnecessary for me to advert—to the best of our ability, with great care and with considerable anxiety, if we possibly could to bring about a solution of this question. To-night will decide whether we have failed or not in our purpose. I wish the House calmly and dispassionately to consider the circumstances of the question, without reference to the position of the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends, or that of the existing Government. The right hon. Gentleman tried last year and failed, and if you decide against us to-night, we shall, after having made an arduous and anxious effort, also have failed. But if this question is ever brought before the country—and it is a question that must sooner or later come before it—in what position will Parliament stand, in what position will the public men who are the choice of England stand in reference to it? There will be no policy to guide them beyond the policy you may reject to-night. The right hon. Gentleman not only failed last year in solving the question, but this year, wise with that experience which defeat and time give, he brought forward a counter proposition against the one we are asking you to consider. The House after deliberation repudiated and rejected it. Therefore, if by any chance we should in the course of events appear before our constituencies, there will be but one scheme for them to decide upon. ["Oh!"] There is no counter project. If there is a counter project it is one that must be drawn from the halls of Birmingham, where the hon. Gentleman addresses his constituents in a manner so peculiar, of which we have been forcibly reminded this evening. Sir, we are told, when we have brought forward a scheme which we believe to be calculated to meet the difficulties of the case, so far as these Rating Acts are concerned, that those difficulties can be obviated in a manner much more simple by a clause that will at once supersede, rescind, and repeal all those Acts. That is rash counsel. It is difficult to carry a large and extensive measure of Parliamentary Reform. But that difficulty must be infinitely enhanced if we should attempt to carry a measure of Parliamentary Reform which should at the same time deal with all the Rating Acts of England. Such a measure would be one which the united influence of both sides of the House of Commons would find it no easy task to carry. No doubt, if the constituencies of England, so far as the boroughs are concerned, are built upon the principles—the sound principles, in our opinion — which we recommend, the influence of those principles will gradually and quietly make itself felt upon the legislation which now subsists with regard to the rating of our communities. No doubt great changes will occur in that respect. Those changes will also, without doubt, be assisted and advanced by legislation such as we are now recommending to the adoption of the House. But those changes will be adopted as opportunities occur. Their adoption will be the result of the good sense and temperate feeling and conduct which usually characterize our country men. Not only will circumstances adapt themselves to the new state of affairs, but results will be brought about which will tend to elevate the character of the English people, to promote in them a greater interest in their own affairs, to teach them wiser habits of administration, and to prove to them that the performance of duties is the soundest principle upon which we can found the enjoyment of rights. In trying, Sir, to place this question clearly before the House, I have been obliged to allude to the failure of those who sit opposite; but I have not been tempted to do so from any irritable expressions used towards us in the course of the debate this evening. I will assume for the moment that this Motion may not be successful. I put it to the House to consider how critical the state of affairs must be with regard to this important question if that should happen. On my own part, and on the part of the Government, I most sincerely acknowledge to the House of Commons the candour, and kindness even, with which our proposals have been generally considered. We have felt this the more inasmuch as it has been accorded to us by a House in which we have no claim to the sympathy and the allegiance of the majority, and to whom we can only appeal on the ground that a sincere effort to deal successfully with this question ought to be encouraged and supported from whichever side of the House it may come. In spite of the taunts which have been levelled against us, we have endeavoured to prove the sincerity of our sentiments in this respect, by deferring on every legitimate opportunity to the views and feelings of the House, except where we have been asked to abandon the great principle upon which we have declared our Bill to be founded. That principle, we have had reason to believe, from what has been said in the course of the discussion, is not unacceptable to the House, though there may have been some differences among us as to its application. I admit that this question has been introduced to us tonight by the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) in that spirit of dignity and self-respect which, in all the discussions on this subject, and in the heat of much party controversy, not of an agreeable nature, have never for a moment deserted him. The views he takes, though they appear to me utterly incompatible with the principles which are the foundation of the Bill, deserve and have received the candid consideration of the House. We have done much to meet the views of the hon. Gentleman. We have done as much as was possible, consistent with the principles of the Bill. I regret, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman has felt it his duty—and I am firmly convinced that nothing but such a conviction could have induced him to take such a course—to ask the opinion of the House upon the question. All I can say of the Government is that we have had no other wish in this business than to bring it to a happy conclusion. That wish has not been the result of any desire to retain power or acquire reputation. We have at all times been ready to give to the House of Commons in the conduct of this business that influential position which would show to the country that the measure, if passed, was passed by the House, and not by the Government. I again at the last hour commend this question to the consideration of the Committee, and I still venture to express a hope that with the aid of the House, Her Majesty's Government may succeed in conducting this business to a happy and satisfactory solution.


Mr. Dodson — I am obliged to trouble the Committee with a few words of explanation because the right hon. Gentleman has thought fit to allude to certain expressions of mine, the most important parts of which, he states, he did not hear, and which, consequently, he has entirely misrepresented. In the first place, I will refer to that portion of the right hon. Gentleman's observations in which he says I stated that Sir William Clay's Act was an opprobrium on present electoral law. Sir, I never said anything of the kind. What I did say was that the condition of the compound-householder was an opprobrium on our present electoral law. Considering as I do that whatever improvement has been effected in the condition of the compound-householder is due to the provisions of Sir William Clay's Act, nothing could have been more incorrect than the interpretation which the right hon. Gentleman has placed upom my words. The right hon. Gentleman then says that I imputed "fraud and dissimulation" to Her Majesty's Government; but that on being interrupted by a cry of indignation I withdrew that charge. Now, Sir, during the three months in which this subject has been discussed, I have never, to my knowledge, censured the conduct of Her Majesty's Government with regard to Reform. I reserved my right as a Member of Parliament to enter upon that question at any time it might appear to me that my duty called upon me to do so; but I have advisedly refrained from adopting such a course, nor did I at any time to-night make any such charge against Her Majesty's Government. I certainly did use the words "fraud and dissimulation" as the first words in a sentence, which the eager apprehensions of some four or five hon. Gentlemen prevented me from concluding. Had I been permitted, in accordance with the usual practice of the House, to bring the observations I was making to a conclusion it would have appeared that I had no idea of attributing fraud and dissimulation to the Government. I had intended to describe by those words the impression which I believe was likely to be entertained elsewhere, not of the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in particular, but of the House generally, in case we should pursue a certain course. That is a totally different matter from making a charge of fraud and dissimulation. In consequence of the dissatisfaction of the four or five Gentlemen to whom I have alluded — a dissatisfaction which the right hon. Gentleman has magnified into a cry of indignation—after stating that I did not intend to apply the words to Her Majesty's Government, and finding that they still appeared to be sceptical, I said that I would—for the sake of peace and to prevent misunderstanding—withdraw the words altogether. But I never withdrew the words as the withdrawal of a charge, because that charge I neither made nor intended to make.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 322; Noes 256: Majority 66.

Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Bowyer, Sir G.
Akroyd, E. Brett, W. B.
Andover, Viscount Bridges, Sir B. W.
Annersley, hon. Col. H. Bromley, W. D.
Anson, hon. Major Brooks, R.
Archdall, Captain M. Browne, Lord J. T.
Arkwright, R. Bruce, Lord E.
Baggallay, R. Bruce, C.
Bagge, Sir W. Bruce, Sir H. H.
Bagnall, C. Buckley, E.
Bailey, C. Burrell, Sir P.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Butler-Johnstone, H. A.
Baillie, rt. hon. H. J. Campbell, A. H.
Barnett, H. Capper, C.
Barrington, Viscount Cartwright, Colonel
Barrow, W. H. Cave, rt. hon. S.
Barttelot, Colonel Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G.
Bass, A. Chambers, T.
Bass, M. T. Chatterton, rt. hn. H. E.
Bateson, Sir T. Clinton, Lord A. P.
Bathurst, A. A. Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.
Beach, Sir M. H. Cobbold, J. C.
Beach, W. W. B. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Beecroft, G. S. Cole, hon. H.
Bentinck, G. C. Cole, hon. J. L.
Benyon, R. Conolly, T.
Beresford, Capt. D. W. Packe- Cooper, E. H.
Corrance, F. S.
Bingham, Lord Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Booth, Sir R. G. Courtenay, Lord
Bourne, Colonel Cox, W. T.
Bowen, J. B. Cubitt, G.
Curzon, Viscount Hartley, J.
Dalglish, R. Hartopp, E. B.
Dalkeith, Earl of Harvey, R. B.
Dawson, R. P. Harvey, R. J. H.
Dick, F. Hervey, Lord A. H. C.
Dickson, Major A. G. Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Dillwyn, L. L. Headlam, rt. hn. T. E.
Dimsdale, R. Heathcote, hon. G. H.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Doulton, F. Henniker-Major, hon. J. M.
Dowdeswell, W. E.
Du Cane, C. Herbert, hon. Col. P.
Duff, R. W. Hesketh, Sir T. G.
Duncombe, hn. Admiral Heygate, Sir F. W.
Duncombe, hon. Colonel Hildyard, T. B. T.
Dunkellin, Lord Hodgkinson, G.
Dunne, General Hodgson, W. N.
Du Pre, C. G. Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Holford, R. S.
Dyke, W. H. Holmesdale, Viscount
Dyott, Colonel R. Hood, Sir A. A.
Eaton, H. W. Hornby, W. H.
Eckersley, N. Horsfall, T. B.
Edwards, Sir H. Hotham, Lord
Egerton, Sir P. G. Howes, E.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Huddleston, J. W.
Egerton, E. C. Hunt, G. W.
Egerton, hon. W. Innes, A. C.
Elcho, Lord James, E.
Ellice, E. Jervis, Major
Fane, Lt.-Col. H. H. Jones, D.
Fane, Colonel J. W. Karslake, Sir J. B.
Feilden, J. Karslake, E. K.
Fellowes, E. Kavanagh, A.
Fergusson, Sir J. Kekewich, S. T.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W. Kelk, J.
Floyer, J. Kendall, N.
Forde, Colonel Kennard, R. W.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Ker, D. S.
Foster, W. O. King, J. K.
Fort, R. King, J. G.
Freshfield, C. K. Kinglake, A. W.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Knight, F. W.
Galway, Viscount Knightley, Sir R.
Garth, R. Knox, Colonel
Gaselee, Serjeant S. Knox, hon. Colonel S.
Gaskell, J. M. Lacon, Sir E.
Getty, S. G. Laing, S.
Gilpin, Colonel Laird, J.
Goddard, A. L. Lamont, J.
Goldney, G. Langton, W. G.
Gooch, Sir D. Lanyon, C.
Goodson, J. Leader, N. P.
Gore, J. R. O. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Gore, W. R. O. Lefroy, A.
Gorst, J. E. Legh, Major C.
Graves, S. R. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Gray, Lieut.-Colonel Lennox, Lord H. G.
Greenall, G. Leslie, C. P.
Greene, E. Lewis, H.
Grey, hon. T. de Liddell, hon. H. G.
Griffith, C. D. Lindsay, hon. Col. C.
Grosvenor, Earl Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Lloyd, Sir T. D.
Guinness, Sir B. L. Lopes, Sir M.
Gurney, rt. hon. R. Lowther, Captain
Gwyn, H. Lowther, J.
Hamilton, Lord C. MacEvoy, E.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. M'Kenna, J. N.
Hamilton, I. T. Mackie, J.
Hamilton, Viscount Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.
Hardy, rt. hon. G. Mackinnon, W. A.
Hardy, J. M'Lagan, P.
M'Laren, D. Seymour, A.
Mainwaring, T. Seymour, G. H.
Malcolm, J. W. Seymour, H. D.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Simonds, W. B.
Manners, Lord G. J. Smith, A.
Marsh, M. H. Smith, J. B.
Meller, Colonel Smith, S. G.
Mitchell, A. Smollett, P. B.
Mitford, W. T. Somerset, Colonel
Montagu, Lord R. Stanhope, J. B.
Montgomery, Sir G. Stanley, Lord
Mordaunt, Sir C. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.
Morgan, O. Stock, O.
Morgan, hon. Major Stopford, S. G.
Morris, G. Stronge, Sir J. M.
Morrison, W. Stuart, Lieut.-Col. W.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Stucley, Sir G. S.
Naas, Lord Sturt, H. G.
Neeld, Sir J. Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.
Neville-Grenville, R. Surtees, C. F.
Newdegate, C. N. Surtees, H. E.
Newport, Viscount Sykes, C.
North, Colonel Thorold, Sir J. H.
Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H. Tollemache, J.
O'Neill, E. Torrens, R.
Packe, C. W. Tottenham, Lt.-Col. C. G.
Paget, R. H. Treeby, J. W.
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J. Trevor, Lord A. E. Hill-
Parker, Major W. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Parry, T. Turner, C.
Patten, Colonel W. Vance, J.
Paull, H. Vandeleur, Colonel
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Verner, E. W.
Peel, rt. hon. General Verner, Sir W.
Peel, J. Vernon, H. F.
Pennant, hon. G. D. Walcott, Admiral
Percy, Major-Gen. Lord H. Walker, Major G. G.
Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Powell, F. S. Walrond, J. W.
Pritchard, J. Walsh, A.
Pugh, D. Walsh, Sir J.
Read, C. S. Waterhouse, S.
Repton, G. W. J. Watkin, E. W.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Welby, W. E.
Robertson, P. F. Whalley, G. H.
Roebuck, J. A. Whitmore, H.
Rolt, Sir J. Wickham, H. W.
Royston, Viscount Williams, F. M.
Russell, Sir C. Wise, H. C.
Samuelson, B. Woodd, B. T.
Sandford, G. M. W. Wyld, J.
Schreiber, C. Wyndham, hon. H.
Sclater-Booth, G. Wyndham, hon. P.
Scott, Lord H. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Scourfield, J. H. Wynn, C. W. W.
Seely, C. Wynne, W. R. M.
Selwyn, H. J. TELLERS.
Selwyn, C. J. Taylor, Colonel T. E.
Severne, J. E. Noel, hon. G. J.
Acland, T. D. Aytoun, R. S.
Adair, H. E. Bagwell, J.
Adam, W. P. Baines, E.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Barclay, A. C.
Agnew, Sir A. Barnes, T.
Allen, W. S. Barron, Sir H. W.
Amberley Viscount Barry, A. H. S.
Anstruther, Sir R. Barry, C. R.
Antrobus, E. Baxter, W. E.
Armstrong, R. Bazley, T.
Ayrton, A. S. Beaumont, H. F.
Beaumont, W. B. Forster, C.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Forster, W. E.
Biddulph, Colonel R. M. Fortescue, rt. hon. C. S.
Biddulph, M. Fortescue, hon. D. F.
Blake, J. A. Gavin, Major
Blennerhasset, Sir R. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Bonham-Carter, J. Gilpin, C.
Bouverie, rt. hn. E. P. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Brand, rt. hon. H. Gladstone, W. H.
Bright, Sir C. T. Glyn, G. G.
Bright, J. Goldsmid, Sir F. H.
Bruce, Lord C. Goldsmid, J.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.
Bryan, G. L. Gower, hon. F. L.
Buller, Sir A. W. Gray, Sir J.
Buller, Sir E. M. Gregory, W. H.
Butler, C. S. Greville-Nugent, A. W. F.
Buxton, Sir T. F.
Calcraft, J. H. M. Greville-Nugent, Col.
Calthorpe, hn. F. H. W. G. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Candlish, J. Gridley, Captain H. G.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Carrington, hon. C. R. Grove, T. F.
Carnegie, hon. C. Hadfield, G.
Cave, T. Hamilton, E. W. T.
Cavendish, Lord E. Hankey, T.
Cavendish, Lord F. C. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cavendish, Lord G. Hardcastle, J. A.
Chambers, M. Harris, J. D.
Cheetham, J. Hartington, Marquess
Childers, H. C. Hay, Lord J.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Hay, Lord W. M.
Clay, J. Hayter, Captain A. D.
Clement, W. J. Henderson, J.
Clinton, Lord E. P. Henley, Lord
Clive, G. Herbert, H. A.
Cogan, rt. hn. W. H. F. Hodgson, K. D.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Holden, I.
Coleridge, J. D. Holland, E.
Collier, Sir R. P. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Colthurst, Sir G. C. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Colvile, C. R. Hughes, T.
Cowen, J. Hughes W. B.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Hurst, R. H.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Ingham R.
Crawford, R. W. Jackson, W.
Cremorne, Lord Jervoise, Sir J. C.
Crossley, Sir F. Johnstone, Sir J.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Kearsley, Captain R.
De La Poer, E. Kennedy, T.
Denman, hon. G. King, hon. P. J. L.
Dent, J. D. Kinglake, J. A.
Dering, Sir E. C. Kingscote, Colonel
Devereux, R. J. Kinnaird, hon. A. E.
Dilke, Sir W. Knatchbull-Hugessen E.
Duff, M. E. G. Labouchere, H.
Dundas, F. Layard, A. H.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Lawrence, W.
Dunlop, A. C. S. M. Lawson, rt. hon. J. A.
Edwards, C. Leatham, W. H.
Enfield, Viscount Lee, W.
Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E. Leeman, G.
Esmonde, J. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Evans, T. W. Locke, J.
Eykyn, R. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Fawcett, H. Lusk, A.
Fildes, J. Maguire, J. F.
Finlay, A. S. Marjoribanks, Sir D. C.
FitzGerald, rt. hon. Lord O. A. Marshall, W.
Martin, C. W.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Martin, P. W.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Merry, J.
Milbank, F. A. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Mill, J. S. Russell, A.
Miller, W. Russell, H.
Mills, J. R. Russell, Sir W.
Mitchell, T. A. St. Aubyn, J.
Moffatt, G. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Moncreiff, rt. hon. J. Samuda, J. D'A.
Monk, C. J. Scholefield, W.
Monsell, rt. hon. W. Scott, Sir W.
Moore, C. Scrope, G. P.
More, R. J. Shafto, R. D.
Morris, W. Sheridan, H. B.
Murphy, N. D. Sherriff, A. C.
Neate, C. Simeon, Sir J.
Nicholson, W. Smith, J.
Nicol, J. D. Smith, J. A.
Norwood, C. M. Speirs, A. A.
O'Beirne, J. L. Stacpoole, W.
O'Brien, Sir P. Stansfeld, J.
O'Conor Don, The Stone, W. H.
O'Donoghue, The Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Ogilvy, Sir J. Synan, E. J.
Onslow, G. Taylor, P. A.
Osborne, R. B. Tite, W.
Otway, A. J. Tomline, G.
Owen, Sir H. O. Torrens, W. T. M'C.
Padmore, R. Tracy, hon. C. R. D. Hanbury-
Palmer, Sir R.
Pease, J. W. Trevelyan, G. O.
Peel, A. W. Vanderbyl, P.
Pelham, Lord Verney, Sir H.
Peto, Sir S. M. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Philips, R. N. Vivian, H. H.
Platt, J. Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Waldegrave-Leslie, bn G.
Portman, hn. W. H. B. Weguelin, T. M.
Potter, E. Western, Sir T. B.
Potter, T. B. White, hon. Capt, C.
Power, Sir J. White, J.
Price, R. G. Whitworth, B.
Price, W. P. Williamson, Sir H.
Proby, Lord Woods, H.
Rawlinson, Sir H. Young, G.
Rearden, D. J. Young, R.
Rebow, J. G. TELLERS.
Robartes, T. J. A. Hibbert, J. T.
Robertson, D. Whitbread, S.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Monday next.