§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 3 (Occupation Franchise for Voters in Boroughs).
§ MR. DENMAN
said, that before moving the insertion of certain words in this clause he wished some Member of the Government would explain the meaning of the words "personal payment of rates." He did it from no desire to disturb the decision already arrived at by the Committee, but from the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Brett) had given different meanings to them. The latter said that under the clause it would be necessary for the voter to pay or provide for the payment of his rates. The Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to contemplate actual personal payment by the tenant. The existing law was that if by any fair contract between landlord and tenant the former undertook to pay the latter's taxes, the tenant would be presumed to have paid the rates. But under this Bill it might be held that the tenant would not have done so unless he paid by his own act, or that of some one employed by him. He brought forward this Amendment because he thought great difficulties would arise, and there would be great chances of men losing their votes if the words he objected to were left in the clause. Several revising barristers had told him that if the Bill came before them in its present state they would be obliged to call upon the voter to prove that he, by himself or his servant, had provided for the payment of the rates. By Clause 36 it was made bribery to pay the rates of any person with a corrupt view; but it was held by several Judges in the Court of Exchequer Chamber and by the House of Lords, in "Cooper v. Slade," that where an act was prohibited by Act of Parliament, the word "corruptly" was altogether otiose. It appeared that these two clauses taken together would render it necessary for every man to pay his own rates, and he hoped the Government would agree to an Amendment which could in any event do no harm.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 12, after "year," to insert "bonâ fide," and after "paid," to insert "or cause to be paid."—(Mr. Denman.)
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he could not agree with the hon. and learned Member that the insertion of the words he proposed would do no harm. A great deal of harm had resulted from the insertion of idle words in Acts of Parliament, inasmuch as they raised the very questions it was intended they should settle. Under the present law it was held that payment of a tenants' rates by the landlord was payment of these rates on behalf of the tenant. But, as had already been shown, on the discussion of the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert), the tenant under such an arrangement would come upon the register while his rent, and consequently his rates, might remain unpaid, and his condition might have been such that had he not been a compounder he would have been excused from paying his rates on the ground of poverty. It was to avoid this that the Government had insisted on the personal payment of rates. But the Bill had not the phrase "personal payment of rates." That was a description rather of the Government's intention. The Bill required that a man should be responsible for his rates. It was necessary, in order to come within the provisions of the Bill, that a man should have his name upon the rate book and be personally responsible. Whether he paid the rate with his own hand or by the hand of another, the receipt was made out in his name and his liability ceased from that time. Thus it would be seen the insertion of the words proposed by the hon. and learned Member would probably raise the very question he desired to settle. The case of "Cooper v. Slade," to which the hon. and learned Member had referred, depended upon the words contained in the Corrupt Practices Act. The thing forbidden to be done corruptly in that Act—namely, the payment of money to voters for travelling expenses, was forbidden to be done, whether corruptly or not, in another statute. Therefore it did not matter whether or not there had been a corrupt payment if there had been a payment at all. But in the 36th clause of this Bill the whole stress was laid upon the word "corruptly," and the onus of proof was thrown upon those who sought to establish that the Act was done corruptly. The 3rd clause exactly followed 444 the language of the Reform Act of 1832. He trusted that the hon. and learned Gentleman would regard his explanation as satisfactory, and would not press the Amendments he had proposed.
MR. SERJEANT KINGLAKE
said, he thought it would be very inexpedient to introduce unnecessary and inoperative words into an Act of Parliament. If a person had caused these rates to be paid, could it be said that he had not paid them? He protested against any distinction being made between payment and cause of payment. There was nothing in the Act which required personal payment—the Act required personal rating and personal liability. The moment any Act was performed whereby that liability was discharged, the rate would be held to have been paid by the tenant. He did not think that Her Majesty's Government would object to introduce the words "bonâ fide."
§ SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID
said, he did not think the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) had answered the argument respecting the 36th section. The word "corruptly" applying to that might be considered as otiose. It said—Any candidate or other person, either directly or indirectly, corruptly paying any rate on the part of any voter for the purpose of enabling him to be registered as a voter, or for the purpose of inducing him to vote, shall be guilty of bribery.Could a man pay another's rate for the purpose of inducing him to vote without doing it corruptly?
§ MR. BARROW
said, that he understood by personal rating, personal liability to pay the rate. The enjoyment of the franchise was based on residence, rating, and payment of rates. Where these elements existed the occupant must necessarily possess a direct personal interest in the welfare and good government of the country, and ought to be entitled to the franchise.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, he regarded the insertion of the words "bonâ fide" as essential, but he did not care so much about the phrase "cause to be paid."
§ On Question, the Amendment to insert "bonâ fide" agreed to.
§ Another Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 12, after "paid," insert "an equal amount in the pound to that payable by other ordinary occupiers in respect of,"—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)445
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he had hoped that Her Majesty's Government would have been as satisfied with the Bill in its present form as were the great majority of persons in all parts of the country, without asking the House to have it altered in such a very material portion as that touched by the Amendment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer by his Amendment was creating discontent and dissatisfaction in a case where everybody was content and satisfied with things as they stood. He had gathered from the observations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that evening that he really did not understand the significance of his Amendment. Did he thoroughly appreciate the state of feeling on this point which had been manifested, not only in the metropolis, but throughout all parts of the country? The right hon. Gentleman had expressed surprise that the same satisfaction was not felt with the English as was with the Scotch measure of Reform. The reason was this. The Scotch Bill was applicable to the state of the law in Scotland, where there was one system of rating and paying rates. In England, instead of there being only one system, there were four. There were two general Acts, not agreeing in any of their term. There were a multitude of special local Acts differing from each other and from both general Acts. So that the law differed in different places, and in some cases differed in parts of the same town. The string of words proposed to be introduced could not apply to those varying sets of circumstances. People were amazed that the Government, having prepared a Bill which in its original provisions was perfectly satisfactory, now came down with a proposal to throw everything into confusion. He was astonished at the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in covering this proceeding, suggesting that those who differed from him in the matter were only animated by what he was pleased to term "a factious spirit." Nothing was more unfounded. Twenty years ago the like dissatisfaction was manifested against portions of the Reform Act bearing on this very same subject. Sir William Clay's Act was introduced to meet the evil. The Reform Act of 1832, in many of its provisions, had proved a constant source of irritation from the attempt which it made to mix up two things wholly irreconcilable—the payment of rates with the electoral vote. But Lord Russell always persistently held to the same view, and even his Bill of 1860 exhibited the same defect, 446 and proved an entire failure. As long ago as 1863 the question of the compound-householder was engaging public attention. In June of that year a deputation from the Parliamentary Reform Association sought an interview with Sir George Grey, with a view of representing that the disfranchisement of the compound-householder which had proved successful in London was being attempted in Manchester and other provincial towns, and that unless Reformers were prepared to use their utmost endeavours to preserve this deserving class of voters, there was every probability that the character of the larger constituencies would be materially altered. That statement was made in 1863, and a draft of a Bill to amend the state of the law was prepared. It might be asked, why was it not brought forward? It was pressed on the attention of the Government, but postponed from time to time in expectation of some general measure of Parliamentary Reform being introduced. Last Session the Government, having all the facts before them, were called on to legislate. The consequence was that Lord Russell, against his own expressed convictions of many years' standing, was driven to the conclusion that it was impossible to legislate satisfactorily by any measure connecting the enjoyment of the franchise with a system of payment of rates. The Government made a re-actionary proposal to the demand for the redress of a grievance which had been raised throughout the country during the last twenty years. All was to be done in pursuance of a mere theory—the theory that electors were to undertake personally to pay their rates as a condition of their admission to the franchise. But the doctrine that the right of voting was to be connected with a personal contribution to the burdens of the State would be made the foundation of a new and a more extensive agitation, and would be laid hold of as a justification of universal manhood suffrage. It was difficult to imagine Conservative statesmen putting forward an idea so revolutionary in its character. The theory that any person bearing a share of the public burdens was entitled to a vote led directly to manhood suffrage, for every man bore his share of the public burdens, and was liable in the last resort to be called on for the public defence. The measure would only create discontent and dissatisfaction, and the object which the Government professed to have in view—namely, that of effecting 447 a settlement of the Reform question, would thus be utterly defeated. The people saw clearly what would be the result of the adoption of that proposal. They knew that it was a scheme for placing the franchise, in the first instance, in the hands of a body of landlords ["Oh, oh!"], who would use the law for the purpose of letting in or excluding voters, as they might find convenient. That was the belief which prevailed among the public, as might be learnt from the language held by the members of a recent deputation, which consisted of as respectable and intelligent a body of men as he had ever seen assembled upon any similar occasion. He could not, of course, arrest the career of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but let the right hon. Gentleman remember that although he was carrying his measure by the assistance of Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House, those Gentlemen did not support him upon the same ground as the Members who sat beside him. They reconciled their mode of proceeding to their consciences by this reasoning—they did not care whether what he was doing would satisfy the country or not, because, if it did not, they would be the first to propose its alteration in order to render it conformable to the wishes of the people. The result would be that the House would have to consider the subject again and again, until they were compelled, by the force of public opinion, to strike out from the Bill the words by which it was then proposed that it should be disfigured. If any class of persons were held to be entitled to the franchise, it should be given to them clearly and unmistakably. It should not be made the subject of any of those petty acts and contrivances by which it was sought that the professed object of the measure should be defeated. ["Oh, oh!"] The public would know how to appreciate those arts and contrivances. He was satisfied that when the time of trial came it would be found that a majority of the Members of the House would not be prepared to risk the chance of their re-election by supporting the vicious provision which the Government were then submitting to the Committee.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he hoped the Committee would not allow themselves to be drawn into the discussion of a question they had already so fully considered. The present Amendment was a necessary consequence of the adoption of the words "as an ordinary occupier" on 448 Thursday night, and was framed solely for the purpose of carrying into complete effect those words. It was then settled that the elector must be rated as an ordinary occupier. The provision now before the Committee, that he should pay as an ordinary occupier, followed as purely consequential thereon. Yet they were then asked by the hon. and learned Gentleman to enter again into the whole question of the condition of the ratepaying occupier, including the complicated rights and claims of the compound-householder. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Committee on Thursday night laboured under the mistaken impression that they were discussing a trifling matter. But the hon. Member (Mr. Hibbert) had accepted the Amendment proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as one which afforded a convenient opportunity for discussing the Amendment he had himself placed upon the Paper, and his Amendment was then fully discussed accordingly. The present proposal would merely introduce into the clause a change which necessarily followed from their former decision. He should decline to be drawn upon such an occasion into a discussion of the general question. The Committee would not be deterred by any fears of further agitation from adhering to the conclusion at which they had previously arrived.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, that he now moved the insertion in the clause of the words—in reference to the payment of rates by the occupier claiming the franchise—"and which have been duly demanded of him by the overseer, collector, or other officer appointed for that purpose." Under the law, as it at present stood, the occupier was liable for the payment of the rate on the very day on which it was levied. It often happened that persons did not know when the rate was made, as the overseer might reside four or five miles off, and various other obstacles might present themselves. The result was a practical hardship, and one of a nature which the best and most hardworking of the working classes were the least able to meet. The best workmen would not like to lose their time by going long distances in search of the overseer for the purpose of inquiring whether a rate was made, and when. On the other hand, the worst and least employed of the workmen who might want to obtain a vote for the purpose of making 449 money of it having plenty of time on their hands, would take care to obtain the necessary information, pay the rates, and get a vote. If the rating clauses were not intended to act as an undue restriction, he saw no reason why the Government should object to this Amendment. The object of his Amendment was to remedy the grievance, by imposing upon the overseer the duty of making an application for the rate, and to provide that no man should lose his vote for non-payment, unless such application had been made to him. The Amendment would also have the effect of preventing overseers from exercising partiality in the discharge of their duties. It sometimes happened now that in places where political feeling ran high the overseer would collect the rates from persons on his own side and omit to collect them from the other side.
Another Amendment proposed after "January," to add—
And which have been duly demanded of him by the overseer, collector, or other officer appointed for that purpose."—(Mr. Denman.)
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that the answer to the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend was that there was no reason why the new voters to be created under the Act should have greater facilities than the old ones. The existing law required that the old voter should pay the rate whether it was demanded of him by the collector or not. Why should a difference be made in favour of the new voter? He thought there was no ground for the Amendment.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, he thought it was a gratuitous assumption on the part of his hon. and learned Friend that the overseers were unfairly biassed in the discharge of their duties by political considerations.
§ SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID
said, that he thought the right course would be to apply the present Amendment to all classes of voters alike.
§ MR. BARROW
said, that the overseers were compelled to collect and pay the rate into the bank within a limited time after it was made. As the claim could not be made for six months it was evident that before that period the whole rate must have been collected, or the overseers would stand in an awkward position when the auditor came to examine their accounts. 450 The Amendment, therefore, seemed to him wholly unnecessary.
said, he thought his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Denman) had some reason to complain of the manner—the very impolitic manner—in which his proposal had been met by the learned Solicitor General. The Government proposed a clause relating to the new voter. His hon. and learned Friend said, "Give in that clause a certain relief to the new voter;" and the Solicitor General reproached him because he did not relieve the old voter. Let the Government extend the same privilege to the old voter. The answer of the Solicitor General amounted to this:—"The old voter is under a grievance. You are going to remove the grievance for the new voter, and I contend that the new voter should remain under the grievance also." Was it a grievance or was it or not? Last year, when the late Government were engaged in considering whether it was expedient or not to repeal what was called the ratepaying clauses, they took occasion to inquire into what was the practice in the different boroughs of the country with respect to them, and they found that in various boroughs they were turned to this use. Where there was an unscrupulous overseer, he called upon his own friends and gave them an opportunity of paying their rates, and he did not call upon his opponents to pay the rates, and they therefore missed the opportunity of paying. They could not deny that this abuse occurred from time to time. The argument of the Solicitor General was quite irrelevant, because it was obvious they could not deal with the old voter in a clause wholly relating to the new, and if it were thought right to extend this relief to the old voter, the time to do that would be when they came to the consideration of preserving the existing rights of franchise. He could not imagine anything more impolitic than the hon. and learned Gentleman's objection. ["Oh, oh!"] It might not be impolitic in the sense supposed by the hon. Gentleman who now interrupted; but it was impolitic in this sense. For him, and probably for his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Denman), this was a small matter. They thought the clause incurably bad in its fundamental principles, and therefore they might be under some temptation to let it go forth with all its faults rather than to make amendments with the view of introducing into it some small improvements. The present suggestion in 451 no way interfered with the efficiency of the clause, and surely it would effect a practical improvement. It did not in the slightest degree call in question the principle of the clause, nor did it mar what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General regarded as its beauty, and what he thought was its incurable deformity. The suggestion would, however, render the clause a little less unpalatable to the country, and therefore he hoped it would be adopted by the Government.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, it was a curious phase in the discussion of this question that hon. Gentlemen opposite were filled with a suspicion that everybody concerned would be guilty of some great wrongdoing. First, it was thought that the occupiers were so thoroughly vicious that they would not make a claim, but suffer some persons corruptly to make it for them. Next it was supposed that the landlords would run the voters up in their rent. Now it was suggested that the overseers would corruptly abstain from doing what was clearly their duty—namely, to demand the rate. Those who made use of such an argument clearly forgot that an overseer would hardly like, for the sake of making a political arrangement, to run the risk of rendering himself subject to heavy penalties for not collecting and paying in the rate. It was incumbent upon an overseer to demand his rates in the ordinary course of things, and to render his accounts to the Poor Law Auditor when the proper time came round. It was suggested, however, that in consequence of some political arrangement between the overseer and the new voters he would neglect to do his duty, which would raise all sorts of controversies before the revising barristers. For his own part, he was quite satisfied that the clause would work very well as it stood. If there were any question of rating it ought to be dealt with under the Rating Act. He thought it was taking a low view of the state of society to assume that every one was inclined to do wrong.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, that the Solicitor General had argued that because it was the duty of the overseer to collect the rates with an impartial hand, therefore he did it. The fact was that he very often failed to do so, and there ought to be no opposition to a proposal which would have the effect of keeping him up to his duty if he were inclined to neglect it. As a matter of fact it was well known that while the rates of the political friends of the overseers 452 were actually collected, those of his political opponents remained frequently uncollected, with a view to their disfranchisement.
§ MR. WHALLEY
said, he hoped that the obvious reasonableness of the proposal would be regarded by the Government as a ground for acceding to it. Undoubtedly it was the fact that in some boroughs where political feeling ran high the overseers might be at all events open to the suspicion of using their power for the purpose of interfering with the election.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, he hoped the Government would not persist in their opposition to the Amendment. Many on his side were prepared to support the Bill if this were conceded. He had had occasion to speak to his own overseer on the subject, and the conclusion at which he had arrived was that the overseer ought, as a matter of course, to demand the rate.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that though there might not be any considerable objection to a proposal made in Committee, yet the Committee ought not to be hurried in assenting to it if not well matured. He did not pretend to be a gentleman of the long robe, and he confessed that when he read the language of the Amendment respecting the rates being "duly demanded," he felt a wish to be favoured by the legal acumen of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Denman) with a precise definition of the meaning of the words "duty demanded." In his own imperfect knowledge on the subject he should have thought that the moment a rate became due it might be "duly demanded." Assuming his interpretation to be correct, he could conceive that by adopting the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Committee might be agreeing to a clause of extreme rigour and strictness, and one which might prove most unpopular and inconvenient. He could not think that the language proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to be adopted by the Committee. He was perfectly willing that the whole constituency should be treated, as far as possible, in the same way. But if the Committee adopted the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, wholly irrespective of the objection he had just taken, it would affect the new and not the old constituency, and would be about as blundering a piece of legislation as could well he conceived. If the hon. and learned Gentleman could, after due deliberation, propose a clause 453 which would affect equally the new and the old constituents, it should be taken into consideration, and if it were framed in language which could be understood, the Government would make no objection to it. At the same time, he must say that the language now offered for adoption by the Committee respecting the rates being "duly demanded" would lead to much inconvenience, and that instead of accommodating and facilitating the progress of affairs, it would greatly embarrass the people, who would be called upon to make these contributions. He trusted the hon. and learned Gentleman would perceive that, although his proposal was very well intended, yet it was couched in language which might well be re-considered. If, however, he would frame a clause applicable alike to the old and the new constituencies the Government might be able to assent to it without difficulty. If the hon. and learned Member insisted on pressing the Amendment now before the Committee he should feel it his duty to oppose it.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, he would at once accept the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman, and would, he hoped, answer the observations that had been made conclusively and to the satisfaction of the Committee. He was quite ready to bring up a similar clause applicable to the old voter. That could be done at any stage of the Bill. But it was absolutely necessary, if the proposal he had submitted was to be carried in regard to the new voter, it should be inserted in the place he proposed, because the clause defined the rates which were to be made payable by the voter as a condition of his obtaining a vote. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Amendment would impose an additional rigour upon the voter. But he apprehended this would not be so, because now no rates could be payable until a reasonable time after the rate had been made. That was the law applicable to all such matters. In order to meet the challenge of the right hon. Gentleman he was willing to add the words, "in the manner hereinafter mentioned," so that his Amendment would run thus—And which have been duly demanded of him by the overseer, collector, or other officer appointed for that purpose, and which have been demanded of him in the manner hereinafter mentioned,leaving it to the Government to propose the manner in which the demand should be made.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that if the words "duly" and "overseer, collector, or other officer" were struck out of the Amendment, so that it might read "and which have been demanded of him in the manner hereinafter mentioned," these words might be added, and a clause applicable to both the old and the new voters could be introduced at a subsequent stage.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, he wished to ask whether Government would throw upon him the responsibility of preparing the clause or would themselves undertake it?
§ The following words were added to the clause:—"and which have been demanded of him in the manner hereinafter mentioned."
MR. M'CULLAGH TORRENS
moved the following Amendment to sub-section 5 of the same clause after the word "January:"—Who being of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, or as a lodger has occupied in the same Borough separately and as sole tenant for the twelve months preceding the last day of July in any year lodgings being part of a dwelling-house, which lodgings would let unfurnished for ten pounds a year, and has resided in such lodgings during the six months immediately preceding the last day of July, and has claimed to be registered as a voter at the next ensuing registration of voters.He said, he believed the House was anxious to come to a decision upon this question with as little surplusage of words as possible. He would not therefore reiterate the arguments he had previously brought forward. He had on the former occasion, when introducing the subject, stated that without some such clause as he now proposed the Bill would be ineffective for London and other towns. It had on both sides been admitted that the principle of a lodger franchise was not incompatible with the scope and purpose of the Bill. What the Committee had then to consider was the figure at which such a franchise should be fixed, and the machinery by which it was to be acquired. He believed that a very great majority of those who sat on the Liberal side of the House were of opinion that £10 a year was not an unreasonable point at which to fix the lodger franchise. The hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) had given notice of an Amendment 455 which coincided with his own, except that it named a sum of £15, instead of £10. As he (Mr. Torrens) could not agree to this he must divide upon it. The hon. Member had suggested that the words "in the same borough" should be added to the clause, and though that was a restriction of what he should like to obtain for the inhabitants of the metropolis he should not oppose it. [Mr. GOLDNEY: The words I would suggest are "within the borough."] It was well known that in London one side of a street was in one borough and the other side in another, and there might therefore be some difficulty to the revising barrister if some such words were not inserted. The hon. Member also proposed that any person who had inhabited the same lodging, being part of the same dwelling-house, for twelve months, and having the other qualifications provided, should be entitled to the franchise; but that was a very serious curtailment of the right founded upon the analogy to the case of the householder. The householder might acquire the right by living six months in one house and six months in another in the same borough, provided they were of the same value, and the lodger ought to have the same privilege. It might be said that as lodgers were more migratory in their habits, some distinction ought to be drawn between them and householders, and if the hon. Gentleman could show any reason why that distinction should be made he would consider it; but it would be a deviation from the principle that the rights acquired under the Bill should as far as possible be equal. Then, again, with respect to the question of value. He had heard it said that hon. Gentlemen opposite intended to found an argument upon the ground that in some districts of London it was not possible to go lower down in the scale than £10, or 4s. a week, and that it would not be desirable to include the very lowest grade. This was not, however, the fact. Though there were some districts in London where excessive and rapid demolition had deprived the population of adequate house accommodation, so that it was impossible for Christian men or women to find lodgings to live in at a lower rent than 4s. a week, there were many parts of the metropolis where decent lodgings could be obtained at a less rent. He had directed an inquiry to be made respecting the house accommodation in six contiguous streets in Clerkenwell, where the houses were not exceptionally 456 high-rented or low-rented, and in those six streets there were 315 houses, in which 369 separate lodgings were occupied by individuals or families. The Amendment which he proposed would enable 229 of those persons to claim to be put upon the register, while 140 would be excluded on account of paying a less rent than 4s. a week. But the proposal of the hon. Member, limiting the franchise to lodgers who paid £15 a year for rent, would render capable to claim to be put on the register only eighty-seven of the lodgers he had referred to, and would exclude 282. If, then, hon. Members were not in earnest in a desire for the establishment of a lodger franchise, let them support the Amendment of his hon. Friend. But if they meant to enfranchise any considerable number of those persons who were not able to occupy entire houses for themselves, they would vote in favour of the £10 lodger franchise. There was no reason to fear that the lodger franchise would not work well in London. It was well known that gentlemen occupying chambers in the Inns of Court, and paying no rates, as Lincoln's Inn and the Temple were extra parochial, were registered as electors for the apartments they rented. He had never heard any question raised as to the solvency of the occupiers, and the non-payment of rates was no practical disability. Under these circumstances, he trusted the Committee would adopt his Amendment.
In page 2, line 15, after the word "January," to add the words "or
Who being of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, as a lodger has occupied in the same Borough separately and as sole tenant for the twelve months preceding the last day of July in any year lodgings being part of a dwelling house, which lodgings would let unfurnished for £10 a-year, and has resided in such lodgings during the six months immediately preceding the last day of July, and has claimed to be registered as a voter at the next ensuing registration of voters."—(Mr. M'Cullagh Torrens.)
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, that the introduction of a lodger franchise had to some extent met the favour of the Committee, and therefore that principle need not at the present moment be discussed. He wished the persons who were placed on the roll to be respectable artizans, and not another class who would swamp them. In respect to the case of Clerkenwell, the hon. Member, whose exertions to obtain better dwellings for working men he readily acknowledged, had forgotten this fact— 457 that although they were proposing to admit in every house a certain number of lodgers who occupied for a certain value and complied with other requisites, they did not take away the original claim of the occupier of the house himself. It had been generally admitted in the Registration Courts, that although a man might let a large portion of his house, yet if he retained the control, and paid the rates, he retained his own vote. The proposal now made was to add other votes to that of the occupier, and that would not merely be adding 140, but increasing 315 to 445. In considering the question of value this fact must be borne in mind, that the lodger paid nothing more than his rent. He was not called upon to pay rates, repairs, water rates, or insurance. If the qualification was fixed at £15 the amount he would be required to pay would be not more than 5s. 9d. per week. He had extended his investigations into this subject into different portions of the metropolis—St. George's, Westminster; St. George the Martyr, Southwark; Bermondsey, Islington, St. George's-in-the-East, and Bethnal Green. The result of his inquiries was this—that in Westminster, the very lowest single rooms were let at 4s. or 5s. a week. The general charge for two rooms—and the Committee would be of opinion that not less than two should entitle to a vote—for two rooms on the ground floor was 7s. 6d.; on the first floor, 8s. to 9s., and in the attic, 5s. 6d. He had ascertained that it was impossible to obtain two decent rooms for 6s., and many which might be designated as cells, let at 4s., 5s., and 6s. In St. George the Martyr a decent mechanic could not obtain two rooms for less than 6s. a week, and he was shown single rooms occupied by paupers who paid from 2s. 6d. to 3s. a week. He mentioned these facts to show the class of people who would be introduced to the register at the rent of £10 a year, or 3s. 10d. per week. In Bermondsey, two tolerably decent rooms might be obtained for 5s. or 6s. a week. No two decent rooms could be obtained for less than 4s. In the model lodging-house of Mr. Waterlow, the lowest price for two rooms was 4s. 6d., the next price was 5s. 6d., the next 6s. 6d., and some were 7s. 6d. In Islington, he found that two rooms might be obtained for 4s. 6d., but they were looked upon as people of an inferior grade who occupied them, and the general price was 5s. 6d. or 6s. As a general rule, a working man was fairly able to apportion about one-fifth of 458 his earnings for house-rent; but taking the general class of good mechanics who earned from 35s. to 40s. a week, even putting their wages as low as 30s., they would be able to pay a sum representing £15 a year, or 5s. 9d. a week, for that purpose. If they lowered the lodger franchise to 4s. a week, they would bring in a class of labourers who would almost wholly swamp the class of skilled artisans. The words which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) last year introduced into his proposed lodger franchise were "an annual value of £10;" but the words proposed by the hon. Member were "the sum for which the lodgings would let unfurnished." In his explanatory statement last year the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) said that the annual value ought to be irrespective of rates, furniture, and the ordinary outgoings which an occupier had to meet. Therefore, £10 annual value, when they took into account rates and those other outgoings, would be brought up to a letting sum of about £15. They must also bear in mind that rents were rising, and still likely to rise, and that the difficulty experienced was not in finding tenants, but in finding lodgings. In Bermondsey, a rent of 5s. 6d. per week would be increased if repairs were asked for by the tenant. A lodging franchise of 5s. 9d. a week would give a fair sample of an artizan. But if they went down to 3s. 10d. a week a class of mechanics would present themselves whom it might not be desirable to introduce. He proposed to move, in substitution of the Amendment of the hon. Member, after "January," to insert—Or being of full age, and not subject to any legal incapacity, as a lodger has occupied separately, and as sole tenant for the twelve months preceding the last day of July in any year, the same lodgings, being part of one and the same dwelling-house, which lodgings would let unfurnished for £15 a year, and has resided in such lodgings during the twelve months immediately preceding the last day of July, and has claimed to be registered as a voter at the next ensuing registration of voters.
§ MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he would suggest that the words "being of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity" should be omitted from the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens') Amendment, as those words were already contained in the earlier part of the clause, and would equally apply to householders and lodgers should a lodger franchise be adopted.
§ Words struck out.459
§ MR. GOLDNEY
moved to insert in the third line of the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens') Amendment, after the word "year," the words "the same" before "lodgings."
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that the metropolitan Members ought to be under a deep obligation to the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney) for the trouble he had taken in visiting the neighbourhoods in question, and making himself acquainted with the state of the dwellings of the artizan class. For he fell confident that he had not undertaken that task simply with a view to that debate, but in order to assist the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens) in his efforts to improve those dwellings. There were, however, several points which the hon. Gentleman did not seem to have included in his inquiries. For instance, he had not dwelt much upon the question of furniture, and the guarantee offered by the possession of furniture. Were the lodgings he had inspected furnished or unfurnished lodgings? Again, were the lodgers whom he had seen such lodgers as would reside for a year in the same place, or were they migratory lodgers, who would not be qualified under the Bill? The hon. Member had chiefly spoken of the weekly rents, holding up 4s. a week as a very low rent. But a Bill had been introduced that night giving the franchise to householders in Scotland who paid a rent of 1s. 7d. a week. In London there were scarcely any householders in that position. The corresponding class must live in lodgings. In London there were only 33,000 male occupiers of houses under the £10 line. As far as the working man was concerned it was impossible for him to hire a whole house, except in very rare cases, for himself. The great majority of working men in the metropolis would not obtain votes except as lodgers. They could not procure houses within their means, and those virtues which might be exercised by the holder of a small house in the country could, therefore, not find expression in the metropolis. The ideal voter, in the eyes of hon. Members opposite, seemed to be a man who lived in a little house in a little town, and paid his rates himself. But what were they to do in London, where there were no little houses? [An hon. Member: Build them.] The working man was at present in this difficulty. In bad neighbourhoods the small houses were numerous, but the artizan might not like to live in them and bring up his children, amid the sights and sounds they must there encounter. 460 In the good neighbourhoods the houses were beyond his means, and if he became a lodger in them he would not have a vote. The question was whether, if they took the £15 line, an adequate number of working men would be admitted. The hon. Gentleman had not told them whether lodgers who had good furniture of their own and who stayed a considerable time in their lodgings could not obtain their rooms at a lower rent than those whose furniture was bad and who remained but a few weeks. Knowing something of the dwellings of the working classes in London, he could state that there were tenements where at 5s. a week two rooms, exceedingly well furnished and perfectly fit for any artizan, his wife, and two children, were inhabited by a class whom nobody would wish to exclude from the franchise. In London it was not optional with a man whether he would be a lodger or not. It was quite natural that hon. Members opposite, who were more or less afraid of the compound-householder, should look upon a lodger as something rather worse, and should be still more afraid of conferring the franchise upon him. But why did men live in lodgings? Sometimes because they could not find houses. Sometimes because they were bachelors, and surely there were such things in the world as respectable bachelors. He was not prepared to deny that there might be greater weight and greater political virtue in married men, and that they were better able to perform their duties to Church and State, besides being personal ratepayers. But he thought the House would be going too far to look into these niceties. Why should they require him to have two rooms if he only needed one? They now found themselves resting upon an entirely different footing to that on which they stood last year. They had given up the doctrine of numbers, and therefore need not know how many lodgers would be enfranchised. The doctrine of numbers had been abandoned when it had served its purpose of defeating the Bill of last year, Nor need they ask into which class these lodgers would fall, because the argument of the balance of classes had also been wisely abandoned, after it had served its purpose of defeating the late Government's Bill. Unless a franchise of this kind were granted, however, the best part of the working classes of the metropolis would not be able to obtain the franchise. It 461 would be desirable for hon. Members to remember what had happened to the £6 householder. Hon. Members on the opposite side of the House had been asked over and over again to consent to the admission of £6 householders, but they had refused it, and the consequence was that now their own Government had to propose to admit all householders, potentially if not actually. If they wanted a settlement of the question—and they all knew that the most anxious desire for a settlement was above all things swaying the House, and sometimes, according to the views of some of them, hurrying them on to decisions which they would afterwards regret—if that desire for settlement was considered, they could do nothing better than accept a £10 lodger franchise, rather than a £15 franchise, otherwise they would be certain to experience that which they had experienced in the case of the householder. In the next Parliament a £7 lodger franchise would be proposed, and in the end a Conservative Government would probably have to come forward to propose that all lodgers should be enfranchised, and when they had admitted all lodgers and all householders, they would have something like manhood suffrage. A refusal to grant the £10 franchise now would only lead to a continual agitation for a lower franchise.
§ SIR RAINALD KNIGHTLEY
said, that some time ago the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) stated that the Bill of the Government was based upon a principle, and that to that principle they were prepared to adhere. He would like to ask upon what principle was the Bill now based as to the lodger franchise? They had been told usque ad nauseam—even this evening, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer repeated the "oft told tale"—that the principle of the Bill was the personal payment of the rates and the abolition of a hard and fast line. But they were now adopting a hard and fast line, and abolishing the personal or any payment of rates. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) said that the Conservatives had abandoned the balance of classes after turning out the late Government. He (Sir Rainald Knightley) wished to ask the Conservative Government what was the object of establishing household suffrage with the personal payment of rates for one class of occupiers, and no personal payment of rates for another class of occupiers? Was that the object 462 which they (the Conservatives) had in view in turning out the late Government? Did they reject the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) last year because it did not go far enough? He would venture to say there was not a single Gentleman on that (the Ministerial) side of the House who spoke against that Bill who did not object to it because it went too far. It was argued last year that if the Bill then before the House was passed they would be stranded on the shoal of universal suffrage, and that that would be the greatest misfortune that could possibly happen to the country. He was aware of the difficulty in which the Government were placed at the commencement of the Session, and that if they had not brought in a Reform Bill they would have been defeated by an Amendment to the Address. It would have been better for the Conservative party and the character of public men for the Government to have accepted that defeat and the party to have gone into Opposition than to have abandoned the position they had taken on this question.
§ MR. THOMAS HUGHES
said, the question before them was one of the most important they had yet had to consider. He hoped that the exertions of landlords and Societies would bring about a better state of things than that which existed, and that rents would fall. A lodger franchise of £15 would be an extremely inadequate one. There were many large blocks of houses being erected upon the property of the Marquess of Westminster, in which a man could rent a couple of rooms for 3s. 6d. per week. Those rooms were good enough for any person. They were quite as good as he should ever wish to live in, if he were a single man and wanted lodgings. It was a great mistake to calculate the ordinary income of the skilled artizan in London as ranging from 33s. to 36s. per week. Though he might receive that at some periods of the year, the general average of his wages was not more than 24s. a week. Taking one-sixth of that for house-rent or for his lodgings, he could not afford to pay more than 4s. a week. If, then, they took the higher figure of £15 for the lodger franchise, they would exclude at least two-thirds of those people whom it was the professedly sincere wish if both sides of the House to enfranchise—the better class of the skilled artizans of this country.
§ MR. SCHREIBER
I wish to state very frankly and very briefly to the Committee 463 the difficulty in which I find myself in this matter of the lodger franchise. My understanding of the situation, Sir, is this. We, who sit upon these Benches, have finally abandoned the defence of the existing borough franchise, because £10 is a figure and not a principle. We have accepted in its stead a principle, independent of amount, which has been stated with the utmost precision to be this—"that the discharge of a public duty should confer the enjoyment of a public privilege." Measure the lodger franchise by this standard—What duty does a lodger discharge? Ratepayers I know, and taxpayers I know: but who are lodgers? Again, what principle is there in £10 or £15 which would withstand the first assault on the amount? If you ask me what figure I should prefer, I should answer that all alike are so utterly indefensible, that I should prefer that which is least likely to be attacked. That is a condition which is certainly not satisfied by the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney). I hope, Sir, I shall not be understood in these remarks as reflecting upon those whom this franchise would introduce upon the register. In my opinion, thee would compare not unfavourably with the rated occupiers below £10. Generally, I think, their introduction would have a Conservative effect on the constituencies. That, certainly, would be the case in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. But I am not prepared, Sir, to purchase a personal advantage at the cost of the whole principle of the Bill I am supporting. I shall therefore vote against the proposal of the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens), against the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney), and against every proposal of the same nature, until the lodger is presented to me in the character of one who claims "a public privilege by the discharge of a public duty." I may, perhaps, be in a minority; but at least, I shall not be illogical and inconsistent. And if some day manhood suffrage enters by the door of the lodger franchise, I shall remember with satisfaction that I, for one, did my best to close that door against it.
§ MR. LOCKE
said, that the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney) had referred to the parish of St. George the Martyr, in Southwark, as to the lodger franchise. He had been informed by a medical gentleman who had had long experience in the parish that numbers of artizans occupied rooms at 4s. a week fit for their families to live 464 in. He thought, therefore, that the insertion of £10 in the clause would be sufficient. Among many of his constituents that sum was thought too high.
I understood the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goldney) to say that if the words at the end of the clause of last year "of the clear yearly value of £10," were adopted, and the clear yearly value were taken, he would agree to the proposal of my hon. Friend (Mr. Torrens).
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, the words in the Bill introduced last year he had stated were irrespective of rates and furniture, which would bring the lodger franchise to very nearly the same amount as he proposed.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Bill which he introduced in 1859, which was not successful, proposed £20 as the figure for a lodger franchise. That included furniture, attendance, and I do not know what besides. In all probability, deducting all these things, the proposal of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goldney) now is considerably higher than that of the Government of that day. Therefore I hope that, considering we have made so much progress in other things, we shall not go back in this. There is another point. As you are lowering the franchise so much with regard to householders, it is quite clear that you will not act logically, nor in the direction of a settlement, if you do not, at any rate, bring down the lodger franchise correspondingly low. Although I think you might in the provincial towns, and even in London, have reduced it below £10, yet as that appears to be the sum which the House has looked to, and which the public have looked to, I would ask the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goldney) to accept that figure accompanied with the words in the Bill of last year. If he would do so, I should recommend my hon. Friend below me to allow his proposition to be altered accordingly.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, that from the calculations he had made he believed that the alteration now proposed would bring the franchise nearly to the same amount as that which he proposed. Therefore, if the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Torrens) would introduce the words "£10 annual value," he was willing to withdraw his Amendment.
MR. M'CULLAGH TORRENS
said, he would be glad to save the time of the Committee by accepting these words if it met the views of the Government.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I think it very desirable that, if possible, we should come to an understanding upon this subject without a division. There is, no doubt, a wish on both sides to establish this franchise, and if it can be established without any great difference of opinion I shall be extremely glad. I must, however, notice one or two observations which I think were not conceived in that spirit, and which by an elaborate and painful recurrence to past times have not assisted us, though I trust they will not impede us, in arriving at the conclusion which I feel no doubt the good sense of the House will adopt. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) seems to me on all subjects connected with the franchise to have a feeling of pique respecting what occurred last year, which I think it would be discreet in him at least to veil. He cannot calmly consider the question of the extension of the franchise without referring to the unexpected and, in his case no doubt, mortifying consequence of the decision of the House last year. The right hon. Gentleman has reminded us of this before, and I then passed it unnoticed. I think, therefore, that I have a right to notice it now; because although on a particular occasion one may not think it well to retaliate, still, if repeated, it is for the convenience of society that such things should not always pass unnoticed. The right hon. Gentleman has taunted us with last year arguing the whole case of the increased Parliamentary franchise of the people, first from the fear of a Bill founded upon the numerical principle, and next from the influence it would give to a particular class. Now, I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Government of which he was a member commenced their labours last year upon this subject by laying upon the table a blue book full, no doubt, of the most valuable information, accumulated with the greatest care, and, I believe, brought before the notice of Parliament with the greatest impartiality. What was the object of these researches? It was to show that certain measures would not produce the dangers which might be anticipated by us, and would not let in the numbers we feared. That was the first object. The next was to show that a certain class already had a certain power, and therefore we were to consider whether it was just that we should increase the influence of that particular class—the working class. These were the materials placed 466 by the Government before the House of Commons in order that they might form their opinion. The Government drew our attention to the influence of numbers and classes upon the constituencies. They might be right. I do not say they were not right. That is not the point. But it is not for them to reproach us now, and say that we last year introduced considerations arising from the influence of numbers and classes. In placing such documents voluntarily on the table as materials from which we were to form our opinion, the Government themselves called our attention to these two very points, the influence of numbers and the power of classes. An hon. Baronet (Sir Rainald Knightley) who sits on this side of the House—who still does us that honour—has indulged in invective which by repetition becomes more perfect, and attacks us because he says we are going to accept the proposal of the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney) which he says we have so solemnly reiterated that we never would accept. In this, as usual, he makes a mistake. He calls upon my noble Friend (Lord Stanley), who may be signing Protocols at this moment, to vindicate his pledges that he, for one, would never deviate from the principle of the Bill, which was the personal payment of rates. The hon. Baronet is not for a moment, I suppose, prepared to contend that the payment of rates is the entire principle of this Bill. [Laughter.] Does any Gentleman who laughs pretend that it is the entire principle of the Bill? Is it the principle of the franchise which is founded on the possession of a sum in the savings bank? Is it the principle of the franchise which is founded on the possession of a certain amount in the public funds? Is it the principle of the franchise which is founded on the payment of a certain amount of direct taxes? What my noble Friend said, and what we all said, was, that with regard to the exercise of the most important franchise of the Bill, to which the observation alone referred—the borough franchise—we were of opinion that it should be founded on the personal payment of rates. That is a principle which is not relinquished, and which we shall not relinquish. I cannot, therefore, understand the taunt of the hon. Baronet when he says that the personal payment of rates is the foundation of all the franchises in this Bill. With regard to the lodger franchise, the principle of such a franchise bas been accepted by the 467 House, and the only thing that remains is how to apply it in a satisfactory manner. I thought after listening to the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens), who spoke with personal knowledge which my limited experience confirms, that, when he described the residences and the households he had visited, the payment of 5s. a week would be a very good foundation for a franchise of this kind. My hon. Friend (Mr. Goldney) has expressed a willingness to accept an Amendment which has been thrown out from the other side, which I believe will practically cause the same result. I will therefore throw no obstacle in the way. It is, I think, very desirable that the House should come to an understanding on this subject without a division. There is a feeling of great urgency on the part of the majority of the House, whatever may be said by some outside, to come to a decision on this subject and to carry the Bill, and I now hope we have arrived at a conclusion that will be satisfactory to the country.
§ Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment, in line 6, to leave out the word "six," in order to insert the word "twelve,"—(Mr. Goldney,)—instead thereof.
MR. M'CULLAGH TORRENS
said, it was fair to ask the lodger to be twelve months in occupation, but not ill residence. It would give sufficient security against evasion of the law. He trusted the hon. Member would not press his proposal.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, it was only fair to ask from the lodger the same term of residence as other voters. The lodgers were not the migratory class which had been represented. He had made inquiries among lodgers in Westminster, and he found that many of them had resided in the same rooms for three, four, and five sears together. A residence of twelve months was therefore not too much to require.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, that the lodger had been already placed under a disadvantage as compared with the householder. He was required to occupy the same lodgings for a year, whereas the householder might change his house. As the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens) had made concessions already, it was only fair that he should be met in a corresponding spirit by the other side. There were Members of Parliament who were lodgers. He was not sure that there were not Cabinet Ministers. If they left at the end of the Session there would be occupation but not 468 residence. A residence of six months, then, ought to satisfy the Committee.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, that the other night he explained what was meant by occupation. The House laughed at it, and some pet lawyers got up to contradict it. When he went home he looked into his books, and found, as he generally did, that he was right. He wanted to ask the hon. Member (Mr. Torrens) what he called residing in lodgings unless a man had a bed and an opportunity of living there. A man who had lodgings could not occupy them without sleeping in them. He wanted to know, therefore, what was meant by a residence of six months? The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of Members of Parliament as lodgers. But if a Member of Parliament could not afford to keep his lodgings while he was away, they did not want him as a voter. He (Mr. Serjeant Gaselee) could not understand why a lodger should have only six months' residence when a householder must have twelve.
§ MR. BRETT
said, it was well known to all revising barristers, and it had been confirmed by the Court of Common Pleas, that a man might occupy a tenement, such as a warehouse or shop, without residing in it, and why not a lodging? A man might occupy by putting his servant on the premises, without residing there himself. There was some misapprehension on the part of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen), and other hon. Members, with regard to the legal effect of the term residence. It had been held, not by revising barristers only—and he was one for some years—but also by the Court of Common Pleas, that the mere fact of a man leaving his house for a certain time, if he had the intention of returning, did not break the residence. A gentleman having a house—his going away for a short time into the country, or on the Continent, with the intention of returning, did not constitute a break of residence. The same principle would apply to lodgers, including the working man when he went to another part to discharge a particular duty, but still paying for and intending as soon as he had performed it to return to his original lodgings.
§ MR. SERJEANT GASELEE
said, a man might occupy a shop by keeping his goods there, but he could not occupy a dwelling-house without living in it. He begged to tell the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brett) that he had been a revising barrister 469 before the hon. and learned Gentleman, and his position was that there was a difference between occupying a shop and a dwelling-house.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, he could tell the hon. Member (Mr. Goldney) from his own experience that if he had inquired more closely he would probably have found that the persons in Westminster who told him they had lived three, four, and five years in the same lodgings had given up their lodgings some portion of that time. The lodger franchise existed in Scotland since the passing of the Reform Bill, and he found that lodgers who had been there four or six years in lodgings invariably went on excursions into the country, gave up their lodgings, and did not pay rent continuously for twelve months. If a twelve months' residence were inserted in the clause, it would disfranchise four out of every five lodgers.
§ Question put, "That the word 'six' stand part of the proposed Amendment."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 145; Noes 208: Majority 63.471
|Acland, T. D.||Edwards, C.|
|Adam, W. P.||Eliot, Lord|
|Amberley, Viscount||Enfield, Viscount|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.|
|Aytoun, R. S.||Evans, T. W.|
|Baines, E.||Ewing, H. E. Crum-|
|Barclay, A. C.||Eykyn, R.|
|Barnes, T.||Fawcett, H.|
|Barry, C. R.||Fildes, J.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||FitzGerald, rt. hon. Lord O. A.|
|Blake, J. A.|
|Brady, J.||Forster, C.|
|Bright, J.||Forster, W. E.|
|Bryan, G. L.||Fortescue, hon. D. F.|
|Buller, Sir A. W.||Gaselee, Serjeant S.|
|Buller, Sir E. M.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Candlish, J.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Gladstone, W. H.|
|Carington, hon. C. R.||Glyn, G. G.|
|Carnegie, hon. C.||Goldsmid, Sir F. H.|
|Cave, T.||Goschen, rt. hon. G. J.|
|Cavendish, Lord E.||Gower, hon. F. L.|
|Cavendish, Lord F. C.||Gray, Sir J.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Greville-Nugent, A. W. F.|
|Chambers, T.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Childers, H. C. E.||Gridley, Capt. H. G.|
|Clive, G.||Gurney, S.|
|Cowen, J.||Hamilton, E. W. T.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Hankey, T.|
|Crawford, R. W.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Cremorne, Lord||Hayter, Capt. A. D.|
|Crossley, Sir F.||Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.|
|Dalglish, R.||Henderson, J.|
|Denman, hon. G.||Hodgkinson, G.|
|Dering, Sir E. C.||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Devereux, R. J.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Hurst, R. H.|
|Dunlop, A. C. S. M.||Jervoise, Sir J. C.|
|Kennedy, T.||Potter, E.|
|Kinglake, A. W.||Potter, T. B.|
|Kingscote, Colonel||Price, R. G.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen E.||Price, W. P.|
|Labouchere, H.||Pritchard, J.|
|Layard, A. H.||Proby, Lord|
|Lawrence, W.||Robertson, D.|
|Leatham, W. H.||Rothschild, Baron L. de|
|Leeman, G.||Rothschild, Baron M. de|
|Lefevre, G. J. S.||Russell, A.|
|Lewis, H.||Russell, H.|
|Locke, J.||Russell, Sir W.|
|Lusk, A.||Samuelson, B.|
|M'Laren, D.||Seymour, A.|
|Martin, P. W.||Sherriff, A. C.|
|Milbank, F. A.||Stansfeld, J.|
|Mill, J. S.||Stone, W. H.|
|Mitchell, A.||Synan, E. J.|
|Moffatt, G.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.||Taylor, P. A.|
|Monk, C. J.||Vanderbyl, P.|
|Morris, W.||Villiers, rt. hn. C. P.|
|Morrison, W.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Murphy, N. D.||Vivian, Capt. hn. J. C. W.|
|Neate, C.||Waring, C.|
|Nicholson, W.||Warner, E.|
|Norwood, C. M.||Watkin, E. W.|
|O'Beirne, J. L.||Weguelin, T. M.|
|O'Brien, Sir P.||Whalley, G. H.|
|O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.||White, hon. Capt. C.|
|Otway, A. J.||White, J.|
|Palmer, Sir R.||Wyld, J.|
|Peel, A. W.||Young, R.|
|Peto, Sir S. M.|
|Philips, R. N.||TELLERS.|
|Pim, J.||Torrens, W. T. M'C.|
|Portman, hn. W. H. B.||Hughes, T.|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Capper, C.|
|Akroyd, E.||Cartwright, Colonel|
|Archdall, Captain M.||Cave, rt. hon. S.|
|Arkwright, R.||Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.|
|Bagge, Sir W.||Cobbold, J. C.|
|Bagnall, C.||Cole, hon. H.|
|Barnett, H.||Cole, hon. J. L.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Colvile, C. R.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Conolly, T.|
|Barttelot, Colonel||Cooper, E. H.|
|Bass, A.||Corry, rt. hon. H. L.|
|Bass, M. T.||Cox, W. T.|
|Bateson, Sir T.||Cubitt, G.|
|Bathurst, A. A.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Beach, Sir M. H.||Dent, J. D.|
|Bentinck, G. C.||Dick, F.|
|Benyon, R.||Dimsdale, R.|
|Beresford, Capt. D. W. Packe-||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Dowdeswell, W. E.|
|Bernard, hn. Col. H. B.||Du Cane, C.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Duncombe, hon. Col.|
|Bowen, J. B.||Dunne, General|
|Bowyer, Sir G.||Dyke, W. H.|
|Brett, W. B.||Dyott, Colonel R.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Eaton, H. W.|
|Bromley, W. D.||Edwards, Sir H.|
|Brooks, R.||Egerton, Sir P. G.|
|Bruce, C.||Egerton, hon. A. F.|
|Bruce, Sir H. H.||Egerton, E. C.|
|Bruen, H.||Egerton, hon. W.|
|Buckley, E.||Elcho, Lord|
|Burrell, Sir P.||Fellowes, E.|
|Buxton, Sir T. F.||Fergusson, Sir J.|
|Campbell, A. H.||Forde, Colonel|
|Forester, rt. hon. Gen.||Manners, Lord G. J.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Meller, Colonel|
|Galway, Viscount||Montagu, rt. hn. Lord R.|
|Garth, R.||Montgomery, Sir G.|
|Goodson, J.||More, R. J.|
|Gore, J. R. O.||Mordaunt, Sir C.|
|Gorst, J. E.||Morgan, O.|
|Grant, A.||Morgan, hon. Major|
|Graves, S. R.||Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.|
|Gray, Lieut.-Colonel||Naas, Lord|
|Greenall, G.||Neeld, Sir J.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Neville-Grenville, R.|
|Grey, hon. T. de||Newport, Viscount|
|Griffith, C. D.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Grosvenor, Earl||North, Colonel|
|Gwyn, H.||Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.|
|Hamilton, rt. hon. Lord C.||Packe, C. W.|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J.||Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Hamilton, Viscount||Parker, Major W.|
|Hardy, rt. hon. G.||Parry, T.|
|Hardy, J.||Pease, J. W.|
|Hartley, J.||Pennant, hon. G. D.|
|Hartopp, E. B.||Pugh, D.|
|Harvey, R. J. H.||Rearden, D. J.|
|Hervey, Lord A. H. C.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Hay, Lord W. M.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Hay, Sir J. C. D.||Robertson, P. F.|
|Henniker-Major, hon. J. M.||Rolt, Sir J.|
|Herbert, hon. Col. P.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Scourfield, J. H.|
|Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M.||Selwin, H. J.|
|Holford, R. S.||Selwyn, C. J.|
|Holmesdale, Viscount||Severne, J. E.|
|Hood, Sir A. A.||Seymour, G. H.|
|Hope, A. J. B. B.||Simonds, W. B.|
|Hornby, W. H.||Smith, A.|
|Howes, E.||Smollett, P. B.|
|Hubbard, J. G.||Somerset, Colonel|
|Huddleston, J. W.||Stanhope, J. B.|
|Hunt, G. W.||Stanley, Lord|
|James, E.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.|
|Jones, D.||Stock, O.|
|Karslake, Sir J. B.||Stronge, Sir J. M.|
|Karslake, E. K.||Stuart, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Kavanagh, A.||Stucley, Sir G. S.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Sturt, Lieut.-Col. N.|
|Kelk, J.||Surtees, C. F.|
|Kennard, R. W.||Surtees, H. E.|
|King, J. K.||Sykes, C.|
|King, J. G.||Taylor, Colonel|
|Knight, F. W.||Thorold, Sir J. H.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Treeby, J. W.|
|Knox, Colonel||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Knox, hon. Colonel S.||Turner, C.|
|Lacon, Sir E.||Vance, J.|
|Laing, S.||Vandeleur, Colonel|
|Laird, J.||Walker, Major G. G.|
|Langton, W. G.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Lanyon, C.||Walrond, J. W.|
|Lascelles, hon. E. W.||Walsh, A.|
|Leader, N. P.||Waterhouse, S.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Whatman, J.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Whitmore, H.|
|Liddell, hon. H. G.||Wise, H. C.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col. C.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Lowther, Captain||Wyndham, hon. H.|
|Lowther, J.||Wynne, W. R. M.|
|MacEvoy, E.||Yorke, J. R.|
|M'Kenna, J. N.|
|Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.||TELLERS.|
|M'Lagan, P.||Goldney, G.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Powell, F. S.|
§ Question, that the word "twelve" be inserted, put, and agreed to.
§ Amendment to substitute "clear yearly value" for "£10 a year," agreed to.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that he had no objection to the clause which the hon. Member (Mr. Watkin) had placed upon the Paper. He trusted, therefore, unless the hon. Gentleman anticipated considerable opposition, that he would allow the Committee to proceed. There was only one other proviso—namely, that which stood in the name of the hon. Baronet (Sir Francis Goldsmid), and which provided that no man should under this clause be entitled to be registered as a voter by reason of his being a joint occupier of any dwelling-house. To that also he had no objection, as it was quite in accordance with the spirit of the Bill. If the consent of the Committee could be obtained to those two additions that night, this celebrated Clause 3 would be passed. In that case he would, when the House again went into Committee, move that the other clauses to Clause 34 be postponed. They might then settle the question of compound-householders, and thus end everything connected with the borough franchise.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, that under these circumstances he begged to move, without making any observation, the proviso of which he had given notice.
§ MR. NEATE
said, he objected to the course proposed, and moved that the Chairman report Progress. The Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Watkin) raised the most important principle in the Bill, and did not settle it. He objected to a house of two rooms being authoritatively stated by the House of Commons as a fit residence for a citizen of England. When the Amendment was discussed he should propose to add other qualifications.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Watkin.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 48; Noes 235: Majority 187.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he hoped after this division they might agree to pass the clause. ["No, no!"] It was very easy to say "No, no!" but he wished to hear some reason. Nobody voting on the Ministerial side wished in any way to be an obstacle to free discussion; but he hoped the Committee 473 would proceed with an Amendment to which there was no opposition, and then pass the clause.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, he would move "that no tenement should be considered a dwelling-house for the purposes of the Act, which contained less than two rooms." No civilized being should live in less than two rooms.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he thought that the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman was of no small importance. Many hon. Gentlemen had left the House under the belief that no further Amendment of importance would be proceeded with at that hour. ["Oh, oh!" and cries of "Gladstone!"] He was not ashamed to say that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) was among them. He appealed to the Committee whether progress ought not to be reported. The Amendment of the hon. Gentleman affected the metropolis considerably. Not only a dwelling-house, in the sense of a separate house should confer a vote, but a part of a house separately rated should also confer a vote. There might thus be an apartment in a flat capable of accommodating a single man, which might be tenanted by a perfectly competent person, and yet the Amendment would exclude him from the franchise. It was not necessary there should be two rooms, provided the one was of a sufficient value. Certainly, the point was of too much importance to be decided at so late an hour.
§ MR. PEASE
moved, as an addition to the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Watkin), the words, "And that the said two rooms shall not, together, contain less than 1,600 cubical feet." He said that he thought that this was the smallest space in which human beings could live in moral and physical decency, and he trusted that the Committee would accept his Amendment. Various building societies were at present building rooms larger in size than those he would secure by his addition to the Amendment.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, he considered that the Committee ought to report Progress. At an earlier stage some reference had been made to the case of flats in a house—as in those in Victoria Street—and of chambers in the Inns of Court, and the point involved was assuredly worthy of consideration. He ventured to suggest to both hon. Members that for the present they should withdraw their Amendments, provided the Government were 474 willing to consider how far in the interpretation clause the phrase "dwelling-house" would be found to meet what was thought desirable in this matter.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, that all he wanted was to assert a principle, so that a hovel might not be ennobled and dignified by having the franchise attached to it. Several Gentlemen sitting on the front Opposition Bench had characterized his Amendment as hasty; but it had been on the Paper for a great many weeks, and he was sorry that they should have paid so little attention to it. He sincerely trusted the Committee would support him. He was quite willing to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Pease). This was a moral and social as well as a political question.
§ MR. THOMAS HUGHES
said, that if the Committee agreed to the course just advocated a large number of competent voters would be disfranchised. He himself voted for Finsbury three times; but he only occupied one room there. The Amendment had been brought on by surprise, and to his knowledge several hon. Members had left the House under the impression that it would not be brought on to-night. He knew of several curates in London who lived in one room, and he was aware that many single artisans did the same. Under these circumstances, he moved that the Chairman report Progress.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I am not disposed to oppose the Motion of the hon. Member (Mr. Hughes), not, however, that I at all sympathize with the motive that has induced him to bring it forward. The notice of the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Watkin) has been upon the table for some considerable time, and every hon. Member has had an opportunity of forming an opinion upon it. The House might by this time have fairly discussed and come to a division upon the question during the hour which has been wasted—an hour which at this period of the Session was of great importance. It would, however, be most unwise were the Government, in the face of an active minority, to attempt to force the House into an expression of its opinion upon the question, under present circumstances, notwithstanding the large majority in favour of passing the clause now. When I consider the great labours of the House, and when I recollect that we have advanced to this stage of a great question on the whole with great good temper, I cannot 475 refuse to assent to the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, though I do so with regret.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Thursday next.