§ Lords' Amendments considered.
§ Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 24, line 32, agreed to.
§ Page 24, line 32, the next Amendment, read a second time.
§ MR. M'LAREN
said, the Lords had made an Amendment in the Definition Clause, which enabled him to move an Amendment thereon, within the rules of this House. He should briefly explain the objects of the Amendment. It was agreed, when the Bill was in the House of Commons, that all the words about rating should be struck out. That was done in all the other clauses; but in the Definition Clause, by an oversight, the alteration was not made. The Definition Clause says a house shall "include any part of a house occupied as a separate dwelling, which dwelling is separately rated to the relief of the poor," whereas the clauses of the Bill made it sufficient that a householder should be placed on the Valuation Roll, and not in arrear of poor rates, to entitle him to the franchise. In Edinburgh this definition would disfranchise 4,500 persons who occupied premises of a less value than £4—premises which were not rated and which, therefore, could not have paid the rates of the poor; and he believed there were other burghs which were similarly situated. The effect of the Amendment he had to propose, would be to suspend the operation of the rating sentence in the clause during the present year; and all the parties affected could be rated next year. What he now proposed was merely to add the words, "after the expiration of the present year, and," in the place pointed out after the word "levied." In the city he represented there were 4,500 householders who would not enjoy the franchise under the Amendment during the present year, because the Poor Law authorities did not think it worth while to lay on and collect the small rate they might have obtained from those persons; but he apprehended that the House was most anxious that every man who was a householder should be placed on the register.
§ Amendment proposed, to add to the said Amendment the words "after the expiration of the present year and."—(Mr. M'Laren.)
THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, one of the main principles of the Bill was that no person should be entitled to be put upon the register who did not pay to the relief of the poor. In the course of the discussion, however, it was agreed that the test of being rated to the relief of the poor should not be insisted on that year; but the Lords have made an alteration in the clause, by which that object was to be effected; and the result was that certain parties were not at present entitled to be put on the register because they had not been put to the test of paying to the relief of the poor. There was no doubt, however, that they would be entitled to be put on the register in future years, after they had been put to the test.
§ MR. BOUVERIE
said, he thought the hon. Member for Edinburgh had done good service in the Amendment he had brought forward, because the clause to which he had drawn attention was inconsistent with the Amendment which he himself proposed, and which was carried during the earlier part of the discussions on the Scotch Reform Bill. He did not think the matter ought to be passed over in quite so light and airy a manner as that in which it had just been dealt with by the Lord Advocate; and, for his own part, he should support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edinburgh.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
said, he hoped the hon. Member for Edinburgh would persevere in the Amendment he had proposed, and that it would meet with the acceptance of the House.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
said, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Edinburgh was one to which he trusted he might express a hope that the Lord Advocate would agree.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 124; Noes 104: Majority 20.
§ Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
§ Several other Amendments agreed to.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER moved that the House should disagree with an Amendment made by the 920 Lords in the clause relating to the voting at University elections by striking out the words, "who is personally known to me." Those words made the magistrate declare that he was personally acquainted with the voter who came before him, and they would therefore operate as an additional safeguard against personation. As the omission of the words would lessen the security against that species of fraud, he hoped the House would retain them.
§ One disagreed to.
§ Committee appointed, "to draw up Reasons to be assigned to The Lords for disagreeing to the Amendment to which this House hath disagreed:"—Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, The LORD ADVOCATE, Mr. DISRAELI, Mr. Secretary GA-THORNE HARDY, Sir JAMES FEROUSSON, and Sir GRAHAM MONTGOMERY:—To withdraw immediately; Three to be the quorum.
§ Reason for disagreeing to Lords' Amendment reported, and agreed to.
§ To be communicated to The Lords.