HC Deb 11 June 1868 vol 192 cc1404-44

(Mr. Secretary Gathorne Hardy, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir James Fergusson.)

COMMITTEE. [Progress, June 28.]

Older for Committee rend.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 (Alteration of Boundaries of old Boroughs).


, in rising to move an Amendment to carry out the recommendation of the Select Committee, said, that when the Boundary Bill was previously before the House he had moved the omission altogether of the 4th clause. He had regarded the appointment of a Select Committee as a kind of compromise. He had thought that that Committee had been appointed with the full consent of the Government, and that whatever conclusions they might arrive at would be accepted by the Ministry. He regretted to find that this was not the case. The Committee had acted with diligence and impartiality, and the Government would be justified in at once accepting their Report in the place of the recommendations of the Commissioners. What the Government had to do was to expedite the remaining business of the Session as much as possible; and that would best be done by accepting the recommendations of the Committee; because otherwise there must be considerable discussion and a great deal of time must be lost. The object of his Amendment was to carry out entirely the recommendations of the Select Committee so far as the towns named in it were concerned. With regard to these fifteen boroughs, the Committee recommended that the boundaries should not be altered. The Commissioners had certain Instructions given to them by the House, but they were very vague and indefinite, and were certainly such as to allow the Commissioners to make the recommendations they had done. The House, however, when they came to legislate on matters of a permanent character, were justified in not laying down boundaries that would not give satisfaction. In the case of Oldham, which was something like eighteen square miles in extent, the Commissioners recommended that the borough should include an adjoining district with about 6,000 inhabitants; but the Assistant Commissioner recommended a still further extension—namely, the addition to Oldham of a considerable portion of agricultural Yorkshire, because some houses lay on the other side of the border of the county. The Assistant Commissioner had an opportunity of stating his views before the Select Committee; and, as Member for Oldham, he had himself also appeared before them, and the Committee had recommended an alteration of the boundary of Oldham that had been proposed by the Commissioners, and that was satisfactory to most of the parties concerned, There were fifteen large towns in regard to which the Committee recommended no alteration of boundaries, among which were Birmingham, Manchester, Wigan, Nottingham, and others. The Committee had the Assistant Commissioners before it, and also the Members for those places, together with the memorials from the inhabitants; and the conclusion to which it came—at which he was not surprised—was that, so great was the difficulty of making extensions of those large towns that it would he better their boundaries should not at present be dealt with, but be left over till some future time. When the House considered what a borough was, it would see that the Committee was perfectly justified in its conclusion. Some persons; thought a borough represented trading and commercial interests, and a county agricultural interests; but if they looked into the facts they would find that to be far from the truth. Our whole borough system was a complicated system of anomalies. The boroughs of largest area were agricultural, and the smallest were mercantile and manufacturing. That made it very difficult to deal with the boundaries Of the English boroughs, there were eighty in which there were more acres than houses, and it could not be said that they represented trading and commercial interests. For example, Cricklade comprised fifty parishes, and had an average of twenty acres to each house. New Shoreham, Wenlock, and Wilton presented illustrations of the same character. It was not easy to say what a borough really was; and when they came to deal with places like Liverpool, Manchester, and Marylebone a very great difficulty must arise in extending their boundaries. The Commissioners had proposed to add to constituencies already overgrown populations of 20,000 and 30,000, which, if they had a claim to be represented, were entitled to have a separate Member for themselves. If the recommendations of the Commissioners were adopted in their entirety they would land us before long in electoral districts. The Report of the Commissioners carried us a step further to electoral districts, but to electoral districts that were decidedly unequal. He would take the case of Liverpool, which by the last Census had 443,000 inhabitants, and was supposed now to contain 500,000. Its present number of electors was 20,618, and by the Reform Act of 1867, 20,000 additional persons would be eligible to get upon the register, which would give a total of something like 40,000 voters. Well, the Boundary Commissioners recommended that West Derby and several other adjacent districts, having together a population of 43,233, should be added to the already overgrown borough of Liverpool. If that outlying population was to have justice done it, it wanted an additional Member. Again, the borough of Birmingham contained 350,000 inhabitants; it had 15,000 electors, and it was supposed that under the Bill of last year 35,000 more persons would be eligible to be put upon the register. The Commissioners proposed to add to the existing boroughs, Aston with 20,000 inhabitants, and Balsall Heath with another 10,500. The people of Aston had memorialized the House against the annexation, 4,500 of its male inhabitants having signed the memorial; and the people of Balsall Heath bad also petitioned very numerously against it. The inhabitants of those districts admitted that they were engaged in trade, and formed part of the town of Birmingham; but they claimed, if they were to be represented, to have a Member of their own. Then, Manchester had 383,000 inhabitants with 21,000 electors already, and upwards of 35,000 more persons eligible to become electors under the new Reform Bill, thus giving a total constituency of some 57,000 voters. At present Manchester had boundaries which were well-known and properly defined; but the Commissioners proposed to add to it portions of seven townships with 37,000 inhabitants—a very objectionable proceeding. Indeed, the Commissioners admitted that to draw the boundary in the case of Manchester, so as to include all the outlying places which ought to be included, was a matter which presented very considerable difficulties. It could not be otherwise, because it was impossible to say where one town ended and another began. There were, he might add, other instances not connected with such large towns as he had mentioned, which he might lay before the Committee in support of the view which he took, but which he would not trespass upon their time by mentioning. He would, instead, briefly advert to the difference of population which would, if the scheme of the Commissioners were carried into effect, exist between counties and boroughs. Middlesex had now a population of only 368,424 persons, but the new borough of Chelsea and Kensington would take from it a considerable number of that population; and, as if that were not sufficient, it was proposed to abstract from it 28,000 more, and add them to Marylebone. Again, in the case of South-West Lancashire, which had now a population of only 263,000, it was proposed to take out of that number 20,000 and add them to Liverpool, which had already a population of 500,000, and which would then have 520,000 inhabitants, while West Lancashire would have only 243,000. It ought, he thought, to be left to a future Parliament to say how the case of those larger towns should be dealt with; and to determine whether the plan of dividing them would not meet the difficulties which beset the question better than adding great numbers to places which were already overgrown. Instead of finding fault with the recommendations of the Committee, he thought the House ought to express its thanks to them for getting it out of a difficulty. He hoped, therefore, his present proposal would receive the assent of the Committee.

Amendment proposed, In page 3, line 16, to leave out the words "old Boroughs specified in the First Schedule to this Act annexed shall be altered in manner therein mentioned," in order to insert the words "viz. Abingdon, Ashton under Lyne, Aylesbury, Barnstaple, Bath, Bewdley, Blackburn, Bolton le Moors, Bridgwater, Brighton, Cambridge, Chatham, Cheltenham, Chester, Chichester, Cirencester, Coventry, Derby, Droitwich, Dudley, Durham, Exeter, Finsbury, Gloucester, Greenwich, Guild-ford, Halifax, Hastings, Hertford, Huddersfield, Kidderminster, King's Lynn, Kingston upon Hull, Lewes, Macclesfield, Monmouth District, Morpeth, Newport (Isle of Wight), Northampton, Oldbam, Oxford, Penryn and Falmouth, Peterborough, Plymouth, Preston, Richmond, Rochdale, Salisbury, Stafford, Stamford, Stoke upon Trent, Stroud, Sunderland, Taunton, Wakefield. Walsall, Wilton, New Windsor, Worcester, Beaumaris District, Cardiff District, Cardigan District, Carmarthen District, Carnarvon District, Denbigh District, Flint District, Merthyr Tydvil, Pembroke District, Swansea District, shall be altered in manner specified in the First Schedule to this Act annexed,"—(Mr. Hibbert.)


said, he thought a considerable amount of time might be saved in discussing the comparative merits of the Reports of the Committee and the Commission if the decision as to which of them should in the main be adopted were taken upon the Amendment which had just been moved. The hon. Gentleman in moving that Amendment advocated the adoption of a principle totally different from that proposed by the Commission in dealing with the large boroughs, and he should briefly state why he differed from the views which he had advanced. In doing so he would take the case of Birmingham, with which he was best acquainted, and which he regarded as affording a good illustration of the question at issue, premising that he believed the hon. Member for that town was very much the originator of the appeal which was made from a Parliamentary Commission to a Select Committee, and that he had managed to indoctrinate that Committee with the principle which he advocated. ["No, no!"] That was his opinion, and it was of the utmost importance that the Committee should be clearly aware of the issue before it, which was whether those large towns throughout the country which had greatly increased since they had been enfranchised should be treated as integral towns, or whether, to follow out the hon. Member's own view, a new system of representation should be commenced in this country, tending to the creation of electoral districts, and having for its basis the representation of numbers. [Mr. BRIGHT: That is not my principle at all.] Birmingham, us the Committee knew, had very largely increased in size and population since it was enfranchised, and there was the singularity about its case, that none of the reasons applied to its disintegration which had been so clearly stated a few nights ago by the Chairman of the Select Committee as having induced him and his Colleagues to arrive in particular instances at the new idea of ignoring the growth of towns. It was, in the first place, alleged that a borough should have some property in that portion of the town which it was proposed to identify with it. Now, the borough of Birmingham had property in Aston to a very considerable extent. It had bought its principal park there, and its rates and jurisdiction extended over it. It was, in the next place, contended that there should be identity of interest and character between the old borough and the part of the town proposed to be amalgamated with it. In the case of Birmingham there was the most perfect identity in every respect, so that no distinction could he drawn between the one and the other. In fact, it was impossible to draw any line between that part of the town which it was proposed to include and the old borough, It was further contended that it was important that the political and municipal boundaries of a borough should coincide; but surely a very easy way of doing that was after rectifying the one to bring the other up to it, But how, he would ask, did the hon. Member for Birmingham wish the Committee to deal with the town which he represented? In the first place, by means of the influence which he most deservedly possessed in that House, he had last year succeeded in procuring for Birmingham an additional representative on the ground of the increase of its population. Now, he should not waste the time of the Committee by protesting incidentally against the principle which, under the influence of the hon. Gentleman, had been, he thought, too much adopted by the House, that representation should simply be measured by the number of a population, who should be indicated by Members per so many thousands to act as mere counters in a division, and not, as heretofore, give a voice to every locality to take part in a consultative council. But, be that as it might, it required the audacity of a party who consider themselves possessed of a dictatorial majority to make the monstrous proposition that the representation of a town should first be increased on the ground of its increased numbers, and in the same breath to contend that the numbers in the represented area should not be increased at all. ["No, no!"] Hon. Members might cry out "No!" but that was the fact, Birmingham had had a third Member heaped on it upon the numerical principle and now its increased numbers were refused to be included in the represented borough. He must also call attention to the point upon which great stress was laid by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire—that the investigations before the Select Committee was not mi appeal from the decision of the Commissioners, because the Select Committee had fresh ground on which to form their judgment. It was true, on the contrary, that the Committee were not so well-informed as the Commissioners, and had not the same grounds to form their judgment on. But what constituted the fresh ground? Why, the wishes of the inhabitants of districts proposed to be added to boroughs; but the wishes of the inhabitants had never before been considered as an element of consideration in deciding the question of enfranchisement or disfranchisement, which question had always been governed by great reasons of State. It seemed to be absurd to appeal to the wishes of the inhabitants of suburbs; for their wishes, no doubt, were that they might enjoy the advantages of an adjoining borough without being subject to increased taxation. He was present during the inquiry before the Assistant Commissioners at Birmingham, and he could state that that was the sole objection which any portion of the contiguous community had to be identified with the rest of their town. It appeared indeed from this that the value attached to the franchise was not considered equivalent to the burden it entailed; but such calculations were out of place in deciding the representation of a town. But what he chiefly wished to expose was the contrast between the grand principles of extension of the franchise enunciated by professed Reformers, and their resistance to any such extension when it comes in their way. The hon. Member for Birmingham had placed himself before the House and the country at large as the advocate of the greatest possible extension of the suffrage. The hon. Member had taken to himself the credit of the Reform Act of last year, and, in blowing his own trumpet as the champion of Parliamentary Reform, he had insisted that the essential principle was that in a free country the greatest possible number should have the rights of citizenship. He enunciated that principle in the Liverpool Theatre only a fortnight ago. But applying that principle to the present question as relating to Birmingham; if Birmingham were treated as an entire locality a great accession of numbers would be the result of the Bill of last year: 6,200 inhabitants would have the franchise given to them, if the town had been treated as the Commissioners proposed to treat it. But the hon. Member for Birmingham's grand principle was abandoned by him as soon as he found that it would operate against his object to keep half the town of Birmingham for leavening the county with. He prefers, with two Colleagues, representing only half the town, that the other half may get two more Members by swamping the county. Town and county are so far different interests, that the one has always been considered the movement, the other the conservative interest; and to crush the latter the franchise of 6,200 citizens is sacrificed though they were considered the more intelligent of the two. He hoped that the hon. Member would never enunciate those grand principles again, now that we knew the difference between his principles and his practice; and that when he found an extension of the suffrage inimical to his interests he became as active a disfranchiser as he had ever depicted the extremest Tory to be. The hon. Member was arguing the other day in the spirit of Pericles "that it was essential for the success of a free country that in every part the greatest number possible should take an interest in public affairs." But across this noble sentiment now intervened the object of the hon. Member to swamp the influence of the country. The hon. Member felt, no doubt, that the present limits of the borough of Birmingham was quite sufficient to carry three of his senatorial indexes of population, and he wished to reserve one-half of the community which could not be distinguished from the other half, in order that four more counters on his side of the House of Commons might be got out of Birmingham in the name of the county constituencies of Warwickshire and Worcestershire, so that, in fact, Birmingham would have seven representatives—three elected for half the town and two for each of the adjoining county divisions. For his (Mr. Adderley's) part he preferred to sustain the recommendation of the Commissioners, and he maintained that those who did so were the real Reformers. On the broad principle of extending the franchise to the greatest possible number, the Ministerialists were now proved to be the Reformers, and the Opposition the disfranchises. If the principle of the Committee were adopted enormous numbers in the aggregate of the boroughs now under discussion would be excluded from the franchise; while large numbers would be admitted if these urban areas were included in the boroughs to which they belonged, and were properly recognized, as in fact they are, according to the Report of the Commissioners, The unwieldy size to which some of these boroughs had grown was no argument for using parts of them to swamp the counties, though it might be an argument for dividing the Largest towns, such as Manchester and Glasgow, into two urban constituencies. He had treated Birmingham as a sample of the other boroughs, and as a sample he considered that it afforded a strong and unanswerable argument in favour of the recommendations of the Commissioners and against the proposal of the Committee to upset them, and in the division about to ensue the Issue might fairly be taken on the general principle.


The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) has undertaken, I presume, to answer some observations which I made in the House on this subject a few nights ago. I wish he had been a little more accurate. He has said many things which I will not contend against by argument; I shall simply contradict them. For instance, he said that I was the author of the Select Committee. I understood that the Committee was proposed from his own Benches—and I supported the, proposition for it, as I do frequently support propositions from those Benches, when they seem to me judicious for the purposes of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said further—I do not give his exact language, but he intimated that I had forced my views regarding this matter upon the Committee—that I indoctrinated them, I am told, was his expression. I do not know whether he means that I entered into any conspiracy with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) on this question. What I did was just what the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) did. I appeared before the Committee, at their request and by their permission, to state what I thought on this matter. All I have done is before the House and before the Committee. I will not say my arguments bad no effect; but at least the facts of the case were sufficient to justify the conclusion at which the Committee arrived. He said, further, that I had been in favour of driving towards electoral districts. The general impression out-of-doors is that the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues are driving in that direction; but I have never advocated electoral districts, nor a representation exactly in proportion to numbers. All I have said is that numbers must he taken into consideration in agitating the question of the distribution of seats; and if on such a point the right hon. Gentleman will have no regard whatever to numbers, there will come a day when numbers will speak to him in a voice which he will be just as little able to resist as he and his Colleagues were able to resist a certain voice that made itself heard last year. Well, then, he further stated that, seeing I was an advocate for the widest extension of the franchise, it would be most inconsistent in me to oppose an extension of the borough boundaries, as this would extend the fran- chice to a much larger number of persons than would receive it if the disputed districts were still to be assigned to counties, right hon. Gentleman never heard me advocate the widest extension of the franchise. The extension which I have advocated fever since I have been in Parliament is precisely that extension which he and his Colleagues adopted in the Bill of last year. Therefore these are charges which, to those who know me are, on the face of them, absurd and the right hon. Gentleman, speaking on behalf of the Government, ought really to be more careful when he makes them. Throughout the whole of his speech he has been imputing motives to me which I am not conscious of having incurred the blame of. It can be no disadvantage to me to see the population of Birmingham doubled; it does not cost me anything for my seat; but it costs much to those who return me here, and therefore I am anxious that their expenses should not be increased. It would not make me sit any more or less certainly for Birmingham whether you added to its numbers or not; but I presume it will be admitted that if the population of Birmingham be increased by one-half, or be doubled, to a certain extent the representatives of so great a population would have, I will not say a corresponding increase of weight, but in some degree an increased influence in this House. Therefore I have no object whatever, but that we should do that which is just towards the population of Birmingham, and I shall argue the question exactly the same as if it referred to the population of Manchester. Now, the right hon. Gentleman's motives are obvious. He has no influence whatever in Birmingham, nor has the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, though he says he rejoices that he is the representative of the comity, and that he has many friends in Birmingham; but he has nothing whatever to do with the borough in matters of representation. What he has to do, however, is this. He knows, or believes, that the question now before the House will affect in some degree the balance of power in the two counties; that the manor of Aston, being in North Warwickshire, gives a considerable number of votes to that county, and no doubt, with the increase of votes under the Act of last year, will greatly strengthen the hands of the Liberal party; while the same process will occur in the division of East Worcestershire, where I believe the dis- trict of Balsall Heath is situated. The right hon. Gentleman was very free in imputations of motives to me, every one of which was contrary to the fact; but he will not deny that his motive is to weaken the party to which he is opposed in the: counties of North Warwickshire and East Worcestershire; that is the whole object of the fight he is making. Now, I have stated the figures before, but I can repeat them in a sentence. The right hon. Gentleman, in his multifarious knowledge of this matter, did not give the House any one of the figures important to its decision. He should have told us that North Warwickshire had a population of only 120,000 with two Members, and that Birmingham had a population of 350,000, and if this plan were carried out would have more than 380,000, and was rapidly increasing. With three Members still given to them, in that division at the beginning of December, to which, no doubt, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) is anxiously looking forward, Manchester or Birmingham will count for but one vote, and will be equal in influence to the most wretched borough still retained in the representation. North Warwickshire has two Members, and the proposition is to take 25,000 from North Warwickshire, with its population of 116,000, and add them to Birmingham, with its population of 350,000. If the Government advocates in the House of Commons measures that will increase these gross inequalities, I want to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman or myself is the greatest promoter of that change which he has described by the term "electoral districts." You may be quite sure that if this policy is pursued, the very next time it is my privilege to stand before my constituents in the Town Hall of Birmingham I shall have to point out to them how the right hon. Gentleman, his Colleagues, and his party have forced a vast increase of population upon them, with a corresponding decrease in the population of the surrounding districts, but without giving to Birmingham any corresponding increase of power in this House. I say the right hon. Gentleman is not pursuing a wise course in advocating the views he has taken in this House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole), at the conclusion of the admirable speech he addressed to the House the other night—I call it so not because it agreed with my views; but because it was admirable in every respect —made an observation upon a point which I have once or twice mentioned, and spoke of the importance of having the boundaries of boroughs well-defined, without at the same time drawing too sharp a line between them and the neighbouring county, so as to make the borough Members represent one great interest in the country, and the county Members another great interest. I have said before, and I repeat it now, that whenever this House comes to be so divided, it will be one of the most calamitous things that ever happened for our Parliamentary system, and those who will suffer the most from it are the right hon. Gentlemen who are now striving in that direction. The right hon. Gentleman the First Minister reminds me of a passage in the life of a celebrated statesman, of whom some have said—I know not with what authority—that he made his profit by varying his course according to the vicissitudes of the times in which he lived. After the death of Queen Anne, when Bolingbroke was deprived of power, he denied many of the charges made against him; but he acknowledged that he had intended to make a very important change in the representation, and that he— Wished to restrain the influence of the monied interest in the Legislature and matters of State, because the country gentlemen were vexed, put to great expense, and were baffled by the traders in their elections. Fortunately, political calamity overtook the author of this scheme, and he had no opportunity of carrying out its principle; but that is the principle of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. He has over and over again stated it to the House in different words, but coming to the same meaning; that is, by altering the boundaries of boroughs he wishes to give the country gentlemen and the lauded interest a more exactly defined and influential power in Parliament than they had hitherto possessed. He would be the worst enemy of the country gentlemen and the landed interest if he could by possibility carry out that principle. But fortunately there is a power in the House and in the country which will prevent him. There is no Select Committee, no ingenious Minister, no ready tools, no Spofforth, who can be manipulate the boundaries of boroughs in this country as to bring about a change in the preponderance of political power. In the case of Birmingham there is no proof that the change proposed will lead to any party advantage; but there can be no doubt that it would be a great inconvenience as far as Birmingham is concerned; and therefore I oppose it. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) said, "You are not Reformers; we are the real Reformers." Well, the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends take so many new faces that one hardly knows where to fix them, Does he know that in one of these outlying districts in Birmingham, out of 6,000 occupiers 4,600 have petitioned not to have the franchise which the right hon. Gentleman wishes to thrust upon them? There is only one other point I need mention. I have heard it said that if we would only consent to allow the sacrifice of Birmingham, hon. Gentlemen opposite would compromise with us and allow the decision of the Committee to be taken in block. [" No!"] I do not know whether that is true or not; but if it be true, I appeal to hon. Gentlemen whether that is a very honourable and very noble sentiment. It cannot be that hon. Gentlemen opposite have such an interest in North Warwickshire, East Worcestershire, or Birmingham, as to make that an exception to the policy they would adopt in the rest of the boroughs. I trust that in this House—discussing the question with fairness but with earnestness—I have not made myself liable in any degree to such personal feelings that hon. Members opposite wish through me to injure and stab the constituency I represent. I am satisfied that the House will do itself credit by accepting the decision of the Committee to which this question was referred, and—I speak without hesitation, though I do not pretend, as the right hon. Gentleman says, to represent the great body of the people—that if the decision of the Committee be adopted as it stands, the House will act in accordance with the views of the vast majority of all the population of the districts which are concerned in this question of boundaries, I say no more; but I hope that the Committee will accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert), for which I shall vote with the greatest pleasure.


I shall nut, in the few observations which I have to make upon this question, impute any motives to any Gentlemen on either side of the House in the views which they have expressed. I should have been glad, indeed, if I could have avoided taking any part in this discussion. It is not pleasant to find one's work in the Boundary Commission pitted against the Report of the Select Committee presided over by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole); and what makes it especially unpleasant is that, while in a matter in which I have been engaged during many months with men of wholly different politics, and have not heard during that time a single party observation, the discussion has now, in a very great degree, assumed a party character, and the question is to be decided apparently according to the strength of parties, without reference to the particular merits of the question at issue. Having been responsible for the Report of the Commission that is laid on the table, think it due to myself, to my brother Commissioners, and also to those by whom we were appointed, to state the grounds upon which we proceeded in the consideration of the matters referred to us, and to show what appear to me sufficient reasons why this wholesale disagreement with the recommendations of the Commission should not be at once adopted by the House. It has been stated during the discussion that the Instructions we received were imperfect, and that consequently our Report could not be adopted. I am not going to enter into that question; but it will be remembered that those Instructions, whatever they may have been, were not given merely by this House, but by Parliament, and that it was on the faith of those Instructions being followed out that the Reform Bill of last year was passed. But I contend that the principle upon which we acted was not only sanctioned by Parliament, but it was the right principle. As I understand it, it was that in future those who were to sit here, with all the weight and importance to be given to them as appearing for great towns, should be in fact the Members for those towns. I do not mean to make any personal allusion—I should be sorry to say anything which might appear to be of a personal character—but I must repeat that the principle, as we understood it, was this—that the Members for Birmingham and Manchester should be elected by the towns of Birmingham and Manchester, and that while they had all the weight and importance given to them as the representatives of those great towns, they should not be elected merely by a portion of the towns, and represent in fact only a portion of them, I think that is a right principle on which to proceed. Well, what are the objection0 to such a course? The main objection urged a few nights ago by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole), and which has been referred to again and again, is this—that it is important that the municipal and Parliamentary boundaries should be the same, and we were told in the concluding passage of the speech of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) that it was a matter to which he attached immense importance that Members should in that way represent not a mere mass of individuals, but a well-known and acknowledged body bound together by municipal ties. I admit that was the principle in force previously to the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, but no such principle was acted upon by the framers of that Act, nor has any such principle been recognized since that time. When we entered upon the inquiry we found no less than fifty boroughs in which the boundaries, municipal and Parliamentary, were different. Since the time of the Reform Act we have had various great towns incorporated by the Crown, and in those cases it has not been thought necessary that the Parliamentary boundary should be followed. The great town of Manchester, which has been referred to, was incorporated some years after the passing of the Reform Act. The Parliamentary area included between 6,000 and 7,000 acres, but the district incorporated consisted of only 4,000. The same thing has been done with other towns. The Parliamentary borough of Brighton was created by the Reform Act, and included a large and populous district called Hove; but when, some years afterwards, Brighton was incorporated Hove was excluded. The same thing happened with the town of Warrington. These are three cases that I happen to remember; and in none of them was the Parliamentary boundary taken as the boundary of the municipality. Therefore I say it is idle to contend that we are to be bound by the municipal limits; we have not been bound in that way hitherto; Parliament has not considered itself so bound, nor has the Crown considered itself so bound. What, then, are the other objections urged to the principle upon which we proceeded, and, as I maintain, proceeded rightly? The next great point relied upon is that we have not sufficiently considered the wishes of the inhabitants. It is not true that their wishes have been altogether disregarded. In doubtful cases we gave weight to the wishes of the inhabitants; but we thought that in considering their wishes we were bound to see what were the prevailing motives for those wishes. It was not that there was any objection on the part of the inhabitants of the excluded district to obtain the Parliamentary franchise, or to be admitted within the Parliamentary borough; but the objection was this, as it was reported over and over again by our Assistant Commissioners. The inhabitants said, "This is the thin end of the wedge, and if included within the Parliamentary boundary we shall be subsequently included within the municipal boundary also, and then we shall have to pay the municipal rates." These were exclusively the representations that were made; and I put it to the House whether such "wishes of the inhabitants" ought to have been allowed to influence us? They were wrong, indeed, in the idea that they formed; because the cases of Brighton, Manchester, and Warrington, which I have already cited, show that it was not a necessary consequence that, if taken within the Parliamentary boundary, they would therefore become subject to the municipal rates; but I there was a great dread that such would be the case. In many instances persons had gone just outside the municipal boundary in order to avoid the payment of rates, while they had themselves the whole benefit of the town's expenditure. In these cases they would no doubt be taken, and rightly taken, within the municipal boundary. But in the one case and the other the fear was either groundless or unreasonable. It was groundless in cases where the outlying district did not really form part of the town; it was unreasonable where it did, because it was only right that in the latter case the persons now exempt should share the burden with those who had now to pay all the necessary rates. Another objection which had been urged with great force by the hon. Member for Birmingham was founded on the comparative populations of the county from which the district was proposed to be taken, and of the borough to which it was proposed to be added. That objection would be of immense force if the Members for the county did not still continue to represent the borough. But in the case of Birmingham, out of 6,000 persons on the Register for North Warwickshire, upwards of one-fourth derived their qualifications from the town of Birmingham. How, then, could it be said that the population of Birmingham would be taken out of the county constituency? But he had understated the number; more than one-fourth of the electors were taken from that particular portion of Birmingham already included in the Parliamentary borough. The number in the other districts was also very considerable, and would be immensely increased by the reduction made in the qualification fur the franchise last year. In that particular division we were informed by a gentleman of great knowledge and experience that the county constituency from the qualifications for the town of Birmingham would be nearly doubled in consequence of the change made last year. The county Members represent not only the constituency derived from the population of 116,000 in North Warwickshire, but also the constituency which exists within the borough, and by which the election is very materially influenced. Nor was the case of North Warwickshire n singular one. In many of the counties affected by our recommendations the proportion of town to county voters on the County Register will be found to be much larger. In South Lancashire, out of 21,555 voters on the Register, 8,783 derive their qualifications from represented towns; in Middlesex, 6,137 out of 14,847; in South Hants, 2,858 out of 5,677; in North Durham, 3,189 out of 6,042. I hardly know what other points there were to which I need refer; but there was one thing which was referred to by the hon. Member for Birmingham on n former occasion, and on that I would wish to make a remark. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the great interest which seined to have been taken in his town; and he referred especially to a visit paid to Birmingham by one of the Commissioners, Mr. Walter, and seemed rather to throw a slur upon that gentleman, as if there had been some kind of undue feeling in the matter. The fact was that there was a certain degree of fear entertained of the opposition which we anticipated from the hon. Member, and there was a considerable anxiety on the part of the Commission that no part of the town population should be included in the limits of the Parliamentary borough which did not, beyond all question, belong to it. When, therefore, an enlargement of the boundary was suggested, and before it was adopted, one of the Commissioners kindly went down with the Assistant Commissioner in order to look over the ground before we came to a final decision; and the result was to make out a clear distinction between one of the districts proposed to be added and the two others which we finally recommended. I think, therefore, the hon. Member had no reason to complain of anyone, or to suggest that the visit was made with any other view than what was perfectly fair towards the town of Birmingham. Then it was said it was exceedingly undesirable lo draw a strict line between the urban and rural population, I fully admit it, and I may refer to one part of our labours to show that that feeling was entertained generally by the Commission. When counties were to be divided, as it would be easy to see, one of the points kept in view was not to draw a too bard and fast line between the urban and the rural population, but to have an admixture of both in each division. We felt at the same time that practically the principle of enmity and borough representation proceeded upon the fact of there being some distinction between the population of the county and the borough. What we felt throughout the whole matter was this—that we had to consider what really did form a part of the town, in order that for the future the Member for Manchester should represent the whole importance of Manchester. There as another point to which we felt bound to attach importance. We felt bound to look to what districts there wee the inhabitants of which ought for the purposes of elections to be included. In that matter it seemed to us that the course we were to pursue was one of enfranchisement. What would no the effect of adopting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert)? Why, between 30,000 and 40,000 persons would be excluded from the Parliamentary franchise, and thereby kept, as we used to be told last year, outside the pale of the Constitution. Now, is it desirable that such a thing as that should be done merely that there might not be an increasing inconvenience at elections in consequence of the large constituencies which would be created. Birmingham, with all these additions, will not be so large as several other boroughs; and, therefore, I do not think that the size is sufficient reason for depriving that large number of people of the franchise. I do not wish to go particularly through the different boroughs; but I will take one instance, just to show how undesirable it would be to adopt the Amendment proposed. I will take the town of Nottingham, and I will refer to perfectly independent testimony on the subject—namely, the Report of the Municipal Commissioners, who were appointed so far back as 1837, to inquire into the different municipal boundaries. What was their Report as to Nottingham? It said— The increasing population, unable to find room within the limits of the town, has resorted to the neighbouring parishes of Radford, Linton, and Sneinton, and in these three parishes upwards of 20,000 people, closely connected in every way with the town of Nottingham, are now congregated. New Sneinton forms actually a portion of the town of Nottingham. New Radford may also be said to form a portion of the town, though the connection is not quite so close as is the case at Sneinton. The remaining population of the three parishes occupy blocks of buildings lying detached at small distances from each other. Their proposal, therefore, was to add Sneinton and parts of Linton and Radford to the town of Nottingham. These are the very districts which we proposed to add. Will it be contended that; thirty years afterwards they cease to form part of the town of Nottingham? It was then recommended that they should be brought within the municipal boundary, because they essentially formed part of the town, and it is now proposed to exclude them from the Parliamentary boundary, though every year that has passed has tended to unite them more closely to the town of Nottingham. The only reason for this that I have heard urged is that Nottingham is a county of itself, and that the freeholders in Nottingham have a vote for the borough instead of the county. By the Reform Act it was provided that the freeholders in districts added to such towns should in the same way vote for the county, while no such provision is contained in the present Bill; and for no better reason than this thousands of working men are to be deprived of the franchise. The recommendation of the Commissioners in 1837 was not carried out, because at that time the Government was very weak; for then it was felt, as we have since learnt, what a misfortune it is to have a weak Government. Lord Melbourne, indeed, was reported to have said that, however opinions might differ as to whether a Whig or a Tory Government was the best, certainly the worst of all Governments was a weak Government. The Bill then drawn was abandoned because the Government, from their state of weakness, could not carry out the views they entertained, opposed, as they were, by some of their ordinary supporters. I will only add a word; or two to remind the House what were the views entertained on this subject by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) last year. At that time the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) proposed that the Parliamentary and municipal boundaries should be conterminous, and the hon. Member for Oldham said— He could not agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham that it was desirable that the boundaries of the Parliamentary boroughs should always be conterminous with those of the municipal boroughs. There were many large and growing towns situated outside of the municipal boroughs to which the franchise ought, in his opinion, to be extended, though the inhabitants would not desire to be incorporated with the municipalities.…The borough which he represented (Oldham) was an instance of this, and he thought it was a fortunate thing that the Parliamentary area was made so wide in 1832, for otherwise those townships would virtually have no representation."—[3 Hansard, clxxxviii. 277–8.] I now appeal to the hon. Member for Oldham, and I appeal to this House, not to inflict upon the inhabitants of the districts forming parts of the towns of Birmingham, of Manchester, of Bristol, and of Nottingham, what he considered to be virtual disfranchisement, but to extend to them the same protection which he last year rejoiced had, in 1832, been extended to the people of Oldham.


expressed regret that a Member of the Government, the Under Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. Adderley), had spoken in a manner calculated to excite party dissension on a subject which ought to be treated with judicial calmness and fairness. The right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Russell Gurney) said that in doubtful cases the Commissioners had yielded to the wishes of the inhabitants; but in the case of South Shields, and other places in which he (Sir Hedworth Williamson) was most interested, he was afraid that had not been the case. The right hon. and learned Gentleman omitted a very material point—namely, that if these places were annexed to the boroughs they would be debarred of their privilege of being able to collect their rates on the compounding system. Much stress had been laid upon the fact that the Commissioners had been very careful not to recommend annexation of any place to a borough when it was not closely allied to it; but this had been done at Gateshead. In this instance a place had been tacked on to a borough which did not wish to receive it. The interests of the two places were opposed; the outlying districts had their own Board of Health; they had borrowed money for their own improvements, and the borough also had borrowed considerable sums of money from which the outlying districts could receive no benefit. He hoped the Amendment of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) would be accepted, which would render it unnecessary to bring forward the Motion of which he had given Notice, for the omission of South Shields and Gateshead from Schedule A.


said, he was one of those who really thought it a great mistake to refer this matter from the Commission who had bestowed on it seven months of great labour to a Committee which disposed of the whole question in eleven days. He could only say, for himself, that the notice he received to appear before the Committee did not reach him till the evening of the day on which he was to go before them. He wished to recall to the attention of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) the words he had used in thanking the electors for his unopposed return at the last election. The hon. Member then said—" We have Lad a very quiet lime here; dont let it be quite so quiet next Thursday"—the day of the election for North Warwickshire. The hon. Member added, "You are non electors; it is true you have got no votes, but you have got influence; let it be felt." He was happy to say, however, that although at the election for North Warwickshire there was a considerable amount of animation, yet it passed off without any very serious consequences. Under these circumstances he was glad to hear that the hon. Member had no intention that the changes proposed should have the effect of interfering with the election for North Warwickshire. His party were in a minority in Birmingham, and he thought that if the recommendations of the Commissioners were carried into effect that minority would become larger. [Mr. BRIGHT: Smaller.] He hoped that, if the hon. Member for Birmingham did not propose to interfere with the election for North Warwickshire, he should again be returned as the representative of that constituency.


I am not at ail disposed to undervalue the differences that have arisen between the Committee and the Commissioners; but I think there is a tendency greatly to over-rate the importance of the changes that have been proposed. Those who have listened to the speeches of the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) and of the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Russell Gurney) would almost be of opinion that the present Members for Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool are not really the representatives of those great populations, but are simply the representatives of the nucleus of great modern towns. ["Oh, oh!"] What are the facts? Birmingham has a population of 350,000, and the increase of population within its Parliamentary limits in thirty years has been from 152,000 to 294,000. Within these limits there is an unoccupied area, pointing to the possibility and probability of a further increase of 200,000; so that there is no reason why the future Members for Birmingham should not be the representatives of 550,000 people within the limits of the existing town, The evidence taken before the Assistant Commissioners proved that fact. What did the Commissioners propose to do, in order to render the Members for Birmingham the real representatives of that borough? Why, they proposed to add to the existing population an additional population of 35,000, They also proposed to add 35,000 to the 400,000 forming the the present population of Manchester, and 25,000 to the 500,000 forming the present population of Liverpool. In these cases it may be assumed that the Commissioners had followed the overflow of the population of the boroughs, and these proposed additions might have been fairly made upon that ground, had it not appeared to the Committee that there were weighty counterbalancing reasons why the recommendations of the Commissioners should not be followed. The case is still stronger with regard to the metropolitan boroughs of Marylebone and Lambeth. The Commissioners proposed to add Hampstead, with its 28,000 inhabitants to Marylebone, which already contained 436,000 persons. But can Hampstead be regarded as the overflow of Marylebone? The population of Middlesex has been reduced to 179,000 by the recommendation of the Commissioners, and it would be further reduced to 151,000 if the population of Hampstead were to be also subtracted from it. But even this case is weak when compared with that of Lambeth. This borough has a population of 319,000, and it is proposed to take Clapham and several other distant suburbs of London out of the small divisions of East and Mid Surrey for the purpose of adding an additional population of 57,000 to that borough. But this is the least objectionable part of the proposal, East Surrey was divided by the Reform Act of last year by reason of its increased population into two portions—one consisting of a population of 97,000, and the other of a population of 111,000; the general rule upon which the House acted being that these divisions should only be made when there would be a population of 50,000 to each Member of the division It is from these two constituencies, which have been subdivided on account of their population, that it is now proposed to take the very population which was the cause of their being divided. It is most reluctantly that I am obliged in these instances to disagree with the Commissioners. I cannot shelter myself under the statement that the Committee disagreed with the Commissioners simply and solely on matters of detail—they differed on matters of principle, because they believed that the addition of Clapham and Hampstead to the boroughs I have mentioned were nut the additions contemplated by the House. With respect to the boroughs of Gateshead, South Shields, Tynemouth, Portsmouth, and Warwick, in every case the evidence showed that the population proposed to be added to the existing boroughs was not the overflow of the old boroughs, but were independent populations which would have existed whether the old boroughs existed or not. The case of Nottingham stands on peculiar grounds. North Nottinghamshire, is one of the most remarkable counties in England. The borough of East Retford has a larger population than the whole of North Nottinghamshire, which has a population of 95,000, from which it it now proposed to take a population of 20,000 in order to add it to Nottingham, which has already a population of 80,000. I believe, Sir, that I have said sufficient to show that there were valid reasons for what the Committee did, and inasmuch as our decisions were unanimously arrived at, and were not in the slightest degree the result of party feeling, I trust that they will be confirmed by the House.


said, that the right hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Bruce) seemed to be unwilling to consider the fact that the population of Birmingham had overflowed the boundaries of the borough; he said that there were spaces enough for them within the present boundaries, and that they ought, and probably would, fill these spaces with houses. He would, if he could, cabin and confine the population of Birmingham within the present boundaries of the borough. The Com- missioners, on the other hand, seemed not to have felt offended at the overflow of the Birmingham population into Aston; but to consider that it was natural and legitimate, and that the boundaries of the borough ought to be accommodated to it. So thought Her Majesty, for in 1858 Her Majesty went down in person to present the Park and Manor House at Aston to the people of Birmingham. He (Mr. Newdegate) should not easily forget seeing Her Majesty standing upon the terrace of that ancient Manor House while the people, not of North Warwickshire but of Birmingham, crowded beneath, and respectfully asked Her Majesty to speak a few words to them, and he believed that this request was granted. Since then the houses of this Birmingham population had risen rapidly around the Park and Manor House of Aston. The people of Birmingham felt that this Park and Manor House, these means of recreation and enjoyment, had been made their own. The Corporation had bought the Park and Manor House, and it was as much their property as the Town Hall of Birmingham itself. The practical incorporation of Aston into the town of Birmingham had been going on for years. He held in his hand an extract from the Post Office Directory for Birmingham and the Midland Counties for 1864, when this question had never arisen. Speaking of Aston, it said— Aston is a village adjoining Birmingham on the North.…The village no longer retains its once retired and rural aspect; it is being absorbed by the extensive improvements and additional streets added to Birmingham, and bids fair at no remote period to form part of the town. The Hall, built by Sir Thomas Holt in 1635, and the grounds attached, are in the possession of the Aston Park Company, and are used for fetes, & c. Since that date, the Corporation of Birmingham had bought the property, and made it their own. The Census Returns for 1841 showed that the population of the parish of Aston, the most populous district of which was the Manor, amounted in 1841 to 45,718, that in 1851 it had increased to 61,281, and that in 1861 it had increased to 94,995. The increase between 1841 and 1851 was thus 15,463; but since the Park had been opened by Her Majesty, the increase as shown between the Returns from 1851 and 1861 was 33,714, or more than double that of the previous ten years. He did not believe that any stronger proof of the correctness of the Commissioners' decision could be given than that which. was furnished by these Census Returns. The hon. Member for Birmingham seemed to think that there was something illiberal in the course which he (Mr. Newdegate) had adopted. He might, however, remind the hon. Member that he had supported the Motion for giving four Members to Birmingham. Previous to that he had advocated the addition of another Member to the representation of North Warwickshire; but then it should be remembered that North Warwickshire included the representation of the freeholders and leaseholders of Birmingham, Coventry, and Tamworth, while it contained Rugby with more than 7,000 of town population, Foleshill with 8,000, Bed worth with 7,000, and Nuneaton with more than 7,000 inhabitants: these were places having large town populations of their own. Indeed, the constituency of North Warwickshire was to a great extent a town constituency. He felt bound to say that after the speech which the House had heard from the right hon. and learned Com missioner (Mr. Russell Gurney) that evening, that however great might be his respect for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), he, for one, could not accept the authority of the right hon. Gentleman when it was opposed to that of Lord Eversley, who for sixteen years had been the respected Speaker of that House—the less, when he remembered that the Select Committee over which the right hon. Gentleman presided had sat for eleven days, while the Commission at the head of which Lord Eversley had presided and pursued their inquiries for seven months, whatever might be the decision of Parliament on this subject. As far as he himself was concerned, he, in former days, had polled a majority in the Birmingham district, and he believed he should be again returned. Strangely enough, the hon. Member for Birmingham seemed to accuse him (Mr. Newdegate) of being in favour of laying the foundation for an arbitrary separation between the borough and the county constituencies, and the establishment of equal electoral districts. The hon. Member seemed to have forgotten that in 1859 he (Mr. Newdegate) had opposed the Reform Bill of Lord Derby's Government because it would have had that effect. Such would probably, however, be the ultimate result, if the House did not regard and rightly apportion the constituencies according to the overflow of the populations of the large boroughs. He believed that the best course the House could now pursue was to adopt the suggestion which had been made by the Prime Minister, and to consider each case upon its own merits because, in most instances, there were differences between these eases, the existence of which it was essential to remember if they desired to arrive at a satisfactory decision.


I think it important that the Committees should recollect one thing—that however great, populous, and distinguished the borough of Birmingham and the county of North Warwickshire may be, that is not the only point we have to consider. Hitherto, indeed, in this debate we have heard nothing but "Birmingham" and "North Warwickshire," which have been perpetually dinned into our ears. I must say that I, for one, should be very sorry if, by any vote of mine, I imperilled the return of the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), whom everyone respects, and whom I look upon, in his way, as a representative man of the bigotry of the country. The class ought to be represented, and if I thought so undesirable an end were likely to be attained, I should hesitate before I voted on this question; and for one reason—that I always like to see him in his place. But there are other interests involved besides those of Birmingham and North Warwickshire; and when the hon. Member said that after the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Southampton (Mr. Russell Gurney), there could be no doubt on the subject, and when the hon. Member appealed to the authority of Lord Eversley, because the Commission of which the noble Lord had been the Chairman had sat for seven months, he forgot to tell the House that a Special Commission which had to deal with considerations affecting 130 boroughs must necessarily take longer than a Committee which had the benefit of their labours, and had only to deal with and determine questions affecting twenty-nine boroughs. And when he alludes to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Southampton, who was one of those Special Commissioners, and who I believe is the real presiding genius of that Commission, I must say I think that that speech was a roost extraordinary one as coming from a Judge. It appeared to me as if the right hon. Gentle- man at the head of the Government, enacting the part of Hamlet, had exclaimed— Come, the Recorder! Now, who was the author of the Select Committee? Why, it was the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department who suggested the appointment of the Select Committee. And what was the course suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Recorder on that occasion. Did he make any objection to the proposal? No. He rose in his place, and although he no doubt felt sore at the suggestion, he gave his assent, an assent in which he was backed up by his shadow—a rather substantial shadow—the hon. Baronet the Member for the West Riding (Sir Francis Crossley). Now, however, the right hon. and learned Gentleman comes down to the House and makes an elaborate attack upon the Report of the Committee. Is that the part of a Judge! Is that worthy of the Judicial Bench? Why, I am convinced that neither the boroughs concerned nor the country will be satisfied with the decision to which he has come. One word with respect to the Report which has been so much lauded. Really, it would appear that we are to bow down before these Commissioners because one of them was formerly the Speaker of this House. I venture, however, to object to their Report in many instances, and, remember, it has never yet been discussed or criticized in this House; for when we were going to criticize and discuss it up jumped the Home Secretary and said, "The Report is challenged; let us have a Select Committee." Well, we appointed a Select Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman certainly said something which conveyed the idea of finality to my mind, and I think to the minds of many hon. Gentlemen. But now what is the course pursued? Why, this Report is to go for nothing. It is found, I suspect, not very convenient to North Warwickshire, and we are called on to set aside the recommendations of the Select Committee, and swallow the whole of the monstrous Report of the Commisioners. Now, what was the course adopted by these Commissioners? There is no doubt that the Instructions given to them on the part of this House were most injudicious and defective. They had no power to remove anomalies or revise areas; they were simply told that they must enlarge the boundaries in the old boroughs. They had nothing, mark you, to do with the enfranchisement. That question was introduced by the right hon. and learned Recorder, but it was no part whatever of their Instructions; they were merely told that they must enlarge the boundaries of the old boroughs. The right hon. and learned Recorder went on to say that so particular were they—and I am sure we, the other boroughs included, highly feel the compliment—that they sent one of their own body down to Birmingham (Mr. Walter), that he might inspect Birmingham on the spot. Well, all I can say is that I wish the learned Recorder had paid the same compliment to Nottingham; for if he had he would have avoided falling into a very material error in quoting the paper of 1837, in which he says the municipal authorities wished the portions which he mentioned to be included in the town. They did so for this reason, that at that time the town was so shut in by various Acts of Parliament that the people had nowhere to build on. Since 1837, however, a new Inclosure Act has been passed, giving them full liberty to extend themselves. I regret that the learned Recorder, after firing his shot, bolted from the House and did not wait to hear the answer. The Commissioners went on the principle of appointing that inevitable feature the barrister of seven years' standing and the Royal Engineer to go down to the boroughs; and in many places they have made the grossest mistakes. The House is anxious to divide, and I will therefore only give a few instances. There is Rochdale, the Representative of which I see sitting below me. Rochdale is the only borough in the kingdom which has a circular boundary. With its Member and all, I think it is totus teres atque rotundus. That borough only consisted of 1,200 acres, and no fault had ever been found with its boundaries—indeed, they had recently been adopted for the municipal borough on Rochdale becoming a municipality; but, because a seven years' barrister must have something to do, the Commissioners have altered the whole boundary and extended the area to 4,000 acres; for what purpose nobody knows, except that they felt they must do something. Again, what have they done in the case of Chester? They have lugged in part of the county of Flint—they have actually introduced Wales into England. Very few hon. Gentlemen will take the trouble to wade through this enormous book; but everybody says, "Beware of Birmingham.'' There are hundreds of other instances, however. Take Dudley, which is a very peculiar borough. It is an outlying portion of Worcestershire; but it is a very considerable borough. And what have the Commissioners done? They have lugged in several adjoining counties to increase the area. As to saying that this Report can ever stand, if the next Parliament bi enlightened—I say "if"—I shall be very much surprised if it can stand their supervision. Do what we will, come to what conclusion we may on this subject, I am very much mistaken if this whole question of boundaries is not materially overhauled and altered in the next Parliament, What are the object and end of the Commissioners' Report, of which we have heard so much? "Why, to prejudice the county representation and to create boroughs so monstrous that it is impossible that they should continue to return so limited a number of Members. Just let us look at the county representation—how it is influenced in the case of West Kent, Surrey, and Middlesex. Look at Maryle bone, what a borough you are making! Why, even with the great exertions of the two hon. Members, with their great powers of speaking and canvassing, I doubt very much whether they will compass the canvassing and speechmaking that will be necessary. I say nothing of the increase of that class of the creation known as "Nottingham lambs." If 31,000 people are to be added to the borough of Nottingham, I hope the learned Recorder and his Colleague the hon. Baronet will give up their seats and canvass Nottingham, for I will not. Look again at Birkenhead, which is a new borough, the boundary having been settled as recently as 1861. These Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners, who have been so much lauded and bespattered with butter in the shape of fulsome praise. What have they done? They were obliged to do something, and so they have taken a parish on the other side of the natural water boundary and lugged it in against the wishes of the inhabitants. But we are told, forsooth, by the Under Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. Adderley)—it is not the first time he has been put up and afterwards disavowed, as I hope he will be to-night—that these people are not to be consulted, for that their opposition springs from an ignorant impatience of taxation. Well, what more valid reason can there be? Why are these people to be included in these monstrous boroughs because they do not choose to be exposed to excessive taxation? The right hon. Gentleman was very free in imputing motives; and; when an election is coming on he always imputes motives to the hon. Member for Birmingham. rend a part of the speech he made at his last election for Staffordshire, and I tell him he ought to be very careful how he imputes motives. He hinted that gentlemen wanted to be made County Court Judges or had a high ambition of that sort. Now, I say nothing of the kind. I believe that before this attempt to upset the decision of the Committee everything went smoothly, and no; partizanship was displayed. The Home Secretary, by the way, has been unusually silent on this child of his, this Select Committee; for it was his child, remember; it was adopted by him, and the godfather was the Prime Minister; but it is now a foundling, and has been left at the 'Foundling Hospital, Everything went smoothly till then, and the Recorder sat conveniently quiet; he did not defend the Commission at all, but now he gets up and makes a speech which ought to have been made before the Select Committee was proposed, and talks about the just influence of counties and towns. Why, there are thirty boroughs in England which, properly speaking, are not towns at all. In no sense are they towns; they are agricultural divisions of counties. The other night we adopted what on the part of a Conservative Government was a most harsh and parricidal measure. We destroyed seven small boroughs. Now I, for one, have never been an advocate for destroying the smaller boroughs; for I think the great beauty of the representation of this country is that there should be a mixture of small and large places. The Government, however, assented to the most un-Conservative act of destroying these small boroughs, and handing them over to our acquisitive neighbours in Scotland. But what are really the small boroughs? They are not towns like Wells and Thetford, which have small boundaries. No, the small boroughs are those towns like Eye, Woodstock, Wareham, Launceston, Droitwich, and Aylesbury. [An hon. MEMBER: Northallerton.] Yes, and Northallerton, which was a great place in the old coaching days, but since the introduction of railways has been declining. These so-called boroughs are streets and hamlets with agricultural divisions, and what is the object of them? To increase the power of the landed interest—an interest to which every consideration should be given, but do not let it absorb everything under pretence of these being towns. They are no more than small and, in some instances, large divisions of counties; look at Wareham. ["Divide!"] I will divide in a minute; but I must say something more unpleasant to you first. The hon. Member who cries "Divide!" is not the Member for Wareham; but I believe he is Member for a small borough, and I have my eye upon him. I have no doubt he would like his borough divided and another Member given to it. I am obliged to the hon. Member for East Retford (Viscount Galway) for his attention. I hope he will make a defence for that most monstrous of all places. It is in the count), the capital of which I represent, and a most monstrous job it is. It is really an agricultural division, yet he sits there under pretence of being a borough Member. Why, there is nothing of the borough about him; he is a county Member to all intents and purposes; he speaks, votes, listens, cheers, and cries "Divide!" like a county Member. East Retford is not a town at all; it is a decaying place with 1,600 inhabitants. I will take the hint of the hon. Member, for it is difficult to speak on these subjects without appearing to be personal to the Members who represent these towns. I do not come here like the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) who calls himself a real Reformer. He is a real Reformer, forsooth; the real Simon Pure, who has been opposing Reform all his life, and, as Under Secretary for the Colonies—he ought to have been Secretary long ago—he comes down and says he is a real Reformer. Now, I call upon the real old Reformers in the House—not the perverts, not the Puseyites of Parliament—I call upon them to come forward and assist the Home Secretary, who is being very much ill-used by his Leader and party, as he often is, in adopting the Report of the Select Committee.


, after the personal allusion of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Osborne) could not help saying a few words. The hon. Member said that he (Viscount Galway) wished East Retford to be divided, and to have a third Member. [Mr. OSBORNE: NO; a second Member.] Mr. Osborne That showed how much the hon. Member knew about the matter. There were two Members at present. He had only to say that if he did want a third Member it would not he to have a buffoon for I one. ["Order!" and "Chair!"] [Mr. OSBORNE: He is quite in Order.] Many hon. Members knew the peculiar circumstances in which East Retford was placed.! [Mr. OSBOBNE: They are very peculiar.] East Retford was once, perhaps, one of the most corrupt places in all England. If, however, it had been disfranchised and the two Members given to Birmingham probably the Reform Bill might not have been passed. He might tell the House that at every election for East Retford there was read, by Act of Parliament, a sort of reminder that they were once the most corrupt borough existing. East Retford was then enlarged by the addition of the hundred of Bassetlaw, and when the Boundary Commissioners visited the place they admitted that it had been one of the most judicious extensions they had seen. If any Gentleman would look at the map he would admit that the boundary could not be altered in justice to all the inhabitants. It certainly did take a large portion from North Notts; but the inhabitants were represented by two Members, and it could not be denied that a great many more persons enjoyed the franchise than if East Retford were merged in the county.


said, that the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hibbert) proposed to take out of the Report of the Commission almost everything that gave it any political value. ["Divide!"] He admitted that he was personally and politically interested in the matter; but he trusted that the Committee would allow him to give a reason why the Report of the Commission should be abided by, and not the Report of the Committee. It was all very well for the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Osborne) to say that the House had arrived at a complete state of stultification; but that charge came with a bad grace from that (the Opposition) side of the House, because if the Motion for the Select Committee did not absolutely come from that side, a very considerable pressure was put upon the Government to appoint that Committee. He did not wish to make the least insinuation against the Committee; but they had acted under different Instructions from the Commissioners. The Commissioners acted up to their powers; but the powers of the Committee were almost indefinite, and the Committee came to a decision with a preconceived idea of what their duties were under the Instructions given to them. One reason in favour of adopting the recommendations of the Commissioners was that particular and exceptional cases were much more certain to be properly considered in that case than if the House adopted the Report of the Select Committee. ["Divide!"] He would venture in two minutes to state a particular ease. The Commissioners recommended that the town of Leamington should be added to the town of Warwick. Thirty years ago a Committee of that House recommended that Leamington should be added to Warwick. They predicted that it a few years the two towns would be united, and this prediction was now realized.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 148; Noes 184: Majority 36.

Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Egerton, E. C.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Fellowes, E.
Archdall, Captain M. Fergusson, Sir J.
Baggallay, R. Finch, G. H
Bagge, Sir W. Forester, rt. hon. Gen
Bagnall, C. Galway, Viscount
Barnett, H. Garth, R
Barrington, Viscount Goldney, G
Beach, Sir M. H. Gooch, Sir P
Beach, W. W. B. Goodson, J.
Beecroft, G. S. Gordon, rt. hon. E. S.
Benyon, R. Gore, J. R. O.
Bourne, Colonel Gore, W R. O.
Brett, Sir W. B. Gorst, J. E.
Capper, C. Graves, S. R.
Cartwright, Colonel Gray, Lieut-. Colonel
Cave, rt. hon. S. Grey, hon. T. de
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Guinness, Sir A. E.
Clinton, Lord A. P. Gurney, rt. hon. R.
Cole, hon. H. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cole, hon. J. L. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Corrance, F. S. Hardy, rt. Hon. G,
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hardy, J.
Crossley, Sir F. Hartley, J.
Cubitt, G. Hartopp, E. B.
Dalglish, R. Harvey, R. B.
Dalkeith, Earl of Hay, Sir J. C. D.
Davenport, W. B. Herbert, rt. hn. Gen. P
Dickson, Major A. G. Hervey, Lord A. H. C.
Dimsdale, R. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Du Cane, C. Hodgson, W. N.
Duncombe, hon. Colonel Holmesdale, Viscount
Dunne, rt. hon. General Hope, A. J. B. B.
Du Pre, C. G. Horsfall, T.B.
Dyke, W. H. Hotham, Lord
Dyott, Colonel R. Howes, E.
Eckersley, N. Huddleston, J. W.
Edwards, Sir H. Hunt, rt. hon. G. W.
Karslake, Sir J. B. Peel, A. W.
Kavanagh, A. Pugh, D.
Kekewich, S. T. Read, C. S.
Kelk, J. Robertson, P. F.
Kendall, N. Russell, Sir C.
King, J. K. Schreiber, C.
Knox, Colonel Sclater-Booth, G.
Knox, hon. Colonel S. Scourfield, J. H.
Langton, W. G. Selwin Ibbetson, H. J.
Lanyon, Sir C Severne, J. E.
Leader, N. P. Seymour, G. H.
Lechmere, Sir E.A.H. Smith, A.
Lefroy, A. Smollett, P. B.
Legh, Major C. Stanhope, J. B.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Stanley, Lord
Liddell, hon. H. G. Stopford, S, G.
Lindsay, hon. Colonel C. Surtees, C. F.
Lindsay, Colonel K. L. Talbot, C. R. M.
Lopes, H. C Taylor, Colonel
Lowther, J. Thompson, A. G.
Mahon. Viscount Thorold, Sir J. H.
M'Lagan, P. Thytme, Lord H. F.
Mayo, Earl of Turner, C
Montagu, rt. hn. Ld Turnor, E.
Montgomery, Sir G. Vance, J
Morgan, hon. Major Walrond, J. W.
Morgan, O. Waterhouse, S.
Morris, G. Welby, W. E.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Whitmore, H.
Newdegate, C. N. Wise, H. C.
Newport, Viscount Wyld, J.
Noel, hon. G. J. Wyndham, hon. H.
Northcote, rt. Hon. Sir S. H. Wyvill, M
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir. J. TELLERS.
Parker, Major W. Powell, F. S.
Patten, rt. hon. Col W. Greene, E
Paull, H.
Acland, T. D. Carter, S
Adam, W. P. Cave, T.
Agnew, Sir A. Cavendish, Lord E.
Akroyd, E. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Allen, W. S. Chambers, M.
Amberley, Viscount Cheetham, J.
Ayrton, A. S. Childers, H. C. E.
Aytoun, It. S. Clay, J.
Baines, E. Clement, W. J.
Barclay, A. C. Clinton, Lord E. P.
Barnes, T. Cogan. rt. hn. W. H. F.
Barry, C. R Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Bazley, T. Coleridge, J. D.
Beaumont, W. B, Collier, Sir R. P.
Blake, J. A. Cowen, J.
Bonham-Carter, J. Davey, R.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Bowyer, Sir G. Dennian, hon. G.
Brand, rt. hon. H. Devereux, U. J.
Bright, J. (Birmingham) Dilke, Sir W.
Bright, J. (Manchester) Dillwyn, L L.
Briscoe, J. I. Dixon, G.
Brown, J. Duff, M. E.G
Browne, Lord J. T Earle, R. A.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A Edwards, H.
Buller, Sir A.W. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Burke, Viscount Ellice, E.
Butler, C. S. Enfield, Viscount
Buxton, Sir T. F. Erskine, Vice-Ad. J. E.
Candlish, J. Evans, T. W.
Cardwell, rt. hon. F. Ewing, H. E. Crum-
Carington, hn. W. H. P. Eykyn, R.
Carnegie, hon. C. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Fordyce, W. D. Morris, W.
Forster, C. Neate, C.
Forster, W. E. O'Brien, Sir P.
Fortescue, rt. hn. C. S. Onslow, G.
Foster, W. O. Osborne, R. B.
French, rt. hon. Colonel Owen, Sir H. O.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Padmore, R.
Gilpin, C. Paget, T. T.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W.E. Palmer, Sir R.
Glyn, G. G. Parry, T.
Goldsmid, J. Pease, J. W.
Goschen, rt. hn. G. J. Pelham, Lord
Graham, W. Philips, R. N.
Gray, Sir J. Pim, J.
Greville-Nugent, Col. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Grey, rt. hn. Sir G. Portman, hon. W.H.B.
Grosvenor, Earl Potter, E.
Grove, T. F. Potter, T. B.
Hadfield, G. Price, W. P.
Harris, J. D. Pryse, E. L.
Headlam, rt. hon. T.E. Ramsay, J.
Henderson, J. Rearden, D. J.
Hodgkinson, G. Rebow, J. G.
Hodgson, K. D. Repton, G. W. J.
Horden, I. Robertson, D.
Howard, hn. C. W. G. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Hughes, T. Russell, Sir W.
Hurst, R. H. St. Aubyn, J.
Hutt, rt. hon. Sir W. Salomons, Mr. Aid.
Ingham, R. Samuelson, B.
Jackson, W. Saunderson, E.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Sheridan, H. B.
Kinglake, A. W. Sherriff, A. C.
Kinglake, J. A. Smith, J.
Kinnaird, Hon. A.F. Smith, J. B.
Labouchere, H. Speirs, A. A.
Laird, J. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir W.
Lamont, J. Stock, O.
Lawrence, W. Stone, W. H.
Lawson, rt. hon. J. A. Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Leatham, E. A. Sykes, Colonel W. H.
Leatham, W. H. Taylor, P. A.
Leeman, G. Thompson, M. W.
Lefevre, G. J. S. Tollemache, J.
Lewis, H. Vernon, H. F.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Lusk, A. Waldegrave-Leslie, hon. G.
Lyttelton, hon. C. G.
MacEvoy, E. Walpole, rt. hon. S.H.
M'Laren, D. Warner, E.
Martin, C.W. Watkin, E. W.
Martin, P. W. Whatman, J.
Melly, G. Whitbread, S.
Milbank, F. A. White, J.
Mill, J. S. Whitworth, B.
Mills, J. R. Winterbotham, H. S. P.
Milton, Viscount Woods, H. [183]
Mitchell, T. A.
Moffatt, G. TELLERS.
Monk, C. J Hibbert, J. T.
More, R. J. Williamson, Sir H.

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

MR. HORSFALL moved as an Amendment, to insert "Liverpool."


opposed the Amendment, which would undo the vote just come to.

Amendment negatived.

MR. A. PEEL moved, as an Amendment, to insert "Warwick." Its case was exceptional, and the Amendment was favoured by the Commissioners and by the Chairman of the Committee.

Amendment negatived.

MR. POWELL moved, as an Amendment, to insert "Wigan" after "Walsall." The Commissioners proposed to add Ince, with 6,000 people, to a borough of 37,000 inhabitants. The people of Ince followed the same pursuits as those of Wigan, cotton manufacture and mining. The mines under Ince were the same as those under Wigan, and it was impossible that the two populations could be more completely identified than they were.

Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment, after the word "Walsall," to insert the word "Wigan."—(Mr. Powell.)


objected to Wigan being inserted, and said that the case of that borough had been considered by the Commissioners.


said there was a close connection between those districts and Wigan.

Question put, "That the word ' Wigan' be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 91; Noes 131: Majority 40.


said the division which had just been taken, and which he ventured to challenge, was a proof that, whatever might have been the case with reference to boundaries under the Reform Act of 1832, the boundaries now being settled in connection with the Reform Act of 1867 were essentially the results of partizan strife. What had occurred that night showed that the boundaries of boroughs, so far as they had been brought into dispute as between the Committee on the one hand and the Commissioners on the other, were not decided upon principles of justice, nor according to the wishes of the population interested, nor upon grounds which would bear debate; but the controversy had been settled by overwhelming majorities in the Lobby, and by the suppression of discussion within the walls of that House.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken so warmly, and with whom evidently, in his own opinion, wisdom would die, was no doubt much dis- appointed because he had been left in a minority; but he should remember that the business of that House never could be transacted unless the decisions of majorities went respected. He had considered; the case of Wigan as attentively as the hon. Gentleman, and claimed to exercise ns independent a judgment upon it. In the exercise of such a judgment he had gone into the Lobby against the Amendment to include Wigan, and if the Question were again to be decided he should do so once more.

Mr. C. WYKEHAM MARTIN moved to insert "but for such purposes only '' after line 20.—Agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Alterations of Names of Divisions of certain Counties).

MR. SELWIN-IBBETSON moved, after "Cheshire," to insert "Essex,''—Agreed to.

MR. HOWES moved, after "Cheshire," to insert "and Norfolk."—Agreed to.

MR. SELWYN-IBBETSON moved, after "West Cheshire," to insert "North-West Essex shall be called West Essex, and North-East Essex shall h called East Essex."—Agreed to.

On Question, "That the Clause, us amended, stand part of the Bill."


said, he should divide the Committee. He objected to the alteration of the title of one of the divisions of Cheshire from North to East Cheshire, and unless that was altered he should divide upon the whole clause.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.

MR. RUSSELL GITRNEY moved the insertion of the following new clause:— (Explanation of the contents of the Hundreds of Pirehill, in Staffordshire.) Whereas by Schedule D. annexed to the Representation of the People Act, 1867, the Division of North Staffordshire includes the Hundred of Pirehill North, and the Division of West Staffordshire includes the Hundred of Pirehill South: And whereas doubts are entertained as to the contents of the said Hundreds: Be it Enacted, That for the purposes of the said Act, the Hundreds of Pirehill North and Pirehill South shall respectively be deemed to consist of the Parishes and places in that behalf set forth in the Fifth Schedule annexed hereto.

Clause agreed to, and added to the Bill.

MR. C. WYKEHAM MARTIN moved the insertion of the following new clause:— (Alteration of Boundaries of old boroughs not to affect rights connected with such boroughs.) No alteration of the Boundaries of any of the old boroughs specified in the First Schedule to this Act annexed shall in any way divest, prejudice, or affect any estate, interest, right, or title of Her Majesty, Her heirs or successors, or of any corporation, company, or person, in or to any corporeal or incorporeal hereditaments, or other property of any description, whether real or personal, situate within, or held, exercised, or enjoyed in respect of or in connection with, any of such old boroughs.


said, that nothing contained in the Bill would alter the rights of property, and the proposed clause was therefore unnecessary.


, after the assurance of the hon. and learned Gentleman, would ask leave to withdraw the clause.

Clause withdrawn.

First Schedule, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Second Schedule (New Boroughs).

Amendment proposed,

To leave out the words "The township of Darlington (with the exception of the detached part called Oxen le Field):

The Township of Cockerton: and

So much of the township of Haughton le Skerne adjoining the township of Darlington as is included within the following Boundary (that is to say): From the eastern angle in the road from Darlington to Yarm of the Boundary between the townships of Darlington and Haughton le Skerne, eastward along the north side of the said road to the point at which it meets Lingfield Lane; thence northward along Lingfleld Lane to the point at which it joins the turnpike road leading from Darlington to Stockton; thence in the same direction in a, straight line crossing the said road and the River Skerne, west of and near to Haughton Bridge, to the point at which a small rivulet there enters that river; thence up the said rivulet (which forms the western boundary of the playground of Haughton National Schools, and of the graveyard of St. Andrew's Church) to Hardeastle Lane; thence northward and westward up Hardeastle Lane to the point at which it joins Back Lane; thence, westward, along Back Lane for about one hundred and sixty-six yards to the point in it opposite to the angle of the Boundary between the townships of Haughton le Skerne and Cockerton; thence, southward, about sixteen yards to the said angle, in order to insert the words "Municipal Borough of Darlington."


opposed the Amendment. The universal opinion was in favour of the boundary proposed by the Commissioners, in proof whereof he stated that he had presented a petition to that effect signed by 1,400 persons.

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

The Committee divided:—Ayes 105; Noes 135: Majority 30.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Third Schedule agreed to.

Fourth Schedule (Places appointed for holding Courts for Election of Members).

MR. WATKIN moved to substitute Stockport for Macclesfield as the place of nomination for East Cheshire.


said, the subject had been well considered by the Boundary Commissioners and by the Combe Quarter Sessions, who had decided in favour of Macclesfield as the place of nomination for the division of the county. If Stockport were made the place of nomination, half of those who held up their hands at an election would be inhabitants of Lancashire and not of Cheshire.


said, Stockport is the centre of a population of 120,000 of the people of Cheshire.


said, that the subject had been very fully considered by the Boundary Commissioners; and they had come to the conclusion that for many reasons Macclesfield was preferable as a place of nomination for the division of the county to Stockport, which was situated on the borders of the county. It was as well that when there was a nomination those who held up their hands should be inhabitants of the county for which the election was held.

Amendment negatived.

MR. HARDCASTLE moved the insertion of "South Essex" in the second column after "Forth East Essex," and the insertion in the third column of Stratford after Colchester.

Amendment negatived.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Fifth Schedule (Explanation of the Contents of the Hundreds of Pirehill in Staffordshire).

MR. RUSSELL GURNEY moved the insertion of the Schedule.

Schedule agreed to.


said, he had not anticipated that they would make so much progress as had been made that evening, and he was not prepared therefore to move a clause he wished to have inserted with reference to the compound-householder. He would put the clause on the Paper to-morrow, and propose it on Monday,

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 165.]