§ Bill, as amended, considered.
§ MR. BRADY
said, he wished to explain that in taking the course he had taken on Thursday night, with reference to one of the two clauses which he had given notice of his intention to move in Committee on the Bill, he was acting in accordance with 1893 an arrangement he had entered into. The clause to which he referred had been drawn with the assistance of one of the most distinguished Members of that House, and he believed it to be a clause of great importance. Wishing, therefore, that it should be fully discussed, be had agreed with some of his hon. Friends not to bring it on after a certain hour on Thursday night. Under those circumstances, when he found that he could not bring it on be fore that hour, he thought the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government was one he ought to accept. Unfortunately, his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) moved a clause. His hon. Friend had since written him a letter on the subject, which letter was of a most satisfactory character. ["Read."] He did not think it necessary to read the letter. His hon. Friend made his Motion under a misunderstanding, being under the impression that he (Mr. Brady) had not accepted the proposition of the First Lord of the Treasury, who had placed him in the position in which those who supported him desired he should be. He wished the House to understand that he, at least, was in no way responsible for the disorderly scene which had taken place on Thursday night.
§ MR. O'BEIRNE
said, he could not allow this Bill to pass through this its final stage without giving expression to his unqualified dissatisfaction at the manner in which it dealt with the interests of the Irish people. When the noble Earl (the Earl of Mayo) introduced the Bill some months since, he stated his objections to it. He stated that it was, so far as he could judge, framed upon no principle which had been previously accepted or adopted by the House. It proposed to increase the county representation by five Members to the injury of the urban representation as it stood. It left quite untouched the great question of the county franchise, and avoided the freemen so long objected to by Irish representatives. The Bill had now passed through Committee without any important Amendment, with the exception of the abandonment by the Government of their proposal for disfranchisement and re-distribution of seats—the borough franchise had been fixed at a figure above £4, the county franchise remained at £12, and the freemen, with nil their objectionable characteristics, remain in the full possession of all the powers 1894 which they have so long misused. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire told the House on Thursday last that the claims made for the increase of the county constituencies were fair and ought to be considered. He told you that even in 1850, when the English figure of qualification was six times what it now is, this House agreed to a reduction to £8. He quoted the remarkable words of Sir Robert Peel and he reminded the House that the £12 figure then fixed was arrived at as a compromise. He might have added to the authority he quoted many others almost of equal weight. He might have said that Mr. Hume considered that an £8 Irish rating was then equal to a £30 English rating; and he might have given the words of Sir James Graham, that, in a great nation of 8,000,000, to have an electoral body of less than 50,000 was an anomaly quite inconsistent with the safety of the State or the security of our institutions. But the right hon. Gentleman's arguments were unavailing, and the county franchise remained untouched. He much regretted this result, as he must entirely disagree with the remarks which fell from his hon. Friend the Member for Galway and his hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham. He did not believe there would be any danger to the Liberal cause in giving votes to the Irish tenant-farmers valued at £8. He believed them to be as independent and as well entitled to the franchise as the English tenants. The very impatient manner in which the subject of Irish Reform was received by the House on Thursday last left those who represented Irish opinions and Irish interests little to hope for. The Bill was in Committee for some few hours on Monday night on merely formal matters. It was resumed on Thursday, and it was with difficulty those hon. Members who were anxious to express their opinions upon a subject of such moment were able to do so. Be it so; but such a course, they might rest assured, will not be lost upon the Irish people. What had they done by this Bill? They gave to Irish voters an increase of 9,000. Scotland receives 50,000 voters; and England 570,000 voters by the English Bill. They were told that our representation was sufficient for our population of upwards of 5,000,000. If the proportion added to England's register was to be taken, they should be increased 50,000 at least—20 per cent. If the numbers on their own re- 1895 gister were to be taken, they should be increased by one-fifth—40,000; and yet we receive only 9,000. Such a measure is a mere mockery. He protested against its being called a measure of reform of the Irish representation; it was only a stronger proof that the Parliament did not deal with Ireland as it dealt with England and Scotland. The House might rest satisfied that the estimate which the Irish people would form of this debate would be shown by the unanimous expression of their opinion at the approaching elections, and that they would tell that House and the Ministers that they would no longer submit to legislation so unequal in its character and so unjust to the best interests of their country.
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, he thought that a measure so small and so absurd had never before been brought before the House. In agreeing to it the Irish Liberal Members only relegated the question to a Parliament of more authority and vigour. But they certainly had hoped that a more extended county franchise would be at once adopted. He did not complain of hon. Members opposite, who had only acted in honest accordance with their principles; but he could not and would not say the same for Members on that (the Liberal) side. Irish Members had sat there night after night patiently endeavouring to make the other two Reform Bills worthy of England and of Scotland; but when they came to debate the question of their county franchise they found themselves deliberately, basely deserted by the men they had supported. What had this Reform Bill done for Ireland? Why, it had only reduced the franchise in towns from £8 to over £4. The county franchise it had left precisely as it stood before. He felt exactly as one might feel that found himself abandoned by his comrades in the face of danger. Of course, to those English and Scotch Members who had supported their Irish Friends these remarks did not apply; but whomsoever the cap fitted, he might wear it. In common with, he believed, all the Irish Liberal Members, he protested against the Bill; and if by saying "No" he could throw it out, he would willingly pronounce that word.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, he thought English Members had no just ground for complaining that too much of the time of the House had been occupied by this measure. He did not complain of the 1896 time occupied by the English Reform Bill or by the Scotch Reform Bill. The consideration of this Bill had only extended over two evenings. He wished to endorse the sentiments expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell). Having analysed the two important divisions that took place on the last day this subject was under discussion, he found that a majority of the Irish Members had voted for extending the suffrage in the counties and abolishing the Dublin freeman franchise; but the Motions introduced to carry out those objects were lost in consequence of the apathy of the English and Scotch Liberal Members, who would not come down to the House to assist their Irish brethren in their endeavours to obtain what had been obtained for England and Scotland. This Bill could scarcely be called a Reform Bill at all. It was confined to a mere lowering of the borough franchise. He deeply regretted the course that had been taken in reference to the Motion of the hon. Member for Leitrim (Mr. Brady) with respect to the ballot. It was a Motion of very great importance, and deserved serious debate and consideration. It was unfortunate that that Motion was brought on at so late an hour, and that the suggestion of the First Minister of the Crown to postpone it to this stage was not accepted. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman), the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), and the right hon. Member for Ashton (Mr. Milner Gibson) had been prepared to address the House upon the subject. The question of the ballot was now upon an entirely different footing from that on which it stood before the passing of the Reform Act, and he was anxious to have the opinion of the First Lord of the Treasury on the question. He desired that the right hon. Gentleman's opinion on the, subject should be expressed before the election, because he had reason to believe that the right hon. Gentleman was not on principle opposed to the ballot. He had reason to think that the right hon. Gentleman believed the ballot would be a truly Conservative measure, and if left to his own views would have proposed it in the Reform Bill. He was led to believe that the right hon. Gentleman did not propose it because his party were not sufficiently educated for the purpose. He did not speak without authority, for in a work published some years ago, entitled The Spirit of Whiggism, the right hon. Gentleman thus spoke in re- 1897 ference to the extension of the franchise and the ballot—The disposition of property in England throws the power of the country into the hands of the natural aristocracy. I do not believe that any system of suffrage or any method of election-would direct that power into other quarters. It is the necessary consequence of our present social state. I believe that the wider the popular suffrage the more powerful would be the natural aristocracy. That seems to be the inevitable consequence; but I maintain this proposition on the clear under standing that such an extension should be founded on a fair and not on a factious basis. Here then arises the question of the ballot, into the merits of which I shall take another opportunity of entering, recording merely my opinion that in the present state of the Constitution even the ballot is in favour of the power of the natural aristocracy, and that if the ballot were to be contemporaneously introduced, with a fair and not a factious extension of suffrage, it would produce no change in the distribution of power affecting the natural aristocracy.Now, the extension of suffrage made last year according to the opinions of hon. Gentlemen on the other side, was made not on a factious but a fair basis, and therefore if the right hon. Gentleman's view was to be acted upon, the time was come when the ballot should be introduced into the Constitution of the country. It was for that reason he was anxious that the right hon. Gentleman should have had an opportunity-as he would have had if the debate had gone on—of expressing his opinion on the question, it would be very unfortunate for hon. Gentle men opposite to go to the country without knowing the views of the right hon. Gentleman on the ballot; for in that case they might have to unsay next Session what they might state at the hustings this year, and he thought it was for the interest both of political parties and of morality that the right hon. Gentleman should have expressed his opinion. This subject he would not enlarge upon as he had risen merely to endorse the opinion of the hon. Member for Clonmel as to the nature of the Bill, and the manner in which they had been treated by Gentlemen on that side of the House; but in doing so he would not but express his regret that the debate on the ballot should not have proceeded, for the reasons he had stated.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, he wished to point out how unjustly the provisions of the present Bill would operate. They had given to England a rating franchise for the boroughs, whereas in Ireland they restricted it to houses of £4 rental. In England the county franchise was fixed at 1898 £12, and one of the best authorities in the House had shown that a £12 franchise in Ireland was practically equivalent to a £30 rental in England. One or two figures would enable the House to understand the real character of this Bill, which was called a Reform Bill for Ireland. ["Oh, oh !"] He perceived no argument in these extraordinary noises, and he thought that hon. Gentlemen would do better to use the English language. Take the county of Clare, and compare its present condition with its condition forty years ago. It had then 17,000 electors, and now only 5,300. The county of Mayo had 20,300 electors in 1828, and only 3,400 in 1868. The Bill would not add as many electors to the which constituent body of Ireland as had been deducted in 1828 from the constituency of the one county of Clare. With respect to the ballot question, he would only say, that the observations of his hon. Friend near him (Mr. Brady) in the discussion the other night had been quite inaudible. Now that he understood from his hon. Friend that he had accepted the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister, he regretted much that he should have interposed between his hon. friend and the House.
said, all the friends of Reform must look upon this Bill as in no way a settlement of the question. He should feel guilty of a dereliction of duty both to himself and to his constituents, if he were to omit entering his protest against it. It must be perfectly understood that they would re-open the question on the very earliest opportunity. As regarded both the county franchise and the freemen's franchise, they would consider no settlement satisfactory, no matter what Government might be in Office, which did not deal with both these subjects.
§ MR. REARDEN
said, he rose to propose a clause, altering the qualification to one of the net annual rental value of £6 or upwards for counties, and £3 or upwards for boroughs, of lands, tenements, or hereditaments. He thought that after Irish Members had assisted in passing Reform Bills of a character so liberal for England and Scotland, they were entitled to a better return. The present Bill would make an addition of only 9,000 voters in a population of nearly 6,000,000. Were a measure so restricted proposed for England, it would be burned at the market cross of every town throughout the country. But if the House would accept the clause he now 1899 proposed it would in effect hold out the olive branch to Ireland and do something to establish friendly relations with that country.
§ Clause (Alteration of county and borough qualifications,)—(Mr. Rearden,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ MR. CRUM-EWING
said, he only rose to correct the impression which might be derived from the statement of the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell) regarding the part taken by the Scotch Members. No less than twenty-one Scotch Members voted in favour of the Motion for reducing the Irish county franchise to £8, and only seven on the other side.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the said Clause be now read a second time," put, and negatived.
§ MR. VANCE
proposed a clause extending the residence of electors of the city of Dublin from seven to twelve miles. He remarked that, in the case of the English metropolis, the limit of residence had been extended to twenty-five miles, and as railway facilities induced many persons to live by the seaside or otherwise beyond the distance of seven miles from Dublin, he hoped a similar boon would be extended to the Irish metropolis.
§ Clause (Residence of Electors for City of Dublin extended to twelve miles,)—(Mr. Vance,)—brought up, and read the first time."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
THE EARL OF MAYO
said, he thought there was much force in the argument of his hon. Friend. The circumstances of Dublin were very peculiar, and of late years a large proportion of the most respectable citizens had lived outside the town. The seven mile limit at present excluded a number of persons from the enjoyment of the franchise, and, considering the concessions agreed to with regard to London and that the class who would benefit by this provision were much the same as in that case, he thought the clause was a reasonable one.
Sir, I should like to have a few words of explanation from the noble Earl as to the application of this principle to the cases of other large cities and towns, before we assent to the Motion made by the hon. Member for Armagh 1900 (Mr. Vance). He founded it in a great degree on the fact that Dublin is a metropolis, arguing that as the metropolis of the Empire had that privilege, something of the same kind should be conceded to the metropolis of Ireland. But the privilege was not granted to the metropolis of England on the ground of its being a metropolis; it was on account of peculiar conditions with respect to residence, and the fact of the metropolis being blocked in on all sides by Parliamentary boroughs of great extent, containing an enormous mass of population. That is a very different matter from laying down the principle that a particular town, because it is a metropolis, should have electoral rights different from those of other large towns containing an equal population. Edinburgh is also a metropolis, the citizens of which, in many cases, live at a considerable distance out of town, but no such privilege has been given to it. We have dealt also with the cases of Glasgow, Manchester and Salford, Liverpool, and Birmingham. No such privilege has been given to them, though in Liverpool, for example, numbers of the inhabitants reside for great part of the year at Southport and other places fifteen miles distant. With respect to the modern system of conveyance, several of these towns have a much larger number of railroads running into them than Dublin. I submit that if any change of this kind be sanctioned, it ought not to be merely on the ground of a place being a metropolis; but in reference to physical conditions affecting the residence of the voters, and ought to be extended to all large towns. I cannot conceive that an isolated Motion of this kind can either be accepted as a compliment to Ireland, or be a satisfactory mode of recognizing a principle.
§ SIR JOHN GRAY
said, he had been a resident of Dublin for thirty years and upwards, and did not know that any large number of electors having their business in the city resided at any outside place. With the exception of Kingstown, which was within the seven-mile limit, there was no considerable place where persons went for sea residence. Bray was a small though growing town outside the limits of the county of Dublin, and nearly twelve miles from the city. The persons who would be brought in by the clause were not occasional residents, but occupants of villas, who lived outside of Dublin for the purpose of escaping the urban taxation, and did not contribute in any way to the 1901 municipal burdens of the city. It would admit, in short, a large agricultural population, having no direct connection with the place such as ought to belong to electors and who had already votes for the county. In behalf of the citizens of Dublin, he should oppose the clause.
said, he was surprised at the view taken by the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) who himself had a villa residence outside Dublin, while his place of business was in the city. He thought there were good grounds for extending the limit of residence to twelve miles. He knew that many persons engaged during the day in business in Dublin resided at Bray.
§ MR. PIM
said, he was in favour of extending the privilege granted in the case of the City of London to towns like Manchester and Liverpool, and also to Dublin. He could not see why there should be a seven-mile limit excluding gentlemen who had an interest in that city though they lived in country houses.
said, he was surprised that the Government should support this clause. He had understood that it was agreed on all sides to accept the Bill in the condition in which it left the Committee. If this understanding were not adhered to there would be an opening up of many clauses besides this in the Bill.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he thought it was a very suspicious measure to select one place in which to make a distinction, as was now proposed with reference to the city of Dublin, without any special circumstances connected with it. It looked very like a party and political move. ["Oh."] Hon. Gentlemen seemed to flinch from the imputation, and he did not wonder at it. He challenged any hon. Member to answer the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), and to explain why this proposal should be adopted in Dublin and not adopted in the large towns of England.
§ SIR ARTHUR GUINNESS
said, that as a challenge had been thrown out for hon. Members on his side of the House to deny if they could that this Amendment had been made from party motives, he wished to remind the right hon. Gentleman 1902 (Mr. Monsell) that he and his Colleague (Mr. Pim) by no means sailed in the same boat on political questions, and that his hon. Colleague was going to vote for this Amendment. That plainly showed that the Amendment was not proposed from party motives.
MR. SERJEANT BARRY
said, that the Amendment would favour an increase in the number of freemen voters, and this explained the proposal.
§ MR. GREGORY
said, that, believing that this was a clearly defined party proposal, he would move the adjournment of the debate.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Gregory,)
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he had been quite ignorant of this "party struggle" until the subject was introduced by his hon. Friend the Member for Armagh (Mr. Vance). Much might be said both for and against the Amendment. No doubt the precedent established last year in regard to the City of London, and which—although explained by the right hon. Member for South Lancashire—was one of very doubtful import, quite justified his hon. Friend in bringing forward this proposal. If his hon. Friend had, however, consulted him he should have said that upon the whole, and in the present state of the Irish Reform Bill, it would not be expedient to open this question. This would show what exaggerated statements had just been made, and how completely unfounded was the conclusion to which the hon. Member for Galway County (Mr. Gregory) had arrived when he hinted that this was some deep and sinister party move. He would say that, although his hon. Friend was quite justified in making this proposal, which was not only plausible, but very reasonable, and which was supported by both the Members for Dublin, still it was not expedient to press the Amendment to a division.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Question again proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause withdrawn.
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
said, he rose, according to Notice, to move the following clause:—(Assimilation of franchise in boroughs, counties of cities, and counties of towns.)Every man shall be entitled to be registered as a voter, and when registered to vote at the Election of a Member or Members to serve in Parliament for any borough who is of full age and not subject to any legal incapacity, and who is seised of a freehold estate in such borough, or of any rent-charge arising out of any freehold estate in such borough of such value and subject to such conditions as would if in a city or town, being a county of a city or county of a town by itself, entitle such person to register his vote for such city or town, or who holds as lessee or assignee any lands or tenements in such borough for such term visions of the Registration Acts shall apply to of such value and subject to such provisions as would if such lands or tenements were situate in a city or town, being a county of a city or county of a town by itself, entitle such person to register his vote for such city or town; and all the pro-voters in boroughs on whom the franchise is hereby conferred in the same manner in all respects as far as is practicable as they now apply to such voters in cities and towns.His object was to extend to the rest of the thirty-three boroughs of Ireland a franchise which was now peculiar to eleven of them. Considering they were now reducing the borough occupation franchise to about £4, the addition by his proposal of from 2,000 to 3,000 of the most respectable and independent class, who possessed property of considerable extent, to the Irish borough constituencies would be a valuable improvement, wholly unconnected with any party advantage.
§ Clause (Assimilation of franchise in boroughs, counties of cities, and counties of towns,)—(Sir Frederick Heygate,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, he hoped that the clause would meet the same fate as the last, and that the First Lord of the Treasury would recommend the hon. Mover to withdraw it. The franchise which it proposed to extend was properly a county franchise, and he objected on principle to its introduction into the Irish boroughs generally. At present, it was 1904 almost exclusively confined to cities or boroughs which were counties in themselves, and it had scarcely any existence in England.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, that one of the questions which agitated the public mind in Ireland was the land question, and yet when a proposition was made to enable landed proprietors to express their opinions the House refused to' entertain it. But now the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir Frederick Heygate) came forward to introduce a landlord element into constituencies, to enable landlords to make faggot votes and swamp the constituencies, which were at present pretty evenly balanced.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, he had voted so often before for the maintenance of the distinction between borough and county franchise in England that he could not now support the clause of the hon. Baronet.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said, he rose only to protest against the imaginary compact which the hon. Member for Clare (Sir Colman O'Loghlen) had announced as having been come to on Thursday night. He understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to think that there had been an agreement on both sides that no new matter was to be introduced into the Irish Reform Bill, that the Committee was virtually closed, and that they were only to touch some points of detail which, for particular reasons, could not be dealt with conclusively on Thursday night. [Sir COLMAN O'LOGHLEN: Hear, hear!] He was glad that the hon. and learned Baronet acknowledged the justice of that statement of what he had said. But his (Mr. Disraeli's) impression was totally different. He thought that it was agreed on Thursday night that Progress should be reported, in order that the House on Report might have an opportunity of deciding upon many very important questions, and particularly upon the question of election by ballot, which was to have been brought forward by the hon. Member for Leitrim (Mr. Brady). But there were other questions also of great importance, of which due Notice had been given, and that Notice 1905 proved how utterly erroneous and unfounded was the statement of the hon. Member for Clare. He found from the Paper that the hon. Member for Ennis (Mr. Stacpoole) had given Notice that he would call the attention of the House to the propriety of lowering the borough franchise, while the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Serjeant Barry) intended on Clause 4 to move to omit certain words which would entirely alter the character of the lodger franchise, and there was also the Notice of the hon. Baronet who had brought forward the pro-sent question. The House, therefore, ought to decide upon this question on its merits, and it appeared to be one well worth consideration. He believed it a decision was arrived at in favour of the proposition they would add greatly to the strength of the town constituency and improve the representation of Ireland.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he was greatly disappointed when he heard that the right hon. Gentleman intended to support this clause. Whatever arguments might have induced the right hon. Gentleman to do so he was sure there was one to which he would lend no countenance—namely, the argument brought forward by the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. Vance). That hon. Gentleman had said that they had reduced the borough franchise to so dangerous a level that this clause was intended to act as a counterpoise. Well, as the House had adopted the borough franchise for Ireland proposed by the Government themselves, Her Majesty's Ministers at least would give no countenance to such an argument. But what was the House really asked to do? They were asked to do in the case of Ireland what the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had reminded them they had repeatedly refused to do in the case of England. If there was one objection more deeply felt and more strongly urged than another to the proposals of the Government in 1859, it was that county voters should be removed from the counties of England, and transferred with the same franchise to the boroughs. They had rejected that proposal for England; they ought now to reject it for Ireland, for if bad for England it was far worse for Ireland, where there was not so large an infusion of the commercial element in the county constituency. The creation of rent-charge votes in small constituencies was very objection-able. If they agreed to this clause they 1906 would add another anomaly to those which already existed, and another argument in favour of re-opening the question of Irish Reform.
MR. SERJEANT BARRY
said, he should oppose the clause on the ground that this franchise had been left where it was in 1832, both with regard to England and Ireland; and as it had not been extended by the late Reform Act in England, it ought not to be extended in Ireland. Such an attempt as that made by the hon. Baronet would have a very had effect in Ireland; for it would furnish with a new argument that increasing class of persons who maintained that it was useless to look for justice to Parliament, when it was seen that the Government had taken good care not to suffer the power of the landlords to be threatened in the counties, and now endeavoured to give them new influence in the towns. He begged to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ MR. MURPHY
seconded the Motion for an adjournment. He said the object of the clause brought forward by the hon. Baronet was to give county voters a vote also in the boroughs, a procedure that was manifestly unjust.
Sir, this clause has been supported on two grounds. The hon. Member for Armagh supported it on a ground worthy of the attention of the House and the country—namely, that the propositions of the Government with regard to the borough franchise are of so dangerous a character that they require to be counteracted and neutralized, and he thinks he finds in this proposition of the hon. Baronet the remedy he wants. I confess I think it would have been much better if the hon. Gentleman had exposed this dangerous character of the propositions of the Government when they were made, and had not supported them in silence. But, whether he is happy or not in the choice of his opportunity, I wish to protest against the principle that we are to counteract by restrictive propositions the effects of those enlarging propositions which we have applied to the franchise. On that ground it appears to me it is totally impossible to defend the clause of the hon. Baronet, and I do not know whether the hon. Baronet will be obliged to the hon. Member for the character he has given to the clause as retroactive, and meant to restrain the effect of that exceedingly slight enlargement of the franchise which we have made by our so-called 1907 Irish Reform Bill. But, putting aside the doctrines of the hon. Member for Armagh, I do not think it right to give a vote on this question without fairly warning hon. Gentlemen opposite of what appears to me to be the certain, although perhaps not the immediate upshot of a Motion such as this. The hon. Baronet opposite proposes to introduce into the whole of the boroughs of Ireland a county franchise, and, to give its full effect within these boroughs, to withdraw it from the counties. Now, does the hon. Baronet imagine that the House can take such a step as that, and, having taken that step, can stop there? My right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) has stated, and stated truly, that in 1859 a similar proposition was made by the Government of that day. That proposal, however, differed from the proposal of the hon. Baronet, in that it was a complete proposal. While the county franchise was carried into the boroughs, the borough franchise was carried into the counties. And let hon. Gentlemen lay their account with this, that if they choose now to tamper with the subject, and carry in Ireland the county franchise into the boroughs—I know not what its bearings on parties may be; I see what is involved as a logical consequence in such a measure—it must inevitably be followed by its counterpart, the carrying of the borough franchise into counties. And when you have carried the county franchise into boroughs—and are congratulating yourselves or condoling with yourselves, as the case may be—you must be prepared to have the same change carried into England. I do not say whether it will be a good change or a bad change. But I think it my duty to say that it is a change for which you must be prepared. It is impossible to adopt proposals of this kind—involving in themselves certain principles of broad application—for your own immediate purposes, and then think you can stay their application within the limits to which they can be conveniently carried.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Serjeant Barry.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 156; Noes 198: Majority 42.
§ Question again proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
who said, he was not convinced by the argu- 1908 ments he had heard against his proposal, which he had made without any party motives. It had been said that a great difference existed between the county and the borough franchise in this—that the former was based on property, while the latter rested on occupation and residence. But it had been forgotten that great part of the English county franchise—all that resting on the Chandos Clause—depended on occupation. If, however, an assurance were given that the Bill should be now allowed to proceed, he would not allow his proposal to stand in the way, and would withdraw the clause.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause withdrawn.
§ Amendments made.
§ Bill to be read the third time upon Thursday.