HC Deb 10 June 1870 vol 201 cc1853-69

, in rising to call the attention of the House to the subject of County Government and to move, That, in the opinion of this House, the principle of representation ought to be applied to the government and financial administration of counties, said, that this question was a very difficult one to bring forward in that House, as the great bulk of those whom he was addressing were members of the body to the constitution of which he was about to take exception. It was not his intention, however, to find fault with the manner in which the Magistrates in England, the Commissioners of Supply in Scotland, or the Grand Juries in Ireland transacted the financial business of the counties, and protected the interests committed to their charge. Indeed, he believed the country owed a debt of gratitude to them for the spirited way in which they devoted their time to the public service. He could not, however, reconcile himself to the system under which they worked. It might, perhaps, be objected that the subject of the present Motion was being investigated by a Select Committee upstairs. To this he would reply that his Motion embraced both Ireland and Scotland as well as England—although it was not his intention to say anything about the state of affairs in Ireland, for the simple reason that he had no personal knowledge of them. Besides, the reference to the Committee presided over by the President of the Poor Law Board did not cover the whole subject to which he desired to direct the attention of the House. That Committee was appointed to inquire whether the expenditure and charges locally imposed upon the occupiers of rateable property should be divided between owners and occupiers, and what changes in the local bodies administering the rates should follow such division; whereas his Motion did not relate solely to financial matters, but also to the government of counties. There had been many attempts to legislate upon the former subject. In 1836 and 1837 the late Mr. Hume brought in Bills in reference to it, and since then Bills had been introduced by Mr. Hume, Mr. Milner Gibson and Mr. Wilde. Those measures had not been satisfactory to those who sat on his side, because they allowed a certain portion of the Financial Board to be composed of Justices of the Peace, leaving a small portion to be elected by the Board of Guardians. Last year the hon. Member for Sandwich (Mr. Knatchbull-Hugessen), on behalf of the Government, brought in a Bill founded on the recommendations of a Select Committee, by which, the elected members would have numbered one-sixth of the ex officio members. All these proposals, however, fell short of what was absolutely required. He did not dwell upon this subject, however, for he believed that it was now generally admitted that taxation and representation should go together; but he (Mr. Campbell) asked the House now to go farther, and to pronounce an opinion in favour of intrusting the government as well as the financial part of the administration in counties to those whom they were not afraid to trust in regard to Imperial matters and the control of the national expenditure. Foreign critics expressed their surprise that, in a country which valued representative institutions so much, the inhabitants of the rural districts were left without any voice in their own affairs; and our want of municipal organization was deplored by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Privy Council when he introduced his Education Bill. What he (Mr. Campbell) desired was to see municipal institutions created all over the country districts. He could not see any reason why we should not have in every county an elective body corresponding exactly to a town council, imposing its taxation, controlling its expenditure, electing its officers, and, if necessary, framing a code of regulations for its government, subject to the sanction of Parliament. It might be said that that was a Utopian theory. But it had been realized in practice in the United States and Canada—where, in varying forms, municipal government existed everywhere—and in still greater perfection in Australia in the system of shire councils. In France also—although it had degenerated in the hands of successive Governments, there still existed a uniform and homogeneous system of local self-government. The system of local government established in France after the Revolution would have been one of the most perfect in the world if it had not been subsequently corrupted and distorted. In all these countries there was no distinction between country and town. But we need not go abroad for instances; how was it originally in our own country? The Roman system of town communities, in which every free man had a vote, was adopted in this country by the Anglo-Saxons. The Normans endeavoured to upset it, and to place bailiffs over the towns and viscounts over the counties, and they succeeded with the counties; but the towns purchased the right of self-government by paying a higher revenue and undertaking to collect it themselves. Up to the time of Edward III., justices, or, as they were called, conservators of the peace, were chosen by the freeholders assembled in the County Court, and it was by a statute in the first year of his reign that the mode of appointment was changed, and magistrates were appointed by commission of the Sovereign. Therefore, at one time magistrates were directly responsible to the ratepayers whose affairs they managed. The high sheriffs, similarly, down to the 9th year of Edward III., were elected directly by the freeholders; but the coroner was now the only elected officer of the county. A totally different system prevailed in Scotland, where the magistrates had nothing to do with the affairs of counties, which were in the hands of Commissioners of Supply, who were, no doubt, to a certain extent, representative, being proprietors of land of the yearly value of £100. It was by a section of the Reform Act of 1832, that the management of all county matters was taken out of the hands of the county constituencies, and placed in those of the large owners of property; and now there was no representation whatever of owners of land under £100 a year in value. Recently he moved for a Return which showed how small a proportion those who were qualified to act as Commissioners of Supply bore to those who possessed the property qualification to vote for Members of Parliament. In Orkney the proportion was 36 to 498; in Stirling it was 148 to 1,507; in Fife, 234 to 2,895; and in Lanark, 451 to 4,390. In Clackmannan there were 826 proprietor voters and 34 Commissioners; and in Bute 455 proprietor voters and 17 Commissioners; but of the last number eight were ex officio, and three were factors, or duplicates of proprietors. In the whole of Scotland the Commissioners were 12 per cent of the proprietors, and a little more than 5 per cent of the total number of voters. In Scotland, it must be remembered, the county assessment was not laid, as in England, for the taxes were wholly levied on the landlords; but, without going into the subject of the incidence of taxation, he thought he had shown, at all events, that in Scotland all proprietors under £100 were unrepresented. In addition to that, the Commissioners of Supply disposed of the grants made by the Exchequer in aid of the local contributions—as, for instance, the sums sent towards the pay and clothing of the police. He had not a word to say against the mode in which the financial part of the duties of those gentlemen was discharged, their general fault, both in England and in Scotland, being that they were too frugal; and he believed that if they derived their authority directly from the ratepayers they would have more courage to indulge in expenditure, which was frequently much required. He had obtained Returns not with any expectation that they would show mismanagement, but in order that the House might have information about Scotch affairs similar to that which was annually presented for England. The Commissioners of Supply, however, did not confine themselves to financial matters, but held a meeting every April, at which, after transacting their ordinary business, they took into consideration all pending legislation affecting Scotland, and many Bills relating to Imperial matters. They were very much given to sending up Petitions; but it generally happened that the Members for the Scotch counties voted directly contrary to the views expressed therein; and by so petitioning the Commissioners caused much irritation, and their conduct tended to widen the existing breach between landlords and tenants. Within a month an hon. Member, after presenting a number of Petitions, sent up by the Commissioners of Supply, in the name of the county he represented, was obliged to add, in a stage whisper—"From the prayer of all which I entirely disagree;" and another hon. Member assured him that, in any case of doubt, he found it a safe rule always to vote against the Commissioners. While on this matter he wished to point out to the Lord Advocate that as regarded his Game Bill, there was an ill-omened unanimity of opinion in its favour on the part of the Commissioners, which was an indication of the unfortunate feeling that existed in reference to that subject. Last Session, again, there was a Bill before Parliament relating to Education in Scotland; there was a great race to get it through, yet, at an early stage in the House of Lords, its progress was delayed in order that these county meetings might pronounce an opinion upon it. He now came to the case of the Lords Lieutenant. In England, as well as in Scotland, the Lord Lieutenant was the highest officer in every county. Lords Lieutenant were not appointed until the reign of Henry VIII., they being—according to Blackstone—representatives of the Crown, "to keep the counties in military order." It was their duty to preserve the peace; but practically that duty was intrusted to much humbler functionaries—the heads of the police in each district, who had, in that respect, usurped the Lord Lieutenant's functions. That was, so far, a change in the right direction; but he (Mr. Campbell) contended that the officer in charge of the local constabulary ought to be held even more directly responsible to the householders and ratepayers. All that was left to the Lords Lieutenant was patronage. Their functions were purely nominative. They recommended persons to Her Majesty for the commission of the peace. He could not conceive a more unfortunate channel for the appointment of magistrates, for whatever else a Lord Lieutenant might be, he was always either a Whig or a Tory. He was, no doubt, always an estimable and honourable gentleman; but he was selected for the appointment not merely on account of his character, but also on account either of his family interest, or his property, or his party services, or the rigidity and primeval derivation, of his family politics. There could be no worse reason for the appointment of magistrates than political influence. It was known that in many cases the Lord Lieutenant exercised his functions with impartiality; but the system was unsound and unconstitutional. The Lords Lieutenant also appointed to commissions in the Militia and Volunteers, and three-fourths of Army reformers were anxious that that power should be taken out of their hands; for they were of opinion that the Militia should not be made a plaything of local magnates, but should be an integral part of the Army, and the first line of an Army Reserve. No one would accuse Members on the Benches near him of being advocates of an increase of the military force of the country; but they thought that if there were to exist an Army and Militia, they ought to be formed into an efficient machine, so that all the parts should properly fit into each other. This could not be the case so long as local jealousies affected the appointments to commissions in the Militia, and so long as those appointments were made on other grounds than fitness. But the Lord Lieutenant had so much to do that he had to appoint deputies to assist him. The Lord Lieutenant's duties being practically confined to the exercise of patronage, it became a question what was the raison d'étre of the Deputy Lieutenant? He (Mr. Campbell) had no objection to an honourable local rank being assigned as a reward for public service; but he protested against its being granted by an irresponsible authority, not amenable to public opinion. He must apologize for having trespassed so long on the time of the House. The only ground upon which the changes he advocated could be opposed was that of expediency, and upon it he would address two considerations to the House. The first was connected with what he would call the educational effect it would have upon the people. He was one of those who hoped that the time was not far distant when, by the equalization of the borough and county franchise, and the establishment of electoral districts—changes to which he was glad to hear the First Minister of the Crown say not long since that he entertained no insuperable aversion—the whole nation would be reduced to one homogeneous electoral body. In Scotland the people were ready for tie change, but the same was not the ease in England, and what was the reason of the difference in the two countries? He admitted that the superior system of education in Scotland for the whole of the people had something to do with the matter, but there was another influence silently at work. In Scotland there was a certain system of Church government established—he did not mean established legally, but established in the hearts of the people—which evoked in every man a pertain amount of public spirit by investing him with public duties, and treating him as a man to do and not to be done for, and this system undoubtedly had diffused a large amount of intelligence among the people of the Scotch counties. If such was the result of the small influence derived from the source he had just indicated, he left the House to judge what would be the effect of giving the inhabitants of counties a voice in the management of all their local affairs, and he asked whether it would not be wise to prepare them by such means for a participation in Imperial concerns? In regard to this point he referred to the high authority of M. de Tocqueville, who, speaking of the townships of America, said— Communal institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to learning; they bring it within the reach of the people. And then he went on to remark that the New Englander, strong in independence, clung to his township because he had a voice in the management of its concerns; he tried his hand at governing society; he accustomed himself to the forms by which alone liberty could advance without revolution, and he acquired a clear conception of his duties and his rights. These were advantages from which the inhabitants of this country living beyond the limits of municipal boroughs were excluded. Could it, then, be wondered at that an English peasant, when he rose by some happy chance to the position of a voter in a Parliamentary election, should fail to comprehend the bearing of great political questions, and should give his suffrage blindly at the bidding of his landlord, his parson, or his powerful neighbour? One word as to the effect the proposed change would have on those who would be deprived by it, if not of power, still of the monopoly of power. Here he anticipated the happiest consequences. While he had no desire to interfere with the legitimate influence due to a man's character and position, he thought the change he advocated would do more than anything he knew to take from individuals the exaggerated conventional importance which was attached to the possession of large quantities of land. What was the inducement for a man to invest all his money in land for which he could obtain a return of only 2½ or 3 per cent? Not getting a fair interest for his money, he must "take it out where he could." There was the enjoyment of visible and tangible possession, there was the charm of country life, the enjoyment of the fields—shortly, however, to be curtailed, for last year year there were three Game Bills in the House, and this year there were five. If they went on this way legislation would be necessary, if only to clear the Notice Paper. But, above all, there was the local possession, the "pomp and circumstance" with which, convention invested the great territorial owner. We were so accustomed to this that we failed to recognize it as conventional and artificial. Anything that would check the tendency of land to mass into few hands would be beneficial. There was nothing more disastrous for the country, or for the district, than that large properties should be in the hands of persons unable to do justice to them. Imagine a young man coming into possession of land worth £4,000 a year, but so burdened with debt, as often happened that his disposable income was a mere fraction of that amount. What should he do? Sell half the property? He would at 30 years' purchase receive £60,000, and suppose he paid off his encumbrances, amounting perhaps to £40,000, he would have enough left to keep the remaining half in a good state of cultivation. But then he would curtail his artificial possession of land in the county and lessen his title to the possession of feudal privileges. He (Mr. Campbell) had thus ventured to bring these two points before the House. There were the arguments of analogy, of antiquity, of logical consistency, of common sense, and of right in favour of his Motion; but there was, farther, the argument of expediency. And on this ground of expediency he rested his case on the considerations he had urged. He did not expect that all the changes which he had advocated could be carried out at once; but he asked the House, by assenting to his Motion, to express an opinion that a great and radical change was desirable, and that the direction he had pointed out was the direction which the change should take. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Resolution.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the principle of representation ought to be applied to the government and financial administration of Counties,"—(Mr. Campbell,) —instead thereof.


said, that the hon. Member's(Mr. Campbell's) speech had covered a greater extent of ground than was comprehended within the terms of his Motion; but it must be admitted that he had brought forward with great ability many topics deserving the deepest attention. The hon. Gentleman, in the opening parts of his speech, had suggested that his Motion might be met by a dilatory plea, on the ground that a Committee upstairs were considering questions connected with the subject-matter of his proposal. But he was bound to say he would not meet the Motion in that way, being opposed to the main scope of the hon. Gentleman's speech. For his speech did not go simply to recommend some alterations such as had been heretofore suggested with a view to introducing the principle of representation into county affairs in Scotland; it went to a complete alteration of the whole system of administration where municipal government was not in force. It proposed to parcel out the whole country into municipal districts; it proposed to substitute the chief constable of police for the Lord Lieutenant. There was hardly one of the local institutions which had not been attacked by his hon. Friend. Now, he was far from saying that his hon. Friend did not adduce many strong reasons for some of the changes which he recommended. Those who believed in the principle of representation and the good effect it had on the character and intelligence of all who took part in representative government—certainly, the House of Commons—should be the last to deny that the giving a wider scope to that principle would have a happy effect on the national character. So far he agreed with the hon. Gentleman. But if they assented to this Motion they must be prepared to give effect to all those large schemes of local reform which the hon. Gentleman had sketched out in his speech. The hon. Member pointed out what had been done in new countries unencumbered by our long-established institutions; he pointed out what had been done by the great French Revolution, which swept away the old institutions and substituted others which lasted but a short time: and he tendered to the House a somewhat similar system which should be the object of the; policy of that House. So far he (Mr. Bruce) was not prepared to go. The Government had admitted in the gracious Speech of Her Majesty last Session that the admission of the representative principle into the local administration of counties was desirable; and he believed that principle had been assented to on both sides of the House, although there might be some difference of opinion as to the manner in which effect was to be given to it. If Her Majesty's Government had been unable to give effect to their wishes, the House was well aware of the reasons which had interfered to prevent them. The Bill presented last year had been subjected to some criticism by his hon. Friend, and one special ground of objection deserved a passing notice. He said the effect of that Bill was in substance to introduce the representative element to the extent of no more than one-sixth of the whole body charged with the financial administration of the county; but, in point of fact, the popular representatives introduced would, in most instances, through their more regular attendance, exceed rather than fall short of the number of magistrates present, and it was on a full consideration of that point that the scheme of the Government was proposed. This Session no measure was brought forward. Why? Not simply for want of time, but because the whole subject of local taxation—its incidence and the manner in which it should be levied—was to be brought under consideration by his right hon. Friend the President of the Poor Law Board, who had introduced a measure which had been referred to a Select Committee; and on the decision of that Committee must, in a great degree, depend the constitution of County Financial Boards. He understood that evidence which covered the whole subject had been gone into by the Committee. The question how far the rate should be levied from owners and occupiers was one on which the Committee must give their decision; and surely on that decision it must very largely depend what should be the constitution of the future body, and where the electoral power should be vested. That was a sufficient reason for delay on the part of the Government in dealing with that part of the question. He was bound to say, with respect to the other and larger question, Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to propose any large or sweeping changes. The hon. Member said truly that no dis- satisfaction had been expressed with the conduct of local affairs by the magistracy in England, or the Commissioners of Supply in Scotland. Undoubtedly, it was a very marked feature of the evidence adduced before the Committee on the subject, that those who were most anxious for change admitted at the same time that the county finance had been economically and skilfully administered by the local magistracy. But the hon. Member called for changes such as would give effect to a great principle. That House, admitting the justice of the principle that large occupiers should have a voice in the expenditure of public money, had cheerfully assented to it; but while the Government were perfectly prepared to re-consider this subject, with whatever light might be cast upon it by the Report of the Committee—while they felt by no means bound to adhere to all the provisions of their former Bill, he could not hold out to the hon. Gentleman that they were prepared to assent to that large scheme which he had developed, and the great changes he proposed to introduce into the local government of the country. It was for that reason that, while declaring their desire to give the fullest effect to the policy held out in the Speech from the Throne last year, and to consider this question, with the fullest desire to increase as far as possible the representative principle in local government, they were not prepared to adopt the Motion of his hon. Friend, and he, therefore, must, with regret, but without hesitation, meet it with a decided negative.


said, he entirely agreed with what had been said as to the position of the large occupier in Scotland as regarded his share, or want of share, in the management of county affairs. The occupier in Scotland would compare favourably with his equal in any part of the world. He was generally a man of industry and skill—frequently of scientific acquirement; directly or indirectly he contributed largely to the public expenditure of the county, and yet he had no control in its financial administration. It was true that in some cases the rate was laid wholly on the owner; but in many cases it was laid equally on the owner and occupier, especially in the matter of poor rate, and unless the occupier was placed on the parochial Board by the £20 occupants, he would have no voice in the administration of county finance. He thought it would be a great advantage if occupiers were associated with the Commissioners of Supply. Without derogating from the manner in which the Commissioners of Supply, as a rule, discharged their duties, he must say he thought the large occupiers—men who had occupied the same farms from generation to generation—had a claim, for their own sakes and the good administration of county affairs, to a seat among the Commissioners of Supply. Admitting that claim, as the right hon. Gentleman had done, he hoped the Government would take the whole of this subject into their early consideration.


said, the Secretary of State for the Home Department had hardly done justice to the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell), which was in entire unison with the principle laid down in the Speech from the Throne; and no good reason could be advanced why this principle should not now be affirmed. It might be true that some arguments used by his hon. Friend might not be considered very logical; but what they should look to was the Motion itself. As his hon. Friend had explained already, there was not a vestige of representation existing in Scotch counties—although there was a little in England. The Commissioners of Supply were a body a couple of centuries old, dating back to a time when for some special purpose—a war with England, for example—Commissioners were appointed to see that the Supply already voted by Parliament was properly assessed in the county, and paid into the national Exchequer, and to this their name, Commissioners of Supply, was attributable. In the present day, however, no supplies were voted; and therefore they had no duties of this class to perform, beyond laying on the fixed proportion of land tax agreed upon by the Treaty of Union—that was to say, £48,000 for all Scotland. By a mere chapter of accidents it had fallen into the hands of this body of gentlemen to meet together and to regulate all county business. One would suppose from the phrase, "meeting of the county," invariably used with regard to their gatherings, that the inhabitants met in a body, or, at all events, that the meetings were open; but the whole thing was a perfect farce. He had attended some of their meetings in Edinburgh, and found, perhaps, 25 highly respectable gentlemen, who could all be trusted to manage their own affairs honestly and well; but, as representatives of a county which, including towns, contained about 300,000 inhabitants, the thing, he repeated, was a perfect farce. The whole community of occupiers were excluded from any share in the representation, and so were owners of all property less in value than £100 in land and £200 in houses. It was, perhaps, natural under these circumstances that the property of landowners was always found to be assessed upon very low rentals, comparatively speaking. In the Edinburgh journals he found the subject discussed at a meeting of the Town Council a few days ago, and in that discussion it was stated that the paper manufactory of a gentleman, formerly a Member of this House, was assessed at £1,200 a year, while the palace of the Duke of Buccleuch, in which Royalty had been received, was only assessed at £250 a year, and the castle of the Earl of Stair at £150. However just these things might be, they did not look well. Two or three years ago he obtained a Return of the amount derived from the tax upon the inhabited houses; and in the county of Sutherland, although that county included the palatial residence of the Duke of Sutherland, the whole amount of house duty levied was the veriest trifle—less than £50 a year. Facts like these, which were well and widely known, showed that a change in the present system was imperatively required. There had been no improvements in legislation which had not been opposed by these so-called "county meetings," nor would any progress take place in that direction that would not be strenuously resisted by them until their constitution was entirely changed. Reference had been made to the Game Law Bill. Well, the Bill of the Lord Advocate was supported by nearly all these meetings, on the ground that if it were not accepted they would get a worse one. Her Majesty's Government, he thought, could hardly vote against a principle which they had specially recommended to the House in the Speech from the Throne—namely, financial reform in the counties.


said, his vote should be given in support of the view taken by his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Bruce). He recognized to the fullest extent the claims of the county ratepayers to County Board representation; but before the Committee on the subject of Local Rates, over which he had presided, very considerable difference of opinion existed as to the nature of any change which ought to be introduced; and he thought it was not expedient to raise the question in Parliament, when a Committee of Inquiry into the whole matter was sitting. His vote, therefore, would not be given against the proposition submitted to the House, but in favour of going into Committee of Supply. He was not prepared to speak of finances in Scotland, but as regarded the finances of English counties it was distinctly proved before the Select Committee that little or no complaint was made of the economical way in which county affairs had been administered. Some hon. Gentlemen seemed to expect that great economy would result from introducing the principle of representation into the management of county affairs; but if the question were gone into it would be found, he thought, that the administration of finances in the counties would bear comparison very favourably with the way in which such matters were managed by public bodies in any of the boroughs. There could be no doubt that affairs in counties were more economically administered than in boroughs. He was convinced that wherever the ratepayers as a body demanded the right of immediate representation, no one would be found willing or able to resist the demand; but the whole difficulty of the case was involved in the settlement of the details, towards the consideration of which this Motion would contribute nothing. Without, therefore, going any farther into the question he should give his support to Her Majesty's Government.


said, he thought that the House, before effecting such a change as that now proposed, should pause and ascertain what would, be the probable results. The statements made by the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) were sufficient to excite a doubt as to whether the change would be welcome to the ratepayers for whose benefit it was proposed, and whe- ther they would approve the expenditure which his hon. Friend (Mr. Campbell) advocated. He could not help thinking, however, that it would be wise on the part of the Commissioners not to enter into discussions on general matters, but to confine themselves to the duties for which they were particularly appointed. He would remind the House that, inasmuch as in Scotland taxation for county purposes was placed entirely upon the proprietors, the representation should rest entirely with them; otherwise they would be violating the principle that taxation and representation should go hand in hand.


said, that while everyone complimented his hon. Friend (Mr. Campbell) upon the speech he had made, everyone was going to vote against him. He (Mr. Kinnaird) should, however, be an exception. He hoped his hon. Friend would push his Motion to a Division, and thus lay the foundation for a reform the necessity of which was generally admitted.


said, he thought the Motion was unseasonable, but he felt compelled to say that while he did not place the slightest confidence in Her Majesty's Government in relation to this question, he placed, if possible, less confidence in the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department than he did in the collective body of the Ministry. The question had been most thoroughly discussed by the House when brought forward by Mr. Milner Gibson many years ago, and nothing would now be gained by the investigations of a Select Committee. Some three years ago a Bill was introduced on the subject, when hon. Gentlemen on the other side were sitting on the Opposition Benches, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. Forster) smothered it with civil words and sent it upstairs to a Committee, where it was delayed for the Session. If it had been considered in a Committee of the House it would now have been the law of the land. A Bill was brought forward the following year; but it was treated with something like contempt, having been committed to the charge of an Under Secretary, while measures of not half the importance were taken in hand by Cabinet Ministers, and it was soon found that it was impossible to pass the Bill. It was the general opinion that that Bill was a perfect sham. He would give one word of advice to Chambers of Agriculture, and it was that they should impress on their county Members the necessity of sinking party differences when questions affecting their interests were at stake. He regretted that the hon. Member (Mr. Campbell) should have introduced extraneous matter in his speech, but if he went to a Division he would support him. He wished to know from the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the right hon. Gentleman would undertake early next Session to introduce a Bill to settle this question of Financial Boards.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 61; Noes 39: Majority 22.

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."