§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ DR. BALL
said, the Bill, among other things, abolished the £10 franchise, which had been deliberately proposed by a Liberal Government in order to raise the character of the persons entitled to vote at municipal elections, and he must decidedly object to such a proposal. In the smaller Irish boroughs, many of the dwellings were no better than cabins, and their inhabitants no better than labourers, who were certainly not fit, in his opinion, to possess the municipal franchise. Further than that, he maintained that a Bill of that importance, if necessary, ought to be brought forward on the responsibility of the Government, and not by a private Member. Besides, the House had not the slightest information as to the additional number of voters who would be enfranchised under the provisions of the 890 Bill. His own opinion was, that the measure would be attended with evil consequences, and that it would vest the control of local taxation in persons who ought not to exercise such a power. Considering the thin attendance in the the House he would not divide upon the second reading, but he gave Notice that on the Motion for going into Committee on the Bill, he should move, that the Committee be taken on that day three months.
said, the merits of the Bill were fully discussed last year, when the then Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Dowse) assented on the part of the Government to the second reading. He had pleasure in acknowledging the courtesy of the hon. and learned Gentleman not in taking a division, but he begged to remind him that it was not an hour of the day favourable to a large attendance. He believed that the houses in the municipal boroughs of Ireland had been very much improved, and that the time had arrived when there might be an assimilation of the municipal franchise in both countries.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.