§ MR. LEWIS
moved, in page 22, line 23, to leave out—Warwick—the present Parliamentary borough of Warwick, and the Municipal borough of Royal, Leamington, Spa, and the Local Government districts of Milverton and Lillington.The hon. Gentleman said, that in introducing this Amendment it was necessary that he should explain, in the first instance, the course he proposed to pursue. He had intended to move the insertion of Warwick in Schedule No. 1; but circumstances, over which he had no control, had prevented him from being in his place at the time it was necessary to make that Motion. The object of the present Motion was to exclude from Schedule 5 the proposal to extend the boundaries of the borough of Warwick by including Leamington and two other outlying parishes. If he were successful in carrying the Motion, the course he would then take would be, on the Report, to move to insert "Warwick" in Schedule No. 1, among the boroughs which were to cease to return a Member. But in point of fact there was some little convenience in taking the course he was now about to take—namely, in asking the Committee to decide, in the first instance, what was to be done in regard to the question of the extension of boundaries. He assumed, on the one hand, that if the Committee were against the extension of the borough boundaries of Warwick, they would, on the Report, be prepared to include the borough in the disfranchising Schedule; whereas, on the other hand, if the Committee were of opinion that 539 the boundaries of the borough should be extended by including Leamington and other parishes, it would not be necessary to discuss the question further. What were the facts of the case? The facts were that the borough of Warwick, according to the Census of 1881, had a population of over 11,000. He was not in a position to say that the borough of Warwick was a decaying borough, because he believed that, as a matter of fact, the population had somewhat increased during the last 15 or 20 years, but not to any considerable extent. It was now proposed—and it would be presently seen why the proposal was made—to add to the borough of Warwick not a less quantity, as in the ordinary case of a borough extension, but a much greater quantity, outside. In other words, it was proposed to include with Warwick and its population of 11,000 an outside constituency of more than 26,000. It was not adding the less to the greater, but adding the greater to the less. It would, no doubt, be contended by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke) that Leamington and Warwick were continuous places; and he believed, as a matter of fact, that there were villas from Leamington on one road, stretching between Leamington and Warwick, so as to justify the statement that one continuous line might be traced between the two towns; but it was only on one road and on one side. Why was it that this proposed extension of the borough boundaries was proposed? It was simply to save the borough of Warwick from falling into the hard-and-fast and irrefragable line which they had heard from the Government, over and over again, formed one of the main principles of the Bill. Prom first to last there had been two leading vital principles upon which the Government proceeded. The first was to disfranchise, absolutely, every existing constituency which did not possess 15,000 inhabitants, totally irrespective of collateral considerations, of historic associations, or the possibility of extending the boundaries so as to make up 15,000. Ruthlessly, without any exception, a borough not having 15,000 was to be disfranchised. He stated that boldly, emphatically, and authoritatively. There was to be no exception, under any circumstances, which was to be allowed or permitted 540 by the Government to interfere with this leading and vital principle of the Bill. What was the second vital principle of the measure? It was that boroughs not having 50,000 inhabitants should lose one Member, and the Schedule of disfranchisement No. 1 had been framed on the strictest and most fair lines applicable to all boroughs that were obnoxious to the first of these leading principles. Hon. Members would find in Schedule I that the result had been to include no less than 103 constituencies, which were wholly disfranchised, because they had not had a sufficient amount of population to exclude them from the disfranchising clause. That was the position of matters as regarded the proposal of the Government. But how did the Government proceed to carry it out from the Treasury Bench? Within the last three or four days, in reference to Scotland, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy (Mr. Trevelyan) stated that it was one of the vital principles of the Government in regard to the Bill that no borough in Scotland, not at present enfranchised, should be added to an existing group of boroughs that was enfranchised. They laid that down in the broadest and most distinct manner, and they resisted any breaking in upon that vital principle of the Bill by refusing to add any Scotch borough from any Scotch county in order to extend the boundaries of an existing group. He should have thought that, under those circumstances, it would have been utterly impossible for the Government to present the case of Warwick to the Committee with the hope of obtaining support, and maintaining the proposal they made. Why should not Warwick fall? Was it because there were no cases that were similar to it? If so, he could mention cases infinitely better. There were some scores of boroughs in the disfranchising Schedule No. 1, many of which could make a far better case than Warwick, and each of which could make some case in favour of the extension of the borough boundaries, in order to exclude them from the disfranchising rule. But what did the Committee see? Why, that whenever any number of cases were brought forward for the purpose of justifying an appeal to the clemency of the Government and of the House, in order to avoid the disfranchisement of some ancient 541 borough having special claims for consideration, and distinct interests, the one ruthless answer given was—"By the hard-and-fast line we have laid down you are within the disfranchising rule." As the tree falls so it must lie; non possumus—the Government must apply the principle. He ventured to say that there had not been the slightest declension to the extent of one line, or one word, or one item, from this leading principle in the way in which the Government had hitherto proceeded. No doubt the Committee would be told two things. They would hear, in the first place, that Warwick was an old city; they would hear that it was a very respectable place; and they would hear, further, that it had a very respectable and fashionable neighbour. But if it took a fashionable neighbour into partnership, or formed a marriage tie with it, was that any reason for appealing to the clemency of the House or of the Government? Was there ever heard such a case as this? Was there any case so weak? The proposal was to convert a very small place with 11,000 inhabitants into a respectable borough by adding to it an outside population of 26,000. The Committee would secondly be told what the recommendations were of the Boundary Commission in 1868. There had been several attempts to draw the Government Front Bench on that subject during the progress of the Bill through Committee. When cases worse than that of Warwick were proposed to be dealt with, and the Government had been taunted with the difference of treatment, the recommendations of the Boundary Commission of 1868 to extend the area of Warwick had been referred to. But in order to show how fallacious that argument was he would remind hon. Gentlemen of the circumstances under which that Boundary Commission was appointed. In 1867 the Reform Bill for England was passed and came into law. By that Reform Bill the borough of Warwick was not only saved from extinction, but was entitled to retain its two Members; and for the purpose of justifying the retention of two Members a Boundary Commission was issued which required all boroughs, in regard to which an extension of boundaries was proposed, to go before the Commission and have their case inquired into. That being so, the case of Warwick, already declared 542 entitled to retain its representation by two Members, went before the Boundary Commissioners, who recommended that Leamington should be included within the borough of Warwick. But did it lie in the mouth of Liberal Members to appeal to the Boundary Commission of 1868, seeing that no sooner were the results of the investigation of that Commission made known than they were deliberately violated by the Liberal Party, and contemptuously thrown on one side by a Committee of this House being appointed to revise the Returns of the Commissioners. If hon. Members would take up the Report of the Commissioners of 1868 and go alphabetically through it they would find that the House of Commons, altogether irrespective of Warwick, declined to adopt the recommendations of the Commissioners. The first case was that of Birkenhead, where a large extension of the borough boundaries was recommended; but the recommendation was thrown on one side. The same course was pursued in the case of Birmingham, where also a large extension was recommended. It was not convenient for the Liberal Party to carry out that extension, because it was strongly obnoxious to the Members for Birmingham that Aston Manor should be included within the borough boundaries. Therefore, the Report of the Commissioners was contemptuously thrown aside by the Liberal Party. The Boundary Commission of 1868 was issued in totally different circumstances from the Boundary Commission of the present year. The former Commission was issued after the lines of representation, and the number of Members each place was entitled to return had been settled. Therefore it was not for the purpose of saving the reputation of Warwick, or for entitling it to two Members as against one; but it was altogether as an independent matter of inquiry that the last Commission was appointed. He had adverted to the vital principles of the Bill as expounded by the Government. He would now invite hon. Members to see what it was that the Government had already done in Committee on this Bill. In the case of the borough of Lisburn it was proposed to save it by extending its boundaries. That proposal was strenuously resisted by Her Majesty's Government. Lisburn had a 543 few more inhabitants than the borough of Warwick, and it was proposed to save its representation as one of the seats of one of the greatest and most important industries in Ireland by giving her an extension of boundary. By the proposed extension, as the Committee would recollect, sufficient population would have been included as was now proposed in the case of Warwick. But Her Majesty's Government set their face against it; the proposal could not be carried out, and Lisburn must fall. He would take another case that was stronger still—the case of Drogheda—which was a very remarkable one. In that case it was proposed to extend the boundaries of the borough by continuing a line of streets that already formed part of the borough. It was quite true that the line would have to be extended into the country, more or less, in order to make the population sufficient; but it was not necessary to go out of the leading street of Drogheda in order to extend the boundaries. That proposal was also resisted by Her Majesty's Government, and successfully resisted. He came next to the case of Limerick, where it was not a question of preventing disfranchisement, but of saving one Member out of two. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board appeared to be very much struck with the position of Limerick, and gave it that cold icicle sort of sympathy which enabled him to indulge in bland and smooth words, and yet ruthlessly to throw the claims of the city aside. Limerick also was sent empty-handed away. Then there was the remarkable case of the old borough of Wigan, in Lancashire, with all its traditions and history, and its great commercial prosperity. The borough of Wigan had an exceptional case to rely upon, because in 1881, when the Census was taken, there happened to be a strike, and a great many of the inhabitants were temporarily away. They were told that the population of Wigan was not quite 50,000 on the precise night the Census was taken. The Government, therefore, said—"We cannot assist you; we must judge you according to the existing circumstances. You say that you have a good case; so have many other boroughs. We are sorry for you, but we cannot help other boroughs, and, therefore, we cannot help you." Under 544 these circumstances why had the Government stretched out their right hand for the purpose of saving Warwick? They had adopted the non possumus argument in every other case. For what special reason did they now extend a hand for the purpose of preventing Warwick from being disfranchised? It was very remarkable that two of the things which smelt most—to use no stronger expression—two of the things which smelt most in the Bill succeeded one another. They had last night a case that smelt a good deal, and now they had another which smelt a little, and perhaps there might be a third. It was very remarkable that the Government could not keep their hands from doing these dubious things, and thereby spoiling a measure of otherwise goodly structure. He should have to show another case by-and-bye in connection with a town represented by a Member of the Government, where a third exception had been made for the benefit of somebody, or of some party or other. He would not go into that case at the present moment; he would only say that it was not a case of disfranchisement, but rather a case of extension of representation. All he would point out was, that it had been over and over again laid down by the Government that when any borough constituency had fallen below 15,000 in the case of a single Member, or of 50,000 in the case of two seats, the rule, without a single exception, was to be disfranchisement. In many cases the knife had already been applied, and the borough affected had not been allowed to save its life by extending its boundaries, however easily that might have been done. Now, he thought he had said enough to justify him in appealing to the Committee very confidently and earnestly to accept this Amendment, and not to spoil the measure by putting such a dubious piece of work into the Bill as this particular enfranchisement, or saving from disfranchisement, really was. There was one thing which, throughout the Sittings of the Committee, had been remarkable—namely, the genial manner and the pleasant way in which the President of the Local Government Board had conducted the Bill. But, in conducting it, the right hon. Gentleman had always one strong standpoint. He had been appealed to from all parts of 545 the country and from all parts of (he House not to effect a particular disfranchisement, or to consent to some enfranchisement; and after he had used every argument which the circumstances of the case in any way justified, he always wound up as a clincher that the proposal submitted to the Committee would not only violate the leading principles of the Act, and place the Government in a difficulty in regard to every other constituency; "but," said the right hon. Gentleman, "you have not told us where we are to get the seat." That had been the standpoint of the right hon. Gentleman on every occasion; and whenever any addition of Members was suggested, no matter whether in connection with a borough or a county, all the ravenous wolves and birds of prey seeking some addition to themselves that could be conceived were ready to join together as allies in resisting the proposal. But on this occasion the right hon. Gentleman could not rest upon his non possumus. He (Mr. Lewis) was not asking the right hon. Gentleman to take a seat from any other place. He was simply asking the Committee to be consistent, and not to give this particular seat. The only effect of adopting the Amendment would be that the Committee would have one more seat to give away to some deserving mendicant, or the number of the House would not be increased by one, and would be only an increase of 11 instead of 12. He thought he had stated a pretty strong case for the consideration of the Committee. He wanted to know what the inhabitants of the 103 boroughs, which were totally disfranchised by the Bill, would think of the fairness and justice of the Government, and the fairness and justice of the House, when the circumstances came to their knowledge which he had ventured to relate to the Committee, and which could not be disputed? What would the disfranchised constituencies say? They must be convinced that there was favouritism somewhere; and he could not help thinking that the Bill would be discredited in its birth by such a defacement as the particular proposal now contained in it involved. He thought it was deeply to be regretted that one of the evil results of that ill-starred compact between the two Front Benches—ill-starred not in its inception and de- 546 sign, but in the way in which it had been carried out to its extremity—was that it had deprived independent Members on his side of the House of the assistance, on this occasion, of any single Member of their Front Bench. On such a subject as this it might have been desired and expected that an independent tone would have been heard even from the leading Members of the Opposition Bench, in order that fair play and justice might be maintained throughout the whole of the proceedings upon this Bill. He knew that he should be beaten. He was perfectly content to be beaten, because he believed that on this, as on other occasions, the victory would be with those who, without any organization, without the power of appealing to Party Leaders, had presented so strong a case, and one entitling it, at all events, to a considerable amount of support in the interests of equity, justice, and fair play.
In page 22, line 23, to leave out from the word "Warwick," to the word "Lillington," in line 26, both inclusive.—(Mr. Lewis.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be loft out stand part of the Schedule."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he should like, in the first place, to correct a misapprehension on the part of the hon. Member. He hoped the hon. Member would accept his assurance that there was no Party consideration involved in this particular case.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the hon. Member had spoken of another instance of favouritism, although he did not speak of it by name, which had been extended in a similar way to a borough now represented by a Member of the Government. He happened to know the borough to which the hon. Member alluded, although it had not been mentioned. No doubt it had been talked of.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that, 547 so far from there being any Party feeling in the matter in either of the cases mentioned, Party consideration told in the opposite direction to that which had been suggested. It was impossible that there could be any Party interests for the Government to serve in connection with the present case. He certainly could not think that Warwickshire was the county to which the Liberal Party would wish to give five seats instead of four, seeing that there was much more probability of those seats being occupied by Members of the Conservative Party than of the Liberal Party obtaining any large share of them. But, putting aside any question of Party bearing in the particular case now before the Committee, he was prepared to argue the question on its own merits, entirely apart from Party considerations. The hon. Member had referred to his (Sir Charles W. Dilke's) statement with regard to the Boundary Commission of 1868. He would ask hon. Members, who took a special interest in this case, to look at the map appended to the Report of the Commission of 1868 as well as the map of the present year. There was already in the possession of the House the map appended to the Report of the Boundary Commission of 1868, and there was also a map of Warwick and Leamington made in the present year. In the first instance, it did not rest with the hon. Member to say that the Liberal Party in 1868 opposed the proposals of the Boundary Commissioners of that year. The hon. Member had not told the Committee that in the present Bill the Government had generally reversed the position taken up by the Liberal Party in 1868 with regard to borough extensions, and had incorporated in the case of something like 40 boroughs the proposals which were made by the Commissioners in 1868, and which were opposed by the Liberal Party on that occasion. That was part of the agreement made between the two Front Benches, and it was supposed, generally speaking, to be satisfactory to hon. Members opposite. On the whole, it was the doctrine of the Party opposite that the borough boundaries should be extended rather than urban populations should be added to the counties, and the Government had endeavoured to meet that view. So much for the general consideration. As to this particular 548 case, and the Report of the Boundary Commissioners of 1868, the Commissioners in that year reported that it was ascertained at a public inquiry that the interests of the two towns of Warwick and Leamington were identical, that the majority of the inhabitants desired the extension of boundaries so as to include both towns in one borough, and as Leamington was rapidly extending into Milverton and Lillington, that the extension should include those places. There was constant communication and trade between the two towns, which were connected by a high road lighted throughout by gas, and a tramway from Leamington Railway Station to the centre of the town of Warwick. The area of Warwick is 5,512 acres, of Leamington 1,720, of Milverton, 1,180, and of Lillington 1,305, making a total of 9,717. The town of Leamington, and the parishes of Leamington Priors, Milverton, and Lillington, adjoined the borough of Warwick. Leamington, which was joined to Warwick by an almost continuous line of houses, had originally sprung into existence as a watering place, and had now become a considerable town, containing a large number of permanent residences. It was also a large and important agricultural centre; and there was every prospect, not only of the further extension of the town, but of the three parishes of Leamington Priors, Milverton, and Lillington. The proposition of the Commissioners in 1868 was rejected by Parliament, chiefly owing to the fact that the Liberal Party, which possessed then a large majority, was opposed, not in any special manner, to this extension, but to all extension of boroughs. The Liberal Party fought all the cases of borough extension, and in most instances they fought them successfully.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he really could not pursue suggestions of this kind further. It was felt that, unless there was a general assent, the population which it had been proposed to throw into the boroughs could not be taken from the counties. He now came to the present circumstances of Warwick and Leamington. Whatever might have been the consideration of the proposal for the extension of the boundaries of Warwick in 1868, the case was much 549 stronger now. There could be no doubt that between the urban population, of which Warwick was the chief centre, and the urban population, of which Leamington was the chief centre, there was a continuous line of houses. The houses between Warwick and Leamington, which in 1868 were said to be almost continuous, had now become quite continuous. That was the present condition of affairs, and hon. Members would understand the extension that had taken place by comparing the present map with that of 1868. The Commissioners this year recommended exactly the same extension as was proposed in 1868, and these were their words—This extension is the same as that proposed by the Boundary Commission appointed in 1867, and Warwick and Leamington may be said to form practically one continuous town.That was really the case, for what was almost continuous in 1867 had become quite continuous now. There were houses the whole way between the two towns. Having regard to the general proposal for extending borough boundaries, as submitted to Parliament in 1868, this was one of the most proper and fair extensions that could be made. He had only a word or two more to say. There could be no doubt that the inhabitants of Leamington would prefer a borough representation, in conjunction with Warwick, to a county representation; and they would prefer it in the way proposed by the present Bill. He was not now raising the question of name, because he knew there would be a difference upon that point. The area of the proposed borough had been represented as being very large, and it had been stated that the two places were only connected by a neck of land. Neither of those statements was true. The area was not large, and the population was more than four to an acre, which was very much more considerable than in the cases which had been named by the hon. Member. In this case the population was over four to the acre; whereas, in the two other cases mentioned, it was only one to the acre, and it would be seen by a reference to the map that the common boundary was five miles in length.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the area was 9,000 acres, and the common 550 boundary was five miles in length. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) had spoken of Leamington being a flourishing and increasing town, and had referred to Warwick as a decaying and decreasing town; whereas, as a matter of fact, the increase in Warwick was slightly higher than in Leamington. Since 1871 the increase of the two boroughs had been from 34,000 to close upon 38,000.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the Return in his hand showed a common increase; but, as a matter of fact, the increase was slightly greater in the case of Warwick than in that of Leamington, the increase of the two having been in the 10 years from 34,000 to 38,000. On those grounds, therefore, he thought he had made out a fair case for maintaining the proposals of the Bill.
§ MR. SAMPSON LLOYD
wished to say one word upon this question before the Amendment was disposed of. He had always deplored that, in regard to the disfranchisement of a constituency, the number of a population deemed necessary to justify disfranchisement had boon fixed as low as 15,000. He believed that the lowering of the number to 15,000 would deprive the House of many men it could ill afford to lose—men of great ability and business experience. He had, therefore, cast in his lot with the Scotch Members on several occasions when he thought a borough was being hardly dealt with. He desired now to say a word in favour of the retention of the borough of Warwick, because he thought that it stood upon the same principle. There was a strong feeling in Warwickshire in favour of the retention of the representation of that borough. No doubt, the population was below 15,000, but it had a fair claim to take in an adjoining town which was rapidly increasing; and he believed that if the Census were to be taken to-morrow, instead of having been taken in 1881, the population of the borough of Warwick itself would approach much more nearly the limit for a single Member than it did four years ago. The Committee ought not altogether to disregard the fact that Warwickshire was being deprived of one Member for the ancient 551 city of Coventry, while a mass of Members was being heaped upon Birmingham, the bulk of whom must necessarily be persons representing the interests of one particular class. He therefore felt that he was justified in doing all he could to secure the retention, where possible, of one or two Members who did not represent the great mass of Birmingham interests, but who would represent distinct and varied interests. He considered that Warwick was in that position, and he therefore hoped that the Committee would retain the representation of the borough by including within the boundaries the town of Leamington. There was a strong feeling, both in Warwick and Leamington, in favour of the proposal of the Government. As far as he had been able to hear, there was no opposition whatever in the locality to the proposal contained in the Bill; and, so far as Party considerations were concerned, he did not believe that either the Conservatives or the Liberals knew which would gain by the arrangement either in one way or another. He therefore supported the proposition of the Government to retain the borough of Warwick.
§ MR. ARTHUR ARNOLD
said, he had not hitherto troubled the Committee with a single word upon the Schedules of the Bill, and he would not have felt disposed to make any observations now if this had not been the first proposal to disfranchise a borough which had an extension of its boundaries. As he took great interest in the question of the disfranchisement of small boroughs, he desired to say a word upon the subject. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had never justified more the compliment paid to him by the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) than he had in regard to the Report of the Boundary Commissioners of 1868, because, although it was perfectly true, as the right hon. Gentleman stated, that the Government had adopted many of the recommendations of that Commission by extending the Parliamentary boundaries so as to reach the municipal boundaries, and in so doing no objection had been raised in any quarter, yet it was not proposed to extend the boundaries of Warwick to any municipal limit, but to include another and a separate municipal borough 552 within the boundaries of Warwick. The question, therefore, was whether the Committee should retain in the Bill, not the borough of Warwick, but the borough of Warwick made into a borough of 30,000 or 40,000 people by adding another borough to it. That was the question they had to consider, and the difficulty he felt in taking part in the discussion of the Schedules of the Bill was that he was unwilling to take action in regard to a single and individual case. He had made an humble effort, on the clauses of the Bill, to deal with the matter as a question of principle; and if his wishes had been carried out there would have been no borough in the United Kingdom with a population of less than 50,000 returning a Member to that House. That, however, was impossible under the present arrangement of the Bill, and he was not disposed to disturb that arrangement by entering into individual cases. He would illustrate the matter by a case which must be familiar to the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would forgive him if he referred to the borough which he (Sir Arthur Otway) represented—the borough of Rochester. The borough of Rochester included the borough of Strood, which borough was separated from the City of Rochester by an interval longer than any which separated the boroughs of Warwick and Leamington. [Mr. LEWIS: No!] He knew both boroughs very well, and certainly between Rochester and Strood there was a longer interval without a house than between Warwick and Leamington. Nevertheless, the town of Strood and the City of Rochester were combined, in order to send a Representative to Parliament; and, so far as he was concerned, he would rather disfranchise the City of Rochester, with 25,000 population, including Strood, than he would disfranchise the borough of Warwick, because those who had arranged the provisions of the Bill had provided for the new constituency a much larger population. For that reason he was not disposed to enter into individual cases; but he would prefer to lump all the small boroughs together and get rid of them, if it were possible that that could be done, rather than single out particular constituencies. Certainly, although the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. 553 Lewis) land brought various cases before the Committee, he had not cited any parallel case to that of Warwick. As a matter of fact, there really was none, so far as he (Mr. Arnold) was aware of. The case of Warwick stood absolutely and entirely alone. The district it was proposed to include was in the same watershed, and the two towns formed one united urban district. Anyone dealing with the county of Warwick would certainly regard the district occupied by Warwick and Leamington as a continuous urban district. He would only express a hope that when the united boroughs of Warwick and Leamington had Parliamentary representation, they would very soon afterwards place themselves under the same municipal government.
§ MR. REPTON
said, that his hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) had given him Notice that he intended to make this proposal. On a previous occasion, in 1867, he (Mr. Repton) had successfully resisted a proposition for the union of the two boroughs of Warwick and Leamington, and he was prepared to do so again if he saw the slightest chance of success. The question had now come to this—whether Warwick was to be blotted out altogether, or united with Leamington for the purpose of Parliamentary representation. He would certainly prefer that it should continue to be represented, even on the condition of an alliance with Leamington. The connection between the two places was daily becoming more close. Year after year lines of houses were springing up between them; and he was bound to say that, to all intents and purposes, they were virtually the same town. Many persons who were engaged in business in Warwick resided in Leamington; and, in some instances, persons engaged in business in Leamington resided in Warwick. As the sitting-Member for Warwick, in conjunction with the right hon. Gentleman who filled the Chair of the House, and who, from the position he occupied, was unable to take part in the debate, he supported the proposal of the Government; and he was authorized to say that his right hon. Colleague took the same view that he did. He regretted the necessity of the case; but, in fairness and justice, he was bound to say that if ever there was a case in which any town in the Kingdom 554 might properly be united to another it was this. As he had stated, the two places virtually formed one town; there was no distinction between them, no intervening fields, no turnpike, but a strong and steadily-growing community of interests. Under those circumstances, much as he disliked the proposal, he felt that he could not do otherwise than support it.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the hon. Member who had just addressed the Committee was one of the sitting Members for the town of Warwick; and therefore the speech he had just delivered had been delivered in performance of a function which could scarcely be avoided. No one was obliged to consent to his own execution. The right hon. Gentleman who recently addressed the Committee assured the Committee that there was a strong feeling in Warwick and Leamington in favour of the Ministerial proposal. No doubt there was, for it was obvious that Warwick and Leamington would rather have a Member in that House than be without one. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis), who moved the Amendment, had expressed some apprehension that he would be beaten. Well, after having heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, what was only an assumption before that speech was delivered had become a certainty now. It was impossible to suppose that the Amendment would be carried. He (Mr. Sexton) and his Friends below the Gangway were so accustomed to be beaten that that fact did not affect their action. The habit of defeat was so settled that they would probably regard success on any occasion as an uncomfortable novelty. The right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill had taunted, somewhat unjustly, the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) with having made Party references. He (Mr. Sexton) had certainly never heard a speech delivered by the hon. Member for Londonderry more free from Party references. The hon. Member appeared, throughout his speech, to adhere rigidly to a purely arithmetical line. He had urged the case on the principle of numbers laid down by the Government themselves; and so far was he from making anything that could be called a Party reference that the most earnest passage in his speech, and that in which he 555 put forward his most conclusive and effective point, was the one in which he acknowledged that it was impossible to say which political Party would gain by the adoption of the Amendment. Therefore, the hon. Member had not laid himself open to the taunt that he was actuated by Party motives. There was another reason why it might be said that Party references did not form any portion of the argument in this case, because the right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill, when he rose at the Table, had proceeded to maintain this extraordinary and grotesque proposal in face of the fact that his own Party, in the year 1868, discredited and rejected the very plan of the Boundary Commissioners on which the right hon. Gentleman now proposed to act. Therefore, there could be nothing of a Party character in the case.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the hon. Member, in order that he might be quite accurate, would perhaps allow him to say that his statement with regard to the Liberal Party opposing the proposals of the Boundary Comsioners in 1868 had a general reference, rather than a reference to any particular case. No doubt, they did oppose this particular case, among a variety of others. They had a majority in the House of Commons, and a majority in the Committee, by which the plan of the Commissioners was rejected; but, as a matter of fact, the Conservative Party opposed this particular proposal, whereas the Liberal Party supported it.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, the position of the two Parties seemed now to have been reversed in regard to this particular ease. The only other remark he would make was that the course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman reflected the highest credit upon his ingenuity, for it had certainly been carried to a considerable state of development in the course of his arguments upon the Bill. It had now reached its climax. The right hon. Gentleman said the rejection of the proposals of the Boundary Commissioners in 1868 by the Liberal Party was not a rejection in this particular case, but a general rejection. The general rejection, however, included this particular case, because within it was included the rejection of the propo- 556 sal to unite the towns of Warwick and Leamington. He would have thought that if there were any borough in the United Kingdom with regard to which the Government would have been specially careful to adhere to the line laid down by themselves, and to give no ground whatever for discontent or for severe criticism, it would have been the borough of Warwick. It was unnecessary, perhaps, that he should pursue this part of the subject further; but he might say that he entertained too high a respect for the intellect of the right hon. Gentleman to suppose that the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman now found himself unfortunately bound to defend had sprung from his own independent intelligence. He was convinced that, in the volition of his own mind, the right hon. Baronet would never have proposed the extension of the borough of Warwick so as to include the town of Leamington; and whoever had suggested to the Government the proposal which the right hon. Baronet was obliged to defend was certainly a very bad adviser. He had no doubt that if the position of the right hon. Baronet allowed him to express with his tongue the sentiment which existed in his mind, he would be prepared to emphasize the remark that he (Mr. Sexton) was then making. The right hon. Gentleman was nothing if he was not ingenious, and it was no discredit to his ingenuity to say that he was unable to speak with the same effect whore no ingenuity was required. He would now examine the arguments with which the right hon. Baronet had endeavoured to support his case. How, he would ask, had the case of Warwick been altered since 1868, when the Liberal Party rejected the proposal of the Boundary Commissioners? The right hon. Gentleman said that the case was stronger now—that the houses, which were not continuous then upon the road between Leamington and Warwick, were continuous. Then it had come to this—that the question of a mile of road, or a question of 200 or 300 houses, was sufficient to govern the disfranchisement of a constituency. The hon. Baronet sitting near him (Sir Eardley Wilmot) was one of the Members for Warwickshire, and he was assured by the hon. Baronet that the statement of the President of the Local 557 Government Board was incorrect, and that the line of houses between Leamington and Warwick was not continuous at all. [Sir CHARLES W. DILKE dissented.] He held in his hand a map of Leamington and Warwick, and it appeared to him that, at one part of the road between the two towns, there was a mill which seemed to stand by itself in solitary grandeur. Certainly, the map did not convey the impression of a continuous line of houses upon the road. He would, however, put that argument on one side, as not deserving attention for one moment. The right hon. Baronet told them that the Boundary Commissioners, on whose Report they were now acting, recommended the boundary drawn on the map; but he had left out of view the Instructions to the Commissioners. It would seem that, in regard to the Schedules of the Bill, the Commissioners were instructed to make the boundaries as they had actually been made, and as they were officially bound to do. The right hon. Baronet, therefore, had no right to urge as an argument the perfunctory recommendation made by the Commissioners in pursuance of their Instructions. The right hon. Baronet was so hard driven that he cited the fact of a tramway running between the two towns as a reason why they should be joined in Parliamentary representation. But although one tramway was good enough for Warwick and Leamington, four tramways were not good enough for Dublin. He had shown the right hon. Gentleman that the people from the outlying townships went to their places of business in the morning and returned in the evening, and that their incomes were earned in the City of Dublin; but while a single tramway was important in the case of an English borough, four tramways were of no account in the case of a great Irish city. It was said that Warwick was increasing rapidly. How rapidly? From 1871 to 1881 it had actually increased by 800. It was thus increasing at the rate of 80 a-year. As a matter of fact, Warwick was a totally insignificant, and practically a stationary town; and there was nothing in the case of Warwick, either in its population, its commercial importance, or in any other particular, to entitle it to be selected for special favour. It was totally an unim- 558 portant place, and the source of inspiration must be looked for somewhere else. What was the area of the borough? The proposed borough of Warwick, with a population of 37,000, had an area of 9,000 acres. What a contrast there was between this case and the case which he had pleaded before the Committee last night. He had asked that the City of Dublin, with a population of 237,000, should be extended so as to include 40,000 more, and he had pointed out that the borough thus extended would only cover an area of 13,000 acres, and that it would simply cut off an insignificant part of the county. The total addition would be some 9,000 acres; but the Committee and the Government refused to accede to the proposal. Yet they were prepared to give a Member to the borough of Warwick with a population of 37,000, almost 10 times less than Dublin, and with an area nearly as large. Reference had been made to the cases of Drogheda and Limerick. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General, whose mind was cast in an exact and accurate mould, who was pre-eminently a man of facts, and who never allowed himself to soar from practical regions into the realms of rhetoric—he would ask the right hon. Gentleman if he could in any way explain the contrast between the treatment of Drogheda under the Bill and the treatment of Warwick? The Committee had a map before them, and it would be seen that the town of Warwick was a mere speck. In the centre of a large rural area from that town, a mile and a-half distant, there appeared to be another town represented by another speck in the middle of a rural district. And then this gross political indecency was perpetrated—that while in the case of an Irish borough, with a population of 14,700, they refused to add a street which already belonged to the town, in order to bring the population up to the specified limit, they proposed in the present case to consider a hybrid monstrosity composed of two towns and a large extent of property extending over 2,000 acres. He asked the Postmaster General to apply himself to the consideration of that contrast. In the case of Limerick it was only necessary to include a small village on the verge of the present Parliamentary boundary in order to en- 559 title that city to retain two Members. That proposal was refused, and it would appear that the right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill adopted a kind of kaleidoscopic argument, taking one view one day and another another. The right hon. Gentleman capered about like a Merry Andrew, taking whatever posture the particular proposal before the Committee seemed to warrant. He maintained that to concede representation to the joint borough of Warwick and Leamington would be an offence against the general principles both of borough and county representation under the Bill, whether as applied to the English, the Irish, or the Scotch constituencies. What was the collateral effect of retaining this borough? It was this—that the county of Warwick had 30,000 taken out of it which ought to be retained in it, and by this means the county of Warwick became the smallest four-Member county in England. Would the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General explain how it was that Warwickshire would have one Member for every 47,000 inhabitants, while the county of Bedford would have one for 64,000, Kent one for 62,000, Yorkshire one for 61,000, and Lincolnshire one for 64,000? He asked the Committee to mark the contrast between Warwickshire and Cardiganshire, the population being 47,000 in the one case and 61,000 in the other. In the case of Warwick and Cork there was a difference of 47,000 and 67,000, between Warwick and Inverness of 47,000 and 52,000, and between Warwick and Sterling of 47,000 and 78,000. The contrast was just the same in Ireland. The county of Clare would return one Member for 79,000 as against 47,000 in the county of Warwick, while the Metropolitan constituency of Bermondsey would only return one for 86,000. Chelsea was an extremely painful case, and it showed how the natural feelings of the heart would be uprooted by the crowbar of political exigency. The right hon. Baronet was one of the Members for the borough of Chelsea. He had told the Committee that he lived in the borough, and that it was his personal ambition to continue to represent it. No doubt, it would be scarcely possible to supply it with a more capable Representative; but how would the right hon. Gentleman, when he went to present 560 himself to the electors of Chelsea, explain to them the fact that he had condemned the borough of Chelsea, with a population of 88,000, to only one Member, while he gave to the borough of Warwick, with less than one-half the population, the same amount of representation? Surely the constituency of Chelsea had a right to expect from the right hon. Gentleman, who was not only an official Member of the Cabinet, but the Member of the Government who was in charge of the Bill, with a predominant and almost decisive influence over its fortunes, that a borough with 88,000 inhabitant3 would, upon all the principles of his own Bill, have received more consideration than it had received when contrasted with the towns of Warwick and Leamington, with only a population of 37,000 between them. If two Members were given to Chelsea, they would each represent 44,000 inhabitants, or 7,000 more than the new borough of Warwick. He had very little doubt that when the right hon. Baronet next met his constituents he would find some difficulty in explaining, notwithstanding his own plausible and insinuating style, how it was that he, having a controlling charge over the Parliamentary Elections (Redistribution) Bill, had so much more favoured Warwick than Chelsea, or such boroughs as Dudley, Norwich, Southampton, or Huddersfield, all of them with more than double the population for a single member to that of Warwick, and every one of them more entitled to two Members than Warwick was to one. The boroughs to which he had referred were most unfairly treated as compared with Warwick. No violent effort was necessary to extend their boundaries. No rural areas were required to be thrown into them; but each of them possessed a population of more than fourscore thousand people, composed principally of working men with great and varied interests, and who had a right to full representation in Parliament. He maintained that in the case of every borough with more than double the population of Warwick and only one Member the Government were committing an outrage upon the principles of their own Bill and a gross violation of public rights in refusing to those boroughs the privilege they ought 561 to have of double the representation conferred upon the borough of Warwick. The outrage would be bad enough if Warwick itself possessed a population of 37,000; but the Government had ridiculously strengthened it, for some reason best known to themselves, and without the slightest pretence of justification, by adopting an exceptional rule in connection with an extension of boundaries. A gross outrage had been committed on public right and against many great communities by the inclusion of this borough in order to avert the disfranchisement of the borough; and the principle adopted by the Government in dealing with Warwick was in utter violation of all political decency.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that in order to establish a substantial analogy between the case of the borough now under discussion and that of Drogheda they would have to indulge in one of those flights of rhetoric to which the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had referred. The population of Drogheda was just under 15,000, and it was quite possible that by extending its boundaries and including a district in which the workhouse was situated they might have brought it within the limit of 15,000.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that was not a very important matter; but his own recollection was that it was outside. He would, however, assume that it was inside, and no doubt it would have been possible to have brought up the borough to the limit of 15,000 by extending the boundaries. Certainly the Government admitted that the case of Drogheda was a somewhat hard one, and they had not been unprepared to give way if there had been a general feeling in favour of their doing so, and if they had been able to discover where a Member could be obtained. No such feeling, however, had been manifested, nor had any satisfactory plan of finding a Member been suggested; and, therefore, it was impossible to make an exception in the case of Drogheda, or to provide any solution of the difficulty. What comparison was there between the ease of Drogheda and the present case? The borough of Warwick had a 562 population of 12,000, and immediately adjoining and contiguous with it was a larger town, which, they were told by the hon. Member for Warwick himself (Mr. Repton), contained 25,000 inhabitants, so that its inclusion with Warwick brought the united population up to more than 37,000. What possible analogy was there between that case and the case of Drogheda, or, of any other place? The hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis) had introduced a good deal of matter into the discussion which; was altogether unnecessary, although, perhaps, the Committee were somewhat accustomed to hear strong and irrelevant language from the hon. Gentleman. They would, therefore, be prepared to allow something in the shape of discount for the statement of the hon. Member that there were scores of instances of boroughs in regard to which a stronger case could be made out than for the borough now under consideration.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, the right hon. Gentleman who had undertaken to lecture him would, perhaps, allow him to deliver a small lecture in return. He had said nothing of the kind. What he had said was that among the scores of other case3 there were instances of boroughs more hardly dealt with than Warwick would be. He had not said that there were scores of cases that were more hardly dealt with.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, the hon. Gentleman had quoted the case of Drogheda, Limerick, and Lisburn; but neither of those case3 was analogous to that of Warwick, because in the latter case, by the simple inclusion of the town of Leamington within the limits of Warwick, they obtained a purely urban population of 37,000. What were the two alternatives in dealing with this case? In the one instance it was the disfranchisement of Warwick and the throwing of it into the county, which would have made Warwick the centre of a one-Member district, leaving Leamington still in the county; and instead of providing an urban population of 37,000 persons, it would probably have been necessary to make an addition of some 10,000 persons to Warwick from an agricultural district. That was one way of dealing with the matter. The other alternative was to unite Warwick with Leamington and make both of 563 them one borough returning one Member. The two modes were not altogether dissimilar; and, on the whole, looking to the past history of Warwick—to the fact that the Boundary Commissioners in 1868 had recommended an extension of boundaries by including Leamington—it was thought reasonable that the case should be dealt with in the manner proposed by the Bill. The hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) appeared to think that the Government, in the present Bill, had only followed the recommendation of the Commissioners in 1868 where the Commissioners had recommended the extension of the boundaries of the borough to the municipal limit. Now that was not the case, for there were no less than 40 instances in the Bill in which they had followed the recommendations of the Royal Commission of 1868; and in a large number of cases the boundaries were not merely extended to the limits of the Municipality, but were carried beyond it. The case of his own borough—namely, Reading—was an instance in point. It was proposed to extend the present boundaries of Reading; but the boundaries were taken beyond the municipal limit, and were made to include an additional population. In that case the extension was not carried out in order to save the borough from disfranchisement. It would, under any circumstances, be entitled to one Member; and the case of Reading was a somewhat hard one, because, if the recommendations of the Royal Commission of 1868 had been followed earlier, or if the plan now before the House for extending the municipal limits had been adopted somewhat earlier, the possibility was that Reading would have saved its second Member. But he maintained that there was no analogy between cases of that kind, and the case now before the Committee with regard to such a town as Warwick, where the population proposed to be included was practically identical. He would repeat again that, after having gone carefully through the whole matter, and knowing what the result would have been of throwing Warwick into the county, the Government had decided upon uniting Leamington with Warwick. He had been somewhat surprised at the use which the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had made of the name of 564 the Speaker. The hon. Gentleman had insinuated that the proposal of the Government in regard to Warwick was simply made because it happened to be the borough represented by the Speaker.
§ MR. SEXTON
begged the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. It was very important that he should at once meet the right hon. Gentleman's assertion. He had not made any statement of that kind at all.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, he had understood the hon. Member to say that the Government had taken an extraordinary course in dealing with the borough of Warwick, on account of the peculiar circumstances which attached to it.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that in that case he would withdraw the remark; but he had certainly understood the hon. Member to make that statement. The hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arnold) had alluded to the case represented by the Chairman of Committees—Rochester; but neither that case, nor that of Wigan, nor various other considerations, need be entered into at the present moment. He could only assure the Committee that the Government, in the proposals they had made, had not been actuated by Party motives, nor were they able to say in the present instance what the result would be, so far as Party politics were concerned, either in regard to the borough of Warwick or the county.
MR. P. H. MUNTZ
said, the question before the Committee was whether Warwick and Leamington should form one borough, and be included in the boundaries specified in the Bill. His hon. Friend the Member for South Warwickshire (Mr. Sampson Lloyd) had stated that the feeling of both towns was in favour of the Bill. Living, as he (Mr. Muntz) did, on the confines of Leamington, and knowing the inhabitants of the two boroughs—which were substantially one—he must say that he had not yet met with a single individual who was not in favour of the proposal contained in the Bill. Instead of being a Party measure, the complaint made by the Liberal Party was that it was a Conservative measure, and that in all 565 probability it would hereafter be impossible to return a Liberal Member. So much for the question of Party feeling by which the Government were supposed to be actuated. Every hon. Member who was acquainted with the district must be aware that Warwick and Leamington were practically one borough. In point of fact, they formed the two ends of one large town, and they had a population between them of some 37,000 or 08,000. He must say that if they were to adopt the suggestion of the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis), and throw both Leamington and Warwick into the county, they would have to alter the whole of the county arrangements. He saw no reason for that course; and as there would be many boroughs with a less population than 37,000, and as the general feeling of the inhabitants of both towns was in favour of the present proposal, he hoped that it would be endorsed by the Committee.
MR. A. F. EGERTON
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General had referred, by way of illustration, to the case of Wigan, and had stated that there was no analogy between the case of Wigan and that of Warwick and Leamington. Now, he (Mr. Egerton) ventured to think that there was a certain amount of analogy between the two cases. What did the Bill do? It threw into Warwick a large additional urban population in order to bring it up to the limit that would allow it to return a single Member. Now, it would have been perfectly easy in the case of Wigan to have thrown into that borough a purely urban population, which would have raised it far above the limit of Warwick and Leamington, and would have entitled it to return two Members. If the Government would accept a scheme of that sort, it would be most easy to secure a population of from 80,000 to 100,000. Surely, therefore, there was some analogy between the two cases. So far as political considerations were concerned, he did not think that the Government had been guided in the case of Wigan by Party considerations at all; but he ventured to maintain, on behalf of the borough which he had the honour to represent, that they had done it an injustice in order that they might provide for the retention of Warwick as a Parliamentary borough. He 566 considered that that was not a fair way of treating the borough he represented, nor was it a fair way of dealing with the provisions of the Bill when certain lines had been definitely laid down, which lines the Government now for other purposes proceeded entirely to ignore, and to lay down others that were widely different.
§ SIR EARDLEY WILMOT
said, he had no wish to detain the Committee upon the merits of this question; but as his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had appealed to him in regard to Leamington, a town with which he was very well acquainted, he was able to speak with confidence as to its connection with Warwick. It was quite true that it was connected with Warwick by a road of a mile and a-half in length. In point of fact, there were two roads—one a main road, on which there were hardly any houses at all, and an upper road as far as the parish of Emscott, upon which there were villas at some distance from each other. It was impossible to say that Leamington and Warwick formed one continuous street, even as far as Emscott. There were some lime works bordering a canal half-a-mile away, and there were, no doubt, a number of villas; but it was impossible to say that it was one continuous town. He had known the locality for more than 50 years, and he would be very sorry to see Warwick disfranchised. So far as Leamington was concerned, he had a personal interest in what was now being done, because Leamington was in South Warwickshire, and at present it was the stronghold of the Liberal Party, as compared with other parts of that division of the county. By eliminating it from the county and uniting it with the borough of Warwick, as was proposed by the present Bill, the position of the Conservative Party in South Warwickshire would be, he considered, considerably improved. He had only risen to explain, however, that the two towns of Leamington and Warwick were some distance from each other. The fare by hired carriage was never less than 2s. 6d., and very often the driver tried to get 3s., which fact, he thought, would show that the distance was a good mile and a-half.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he thought it was a national misfortune for the 567 country that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill did not fulfil his late Office of Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; for nothing would have been more interesting or picturesque than to have witnessed him adjusting the frontiers of Afghanistan with the remarkable ability he had displayed in adjusting the boundaries of Parliamentary boroughs so as to entitle them to representation. Certainly, if the President of the Local Government Board could have discussed the frontiers of Afghanistan with the same subtlety and the same inexhaustible arithmetical resources with which he had discussed the boundaries of Warwick and Leamington, the Russian Minister would have had no chance with him. What did the right hon. Gentleman do? He first took one line of argument, and directly he had established it he astonished the Committee by taking up another line of argument altogether. In fact, whatever might be the future in store for the President of the Local Government Board, everybody who had watched the manner in which he had managed this Bill must entertain a greatly increased regard for the right hon. Gentleman's resources and Parliamentary ability. It had, however, required all the ingenuity of the right hon. Gentleman to reconcile the extraordinary inconsistencies of the Bill, although the curious manner in which the right hon. Gentleman had argued, without changing colour, that black was white, could not be exaggerated. There was one other matter which had attracted attention—namely, the extraordinary despatch with which the Bill had been brought on for discussion at that Morning Sitting. It was not the practice, as a general rule, to begin Business very early on a Wednesday; and, although he had entered the House a few minutes after the time fixed for the meeting of the House, he had found the House actually in Committee, and had had the misfortune to miss the opening sentences of the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis). Nevertheless, he had heard the best part of the hon. Member's speech, and throughout the debate upon the Bill he had listened to no speech in which a case had been better put, or more unanswerable arguments offered. The hon. Member had not introduced into 568 his remarks one bit of that Party spite or passion which [was generally the chief characteristic of his speeches. The hon. Member, no doubt, had no necessity for indulging in Party spite or passion, because he was able to rest his case upon facts and figures that were absolutely indisputable. What were the cases which had already been disposed of? In order to prevent Drogheda from being disfranchised, it would have been necessary to extend its boundaries so as to give it an increased population of some 300 or 400. In the case of Wigan, in order to entitle it to two Members, it would have been necessary to take in a population of about 2,000, although, if it had not been for the accidental circumstance that the Census was taken in 1881, when a considerable number of the population had left the town on strike, the inhabitants would have been considerably in excess of the 50,000 required for two Members. In order to entitle Limerick to return two Members, it would have been necessary to extend the boundaries of the city so as to include some 1,450 persons; so that in one case all that was necessary was 400, in another 2,000, and in a third 1,450, and yet in the case of Warwick Her Majesty's Government did not shrink from proposing a scheme whereby26,000 persons were added to an existing borough, in order to bring up the constituency to the proper limit. He would go now to the connection between the two constituencies. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board had over and over again repeated that the two towns of Leamington and Warwick were continuous; but that did not appear to be the case at all. The hon. Baronet below him (Sir Eardley Wilmot) was a far better authority on that matter than the right hon. Baronet, or the Postmaster General. What was the description the hon. Baronet had given? He told the Committee that there were two roads between the two towns, one of them having a large number of houses upon it; but that there were several patches where there were no houses at all, and for the most part the houses were detached villa residences. It was a monstrous misuse of terms, therefore, to describe two towns as practically one, which were joined together by a road 569 which consisted of villa residences, and villa residences alone. If they were to act upon that principle, all England might be described as one great city; for there was scarcely a large town in England which did not extend for miles into the county in the shape of detached villas until another town was reached. In fact, Richmond and Westminster might be described as one constituency, because if they were to regard roads with villa residences upon them as one street, no doubt Richmond and Westminster were quite as much connected as Leamington and Warwick. Let them compare the nature of the connection between Warwick and Leamington, and the nature of the connection between Rathmines and Dublin. Rathmines was separated from Dublin by nothing more than a narrow canal. Rathmines and Dublin were as much parts of the same city as Parliament Street and Victoria Street were parts of Westminster, and ought practically to be included in the same constituency. There was a small bridge between the two districts, and the people of Rathmines spent nearly the whole of their time, and transacted all their business, in the City of Dublin. There were not 20 yards of a boundary between the two, and, in point of fact, the two places were entirely the same. Nevertheless, Her Majesty's Government had not allowed Dublin to be united to Rathmines, although they were only separated by a canal 20 feet broad, and in the same breath they proposed to join Leamington to Warwick, although there was a road running between the two of a mile and a-half in length. The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General had made the same rash statement in regard to the case of Drogheda. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to know absolutely nothing of the circumstances of the case; but he had stated that if there had been a general agreement in regard to Drogheda the disfranchisement of that borough might have been saved. Now, he (Mr. O'Connor) had taken no part in the discussion of that question; but he confessed that he was not favourable to the retention of seats for very small constituencies. Although he would like to oblige his hon. Friends who were interested in Drogheda, it would certainly have given his conscience a considerable wrench to have voted for the retention 570 of the representation of Drogheda. If, however, he were asked to make a choice between Warwick and Leamington and Drogheda, unquestionably he would give the preference to Drogheda. In the one case it would only be necessary to add a few hundred people, while in the other they were proposing to add 26,000. In the one case they had to make a conjunction between two towns separated by a mile and a half of detatched villas, whereas in the other it would only have been necessary to carry the boundaries to the end of a street. The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General said that the workhouse was outside the boundary, and would be included if that extension were carried out; but, as a matter of fact, it was inside the present boundaries, and he had no doubt that, according to the last Census Returns, the workhouses of Ireland contributed a very large portion of the population of the country. The workhouse was certainly inside the boundary of Drogheda, and what were outside the boundary were cotton-mills, which fact, in his view, lent additional weight to the claim of Drogheda for special representation. There was one thing which had astonished him in the speech of the President of the Local Government Board. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the increase in the population of Warwick. Now, he invariably perceived that whenever the right hon. Gentleman had any weak fact to advance he was careful not to bring it forward accompanied by details. He assumed an air of official knowledge, and induced the Committee to believe that he had the strongest evidence in support of his statement; whereas, in point of fact, the evidence in his possession was of the slightest possible description. In this case the right hon. Gentleman stated that the increase of Warwick had been very rapid, and that it was larger than that of Leamington. When the Committee heard that, they could not have imagined that the increase of Warwick, which was put forward as such a strong argument, really amounted to the vast number of 814 persons in the course of 10 years. Yet that was the actual increase which the right hon. Gentleman had put forward. In opposition to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. O'Connor) had received a com- 571 munication from a local source. One of the many communications sent to him in regard to the changes proposed to be carried out by the Parliamentary Elections (Redistribution) Bill was a Memorial from the Royal Leamington Spa, which contained a comparison between Leamington and Warwick, and wound up in the following words:—The former borough (Leamington) is rapidly increasing, whereas Warwick is stationary or decreasing.There was, therefore, a distinct statement on the part of the best local authorities that Warwick, instead of increasing, as the right hon. Gentleman said it had, was actually either stationary or decreasing. Certainly, if a town with upwards of 11,000 inhabitants could only add 814 in the course of a decade, it might be fairly described as a town in which the population was either stationary or decreasing. He was astonished at the allusions which had been made by the President of the Local Government Board to the Report of the Boundary Commissioners in this case, when he recollected that only last night, when the Irish Members asked for an increase in the number of Members for the City of Dublin, and referred to the Report of the Boundary Commissioners in support of their application, they were told that the Government were not prepared to take into consideration any of the recommendations which the Boundary Commissioners had made. Although the right hon. Baronet had brought forward the contention that no result ought to have followed the Report of the Boundary Commissioners in the case of Dublin, he had the effrontery to say that their recommendations in the case of Warwick warranted the decision arrived at by the Government in the case of that borough. The Government had not said one word in reply to the strongest argument used by his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton). Had not his hon. Friend proved that Chelsea was far better entitled to two Members than Warwick was to one? Again, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. P. H. Muntz) had stated that if this Amendment were carried it would break up the existing arrangements with regard to the county of Warwickshire. But he (Mr. O'Connor) contended that, instead of that, it would place them on a more logical and better 572 basis than at present. It was clear that the attempt of the Government was to make the voting power of Warwick far larger than the voting power of any constituency in the country. If that were carried out the result would be that Warwickshire would have one Member for every 50,000 of its inhabitants, and Warwick would even then be better off than Chelsea with its population of 88,000. The people of Warwickshire, under the Bill, had been placed in a position of pre-eminence over electors of every other part of the country, which, he said, was a proposal at variance with the whole of the rest of the Bill. He would repeat the remark of the hon. Member for Sligo, that this was a case in which it behoved the Government to be extremely particular as to the manner in which they acted; and he might point out that the arrangement with regard to Warwick had created a considerable amount of interest throughout the country, a proof that it was not looked upon with complete satisfaction. He admitted that the Boundary Commissioners had performed their office with much more ease and with much less friction with public opinion than many other Bodies. Everyone must have been surprised that the daily papers had absolutely ceased to report the proceedings of these Commissioners, and it must be taken as an indication of consent on the part of the public to their proceedings that there were few or no reports in the newspapers concerning them. But no sooner was the report published in the newspapers with reference to the shameful jerrymandering proposed with regard to the constituency of Warwick, than everyone in the country took notice of the fact; and he ventured to say that the people of the country at that moment knew more about Warwick, and the district by which it was surrounded, than they did of any other district dealt with in this Bill; in fact, it was not too much to say that the public conscience was greatly shocked by the proceedings of the Government in this respect. The proposal in the Bill would create one of the most irregular and heterogeneous constituencies in the country. Although he had felt it his duty to lay these facts before the Committee, he was bound to say that the time he had occupied was in all probability wasted, because he supposed the Government would be sup- 573 ported on this question by their large majority. But whatever might be the fate of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Lewis), there was no doubt that he had all the argument on his side, and that the Government must feel that the people of the country would regard the provision with regard to Warwick as a blot upon an otherwise satisfactory arrangement.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, the more they went into this case the worse it appeared. He felt it his duty, before going to a division, to emphasize one or two points which had been brought forward in the discussion. When he made his first statement in support of the Amendment he had not with him the exact figures; but he was now in a position to state that 88 single-Member constituencies were absolutely disfranchised by this Bill on account of their not having 15,000 inhabitants. He was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General was not in the House, because he was bound to notice an extraordinary misstatement on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, in which he had persisted, notwithstanding that he had met it with a direct contradiction. He (Mr. Lewis) had stated that there were scores of single-Member constituencies disfranchised by this measure many of whose cases were harder than that of Warwick. He now repeated that statement in order to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of contradicting it. He considered it important to make this statement, having regard to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman had imputed to him observations which he had not made, and which he persisted in after a denial had been given. He would like to know what the country would think of such cases as those of Beaumaris, the Cardigan Boroughs, Whit by, and the Haddington District? It was to such cases as those that he referred as being many of the single-Member boroughs whose cases were harder than that of Warwick. He had been much amused by one argument from which the Government appeared to derive great satisfaction. The right hon. Baronet had stated that the townspeople of Leamington and Warwick were all agreed on this question. No doubt they were; one might as well ask a child whether it liked the sugar- 574 plum put into its mouth, or a beggar what he thought of the £5 note pressed upon him. Was it likely that the people of Warwick and Leamington would find any fault with the proposal of the Government? Why, Warwick was the only case of a borough retaining its representation contrary to the rule which the Government itself had laid down; and, therefore, he said that to ask the persons interested whether the proposed arrangement was not a pleasant one, and to bring forward their inevitable answer as a reason against his Amendment, was an argument that it was difficult to think that the right hon. Baronet had put forward seriously. There was another point which should not be lost sight of. It was said that Warwick and Leamington were practically one constituency and one town; but he would point out that they had separate Corporations and Municipal Institutions, and if his hon. Friends who represented Warwick were to look into the local newspapers of last week they would find that meeting's had been held in Leamington and Warwick, at which the matter of the name of the joint borough was quarrelled over. From this it would be seen that there had never been any agreement about the matter at all. He was not able to make out the argument of the hon. Member for Sal-ford (Mr. Arnold), because the hon. Member seemed to him to be proceeding upon two different lines; at one moment it seemed that he was in favour of disfranchisement, and at another that he did not want it. Again, he wound up by saying that this was the only case of a borough that had not been disfranchised, and whose boundaries had been enlarged. But he (Mr. Lewis) would point out that this enlargement was made for the purpose of retaining the enfranchisement of the borough. The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) was, in his opinion, in error when he said there was not the slightest analogy in this case and the cases of Drogheda and Wigan; but he (Mr. Lewis) contended that the analogy was complete, and in this respect—in order to save the representation by one Member in each case the suggestion was made that the boundaries should be extended, and the Government said that they could not, and would not, do this; in the present 575 case, in order to save the representation of one Member, they had extended, and were asking the Committee to agree to the extension of, the boundaries. Therefore, he said that, so far from there being no analogy, it appeared to be one of the most complete that could be introduced by way of illustration of an argument. Again, the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General said that he had introduced a great deal of feeling into this discussion; but it was hard that he should lie under that imputation, seeing that he had merely pointed out that the action of the Government in respect of Warwick was a departure from their own principle, as laid down in the Bill, and that, in supporting that contention, he had carefully avoided introducing anything that was not strictly germane to the question. But the right hon. Gentleman had the faculty of saying bitter things in a quiet way, and any comparison instituted between them in that respect he ventured to think would be in his (Mr. Lewis's) favour. The Government had departed, in the case of Warwick, from what the Attorney General declared to be the vital principle of the Bill; and, moreover, they had given no reasons for so doing. Under the circumstances, he felt it his duty to press his Amendment to a division.
§ MR. CALLAN
said, he had on one occasion walked from Warwick to Leamington by one road, and returned to Warwick by another, and he was bound to say that there was a perceptible difference between the character of the two towns. Warwick, a fine old county town, showed what the county towns were before railways were in existence; Leamington was an instance of what Royal patronage could effect in the way of placing a new town in a prosperous condition. But let the Committee compare the case of Drogheda with that of Warwick. The Government refused to extend the boundaries of Drogheda, although, by taking in the population of a village a mile distant, and by adding the men employed in a single factory at the other end of the main street, they could at once have raised the population to 16,000. But the population of Warwick could not be raised to 15,000, the limit in the Bill, by taking in the inhabitants of the district for a mile around Warwick; it was only when Leamington was ap- 576 proached that any real increase of population took place. In short, on similar conditions, the population of Drogheda would exceed by 1,000, and the population of Warwick fall short by a considerable amount of the requisite number. He asked whether it was honest of the Government to disfranchise the old town of Drogheda, with all its great historic associations—an important borough still, and the seat of the only cotton mills in the Province of Ulster—while they were ready to extend the boundaries of Warwick in one direction five or six miles, for the purpose of retaining a rotten borough? He would be sorry to vote against Warwick; but he was bound to say that if Drogheda was to be disfranchised, Warwick should be disfranchised also. The boroughs in England were well and fully represented; but in Ireland the borough representation was almost entirely lost, and, speaking not as a Nationalist, or in the interest either of Conservatives or Liberals, he said that it was the duty of the Government to devise some means by which the borough representation in Ireland could be preserved.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 108; Noes 28: Majority 80.—(Div. List, No. 80.)
In page 22, line 29, after the words "borough of York," to insert the words "inclusive of the parts added thereto by" The York Extension and Improvement Act 1884,' 47 and 48 Vic. c. CCXXXII.)."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the last six lines on page 22."—(Mr. Warton.)
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he agreed with the substance, but not with the form, of the hon. and learned Member's Amendment. He would therefore suggest that the words should be left where they were for the present. On the Report he would agree in any case to leave them out; and if they came to an arrangement with regard to Haverford west he would deal with the matter by introducing a clause.
§ MR. WARTON
said, he was indebted to the right hon. Baronet for the way in which he had met his proposal; and as he intended to deal with the matter 577 on the Report, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he would not move the first Amendment standing in his name, which had reference to the inclusion in the Parliamentary burgh of Dunfermline of so much of the municipal burgh as was not included within the Parliamentary burgh. Nor was he in a position to press his second Amendment to a division, because he had not had an opportunity of speaking to the Lord Advocate on the subject. He would, however, move the latter Amendment pro formâ, in the hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman might consider it between then and the Report stage, and that it would be dealt with by the House when that stage was reached. He had a strong opinion in favour of making local boundaries conterminous. There were many cases in which the Parliamentary boundaries exceeded the municipal boundaries; but there were not many instances of the reverse kind. The boundaries of the Parliamentary burgh of Kirkcaldy were less than those of the municipal burgh, and accordingly they found that a great portion of the municipal burgh was within the Parliamentary burgh of Dysart. He believed that in this case the local boundaries were more overlapped than those of any constituency in the United Kingdom, a circumstance which gave rise to much confusion and inconvenience. For his own part, he had never been able to ascertain precisely what was the population of the burgh with which he was connected, and he feared that there would always be a great difficulty in the way of doing so. He repeated that, in his opinion, there was no parallel case to that of Kirkcaldy, and the effect of the present arrangement was so peculiar that his impression was that if the people of Kirkcaldy were agreed amongst themselves with regard to this inconvenience, it would have been rectified before this time. But he freely admitted that there were some differences of opinion on the subject. A difficulty had been started with regard to the municipal union and the school board, the people being afraid that the extension of the Parliamentary boundaries would in some way or other interfere with the existing ar- 578 rangements. But he believed that to be an entirely erroneous idea. He had been astonished, on reading a Parliamentary Return of the number of public-houses in the burghs of Scotland presented to the House a short time since, to find that Kirkcaldy was represented as having 116 public-houses to a population of 13,000, whereas there were only 24 in Dysart. According to the Return, it was made to appear that Kirkcaldy had more public-houses than Dysart in the proportion of five to one. As a matter of fact, owing to the inextricable confusion in which the boundary question was involved, the number of public-houses had been given for the municipal burgh, while the population given was that of the Parliamentary burgh; and, therefore, he said that if the Crown agents, who were responsible in this matter, got themselves into a muddle and misrepresented the burgh, much more must those find themselves in a difficult position with regard to it who were not so well informed. He hoped the Lord Advocate would look into this matter, and so give the people of Kirkcaldy an opportunity of expressing their opinion upon it before the Report stage.
In page 23, lines 30 to 32, after "Kirkcaldy (in Kirkcaldy District)," leave out "(except so much of such municipal burgh as is comprised within the present Parliamentary burgh of Dysart)."—(Sir George Campbell.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
THE LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. J. B. BALFOUR)
I must say that up to the present time we have not heard anything upon the point which my hon. Friend raises; but it is one which shall be considered before the Report stage of the Bill is taken. The course followed with respect to Kirkcaldy was, I think, in the absence of any representations of the kind which my hon. Friend has made, an obvious one. Kirkcaldy is not a very large town, but the municipal part of it seems to overlap a portion of the Parliamentary burgh of Dysart. In the absence of any special reason and information, it would, I think, be wrong to take away part of the Parliamentary burgh of Dysart and add it to the Parliamentary burgh of Kirkcaldy. It may, however, be otherwise, and we shall be 579 glad to inquire into the matter and to receive representations from either of the two places concerned, with the view of dealing with the question on Report.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, he must admit that it was entirely his own fault that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was not in a position to discuss this question. But they had been so much occupied with Amendments involving the very existence of the burghs, that the minor question in. this case had been overlooked. He was glad to hear that his right hon. and learned Friend would look into the matter. His own opinion was that there would be no opposition on the part of Dysart proper; the only opposition to the proposal, if any, would be on the part of the portion of the burgh of Kirkcaldy lying outside the present limits.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR THOMAS BATESON
said, he now rose to move the Amendment which stood in his name, and he did so in the interest of a considerable number of the inhabitants of County Down who were voters in that county, and who it was proposed by this Bill should be transferred to the town of Belfast. Some of the people for whom he spoke were occupiers of agricultural holdings, others resided in villas; but all were totally unconnected with Belfast, and were in no way mixed up with the interests of that town. These county voters said it was very hard that they should be annexed to Belfast without their wish, and contrary to their protest. Some portions of the large district of County Down which it was proposed to annex to Belfast were situated as far as four miles from the town. Those districts had as much community of interest with the town of Belfast as Wimbledon had with the borough of Chelsea; and, under such circumstances, he thought it was extremely hard that the people should be driven like a flock of sheep into the borough of Belfast without their leave, and contrary to their wish. The town of Belfast, according to the Government Return was to contain 221,600 inhabitants. If the people for whom he spoke were allowed to continue voters in County Down, the population of Belfast would only amount to between 216,000 and 217,000. Now, if they took Eng- 580 land generally, the average population for which there was to be one Member was 54,000; therefore, it could not be said that by leaving these rural districts in the county of Down, the town of Belfast would necessarily have to be deprived of one of its four Members. The other night he had the satisfaction of hearing the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) enlarge in very eloquent terms upon the hardship and the injustice which would be perpetrated on certain urban districts abutting on the borough of Wigan, if they were annexed to that borough without their sanction and contrary to their wish. Under these circumstances, he (Sir Thomas Bateson) thought he could with confidence appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to support this very moderate request of his. Yesterday, he was looking over the Instructions given to the Boundary Commissioners. One Instruction, concerning the extension of the boundaries of a borough, was—Either from community of interest with the borough, or which from other circumstances form part of the town population proper.Now, the people of whom he spoke did not come under that heading. Another Instruction was—That special regard should he had to the pursuits of the population.Now, they all knew that the inhabitants of Belfast were chiefly mill-workers, while he was informed that in the districts it was proposed to include in the town there was not a single mill-worker. The populations of the four divisions of County Down would, if his Amendment were accepted, be as follows:—In North Down there would be a population of 61,197; in North-West Down, 59,775; in Mid Down, 58,775; and in South-West Down, 59,290. Under such circumstances it would be quite unnecessary to re-adjust any of the divisions of the county. He begged to move the omission from the boundaries of Belfast of—The Townlands of Ballymaghan, Ballymisert, Strandtown and Strandtown Town, Ballyhackamore and Ballyhackamore Town, and Ballycloghan, all in the Parish of Holywood and County of Down; the Townlands of Knock, Multyhogy, and Ballyrushboy, all in the Parish of Knockbreda and County of Down.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 24, to leave out lines 5 to 16, inclusive.—(Sir Thomas Bateson.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that Belfast was a town which was rapidly increasing in population, and he was informed that the population was spreading to the districts which the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson) considered rural. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was informed by those who had made the inquiry that they considered the case very carefully, and they thought that the population which they proposed to include must eventually become a borough population. He was bound to say that if the proposal of the hon. Baronet were carried, it would be impossible to retain the representation of Belfast at four Members. Belfast happened to just overtop the limit of population entitled to four Members; but by the adoption of this Amendment it would be placed below that limit, and therefore would only be entitled to three Members.
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that this was certainly a subject of considerable interest, and as they proceeded with the Bill the arguments advanced by the Government became more and more unaccountably peculiar. Four years ago, Commissioners recommended that the boundaries of Belfast and of Dublin should be extended. The Government had adopted the recommendation in the case of Belfast, but had rejected it in the case of Dublin. No one could discover a shadow of reason for the difference in the treatment of the two places. He was not acquainted with the local circumstances of Belfast; but the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson) who had moved the Amendment had said that the inhabitants were chiefly mill-workers, and that the Government proposed to add to the constituency certain rural districts. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) in charge of the Bill had said that the result of the adoption of the Amendment would be that a Member would have to be taken away fromBelfast—that instead of having four it would only have three Representatives. He (Mr. Sexton) drew the contrast between the two places in this way. 582 If they added to the City of Dublin the merchants, official classes, and artizans who lived in the abutting townships and within a stone's throw of the Parliamentary boundaries, Dublin would be entitled to five Members; they had refused to do that, preferring to maintain an unjustifiable line of demarcation for the City of Dublin. On the other hand, the Government had given their assent to an artificial claim for the increase of the number of the Representatives of Belfast to four, by adding to that borough a body of farmers four miles away, altogether unconnected with the town, and having no conceivable concern with the affairs of Belfast. He left the contrast to the consideration of the Committee.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, the contention of the Government in respect to their treatment of Belfast and Dublin was perfectly untenable. There was a very much stronger reason for the addition to Dublin of Rathmines and the other districts proposed to be added by the Boundary Commissioners of 1881 than for the addition to Belfast of the districts proposed to be added by this Bill. The districts around Dublin were of a much more urban character than those proposed to be joined to Belfast. But, after all, there was a very substantial amount of argument in favour of adding the districts covered by the Amendment to Belfast. The Boundary Commissioners examined witnesses upon the spot, and having hoard what could be said for and against the proposal, they recommended that these outlying parts of County Down should be added to the borough of Belfast. They made the recommendation for the obvious reason that the villages proposed to be annexed were not far from the borough, and that their inhabitants reaped a certain amount of advantage from Belfast. The hon. Baronet the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson) had said that the people of Belfast were mill-workers. Although there were a great many people in Belfast who were mill-workers, there were a great number who were not. The people who occupied the villas in the districts to which reference had been made were, as a rule, persons who were in business in Belfast. In point of fact, those people, although they lived in the country, did not partake, as a class, of the nature of a rural community, and for that reason 583 he thought the contention of the hon. Baronet was quite untenable. At the same time, he (Mr. Biggar) thought the contention of the Government was very much weaker. What the Government ought to do was to carry out honestly the principle of the Bill—strike off from Belfast the people in the scattered villages specified in the Amendment, give Belfast three instead of four Members, and then add to Dublin the districts which were really a part of it, and give to the city a fifth Member. That would be a really sensible way of settling the difficulty. The discrepancies between the actions of the Government in regard to Dublin and Belfast were so outrageously unreasonable that the Government ought now to consider whether it would not be well to take the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson) at his word—strike off from Belfast the outlying districts, and bring the town down to the limit which entitled it to three Members. If they did that, they would be able to give the additional Member to Dublin—a city which, as everyone knew, was of very much more importance than Belfast, and therefore entitled to increased consideration.
§ MR. SMALL
said, that all parties must be agreed that Belfast had been treated in a very exceptional and an extraordinarily favourable manner. He did not think the reason was far to seek. Belfast had always set itself against the Nationalist opinion of Ireland, and therefore he supposed it was part of the agreement between the Government and the Front Opposition Bench that the boundaries of the borough should be so extended as to entitle it to four Members. Belfast had less claim than any other town in Ireland to have its boundaries extended. In 1867 the municipal boundaries of the place were very considerably enlarged, and by a clause in the subsequent Reform Bill the Parliamentary boundaries were extended so as to coincide with those of the municipality. Many of the places included within Belfast certainly could not be considered part of the town, and, that being so, no place had a less right than Belfast to have its boundaries extended. He was not as well acquainted with Belfast as his hon. Friend the Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar); but it did appear to him that many districts were now to be annexed to the borough which had no in- 584 terest in common with it. He was very much afraid he and his hon. Friends would not succeed in obtaining the alterations they desired in regard to Belfast and Dublin, because the Government seemed to have set themselves resolutely against the changes proposed. He considered, however, that they would be neglecting their duty if they did not make as strong a protest as they could against the exceptional treatment which the minority in Ireland was receiving at the hands of this Liberal Government.
§ MR. LEWIS
wished to elicit from the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) a further explanation of the statement he made that if this Motion were adopted it would involve the reduction of the representation of Belfast to three Members. He did not know whether he was rightly informed as to the figures, but he understood that even if this alteration were made Belfast would still have a population of 216,000. If that were so, the adoption of the proposal, so far as he could see, would not have the effect of impeaching the validity of the title of Belfast to a fourth Member for the town. He was quite sure the right hon. Gentleman would not willingly play off one constituency against another; but the right hon. Gentleman certainly placed him in a difficult position as to the way in which he should vote, because he would not like to do anything to injure the borough of Belfast. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would say what the Government understood to be the exact position of the constituency supposing this Amendment were carried, and what constituencies Belfast would be similar to?
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the only borough whose position he could at the moment liken to that of Belfast, if this Amendment were carried, was Southwark. Belfast would, in size, greatly resemble Southwark, and the Prime Minister in introducing the Bill stated that any place with a population of less than 220,000 would only be entitled to three Members.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, he could not regard the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman as at all satisfactory, and for the very reason that the Metropolitan constituencies were confessedly not treated in the same liberal manner as other con- 585 stituencies. He did not know any newly-made borough in the Kingdom which contained so large a number of people to a single Member as the Metropolitan constituencies.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that St. Pancras and other Metropolitan boroughs were treated on precisely the same scale. The observations of the hon. Member (Mr. Lewis) were caused by the fact that there were no small new boroughs to be added to London, therefore the total average was high. London, however, was not quite so high as Manchester, for in London there was one Member for every 65,000 people, and in Manchester one Member to every 70,000 of the population. The reason was that there were no small boroughs to bring down the average.
§ MR. CORRY
said, he should be glad to support the Amendment of his hon. Friend, if it was not to be carried out at the expense of the representation of Belfast. As he could not be a party to the reduction of the representation of Belfast, he was afraid he should be obliged to vote against the present proposal. As special reference had been made to the exceptional treatment of Belfast, he wished to say, however, that on account of its growing importance the town of Belfast was entitled to every consideration not only from the Government, but from every Member of the House. The hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) had said that Belfast was not at all as important a place as Dublin. The hon. Gentleman ought to know better than that. In point of manufactures, Belfast was infinitely more important than Dublin; if the hon. Gentleman had not been living away from Belfast for some time he must have known that that was the case. A great many new industries had been created in Belfast, and the result was that the population, instead of diminishing, as had been alleged, was very largely increasing; indeed, if the Census were taken now it would be found that the town was justly entitled to four Members irrespective of the extensions either in County Antrim or in County Down. He was perfectly satisfied that the importance of the town of Belfast was far greater than was represented by hon. Members sitting below the Gangway. If their information with reference to other parts of Ireland was as faulty as that concerning Belfast, 586 there was no wonder they created false impressions in the minds of the people. He could not support the Amendment if, as the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke) said, its adoption would result in the reduction of the representation of Belfast.
§ MR. MAYNE
said, that upon the present Amendment it was well to recall to mind the argument used by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke), last night, against the proposal of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) to so extend the boundaries of Dublin as to give the city a fifth Member. The right hon. Gentleman said the Government would not consent to include within the boundaries of a borough a population opposed to the inclusion, and he added that he had received communications from persons in Rathmines objecting to their incorporation with Dublin for Parliamentary purposes. The Committee had heard to-day from the hon. Baronet the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson), that it was proposed by the Bill to include in the pet borough of Belfast a population who strongly objected to being brought within the borough boundaries. He (Mr. Mayne) invited the attention of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) to the arguments which would be used in favour of the Amendment which would presently be proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton). In the face of the statement of the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson) in moving the present Amendment, it would certainly be necessary for the Government to start some new argument if they persisted in voting down the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sexton) concerning the City of Dublin.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he listened with some attention to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belfast (Mr. Corry). It was all very well to lavish praise upon Belfast at the expense of other parts of Ireland. He (Mr. Biggar) was born in Belfast, and he had lived there a great part of his life. He frequently visited Dublin, and in his opinion that city was a much more important place than Belfast. As to the people of Belfast, he was afraid that if they were taken at their own estimation they would be taken at a much higher value than was really warranted. Now, 587 in regard to the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson), there was one point upon which he was not clear. The Amendment, as it stood, only referred to the newly enfranchised part of Belfast which was in the county of Down; but some of the districts proposed to be annexed to Belfast were in County Antrim. Now, if the districts in Antrim were cut off from the borough as well as those in County Down, the case of the right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke)—namely, the reduction of the representation of the town to three Members, would be made very much stronger. He sincerely hoped the Government would, by means of this Amendment, put themselves in a position to do justice to Dublin.
§ SIR THOMAS BATESON
said, that before going to a division, he should like to say a few words. He was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) should attempt to draw a red herring across the scent in the shape of a threat to take away a Member from Belfast if this Amendment were adopted. Now, the right hon. Gentleman knew very well that he gave four Members to County Donegal with 206,000 people; and if they compared Donegal, either as regarded taxation, wealth, and manufacture, with Belfast, he (Sir Thomas Bateson) was at a loss to understand why the former should have four Members and the latter only three. Kerry, Tyrone, and Tipperary, with a less population than Belfast, were to have four Members, and therefore it was absurd to threaten that, if this Amendment were carried, the representation of Belfast would have to be reduced. So far from the representation of Belfast being reduced by one Member, he held that if they took into consideration the enormous manufactures, the large commercial and mercantile interests of the town, Belfast ought to have five or six Members. He should think that the taxation which Belfast paid into the Imperial Revenue very nearly equalled half of the whole taxation of Ireland. Under those circumstances, it was absurd to threaten to take away one Member from a town which was the Manchester and Liverpool of Ireland combined. Had the right hon. Gentle- 588 man the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) been present, he (Sir Thomas Bateson) should have appealed to him to support him on this occasion; but, probably, if the right hon. Baronet had been present, the magic word "vital" would have been uttered across the Table, and he would have been obliged, in accordance with this miserable compact, to follow the Prime Minister into the Lobby against his own Party. He (Sir Thomas Bateson), therefore, feared that, under the] circumstances, he should have received no help from the right hon. Gentleman. He ventured to say that had the Tory Leaders, when they went into conference with right hon. Gentlemen opposite, said to those right hon. Gentlemen—"We take no interest whatever in Ireland; we think that the redistribution of seats as regards Ireland had better be left to the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy), who seems to understand the subject thoroughly," he firmly believed that no measure framed by that hon. and learned Gentleman could have been more damaging or more disastrous to the Conservative Party in Ireland than this Bill, for the parentage of which the Tory Leaders were mainly responsible. He thought he might illustrate his statement by the map which had been published within the last few days by the organ of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell)—a map of Ireland most elaborately got up, and which he should have commended to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon had he been present. The other day, the Postmaster General (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan) spoke in a very flippant manner with reference to the future representation of Ireland. They asserted that the Protestant Party would retain a fourth of the total number of seats; whereas by this forecast the Nationalists claimed 15 certains and three doubtfuls out of 103. Now, the maps of which he (Sir Thomas Bateson) spoke gave, he thought, a very fair forecast of what would be the result in the event of this measure being carried, and he therefore commended it to the notice of the Postmaster General. It would show the position in which the minority in Ireland were placed under 589 the compact. It was now 41 years since he (Sir Thomas Bateson) first entered the House of Commons, and he must confess that he never knew anything so humiliating or degrading to Parliamentary Government as this miserable compact. Ministers and Members would not come down to the House to register decrees of a cross between the two Front Benches. He believed that if the redistribution scheme had been drawn up by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Monaghan, he doubted whether he would not possibly have treated them less illiberally. His Amendment was one by which, judging from the map to which he had referred, the Nationalist Party were not affected. This was simply a question whether rural voters, in no way connected with Belfast, should be swept into that town. The red herring drawn across the trail by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was absurd and ridiculous, and he (Sir Thomas Bateson) wished his Friends would vote with him, for it was impossible for the Government to take a Member away from the rising town of Belfast.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he did not think they need enter into the question of what the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Bateson) had called the "cross" between the two Front Benches. That was an expression he (Mr. Biggar) did not exactly understand; he did not know whether it was a phrase which could possibly be applied to what really took place. He wanted, however, to say a word with respect to the estimate the hon. Baronet had formed of Belfast. The hon. Baronet had referred to the test of taxation. Now, if taxation were to be taken as a test, there was not the slightest doubt that the taxation of Dublin would be found to be double that of Belfast. That argument, therefore, of the hon. Baronet in favour of Belfast, fell to the ground. Hon. Members above the Gangway who claimed to represent the so-called Loyal minority in Ireland were crying out loudly that they had not received fair play under this Bill. He did not mean to say they had got more than fair play, though they had certainly got one or two seats to which they would not have been entitled if the boundaries had been fixed in a more reasonable way. In his opinion, 590 the minority in Ireland had no cause of complaint; indeed, they ought to be thoroughly delighted with the whole transaction.
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE
said, he wished to make a few observations in consequence of what had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson). He intended to vote for his hon. Friend's Amendment, because he did not attribute any importance to the threat of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) to take away a Member from Belfast in the event of the Amendment being carried. At the same time, he could not agree with some of the remarks of his hon. Friend the Member for Devizes as to the conduct of the Leaders of the Opposition. He fully agreed with the hon. Baronet in thinking that the arrangement in regard to Ireland had been most unfortunate; but it must be recollected that the Conservative Leaders were placed in a very disagreeable and uncomfortable position. The other day he put a Question to the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke); but the right hon. Gentleman declined to answer it. That fact showed to him (Sir Hervey Bruce) very clearly that the actual Bill they were now discussing was not in the hands of the Government or of the Leaders of the Opposition at the time the arrangement was arrived at. The details of the Bill, consequently, could not have been distinctly understood. In his opinion, the difference between the Leaders of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition was that the Conservative Loader had more scrupulously adhered to the compact, as he understood it, than the Leaders of the Government had done. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) had acted in a fairer spirit than the Government; for, from a chivalrous notion of honour, the right hon. Gentleman had distinctly refused to support his own Friends, and that on many occasions when he (Sir Hervey Bruce) thought the compact did not prevent him doing so. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) and the Prime Minister had, on one or two occasions, told the Committee that they did not care for the 591 provisions of the Bill, and that, on a fitting opportunity, they would not abide by them. He merely made these observations to show that he did not join his hon. Friend (Sir Thomas Bateson) in his wholesale condemnation of the Leaders of the Opposition.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Hervey Bruce) had probably not heard an answer that he had given to the noble Lord the Member for Middlesex (Lord George Hamilton) the other day, referring to a letter that he had written to the hon. and learned Member for Launceston (Sir Hardinge Giffard), in which he had pointed out that precisely the same reservations had been made by the Leaders of the Opposition as had been made by him.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the question was only involved in the compact in the sense that if this Amendment were carried, he would, in pursuance of the compact, have to ask the House to reduce the number of Members for Belfast from four to three.
§ MR. LEWIS
said, it was impossible to sit here and, in the face of the figures in the Bill, hear the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke). Were the Committee to understand from the right hon. Gentleman that, in the face of such cases as those of Donegal and Kerry, the representation of Belfast would have to be reduced to three Members if this Amendment were carried? Donegal had a population of 206,035, and it was proposed to give it four Members. Upon some principle of equity which the right hon Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke) seemed to understand, Donegal was to retain four Members; but Belfast, with a population of 216,000, would be reduced to three Members. Did he correctly interpret the proposition of the right hon. Baronet? [Sir CHARLES W. DILKE: Yes.] He failed to see how the right hon. Gentleman could reconcile the treatment of the two constituencies. Kerry afforded an illustration even more striking, for it had only a population of 592 201,000, and yet it was to return four Members.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lewis) was not in the House when he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) made an explanation on this subject. In that explanation, he reminded hon. Members that the Prime Minister had distinctly stated that there were two scales, and that the borough scale was different to the county scale, the limit of population being higher in boroughs than in counties. They fixed the general proportion between county and borough Members to suit hon. Members opposite, and, having done that, they had to make a scale which would work out equitably. There were a great many more small boroughs than small counties.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, it was impossible not to sympathize with hon. Gentlemen on the Conservative Benches who complained of having been deserted by their Leaders. In the North of Ireland, last summer, hon. Gentlemen opposite were loudly demanding a Redistribution Bill, and declaring that the extension of the franchise without redistribution would be unjust and unsatisfactory. Now they had both, and yet they were complaining bitterly of the redistribution scheme. He was sure it must be very gratifying to hon. Gentlemen sitting below the Gangway opposite, to hear the confidence expressed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson) in the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy). The hon. Baronet had said he would much rather have had a Bill framed by the hon. and learned Member than that which had received the assent of the Conservative Leaders.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
said, he was within the recollection of the Committee, and he thought he had quoted correctly the words of the hon. Baronet.
§ SIR THOMAS BATESON
I beg to correct the hon. Gentleman. What I did say was that if the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Monaghan (Mr. Healy) had framed a measure of redistribution, it would have been impossible for him, in my opinion, to have framed one more damaging to the Conservative Party than the Bill now before the Committee.
§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
could only repeat that it must be very gratifying to the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, to hear the confidence the hon. Baronet expressed in their Colleague the hon. and learned Member for Monaghan. He (Mr. T. A. Dickson) hoped the Amendment would be rejected, for, in his opinion, it was unfair to the county of Down and to Belfast. He should be sorry to see Belfast deprived of one of its Members. Belfast was in every way worthy of four Representatives, and therefore he hoped the Government would stand by the Bill.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, it seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke) in charge of the Bill was labouring under a great delusion if he thought he would appease the Representatives of the Ulster Tories by explaining to them the rules, if there were any rules, which had regulated the decisions of the Boundary Commissioners. The argument that the right hon. Gentleman had employed against hon. Members sitting above the Gangway was one which might be suited to their understandings, but it did not appeal to their prejudices. It was all very well to threaten hon. Gentlemen that if they carried this Amendment, they would cause a reduction in the number of Representatives allotted to Belfast; but what the Committee were really entitled to hear from the right hon. Gentleman was the reason why the boundaries of the town were extended in order that it might have four instead of three Members. The proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for Devizes (Sir Thomas Bateson) was to take out of the Schedule the rural districts which had been added to the town of Belfast with the declared object of giving to it an additional Member. In opposition to the very rules which were laid down for their guidance the Boundary Commissioners had added to the Belfast districts inhabited by people who had no interest in common with the town; and yet the argument which the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke) employed, in order to solace hon. Members above the Gangway, was that, if their Amendment were carried, he would have to deprive them of that Member which had been given to them as an act of grace. It seemed to him (Mr. Harrington) that that was not an 594 argument which ought to satisfy the Committee. He thought that Parliament would be abrogating its functions if it supported the right hon. Gentleman in the attitude he had taken up in regard to the Bill. He thought also that they would set up a very dangerous precedent if Commissioners appointed to form certain boundaries were to have the entire settlement of those boundaries, and Parliament were to exercise no supervision over their decisions. If, in the future, Commissioners felt that they would be supported by large majorities in any decisions they arrived at, they would, no doubt, make use of their own prejudices and the prejudices of the class to which they belonged, to the detriment of the interests of the county they were supposed to serve.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 124; Noes, 61; Majority 63.—(Div. List, No. 81.)
§ MR. SEXTON
said, that the Government had succeeded in adding to the borough of Belfast certain rural areas in the County Down, and to the industrial population of Belfast there had been added a number of farmers living four miles away. The application he had to make to the Government was to ask them to continue in that line. He failed to see why farmers who lived four miles away from the City of Belfast should be added to the Parliamentary community of that place, whilst persons who spent their days and earned their incomes in the City of Dublin were kept outside the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin. Yesterday he had asked the Committee to consent to add one Member to the representation of the City of Dublin; but the Committee had declined to accede to the proposal, To-day, however, the application he made was of another kind. He merely asked that the actual City of Dublin should be made the Parliamentary City of Dublin, and that the Parliamentary city should not be put in the extraordinary position of being a mere fraction of the physical city as it stood on that ground. The right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had objected to the Amendment he had brought forward yesterday, on the ground that the object of the proposal was to procure an additional Member. That objection dis- 595 appeared to-day, however. He (Mr. Sexton) did not, to-day, ask for any additional Member, or any dislocation whatever of the arrangements of the Bill. He simply asked to have the physical conditions of the city established and recognized by the extension of the Parliamentary boundaries. Last night, the right hon. Baronet had probably laboured under some disadvantage, for the present proposed representation of the City and County of Dublin might have formed part of the compact between the two Front Benches. Of course, if the right hon. Baronet in charge of the Bill had agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) and the Marquess of Salisbury, that the number of Members for the comity of Dublin should be four, and the number for the city two, that was a good reason for resisting his (Mr. Sexton's) proposal yesterday. But to-day, at any rate, they had got outside the spirit of the compact. He had understood from the right hon. Baronet yesterday that the question of the boundaries of the City of Dublin had not formed part of the subject of the sacred agreement. If it had, it would have been in the same position as the question already disposed of; but if the right hon. Gentleman was free in the matter, he (Mr. Sexton) would offer some reasons why the boundaries should be extended. In the first place, the right hon. Baronet had today declared that he relied upon the Report of the Commission made in 18G8, as the reason for the extension of the borough of Warwick. Well, if the Report of a Commission made 17 years ago were to be relied upon as a reason for retaining the borough of Warwick, he thought the Report of the Royal Commissioners, made four years ago, established a very much stronger case for extending the boundaries of Dublin. The Report of 1868, on which the right hon. Baronet relied in the case of Warwick, was discredited by the Government, and rejected by the House; but the Report of 1881, which he advanced in support of the Amendment he was about to propose, had never been discredited or rejected. The Irish Government themselves had never called the propriety of that Report in question; and so far as it related to the extension of the boundaries of Dublin, Earl 596 Spencer had excused himself from carrying it out in 1882, 1883, and 1884, on the ground that the Government were engaged upon large proposals for the local government of cities in Ireland, and had not sufficient time to consider the recommendations of the Commissioners. Lack of leisure was the only excuse for refusing the proposal of 1881; but if that had been carried out, it would have been impossible to refuse the present Amendment. In England, wherever a municipal boundary had been extended, an extension of the Parliamentary boundary had followed; therefore, if the recommendations of the Municipal Boundary Commissioners had been adopted, it would have been impossible to refuse the present proposal. As the cause of the failure to carry out the recommendations of the Commission in 1881 was only lack of leisure and the pre-occupation of the Irish Government, and as the substance of those recommendations was not called in question, the plea he put forward was that, the excuse of pre-occupation not holding good now, the boundaries should be rearranged. What he asked was simply that the four townships abutting on the City of Dublin—namely, Rathmines, Kilmainham, Drumcondra, and Clontarf, having common interests with the city, should not be excluded from the Parliamentary boundaries of the borough. He should ask the right hon. Baronet to answer him one question. Would he give him any reason why these townships should be kept outside the Parliamentary boundary, if the Pembroke township were to be included within it? Of the five townships, Pembroke was the most rural and remote. It extended a far greater distance than any of the others, and contained localities which could scarcely be called urban. It was, to a considerable extent, a rural area, yet it was and had been for years included within the Parliamentary boundary of the City of Dublin. He would, respectfully, ask the right hon. Baronet to offer them some reason why the four townships, which were distinctly and absolutely urban in their nature, should be kept outside the Parliamentary boundary, while a far extending and remote township, which was absolutely rural in its composition, had been for years within it. If they carried his Amendment, they would do 597 no harm to any public interest that he could see. They would not dislocate the Bill; they would leave the county four Members and the borough two; the county of Dublin, with the areas he sought to include in the city, would have the full number of Members and a population of 51,000 to each, which would exceed the average of fully a half of the counties of Ireland. The claim he made, therefore, was justified on the ground of population. It would not violate the principle of the Bill, and would do no harm to anyone. In reply to a Question put to him to-day, the right hon. Baronet had stated that the area of Warwick was 9,000 acres, and that it had a population of 37,000. What did the right hon. Baronet say to the statement that in the face of this he proposed to shut the Parliamentary boundary of the capital of Ireland within a limit of 5,000 acres? The Parliamentary borough of Dublin was to be half the size of the borough of Warwick—207,000 people in the capital of Ireland wore to be shut within an area only half the size of a petty English borough. He hoped the right hon. Baronet would apply himself to that point. The right hon. Baronet had told them yesterday that the boundary he (Mr. Sexton) proposed was open to objection. Well, it was the boundary recommended by a Commission which bad inquired into the matter more fully than the House ever inquired into anything. The boundary the Government were determined to uphold was the most fantastic, not only in Ireland, but in the whole of the United Kingdom. It was, beyond precedent and parallel, irregular in its shape, whereas under his (Mr. Sexton's) Amendment it would become symmetrical and almost rectangular. If they took off the township of Kilmainham—and he should have no objection to that course—and added the three townships of Rathmines, Drumcondra, and Clontarf only, they would have what he might call an absolutely rectangular boundary. If that was not a complete reply to the right hon. Baronet he could not conceive what would be. They were told that some of the ratepayers outside the present limits of the City of Dublin objected to being included within the boundary; but the people outside the boundary had not been consulted. He believed that 598 if they were polled to-morrow the great majority of them would be in favour of the extension he proposed. The only objection which had been raised had been that of the Town Commissioners of Rathmines. But that was a body elected upon a restricted franchise, who held their sittings in secret, and conducted their business in opposition to the will and intelligence of the large body of the ratepayers, who, if the Parliamentary franchise were applied to the district, would be thrown out of office to-morrow. Besides, the opposition of these gentlemen to the extension did not rest on the merits of the case. They did not allege, because it could not be alleged, that Rathmines had any Parliamentary interest or position distinguishable from those of the City of Dublin; but what they said was, that if Rathmines were included within the Parliamentary boundary it would form a precedent for including it within the municipal boundary. They wished to have the advantage of residing near the city, without the disadvantage of paying city rates. He would ask the right hon. Baronet whether it was not the fact, as was abundantly shown in the Reports of the Boundary Commissioners for England and Scotland, that wherever in England the population had opposed inclusion within the Parliamentary boundary, and it had appeared to the Commissioners that such opposition was due to the apprehension that hereafter they would be drawn within the municipal boundary also, the Commissioners had not always refused to recognize that as an equitable reason? His contention was that if these four townships were included within the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin, the Government would be satisfied with the general equity of the case. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin (Dr. Lyons) both knew that what he said was correct, and that if they included Rathmines, Kilmainham, Drumcondra, and Clontarf, they would only be marking out the real urban area. It was true that a fence could not be set up putting exactly on the one side all the rural population and on the other all the urban population; but it was better to have an imperfect reform than no reform at all. The right hon. Baronet had alluded to Tyneside and 599 other districts in England, where areas really urban had been cut off from great towns and formed into county divisions, and in that parallel he had endeavoured to justify the exclusion of the outlying townships of Dublin, and the inclusion of Kingstown; but there was really no parallel between the two cases. The English outlying districts referred to, such as Jarrow and Tyneside, were themselves business centres, with independent funds for wages. The people in these districts had interests of their own distinct from the cities to which they were attached; but so close was the connection between the townships and borough of Dublin, and so identical were their interests, that the townships had grown within the past 40 years, house by house and street by street, by the exertions and the outlay of the people of Dublin. They were inhabited almost exclusively by men who made their incomes in the city—who spent their days in the city, and returned to the townships in the evening. These people were residents of Dublin; and, if by any extraordinary convulsion of nature, Dublin were to cease to exist, every one of these four townships would have to follow it out of existence, because there were no means, except through the industries maintained in the City of Dublin, by which anyone of them could exist for a single week. He defied the Government to show him in Great Britain any case of more absolute identity of interest. Not only did the townships and the city form a common community, but he maintained that it was impossible for any one of the townships to exist without daily reference to and daily association and dealings with the city. They were told last night that it was dangerous to raise Irish questions in reference to this Bill, and the right hon. Baronet expected the Irish Members to accept the English rule and model. Well, they would do so. In many cases in England included in the Reports of the Commissioners, they had extended the Parliamentary boundary even beyond the municipal boundary. He would refer especially to the case of Bristol. How did the right hon. Baronet account for that? In Bristol the municipal and Parliamentary boundaries were identical before this Bill was introduced; why had the Boundary Commissioners gone outside the municipal 600 boundary and added 47,000 people to the Parliamentary borough? Let the same be done in Dublin and he would be satisfied. The Liverpool municipal and Parliamentary boundaries had also been identical; but in this case, likewise, the Government had gone outside the municipal boundary for the purposes of this Bill, and had added 48,000 people to the Parliamentary borough. All he asked was that Dublin should be treated in a similar manner to Bristol and Liverpool. They had taken the actual cities in both these cases, and all he asked them to do was to take also the actual city in the case of Dublin. All he could say was that if, without showing a particle of reason for it, they continued to deny to Dublin that individual existence to which it had a right, they would give cause for deep and permanent dissatisfaction to the citizens of the Irish capital. If they were determined to retain the boundary as laid down in the Bill, he would assure them they might just as well rebuild the walls as they existed in the time of King John, and keep the Parliamentary boundary within them. He would now move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
§ Amendment proposed,
§ In page 24, at end, to add the words,—
|"Dublin||The present Parliamentary borough of Dublin.|
|The township of Rathmines.|
|The township of Kilmainham.|
|The township of Drumcondra, Clonliffe, and Glasnevin.|
|The township of Clontarf.|
|The townland of Grangegorman South, the townland of Cabragh, and so much of the townland of Grangegorman Middle as lies south of the road leading from Phibsborough to Cabragh, and so much of the said town land as lies south of Faussagh Lane, and east of Quarry Lane, all in the parish of Grangegorman, barony of Coolock, and county of Dublin.|
|The townland of Dolphinsbarn, in the parish of St. James, barony of Uppercross, and county of Dublin.|
|The townlanda of Terenure, Kimmage, Rathfarnham, and Newtown Little, all in the parish of Rathfarnham, barony of Rathdown, and county of Dublin.|
|The townlands of Rathmines Great, Rathmines Little, Farranboley, Churchtown Lower, Friarland, Roebuck, and Trimlestown, or Owenstown, all in|
|"Dublin||the parish of Taney, barony of Rathdown, and county of Dublin.|
|The townlands of Simmonscourt, Annefleld, and Priesthouse, all in the parish of Donnybrook, barony of Rathdown, and county of Dublin."|
§ Question proposed, "that those words be there added."
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, that he was afraid he could not add anything very new to the remarks which he had made on this subject last night; indeed, the speech of the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Sexton) was chiefly in the nature of a reply to the remarks which he had himself made. The hon. Member had asked whether there was any case in the United Kingdom similar to that of Dublin. As he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had mentioned before, there were the cases of the Metropolis and Glasgow, which were exactly in the same category. The same arguments used by the hon. Member had been brought forward by the hon. Member for Glasgow, who contended that the districts around his city were undistinguishable from it, that they were densely-populated urban districts possessing an identity of interest. [Mr. SEXTON: You added 21,000 to the borough of Glasgow.] That addition was made in order to bring up the Parliamentary borough to the municipal borough, whereas in Dublin the Parliamentary borough at present exceeded the municipal borough. In the case of the Metropolis, places outside it were undistinguishable from those that were within it; for example, the borough which he himself represented (Chelsea) could not be distinguished from other districts surrounding it. Chiswick could not be distinguished from Hammersmith, because the interests of each place were similar, and the population was practically engaged in the same pursuits. The hon. Member made a proposal to increase the number of voters in Dublin, and if it were acceded to, it would necessarily lead to discussion as to whether the municipal boundary of the city ought to be extended—a question altogether apart from that of representation. He was bound to say that if the hon. Member succeeded in inducing the Committee to carry this Amendment, he feared the 602 Government, to be consistent in their proposals, would be obliged to supplement the representation of Dublin by giving it an additional Member. It would be inconsistent with the general scheme of the Bill to extend the boundaries of Dublin and not to give it five Members.
§ DR. LYONS
said, he regretted that the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) had not taken the course of urging the Government to recommit this question to the Boundary Commissioners. A close and careful investigation was necessary, and as yet nothing of the kind had taken place. There was ample material upon which to go. The argument used yesterday was that the outlying districts objected to being included within the Parliamentary boundary; but that statement had been challenged distinctly in their able Report. The fact that it could be made so loosely by the right hon. Baronet, showed that he had not taken that amount of trouble to inquire that he (Dr. Lyons) thought he was bound to take before deciding not to inclue the four townships within the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin. The statement of the right hon. Baronet had been most emphatically challenged, and on this point he appealed to the Commissioners whose names he had mentioned yesterday, and who had distinctly declared that the assertion, speaking generally, was without foundation, and that so far as any objection to being included within the Parliamentary boundary did exist, it was factitious. Persons had been sent round to certain of the inhabitants in order to ascertain their views; but, instead of confining themselves to eliciting an expression of opinion, they had endeavoured to influence the ratepayers by declaring that one of the consequences of the extension of the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin would be the extension of the municipal boundary and the raising of the rates of the inhabitants of the townships. It had been proved that there was no general feeling against the extension of the Parliamentary boundary, although it was admitted that some persons, under a misapprehension, had taken a view hostile to the hon. Member's proposal. It had been stated that Dublin was in a state bordering on bankruptcy, and that an attempt was being made to extend 603 the Parliamentary boundary, so that an extension of the municipal boundary might follow, and the outlying districts might be brought to the assistance of the city. On the other hand, however, it had been distinctly shown that that was not the case, and that the city was by no means in a bad financial condition. It had been shown that be-fore long many leases would have fallen in; that the valuation would have increased by thousands of pounds; that the city would then be in a most substantial position, and that there could be no fear that in the future the outlying districts would be chargeable with the debts of the city. The equalization of the rates over the city and the townships, though, no doubt, it would lead to a slight variation in the case of the latter, would lead to a general lowering of the city charges, and when the leases fell in, the state of things, so far as rates were concerned, would be just about what it was now. All these matters were worthy of consideration even now, and should be gone into by the Boundary Commissioners. The whole question should be referred back to that body, the powers being given to them which they had distinctly stated they did not possess. The Commissioners said they had not gone into these matters, because the case was closed from the beginning. In view, then, of the pressing claims arising for reconsideration, he thought that even yet the Government might yield, and have the boundary question thoroughly and conscientiously considered.
MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, he confessed he could not but admire the skilful and dexterous manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) managed the whole debate on this subject. The right hon. Gentleman's argument appeared now in one shape, and now in another. Last night he opposed a Motion with the argument that another Member could not be given to Dublin, because, if the number were increased, it would be necessary to readjust the boundaries; and to-day, when a demand for a readjustment of the boundaries was asked for, the right hon. Gentleman said—"Oh, you cannot extend the boundary, because, if you do, you will be obliged to have another Member—we shall have 604 to reconstruct the whole thing, and force you to have another Member, whether you like it or not. "There was a great deal of inconsistency about this which he owned was particularly attractive and amusing. There was one argument of the right hon. Baronet too misleading to be passed over in silence. He took, as an illustration, some of the Metropolitan boroughs, and said that in these instances they cut off one region from another region identical in character—so identical that a person did not know when he passed from one district to the other. No doubt, that was the ease; but let them look at the difference between these cases and the circumstances of the Dublin townships. The Metropolis was being cut up into a great many pieces, large and small, and it would be impossible to maintain a hard-and-fast rule in the apportionment. But in the case of Dublin they had one community, one city, one metropolitan constituency only, and the Irish Members were, therefore, entitled to ask that the whole of the city should be represented in one. There was no parallel at all between this case and that of the London boroughs. He would ask the right hon. Baronet whether there was any extension he would consent to, or accept, to make the City of Dublin in its representation more like the City of Dublin in its actual form? If he would give them an indication of any extension that he could agree to, they would carefully consider it with a view to founding a proposal upon it. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman had laid down a hard-and-fast line, and had ruled that, for Parliamentary purposes, Dublin should remain quite different from the Dublin in its absolute physical proportions, there was hardly much use in continuing the discussion. The Irish Members could only assume that the compact made in secret was such as to preclude the people of Dublin from being anything like fairly dealt with in regard to their Parliamentary representation.
§ MR. MAYNE
said, that, notwithstanding the reply of the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke) to the observations of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), he (Mr. Mayne) would beg to ask his most earnest consideration for a few points which he would do his best to put before him. Before doing this, however, he 605 would like to strengthen a point made by his hon. Friend in introducing his Amendment—as to the extraordinary position of the present Parliamentary borough of the City of Dublin. His hon. Friend had said that Dublin in-eluded the township of Pembroke; but, as a matter of fact, it went far beyond. It not only included all that township, but extended more than half-way into Blackrock township. It went as far as the Cross at Blackrock. Now, he thought that this fact presented a problem to the right hon. Baronet and Members of the Government that they would find it extremely difficult to solve. Why had a portion of County Down been included in the present Parliamentary borough of Dublin; and why had Rathmines, Kilmainham, Drumcondra, and Clontarf—none of which, except, perhaps, Clontarf, extended so far as the present boundary went in the direction of Blackrock—been excluded? Ever since the Royal Commission had reported in favour of the extension of the municipal boundary, the municipal authorities of Dublin had done their best to bring the question of the boundary up for settlement. They had made representations to the Irish Government, he believed, every year on the subject since that Report had been presented. The question was one which every year became more pressing to the citizens of Dublin. They were financially strangled, it might be said, by the cordon which had been drawn round the present municipality for rating purposes, and the tension had become so considerable that the question was now one of those which would settle itself in spite of the Government. It would have to be approached by the present or succeeding Governments, because it was a question which could not be indefinitely postponed. The population of the townships surrounding Dublin were not only a similar class to the citizens of Dublin, but they were the very same people. They were the people who resided in Dublin during the day, and simply came to the townships to sleep. They enjoyed exemption from the payment of certain rates, which exemption was unjust and must go by the board as soon as there was an inquiry into the subject. The lowness of the rates in Rathmines was chiefly due to the fact that modern sanitary science and arrangements were better observed 606 at present within the municipal boundary than they were outside. Rathmines preferred to have low rates—and dirty roads and dark streets. It preferred to light its streets very inadequately; and even inadequately as the streets were lighted, they extinguished their lamps on every night that the moon ought to shine—not only when the moon was shining, but they extinguished their lamps whether it was shining or not when there ought to be a full moon. When Dublin had the reputation of being "dear and dirty Dublin," it endured dirty roads and dark streets quite as much as Rathmines; and when Rathmines was compelled, as it would be compelled by its inhabitants, to adopt a method of transacting business and of carrying out the sanitary arrangements of the township more in accordance with modern ideas than at present, the low rates which now prevailed would no longer be maintainable. They would gradually go up until possibly they would exceed the present rates in the City of Dublin. Great difference existed between the powers of municipal authorities in Ireland and the powers enjoyed by similar bodies in England and Scotland in one very important particular. In Ireland the municipal authorities did not promote Bills before Parliament without incurring the very serious risk of having themselves personally mulcted in heavy costs. Municipal authorities in England and Scotland were exempt from that risk. They might approach Parliament whenever they had a good case, and, whether they won or lost, the individual members incurred no risk. Now, the last reply made by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to representations made by the municipal authorities within the City of Dublin was to the effect that, in the next Session of Parliament, the Government would introduce a measure to bring about changes of a general character affecting local government in cities and counties in Ireland, and for assimilating the law between England and Ireland, so as to render legal payments by Corporations in Ireland of costs consequent upon the promotion of measures affecting municipal affairs. The noble Lord also stated that until defects in rating, which he proposed to deal with next Session, were remedied, the question of the extension of the boundaries of Dublin was not ripe for 607 settlement. He (Mr. Mayne) would call the attention of the right hon. Baronet to the fact that the "next Session" there spoken of was last Session—the Session of 1884. No opportunity appeared to have afforded itself to the Government of introducing that measure affecting the rating and affecting the powers of Corporations in Ireland to pay the expenses of contested Bills before Parliament; but this Session, or next Session, or some other Session, the Government might feel itself bound to redeem this promise, as well as other promises they had made in a similar direction. He invited the attention of the Government to the fact that the municipal boundary of Dublin would then be extended to the very limits proposed now by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo for the Parliamentary boundary, and the position the citizens of Dublin residing in these townships would occupy would then be unique, inasmuch as they would not only have double rating powers, but enjoy a double franchise; but those of them who had the franchise in Trinity College would actually enjoy a three-fold privilege of voting for Members of Parliament. That was a matter which, he ventured to say, was worthy of the gravest consideration. If the Government extended the Parliamentary boundary of the city now, they would simply be availing themselves of a fitting opportunity of correcting disadvantages which would not soon recur when the municipal boundary was extended. The supporters of the Amendment were not asking for an additional Member; and there was no reason to expect that when Parliament came to deal with the question of the extension of the municipal boundary, they would re-open this question of the Parliamentary boundary. That question would probably be settled now for a lifetime, and he maintained, therefore, that it was the duty of the Government to so arrange the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin, that her citizens should not occupy the extraordinarily privileged position he had indicated when it came to have its municipal boundary settled, as it inevitably would at an early date. The right hon. Baronet had replied to the hon. Member for Sligo, that if the Government assented to this proposed extension of the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin, they would be deprived of 608 an argument against the demand for an additional Member for Dublin. But that was really not a serious answer. Sufficient for the day was the evil there of! The Irish Members only asked for a reasonable concession; they did not press for anything which might follow from the granting of it. "Whatever slight disadvantage would accrue would cure itself in time. The question of the municipal boundary was so pressing that it would cure itself at once. The statement of the right hon. Baronet with regard to the Metropolis did not apply to the case of Dublin at all—that was to say, the comparison he had drawn between the townships of Dublin and Chiswick and Hammersmith. Chiswick had not grown out of Hammersmith, not Hammersmith out of Chiswick, and the people who resided in the one place were not the people who carried on business in the other. In the case of Dublin, not only had the townships grown out of Dublin, but the business people of the city were really the residents of the townships. Dublin was a Parliamentary community in itself, and not at all like London, which was a vast conglomeration of people, more resembling all Ireland than Dublin. There was, therefore, no analogy between Hammersmith and the districts surrounding the Irish capital. Altogether, this question was one with regard to which the citizens of Dublin had been wrought up to a considerable state of tension, and if the reply of the Government still continued to be non possumus, it would cause the greatest disappointment in Dublin, and spur on the exertions that had been made in the past to have this question of municipal boundaries once for all settled, because the people of Dublin would now see that if they had forced on the question of the municipal boundary in the last or preceding Session, they would not now have to face the question before them.
§ MR. PLUNKET
said, he did not intend, in the least degree, to go again over the arguments which had been used yesterday, and some of which had been repeated to-day; but he desired to enter his protest and express his opinion upon a subject which was fully discussed by the Commissioners when they sat in Dublin, and in connection with which the points, on the one side and the other, were fully stated by most 609 able counsel. The Corporation had placed before the Commissioners its view of the matter, and the townships had stated their case. The whole question had been thrashed out, and he had not the least intention of going all over it again. He did not propose to discuss the claims of "dear, old, dirty Dublin," nor the character of the municipal government of Rathmines—whether or not it and the other townships had been an example of good government and salubrity, and everything else of the kind—although he thought that Rathmines was not open to the charge that it was now as Dublin used to be, and though he believed it really was an example of good government. But this was not the point. It had been said just now that there was no parallel between the case of Dublin and the surrounding townships and Chiswick and Hammersmith; but that, he could assure the Committee, was quite a mistake. There were numbers of people in the townships who had nothing whatever to do with the City of Dublin, although, no doubt, there were some who lived in the townships and had business relations with Dublin; but the same could be said of Chiswick and Hammersmith. They could not deal with the townships as though they were really a part of the City of Dublin. As had been pointed out, parts of these townships were practically rural, and it was impossible to tell whore they straggled up into the country, and where they remained part of the town. In fact, the distinction between Hammersmith or Chiswick and the rest of London was not nearly so great as that between the City of Dublin and the outlying townships as regarded rural and urban populations. However, he merely rose for the purpose of saying that there was a feeling on the part of those persons living in the townships of Dublin, who some hon. Members were so anxious to see included within the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin, against this annexation. At any rate, there was by no means an unanimous feeling in its favour, even in the city proper.
§ MR. MELDON
said, that this was really a matter of such serious consequence, not only to the citizens of Dublin, but also to the inhabitants of the townships, that he hoped they were not obliged to take the opinion now ex- 610 pressed by the Government as final. He would suggest that the matter should be postponed until the Report, the Government undertaking meanwhile to consult the Boundary Commissioners, and get another Report from them. If, as a matter of fact, the Commissioners had had to report on the merits of the case, it could be gathered, from the Report they had furnished, what their decision would have been; but, as had been already pointed out, they had felt themselves bound not to go into, or consider, the question at all. He thought it was only fair, in a matter of such serious consequence as this, to make the appeal that he now made, for a reconsideration of the question by the Commissioners between this and the Report stage of the Bill. He made the appeal all the more strongly in consequence of the admission of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke) last night, to the effect that a good case had been made out by the Amendment then proposed for an alteration in the Parliamentary boundary of Dublin. A Member might be taken from Tyrone and given to Dublin, and the Government had stated that that was a matter the Committee might deal with. In view of that admission, hon. Members must bear in mind that they were dealing with the capital of Ireland, and, in spite of what had fallen from the right hon. and learned Member who had just sat down (Mr. Plunket), that they were asked to confirm the popular opinion and views of the large majority of the people of the city and of the out lying townships. There was strong opposition before the Boundary Commissioners; but it had been pointed out how that opposition had originated. He admitted that if there was a compact between the Front Benches that the representation of Dublin was to be handed over from one side of the House to the other, the Government would most decidedly adhere to the arrangement which had been come to; but, in the absence of any such agreement, he should like to point out the source from which this opposition came. It came from the Town Commissioners of Rathmines, a body who no more represented the township than he did himself. As had been already declared, the Commissioners were elected upon a very restricted franchise; and to everyone—he did not care on what side 611 of the House he sat—who were familiar with the circumstances of Rathmines, it must be apparent that this local Governing Body did not represent the views of the majority of the people of the township. The opposition to the extension of the boundary now came from the Conservatives, and it was the Conservative agents who had circulated the statement amongst the inhabitants of the township that this was really not a question of Parliamentary boundary, but of rating. The question was not as to the municipal boundary, and it did not follow that because the township was brought within the Parliamentary borough, therefore it should be brought within the rating boundary. The Parliamentary boundary might be enlarged without prejudice to any question of rating. The only question raised before the Boundary Commissioners was one of rating, which was very different to that of the Parliamentary boundary. He maintained that if Dublin was to be exceptionally treated as the capital of Ireland, such treatment should be in its favour, and not against it. It must be admitted that, so far as Ireland was concerned, the treatment of Dublin had been exceptional. In the case of Belfast, they took in a rural district for the purpose of giving it an increased number of Members. He did not begrudge Belfast its Members; but he complained that Dublin had not received anything like the same consideration. The town-skip of Pembroke, which was the most rural, had been brought within the boundary; but they had refused to include even so much of the other townships as were urban. If they would only do that, the Irish Members who supported the Amendment would be satisfied. They did not object to the exclusion of Kilmainham, not because it was a rural district, but because its inclusion would give the boundary an awkward shape. They did not object to the exclusion of Rathfarnham, because that, they admitted, was as rural as Pembroke, which was included; but they asked the Government—and this, he thought, was a modest request—that they should, before the Report, direct a further inquiry to be made by the Boundary Commissioners, and a Report submitted as to the merits of the question. It must always be borne in mind that Dublin was the capital of Ireland; 612 still the Irish Members did not ask that it might have exceptional treatment, but only that it should be treated like towns in England. The demand he made was one which he thought should be acceded to, when it was put forward on behalf not only of the inhabitants of Dublin, but of the residents in the townships who had a community of interests with them.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, that the proposal now made by the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon) was similar to the one made a few nights ago in the case of Glasgow—namely, that it should be relegated to the Boundary Commissioners to inquire what urban districts were outside the borough which might, perhaps, be added to it; but the Leaders of both Parties were against the proposition, and the Committee rejected it on the ground that it would raise false hopes. Whatever the Commissioners might decide, there was no prospect that the Committee would reverse its decision—that the number of Members for Dublin City should not be increased. He had no doubt many important arguments could be brought forward, looking at the matter from the municipal point of view, as the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Mayne) approached it. That hon. Member had addressed the Committee at considerable length, the whole of his speech tending to support the proposal for the extension of the boundary for municipal purposes. The hon. Member must recollect that there was a very strong opposition on the part of the people for the inclusion of the townships. The Exham Commission had reported four years ago; but its Report had not yet been acted upon on account of the great difficulties, Parliamentary and otherwise, which would arise from the opposition of the people living in the townships. The question to be now considered was, whether it was desirable by a side-wind to raise this important question again? It appeared to him that the question of including the townships for purposes of taxation was one which ought to be decided on its own merits, altogether apart from the question before the Committee. The Committee had already decided not to give a fifth Member to Dublin; and, practically, the question before the Committee was the same as that considered yes- 613 terday, and so decided. The whole question was to be regarded from that point of view.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, there was a very great difference, which the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General did not appear to perceive, between what the House had been asked to do in the case of Glasgow, and what it was asked to do in the case of Dublin. The Motion made on behalf of the inhabitants of Glasgow was made solely with a view of increasing the representation of Glasgow; but the Irish Members had abandoned the proposal to increase the number of Members for Dublin. The hon. Member for Sligo, in moving his Amendment, had stated that he had abandoned that ground, and that his proposal was to extend the Parliamentary boundary of the city without making a claim for an increase to the number of Members. The right hon. Gentleman was quite mistaken in the observation he had made in regard to the remarks of his hon. Friend the Member for Tipperary (Mr. Mayne) that they were directed to municipal purposes. The right hon. Gentleman had himself admitted that there was a great deal of justice in the claim the Irish Members were making; but while he admitted that, he appealed to the Committee to throw an obstacle in the way of the people of Dublin by declining to accede to their claim. The right hon. Gentleman had, however, placed an argument in the way of the Corporation of Dublin which would be useful to them in the near future in endeavouring to get their municipal boundaries increased. Although he had admitted that, as a general principle, the boundaries ought to be extended as far as possible in order to include all the municipal boundaries, he was now setting up a case in Dublin, where the Parliamentary boundaries would be far less extensive than the municipal boundaries. He would like to put this view forward, which, he thought, would strengthen the appeal of the hon. and learned Member for Kildare (Mr. Meldon). By allowing those people who lived in Rathmines to remain outside the boundary of the City of Dublin, they were giving them double representation, because it was computed that about 80 per cent of them came into town every day, and had their businesses there. They had their offices in the 614 City, and exercised the franchise there, and by merely crossing the canal they had another vote in the county. Some time ago he had discovered that there were 600 freemen of the City of Dublin alone who lived in Rathmines, and he asked the Committee seriously to consider the importance of the stop which was now proposed. There was hardly a qualified elector in Rathmines who was not a qualified elector in the City, and by leaving Rathmines outside the City boundaries they were practically giving all these people two votes. The object of the Amendment was merely to deprive about 2,000 of these people of one of their two votes. No reason at all had been given them by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill for the inclusion of Pembroke township within the City boundaries. That township was far more distinct from Dublin than any other in the neighbourhood of Dublin. It was further away, and was more distinct in every conceivable way. The argument made use of by the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General was precisely the reverse of that which had been used by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board (Sir Charles W. Dilke). When the Irish Members had asked for an increase in the number of Members for Dublin, they were told that the boundaries were not sufficiently enlarged; and now that they were asking to have the boundaries extended, they were told that that could not be done, because the right hon. Gentleman would have to go back on the Bill. This was only another example of the extraordinary reasons which they were used to from the Treasury Bench. He charged the Government with a culpable disregard of the claims of the people of Dublin, and with adding to their grievances by placing opposition in the way of the citizens of Dublin in their attempt to secure a measure which was only equitable and just.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he would advise the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles W. Dilke) to institute an inquiry into this matter before the stage of Report. There was a very strong feeling in Dublin in consequence of Rathmines not having been included in the City. It would not interfere in any way with the distribution of Members in Ireland. If it would have interfered with the 615 Members for the county in any way, he should have opposed the suggestion as strongly as anyone.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he thought the Government might give way in this matter. It was clear that these townships were as much a part of the City as any other parts of the City which were as near to the centre of it. It was also clear that these places would one of these days become part of the Municipal Corporation area. It might be argued that if this Amendment were agreed to, the result would be that the Parliamentary boundary would extend beyond the municipal boundary; but that state of things would be of a very temporary nature, because, under any circumstances, the great City of Dublin was certain to eventually absorb those small places. For these reasons, he could not see what the difficulties were in the way of the Government accepting the Amendment. They were not asking for an increase of Members; if they were, an argument might fairly be raised as to where the additional Member was to come from. Since it was not proposed to do so, however, he did think the Government might well agree to the Amendment. The case of Glasgow did not at all correspond with what they proposed to do in this case. He did not believe that the proposed change would have any political effect whatever. The argument against it was all in favour of the people in these districts, who wanted to be still exempt from the payment of City taxes. He thought the Government ought to give way. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket) argued that the people in the township of Bath-mines were opposed to the proposed change. That was very natural for two reasons. One was that they wished to be exempt from City taxes as long as possible, and the other was that they desired to retain their two votes—one in the City and one in the county. These desires, however, did not in any way fairly entitle them to those privileges. He thought that the arguments of the Nationalist Party, who were not partizan in regard to Dublin matters, ought to be considered.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, that, although they had no very great hope of altering the decision of the Government in this matter, he thought 616 they had a right to resent the determination which the Treasury Bench had come to. It was a sad thing, when a majority of Irish Members came down to that House and made a demand upon a matter of which they knew much more than the Government could possibly know, that the Government should put themselves in opposition to them. The Irish Members would be lacking in their duty to the people of these districts, who were anxious to be included within the boundaries of the City of Dublin, if they did not take the opportunity of making the Government feel that if the Irish Members could not enforce their will in that House, they could, at least, enter a very strong protest against what was positively an insult put upon them. The Government had been asked, on a previous occasion, by the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) to include these places within the City boundaries, and to give the City an additional Member from the County Tyrone; but to-day the Irish Members had abandoned that claim, and in doing so he thought they had proved conclusively that they were not prompted by any Party feeling at all. The hon. Member for Sligo pointed out yesterday, in proposing his Amendment for the acceptance of the Committee, that it would be hard to say to which Party the additional Member would be elected. They could not say whether the inclusion of these districts would result in a Conservative gain, a Liberal gain, or a Nationalist gain; and therefore it should be distinctly understood that, in making this demand, they were acting in no partial spirit, or in the hope that the Party which they represented in that House would obtain any benefit from it. The principle upon which the demand was made was that the residents of Rathmines were practically, and in every sense of the word, residents of Dublin; and why the Government should have decided to practically cut the City of Dublin in two was a matter which was in itself exceedingly extraordinary. Hon. Members from Ireland had urged upon the Government the necessity of accepting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sligo; but they must remember that the present demand which they were making was practically unanimously supported by Members from Ireland of all shades of opinion. The only Irish Member 617 who objected was the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Plunket). The Irish Nationalist Members in that House were quite accustomed to having their demands refused, and their recommendations treated with no consideration at all; but it was a most extraordinary thing when the Government refused to consider demands made by supporters of their own—Irish Members on their own side of the House. It might at least have been expected that the Postmaster General would have had some consideration for demands put forward by hon. Gentlemen like those who were always so steady in their support of the Government on critical occasions. The only reason he could give for this was, that Dublin was being arranged in this extraordinary way in order to please a certain section of the Tory Party in Ireland. They did not know what were the arrangements come to between the Liberal Ministers and the Gentlemen on the Front Bench on the Conservative side of the House; but, although they were quite ignorant of what took place at those mysterious conferences, and although they could not say how much the Government surrendered, there was one thing of which they were certain—namely, that in those conferences the Government, in many respects, and especially in regard to Ireland, made large concessions in the interests of the Tory Party. Now, the only Member who had raised his voice against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sligo was the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University. The Liberal Members were almost entirely unanimous in their support of the Amendment, the Nationalist Members were united with the Liberal Members, and the only Member from Ireland who set his face against this most reasonable demand was the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin.
I must call the hon. Member's attention to the fact that he has said that already twice before. He is rather wearying the Committee.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he was exceedingly sorry if he had been guilty—unwittingly, he begged to assure the Chairman — of transgressing the Rules of the House. He did not know that he was out of Order in referring to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin.
said, he did not say that the hon. Member was out of Order in referring to the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin. If the hon. Member had been longer in that House he would understand what he (the Chairman) had said. He was not out of Order in referring to the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, but was wearying the Committee by repeating for a third time the argument about that right hon. and learned Gentleman, and the action of the Liberal Members from Ireland; and wearisome repetition rendered him liable to a direction from the Chair to stop his speech.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he would try not to be wearisome again. The only reason they could give for the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman' srefusal to accept this Amendment was that he had got a few letters from certain people in Dublin. The Irish Members were merely prompted by a desire to make the electoral divisions of Dublin as complete as possible, and as convenient as possible, to the people of Dublin. It had been stated there—and if it had been stated upon any authority it would have been a great argument against that Amendment—that the people interested were not willing to be included within the City boundaries. That was a statement which ought not to be made lightly, and when it was made against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Sligo it should be made with some authority to show that it was true. He took exception to the statement, because he knew that the greater part of the people of Rathmines desired to be included within the City. They were already citizens of Dublin. They went into Dublin every day; and it was a matter of regret to them that while they were practically Dublin people, and did all their business there, they should have to put up with the hardship of not being able to give their vote in the City. Now, the people of Rathmines had, so to speak, commissioned his hon. Friends there to make out their case in that House, and they would certainly not attempt to do that if they thought that it would not be pleasing to the great majority of the people of Rathmines. They had had a great many opinions expressed by the people of Rathmines 619 on this matter; and it was distinctly the opinion of the people of Dublin proper, and of the people of Rathmines also, that it would be for the interests of each that Rathmines should be included in the City, which would form one large electoral division, instead of being split up, as it was at present. In the case of London, what had been done? As a matter of fact, London was very properly and carefully distributed into divisions. They had not taken any very populous parts of London away and put them into the county. But in the case of Dublin they cut it in two, and practically severed one of the principal portions of Dublin from it. Of course, this matter, in reference to the division of Dublin, might be exceedingly uninteresting to many Members in that House; but he assured the Committee that it was only in the interests of the people they represented that they were thus strongly urging this Amendment. He assured the Government also that if they did not make any concession they would give very great dissatisfaction to a great many people in Ireland. He had voted for the inclusion of several districts in the City of Glasgow, because he thought that the Glasgow Members were making for Glasgow much the same demand which the Irish Members were now making for Dublin; but it was no argument, because the Government refused to make the concession in the case of Glasgow, that they should refuse to agree to the demands of the Irish Members in reference to the capital of their country. He ventured to say that it would not be advanced by anyone, not even the Scotch Members, that Glasgow held the same position in Scotland as Dublin did in his country. Therefore, it was simply ridiculous to say that they were to be told that, because the Government refused to extend the boundaries of Glasgow, they should also refuse to extend the boundaries of Dublin. It was on that ground that they objected altogether to the Redistribution Bill. Instead of having had regard to the special claims of Ireland, the Government and Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench jumbled up the populations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and then struck certain lines in regard to proportion of population; but it would have been much more satisfactory if they had had regard to Ireland alone and the special 620 circumstances connected with it. In no case was the necessity of dealing with each place according to the peculiar circumstances connected with it more striking than in the case of Dublin. He did not know what the particular claims of Glasgow were—
said, he must call the hon. Gentleman's attention again to the many times he had repeated his argument about Glasgow. If he repeated them any further, he would call upon him to resume hi9 seat without concluding his remarks.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said, he was exceedingly sorry that he had made it necessary for the Chairman to call him to Order a second time; but he hoped he should not give further offence. He assured them, however, that although this was not a matter of interest to a great many Members, it was a vital point for Irish Members, and the Government, in refusing to accept this Amendment, were not acting wisely. He was sure that all his hon. Friends would be happy if they could come to terms with the Government, so that a compromise might be effected; and he would point out that so sincere was their desire to come to an understanding that his hon. Friend the Member for Sligo had foregone his claim, which they thought they were perfectly entitled to make, for five Members for Dublin. His hon. Friend the Member for Sligo had made out a claim for an additional Member for Dublin. It was a claim which the Government admitted to be a strong one, and it was a claim which was backed up by the Irish people, and it was supported by nearly all the Irish Members of every shade of opinion; and what was the result? It was not accepted by the Government. The Irish people would only be able to find one explanation of this, and that explanation would be that there was some underhand intrigue between the Government and the Orangemen. When the people of Ireland found that the wishes of the people of Dublin were set on one side, in order that the wishes of a set of anonymous letter-writers might be met, he thought they would—
§ It being a quarter before Six of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to report Progress.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.