§ Question put, that the "Tower Hamlets" stand part of the schedule.
The Earl of Carnarvon
considered the subject now before the House of the utmost importance, and though, from seeing all the benches near him empty, he could have no hopes of successfully opposing the present motion, yet he should act up to what he considered the strict line of his duty; and though he feared that the course he had resolved to pursue on the occasion would meet with little indulgence from some quarters, yet he would proceed, though little used to bearThe oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely.But, disregarding what might be thought or said upon the subject, he would proceed to state as shortly as possible, the reasons why it was impossible for him to consent to insert this borough in the schedule. The Tower Hamlets stood in a situation altogether different from all other unrepresented places, and there was no one conversant with the history of popular elections—no one possessing even the most moderate acquaintance with the scenes which took place in this great metropolis, when multitudes were assembled—who would not agree with him, that any further aggravation of that evil would require a compensating benefit, which this Bill by no means afforded. But these were considerations which had no weight with its advocates; they were alike indifferent to broken heads and broken windows; and one might almost infer from the character of this clause, that they rather aimed at 1221 promoting popular excitement, than at suppressing it. This part of the Bill proceeded upon the assumption that the local interests of the metropolis were not sufficiently represented in the other House of Parliament. Nothing was more destitute of foundation in fact. Almost every Member of the House of Commons had a large interest in the metropolis, which, therefore, required no delegated Members in the House, since a large proportion of the House consisted of those who would form part of the constituency of the metropolis. He should certainly, on general principles, not be unfavourable to giving to the metropolis a large share of the Representation of the country. But, then was it the 10l. householders that he should desire to raise into a constituency? No; he should desire to see fairly represented the wealth, the splendor, the literature, the naval and military glory, which was concentrated in this great metropolis. The most eminent men of the nation were here collected; but were they to be found amongst the 10l. householders of the Tower Hamlets? The effect of this measure would be, to call into existence in the metropolis a body of electors not fewer in number than 132,000; and if the number of persons who had votes in the adjoining county, were added there would be found gathered together within those narrow limits little less than 200,000 electors. What was to be expected from such a constituency as that, excited by the frequent recurrence of the exercise of their privileges, and by the violence, the heart-burnings, and the discontent which such occasions created. What could be expected from all this, but a continuance of that agitation which had now prevailed for eighteen months past? Unless the great interests of the metropolis were truly and fairly represented, it was worse than useless thus to proceed extending still more widely the mischiefs of a low rate of suffrage—he had almost said Universal Suffrage. Was it safe as a matter even of police, to proceed in such a course as this? The history of other metropolitan places, as well as our own experience, ought to have made noble Lords aware of the dangerous tendency of this clause. Let them only recollect how revolutionary have the tendencies ever been of the constituent body in Paris. Making that place the great focus of discontent and rebellion. If their Lordships intended 1222 to establish a club-government in this country, a more effectual means of accomplishing that object could not be adopted, than passing the present clause. The orders of those clubs would then be issued to that House in the shape of petitions, and the same orders would be sent to his Majesty in the shape of addresses. They were then, in some degree, under the influence of a club-government; and the effect of this clause, he was prepared to maintain, would be to perpetuate that species of domination, and to organize, in the heart of the capital, a body of the most seditious description. Would not these persons have fresh excitement at every election—would not every election be contested—and would not the intervals occurring between elections be occupied in keeping alive that spirit which was opposed to the welfare and the well-being of a state. There was not to be found throughout the United Kingdom, a place the local interests of which were so well attended to in the House of Commons as those of the metropolis, and it must of necessity be so, even if there were fewer Representatives than London had at present. If the additional Representatives proposed by this clause were given to the metropolis, the evil of irritation would be increased and aggravated tenfold. Instead of having legislators returned to the House of Commons, formed for calm deliberation, they should have men of violent passions, elevated by the clamour of multitudes—men possessing no qualities but those which claimed distinction on the hustings. The constituents of such men would upon every remarkable occasion, surround the Houses of Parliament they and their Representatives would form a mob-government, exciting and excited—mutually and reciprocally producing a fermentation inconsistent with the freedom of Parliament, and incompatible with the existence of the monarchy. On these grounds he should recommend, either that the metropolitan qualification should be raised, or, instead of giving additional Representatives to the metropolis as such, to enlarge the Representation of Middlesex. That would give a better chance of having men of character and talent returned, and it would likewise impart to the agricultural interests of Middlesex that influence of which it had for a long time, been deprived, through the overwhelming influence of the town voters. 1223 In fact, the Representation of Middlesex was scarcely anything else than a town Representation; and, therefore, he was earnestly desirous of seeing restored to that rich agricultural district the privilege of electing its own Members. He felt perfectly assured, that if the Members of both Houses who decided the Reform question were to be put into a room together, and called upon to vote by ballot on the question of the Tower Hamlets, it would be decided against them. Of all the propositions into which the fatal measure could be divided, there was none which he conceived to be so especially revolutionary as the present. But, in urging his opposition upon the House in its present state, he had no sanguine expectation. He had no hope of a successful resistance to those metropolitan enfranchisements. There had been a time when he had hoped, that Ministers might not have been averse to taking those views of this subject which he had laboured to impress upon their Lordships; but of that he had now no expectation; and he regretted this the more, since he must regard the clause before them as peculiarly revolutionary. Had the Bill been divested of this clause, others, as well as himself, might have been reconciled to it, but as it now stood, it was impossible that he should ever withdraw his opposition.
§ Lord Durham
spoke as follows:* My Lords, I confess, that I cannot join with the noble Earl (Carnarvon) in his lamentations over the present state of the House, and as little can I concur with that noble Earl in the view which he takes of the Bill now under the consideration of your Lordships. The noble Earl has spoken of the Vote by Ballot, and seems to recommend it as the only effectual means of ascertaining the true sentiments of the Members of this House on this particular clause. The merits or demerits of that system I cannot now discuss; but I own, it does appear to me rather a novelty to hear the noble Earl opposite, of all persons, declaring himself the advocate of Vote by Ballot. With respect to the general declamation that has fallen from the noble Earl, I do not think it will be necessary for me to trouble your Lordships with many remarks; but I do hope, that in our future discussions we shall proceed in a* Reprinted from the corrected Speech, published by Ridgway.1224 more becoming tone and temper to deal with the measure before us. I trust that we shall proceed with it calmly and deliberately, and that there will now be an end to everything like heat or party animosity on either side. I take for granted, that the House will excuse me from entering now upon any defence, either on my own behalf or on that of my colleagues, relative to our general conduct on the Reform Bill, and that you will not expect from me any vindication from the charges brought against us, not now for the first time. As for the principle of the Bill, as applied to the enfranchisement of great towns, I understand it to be that of population, to which are added all the various considerations arising out of commerce, manufactures, wealth, and the payment of assessed taxes. Now, as those principles form the basis of enfranchisement, I will say, that there are no parts of the kingdom better entitled to send Representatives to the other House of Parliament than the metropolitan districts. But the noble Earl has contended, that conferring the elective franchise upon them will have the effect of continuing and increasing agitation, and promoting tumultuous and disorderly assemblages. He seems to think that every meeting of electors must necessarily end in broken heads and broken windows. I, on the contrary, am prepared to show, by a reference to the history of Representation, that the violence consequent upon popular excitement is in the inverse ratio of Representation; that is, it diminishes in proportion as the inhabitants are admitted to the free exercise of their franchise. Nor need I go far, either in point of time or place, for a proof. The noble Earl may have seen, at all events heard of, the large assemblies which have within the last few days met, and expressed strong opinions, in Mary-le-bone and the other unrepresented districts of the metropolis, but he has neither seen nor heard of any such proceedings in Westminster. There was a meeting of the electors of Westminster, it was true, but it was confined to a comparatively few, and was peaceable in its demeanour—why? simply because Westminster was faithfully represented. There was no lack of zeal on the part of its inhabitants—quite the contrary; but their calmness amid the stirring scene around them was———"the supreme of power,'Twas might reposing on its own right arm"—1225 the arm of Representation. If your Lordships look at the places throughout the country most distinguished in the annals of popular violence, you will invariably find, that the violence was greatest where the Representation was either altogether not in existence, or most imperfect. In London there has been no riot worth mentioning since the riots of 1780, which were produced by Lord George Gordon. [A Noble Lord:—The Corn-law riots in 1812.] In that instance there was no destruction of life on the part of the people, but little of property, and no furious and ungovernable attack upon either. Facts—experience—then, demonstrate that the evils of popular excitement and large assemblies diminish in proportion as the people are admitted to a participation of political rights—in proportion as they are invested with a constitutional motive for avoiding every proceeding calculated to endanger the public peace.
The next consideration in favour of the present clause is, that it is in perfect harmony not only with the progress of Representation in England, but with every species of Reform which has of late years been submitted to Parliament. In proposing to extend the franchise to the metropolitan districts, Ministers are but following that ordinary course of Representation which has always been applied to the metropolis. London was first enfranchised in the 49th of Henry 3rd, at which time Westminster was a very inconsiderable village. As it increased in wealth and population, it received the right of returning Representatives (1 Edward 1st, c. 6), as did Southwark afterwards, although the precise period at which that borough was enfranchised is not known. The principle, therefore, of the gradual enfranchisement of the suburbs of the metropolis as they increased in wealth, population, and intelligence, was that upon which our ancestors proceeded, and is that on which the promoters of the present Bill earnestly wish the Legislature of the present day to act. And here I cannot help calling your attention to the fact, that there has not been, in the whole list of Parliamentary Reformers, found one who ever contemplated a measure of Reform which did not embrace the enfranchisement of the metropolitan districts. Both the plans of Mr. Pitt, in 1783 and 1785, had that object in view.
1226 In 1783 there were four petitions praying for Reform presented to the House of Commons, previous to Mr. Pitt bringing on his motion. The first petition was from Kent; the second from the freeholders of the City of London; the third from the inhabitants of Westminster; and the fourth proceeded from that quarter which is the great object of alarm to noble Lords opposite—the Tower Hamlets. In 1785 Mr. Pitt proposed, 'That seventy-two Members should be divided between the Counties and the Metropolis, as nothing could be more evident than that the Cities of London and Westminster had a very inadequate share of the Representation of the kingdom.'* In the explanation of Mr. Pitt's plan, by the Rev. Mr. Wyvill, with whom he conferred, are further details, in which we find, that the household suffrage was to have been given to the inhabitants of Pancras, Mary-le-bone, and other unrepresented parts of the Metropolis.' Thus Mr. Pitt's plan gave, evidently, more Members to the Metropolis than we do. We give an addition only of eight; he an addition which, though not actually specified in numbers, must have been larger—when he says seventy-two should be "divided" between the Counties and the Metropolis. It is clear, therefore, that our plan is not so extensive even as that of a Reformer whose principles the noble Lords profess to revere, and who, be it recollected, proposed this great addition to the metropolitan Members, at a time when the wealth and population of London was much inferior to what it is at the present time. How much it has gradually but certainly increased in both these particulars, your Lordships will be surprised to hear. In the year 1377, the population of London amounted to 35,000; in 1700, to 674,000; and, at the present moment, it amounts, exclusive of seamen and strangers, to 1,474,000. Now the population of the whole of Great Britain is 16,537,000: it therefore naturally follows, that the Metropolis contains one-eleventh part of the whole population of Great Britain. If, then, population alone were taken as the basis of the Bill, London ought to return one-eleventh part of the Representatives of Great Britain, whereas it will, as at present arranged, return only sixteen out*See Hansard's Parl. Hist. vol. xxv, p. 448.1227 of 553, or one-thirty-fourth part of the whole.
With reference to wealth, my Lords, if that be taken as the criterion of Representation, the case will be still stronger. There are fewer poor in the county of Middlesex, in comparison to its population, than in any other densely-peopled district in the world. From accounts laid before Parliament, it appears that the sum expended for the maintenance of the poor in Middlesex, in the year ending March, 1831, was 681,567l., which, as the population of Middlesex is 1,358,200 is a charge of 10s. a-head—a low rate, when it is recollected how much more the maintenance of the poor must cost in the Metropolis, from the greater dearness of the articles required for their subsistence, than in the agricultural districts, and how much more liberally they are provided for. This will be evident from comparing it with that of other counties, and more particularly of those which are chiefly agricultural. In Norfolk, which contains a population of 390,054, the poor-rates amount to 299,357l.that is, 15s.6d. a-head. In Suffolk, with a population of 296,304, the poor-rates are 270,651l., or 18s. a-head, both much higher, positively and relatively, than the 10s. rate of Middlesex. The same contrast may be shown with most of the other counties.
Now as to trade; does the House know what proportion the mercantile navy of London bears to the shipping of the whole kingdom? In 1829, the whole mercantile navy of Great Britain and Ireland amounted to 19,110 ships, the tonnage of which was 2,199,959; of this number 2,663, with a tonnage of 572,835, belonged to London—about one-seventh part of the shipping, and, owing to the size of the ships being above the average, one-fourth of the total tonnage of the empire.
The next point to which I think it necessary to direct the attention of your Lordships is, the amount of the pecuniary contributions to the necessities of the State by this City; and if this point be examined, it will be found, that the preponderance in favour of its importance and station is still stronger. In 1829, the gross Customs' revenue collected in the Port of London amounted to 10,211,000l.; the rest of Great Britain and Ireland contributing 8,685,000l.—twenty per cent more than that of all the other ports of Great Britain, 1228 and more than six times that of the total Customs' revenue of Ireland. If, therefore, we take the question of Representation as affecting that commerce to which the nation is so largely indebted for its wealth, power, and glory, I ask your Lordships, has this Bill done too much, or has it done enough, when it allows London, whose Customs' revenue exceeds 10,000,000l., but sixteen Members; while Ireland, which only contributes to the public revenue 1,700,000l., is to have 105 Members? The duties on exciseable articles paid in London are proportionally great, but cannot be so accurately measured: the consumption of tea, malt liquors, and British spirits is immense; but, on the whole, if the number of Representatives to be given to any place were to be proportioned to the sums paid to the State, London would not merely return sixteen, but 200 Members. I, therefore, think that the noble Lord cannot now, with any propriety, persist in saying, that we have given it too many Members in assigning to it eight additional ones by this Bill.
There is another criterion which we ought also to consider—its general character and intelligence. That point the noble Earl himself does not dispute; he agrees that the character and intelligence of this Metropolis should be represented; but he does not tell us how he would effect that, and to what class of voters he would assign the Representation of that intelligence. [The Earl of Carnarvon: Additional county Representatives, I said.] It seems, then, that the noble Earl intends that the 40s. freeholders only should be the representatives of that intelligence; but why, I ask, should we exclude householders? I contend that freeholders are not exclusively that class in which is to be found alone the intelligence of society; and of the truth of this assertion London furnishes me the strongest instance. In no quarter of England—in no city in the world—is there so much intelligence, so great a desire for information, as in the middle class of its inhabitants. The best mode of ascertaining this is, by observing the demand which exists for books. It is estimated that, of the whole number published in England, one-third are sold in London; also, with reference to the newspapers—of those published here—from two-thirds to three-fourths are read, and one half retained, in London.
My Lords, I mention these facts because 1229 I consider the desire for reading books, for entering into the investigation of learned and scientific subjects, and the habit of reading and discussing matters of public interest, to be not an unfair criterion of the state of education in this or any other city. In no other town in the world are there so many literary and philosophical societies, so well attended, and at which lectures are delivered which would do honour to the most scientific Professors of Oxford or Cambridge. There is one of these which I will especially mention—one, of the existence of which I know not whether noble Lords are aware—I mean the Institution in Aldersgate-street, which is entirely supported by tradesmen and clerks in counting-houses. I have never visited it myself, but, from the information which I have received from those who have, I learn that the lectures are of the first description. Now these persons, and others of a similar character would, by the plan of the noble Earl (the Earl of Carnarvon), be totally excluded from any participation in the benefits of the elective franchise, which even he admits ought to be the means of representing the intelligence of London, of which they furnish the most convincing proofs.
Here I must remark, that the result of all the noble Earl's arguments, or rather assertions, is to prove, that the constituency to be given to the Metropolis by this Bill will be composed of dangerous persons, hostile to the existing institutions of the country. Now, I have already said, that in no city in Great Britain have there been so few riots as in London. Let the noble Earl only reflect on all the circumstances which have marked the excitement of the past week, during which such numerous meetings have been held both in and about the Metropolis, at which the speakers have expressed themselves with the greatest boldness, and occasionally with great violence—and yet he cannot say, that there has been the slightest attempt to commit outrages against either person or property. In fact, my Lords, what is called the mob bears a very small proportion in London to the mass of the population, which consists of tradesmen and shopkeepers interested in the preservation of that good order which is so essential to their prosperity. As a proof of this, I may mention the fact, that 85,000 dividend warrants are regularly issued to persons drawing not more than 1230 5l. of dividend from the funds; of these, no fewer than 70,000 belong to persons resident in the Metropolis. I ask your Lordships—is not this a most important fact? Does it not conclusively prove what a large mass of the middle classes is interested in the support of that very species of property, which is supposed to be the first object of attack from those demagogues and agitators whom the noble Earl is eternally denouncing? Is it likely that a class of persons so interested in, and dependent on, the permanence of the existing institutions of the country, will countenance any measure calculated to destroy them, or that they will ever vote for candidates hostile to public faith and the security of property?
Thus far, my Lords, I have only gone through the arguments upon the general question of the metropolitan Representation; but I do not wish to confine myself to generalities—I intend to enter into a consideration of each of these districts separately. I have, I can assure your Lordships, after the most attentive investigation, not the slightest apprehension of any danger arising from the Representation which may be granted them; on the contrary, I am persuaded that your Lordships will, when you have heard the state of these districts, agree with me in thinking, that they are much more likely to return men of great commercial importance than even any others of the great towns in the country now about to be enfranchised.
With respect to Mary-le-bone, I need not urge anything as to the wealth, respectability, and intelligence of that district, as it is well known to all who hear me. It contains the parishes of Mary-le-bone, Pancras, and Paddington. Finsbury contains the parishes of St. George, St. Luke, St. Giles, St. George, Bloomsbury, and St. James and St. John, Clerkenwell—several large squares inhabited by wealthy individuals, several Inns of Court—Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Furnival's Inn, and the Charter House; it also contains that great literary society, the London Institution, together with the British Museum. Lambeth includes the parishes of Christchurch, St. Giles, Camberwell, St. Mary, Newington, and Christchurch, Surrey. It is true, that in this borough there are a considerable number of small houses, but there are also a large number of second-rate houses built, within the last thirty years, inhabited by respectable and 1231 intelligent persons. It contains large glassworks and factories, one especially—I mean that of Messrs. Maudslay, which cost 200,000l., and in which are employed a great number of workmen of the most industrious and respectable description.
I now come to that district, the enfranchisement of which, to my astonishment and surprise, has created more alarm and more feelings of apprehension than any other portion of this Bill—I mean the Tower Hamlets. It really appears to me that noble Lords are accustomed to take their notions of the Tower Hamlets from what they may have seen of them when embarking at the Tower Stairs to proceed on a voyage to Ramsgate, Margate, or the continent. My Lords, that small portion of it undoubtedly does not present a very splendid appearance—but that spot does not constitute the Tower Hamlets—far from it—for in that district there are the parishes of St. Matthew, Bethnal-green, St. Leonard, Shoreditch, St. Mary, Whitechapel, St. Paul, Shadwell, St. Ann, Limehouse, Blackwell, Mile End Old Town, Ratcliffe, &c. The Liberty of the Tower has also peculiar privileges and jurisdiction—a Court-house of its own, and a separate Court of Requests—and is, in fact, almost a separate county. Comprised within its limits are the Tower, the Trinity House, the Mint, the London Docks, the St. Katharine Docks, several of the East-India warehouses—nearly all the large sugar-houses, large cooperages, shipbuilding-yards, two great manufactories of chain cables, glass manufactories, founderies, and, lastly, the great silk manufactory, which works, probably, a million of pounds weight of silk yearly. The wealth of the Tower Hamlet district is hardly computable—so great, indeed, is it, that if the value of the Docks and the East-India Company's warehouses, which alone cover almost as much ground as many of the great towns in England, is fairly estimated, with other kinds of property, it will be found to contain twice as much wealth as any other of the metropolitan boroughs, or even of the City itself. I must confess that if I am to predict what will be the species of Representatives returned by the Tower Hamlets, I should say that, so far from their being persons of no consideration, they are much more likely to be too closely connected with these great establishments. My impression is, that the Directors of the East-India and Dock Companies will neces- 1232 sarily possess and exercise a great and important influence in the election of Members of Parliament under this Bill; and if this influence is ever converted into a positive control, I shall regret it as a great evil. I consider that the great object to be attained in fixing the elective franchise ought to be the independence of the elector; that being secured, I care not how low it descends. It is on this principle that I have ever objected to Universal Suffrage, because I contend, that it is absolutely certain that the workmen and labourers who would then be entitled to vote, cannot he free agents, but must always be under the absolute control of their masters, on whom they arc dependent for their daily pay and sustenance.
I will now state to your Lordships a few facts, for the purpose of establishing a comparison between the four metropolitan districts and other boroughs in the country, as to population, houses, assessed taxes, and 10l. houses. I will commence with the four greatest and most populous. The population of the metropolitan districts is 916,265—the united population of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield, amounts to only 543,273. The number of houses in the metropolitan districts is 144,279; the number contained in the four above-mentioned boroughs is 116,373. The number of houses of the annual value of 10l. in the former, is 84,488—namely, 23,266 in Finsbury; 21,630 in Mary-le bone; 23,187 in the Tower Hamlets, and 16,405 in Lambeth—in the latter only 30,939. As to the number of these metropolitan electors, I must observe, that any noble Lord who examines the clause conferring the 10l. franchise, will find, that the restrictions are so great as to residence, payment of rates and assessed taxes, and registration, as to preclude from the exercise of the right of voting many persons who are nominally entitled to it. In fact, one-fourth must always be subtracted from the apparent number. The difference in point of assessed taxes paid by these places respectively is still more remarkable; the four metropolitan districts paying the sum of 667,648l.; while the amount contributed by the four great towns in question is only 100,384l. It will thus be seen, that the population of the metropolitan districts is nearly double the amount of that of the four boroughs alluded to—that there are 27,906 more houses—three times as many 1233 houses of the annual value of 10l. and upwards—and that the amount of assessed taxes is considerably more than six times as great. After this, can it be seriously contended that the metropolitan districts are undeserving the limited share of Representation which has been allotted them*? I will now compare them in the same respects with all the other new boroughs to be enfranchised on the same points. The
|No. I.—LIST OF ALL THE NEW BOROUGHS IN ENGLAND AND WALES,|
|The Counties in which each of them is situate,—the number of Members each is to return—Population—Houses—Houses of the Annual Value of £10 and upwards, and the amount of Assessed Taxes paid in each Borough, in 1831.|
|Boroughs.||Counties.||Members.||Population. 1831.||Total Houses.||Houses worth annually £10 and upwards.||Assessed Taxes, 1831.|
|28||Stoke on Trent||Stafford||Two||53,000||9,000||1,500||4,900|
§ population of the whole forty-two is 2,494,435; the number of houses, 434,274; the houses worth annually 10l. and upwards, 158,434; and the amount of assessed taxes, 962,152l. Of these numbers, the metropolitan districts contain, in population, 916,265—houses, 144,279–10l. houses, 84,488—and pay in assessed taxes 667,648l.; that is, more than one-third of the population—nearly the third of the1235
§ number of houses—more than one-half of the number of qualifying tenements of those forty-two boroughs—and pay a sum of assessed taxes equal to considerably more than two-thirds of that contributed by the whole; yet the thirty-eight other boroughs will have fifty-six Members, and the metropolitian districts only eight. I have other calculations, with which I have
|No. II.—Comparison of the Four New Metropolitan Boroughs with the Four most Populous Boroughs not Metropolitan.|
|The Four New Metropolitan Boroughs.||Population.||Houses.||£10 Houses and upwards.||Assessed Taxes.|
|Four most populous Boroughs not Metropolitan.||£|
§ Thus it appears, that the Four Metropolitan New Boroughs are to the Four most populous New Boroughs not Metropolitan as follows:
§ In Population nearly double.
§ In respect to Houses as 144 to 116.
§ In respect to Houses of 10l. and upwards Annual Value, nearly treble.
§ And they pay in Assessed Taxes more than 6½ times as much money.
§ The Tower Hamlets and Lambeth pay nearly as much in Assessed Taxes as the whole of the Four most populous New Boroughs not Metropolitan.
§ Finsbury pays twice as much, and Mary-le-bone pays nearly three times as much as the Four most populous Boroughs not Metropolitan.
|No. III.—Comparison of the Four New Metropolitan Boroughs with the whole of the Forty-two New Boroughs|
|Population.||Houses||£ 10 Houses and upwards.||Assessed Taxes.|
|Totals of the 42 Boroughs||2,494,435||434,274||158,434||962,152|
|Totals of the 4 Metropolitan||916,265||144,279||84,488||667,448|
|Totals of the 38 not Metropolitan||1,578,170||289,995||73,946||294,704|
§ Thus it appears that the Four Metropolitan Boroughs contain of the Population more than four-sevenths of an amount equal to all the other 38 Boroughs.
§ Houses, very nearly half as many as the 38 Boroughs.
§ Houses 10l. and upwards, 10,542 more than all the 38 Boroughs.
§ Assessed Taxes, twice the sum, and 78,040l. more than twice the sum paid by all the 38 Boroughs.1236
§ been furnished by those most competent to make them, in which these districts are compared in the same particulars with all the boroughs in England and Wales, as to the amount of poor-rates, window-duties, county-rates, church-rates, and a variety of other tests. I fear to weary your Lordships by reading them, but they still more strongly and incontrovertibly establish1237
§ the pre-eminent claims of the metropolitan districts to a large share of the Representation. An abstract of them, however, I will shortly give: they prove that the four metropolitan districts stand the four highest in point of amount of assessed
|The 42 New Boroughs will return 64 Members, thus:|
|22 New Boroughs, each 2||44|
|20 New Boroughs, each 1||20||64|
|The 4 New Metropolitan Boroughs, 2 each||8|
|The 38 New Boroughs not Metropolitan will return||56|
§ If, then, the 38 New Boroughs not Metropolitan have 56 Members, the Four New Metropolitan Boroughs should have,
|For Population||32||instead of eight.|
|Houses worth 10l. and upwards||64|
|No. IV.—Comparison of the Metropolitan Boroughs with the whole of the Boroughs in England and Wales which are to send Members to Parliament.|
|Population.||Houses.||£10 Houses and upwards.||Assessed Texes.|
|The Four New Metropolitan Boroughs||916,265||144,279||84,488||667,448|
|Westminster City and Liberty||202,460||21,893||17,681||303,421|
|Totals of the 7 Metropolitan Boroughs||1,375,267||205,969||126,656||1,227,607|
|Totals of all the Boroughs in England and Wales which are to send Members to the House of Commons||193||4,748,809||999,965||332,510||2,084,105|
|Totals of the Metropolitan Boroughs||7||1,374,967||205,969||126,656||1,227,607|
|Totals of all the Boroughs, omitting the 7 Metropolitan Boroughs||186||3,373,842||793,996||205,854||856,498|
§ Thus it appears that the Seven Metropolitan Boroughs are to all the other Boroughs in England and Wales, in number 186, as follows—vis.
§ In Population, two-fifths.
§ In Houses, more than one-fourth.
§ In Houses of 10l. and upwards, considerably more than half.
§ In Assessed Taxes they pay as much, and nearly half as much more, as the whole 186 Boroughs: in other words, 371,109l. more than all the ether Boroughs in England and Wales.
|Of the 186 Boroughs, 166 will return each two Members||332|
|20 will return each one Member||20|
|Total Members returned by the 186 Boroughs||352|
|The Seven Metropolitan Boroughs will return||16|
§ If then the 186 Boroughs have 352 Members, the Seven Metropolitan Boroughs should have—for
|Population||143||Instead of 16.|
|Houses of 10l. and upwards||216|
§ taxes, and number of houses of the annual value of 10l. and upwards, as well as according to the calculations of Lieutenant Drummond; and first, second, third, and fifth, as to population.;
§ Before I sit down, I must be allowed 1239 again to advert to what the noble Earl (Carnarvon) has said, as to the effects which may be apprehended from this measure, in consequence of the character and description of the Members which he fears will be returned by the new electors. My Lords, I think those fears unfounded—wherever the people really have the power of choosing, they always return the most
|No. V.—Comparison of the Metropolitan Boroughs with the whole of England and Wales in respect to Houses assessed to the|
|The number of Houses in England and Wales assessed to the Window Duty, is||344,495|
|The number of Houses assessed in the Metropolitan Boroughs, is upwards of||100,000|
|The number of Houses assessed which are not in the Metropolitan Boroughs, is||244,495|
§ Thus it appears that the Seven Metropolitan Boroughs contain nearly one-third of all the Houses in England and Wales assessed to the Window Duty, and more than two-fifths of a number equal to all the Houses in England and Wales not included in the Metropolitan Boroughs.
|No. VI.—Comparison of the Two Metropolitan Counties with the whole of England and Wales in respect to—1. Poor Relief—2. Highway Rates—3. County Rates—4. Church Rates—5. Dwelling Houses—6. Extent of Land in Square Miles.|
|N. B. The Two Metropolitan Counties have been selected in consequence of the difficulty and uncertainty of obtaining accurate accounts from each of the Seven Metropolitan Boroughs.|
|1. POOR RELIEF.||£.|
|The whole Sum expended for the Relief of the Poor in England and Wales on an average of several late years, is||6,431,640|
|Middlesex pays||£612,148||The Two Counties||853,731|
|The 50 Counties||5,577,909|
§ Thus the Two Metropolitan Counties pay more than one eighth of the whole sum actually expended for the Relief of the Poor in the 52 Counties; and more than one-seventh of the sum paid by the 50 Counties not Metropolitan.
|2. HIGHWAY RATES.||£.|
|The 52 Counties pay||1,121,834|
|Middlesex||£34,246||The Two Counties||68,332|
|The 50 Counties||1,053,502|
§ Thus the Two Metropolitan Counties pay more than one sixteenth of the sum levied in the 52 Counties, besides the sum paid for Paving, Cleansing and Lighting in the Metropolis—a sum which must exceed that for Highway Rates paid by the 52 Counties.
|3. COUNTY RATES.||£|
|The 52 Counties pay||71,703|
|Middlesex||£46,717||The Two Counties||71,703|
|The 50 Counties||692,133|
§ Thus the Two Metropolitan Counties pay the 91 part of the sum levied in the 52 Counties, and nearly one-ninth of the sum levied in the 50 Counties not Metropolitan, besides the enormous sum levied in the Metropolis for similar purposes.1240
§ respectable and the best qualified Representatives. Wherever drunkenness, bribery, and electioneering debauchery, or intimidation prevail, there the worst description of voters is to be found—there the alternative is, either the nominee of the rich man who bribes and corrupts the electors, or the temporary leader of an emancipated rabble, enjoying the saturn- 1241 lia of their momentary freedom with all the recklessness and ignorance of slaves. Whenever they are cheated and tricked, they return persons of the worst character; but when they have the power of choosing freely, and it is permanently secured to them, they exercise it wisely and discreetly. If we are to believe noble Lords opposite, the object of the lower classes of the peo-
|4. CHURCH RATES.||£|
|The 52 Counties pay||564,388|
|Middlesex||£94,559||The Two Counties||125,156|
|The 50 Counties||439,232|
§ Thus the Two Metropolitan Counties pay considerably more than one sixth of the sum levied in the 52 Counties, and considerably more than one-fourth of the sum levied in the 50 Counties not Metropolitan.
|5. DWELLING HOUSES.|
|Poor and County Rates levied solely on Dwelling-Houses.||£|
|In the 52 Counties||1,814,228|
|In Middlesex||£509,365||In the Two Counties||653,429|
|In the 50 Counties||1,160,799|
§ Thus the Two Metropolitan Counties pay nearly two-fifths of the sum levied on the 52 Counties, and considerable more than half the sum levied on the 50 Counties not Metropolitan.
|6. EXTENT OF LAND IN SQUARE MILES.|
|The area of England and Wales is, in Square Miles||57,960|
|The area of Middlesex is 282||1,040|
|The area of Surrey 758|
§ So that the area on which the sums above stated are levied is less than the fifty-fifth part England and Wales.
§ No. VII—General description of each of the Four New Metropolitan Boroughs.
§ 1. MARY-LE-BONE BOROUGH.
§ THIS Borough lies North and North-west of the City and Liberty of Westminster. It contains—
§ 1. The Parish of Mary-le-bone.—2. The Parish of Paddington.—3. The Parish of Pancras. This Borough contains a great number of wealthy inhabitants, and therefore a larger proportion of private houses than any of the other New Metropolitan Boroughs, and pays by far the largest amount of Assessed Taxes. It also contains a considerable number of houses kept by tradesmen. It is, however, a remarkable circumstance, that with a Population exceeding the Finsbury Borough by 9,455, it has 1,767 Houses less than the Finsbury Borough, and 1,636 Houses of 10l. and upwards of annual value less than the Finsbury Borough.
§ 2. FINSBURY BOROUGH.
§ This Borough lies North partly of the City of London and partly of the City and Liberty of Westminster, and East of the New Borough of Mary-le-bone. It contains the
§ Parish of St. Luke,—St. George the Martyr,—St. Giles in the Fields,—St. George Bloomsbury,—St. Mary, Stoke Newington,—St. Mary, Islington.
§ Liberties or Places of Saffron Hill,—Hatton Garden,—Ely Rents,—Ely Place,—The Rolls,—Glass House Yard,—The Charter House,—Lincoln's Inn,—Gray's Inn.
§ Part of the Parish of St. James and St. John, Clerkenwell,—St. Sepulchre,—St. Andrew, Holborn,
§ Part of Furnival's Inn, Staple's Inn, which are situated without the City of London.
§ This Borough also contains a very considerable number of wealthy inhabitants, and a very1242
§ ple of this country is nothing but the destruction of property, and the annihilation of the privileges of their superiors. My Lords, I have no such distrust of my countrymen; I believe them to be actuated by no such dishonourable and bad motives. I believe them, undoubtedly, to be anxious to acquire that share of the constitutional privileges enjoyed by others to which1243
they are entitled, and to obtain an equal participation in the advantages of a free Constitution. But, whatever may be the feelings and wishes of the people of England generally—at all events, after the statements I have now made to your Lordships, the inhabitants of London must be exempted from this charge. If I considered this great city as the noble Lords opposite do, following the example of their Tory predecessor—who described it to be—
——"The needy villain's home,
The common sewer of Paris and of Rome;
If I was of this opinion, undoubtedly I should not support this proposition; but on the contrary, I believe it to be, nay, I am sure it is—the great emporium of this kingdom—replete with the commerce, the trade, and
§ large proportion of moderately rich and highly respectable persons—a large number of tradesmen of the first class, and of persons connected with commerce in all grades, from the wealthy merchant to his warehouseman. It contains also many detached and comfortable houses in the northern parts, inhabited by persons who have retired from business, literary men, persons of small fortunes, and persons having offices and employments in the heart of London. In this respect it is similarly circumstanced with the Mary-le-bone Borough. It contains several large and elegant Squares; the Charter House; the City of London Literary Institution; the grandest Private Literary Establishment in England, the London Institution; and the grandest Public Institution, the British Museum.
§ 3. LAMBETH BOROUGH.
§ This Borough lies Southward of the Thames and of the old Borough of Southwark, and also Westward of the Borough of Southwark, having the Thames as a boundary to a considerable extent on the North and North-west. The population is not so dense as in any of the other Metropolitan Boroughs, and it extends over a larger surface than any of them.
§ It contains the parish of St. Mary, Newington; the parish of St. Giles, Camberwell, except the Manor and Hamlet of Dulwich; and also such part of the parish of Lambeth as is situate to the North of the line described, from the point at which the road from London to Dulwich, by Red Post Hill, leaves the road from London over Herne Hill, in a straight line to a point in the boundary between the respective Parishes of Lambeth and Clapham, 150 yards South of the middle of the Carriage-way along Acre Lane.
§ This Borough contains the Palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is the most rural of all the Metropolitan Boroughs, and has many first-rate houses delightfully situated, and inhabited by rich and intelligent gentlemen, merchants and bankers. The number of small houses is somewhat larger, proportionally, than either of the Boroughs of Mary-le-bone or Finsbury; but it contains a proportionally larger number of second-rate houses than any other of the New Metropolitan Boroughs. The second-rate houses are occupied with every description of intelligent respectable persons, probably as well informed and as independent as any in Great Britain. Many wealthy persons have Wharfs and Warehouses along the River Thames, and many large manufacturing and trading concerns are established in this Borough. Here are also the most considerable Engineering Factories, especially Messrs. Maudslay and Field's, in the constructing and furnishing of which scarcely less than 200,000l. must have been expended. This Borough will bear comparison with any Borough in the kingdom.
§ 4.—TOWER HAMLETS BOROUGH.
§ This Borough lies East and North-east of the City of London, East of the Finsbury Borough, and North along the River Thames. It contains the
§ Tower Division of Ossulston Hundred.
§ Parish of St. Matthew, Bethnal Green,—St. Botolph, without Aldgate,—St. Leonard, Bromley,—Christ Church, Spitalfields,—St. George in the East,—St. John, Hackney,—St. Anne, Limehouse,—St. Paul, Shadwell,—St. Leonard, Shoreditch,—St. Mary, Stratford-le-Bow,—St. John, Wapping,—St. Mary, Whitechapel.1244
§ the learning of the world—the mighty heart of the mightiest empire in the world—containing, within its narrow territorial limits, more wealth, patriotism, intelligence, and independence, than many of the greatest kingdoms it] the world, Believing these to be the distinguishing characteristics of the inhabitants of this metropolis, shall I ever identify myself with those feelings of distrust and suspicion which would withdraw from them their small pittance of Representation—that limited privilege, for the full exercise of which I, in my conscience, think them peculiarly qualified?—No, my Lords; if there is to be any change in the proposed Representation of the metropolis, my vote shall be given—not for its limitation—but for its extension.
§ Lord Wynford
could not agree with the 1245 noble Baron who had just sat down, that the giving Representation to large and populous places was likely to put an end to riot. In disproof of that argument, he would only appeal to the events that had occurred within the last twelve months at Nottingham, Bristol, and in some parts of London. He believed, indeed, that many of those who, in the last election, obtained seats in the other House of Parliament, would never have sat there but for the tumultuous and violent conduct of their partisans, by whom the friends and supporters of other candidates were prevented from going to the hustings. He agreed with the noble Lord, that there was less poverty in London and its suburbs than in the agricultural districts of the country; but he drew from that fact an argument directly the reverse of that advanced by the noble Lord. He (Lord Wynford)
§ Hamlets of Mile End Old Town,—Mile End New Town,—All Saints, Poplar, and Blackwall,—St. George, Ratcliffe.
§ Precinct of St, Katherine by the Tower,—Liberty of Norton Folgate.
§ The Tower Liberty.
§ The Tower within,—The Tower without,—Holy Trinity, Minories,—Old Artillery Ground, Wellclose Square. N.B. Wellclose Square forms part of three of the above-named Parishes of Ossulston Hundred.
§ The Liberty of the Tower has a Court House and a Court of Requests, and enjoys distinct privileges in other respects, which may almost be considered as the privileges and local jurisdiction of a separate County.
§ This Borough has within it the Tower of London—the Mint—the St. Katherine's, the London, West India and the East India Docks—the largest private Ship Building Docks on the river—immense Warehouses belonging to the East-India Company, occupying a space as large as many towns—a great number of other Warehouses—many very large Establishments—nearly all the immense Sugar Houses—the largest Cooperages—two great Breweries—many extensive Rope Walks—two large Chain Cable Manufactories—the patent Hemp Cable and Rope Manufactory—several Anchor Smiths, Mast, Block, and Sail Makers—and along the north bank of the river, from the western end of the Tower to Blackwall, nearly every thing which the first port in the world requires for convenience and use.
§ The Docks and their Warehouses cost upwards of five millions sterling, subscribed by individuals.
§ The Goods in these Docks are of immense value.
§ The Goods in Warehouses along shore, and in other parts of this Borough, are also of exceedingly great value. [From returns made to Parliament, Commons' Sessional Paper, No. 152, August 9, 1831, it may be concluded that the Goods deposited in the Docks and Warehouses are worth more than 20,000,000l., duty unpaid.]
§ The number of Ships of all descriptions and sizes, as well as the Craft, are of very considerable value. The East-India Warehouses, and the Goods and Merchandize contained in them, are also very valuable.
§ It is probable that the actual value of the Houses, Docks, Factories, Shipping, Goods, and Merchandize, which this Borough contains, is worth as much as any two of the Metropolitan Boroughs, though the City of London should be one of them.
§ The proportion of small Houses in this Borough is greater than that of any one of the new Metropolitan Boroughs. In this Borough the system of farming prevails to a very considerable extent, and the actual number of persons renting houses worth 18l. a year, who will possess the right of voing, will probably be found as few in proportion to the number of houses under 20l. a year rental, as in any of the other Metropolitan Boroughs.
§ This Borough has every claim to be represented which can be named as a recommendation for any other place, and it has some facilities for public business which no one of the other new Boroughs has.1246
§ maintained, that if in London there was less poverty than in other portions of the country, it was a proof that it was already sufficiently represented in Parliament, and that the want of sufficient Representation was the cause of the agricultural districts being in the distressed condition that they then were. He (Lord Wynford) could not assent to the argument that, because a place was rich and prosperous, it was, therefore, to have a greater share of Representation. On the contrary, he thought that the fact of its prosperity was a decided proof that it stood in need of no greater degree of Representation. He was prepared to admit, that the Tower Hamlets contained more wealth than per. haps any other district in the world; but did the noble Lord mean to represent that that wealth belonged to the inhabitants who lived within those hamlets? Surely 1247 the noble Lord could not mean to do so. There was scarcely one of their Lordships who was not a contributor and a sharer in the wealth accumulated in that district. There was, perhaps, not an individual among those whom he had then the honour to address, who had not wine in the docks. It was absurd, then, to speak of the wealth of a particular district, or a part of the wealth of the inhabitants who resided in it. The wealth of the Tower Hamlets was the wealth of the merchants of the great city of London, and of the most distant towns in the empire. It was not the wealth of the inhabitants of the Tower Hamlets. But the noble Lord had dwelt at considerable length upon the superior intelligence of London and its suburban districts. London, undoubtedly, contained more intelligence than the small towns of the country; but he (Lord Wynford) conceived that its intelligence was only greater in proportion as its population was greater. So, again, the facilities afforded for the obtaining of information and knowledge, such as the institutions and reading-rooms alluded to by the noble Lord, were only more numerous in London than in other parts of the country in proportion as the population of London was greater than that of any other part of the country. He offered these observations merely to combat the argument advanced by the noble Lord. He now came to a principle. He did not agree that any particular place, either from wealth or from population, had a right to claim a share of Representation in Parliament. He advanced that doctrine as a subject living under a monarchy; but if he lived in a republic he should hold it full as strongly. Representation should only be given as a matter of expediency. It should not be set up as a matter of right. To give any additional Representation to the metropolitan districts was, he must maintain, not only most inexpedient, but most impolitic. He had no objection to give additional Members to the city of London, provided that those additional Members were given to the persons who now exercised the right of voting in the city; but he should object to any addition of Representation to London, if the right of electing the Members were to be given to those who would be admitted to the exercise of the franchise under this Bill. In some instances householders were undoubtedly admitted to the right of voting; 1248 but, by the common and general practice under the Constitution of England, the King had never given the franchise to commercial towns or cities, except to the Corporations or Guilds established in those towns or cities, and composed of persons who had real and positive interests to be represented—witness London, Liverpool, Bristol, Hull, and many other places of the same description. Such had invariably been the practice of our ancestors, and in his (Lord Wynford's) opinion, it was, on all occasions, better to adhere to practices so established until it was clearly proved that they were wrong. If Representation were to be given to commercial places because they were commercial places, let the right of electing the Representatives be vested in commercial men—not placed in the hands of individuals who had little interest and no stake in commercial matters. In large towns the 10l. qualification was too low: and when he said that, he knew that he spoke the sentiments of an immense majority of Reformers. As applied to the Tower Hamlets, it was a qualification which would admit to the exercise of the elective franchise a mass of paupers—a body of men whom a state of beggary laid open to every species of corruption, and who, with no property of their own, could not be expected to have much respect for the property of others. He complained of it, indeed, as one of the greatest injustices of the Bill, that it gave to poverty and indigence what it denied to wealth and respectability. Besides, the change would be a source of perpetual irritation and bribery, as a similar system was in America. It must be remembered, too, that in many of the districts proposed to be enfranchised, Political Unions had been established, which, if suffered to proceed as they had begun, would lead directly to revolution, and the total subversion of the Constitution. Unless the influence of those Unions were checked by hands more skilful and more determined than those into which the management of public affairs had now fallen, the established institutions of the country must fall before them. Once admit their members to the exercise of the elective franchise, and they would vote their sittings permanent—assemble daily to discuss political matters—and despatch nightly letters or messages of instruction to their Representatives as to the course which they should pursue in Parliament. Thus 1249 would the voice and the votes of the House of Commons become subservient to the dictates of the worthy members of these Political Unions. It was for these reasons that he objected to the enfranchisement of the districts named in the schedule then under their consideration; but, standing in the humiliating situation that he then did—no longer speaking or acting as the member of an independent deliberative assembly—he should not call upon their Lordships to express their opinions upon the subject by a division. While the Government of the country rested in the hands of an Administration which suffered itself to become subservient to the dictates of the Press, and of Political Unions, he (Lord Wynford) could never hope to effect anything in that House. However, as long as God was pleased to give him health and strength to do it, he would attend there night after night, to state his objections to those clauses which, in his opinion, would operate prejudicially to the interests of the nation, or endanger the stability of the Constitution; but, until he addressed a House of Lords which had the power of deciding as conscience might dictate, he would not call for divisions
could not entirely assent to the concluding observations of the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down, because he felt that, even if he stood alone, he was still an independent Member of Parliament; and if, upon a division, he knew that he should go below their Lordships' bar alone, he would not hesitate to do so in the discharge of what he conceived to be his duty. He must admit all that the noble Baron (Lord Durham) had said of the superior wealth and intelligence of the metropolitan districts, but he maintained that, if those districts had obtained that wealth and that intelligence without Representation, it was not necessary that they should now be represented. Their interests were, in fact, practically represented by numerous persons sitting in Parliament connected with the trade and commerce which these districts carried on. The circumstance, also, of the Parliament itself being held in the midst of them, must materially operate to their advantage. It was not, therefore, for the sake of their own interests necessary to give them Representatives; and, according to his view, it was not for the interests of the country generally that they should have them. It was quite impossible that 1250 the wealth and intelligence of those districts should not possess a material influence over the public opinion, particularly as the owners were in immediate communication with the Government and the Press. That legitimate influence he would wish to continue, but separate Representation he decidedly objected to.
§ Lord Wynford
said, that although he, certainly, himself should not divide in Committee, because he considered it useless, still he should be prepared to go below the bar with any noble Lord who thought proper to call for a division.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that all that he had intended to have said upon this clause had been anticipated by the noble Lord (Lord Durham) near him, in the admirable and unanswerable speech which he had that night delivered. His observations, therefore, would be brief in the extreme. A noble Earl opposite had contended, that one of the metropolitan districts was already virtually and practically represented by the number of Members of Parliament who, for the greater portion of the year, were resident in it. That was a proposition to which he could not agree, because he could not conceive how men, by simple residence in any particular place, without any other connection or fellow-feeling with the inhabitants of that place, beyond that which could be derived from mere residence among them, could by any possibility be regarded as Representatives of that place. According to the proposition he was combatting, not only had the people Representatives in the House of Commons, but they had also Representatives in their Lordships' House, because the Members of the House of Lords lived in some of these districts. What signified it to the person who lived in Mary-le-bone, whether a Member of Parliament who also lived in Mary-le-bone, was called a Lord or a Commoner? he was equally a Member of Parliament; and, as he lived in the same place with that individual, he must, according to this argument, be practically the Representative of that place. But the meaning of Representation was, that the person called the Representative should not only have some fellow-feeling for the people—should not only live amongst them—but that he should have communication with them, and be in some degree under their control; that he should be sent to Parliament by them, and that he should not behave exactly as he pleased, 1251 without being answerable to those whom he called his constituents. According to the argument which had been advanced, their Lordships represented the whole kingdom, because in the country the Peers lived among one class of persons, and in town they lived among the other class; therefore, all parties had Representatives in their Lordships; but the country had no control over their Lordships. The people did not consider, that the Peers were there for their purpose: they were a useful and necessary branch of the Legislature, but not that branch of the Legislature to which the people looked as belonging peculiarly to themselves, because their Lordships were not answerable to the people—were not elected by them—had not received a trust which, from time to time, their Lordships were required to return into the hands of the people; and for that reason, namely, not being under their control, they did not speak through their Lordships. It was because the people spoke through the Members whom they elected, that those Members were said to be their Representatives. He apologized for detaining their Lordships so long in refuting a proposition which appeared to him manifestly contrary to the true spirit of Representation, both theoretically and practically; and the only answer it required was, to state clearly what that theory and what that practice was; and, having done so, he should dismiss the subject. He must in conclusion say, that he wished this measure to be, as he hoped and trusted it would be, final; but, looking at the question then before them, could any one have the least doubt that, if the measure were carried without the enfranchisement of the metropolitan districts, the question would be revived in the very first Session of a new and Reformed Parliament?
§ The Earl of Harrowby
thought, that the speech of the noble Baron opposite, although clear and luminous, and temperate to a degree that must have excited the admiration of all who heard it, was not so perfectly unanswerable as the noble and learned Lord had stated it to be. He thought, indeed, that the noble Baron on his left had given a decided answer to many of the points urged by the noble Baron opposite. But it was not his (the (Earl of Harrowby's) intention to dwell upon those points. He rose for the purpose of adverting to an observation which 1252 fell from the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down, and which was so contrary to all that he (the Earl of Harrowby) had ever heard or read upon the subject before, that he could not suffer it, now that it came from so high an authority, to pass by in silence. According to the letter of the Constitution, as he had read and understood it, and according to all the constitutional writers with whose works he was acquainted, a Member once returned to Parliament became the Representative, not of the particular place which elected him, but of the interests of the whole country. The noble and learned Lord, however, seemed to have taken a different view of that point—for he now asserted, that it was necessary for the constituent to have a control over the Representative. If that were so, the independence of Parliament was lost, and, for the future, the Members of the other House would be but the miserable slaves of their constituents. He must, however, assert, that a Member of Parliament did not hold his seat upon the terms and tenure described by the noble Lord. If that had been the case, the country would never have become the greatest, the most prosperous, and freest nation on earth. To know whether Parliament really acted according to its own opinions and judgment, it was necessary to consider the existence or nonexistence of that external control of which the noble and learned Lord had spoken in such terms of praise; for the independence of a deliberative representative assembly depended upon the existence or nonexistence of such control. It was upon this principle, much more than upon any of those other objections which could be urged with reference to these metropolitan districts, that he opposed this Motion. The influence they would exercise in the House of Commons would be too great in comparison with that exerted by the constituency of the other parts of this country. The Members of all the metropolitan districts would, and ought to be, according to the argument of the noble and learned Lord, to receive their daily and hourly lesson at the hands of their masters; and such instructions would be followed by censure, and threats of dismissal, if not attended to in every particular. Was he stating a supposed, or barely possible case, or an actual fact? What had already happened in Westminster and in London might teach them what would happen elsewhere every 1253 week and every day, should this Bill be passed. It had been suggested, however, that the conduct of the people would be peaceable. Recent public meetings were said to be a proof of this assertion; meetings where the people certainly were very peaceably listening to treason, and uttering revolutionary shouts. Such political meetings would be held, day after day, to canvass the motions made by Members, and the votes which they might have given; and if such votes should have been contrary to the opinions of those meetings, votes of censure would be passed on the conduct of the offending Representative, or instructions would be prepared which should dictate to him how to act and what to say; or deputations would call on him to adhere to and obey the mandates of his imperious constituents. The account of a recent meeting at Primrose Hill, and the language held there by the different speakers, might convince their Lordships that he was speaking of no imaginary evil. Under such a position of affairs, it must be matter of calculation, day after day, and hour after hour, how soon the persons who issued these instructions, or fulminated these threats at the heads of the unfortunate Members of the other House were to be the masters also of that House, and whom their Lordships were to serve. If the principle which the noble and learned Lord had asserted, was to be recognized as sound constitutional law, their Lordships would soon live under the worst of Governments, and be the slaves of a vile democracy. He meant to cast no sort of reflection upon that class of persons called by this Bill the "10l. voters." Among that class of people there were many—indeed a large proportion of them—who were truly disposed to obey the laws, and exercise the elective franchise in a proper manner; but they were peculiarly liable to be governed by their feelings rather than their good sense, which, in tranquil times, they very generally followed. But it was the duty of Members of Parliament to consult the interest and not represent the momentary feelings and passions of the people; and he believed that a majority of the new constituency would, if left quietly to exercise the franchise, make choice of men who would pursue that course. He dreaded, however, that, under the pretence of Representation, the feelings of these persons might be worked on by those who had improper 1254 objects in view, in order that they might act by physical means. Even the late elections afforded many proofs that there were men ready to pursue that course. There were persons on the opposite side of the House who might recollect, when they were candidates for seats in the other House of Parliament, that the contest was conducted, not by means of argument, but by violence and by bludgeons. After having heard such doctrines put forth as he believed were sufficient to shake this empire to its foundation, and destroy every Representative state throughout the world, it was impossible for him to remain silent, and to restrain or conceal the strong feelings which those doctrines excited.
The Lord Chancellor
was astonished that the calmness and candour which had characterized the observations which had just been addressed to their Lordships by the noble Earl opposite, should not have prevented the noble Earl from making the misrepresentation of which he had been guilty. The noble Earl said, that he (the Lord Chancellor) had promulged an argument, that when once a Member was returned to Parliament, he was solely the Representative of his constituents, and not of the country at large. How the noble Earl could have allowed such an opinion to enter his mind, he was at a loss to conceive, for it was a sentiment, or opinion, which he (the Lord Chancellor) had never expressed, nor thought, nor even dreamt of. What he had urged in the course of the few observations he had addressed to their Lordships was (and he never had heard it doubted), that every Member of Parliament was accountable to his constituents: from those constituents he received a trust, and when into their hands he surrendered it, he was accountable to them for his parliamentary conduct during the time he had held that trust. Did this mean in any sense that such Members were to attend exclusively to the interests of their constituents? The noble Earl had referred to popular feeling, and to the meetings resulting there from, as dictating, or tending to dictate, to the Representatives of the persons constituting such meetings. He (the Lord Chancellor) had not said one word with reference to any meetings, but, he begged to ask now, was there to exist no communion of feeling between the Representative and his constituents? He had said before, and, he trusted, it did 1255 not admit of misconception, that every Member was accountable to his constituents for his parliamentary conduct, on returning to them the trust confided by them to him; but, at the same time, he begged to be understood as not, for one instant, pretending to dispute, or to deny, the right of the constituency to meet and to discuss in the interim the parliamentary line of conduct pursued by their Representative.
§ The Earl of Harrowby
conceived it was not constitutional to call for or to seek from the Representative, a change or deviation from his own general views as to the policy to be observed with reference to important questions to the country; and, he thought, that no body of constituents had the right to call on their Representative to act in opposition to his own views with respect to matters involving the interests of the country.
The Earl of Carnarvon
deprecated the system of dictation by constituents to their Representatives, and alluded to the case of Sir Robert Wilson, in connexion with the borough of Southwark, who, he contended, had not only been made the subject of control by his constituents, but had actually been obliged to surrender the trust reposed in him by the party who demanded that surrender. The same system would, he anticipated, extend itself to the proposed metropolitan districts. He also contended, that a member for St. Mawes was as clearly a Member for the whole country as a member for Manchester or any other large town.
§ certain control of his constituents, and that the mode of exercising that control was the only question. The constituent had no power to force the Member to hold his opinions—the only mode of controlling him was, by instructing him during the sitting of Parliament. With respect to the hon. member for Southwark, that gallant General had given a pledge to his constituents that he would act according to their opinion.
The Earl of Carnarvon
said, that it could not excite surprise if, after what had fallen from the noble Lord, he wished for a correct explanation of the word control. Were their Lordships under no control? If their Lordships were under no control, what was it prevented them exercising their own judgments, and obliged them to follow the opinions of the Political Unions?
The Marquis of Salisbury
said, he should not divide the House upon this occasion, because, being in Committee, he could not get his opinion recorded upon the Journals; but he should divide the House upon the bringing up of the report. On the heads of the authors and supporters of the Bill would rest all the evil that would result from it, and he prayed God to grant that that evil might not be so great as he apprehended.
§ Their Lordships divided on the Motion:—Contents 91; Not-Contents 36;—Majority 55.
§ The Tower Hamlets were accordingly placed in the schedule.1257
|List of the CONTENTS.|
|His R. H. the DUKE of SUSSEX.||AMHERST||SUFFOLK|
|NORFOLK||HILLSBOROUGH (Marquis of Downshire)||GRANVILLE|
|EARLS.||OXFORD||BOYLE (Earl of Cork)|
|ALBEMARLE||RADNOR||CLEMENT (E. of Leitrim)|
|CLIFTON (E. of Darnley)||KING||SHERBORNE|
|CREWE||LILFORD||SOMERHILL (Marquess of Clanricarde)|
|DACRE||MELBOURNE (Viscount Melbourne)|
|DORMER||MENDIP (Visc. Clifden)||SUFFIELD|
|DOVER||MIDDLETON||SUNDRIDGE (D. of Argyll)|
|DUNDAS||MONTEAGLE (Marquess of Sligo)||TEYNHAM|
|DUNMORE (E. of Dunmore)||VERNON|
|FIFE (Earl of Fife)||PETRE||WENLOCK|
|FINGALL (Earl of Fingall)||POLTIMORE||YARBOROUGH.|
|FISHERWICK (Marquess of Donegall)||PONSOBY(Earl of Bessborough)||ARCHBISHOP.|
|FOLEY||PONSONBY, of Imokilly||YORK.|
|GOWER||ROSSIE (Lord Kinnaird)||BISHOPS.|
|GRANARD (E. of Granard)||SAYE and SELL||CHICHESTER|
|HAWKE||SEFTON (Earl of Sefton)||HEREFORD|
|List of the NOT-CONTENTS.|
|His R. H. the DUKE of CUMBERLAND.||SELKIRK||ELLENBOROUGH|
|STAMFORD.||GAGE (Viscount Gage)|
|Duke of NEWCASTLE.||VISCOUNTS.||MELROSE(E. of Haddington)|
|CARNARVON||LORDS.||WILLOUGHBY DE BROKE.|
Question agreed to.
§ The question that Finsbury stand part of schedule C agreed to without opposition.
§ Upon the question that Mary-le-bone stand part of schedule C,
The Duke of Newcastle
observed, that there were two plans of Reform before the House—one that of Ministers, and the other that of the noble Baron (Ellenborough), and one was quite as objectionable as the other—one was genuine, and the other was not genuine. He felt himself trampled in the dust by the miserable situation in which the House was placed. He did not quarrel with noble Lords opposite, because they were consistent—though he thought they were taking a part which would most assuredly 1258 overturn the country; but he quarrelled with noble Lords on his side of the House, who turned round in harlequin fashion, and expected that he should turn round with them. This measure would render the House ridiculous in the estimation of the world. From this time he should take no further part in the proceedings of the House. To save the character of the House he would move that the Earl of Shaftesbury should read through the clauses of the Bill pro formà. He should give no further countenance, in his own person, to this disgraceful proceeding.
§ [The noble Duke shortly afterwards left the House.]
§ Lord Wharncliffe
could not agree with the noble Duke, but must do his duty in 1259 the Committee, and when certain parts of the Bill, of which he disapproved, came under discussion, he should do his duty as an independent Member of that House. From the beginning of the agitation of the question of Reform, he had always been of opinion, that to a considerable measure of Reform they must concede. It was true that he had last year voted against the second reading of the Bill, for the reasons which he had stated on the occasion. But he had voted for it this year, it being, in his opinion, a paramount necessity to read the Bill a second time after it had been twice sent up to them by the House of Commons. He had agreed to the second reading, however, with the view of endeavouring to amend the Bill in the best manner he could in the Committee; and he should fail in his duty if he did not do so. It might be advantageous to express an opinion by a vote in the Committee, and it was for that purpose he had required the recent division. It was his intention to divide the Committee whenever he might consider it beneficial to do so.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Lambeth, Bolton, Bradford, and Blackburn, were then ordered to stand part of the schedule.
§ Upon the question that Brighton should stand part of schedule C,
The Earl of Haddington
said, that this was an example of that principle of the Bill to which he had objected. If Brighton was enfranchised, Margate and other places of fashionable resort would have an equal right to Representatives. But the population of a watering place was of a fluctuating character. Brighton was a mere fishing town, without commerce or manufactures, and it influenced the return of one member for Sussex. It was an example of an unmeaning mass of population. He had never heard one argument used in support of the claim of Brighton that did not come within some of the evil consequences which had been alluded to last night; and he, therefore, objected to this town having a Representative.
§ The Duke of Richmond
observed, that Brighton was a place of considerable importance. Its population amounted to 40,634 souls, and it paid in assessed taxes the enormous sum of 35,580l. They had already given the right of Representation to towns which paid much smaller sums:—to Leeds, which paid only 18,000l.; to 1260 Bolton, which paid only 4,135l.; to Sheffield, which paid only 12,605l.; and it was proposed to give it to Dartmouth, which paid only 675l. Brighton paid more in assessed taxes than nine large towns which were to be enfranchised. He was quite surprised, therefore, to hear the objections of the noble Earl. Was the noble Earl aware what a constituency the members for Brighton would have? It would be composed principally of persons who, having accumulated fortunes by honest industry had settled there. The members for Brighton would be always found the advocates of peace and good order, and must, therefore, be regarded with favour by those who took what were called conservative views. He had no personal interest in the question, for he had no property there. He only hoped that the House would not, in consequence of its being a watering-place, take an erroneous view of its importance. The noble Duke concluded by observing, that Brighton had a still stronger claim to Representation than any he had yet mentioned. There were more houses in that town rated at 40l. a-year than in all the rest of the boroughs contained in the schedule. He confessed, indeed, that he felt much surprise to hear the noble Baron object to enfranchising any place possessed of so much wealth, intelligence, and respectability.
The Earl of Malmesbury
complained, that no particular interest was to be represented in the town of Brighton, and that the Government were, therefore, inconsistent in proposing to give it Members, purely because there were a number of residents of respectability. Dartmouth, a place of great importance, carrying on an extensive trade, and requiring a Representative for its peculiar interests, was to have one of its Members taken away; while Brighton, a place without any trade, manufacture, or peculiar interests whatever, was, on the contrary, to have two Representatives.
§ Halifax and Macclesfield were also ordered to stand part of the schedule.
§ On the question that Oldham stand part of the schedule.
took occasion to suggest, that it would be better to adopt the original plan of the original Bill, and that the better arrangement would be, to 1261 give two Members to Manchester and Salford, two Members to Bolton, and six Members to the county of Lancaster. That would be a much better arrangement than by dividing, as the Bill at present did, so many as thirteen Representatives amongst several small towns in Lancashire. By the arrangement he proposed, he thought the master manufacturers would be better protected than by the Bill.
§ Lord Durham
said, that the alteration from the original Bill had been made at the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet, and the Members of the Opposition in the other House, in whose opinions and feelings the noble Baron was looked upon as concurring. Considering the wealth and respectability of those towns, they were fully entitled to be represented; and it appeared to him, under all the circumstances of the case, better to continue the arrangement as it was, than to adopt the suggestion of the noble Baron, which was diametrically opposed to the plan which had been suggested by his friends in the other House, and which, at their instance, had been acted upon.
said, that he had acted as his friends had done in the other House. He proposed such amendments as he thought should be made in the Bill, and, if they were not adopted, he reserved to himself the right of voting against the Bill.
thought the respectability of Oldham and its population so great, as to entitle it to the vote of the noble Baron upon his own principles of Reform.
knew Oldham, but did not think it so well entitled to two Members as Salford. He, however, would acquiesce in the arrangement, rather than disturb the progress of the Bill. The population of Oldham was only 32,000, and it paid in assessed taxes only 1,900l. a-year, while the population of Salford was 50,000, and it paid 9,000l. assessed taxes.
The Earl of Haddington
thought his noble friend had made an excellent case against Oldham, but he begged leave to comment on the low standard attained by this town, in respect of taxation, as compared with other towns inferior in population. The population of Wallingford, a borough in schedule B, was 2,467—of Oldham 32,381: the taxation of Wallingford amounted to 1,073l., that of Oldham to 1,999l.—the taxation of the half-disfranchised borough being rather more 1262 than half that of Oldham, while its population scarcely exceeded one-fifteenth. St. Alban's contained 4,772 persons, and was not equal to one-sixth of the population of Oldham; but its taxation was nearly equal, amounting to 1,964l. Upon the principle, therefore, of population, combined with taxation, the claim of Oldham was very weak. The noble Baron (Lord Holland) seemed to think, that those who voted for the second reading could hardly reject this borough without inconsistency. When it was an object to obtain their Lordships' votes for the second reading, they were told, that every man who was for any Reform whatsoever, ought to vote for the second reading of this Bill. He had voted for the second reading, upon the principles and the reasons which he, at that time, took the liberty of stating. He bound himself to support the principles of enfranchisement, disfranchisement, and an extension of the suffrage; but he did not, by so doing, bind himself to go to the extent, or anything like the extent, which noble Lords had gone. He was willing to give a liberal extension to those principles, but did not feel himself obliged to go the full extent of the plan now proposed for carrying that principle into effect.
The Earl of Radnor
said, the first question was, whether Oldham had any claim on the ground of population; and the second, whether it had any claim, upon the calculations of Lieutenant Drummond, founded upon the assessed taxes. With respect to the first, Oldham stood higher than fifty-three places, including the boroughs in schedules C and D; and it stood in the list at twenty-two, if taken according to the principle of Lieutenant Drummond, his calculation being founded upon the principle of the assessed taxes, as compared with the population. The assessed taxes of Oldham were not considerable; but, in reference to population, containing upwards of 32,000 persons, it stood upon the list before Macclesfield; and he thought that Oldham was entitled to be put in schedule C. But noble Lords had compared Oldham and Dartmouth, as, on another occasion, Brighton was compared with Dartmouth. With respect to the assessed taxes, the amount paid by Dartmouth was 688l.; rather more than one-third of what is paid by Oldham; and with respect to population, that of Dartmouth is 4,662, which is a little short of one-fifth only of the popu- 1263 lation of Oldham. Looking at Oldham in reference to its population merely, it ought to stand by itself, and so be estimated according to its merits; and when it was remembered that it stood upon the list, according to Lieutenant Drummond's calculation, before twenty-two places, and with regard to population before fifty-three places, it seemed to be fully entitled to be put into schedule C, and to have two Members.
begged to remind their Lordships, that they were proceeding in that House on a totally different principle from that which was adopted in the Commons. In the Lower House, they began by disfranchising a large number of boroughs. In that House they were, on the contrary, inquiring as to what number of boroughs and towns they should extend the franchise; and if they could not bear in mind, that in every case they were robbing some place of its right in order to confer it on another, which, perhaps, had very little higher claims on their attention, they would, he was satisfied, involve themselves and the country in endless trouble and contention. This, he repeated, was the question. They were in every case called on to draw a comparison between a place which had possessed the right of returning Members for ages, and some other place, of a perhaps not much greater importance, which it had obtained in the course of later years. This it was necessary they should bear in mind when they proposed to give Representation to Oldham, which had not much greater wealth or importance than some of the places they proposed to disfranchise.
The Earl of Winchilsea
said, that he understood a division had taken place during his absence from the House. Now he would recommend noble Lords on his side of the House not to divide the Committee any further on this question, as the independence of the House had been sacrificed, and as their following such a course of proceeding could only be pleasing to the noble Earl opposite, who had trampled on the liberties and character of that House. He wished to put a simple question to that noble Earl. He wished to know from him, whether he would consent to the slightest modification in the details of the Bill, without even at all affecting any of its principles. He was desirous to know, for instance, whether, if a judicious alteration should be proposed in 1264 that part of the Bill which gave to the voters in towns the right of voting for the counties, he would object to it?
§ Earl Grey
said, that it must be plain, that at this stage of the Bill it would be an unnecessary waste of their Lordships' time to discuss the point to which the noble Earl had called his attention. He could have no objection to any appeal which that noble Earl might think fit to make to the House, to any protest which he might enter against its proceedings, and still less would he object to any mode that that noble Earl might employ to place before the public the grounds of his conduct; but when the noble Earl had now, not for the first or second, but for the tenth or twelfth time, repeated in the same phrases, and almost precisely in the same words, the speech which the noble Earl had made on this subject, he (Earl Grey) did think that it would be a trespass on their Lordships' time, and that it would do no good, to answer the remarks of the noble Earl. He regretted the feelings which the noble Earl had expressed as to the character of that House. He could not forget, however, that the noble Earl had, in reference to another question, when it was before them, namely, the Catholic Question, talked in precisely the same language—that he then complained of the majority as being a made majority—that he spoke of the impossibility of at all modifying that Bill—that he described the freedom of debate as then completely destroyed—and that he declared that after the passing of that Bill he should never again enter that House. The noble Earl had, however, he was happy to say, notwithstanding that threat, returned to his labours as a Member of that House, and he did entertain the hope, that hereafter, after the passing of the Reform Bill, there would be still important duties belonging to the Members of that House, and that the noble Earl would return to the performance of them, with credit to himself and with advantage to the country, the interests of which, much as he differed from the noble Earl, he believed the noble Earl was sincerely and honestly desirous to promote. As to the statement of the noble Baron (Ellenborough), that they had commenced with enfranchisement and not with disfranchisement, and that that circumstance materially altered the case; when the noble Baron said that, he (Earl Grey) begged to remind him and the 1265 House, that that very question—namely, the postponement of the disfranchising clause, upon which such important consequences had so lately taken place—was described at the time by the noble Lords opposite as a most trivial one, as one of mere form, and that the greatest surprise was expressed by them that Ministers should divide upon it, and still more that they should, finding the division against them, resign their offices. He had, at the time, and ever since, contended that that question was neither trivial nor unimportant—that it was one which might be fatal to the principle of the Bill, and that it was forcing upon them (the Ministers) the adoption of an entirely different course from that which had been pursued by the House of Commons. The statement now made by the noble Baron fully justified the correctness of that opinion. But he (Earl Grey) was determined to adhere to the principle of the Bill, as passed by the House of Commons; he thought that the number of places which that Bill declared to be disfranchised should be disfranchised, and Oldham was, in his opinion, one of those places which was entitled to possess the franchise in their stead, He should adhere to the Bill as it was, and he thought that Oldham was one of those towns which were entitled to return two Members. He should now answer the question of the noble Earl (Winchilsea), who had asked whether he would consent to the slightest modification of the Bill.
The Earl of Winchilsea
No; the point to which he had directed the noble Earl's attention was, whether he was prepared to admit any alteration in respect to voters for towns voting also for counties, which he considered was of vast importance to the measure.
§ Earl Grey
On that particular question, all he could state was, that this was not the time for debating it. When that part of the Bill came before their Lordships, he should be extremely happy to hear any statement of the noble Earl; and if the noble Earl's statement should be successful in convincing him (Earl Grey), he trusted he should not be so perverse as to refuse his consent. At the same time, as at present advised, he saw no reason for the alteration. Whatever modification or alterations, however, were proposed, he should be ready to hear them, to discuss them, and decide.
The Earl of Winchilsea
said, that the 1266 noble Earl, from the first introduction of the Bill, had induced him to believe that he was prepared to agree to modifications and alterations; but he was now convinced, that not one tittle of the alterations proposed by that (the Opposition) side of the House would be assented to. The course pursued by the noble Earl had been so dictatorial, that he could not but wonder at the callousness of the House. The noble Earl had alluded to his (the Earl of Winchilsea's) conduct on that fatal measure, the Catholic Bill; but that measure had not been carried in the same dictatorial manner as this. He would assert, in the face of the country, that there was an end to the independence of that House; and it was under that impression that individual Members had left the House. It was useless to tell him that it made any difference whether 100 more Members walked into that House, or that 100 Members walked out of it. The independence of the House was equally and completely destroyed. [The noble Earl was proceeding to vindicate the vote he gave on the Catholic Relief Bill, when a Peer cried "Question".] Question (exclaimed the noble Earl)! Let the individual come forth and show himself who calls question.
§ Lord Lyttelton
rose to order. The cry of "Question" came from his lips; for when he heard the noble Earl proceeding to discuss, in terms sufficiently strong, a question not before the House, sitting, as he (Lord Lyttelton) did, next to the Earl Marshal, and first Peer of the realm, and finding this most offensive subject introduced in so disorderly a manner——[Here the noble Lord was interrupted by cries of "Order."]
rose to call the noble Baron to order. The noble Earl (Grey) had reflected on the noble Earl near him (the Earl of Winchilsea), who was perfectly justified in vindicating his conduct.
The Earl of Winchilsea
said, that the declaration he had made, on the occasion to which the noble Earl referred, he had honestly intended to act upon; but although his opinions with regard to the measure had not in the slightest degree changed, he had been induced by the per- 1267 suasions of friends, upon whose judgment he relied, to recede from his resolution to withdraw from the House. There was, however, no analogy between that measure and the present. He would show to the House and to the country, the unconstitutional exercise of authority by which this Bill would be carried, in order that after-times might know the blow which was struck at the independence of Parliament and the Crown at the suggestions of sedition.
§ Lord Lyttelton
said, that after the House had permitted the noble Earl to continue his course of argument so irrelevant to the question, he had only to apologize for the interruption he had offered.
said, that the only question before the House was, whether Oldham should be enfranchised. He should speak to that question, and say, that in his opinion Oldham was entitled to have two Members.
§ Lord Wharncliffe
said, that in putting disfranchisement before enfranchisement, it had never been intended to meddle with the disfranchising part of the Bill—with schedule A—which, after all, was the ground upon which the decision of the House, on the first night of the Committee, was blamed: and, therefore, the noble Earl (Grey) had obtained no triumph by the debate, as the noble Earl seemed to suppose. It had been said, that the object of the majority on that occasion was, to curtail schedule A; and a noble friend of his had stated to him (Lord Wharncliffe), that the reason of his voting in the minority was, because he thought it was an attack upon schedule A. That was, however not the fact.
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, that if he did not hope that the noble Earl would not wholly abandon his order, he should not keep up his opposition to the Bill. But he thought it not impossible that they might extort some alterations from the noble Earl, though they must give up all hope of any modification. Noble Lords on that (the Opposition) side of the House did not wish to put the noble Earl to the uncomfortable necessity of another journey to Windsor. They wished the Bill to be fairly and temperately considered. He did not envy the noble Earl his position; he would rather have the little honesty he (Lord Londonderry) possessed than the noble Earl's power, 1268 coupled with the reproach of being the first individual to bring forward a measure to annihilate the glorious Constitution of the country.
The Lord Chancellor
wished to call the attention of their Lordships to the question before them, which was merely whether the town of Oldham should be inserted in schedule C, and from that place they had been wandering for the last hour and a half. There were two things to be observed with regard to this town; the first was, that the town itself was a very large and populous manufacturing town, independent of that part of the district which formed the township. The population of the town amounted to 20,000 persons, and that of the township to 12,000, making in all a population of 32,000, and, therefore, a place of considerable importance. The second point to be considered was, that, with some trifling exceptions, the whole of the inhabitants were engaged in the same, and a peculiar branch of business; and he, therefore, was of opinion, that Oldham was justly entitled to a share in the Representation. The objection made to the Motion had been so sufficiently answered, that he would not enter further into the discussion.
said, that if their Lordships would examine schedule C, they would find that the cotton trade, which was the trade of Oldham, would be sufficiently represented without giving Members to that place. The schedule already contained Manchester, Bolton, Bradford, and Blackburn, of all which the staple trade was the cotton manufacture.
begged that the noble Earl would not interrupt him. He would not permit the noble Earl to interrupt him. He was an independent Member of that House, and he would not allow himself to be interrupted. If he could allow any noble Lord to interrupt him, it certainly should not be the noble Lord who had endeavoured to subvert and destroy the privileges of that House.
was satisfied with the explanation of the noble Earl, and he was sorry that he had mistaken the noble Earl's 1269 intention. When he saw that by the enfranchisement of Manchester and the other places which he had mentioned, sufficient Representation was given to the particular interests with which those places were connected, he could not admit, that there was any reason for giving Members to Oldham, which, compared to the other towns, was an insignificant place. That was, however, a matter of minor importance, because the general tendency of the Bill, and, indeed, its inevitable consequence would be, the destruction of the monarchy. By forcing that measure upon their reluctant Sovereign, the noble Earl opposite had placed the King, his kind master, in a situation in which he could make no choice of another Minister. The noble Earl had involved his royal master in a predicament, and he could not but think, that the noble Earl would yet look back with remorse at the part he had taken, and at the course he was now pursuing ["oh, oh!"]. If noble Lords interrupted him he should insist on his privilege, and would move an adjournment. The advice which the noble Earl had given his Sovereign, to exercise his prerogative in so unconstitutional a manner as to destroy the independence of that House, was most improper, and he called upon the noble Earl to reconsider the course he had so rashly and so wildly entered into—a course so atrocious—
In the words of the noble Earl, I say, that I repel his attack upon me with contempt and scorn. I repeat, that I think the conduct of a Minister of the Crown, in advising the most unconstitutional exercise of the King's highest privilege, for the purpose of destroying the independence of this House, was rash, wild and atrocious. Whether the noble Earl be pleased or not with my using the word atrocious, the privileges of this House have not yet been abrogated to such an extent that the noble Earl can prevent me from saying, what I shall always feel, that it was a most atrocious act of the Minister to give such advice to the King ["order."] Whatever noble Lords might think—
§ Earl Grey
My Lords I again rise to order; and I must again say, that anything more unparliamentary—more unwarrantable, and more disorderly—than the applying of such words to me, I never heard in this House. It is for the House to act as may seem befitting its own dignity; but for me, all that remains to me is, to throw back those words with the utmost scorn, contempt, and indignation—indignation and contempt that I cannot find words properly to express. When, on a question having no relation to such a topic, the noble Baron thinks proper to arraign my conduct, I can only say, let the noble Earl bring his charges in a regular manner, and I shall be ready to vindicate my conduct. On this occasion I shall say no more than that I have never done anything inconsistent with my duty to my Sovereign or to my country, or with that debt of gratitude which I owe his Majesty, from whom I have on all occasions received as great kindness as any Minister of the Crown ever received at the hands of his Sovereign. I repeat, then, that I throw back with scorn and contempt the charge that my conduct has been wild and atrocious. But, my Lords, this is not the time to argue these topics; and I shall, therefore, say no more than this, that if his Majesty was left alone, that was not done by my fault. I resigned my situation when I found that I could not fill it with honour to myself, nor with advantage to the country, and I returned to office when I found that my services could be useful to the King and to the country, and not derogatory to my own honour. The noble Lord has thought proper to make upon me an attack which was improper and indecent. My Lords, as the noble Baron has made this attack upon me at a time when the question before the House is whether the word Oldham shall be inserted in the clause—if the noble Lord does not think proper to retract the expressions which he has used, my only answer to the attack made upon me is, that I repel it with scorn and contempt.
The Earl of Winchilsea
thought, that the noble Earl was exceedingly sensitive to-night. On a former occasion the same words had been used by a noble Earl on that side of the House—not once, but twice. Addresses to the Crown had been he might say, in a degree sanctioned by the noble Earl, which were seditious, and treasonable.
The Earl of Winchilsea
did not accuse the noble Earl of directly sanctioning and encouraging those attacks upon the Sovereign; but he said, that the most seditious calumnies and treasonable publications had been put forth in every part of the country under the name of Addresses to the Crown, and the Government of the noble Earl had done nothing to check them. It was the noble Earl's duty to maintain the honour of the Crown, and that he had not done. He had placed the King in such a situation that no Ministry could be formed but that of the noble Earl.
The Duke of Cumberland
assured the House that it was not his intention to take up much of their time, and he hoped no Peer would suppose that there was any intention, in anything he might say, to add to the irritation which had appeared in the House. His sole object in rising was, to implore noble Lords to tranquillize themselves, and to consider the situation of the country. This was not the way to carry the Bill, or to oppose it. He took the liberty of stating to their Lordships, that he should have nothing to do with the discussion if this proceeding in the House were continued. He certainly did not approve of the Bill; but God forbid that he should oppose it in such a manner as would be productive of more harm than good. He, therefore, implored the House not to be irritated, but to consider calmly what they were doing. He trusted their Lordships would excuse him for making these observations. He could assure them that he had no other object at heart but the salvation of his country; and, he believed, that the only way in which that object could be effected, was by dispassionately considering the question before them. He believed that none of their Lordships would express sentiments which they did not conscientiously entertain; but he entreated them not to let their passions get the better of their judgment.
§ Question agreed to, and Oldham placed in the schedule.
§ Stockton, Stoke-upon-Trent, and Stroud, were then severally placed in the schedule.
§ On the question that the clause, with the schedule, stand part of the Bill,1272
§ Lord Wynford
said, that the clause differed from the corresponding one in the two former Reform Bills, and wished an amendment to be made which should restore it to the same form. His objection was, that the clause, as it now stood, rendered the operation of the Reform Bill dependent upon the passing of another, the Boundaries' Bill, which might not pass that Session or the next, so that, if a dissolution should take place in the mean time, the Bill would be inoperative as respected the places in that clause. If the returns were perfect, the House could settle the boundaries, and send back the Bill perfect to the other House. There was no precedent for making the operation of one bill dependent upon another to be passed at a future time. Such a proceeding was contrary to every principle of legislation.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that the Act of Union between Scotland and England furnished a precedent for the clause to which the noble and learned Lord objected. In the Act of Union, a reference was made to an Act to be afterwards passed. But, suppose the Boundaries Bill should not pass, if their Lordships turned to the 79th and 80th sections of the Bill then before them, they would find that case provided for.
The Earl of Radnor
could not concur in the apprehension of the noble and learned Lord that there was any danger that Parliament would stultify itself so far as not to pass the Boundaries' Bill. The noble and learned Lord said, that in case of a dissolution taking place before the Boundaries' Bill should have been passed, then the places contained in the schedule would not be able to send Members to Parliament. But the fact was, that, even supposing that the Boundaries' Bill should never pass, there was in the Reform Bill itself a schedule L, which provided for the boundaries of those towns. The noble and learned Lord, therefore, had found a mare's nest.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that the clause to which his noble friend (the Earl of Radnor) alluded, certainly provided against the inconvenience which might arise if a dissolution should take place after the passing of the Reform Bill, and before the passing of the Boundaries' Bill.
§ Lord Howard of Effingham
thought, that too much stress was laid upon the 1273 importance of precedent. He would ask them to look to the state of the country, and to say whether they were not bound to do the best they could for their country, whether they could find precedents for their measures or not.
asked, did not the noble Lord know, that, until after the passing of the Boundaries' Bill, all the boroughs in schedule B would remain untouched? He thought that the most convenient course would be, to carry the Boundaries' Bill and the Reform Bill through Parliament pari passu.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On the fourth clause being put,
said, that nothing he had heard tended to diminish his objections to the schedule (D). He should not then detain the House by stating his objections. He would only ask, was it the intention of the noble Earl to go on further to-night?
§ On the question that Ashton-under-Lyne stand part of schedule D,
objected to the enfranchisement of that place—it had not appeared in the first or second Bill, and he had heard no reason wherefore it appeared now in that schedule. He knew that the people of Staley-bridge did not wish to be enfranchised as a part of the constituency of Ashton; but there was no reason why Ashton should not be united to Oldham, with which it was connected. The union of the two places might give a respectable constituency. But now, in order to eke out a constituency, it had been found necessary to take in a country district for ten miles round.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that Ashton-under-Lyne was a place of considerable importance, containing 14,000 inhabitants. Its interests were quite distinct from those of Oldham, and he saw no reason why the latter place should be swamped. The objection on the part of the people of Staley-bridge to be enfranchised was not so much that they did not wish to be represented, but that they did not wish to be united with Ashton. The affections of the two places were not in direct proportion with their proximity. The objection of the parties themselves to the union was a sufficient reason why they should not be united. As to the difference between this clause and the 1274 former Bill, he (the Lord Chancellor) considered it an improvement.
§ On the question that Chatham stand part of the schedule,
could see no reason why this place should not be united to Rochester, on the principle on which such large additions had been made to the constituency of Bristol, Liverpool, and other places. By this Bill Chatham would become like Greenwich, a Government nomination borough.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that it had been found that Rochester itself could furnish an adequate constituency, and Chatham was of sufficient importance to entitle it to be represented.
§ On the question that Cheltenham be included in the schedule,
intimated that he would not oppose the enfranchisement of that place, as it would furnish a most respectable constituency.
§ House resumed—Committee to sit again.