§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, that he had been requested by several noble Lords on his side of the House, to submit to the consideration of their Lordships, on going into Committee on the bill, certain material and important amendments, and he thought it would be most convenient in this stage of the proceeding, and before going into Committee, both from the nature of the measure, and the character of those amendments, that he should now generally state their nature, in order, that their Lordships might view them in connexion one with the other, and be better able to judge of their propriety, when the amendments came on successively in Committee. He was perfectly sensible of the demands generally upon their Lordships' time, and at this period of the claims upon their Lordships' hospitality, and he therefore assured the House, that in what he was about to state, he would endeavour to compress that which he had to communicate within the narrowest possible compass. His noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington), in the last Session of Parliament, had stated to their Lordships, that he conceived, from the prospect of a bill for the settlement of Irish tithes being probably passed, and also from the circumstance that it was probable that a bill for the purpose of granting relief to the poor in Ireland, would likewise be passed into a law, that a very considerable portion of the difficulties of the measure now under their Lordships' consideration would, by the passing of the two bills to which he had adverted, be removed. The noble Viscount, at the head of her Majesty's Government at that time, expressed his satisfaction at the communication then made by the noble Duke, but, at the same time, took occasion to state to their Lordships, that he did not distinctly see what connexion there was between the question of tithes, and the question of granting Municipal Corporations to Ireland. He believed, that if the noble Viscount did 151 not see the connexion, the noble Viscount was the only individual in the House who did not. For several years, the subject of Irish tithes had created great agitation in Ireland, where persons, from time to time, had been most active in their opposition to them; and it was considered, by every person acquainted with the history of Ireland, that the Municipal Corporations established in that country were, for the most part, so established, to protect the Protestant religion and the Protestant Church, in that part of the United Kingdom. And it was also considered by his noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington), and by him, to be of great importance that these barriers of protection should not be removed, and that it was even of still more importance, that in removing those barriers (if at all), corporations of a different character should not be established, until at least the important question of Irish tithes should be set at rest. He imagined that his noble Friend felt this when he made the remarks which the noble Viscount opposite on the occasion in question had adverted to. Now, at the present moment, their Lordships had the prospect, that the question with respect to tithes in Ireland, would come to some settlement; and with respect to the other measure, which had been mentioned by his noble Friend—he meant the Poor Relief Bill for Ireland, a measure which connected itself with the subject in a very important way—he presumed he might consider it as passed. In order to establish corporations in Ireland, in which he and others would be disposed to place confidence, it was necessary to have a secure and substantial qualification, and it was idle to talk of a qualification of 10l. value, unless there was something devised to put that value to the test. When he said it was idle to talk of a 10l. value, without some test, he need only refer their Lordships to the evidence taken before the select committee of the other House of Parliament, on the subject of fictitious votes, to show how little reliance could be placed on a qualification of that description, unless it was marked and checked by something else, and therefore it had no doubt been considered by his noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington) that the Irish Poor-law Bill established a system of rating in that country, which would afford a sufficient check and test of the amount of the qualification, and give a security to this country 152 and to the people of Ireland, that the qualification should not be merely nominal, but should answer the purposes intended. Now, these two great measures to which he had alluded—the Irish Tithe Bill, and the Irish Poor Relief Bill—though not actually passed, were now in progress. With regard to one of these bills, he had expressed his opinion some time since, and he had seen nothing in its progress to induce him to alter those opinions: but when he had found they were but little consistent with those entertained by the majority of the House, he did not now think it necessary further to press them upon their Lordships. He, therefore, would say nothing further on that measure, except that it gave the test of rating, which could be well applied to the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill now under their Lordships' consideration, and gave the security of a good and substantial qualification. These were the only general observations which he intended to make, and he now therefore came at once to the statement of the amendments which it was his intention to submit to the House; and in doing so, he should not go out of his way to state a single fact or circumstance, except only such as were necessary to render the amendments intelligible. Now, in the first place, it would be found, that the bill had two schedules, A. and B. Schedule A contained a list of eleven cities and towns, each of which contained, not only a considerable, but a very extensive population; it would be found, also, that every one of them had already corporations possessing large amounts of property. There was no intention, therefore, on his, (Lord Lyndhurst's) side of the House, to make any exception whatever in granting corporations to the cities and towns enumerated in schedule A, according to the conditions ultimately to be settled in the bill. But when their Lordships came to schedule B, they would find a numerous list of towns of a very different class and character from those contained in schedule A; and that it was so considered by the framers of the bill was manifest, from the circumstance of those towns being inserted in a separate and distinct schedule. The towns in schedule B differed from those in schedule A, not only in population, but also in the fact, that very few of them possessed property to any amount; indeed, many of them possessed no property whatever, and it had occurred 153 to him, and to other noble Lords, that it would be unjust to force on them corporations, which, under all the provisions contained in this bill, could not be imposed without being followed by very heavy charges. It was on this account he thought that corporations ought not, by the operation of this bill, to be imposed on those towns, but that it should be left to the inhabitants of the towns themselves to apply, if they thought proper, to the Crown, for the purpose of having charters granted to them, corresponding in form with the provisions of this bill. For the purpose of doing this, it was intended to propose, by way of amendment, that if the majority of the rated inhabitants holding property to the amount to be named in the bill thought proper to apply to the Crown for charters corresponding with those which would be conferred by this bill, it should be optional in the Crown to grant such charters. He, and noble Lords with whom he acted, thought also, that a certain time should be limited, within which such application should be made, and if, at the expiration of that time, no application was made, that then the present existing corporations in those towns should cease and terminate, and that the management of their pecuniary affairs, and the performance of other necessary duties to be provided for, should be vested in commissioners, not to be appointed by the Crown, or in the terms of the former bill, but to be elected by the majority of those who, under this bill, would be entitled to vote in the election of corporate officers, if a corporation had been granted. These were the first amendments which it was his intention to propose, and he did not think, nor had he reason to expect, on the part of the noble Viscount at the head of Her Majesty's Government, that any objection would be made to these proposals. The reason why he thought so was, because these propositions were a mere repetition of those made in the other House of Parliament, and had not been objected to at the time, though finally they were not adopted, from the circumstance of more material amendments having been rejected by the other House. Passing that over, he now came to the second and more material amendment—that which related to qualification, and which was in fact the only essential amendment in the bill. He had to propose that the qualification in Ireland should be similar to that which had been 154 adopted for Scotland—viz, the occupancy of a house of the annual value of 10l. He had already said it would be idle to do nothing further than to say, that every person occupying a house of the annual value of 10l. should have the right of voting, because it was known, that such a qualification would be illusory, as shown in the evidence taken before the select committee on fictitious votes. He would not go into any detail of that evidence, because most of their Lordships had either read it or had been informed by other means of its nature and character. He, therefore, would only select the evidence of one witness, Mr. Long, of the city of Cork, and he rather referred to the evidence of that gentleman because it was the evidence of a person beyond all exception, inasmuch as not only was he not a Conservative, but of the politics of Her Majesty's present Government. From his testimony it appeared that to intitle a person to vote for corporate officers in the city of Cork he must pay taxes upon a house to the value of 5l. and upwards, and that a large number, indeed a large multitude of persons, for the purpose of avoiding the payment of those imposts and municipal duties, declared upon their oaths that their property was under the value of 5l. and yet these same persons afterwards registered as 10l. householders, in order to enable them to vote in the election of Members to serve in Parliament; so that when the payment of money was concerned the property was sworn to be under the value of 5l., but when it came to the registration to vote, the same property was sworn to be of the value of 10l. This it appeared from the evidence, occurred in innumerable instances, and cases had occurred of this description—persons rated at more than 5l. had appealed against the rate; the appeal had been allowed, and the rate reduced below 5l. and yet those very persons had afterwards registered out of the same property as 10l. householders. What reliance, then, was to be placed on the qualification under this bill, unless some test was applied as to the value of the house? Again there was a large class of persons possessing property under the value of 10l. who gained considerable advantages with regard to Excise licences, and upwards of 200 persons had obtained licences because their houses were stated to be under 5l. value; and yet of 211 individuals who had so ob- 155 tained licences, 92 had registered as 10l. householders in order to get the Parliamentary franchise. He would not go further into details; he only mentioned these circumstances as instances of which an abundance might be found in the mass of evidence taken before the committee to which he had alluded. Therefore it was, that he contended that some test was necessary, and that the only test for real security was the test of rating, in which a pecuniary interest was involved,—there was the interest to avoid being rated too high: he therefore knew no better test, and he should propose to limit the qualification, not to a house of 10l. value merely, but of 10l. value as proved by the rating. Then there still remained another question—viz., what should be the rate and what the amount of rating. A bonâ fide 10l. value was what he contended ought to be the qualification; but then he had to inquire what was a house of 10l. value. He held a house of 10l. value to be a house that would give to the landlord a 10l. rent, the landlord paying all such charges as were necessary to enable him to command such a rent. He did not mean the value of the repairs in any year, but the average of the repairs necessary to enable the landlord to command a rent of 10l. An article was valued by the price it would sell for; so he would value a house by the rent it would let for, deducting that which might be necessary to keep the premises, so as to fetch that rent. He apprehended therefore that he stated it clearly and fairly, when he said, that the test must show that the qualification was a house which, when let to a tenant year by year, the tenant paying the usual charges, would bring the landlord 10l. in the shape of rent, after he had paid the average charges necessary to keep that house in repair. He hoped he made himself understood, for this was the principal, the basis of the whole of his amendments. Now, he proposed to check the value by the rating, and it still remained to consider the nature of the rating, and to see if the value under it corresponded with the definition of rating which he had given. Now a bill had been passed two or three years ago with respect to rating in England, and under that bill the estimate of value corresponded with the description he had given to their Lordships. He alluded to Mr. Poulett Scrope's bill, and that mea- 156 sure, as worked under the authority of the Poor-law Commissioners, took the value thus—viz., what a tenement would let for from year to year, the tenant paying the usual charges, and deducting from that rent the amount of those repairs and insurances which were paid by the landlord, and which enabled him to command the rent. But there was still another proposition to be taken into account, and that was the rating under the Irish Poor Relief Bill, which was worded differently from the bill to which he had referred. He would not go into details, because it was difficult clearly to communicate them; but the result was this:—that the results of the rating under the Poor Relief Bill were in substance precisely the same as under Mr. Poulett Scrope's bill; therefore with the rating under the Poor Relief Bill the clear yearly value of the tenement could be accurately ascertained. If he had made himself intelligible, there was only one remaining point, but it was a most material and important point, and one on which the whole question turned. In England the Parliamentary franchise was fixed at the yearly value of 10l. In Ireland it was the same, and in Scotland the same, and 10l. also in Scotland was the municipal franchise. That principle had not been adopted with respect to the municipal franchise in England, but that he left out of the account. Now, in the application of the Parliamentary franchise in England, the revising barristers have never, except in one or two instances, deducted for the landlord's repairs; the consequence had been, that the value of a 10l. tenement in England was less than the clear annual value to which he had referred. He did not think the revising barristers had done right, but, however, in Ireland the uniform practice had been to throw the items for repairs and insurances in favour of the franchise. Now, what had been the arguments used in another place? Why, it had been said, "Will you raise the value in Ireland higher than that which is practically the value in England?" He would not stand up in favour of any such a proposition; but he maintained, that they must take the practical rating here and apply it to Ireland, and, therefore, what he proposed was to make the estimate of the value in Ireland correspond with that of England in this way—he would add to the rated 157 value the amount of the landlord's repairs and insurances, as stated on the face of the rate, and he should say, that the 10l. value would be measured by the aggregate of those three sums, and thus it was demonstrable to anybody who had considered this bill, that the value in Ireland would correspond with the practical value here in this country. He did not know whether he had conveyed his meaning clearly, for it required the most minute inspection, and a vast deal of consideration, of the various bills to which he had alluded, to understand the point; but he was satisfied, that any noble Lord who would take the trouble to devote a careful attention to those bills, would find the result to be such as he had stated. He had now, perhaps, better read the terms of his amendment in this respect. He proposed first to raise the amount of the qualification to 10l. Next, to provide the manner in which that 10l. value was to be measured. The first question, therefore, would be, would their Lordships accede to raise the value to 10l; and the next point would be, whether or not the House was of opinion that the mode in which he proposed to take the value was a correct and proper mode. The clause, after fixing the value at 10l., would run on to enact, that "such yearly value be determined in the manner following, that is to say, that it should be composed of the net annual value rated to the relief of the poor, of the amount of the sum of the landlord's repairs, and paid for insurances, as estimated and stated in such rates." Their Lordships would, of course, be aware, that by an amendment moved by a noble Friend of his, there was a schedule in the Poor Relief (Ireland) Bill defining the form of the rating, and that in one column there was the rated value, and in another, the estimated amount of landlord's repairs, and in a third, the amount of insurance, so that the matter would not be left in ambiguo, for the Poor-law Commissioners under the bill would appoint their own valuers; the rating would be under their directions; and, therefore, the persons who would have to decide upon the qualification would have no other duty to discharge than to take and add together the three sums to which he had referred. [Lord Brougham: Will you read your clause again.] He would state its purport again. The amendment would provide, that the 158 yearly value of 10l. would be ascertained, estimated, and determined in this manner: that the persons exercising the qualification would take the amount of the rating of the tenement, and to that amount of rating add what appeared in one column as the estimate for landlords' repairs, and from the third column the amount for insurances, and if those three sums amounted to 10l., it would constitute a tenement of the clear annual value of 10l., which would entitle the party to vote. There would thus be DO room for fraud, for he should provide, that the revising or assistant barrister should sit with the magistrates of the county at the revision, and that they should decide on the validity or otherwise of the qualification. Repeating what he had already stated, he contended, that the result of this arrangement would be to make the valuation in Ireland correspond with what the revising barristers in England had decided was the test of value. In short, it would make the valuation under the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill correspond with the valuation for the Parliamentary franchise in England. These were the amendments which he meant to propose, and in doing so he begged to be considered as the mere organ to submit them to the House. They did not originate with him alone—they were the result of much consideration, and he had been requested (and it was impossible that he could refuse) to submit them for their Lordships' consideration. There was, however, another amendment which it was also his intention to move, with reference to trustees. There were in Ireland many charities which had been endowed for Protestant purposes, and he intended to propose an amendment to the effect, that none but Protestants should be concerned in the administration of those trusts. He should also propose, that for the maintenance of the peace of those towns and boroughs, and for all purposes of police, the constabulary shall be employed as in London and elsewhere; for that purpose he should move, that the clause relating to watchmen and a watch-rate should be expunged from the bill. Again, there was another alteration in the bill which he thought essential—he meant as to the boundaries of the corporate towns. There was a bill on this subject now in the other House of Parliament, founded on the report of the Commissioners. He did not think it right 159 to take the chance of that bill being passed into a law, and, therefore, he meant, in a schedule, to set out the boundaries as stated in the report of the Boundary Commissioners, and, as he believed the bill in the other House corresponded, with one exception only, to that report, there would be no objection to that amendment. Their Lordships would also feel, that it would be necessary to provide for the discharge of the various duties in, and the management of property belonging to, towns now corporate, and to which corporations would not be granted under this bill as amended, according to his plan, and for that purpose he proposed to vest those duties in commissioners, to be elected in the manner he had already pointed out. The House would scarcely be aware, from this statement, what a variety of details these alterations would embrace; the points themselves were very simple, but the alterations were of a most extensive character; and what he would now suggest was, that the House should enter now upon the first amendment—namely, as to the number of towns to which the bill is to apply, and afterwards to enter upon the question of the qualification, and then that the amendments consequent upon these changes should be printed. He, therefore, did not object now to going into Committee. He believed, that he had kept the promise he had made at the outset, and had not attempted to deviate from that which he considered necessary to show the nature of the amendments. When in Committee, he should move the first amendment to which he had called their Lordships' attention.
observed, that as the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down had said, that no person on his side of the House had any objection to schedule A of the bill, he rose to state his opposition to it. It grieved him much to differ on this question from his noble Friend the noble Duke near him (the Duke of Wellington), and from his noble and learned Friend who had last addressed the House; and it was with great pain and reluctance, that he rose to oppose their view of the subject. His noble Friends appeared to him to be reduced to this dilemma, that they must either admit and confess, that the view taken by them when this matter was last debated was erroneous—that the fears 160 and apprehensions they entertained of this bill being passed into a law were idle and futile—that the eloquence then displayed, was only a sow for them to grapple with, or else they must admit, that Ireland was now in a different situation, from that she held when this measure was last under the consideration of the House. With regard to the present state of Ireland, he would only adopt the opinion expressed by the noble Duke near him at the commencement of the present session. The noble Duke, too, said, that, bad as Ireland was at that period, it was now in an infinitely worse condition; and, therefore, if this bill was dangerous last year, it must be doubly dangerous at the present moment. But now his noble and learned Friend (Lord Lyndhurst) came for ward with a kind of compromise and said, that the large towns should have municipal corporations, and that the small towns should be excluded. Why, the whole danger of these municipal corporations would be in the large towns, many of which were counties within themselves, enjoying separate jurisdictions, with extensive patronage and large estates to dispose of. He could not believe his noble and learned Friend to be serious, when he thought, that the objects of the Tithe Bill and the Poor Relief Bill justified the dereliction of principle which his noble Friend had just avowed. Look at the effects of this bill in large towns. By the charter of the city of Limerick the Mayor was constituted the principle judge of assize, and must of necessity at present be approved of by the Lord-lieutenant and the Privy Council before he could act, but there was no such provision in this bill, and the great probability was, that a Roman Catholic, or what he thought still worse, a Radical Protestant, might come to be Mayor; the sheriffs would be the same, and as a matter of course the juries also. What chance, then, would a Protestant have of getting possession of his property by an action of ejectment, for they would turn round and say, that the treaty of Limerick had been forfeited? But he might be told, that an appeal would lie to this House. He, however, was not sure their Lordships' appellate jurisdiction would long survive, for they were granting concession after concession, the last step of the ladder would be reached by this bill, and the wall of the constitution would be thrown down and the repeal of the union brought about by 161 this aid. He must ask their Lordships if they were prepared to legislate with the sword over their heads, and Mr. O'Connell and his mob assembled on the Curragh for the purpose of coercing them. Why was a different principle adopted in legislating for Canada, and in legislating for Ireland? In Canada the constitution had been taken out of the hands of the rebel Catholics, and placed in those of the Protestants, while indirectly the reverse course was pursued by this bill. He wished the House, at least, to be consistent. He did not desire to give the upper hand in Ireland, to either the one party or the other, but admitted as it had been by his noble and learned Friend, that corporations in Ireland, had been established to protect the Protestant religion in that country, why should the power be given to the Roman Catholics, as would be the case under this bill? He repeated, that he desired, that neither should have the ascendancy, but would rather, that the present corporations, should, as last session had been proposed, be abolished altogether and thrown into the hands of the Crown. With these views he called upon his noble and learned Friend, to withdraw the proposition he had just made, and resume that fine manly tone of resistance, which last year he had exhibited against this bill.
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that nothing could have been more fair and candid than the course which had been taken by the noble and learned Lord opposite: It was impossible, that the noble and learned Lord could have executed the task which had devolved upon him, in a more clear and dispassionate manner. He believed, that in referring back to what had taken place last session, and in adverting to what had fallen from the noble Duke opposite, and from him, the noble and learned Lord had correctly stated both the expressions and the import of the observations which both had made. It was not his intention now to go back, to ascertain whether he were right, or whether he were wrong, in the observations he had then offered, because it was unnecessary to advert to by-gone differences, as there seemed to be some disposition, to come to a general agreement on the whole subject. The noble and learned Lord had stated exactly the amendments which he meant to propose. With respect to the first amendment, and as to the alterations in respect 162 of the towns specified in the second schedule of the bill, he would not go into them further than to say, that it appeared to him, that a great number of those towns were of sufficient magnitude and population to require to be governed by that which was admitted to be best for such purposes—he meant a corporate body; and with respect to leaving it to the population of the other lesser towns to apply for charters of incorporation, he must observe, that it would not be the same thing to them to grant them at once, or to leave the matter to be asked and applied for. There might be many reasons why a charter would not be asked, there were many matters which might stand in the way of an application, and on the other hand, it would be more beneficial to them that the charter should be granted in the first instance. But the great and most material amendment propounded by the noble and learned Lord, was that which had reference to an alteration of the qualification. As it at present stood in the bill, the qualification was fixed at a 5l. house, exclusive of charges which the noble and learned Lord threw in and joined with his 10l. qualification. Now, he presumed they all had the same object in view, that of giving municipal corporations fairly, and in such manner, as would give satisfaction and contentment to all parties; that they should not give amongst a great body of inhabitants a corporation either of an oligarchical or an aristocratic character; that the power should not be placed in a few hands, which, so far from giving satisfaction, would only lead to a renewal, a re-opening, and a re-agitation of this question. Meaning, therefore, on all sides to settle this subject, the plan to be pursued, he apprehended, should be that which really would be satisfactory, and all this would depend on the nature of the qualification, the number admitted, and the number excluded. If the number admitted was small, no satisfaction or settlement would follow. The noble and learned Lord admitted, that the qualification in Ireland ought not to be higher than it was in England. Now, he would take leave to ask, whether, considering the relative situation of the two countries, their relative condition as to wealth and poverty, it was really fair, that the qualification should be of the same value? It ought to be considered how far the same qualification that suited a wealthy country was 163 applicable to a poor country. He would not, however, discuss the matter further until the House went into Committee, and the amendment came regularly under consideration. Those amendments, involving rents and rates, and value, were rather puzzling, and it was not very easy to steer clearly through them, until details were arrived at, as they would be in Committee. Then it certainly would be matter for serious consideration, whether the qualification as sent up from the other House of Parliament, and as it stood now in the bill, was not the best that could be devised, and whether it would not be both wise and prudent to adhere to it.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, it was most gratifying to him to see that the differences of opinion which had existed on the subject, were now, in so great a measure, removed. From what had transpired here now, and elsewhere formerly, he presumed, that the point of difference was narrowed to the question of franchise. That being the case he should be exceedingly sorry if the present Session were allowed to terminate without such an arrangement of the subject as would insure to Ireland the benefits of municipal reform. Not having heard the proposals intended to be made Until he heard them to-night, it was possible he might have misunderstood his noble and learned Friend; but if he were not mistaken, there appeared to be no great difference between the opinions of his noble and learned Friend, and those he entertained on this subject. He held that the establishment of a 5l. franchise would, in itself, be monstrous, and in that the Government must acquiesce, when they, in framing the Poor-law Bill, provided that a person possessed of so small a property as a 5l. value, was of so low a description as to be entitled to be freed from the payment of all rates under that bill. Ministers having acted so, was it possible that they would now, in attempting to carry this bill, require that the 5l. franchise should be maintained? From everything that had taken place elsewhere, as well as from the good sense of the noble Lords opposite, he was led to hope, that they would not make a stand upon this point. The only question which remained as to this bill was, how the 10l. qualification was to be formed. He confessed, that what he considered a bonâ fide 10l. qualification, which was the same as that which qualified persons to vote for 164 Members of Parliament, was not to be retained with the addition of the rating under the Poor-law Bill, because the effect of that would be to raise the franchise higher than it was in England and Scotland. It was admitted by all who had taken part in the discussions on this subject, that such a qualification should not be required. If the same description of qualification which existed as regarded the voters under the Reform Bill in Ireland should be adopted with the additional taxation under the Poor-law Bill, it would raise the qualification higher than any one party wished it to be. His noble and learned Friend had shown, that was not what he wanted, but that, as it appeared to him, the rating to the poor, the amount of repairs and insurance, should be added to make up the qualification; but he feared, that it would be difficult to arrive at a perfect knowledge of what the landlords paid for repairs and insurances. He confessed, that he preferred what he considered to be a bonâ fide qualification, a fixed amount, because, then there would be no difficulty in arriving at the reasons for registering individuals. He wished to see a qualification laid down, about which there could be no mistake; that was to say, if it were nominally below 10l., and if such an amount was capable of being made out by those expenses on the premises, whether paid by landlord or tenant, which must be paid, and also the rating under the Poor-law Bill, it would amount to a bonâ fide qualification. He agreed with his noble and learned Friend, that the number of towns mentioned in Schedules A and B was too large, but he was also of opinion that the number in Schedule A alone was too small. His anxious wish had been to see all those towns which at the time of the union were considered to be of sufficient size to return Members to Parliament, should at once have Municipal Corporations given to them, and that all the other towns in Schedule B should have the power of applying for the institution of corporations with the consent of a majority of their inhabitants. Upon that point he imagined that there could be very little difference of opinion among their Lordships, and should that point be so settled, there would be then little or no difference on the further arrangements of the bill. He must say, that he felt some objection to one proposition which he understood 165 his noble and learned Friend to make, namely, that for depriving the municipal bodies of the power of appointing their own constables and watch. He trusted the noble Viscount would allow the amendments to be printed before any further proceedings took place, that their Lordships might have a fair opportunity of considering them, and he also trusted, that their Lordships would come to the consideration of the bill with a desire to bring the question to a satisfactory settlement.
§ Lord Portman
suggested, that the net annual value being ascertained, certain deductions should be made from it. In considering whether the sum was 8l. 5s., or 10l., it was most important that the House should recollect that the object was to get rid of this question, that it might not be perpetually brought before their Lordships. He begged to remind their Lordships that the franchise laid down by the 9th of George 4th, which was an Irish act relating to the lighting and watching of the towns of Ireland, every 5l. occupier was a rated inhabitant. If they decided, that only a certain number of towns should have charters under this bill, and that certain other towns should have them by the choice of a majority of the inhabitants, they should take care that they did not hold out inducements to those towns to prefer the 9th of George 4th, to that bill which they were about to pass, a preference which their Lordships could scarcely wish to see given.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
had thought it better, before going into Committee, to state his general views of the subject, and he now thought it would be better to go into Committee at once, than to discuss the points which would still remain to be contested in Committee.
§ House went into Committee.
§ On Clause 4,
§ Lord Lyndhurst proposed to insert, after the words, "in any borough," the words "in the said Schedule A."
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
inquired, whether the noble and learned Lord intended to have two distinct Schedules? He apprehended, that the first thing to be decided was, the manner in which the towns were to be enfranchised, and next, how many?
§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, the sole question was, whether a portion, or the whole of the towns in the two Schedules was to be 166 taken. The amendment, it was clear, bad reference to Schedule A, which was at the end of the bill, and it would be competent for any noble Lord to take any town out of it, or to put others into it. His object was, that some of the towns in Schedule B, should not have corporations forced upon them, as it were, by this bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ On Clause 6,
§ Lord Lyndhurst
proposed to strike out the words, "rated to the relief of the poor," for the purpose of adding after the words "of the—" the words "yearly value of not less than 10l., to be ascertained and determined as hereinafter mentioned." The operative words he proposed were—"and that such yearly value be ascertained and determined in manner following and not otherwise; that is to say, such value shall be composed of the net annual value of the premises occupied by the persons, and rated as they are hereby required under an act passed for the relief of the poor in the present Session of Parliament, and of the landlord's repairs and insurance, as estimated and stated in such rate."
§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, the landlord was obliged to keep his tenements in a necessary state of repair, in order to command a rent for them. The principle was the principle of rating laid down in Poulett Scrope's bill, and that principle would be the test of value under the Irish Poor-law bill. He merely proposed to make the value in Ireland conform to that which was the practical value in England. Whatever dues were paid by either landlord or tenant, the question was, what was the value of the property let by the landlord? What did it fetch in the market? The rent paid by the tenant might include all rates and taxes which were actually paid by the landlord, and all other expenses were included in the qualification, which, according to the phrase of Poulett Scrope's bill, were necessary to enable the landlord to command the rent.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, that it was proposed that the franchise should be 10l., estimated and tested as it was in England, and placed on the same footing as the 167 parliamentary franchise in England. What more could be required?
said, the bill, in its original form, would give the franchise to a large class of persons in Ireland, who ought to be in possession of it; not to a mob as they had been styled, but to a class of not unrespectable persons. He considered that the 5l. franchise was not too low, and he should therefore support the bill in the shape in which it had come up from the other House.
§ Their Lordships divided on the amendment:—Contents 96; Not Contents 36:—Majority 60.168
|List of the CONTENTS.|
|Hertford||Camden (Earl of Brecknock)|
|Harrington||Stewart of Garlies (Earl of Galloway)|
|Eldon||Meldrum (Marquess of Huntley)|
|Melville||Penshurst (Viscount Strangford)|
|Clinton||Melrose (Earl of Hadington)|
|Willoughby de Broke|
|St. David's (Bishop of)||Hereford (Bishop of)|
|Sidmouth||Derry (Bishop of)|
|Falmouth||Howard de Walden|
|Stuart de Rothesay||Dinorben|
§ Viscount Melbourne
stated, that as he considered the opinion of the House to have been decidedly expressed by the late division, it was not his intention to occupy their Lordships' time by taking any farther division in regard to the qualification.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
concurred with his noble Friend near him, in the inexpediency of taking any further division in regard to the qualification; but even admitting, that the qualification in the bill, as sent up from the other House was not 169 exactly that which ought to be adopted, still he considered, that that which the noble and learned Lord had proposed to substitute was not the best, and that the mode proposed for ascertaining the value was liable to serious objections, and would act very unequally.
§ Clause as amended agreed to.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
then said, that as his two principal amendments had been disposed of, he would propose to print the others, and to take the discussion on them on the consideration of the report. Such, he conceived to be the most advisable course, as sufficient time would then be given to allow those amendments to be fully considered by their Lordships.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
begged to ask the noble and learned Lord what he proposed to do with the schedules.
§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, he proposed to retain schedule A and omit schedule B, and it would then be competent for any noble Lord to propose to add to or to take from schedule A such towns as they might see fit. The question would then be opened as to what towns the provisions of the bill should be extended to. By the qualification he had proposed a constituency would be given to some of the towns of not less than 16,000 persons, and in none would the constituency be less than about 700, whereas in many of the towns in England the constituency was so low as from 200 to 300. He would state the authority on which that calculation was made when they discussed the question on the bringing up of the report. His next amendment related to trustees, and in regard to trustees he proposed, that no Catholic should be appointed a trustee for Protestant purposes.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
saw no objection to the amendment of the noble and learned Lord, and the only question about which there could be any difficulty was, what were to be considered "Protestant purposes."
§ Lord Lyndhurst
said, his next amendment related to the watch. He proposed to omit all the clauses relating to watching and to make the constabulary force the only police force in the different towns to which the operation of the bill would extend, thus placing the appointment and control of the police in the hands of the Government. Then, again, he proposed, that the clauses of the Boundary Bill should be introduced into a 170 schedule of the bill, instead of having a separate bill on that subject. Such were the chief amendments which he intended to propose, and, if their Lordships agreed with him in opinion, he should move, that they be printed.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ The House resumed, bill, with amendments, reported.