HL Deb 25 July 1839 vol 49 cc747-65

Viscount Melbourne moved the Order of the Day for the Committee on the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill.

Lord Fitzgerald and Vesey

rose to move, that it be an instruction to the Committee to transfer Galway from Schedule A to Schedule B. He did it in accordance with the prayer of a petition which he presented on Tuesday last, agreed to at a meeting at Galway, at which there was but one dissentient. The petitioners prayed to be exempted altegethe from the operation of this bill; or in the event of that prayer not being complied with, then that the boundary of the borough under the bill might be limited to the town of Galway itself. The inhabitants of Galway now enjoyed, under two local Acts, almost all the privileges that would be given them by this bill—all, in fact, that was necessary for the internal government of the town, the administration of the city, and of the harbour dues; and the only result of giving them a corporation under the Act would be to put them to an expence of 5,000l. per annum, without any corresponding advantages. They could still have a charter of incorporation, should they afterwards require it. The noble Lord concluded by moving the instruction.

Viscount Melbourne

doubted whether the petition and the letter referred to by the noble Lord afforded sufficient evidence of the wishes of the inhabitants of Galway to justify their Lordships in acceding to the motion of the noble Lord, even if their Lordships were to agree to comply with the wish of the inhabitants when fully and satisfactorily made known.

The Earl of Wicklow

did not think the noble Lord had adduced sufficient evidence of the wishes of the people of Galway to justify their Lordships in acceding to the motion. He thought, however, that the second prayer of the petitioners might fairly be complied with. Nothing could be more unfair than to give a new corporation the power to tax portions of the county for the support of the town, under a new arrangement of the boundaries. With reference to the motion of the noble Lord, he must protest against it; but, at the same time he wished that a provision were introduced into the bill, by which a majority of the inhabitants of any town might secure the exclusion of their borough from the operation of the Act, if they did not desire to have a corporation. He thought that towns should have the option of being made corporate or not; but, at the same time they should also be placed in such a sitution as that they might be placed in schedule B, if they were so disposed.

The Duke of Wellington

said, that this measure had been introduced under an impression that it would be acceptable to the people of Ireland, and would be most anxiously looked for. It appeared, however, that that was not at all the case; but, on the contrary, that it was looked upon as a burden to be imposed upon, and as a duty required of them.

Viscount Melbourne

said, he did not agree that it was a burden upon the people of Ireland. It certainly, however, was a duty which would be required of them. His idea was, that if this motion were adopted, there would be other petitions from Galway, expressing dissatisfaction at the course which had been adopted.

Instruction agreed to.

Lord Lyndhurst

said, that as it was his intention to propose several amendments to this bill, he thought he should best consult the convenience of their Lordships by pursuing the course which he had adopted during the last Session, and to state, in the first instance, the general nature and scope of the amendments which it was his intention to bring under the attention of the House. He thought, that in pursuing that course, he should render himself more intelligible than by stating the different amendments successively in Committee. Before he proceeded to state what the nature of the amendments was, however, he begged that he might be allowed for a few moments to advert to what had fallen from his noble and learned Friend opposite (Lord Brougham) on a former night—he meant the most forcible observations which had been made by the noble and learned Lord with respect to the delay which had occurred in the coming up of this bill from the other House of Parliament. Those remarks had led him to inquire more particularly into the proceedings of the other House of Parliament with respect to this bill, and he thought that they disclosed a case of so much negligence on the part of the Government, that he thought he should not be excused if he omitted to present them in some little detail to their consideration. This bill had been adverted to in her Majesty's Speech from the Throne on the first day of the Session. It was there described as a question of great importance, which deeply affected the interests of Ireland, and under such circumstances he would have supposed, that it would have been prepared before the meeting of Parliament, so to be laid on the Table of this House, or of the House of Commons, on the first day of the Session, and more particularly as the attention of her Majesty's Ministers had been directed to the subject for four or five years, and as the subject had been repeatedly discussed both in this and the other House of Parliament. It was not, however, until the 19th of February that the bill was laid on the Table of the other House; and the second reading was not fixed until the 8th of March. Nearly one month, therefore, elapsed between the time of the introduction of the bill, and its being read a second time. After the bill had passed its second reading, the 22d of March was named as the day on which it would be discussed; but when that day arrived, it was passed over the Easter holidays and was fixed for the 15th of April; so that before any substantial step was taken on the measure, three months had elapsed from the meeting of Parliament. On the 15th of April, what took place? It was postponed until the 18th, and then on the 18th, from that day to the 19th, and then on the 19th what took place? It was to be observed, that for all these steps the Ministers were responsible, for it was for them to carry it through the House; but on the 19th of April the House of Commons went into Committee pro formâ, not for the purpose of discussing the bill, as originally proposed, but to receive thirty-four clauses, which ought to have been made part of the original measure—so that the bill for the purpose of discussion, was not ready until the 19th of April. What followed then? It was necessary that the amendments should be printed, and the 3rd of May was appointed for the discussion of the amendments. What then took place? The clauses were not printed, and their consideration was postponed until the 10th of May. What happened on that day? The amendments were not printed, and a fur- ther postponement took place to the 17th of May. The amendments were still unprinted, although the matter was in the hands of the Government, and the Government printer was employed, and the 31st of May was then fixed. The subject then again came on, and their Lordships would be astonished to hear that the amendments were not printed on that day; and then the 7th of June was named for the discussion. On the 6th of June, the day before the debate upon the question was to come on, for the first time the printed papers were circulated among the Members of Parliament; and it being impossible then to discuss the amendments, the subjects was again put off until the 21st of June. It was then finally postponed, he believed, without any reason at all, until the 28th of June. Two or three days at most before that day, an intimation was given by her Majesty's Ministers that they meant really to proceed with the discussion according to the appointment. There had at that time been so much delay in the progress of the measure, that it was supposed by some, that it had been given up for the Session, and there were many even who supposed that some motive existed which induced the Government to go on with it on that day; and he found that on the 21st June a very singular paragraph was inserted in a newspaper which was supposed to be the agent of the person who was supposed to conduct the affairs of Ireland indirectly through the medium of her Majesty's Ministers. The paragraph was as follows:— Nearly five months of the Parliamentary Session have passed, and no one measure of general public benefit has been carried. That was introductory. The public and the well-wishers of the Government begin to ask anxiously what is become of the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill. It would be shocking in the extreme to have the existence of the condemned Tory corporations prolonged for another year. This appeared in the paper on Friday the 21st June. It would arrive in London on the Monday following, and either on the Tuesday or the Wednesday an intimation was given on the part of the Government that they meant really to proceed with the bill. Their Lordships, therefore, would not be surprised if some persons did draw inferences, that although it had not been the intention of the Government to proceed with this measure, this intimation might have led the Government to bring it forward. At last it went into committee. A few clauses were considered then, and on the 4th of July, on its being again committed, the remaining 250 clauses of the measure, although three divisions took place, were disposed of in the course of four or five hours—a bill of the most intricate nature, requiring the greatest care, and of the greatest importance to the people of Ireland, was disposed of in the course of four or five hours. Some persons had supposed that the Government were not very desirous that this bill should pass during the Session, and that it was not very disagreeable to them that this grievance or supposed grievance of Tory corporations should continue for another year. He was sure, with reference to the character of the ministry, that they could not desire this; but this he must say, that a greater degree of supineness—a greater degree of negligence, a greater degree of feebleness in legislation altogether had never been exhibited on any former occasion by any government of this country. Now as to the measure itself. He had from the beginning looked at it with fear and anxiety. The Tory or Protestant corporations of Ireland were originally established for the purpose of maintaining the Protestant interest in that country. They were formed professedly and avowedly for that purpose. It was said, that their powers had been abused, and that they ought to be abolished. He did not mean to deny, that in so many corporations, and in so long a time, abuses might have crept in; but he did say, that upon investigation it was found, that the accounts which had been given were much exaggerated. They ought to be changed, and he should feel most anxious and ready for that change, if he felt that it was impossible to establish something like neutral institutions in their stead; if he thought it would be possible to re-establish institutions which should be neutral upon the point of religion, and of the politics of the country, he should be most eager for the change. But it was impossible to expect such a result; and any man who indulged in such anticipations must indulge largely in fancy. If this bill passed in its present state, he would take upon himself to say that, except in the northern province of Ireland, there would be in every town a Radical and Roman Catholic mayor, a Radical, and Roman Catholic town-council, Radical and Roman Catholic magistrates; and he asked the House, when they considered that every day the police of the country was becoming more and more Roman Catholic, and when they looked at the state of the populace of the large towns of Ireland, what would be the effect of any excitement which might take place? He contended that the effect of the bill would be by degrees to root out the Protestant interest in the greater part of Ireland. To advert to another means by which great discouragement was held out by the Government to the Protestant interest by another Act lately passed, he had attended in some degree to a question a little connected with this. He meant the course pursued with respect to the elections of the guardians of the poor in Ireland, and he was informed, from good authority, that in many districts these elections had been conducted under the direct influence of the Roman Catholic priesthood. Lists had been formed, and meetings bad been held, at which the Roman Catholic priests were frequently themselves in the chair presiding. It had been said, This is the list which we have chosen; you may select other persons, perhaps, equal in point of merit to those in this list; but unanimity is essential to success, and we must not deviate from it. And the result had been, that the list made out had been adopted, and in more than one instance the altar itself had been profaned, in order to secure the object in view. But did he derive any encouragement from looking at the case of England? What had taken place only a few days ago, in a town in the very centre of this island, would not induce him to look with great confidence to a Radical corporation in Ireland, consisting of a Radical town-council and Radical ministers of justice. He should not, however, act consistently with the course which he had formerly pursued, if he opposed this measure upon these grounds only. He was desirous that this bill should go into committee, and be there investigated; but if it should turn out on the introduction of these amendments, which, in conjunction with some of his noble Friends, he meant to propose, that they should be rejected, and the bill should come out of committee unchanged on the points to which he objected, he should vote against its third reading. Having now stated his objections, he begged to call the attention of the House to nature of the amendments which he tended to propose. They were not so extensive as those which he had introduced in the last Session, and for this reason, that the other House of Parliament, at the suggestion of her Majesty's Ministers, had adopted many of those which he had proposed. The first amendment, that which was most material of all, which he intended to introduce to the notice of the House, was one as to the qualification, and was the same which had been adopted during the last Session. It was that the qualification should be the occupation of a House of the yearly value of 10l. It was not his intention to recede from that point; their Lordships had fixed the amount of the value after some deliberation, and they intended to adhere to it. It was requisite, that the valuation should be fixed by some test which should be satisfactory for the purpose of ascertaining the bonâ fide and fair value. A noble Duke, a few years ago, when the bill for the reform of Irish municipal corporations had been rejected, had stated, that he hoped that on some future occasion, when the Poor-law Bill should be passed, that a plan would be adopted by means of rating. Now the meant in their amendments to adopt this test:—If the party were rated for his house and property to the amount of 10l., according to the value which was fixed by the commissioners, and paid the rates, he should then be entitled to be a burgess, and to be enrolled. They considered, that as a party had a pecuniary interest to keep the rate as low as possible, this was the best check which could be adopted in Ireland for the purpose of rendering the valuation perfect; and at the same time they placed great reliance on the integrity of those persons to whom the important duty of valuation was entrusted. There was one point, however, which was very material for the consideration of the House. They would say that all that could be done was to take the valuation according as it was stated. That, however, would not answer the purpose. In this country the revising barristers, whether rightly or wrongly it was immaterial to inquire, had acted on a different principle. They had taken the rate on the supposition, that the landlord's repairs and insurance were paid by the landlord. It was said, that they should in this case take the valuation of the commissioners under the Poor-law; but if they did that, it would give a higher Parliamentary franchise in Ireland than existed here. For the purpose, therefore, of getting rid of all objections and cavils, he would put the Parliamentary franchise in England and Ireland on the same footing, and if the amount of the valuation, as found by the Poor-law commissioners, together with those repairs which were paid by the landlord, and the insurance, should be 10l., then the party should be entitled to be enrolled, and by adopting that principle the holder of a tenement of the value of 10l. in Ireland would acquire the right which was admitted by the revising barristers in England. This was all that he had to say on that part of the qualification; bat if their Lordships looked at the bill, they would find, that the pecuniary qualification was only to last for three years, and at the expiration of that time a new qualification was immediately to come into action, which was the occupying for three years, and being rated and paying rates for three years, for a house of any value at all, the amount of rating being immaterial. He objected entirely to that qualification. If it should become necessary at any future period to make any alteration in the qualification, let them make it at the time when the facts were before them, and when they were able to form correct judgments as to the propriety of the alteration. Let them not legislate by anticipation. It was unwise to pursue such a course, and he was quite satisfied, that their Lordships would agree with him, that this part of the measure should be rejected. Now, having stated this, which was the most material and vital part of the bill, he should direct their attention to the other points which were important. First, with respect to the sheriffs; the appointment of the sheriffs in the counties of cities and counties of towns in Ireland—he said, that the appointment of sheriffs should be the same in such cases as in counties generally. According to this bill, it was proposed, that three persons should be recommended by the town-council, and if the lord-lieutenant should not be satisfied, three others should be selected. He wished to have the opinion of the lord-lieutenant in such cases, but he certainly thought that the town council was unfitted to perform such a duty as was desired to be conferred upon them. He should, therefore, propose, that the appointment of sheriffs in the counties of cities and counties of towns should take place in the same manner as in the counties of Ireland generally. The next point was as to the charity trustees. He approved of the general course as it stood; but he proposed one or two exceptions, arising out of particular circumstances. There were two schools in Dublin—the Blue-coat school and Erasmus Smith's school—which were founded by Protestants for Protestant purposes; and he said, therefore, that they should be under the care of Protestant trustees. The same principle had been applied to a school in Lincolnshire, and the amendment which he should propose would correspond exactly with the case of Louth, which had terminated so advantageously. Another point to which he would refer was the compensation clauses. When the Legislature deprived persons of their offices, to which they were legally entitled, which they had long held, and by which they had formed a connexion, it was the duty of the Government to give an indemnity to the parties called upon to make the sacrifice. He approved of the clause in the bill with one exception. What he proposed was, the minutes of the Treasury, on which this compensation had been given under the English Corporation Bill, should be introduced into that bill, to form a guide for the commissioners who were to award compensation under that bill. The next point he wished to mention was the grand jury presentments. On the same 19th of April to which he had already referred, thirty-four new clauses were introduced, several of which related to this subject, and which transferred from the grand jury to the town council the power of raising assessments. He objected to these clauses; they were not in the former bill, and there was not time in the period which remained of the present Session to enter into a minute examination of this point. If a change were desirable, a bill might be brought in next Session, directed to that object alone. Another objection that he had was, that there existed some checks to the present system; the presentments might be traversed; they required the fiat of a judge; there were other checks which were not adopted in that bill. He should object, therefore, to those clauses, and should propose to cut them out. Again, as to the grants of the new charters, what Lad taken place ill Manchester and in Birmingham had rendered a consideration of the circumstances of the grants necessary. The principle on which a charter was granted in England was that it was given upon an application of the inhabitants. Did that mean a majority of the inhabitants? With respect to Birmingham, the charter was granted on the petition of only 1,700 of the inhabitants. [The Marquess of Lansdowne: They were a majority of those who had expressed any opinion.] It was a matter of grave consideration whether this was a compliance with the Act of Parliament. What he proposed was, that it should be declared, that the grant should be made on the application of a majority of the inhabitant householders. Then it was not reasonable, that a mere majority of the inhabitant householders should have the authority of imposing permanent charges on the town; the power ought to be confined to the more substantial householders, and he would propose, that the application should be by a majority of the inhabitants rated at such a rate as would entitle them to vote as burgesses if the corporation were granted. It was necessary also to provide for a contingency. Some of the corporate towns were included in Schedule B, and might not apply for a corporation; some of these towns were possessed of property, and provision must be made for the management of that property. By the bill of the last Session it was proposed, that this should be done by commissioners, elected by persons having the same qualification as those entitled to vote as burgesses, but by the present bill the House of Commons had said, that the property was to be managed by commissioners elected under the act 9th George 4th. He objected to that proposal, because the qualification for a vote for the commissioners would only amount in value to 5l., and he thought that they would be more respectable if they confined the right to the inhabitants of houses of 10l. He had stated shortly the general nature of the amendments which he proposed. These amendments were simple, but he must state also that the consequent alterations of the details would run to a great length, and he had put their Lordships in possession of the scope of his amendments, that when the details were before them the alterations might be easily apprehended. If their Lordships should adopt these alterations, he for one would cordially support the third reading of the bill; but if, on the other hand, their Lordships should be of opinion that these amendments were not proper to be received, and if the bill, after it had passed through committee, should remain in anything like its former state, he should feel it his duty, with many noble Lords on that side of the House, to give to the bill on its third reading his warmest the and most strenuous opposition.

Lord Brougham

, after much consideration on what had passed both this year and last year, remained of the same opinion as last year, and differed entirely from his noble and learned Friend. In the first part of his noble and learned Friend's statement he concurred; he meant as to the length of time which had elapsed from the beginning of the Session to the 28th of June, when the bill was effectually proceeded with. Still their Lordships had time, though late, to give full attention to the details of this bill; but it did not follow that they would have the same power to attend to others. He thought that his noble and learned Friend had taken a convenient course, by stating generally, before they went into Committe, his objections to the scheme. The first objection of his noble and learned Friend seemed to be against the granting of corporations altogether; but he did not understand that the noble Lord carried his opinion so far as his argument would lead. But then the noble and learned Lord said, that they would have a Roman Catholic and a Radical Mayor; but the word "radical" seemed only flung in for the purpose of rounding the sentence; the great objection seemed to be against the Roman Catholic—that they would have a Roman Catholic and Radical Corporation, and a Roman Catholic and Radical Magistracy. He much feared that this evil—if it were an evil—was essentially inherent to the circumstances of the case. It would be the result, not of that bill, but of any measure, of any organization whatever, and of any machinery they could invent, more or less of a popular nature; it must depend on the proportion of the sects in religion, and of the parties in politics, which might be found to exist. The reason why they would have a Roman Catholic Corporation was because the number of Roman Catholics was as six or seven to one of the Protestants; and if they gave a right of voting the majority must turn the election. His noble and learned Friend hoped to find somebody neutral in religion and in politics. Now, a neutral in religion was a very odd sort of being; he must be neither of one religion nor of another. A neutral in religion meant an Atheist. He could neither be a Catholic nor a Protestant, nor a member of the Greek or of the Lutheran Church, and he for one did not much expect to see such a person. A neutral in politics was a much more desirable person, but not much more likely to be found. If they found a neutral in religion, they ought to guard him, by shutting him up in a cage; but if they found a neutral in politics, he was so rare, that they ought to preserve him in a museum; for he had never seen so rare an animal in any been the curator. If they wished to make these religious conflicts less numerous, their Lordships ought not to recognise them; for if they farmed any measure purposely to meet differences in religion, they would be sure, as an inevitable consequence to perpetuate them; they would experience the same consequence as had arisen from their past impolicy; they would have a perpetuation of religious jars, because they would have that sanction of the Legislature which it would, in fact, give whilst it pretended to withhold it; just as if they treated a man or a woman as an abandoned character, that man or woman would be anxious to show that they would not be treated so for nothing, and, therefore, become what they were presumed. In proceeding then with legislative measures, he thought that they ought to proceed just as if no differences existed. The present bill took an 8l. franchise; the noble and learned Lord would take a 10l., allowing certain deductions. It would not make 2l. difference; nor 1l. He did not believe that it would include more that 15s. or 16s.; and he would ask the noble and learned Lord whether it were worth to enter upon a conflict with the people in Ireland, and with the other House of Parliament, for a difference of less than 20s.? For himself he was inclined to go further than the franchise proposed; he thought that the household suffrage existing in England should be adopted in this bill. But it should be recollected that an 8l. house in Ireland was of greater comparitive rent that the same sized house in England; it was equal to a 12l. or a 14l. house here; and this bill fixed that as a minimum, whilst here there was no such thing. Therefore, if this bill were liable to exception, it was not for fixing the franchise too low, but too high. The next point to which his noble and learned Friend had referred was relative to the time—to the period of three years after which the household qualification was to come into force. It certainly was not very usual to legislate for the future in the way proposed by this bill; but it might be reasonable under the peculiar circumstances of the case. It was proposed that the house must be rated; and he understood that for some time there would be no means of applying this test; and because the rating would not come into immediate operation, the period of three years had been selected, before the English franchise should be introduced. That seemed a sufficient answer to that portion of his noble and learned Friend's speech. The next point referred to related to the appointment of the sheriffs; and as far as the English practice went they had local sheriffs elected by the corporate towns. The sheriffs of London were elected by the corporation and not by the power of the Crown; and they exercised this anomalous power; that there was no sheriff of Middlesex appointed by the Crown, but the two sheriffs of London acted as sheriff of Middlesex. He did not see any great objection to this in point of principle. With regard to the magistrates his noble and learned Friend said, that from what had happened in the centre of this island he objected to the appointment of magistrates. But he did not think that this was so much owing to the system as to an indiscreet and imprudent choice. He did not intend any personal disrespect to the Gentlemen nominated, but it happened that they had committed themselves with respect to the employment of physical force; and though he had the moral conviction that they were the very persons to put the law in force with the greatest rigour, according to the old proverb that they would use as much force one way as they had used the other, and so make the balance even, yet the objection to the appointment of such men was that the people would not be persuaded that they would not omit to punish lawless individuals. But that was not the fault of the system; it was an im- prudent appointment. With respect to granting charters on the application of the inhabitants, he thought that there might be good ground for stating in the bill how the sense of the people should be taken, but he hoped that his noble and learned Friend would reconsider the question, because he did not think that it would ever do to give the power to a majority of the 10l. householders; it must be a majority of the inhabitants assembled at a public meeting. On these grounds, with the exception of the last amendment, he held the same opinion touching his noble and learned Friend's alteration as he held a year ago. He earnestly hoped that this would be the last time that he would have to trouble their Lordships on the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill; the very name was rendered tedious by the length of time the measure had been before Parliament. He did hope that their Lordships would come to some determination on a measure which he himself thought to be of much importance, and which others, by thinking it much more important than he did, had perhaps rendered it of more importance than it really was; and that they would finally put the measure in such a train as to afford a reasonable hope of seeing it, once for all, brought to a satisfactory adjustment. If some of the alterations suggested by the noble and learned Lord were made, he did not think they they would endanger the measure elsewhere; but he feared that if all the alterations were introduced, they would endanger its success, and he looked upon them, therefore, as tending to perpetuate those acrimonious feelings which all men wished to see put in a train of settlement.

The Earl of Wicklow

did not think that the amount of the noble and learned Lord's amendment was sufficient to cause the rejection of this bill. What the amount of the repairs and insurances was he was not prepared to say, nor had the noble and learned Lord stated it, but he was very much disposed to think that it would make but a small difference between the 8l. stated in the bill, and the undefined sum proposed by the noble and and learned Lord. If the difference were small, great inconvenience would be made by the intended change; there would be a clear and definite qualification if they took the 8l. according to the valuation of the Poor-law Commissioners; whereas if they went into the calculations proposed by the noble and learned Lord, new valuers must he appointed to ascertain the value for the franchise, and there would be three distinct qualifications—one for the poor-rates, another for the elective, and a third for the municipal franchise. For these reasons he thought it inconvenient to make the proposed change. He thought that the qualifiontion in Dublin ought to be higher than in other towns, and he would support such an alteration if it were proposed, but the extension of a higher qualification to all towns he would oppose. On the second objection as to an alteration of the franchise by the substitution at a future day of a three years' rating, he would support the noble and learned Lord. And with regard to sheriffs he was disposed to think that their appointment might be amended hereafter if the corporations should be found practicable, but in the first instance it would be better that the appointment should be left with the Lord-lieutenant.

Their Lordships went into Committee.

On the 21st clause,

Lord Lyndhurst moved his amendment for making the qualification 10l.

Viscount Melbourne

said, that after the clear and able manner in which this point had been argued, it was unnecessary for him to go into the general question. He would only observe that to make the qualification in the poorer boroughs and cities of Ireland the same as in the boroughs and cities of England, was equally absurd and unjust. It would have been much better for noble Lords opposite to have openly opposed the bill on general grounds; to attempt to defeat it in this manner was unwise. This was the main clause of the bill—the leading provision. He did not pretend to say what might be the consequence of their Lordships' decision; but this he was sure of, that if they wished to settle this question, they were acting in an imprudent manner to raise up obstacles to their own success. He was well assured, on the best authority, that 8l. was as good a security as good a qualification, as it was possible to obtain in Ireland under its existing circumstances. As such it had been adopted by the House of Commons; and if it were adopted by their Lordships, it would most probably bring this question to an amicable settlement; whereas he could not but think that noble Lords were acting for no wor- thy or sufficient object if they persisted in raising up difficulties in the way of what they all admitted to be desirable, the settlement of this question.

The Duke of Wellington

had always in view in making these new arrangements, that they should not make a revolution in all the towns in which these arrangements were adopted. He consented to abolish these corporations in Ireland on their existing principle, because they had hitherto been exclusively Protestant. He was desirous, that the elective principle should be applied in the formation of these new corporations, but he wished to apply the elective principle in such a manner as to have a fair and impartial administration of the government of these corporations for the benefit of all the inhabitants, and for the protection of property. He believed, that the qualification proposed by his noble and learned Friend, and the other arrangements which would be proposed in the course of the bill, might render the bill such as to give noble Lords a hope of gaining the desired object. Notwithstanding what the noble Viscount had been pleased to say on that subject, what he (the Duke of Wellington) could say was, that he had no objects in this bill which he considered otherwise than worthy objects. He wished to establish corporations which should administer the government of these towns impartially, and which should protect with impartiality persons and property, and above all, which should take care that property should not be plundered for the purposes of patronage or any other such purposes. The noble Viscount had insinuated against noble Lords on his (the Duke of Wellington's) side of the House, that they did not mean to carry the bill. He begged to submit to their Lordships the fact, that they had had this bill under consideration for a few days only. Those who had had the bill under consideration during the whole of last summer, and had had an opportunity of considering it in all its parts, and who had since had an opportunity of weighing and discussing it, and directing their attention to it, and who knew, as they must have done, the opinion of their Lordships' House on the subject, as well as the opinion of a large portion of the other House; it was they who had not meant, and who did not mean to carry it, and not the noble Lords around him. It was they who had taken no measures to modify the bill in such a manner that it should meet the support of their Lordships—it was they who did not mean to carry it. It was they who had brought the bill to their Lordship's House at a period of the Session at which it was clearly impossible to do more than discuss it in the manner in which they were discussing it now—it was they who had no intention of carrying the bill, and not the noble Lords around him. The noble Viscount would do well to pause before he brought such charges, or made such insinuations as these.

The Committe divided on the original motion:—Contents 50; Not-Contents 93: Majority 43.

List of the CONTENTS.
DUKES. Duncannon
Argyll Lismore
Somerset. Falkland.
Conyngham Ely.
Lansdowne LORDS.
Normanby Cottenham
Tavistock Poltimore
Headfort. Lurgan
EARLS. Montfort
Fitzwilliam Byron
Minto Say and Sele
Radnor Dacre
Burlington Berners
Ilchester De Freyne
Fingall Stuart de Decies
Scarborough Seaford
Charlemont Hatherton
Lichfield Barham
Spencer Colborne
Leitrim Stanley, of Alderly
Gosford Langdale
Zetland Leigh
Wicklow Carrington
Lovelace Wrottesley
Cork. Methuen
Melbourne Mostyn.
List of the NOT-CONTENTS.
ARCHBISHOPS. Cholmondeley
Canterbury Westmeath
Armagh. Ormonde.
Beaufort Devon
Buccleugh Sandwich
Dorset Shaftesbury
Wellington. Abingdon
Salisbury Morton
Abercorn Moray
Bute Haddington
Downshire Galloway
Thomond Kinnoul
Exeter Airlie
Aberdeen Canterbury.
Aylesford BISHOPS.
Warwick Lincoln
De la Warr St. David's
Bathurst Carlisle
Talbot Rochester
Beverley Exeter.
Liverpool LORDS.
Cadogan De Ros
Roden Saltoun
Clanwilliam Sinclair
Longford Colville
Bandon Sondes
Rosslyn Rodney
Wilton Carteret
Limerick Montagu
Chaleville Bayning
Manvers Carbery
Harrowby Farnham
Verulam Clonbrock
Beauchamp Redesdale
Glengall Ellenborough
Sheffield Sandys
De Grey Churchill
Eldon Prudhoe
Ripon. Colchester
VISCOUNTS. Ravensworth
Hereford Forester
Strathallan Rayleigh
Hood Bexley
Strangford Fitzgerald
De Vesci Wharncliffe
Hawarden Lyndhurst
St. Vincent Cowley
Gort Wynford.
Paired off.
Shrewsbury Caernarvon
Kintore Doneraile
Strafford Exmouth
Sherborne Bradford
Kinnaird Leven
Sefton Clare
Lovat Wallace
Camperdown Dalhousie
Sutherland Orkney
Bruce Maryborough
Crew Courtown
Yarborough Beresford
Rosebery Sydney
Petre Digby
Kenyon Erroll
Cloncurry Downes
Lynedoch Mountcashel
Portman Montrose
Roxburgbe Selkirk
Crewe Combermere
Wenlock Braybrooke
Dormer Hood
Vaux Ashburton
Segrave Falmouth
Bateman Tankerville
De Mauley Londonderry
Effingham Dunsany
Belhaven Eglington
Durham Macclesfield
Torrington Mansfield
Morley Hertford
Ducie Brownlow
Vernon Aylesbury
Craven Howe
Thanet Reay
Chichester Gage
Breadalbane Canning
Dinorben Stuart de Rothsay
Bishop of Peterborough Bishop of London
Brougham Bishop of Dromore

Bill read a third time, and passed.

The clause so amended to stand part of the bill.

A great number of other amendments were made in conformity with Lord Lyndhurst's suggestions, and the bill was ordered to be printed.

House resumed.