HL Deb 14 August 1848 vol 101 cc124-6

moved the Second Reading of the Bill, and briefly explained the objects of it, the chief of which was to extend the time for paying the borough rates and taxes six months. By the present system the very class of voters whom their Lordships should wish most to see on the lists were excluded.


did not think the noble Lord ought to press the measure then upon their Lordships, for although the House was well and respectably attended, it was not fully attended. The noble Lord, besides, had shown no solid ground of complaint against the present system. The object of his Bill was to make ail alteration of six months in the payment of the rates; but he (the Duke of Wellington), for one, could not consent to it, and he really thought the noble Lord ought not to press his Motion.


had listened with the most profound respect to the noble Duke, but could not agree with him as to his objections to this Bill. He had ever conceived that this imperative rule for payment of rates, even where not called for, was a defect in the Reform Bill. He was strongly opposed to organic changes; but the present Bill only proposed to make a reasonable change.


had ever considered the regular payment of rates, as enacted by the Reform Bill, the test of a voter's respectability. His chief objection, however, was to proceed with such a measure at such a period of the Session, when it was clearly impossible that it could be duly considered. He therefore trusted the noble Lord would accede to the suggestion of the noble Duke.


said, that if this was merely a matter of speculation, and not a grievance constantly and practically felt, he should agree with the noble Lord. It was notorious that in several parishes the collectors abstained from calling on the more respectable inhabitants until late in the season, as they knew that they could readily obtain the rates; and the result was that this class of persons were constantly disfranchised. This Bill more particularly affected the House of Commons, and as it had been sent up from that place, he thought that the House should adopt it. He denied the assertion that there was not a sufficient attendance of Peers to justify their passing such a Bill at that period of the Session.


denied that this Bill merely affected the House of Commons, for the state of the constituency was a most important constitutional question. The truth was, that the House of Commons was in the habit of sending up a number of Bills at the end of the Session, which had been introduced by private Members of Parliament, and not by the Government. It was, therefore, too much to call upon that House at once to sanction such measures, without affording time for considering what was best for the country. He objected to the Bill on the grounds urged by his noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington), that this Bill affected to afford relief where there was no real ground of complaint, and also as it had been brought forward at such a late period of the Session.


regretted that he could not accede to the request of the noble Duke.

Bill read 2a

House adjourned.