HL Deb 27 April 1869 vol 195 cc1677-94

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a "—(The Earl Grey.)


rose to move as an Amendment that a Select Committee be appointed to consider the state of the Representative Peerage of Scotland and Ireland, and the laws relating thereto. It was known to their Lordships that by the Act of Union Scotland was represented in that House from Parliament to Parliament. As each Parliament was summoned the Scotch Peers were called upon to return sixteen Representatives, and it was proposed by this Bill that the Scotch Representative Peers, instead of sitting in that House for the Parliament to which they were elected, should, like the Irish Representative Peers, sit for the period of their natural lives. That would male a very considerable difference in the position of each Scotch Peer, because, under such an arrangement, the other members of that Peerage would have a much less chance of becoming one of the Representative Peers than at present. In 1707, at the time of the Union when the number of Representative Peers was fixed at sixteen, there were 154 Scotch Peers on the roll, to whom nine had been afterwards added, making a total of 163. Deducting the peerages which had become extinct through want of heirs, attainder, and other ways, and which amounted to seventy-seven, there were now existing in Scotland just eighty-six peerages, of which five were vested in females. But of this number there were forty-six Scotch Peers who had seats in that House, either as Peers of England, of Great Britain, or of the United Kingdom; and as there were at this moment five Peeresses, there would remain thirty-five, who, if this Bill became law, would be without prospect, in the ordinary course of human life, of becoming Representative Peers. At the time of the Union there was great difference of opinion between the Commissioners of Scotland and the Commissioners of England as to the proportion of Members to sit in the House of Commons and also in their Lordships' House. The English Commissioners proposed thirty-eight Scotch Members for the other House; but the Scotch Commissioners objected so strongly to that limitation that the English gave way and forty-five was the number agreed upon. At the same time the Scotch Commissioners argued that if Scotland was to have forty-five representatives in the House of Commons it ought to have more than sixteen in their Lordships' House. On that point, however, the English Commissioners would not yield; and the Commissioners of Scotland, sooner than lose the union of the two countries, gave way; but the result was great dissatisfaction in the Scottish Parliament, and some very strong protests were made by the Scotch Peers at the time. The English Peerage at that period was somewhere about 180, the Peerage of Scotland numbering, as he had stated, 154. The Peerage of the United Kingdom had been greatly aug- mented since then, and one would have supposed that the Scotch Peerage would have received a corresponding increase of its representatives; but that was not so. There were many deficiencies at present in the management of the election of Scotch Peers, which called more urgently for amendment than for such an arrangement as that proposed by the noble Earl (Earl Grey). His noble Friend proposed to make eighteen Representative Peers, but he would do that by a peculiar process—namely, when by death the representation fell below sixteen, then three Peers were to be elected, and every Scotch Peer should have not only a vote for each of the three, but a cumulative vote, so as to be able to give three votes to one Peer if he chose, and not merely two to one and one to another. That was introducing certainly a very novel system of voting, and one not at all contemplated at the time of the Union. If noble Lords took the trouble to look into the record of the debates at the time, they would find that nothing of the kind was contemplated, and he thought it very important that an investigation should be had into the manner in which the proposed changes would affect the Peerage in question, and for this purpose he would move the appointment of a Select Committee.

Amendment moved, to leave out from ("that") to the end of the Motion and insert ("a Select Committee be appointed to consider the state of the Representative Peerage of Scotland and Ireland, and the laws relating thereto.")—(The Duke of Buccleuch.)


said, that he had failed to discover any reason for the appointment of this Committee, because, while he admitted that the Bill proposed to make an important change in the representation of the Scotch Peers, that change was one that could be better considered by the Whole House than by a Select Committee. Under the system of voting now existing the Scotch Peers were practically compelled to vote in favour of the policy of the party to which they owed their nomination. The least display of independence on their part might be visited upon them at the next dissolution, and might cost them their seats. Formerly, when this power was exercised by the Ministers of the Crown, some incidental advantage arose from it—objectionable as it was in principle—since it was the means of giving weight in that House to the Government of the day, which it was desirable it should possess. But for many years the system had ceased to be attended even by this advantage, since it was no longer the Government but a party which nominated these Peers, and that party of late had generally been in Opposition. He believed that Mr. Pitt was principally induced to adopt the system of life representative peerages for Ireland at the time of the Union from the experience that had been gained of the ill consequences of the other system in the case of Scotland. The inconvenience, if not the scandal, arising from this system had induced the Scotch Peers of late to agree among themselves that a Peer once returned should continue to be returned, unless extraordinary circumstances arose to justify a contrary course. The title of his measure simply described it to be a "Bill to amend the Law relating to the Election of Representative Peers"; it would consequently permit of clauses being added to meet the noble Duke's views; and, as the noble Duke had offered no arguments against the Bill, he submitted that the proper Parliamentary course would be to agree to read the Bill a second time, and then to refer it to a Select Committee, if their Lordships wished, which Committee could also consider the laws relating to the election of Peers of Scotland and Ireland, and introduce such Amendments as it deemed desirable.


supported the proposition to read the Bill the second time and then refer it to a Select Committee. He thought, however, that the most desirable course would be that some process should be devised which would establish only one Peerage for the whole of the three Kingdoms.


was strongly in favour of the second reading of the Bill, and then that it should be referred to a Select Committee to consider the clauses in detail. He agreed with the statement that every Member of that House should be an independent Member, and the manner in which, at a recent election, the majority of Scotch Peers exercised their power showed that it was expedient to change the right of Scotch elected Peers to sit in that House into a tenure for life; and he felt that if the principle of the minority vote was applicable to any case it was precisely applicable to the elections by the Scotch Peers, who were a small body, and the majority had the absolute power of excluding the minority. The noble Duke (the Duke of Buccleuch) had given—no doubt, accurately—an account of the present state of the Scotch Peerage; but, with respect to the proposition to refer the whole subject to a Select Committee, he must say he agreed with what had fallen from a noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) on a former occasion, to the effect that they should have no hole-and-corner proceedings in that House, but should conduct their business in the face of day. The whole of the Papers connected with the Scotch Peerage were on the table of the House; and could be inquired into by any Member of the House as well as by a Committee. There was nothing in this matter for a Select Committee to do which might not be done by a Committee of the Whole House.


said, the noble Earl (Earl Grey), who proposed the measure, had asked the noble Duke who moved the Amendment to accept the second reading, and send the Bill to a Select Committee. But that would be sanctioning the principle of the Bill, and leave nothing else to be done. The first question raised by this Bill was the tenure of office by the Scotch Representative Peers. The noble Earl said it was of great importance that there should be perfect independence on the part of those who sat in this House, and that that principle was seriously invaded when a Scotch Representative Peer was liable to be removed from the representation in a subsequent Parliament if he happened to give offence to those who had elected him. Now, he quite agreed in the importance of securing perfect independence in this House so far as that object could possibly be accomplished; but if they were now arguing the question for the first time, if they were embarrassed by no existing legislation with regard to Scotch and Irish Peers, but were asking what was the best rule, would their Lordships be in favour of representation for life, or representation for each Parliament? For his part he thought that nothing could be more at variance with the first principles of representation than that you should choose as your representative a person who would continue some thirty, forty, or fifty years in that capacity, although, meanwhile, you might have changed your opinion, and he might have changed his, although the whole face of nature might have been changed, the whole aspect of affairs obliterated, and another state of things have come to the surface. A certain system of choosing Representative Peers for Ireland and Scotland having been adopted at the time of the Union with England, and being now the law of the land, he thought that system ought not to be lightly altered; and there was great objection to change. But if their Lordships could see their way to alter Acts of that solemnity, and argue the question upon principle, the argument in favour of the Scotch system prevailed very much over that in favour of the Irish system. Moreover, so far from there being any reason to suppose that the choice of representatives in Scotland was exercised by the majority with anything like tyranny, he believed that instances could be given to the contrary, and that there were in this House representatives of the Scotch Peerage who might fairly say that, in their political views, they did not concur with the majority of the Scotch Peers. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) said that in former times the Scotch Peers were always reckoned on as supporters of the Crown, and that whatever Government was in commanded their votes. That, no doubt, was the state of things in the last century, and frequent accusations were then made of corrupt practices and intimidation in the choice of the Scotch Representative Peers; of letters from the Secretary of State, saying what list should be accepted and what refused; and a Bill had been introduced proposing that the ballot should be adopted in the election in order to prevent this intimidation and those corrupt practices. But when the noble Earl was obliged to confess that this state of things had passed away, and that there was not now even a rigid exercise of their right of choice on the part of the majority, what possible reason was there to depart from the system which now prevailed, and which, during the present century at least, had worked very well? Had the Scotch Peers themselves solicited this alteration? He was not aware that they had applied for it. Some individuals among them might differ in opinion as to the merits of the present system, but as a body the Scotch Peers had not asked for a change. The first part of the Bill, relating to the change of tenure, instead of being supported by argument, was, as he had said, opposed to argument. He now came to the second part of the Bill, which was really its most important part—the mode of choice both in Scotland and Ireland, and the proposal to introduce a system of cumulative voting. Even the noble Earl would admit that the first object of any system of representation was to endeavour to produce, as far as you possibly could, the same result which would be produced if you were able to consult individually the constituency which sent the representatives to Parliament. Now, in this respect, the proposal of the noble Earl might be subjected to a simple test. It was difficult to ascertain the exact numbers, but he took the number of Irish Peers to be 112, including the Representative Peers, while the number of Scotch Peers, including the Representative Peers, was sixty-four. The only reason why these 112 and these sixty-four Peers were not in their Lordships' House at this moment in their own persons was because it was supposed at the time of the two Unions that the number of the House would be unduly swollen if the whole Peerage of Scotland and Ireland were to be transferred to this House, to sit along with the Peerage of England. Fortunately, many questions were discussed in this House which were not of a party character; but if any party question were before the House, and the whole of those 112 and sixty-four Peers were present, voting per capita, would the noble Earl say, from what he knew of their political opinions, that the majority on one side would be one bit less than it would be through the votes of the Representative Peers alone? That was the whole question. If it could be shown that, in case the whole of the Peers were present, there would be a smaller majority than there would be at present—there might be some argument for changing the existing system of representation. But that could not be shown. It was said to be very unfortunate that while the representatives of the Scotch constituencies in the House of Commons supported, with trifling exceptions, the present Go- vernment, a large majority of the Scotch Representative Peers were not supporters of the Government. So far from that being an argument for a measure of this kind, he thought it conclusive against the measure. The Scotch Representative Peers did not represent the commoners of Scotland—they were represented by their own Members in the House of Commons; and because the Scotch Representative Peers belonged to one political party and the representatives of the commoners to another, that was no reason for changing the system of choosing the former. It was said that those who supported the minority vote should be strong supporters of the proposal made in the Bill with regard to the cumulative vote. Now, there was one sufficient answer to that observation. The principle of the minority vote was introduced into the representation of the House of Commons in a very isolated class of cases, upon a very small scale, and professedly as an experiment. That experiment had been tried. Had it been accepted by Parliament and the country as satisfactory? He himself (Lord Cairns) was the person who ventured to propose it in that House, and he watched with great interest the result of the experiment. He was bound, however, to say—and the confession was one which he made against himself—that, so far from the experiment having been acceptable to the Members of the party opposite, it had been denounced in most unqualified terms by many who had seats in the present Cabinet; while, as to his own political friends, there was a very great division of opinion among them, and he doubted whether, if it were new to come before the House as a new proposal, the principle of the minority vote would be adopted. But he would go further. A very strong argument in favour of the minority clause, both in that and the other House of Parliament, was that it could not be regarded as involving in any sense a party question, because probably the result of the minority vote in the "three-cornered" would be to leave each party as it was before. Could the same, he should like to know, be said of the present proposition? Why, this was avowedly a proposition to take from one side of the House a certain number of votes and to give them to the other. The principle, therefore, differed most essentially from that involved in the minority vote. The next ground, he might add, on which the minority clause was supported was that, while the number of Members in the large centres of representation were to be increased under the Reform Bill, the smaller constituencies, by means of which the opinions of the minorities in those great centres had previously been represented, were to be destroyed; and it was thought, that being so, that it was in all fairness due to those minorities that they should be afforded some chance of having their views represented under the new system. That argument, however, he contended, had no application to a case in which their Lordships were called upon to deal, not with various constituencies, but with a single body of men who had been excluded from that House simply because their presence would make its numbers too large. He wished also to observe that there was another great danger attaching to the principle embodied in the Bill. The noble Earl who brought forward the measure (Earl Grey) was obliged, in order to give effect to its principle, to increase the number of Scotch and Irish Representative Peers by adding two to the number of each; but he (Lord Cairns) could not help looking upon it as a very dangerous thing to re-open an arrangement which was made at the time when the Acts of Union were passed. The Scotch Peers at the time of the passing of the Act of Union with that country were 154 in number; the English, he believed, were 180. Now, sixteen members of the Peerage of Scotland bore a certain proportion to the 180 Peers of England; but the Peerage of England had since been increased to over 400, to which number, of course, the sixteen Representative Peers of Scotland bore nothing like the same proportion as they had done formerly to 180. Moreover, there were documents connected with the Act of Union—he was not sure that there were not expressions in the Act itself—which showed that the number of Scotch Representative Peers was fixed in a certain proportion to the number of Members for Scotland occupying seats in the House of Commons, the number of those Members having at the time of the passing of the Act been only forty-five, while it was now sixty. Now, if sixteen was the proper proportion as compared with forty-five, it would seem to follow that the number of Representative Peers must be increased in order that it should bear the same proportion as at first to the increased number of Scotch Members. On the other hand, however, there were, he thought, strong arguments against any increase in the number of Scotch Representative Peers. And there was a statement made by his noble Friend behind him (Lord Portarlington), which was, in his opinion, entitled to great weight. If any change whatsoever was to be made in the number of Representative Peers in that House, the problem which ought to present itself to their Lordships' consideration was, it seemed to him, whether that change ought not, at all events, to be made in the direction of the absorption of the Peerage of Scotland and Ireland in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. There were among the Peers of those two countries some titles of great antiquity and some illustrious names; and he must contend that it was desirable provision should be made for absorbing them in the Peerage of the United Kingdom rather than that the representative system which had hitherto prevailed should be altered. The arguments which he had urged went, he thought, entirely against the principle of the Bill; but should it be referred to a Committee there were questions deserving of consideration, with which it did not deal, which might well form the subject of inquiry. Among them was the question to which his noble Friend had referred, as to whether a Representative Peer who happened to obtain a peerage of the United Kingdom should still be regarded as a Representative Peer. There was also the question as to what should be the rules laid down, in the case of a Member of that House who had a peerage both in England and Scotland, as to his right to vote for a Representative Peer for Scotland. Those were matters with which any Committee to whom the subject might be referred might with advantage deal. But he must, in conclusion, beg their Lordships not to approve the principle of a measure which proposed to effect a great and important change in a system established by the Act of Union—a change which, in his opinion, would not be an improvement, but the reverse.


said, that there was a great discrepancy between the speech of the noble and learned Lord and that of the noble Duke who had preceded him on the same side of the House (the Duke of Buccleuch); for, while the speech of the noble Duke was in favour of inquiry, and in no way in opposition to the principle of the Bill, the noble and learned Lord had spoken strongly against that principle. Indeed, the noble and learned Lord was so carried away by his dislike of the Bill that he did not hesitate to speak disparagingly of the principle of the representation of minorities which he had so powerfully advocated only two years ago, and in support of which he, too (the Earl of Airlie), had recorded his vote. That change in the noble and learned Lord's (Lord Cairns) views led him to hope that the House might, at some future time, have the advantage of his eloquence in advocating other measures which he now opposed. The noble Duke had said that, instead of dealing with the Bill at once, there ought to be a preliminary Committee appointed to inquire into all the facts. But the facts were perfectly well known to noble Lords already; and, indeed, the noble Duke himself answered his own argument when he made a very accurate statement of those facts. The noble Duke had urged that a Committee of Inquiry was necessary, because the Bill was one which would effect a great change in the representation. On this he (the Earl of Airlie) would merely remark that a great change was made two years ago by the House of Commons in the representation of the country without any preliminary inquiry by a Committee; and surely the noble Duke would not contend that the question of electing Peers to this House was more important than that of electing Members of the House of Commons. In his opinion, the noble Earl's proposal was a very fair one; but he hoped that, if the House agreed to the second reading, the noble Lord would consent to its being referred to a Select Committee, which might inquire into such points of detail as were not so well known as the leading features of the measure. He much regretted that the noble Earl had not introduced into the Bill a provision that Scotch and Irish Peers who did not sit in that House should be henceforth placed on an equality in respect of their capability to sit in the House of Commons—because he could see no reason why Scotch Peers who had not been elected to the House of Lords should be wholly excluded from political life, while Irish Peers who had not been elected to the House of Lords were permitted to represent English and Scotch constituencies in the House of Commons.


I do not wish to detain your Lordships at any length, but I will venture to express my surprise that the noble Earl, who is an old politician and reformer, should have been in such an unaccountable hurry to press forward this Bill. If the present Motion were for rejecting the Bill I certainly should not vote for it. In the present state of my convictions I am not disposed to vote against the principle of the Bill; but it appears to me that the Bill is perfectly new to us, and that it has not gone through those preliminary steps of inquiry and discussion which all measures ought to go through which relate to a subject so grave as the constitution of a House of the Legislature. This measure has been compared with the introduction of the minority clause in the representation of the House of Commons. But what was the history of that clause? It was introduced by Earl Russell in the Bill of 1854. It had been continually under the consideration of Parliament and of the public, and it was not until fourteen years afterwards that it was adopted by Parliament as the law of the land. But what is the history of this proposal? The other day it occurred to some Member of the House of Commons for the first time. On his bringing the proposition forward in the House of Commons it was put aside by a few civil words on the part of the Prime Minister; and then my noble Friend was applied to and introduced his Bill. The principle embodied in my noble Friend's Bill may be perfectly correct, but we have had absolutely no information, knowledge, or inquiry to enable us to decide upon what is a grave alteration in the Acts of Union, which unite the three parts of the country together, and in the constitution of this House. The noble Earl who has just sat down (the Earl of Airlie), tells us that all the facts are perfectly well known. They may perhaps be perfectly well known to Scotch circles; but we are not all Scotch. The main reason why a large party supported the minority clause in the other House was that there was an obvious defect in the state of the representation which then existed. There was one class wealthy and educated, and another poor and uneducated; and these were placed numerically and absolutely on a par in voting for Members of that House which decided upon questions of taxation. Now this was on the face of it a great injustice in theory, and one which might lead to serious disasters in practice; and to remedy that injustice and inequality the principle of minority representation was advocated as regards constituencies returning Members to the House of Commons. But is there any such division of classes and interests in the constituencies which return Scotch and Irish Peers? The analogy wholly fails. Then, to take another point. It may be that the rights of the majority are tyrannically exercised, and have been so exercised for a considerable time, and it may be that the interference of Parliament is necessary; but I should like to know what are the facts before acting upon such an assumption. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) has spoken of grievances which are felt in Scotland; but I should like to have something more than vague allusions to circumstances that have never been properly explained to the House. Is there a grievance, or is there not? If there be a grievance will those who suffer from it speak on the subject? I believe we ought to inquire on this point of Members of the Scotch and Irish Peerage who do not sit in this House. If they suffer from any grievance let them come before a Select Committee of your Lordships' House and say so, and we shall then know what we are about. There is another point showing the great difference between the minority clause in regard to the two Houses. The class which is outvoted in regard to the House of Commons is absolutely without relief; whereas the class which is outvoted in regard to the House of Lords can be relieved at once by the simple action of the Sovereign. This is a question entirely different from that we were discussing in an earlier part of the evening, because there is no question here as to the transmission of an hereditary dignity; and if the Minister for the time being is of opinion that an injustice has been done to the Scotch or Irish constituencies, it is open to him to raise to the Peerage of the United Kingdom a sufficient number of Scorch and Irish Peers to remedy that injustice. The fact that such a step has not been taken is a strong reason to my mind that no real injustice exists. I do not say that arguments cannot be adduced to show that this opinion is unfounded, but let us not change the Constitution of the country in a vital point by passing a Bill which has not been submitted to any inquiry or investigation whatever. In voting for the Amendment of the noble Duke I am not voting against the principle of the Bill, but merely in favour of proceeding on so grave a question in that cautious and careful manner which has always been characteristic of this House.


I wish to say a few words on what has fallen from the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury). In the first place, I am at a loss to reconcile his present argument with that which he urged with great force the other day. The noble Marquess then asserted that, in the estimation of the public, the House of Lords was too apt to discuss important subjects in Committee Rooms, so that the proceedings were never perfectly known to the public, whereas additional weight would be given to their proceedings if they were more public.


This will be a Committee to take evidence.


The noble Marquess says the present case is different. Well, I never imagined that the noble Marquess said there ought to be no more Select Committees in this House. But on this particular question, above all others, I think it is desirable that the arguments urged pro and con in this House should be known to the public. The noble Marquess has said that the Scotch Peers know all about it. Well, that is rather disadvantageous to us who have only one Scotch Peer on our side, while fifteen sit on the other side of the House. At all events, however, we can discuss the matter in a full House as well as in a Select Committee. I most humbly and respectfully advise noble Lords opposite, if they mean to get rid of this Bill, to reject it on the second reading, instead of adopting a course which the public will regard as an attempt to stifle the question.


The noble Earl on the other side of the House has made an imputation on me which I repel with scorn and indignation.


I have not made the slightest imputation against the noble Duke. In all these proceedings the noble Duke takes a very active part; but I should be very sorry to make any imputation against him. I was merely speaking of the general impression which might prevail out-of-doors.


said, that, as this discussion had arisen, every noble Lord had a right to express his opinion on the questions at issue. He avowed that he should be very glad to get rid of the Bill altogether; but that was no reason why he should vote for the noble Duke's Amendment. According to the Act of Union the Irish Peers were bound on their election to take the oath before an Irish magistrate. There happened at the period of the first election of those Peers to be great political excitement in Ireland, and instead of those Peers taking the oath in Ireland, as the Act of Union evidently intended, an Irish magistrate was brought over to this country, before whom they took the oath. They had been asked whether they were going to discuss the principle of the Bill. Hardly a discussion on Irish affairs ever was held without its being said—"You Irishmen never can agree; you are always quarrelling. Take an example by the Scotch. See how unanimous they are." If these constant changes were to occur in the system of government the whole basis of society in the country would be disarranged. He objected to the Bill, and hoped it would not pass.


desired to explain that in the observations he had made he had not meant anything personal to the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Buccleuch).


urged upon their Lordships the superior advantages attending a reference of the Bill to a Select Committee as compared with dealing with it in Committee of the Whole House.

After a few words from Lord COLCHESTER,


craved the indulgence of their Lordships for a very few moments. The noble and learned Lord behind him (Lord Cairns), as he understood him, said that their great object should be so to arrange the system of Representative Peers as to produce, on a division in that House, nearly the same effect as would be produced if the whole of the Peers represented were able to attend in person. Now, he was perfectly content to test this Bill by that simple principle; and he asked, if the whole 112 Peers of Ireland were able to vote in person in that House, whether they would be likely to vote all in one way? Out of the twenty-eight Irish Representative Peers returned to that House by the existing mode of election, it was doubtful whether a single one supported Her Majesty's Government. If any of them did so, it was only one. He wanted to know whether that satisfied the noble and learned Lord's own test? Again, if the whole of the Scotch Peerage were entitled to vote in that House, was it probable that they would vote in all cases in the proportion of 15 to 1 against Her Majesty's Government? He was himself no partizan of Her Majesty's Government; but he proposed this measure simply because he believed it was a scandal in the eyes of the country that a system professing to be a representation of the Peerage of Scotland and Ireland was in no sense of the word a real representation. A measure had recently been proposed in the House of Commons to effect—though in a less satisfactory manner—the same object as he sought to attain by this Bill, and a considerable disposition to support it had been manifested; but the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, while he admitted that the existing state of things was a real grievance, said, and said most properly, that the remedy for it ought to come from the House of Lords. That right hon. Gentleman did not intimate that if their Lordships failed to correct a great, acknowledged, and glaring evil, the other House of Parliament would pass it by permanently; but he did say, and most justly, that the opportunity of correcting the evil ought, in the first instance, to be left to their Lordships' House. It would be most unwise and most injurious in every respect to their Lordships' House if, after a change of this kind was deemed necessary, they should have to argue the question, not upon a Bill originating among their Lordships, but upon one sent up from the other House. If they got rid of this Bill by a side wind, in the manner now suggested, it was very probable that they would be called upon to decide upon the question in another way—and was that, he would ask, likely to add to the dignity of their Lordships' House? He had heard, with more astonishment than he could describe, the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) speak of the want of information on this subject, and express his opinion that on that account the matter should be referred to a Select Committee, But when, not many weeks ago, he (Earl Grey) proposed that a Bill, the principle of which had been accepted by their Lordships, should be referred to a Select Committee, in order that they might the better deal with its details—because, from general observation, both in that and the other House of Parliament, he had come to the conclusion that a Committee of the Whole House was very ill-adapted for discussing details—the noble Marquess reproved him very severely for wishing to shelve a question of great public interest, instead of having it considered in the House, and before the public. That objection of the noble Marquess did not, he thought, apply to the details of the Habitual Criminals Bill, but it did apply to a proposal not actually to reject this Bill, but to postpone it by means of a general fishing Committee upon the state of the Peerage of Scotland and: Ireland. As a protest against such a course, he must ask to take the sense of the House upon the subject.


explained that what he meant to convey, in the observations to which the noble Earl had taken exception was, that if all the Irish Peers were in that House, there would be a large majority voting on one side.

On Question, Whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the Motion?—Their Lordships divided:—Contents 32; Not-Contents 77: Majority 45.

Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.) Morley, E.
Russell, E.
Saint Albans, D. Halifax, V.
Somerset, D. Powerscourt, V.
Airlie, E. St. David's, Bp.
Camperdown, E.
Clarendon, E. Belper, L.
De Grey, E. Camoys, L.
Fortescue, E. Chaworth,L.(E. Meath.)
Granville, E. Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Grey, E. [Teller,]
Kimberley, E. Erskine, L.
Minto, E. Foley, L,
Keane, L. Skene, L. (E. Fife.)
Lurgan, L. Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) [Teller.]
Northbrook, L.
Overstone, L. Suffield, L.
Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.) Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Richmond, D.
Rutland, D. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Wellington, D. Bolton, L.
Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.)
Bath M. [Teller.]
Exeter, M. Cairns, L.
Salisbury, M. Castlemaine, L.
Tweeddale, M. Chelmsford, L.
Winchester, M. Churston, L.
Abergavenny, E. Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)
Annesley, E.
Bathurst, E. Clinton, L.
Brownlow, E. Cloncurry, L
Cadogan, E. Colchester, L.
Dartmouth, E. Colonsay, L.
Derby, E. Colville of Culross, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) [Teller.] Delamere, L.
Denman, L.
De Saumarez, L.
Eldon, E. Dunboyne, L.
Ellesmere, E. Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)
Erne, E.
Feversham, E. Egerton, L.
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Elphinstone, L.
Fitzwalter, L.
Home, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Lauderdale, E.
Leven and Melville, E. Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Malmesbury, E. Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
Mansfield, E.
Nelson, E. Headley, L.
Portarlington, E. Heytesbury, L.
Romney, E. Kesteven, L.
Rosse, E. Ormathwaite, L.
Stanhope, E. Redesdale, L.
Tankerville, E. Saltersford, L.(E. Courtown.)
Vane, E.
Saltoun, L.
Bangor, V. Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)
Gough, V.
Hardinge, V. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Hawarden, V.
Hood, V. Sinclair, L.
Lifford, V. Walsingham, L.
Sidmouth, V.

Resolved in the Negative.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Committee appointed accordingly.

And, on Friday, April 30, the Lords following were named of the Committee:—

L. Privy Seal. E. Grey.
D. Somerset. V. Eversley.
D. Richmond. L. Elphinstone.
M. Bath. L. Redesdale.
E. Doncaster. L. Silchester.
E. Airlie. L. Monck.
E. Portarlington.

House adjourned at half past Nine o'clock, to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.