HL Deb 17 July 1884 vol 290 cc1334-80

, in rising to move— That this House is prepared to proceed now with the consideration of the Representation of the People Bill, on the understanding that an humble Address shall be presented to Her Majesty, humbly praying Her Majesty to summon Parliament to assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the Redistribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible, said: My Lords, I crave the kind indulgence of the House while I endeavour to state the grounds upon which I wish to induce your Lordships to pass the Resolution which stands in my name. Before doing so, I wish to refer to what passed in your Lordships' House on Monday last, when the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition censured me for two things—in the first place, because I did not on Friday give Notice of my intention to move the Resolution which I now wish to move; and, in the second place, because I had sent a Notice to the papers that it was my intention to make the Motion on Tuesday, and for having given Notice in this House that I would postpone the Motion until Thursday. In reference to my action on Friday, I wish to say that I had not the slightest intention of doing anything of the kind; indeed, I had entered into an engagement to go to Blenheim on Saturday morning to see those beautiful pictures which I am afraid Her Majesty's Government are going to let slip through their fingers. I had not the slightest idea until the evening—and after what had taken place in the other House—of taking any part whatever in the battle on this question of the Franchise after the decision which your Lordships had come to on the second reading. So much for my not giving Notice on Friday. As regards the changing of the day, I changed it because I remembered that the French had a saying, La nuit porte conseil, and because I thought it was better that your Lordships should have a little time to consider the question, especially my Friends on the Conservative side, after the meeting at the Carlton Club. Having said this, I propose now to proceed with a few arguments in favour of my Resolution. I think that what has occurred in "another place" is of vital importance; because the Prime Minister used words the value of which I venture to think, in the present condition of this question, cannot be exaggerated. They were words which the Prime Minister employed after a very angry discussion, but they were words of peace. The right hon. Gentleman said that with regard to the substantial political part of his (Lord Randolph Churchill's) remarks, the Government were still in the spirit which had dictated the suggestion that had been under the consideration of the House. I wish to point out to your Lordships that the Government, according to the Prime Minister on Friday night, was still in the spirit which dictated that suggestion. This statement of the Prime Minister appears to me to have been dictated by a notion of conciliation. The noble Duke on the opposite Benches (the Duke of Argyll) who, like myself, hails from Scotland, may remember that many years ago one of the greatest orators of the Scotch Free Church used to take for one of his favourite texts the words—"And the door was shut." That is not the text from which I have to preach to-night, for the door is open; and I think the Conservative Members of this House may very reasonably pass through this door, a door which I believe will allow those who voted in the majority the other day to pass through without loss of character or loss of honour, with a view to conciliation. I think this question now stands upon a very different footing from what it did when your Lordships voted on the second reading. In the first place, practically the principle not of a Reform Bill, but the principle of this actual Bill has been affirmed. That was not the case when your Lordships voted on the question. Your Lordships then affirmed your readiness to consider a general measure of Reform provided certain other contingencies occurred; but there was no mention of this specific Bill. An Amendment moved by my noble Friend (the Earl of Dunraven) was subsequently accepted by the Opposition and carried without a Division, to the effect that your Lordships had accepted the actual principle of the Bill. So far there is a material change in the position of things. Further, your Lordships are now in the possession of knowledge which you did not then possess, which is that Her Majesty's Government, in their anxiety to obtain a settlement of this question, made a proposal to the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns). In my Resolution I originally made a reference to this further knowledge; but when it was put to me that it might imply some reflection upon my noble and learned Friend I at once withdrew it, because I think he showed an almost Quixotic sense of honour in keeping it to himself. I think the Government have shown, further, a spirit of conciliation in the fact that they have practically accepted my Resolution—that is to say, they are ready, supposing your Lordships go on with this Bill, to summon Parliament in the month of November for the purpose of discussing a Redistribution Bill, and in order to give time for its consideration. I think that this spirit of conciliation should lead your Lordships to endeavour, as far as possible, to take the hand which the Government clearly wish to hold out to you. I am aware of what will be said in reply to this. It will be said that this is all very well, but that it gives your Lordships no hold upon the Redistribution Bill; and that if your Lordships were to agree to such a proposal as I make you will find yourselves committed to go on with this Bill, and that eventually you would find yourselves without any security as regards redistribution. My Lords, I endeavoured on the second reading to show that after passing this Bill you might take such steps in Committee, and at further stages, as would give your Lordships that hold and that security which you desire. The Government never have maintained in either House of Parliament that in principle it is right to legislate on one branch of the subject alone. They only pleaded that time was against them; and if this question is met by an Autumn Session I think that argument is in a great measure met thereby. I venture to think that if your Lordships were to agree to this Resolution which I submit you will be able, even now after having passed the second reading, and in the course of its progress through your Lordships' House, to come to some further arrangement with the Government in order to obtain some further security in this matter. I hold in my hand an abstract from what is called the loading journal. [A laugh.] I see a noble Lord sneeringly smiles at this reference to the leading journal; but as that leading journal simply endeavours to gauge and express what is the public opinion of the day, a reference to its remarks is not out of place. The Times of last Tuesday remarked— Even if the compromise now offered is not held to be sufficient there would, when once the Bill had been read a second time, be opportunities for further adjustments in Committee. A settlement of this moment and magnitude is not likely to be arrived at without a good deal of negotiation and substantial concessions on both sides. Mr. Albert Grey pleads, in a letter we print to-day, for a revival of his Amendment which the Opposition declined to support in the House of Commons. It is not likely that the Government would be ready to accept this particular proposal; but it is obvious that if the Bill were read a second time it would be open to the House of Lords to insert some such provision in Committee, and to leave to the Government the responsibility of dealing with it on its merits. I venture, then, to say, that if your Lordships were to pass this Resolution it would still be competent for you, on the subsequent stages of the Bill, to require further security to meet your views. If this is the case, and if the great Conservative Party refuses, as apparently they intend to refuse, to pass this Resolution, or adopt any of the other courses which I have suggested, one cannot help feeling that there must be something more behind, and that something, I suppose, is the question of a Dissolution. It is all fencing with a view to getting a Dissolution on the old constituency instead of on the new. My Lords, I venture to think that this is a question which is to be viewed, first of all, as to how it will affect your Lordships' House with reference to the other House, and—all my life a Liberal-Conservative—I wish also to express my opinion as to how this attempt to force on a Dissolution will beneficially or otherwise affect the Conservative Party. As regards the Constitutional question, your Lordships, as a Court of Review — as a second Chamber—are not only justified, but bound, when you believe the opinion of the nation is contrary to that of the House of Commons—no matter by what majority the latter opinion is expressed—in such a case it is not only your right, but your bounden duty to take your stand firmly, and endeavour to bring about an appeal to the people. Here, however, we have to deal with a Bill which, although not enthusiastically supported at first, has up to the present time met with no opposition, and has been carried by large and increasing majorities. And what was its last appearance in the House of Commons? It passed its third reading with nothing but a whispered "No," and whispered so low that it was inaudible; and, almost for the first time on record, there appears in the Journals of the House the fact of a Bill being carried nemine contradicente. [A noble LORD: A trick.] Well, I am not speaking of motive, I am referring to a fact. So much for the Constitutional question. Now, how will this forcing of a Dissolution affect the Conservative Party? As a Liberal-Conservative, I hold very strongly to the view that the action of the Conservative Party for the purpose of forcing a Dissolution with the present constituency is dangerous in itself and of very doubtful result. I am not going to indulge in throats. I know that it is not the way to influence your Lordships; but I may say this, that we snail have a very nasty time of agitation—for agitation on the one side will be met with agitation on the other—and for the next three or four months a political warfare will be waged from John o' Groat's to Land's End. I think that that is a matter which in itself is to be regretted; and, after all, it is doubtful whether the agitation for a Dissolution will be successful. In the first place, it rests very much with Her Majesty's Government whether they will consent to it; and even if it does take place after the Autumn Session, it may result differently from what we expect, for some of the existing voters may be drawn into the vortex in favour of, and not against, the Bill; and, in any case, the effect will probably be to turn against the Conservative Party the 2,000,000 of voters whom it is proposed to enfranchise. Another respect in which this forcing on of a Dissolution will tell against the Conservative Party is this—that all the Government have done for good or evil will be forgotten and wiped out. They will appear before the country with what will be practically a clean slate. I verily believe that when the political blood of the people is aroused on such a question as this is, the interest in foreign affairs will be abandoned; the Russians may be allowed to advance to Herat or even to Constantinople, and General Gordon to be crucified at Khartoum, without attracting much attention. Therefore, I say that, looking at all these things, it is not in the interests even of the Conservative Party that an agitation should be aroused upon this question, and that simply on the chance of getting a better vote from the present constituency than they can hope to get from the new constituency. The Conservative Party, as a whole, have determined to vote against this Resolution, judging from what happened in another place—I mean the Carlton Club. ["Oh!"] I hear noble Lords say "No!" [Several noble LORDS: No! and Oh!] Noble Lords say "Oh!" it appears. My noble Friend (the Marquess of Salisbury) told us that was a private meeting; and the consequence was that when I left the meeting I met the noble Earl who has been called the "patron of Mid Lothian" (the Earl of Rosebery), with whom I have been in communication on this matter—and I must bear testimony to the anxiety with which, in a non-Party spirit, he has endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation on this question—and when the noble Earl asked me what had happened I told him that my lips were sealed. I was asked by the Press to contribute a summary of my own speech. I told them that my hands were tied. Yet the next morning, to my astonishment, I saw in the newspapers a full and, on the whole, fairly accurate account of what occurred; and in The Times I read a speech, nicely rounded in most finished periods, that was represented as having been made by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), who threatened to withdraw his favour from your Lordships if you did not persevere in your attitude of hostility to the Bill. Probably your Lordships could survive that. But it certainly appeared strange for a Member of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons to endeavour to throw the whole burden on your Lordships, when they themselves did not venture to go to a Division on the third reading of the Bill. My Lords, I have not much more to say in support of my Motion. I have brought it forward solely with a view to peace, and, if possible, of conciliation on this great question. I do not say that the Resolution is the right or the best way of bringing about a compromise and conciliation. All that it is brought forward for is to take the opportunity of the door being ajar, and not hermetically shut, to endeavour to keep it open, so that noble Lords on both sides of the House may have a chance of negotiating some better compromise. There are other compromises which are possible, and which might be accepted by noble Lords on both sides. In fact, the air is full of suggestions for compromises; but there is one which seems not unreasonable—namely, that the Bill should be read a second time, and proceeded with in Committee, and that the third reading should be suspended until the Autumn Session, when the Redistribution Bill should be introduced. That seems a compromise which both sides might honourably and rationally accept. There ought to be mutual concession; negotiation which ends in getting all one wants is no concession at all. I hope that in the course of this debate nothing will fall from my noble Friend the Leader of the Opposition—["Oh!"]—I am not aware that I have said anything ridiculous—I merely express a hope that nothing will fall, in the course of this discussion, from my noble Friend at the head of the Opposition which will absolutely and irretrievably shut the door. Even if you reject my Resolution, and accept the Amendment of my noble Friend, there is still time for compromise and conciliation, for the Bill is still alive. My Lords, I have taken this step in what I believe to be the public interest. I am as fond of a Parliamentary fight as any man; but I like to fight on sound ground and fair principles. I am old enough to recollect the debates on the Corn Laws, and I remember Mr. Sidney Herbert, afterwards Lord Herbert, saying to the country gentlemen of England— Don't take your stand on the Corn Laws. Don't take your stand and fight on mined and rotten ground. I think in this fight the Conservative Party is taking its stand on mined and rotten ground. I, for one, will take no part in it, or share the responsibility of either the success or failure of the battle. I have only to say, in conclusion, that I trust on a great question such as this personal feeling, or anything like an approach—I will not say there has been anything like an approach—to Party manœuvring will be cast aside, and that noble Lords on both sides will remember the magnitude of the issue at stake, which is far above all questions of Party politics or personal feeling. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this question, which is momentous as regards the future interests and well-being of our common country. My Lords, I beg to thank you for the patience with which you have listened to my remarks; and while expressing the hope that in what I have said I have uttered nothing which, by any possibility, can give offence, or be even considered distasteful, to any of your Lordships, I beg to move the Resolution which stands in my name.


My Lords, I rise to say a few words in seconding the Motion just propounded by the noble Earl. I would not have spoken at all in this debate, had I not been so solemnly and deeply impressed by the gravity of the occasion, which has made it almost a matter of duty with me to give any opinion. My Lords, in the whole of my political experience I have never known a crisis at all equal to the present. I was mixed up in all the debates on the Reform movement of 1832, and was fully aware of the danger apprehended at that time. But I hold that the crisis of 1832 was nothing whatever in comparison with the crisis in which we are now placed. At that time the nation contemplated many and various reforms, some of them of a very beneficial character; but now, all these reforms having been effected, organic changes alone will be in the view of an excited public—changes which will involve the very existence of the Constitution. I fear that the decision of to-night, if adverse to the Motion, will tend very much to produce a real and permanent breach in the harmony, peace, and order of this great country. I support the Motion of my noble Friend, because it seems to me the only one which has a chance of being carried. It is certainly the only Motion by which we can reconcile the feelings of the majority of the other House to the course we take here. It is not, perhaps, all we desire; it is not, perhaps, the best; but we are not now striving for what is best, but for what is possible. I am very much of opinion, if I may say so, that at the time this Bill was first propounded by Her Majesty's Government the majority of the country were very indifferent to it—the feeling in favour of it was very partial. Now, I must confess that all is changed—materially changed; the people have accepted the offer, they will not surrender the boon, and they cling to it earnestly. Many of those who before were adverse are now silent. There seems to be a general desire of com- promise; and I feel assured—I feel very strongly assured—that if this measure be rejected or retarded, and if any evil consequences ensue, none will be so loud in the condemnation of the course pursued as the Conservative Party throughout the Kingdom. I never have concealed—and I will not now attempt to conceal—my deep apprehensions of the issue of this measure. In 1867 I ventured to oppose its predecessor when suggested by the Government of the day. I, and others, foresaw the issue, and ventured to predict that the extension of household suffrage to the counties was the necessary, the inevitable, consequence of its extension to the towns. Such a measure, propounded by authority in these days, cannot be resisted. The late Sir Robert Peel discussed the question of Reform with Prince Talleyrand, and he told me that the Prince remarked— So long, in this country, as the question of Reform is confined to individual Members, and to the proposition of individual Members, you need not be under any sort of apprehension about it. But whenever Reform is undertaken by the Government of the day, it may be carried in your country to the very extreme of revolution. Reform was undertaken by the Government in 1832, and in 1867, and you know the issue. It is now again undertaken by the Government of the day in 1884. My Lords, I accept the Bill in that sense as an absolute and unqualified necessity. Noble Lords on both sides of the House will say they accept it in the same sense; but that they wish it to be connected with full security in the nature of provisions for redistribution. I must, my Lords, ask this—Would it not have been wiser, better, and safer—the nenessity of a special franchise being past dispute—to have given a second reading to the Bill without hesitation or delay, and then have taken such securities as you could obtain either in Committee or by some other means? This would have saved you from the most painful misrepresentations. This would have made clear your Lordships' mind to the country that you had accepted the principle of the Bill, and that it was neither to be rejected nor delayed. But now if, when this measure comes before the country, the great argument of the necessity of redistribution is pleaded, it will be of no avail whatsoever. A large proportion of the people know nothing about redistribution. A large proportion do not care one straw about redistribution. It is a matter to which most of them are perfectly indifferent; and some even say that it is altogether an unnecessary adjunct. I hold that an explaining party is always at a disadvantage; and in this case your disadvantage will be overwhelming. The simple, naked fact of the rejection or delay of the Bill will be before the popular mind. Nothing else will be allowed to enter into the argument. That fact, and that alone, will demand absolute and unqualified attention. I wish to ask whether this is a measure so framed as to demand such a determined and obstinate resistance? Can we, on the ground simply of its construction, justify to the country, and, indeed, to ourselves, a prolonged and bitter conflict with the other House of Parliament? If there were a well-founded hope and conviction that you could either reject or delay the Bill until such time as you could have it connected with all the securities you desire, then, perhaps, there might be something intelligible in the course pursued. But is it not manifest from the experience of all past time that the resistances we have made were speedily followed by concessions? And, if so, can we think that this measure will be taken out of that category, and will submit to a delay which no other measures have submitted to, and that the popular feeling will be satisfied when the measure the people now so much desire is not at once put into their full possession? I am not urging peace at any price, or surrender of everything demanded. I only ask your Lordships, in the present state of public opinion, and in the altered state of men's minds, to fix your resolute and real resistance on questions where you can plead the depth of your conscience and the whole force of your duty. If you make use of all your strength to resist a measure of this kind, you will find that when the time shall come—and it can not be far distant—for opposition to some organic change, you will have lost both sympathy and power, and will be unable to plead with effect that you are acting on your consciences, as that plea will have been exhausted on the present occasion in regard to a question of far less gravity. My Lords, I would remind you of the altered character of the feeling and sentiment of the people with whom you have to deal. It is most remarkable to those who, like myself, have known them for more than half-a-century, to see the great change which has come over their thoughts and their purposes. The people of England, my Lords, have not at this moment the same reverence for ancient institutions and for ancient traditions which they formerly had. The penny post and the railways have wrought wondrous changes in their affections and aspirations. Utilitarianism is far more rife than of old among them, and they desire change, frequent change, because they see, or fancy they see, in every change something is to be gained. Is that not matter for your Lordships' serious consideration? I, myself, have ever had real and true confidence in the mass of the working people, when left to their own instincts and their own deliberate judgment; but I confess I have no confidence at all in them when I see them under the influence of wild and reckless agitators. The great fear I have as to the rejection or delay of this measure is that by taking that course you will so exasperate the present and future constituencies as to drive them still more than now within the sphere of that pernicious agitation. My Lords, however uncertain the prospect before us, I still perceive enough to feel assured that the people of England, as a mass, have a strong desire for unity and concord. I have ventured to say to you—"Give them, by a free and liberal vote, the franchise you have promised them," and it will, I think, be accepted by the people in a kindred spirit. You will thus produce, for a few years at least, between your Lordships' House and the great mass of the people of the country a sentiment of harmony and of reciprocal confidence. My Lords, I apologize for having detained you; but I felt I could hardly, as a Christian man, refrain from expressing what I feel, and what I believe in my conscience to be true.

Moved to resolve,That this House is prepared to proceed now with the consideration of the Representation of the People Bill, on the understanding that an humble Address shall be presented to Her Majesty, humbly praying Her Majesty to summon Parliament to assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the Re- distribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible."—(The Earl of Wemyss.)


, in whose name the following Notice stood upon the Paper:— To move, as an Amendment to the foregoing Resolution, that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly praying Her Majesty to summon Parliament to assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the Representation of the People Bill already presented to Parliament, in conjunction with the Redistribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible, said, he felt it to be his duty to acquaint the House that he had been informed that afternoon that, in one respect, the Notice which he had ventured to place upon the Paper was considered by the authorities of the House to be out of Order. It appeared to have been decided some 140 years ago that Addresses to the Crown ought not to be presented in connection with any Bill impending in either House of Parliament. Under these circumstances, not wishing to do anything that could be considered in any way disorderly, he thought it only respectful to their Lordships to ask permission to amend his Notice. His Amendment in its altered form would run as follows:— That this House is of opinion that it would be desirable that Parliament should assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the Representation of the People Bill, already presented to Parliament, in conjunction with the Redistribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible. He hoped he need not assure the House that it was with feelings of sincere regret that he rose to oppose the two noble Earls who had just addressed the House—the noble Earl on the Cross Benches, whose long Parliamentary and distinguished career had given him the advantage of experience and knowledge in these matters, and of authority and weight in both Houses, and the noble Earl who had just sat down, whose long and noble life had been distinguished in this—that he had always been in the front when an opportunity had occurred of promoting "peace on earth, and goodwill towards men." He (Earl Cadogan) yielded to none of their Lord- ships in his desire for conciliation and compromise on this difficult question. Reference had been made by the noble Earl on the Cross Benches to private communications between himself and the noble Earl who had lately been called the "patron of Mid Lothian"(the Earl of Rosebery). He (Earl Cadogan) was not quite sure that it was a good precedent which had been established by the Prime Minister to state openly negotiations which might have been carried on in private. The discussions which he (Earl Cadogan) held with the noble Earl opposite were entirety of a private nature, and were unauthorized by any of the noble Lords sitting on this side. His noble Friend would, he felt sure, give him credit for a sincere desire to arrive, if possible, at some compromise or terms of conciliation which would conduce to the end which he believed they both had in view. One more word with respect to his peculiar position there that night, He thought it was due to his noble Friends behind him that he should state, in the action he was taking that night, that he was not acting, as it would probably be supposed, under that irresistible pressure which was generally supposed to be brought to bear on all Conservative Members of their Lordships' House. They were too often told they could not vote, or move, or speak without the permission of the noble Marquess behind him. (the Marquess of Salisbury). He (Earl Cadogan) wrote and drew up this Resolution himself, but out of courtesy he showed it both to the noble Marquess and his Colleagues; but in the course which he was taking he was acting entirely on his own judgment and responsibility, although he trusted to receive the support of noble Lords behind him. He would ask the House to view the position in which they stood at that moment. Just 10 days had elapsed since the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) brought forward his Resolution on the subject of the Reform Bill now before their Lordships. That Resolution was debated with all the ability and power that distinguished the debates in their Lordships' House, and at the termination of the second night's discussion the Resolution was carried. The points which the House affirmed when they passed that Resolution were that, in the first place, this House was pre- pared to concur in the principles of the Bill for the extension of the franchise; in the second place, that a scheme for Reform should be accompanied by provisions for so apportioning the right to return Members as to secure a true and fair representation of the people; and the third, that it was necessary that adequate security should be given in the proposals of the Government that the present Bill should not come into operation except as part of an entire scheme. Briefly stated, the principles which were then enunciated were that redistribution must accompany the extension of the franchise, and that no Franchise Bill ought to be passed until the redistribution scheme of the Government should, at all events, have been produced. To that principle their Lordships stood committed, for it was deliberately affirmed in their Lordship's House by a substantial majority. Now, what had occurred during the last 10 days to induce the House to alter the decision at which it had arrived, or to weaken the strength of the principle it then affirmed? The noble Earl on the Cross Benches stated that the situation, during the last few days, had considerably changed, and quoted a speech made by the Prime Minister, which he said was conciliatory in tone, but from which he (Earl Cadogan) confessed he did not gather much hope for conciliation or for compromise. He had, however, seen a speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman, which, read in connection with another speech delivered by one of his Colleagues, had, in his opinion, materially changed the situation. The right hon. Gentleman, in addressing his supporters last week, said— The passing of a Redistribution Bill is impossible this Session. And there is no mode, I venture to tell you, in which—a majority of the House of Commons though you be—you can carry a Redistribution Bill through the House of Commons unless the House of Commons and the Conservative Party in that House has a motive for allowing its progress. The object of this was to show that unless the Prime Minister had these 2,000,000 newly enfranchised, but undistributed voters, to hold in terrorem over the heads of the Members of the House of Commons, he would find it impossible to pass a Redistribution Bill. It was, therefore, acknowledged by the Prime Minister that the withholding of redistribution was not done to expedite Reform generally, but as a deliberate plan to enable him to force Parliament to accept whatever Redistribution Bill it might be his pleasure to present. And the Home Secretary in "another place" had used words to the effect that we should never have a Redistribution Bill at all until the Government had passed their Franchise Bill. Therefore, there was no mistake whatever as to the position of the Government. The noble Earl on the Cross Benches stated that the Conservative Party were taking their stand on rotten ground. For his own part, he should prefer that foundation, rotten as it might be, to that upon which the Government officially took its stand. The circumstances which had produced the present deadlock were entirely due to the action of Her Majesty's Government. They were told that compromise was in the air, and no doubt during the last few days there had been symptoms of a more conciliatory tone on the part both of Her Majesty's Government and their supporters; and here he could not but acknowledge the statesmanlike speech made by the Postmaster General the other night to his constituents. But what was this compromise? What took place when the Franchise Bill was passing in "another place?" There was an Amendment by Mr. Grey proposing that the Franchise Bill should not take effect until after 1886. That proposal was rejected on grounds with which he had some sympathy. But Her Majesty's Government did make what they called a concession. They introduced a provision that the Bill should not come into operation until the 1st of January, 1885. That concession was not of much value, because it was obvious that the Bill could not come into operation without registration, which took place in July, and therefore the new voters could not exercise their franchise until after the 1st of January, 1886. Then came the Amendment moved by Colonel Stanley, the effect of which would be to suspend the operation of the Franchise Bill until the Redistribution Bill was passed. That proposal was rejected by the Government in no measured terms. Since that time there had been those private negotiations to which the noble Earl had alluded, the object of which was to induce their Lordships to read the Franchise Bill a second time and then to hang it up until the Redistribution Bill passed, or, as the noble Earl suggested, that they should pass the Franchise Bill through Committee, and that the third reading should be suspended until the Redistribution Bill should pass.


Until we had a scheme of redistribution.


But all those compromises were cases of reciprocity all on one side. What their Lordships had decided was not to allow the Franchise Bill to pass until they had a knowledge of the Redistribution Bill; and what influenced them in that decision was the fear lest a General Election should take place under the temporary constituency. In none of the compromises was any security given by the Government in that direction, and the speech of the Home Secretary to which he had alluded stated most clearly that the one thing to which the Government would not agree was that the Redistribution Bill should be introduced before the Franchise Bill was passed. Therefore, he could not see any tangible compromise before their Lordships. He would now explain in a few words his objection to the Resolution of the noble Earl. The noble Earl proposed to resolve— That this House is now prepared to proceed with the consideration of the Representation of the People Bill. When the noble Earl stated that they were prepared to proceed with the consideration of the Representation of the People Bill, did he mean that they were ready to pass it? For he could not imagine that the noble Earl intended that they should again discuss the Bill and again reject it. Therefore, in asking their Lordships to read this Bill a second time, he was distinctly asking them to do what they had distinctly refused to do 10 days ago. But what he proposed himself to do was to ask their Lordships' House to declare their willingness to pass a complete scheme. It could not be said that in this there was no concession from the Opposition side of the House. They were told out-of-doors that the House of Lords, by passing the Amendment of his noble and learned Friend last week, intended deliberately to delay and, if possible, destroy all Reform. He asked their Lordships now to pass a Resolution that Parliament should assemble early in the autumn for the purpose of passing an entire scheme of Reform—namely, a Franchise Bill and a Redistribution Bill. There could be no doubt of the possibility of passing these two measures. The Prime Minister indicated that he would ask Parliament to assemble for the purpose of proceeding with redistribution on the 20th of October. Since then the Leader of the House stated distinctly that it would be impossible for Her Majesty's Government to produce a complete measure of redistribution until the end of November or the first week in December. But if Her Majesty's Government were sincere in their desire to pass a complete measure of Reform, what was to prevent them introducing the Franchise Bill in October, at the time when they stated their intention of calling Parliament together, passing the Bill up to their Lordships, and proceeding in the end of November with the Redistribution Bill, with which they said they were desirous to proceed? Their Lordships would be then in a position to pass a complete scheme with the knowledge they would have of the Government plan of redistribution. It was said that if their Lordships did not read this Bill a second time this Session, the Government would deal only with the Franchise Bill in October. Such a course as that would meet with the condemnation which it deserved both in Parliament and the country. The principle of a complete measure was that to which that House was committed by the adoption of the Resolution of his noble and learned Friend. It was the principle which in former years received the sanction of Mr. Bright and of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies, however now he might account for his change of opinion. If a complete scheme could be achieved without delay, what good excuse would Her Majesty's Government have for fostering an agitation, not against the House of Lords, but on the subject of Reform, when, by their own act, they were delaying a complete scheme? He had acted in no spirit of hostility to Her Majesty's Government in laying the Resolution on the Table which he now had the honour to move, and, as his noble Friend on the Gross Benches knew, in no spirit of hostility to him, nor with any desire to delay Reform. He hoped Her Majesty's Government would consider the real mean- ing of this concession, that they would clearly understand what they professed not to understand—that many on the Opposition side were sincerely and honestly desirous to assist them in passing a complete measure of Reform, and that they would respect the principle upon which Conservative Peers felt it their duty—perhaps a difficult and unpopular duty at this moment—to act—namely, to insist that redistribution should accompany the Franchise Bill. If Her Majesty's Government approached the subject in the spirit which animated noble Lords on that side, he had very little doubt that before the 1st of January, 1886—the date fixed for the coming into operation of the Bill they had laid on the Table—they would have the satisfaction of having passed a measure which would redound to the contentment, the security, and the welfare of the country.

Amendment moved, To leave out all the words after ("is") and insert ("of opinion that it would be desirable that Parliament should assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the representation of the People Bill, already presented to Parliament, in conjunction with the Redistribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible.")—(The Earl Cadogan.)


My Lords, I have paid great attention to the speeches which have been delivered to-night; and with regard to the speech of the noble Earl who seconded the Motion, I say with very great regret that I cannot agree with anything it contained. I listened to the speech of my noble Friend with an earnest desire to arrive at the meaning of the Resolution; but I confess I could not do so. It is to be presumed the noble Earl considers this proposal is of the nature of a compromise, and it is to be presumed also, by the wording of it, that the noble Earl considers that the information which came to our knowledge, subsequently to the late debate as to certain propositions made by the Government to the Opposition, and by the Opposition to the Government, has modified in some way the question which was debated and decided in this House on Tuesday week. I fail to see how the situation is altered in the slightest degree. The issue before the House is exactly the same as it was previously. If the House accepts this Resolution, it absolutely contradicts itself. It says that it regrets its former conclusion, and humbly begs to reverse it. The Resolution cannot be accepted without completely contradicting the decision arrived at the other day. We were well aware then that the Government had promised to bring in a Redistribution Bill next Session, and to do their best to pass it into law. No one doubted the bona fides of Her Majesty's Government. To consider that the situation was changed by the proposal made by the noble Earl the Leader of the House (Earl Granville) to the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) is tantamount to saying that we did not value the word or the promise of the Government; that while we did not believe in their evidence given on their honour, we would accept it if they were put upon their oaths. The contention was, and is, that the Government are promising what it may not be in their power to fulfil. They might promise on oath to bring in and pass a Redistribution Bill; they may swear to do so; they may engross it on parchment, and sign, seal, and deliver it, or embody it in identic Resolutions and lay it at the foot of the Throne, but they can give no additional validity to their promise. The proposal of the Government merely enunciates the original promise in a more solemn form. Can a pledge, however solemn, overcome the vicissitudes of human existence or of human affairs? Numberless circumstances might necessitate a Dissolution of Parliament before the Government could fulfil its pledge. And it is to the possibility or probability of a General Election being held on the extended franchise without redistribution, and the immense injustice and danger to the State which would ensue, that I take exception. The Resolution of the noble Earl does not assist us towards a compromise in the slightest degree. I confess I do not at all understand the mental attitude of the noble Earl. His voting with the Government the other night was irreconcilable with the tenour of his speech, and the Resolution which he moves to-night is still more at variance with it. I do not understand the frame of mind of those who voted for the second reading of the Bill, and thought it should be hung up, by a clause moved in Committee, until the Redistribution Bill was passed. They voted on the supposition that something would follow which they knew would not follow. I thought myself that to read the Bill a second time and move a clause in Committee, would have been the best course to pursue. The Opposition thought otherwise, considering, I suppose, that practically to shelve the Bill for a time in Committee was unwise. That was a pure question of tactics. It was very advisable that the country should see the action of this House in its true light, that our motives and meaning should be expressed as clearly as possible; and, with that end in view, the Opposition preferred to deal with the matter by a Resolution, rather than to read the Bill a second time, and add the necessary clause in Committee. I differed from them; but I saw no sense in quarrelling about the precise method of asserting a principle in which I agreed. The important point was that Her Majesty's Government would not accept such a proposition. Had they done so, I should have voted for the second reading of the Bill. If the Government had been strong enough to pass the second reading, they would have carried the Bill through Committee as it stands. I hold that every man should vote as though his individual vote would decide the question; and it seemed to me that to vote against the Amendment of the noble Earl was to vote against the principle contained in that Amendment—namely, that enfranchisement and redistribution should go together—and not merely against the particular method adopted to assert that principle. Every one of your Lordships who voted for the second reading of the Bill, voted for passing the Bill without redistribution. How that course could be pursued by anyone holding that the Bill should be hung up until redistribution should be passed is beyond my comprehension. However, that was the view taken by the noble Earl (the Earl of Wemyss). He declared that the arguments of the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) were unanswerable; but he voted against him. He stood, then, upon the ground that the Bill should be passed, but should be made inoperative until the Redistribution Bill should be passed also. And now the noble Earl proposes this Resolution—that the Bill should be passed because the Government promise to introduce a Redistribution Bill in an Autumn Session. Can the noble Earl really think such a promise is in any degree equivalent to a clause making the operation of the Franchise Bill dependent upon the passing of a Redistribution Bill? He cannot think so. It is not a question of degree; it is a question of two absolutely different principles. In the one case, the Bill would not become active until a Redistribution Bill was passed. In the other case, it would become active at once, and would come into operation without redistribution if the Government fail to fulfil a promise which either death, resignation, foreign complications, war, or many other circumstances might make it impossible for them to perform. The noble Earl has changed his ground completely. I trust your Lordships will not emulate the mental somersaults of the noble Earl. Surely, it is impossible for anyone who objects to an extension of the franchise without redistribution to support the Resolution before the House. The noble Earl on the Cross Benches (the Earl of Wemyss) has adopted a still more extraordinary course. After having stated the other night that his desire was to have a clause inserted in the Bill to prevent its coming into operation until a Redistribution Bill had been passed, he now invites us to pass a Resolution to the effect that the Franchise Bill is to become law, on the promise of the Government to bring in a scheme of redistribution in an Autumn Session. The two things are totally and entirely different. [The Earl of WEMYSS dissented.] The noble Earl shakes his head, and I suppose I misunderstood him; but my idea of his Resolution is, that it says the Franchise Bill is to be proceeded with, and it is to be proceeded with in view of becoming an Act. The change of ground on the part of the noble Earl is most remarkable, and I sincerely hope that your Lordships will not be induced to follow him in the extraordinary mental gymnastic feat which he has performed. No Member of your Lordships' House regrets more than I do that there should be any difference of opinion between the two branches of the Legislature; and I regret it still more because the difference of opinion between the Prime Minister and the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition in this House is remarkably small. The whole essence of the speech of the noble Marquess the other night was that this Bill without redistribution was inequitable. He said—"The extension of the franchise and redistribution are absolutely bound together." Well, my Lords, the Prime Minister, at the Caucus meeting of his Party at the Foreign Office, said he desired redistribution "because it is equitable, because it is necessary to give full and proper effect to the franchise." The Leader of the Opposition in this House and the Prime Minister are almost verbally in accord; but the deductions which they make from their opinions are entirely different. The Prime Minister admitted that redistribution was necessary to make the Bill equitable, and to give it full and proper effect—in other words, that the Bill without redistribution was inequitable, and would have an improper effect; and yet the Prime Minister is perfectly satisfied, and is determined to leave it to chance and the chapter of accidents to pass another Bill which is to divest this measure of its improper and inequitable character. The noble Marquess agrees with the Prime Minister that extension of the franchise without redistribution is inequitable; but he goes further, and says a Redistribution Bill being necessary to make this measure equitable, it should be brought in before this Bill is allowed to pass, and he refuses to trust to chance to remedy the inequitable and improper character of the Franchise Bill. The position of the noble Marquess is very superior to that of the Prime Minister. It seems to be absolutely in accord with common sense, to be wise, to be patriotic, and to be most Constitutional. Supposing the question were brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, which has the power to review any Constitutional alteration, can any reasonable man doubt what the verdict of the Court would be on a Bill of this kind? Would it not say that a measure which was in itself inequitable and improper, and which, in order to be made equitable and proper, depended on the passing of another measure which had not yet seen the light, was an absurdity, unconstitutional, null and void? We hear a great deal about the impossibility of passing such a complicated Bill as a Redistribution Bill in one Session, accompanied by the Fran- chise Bill. But, my Lords, I do not see how passing this measure now would lighten the labours of Parliament in any respect. I do not see that, if this Bill is passed, the labour and difficulty of framing a redistribution scheme will be lessened in the smallest legitimate manner. By no legitimate means could it be affected at all. If it be impossible, which I do not believe it is, to pass a whole Reform Bill in one Session, then the common-sense course to have taken would have been to have sketched out the measure of enfranchisement, but proceeded first with the Redistribution Bill. What would be thought in the House of Commons of a Minister who asked them to vote money for the service of the State, but refused to give them any opportunity of ascertaining or discussing how the money was to be applied? That is absolutely a parallel case to the one now before your Lordships. Her Majesty's Government say—"Give us these 2,000,000 votes, and then it will be time enough for us to tell you how they are to be applied." It is very hard for me to comprehend the position and attitude of Her Majesty's Government. It is so difficult to reconcile it with the belief that they have it in their minds to give us a fair and just scheme of redistribution. They have openly avowed that the great object of their attitude is, that if the House of Commons should not accept their redistribution scheme, that House will have to accept what is worse—the enfranchisement without any redistribution at all. I could understand such a sentiment as that coming from the lips of the autocratic Minister of a despotic country, but as emanating from the mouth of a Constitutional Minister of a country under a free and representative system of government, it passes my comprehension altogether. After all, what is the most that your Lordships' House has asked for? It has asked to be allowed to appeal to the people. In reference to that the noble Marquess said he wished to appeal to the people. And if it be their judgment that there should be enfranchisement without redistribution," continued the noble Marquess, "I should be very much surprised, but I should not attempt to dispute their decision. I call upon the Government to appeal to the people, and by that appeal I will abide. Well, my Lords, it appears to me to be absolutely impossible for any man to take up a more patriotic, a more sensible, or a more strictly Constitutional position. I know it is said that the action of your Lordships' House in endeavouring to obtain an appeal to the people interferes with the rights of the Crown, and is unprecedented and unconstitutional. But if there is any interference with the rights of the Crown at all, it lies in the proceeding of the Government, which, if it has any value whatever, will absolutely preclude the Crown from dissolving Parliament, at any rate, for 12 months. As to the course which your Lordships' House pursued the other night, the statement that it was absolutely unprecedented is not strictly true to history; but, even if were, we might say that the position is absolutely unprecedented also. To add to the constituencies nearly 2,000,000 additional voters, and to bring in no measure of redistribution whatever—give us no security that those votes shall be properly applied, or that the voters shall have their true share of representation in Parliament—that, I think, is absolutely unprecedented, an anomaly and a novelty in our Parliamentary history. I trust your Lordships will not forget that, although you sit in one room, and the Members of the other House sit in another room, both are parts of one Legislative Body; and to say that one portion of the Legislative Body shall have the right to appeal to the people under any circumstances, while the other portion shall, under no circumstances and at no time, have the privilege of appealing to the people, to know whether they are right or wrong, is a position that cannot be Constitutionally maintained. I believe that the real reason why the Government are so reluctant to grant an appeal, has come out in the famous speech of the Prime Minister at the Foreign Office, a speech which throws much light on the motives of the Government. Speaking of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said they were all sent about their business if they were wrong; but if the House of Lords was wrong, their Lordships were not sent about their business; and then the Prime Minister went on to speak of the unpleasantness of having to meet constituents, who were dissatisfied. The real reason therefore, of the objection of the Government to appeal to the country, appears to be consideration for the personal convenience of certain Members of the other House. There is no question whatever of the interests of the people. It is merely a consideration that, if the constituencies bear out the contention of the Opposition, inconvenience will arise to some Members of the House of Commons; whereas, if the constituencies say that Her Majesty's Government is right, equal inconvenience will not accrue to Members of your Lordships' House. In other words, if the constituencies say that we are right, it is possible that the Prime Minister might have to look out for some other constituency to return him to Parliament; if, on the other hand, the constituencies say we are wrong, the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) will come back to his place of authority, and will still sit with comfort in his own arm-chair. The arm-chair of the noble Marquess appears to have greatly excited the mind of the Prime Minister. Well, my Lords, the Prime Minister goes on to say— All that the noble Marquess will have to do will be to consider at his ease whether or not it is convenient for him again to reject your legislation. I want particularly to call your Lordship's attention to this passage, because it was uttered after the noble Marquess had distinctly stated in his place in this House that he would abide by the decision of the constituencies. It is impossible more to misrepresent the position of the noble Marquess and the position of the majority in your Lordships' House. It is a most terrible example of inaccuracy to go out to the country. Of course, the Prime Minister could not have read the speech of the noble Marquess, or he never could have said that which was not only at variance with the facts, but absolutely opposed to the noble Marquess's own words. I think that the Prime Minister, before delivering a speech which was to go out to the whole country, might have taken the trouble to know what the noble Marquess had said and what the position of the majority of this House was before he sounded the key-note of an agitation. No doubt, your Lordships will not lose your seats if, in the event of an appeal to the country, you are proved to be mistaken. That is a matter of the Constitution of the country. It is not your fault. But I venture to think that inconvenience does accrue to the Members of this House. Surely, the Prime Minister might have put himself in the position of another man, and might have comprehended that to an honourable man sitting in this House it might be just as inconvenient and just as painful—in fact, more inconvenient and more painful—to subordinate his own will to that of the people and the constituencies, than it would be to maintain his own convictions and lose his seat. To be in Parliament and possess power is not the be all and end all of every human being's existence. Nobody can be more anxious than I am that a compromise may be found to reconcile the difference between the two Houses. It appears to me that if Her Majesty's Government were not so determined to have an instrument of torture with which to torture the House of Commons into accepting any Redistribution Bill they chose to set before them, there would be no difficulty in finding a basis of compromise; but if Her Majesty's Government are absolutely determined that, under no circumstances whatever, shall enfranchisement wait on redistribution, it is very difficult to see how a compromise can be arrived at. I would suggest to my noble Friend on the Cross Benches (the Earl of Wemyss) that even if his Resolution is not accepted, as I hope it will not be, the door will still be open to an agreement. I should be very sorry if the labours of the Session were thrown away. For my own part, I do not see why Parliament should not adjourn, instead of being Prorogued. Your Lordships' House has accepted the principle of the Franchise Bill; and I do not think it is presumptuous to suggest that, probably, it would not object to bind itself by Resolution to pass this Bill through all its stages without debate, on accepting a Redistribution Bill. I cannot tell whether the Conservative minority in the House of Commons would agree to a similar course; but I should fancy they would; and if that can be done, the labours of the Session, as far as this Bill is concerned, will not be thrown away. If any reasonable scheme of compromise is put before your Lordships, I hope you will accept it. I hope the House will submit to any sacrifice of comfort, or even sentiment, in order to prevent matters going further; but I fail to see in the Resolution of the noble Earl the slightest sign of such a compromise as could be accepted. The position which your Lordships' House took up the other night was eminently strong and Constitutional. I trust your Lordships will not lightly abandon it. If you endeavour, by following false arguments and ideas of expediency, to accept some compromise which, in reality, is not a compromise, you will bring infinite difficulties upon this House in the future. If it came to pass that a Parliament was elected on an extended franchise without redistribution, it would be absolutely impossible for your Lordships to know whether the views of the other House were in accordance with the views of the great majority of the country or not. Under these circumstances, I believe that the position your Lordships took up the other night was perfectly Constitutional and statesmanlike, and preeminently strong; and I hope that you will not allow yourselves to abandon it.


said, he should like the Bill to have been read a second time, and some Amendments to have been moved in Committee which he could have supported; but, in regard to the proposals now before the House, he should support the Resolution of the noble Earl (the Earl of Wemyss).

The Earl of ABERDEEN and the Duke of NORFOLK rose at the same time to address the House.

Both noble Lords being called upon, after short time, it was

Moved, "That the Duke of Norfolk be heard."—(The Viscount Bury.)

Motion agreed, to.


said, that it was the custom in debates in their Lordships' House for speakers to follow one another alternately on different sides. As one of those who, the other night, voted against the Amendment of the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns), he was anxious to urge on the House the very different position in which their Lordships were now placed. On the former occasion they met to decide a very great and important issue, the question before them being whether they should take their stand on the Constitutional principle that a measure for the extension of the franchise should go hand-in-hand with a measure of redistribution. There were many of their Lordships who had felt strongly that the House should not shrink from the obligation of taking its stand on that principle, and no doubt many of them thought it would be a dereliction of duty on their part to decline that responsibility. He himself was not one of those who had taken that view. He had, rightly or wrongly, thought that there were very great dangers surrounding the course which their Lordships were likely to adopt; and, believing that measures of even greater importance might come before them, he had felt that it would be unwise then to take up a line of action that he thought was surrounded by great danger. But the debate of last week was past, and their Lordships' House had taken up their position; and what they had now to consider was whether eight or ten days afterwards they should retrace their steps and abandon the ground they had so taken up. If he had feared that the course before them last week was one that involved some danger, it was impossible to conceive of any course that was more likely to take away from their Lordships' House its dignity and self-respect than that now proposed to them. He could not see that there was anything to justify it. They were told, indeed, that they ought to change their policy because a compromise was offered to them. He confessed that he could not see what real compromise had been offered. Whatever name the overture might bear, he did not think compromise was the fitting term to describe it. The sole point at issue was whether a certain great principle should be maintained by that House, and until something which touched that principle was proposed he could not see how it could be called a compromise. He maintained that the whole position of their Lordships' House on that great question was one of compromise. When the Liberal Ministry brought in a Bill for the extension of the franchise, that House had only asked that it should, in accordance with established custom, be coupled with a measure of redistribution. That was a legitimate, a reasonable, and altogether a statesmanlike position to take up, and one that deserved to be met on the other side by some fair concession in that direction. The only concession they had met with was that a Bill which could not possibly be passed if brought in in February was to be brought in in November. That appeared to be a most futile and delusive proposal for their Lordships to accept, and there was nothing to justify them in going back from the position they had assumed. It was said that agitation would spring up if that House stood firm as the champion of Constitutional principle. At a moment like that, when they were told that tumultuous meetings and processions with banners would be held throughout the country, he could not but think that there were large sections of the community who would be thankful that there was one House of Parliament which was not swayed to and fro by popular feeling, and did not change its opinion at every breath of popular passion. He would, therefore, urge the noble Earl on the Cross Benches earnestly to consider whether he ought not to withdraw his Resolution; but if the noble Earl persisted in going to a Division, he hoped that their Lordships would agree with him that it was their duty to oppose it.


said, he begged to apologize for attempting to interpose between the House and the noble Duke; but his reason for doing so was that the noble Duke who preceded him (the Duke of Somerset) did not refer to the arguments brought forward by the noble Earl (the Earl of Dunraven). It was a most hopeful sign, which even those who were most sanguine as to the possibility of effecting some modus vivendi could hardly have expected after the Division of last Tuesday week, that 10 days later circumstances would have been so favourable as they were at the opening of this discussion for some rapprochement between the two sides of the House. Last week it seemed almost impossible that noble Lords opposite could depart from the attitude then taken up without some sacrifice of dignity, or, at least, some sacrifice of logic. But to-day a change could be effected without loss in either respect, and he said that, not only in view of the terms of the Motion before the House, but in view of what had occurred since last week's Division. Much had happened since then. For one thing, everyone was now aware that a communication was made by the Go- vernment to the noble Marquess opposite with the view of effecting some sort of agreement. He was not now complaining that the noble Marquess and those who acted with him did not regard the proposal of the Government as of any practical value. The fact remained that an olive branch was extended by the Government; and it was also admitted that, owing to a misrepresentation which had since been entirely explained, most of the noble Lords opposite were not at the time aware of the negotiation. That circumstance obviously afforded an opportunity for any of the noble Lords opposite who would have differed from the noble Marquess and the noble and learned Earl upon that point had they been consulted at the time to act upon such difference of opinion even now without implying any appearance of invidious reflection upon their Leaders. Now, they had the Motion of the noble Earl on the Cross Benches. That noble Earl appeared as a man of peace; but he was afraid he might now exclaim—"I am for peace, but when I speak unto them thereof they make them ready for battle." As to the noble Earl who seconded the Motion, he appealed to the House whether any other Peer occupied such a position of veritable independence, coupled with great weight, and, at the same time, immunity from those vicissitudes to which the typical Cross Bench position was often subjected? The fact was, that if, after all that had occurred, noble Lords opposite refused to move from their present attitude, their position to many of them on that side was almost unintelligible. He could only suppose that many of the noble Lords opposite were relying upon a theory which he had heard some of them express in conversation, and that was—that if they held out now, Her Majesty's Government would, at some future time during the autumn, come forward of their own accord to offer to produce a Redistribution Bill to be considered before the passing of the Franchise Bill. He could only say that if noble Lords were bolstering themselves up with that idea, they were in a fool's paradise. He dared say he might be asked what right he had to talk as if he were acquainted with the mind and intentions of the Government? If he thought it worth while to trouble the noble Earl below him, he might ask if he considered that there was the smallest probability of the Government considering such a course? But he did not think it necessary to put any such question, because it required no access to official knowledge to see that even if the Government wished to pursue such a course they could not do so. He did not believe their supporters would follow them if it was proposed. He was always for peace; but he should think twice before he should be prepared to support the Government in such a course, especially after the concessions which, as he maintained, they had already made. For he thought that the significance of the support which the Government were to-day giving to the Motion of the noble Earl had not been sufficiently recognized. The Government had made a real concession by so doing. They were undertaking to make a sacrifice, not of principle, but of their own convenience; and not only that, but, if he was not mistaken, they had occasioned some mutterings of discontent among some of their own supporters. He thought noble Lords opposite should take note of the fact that while the present action of the Government facilitated a departure from their uncompromising attitude, it would enormously weaken their position afterwards if that attitude was maintained. But there was another point. The rejection of this Motion, and all that was implied by that rejection, would place that House, as a whole, in a very peculiar and, as they on his own side believed, a false position before the country. They heard a good deal about the rights of minorities; and he thought, if ever there was an occasion when a minority might claim for their views something more than mere Party considerations, it was such an occasion as the present. He said the House would be in a false position before the country. Let him not be misunderstood. He was not one of those who would look forward with dislike or alarm to the prospect of changes in the constitution of their Lordships' House. He would regard such a prospect with considerable equanimity. In fact, he could sympathize with those who would regard even banishment from this House as very tolerable, provided it did not imply exclusion from that "other place" to which they so often alluded. But if changes were to be made, let it be in the calm and judicial atmosphere of deliberate inquiry. Let it be by such means as those lately suggested by his noble Friend who sat below the Gangway (the Earl of Rosebery)—not in the heat and excitement of controversy and recrimination such as he was afraid they might shortly experience. But he was not thinking merely of the enemies of that House. Everybody knew that they would not breathe freely as long as the fate of this Motion was in doubt. The moment it was rejected they would heave a sigh of relief, or, rather, they would raise a shout of exultation. He was thinking of those who were well disposed to their Lordships' House. He knew that his noble Friend the noble Earl below the Gangway (the Earl of Rosebery) was, by some accidental error, reported as having said that their Lordships' House had no friends. He believed his noble Friend was not the man to say anything so inaccurate. He said their Lordships' House wanted friends. It needed the friends that it had, and he affirmed that vast sections of the community, especially of the great middle class, regarded this House with a steady, if somewhat passive, feeling of friendliness and confidence. But what was their state of feeling in the present crisis? He dared say there were plenty of ardent spirits who telegraphed to the noble Marquess and his friends that the country was at their back. He believed, however, that closer inquiry would show that the prevailing sentiment was that of perplexity, of doubt and misgiving as to the course that the noble Marquess was pursuing. He knew very well that noble Lords opposite could say—"It is useless to talk to us of consequences and dangers ahead; we must act up to our convictions. Ruat cœlum, we must do what we believe to be right." He should be the first to applaud such language and such an attitude when some great and sacred principle was involved. But what was the great principle here? Was it not rather a question of procedure and of expediency? The Government said they believed that the best way of effecting the proposed reform was temporarily to separate the Redistribution Bill from the Franchise Bill proper. The noble Marquess said he thought the proper course would be to bring in both as one scheme. What, after all, was the mischief that was predicted in the event of the Government's mode of proceeding being adopted? Why, it was the hypothetical and visionary danger that, in the possible contingency of an Election occurring during the intermediate stage, one of the two great political Parties in this country would be put at a disadvantage. Admitting, in a sense, the Constitutional right of the noble Marquess to demand that, as a preliminary step, an appeal should be made to the country, had not the Government, as the responsible Advisers of the Crown, a superior right to decide when an appeal to the country should be made, so long as they were supported by an ample majority in a representative House of Parliament? Was it possible that there was still some other influence working upon the minds of noble Lords opposite? Was it possible that they were nursing a sort of resentment against the Prime Minister because of his so-called threats? He should have thought it almost superfluous to refer again to that notion, were it not that only the previous day a politician of repute and of position publicly stated that the Prime Minister came down to the House of Commons to threaten the House of Lords with extinction. Once more they had the Prime Minister depicted as a sort of Goliath coming forth from the hosts of the Philistines to defy the armies of the faithful; and the first word of his defiance was supposed to be the ominous word "Beware!" But that was merely part of the misapprehension which prevailed. To whom did the first word of the first line of the celebrated quotation apply? The Prime Minister indicated that the attitude of the Government might be illustrated as follows:— Beware Of entrance to a quarrel. To whom did this apply? Clearly to Her Majesty's Government. Mr. Gladstone was expressing a sense of caution and of reluctance, which the Government and their supporters wished to show before being led into a contest with the Upper House. No doubt, the latter part of the quotation went on to indicate that the Government, being convinced of the soundness of their own position, would not be prepared to yield; but that he would describe, not as a threat, but as a fair and honourable declaration. ["No, no!"] Noble Lords were not disposed to accept that view; but he would give them something else. What did Mr. Gladstone say last Friday? He said—"It is our desire to see this Bill win its way by" — what? By the rumblings of popular discontent, which were already beginning to be audible? By storm and tempest? No; but to win its way "by persuasion and calm consideration to the rational minds of men." What men? The noble Lords opposite. Was that a threat? He called it a compliment. But noble Lords frequently complained that the Prime Minister was in the habit of misrepresenting and maligning their Party. He confessed that if the Motion before the House was rejected, the general feeling would be that the Prime Minister did attribute to the Party opposite something which they might fairly disclaim when he spoke of the rational character of their views upon the subject. He had one last question to ask. Were noble Lords opposite prepared to state that they were convinced that the agitation, the angry controversy, the disturbed feeling which would inevitably follow the course which they now proposed, would not be a greater evil—he did not say to their Party, but to the welfare of the nation—than any evil which, even from their own point of view, could arise from the acceptance of this Motion?


My Lords, I do not believe that I should be acting according to the desires of the House, and I should certainly be putting off the Division, if I were to enter again upon the arguments which we thrashed out 10 days ago, and rediscuss the question of the second reading of the Franchise Bill. I desire rather to confine myself to the limited issues which have been raised by the Motion of my noble Friend on the Cross Benches; and for that purpose I wish to ask your Lordships what is the central position which we are defending—what is the essential point that we must maintain, and on what accessories or secondary issues are we able to accept a compromise? Now, my Lords, I do not think the matter stands exactly as it did when we divided on Tuesday week. Since that time a most important speech, to which reference has been frequently made, was delivered by the Prime Minister at the Foreign Office, and in that speech he gave us a frank revelation of the intentions and objects of the Government for which we could not have hoped, but which marks out to us the course we must pursue if we mean to maintain our independence as a Deliberative Assembly. When we were debating on Tuesday night we all imagined that the reason why franchise and redistribution were separated was because, in the present condition of things in the House of Commons, there was a mechanical difficulty in carrying them together, and that was the doctrine which animated the speeches of Ministers who addressed us, especially the speech of the noble Earl the Colonial Secretary. But the Prime Minister had a very different account to give of the motives which actuated his own mind. His object was not to deal with any merely mechanical difficulties, but to procure a lever by which he could press upon his opponents and compel them to take, whether they liked it or not, whatever scheme of redistribution he might please to offer. These are the words of Mr. Gladstone— The goodwill on the part of the Opposition which we require in order to give a Redistribution Bill a chance cannot be had unless they know that the extension of the franchise is to take place, and that if they will not have it with redistribution they must have it without. Therefore, what the scheme arranged by the Prime Minister was intended to effect was, that on the principles of redistribution neither the Opposition in the other House nor the Opposition in this House should have any influence; that whatever decision he came to on the grave issues which affected the future representation of the country, on the representation of various interests, and on the protection of the rural communities from being swamped by an undue admixture of the urban element, and, above all, upon the most vital question of proportional representation — that question which concerns the defence of minorities, a question that in all democratic forms of government is of supreme importance—that question was to be decided solely upon the will of the Government of the day, and the Opposition in neither House was to have any influ- ence in dealing with it; and that that end was to be attained by placing them in the position that if they did not take the enfranchisement with such redistribution as he was pleased to give, they should have enfranchisement without redistribution at all. That is the issue. Now, on that point I confess I see no room for compromise. After that announcement of the Prime Minister I do not see how this House, how those who voted the other night, can withdraw from the assertion of the principle that redistribution and enfranchisement must pass together; and we feel that, forewarned as to the meaning of the tactics which the Government are pursuing, we are bound, so far as our powers go, to accept no arrangement which shall carry that enfranchisement into law without securing that redistribution shall pass into law at the same time. But then I am told—"you are hostile to enfranchisement; you are killing the Bill." We ask to be judged, not by our professions, but by our acts. If we had wished to kill the Bill, nothing would have been easier than to have done so; we could have done so by a formula well known to the House. We deliberately selected a form of Motion that would not kill the Bill, and the Bill is still alive. As far as we are concerned, the Bill will not be killed. If it is killed, it will be killed only by the process of Prorogation, which is the act of Her Majesty's Government and not ours. Wishing, as we do, that enfranchisement should take place, and that it should take place on the principles of this Bill, we desire to keep this Bill alive until its necessary complement—the Redistribution Bill—can come up alongside of it, and both can be passed together. What course Her Majesty's Government may take in using that weapon, Prorogation, which lies in their hand, which has the power of killing Bills, and which it is for them to use or forbear to use according to their discretion and responsibility, I will not presume to forecast. I am aware that there are difficulties, that it would be of no use adjourning in August unless you are prepared to adjourn again in December; and that there are certain difficulties in stretching one Session over two years; but on that I do not wish to express an opinion. What I wish to in- sist upon is, that it will not be any act of ours, but the Prorogation, that will kill the Bill, and that if the Government wish not to kill the Bill they can forbear the Prorogation. But, my Lords, it seems to me of more practical moment to turn to what is to be done if there is a Prorogation now, as I suppose there will be, and what will be done when we come back in November. Then, we are told—if I did not misread what is attributed to Members of the Government in "another place"—that they intend to pass the Enfranchisement Bill, sending it up here, and that if, as is very probable, we decline again to pass that Enfranchisement Bill until a Redistribution Bill has reached us, they will then themselves cut the thread of life of their unfortunate Franchise Bill by interposing another Prorogation at Christmas. Against that I most strongly protest. It is deliberately putting off enfranchisement. It is deliberately making it impossible for that enfranchisement to be carried out merely that the Government may be able to carry into effect this unprecedented and despotic design of using the passing of the Enfranchisement Bill as a means for coercing the free judgment of both Houses of Parliament. My hope is that if an Enfranchisement Bill is passed in the autumn, and is brought up to this House, we shall meet it with no hostile action, but that we shall simply defer it to a day sufficiently distant to allow a Redistribution Bill to be passed through the House of Commons, and to come here, and that we shall leave it to the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government, if they choose so to do, to kill that Bill by an unnecessary and unusual Prorogation for the purpose of forcing the decision of the House on the other question of redistribution. If they do that, it will be their act alone. Do not let them say that we are hostile to enfranchisement, or that we have been the means of preventing it coming into law. These being my views, I need hardly say that I can have no sympathy with the Motion of the noble Earl on the Cross Benches. He merely offers us another promise of the Government. Promises are mere counters. They are perfectly idle in this matter. We do not want to throw any doubt or suspicion on the word of noble Lords opposite; but there are two objections to their promises. The first is, that circumstances are stronger than men; and the second is, that though we may have a promise to bring in another Bill, we have not, and cannot have, any promise as to the nature of what that Bill will be. My Lords, I do not recognize in the arguments used to-night any consideration that should turn this House from the resolution to which it deliberately came 10 days ago. I have heard nothing but this one cry—that misrepresentation is so powerful that you must not do what is right lest you should be misrepresented. The noble Earl's (the Earl of Shaftesbury's) cry has been "Magnum est mendacium et prœvalebit. He believes in the unlimited power of misrepresentation and falsehood. Though we have in every speech which we have uttered expressed our wish to bring this enfranchisement into law, though we have recorded that wish in the most solemn manner on the Journals of this House, yet he tells us that it will be easy for the agitators to mislead the people, and that it will be impossible for the people to pay the slightest attention to our professions. He told us that the Conservative Party throughout the country would blame our action. I venture to say I know more of the Conservative Party than the noble Earl. I have had communications from every part of the country, from the largest and most populous communities, and from open meetings where workmen were represented and voted in large numbers, and I venture to say that, though I do not doubt that the Radical Party are strongly and bitterly opposed to us, and will desist from no effort to attack us, the Conservative Party are as strongly in our favour, and that this feeling extends far beyond what is technically known as the limits of the Conservative Party. This argument as to the omnipotence of misrepresentation and as to the power of agitation, is unworthy of this House, and is a dangerous principle to admit into legislation. If it is once established that the fear of agitation is sufficient to make you recede from a decision solemnly taken only 10 days ago, you may be quite sure that the weapon so discovered will not be allowed to remain useless in its scabbard, The Birmingham Caucus will then be divided into two departments, one for the manipulation of the House of Commons, and the other for the intimidation of the House of Lords. Whenever it is desirous, in the interests of any Party or clique or corrupt interest, to pass some Bill through this House to which this House objects, these same tactics, before which we are now asked to tremble, will be repeated, and the same agitation will be produced, the same weapons will be employed, to beat down our calmer judgment. My Lords, I have no belief in the assertion that this misrepresentation will be all powerful. I do not so lightly esteem the clearness of perception and the discernment which distinguish our countrymen. I should, indeed, despair if they were likely on all public questions to be so easily misled by mere loud, empty, unmeaning, and evidently unfounded clamour. [Ironical Ministerial cheers, and counter Opposition cheers.] I understand those cheers to mean that, though we have never withdrawn our belief from the statements of our adversaries, they affect not to believe our statement when we say that we desire to pass the Enfranchisement Bill. My Lords, I think they will have difficulty in persuading the impartial body of our fellow-countryman of the truth of such a monstrous assertion. Certain I am of this, that the duty of this House is not to look to right or left from considerations of this kind. If a House like this, in its nature independent, is of any value at all, its value consists in its power of disregarding merely transitory clamour. Let us adhere to the right, without caring for the gloss or colour that agitators may place upon it, preferring our duty to our country and our Queen to any dangers, whether real or imaginary, which the minds of over-troubled advisers conjure up to deter us from our course.


My Lords, I cannot be altogether surprised that the noble Marquess does not approve of the language used by Mr. Gladstone; but I doubt whether there is anyone in this Assembly—I doubt whether there are many in the nation at large—who are not perfectly convinced that Mr. Gladstone is absolutely in earnest in his desire to add these 2,000,000 voters to the constituencies of the United Kingdom, and also to pass a Redistribution Bill, fair and large in its character, and yet very different from the extreme and radical views which will be pressed upon him to adopt. The noble Marquess will not, I hope, misunderstand me. I entirely believe the assertion that is made by noble Lords opposite as to their intention; but I strongly disbelieve that the noble Marquess is—and I do not think that he will pretend to be so—the least in earnest in his desire for the extension of the franchise. ["Oh!" and cheers, and cries of "Withdraw!"] I have not the slightest intention of withdrawing. It is perfectly true that the noble Marquess agreed in the Resolution passed the other night as altered; but when the noble Marquess, a very few months from this date, announced that the agricultural labourers did not in the least desire this boon, and that, being indifferent to it, they would be a prey to harmful agitators—when he said that their enfranchisement would swamp the Conservative element of the farmers—if he then expressed his conviction, how is it possible that the noble Marquess can now wish for an extension of the franchise?


I spoke of enfranchisement without redistribution. [Cheers.]


I would beg noble Lords before they cheer to refer to the speech which the noble Marquess made, and I am perfectly certain it will be found that, with regard to the extension of the suffrage itself, it was, he represented, open to the objections which he stated. Under these circumstances, with the earnest desire of Mr. Gladstone that this Bill should be carried into effect, is it not right that he should take the measures best calculated to attain that object? The language of the Prime Minister was not a threat; it was addressed to the whole House of Commons, and it pointed out that, whereas Members under the influence of their constituents to the greatest extent might give the Government a majority of 130 on a Franchise Bill, the case was very different in regard to redistribution, when local feeling was called into play, and that majority might be reduced to 40, 50, or 60. The noble Earl opposite asked why the Government did not make so easy a compromise as that which he suggested. That compromise is merely this—that the Government are to turn against this enormous majority in the House of Commons, who considered this Bill for four months. The discussions during that period almost entirely turned on whether a Redistribution Bill should accompany the Franchise Bill or not. That large majority decided that it should not, and the Government are now asked to turn against that majority in the House of Commons to satisfy a wish suggested by your Lordships. I think that to be absolutely impossible, if we really and earnestly wish to pass this Bill. I am very sorry to have heard the speech of the noble Marquess. There are parts of it which are quite incredible. He was angry with us for cheering. We merely cheered when he said "unmeaning clamour." We did not cheer when he charged the Liberal Party with being parties to mendacity and misrepresentation.


The noble Marquess did not make use of the word "mendacity" in my hearing. [Cries of "Order!"]


The noble Marquess said there would be an agitation produced entirely by misrepresentation and calumny of the Conservative Party. Really, does the noble Marquess think that when criticisms are made upon particular action in this House this is all misrepresentation and all mendacity? My Lords, I said the other day, and I repeat it now, that I have the greatest feeling of respect with regard to this House, a House of which I have been a tenant for so many years. I am not one of those—I have not the ability, I have not the eloquence, I have not the ambition, I have not the youth to wish to burn down that House, whether it is to roast my own eggs or any other person's eggs. I wish to retain for this House the respect and regard which I believe is very generally felt for your Lordships' House. I believe that respect and regard can be maintained and increased by a constant and persistent and statesmanlike conduct on the part of the House; and I believe that regard and respect may be destroyed in a very short time indeed by the mismanagement of those who are at its head and conduct its proceedings. The noble Marquess said something about the solemn decision of you Lordships the other night There is no doubt that a majority of some 60 is a very large majority in any Assembly; but you must remember the immense normal majority which exists in this House against the Government. ["No!"] Well, my Lords, take the numbers. The number of the majority last week was not only a fourth less, not only a third less, but it was very much less than on any one occasion upon which, during the last four years, the noble Marquess has thought fit to marshal his forces—whether on Votes of Censure or for the stopping or amendment of Bills. On the other hand, during those four years we have not had on our side as many by nearly 50 as voted the other day in favour of the second reading of the Bill; and, in fact, we had on that occasion 100 more than on most occasions on which there have been Party Divisions in this House. Does that mean nothing? Does it not indicate very strongly the feeling that exists in this House? Does it not indicate something of the feeling that exists, not only on the Episcopal Bench, but on all three sides of the House, and show that some of the most eminent men of all Parties agree with us? I believe it does to a great extent, and I shall not feel the really moral effect of that debate and the Division the other day at all weakened even if to-night the majority be swelled some 10 or 20 more, when we can understand now the sort of violent declamation that has been used and which the noble Marquess has thought fit not only to address to us, but to the whole nation, with regard to this great question. I do trust your Lordships will not go about using language which, if it is perhaps brilliant and clever, is full of such mischievous incitement to the excitement of both Parties and the nation.


, who spoke amid loud cries of "Divide!" was understood to say that he wished, if possible, that a compromise should be come to upon this question. He would have preferred that the second reading of the Bill should have been taken and an Amendment introduced in Committee postponing the operation of the Bill until a Redistribution Bill had been passed.


wished to say a word or two on the bearing of his Motion, as to which, he thought, there had been a misunderstanding. He had endeavoured on the second reading, and again that night, to say, as clearly as words enabled him to do, that he agreed that it was desirable that their Lordships' House should have more control over the question of redistribution; but he believed what was suggested by the noble Duke was the proper think to do, to pass the second reading of the Franchise Bill, and in Committee, by negotiation or otherwise, endeavour to obtain that control which the noble Marquess thought this House ought to have over redistribution. He therefore maintained, if noble Lords tried to make out this Resolution did not admit of that, he was afraid they were shutting their eyes purposely to the real bearing of the case.

On question, "Whether the words proposed to be left out shall stand part of the motion?"

Their Lordships divided:—Contents 132; Not-Contents 182: Majority 50.

Canterbury, L. Archp. Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.]
Selborne, E. (L. Chancellor.)
Spencer, E.
Strathmore and Kinghorn, E.
Bedford, D.
Cleveland, D. Suffolk and Berkshire, E.
Devonshire, D.
Grafton, D. Sydney, E.
Marlborough, D. Yarborough, E.
Saint Albans, D.
Somerset, D. Canterbury, V.
Sutherland, D. Eversley, V.
Westminster, D. Gordon, V. (E. Aberdeen.)
Ailesbury, M. Hampden, V.
Normanby, M. Powerscourt, V.
Northampton, M. Sherbrooke, V.
Carlisle, L. Bp.
Camperdown, B. Durham, L. Bp.
Chesterfield, E. Ely, L. Bp.
Chichester, E. Exeter, L. Bp.
Clarendon, E. London, L. Bp.
Cowper, E. Oxford, L. Bp.
Derby, E.
Devon, E. Abercromby, L.
Durham, E. Aberdare, L.
Effingham, E. Acton, L.
Essex, E. Alcester, L.
Fortescue, E. Auckland, L.
Granville, E. Belper, L.
Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.) Blachford, L.
Blantyre, L.
Jersey, E. Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)
Kimberley, E.
Minto, E. Bramwell, L.
Morley, E. Braye, L.
Northbrook, E. Breadalbane, L. (E. Breadalbane.)
Saint Germans, E.
Calthorpe, L. Moncreiff, L.
Carew, L. Monson, L.
Carlingford, L. Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Carrington, L.
Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.) Mount-Temple, L.
Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Churchill, L.
Clermont, L. Ramsay, L. (E. Dalhousie.)
Crewe, L.
Dacre, L. Reay, L.
De Mauley, L. Ribblesdale, L.
Dorchester, L. Robartes, L.
Dormer, L. Romilly, L.
Erskine, L. Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
Ettrick, L. (L. Napier.)
Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.) Sandhurst, L.
FitzGerald, L. Sandys, L.
Foley, L. Saye and Sele, L.
Granard, L. (E. Granard.) Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)
Sherborne, L.
Greville, L. Skene, L. (E. Fife.)
Haldon, L. Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.)
Hammond, L.
Hare, L. (E. Listowel.) Strafford, L. (V. Enfield)
Hatherton, L.
Hothfield, L. Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)
Houghton, L.
Howth, L. (E. Howth.) Sudeley, L.
Kenmare, L. (E. Kenmare.) Suffield, L.
Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)
Kinnaird, L.
Lawrence, L. Thurlow, L.
Leigh, L. Truro, L.
Lismore, L. (V. Lismore.) Tweedmouth, L.
Vernon, L.
Loftus, L. (M. Ely.) Waveney, L.
Lovat, L. Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.) [Teller.]
Lurgan, L.
Lyttelton, L. Wenlock, L.
Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.) Wolverton, L.
Wrottesley, L.
Methuen, L.
Beaufort, D. Cadogan, E.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Cairns, E.
Carnarvon, E.
Leeds, D. Clonmell, E.
Norfolk, D. Coventry, E.
Northumberland, D. De La Warr, E.
Portland, D. Denbigh, E.
Richmond, D. Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.)
Rutland, D.
Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.) Eldon, E.
Ellesmere, E.
Abergavenny, M. Feversham, E.
Bristol, M. Hardwicke, E.
Exeter, M. Harrowby, E.
Salisbury, M. Howe, E.
Winchester, M. Ilchester, E.
Kilmorey, E.
Abingdon, E. Lanesborough, E.
Annesley, E. Lathom, E. [Teller.]
Ashburnham, E. Leven and Melville, E.
Bathurst, E. Lucan, E.
Beauchamp, E. Lytton, E.
Belmore, E. Macclesfield, E.
Bradford, E. Malmesbury, E.
Brooke and Warwick, E. Manvers, E.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Brownlow, E. Milltown, E.
Morton, E. Delamere, L.
Mount Edgcumbe, E. De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Pembroke and Montgomery, E.
Digby, L.
Radnor, E. Dinevor, L.
Ravensworth, E. Donington, L.
Redesdale, E. Douglas, L. (E. Home.)
Romney, E. Egerton, L.
Rosse, E. Ellenborough, L.
Rosslyn, E. Fisherwick, L. (M. Donegall.)
Sandwich, E.
Selkirk, E. Forbes, L.
Sondes, E. Forester, L.
Stanhope, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Strange, E. (D. Athole.)
Tankerville, E. Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Verulam, E. Gerard, L.
Waldegrave, E. Grantley, L.
Wharncliffe, E. Harlech, L.
Zetland, E. Harris, L.
Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)
Heytesbury, L.
Gough, V. Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.)
Hardinge, V.
Hawarden, V. [Teller.] Howard de Walden, L.
Hereford, V. Hylton, L.
Hood, V. Inchiquin, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Keane, L.
Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.)
Melville, V.
Sidmouth, V. Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)
St. Vincent, V.
Strathallan, V.
Templetown, V. Ker, L. (M. Lothian.)
Torrington, V. Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)
Lamington, L.
Gloucester and Bristol, L. Bp. Langford, L.
Leconfield, L.
Londesborough, L.
Abinger, L. Lovel and Holland, L. (E. Egmont.)
Amherst, L. (V. Holmesdale.)
Lyveden, L.
Annaly, L. Manners, L.
Ardilaun, L. Massy, L.
ArundellofWardour,L. Minster, L. (M. Conyngham.)
Ashford, L. (V. Bury.)
Aveland, L. Moore, L. (M. Drogheda.)
Bagot, L.
Bateman, L. Mostyn, L.
Blackburn, L. Mowbray, L.
Boston, L. Napier, L.
Botreaux, L. (E. Loudoun.) North, L.
Oranmore and Browne, L.
Brabourne, L.
Brancepeth, L. (V. Boyne.) Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)
Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.) Ormathwaite, L.
Penrhyn, L.
Castletown, L. Poltimore, L.
Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.) Raglan, L.
Rayleigh, L.
Chelmsford, L. Rodney, L.
Churston, L. Rowton, L.
Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.) Sackville, L.
Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)
Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.)
Saltoun, L.
Clinton, L. Scarsdale, L.
Cloncurry, L. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Colchester, L.
Colville of Culross, L. Somers, L.
Crofton, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.) Walsingham, L.
Wigan, L. (E. Crawford and Balcarres.)
Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Strathnairn, L.
Tollemache, L. Wimborne, L.
Tredegar, L. Windsor, L.
Trevor, L. Winmarleigh, L.
Tyrone, L. (M. Waterford.) Wynford, L.
Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Ventry, L. worth, L.

Resolved in the negative

Then the Amendment was agreed to.

Resolved, That this House is of opinion that it would be desirable that Parliament should assemble in the early part of the autumn for the purpose of considering the Representation of the People Bill, already presented to Parliament, in conjunction with the Redistribution Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have undertaken to present to Parliament on the earliest occasion possible.

House adjourned at half past Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Ten o'clock.

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