When the House went into Committee, the borough franchise was
the first topic. Nominally, the debate was on an amendment pro- posed by Mr. Gladstone, really it was upon this :—Both sides wish to establish household suffrage, with restrictions, and the point is the most expedient restriction. The Liberals, through Mr. Glad- stone, contend that the best is a line either of rental or rating, which will leave out the very poor, but give all admitted equal privileges. Their cry is "Electoral Equality." The Tories, through, Mr. Disraeli, contend that the best restriction is to impose trouble and expense on all who wish to become electors, but to refuse the franchise to none. Their cry is "Electoral Elasticity." The Liberal difficulty is, that their proposal still keeps out men who may be qualified ; the Tory difficulty is, that their proposal leaves fitness for the franchise dependent on the caprice of Vestries. The debate was wonderfully close, no spealer wandering, and will very greatly help to inform the country. Should the matter be referred to the constituencies, which is not probable, Equality will, we ven- ture to predict, beat Elasticity out of the field. The haze has been cleared away too soon for the Tory chance.