The parishioners of Birmingham have not paid Church-rates for three years, the incidental expenses of churches and chapels having been defrayed by voluntary subscriptions. But the absurd notion of a reaction which has lately possessed the High Church party in several places, became prevalent in Birmingham, and it was resolved to make an effort this year to obtain a compulsory assessment. This design was not kept secret, and the opponents of the rate determined to fight the battle. A number of preliminary meetings were held ; estimates were required and given; and both parties arranged the rules of the fight. The meeting was appointed for Friday last, in the new Town Hall; which was completely crammed—probably nine or ten thousand persons were present. The Reverend Mr. Moseley, the Rector, took the chair. Mr. R. Spooner proposed a rate of fourpence in the pound. Mr. M'Donnell, the Catholic clergyman, and several others spoke against it. Mr.Scholefield, the Member, said that, as a Churchm'an, he felt quite ashamed to call on Dissenters to support his place of worship : he thought it as mean as it would be to call upon his neighbour to pay Mr. Scholefield's bill at an inn. He proposed that a subscription should be opened, instead of the rate ; and effered to head it with his own name for 100/. Mr. Scholefield's proposition and speech were enthusiastically cheered. The question was put, and about one hundred and fifty hands were held up for it, amidst loud laughter : on the op- posite side several thousands voted; and the Chairman having declared the show of bands to be against the motion, a poll was demanded rind arranged. The poll, according to an express written and signed agree- ment, commenced on Saturday, and was to close on the following Thursday. On Saturday, accordingly, the polling began; and the votes 241 Against it, 875 2:30 I 1445 1393 — 371 1090 — 316 — 819 209 294 — 108
1475 6216 On six days' polling, therefore, the majority against the rate is 4741. The contest ought to have closed on Thursday, bad the Rector and the party with whom he acts been men of their word ; but, in defiance of their written agreement, the Rector has subsequently determined to keep the poll open till this afternoon ; and perhaps he may still fur- ther extend the time. The opponents of the rate have delivered a Written protest against this breach of faith into the Rector's hands; placards denouncing the trick are posted about the town, and the Tories will gain nothing but disgrace by their treachery. It is calculated that the votes, assayed under .Sturges Bourne's Act, will yield a majority of nearly 2 to 1 against the rate. However that may be, the numbers polled are decisive as to the Anti-Tory state of public feeling in Bir- mingham. The Tories are, as usual, resorting to bribery, by paying the rates of their voters. This, it is said, can be proved against them.
The electors of Manchester have been addressed by their present Member, Mr. Poulett Thomson, whose manifesto contains some spirited passages. He says-
" The nets of the Administration, to which I had the honour to belong when you selected me, are recorded in some of the most beneficial measures whichever emulated from the Legislature. The Administration received at the end of last session a rein- forcement front the Popular party ; and the work of Reform would, I can confidently at the close of each day stood thus—
Saturday. ..For the rate, Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
assert, under the guidance of Lord Mel bonnse, have proceeded steadily and fearlessly.
" should you be called upots to exercise your elective franchise, it w ill be for you and for the other electors of the United Kingdom. constitutimally to decide, bv*Ill; choice of those in whom you will confide, whether the power of Government should be placed in hands like these ; whether the task of ameliorating the instit utions of the country, and correcting abuses which have sprung from a long course of corrupt and vicious legislation, shall be intrusted to the friends or to the enemies of Reform; whether the work of reformatiou is to be stopped at its commencement, or whethel the Reform Act shall bear its full fruits.
" The struggle must come. If in the exercise of your right of choice you are dis- posed again to confide your power to my hands, though others might wield it more ably, none will do so more zealously. To give to the Reform Act its full'eousequences —to extend to the utmost to all classes the blessings of civil and religious freedom—to correct the abuses of the Church Establishment—to purify the Representative system, and secure the independent exercise of their franchise to those who possess it—to re. move the shackles from our industry—to economize the expenses of the State, anti al- leviate the burdens of the People—will be hereafter, as it has hitherto been, my mast anxious endeavour."
Lord Palmerston and Sir George Staunton met a large body of their South Hampshire constituents, on Thursday week, at Portsea. Lord Palmerston addressed the assembly in a long speech, explanatory of his Parliamentary conduct and political principles. He asserted his consistency ; reminded his hearers that be quarrelled with the Duke of Wellington on a question of Reform—the East Retford Bill ; and in. timated, that had he been disposed to separate himself from his col- leagues and the Reformers, he might have secured office again under the Tories. Sir George Staunton more briefly declared his principles as a Reformer to be unchanged, and avowed himself to be politically independent. Both Members professed hostility to the Duke. Their speeches gave satisfaction to the auditory, who unanimously agreed to support them again at the next election.
On Thursday, there was another very numerous assemblage of the supporters of Palmerston and Staunton at Southampton. The two candidates addressed the meeting at length on the proceedings of the late and the prospects of the country under the embryo Cabinet. Re- solutions were passed pledging the electors to support Lord Palmerston and Sir George, and insisting upon the necessity of union and exertion. Mr. Easthope, who is a candidate for Southampton, being loudly called for, delivered a spirited and liberal speech, which was exceedingly well received.
There have been numerous other meetings of the Liberals during the week ; but it is not necessary to describe the course of proceeding at each of them. Anti-Tory addresses and resolutions have been passed at Dartmouth, Nottingham, Dudley, Stockton, Barnard Castle, Ber. wick, Newport, &e.
The Tories of Kendal having inveigled some simple and ignorant mechanics, by false representation of its meaning, into signing a Wellington address to the King, a meeting of the working classes of that borough was held at the beginning of last week, whets the follow- ing resolutions were adopted-
" That the mechanics of Kendal view with detestation and abhorrence the conduct of the Tory party, in taking advantage of the necessities of an unprineipled man, and employing him to procure the signatures of the people to an Anti-Relorm Address, . under the most foul and false representations ; and that the following declarant:a be signed by those who have beendeceived, and published in both the Kendal newspapers: - " We, the undersigned mechanics and others, do hereby declare, that our signatures were obtained, or are attached to an address to the King, having fur its object the main. tenance of the Duke ol Wellington in power, by a hired tool of the Tory fiction is Kendal, under fraudulent representations. or without our knowledge ; and we dude. mend of the promoters of that address, that our names be immediately erased from that • document."
This declaration, with seventy-two names appended to it, has been published in the Kendal Mercury.
A meeting of the Church of England Lay Association took place at Bath on Saturday. The Reverend Mr. O'Sullivan attended ; and, in a speech which lasted upwards of two hours, stated the present con- dition of the Irish Church, and advocated its cause. The Reverend Mr. Tottenham and several other speakers addressed the meeting. The Bishop presided ; and, in speaking of his Majesty's attachment to the Church, said he heard him express himself to the effect, that" when he forsook the Church may God forsake him.—Bath Journal.
The great Conservative dinner at Maidstone has been postponed from the 12th to the 19th. Probably by that time the Tories of Kent will better understand the game they are to play.—Morning Chronicle.
This morning we received the Northampton Mercury, and turned to it with the hope of obtaining some election intelligence respecting the county and borough; but, strange to say, there is not to be found in Its ample folds the name of a sir--le candidate, nor a particle of election gossip, nor a word respecting the probable result of the approaching contests in the leading articles. At this time of day surely this is a curiosity.