Mr. Ward has been visiting his constituents at Sheffield.On Friday last he addressed a crowded meeting in the Town-hall, in ex- planation of his conduct in Parliament during the past session ; and was received very cordially by the great majority of those present. Mr. Ward commenced his speech by referring to the promise made at his election to come annually before his constituents and render an account of his stewardship— "1 am come among you to-day in order to fulfil a promise I made the first time I had the honour of thanking you for an expreamon of your opinion that was a fit person to represent the town of Sheffield in Parliament. I told you then, that, considering, as I did and do, our present representative system de. fective— believing that one of its principal defects is the lung duration of Par- liaments, and the tendency which it has to create a feeling of distrust and dis- satisfaction between representatives and their constituents, by weakening the sense of responsibility in the Member and depriving the constituency of their right to express their opinions of their Member's conduct, at fixed and short intervals—considering these things, I told you I would do what in me lay to correct the evil, until it should be corrected by law, by coming among you va y ear, at tl.e close of the session of Parliament, to render to you, as in duty bound, an acco,mt of my stewardship, and to enter frankly and fairly into ex. planations on any points rcspeeting which there might exist a difference of opinion. By thus infusing something like life and vigour into the system of septennial irresponsibility, I hope, however long Parliaments may last, to suerit your confidence and give you satisfaction. You did not require from me any pledge, but you considered me bound to offer you a full expression of my feelings on all political subjects ; and you wished me to exercise my own discre- tion on all matters brought under discussion, subject, of course, to the respon• sibity under which I stand to those who return me. I would have accepted the trust on no other terms ; and I have sufficient confidence to he sure that you would not lightly subject to the painful sense of having incurred your die. satisfaction, a man with whom, though you may differ on one point, you agree in bine out of ten, and that you would not subject me to the pain of an expree- aion of your dissatisfaction, while you were convinced of the integrity of my views, and satisfied with the general mode in which I endeavoured to work then: out. Anil you will do me the justice to believe, that if it should un- fortunately happen, after explanations fairly given and fairly received, as Earn sure they would be by you, that I should incur your vote of censure—if I ahould be found to have prostituted the trust you have reposed in me to pur- poses of personal aggrandizetnent or ambition, I should he the last person to wish to continue to represent, for one day, a constituency with whom I had lost, and deservedly lost, all communion of political feeling."
I3ut on this occasion he redeemed his pledge with extreme pain and reluctance ; for the session had left him little gratifying or honourable to record-
" When I look back at the proud anticipations with which I parted from you last year, my breast full, as it has since continued to be, of gratitude for kindness and confidence with which you had honoured me; when Ireflr in the splendid unanimity which at that time prerailed among all classes of Re- fin wers, and what great results we anticipated, (?) I ask myself how it is that our hopes have been chilled, and that so little has resulted from the confidence with which we then looked forward? I may well, therefure, appear before you with great reluctance and pain. What is it that has thus chilled the hopes I enter- tained in common with yourselves last year ? I must say, gentlemen, that the blame is in a great measure attributable to the conduct of our political leaders. I can see no fault on the part of the supporters of the Ministry out of the loose. I see much that has filled me with pain and grief in their conduct within the House on many occasions."
Ile admitted the extreme peculiarity of Lord Melbourne's positi m at the opening of the session-
" Honoured to a degree which, I believe, is unusual with the personal confi- dence of his Sovereign, and that Sovereign the youngest Queen who ever sat upon tile British throne, in his policy caution became a duty. To have corn . slanted his Sovereign in a struggle with any portion of her people, for the per- petuation of his own power, would have been a crime. While, then, I consider caution to have been his duty, it is for the violation of that duty, and not for too much cautiousness, that I blame Lord Melbourne. In many instances he has not been cautious, but rash ; not impartial, but partial ; and, unfortunately, the turn things have taken during the whole course of the session has thrown the weight of the Government and of the Court, as represented by Lord Mel- lsourue, into the scale of a party to whom we believed the Government to be opposed. The first step the Government took in the House of Commons was a false step. From that moment to this, that downward course has been perse- vered in, (a course which I was one of the first in the House of Commons to denotince,) till we have seen fatally exemplified in the case of the Ministry the easy and rapid process by which public men may descend in public estimation, and chill and discourage the hopes and efforts of their friends. These are harsh words, gentlemen, and I speak them with sincere grief, but they are the truth, and I am here to speak the truth."
He bad hoped that the Radicals might have taken Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell for their leaders without any sacrifice of' prin- ciple ; but that hope had been entirely destroyed by Lord John Russ sell's speech on the first night of the session—.
" The principle then avowed has been pertinaciously adhered to throughout the session, and has created a barrier between Lord John Russell and his Libe- sal supporters, which I now fear that no time can remove. When I look back at the cause of this dissension, I cannot see that we are at all to blame. We were williug to waive slight differences of principle, or rather to believe that
there was no strong line of distinction lb tweet) us, while the questions on which
we differed were not those of principls but of time. Lord John Russell made them questions of principle ; and although when I was last among you I ex- horted you to bring to bear upon hien the strongest amount of public opinion,
in order to force him back out of the mistaken course on which he had entered, since the total failure of that attempt, (I allude to the meeting held here when the Ballot was made the test of Ministerial sincerity,) I say, with grief, that
the difference has become so marked that I fear no time can remove it. Lord John Russell has raised up a new principle, and taken his stand as is Minister upon tile finality of the Reform Bill. To that principle of finality lie is willing to sacrifice every thing. Ile has expressed himself upon that point in terms so strong and peremptory, that, until that speech be withdrawn, I do not see how we can again consider him as our leader. He said that, having only five years ago reformed the representation and placed it on a new basis, he could take no share in any experiment that tended in any way to alter the system ; he felt himself bound to take no part in any large measure of reconstruction ; nor could he give his consent to repeal the Reform Bill, by adopting the Ballot, Or advocating any other question respecting the franchise. Now, against this principle of finality I set a principle of change. I acknowledge no principle of finality in constitutional legislation. We must move on according to the wants of the times. All that the Reform lull did was to give a fair tribunal, before which rational questions might be tried, instead of the packed jury that we lad in the old Boroughniongeriug times."
The principle of the finality of the Reform Act influenced Earl Grey, Lord Stuuley, the Duke of Richmond, Sir James Graham, and Sir Francis Burdett. It was now, be feared, exercising a fatal in- iluence on Lord John Russell; who, unless he relinquished, would soon, with the Imre onl Vhigs, the Reform-finality-men, be undistin- guishable by any shade of difference from the Conservatives led by Sir _Hobert Peel. He hoped that Ministers would take a lesson from the Ballot division- " Lord John Russell threw his ohole strength into the debate. He connected with the question of protection against intimidation and corruption, which he could not deny, the extension of the suffrage and short Parliaments, and he re- fused them all. What was the consequence That was one of tile few divisions which have been honourable to the house of Commons. Lord John Russell found himself deserted by the bulk of his own party ; the great body of the Whigs coalesced with the Radical*, and voted against their leader. So deep was his mortification at the unexpected result, that fur twelve hours (though the RIM was but little known at the tirne) he was out. He sent in his resi -
saloon t e morning after the diviston ; and it seas only with considerable di - any advantages to England, equally palpa le, resulting from their whams
hope will wort-. We have tried argument and remonstrance in r;a; bs thing has so much effect upon the minds of persons once connected sith s:p.— ecutive of the country as a vote of the House of Commons. Nur,ilL;z; better than arguments upon official men. The fact that two hundred me--67. have voted and will vote again against their leader, with the knowledge thel—t, sixty or seventy who voted with him were dragged reluctantly to the tliv't.tee: and compelled to vote against a measure which they in heart approved_411; knowledge of these circumstances cannot fail to operate in futute discus 'Act— Notwithstanding the strong language with which Lord John Russell deno'l the Ballot, I hope that next session he will find it necessary to take a dilivree view cf it, and to recognize concession to the popular voice as his only dei power. The matter now rests with the People. Alembers in general are re'lsb- of squeezable materials, as Mr. Wakley said of the Government; and %se, next the People have their Alembers in their hands, I hope they will reroes, that while they have the orange it is their own fault if they do not extract the juice."
Mr. Ward explained that he bad been prevented from bringing on ha promised motion respecting the:Suffrage, by press of other business he. fore the House, by the House being twice " counted out," and the reluctance of' men of all parties to "entertain any franchise discussion.' He expressed his regret at the small results of the Pension inquiry; which arose chiefly from the circumstance of a large proportion of the more objectionable pensions having been absolutely granted by the Sovereign, without power of revocation by Parliament, under urn. doubted laws. He rejoiced at the termination of the Negro Appren. ticeship ; and confessed that he had been mistaken in supposing that there was any necessity for it to prepare the Negroes for complete free. dom. He spoke for some time on the injustice and invoke)! of Its Corn-laws; which, as a landlord, he condemned. Nothing but the vilest self-interest could induce men to support such a system. Per the purpose of bolstering up rents to an unnatural height, hateful and miserable results were encountered- " Looking at the question in relation to foreign countries, we everywhere find that rivals to our manufacturers are springing up in consequence of the Corn-laws, rivals whose progress may be distinctly traced to the operation el those laws. Vast tracts of the most fertile land in the world, in Prod', Poland, and Germany, lie uncultivated ; at the same time, England finds the excellent markets of thew countries closed against her by the operation of the Prussian League. Nothing can be more natural than this. We have givens bonus to their manufacturers, and have forced them to become our rivals. All the old machinery will now be worked against us which we used to work against the world ; and in consequence of the greater cheapness of the food of our rivals, we shall find them most formidable competitors in our trade. Now, I speak as a landlord, and ask, what has given its superior value to the laud of England, but the markets of our great manufacturing towns? The raising up of new Glasgows and Paisleys, and the extension of such towns as Sheffield; which we see encroaching upon the neighbouring bills, is a direct advantage to the landlords. The more we encourage and promote the prosperity of the eons munity, the larger will be our individual share, and the more solid the hansom which our prosperity will rest. This is my view as a landowner; and it de. pends upon the country, when this question shall come on next session, orgies it its proper effect. You have had a fair challenge. You have been told by Lord 'dlelbourne, that though he dislikes change, it may be forced upon him by the voice of the People; and if you bring all your organs to bear upon the Cans laws, I do not think that they can stand for two years. I wish to see the land. lords retreat in time from their untenable position, and make the change simile it may be done gradually, safely, and satisfactorily. If they do not, they will be forced into it by some of those changes which Providence disposes, fore single bad harvest will destroy them at once. No Government, whether it be Tory, Whig, or mixed, can uphold them in the face of the people clamourirg for food."
Mr. Ward on the whole approved of the course taken by Govern- ment for the suppression of the Canadian disturbances ; and strongly condemned the premature attacks on Lord Durham. He then pro- ceeded to comment on the treatment of Irish questions, and spoke in severe terms of the conduct of Ministers-
" On the Irish Church I did suppose that the Government had given such distinct pledges to the country as to the policy they would pursue, that at departure from them was impossible. They have departed from them; and I have nO hesitation in saying, that I consider the conduct of the Government on this question one of the grossest instances of political tergiversation that ever occurred. When we remember the fact, that In Ma this question was the Ministry's stepping-stone to office ; that Lord John Russell then said, the principle of Appropriation was one of so much importance, that if Sir Robert P'eel's Government could only exist by succeeding against the priociple, it were better that the principle should succeed and the Government should fall—that Mr. Spring Rice said that the attempt to settle the question without this prin. ciple was one of those impossibilities which no man in his senses could comas plate—that Lord Melbourne said he considered himself pledged as a gentleman to adhere to the principle—remembering all tins, I confess it is with grief anti pain I have seen the course which the Government have pursued on Ma question." It had been announced to the world, that if' the House of Lords offer a certain amount of resistance to any measure brought forward by the Liberal party, that measure must be abandoned— !t is a bad precedent, and there is no saying to what extent it may carry us. On no question can stronger pledges be given than were given on this; mit( the inchnatio temporum, as Lord John Russell termed it—if the merechaor is the disposition of the House of Commons, or in any portion of the Liberal party, and the opposition of the Lords, may serve as an excuse for the boo dement of a principle—we can never know what to reckon upon for the future, and might as well put the legislative power of the country into the hub of Wellington and Peel ; a measure for which I certainly am not plepared. When I look at the conduct of our leaders, I do not wonder at the general dis. satisfaction and apathy with which public matters are regarded by oleo who took an eager interest in them twelve months ago. A Liberal 3Iiiiistry Inuit advance, or be destroyed. They have to deal with a strong party or Rea- ance ; but the party of the Movement, if it be ever discouraged, crumble§ to pieces. I wish that, in concluding my observations, I could put in a practical shape our plans for the future, or point out some distinct course which ou.ht to be adopted and carried out by the Popular party. I hope, before the next tee' sloe, that events may introduce a greater cooperation and concert ainnuet the Liberal Members of the House of Cotninons than we have hitherto seen. I do not mean that we should concur in a Tory vote of want of confidence, um! at. once throw out the Government; for though I would not sacrifice nue wool principle to preserve them in office, I should be sorry to have their fate on my head, since I know that we could only have a worse Government no their place. To Ireland they have been a great blessing, through the administration of the Earl of Normanby and Lord Mor eth ; aud I wish I could posit unt aalty that he WAS induced to resume his seat in the Cabinet. That lesson I tion. I cannot do so; hut I belisve that both here and there, we ellOnild 1341 w Government if we were to join in the claptrap vote of want of confidence, XII the Tories have been so long talking of; for the effect would only he to e in re Conservative man at the bead of the Genres nment. I trust that, place 'I:I there will be greater concert between Liberal Members, and that, 1:leeatt'll-gweensns of principle, they rill take their course without reference to the effect it may produce on the policy, convenience, or fate of the Ministry."
At the conclusion of Mr. Ward's speech,
Mr. Beale, on behalf of the Working Men's Association declared dissatisfaction with his conduct and opinions. He said that Mr. Ward bid told a deputation from the Association, that if he attended an
Universal Suffrage meeting, he should be compelled to oppose that question. He moved, that "the meeting had not confidence in the
future conduct of Mr. Ward, owing to the explanation given of his political opinions." Mr. Gill seconded the motion. Both speakers were considerably cheered. wan.. Ward stated in reply, that with regard to the suffrage, he had not altered the opinion he bad expressed on his election. He would
vote for universal suffrage, could he be convinced that it was compatible with the security of property. He was for tin extension of the suffrage, but could riot state the exact length he was willing to go, for he was willing to extend the electoral limits with the increasing capacity of the people to exercise the suffrage discreetly. Mr. Ward exposed, in spirited language, the mistakes of the working men respecting Wages, the Currency, and the National Debt.
Mr. Fisher moved a vote of thanks, approbation, and confidence, to Mr. Ward ; and the motion being put to the meeting, was carried by a very large majority.