1 DECEMBER 1849, Page 2

Vac fitetropolis.

At a "great meeting" of the Metropolitan and National Freehold Land Society, in the "great room of the London Tavern," on Monday, Mr. Cob- den appeared as the apostle of a new political agitation—the forty-shilling suffrage movement; and he announces that lie is prepared, "if health and strength are given him, to devote some time of every working day for the next seven years to the working of this question." Mr. Cobden com- menced with explanations of the immediate practical business in hand- " We are the members and friends of the Metropolitan and National Freehold Land Society, and we meet here to promote the objects of that society. It is an association framed for the purpose of enabling individuals, by means of small monthly contributions, to create a fund by which they may be enabled in the best and cheapest way to possess themselves of the county franchise. You will see, then, that this society has a double object in view—it is a deposit for savings, and it is a means of obtaining a vote." The association had been enrolled under the Building Society Act, and certified by Mr. Tidd Pratt the Revising Barrister. An objection had been made, that under the rules of the association the society could not "purchase estates and divide them." This was perfectly true. "We have to such powers ; but we propose to do it through the Directors, who will, at the risk of the parties who buy the estates, undertake to purchase land, and to give the members of this association the refusal of that land. So that our object is to give you all the benefits of the Building Socie- ties Act, and also the refusal of portions of the estates which have been bought at the risk of others. You will have the refusal of the land at cast price, and it will be retailed at the same rate as that at which it was purchased wholesale."

He anticipated a point on which there was danger of a misunderstanding. "It has been stated that we undertake to find a freehold qualification for a county at a certain sum, say 30/. I believe that in the first prospectus that sum was stated; but when I heard of it I stipulated that it should be withdrawn, for I will be no party to any stipulation of the kind. I do not appear here having myself land to sell. All I promise you is, that while I remain for twelve months as a responsible Director, all the property bought shall be divided without profit, and that the members of the association shall have its refusal at emit price. But, whether it cost 20/, or 301., or 40/., or 501., is a matter to which I do not undertake to pledge myself, because it is a matter which I cannot control. It has happened at Bir- mingham that many persons got as much land as gave them a qualification for so little as 201.; but I say that may be a lucky accident. I will not deceive the public, or be a party to any pledge of procuring them land on equal terms."

Such being the proposed machinery, he imagined it in action. Suppose their solicitor heard of a farm of a hundred acres of land for sale within a mile or two of the town of Guildford. "He goes with one or two of the Directors to look at the farm. They get a valuer to examine it; and having learnt the price at which this farm can be bought, they buy it; and then, instead of letting the hundred acres to one farmer, they determine to cut it up into plots of one or two acres. Now, if you wanted a test, and were to have the town-hell rung, and the shopkeepers and mechanics of the town were told that this land was to be disposed of, I will venture to say that there is not one of the plots which would not let for forty shillings a year. I know the avidity with which the peasantry in our towns and villages take half an acre or an acre of land. It is an article which is in greater demand than almost any other. I could find land in Wiltshire which is, I am sorry to say, let to the peasantry at seven or eight pounds a year." He guarded himself against being supposed a party to any " plan of transferring people from their employments so that they may live on an acre of land. If anybody even leaves a workshop, a foundry, or a factory, and tries to live on even two or three acres of land, why, all lean say is, that he will be very glad to get back to his former occupation. No, no, we have no such scheme as that. ("Hear, hearr) If a man has followed a particular pursuit, whatever it may be, up to the age of twenty or five-and-twenty, and if he is still receiving wages or profit from that pursuit, that man had better, as a general rule, stick to his pursuit than go to any other. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, he will succeed better in that pursuit than in any other to which he can turn his hand. But what we say is this, that it is a very good thing for a man who is receiving weekly wages to have a plot of land in addition. Nothing can be more advan4geous to the people of this country than to have, besides their weekly wages, a plot of grennd on which they can employ themselves with the spade when they have,notadt the employment that could be desired in their trade." Med the practical object Mr. Cobden developed the At question; and stated his political aim to be, by the ileges, and through the use of constitutional and as he could "political power in this oonntry in &laving tims,:ex Cwider heiringik 'leverage of anc meaniri-to PilkesA the hands of the middle and industrious classes." Making sonaes flattering to his new constituency the "industrious classes," a his stuondam constituency the " middle clauses," he proceeded to complain that the 0:mem:talent of the country should be engrossed, in all " tran. quil and ordinary timee, not by the will of the middle and industrious classes, but by classes and intsmests which are insignificant in numbers and importance compared with the great mass of the people." He renewed his lately-made claim for sympathy and demand of support in his Parliamentary labours. " Every session of Parliament, every six months that I spend in the House of Commons, convinces me more and more that we waste our time there: I mean the seventy or eighty men with whom I have been accustomed to vote in the House of Commons, and to whom your Chairman has alluded in terms of so much kindness. I say we waste our time in the House of Commons, is we do not in the recess come to the people and tell them candidly that it depends upon them, and upon them alone, whether any essential amelioration shall be effected." Remarking that nothing of importance is ever done in this country " until after a seven-years stand-up fight between the People on the one side and those who call themselves the People's Representatives on the other," he declared this to be an absurd state of things, concluded that we must try and alter it, and believed that " we have now before us a medium by which such an alteration cube effected." Recurring, then, to thepolitical history of tbe freehold movement, he dis- claimed the merit commonly conceded to him of its first suggestion. " I rather think that Mr. Charles Walker, of Rochdale, recommended it before I annanneeelit publicly. But from the moment thatthe plan devised was put forth at a great meet- ing in Manchester, I never doubted of the ultimate repeal of the Corn-laws ; although until then I could never conscientiously say that I saw a method by which we could legally and constitutionally secure their abolition." Recapitulating the successful measures of the Anti Corn-law League founded on the forty-shilling freehold qualification, whereby Yorkshire, South Lancashire, East Surrey, end Middlesex were gained to its party, he drew from a Parliamentary return some general feels on which to found certain hopes of success in the far more extensive operations now projected. It appears that the total number of county votes re- gistered in 1847 was but 512,300; and of these " the boasted array of force, about which we have frightened ourselves so much, amounts only to 108,790 tenants- at-will in the fifty-two counties of England and Wales. Why, half the money spent in gin in one year would buy as many county freeholds as would counter- poise these 108,000 tenant-farmers. (Loud cheers.) What resources have we to aid us in the process of qualifying for these counties ? I shall surprise you again when I inform you how very few people there are who are qualified for the counties. I will take three for illustration—three or four of the countiesat random. There is Hampshire: there are in Hampshire, according to the last census, 93,908 males above twenty years old. The registered electors its the same comity amount to 9,223 ; so that onlyone-ninth of the adult males are upon the register, and 84,685 are not upon it. In Sussex, there are of males above twenty years old, 76,677; of regis- tered electors, only 9,211, or one-eighth of the entire number of adult males; 67,466 adult males are not voters. Take the purely agricultural county of Berkshire: Berkshire has 43,126 males above twenty years old; 5,241, or one-eighth, was the number of registered electors; 37,885 are not voters for the county. In Middle- sex, the numbers rated are as follows: males above twenty years old, 434,181; registered electors, 13,781, or one-seventeenth; 420,400 not being voters. In Sur- rey, the males amount to 154,633: of these, 9,800, or one-sixteenth, is the pro- portion of registered electors; and thus 144,833 are not voters. Why, if only one in ten of the men who are not qualified to vote in London and Southwark would purchase votes in the neighbouring counties, it would almost suffice to carry every good measure that you and I desire. In round numbers, there are sixteen mil- lions of people in England and Wales; there are four millions of adult males above twenty years of age. There are 512,000 county electors in the fifty-two counties of England and Wales; so that, in round numbers, at this moment there is but one in eight of the adult mates of England and Wales who is upon the county register, and seven-eighths of them have no votes. That is our ground of hope tor the future. It is to induce as many as we possibly can of these unen- franchised people to join this association, or some other association, or by some means endeavour to possess themselves of a vote." He advised his hearers, that the struggle now to be commenced will be "a long and a great struggle; but while foreseeing that, it may be necessary to work seven years to accomplish the object—that of affecting a great change in the depository of public power in this country. This is the object, and 1 avow it." Although it limy be necessary that for seven years there should be continuous work, it. did not follow that fruits should not be reaped long before the seven years expired. "They are wise people in their generation those whom we want to influence. They gave up the Corn-laws ; for they saw the question was carried when we carried South Lancashire, the West Riding, East Surrey, and Middlesex. I always said, if we can carry these counties, they will give up the Corn-laws. In proportion as you stir yourselves for this great movement, in proportion as you become powerful, you will become fashionable. Every class of men that sets itself vigorously to work by means of the forty-shilling qualifica- tion, to place as many as possible of that class on the register, will find itself elevated politically and socially by the position it has given itself. Take the mechanical class. Nothing could so elevate them in the eyes of their country- men as to know they had the voice of the country—that the Knights of the Shire were indebted to them for their election. Take the class of Dissenters: their very existence is ignored by the County Members. The most moderate measure of justice they can ask is the removal of Church-rates: I do not be- lieve there are ten County Members who would vote for that moderate instal- ment of justice--(From the meeting, "Vol !men—perhaps not five. But I have heard the most insulting language from County Members towards Dissenters on that very question. Why is it? Because this numerous and really influen- tial body of men have not had self respect enough to guard theineelves by the possession of the franchise, and to protect their religious liberties by a little careful forethought and prudent economy in the exercise of the dearest privileges of free men. All through the country, you will find great bodies of Dissenters, who are religious men, moral men, and, which always is the consequence of morality, men who manage to keep themselves from those excesses which produce poverty and degradation ; and these are the very men who apply to possess the franchise. We tell them to place themselves on the county list. Not to give them the complete dominion and power in the country: I say to no class, come and gain exclusive power or influence in the country; I am against class legisla- tion, whether from below or above: but 1 say, if you want to have your interests consulted, your legitimate rights respected—if you want 1710 longer to have your • existence ignored in these counties—then come forward and join such a move- ment as this, and by every possible means promote the extension of the qua- lification movement. Let nobody misunderstand me in conclusion. I do not come here to ask this or that organic change, without having practical objects in view which I believe to be essential for the interests of this country. I believe such is the state of our national finesse.% that I look.upon it as a perilous state; I look upon it as a disgraceful state. I say that these extravagant outgoings of the Government are utterly inconsistent with the prudent, cautious, economical lives which the great body of this people are obliged to follow. I want to infuse the common sense which pervades the bulk of the people into the principles of the Government; and I declare I see no other way of doing it but by increasing the number of voters, and ir) other way of going to the House of Commons which they will not refuse, but your joining yourselves and possessing the forty- The rate-payers of St. Mary Lambeth have mulliSed their good resolu- tion lately passed "for the adoption of an not to encourage the establish- ment of baths and washhouses " in their parish. They assembled, on Thursday night, in the Vestry Han, "to receive the Secretary of State's approval ' of their late creditable resolution; but an Amendment was moved, on alleged economical grounds. After noisy discussion, two friends of the sanatory measure, seeing the temper of the meeting to be hopeless, moved the adjournment of the question sine tile; and this course was af- firmed by a majority.

The following order was communicated tothe City Pollee on Thursday-

" The Commissioner orders-that the sergeants and constables of the City Police take all persons found begging in the streets before a magistrate; and that all destitute persons. be taken to The relieving-officer of the district in which they may be found, and unless forthwith relieved, that the officer be summoned for neglect of duty."

The parishioners of St. Andrew Holborn agreed, on Thursday evening, to petition Parliament "to take measures for the speedy abolition of Sun- day Post-office duty throughout the kingdom."

The shareholders of the South-western Railway Company, assembled in Special general meeting on Wednesday, adopted a resolution, by way of amendment, negativing the proposal of the Directors to obtain from Par- liament a prolongation ef the time given in the Company's act for carrying out the extension line from the present terminus near Waterloo Bridge to _the projected terminus at the Southwark foot of London Bridge. The ex- tension scheme is thus virtually abandoned.

At a special meeting of the Guardians of the Royal Caledonian Society, on Thursday, considerable discussion arose incidentally on the financial situation of the institution. Fears were expressed that it was spending more than it received; and it was said to be understood that the Govern- ment officer had found the educational condition of the institution in a most unsatisfactory state. The year's accounts showed receipts of 3,533/, including, however, 1,6141. 'front sale of stock; expenses, 3,3971.; and a balance of 1361. Mr. Fox 'Maude and other members expressed an opinion that some "competent and independent authority" should make inquiry into the position of affairs, so that the public might understand that they were trying to square expenditnre and income. It was intimated that a Committee on the subject "might be moved for at the next meeting."

The Court of Exchequer, on Tuesday, discharged a rule Nisi for a new trial in the ease of Harrlisty versus Pratt, tried at the last Somerset Assizes. The plaintiff was a pions widow, the defendant a silk-manufacturer; and the action was broueht for the seduction of the plaintiff' daughter, a young dressmaker. The damages had been 1501., and the rule for a new trial had.been applied for on the ground that the damages were excessive. The arguments used were these. It was evi- dent that the grounds upon which the Jury found such large damages were, their opinion of the plaintiff's -piety, and their sympathy for her, rather than the merits of the case. She was a parish pauper; there did not appear to have been averts or solicitation used by the defendant, or in fact to have been any" seduc- tion." There was no imputation cast upon her; but, looking to the defendant's situation in life, and the loss sustained by the plaintiff, the damages were exorbi- tant. The Court refased the rule, on these grounds. If the wounded feelings of the plaintiff were to be takes into consideration by the Court above, it would be impossible to lay down any rule whatever as to the extent of the damages. If they appeared outrageously large, the Court would interfere; but what means had they to judge? Suppose the deliberate seduction of a young woman living with her mother, however poor and humble in life, with her daughter's prospects rained, it was impossible to say that even a larger sum would not be an inade- quate compensation for the losses sustained. The Jury saw the young woman: they were the proper tribunal as to whether the facts, coupled with her de- meanour, entitled the plaintiff to the amount of damage awarded. They were the constitutional arbitrators, and the Court should not too nicely weigh the cir- cumstances of a case when a verdict had been found.—Hule discharged.

At the Central Criminal Court, on Monday, Charles Bishop was tried for having sworn to a false statement in the Bankruptcy Court, in the case of Hugh Swan. Swan was a linendraper in Hallway Street and in Camden Town - Bishop had been in his employ. At the time of the bankruptcy, Bishop was fotind to be in possession of a small farm at Mortlake; the assignees had reason to believe that the possession was merely colourable, and that Swan had paid for the lease and stock, and had put Bishop in to hold the property for him. Bishop was ex- mimed at the Bankruptcy Court: he swore positively that the farm was his; and he attempted to show how he bad accumulated the money to bay it. This was the alleged perjury. Witnesses were called to show that Bishop—a working gar- dener—was not likely to have had the means to bay the farm; but it was ad- mitted that the way in which he had accounted for part of the sum, the gain of 1001. by a Derby sweep, was correct. Persons also declared that the accused had often said that the farm was not his, but Swan's, who paid him a salary. But since his right had been contested, Bishop constantly declared that the property was his: he had got damages in an action for trespass egainst a messenger of the Court of Bankruptcy who had attempted to take possession of the farm. A re- ward of ten per cent had been offered by the assignees to any one who recovered property for them. After Mr. Ballantine had spoken for the defence, the Recorder summed up: he cautioned the Jury that they must consider only the evidence as laid before them, and not be halineneed by any suspicions they might entertain as to the real nature of the transaction between Swan and Bishop. The Jury soon returned a verdict of " Not guilty."

On Tuesday, Frederick Williams, a respectable-looking man, was tried for em- bezzling money belonging to the South-western Railway Company. Williams was a ticket-collector at Richmond; it was his duty to receive money from any passengers from London who had not taken tickets; and it was alleged that he bad received certain sums in this way which he had not accounted for. But it appeared that the system of accounts at Richmond was defective, and that the two ticket-collectors had an excessive amount of labour during the fine weather through the running of extra trains. Mr. Parry urged for the prisoner, that his offence was a breach of discipline in not making his accounts out at each occur- rence; but the style in which the Company did their business had led to that. The Jury gave a verdict of acquittal. On Wednesday, Walker, a young man who had been clerk at the London and County Bank for four menthe, pleaded guilty to stealing a ten-pound; note. It teen's that he had clothes of a tailor, intending to pay for them from his accruing Nes; the tailor became bankrupt, and the assignees demanded an immediate settlement; to effect this, the foolish youth stole the note. He was recommended it mercy by the prusecutora. The sentence was six months' imprisonment. .,,. Benjamin Hopkins Bond, cashier at Currie's bank, was tried for stealing 701. Me property of his employers. The robbery was artfully effected. Bond received E.t largest= from a customer, 145/. of which was in notes; but he only gave credit for 751. in notes, pretending that the other 701. was made up by a Check on a 1.eede bank; the 701. in notes he pretended to have changed for other customers, 07 which means he appropriatedas much coin in his till to himself. The case win made out, and the verdict was "Guilty.' Bdt animnortant point had arisen in the course of the trial. It was not known what partieelar coin Bond had taken ; so he was indicted for stealing 70i. is every variety of English coin. The question was raised for the prisoner, was it not necessary te prove that he had taken some particular coin or coins? Baron Alderson and Mr. Justice Cresswell thought this a powerful objection ; and it was -reserved for the decision of the whole Bench.

Mr. John Houston Browne, the barrister who was charged with forging the signature of Dr. Giffard, his father-in-law, to a bill for 200/, has been diechatged from eustody by the Bow Street Magistrate: Dr. Giffard had not appeared; and the prosecutor, Mr. Oddy, was averse from going on with the ease—he did not like to be croes-examined at the trial.

Edward Nairne, the stock-broker who refused to sun-ruder himself to a fiat in bankruptcy, has been arrested. Daniel Forrester the officer found him at Bou- logne; Forrester hastened to Paris, got an order from the Minister Of the Interior for Nairne's arrest and extradition; and the bankrupt was speedily captured. He was immediately brought to England; was produced at the Guildhall Police-office on Saturday last; and was remanded for a week. The prisoner is accused of most cruel and fraudulent conduct towards his creditors.

On Thursday, John Francis, aged thirty-three, was tried for the murder of Thomas Hall, a warder in the Millbank Penitentiary. The particulars of the crime have been recently related. The defence set up was, that the prisoner was insane when he made the attack: other members of his family had been of un- sound mind; when Francis was in the hulks, in 1846, he had an attack of in- sanity, brought on, apparently, by the fear of transportation; and it was urged that he had become mad in the Penitentiary from a similar exciting cause—the dread of being removed to the Medd Prison. Two surgeons, called to rebut this defence, rather supported it than otherwise; and the case came to an end. The Jury gave a verdict of "Net guilty," on the ground of insanity.

Mr. John Thomas Wildman, formerly a stock-broker, one night lately engaged a bed for himself and a young man at Mrs. Colliver's coffeehouse in Holywell Street, Strand. Mr. Wildman had drunk deeply. At two o'clock in the morn- ing, Mrs. Colliver heard a person fall on the pavement in the street; the young man gave an alarm that Mr. Wildman had fallen or thrown himself from the win- dow; he then dressed, and left the place, ostensibly to obtain surgical assistance; but he never returned. Mr. Wildman was -conveyed to the hospital, where he died next day; not having been able, apparently, to give any account of the disaster. The Police tried in vain to discover the young man who slept with him. Mr. Wildman had not been robbed. At the inquest, Hawkes, a mariner, stated that he slept at the same coffeehouse one night in the year 1846: in the morning, he found himself in the hospital, leaving tumbled out of window, while, it would seem, he was intoxicated. The Jury returned an open verdict describing the cause of death.