NEWS OF THE WEEK.
WHAT, if it were an ordinary case, might be termed the grand stage of the Reform Bill, is safely passed ; the Bill was read a second time on Tuesday, after a two-nights' debate, more remark- able for its want of novelty and want of logic than for any quality of positive good or evil. The majority of ONE, viewed in relation to the materials of which the minority was made up, and to the principle included in the decision, is not unimportant. Of the 301 who voted against the Bill, there were not .fewer than one hundred who were directly interested in its failure—men who were equally impelled by gratit ude to their patrons and love for themselves, to oppose it. It is also to be remarked, that in the debates which preceded the second reading, no one in the House raised his voice against Reform, but against the Ministerial plan of Reform only. So that the great principle for which the King, the Cabinet, and the Nation contend, may be looked on as unanimously conceded in a House (including the twelve that paired off, and the tellers) of 617 members, the greatest number that ever was con- gregated within the walls of the Commons House since its institution.
In relation, however, to Parliamentary tacties,this victory of the Ministers would be only as a defeat—it would not suffice to carry their Bill to the stage where it becomes law—if they were not at the same time armed with an invincible power in the firm support of a patriot King and the just confidence of an united People.
The House of Lords have had their share, this week, in the dis- cussion of Reform, with frequent protestations against the irregu- larity of which they were voluntarily guilty. On Tuesday they are to discuss it at length on an incidental motion of Lord WHARN- CLIFFE'S,-1hus, " Even in their penance planning sins anew."
These desultory notices have not been wholly useless ; they have called forth some brilliant flashes from Lord BROUGHAM, and some weighty sentences of statesmanlike truth from the Marquis of LANSDOWNE. The Earl of CARNARVON has cause to remember the witty Chancellor,—as Lord WYNFORD has to rue his "pop- gun" attack on a cognate subject, the Bankruptcy Bill. The most important effect, however, of these occasional conversations, was the grave, deliberate, high-toned avowal made by Earl GREY, of the inflexible resolution of Ministers to pursue their forward and honourable course ; an avowal which gave additional dignity even to that most dignified of modern nobles. The Parliament, as usual, has exhibited during the week its variety of the seria mixta jocis. Sir ROBERT INGLIS made a fierce attack on the Times on Monday, for some liberties that the .Leading Journal had taken with the nominee members. He was cheered on by the reverend Mr. PERCEVAL—a young gentleman whose temper and taste are not indeed very well suited to the times. Sir ROBERT was very severe on the people of the gallery.
• Last night, the Civil List was discussed ; when the 21 per cent. reduction of the Committee was, on the suggestion of Lord ALTHORP, given up, Ministers undertaking to regulate the salaries so as not to disappoint the public. They cannot disappoint it more than the Committee has done. The cupidity of the Bishop of ELY, or of his keepers, came under the notice of the Lords last night. Lord BROUGHAM'S complaisance in the case of the Bishop seems remarkable.
1. TUE TIMES AND TUE ANTI-REFORMERS. Sir ROBERT INGLIS, Ott
Monday, brought under the notice of the House the conduct of the Times newspaper in advocating the cause of Reform against the borough patrons and their nominees. He admitted the Times (of which, how. ever, he was not a reader) to be respectable in point of talent, whatever were its merits in other respects; it had, moreover, a large circulation, and it arrogated to itself the title of the Leading Journal,—circumstances which gave to its statements a currency and importance which called for the attention of the House where an inferior journal might be allowed to escape withoht notice. The matter of which Sir Robert chiefly complained had appeared in a series of attacks, commencing on the 1st of March, on all the members of the House who had ventured to oppose the Reform Bill, as wholly unworthy of the seats they occupied. If these things were permitted, they would no longer be free legislators, deliberating with one another on the good or evil of a great measure ; they would be such legislators as, in the times of the French Revolution, the National Convention were, with the pois- surds in the gallery. Sir Robert conceived that members would betray their duty to themselves and to the constitution if they suffered such in- sults to be poured out upon them. The passage to which Sir Robert iarticularly adverted was the following— "The unanimous enthusiasm of the people of England in defence of the national rights and liberties was never so manifest within our recollection as on this present question of the Reform Bill: nor have we found recorded a single instance of rich and poor, high and low, men of all conditions, professions, and fortunes, feeling an equal sympathy in any cause, except, indeed. that of war against some hated public enemy. That enemy is now the usurper of the people's franchises,—the cutpurse of the people's money. ate robber of the public treasury under the forms of law—of law enacted by the plunderer himself to favour his own extortion—his own system- atic conversion of the fruits of other men's industry to selfish or criminal uses: When, night after ideht,aoro ugh nominees rise to infest the proceedings of the House of Commons with ,arguments to justify their own intrusion into it, and their con- tinuance there. thus impudently maintaining what the lawyers call.' an adverse pos- session' in spite of judgment against them. we really feel inclined to ask why the rightful owners of the House should be longer insulted by the presence Of such un- welcome inmates 1 It is beyond question a piece of the broadest and coolest of in the world for these hired lacquies of public delinquents to stand up as
advocates of the disgraceful service they have embarked in." • Sir Robert was repeatedly interrupted, in reading these extracts, by
cheers from various parts of the House. He went on—the course he meant to adopt was the same as had been adopted on a similar occasion by Mr. Fox, in respect of an attack against the House which appeared in the Faille Advertiser. He should. first move that the clerk read that portion of the extract commencing 4' When night after night." This was done, and Sir Robert then moved that the paragraph was " a false and scandalous libel on this House, directly tending to deter members of this House from the discharge of their duty, and calculated to alienate from them the respect and confidence of their fellow-subjects."
A member, whom " the poissards in the gallery " did not know, se- conded the motion. He had himself been one of the victims of the Times ; being pointed to, in a report of a City meeting, as one who must be either a fool or a knave. He had been inclined to bring the matter before the House, but had abstained, from his being so young a member.
He thought the present a case well deserving of the attention of the House, whose
duty it was to take some course by means of which they might defeat and put a stop to the licentious and unwarrantable attacks of the press. It was not that members of the House felt their own bosoms reproach them,—it was not that they experienced any alarm at the menaces held oat,—bat there were considerations affecting their constituents, and ignorant persons out of doors, which rendered it desirable, and indeed made it the duty of the House, to check this course of abuse and scandalous libels.
Lord ALTIIORP suggested, that such a resolution required previous notice ; but Sir ROBERT INoms assured his Lordship that lie had studied the precedents and acted accordingly. Mr. CALCRAFT said he should oppose the motion, simply because he did not think the paragraph complained of would tend, in the slightest degree, to deter the Commons of England from a proper discharge of their Stay. Ile deemed it, besides, most unbecoming and ungracious to attempt, by a preliminary discussion of this sort, to divert the minds of members from the great question about to come before them. He would neither defend the language of the paragraph nor condemn it ; but one position he would contend for—the press of the country must remain free. If there were libels published, so scandalous that they could not be passed over, the Attorney-General was the proper person to look to them : the House had never gained in the opinion of the country, nor ultimately in its own, by such a proceeding as was now pressed onr,ft.7
its acceptance. ,
Mr. BARING joined Mr. Calcraft in deprecating the motion of(41:--47;:. Robert Inglis: he equally deprecated any reference to the .Attorneir.o General. The question the House was about to discuss that night was, whether a great change should be made in the constitution of Parliament. . . ; If they forbid a public writer or the public voice to be heard on such a- question, they in reality said that there should be no deliberatiorrin, the country at large on that important subject. From an apprelienaiOn.'--.: which neither he nor any one opposed to the bill felt, that such writi44-17;T,;, went to abridge freedom of discussion in the House, Sir Robert Ing - would have them put an end to all freedom of discussion out of it. M . Baring concluded, as Mr. Calcraft had dime, by requesting Sir Robert Inglis to withdraw the resolution. Mr. PERCEVAL differed from both the previous speakers : he thought Sir Robert had done wisely in bringing forward the motion, and that if he were to withdraw it, the House would lose, and justly lose, its
character with the country. The question having been brought forward, the House had but one course—they must accede to the resolution.
Sir FRANCIS Bustin= said, the public press of this country had most industriously, carefully, and laboriously, with the most persevering in- dustry, with great talent, with unabated zeal and patriotism, and with unbending integrity, advocated the great and good cause now at issue between the borouglunongers and the people. As to the conduct of the House on the motion before it, he was perfectly indifferent to its vote. Ile would say the same of ReforM—the fiat had gone forth from the people, and obeyed it must be. And as to the character and dignity of the House being violated by this honest writer, Members themselves must be secretly ashamed of the Lssertion. (Cheers, and loud cries of 66 No, no.") Who would dory this, after the fact having been so repeatedly and publicly stated, that the corruption of that Muse was as notorious (it was admitted and allowed to he as notorious) BS the IBM at noonday After this it was ludicrous to hear members talking of the privileges of the House being violated, and its character lowered, because the press had dared to speak oat and tell the truth. (Cheers and murmurs.) The hypocrisy of attempting to convert a subject of this kind into a question of !privilege, while the privileges cif the House, as expressed in their standing orders, were publicly, openly, and approvedly trampled on, was quite sickening. It hall been asserted that the Ilmise must adopt the resolution of Sir Robert Inglis, or consent to give up all claim to the confidence of the people— At this moment, in the eyes of the public at large, the House of Commons did not possess a single pal tide of confidence. He repeated, the House had utterly lost the confidence of the r eop le-- that confidence had been destroyed many years ago. This was note generally admitted; and so was the corruption of the 11 ouse- the true cause of the loss of confidence.
Sir Francis went on to notice the case of Mr. Quiutin Dick, who was compelled to quit his seat for a. Treasnry torou,h because he would not vote for ministers in favour of the Duke of York. When, in conse- quence of the discussion arising out of Mr. Dick's case, the conduct of Ministers in tampering with the return of members to the House came to be debated, they walked out into the Lobby, not to incur the scandal of sitting and voting while their own actions were under consideration.
Let the borough members referred to have the decency to follow this example. Be hardly flattered himself that they would, although they might as well do that as adopt a contrary course, and it would be more becoming in them to yield with a good than with a bad grace. Of this let those gentlemen be assured, that whatever vote they chose to give, its effect upon the great cause. and its value with the public, would be just as if they whistled to the winds. (Cheers, murmurs, and cries of " Question t") Sir CILIRLES WET/Imams. replied with great heat to the hint to re- tire, thrown out by Sir Francis Burdett.
Since he first sat in that House, a more dictatorial speech—more dictatorial in language, more dictatorial in manner, more dictatorial in principle, more dietato- riat in mutter, more dictatorial in the arrogance with which it was delivered, he had
never heard. (Chem and laughter) Yea ; he asserted, without fear of contradic- tion, that the dictatorship of the honourable baronet, the member for Westminster and man of the people—the tyranny transferred from 1.11's hustings to the debates
of that House, which the honourable baronet had displayed.—he bad never heard equalled. According to Sir Francis, the members for boroughs to be disfranchised
must retire. Sir Charles was one of them. (Laughter.) llid the honourable
baronet dare to tell him—did he presume to call on him—did he venture to insult the House and the country, by calling on him—equally a gentleman, equally inde-
pendent in principle as the honourable baronet himself—to quit the House ? (Re- peated titters and illflghter.) Could Sir Francis imagine—could it enter into his mind —to suppose that he would condescend to retire from any place where Sir Francis was a member ? (Hear ! and bovider.) Could he suppose that Sir Charles would leave those benches while the member for Westminster had a seat upon them I He could not sufficiently admire the arrogance of any member in calling upon him to walk out of those doors while the honourable baronet was sitting upon the leather-covered cushions of those scats. (Lao/lifter, " question !" and cries of" oh !") Where was it, in what portion of, the doctrines of liberalism, that the honourable baronet found this single and individual superiority of opinion, entitling him to blackball every member who did not happen to concur with hint in his revo- lutionary principles of jacubin revolution ? (Laughter.)
Sir Charles sat down, in a state of violent perspiration, declaring that he most heartily concurred with Sir Robert Inglis's motion.
Sir CHARLES FOR13ES said be had intended to bring under the notice of the House an article of the Times of the 2nd of March ; but having consulted with two or three members more competent than himself to judge of such matters, he was induced, on their representations, to re- frain. He had been a good deal influenced also by the consideration, that, after nil, these libels were but the opinions of the individuals that wrote them—
All those infamous paragraphs which we daily saw were the attacks of cowardly assassins, who dared not to putt their moles to their paragraphs—cowardly, licen- tious libellers, who, if they had the spirit, would be assassins. He trusted that the country had more good sense and sound judgment than to be led away for one mo- ment by what these papers stated. He had, within the House and out of the House,
heard all well-judging persons who had read the passages, speak of them in the most decided manner as base and libellous, and in the highest terms of indignation. He had never heard any person defend those attacks, xcept the honourable baronet the member for Westminster. The cause was worthy of the defender, and the de- fender worthy of the cause. Lord ALTUORP, admitting that the paragraph was a breach of privi- lege, was by no means prepared to admit, as a consequence, that the proposed mode of treating it was a proper one. He could not think it prudent or politic, at a period of so great excitation, to use such a strong meAsure as that recommended, because the press might have used terms that were not wholly justifiable. He should, therefore, move the pre- vious question.
Mr. J. CAMPBELL concurred with Lord .Althorp.
Mr. W. Wsexst said, that the question having been brought forward, s the House must do its duty ; it must support its rights and privileges. He could not, therefore, support the amendment of his noble friend. Sir JAMES GRAHAM regretted the determination of Mr. Wynn ; he regretted the occasion which had given rise to it. It was impossible that on such great questions as they were about to discuss, which this ques- tion of privilege now interposed to prevent, strong feelings and strong language should not be experienced and employed on both sides. Sir Robert Inglis complained of the Reformers of the press, but might not a complaint be brought against the Anti-Reformers of the press also ?
Was the public expression of feeling and opinion, on this occasion, confined to one side only 1 Sunday after Sunday, some good-natured friend, who he supposed bad recently left the " warm precincts" of office, not without casting" a longing, lin- gering look behind," had assailed him (Sir James Graham) with " What will they say to this at Cockermouth "What will you say to your Cumberland consti- tuents on such and such a point 1" He was vilified, his motives misrepresented, his public conduct passed under a severe and unjust review • but did he complain Far from it. Such strictures only impelled him to discharge his duties frankly, freely, and fairly, in that manner which appeared to him most likely to prove bene- ficial to his country. (Cheers.) But if a course of severity were adopted with re- ference to one side, it WOW(' be wholly impossible, in common justice, not to visit, on the other side, those who stigmatized the measures introduced by Ministers as revolutionary, and who abused, in the foulest manlier, those who supported it, asin- dividuals who wished to overturn the constitution. (Cheers.)
Sir James said, the late Secretary-zit-War, Sir Henry Hardinge, had declared that the measure of Ministers would make the crown sit loose on the King's head : that expression had been carried forth, and repeated and commented on—was there any thing said on the other side of the question that was stronger than that ? If they proceeded in the course chalked out by Sir Robert Inglis, they might as well close the gallery at once, and put every institution of the country to hazard.
Sir HENny HARDINGE said, there was no parallel between his ex- pression ofinpinion in the House and this libel in the Thnes. He was as free at that moment to deliver his sentiments on the Reform question, or any other, as when he sat for Durham and had twelve hundred con.
Why, then, should the Member for Westminster say, that because he represented
a borough, he was not fit to perform his duty in that !liaise Why should the honourable baronet presume to state, that he could not faithfully discharge his duty, because, for the last three months, he had been returned for a close borough? If such an imputation were directly cast at him, he would fling it back with deserved scorn. (Hear, hear !) Sir FRANcIS BURDETT begged leave to tell those honourable members who, alluding to him, had asked, " vont thl ltd presume," and " would he dare," to do so and so, that he would always presume and dare to do and to say whatever he considered most conducive to the rights, liberties, and privileges of the people of England. (II,ar, hear!) Sir -Henry liar- dinge had placed himself its an awkward situation : he said that he had no constituents. (Cries of "No, no !")
Sir Ilt:satx HakinNult—" St. Germains retains in 1831 more voters
than it possessed when its charter was granted *, suture voters than it comprised at the revolution of 1688 ; and an far from there having been a diminution of voters ill the last fifty years, the number has, on the con- trary, increased." ( Hear, hear !) Sir FRANCIS BURDETT said he understood Sir Henry to have stated,
that he represented one of those close boroughs which were at the dispo- sal of a patron. An individual so returned might he capable of perform- ing official duties extremely well; but his vote would not carry the same weight, especially on a question of this kind, as if he represented a large
body of constituents. ( Hear, hear !) Sir ROBERT Isoms said, he might have consented to withdraw his motion, had any one risen to defend the paragraph ; • but, as it was, lie must persist in it—he had no alternative. He should add to the words of the resolution, that certain passages of the Times of the 1st, 2nd, 7th, and 8th of March, were also false and libellous.
Mr. IIeaT, amidst great confusion, declared that the language, whe- ther coarse or not, was true—the question, therefore, was, whether they would agree to declare that to be false which every man in the House knew not to be false.
Sir ROBERT FEEL, amidst cries of " Divide! " said, as other passages
than that which the clerk had read had been referred to, it was neces- sary they should also be read. Sir ROI3ERT INinas objected to occupying the time of the House so long ; he added, that his intention was to call on the Attornev- General to follow up the vote of the House by a prosecution of the offenders.
Sir THOMAS DENMAN expressed his surprise at the delay which had taken place in bringing the case before the House ; the last of the papers alluded to was dated a week back. Ile was also surprised, after Sir Robert Inglis had obtained from him a private opinion on the subject, that he should now come forward and call on him by a vote of the House to prosecute, whereltis sentiments were already known.
He certainly considered the paragraph submitted to his notice a breach of privi- lege, but he could not say that it was false. He thought it had a tendency to irri- tate the enemies of Reform, and that all such language should be avoided. He relied upon the honour rather than the fears of borough nominees ; and he had no doubt whatsoever that Y. e Aum must be carried by a very large majority. (Cries of " Hear, hear !" and " no !") Well, be that as it might, he considered that the agitation of this question now, after having slept a week, could only be intended to obstruct the discussion on the great question of Reform, which was fixed for this night ; and he further thought it was now the duty of the House to come to a deci- sion upon the motion. Sir Roamtr FEEL was still of opinion that all the extracts to which the resolutions had reference ought to - he read. He had not heard the commencement of the debate, nor was he aware of tine intention of Sir
Robert Inglis to bring it in. Mr. SLANEY thought the motion would serve the cause of Reform in- stead of injuring it. Sir RottEar Isems proposed to comply with Sir Robert Peel's sugges- tion. This, however, was clamoured down, and the House was cleared ; but Lord Althorp's amendment of " the previous question" was carried without a division.
2. SticoNn READING OF TfIE REFORM BHA- When the House had passed from the long and angry discussion on the subject of the Times newspaper, Lord Joust RCSSELL moved the order of the day for the second reading of the Bill for Amending the Representation in England
Sir HENRY HARDINGE requested to know when it was meant to intro.
duce the Irish Bill ? They were about to debate the principle of a measure which was only partly before them.
Mr. STANLEY made answer, that the Irish Bill was quite ready to he brought in ; but it was the understanding of the House that he should go into a somewhat more detailed statement of that measure than Lord John Russell had submitted. Whenever it was the wish of the House that he should do so, he would enter on that task. The order for the second reading being then read, Sir RICHARD VYYYAN, a member for the county of Cornwall, rose to oppose the Bill. He commenced by stating, that he had no personal interest stimulating him to the course he had chosen ; he was owner of no borough, in Cornwall or elsewhere ; the bill would rather benefit than injure him—the division of counties which it contemplated would render future canvass more easy and more certain. Sir Richard admitted that he and his constituents did not think alike in espect of the Reform Bill ; it was not to be denied, that wherever Lord John Russell's speech had circulated, a strong wish to support the Ministry had been excited With the certainty, nevertheless, that he must displease his constituents' • 5 Elizabeth- The number of voters are 70; patron; Earl St. Germains. he would still oppose a measure which he deemed pregnant with danger to the community at large.
'When the noble person now at the head of the Cover' ment intro- duced in 1703 his plan of Reform into the Ihmso of Conine as, the as- pect of affairs. both internal and external, very tiearly resen.bled what they now beheld; yet the circumstances of the country are. in many respects, more threatening now than they were even at tile .ommence- ment of the first French IZevolation.
Knowledge had become so e,:!errl..(1 since the::—the people now n re so easily excited on political sithie,t,—!ftit e very man was stieatat 'zed as a, at stocrat who was in opposition to v ' ' Itio ono. IS c hail at pr. a greater de-
gree of excitement . the 1.eople. ad I :I, . witnessed in the aercu!rutzl diArict, rut—, o u.1 1. head of that
department could tell, ations than it had fallen to the t h for years, - foreign affairs, he 1,1 o • puha-. any poi'., of modern tittles. 1.O:•• io in o. • and dee ,- lions; at no one p• eoo sc . be dre,,O
than its present tel.. 1.. rya say, that the tirtle," re was Most injudicious; anti, WI rag it. InCharil wept, (1:1 1,, 41,VH,11 of Reform, except against r. ( wise pledgod on the sithj•.ct ; hot he from a Coliviet`on that it was at revolittionttry o:, ;t ;:. d the ele- ments ()f• discord in it—that it to'l'd ho de:‘r rue:ive to the titerests of our Colonies—that it no distant period, prove si.hversive of the Peerage and of dm .Monaril v. Ile should oppose it in principle and in detail; for the details involved x) mach of the principle that lie had no alternative but to reject it a Itoqether.
The history of all nations that changes which faced large
powers in the bands of the democracy were ever t he precittr:iins of Rev°. lution—of a revolution fatal to the security of property.
A revolution might he effected by foreign lute:Terence, or by the army, or by the executive authority in the state tithing to itscIrmi undue share of power, wit heat endangering property ; but a revolotion, two:laced by too large an ziece.o.ion or democratic influence, would have the direct tendency to which be had just adverted. France had exoerienced this twee or twice before the catastrophe of i7e9 ; nil it was unnecessary fer him to say how lit tie the rieht of property was respected in the events which followed that period.
lie did not affirm that Refinan must be at all tittles and under all cir- cumstances injurious—that the constitution of Fantland could go on front century to century withont alteration or modification : it was on the principle of policy, not from to Reform abstractedly considered, that he opposed the hill. If he were toll that resistance Nvuuld, under present circumstances, lead to revolution, he should answer, that this Reform Bill was revolution. If the bill were passed, it was itnpossible to say how soon he might stand at the bar of the House or at the bar of a Committee of Public Safety for defending the most sacred institutions of the country.
The feelings of the people were the result, not of one cause, but of many.
The exioting excitation had not been produced by the declaration of the Dole of 'Wellington, nor had it been produced by the French Revolution ; the Birmingham Union existed six months before either of those events ; petitions praying for Reform were presented to that Bons:, throughout the whole of last year. A vague and iiric:i- nite desire of change hail lcmg been eugendered among the people ; and I hot desire had been inflamed by the denial on the part of the last Parliament of the existence of distress in the country.
But above all things, the present cry for Reform had been stimulated by the course pursued by the Government.
The Ministers came into power upon giving three distinct pledges,--first, peace, when the very mention of peace was deeply datioerms to the honour and indepen- dence of this country ; secondly,retrenchment, when they ought to have known that retrenchment was perfectly and utterly impossible • thirdly, Reform. But then not
one word of the distresses of the ; not a syllable with rezoird to our mone- tary system ; or the real causes of the disturbances which then prevailed through. out the country; not a single proposition to alleviate the sufferings of the people, or to administer to their wants. If you refer to the people of Eneland, and ask them what advantage they gain by it—if you meet men in their shops, in the street, in public or in pi irate, not one among,t ;hem can explain in what respect his situation will be improved by this so-called Reform." (Cheers.)
Sir Richard could see no advantage to the public, the candidates, or the voters, from the grant of a franchise upon a house rented at 10/. a year.
Such voters would still continue to be a source of corruption ; and such a low value of houses would, in reference to elections, be highly injurious to the general welfare. Once let them grant this Reform, and who would say that the ballot would not immediately follow it ? The tithes, of course, must be expected to go; and even Lord John Russell admitted that the shortening the duration of Parliaments was a matter for future consideration. If the tithe was attacked, as no doubt it would be, upon what security could property rely for support ? Attack the tithes and the landed property, and what remained but an attack upon the funds and the rent of the landholders ? the House imagine, that after the present Parliament had declared itself corrupt and abominable that it had been guilty of enormities which the member for Westminster hail said that nothing could exceed—did they imagine that the new, the Reformed Parliament, would take up what their wicked prede- cessors had begun or continued ? (Cheers) ) Why, then, he would ask, could airy man support this measure who wished to preserve the institutions of the country, and who saw that tithes, rent, funds—all must be destroyed by the system of which it formed the first step Could Huy Mall support it who saw this, and that, with other property, all the accumulations of the savings' banks, =amain to twenty millions of the poor man's property, must likewise be sacrificed in the general wreck—for there was as much danger to these small sums invested in the funtls, as to the larger ones belonging to a different class of individuals. (Cheers.) There was a common danger for the rich as for the poor. Of course, if oue description of property went, all went; small sums were held by the same title as the thou- sands and the millions.
An Aide toi Society had been formed to put men into Parliament ; and it would be seen what sort of persons would he returned under this sys- tem, for many of the individuals had already been poilitel out. One was qualified by his writings in a newspaper, another by a pamphlet, a third by a book. Among the rest, was Mr. Mill, who had written a book on India. Sir Richard had examined, from curiosity, the doctrines of Mr. Mill, as laid down in his writings ; and one of the doctrines he found to be, that as those measures of government which led to a gradual in- crease of population, and the bringing under cultivation of inferior soils, did as effectually tend to enhance rents as if such enhancement were the subject of a direct law operating instantaneously, therefore the Govern- ment were as much entitled in the one case as they would be in the other to appropriate the augmentation to the use of the State. Such was the political economy to be preached to a Reformed Parliament !
We had before us examples pregnant with instruction upon this subject.
Let us look to Portugal. Let us look to Spain. Let us look to Ferdinand, not recognizing for so long the Bonds of the Cortes, and then only doing it in the shab- biest way. Let us look to the instance of the French Revolution. There we have written, in letters of blood, all that can happen in a state where those in command front intimidation, zurrender the power they have in their hands, and cease to re gard themselves as possessors of the sovereign authority, and look beyond them Sir Richard defied any man t...) p;',;5,•:1 i:!!+•A";',.-sue Which a constitu- tion had baton forced from Lelim-, that Lad result than re- volution. 'fake our own revo:ii' i,,n of 16,;;; I'L,r example. "It cannot be doubte.l, that Jca ,• coailileteiy terrified the land ; and, nukes William had looded wit Lue. cu Le, we tdiuuld never have had the flintily of Brunswick upon the O • •; 't... a reviidnion effected by a power called In by the aristociacy,, 1. i- - • who it-., rut one vow. That was an revolution of the aristocracy—i. sl it to bring about, is it revo- lution of the democracy. In all mo.r:tie•,e are many good men—many real patriots—who are easily grilled :Ira! ui ; and of course there are many
profligate politicians. In the French nal Convention the good were at first
the ruai ,city, and the bad the minority ; o 1 it Itappe.ts in abut-t all assemblies,
that in the fast iestance the had are in I! .• --horny, but at last thee gut to be the
mojoetdy, Pcc.!Nr` t`•!•,y have a spirit of no, nr•ot, of determination, -which makes them more r Jolt; to in the prosecution of their objects." if we were so placed that some mighty change must ho made, teas the present me:;su re such as great la isms had pursued in similar crises ? "Rome In days of peril loud a dictator, and Cod grant timt the time may never come when the world, weary of the ty rano p of many, may sa lu for oue. In Venice, where the most complete system of ail -ioeratie ItrauuiIy 1.21,r invented was ill frill play—irhere the aristocracy wine at ;wee Peels and Cominal:ers—what did they do to give stability to their ,,'IV,r11111121sl i Did they try to enhuge the basis of the executive government, and caul a fortuuta number of persoos from the senate 1 No —rimy first created the Citimcd of Ten, and il;terwarcl, tire inquisition of State. selves for assistance. There t,.ey trill s:e how, through every step oh' degradation, a constitutional body becomes in national col:yeutiou—u constituent assembly—call them what you will—till aim cby roles tire hind. Sir Richard then ht ire eottlil leliot out a period in the history of France before the first Revolut:,:. Baru condition at present.
That period was 178S—s. ben his Parliament, and the 1... ; t Ots. u at that same position. I., r' yu-ar tbu• the States-General wv; I.Juutorred, first instance, the N .tviiteti an us Getiaral—in ;act, !i. s Parltato nt.
• jaut.1: in the
it: L Ith : taken in (1c:fending -• on either : month of safety for meat you Olo ;h.it o : to the property of orbets, who onnuents; and is that a popul„il••, L. between the King and Ve ate arriving very fast • loo int• quarrelled, ol of affairs. In the ostittit ion of the States- tOe King was advised by the consequence? Men power, who kid to pay we are notdu Le burdens of new power was ;is they were !.00 e•s t., juin • The and call ;datime to :••nu Most of all means. rOe press oho;
• : ,V:13 be-
. • went on, till great vote Convention :old the game the rights Tithes were 1•.•eri threat-
• Jaitt in, , people, -Mt. Is in the on the months hohly died Lo oea tat pikes one the people in the mad there islIG is you at the ma- . who look for gain
,1 lioty, will praise you in
Sir Richard wished to reier to the speech Of the Lord Advocate Jeffrey), which, clever as it umbnibtedly was, ofered ample room for ani- madversion. The Lord _Advocate had said that Wt! jrail increased in wealth, and might, therefore, to increase in freedozn ; and had cited the cases of the Italian rein:blies and the history of our own country after
the civil wars.
"But has the learned Lord reflected either upon the history of Greece or of Rome? Has he seen that libel to has these followed wealth ? I/ os he luoked to the history of Persia ? Did he tied that wealth :Whored freedom there, or did a brave and hardy people, becoming, enervated iv; th wealth, fall under a tyrannical govern- ment? What did he lied to be the case in Athens anal Sputta ?—what in Rome ? Does he recollect the eloquent thought of a noble poet, now no more, perhaps one of the greatyst this conotry ever produced—Lord ttlron, who. with the ruins of the Palatine Hill before hint, of the Capitol on his right baud, and the Coliseum ou his left, said,
"fhere is the moral of all human tales; 'Tis but tire same rehearsal of the past, First freedom, and then glory—when that fails, NVedith, vice, corn:jabot, barbarism at last ; And history, with all her volumes vast,
Bath but one page'" Sir Richard intended to move that the bill be read a second trine that day six months; but bef■we he did. lie would explain Iris reasons. The bill appeared to him so rad:eally bad in all its details, that it was impos-
sible to be moulded into any form ; he therefore considered it of nu use to suffer it to go into Committee.
" I think the plan gives an undue influence to towns. As the Ministers were de- termined to remodel the constitution. end frame a new legislative body, they might have taken, if they pleased. the whole of the population or taxation of the country, and divided it into departmental divisive,. 115 in France; or they might have kept the same system of boroughs, without tiltmrptui t to introduce one universal qualifica- tion. They have adopted neither of these t NV1) coarsi P. but have done away with all the advantages' which arise from the variety of our elective franchise. They have done away with that system by which all classes, all professions, till interests were represented in this House. I do nut enter into the qoestion of abstract right, but it is certain that the Bonnie of C0111111011S, as it is now constituted, represents all the interests of the empire, which it certainly trill not under this bill."
With regard to the property which was made the foundation of the
franchise- " Does the possession of a freehold of 10/. qualify a person to choose a proper statesman to make the laws which shall govern the land ? A man with a lel. free- hold, more than a man with one of 9/. I9s. ? The property then is taken as a gua- rantee ; yet we hear of population. The wisdom of our ancestors, in framing this constitution, now so much derided, thought it right to scatter the franchise through the different boroughs of the country, and did it in every possible variety of form, so that every description of persons might find the means of election. That. this somehow obtained the guarantee so much desired, Is clear ; for tire system has gone on working marvellously through many ages, although against all the theories of all the books written upon it When this measure had been disposed of, m be confideady it would be, Sir Richard intended to propose some resolution would give assurance to the conntry, that the House was determi strengthen its representation. • "I do not give the exact worth of the resolution at present—(Laughter)—but I "ledge myself to do so ; nor do I give my plan of Reform—(laughter)—for it is ab- lud to suppose that any man can improvise a constitution in a day. (Cheers and laughter.) Indeed the noble Lord himself has found some difficulty in it, and has not failed to fall Intl some great blunders. Some instances come within my personal knowledge of towns which are not rated at the population they possess, not from any wilful mistake in the noble Lord, but from want of local know- ledge, having taken into account too few or too many parishes. If the noble Lord, with six months' time to arrange his plans, and acquire a knowledge Of the details, has fallen into an error of this kind on the matter of fact, may well be excused from now offering any new constitutional plan to the consi- deration of the House. The resolution I shall propose, however, will show that those members who reject this bill as revolutionary, and having a tendency to de. 'troy the King's authority, have still an inclination to $0 to a -certain extent in Reform."
He concluded by moving that the bill be read a second time that day six months.
Mr. CAKTWR/GILT, member for Northamptonshire, seconded the amend. went.
Mr. who was lately returned as member for Milborne Port,
made his first speech it the House. Sir Richard Vyvyan, he said, had travelled all over the globe; but, by a strange oversight, he had forgotten to say a word about that spot of it with which he was best acquainted, and which was most nearly connected with the subject in discUssion- tOrnwall. It was strange, 'that one who must be so perfectly conversant with its workings, did not favour them with some illustrations of the close borough system in its favourite retreat. He could only account for such a strange neglect by the fact of Sir Richard's having taken so en- larged a view in politics, that be could not discern the objects of petty interest that lay dose to his feet. Mr. Spiel was not ambitious of so wide a range as Sir Richard had taken. He would limit himself, in sup- porting the changes proposed in the bill, to a single fact—he alluded to the Union with Ireland.
By that proceeding, not only was the Irish Parliament abated, but the whole structure of the British Parliament was chanced. Was not that a greater innovation than any which could result from the proposed additions to the county members ; and was not the incorporation of one hundred Irishmen, differing in habits and baying at one time distinct i arrests, a change more violent than the intended sub- atitution for the representatives of places of which the streets could only be traced by the colour of the corn, end of which the only manufacture is in members of Par- t Lament ? If it should be suggested that there was a difference—he would admit that there was one—the Union was carried by expedients which, in the judgment of a rigorous moralist, must, to employ the softest term, be considered questionable ; but here the Minister endeavours to accomplish a noble object by exalted means.
This was one modification of the Commons House of England, and but a late one ; but there were modifications yet more recent.
If he adverted to the disfranchisement of the forty-shilling freeholders, it was not to .go over an argument which had been already so much relied on, but to ask what an- swer had been over attempted to that important precedent. The Minister mowed down, with a single sweep, the franchise of 20,000—Irish peasants if they pleased— but British subjects after all. Defects, imperfections, vices necessarily incidental to their condition, these persons might have manifested ; but call it fanaticism, call it agitation, call it superstition, or any thing else, it must still be owned that these men, in a great emergency, did great things, and that it was a fine spectacle to see them throwing off in an instant the serfship of centories—standing up in the atti- tude of freemen—withstanding with a dauntless intrepidity th,Iittle tyrant of their fields, and, in a cause which they felt to be a just one—looking rain in the face. And if to them the Rouse showed no mercy—if to them they dealt-with a relentless, though he was sure that it was with a reluctant rigour, he might be pardoned if he presumed to ask, in the name of plain consistency and of British justice, what peculiar virtue could be detected in burgesses and corporator; which should excite a sympathy so profound—which should awaken so much Parliamentary tender- ness, and stir to their depths the springs of legislative commiseration ? (Cheers and laughter.) It might be said, that the disfranchisement of the forty-shilling free- holders was an act of necessity : was the pressure of necessity which called for the Reform Bill.less urgent ? It was idle to conclude, because the discontent of England had been but recently manifested, that it was of recent growth ; it was useless to attempt to connect it with the affairs of the Continent ; it was absurd to attribute it to the press. A reason- able man would ask if the discontent were well founded.
That was the main question—almost the only one. Were all the evils of which the press and the people complained, merely imaginary ? Had they no existence, except in.the distempered fancy of political hypochondriacs, or was there a gan- grene that could be felt and touched, and that was visibly and palpably eating its way into the vitals of the state ?
It was superfluous to dwell on the present state of the representation : one broad fact was sufficient to describe it,—one hundred and fifty men returned a majority of the House; four or five boroughholders could control the Minister, dictate to the Sovereign, and domineer as they listed over the people. The system was vicious in principle—it was yet ranker in its details. Seats in Parliament were the common everyday subject of purchase and sale. The very technicalities of legal convey- ance had been employed in their transference. Boroughs had been made the subject of marriage settlement, and had been put by the ingenuity of conveyances through all the diversities of matrimonial limita- tion. (Cheers.) The House had all heard that a Sultana on her marriage usually had one province awarded to her for her necklace, another for her bracelets, and a .third for her girdle. tinder the system of Parliamentary proprietorship, it would be no matter of surprise to see a lady of fashion receiving Old Sarum for pin- money and Calton for her dower. The system was as destructive to morals as to freedom. The venality of the few was copied out on the corruption of the many—the example of the wealthy was faithfully followed by the poor. When high and mighty Lords transmitted their interest in Parliament into sordid money, by what au easy process of imitative alchS:my would the humbler voter effect a similar conversion of his miserable suffrage ! How could we condemn bribery in the one, when we gave it a countenance in the other ? Was the grossness Of the prostitution palliated by the largeness of its wages; was the enormity of the .offence in the inverse ratio of its remuneration (Hear !) Could any one wonder that such practices had excited but one feeling among the reflecting portion of the community ? And yet, there were men who would cling to the system out of a mere love of its deformities. " Turpia decipiunt caecum vitia, out etiam ipso. lime Delectant ; veluti Balbinum polypus Ilagnm" The close boroughs, it seems, were the postern-gates by which genius crept into the citadel of the nation.. Great names. had been numbered up, but u-hat were they to the obscure crowd by which they were sur- rounded ? Even if these postern-doors did admit as much genius'as it was alleged they did, and if the shutting of:them up were to exclude it, what was all the genius of the nation to that House, compared with the deprivation of public confidence ?
It was said that the Reform Bill would endanger the landed interests —would the addition of fifty-five county members do so ? it would in.
property—would the giving of the franchise to the wealthiest towns ties in the kingdom have that effect ?
• • Then came the grand objection—the change would not be final : • . What was there in human affairs that was I It had in it as deep a principle of- permanence as can be perhaps desired. The people ought riot to be contented with existing abuses, but they ought to be with their proposed remedies. All just groan& of complaint would be taken away ; and it was reasonable to anticipate that theoharacteristic good feeling and good sense of the British nation would take upon ibta measure a firm stand. The objection that this measure was not final, embraced-alt change, and comprehended all Reform. It was the favourite ritual of every idolater of every abuse. Beware, they exclaimed, of innovation. " All this," said Last Bacon, " would be true, if time stood still, which, however, moveth so round, that a froward retentation of custom is as turbulent a thing as innovation." Were the dangers all on one side ? The opponents of Reform looked only at the possible dangers of concession, without any regard to the evils of denying it. We pass over several other points in Mr. Shell's brilliant address, and come to the peroration. Who were the opponents of the Bill I—They might be counted. Who were its ad. vacates !—Millions of Britons, with their Sovereign at their head they had listened to the voice of Ireland, would they be deaf to English invocation I If Ireland had force enough in her arm when she struck at the door of the cabinet to make the mighty captain start, was the land of England so feeble and so powerless that they would not awaken at the thunder of her knocking I (loud cheering.) Ireland was now in a state of evil susceptibility ; the House should recollect that it was their own doing. These were the results of years of agitation, produced by the madness of delay. Let them beware how they put England through a similar process of excite- ment. Would they tarry until a great confederacy should have sprung up? Until rostra agitation should have been raised in every district? Until the popular passions should have been maddened by ferocious eloquence, and infuriated by revo- lutionary harangue I Then, indeed, they would have cause to speak of the influ- ence of the democracy; then they would find the demands of the nation swollen into perilous enormity ; then they would behold the power of the people dilated beyond its just, and natural, and constitutional proportions,' and ascending into a gigantic magnitude. Concede ; and that they might concede in safety; concede in time. (Loud and continued cheering.) Mr. It. L. DUNI/AS had beers induced to permit the hill to arrive at its present stage that the public might judge of its expediency. If he could indulge a hope that it could be safely sent to a committee, he would consent to its being read a second time. • " But as, in my opinion," continued Mr. pundits, "this bill contains so little that is beneficial, and so much that is dangerous—as it has a direct tendency rather' to impair titan to invigorate the constitution—as we arc now required, without form or precedents, without proof of grievances, to apply a sweeping change to a mechanism so delicate and complicated as that which regulates the movement of our constitu- tion—I think it more advisable to reject this measure altogether, rather than hold out any expectations—expectations which, I am convinced, cannot be :.calized- that so extensive a system of Reform as this will ever receive the sanction of any portion of the Legislature. Sir, I say that this measure is introduced in defiance of all precedent, because I cannot discover in the annals of our history, in which the deliberations of this House were net restrained by coercive and unconstitutional means, a single instance of persons holding the responsible situations which the right honourable gentlemen opposite now hold, bold enough to recommend to this House and to the Legislature a bill for Reform which has on the face of its pre- amble the subversion of established rights, the validity of which have hitherto re- mained unquestioned."
Mr. Dundas would not be deaf to all Reform, nor question the power of Parliament to dispose of the privileges of any class of persons for the benefit of the state. He did not arraign the power of the House, but the justice of the measure.
In 1785, when Mr. Pitt brought forward his project of reform, the existing rights of individuals and corporations were carefully preserved, and were held so materially to constitute apart of the fabric of our constitution, that, however defective they might appear in a theoretical point of view, they could not be assailed without injury to the whole structure. Lord John Russell proposed to diminish the number of members. Sir, the only precedent on which he can justify that part aids plan of Reform, in to he derived from a period of our history unworthy of our imitation, and at a period by no means favourable to one of our most important privileges, freedom of debate. In 1654, after Cromwell had tried the expedient of governing without a Parliament, and then the expedient of selecting a House of Commons from the dregs of the people, and having failed in both instances to render that assembly subservient to his views, he remodels the whole constitution of this House, in a manner similar to the plan proposed by the noble Lord. He deprives this House of ill of its members by ordering writs to be issued to those places only which were least likely to be in- fluenced by the Royalist party. By this means 400 members, instead of 49-1, were returned to the Honee of Commons, of which 270 represented counties. And in the ((Miming Parliament, in 1656, lie still further curtailed the numbers of this House by refusing admittance to a hundred of its members. Sir, these were acts of arbitrary power, and not measures of calm anti dispassionate legislation; and these are the precedents on which his Majesty's Ministers ground their scheme of Reform. Mr. Dundas contended that it had been a principle of the constitution rather to increase than diminish the numbers of the House ; and in no instance had boroughs been deprived of their privileges without proof of their delinquency. At the Union with Ireland, a liberal compensation was allowed ; and this rule had not been departed from, when the Irish forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, as they received emancipa- tion from their disabilities.
Mr. PENDARVES, member for Cornwall, said that in supporting the Bill, he spoke the sentiments of his constituents no leis than his own. At the commencement of the session, be had presented one petition from the county, praying for Reform ; a requisition for a second county meet- ing had been signed by twelve hundred individuals, and he would soon
have to present the petition of that meeting also. Many petitions from various towns in the county had been confided to his care since the Bill was introduced ; and they all breathed the same wish that it might pass into a law.
Lord VALLETORT, member for Lostwithiel, one of the condemned boroughs, complained that it had been imputed to the opponents of„':the measure, that they were actuated by self-interested motives. The im-
putation might as fairly be cast on some friends of the measure, who were equally interested in the success of it, for the continuance of their seats in the House. His Lordship said, the constitution of Great Bri-
tain was now on its trial; lie only asked for it the favour that -was granted to the greatest criminal, that it might have the benefit of a doubt. (Hear !) 'Mr. C. (In ANT supported the measure, in an able and philosophical speech. If the conduct of Ministers required ,:ny justification, it was to be found in the recommendations of their opponents within doors, and in the demeanour of the people without. The principle of Anti-Reform was now abandoned ; and he 'col- lected from the present and from the preceding discussion, that there was scarcely . a single member disposed to take his stand on that principle. He had -supposed, from the tenor of Sir Richard Vyvyan's speech, that he meant to place himself in the front of the battle against all concession ; but in the close he was astonished to hear that even he bad a plan of Reform which, lie intended hereafter, to propose. Sir Robert Peel, too, had said during the former debate, that a more moderate plan of Reform .mighbbave obtained even-his vote -;.,so _that Mr..Grant .thoughrhimself warranted in asserting, that the question of Reform or no Reform was absolutely decided. (Cheers.) The question was no longer one of principle, but of degree and of time. Nothing could be more foolish than to connect the present cry for Reform with temporary and fleeting causes. It was the effect of a change which had beer. long in progress, and to whiCh* none tad 'mire contributed than Sir Robert Peel himself. The constitution of the country was no longer a subject of blind idolatry ; men were no longer afraid to look upon it.
Sir Robert Peel, the originator of many important reforms, had taught the country this wise and salutary lesson, that an ardent affeztion for the constitution was not inconsistent with a desire to amend its abuses. On the contrary. it was now thought that true regard was best shown by a desire to investigate abuses, and to discover remedies. On these grotinds, matters which formerly men had not dared to look at, had of late been touched, though not without due reverence. The veil of British justice had been drawn aside; and even the ecclesiastical establishment of the country, which all revered, and all were anxious to preserve, had been treated upon the same enlightened principles. These steps had prepared the public mind for the discussion of the state of the representation. When gentlemen spoke of' momentary impulse and temporary excite- ment, which only a little firmness was necessary to suppress, they grossly misstated the nature of the agitation. Education during the last thirty years had been powerfully at work, with all Its complicated machinery, and it was now operating with concentrical force and accu- mulated rapidity. The agitation was not momentary ; it arose out of a deep, hearty, and settled conviction—a knowledge on the part of the people of their rights, and a resolution to maintain them. The people of England had long had their eyes fixed upon the state of the representation ; they saw that it was corrupt, and they claimed that the corruption should be removed. They found that the other branches of the Legislature interfered with the return of those who ought to be the repre- sentatives of the people, and the fact was proved by an appeal to the votes of the House. They knew that this was inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution that it should exist, and they, accordingly, appeared as petitioners at the bar. Sir Richard Vyvyan had alluded to the state of Europe, from which he would have the House conclude that the time for concession was not not; Mr. Grant was inclined to make a very opposite inference.
If it were true that a spirit of encroachment upon the privileges of sovereigns were abroad—and if it were true that some portion of the late commotions was to be ascribed to the disappointment of just hopes and the delay of demanded conces- sions—what was the inference to be drawn from such a state of things ? Was this a time to disregard the well-grounded complaints of the people ? Who could say bow much disappointment might exasperate, or how much speedy concession would allay ? Experience proved the danger of deferring concession until the hour of council was past, and the hour of compulsion arrived. (Cheers.) Mr.Wirsaaat BANKES, member for Corfe Castle, a condemned borough, went into a long detail for the purpose of showing that the Bill as it stood would be most unequal in its working.. To the argument of Mr. Stanley in favour of the Bill, that many noble persons who had large stakes in the nation approved of it, Mr. Bankes replied by asking, Had not Lords Essex, Northumberland, and Warwick, and he who bore the Sword of State before his Sovereign, a stake in the country ? And did they think in the beginning that the measures which they advocated, would cause the blood of the Head of the State and of the Church to stain the scaffold ? (Hear, hear, hear !) Mr. SLANEY said, the people of England, from one end of the country to the other, were calling for that measure of Reform which had been proposed ; and with a friendly feeling he would warn the House not to deceive the just expectations of that class which most of all deserved the attention of the Legislature, on account of their conduct, industry, ag- gregate wealth, and influence. Lord NORREYs said, he at one time intended to support the Bill ; but he now believed it to be mischievous, and could not therefore do so.• He was strengthened in his determination by the declaration of Sir Richard Vyvyan, that he would bring fOrward a plan of Reform. He trusted that the day was not far distant when the eyes of the country would be open to the gross deceit and delusion which was now practising upon them.
Mr. Vii.mens SMART, member for Banbury, a condemned borough, said he only held his seat until his successor was elected. He conceived that he was bound in honour to act upon the wishes of his consti- tuents [gy. constituent 1] ; and he entreated the House to believe that that consi- deration, and that alone, induced him to adopt the resolution of voting against the second reading of the Bill. (Hear, hear !) His vote belonged to those who had sent him to the House; but his opinions were his own, and those opinions, he bad no hesitation in saying, were favourable to the measure ; and in voting against the Bill, be hoped and trusted he should vote in a minority. (Cheers.) Sir W1LLIANI HORNE, the Solicitor-General, said, the whole of the argument against the Bill seemed to proceed upon the assumption that there was something in the British Constitution inconsistent with change, and that to make an alteration would be nothing less than to effect a complete destruction. Now, if honourable gentlemen would only take the trouble to cast a retrospec- tive glance upon the Parliamentary history of this country, and upon the history of
its institutions, they would find that there had been an almost uninterrupted series ofconflicts between the principle of democracy and despotism, with alternations of success ; and the Inevitable consequence of that, a system of perpetual change. The present Bill was, therefore, in every point of view, in perfect harmony with the whole current of our Legislature ; and instead of deserving to be designated as revolutionary, deserved rather to be called a great and healing measure—not a departure from, but a recurrence to, the great principles of the Constitution. It followed most faithfully in the steps of their Parliamentary predecessors, neither destroying nor innovating, but falling back upon the fundamental principles upon which our ancestors acted.
Sir William went on to elucidate this point, by reference to the Trien- nial Act, passed in 1694, only six years after the Revolution, and to the Septennial Act, a much stronger measure, passed in 1715 ; both proving that the settlement of 1688, even then, was not considered as precluding future changes when called for.
Attempts had often been made to disfranchise boroughs which were deemed corrupt, and such attempts had never been held to be beyond the
legitimate powers of Parliament. The Solicitor- General thought a general and sweeping measure of reform infinitely preferable to such oc- casional disfranchisements ; for nothing could be more dangerous to the liberties of the state and the interests of justice, titan to mix, oftener than absolute necessity demanded, the legislative with the judicial func- tions.
In 1781, the borough of Cricklade was brought under the consideration of Parlia- ment; certain electors of it were charged criminally ; some were convicted ; some were tried and not convicted; and a third class were neither tried nor convicted.
Those who were convicted of course suffered the full penalty of their offence, part of which IV:IS that they lost the right of voting. In the first place, it would, accord-
ing to all principles of justice to which he had been accustomed, be assumed that
those who were tried and acquitted, were in every point of view innocent ; and with stronger reason, that the parties who were not even accused, must be deemed inno- cent; yet by the decision of that House, penalty descended upon them 7 • for the Rouse proceeded upon a principle of general expediency, not so much for the pur- poses of punishment for the past, as in order to prevent abuses as to the future.
With respect to the boroughs to be disfranchised, Sir William con. tended that if there was not legal evidence, there was moral evidence of their inconsistency with the purity of the constitution.
In looking at these boroughs, they were naturally called to the conclusion that the people bad not an adequate share in them. He admitted that there must be a just cause [orally change that was made in that House. If there was not a just cause,
any change must he unjust ; but he contended diet it teas as much within the corn- pereityy of Parlitun..nt to disfranchise all these boroughs, as It was to disfranchise them one after another in succession, if sufficient evidence couldbe obtatheil to con- vict them according to the strictness of law. Was it meant to be argued that bee roughs were not to represent the constituency, bat the nominees 1 If not, then the whole case was proved, against them.
Sir EDWARD SUODEN rose. amidst most clamorous calls for adjoiiine meat. He would venture to say, that the speech of the Solicitor-General was the most unconstitutional that had ever been delivered in that House.
His learned friend had mentioned the changes which had been made in the early days of the Constitution, up to the time of the Revolution ; but he had forgotten that in those times there was not to be found the perfection which existed now, (Oh, oh Hear, hear I) He would venture to assert, that the great object of the G 0- vernment, in bringing forward this measure, was to preserve their offices. (Cries of " Hear, hear I" and " Oh, oh!") Ministers had gained their places on the strength of the popular ferment ; and, instead of joining the late Administration in support- ing the institutions of the country (Langiter), they took advantage of the popular feeling to turn them out ( Laughter); and now sought, by cultivating the voice of the people, to maintain that power which they Irtti thus won. (l fear, hear, hear !) True, there were a number of petitions, but what did they all pray for ?
What they all asked for, was Ballot and Universal Suffrage. (No, no !) They all asked for the destruction of the tithes. (Cries of " Jb, no !" and " hiiymss name !") He could not name (Laughter) ; but they asked not only fur Retrenchment, but for the lopping off of tithes and rent. (Cries of " Hear, hear!") The honourable mem- ber for Preston said " Hear, hear !" and he, therefore, entirely agreed with his statement. (" No, no!" from Mr. Hunt.) He did not deny that they were knocking at the door ; but, he thought, if spoken to reasonably and with sincerity, they would wait. He knew the people—he be- longed to the middle classes—he sprung from them, and among them he was destined to remain. He. therefore, had no Interests separate from theirs, and he was sure that he felt for the lower classes as much as any man, and he would advocate their rights with as much independent zeal as any man. dut he would not sacrifice the people of England to their own passions, nor give up to their prejudices theta own real Interests. By such conduct he should show that he was their real friend. (Cheers.) After adverting to the cutting up of the counties into sections, which Sir Edward said would cut down entirely the dignity of thecomity mem- bers, and that the towns near the polling places would influence the elec- tion, he reverted to the excuse of haste— The excuse of haste and impatience on the part of the Bill might do very welIjT this Bill could be executed when passed—if it ever should be passed. But what did the Bill provide 1 Why, after the Bill had destroyed the present constituency, leaving no man In England acquainted with the principle on which lie was to glee his vote, it provided that a riding Commission of the Privy Council should go round the land to settle the rights and the votes of all the constituency of England. He should like to see such a Commission starting forth from whitehaii. Sir Edward expressed his surprise that no one had entered into the de- tails of the bill ; as a lawyer, he avowed he could not understand it. The bill committed a moral injustice in cutting off 62 members from the repre- sentation of the kingdom—it was a bill of pains and penalties, having for its guide no better principle than the love of change. Sir Edward, while he blamed the precipitancy of Ministers, which had not permitted them to procure even accurate information whereon to found their scale of disfranchisement and dismemberment, could not admit that any impa- tience of the people justified it. Mr. Shell had said that this bill would give 55 additional county members ; but Sir Edward contended that such members would be very different from the present county members. This bill would cut up England into paltry and petty districts, and give to them the power of returning members. The counties to which two additional members would be given would be thus cut up into two, and the polling districts into which they would be divided would virtually constitute so many small boroughs. The county' members at present derived their weight from being the representatives of the whole county. But this measure would destroy that. and thus destroy the weight anti influence of the aristocracy. The Government, by this bill, was asking a British House of Commons to vacate its functions, and to leave to the Privy Council a riding • commission to shift and change the constituency. The House of Commons that - should give such a power to any administration would vacate its functions and disgrace itself. He could never consent to allow his Majesty's Ministers to parcel out the constituency of England in the manner which this bill proposed.
The whole bill was full of inconsistencies.
It was provided that the same property should not have a double right of voting, and yet leaseholders were to vote, though their landlords were to have their votes likewise. The powersgiven to the King by the bill were not compulsory,?and he might execute them or not, as he pleased, and thus the bill might be only partially ope- rative. The bill sank all the rights of all corporations, although the preamble said not one word about bribery or corruption, nor did It point out how the scheme was to work. Sir Edward defied any constituency to be able to understand the bill, and thus the whole constitution of England was to be changed by a ministry that were un- able to state their own meaning ullon paper. He would now point out one part of the bill which was artfully contrived to give a rich boon to the landlords. People were re- quired to register their votes even six years before any election might take places and, to entitle them to this act of registration, each man must pay up all his rates, rent, and taxes. What a boon was this for landlords, tithe-owners, and tax-receivers I Judges of assize were to appoint barristers to ascertain the registration, and these appointments were to be approved of by the Lord Chancellor, an officer of the crown ; and the only appeal against the decision of the barrister was to that House. What an immense power did this throw into the hands of an Adminis- tration 1 This speech closed the first day's discussion on the second read- ing. Nominally, the adjourned debate on Tuesday was to commence at five o'clock ; and at six Lord JOHN RUSSELL did attempt to abridge the noisy gossip of petition-presenting ; but on Mr. CALCRAFT'S re- questing "another hour," and backing his request by the very agreeable announcement, that in spite of his speech against the Bill, he had made up his mind to vote for the second reading, Lord John yielded to the member for Wareham's entreaty ; and the " one hour more" became two hours.
Among the petitions, there was one in favour of the Reform Bill, from the county of Nottingham, signed by two thousand five hundred persons. Admiral SOTHERON, who presented it, and who had originally intended to support the measure, took occasion to announce a change that had come over his opi:tions after hearing the debate of the pre- ceding evening. It seemed to be understood that the speech of Sir Edward Sugden had wrought this change of conviction.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL said, he could not regard the conduct of the gallant Admiral as fair and impartial. He had changed his opinion upon the plea of a single speech, although he knew that speeches would follow which might refute it. Sir Edward Sugden's speech was full of errors and delusions.
Several members objected to the delay in the introduction of the Irish Bill. Sir CHARLES WETHERELL said, that if Mr. Stanley had not stated that the bill was drawn, he should have supposed that the draught was in the unopened escritoirs of Derrinane Abbey. When he heard the elevated cheers with which Mr. O'Connell was received on a former night, it appeared to him that there was a strong tendency to an amicable approximation between him and the Ministry. earned es a lawyer. The:e tilie knew hen in his prof., :ion, knew that be had sacrillies1 7,0'10/. a year oa accee,_ of hi.: countr;•. For the last twenty-five years, he !I a.! tl. wui ,i a large parthm of hi; time, more valuable than mmey, in her c.utr,e ; amd for live years he
had paid 0:d of ids own poeket iCI the expense of the Her.:■:ary m tact
qu wlii,d1 had 1;:t.,-ly been .:ott led, at a co at to him of 2,'15)55!.: year ; and if Cue people or irei,zo thaw the means of a sobscrip thou to evidence their sense of • The A'rrOnNEY-GitruntAl, scouted this paltry insinuation. Was it fair to conclude, that a prosecution, instituted by Government, w to be abandoned, because justice was done to the speech of a man whose talent and eloquence all must admire ? Sir Thomas took occasion to allude, in a very pointed manner, to the pitiful treatment of Mr. O'Connell by the late Ministry, on the settlement of the Catholic question : to this, in fact, could he traced all the subsequent agitation in Ireland.
If he were in search of a tendency to amicable approximation, he should look for it on the opposite benches. (Cheers.) It was on the timber-duties—on a question to which the late Government stood pledged—that that confidential and private ar- rangement took place, which on Friday night last left Ministers in a minority. (Cheers from the Opposition ) That was indeed an amicable approximation, though rather an extraordinary one.
Mr. Go ULItti R N appealed to Mr. Penlett Thomson to set the Attor- ney-General right in regard to the late Government being pledged to support the alteration in the timber-clinics. Mr. P. Tu NsOar said he could not confirm Mr. Goulletrn's assertion, for he considered the late Government as really, though not perhaps form:Illy pledged. Mr. Ii RIES 'denied that he had ever contemplated any measure whit.]: would deprive the British ship-owners of the preference to which they were en-
titled. He would ask Mr. Poulett Thomson " to point out any official document" which pledged the Government.
Mr. O'CuNNELT. rose amidst cries of " Question !" Ile claimed to be heard against the personal insinuations of Sir Charles Wetherell ; and he amused the House with some critical hints on the pecullaritiee of that gentleman's elocution.
He had been accused of looking at the Repeal of the Union through the medium of Reform; but he looked at the Repeal of the Union only as a means of obtalidng good government ; and being satisfied that good government could be obtained through the means of Reform, be supported the measure proposed by 111 i without inquiring who were its originators, or consulting his feelings as regarded any quarrel between them and hi in. If, instead of defending the Reform Bill on those great principle; which it inculcated and supported, he had taken up the ques- tion connected with it on paltry, pettifogging ground., :old dealt with them accord- ing to the chicanery of the Courts—if he had. declared himself a foe to all improve- ment—if he had stood forth the enemy of all ameli.wation of the condition of his fellow-creatures—if he had said to all chanties which bore the semblance of brin4- im,, about a better condition or things to his fellow-creatures, and said to them, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther"—then, indeed, he would hove been cheered by the honourable and learned member and his associates; anti then, too, he might have hoped to mitigate their hostility, and perhaps to secure their favour. He stood there, however, an independent member of that House—independent either of the Government, or of the party oppos,1 to them. He had entered into no compromise with the Government, or the Goverfnmnt with hint ; and he denied that he was in. lbtenced in his salmon of the bill by any other motives than his conviction of its fitness for the ends it proposed. Sir CSIsm.lis Wicrittnoo.i. retorted upon Mr. O'Connell, that he had gone about with a poor-box in his hand—taking a penny front a poor man, and twopence front a ragged man. Mr. repelled this taunt ; and added, that he had seoi. fired more menev f a- his country than all thet Sir Charles had ever
service;, the fact credit::1,1e to both parties.
Sir volunteered some smooth werds, and the House at length proceeded to the order of the day. Viscount MA nON, metnbar for Wooten: Bessett, a centlettmed bo- rough, who lied already spoken on the first reading of the Pail, opened the debore. He c:nuelabled that no proof had been ad.liwed of that alleged corruption of the Ifouse. Adverting. to a remark by Mr. Shell, that the great names opposed to Reform were untweighed by the multitude of interests calling for Reform, Lord Mahon asked what were those in- terests? Had not every parts- amonest them a different opinion, and dill not every one of them call for a 'Reform entirely different from the present ? lie appealed to the matured experience of Pitt, and apostro- phized Canning.
The Hi blunders had a famou; general, Lord Dundee, killed at a battle. near Duni:chi; and, ns Sir W.dter Stott told us, so great was their admiration of his mili-
tary that they were prone to exclaim, in any doubtful engagement, " Oh, for onc hour of Dundee !" So, Lord Mahon, when he saw our ancient constitution thus beast, was tempted to exclaim, " Oh, for 01:2 hottr—on hour or Canning !" How wiatIO his keea eye have defected. his eloquent tongue hive exposer!, the falsehoods and fallacies sought to be palmed option,. in MIL: discussion l How would his former friends and associates bare once more felt :tad achnoveledged the mastery of his genius, and shrunk back to their allegiance !
The effect of the measure, it' it did not diminish the quantity of talent in the House, would greatly diminish the amount of honesty_ He would take the liberty of supposing Sir Janice Graham was a candidate at an election, suppose for Brighton, .under the new Bill.
The people of Brighton, iii common with the inhabitants of other great towns, said that they expected the extraordinary pressure of taxation which had been laid upon them to be removed by a Reformed Parliament, because an unreformed Par- liament had expended millions o the public money, in order to divide them among their friends and relations. The right honourable baronet would be asked at the hustings, whether be would cut down the Navy Estimates by one half—whether he would *diminish the Civil List, remove the Assessed 'faxes, and abolish Tithes (Hear!) The right honourable baronet would undoubtedly say that he could not lend himself to any of these objects, because they were repugnant to the best inte- rests of the country. He would be opposed by some pettifogging individual, who would sny to the electors, " Do not elect him he will not do what you want : he is not the man of the people : do not elect him, but elect me. We will have no Civil List, no malt-duty, no tithes, no nothing. Send me your orders by the morning coach, and I trill see them executed in the evening in the House of Commons. I will do anything you please, only send me to Parliament." He maintained that that Individual would be elected, and that the right honourable baronet would go to the wall. (clear, hear 1)
Great advantage arose from small towns ; members who had few con- stituents made up in zeal for the lack of that influence which a numerous constituency bestowed. The members for close boroughs were an useful equipoise to the county members, who were necessarily beset by parti- cular interests. The rotten boroughs had been cried down as anomalous, but our system was full of anomalies as great.
Could anything be more absurd, than that a King, however young he might be, was declared by the law never to be an infant t Could any thing be more absurd than that, while James the Second was attempting to subvert the constitution, he was de- dated by the law to be incapable of doing wrong? Could any thing be more absurd than the whole system of our hereditary legislation Was it not an anomaly that
be, because be was the son of a peer, would be called to decide questions of great national importance, while another person, who had studied legislation all his life, wall, by the mere chance of birth, excluded from an opportunity of making laws ?
Was there not something unjust in the law of primogeniture, by which it might so happen that a worthless brute might come to the possession of a great estate, to the exclusion of all the rest of the family 1 These were. however, leading-principles of the constitution. sun. C Fie; • tientarly haps morn ;;;;;;;;. .; 1•,.. the Fir,t, a• i e.,,, 1 manifeded r. w.i,* •
Reform. , \‘...: : to God in these duu Captain apiurobaUhri t!
lie concluded by declaring that he support a Reform that did
not go the length of revolution.
Sir June Sineo.ey said, oat this Bill I Ca .1 his constituents altogether differed in opinion ; at a meeting held very recently in Lewes, his was the only haul held up against the measure. Still, he must oppose it, because he considered it to be unjust, fallacious, and revolutionary.
311-. IV. Cevescresti regretted to differ frorn a portion of his consti- tuency fill of Cambridge), but he did not hesitate to give his unqualiiie to the Bill. Ile fen; very strongly the necessity of Reform to .• egety of the country.
He was c vine. 1,n House was constituted as it now was—as long as it W.15 in tt c•o:a, of interests to role the business of that House—so long the would go o!, increasing. If measures were nnt taken t satisfy, • : I of the people, though it night be smothered for .1,- 1: :- .1,1 on a farournble opportunity burst out with reiloutio..1 fury. Sur, If. then, it ant,•:: '^'v meet the people's wishes
by a manly prop,u-ition, sitisfactory to all r-. i
Mr. Cavendish ceuld not all.r.v hineelf cu i c sirrived by melancholy forebodings of danger to the arisen:n:0v ; lie did not believe that a body possessing such vest legitineite means of" securing the affections of the people mteit stand or fall by the non:illation of rotten boroughs. On the contrary, he believed the aristocracy was not the class which would be the least benefited by the bill. Reform would remove from them the odium wiii:711 not unnaturally attached to proprietors of' rotten bo- roughs. mil induce them te rely on the :erections of the people.
Mr. On I' Gone quoted Sir 'William Blacisstone's opinion, to show that to admit cop:Amblers and leaseholders to vote for members of Par- liament, would undermine the whele system of legislation—would, in fact, be reeolutionary. The House had berm told that the right of' re. turtling in: miters to Parliament %vas to be reel:lewd by the amount of the population.
II' so, how was it that a most important district of the country. containing 340,000 itthabitants,was to send to P.:than:alit only exactly thus:line number of representatives as a comity cant: thane mite tearer, inhabitants? The county of Wilts was to send twenty-five members to Pml::tment, while the whale principality of Wales was to send the sante number. The county of Glamorgan, c•intaining 50,455 inhabitants, was to smelt:lie member; while tLe count,- of Northumberland, containing 61,662 inhabitant was to se oh lair members. Was that impartiality ? Was that appor- tionin,t alt • lei; resent:It:yes to the population 1 If there most be a new system—if the House ,,:Ceminons must be remodelled—for Heaven's sake let strict impartiality be observe.l. Look at the hisiory of this island, and it will be founci that one of the rnon to, .,l portion; of it uu4 been the princIpality of Wales. Had Wales ever put the cmintry to any ex:.etme a Had troops ever been required in Wales to put down 4lsrsath,hcosh it ml Wales ever called fur any extraordinary measures In order to carry Cie law; into effect ? Yet ties was, if not the first, nearly the first time Wale, ha .1 I,-en of in that iloase as it th.s,reeti. In the whole of Eng.
law! and 1,1," !I;, • • :uu' us brut ,uu:c rict hy a peculiar clause for dis.
french', t no; a 1.oronj; by 1,:d. trib%taly borough to Carnar-
tie o5d..• and Wales to be thus par.•' Le :••.11 :t I I.,taut of a charter per- ,r c .,s ,,y C.,nter grunted by Edward S:r.;;;;;:.;,,:ii Xi-Ls it because it had the aru'ortimate Charles h.! o‘tal. that lie was art enemy to all • 1. e Reform. He prayed e ;night not he fulfilled
e by her Parliament." el, to declare his cordial
312. ,tents had ile.lared in fitl';:ltr of i:.e ei well capsthle of appre- ciating its .: • he could not abandon them. Mr. . - • .-or of small and close bo- roughs, front 1.,:e eet not telly that 311;,.11.X' great mea had sat for such, but that the three nicfnaers who, during his political experience, had been visited with die displeasure of the House, hail bean representatives of large conseituencies,—he meant Si:- Francis Burdett, Lord Cochrane, and 3Ir. Faller. They a-ere also neee,sary for the protection of the monied interests, not otherwise relire.sented in the House. Mr. Ward feared that the existiag excitemeet was only a consequence of the trans- actions abroad.
Matteis had gone can well here till the recent events upon the Continent. All that
tite people asked had, in a urea been already granted. The people called Sir a redaction of taxation. ' Liss than 30,000001/. of taxes had been reduced since the peace. Tile people %vele often told of the :-M,000,0:0/. which remained, but never orthe :;•.,001r,o had been r,..pealed. ((.'firers.) The people de- manded the reduction of patronage, and it Was very right they should do so. They were sometimes noultidell of miserable mine:inns (1Z 35/. or 11.1u/.; but they were never told that w:thia tLe last rine years above .l.aon places had been abandoned, to 58 of wh!cli tier:' attached salaries of from 1,01.1-1/. to 3,000/.. per annum. (Cheers.) Ha therefore was justiiied is as,:ersing that Parthmient had not disregarded the voice of the people. Pe; ;bonen I. had called for returns, without which the people would never have had an accurate knowledge of their affairs. To use a commercial phrase, the country had now the balance-sheet of tile expenditure before them.
Mr. Ward concluded by stating, that in opposing the Bill, he was wholly uninfluenced fly any feelings of self-interest : he had no con- nexion with borough property,
Mr. WYSE ridiculed the notion that the constitution of England was a fixture: the whole history of the country was one of change. And though, both in old times and in the present, they had heard a great deal about the danger of altering the laws of England, the cry which many raised was one that nobody had ever been foolish enough to act upon. The assumption that the feeling in favour of Reform had been excited by Ministers, was as unfounded as that it was the result of the discussions by the public press. Ministers were only actuated bycauses which they and the people felt in common, and the press was but the organ through which the universal sentiment was made known. Sir ROWe.R.T BATESON roust vote against the Bill. If the change in the franchise would be injurious in England, it laould be still more in- jurious in Ireland, where the poverty of the people gave so much greater facilities to demagogues in prosecuting their trade of agitation. Sir Robert confessed, however, that Londonderry, and generally all the towns, were in favour of the Bill ; and that Reform in some shape must be brought forward by arty Ministry which should now assume the reins of government. Earl ItiouNTCHARLES said, he had pledged himself to his constituents to act in conformity with public opinion; and he thought it but his duty to avow his belief, that the current of public opinion ran at present so strongly in favour of Reform, that it was impossible for the House to avoid conceding it. Lord CASTIAREAGn said, his constituents demanded Reform, as well as those of Earl Mountcharles, yet he would vote against the Bill, be- cause he was assured that it would not satisfy his constituents. He
If there was one thing more important than another in a measure of this kind, it WLIS making the expense of elections as small as possible, that there might be no temptation to bribery; and that persons of education and talent might not be pre- vented front offering themselves a. canaidates by the fear of the expense. Did not the bill profess to du this, and did it nut accomplish it effectually ? In the first place, out-voters were not to be conveyed to the pod, and resident voters ;dome were en- titled to vote. Another feature of the plan to prevent expense was shortming the duration of the poll. Was not that a ',oral fide attempt to avoid the expense of elec- tions/ Instead of fifteen days, which adorded time for votes to rise in price to an extent sometimes hardly capable of calculation, the time was reduced to two days itt towns and counties. Then the right of voting was more defined and simplified. There might be sonic advantage in a variety of votes, but there were disadvantages arising from contested rights. Then he asked, whether registration had not a direct tendency to prevent this inconvenience, and to simplify the right to vote ? These were bond fide proofs that the bill was ealculated to effect a public good ; and when Sir Edward Sugden said that the word "bribery" was not mentioned in the bill, the remark was extremely unfair. All time acts as to bribery were still in operation; not one was to he repealed by this bill, which laid the axe at the root of corruption, by weakening the motive and destroying the opportunity. No bill could undergo more serious examination than this had ; and considering that no person in that House was more capable of cutting it to pieces than Sir Edward, whose speech had made so great an impression upon the House, he was surprised, when he looked at it, to consider how little effect it had upun it. was friendly to Reform, come from what quarter it might, but he could not support such a Reform as that now recommended to the House. He thought it would arm the Roman Catholic party in Ireland with a most dangerous and everwhelMing power,—a power with which, though he voted for Emancipation, it was neither his desire nor his intention, if he could resist it, to invest them.
Mr. SHAW was also opposed to the measure, because he thought it would prove destructive to the Protestant interests in Ireland. The destruction of the Protestant interests would throw the whole power of the country into the hands of the Catholic priests, and thus pave the way for a repeal of the Union. He was, moreover, opposed to the bill, because it would disfranchise the 7,000 voters to whom he owed his seat, by adding 20.000 to their number. (Laughter, and cheers.) The ATTORNEY-GENIM■11. rose chiefly to remove any impression which the speech of Sir Edward Sugden had made. Sir Moines Den- man wished the House to look at the Bill, to leant what were the inten- tions of Ministers. It had been insinuated that in order to conciliate, he knew not whom, the Cabinet had made a great alteration in the original measure.
He could state, that for five weeks the instruction for the Bill had been in his hands ; and he declared, upon his honour, that, with the exception of some of the most minute details, too trilling to be of the slit:West consequence, no alterations whatever had been made, but the Bill was exactly conformuble to the full instruc- tions he received at the time he mentioned, and which were put into his hands in order that they might receive the form of an net of Parliament. (11fmr, hear Equally absurd was the allegation that the Bill had been brought in to keep Ministers in their places.
Could any gentlemen persuade themselves that this was the fact ? Wa L this a question whirl, had been raised last year ? Were not the effiects of the corrupt in- fluence which this Bill proposed to remedy developed during the American war
Was it not notorious in the language of the great Lord Chatham Did he not prove the fatal effects of that influence upon that House ? Was it not the fourala- ton of the fame of his celebrated son ?
If the measure were not a sordid or selfish one, but honestly conceived and honestly introduced, why then should not the House lay aside every suspicion in viewing. it ? It was argued by some, that we should prose- cute Reform gradually—that we should do a little in 1831, and a little more in 1832. But would not such a mode of Reform rather inflame than satisfy the public mind ?
It had been suggested on Monday night, for the first time—for it had not been once hinted at during the former debate of seven nights—that swne measure of Reform was necessary ; but the measure which Government hail produced was not to the taste of these gentlemen : they said, "It is something else we mean ; let us drown this measure in the sea, and we will find some more moderate one by which the public interests shall be taken care of." But when honourable members talked of moderate Reform, what was it they meant ? That nomination-boroughs should he kept alive; that peers and commoners should still have nomination- boroughs ? The ex-Solicitor-General had called the plan a selfish one: Sir Thomas Denman called it a plan for the public good ; and he asked whether there was not on the face of it testimony to that effect ? What were its pro- When Sir Edward Sugden objected to the bill, that it was introduced in order to keep Ministers in power, might he not assert, with at least equal fairness, that Sir Edward's speech was made to reintroduce him- self into office ?
It had been objected, that a sitnilar division to that which had been proposed in the bill for Yorkshire had been proposed by Cromwell :- What then ? was time houseto be for ever governed by nicknames ? A great point had been made on the proposed Privy Council commissions— The principle itself was not a new one, nor was an act of Parliament required to enable his Majesty to put such a principle in operation. It was the ancient and well.understood right of the Crown, to cease sending writs to certain places or bo- roughs. What, he would ask. would become of that vested right, about which they bad heard so much, if his Majesty should cease to send writs to Old Sarum, for in- stance ? What would then become of those vested rights for which thousands of pounds had been given perhaps ? The King could take away the right which be gave. (Cries of " No, No !" front the Opposition.) He did not say that the King could take away charters from corporations, but he could take away from boroughs the right of sendingMembers to Parliament. It had been objected that rent was an improper qualification for an elector of a town : he thought, on the contrary, that the principle was an excellent one, and that the only question was, as to the best mode of ascertaining the rent. The value being fixed at a certain amount, the poor-rates, where they could be depended on, might be a satisfactory mode of ascertaining it. As to the house-duty, it was probable that very soon it. and several others of the assessed taxes would be repealed, so that it could not be taken as a test. They must then go to the rent, which was, generally speaking, a very good criterion. When the house was in the bands of the owner himself, it might not be so easy to get at the value of it, butthat would not be the case when it was leased out to a tenant. Yet even that offered no remarkable difficulty—none, at least, which might not be surmounted by appoint- ing, as was proposed, persons to ascertain the rent, at a period when there was no beat of election strife nor any corrupt motive in operation to bias them. Among the many objectors to the bill, was the gentleman who had that evening quoted Mr. Justice Blackstone against it. The objection was of value, for it had given the House a legal definition of what mem- bers meant when they called the bill revolutionary. A revolutionary measure was one which went to extend the right of voting to leaseholders and copyholders! (Cheers from the Ministerial benches.) That in- stance showed the value of sounding words. Let gentlemen for a moment look Into the debates which occurred when King William came over to save it from ar- bitrary power, and they would find that the speakers then gloried in the word " re- solution," that they avoided the word rebellion, and that they used the word " revo- lution" in the sense of " restoration," the movement then made being considered as a revo/ning to the original principles of the constitution. He would entreat gentle- men, therefore, not to be scared or. frightened by big words and nicknames. It had been alleged that the bill wan a measure of disfranchisement rather than of extension ; and among the places it would disfranchise, Preston was specified—
If Preston would be so affected by this Bill as non' worded, he should be sorry for it ; but he had no doubt that the case of Preston would be discussed in the proper place for the discussion of such matters, and that a full amid fair consideration would be given to it. The principle of this bill was not one al disfranchisement. (Cheers from the tilinisteria., and dissent front the Oppositim benches.) lie would repeat, that the principle of this bill was nut a principle of disfranchisement. (Dissent front the Opposition.) The object of the bill was to retain as much as pos- sible all existing rights of voting—(interruption front the Opposition)n-as far as was consistent with Die real awl effectual reform of the representation of the people in that House. (Cheers /row the Ministerial benches.) Some members had endeavoured to frighten the House by a refe- rence to the commencement of the civil war in the time of Charles the First.
But where was the use of referring them to the arbitrary times of Charles the First, with his usurping ministers, his tyrannical courts, his Star Chamber, his Courts of Wards, by which ids subjects had been plundered—to a :hue when the people were running counter to all such measures, when they suspected the King, hated the Ministry, and detested the whole policy of the rtoverionent ? Was that a period to be taken as a parallel for the present time ? (Mgch cheering.) He thought there could never he a more propitious time titan the present for the adoption of such a measure. 'We were at peace and prose penile., with a thriving trade, and every thine. ten, on well—( Laughter on the Opposition side)—with one exception—the nanimous dissatis- faction of the people with the corrupt state of the lIonse of Commons. (Cheers front the Ministerial side.)
He was astonished to see moral and religious men strenuously contending against Parliamentary Reform, with sic!) cases as Retfued, and Grimsby, and Evesham, where the must notorious corruption had been practised before their eyes, endea-
vouring to prevent every specie.: (c. reeorm. (Cries of'' from the Opposi- tion.) 11,, would maintain it. What leas the burden of the seven nights' debate on the part of the opponents of this measure ? Even the utmost CIlliCeSSi011 made by Sir Robert Peel, was, that it was possible that he might be induced, not as a lllinis- ter but as an individual, at snwe future plyi,d, to give his reluctant assent to some measure of Reform. And, jutleine be experience, would not the only measure of Re- form which they might expect from him be similar to that which he advocated when he preferred to trawler the franchise troin East Retford to Liassellow instead of to
Birmingham ? Reform was that / The complainers against tine measure had said that the public ought to be consulted Wel!, tile public had been consulted, and its voice had been beard. Others cried out that it was a robbery of corporations ; Ina the corporations had route forward and begged to be so robbed. Others had said that the bill contained clauses contrary to the rights of the City of London; but the City met the next day, and voted not only that the measure was good, but that it was ready to sacrifice till its privileges that were supposed to be injured by the bill. There was scarcely an exception of any body of Dm:. people disliking the present measure, and thus far was it essentially different front the Catholic Relief Bill.
Sir .Lt3LES SCARLETT said, he would vote against the second reading. Ile had ever been a friend to Reform, as his votes testified ; but he did not approve Of the present measure, which was not a reform, but a re- construction of the House upon principles entirely new and unknown to the Constitution. The first ground on which the Ministers based their measure was that of popukir right. 1`;mmmv if the people law possessed
e any constitutional right to demand it efornt, where was a av found ? The constitution of Engialtti was not found ia any specific law or code, but in a collection of priictices and usages.
Of what did the House of CUM111011A (:(111S:4 on what did it depend? It was formed originally of a variety of writs sent try the King to certain places., requiring them to return members. This was eon:inn:A by certain acts of Parliament; it was confirmed by certain charters grained to different places, 01:(11:poli iyhich those places founded their riilits to have WI .iireLted to them. 'Me Hou,e of Commons in its constitution depended therefore 111.11;1,14N,, acts of Pariiaments.and charters. Upon which of these could lie founded any general rig-lit of the people to Reform ? Lord John Itassell haul referred to the statute of Edward the First, as quite suflicielit for his purpose, it having been passed with the consent of the King, his cimancil, the archbishops, bishops, barons, and all the commons of the m e mltn : but if Lord Joint would look to an earlier period, he would find that the words "commons of the realm " had no such interpretation as lie ascribed to them. In the time of Henry I1 L, in Cie wars between hint and his Barons, time Parlia- ment 0C Oxford missed this act, which mvas culled the Oxford Provisions." In this Parliainent twelve persons were elected to represent all the colonial's of England. Their names were still extant. 'Eloise twelve won (the word was Nor- man, and meant brave men) were to come to Parliament three times a year. and at other times were to attend to the busier ,s or the King and the realm. These twelve persons were elected by the Barons, to create a Parliament wliich was held three times a year ; tile Barons elected these asilia representatives of al: the commonalty of the realm. E.:front took an oath to maintain the Oxford Provisions. In the following years, Edward 111. obtained an absolution (non the Pope from the obli- gation: of this oath, and lie atterwards renewed his oath to the Barons. Several times in time reign of Edward III. n as the oath renewed. Such were the people that the noble Lord called the Commonalty of tie land. But it was not on these things that Reform was to depend: Reform should be made to rest upon what was expedient for the public good, and ail mittempts to reform the llouse upon such principles of a constitution ought to be treated with contempt. Practice alone, and expediency alone, ought to influence such measures.
He approved of that part of the bill which gave the franchise to large towns, but decidedly objected to that which took the franchise from small ones.
It was in the cultivation of commerce, and in that increase of it which followed upon the discovery of America and the passage by the Cape of Good Hope, that they were to look almost exclusively for the sources of the prover and greatness of this country. He contended, then, that it was a question at least well worthy of consideration, whether it was expedient to cut off sixty-two members from that House—sixty-two members who represented that important interest. In his opi- nion, that proceeding would destroy the equilibrium, and give a decided preponde- rance to the landed interest. Time bill gave fifty-five additional comity members, and it took away sixty-two from the monied and commercial interest. For the ht. turethey would have, instead of ninety-two, no less than one hundred and forty- seven members to represent the landed interest, while they cut off sixty-two from the commercial interest. What security had they that a House so constituted would maintain the public credit, so far as commercial and monied creditors were concerned Sir James was equally opposed to the principle, or rather the no prin- ciple, by which this sweeping change was sought to be brought about.
A borough which had 2,000 inhabitants in ISM would not be disfranchised, al- though at the present moment it might not contain so many as 2,000, or near so many ; while, on the other band, a borough which possessed only 1,997 inhabitants in 1821 would be disfranchised, although at the present moment it might contain twice as many. Now this, he contended, was unjust and capricious. It was said, however, that it would satisfy the people. Would it so He did not know in what particular manner the measure generally would work, for that was a matter of mere experiment ; but of this he was quite certain—namely, that it would not agree with any principle or theory which he had ever heard with regard to Reform, and he believed that it would lead to great evils. He believed that when it came into practice, the people would feel the effects of the arbitrary, and ca- pricious, and unjust grounds upon which it proceeded ; and that they would say, " You have pulled down the old fabric because it had some apartnients which were not convenient, and because some of the parts of its structure were out of symmetry: use, however, had taught us to endure these, and the antiquity of the fabric had led us to contemplate it with respect; but uow you have given us a new ..building to which we are not accustomed—wilich has no antiquity to command our respect—which is far more inconvenient than the one you have removed, and which is rendered studiouely unsightly by deformities which you have made by line and rule." (Cheers from the Opposition.) Sir James went on to discuss at great length the difference between
acceding to the deliberate wishes of the people, and the acceding to wishes which the people had neither time nor judgment deliberately to decide upon ; and finished, amidst much confusion and frequent cries of " Question !" by declaring his intention to vote against the second reading.
Amidst loud calls for the " Reply," Sir TOOMAS DYKE A et. AND rose, with great earnestness of manner, to address the House for a few minutes. Be emphatically denounced the " non-existing phantasy" of Reform of Sir Richard Vyvyan, from which he believed no result would come. He felt Reform to be inevitable, but he thought that the present measure made too bold a stride. He would approve of the reduction of one hun- dred Members from the least important boroughs, but he would dis- franchise none : and he cared not in what proportions they were dis. tributed among the large towns of England, or between Ireland and Scotland. Notwithstanding the objections he had taken, being a Re- former on principle, he felt it indispensably necessary to vote for the second reading of the Bill, with a view to its modification in Committee; hoping that those who had done so much that was wise and good would consent to arrange the details so as to remove reasonable objections.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL replied, he could not agree with Sir James Scarlett, that any man who called himself a Reformer could adopt the resolution Sir James had expressed of voting against the second read- ing of the Bill. , Mr. Burke had spoken of certain persons as prospective patriots, who, when the question came to the present day, were always found wanting. SirJames's prospec- tive patriotism was undoubted : so long as we dwelt In generalities, and he had only to make speeches in that House and to his constituents, expressive of his wishes in its favour, he was for Reform ; but now that we came to adistinct and tangible mea. Sure, his honourable friend used arguments which were not in favour of a more moderate Reform than the present, but which militated against any Reform whatso- ever. (Load cheers.)
• Sir Edward Sugden had complained of the obscurity of some parts of the bill.
Was It not as plain and intelligible as the imaginary resolution which, in the event of this proposition being defeated, the honourable member for Cornwall was to pro- pose at some future day, no one knew when, to do no one knew what, and which was to afford satisfaction to no one knew whom 1—except, indeed, it were Intended to satisfy those who opposed Reform, yet wished to persuade others and themselves into the belief that they were not opposed to lt. (Load cheers.)
In reply to Sir James Scarlett, Lord John said, that if the learned gentleman's interpretation were correct—if " Commonalty" meant " Barons," the Peers were the true representatives of the people, and possessed the right of voting taxes. But it required no great ingenuity to establish that the people possessed a fair claim to be truly represented in the House of Commons—it was supported by the very form of words used in acts of Parliament, and by the well known language of the con- stitution.
What did our ancestors In MSS? First, they declared that elections ought to be free and uninfluenced; and, in the next place, two or three years afterwards, they passed an act very contrary to the theory of the right of persons of wealth and property to nominate members of that House, for they specifically enacted that all such nominations were contrary to the laws and constitution of the realm, and that they were null and void. Such was the manner in which our ancestors, at the period of the Revolution, read and understood the constitution of the realm. If there were time, he could show that great part of the abuses now complained of in the representation—those abuses which limited the return of members to a small number of persons—had grown up since the accession of George the Second.
Lord John proceeded to the principle of the measure before the House.
When Ministers determined on reforming the system, the first question which they had to ask themselves was this—" Is it fit that the direct nomination of mem- bers by individuals, and the sale of seats for money, should continue to be pa-t of
the constitution of House 1" He would never deny the advantages that in par- ticular cases might have arisen from nomination and purchase of seats for money ; as In the case of Mr. Ricardo, who, by the disbursement of 1,0001. a year, was en- abled to communicate to the House the results of his very valuable labours arid extraordinary intelligence on various subjects. But if you were to form a plan of Reform on this ground—if you permitted nomination and sale of seats to contiime- in the very first year of a reformed Parliament, if we did not do it others would rise and say such franchises were contrary to the laws and constitution, and they would have an argument which it would be impossible to resist. (Hear !) When Ministers had come to the conclusion that they ought riot to permit the practices in question to continue, the question of disfranchisement followed as a natural and necessary consequence of that conclusion. Gentlemen might talk of the hardship of disfranchising voters of East and West Looe, and such places; but the real question was this—" Was it for the public good that the owners of boroughs should continue to nominate members of that House /" They were blamed for assuming, as the basis of their calculations, the census of 11321; but they had done so from necessity. It had been said that the people prayed not for Reform, but for ballot and against tithes. Now what was the fact ? Of 645 petitions for Reform, ballot was mentioned only in 280, tithes only in 70! The power proposed to be conferred on the Privy Council had been objected to—if any other equally effectual provision could be pointed out in the progress of the Bill, it would be cheerfully adopted. A few words to the real question before the House— His Majesty's Ministers were anxious to frame such a plan of Reform as would bind firmly and kindly the different classes of society together, and which would secure a representation on which that House and the country might safely rest. He did not mean to say that the plan proposed by them might not be altered ; but if, in the Committee, it were materially altered, so as to deprive it of the character Which he bad just described, he should feel that neither himself, nor any other friend of Reform,would think themselves precluded, at any future time, from bringing forward those parts of the measure which had been thrown aside, and which they considered to be essential. (Hear, hear 1) If any alteration were proposed, which would not in- terfere with the great objects that Ministers had in view, he felt no hesitation in saying, that to such alteration no opposition would be given. But if alterations were called for, that would not satisfy the country, such a course would only lead to a prolonged struggle. instead of conciliating the feelings and affections of the people. (Hear, hear!) They lived certainly in extraordinary times. (Cheers from the Opposition.) Sir R. Vyvyan, who had strenuously opposed this motion, and who thought that he could in some way or other direct the mighty mass of public opinion which was uow in action—that honourable baronet had given them warnings, both from circumstances which had occurred at home and from events which had hap- pened in foreign countries, with respect to the danger that was to be apprehended from making popular concessions. But,- he would ask, had the honourable baronet never looked to-the danger of resisting well-founded popular claims I (Cheers.) Bad be never contemplated the danger which a Government encountered, when it placed itself In a situation, and founded itself upon a principle, that was not sus- tainable by reason—that was not tenable against the representations of common sense t Day after day complaints were made of the state of the representation ; day after day the people declared that the nominees of boroughs did sot represent them • and were they to pay no attention to the constant, the fervent, the glowing appeals of this large, liberal, and enlightened nation t Had the honourable baronet never thought of the consequences which had resulted to kings and princes, in con- sequence of their resistance to the just demands of the people—in consequence of the people having found that their representations were fruitless and unavailing I Lord John concluded,— No Government could go on for five years if they proceeded in a course directly contrary to the interests, and habits, and feelings, of the great body of the people over whom they presided. (Cheese) Therefore he said, what they had to do was, to make their Institutions harmonize with the feelings of the people—to conjoin the two together, and to render them, in future, susceptible of that mutual agree- ment which he admitted was most difficult to be attained in a system composed of King, Lords, and Commons, but which it was impossible to arrive at in the pre. sent constituthin of the House of Commons, though that defect might be remedied- by the principles contained in this Bill. It had been advanced as a reproach to Ministers, in the course of this debate, that they had gone beyond all expectation. The imputation thrown on the Ministers—au unprecedented charge against men in such situations—he, for one, was content to accept of. (Hear, hear !) When be sat on the other side of the House, he wits somewhat chary in proposing any very extensive system of Reform, because he felt that what might seem wise and good to those who had no public power or responsibility, might present a very different aspect to others who had official means of forming a judgment ; but now, when he and his friends were called on to give advice and counsel to their Sovereign, they had acted up to the full bent of their judgment. (Hear, hear !) They had not hesitated to avow—they had not attempted to conceal any part of their opinions. They had risked place, power, reputation—in short, every thing that Ministers could risk—in an endeavour (he hoped that it would be a triumphant endeavour) to im- prove largely, liberally, and generously, the constitution of Great Britain.
The cheering which followed was accompanied by evident prepara- tions for the vote. But before it was taken, Mr. H u sr begged for one minute's attention. He had been asked by Sir Ed ward Sudgen how he could vote for a bill which would disfranchise the greater part of his constituents. In consequence of this taunt, he bad communicated with. Lord John Russell, and his colleague had communicated with Earl Grey ; and they found that no life interest would be affected by the bill, or if it were, no objection would be made to any amendment by which it might be protected.
The House then divided on the question " that the words proposed to be left out do stand as part of the question ;" when there appeared— Ayes, 301; Noes, 300; majority for Reform, 1. The original question for the second reading was then put and carried.
It was announced by Ministers, that the bill would be committed on the 14th of April.
3. IRISH REFORM BILL. Mr. STANLEY introduced the Irish Bill on Thursday. The details, as described by him, differ slightly from the
general view given by Lord John Russell. The right of voting in coun-
ties will remain as it is —adding leaseholders of 50!. per annum on leases of twenty-one years ; the qualification not to be forfeited, however, be-
cause of a renewal of the lease within one or two years, which would exclude all the Church lessees, whose leases are renewed yearly. There is nothing of copyholders in the bill, there being in fact but one copyhold
estate in Ireland. The qualification in towns will be the same as in England,—occupation of houses of 101. yearly rent ; but the present voters will not be disturbed during their lives. When the town forty-shil- ling freeholders die out, the qualification will remain with the householders solely, and in the counties with the 101. freeholders and 50!. leaseholders. The lists will be made up as in England every year, by eight barristers appointed for that purpose ; disputed cases to he judged by the assistant barrister. In each county there will be fifteen polling-places ; no more than six hundred will be allowed to poll at one place ; and the whole will finish in two days. In addition to Belfast, Waterford, and Limerick, Galway will also in future return two members ; and an additional mem. ber will lie given to Dublin University—the right of voting being extended in future to all scholars who shall see fit to register within six months of the passing of the Bill, instead of being limited to scholars actually studying at the University; this will increase the number of electors for the University from about eighty to five hundred. In this way, five members will be added. to Ireland, instead of three as at first pro- posed ; which will leave 603 members in the House of Commons, under the three bills,—being a total reduction of 55, instead of 62 member& Mr. Stanley concluded by moving the first reading of the bill. Mr. O'CONNELL greatly approved of the bill ; still he thought the details might be properly reconsidered. The addition to the represen- tation of Ireland was not proportionate,—Scotland, which possessed only 2,098,000 inhabitants, got five ; while Ireland, with a population of 6,800,000, got no more than five. Dublin, he thought, ought to have two members more ; its population, including the suburbs, was at least 250,000; there were also twelve counties with populations of above 200,000—Cork had nearly 600,000—to each of which two ad.. ditional members might well be given. He hoped, when the Bill went into committee, some of these points would be attended to.
With this hope, he again expressed himself greatly satisfied with the whole measure. It was one for which the people of Ireland would be thankful, because they felt that it would benefit the country. It would satisfy the minds of the people; and hereafter, any persons who might desire to effect other changes would, if this were passed, find themselves much mistaken. (Hear, hear!) He was one of those who had thought, and who thought still, that certain changes were necessary for Ireland ; but he owned. that if this bill passed, the necessity for such change would no longer exist. (Cheers.) Mr. LEADER observed on the fact of the West and South-west of Ireland being very imperfectly represented ; and connected with this, the general wretchedness of that portion compared with the East and North-east, where the representation was more complete. He expressed his warm approbation of the bill as a whole, and was most willing to accept it as such ; but hoped, with Mr. O'Connell, that some of the ex- ceptions to the details might be removed. He particularly pointed to Kilkenny as a city which deserved two representatives. Mr. BANKES said, if any thing were wanted to stamp the measure as revolutionary, it was the change which it would effect in the relative proportion of the representatives of the three kingdoms. The addition of a member to the representation of Ireland or Scotland, was a breach, not of an act of Parliament, which another act of Parliament might law-. fully set aside, but of a federative compact, which it was not morally com- petent to the united Legislature to alter. Mr. CRAMPTON said, the Irish Union Act expressly provided that such and such towns should enjoy the right of returning members " un- less the United Parliament should otherwise provide :" so much for that argument. Mr. O'Connell had expressed a wish that Catholics should be admitted to scholarships in Trinity College. In settling that point, it ought not to be forgotten that the charter of the College had been granted for the express and avowed purpose of promoting Protestan- ism. The Catholics graduated very generally at Trinity, much to their honour. It ought also to be recollected, that it was only an oath which prevented • them from becoming scholars ;. and it was free to Mr. • O'Connell of any other member:to propose the abrogation of that oath: • Sir CHARLES WETHERELL spoke at great length, but with no novelty of rentarkogainst the bill,•and the cause of Reform generally. • He con- ' eluded by repeating Mr. Bankes'a argument, that " to add to the frith and Scotch representation, while'they lessened the number of English 'representatives, would be an infraction of the articles of the Irish and Scotch treaties of Union, apart from other serious constitutional objec-
Lord ALTHOnP said, Sir. Charles might call the bill by what names he thought most disparaging, but the people of England would not be af- fected by his abuse.
The people of Englund had hailed the measure with welcome, and would support it, let him and others in that House designate it as they might. The people of Eng; land approved oftlie hill, and the abuse of the honourable and learned member would be as dust in the balance.
When Sir Charles talked of the " aggregate sum" of the "propor- tion" which the whole representation bore to the Scotch members being .altered by the addition of five. to Scotland and five to Ireland, did he recollect how strangely the proportion had already been disturbed by the addition at once of one hundred Irish members to the United Parlia- ment ? Sir Charles had threatened a No:Popery cry—he might raise it, if he inclined, and try what, in the present state of the public mind, it would avail him. •
The honourable and learned gentleman asked Ministers, did they mean to persist in disfranchising the sixty close boroughs mentioned in the bill Their answer was, • we do. "( Loud cheer.:.) ' Nay more—they would not abate a jot of the principle of that disfranchisement, bat would stand or fall, as it suece,:ded'ur the reverse.
• (Cheers.) •
Sir HENRY HARDINGE said, the bill would throw the elections en- tirely 7into the hands of • the. Catholics ;. in Dublin the voters would be increased from 6,000 to 18,000, and of these, 14,000 weuld, be Catholics.. How would such a man as Mr. North come into Parliament with Such a constituency ? The measure generally was sutl, that Scarcely a person of property in the country did not view it with suspicion antlidarm. Within the last twenty-four hours, it had been 'stated by an individual of the highest authority there, that be was sorry the plan had gone so far—that he should have been glad if it had been less extensive, though he Was almost afraid the coun- try would not have been satisfied . (No.) That .assertion was reported in those faithful media of intelligence which they found on their breakfast-tables, and 'Sir Henry only knew the fact froM those sources. . The Lout) ADVOCATE defended the bill from the charge of being re-
volutionary. . • .. — -
All the revolutions of ancient. or even of recent times; were changes by which the throhe was alfered or subi;erted. But no such change was proposed by this bill.
'as there any part of the machinery of the constitution altered ? Let us seewhat parts of the machinery, which was regarded by constitutional writers as connected with the constitution of that House, were left untouched by the bill. The British
.constitution consisted of a combination which had been considered by the sarcastic
and sententious Tacitus as impossible—namely, the Crown, the aristocracy, and the representatives of the people. That was the theory of the British constitution ; and be contended that auy minor arrangement, which left these elements untouched, which proposed and was admitted to reduce the representation back to its original plan,—a real representation of the people,—could not be a revolutionary -measure. The King was not touched;' the privileges of the House of Lords were not to be altered, nor was there to be any restraint on them. The question then was, how the operation of-an arrangeMent, which insured a' fair and just represimtaticin of the people, could he considered a revolution of the constitution ? Almost every ,change might in.ordinary.language be called a revolution ; but how could a restora- tion of the representation to the louse of Commons, be justly called u revolution or
innovation of the constitution ? . .
' Sir ROBERT PEEL said, the bill proposed to add to the representa- tion of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and to take from that of England—
'to change the limits and the constituency of every county and almost every
town in the Empire; it selected one class of voters instead of a great variety of classes; by -whims all representatives would in fixture be chosen. Whe- ther that was a revolution or not, it was so complete a &tinge, that a priori no 'one could tell what were to be its issues. To say that the 'change was to stop with this-bill, was altogether idle—the bill provided
for perpetual change. True, the pen* received it just now, but they -did so hecau:Se they were so instructed—they said, " Let us get this first, and then we shall get the rest." In two years from the passing of this
bill, there would be applications from fifty places which it omitted, for a share in the representation ; which, on the principle of the bill, it would be impossible to deny to them. To adduce but a single case, and that one with which he was well acquainted— Suppose that in the course of two years, Bury, his own parish, with the assist- ance of the learned.Lord opposite and other members, should apply for a represen- tative, and say, '' We have thirty thousand inhabitants, and why we nut have a representative as well as the borough of Nation ?" would it he any answer to them to say, that the borough of Mallon was reserved when the other bOronglis were disfr;inchiseil;becanke three 'ladies had the good fortune in Iti21 to present their husbands with twins ? laugh.)
Sir Robert, after adverting to the danger to the House of Lords from collision with a House of Commons which represented nothing but the people—and to the unrefined argument, as he contended, of the advan- tages which the rotten boroughs presented to inen without fortune or family influence—said, in reference to the bill which was the immediate object of discussion, that Though he was not versed in technicalities, he would maintain that the present bill would utterly destroy the spirit of the Irish Union. The bill would shake all
confidence in future compacts. After the great experiment of 1829, forced on us by hard necessity, bin which, if it were to be made again, he would again make—for, say what we would, it was inevitable—after that alteration in' the constituency of Ireland, and the previously established order of things, he should have wished fair time to he allowed for observing the result of the change, before proposing another and a more serious innovation, which was neither more nor less than a transfer of pOwer from one body of the state to another. (gear, hear !) Lord PALMERSTON asked whether the disfranchisement of 200,000 freeholders, by a single act of Parliament,was not a much greater change in the constituency than any which the present bill contemplated ? Yet
that revolutionary measure, as it might well be called, was introduced and carried by Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert said he was friendly to moderate Reform—of what degree of moderation ? His arguments, so far as they went, struck at all Reform, moderate or otherwise. He talked of the changes in the limits of counties as revolutionary—did he appre- hend revolution from the King in Council ?
Mr. GOULBURN said, by means of the Crown and the Committee of the Privy Council, the present Government would exercise a dangerous influence over every town and borough in the kingdom. Mr. HUNT could not see that the proportion between the voters and the population- would be so extravagant as the opponents of the bill
supposed. The population of the empire was 22,000,000; the adult males were about 8,000,000; and the utmost contemplated constituency was only 1,000,000, or 1 in 8 of the community ; again, calculating the
income of the represented portion. at 1501: a year each, and that of the unrepresented at 12s. 'Gel. a week each, the property represented would be only 150,000,0001, per annum, while the property not represented would W224,500,0001. per annum. • (Coughing.) • If honourable members had got bad colds, he had a few lozenges in his pocket quite at their service. (Laughter, mingled with renewed and Wawa general coughing.) Oh, he was quite sure it was not .done intentionally. (.1 laugh.) -The ballot he still considered necessary to free voting.
He thought that if the Ministerial measure were carried without the addition
of vote by ballot, we should be.in a worse state than before, beCanse the little 101. householders about to be enfranchised were precisely that class of men which was mote liable to improper influence than any other (t,' real cheering from the Oppo- sition). In the counties the plan would give additional power to the landowners and aristocracy, and in the towns the shopkeepers would require the protection . of the ballot. He felt thankful to Ministers for doing away with the'rotten boroughs, and so did the people generally ; .but, every thing considered, he would rather the re- presentation should remain as it was, with the protection of vote by ballot, than have universal suffrage without it.
Mr. LEYBOIC spoke against the Bill, but the House would not hear him.
JEPOSON said, the abolition of the corporation 'monopoly would remove the Anti-Union spirit.
Mr. OISBORNE said, one obvious result of the present system, was the imposition, every now and then, of an unpopular :Ministry On the country. If the Bill were carried, the House would not in future bean object of suspicion; but of hope to the country. .51r. RcTits-Es approved of the measure. The mere expectation of its benefits had produced that calm which at present reigned in behind. The.Bill was then read a first time,. ordered to be printed; and to be read a second time on the 18th of April: ' Reform, which precedes,- accompanies, and follows every other. discus- sion, \YRS again inttoducell last night, petition-Wise...-SirfieuunE CLERK presented the Edinburgh petition of 600 individuals againstthe measure. This petition Sir George, on Tuesday, feelingly lamented his liability to present ; and he was only prevented then by the clamour of Members :11oi 'l'i'on House. Mr..the debate by pressing it on -the attention of the - Mr. HIT ne said it was got. up at a private meeting, in a room from which reporters were carefully excluded : it spoke the sentiments of a respectable class, lilt a very. small one, and one which' had long ruled Scotland, and fined, by themselves and friends, till the situations of that country. The former petition from Edinburgh, which really spoke the opinions of that city, was signed by 35,000- individuals.
Mr. Pm NG LE said,- the petitioners, like the baiikerS and merchants of London who petitioned against the bill, did not meet for .discusSion.
*Sir Gnomon SratNrox took occasion to disdains having approved generally of the Ministerial Bill, though he agreed to time .second read- injr the hope: that it would receive important modifications in Com- mittee.
Mr. MARI:a-At said, he should, in Committee, oppose the provisions which. affected his constituents.
Mr. Moons, in,preseating the Kent petition, instanced, as .a proof of the feelings of the people, the ummlnity which prevailed at it, though. of 1,201I-voters fin Maidstone, a large number would, by the Reform
Bill, be' deprived of their franchise., .
Mr. DAW SON complained of Ministers for giving so many members to Durham, and of the .Times for not giving the speeches of Sir Robert Peel at Bite length—he called on the people to withdraw their confidence from the infamous press.
Sir ROBERT PEEL said, assuming that it were just that GO boroughs were to lie disfranchised, and 40 reduced, still the rule laid down for the disfranchisement and reduction ought CO be strictly observed. In some :cases the parish had been included with the borough, in others the parish was disjoined ; it ought to be included with all, or separated from all. lle was prepared to prove that Tamworth, for instance, contained 7,500 inhabitants, althoughthe borough strictly so called, contained only 3,500. In the case of Caine, the parish was included, which swelled the population to 5,600; and if the borough and parish were identical, it was just; but if the borimgh,like Tamworth, had hiss than 4,000, it also ought to be retinced. Lord.Aurnpae believed that Caine came strictly within the rule; abut if any mistake had been committed, it should be recti tied. He trif.4.ted the blouse would soon have more specific returns than they now had. Objections were also made to the disfranchisement of the Anstruther boroughs, by Lord STORMONT ; of Truro, by-.Lord ENCOMBE; and Mr. Moon::: complained of the great extension of the franchise the new qua- lification would effect in Dublin, where almost every house was rated above 101.
Sir CHARLES FODEES Enid, with reference to the borough he repre- sented (.31altnestmry)s that the population of that beautiful and thriving p!a.:e. was upwards of 7,000. Sir Charles advised Ministers to withdraw the Bill: it would be plucked to pieces feather by feather.
Sir Romer Bums suggested that they should wait for the returns of 1031.- • .
Lord JOHN RUSSELL CORM not Wait for returns that would not be ready until August, nor would he withdraw a bill that was already sanctioned by the decision of the House. . The LORD ADVOCATE postponed the second reading of the Scotch .Bill to the 22nd of April.
Mr. 'L6:DsAi deprecated the delay, in the present agitated state of Scotland. . • Mr. fluME denied that Scotland was at all uneasy on the subject.
The only uneasy parties were a knot of gentlemen who thought their personal interests were likely to suffer from the miserable majority. (ChePrs from the Opposition.) He meant the miserable minority of Tuesday. • -
A'Scotch Member said, the Scotch petitions had been got up at the
instigation of the Member for Middlesex himself. -The Renfrew meeting was got up in consequence of a letter frorn . Dir. HUME said, it was ridiculous•to. say that all the petitions that had come from Scotland had sprung-from a little note addressed by him to the Clerk of Supply-tit-the. County "of Renfrew. • He had, he ad- mitted, advised the Reformers to give up their little differences, as he had himself done. (Cries of " Only for the present ! ") " Cer- tainly," said Mr. Hume, "only for the present, unless the plan prove
efficient in its operation." He believed the unanimity of the Reformers was the sorest evil of which the Anti-Reformers had to complain.
Some allusion being made to the Scotch clergy, the Loon ADVOCATE said, the bill would not affect them one way or another. There was no- thing in the present law which prevented a clergyman from voting, nor would there be in-the new. The Scotch Bill had already been discussed on the first reading, and he could see no harm likely to arise from the postponement of the second reading. The Committee on the English Bill precluded the fixing of an earlier day.
Sir M. S. STEWART entirely approved of the Scotch Bill. Captain WEMYss thought the principles of the bill excellent. Some modifications were required ; some of the minor details were injudicious. lie must observe, that the petitions from Scotland were mostly signed by persons who could not be voters on any principle but universal suffrage.
The long conversation, and the Reform question for the week, termi- nated by the House going into a Committee of Supply.
4. REFORM IN THE HOUSE OF Loans. On Monday, Lord BROU G HA in presenting fifty-four petitions in favour of Reform, twenty of which were from corporate bodies, could not help remarking the disinterestedness which had been displayed upon this momentous occasion.
When they awarded dge honour and praise to the noble lords in this House, and to the honourable tnembers in the other, who readily saerificed their own interests and political influence to the public good, it was impossible to refrain from award- ing a similar wed of praise to those of a humbler—he would not say a lower—class, who had evinced equal disinterestedness. He had doe more petition now to pre- sent, and that would show how grievously those individuals were mistakeu whotried to excite discontent among the humblest classes of society. (A (aegis.) If those who set up that laugh had waited till he concluded, trey would have seen that it was one of those laughs which had better have been postponed sine die. His object was to show that a moral lesson might be drawn from this interesting passage in the history of the people. This petition showed that they laboured under a great delusion who attempted to excite a hostile feeling against this great measure of Reform in the minds of the humbler classes of the people, who had proved, however, how much they were exalted above their tempters. He called them the humbler, but not the lower classes, for they had resisted the temptation when appealed to on the topics so apt to delude. They were told " You wilt have no votes by this plan, for it is founded on pro- perty from the beginning to the end." The people showed that they were not to be so deluded ; anti they replied, "This is the first time that men of your kidney thought of the people." The people saw that the measure would give them the object fur which alone votes could be useful or desirable, and that leas, that it would secure them a good representation. The argument, however, was, as old as the Christian religion, and he who first used it was a character well known in Sacred History. He would read what the sacred histor:an had said of him who 914 made use of the appeal. " And Judas, whose name was Iscariot, answered and said, Why are not these things sold for so much mon,sy, to be given to the poor i" Upon which the sacred historian remarks, with indignation, in his simple but powerful language- " Not that Judas Iscariot cared for the poor, but that he was a thief."
The Duke of WELLINGTON rose to order. It had been agreed that the measure should not be discussed till it came regularly before their Lordship. The Lord Chancellor was irregular in referring to argu. ments which had been used in the other House.
Lord BROuGnAm agreed with the Duke of Wellington, that it was better that the discussion of the measure should be reserved. He had not entered into the discussion of the question ; but having fifty-four petitions to present from corporate bodies who supported most disinte- restedly a measure which trenched on their peculiar privileges, lie had only said that a great moral lesson might be drawn from the circum- stance. This was germane to the matter, and not irregular.
The question of Reform was again touched on in the House of Lords on Wednesday. Lord FAitairAst having, in presenting a petition from the Common Council of Dublin against the bill, expressed his concur- rence in the sentiments of the petitioners, that it would create a new and dangerous constituency in Ireland, Earl Roden said, he must ever be opposed to all revolutionary measures, which he conceived the pre- sent bill to be. He had no doubt, in respect of Ireland, it would effect a dissolution of the Legislative Union, and ultimately II dismemberment of the empire.
Earl GREY would not sit still and hear that measure which he and his colleagues had agreed to offer to Parliament, denominated revolu- tionary. The petitioners made out their case much in coo same manner as the noble lord made out his,—by assertion alone, without argument. When the time came for the noble lord to adduce his arguments, Lord Grey would be ready to meet him. He was so strongly convinced that the continuance of the legislative union was neces- sary for the security of both countries, that if the proposed measure could be shown to have any tendency to dissolve that union, he should think it one of the strongest objections that could be urged against it. He said, on the contrary, that at the same time that it would tend to create satisfaction and contentment in this country, where doubt and division had prevailed before,—at the same time that it would tend to remove in England those theories which the noble lord thought so dangerous,—it would also, if extended to Ireland, tend to create in that country a satisfaction and contentment, and to excite that confidence which was the best security for the peace and tranquillity of the empire.
Lord Roden had alluded to the theories of inconsistent men, and the danger that had resulted from their indulgence. Earl Grey said, against the charge of inconsistency, he at least had not to defend himself. He had uniformly supported Reform, from its earliest introduction to Par- liament up to the present hour. If now that it was brought to such a state as promised a successful issue, it should fail, it would soon be forced on the Government, in whose hands soever it might be placed.
If others succeeded to power by bearing down the present Government on the question of Reform, the measure would. notwithstanding, be forced upon them ; and they would be obliged to concede it on the same principle as they conceded that question to which the noble Lord had alluded in speaking of the inconsistency of public men—the principle of fear. (hear, hear!) Lord CARNARVON said, it was the impression of half the thinking part of the community, connected with trade, commerce, or property gene- rally, that the Dill was revolutionary. The vote in the House of Com-
• mons proved that Reform was called for ; but it ought to be gone about with deliberation, and due time ought to be given to consider it.
He disapproved of a measure of such great magnitude as the one proposed by the Government being brought in with such breathless haste. The noble Lords oppo- site had only been six weeks in office, when they came down to the Hduse to an- nounce a measure by which he feared all the settled institutions of the country would be undermined and overturned. (Hear, hear !) The whole system of county, borough, and town representation in the country was to be changed. When he had said that such a sweeping measure was nothing less than a new constitution, he had been deridtal by the noble Lord opposite. But this was as much of a new consti- tution as were any of those changes which were being made in the nations of Europe. Whether it would strengthen or overwhelm the institutions of the country, it was impossible for him to say. He would rather see a practical and gradual Reform proposed than such a sweeping measure, which bore away all the old institutions of the country.
His Lordship havi' g entered at some length into the question of
Reform, and especially of the Bill, concluded by expressing a fear lest he had trespassed too long on their Lordships' time. (" Hear, hear!" from the Lord Chancellor.) Lord Carnarvon continued— No doubt, the noble and learned Lord would like to hear only one side of the question. (" No, no!" from the Lord Chancellor ; and cries " Order !" from the Duke of Cumberland.) He should be glad to listen to the noble Lord in a regular manner ; but he did not think these interruptions at all consistent with their Lordships' rules of proceeding. (Hem •!) The Marquis of LANSDOWNE said, that to the charge made against Ministers by Lord Carnarvon, of having introduced this measure with breathless haste, the Votes of' the other House would afford a sufficient answer.
This measure was not new to the public, nor new to Parliament '"'It was an- nounced at the very moment the present Administration was formed. it was intro- duced into the othee House of Parliament three weeks ago, and debated on that occasion for seven days, and after an interval of seven days, was again debated two nights on the second reading. The noble Earl would also find by the Votes, that it was not proposed to consider it in Committee until after the Easter holydays ; and yet this was described us passing the 11111 in breathless haste, without :alluding to Parliament due opportunity of considering it with attention. (Hear! ) In reality, however, the question had been repeatedly 'meths: Parlia- ment ; out of doors it had been the theme of many years' discussion ■, and the inure it was discussed, within doors or without, the more appa- rent did the necessity of its filial settlement become.
Lt the lapse of ages, and by the mutations of time, changes had taken place in the distribution of the property and knowledge of the country, which it became neces- sary to meet. The proposed bill was founded on a desire to connect with the repre- sentation of the people all those accumulations of knowledge in some quarters and of property in others, which, when left unrepresented, formed the lever on which ambition and treason worked against the constitution.
Lord CARNARVON said, he did not accuse Ministers of hurrying the measure through, but of hurrying it into Parliament.
The Looms CHANCELLOR said, Lord Carnarvon had insinuated that he could only interrupt, but could not answer his arguments— He could assure his noble friend that he never felt less unable to meet the obser- vations of an antagonist in the whole course of his life than—he spoke it with all possible respect—he did to meet the extremely shallow, unsubstantial, inconsistent, and contradictory arguments of which his noble friend had, contrary to the I 9th standing order, whichdeclared that no peershould speak twice on the same question, addressed to the House.
Lord Carnarvon had said the bill was hurried into Parliament— Ministers, he said, had been in office hardly six weeks before they came down to Parliament with this measure. Why, it was more than three months. Three months was not a century, but it was double six weeks. Himself and his colleagues caine into office on the 22nd. of November, and the bill was introduced on the 1st of March ; it was read it second time on the 22nd March, just four months from the day on which Ministers had taken office.
If they had delayed, as it was now pretended they should have done, he believed that the persons who accused them of haste, would have been the foremost to charge them with tardiness. In fact, Ministers had not been ten days in office when Lord Carnarvon opened on there with his " pop-gun battery." The champion of the " bit-bv-bit Re- form," thought he could drive Ministers from their purpose by a hit-by-bit attack. He preferred the open and downright enemies of all Reform to those bit-by-bit advocates of it. Had they really any scheme ?
Lord CARNARVON—" I am not obliged to furnish a plan."
Lord CHANCELLOR=‘ Why, then, we are not bound to wait."
The question was again brought partially forward in this House, on Thursday, by the Marquis of LONDONDERRY. In allusion to a peti- tion presented by Earl Grey from the county of Down, the Marquis ob- served, that there was an Independent or rather a Radical club in that county, by which the petition in question had been got up : its prayer was disclaimed by the county members, and the great mass of time free- holders ; in fact, out of nearly 25,000, it had been signed by only 1,300 of the lowest of the freeholders ; and in order to procure these signatures, it had been hawked all over the county. He was sorry such an unconstitutional measure as the Reform Bill had been so uncon- stitutionally supported. The people believed that in sending up peti- tions for Reform, they were advocating the Royal wishes, by the most improper Way in which the King's name had been introduced in the de. bates on the bill. Parliament also had been threatened with dissolit tion if the measure did not pass. This was, the Marquis contended, most mifidr, and especially when practised in order to support a measure which would destroy the aristocracy, and render it impossible for any
Ministry to conduct the affairs of the country
Earl GitEY said, in respect of the petition, the first name subscribed to it was "Nicholas White," High Sheriff—not officially, but as indi- vidually approving its sentiments ; the next name was "Alexander Mac., donna "—lie would only mention one signature more—Mr. Ford's, a
gentleman who once represented the county—was he one of the rabble freeholders ?
To the other parts of Lord Londonderry's complaint, Lord Grey made a very peremptory reply, which it is of importance to quote nearly as he delivered it.
He must, injustice to himself, call their Lordships' attention to what fell from him on the first day of the present session, in the course of the discussion on the address. So strongly was he impressed with the necessity of granting Reform, from the state of things and feeling of the country, that he stated to their Lordships his opinion that one of the best steps that could be taken to conciliate the good opinion of the country, and restore the confidence of the people in the Legislature, was to address themselves immediately to the question of Reform. When the situation which he now filled was offered to him by his Gracious Sovereign, in a manner which would command his respect, gratitude, and affection, as long as lie lived, he strongly urged to his Sovereign—and his services were accepted on that condition—that he could not faitklidly and usefully serve his Majesty if he were not permitted to propose a measure to Parliament of the description which had been submitted to the other House. The noble Marquis said that the name of a gracious personage had been abused, for the purpose of giving undue weight, by the assumption of his authority, to the statement made in favour of the measure. He thought the Noble Marquis would acquit him of having done any thing of the sort ; nor was he aware that any person whosoever had stated more than that which was to be collected from the manner in which the proposition had been made. Without using his Majesty's name in any way that was improper or unconstitutional, it must be well known that the measure could not be so introduced without the sanction and authority of that master whom they served. As a Minister of the Crown he had discharged his duty faithfully to his Sove- reign, who had accepted his services on the condition he had stated, by proposing a measure of Reform, in conjunction with his colleagues. The noble Marquis thought that there must be a difference of opinion in the Cabinet with regard to the vote by ballot. Yet, that measure of Reform, which had occupied so much of the attention of the public, and which was looked upon by the noble Marquis with so much alarm, did not contemplate the adoption of the principle of the ballot. It had, however, met with the unanimous concurrence of all his Majesty's Ministers. (Hear, hear!) Under these circumstances, he left their Lordships to judge between the noble Mar- quis and himself, whether there was any foundation for the charge that undue use had been made by the Ministers of the Crown of that sacred authority under which they acted, to influence the votes of members of either House of Parliament. (Hear, hear!) The noble Marquis complained that threats had been held out of a dissolution of Parliament in the event of the rejection of the measure, and had called on him for some explicit declaration on that point. He would make no such explicit de- claration. All he would state was this,—that he considered himself as committed to the proposed measure, without the possibilly of compromise or retreat ; by that measure he teoldristand or fall ; and he was determined not to consent to any thing which would detract from its cfciency. (Cheers.) He was not presumptuous enough to say that the measure was so complete and unexceptionable that there might not be some matters requiring correction ; but to nothing in any degree detracting from its efficiency would he, ever consent. ( Cheers.) He said, again, by that measure he would stand or fall ; and without wishing to throw out any threat, yet he declared that to carry a measure which he believed was calculated to do the greatest good it was possible for any measure to do, by silencing the voice of complaint, by removing the cause of discontent, by uniting in confidence and affection to the Government of the country the people of the country,—to carry a measure of this description, to which he stood committed, there era.: no proccediny dictated by public duty from lelich he would shrink. (Cheers.) He hoped he had expressed himself explicitly enough, and satis- factorily to the noble Marquis. (Hear, hear !) To the assertion that the measure was revolutionary, he would answer by the contrary assertion, that it was not revolutionary, but constitutional. (Hear ! ) To the assertion that time measure was calculated to subvert the privileges of that order (using a word, the uttering of which, as the noble Marquis knew, had been im- puted to him almost as a crime) to which he belonged, he replied that it was his opi- nion that the measure would not muse their subversion, but prove their best sup- port. (Heart) He was a member of the aristocracy by situation ; still more so, some perhaps might think, by disposition and habit. Ile did not deny that. At the same time, he did not uphold the aristocracy as a useful order (using that ob- noxi ons term again) on any other ground than this,—[/eat it formed one of the orders of the constitution necessary to general support, cowacted a-tk oft and united with rill fn. purposes of common adrantaye, If itceased to bear that character, lw was no longer one of the aristocracy. (Hear !) When he was told that the proposed measure would subvert the aristocracy, his answer was, that it would support the aristocracy, by taking from them that power which made them odious to the people, and by placing them in that situation where the influence they were desirous to possess must depend on their cultivating a good understanding with the people ; on their becoming known for their good offices; by supporting the principles of the constitution, and time rights of the people, and by the performance of all those duties for which, and for which alone, the public trust and all the privileges they enjoyed were given them. (Cheers.) The Duke of WEr.urscoroN could see no reason for the change pro- posed by Ministers. Parliament had done its duty well ; it deserved the He had been in his Majesty's service forty-nine years. He had served his Ma- jesty in situations of trust and confidence. He had been in command of his armies (Cheers)—he had been employed in embassies and councils fur thinly eventful years of that period ; • and the experience which he had acquired in the various situ- ations which he had filled imposed on him the duty of saying to their Lordships, that he could not look at time idensure mmhich had been introduced into the other House without the most serinus apprehensions, that front the period of the adoption of that measure would date the downfal of the Constitution. (heir, hear !) The Marquis of BuTE. on the part of Lord WHARN c Lir FE, wished to fix Monday for the discussion of Reform, on a motion for certain returns. On the suggestion of Lord BROUGHAM, it was agreed to take Tuesday.
5. LORD BROUGHAM'S BANKRUPTCY BILr.. on Tuesday time CHAN- CET.I.OR said he had not had a letter from Lord Lyndhurst, but he
should fix Monday fur the Committee on this bill. His Lordship took occasion to state, that he had again gone over the items of his firmer estimates of the relative expenses of the existing and of the proposed courts. The cost of the present establishment was 63,1971.; the ex- pense of the proposed establishment would be 34,2004 retaining the 7,0001. which he had suggested should be taken from the fees of the Chancellor, or, excluding that sum, 27,2001. The saving, therefore, was about 36,0001. TheRegistrars' department now cost 32,457/.; it would in future cost only 14,1001. Altogether, the savings—and they would be savings not to the country at large, but to the suitors, which rendered that important which might otherwise be looked on as trifling—would amount to at least 60,000/.
Lord WYNFORD could not understand from what source the Lord Chancellor drew his facts. Perhaps he included the expense of solicitors, which would still be paid under the new system, as under the old. The present Commissioners of Bankrupts received, one year with another, 21,0001. The proposed plan included ten judges, two registrars, seven clerks, thirty public assignees ; how could such an establishment be maintained for less than 50,000/. ? If he had the facts as fully before him as the Chancellor had, he had no doubt he could prove that the new plan would be by much the most expensive. Ile was decidedly of opinion that the bill should have originated in the other House, and after a Com- mittee of Inquiry. The Lona: Cifaxerfa.t.orc said, he should have believed, upon the bare assertion of Lord Wyn ford, that lie had very little acquaintance with this subject. (A /au fik.) His noble and learned friend, however, had proved it. He had said that he knew nothing about the details of the measure, and every word that had fallen from. him went to demonstrate that proposition. (A laugh.)
Lord WYNYoan—" I did not say that I knew nothing of the details of the measure. I have read the measure, and am prepared to dis- cuss it?'
The Loan CHANCELLOR—" Now, then, for the first time, I must doubt the assertion of my noble and learned friend. Not that I think lie means to deceive your Lordships—far from it ; but my noble and learned friend deceives himself, and fancies that he has read the loll, and un- derstands the details, when it is quite clear that he has done neither." He had never meant to rest the measure on the recommendation of economy merely. His object was the introduction of a more speedy, more efficient, more pure administration of justice ; these were the ninety and nine parts of his measure—economy was the one part of the hundred. Lord Wynfortl passed by entirely the ninety-Mee to fasten on the one part ; yet even there, as he had thrown his gar ntlet down, Lord Brougham would take it up. Lord \Vvnford said the Commis- sioners cost 21,0901.; they cost 28,0001. then he went m n to argue, because he knew nothing about the matter, that the Lord Chancellor must know as little—for how was he to get information, more than Lord Wynford ? Ile would tell him—from the Commissioners.
The bill was acceptable to the London merchants, • it was sneeringly said, but was not that its highest recommendation ? Was there any question on which merchants were better able to give a considerate opi- nion ? They were said to prefer tl.e new plan to the old, because it shifted a burden from their own shoulders to those of the community. Under the old system the Commissioners were paid by fees on the estate, and these fees were all specified—
Lord WYNFORD—" Is that in the bill ?"
Lord Bice G HA 31—" No."
Lord WYNFORD—" Hear! hear !"
Lord Bnouns.am—" I wish that my noble friend would not merely
hear,' but would also mark, and not only mark, but inwardly digest what I have to say on this subject. If my noble and learned friend would only bring an equal mind to time consideration of this subject, and would calmly apply his excellent understanding to a full investigation of it, he would see that 1 could not put this in the bill, because the bill relates to the future expense of the system." The fact, however, was, that the fees were not abolished by the proposed bill—all that it provided for was, that where the suitors no at paid 63,000/., they would in future pay only 34,000/. The stints requisite for the new courts would be raised in the same way as those which were required for the old, but they would not be so great by 3m1,11i10!. The duties in the Registrar's office would paid similarly from fees in the Registrar's office, but these fees would he smaller in amount. Eve', were the bill as vulnerable as it was unas. sailaide imt point of economy, he should object to considering it in that light only. Nothing had done more harm than an unwise regard to a miserable economy; and he had often had occasion to lament. when it was coniddered as superior to all other considerations. Ile believed fiat cheap jo-dice was a benefit to a country; but cheap justice might, in time event, turn out to be dear justice, if you got cheap justice and bad justice. It was ultimately agreed, that a return of the fees received by the Bankrupt Commiss loners should be laid before the house ; and the clerk was directed to instruct the Secretary for Bankrupts to that effect.
0. THE BISHOP or ELI% The notice of time public lets been drawn to the case of the Bishop of Ely, by a statement of certain pluralities enjoyed by his family. The case was meutioned in the House of Lords last night. The Lord Chancellor, in allusion to the living of Wisheach, said that the living was in the alternate gift of time Crown and the Bishop. While Lord 'radon was Chancellor, the turn of the Crown to present had been given up at the Bishop's request, on the condition that the two next turns should be exorcised by time Crown. When Lord Brougham had received the Seals, a letter Was addressed to him, not in the Bishop's heed- writing, but bearing his signature, asking for a third turn of present o Mu, in which case the Crown would have the succeeding three to us he paid no attention to the request, until a second letter arrivcd. which siai^i that, as no answer had been given to the former, the Bishop %tumid proceed to present. Lord Brougham then desired that no lemmitieetim should take place until he had seen Lord Eldon ; he did see that mumbleman ; and it appearing that he had signified his asseat to Cie me'reugmemt, Lord Brougham signed the necessary dtictiimmi s for ox i hug tl;t! monination,—discharging ghat he conceived to be-, and dutt in reality w:is, a mere
Auto. Lord Brougham unlit!, as a M itmister of time Crown, he was bound to state his suspicions that there were persens about the Maims of Ely who disposed of ids patronage in a way that the Bishop, if in perfect health, might not approve. But, whrrever the bleone in the present case attached, Lord Brougham assuredly had no right to any share of it.
7. CIVIL. LIST. Before going into Committee, Sir Tnostas FRE. maarrue urged the propriety or time House pressing the Queen to accept the 50,0001. proposed by Ministers to her Majesty as an outfit. The country was not in such a ease, surely, that it could not afford .o neces- sary an expense. Lord Auriante observed, that Ministers only proposed 25,0001.; his Majesty had decidedly declined that sum, and he therefore did not 'think that Ministers were now called on to accede to Sir Thomas's proposal. A Member (name unknown) proposed that the House should petition the Queen to accept the 25,000/. Mr. Hum. thought so strange a proposal could only originate in an attempt to injure the popularity of their Majesties. Mr. LITTLETON thought it unworthy of the House to refuse so small an amount. Mr. Hume was surprised at the pro- posal—it looked as if those who made it had been set on. Mr. CURTEIS condemned it, as outrageous. And the suggestion, whether prompted or not, was not persisted in. The House having gone into Committee, Lord ALTHORP, after stating the principle which had influenced Mieisters in the arrange- ment of the Civil List, in nearly the same terms as when the subject was first introduced to the House; und, after detailing the proposed arrangements of the Committee, wi ich we have noticed elsewhere, went on to state, that the Committee, not having power to examine evidence, and having in fact had none before them but his own, and of that only what he thought proper on his re- sponsibility to give, was not justified in the reductions they recom- mended,—which were besides so trilling in amount as to be altogether undeserving' of attention. He therefore called on the House for the whole grant of 510,000/., instead of 489,590/. Lord Alaimo) afterwards stated in explanation, that though he took the vote for time entire sum, it by no means followed that the salaries of the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Steward should not be reduced, or that they would not he reduced to the extent recommended by the Committee. The proposition would he sub- mitted to his Majesty by Ministers on their own responsibility, and they would take his instructions respecting it.
Mr. HUME strenuously and at great length supported the recommen- dation of the Committee ; as did Mr„ BANES and several other mem- bers. Ultimately, however, the vote was agreed to ; Mr. HUME inti- mating that he would take the sense of the House on it on bringing up the Report.
8. THE NAVY ESTIMATES. Last night, the remaining portion of the Navy Estimates,—namely, the Foreign Dockyards, Officers, and contin- gencies, Admiralty, Navy Pay Office, and its contingent expenses, Scien- tific Department, Home Dockyards, Officers and contingencies, and allowance for Victualling 320,000 men, which was taken at 20s. (it used to be 32s )—were severally agreed to. Mr. Hume of course took his share in the discussion. Mr. Wu:our:Tex recommended a scientific voyage for the better ascertainment of the positions of places little known or imperfectly determined. Sir JOSEPH Yoexe ridiculed this. Sir BYAte Mamas: said, infamous reports had gone abroad, of his hay; ing misapplied the public money : he called on Sir James Graham, with his usual candour, to contradict. so false an allegation. Sir JAMES GRAHAM had no difficulty in saying, that no charg-e of malt versation had been made, or could be made, against any of the members of the late Government ; but he was bound with equal frankness to state, that a charge of misappropriation—of applying money voted for one pub- lic purpose, to another—was not only made, but merited.
Sir BYAM MARTIN admitted the fact, and defended it by precedent and necessity.