Elthattfi nut Vrtarrnig5 ill Vartiamrut.
PRINCIPAL BUSINESS OF THE WEEK.
Douse or Loans. Monday, March 21. Grand Juries ; the Lord Chancellor's Bill committed—Mutiny Bills committed—County Courts Bill read a second time.
Tuesday, March 22. Marriage Law Amendment ; Lord Bury's Bill thrown out by 49 to 39—Mutiny Bills read a third time and passed—Court of Chancery Accom- modation Bill read a second time.
Thursday, March 24. Trading Companies Winding-up Bill committed—Oaths Act Amendment Bill read a second time—Manor Courts (Ireland) Bill read a third time and passed. Friday, March 25. Royal Assent to Consolidated Fund, Mutiny, and Anniver- sary Day Bills—Deserted Children in Ireland ; Lord Clanricarde's Question— Indian Finance—Lord Ellenborough's Question.
Bongs OF COIIRONS. Monday, March 21. Hepreventation of the People ; Mr. Disraeli's Bill ; debate on second reading, adjourned—Patents for Inventions (Munitions of War) Bill read a first time. Tuesday, March 22. Debate on Mr. Disraeli's Representation Bill continued. Wednesday, March 23. Edinburgh, &c., Annuity Tax Bill read a second time— Poor Relief (Ireland) Act Amendment ; Mr. Gregory's bill debate on second read- jug ,• adjourned.
Thursday, March 24. Patents for Inventions (Munitions of War) Bill read a second time—Debate on Mr. Dkraelils Representation Bill continued, and ad- jonrned.
Priday, March 25. Debate on the Representation Bill continued.
THE REPRESMiTATION DEBATE.
A crowded House assembled on Monday evening to witness the open- ing of the debate on the second reading of the Bill to amend the Repre- sentation of the People. The galleries were full ; some Members were driven up stairs, no room being found for them below ; there was even a child present—said to be a son of Lord John Russell, in the Ladies' Gallery ; its presence being made known by its cries which caused
momentary interruption during Lord Stanley's speech. * -
The first proceeding was the presentation of petitions : there were shoals against the Government bill, and three in favour of it. Mani, petitions were presented demanding manhood suffrage, the ballot &e. Then, after disposing of some matters of course, at the invitation of the SPEAKER, Mr. DISRAELI, making no speech, moved the second reading of the Representation of the People Bill. The question put was " That the Bill be now read a second time."
Lord Josme RUSSELL stood up at once, and moved as an amendment, to leave out from the word " That " to the end of the question, in order to add the words- " This House is of opinion that it is neither just nor politic to interfere, in the manner proposed in this Bill, with the Freehold Franchise as hither- to exercised in the Counties in England and Wales; and that no readjust- ment of the franchise will satisfy this House or the country which does not provide for a greater extension of the suffrage in Cities and Boroughs than is contemplated in the present measure." The motion before the House now became " That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question." Upon this arose the debate.
Lord Joinst RUSSELL said as little as possible by way of preface to the arguments he submitted to the House. Although it might be a question, whether, .upon taking office, Ministers should have promised to bring in a Reform Bill, still there is no doubt that it was their duty to fulfil the pledge. The importance of the question makes it necessary to consider well before we advance. Lord John was encouraged in the course he was about to take by the objections to the bill felt by Mr. Walpole and Mr. Henley.
The principle of the bill is in the first clause ; [Lord John read it to the House] that principle is that the suffrage throughout the country in cities and boroughs shall be uniform or as Mr. Disraeli expresses it identical. Now, this will completely change the constitution of the country, des- troy rights enjoyed for an immense length of time—some from the conquest, deprive men of their county votes who have not shown them- selves unworthy of the trust, force them to vote in boroughs, and take away from the county constituencies one of the liberal elements. That will be a public injury. Next, the proposal will enable persons of landed property to flood small boroughs with faggot votes. Say that forty-shilling free- holds may be formed in boroughs and what remains of the independence they acquired from the ten-pound franchise. Theybecome what they were before 1832—nomination boroughs. The small boroughs arc not now all so. Liskeard is not. Thus the first proposition in the bill repeals the Reform Act of 1832 by destroying the independence of the small boroughs. It is not an extension of the suffrage, it is an act of violence. It is said that Parliament will interfere to prevent nomination. That is true, but only as a step to further change. What change ? Clearly one to elector- al districts. The great impediment—the difference between counties and boroughs, will be taken away ; the small boroughs will be called nomi- nation and corrupt, and it will be said—divide a county into electoral districts. If that is the object of the Government let us arrive at it at once, and not by a process of nomination, corruption, and agitation. Five years ago Lord Derby said the distinction was " one of the main balances of the constitution." Now it is Lord Derby who sanctions the destruction of the distinction; and paves the way for electoral dis- tricts.
But while the bill of the Government destroys what is ancient it does not provide for what is new. Since the Reform Act, which gave the franchise to ten-pound occupiers in boroughs, the working classes have made great progress in knowledge i and capacity. Now the basis on which the repre- sentation should rest s fitness for the functions in the constituency. Can you say that there are not persons below the class of ten-pound householders thoroughly fit for the suffrage ? No. There are thousands of persons fit to exercise the franchise who are excluded. Two questions—Roman Catholic Emancipation and Corn Law Repeal—were refused to reason and calm peti- tions, and granted to noise, clamour, and agitation. It was to avoid a sim lar re i
sult, and not to gain popularity, that in 18.51 Lord John Russell pro-
posed an extension of the franchise. In 18.51 I proposed a certain frail, chile; in 1854 I proposed a modification of that franchise. I will not say now what that franchise ought to be at the present day. (Laughter and loud cheering from the Ministerial benches.) I hold that it is for the Government of the day to propose the franchise they may think right. (Loud cheers.) When I sat on the bench on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer now sits I did not hesitate to propose what I thought right, and I was ready. to discuss the question in this House." The question is are Ministers right in refusing any reduction in towns ? [In a parenthesis Lord John declared himself in favour of a franchise based on "annual value" as opposed to "rating."] Lord John defended the course he now took in moving the amendment. The Conservatives who voted with Mr. Gibson last year on the Conspiracy Bill could hardly object to his amendment that it is irregular, for then they voted for an amendment which had no reference to a bill of which they highly approved. Lord John's reason for supporting Mr. Gibson was that he should thereby get rid of the bill. " What reason the right honourable gentlemen opposite had for voting for that resolution I don't know, but at all events their conduct was not actuated by dislike of the bill. (Cheers.) Now, I say at once with regard to the bill before the House, that I consider it to be a measure of a most noxious, injurious, and danprous character." (Prolonged cheering.) He did not ask the House to reject the bill on the second reading because it would be said out of doors that a bill to lower the franchise to 101. in counties had been rejected. Mark, that is not the prin- ciple of the bill—the principle is the identity of the suffrage. If they agreed to the second reading the Government might well object to the omission of the principle in Committee. Lord John censured the plan of throwing the
representation into hotch-pot, of inviting every one to bring forward clauses in Committee, as a proposal unworthy of a Government, degrading to the
House, and not conducive to the public interest. It would be useless to go into Committee on the bill. He was not to be deterred by the threat of an appeal to the country, and he wondered who would be the dupe of the asser- tion that the presence of Lord Malmesbury in the Foreign Office is a security for peace ! It was said he had some party object in view. " But, Sir, it is my duty not to attend to such charges, but to pursue the course which I think best adapted for the welfare of the country. It cannot be denied that for many years I have taken a deep interest in this question. Very long ago—so long ago, I am sorry to say, as the year 1819—I was occupied in this House in a laborious and irksome investigation into the bribery and corruption which prevailed in the borough of Grampound, with the view of disfranchising that borough and of conferring members on Leeds, which at that time had no representation, and I ventured even to propose that the 101. householders of Leeds should be entitled to votes, a proposition which, as my honourable friend the Member for Birmingham reminds me, excited great alarm at that time, as much alarm as is now created by the the pro- posal to give the franchise to householders below 101. From that time to the present I have constantly taken the deepest interest in this question, and have promoted all measures which I thought tended to the free, fair, and pure representation of the people in Parliament. I am bound to take that course—I may be allowed, I may be privileged to do so by my deep convictions on the subject. I have the satisfaction of knowing that the Act in the passing of which I took part in 1831 and 1832 has been productive, not of those calamitous consequences which were predicted by our opponents, but of great benefits—benefits obtained not through bloodshed, not through civil war, but by peaceable and tranquil discussion, and by the legitimate influence of public opinion. Since that time slavery has been abolished ; we have had the question of tithes, which was a vexatious question between the clergy and their parishioners, amicably arranged ; we have had free municipal corporations established ; there has been a great reduction in the duties on Customs and in those Excise duties which pressed heavily on the masses; Protection has been given up, and Free Trade sanctioned by Parliament. These and many other benefits have flowed from the reformed Parliament, which we were told would be so fruitful in calamity and dis- aster, and which was to take the crown off the King's head and shake the balance of the State. Sir, entertaining these convictions, seeing what has been done, I cannot view without alarm the proposition which is now before the House. I have endeavoured to call the attention of the House to two of the main demerits of this bill. If it should continue on the table of the House, I think the measure ought to be discussed in every shape until at length, if not immediately, it is totally rejected. I shall take this course, careless of any imputations which may be cast upon me. (Cheers.) With regard to this great question of reform, I may say that I defended it when I was young, and I will not desert it now that I am old." (Loud cheers.) Lord STANLEY reminded Lord John Russell that he had driven a Go- vernment from office in 1835, upon a resolution which, when it had served that purpose, was suffered to fall into abeyance ; and cautioned the House against rejecting a moderate measure, proposed when debate is free from acrimony, and when there is no discontent in the country. A lost opportunity does not always recur. The rejection of a moderate measure does not insure the passing of one of a more extended character. If the resolution should be carried no legislation on the subject of Reform can take place this session. Those who despise all changes that are not large do not desire to see the question settled. They dislike concession because they see in it security against agitation. But that is not Con- servative policy, nor Liberal policy, in the true sense of that word. Lord John Russell had asked what business the present Ministry have to bring in a Reform Bill. The answer is that if it be a political necessity no administration should shrink from introducing it. For eight years promises have been made and evaded. It is only under the auspices of the present Government that the House was asked to give a vote upon the second reading of a Reform Bill. The mode in which it was met is unjust and unfair. In one sense it is analogous to that pursued by Mr. Gibson last year—it is a vote of censure. The question is not whether the bill shall pass, but whether political power shall pass into other hands. " That is the challenge which I, on the part of the Government, am ready to accept." It was said that if the resolution were carried, the bill might still go to a second reading, but those who sat with him must be allowed to be the best judges of what is due to their honour and self- respect. The state of things is not analogous to that on the India bill, which ought not to be drawn into a precedent. "I say, then, I am ex- pressing the feelings of my colleagues and of those who support this measure, when I declare that the adoption of the resolution proposed by the noble Lord must necessarily be fatal to the Bill." (Loud cheers.) Lord Stanley then entered into a series of elaborate arguments on the merits of the bill. He contended that the bill does not exclude the working classes, but provides for their discriminating admission, in the property qualification, and the lodger and savings-bank franchises. He quoted Mr. John Stuart Mill and Mr. Holyoake,—who represent persons of extreme political opinions, to show that the working classes should not be indis- criminately admitted to the franchise. The principle should be admission by selection and not admission in the mass, and for that the bill provides. As to the small boroughs—their existence cannot be defended on principle— but if they had been disfranchised the bill could not have been carried. Besides there is a great difficulty in the redistribution of seats. Therefore Ministers only dealt with the subject so far as the exigency demanded. Next Lord Stanley defended the restoration of out-voters, by showing that the new feature in social life, residence at a distance from places of busi- ness, is recognized by restoring out-voters ; that residence ought not to be demanded for boroughs any more than for counties ; and that the making the payment of a voter's expenses illegal, renders the change unobjection- able. The defence for identity of suffrage is that without identity of suf- frage we shall always have dissatisfisd classes. No measure that does not assimilate county and borough franchise will stop agitation for further ex- tension. Besides the Chandos clause has broken down the distinc- tion between ownership and occupancy, a distinction always partially carried out. Nor can you draw a line between town and country. Where does London end and Middlesex begin ? It should also be remarkid, that, under the system of uniform suffrage, if a borough is disfranchised, the ten-pound occupiers become voters for the county. They are not dis- franchised; they are transferred. In like manner, Lord Stanley found many reasons for the clause affecting the interests of voters whose freeholds are in boroughs ; contending that they were not disfranchised, but trans- ferred from a large constituency, where they counted for a little, to a smaller, where their votes told upon the election. Finally, he said, the choice at present lies between a comparatively small bill and no bill what- ever.
Mr. H. G. STURT, speaking from the Ministerial side, drew forth ring- ing cheers from the Opposition, iu consequence of his attacks upon the bill. He had hoped to see a full and comprehensive measure ; he saw a bill that will be the signal for renewed agitation. Mr. Bright was right in saying that it was a sop thrown to the county Members. Instead of regarding such an unjust measure as an insult, they first took the sop
and then did not like it, and Mr. Miles came down and proposed a mise- rable compromise.
County Members generally on the Ministerial side are not supposed to hold very enlightened views, or to have very expansive intellects, and, after mixing considerably with them himself during the last six weeks, he must say he was rather inclined to share in that opinion. (Laughter.) lie wished to ask his honourable friends in public, as he had asked them over and over again in private, why they were so suspicious and distrustful to- wards the people ? (Cheers.) For many years past the decent and loyal behaviour of "the masses " have been the theme of admiration throughout the world. It is said that there was a danger of the people undermining the throne and subverting the aristocracy. He shared in no such apprchen- sion—he laboured under no such hallucination. It was because he had faith in the people that he protested against any attempt to tamper with their constitutional rights. (Cheers from the Opposition.) He so protested be- cause he was a Conservative. (An ironical cheer from the Mutisterial side.) Yes, he repeated, ho made that protest because he was a Conserva- tive ; and he would tell the honourable gentleman who raised that malevo- lent cheer, that that man was more worthy the appellation of Conservative who advanced with the times in which he lived and identified himself with the principle of progressive improvement than one who had no trust in the people, and who, whenever an opportunity presented itself, was invariably found raising his voice and recording his vote in favour of a retrograde po- licy. (Opposition cheers.)
Mr. Sturt, however, declined to vote for the amendment, characteriz- ing it as a dexterous party move.
Lord BURY congratulated the Government upon the adherent they had gained in Mr. Sturt ; and described the bill as a counterfeit that should be nailed up like a bad shilling. It unsettles everything and settles nothing. It is no reform bill ; it is simply an innovation. Mr. Han SEYMER occupied himself in making an attack upon Mr. Bright, and ex- pressing sonic objections to a bill which generally. he will support. Alder- man Salomon spoke for, and Mr. LIDDELL against the amendment. Sir CHARLES WOOD reinforced and amplified the arguments of his leadttr Lord John Russell, showed, from Halifax experience, how easy it is to manufacture faggot votes, and demanded a reduction of the franchise qua- lification that would include the working classes. Mr. HORSMAN took up a separate and distinct position in the debate. The speech of Sir Charles Wood increased the doubts he already felt re- specting the expediency of the course taken by Lord John Russell. Lord John made an extremely powerful speech against the second reading, but neither he nor any one had shown that the bill could not be altered in Committee. The resolution was so framed as to provoke if not justify the accusation that it was a party move. But Mr. Horsman and many Liberals had promised to give a fair consideration to the bill, and he would not join any party move against it. The Liberal party, it is, who excited popular expectation. They have failed themselves. The time is favourable for a settlement, and it can only be accomplished by the honest cooperation of both sides of the House and a scrupulous ab- staining from all party moves. The Liberals have an immense numeri cal majority. They can mould the bill as they please. If they forego their advantage they will postpone legislation to a time when the pas- sions of the millions will usurp the functions of statesmen. While the Liberals are doing penance in Opposition for past mistakes they were about to commit a mistake that may be greater and more unpardonable than all. The amendment meant a rejection of the bill by a junc- tion of all the great Liberal potentates—Lord John Russell, Mr. Bright, and Lord Palmerston. Is their unanimity founded on an identity ut sentiments ; or on a common understanding on the basis of a substitute for the bill ? Lord John Russell's efforts had failed in past years because there was no sympathy in the country, but it was a dread of him that caused a Conservative Government to make reform a Cabinet question. A Minister ought not to propose a change he cannot carry. For this reason the bill of 1854 was a mistake ; and also because it did not deal with the ballot. Without the ballot there is no popular support. Now he contended that in Committee they could make the bill before the House a better and more popular bill than any prepared since 1832. Iii was not astonished that Lord Derby had not brought in a larger scheme. He had seen Ministers carry great measures by surrendering their party, and nothing could compensate for the shock such spectacles give to con- fidence in public men. Mr. Horsman repeated that the most businees- like, the most manly course would be either to oppose the second read- ing, or to amend the bill in Committee.
He could conceive of only one reason why the Reformers should not go into Committee on the measure. If they went into Committee there might not be that perfect unanimity among them which would be necessary to carry out the amendments which they desired. (A laugh.) They might apprehend that the same course would be pursued which was adopted last year in the case of the Indian Bill, when they were defeated on the details. But if those who sat on that side of the House—the great Reform party-7 really bad no common creed on reform, and could not trust each other in Committee, how could they tell honourable gentlemen opposite to make way
for a Government that was ready to settle this question ? (Ministerial cheers) Union for one pitched battle might be practicable ; union for a campaign might be impossible ; but unanimity even for twenty-four horirs seemed to be such a godsend that they must make the most of it ; and, if they damaged the cause of Reform, at any rate they might let honourable gentlemen opposite see that they thought they could storm Downing Street. (Cheers and laughter.) If the Opposition were ready to assume office, and anxious to turn out the present Government, it would be a more direct ii manly course—and, considering the enormous disparity of force betwoetiA two sides of the House, it would surely be a more magnanimous and elevated course—for them to meet their antagonists boldly before the country with an avowed purpose and on a true issue, instead of masking their advance under a disguise too flimsy to conceal their real objects and intentions. (Ministerial cheers.) Mr. Horsman called to mind with regret the party vote he gave in 1846—when Sir Robert Poet was turned out of office. The last to enter the lobby, he was the first to upbraid the new Ministry for endeavouring to proceed with the very measure on which they had ousted their opponents. But the effect of that vote on individual leaders, serious as it was, was as nothing compared with its effect on the party generally. A sp_eedy retribution fol- lowed. Was it not matter of history that the great Whig party bad never prospered since that day ? (Laughter and cheers.) Unhappy differences dealt a deathblow to the Cabinet of 1851 ; humiliation befell them in 1853; and a still heavier scourge smote them in 1855, when the most illustrious
of their body separated from them to seek other sympathies for the time, taking with him all the noblest traditions and living renown of the party, and leaving such a void behind ! In that material and moral ruin of a great historic party the world saw both a retribution and R moral. Aud did tho plague which smote the leaders spare the followers? Why, in what, con- dition had they been ever since? (Laughter.) In what condition as a party were they now ? Could they justly be dignified with the title of a party ? For the last twelve months they had been less a party than a mob- (Laughter)—without leaders, without union or combination, without a com- mon policy, principle, or purpose. Why, they had exhibited the most piteous spectacle—(Laugliter and cheers)—a spectacle of the utter disorgani- zation and the low estate to which a great party might sink, never to rise again until it recognized and dealt with the real cause of its calamities. Look at the resolution before the House. Wise heads, secret influences, had been at work upon it. It had come forth in the name of the noble Lord, who was the putative parent; but whose image and superscription did it bear ? (Laughter.) Not the noble Lord's, for it was a satire upon the manliness and directness with which he had grappled with the bill on its first appearance. It did not reflect the wishes of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, because they were well assured,that his sym- pathies and sagacity would lead him to favour the second reading of this measure. It rather indicated that another victory had been achieved by that lower substitute for statesmanship which had too often meddled and maneuvered in the Whig Cabinets, both of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton and the noble Lord the Member for London, discrediting their Governments, and involving them and their followers in one common ruin. (Cries of " Name !") Mr. llorsman did not " name," but proceeded to show that if the Minis- try had to go out upon Reform, the Opposition must reconstruct the Go- vernment on that question ; and further to express great doubts whether they could carry a measure ; and the certainty that if the then Opposition stayed away the new Reform Ministry would be beaten five to one on the ballot. If this opportunity were rejected, he foresaw a period of agitation for Reform culminating in a period when even Mr. Bright would be looked upon as a preserver. [Throughout this speech cheers rose from the Minis- terial benches over and over again, and were loudly uplifted when Mr. Horsman sat down.] Mr. Asians Maas opposed ,the amendment, because it did net raise a direct issue. Mr. KNATCHEULL HUGGESSEN supported the amend- ment. Mr. NEWDEGATE took Government to task for proposing a bill objectionable to both sides, and claimed the credit of having been one of the earliest reformers on the Ministerial side. Lord ROBERT CECIL de- fended the bill, and urged the House not to neglect a favourable oppor- tunity of settling the question. The debate was adjourned on the motion of Mr. WILSON'.
The debate was continued on Tuesday, Sir John Trelawny postponing the Committee on his Church-rate Abolition Bill, in order to allow it to proceed. •
Mr. Wnsosr was the first speaker. His speech was a plain and straightforward effort on behalf of his party. The succeeding speakers were Sir EDWARD LYTTON, Mr. PHILLIPS, Mr. STANHOPE, Mr. VANSITTAILT, Mr. KNIGHTLEY, Mr. Sir HtIGH CAIRNS, on behalf of the Government and Mr. BYNO, Mr. FORSTER, Mr. DODSON Mr. FRANK CROSSLEY andMr. SIDNEY HERBERT, against them. The speeches of the eveningr
however, were those of Sir Edward Lytton, Mr. Herbert, and Sir Hugh
Cairns. tt The Sacarreav for the COLONIES made a very eloquent and animated speech—" splendid declamation " it was afterwards styled by Mr. Her- bert. He said the. question was, would the House accept the modemte mea- *uv offered by the Conservatives with large concessions, or would theyvrait for that other measure of which there was not a glimpse in the mere tarty amendment offered by Lord John Russell, and with regard to which they must calculate the odds whether it would satisfy the Radicals as well as those who have spent twenty-six years in decoying Radical votes and abjuring Radical principles. A Conservative Government cannot give the same kind of reform as Liberals and Whigs. They make conces- sions and expect concessions. If their measure is not accepted then the question of reform passes out of the hands of Lord Derby. But into whose hands will it pass ? Noble lords and honourable gentlemen who are at this moment so carefully bridging the gangway with a rope of sand (Sir W. Hayter, who was seated in "the gangway," rose up hastily at this allusion and left the House amid great laughter) may by their experience patch up the quarrels of years for the division of a night. But grant that they triumph. Will not the quarrels of years show them- selves in Downing Street ? Can the Government that is to be formed last unless Lord Palmerston and Mr. Bright, Lord John Russell and Mr. Roebuck sit on the same bench ? When the Government took up the question public opinion was listless, apathetic. Is it greatly changed now ? Look at the state of Europe. Is it the precise moment, when, although we have peace today, we may have war tomorrow' to transfer political power from the middle classes to a wider area not up to the mark of education required to make the majesty of the intellect of Eng- land confront with effect foreign powers ? The bill of the Government is emphatically a bill for the middle class. The cause is theirs down to the verge at which the influence of that class would melt away amidst the necessities of manual labour and the turbulence of concentered numbers.
" If they of the middle class like to abandon that cause they abdicate their own power, and with it all which has hitherto made the resources of England unshaken amidst the vicissitudes of commerce and the calamities of war. If they honestly think the time has come whenit is safe to accept the counter principle which you advance—viz. that political power should begin to descend to the working class—not knowing whbre that principle, once adopted, can stop till it reaches manhood suffrage, then I say with the middle class the responsibility must rest. Meanwhile, you in this House will determine whether it is your duty thus abruptly to sign away the in- fluence of that class of which you are still the representatives and trustees —whether you really secure the title deeds of their commerce, and take solid guarantees for the safety of their old English freedom, by accepting an amendment which commits you to a pledge to the working class—a pledge which you can never redeem to their satisfaction until you have placed capi- tal and knowledge at the command of impatient poverty and uninstructed numbers."
Sir Edward Lytton enforced his main argument by working up its de- tails. He showed that in refusing the compromise offered the opponents of the Government would plunge the country from end to.end into the midst of a violent party battle—a calamity which Lord John's Jesuitical amend- ment did not counterbalance, but which would be prevented by agreeing to the second reading. He contended that all the objections raised were proper subjects for debate in Committee—the enumeration of these objec- tions followed by the repeated assertion—" that is a fair question for Com- mittee "—called forth repeated cheers and laughter. Reject the bill, he said, and you leave the towns it enfranchises unrepresented, the lodgers it enfranchises unrepresented, and also those who have shown thrift by in- vestment in a savings-bank. The bill does not only extend the suffrage but opens vistas for gradual reduction.
" Now, Sir, so far as regards the mere interest of the Conservative party in this House, I have always said, and I still think, that the lowering of the
borough franchise would be no disadvantage to us, and would indirectly be
of advantage. And why ? Because, a party. does not depend on its num- bers alone ; it depends on the dignity, the independence, the education, and, on the whole, the moderate good sense of its representatives. I be- lieve you gain alethose qualities better under a ten pound constituency than under a five pound. I believe the worst enemy an upright Reformer can have is not a Conservative gentleman ; it is a demagogic adventurer. Once adopt a very low suffrage in your towns, and my belief is that in the present state of popular education the upright Reformer would be too often displaced by the demagogic adventurer. (Cheers.) That would be your loss ; indirectly it would be our gain. Our gain, because you would no longer be the same formidable candidate for power. Violent politicians may make a troublesome and unscrupulous Opposition, but they could never unite to form the Queen's Government. (Cheers.) If we wanted to des- troy the moral power of your party, we would give you the lowest suffrage you liked to ask ; because, lower the franchise beneath ten pound in coun- ties, lower it to five pound, and you would instantly place numbers under the influence of property. That would be our gain. Lower the fran- chise in towns, and the lower you go the more you place numbers under the control of ignorance and passion. That would be your loss." The franchise cannot be lowered without destroying the small boroughs. If they were destroyed the seats should be transferred to the counties. Had the Government done that it would have been said they undertook a reform bill to serve their party. " We did not do this. We would not, in the pre- sent state of Europe, provoke that town and county quarrel which renders always so difficult, and at this time so dangerous, the question of any large redistribution of seats. Having resolved that our measure should be mo- derate, we resolved that, as between party and party, it should be just." (Cheers). He showed that if the House were elected mainly by urban populations it would approximate to the character of the Rouse of Represen- tatives in America, lose its' character as a deliberative and become a popular assembly, and cease to represent what the House does now represent, the highest and noblest elements of the general community. But he was not afraid of the working man. "I am proud of the English workman, whether he be the simple village peasant, with his homely virtues, or that more agitated but, amid all his faults, that noble human being, the skilled mechanic of our manufacturing towns, with his thirst for know- ledge and his dreams of some political Utopia, quite as ra- tional as Plato himself had dreamed. But it is one thing to admire the in- dividual, and respect the class he belongs to, it is another thing to say that to that class you will intrust all the destinies of England. I would intrust the destinies of England to no single class whatever." He complained that Lord John Russell and Sir Charles Wood had made a dangerous appeal to the working classes. They say "it is the fault of the bill that it does not admit the working class; they dwell on this objection ; they inflame the working men with the belief that they shall come into the franchise, not by threes and fours, but by hundreds and thousands, and then in the same breath they declare that they have no idea of admitting the numbers whose expectations they so cruelly excite. (Cheers.) " They were bound to tell the House how far they would go, and ascertain whether their constituen- cies desired to be swamped. "As to the future admission of the work- ing class, I believe in my own heart that I go further than the noble lord ; I go further than most of the great republican writers, ancient and modern ; I go in theory as far as Mr. John Mill, and I would not object to the widest possible suffrage, if you can effect a contrivance by which intelligence shall still prevail over numbers. (Cheers.) If that be impossible, then, I say, at least, the first step towards anything that approaches to universal suffrage should be something that approaches to universal education. But this I will say, that when you invite the agitation of the working class against this measure, you should not only tell us what you refuse from us, you should make it clear to the country what you would give ; and then let the country decide between the two. (Cheers.) . . . . I grant the Bill is not one which gentlemen below the gangway would give if it were their task to make one ; but, so far as the Government is concerned, I ask you, as men of honour, if Lord Derby's Government had passed a Bill according to your models, though you would have accepted the Bill, would you not have despised its authors ? Should we not have been traitors to the loyal gentle- men we represent ? We should have come into your camp, not as now, with a fair flag of truce and overtures of mutual compromise, but with standards trailed in the dust, and offering up the keys of every fortress which the loyalty of our followers had confided to our charge. No ! If a Reform Bill such as you desire must be carried, it is for you to propose it ; it is not for
ue Democracy is like the grave ; it perpetually cries Give, give,' and like the grave it never returns what it has once taken. But you live under a constitutional monarchy, which has all the vigour of health and all the energy of movement. Do not surrender to democracy that which is not yet ripe for the grave."
Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT presented an argument to the House in favour
of voting for the resolution. The main principle of the bill is the uni- formity or identity of the franchise. Now, that is a new principle re- commended by symmetry alone. But no man can be so blind as to sup- pose that the borough franchise can be maintained at ten pounds. It is a product of foreign importation. Sir Edward Lytton had said that he never heard such rubbish as was talked by those who oppose it. "Rub-
bish though it may be, it has been the language of the constitution for the last four hundred years. Rubbish, indeed ! [An honourable Mem- ber—" Intolerable rubbish."] (Laughter.) Yes, and I must say, when I heard the words, that the reflection which occurred to me was that in the interchange of sentiments and opinions in the Cabinet that borrowed phrase must be attributed to my noble friend the Secretary for India, because he has not that traditionary respect for the English constitution by which the right honourable Baronet may be supposed to be distin- guished." The theory of variety of suffrage has been the immemorial practice of the Englisfi constitution. Mr. Disraeli has said a great many excellent things against identity of franchise, and almost the only thing in which he was wrong was in saying it was quite impossible that he should ever bring in a bill of that description. Mr. Herbert objected to a bill of that description—a bill which sacrifices everything to unifor- mity, a principle unknown to our constitution. He wanted to get rid of it, and thought the best weapon for that purpose was the resolution. He could not advise the Government to undergo the humiliation of submit- ting the bill to a Committee—which would take the inside out and re- place it by something else. He asked the Government publicly, as their friends had asked them privately, to withdraw the bill, and introduce one based upon simpler, older, and safer principles. If they did, he would support them.
" The Secretary fer the Colonies says that the Government stands as a shield, as the only bulwark, between the constitution of the country and
those extreme demagogic adventurers who meet in Hyde Park, and who are for annual Parliaments, universal suffrage, equal electoral districts, and vote by ballot. Well, if that were true—though, fortunately, it is not--I confess I should look with great alarm upon the prospects which awaited our institutions. (Laughter.) If this were to be a party division, a mere proposal to turn out the Government, I say frankly that I should greatly regret to see such a change. I want reform, and I will tell the right honourable baronet why ? During fiveor six years I have seen this ques- tion used in a manner which I tit' k does not tend to the stability of our institutions. I think that, coming into office, right honourable gentlemen were not only justified, but were compelled to produce a measure upon this subject. At the same time I cannot conceal from myself the inconvenience of having a question of organic change in the hands of gentlemen who are traditionally opposed to it, while those who would naturally advocate such a change are in opposition. The proper and natural course of events, the course moat for the benefit of the country, would have been that the Whig party should have brought in a Reform Bill, that there should have been no bidding against them for extreme support by those who are professedly Censervative ; but that the Conservatives, acting as an Opposition should have checked and possibly have modified the measure. As matters stand, however, be the bill as just as possible, it becomes a political necessity on
the part of those who are now in Opposition to outbid gentlemen in office. We have lost the value of an Opposition in the sense in which an Opposition should exist, and we have lost the value of a Government in the sense in which a Government should exist. But at the same time I admit that circumstances arb stronger than we. We have to discuss a Reform Bill proposed by gentlemen opposite, and I say again frankly, I shall in no way blame them for undertaking the task I have said that the object of this House is- to arrive at a franchise moderately extended in boroughs and largely extended in counties. Those who are for extending the suffrage in boroughs have been described tonight by a high authority as demagogue adventurers.' For my put, I should desire no better thing than to see a bill framed on the basis laid down by those two demagogue adventurers' the right honourable and learned gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge and the right honourable gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire." (Cheers and laughter.) [Here Mr. Herbert disputed the validity of the uniformity of suffrage as a safeguard against indefinite extension, and entered into an elaborate defence of the small boroughs.] " I have told the Government humbly for myself what sort of a Bill I would support, and I say that, coming from them, I will give it as ardent a support as if it came from the warmest political friend I possess. I have no intention of thwarting or embarrassing them if they produce such a mea- sure. I shall give them, on the contrary, every assistance in my power. I cannot say whether the Government may have other reasons for declining this task. They may find their position irksome from the lois of two of their most valuable and honoured colleagues. There may be differences of opinion among them, and considerations that may make it desirable for the comfort of individual members among them that they should retire. These things Lean' t know, and I make no guess. But I should deeply regret if they al- lowed feelings of that kind to interfere with higher duties and considera- tions of a public nature, and prevent them from endeavouring to carry what they have themselves proposed—a moderate and safe reform, and to pass it through this session." bto doubt many men are animated by party. spirit. " But the great majority of this House, I am persuaded, think it of far more importance than any change of Ministry that the country should be satisfied. (Cheers.) I am not one of those who attach so much significance as many do to the formation of particular Governments. I have seen many changes of Government, and small change in the conduct of public affairs. But of this I am certain, that even if you impose on us a change of Minis- try, very inconvenient and much to be deprecated as that may be, we have a stronger attachment to the constitution of the country than to allow per- sonal feelings and considerations of convenience to influence us in the set- tlement of a grave question like this. Some years hence, what man will ask, Who was Prime Minister in 1859 ?' But who will not ask, What ie the constitution under which we are living ? Is it 9ne which secures to us the benefits which our fathers enjoyed ? Is it one which will enable us to hand down to our children the blessings of liberty which we enjoy our- selves ? ' That is the question that will be asked, and I support this resolu- tion because it is a clear unmistakeable notice to the Government that the proposal they have now made will, in my opinion, conduce neither to the one nor to the other. (Loud cheers.) Sir Iltrow CAIRNS started by affirming that the amendment was de- signed to confuse and embarrass the House, and he saw proof of that in Mr. Herbert's speech. He who deprecated departure from constitutional principles was about to do that for which there is no precedent—vote in such a way so as not only to reject the bill, but show by the motion made the reasons for rejecting it. Nor is that the strangest part of the speech; for his chief objection is to uniformity of suffrage, not one word about which is said in the amendment.
Sir Hugh submitted the amendment to a close examination ; in order to show in opposition to Lord John, that it is just to make freeholders who have property in boroughs vote for boroughs. .Boroughs return Members separate from counties because they have a separate interest. Why should freehold property in a borough be dealt with on a principle different from that applied to other property. Would it be more unnatural to allow the holder of property outside a borough to vote for borough Members, than to allow a holder of property inside to vote for a Member outside a borough ? A man may have many franchises but only one vote if he lives in a county but if he lives in a borough he may vote in the borough as an occupier, and in the county as a freeholder. Is that fair and equitable ? Moreover, since 1832, freeholds in boroughs above 101. in value do not confer a vote for the county. Why, in 1851, Lord john proposed to disfranchise 45,000 freemen by a stroke of the pen. He made no apology, he did not as this bill will do preserve existing rights ; he swept them away. And yet he asked the House to vote for his amendment because freeholders would be de- prived of their double votes ! Sir Hugh denied that the bill would facilitate the manufacture of votes ; and insisted that the bill provided against it. He denied that the Government had said the House must take the bill as it stands. What they had- said was that they would not, on going into Committee, take your instruction as a pledge of the terms on which the second reading is to be passed. " Any Government that tolerated such a proceeding would be unworthy to sit for one minute on these benches."
Sir Hugh said he could not stop short without inquiring what is the practical object of the noble Lord. What are his views ! Does he retain his opinions on the ballot—a measure his constituents demand. " We were informed last night that the honourable Member for Walsall (Mr. Forster) told his constituents distinctly that the noble Lord and the hon- ourable Member for Birmingham were, to use a popular phrase, in the same boat, and perfectly agreed upon every subject. (Cries of "No, no !" and cheers.) These are the honourable gentleman's words—' If you will wait till next week you will find that there is a perfect agreement between Lord John Russell and John Bright' I beg the honourable Member for
Birmingham's pardon for making mention of him in such familiar terms," (La tighter.)
Mr. FORSTER explained that what he had said on the occasion to which the honourable and learned gentleman alluded was, that it was matter of common notoriety that the noble Lord the Member for Birmingham—. (great laughter)—he meant the Member for London—and the honourable gentleman the Member for Birmingham were perfectly agreed as to the course to be taken with regard to the bill under discussion.
Sir HUGH CAIRNS said he was obliged for the information, but he re- peated the question. If Mr. Bright and Lord John are to row in the same boat, does their compact include the ballot, without which the extension of the suffrage, it is said, would be a curse, does it include a redistribution of seats, without which, it is said, the extension of the suffrage will be a sham and a farce. What seats will you take away ? Tell us boldly. The House of Commons has a right to know. What part has Lord John selected from the extensive bill of fare presented by Mr. Bright ? Some years ago, in a passage of arms between them, Lord John found fault with Mr. Bright and his friends for being " so narrow minded"—they have intellect and under- standing bound up in so narrow a round, said the noble lord, " that it is impossible to get them to understand " the principles of the constitution. SpecifiCally, he desired to know the extent of the compact between Lord John and Mr. Bright. "The noble lord appeals as a proof of his sincerity in his amendment to his long known and long-tried attachment to the cause of reform. We all know and admit the noble lord's attachment to this question. But we also know that there is a form of the tender passion which sometimes develops itself in jealousy of any attention to the object of its affection from any other quarter. (Laughter and cheers.) I think the noble lord exposes himself to some misconstruction on this point. (Laughter.) We have heard it said,- * Strong were his hopes his rival to remove ;
With blandishments to gain the public love ; To head the faction while their zeal was hot, And popularly prosecute the plot.'
(Laughter.) Whether this is so or not I know not, but of this I am sure, that the country will ask—the country have asked already—whit are the real intentions of the noble Lord, and what are the objects which he pro- poses to himself in meeting a bill of this kind, not openly, not broadly, but by an ambiguous and most irregular amendment, which commits nobedy and which means nothing that is precise. (Laughter and cheers.) Tho people of this country have differed, and they always will differ, about Re- form bills, about theories of representation, about social and domestic legis- lation of any kind. But there is one subject upon which the people of this country are entirely agreed. They do not like anything which bears the least appearance of approaching to artifice or—I must use a homely phrase —a dodge. (Loud cheers.) They do not like it in business, they do not like it in politics, but least of all will they admire it in a man who, at a time when the best interests of his country at home and our most peaceful hopes abroad demand all the patriotism, all the candour, and all the for- heel-mime of a statesman—( Yelienaent cheers)—approaches the conaideration of a great national question like this, not fairly to criticize, not boldly to reject, but contriving a crafty and catching device to confuse and, if it may be, to 'dislocate parties, and on that confusion and dislocation to secure his own political aggrandizement and private adiantage." (Loud and pro- longed cheering.) The debate, on the motion of Mr. Mfizreat GIBSON, was again ad- journed.
Before the debate was resumed on Thursday, Mr. MITCHELL, asked whether the Government persisted in maintaining uniformity of franchise as the principle of the bill ? To which Mr. DISBAELI oracularly replied as follows— Sir, it is impossible for me to give a categorical answer to a question of this kind addressed to me at this moment. It would demand a statement, both of argument and of detail, which could not be compressed within the legiti- mate scope of a reply to a question put to a Minister on this occasion. (Cheers.) But, sir, this I will say to the honourable gentleman, that when I introduced the bill for the amendment of the representation of the people it was the opinion of my. colleagues that there was no provision in that:mea- sure which might not in Committee be beneficially submitted to that calm and impartial consideration—(cheers and laughter)—which the House had pledged itself to Her Majesty to give to this question—(renewed cheers)— and without which pledge on the part of this miserablyconsidering the cir- cumstances under which we acceded to power, that bill would certainly not have been introduced." (Cheers.) Shortly afterwards, some unopposed business intervening, the order for resuming the adjourned debate was read, and Mr. Mr•LNER GIBSON delivered a speech against the bill ; his position being that the bill is bad, that it mocks the working classes with delusive clauses ; that it does not deal with the small boroughs, and so on. He is not in such n hurry to settle the question as to accept a bad bill, and gain in time what would be lost in quality. The remainder of the speeches, with two exceptions, were characterized by a stronger infusion of party spirit than has been usual of late. Mr. ADDERLEY, for his colleagues, taunted the Opposition with having no fixed principles, and predicted that Lord John Russell's course, if successful, would lead to a violent agitation—as was the case in 1831 and 1832, when agitators raised a storm to serve their own purposes. Mr. HEADLAR supported the amendment with arguments well-worn by previous speakers, and rebuked Sir Hugh Cairns for his coarse vituperative attack on Lord John Russell. Mr, BENTINCK rallied to the Government, and amused the House by a picture of Lord John " rowing in the same boat" with Mr. Bright and his friends. He was afraid Lord John would "catch a crab," and that " the crew " having CLt him sprawling on the bottom of the boat would keep him there. ord John Russell denied that he was "politically associated" with r. Bright.] Mr. W. II. Dinrisorr said that, as Government were of opinion that the bill might be amended in Committee, they might have saved all the trouble the House has been put to by bringing in a bill con- taining a preamble and leaving the clauses blank ! Mr. LOCKE Krim gave a history of his 101. franchise bill, and insisted that in their mode of dealing with it the Government had deprived his proposal of its very life and spirit. Mr. Dirrroic spoke for the Government. Mr. W. J. Fox put in an eloquent appeal for the working classes • and exposed the hollowness of the new-born admiration of the middle claimer} with which the Government is smitten. Mr. BERESPORD HOPE applied himself to answer this speech. The working classes may be well informed, but they are impressionable and liable to be led away by designing men, to take up with " Socialism" and universal suffrage. Mr. OsnonNE made a clever debating speech which recalled to the House the memory of the days ere Mr. Osborne took office. It was rough with "points "; some of which may amuse the reader. " In this Bill the working classes are never recognized except when jthg. are to be disfranchised. The working classes are never noticed in this j ,
except when reference is made to the dockyard labourers. ("Hear, hear!" and laughter.) I perfectly agree with what the honourable Member for Birmingham has said about these fancy franchises. They are not the thing for the people of England. This is merely the political millinery of Down- log Street. (Great laughter and cheers.) The lodging-house franchise is only a delusion. How long is the claimant of this vote to be a resident ? This franchise would be completely at the mercy of a scolding landlady or a smokey chimney. (Great laughter.) We have been assured in a very in- genious manner by the noble Lord the President of the India Board, that Mr. Holyoake says the working classes do not want the franchise. I believe that when the noble Lord quoted Mr. Holyoake the House imagined that
he was quoting the worthy eon of a respectable Northamptonshire Baronet. (Great laughter.) Mr. Holyoake is a very clever political lecturer of free- thinking opinions. I see the honourable Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner)—and I do not wonder at it—shaking his head very gravely. (Roars of laughter.) L do not wonder at it when he finds the President of
the India Board, the future Prime Minister of this country, quoting an in- fidel lecturer as to the opinion of the working classes on this subject. (Great laughter, in which Mr. Spooner took part.) Mr. Holyoake is no au- thority in this Louse."
The two exceptions referred to are the speeches of Mr. Walpole and Mr. Bright.
Mr. WALPOLE started on the assumption that the bill, without con- siderable alterations, will not be acceptable to the country. It was the
duty of the Government to see what practical grievances exist, and to make changes in harmony with the constitution. That is what was done in 1832. There are three grievances—persons have not the suffrage who are entitled to it ; some places are not represented or not adequately re- presented ; and electors have not the greatest possible facility for exer- cising the right. Taking the two latter points Mr. Walpole expounded the value of voting papers, provided there be proper checks, as a means of facilitating voting; defended the small boroughs and expressed an opinion that if members were granted to a few large towns like Birken- head, that is all that is practically required in the way of borough enfran- chisement. Here occurred a digression. Mr. Walpole was proceeding to inquire how it was to be done, when he said- " The honourable gentleman who has just sat down complained grievously of this part of the Bill. He evidently objects to small boroughs, and wishes to have a total disfranchisement of them—[Mr. Osborne.—" No ! Nomina- tion boroughs."] Nomination boroughs ! Will the honourable gentleman give me leave to ask how he will define a nomination borough "
Mr. OSBORNE—" Midhurst! " (Loud laughter.)
Well the property round Midhurst was owned by a Whig and Midhurst Was not disfranchised in 1832, but its area was extended, and it now con- tains as many independent electors as Dover itself. Resuming his argument, Mr. Walpole went on to say that the small boroughs with prescriptive rights are the ties that give continuity to the
life of a nation, and if you break them off you jeopardize the stability of the country. Disfranchise in all cases of proved corruption or simple nomination ; but if you cannot do that keep up the variety of members representing a variety of interests which are derived from Wan as well as hose boroughs.
Then as to the franchise. The Government have shown a great desire to give a portion of the franchise to the working classes. But all the old franchises they have altered, and altered for the worse. "The leaseholds fer years, the copyholds for lives, the freeholds for lives, as settled by the Reform Act, all had this security attached to them to prevent them from being mere faggot votes, that the value mentioned in the Act must be a value over and above all rents and charges. In the present Bill the word rent' is entirely left out. The occupation franchise for boroughs was carefully connected in the Reform Act with houses and buildings. (Loud cries of Hear ! " from the Opposition.) I cannot conceive why in the present Bill the words houses and buildings' are left out—[An honourable Mem- her—" To create faggot votes."]—except for this reason." The word " tene-
ment" that is introduced covers many things beside houses and buildings. Then as to uniformity of franchise. This will destroy the distinction be-
tween counties and boroughs ; lead to the manufacture of votes—an argu- ment against it never answered—destroy the permanent character of consti- tuencies by enfranchising a fluctuating population, and lead to electoral districts. What would Mr. Walpole do ? He would keep up the old dis- tinction between counties and boroughs ; by finding any resting places . that is reduce the fifty-pound occupation in counties down to twenty-pounds--an amount where direct taxation commences with the house-tax, and so taxa- tion and representation would go together—and in boroughs go to a six- pound rating, which would be equivalent to an eight-pound value, because that is the point where the landlord cannot compound for the tenant's rates. He found it difficult to support the second reading of the bill. lithe Govern- ment would declare that all these questions arc open to consideration, then he would help them to pass the bill with amendments. If not he could not blame Lord John Russell for moving his amendment—an amendment which is unusual but not irregular. ' I know it is said that if you adopt the amendment of the noble lord the Government may resign—that Parlia- ment may be dissolved—that the Bill may be thrown out. Sir, I should regret as much as any person if any one of these consequenceeshould follow. I do not believe that they would ensue; nay, more, I believe that both this House and the country will expect that none of these consequences should follow. (Cheers.) I think that 'my right honourable friends upon the Treasury bench achieved theirposition honourably. (Cheers.) They have filled it ably, and I trust they will long continue to hold it with advantage to the country and with credit to themselves. So much for the resignation of the Government As for the dissolution, bold will be that man- (eheers)—who would recommend a dissolution in the present complicated state of European affairs, particularly at a moment when my noble friend Lord Malmesbury, by his prudence—(Ministerial cheers)—by his firmness, by his sagacity—(Opposition cries of " Oh, oh 1" and cheers)—has now placed this country in the poaition of being the mediator and arbiter of peace. (Cheers.) But the strength of thatposition mainly depends, I have no hesitation in saying, upon my noble friend's still receiving, as he has received, all the weight and authority of Parliament for his proceedings. The other alternative is, that this Bill shall be withdrawn. Well, Sir, as I have said before, it will be a dangerous experiment to throw this question again afloat, to take this or that direction. Depend upon it, you ought to settle it now. You can settle it, I am persuaded, if you only act fully,
fairly, and finally. You who sit upon the Treasury. beech have it in your power to settle this question. Great will be the triumph and noble the
success if you accomplish its settlement, but tremendous will be our responsibility, if you throw away the opportunity which is now offered to you. (Loud dicers.)
Mr. BRIGHT made a temperate speech. [Ho is said to have been un- well.] After describing the alliance between himself and Lord John
Russell as " purely imaginary," he said there were two questions before the Houso—the bill and the resolution of Lord John Russell. There is a singular unanimity of feeling about the bill. Every one feels a strong repugnance to some point of the measure. Mr. Reisman seemed to think the Government would accept his suggestion of turning the bill in- side out, but he forgot that they had parted with two eminent colleagues on account of differences on the very points he was discussing. He was astonished that Mr. Herman should suggest such a course. Now the people out of doors understand by a Reform Bill a large enfran- chisement and larger freer constituencies. The bill does not meet that de- mand. It gets rid of the most independent electors from counties, and in- sidiously proposes to alter the boundaries of boroughs to complete the work. But not all boroughs. Some boroughs are not towns at all. Droitwitch and Peterefield are examples. But if the line is to be drawn between coun- ties and boroughs it must be drawn in all cases. The bill, however, would shut out as many as possible in boroughs in one case and not interfere in the other. " I find everything has been done in one direction, and one only." The object is to make the representation of counties more exclu- sively territorial. Is that desirable ? Why, the hundred and fifty gentle- men elected by the territorial interest have been the chiefest difficulty in the way of carrying every measure demanded by the country. Ask Lord Lynd- hurst, ask Sir James Graham ask Lord Aberdeen, ask Mr. Disraeli, who in 1852 was turned out because he was forced to meet the demands of his party with regard to the Malt-tax. Does any one believe that this is the sort of bill which Mr. Disraeli thinks the best for the country? He knows that the bill is framed to satisfy the prejudices of the hundred and fifty gentle- men who sit behind him. As to the small boroughs, they are only a refuge for the politically destitute—a shelter for what are called " deserving ob- jects." What would be the effect of the voting-paper system upon small boroughs ? " I know no limit whatever to the amount of corruption it may occasion."
Mr. Bright exerted himself to show that the bill excludes the working classes ; tells them they are dangerous ; that there are privileges they ought not to share. He pictured their improved mental, moral, and phy- sical condition; and yet, he said, the Government tells them they are as dan- gerous and ignorant, as they were twenty-seven years' ago ! As to uni- formity of franchise he does not see any advantage in it, or great disadvant- age. It has been represented to him as a democratic proceeding. "I am not myself very democratic "—(Loud laughter)—and on that account it has no charms for him. It will not be so easy to move the whole franchise as if the county franchise were different from that of the boroughs. No power can keep the boroughs at 101., and unless the idea of uniformity be given up the county franchise must come down. It is said nobody cares about reform. Mr. Walpole thinks it should be settled this session because he knows the form in which it will be settled is not one satisfactory to the people. There will be agitations during the au- tumn and winter. "Do not imagine that those changes which become ne- cessary from time to time can be accomplished without the healthy opera- tion, in some case perhaps approaching to a rude but still a refreshing and strengthening agitation." Were they sure there is nothing in what is going on out of doors ? I happen to have been to some of the largest populations 'of the country, and I have seen meetings exceeding in number and exceed- ing in influence, I believe, almost every meeting that was held, by the Anti- Corn Law League during the agitation of the repeal of the cord laws. The populations you are about to disappoint and defy, what have they done ? They have conquered everything they have grappled with hitherto. I do not speak of distant realms conquered under your banners, but of arts and manufactures and all that tends to wealth and civilization. Do you think that this population will not also conquer a much larger share of their poli- tical rights than in your present mood you appear disposed to give them ? He told the country gentlemen that the men in the North, eminent men, conducting vast undertakings, have no fear of the people. A violent dis- turbance would be more damaging to us than to you ; yet a large propor- tion of the employers of labour are in favour of extending the suf- frage, for they believe it would remove discontent, and elevate and strengthen the people. " I assure you that resistance is not always conservative. I profess to be, in intention, as conservative as you. I be- lieve infinitely more so, if you look forward twenty or thirty years into the future. Was not free-trade conservative ? (Cheers.) And yet you resisted it to the last. I recollect when the Chancellor of the Exchequer used to get up, and with dishevelled hair, tell us of the cruelty practised on the ruined and betrayed agriculturist. (Cheers and laughter.). Is not prosperity conservative ? Is not peace conservative ? Any energies I pos- sess I have devoted to their advance ; I have endeavoured to stand on the rules of political economy, and to be guided by the higher rules of true mo- rality ; and when advocating a measure of reform larger than some are pre= pared to grant, I appear in that character, for I believe a substantial mea- sure of Reform would elevate and strengthen the character of our popula.
Lion ; that, i in the language of the beautiful prayer read here every day, it would tend !to knit together the hearts of all persons and estates within this realm.' I believe it would add to the authority of the decisions of Parlia- ment; and I feel satisfied it would confer a lustre time could never dim on that benignant reign under which we have the happiness to live." (Cheers.)
On the motion of Sir STAFFORD Nonrncerre, the debate was then ad- journed.
THE MARRLAGE LAW.
In the House of Lords, on Tuesday, Lord WODEIIOUSE moved the se- cond reading of Lord Bury's bill, legalizing marriage with a deceased wife's sister. Lord DUNGANNON met the motion by an amendment— that the bill should be read a second time that day six months. The temporal Peers who supported the amendment by speeches were Lord ST. LEONARDS and Lord CRANWORTH ' • those who spoke on behalf of the bill were the Earl of ALBEHAIILE and Lord LIFFORD. The main 1)0_4' of the debate lay with the prelates, and even these were divided. the Bishop of Coax and the Bishop of CARLISLE, contending that there was no religious objection to the measure, favoured the second reading, the Bishop of EXETER, the Bishop of Sr. ASAPH, the Bishop of Sr. Davin's, and the Bishop of OXFORD spoke with much solemnity against the measure, as one opposed to the laws of God, and inimical to the hap- piness of man.
On a division, the bill was thrown out by 49 to 39.
THE ANNUITY Tex.
Mr. BLACK moved the second reading of the Edinburgh, &c., Annuity Tax Bill. This measure abolishes an impost levied in Edinburgh and other Scotch towns for the support of the Established Church of Scot- land. It is admitted by all that it is unequal in its incidence ; that large numbers are exempted from paying it ; and its opponents urge that it is unjust, obnoxious, and oppressive, an injury and a wrong. Mr. Cum- sirs° BRUCE, leading the opposition, said the bill was unjust, cruel, an unblushing spoliation, a heavy blow, and great discouragement to the Established Church, the first step towards the abolition of that church ; and he therefore moved that the bill should be read a second time that day six months. Mr. BLACKBURN said the bill was outrageous. Mr. BAXTER challenged the Government to state their intentions. Mr. Hons- 31AN and Mr. STEUA.RT asked the Government to deal with the question themselves. The LORD-ADVOCATE promised to introduce a bill. He has authority to do so. But he could not support the second reading of Mr. Black's bill, which abolishes the tax and provides no substitute. The amendment was supported by Mr. H. BarrArv., Lord Exam, and Mr. F. Sean ; the second reading of the bill by Mr. MoNcniErv, Mr. Cower, ir W. DUNBAR, Mr. LaBoncovov, Mr. Kamm, Mr. BRIGHT, Mr. Ellie; senior, and Lord DUNCAN. Several of these made reserva- tions, and desired that the bill should be read a second time, and the Committee postponed until the Government bill reached the same stage. Mr. SOTHERON EsroouaT made an appeal to Mr. Black not to proceed ; but Mr. Brae( refused to listen to any such advice ; and, on a division, the amendment was negatived by 216 to 176, and the bill was read a sound time.
EDUCATION OF IRISH PAUPERS CIRLDRHY.—Mr. GREGORY has brought in a bill to meet cases like that which occurred sometime since at Galway, where Father Daly was dismissed for baptising, in the Roman Catholic faith, a child whose parents could not be ascertained. The bill provides that where there is no clue to the religion of the parents of a pauper child, the board of guardians shall act in their discretion and register the child accordingly. The measure was opposed by Mr. GROGAN, Lord Naas, and Mr. WHITESIDE, on the ground that it would create greater strife and ill- blood than exists now. The Government officials were very slow to give their opinion ; and Lord Naas was only called up by a jocular taunt from Mr. OSBORNE that he was like Theseus immovable—sedet ieturnumque sedebit. As the debate took place late on Wednesday afternoon, it was easily spun out until the time for adjournment was indicated by the clock.