The members of the North Durham Reform Society dined together in Durham, on Tuesday week. Lord Durham, patron of the society, Mr. Hutt, Mr. Bowes, Sir William Chaytor, Mr. White, and Mr_ Harland, are enumerated among the more distinguished " assistants"' at the festival. Mr. Spearman, of Newton Hall, acted as chairman. After the preliminary toasts, Mr. Spearman proposed the health of the Earl of Durham ; which was received with prolonged cheering. Lord Durham then addressed the company. He spoke of his former connexion with them as their Representative; of the change in his own position, and in public affairs, during the eleven years that had elapsed since he last addressed them in the same room as their Member ; of the honours he had received from his Sovereign, and his diplomatic suc- cess ; of the long cont)exion maintained between his family and the freeholders of Durham, and the warm interest he felt in their welfare: and he added, that he could say in truth and sincerity, such feelings almost deprived him of the power of utterance. He then adverted to the object of the North Durham Reform Society ; and strongly rectum- mended toleration, conciliation, and union among Reformers, for the purpose of putting down Toryism.
" I will also beg leave to suggest to you, that the attendance of this day—the unanimity and enthusiasm I see displayed on this occasion—ought not to cease and determine with this day alone. Remember, rather, that your exertions am to be continued week after week, day bytliy, and hour after hour. Recollect that, under the new constitution under which we live—for, afwr all, it is a new con- stitution—greater duties are imposed upon you, and that with the well-educated and worthy citizens of this great empire idleness is impossible. You must put your shoulders to the wheel, and work as others have worked before you. I will ask you whether my own has been a life of idleness ?—whether, in reference to the political affairs of the country at large, or to the provincial affairs of the county of Durham, mine has not been a life of hard-working industry? I have sacrificed even the consideration of my private affairs to the general advantage of the country. Have I not a right, then, to call on you, to exhibit something of the same spirit ? Ilave I not a right to ask you if, since the year 1813, when I first had the honour of representing this county, I have ever spared labour or expense in your service, but have constantly been at your call whenever you chose to claim my services—have I not a right to ask you whether you will not do for yourselves collectively what I have been willing to do for you alone ? I have no doubt of the result of this experiment. I know too much of the electors of this great county, to believe in the existence of any want of interest amongst them on this subject. If they see those who stand at their head pre- pared to lead them to battle, I for one would not question their willingness Mr follow into the conflict, or entertain a doubt as to the result of the struggle. How, then, it may be asked, has arisen that event the occurrence of which has produced the necessity of such exertions? Having been abroad for a consider. able time, in a far distant country. I am not prepared to trace all the small and unmoor causes which have led to that temporary eclipse of your former Liberal ascendancy—that brief obseuration of your Liberal character. Suffice it to say, that it has happened, anti that, if I live, it never shall happen again: L The whole company sprang on their feet and received this dechn ation with tkafeso U19 shouts of applause.)
He could not allude to the defeat they had suf.tain;r1 without mention- ing a gentleman who for some time would be their County Member-
*, I allude to Mr. Liddell of Eslington ; anti nty retnarks skill only refer to the observations Mr. Liddell of Eslington has chosen to make upon mysela With regard to that gentleman—Mr. Liddell of Eslingtoil—I could make no objectiou—it would be the greatest act of presumption in nut' to make an ob- jection to the claims of his family. Cod forbid ! Ile is the on of as roped,- 'able and excellent a nobleman as any in the kingdom: and in that respect his claims would be indisputable. But my objections to Mr. Liddell of Eslington are founded, I will not say on personal, because I have none, but on individual grounds. In the first place, Mr. Liddell of Eslington has, on more than one occasion, repudiated the county of Durham. He has declared it was the highest offence against him to say that be was a county of Durham man. It was asked of him in Northuinberland, how he could think of opposing Mr. Matthew Bell, when he was a Durham man ? '1 a Durham man !' said he; 'no such thing ! I have left Farnacres. that abode of peace and innocence . my father has made over to me the E,lington property ; and I am a thorough back-bone Northumbrian.' Now, I will say, that unless the laws of the country are to be reversed, Mr. Liddell of Eslington having divorced himself from the county of Durham a mensa et thorn, can never claim her for his bride again. That is my objection to Mr. Liddell of Eslington. I ceuld not have had the same objection to any of his brothers. But I consider, and I shall always hold, that Mr. Liddell disqualified himself by that act from becoming the representative of the county of Durham. So much for Mr. Liddell's dis- qualification. Now for his qualifications. As an elector—for I observe that a decision has taken place in ftvour of the Duke of Norfolk, and I hope the Re- vising Barrister will allow me to register myself next sear as a freeholder of the county—I have a tight to pass my judgment on Mr. qualifications. I will tell you, in a less words, why I think Mr. Liddell is not fitted to be your representative. He is a very accomplished gentletnan—he sings well, he dances beautifully, and he writes remarkably pretty verses: but, in my con- science, I believe these are not the necessary qualitications you ought to look for in your representative. 1 believe you require a person of a greater grasp of intellect : and however qualified he may he to shine tti society, were I an elector of this county, I should feel hound to tell him, did he call upon me for my vote, that though ii tture had qualified him to grace a drawing.rooln, she had not qualified him to adorn the Senate."
Lord Durham repudiated the charge made against him by Mr. Liddell of attempting to dictate to the county; though he gloried in
the powerful aid which, when called upon, he bad given to the Liberal cause. He then referred to his letter to Mr. Bowlby-
" I oertainly addressed that letter to Mr. Bowlby, or rather to the electors of North Durham, with the belief, or rather the certainty, that the sentiments it contained would be circulated throughout the kingdom. In penning it, I was influenced by several reesons. In the first place, during my absence from Eugland, liberties had been taken with my name, in aasomating it with doe- times and principles with which I Dever had and never will have any con- nexion. On my return to England, I thought it necessary to recall to the memory. of my countrymen the principles I had ever supported, and the re- servations %skit which I had ever accompanied the decial ations of those °p1. miens. I now allude more particularly to the attacks levelled against me by the Radical—I say it with all respect—portion of my countrymen ; though it is my fate to be committed against the extremes of both parties. In the course of my life, I have been opposed by Mr. Cobbett in London, Mr. Attwood at Gatethead, and those now in the public press veho oppose the principles I sup- port. I do not blame them. I believe they are actuated by honest desires to effect the happiness of the country. But what I complain of is, that they have not only forgotten all my previous declarations, but have, by implication, identified me, in my absence. AS ith schemes I never did support, but to which I alweys have been, and ales) s shall be opposed. My friend the Chairman has referred to a compilation of any speeches, of which many thousand copies have been circulated sim e I visited Glasgow in 1834. I had then the honour to be received by the lergest gathering of my fellow .countrymen ever assembled. I was received le 150,000 men, who met to present an address to me. Did I shrink then, any more than I did when meeting the working classes of Dundee, from expressing my sentiments to them ? Did I shrink from telling them, on the Greeu at Glasgow, that I differed from them on many points, and that their opinious could never be carried out but by conciliation and tolerance? I told them, that however ardently I was attached to the three objects I bad in view —household suffrage, vote by ballot, and triennial Parliaments—and though I should ever be ready to declare that attachment in my place in Parliament, I never could, and never would, as I stated in my letter to Mr. Bowlby, force them dogmatically on the consideration of the Government or the Country. These are not after-thoughts brought forward for the purpose of qualifying opinions formerly expressed. They are the identical words and expressions which I used in 1834, and which are recorded in print. Why should I qualify my opinions ? I have no object to gain by doing so. I repeat to you what I said at Glasgow, that I would not receive the highest honours the People or my Sovereign have it in their power to bestow, if they were to be obtained by the abandonment or compromise of any opinion / ever entertained. But while I declare this to you, I will state that, however un- changeable my attachment to those principles may be, if, on a division, this meeting were to decide against me on any or every one of them, I would not pees them on your consideration, any more than I would press them upon the consideration of the people before they were prepared to receive them—because, if I have read history right, when great changes in the polity of states have miscarried, it has been when those who proposed them have endeavoured to force their doctrines on the people before they were ripe to receive them ; whereas the true and wise Reformer—he who prepares the ground, sows the seed, and affords time for its ripening—when the season for reaping the harvest arrives, will have the proud satisfaction of having attained an object of the highest importance to his country without having forced it against the feelings and convictions of his countrymen. Such have been, and such always will be, my principles."
There was another question on which be had been misrepresented, ar.1 to which he would advert, because his name had been connected with it in his absence, on the presumption that he was favourable to it- " To what is called an organic change of the House of Lords, I am de- cidedly opposed. In the first place, what is proposed to be done is a perfect
absurdity. What is the defect in the constituency of the House of Lords for which it is proposed to make it elective? It is because it is not in harmony with the House of Commons. How will you correct this? By election ? If by a higher rate of constituency than that which elects the House of Com- mons, the House of Lords would become more Tory than it is. If by a lower, you would raise the House of Lords higher in the scale of Liberality than the Commons. And if by the same constituency that elects the House of Commons, you would have it exposed to the same influences and feelings which, in the House of Commons, too frequently produce mere personal and
local feelings, in contradistinction to the general interests of the country. An elective House of Lords is an absurdity, and a moral impossibility. If you come to the question whether or not there should be a second House of Assembly, that is a very different matter ; but as it has not been yet mooted, I need not discuss it now. But while you have a House of Lords, I do say that the materials for making it elective are not to be, and cannot be, found in this country. Therefore, I say, I cannot consent to have my name connected with any such opinions. Having said so much in reference to that letter, I will only add, that my epinione are unchanged. I see no reason to alter them. If I hive seen any reason to change, it has been such as would strengthen rather than impair them. For see what has happened since I declared them at Glas- gow in 1834. The English Corporation Bill has been passed, in which house- hold suffrage has been established as the qualification for voting. The Town. Councils ale elected, not by 10/. occupiers, but by householders, who react upon the Parliamentary constituency ; and if they can be intrusted with the munic:pal franchise, I think they might be fairly intrusted with the election of Members of Parliament. With regard to the ballot, I stated in 1834 that it was advisable. Now every day's experience adds to the number of its sup- poi is; s The last election has increased them a hundredfold. What do I t:leau by the ballot? I do not mean exactly the wooden box, which is so great sto.ater of difficulty to Mr. Liddell that he cannot understand it. I do net semi merely the six letters that spell ballot. I mean independence to the
some. The opponents of the ballot declare that they too are anxious to give independence to the voter, but unfortunately deny him the only means of se- curing it. If any other mode of effecting this object can be found, I shall, for ose, be most ready to adopt it. My wish would be, were I a Member of Par- liament, that I should be elected by the true and conscientious opinions of my constituents, and not by force and intimidation."
The "No Popery" cry formed one of the other topics of Lord Dur- ham's speech. He observed, that on the Continent no sovereign thought of asking what religion a subject professed before conferring upon him places of confidence and power. The principles of the English Tories would lead to civil war, and the dismemberment of the empire, if acted upon with reference to the Catholics of Ireland. But be trusted that there was no chance of the return of the Tories to power. Ile saw no cause for despondency-
" Her Majesty's Ministers have not so large a majority as when I had the honour of beings member of the Government. It was then 150; it is now only 45 or 50(l) But the times are altered. A large majority is not so neces- sary (?) provided it is composed of respectable and influential men, and provided the measures of the Government are marked by wisdom and energy—above all things, if they never compromise those great principles for which they were called into action. My confidence in Lord Melbourne is such that I believe you may safely trust him. I speak independently. I am in the service of the Crown, but I am not a member of the Government. I know nothing of their councils. All I know is in connexion with my, office as Ambassador to Russia.' I look only to their public proceedings and at the character of their heads ; and I shall be much disappointed if you do not, in the ensuing session of Perlis- ment, see them pursue a course that will secure them the respect, the esteem and confidence of all classes of Reformers, be their opinions what they may. AS for myself, I will never support army Government which has not this object ia view. My object is to contribute to the steady progress of needful reforms, and the timely amelioration of our national institutions. To this our steady sod constant attention ought be directed. I will not say, Nil actum reputans, at quid auperesset agendum '—I will not say that nothing has been done while aught remains to do • but I do say, that the success which has attended our former efforts shouldencourage us to proceed in the same direction—that the good we have done should inspire us to do more If I were diposed to urge any thing more than another, it would be the establishment of a system of national instruction for the people ; for without a fair and liberal education, neither those who are above nor those who are below you in worldly statioa can rightly understand or fitly discharge their political duties."
He concluded by exhorting the company to courageous exertion. At the close, as throughout the whole of his speech, he was warmly cheered.
Speeches were delivered by Mr. Bowes, Mr. Hutt, and Sir William Chaytor. Mr. Hutt's health was proposed, in eulogistic terms, by Lord Durham.