TOPICS OF THE DAY.
HAVE WE BEEN DECEIVED?
"The Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill."
SPBCTATOR'S R.41.1•YING.CRF. THE John Ball of' last Sunday said, that the Bill introduced by Lord Jour, RUSSELL, on the previous day, was "neither the Bill, the whole Bill, nor any thing like the Bill." We confess we felt a little nervous when we read this announcement, notwithstanding our long experience of the modest assurance of John. We knew his sources of information to be neither few nor insignificant. We knew that though his friends had left office, his friends' friends remained. He might have obtained a copy of the Bill, though we had not. It was possible that the awkwardness of its friends might have introduced some clauses into it, sufficient to give its enemies a topic for rejoicing ; and it was also possible that John might, for once in his life, by way of surprising us, be telling the truth. Our alarm has proved unfounded-the Bill retains its in- tegrity, and the journalist his character. We apologize to Lord JOHN and to John, -to Lord JOHN, for suspecting that he could fora moment prove, even in appearance, false on the subject of Reform ; to John, for the equally unfounded suspicion that he could for a moment prove true, on the subject of Reform or any other.
We have now the three copies of the Bill before us ; and, for the sake of comforting the weak and confirming the strong, and of giving to both fitting arguments with which to confound the ad- versary, we have drawn up the following detailed statement of the much-talked-of, much-exaggerated differences between the third copy and its predecessors. The first copy, we may remark, is dated 14th March-it is that which was read a first and second time; the second is the copy which contains the alterations pro- posed to be made in the Committee ; the third is that which was read a first time on Saturday last.
The heads of the Ministerial measure of Reform, so far as its principle is concerned, were, in the first copy of the Bill, as follows- That boroughs having less than 2,000 inhabitants should be wholly dis. franchised:
That boroughs having more than 2,000 and less than 4,000 inhabitants should return only 1 member : That certain towns, hitherto unrepresented, should return 2 members each : That certain other towns, hitherto unrepresented, should return 1 member each :
That certain counties should return 2 additional members each : That Weymouth and Melcombe Regis should, conjointly, return 2 in- stead of 4 members ; and that the Isle of Wight should return I member, and Swansea 1 member : That certain alterations of arrangement should take place in the Welsh contributory boroughs : That the light of elective franchise should be extended in boroughs and counties.
The following alterations and modifications have been successively in- troduced in the second copy and third copy.
Boroughs of less than 2,000 inhabitants.
In all cases, the population of the parish in which the borough is situ- ated to be included. By this rule, Aldborougii, Buckingham, Malmsbury, Okehampton, and Reigate, were taken out of the list. Exceptions front the rule-Beeralston by copy second ; Beeralston, Downton, and St. Ger- mans, by copy third. The list comprehended in the first in.stance 60 boroughs, returning 119 members; it now comprehends 57 boroughs, re- turning 113 members.
Burotighs of less than 4,000 and more than 2,000 inhabitants.
The same rule to be applied to these boroughs as to the former. By this rule, according to copy second, Leominster, Morpeth, Northallerton, Tamworth, Truro, Westbury, and Wycombe, were taken out of the list, and remained as they hacl been before the Bill was introduced ; Ald- borough, Buckingham, Malinsbury, Okeh ampton, and Reieate, v:ere added to it ; the only exception was Beeraktun, as above. According to copy third, Downton and St. Germans are excepted, as above; to Penryn is added Falmouth; and to Sandwich. Deal and Widmer ; and these two boroughs, having thus more than 4,000 inhabitants each, remain as they were before the Bill was introduced. The list comprehended in the first instance 46 boroughs ; it now comprehends 40.
Towns hitherto unrepresented to return 2 members each.
The number of these towns in copy first was 13. In copy second, Hali- fax was excepted ; and the following alterations were made in the villages and hamlets joined with them : 1. Manchester-Pendleton omitted ; 2. Birmingham-parish of Edgebaston and townships of Duddeston and Vichels and Deritend substituted for St. Philip and St. Mary, Birming- ham, and Aston, Warwickshire. In copy third, Bradford, Newton, and Horpurhey are substituted for Cheethain, in the case of Manchester : to Wolverhampton, Willenhall and Wednesfield are added. The principal towns remain as in copy second.
Towns hitherto unrepresented to return 1 member each.
The number of these towns in copy first was 18. In copy second, Burk, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stoke-upon-Trent, Wakefield, and Whitby, were added, and also Halifax from former list. The third copy makes no alteration ; present number 26.
Counties to return 2 members additional each.
These counties are the same in all the copies of the Bill ; but copy se- cond gave 1 member additional each to-Berks, Bucks, Cambridge, Dor- set, Glamorgan, Hereford, Hertford, Oxford. Copy third makes no al- teration in this respect.
The particular cases of Weymouth, Isle of Wight, and Swansea, are provided for in the same way in all the copies of the Bill.
The Welsh Contributory Boroughs.
By copy first, Criceieth was disfranchised. Copy second added Amlwch to Beaumaris. Copy third restores the franchise to Criccieth, and join
It to CarnarIon as at present ; it also adds Llangefri to Beaumaris, St. Asaph to Flint and joins Milfordhaven with Pembroke instead of Haver- fordwest. Extension of the Elective Franchise.
Electors in boroughs-by copy first, all persons occupying an inhabited house of the yearly value or rent, or that was rated or assessed at the yearly value or rent, of 101. or upwards : persons possessing a vote under the present law to retain the same while they continue to reside.
By copy second, all persons occupying, as owner or tenant, any such house, or warehouse or counting-house, separately or conjointly, of the yearly value or assessed or rated at 10/. or upwards ; persons having a vote under the present law ; and sons of freemen born, and apprentices to freemen apprenticed before the passing of the act, being residents. By copy third-to houses, warehouses, and country-houses, are added lands; the rest as in copy second. New Shoreham, Aylesbury, East Ret- ford, and Cricklade, are placed, by copy second and copy third, on the game footing as other boroughs.
Electors in counties-by copy first, copyholders of 10/. or upwards- leaseholders of 501. or upwards on leases for twenty-one years-freehold- ers in certain cities and towns, being counties of themselves. By copy second, the period of leaseholds of 50/. or upwards was re- duced to fourteen years. Copy, second also added leaseholds of sixty years or upwards of the yearly value of 10/. and upwards ; leaseholds for fourteen years on which a fine had been paid equivalent to 50/., or mak- ing, with the reserved rent, the sum of 50/. or upwards. Copy second added to the list of towns being counties in themselves, the towns of Caer- marthen, Haverfordwest, Lincoln, London ; it also joined Ainsty to York; and it provided that Gloucester county should be held to include the part of Bristol that lies on the Gloucester side, and Somerset county the part of Bristol that lies on the Somerset side of the Avon. Copy third further reduces the period of 501. leases from fourteen to Seven years ; it also provides that the mortgagor or cestuique trust in pos- session, and not the trustee or mortgagee, shall exercise the elective fran- chise. In all the copies of the Bill, it is provided that the rights of ex- isting freeholders shall not be disturbed.
Machinery of the Bill.
The only alteration, in the machinery of the Bill, which is of the slightest importance in respect of principle, is the transferring, by copy third, of the power of .ascertaining, or enlarging where required, the boundaries of boroughs, and of dividing counties, from a Committee of members of the Privy Council, in whom it was proposed to be vested by the first copy of the Bill, to a Commission chosen by Parliament. The otter alterations are wholly directed to the more effectual working of the Bill in its details.* Now, let any man of plain judgment read over the above state- ment, and let him, if he wish for more minute information, peruse also the subjoined note, and then let him say whether there be any thine; in the last copy of the Bill, which so far separates it from the first, that it may not be received, by every Reformer in England, as "the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." Is there any thing in that watchword, which has travelled over hill and dale, and visited city and hamlet, and been shouted in
crowds, and dwelt on at cottage firesides, where nothing else of ours has ever reached or ever may reach—which will figure in the historical records of our country, long, it may be, after our fleet- ing pages have perished—is there any thing, in the only sense in which it ever was used by us or received by the country, that is inconsistent with a more strict definition of Schedules A and B than the first copy of the Bill presented, or with a more perfect ma- chinery than it provided ?
There was but one word that required remark—the word "once"
in the 21st paragraph of the last copy of the Bill ; and that word requires remark no longer. Every person saw that it was a mere clerical blunder. We blame not the people for their jealousy of the Bill ; on the contrary, their watchfulness does them credit.
• For the advantage of ready reference, to those who may wish to compare the several copies of the Bill minutely, we give the corresponding clauses in the three Copies.
Copy 1st 1
Copy2nd 1 Copy 3rd 1
Copy 1st 31
Cop/ 2nd 31 Copy 3rd 28 2 2 —2 — 32 — 32
3 3 —3
26 — 24 4 4 4 34 -
5 — 5 —5 35 30 — 6 6 —6 36 -
7 7 8 37 27-28 25-26
8 8 9 38
9 — 14 15 39 33 — 30 10 — 15 16 40 34 31 11 18 — 14 41 35 32 12 — 20 42 36 —33 13 — 16
43 37 — 34 14 17 17 44 $8 36-41 15 — 10 12 4.5 39 37-38 16 — 9 -- 11 46 40 — - 17 - — - 47 41 42 18 — 11 -- 10 48 42 35 19 — 12 — 43 99 43 39 20 — 13 — 13 50 45 40 21 — 24 — 23 51 46
22 — 24 — - 52 47
23 — 19 18-19 53 44
24 21 — 21 54 48
25 22 —22 55 49 44 26 23
56 50 45 27 25
— 28 29 25
29 27 59 so 51 52 46 47 30
The clauses in the first copy were 47; in the second 52; in the third they are O. The following is a brief note of those to wl ich there were no correspondi ng clauses in the tirst copy. Clauses 13-16 respect the increase of members for Berk-s, &c. ; 17 re- fers to mortgagors; 22-24 to the rights of existing voters ; 26-23 give to the Par- liamentary Commissioners power to examine on oath ; 27-25 and 28-25 refer to New Shoreham, 8:c.; 30 provides for omissions in county lists ; 34 directs town. clerks to furnish lists of freemen to overseers ; 35-30 provide for places extra. parochial; ad provides for persons omitted in borough lists; 38 gives overseers power to inspect tax-books; 443-40 regulate polling-booths; 51-46 direct certified copies of electors to be furnished for each booth ; 52-47 empower deputies of sheriffs to administer oaths, Scc.; 54-48 confirm former statutes, unless where altered; 57 renders personating an elector penal; 58 directs writs to be drawn up In conformity with the act. The only omitted clause is 7; by which, in copy first, Crleeieth was .disfranchised. The whole number of clauses added is 14; of which, Si refer to-details of the prindples laid down in copy first, and 11 to the machinery astatliWk, But, after so many proofs of the Ministers' honesty—after having seen that in every alteration, even the slightest, the rights of the people had been studiously extended—it was but fair to impute the word in question to any motive rather than a wish to contract those rights. The letter, however, of Lord Jorix RUSSELL to Mr, WASON sets the matter at rest.