THE BERKSHIRE ELECTION.
The nomination of the two candidates, Mr. Hallett and Alr. Palmer, took place at Reading on Monday. The day was tine ; the assemblage of freeholders and spectators very considerable, not less than four or five thousand ; and the whole scene exhilarating. The processions and flags, on the side of the popular candidate, were very numerous. Mr. Palmer came accompanied bv 230 persons on horseback, and four carriages. Ile had no banners. The Town-hall being found much too small for the number assembled, an adjournment took place to the Forbury, a large open space outside of the town ; where, however, no hustings were prepared. The meeting was ultimately held in the Mar- ket-place. Mr. Sawyer, amidst considerable interruption, proposed Mr. Robert Palmer. The nomination of Mr. Palmer was seconded by Mr. Rigby.
Sir Francis Burdett proposed his old and valued friend Mr. Hallett. The nomination was seconded by Mr. Monck.
The two candidates afterwards addressed the freeholders, and a show of hands was taken. It was greatly in favour of Mr. Hallett ; on which Mr. Palmer demanded a poll, and the election contest was adjourned to Abingdon, to commence on Thursday.
At Abingdon, Mr. Palmer was proposed by Mr. Wroughton-
He presented Mr. Palmer to them as a gentleman of that time of life which brought to full maturity those energies of mind and of body which were so essential to the proper discharge of the claims which they had upon their representative in the [louse of Commons. (" Off with Palmer; he is the wrong way.") He had been told by some friend in the crowd, whom he could not see, that Mr. Palmer was the wrong way. (" So he is.") Now, upon that point he would quote the words recently used by an honourable baronet, whom they would be disposed to believe more readily than himself, as he was looked upon as a person of high authority at all popular meetings. Undoubtedly that honourable ba- ronet was high authority ; and he had told them at Reading that the question involved in this election was not a question of Reform. (Loud cries of" It is," echoed back with shouts of "Pro" from the Palmersites. A voice ex- .claimed, " That is the question—if it is not, what is ?") Sir Francis Burdett had told the county that over the question of Reform their votes, even if they had the wish to injure it, could now have no influence,—that the question then before them was a question not of Reform, but of the credit and character of the county. That was the ground upon which Sir Francis had placed the question ; and he (Mr. Wroughton) was willing to take it upon the honourable baronet's word. Besides the many qualifications which he had already stated Mr. Palmer to possess, Mr. Palmer possessed many more, which it was unnecessary for him then to state, rendering him peculiarly suited for the object which they then wanted, and calculated to support the character, the credit, and the peace of the county. He would not follow the example which had been set him elsewhere, in canvassing the personal merits of the supporters of the other candidate,—he would not speak of them with the same sneer, scorn, and contempt, which had been displayed on the other side,—for God forbid that he should feel scorn and con- tempt for any person at that meeting, still more for any freeholder of Berkshire. He therefore would not say, in the words of one of Mr. Hallett's supporters, by whom is Mr. Hallett supported? He thought, however, that the class of per- sons by whom Mr. Palmer was supported had been made very evident that day. He would ask this question. (" Set all your parsons ayoing—and we'll beat you still.") Yes, with all due respect to those gentlemen, who entertained dif- ferent principles from his own, he would ask, not by whom was Mr. Palmer opposed, but why was he opposed ? ("Because he would not speak out." "Tell us what he is, and what lie has ever done ?") It was not because Mr. Palmer was not a Reforiner ; it was not because Mr. Palmer was a slow and cautious Reformer.
Mr. Wroughton was followed by Mr. Elliot ; who said that the elec- tion of Mr. Palmer would be nor,evidence of a reaction in Berkshire, because Mr. Palmer was now proposed to the freeholders aaa Reformer. He noticed an advertisement-of the Birmingham Deputation, and asked if the freeholders of Berks were to truckle to Mr. Joseph Parkes and Mr. Shuttleworth ? He dwelt on Mr. Palmer's merits : he had been a member of the Finance Committee and of the Civil List' Committee— he had filled the most arduous and difficult posts in Parliament.
Mr. J. Bowles proposed Mr. Hallett— At the present important and appalling crisis, if any candidate were endowed with every private and political virtue, and were yet deficient in the one great qualification,—namely, a determination to support the Bill of Earl Grey in all its essential provisions,—he should count that candidate as valueless. But a very wonderful discovery had recently been made, by which it appeared that all per- sons were now become Reformers, not even excepting the great duke, the illus- trious hero of Waterloo, and that. too, in the teeth of his own memorable protest. With their permission, he would examine a little into the merits of these Re- formers : and first let him introduce to their notice a class of persons of timid, anxious gait, advancing with downcast eyes, and soft and vacillating step—these were they who called themselves friends of Moderate Reform. Of a kindred stamp, but somewhat differing in their appellation, and rather more advanced than the Moderate Reformers, was another darts of persons, who called them- selves the friends of Salutary Reform. There was a third class, of firmer step and bolder aspect, who, though they were advanced some way up the ladder of Reform, were still far below the summit level, and these called themselves the friends of an Efficient Reform. All these persons, wrapping themselves up in vague and barren generalities, imagined that the deep and ardent thirst of the People for extensive ameliorations would be quenched by their shallow and in- comprehensible offerings. But at last their air-woven images, their dim and speculative images of Reform, had assumed a tangible shape; and, after a long and harassing process of fifteen months, the parturient mountain had produced a most magnanimous mouse, and the Duke of Buckingham had presented to the country his palpable measure of Reform. What a solemn mockery—what a lamentable farce—what a trumpery exhibition that was ! Could his Grace have the weakness to flatter himself that this tardy gestation—this leisurely-lagging process of Reform would ever be accepted by the People? No, he could not have been misled ; lie must have known that the People would spurn it with indig- nation.
Mr. Monck seconded the proposal of Mr. Hallett. He seconded the proposal as being himself an old reformer of a Reformer yet older than himself—indeed, of the oldest Reformer in the county.
Mr. Palmer spoke at great length, and with many pauses, which the crowd contrived to fill up greatly to their amusement.
He had retired at the last general election, because the country was in favour of the great principle of Reform. It was then stated that he was an enemy of all Reform ; and by that misstatement of his sentiments he knew that he had lost many votes. (" State your opinions on tire Bill.") He had already stated his opinions upon that Bill more than once. He certainly considered isaa rash and sweeping measure, but he had never called it a revolutionary measure. He did not think that he had called it wrong, when he called it a rash and sweeping measure; for was it not a measure which Government found it impos- sible to carry by constitutional means? ( Great outcry.) But the question of the principle of Reform was decided by the elections of last year, and it is no longer a question of any consequence. (Here Mr. Palmer again paused. A person in the crowd called out, " Fetch him a drop of water—he's fainting.") Placed in the position in which he then stood—entertaining the same views as he did formerly—thinking that this was a dangerous measure, of which nobody could foresee the consequences, he still felt himself hound to declare, that in his opinion, under the present circumstances of the country, there was no alterna- tive—the Bill must pass. He should therefore add, that if he had the honour of being returned to Parliament as their representative, he should not offer any opposition to its passing. (A cry of " You're a dangerous man. You must not go there.") Mr. Mouck wanted to know to what length he would go in the enfranchisement and disfranchisement clauses. He would tell his honour- able friend, that lie would go the whole length of them. He repeated, that if the l3ill were before Parliament now, no man could take any other alternative. (" Snudl thanks then to you, so sit down.") He afterwards stated, that he bad voted in the minority in the cases of East Retford, and also of Penryn. It could not therefore be said he was a friend to rotten boroughs. He voted on the majority of the Civil List, which turned out the Duke of Wellington ; and in the Civil List Committee he voted for a reduction of 12,0001., which Ministers afterwards rejected. Mr. Hallett said, Mr. Palmer had a long account to settle, and hada right to make a long speech— With regard to Reform, he had no occasion to labour as anxiously as Mr. Palmer had done to convince them that he was a Reformer. If he were to say that he was no Reformer, they would not believe him. It was nowforty-seven years since he bad gone to Brentford to turn out John. Wilkes, and to place that sincere friend to Reform, Mr. Byng, in his stead. He had also stood forty-five days on the hustings in that hall. He had three times contested the county, and had kept the poll open fifteen days each time—and with what object? county, sow the seeds of Reform. It was not surprising that those seeds should have taken rout in Berkshire, for they had there a good soil to grow in ; but it was surprising that the seed which he had sown in Berks was springing UP everywhere throughout England. But they. had been told that the Re- form Bill was now passed. Mr. Monck had convinced every reasonable man of the error of that assertion. He would therefore not say a wo;d upon it, but would proceed to ask them what the Reform Bill was ? It was nothing but the foundation for a future superstructure. The insidious Anti-Reformers told them this—" Oh, when the Reform Billpasses, it will rain sovereigns ; all the taxes will be taken away ; and not only wall it rain sovereigns, but it will also rain sirloins of beef." Now no man of sense believed 'that such results would ensue from the passing of the Reform Bill. Why, then, did the Anti-Re- Lamers, of all persons, use this language? He would.. telLtbern why, The Anti-Refottners found that there was no reaction at presedt ; but they thought that if they could excite the expectations of the people to such a degree that they roust inevitably be disappointed, a reaction might then ensue. They would then ask the people—" What have yougot by the Reform Bill? Are the taxes done away with? Are the other goods which you were promised in your possession ?" They would tell them that they were not, and hence they would argue that the Reform Bill had done no good. There was a man who had a name very like his, only it ended in ed instead of ett (Mr. Halled)—that man set up for a pro- phet. Now he (Mr. Hallett) was no prophet. He did not say that the Reform Bill would produce all the benefits expected from it. He only said that it might produce those benefits which the present system never could. Mr. Pitt had told them, that without Reform there never could be an honest Minister. He -would not say that honest men would be sent into Parliament who would make honest Ministers. All he would say was this—that honest men might be sent, which they never could while the Boroughmongers continued to exercise their usurped domination. He would not then follow Mr. Palmer into the different topics on which he had addressed them. They would be there many more days, in all probability; and they would then have an opportunity of discussing them to their hearts' content. Some worthy men had said to them in a placard, " Up and be doing:" he said to them, "Down (to the polling booths) and be doing."
The polling commenced as soon as Mr. Hallett had finished, and continued until five o'clock; when the numbers were announced to be for Palmer, 237; for Hallett, 157.