The Conservative Peers held their meeting on Tuesday, to deter-
mine on their course as to the Franchise Bill. It is said that perfect unanimity prevailed, barring only that Lord Jersey disapproved of the simple rejection of the Franchise Bill. Lord Cairns gave notice the same evening that he will move as an amendment to the second reading of the Bill, " That this House, while prepared to concur in any well-considered and complete scheme for the ex- tension of the Franchise, does not think it right to assent to the second reading of a Bill having for its object a fundamental change of the constitution df the electoral body of the United Kingdom which is not accompanied by provisions for so appor- tioning the right to return Members, as to insure a true and fair representation of the people, or by any adequate security in the proposals of the Government that the present Bill shall not come into operation except as part of an entire scheme ;" and it is even said that the Duke of Richmond and Gordon—the representative of the moderates—is to second his
motion. This looks very much like a fixed intention to reject the Bill, and, of course, to challenge a controversy as to the constitutional position of the House of Lords, which is sure to be a violent one. It hardly seems possible for the House of Lords to have chosen weaker ground for that controversy, or to have asserted its right to wanton and capricious action more ostentatiously. It is believed that the debate in the Lords will last only two nights—Monday and Tuesday—and that next Thursday Mr. Gladstone will declare the policy of the Govern- ment in relation to the Peers' caprice. It is generally expected that the Government will summon an autumn Session, and then reintroduce the Franchise Bill, and, some add, also a Redistribution Bill; but that seems extremely doubtful. It would certainly take nine months at least for the gestation of such mighty twins as those.