TOPICS OF THE DAY.
THE BILL IN SAFETY.
THE most sanguine anticipations of the result of the King's appeal to his people, are surpassed by the election facts which we have
recorded elsewhere. Not one numerous, or even small, if respect- able, constituency (except the nests of the Clergy), has returned an Anti-Bill-Man, where there were Bill-Men candidates. In
some few places, such as the city of Durham, that want of prepa- ration on the part of the Reformers which we lamented last week, has led to the return of Anti-Reformers, merely because the electors had no choice. But no candidate, being a friend of " the whole Bill," has been rejected for an enemy of the Bill, by any constituency that deserves to be called part of the Nation. What will Sir ROBERT PEEL say now ? Is the Nation bent on
Reform, or is it not ? That question is settled. More than that, the very Bill is as good as passed by the House of Commons, and with a vast majority. The proceedings at the elections show that the new Parliament will be an assembly of mere delegates for the purpose of passing the Bill. The only question asked of candi- dates was—" Are you for the Bill ?" Or if other questions were asked by indiscreet voters, either the candidate declined to an- swer, and was yet elected, or he was prevented from answering by shouts of " No more questions—he pledges himself to vote for the Bill!" Some places have elected men very little qualified to act generally as useful members of Parliament ; but it mattered not —they promised to vote for the Bill, and that was enough. Very many of the elections exhibit compromises and combinations which could never have occurred under ordinary circumstances, and all for the sake of the Bill; whilst not a few gentlemen of the greatest worth and uncommon fitness for Parliament, have with- drawn their pretensions, through a fear, amounting to nervousness,
of " injuring the Bill." In short, the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill, has been the consideration of both voters and candidates, wherever (excepting always the two Universities) the election was not a mockery. This, then, may be called the Dele- gation Parliament, or the Bill Parliament. That it will pass the Bill by a great majority, there cannot be the slightest doubt. We turn to the House of Lords ; which, though dissolved, will resume its functions, composed of the same men, who seemed in- clined to anticipate their prophecy of one effect of the Bill, by knocking the crown off the King's head. But though the same bodies that plunged, and mouths that shouted, and fists that were clenched, at the sight of Majesty in the late House of Lords, will be found in the next assembly, the immaterial part of what the Times so improperly called "the things" will be of a totally differ- ent order. Shall we say the minds of their Lordships ? The 'minds, then, of their Lordships will have reverted to that happy state of composure, the evidence of which, when the Bill was first announced, and when people were yet trembling at SWING, in- duced Miniiters to say that they were " sure of the Lords." There can be no doubt, now, about the national will, or the determination of the people to have the whole Bill. That indispensable requisite, as we always thought it, for passing the Bill unharmed through the House of Lords, viz. a great majority of the Commons, is now assured. The majority of the House of Commons will be great numerically, and much greater in point of weight and effect, since the minority will be almost wholly composed of mere sham repre- sentatives. We put it to the conscience of the most stupid but conscientious man in the House of Lords, whether, if the votes of the members for the tree at Beeralston were. to be reckoned as equal to those of the members for Middlesex or Kent, the very necessity of Reform might not be an argument and a means against Reform, since the Bill might be stopped in the House of Commons by doubling the number of rotten boroughs, and render- ing the necessity of Reform greater than at present. But, whatever may be the secret opinions or wishes of the Lords, they will see the Bill passed by a great numerical majority of the Commons ; and they will know that the Nation attaches no weight at all to the rotten borough members who have sent themselves to Parliament to vote against the Bill. They will therefore see the absolute necessity of granting the prayer of the Nation, for whose benefit alone their own privileges exist. Living more in the world, they are of a wiser Ely,than the secluded clergy of the Colleges and the Isle of Ely. We ourselves have heard of a cleriryman taken drunk from his pulpit, and another attended in church by his hounds ; but our here- ditary legislators have always avoided any outrage of the supreme authority ; not excepting the late uproarious scene in their Lord- ships' Honse,—for the House of Commons, every one admits, is the supreme authority, and at that time the House of Commons had just refused the supplies, and was itself a complete hear- garden. Since the Revolution, the House of Lords has never seriously opposed the House of Commons ; nor will it begin now, when our neighbours are discussing the utility of hereditary law- makers, and when the mind of this nation is in such a state that it might be easily provoked to raise a similar question. The Reform Bills will be law before the green corn is reaped—we have not the least doubt of it. Come harvest, it will be time to propose a re- conciliation with our enemies the Boroughmongers. They will not refuse the offer; nothing so disposes a man to peace as a sound beating.