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regarded thest proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman then commou rules that bette govern its brought forward his measure, and he at once met the objection to which I have referred, in a few words. I admit (said the right hon, Gentleman at once the full force of the objection, which will be urged against that part of the measure propose," and he went on to allow, that the franchise of the Irish freeholder was a vested right-a public trust," but which it was competent to Parliament, under the especial circumstances of the case, to touch. Such were the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman-sentiments, be it observed, in which the House agreed; and never was any measure carried through the House with more general approbation. Shall we say, then, that this principle is to he maintained when the poor peasantry of Ireland are concerned; but that when it touches the great and the wealthy, we are not to venture to treat the question as the public interest demands? Shall we at once, deprive the freeholder of Ireland of that right which he merely exercised as the Constitution gave it to him, and shall we be afraid to touch the right of the noble Proprietor of Gatton, who returns two Members to Parliament, although he derived no such power from the Constitution? (Hear.) Shall we say that a strictly constitutional, a strictly legal right shall be abolished, because the convenience, the necessity of the country demands it-and that a right which is mere usurpation, with no sanction of law, and supported only by usage, shall be respected and left untouched, though the public interest requires, and the public voice demands its abolition? (Hear, hear.) Shall we make this glaring distinction between rich and poor, high and low, disfranchise the peasant, and prop the falling fortunes of the Peer? (Hear, hear.) The plan we propose is, therefore, meeting the difficulty in point-as the Duke of Wellington and his Colleagues met it in the year 1829; and our measure will have the effect of disfranchising a number of Boroughs, It would be a task of extreme difficulty to as certain the exact proportion of the wealth, trade, extent, and population of a given number of places, and we have, therefore, been governed by what is manifestly a public record I mean the Population Returns of 1821, and we propose that every Borough which in that year had less than 2000 inhabit ants, should altogether lose the right of sending Members to Parliament. (Continned cheers, with much confusion.) The effect will be utterly to disfranchise sixty Boroughs. (Much cheering from all sides.) But we do not stop here. (Cheers and some laughter.) As the hon. Member for Boroughbridge (Sir Wetherell) would say, we go plus ultra. Ve find that there are forty-seven Boroughs, f only 4000 inhabitants, and these we shall eprive of the right of sending more than one ember to Parliament. (Vehement cheers.) e likewise intend that Weymouth, which at -esent sends four Members, shall, in future,



roughs will occasion 119 vacancies, to which only elect two. The abolition o are to be added forty-seven for the Boroughs of sixty Bo! allowed to send only one Member, and two of which Weymouth will be deprived, making in the whole 168 vacancies. That, Fbelieve, is the whole extent to which Ministers propose to go. (Cheers, and some laughter.) But, as I have already said, we do not mean be in the hands of select Corporations-that is to allow that the remaining Boroughs should to say, of a small number of persons to the exclusion of the great body of the inhabitants, who have property and interest in the place. It was a point of great difficulty to decide to whom the franchise should be extended. Although it is a much disputed question, yet I believe it will be found, that in ancient times every inhabitant householder resident in a Borough was competent to vote for Members of Parliament. As, however, this arrangement excluded villains and strangers, the franchise always belonged to a particular body in every town that the voters were persons of property is obvious from the fact, that they were called upon to pay subsidies and taxes. Two different courses seem to prevail in different places. In some, every person having a house, and being free, was admitted to a general participation in the privileges formerly possessed by burgesses: in others, the burgesses became a select body, and were converted into a kind of corporation, more or less distinctmore or less exclusive of the rest of the inhabitants. These differences, the House will be aware, have led to those complicated questions of right which we are every week called upon to decide. I think no one will deny that our election committees often have before them the most vexatious, the most difficult and, at the same time, the most useless questions that men can be called upon to decide. Originally these points were decided in this House by the prevalence of one party or of another: they are now determined more fairly, but still the determinations are all founded upon the iniquity of the parties. (Hear, hear.) I contend that it is important to get rid of these complicated rights-of these vexatious questions, and to give to the real property and to the real respectability of the different cities and towns the right of voting for members of Parliament. The first distinction that naturally occurred as forming a proper class of voters was that pointed out by the bill of the right hon. Baronet opposite, (Sir R. Peel,) of persons qualified to serve on juries. But, upon looking into this qualification, we found that in Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, and other important places, although it certainly would give an extended constituency, it would still be too limited for the number of the inhabitants. On the other hand, in small. boroughs, it would have the evil of confining the elective franchise to a very few persons indeed. According to the returns from the Tax Office, which, I admit, are not entirely to be depended upon, 10, 7, and 3, and even

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attend the House at all, to a certain degree,
the inconvenience of those who do attend to
their public duties. A few, I know for two
three years together, have never attended in
their places; and, at the end of a Parliament,
I believe there is generally found an instance
or two of individuals, who, having been
elected, have never appeared at the Table,
even to take the oaths. But, it is obvious,
that whenever a Member has a certain num-
ber of constituents watching his actions, and
looking to his votes, in order that the people's
money is not given for purposes inconsistent
with the people's interests, his attendance
will be much more regular. (Hear, hear.)
Therefore, when we are proposing a great
change, by cutting off a number of Members,
the effect will be to facilitate public busi-
ness, to the manifest advantage of the country.
We propose to fill up a certain number of the
vacancies, but not the whole of them. We
intend that seven large towns should send two
Members each, and that twenty other towns
should send one Member each. The seven
towns which are to send two Members each,
are the following:-

Manchester and Sal-Wolverhampton, Bil-
ston, and Sedgeley
Birmingham & Aston | Sheffield

1, would be the number of persons in some towns rated for a house of 201. a year. Therefore we saw, if we took this qualification, we should be creating new close boroughs, and confining the elective franchise, instead of enlarging it; we, therefore, propose that the right of voting should be given to householders paying rates for houses of the yearly value of 107, and upwards. Whether he be the proprietor, or whether he only rents the house, the person rated will have the franchise upon certain conditions, hereafter to be named, At the same time, it is not intended to deprive the present electors of their privilege to vote, provided they be resident. (Hear, hear, hear.) With regard to non-residence, we are of opinion that it produces much expense, that it is the cause of a great deal of bribery, aud that it occasions such manifold and manifest evils, that electors who do not live in a place ought not to be permitted to retain their votes. (Hear, hear.) At the same time, I do not believe, that we are inflicting even upon this class any injury, for nearly all, either in one place or in another, will possess a franchise in the great mass of householders. (Hear.) With regard to resident voters, we propose that they should retain their right during life, but that no vote should be allowed hereafter, excepting on the condition I have before stated, that the person claiming the right must be a householder to the extent of 101. a year. I shall now proceed to the manner in The following were the names of the towns, which we propose to extend the franchise in counties. The Bill I wish to introduce will each of which, it was proposed, should send give all copyholders to the value of 101. a year, one Member to Parliament: qualified under the right hon. gentleman's Brighton Bill to serve on juries, a right to vote for the Blackburne return of knights of the shire (hear); also Wolverhampton that leaseholders, for not less than twenty-one Macclesfield years, whose leases have not been renewed within two years, shall enjoy the same privilege. (Hear, hear.) [Sir R. Peel asked, across the table, the amount of rent which was necessary?] The right will depend upon a lease for twenty-one years, where the annual rent was 50%. (Hear.) It will be recollected that when speaking of the numbers disfranchised, I said that 168 vacancies would be created. We are of opinion that it would It is well known that a great portion of the not be wise or expedient to fill up the metropolis and its neighbourhood, amounting whole number of those vacancies. After in population to 800,000 or 900,000, is scarcely mature deliberation we have arrived at the at all represented, and we propose to give conclusion, that the number of members at eight Members to those who are thus unrepresent in the House is inconveniently large. presented by dividing them into the following (Cheers and laughter.) I believe there is no hon. districts: legal bloom Gentleman who was a Member of the House Districts. before the Union with Ireland, who will not agree that the facility of getting through business bas since been greatly diminished. Besides, it is to be considered when this Parliament is reformed, as I trust it will be before long, (hear, hear,) there will not be such a number of Members, who enter Parliament merely for the sake of the name, and as a matter of style and fashion. (Hear, and murmurs.) It is not to be disputed that some members spend their money in foreign countries, and never

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The two large populous parishes of Mary-leBonne, which, no doubt, were entitled to be represented, at least as much entitled to it as Boroughbridge, (heat, and laughter,) were included in one of the districts he had named. Next we propose an addition to the members for the larger counties a species of

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reform, always recommended, an believe, Lord Chatham was almost advocate. Those counties contain a variety of year, every person shall be entitled to vote interests, and form an admirable constituency; whose name is in the list, and that no quesin some, as in Staffordshire, there is a large tion shall be asked, but as to his identity, and manufacturing population better represented whether he has polled before at the same elecin this way than perhaps in any other; and as tion. These regulations are extremely simple, County Members have unquestionably the and will prevent all those contemplated "vexmost excellent class of constituents, they formations and noisy scenes now so often witof themselves a most valuable class of Repre- nessed, regarding disputed votes. The means sentatives, The Bill I shall beg leave to in. of ascertaining who are the electors being thus troduce will give two additional Members to easy, there is no reason why the poll should be each of twenty-seven counties, where the in- kept open for eight days, or in some places for habitants exceed 150,000. Everybody will ex- a longer period; and it is proposed that, pect that Yorkshire, divided into three Ridings nearly according to the present law, booths the East, West, and North-should have shall be erected in the different parishes, so two Members for each riding; and the other that the whole poll may be taken in two days. counties to which this additional privilege For my own part, I may say that the time may will be given are the following come when the machinery will be found so simple that every vote may be given in a single day; but in introducing a new measure it is necessary to allow for possible defects in the working of the machinery; attempts might be made to obstruct the polling, and I therefore recommend two days, in order that no voter may be deprived of the opportunity of offering his suffrage. As to counties, the matter may be somewhat more difficult: we propose in the same manner that the churchwardens should make out a list of all persons claiming the right to vote in the several parishes, and that these lists shall be affixed to the church doors: a person to be appointed (say a barrister of a certain standing) by the I will now proceed to another part of the sub- Judge of Assize, shall go an annual circuit ject, spoke at first of the evils connected in within a certain time after the lists have been the minds of the people with the power of no- published, and he will hear all claims to vote, mination by individuals, and with the power and objections to voters. Having decided who of election by a few persons in very small are entitled to exercise the privilege, he shall and close corporations. The remedies I have sign his name at the bottom of the list, aud detailed are pointed against these defects. I shall transmit it to the Clerk of the Peace. now beg leave to direct the attention of the The list will then be enrolled as the names House to that part of the plan which relates to of the freeholders of the county for the ensuthe expense of long protracted polls, and ing year. With respect to the manner of prowhich, while it removes that evil, also greatlyceeding at elections, we have it in view to intro facilitates the collection of the sense of the duce a measure which can hardly fail to be an elective body. The names of electors are to improvement of the present system. Every be enrolled, and the disputes regarding qua-body knows, and must have lamented the lification in a great measure avoided; we pro- enormous expense to which candidates are pose that all electors in counties, cities, towns, put in bringing voters to poll. In Yorka purpose, machinery will be put in motion very 150,000.; and in Devonshire the electors similar to that in the Jury Act-that is to say, are obliged to travel forty miles over hard at a certain period of the year (I now speak of cross-roads, which occupies one day; the boroughs), the parish officers and churchwar-next is consumed in polling, and the third in dens are to make a list of the persons who oc cupy houses of the yearly value of 101. This list of names will be placed on the church doors, we will suppose in September and in the following mouth, October, the Returning Officer will hold a sort of trial of votes where claims made, and objections stated, will be considered and decided. When" process has been gone through, the returning officer will declare, the list complete, and on the 1st of December in every year, the list will be published, every person who chooses, may tain a copy of it, and it will be the rule to go

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the election to the day next but one. The Shaff then be open for two so as to enable all the persons qualified under the several Acts of Parliament to give their votes. On the third day the poll shall be closed, and on the sixth day an account shall be published of the number of votes. It will be so arTanged, that no voter shall have to travel more than fifteen miles to give his vote. Hear, bear.) At the same time it is not proposed that the uumber of polling places in one county shall exceed fifteen, as the multi-concluded the statement of all the alterations plication of places for receiving the votes would give rise to great inconvenience, and perhaps leave an opening for abuses. (Hear, hear. We propose that each county shall be divided into two districts, returning each two Members to Parliament. In adjusting that division of the counties, there will, I have no doubt, be some difficulty. But I propose that his Majesty shall nominate a Committee of the Privy Council, to determine the direction and extent of the districts into which each county shall be divided. (Hear, hear. Those Privy Councillors (hear, hear), those Privy Councillors, I say, shall be person's known to the House and to the country. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) They will be persons of known responsibility in the discharge of that duty Hear, and laughter.) In some of the boroughs, to which the right of representation will be continued, the number of electors is exceedingly small. We shall, therefore, insert in the bill, which we propose to submit to Parliament, a clause, giving power to the Commissioners, nominated under that bill, anthority to enable the inhabitants of of the adJoining parishes, and chapelries, to take part in the elections, when the number of electors in such borough shall be below 300. (Hear, hear, hear, and great laughter.) That these are extensive powers I shall not attempt to deny. But, as the difficulty exists, it is our duty to consider how it may be overcome. How is it to be met, his Majesty's Ministers do not know, otherwise than by committing the power to persons known and responsible to Parliament, and to the nation, and appointed by the Royal Proclamation. If any hon. Gentleman stand up in his place and say that the powers which we propose to give to the Committee of the Privy Council are too great, I will only ask him, if it be granted that the business is to be done, that the objects for which we propose the Committee are proper and useful, can he suggest any better and more effectual mode of doing it? (Hear, hear.) If any Gentle mau in the House will suggest a mode inore safe, more constitutional, his Majesty's Minis ters will have no difficulty in adopting that mode and waiving their own (hear, hear), their only object being to advance the interest of the people, to which every other consideration ought to yield, (Hear, hear.) I have Bow only one thing more to say with regard sto the Representation of England. In all those new towns to which we propose to give the right of sending Members to Parliament,

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Newton, Lancashire

Old Sarum

Newton, Isle of Wight












St. Mawe's





St. Michael's Corn- Woodstock


Wootton Basset

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counties have been, for the most part, persons having no connexion whatever with the county, otherwise than by the purchase of the superiority separately from the land. I bave now in my hand a list, showing, that of the three hundred and fifty persons to whom the representation of the county of Ayr is confined, only one hundred and fifty have any property in that county. In Bute, out of seventeen electors, only two are landed proprietors in the island. In Kinross, of twenty-seven voters, eighteen only are possessors; and in Lanark, only two hundred and fifteen. (Hear.) I do not think that it is too much to say, that this is not a fair representation of the landed Mem-property in Scotland. If any gentleman will tell ine, that by the arrangements which I propose the landowners of Scotland are des prived of their rights, I can refer him to this list, from which he will perceive that the landowners of Scotland have really at present no right. But I intend to give the suffrage to every copyholder whose possession is of the annual value of ten pounds (hear), placing that class on the same footing on which they are to be placed in England; and also to the holders of leases for nineteen years, not renewed within two years previous to the elec Ition at which they vote, and paying 501. a year rent; for it is the custom in Scotland to give leases for nineteen years more generally than for twenty-one, as in England. We propose to make a new arrangement of the representation of the whole country; giving to Edinburgh two Members; to Glasgow, two; to Leith, Aberdeen, and Paisley, only one each. The Fife district of boroughs being disfran chised, that county, like the others, shall return one member; and, as we propose to do in England, the towns to which the right is extended shall be taken out of the representation of the counties. The electors in those(The noble Lord proceeded.) I now come to towns will consist of all persons possessing the representation of Scotland; and, certainly, property, or occupying houses of the value of if England wants reform, Scotland needs it ten pounds a year. Scotland possesses some still more. If we have here Members of Par. advantages in respect to registration. With liament representing but a small portion of those alterations, therefore, Scotland will be the people, we still have some degree of represented in this House by fifty members, popular representation. But, in Scotland, no instead of the present forty-five. (Hear, hear, such thing as popular representation is known. hear.) In those districts the votes at electious (Hear, hear.) A nation possessing the wealth, shall no longer be taken as at present. The the industry, and intelligence for which Scot-election will no longer be made by the dele land is distinguished, has its whole representa- gates of particular incorporations (hear, tion vested in less than three thousand per-hear); but the votes of all the qualified elec sons. In the counties, the number of persous tors shall be taken personally, and the elec who vote in the election of Members to serve in Parliament are only 2324. I shall not enter into a detail of the mauner in which the Scotch votes are obtained. It is sufficient to observe, that although what is called the superiority could not originally arise otherwise than from the possession of land, yet many possessors of land contrived, in selling that property, to retain the superiority, which gives at present the right of representation. It that way it has become a custom to reserve the superiority when the land is sold. Lat. terly the voters at elections for the Scotch



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tion decided by the sum of those votes. The noble Lord then read a statement, of which we subjoin the substance.

The counties to be settled as follows. Peebles and Selkirk to be joined, and to elect one member together; Dumbarton and Bute, Elgin and Nairne, Ross and Cromarty, Orkney and Shetland, Clerkmannan and Kins ross, with certain additions, to do the same The remaining twenty-two counties each singly to return one member.

Burghs to be as follow-Edinburgh to have two members; Glasgow to have two; and

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