HC Deb 22 March 1832 vol 11 cc650-780

The Order of the Day for resuming the Debate on the Third Reading of the Reform of Parliament (England) Bill, having been moved by Lord John Russell, and put from the Chair,

Mr. Cressett Pelham

said, he felt it his duty to continue to give the Bill his most strenuous opposition; he was ready to admit that no measure had ever been brought into that House of greater importance, or which tended more to affect both the present and future state of the country. He had accordingly paid the greatest attention to all the arguments which had been urged in favour of it, but he had not been convinced by any of them that such a measure was necessary. In point of fact the whole of what had been said upon the subject amounted to this, that the Bill was one required by the people, and therefore that it must be passed. There were two arguments in the speech of the Attorney General on the former evening to which he, as an independent Member of Parliament could not give his assent. One of these arguments was, that it did not become them to interfere with the concerns of the other House of Parliament. Now, he certainly would be one of the last to think of infringing the rights of any other body of men; but he, nevertheless, could not help considering that, under the circumstances in which they were then placed, the decision that awaited this measure in the House of Lords was one of the main points to which they had to turn their attention. This was the second time they were about to send this Bill to another branch of the Legislature, which branch had already solemnly declared, that it could not agree in its principle. He, therefore, said, that so far as they had any right to know what the sentiments of that House were, that they would continue to oppose the Bill and thereby preserve the Constitution of the country. He would further add, notwithstanding the observations that had been made by some hon. Members who had treated the decision of the House of Lords as a severe offence, that in his opinion they had acted with wisdom and firmness, and he hoped they would continue to pursue the same course, undaunted by the invectives and threats that were held out to them. The hon. and learned Gentleman had also brought it as a charge against the Members who opposed the Bill, that they did not by their arguments appear to have given much attention to the details of the Bill. This statement had appeared the more extraordinary to him (Mr. Cressett Pelham), because he had always thought that one of the great complaints alleged against those who opposed the measure was, that they had wasted too much time in discussing the details of the Bill; and he was, therefore, extremely happy to hear the hon. and learned Gentleman give his testimony to the contrary. In the course of these discussions, hon. Gentlemen had incidentally gone into the state of the nation; he did not, however, deem it necessary to pursue the line of argument that they had thus laid down; this much, however, he would take upon himself to say, that it was his firm belief that such real distresses as the people were labouring under would in nowise be relieved by the passing of this Bill; the assertion to the contrary being nothing more than mere idle declamation, for the purpose of catching the discontented and the lovers of innovation. On the one side, procrastination had been complained of; and on the other, precipitation; but in his opinion, the purification of that House—or, at least such purification as it needed—would be better effected by affording time for a more deliberate judgment, than by the hasty course which they were at present pursuing.

Mr. John Stanley

felt that much of the difficulty that used to encompass this question was now removed from consideration; for, as heretofore, the two great grounds of opposition to any measure of such a character had been, first, the inexpediency of any Reform; and, secondly, the indifference of the people of England to the consideration of the question. Of these two which proved the groundwork and corner-stone of all Mr. Canning's arguments, the first was no longer contended for by any Member of that House, except, perhaps, the hon. member for the University of Oxford; and, with regard to the second, the fear of Gentlemen opposite now was, only, that the people of England might force the Legislature to go too far in the career of alteration. The question, then, at the present moment, resolved itself merely into one of degree, and it remained only to consider the extent of the change that was necessary, and the adequacy of the present Bill to carry into effect the objects that Reformers had in view. Was the present measure calculated to satisfy the just expectations of the wealth, numbers, and intelligence of the country? The demand for Reform was not a mere passing desire, engendered by the late events in Paris and in Belgium, but a deep-rooted feeling, which had long prevailed against the errors in the constitution of that House. To this result the people in general were brought by the combined observation of almost all the greatest Statesmen of the present and of the last century. When he mentioned the names of Brougham, Grey, Fox, and Pitt, and that greater man, his father, Lord Chatham; he thought it must be allowed that he had named the highest authorities amongst the Statesmen of modern date. But, before their time, that distinguished Statesman, Lord Bolingbroke, had clearly pointed out, with the keen perception and clearness of sagacity for which he was distinguished, the evils that were to be dreaded from the constitution of the House of Commons. That acute philosopher observed, that The Government by influence, has succeeded the Government by prerogative; the danger from the latter is a mere chimera; whereas the former is a new and undefinite monster, far more dangerous to our liberties, and producing as its natural consequences, national corruption. That assertion was found repeatedly expressed in the works of that great man, with the opinion that the only remedy was to be found in a Reform of Parliament, and the destruction of that system of which he so wisely foresaw the disasterous effects. In substituting the Government by influence, in the place of the Government by prerogative, the Sovereign lost the power of destroying the liberties of the people; but what the Sovereign lost, the oligarchy, not the people, gained; and so long as a few individuals possessed the exclusive power of controlling the Government of the country, so long had it been found necessary to allow the baleful effects of a Government by influence to hold undisputed sway, and produce its natural consequence—national corruption, insinuating itself into the State, destroying the high feelings of honour and self-esteem, that could alone make an aristocracy respected and esteemed, and tending to reduce them to that state in which the degraded noblesse of France was found at the Revolution, entailing on themselves, by their own worthlessness, one-half of the atrocities of that fearful period. If even these were all the evils that resulted from the Government by influence, it would make out a sufficient ground for change; but before he proceeded to state the additional evils inherent in the system, he wished to say a few words with regard to some of the accusations and taunts with which the advocates of the Bill had been assailed by their opponents, for supporting a measure which contained anomalies and theoretical absurdities. This charge might have been a legitimate ground of accusation, if the complaint had only been of theoretical anomalies, and the only object theoretical perfection. He for one was ready to admit, that if he saw no practical evils to be remedied, he would agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite, that it would be better to let things remain, than risk the hazard of a change, merely because some apparent anomalies offended the nice perception of theoretical propriety in the mind of a reforming critic. But if he considered Reform as a means, not as an end, if he desired a practical remedy for practical evils, he would not care to scrutinize too closely any petty anomalies or incongruities which might, indeed, perchance injure the beauty of its outward form, but could not affect the great principles of the Bill, or injure the efficiency of its action. A perfect piece of theoretical legislative mechanism, might, indeed, have been easily framed by a departmental division and uniform right of voting; but the preamble of the Bill declared this neither to be its object, nor the end it had in view: its object was to retain as much of what was old as was compatible with the efficient execution of Reform, and not to abolish any institution which expediency and justice did not imperiously demand. The accusations of the other side seemed to be singularly inappropriate, as they amounted to this, that the Ministers had done too little, not that they had done too much, that they had left Tavistock and Malton, Newark, and Stamford, with two Members, and given Huddersfield and Dudley, Salford and Tynemouth, but one each—in short, that they had left too much influence to property, and retained too much of what was old and established. There might be some truth in that. They had conceded much through prudence to their opponents, which otherwise they might have more consistently withheld. In spite, however, of the page in the Journals of that House, which the right hon. ex-Secretary for the Admiralty, flattered himself would be more frequently referred to than any other in its annals, he thought the country and posterity would refer to it only to wonder at the trifling grounds, the pitifulness of petty details, and the absence of all sufficient reasons, that governed the hon. Gentlemen opposite in their opposition to this great measure. Posterity would say, "What are these trivial incongruities in comparison with the great object in view?—what matters it whether Appleby is lost, or Westbury saved?" How could these affect the great bearings of the question? these were of importance only, as they affected the individuals connected with these places. The great principle, the great end was attained. They would have the reality, no longer the mockery, of a Representation. Which of the objects proposed in the preamble had not been fully executed?—had inconsiderable places been deprived of their right of returning Members?—had populous and wealthy towns been enfranchised?—had the number of the Knights of the shire been increased?—had the elective franchise been extended?—would the expense of elections be diminished?—which of these things was not fully and satisfactorily done?—the pledge had been nobly redeemed. His wish for Reform proceeded from no theoretical objections, but from a strong conviction of the practical evils resulting from the close boroughs. Those boroughs, which Reformers considered as blemishes and foul stains upon the fair face of the Constitution, their opponents looked upon as the ornaments and support, nay, even the life-blood of its existence, and the grand secret by which alone a Monarchy and a Representative Government could be made compatible. In short, the opponents of Reform thought that the only way of reconciling the two forms of Government, was to delude the people, by making them believe that they were governed by their Representatives, when, in reality, they were only ruled for the convenience, and at the dictation, of a narrow and selfish oligarchy. If, as the hon. Members opposite said, the advantages of these boroughs were so great, and, as the Reformers said, the evils were so grievousś, it would be well to examine the part they had played in history. Had they not enabled Ministers to continue wars, impolitic in their origin, disgraceful in their prosecution, and humiliating in their conclusion, long after the country had been anxious to put an end to them? Had they not enabled a Minister to be indifferent to the voice of the people, as expressed by their real Representatives, by means of the majorities that the borough Members always secured to him? Had they not enabled a Minister to adopt the severest measures of coercion and oppression, engendering hostility and alienation? If they had done all this, he thought it must be allowed, that a House of Commons, so constituted, at least, did not represent the wants and wishes of the country, and was not in sympathy and union with the governed. But did they not, in addition to all this, find these same boroughs, on every occasion, when the country, goaded by distress, occasioned by wanton and unnecessary taxation, had called aloud for economy, retrenchment, and relief—on the side of the lavish Minister of the day, enabling him to refuse the repeated prayers of a suffering people, or throwing their disgraceful cloak over his defeated extravagance? The reasons for these evils were not difficult to detect; the government of compromise which necessarily ensued from the possession of such enormous and irresponsible power by a few individuals, forced a Minister, as Mr. Pitt feelingly said, to be a dishonest man; who, in exchange for the support he received from this oligarchy, must repay them for their services by places, power, pensions, and emoluments, for themselves and their dependents, without reference to any merit or fitness in the individuals, except the one thing needful, of borough property. Why else was it, that the Government of this country, though in name controlled by the people through their nominal Representatives, in the expenditure of their money, should have been more lavish and extravagant than the darkest despotisms of the continent? It had been alone for the benefit of that party who had usurped all power, who had rendered the Sovereign the mere steward to the oligarchy of the people's money, and deprived alike the people and their King of their legitimate and ancient rights. But, then, the advocates and Members for such boroughs claimed exclusive loyalty, and it would be worth while to observe the grounds on which that claim rested. If they were examined with attention, it would be seen that their regard for Kings and Monarchy only endured as long as their Sovereign was their tool, and as long as they might be the Mayors of the palace, and the Crown a puppet in their exclusive hands. He would, with permission of the House, read a very short extract from the principal organ of their faith, as a proof of the extent of the loyalty of that party, who accuse their opponents of hostility to the Crown, and advocacy of republican institutions. In the last Quarterly Review, after having discussed the conduct of the King and the Government on the occasion of the late dissolution of Parliament, and their subsequent conduct, the reviewer went on to say, Having witnessed an instance in which the King has been the chief innovator of the realm, and having thrown into the wrong scale all the weight that should have been a counterbalance, they (i. e. the Tories) begin, as their ancestors did in 1648, to discuss the theoretic uses of kingship. If, then, all these consequences resulted from the existence of the close boroughs, it was plain that they had been injurious to the interests of the people, inasmuch as there had been an interest in the State paramount to, and at variance with, the interests of the country at large. It was also plain, that there had been a want of sympathy and union between the governed and the governors, which must have been gradually alienating the affections of the people from their rulers, and causing them to look upon those who ought to be their protectors as their enemies and their oppressors. Hence it was, from this want of unison of feeling between the rulers and the ruled, that every one had heard the astonishment expressed by foreigners at the difference between the public policy of our Government in our foreign relations, and the feelings and opinions of individual Englishmen, as expressed on every occasion. With whom had the principles and practice of our foreign policy hitherto been identified?—With a Metternich, a Nicholas, and a Ferdinand. With whom our feelings and our vows?—With the suffering Italian, the struggling Pole, and the exiled Spaniard. What, then, was the remedy for all these evils? The answer seemed to be plain—to destroy irresponsible power, which was tyranny, and to make it responsible, which was good government—to restore sympathy between the governors and the governed, and to reform the system, so as to place it on the broad basis of Representation, and the affections and interests of the people, and this it was which his Majesty's Ministers had wisely, ably, and boldly attempted, and, in the words of Lord Chatham, had infused new vigour into the veins of the Constitution, to enable it the better to bear with its infirmities. No fallacy seemed so great as that which would infer the duration of a social system from the length of time that it had already endured; as well might one infer that an old man of seventy was more likely to live than the youth of twenty. But political constitutions might be renovated, though, without timely alterations, they, as sure as all other human things, would fall into decrepitude and decay; and those who wisely read in the altered circumstances of the times the increasing wants and wishes of the country, might, by adapting the Constitution to the exigencies of the times, preserve inviolate all that was held most dear, while they remedied the evils which blindness alone refused to observe; and he would ask, who was the greatest friend to the Constitution, he who would preserve its errors with its virtues, or he who would preserve its virtues, but discard its errors? Before he concluded, he wished to make one or two observations on what fell from the hon. Baronet (the Member for Okehampton) on presenting a petition from the county of Chester. He triumphantly adduced it as a proof of re-action, and decisive of the state of the real feelings of that county, though it rather ought to be considered as a proof that no reaction had taken place, for not one additional name was to be found in that petition than was to be met with at the late election for the county, when all those gentlemen—respectable he admitted them to be—in vain contributed the utmost exertions which their high character, great influence, and hereditary connexions, enabled them to use for the purpose of defeating the Reform candidates, and preventing the triumphant success of the great cause in which the Reformers were embarked. It always had struck him, that the adducing these county declarations was fallacious as a proof of the state of opinion in a county, and most impolitic and injurious to the gentlemen who so triumphantly put them forward. What was it but saying, that, with all the nobles and all the clergy on one side, with all that influence which old associations, constant residence, mutual interchange of kind offices, wealth and power, could give, they had failed in their attempts to resist the mighty torrent of public opinion. They showed at once their impotence, and yet their will to strike. Was it wise in them to hold themselves up as a separate party in the State, apart from the great body of their countrymen, as an isolated band, with different feelings and different interests, and struggling for different ends? Let them remember, that, if they seemed to act for their own separate purposes, exclusive privilege, and private ends, the country might ask, whether, if successful, they might not be a body whose existence as a separate caste, was incompatible with the best interests and honour of the State. That this or any other human measure was final, who could say? All that one could say was, that it effected the object the present Reformers had in view; and, if it should not suit the circumstances of future times, it would surely be ridiculous to bind posterity to the forms which, though adapted to the present times, might be as much at variance with future interests and future wants, as the present system is to the present times. Till they were perfect, or till human society stood still, succeeding generations would demand and obtain further alterations to meet the altered circumstances of their condition, and the novelty of their wants. That House ought to be satisfied with legislating for the present generation, without being shackled by the fetters of the past, or embarrassed by anticipations of the future.

Mr. Charles Stewart

had listened with the deepest attention to the arguments adduced by the supporters of the Bill, and they had failed in convincing his mind that the House of Commons proposed to be constituted, was likely to prove more beneficial to the community than the present House of Commons; that it was likely to enact better laws—to enforce a more rigid control over the public expenditure, consistently with national faith, or to maintain more permanently the rights and liberties of the people of England. This appeared to him to be the real object of investigation; and in forming a decision upon this question, it would be necessary to bear in mind the difference between Parliaments of late years, whose acts and deliberations had been influenced by a free and enlightened Press, and those of former times. The accusations brought against the House were more suited to the corrupt times of Sir Robert Walpole than to the present age; and it behoved them, at least, not to add to public prejudice and error. If they looked back to the history of our country, and traced the rise and progress of Parliament—its slow yet steady acquisitions of liberty in the earliest times—its struggles at later periods with despotic power—and, finally, its success in settling and consolidating our institutions, we should indeed pause before we altered so completely the Constitution of that body to which the coun- try owed such inestimable advantages. The richest and the poorest man in the State had an equal interest in the permanence of these institutions, and in the stability of the Government. If he thought the people would be happier under the new Constitution—that their comforts would be increased or their sufferings diminished, he should vote for the adoption of this measure; but he knew that their permanent interests were bound up in the prosperity of the higher orders, and that that prosperity could only be secured by a strong and powerful Government—protecting on the one hand the possessions of the rich, and encouraging on the other the accumulation of property in the lower ranks of society. But this Bill, instead of strengthening the Government, already too weak, added power to a party in the State opposed to all property. There was a current under the surface of society setting in strongly against the old institutions of Europe—against its monarchies, its privileges, its religion; and the Legislature ought indeed to beware of adding to its force, lest it should accelerate the ruin of those institutions under which this country had so long flourished. To the present Constitution of Parliament, with some trivial changes we were indebted for the possession of nearly all our liberties. We owe to it the curtailment of the excessive prerogatives of the Crown—the abolition of monopolies and of benevolences—of the Star Chamber—and of the power of taxing the people without their own consent signified through Parliament. We owe to it the Petition of Right; and finally, at the great Revolution the placing of our liberties upon that firm and solid basis which nothing but the imprudence of the Legislature could overturn. The House of Commons was accused of not having kept pace with the intelligence of the times, of not having adapted itself to those changes which had been brought about in the feelings of the country. Now he contended that the House of Commons, from the time of its modelling in the reign of the first Edward, had been in advance of its age; that the laws by which this country has been governed had been progressively improving; and that many acts, which appeared to us now merely those of common humanity and justice, were, when enacted, totally repugnant to the wishes and feelings of the people. From the time of the first dawn of sound legislation in this country down to the great measure of Catholic Emancipation he scarcely knew of one single measure of enlightened policy, with the exception of the abolition of the slave trade, that received, when enacted, the consent and approbation of the body of the people; and, even now, he asked if that measure of emancipation was popular with the people, or if they had given their consent to the new doctrines of free trade and political economy? But if the supporters of the Bill would not demonstrate the advantages likely to be derived from the new Constitution of Parliament, he was anxious to point out what he conceived to be its dangers. In the first place, it unsettled completely the relative weight of the different interests represented in that House; it took from the land that power which it had so long and so properly possessed, and gave the preponderance to the commercial and manufacturing interests; and why did he desire to protect the interests of the landed proprietors? Because they enabled us to retain our faith with the public creditor—because they were the best and most legitimate consumers of our manufactures, and because they bore nearly all the burthens of the Church and supported almost exclusively the poor. But the great object of the Bill was, to give Representatives to the large commercial and manufacturing interests which had grown up of late years in this country; but even this object, he feared, would not be accomplished, in consequence of the low rate of franchise fixed upon by the framers of the Bill. He believed that in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and the other great towns, Representatives would be chosen totally unconnected with the trade in those places. He believed that the master manufacturers would have little or no control over their workmen, and that Members would be returned to this House of the most dangerous and revolutionary principles. He must state, that this was not merely his own conviction it was the conviction of persons of the greatest experience whom he had consulted, and who, from the operation of local Acts of Parliament, were enabled to predict the probable working of this measure in the great and populous towns. He believed, that at the first election for a Reformed Parliament, the Vote by Ballot and Universal Suffrage would be clamoured for by those classes to which by this Bill was given the possession of political power. He believed they would demand the abolition of the Corn-laws—an equitable adjustment of the National Debt, and the destruction of Church property; but the excited appetite of the people would not be restrained here—and the abolition of the hereditary Peerage and the downfall of the monarchy would sooner or later, follow the adoption of this ill-fated measure. But let them look to the Acts of a reforming Parliament, such as the one he had attempted to describe. Let them look, for instance, at the Acts of the long Parliament, which, whatever great names it may have contained, disgraced itself by a most atrocious system of spoliation and plunder, notwithstanding the self-denying ordinance. He would quote to the House a few instances of the spoils divided among the Members of this goodly Parliament. John Bradshaw, one of its most noted Members, obtained for his share of the spoil, the Earl of St. Albans' Manor of Summer Hill, in Kent, worth 1,500l. per annum; the Lord Collington's estate of Fonthill, in Wiltshire; his Manor of Han-worth, in Middlesex; and the Dean's house, at the College of Westminster. John Blake-stone obtained 14,000l., and 3,000l. were afterwards given him out of the Marquis of Newcastle and Lord Widrington's estates, in compensation of the loss of the pedlar's ware in his shop. Colonel Brereton had the sequestration of Cashiobery and the other lands of Lord Capel, worth 2,000l. per annum; also the Archbishop's house and lands at Croydon, where (my authority states) he turned the chapel into a kitchen—a goodly reformation, and fitted to his stomach as well as his religion. Fleetwood got Woodstock. William Pierrepoint got 7,000l. in money, and Lord Kingston's estate, worth 10,000l.; Sir Henry Vane obtained 5,000l., and the Bishop of Durham's manor, park, and demesne of Evenwood; Sir T. Walsingham got the Earl of Dorset's manor of Eltham, also Mr. White's house and park, where he cut down 5,000l. worth of timber trees, and scarcely left (as the writer stated) one single tree to make his own gibbet. Sir John Trevor got 9,000l. out of the Marquis of Winchester's estate, besides Richmond Park and grounds, and the great park at Nonsuch. He would only trouble the House with one more case—that of Serjeant Wylde (for there was a Serjeant Wylde in those days)—he got 1,000l. out of the Privy Purse of Derby house, after the hanging of Captain Burley; and it is also affirmed that he had 1,000l. more upon the acquittal of Major Rolph; so that it was all one to the Serjeant whether he hanged or hanged not. And did the House really imagine that these things would not occur again? Did they imagine that the possession of the Abbey lands of Woburn and Tavistock—the demesnes of Raby or Chatsworth—were fixed upon such an immutable basis, that no spoliation could reach them? Our descendants would point to this Parliament as having been the first to shake the foundations of property—as having been the first to violate, in later and more civilized times, the rights of the Church, and the sanctity of charters, and of having thus opened an inroad to those revolutionary tenets which would, sooner or later, lay all our ancient institutions in ruins. But what would be the effect of this measure upon the House of Peers? By infusing so great a democratic power into this House they would paralyze the influence of the other branches of the Legislature. If the people were the only source of legitimate power, the Bill certainly would create a House drawn from its purest springs. But the House, so created would be unconnected in sympathy, in feeling, and in interest, with the House of Peers; for that body would represent the interest of the land, and this House would, he feared, too much and too exclusively represent the commerce and the manufactures of the country. The first collision between the two Houses of Parliament would prove fatal to the Peers, for no power they possessed could resist a House of Commons purely reflecting the wayward passions of the people. He earnestly hoped this fatal result would be prevented; he hoped that this last retreat of the chivalry of the country would be preserved; of that feeling which in all times of our history had filled the ranks of the Aristocracy of this country with the most devoted, the most generous spirits; and many of whom were now, from a false and mistaken notion of honour, sacrificing their own interests, and those of their country, to that insatiate spirit of democracy which was withering the best energies of the country. He trusted, indeed, he felt convinced, that the Peers of England would do their duty. He felt that that body, which had not been called together in a moment of political excitement, but which reflected the successive destinies of a great and mighty people, would continue to preserve the Constitution of England from the assaults of those who sought for its destruction, reckless of the institutions they demolished, of the altars they overturned, or of the real liberties and happiness of the country which they trampled upon and destroyed.

Mr. Rigby Wason

said, he wished that the hon. Member who had just sat down, had informed the House by what means the calamities which he foreboded from the passing of the Bill could be averted. The hon. Member had assumed, in common with several other hon. Members, who took the same line of argument, as a proposition not to be disputed, that if the Bill then before the House ever became law, the Crown, Peerage, and Church, would be overthrown. Without presuming to question the sincerity of these fears, it was surely necessary to examine the causes which were to produce such mighty effects. Before the hon. Member could fully state that the result of the measure would be to overthrow the Church, the Peerage, and the Monarchy, he must prove that the people of England desired the destruction of these institutions, or otherwise he was arguing that an end would be produced without means. If, as he, (Mr. Wason) contended, the people of England were not desirous of overthrowing the Church, the Peerage, and the Sovereign, what was there in this Bill itself calculated to produce such disastrous effects? Hon. Gentlemen said, that, in future Parliaments, the Members would too faithfully represent the wishes and feelings of the people: if, then, these Representatives should overturn the Crown, the Peerage, and the Church, nothing could be more clear than that the desire of the people, whose wishes and feelings they represented was, that these institutions should no longer exist. This Bill did not create such a desire, although it certainly gave to the people increased power to effect those desires, if they possess them, in a peaceable manner, and without bloodshed. Would hon. Gentlemen opposite deny that if the people of this country desired a revolution, it was not infinitely preferable that such a revolution should be effected within these walls, rather than out of doors by the people themselves. Who was there who would not rather see a change effected in our institutions, in the spirit of the English revolution of 1688, rather than in that of the French revolution of 1793? But all the fears of hon. Gentlemen were without foundation; they assumed that it was the desire of the people of England to overturn the Church, the Peerage, and the Crown; he believed they were sincerely attached to these institutions; and they could not, in his opinion, show a better proof of the sincerity of that attachment than an earnest desire to sweep away the abuses which defaced them. The noble Lord, who opened the debate on this occasion, introduced his observations by stating, that the question was not between this Bill and no Reform, but between this Bill and a moderate Reform. The people of England and their Representatives, however, perfectly understood their position with regard to the question. They well knew it was between this Bill and no Reform—between a substance and a shadow; and they preferred clinging with tenacity to the substance rather than bewilder themselves by pursuing that shadow, with which hon. Gentlemen opposite had, for the last twelve months, been amusing themselves and attempting to delude the people. The hon. Baronet, the member for Oxford, truly stated, that Government was not an end, but a means; and he declared the end of Government to be the protection of life, liberty, and property: in this definition he was followed by the hon. and learned member for Rye, who desired nothing from Government but protection to life and property. He could not agree in the definition given by these hon. Gentlemen. The end of good Government was the happiness of the people. Could the present system stand this test? Was the population happy and contented? Were the agricultural labourers in a state of happiness? They had already answered the question by conflagration. Were the manufacturers? let the hon. member for Aldborough, an anti-Reformer, answer for them. Within the last few days, he had harrowed up the feelings of hon. Members by detailing the wretched condition of this part of our population. Could the House forget that, on that occasion, they decided they could not, without referring the point to a Committee up-stairs, pass a Bill to prevent female infants under ten years old being compelled to work twelve and fourteen hours a day. The end of Government, then, had not been answered to promote the happiness of the million, although it might have protected the lives and property of the few; and this constituted one of the just complaints of the people. They asserted that the Members of that House, who ought to represent them, and be careful of their interests, thought only of themselves, and the class to which they belonged. If those were secured in the enjoyment of life and property, he, who by courtesy was called the Representative of the people, considered that the end of good government had been attained, although thousands were daily experiencing the severest distress. There was not one of the multifarious interests of the kingdom which was not suffering from a depreciation of their property: the agricultural, the manufacturing, the commercial, and the colonial, were all in a sinking state. The borough-proprietor alone, had flourished even to the third and fourth generation. Could it, then, be a matter of astonishment, that the people should desire to possess some portion of that power which they saw had been attended with such beneficial effects to its present possessors? He should vote most cheerfully for the third reading of the Bill, although he had sought unsuccessfully to introduce some amendments into its details, because he wished it to be forwaded to the other branch of the Legislature as complete as possible, and he had therefore endeavoured in the Committee to introduce alterations which, although they might not cure all the anomalies within it, yet would prevent its possessing any at variance with its own general principles. He had failed in several instances but Ministers by granting at the last moment, a member to Merthyr Tydvil, had sanctioned in one case the correctness of his opposition. He still considered it most unjust that Gateshead should be separated from Newcastle, and have a Member of its own, while so many more important places were without Representatives or attached to adjacent towns. But be never for a moment forgot that if the Bill had this defect, it had also the much greater merit of enfranchising Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and Sheffield; and if it was contrary to the principles of the Bill, to deprive Helston of a Member, it was according to it that Old Sarum and Gatton were disfranchised, along with many other nests of bribery and corruption. He would conclude by thanking the Government for the firmness with which it had conducted this great measure to its present stage.

Mr. O'Connor

The House may be assured that I shall not trespass long on its indulgence. Both argument and illustration have been so recently exhausted in the discussion of this question, that I feel, were I to intrude at any length, I could at best only be the feeble echo of the opinions of others; for I might well shrink from the temerity of adducing observations that had not already suggested themselves to the discernment and adoption of abilities and judgment infinitely superior to mine, Besides, at this momentous crisis, when the expectation of the nation is again brightening into hope, but is still tinged with some slight shade of fearful uncertainty, I feel that every moment that is consumed in unnecessary debate tends but to prolong the miseries of that suspense which now paralyses the best energies of the country. Impressed with these convictions, I should have observed that silence which the magnitude and the urgency of the present question ought to impose on my inability to do it justice, or to accelerate its progress, were it not for the frequent allusions that have been made to Ireland in the course of the debate by hon. Members on the opposite side of the House. The noble Lord who introduced the Amendment, arraigned the Government for having altered the relative number of Members for England and Ireland, and stated, that they had thus only opened a wider field for agitation for my hon. and learned friend the member for Kerry. But if the alteration were consistent with justice, and that he could not question, they were bound to effect it, and the more justice they rendered to Ireland, the more they narrowed, rather than widened, the field of agitation in that country. Another hon. Member stated, that this alteration was unfortunate, by its having been the occasion of the progress of the Bill being impeded in the Committee by the Irish Members, who were occasionally claiming of Ireland the Members that were assigned to different boroughs in England. Now this imputation against the Irish Members is most unfounded, for they had a meeting, at which it was debated whether they ought to oppose the present Re- form Bill in any of its details, so as to produce vacancies in the English Representations to be filled up by Members for Ireland; and it was unanimously agreed upon by those Irish Members who were in the habit of supporting his Majesty's Ministers, that they would seek no additional Representatives at the expense of any of those places in this country which the Government deemed entitled to the privilege of sending Members to this House, and they also determined that they would support the whole of the English Bill, because the great question of Reform which it involved was one of such paramount importance as to supersede every other consideration in the intensity of its interest. That it has progressed considerably cannot be questioned, for the necessity of some Reform at last, is now universally conceded. It is even admitted by the noble Lord who moved the present Amendment. But had his Majesty's Government introduced, as he suggests that they should have done, a half-and-half measure of Reform, its discomfiture would have been immediate. It would not have enlisted the feeling of the people in its favour, and it would have been opposed by a most formidable coalition—by some who might be emulous of supplanting the present Ministry, by many who have an interest in the continuance of existing abuses, and by others who so venerate whatever bears upon it the impress of time, that even its ravages become hallowed in their opinion, and the slightest reparation was equal to a desecration of the whole. Government must have succumbed beneath the power of this combined opposition, if they had not conciliated the support by consulting the interests of the people and the nation at large. They had no alternative but to dare nobly and be just, standing or falling by the glorious experiment. But now that the people have been promised what they are convinced is their right, it is vain to expect that they will be satisfied with less. I will not say, that to frustrate their hopes would be to kindle their resentment, but a nation that extorted Magna Charta from a reluctant tyrant, in the infancy of its power, will not, in the plenitude of its maturity, abandon rights which the most benevolent Sovereign that ever sat on the British Throne is willing to concede to them. As futile would be the attempt to stay the Nile in the hour of its increase as now to arrest the diffusion of the popular feeling in favour of Reform. It will roll on in peaceful Majesty, if unopposed—the more expanded the more tranquil, and rich, I trust with future prosperity; but check, and you invest it with accumulated force, and may perhaps, arm it with ruin and desolation. Yet there are some insensible of its powers, and some who fain would stay it, until it attained the height of Universal Suffrage, and the highest gradation in the scale of radicalism, pretending that the present and the former Bill are but delusions, because they do not at once effect what they never promised to accomplish—the instant reduction of taxation, and repeal of corn duties, and cheapening of bread—because they do not legislate at once, instead of enabling the people to elect their legislators. A similar expedient was adopted to weaken the appeal of the Catholics for their Relief Bill. The people were told that it would neither lower their rents nor furnish them with food, nor liquidate the demands on them; and this House was assured that the people felt no concern in the promotion of a measure in which their individual interest were not involved. But neither were the people deceived, nor did they relax in their exertions; and this House had to pay attention to the voice of millions in their simultaneous demand for political justice. And are the people of England so much less intelligent as to be duped into the passive abandonment of one acknowledged advantage, because it does not involve other measures which it never contemplated? Will they not manifest the same buoyancy of hope and the same elasticity of exertion as the Irish nation in the pursuit of their political rights? Yes, and the Legislature will have to pay more immediate deference to wishes in which the three kingdoms participate; and therefore, notwithstanding the observations of the hon. Baronet (the member for Oakhampton) to the contrary, in reply to him, I would say, that, were this Bill unfortunately rejected in another place, another Bill, equally effective in all its provisions, must be introduced with all possible expedition to avert the consequences of that rejection. But, truly, Sir, I see no such cause of despondency in the number with which the late measure was defeated. I could almost wish it to have been something greater. I wish, instead of forty-one, it had been forty-five—that glorious majority which was so often toasted as the final defeat of the Catholic claims, and yet was but the herald of their victory. I trust the late majority may be followed by a smilar result. The great ability, and I will add, the manifest sincerity, in some instances, with which the Bill was opposed in another place, are the sources whence the best hopes may be derived that they who were its former opponents may now become its warmest supporters. They who reason well can best appreciate the arguments adduced against them. They who speak with sincerity are always the most accessible to conviction. How truly this was exemplified in the passing of another great question to which I have already alluded, I at least must ever retain in grateful recollection. There was an error in the then concession which may now be redeemed. Let this be the generous offering to magnanimity—to justice—not the reluctant tribute of fear to expediency. Let it precede necessity by being immediate, and thus preclude the possibility of danger. I wish not, in saying this, to use the language of intimidation, which has been so much deprecated by Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. I am aware, too, that the use of it has been imputed to the supporters of this measure by its noble opponents ever since its rejection in another place. But, perhaps, these noble Personages might trace much of it to their own reflections. In the vicissitudes of life, and in the alternations of fortune, there is a still small voice that often whispers after the first moment of triumph—'such another victory, and we may be undone.'—This may be the monition of prudence, not of fear, in the present instance. But let this question be tried on its own merits, without the bias of fear, or interest, or prejudice, and truth and justice will prevail, and security ensue. The true friends of Reform are as solicitous for the maintenance of the just rights and privileges of the Peerage as for those of the people; and they are bound to preserve them by the admiration in which they must hold the British Constitution, based as it is on a principle of perfection that was long supposed to be beyond the reach of human attainment—the balance of power in the three Orders of the State. To restore, not to subvert it, is the object of the present Reform Bill—to purify the Representative system, and thus invigorate the State. And if, in making this restoration, the nation prefers, the most pure, and, if I may say, Doric simplicity for the basement of the Constitution, it cannot be questioned but such may still be the best foundation for all the glories of the most ornamented superstructure. Such is my hope and my wish. I, therefore cordially support the present Reform Bill, and unite with the hon. Members who preceded me in thanking the Government who conducted it to its present stage.

Sir George Rose

spoke to the following effect:* I should have persevered in the silence which is habitual to me, had not a crisis so important in the affairs of the nation occurred, as to compel me to offer to the House some fruits of a long experience, at least in justification of my own conduct in opposing this Bill; although I have not a shadow of a hope of their producing an effect upon its supporters. I cannot in truth set myself "rectus in curiâ," like an hon. friend of mine on the preceding night, if, like him, I am to disavow all connexion with a borough: but I can safely aver that mine is such as would not in the least impede me in agreeing to any suitable measures, proposed for correcting abuses in borough transactions, such as I have always disapproved. My hon. constituents are bound to me by no tie but by that of disinterested good will: least of all by anything like pecuniary or lucrative considerations. And that station which is thus honourably and honestly given could never be, in my hands, or in those of him who preceded me, a matter of interest or gain; the boon which was freely received, was as freely given.

My main objection to the Bill is the violence and extent of its action: such a breach is made in the bulwarks of the Constitution as will let in, not the gradually rising and fertilizing stream—the Nile of the last speaker—but a torrent which will carry away whatever is held sacred, into ruin in its waves. I care little, therefore, about the provisions of this Bill; if it does not destroy enough, another within the year will do what is left undone; for this beginning is such a one as can never be stopped. And it was thus that Mr. Pitt was checked, as I know, in his progress of Parliamentary Reform, by never being able to fix in his mind a permanent basis, on which to place * Reprinted from the corrected edition published by Hatchard and Son. the new electoral franchise, or how to establish a security against future change.

In submitting my opinions to the House, I shall be anxious to lay before it views calmly formed in various habits of life, at home and abroad, and particularly in the King's diplomatic service, which I entered very nearly forty years ago, observing that cool tone which becomes best so very inconsiderable a speaker as myself: and avoiding carefully those criminations and recriminations so dear and delightful to us, which take up two-thirds of our debates, keep us out of the view of the subject, and provoke those yells and screams which I can never hear without pain—may I say—disgust? Great Britain is peculiarly circumstanced as to her foreign relations. We live in the midst of a commonwealth of nations, the complication of whose interests and relations to each other requires the most delicate and attentive management of them; and stability of engagements is essential to such a system, for the maintenance of the general peace. The popular nature of our Government already exposes us to inconvenience, from the effect of sudden changes of national feeling affecting our foreign policy. And, in that respect, the governments in which the regal power stands more prominent than it does in ours, have an advantage over us, not only as being less exposed to this action, the suddenness and power of which can never be foreseen, but because where the king actually represents the state, his personal honour and character stand far more immediately pledged in the eyes of the world, and before his brother sovereigns, for adherence to his engagements, than in a country where responsibility for it falls mainly upon the Ministers, who, moreover, may have come into power pledged to a change of system. In the last century, simply because the nation went mad about certain tenets held by a doctor of divinity, Lord Oxford and Lord Bolingbroke were able to break off all its alliances in the midst of a successful war, in which the Duke of Marlborough was on the point of reducing France to a situation compatible with the safety of Europe. Forfeiting friends, character, and consideration, and the reward of all the blood and treasure expended, the nation became the object of the derision of its enemies and the hatred of those who had been its devoted friends. Again, we got weary of our seven years' war, and, abandoning the king of Prussia, reaped the bitterest fruits of our inconstancy. From that time he shunned and hated us. France and Austria, allied in the war, remained closely united in the peace; and during the American war, the whole of Europe, Portugal excepted, was in open hostility, or full of secret enmity towards us. But if it is our doom that the waters of the straits of Calais should wash all foreign politics out of the head of the Englishman returning to his country, and, if separated as we are by the sea from the continent, and engaged with far greater eagerness in the immediate, and more personally attractive object of domestic party matters, how much more oblivious shall we be of foreign relations, and, therefore, ignorant of them—and how much more inconstant and vehement in our transitions—in a House of Commons composed as ours will be, where every Member will have a never-ceasing pressure of local interests and contentions on his mind, and where there will be no longer found a number of them less immediately acted upon by the starts of public opinion, and qualified and able to temper its first vehemence and fury? We shall be perpetually tiring our friends, and have to pay exorbitant penalties for our inconstancy and short-sightedness. We may buy new friends, which we shall always be able to do, at a ruinous price; but confidence cannot be bought.

In another view of the effects of this measure to be produced beyond our own immediate limits, our colonies demand our most serious attention. After the very full information respecting them given by the hon. member for Middlesex, I should be guilty of an indiscretion if I entered into any details. Hitherto they have been virtually represented in this House, and it has been sometimes asserted that Bengal and Jamaica enjoyed but too extensive a Representation; and this advantage they will completely forfeit in the new House of Commons, through causes which will be afterwards stated. But surely the most unfortunate moment possible to destroy such a Representation is that in which, first, you are making an immense change in the Constitution, under an alleged sense of the claim of the home subjects of the empire to have a far fuller Representation than was ever dreamt of before; and, secondly, when those colonies have immensely increased their own claim to be represented, somehow or another at least, in Parliament. Consider how our colonies have risen in the scale of nations, either by increase of wealth and extent, or of the number of inhabitants, either British, or of British origin, or by the expansion and elevation of the minds of the people, by the acquisition of our literature, and of the knowledge of our institutions—causes producing astonishing effects amongst our subjects in India at this particular period, where, for instance, the effects of Irish pauperism upon England are discussed in Hindoo newspapers. We must remember that they are compelled to see their commerce made subordinate to our interests: and they themselves, without policy of their own, and submitting, of necessity, to follow ours, are engaged in our wars, often invaded and ravaged, and at times ceded to a foreign power, whilst the mother country has almost forgotten that it ever saw its own soil trodden by the foot of an enemy. Above a hundred millions of men must follow the will and the fate of a nation of some twenty-five millions, divided from them by immense oceans. It is true that the mother country is the body; but its transmarine possessions are the immense wings which have raised it to so enormous a height: and should they be disconnected from it, the fall would be proportionably fearful. Let us anxiously do whatsoever is most calculated to conciliate their feelings, and to promote their interests—warned by the fate of other nations, and even by our own, and most carefully avoiding whatever has an opposite tendency. But having said thus much, I am compelled to admit, that I can discover no means of removing the obstacles which exist to the grant of a direct Representation to the colonies, and I see in this effect of this so called Reform, one of its most evil and portentous consequences. What must be the nature of a measure which is the parent of eminent injustice, and extreme impolicy, neither of which it is possible to remedy? I should say that the present indirect Representation has a most beneficial effect, not at once obvious. The great danger of discontent in colonies arises from the ardent spirits of the most energetic and the boldest of the young; and justice and policy require that they should be enabled to find their way into the professions of the mother country; they will become as useful to it when admitted into them, as dangerous when ex- cluded. Now their virtual Representatives are they who alone can usefully bring forward and support their claims, and this channel will unfortunately be closed.

If I could set aside the whole of the results, both of study and of speculations, upon things at a distance, I cannot shut my eyes to such as have been actually presented to them, and in the scene of action the most instructive to an Englishman; and I should not stand acquitted to my conscience, if I did not state some of them, however briefly, to the House. They were made during a special mission, with which I was charged to the government of the United States, whilst the Congress was sitting at Washington; and I was there during a considerable portion of that session; and I can the less mistrust my own judgment, because I found that three gentlemen who accompanied me, two of them at that time to the full as well qualified to observe as I am, both by their age, their education, their habits of life, and talents, arrived precisely at the same results as I did. Some of them were such as we were no wise prepared for; they were forced upon us; and so much of what was passing, referred to the relations of that nation with Great Britain, that we were, of necessity, anxious observers of that translantic parliament. And here I am anxious to guard myself against any expression of my opinions being construed as disadvantageous to that people of our descendants, in whom, as the heirs of our blood, our language, our laws and institutions, we are bound to honour ourselves. The power of these things cannot have been extinguished in a possession of fifty years, by a free people. I have always deplored the tone of disparagement of manners, and modes of living and thinking in the United States, with which so many of our modern writers of travels abound, and which tend to disunite two nations, whose union would confer incalculable advantages on the civilized world. It would, I own, lighten my mind of an immense load of care, generated by a state of things which presents itself to our view in other quarters. They are an enlightened and energetic people, to whom mighty destinies appear to be confided. For these reasons, and because I am grateful for the kindness I experienced there, even in a period of great excitement, I can affirm that I speak as dispassionately of their institutions as I should of our own. We have heard it asserted, that the choice of the whole House of Commons by popular election will procure to us one of a description superior to that which has hitherto sat within these walls—fitter Representatives of the intellect, energies, education, and virtues of the nation. On this point, my right hon. friend, the member for Tamworth, expressed his doubts, but did not insist on them, at not having an experience upon which he could reason; but, having that experience, I am compelled to put myself at issue upon it with the advocates for this Bill, and to express the astonishment with which we ascertained, notwithstanding some unequivocal exceptions, that the tone of the House of Representatives, members of society, was decidedly below that of the casually congregated society which we found at and near Washington—one which laboured under so many disadvantages, that, though very respectable in many points, it can in nowise compete with such as will be found in cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. It is not, indeed, necessary to determine the exact positive merits of the society existing, for the statement is a relative one; that its tone was decidedly better than that of the generality of the then Members of the Lower House, whose mode of life, habits, and means of existence, if specified, would make this apparent at once. We found that all the books of travels had underrated the character of the society of the United States, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, over-rated that of the component parts of its House of Representatives. The far greater part of them never appeared in society. We understood that there were amongst them, whose numbers were not 150, three Irish weavers and a cutting-butcher; and the cause of this is not difficult to discern. When the Representation is effected by popular election alone, the body of the people will be easily put and kept in a state of perpetual agitation by men who will hunt them with flatteries and solicitations addressed to their most irritable passions. Each town will rival with the other in sending determined patriots; and amongst them, those will be the most persuasive, who exhort them not to confide their interest to men who, by birth, wealth, and education, are too much raised above them to be able to sympathise with them; but to choose men of their own class, who will best know both their wants, and the means of promoting their weal, and whose fate will be in their hands. I know that there are many, and not on the benches of this side of the House, who calculate that the larger the electoral bodies are—the more electors are sought from the lower classes of society—the more accessible they will be to such allurements as the rich can hold out; but I beg leave to tell them that they wholly miscalculate the result. It is very remarkable that, in general, by far the lowest class of men was sent as Representatives from the States where there was the most of hereditary landed property, and the best English blood; whilst the most select delegations were precisely from the States the most essentially democratic, those where the greatest equality in birth, fortune, and education prevailed. But if even we should console ourselves with the expectation that we should at least procure as our colleagues the leading tradesmen of the great towns, our Stultzes and our Hobys, I must request that this sanguine hope may be renounced. The trade of legislators would be too ruinous to them to be adopted; we shall have to content ourselves with men who will not have found in themselves the skill and industry to become eminent as tailors or shoemakers, but will have at least discovered that the trade of a patriot is a comparatively easy and profitable one, to any one who is so circumstanced. I may add that I am in no hurry to go upon a cruise to find a better commodity than the English gentleman, as he now is. We pretend to many points of superiority unjustly; we claim more to ourselves, and refuse more to others, than we should; but, after an acquaintance with foreign nations of nearly forty-six years, I can confidently state, that I have no where found elsewhere so great an extent of frank and straightforward integrity and good faith, and personal honour and firmness, as in the British gentry.

Another very detrimental result of universal popular election, is the exclusion of professional men, some lawyers excepted, and those seldom of great note, from the national Representation in the United States. As the democratic contagion spreads, pre-eminence of every sort becomes suspected, whether it be that of birth, of fortune, or of talent, education, or professional rank; and, moreover, the pursuit of popular favour will be so eager, and joined in by so many, that no man will have a chance of either acquiring or maintaining it, so as to carry his election, unless he cultivates and watches it on the spot with a degree of assiduity incompatible with the calls of a profession. And even when the Legislature is sitting, then he must devote himself to its business, not from day to day only, but from hour to hour, with a dedication of his time equally incompatible with a profession. On our first arrival at Washington, our astonishment was unspeakable at the anti-commercial tendency of many of the acts of the Legislature in the second commercial nation of the universe, and at the character of other enactments, which certainly would not have led us to suppose that they were proposed in the senate of a country, where the law is almost identically our own, and where, as here, it is a very liberal profession exercised by thousands. But our friends smiled at our ignorance in not knowing, that the great merchant could find no place in the Transatlantic parliament; that it contained not the eminent lawyers of the Union: and that officers of the army and navy were complete strangers to it. Not long before I was in America, a great, perhaps the greatest merchant the commonwealth, a man of vast riches and unexceptionable character, aware that his very eminence was an effectual bar to his getting into the Congress, thought, at least, that he might be permitted to represent the city which was the seat of his immense traffic in the provincial states. An opponent, who had not arrived at the dignity of selling, but only at that of letting out horses, arose against him, and beat him out of the field. This evil is far less in the United States than it would be here. Surely it is not necessary to observe, how impotently a Legislature must act, without those sources of strength, and how blindly it must deliberate without those sources of light, the most eminent professional men of the country. But let us represent to ourselves our own Parliament so denuded, and consider the enormity of the sacrifice which we shall have to make, and the penalties we shall have to pay for it in every step of our proceedings, complicated and immense as are our revenue and expenditure, most important and extensive our manufacturing, commercial, and colonial interests.

The choice of the whole Representative body by popular election engenders also another great national evil. Whenever a particularly excited state of party feelings exists, its influence upon the elections will be universal and irresistible; it will wholly overwhelm all those who are obnoxious to it; and, amongst them, it will be precisely those whom it would be the most important to retain in the senate—the most eminent and conspicuous for their talents and virtues, who for that very reason will be the most carefully excluded; they will be the objects of universal jealousy and enmity. It was thus when I was at Washington, that every one of the most gifted and distinguished of the federal party—men who would have been ornaments of any legislature—were shut out of that of their country: and, as their only means of acting upon the public opinion, they were reduced to writing beautiful and argumentative essays in New York and Boston newspapers, which of course were read by their own party alone. And this effect would be particularly felt at a general election. The country was thus left destitute of the men the best qualified to enlighten the Legislature, to watch over and control the conduct of the Government, and who would be ready to be called to exercise its powers in an altered state of things. Now to estimate how this would affect us, we have but to consider what actually took place in 1807 in this country, when the Parliament was dissolved on Lord Grenville's government coming to an end, with a strong popular feeling prevailing against it. The result of the general election respecting, those Members of the late Government who had sat for places of popular election was, that not one of them represented them in the new Parliament. Amongst the most conspicuous of these failures was that of Lord Henry Petty, who had been member for the university of Cambridge. I need not say that the loss of those eminent persons to the Legislature would have been a national and a severe one; but the close boroughs presented ports of refuge, of which they gladly availed themselves; and thus they at once appeared again in the ranks of their party as efficient Members of the Legislature in every respect, as they had been in the preceding parliament. There was a moment in 1784, when even Mr. Fox was glad to obtain a seat for a Scotch borough, greeted on the occasion by Mr. Pitt, who exclaimed, Via prima salutis, Quod minime reris, Græcâ pandetur ab tube. This extinction of the very voice of the beaten party has an especial tendency to weaken and to degrade it, and to render the conquerors insolent and unreasonable. You lose, moreover, men who would keep in order weak and dangerous men who may happen to be in their party.

It behoves us to look to another effect of the whole Representative body being returned by popular election, in producing and fostering disunion between component parts of the empire, through the violence of the local feelings which will be put in motion and kept up, when the minds of the least educated and the least considerate of the population acquire a decided influence on our affairs. The demagogues who court the people, will always excite in them eager feelings as to local interests, as those to which they will be the most sensitive, which will be nearest to their hearts, and, moreover, be the easiest understood. Jealousies will be fomented between the towns of different manufactures; and then, between the manufacturing and agricultural districts, and then between them both and the commercial interests. Whoever has visited, or indeed read of the United States, must be aware, that these causes act there with a force and violence, threatening at times the existence of the Union, the dissolution of which is talked of with a coolness which astonishes a stranger; and whoever remembers the proceedings of the convention of Hartford, during our last war with the United States, and the effects produced by this war upon the Eastern States, with reference to their fellow States of the Union, will be able to estimate the extent of that which may be produced on the national interests here in similar instances. Do not let us be told that the United States contain more inflammable materials—greater seeds of internal discord—than Great Britain does. There, alas! we must claim no precedence of exemption; and, therefore, it is that those who advocate a dissolution of the union between Great Britain and Ireland, do very wisely in giving their best support to the Reform Bill. When all the causes of discord, which are now dormant, shall have ripened into maturity under universal popular Representation, they will reap rich and abundant fruits of their sagacity. When, in a debate in this House, an hon. member for Cork long ago suggested a dissolution of the Union as expedient, Mr. Canning exclaimed vehemently, "Dissolve the Union! Restore the Heptarchy!" and, should those measures go hand in hand, then as democratic constitutions are suited to states almost universally in the inverse ratio of their extent and population, our new Constitution in due season may fit extremely well the kingdom of Sussex, or that of the East Angles, if by that day a fragment of it should be left in existence. But there is no case in which the presence of a number of Members not returned by popular election acts more beneficially than in obviating the mischief here contemplated, by their resisting and allaying the action of local and angry feelings, which explode to the detriment of the empire.

There is another gigantic evil, which appears to me to be a necessary consequence of this Bill, but which I shall merely glance at, as it has been ably and fully brought into view by an hon. friend of mine; I mean its effects upon the position of the Church. I speak with no unkindness whatever of those who stand opposed to it by very different degrees of divergence from, or opposition to, it on religious grounds; but the number of them who will now have political influence will be so immense as to leave it exposed to an extent of danger, of which that which has arisen in so formidable a shape to the Church of Ireland is but a foretaste. Those will be far keener eyes than mine which will be able to discern, some twenty years hence, the vane on Salisbury steeple, or the cross of St. Paul's, above the waves.

But, if we return to the domestic effects of this Bill, we find ourselves gravely assured of an admirable effect to be produced by the new system, inasmuch as we are told that the Members of the Reformed Parliament will be exposed to fewer solicitations on the part of their constituents, and will have fewer wherewith to embarrass the Government than we have. But, by what magic of the wand of the new Thaumaturgists are natural causes to cease to produce their invariable effects? Why should large bodies of men, very many of whom will be in the lower ranks of life, feel less urgency of circumstances than small bodies of richer men—why should they have fewer claims to urge, and bring them forward with less importunity? Now, in this matter, I have a long experience to state. It happened to me to represent for twenty-four years a town and county by popular election; I had a most respectable constituency; but yet, where every man who was supporting a Member who was himself supporting Government, had a fair right to seek his assistance in the furtherance of blameless pretensions—where no man could know what claims another was advancing, it was quite impossible but that I should at times feel a, pressure of applications, which at times also bore upon the Government. I have had seven addressed to me within a very few days. Now, in fourteen years, in which I have represented Christchurch, it has not even had its own just and natural patronage. It was, in my absence, unjustly deprived of a revenue office vacant there; and for this I, after some years, obtained an indemnification; and one Christchurch man, not, however, the son of a burgess, nor recommended by one, has been sent as a common exciseman to Ireland. And this is the whole sum of its patronage in that time; whilst various strange revenue officers have been sent to Christchurch. Nor have I now, nor have I had for some years past, any application pending from any one of my constituents. I need scarcely say, that, in that whole time, not one favour was sought for of the Treasury, or conferred upon any one member of my own family. In truth, it is in proportion to the numbers and necessities of their constituents that the Members will be pressed forward on the Government, and in no predicament will a Member be put to a more embarrassing test of his principles than if he should be so circumstanced as to think it right to give a general support to a Government, but to abstain wholly from putting himself under obligations to it. It is of all positions the one which will be the least understood or sympathised with by those who have objects to attain; and few causes drive Members more into the arms of Government than the need of patronage to sustain popularity, so that the man really sacrifices his independence for the security of his re-election.

I shall, perhaps, not expose myself to censure, if I express myself very anxious to see my country maintain that high opinion for her wisdom which the various excellencies of her internal Government have conciliated to her. And I may be allowed to confess the embarrassment in which I should be placed, should any distinguished foreigner entreat me to consider how extreme is the difficulty of adapting a constitution to the wants, feelings, and cir- cumstances of a people, and that it is an imprudence beyond a name to hazard any new and extensive experiments of change, and most especially in a very advanced state of civilization, we might, perhaps, say corruption of luxury in private, and of expediency in public, when men's minds are neither willing nor fit to receive new and great impressions, or to make extensive sacrifices, except under a proved and incontrovertible failure of your existing constitution. This is as true in the political, as it is in the human frame, which in advanced age, will not endure those trying operations, which might be most salutary in youth, but which, in the decline of life, are far too dangerous to be risked. Without looking back to the ages of our Edwards and our Henrys, but merely viewing the events of the present age, he will ask me, if the political constitution of any nation was ever subjected to a severer trial and proof than that which ours endured triumphantly in the memory of very many of those now present. He will remind me that, within the very last forty years, sedition, treason, mutiny, and rebellion assailed us at home, and that we had extensive warfare to sustain by sea and by land in every quarter of the world at the same moment; that almost every year brought us new enemies, or defections of allies, and we repeatedly stood alone against a power that triumphed repeatedly over the whole continent of Europe, with nearly the whole of it as her tributaries or allies; that, amidst the commotions and struggles of Europe, and the most fearful combinations formed against us, whilst all the great powers of the continent saw by turns, their capitals in the hands of their enemies, Great Britain alone escaped unscathed, and reaped a harvest of glory, of which her own soil bore no trace; and gave a proof, beyond all doubt, that her Constitution has, down to the present time, a power to endure, and a power to do, without a precedent. He will express the wonder and envy with which the continent beheld the gigantic exertions, the resources, and the untameable courage of the nation, and the strength and elasticity of the Constitution, on which this power so materially reposed. This foreigner will suppose the case of some British ship returning from the most distant seas, from the Ultima Thule of the southern hemisphere, and he will contend, that her crew, learning in the channel the fearful experiment we are engaged in, must believe that despair alone could drive us to such fearful risks. He will tell me, that they will continue their voyage under the gloomiest forebodings, and with the painful certainty that dreadful calamities must have forced us to so desperate a course. They will expect to find Portsmouth in the hands of the French, Gibraltar in those of the Spaniards, Canada subdued by the United States, and some barbarous flag floating on the walls of Fort William at Calcutta; but with what surprise will they behold the British standard aloft at Portsmouth, and learn that it floats on the King's bastion at Gibraltar, and on the walls of Quebec and Fort William; that the integrity of our territory is inviolate; that the nation is in the enjoyment of profound peace, that all the other powers are giving us friendly assurances, and that England has to contend with nothing but her own restless and discontented spirit—with that which is unsound in our own minds, and which leads us to seek, in an unknown and most uncertain futurity, destinies more magnificent than even those which Providence has wonderfully vouchsafed to us.

But there next arises a question, which will press more strongly on the mind of an Englishman than it can on that of even an enlightened foreigner. It has often been remarked, that our Constitution has successfully solved Aristotle's famous problem, whether it were possible to frame a government which, if established, would exhibit the perfection of human wisdom, in which the regal, aristocratic, and democratic powers should exist together in so nice a balance as to secure a perfect tranquillity in the machine, and, consequently, the greatest mass of human happiness to the subject. Where no such equilibrium exists, and any one of these three powers preponderates decidedly, an addition to it, as, for instance, to the despotism of the Grand Seignor, to the aristocracy of ancient Venice, or to the democracy of Geneva as it was, might not affect the well-being of the state materially. But with us, the whole safety and efficiency of the machine depend upon the maintenance of these established counterweights, just as if in an experiment of naval architecture no increase would be dreamt of in the tautness of the masts, or in the squareness of the yards, without an increase in the dimensions and size of the timbers of the hull, proportionate to that of weight and canvass above. I am, therefore, beyond measure, anxious to learn the legislative measures to be proposed to strengthen the authority and consideration of the Crown, and of the House of Peers, in some proportion to the immensely increased democratic power. It is true, that many noblemen have an influence in this House; though even that is anything but an increasing one; but the real question is between the two Houses of Parliament, and whether the influence of the House of Lords outweighs ours in the Constitution—which no one will assert, or whether it is an increasing one: now every one knows that it has been decidedly diminished.

There is a research of another nature, which I feel myself bound briefly to make. In proportion to the novelty and extent of an experiment which, in one way or another, must affect most deeply the wellbeing of his country, an inconsiderable person, summoned to take a part in it, is bound, in common prudence, and in the plainest duty, to weigh carefully the powers of insight into future results possessed by those who make this call upon his faith and acquiescence, in order to ascertain whether they are gifted with that sagacity which is one of the most indispensable qualities of statesmen, whether, in short, they rank amongst those second-sighted political seers to whom "the coming events cast their shadows before:" and if, on examination, it turns out that, as prophets, they have been uniformly and egregiously deficient, they cannot complain, either if I hesitate to follow their judgment, or if I should even venture to obey my own in preference, if it led me right, where theirs led them wrong. We have seen in our days, two great political experiments in action in this country, and on which opinion was greatly divided, and they give the fairer test of sagacity, as one was of foreign, the other of domestic, policy. The first was an enterprise of continental warfare in the Peninsula, as a means of finding a better field of battle than we ever before had against imperial France, of forming our army, of bringing forward nations in arms as its auxiliaries, and creating a powerful diversion in favour of eastern and northern Europe. The campaigns of the Duke of Wellington, which began on the coast of Portugal, bear the most splendid testimony to the soundness of the policy pursued, as well as to the astonishing sagacity, and the extraordinary combination of military talents found in him who brought them to such an end; but yet, so loud and determined were the forebodings of woe uttered during the whole of this warfare, by the leaders of the then opposition, now leaders in the Government, even to the last moment of the contest, that their voices could only have been drowned by the sound of the cannon proclaiming his entry into Thoulouse, and the first peace of Paris. So much for their prophecies of woe. If I now turn to one of weal, I do it with pain, because it has been frustrated, and because (and I can most solemnly affirm it) it would have been a delight to me to see my own forebodings of national misfortunes falsified. Of the policy or impolicy of the great measure of 1829, I say not one word—not one syllable; I merely and solely advert to it as affording a test of prophetic powers respecting its results, and no further. I was painfully compelled to take the line I did, by convictions, which have been but too completely justified. But I may ask—that which the records of our debates so amply bear witness to—whether there was a beatitude of harmony and concord between Great Britain and Ireland, which was not confidently predicted as the infallible result of the measure of emancipation, and whether an utter mistrust of those prophecies was not scouted as gloomy and extravagant croaking. The British islands were to become the fortunate Western Isles—the Hesperides of the ancients; each bough of every tree was to bend down under the weight of golden fruit, but there was to be no dragon to watch it. Alas! has the nation beheld the golden fruit?—the fire-breathing dragon is at the foot of the tree, and he is wide awake. If there was never disastrous intelligence from across the water—if no cries for a dissolution of the Union had resounded from Ireland—still our own nightly debates would testify how these prophetic visions have been realized. Now, then, if these statesmen prophesy in foreign or domestic affairs, in weal or in woe, and uniformly fail, is there one such down-right believer as to pin his faith upon such soothsayers? If a man is summoned to a desperate enterprise, it is natural that he should seek strength in his leaders, proportionate to his own weakness. If I am called to the attack of some fortress of massive bulwarks, and hitherto impregnable, I must look for mighty men of renown, for bearded men of herculean frames to head the assault. Dare I to follow with implicit compliance where every thing inspires me with dismay? There is not a circumstance with respect to our revenue, our commerce, our manufactures, our colonies, or the public mind, that gives me hope. Our oldest allies are disappearing one after another, and in their places I see nothing but fierce armed spectres gliding across our horizon. If some dreadful epidemic or contagious malady were raging, and within my walls, with what thoughts, with what feelings, should I receive the following communication from the physician who had been called in? "Sir, your groom, it is true, is dead under my hands, the gardener's case is desperate, and I have no hopes of the helper; the footman is dying, and things being so and thus, I therefore earnestly call upon you, not to be deterred by these petty casualties, but to place in my hands, with implicit confidence, the lives of the wife of your bosom, and of the daughter of your heart." The beauty and durability of the work, must be in proportion to the skill and powers of the artist. If, in eastern tales, a magnificent palace of beautiful architecture, vast in its dimensions, and gorgeous in materials, is to be raised, it is reared by the hands of the genii. If, in the poetry which the most delighted our youth, a suit of impenetrable armour is to be forged, as it is now, for the goddess of the sea, the hammers must be wielded by the brawny arms, and the giant forms of the Cyclops. In answer to all this, I am told the nation wills it so—that I must submit to the will of the people, which knows of no refusal—that, as one of our mottos expresses, "Vox populi, vox Dei." I can only reply, that the eyes so inflamed, the countenance so haggard, the features so distorted, the gesticulation so wild and vehement, denote to me anything rather than an heaven-sent inspiration. I confess, in the sincerity of my heart, that my alarm at what is in progress is so deep and overwhelming, that, between this moral pestilence now raging, and the physical pestilence abroad amongst us, aye, were it an hundred fold more devastating and devouring than it is, were the choice vouchsafed to me, as it was between like evils to one of old—I would at once, like him, for me and mine, throw myself on the mercies of Heaven, rather than on those of man.

Mr. Adeane

said, that he had supported the principle of this Bill by voting for the second reading of it, because, he thought the extinction of the decayed boroughs, and the transfer of their franchises to the landed, commercial, and manufacturing interests, absolutely necessary for the good government of the country. With the same views he had, when it was in Committee, supported such amendments as he thought should be introduced into it, without any reference to the side of the House from which those amendments emanated. He did so, because it was the duty of the House to amend the Bill in Committee, as well as it could, wherever it required amendment. He had pursued such a line of conduct, because he wished to see all defects in the details of the Bill remedied, and because he was anxious that a collision between the two Houses of Parliament should, if possible, be avoided,—an event, the occurrence of which, no one who was attached to the Constitution of the country could witness without fear and apprehension. It was upon such grounds that he had given his support to several of the amendments that had been proposed in the Committee, and he had no hesitation in now declaring his regret that the amendments which he then supported, the majority of which went to give greater power and weight to the agricultural interest, had not been adopted. He was sorry to say, that the agricultural interest was not sufficiently supported or fairly represented by this Bill, as it at present stood. The variations from the former Bill, which had been introduced into this Bill, justified him in asserting that the agricultural interest was not fairly represented by this Bill. The noble Lord (Althorp) when the first Bill was introduced, described it as a boon to the agricultural interest, and the noble Lord, in making that statement, particularly referred to the quantity of rural districts which it went to add to the towns that would return Members. There were in the first Bill eighty places, sending to that House 113 Members, and of these, twenty required full one-half, twenty more required one third, and the remainder required a fraction, at least, of a rural constituency, in order to give them that amount of constituency, which, under that Bill, would entitle them to have a Representative. The Bill was presented to the country upon that ground at the election, and that argument was successfully used to convince the landed interest that they would be fairly dealt with. He, therefore, thought that a change which affected all these proportions ought not to have been adopted after the pledges which had been given. It had been asserted, by the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when the former measure was under consideration, that, under no circumstances should the town voter be allowed to overpower the agricultural electors, but such would, notwithstanding be the effect of the alterations that had been since introduced. By allowing all freeholders from 40l. up to 10l. per annum, living in towns to have votes for the counties the landed interest would be swamped. He regretted deeply, that such changes had been made, after the pledges given to the landed interest, and after they had returned their Representatives on the faith of those pledges. If the large towns had been permitted to send their own Members to Parliament, and had not been allowed to vote for counties by their smaller freeholders, he thought a sufficient quantity of manufacturing blood could have been introduced. Lamenting, as he did, that the amendments which he had supported had not been adopted, still, as a sincere Reformer, firmly attached to the leading principle of the Bill, he should vote for the third reading of it. He knew very well that the course which he took with regard to those amendments would earn for him much odium, but he feared not the necessary consequence of his not acting on party principles, but on his honest conviction. It was from honest motives, and from an honest conviction, that he had endeavoured to get the amendments which he had supported introduced into the measure; but though he had failed in doing so, he should not have the least difficulty in voting for the third reading of the Bill.

Sir Edward Sugden

was sure that the hon. Member who had just sat down would receive full credit from the House for having acted with regard to this question, upon conscientious grounds. But when they heard the hon. and learned Attorney General speaking of the entire satisfaction with which the Bill was regarded by a nation all harmony and content, he begged to ask, whether the sentiments of the hon. member for Cambridgeshire, supported by such sound reasoning as that hon. Member had advanced, went to support that statement of the hon. and learned Attorney General? But had not the House found, by the frequent divisions which had taken place, that there were many Gentlemen who supported the Bill, and who yet had in their hearts a dread of its effects, and objections to many of its principal provisions? Had they not the other night seen a right hon. Gentleman, until very recently connected with the Government, get up in his place, after having supported the Bill all through, and take a practical objection to some of its leading principles. To one of them he expressed his intention to move an amendment. Indeed, he should like to be told who, even amongst its authors, was the supporter of the Bill in all its provisions? The noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, could not be satisfied with it, for he wished for the Ballot, and in the Bill there was no provision for the Ballot. To maintain his own consistency, therefore, the noble Lord must support any other measure hereafter proposed which should include the Ballot. Then, there was the noble Lord (the Paymaster of the Forces); did he look upon it as a final measure? Undoubtedly not; for, on opening the measure to the House, he stated, that the duration of a Parliament was a matter to be left open to future consideration. He believed, indeed, there was no man but his hon. and learned friend the Attorney General who had told him that it was to be regarded as a final measure. Now, his hon. and learned friend should be the last man to give it that recommendation in the House, after what he had said out of it. He wished his hon. and learned friend was present, that he might hear what he was about to say. In a Report of a conversation between his hon. and learned friend and his constituents, it had been stated, that he was asked, if he would support the Ballot, and his hon. and learned friend was further made to answer that he wished to try the Bill, and then, if it did not work well they could have the Vote by the Ballot. After this he had never heard anything with more astonishment in his life than when the hon. and learned Attorney General called upon the House to pass the measure as a final one. Then there was another Member of his Majesty's Government—the right hon. Baronet the member for Westminster—who might be considered as the organ of a certain class of Reformers, though certainly he had now been cast off by a large body of them, who had elected other leaders of their own; they were told last year, by the right hon. Baronet the member for Westminster, that it was impossible the measure could be final. The right hon. Baronet had, over and over again made use of that assertion. He had told the House in fact, that this Bill was but a stepping-stone to something better. If, then, this was not to be a final measure, he asked, to what point were they to go? Where were they to look for pause and rest? He knew not; but, at all events, it was idle to talk of this measure as a permanent one, when the most active of its supporters viewed it in a contrary light. The hon. and learned member for Calne had said, that if all the blessings enjoyed by the country were to be attributed to the Constitution, so were all the miseries endured. That was rather strange reasoning; but, adopting it, let him follow the hon. and learned Member a step further. The hon. and learned Member said, he found in the Constitution a sound part and an unsound part; and what of that? Was that any reason for destroying it altogether? Was that any reason why they should break in upon the Constitution, and lop, right and left, without judgment, without science, without prudence, and without system? He did not wish to retain the corrupt or bad parts of the Constitution, but he did wish, and it was his duty to his country, to retain the Constitution itself. Now, fortunately enough, the hon. and learned Member had undertaken to show how, in the midst of so much rottenness and corruption, as he said, existed in the Constitution, so many blessings had been derived from it. The hon. and learned Member had found out a sound part. And that sound part was the county Representation and the Representation for popular constituencies. The Representatives returned by those constituencies, said the hon. and learned Member, had defended the rights and privileges of the people, and led to the blessings enjoyed under the Constitution. Why, was there ever an assertion made which was more unfounded in justice? Was it not a well known and indisputable fact, that the ablest, most powerful, and most successful advocates for the rights and liberties of the people had sat in that House for nomination or close boroughs? It was, and it was idle to attempt to deny it. He did not wish to place nomination or close boroughs higher in estimation than they ought to stand; but he could not help exposing the weakness of the argument of the hon. and learned Member. For his own part he was ready to acknowledge that he looked upon nomination boroughs as an evil in principle—as something that it was desirable, if possible to get rid of, they were a sort of blot upon our admirable system of Representation; but, at the same time, he was not willing or ready to destroy that system altogether for the purpose of extinguishing them. Let a more constitutional mode be devised of securing the blessings which existed through the medium of the nomination boroughs, and he would at once give them up. His object was, not to oppose popular Representation, but to oppose such a Representation as would endanger the long established institutions of the country. Such, he declared honestly and solemnly, was his desire; and such being his feeling, he could not, upon that the third reading of the Bill, avoid raising his feeble voice against it once more, and attempting to expose to the House and to the country some of its manifold errors. He was anxious to reply to some of the observations which had fallen from his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General. His hon. and learned friend, from his station, must be supposed to be acquainted with the Bill in all its bearings. He was not, or his station would imply that he was not, an unlearned person; and, therefore, it became important to try the real value of his observations before they had obtained credit upon the strength of the office filled by his hon. and learned friend. His hon. and learned friend had told the House, that he was astonished to find the Bill passed with so few alterations, as compared with the Bill of last Session. The astonishment of the Attorney General was one of pleasure at seeing the Bill now passed so extremely like the Bill of last Session. The assertion of his hon. and learned friend was far more astonishing than the resemblance of the Bills to each other. He wished not to speak with anything like unkindness of the conduct of his hon. and learned friend, especially during his absence from his place, but he must say, that he had compromised the dignity and the character of his office. His hon. and learned friend, for week after week, had been an inactive silent Member of the Committee when important legal points were in dispute, which ought to have been discussed by the Law Officers of the Crown. He did not say the Attorney General had been an inattentive Member of the Committee, but certainly he could hardly suppose his hon. and learned friend knew much about the two Bills, when he said, they were so similar to each other that, when apart, it was difficult to find a difference. He must say, that no two measures, possessing any portion at all of the same principles, could, by possibility, be more unlike. Compare the two Bills, and the truth of his position would be palpable beyond dispute. The first Bill consisted of twenty pages the present Bill occupied fifty-five pages. If the Bills closely resembled each other in meaning, whence this immense difference in their dimensions? If they enacted the same things, why this great and extraordinary change in the wording? But was it mere change in the wording? Most assuredly not. The meaning was as much changed as the language. On the introduction of the first Bill the noble Paymaster of the Forces had declared, on the part of the Government, over and over again, that the measure was introduced after the most mature consideration, and that therefore, the Government would stand or fall by it. In making a comparison of the two Bills, and trying the nature of the Attorney General's assertion, it was as well to bear the assertion of the noble Paymaster of the Forces in mind. By the first Bill sixty-two Members were cut off from the whole Representation of the empire; but was that the case with the present Bill? No; the old number was to be preserved; and was that a slight and immaterial difference? Did it not go to the very foundation of the measure? Did it not attack and destroy the very judgment and calculations upon which the first measure was built? Most certainly it did. The absurdity of the first Bill was gross; but that did not make the difference between the two less. The first Bill talked of extending the elective franchise, and of admitting half a million of persons to the constituency; and of providing for the increased wants of the nation, the immense growth of commerce, and yet it reduced the number of Representatives. Well, but now the old number was to be preserved, and they had been disposed of, and that without settling the calls of Ireland or of Scotland. Ireland through her Representatives required more Mem- bers; and Scotland was not silent upon the subject; but the whole of the old number had been disposed of without settling either of those questions. It was the unwise, unstatesman-like conduct of the Government, that had led to the demand of Ireland. Had not the Government said in its first Bill England can do without sixty-two of her Members, Ireland would never have required an increase of hers. If the Government had not shuffled, and dealt with the Constitution as it had done, all parts of this empire would have been content. It was lamentable to see the childishness of the Ministers; they dallied with the Constitution, which they could not estimate, as they would with a worthless toy. One day a Member was refused to Merthyr Tydvil, the next day it was conceded. One day Monmouth was put in the schedule, the next day it was taken out, and that too, without notice, without, intelligible system or design. Unless, indeed, he might build a judgment upon the manner of the noble Paymaster of the Forces, who seemed—he said seemed—to be gratified with an opportunity of punishing those, by injuring their interests, who were known to be his political opponents. The interests of Merthyr Tydvil and of Monmouth were different, and that accounted for the changes as changes of party, but not as changes, in a measure remodelling the Constitution. So much for the numbers of the House. As for schedule A, they were told, on the introduction of the first Bill that there could not possibly be an alteration in it. How stood the facts? In the schedule A of the first Bill there were sixty boroughs; in the schedule A of the present Bill there were fifty-six boroughs; and the boroughs in the two Bills differed considerably from each other. Then schedule B, like schedule A, was unalterable; but yet, in the first Bill there were forty-six boroughs in schedule B, and in the present Bill there were only thirty boroughs. Now to stop there a moment. Let the House consider those two schedules, and what would have been thought of the alteration, if any one had ventured to propose it at the general election, when the cry was for the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill? If any candidate, addressing a large and Reforming constituency, had said, "I am a friend to Reform, but I think schedule A would be better if it had just fifty- six boroughs in it, and schedule B would be better if it had just thirty boroughs in it," what would have been said to him? He would have been utterly rejected. That single reflection ought to excite caution in the minds of the Ministers. It would be well for them and for the country if they reasoned upon the change which had taken place—if they asked themselves how those who were returned to support the first Bill now supported so different a measure as the second? He knew not what the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) might be able to do in a Reformed Parliament, but he would have a fearful task to perform when the people, awakening from the delusion into which they had been seduced, demanded that Constitution and all its blessings which had been wontonly destroyed. In the day of anarchy and confusion—the necessary off spring of the present monstrous measure—the people would demand from the noble Lord the old Constitution which, in his most sober and reasonable moments, he had so ably and happily eulogized. But, to proceed with the differences between the two Bills. In the first Bill it was proposed to transfer to Commissioners the power of parcelling out the Representation. In the present Bill there was to be no such power. Appended to, or rather connected with, the present Bill, however, there was to be a Boundary Bill. His hon. and learned friend, the member for Boroughbridge, had formerly complained of the information being laid before Members in a state unfit for use, and at the last moment. That defect in the supply of information had been altered, for now the information was not before the House at all until long after the period at which it could be applied had passed away. So with respect to the Bill affecting this part of the subject. The Boundary Bill was to be discussed after the boundaries had been settled. These observations, as showing the difference between the Bills after the assertion of the Attorney General, were important. But there were other topics which required notice. One of them had been alluded to by the hon. member for Cambridgeshire. That hon. Member had observed upon the change in the right of voting for counties. He remembered perfectly well that the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, during the debates on the first Bill, had declared over and over again that the arrangement they made respecting cities and counties in themselves was a great boon to the agricultural interests. He then asked the noble Lord why was it altered? If the noble Lord said it was altered in consequence of the motion of a noble Marquis (Chandos) being carried, was he to understand that the noble Lord dissented from that supposition? He wished the Ministers would speak out, would fairly let the country know what they did mean, and, if they could, state the grounds upon which these alterations were made. But the noble Lord having declared the first arrangement a boon, and a great boon, to the agricultural interest, why, he asked, was it withdrawn, and, by a new plan, an overwhelming influence given to the commercial and manufacturing interest? [Lord Althorp "No, no."] The noble Lord appeared to entertain a different opinion, but he had considered the Bill most attentively, and he could not form a new opinion quite so hastily, or upon such grounds as the noble Lord might desire he should. He knew the noble Lord might say that, in some cases, it was necessary; but there were cases in which there was no pretence for assigning expediency as an argument. Look at the cases of Coventry and London. Why was Coventry thrown into Warwickshire, and London into Middlesex? Was there not enough of town constituents in Warwickshire, without adding to them those of Coventry, and of town constituency in Middlesex, without adding to them those of London? The reason for this alteration was plain, and not to be disguised even to the casual observer. He would not occupy the time of the House by pointing out the great difference between the agricultural tenant to the amount of 50l. and upwards, and the tenant of a mere House to the same amount. The Attorney General had said, that he was extremely pleased at the Motion of the noble Marquis (Chandos) being carried; but his hon. and learned friend had never said so much before. On the contrary, judging from the votes of his hon. and learned friend, he had supposed him to be opposed to that motion. His hon. and learned friend had voted in the minority with Ministers, but now it appeared he voted against his wishes. Perhaps there were other points upon which his hon. and learned friend, and many who supported the Bill, would like to see alterations. An evening or two ago the right hon. the member for Stamford, had also let out a little secret. That hon. Member, it appeared, like the Attorney General, had voted with the Government, but had wished against them. If they could but be placed for a short time in the palace of truth, many and curious would be the facts they should arrive at. It would be remembered that this was no unimportant part of the Bill. The regulation of the right of voting was of the utmost consequence. Indeed, if there was one part of the Bill more important than another, it was that. He then came to the 10l. franchise clause. And what change had that undergone? At first four things were necessary. A house giving a vote was to be of the value of 10l., the rent was to be of the annual amount of 10l., the rating to the poor was to be upon a rent of 10l., and the inhabitant house duty was to be upon the annual value of 10l.; and it was required that the rent and taxes should be paid before the vote be given, or even the right registered. He had always thought that arrangement a bad one. It might be well for the landlords, but he could not see why their debts were to be paid in preference to all others, and by such an arrangement as gave them great power over their tenants. But the noble Lord abandoned the plan. He gave up the necessity of the rent being paid. And what did he do besides? Why he proposed that the rent should be payable half-yearly. Immediately the noble Lord was assailed by his friends, the Political Unions, and the noble Lord said it was a mistake. The noble Lord, if he wished anything, must have wished to recal the extension of the franchise he had promised, but he said, he wished to exclude weekly tenants merely from the exercise of the franchise. The noble Lord, however, gave way. Was that a concession, he would ask, to the middle classes? Were the middle classes to be found among the weekly tenants of 3s. 10d. per week? It would be absurd to say so. The noble Lord had given way, not to the middle classes—that sober industrious, and meritorious part of the community—but to the Political Unions, which embodied the discontent and the bad feeling of the country. He complained of the noble Lord for compelling him to enter into a personal contest with the hon. member for Ipswich. The noble Lord said, he made the alteration in con- sequence of the Representations of the hon. member for Ipswich. Supposing that hon. Member had applied to the noble Lord on the subject, had no one else applied? Had not the Political Unions applied? Would the noble Lord tell the House that the alteration was made in consequence of the Representations of the hon. member for Ipswich? [Lord John Russell, "Yes."] Then he would tell the noble Lord that he was not fit for the place he filled. When he looked at the Government of the country he expected to find it composed of men of wisdom, learning, and experience; he expected to find it directed by great talent, by grave counsel, and by consistent and enlightened principle; but when the noble Lord told him, that the mature deliberations of the Government were overturned by the Representations of the hon. member for Ipswich, he turned from the Ministers with contempt.

Mr. Wason

wished to be allowed to say one word [cries of "Order."]

Sir Edward Sugden

continued. But although a change was made, there was still some check kept up. That check, however, was not liked, and the noble Lord again gave way. Did not a deputation wait upon the noble Lord and inform him and impress upon him that the persons paying their rent weekly were highly respectable, and that the arrangement was made solely for the convenience of the landlord? Then the last check was assailed. By the Bill it was provided that the premises for which the vote was claimed should be held for a year. That, however, was objectionable. The words "same premises" were struck out; so that a man might occupy fifty different premises in the course of a year, and yet claim and exercise the right of voting; would any one say that was a boon to the middle classes. It was a mockery to speak in such language. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said, he would satisfy the public mind without violating the Constitution, or disturbing the ancient institutions of the country, and the noble and learned Lord at the head of the law department in the Government said, that Ministers "would follow in the ancient ways of the Constitution." How were those ancient ways observed? He defied the noble and learned Lord, or any supporter of the Bill, to show that the ancient and approved principles of the re- presentative part of the Constitution were regarded in the Bill. The noble Lord, the Paymaster of the Forces, said, on the introduction of the first Bill, that it was of the greatest importance to give to the industrious, sober-minded, and respectable portion of the community, a direct share in the Representation. Did the noble Lord mean to say, that the 10l. clause, as it stood, would have that effect? Why, that provision nearly amounted to Universal Suffrage in the metropolis. Let the noble Lord refer to the documents on the Table of the House, and examine into the facts bearing upon the metropolitan districts, and most of the large boroughs to be created, and he would find the 10l. clause little short of Universal Suffrage. It gave a preponderance to the lower orders, which would swamp and destroy the influence of the others. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the aristocracy should not have an undue influence in the State. He did not wish that the aristocracy should have power solely for their own sakes. Let it not be supposed that he wished to maintain the aristocracy merely as an aristocracy; he had no such desire; but he did wish to maintain the aristocracy for the benefit of the lower orders themselves; and, in doing so, he believed that he was supporting their best interests. This was his sincere and honest feeling. Indeed, it was impossible that he could act from other motives on this point, sprung, as he was, from the humblest class of society himself. He had no motive—no desire—indeed he could have none—to fly in the face of his fellow-countrymen, and to deprive them of the rights which they enjoyed. He had never sought preferment, nor had he ever received any patronage. He had been advanced in life it was true, but that advancement was the fair result of his honest exertions. He had never sought for office, but he had been called to it; and although he had now the privilege of addressing that House, that privilege had not been arrived at by unworthy means. Such was his position; and he solemnly declared that if ever the time arrived when he could claim privileges for the lower classes of his countrymen, consistently with the benefit of the empire, there was no man breathing who would be more zealous, strenuous, or sincere, in his exertions to effect that object, than he would. He now stood up in defence of the aristocracy; but he should be equally zealous in defence of the rights of the people, if he saw them infringed. He would then turn to the rights of the 40s. freeholders, and see how they had been dealt with. When the noble Lord, the Paymaster of the Forces, first introduced the subject, he said he had no intention to interfere with the rights of the 40s. freeholders. That noble Lord said, he considered the 40s. franchise as invaluable, and entitled to respect, both from its excellence and antiquity. But how did the present Bill deal with that franchise? Why, it materially curtailed it. If a man devised a freehold of 40s. to a son for that son's life, and to his children afterwards, that freehold would give no vote to the son. If a man married a woman, and by that marriage became seised of a 40s. freehold, the freehold so acquired and so held would give him no vote. Surely, these were novel and unconstitutional restrictions, and ought to be exposed. The country in general naturally relied upon the professions of the Ministers, and the people out of doors had no notion whatever of the changes in the rights of their ancient and wholesome 40s. franchise. It was very well for his hon. and learned friend to say, that no alteration had been made in this Bill, but this latter alteration was of great importance. In the first Bill, also, the patronage of appointing the Assistant Barristers was given to the Lord Chancellor, but that provision was struck out of the present Bill; and would his hon. and learned friend say that this was no alteration? In his mind it was a most desirable change. He should further glance at the remaining schedules. He had already noticed schedules A and B. In schedules C great alterations had been made. In the first Bill schedule D contained eighteen boroughs, and in the present it contained twenty-one boroughs. Schedules E and F had also been very much altered, and there were now seven counties which were to have three Members instead of two. Such were some of the differences between the two Bills, and yet his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General, said "it is astonishing to see so little change." Why there was not the crossing of a t, or the dotting of an i, in the one Bill, that resembled that in the other. "But," said the supporters of the Bill, "you who oppose it propose no plan of your own; instead of finding fault with the Bill devise a better." Why, had the Opposition to this Bill shrunk from the discussion of any one topic? Had not the opponents of the Bill fully declared their sentiments, and what they thought would be desirable? It was impossible, in reflecting on the blessings derived from the Constitution, not to ask what had hitherto been the effects of the Bill. It had, in fact, reversed the principle of Government. Under the ancient system the Government restrained the violent with a paternal but a strong hand, while, under the new system, the Government were before the people in extravagance, and almost gave the signal for unconstitutional combination, and the spreading of those watch words that were dangerous to peace, to law, and to good order. If he looked to the high office which his hon. and learned friend fills, what did he find? Why, the influence of this measure had paralysed, if not destroyed, its power. The Attorney General would not dare to exercise the authority, or to pursue the course which the Constitution pointed out to him. Had he even now the power to bring to justice persons who were guilty of sedition? Again, look at the public Press. The liberty of the public Press had degenerated into licentiousness. The question now to be asked was this—was it the editor of a newspaper, or the noble Earl at the head of the Administration, who held the reins of Government? This was even the case with that part of the Press which professed to support his Majesty's Ministers, and even by its licentiousness the office of Attorney General had been paralyzed. It was surprising to him, that notwithstanding all the knowledge and ability of the conductors of the Press, it never seemed to have occurred to them, that when the institutions of the country became more popular than at present, the liberty and licentiousness in which they were now permitted to indulge must be curtailed. Under a free, and well-regulated form of Government, full liberty could with safety be given to the public Press; but the moment the balance turned from real liberty, whether towards despotism or democracy, the Press would meet with a check. That which tended, therefore, to the latter change, as did this Bill, struck as much at the liberty of the Press, as did that which tended to the former. Another consequence of this measure was, the leading of people from the old notions of responsibility, and a breaking up of the social system. In illustration of this position, he would refer to the refusal to pay parish rates. Let hon. Members who held lightly the reports as to the effects of this Bill, consider well this matter. It was a dangerous beginning, and, if not checked, would lead to fearful results. Nothing could be more dangerous than for the people to be possessed with a notion that they were not bound to obedience to a law, because that law could not be enforced by violence. The laws never could be thrust upon the people. The people must support the laws, or they must fall; and dangerous would be the feeling among the people that the law was their oppressor, and not their protector. But, if in England, since the production of this Bill, there had been a refusal to pay parish rates, what had been the case in Ireland? In Ireland there had been a refusal to pay tithes, and most alarming and most dangerous doctrines had been held upon that refusal. It had been advanced in that House, because certain persons had already disobeyed the law, that, therefore, they should be released from further obedience to it. Let them once teach one set of people that they could cast their burthens on the shoulders of another set, and there would soon be no set that would bear any burthens at all. Were hon. Members and the country so little acquainted with the course of history, as to suppose that the people at large would benefit by a confiscation of Church property? If they were, great was their error, and great would be their disappointment. Another effect of the Bill was, to paralyze trade, and even to affect the credit of the country. He knew that the supporters of the measure say, the depressed state of trade was occasioned by the opposition to the Bill; but he would prove the contrary to be the fact. Every one knew that capital was a tender plant; that it shrunk at change, and was often frighted away altogether by it. But it was said that this Reform Bill was to open new sources for commerce, and to purify old ones. If so, how was it that the bare promise of it did not act as an encouragement? How was it that ever since its production, although it had been continually promised to be passed, trade had regularly gone on getting worse and worse, instead of improving? The cause was evident; the Bill promised not security from further change, but to open a vista of change of which no man could see the close. He trembled at the thought of revolution, and who could watch and examine the effects of this Bill without expecting one? He spoke for himself, and would say conscientiously, that looking to his own interests as a member of the community, and naturally casting about to see how he could place any property he might possess in security, he was at a loss to find out a satisfactory way. He believed that a large portion of those who possessed property thought with him, and, therefore, the passing of the Bill would only add to the embarrassments of trade. He came down to that House night after night to discuss this Bill, but he felt, as he believed others did, depressed more and more on each occasion with the fear of the results that would flow from it. He was sure if the noble Lord would take the trouble to inquire, he would find that a large portion of the thinking part of the community shrunk with dismay from the probable consequences of this measure. All perceived that a storm was gathering, and no man could tell how or when it would burst! Would the passing of this Bill diminish this alarm? Would it heal all doubts and fears? Was there anything in its character likely to produce such an effect? On the contrary, in his opinion it would increase the evil tenfold, and would excite new apprehensions of the most alarming character. The stability of everything in the State would be shaken, and the anxiety of every possessor of capital would be augmented. For what would be the operation of the measure? This country differed from all other countries in the world in this that, having a numerous and intelligent population, the mass of the property was, comparatively speaking, in few hands. By the present Bill, however, the property of the country would continue in one set of hands, and the power in another. If it were necessary to instance further mischiefs produced by the Bill, he would refer to what had occurred at Bristol and Nottingham. Those outrages were entirely owing to the Bill; and, dreadful as they were, their occurrence where they did take place, probably prevented the occurrence of much greater elsewhere. The Political Unions also entirely sprung from the Reform Bill [hear, hear.] Did hon. Gentlemen mean to deny this. He admitted that there were Political Unions before that measure was introduced; but in the sense in which he used the words, he was correct in their application. When he said, the Political Unions had sprung from this measure, he meant that it had led them to assume their present character, to investigate and condemn the conduct of Members of this House, and to put a bridle upon the Government. Regarded in that light, he contended that the Political Unions were the children and the champions of the Reform Bill. If the Bill should pass—which God avert!—it would be the bounden duty of his Majesty's Government immediately to put down the Political Unions, or the Political Unions would put them down. Another mischief resulting from the measure, was, the introduction in this House, and elsewhere of the most unconstitutional principles. The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland formerly maintained that the Crown should omit sending Writs to those places which it was thought desirable to disfranchise. The hon. and learned Gentleman argued that at considerable length, and the consequence was, that on some hon. Gentlemen on that side expressing their indignation at such a monstrous doctrine, the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, rose, and on behalf of the Government, disclaimed any participation in such sentiments. Notwithstanding that, in a paper, said to be Ministerial, it was argued, but two nights ago, that the King of England had a right to dissolve Parliament, and to send Writs only to those places which he pleased. A more daring and illegal assertion was never made. At other times such a doctrine would have been prosecuted by the Attorney General at the order of the House. Then, as to the permanency of the measure, the right hon. Baronet, the member for Westminster, had argued, in the strongest manner, that the Bill could not be lasting, but that it would lead to ulterior measures. Again, the hon. and learned member for Calne said, that if the principle of Reform was once admitted, they must go to the whole extent. He would not, however, enter upon this subject now, as he had already occupied too much of the time of the House. It was impossible, however, that the Bill should be lasting, as it did not go the length which the discontented required; and nothing short of Universal Suffrage and the Ballot would meet their views. Let it not, however, be supposed, that because he opposed this Bill, that he was adverse to all change. He was not prepared to say, that circumstances might not compel them to go a great way, but with other opponents of the measure, he felt that this measure went much too far. He had often expressed his sentiments with candour on that point. It was said, that the opponents of the Bill had no plan, or had proposed none. But he asked, whether their sentiments were not fully known to the country? They objected to the measure as a whole in consequence of its going too far; they also objected to several of the details on specific grounds. They objected to the metropolitan boroughs; they were opposed to the giving the freeholders of towns, being counties in themselves, votes in the counties; they thought the 10l. franchise would destroy the constituency, and upon all other points they had fully expressed their opinions. His opinion of the conduct of the Government was this:—They had gone too far to be able to stop. The noble Lord said, "Would you be a bit-by-bit Reformer, and so never give content?" But would this measure give content? Why should it? Would it satisfy those who asked for it? Would it meet their views and effect what they wanted?—No. The great body of the lower orders wanted a relief from taxation, and an increase of trade. They wanted cheap bread, and high wages. To procure cheap bread, they would destroy the Corn-laws, and that would only tend to lead to their own misery. They would also abolish tithes; but let the Government and proprietors of all descriptions consider well before they encouraged such notions. If they did encourage them, were the rights of the Church the only ones that would be inquired into? Were there not other records—the ancient spoils of the Church—which might also be questioned? He was convinced that a Reformed Parliament, such as would be returned by a 10l. constituency, would go far to shake the stability of the Throne. There was at present a feeling that the hereditary revenues of the Crown should be disposed of, and that all Crown lands should be sold, and the feeling appeared to be, to make the King entirely dependent for his resources on a Reformed Parliament. He was sure that there was not an institution in the country that would not be shaken by this measure. This Bill ought not to be considered by itself. It was only a part of a measure, and the Bills for Scotland and Ireland ought to be taken in conjunction with it. The House of Commons was obliged to take each Bill separate; but how could the House of Lords do so? The Irish Members said, they were determined on an increase of their numbers, and that question ought to be settled before the House of Lords was called upon to decide upon this Bill. It behoved the House of Lords, therefore, to have the whole of the Bills before it, to see the entire of the measure before it entered upon the consideration of any part of it. Having considered what the measure had done, he would show in a few words, what it had not done. A Minister might be a most complete Radical Reformer, but being so would not enable him to force an unjust tax upon the funds. A Minister might be a thorough Radical Reformer, but being so would not enable him to give tranquillity to Ireland, or to maintain the law, peace, or justice there. A Minister might be a thorough Radical Reformer, but it would not enable him to remove the miseries occasioned by the Game-laws. A Minister might be a thorough Radical Reformer, but being so would not enable him to effect wholesome Reform in the judicial system of the country, or to secure efficient Judges. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, alluding to the argument of an hon. Member respecting the Nabob of Arcot, said the Emperor of Russia had as good a right to have Members in that House as the Indian Prince. He knew not how that might be, but it appeared that a Minister might be a Radical Reformer, and yet the advocate of the Emperor of Russia, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given millions to that potentate in defiance of his country's interests and her just rights. There was another remark which fell from his hon. and learned friend (the Attorney General), which he could not help noticing. The Attorney General had censured the allusions which had been made on his side of the House to the threatened exercise of the royal prerogative in the creation of Peers for the purpose of passing this Bill. Could the right of that House to notice such a Motion be questioned? Had not the House on a previous occasion impeached a Minister who had advised an unconstitutional exercise of the royal prerogative, and were they then to be told, that to notice the question was foreign to their duty? Were they not threatened with danger on every side, and were they not told, if the Bill now before the House did not pass a third reading elsewhere, it should be made to pass by what he had no scruple in denominating, the unconstitutional exercise of a constitutional right. He was ready to admit, that the hon. Members opposite who were leagued together to support Reform, did so from the best motives, but he claimed the same justice to those who opposed the measure. It was said, by hon. Members on the other side of the House, that the use of that illustrious name originated with those with whom he (Sir Edward Sugden) was leagued in opposition. This he confidently asserted was not the case. It was his Majesty's Ministers who had set the example, and in using that expression he did mean to say, that such example had been followed, by coupling his Majesty's name with their Reform project. Could any man deny that such was the fact? Well, and in what light ought the House to view such a use. Could it be justified on any principle whatsoever? He maintained that it could not. Indeed he would go further, and boldly assert, that the mention of the King's name with a view of prejudicing a discussion on a measure before that House was a gross breach of not only the privileges of that House but a great trespass on the people at large. But if it was a breach of privilege of that House to use the King's name with a view of swaying the opinions of its Members, how much more was it a breach of the privileges of the other House of Parliament to threaten it with the exercise of the King's authority and privilege in the creation of Peers? Hon. Members were in the habit of alluding to the creation of Peers in the reign of Queen Anne. But if the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown on that occasion was bad and deserved condemnation, how much more would its exercise on the present occasion, should it be exercised (which he could hardly believe it would), merit reprehension? The creation of Peers in the reign of Queen Anne was limited, being but an increase of twelve Members. How would the case stand should any creation be resolved upon now? Why, the increase to effect the object which Ministers had in view must be enormous; in fact, it would amount to an absolute deluging of the other House. He had ever viewed with feelings of strong reprehension the manner in which the creation in the reign of Queen Anne took place, and he should certainly entertain a similar and a much stronger feeling should that proceeding be now adopted. Indeed, he could not conceive how any man could suffer himself to be invested with a Peerage under such circumstances. What would be the opinion of the people of England, if a number of Members of that House walked up to the other House and immediately voted there in favour of this Bill, after voting for the third reading here? What would be the opinion of the people of England after the fever of excitement was over? Would they not say that such persons were biassed in their votes by the circumstance of their advancement? Would they think it consistent with constitutional principles that Members of this House, after voting upon a question here, should go to the other House and vote upon it there? Nothing, in his opinion, could possibly be more inconsistent with the proper feeling which should characterize a Representative of the people, after having given his vote on a particular question, than to suffer himself to be transferred to the other House for the sole purpose of tendering in it a similar vote. The Crown, certainly, had the prerogative of creating Peers, but the individuals selected ought to be persons of eminent merit, or of wealth and property, and the Crown unconstitutionally exercised its prerogative, if it created a number of Peers expressly to carry a particular measure. But to return to the exercise of the Crown's prerogative in the reign of Queen Anne. Was there, he begged to ask, one single constitutional writer, who, speaking of that event, did not term the then creation of Peers an illegal and unconstitutional exercise of that prerogative? If reference was had to the debates in the House of Commons which took place when a Bill was brought in to regulate the Peerage in the reign of George 1st, it would be found that the strongest feelings were expressed in its reprehension. Indeed, the feeling at that period on the subject might be estimated from a perusal of a portion of the first Message which George 1st sent down to his Parliament on his accession to the Throne. Alluding to the Peerage Bill then before the House of Lords, George 1st expressed himself thus:—'His Majesty being informed that the House of Peers has under consideration the state of the Peerage of Great Britain, is graciously pleased to acquaint the House that he has so much at heart the settling the Peerage of the whole kingdom upon such a foundation as may secure the freedom and constitution of Parliament in all future ages, that he is willing that his prerogative stand not in the way of so great and necessary a work.' So here they had the King telling his Parliament, in consequence of that abuse of this power, which had been committed by his predecessor—trifling as it was compared with the deluge of ennobled Gentlemen, with which they were threatened—that he had the improvement of the Peerage 'so much at heart, that he was willing his prerogative stand not in the way of so just and necessary a work.' Lord Cowper, too, in the debates of that time made use of these expressions:—'His Majesty's object was to secure the freedom of our Constitution, by preventing, for the future, the abuse of one of the highest prerogatives of the Crown; of which they had had an instance in the last reign, which had given just offence and terrible apprehensions to all sober minded people.'†He trusted this lesson, would not be lost upon the House. He hoped no Gentleman would desert his duty, as a Representative of the people, to add to the numbers of the House of Peers; he should regret to find, that the object of any Gentleman, in voting for this measure, had been to advance himself to the other House. He knew that the consequence must be, a desire to limit—as it would then be high time to limit—the just prerogative of the Crown, which he, for one, should never be desirous of doing, if it were constitutionally exercised.

Mr. Wason

trusted, the House would permit him to say a few words, strictly confining himself to explanation. The hon. and learned Member had entirely misrepresented his opinions respecting the weekly voters, to whom he objected quite as much as the hon. and learned Member, although, probably, for different reasons. He would now state exactly what occurred relative to the clause disfranchising all except half-yearly tenants; for in the first Bill the voters were to have been quarterly tenants. He received a private copy of the Bill on Saturday evening; and on turning to the 10l. clause, he immediately perceived the alteration which had been * Hansard's parl. Hist. vol. vii. P. 590. † Ibid. 591. made from quarterly to half-yearly. On Sunday he wrote to the noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, stating that there was scarcely a family settlement of house-property in the kingdom where the rents were not received quarterly, and he had instanced a property with which he was connected, situated in Liverpool, amounting to about 10,000l. a-year, for which not a single tenant would have the right of voting, all the rents being paid quarterly. On the Monday following the noble Lord assured him the clause should be altered. It was not until the Wednesday after that day that any representations could have been made to Government upon the subject by Political Unions, and therefore Ministers could not have bowed to the dictation of those Unions in the manner described by the hon. and learned Member.

Mr. Robert Grant

sincerely sympathized with his hon. and learned friend in looking with deep anxiety at this concluding stage of a measure fraught with such important consequences to the whole empire. He also agreed with his hon. and learned friend in thinking, that this question demanded to be treated with the greatest coolness, and the utmost propriety of demeanour, such as his hon. and learned friend had advocated, and which the learned member for Rye had beautifully illustrated. But with all respect for his hon. and learned friend, be would ask him, whether there was any necessity, at this stage of the business, for dragging the House back to every petty difference, and reverting to all the trivial and paltry details, not only of this, but also of the other Bill—debating all the dots over the i's, and crosses upon the t's, even in that which had been superseded by what his hon. and learned friend admitted to be a better Bill. But, not content with introducing these topics, which could serve no purpose but to aggravate passion on a question which peculiarly required coolness, and caution, and temper, his hon. and learned friend had also brought in every party topic that had been raised since the present Ministry came into office. He should not follow his hon. and learned friend through those minutiæ,but should confine himself to that which was really the question before the House—namely, whether this Reform Bill should, or should not, be read a third time? His hon. and learned friend had anxiously endeavoured to expose all the differences between the details of this Bill and the former one; but did he recollect the observation of the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, who said, that all the principal alterations in the Bill had been forced upon the Government by the hon. Gentlemen at the other side? If that were the case, was it fitting or was it just that the Ministers should now be taunted with having made the alterations required by their opponents? His hon. and learned friend had referred to the flame which this Bill had already spread through the country; and he argued, that much worse consequences might be expected from its future operation. But it was not fair to assume that the agitation consequent upon the discussion of an important measure, must necessarily continue and increase when the discussion was done. What claim said his hon. and learned friend had this Bill upon the country? He was far from wishing to make such an important discussion the vehicle for party accusations. He did not blame the last Government, but he thought it scarcely right that those who had quitted the helm, when the country was in a state of great agitation on this very subject, should turn round, and say to the present Government, "This flame and this commotion is all your work." He would beg to state a few of the reasons which rendered him a cordial, and, as far as his powers enabled him, an active supporter of this Bill. He could not, at any stage of this question, exclude from his consideration that which his hon. and learned friend seemed desirous to exclude from it altogether—namely, the object of giving contentment to the people of England. His hon. and learned friend said, that the true way was, not to look to popular applause, but to do what was right, and look for a higher reward. He considered it one of the first duties of a government to give satisfaction and contentment to the people; and in this view he should take the liberty of stating with what sort of feeling he contemplated the whole of this subject, and why he had adopted the determination which he had done respecting it. It was impossible to shut one's eyes to the fact that the country was in a state of intense excitement, long before the present Government came into office, caused by the agitation of a partial question of Reform. He had looked at this circumstance, and he had looked at the constituency of the country, at the state of the Representation, and at the law of Representation; and comparing these elements together, he had come to the conclusion that there must be a considerable modification of the Representative system. There was this phenomenon observable in the present condition of the country, that, with prodigiously increased knowledge, the people exhibited a growing alienation from the institutions of the country, particularly that branch of them which consisted in the system of representation practically established in that House. From seeing that alienation he became convinced that it was necessary to popularise the Representation, so as to produce harmony between the Government and the governed—the Legislature and those for whom laws were made—without which harmony there could be no power in Government, and no success in legislation. The House would allow him to state what he meant by that harmony. He did not look to the ephemeral popularity of the day, but he looked at the institutions of the country, to see if they were calculated to excite disinclination and disaffection amongst the people. When he saw that there was such a tendency in them, and that the law would allow of their being changed so as to obviate that spirit, he said that the House was not only justified, but bound, to make those alterations. The institutions ought to be accommodated to the wants of the people, and, therefore, he would not consent to the doctrine of his hon. and learned friend, that they should not look to what the people wished. He could not help calling the attention of the House to what, he had no doubt, would be found a very satisfactory passage on this subject, particularly as it proceeded from an able writer, and an accomplished lawyer. The author to whom he referred had observed, that a law, almost immediately after its being made, was reduced to a nullity by the practice; and he made this remark, which was applicable to this specific measure, as well as proving the necessity of adapting laws to the wishes and feelings of the people. The passage to which he referred ran thus:—"This should operate as a lesson to the Legislature not vainly to oppose the current of general opinion; for, although it might be diverted for a time, it will regain its old channel, in spite of accumulated Acts of Parliament, which become a dead letter, and have a tendency to bring the most wholesome laws into disrepute." This passage was from one of the admirable works of his hon. and learned friend opposite. It was vain to hope that they could by laws resist the mind of a nation. They must base their measures in the feelings, the interests, and the affections of the people. He had heard his lamented friend (Mr. Huskisson) say, that one of the greatest inconveniences in legislating for this country now was, that it presented this singular phenomenon, that the higher and the lower classes of society were parting more and more from one another—the higher classes becoming more luxurious—refinement becoming more refined—while the general habits and mode of living of the lower orders were approximating more and more to a state of indigence and destitution. There was, however, this additional phenomenon in the present state of the country, that while the lower orders were diverging from the higher in their physical condition, they were approximating to them in their intellectual condition, which exposed the anomaly of their physical position, and gave them every species of knowledge which their acute perception of their physical ingenuity could fasten upon, and manifested more strongly the evils of their condition. This extraordinary but undeniable state of things led to this result, it aggravated all the distresses of the people and increased their discontent. He hoped he might, without offence, use the words, "if the light of the people be darkness, how great is that darkness?" If the knowledge they possessed only tended to show them in clear colours the depth of their own degradation—if it damped all their energies, and embittered all their thoughts, it might be deplored, but the evil could not be removed by dry maxims, or often-urged reasoning. No! the House must give the subject its best attention, and must not shrink from the proposition of a new measure, under circumstances so novel, merely because the proposition was new; and must be prepared to apply even our most established principles to such a state of things with some modification. The peculiar position had been very much aggravated by the extraordinary effect produced by the late war, and the subsequent peace, which still subsisted. He would not go into that involved question of political economy and statistics, which might be naturally excited by the position he had laid down; but the fact, which no man would dispute was, that the extraordinary excitement of twenty years, occasioned by the last war, had been followed by a period equally extraordinary, which had now lasted nearly as long, and was likely to last longer—a period of great distress—of great prostration of strength—of the utmost lassitude and depression. While thus the capital of the country had diminished, partly in consequence of the destruction which had taken place during the last war, and partly from the circumstances attendant upon the stagnation of all branches of trade and commerce, it had not been followed by that result which might have been expected. The destruction of one portion of capital had been followed by a loss of profits on that which remained: the lower classes, who lived by their wages, were thus placed in a most destitute and distressed situation, and were completely separated from the higher orders of society. He was very unwilling to make use of the terms "higher" and "lower" classes; but it was necessary for the sake of clearness; for every body knew that both were equal in point of political importance—indeed, if there were any difference between them, it was in favour of the lower classes, as they were called. The effect of the state of things which he had endeavoured to describe was, that the Legislature had very difficult circumstances indeed to deal with; the people were viewing the Representative system with great jealousy, and, they were aware, that the Legislature, whether rightly or wrongly, he would not say, for he did not make comments on passing events, had been the authors of those measures which affected them, and which were immediately and constitutionally connected with the subject of Representation—he alluded to the imposition of taxes; and, therefore, they were very jealous of that body whose acts, whether justifiable or not, had produced these effects. It was this state of circumstances which rendered it a matter of so much importance to look narrowly into the state of our Representation, to see whether or not the complaints of the people were justified by the condition in which they were placed. He conceived that the best system of Representation must be, not that which exposed itself to the mere ephemeral influence of popular feeling, but that which was open to that great current of popular feeling and inclination, which was commonly, and very aptly, called by the name of public opinion. If a legislative body were constituted which would be properly alive to public opinion, there was this important fact which hon. Gentlemen opposite entirely lost sight of, that not only would the people influence them, but they would influence the people. It was seen that the Members in whom the people had the greatest confidence, and whom they sent to that House to fight their battles, had the greatest influence with them—that they listened to their advice, and he did not know a more important consideration than that every honest Representative of the people should possess the confidence of, and be in frequent conference with, his constituents. Narrow, indeed, must be the mind of that man who stigmatized this mutual interchange of confidence and good-will by the opprobrious epithet of dictation, when a man pursuing this course of conduct would be fulfilling one of the most sacred duties, without which he would be compromising the honour and the dignity of his station as a Representative of the people in that House. What, then, was the principle on which a newly-constructed Representation should be founded? Perhaps he ought not to say newly-constructed, but a Representation constructed on just, equitable, and constitutional principles. What was the test which ought to be fairly applied to the Representative system, to ascertain whether it was well founded or not? or, perhaps, he should rather say, what test should be applied to ascertain whether the electoral body was founded rightly or wrongly? It was distinctly this—that, inasmuch as the Representatives of the people ought to be selected by that great body, whose intelligence and sentiments on political subjects formed the great current of popular opinion, the election of those Representatives should be substantially placed in the hands of that body by whom they professed to be chosen. He had heard many artificial modes and contrivances suggested in that House, but none which, in his opinion, could equal the simple principle of placing the election itself, generally and substantially, in the hands of those by whose opinions the conduct of the Representatives was to be estimated. All the contrivances he had heard stated for constituting Representative systems de- void of this principle, reminded him of the elaborate and immense undertakings by which the ancients attempted to conduct water to their great cities. Surely, the principle which he had stated was the great principle that ought to be applied to Representation; and if that principle were applied, the system would be found to work well. If this Bill had no other advantages about it than those which were connected with admitting the middle classes—by which term he understood all the respectability, intelligence, and knowledge of the kingdom—to a share in the Representation, that would in itself be a sufficient recommendation. The next topic which had been sometimes fairly and forcibly urged on the other side of the House was this; they were told that after this Bill had passed, the Representative body would do any thing which the very extreme and extravagance of popular opinion might choose to expect. In answer to this observation, he would ask, not whether such and such effects would follow, but whether, with the hope of contenting the people, it was possible, when they asked for a part of their acknowledged rights, justly to say, "We refuse to give you that which we know we withhold unjustly, because if we were to give you more, the great benefits you expect would not follow, and you would, in consequence, be disappointed?" It was said— Of all the ills that human kind endure, How small the part that kings or laws can cure. This sentiment was just; but no Government could fairly refer to or utter that sentiment in addressing the people, unless that Government cured the small part which it was in their power to remedy. As men became more intelligent and enlightened, a much greater body of them ought to be put in contact with the whole process and machinery of the Representation, and freer access to that House should be afforded to those who might be justly considered as the Representative classes of the community. The immediate question was, not so much what consequences were likely to flow from the measure about to be adopted, but whether, it was possible by any other means, to conciliate the immense majority of unrepresented classes to the present state of things; for any measure of intimidation, was, in his opinion, totally impracticable, and it was equally certain that something must be done. He did not expect any immediate or violent convulsions—he hoped they were far, very far, from our happy country—but he must augur ill from the signs of the times, and unless the people were reconciled to their Government, there would be more and more dissatisfaction—more and more aversion to, and alienation from, the institutions of the country—and a state must ultimately ensue which it was terrible to anticipate, and which ought to be looked to in time. What were the opinions held by Mr. Canning on the subject? In his last days, he predicted not, as an immediate consequence, but as one which was on the cards, and in the horizon of prospective policy, that a result would take place, which would begin in distress and madness, and would end in calamity and ruin, which would be pregnant with wickedness and misery, but against which we could not close our eyes, and which all must deprecate and do their best to avoid; namely, a war between property and the mass of the population of the country, in which the mere force of numbers would be arrayed against the wealth of England—against its sacred, noble, and venerable, but defective, institutions. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the Representation of the people ought to be restricted and contracted, one-third should be returned by the influence of the Peers, and another third by the influence of the Crown. He would only touch very briefly upon this part of the subject, because the evils arising from our present state of Representation were admitted, and, therefore it was not necessary to say much upon the subject. It was said that nomination boroughs were necessary, because they acted as the portals through which men of talents and ability, who were destitute of pecuniary resources, found their way to that House. But was this a popular part of the existing system of Representation? No; it was, above all others, the most odious to the people at large—whether justifiably or not—certainly very naturally so; and why?—because they knew the Members coming to that House through such means, were sent there by aristocratic nomination, to which the people were very naturally opposed, and which must be called by its proper name; and if it was so called, it was neither more nor less than corruption. He had but one topic more on which he would trouble the House. If such were the wishes and feelings of the people, and if such were the state of the Representation, the next question was, what was the state of the law, and what were the acknowledged principles of the Constitution as applied to the formation of that House? because if the fact was, that the wishes and feelings of the people were not only opposed to, but at direct variance with, the acknowledged constitutional principles of the country, it certainly was high time that the system should be amended, and the wishes of the people complied with. If the present system was constitutional, right and just, he would then admit that there was just ground for refusing to comply with the wishes of the country. But was it so?—was it consistent with the well understood, universally acknowledged, and long established principles? Was that House constituted in compliance with the doctrines and opinions held by every constitutional writer who had applied himself to the subject? An aristocratic influence was exercised in sending Representatives to that House. Was that a principle of the British Constitution? Was that the language of the Journals of that House? Was that the language of the Standing Orders? Was that in accordance with the preamble of, at least, fifty Acts of Parliament, then upon that Table?—or, on the other hand, was it, or was it not, directly in the teeth, not only of the principles which hon. Members professed, but by virtue of which they sat in the British House of Commons at all? He would ask, was there any man who would venture to get up and propose to rescind one of those Standing Orders which forbade the influence of Peers in that House? And yet those Orders were not only totally forgotten when this subject was debated, but it was actually intended to violate every principle of the Constitution—every law of the State. He could only say, that he called upon learned constitutional lawyers on the other side of the House to enlighten his ignorance, if he was wrong in stating that there were some twenty or thirty Statutes in the books of that House, which stated, that the influence of the Crown, or the Peerage, in that House was unconstitutional and improper. Was there not an Order passed at the commencement of every Session, so much a matter of course, that no one ever questioned it, which declared that it was a gross breach of privilege in any Peer to interfere in the election of Members for the lower House? Were they, then, or were they not, to stand by the principles to be found in allour parliamentary books and eminent writers? Or would they tell the people, that—without altering those Orders—without repealing those laws—they would not adhere to them, for fear of encroachment? Under these circumstances, it was quite impossible that, in this great and enlightened country, the Representative system could remain in the state in which it was at present. Considerable alterations must be made—alterations which, in the truest and evident sense, should give content and satisfaction to the people; and the very worst that could be done was, to advocate that which was called moderate Reform—that which professed to give something, but which, in fact, gave nothing—that which pretended to do much, but which, in fact, did nothing at all. The hon. Gentleman opposite was astonished that he (Mr. Robert Grant) should call this a measure, not of revolution, but of restoration. He had used the term advisedly. Was it an argument to tell the House, as he had done the other day, that these corrupt boroughs had been in the same state in all periods of our history? A question like this was not to be determined simply by counting on your fingers the names and numbers of the boroughs; but reference must be made to the general state of the country, to its wealth, and to the distribution of property in it. And it surely cannot be necessary for him to say, that that which affected to be Representation could not remain unchanged, while the circumstances and condition of the country were so materially altered. It was impossible not to reflect that these boroughs were not originally used for the purposes to which they were now applied, namely, to produce a certain mixture of the aristocracy, and to give an opportunity for the interference of Peers in that House. Everybody knew, that these boroughs were orginally used by the great Barons for patriotic purposes, and that they frequently employed them for the purpose of arming themselves against the power of the Crown, in times when the grossest acts of outrage and tyranny were committed—when corruption and tyranny were defended by force, and when crime and bloodshed found their refuge in a sanctuary. In short, they were at that period the strong holds of rising freedom in a nation of slaves—while they were now the strong holds of expiring servitude in a land of freedom. He would beg, before he sat down, to call the attention of the House to the language which was addressed to the people by the opponents of this Bill, and by the moderate Reformers. They said—"You are so powerful, that we dare not defy you; you are so powerful that we dare not trust you." The people would answer—"If you think proper to trust us, trust us; if you think proper to defy us, defy us; but it is impossible that you can keep us in the extraordinary state in which you would confine us." He would say to the House, do not keep the people in suspense; trust them by passing the Bill, or defy them by assenting to the proposition of the noble Lord.

Lord Porchester

trusted the House would permit him, before he proceeded to state his opinions respecting the question immediately before them, to make a few observations in reply to the remarks of the right hon. Member who had just addressed the House. That right hon. Gentleman began his speech by asking the hon. and learned member for St. Mawes, what right he had to drag the House again through the discussion of every paltry topic with which they had been engaged for so many preceding months; but he (Lord Porchester) begged leave to ask what those topics, paltry as they were termed by the right hon. Gentleman, consisted of? They were connected with the great agricultural interests of the country, and with the staple pursuits of the kingdom. He (Lord Porchester) should have believed, unless informed to the contrary by the right hon. Gentleman, that these topics were of great importance to the great body of the people; that they were connected and identified with the interests of the community. At all events they were of the utmost consequence to the landed interest, a body which deserved much more attention from Ministers than on any occasion hitherto they had thought fit to afford it. That interest would not feel very much gratified with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman; for the apparent object of the Government, of which he formed a part was, to depress the agricultural community. The right hon. Gentleman had proceeded to ask, whether it was fair to charge the existing Government with the excitement which unfortunately prevailed throughout the kingdom? He (Lord Porchester) ever felt himself most unwilling to make any observations which might appear offensive to any member of the Administration; but the right hon. Gentleman must excuse him if he said, that on that point he looked rather to the conduct, than to the professions of his Majesty's Ministers. They unquestionably succeeded to office under difficult and embarrassing circumstances, but was their conduct on their accession to their situations as advisers to his Majesty, such as was calculated to appease the excitement which at the period was so strongly marked on the public mind? Was not their conduct more calculated to maintain and foster revolutionary excitement, than to appease and mollify the fever which raged in the blood of the people? They brought in, in the first place, a measure of Reform. It was deemed advisable to take the sense of the people on this measure. But how was that appeal made? Instead of referring the question of Reform to the deliberate judgment of Parliament, they appealed to the excited passions of the people. They bribed the people with offers of immense political power, and, in defiance of all proper feeling, openly and avowedly enlisted the King's name in favour of their measure. Not only did they appeal to the natural fervour of the human heart, by statements of alleged wrongs and promised justice, but by an illegal and unconstitutional use of the King's name, the influence of which on certain classes might well be conceived—they excited the most violent passions and most maddening sentiments in the breasts of the unthinking people. The right hon. Gentleman said, that it was the solemn duty of Government to take means for securing the content of the people. Unquestionably such was the case; but was it their duty to place themselves at the head of the extravagant opinions of the day, opinions which, if consented to, and acted upon, they then knew must involve the ruin of the settled institutions of the country. He maintained that it was the duty of Government to yield slowly to change, and to avoid, as much as possible, the effects of precipitate innovation. If they were obliged to concede, they ought to enter slowly upon any change, in order that the people might be able to bear the new light, instead of being dazzled by its sudden appearance. The right hon. Gentleman said, he dreaded very much collision between property and numbers, and then told the House that the Reform Bill was to obviate the danger of such collision. But it appeared to him (Lord Porchester) that this Reform Bill would have quite a contrary effect; in fact, it would realize that which the right hon. Gentleman apprehended. If the House acceded to it they would place at variance the property and interest of the country on one hand, and the people on the other. The right hon. Gentleman had subsequently alluded to the Standing Order prohibiting the interference of Peers in elections of the Members of that House. He was aware that there was a Standing Order of that nature on the books of the House; but he begged to ask if it was not a virtual infringement of another Standing Order to publish the debates which took place in that House? [cries of "Oh! oh!"] He begged to be understood. He was far from favourable to the enforcing of such an order. He adverted to it with a view of showing that there was such a Standing Order; but no hon. Member was ever heard to raise his voice against that order, while night after night, day after day, and week after week, allusion was made to the order respecting the interference of Peers at elections. The right hon. Gentleman then said, that one of the reasons which made it incumbent on the House to pass this measure of Reform was, the connexion that ought to exist between that Assembly and the people. Why, if a popular cry for Reform was alone sufficient to justify a departure from the established institutions of the country, they ought, for the same reason, to have departed from them some twenty or thirty years ago. He begged to ask that right hon. Gentleman, what was the language addressed to that House on the subject of Reform, when first that question was submitted to the consideration of the Legislature? was it not, "Reform yourselves from within, or you shall be reformed, with a vengeance, from without?" This was the tone in which the Parliament of that time was addressed; it was told that Reform or civil war was inevitable. But England had at that time a Government which would not brook the language that was held out to the House. Reform was not conceded, yet civil war was averted. He could direct the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the still more alarming state of public affairs which occurred in 1793—that awful period when France was convulsed with the most dreadful phrenzy, which excited the revolutionary feelings of this country—when those formidable associations that now existed were also established, and when they were, as now, supported by eminent persons in this realm. What was then the conduct of the illustrious man who, in that extreme moment of national peril, swayed our destinies? Why, he pursued his even course, undaunted by the tempest that raged around him; he responded to the feelings of the nation, but obeyed not the voice of the demagogue. That was the course pursued by that great and good man, who then stood at the head of affairs in this country—not forgotten, indeed, but lost to his country—lost, as far as his services were concerned, but whose memory would flourish in the affections and hearts of all to whom the liberty he preserved, the civil peace he secured, and the Crown he maintained—but maintained, perhaps, in vain—were dear. That great and good man, whose better policy preserved him from sharing in the delusion of the times, gave the people time to reflect and ponder on passing events; he turned their thoughts to a nobler object; he told them to take a pride, not in attacking, but in defending the institutions of their fathers. Curbed their wild zeal, restrained their fiery mood, And bade them look to what was wise and good. He would now proceed to make a few observations upon the merits of the Bill; and he must express his belief that the greatest peril to be apprehended from it was involved in the Representation of the large towns, the Members for which would be, not only formidable from their numbers, but still more formidable in a moral point of view. After passing the Bill, Ministers could no longer look upon the county Members as the influential body they had been considered till now. The Representatives, or rather the delegates, of the great towns—animated by the same views—acting systematically together—supported by their numerous unions—speaking the extreme opinion of their constituents—watched by committees appointed to examine into their conduct—exposed to the feelings, the interests, the prejudices of their constituents—would be the men to whom the Government would have to look up. These would be the iron men who would hereafter govern the Government, and direct the destinies of the empire. When the present Representatives of the nation were on some future day struggling for life, fortune, and family—for their altars and their homes—and when they were confronted by that band of republican opponents, they would then regret the change which they had sanctioned by a rash assent—they would then reflect that An erring hand may scatter in an hour The mighty fabric of imperial power. Ministers deceived themselves in anticipating the effects of the Bill, and when they saw the ruin which would ensue, they would regret the madness of their misguided zeal. It appeared to him, that so far from adding strength to our councils, it would produce the most shallow and fluctuating policy that ever enfeebled the energies of a people. Government, instead of being judged by its general policy, would be estimated by the course it followed on subordinate questions, and Members would be continually harassed by the demand of pledges at the hustings, and an inquisition into all the details of their parliamentary conduct, on the ground of responsibility. The honest pride of independent feeling would be despised. The ancient titles of Whig and Tory would be substituted by the agricultural and manufacturing interests. Those two interests would meet in that House as on a field of battle; disputes would almost amount to personal quarrels, and calm and disinterested deliberation would be forgotten amidst the squabbles for wealth and power. Now, an equal and impartial mingling of all the great interests of the state in that House, with the presence of many men of talents not connected with any one interest exclusively, gave a tone of calmness to discussion which hereafter could not be hoped for. They were about to destroy the means by which men of talents found their way into that House, who founded there the beginning of their greatness, and afterterwards applied their well-earned wealth and reputation to support the institutions which had first raised them from humble obscurity. This Constitution, great and glorious as it was, splendid and renowned as it was in the history of the world, was now about to be madly, rashly, and unsparingly destroyed, and with it that extraordinary union of the different interests of the kingdom to which he could trace the cause of the unexampled success of the Government of this country. His hon. friend, the member for the University of Oxford, observed, very justly, a few even- ings ago, that Reform must be considered, not only per se, but with reference to those institutions which it might be likely to affect. But was it possible to believe that, after the passing of the Reform Bill, the Protestant Church of Ireland would maintain its present situation—and was not the Sovereign bound by a solemn oath to protect that Establishment? If the Sovereigns of this country persevered for so many years in refusing to accede to the great, and, as he thought, just measure of Catholic Emancipation, because, in their opinion, it seemed to militate against some principle, which, although not laid down, was involved in the Coronation Oath, would not their successors consider themselves bound in honour and faith to maintain that Oath, and refuse to accede to an arrangement which was clearly and indisputably opposed to the royal head? In what position, then, did they place their Sovereign, bound, as he was, by the most solemn pledges, to protect that Establishment, but unable, as he probably would be, to resist the pressure, which, through the medium of a Reformed House of Commons, would be effectually brought to bear against him. Certainly these considerations ought to have some weight with the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, who, if he misunderstood him not, on a former occasion pledged himself never to lend his powerful aid to any measure that he might consider injurious to that much calumniated Church. He entreated the House to consider well what would probably be the immediate effects of Parliamentary Reform in Ireland. They were now transferring political power from those who loved, to those who did not love the Constitution—from men anxious to preserve the legislative union with this country unbroken, to those who would rend it asunder with remorseless hands. They were breaking down all powers of resistance, and all hopes of security—abandoning a people who would still adhere to them, who clung to them for safety and protection, whose attachments, whose prejudices, nay, whose very faults and excesses were all with them, and for them. Were they not, then, depriving themselves of their own resources, rendering themselves powerless, rejecting that without which the British bayonet would be as the wave upon the rock, which, dashing against it, produced clamour and confusion, but hurting not the solid mass against which its fury was directed? Was this wisdom? Was it not weakness, or, rather, was it not mad- ness? There was a great, a noble peace-offering given to Ireland, in the shape of Catholic Emancipation, but the acts of his Majesty's Ministers had rendered that peace-offering ineffective—they had rekindled the ashes of a fire which would have been speedily extinguished, and, by doing so, they had founded one great cause of commotion in that unhappy country. As soon as Ireland presented a prospect of peace and quiet, they supplied it with another theme of tumult and discord, by the agitation of the question of Parliamentary Reform; and, if to the increased influence of the democratic party in Ireland was to be added the Scotch Representation, mischievous, indeed, would be the results which would flow from the system it was proposed to introduce. When he looked to the history of Scotland, and found, that, so far back as the time of Charles 1st, the Scotch Parliament boldly stood forward and expressed their opinion—when he found that they boldly declared that the King had absolutely forfeited his Crown—when he saw this spirit lighting up every page of Scottish history—when he looked to the conduct of the Peers of Scotland—when he took into consideration the high and noble spirit of its people—when he saw, that long before the period to which he had alluded, the liberty of the subject was recognised in Scotland to an extent which was then unknown in any other country, he was irresistibly led to draw the necessary inference, if any deduction could be drawn from these circumstances, that the anti-monarchical spirit, so far from diminishing, would be increased to an alarming extent. The prosperity of Scotland was not mainly owing, as the hon. Gentleman opposite would have led them to believe, to the operation of the influx of a popular constituency. He was far from saying that no change whatever should be made in the Scottish Representation; but, he certainly did think, that the abolition of the old system, and the substitution of a popular constituency in that part of the kingdom would be attended with the very worst and most dangerous results. He would not detain the House five minutes longer; but he was desirous of troubling it with a remark on a topic which had now become rather old—the French Revolution. The first French Revolution was produced, in the first instance, by too much concession on the part of the Crown to the demands of the people. He need not remind the House of the result—it never will be for- gotten. But there was one part of the subject which bore a striking analogy to the present case, and had not yet been touched upon, and which could not fail to strike home to the feelings of every hon. Gentleman who heard him—he meant the effect of the concession, not of the Crown, not of the aristocracy, but of the Legislature itself. The National Assembly of France, at that period, contained men as talented and virtuous, in both their public and private capacities, as any who sat in that House; and yet they, as a body, advocated the policy of committing an act from which, as individuals, they would have recoiled with horror and disgust. On that memorable night, when, after the death of Robespierre, the indignant members of the Assembly required some national atonement for the atrocities that had been committed—when they demanded that the most execrable minister that ever existed should render an account of his crimes, what must have been their horror when the blood-stained monster—his hands reeking with the blood of the virtuous and the brave—produced the written sanction of the very Assembly which had turned upon him for all his atrocious and sanguinary acts? And yet that Assembly contained men as virtuous, as humane, and as honourable, as those he had now the honour of addressing; but, conceding in the first place, without sufficient cause, bound down afterwards by fear and terror—they were driven along their blood-stained path, the unresisting, though reluctant, agents of the power which they had themselves created. What must have been their feelings of shame and remorse—of self-upbraiding—for deeds of disgrace and horror, committed too soon, and repented too late, when their guilty leader, their wicked companion, —Perished by the justest doom That ever the destroyer yet destroyed? Oh! might a British Legislature never look back upon the path they had trod with useless sorrow and unavailing remorse! Might they never feel the pangs of conscience and self-upbraidings which the virtuous, but erring, members of the French Assembly endured, when they saw the blood flow from the noble and the brave of the country, while they had the will, but, alas! not the power to save them! Before he sat down, he would notice an argument which had been so unsparingly and frequently urged on the other side of the House—namely, that the borough- mongers forced the country into the last war, and that war was, therefore, owing to the defective Constitution of that House. But was not the late French war the most important in which this country was ever engaged—in unison with the popular feeling, and was not the conduct of Mr. Fox hailed with joy and enthusiasm years after the commencement of hostilities? Was it considered as attributable to the defective Constitution of that House, when the Minister, as he returned from the conclusion of the peace, was received with cheers, and every possible demonstration of public applause, when congratulatory addresses poured in upon him from every part of the kingdom, and when the cry of the nation was in favour of that Constitution which had produced such glorious results? Who was it that would have plunged this country into unnecessary, and, perhaps, interminable hostilities with France some seven or eight years ago, not at a period when the exuberance of national valour and impatience might be forgiven in the excess of national prosperity—not at a time when our finances were unimpaired, and our Treasury was overflowing, but at a period when distress was throughout the land—when it paralyzed every interest, and depressed every branch of trade and commerce? By whom was the propriety of embarking in hostilities advocated at that period? It was advocated, he had no doubt conscientiously, by men of talent, and by men of honour—not by the Government, however, but by stanch Reformers. He was not alluding to his right hon. friend, the member for Hampshire, who brought the subject forward with so much ability—he did not actually recommend a war, certainly, but it was recommended, notwithstanding, by some of the most distinguished members of the Reforming Cabinet. When, therefore, the French war, and all the expenses attendant upon it, were charged to the state of the Representation, he hoped that hon. Members would remember, that the same state of Representation had sanctioned a war demanded by the Reformers and by the passions of the people. He would say no more than that he conscientiously opposed this Bill because he sincerely believed, that, if it were passed, it would seal the doom of the monarchy.

Sir John Hobhouse

said, that he could assure the House, as well as the noble Lord who had just sat down, that the same disinterestedness which had prompted the noble Lord to give vent to his opinions would mark the observations he should offer. He trusted that he might be allowed, however feebly, to express his opinions on the subject now before the House—opinions not now taken up for the first time, not for the occasion, but opinions which he had long formed, and been able to form, from his education—an education which, thank God, was now open to every man in a fair condition of life who had been born on this happy soil. He must be excused for saying (and he did so with all due deference to the noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and to their characters and opinions), that nothing he had heard, during the whole of the long discussions on the question before the House, had shaken his conviction upon that question. He begged to repeat the words of a great Reformer, in the present as well as another way (he meant Mr. Wilberforce), who had said, in a speech upon this very question, "that hon. Members were so afraid of innovation, that they would not go into any new argument." He repeated that the hon. Gentlemen had offered no new argument in opposition to the Ministers. They had tried to frighten the agricultural interests. They had tried to frighten the funded interests, the people, the King, Lords, and Commons; and doing all this, they had charged the Government with attempting to intimidate; whereas the fact was, that not a single argument had been used by the opposite side of the House, but with a view to terrify the Government from that which they and the people of England thought, not only right, but actually indispensable. The effects of their attempts to terrify had happily been the reverse of what was expected. A reference to the Members elected by the counties would show that they did not respond to the patriotic feelings of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The agricultural interests, therefore, were not terrified by their efforts, for it would be found that no less than seventy-six Members for counties had been returned to vote for this very Bill. The opinion of the funded interests could not be made so palpable, but it was evident that they had not been alarmed (though he was not sure if the right hon. Gentleman, the ex-Secretary to the Admiralty, was a fundholder, from the tenor of his observations); but if the right hon. Gentleman felt alarm himself, his panic had not been responded too, as was evident from the state of the funds and fundhold- ers now, compared with their state at the period when the present Government came into power. He thought that when the Reform Bill or cause of Reform as connected with the present Government became the question with the country, then it had been seen that the three per cents in England, in spite of the efforts made by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, had not only stood the terrors of the Reform Bill, but the terrors of the opposition. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Porchester), the eldest son of a noble house, alluded to the agricultural interests. He begged to ask the noble Lord if the interest he had advocated sympathized with the noble Lord and his friends on this question. He would plainly tell the noble Lord they did not. It had been said, that one county (Dorsetshire) had manifested this feeling, and the noble Mover of the Amendment (Lord Mahon) had referred to it "with pride and pleasure," as an exception to the other counties of England and Wales. He (Sir John Hobhouse) did not regret the result of that election; it was a triumph gained, and he was proud it had fallen upon such a head as it had done, and he was perfectly willing to give the hon. Gentleman opposite the advantage of that fact. It was in vain to say, that the county Representation was a proof of hostility to the measure, or that its support was gained by Ministers under feverish excitement. This last, of all others, was the strangest argument that had been used, particularly coming from Gentlemen who, when the Catholic question came on, in the year 1829, called upon the Government to dissolve the Parliament for the special purpose of applying to the people for their opinions upon the subject. The hon. Baronet, the member for Oxford University, had used that language; and had on that question repeatedly said, that Parliament not being called upon to try whether or not Roman Catholics should be permitted to sit in that House, and be relieved of the disabilities under which they laboured—that Parliament not being called ad hoc, the people should be called on for their opinion, and when they had given their verdict, that then, and not till then, should the Government come forward with their measure. But the present Government had been charged with making use of the king's name. That was not true: but supposing it were, did it deserve what was said of it? Was it a novelty in the history of our Constitution? Was it not justified by preced- ents? He would not go far to seek them—not beyond the time of the Gentlemen who might be called the political fathers of the Gentlemen opposite. What did they think of the dissolution of 1784, which took place against the positive sense of the House of Commons? On March the 24th of that year Parliament was dissolved, because Mr. Pitt had only a majority of forty-eight. The Crown made an appeal to the people, and, after the election, the Ministers had a majority on the first division of 282 to 114. Only one person, Mr. Burke, attacked the dissolution; and its defence was undertaken by Sir Archibald Macdonald, who said, that when the state of the House was such that two contending parties were nearly equal, that was exactly and precisely the case when the Royal prerogative should be called into exercise. But what happened in 1807? In all the essential circumstances of the case that was precisely like the last dissolution. The Parliament had been sitting but four months; the country was involved in foreign war, and Ireland was threatened with rebellion. The Ministers, on a division, had a majority of forty-six. At that dissolution, what said the King's Commissioners?—"We are further commanded to state to you, that his Majesty is anxious to recur to the sense of his people, while the events which have recently taken place are yet fresh in their recollection. His Majesty feels that, in resorting to this measure, under the present circumstances, be at once demonstrates, in the most unequivocal manner, his own conscientious persuasion of the rectitude of those motives upon which he has acted, and affords to his people the best opportunity of testifying their determination to support him in every exercise of the prerogative of his Crown, which is conformable to the sacred obligations under which they are held, and conducive to the welfare of his kingdom."* After this, would any of the Gentlemen opposite—who, if they were anything, were the children of these their political fathers—would they say, that when the Ministers could not carry a great political principle, that they were to blame for exercising the King's authority, and that they had put the prerogative of the Crown to a use to which it ought not to be applied? One of the Ministers of that day, Mr. Perceval, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was charged with writing an inflammatory address to Hansard's Parl. Debates, vol. ix. P. 552. his constituents just as the noble Lord, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been charged with writing to his constituents. And what was said by Mr. Perceval? that distinguished individual, in reply to the charge, when the Parliament met, simply asked, "if the cry was false, how came it to run like wildfire through the country, and produce such an effect as no speech of his in Parliament, nor his address to his constituents at Northampton, nor any speech from the Throne had ever done? It had produced the effect because, it was true." That was Mr. Perceval's answer to the charge of making use of the King's name, and of exciting the people. At the conclusion of the report of the debate, which took place on this letter of Mr. Perceval, he found a note to which he begged to call the attention of the House. It was as follows:—"Mr. Croker spoke for some time with much animation, in answer to Lord Howick and Mr. Grattan, and concluded by supporting the Ministers in their dissolution of Parliament." He referred to these extracts merely with a view to show that his Majesty's Government had resorted to the best authorities before they adopted the line of conduct which had been spoken of, and they had at least a precedent if not a justification, for the course which they had pursued in what had been done in the olden times, even in the memorable days of Charles 1st., with the details of which he would not trouble the House. He admitted he had been at first much shaken when he saw men of high talent and character entertaining doubts upon this measure; and if he thought there was any thing like innovation, or one-tenth part of the danger stated by some right hon. Gentlemen opposite as likely to ensue from this measure, he would give it up. He regretted with the hon. and learned member for St. Mawes—and he honoured him for the sentiment—that this question had not been discussed so as to meet the feelings of all parties. After the most mature consideration, if he thought the Bill would produce all the evils the hon. Members opposite ascribed to it, he would give it up to-morrow. Good God! could they contemplate with cold hearts those threatened evils? If he thought they would arrive, he would say, retrace your steps. He regretted that it could not be based on principles which would promote an amicable settlement. Language could not express the vast importance which he ascribed to this subject; it was a vital question, and he regretted that all parties could not have come to an amicable adjustment of the greatest question, perhaps, which any deliberative assembly had to discuss. But the state of the country would not permit it. He blamed nobody. It was the misfortune of England to be governed by parties. The Reform Bill was the act of one set of Ministers, who had shortly before acceded to power, and it was discussed as a party question. He said that the country felt that it had been discussed as a party question ["No, no"]. Well, then, that was his opinion. He did not make any charge he was only stating a fact. One party proposed the measure, and another resisted it. The Administration had scarcely taken office when strange questions were put to, and personal charges brought against, individuals composing it, showing that it was to be treated as a party. What, too, was the conduct of the opposition on the Budget? What happened also on the question of the Timber Duties, when the Government was only endeavouring to carry into execution the recorded designs of the Gentlemen opposite? That ran through their whole conduct; he might refer to the sugar duties and the Russian-Dutch loan, concerning which a right hon. Gentleman asked an important question on the very night that the Reform Bill stood for a second reading. Could the Ministers, with such an opposition, make concessions? It was not possible. It was said if the present question was not a party one, why not have met it half way, so that the country might be satisfied? Why, it was impossible that the Government could have done that with such an opposition. It was a mockery to think it. The Government would have been laughed at by their opponents, and become the joke of the lobby itself. They would have been laughed at by all the green and blue box-men even, and their conduct would have been described as childish, silly, and contemptible. He was surprised to hear some of the observations of the hon. and learned Member the other evening, and he could not imagine where he had been keeping his political sheep, or in what Arcadia he had been dwelling, when he talked of conciliation. What! conciliate an enemy, modify the Reform Bill with Gentlemen who were only trying to trip up the heels of the Administration! The Opposition had appealed to the passions and feelings of the House, and had called into action all the rules of tragedy and poetry as laid down by Aristotle. The right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, engaged in the no-pleasing task of keeping together his almost beaten party, and the right hon. Gentleman, the member for Harwich, who stated, he "was armed too strong in honesty" and so forth, ought to have come boldly forward with their opposition to the Bill. Then the right hon. Gentleman poured forth his profound soul, and gave his plan; and what did he say? "You are for giving every thing, and I am for giving nothing." And now the right hon. Gentleman must excuse him for imitating him a little in taking the argument of the hon. member for Calne, who had taunted them with having no plan to propose; but now it appeared that he had a plan to propose. Well, was he entitled to say, to those who should throw ridicule on his plan, not merely "ingrata patria," but "ingrati omnes," since thus was treated his plan, which—hear it—was just this—not to alter the number of Members returned to Parliament. They were grateful for small matters, and he felt his share of the gratitude to be great. The question now before the House was, not by any means that which had been put by a noble Lord (Valletort) the other night, when he said, that he wished to see such an alteration in this Bill as would enable him to cross the House and support Ministers, which, too, if the Bill were altered as he wished, the noble Lord had magnanimously and gallantly said he would do even though he were alone. The question, in point of fact, is not what kind of Reform we are to have, but whether we are to have Reform, or the right hon. member for Tamworth in office, with his Reform—that is, no Reform at all. Unfortunately, politics and principles were so mixed up with individuals, that the question in general was, not what principles were to guide, but who was to be the Minister of the country. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that it would be better to leave matters as they were than to expose the country to the danger which must result from perpetual changes of Administration. An instability of Government was always an evil. The right hon. Baronet opposite had himself allowed that on a memorable occasion he had preferred taking a step not consonant to his wishes, rather than break up an Administration by withdrawing from it. But even if his Majesty's present Government were thrown out of office, did any one suppose that it was possible to form a Government in this country of which the leading principle should not be Reform. He was not aware of any middle course that could be taken; and there must be either a Government on the old principles, under which it was said they had flourished so much; or a Government on the principle of that the ministerial side of the House, founded above all on the basis of free Representation. And now allow him to allude to the manner in which the Bill had been opposed, and he would take the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel) as an exemplification. The right hon. Gentleman had at one time complained of the raising the qualification of borough voters, and then concluded by deprecating pauper votes. Another time he had said, that the Government had not adopted any of his suggestions, while again in a short time he said, that they had all been taken. Then came the charge of revolution, which came strangely as an accusation from those who lauded the Revolution of 1688. That the Bill was a change there was no doubt; but what state had ever reached greatness that had not frequently changed, or as Macchiavelli expressed it, which had not recurred to first principles. It had been said, the other night, that not only would the House of Peers be destroyed, but that the Throne would be upset; this was urged as a menace not to be misunderstood, as references were made to James 2nd, with some hints given to the King now upon the Throne. But he (Sir John Hobhouse) would say, that this was a revolution better than that of 1688. We were not going to cashier a monarch, we were not going to change from James to William; we had our own William; and the only change was that of Gatton and Old Sarum for Manchester and Birmingham. It was only that change long wished for in England—that of having a Parliament responsible to its constituency, instead of an irresponsible Parliament. The hon. and learned member for Boroughbridge had gone a little too far the other night with respect to the other House of Parliament, for we were to presume that they would act rightly. They had exercised a sound discretion before and, he trusted, that they would do so now. But there had been so much said of the House of Peers—it had been so constantly repeated that the English Peers should avoid the fault into which the French peers had fallen—that he could not avoid saying a word or two upon that topic. The right hon. Gentleman had talked to them of the fault committed by the noblesse of France early in the revolution, and remarked that by their yielding too soon they lost every thing. When he (Sir John Hobhouse) heard this, he thought the right hon. Gentleman had not read history aright, and the fact was so. Unhappily for the French peers, they took the contrary line, and took their stand upon privileges which had grown obsolete. On this subject he would beg leave to read a passage from the work of a distinguished lady—Madam de Stael. When the illustrious daughter of Necker composed her reflections on the principle events of the French Revolution, it was not at a moment when passions or prejudices were in a high state of excitement, nor was the work written in her early life, but when her judgment was matured, after the restoration of the House of Bourbon. The passage was this:— The minority of the noblesse—that is to say, more than sixty members of the most illustrious birth, and partaking by their genius the intelligence of the age—were also of opinion that it was proper to deliberate by number, and not by order, on the future constitution of France; but the majority of their brethren, together with a portion of the clergy, although they showed themselves more moderate, refused, with an unheard of obstinacy to adopt any mode of conciliation. They did, indeed, declare that they were ready to renounce their exemption from taxes, but nevertheless at the opening of their Session they chose to treat that which the whole nation considered as their right, as if it were merely a subject for negotiation. Time was lost in wretched quibbling, in polite refusals, in new difficulties. When the tiers etats raised their tone and displayed their force, that force which consisted in the will of the nation, the court noblesse all-accustomed as they were to bend to power, gave way; but when the crisis appeared to be past, they re-assumed their arrogance, and began again to talk of the tiers etat as if they lived in the time when the serfs solicited their franchises from the hands of their territorial lords. The smaller nobility of the provinces were even less tractable than the great Lords. The latter felt a security guaranteed by historic recollections; but the former, with titles scarce known except to themselves, saw that they were on the eve of losing distinctions which now imposed on no one. To hear them talk of their rank, one would have supposed that their patents dated from the creation of the world; whereas all the world knew that they were of very recent origin. They considered their privileges, useless as they were to all but themselves, in the same light as property, on which the security of all is necessarily founded. Privileges are sacred only when they contribute to the public good; in order to preserve them, it is indispensable that we should have recourse to reasoning, and they cannot be really stable except when consecrated by public utility. But the majority of the noblesse contented themselves with these words, 'It was so formerly.' It was in vain that they were told that former circumstances had brought about the events of former days, and that present circumstances had produced those of their own times. Nothing could convince them; they laboured under a certain aristocratical fatuity, inconceiveable except in France—a mixture of frivolous manners with pedantic opinions and all combined with the most complete disdain for superior intelligence and for genius, except indeed when that genius chose to stultify itself, that is to say, employed itself in the attempt to force back the march of human reason. This passage showed, not that the concessions of the French peers had been too early, but that they had been too long delayed—delayed until ruin was the consequence. There were three more lines from the same work, which he requested permission also to read:— The majority of the noblesse finding itself, in 1789, abandoned by intelligence and talent, indiscreetly proclaimed the necessity of employing force against the popular party. We shall see if there was any such force then in existence: at all events we may say, beforehand, that if it did not exist it was very imprudent to threaten it. So much for the French Revolution, which the friends of freedom had more cause to deplore than their opponents, who always held it up as a ready example to scare the lovers of liberty from an attempt to attain it. This, he hoped, would be a lesson to some of the illustrious persons in the other House of Parliament, and sincerely given, not to terrify, but to set them right with respect to the misrepresentation which was so industriously circulated. He or his friends did not use such terms as those of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Croker)—namely, calling the people of England a populace, saying that they were like wild beasts, insatiable, and would run headlong until there was a general war. These terms had been used by that Gentleman, and particularly that of "deluging with blood" seemed a favourite. Such phrases as these might do for an article in a Review, or might have answered in a packed Parliament, but they would never do in that House again; and the right hon. Gentleman belied his genius, and degraded his talent, when he used such an argument to terrify men who, if they were degraded enough to be wrought upon by such means, were unworthy of his care or attempts to preserve them. Then the opponents of the Bill talked of the Press, but had they no Press of their own? Was this not black ingratitude to the Morning Post; and could not the right hon. Gentleman recognise a friendly hand in the daily eulogiums that were lavished on him. They not only had a Press, but it would be odd if they had not when it was their boast that all the learned men of England were against this Bill. Still they would talk of the venomous Press in favour of Reform; but he held in his hand what came from the opposite party, and he could scarcely believe it when he read it. It was an extract from a publication which enjoyed great reputation in the north, and appeared monthly; the prophecy in August last, to be fulfilled in two months, was this:—"By that time there will be no peers in France; we shall have war by land and sea. There will be a dust at Manchester, which will be laid in blood, and the new Parliament will meet in peace and jollity." Then the prophecy went on—"I trust the Duke of Wellington has a campaign or two in him still. Sir Henry Hardinge, if things go well, will be a Secretary of State, and he may come down and raise his standard in Yorkshire." That was the prophecy. What was to be thought of such writing as this? And what was to be thought of those who maintained that all the intemperate writing was on the side of his Majesty's Government? Surely those who spoke thus cavalierly of laying dust in blood, and raising the standard in Yorkshire, had no reason for blaming that portion of the Press which advocated Reform: For himself he contemplated no such evils as those which some hon. Members seemed to anticipate. His belief was, that everything would go on well. He did not contemplate a revolution like that of 1688, he did not look for any "restoration." He had no doubt that those who had hitherto opposed Reform would see the necessity of yielding; and that they would recollect the opinion of one of the greatest men that ever lived, expressed at a time of great peril, which ended in his ruin, and that of his country. He alluded to a passage in one of Cicero's letters to Lentulus, stating the reasons which rendered it expedient to yield to inevitable power; and he remembered that when he heard of the conversion of the right hon. Baronet opposite to the cause of Catholic Emancipation, it occurred to him that that right hon. Baronet had been influenced by the passage in question:— Nam neque pugnandum arbitrarer contra tantas opes; neque delendum, etiam si id fieri posset, summorum civium principatum: neque permanendum in una sententia, conversis rebus, ac bonorum voluntatibus immutatis: sed temporibus assentiendum. Numquam enim præstantibus in republica gubernanda viris laudata est in una sententia perpetua permansio: sed ut navigando tempestati obsequi artis est, etiamsi portum tenere non queas: cùm verò id possis mutata velificatione assequi, stultum est eum tenere cum periculo cursum, quem ceperis, potiùs qùam, eo commutato, quò velis, tandem prevenire; sic, cùm omnibus nobis in administranda republica propositum esse debeat id, quod à me sæpissmè dictum est, cum dignitate otium: non idem semper dicere, sed idem semper spectare debemus.

Mr. Croker

said, that after the most irregular illusion which had been made to him, he trusted he might be heard for a few moments. The right hon. Baronet imputed to him violent language in speaking of the people of England. He wished the right hon. Baronet had noticed it at the time at which it was uttered. The right hon. Baronet said, he had called the people of England 'insatiable wild beasts.' It was the populace, not the people, of whom he was speaking at the time; and what he said was in reference to the abstract principle of innovation, which he said would be insatiable if once allowed to taste its food until wild beast like, it had destroyed all that came within its reach, when it might fall down, not so much because it was glutted, as because it could find nothing more to devour. The right hon. Baronet had also alluded ["cries of spoke" here compelled the right hon. Gentleman to stop].

Sir Robert Peel

said, in the very multifarious speech of the right hon. Baronet—a speech which some persons seemed to think amusing, there was one topic wholly omitted, and that topic the Bill of Reform. As it was his wish, however, to address himself solely to that topic, involving, as it unquestionably did, the most important matter that had been ever agitated in Parliament, he should not waste the time of the House by the slightest notice of far the greater part of the speech of the right honourable Gentleman, which had not the slightest connection with the subject. This was the first speech of the right hon. Gentleman since his acceptance of office, and was it to be expected that, on a subject of such vital interest, he should have thought merely of defending the conduct of his new colleagues on matters entirely extraneous to Reform? Was that the only opportunity he could find of setting forth his own merit as the champion of the Administration? Was that a time to dig from its grave the unfortunate Budget of 1831? The right hon. Gentleman charged the opposers of the Reform Bill with having entered into a party combination to strangle in its cradle that unfortunate and ricketty offspring of the Government. Combination, indeed! why, there was no necessity for them to lift a hand or say a word against it. It was quite enough for them to stand quietly by, and leave the Budget to be smothered by the Reformers. The misshapen offspring of financial love fell beneath the blows of the Reformers. Who extinguished the threatened tax on funded property? Why, the hon. Member (Mr. John Smith), he, who, on the night when the Reform Bill was brought in, said, he lost his breath with delight and admiration of the measure, retained sufficient to puff out the life of that wretched abortion. The proposed taxes on landed property and on steam vessels vanished, not through the exertions of the opponents of Reform, but because the friends of that measure denounced such taxes as mischievous and absurd. So much for the misrepresented facts of the right hon. Baronet. Now, to say one word of his doctrine: Was Reform, then, already come to this, that the Members of that House were not at liberty to examine the conduct of Government? Must they be altogether silent upon the Budget? must they take no notice of the public expenditure? must they hold their peace upon all the subjects, however important, the Government might think fit to introduce; because Government must not be disturbed in its great labour of hatching Reform? The right hon. Baronet referred, with particular emphasis, to a question put on the subject of the Russian-Dutch loan on the night the Reform Bill stood for a second reading. And why not on that night? Were such inquiries distasteful to Reformers, and incompatible with their Reforms? But he would pass to other and more important matter than the speech of the right hon. Baronet. There was, indeed, something in the personal appeal made to himself by the right hon. Gentleman which might, even upon an occasion like the present, justify him in intruding for some time upon the House, in answer to such an appeal, but, as that was the last opportunity he should have of stating his sentiments on the Bill, he would proceed, without further observation on the speech they had last heard, to the proper subject of debate—that tremendously important change, on which the future prosperity and grandeur of this mighty empire would depend. After the long lapse of time that it had been in progress through the House—after giving to it all the consideration its importance required—after the various alterations made in it, he should have felt happy if it was in his power now to say, that he saw in it less that was objectionable than when it was first proposed. He must, however, declare, that the reverse was the case. The time expended on it, however long, had cured none of the evils of the original measure. The more he considered that measure, the more he reflected on the consequences to which it would lead—consequences embracing every thing most valuable in the institutions and frame of society—the more he felt anxiety and apprehension, the more his objections were confirmed and strengthened. In whatever view he regarded it—whether with reference to its origin, to the period at which it was brought forward, to the example on which it was founded, to the means by which it was attempted to be carried, or to the consequences which might be expected from its adoption—he was filled with astonishment, mortification, and dismay. But vague and general condemnation of the measure was not his object. He had no other wish than calmly to review the main arguments on which an experiment—admitted by its authors to be a most perilous one—had been justified. The leading grounds on which the Bill rested for its defence were two. First, that it was fraught with great practical benefit, since it remedied actual defects in the Constitution long complained of by the people, by giving them a more full and free Representation, by putting an end to small boroughs, conferring the elective franchise on large towns now unrepresented, and providing a guarantee for future good government. The second ground for it was, that there was so general a demand for Reform that no discretion was left to the Legislature, that, whether good or bad per se, that or some equally efficient measure must be adopted to conciliate the people, and to enable any Administration to carry on the Government of the country. For anything in the shape of real substantial argument in support of either of these grounds he must again refer to the speech of the member for Calne. That hon. and learned Gentleman supported the measure upon the ground that it would improve the present system of Representation, by giving the people more influence in the election of their Representatives; and more control over the action of the Executive Government; and he inferred, as a necessary consequence of this increased influence and control on the part of the people, an increase of the general happiness. If that inference were a just one, there was an end of the question; but the whole point at issue was, on the justness of that inference, on the question—whether the great ends for which Government was constituted would be promoted, in this country, by a vast increase of democratic power. The learned Gentleman exhorted us to make the experiment of a great change in the Representative system, on the express ground that the present system has proved a failure. He totally denied the assertion of Mr. Canning—which was the foundation of his argument against Reform, namely, "That the system has worked well." The learned Gentleman admitted, that, if it had worked well—well for the country at large—the reasons for extensive change were materially weakened. As a proof that it had not worked well, he desired them to survey the whole structure of society, and to deny, if they could, that there was great privation, great suffering, great distress. They could not deny it, but they asserted, at the same time, that that suffering and that distress were not justly attributable to defects in the form or constitution of the governing power. How could society be formed, how could it exist, without vast and striking inequalities in human condition—without the extremes of worldly prosperity, and worldly privation? They had the "humble shed" and the "contiguous palace," that sheltered rather than shamed it. And it was not enough to allege, or to prove, such inequalities, or the existence of much real and undeniable evil, much unmerited and incurable suffering;—was that evil caused by defects in the Representation, and would it be removed by the removal of the supposed defects? This was the question. The learned Gentleman was obliged to admit, that, in many most important particulars—in its influence on the administration of justice—on the formation of national character—the system had worked well. But, then he maintained, that all that was good in the constitution of society was attributable to popular control on the action of Government; that all that was evil was attributable to the absence or diminution of that control. Therefore, said the hon. Gentleman, "increase the control, and you will increase the good, and abate the evil." But surely that reasoning took for granted much that could not hastily be admitted. Was it so clear that to democratic influence we owed all that was estimable in social life? Did it follow, that, admitting that the existence of that influence was essential to the maintenance of the blessings we enjoyed, that the increase of that influence must necessarily make a corresponding increase of the good which flowed from it? Might not all depend, in politics as well as physics, on the due admixture and proper proportions of contending elements? Suppose the learned Gentleman were to argue thus:—"I find the air we breathe a compound of certain qualities—one pure, the other noxious—one essential to combustion, to respiration, to the maintenance of vegetable and animal life. To the one I attribute all the enjoyment of life, and to the other, all that is destructive of it; let us separate the evil principle from the good one, and let us in future breathe nothing but oxygen." His argument in that case would be just as rational as his argument in the present case—that we have nothing to do but increase the democratic power, in order to ensure good government and public happiness. The great inequalities in the condition of mankind might be, in one point of view, an evil. There was—who could deny it—superfluous affluence co-existent with acute and undeserved suffering. But could they eradicate the evil, if it be one, without evils ten times greater—without destroying the security of property—the incentive to industry and virtuous exertion—without undermining the foundations of society? Nay, was there not reason to doubt whether one of the consequences of improved civilization, by stimulating ingenuity, by protecting property, was not to create and increase those inequalities in worldly prosperity—those contrasts of extravagant wealth and deplorable penury, which were alleged as the proofs of defective government? It was useless, and worse than useless, to excite the hope that any Reform, or any powers of legislation, could remedy much of the evil which they knew and admitted to exist. What had been the course which, in this Session, the authors of the measure of Reform had themselves pursued, with respect to cases of notorious and grievous suffering? In the course of the last fortnight petitions had been presented from the silk trade and the glove trade, complaining of such distress that thousands, who had been brought up to those trades, were unable to earn their livelihood? The facts were admitted; and what course did the Government take? Did they encourage any hope of relief from legislation? No. Their language was, "In the complicated state of society, improvements in machinery, vicissitudes of fashion, and other causes, must affect your position. It is impossible to improve your situation by parliamentary interference—nay, we will not even inquire into the causes of your distress, for the inquiry itself would only raise expectations which must be disappointed." And such language might be wise. But if wise on that point, it was wise also with reference to the Constitution. It proved that severe privations might be suffered, without an impeachment of that Constitution. That language, as he before observed, might be wise, but what was it that had enabled the Government to hold it? What was it that had enabled the Government, at different periods, to act independently of petty local interests and popular prejudices, and to follow that course only which they thought for the benefit of the people at large—what but the borough Representation? What was it but that which had enabled Mr. Canning to pursue such a course? He had given up the Representation of Liverpool, because he found that the protection of local interests might embarrass his action as a Minister of the Crown. He had taken refuge in a small borough, where he had no such interests to consult, and, by that means, was enabled to devote all the energies of his mind to a general and comprehensive view of the various and complicated concerns of the whole country. The present Ministers had been able to adopt a similar course with respect to many minor questions, in consequence of the excitement which existed about the Reform Bill. They had been made, in a manner, inde- pendent of their own supporters—independent of popular clamour on commercial subjects, by the overwhelming interest attached to one particular question. They had been able to say to their followers, "do not thwart us on this point, for, if you do, the success of the Reform Bill may be endangered." But would they always be able to do that? Certainly not. The time would come when they could no longer avail themselves of the powerful lever of Reform—when they could not direct, but must submit, to popular impulse. When that time came, he doubted whether they would have the same power of applying general principles, and disregarding temporary clamour, whether they would then be able to refuse Committees, which would be required on every depression of trade, and at every moment of partial distress, deranging the course of commerce, and unsettling the credit and the business of the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that if a Reform had some years since taken place in the House, we should have had, first, an improved system of legislation, both as regarded commerce and jurisprudence; and, next, an effectual discouragement of war. Such wars, he said, too, as were necessarily entered into would not have been so feebly conducted; and, in time, we should have been free both from the rancorous hostilities of domestic party spirit, and from the fear of foreign invasion. The country would have enjoyed internal repose, and the blessings of general peace. It was very easy to say these things, but extremely difficult to prove them. The hon. and learned Gentleman had assigned no reason for entertaining that opinion; but he would assign some reasons for an opposite conclusion. With respect to the subject of war, which had been already so admirably treated by his noble friend (Lord Mahon), he knew no fact the hon. and learned Gentleman could adduce to prove that if, at any given period of the history of this country, there had been such a Reform of this House as was now proposed, there would have been that discouragement to undertake war which the hon. and learned Gentleman contended for. The hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that wars had been occasionally popular in recent times; but, then, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, "however popular such wars might have been in the beginning, I think, if we had had a Reformed Parliament, those wars would have been put an end to much sooner than they ac- tually had been." But when a war was once begun, it was not always in our power to choose the moment when it should terminate. If the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted, that republics and popular governments generally were inclined to war, he admitted every thing. There was an end of his prophecy of perpetual peace. The hasty inconsiderate demand for peace might be just as dangerous as the clamour for war. Now, with respect to our jurisprudence, what evidence was there that any Reform in Parliament would make that House more disposed to improve our jurisprudence than it was as at present constituted? The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that that House had evinced a disposition to oppose legal Reform. But by what portion of the House was that disposition manifested? What was the fate of a Bill brought in that Session by a staunch supporter of the Reform Bill? The Tories appointed a Committee to inquire into the law of real property, and all the Members of that Committee concurred in opinion, that one of the greatest improvements that could be made in that branch of jurisprudence was, the adoption of a General Registry Bill. The necessity of it was felt so strongly, that an hon. and learned Member of that House introduced a Bill for that purpose, and he professed himself unable to conceive how people could be so obtuse as not to see the absolute necessity of such a measure. The registries in Yorkshire and in Middlesex were held up as conclusive proofs that the landed interest would be considerably benefitted by the universal adoption of a General Registry. But, although Reformers were predominant in that House, so far from showing a disposition to act in accordance with the view taken by their brother Reformer, they totally abandoned him and his Reforms. He came down to the House and complained that there had started up a host of Attornies, actuated, no doubt, by the purest principles, who had so operated on the Reform Members, and had produced such opposition to the Registry Bill, that the learned author of the measure was obliged to take refuge in a Committee, and had not the least prospect of contending successfully against the partialities, prejudices, and obtuseness, not of the borough mongers, but of the Reformers—of those who were returned by popular elections, and were compelled to yield to popular clamour. The most strenuous supporters of the Reform Bill, among whom was the noble member for Yorkshire, concurred in treating that measure of legal Reform as they treated the Budget: and nothing had been done to meet the exigencies of the times, or the just demands of the rational part of the people. Now, if that was the fate of legal Reform in the House as at present constituted, if the Attornies could raise such a storm with their present means, just conceive that House to be chosen by the newly-created constituency of 10l. householders, and then say, whether there would be the slightest chance that the Registry Bill should pass? If that measure could be defeated now, what probability was there that a Parliament, chosen by that class who constituted the chief opponents of the measure at present, would allow it to become a law? But the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that, if we had had a Reform Bill some thirty or forty years ago, all the evils of which we now complained would have been corrected. To that observation one very manifest answer offered itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman assumes, that, if a Reform in Parliament had taken place at the period he mentions, the Reformers of that day would have seen with our eyes, and have estimated every thing by the same standard which was now adopted. But, was it not obvious that, if the Constitution of this country had been new modelled forty years since, reference must be had, in judging of the practical effects, to the then state of intelligence among the people—to the then state of their feelings, prejudices, and opinions? Let it not be supposed that there would at that period have been raised in a Reformed Parliament the present loud demand for economy; or, that a clamour against war, or an imperative call for Reform in our civil and criminal jurisprudence, or in the management of the property of the Church, would then have been heard, because we now heard it. Suppose, for instance, that, in 1784, there had been a Reformed Parliament, would such a Parliament, returned upon the principles of the present Bill, have been disposed to take enlightened views on commercial subjects? Certainly not. In 1785, Mr. Pitt brought forward his commercial propositions with respect to Ireland. Mr. Pitt said, that he proposed the measure with the view of enlarging the intercourse between this country and Ireland. He expressed his wish to have the system of bounties, drawbacks, and every onerous duty, done away with; it being his opinion that the prosperity of Ireland and that of England were the same, and that the best interests of both countries would be consulted by extending their commercial intercourse. These were the opinions of Mr. Pitt: but they were not the opinions of Mr. Fox, who might be considered as a fair index of the popular opinion of that day. Did the hon. and learned Member believe, that the 10l. householders of that time would have returned a man more enlightened than Mr. Fox? And what were the enlarged views of that eminent statesman on the subject of Trade? He said—"There is no one benefit which Ireland can derive from an extended intercourse with this country which will not lead to an insidious competition on the part of Ireland. It is this which will stir up jealousy between the two countries, and make Englishmen and Irishmen look at each other with cold hearts and suspicious eyes." At the time those sentiments were put forth they were in conformity with popular opinion. That opinion concurred with Mr. Fox, that commercial benefits were not reciprocal, and that every advantage which Ireland would reap from the Resolutions would be to our detriment. It would be absurd to measure the intelligence of a Reformed Parliament of that day by the doctrines held at present, or by the advance which science had since made. In 1786, Mr. Pitt negociated a commercial treaty with France; in defence of that Treaty in 1787, he laid down these principles:—"France was, by the peculiar dispensation of Providence, gifted, perhaps more than any country upon earth, with what made life desirable in point of soil, climate, and natural productions. It had the most fertile vineyards, and the richest harvests; the greatest luxuries of man were produced in it with little cost, and with moderate labour. Britain was not thus blest by nature; but, on the contrary, it possessed, through the happy freedom of its Constitution, and the equal security of its laws, an energy in its enterprise, and a stability in its exertions, which had gradually raised it to a state of commercial grandeur; and, not being so bountifully gifted by Heaven, it had recourse to labour and art, by which it had acquired the ability of supplying its neighbour with all the necessary embellishments of life in exchange for her natural luxuries. Thus standing with regard to each other, a friendly connexion seemed to be pointed out between them, instead of the state of unalterable enmity which was falsely said to be their true political feeling towards one another."* But, what said Mr. Fox?—"France has always been the natural foe of this country: she has consented to this commercial treaty for an insidious purpose. In the reign of Charles 2nd, and of Louis 14th, an unnatural alliance was attempted between the two countries, but I deprecate all alliance for the future. Trade is a miserable consideration; and I attribute this treaty to those dirty commercial considerations which entirely shut out all higher motives of policy. England must have nothing to do with France." Now, he asked, if, in the year 1786, there had been a Reformed Parliament—the express image of the people—of the 10l. voters to be now created—would Mr. Pitt have succeeded against Mr. Fox? Which of the two would have maintained the popular opinion of that day? Could there be a doubt, that, although we now readily acknowledge the superior wisdom and intelligence of Mr. Pitt, as to the principles of commercial intercourse, that a House of Commons returned by popular choice, in 1787, would have adopted the sentiments Mr. Fox? Therefore, he said, the learned Gentleman had no right, whatever, to assume that Reform, applied forty years since, would have insured that enlarged and enlightened legislation of which he spoke. A part of the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Hobhouse) appeared to be founded on the impression that, even at that late period of the discussion, he (Sir Robert Peel) intended to propose some measure of Reform. With respect to that matter, to which, indeed, the hon. and learned Gentleman first alluded, he begged to assure both him and the right hon. Baronet, that he never meant in the slightest degree to question their right to examine and comment upon his public conduct. He admitted that right in its fullest extent. But those Gentlemen would, of course, concede to him the corresponding right of correcting their errors. The hon. and learned Gentleman especially alluded to the line of conduct he had pursued on the Catholic question; and he did him an injustice, for which he could not account. He had hoped that all unkindly feelings on that topic were at an end; and certainly he wished not to revive them. He was ready to acknow- * Hansard's Parl. History, vol. xxvi. p. 395. ledge that he always listened, not only with great attention, but with great admiration, to that flow of chaste and pure language, which, however rapid, seemed scarcely able to sustain the rich freight of thought and fancy which it bore along. Not denying the right of the hon. and learned Gentleman to attack his political conduct, not objecting to the tone of his observations; at the same time, he should have expected, if he was to be attacked for his conduct on Reform, that the learned Gentleman would have been the last man from whom that attack would come. If he was to fall from that particular shaft, he could never have believed that it would have been drawn from the quiver of the learned Gentleman. On the Catholic question the charge against him was, that he had appropriated the honour due to others; that he had stood aside, had seen others sow the seed, had watched the approach of the harvest, and then had stept in, and reaped the fruits of their toil, and the honourable reward which was justly due to their labours. But what was now the charge? That he had done the same thing on Reform? Just the reverse. The charge now was, that he had not brought in a Reform Bill; that he had not made some servile copy of the measure of the hon. Gentlemen opposite; and, because he had not done that, he was as open to accusation and censure as before. The learned Gentleman reminded him of the attack made upon the physicians who attended Mr. Fox. Mr. Trotter, the private Secretary of that Statesman, in a public letter, declared that the physicians ought to have been brought to justice for having administered foxglove to their patient for his particular disease. The physicians declared that they had not administered it: Mr. Trotter immediately turned round upon them, and exclaimed—"Why have you not? You ought to be condemned for not having administered it. It might have been the only remedy for his disorder." The charges of the learned Gentleman against himself were as contradictory as those of Mr. Trotter. When he brought in a Bill to accomplish the objects which others had so long advocated, the learned Gentleman accused him of seeking to deck himself with their plumes, and to assume a merit which was not his due. When he did not bring in a Bill for Reform, the same learned Gentleman was equally indignant, and demanded from him a Reform Bill, with just the same ve- hemence with which he condemned him for having brought in the Catholic Relief Bill. He had no Reform Bill to bring forward. He did not believe that the Reform contemplated would be an improvement of the Constitution. He did not believe that it would remedy the defects of which Ministers complained, but he feared that it would expose the country to great hazard, and he was not prepared to bear the responsibility of bringing it forward. He had retired from office rather than undertake that task, and, if he differed from the public voice, surely he had a right to maintain his own opinion, being prepared to submit to all the consequences of adhering to it. The learned Gentleman asked, how could a man venture to act in opposition to the vast majority of the people of England? Did, then, the learned Gentleman mean to declare himself an enemy to private judgment? Was not a man at liberty to entertain and act upon his own opinion in political matters, even though the universal voice of the people of England should be raised against that opinion? If he differed from the people of England, he differed from them reluctantly and respectfully; if he thought that they were intoxicated, they had no right to reproach him if he chose to remain sober. He firmly believed that this measure of Reform would not promote the good government and the happiness of this great country, and, therefore, to the last he would oppose it. But then came the second of the two leading arguments for Reform, namely, that, whether good or bad, it was inevitable, that the demand for it was so universal and overwhelming, that it became impossible to administer government, and execute law, without a Reform, based on the same principles, and carried to the same extent, with the present Bill. No prudent man would assert, that, provided there was among the intelligent and reasoning classes of any country a deep-rooted and permanent feeling of dissatisfaction with any public institution connected with its Government, that feeling could, with safety, be abruptly and contemptuously disregarded. If it could be shown that, whatever might be the abstract merits of a Constitution, the people were dissatisfied with it; that they had outgrown its original dimensions, that it was no longer applicable to the wants and interests of society; that the basis on which it rested was too narrow; that the public administration could not be carried on without constant suspicion on the part of the people, in such a case it became, no doubt, the duty of Parliament to devote its deliberate consideration to the means of effecting some change. He was bound to admit, that it would have been difficult if not impossible for any administration to have been formed on the principle of resisting altogether Parliamentary Reform. He had thought, also, that, whenever the time for Reform should arrive, it would be infinitely better that the question should be taken up by those who had been its uniform friends, rather than by those who had been its uniform opponents. An arrangement made by the latter would have been much less likely to be permanent and satisfactory than if it came from the friends of the measure. It was his firm belief that the Gentlemen opposite had the means of making an adjustment of this question, which would have been satisfactory to the rational and respectable portion of the country, in spite of any opposition which any other party might have offered to it. The present Ministers came into office at a period, no doubt, of great excitement, when there was existing in this country a disposition to disturbance, excited, not by any settled deliberate desire for Reform, but by the absurd admiration of the triumph of physical strength in France. It was natural enough that the people of this country, with their notions of liberty, should rejoice at that triumph—that they should rejoice at the defeat of the illegal ordinances of July, and of the military force of a despotic power; but it was ridiculous to see the people of England desirous of imitating the example of France, without its provocation, and attempting to cut their clumsy capers in revolution after the manner of the harlequins of Paris. The present Government was called to power at a great crisis, and they had the means, by common prudence, of overcoming the difficulties of that crisis. He granted, that there was a desire—a permanent, a growing desire—for Reform among the sober and intelligent classes of the community, but, surely, that feeling might have been, and ought to have been, distinguished from the drunken fit of temporary enthusiasm with which the events of Paris were regarded. It ought, too, to have been distinguished from that spirit of discontent and disaffection which, however they might constitute the Government, would always be found, varying, no doubt, in degree, among the vast masses, with complicated and conflicting inter- ests, of which society was composed. At all times, and under all circumstances, they must calculate, that distress would produce the disposition to turbulence, and that evil spirits would be found able and willing to direct and to profit by such a disposition. When David raised his standard against Saul, "every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain over them." Human nature had undergone no change; and he feared there would always be found a permanent fund of discontent and dissatisfaction in every country. But his argument was, that the present Ministers had it in their power to separate these angry elements of confusion, and to discriminate between the demands of dissimilar classes of men—those who acted upon a cool and deliberate judgment in favour of a temperate Reform, and those who, in the height of their maddening excitement, called for the most perilous innovations. If Ministers, instead of giving immediate notice that they intended to bring forward without delay this extensive measure of Reform—a measure much more extensive than they themselves had ever previously contemplated—totally differing, as was well known, in character and degree from that which Mr. Brougham intended to propose—if, instead of that, the Ministers had stated, that they would, at all hazards, postpone the consideration of Reform until the fits of temporary enthusiasm had subsided, and until they could distinguish the flow of the pure stream of opinion from the turbid waters of passion which were for the time mingled together—he was certain that every sober-minded and reflecting man in the country would have acquiesced in the prudence of such a delay. No doubt there must have been a pledge of Reform, but would the people of England have refused, to a Government so pledged, time to consider and mature both the principle and details of such a vital measure? Were they so infatuated as to insist, not only on a Radical Reform, but on its production within two months? The fact was, that, at no time was there a general wish expressed on the part of the rational and respectable part of the community for a change of so extensive a nature as that which Ministers had proposed. Did they mean to say, that, if they had come forward, and declared that they were determined to destroy the principle of nomination bo- roughs, and confer on populous places the right of returning Representatives, that the people would have been dissatisfied, and that they would have incurred the risk of defeat either by the party which opposed all Reform, or the party which now cried aloud for greater innovations? Could Ministers assert that, if, having largely enfranchised the great towns, they had proposed to make the extent of disfranchisement depend upon the number of places enfranchised, so as to form a natural barrier against future innovation; at the same time, giving to Ireland and Scotland such benefit from an improved Representation as they were then disposed to give to those countries; did Ministers, he asked, think that, if they had adopted such a course, they would have disappointed the expectations of the most sanguine Reformers, or have failed in satisfying all reasonable and considerate men? His firm belief was, that, in spite of all opposition, Ministers had the power of carrying to a successful conclusion such a measure as would have proved perfectly satisfactory. They had, however, not only gone to a most extravagant extent in their confiscation of existing rights, but had embodied in the provisions of their Bill, principles which must eventually preclude all permanency in their far-famed work. It might have been impossible longer to up hold the principle of nomination; but where was the necessity of altering the whole Representative system of the country? That was not essential to the success of any Reform desired by the people, and not connected, in the slightest degree, with the principle which Ministers professed to act upon. They had, however, by the course taken, shaken the very foundation of the Representative system, and had destroyed all those prescriptive rights which could alone give stability to institutions of Government. If they had left all large places having popular rights of Representation, in the enjoyment of their ancient franchise it would have been perfectly consistent with rational Reform; but, no; Ministers had declared that these places should enjoy the right of representation, not because they had enjoyed it for centuries—not because their privileges were sanctioned by grants and charters of incorporation—but because they happened to correspond to a new and fanciful standard, by which they thought fit to mete out the right of representation to the people. In new boroughs new rights must, from the nature of the case, be called into existence; but why not create the new, and, at least, where it was a popular one—leave untouched the ancient franchise. The destruction of it was a mere wanton innovation, a gratuitous sacrifice of that prescription which was the foundation of their rights, and the main stay and strength of all civil government. Ministers never had any valid reasons for the extent of the alteration to which they had gone, either upon the ground of the defects of the Constitution, or upon that of popular demands. That there had now arisen such a demand, which it might be difficult for any statesman to resist, he could not deny; but why had it arisen? Because, for the first time in the history of this country, the people had seen the Throne and the Government ranged against those restraints of authority which had hitherto been considered necessary for the well-being of the empire. Difficult, indeed, must it be to maintain those restraints, when the King's Ministers were united with the populace in denouncing them, in holding up the Members of the House of Lords as corrupt, and, in the wild spirit of destruction, devoting the whole Constitution of the country to annihilation as a rotten and evil thing. Who, when they beheld Ministers siding thus with popular clamour, could be surprised at the popularity of Reform? It appeared as if the reins of the State had been confided to some youthful and inexperienced hands; and who, left without any guiding principle, or any controlling sense of duty, were rushing on with headlong violence, which wiser men could not moderate or restrain. If the older and more experienced members of the Cabinet chose to confide the conduct of this dangerous measure to the care of their youthful colleagues, known and distinguished only for their rashness and presumption—they should have at least forewarned them of the difficulties they had to encounter—the perils they had to incur, and the fate which would probably await them. They should have said to any one of those persons, whose ambition made him press for an employment so fraught with danger to himself and injury to others— Non est tua tuta voluntas; Magna petis Phaeton, et quæ nec viribus istis Munera conveniant, nec tam puerilibus annis. They should have given him the salutary caution, that the fiery steeds, which he aspired to guide, required the hand of restraint, and not the voice of incitement— Sponte sua properant, labor est inhibere volentes, Parce puer stimulis, ac forties utere loris. If the caution had not been given—or if it had been disregarded—let them hope, at least, that the example of their suffering might be a warning to others, and that another lesson to the folly and rashness of mankind might be read by the light of their conflagration. He had stated his reasons for dissenting from the conclusions in favour of this measure of Reform urged by its supporters. He denied that there was any such degree of practical evil attributable to defects in the present constitution of the House of Commons as to justify the hazardous experiment they were about to make, and if there was a necessity for yielding, against their judgment, to a popular demand for Reform, he asserted, that that necessity had been created by the King's Government—by the use which they had made of the King's name, and by their uniform endeavours to increase, instead of to allay, public excitement. He had been challenged to state the specific dangers which he apprehended from this Bill of Reform, and he would obey that call. In his opinion, the Bill would give an additional influence to the democratic power of the State, as distinguished from the monarchy and the House of Lords, so great as to make that power supreme, and virtually, therefore, to convert the mixed government under which we had lived into a simple democracy. He saw no prospect that the King would hereafter be enabled to exercise an unpopular prerogative, however necessary that prerogative might be to the permanent interests of the country. He thought they were about to sacrifice the means which they then possessed of resisting the first impulse of the tide of popular opinion. If that tide set in with a steady unchanging course, it was sure even then to prevail: but they had at present barriers against the first shocks which enabled them to outlive a temporary storm of passion, and to yield, if it should become necessary to yield, with a cautious and gradual relaxation of the ties and holdings which secured the established order of things. But hereafter there would be no vis inertiœ in the machine of Government—none of that power of resistance to the restlessness of a desire of perpetual change which, at present resulted, not only from the monarchical principle of government, but, from the feelings, habits, and prejudices which were interwoven with ancient pre- scriptive institutions. The power of the House of Commons would hereafter be supreme; the other branches of the Legislature would exist merely by sufferance, until it was discovered that institutions which had merely the shadow and semblance of authority were useless and expensive pageants, and had better be abolished. How could the King hereafter change a Ministry? How could he make a partial change in the Administration in times of public excitement with any prospect that the Ministers of his choice, unpopular, perhaps, from the strict performance of necessary duties, would be returned to Parliament? How many men pre-eminently fit for official station would be excluded, because they would not condescend, or had not the art to recommend themselves to popular constituencies? By the very act of making all places necessarily places of popular election, an end was effectually put to the exercise of this prerogative of the Crown, and so far a revolution had been worked In the State. Ministers of the Crown might lose the confidence of their constituents: it had happened in the case of the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston). Such a case might occur again, under other circumstances. Take, for instance, the Law Officers of the Crown. Let not his opponents say—"We deal with general principles, and not with petty details; and that the Crown officers, like other candidates, must recommend themselves, by popular courses, to popular approval. They might hold that language, but men acquainted with the practical workings of the British Constitution knew that it was fallacious. It was not right that men filling high and responsible offices should be compelled to court popular favour, by making sounding speeches about the liberty of the Press, and gaining the favour of the populace by the most despicable prostitution of their minds and acquirements. How could the Crown have obtained the advantage of the services of the present Solicitor General, if it had not been for a small borough? How could they insure the return of a man who might be the ornament of his profession, and, by the admission of all, pre-eminently qualified for the office of Attorney General? They would have able, and acute, and stirring lawyers in the popular interest, returned to that House, and it would become of still more urgent importance, that the interests of the Crown should be vigorously defended by its legal advisers? In what situation would the Crown be left, if it had no Attorney General in that House? It was only last night, that something fell from his hon. and learned friend (Sir Charles Wetherell)—with whom he was happy to unite on that occasion, and bury in oblivion all past differences—whose integrity he respected as much as he admired his abilities; but, even from him, something fell which struck on the sensitive ears of the Attorney General as disrespectful to the Crown. The hon. and learned Attorney General was wrong: he had mistaken the language, and the intention with which it was uttered; but the manner in which the matter was taken up by the Attorney General, though in mistake, showed how important it was, that the Crown should have an Attorney General in that House alive to any insult or disrespect which might, in the heat and inadvertence of debate, be offered to the royal authority. The King's Attorney General, faintly suspecting that his royal master had, by remote allusions, been likened to a tyrant of former times, rebuked with honourable, though mistaken, indignation, the indecent and revolting comparison. One readily for gave the mistake, in admiration of the feelings, so sensitively loyal, which prompted the Attorney General to resent an attack upon royalty. How important was it, that the Crown should always have such prompt and zealous defenders! But could any man suppose that such an Attorney General would be found, when he must obtain the suffrages of the 10l. householders of Marylebone, Lambeth, or the Tower Hamlets? Again, it was no inconsiderable objection, in his mind, to the proposed measure, that it would disturb the operation of the great experiment made with respect to Ireland three years since. The whole constituency of that country was then to be changed. It was not the mere addition of the number of voters, but a total change in the character of the constituency, established in Ireland. Were his fears on that head visionary? No: there must still be ringing in the ears of hon. Members the speech of the learned Gentleman on the third bench (Mr. Sheil), one of the most strenuous Reformers, and most distinguished orators of his country. In language and in tone the most emphatic, he, on a late occasion, addressed to the Government some such words as these:—'Take warning in time: what is your policy? You have made a race between Le- gislation and events; an incident happens, straight comes an Act of Parliament; another incident arrives, behold a Committee and another Act of Parliament. 'Thus you go on, running a race with events, and events are sure to win it. Awake, for God's sake, to a sense of the condition of Ireland; embrace her evils in one large and comprehensive system of immediate amelioration; let us have no "bit-by-bit Reforms." Lay not that unction to your souls—burn not that incense which self-adulation offers to itself—do not hope, do not so far delude yourselves as to think that, by dallying with the evils of Ireland, by procrastinations, and puttings off, by sometimes giving buffets, and sometimes offering caresses to Ireland, you can effect the tranquillization of that country. For it has come to this pass, and it is not I alone that tell you this, but events—those voiceless but eloquent monitors—call on you as they pass, to throw aside your prejudices, to legislate, not on the views of party, but on the principles of human nature, and, warned by the calamities that impend over us, to rescue from destruction the unhappy land which, under all changes of Government, and all vicissitudes of party, appears to have been foredoomed to distraction, and predestined to misrule.' The learned Gentleman concluded his eloquent speech with these pregnant and emphatic words:—'Recollect, the Reform Bill is about to pass—a general election must shortly follow—it is your turn this Session, but it will be ours the next.' The hon. Gentleman had described his own address to Government as an act of the purest good will—a friendly shaking of blind men on the edge of a precipice. Most certainly, if the friendliness of the act was at all in proportion to the force of the shaking, the Ministers were under the deepest obligation to the learned Gentleman's cordiality. One thing, however, his speech showed clearly enough, namely, his anticipations of the effect of Reform upon Ireland. There was another important topic on which the bearing of this Bill must be great: the extent of the change which it would produce with respect to the interests of the Established Church, it was impossible to calculate. By selecting the 10l. householders as electors, a power would be given to Dissenters, with reference to the Established Church, which, under no other kind of constituency, whether the elective fran- chise were higher or lower, they could have possessed. Add to the increase of power obtained in this country by the Dissenters the new Representation of Scotland, and the increased Representation of Ireland, and it would be difficult to say to what extent the interests of the Church would be affected. With respect also to the bearing of this great change on another important interest—he meant that of the public creditor—he could not help entertaining very serious apprehensions. The whole tendency of the Bill was, to give new power to the debtor at the expense of the public creditor. The mass of the people subject to taxation would acquire increased power; but the creditor would scarcely retain any influence whatever. It was very well to say, with the learned member for Calne, that public assemblies never refused to pay their debts. He knew not on what ground that assertion was made, but the hon. Member probably meant to intimate to the public creditor that his property was perfectly safe. If the Treasury contained the means of payment, such language might be held with some semblance of justice; but when, at the very moment, that the public creditor was told not to be anxious about his debt, there was an actual deficiency in the means of payment, and the taxes had to be levied every year from a people unwilling to pay, and to whom the House was about to give the power to refuse, the ground for alarm was very considerable. He did not mean to sanction the belief that danger would approach in the stern character of spoliation, but it would be quite as effectual if it came under the demure aspect, and in the seductive guise of the new doctrine of "fructification." He feared that a Reformed Parliament might act upon the principles of the present Government, and, from a desire to alleviate the sufferings of the people, might make a too extensive reduction of taxation. A fall in the revenue, occasioned by some such events as had recently occurred in the West Indies, would cause a deficit in the Treasury, which a Reformed Parliament would be very unwilling to supply by the imposition of fresh taxes, The moment such an event took place, public credit would be lost, confidence would be destroyed, and the active industry of the country would be shaken to its very centre. These were the main grounds on which he resisted the present measure. He considered it a fearful experiment, called for by no necessity other than that which the proceedings of its authors and supporters had created, adopted at a moment when the experience of passing events should have taught them the hazard of unsettling ancient institutions. The right hon. Baronet who spoke last had read to them a very long extract from the work of Madam de Staël on the French Revolution, and the quotation was the more complimentary to the writer, inasmuch as it appeared to have no possible bearing on the present question. If the hon. Baronet would have referred to more recent publications on the state of France, and the condition of society in that country, he might have read to the House lessons more instructive. He would find, in the columns of a powerful advocate of Reform (The Times newspaper), from an able and impartial eye-witness of affairs in France, evidence which it was folly in them to disregard. That evidence was contained in a letter of such recent date as the 28th of February, of which he would read an extract. The writer observes, "We have now a melancholy experience of the reduction of the electoral qualification. That imprudent measure could not have been more formally condemned by its results. In that Chamber, which doubtless contains men of high talent, though of these the greater portion sit in silent dissatisfaction, the most conspicuously indiscreet keep up an agitation, and too often succeed in effecting their objects. Town-bred envy, and the spirit of animosity which animates the petty provincial land-owner, are the prominent characteristics of the elective Chamber. Those who are averse to all superiority, offended at all splendor, and hostile to all dignity, amuse themselves by decrying the ermine and purple with which the law has invested the Magistrates. The term 'economy' was never more ridiculously abused; it has become a watch-word, a sort of bell, which is rung in the ears of the ignorant classes, to elicit applause in the café or the estaminet. What do you think of the president of a sovereign court, whose emoluments are reduced to 300 of your pounds sterling, and whose salary is lower than that which you grant to an obscure clerk in one of your public offices? What say you to the war which is waged against science and literature in the persons of professors, for whose services and capacities the most degrading bargains are made? By empty words, scholastic sophistry, and declamation devoid of sincerity, the service of the State is degraded and disorganized. It is a great misfortune to a country when power falls into the hands of the lower classes, and is exercised only to gratify the petty passions of petty persons. Our Director-General of Bridges and Highways, who annually executes public works at the cost of 60,000,000, has had his salary, which under Napoleon was 80,000 francs, curtailed, first to 50,000, and then to 40,000, and it is at length reduced to 20,000. For 20,000 francs, the Director-General of Domains and Registration must superintend a department which produces to the State an annual revenue of 20,000,000. As good neighbours, and men who know what belongs to the dignity of a great nation, pray do us the favour to flagellate our modern Lycurgusses. Let them be taught a lesson from the other side of the Channel, even though they should regard it as contraband merchandize. We may reciprocally exchange these little friendly services, and, as for myself personally, I am at your command." This came from the correspondent of that paper which boasted that it was incessantly spurring the galled sides of the jaded ministerial mules, who were slackening in their ardour for Reform. He maintained that all the expectations entertained by the partizans of French revolutions had been proved false. Expeditions were fitted out to propitiate the military spirit of a reckless democracy. The finances of France were in a ruinous condition. There was no public order—no tranquillity—no security—no prospect of repose. Hon. Members had spoken in that House in favour of the establishment in this country of a National Guard. Let them turn their eyes to what was passing at Grenoble, and possibly their admiration of a National Guard would be abated. He lamented the disposition that prevailed to undervalue the many blessings of the social condition of England, and to hazard them in the attainment of one object of very questionable advantage—a uniform and popular system of Representation. Let it be conceded that such a system would ensure a strict economy in the expenditure of the public money—let it be conceded that it would bear the promised fruit of pensions abolished, estimates reduced, salaries curtailed—alas! how small an ingredient were all these in that combination which constitutes the social happiness, the moral enjoyment, of a great nation? How miserable the gain, if it should be proved to have been secured at the expense of that refinement in manners which was the charm of society, and of that liberty which was unworthy of the name unless it was enjoyed in common by the wealthy and by the poor—by the learned leisure of the cultivated mind, as well as by the active obtrusive talent of vulgar politicians? He could figure to himself a powerful intellect capable of appreciating that true liberty; and of weighing the causes of the moral decline of empires—contrasting the social condition that, he feared, was to be, with that condition which they had inherited, but would not transmit—he could fancy a man so endowed, scorched by the unmitigated blaze of a fierce democracy—panting for the shade and shelter of less popular institutions, and venting against them (if he were allowed to vent them) the bitter execrations of a wounded and indignant spirit. He could fancy such a man in the full enjoyment of all the blessings of Reform—taxes abated, newspapers unstamped, tithes abolished, the dying fury of the election revived by the annual Registration—he could fancy him contrasting all that had been gained with all that had been lost, and then exclaiming—'And was it for this that you have put rancour in the vessel of our peace? Was it for this that you disturbed the balance of that mixed form of government which had solved the great problem in political science, by combining with vigour in the executive the liberty and security of the subject? Was it for this that you paralyzed the remaining force of that ancient monarchy, which connected, through a long succession of centuries, the present with the past, and which being purified from every taint and deriving only strength from its association with the romance of feudal history—reposed with double confidence on the feelings of prescriptive veneration, and of affection towards a mild and paternal rule. Was it for this, that you destroyed that system of manners, equally remote from the servility and frivolity of ancient despotisms, and from the coarseness and selfishness of modern democracies—that system of manners which included many privileges, but recognized no barriers—which had high distinctions, but made them accessible to all, for the purpose of supplying, even to the humblest, an incentive to toil and virtue—more powerful, because less sordid—than the incentive of wealth? Was it for this that you robbed of its mild predominance an established religion—pure in its doctrine, and tolerant in its discipline and practice—and debased Christianity, and banished peace, by the conflict of the thousand sects that range between the extremes of infidelity and superstition? Was it for this that, in the words of immortal eloquence, you dispelled those illusions that made power gentle, and obedience liberal—that harmonized the gradations of society, and, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the virtues that adorn and soften private life?' That he might not be summoned to the bar of posterity to answer those questions—that his name might be exempt from the reproach which they involve—that, in every vicissitude of public and private fortune, he might be enabled to cling to the consolation of having struggled in this contest with perseverance, and of having resigned it without dishonour, his last vote should be given, like his first, in opposition to this Bill.

Mr. Stanley

was well aware of his inability to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the very able and eloquent speech which they had just heard. Still he trusted the House would favour him with its attention, while he endeavoured to reply to some of the arguments brought forward against the Bill now before the House. In the first place he begged to assure the right hon. Baronet that there was no disposition on the part of Ministers to shift from their own shoulders any responsibility which might arise from this measure, or to shrink from the consequences of the course of policy they had pursued. He admitted that the whole responsibility of this measure rested with those who had introduced it, and he for one rejoiced at it. Nec Drances potius, sive est hæc ira Deorum Morte luat, sive est virtus et gloria, tollat. Before he proceeded to make any observations on what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet, he would, for a very short time, call the attention of the House to a point of peculiar attention and importance, and which had repeatedly been alluded to in the course of these discussions. The hon. and learned member for Borough-bridge, and also the hon. and learned member for St. Mawes, had argued as if they doubted the constitutional power of the Crown to exercise its prerogative of adding to the number of the House of Peers for the purpose of any particular measure. He knew not upon what grounds these learned Gentlemen had thought it necessary to enter upon this discussion on the third reading of the present Bill; but, as a Minister of the Crown, he could not hear, without at once meeting it in argument, such a denial of the undoubted prerogative of the Crown. Be was far from denying that any Minister who advised such a step incurred a grave and serious responsibility; but it was the duty of a government not to shrink from responsibility, when it was to be incurred, as the only mode of avoiding more serious evils. He could not allow it to be said, that on no occasion should this right of the Crown be exercised. On the contrary, it was the mode, and the only mode which was provided by the Constitution, for reconciling the two branches of the Legislature, should they be at hopeless variance. Much had been said of the impeachment of Lord Oxford, for advising the exercise of this prerogative; the hon. and learned member for Borough bridge had stated, that, on his trial, he admitted his criminality, and rested his defence upon his having acted in obedience to the commands of his royal mistress. Supposing this to be a fact, the hon. and learned Gentleman might rest assured that the precedent would not be followed in the present case, and that no such defence would ever be made by his Majesty's present Ministers, for any step which they might feel it their duty to recommend to his Majesty. But what were the facts of the case in the impeachment of Lord Oxford? Was he really impeached by that House for making Peers, and for destroying the independence of the other House? Certainly there was such a charge, and it formed the sixteenth of a series of articles of impeachment preferred against him; but this charge for making Peers to destroy the independence of the House of Peers, was merely preferred to add to the odium which it was the wish of his prosecutors to heap upon him, and it never was relied on as a chief ground of accusation. That such was the case, was proved by the fact, that Lord Oxford made no allusion whatever to this charge, when he was first called upon to answer to the impeachment, and afterwards he treated it in a manner which evidently showed that he did not consider it as of importance. He was sure, that no one familiar with the history of that period, would assert that this was a charge relied upon by those who instituted the proceedings; but that the chief charge was, for making the peace, and for assenting to the articles of the Treaty of Utrecht. But the hon. and learned Gentleman, said the Earl of Oxford, admitted the criminality. Certainly, that was an error on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman; for, in answer to the 16th article, he, the Earl of Oxford, insisted, that, by the laws and Constitution of this realm, it was the undoubted right and prerogative of the Sovereign, who was the fountain of honour, to create Peers, as well in time of Parliament, as when there was no Parliament sitting, or in being, and that the exercise of this branch of the prerogative was declared in the face or preamble of all patents of honour, to proceed, ex mero motu, as an act of mere grace and favour, and, therefore, it could, by no means, be considered as a reward for distinguished services only, as was asserted by the hon. and learned Member. This was what the hon. and learned Gentleman called confessing the criminality of his conduct in advising the creation of Peers. The result of the matter was, that, after the charges had stood over from time to time for the period of two years, that Nobleman was acquitted. At that period, the political enemies of Lord Oxford—those who had brought the charges as a means of political vengeance, were split, and divided among themselves. He boldly confronted the charges, and they fell to time ground. Without entering into the question how far the circumstances might be applicable to the present day, thus much he would again say, that whatever might be the advice which, on any occasion, his Majesty's confidential servants might give to the King, they would not shrink from any responsibility. He knew not why the word "impeachment" had so often been rung in their ears; but, if it was supposed that this would prevent them discharging what they believed to be their solemn duty, those who used that prophetic language would find themselves mistaken. Impeachment might be a word to frighten children, but it would not alarm those who knew the stake for which they were playing, and who had the feelings of Statesmen, and disregarded mere brutum fulmen while discharging their conscientious duty. But what was the nature of the other charges against the Earl of Oxford? This was one:— And whereas Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, with other evil-minded persons, enemies to the true interests of their own country, as well as to the common liberties and welfare of Europe, having, by many wicked acts and base insinuations, obtained access to her late Majesty Queen Anne; and, in or about the months of July or August, 1710, being admitted into her councils, and into places of the highest trust, and to make way for their wicked enterprises, did, by their evil counsel and advice, prevail on her Majesty to dissolve a Parliament which had given the most unquestionable proofs of their great wisdom, and of their true zeal for the common cause for which, as well as for the many marks of duty and affection given to her, her Majesty returned her hearty thanks, and expressed her great satisfaction."* Had they heard no similar charges? Unless he was much mistaken, they had already been threatened with impeachment on that ground also. Why did the hon. and learned Gentleman delay to bring it forward? He was really sorry to detain the House on this incidental question; but he should do great injustice to the great authorities in this point, if he did not quote the opinions of two distinguished persons, who took an active part in opposition to the Peerage Bill. What was the language of Sir Robert Walpole and Sir Richard Steele on this subject? Did they doubt the legality of the exercise of the prerogative in creating Peers? He would read to the House the opinions of these two eminent men on the Bill, adverted to by the hon. and learned member for St. Mawes, and which they truly described as a measure brought in to limit the prerogative of the Crown, and to make the House of Lords entirely independent of, and distinct from, the other two branches of the Legislature. Sir Richard Steele said, on the occasion he had alluded to,— The prerogative is a power in the Sovereign not expressed or described in the laws, but to be exercised in the preservation of them by the rule of the general good; and, if it could be proved that the business of the twelve Judges was purely done to save the nation, and that it was done for the good of the whole, the Statesman who advised it would deserve the thanks of all mankind for exposing himself to the misrepresentation and resentment of future Parliaments for the good of his fellow subjects."† But what said Sir Robert Walpole, who was one of the prime movers in the matter? How did he lay down the constitutional doctrine relative to the prerogative? He said,— The Crown is dependent upon the Commons by the power of granting money: the * Howell's State Trials, vol. xv. pp. 1058–9. † Hansard's Parl. Hist., vol. vii. p. 612. Commons are dependent upon the Crown by the power of dissolution. The Lords will now be made independent of both. Could this latter expression be understood otherwise than that the Crown had the power of adding to the House of Peers. He then proceeded,— It will make the Lords masters of the King, according to their own confession, when they admit that a change of Administration renders a new creation of Peers necessary; for, by precluding the King from making Peers in future, it at the same time precludes him from changing the present Administration."* This was the language of Sir Robert Walpole relative to the royal prerogative, and this same constitutional doctrine he (Mr. Stanley) intended always to support, and he did not consider it necessary to vindicate any supposed advice which it was assumed Ministers intended to give to his Majesty, should certain circumstances arise. He would again assert, that it was the undoubted prerogative of the Crown, to add to the other House. This constitutional doctrine could not be denied by the hon. and learned Member. But whatever advice his Majesty's Ministers had given, or might give, they were responsible for it to the House and the country; and they would be unworthy of the situations they filled if they were not prepared to justify their conduct. He would now proceed to the objections of the right hon. Baronet, or rather to his doleful presentiments—the gloomy forebodings and the vain imaginings of certain undefined evils which were to arise—should this Bill pass into a law. They had long been told of dangers; but the word was used in so indefinite a sense, that it was difficult to extract a meaning from it. It was said, however, that posterity might have occasion to look back with regret to the days that had passed away, never to return, when corruption was triumphant; but he imagined that none but those who flourished by that commodity would look back with regret to "the flesh pots of Egypt." But would those melancholy forebodings of the right hon. Gentleman satisfy the people of England, and put them from the purpose which they had taken up with so much determination? It was not for him to judge of this; he left it to the House and the country. The right hon. Gentleman said, that two defences were set up for this Bill, the validity of both of which * Hansard's Parl. Hist., vol. vii. pp. 621–2. he denied. The first, that it remedied defects; the second, that it had taken such hold of the affections of the people, that whether originally right or wrong, it must now be carried. The right hon. Baronet contended, that these two defences should be considered separately. He, (Mr. Stanley) on the contrary, thought they were necessarily interwoven together. For was it not the remedy of the greatest of all defects, when they substituted for a system believed to be the cause of grievance and misgovernment, one which had taken hold of the affections of the people? He did not contend that Reform in itself could remove the distress, which the right hon. Baronet said, very truly, was inseparable from an age of refinement, and from a highly artificial state of society; but he did say, that it would make the country more contented under unavoidable distress, when the people knew that the various interests were fully and fairly protected by real Representation. The right hon. Baronet argued, that a House of Commons under the control of their constituents would sacrifice the general good to individual interests; and, in proof of his assertion, he referred to the recent discussion on the glove-trade; and said, that, if they had had a House of Commons returned by the 10l. householders of England, a Government would not have dared to refuse the relief that was demanded, however prejudicial it might have been to the general interests of the country. Now, if there should be a House of Commons returned solely by the glove-trade, there would be some argument in this assertion, but to say, that all the 10l. householders in this country—all the agriculturists and manufacturists—would support the peculiar interests of one branch of trade, to the general injury of the country, appeared to him to be a most monstrous doctrine. Did the right hon. Baronet think that the arguments in that House, on any particular subject, were calculated to have less influence on the minds of the people of England, from their knowing that they were truly and fairly represented in Parliament, than when there was a want of confidence in this branch of the Legislature? Was there, he would ask, a greater chance of argument having less weight with the country, because it was used by those whose interests were mixed up with those of the people, and who were sent there by them? The right hon. Baronet then said, that the Members returned for large towns would be more under the control of their constituents, and would be more influenced by local interests than the majority of the House was at present, and, consequently, they were rendered more unfit for that House. This, he stated, would be more particularly the case with those connected with the Government. The right hon. Gentleman stated, that Mr. Canning would not represent Liverpool when he became Minister, because he would not connect himself with local prejudices. But who succeeded Mr. Canning as the member for Liverpool? Was it not Mr. Huskisson, the intimate friend of Mr. Canning, and who, at the time, filled the high office of President of the Board of Trade? Now, if there was any situation connected with the Government, that it was important the holder of should not be warped by local interests, surely this was that office. Neither Mr. Canning nor Mr. Huskisson, however, appeared to consider that the merely representing a large commercial town would produce an improper feeling in the mind of the Representative. So much, then, for the danger, that, if the smaller boroughs were destroyed, and public men had to be elected by large constituencies, that their minds would be warped and influenced by the wishes and opinions of their constituents. Again, the right hon. Baronet had said, that it would be unsafe to grant Parliamentary Reform, because the General Registry Bill, and other measures of legal Reform, had been violently opposed in this half-reformed Parliament. But did this opposition come from the 10l. householders of the large towns? Had the 10l. householders of the Tower Hamlets, or the other metropolitan districts, petitioned against this act? On the contrary, had not all the opposition been made by the county Members, and those directly connected with the agricultural districts; and yet the right hon. Baronet talked of the indifference of this half-reformed House of Commons to legal Reform. The right hon. Baronet then went back to the year 1785, and alluded to the opinion expressed by Mr. Fox relative to the commercial policy of this country, with a view to show, that Reformers did not always entertain liberal opinions on other subjects. But, surely, the right hon. Gentleman should have allowed for the feelings of the day when that opinion was given. It was well-known before, that Mr. Fox, notwithstanding his extensive knowledge and great abilities, was not well-read in political economy, nor was familiar with the doctrines of free-trade. But he would remind the right hon. Baronet who had thus referred to the opinions of Mr. Fox, that the House was not now legislating for the year 1784, but for the year 1832. And it did, by no means, follow, that Mr. Fox would have pursued the same policy in the present day, which he recommended nearly half a century ago. The great advantage of the Reform Bill was, that while it satisfied the wants, it had united the feelings of the people in its favour. The right hon. Baronet had admitted, that the hopes of the people of England had been excited on this subject, and that the Bill had taken a strong hold on their feelings; but he contended, that, when the present Ministers came into office, they might have satisfied the people by a more moderate, but, at the same time, a sufficient Reform. He admitted that they came into office at a period of great danger and difficulty, and when considerable discontent prevailed, in consequence of the refusal of Reform; and it was, therefore, necessary to propose such an extensive measure as should, at the same time, satisfy the wishes of the people, and set the question at rest. The right hon. Baronet had pursued a fair and candid course of opposition to this Bill, and he had all along stated, that it went to an unnecessary length. Why, then, had not the right hon. Gentleman pointed out how. far the present Bill exceeded the measure of Reform, not which he could be willing to grant, but which he thought would have satisfied the people? But, said the right hon. Baronet, this ought not to have been done at once—not in the period of excitement—you should have postponed your measure; you should have waited until the popular excitement had gone by. Rusticus expectat, dum defluat amnis, At ille labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis ævum. But, if they had adopted this course, and had procrastinated until a calm might return, what outcries would not have been raised of broken faith! they would have been charged, with some appearance of justice, with having raised a clamour and excitement merely for the sake of gaining office, while the wishes of the people were wholly neglected, and their hopes cruelly disappointed. Would they not, having come into office on pledging themselves to Reform, and the Duke of Wellington having been compelled to resign on the ground of his refusal to listen to the demands of the people for Reform, have been accused of a want of sincerity and of a broken promise? If the advice of the right hon. Baronet had been followed, there would have been good ground for some of the complaints now urged against Ministers by Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Baronet, however, admitted that some change was necessary, and he would concede Members to populous places; but, according to him, they should enfranchise first, and then disfranchise. But why, said the right hon. Baronet, meddle with the existing franchise in great places like Salisbury and Bath? Why, because, if the great mass of the more respectable classes of the population were not admitted to the enjoyment of the franchise, it mattered little whether Salisbury or Old Sarum, Bath or Gatton, nominally returned the Members. Unless, there was a respectable and responsible constituency, the one was as much a rotten borough as the other. Their object was, to get rid of the rotten boroughs, and, therefore, they threw open those large places to the householders, generally, instead of the constituency in them being limited to twelve or thirteen persons. If they had strictly adhered to the rights at present enjoyed by certain corporations, they should have lost many claims to public confidence, and justly have raised suspicions as to their sincerity in the cause of Reform. At present every Member in the House had become a Reformer, with the exception of the hon. member for the University of Oxford. Other hon. Gentlemen opposite stood up for moderate Reform in different degrees, but his hon. friend stood up for the right of the Nabob of Arcot to return Members for the preservation of all corporation rights—for vindicating the integrity of the borough of Old Sarum—and he maintained that, if Gatton was yielded, everything was given up. This was intelligible—the hon. Member went upon prescription; and, undoubtedly, prescription was as much violated in principle by placing five as fifty or sixty boroughs in schedule A. But when they came to other hon. Members, they found a strange discrepancy in their views. The noble Lord who moved the Amendment was for a moderate Reform, combining ancient prescription with modern improvement. The hon. member for Brecon was also for moderate Reform, and so was the hon. member for Okehampton, but they did not seem to have come to any determination as to the degree of concession. The hon. member for Brecon said, that he was not opposed to schedule A, but that nothing could induce him to agree to schedule B. If the boroughs were nomination boroughs, put them in schedule A—if not, preserve their rights. But what said the hon. member for Okehampton? He was determined that not one borough should be found in schedule A, and he would as soon get rid of his head as of a decayed borough; but he would have no objection to an universal schedule B. An hon. Gentleman had charged Ministers with pressing the same measures forward that was submitted last year to the House; another hon. Gentleman charged them with having changed everything in this Bill. The hon. and learned member for St. Mawes complained of their having abandoned the census of 1821, and adopted that of 1831. He would not, however, at that late hour, weary the House with going through the numberless charges of the same nature brought against his Majesty's Ministers. He would not detain the House much longer, but there were one or two other topics to which he felt it his duty to call the attention of hon. Members. The hon. and learned Member for Boroughbridge had said, that they had been supported on every division on this Bill by a pledged majority. When hon. Gentlemen cried out respecting a packed majority, he would ask whether that majority, packed as it was called, never deserted his Majesty's Ministers? Had the House forgotten the Motion of the noble Lord, the member for Buckinghamshire, which was supported by a considerable portion of that majority? He would also remind those hon. Members who complained of a packed majority, of the observations of the hon. member for Okehampton, who admitted that the minority not only was, but must be, pledged; because, as he allowed, the opposition chiefly consisted of the Representatives of those places whose franchise was to be destroyed, and they were fighting, not for opinions, but for life and death. There was hardly an hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House from the opposite side, who did not profess to have his little Reform Bill; but he had not heard one describe, with any degree of clearness, the nature of the Reform he would have. The right hon. Baronet had frankly admitted that he had no plan of Reform to offer. Now, suppose that this measure of Reform was not granted, did he expect the present Government would eat their words, and abandon the efficiency of the measure? Did he believe, if the present Administration were at an end, that a Government could beformed upon the principle of granting no Reform, and of not satisfying the demands of the people? When the right hon. Baronet talked of the danger of this Bill, did he think nothing of the danger of again rejecting it? If this Bill was rejected, another Bill could not be prepared and carried until after the lapse of a year. Did the right hon. Baronet think there was no danger of the agitation and excitement in keeping the measure pending, and paralysing the trade and industry of the country for another year? He (Mr. Stanley) was so convinced of the danger of delay, that he could not regard the consequences of the cause of Reform receiving another check without dismay. That some efficient measure must before long be passed—whether of greater or less extent than the present he would not say, but which must satisfy the people—was a question that the most violent opponents of Reform would be compelled to admit. They had heard much during the discussion on this Bill of the licentiousness of the Press, but was that licentiousness all on one side? Had that licentiousness grown out of the Reform Bill? The hon. and learned member for St. Mawes said, that in consequence of the Reform Bill, the Attorney General dared not do his duty. Were there any symptoms of that? Had they not dared to vindicate the laws?—to punish outrage?—to repress incendiarism? But did the hon. and learned Member recommend a crusade against the Press? He agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman that a strong Government had nothing to fear from the Press; but he (Mr. Stanley) did not mean, as he seemed to do, by a strong Government, one which would stifle public opinion by the strong arm of power, but one which, strong in the confidence of the people and of Parliament, might safely disregard the licentiousness of the Press, and would put down attacks by not fearing them. But further they were told that Reform was to destroy public credit, but the state of the funds was a sufficient answer to that, as they were found rising or falling as appearances were in favour of the Reform Bill or against it. To show that Reform had not tended to sink public credit, he would merely refer to the fact, that the three per cents were at seventy-seven when the Duke of Wellington left office, and they were now eighty-two or eighty-three. The right hon. Baronet complained of the injury the long period of excitement had done to the public credit, and deplored the state of the monied class. So different was his opinion, that he could not have anticipated a better defence of the Bill than the case to which the right hon. Baronet had alluded. Hon. Gentlemen talked as if the franchise would be confined to the 10l. householders, according to the Reform Bill. They forget that 10l. was the minimum, and the very small proportion that houses of that rental bore to the whole number. The real facts of the case at once showed the erroneous reasoning that had been adopted on this subject. They were told that when this Bill should have passed, the Crown would have no power of choosing unpopular Ministers. He gave no opinion whether this power ought, or ought not to be curtailed; but if any Gentleman would look to the list of boroughs, he would ascertain, that, under the Reform Bill there would remain seventy-eight boroughs with less than 500 houses, which would entitle the occupiers to vote, and only forty-two above 1,500; and of these forty-two there were already no less than twenty-one under the present system. Surely, then, there would remain an ample number over which the legitimate influence of property might be exercised. He had himself the honour of sitting for a scot-and-lot borough, which contained 700 voters. He did not deny that it was under influence; yet the influence which returned one Member, possessed not a single house, and depended on good will alone. He had no desire to withdraw the smaller boroughs from under the fair influence of the landed proprietors. He had no wish to do away with the influence of property; on the contrary he would bind the landlord and tenant together by the exercise of reciprocal acts of kindness: such an influence was consistent with the best principles of human nature and he trusted it would continue to exist throughout the country. The right hon. Baronet said, that it would be difficult to maintain the public credit if the Reform Bill passed, it was a sufficient answer to that remark to state that the larger proportion of stock-holders consisted of those who had saved from their incomes comparatively small sums, such as retired tradesmen—clerks in public offices who had saved a portion of their salaries, and other persons of the same description, being the most steady and careful part of the community? Indeed, the hon. member for Thetford referred, on a former occasion, to a document, for the purpose of showing that the very large portion of the fund-holders belonged to the middle classes of society. According to that hon. Gentleman there were in March, 1830, 273,800 accounts with the Bank, in each of which, at least, five persons were concerned, Of these 273,800, no less than 250,000 were in sums below a half-yearly dividend of 100l.; and but 2,000 of the whole were for sums above 500l. half-yearly. How then was it likely that the transfer of the elective franchise into the hands of the middle classes who were themselves the major part of the public creditors would be the means of endangering the safety of their own property as claimants on the State? Before he concluded the observations which he had thought it necessary to make on this subject, he begged to quote, an opinion given by the right hon. Baronet on the third reading of the Catholic Relief Bill; and, in doing so, he assured the right hon. Baronet that he did not quote his opinion in an invidious sense, but rather with a view to support the statement which he had made with his (Sir Robert Peel's) great authority. The reasoning of the right hon. Baronet on the occasion he had referred to, applied to the present state of the country as regarded the Reform Bill. On the Motion that the Catholic Relief Bill be read a third time, the right hon. Baronet said—'The rejection of this measure, will be productive of danger to a degree which can scarcely be credited. It will destroy the reconcilement which had been already effected: it will elevate the lower classes of partisans on one side, and depress them on the other, and will thus widen, to a most lamentable extent, the breach which is almost healed between the two parties. That is a consideration to which I am sure every Member of the House will give its due weight; no matter what objection he may have to the abstract policy of these measures. He may think that we are in the wrong;—he may condemn us for acting as we have done; but it will be perfectly consistent in him to argue, that having once brought such measures forward, we cannot avert the evils which are inseparable from their rejection. On these grounds I entreat the House, and every Member who has influence in the House, to pause before they come to a judgment this night. I am willing to submit my conduct to public revision, but I must at the same time contend, that if any Member thinks that the consequence of rejecting these measures will produce a state of things very different from that on which he previously proposed to himself to give his vote, he will be more consistent in giving his vote conformably to the new state of things, than in adhering to his former vote, in a state of things which is completely altered. I trust that the time is now fast approaching when we shall for ever have done with the consideration of this question. If we were enabled to extricate ourselves from the innumerable mazes and ramifications of it,—if we were enabled to say, that our time shall be wasted no longer, by receiving petitions either in favour or in opposition to the Catholic claims—if we were enabled to disencumber ourselves of this endless Catholic question, and to turn to other objects the thirty or forty days which, for Sessions past, we have dedicated to it—even thus far we shall be conferring a great benefit on the country.'*

He adopted every word of this reasoning, and only regretted that the right hon. Baronet on the present occasion, repudiated his own arguments. This Bill had now been a considerable time before the House, and they were now taking leave of it, and he trusted that, ere long, it would receive the assent of the other branches of the Legislature; and he could not help hoping that the House of Lords, as they did in 1688 would comply with the loudly expressed wishes of the people and the declarations of this House; and, on this subject, he wished to refer the House to the language Hume used with respect to this subject. He said—'But it was impossible for the public to remain long in the present situation. The perseverance, therefore, of the lower House, obliged the Lords to comply, and, by the desertion of some Peers to the Whig party, the vote of the Commons, without any alteration, passed, by a majority of fifteen, in the Upper House, and received the sanction of every part of the Legislature which then subsisted.' He thought that there was no man who looked to the present state of the country, who would not feel the force of this passage. They were now arrived at the last stage of this Bill; they * Hansard's Parl. Debates, New Series. vol. xx. p. 1594, 5. had discussed it, he trusted for the last time in that House. They were about to send it to the other branch of the Legislature, accompanied by the wishes and opinions of a nation, and as he verily believed charged with a nation's destinies. God grant that those to whom it was to be remitted might have the wisdom, and the temper, and the prudence to join with that House in bringing to a successful issue this important measure, on which depended the future tranquillity of the realm, the safety and independence of the Aristocracy, not less than the prerogatives of the Crown, and the security of the liberties of the subject.

Mr. Hunt

said, although it was so late, it was impossible he could refrain from giving the Bill one parting word before it left that House. The right hon. Secretary, who had just sat down, had offered up an earnest prayer that the Bill might pass, and thus satisfy the wishes of the people; but he forgot the very important and very fair question put to him by the right hon. Baronet the member for Tamworth. That right hon. Gentleman asked, how it was expected to conciliate the people when it was proposed to give the franchise to a very limited portion of the community, while nothing was to be done for the great mass? Was it intended to reduce taxation, or to get rid of the Corn-laws? No questions of that nature had been answered. He, therefore, must tell the right hon. Secretary that, if his Majesty's Ministers did not intend to grant relief to the people by the reduction of taxation, such a measure as this would go but a little way towards conciliating them. He believed that he was the only Member of that House who would get up in his place and avow himself an advocate for Universal Suffrage and Vote by Ballot. He had been sent there by a class of persons to defend those principles in that House, and he was determined to fulfil their desire upon every occasion. The hon. and learned member for Calne had said, that the system of Representation in America was most excellent, but he forgot to add when he said so, that Universal Suffrage prevailed in that country. They had heard a number of authorities quoted on various topics, and he would refer to one also writen by a warm supporter of his Majesty's Government, but which was one of the greatest libels upon the Reform Bill, that he had seen. The authority he alluded to was the editor of The Times newspaper; and be begged to be allowed to read a short paragraph from that paper, of the 6th of January, 1832, relative to the people of America. It stated:— The Official Report on the finances of the United States, the principal part of which we give this day, is a paper which ought to become the manual of every British Statesman. Here is a country, second only to Great Britain in power, among maritime States, overflowing with prosperity and happiness—one which knows not the meaning of internal tumult—one of which all the citizens, with scarcely an exception, can command the necessaries of life—meat, drink, clothing, and shelter from the elements, in abundance—one in which labour is sure of its reward; yet where Members of Parliament are chosen by universal suffrage—where neither tithes nor game-laws are to be found, and where the chief magistrate lives with dignity on an income from the public of about 5,000l. per annum. Such was the situation of a people whose Representatives were chosen by Universal Suffrage, where the taxes did not exceed 10s. per man, while in this country they amounted to at least 6l. In that nation industry was encouraged, and property was as safe and as well protected as it was in England:—indeed, in America, riots never occurred; but what must be said of the state of London, when they could not have a fast without a riot? The working classes were more anxious than ever for Reform; but they wanted such a Reform as would give them a share in the Representation of the country. He was happy to hear the hon. and learned member for Calne had so far altered his tone as not to say a word about ragged rebels. He said, moreover, that this measure was peculiarly adapted for England, although not, perhaps, for Hindostan or America. Whether it would suit Hindostan he could give no opinion; but a plan of Representation proposed in America, which should embrace only one-eighth of the male population, would cause its author to be tarred and feathered. Standing in that House, as he did, the Representative of the working classes, he thought himself bound to inform the House of their feelings. He said, then, that, although the working classes were not anxious for the measure of his Majesty's Ministers, Gentlemen opposed to Reform must not lay the flattering unction to their souls—that, if this Bill was thrown out, any less measure of Reform would be acceptable to the people of this country. No doubt the people would rather have this Bill than none at all; but when it was passed, be was certain the right hon. Se- cretary-at-War would not be able to tell his constituents of Westminster, that they must be satisfied with septennial Parliaments. He was sent to that House, because be had been imprisoned for the sake of Reform; and the right hon. Baronet was sent there because he was imprisoned for a libel on the House, and the men who elected them both would not be satisfied without shortening the duration of Parliaments. He should sit down, by declaring that he intended to follow the example of the right hon. Baronet, (Sir Robert Peel), who said, that, as he had all along voted against the Bill, he should do so now; and as he had all along voted in favour of the Bill, he intended to do so on this, the third reading.

Colonel Sibthorp

said, the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, who appeared to be the Magnus Apollo of the other side of the House, being put forward by Ministers, who justly felt their own incompetency to argue all difficult questions, was unable to touch a single point of the unanswerable speech of his right hon. friend, the member for Tamworth. During the three quarters of an hour he spoke, he did not advance a single argument bearing upon the Bill. He said a great deal about Sir Richard Steele, Sir Robert Walpole, and Mr. Hume, but he had said little about the present state of the country. The right hon. Secretary asked, indeed, what had paralyzed the trade of the country? If the right hon. Secretary had received such information as he had received that morning from his county, he would be able to account for it. [Cries of "Question" and Murmurs.] He begged leave to move, as he could not be heard, that the debate be adjourned.

No Member seconded the Motion, and it was not put. The House divided, on the question that the Bill be now read a third time: Ayes 355; Noes 239—Majority 116.

Bill read a third time, but not passed, as amendments were yet to be proposed.

List of the AYES.
ENGLAND. Baring, Sir T.
Adeane, H. J. Baring, Francis T.
Althorp, Viscount Barnet, Charles J.
Anson, Sir G. Bayntum, S. A.
Anson, Hon. G. Beaumont, T. W.
Astley, Sir J. D. Benett, John
Atherley, A. Bentinck, Lord G.
Baillie, J. E. Berkeley, Capt.
Bainbridge, E. T. Bernal, R.
Barham, John Biddulph, Robert M.
Blake, Sir F. Foley, J. H. H.
Blamire, W. Folkes, Sir W.
Blount, E. Fordwich, Lord
Blunt, Sir C. Foster, J.
Bouverie, Hon. D. P. Fox, Lieut. Colonel
Bouverie, Hon. P. P. Franco, Sir R.
Briscoe, J. I. Gisborne, T.
Brougham, J. Glynne, Sir S.
Brougham, W. Gordon, R.
Buck, L. W. Graham, Right Hon. Sir J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. W.
Buller, J. W. Graham, Sir S.
Bulwer, E. E. L. Grant, Rt. Hon. R.
Bulwer, H. L. Greene, T. G.
Bunbury, Sir H. E. Grosvenor, Earl
Burdett, Sir F. Grosvenor, Rt. Hon. Lord R.
Burrell, Sir C.
Burton, H. Guise, Sir B. W.
Buxton, T. F. Gurney, R. H.
Byng, Sir J. Handley, W. F.
Byng, G. Harcourt, G. V.
Byng, G. S. Harvey, D. W.
Calcraft, G. H. Hawkins, J. H.
Calley, T. Heathcote, Sir G.
Calvert, C. Heathcote, G. J.
Calvert, N. Heneage, G. F.
Carter, J. B. Heron, Sir R.
Cavendish, Lord Heywood, B.
Cavendish, Hon. C. Hobhouse, Sir J. C.
Cavendish, H. F. C. Hodges, T. L.
Chaytor, W. R. C. Hodgson, J.
Chichester, J. P. B. Horne, Sir W.
Clayton, Col. Hoskins, K.
Cockerell, Sir C. Howard, Hon. W.
Coke, T. W. Howard, H.
Colborne, N. W. R. Howard, P. H.
Cradock, Col. Howick, Viscount
Crampton, P. C. Hudson, T.
Creevey, T. Hughes, Col.
Cripps, J. Hughes, Alderman
Cunliffe, O. Hume, J.
Curry, J. Hunt, H.
Curteis, H. B. Ingleby, Sir W. A.
Davies, Col. T. H. H. James, W.
Denison, J. E. Jerningham, Hon. H. V. S.
Denison, W. J.
Denman, Sir T. Johnstone, Sir J. B.
Duncombe, T. S. Kemp, T. R.
Dundas, Sir R. L. King, Edward B.
Dundas, Hon. J. C. Knight, Henry G.
Dundas, Hon. T. Knight, Robert
Dundas, C. Labouchere, Henry
Easthope, John Langston, J. H.
Ebrington, Viscount Langton, Cob Gore
Ellice, Edward Lawley, Francis
Ellis, Wynn Lee, John L. H.
Etwall, Ralph, Lefevre, C. S.
Evans, Col. de Lacy Leigh, T. C.
Evans, William Lemon, Sir C.
Evans, W. B. Lennard, Thos. B.
Ewart, William Lennox, Lord Arthur
Fazakerley, J. N. Lennox, Lord G.
Fellowes, H. A. W. Lennox, Lord W.
Ferguson, Gen. Sir R. Lester, B. L.
Fitzroy, Lord J. Littleton, E. J.
Fitzroy, Lieut. Col. C. Loch, J.
Foley, Hon. T. H. Lumley, J. S.
Lushington, Dr. S. Smith, Hon. R.
Maberly, Col. W. L. Smith, G. R.
Macaulay, Thomas B. Smith, John
Macdonald, Sir J. Smith, John A.
Marjoribanks, Stewart Smith, M. T.
Marryatt, J. Smith, R. V.
Marshall, W. Spence, George
Mayhew, W. Spencer, Hon. Capt.
Milbank, Mark Stanhope, Capt. R. H.
Mildmay, P. St. J. Stanley, Lord
Mills, J. Stanley, Rt. Hon. E. G. S.
Milton, Viscount
Moreton, Hon. H. Stanley, J.
Morpeth, Viscount Stephenson, H. F.
Morrison, James Stewart, Patrick M.
Mostyn, E. M. L. Strickland, G.
Newark, Viscount Strutt, Edward
Noel, Sir G. Stuart, Lord Dudley
North F. Stuart, Lord P. J.
Norton, C. F. Surrey, Earl of
Nugent, Lord Talbot, C. R. M.
Ord, Wm. Tennyson, Charles
Owen, Sir John Thicknesse, Ralph
Owen, Hugh O. Thomson, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Paget, Sir C.
Paget, T. Thompson, P. B.
Palmer, General C. Thompson, Alderman
Palmer, C. F. Throckmorton, R. G.
Palmerston, Viscount Tomes, John
Payne, Sir P. Torrens, Col. R.
Pelham, Hon. C. A. Townley, R. G.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Townshend, Lord C.
Penleaze, John S. Tracy, Charles H.
Penrhyn, E. Troubridge, Sir E.
Pepys, C. C. Tufton, Hon. H.
Petit, Louis H. Tynte, Charles K. K.
Petre, Hon. E. Tyrell, Charles
Phillipps, Sir R. B. Uxbridge, Earl of
Phillips, Chas. M. Venables, Alderman
Philips, Geo. R. Vere, James J. H.
Polhill, Capt. F. Vernon, Hon. G. J.
Ponsonby, Hon. J. Vernon, G. H.
Poyntz, W. S. Villiers, F.
Price, Sir R. Villiers, T. H.
Pryse, P. Vincent, Sir F.
Ramsbottom, John Waithman, Ald.
Ramsden, John C. Walrond, B.
Bickford, Wm. Warburton, H.
Rider, Thomas Warre, J. A.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Wason, W. R.
Robarts, Abraham W. Waterpark, L.
Robinson, Sir G. Watson, Hon. R.
Robinson G. R. Webb, Col. E.
Rooper, J. B. Wellesley, Hon. W. T. L.
Rumbold, C. E.
Russell, Lord John Western, C. C.
Russell, Sir R. G. Weyland, Major R.
Russell, Lieut. Col. Whitbread, W. H.
Russell, Charles Whitmore, W. W.
Russell, W. Wilbraham, G.
Sandon, Viscount Wilks, J.
Sandford, E. A. Williams, Sir J.
Schonswar, George Williams, W. A.
Scott, Sir E D. Williamson, Sir H.
Sebright, Sir J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Skipwith, Sir G. Winnington, Sir T.
Slaney, R. A. Wood, C.
Wood, Alderman Carew, R. S.
Wrightson, W. B. Chapman, M. L.
Wrottesley, Sir J. Clifford Sir A.
SCOTLAND. Coote, Sir C. H.
Adam, Admiral C. Copeland, Alderman
Agnew, Sir A. French, A.
Campbell, W. F. Grattan, H.
Dixon, J. Grattan, J.
Ferguson, R. Hill, Lord A.
Fergusson, R. C. Hill, Lord G. A.
Gillon, W. D. Hort, Sir J. W.
Grant, Right Hon. C. Howard, R.
Haliburton, Hn. D. G. Jephson, C. D. O.
Jeffrey, Right Hon. F. Killeen, Lord
Johnston, J. J. King, Hon. R.
Johnstone, A. Lambert, H.
Loch, J. Lambert, J. S.
Mackenzie, S. Leader, N. P.
M'Leod, R. Macnamara, W.
Morrison, J. Mullins, F.
Ross, H. Musgrave, Sir R.
Sinclair, G. O'Connel, M.
Stewart, Sir M. S. O'Connor, Don
Stewart, E. O'Farrell, M.
Traill, G. O'Neil, Hon. Gen. J.
IRELAND. Parnell, Sir H.
Acheson, Viscount Ponsonby, Hon. G.
Belfast, Earl of Russell, J.
Bellew, Sir P. Ruthven, E. S.
Bernard, T. Sheil, R. L.
Bodkin, J. J. Walker, C. A.
Boyle, Lord Wallace, T.
Boyle, Hon. J. Westenra, Hon. H.
Brabazon, Viscount White, Colonel H.
Brown, J. White, S.
Browne, D. Wyse, T.
Brownlow, C. Tellers.
Burke, Sir J. Duncannon, Viscount
Callaghan, D. Rice, Hon. T. S.
List of the NOES.
Ashley, Lord Burge, William
A'Court, Captain Burrard, George
Alexander, J. Buxton, J. J.
Alexander, J. Du Pre Capel, John
Antrobus, G. C. Cecil, Lord T.
Apsley, Lord Chandos, Marquis
Ashley, Hon. H. Cholmondeley, Ld. H.
Ashley, Hon. J. Churchill, Lord C. S.
Astell, W. Clive, Viscount
Atkins, J. Clive, Hon. R. H.
Attwood, M. Cockburn, Rt. Hon. Sir G.
Bladwin, C. B.
Bankes, G. Constable, Sir C.
Bankes, W. J. Cooke, Sir Henry
Baring, A. Courtenay, Rt. Hon. T. P.
Baring, H. B.
Barne, Capt. J. Croker, Rt. Hn. J. W.
Bastard, Capt. J. Curzon, Hon. R.
Beckett, Right Hon. Sir J. Cust, Hon. Col. E.
Cust, Hon. Capt. P.
Beresford, Col. M. Dawkins, James
Best, Hon. W. S. Dering, Sir E. C.
Boldero, F. G. Dick, Quintin
Bradshaw, Capt. J. Domville, Sir C.
Brogden, James Douro, Marquis of
Brudenell, Lord Dowdeswell, J. E.
Drake, T. T. Mandeville, Viscount
Drake, Col. W. T. Martin, Sir Byam
East, James B. Mexborough, Earl of
Eastnor, Viscount Miles, P. J.
Elliot, Lord Miles, William
Encombe, Viscount Miller, W. H.
Estcourt, T. B. Morgan, C. M. R.
Estcourt, T. H. S. B. Mount, W.
Fane, Hon. H. S. Neeld, Joseph
Fane, Col. J. T. Nicholl, Right Hon. Sir G.
Farrand, Robert
Fitzroy, Hon. H. Nugent, Sir G.
Foley, Edward T. Peach, Nathaniel
Forbes, Sir C. Pearse, John
Forbes, John Peel, Rt. Hon. Sir R.
Forester, Hn. G. C. W. Peel, Col.
Fox, S. L. Peel, W.
Freemantle, Sir T. Pelham, J. C.
Freshfield, James W. Pemberton, T.
Goulburn, Rt. Hn. H. Penruddock, J. H.
Gordon, Col. J. Perceval, S.
Gordon, John Adam Phipps, Hon. Gen. E.
Graham, Marquis Pigott, G. G. W.
Grant, Gen. Sir C. Pollington, Viscount
Grimston, Viscount Porchester, Lord
Hardinge, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Praed, W. M.
Price, R.
Herbert, Hon. E. C. H. Pringle, Sir W.
Herries, Rt. Hn. J. C. Robarts, Wilson A.
Hill, Sir Rowland Rogers, E.
Hodgson, Frederick Rose, Rt. Hon. Sir G. H.
Holdsworth, A. H.
Holmes, W. Rose, Capt. Pitt
Holmesdale, Viscount Ross, C.
Hope, Henry T. Ryder, Hon. G. D.
Hope, John T. Sadler, M. T.
Hotham, Lord Scarlett, Sir James
Houldsworth, T. Scot, Sir S.
Howard, Hon. Col. Severn, J. C.
Hulse, Sir C. Seymour, H. B.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Sibthorp, Colonel C. D. W.
Irving, John
Jenkins, R. Smith, A.
Jermyn, Earl Smith, S.
Joliffe, Sir W. G. Somerset, Lord G.
Joliffe, Col. H. Stewart, Charles
Kearsley, John H. Stormont, Viscount
Kemmis, T. A. St. Paul, Sir H. D.
Kenyon, Hon. L. Sugden, Sir E. B.
Kerrison, Sir E. Taylor, George W.
Kilderbee, Sir H. Thynne, Lord H. F.
Knight, J. L. Thynne, Lord John
Lascelles, Hon. W. Townshend, Hon. Col.
Legh, Col. Trench, Col. F. W.
Lewis, Rt. Hon. T. F. Trevor, Hon. Arthur
Loughborough, Lord Tunno, Edward R.
Lovaine, Lord Ure, Masterton
Lowther, Viscount Valletort, Viscount
Lowther, Col. H. Vaughan, John E.
Lowther, John H. Villiers, Viscount
Luttrell, John F. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Lyon, D. Wall, Charles B.
Mackillop, James Walsh, Sir John
Mackinnon, W. A. Warrender, Sir G.
Mahon, Viscount Welby, Glynne E.
Maitland, Viscount West, F. R.
Malcolm, Sir J. Wetherell, Sir C.
Weyland, John Blaney, Hon. Capt. C.
Williams, Robert Brydges, Sir John
Wood, Col. Thomas Castlereagh, Viscount
Worcester, Marq. of Clements, Col. J. M.
Wortley, Hon. J. S. Cole, Lord
Wyndham, Wadham Cole, Hon. Arthur
Wynn, Sir W. W. Conolly, Colonel
Wynn, Rt. Hn. C. Cooper, Edward J.
Wynn, C. W. G. Coote, Eyre
Yorke, Capt. C. P. Corry, Hon. H. L.
Yorke, J. Ferrand, Walter,
SCOTLAND. Fitzgerald, Sir A.
Arbuthnot, Hon. General H. Gordon J. E.
Hancock, R
Balfour, J. Hayes, Sir E.
Blair, William Ingestrie, Visc.
Bruce, C. C. L. Jones, Theobald
Cumming, Sir W. Knox, Hon. John H.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Lefroy, A.
Davidson, Duncan Lefroy, Dr. T.
Douglas, W. R. K. Maxwell, H.
Dundas, Robert A. Meynell, Capt. H.
Gordon, Hn. Capt. W. Perceval, Col.
Graham, Ld. M. W. Pusey, Philip
Grant, Hon. F. W. Rae, Sir W.
Hay, Sir J. Rochford, Col. G.
Lindsay, Col. James Shaw, F.
Maitland, Hon. C. A. Tullamore, Lord
Murray, Sir G. Wigram, W.
Pringle, Alexander Wynne, John
Ramsay, Williams Young, J.
Scot, H. F.
Archdall, Gen. M. Dawson, G. R.
Bateson, Sir R. Clerk, Sir G.
List of Thirteen pairs.
For the Bill. Against the Bill.
Chichester, Sir A. Bateson, Sir R.
Clive, E. B. Beresford, Sir J. P.
Doyle, Sir J. M. Clive, H.
Ferguson, Sir R. Clinton, C.
Fitzgibbon, Hon. R. Dugdale, W. S.
Godson, R. Forbes, Viscount
Knox, Hon. J. H. Hope, Hon. Sir A.
Newport, Sir J. Pollock, F.
Peel, Edmond Stewart, Sir H.
Portman, E. B. Sym, W.
Tavistock, Marquis of Thynne, Lord E.
Williams, J. Williams, T. P.
Wood, J. Wrangham, Digby, C.
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