§ Mr. Ewart
presented a Petition, signed by a great number of merchants and other inhabitants of Liverpool, upon the subject of the Corporation of that borough. It was signed at one of the most numerous and respectable meetings of merchants, ship-owners, and rate-payers, that was ever held there, and its object was, to obtain a Reform of the Corporation. The revenues of the Corporation, derived from various sources, amounted to little less than 300,000l. a-year, of which 100,000l. was received by that body directly, and 180,000l. as having control over the Dock Estates. By borrowing money on the Dock Estates, they had raised a million and a half, which they had expended in various buildings in the town. He asked the House, was it proper that such an enormous revenue should be under the almost irresponsible control of any certain number of individuals? The Common Council of Liverpool, who controlled that enormous revenue, was a self-elected body, amounting to forty-one individuals, who elected themselves for life. The Dock Estates were managed by a Committee of twenty-one, the majority of whom were nominated by the Common Council. The consequence was, therefore, that the Corporation had the control of those funds—they possessed great influence in the borough—they had the nomination of all the clergy in the town, and of all the officers to the Dock Estates. They sold land as owners of land in the town, to members of their own body, and purchased lands according to the opinions of the majority of a Committee. The patronage and influence thus vested in them, they had abused—they had even abused their ecclesiastical patronage, by refusing to nominate persons to churches unless they were connected with members of their own body. He appealed to the House whether such abuses were to be allowed, and whether such powers ought to be left in the hands of a self-elected Corporation? He hoped that the attention of the Com-mitfee now sitting to inquire into the existing 1188 Corporations would be peculiarly directed to that of Liverpool.
§ Petition referred to the Select Committee on Corporations.