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anything disagreeable to my honourable friend (Mr. J. Stuart Mill), for we know he was elected in a burst-I will say a welldirected burst-of popular enthusiasm. That was honourable to him and honourable to them, and I have no doubt that in the course of the election all that could be done by industry and enthusiasm was accomplished-gratuitously; and I am sure that my honourable friend did not contribute in any way to swell any unreasonable election expenses. His election ought to have been gratuitous; but mark what it cost-£2,302. I believe it did not cost him 6d. He refused to contribute anything, and it was very much to the honour of his constituents that they brought him in gratuitously. But look to the state of our election practices, when such an outburst of popular feeling could not be given effect to without that enormous sacrifice of money. I will now call attention to two or three counties. This subject has not been sufficiently dwelt upon, but bears materially upon the question before us to-night. I will take the southern division of Derbyshire. The election cost £8,500, and this is the cheapest I shall read. The northern division of Durham cost £14,620, and the southern division £11,000. South Essex cost £10,000 ; West Kent cost £12,000 ; South Lancashire, £17,000 ; South Shropshire, £12,000; North Staffordshire, £14,000; North Warwickshire, £10,000 ; South Warwickshire, £13,000; North Wiltshire, £13,000 ; South Wiltshire, £12,000; and the North Riding of Yorkshire, £27,000 ;—all legitimate expenses, but by no means the whole expense. Now I ask the House how it is possible that the institutions of this country can endure, if this kind of thing is to go on and increase. Do not suppose for a moment that this is favourable to anything aristocratic. It is quite the contrary. It is favourable to a plutocracy working on a democracy. Think of the persons excluded by such a system ! You want rank, wealth, good connections, and gentleman-like demeanour, but you also want sterling talent and ability for the business of the country, and how can you expect it when no man can stand who is not prepared to pay a considerable proportion of such frightful expenses? I think I am not wrong in saying that another object of the Redistribution Bill might very well be to diminish the expense of elections by diminishing the size of the electoral districts. These are the objects which I picture to myself ought to be aimed at by a Redistribution Bill. It should aim at variety and economy, and should look upon disfranchisement as a means of enfranchisement. And now, having done with that, I will just approach the Bill, and having trespassed inordinately upon former occasions upon the time of the House, I will now only allude to two points. One is the grouping and the other is adding the third member to counties and boroughs. This word group” is very pretty and picturesque. It reminds one of Watteau and Wouvermans

-of a group of young ladies, of pretty children, of tulips or anything else of that kind. But it really is a word of most disagreeable significance when analysed, because it means disfranchising a borough and in a very uncomfortable manner refranchising it. It means disfranchising the integer, and refranchising and replacing it by exceedingly vulgar fractions. Well, now, I ask myself why do we disfranchise and why do we enfranchise ? I do not speak now of the eight members got by taking the second members from boroughs, but of the fortyone got by grouping-by disfranchisement and enfranchisement. And I ask, in the first place, why disfranchise these small boroughs ? I have heard no answer to this from the Government. All that was attempted was said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that he had in 1859 advocated the maintenance of the small boroughs on the ground they admitted young men of talent to that House, but he found on examination that they did not admit young men of talent; and, therefore, he ceased to advocate the retention of small boroughs. My right honourable friend is possibly satisfied with his own reasoning. He answered his own argument to his own satisfaction ; but what I wanted to hear is, not only that the argument he used seven years ago had ceased to have any influence on his own mind, but what the argument is which has induced the Government to disfranchise the boroughs ; of this he said not a single syllable. I know my own position too well to offer anything in favour of small boroughs. That would not come with a good grace from me; but I have a duty to perform to some of my constituents. They are not all ambitious of the honours of martyrdom. So I will give a very good argument in favour of small boroughs. What is the character of the House of Commons ?

“ It is a character of extreme diversity of representation. Elections by great bodies, agricultural, commercial, or manufacturing, in our


counties and great cities are balanced by the right of election in boroughs of small or moderate population, which are thus admitted to fill up the defects and complete the fullness of our representation.”

I need not say that I am reading from the work of a Prime Minister. Not only that, but he republished it in the spring of last year, and in that edition this passage is not there. But he published a second and more popular edition in the autumn, and in the autumn of last year he inserted the passage I am now reading. The Prime Minister differs from the Chancellor of the Duchy, for he seems fonder of illustration than argument.

“For instance, Mr. Thomas Baring ” (he goes on to say), “ from his commercial eminence, from his high character, from his world-wide position, ought to be a member of the House of Commons. His political opinions, and nothing but his political opinions, prevent his being the fittest person to be a member for the City of London.” It would have been better to have said, “ his political opinions prevented his being a member for the City of London," without saying they prevented his being “ the fittest person,” which is invidious.

“But the borough of Huntingdon, with 2,654 inhabitants and 393 registered voters, elects him willingly.” Next he instances my right hon. friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department; but, as he happily stands aside and looks upon the troubles of the small boroughs as the gods of Lucretius did upon the troubles of mankind, I will not read all the pretty things which the Prime Minister says of him. Then we come next to the Attorney-General :

Sir Roundell Palmer is, omnium consensu, well qualified to enlighten the House of Commons on any question of municipal or international law, and to expound the true theory and practice of law reform. He could not stand for Westminster or Middlesex, for Lancashire or Yorkshire, with much chance of success."

The House will observe that that was written last autumn. If it had been written this morning I think very possibly the Prime Minister might have cancelled these words, and said, “ The honourable and learned gentleman would have stood for one of those large constituencies with every prospect of success.” Now is it credible, is it possible to conceive, that the writer of these words should actually be the Premier of the Government which, not six months after these illustrations were given, has introduced this new Reform Bill to group and

disfranchise the very boroughs he thus instanced? Well, there is a little more :

“Dr. Temple says, in a letter to the Daily News, 'I know that when Emerson was in England he regretted to me that all the more cultivated classes in America abstained from politics, because they felt themselves hopelessly swamped.'

These last words are given in italics, the only construction I can put upon which is, that the noble Lord thought, if many of these small boroughs were disfranchised, the persons he desires to see in this House would not come here, else I do not see what is the application of the passage. He goes on to say:

" It is very rare to find a man of literary taste and cultivated understanding expose himself to the rough reception of the election of a large city.” There is a compliment here to many of the noble Lord's most ardent supporters. But he continues :

"The small boroughs, by returning men of knowledge acquired in the study, and of temper moderated in the intercourse of refined society,"Where the members for large boroughs never go, I suppose :

restore the balance which Marylebone and Manchester, if left even with the £10 franchise undisputed masters of the field, would radically disturb.” Whether that means to disturb from the roots or to disturb from radicalism, I do not know.

" But, besides this advantage, they act with the counties in giving that due influence to property without which our House of Commons would very inadequately represent the nation, and thus make it feasible to admit the householders of our large towns to an extent which would otherwise be inequitable, and possibly lead to injurious results." So that the proposal of the noble Lord's Government, coupled as it is with the disfranchisement of these small boroughs, is in his opinion inequitable certainly, and possibly likely to lead to injurious results. He goes on:

These are the reasons why, in my opinion, after abolishing 141 seats by the Reform Act, it is not expedient that the smaller boroughs should be extinguished by any further large process of disfranchisement. The last Reform Bill of Lord Palmerston's Government went quite far enough in this direction.”

Now, Sir, what did the last Reform Bill of Lord Palmerston

do? It took away the second member from twenty-five boroughs, and that was the whole of it. It did not break up a single electoral district. The present Bill takes away fortynine members from these places, and, therefore, according to the words of the Prime Minister, written six months ago, it exactly doubles what the ministry ought to do in the matter. After that, I think the House will agree with me that it would not become the member for Calne to add anything in defence of his borough ; for what could he say that the Prime Minister had not said a hundred times better, and with all the authority and weight of such a statesman, writing deliberately in his study no less than thirty-three years after the passing of the Reform Act? Well, I shall say no more of that, but, for some reason which we have yet to hear, I will assume that the small boroughs are to be disfranchised. The next question that we have to consider is, what is to be done with the seats to be acquired by that disfranchisement. It does seem to me quite absurd to halt between two opinions in this way. I must assume that there is some good and cogent reason for disfranchising the small boroughs, or else, I suppose, they would let us alone. But if there be a good and cogent reason for disfranchising them, what possible reason can there be for re-enfranchising them immediately afterwards ? What reason can there be for giving them back as a fraction that which you have taken away as an integer ? The first process condemns the second. It may be right and wise—I do not in my conscience think it is—to disfranchise these boroughs; but if you do take that course, your business surely should be to do the best you can for the interests of the country at large with the seats you thus obtain. If you are to be influenced by respect for traditions and by veneration for antiquity, perhaps Calne should have some claim, because it was there that the memorable encounter is said to have taken place between St. Dunstan and his enemies, which terminated in the combatants all tumbling through the floor, with the exception of the saint himself. And I may remind you that in our own times Calne was represented by Dunning, by Lord Henry Petty, by Mr. Abercromby, for some time Speaker of this House, and by Lord Macaulay. That might avail something ; but if it is all to go for nothing, I ask on what principle, having first broken up the electoral system of these boroughs and taken


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