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away their franchise, you begin to reconstruct them in these groups ? If you are actuated by a veneration for antiquity, or by an indisposition to destroy a state of things which is, if not carried too far, in no slight degree advantageous, and eases very much the working of the Government of the country, besides introducing into this House a class of persons, some of whom you would do very badly without—if that be so, leave these boroughs alone. If it be not, deal with the question in a bold and manly spirit ; but do not take a thing away from them because you say it is wrong they should have it and then give it them back again in part, because you say it is right they should have it. That involves a contradiction. Look at what you are doing. You take away the franchise from these places, and then you limit yourself by giving it to boroughs which have previously possessed it. You unite together boroughs that have been in the habit of engrossing for themselves all the care and attention of a single member, who is obliged to pay great regard to their wishes, to look after their little wants, to pet them, and coddle them, and make much of them. That which he has been used to do for one of these boroughs he will still be expected to do, and must do, after they are grouped ; and what he does and pays for one of the groups he will have to do and pay for all the rest. Not one of these three or four will bate one jot or tittle of its claim upon the member or candidate, but everything will be multiplied by so many times as there are separate places in the group. You must have as many agents in each of them, you must give as many subscriptions to their charities, their schools and their volunteers. Everything of that kind, in fact, will be multiplied by this system three or fourfold. Now, these boroughs at present give you a great advantage. All must admit that there is an advantage, if it is not bought too dear, in having means by which persons who are not of large fortune can obtain seats in the House. But by this Bill you take away that one clear advantage of these boroughs, the one thing for which, I think, they very worthily exist—you make them very expensive constituencies, and you then retain them, out of veneration for antiquity and form a traditionary feeling, when you have stripped them of the very merit which recommends them to the friends of the Constitution ! Well, Sir, it is polygamy for a man to marry three or four wives; but that comparison does

not do justice to this particular case, because you force an aggravated form of political polygamy by asking a man to marry three or four widows. The House need not be afraid of my pursuing that branch of the subject. The best that can be said for the Ministerial Bill—at least what has been said of it -is, that it is intended to remove anomalies. I really know of no other defence that is offered for it than that. Well, Sir, mankind will tolerate many anomalies if they are old, and if, as they have grown up, they have got used to them. They will also tolerate anomalies if they have been necessarily occasioned by the desire to work out improvements. But when people set about correcting anomalies, and so do their work as to leave behind them and to create even worse anomalies than any they found existing, neither gods nor men can stand it. Is not that the case here? I would briefly call attention to two or three of the proposed groups. In Cornwall, you have Bodmin, Liskeard, and Launceston with 18,000 inhabitants between them thrown into a group; but the towns of Redruth, Penzance, and others, making up altogether 23,000 in the same county, are left without a means of representation. Then in the county of Devon, you are to have Totnes joined with Dartmouth and Ashburton, and, by putting the three places together, you only get 11,500 people; but there is Torquay, with 16,000, that you leave entirely unrepresented. I should not object to that, because, if a thing works well, you do not do wrong in leaving it alone, but if you do begin to meddle with it, it is monstrous to turn everything upside down, and then introduce a thousand times greater anomalies than those you have removed. People will bear with anomalies that are old, historical, and familiar, and that, after all, answer some useful end; but they revolt at them when you show them how flagrant an injustice and inequality the House of Commons or the Government will perpetrate in the name of equality and justice. Then there is the group of Maldon and Harwich, thirty miles apart. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was much shocked at our objecting to these boroughs being joined in this extraordinary way; but, Sir, were we not told by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that these things were done upon geographical considerations ? The geographical considerations referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer appear to me to mean, as interpreted by his Bill, that the members for the towns to be grouped should learn as much geography as possible by having as large distances as possible to travel over. Then we have Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, Cirencester, Tewkesbury, and Evesham, with 16,000 inhabitants; but in Worcestershire alone you have Oldbury and Stourbridge, with a population of 23,000, which remain utterly unrepresented. Again, there is the case of Wells and Westbury, which scrape together 11,000 inhabitants, while between the two we find Yeovil with 8,000, and for which nothing is done. In Wiltshire, Chippenham, Malmesbury, and Calne, have 19,000 inhabitants, but a few miles from Calne is Trowbridge, with 9,626 inhabitants, the second town in the county, which you leave unrepresented. In Yorkshire, Richmond and Northallerton scrape together 9,000 inhabitants, while for Barnsley, with 17,000, Doncaster, 16,000, and Keighley, 15,000 you do nothing at all. Such things may be tolerable when they have grown up with you, but they are utterly intolerable when a Government interferes, and introduces a measure which overlooks such cases while professing to take numbers as its guide. The Government have repudiated geographical considerations, but it is more absurd if taken numerically. Here is, however, something worse than an anomaly; it is gross injustice. The House is aware—with the two exceptions of Bewdley and Droitwich, which are probably to be accounted for by haste and carelessness, the matter being a small one that all the boroughs having a less population than 8,000 inhabitants are dealt with in some way or other. There are two ways of treating these boroughs. There is a gentler and there is a severer form. There are eight boroughs which are picked out for what I will call the question ordinary—that is, losing one member, and the remainder, a very large number, are picked out and formed into sixteen groups, this being the extraordinary or exquisite torture, being pounded to pieces, brayed in a mortar, and then renovated. In judging of the treatment which these boroughs receive, I think some principle ought to be observed. The geographical principle has been ostentatiously set aside, and look at what has happened to the numerical principle. There is Newport, in the Isle of Wight, with 8,000 inhabitants, which loses only one of its members, and is not grouped ; while Bridport, with 7,819 inhabitants loses both its members and is grouped. There are seven boroughs having smaller populations than Bridport, from which only one member is taken ; and they are not grouped; while Bridport, with a larger population, has both its members taken and is grouped. Is it on account of geographical considerations that it is coupled with Honiton, nineteen miles off ? [An honourable member : “ Twenty-one !”] That is not an anomaly; it is simply a gross injustice. There is Chippenham, which, as everyone knows, is a rising railway town. Yet it is grouped, while there are five boroughs which contain fewer inhabitants than Chippenham, which will each continue to return one member. Going a little further, we find Dorchester with 6,779 inhabitants, and three boroughs smaller than itself. Dorchester loses both members, while three boroughs smaller than Dorchester retain one member ; they are Hertford, Great Marlow, and Huntingdon. I can simply attribute the cause of this to the great haste, carelessness, and inadvertency which have characterised this measure. I am far from attributing it to any improper motives. I have not the slightest notion of anything of the kind. It arises, I believe, from the mere wantonness or carelessness of the Government hurrying forward a Bill which they did not intend to bring in, and which they were at last compelled to bring in, contrary to all declarations. Between Huntingdon, the smallest borough that loses one member, and Newport, the largest, there are seventeen boroughs, nine of them returning one member each and eight returning two, all of which have larger populations than Huntingdon, which is allowed to retain one member, while they are grouped. The reason I cannot tell; but there stands the anomaly. This grouping of boroughs cannot, therefore, I say, be satisfactory to any class of gentlemen. Of course, it is not satisfactory to the small boroughs. They are the material out of which other people are to be compensated, and of course no one likes to be included in such a process. But I cannot imagine that it can be satisfactory to gentlemen who call for these measures with a view to remove anomalies and promote equality, and make the Parliament a more accurate representative of the population of the country, It seems to me, that everybody must be dissatisfied with such a proceeding as this. The House need not take all these groups as they stand, because any one of them might be remedied in committee; but the whole principle of the thing is so bad that it is absolutely impossible to deal with it in Committee at all. I have been assuming, hitherto, that we have good grounds for getting these forty-nine members that are wanted, but that depends entirely upon the use the Government make of them when they have them. What do they do with them? They propose to give out of these forty-nine, twenty-five as third members to counties, and four as third members to large towns, and seven to Scotland. I deny that a case is made out for this arrangement. Honourable gentlemen opposite, with whom I sympathise so much on this question, may not, perhaps, agree with me on this point. I. maintain that it is a mere illusion, as things now stand, and looking at these two measures as a whole, to talk of county representation; you must look at these two things together, franchise and redistribution, and you must remember that the counties you give these members to are to become really groups of towns. Everyone knows very well where the houses between £14 and £50 are to be found. They are to be found not in the rural districts, but in the towns. What you are preparing to do for the county members is to make a change in the nature of their constituency. But under the system proposed, the county member would no longer represent a constituency which from its present and peculiar character can easily be worked as a whole. When you lower the franchise as proposed, you have taken the power out of the rural districts and given it to the small towns. The member will therefore have to reckon with so many small towns, with probably an attorney in each. When you speak of giving a third member to counties, you must remember that you are talking of counties not as they are now, but as you propose to make them. It is an illusion, therefore, to say that a great deal is done for the rural districts in thus adding members to the counties, and this will be more easily understood if you have not forgotten the opinion of Lord Russell, who says how materially the small boroughs assist the counties in maintaining a balance of power. I altogether decline to be caught by that bait. But, putting that aside, on what principle are we to give three members to counties ? It has been the practice to give two members to counties from time immemorial with a slight exception at the time of the Reform, which is by no means generally approved. I am willing to accept the fact without stopping to inquire too curiously whether this number

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