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were cases much more infamous Let the House consider whether, and scandalous, and that, unless taking the case as applied to Scotthese all put into the same land only, she had been exposed to boat with the abuse in question, disadvantages in this respect, when and gotten rid of at the same time, compared with her more wealthy they could not, for the sake of neighbour. Had it been shown consistency, consent to grant the that there had been any deficiency? redress required.
Scotland flourished; had she not b"Mr. Canning said, he had often kept pace with England ? No been accused of pertinacity in as man, either by ocular inspection, serting that parliamentary reform or other means, could be ignorant was
necessary; and in resist- of the rapid advances towards prosing it, not only as being transitory perity which , had been made in and 'evanescent, but' as hazarding that country since the Union.
greater evil thán we at present With respect, therefore, to the reendure. So far, however, from presentation of Scotland, she made viewing
ring this measure as only ex- good her hold. Notwithstanding tending to parliamentary reform, all her grievances, the Southerns were he an advocate for such re- had made no impression upon her. form, he should consent to pass it Once, indeed, Mr. Fox, when with more zeal, because he could banished from Westminster, took not possibly conceive any thing refuge at Kirkwall, and became a more" mischievous. To a certain Southern invader. The present degree, he admitted the truth of motion,on the other hand, came from the noble lord's 'argument. If he a gentleman of that country, who thought the great and sweeping had nestled himself in an English measure of
of parliamentary reform borough. And the nature of the necessary, then, if the articles of amendment which he (Mr. CanUnion were to be set up to defeat ning) should be inclined to propose an important and universal measure, was, that leave be given to bring he would scout the attempt;forthese in a bill to the effect proposed by articles could not in justice be set up the hon. gentleman ; but, instead against the benefit of the whole. of Edinburgh, to insert the borough If they were speaking of the par- of Calne. "It was true there were kament of Scotland only, there but thirty-three electors for Edinwould be some force in the objec- burgh; but for the borough which tion drawn from the articles of the hon. gentleman represented the Union'; but a parliamentconstituted number was much smaller. That, like that of Scotland would be unfit however, was no argument with for this great country, in which so him; he only thought the hon. many classes of persons of things, of gentleman might as well have looksentiment, required legislation ; yet ed at home instead of going abroad. an infusion of that representation, It was quite manifest, that, if the and its commixture, had proved mere fact of paucity of electors was beneficial, and had completely to be construed into inefficiency, answered all the purposes of a na- gentlemen might often bring for tional representation ; and he' ward similar motions. He could would not consent to alter it mention many persons who were for the sake of adopting what members for boroughs, to which some might deem an improvement, the same reasonings might be apa
plied; but number alone was were filled with the names of by no means conclusive. There non-resident freemen, and he connever had been a motion brought sidered it to be an abuse, that such forward in that House to disfrans should still continue to be the case chise a place, merely on account of in cities which șwarmed, like Belthe number of its electors being fast, or Newry, or Dundalk, with small, without any other imputa- protestant inhabitants, intelligent tion. His objection to the present and wealthy. As the cause' which motion was, its application as a produced the act of Geo. 2nd had single instance of reform in a long since ceased to operate, the act borough, for the benefit and ad- itself ought to be removed from the vantage of being applied to the statute-book. He, therefore, moved general question of parliamentary for leave to bring in a bill to rereform. It certainly was not peal it. unusual to bring forward an Mr. Plunkett, in opposition to attack on a single borough, by an the motion, said, that the question allegation of the prevalence of was not as between the act of Geo, abuses; but it was quite new to 2nd and the charters, but as beinstitute a charge against it, ber tween the 10th of Henry 7th and cause its elective was not in pro- the 21st of Geo. 2nd. The charportion to its actual population. ters required residence, the latter This principle, if once admitted, act dispensed with it. The lewould let in the great question of gislature, in passing that act, did reform, which would lead to end- away with the inconvenient and less squabbles. He hoped, how- unconstitutional restrictions, which, ever, that the motion would be at an earlier period, had been im repeated annually, for the inno- posed; and the House, he trusted, cent gratification of the noble would see that the necessary effect lord, and those who advocated of the present proposition would it; but thinking, at present, that be, not the enlargement of the no assignable good was likely to elective franchise, but its restraint. result from it, he should dissent Many of these corporations were from it.
established in the reign of James On a division the motion was ist; and it was well known that lost
they were established on principles Sir John Newport endeavoured by no means favourable to public to procure an alteration in the state liberty, or at all in accordance with of the elective franchise in Ireland, the spirit of the constitution. The by a repeal of the Irish act 21 effect of this the legislature in the Geo. 2nd c. 10. By that statute reign of Geo. And thought fit' to it had been enacted that, in con- remove, and he certainly could not sequence of the difficulty of find- concur in any measure tending to ing a sufficient number of resident repeal that act. The country had protestant freemen, sufficiently gone on for seventy years with the wealthy and sufficiently educated to principle of non-residence applied exercise the elective franchise, non- to boroughs and corporate towns. resident freemen should be enti. Now, after such a period as this, tled to vote. The lists of freemen, the effect of the measure of the sir John Newport stated, in most right hon. baronet would be not of the corporate towns of Ireland only prospective but retrospective,
for it would affect yested rights, private bills. The multifarious and disturb persons actually in and competing interests, all anipossession. If that act
mated by the keen love of gain, repealed, the election of every which were involved in these existing officer of a corporation bills, insured much discontent with would be impeachable. Under all any decision which the committees, the considerations which suggested to whom they were referred, themselves, the House should pause might pronounce upon them; and, before it assented to such a pro- unfortunately, the conduct of position on the eve of a general elec- committees themselves furnished tion-a proposition, the effects of grounds of complaint much more which, upon existing rights, could substantial than the irritation of not be measured. Many gen- losing parties, or the disappointtlemen, relying upon the support ment of designing speculators. of non-residents, looked forward Loud accusations
heard to their elections with confi- against them of carelessness and dence; and, if the present proposi- partiality; private solicitation was tion were adopted, nothing but said to have become scandalous uncertainty and disappointment and unblushing; members who would enşue. There was another had not heard a word of evidence, point to which he felt it necessary and understood not any part of the to direct the attention of the merits of the subject, were brought House. It was, that the principle down upon the committee at its of non-residence had been acted final decision to support private upon for forty years before the interests; and injustice was perUnion of the English and Irish petrated at the expense to the parparliaments. At the time of the ties of a grievous loss in time and Union, a selection had been made money.
The attention of the of those boroughs which were sup- House had been drawn to these posed to be most fit to send re- complaints during the last session"; presentatives to parliament, in ad-but, though the necessity of some dition to the county members. alteration in the mode of doing They were selected on the ground this part of the business of the of the number of electors which House had been generally admitted, they contained; and in the estimate and a committee had been appointed of the number of electors, the to take the matter into consideram non-residents were taken into ac- tion, no efficient remedy had yet count, as well as those who were been devised. Mr. Littleton, memresident. It was evident, then, ber for Staffordshire, now brought that the measure now proposed forward (19th April) à series of went to disturb the arrangements resolutions for the better regulamade at the Union.
tion of such committees. He did The motion was negatived by not believe, he said, notwithstand76 votes to 38.
ing the complaints which had been The passion for establishing made, that the instances in which Joint-stock companies, which had they were well founded had been raged like an epidemical disease in numerous: but it was certain that 1825, had overflowed the table of the present constitution of comthe House of Commons, during mittees rendered improper conduct that session, with petitions for perfectly possible, and this the plan
which he had in view would tend committee of appeal. His scheme to prevent. - It had been proposed, was embodied in the following rew during the last session, to choose the solutions :1111 members, to whom a private bill 1. That the present distrie was to be referred, by ballot , buti bution of counties in the several this had not been considered an lists, for the purpose of forming eligible mode, on account of the committees on petitions for private occasional and unavoidable absence bills, and on private bills, prepared of commercial and other gentle ! under the direction of the Speaker men from the House. Another some years ago, has, from the great plan had been suggested, certainly inequality of the numbers of meme more practicable, though less con. bers contained in such lists respect stitutional, viz., to refer the bill to tively, and from other causes, been a commission of inquiry; but he found not to answer the object for strongly objected to such a depar- which it was framed. ture from old established regula “ 2. That with a view more! tions and practice. The safer and nearly to equalize numbers, and to: more practicable course would be, correct too strong a prevalence of to adhere to the present custom ; local interests on committees on but, should any case of decided private bills, it is expedient that a abuse be alleged to have occurred new distribution of counties should in a committee, then an investiga- be made, containing in each list, as tion might take place. Under nearly as may be, 120 members, such a system irregularities might one-half only, or thereabouts, to occur : yet he conceived that one be taken from the county immess great cause of complaint would be diately connected with the object entirely obviated; and the advan- of the bill, and the adjoining tage resulting from this plan would counties; and the other half from be, that it would render it unne- other more distant counties of Great cessary, in the case of a number of Britain and Ireland; and that the private bills, to have recourse to members serving for such counties; select committees at all. It un- and the places within such counties, questionably was most desirable should constitute the committee on : that some alteration should be each bill. made in the present system;
“3. That Mr. Speaker be request for, under the existing regulations, ed to direct a new distribution of a .committee on a bill from Wilt- counties to be prepared, in such shire required no fewer than 194 manner as shall be approved of by members; while from Cardiff no him conformably to the principle more than seven were necessary; of the foregoing resolution. for the county of Somerset the “ 4. That every committee on a.. number was 176; and for Hamp- private bill be required to report to shire 266. He proposed to re- the House the bill referred to it, model the list for the counties, to with the evidence and minutes of secure impartiality by taking only the proceedings. The fineste one half of the committee from “5. That a committee be appoint the county in which the bill origi- ed, to be called, The Committee : nated, to make attendance com of Appeals upon Private Bills, pulsory, and to prevent the chance which committee shall consist of of abuse by creating #standing all the knights of the shire, all the
members for cities, and such other glass, the clerk shall draw theres members as may be named therein; from the names, until seven memso that the whole number appointed bers of such committee who shall to serve ion such committee shall be then present, and who shallo amount to 200 at leastor trus Jo's not have voted in the committee
146. That where any party inter- upon the private bill to which the ested i intát private bill, who shall petition refers, shall have answered have appeared in v
vsupport of his to their names ; which seven memo petition, by himself, his counsel forbers shall be the Select Committeeu agent, in the committee upon such to whom such petition shall be rew bill, or where the promoters of a ferred, and such Select Committee private bill shall be dissatisfied shall meet for business the followwith any vote of the committee ing day at eleven o'clock, and con... upon such bill, and shall petition tinue to sit, de die in diem, until the House, setting forth the par- they shall have reported upon the ticular vote or votes objected to, same, and that only one counsel or and praying that they may be agent shall be heard in support of heard, by themselves, their counsel, the petition of any one party, um or agent, i against such vote or “8. That no member of such votes, such petition shall, together Select Committee shall absent himu with the report of the committee self therefrom during its sitting.” upon the bill, and the minutes and The resolutions were adopted evidence taken before such com with the general approbation of mittee; be referred to a select the House; the only one, on which committee of seven members of the a division took place, being that House, to be chosen by ballot from which provided that every petition the Committee of Appeals upon complaining of the decision of a Private Bills, which select com- private committee should immediwi mittee shall hear the arguments of ately be referred to a committee the parties complaining of, and also of appeal
. Mr. Calcraft, who, with of the parties supporting, such vote lord Milton and Mr. H. Bankes, or votes, and shall report their opi- doubted the necessity and utility nion thereon to the House. of the resolutions altogether, opu
“7. That whenever a petition posed this one on the ground that shall be presented, complaining the real business of the House of any vote of a committee upon a
would be incessantly interrupted private bill, the House shall fix a by the hearing of these petitions, day whereon to ballot for a select and the appointment of these com committee, to which such petition mittees; but the resolution was shall be referred ; upon which day, carried by 44 votes against 32.10071 at a quarter past four o'clock, or On the same day, Mr. Pelham, as near thereto as the question member for Shropshire, brought which may be then before the forward the most extraordinary House will permit, the Speaker proposal that ever was made within shall order the doors of the House the walls of St. Stephen's. Ada to be locked, and the names of verting to the great increase of the members composing the Com- wealth and population in the prind mittee of Appeals upon privatecipal towns of the kingdom, their bills being written upon separate distance from the seat of legislas pieces of paper, and put into the tion, and the expense of sending