« EdellinenJatka »
how a bill came into the House of Com- general guod ; and of this whole country, mons, and was passed there, to authorise containing so many cities and towns the selling of their dead bodies; they do where the working men possess this not form themselves into clubs, in order peculiar privilege, nowhere has the to raise money to defray the expenses generous surrender been made with so of watching the graves of their deceased inuch enthusiasm as in this very city of Telations; they do not do this without Bristol. When, therefore, they learned, asking, why the Parliament cannot pass and from your own mouth, that it was a law to protect the dead bodies of the the intention to prorogue the Parliam peor, while they pass so many laws to ment until a time undefined, was it not protect the live and dead bodies of to be expected that their feelings of pheasants, partridges, and hares? In disappointment would be strong in proshort
, they want no instruction upon portion to their generosity and zeal and these subjects : they know well, that all devotion? It is a common saying, that their hardships arise from the want of you cannot have blood out of a fint baring members in the Parliament stone; but it is as reasonable to expect chosen by themselves.
blood from that callous material as to The people of Bristol knew these expect passive obedience and nonthings as well as the people in every resistance to associate with enthusiastic other part of the kingdom ; and, be- public spirit. sides this general knowledge, they were But, if the people of Bristol felt sore particularly interested in the fate of the at the delay in passing the bill, what Reform Bill ; particularly interested in must have been their feelings at susthe passing of that bill without any al- pecting, as I suspected, and as we had terations ; and especially an alteration good reason to suspect, that the new which would raise the qualification of bill was not only to deprive them of voting in large towns. The elections their ancient right of suffrage, but to a: Bristol were made by the freemen, deprive them also of the ten-pound who are a very numerous body, and voting contained in the last bill ; or, at tuho are principally working men. The any rate, so to alter the suffrage as to bil that has been rejected by the diminish the number of voters in the bishops and other lords took the right city of Bristol ? If I be asked what anay at once from all the freemen who ground they had for this suspicion, I are not actually residing in the town at once more repeat the speech of the Lord the time of the election, and for some Chancellor, made towards the close of months before; and it also took away the debate on the Reform Bill; and Ge right of all resident future freemen; here are the parts that I allude to of that so that the present apprentices never speech. At the beginning of his speech sonid, as freemen of the city, have a (Oct. 8), he said, "I have listened with right to vote at elections; but the bill profound attention to the debate, of did not do injustice to Bristol, because which this, I believe, will be the last
gave a vote to every man that paid " night, and which has already occupied ten pounds a year rent for a house, “ five days, and having heard a vast which was better for the city and better” variety of objections, having weighed for the nation ; because, while it gave the arguments on both sides, and a greater number of voters than existed " careless whether I give offence in before, it made those voters more inde-" any quarter, I must say, that I am so pendent, less liable to be over-awed or far moved by some points urged as to Corrupted.
“ be ready to reconsider some matters The world has never exhibited ina“ upon which I hud deemed that my Mances of public spirit, of generosity,“ mind was sufficiently made up.” After
devotion to country, equal to those an hour or two of very unmeaping stuff, which have been exhibited by the work. he came to this : "In London and the ing men of England in their eagerness to a great towns, in the Tower Hamlets, give up their peculiar privileges for the" in Lambeth, and the like, ten pounds
" is a low qualification ; but in other and thus leave the working millions “places it is not. TWENTY POUNDS without the power of returning one
was ORIGINALLY DESTINED for single member. Does your Lordship " the qualification; but, upon inquiry imagine that the people of Nottingham, “ into the circumstances of the small of Derby, and of Bristol, did not see “ towns, we were induced to abandon it. this as clearly as I did ! They saw that “But if noble Lords, speaking upon the j the Lord Chancellor was ready to give “ question in general, choose to object them up; they heard, coming from “ to this qualification that it is uniform, your Lordship's own lips, that the new " and say that it ought to be different bill was to contain alterations ; what "at divers places-lower in the smaller those alterations were to be was kept a “towns, and higher in the larger-1 secret ; and no contradiction was ever “ will not say that I agree with them; given, and has not yet been given, to “I will not say what was originally my the interpretation which I gave to the “ opinion ; I will not tell the reasons speech of the Lord Chancellor ; and “ that now recommend the bill, as it what, then, were the people to think “ stands, to my support; but I will say other than that this part of the bill was “ that whoever holds that doctrine will to be surrendered ? What the feelings “ find me ready to secure for him the of the people are may be best described, “ most ample, the most scrutinising, the perhaps, by what they would inevitably “ most candid discussion of the subject be if the new bill, with this alteration in “ in the committee. I speak as an in- it, were to pass. The bill being passed; “dividual ; candour compels me to say the famous Reform Bill having become “ thus much. But I, at the same time, a law, off would go the reforming mem“ say that it is emphatically a subject forbers to Dover, to Canterbury, to Ro" the committee."
chestep, to Chichester, to Portsmouth, to Now, my Lord, it was impossible for Southampton, to Chester, to Northampme to read this without seeing clearly ton, to Liverpool, to Derby, to Notting; that the Lord Chancellor was ready, not ham, to Hull, to York, to Newcastle, and like the hunted beaver, to throw any other large towns. If we suppose one thing to the hunters belonging to him- of these members addressing his conself; but to throw to them the sole stituents in order to get them to choose protection of the working people. Let him again ; and, as a happy instance, it be observed, and your "Lordship let us suppose your Attorney-Generał koows it well, that the ten-pound suf- arrived for this purpose at Nottingham; fráge in the great towns was the thing something like the following would, if on which the opposing bishops and he were to speak common sense, be bis peers made the stoutest stand. They speech :saw, as I see, and as the people saw, “GENTLEMEN, that the ten-pound suffrage in the great “ When I last had the honour to be towns would be a real good to the “ elected by you, you deputed me to working people. The opponents of the to keep together in my chivalry with bill, therefore, took it as their strongest my learned brother, Lord BROUGHAM. ground of objection. They dwelt upon “ We have fought the good fight; we it more than upon any other part of the “ have beaten the boroughmongers; we bill. - With from fifty to a hundred “ have carried our glorious Reform men, really chosen by the working peo- " Bill; we have, indeed, taken away ple, they clearly saw that the Pension “ the suffrages of all those working and Sinecure List never could stand a “men in this ancient and high-spirited year. They saw, in short, that they town who returned me to Parliament ; might as well give universal suffrage at " and we have given the right of voting once. Therefore it was, that the Lord “ to the tax-eaters and tithe-eaters, and Chancellor made the speech that I have others who live by the labour of the quoted from, clearly expressing a readi- “ working men; but, then, we have ness to give up this ten-pound suffrage,“ taken care to secure to those working
o be rest
aghmanget Cornwall, and Somersetshire, unless because such 'officers had a manifest Yorious 813 Bristol be deemed a part of Somerset- interest in choosing such men as were
" men the valuable, the precious, privi- excepted. In Cambridgeshire not a single
lege of paying tares and of fighting working man would have had a vote,
Long before he arrived at this sentence, landshire, and Leicestershire. There
than rotten eggs saluted his eloquent suburbs of London, Norwich, Bristol, They sus
mouth; and, if he exclaimed, that he and the great towns in Warwickshire, Is rare:
bad a right to say what he thought, he and Staffordshire, Derby, Nottingham, , car
would be answered by being reminded and the great towns in Lancashire,
that he denied to the Duke of Newcastle Yorkshire, and further to the North, teratiche
the right to do what he liked with his including the great towns in Scotland,
stance of his speech, if he were to give there were none but these populous spots, lication es his vote for such a bill. "He mighten- in which there would have been one been gir detroue to varnish the matter over. single working man entitled to a vote;
I gore u Hemight tell the people of Nottingham, and yet this was too much, and the hancellat
that houses were rented higher in Not- famous patriot Brougham was "ready people to
tingham than in the towns of Hamp- to reconsider" even this! Here, how t of the shire; and that, therefore, it would not ever
, 1 take my stand. Not one shilling What the le? be fair, it would be ununiform, to give of rise in the qualification ; no trick of le best dest a vote to as low a rent in Nottingham shifting the suffrage from rent to rate, would in
as in Winchester. But his clever and so as to enable the owners of houses to this altera
sharp-sighted constituents would tell nullify the right of voting by letting il being him, that the way to make the thing their houses free of rates and paying I baring tes uniform would be to make the ten- the rates themselves: as touching this -reformist to pound rent the highest qualification, matter, I will never give niy assent to
and to go on lowering it according as any alteration that shall, in any manner,
patriot" Colonel Davis wanted a small; or that shall, in any way, tend erbs, to bear scheme of proportion ; but he was for to diminish the number of voters,
raising the qualification in the great whether in the towns or the counties. we support towns
, and lowering it in the small Amongst all the schemes of disqualidressing tonos, in which he was not afraid of fication, I do not hear of any one for them to d adding to the number of voters; because, disqualifying any persons who live upon happy is in those towns, the aristocracy would the taxes or the tithes! Pensioners in Attorney-bil have great and immediate influence. general are nothing more than state at Nottiece. Even according to the rejected bill, paupers. Lord ALTHORP said, that Rowing there are many whole counties in which many of the pensions were given as non serie al vot a single working man would have charity. While parish paupers are dis
had a vote. The ten-pound rent shuts qualified, why not disqualify state pau
out every working man in every town pers? Our fathers, when they, in evil the honor in Sussex ; in every town in Hampshire, hour, consented to mortgage the coundeputed of except
, perhaps, Portsmouth ; in every try and to establish a revenue to be ny chirzis town in Kent, except, perhaps, a few at raised by internal taxation, disqualified Lord Beoszy Rochester and Chatham; in every town revenue-officers from voting at elections
in Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, Devonshire, of members to serve in Parliament;
erbury, si • Ports. Er, to Norie
ed, take in shite; in every town without exception likely to heap taxes upon the people. those esant in lhe whole of Wales, North and South; Eren so late as the date of the estaod bighat every town in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, b1.ishment of the paid justices of the Pass Rockingharnshire, Bedfordshire ; and in Wen, this principle prevailed,' and
Bort, in every town even in Lincoln-these paid justices cannot vote at elecielie-eises in shire
; and, it is the same to the east, tions in consequence of a clause in the he libere leses, Suffolk, and Norfolk, Norwich first police act, moved, I believe, by
e right of the
yourself, or, at least, I recollect well stion will be their resentment if they see that it was supported by you. This was themselves studiously marked, out as very proper; to introduce the clause creatures fit only to be trodden undera was a very meritorious act ; but, my foot. Lord, are these police magistrates more Besides the injustice and the insodeeply interested in returning to Par-lence of such an alteration, there is the liament men disposed to heap taxes flagrant impolicy of it; that is to say, on the people, tban are the pen- impolicy on the part of the aristocracy sioners, sinecure people, grantees, re particularly, who, as a permanent privitired-allowance people, dead-weight, leged body, have nothing so justly to and even the officers of the army and dread as the rivalship of an aristocthe navy, and all the long train of com- racy of money, which in this country missaries and commissioners and must always be powerful, always interclerks? If there was good ground, posing, always full of envy of the noand never was there better, for disqua- bility, and must always be desirous to lifying officers of revenue and magis- pull that body down to their own level. trates of police, is there not equally I have known the dispositions of a pretty good ground for disqualifying all others many men in my life-time, and I have who have a manifest, a vital, interest in always observed that the most bitter returning such men to Parliament as enemies of hereditary rank and heredishall be likely to heap taxes upon the tary wealth are to be found amongst people?
nionied men, who measure lords E I by no means impute blame to by the scale of pounds, shillings, and vour Lordship for not attempting to do pence, and who, having been the this act of justice at this time; nor inakers of their own fortunes, take spedo I argue, from your not doing cial care never to look behind them, it, the want of disposition in and have not the smallest regard for you to do it; but I beseech your any-thing that bears a traditionary chaLordship to consider, how mortifying, racter. All the world is the same to how galling, how provoking it must them; and, as all men have ambition of be to the working man, who pays some sort or other, the ambition of such taxes and who receives none, to see men is, not to see a greater man than perked up by the side of him a person themselves ; and as the order of nobility who lives upon the taxes, qualified to tells them, thus far shall you go, and vote at elections, while he himself is no farther, they have a natural desire disqualified ! If the editor of the to pull down that order. Now, this is! Morning Chronicle, in the fulness of by no means the turn of mind of the his contempt for the knowledge of the working people, whose utmost ambiworking people, think them too ig- tion is that of attaining excellence in norant to perceive, or too blunted to their several callings, and whose desires feel, the injustice and insolence of this, all terminate in being able to live well, he knows less of the working people of in exchange for their constant labour. England than he knows of the Hebrew From thousands of men in the middle tongue. They do perceive the insolence rank of life I have heard invective of this distinction; they do feel upon against the order of nobility; from no the subject as it becomes them to feel : working man did I ever hear such in their good-nature; their generosity; my life ; and I am perfectly satisfied their proneness always to think well of that there would be more danger to the the Government; their natural abhor- order of nobility from voting confined rence of every-thing tending to dis- to twenty-pound householders than from honour the country and to tear it to voting on the principle of a suffrage pieces, made them eagarly seize the perfectly universal. Nay, I am satisfied Reform Bill. as, the olive branch; but that if the twenty-pound householder in exact proportion, to the sacrifice scheme were tried, the peers would, for which they willingly made to concilia. their own safety, be compelled to resort
to universal suffrage, as Henry the and to raise the suffrage and thereby Soventh, to preserve his kingly powers diminish the number of voters in the against the encroachments of the barons, great towns; and I further believe, that was compelled to call in the people. This is the conviction of every well-in
But, my Lord, the peers who oppose formed man in the whole kingdom. the bill seem to have thought of no Such a thing as this never before disthing but the present moment. They graced any body of rulers upon the face saw, as I saw, that the members coming of the earth! What a surprising thing from the great towns, and chosen by that a man, literally bred up at the the working people, would never suffer plough tail ; never having been pat to a that working people to be borne down school; never having had a patron of to the earth as they now are ; and they any description; having had to work clearly saw that there was no possible all his life like a horse, to maintain and way of relieving the working people, breed up a numerous family; having other than that of taking off the taxes had no one contingeney that has fato a very great extent; and they knew voured his progress in life; haring had that this could not be done without no one earthly resource out of himself; beginning by taking from them and never having written a line to catch the their families and dependents the enor- thoughtless, or to flatter any description mous sums which they now receive out of persons, high or low; having preof those taxes. They saw, for instance, ferred living on a crust to riches and that the ten-pound suffrage would, if I ease obtained by any of those means ebose it, put me into Parliament, where by which literary men usually obtain they well know that I never would be, wealth and exaltation : what a surprising without making the most strenuous thing that such a man, leading such a efarts to cause this object to be ac- life, should become so formidable to two complished. I am fully warranted in great parties, dividing between them believing that the certainty, or nearly the whole of the powers of the Govern. the certainty, that the ten-pound suf- ment of the greatest and richest country frage would put me into Parliament, in the world, as to make those two
as one of the reasons for their rejecting parties (waging eternal strife as to the bill. I am fully warranted in be-every-thing else) unite like children from liering this, beaiuse, while almost every the same mother, in efforts of every deone of them who spoke against the scription, to keep that man down! Yet, bill made allusion to me and to Man- surprising as it is, it is not less true than chester, no less than four of them it is surprising: Before the Reform wamed me and that town, and cited the Bill was brought in, and when we were intention of that town to choose me as all on the tiptoe of expectation, I said an instance of the great danger to be to a friend, who was sitting talking with apprehended from the ten-pound suf- me on the subject, “ What sort of refrage in great towns; and, my Lord, I “ form do you think they mean to give would not take my oath that it was not us?" His answer was : " I think they Cobbett and Manchester that convinced" will give just as much as will your colleague, Lord BROUGHAM, of "enable them to keep you out of Para the propriety of being “ready to re-“ liament.” I told him that I made no consider" his opinions relative to that doubt, that that would be the rish; but part of the bill!
that if they gave so little as that, they To be plain, I do verily believe, that would soon become more odious than Cobbett and Manchester had great their predecessors; and that they could weight in the rejection of the bill, and not very well exclude me by name, as also great weight with most of your col- they had very nearly done in the SIX leagues, if ant with your Lordship, in ACTS, two of which might as well forming that design, which I believe to have had the name; for every man in the have been entertained; if it be not stillen- kingdoin saw that the Acts were intended tertained, to alter the bill in this respect, solely for the man.