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IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT.

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IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT. In the House ol Lords on Feb. 8, the Duke of Somerset, in moving for certain returns, entered upon a vindication ot bis administration of the Admiralty Department, which he conceived to have been impugned by his successor in omce He explained that a large portion of the amount voted for the Navy during the past six years had been applicable to other purposes than the construction of ships, and he justified the caution exercised by his Board in the building of new ships by the uncertainty that had prevailed as to the class of vessel that would ultimately be found most useful. He also gave explanations as to the keeping of accounts, the iron ballast used as pavement in the dockyards, and as to the regulations tor manning the Navy, upon all of which points he insisted the Board over which he had presided wan not deserving of the adverse criticisms that had been passed upon I$. Lord Derby expressed a favourable opinion of the Duke of Somerset's administration, and explained some remarks of Sir J. Pakington on the present state of the Navy, as intended to show the necessity for strengthening our mari- time defences, and not imputing to the late Board of Admiralty any blame for a state of things which was certainly not satisfactory. Lord Grey recommended caution In proceeding with the construction of new vessels, observing that the transition state ot naval science and the continuous and rapid changes and improvements in naval architecture rendered it unad- vlsable to hurry on the building of ships, which, when completed, might be found obsolete. Many millions had been wasted In that manner, for which he thought the House of Commons, rather than the Governments, was responsible. The returns were agreed to. Lord Dudley, referring to the Reform procession announced for next Monday, called attention to the public inconvenience wblch it would caUle, and to the absence of any reason for such demonstrations now that the subject of Reform was about to be considered by Parliament, and inquired what were the Intentions of the Government in respect ot the pro- posed procession. Lord Derby regretted that the leaders ot the movement should persist in a plan which must cause great incon- venience, and possibly a disturbance of the public peace, but said that beif g advised that the contemplated procession, however objectionable, was not illegal, the Govern- ment would take no other steps in the matter than those incumbent upon them, of providing a force to prevent any breach of the peace, or to restore order should it be vio- lated. At the same time, he earnestly deprecated the pro- cession, as calculated to create an gry feeling between d fferent classes of the community. The Lord Chancellor, in reply to a remark from Lord Ellenborough, explained that large assemblies of people were not in themselves Illegal, but were only so when there was a well-grounded apprehension of a disturbance of the public peace. Their lordships then adjourned. In the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer, replying to an inquiry from Mr. Gladstone as to the mode in which the Reform question would be brought for- ward on Monday night, excused himself from laying on the table any precise formal notice of motion, which might lead to a misapprehension of the views of the Government, but promised that the first order of the day for Monday should be the consideration of the paragraph of the Queen's Speech relating to the representation of the people, and that he would then state more fully what they proposed to do. Mr. Walpole, in introducing his bill for facilitating In certain oases the proceedings efthe Commissioners appointed to make inquiry respecting Trades' unions, explained that the attention of the Government had first been called to the subject by two deputations—one of workmen, and the other of employers, who waited on him soon after the last Sheffield outrage—and after full consideration, they had concluded that an inquiry was necessary, and that for the sake of all concerned it ought to be as wide and comprehensive as possible. The bill was limited in the first instance to the inquiry into the acts of violence perpetrated at Sheffield, and it gave power to compel the attendance of witnesses, to examine on oath, and to give indemnities to witnesses confess- ing to illegal acts. After a few words of general concurrence from Sir G. Grey, Mr. Hughes urged the Home Secretary, pending the in- quiry, to bring In a bUl to protect the societies from the ef. fects of the recent decision in the Queen's Bench, under which any dishonest treasurer might embezzle their funds with impunity. Mr. Goschen doubted the expediency of mixing up an in- quiry into particular outrages with an inquiry into the gene- ral operation ot Trades' Unions, and suggested one or two practical inconveniences of this coi junction. Mr. Neate concurred in thinking the propossd course in- convenient but Mr. Roebuck saw no ground for the diffi- culty which had been started. Sir F. Crossley gave the House some of his own experience as an employer of labour, and was more disposed to trust to the good sense and discretion of masters and men than to any action of Parliament. The discussion was continued by Mr. Ayrton, who anticipated no useful result from the inquiry and supported by Mr. Hughes suggestion by Mr. W. E Forster who also objected to the mixing up of two different inquiries by Mr. Barrow, Mr. Whalley, and the Attorney-General. Mr. Walpole intimated that the in qulry Into the Sheffield outrages would be conducted on the spot l:1y examiners appointed by the head of the Commission, and gave some further explana- tions, after which leave was given to bring in the but. Leave was obtained by Mr. R Gurney to bring in a bill to remove some defects In the administration of the criminal law by Mr. Lawaon for a bill to open certain professorships of natural philosophy in the University of Dublin to all persons, irrespective of their religion; and by Sir C. O'Loghlen for a bill to amend the law of libeL The remaining business was disposed of, and the House adjourned. On Feb. H, the House of Lords sat for but a short time, and no business of general interest was brought before it. The House at Commons was densely packed with mem- tors in anttdpafKm ol the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech on Reform, and there were also a numerous attend- ance of strangers. Of members of the Upper House, there were present Earl GranvUle, Lord Fowls, Lord Walslngham, and others. A number of private bills were read a first time. PARLIAMENTARY REFORM. Mr. Disraeli rose at a quarter to five and moved that the paragraph in the Queen's Speech relating to the representa- tion of the people be read. The paragraph having been read, he again rose, amid the cheers of the House, and said he wished, on behalf of her Majesty's Government, clearly to eonvey to the House the interpretation which they placed on those gracious words that had Just been read from the paper. They were signifi- cant words. Her Majesty from the Throne appealed to the Houle of Commons in deliberating on a most important subject of a political character—namely, the distribution of power In the State,—that they should divest themselves of that party spirit which generally is the emeient. the cus- tomary. the eonstitutional influence by which all great public questions are brought to a satisfactory settlement Her Majesty s Ministers were the last of all Man in this House who would depreciate the importance of the ties of party; they were the last men who wished to derogate from the legitimate functions of party. In their opinion party organisation is a condition of Parlia- mentary Government, and that they see no security like it, and without it they see no security for either efficiency or independence in a popular assembly. Nor, least of all oa this occasion, are they inolined in any way to refrain from appealing to the support of those with whom for long years In public alliance and private friendship, they have been connected with In this house, Oa the contrary, they felt that this was an occasion of all others when they would have most earnestly to appeal for the continuance of that rupport, of that coBnIejce, of that sympathy, of that friendship, and even of that forbearance on which they had before rested with assurance and success. Under the cir- cumstances in which the House was placed, it wa", in the opinion of the Government, expedient that Parliamentary reform should no longer be a question which should decide the fite of Ministries. They had arrived at that conclusion with the conviction that it Is consistent with th-ir duty and their honour as public men, and thfy hoped that the House ot Commons, notwithstanding an expression of opinion from a very limited quarter, the IJ use of Commons, after due consideration, will a'so be of opinion that such a course, compatible on their part with all those principles and sentiments which should actuate public men. And they had arrived at that conclusion, that it was not for the advantage of the couatry that Parliamentary Reform should be a question that should decide the fate of Minis- tries, that it thould not be what was commonly called a party question, for this simple and to them irresistible rea- son, that all parties in the state had attempted to deal with it and failed. In the year 1852 there was a pure Whig Government headed by Lord John Russell, who dealt with this subj-ct and failed. In the vear 1S64 there was a Co- alition Government, headed by the Earl of Aberdeen, which attempted to deal with this question and failed. In the year 1859 there was a Conservative Government, headed by the Earl of Derby, which attemoted to deal with this question and failed. In the year 1860 there was a moderate Liberal Government, headed hy Lord Palmerston, which attempted to deal with this question and failed. And in the year 1866 there was a ——— (laughter) Government, headed by Earl Russell, which attempted to deal with the question, and failed. In the opinion of her Majesty's Government the seeds perhaps of the most considerable portion of those cbangeg which they contemplated were In the memorable Act of 1832. Until the Act of 1832 was passed, the claims of the labouring class to a share in our Parliamentary system were ignored. At that time it was thought fit to abolish the rights and privileges of the freemen. He thought that was a great error. In 1852 the question of Reform was again brought on. In the first month of their accession to office It WAS absolutely necessary they should decide on what course to adopt with regard to Rtform. At that time what was called financial Reform was in fashion and it was in reference to a motion which the hon member for Surrey brought forward, that he made a declaration on the part of her Majesty's Ministers, which would show that this ques- tion, which having been taken up originally when the Re- form Act of 1882 was introduced was never entirely deserted. On every fitting occasion there have been expressions of opinion similar to those which he then made. It was not difficult in 1832 to carry measures of disfranchisement which now would not be tolerated. The opposition ef the labouring class in 1882 was not similar to 1866, and the right hon. gentleman proceeded to quote the prophetic remark of Sir R. Peel on this head. Since 1S32 this country had made great progress but, during the last ten years that rogress had been most remarkable. He could not now attempt to inquire into the particular causes which had brought about that advancement; bnt he thought ha might say there was one sovereign cause which was at the bottom of everything—namely, the increased ap- plication of science. That, he believed, was the main cause of the vast changes whieh they had seen in the condition of the labouring classes. They were all familiar with the moral results which that application of science had pro- duced. That resolution in locomotion which would strike them as a miracle if they were not familiar with it, had given to the great body of this eountry immense advantages. The more in which steam was applied to the printing press, had prcdnced effects more startliog even than the first dis covery. It was science that had increased the desires and opportunities of men, and It was science that had ennobled the labourer. There were some who said its effects must be to equalise the conditions of men. That was a matter ef con- troversy, Into which he should not now enter. But there eBce toad elevated all classes. Having said this, he must repudiate the opinion now prevalent, which was utterly unfounded, that the legitimate claims of the labouring classes do not receive due consideration in Parliament-that they have met a vexatious opposition, and have encountered sinister neglect and delay. On the contrary, he knew no great question which had met wlih less discussion and less antipathy than that of Reform. He looked npen the bill of 1832 that was introduced by Earl Russell as eminently a prema- ture movement, for it did not even aim at supplying a deficiency. He did not blame Earl RusseUon that account for he had often vindicated the noble lord in this House when attacked on that head. He looked npon that more- over, as strictly one of self defence. Lord John Russell found himself attacked by members of this House who pro posed Isolated measures, applying only to fragmentary questions of Reform. He knew the danger that might accrue if such meatures were adopted. He knew, whether the consequences might be democratic or oligarchic, the consequences would be such as to startle even the proposers. Therefore, Lord J. Russell thought it ab- solutely necessary to make some effort that the question of Parliamentary Reform should be settled. He reminded the House that the alsturbance of the settlement of the Reform decision came to in 1832 originated entirely in the House of Commons. This, therefore, was a House of Commons quee- tion. And this was remarkable, that the House of Commons, having been the originators In disturbing the settlement ol 1832. had defeated ever, attempt that had been mane by organized parties and responsible bodies of men to tffect a settlement of that which they had unsettled. He had no charge to bring against the House in that rfgpect. He mentioned it historically. The House of Commons mteht have been perfectly justified in coming forward and senu- lousiy attempting to disturb the settlement of 1832. But he contended that the House of Commons had undertaken pe- culiar responsibilities. Under those circumstances, he thought it could hardly be denied that the relations between ti e Home of Cmmous and the present Goverl mAnt woe ptcui»-r difficult and perplexing. Although in five instances Governments were defeated on Reform, on four occasions the bill was allowed to be read a second time, but Lord Darby's bill was not allowed to he read a Sfcond time. He must say that until 1859 Parliamentary Reform was not a party question. The settlement of 1832 was an Act carried with a great deal of party feeling, but notwithstand- ing that ihe contract entered Into on the occasion of Sir Robt. Peel's Mlnhtry not to disturb that settlement wal minutely observed, it was broken through by Lord Russell. He had traced the question down to 1859. With reference to Lord Palmerston, in 1857 he was at the height of his power, and when he left office in 1858 he was to anxious that a settlement shouid take place that he said If his successors, the Derby Ministry, Jjrought forward a well- considered measure he would not oppose it. But, notwith- standing the engagements and efforts of Lord Palmerston, one single member of the House ot Commons gave a different colouring to a subject which had not hitherto been a party question. Who was that member 1 Lord John Russell, who, by his vote, made the question for the first time since '32 a party one. The House and the country could not bear a repetition of the manoeuvres of 1859. Well, they had to consider under these difficult circumstances which they ought to pursue, and it did appear to the Government that, seeing the House itself had disturbed the settlement of 1832 f and that five Governments had attempted Ineffectually to deal with the subject—it appeared to them that in a position of so much difficulty they ought to pursue a course not hitherto adopted with regard to the question; and they thought that before Introducing a bill they should ask the House whether it would sanction what they recommended. In taking that course they were impelled by as pure a sense of public duty as ever impelled any body of public men. Alluding to objections which might be taken, he remarked that nrst it migat be objected to proceed by resolutions on the ground of delay. He could not for himself believe that there was anything in the theory of resolutions that would lead to delay. Discussions which took place on the second reading were anticipated by discussions on resolutions, and therefore might be set against each other. In looking over the course of proceeding in the journals, It did not appear v.0 J K resolutions had produced delay, but that they had been followed by successful legislation. With reference to the India Billon which there were considerable differences viT ji there was only a month between the second and third readings. The object of resolution was to obtain the opinion of the House to the principle of a bill subsequently to be introduced, and it was their duty to listen to sugges- tionl. With regard to the vagueness of resolutions it was not the interest of the Government to bring forward reso- lutions of that character. He wanted to meet this question fairly. He would take one of the most difficult questions in resolutions of reform, namely, that there should be an extension of the suffrage. If he were to say that there should be an extension of the suffrage in couaties and boroughs, he would call that a vague resolution. But If a reso- lution stated that the basis ofthefranchile should be by ratlr g, that would be affirming a principle It would, however, be un- reasonable to ask the Government to fix the exact amount at which that rating should be. He hoped the resolutions would be submitted to them to-morrow. Was the franchise to be on the principles of the English constitution, or of that ofany other eountry? The reconstruction of that House which the Government would propose would te based on the English Constitution. He did not regard the English Constitution as a mere phrase. It would be unwise to for- get the ancient traditions of the country In which we lived. Undoubtedly, the relations of different classes were greatly changed; but that was no reason why they should forget the Constitution, but rather a reason why they should cling to It. There was no doubt that the one of the estates of the realm—the Commons-whom they represented, had made large advances. What had placed the Commons in the commanding position they now occupied? It was the de- velopment of oar Constitution, and it had arisen from the high deliberative character of that House. In that respect no alteration would be proposed. They did not consider that they could retain that high character if they admitted any class to have a preponderating power, and there- fore the Government went on this principle, that that House must be an equally-balanced popular assembly, and not an overwhelming democratic one. It might be said that our representative institution was not suited to the times In which we live. Across the Atlantic, in America, there was a democratic Government, but could any one pretend that the House of Representatives was espial to the House oi Commons? How did that arise? The members of the House of Representatives were elected by one class. Mr. Disraeli also remarked that the Corps LegUlatif in France contrasted unfavourably with the ttouse of Commons, and proceeded to state that, con- the false and pernicious doctrines that were now circulated, the Government could not prooeed qasklng that House to lay down their opinions. The 01 tbe Treasury would Introduce a bill that evening ? ho ™1LWi ^vCertain inequalities with regard to rating, House to affirm that that principle—the prfncipleofratlng—w°uld be the basis of their franchise. Alluding next to the distribution of seats, he said they must proceed with great caution, and he thought he had a right to ask the House to state their opinion as to what principle a redistribution should be based on. The resolution of the Government on this part of the question would affirm that no borough should be whol y disfranchised, so far as the distribution of seats were concerned. Such would be the second resolution. Another question of difficulty was that of boundaries. If it were clearly understood there would be little difficulty, bat unfortunately if, was not understood. Eleven and a haIr millions was the popula- tion of counties represented in that House by 162 members, while the population of the boroughs, represented in that House by 331 members, was nine and a half millions. Since 1832 the population of the boroughs had passed their boundaries to the amount of millions. If they reduced the franchise many of these would bee .me county electors, and ♦v. well-grounded complaint of many would be that the boroughs oupht to be contented with their 334 members. It was said that the scheme of re-adjusting the Parliamentary boundaries of England was a schtme to give the 162 county members entirely into the hands of the landlords, their tenants, and their labourers. He was sorry they had accepted a proposition so fatally erroneous. He had reminded them of the eleven and a half millions. If the proposition of the Government was accepted there would be a considerable diminution of that number. Let him remind them that tbere was a village population in the counties nearly equal to the amount represented in the boroughs. Well, it was said, what are they? For the most part farmers or labourers. They were however a very respectable class—tne backbone of Eugland. But on the subject of the county population to wbich he was Jutt adverting—who were the seven mtUlons-tbe village population ? There were no less than 3'0,000 freeholders among them utterly ignored by that Houae. They were bound to let this part of the population have their right, and to let the county population elect their own representatives. He hoped the House would do justice tî)- the great body of freeholders of England. The re was a person who went about the country maligning men and things (lanebter), who asked where were the 4,000 freeholders of Buckinghamshire? Why, where did they expect to find them but In the county of Buckingham ? But they would not do justice to the counties because some- body had induced them to believe that nobody lived in them but landlords, farmers, and farm labourers. He had now laid before them the propositions which the Government w01lld ask them to adopt. Tne Government was not angling for a policy, but there were several subjects besides those to which he had alluded, on which it would be desirable that the opinion of the House should be given, and on those sub- jects they would defer to the opinion of the House, and al- though they were not prepared to shrink from the leading principles of the policy which he had suggested, he could only say that those suggestions w01lld not only be received with candour but even with gratitude. Of course It would have been very gratifying to them If they had been able to bring in abtll backed by a confiding majority, which would have tended to Improve and dignify the Constitution, but they must all suit themselves to the present circumstances. In conclusion, Mr. Disraeli referred to the Insinuations which had been cast upon the House of Commons as at present constituted, and concluded by moving, that on the 25th Feb. the House should resolve itself into a committee of the whole Honse, to take Into consideration the 2nd and 3rd William IV chap. 4 and 5. Mr. Gladstone said the Chancellor of the Exchequer by his proposition had placed the House In a peculiar and un- paralleled position. They were asked to approach this subject in a manner altogether noveL He concurred in the opinion that the Houae, by the action of Independent members, had incurred a responsible p> sttlon on the subject of Reform, but be understood the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer to'go further than thl8, and to contend that with the increase of the responsibility of the House, there was a decrease in the responsibility of the Government, and that that responsibility was less than that which usually attached to ministers of the Crown. He doubte t whether such an announcement would add to the weight of the proposition which the right hon. gfntleman had named. There were many objections to proceeding by way of resolution, but he should advise independent members not to urge those objections but to examine the resolutions to see if it was possible to make an onward movement in this matter. Allusion had been made to the intention to alter the law of rating, and a bill was to be brought in on that subject. But was that to be made a reason for delay ? The same reasons that induced him to make 110 objection to the proposition to proceed by resolution would induce him to offer his determined opposition to any preposition that would have a tendency to cast this question off to the future. He denied that the late government had attempted to reconstruct that House on any other than the principle of the British constitution. The resolution was then agreed to. Mr. Hunt then moved for leave to bring in a bill to pro- vld e for a common basis of value, for the purposes of go- vernment and local taxation, and to promote uniformity in the assessment of rateable property in England and Wales. The bill, he said, would apply to the metropolis. The House then adjourned. In the House of Lords, on February 12, Lord Russell pre- sented a petition from Mr Rigby Wason, imputing to tbe present Lord Chief Baron that he had wilfully deceived an Election Committee of the House of Commons in 1837, and praying for a Committee of Inquiry, with a view to the re- moval of Sir F. Kelly from his present office. Lord Ruisell said he had felt it his duty to present the petition, but, having examined its statements and Sir F. Kelly's reply, he could not support Its prayer. The Lord Chancellor, after expressing regret that Lord* Russell should have thought it right to present a petition the statements contained in which he had himself shown to be unfounded, entered upon a minute examination of the various allegations, which he declared to be untrue and un- justifiable. After some observation from Lord St. Leonard and Lord Derby eventually a formal vote of non-reception waø agreed to.. In reply to Lord Stanley of Alderley, The Earl of Derby said he had little Information to give regarding the alarm which had been felt at Chester In con- sequence of a number of strangers, believed to be Fenians, being assembled In the city with the supposed intention of making an attack upon the castle. A detachment of 500 Guards had been despatched to the city. Lord Elcho said Lord Grosvenor, when he heard the ru- mour last night, weut down to Chester, and he had this after- noon received a telegram from him to this effect: "Was serious timely information; all right now." In the Hoose of Commons a petition was presented from Sir Fitzroy Kelly, the Lord Chief Baron, complaining of certain charges made against him by Mr. Rigby Wason, and denying their truth. In reply to a question, Mr. Walpole stated that rumours reached him on Sunday that an unusual excitement was observable among those who were believed to be Fenians at Liverpool, and on Mon- day he received a telegram from the Mayor of Chester stating that that city was in a state of alarm, owing to the assemblage there of from 800 to 1,200 strangers, supposed to be Fenians, who, it was feared, intended to attack the castle, and asking for military assistance. He then narrated the steps that he had taken, and stated that a detachment of 500 Guards were despatched in the course of Monday night to the city, but after they had gone he reoelved a telegram from the general in command of the northern division, stating that the troops at his disposal would enable him to preserve the paaoe- Mr. M'Cullagh Torrens moved for leave to introduce a bill to provide better dwellings in towns for artisans and labourElrs. „ Mr Walpole, with the qualification of looking carefully to the provisions of the bill respecting the taking of private property, consented to the introduction of the bill; and leave was given to bring it in. Mr. J. B. Smith thought the hon. member had adopted the principles of Louis Blanc. If they were to build houses for the working classes, they would be asked soon to establish ateliers natienau& Mr. Locke, fix. Kinnaird, and Colonel Sykes supported the Mil. and the latter expressed a hope that It woald be ex- tended to Ireland. L«ave was then given to bring in the blM. The O'Conor D°n obtained leave to extend the Industrial Schools bill to Ireland. He said there were twice as many javenile vagrants in Ireland as in Eugland, and these schools, which were considered necessary In England, were therefore much more necessary in Ireland. Mr. Watkin moved for leave to bring In a bill for affording better security to the holders of railway debentures. He pointed out that of the whole amount invested In railways tfiere were not sixty millions not paying dividend, and that Included the seventeen millions of the nominal capital of the London, Chatham, and Dover. The bill would give power to the debenture holders, under certain circumstances, to take part 111 the management of the property. Sir S. Northcote consented to the Introduction of the bill, on the understanding that the operation of the biU was to be prospective, and not retrospective. L*ave W8S given to bring In the bill. Sir C. 0 Loehteu obtained leave to bring in a bill to regu- late and improve the tenure of land In Ireland between landlord and tenant. The blil, he said, related to tenure only, and had nothing to do with tenants' improvements, and its object was to substitute written for verbal agree- ments, anu to facilitate the granting of leases. Mr. Neate moved for leave to bring in a bUt to exempt, during a limited time, trades unions from forfeiture of the benefits Arising from the Friendly Societies Act, Mr Wh 1 pole, reserving his right to object to the bill after studying 1;8 provisions, consented to tne introductlon of the bill. Leave was given accordingly, and thehouse then adjourned

THE RESOLUTIONS ON REFORM.

THE REFORM LEAGUE DEMONSTRATION…

THE MEETING AT THE AGRICULTURAL…

HOW COLLIERY EXPLOSIONS ARE…

THE EXCITEMENT OF LOTTERIES…

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THE LOST CHILD.