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LORD BROUGHAM AT THE SOCIAJT SCIENCE MEETING. The annual dinner of the Social Science Association, with' which is now incorporated the Society for the Amendment of the Law, took place on Saturday at the Ship Tavern, Greenwich, Lord Brougham, the presi- dent of the society, occupying the chair. Among the company present were the Earl of Harrowby, Lord Denman, Sir John Shaw Lefevre, Baron de Gros, Sir Fitzroy Kelly, Q.C., M.P., Mr. Locke, Q.C., M.P., Mr. Shaw Lefevre, M.P., Mr. Charles Neate, M.P., Mr. Serjeant Burke, Mr. Daniel, Q.C., Dr. Waddilow, Dr. Pankhurst, Dr. Zimmermann, Mr. R. R. Torrens, Mr. Joseph Parkes, Mr. George Harris, Mr. Hastings, Mr. Hawes, Mr. Charles Clark, &c. After the usual loyal and national teas ts had been disposed of. The noble chairman gave the health of the united societies, and referring to the objects of the society now incorporated with the Social Scienoe, and of which it had always formed an important department, he stated that its influence had been felt to a con- siderable extent in the legislation of the present session so far as it was connected with legal reforms. The present session had, he said, been fruitful of important law reforms. There was, for in- stance, the measure which had been passed for the concentration of the courts of law in one locality, and this he considered a step which was evidently calculated to lead to improvement in the administration of justice. A second measure was that of the extension of equitable jurisdiction to county courts, a measure which had been long called for, and which he considered as the necessary complement of the establishment of those useful courts. A third improve- ment had been made for reforming, to a certain extent, the municipal institutions of the country (cheers). The Social Science Association, and the society with which it was now connected, had been at all times consistent friends of progress, and they were both in favour of progress at a time when their efforts in that direction created alarm in the minds of some, and led to the resistance of not a few; but, in the face of the fears of the one and the interested views of others, the societies had uniformly given their support to every reasonable measure of progress. Their mission in that respect was predicted by a great poet, of two centuries ago, who said— To draw forth good, lend struggling progress wings, These are imperial acts, and worthy kings (cheers). The progress to which they had to lend wings was not that of reckless, extravagant theories of which persons who do not thoroughly understand were too often the clamouring advocates. The pro- gress which they supported was a safe and good one; they had experience to control, experience to suggest and to point out where errors had been committed, and which ought to be avoided in the future (cheers). They had heard a great deal of late and not a little at the present moment of a general election, in the midst of which, indeed, he might say we now are. The trouble, the great expense, and a great portion of the anxiety attending a general election had already begun, and he heartily wished members of the House of Com- mons fairly out of their troubles (a laugh). A grea.t deal was said just now about the .extension of the right of voting. Without discussing,thst question, as a simply political one, he merely stated "that he did not agree with those who were alarmed at the extension pf the right of voting, f&r fear of the new voters com- ing in and swamping who were already ^voters. There were two reasons why he had no fear on this ground-the first was that he did not believe the non. electors had any desire to overwhelm the present ones, and the second was that even if they had the wish they would not have the power of doing it (hear, hear). With respect to all the systems for furthering the progress of law amendment and other measures of social reform, he believed that the great bulk of the people were not sufficiently aware of the difficulties against which the promoters had to contend, and it frequently happened that the social reformer was too impatient, and wished to see his plans carried into effect with arapidi-y which it was notpossible to obtain. They wished to see their plans acted upon at once, were impatient of any delay, and would not wait the result of slow inquiry, sound advice, and the teachings of experience. Now, with respect to the question of the right of voting, he confessed that he would like to see one class above all others, who did not at present possess that privilege, in its enjoyment; he referred to the skilled artisans (cheers). He drew a distinction between the common, ordinary, or unskilled workman and the skilled artisan, the latter being men upoa whom the employer was really more dependent than the men were upon the masters (cheers). He thought that the right of voting might be safely given to such men, and he said he had often thought that if any test, such as that of the wage one, could be found, it might be very safely adopted. Any man who during any period, say for three months, had received a certain amount of wages ought, he thought, to be put upon the register of voters, have his name enrolled thereon, and continue ever after to enjoy the rights and privi- leges of a voter (hear). Among the changes during the present session, of which he expressed his gratification, was that which had been made for the conduct of the great mass of private business which now came before both Houses of Parliament, and which had, he be. lieved, been productive of considerable good. Some years since, when the Duke of Wellington was in office, a plan was proposed which, if adopted, would have been of very great value. The duke requested him (Lord Brougham) to propose such a change in the standing orders of both Houses as would admit of the appointment of a joint committee of twelve, five Lords and seven Commons, to hear and report upon all mat- ters of private legislation. He stated to the duke that there would not be the slightest chance of such a measure being ageed to, but he was encouraged to make the trial, the Duke of Wellington saying that they could only be beaten, and if they were they could fall back upon some other plan. The result was as he (Lord Brougham) had anticipated; the plan was re- jected, and another, though not so good as that which was first proposed, but which was still an improve- ment upon the then existing system, was adopted. He was still of opinion that the adoption of the plan of a joint committee would be of great service, and would obviate great loss of time, save wasteful expendi- ture, and the labour and anxiety to the promoters of being as they were now compelled to appear before two separate committees upon the same matters of fact. The improvement of the mode of proceeding in respect to private bill legislation was a subject well worthy the attention of the society for the improve- ment of the law. The noble lord concluded by pro- posing the toast of Prosperity to the two associa- tions now united for the purpose of more united action." The toast was drunk with the usual demonstration of cordiality. Sir John Lefevre, in eulogistic terms, proposed The health of the noble Chairman," which was re- ceived with greaij applause, and was briefly acknow- ledged by the noble lord. The "House of Lords" was then proposed, and responded to by the Earl of Harrowby. The House of Commons" was also given, and acknowledged; after which some minor toasts followed and the guests departed, well pleased with their evening's entertainment.




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