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It PARLIAMENTARY JOTTINGS. IIA I THE new Reform Bill has absorbed all interest in the House of Commons since the Easter recess, and although much business of a private nature has been transacted, it has been discussed by a scanty number of members. It was only when the question of the Reform Bill was on the paper that the House filled, and that strangers congregated in large numbers in and around St. Stephen's. Much comment was afforded the gossippers by the absence of Mr. Gladstone from the chief seat on the Opposition bench during the first three days of the after Easter meeting. The Achilles of the Liberal party, though absent, seemed, not forgotten, for his accustomed seat was left unoccupied, as if he were expected, or as i? no one else was fitted to fill his place. Oa Thursday, the 2ad of May, however, it was known that several clauses of the Representation of the People Bill" would be introduced before the committee. Would Mr. Gladstone be there ? was the question I heard asked on all sides. We were not long left in doubt. About half-past four o'clock the ex- Chanceilcr of the Exchequer walked slowly up the floor of the house and took his old seit, on the front Opposition bench. Liberals cheered lustily, but it seemed not in the slighte&t degree to move the right honourable gentleman, whose pale and anxious face gave indications of a dissatisfactory state of things, and as he cash a look around he seemed rather to reprove his friends than respond to the overtures of those who had deserted him in his need. It was some time be- fore the House could get into committee, as numerous questions bad to be answered by the Government; concerning their policy, which was guardedly responded to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. At length Mr. Dodson took the chair, and members crowded the floor of the house and the galleries; there was evidently a division coming on, aad both parties eyed each other as if another combat was about to take place. Almost the only member who looked calm, regardless of any storm which Daight arise, was Mr. Disraeli. In his accustomed manner, he folded his arms and looked upon the ground, as if he would say, "Go on, my fine fellows, your opposition is all nonsense; but I ialust grin arid bear it." Well, Mr. Dodson, as chairman of committees, called out, Clause 3; whereupon Earl Grosvenor rose from the Adulia- mite bench, and stated that he had certain amend- ments on tae paper concerning a X5 marginal line, but, having consulted his colleagues, they had come to the conclusion that it would be better to Withdraw them. This was received with cheers from the Ministerial side of the House; but the peculiarity of his lordship's speech was the constant use of the1 plural pronoun we," as if he spoke authorita- tively; and sundry gossippers say that the Adulia- mites are about to join the Cranboine Alky party, and seek to form themselves into a puty strong enough either to oppose the Government or take their seats on the Treasury bench. For myself, I see no probability of this. At present they are numerically exceedingly weak. Their new 'Organ, the Day, brought into existence early in March, has faded into night, and Constitutional Liberalism" is no longer advocated. The principles may be good, but in this instance they did not pay. THE MINISTERIAL DEFEAT. As Mr. Dodsoa proceeded with other clauses of the bill, he came to that which neces- sitated a two years' residence, upon which Mr. Ayrton rose to propose that it should ba les- sened to twelve months. The hon. member for the Tower Hamlets was very conciliatory in tone, and avowed that although be thought six months' residence quite sufficient, yet he proposed twelve as a compromise, and urged the Government to accept it. Every one thought that Mr. Disraeli would immediately coneedetbe point; but ne, there he sat immovable, and Sir J. P kington rose oa the part ot the Government to say tbat this was not a vital part of the bill, but they were net willing to reduce the term of occupation with- out taking the sense of the House. Always gen- tlemanly and always argumentative, the right hon. gentleman is listened to with great attention. On this occasion, however, he was evidently playing with the House; there was no deep sincerity in his speech, and he appeared to be cunningly argu- 109 on false premises. After Sir J. Pakington rose Sir Rout) del I Palmer, who was terribly ironical about what were the principles of the bill and what were not, and, of course, contended that if the Government were beaten upon this point, it was tantamount to a defeat. His speech was that of a special pleader, wonderfuUy logical and eloquent as his speeches always are, but it failed to elicit a cheer, for positively mem- bers were not inclined for deliberation; they seemed to know the amendment would be carried and the point conceded, and they thought the sooner it was done the better. Afttr the late Attorney-General sat down, up rose Mr. Bass. He sits on the same bench as Mr. Bright, and they have hitherto been close friends—indeed, last autumn Mr. Bright was the guest of the rich brewer at his residence on the Spey, where they fished for salmon, picnicked, and ruralised together; but the member for Birmingham cannot forgive political renegades, and in his recess speeches he called all the tea- party men, of whom Mr. Bass was one, anything but gentlemen, and now the latter member took opportunity to recount to the House the many hard names he had bean called by Mr. Bright and Mr. Gladstone. The language of the former he characterised as harsh in the extreme, particularly when it came from the lips of a friend. The hon. gentleman seemed to wish to say a great deal more, but his oratorical powers failed him. He delivered a few reproaches to his former guest, but toned them down by praising his abilities and stating his belief that he could occupy the highest position in the House with honour. As regarded himself, Mr. Biiss remarked that it showed a man conscientiously performed his duty when he differed from his friends occasionally; it showed that he studied for himself, and was willing to be convinced. Mr. Bright declared, in answer, that he never thought of his friend when he made certain observations in his speeches; "if the cap fitted, however, he must wear it." Perhaps, if it had been any other man he was replying to, Mr. Bright might have been severe, but he passed over Mr. Bass, and went on to rea- son with the party opposite, and very cleverly he did it, not being offensive more than once or twice during the whole speech; indeed, his tone was persuasive rather than dogmatical. 16 was now near seven o'clock (dinner hour), and the Solicitor- General rose, amid a Bhuffle and noise peculiar at this period. Not more than sixty members re- mained, and they were perfectly careless what the learned gentleman said. Divide, divide was murmured every now and then; still he continued his speech for about half-an-hour, and a quarter of a column of the Times was all that was given to him next day. Mr. Denman followed, and by this time many members had returned from a hasty dinner in anticipation of a division, and, perhaps, anxious to return to their convivialities, they positively shouted at the top of their voices the words "Divide, divide" until nothing that the speaker said could be heard. At length the magnetic bells were set ringing. The motion put was, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question." That is to say, that the two years originally inserted should remain. Ayes to the right, Noes to the left," said the chairman; but it was soon apparent which way the majority would be. There was no sensation. however; Colonel Taylor, the Government whip, sat on the Treasury bench, not even inviting a single way ward friend to follow him into the lobby. When the tellers announced that the Ayes to the right were 197, and the Noes to the left were 278. there was a slight cheer from the Opposition. It was not a hearty one, however. There was something derogatory in a private member carrying an amendment when the great leader of their party failed to do it. Mr. Disraeli rose, with great gravity, to ask that Mr. Dodson "report progress," saying, "It would be necessary to consult his colleagues before proceeding with the bill, and agreeing as to the course they should pur- sue." When the motion was put, sundry "No, noes" proceeded from the back Ministerial benches, and then, for, the first time, Mr. Gladstone rose, and said He could not understand what the negatives he beard around him meant, a3 the Chanceilor of the Exchequer had stated that the vote of the House required the consideration of himself and bis colleagues. It was quite impossible for the committer to go on with the bill." There was not much in the wordi of Mr. Gladstone, but the tone in which they were spoken, and the manner ia which he acted, betokened that he was still the leader of the Opposition. THE GOVERNMENT POLICY. On Friday Mr. Disraeli took an early oppor- tunity of stating the views of the Government on the vote taken the previous evening, and said that the two years' tenure was intended to insure the locality of the voter, but the Government did not think it inconsistent with their principles to defer to the opinion of tbe House. This was well re- ceived—a general cheer greeted the announcement —but the gr(,at feature of the evening was the answers given concerning the Hyde-park demon- stration on the following Monday. Tae House did not seem satisfied with the vague information given, but they were bound to be content with the assurance that everything would be done to preserve order without undue severity t) the masses assembled. Mr. Walpole introduced a bill for the more effectually and better securing the use of certain parks. This was received with cheers from all parts of the house; most persons were, however, ignorant of its clauses or what it attempted to affect, and put it down to the un- certainty of the present law upon the matter. Such is not the case; Mr. Walpole relit s upon the ancient records as to the full right of the Cro wn to exercise authority within the parks; but as the law at present exists, their power only extends to turning persons out of the parks who are there without permission. The new bill has a clause which makes it a crime, punishable with a .£10 fine or a month's imprisonment, for any persou who, contrary to orders, enters any of the Govern- ment parks or grounds; and, more than that, any such person can be taken into custody as OnCe without warrant or summons, and be dealt with summarily by the magistrate. It was anticipated there would be another party fight on Monday. The lodger franchise was to be introduced by Mr. Torrens. The House crowded as usual, but Mr. Disraeli was determined not to have a division, and with admirable cool- ness he parried the blow, expressing his desire to introduce something of the kicd, but saying this was an inopportune time. Thus retarded at every step, much exertion will have to fee used to pass any Reform bill this Session.




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