Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page

HOT- E OF COMMONS.

News
Cite
Share

HOT- E OF COMMONS. THE REFORM BILL. After some preliminary business of no importance, the House resumed the consideration of the iiefonn Bill in Committee, Coll meacing with Mr. Watkin's amendment to clause 3 :ha; no tenement shall be held 3o, 11 dwelling-house ior pu: poses of this Act whica contains Jess than two rooms, and Mr. Pease's addition ::9 it that the said two rooms shall not contain less than 1,600 cubic feet of air. Mr, YY atiiin. in support of his amendment, said its object, was to prevent household suffrage degenerating into hovel suit-age, and to exclude the residuum, and quoted irom JJx. Hunter's reports, to show the number of ti:, wOlle-roomed houses iu various boroughs, main- taining that in boroughs of under 1,600 electors, they would amount to 10 per cent. of the constituency. Sir n. P. Collier objected to both am<jndmer;ts*as im- porting a novel definition of a dwelling, which would be worthless guarantees of rcspectabiiity, and would lead to endless litigation. Sir. Meller and Mr. P. Scrope opposed the amend- ment, which found a solitary supporter in Mr. M-Laren, and ultimately, after some discussion, which turned in a great measure on the importance kpli-tielilai-ly for the northern towns where the system of flats prevails) of careiully defining a house, both amendments were withdrawn on Sir G. Grey's suggestion, the Attorney- General undertaking to incorporate a definition of a dwelling-house in the interpretation clause. An amendment moved by bir F. Goldsmid, providing that no Uian shall be entitled, under clause 3, to be re- gistered by reason of his being a joint occupier of any dwcllmg-housc, was carried OIl a division by 259 to 25. Mr. Iiodgkinson next moved an amendment practi- cally abolishing the compound householder" by pro- Tidillg hat after the passing of the Act no other person than the occupier shall be rated to parochial rates in Parliamentary boroughs. He traced the history of these compounding Acts, maintaining that they, never were intended to interfere with the Parliamentary franchise, that the.r operation was anything but beneficial, and that their abolition would put all classes of voters all over tne country on an equality, would simplify the pro- cesses of registration, would exclude the residuum, and make the Bdl permanent. Mr. Gladstone prefaced the expression of his views on the amendment by repeating his uncompromising hostility to the principle of the Government as it stood in the bill, abjuring at the same time any intention of reviving opposition on points already decisively settled, or of proposing any lcstrictions on those parts of the bill which tended to household suffrage; but added that, looking to the state of feeling out of doors and the probable commencement of a formidable agitation if the liii were sent out in its present form, he was willing, for the sake of peace, to consider whether its in- justice would be mitigated by the incorporation in it of this proviso. The bill offered the option be- twecn composition ar.d the franchise, and though he should have been giad to secure the social and economical advantages of compounding along with the political advantages of the franchise, the opinion of the House had been pronounced unmistakably against him, that he conceived it now to be his duty to secure the primary advantage of a large and equal extension of the suffrage, even at the expense of the secondary conveni- ence of the compounding system. Believing that the country was wil.ing to submit to the same inconveni- ences. he assented to Mr. Hodgkinson's amendment, though regretting the necessity of paying such a price, and he saw no reason why the Government should not accept it, since it was in entire conformity with the prin- ciple of the Bill bat he warned them that the conces- sion. if made, must be simultaneous, and not deferred for future legislation. Mr. Gladstone concluded by intimating that, much as he might deprecate the removal of this question from the Parliamentary arena to out-door agitation, if this last opportunity of remedy- ing the inequalities of the Bill were denied him, he should feel that he had done all that a desire for peaco req aired. Mr. Bass supported the amendment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledged that the amendment, so far from being opposed to, went to strengthen and complete the principle on which the Go- vernment had deliberately based their bill; the sound- ness of which was nowproved, not only by the large ma- jorities by which it had been accepted, but by the suggestion cf this amendment from the other side, and by Mr. Gladstone's speech in support of it. In all his action in regard to the bill, Mr. Gladstone, he pointed out, had gone on the fallacy that the Government had fixed on this principle of rating with the design of taking advantage of the Eating Act to restrict enfranchisement whereas, in fee*, this proposal of Mr. Iiodgkinson had been ia the original scheme of the Government, and had only keen given np because they hesitated to encumber their venture with a burden which might have exposed them to additional danger, and might have brought upon them an. the advocates of what Mr. Gladstone—though he mm abandoned it—a few weeks ago called a result of the advances of modern civilization. Consequently, BOW that it was proposed by the House of Commons, it did not need Mr. Gladstone's solemn tones of admoni- tion to induce the Government, without claiming credit for any sacrifice, to accept the principle of a proviso wbich was substantially their own, and which carried out their own policy. But the object would not be at- jaincd by a simple clause. The difficulties and complica- lions of the subject were so great that separate legisla- tioo would be necessary, and the Government would uoq-,ytzik-e the task; but m the meantime he proposed the committee should go on with the clause relating to the compounders as originally arranged. Referring to Mr. Gladstone's dark warnings as to out-of-door agi- tation, Mr. Disraeli expressed a strong opinion that his representation of the state of feeling out of doors was much exaggerated, and assured the House that the Government were not. influenced by such threats. Mr. Childers suggested that after the concession just made the clause relating to the compounders should be postponed until a bill for abolishing them altogether was laid on the table, and that the two bills should then pro- cc: d pan passu. Mr. Avrton replied that what Mr. Childers would do was tantamount to giving up the Reform Bill altogether for this Session, for the ramifications of the Compound- ing Acts were so wide that a bill could not be passed ■without going.before a Select Committee,, and he sug- gested as an. intermediate cours-e something, akin to his tlWll amendment, by which every occupier would be catecV and the operation of existing contracts and ing Acts saved, so that the whole question would be left open. The Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out the znpcssiLdity of carrying on the two bills pan passu, and of mixing up tne two subjects, and declined to go further than to pledge himself to deal with the subject effectively in some manner which would not interfere with the progress of the Reform Bill. A Tong oon versation fo lowed, turning chiefly on the course to be pursued and the exact character ot the en- gagement of the Government. Mr. Forster, Mr. Mill, and Sir S. P. Collier dwelt on the Jutility of proceeding with the compounders' clauses if they were to be abolished, and pressed the Government to go on with the other parts of the Bill until the House could see thr;R- plan. The Attorney-General and Mr. Brctt urged the diffi- eulties of t e subject and the obstacles in the way of krhTgrag i n a Bill. Mr. Powell advocated separate legislation. Mr. Renman maintained that the easiest mode of proceeding was to adopt .he proviso, and Mr. Sandford warmly declared that the Bill was now turned into household suffrage pure and simple. Mr. llenley replied to him, and insisted that there was no change in the principle of the bill, which had 11 always ciiered the franchise to every householder who Ujjid" his rates. He recommended the Government to accept the resolution as the easiest and readiest mode of effecting thu object, for in passing a bill they would be )net with the sordid opposition of these interested in maintaining this system of robbing the poor. Mr. Chambers warmly supported the bill, and an- aonn?cd that he should support the Government in every division to keep the bill alive, and Mr. Osborne, in a i«iniourou» speech, commented on the development of Mr, s Radicalism, and eulogised his skill in tending his- party to accept household suffrage. 1 The Gimnccllor o £ the Exchequer repeated that the Government accepted the proviso in principle, pleading ilse difiieuhy of deciding at once without consideration how it would bst be carried out—whether by a separate Bill or by clauses in this Bill. He suggested, therefore, that Mr." Iiodgkinson should withdraw his amendment, tbat clause 3 should be disposed of, and on Monday he would state what course the Government would take. This course was objected to by Mr. Gladstone and Lord c 1. who moved that the Chairman report progress, on the ground that Mr. Disraeli's concession —which, whether politic or not. was an abnegation of an Óe jwineiplcsof the ( o,servttive party-L,,LLI totally IR';¡-sru;ll the character of the Bill. Uitimaicly the Chairman left the Chair without fitnher progress being made, or any decision given on the amendment. The Hypothec Amendment Scotland Bill passed THROUGH Committee HOUSE OF LORDS.—MAY 20. ISCilUASE OF THIS EPISCOPATE. T:I commute uoouthe Increase of the Episcopate Bill, ai voi. vet- iii. te*.i ti. ok i'lace -on the eLiiibc for the ap- pomtmcnt of suffragan bishops, to which the Primate had proposed an amendment, but eventually. by general consent, the clause was postponed, it being admitted on all hands that it was one requiring very careful con- sideration FORTIFICATIONS. In committee upon the Fortifications (Provision for Expenses) Bill, Lord Grey denounced the inconsistency, as it appeared to him, of building fortifications with bonowed money, and at the same time of endeavouring to reduce the National Delit by the creation of terniiu- able annuities. The Bill, however, passed through committee. HOUSE OF COMMONS. IIUHAL, PARKS BILL. There was an unusually large attendance of members anxious to hear the decision of the Ministry on the fate of the compounders. Mr. Hardy (answering a question from Mr. Taylor) postponed the Royal Parks Bill until after Whitsuntide, nit:mating that, though the Government held some legislation to be necessary, they did not wish to mix it up with the discussion of the Reform question. REFORM BILL. The House then wi-at into committee on the Reform EI 11. resuming with Mr. Hodgkinson's amendment on CIANSE 3. on which The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced, amid considerable cheering, that the Government, having caretully considered the matter, wers of opinion that the object of the amendment—the abolition of the com- pounders-could be accomplished by clauses in this Bid. and if it could be done he promised it should be. Difficulties had arisen because the necessary information was not immediately at hand but inquiries were being made, and on Thursday he hoped to explain the exact plan of the Government, and also to state the course "cy would recommend for the purpose of sending the Bill up to the Lords as early as possible. Under these circumstances it was unnecessary to go on with the compounders' clauses, and he suggested that they should proceed at once with clause 4 (the county franchise). Mr. Hod,. ;kinson on this intimation withdrew hi J amendment, and Mr. P. Scrope postponed his (excusing all rates under X4.) The Chairman then put the question that clause 3 (which has been under discussion since April 11) be added to the Bill, on which Mr. Lowe rose and asked leave to say a few words on the character and effect of this, perhaps the most im- portant clause ever submitted to the House of Com- mons, especially as it had never been explained to the House, and it was only now that the real principle of the Bill was apparent—that all householders should have the franchise except those who were excused payment of rates on the ground of poverty. After describing in a hu- mourous and sarcastic passage the manner in which Mr. Disraeli had played with his party, treating them like a sny horse, and leading them up to household suffrage by the allurements of the" dud vote," I- two year's' residence," and "compounding," which he had dropped one after the other—adding, amid much laughter, "I hope they like it,"—he discussed the probable reasons which had actuated both sides in entering into this ruinous competition, and in permitting themselves, without adequate discussion, to be brought to this point. On the Liberal side there had been a weariness of the question and a longing for a settlement, a dread ot a dissolution, and a dread of the new classes of voters; and on the Conservative side there was an im- patience of the programme the Liberals had laid down—that they alone should be perpetually bring- ing in Reform Bills and enjoying ofliec as a conse- quencc-which in a party view was not unintelligible. Next he went on to discuss what the effect of the Bill would be, remarking on the complete contempt which had been shown for statistics this year, predicting that it would at least double the present borough consti- tuency. and asserting that its only aim was to admit as many as possible, so that they were of the poorest and the most ignorant classes, and that it would transfer the entire power to the present non-electors and to the class of unskilled labourers. At present these classes had no politics at all, and when they took up with politics they would be of a Socialist character, and they would support the men who promised them a redistribution of the good things of this lite. The first result of their reign would be the substitution ot direct taxes on the rich for the iiiuirect taxes on spirits, tea, sugar, tobacco, and other luxuries 01 the poor, and among other consequences of t:.e Bill which Mr. Lowe shadowed forth were a graduated income-tax, a repudiation of the National Debt, an in- convertible cunency, a social contest between the upper and middle and the lewer classes, in which the victory would follow political strength, an attack on the House of Lords, and a law restricting the hoars of labour to eight a day. Possibly it might be expected that these consequences would be averted by lavish corruption, but he warned those who contemplated the purchase of a democratic constituency that they would have to swallow the sllibbolelli-the whole roll of democratic pledges to boot. Of the cffccts on the composition of the House Mr. Lowe drew a gloomy picture, repeating his argument of last year, that the House is not a mere Legislative Assembly, but, in the last re- e I sort, the Executive of the country and he concluded with a powerful denunciation of a scheme which, though it only carried out the old oligarchial idea of an alliance with democracy, would cast an indelible stigma on the Conservatives, and would ruin not only the present parties in the State, but the State itself. Mr. Henley replied that most of Mr. Lowe's argu- ments applied to the present constituency just as much as to that to be created, and, therefore, to all repre- sentative institutions, and asserted that the schcmc of the Government was the most Conservative proposal that could be made, as well as the safest and most honest. It was not a question which the Government had any option in taking up, since, for the last lourteen years, it had been recom- mended in successive Queen's Speeches, without pro- voking any opposition from either party, or from any leading politician and the Government had to consider whether they would attempt to settle it, or would allow the pot to boil over," with what consequences it was impossible to predict. Having once determined to settle it, there was no ground on which they could hope to find firm footing but that which they had chosen, and though its working might be expected with some p anxiety, there was every prospect of its being as pcruia- nent a settlement as could be obtained. Sir R. Knightley made some strong observations on the new aspect of affairs, and argued that, so far from Mr. Disraeli having been playing with his party, he had been groping for a policy all along. Mr. Newdcgate and Mr. B. Cochrane defended the support given by the Conservative party to this scheme, and Mr. Cochrane laid the prinaaiy responsibility for it on the Liberal party, who had so long played with the question and encouraged public meetings out of doors. The Conservative party had obeyed a necessity stronger than themselves, and he anticipated that the effects of the Bill would be advantageous to the country. Mr. Beresford Hope protested against the degradation of the franchise, and found fault w.tb the representa- tives of the landed interest, who had no been sufficiently forward to defend the boroughs.. After some observations from Mr. Scourficld, who, though dissatisfied with the clause as amended, had too much confidence in the good sense ut the people to share in Mr. Lowe's gloomy views from Mr. Schreiber, who J strongly condemned the Lodger Franchise; and from j, Mr. P. Scivpc, who argued in favour of Irs amendment, ■! that it would cure all the evils Mr. Lowe had appro- hended, and would keep out tho" residuum." Clause 3 was declared to be agreed to, aiaid consider- able die ring. On clause 4, the county franchise clause, Mr. Mill moved his amendment, embodying a female suffrage, which, he argued, was a logical consequence of the constitutional maxim that taxation ar.d repre- sentation go hand in hand, and of Mr. Gladstone s dictum that every one should have the franchise who was not unfit, or would not be dangerous to the public good. Women, he asserted, in old times, had been allowed to vote for some counties and boroughs, and as to the arguments against it, they were utterly un- practical, and had no foundation except in the feeling of strangeness. To the argument that poli- tics were not women's business he replied neither were they the business of any but very few men. .cs and no man was held to discharge his professional or business duties the worse because he took an interest in electioneering; and, having combated the objections that women were already sufficiently represented and had sufficient- power, he pointed out various grievances under which women laboured, such as the unfair share allotted to men of educational endowments, and in the distribution of employments. In the discussion which followed, and which for the most part was more jocu-lar than serious in its tone, tin- amendment was opposed by Mr. Karslake, who urged that it would lead to the enfranchisement of married women by- Mr. Laing, who .pointed out that it musi be followed by the admission of women to the House of Commons; by Mr. Onslow and Lord Galway, win pressed Mr. Mill to withdraw it, as it placed niiiin admirers of the fair sex in a false position. M r. Fawcett, Mr. Denman, and Sir G. Bowyer supported the amendment, which on a division was rejected by 196 to 73. AN amendment by Mr. Colville to reduce the copy- hold franchise to £ 5 was faintly opposed by the Attorney General, but after a short conversation was carried on A division by 201 to 157. At this point the Chairman was ordere(I to report progress. In Committee of Supply a number of votes were agreed to in the Civil Service Estimates, completing sums already taken on account for the expenses of the Public I Departments. The National Debt Bill passed through committee. The Arr.v Enlistment Bill was read a second time. I HOUSE OF LOKDS—TUKSDAY, MAY 22. ALABAMA CLAIMS. Lord Derby, in reply to a question from Lord Russell, stated that although the principle of arb, ration upon the subject of the Alabama claims had been admitted by the United Sta es Government, yet there were differences as to [he exact points of reference. The nei,ot ations were being continued, but in a very satis- factory spirit. CuNTAGIOUS DISEASES (ANIMALS) BILL. The Duke of Buckingham, in moving the second reading of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill, alter giving an elaborate history of the recent and .former i outbreaks, stated that the legislation of last Session, enabling the Privy Council to i-sue orders to meet special cases, had been productive of great advantage, The Bill now proposed would continue existiu.: powers, and in .-oiiic respects would extend them as experience had shown to oe necessary. After a brief d seussion, in the course of which a general assent was given, upon an understanding that it would be referred to a Select Committee, the bill was rend a second time. The biil for abolishing the office of Vice-President of the Board of Trade was read a second time. The sitting was closed at half-past six o'clock. HOUSE OF COMMONS. The first business in the House of Commons yester- day was to comply with the:immelllorial custom of ad- journing over the Derby Day. IRISH LAND BILLS. Lord Naas (in answer to Mr. O'Beirne) said it was intended to persevere with the Irish Land Bills, and promised to fix the day for their further progress as soon as public business would allow. MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS. Mr. Mill introduced a Bill for the establishment of Municipal Corporations in the metropolis, explaining that he proposed to make these municipal constituencies conterminous with the Parliamentary boroughs—divid- ing the Tower Hamlets as was proposed by the Govern- ment Reform Bill, and making a district of Chelsea and Kensington, and intimating that he should not move the second reading until he had brought in his Bill for a central Federal Municipality, with which he was not yet prepared. Mr. Ayrton, though not opposing the introduction of the Bill, pointed out that it was not in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Metropolitan Local Government, which had sat lor some Sessions, and had recently reported, and that the evidence before tiie Committee was entirely against any great extension of the areas of management. But in the present state. of business it was impossible to proceed with any Bill on the subject this Session. Mr. Locke argued in favour of a scheme which would take the City Corporation as a nucleus for a great metropolitan municipality, dividing the metropolis into 7 wards; and, after some remarks from Mr. Hogg and Colonel Sykes in defence of the existing local bodies, Mr. Hardy offering no opposition on the part of the Government, though declining to give any pledge as to their views on so complicated a question, the bill was brought in. Alter some conversation on the alleged refusal of the Saitcrs' Company to gra-it a site for a. Roman Catholic Church at Maghcrafcls, Mr. Bentiuck called attention to the mode in which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have dealt with the claims of the non-capitular members of cathedral and collegiate churches to increased stipends and moved for copies of the questions winch have lately been issued to the lion-capitylar members of cathedral and collegiate churches, and the replies thereto. Mr. Mowbray assented to the motion, which was agreed to, after some remarks from Mr. ila.ikey and Mr. W. N. Hodgson. IIAIiEAS CORPUS ACT IN IRELAND*. Lord Nass, in bringing in a Bill to prolong until March the 1st next the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland, urged that it had been- very useful in suppressing the late disturbances, and that there were many prisoners now in custody whom it would sot- be safe to release, and promised that the powers of the Act should only be exercised for the safety of the country, as the Government had always held that it was not intended for the purposes of punishment. Among other statistics which he produced in support of the Bill, Lord Nass mentioned that since the last renewal of the Act 211 persons had been-arrested, of whom 142 had been released, and no arrest had been made since April 23 and, replying to insinuations that the releases had been made injudieimlsly and indiscriminately, lie alleged that of the 778 persons released (out of the 961. arrested since the first suspension of the Habeas Corpus), only 26 had been rearrested. Mr. Maguire promised to, raise a discussion at the next stage; ami leave was then given tG, bring in the Bill.' MISCELLANEOUS. Some time was occupied in the'discussion of the rival Scotch Game Bills of Mr. M'Lagan and Lord. Elcho, both of which were ultimately read a second time and referred to a Select Committee. Lord Amberley moved the second reading of his Par- liamentary Registration. Bill, the object of which is to prevent electors voting more than once for the same place, by providing that, however numerous his qualitiea- tions, no elector's name shall be entered more than once on the register. Mr, Hardy opposed, the BilL pointing out practical inconveniences in. its working, maintaining that, there was no grievance to be remedied, and dwelling on the inexpediency of unsettling the law just at the moment when a Reform Bill was passing. Ah-. Powell also opposed the Bill.; and Lord Amberley withdrew it. The remaining clauses of the-Sale of Land by Auction Bill were considered and agreed to in Committee. In Committee of Supply, a considerable number of votes was agreed to, completing. Classes Nos. 2. and 3 of the Civil Service Estimates* Some other business was disposed of, and the House adjourned at 20-minutes past L o'clock.

---IMPERIAL PAELIAMENT.

[No title]

--- --__---_._-.--1FOREIGN…

NOVEL PROSECUTION—AN JNNKFEPEIl…

[No title]

,"....,,,,.....:..,,«.¡,,,,-:::..---..:-...._A....::.IlJ:"""".…

[No title]