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354

Proceedings in Parliament.-Reform Bill. [April, a plan which might be placed by the side of was ordered of the number of houses rated the Ministerial Bill, and thus be subjected at 101. and upwards, in the districts of the to a comparison with it. The Noble Lord Tower Hamlets, Holborn, and Lambeth. observed, that up to the period of the union Both Houses adjourned to the 12th of with Scotland it had been the undoubted April. right of the Crown to send writs to what boroughs it pleased, and to cease to send House of COMMONS, April 12. them when it thought proper; and Mini- In answer to some questions relative to siers now only proposed to do that which the REFORM Bill, Lord John Russell said, before that period was not an unfrequent

that Ministers had endeavoured to procure occurrence. -The Duke of Wellington said, as correct a return as possible of the poputhat in his opinion the state of the repre- lation of each city and borough which sent sentatiou ought not to be changed. They Members to Parliainent.

His Lordship could, on priociple, no more deprive one of stated, he should have several alterations to these Boroughs of its franchise, without de- make that would not change the principle linquency in proof, than they could deprive of the Bill, but would render it more corhim of his seat in that house or of his estate. For instance, in consequence of fur-Earl Grey thought the measure recom- ther information, Buckingham would not be mended by the Ministers of the Crown was retained in the disfranchising schedule, A. of the greatest importance to the well-being There would likewise be several amendments of the country: to that measure he was coin- in the wording of the Bill, as regarded the mitted heart and soul, and he would not shrink existing rights of those who had freedoms from giving any advice to his Majesty to by service or birth, &c. His Lordship also adopt every constitutional means to carry stated, that the objections to the proposed it into effect. The Bill had been introduced, reduction of the number of Members had and had received the general approbation been anxiously considered; and he added, of the country.

that if the sense of the House should appear The motion for the returns of the popu- to be fairly against that reduction, the Golation of counties, cities, and towns, was vernment were prepared to relax in that then agreed to without a division.

part of the plan.-After some desultory

observations on the measure, Mr. Hunt reIn the House of COMMONS, the same marked, that he had just returned from day, Mr. F. Lewis brought in a Bill for the tour in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and better regulation of the vend of Coals in other counties, and he openly declared that London. It proposed that henceforth coals there was now a re-action with respect to should be sold by weight, by the ton instead tbe Reform Bill. He had addressed very of the chaldron; that the several city large assemblies of the people, and had not charges and orphans' dues should be reduced met a single individual among those who to 1s. per ton, and id. per ton for the mar- would be excluded, under this Bill, from ket, &c. ; that the system of meters at the the elective franchise, who was not opposed ships and wharfs should be abolished, and to it.

These poor people had recovered that there should be no party between the from their delusion. They were not now collier and the merchant, por any person be- so much in love with this measure as they tween the wharf and the consumer; that at first were. They had found out that they city and orphans' dues should be collected hail been deceived. They expected that the by the Customs, the parties compounding Bill would give them cheap brearl, cheap according to the tonnage of the vessels ; meat, fewer hours of labour, and higher and that the compensations to the meters, wages; but they had discovered that this &c. should be adjusted by the city autho- expectation was a mere delusion. For his rities out of the one-penny rate. The Bill own part, he voted in favour of the Bill, was read the first time.

because he thought that it was an inroad

(Cheers)-yes, an inroad, on that accursed March 30. Mr. Baring brought up the system which had plunged this country report of the Select Committee appointed to in debt and distress.- Colonel Davies deinquire into the salaries of the Great Officers nounced, in warın terms, the speech of the of State, with a view to their reduction, Hon. Member for Preston, who, although After a few words from Sir C. Wetherell, professing himself a reformer, had that Mr. Baring, Sir H. Hardinge, and Sır G. evening done more to injure the cause than Warrender, the report was brought up, and the most determined eneiny of reform. ordered to be printed.

Mr. Stanley moved for aud obtained leave Lord Althorp moved that the Lord Lieu- to bring in a Bill for the promotion of public tenant be permitted to issue Exchequer Bills works in Ireland. to the extent of 50,000l. to meet the tem- Mr. Crampton moved for and obtained porary and local distress of Ireland. After

leave to bring in a Bill to improve the ada short conversation between several Mem- ministration of the law in Ireland. The obbers, the vote was agreed to.

ject of the Bill was, to assimilate the laws On the motion of Mr. Wiks, a return of Ireland to those of England,

1831.] Proceedings in Parliament.---Reform Bill.

355 April 13. On Mr. Western presenting a Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, from the petition from the county of Essex in favour Grand Jury of Clare, relative to the disturof Reform, Mr. Stanley said, that as a mis- bances which had taken place in that county. apprehension existed, both in that House This led to an extended discussion. Whatand elsewhere, as to the intentions of Mi- ever differences there were on particular nisters with regard to the Reform Bill, he points, nearly all the speakers admitted the thought it right to state most unequivocally, necessity of introducing poor laws into Irethat his Majesty's Ministers did not mean, land, as the only means of protecting the in any, even the slightest degree, to deviate poor, and securing them against the consefrom the broad and plain principle on which quences of absentee landlords. It appears they had founded that great measure. They from the memorial, the production of which were determined on the entire disfranchise- was agreed to, that eight, nine, ten, and ment of those Boroughs which did not come even eleven pounds annual rent had been up to a certain standard of population, and demanded for a single acre of unreclaimed on the partial disfranchisement of those bog or inountain, whereon the famished peawhich did not come up to another given sant might plant potatoes for his family. staudard. The only alteration intended was this—that if any Boroughs could fairly and April 14. After some acrimonious conplainly show that they did not come within versation between Mr. Hunt and Mr. O'Conthe fixed rule and line marked out by the nell, on the subject of the Reform Bill Bill, then those Boroughs would be justly (during which the latter Member accused entitled to be excluded from the schedules Mr. Hunt of having been bought over by of disfranchisement, or partial disfranchise- the Tories), the Chancellor of the Exchement. If it should appear to be the quer brought a message from the King to firevalent feeling of the House, that the the following effect :number of the Members should be aug. “ His Majesty, trusting to the affectionate mented beyond the amount contemplated by regards of his faithful Commons, both for the Bill, the disfranchised Boroughs would himself and his Queen, took that opportunity not le restored, but the Members to be to express his hope, that they would take imadded would be taken from such important mediate steps to make an adequate provision towns, or populous districts, as might be for maintaining the Royal dignity of her considered to have, under such circum- Majesty, in case she should survive the destances, a fair claim to representation.—Lord mise of his Majesty.” Althorp, in reply to a question from General Gascoyne, also spoke in explanation of the House of Lords, April 15. ministerial plan; and be begged to be dis- The Earl of Roseberry presented a petitinctly understood, that the retaining the tion praying that some coin pulsory rate whole number of Members was, in no one might be established in Ireland, for the redegree to touch that principle which went lief of the poor of that country. The Earl to the disfranchisement of the rotten Bo- of Limerick doubted the expediency of inroughs. If the House should, by a division, troducing the Poor Laws into Ireland. compel Ministers to increase the number of Those laws in England operated as a bounty Members, then they would take in populous upon population ; and if such a system were towns, or populous bodies of constituency, adopted in Ireland, tbere would be no knowand bestow the elective franchise on them. ing what effect it would have in that prolific -Sir R. Peel said that by these alterations country. the Bill became a new one, and an exten- In the COMMONS, the same day, the House sion of time ought to be allowed for its con- went into a Committee on the King's Messideration.

sage, when, on the motion of the Chancellor Lord Nugent moved for, and obtained leave of the Exchequer, it was agreed, that a sum to bring in, a Bill to abolish certain oaths of 100,0001. should be secured to the Queen, taken in the Customs and Excise. In one year if she should survive his Majesty, to sup101,590 oaths had been taken in the Customs, port her Royal dignity, payable out of the and 194,612 in the Excise. In answer to Consolidated Fund, together with Marlboan application from the Treasury, the Boards rough House, and the house and lands of of Customs and Excise had reported, that Bushy Park. out of 94 classes of oaths 92 might be abo- Mr. Buxton brought forward a motion for lished, without injury to the public service. the immediate abolition of Slavery. The In place of the oaths it was proposed to sub- motion was seconded by Lord Morpeth, and stitute a declaration, the breach of which opposed by Mr. Keith Douglas.-Lord Alwould subject the offender to a penalty of thorp objected to the motion, on the ground 1001.

that the state of the slaves should be graMr. O'Brien brought before the consi- dually ameliorated. At the same time, he deration of the House the present dreadfully wished to ascertain what steps the local Ledisturbed state of certain parts of Ireland, gislatures would take upon the subject. and moved, that there be laid upon the table After considerable discussion the debate was a copy of the memorial presented to his adjourned until the 26th instant.

356

Proceedings in Parliament.--Reform Bil. [April, House of LORDS, April 17.

motion were carried it would prove destrucThe Earl of Limerick brought forward a tive to the Bill. He implored all those who formal complaint against the Editor of the were sincerely disposed to carry the Bill, to Times newspaper, whom he accused of vio

support Ministers in their opposition to the lating the privileges of the House, by the amendment.-Lord Stormont submitted that scurrilous language he had adopted when the proposed alterations changed the princianimadverting on the noble Earl's senti- ple of the Bill.-General Duff was in favour ments with regard to the introduction of of a wholesome salutary Reform, and would Poor Laws in Ireland. In the paragraph give his support to Ministers.-Lord Loughcomplained of the writer observed : “'There borough supported the ameodment, and deare men or things with human pretensioos, signated the Bill as revolutionary.--Colonel nay, with lofty privileges, who do not blush Wood should oppose the Bill without very to treat the mere proposal of establishing a considerable alterations were made in it. fund for the relief of the diseased or helpless The debate was adjourned. Irish with brutal ridicule and almost impious scorn.” After some discussion the printer April 19. The debate on General Gasof the Times was ordered to appear at the coyne's amendment was resumed. Mr. Lytbar of the House.

ton Bulwer, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Wilbraham,

and Mr. Hawkins opposed the amendment, In the COMMONS, the same day, Lord J. as being destructive to the principles of the Russell moved that the Houise go into a Bill.-Mr. Fane, Mr. C. Douglas, Mr. W. Committee on the REFORM Bill, when he Wynn, Sir G. Clerk, and Sir J. Malcolm, stated the alterations proposed by Ministers supported it.—Sir R. Wilson said, that he in that measure. The noble Lord said, that had been sent into that House as the friend in consequence of more perfect details as to of a full and free representation, and he the population of particular places, Aldbo- never could agree to a measure that would rough, Buckingham, Malmesbury, Oak- have the effect of producing a decimation of hanıpton, and Reigate, were to be trans- the English Members. He supported the ferred to schedule B; or, to send one Mem- measure up to the present momeut; and ber, instead of being disfranchised; their po- under the feeling that it was the intention pulation having been fouud to exceed 2000. of his Majest.y's Government to submit the Leoninster, Northallerton, Morpeth, Tamo principle of oumbers to the consideration of worth, Tavistock, Calne, Truro, and West- ihe House, he had promised the gallant Gebury to be taken out of schedule B,~in neral who brought forward the amendmeat other words, to continue to send two Mem. his support. He had done so, because he bers, their population exceeding 4000. The did not think that such an amendment was most important alteration was regarding the in opposition to the principle of the Bill. counties. To attain a greater number of If however the course which he should purMembers than the Ministers first proposed, sue would be such as would not satisfy his there was to be an additional one to each constituents, he was ready to resign his seat. county of upwards of 100,000 inhabitants -Mr. Stanley replied to Sir Robert Wilson, in England and Wales. Those counties and implored those who were anxious for were Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cam- Reform to reject the present amendment.-bridgeshire, Dorsetshire, Herefordshire, Sir G. Murray and Mr. North supported the Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, and Glamor- amendment.—Sir R. Peel spoke against the ganshire, in Wales. Counties having a po- measure of Reform. What might be the pulation of 150,000 or upwards, were to consequences of the Bill he would not say; send four Members. They proposed to give but if it should prove prejudicial to the into Salford, Bury, Oldham, and Rochdale, terests of the country, he should hold resin the county of Lancaster, to the Potteries ponsible for it that Ministry which had prein Staffordshire, and to Wakefield, Whitby, pared the Bill without due consideration to and Halifax, one member each. The effect its importance ; and by so doing, had reof these alterations would be to make the duced them to such a state of embarrassment whole number of Members of the United that they must either acquiesce in what Kingdom 627, thus causing a diminution of they believed to be injurious to the Constionly 31 in the present number.-General tution, or witness the inelancholy prospect Gascoyne said that the Bill introduced by of the affairs of this realm being submitted the noble Lord was a different and distinct to misrule and anarchy.—Sir J. Graham Bill from that which the noble Lord had warned all the friends of the measure, that previously introduced upon the subject of Re- if they had hitherto been sincere in its supform. He condemned the whole measure, port, this present step was a most important as calculated to subvert the constitution of one.—The Attorney-General concluded a the House. He then moved as an amend- long speech by saying, he conceived that ment that the number of representatives for the vote of the present night would be deEngland and Wales might not be decreased. cisive to the question of Reform.-Lord J. -Mr. Sadler seconded the amendment.- Russell spoke agaiust the amendment, and Lord Althorp strongly resisted it ; for if the entreated all who were friendly to the mea

1831.) Proceedings in Parliament.-Reform Bill.

357 sure to vote with him and his friends. The House 'of LORDS, April 22. House then divided-For General Gas

It being announced that his Majesty coyne's Amendment, 299 ; against it, 291 ;

intended to dissolve the Parliament this majority against Ministers, 8.

day in person, the House presented an exOn the inotion of Lord Althorp, the Bill

traordinary scene.

The Lord Chancellor was ordered to be committed on the 21st.

entered at twenty minutes before three, when, prayers being read, his Lordship

withdrew. On the motion of the Earl of House of LORDS, April 21.

Mansfield, the Earl of Shaftesbury was called Lord Wha: ncliffe asked whether there to the chair ; when high words passed bewas any truth in the rumours that it was the tween several Noble Lords, and a scene of intention of his Majesty's Ministers to dis- the greatest confusion prevailed. Silence solve the Parliament ?—Earl Grey replied having at length been obtained, Lord Wharnthat he must decline to answer a question of cliffe moved, that an Address be presented to so unusual a nature.—Lord Wharncliffe then his Majesty, praying that he would not disgave notice that he should on Friday move solve Parliament on the present occasion, an Address to his Majesty, begging him not on the ground that, under existing circumto dissolve the Parliament.--Earl Carnarvon

stances, such a procedure would be dangerin presenting a petition from Newbury, con- ous to the interest of the Crown, and all the demned the Reform Bill as a piece of politi- established institutions of the State.--The cal jobling, and added, as it was understood Lord Chancellor having again entered the below the bar, some very strong language House, observed, that it was high time for regarding the man who would, under exist- the Crown to take this step, when the ing circumstances in England and Ireland, House of Commons had thought proper to advise the Sovereign to dissolve the Par- refuse the supplies. (Cheers, and great claliament.

mour, amid which the joyful shouts of the The breach of privilege committed by the populace, and the roaring of artillery, anEditor of the Times, was finally brought for- nounced the approach of his Majesty.) The ward, Mr. Lawson, the printer, having been Lord Chancellor withdrew to meet the King. in custody for the offence since the 18th -The Earl of Mansfield arose, and accused inst. After the case had been debated with Ministers of weakness, and of conspiring closed doors for some time, Mr. Lawson

against the safety of the State, by making was ordered to the bar, and having been the King a party to his own destruction. reprimanded by the Lord Chancellor, he was His Lordship added, that he had advised his declared to be discharged on the payment Majesty on the subject, and told him, that of the fees.

if he gave his assent to a dissolution for the

sake of this Bill, it was a measure so prego In the House of COMMONS, the same

nant with danger, that he was certain au day, Mr. Benett brought forward a reso

attack would be made on the credit of the lution declaring that the corrupt state of

country ; first on the privileges, and then the representation of Liverpool' demanded on the existence of that House, and lastly, the corrective interference of the House. on the privileges of the Crown itself; priviThe discussion was carried to great length,

leges which were inseparably connected with and eventually led to a long debate on the the happiness of the people. Reform Bill. -Sir R. Vyvyan asked whether

Here the entrance of his Majesty put an

end to the discussion. One or two of their it was the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to proceed with the Bill, or to advise Lordships, however, allowed a clamorous the King to dissolve Parliament, because expression or two to reach the royal ear. the House of Commous had not consented His Majesty took his seat on the throne, to reduce the number of English Represen

wearing the crown and sceptre, and surtatives ?-Lord Allhorp replied, “ I have no

rounded by a numerous body of the royal hesitation in stating, that having taken into

household. He wore beneath the royal

robes the upiform of an Admiral. consideration the necessary effect and consequences of the vote of the House the The Commons having been summoned, other night, it is not the intention of his

there was a tremendous rush of Members. Majesty's Goverument to proceed with the -The Speaker addressed a few words to his Bill”- -a declaration which was received with Majesty, assuring him, that on no former immense cheering. As to the other inquiry,

occasion did the House of Commons more his Lordship said he did not consider it con- truly represent the feelings and sentiments sistent with his public duty to give any an

of a faithful and loyal people than at preswer.-Mr. W. Bankes moved an adjourn- sent.--The royal assent having been given ment, which was resisted by Lord Althorp.

to the Civil List Bill, and several others, The House divided, when the numbers his Majesty read, in a firm tone of voice, were-For the motion of adjournment, 164;

the following Speech from the throne :against it, 142.-majority against Ministers,

My Lords and Gentlemen, “ I have come to meet you for the pur358

22.

Proceedings in Parliament.-Reform Bill. [April, pose of proroguing this Parliament, with a Vyvyan resumed). Ministers must take all view to its immediate dissolution. I have the responsibility of the present procedure been induced to resort to this measure for on their own heads. If any benefit was the purpose of ascertaining the sense of my derived by one class, it must be at the expeople, in the way in which it can be most pense of another. The farmers would sufconstitutionally and authentically expressed, fer, and Ministers would no longer be able on the expediency of making such changes to appeal to the agricultural interests with in the representation as circumstances may any hope of success. In short, if we got a appear to require, and which shall be founded reformed Parliament, it would take the on the acknowledged principles of the con- Crown off the King's head. (At this mostitution, and may tend at once to uphold ment the discharge of cannon announced the just rights and prerogatives of the Crown, that his Majesty had arrived at the House and to give security to the liberties of my of Lords. As every succeeding gun was people.

fired, the cheers and groans of Members " Gentlemen of the House of Commons, became stronger and louder. The shouts “ I thank you for the provision which were deafening.)-Sir R. Peel rose and opyou have made for the maintenance of the proached the table. During the confusion, honour and dignity of the Crown; and 1 Lord Althorp rose on the opposite side of offer you my special acknowledgments for the table. The Noble Lord on one side, the arrangements which you have made for and the Right Hon. Baronet on the other, the state and comfort of my Royal Consort. exerted all their physical strength to obtain I have also to thank you for the supplies a hearing. The Speaker called order, and which you have furnished for the public the whole of the Members rose from their service, and I have observed with satis- seats, when loud cries of “ Shame, shame!" faction, that you have endeavoured to in- resounded from all parts of the House. Sir troduce the strictest economy in every

F. Burdett and Lord Althorp at length gave branch of that service, and I trust that the way, when Sir R. Peel, under great exciteattention of the new Parliament which I ment, said, that he did not complain of the shall furth with direct to be called, will be dissolution, so much as the manner in which applied unceasingly to that important subject. it was done. It was an insult to the House. My Lords and Gentlemen,

A reformed Parliament would give the “I am happy to inform you, that the country to the government of demagogues, friendly intercourse which subsists between and reduce it to a state of despotism and myself and foreign powers affords the best destruction.

The present Ministers had 'hope of the continuance of peace; to pre

shown the greatest imbecility ever displayserve which my most arxious endeavours ed in this country. They had been in shall be constantly directed.

office for six months, and he begged to ask My Lords and Gentlemen,

what they had done? They had tossedi “ In resolving to have recourse to the upon the table certain bills—game bills for sense of any people, in the

present circum

instance-and emigration bills; and then, stances of the country, I have been influ- after having established respecting them enced only by a paternal anxiety for the what they were pleased to denominate libecontentment and happiness of my subjects— 'ral principles, they left them to their fate. to promote which I rely confidently on your At this moment, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, continued and zealous assistance."

the Usher of the Black Rod, appeared The Lord Chancellor then rose and said, at the Bar, and commanded the immediate “ It is his Majesty's pleasure that this Par- attendance of the Commons in the House liament be prorogued to Tuesday, the 10th of Lords, to hear his Majesty's royal of May; and the Parliament is prorogued assent to several Bills ; and also his Mato that day accordingly.”

jesty's Speech for the prorogation of ParAll parties then immediately left the liament. At twenty-five ininutes to four, the House.

Speaker returned to the House, and inti

mated, that having been suminoned to the In the House Of COMMONS, the same other House, his Majesty had been pleased day, on the presenting a petition from Kent, to pronounce a most gracious speech, which in favour of Reform, Sir R. Vyvyan rose, the Speaker read to the House, upon which amidst tremendous confusion, and depre- the several Members separated without the cated, in strong terms, a dissolution, in the slightest demonstration of party feeling. present excited state of the country. He contended that England was on the eve of a On Saturday, the 23d, a Royal Proclamarevolution (Sir F. Burdett rose to order, tion was issued, announcing the dissolution when a scene of increasing confusion ensued, of Parliament, and the calling of a new one accompauied by cries of hear! order! chair! to assemble on Tuesday the 14th of June &c. When order could be restored, Sir R. next.

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