« PreviousContinue »
Mr. Spring Rice supported the prayer the subject, from the time of Edward 3rd of the petition. The cases of complaint ún- to the present day, and contended, that der this act were not imaginary, as the hon. such laws, from their bad effects upon baronet had supposed. Nochurch could be trade, were absurd and impolitic, while they built in this country without the consent at the same time gave men the suspicion, of parliament; but in Ireland the question that the members of that House, in the was settled by a select vestry, consisting present case, were actuated by considerexclusively of members of the Established ations purely selfish, and merely desired Church, and they were generally parties to diminish the expenses of their election. interested in the disposal of the rate to be The silk trade, however, was a plant of levied on the Dissenters and Catholics. exotic growth, and of delicate fibre; and, The worst enemies of the Established unless they made up their minds to apply Church were those who wished to prolong to it those principles of free trade which these abuses, by which the feelings of the they allowed to govern their opinions with people were excited against it.
respect to other branches of our commerce Mr. A. Dawson urged the necessity of and manufactures, he was satisfied they an amendment of this act; otherwise he would have to regret its total extinction, feared the abuses already committed would notwithstanding the extent of our capital, be aggravated, and spread throughout all or the superiority of our workmen. In the the parishes in Ireland.
ribbon trade of the city of Coventry, he Ordered to lie on the table.
believed he might safely say, that nine
teen-twentieths of the population of the Election EXPENSES–Use of Rib- city were constantly employed. At times BONS.] Mr. Pyler presented two petitions this trade was dull, like every other; but for the repeal of the act of last session, to the ribbon manufacturers were always in prevent the use of Ribbons at Elections. the habit of looking forward to the conOne of them was signed by 5,000 silk- sumption of a general Election as their weavers, inhabitants of Coventry; and refuge in the hour of distress; as the the other by between 1,700 and 1,800 asylum of their hopes, and their sheet silk-weavers of Spitalfields. He concurred anchor in the storm. The hon. gentleman with the petitioners that their apprehen- then went on to observe, that the consesion was well founded, that this act would quences of this restriction upon the weardo great mischief to the silk trade. The ing of ribbons, would not be such as the hon. gentleman then rose, pursuant to hon. member for Limerick supposed. The notice, to move for leave to bring in a bill would not save the expense of elecBill “ to repeal so much of the act of last tions, while, at the same time, by throwsession as prohibited the use of ribbons at ing numbers of industrious workmen out Elections.” It would be in the recollec- of employment, it would tend to increase tion of the House, that this bill was intro- smuggling, poaching, and the commisduced by the noble member for North- sion of every kind of crime; in short, it amptonshire. In its original shape, the would have the effect of demoralizing, he bill merely went to deprive the counsel, might almost say, of revolutionizing the agents, and attorneys, employed by the people. What, he would ask, could they candidates, from voting at the election ; expect from men who once received the but, from the use of the word “flagger," poor-rate? From that moment all the he concluded that it never could have habits of the man became altered. His been the intention of the noble lord to feelings were debased. He nourished interfere with the silk trade. He was the ideas of bloodshed and revenge, and more disposed to think that the House ceased to consider himself as a member could have no objection to review its de- of the same society with which he had cision, when he recollected that the bill mingled before. The hon. member for was brought in at a late period of the Limerick had been engaged in putting an session, when many gentlemen had left end to the expense of Yeomanry corps, town; and that it was finally passed but he would say, give the people employthrough the House at two o'clock in the ment, and then where would be the necesmorning, when there were only thirty-six sity for these corps in the manufacturing members present. The hon. member then districts, if the people were happy and proceeded to take a review of the laws contented ? That House, enshrined in passed against extravagant expense on all its omnipotence, and entrenched in all
its powers, could not hope to conquer, were obliged to these expenses. This custom. Party always had distinctive law, and the law permitting non-resident marks in this country. From the time of voters to vote at elections, were producthe wars between the houses of York and tive of far greater inconvenience than the Lancaster, there had always been ensigns law prohibiting the use of ribbons, which, of party, and he did not see why the in his opinion, would always be evaded. privilege allowed to the high should be Mr. S. Rice said, he would decline to withheld from the low. After contending, follow the hon. mover over the various that the state of Ireland was different from irrelevant topics which he had somewhat that of this country, and observing that strangely introduced into a discussion the law against wearing ribbons at elec- upon moving for leave to bring in a bill tions in that kingdom was passed in 1796, to repeal an act of last session, prohibittwo years before the great rebellion, and ing the use of ribbons at elections. He when parties were extremely violent, the would meet the motion of the hon. memhon, member proceeded to ridicule the ber at once, by annonncing his intention clause which prohibited a candidate from to vote against it. It was the duty of the giving a ribbon to any one, even his own House to cheapen the expenses at elecwife, during the time of an election, under tions. This was the only effectual mode a penalty of ten pounds : this penalty, of restraining bribery at elections, and of too, to be given to the informer, without making them free. The most extravaany limitation of time as to laying the gant expense was incurred frequently at information. Upon the whole, consider- elections by the use of ribbons. At the ing that the bill would not save expense, last election for the county of Northumthat it was injurious to his constituents, berland, the expense laid out on ribbons and that it was a blot upon the Statute- was 6,0001. He did not think that any
ook, he would move for leave to bring act of legislation should be adopted for in a bill to repeal so much of the act as the sake of rendering a partial benefit to prohibits the use of ribbons at elections. a particular place, which would have the
Colonel Wood seconded the motion, effect of rendering expenses at elections on public and private grounds. His pri- unnecessarily greater than they were at vate reasons, if the House would allow present. him to state them, were, that he had had Lord Lowther opposed the motion. He some hundreds of Coventry men in his regi- had some experience of contested elecment; and when he parted from them, he tions, and he could give his testimony, promised, that if ever it was in his power that the act of last session was expedient to do them a good turn, he would recol- to check the extravagance which prevailed lect them. This was the first opportunity in the wasteful distribution of ribbons at he had had to fulfil his promise, and he elections. therefore seconded the hon. member's Mr. Fyler replied. The opposition motion. The bill itself he considered, which had been offered to his motion was, indeed, in a public view, to be calculated he said, to be traced to one principleto do much injury to the trade in fancy self--nothing but self. He hoped he ribbons, without producing any great ad- should have a majority in favour of the vantage. He considered a measure pro- bill, and that the House would not, under hibitory of the use of ribbons at elections the influence of such considerations, toss as one partaking too much of minutiæ for the poor weavers of Coventry overboard. legislation. If there were any part of the The House then divided : For the molaw relating to Elections which he was tion 9; Against it 91; Majority against desirous to see repealed, the Treating-billit 82. was one that called for repeal far more than any enactment respecting the use of Right Of ELECTION IN Counties ribbons. The most wasteful extravagance CORPORATE.) Mr. Sykes rose pursuant was incurred by out-voters going from to notice, to move for leave to bring in a London and other places to Yorkshire bill “ to declare the Rights of Freeholders and other remote places, at the expense in separate districts or counties, to vote of the candidates. Many persons took at the election of Knights of the Shire of advantage of this opportunity of paying a the corinties from which they shall have visit to their friends once in seven years. been separated.” The hon. gentleman, This was very severe upon candidates, who I after adverting to the conduct of some hon. gentlemen, who, on a former occa- proposed to deal with all these counties sion, had, after professing themselves corporate was, to give them the right of friendly to the principle of the measure he voting at elections for knights of the shires proposed, deserted him, upon a plea of within which they were severally situated. not concurring in the mode in which he He came to parliament to ask for this had brought the question forward, pro- right, because parliament alone could ceeded to declare, that to him it was per- bestow it. To acts of parliament more fectly indifferent what course he pursued, than one of the counties in this kingdom provided he could persuade the House to owed the possession of a similar privilege; acquiesce in the object which he was de- and those of Chester and Durham were sirous of obtaining. It would probably striking instances of that fact. The hon. be convenient to the House, that he should gentleman then spoke of the little reliance discard all the learned lumber with which which could be placed, in matters of this he had been obliged, on a former evening, to kind, upon the reports of committees uppreface his notice on the subject. The hon. stairs, appointed to inquire into them; gentleman then went into a brief history and cited two counter-decisions in the of the origin of counties corporate, which years 1739 and 1747 to account for his had, in times past, been separated from not now moving for such a committee in their parent counties in virtue of various preference to a bill. Two objections had specific charters. Whatever alterations been heretofore taken to his proposition ; in the other rights and privileges of the the first, that it was an innovation ; the districts so detached such charters might second, that it was a branch of the system have effected, it was manifest that they of reform. Now it was no such innovacould not legally interfere with the exercise tion ; for in some of the cases it would of any existing elective franchise, formerly but restore a right formerly enjoyed by the by such districts enjoyed. That was the county corporate ; in others, it would position upon which he meant to contend confer it where it ought to be possessed. for the principle of this bill. He should As for reform, he was not ashamed to submit, that this being clearly the law of avow himself friendly to a general reform the case, although the usage, in respect of of the present constitution of parliament, these counties corporate, had not been in as a measure which would be attended conformity to the law, it was high time with great good to the country; yet, on that parliament should declare what that the present occasion, he waived all argulaw, or rather what that usage, ought to ment upon that point, and should be be. There were eighteen of these districts contented to see the right for which he or counties corporate. There were three contended given to the districts he had of them in which the freeholders had votes indicated. for the election of members for counties, Colonel Sibthorp said :-I rise to second Poole, Southampton, and Newcastle-upon- the motion. From the most mature inTyne. Six others, for some causes which vestigation of this question, involving the at that distance of time were not very easy rights and privileges of so many, and to be ascertained, had acquired a right to feeling as I do for them, as affecting all, vote for the election of burgesses or knights I may perhaps be more particular in my of the shire, to serve in parliament for the application to those whom I have the town or county from which they were so honour to represent comprising the detached. With this right it was not his populous city of Lincoln, of upwards of intention in any manner to interfere ; but ten thousand inhabitants, and the villages he did not think it fair, that the other annexed thereto, of full twenty miles in counties corporate should not be partici- circumference, and containing in the total pators in the same right in their own cases. near four hundred and sixty freeholds. Besides the three he had already men- These individuals ask and seek no new tioned, there were these six :-Bristol, privileges, no novel rights, but the restoraHaverfordwest, Litchfield, Norwich, Not- tion of those rights which they once exertingham, and Exeter ; in all nine, which cised in common with others, and of which had the privileges he had spoken of. And heavy impositions and exactions of former these were without it :-York, Lincoln, times have deprived them. The learned Newark, Coventry, Kingston-upon-Hull, Attorney-general said, on a former night, Canterbury, Chester, Caernarvon, and that the freeholders of the city and borough Worcester. Now, the mode in which he alluded to had made a bargain with the
government ; that they had purchased | ested, but also for gaols, hospitals, and exemption from county rates, &c., and, other public buildings, for which presenttherefore, that the depriving them of those ments were granted by grand juries. This privileges was no severity. I confess I do was a hardship which the proposed bill not consider that a bargain, which is forced, would remedy. from which they could not free themselves, Mr. V. Fitzgerald said, he would not and to which if they did submit tacitly it oppose the principle of the bill, but he was because they were compelled to do so. could not consent to so wide an extension A right hon. gentleman (Mr. Wynn) had of that principle as the hon. member prosaid, that our whole constitutional system posed. was a collection of anomalies, arising from Mr. W. Lamb would not object to the various causes. These were got rid of by introduction of the bill, but he would not act of parliament, declaring the last final stand pledged to go the whole way with and decisive. I have heard constantly of the hon. member, in a measure which an act to amend an act ; and if there are would make so great an alteration in the grievances in any act, why not do in that relations between landlord and tenant in case what the hon. member for Hull states Ireland. was done in similar cases? As for the Sir J. Newport defended the necessity privilege of voting for counties, according of the present measure. More than half to what is now required ; remove these the amount of grand-jury assessments in grievances by another act of parliament, Ireland were not for objects in which the and confirm by restoration the enjoyment occupying tenant could be said to have a before exercised. I hold authorities in direct interest. It was a hardship on a my hand to prove, that in all the acts of tenant to be called upon, perhaps in the those reigns that had so separated the city last year of his lease, to pay a share of a from the county, as far as realises it a tax for a public building in which he was county within itself, the former rights and in no way interested. privileges are expressly stated as reserved and unmolested ; and I do think, in the ADMISSION OF FREEMEN IN CITIES ancient and loyal city of Lincoln, the right and Boroughs.] Mr. Ross rose, purof a freeholder being vested in the soil, suant to notice, to move for leave to bring and not by grant or charter, there is every in a Bill “ to regulate the Admission of right for the possessors of soil therein to Freemen in Cities and Boroughs.” The have a voice. I do hope parliament will objects he had in view were, to diminish give the subject that consideration to the expenses candidates were put to at which such an important measure has elections, by being made to pay for the every claim. I repeat, it is no novel right, admission of freemen, and for bringing no new privilege, but a restoration of them down from town to the election. former rights, that is sought for.
There were many towns which had a far The Attorney-general said, that he still greater number of non-resident freemen held the sentiments which he had so lately than resident freemen. Dover had one expressed to the House on this subject; thousand two hundred resident, and one but he would not now repeat them, but thousand eight hundred non-resident freereserve himself for a future stage of the men ; Lancaster had only five hundred bill.
residents and three thousand non-resiLeave was given to bring in the bill. dents. For all these non-residents the
candidate was obliged to pay the expense Assessment of Lessors (Ireland).] of coming from London to the city or Mr. James Grattan rose to move for borough to which they belonged, and not leave to bring in a bill “to render Lessors only that, but often the expense of taking liable for county and parish assessments up their freedom. It thus happened, in all future leliings of land in Ireland.” that, in years of contested elections, from The hon. member observed, that com- five hundred to one thousand two hundred plaints had been made from all parts of freemen were admitted, whilst in other Ireland of the hardship of making the years there would not be more than a occupiers of land liable for permanent dozen. He proposed, therefore, that all assessinents. They were not only called persons entitled to take up their freedom upon to pay for roads and bridges, in should be bound to do so twelve months which it might be said they were inter- from the time of their becoming entitled
to do it. The hon. member concluded by modern reformers to relieve members of moving for leave to bring in the bill. parliament from expenses by curtailing
Lord Nugent doubted whether the bill the few existing rights of the electors—a would effect the objects of the hon. mem- plan to which he would never assent; and, ber; namely, the correction of the abuse therefore, without any disrespect to the of the creation of freemen during the poll hon. member, but to save him and the or immediately before it, and the expense House trouble, he should oppose the bill of bringing up voters. It might injuriously in the outset. affect the rights of persons at present out The motion was negatived. of the country. He had himself, last session, introduced a bill on the subject;
HOUSE OF LORDS. but he would rather see the matter in the hands of the hon. member than his own,
Friday, March 21. and he would give him every assistance in SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF his power in framing the provisions of the THE Gospel.] Lord King said, that bill.
before he proceeded to make the motion Lord Lowther said, they had so many of which he had given notice, he begged election bills at present before the House, leave to set right the character of the that he thought it would be impossible to person from whom he had, on a former do justice to them all. Besides, he occasion, presented a petition. He had thought the bill now proposed would be understood the right rev. prelate to object perfectly ineffective. He considered it to to the petitioner, that he was a man of so be one of the many attempts at petty irritable a temper that it was impossible to legislation respecting the right of voting, agree with him, and that other persons had which the House was almost daily in the complained of him so much, that it was habit of witnessing: He should oppose impossible the Society could continue to the introduction of the bill.
employ him as a missionary. Now, he Mr. D. W. Harvey opposed the bill, as held in his hand a copy of a memorial not only inadequate to the object pro- which had been sent to the Society in posed, but as greatly aggravating the evil favour of Mr. Griffin : it was signed by it was designed to remedy. He was far fifty-four inhabitants of Bridgetown, where from believing that all admissions were at Mr. Griffin had formerly resided, and the the expense of the candidate; at least his first signature was that of a justice of the own experience falsified the statement. But peace. It expressed the satisfaction of if it were so, the proposed bill would the memorialists with the conduct of Mr. increase the expenses of an election; for as Griffin, and requested that he might be every man who claimed the right of admis- appointed to officiate at a chapel, as the sion would be anxious to possess it, he memorialists were fully persuaded that by would go to the place in which it origin- so doing, the best interests of the church ated at an expense, the reimbursement of of England, and of religion and virtue which he would expect whenever a contest would be promoted. It was dated in arose, and thus throw on the candidates 1826. He believed there did exist, as was the charges of two journeys when one stated, bitter contentions in the colonies, would suffice. But he was chiefly opposed and that they were aggravated by the proto every measure of this sort because it ceedings of the Society. Nor was it at began at the wrong end. If it were really all unnatural, that it should be so; for a an object to prevent the payment of very great proportion of the people there admissions by candidates, why did not the were presbyterians, who had a strong feelhon. mover propose a bill by which the ing of dislike against the exercise of any candidate should be compelled to swear kind of patronage in the appointment of that he had not by himself, nor his agents, clergymen, and who liked to appoint their paid or promised to pay, and that he would own ministers. The people had very not hereafter by himself
, or his agents, strong objections to the person who had directly or indirectly, pay for the admis succeeded Mr. Griffin, and not liking him, sions ; and, further, fix a high penalty on they had deserted the church. The Society the detection of the offence, of which the had aggravated the natural causes for mere receiving the money should be evi- these contentions. He was sorry to give dence? This would be an intelligible so much trouble to the pure body which remedy. But it was quite the fashion of " he saw opposite; but he was sure their