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out the bill, by Mr. Portman, one of the members for Dorset shire, who moved that it should be read a second time that day six months; but only twenty-eight members voted for the motion. In the committee a stronger effort was made in favour of a clause proposed by Mr. Monck, member for Reading, to the effect of permitting the brewer to sell his beer on premises different from those on which it had been brewed. This, it was contended, was only an enlargement of the former permission to sell beer on the premises on which it had been brewed; it would not injure the object sought by the bill, in so far as protection against monopoly was concerned, while it would be beneficial to the interests of the existing dealers, whose interests were not to be unnecessarily neglected, after having vested their capital in the business, on the faith that the system would be continued on the footing of the act passed two years ago. The clause was opposed as being utterly inconsistent with the very principle of the bill. The effect of it would be to prevent competition; and the public, instead of receiving an improved commodity, would remain, in that respect, precisely as they were, with the additional disadvantage of having sacriticed a five-guinea license for a two-guinea one. It no doubt was true that the creation of competition would affect, to some extent, the capital invested in the trade; but that was no reason for sacrificing the public good to avoid a smaller inconvenience, to which every man engaging in any branch of trade was necessarily exposed. But the brewers exaggerated their dangers. The measure went to extend the means of selling

beer for the benefit of the humbler classes of the community. The old restrictions still continued to apply to those who sold beer with other exciseable articles, and the profit derived from dealing in these other articles was very considerable. And what had they to fear from competition, if they did their duty? Surely, if they sold an equally good article, it was more likely that the old houses would retain their customers, than that strangers should seduce them away. As to the public morals, they did not require the protection of the publicans and victuallers, and there was nothing in the present system to prevent immorality, while it acted the other way by encouraging the consumption of a poisonous liquid, called gin, and vested the magistrates with a great deal of absolute and capricious power. When the committee divided, the proposed clause was rejected by a majority of only twenty-five, the votes against it being 143, and those in its favour

118.

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On the third reading of the bill, during the progress of which its opponents had expressed in all shapes their great anxiety to prevent the lower orders from indulging in habits of intoxication, Mr. Batley moved a clause to the effect of enforcing the statute of James 1st against "the odious crime of drunkenness." Mr. Brougham declared. himself one of those who thought the general interests of morality were more consulted by permitting such clauses to slumber in the cells of the statute-book, than by having them enforced. What was the real meaning of the statute of James 1st? Why, that a penalty should be inflicted on any person who committed the odious and ungodly crime of

drunkenness, from any liquor ex cept claret or champagne. If morality was to be enforced by act of Parliament, let the law be impartial, and not punish the poor or illiterate for a crime less pardonable in the rich and educated, whom it spared. Why should a man be fined for getting drunk from gin or spirits, and not from claret or champagne ? He should like to see, however the law might say that there was to be no distinction of persons in those cases, the justice of peace or magistrate who would fine a knight of the shire, or independent member of an independent borough, who, in the morning, might possibly be brought before him in a state presenting a good imitation of the odious and ungodly crime of drunkenness, which called down the wrath of the moral legislators of the enlightened times of James 1st. Sir Robert Inglis having remarked, that it was a higher authority than that of James 1st, which had denounced drunkenness, and that even if Mr. Brougham himself were found in the street in a state of inebriety, no magistrate,

performing his duty, would fail to punish him, Mr. Brougham answered, that he had not the good fortune to be educated at the university which was so worthily represented by the hon. baronet. It was, indeed, well replied by Dr. Johnson to a lady who inquired of him to which university she should send her son-"Why, madam, I can only say that there is an equal quantity of port drunk at each." He was perfectly aware that a higher authority than the act of James 1st denounced drunkenness, but the difference was, that that high authority made no distinction of persons, whereas the act of James did. He put it to the hon. baronet to say, whether he could point out one instance of a member of either House of Parliament having been punished for tippling? Sir Robert repeated, that, if Mr. Brougham would only go into the street drunk, he would soon find that he was liable to punishment. Then, said Mr. Brougham, it would be grossly unfair; for there are thousands of gentlemen, in the same situation, who are never noticed.

CHAP. IV.

Plan of Reform introduced by the Marquis of Blandford-Proposal to transfer to Birmingham the Franchise of East Retford, rejected, and the Franchise extended to the adjoining Hundred-Petition against the Duke of Newcastle for interfering in an election—Lord John Russell's Bill for giving Members to Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham-Mr. O'Connell's Bill for Reform by Universal Suffrage, and Vote by Ballot-Speech of Mr. Brougham on the BallotResolutions on Reform moved by Lord John Russell—Bill brought in to repeal the Civil Disabilities affecting Jews-It is thrown out on the Second Reading.

DURING

URING the Session, the state of the Representation was brought before the House of Commons in various forms. It has already been mentioned that resolutions, pledging the House forthwith to employ themselves in the work of reform, had been moved as an amendment to the address by the marquis of Blandford. The marquis had been a violent opponent of the Catholic bill; he had seen that bill carried in defiance of public opinion, by a parliament which changed its sentiments at the nod of the minister, and from that moment he had become a fiery and reckless reformer, frequently forcing forward the question, against the wishes and advice of its longer tried and more experienced patrons, and never distinguished by moderation in his schemes. The amendment which he had moved on the address, and which he had pressed to a hopeless division, contrary to the entreaties of the leading reformers, only expressed generally the necessity of reform: but shortly afterwards (on the 18th of February,) he brought

forward a more specific plan. He took up the common ground, that, in progress of time, the House of Commons had ceased to be framed as the essential principles and earlier practice of the constitution required that it should be framed. This had arisen from represented places falling into decay on the one hand, while, on the other, wealthy and populous towns, which had sprung up in the mean time, remained unrepresented. He professed that his object was, to restore the fundamental principles of Representation, as they had been established in the days of Henry III., and the three Edwards. He proposed that a committee should be chosen by ballot, to take a review of all boroughs and cities in the kingdom, and report to the Secretary for the Home Department those among them which had fallen into decay, or had, in any manner, forfeited their right to representation, on the principles of the English constitution, as anciently recognized by national and parliamentary usage. The Home Secretary was to be bound to act immediately on this

report, and relieve all such places from the burthen of sending members to parliament in future; and the fact of their having thus ceased to elect representatives being announced in the Gazette, the vacancies should be filled up by towns which had hitherto been unrepresented. All elections should be by persons paying scot and lot. Another part of his plan was, to revive what he deemed a wholesome expedient in itself, and conformable to ancient practice, when the constitution was in its vigour, viz. the custom of paying wages to members for their attendance in parliament. This was a provision which, he thought, would be a material preventive of abuses. He proposed to extend the right of voting to all copyholders and leaseholders, and place the representation of Scotland on the same footing with that of England. The members, too, should be chosen from among the inhabitants of the places for which they were returned. He had, of course, no intention of proposing that any compensation should be given to the proprietors of boroughs, because it was a species of property which the constitution did not recognize. In being deprived of it, they would merely be deprived of what they ought never to have possessed. Nevertheless, if this avowal should interfere with the success of his bill, and originate a factious and interested opposition, he acknowledged it would be better to concede a compensation, rather than the measure should be impeded or delayed for a single year. As for those original and fundamental principles of the constitution to which his lordship wished to bring it back, they would be found, he said, interspersed throughout the earlier pages of our history and

statute-book. Some would be discovered in Magna Charta, some in the act for fixing the qualifications of burgesses, and the rest in various other parts of the parliamentary records of the kingdom, which it would not be difficult to specify seriatim, if such minuteness were required. But there was an aggregate of constitutional authority in abundance. He therefore moved for leave to bring in a bill, to restore the constitutional influence of the House of Commons.

In the short debate which followed, all the speaking, with the exception of what fell from Mr. Twiss and Mr. Secretary Peel, was among the reformers, and they could by no means agree among themselves how to receive the noble marquis's most crude and unintelligible proposal. The safest plan seemed to them to be, to repeat the common-places on the general question, and allow the bill to be brought in, whatever might be done with it afterwards. Thus Mr. Pendarvis announced his conviction of the necessity of reform, but declared that he was not prepared to go all the lengths of the measure now before the House. Mr. Benett could not promise the marquis his unconditional support, but hoped the bill would be allowed to be introduced, and then it might be moulded or opposed as seemed expedient. Mr. Hobhouse said, that he would support the bill on this plain ground, that nothing could possibly be so bad but it must be better than the existing system. The scheme was said to be unintelligible; but he understood it to be," a measure to reform the House," and that was enough for him.

It occurred to sir Robert Wilson that the measure was partially objectionable, as it gave too

despotic a power to the committee, who were to select what boroughs they thought fit to be represented; but he would support the introduction of the bill, for he could not bring himself to resist what came accompanied with so pleasant a recommendation as to pay wages to members of parliament. Sir Francis Burdett said, he was bound to state that he could not comprehend at once all the details; but he understood it to be a great measure of reform, which was supported by very considerable ability; and that its object was, to endeavour to restore to the people of England a share of the constitution of the country, to which they had as great a right as a peer had to his title, or the king to his seat upon the throne. He would, therefore, support it, as a new effort in the only struggle which now was really worth making, that of reform. He admitted that the House was composed of men of as enlightened understandings, and as addicted to the English principles of freedom, as could be found collected in any part of the world; but they were returned to the House under an influence which rendered them incapable of exerting the faculties of their minds, and injurious to the country. "Look at myself," exclaimed sir Francis, "I have gone through the whole process under the present system of representation, and a most ruinous one it has been. Early in life, I came into this House in order to defend the constitution of England. purchased my seat of a boroughmonger. He was no patron of mine; he took my money, and by purchase I obtained aright to speak in the most public place in England. With my views, and with my love of the liberty of my coun

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try, I did not grudge the sacrifice I made for that commanding consideration. If I had abused the right I thus purchased, and passed through corruption to the honours of the peerage, I should not enjoy the satisfaction I now feel." He had tried, too, he said, the county system. He stood for a county, though he would not have given twopence for the representation of that county, his object having been to expose the abominable system, and the oppressive tyranny of solitary confinement in England. To expose those abuses it was, that he stood upon the hustings at Brentford, though he really would not have given twopence for the representation of the county. He could have got returned for East Retford at a much cheaper rate, and have been a more independent man. He had also gone through the remedial operation, as it was called, of the Grenville act; so that, as he had sounded all the shoals and shallows of the system, it was not wonderful he should be a great advocate for an alteration. The plain question was this-ought the House to be an assembly of retainers of the Crown, or of representatives of the people of England? Mr. Maberly declared, that though a reformer, he could not support such a bill as this, and Mr. Stanley said he would not give his vote to bring in a bill which he saw he should have to oppose as soon as it had been brought in.

In opposition to the motion, Mr. Twiss, who rose on Mr. Hobhouse expressing something like indignant astonishment that no ministerial member stepped forth to the combat, said, that truly the opposition members were stating so many objections to the bill, one after another, as to leave the members

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