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man chose to throw wny, to make ducks | been held with regard to every one of those and drakes of during his lifetime. Then, useful reforins which had latterly been sucagain, people talked of abolishing the law cessively and successfully introduced. In of entail ; why, the whole land of France reply to the remarks of the right hon. Gen. was entailed without the owner having any tleman, it might be said that the effect of power to dispose of it, except, perhaps, to changing the law would simply be to compel gamble it away. Having made this refe- a man to make a will. The testator would rence to the Code Napoleon, perhaps he have nothing to do but to provide by will might be permitted to say that before going for what in the present state of things the to a division it was desirable that they law did for him. should bring the question upon which they THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said, if were going to divide within the narrowest this had been altogether a legal question, he possible limits. He would endeavour to should have been content to rest his oppo. state what those limits were. He con- sition to the Bill upon the earlier part of the ceived that the subject before them re- able speech of his hon. and learned Friend solved itself into two questions. The first the Solicitor General; but as he considered was, whether it should coutinue to be the that this Bill was more calculated to affect policy of the law, as it had hitherto been, the constitution and well-being of the to administer the real property of intes- country than any other which had been tates according to the custom of the coun- introduced in our time, except the Reform try, founded upon the known wishes and Act of 1832, he should trouble the House intentions of tlie owners of such property with one or two observations upon it. His in general ; or whether such property hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor Geneshould in future be administered in con- ral, who had almost exhausted the arguformity with certain abstract theories of ments, predicted that if this Bill should natural justice, upon which hon. Gentle- pass into law, it would give rise to agitation men on that side of the House (the Opposi- for still further changes, the effect of which tion) had so eloquently declaimed. The would be entirely to destroy the liberty of dissecond question, which followed upon the posing of their property which had hitherto first, and must be answered according to the been enjoyed by the people of this country. decision upon that, was whether, dividing That consequence had been denied and reintestates into two classes-namely, those pudiated by hon. Gentlemen who supported who were favourable to the continuance of the Bill ; but the right hon. Member for the law as it was, and those who wished Kidderminister (Mr. Lowe) had based his for a change, the responsibility attaching entire argument in its favour upon the to not making a will should be thrown ground that it was the duty of Parliament upon those who wished to keep the law as to take care that the property of an intesit was, or upon those who desired to ulter it. tate was distributed as it would become an These were really the two questions which intelligent, a good, and a prudent man to they had to decide. If the House was of dispose of it. If the right hon. Gentleman opinion-an opinion which had been almost was correct in that assumption, would the unanimously expressed—that the general passing of this Bill be anything but a lepolicy of the law should be to administer gislative declaration that it was the duty property according to the wishes of the of every honest, wise, and good man to distestator, and not in conformity with any tribute his real estate among his children pre-conceived or arbitrary notions of ab. as provided for by this Bill; and would it stract justice, then he thought that the be possible that the consequence predicted conclusion could not be resisted that the by the Solicitor General, and of which we responsibility of making a will should be had an example in a neighbouring country, thrown, not upon those who were content could lung be deferred? In France the to leave the la was it was, but upon those abolition of the law of primogeniture bad who wished to change it.

been followed by the loss of power to disMR. GREER suid, that the supporters pose of property by will at all, and was of the Bill asked the House to redress a there not reason to fear that if this Bill practical and tangible grievance ; whereas were passed the same consequences would those who opposed it had nothing to ad- at no distant period follow in this country? vance in answer to the demand but certain This question affected not only the upper prospective-and, he believed, imaginary and middle, but also the poorer classes. -evils. The House should recollect that there were in this country wany honest exactly the same sort of reasoning bad hardworking labouring men, who, having

struggled through life to support their fami-small as it might be, to go to his eldest son, lies, had become possessed either by their and it would be inflicting a great hardship industry or by inheritance of a cottage, and upon him to defeat his intentions merely perhaps an acre or two of land round it, because his inadvertence or want of means but had no other property worth speaking had prevented his making the arrangeof. As the law now stood such a man died ments which would set this Bill at nought. in peace without making a will, because he However, he founded his opposition to the was satisfied that his little estate would go measure upon higher grounds than that. to his eldest son, as he desired it should ; He held that a constitutional monarchy but if this Bill became law, either he must required the existence of a landed arisincur the cost of employing a lawyer to tocracy-by aristocracy meaning landed make a will, or what little property he left gentry, whether titled or untitled. Unless would be swallowed up in the expenses of you had such a body, filling the intermediate administration, no provision being made place between the Crown and the bulk of for distributing it without that process. On the people a constitutional monarchy such these grounds, and on others to which he as that in England could not in practice need not then advert, he hoped that the exist. The moment that body sunk into House would not read this Bill a second time. insignificance you lost the controlling and

Viscount PALMERSTON said, that regulating power which was absolutely eshe objected to this Bill on every possible sential to the safe working of our repreground. The proposition contained in itsentative institutions. We had seen that in was at variance with the habits, customs, other countries where the equal division of and feelings of the people of this country, land prevailed the landed aristocracy, the and incompatible with the maintenance of landed .gentry, had sunk into comparative a constitutional monarchy. That it'was at insignificance, because the importance of variance with the habits, customs, and feel the body must be the aggregate importance ings of the country was matter of public of the individuals who composed it. If you and common notoriety, because everybody had a peerage and a gentry reduced to inknew that among all classes of the com- dividual poverty it was impossible that they munity there was a settled disposition to could exercise those functions in the State make an elder son. The hon, and learned wbich were essential to the maintenance of Gentleman, the Attorney General, had re- a balance between the different Power's ferred to what had occurred among those which composed the fabric of our repreof the humbler classes who had acquired sentative constitution. He objected to the possession of a small piece of land. In his Bill, on that ground, and it was no answer own neighbourhood he (Viscount Palmerston) to him to say that this measure would still was acquainted with a striking instance of leave a man the option of disposing of his the feeling which pervaded those classes property as he pleased by will. If it were in regard to this matter. There was a true, as he believed it was, that a great small yeoman living on the borders of the constitutional principle was involved in the New Forest, possessing a cottage and a maintenance of lauded estates, you ought few acres of land which he had inherited not to leave it to the accidental choice of from an ancestor who carried the body of the landowner whether or not bis property William Rufus to Winchester. That cot- should descend in the manner most adapted tage and those few acres had descended to the maintenance of our existing institufrom father to son from generation to tions. In the uncertainty of life it might generation, and that man was as proud of often happen that a man intending to dishis position as the greatest peer or the pose of his property contrary to the prolargest landowner in the country. This visions of this Bill might be carried off Bill, if carried, would alter our existing unexpectedly, leaving those intentions unsystem, which was congenial to the habits fulfilled ; under which circumstances the and feelings of the whole community. property, whether large or small, which was What was said by the hon. and learned essential to the maintenance of the family, Attorny General was perfectly true; how would, against his wish, be divided among could you expect the proprietor of a cottage a great number of persons. The present and a few acres of land to go to the ex. law, giving the succession to the eldest son, pense and trouble of a will? His ignorance, appeared to him to be a just one; but if his want of foresight, or his poverty mig any one thought otherwise, he might, hy prevent his calling in a lawyer to prepare will, dispose of his property in any other such an instrument : he wished his estate, manner he pleased, there was no constraint VOL. CLII. (THIRD SERIES.)

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upon him except the constraint of custom, in a Bill which he introduced some years of public opinion, and of individual feeling. ago relating to mortgages, but he could Under these circumstances, and without assure the House he had quite trouble entering into any detailed objections to the enough to pass that Bill as it was, without Bill founded on the difficulty of carrying introducing such a provision. However, its provisions into operation, he opposed in the event of this Bill not passing, he it upon principle. Ile objected to it funda would promise to introduce such a Bill to mentally, as at variance with our monarch- the House. Again, the learned Solicitor ical and constitutional institutions, and as General said the House was not to make a tending to produce either despotism or re- will for a person who neglected to do so publicanism. He was unwilling to promote himself; and he seemed to intimate that either the one or the other ; and he must the person ought to suffer for his negtherefore oppose that measure to the ut- lect. But that person was not the one who most of his power.

suffered. The man was dead and could MR. LOCKE KING said, that he not suffer, and it was the widow and thought the noble Lord had given ex- children who suffered, not so much from pression to what he (Mr. Locke King) the neglect of the deceased as from his must consider prejudice, such as he could ignorance of the state of the law. The scarcely have expected in the leader of a learned Attorney General had stated that Liberal party. The noble Lord's speech the small landowners were aware of the would better have become the head of Her state of the law, but he (Mr. Locke Majesty's Government in “another place.” King) possessed undoubted evidence to the The noble Lord had not contributed much contrary, and that the discussion which information to the House, for the solitary had taken place on the subject in the case of the landowner in the New Forest House 'had done much good by calling athad been previously brought to their no. tention to the subject. The learned Soli. tice; and if that individual was so exceed-citor General had, in a good-natured way, ingly proud of his estate having been bantered him on his views with regard to handed down so many years, surely it the law of entail. He (Mr. Locke King) would not be a rery great hardship for thought the system of entails was not dehim to hand it down to his heir by will sirable for this country; but he did not instead of by descent. The learned At- propose to alter the law on that subject, torney General had made what he thought and for the very reason wbich induced him a very good point when he commented on to bring forward the present Bill. This the evils of permitting an estate to go Bill was in harmony with the feelings of away from the eldest son. He said that a the people on whom the law of intestacy man died in peace under the existing law, acted unjustly; the system of entails was because he knew that his estate would go in harmony with the feelings of the large to his eldest son. He died in peace, then, landowners. He therefore proposed to deal because the rest of his children and his with one case, and not to touch the other. widow were entirely destitute. [Cries of The right hon. Member for Radnor did not “No!”] He thought that naturally fol- seem to understand the law of dower. He lowed. As an unfortunate layman, it would said, if a man possessed of land died intesill become him (Mr. Locke King) to attempt tate one-third went to his widow. Practito answer the arguments of the learned cally this was not the case, for in all deeds Solicitor General; but whilst he acknow- of purchase the dower was barred. If an ledged the fairness of that hon. and learned estate came to a man by inheritance dower Gentleman's arguments on most occasions, operated ; but then it was very small, he (Mr. Locke King) thought that they because, although in personalty dower was were in this instance both far-fetched and a third of the principal in case of realty technical, He spoke of the case in which it was only a third of the income a man might die, having by will disposed very small sum indeed. In conclusion he of bis personal but not of his real estate. would express an opinion that public feeling That was a very small matter, and by way was very strong on the subject of intes of contrast he (Mr. Locke King) would put tacy, and that the division list would be the case of a man who had bequeathed his discussed on the hustings wlienever hon. personalty and then after the date of his Members again made their bow to their will contracted for the purchase of real constituents. estate. He had been asked why he did Question put, “ That the word 'now' not embody a provision to meet that case stand part of the Question.”


The House divided :-Ayes 76 ; Noes would be the consequence ? Any person 271 : Majority 195.

for a small amount of money would be able Words added. Main Question amended, to purchase for himself a freehold in twenty put, and agreed to.

different boroughs, and would be entitled Bill put off for six months.

to record his vote in every one of them without stirring from his own house.

MR. SPEAKER: I do not think that NEWSPAPERS, &c., BILL.

the observations of the bon, and learned SECOND READING.

Member, as far as I can understand them, Order for Second Reading read.

have reference to the Bill now before the MR. AYRTON, in moving the Second House. Reading of this Bill, said it was not neces- MR. HEADLAM proceeded: Of course sary to discuss the measure, because it was he would bow to the decision of the right altogether a question of detail, and if there hon. Gentleman, but he wished to submit were any objections on the part of Govern- to the House that the reason he urged for ment they could be considered in Com- the adjournment of the debate was that mittee.

the question of polling papers was to be THE ATTORNEY GENERAL said, considered on a future occasion; and his there was no objection to the second read-object was to show that the great objecing.

tion to the polling papers, proposed as a Bill read 2.

substitute for a system entailing great

expenses on the candidates, was, that a CONVEYANCE OF VOTERS BILL.

person sitting in London would be able to

vote for any number of boroughıs throughSECOND READING,

out England without having seen one of Order for Second Reading read. them. If one person could do this, so could

MR. COLLIER moved the second read- a combination; and so, therefore, could a ing of this Bill.

club in London, and thus rule the elections Motion made, and Question proposed, throughout the country. He said it deli“ That the Bill be now read a second berately, that by means of these polling time.”

papers a club might interfere with all the MR. HUNT proposed, as an Amendment, elections in the kingdom. He wished to that the debate should be adjourned. The state this in the clearest possible manner. solution of the question relating to the MR. PACKE rose to order. The hon. conveyance of voters would depend upon and learned Gentleman was discussing a whether the House adopted the system of Bill not before the House. polling papers which formed part of the Mr. SPEAKER: I have already exnew Reform Bill, and it would, therefore, i pressed an opinion that the course of argube a mere waste of time to discuss it now. ment which the hon, and learned Member

Motion made and Question proposed, is pursuing is not in accordance with the “ That the Debate be now adjourned.” regular practice of the House.

MR. HEADLAM said, he would advise MR. HEADLAM said, he would then his hon. and learned Friend to proceed with recommend his hon. and learned Friend to his Bill as rapidly as be possibly could ; go on with his Bill, because no good reason first, because it was extremely doubtful | had been urged for the postponement. whether the Ministerial scheme of reforun MR. STEUART said, he should vote in would ever be discussed in that House; favour of the adjournment of the debate. and secondly, because the question relating The hon, and learned Member for Newto the conveyance of voters was in that castle was mistaken. He had not caremeasure mixed up with the objectionable fully perused the provisions of the new proposition of polling papers. It was now Reform Bill. If he had done so, he would seriously proposed for the first time that a have found that, in addition to the proposi. gentleman sitting in London should be en- tion relative to polling papers, there was a titled to vote for a borough without being clause respecting the payment of the ex. an inhabitant of it, and without having the penses of voters. He would then only say smallest connection with it. Ile might vote that the question would come before the for Morpeth, for Penzance, or for a Welsh House whether the expenses of conveyance borough, neither of which he had ever seen, should be paid. That, he believed, was in simply from having ordered his agent to the Reform Bill. That question would purchase in it a 40s. freehold. What before Jong have to be solved in another place; and he thought, therefore, it would MR. BARROW said, he objected to the not be wise to go into it now, especially as proposed multiplication of polling places. there would not be time to complete the No man in the House was more opposed to discussion before the House rose at six bribery than he was. At present the law o'clock.

permitted candidates to pay the expense of MR. BYNG remarked, that the Act sending voters to the poll ; and he did not which legalized the payment of the expenses think the substitute proposed by the Bill of voters was passed in a very thin House, would diminish the expense to the candi. and at a period of the Session when the dates. If there was a polling place in Government were able to carry any measure every parish he knew places where voters they pleased. He maintained that to would still have to travel seven, eight, convey voters to the poll was contrary to or nine miles ; but the multiplication of sound principle, and he trusted that the polling places would greatly increase the hon, and learned Member for Plymouth present expenses. would persevere in his endeavours to re- Sir JOHN SHELLEY said, he rose to peal an obnoxious and dangerous enact-order. The hon. Gentleman was discussment.

ing the merits of the Bill, but the question MR. COLLIER observed, that when he before the House was the adjournment of introduced the Bill he was told that the the debate. subject had been so much discussed during MR. SPEAKER: I think the bon. the last Session that it was exhausted ; Gentleman is not irregular. but now that the House was on the second MR. BARROW proceeded: There might reading an adjournment was urged on the under the Bill be twenty polling places, ground that there was not time for discuss. but if so, there must be twenty deputy ing the question. [Cries of No !”] He sheriffs, twenty professional gentlemen, 80 understood the objection. He asked twenty poll clerks, and twenty persons to leave to introduce this Bill, which was a take care there was no personation. The Bill to repeal a continuance Bill that ex- increase of expense would be enormous. pired in July, on the ground that the law MR. HUNT said, that as it was the wish was objectionable, and that there might be of the House to discuss the question, he a dissolution, in which case the influence would, with the leave of the House, withof the purse would be enormously in- draw his Motion for the adjournment. creased. He saw no reason now to induce Motion, by leave, withdrawn. him to think that a dissolution was less Question again proposed, " That the Bill probable ; and when he was asked to post- be now read a second time.” pone his Bill because there were similar MR. EDWIN JAMES said, the question provisions in another measure before the before the House appeared to him to be a House, his answer was that he did not very serious one. Every Member of the think that other Bill would pass, that he House must be thoroughly convinced that considered it to be a bad Bill, and that he the enormous expense which attended elecshould endeavour to prevent its passing. tions was a scandal and disgrace to the conHe should proceed with his Bill.

stituencies of the country. It was a violaViscount PALMERSTON remarked, tion of the policy of the House of Commons that he could not say that he had heard as expressed in several Acts. It was well any good reason why the House should not known, for instance, that the first Treating proceed to consider the Bill. Whatever Act, passed in 1688, recited that the enoropinion hon. Gentlemen might entertain of mous expenses, not merely with reference the Bill, he thought there could be no to treating, but to the expenses generally, reason why the House should not enter on to which candidates were subjected violated its discussion, and ascertain what argu- the independence of the House and defeated ments could be adduced on either side, the free choice of the electors. Why, in On a former occasion he had expressed an the metropolitan boroughs (a laugh]-he opinion against one of the provisions of the was entitled to speak on the subject, for be Bill. The other-that, he meant, with re- had his agent's bill in his pocket-the exspect to polling places—he thought no one pense of the conveyance of voters to the would object to. He hoped, therefore, the poll was enough to deter men of great House would not insist on the adjournment eminence and talent from offering themof the debate, but that they would allow selves as candidates for seats in the House the hon. and learned Gentleman to proceed of Commons. The metropolitan boroughs to the second reading.

presented most extraordinary scenes upon

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