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admonition ; and did she not tell you, or did not your own conscience tell you to look on Ireland, and to compare her condition under a Whig and Conservative administration. But it is not with Whig policy alone that your policy should be compared; your own policy in a country more fortunate than ours furnishes almost an appropriate matter of adjuration. Why do you tell me, in the name of common consistency an'da plain sense, wherefore do you adopt in Canada a policy so utterly oppo. site from that which in Ireland it is your and our misfortune that you should pursue ? From a system so diametrically opposed, how can the same results be expected to follow? In Canada, under the old colonial rule, there prevailed a strong addiction to democracy, a leaning towards the great republic in their vicinage, a deep hatred of England, and a spirit which broke at last into a sanguinary and exceedingly costly rebellion. You had the sound feeling and the sound sense to open your eyes at last to the series of mistakes, which successive governments had committed with regard to Canada ; your policy was not only changed but revolutionized; you abandoned the “family compact ;" you placed the government in sympathy with the people, and you raised to office men who had been pursued to the death, and conferred honours upon those to whom decapitation, had they been arrested, would at one period have been awarded. The result Pas been what all wise men had anticipated and what all good men had desired. In a late debate I heard the Prime Minister expatiate upon the necessity of dealing in reference to Canada, in the most liberal and conciliatory spirit, and when I heard him, I could not refrain from exclaiming : “Oh! that for Ireland, for unhappy Ireland—Oh! that for my country, he would feel as he does towards Canada, and in its regard act the same generous part!” That prayer which rose involuntarily from my lips, I now-yes, I now venture to address to you. The part which in Canada you have had the wisdom and the virtue to act, have in Ireland, (but oli! without a civil war !) have the virtue and the wisdom to follow. Rid, rid yourself in Ireland of “ the family compact.”. Banish Orangeism from the Castle ; put yourselves into contact in place of putting yourselves into collision with the people ? reform the Protestant Church ; conciliate the Catholic priesthood ; disarm us, but not of the weapons against which this measure is directed—strip us of that triple panoply with which he who hath his quarrel just is invested—do this, and if you will do this, you will do far more for the tranquillization of Ireland, for the consolidation of the empire, and for your own renown, than if you were by arms bills and by coercion acts, and by a wbole chain of despotic enactments, to suc. ceed in. iuflicting upon Ireland, that bad, that false, that deceptive, that desolate tranquillity which the history of the world, which all the philosophy that teaches by example, which the experience of every British statesman, which, above all, your owři experience should teach you, is sure to be followed by calan.ities greater than any by which it was preceded.
VOTE BY BALLOT.
SPEECH IN TUE HOUSE OF COMMONS, JUNE 21, 1813,
(r is more than difficult to give freshness ana originality to the subject which has been introduced with so much ability by my honourable friend,* and if it were incumbent on those who take a share in its discussion to impart to it that sort of interest which arises from speculations equally novel and refined, I should not have ventured to interpose; but so far from thinking that the ballot offers an appropriate occasion for a display of that dexterity in disputation, from which, if some entertainment, little instruction can be derived, I feel persuaded that a great and simple cause must be damaged far more than it can be promoted by any subtlety of disquisition which may be indulged in its sustainment. Where manifest abuses exist–abuses not only capable of proof, but of which the evidence amounts to demonstration, and arguments founded on undisputable facts can be so readily adduced, political metaphysics ought to be avoided. It is far wiser, in place of straining for ingenuities in favour of the ballot, to revert to those reasons which long-continued evils have long presented to us, and as it is by repeated appeals to their sense of justice, that the opinion of the people of this country is ultimately influenced, as the ballot is to be carried in the same way in which all the great changes in which we have been the witnesses have been accomplished, and as in those signal instances it was necessary again and again, and session after session, to urge the same obvious motives for the measures which were pressed with a strenuous reiteration upou the parliament and the country; so in this important discussion, the circumstance that an argument has been advanced, or a striking fact has been stated before, furnishes no just reason for not again insisting upon it. I do not, therefore, hesitate to revert in the outset, although it may have been already mentioned, to what took place in reference to the ballot when the Reform Bill was originally propounded. I attach great importance to the facts which ought to put an end to the dispute regarding what is called the finality of the Reform Bill, in reference to the question before the house. The noble lord, the member for Lone don, has been, I think, a good deal misrepresented on this head; for some among his supporters have naturally conjectured that he regarded the Reform Bill as a monument where he should " set up his everlasting rest.” But I for one never understood the noble lord to have. spoken in the sense ascribed to him. I admit, that if the members of Earl Grey's government had entered into an agreement, that not only no ulterior alteration of the franchise should be ever supported by them, but that, in reference to the mode of exercising it, no change should ever be proposed, that compact, no matter how preposterous, might be plausibly relied upou, against those who were parties to it-against any further inorenient upon their part, it might be pleaded as an estoppel;
* Mr. Arute.
but it can be prored, by eviaence beyond dispute, thai sus far as the ballot is concerned, no such bargain as has been imputed to the Whig government was erer thought of; the direct contrary of what has been so frequently insinuated is the truth. 4 committeee of five distinguished men, all of them more or less conspicuous for agitation in the cause of reforın, was named by the government to draw up a plan of reform. A scheme was accordingly framed by them, and the vote by ballot formed a part of it. The measure of which the noble lord approved in 1831 cannot be of that immoral and debasing character which its antagonists have sometimes represented it to be. My more im nedirte purpose, however, in referring to a fact announced by the uoble lord himself, is to introduce with greater effect the declaration made by the noble lord on moving to bring in the Reform Bill, in March, 1841. The report in favour of the ballot was not adopted, but it was agreed that upon the question no decision should be formed one way "r thr; other, and that the Reform Bill should be laid before the harise without prejudice to the future adoption of the ballot. This was unequivocally declared by the noble lord in his celebrated speech on mcving that bill, which, on account of his great services to the cause of freedom, was so appropriately confided to him. I cannot conceive how, after such a declaration, made under such circumstances by the noble lord, in language as clear as the English tongue can supply, there can be any doubt as to the question of fact, namely, that the Reform Bill was not in any way to affect the question of ballot. But in the progress of the bill what befel ? When the Chandos clause was proposed, Lord Althorp resisted it, and declared it to be contrary to the spirit of the Reform Bill, and said that it would furnish a strong argument for the ballot. Thus, it appears, that before the Reform Bill was brought forward, the ballot was proposed by certain members of the government. When the Reform Bill was brought forward there was an express reservation in favour of the right of thereafter proposing the ballot, and during the discussion of the measure the leader of the House of Commons deliberately stated that a principle had been grafted on the measure, which altered its character and afforded good grounds for demanding the ballot. Let us follow the bill to the House of Lords. Lord Grey made this most important statement :--He said that the agricultural interest had already been greatly strengthened by the Reform Bill; that the Chandos clause confered on that interest an accession of influence which was excessive and undve, and that that clause, not originally contemplated by the ministry, would furnish strong reasons for the ballot. Well might Lord Grey have said so He had, in devising the Reform Bill, adhered to his plan of reform brought forward in 1782, and cut the counties of England into sections. This had, it is manifest, the direct tendency to augment the agricultural interest, and to strengthen the influence of individuals in tne localities where their property was situated. Lord Grey, however, did not intend that tenants at will, whose subserviency is implied by their designation, should be invested with the franchise; and when he found that this vast addition vas inade to the local power of the landed gentry in every county in
England, he saw, with his h: bitual perspicacity, that the abuse of that power, thus unexpectedly augmented, would lead to a demand for that mode of exercising the franchise by which that power should be reduced to its proper limits. Lord Grey foretold that the landed interest would acquire, by the Reform Bill thus altered, an injurious power. Let us turn from the prediction to its fulfilment, and from the most illustrious prophet of the consequences of the Chandos clause, to a most distinguished witness to its effects. If an ordinary man had stated in the House of Commons that the result of the Reform Bill was, that when the opinions of a few great proprietors in the section of an English county were known, it was fortunately easy to foresee the inevitable result of the election—that statement would, from its important truth, have attracted notice; but when one of the leading members of Lord Grey's administration, when one of the men who had been most conspicuous in advocating the cause of reform in the House of Commons, and whose eloquence was only surpassed by his spirit of fearless adventure in going all lengths for its attainment when the noble lord the member for Lancashire announced with an anomalous triumph, that the counties of England had fallen into the hands of a few nominators, and that, in fact, the spirit of the old close borough system had been extended to the chief agricultural divisions of England, no wonder that an admission made by that eminent person, who thus made an involuntary contribution to the cause of reform, from which he had seceded, should have produced a great and lasting sensation through the entire country. In his address to the electors of London, the noble lord who represents it, referred to that admission of the noble lord the member for Lancashire, and dwelt upon the state of things in the English counties, which he described. I confess that when I read the address of my noble friend, I could not help exclaiming, “ Now Lord John must come round to the ballot.” Perhaps I was too sanguine, but if to the ballot he has not come round, what remedy is he prepared to apply the vil, in evidence of which he has thus cited the noble lord ? What is to be done? If nothing is to be done, why was the disastrous truth set forth so conspicuously and prominently in the letter of the noble lord ? Why exhibit the disease? Why disclose the foul distemper? why conceal the gangrene in the very vitals of our system, unless you are prepared to adop: the only efficient remedy for its cure? I do think that after this admission, to insist upon the fact that there exists an undue influence which it is necessary to control in this country, is almost superfluous. It has been more than once confessed by the right honourable baronet the member for Tamworth, that intimidation was carried to a most criminal extent. I recollect that in 1837 it was imputed to him that he had used coercion over his dependants at Tamworth, and that with a most honourable indignation he repudiated the charge, and demanded a retractation, which he obtained. I have heard him say in this house, and I believe him, that he abhorred intimidation. What will he do for its represo
You are anxious, honestly anxious, to put a stop to bribery : you have given proof of your bonourable solicitude in this regard; anul in mis useful and lionourable wish you have incurred the censures of
men, who are more anxious to extend the church, than the morality of which the church should furnish the example. But is bribery to be corrected, and is intimidation to be left unchecked and unrestrained : The right honourable baronet observed that his party were not interested in supporting bribery. Passing by the reasons, let me ask, are his party interested in maintaining intimidation? You will answer-. No. Well, will you do something to put a stop to it? You will say, perhaps, that the ballot will not do it. Let us consider whether it will or not, and let us at the same time consider the objections in a social and moral point of view, which are urged against it. The ballot will not secure secrecy. This objection to its inefficiency as a protection, is very much at variance with the allegations of its efficacy, as an instrument of fraud. But by the ballot why should not secrecy be secured? When applied to the purposes of social life, in our clubs, and in various institutions, it gives concealment. I have inquired most, particularly into the working of the ballot under Hobhouse's Act, in the parish of St. James, and I am assured that those who desire to conceal their votes can do so if they please. The majority of the householders in that parish give their open parliamentary votes for the Tvry candidates, and their secret parochial vote for the Whig candidates ; and I this evening presented a most important petition from thai parish in favour of the ballot. Pass to other countries--France for example. It is not pretended that the ballot does not meet the object for which it was devised. It is suggested that men who voted by bal. lot would betray themselves by their rash disclosures ; I do not things that secrets, which might well be designated “secrets of the prison. house,” from the consequences to which they would lead, would be to!!. But landlords would act on a conjecture—I cannot think so ill of them. The open vote in defiance of a proprietor is regarded as an insult; the secret vote could hardly be construed into an affront. Under the vote by ballot m?u would not be stimulated to vengeance by their political associates ; they would not be cheered and halloed on in the worl: of devastation ; and I feel convinced, that under our present system, much of the cruelty that is inflicted, arises from the urgency with which ner. are invoked by their confederates to make examples of the wretches who dare to resist their will—to turn a whole family out upon the road upon a mere guess, would be a frightful proceeding, and one to which few would be sufficiently remorseless to resort. But, Sir, the real, the only substantial objection to the ballot, is grounded on the diminution of the influence which property ought to possess. The legitimate influence of property is one thing, and its despotism is another. I do not think that that rightful influence would be materially impaired. There is in every country, but especially in these countries, where the aristocratic principle prevails so much through all gradations of social life, a natural deference to station and authority, and a tendency in all classes lo acquiesce in the wishes of those who stand in a relative superiority in their regard. A man may render himself odious by his misdeeds, and denude himself of the sway which property confers ; such a mali would have no weight, nor ought he to have it, over his dependants.-