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tector of the people ; and they had frustrated the just and beneficent intentions of the Crown. These men could not govern Britain; the working classes and the middle classes would alike condemn them. They could not govern Ireland, for in that unhappy country their policy had begotten a condition of chronic insurrection which they could not cure. They would be excluded from power, and their policy rejected by the people, for it was on broad and just and liberal principles alone that England could maintain her honourable but now unchallenged place amongst the great nations of the world.
At a banquet held on the following day at the Albion Hotel, Mr. Bright said that those great meetings were not so much meetings for discussion as meetings for demonstration. Alluding to the abstract right to use force in the last resort, he observed that it was no more immoral thus to use force for the obtaining and securing of freedom, than it was for the Government to use force to suppress and deny that freedom. But he hoped the time would never come when it would be necessary to consider questions of that nature; he thought this question was settled in 1832. And since then liberty had grown. The point at which we have now arrived of political liberty and instruction and of civilization permits us to believe that there is nothing we can fairly claim, nothing that could do us good, that cannot be obtained by that grand and peaceful movement of which the meetings of the last few days have formed so eminent and useful a part.'
We next find Mr. Bright in the West Riding of Yorkshire. On the 8th of October he attended a meeting in the Leeds Town Hall, where he was received with great enthusiasm, the meeting rising en masse to welcome him. In accepting the address presented to him, he observed that some writers complained that at Manchester he had said very much the same thing that he had said at Birmingham. He believed that a charge of that nature was brought more than two thousand years ago against one of the wisest of the ancients. They said that he was always saying the same thing about the same thing; and he asked them in return whether they expected him to say a different thing about the same thing. Well, when the critics had answered what he had already said about reform, he would endeavour to tell them something new. The case was a very simple onethe House of Commons had no pretence whatever for its existence except that it spoke for the nation, of which it was a part. If it spoke for only one out of six or seven of the people, it was no fair representation of the nation. Mr. Bright illustrated the inequalities in representation by citing several cases of small boroughs. The member for Stamford (Lord Cranborne), who sat for Stamford by favour of the Marquis of Exeter, had assailed Mr. Gladstone with great animosity because he had said that the great body of the unenfranchised men of England were worthy of consideration, for they were our own flesh and blood. They were resolved to alter the existing condition of things—to restore in fact the representation, and to restore the fair and free action of the English constitution. There was a spirit created in London, in Birmingham, in South Lancashire, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the Newcastle and Durham district, in Glasgow and the west of Scotland—there was a power rising which, fairly combined, could do all this. He said to the working classes, rely mainly upon yourselves, for you are the great nation excluded. Mr. Bright closed with this happy reference to the Atlantic cable, which had been successfully laid: “It was towards the end of the fifteenth century that the grand old Genoese discovered the new world. A friend of mine, Cyrus W. Field, of New York, is the Columbus of our time, for after no less than forty passages across the Atlantic in pursuit of the great aim of his life, he has at length, by his cable, moored the new world close alongside the old. To speak from the United Kingdom to the North American Continent, and from North America to the United Kingdom, is now but the work of a moment of time, and it does not require the utterance even of a whisper. The English nations are brought together, and they must march on together. The spirit of either Government must be the same, although the form may be different. A broad and generous freedom is the heritage of England, and our purpose is this, to establish that freedom for ever on the sure foundation of a broad and generous representation of the people.'
Going north from Leeds, on the 15th Mr. Bright arrived at Glasgow, there to continue the campaign. An imposing demonstration took place on the 16th, a procession of many thousands of the friends of Reform parading the streets, and ultimately forming into a great meeting on Glasgow Green. The numbers present at the demonstration were enormous. In the evening, an overflowing and enthusiastic meeting was held in the City Hall, and an address was presented to Mr. Bright. In his reply, he put the question then agitating the country to bewhether in future the government and the legislation of the country should be conducted by a privileged class in a sham Parliament, or on the principles of the constitution of the nation, through its representatives, fairly and freely chosen. He had no fear of manhood suffrage, and no man was more a friend of the ballot than he was. Mr. Bright recommended that the passages from Mr. Lowe's celebrated and unhappy speech attacking the working classes should be printed upon cards, and hung up in every factory, workshop, and club-house, and in every place where working men were accustomed to assemble. They must rouse the spirit of the people against these slanderers of a great and noble nation. The speaker pointed out that there were 254 boroughs in the United Kingdom, and only 54 of these possessed a constituency of 2,000 electors and upwards. Out of every hundred grown
men in the United Kingdom, eighty-four had no votes. For all purposes of constitutional government those eighty-four might as well live in Russia. One-third of the House of Commons, or 220 members, were actually elected by 70,000 votes—that is to say, that 220 members of the House of Commons were chosen by a number of men scattered over the country, who were fewer by almost one-half than the number of grown men in the city of Glasgow alone. And further, one-half of the House of Commons was chosen by about 180,000 electors, being only oneseventh of the whole number of electors, and much below the number of men who were to be found in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Having referred to the corruption which prevailed under the existing electoral system, Mr. Bright came to the following passage in his speech, which subsequently caused much commotion amongst the antiReformers in the House and in the press :
"Now, if the Clerk of the House of Commons were placed at Temple Bar, and if he had orders to tap upon the shoulder every well-dressed and apparently clean-washed man who passed through that ancient bar, until he had numbered six hundred and fifty-eight ; and if the Crown summoned these six hundred and fifty-eight to be the Parliament of the United Kingdom, my honest conviction is that you would have a better Parliament than now exists. This assertion will stagger some timid and some good men; but let me explain myself to you. It would be a Parliament, every member of wbich would have no direct constituency, but it would be a Parliament that would act as a jury that would take some heed of the facts and arguments laid before it. It would be free, at any rate, from the class prejudices which weigh upon the present House of Commons It would be free from the overshadowing presence of what are called noble families. It would owe no allegiance to great landowners, and I hope it would have fewer men amongst it seeking their own gains by entering Parliament.'