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he could only succeed by crippling and emasculating one of the greatest and one of the foremost of the constituencies in the empire. Every man now came to the election with one hand tied behind his back. Remarking that for himself he would not sit for any place where he had been returned by this detestable trick or wanton innovation, he thus closed his speech:
'Do not let us have any new-fangled ideas. The fancy franchises we kicked to the winds; the minority clause, which ought to have come, not from the honest representatives of the people, but from Bedlam, or a region like that, should have the same treatment. (Cheers.) If you men of Birmingham want to know what freedom is, look back to the lives and histories of your forefathers. They knew how to lay foundations broad and deep; it is for you to protect those foundations, and to build wisely upon them. (Cheers.) There is not one of the great fathers of English freedom who lived two centuries ago, who, if he had been in the House of Commons, would not have said “ No " as emphatically as I did to this odious clause. (Cheers.) And now, seeing that in this hall, and in this constituency, we have no power to-night to put an end to this clause or to repeal it-seeing that it must be tolerated as it best may until the power that made it shall again unmake it, let us not forget that we have a duty in regard to it. Every Liberal throughout the United Kingdom is asking, “What is Birmingham going to do with the minority clause ?” part of the sea is salt, if every district and every ward of the constituency in Birmingham is Liberal, do you, by united action, by hand and voice, and heart and vote, tell the House of Commons and the whole country that there shall never go with your consent, in spite of all the machinations of these dreamers and schemers of minority representation, that no member or representative of the Tory party shall enter the House of Commons as the representative of this borough. (Loud cheers, and cries of " Never ! ") And the more this is known throughout the country, the more this is felt in the House of Commons, the more certainly you may take this comfort to your hearts, that by this election-great and transcendent triumph as we believe it will be-you will put an end shortly to this odious infringement of your liberties, and add one other great and permanent security to English freedom.'
At the close of this peroration the vast auditory,
whose applause had constantly broken forth during the hon. member's speech, rose en masse to demonstrate their warm appreciation of the address.
Parliament was dissolved on the 11th of November, and writs were issued for a new one, returnable on the 11th of December. In Birmingham the Liberals had a great triumph, defeating the minority clause and returning all their candidates by large majorities. The clause was also defeated at Glasgow, but in Leeds and Manchester the Conservatives secured the third seat. The nomination at Birmingham was fixed for the 16th of November, and for some days before this Mr. Bright and his colleagues were indefatigable in addressing meetings of the electors in various parts of the town.
On the 10th they addressed a meeting of the gun trade. This large and important trade had been harassed by the action of the Government in establishing manufactories at Enfield and elsewhere. In common with others, they condemned the policy of the Government in undertaking such commercial or industrial occupations as could only be carried out adequately and safely by private enterprise. Mr. Bright in his speech said that those who had convened the meeting had no intention whatever of urging upon their present or future representatives any course in regard to any particular trade or industry which should not be consistent with the true policy of Government and the true interests of all portions of the people. Had it been otherwise, he could be no
advocate of such a trade or industry. The hon. gentleman went on to say that he had always been of opinion it was a great mistake for the Government to undertake the character of manufacturers; he believed it was so with regard to the building of ships, the manufacture of clothing for the army, and in the manufacturing of guns. He completely endorsed the opinion of his lamented friend Mr. Cobden, that the Government ought not to be allowed to manufacture for itself any article which could be obtained from private producers in a competitive market.
Mr. Bright then inveighed against the excessive public expenditure. Notwithstanding the enormous growth of the military expenditure, the services were always asking for more. The complaint against Oliver Twist was that he asked for more, but then Oliver was badly used, and this was not the case with those who were always working on the Government. An entirely new system was wanted. The formation of the Estimates should no longer be left to the Admiralty, the War Office, or the Cabinet; but there ought to be an honestly chosen committee of the House of Commons. For himself, he had done all he could to procure a reduction in the Estimates, but there was no greater delusion imaginable than that any single member of Parliament could make any sensible difference in the public expenditure. Mr. Joseph Hume fought the Estimates for forty years, and yet they always grew. The £70,000,000 per annum for the past ten years had been drawn chiefly from the industrial portion of the population. The pressure of taxes was always felt most heavily by the poorest of the people. There was no jeopardy to a monarchy so great as that arising from a constantly growing debt and a con stantly extravagant expenditure. Referring to the speeches of his opponents (Mr. Lloyd and Dr. Evans), Mr. Bright said, amid loud laughter, that he was too busy to dwell much upon works of fiction. The speeches of Mr. Lloyd were what he should call dull fiction, and the speeches of his colleague, though not less fiction, were certainly of a rather more sparkling and sensational character. He had not got much out of their speeches, for the reporters had given more prominence to the speech of their chairman, Mr. Councillor Lowe. Mr. Lowe said, “Never go back from the bulwarks of your civil and religious liberties,' and that, he presumed, meant the Established Church of Ireland. He (Mr. Bright) did not believe that the Established Church was ever the bulwark of our civil or religious liberties either in England or Ireland, and it was a remarkable fact that the constant stream of perverts to the Church of Rome came, not from the Nonconformists, but from the Established Church. The Church of England was very far from being a bulwark against the Church of Rome.
As to the charge made against him that he was an opponent of the Factory Act, Mr. Bright replied that he went into the same lobby on this question with Lord Derby and Lord Chelmsford (then in the Commons), General Peel, Sir J. Pakington, and other
leaders of the Conservative party. Perhaps he was in bad company, but certainly the supporters of those Conservative leaders ought now to admit that, if they had nothing since then to lay to his charge, his character would at least bear comparison with the eminent chiefs of their own party. As to short time, there was no man in England who had ever been more in favour of short time work than he had. His opponents were in a mean and pitiable condition. They were seeking to enter Parliament, not by the open door of the constitution of England, but to wriggle in by a crevice. Down in Birmingham they were Liberal-Conservatives, but on the way to Westminster there would be an entire transformation, and at the House of Commons the Liberal-Conservative would be found sitting among the real old true-blue Tories. Referring to the approaching struggle, Mr. Bright said : “Let me beg of you to consider the gravity of the occasion, the greatness of the principles for which we contend, the grandeur of the triumphs that we have already obtained, and the glories of the future to which your country may look forward; and let the man who speaks for Birmingham in the House of Commons be one who shall speak for those great principles which are essential in every country for the happiness of its whole people.'
In a second speech made in the Deritend Ward, Mr. Bright said he had read the inflated address of the Prime Minister (Mr. Disraeli); he had read scores of columns of talk by other gentlemen; but he had