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OPINIONS OF THE PRESS. MR. B RIGHT'S SPEECH AT BIRMINGHAM. Seldom, if ever, has Mr. Bright spoken more effec- tively, gone more directly to the point, and kept the purpose of his speech more steadily in view, than he did at Birmingham on Monday. The great political change h which has taken place in the course of the last eight months might have been accounted for without recurring to a very innocent letter," or the gentle but united pressure" which it suggested. Mr. Bright was, however, in addressing a meeting held under the auspices of the Reform League, bound to pay the tribute which Mr. Beales expected to receive. It was also natural enough for him to take note c,f the circumstance that the vials' of vituperation which were poured out upon him during the last Parliamentary session had apparently been exhausted. This may admit of an explanation which does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Bright, who is not perhaps aware that he has himself contributed to the general change. But, passing over these excrescences, and making due allowance for the requirements of the platform, it is impossible not to perceive that Mr. Bright has taken what is, on the whole, an accurate measure of the Government Reform Bill. Post. MR. HIBBERT'S AMENDMENT. The compounding landlord is a man who, in considera- tion of taking upon himself the responsibility of the rate for all his houses—in consideration of making good to the parish the payment of absent or defaulting tenants —is permitted to pay for good and bad tenants alike some 25 per cent. less than they are all alike rated at. The theory is that he is able to make good the unpaid rates of defaulters because of the per-centage he gets upon the payment of householders who are not defaulters. Mr. Hibbert's plan is one which pro- vides that the honest and solvent householder may take the per-eentage himself, and leave the landlord with the responsibility of the dishonest and pauperised house- holder. To whom is that a good and acceptable proposi- tion ? As an amendment to Mr. Disraeli's plan its j effect would undoubtedly be to avert a mischief and a wrong to the compound householder who desired to be placed on the register and to vote it is beneficial, that is to say, for the prevention of a contemplated injury but the remedy itself is the perpetration of an injury. Such a remedy may be acceptable to the householder, if he does not care for the justice of the case, but it is not likely to be acceptable to the land- lord, who has better reason for so caring. And has it never occurred to Mr. Hibbert, to Mr. Stansfeld, and the Saturday Review, that the landlord has a remedy for the injustice or the inconvenience that would thus be thrust upon him ?—a remedy which is the slight and simple" one of denying his tenant the liberty of voting conferred upon him by the legislature? Yet this is the case. The necessity of getting a house to live in is something which takes precedence of the desire to vote at some future election and what is to prevent the landlord, in all places where houses are hard to get- which is almost everywhere—what is to prevent his saying to an applicant for tenancy, I have had incon- venience and loss from tenants who insist upon paying their own rates in order to get upon the register. Now, if you talfe my house, you must agree with me to do no- thing of that kind. I don't deny that you are reasonable enough in wanting a vote but I can't consent to your having one at my expense. Of course, I have no ob- jection to your agitating for an amendment of the law?" Can Mr. Hibbeiu frame a clause which will prevent such a course as that 2 And is it not a natural (we do not say a patriotic) course for a landlord to take, especially if he happens to be a Conservative living in a Radical borough, or a Radical in a Conservative borough ? To be sure, there is an answer to the objection here stated—but only one. It is, that you may do away with the compounding system altogether; you may abolish the Small Tenements Act; as it certainly would be abolished very largely by the mere operation of Mr. ifibbert's amendment, since the landlords who generally govern parish affairs are not likely to enforce the act to their own disadvantage. Well, in that case, for the purpose of carrying out a particular franchise scheme which is condemned by -other con- siderations of equal weight, you do away with an economical law which has been found to work to great advantage, and the abrogation of which in many places would be Inischievous in a very high degree. Take the alternatives. The compound system is continued: then it works to the positive injury of the landlord, who in no way interferes with his tenant's desire for the franchise, and at the same time to the injury and irrita- tion of tenants, who are forced by less scrupulous land- lords into resigning what the legislature allows them. Or the Small Tenements Act is abolished, and with it is abolished a wise and most convenient measure, the operation of which is relied upon as a check against an inrush of ignorant and incapable electors.-—Pall-mall Gazette.



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