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Number The number of members admitted to the House of Com- chapter i.
Commons mons has varied considerably at different periods. In ad-'
u of'TM"* <**tion to those boroughs which appear from the first to have
returned burgesses to Parliament, many others had that
privilege conferred upon them by charter, or by statute,
in succeeding reigns; while some were omitted by the
negligence or corruption of sheriffs, and others were dis-
charged from what they considered a heavy burthen—the
Wages of expense of maintaining their members. In the time of
membeis. dward III. 4s. a day were allowed to a knight of the shire,
and 2s. to a citizen or burgess;1 and this charge was, in the
case of poor and small communities, too great an evil to be
compensated by the possible benefit of representation. In
the reign of Henry VI., there were not more than 800
members of the House of Commons, being about 25 more
than in the reign of Edward I., and 50 more than in the
reign of Edward III. The legislature added 27 for Wales,2
and four for the county and city of Chester,3 in the reign of
Henry VIII., and four for the county and city of Durham,
in the reign of Charles II.;4 while 180 new members were
added by royal charter between the reigns of Henry VIII.
and Charles II.5

Union of Forty-five members were assigned to Scotland, as her pro- <
and*!*"? portion of members in the British Parliament, on the union
land. . 0f ^at kingdom with England; and one hundred to Ireland
at the commencement of the nineteenth century, when her
Parliament became incorporated with that of the United
Kingdom. By these successive additions the number was
increased to f358; and notwithstanding the changes effected
in the distribution of the elective franchise by the Reform
Acts in 1832, that number continued unaltered, except by
the disfranchisement of certain cities and boroughs for cor-
ruption, until the year 1885, when the number of the house
M as raised tojfrZO by the operation of the Redistribution of
Seats Act, 1885 (see p. 24).

1 4 Inst. 16; Prynne, 4th Register, 4 25 Car. II. o. 9.

pp. 59. 495. s Christian's Notes to Blackstone;

2 27 Hen. VTH. c. 26. 2 Hatsell, 418.
'84 Hen. VIII. c. 18.

chapter L The object of the English Reform Act of 1832, as stated The repre~ in the preamble, was to correct divers abases that had long {J"^'""^

prevailed in the choice of members. The right of returning and Wales-
members was taken from many inconsiderable places, and
granted to large, populous, and wealthy towns. The number
of knights of the shire was increased, and the elective fran-
chise was considerably extended. To effect these changes, 56
boroughs in England and Wales were entirely disfranchised,
and 30, which had previously returned two members, were
restricted to one member; while 42 new boroughs were
created, of which 22 were each to return two members, and
20 a single member. Several small boroughs in Wales
were united for the purpose of contributing to return a
member.

The result of these and other local arrangements, which
it is not necessary to describe, was that the two universities
and the several cities and boroughs contributed 341 citizens
and burgesses for England and Wales.

By the Reform Act of 1867, the boroughs of Totnes, Reigate, Yarmouth, and Lancaster were disfranchised; 38 boroughs previously returning two members were reduced to one. Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Leeds each received a third member; Merthyr Tydfil and Salford each a second member; the Tower Hamlets were divided into two boroughs, each returning two members; 10 new boroughs were created, of which Chelsea returned two members, and every other borough one only. By these arrangements the representatives for boroughs were reduced by 26; and the University of London became entitled to return one member. But before this Act came into operation, seven English boroughs, viz. Arundel, Ashburton, Dartmouth, Honiton, Lyme Regis, Thetford, and Wells, were disfranchised by the Scotch Reform Act of 1868, and the seats added to Scotland. Several of the counties were divided, by the Reform Act of 1832, into electoral districts or divisions, by which the number of knights of the shire was increased to 162; and by the Act of 1867, 18 counties were further divided, and received an addition of 25

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members. By the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, the chapter i.
representation of England and Wales was subjected to
the following rearrangement: 58 counties, in 258 divisions,
return 258 members; 148 cities and boroughs, in 215
divisions, return 237 members; 3 universities return 5
members; making a total number of 495 for England and
Wales.

For Scot- The number of members for Scotland was increased by
land" the Scotch Reform Act of 1832.1 from 45 to 53; 30 of whom
were commissioners of shires, and 28 commissioners of
burghs, representing towns, burghs, or districts of small
burghs. By the Reform Act of 1868, the number of
members for Scotland was increased to 60; three new
members being given to shires, two to the universities, and
two to cities and burghs; and under the Act of 1885 Scot-
land returns for 84 counties, in 89 divisions, 89 members;
for 7 cities and towns, 18 members; for 13 districts of
burghs, 18 members; for 4 universities, 2 members; making
a total number of J2 members for Scotland.
-And By the Irish Reform Act of 1832,2 the number of repre-

re a"' sentatives for Ireland in the Imperial Parliament was in-
creased from 100 to 105; 64 being for counties, 89 for
cities and boroughs, and two for the University of Dublin.
By the Irish Reform Act of 1868, no change was made in
the number of members representing that part of the
United Kingdom, nor in the distribution of seats: but the
two disfranchised boroughs of Sligo and Cashel were left
without representation; and under the Act of 1885 Ireland
returns for 82 counties, 85 members; for 9 cities and
boroughs, 16 members; for 1 university, 2 members;
making a total number of 103 members for Ireland.
Constitu- The classes of persons by whom these representatives are
English elected may be described, generally, in few words, if the
counties, legal questions connected with the franchise, which are both
numerous and intricate, be avoided. To begin with the
English counties. Before the 8th Henry VI. all free-
holders or suitors present at the county court3 had a right

1 2 & 3 W1IL IV. c. 65. • lb. o. 88. 'See Act 7 Hen. IV. o. 15.

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Chapter i. to vote (or, as is affirmed by some, all freemen): but by a statute passed in that year (c. 7), the right was limited to "people dwelling and resident in the same counties, whereof every one of them shall have free land or tenement to tbe value of 40s. by the year, at the least, above all charges." By the Eeform Act of 1882 this franchise of a 40s. freehold of inheritance was not disturbed: but limitations were imposed upon freehold tenures for life. No person, if not seised at the passing of the Act, was entitled to vote in respect of such tenures, unless he was in bond fide occupation of lands and tenements, or unless they came to him by marriage, marriage-settlement, devise, or promotion to any benefice or office, or unless they were of the clear yearly value of 10i., which value was reduced to 51. by the Eeform Act of 1867. Copyholders having an estate of 10/. a year; leaseholders of land of that value whose leases were originally granted for 60 years; leaseholders of 50/., with 20 years' leases; and tenants-at-will occupying lands or tenements paying a rent of not less than 50/. a year, had the right of voting conferred upon them by the Eeform Act of 1832; and the Act of 1867 reduced the franchise of copyholders and leaseholders from 10/. to 5/., and the occupation franchise from 50/. to 12/.

In cities and boroughs the right of voting formerly varied ^[,citie* according to the ancient custom prevailing in each. With boroughs, certain modifications, some of these ancient rights were retained by the Eeform Act of 1832, as that of freemen, and other corporate qualifications: but all occupiers of houses of the clear yearly value of 10/. were enfranchised by that Act. The Eeform Act of 1867 extended the borough franchise to all occupiers of dwelling-houses1 who have resided for twelve months on the 31st July, in any year, and have been rated to the poor rate3 as ordinary occupiers, and have, on or before the 20th July, paid such rates up to the preceding 5th January,2 and to lodgers who have occupied, for the

1 Dwelling - house defined and (House Occupiers' Disqualification,

15th July substituted for 81st July England and Scotland),

by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 26, ss. 5. 7; * 30 & 81 Vict. c. 102, s. 8.
and see 41 & 42 Vict. cc. 3 & 5

same period, lodgings1 of the annual value, unfurnished, chapter I.

of 101. By the 82 & 83 Vict. c. 41, owners may pay the

rates upon houses under 20i., without disqualifying the
occupier; and vestries may rate the owner instead of the
occupier.

in Scot- The Scotch Keform Act of 1882 reserved the rights of
all persons then on the roll of freeholders of any shire, or
who were entitled to be put upon it, and extended the
franchise to all owners of property of the clear yearly value
of 10J., and to certain classes of leaseholders. In cities,
towns, and burghs, the Act substituted a 10Z. household
franchise for the system of electing members by the town
councils, which had previously existed. By the Scotch
Reform Act of 1868, the county franchise was extended to
owners of land and heritages of 51. yearly value, and to
occupiers of the rateable value of 141.; and the borough
franchise to all occupiers of dwelling-houses paying their
rates; and to tenants of lodgings of 10Z. clear annual value,
unfurnished.

Id Ireland. In Ireland various classes of freeholders and leaseholders were invested with the county franchise, by the Reform Act of 1882, to whom were added, by the 18 & 14 Vict, c. 69, occupiers of land, rated for the poor rate at a net annual value of 121.; and persons entitled to estates in fee, or in tail, or for life, of the rated value of 51. And by the latter Act, in addition to the borough constituency under the Reform Act, the occupiers of lands or premises rated at 8/. were entitled to vote for cities and boroughs. By the Irish Reform Act of 1868, the borough franchise was extended to occupiers of houses rated at 41, aud of lodgings of the annual value of 10?. unfurnished. No change was made in the qualification of county voters.

By the Representation of the People Act, 1884, 48 Vict, c. 3, a uniform household franchise, and a uniform lodger franchise are established in all counties and boroughs throughout the United Kingdom. The franchise is also extended to those who inhabit dwelling-houses by virtue

1 Lodgings more fully defined by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 26, ss. 5. 6.

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