- Transcribed by unknown author unknown author
- Edition: March 10, 1882 March 10, 1882
A public meeting in connection with the Aspatria Liberal Association was
held in the New Schools, Aspatria, on Tuesday night last, to hear a lecture
on "The County Franchise, and Re-distribution of Seats," by Mr. Joseph HOWES,
of the National Reform Union. Mr. Thomas STEPHENSON, of Aspatria presided.
Mr. HOWES, on rising, was received with applause. The lecturer said that the
extension of the county franchise, with re-distribution of seats, had been
alluded to by the Premier in the Midlothian campaign, and was therefore
foreshadowed as a question which would have ere long to come to the front, now that
it was in the domain of practical politics. It was beyond all question most
unfair that a person residing on one side of the river or even a stream, should
possess the privilege of the franchise, whereas his neighbour had no vote
simply because he dwelt on the opposite side of the river.
The county franchise question would have been dealt with ere now, but
"obstruction" blocked the way, and no legislation was possible until it was
swept away by new rules. Even then extension of the county franchise to
householders would only be an installment of what the working men of Great Britain
demanded. Manhood suffrage would have to be conceded not as a boon, but as a
right. Taxation without representation was neither more nor less than tyranny.
The lecturer entered into an elaborate and able critique of past
legislation as compared with the present, dwelling eloquently upon the anomalies of
our political institutions with reference to the franchise and a
re-distribution of the seats. To ennoble a man with the franchise was to begin his
political education, and when manhood suffrage was the law of the land, he had no
fear whatever but that the people would select good, pure, honest men to sit
as members of a reformed House of Commons, those would be truly represntative
men, and exponents of the political views of their constituents.
The lecture occupied about an hour in delivery, and was listened to with
marked interest throughout. Mr. BROCKBANK, of Heathfield, proposed a vote of
thanks to Mr. HOWES, which was seconded by Mr. Joseph CROTSHWAITE and passed
unanimously. Mr. HOWES, in responding, proposed that the chairman should
receive a vote of thanks, which, having been duly seconded by Mr. John GRAVES,
was passed. This closed the proceedings.