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house of an intimate friend of his, a Mr Ker, a Chancery barrister, to whom I was introduced some time ago, and with whom I have become very intimate. Mrs Ker is a pleasant woman, and their society is very agreeable. Well, the Lord Chancellor, it appears, had expressed a desire to see the brilliant light which he had heard of ; and Mr Ker told him he dared say that I would show it him with pleasure. Accordingly, the Chancellor fixed a day to dine with him, and I put up the apparatus in Mr Ker's greenhouse, the lamp being directed to the drawing-room. There were only eight persons present, all intimate friends of Brougham's; so that the conversation, at and after dinner, about men and things, more especially the Reform question, was most entertaining and interesting. The Chancellor was in great spirits, and talked the whole time. After returning to the drawing-room, I displayed the light, at which they expressed great admiration, though the Chancellor seemed greatly afraid of his eye, and could hardly be persuaded to look at it. I spied him, however, peeping at a corner, and immediately turned the reflector full upon him, but he fled instanter. He started immediately afterwards, at eleven o'clock, for Lord Grey's."
There is much sprightliness exhibited in the letters of this season. Everything was going smoothly with Mr Drummond, and with success there was an accession of geniality and joyousness. In one of his letters there is an amusing essay on the use, abuse, and manufacture of porridge, accompanied with diagrams of course, as if it were to be laid before the Royal Society. There is a frequency of fun. His fortunes, health, and spirits were alike excellent.
From the meeting with Lord Brougham may be dated the end of his scientific career. It did not
actually end then, but his intervals of study were few from this till the time of his final absorption in politics. Lieutenant Drummond, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, reputed inventor of the measuring bars, and fresh from Ireland after accomplishing one of the most delicate and interesting geodetical operations ever performed—now astonishing the town with his brilliant light, as he had years before astonished the savanswas a man of mark, to be everywhere received and courted. In manners very modest and gentle, he created none of those jealousies which often prove obstacles to the success of men of parts. And while few, if any, made him the subject of detraction, the many who knew him well, and loved him, spread his credit for general accomplishments as remarkable as the particular achievements on which rested his public reputation. An upright, able, and indefatigable public servant, his character as a private gentleman was wholly unblemished. Such was Thomas Drummond, and such was his reputation, when, in the thirty-third year of his age, he began to make the acquaintance of political personages, and stood on the threshold of political life.
THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION ; THE MATHEMATICS OF
In April 1831, the Government of Lord Grey, having been defeated in committee on the first Reform Bill, offered their resignations to the King, but he would not accept them. A dissolution of Parliament followed, and then a general election. In June, the second Reform Bill was introduced in the new House of Commons. The House went into committee upon it on the 12th of July, the committee reported on the 7th September, and on the 21st the Bill was carried triumphantly through the Commons. It was debated in the House of Lords early in October, and thrown out by an unexpectedly large majority. Late in the same month Parliament was prorogued, that it might reassemble, and go over the whole matter again. On the 6th of December it was again in session, and on the 12th Lord John Russell moved for leave to bring in the third Reform Bill. This bill, as every one knows, after undergoing some slight modifications, became law on the 7th June 1832. It differed in some particulars from its predecessors; it differed from them, more especially, in being founded on pretty full information.
The principle of the bill, as announced by Lord Grey, was Representation not Nomination, the dis
franchisement of decayed and inconsiderable boroughs, and the enfranchisement of large and opulent towns. The extreme reformers, who desired an extension of the franchise downwards, as well as upwards and laterally, and who were far from being satisfied with the new electoral qualification proposed by the bill, were yet falling in with the Whigs, on purpose to secure the great end of the bill—the overthrow of borough corruption. Many boroughs were to be deprived of the right of sending members to Parliament, or rather many noble lords were to be deprived of the right of sending their nominees. Many boroughs were to be partially disfranchised, many to be enfranchised, and of many the boundaries were to be enlarged. These had been features of the former bills. But when the first bill was before Parliament, no preparations had been made for determining the boundaries of the parliamentary districts that were to be retained or created. The House of Commons had been for some weeks in committee upon the second bill, before the Government faced the necessity of preparing for the settlement of the boundaries. And both of these bills had proposed to determine, by consideration of the element of population alone, which of the boroughs should be totally disfranchised (put in Schedule A), and which partially (put in Schedule B). In the third bill, on the other hand, the selection of the victims was proposed to be made on somewhat complex considerations, the element of population being only indirectly regarded. Also, when the third bill was introduced, the preparations for the Boundary Bill were far advanced, though the Government were in the dark, even then, as to the boroughs to be placed in Schedules A and B.* The preparations
* See Speech of Lord John Russell, February 20, 1832.
for settling the boundaries were the work of the Boundary Commission, of which Mr Drummond was the head. The selection of the victims for Schedules A and B was the special work of Mr Drummond.
In August 1831, Lord Melbourne, then at the head of the Home Office, addressed Mr Drummond as follows:
“HOME OFFICE, August 8, 1831. “SIR,—His Majesty's Government being desirous to obtain and collect as much information as possible, and as speedily as may be consistent with accuracy, upon the different cities and boroughs included in Schedules (B), (C), and (D) of the Reform Bill, and also upon the other cities and boroughs not included in any of the Schedules, but which are to retain the right of sending members to Parliament, in order that when the bill shall be passed into a law, the commissioners to be appointed under it may have the means of performing their duties with the greater expedition, I am to acquaint you that his Majesty's Government have seen fit to confide to you the superintendence of this inquiry.
“For the purpose of carrying the intentions of his Majesty's Government into effect, you will immediately communicate with the gentlemen named in the margin, and furnish them with copies of this letter.
“The points to which your attention is to be directed are these-To obtain information as to the number of persons occupying, whether as tenants or owners, houses of L.10 a-year value, such value to be taken either from the tax returns or parish rates, or from actual valuation where not let, or from amount of rent.
“It will not be necessary to be very minute in ascertaining these numbers, as all that will be wanting is, to ascertain whether or not any place has as many as 300 such inhabitants. If it has not, then inquiry must be made as to the neighbouring district most fit to be added thereto, in order to increase the number of such inhabitants as aforesaid.
“In making such addition, the district or districts taken in must be either parishes, townships, chapelries, or other divisions