12 JULY 1873, Page 1

On Thursday, Mr. Gladstone made a statement in the Com-

mons with reference to this challenge of Lord Cairns, which Mr. Disraeli, emulating Lord Cairns, tried to snuff out as out of order, but to which he was compelled to listen, when Mr. Gladstone declared his intention to end by moving pro forma the adjourn- ment of the House. The Prime Minister pointed out that the power to hear Scotch and Irish appeals had been conveyed by statutes,—and by statutes originating in the House of Com- mons, added Mr. Bouverie,—and that what the House of Com- mons had itself conferred could not be a matter of privilege in the sense that the same power could not modify it or take it away. The Septennial Act (passed in 1716), which certainly interfered, if any Act ever did, with the privileges of the Lower House, had originated in the Upper House, and yet without the slightest objection on the part of the Commons. Mr. Gladstone entirely denied that the change was a blow at the privileges of the Lords in the sense alleged ; nevertheless, considering their public spirit in volun- tarily surrendering their right to hear English appeals, he wished to treat them gently, and he proposed not to send up enact- ing clauses, but only clauses providing for the new arrangement if accepted by the Lords, and which the Lords can, if they please, amend into enacting clauses on the point in dispute. Mr. Disraeli thereupon became inarticulate, though still hostile in tone ; Mr. Gordon denied that the Act of Settlement gave, main- taining that it only recognised, a previously admitted appeal to the House of Lords ; Mr. Vernon Harcourt quoted the late Sir James Graham's ridicule of the notion that the Commons could not propose a change in the highest Appellate Court without encroaching on the privileges of the Lords, and the conversation dropped. We do not know what support Lord Cairns will find in the House of Lords. The Duke- of Richmond was very quiet

and sober, but Lord Cairns mai Mr. Disraeli meant mischief, though it does not follow that they have "powder enough to explode their mine.