Debates Etna Vroceetlinas in parliament.
WANT OF CONFIDENCE.
According to the agreement after the division when Sir Robert Peel's resolution was affirmed, Lord JOIIN RUSSELL, on Monday, explained the views of Government— After notice was given of Sir Robert Peel's resolution, Lord John had ex- pressed to his colleagues the opinion, that if Sir Robert should obtain a majo- rity, the alteration of the Corn-laws ought not to be brought on as a Govern- talent motion, and that Ministers ought not to continue in ofiiee. On Saturday last be restated that opinion, and found that the majority of his colleagues agreed with him. CSo says the Times report : the other papers omit the word majority. It is observed that Lord John was sometimes almost in- audible.] He bad therefore to announce, that it was not his intention to give any notice with respect to the Corn-laws during the present session. Not that the various reasons urged against the measure would have deterred him. With regard to the reproach that the subject of the Poor-laws had been dropped, it was to be observed, that that was a question of detail, upon which speeches would have been made, not to promote the efficacy of the mea- sure, but merely to catch a fleeting popularity on the hustings; but with respect to the Corn-laws, his object was to ascertain the npinion of the House on the principle of the Government measure. Ile thought that the dis- cussion of the subject would have tended to allay rather than to provoke ex- citement. If he had gone on with that discussion, one branch of his argument
would have been, that as we bare now a much greater portlitlou than any
which we ever had at any preceding period in the history of our country, the laws affecting the importation of corn impose a heavier restriction than any Corn-laws since the reign of Charles the Second, with the sole exception of the Corn-laws which were in force after the close of the war, from the year 1815 to the year 1827. He would have shown, from the actual importation of cork, that we do not realize that independence of foreign nations which was by some thought to be the most important object of the Corn-laws ; that agricul- tund distress proved that those laws did not effectually protect agriculture; that the fluctuating scale prevented a regular and constant trade ; while the principle of a fixed duty was supported by some of the ablest men in the country, not in public, to excite popular feeling, but in the retirement of their closets. It would have been of some advantage to the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer had the question of the Corn-laws not been connected with that of the Sugar and Timber-duties—had it been left as it had been ever since Lord Grey assumed office, in 1830, an open question : but it was the principle of the new Budget that prohibition should be done away with, and it would have been impossible with that general view to omit the question of corn. Lord John denied the assumption of Sir Robert Peel that Govern- ment had formed two Budgets, one for fair and one for foul weather.. He then stated what Government intended to do—
They proposed to take the Civil Contingencies, some estimates relative to services in Canada and in China, in Committee of Supply ; and they further proposed to follow as to the Miscellaneous Estimates the course which bad been pursued on the dissolution of Parliament in 1830, after the death of George the Fourth—to take a sum on account of the Miscellaneous Estimates- for six months from the 1st of April last ; which would supply the immediate wants of the public service, and prevent inconvenience to several private in- dividuals and public officers.
Alluding to the equal division of parties, the Opposition having ob- tained a majority of only one, while but eight Members, upon whom no party could reckon, were absent, Lord John came to the conclusion that the only way of solving the question raised by the late events was to appeal to the country—
If the decision of the country should prove to be in favour of the right honourable gentleman opposite and those with whom be acted, there would be no further use in continuing the struggle for the offices which Ministers at present held ; but if it should appear that the opinion of the country went the other way, Ministers would be in a position more effectually to further the- progress of measures which they deemed so highly essential to the public welfare.
He concluded by moving that the House go into a Committee of Supply on the Miscellaneous Estimates.
Sir ROBERT PEEL placed implicit reliance on Lord John's statement that two Budgets had not been prepared; but that implication was a mere inference from the real charge which he had brought against Government— The real charge which be had made, if charge it could be called, was, that if a measure involving so many interests had been contemplated at an earlier period,---for it was nothing less than a relaxation of a whole commercial policy,—Parliament should have been informed of it much earlier; and it should even have been made a part of the announcement in the Speech from the Throne. He concluded that the Budget bad been framed in accordance with the recommendations of the Import-duties Committee : but no Member of- the Government bad sat on that Committee, and if they had determined to act upon its representations the Committee ought to have been reappointed. Sir Robert thought that Lord John Russell on the present occasion ought to have taken one of two courses—either to have brought on the subject of the Corn-laws for discussion, or to have abstained altogether- from touching it : he ought not to have paraded the heads of the argu- ments which he would have used had the discussion taken place. How- ever, Sir Robert would not provoke the forbidden discussion by enter- ing upon the details which Lord John had omitted ; especially as Lord John's summary of arguments was not so weighty as to render a reply necessary. Upon the proposition of dissolving Parliament Sir Robert would offer no opinion, except that if it took place it should be imme- diate— He would leave the responsibility of that proceeding entirely to those upon. whom it ought to devolve, the Ministers ; but it was not his wish to throw the slightest obstacle in their way ; although he thought the proposal of the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer to take the whole of the remaining Estimates for six months was a very unusual course. If the prerogative of the Crown was to be exercised, it should be done at once ; and the new Parliament should be con- voked as soon as possible; not only by reason of the unsettled state in which all commercial business, especially the import-trade in corn, was left by the newly-proposed measures, but still more with reference to the condition of the Executive Government, which was now recorded as being no longer in posses, sion of the confidence of the people. No considerations of personal or private convenience ought to interfere. Precedent was all in favour of what he urged. Mr. Pitt, who dissolved an adverse Parliament in 1784, convened the new one immediately; the same thing was done in 1807, and again in 1831. The country, therefore, had a right to expect the immediate reassembling of the Legislature. Sir Robert would be satisfied with Lord John's simple declara- tion that Ministers intended to advise the speedy convocation of the new Par- liament. There was no constitutional objection to such an anticipation. The King's Speech before the dissolution in 1807 had expressed an intention to as- semble the new Parliament forthwith: the same announcement had been made on the death of George the Third, and afterwards in 1831. Lord Joust RUSSELL, though not bound to communicate the advise the Ministers would give to the Crown, had no hesitation in saying, that no time ought to be lost in dissolving the present Parliament, and that the new Parliament ought to be summoned without delay.
Sir ROBERT PEEL was quite satisfied ; and would make no objection to the period for which the votes were about to be taken. Mr. CHARLES VILLIERS drew attention to the position in which the Corn question was now placed— The question had been taken out of his hands : it had been so by the Go- vernment ; and he had surrendered it with satisfaction, hoping that good might follow. They bad proposed a measure, a moderate measure ; fair as some called it, extravagantly in favour of the landed interest as lie considered. How were they treated 7—Why, worse than he had been : he had been allowed to. have his say—he had been allowed to bring on his motion—but the noble loni has not been suffered to bring on his. Sir Robert Peel came down to the and against Lord John's notice, and with the support of those inte- rested in the monopoly, carried a resolution which had the effect of preventing a deliberate discussion of the question, and thus allowed them to escape from a division. The House refused to entertain the question, just as the Parliament of the United States refused to entertain the question of Slavery. Was Mr. Villiers disheartened ?—quite the contrary. This unfairness and defiance of the people would rouse them to exertion; while the suppression of the Government measure would leave the larger question of total repeal fairy before the people. The question must now exclusively engage the attention of this House till it was settled in some way. Constant reference will be made to it in all the business in the next Parliament ; and he predicted a speedy dissolution again, connected with this subject, of the Parliament about to be elected. The question now could never rest again ; and he firmly expected that the end Would be the total repeal of this iniquitous law. Mr. WAKLEY pointed out the inconsistency of Sir Robert Peel, who opposed short Parliaments, yet required a new Parliament to discuss the important question of the Corn-laws ; and who obliged Mr. Dun- combe to leave another important question, as to the treatment of po- litical offenders, in the hands of Executive, in whom he now voted want of confidence. The fact was, that every consideration was postponed to that of party— At no distant period be anticipated a scene of strife and confusion in this kingdom paralleled in no part of its history. The question of the Corn-laws was daily becoming more exciting and perplexing; and it struck many as ex- traordinary, that Ministers, who up to this session were increasing in unpopu- larity, the moment they brought forward a subject which justly rendered them popular, that very moment they were obliged to quit the Treasury-bench and to appeal to the country. The secret was, that the influence of party was much more powerful than the interests of the country : and this evening sums to an enormous amount would be voted away without any inquiry. How could such a system last? It could not last long against the good sense of the people. Mr. Wakley remarked, that Sir Robert was more niggardly now of promises for the future than he had been in 1835— What had the right honourable baronet said soon after the publication of his celebrated Taniworth letter on the debate in the new House of Commons on the motion respecting the address ?—" 1 make great offers, which should not lightly be rejected. I offer you the prospect of continued peace; the restored confidence of powerful states, that are willing to seize the opportunity of re- ducing great armies, and thus diminishing the chances of hostile collision ; I offer you reduced estimates, improvements in civil jurisprudence, reform of ec- clesiastical law, the settlement of the tithe question in Ireland, the commuta- tion of tithe in England, the removal of any real abuse in the Church, the re- dress of those grievances of which the Dissenters have any just ground to com- plain. I offer you these specific measures; and I offer also to advance, soberly and cautiously it is true, in the path of progressive improvement. I offer also the best chance that these things can be effected in willing concert with the other authorities of the State; thus restoring harmony, insuring the maintenance, but not excluding the reform (where reform is really requisite) of ancient in- stitutions." These were the offers and promises of the right honourable ba- ronet at that time.
SIR ROBERT PEEL—" And I repeat them now." Mr. WAKLEY insisted that the country ought to be better informed as to Sir Robert's intentions. What was the sliding scale of Corn-duties by which he would stand? Was Lord Stanley's Irish Registration Bill to be taken as a specimen of Sir Robert's "reform"? There ought to be no concealment of their future views by statesmen. Sir ROBERT PEEL—" At the proper time." The country, said Mr. WAKLEY, at least knew Sir Robert's hostility to extension of the Suffrage and the Ballot. He wished that men would be honest at the hustings ; but he should keep his eye upon all, marking their declarations, especially about the Poor-law ; and if he had a seat in the next House of Commons, he should read those hustings-pro- fessions from which Members swerved in practice.
Mr. LABOUCHERE repeated the assurance, that there had not been two Budgets ; and averred that Government had made up their mind to resign as soon as the Sugar question was decided against them in the House. He argued that the propositions of Government could not dis- creetly have been brought forward sooner, since, being necessarily connected with the finances, they could not be settled till the Budget was discussed ; while to have announced them beforehand would have deranged trade. It had been assumed that they were based entirely on the recommendation of the Import-duties Committee— However beneficial the labours of that Committee, they had elicited nothing new. With respect to the special questions, Lord Althorp proposed the same alteration in the Timber-duties six or seven years ago ; Mr. Labouchere him- self had advocated a fixed duty of seven or eight shillings on corn last year ; and Mr. Huskisson and Mr. Charles Grant brought in a bill to alter the Sugar- duties ten years back ; so well and so long bad the necessity of alteration been 'known. In reply to the reproach that no member of Government had sat with the Import-duties Committee, Mr. Labouchere said that he himself was on four Committees at the time, one of which, that on Inland Bonding Ware- houses, was very important; while in fact two members of the Government actually did sit in the Committee—one of the Lords of the Treasury, and the Paymaster of the Forces (Sir Henry Parnell.)
Colonel SIBTHORP charged Ministers with employing 39,000/ of the secret service money at St. Alban's and other places ; and with holding out " the bait of places," in addition to bribery and treating. He saw enormous sums placed opposite the names of Dr. Bowring and Mr. Vizard in the Miscellaneous Estimates.
The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER observed, that Colonel Sibthorp would be able to discuss the items of the Budget on a future day, unless he retired into private life. He had heard since he came into" the House that Sir Robert Peel was in possession of information w"hich authorized his statement in respect to the double Budget. Sir ROBERT PEEL had not the slightest information on the subject : he had only drawn an inference such as any one else might draw, from the omission in the Queen's Speech.
The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER Wfis quite satisfied. The Budget, however, was not the only subject upon which Sir Robert had seen double. Mr. Baring entered into a statement of figures to show that the surplus of Sir Robert's Government and the deficiency of the present had been misrepresented-
Whenlir Robert went out of office, Mr. Goulburn stated the surplus, not" at 2,000,0001., but at 1,600,000/. • but several taxes had been taken off and others commuted, so that the real surplus left was only 300,000/. Again, Sir Robert said that his Government bad reduced the Public Debt by 20,000,47;004 and the annual charge by 1,000,0001.: but of the 20,000,0001. 10,000,000/. was converted into Terminable Annuities, which was no real reduction of the debt; while the interest on the Funded Debt amounted in 1827 to 28,825,0001., and in 1831 to 28,341,000/ ; showing a reduction in the annual charge, not of 1,000,000/., but only 484,000/. Then as to the existing deficiency : in the year ending, the 5th April 1836, the surplus was 1,276,000/., in 1837 it was 1,862,0004 and in 1838, 1839, and 1840, there was a deficiency of 6,168,0001.; SO that there was a surplus in the two years of 3,139,0001., and in the three years a deficiency of 6,168,0001., a net deficiency of 3,000,000/. Mr. Baring explained how he bitsl estimated the prom* Qf the pro- posed duty on corn— He had taken the average of the Customs for the five years ending 1839, adding 5 per cent., and rejecting altogether the item of corn ; so that he had not included the 1,600,000/. which accrued from the Corn-duties last year in the total of his Budget. He found that on the average of former years the duty on corn was 500,000/. • and that the duties on corn and malt to a certain extent counterbalanced each other.
Sir ROBERT PEEL had derived his statement respecting the deficiency from a paper signed " Robert Gordon." He was not bound to set the surplus of two former years against the deficiency of the last three : the deficiency actually accruing appeared by the paper Hi question to be 7,600,0001.
Mr. HENRIES reasserted, that Mr. Goulburn, when be left office, had reasonable grounds to anticipate a surplus of 1,600,0001. If Lord Althorp, his successor, had altered the state of the taxes, Mr. Goulburn could not be responsible for it.
Mr. HUME attributed the deficiency to the extravagant expenditure of the Government, supported by the Conservatives.
Mr. GOULBURN said, that when the Duke of Wellington entered office, the capital of the Public Debt was 777,000,0001.; the annual charge 25,000,000/. : when he retired, the Debt was 750,000,000/, a re- duction of 20,000,000/; the annual charge 24,000,0001., a reduction of 1,000,000/. The reduction in the annual charge tested the reduction of the Debt.
Sir DE LACY EvAiss declared the present system of fiscal duties one of fraud and plunder : that was the sort of language he should hold on every occasion. The House went into Committee of Supply. On the motion of Sir ROBERT PEEL, 31,780/. was voted for the charges of the British Mu- seum ; on the motion of the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, 400,000/. was granted on account to the East India Company for the expenses of the expedition to China ; and 1,634,7911. towards the charges of the Commissariat in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
In the House of Lords, on Monday, Earl FITZWILLIAM gave notice, that on the 16th he should move a resolution to the effect that it was the bounden duty of Parliament to take the subject of the Corn-laws into consideration early in the next session. Preparatory to that motion, he should on the next evening move that either some of his excellent friends the clerks at the table be directed, or a Select Committee appointed, to enumerate the various signatures of parties who had petitioned on this subject on either side of the question. Lord BROUGHAM took that opportunity of expressing his regret that his motion for inquiry, two years ago, had not been agreed to by Government and the House, at a time when there was no temporary excitement in the country from other political causes. He was glad that Ministers had changed their opinion on the subject ; though he could not help thinking that the time and circumstances under which it was now brought forward were unfortunate, and that the question
would lose as much on the one hand through those causes as it gained on the other by the support and cooperation of Government. Pre- senting, a petition from St. James's, Westminster, in favour of a fixed duty, Lord Brougham said, he thought that the petitioners should have carried their prayer further, and have prayed for the total abolition : he for one would only accept the fixed duty as the most likely means of arriving at a total repeal.
When Lord BROUGHAM presented the petition from the City of London, on Tuesday, and observed that the opinion of the petitioners was the same as his own, that the fixed duty should only be accepted as a step towards total repeal, Lord ASHBURTON remarked that it was unfair to claim all the petitioners on behalf of a principle opposed to all protection : some might not go so far. Lord BROUGHAM thought that there could be no mistake, for he had read the petition. Lord Ashburton's might not be a fixed opinion ; it might be a slippery or sliding opinion : but such was not the case with- the petitioners. Lord ASHBURTON replied, that no man was less entitled to indulge in such a sneer than Lord Brougham ; for when, many years ago, Lord Ashburton had opposed an excessive protection of agriculture in the House of Commons, his most fierce and determined opponent was his noble and learned friend. (Cheers and laughter.)
Lord BROUGHAM said, that never was such a mistake made by any man : during the time of the discussions to which Lord Ashburton had referred, he had not been in Parliament at all. (Loud laughter.) It was notorious that in 1813, 1814, and 1815, he had had no seat in tha House of Commons.
Lord ASHBURTON distinctly recollected the opposition with which he had been met by his noble and learned friend ; for it was of a kind to be remembered. (Laughter.) Lord BROUGHAM said, that perhaps the occasion to which his noble friend alluded, when he bad had the misfortune of differing from him, was on a bill introduced by Lord Stanhope's father as to the Currency— a question only indirectly connected with the Corn-laws. Earl Frrzwimmem moved for a return enumerating the petitions for anti against the Corn-laws and the Government measures ; but upon Viscount DuzicAtisom's representing that it would be impossible to make out the returns within the time when they would be required, there being no machinery already existing for the purpose as in the other House, the motion was withdrawn.
Lord AsruaUwrON returned tothe charge on Thursday, on presenting- a petition from South Shields against the Timber-duties proposition of Government. First observing, that taking the proposed change in the Timber-duties altogether—the reduction on Foreign and the increase on Colonial timber—the effect would be a large increase to the taxes of the country, falling on a kind of timber chiefly used in the manufacturing districts ; and that the fixed duty of 8s. on corn was an increase on the average duty of 5s. 9d, which had been realized by the sliding-scale; he gave chapter and verse for the charge of inconsistency against Lord Brougham— He found, on reference to the recorded proceedings of the other House, that his noble and learned friend in 1817 had made a motion, and a most eloquent and able speech, on the distress of the country. Many of the features of those times corresponded to the present ; and it was impossible to describe more clearly and graphically the extreme distress which then prevailed, than in the terms used by his noble and learned friend. But when he came to the remedy for this evil, he delivered the following opinion—" I must say a single word on the Corn Bill. To the opinion I originally entertained on that law I still adhere. I feel now, as I did then, that its first effects were injurious, cutting off, as it did, a great article of foreign trade; but I look, as a compensation for that injury, to advantages of a higher nature—the insuring a regular, safe, and ultimately cheap supply of the great necessary of life, which no change of
i foreign policy, no caprice of hostile governments, can impede or disturb."
It was no reproach to Lord Brougham that he did not allow any dog- matic conclusion to which abstract reasoning might lead, to set at nought the result of experience ; but it was a reproach that he threw stones at others' windows when he himself was at least as open to attack.
• Lord BaoratrAn was disappointed at the small discrepancy pointed out by his noble friend. He admitted the correctness of the report which had been quoted; but it should be remembered that those words were used the very year after the passing of the Corn-law Bill. Was there any inconsistency in a change of opinion after twenty-four years' experience of the measure ? Besides, circumstances which helped to justify it were altered : the Poor-law, which threatened to swallow up the rental of the land, had been changed, greatly to the relief of the landowner. And was it no protection to the landowner, in the change of the Corn-law which he advocated, that it should be gradual ? (Lord Ashburton and Lord Stanhope intimated that they would rather have it cease at once.) Lord Brougham next turned to consider the Budget ; which he said was not much like a Budget. He then expressed an opinion that Negro emancipation was no experiment, but that it had been consummated with complete success ; which rendered any ex- ceptional measures in the general policy of the country wholly unnecessary. On that account, he would not exclude slave sugar merely as such, any more than he would exclude slave cotton ; but he would make a distinction between countries engaged in the slave-trade, and those merely employing the slaves whom they already possessed : not a hogshead from Brazil or Cuba should be admitted; but with respect to sugars from Guadeloupe or Guiana the case was different.
The discussion on the Poor-law was continued, in a very desultory manner. The Earl of WINCHILSEA and Earl STANHOPE denied that the rates had decreased ; and the former complained that the object of the Commissioners seemed to be more to reduce the rate than to elevate the moral condition of the poor. When the railways now in pro- cess of completion were finished, a great many poor would be thrown out of employ ; and then a good system of colonization would be the best means for disposing of our redundant population. The Mar- quis of SALISBURY and the Earl of STRADBROKE thought emigration needless, and the Poor-law quite successful. The Earl of RADNOR and Earl FITZWILLIAM attributed the increase of the rates to the aug- mented price of bread, and commercial distress.
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
In the House of Commons, on Wednesday, the ATTORNEY-GENERAL moved the report of the Admistration of Justice (No. 1) Bill. Sir EDWARD SUGDEN expressed surprise that this measure, which might have been passed last session, should be pressed forward now, after the vote of want of confidence. A Government on its trial before the country ought not to proceed to make such appointments as the bill authorized. He proposed a modification, that the act should come into operation on and after the 10th of October ; for before that period there could be no beneficial transaction of business.
Lord JOHN RUSSELL imputed the delay of the bill in the last session to the threatened opposition of Sir Edward himself. In the present session, it had been delayed by other more urgent business. There were many arrangements to be made under it, which could not conve- niently be postponed until the approach of the long vacation. The ground now taken was that Ministers were disqualified by the late vote from making appointments ; but he could not recognize that vote as expressing the opinion of the country. If Ministers were not unfit to exercise patronage in general, could it be said that the Lord Chancellor was particularly unfit to exercise it, after his disinterested conduct in the appointment of Mr. Justice Erskine and Sir George Rose ? Mr. Marmon could not oppose Sir Edward's modification.
Sir ROBERT PEEL said, that if this bad been a proposal for an address to the Crown to stay the exercise of the already existing patronage of the Crown in the Court of Chancery, he would not have assented to such a slur upon the Lord Chancellor. But he distinguished between an interference with existing patronage and a refusal to give patronage by a new legislative measure, after the recent vote. He thought most highly of the Lord Chancellor's character, and disavowed all reflection upon him. His ground for supporting the present motion was a con- stitutional one— He would ask the noble lord, if lie (Sir Robert) in March 1835, not having met with a vote of want of confidence, had brought forward some great judicial measure, both laudable and unexceptionable, and had called on the House to suspend their party animosities and give it their support, what would have been their answer ? It would have been—" You are no Government ; you do not possess the confidence of the House : prove that, and we consent ; but we cannot consent to allow you to exercise these important powers when the House does not give you sufficient confidence to enable you to carry out your measures." He would beg to remind e noble lord of his declaration, that he did not think it fit for the Governm t,i t its present position, to bring on the Corn-laws. And why did he not t nk it tt ? Because he thought, that after the recent vote no important meas e of the Executive Government, although it might be of a legislative character, ought to be introduced. The same prin- ciple was acted on with respect to the Poor-law ; the same with respect to Ireland. Therefore, although he would not advocate the interposition of any obstacles to the exercise of the ordinary patronage of the Government, still, where a power was to be conferred by legislative enactments of creating so many new offices, he thought it desirable to interpose some intermediate delay. If, however, Lord John preferred to delay the bill until next session, there could be no objection to such a course.
Mr. LABOUCHERE protested against the doctrine that the Government for the time being ought to be deprived of the patronage usually exer- cised by a Government.
Sir EDWARD SUCHEN disclaimed all disrespect to the Lord Chan- cellor: indeed, he had never considered him as the party to exercise this patronage. • Mr. HUME said, this was a mere dispute which party should give away the appointments. He thought the present Chancellor ought to have the gift of them. The House then divided ; when Sir Edward Sugden's amendment was carried, by 101 to 83. Lord Jose RUSSELL then moved that the report be taken into con- sideration that day three months [thus abandoning the measure]. Sir DE LACY Evews denounced this act of partisanship by a Par- liament which had already avowed itself to be a Monopoly Parliament. Lord STANLEY could not let that observation pass : the patronage of the bill ought to be exercised by those who, when the business of it should arise, might be the Government of the day, and not by a Go- vernment in abeyance. If the present Ministers should be the Govern- ment in October, they would have the exercise of it ; and if any evil should occur from the course now taken, it was solely Lord John Rus- sell's fault.
Mr. LABOUCHERE again protested against the unconstitutional doctrine affirmed by the motion. Mr. Vitmeas declared this new humiliation of Government due solely to the hatred of the proposed alteration of the Corn-laws. Mr. WAKLEY congratulated the House that these violent attacks on the prerogative of the Crown had originated not with them, but with the Conservative party.
Sir ROBERT PEEL thought the cause of all the embarrassment suffi- ciently obvious— It was neither more nor less than this—the attempt to carry on executive government with a minority of the House of Commons. There dearly was no other alternative for the Government, when the House of Commons declared that the Administration did not possess its confidence, than resignation or im- mediate dissolution. By immediate dissolution, he did not mean dissolution without the necessary grants to carry on the public service—he did not mean dissolution without those legislative acts which would enable them to levy du- ties ; but no contested motion of any kind whatsoever, no act of the House of Commons implying confidence, ought to have been brought forward; and it was from that anomalous, extraordinary, and unparalleled position, Mi- nisters being placed in a minority on a vote of confidence and yet coming and asking that House for a fresh demonstration of confidence, that all the em- barrassment arose. Depend upon it, it was impossible that a government could he conducted on that principle.
After a few words from Mr. Hews, condemning the scramble for pa- tronage, Lord John's motion was carried, and the bill was lost.
WAYS AND MEANS.
In a Committee of Ways and Means, on Monday, the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER moved that 6,200,0001. should be granted from the Consolidated Fund.
Sir GEORGE CLERK objected, that as 8,000,0001. had already been voted from that fund, there did not now remain so large a sum as that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was proposing to take by about 700,000/.
The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER said, that if there was any ob- jection to his taking so much, he was willing to reduce his motion to a smaller amount.
Mr. HUME thought this last would be the more proper course.
Sir ROBERT PEEL did not wish the amount reduced : he continued to place confidence in Lord John Russell's declaration as to the intentions of Ministers.
The vote was then taken at the full amount.
BRIBERY AT ST. ALBANS.
On Tuesday, Mr. CHARLES WYNN moved that the Attorney-General be instructed to prosecute Mr. Richard Webster, a medical man at St. Alban's, for bribery at the last election— It was established by two witnesses, Robert Adam and Mr. Stebbing, that Mr. Webster had given' each of them a sum of 121. for voting in favour of the sitting Member for St. Alban's. Without going into questions of credi- bility, all he need say was, that Adam publicly on the hustings placed in the hands of the Mayor a paper parcel containing two 51. notes and two sovereigns; at the same time declaring, in the hearing of the sitting Member and other parties, that he had received it from Mr. Webster with a view to his voting for Lord Listowel. Mr. Webster himself stated that he did no more than was done on the other side: but was not this a confession of the offence ? Mr. Webster was no ordinary person in relation to this election : it was he who had brought down the candidate, proposed the sitting Member, and, after the elec- tion was over, drove about the town in the same carriage with him. It ap- peared also that Mr. Webster had brought down eleven candidates to this bo- rough, and succeeded in having ten of them returned. Mr. Webster, there- fore, was a principal, and not an agent ; and there could be no doubt that the reason why the petition was abandoned was because it was supposed that he was an agent and not a principal.
If it was asked, why not not look at Walsall, it was to be remembered that the offence at Walsall was not bribery, but treating. Mr. SANFORD, the Chairman of the St. Alban's Election Committee, did not want to throw the slightest impediment in the way of the motion ; but he thought that" there was no sufficient evidence to sub- stantiate the charge of bribery. It was somewhat, hard upon Mr. Webster, that the investigation had stopped before he had had an opportunity of rebutting the charge against him. Mr. Sanford could not see any very important distinction between bribery and treating.
The motion was supported by Mr. BLACKSTONE ; by Mr. DUGDALE, who said that St. Alban's had always borne a character for bribery, and that Mr. Webster was an old offender ; by Mr. PRINGLE, a Member of the Committee, who attested the appearance of sincerity with which Adam gave evidence before the Committee; by Sir THOMAS COCHRANE, who said that his Ipswich letter did not refer to money spent in bribery ; by Sir ROBERT INGLIS, Viscount INGESTRE, Colonel CONOLLY, and Mr. BRANSTON. It was opposed by Mr. CHARLES BULLER, Mr. MILDMAY, and Mr. WARBURTON, on the ground that the Committee had not re- commended a prosecution ; and Mr. Warburton observed, that it would be inconsistent to prosecute now when the House had abstained from prosecuting in the cases of Ludlow and Cambridge, in which the Com- mittees had given such a recommendation. It was opposed by Mr. Wean, who remarked that if Mr. Webster had procured the return of ten candidates, the first six were Tories—Mr. Ward himself being the only Liberal. In all arrangements for the coming elections, said Mr. Ward, notwithstanding all their condemnation of taribery, honourable Members would not scruple to do the same thing. Sir CHARLES GREY thought it unjust to condemn Mr. Webster on the evidence of a man known as "Lying Adam." Mr. Harr, a member of the Committee, objected to proceeding,• against Mr. Webster on the allegation of a notorious liar and an insane man, wholadured under the delusion that , he hid been injured by Mr. Webster. Gentlemen opposite, said Mr.
Hutt, sought not the ends of justice, but a party triumph ; a triumph which would be little mitigated by the conviction that Lord Listowel was in close connexion with the Court and a personal attendant on the Sovereign.
In his reply, Mr. WYNN remarked that the case before the Committee was that of the sitting Member, not of Mr. Webster ; and their decision was based, not upon the want of evidence to prove bribery, but upon the difficulty of proving the agency of Mr. Webster.
Mr. WARD gave notice, that on Friday he should call the attention of the House to the special report on the Cambridge election petition: The gallery was cleared for a division, but none took place ; and Mr. Wynn's motion was agreed to.
BRIBERY AT ELECTIONS.
When the order of the day was read for the committal of the Bribery at Elections Bill, on Thursday, Lord JOHN RUSSELL offered to proceed with it or not, as the House might think fit. A conversation followed, in which Sir ROBERT PEEL gave an opinion that Lord John would ex- ercise a sound discretion in not proceeding with the bill this session ; since it would be well to define the offences of bribery and treating, and that would require more time and consideration than there would be an opportunity for before the dissolution. Mr. CHARLES WYNN was unwil- ling to abandon some very valuable clauses in the bill ; especially those compelling witnesses to give evidence before Election Committees and protecting them from ulterior consequences in doing so. Lord JOHN RUSSELL afterwards proposed to go into Committee, in order to deal with those clauses which did not meet with opposition. Sir ROBERT INGLIS objected, that Sir Robert Peel had left the House, under the persuasion that there would be no further proceeding on the measure that evening. Lord JOHN RUSSELL, however, understood Sir Robert only to object to a hasty definition of bribery : if he had any further objections they could be urged at a future stage.
The House then went into Committee on the bill ; from which the first five clauses, on the motion of Lord JOHN RUSSELL, were struck out. The next four were agreed to, and the tenth was rejected. Mr. SMITH O'Biuzx proposed a clause providing that every newly- elected Member, on taking his seat, should make a solemn declaration that he had not directly or indirectly made use of any bribery for the purpose of being returned to Parliament. To this proposition Mr. WARBURTON objected, on the ground that it would be ineffectual in preventing bribery. He instanced the case of a similar declaration made by officers in the Army respecting the sale of commissions ; which, however, was wholly disregarded and evaded in practice.
After some debate, the clause was rejected, by 51 to 22. The bill was then reported.
MR. O'CONNELL AND SERGEANT JACKSON.
On Monday, Mr. O'CONNELL, alluding to a charge which Sergeant Jackson had brought against him on Thursday week, of distraining upon his tenants in Kerry in April for rent due in the previous March, produced a letter from his son, Mr. Maurice O'Connell. Mr. Maurice O'Connell had called upon Mr. Jackson to make inquiries: upon which Mr. Jackson said that the name of the person who made the charge was a Mr. Twiss ; , that Mr. Jackson knew him to be a Grand Juror in Kerry; but that he did not know his address. Mr. JACKSON, however, informed the House that his knowledge of Mr. Twiss was not so vague as Mr. Maurice O'Connell implied ; and he promised to produce a letter from Mr. Twiss upon which the charge was founded. Mr. O'CONNELL declared the charge to be utterly false. Mr. JACKSON produced a memorandum and a letter from Mr. Twiss, on Wednesday. From the memorandum, which was taken when Mr. Twiss called upon him, it appeared that the distraint had been made in April 1838, for rent due on the 25th March. The letter from Mr. Twiss was dated 6th June 1841. Referring to Mr. Jackson's speech on the 3d, Mr. Twiss reiterated the charge ; adding, " This I have reason to know is the strict truth, as I heard it at the time from the distrainers and the distrained parties. I was on a visit at the time with my old friend James Butler, who lives within four miles of Darrynane." So, observed Mr. Jackson, the accusation might be said also to rest on the authority of Mr. James Butler, a gentleman of the highest respecta- bility and honour ; of whose relationship he had heard Mr. O'Connell boast.
Mr. O'Cosnynu. declared that there was not a word of truth in the statement. He had never boasted of his relationship with Mr. James Butler, whose name was dragged in as indirect testimony, though no one ventured to say that he had mentioned the matter. And who was this Mr. Robert Twiss?-
He had had many misfortunes in the world. He had been a bankrupt, and bad been discharged under the Insolvent Act. But he would not dwell on that. Mr. Twiss's name, however, had been notorious for his want of strict adherence to truth: in fact, for more than twenty years he had been known in the county of Kerry as .‘ Lying Bobby Twiss." Mr. Jackson seemed to keep an office in Dublin, observed Mr. O'Connell, for the purpose of registering such charges against him ! This Mr. JACKSON denied; and so the matter dropped. Ms. Fox MAULE AND COLONEL SIBTHORP.
On the proposal to proceed with the Irish Houses of Industry Bill, on Wednesday, a little scene occurred. Colonel SraTaroan complained of Government for postponing some measures and forcing others for- ward: he did no more than his duty in calling attention to "such humbug"—Ministers went about amusing themselves instead of attend. ing to the business of the country : "a more idle and deceitful set of men were never allowed to fill such important public offices." Mr. Fox MAULS remarked, that such observations were below contempt. He was called to order by the SPEAKER, and promised to desist ; but in the mean time, Colonel SIBTHORP had feft the House; and Mr. Wyrix, apprehending that he had done so with a hostile purpose, moved that he should forthwith attend in his place. This was ordered; and the Colonel shortly appeared. The SPEAKER then directed Mr. Fox Maule to retract his words. He retracted them ace-o-rdiugly; admitting, however, that he had intended strongly to mark his sense of Colonel Sibthorp's objectionable language. Colonel SIBTHORP desired to know whether he was to consider the retractation as complete ? The SPEARF.R answered in the affimative ; and Sir ROBERT PEEL expressed his conviction that Colonel Sibthorp should consider the retractation satisfactory. The Colonel acquiesced.
NEW PENAL COLONY.
On Tuesday, Sir CHARLES GREY moved for a Select Committee to consider the fitness of the territory of Labrador, in North America, for
the purposes of a penal settlement. The nearness of Labrador to this country, compared with other penal settlements, would cause a saving in the transport of convicts; while the place furnishes opportunity for their profitable employment : its exports already amount to 500,000L; and it abounds with timber, sulphur, nickel, and other valuable produce. There is no population to be contaminated ; the few settlers being thinly scattered over the face of the country. And means exist to pre- vent the escape of convicts in any direction.
Mr. HINDLEY seconded the motion. Mr. Fox MAULE considered the very proximity of the place to this kingdom and other colonies an objection. He had himself been in the country, and knew how difficult it was, not only to employ convicts,. but to find work for any description of labourers.
Lord MAHON thought that Labrador would afford few advantages for a penal settlement, and was open to the strongest objections. He took the opportunity of making another appeal on behalf of the unfortunate convicts at Woolwich, among whom a frightful mortality appeared to prevail. Although the House had affirmed his resolution condemning the accumulation of convicts at Woolwich, the Estimates showed an in- crease of four hundred on the number of last year. Mr. Fox MAULE said that every care had been taken of the prisoners : there had been an epidemy among the troops as well as the convicts this year ; so that the mortality was not surprising. In reply to Sir ROBERT PEEL, Mr. MAULE said that Government did not contemplate the establishment of any new penal colonies, or any change in the pre- sent system.
REGISTRATION OF VOTERS. On Monday, Mr. Storey, the Clerk of the Peace of Hertfordshire, appeared at the bar of the House of Com- mons, in pursuance of a motion by Mr. Dunconibe, to produce the copy of the registry, which had been refused to an elector. He said that he had not brought it, only having a copy, which he did not think it respectful to lay before the House. He was ordered to bring the original ; which he did on Wednesday ; but then he said that it be- longed to the Magistrates, who had paid for it. Some disposition was manifested to deal with him as contumacious, and to detain the registry ; but eventually, on the motion of the SOLICITOR-GENERAL, he was ordered to furnish a copy by Thursday. Mr. Storey attended at the bar on Thursday, and presented the required document. Mr. DUNCOMBE moved that it be printed ; but he did not press his motion, and it was negatived. TENURES OF LAND IN IRELAND. On Monday, Mr. O'CONNELL gave notice, that on the 14th he should move for leave to bring in a bill to amend the laws relating to landlord and tenant in Ireland. ABANDONMENT OF GOVERNMENT BILLS. On Tuesday, Lord JOHN' RUSSELL proposed to "postpone" the following bills—Factories Bill, Silk Factories Bill, County Courts Bill, Bankruptcy, Insolvency, and Lunacy Bill, Registration of Voters (Scotland) Bill, Boroughs Improve- ment Bill, Buildings Regulation Bill, and Drainage of Towns Bill. DANISH CLAIMS. On Wednesday, Mr. CRESSWELL moved that the House go into Committee on an address to the Queen praying that the Danish claims, so often before the House, might be taken into con- sideration. The SOLICITOR-GENERAL proposed, by way of amend- ment, that the House should go into Committee that day three months. But the amendment was withdrawn, as the Government was evidently to be beaten again : the House went through Committee ; and the address was agreed to. When the report was brought up on Thursday, the CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER opposed it, on the technical ground, that if the address were presented, the Queen could not do any thing effectual in the matter, as the Treasury would not feel justified in disbursing a quarter of a million of money merely on a Royal order. The address was sup- ported by Mr. HUME, Mr. WARBURTON, and Mr. AARON CHAPMAN; and opposed by the SOLICITOR-GENERAL. On a division, the report was earned, by 75 to 64. MINISTERS AND THEIR FOREIGN POLICY. On Thursday, Sir FRAN- CIS BURDETT gave notice, that on Monday the 14th June he should call the attention of the House to the state of our foreign relations and to the general position of Ministers. CHURCH-EXTENSION. On Thursday, Sir ROBERT INGLIS announced his intention of not proceeding with the motion of which he had given notice. THE PRESIDENT STEAMER. In reply to Viscount STRANGFORD, on Thursday, the Earl of MINTO said that instructions had been despatched to the Admiral at Plymouth, to send out a vessel in search of the large steamer said to be in distress in St. George's Channel. Lord Minto, however, had no reason to believe that the report would prove well- founded ; and he feared it was only one of those most odious and incom- prehensible attempts to take advantage in the money-market of the temporary hopes excited by favourable rumours.