hatro unit Vartrtiugs iu Varliamtut.
PRINCIPAL BUSINESS OP THE WEBB.
Hoesz or Loans. Saturday, May 5. Royal Assent to the Loan Bill. Monday, May 7. Conduct of the War ; Lord Ellenborougb'a Notice of Motion- Affirmations (Scotland) Bill read a second time-Income-tax Bill read a second time.
Tuesday, May 8. Income-tax Bill committed-Vienna Conferences ; Papers laid on the table.
Thursday. May 10. Vienna Conferences; Earl Grey's Notice of Motion-Fisheries (British Islands and France) Bill read a second time-Church Patronage Transfer ; Lord Harrowby's Bill read a-second time-Income-taO Bill read a third time and passed. Friday, May 11. Legal Reforms ; Lord St. Leonarda's Questions-Private Estates the Lord Chancellor's Bill read a first time-Fisheries (British Islands and France) Bill committed-Charitable Trusts Bill committed.
HOME or COMmONs. Monday, May 7. Newspaper-Stamp Bill; adjourned Debate on the third reading-Supply; Miscellaneous Estimates--,Illness of the Speaker; Mr. Fitzroy takes the chair-Registration of •Births (Scotland) Bill committed- Parliamentary Representation (Scotland) Act Amendment Bill read a third time and passed-Intestacy (Scotland) Bill read a third time and passed. Thesday, May 8. No House. Wednesday, May 9. Marriage (Scotland); Mr. Headlam's Bill thrown out- Marriage Law Amendment; Mr. Heywood's Bill read a second time by 165 to 157- Vienna Conferences; Papers laid on the table.
Thursday, May 10. Mr. Layard's Resolutions; Lord Palmerston's offer, and Mr. Layard's refusal-Vienna Conferences; Mr. Bright's Question-Indian Army; Sir Erskine Perry's Motion for Inquiry, negatived by 174 to 62- Education (Scotland); Lord Advocate's BM, debate on going into Committee, adjourned-Government of Victoria; Lord John Russell's Bill read a first time-Forms of Pleading; the Attorney-General's Bill read a first time.
Friday, May 11. Vienna Conferences ; Mr. M. Gibson's Notice of Motion-Lord Raglan ; Lord Hotbam's Question- Maynooth Report ; Mr. Horsman's Explanations -Public Affairs ; Lord Palmerston's Statement-Newspaper-Stamp Bill read a third time and passed- Spirit-duties (Scotland and Ireland) Bill committed-Stamp-duties. (Draughts on Bankers) Bill withdrawn-Registration of Birth, &c. (Scotland) Bill read a third time and passed-Consolidation of the Statutes ; Mr. Locke Ring's Motion.
TIME - TABLE.
The Lords. The Commons.
Hour of Hoar of Hour of Hour of Meeting. Adjournment. Meeting. Adjournment. Saturday 1412 lh Um Saturday lib .... 2h Om Monday Oh . 6h 16m Monday 5h 611 20,nTuesday 4h . 1111 30m Tuesday No House.
Wednesday Noon 6b Om Wednesday No sitting. 4 .(m) lb 30m 6h aim Thursday 11 Thursday 5k
Friday 5h .... 7h 5m Friday 4h .(m) 12h 30m
Sittings this Week, 6; Time. 41i 50m Sittings this Week, 6; Time, 32615m
this Session. 60; - 1066 35m this Session. 71; - 446h 20m CONDUCT OF THE WAR.
In the House of Lords, on Monday, • the Earl of ELLENBOROUGH read the following resolution, with the intimation that he will submit it to the House next Monday- "That a humble address be presented to her Majesty, to assure her Majesty of our continued-support in the prosecution of the just and necessary war in which her Majesty is engaged : to declare the sincere gratification with which we have regarded the perfect community of counsels between her Majesty and the Emperor of • the French, and have seen friendliness established and increasing between the French people and our own,-events full of hope for the future to other nations as well as to ourselves : to express our admiration of the many deeds of valour by which the Allied forces in the East have il- lustrated their brotherhood in arms, and our satisfaction that the brave army of Piedmont is now called to participate in their actions and in their fame : to declare our persuasion that, amid all their disappointments, the people of this country still retain the generous feelings which led them at the com- mencement of the war willingly to place all the means required from them at her Majesty's disposal; that they will still protect the weak against the aggression of the strong, and that they are not prepared to consent that Rus- sia shall, by her increasing preponderance, so control the Turkish Govern- ment as practically to hold Constantinople within her grasp : to acquaint her Majesty that, while we -admit and lament the privations to which war ne- cessarily subjects all classes of the people, we yet venture to assure her Majesty that they•would in so just a cause bear those privations without complaint, if they could feel that the war had been well conducted, that the troops had not been exposed to any hardships which could have been avoided by forethought, and that everything had been tone to enable them to achieve decisive success : humbly to represent to her Majesty, that her people, -suffering privations on account of this war, have as yet had no such consolation; that on the contrary, we cannot withhold from her Majesty the avowal of our conviction that the conduct Of the war has occasioned general dissatisfaction, and given rise to just complaints, and that we must humbly lay before her Majesty our deliberate opinion that it is only through the selection of men for public employment without regard to anything but the public service that the country can hope to prosecute the war success- fully and to attain its only legitimate object-a secure and honourable peace."
Lord PAlcaruns then said-
" I intended to submit to your Lordships on Monday next a plan for the consolidation of the Civil Departments of the Army ; but, inasmuch as the debate on the noble Earl's motion will, no doubt, occupy the whole of that evening, I shall deter bringing forward that subject until Thursday week. The Earl of ELLENBOROUGH-" That is Ascension Day." Lord PANMURE-" On the Friday following then."
Mr. LAYARD asked whether Lord Palmerston would give him any day for bringing forward his resolutions ? Lord PaLiegasrobt replied-" I cannot find the honourable gentleman a day ; he must find one for him- self." Mr. LAYARD rejoined-" Then, I shall bring the resolutions for- ward on an early day, on the motion for going into Committee of Supply."
Early on Thursday evening, Lord PALmEnsroN, recurring to 'Mr. Layard's announcement on Monday, said that he should be sorry to de- prive the Rouse of the opportunity of discussing Mr. Layard's resolutions as a substantive motion ; and therefore, if other Members would with- draw their notices standing for Monday, he would move that the orders of the day should be postponed on Monday, so that Mr. Layard's resolu- tions might come on. At a later hour, after the Indian discussion, Mr. 'ATARI) said, he understood that on Monday night there would be an important motion in " another place," and perhaps it would be for the convenience of the House that his motion should be postponed. " I think, therefore, that I had better avail myself of the kind permission given me by the noble Lord the other night, and find a day for myself." (Cheers and laughter.) understood-that the negotiations were terminated. " I ask the latter question," he remarked, "because I should not wish to bring forward any motion on the subject of the negotiations if 'I thought that they were not absolutely terminated!! .Lord'PAnsreasroN stated that there have been no written proposals made.by the Austrian Government since the 26th April.
"There have been verbal communications between the Austrian Govern- ment and the Governments of England and France, and also between the French Government and the English Government ; but I am sure the honourable Member and the House will feel that, considering the state in which the relations of the three Governments are, it would not be for the public interest to give detailed explanations of those communications. With respect to the question whether negotiations are entirely broken oft; my an- swer must be the same as that'I gave on a former evening,—namely, that the elements of conference permanently exist in-Vienna , there being in that capital the representatives of the British, French, Turkish, Russian, and, of course, Austrian Governments. If, therefore, at any time any proposition Should be made by Russia, or by Austria on behalf of Russia, which might appear to offer a fair prospect of prosecuting negotiations to a successful issue, there are means and elements in Vienna for resuming the negotia- tions.
Mr. BRIGHT further pressed the question, whether the matter was in a state that left the House free to discuss the subject without prejudice to the public service'?
Lord Panstinisrosr replied, that Mr. Bright must use his own dis- cretion.
He could " imagine public inconvenience arising from Government being compelled, in the present state of things, to enter into a detailed discussion of what proposals have been made, of what objections had been urged to those proposals, of what proposals might be made and what objections might be taken to such proposals. Of course, I cannot pretend to dictate to any honourable Member the course he should pursue. ,
On Thursday night, Earl GREY gave notice that he would move the following resolution on Monday the 21st instant-
" That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, to thank her Ma- jesty for having ordered the protocols of the recent negotiations at Vienna to be laid before us • to inform her Majesty, that this House deeply deplores the failure of the attempt to put an end by these- negotiations to the cala- mities of the war in which the country is now engaged ; and to express our opinion that the proposals of Russia were such as to afford a fair prospect of concluding a peace by which all the original objects of the war might have been gained, and by which her Majesty and her Allies might have obtained all the advantages which can reasonably be demanded from linage."
THE INDIAN Amer.
=Sir ERSKINE PERRY brought forward on Thursday his announced mo- tion for the appointment of a Select Committee "to consider and inquire how the Army of India might be made most available for war in Europe ; and to inquire into the steps necessary to be taken, if it should be deemed expedient to constitute the Army of the East Indian Company a Royal Army.' The motion, he said, was essentially one for inquiry. If the war con- tinue it is to the Indian Army that we must look for reinforcements ; and Unless there are insuperable difficulties in the way, we must avail ourselves of its resources. He had taken some pains to ascertain the strength of the Indian Army ; but he could not pledge-himself as to the accuracy of his estimate.
- According to the returns laid before the Committee of 1853, the army in India, including the Queen's troops, amounted to 289,529 men ; among whom were about 30,000 European troops belonging to the Queen's service— cavalry and infantry of the line—and 20,000 European troops in the Com- pany's service, of every arm, except cavalry. In addition to these, there were the contingents su. died_by native.princes, amounting to 36,000 men, and a police force of 24,111 men, with a military organization and extremely efficient, making a total of 349,855 men. There were also thirty-five bat- talions of militia, with three officers each, amounting to 24,000 ; which, with the troops belonging-to native princes, such as the King of Oude, would raise the whole to somewhere about the number of 400,000 men, as stated by Sir Charles Napier. If to these were added the regular forces of her Ma- jesty, that would give a British army, of the services of which the country had a right to dispose, amounting to 457,000 men, with 12,000 officers, and maintained at an expense of 20,596,0001. i The army of India is divided into three distinct armies ; but the whole is under the control of the civil power. Without the consent of the Go- vernor-General, the Commander-in-chief cannot move a single regiment ; and he is in fact nothing more than " a monster Adjutant-General.' In order to show the efficiency of the army, he quoted the opinions of Lord Wellesley, Sir Charles Napier, Lord Gough, Sir Willoughby Cotton and Sir George Berkeley—who called it " a fine army," an " excellent army," a most effective army. What use has been made of these fine troops in the present war ? None whatever. We have attempted to raise a -Turkish contingent ; but the Indian officers appointed, with one or two exceptions, bear names unknown to Indian story. Now they might have had from India 25,000 Europeans of all arms to operate in the Crimea, and 26,000 to operate in Georgia. War in Turkey is similar to war in India, where there are no roads, where the army carries its own provisions, and relies on its own means of transport. Un- fortunately, it is now too late to despatch such a force from India this season, because the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean are um ra- versable ; but it might be made ready for next year. But the corps to which he referred cannot be employed with effe t unless the officers be-
Tax VIENNA CONFERENCES.
In the House of Commons, on Monday, Mr. DISRAELI gave notice, that unless Lord Palmerston would promise that the papers relating to the Vienna Conference should be laid on the table very speedily, he would call upon the House to express an opinion on the subject.
Lord PALMERSTON subsequently intimated that the papers would be laid upon the table on the following night. [They were delivered to the House of Lords on Tuesday ; but as the Commons did not make a House on that day, they were not presented to them until Wednesday.] On Thursday, Mr. BRIGHT inquired whether any proposition had been submitted by the Austrian Government since the 26th April ; and if so, whether it wculd be laid before the House • and whether it was to be
longing to the Queen's and Company's service be placed on an equality. 'Until a complete amalgamation take place, no effectual improvement can be made in the military training and staff education of the Queen's offi- cers. Sir Erskine seemed to look to this amalgamation as a means of providing the Indian army with really efficient Commanders-in-chief ; of preventing-mutinies, by placing all the officers under the Queen ; and of improving the local government of India. To back up his views, he made copious quotations from letters by Brigadier Mayne, Mohamed All Ackbar, interpreter to Sir Charles Napier, Lord Grenville's speech in 1818, Lord Comwallis's reply to Mr. Dundas in 1794, and Sir John Malcolm. Sir Erskine did not desire to see the Queen's Government more paramount in India ; he did not believe that under the proposed system the services of men not connected with that or the other House would be overlooked ; and he thought the difficulty of promotion would be met by adopting a .joint and mixed system of promotion by seniority and selection. He believed that the measure he proposed would be most beneficial to India, and the wisest and most statesmanlike course the House could adopt.
Sir DE Leer Evans seconded the motion ; and at a later stage sup- ported it by a speech.
The chief opponents of the proposition were Sir JAMES Winn H000 and Mr. VEaraos Smarr. The main objections offered were—that a Se- lect Committee was not the proper tribunal to investigate the subjects referred to in the resolution ; that the scheme of amalgamation would not work ; and that the change is not desired but opposed by the officers of the Indian Army. What troops can be spared from India, consistently with the safety of our Indian posses- sions, can be determined by her Majesty's Government and the Governor-General alone. The different constitutions of the two armies—the-Queen's having a system of promotion by purchase and of exchange, the Company's a system of nomination and a rigid rule of seniority—render amalgamation absolutely impracticable. The Indian Army must be local ; subordinate to the civil power, and officered by Eng- lish officers, trained for the duty from their youth. The Sepoys dread changes, and might mutiny, as they have mutinied before, if commanded by regimental 'Queen's officers transferred to the service. Sir JAMBS H000 made out a case, with much detail, to show the injustice of exclud- ing Indian officers from the chief commands in the Presidencies, and even divisional commands in war. Assistance must be sought every- where to carry on the war ; whether he belong to the Queen's service or the Company's service, the best man should be placed in command; but, in our anxiety to carry on the war in the Crimes, we must not neglect every other portion of our empire. Mr. Vinisorr Sierra claimed the authority of Lord Grenville and Lord Wellesley as against amalgamation, not for it; and added the names of Mounatiuirt Elphinstone, Sir. Jasper Nicholls, General Scott, and Sir Lionel Smith, on the same side. Practically, the Crown has the power of commanding the services of Indian officers, without amalgamating the two armies.
In the course of his speech Mr. Vernon Smith referred to the memoran- I dum recently issued at his suggestion, and described its effect-
" The effect of the memorandum would be that, where a man had become a Major-General in the Company's army, he might at once be sent.to the Crimea, and would rank as a Major-General there, Recording to his original position in India, and not according to the date of his appointment in the Queen's Army. The memorandum, though local employment and local com- mand were given, would yet greatly facilitate the employment of Indian ' officers together with Queen's officers ; and it would not confer on Indian officers equal social rank merely, but equal military rank also, with that held by Queen's officers."
The motion was also supported by Mr. OTWAY,, and Mr. joins. Mae- GREGOR ; and opposed by Colonel DUNNE, Mr. J. G. PHILLIKORE, and Mr. DARBY SEYMOUR.
On a division, it was negatived by 171 to 62.
In Committee of Supply, on Monday, several votes of the Miscella- neous Estimates were agreed to. On the vote of 375,4791. for Government prisons and convict establish- ments at home, Sir GEORGE GREY, in reply to Mr. HENLEY, said that the estimate of last year had not been reached. The number of men holding tickets-of-leave, who have been recommitted, is positively but not comparatively large. Shortly, however, returns will give full in- formation on the subject.
On the vote of 166,1741. for the maintenance of convicted prisoners in county gaols, Sir STAFFORD NORTUCOTE remarked an item of 50001. for the maintenance of juvenile convicts in the Philanthropic Society's establishment at Redhill, while 20001. were set down for all similar in- stitutions under the act of last salon. Would Government defray the whole cost of the maintenance of offenders committed to reformatory in- stitutions under the recent act ? In reply to this, and to further ques- tions from Sir JOHN PAKINGTON, Sir GEORGE GREY said that the Go- vernment would pay the whole cost of the maintenance of the inmates, as distinct from the expenses of the establishment ; and that 58. a week per head was considered a fair sum. The estimate of 20001. rests upon the calculation of the number of boys likely to be committed to those re- formatories ; the estimate of 50001. for Redhill includes a provision for placing boys in a way of gaining a livelihood. It is both just and expe- dient to make parents who neglect their children pay for their mainte- nance; but it is difficult to enforce the obligation without filling the pri7 sons. He hoped to amend the law in this respect.
On the vote of 157,6691. for the expenses of Consular establishments abroad, Mr. Wray brought many complaints against the existing system. He seemed to object to the separation between Diplomatic and Consular functions; pointed out the disproportion between the number of Consuls in the Levant and Turkey, costing upwards of 24,0001., where our ex- ports are only 2,000,0001., and the number in the United States, where the Consular salaries amount to only 50001., and our exports to- 23,000,0001. He objected to the practice of permitting Consuls to trade, and to the system of partial payment by fees ; and he read a letter from an intelligent Mussulman in England, asking why the British Govern- ment did not appoint a secret Commission to investigate the conduct of British Consuls and their servants in Turkey. Many of the Consuls continue practices of which even the Turks are ashamed. Lord Penstansvosr defended this large class of public servants from charges unsustained by a single fact. If any complaints were made against British agents, they would be investigated, and if found just, re- dressed. He hesitated to attach great credit to the letter. The duties of Consuls in the Levant are not simply commercial, bUt judicial in theis
character, and of a higher description than those in any other part of the world. It is therefore futile to take the amount of exports or imports as a rule to determine the number of Consuls to be maintained there. He thought that the salaries are too low, because they prevent hospitality ; and he upheld the system of fees, because they enable the Consul to maintain offices and clerks. Besides, some portion of the fees are re- ceived for notorial acts. It would not be a good plan to appoint persons attached to diplomatic missions to perform consular services; for while it would make little difference in point of salary, it would create great confusion. Generally speaking, he thought it would be as well to have Consuls not connected with trade; and in the majority of cases trade is forbidden.
THE LAW OF MARRIAGE.
The adjourned debate on the second reading of the Marriage Law
Amendment Bill was resumed at the Wednesday's sitting, and was carried on by seven speakers : Sir WILLIAM HEATHCOTE, Mr. ItouNDELL PALMER, and Mr. GLADSTONE spoke in opposition ; Mr. PHINN, Mr. Low; Mr. COB- DEN, Mr. SPOONER, and Mr. J. G. PHILLIMORE in support of the measure.
The arguments relied on by the opponents of the bill did not materially
differ from those advanced in the previous debate. It was contended that the marriages in question had always, both before and since Lord Lynd- burst's Act, been held to be against the law ; that if the law should be altered because it has been violated, then on the same ground, the law relating to bigamy, polygamy, and adultery, which is constantly broken, should be repealed ; and that if the table of prohibitions were broken through there would be no sound resting-place. Sir WILLIAM HEATH- COTE and Mr. GLADSTONE pointed out, that if the 18th verse of the 18th chapter of Leviticus bear the interpretation put on it by the advocates of the measure, it follows that polygamy also is justifiable as well as mar- riage with the sister of a deceased wife. But in an earlier verse of the same chapter, all marriages with those who are "near of kin" are for- bidden ; and near of kin includes degrees of affinity, and therefore a wife's sister. The grand objection to the whole movement on this question, and to the bill before the House, was, that " it pro- posed to investigate and verify anew the principles on which our moral institutions are based "—" opened a gate which no earthly power can shut, and introduced principles of which the application cannot be limited." The prohibition has been held to be the law from time im- memorial, and it stands the embodiment of the collective conscience of mankind and the judgment of Christendom. One demand Mr. Gladstone made upon the advocates of the bill—would those who contest the con- struction of Divine laws on principles that make everything doubtful, state a clear and definite principle on which they proceed, from which it may be known, not why this bill is asked for, but when that is granted, low we are to stand with regard to that which remains ?
On the other side it was urged, that a preponderance of feeling exists
in favour of a change in the law. That such marriages are not regarded as prohibited by the Divine command, is shown by the fact that the Jews contract suoh marriages. Mr. Lows argued at some length, that the House would abridge the natural liberty of the people by refusing to pass this bill ; that it had no right to erect its personal conviction on this sub- ject into a rule for other people's lives, because Members strongly believe in an interpretation put upon certain texts from which others differ. Unless it could be proved that a prohibitive law is based upon the moral obligations of man, and demanded by the sense of right in the human conscience, it ought not to be adopted or enforced ; for to do so is prac- tically to persecute for opinion. Mr. COBDEN replied to the argument that if the law should be altered because it is broken so the law of bigamy and adultery should be altered, by showing that the cases are not simi- lar; because, while bigamy is a felony and punished as such, the mar- riage with a deceased wife's sister is not visited with any public censure whatever. In fact, public opinion sanctions the evasion of the law as it stands, and would revolt against any attempt to enforce it. Mr. HEY- 'WOOD, in reply to Mr. Gladstone's challenge, said, " The bill is founded upon the principle of expediency, and was introduced to accommodate the prevailing public opinion of the day " ; a statement that called forth, both cheering and laughter.
The House divided on the second reading—Ayes, 165; Noes, 157 ; majority for the second reading, 8. The opponents of the bill loudly hailed the announcement of this nar- row majority. SCOTCH MARRIAGES.
Mr. HEADLAM moved the second reading of the Marriages (Scotland) Bill. In Scotland there are four modes of contracting marriage, one of them being by simple exchange of consent between the contracting par- ties. This leads to great evils, especially among the English resident near the Border, by giving facilities for hasty marriages, polygamy, and general immorality. Thus, some persons, both men and women, are married only for a few hours, at a hiring, and remarried to other parties when they find it convenient. He proposed to deal with the evil by ren- dering the persons who celebrate these marriages liable to a fine of ten pounds or three months' imprisonment for the first offence, for the second twenty pounds or six months' imprisonment ; and moderate penalties on the parties contracting the marriage. The LORD-ADVOCATE admitted the existence of the evil, and the bene- fit that would arise from a suppression of these irregular, clandestine, and unrecorded marriages. But he thought the bill was open to the objection that it would only operate against the poor.
The evil was generally admitted in the course of the debate that en- sued ; but the bill met with scant approval. It was suggested that the Government should deal with the subject comprehensively. Mr. ELLior moved that the bill be read a second time that day six months; and on a division this amendment was carried by 143 to 40.
MiseBLLANBous. Lord Jour; RUSSELL moved for leave tic bring in a bill to enable her Majesty to assent to a bill, as amended, of the Legislature of Victoria, "to establish a constitution in and for the colony of Victoria."
He proposed to take generally the act of the Legislature of Victoria as far as concerned its own constitution, but to omit certain proposals which would ja Z.Ivra mated in the Crown of disallowing thelacts passed by the lie MI, therefore, although it would certainly not contain all .., that th7/Legialgtare of Victoria had proposed, would not contain any thing to ( 71.,, wpich it,had'netgiven its assent, and thus, in his opinion, would be within ...',-/ the 'power _gtvenl)y' Parliament to the Australian Colonies to form constitu- 1.1-ilt, fur; la. 1 ,-1.1(. V
Mr. Lows, Mr. ADDERLEY, and Mr. G. Burr objected to the introduc- tion of the bill, as a departure from the proper form, which requires that a bill from the Colonies should either be accepted or rejected. This is not the bill of the Colonial Legislature, but a new bill altogether.
The bill was read a first time.
On the motion of. Lord STANLEY of ALDERLEY, the Fisheries (British Islands and France) Bill was read a second time. It is found that great practical difficulties hinder the enforcement of the Convention of 1839 regulating the sea-fisheries between England and France. The bill pro- vides a remedy, by enabling British Consuls to take evidence and trans- mit it to the courts in England. It also gives additional power to prevent the taking of oysters between the 30th April and the 1st September.
The Church Patronage Transfer Bill was read a second time, on the motion of the Earl of HARROWBY. This measure gives the Crown power to part with patronage for the purpose of augmenting poor benefices; and also provides that it should be lawful for any person or body to surrender the right of patronage or presentation, together with all the emoluments, either for a valuable consideration or not, provided that the object of such surrender was the augmentation of the income of ill-endowed benefices, and that the sanction of the bishop of the diocese had been obtained. In the case of the surrender of Church property by corporations sole, certain consents were required to render it valid.
The Committee on the Education (Scotland) Bill was fixed for Thurs- day; but the motion that the Speaker should leave the chair met with great opposition from Mr. CUMMING BRUCE and other Scotch Members, supported by Mr. DISRAELI. A division was taken on the question of adjourning the debate ; but the motion was negatived by 165 to 119. Mr. Cummuna BRUCE then proceeded to speak against the bill till half- past twelve, when the LoRD-ALovocem consented to adjourn the debate.
On the motion of the ATtORNEY-GENERAL, a bill to enable the Judges of the Courts of Common Law at Westminster to alter the forma of pleading was read a first time.
ILLNESS or THE SPEAKER. - The third reading of the Newspaper Stamp-Duties Bill stood for Mon- day, and considerable debate arose on the motion ; several Members inti- mating their opposition to its further progress. But the debate was brought to an abrupt close by an observation that the Speaker appeared to be unwell.
Lord PALMERSTON said the House must have seen bow much the Speaker was suffering from indisposition ; and he suggested that the de- bate should be adjourned in order that the Speaker might leave the chair. The proposal met with universal concurrence : the debate was adjourned, and the Speaker was released from his duties.
Later in the evening, the Chief Clerk read a letter from the Speaker, informing the House, with sincere concern, that owing to his indisposi- tion he must be unavoidably absent during tho remainder of the night. Whereupon a resolution passed in 1853, providing that, for one day only, the Chairman of Ways and Means should take the chair in the unavoid- able absence of the Speaker, was read ; and Mr. Fitzroy took the chairfor the rest of the evening.
On Tuesday, the Speaker was ready to take the chair at four o'clock ; but there was " no House."
Sir Thomas Hastings continued his evidence on Friday the 4th and Monday the 7th instant. The chief points of his examination had little or nothing to do with the state of the army before Sebastopol, but related to the administration of the Ordnance Department. The drift of his evidence was to show that the Board of Ordnance had worked with remarkable steadiness until the appointment of a separate Ministry of War, when the Clerk of the Ordnance began to govern the Board through the Minister of War. Various cases were mentioned in which Sir Thomas differed from the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Panmnre and Mr. Monsell. One thing was very evident, that the Board of Ordnance has been practically in a transition state for the last twelvemonth ; and that there have been several irregularities, or rather departures from rou- tine. Sir Thomas thought that the Minister of War had acted illegally in interfering with the details of the Ordnance Department. He also dwelt much on the fact that the Master-General is in the Crimea; and that Sir Hew Ross, the Lieutenant-General, feels doubts as to the extent of his powers ; although Sir Thomas thinks that Sir Hew Ross succeeded, by his patent, to all the rights exercised by the Master-Ge- neral. The result of his evidence was, that it is as difficult, in his opin- ion, "to carry on successfully the administration of the Ordnance De- partment without a Master-General and a complete Board as it would be to carry on the administration of the Navy without a Chief Lord and a Board of Admiralty." Mr. Monsell, Clerk of the Ordnance, was called, and examined on Monday and Tuesday. Much of his evidence was elicited to show the state of the Ordnance Department during the past year, and to throw light upon a kind of conflict between Mr. Mensal, backed by the Mi- nister of War, and Sir Thomas Hastings.
At the beginning of the war the Board of Ordnance was not in a con- dition to meet the urgent demands upon them, because their supply of stores in hand was deficient. The difficulties that have arisen lately must be attributed rather to the fact that the Board is in a moribund state, as it is known that large changes are contemplated. Mr. Monsell most fully concurred with the Duke of Newcastle in the dissatisfaction he felt with the organization of the Board. But he did not think the absence of the Master-General caused that state of things. The Secre- tary of State interfered to decide what should be done. If he had not interfered as he did, by giving constant orders, however irregularly, ver- bally, or on slips of paper, our army would have been even in a worse state than the lamentable condition it was in from want of clothing and necessaries.
Mr. Sidney Herbert was called on Wednesday, and his examination occupied the whole day. Questioned with respect to the power he exer- cised as Secretary at War, be said that the effect of the separation of the offices of War and the Colonies did not so much diminish the power of the Secretary at War, as it did the exercise of powers " not strictly war- ranted by his official position, but which in a long course of years had grown upon him." Strictly he was a financial officer; and the office, at its origin, was simply a delegation from the Treasury, which has still supreme control over the expenditure of the Army.
Examined with respect to the expedition to the Crimea, he said that the expectation was in favour of a coup-de-main and not a long campaign. The troops went to the Crimea in light order ; but he had nothing to do with the preparations. When the departments were separated, Mr. Her- bert placed himself at the disposal of Lord Aberdeen, with the view of facilitating changes ; and subsequently he " undertook a good deal of business, to relieve the Duke of Newcastle, which properly it was not the business of his office to do." In this way a dispute came under his notice between Dr. A. Smith and Mr. Guthrie, as to whether additional staff- surgeons or regimental-surgeons should be appointed. After hearing the discussion, witness referred the matter to Lord Raglan, who decided in favour of taking additional regimental-surgeons. As it had turned out it would have been better to have had, as Dr. A. Smith suggested, additional staff-surgeons. After the battle of the Alma, hearing that the hospitals at Scutari bad failed, at a time when contradictory state- ments were made, Mr. Herbert wrote unofficially to Dr. Menzies, Major Sillery, and Mr. Wreford, urging them to simplify forms and procure what they could on the spot ; to provide for the influx of patients, and see that nothing was wdnting for their comfort. He also wrote to Lord Stratford urging him to give assistance. He felt that a high military officer should be placed over the hospital, in place of Major Sillery ; and such an officer was selected; but in the mean time Lord Raglan had ap- pointed a "good man," Lord William Paulet. Questions were put with the view of obtaining an opinion respecting Lord Raglan's responsibility in the matter, especially as he had supreme control in the East. But Mr. Herbert stated that Dr. Hall had visited Scutari, by Lord Raglan's directions, and on his return he gave a "flourishing account" of it ; so that Lord Raglan could not remonstrate about deficiencies of which he was not aware. With respect to the medical men, Mr. Herbert retained his opinion that as medical men they exerted themselves well, but that as organizers they broke down. All the departments were underhanded; but originally "too much was expected and too little was done." Some- body was to blame certainly ; but it is difficult to pitch upon the right Man.
With respect to the hospital at Smyrna, Mr. Herbert said he should have preferred Sinope. There was a doubt as to the healthiness of Smyrna, and therefore it had not been permanently established, but it is at present working admirably. Mr. Herbert at an early period took part in providing clothing for the army, sheep-skin coats, &c. Some of the "ammunition boots" supplied by the Colonels were too small, but the Ordnance boots were large enough. Much of the clothing was obtained in Austria and Switzerland, and for that the Ordnance cannot be held responsible. He explained that in cases where contracts for clothing entered into by the Colonels have not expired, the troops continue to be supplied by them.
In reply to questions from Mr. Roebuck and Mr. Layard, Mr. Herbert said that, with the exception of one whole week and part of another, he was in town throughout the recess, in constant communication with the Duke of Newcastle, and acting as a "volunteer assistant" to him.
Mr. Wood, Secretary to the Board of Ordnance, examined on Thurs- day, said that he was not aware of an inconvenience, as regarded the current business of the Board, arising from the absence of Lord Raglan, the Master-General.
Vice-Admiral Dundas was also called on Thursday, and examined at considerable length. He commanded the Mediterranean fleet. On the 8th June he was ordered to Besika Bay ; on the 30th October he went on to the Bosphorus, and entered the Black Sea in January. Until the war broke out he was at the orders of the Ambassador. After the war broke out he took his orders from the French Admiral, who was his senior officer. Examined with respect to the information supplied to or obtained by him with respect to the strength of the Russian fleet, he said that he was supplied with a very "rough old statement" at first ; that when he entered the Black Sea he was not a bit the wiser ; that he informed Lord Stratford in July 1853 that he had a Maltese who could get the informa- tion required by going to Sebastopol ; but that Lord Stratford interposed difficulties—" something relating to passports." He thought the Am- bassador ought to have sent that man. He had endeavoured to collect information, with but little success; and he attributed his failure to the vigilance and caution of the Russian Government, and the hostility of the Greeks.
About the end of July he first heard of the expedition to the Crimea, and prepared accordingly; but the cholera broke out in the fleet and de- layed the sailing of the expedition. All the ships carried troops, except seven sail of the line, held in readiness to meet the Russians. It was arranged that the French should have a proportionate number in readiness, but they were compelled to carry French troops. Admiral Dundas seemed much hurt at a statement made by the Duke of Newcastle, that the Admi- ral had sent "inaccurate " information as to the strength of the enemy in the Crimea ; and read letters of his own to Sir James Graham to show that he was right. But the Committee did not seem disposed to per- mit the witness to continuo reading confidential letters. One of these, addressed to Sir James Graham, and dated in May 1854, stated that Se- bastopol was a second Gibraltar ; that there were 130,000 Russian troops in the Crimea, and 30,000 in the fortress itself, which was further pro- tected by thirteen or fourteen sail of the line.
The fleet could not get near Perekop ; and it was impossible to prevent the entrance of Russian troops to the Crimea by the Sea of Azoff, without 4000 men ; and these could not be spared. Asked whether he had suf- ficient means of transport to convey the necessary equipment of the army, he said that he had not ; and to repeated questions, he answered that ad- ditional transport could not have been obtained " in time," either by himself or the Ministry at home. With respect to Balaklava, the only complaint he ever heard was that the harbour was "a ditch "—that it was " too small." He expressed a high opinion of Admiral Boxer and Cap- tain Christie. Mr. Roebuck put this question—" I want to know whe- ther, if precaution had been taken, you could not have had a sufficient supply of coals. Was there not a want of providence in this matter ?"— The witness quickly answered—" No ; it was Providence that prevented
the wind from blowing in the direction to enable the vessels to bring up the coals Not twenty steam-tugs would have sufficed." In reply to another question, from Sir John Hanmer—" Did the ships alp* by the Russians at the entrance of Sebastopol materially strengthen it against the sea attack? "—he replied, "No, not at all ; the fleet could never have entered the harbour of Sebastopol unless the army had got there before it." In parts of his evidence, as that relating to the blockade,
and the propriety of the expedition to the Crimea, he was stopped, because it involved statements respecting the French. The evidence would seem to have been taken in a desultory manner; as at one moment Mr. Roebuck, with an expression of despair on his face, exclaimed that his head was in a perfect state of confusion in regard to the evidence of the gallant Admiral.