IlDtbates an iproceellings in Varliament.
PROPERTY AND TAXATION IN IRELAND.
The House of Commons having come, on Tuesday, to the order of.the day for the recommittal of the Landed Property (Ireland) Bill, Mr. ROEBUCK asked whether, if that bill were not carried, Lord John Russell, as a Minis- ter, would go on with the other bill that was to proceed pan i passe with it, the Landed Property (Ireland) Bill? Lord Jour; RUSSELL replied, that he wished the bills to proceed together stage by stage. Mr. ROEBUCK re- peated the question: if the Poor Relief Bill were stopped, would Lord John go on with the other? Lord Jona RUSSELL said, he thought it un- necessary to state, then, what he should do in such a contingency.
On the question that the Speaker do leave the chair, Mr. RoasticK pro- posed an amendment, in the shape of the following resolution-
" That any plans of relief for the distress of the Irish poor, by means of loans to the owners of property in Ireland, would be unjust and impolitic, unless ac- companied by i a system of taxation which would subject such property to the bur- dens already imposed upon all property throughout Great Bntain." He could not understand how a proposition of this kind could be ob- jected to. The machinery for collecting the taxes is the same in Ireland as in England. The community is composed of different sections, but all having common interests. In England all classes—the artisan, the mer- ohant, the landlord—bring ear& their quota to the common fund, without grumbling or opposition. Now, what is the position of those in Ireland who derive large incomes from the possession of land, from fixed capital of various kinds, from professional labour, or otherwise? In Ireland, no man pays Assessed Taxes—whether for his house, his windows, his horses, ser- vants, armorial bearings, hair-powder, or anything else. In Ireland, a man may have everything that can add to his state without the payment of taxes. It is, no doubt, a very painful thing to tax display in Ireland; for if you were to tax display you would tax half the pleasures of the country. In England, every gentleman, every merchant, and every artisan, feels it to be his duty to maintain the poor; but Irish gentlemen, Irish artisans, Irish merchants, all deem that a matter utterly and entirely beneath their consideration. The dictum " Property has its duties as well as its rights" called forth a response in every English and Scotch bosom; but it found no response in Ireland. There the rich escape from taxation. Mr. Roebuck only asked that Irish property—in other words, the rich in Ireland—should bring their quota to the national exchequer for payment of the national expenses.
His proposition was simply this, that a man in Ireland, possessed of anything over 1501. a year, whether derivable from land or otherwise, shall, with respect to taxation, be treated as the same incomes are in England. It was a debt due to the nation which they had not paid, which he found them mightily unwilling to pay, and which they had made a number of pretexts to avoid paying. (" Hear, hear!") But, with the blessing of God, they would see what those gentlemen are made of; they would try them in each particular, and when they threatened them with Repeal, let them beware they did not give them Repeal. (" Hear, hear!" and laugh- ter.) Let them beware that they who are loudest for Repeal, are not the first that will be overwhelmed with the torrent that will succeed. What had they heard of Repeal in the country since a real calamity had come upon it ? Was there ever such a spectacle! People talk out loudly in times of prosperity and wealth: at that time all were for self-government—all were for Repeal—they were all against the Saxon and for the Celt. It had pleased Almighty Providence to visit them with famine. At once this burly-burly ceased—there was an utter' and complete prostration of body and mind amongst the whole of those rampant talkers for Repeal. They had nothing to propose, but they had all to ask: their whole limbs and body, except their tongues, were inert and utterly useless, and with the tongue they cried, "Give, give!" (Laughter.) They had nothing to propose; but the dictator of the Saxon and the advocate of the Celt crept into his hiding-place, and nought could be heard from him but his whimpering voice asking aid for Ireland. That is the picture of a thoroughgoing Repealer. When we turn to England, what is the contrast ?-2i brave nation bearing its ills with a fortitude which commands admiration, and with a perseverance that wins sympathy. He perceived a gentleman opposite whose lucubrations he had that day read in the Morning Chronicle, signed by " D " something " Norreys," ask- ing Lord John Russell for help: that gentleman is a Member of the House, and why did he not himself bring forward there some comprehensive plan for the regeneration of his country, instead of calling to Lord John?
From the unenviable notoriety he had acquired in these Irish debates, Mr. Roe- buck had been waited on by the deputation of Catholic priests from Ireland, the Reverend Dr. Collins and the Reverend Mr. APCarthy—he mentioned their names with their own consent They came from Mallow, having been sent as a deputa- tion from that neighbourhood. What was their first statement to him, when after the usual courtesies be had asked them to be seated? "Sir," said one of them, "don't believe that the gentlemen in the House of Commons that come from Ire- land represent Ireland." Mr. Roebuck's answer was, "Sir, I am extremely glad to hear it." (Laughter.) "Sir," said they, "they are the representatives of property in Ireland: now we, the priesthood, raised from amongst the people, entirely COD- versant with their feelings, mixing with them, are here deputed to tell you from the Irish people this—don't listen to a word that is said in the House of Commons by any representative from Ireland." Mr. Roebuck answered, "I shall most reli- giously obey your request." (Loud laughter.) One of these clergymen then said, there were around Mallow a number of gentlemen of large property—he mentioned the names of persons possessing three, four, five, six, and ten thousand a year: they went around for subscriptions to those gentlemen for the relief of the starving people; the people were alx.olutely starving at the time, and it was stated at coroners' inquests that they were dying from starvation: they went to these gentlemen and asked them for relief for their starving brethren; and from none of them did they get anything but the minutest trifle by way of relief. One of these reverend gentlemen said—and Mr. Roebuck would remark that he was greatly won by his manner; he had a heartiness about him, unlike what one is accustomed to see coming from Ireland—and his eye twinkled when he said, that one of these gentlemen had seventy dogs living on meal and milk every day, though coroners' inquests were held at that man's gate upon persons who bad died of starvation. (" Hear, hear! ") Now Mr. Roebuck appealed, not to the Irish in that House, but he appealed to his own countrymen there, and be raised his voice to the whole of England and Scotland, and he asked them, were they prepared to bear that infamy? ("Hear, hear!") Returning to his proposition, Mr. Roebuck again asked what objection Lord John Russell could have to it?— He might say it was not the time; that the Irish landlords were not prepared for it. Mr. Roebuck saw an honourable friend of his [Alderman Humphery] near the bar, who was connected with Irish rents; and he could tell them that Irish rents are very well paid. He was sure the honourable gentlemen would not object to his pointing to him. He is connected with the City, and the City Companies are large holders of Irish rents. It may be that in some one or two districts the Irish landlords do not receive their rents, but throughout the large majority they do. ("No, nor) The honourable Member who cried "no" might be one of those who had not received his rents, but there was nothing more easy than to prove who had. Let each gentleman state what he had received; and for all that was above 1501. let him pay as much as any man pays in England. It was said that the Irish proprietors had influence with the Government on this question, from their preponderating influence in the composition of the Cabinet. Was it necessary to mention the names of all the great Irish landed proprietors connected with the Administration? He might mention the Marquis of Lansdowne, the Marquis of Clanricarde, in the Cabinet; and he might mention Lord Monteagle, who is beating at the door to get into it. (Loud laughter.) He might mention that nobleman who shook Europe to its centre, Lord Palmerston. He might also mention the Duke of Devonshire; and also anobleman who, though not in the Cabinet, it is true, is a magnate notwithstanding, Earl Fitzwilliam. Had he not come out in support of the project of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn ? He was the first to declare in its favour; and Mr. Roebuck could under- stand the feelings of the Member for Lynn when he read the speech of Earl Fitz- vrilliam on the occasion—he was sure the noble Member clapped his hands and said he had got the sixteen millions. (Laughter.) But there was another body stronger even than Earl Fitzwilliam, and that was the people of England. He might mention one more name—a noble Lord, whose administration, he was sure, deserved all praise, but still there are certain feelings in the breasts of all men— he might mention Lord Besborough. He could go through a great number more: but there were the great landed proprietors of Ireland; in the face of the people of England, who had a narrow and exclusive Administration formed for the bene- fit of persons of this description; for the rest is "leather and prunella "—this is
the real Administration. There were many persons on the Treasury bench for whom he had a personal regard; but he wrote them down as ciphers. There are the real persons in the Cabinet, and the persons who, in the face of the United King- dom, countenance those who had sent a deputation to the First Lord of the Trea-
t° try and frighten him and tell him they would not have an honest poor-law for Ireland. Mr. Roebuck had always thought Lord John Russell a brave man— and it was the part of his character he liked. He had never doubted the noble Lord's civic courage; and he had therefore not looked for such an answer as—" I cannot say what I shall do if the Poor-law Bill be rejected." He could tell the noble Lord what the House would do—he warned him that, if the Poor-law were rejected, they would throw out both bills. ("Hear, hear! ") He was certain of it, because he knew what the people of England thought of the matter. It was an off-hand sort of testy manner of answering a question—" I won't say what may happen; I can't say what I will do." This was not well done on the part of the First Lord of the Treasury. But they had seen the other day, on another question which involved the vital interests of commerce, how the Cabinet was divided. It reminded him of a story of the old Agamemnon; which was so rotten that when she went into port, and the water was pumped from her, she went to pieces. The present Ministry had been set up by means of the confusion of the other party, and had been kept up by the struggles of their opponents; and when all was quiet they might fall to pieces. He had understood in the debate the other night, that the noble Lord bad come to a certain resolution; but to a question which he had put to the noble Lord tonight, be had received no other answer than that he did not know what he should do. [Lord John Russell made some remark which was not heard.] If the noble Lord would give him any other answer—if he would say that-he would not pass this landlord's bill unless both bills passed—he would ask him a hundred pardons. Sir Robert Peel originally proposed the Income-tax as a temporary measure: three years later,te came down to the House—still smiling, as before—and con- tinued the Income-tax again for three years; but at the end of that three years, he wished it to be indefinitely extended. [Sir Robert Peel was understood to deny this statement.] "But everybody finds it so, and it will be everybody's ease to pay the Income-tax for the rest of his natural life. (Cheers and laugh- ter.) There is not a man so young in this House (and there are many too young to be legislators) who will not die paying the Income-tax." From the Income- tax Ireland was exempted ; though it is not easy to see why a gentleman living in London—Earl Iltzwilliam, for instance—should pay the tax upon his Lish property while a gentleman living in Dublin does not pay it. The tax was laid upon spirits; but it was never levied, because smuggling increased so that the tax became impracticable. Sir Robert Peel then came forward and said, it was bad to maintain a new incentive to the violation of the law; and so the tax was repealed. But why not then impose the Income-tax in lieu of it?
The Irish must be taught what they do not yet know—the pleasures of inde- pendence. Place an Irishman in a high condition, and he seeks to improve it, not by employing his own industry, but the influence of others; raise an Irishman from the lower ranks, and he looks forward not to individual and incessant in- dustry, but he looks to the favour of great men—he looks to something extra- neous for his advancement. Now, it was the business of a great legislator to induce a change of such evil habits by presenting new motives of action; and not, like the noble Lord, to throw eight millions among that people with the most criminal lavishness. The inevitable consequence of this expenditure would be, that the year 1847 would be succeeded by the more terrible year of 1848; and when millions would be looking for support from England, having found it in 1847, sup- posing that Providence should not send a good harvest this year, where then would be English support? There was nothing like it in the whole history of mankind, from Genesis downwards—a pauper population of eight millions of Irish to be fed by England ! Mr. Roebuck called upon the representatives of the nation to remember, that in a short time they would be called upon to give an account to their constituents; and unless they adopted his proposition, they would be obliged to confess that they had squandered the money of the nation on people who had been idle and on those who had neglected their duty.
Mr. LABOUCHERE rose for the purpose of endeavouring to persuade the House not to be drawn into the discussion which Mr. Roebuck had opened with more than his usual ability. He was quite prepared to admit that Ireland might bear her share of taxation. But a period of unexampled distress is not the time for saddling her with assessed taxes or a property- tax. He had already admitted that the measures for relieving the distress had done harm; but the alternative was, to suffer millions to perish of starvation; and the man who had a heart of flesh in his bosom could not have abstained from endeavouring to give the assistance. As to the two measures respecting which Mr. Roebuck had inquired, Lord John Russell did not expect to lose either of them. He conceived that there was a close connexion between the two, and wished to send them in company to the other House of Parliament. Mr. Labouchere wished the critical situation of Ireland to be discussed with sobriety, and with a truce to those angry passions, those allusions to Celt and Saxon, which can do no good.
Some Irish Members angrily opposed the motion,— Mr. &tem- and Mr. JOHN O'CONNELL; also Mr. HENRY BAILLIE. Mr. HUME supported it.
Sir ROBERT PEEL admitted that the question raised by Mr. Roebuck was of great importance—eight or ten nights would probably be required for its proper discussion: but this was not a suitable time for general ques- tions respecting the distribution of taxes in Ireland. As to the resolution itself, he pointed out practical difficulties in its application. It proposed, for instance, to extend the same burdens to Ireland as those which are borne by the land in Great Britain; but he was not sure that the burdens sustained by property in Scotland are identical with those which property bears in England and Wales. If the taxes were imposed upon the borrow- ers of particular loans, as the resolution indicated, it would restrict the House from imposing such taxes in future on others besides the borrowers. If there is to be an Income-tax in Ireland, let it be imposed on truly na- tional grounds. He did not contest the principles laid down by Mr. Roe- buck; and he did not preclude himself from going into the question of taxation at a future time.
Lord Joint RUSSELL wholly objected to the proposal of imposing the Income-tax on persons who might borrow money under the bill. As to the two measures, he contended that the Landed Property Bill would not be a boon to Ireland unless it were accompanied by the Poor Relief Bill- " I conceive it to be most desirable that Ireland should be supplied with employ- ment now; as, owing to the great failure which has occurred, they will not in the ensuing year be able to draw the means of life out of their plots of potatoes; and I see no better mode of insuring that steady and continued employment which is essential to the happiness of the people than by enabling the landlords to improve their estates; and I doubt not that all the efficacy of the one measure would be lost if it were not accompanied by the other—if, in short, we did not oblige the owners of property to support the people who are starving, and maintain in future those who may fall into a state of destitution, or at least give them the means of employment. It is, as I have already said most desirable that the Poor-law Bill should accompany the other bill in its passage through this House. The burdens thus proposed to be laid on estates in Ireland would be three or four times as great as land had previously borne, in order that the population of Ireland might be adequately supplied with the means of support. One measure is intended to
enable the more independent landlords to obtain loans by means of the credit of' the Government; the other mode is to enable the proprietors of smaller incomes to sell those estates of which they are only the nominal owners, and pay off all the mortgages affecting them by the sale of these estates, and thus secure to them the free enjoyment of their small incomes, while means are secured of giving em- ployment to the people connected with these estates. I think, therefore, that the circumstance of the two measures accompanying each other cannot fail to be at- tended with good effects."
Lord John stated that Ministers are doing all that is practicable to Ferry out the Labour-rate Act. He read a letter from Ireland, stating that joint- stock companies are in course of formation which issue printed instructions for the cultivation of oats, barley, and potatoes; and that the sowing and planting of these was now proceeding very rapidly. It was true that the very destitute could not plant potatoes extensively; but many persons above want were at the present moment planting potatoes largely, with a now to profit in the course of the next winter.
Mr. Siam O'Bruzir thanked Mr. Roebuck for his speech—as a contri- bution towards Repeal of the Union!
Mr. DENIS CALLAGHAN defended the gentry of Mallow— As to the gentleman who was charged with having kept seventy .'ogs, he could state that that gentleman had no tenants round Mallow; but he had inherited from his father a sporting-lodge there, where he kept greyhounds for courses, and in good order: and certainly Mr. Callaghan had felt that at a time when people were wanting food around, they ought not to have been so kept. But, on the other hand, this gentleman had not a hundred acres in the parish. He had property elsewhere, but not to one half the extent he was supposed to have had; and Mr. Callaghan could assert from his own knowledge, that in his own place there was not a more respectable character than that gentleman, or one who more largely contributed to the relief of the poor. Another ease was spoken of, where a gentle- man was stated to have seventy:two hounds under similar circumstances. That gentleman did not live within eighteen miles of Mallow; be lived near Fermoy, and had always kept horses and greyhounds for his own use. At the same time, no man had subscribed more liberally than he had done to the poor. relief fund. [Mr. Roenuca—" At Mallow ? "] No; he had no property at Mallow: therefor; he was not called on to do so there.
Mr. Callaghan knew the motive of Mr. Roebuck's attack— He happened to be sitting by the honourable and learned Member for Bath, after the honourable and learned Member had been subjected to some observations by the honourable Baronet the Member for Waterford. An honourable Member came up and sat by him, saying to the honourable and learned Member for Bath, "Roebuck, did you hear what Barron said of you ?"—" Yes, I did," said the honourable and learned Member for Bath. "Well, then, they'll be all at you, caw after the other," answered the honourable Member who had joined. " Well," said the honourable and learned Member fcr Bath, "I have only one answer for thew give them an income-tax." (Laughter.) Mr. Callaghan when he hosed the voice of the honourable Member beside him, at first though his ears must have deceived him; but, on turning round, he saw that he was no other than an honourable gentleman who sat in that House in a Quaker-cut coat and a broad- brimmed hat—a "friend of peace"! Lord GEORGE BENTINCK only regretted that the bill did not go fax enough in the way of loans for improvements. He could see no sense in Mr. Roebuck's proposal.
Mr. &CILIUM Escorr condemned Lord John Russell out of his owns mouth for the argument as to time-- Lord John said it was not the proper time for the question of taxation. That reminded him of a story told of the noble Lord when in Opposition, and when be took a somewhat different line of policy. He then told the House of the expression of a foreigner, who, having been a witness of their debates, "No doubt," said he, "you are a very wise and learned people; no doubt you are an example to the civilized world: but, give me leave to say, of all the people I ever met with yen are the most superstitious; for you do not meet facts by arguments, you do not attempt to oppose propositions but you are always saying to one another. This is not the proper time! ' " And now the noble Lord found it convenient to take the very same course which formerly he ridiculed. The amendment was opposed by Mr. MONCKTON MILERS and Mr. REDHEAD YORKE; partially opposed by Mr. MUNTZ, On the ground of time; supported on the ground of strict principle by Mr. Saannen CRAW- FORD and Mr. JAMES.
The House divided; and the amendment was negatived, by 121 to 26.
The House went into Committee, and the several clauses of the bill were passed; divers points being discussed, and some practical dillioulties being pointed out by the Earl of LINCOLN for amendment.
In the House of Lords, on Monday, Lord Bnorrentax presented a ps tition from the Lord Provost and Magistrates of Glasgow, and also cited s letter from a Magistrate at Liverpool, setting forth the influx of destitute Irish into those towns, with attendant evils in the shape of pestilential dis- ease. He also quoted letters which he had received from Ireland, alleging gross neglect of duty and humanity on the part of certain persons who de- rive income from land— In one electoral division of the Cork Union, the non-resident proprietors, who draw income to the amount of 25,5871., "under very pressing appeals" contributed 2081. towards the relief of their fellow countrymen-2d. in the pound ! The Castlebar Union contains 7,000 Roman Catholic inhabitants, live Protestant families, and four Protestant Rectors. One parish of the union contained 3,000 inhabitants; of whom three-fourths were supported by the public works or in the poor-house. All the landowners were absentees, except one who farmed his own Tend, 450 acres; from which, two years ago, be had evicted 120 persons. From none of the landlords had the Relief Committee been able to extract more than nominal aid, except 251. from one absentee, who owned land to the value of 1,2001. a year. Another landlord, a wealthy barrister of Dublin, drawing 5001. a year from the parish, not only gave no money, but would not answer the letter which asked for it. Yet many paupers from his property were supported on the public works. A dignitary ot the Church, whose income from land in the parish was 4501. a year, sent a donation of one pound. The Secretary of the Com- mittee, thinking it was a mistake, wrote to the reverend gentleman again • but he found that it was "no mistake" at all: he would not give a farthing more, although his property abounded with paupers. In the adjoining parish, a landlord owning 2,0001. a year gave nothing. although
he had made many paupers by lately clearing 400 souls from his estate. In the third parish, a barrister who had lately purchased an estate for 7,0001. gave nothing to the relief-fund. It further appeared that a sum of 1301. had been bequeathed for the building of a school for poor children in this parish; but
it had been found impossible for eight years to prevail upon the landlord to grant a site for the school, or to lease one. At length a quarter of an acre had been obtained from him, at a rent of 61. per acre. A signal proof of charity and fond tress for education! This was not all: his wife, the lady of a general officer, in- sisted 88 a condition to the leasing of the site that 201- should be paid to her—by way of fine, he supposed—out of the small fund of 1301. to be applied to the erec- tion of a school for the education of her own tenants children. His former allusion to the issue of 4,000 processes in the county of Mayo, as connected with the immigration of Irish paupers into Liverpool, had
been contradicted: it was borne out, however, by another letter which he had received-
" At the Quarter-sessions held at Ballina, in the barony of Tyrawley, in the county of Mayo, on the 11th January last and succeeding days, there were brought for trial before the Assistant-Barrister from 1,500 to 2,000 processes, at the suit of sixteen or eighteen landlords, for rent ending and due the 1st of November last, for use and occupation of lands and tenements ending the same date, and for con- acre for harvest of 1846. Landlords in Ireland have, in all the cases I have men- tioned, the power of distraint; and such processes as I have alluded to are quite a novel mode of proceeding. In ordinary years, the landlords would never think of collecting thew rents through the intervention of the Barrister's Court, or of calling for the November rents until March or April. But this year the poor tenantry had no goods or chattels to be seized on that would be equivalent to the rent due. The moment was favourable for frightening the people out of their holdings, and thereby getting rid of the surplus population so called; and so there must be a Barrister's decree against the persons of the starving people; the latter getting the alternative of giving up their premises, or having the decree executed." . . . . The people, panic-stricken, fearing that the land, even if retained, might produce no more potato crops, also that the landlords might prevent their getting on the public works, yielded. "Many of them fled before the processes were entered for kial and many of them subsequently gave up their holdings." Thus is the land cleared of what is cruelly called its surplus population"—" To what extent, may be judged by the statement of the Reverend Mr. Nary, parish-priest of Lucken, in this the barony of Tyrawley and county of Mayo. He says, that in the month of September last he had in his parish 1,000 families; that (nun the combined causes of flight, starvation' and pestilence, he has now but 500 families; that of the latter number not more than 30 families have sufficient means to en- able them to make a sowing; and that from the operation of the same causes— namely, starvation, pestilence, and flight—he is confident that of the thousand families, or 5,500 souls, in his parish last September, there won't remain on the 1st of August next more than 200 souls. I have already stated that there were from 1,500 to 2,000 of these processes entered for trial. There must, however, be double that number issued against the people; for such of them as fled or sur- rendered to their landlords' wishes previous to the first day of the sessions—that is, the 11th of January—against all these no processes were entered for trial. So that the total number of processes issued must be 4,000; which number involved the fate of 22,000 human beings. The people, thus frightened and hunted from their holdings like beasts from the field, will, for the most part, be shortly in eternity."
Several Peers deprecated these general attacks on the landlords of Ire- land- The Earl of MOUNTCASIIEL said that he was Deputy-Lieutenant of the county cf Cork, and he must have heard of these proceedings if they had occurred. The Marquis of LOItDONDERRT represented that many of the landlords are obliged to pay nearly the whole of their nominal income away for mortgages; and others are supporting poor on their estates with- out asking for any aid. Lord BROUGHAM denied that he had made any general attack. Here the matter dropped for the day.
MORTALITY IN IRELAND.
On Thursday, Lord GEORGE BENTINCK moved for returns intended to exhibit the increase in the number of deaths in Ireland; Mr. Smith O'Brien having stated, on a previous evening, that the Constabulary are in possession of information proving that 240,000 persons have already died of famine. Lord George suggested that the returns should be demanded from the clergy, Protestant and Roman Catholic.
Mr. Laeotronartu showed that there could be no security whatever for the accuracy of the information so obtained; and he expressed his total disbelief of the assertion that the Constabulary have the information alleged.
Lord GEORGE BENTINCK would leave the subject to the exertions of Government: but, to prove that his statements were not without corrobo- ration, he mentioned that the mortality in the workhouses this year has been ninefold what it was last year.
DRAINAGE IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
On Wednesday, the House of Commons went into Committee on the Drainage Bill, with a good deal of discussion before and after the Speaker left the chair. The principal point was raised by Sir JAMES GnauArs; who suggested that the limit for the advance to each single proprieter should be 10,0001., instead of 15,0001.: the largest landowners have, if not funds, credit to obtain them; and the advances would be most needed by the smaller owners and yeomen ; but if the 15,0001. limit were fixed, the whole of the 3,000,0001. authorized by the bill might be absorbed by the larger properties before the stronger claims of the smaller proprietors were satisfied. Sir CHARLES WOOD promised to consider the suggestion. The several clauses were adopted; the bill to be reported on Friday.
On Tuesday, Mr. MILNER GresoN moved to introduce a bill for the col- lection of agricultural statistics in England and Wales.
England and Wales are divided into Superintendent-Registrars' districts, and each Superintendent-Registrar's district subdivided again into. Registrars' districts; and it was proposed to obtain these returns from each Superintendent-Registrar's district. In each Registrar's district, the Superintendent-Registrar would appoint a person, who was to be called "the Agricultural Enumerator," with whom would rest the duty of leaving blank forms of returns with each occupier, receiving them back again when filled up, and transmitting them to the Superintendent- Registrar. The returns would beireuit:,:n a tabular form by the Superintendent- Registrar, and forwarded to the Registrar-General, who would send them to the
Board of Trade, arranged so as to laid before Parliament. The present bill was confined to England and Wales; if it should be thought desirable, another bill would be introduced for Scotland; and with regard to Ireland, it would be left with the Executive Government, who had a plan under consideration. It went, indeed, no further than obtaining from the farmers the number of acres under cultivation of each crop, and would still leave the produce to be ascertained by approximation having reference to the seasons, to the nature of the soil, and to
other matters of approximation, kind; but it would be a great step towards ascertaining the quantity of agricultural produce to know the number of acres sown with wheat, oats, and other kinds of produce. Mr. Home objected, that the experiment would be "wild and useless" unless it went further. In India, every acre is surveyed by village-officers, and the produce is estimated within a few bushels of the result. Mr. HENLEY, as well as Mr. Hume, objected to the paid Enumerators.
However, leave was given to bring in the bill.
CRIMINAL LAW REFORM: TILINSPORTATION.
Presenting a petition from Hull Corporation, on Monday, in favour of criminal law reform, especially with regard to juvenile offenders, Lord BROUGHAM said, that he felt disposed to regard the punishment of trans portation unfavourably; but some alarm was fell by the legal profession at the idea that the contemplated changes were to be carried out by an act of the Crown•' an idea which be presumed to be groundless—whatever might be done by way of experiment. Lord STANLEY thought, that even as an experiment the change ought not to be sanctioned without the advice of Parliament. Any wholesale exercise of the prerogative seemed to him calculated to injure that prero- gative—
He did not intend to give notice of any motion, but hoped her Majesty's Go vernment would reconsider their opinion; and if only for two years they intended to discontinue the punishment of transportation, introduce into Parliament a bill, which would enable both Houses to discuss the merits of the scheme; so that the law should bear upon it the sanction of the suspension of that punishment, and embody a declaration of the sentence which Judges should have power to pro- nounce in lieu of transportation.
Earl GREY said, that Lord Stanley himself had altered the system in 1843, without an appeal to Parliament: no criminal sentenced to trans- portation was actually transported at that period. It had been the practice of the law that the Crown should define not only what individual cases, but also what classes of persons sentenced to transportation, should be actually transported. It would be extremely inconvenient totally to abolish trans- portation; for, though a bad punishment, it has its attendant advantages, and to retain them it is necessary that sentence of transportation should continue to be pronounced— He thought the real magnitude of the change had been very much over- rated. It was not the abolition of transportation. Transportation would con- tinue to be the sentence pronounced; and more than that, the punishment actu- ally inflicted would continue to be substantially the same as at present, except in this respect, that the place where part of the sentence was undergone was to be changed. The real and substantial punishment of transportation now resolved it- self into this, that the person so sentenced was subjected for a certain time to penal labour in the Colonies, and afterwards discharged there, with a conditional pardon, which enabled him to enjoy all the privileges of a freeman, except that of returning to his native land. Under the system proposed, all this would con- tinue to exist, with this single difference, that that penal labour, which was now substantially the penal part of the sentence, would be inflicted in this country under the immediate superintendence of the Government, where they would ob- serve and check any abuses that might take place; and after it was at an end, the criminal would be discharged, as he was now, not in this country, but in Aus- tralia, subjected to precisely the same restraints as he was now. He would be discharged with a conditional pardon, reserving precisely the same power over him as was now retained by the Executive Government. He therefore ventured to say, that this was not so essential a change of system as to make it necessary that an act of Parliament should be proposed in the first instance. No man could doubt that, as the law now stood, it was perfectly competent for her Majesty to direct that a man should be transported to Van Diemen's Land at any part of his sentence. In point offset, it was one of the recommendations of the Committee
i of 1838, that n a great majority of cases there should be penal labour incurred in this country before the man was tranferred to Australia, and a man could now be sent to a penal station at any period of his sentence. It was intended to exercise this power as it had been exercised hitherto; and there would be this farther in- convenience in proposing any change in the law—that it would be necessary to define, in a matter extremely difficult of definition, what were the circumstances under which criminals would be removed to Australia.
Lord BROUGHAM denied that the Crown had the power arrogated for it—
If an act of Parliament assigned transportation, say for twenty-one years, for any offence, and if the Judges were bound to pronounce that sentence, he ut- terly denied the law as stated by the noble Earl, that the Crown had the power, on such a sentence having been pronounced, to imprison the convict for twenty years, and at the end of that time to send him abroad to endure—not transporta- tion, but expatriation, (an entirely new phrase, which the law knew nothing about,) for a period of twelve months. In the same way, the argument would apply to sentences of seven or fourteen years' transportation. Lord Lyndhurst and he had looked into 5th George IV. c. 83, and were agreed that it was not meant for a general rule, or to abolish transportation but to give the Crown power, when sentence of transportation had been passed, to deal with the convict by sending him to prison under certain circumstances; not to abolish all transportation. The Crown may grant a pardon to persons under sentence of death; but would it therefore be legal to abolish all capital punishment by an act of the prerogative? Lord CAMPBELL defended the course taken by Government, as justified for the purpose of experiment.
Lord ASHBURTON thought it absurd that Judges should be left passing sentences that were never to be carried into effect. He doubted whether a convict might not insist on the fulfilment of his sentence. Lord CAMPBELL did not believe that the Court of Queen's Bench would grant a mandamus to a criminal who insisted on being transported, or that a man sentenced to be hanged as speedily as possible could compel Go- vernment to do so. (Laughter.) .
The Marquis of LANSDOWNE said, that nothing could be more clear than the words of the act of the 5th George IV.
It declared that it should be lawful for her Majesty, by warrant, from time to to time to appoint places of confinement in England and Wales for the confine- ment of persons under sentence of transportation; and that every offender who should be removed to one of such places should continue there, or in some other such place as aforesaid, as one of the Secretaries of State should from time to time direct, until such offender should be transported according to law, "or should become entitled to his liberty." The clause contemplated the power in the Crown to keep the offender in confinement during life or such term of years as he might have been sentenced to transportation for, because it was only at the ex- piration of that period that he could be entitled to his liberty.
Lord BROUGHAM still insisted that this clause would not bear the strained construction put upon it.
The conversation closed without any definite result.
On Tuesday, Mr. EWART moved for leave to introduce a bill for abolish- ing the punishment of death. He supported the motion with an able re- capitulation of several standard arguments in its favour; omitting the theo- logical part of the question. Among other authorities against the extreme penalty, he cited that of Julius Cresar- In one of Cicero's orations against Catiline, he said there had been two opinions respecting the mode of punishing the conspirators; one in favour of death, the other, advocated by Ciesar, in favour of any punishment short of death. "Alter intelligit," Cicero said, " mortem a Dis immortalibus non ease supplicii causa oonstitutam; sed ant necessitatem naturre ant laborurn ac rniseriarum quietem ease: itaque eam sapientes numquam inviti, fortes etiam szepe libenter appetive- runt ; vincula vero, et ea sempiterna, certa ad singularem pcenam nefarii sceleris invents sant."' Sir GEORGE GREY said, that it would not be safe to abolish capital * The words imputed to Mr. Ewart in the report—" any punishment short of death "—rather misrepresent Cresar's argument; which was, that death was not an excessive punishment, but an improper expedient to use as a punishment at all. Inclining to the counsel of Cresar's antagonist, Silanus, Cicero represents his sentence as " severer" than Cresar's; but it does not appear that Cresar himself thought it so: he thought it a desecration of death to make it a penal instrument. punishment altogether; not merely because it would be dangerous to give impunity to murder, but because public opinion revolts against the idea of doing so. He cited statistics to show that the crime of murder has de- creased, death continuing to be the punishment for that offence. The motion was supported by Dr. BOWEING, Mr. HUME, Mr. AGLIONEY, and Mr. BROTHERTON, opposed by Sir ROBERT INGLIS, On the authority of the Levitical law.
On a division, it was negatived, by 81 to 41.
CRACOW: THE RUSSIAN-DUTCH Loan.
The adjourned debate on Mr. Hume's resolutions, denouncing the an- nexation of Cracow and recommending that the payments by this country on account of the Russian-Dutch loan should cease, was resumed on Thursday; and continued at considerable length, with much repetition of arguments.
The motion was supported by Mr. MONCKTON MILNES, Dr. Bowaruo, Sir ROBERT INGLIS, and Mr. THOMAS DUNCOMBE. The Government view—condemning the annexation of Cracow, but regarding the money question as derogatory to a high policy, the refusal of payment as deroga- tory to national faith—was supported by Lord DALMENT, Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH, Lord MAHON, and Sir ROBERT PEEL. Lord GEORGE BENTINCK took a separate course of his Own; offering an unqualified vin- dication of the conduct pursued by Austria, Prussia, and Russia; and an- nouncing that he should move the direct negative even to the first of the resolutions, which condemned the violation of treaty.
Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH advanced a new argument for the necessity of maintaining faith in the payment on account of the loan— He apprehended that England engaged to pay the interest of a portion of the Russo-Dutch loan as a part of the purchase-money for the great and important colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice; and it ap- peared to him that if England refused to continue those payments, she was bound in honour to restore those colonies. They belonged originally to Holland: and England took possession of them during the last war, not because she was at war with Holland, but to save them from France, when the French took possession of Holland. In 1814 Holland was liberated from the dominion of France; and in consequence, it was held that England was bound to restore to Holland her colo- nies. A convention to that effect was signed in London on the 13th of August 1814, between Great Britain and the Netherlands. By an article added after- wards, Holland ceded the colonies in question to Great Britain, in consideration of payments by Great Britain amounting in all to 6,000,000/. By another conven- tion between Holland, Great Britain, and Russia, the King of the Netherlands agreed to compensate Russia for a portion of the expense incurred by Russia in liberating his territories from the dominion of France. Instead, however, of England paying a certain sum of money to Holland, and Holland paying a portion of that sum over to Russia, it was agreed that England should pay Russia at once, or, in other words, that England should take upon herself a portion of a debt due to Russia. In fact, therefore the Russo-Dutch loan became a debt due from England on account of the purchase of certain Dutch colonies. The question was, would England be justified III repudiating that debt, and at the same time retaining possession of those colonies? He thought not. Mr. Hume thought that the allusion to the "general arrangements" under the treaty of Vienna in the convention of 1831, afforded a loophole for getting out of the obligation. AS to this point, Sir William Molesworth observed, that in the con- vention of 1831 there was no express provision with respect. to the arrangements of the Congress of Vienna, similar to the condition which existed in the convention of 1815 with regard to the union of Belgium and Holland. In the convention of 1815 there was an article which expressly provided, that if the union of Holland and Belgium should cease, the payments on account of the Russo-Dutch loan should also cease. In the convention of 1831 there was no provision whatever that if the arrangements of the Congress of Vienna were infringed the payments in question should cease. If it had been the intention of England in that con- vention to take security against the infringement of the arrangements of the Con- gress of Vienna, why did she not insert a proviso similar to that which she had inserted in the convention of 1815 with regard to the union of Holland and Bel- gium? If England had acted in that manner, then there could have been no doubt as to what should have been our conduct on this occasion.
Lord GEORGE BENTINCK entirely concurred in that statement; and fur- ther essayed to prove that the annexation of Cracow constituted no viola- tion of the treaty of Vienna. One proof which he adduced was, that at the very time when the new convention between Great Britain, Holland, and Russia, was concluded, in 1831, Russia was actually in the military occu- pation of Cracow. The treaty of Vienna established Cracow as a "free city ": it was a condition on the other side, that Cracow should observe strict neutrality, and not harbour refugees or persons prosecuted by law; whereas, in 1831 and 1832, no fewer than 2,000 refugees were found in Cracow; and in the last revolt an Austrian force of 800 men was repulsed by a force of 5,000, not loyal inhabitants, but refugees. Mr. Magenis, Secretary to the British Embassy at Vienna, declares that Austria did all in her power to maintain the peace of Cracow. If the annexation of Cra- cow was a violation of the treaty, so also was the separation of Belgium from Holland: the two cases stood exactly on the same footing. Lord George cited correspondence which passed in 1814, between Lord Castlereagh, the Emperor Alexander, and Count Nesselrode, to show that Lord Castle reagh's object was not to maintain "the nationality of Poland "—his wishes were the very opposite; but his object was to maintain a military frontier for Austria against Russia. And Cracow was not meant to be a "free city," like Hamburg or Lubeck, but merely a neutral military position governed, week by week, under the surveillance of the Three Powers. ',rd George quoted statements by Colonel Du Platt, the English Consul-General at Warsaw, by newspaper correspondents at Cracow, and by Herr Von Hoffendorff, formerly Counsel to the Senate at Cracow, to show that the Austrian troops were hailed by the inhabitants of Cracow as liberators from a reign of terror under the Revolutionary Government, worthy of the days of Robespierre and Marat. [This assertion was greeted by loud cries of" Oh, oh!" which were repeated frequently as Lord George went on, mingled with laughter.] He contrasted a threatening proclamation by the Provisional Government with the Austrian proclamation offering the favour of "a paternal Sovereign and a clement Emperor." Herr Von Hoffendorff represented, in a letter to a brother collegian in this country, that the mercantile prosperity of Cracow has enormously increased since the annexation; and the Austrian Government has assumed municipal debts to the extent of 3,000,000 of dollars: "What," asked Herr Von Hoffendorff, "did they want more?"
In fact, Lord George was inclined to believe that Cracow bad not been injured, but that instead of tyranny and despotism fair freedom and prosperity were likely to be her lot. (Loud laughter.) Far from censuring, be, for the reasons he had given, thanked the mild, the clement Emperor of Austria; he thanked the just Rang of Prussia. and he thanked also the Emperor of Russia. (Shouts of laughter.) He thanked those Northern Powers, that their too long forbearance
had at last given place to the mercy of decision; that they had put down and smothered tho.se demons of revolution who promised to keee Europe in hot water, while they were raining their own country and disturbing their neighbours. (Much laughter.) Sir ROBERT PEEL followed the line of argument taken by Ministers, including also Sir William Molesworth's view. He pointed out the fact that this country had undertaken to pay the money on account of the Russo-Dutch loan even should a war break out between the contracting powers. Ile protested against the conduct of the Three Powers: but he protested also against the language of the Minister of France; for he could not admit that the misdeeds of others, if there be misdeeds, could justify either this country or France, morally or legally, in violating the treaty. He believed that in the present state of Europe a strict adherence to trea- ties is the best guarantee for peace. He would not concur in the decla- ration proposed by Mr. Hume, without being prepared with some practical step. Ho preferred leaving the matter to the discretion and responsibility of the Executive Government. He could not find that the elaborate ar- guments of Prince Metternich at all justified the violation of the treaty. At the same time, he was no partisan of Cracow: he denied that Cracow had any right to disturb the peace of its neighbours; and he was not pre- pared to say that there might not have been justification for interference of the Three Powers had they previously communicated with England and. France. He thought the conduct of those Three Powers calculated to unsettle the stability of the public policy of Europe-
" It is a precedent for interference with other states to an extent which is in-. consistent with the independence of other states. The French Revolution has read us a useful lesson: it has taught us the policy of early reformation—the policy of realizing the just expectations and remedying the special grievances of the poorer classes; it has cautioned us against indulging aspirations after ideal perfection, and to distrust the magnificent promises either of demagogues or the mere votaries of freedom. Europe has learned the double lesson of the policy of timely reforms and the danger of trusting too much to the magnificent speculations of liberty. Bat there does, at the same time, I believe, pervade the intelligent and reflecting part of the community, a sincere desire to witness the. progress of sober, well-considered, and rational liberty. There is felt, I son con- vinced, a strong objection to a retrocession and reaction unfavourable to constitu- tional liberty. There is a feeling which now sympathizes with the course of one from whom liberal measures would be least, perhaps, expected by some, and with the progress of those reforms which he has instituted, presiding, as he does, over the spiritual concerns of a vast body of persons in the state who are subjected to his rule."
Sir Robert added a few words on the breach of faith in the Three Powers in not having given to their Polish subjects, as well as to Cracow, the representative assemblies and national institutions which they had promised by treaty. He concurred in Lord Palmerston's protest, and felt bound to give the Government his support.
Sir Joint Waren moved the adjournment of the debate; and, after some sharp bickering on that point, the debate was again adjourned, till Tuesday next.
SPANISH Bosonomonts. On Monday, Lord GEORGE BEN'TINCH presented a petition to the Commons from the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Bri- tish Association of Spanish Bondholders. The petition stated that the Bonds amounted to 78,000,0001., and were principally held by British subjects. For a long time neither interest nor capital had been paid upon more than 7,105,0661. of the debt; yet the revenues of Spain had more than doubled since 1834. In addition to this increase, there was in 1845 a surplus of income over expenditure amounting to 450,0001. The improvement is owing to the assistance given by British capital. The interest due to Spanish capitalists is regularly peal. The petitioners complain that the Spanish Government had attempted to deprive them of their security, afforded by a decree of the Cortes hypothecating the national revenues to the foreign creditor; and they quoted the opinion of the Attorney- General and Queen's Advocate that the conduct of the Spanish Government con- stitutes a castes bell. The petitioners prayed the House for redress.
CHURCH SITES IN SCOTLAND. On Tuesday, the Committee for which Mr. Bouverie had moved was nominated, as follows—Mr. Bonverie, Sir James Gra- ham, Sir John Pakington, Mr. Fox Idaule, Lord Dalmeny, Mr. Seine, Viscount Morpeth, Mr. Morgan John O'Connell, Mr. Brotherton, Sir Edward Colebrooke, Mr. George William Hope, Mr. Deedes, Mr. Stafford O'Brien, Mr. Wilson Patten, and Mr. Henry Baillie.
ARREST FOR DEBT IN IRELAND. On Wednesday, Sir H. W. BARROW moved the second reading of a bill which he had introduced for abolishing the arrest on account of debts under 201. in Ireland; assimilating the law to that of England. The motion was opposed by Mr. Mosianate, (Irish Solicitor-General,) on the ground that the bill would effect too sweeping a change; the number of debts under 201. being vast; and there is not in Ireland the machinery of the Bank- ruptcy and Insolrency Courts, as there is throughout England, for investigating the honesty of debtors. He announced, however, that he had under his own con- sideration a measure relating to the subject. Eventually, Sir HENRY BARRON withdrew his bill.
PROGRESS OF RAILWAY BILLS IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Bum alum A FIRST TIME. Monday, March 8.—hildiand (Mangotstield to Bath). Wednesday, March 10.—South-Devon (extension and amendment). Shrewsbury- and-Birmingham (amendment and branches). Glasgow-Paisley-and-Greenock (branch to the Caledonian Railway and diversion of canal). Glasgow-Pahdepand-Greenock (branches at Port Glasgow). York-and-Newcastle (main line improvement, &c.) BILLS READ A SECOND TIME AND COMMITTED. Monday, Mardi 8.—Swansea-Valley. Vale-of-Neath. South-Wales. Colchester-Stour-Valley-Sudbury-and-Halstead (lease
to the Ipswich-and-Bury-St-Edmund's Company). Harwich-and-Eastern-Counties Junction and Pier (from Harwich to the Eastern-L1ntou at Ardleigh). Blandford and. Burton. Shrewsbury-and-Chester (branches and station). Birmingham-and-Oxiord- Junction and Birmingham-Wolverhampton-and-Dudley Amalgamation. Great-North- of-India. Swansea and-Amman. Edinburgh and-Bathgate (deviation and amend- ment). Leeds-Dewsbury-and-Manchester (Ossett branch, and Dewsbury and Morley stations). Midland (Cheltenham-Warwick-and-Leamington line). Midland ((lion- cester-and-stonehouse Junction). Ipswich-and-Bury-St.-Edmund's (branch from Stow- market to Sudbury). Dublin-Dundrum-and-Rathfarnham (extension to Stephen's (lreen).
Tuesday, March 9.—Manchester-Buxton-MatIOck-and-Midland Junction. Mold (from Mold to Join the Chester-and-Holyhead). Oxford-Worcester-and-Wolverhampton (No. 2) (extensions and amendment). Great-Indian-Penhisula. Regent's-Canal- Company (Paddington-and-Limehotne Railway and branch). Wednesday, March 10.- Great-Northern (deviations between Peterborough, Boston, and Gainsborough). Great-Northern (deviations between Gainsborough and Doncas- ter). Wexford-and-Valencia (Killarney to Valencia). Great-Southern-and-Western Extension (Portarlington to Tullamore). Edinburgh-and-Glasgow. Friday, March 12.—Entield-and-Edmonton. Manchester-and...Birmingham and North-StaffordshireJunction. Oxford-Worcester and-Wolverhampton (No. I) (exten- sion and amendment). Edinburgh-rind-Northern (Improvement of the ferry between Ferry Port on Craig and the North shore of the river Tay). Axholme (from the Leeds- and-Selby to Gainsborough, with branches).
RAILWAY COMMITTEES. On Thursday, several Railway Committees began their operations on the " groups " of railway bills.