13 MAY 1848, Page 9



In the House of Lords, last night, Lord BROUGHAM brought "the state of the law, judicially and legislatively," under the consideration of the House.

He divided the subject into these heads—first, as to the makers of the law se- condly, as to the making of the law ; thirdly, as to the law made, or the fabric of the law, fourthly, as to the promulgation of the law; and lastly, as to the admi- nistration of the law.

Much, he contended, must be done to remedy the constitution of the House of Commons, in regard to the representation of the people; and he admitted that much of the apprehension he had formerly entertained as to the fatal effects of throwing the elective franchise open to all mankind had, if not entirely dispelled, been greatly mitigated or modified by the extraordinary results of that most ex- tensive experiment which had been recently tried in France. Laws are required to pat down bribery and corruption, and to exclude insolvents, as well as bank- rupts, from the House—gentlemen and lords by courtesy, who squander the pro- perty of their just creditors upon minions or mistresses, at the gaming-table, or on the turf.

Lord Brougham referred at some length to the lax composition of statutes, their laid style and diction; their imperfect reference to other statutes, and conflict with each other; the lax and sometimes corrupt use made of interpretation-clauses in Public and private bills.

He proposed that a Board of learned and diligent men should be appointed, officially connected with the Government, not to have seats in Parliament, but to be ancillary to both Houses- and he should take away, in private bills, from both Houses of Parliament, greatly as the Committees of both Houses heed been im- proved by the orders which he had prevailed urn their Lordships to pass in 1837, all jurisdiction over matters of fact, leaving it to a professional judge to find a special verdict upon such matters, and that verdict to be conclusive, and that from that time Parliament should legislate. Lastly, he should propose that all questions not wholly but only quasi of a judicial character, such as cases of divorce, should not be brought to that House, but should be sent to a better tri- banal, which had been reported in favour of by a Committee of their Lordships' House--the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Glancing at the matter of the statutes, Lord Brougham enumerated many im- provements which he would recommend, special and general,—mitigation of the Malicioas Trespass Act; more certain definition of the Scotch marriage-laws; improvements in the laws of bankruptcy and partnership, in the law of convey- ancing, of wills; he would introduce from Scotland "declaratory actions "; better methods of framing deeds, so as to simplify and shorten them to save litigation and cost; he would appoint paid professional chairmen of Quarter-Sessions, and

rlirit-:Zcreate a pubicp or; and he would effect divers improvements in the pro-

cedure of the Court of Chancery. In his impressive peroration Lord Brougham besought the House to assist in preserving the constitution tuider which they lived; praying that he might die before the day which should terra:nate thateonstitution—the glory of this coun- try, the greatest work of human wisdom! In the mean time, he moved the first reading of a bill, entitled "An Act to amend and consolidate the Criminal Law of England, so far as it refers to in- dictable offences, and the punishment thereof."

The Marquis of LANSDOWNE laid on the table a report of the Commis- sioners for revising the Criminal Law of the country.

In the House of Commons, Mr. Hume gave the terms of the motion which he intends to make on Tuesday the 23d instant, on the state of the representation— That this House, as at present constituted, does not fairly represent the popu- lation, the property, or the industry of the country; whence has arisen great and increasing discontent in the minds of a large portion of the people. That with a view to amend the national representation, leave be given to bring in bills for the purpose of providing, that the elective franchise shall be so extended as to in- clude householders, that voles shall be taken by ballot, that the duration of Par- liaments shall not exceed three years, and that the apportionment of Members to population shall be made more equal."

The greater part of the evening, however, was occupied in discussing a motion by Mr. PAGE WOOD for a Select Committee On a petition from Cer- tain electors and inhabitants of Stamford borough, complaining of undue interference by the Marquis of Exeter in the elections of that borough. The petition traced the interference as far back as 1830. The effective consti- tuency of the borough at present is 575 voters, of whom 130 are tenants under the Marquis. In July last, there were three candidates,—the Marquis of Granby and Mr. Herries, supported by Lord Exeter. and Mr. Bolt, opposed to them. The allegation was, that 27 of tho tenants voted for Mr. Bolt, and that 22 of them were ejected from their tenements in consequence. Under the present law, gene- rd intimidation cannot be inquired into Libre an Election Committee, and there- fore a special inquiry is necessary. The allegations of the petition were controverted at much length by the Marquis of GRANBY and Mr. HER.RIES. Lord GRANBY denied that the Marquis of Exeter had violated the law: he had only exercised the constitutional influence of his large property and high cha racter. His tenants were influenced by no promises or threats. And it was not true that twenty-two had been ejected: only fourteen were ejected—(fronical cheers)—and of those two were suffered to remain.

Mr. /tannins explained, that twenty-nine notices to quit were given to the tenants" for various reasons ": of that number, twelve had voted for Mr. Holt; but the House had no right to infer that those twelve had been discharged on account of their votes. Mr. Henries averred, on the authority of Lord Exeter's managing solicitor, that the Marquis wholly abstained from influencing the votes of his tenants.

Lord Joint RUSSELL [who had been reminded by Mr. GneriTLEr BERKELEY of his refusal to inquire into similar allegations against Earl

Fitzhardinge] confessed that he had some difficulty in making up his mind; but, considering that some of the disputed points were supported by re- spectable authority on both sides, that it is desirable to secure freedom of election, and that the particular circumstances could not be disposed of by an Election Committee, he should vote for the inquiry.

Several other Members spoke; the motion being generally supported on the Ministerial side of the House, resisted on the opposite side: Sir ROBERT PEEL objected to departing from the usual course. On a division, the mo- tion was carried, by 178 to 177—majority, one.